Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2013.05.31

I picked this video to post today because it features a classic El Camino.

Yeah, right...



On a more serious note, one of the musicians in the video is Bucky Covington. He is the official spokesperson for Help the Good Guys, an organization that honors and supports injured firefighters.

Check 'em out.

Long Day

I left the house at 6:30 yesterday morning for a doctor's appointment. His office is about a one hour drive away from home, but since I have to drive from one side of San Antonio to the other it takes twice that during rush hour. Of course, once I got there I had to wait for 30 minutes until I was called. I can understand if the schedule gets backed up later in the day, but when you're one of the first appointments why on earth do you still get called 30 minutes after your scheduled time? Anyway...

I've had three operations on my left knee. Back in my youth I was a runner. I was training for the Houston marathon when I stepped in a pothole and hurt it the first time. The second time came during a softball game - I tripped over my beer can. (No, not really. The injury was caused by a slumble. That's a cross between a slide and a stumble.) The third time was when I attempted a spinning hook kick during martial arts class. Evidently spinning and kicking at the same time is trickier than it seems.

To make a long story short, there's not much left holding the knee together. The only remaining option is a knee replacement, which I'm putting off as long as possible. In the meantime I get periodic shots of synthetic cartilage - a gel-like substance made from rooster combs which helps serve as an internal cushion and lubricant inside the joint. It helps somewhat, but it has limitations and drawbacks. Two of the biggest drawbacks are (1) it is administered with a syringe that reminds me of those huge things we used to inflate footballs and basketballs, and (2) the shots come in a series of five, which means five consecutive weekly trips to the torture chamber doctor's office.


After escaping from Dr. de Sade, I stopped off at the shooting range on the way home. It was pleasantly uncrowded, given that it was the middle of the day in the middle of the week. A little downrange therapy left me feeling much cheerier.

I went from one range to another - that is, from shooting to driving. after the shooting range, I hit a bucket of balls at the driving range and managed to really improve my slice. The ball now goes much, much farther to the right.

By then it was lunchtime. A bacon cheese burger, along with a couple of beers, was the perfect lead-in to my afternoon nap. (It's good to be retired...)

In the evening my wife and I went to our daughter's National Honor Society induction ceremony. That was followed by dinner out, a little wine, some dessert, and home in time to watch the late news.

I don't know how much more of this retired life I can take...  :-)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Right Hand, Meet The Left Hand

Remember the sequester? That end-of-the-world scenario that would result from federal budget cuts - the same mandated budget cuts that came about because congress couldn't pass a budget? Well, guess what.

Number one, the world didn't end.

Number two, we're not saving as much money as we were told, because people are figuring out ways to beat the sequester. Case in point:

Furloughed federal workers can collect unemployment
Should federal employees on furlough be allowed to collect unemployment benefits? Workers at a Navy engineering station in Philadelphia think so.

The local union affiliate of International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers has signed an agreement with the Navy which would allow their civilian federal workers to group furlough days in one-week blocks. It's a strategy with one key goal: enable those employees to recoup some of their lost wages through unemployment checks.
Wasn't the sequester supposed to reduce expenditures? Doesn't paying furloughed workers unemployment benefits offset those savings?

When will those idiots on Capital Hill realize that no matter how smart they think they are, there's a bunch of people out in the real world who are a whole lot smarter. From Apple figuring out a way to take advantage of that abominable mess called our Tax Code to these civilian naval workers, the clowns masquerading as our elected 'leaders' (*cough choke gasp*) just manage to make things worse. Time and time again we've seen the private sector make end runs around the lawmakers best efforts. You'd think they'd have learned their lesson by now.

Adding insult to injury, the Department of Labor has a website with tips for furloughed federal workers on how to file for unemployment compensation.

Obviously the federal right hand has absolutely no idea what the federal left hand is doing...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Mind Boggles

I am 61 years old, and I've been around.

I've worked blue collar jobs, served in the Army, endured a white collar career, and most recently earned a living got paid for teaching college students.

I've lived in multiple states and countries, and visited many more.

I've seen (and done) things I wish I could forget.

I've been married three times.

In short, I thought I'd pretty much lost the capacity to be surprised by the stupid things human beings are capable of.

I was wrong. Here's two recent examples that just boggled my mind when I heard about them.

Fired For Using The Word 'Negro' In Class

Petrona Smith is suing the New York school system. She says in a lawsuit that she was fired after a seventh-grader reported that she'd used the word 'Negro' in class.

Sounds pretty insensitive right? After all, everyone knows that 'Negro' is considered offensive to people of color.

There's only one problem. Ms. Smith was teaching a Spanish class, and 'negro' is the Spanish word for the color black. It has no racial connotation.
Smith doesn't deny using the word. But she argues that everyone uses it, when speaking Spanish. She was teaching the Spanish words for different colors, and the color "black" in Spanish is "negro." ... And by the way, Smith, who is from the West Indies, is black.
No word from the New York public school system on how they expect a Spanish teacher to tell her students the word for a certain color without using that word.


Parking Tickets Issued On Burned Out Wrecks While Riots Rage Around Them
Since last Sunday, May 19, rioters have taken to the streets of Stockholm’s suburbs every night, torching cars, schools, stores, office buildings and residential complexes. Yesterday, a police station in Rågsved, a suburb four kilometers south of Stockholm, was attacked and set on fire.
(Side note: the rioters are overwhelmingly muslim, a fact that is overwhelmingly not mentioned in most media accounts, with this notable exception: "Young Muslims who enjoy tolerance, social institutions and welfare while living in Sweden nevertheless refuse to integrate into the West..." That is pretty stupid by itself, but it gets worse.)
But while the Stockholm riots keep spreading and intensifying, Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday.

”We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait,” elaborated Lars Byström, the media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department. ”If we see a burning car, we let it burn if there is no risk of the fire spreading to other cars or buildings nearby. By doing so we minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.”
Oh, by all means let the rioters run amok and destroy property, as long as they don't toss a few rocks at the cops. After all, we have to draw the line somewhere.

Okay, that ratchets up the stupidity level another notch. But we still haven't reached the pinnacle yet.
Swedish parking laws, however, continue to be rigidly enforced despite the increasingly chaotic situation. Early Wednesday, while documenting the destruction after a night of rioting in the Stockholm suburb of Alby, a reporter from Fria Tider observed a parking enforcement officer writing a ticket for a burnt-out Ford.
When questioned, the officer explained that the ticket was issued because the vehicle lacked a tag showing its time of arrival. The fact that the vehicle had been effectively destroyed – its windshield smashed and the interior heavily damaged by fire – was irrelevant according to the meter maid...
Can you imagine seeing your car get torched while the cops stand around and watch? And afterwards getting a parking ticket on the burned out hulk? The stupid, it hurts...

A meter maid issues a parking ticket for a burnt-out car following a night of riots in Stockholm.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ode To Brisket

If you're a basketball fan, you know that the San Antonio Spurs just swept the Memphis Grizzlies to reach the NBA finals. What you may not know is that the San Antonio-Memphis series had a subplot: barbecue.

At the risk of overgeneralizing, the staple of Tennessee barbecue is pork. Ribs, pulled pork, chopped pork, roast pork ... the pig is the thing. As for sauce, it's usually on the sweet side.

In Texas, beef is king. And the prize cut, at least for BBQ aficionados, is the brisket. Add a Texas-style sauce on the side -- tangy, vinegar based, with just a hint of heat -- and you've got a meal fit for a king.

Which brings us to today. In their infinite wisdom, someone -- I'm not sure who, but whoever they are certainly deserve our gratitude -- has designated May 28 as National Brisket Day. If ever a food was worthy of its own day, it is brisket.
Why do we love brisket above all other barbecued meats? Is it because of its resonant beefy flavor, its exterior as shiny as black patent leather, its rivulets of fat moistening every mouthful and staining the eater’s shirt? Yes. The very nature of brisket is to be delicious. Yet there’s more to it than that. We love brisket because cooking it is a spiritual path, a quest that, as a wise man once said, begins with a single log. The steps toward enlightenment are threefold. The seeker of Brisket Truth must first embrace mental discipline, immersing himself in the craft of tending the fire and minding the meat. Second, the seeker must practice physical discipline, to be capable of wielding and slicing a twelve-pound brisket after having consumed a six-pack of Shiner Bock. Finally, the seeker must exhibit spiritual discipline, neither napping beside the smoker, nor wandering inside to catch the game on TV, nor sneaking off to update his Facebook page. The person who does these things is granted true knowledge of the brisket’s essence. He who honors this ritual is prepared for life. (Source)
I know what I'm having for lunch...

Monday, May 27, 2013

FOD Memorial Day Version

FOD is cancelled today out of respect for those in the military who paid the ultimate price in protecting our country, our way of life, and our loved one.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Difference Between Men And Women

 

 It's Not About the Nail from Jason Headley on Vimeo.

(H/T Rodger)

Sunday Funnies 2013.05.26

I hope you're enjoying your Memorial Day weekend. Just remember why it's a holiday.



An Air Force F-16 was flying escort with a B-52 and generally making a nuisance of himself by flying rolls around the lumbering old bomber.

The F-16 pilot radioed the the B-52 crew saying, "Anything you can do, I can do better."

Not to be outdone, the bomber pilot announced that he would rise to the challenge.

The B-52 continued its flight, straight and level, however.

Perplexed, the fighter pilot asked, "So? What did you do?"

"We just shut down two engines."

As an Army veteran, I always found Navy rank confusing. So I asked a friend of mine who was a retired Chief Petty Officer to explain it to me.

"Ensigns wear a gold bar representing that they are valuable BUT malleable.

The silver bar of a Lieutenant Junior Grade represents value, but less malleable.

When an officer makes Lieutenant, he is twice as valuable, so we give him two silver bars.

As a Captain, you soar over military masses, hence the eagle.

As an Admiral, you're obviously a star. That answer your question?"

I replied "Sort of. But what about Commanders and Lieutenant Commanders?"

"Now that goes waaaaaay back in history. Back to the Garden of Eden even. You see, we've always covered our pricks with leaves ... "

A soldier, a marine, a sailor, and an airman were in a car wreck. All four were killed. Soon, they found themselves in Heaven.

After St. Peter let them in, they asked him to settle a long-running argument: which branch of the service is the best?

St. Peter replied, "I can't answer that. But I will ask God what He thinks the next time I see Him."

Some time later, the four men see St. Peter again and ask him if he was able to find the answer. Suddenly, a dove landed on St. Peter's shoulder. The dove was carrying a note in its beak. St. Peter opened the note and read it out loud to the four fellows:

"Gentlemen: All the Branches of the Service are Honorable and Noble. Each oneof you has served your country well. Be proud of that.
-- (signed) GOD, USMC (Ret.)

After enlisting in the 82nd Airborne Division, a new soldier eagerly asked the recruiter what to expect from jump school.

"Well," the recruiter said, "it's three weeks long."

"What else," asked the private.

"The first week they separate the men from the boys," the recruiter replied. "The second week, they separate the men from the fools."

"And the third week?"

"The third week, the fools jump."





Saturday, May 25, 2013

Panic Attack

I saw the headline below on Drudge and almost broke down and cried. Then I realized I had misread it.
SUMMER BUMMER: Beef Prices Set New Record...
I read it as 'BEER prices set new record.'

Don't get me wrong. I like my dead cow just as much as the next man. But I've still got some of last season's venison in the freezer, and if necessary I can get by with chicken, pork, or even fish. So an increase in beef prices, while troublesome, isn't the end of the world.

But when you talk about raising the price of my beer you're walkin' on the fightin' side of me.


A Pleasent Surprise

Actually, two of them.

The first: last night we attended a scholarship awards ceremony. The way they do things here is that the students and parents are invited to the ceremony knowing only that the student has been awarded a scholarship, but not knowing from which organization or for how much. We were thrilled that our Labrador Retriever-equivalent son (intelligent, enthusiastic, but entirely lacking in common sense) was among those receiving a scholarship. It wasn't big bucks -- enough to cover a fair chunk of one semester's expenses -- but it was totally unexpected. We were equal parts pleased and surprised. Maybe some of what we've been hammering into him has taken root after all.

The second pleasant surprise was that we got some unexpected rain. This part of the state has been suffering from an extended drought. Rivers and streams are drying up and lake levels are dropping (a local lake is now less than 7% full - that's not a typo; seven per cent is correct). So today's rain was more than welcome.

Karen Ripley, a resident of the Medina Lake area, investigates a boat left on the bottom by the receding waters of Elm Cove, a portion of Medina Lake, on Wednesday, April 3, 2013

All you folks who are getting too much rain - please send some of it our way. We'd sure appreciate it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2013.05.24

Sometime during this Memorial Day weekend, stop for a moment and raise a glass to all the Pvt. Andrew Malones who never made it back home.

God Bless...


Leno Strikes Again

Jay Leno has become increasingly fearless (he must be taking lessons from OldNFO). He'd better be careful. If he keeps this up the IRS will come calling.
"White House officials insist that President Obama knew nothing about the IRS scandal until we all heard about it in the news last week. They said because there was an investigation under way, it would have been inappropriate to tell him. And besides, he was too busy not knowing anything about Benghazi."

"President Obama announced the appointment of a new acting commissioner of the IRS – the other guy was fired. See, they're called 'acting commissioner' because you have to act like the scandal doesn't involve the White House."
"A lot of critics are now comparing President Obama to President Nixon. The good news for Obama? At least he's no longer being compared to President Carter."

"A lot of critics are comparing President Obama to President Richard Nixon, which is unfair. Nixon's unemployment rate was only 5 percent."
Even Conan O'Brien snuck in a shot.
"President Obama is in a lot of hot water lately. Despite the scandals, 53 percent of Americans say they approve of the job he's doing. The other 47 percent are being audited."

Quick Hits 2013.05.24

Some random bits of weirdness from around the Interweb...

Marijuana waste helps turn pot-eating pigs into tasty pork roast
With Washington state about to embark on a first-of-its-kind legal market for recreational marijuana, the budding ranks of new cannabis growers face a quandary over what to do with the excess stems, roots and leaves from their plants.

Susannah Gross, who owns a five-acre farm north of Seattle, is part of a group experimenting with a solution that seems to make the most of marijuana's appetite-enhancing properties - turning weed waste into pig food.

Four pigs whose feed was supplemented with potent plant leavings during the last four months of their lives ended up 20 to 30 pounds heavier than the half-dozen other pigs from the same litter when they were all sent to slaughter in March.
Pigs with the munchies. No word on whether they fattened up on Oreos or chips...


Demi Moore's new boyfriend Will Hanigan has a PEARL in his family jewels

Demi Moore’s latest yoga-teaching boy toy shockingly had a pearl inserted into his man parts as a teenager as part of a family tradition...

Will Hanigan, 30, met the 50-year-old actress through a series of yoga classes after moving from Australia to Los Angeles and the couple have reportedly been dating for a month.

“He had a pearl inserted in his penis when he was in his late teens,” said a source. “It is pearl farming tradition and he would always joke about it in Australia. He’d boast it’d give girls extra stimulation in the bedroom.”
I've heard of a pearl necklace, but this is a new one...


Council members abstain from vote on abstaining
Three members of a Michigan city council have abstained from voting on a measure that would have prevented them from abstaining on future votes.

AnnArbor.com reports that Ypsilanti City Council member Pete Murdock proposed a resolution Tuesday that would have required council members to only vote "yes" or "no" on each issue unless they had a financial or professional conflict.

Mayor Paul Schreiber and council members Susan Moeller and Brian Robb abstained from the vote to show their disapproval of the resolution.
Wouldn't voting "no" have done the same thing?

The irony is strong in this one...


Bowling Shoe Law Being Debated in State Legislature
New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan (R-59th District) New York State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-140th District) are sponsoring a bill that would cover bowling shoes...

It would require alley owners to post signs, warning keglers not to wear bowling shoes outside, lest they become wet and increase the likelihood that a bowler could slip and fall when they come inside 
With all the other problems New York has, this is what the state legislature is concerned about?

Spare me...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Parable For Today

A Texan with a bucket full of live fish was loading his boat onto his trailer when a game warden walked up. The game warden asked the man, "May I see your fishing license please?"

"Naw, sir," replied the Texan. "I don't need a license. These here are my pet fish."

"Pet fish!?!?"

"Yep. Once a week, I bring these fish down to the lake and let 'em swim 'round for a while. Then when I whistle, they swim right back into my net and I take 'em home."

"What a line of baloney....you're under arrest."

The Texan said, "It's the truth. I'll show ya! We do this all the time!!"

"Oh you do, now, do you?" smirked the warden. "Prove it!"

The Texan released the fish into the lake and stood and waited. After a few minutes, the warden said, "Well?"

"Well, What?" asked the Texan.

The warden asked, "When are you going to call em back?"

"Call who back?"

"The FISH," replied the warden.

"What fish?" asked the Texan.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

We may not be as smart as some city slickers, but we ain't as dumb as some government employees.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another Tax Scandal

Here's another congressional hearing on taxes that isn't getting as much publicity as the IRS scandal, but which might have (or at least should have) similar meaningful and far-reaching consequences - but probably won't.
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook defended the technology giant's tax practices in front of Senate investigators on Tuesday, arguing the company pays all taxes due and that its use of foreign subsidiaries doesn't affect its U.S. tax bill.
I won't bore you with the details that only a CPA could love, but to make a long story short Apple has subsidiaries in different countries around the world. Like any rational organization, Apple manages its operations and cash flows in such a manner as to minimize expenses, including taxes. For some reason, certain senators are upset by this.
Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.), chairman of the panel, accused Apple of employing "alchemy" and "ghost companies" to escape tax collectors in the U.S. and Ireland, the base of the firm's international operations outside the Americas.
Apple, not surprisingly, sees things differently.
Countered Mr. Cook: "There's no shifting going on…We pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar."
What do the facts have to say?

Apple paid $6 billion in corporate income taxes in 2012, a rate of 30.5%, which is slightly lower than the 35% statutory rate.

So our august congresscritters are all upset because Apple's managers are better at their jobs (minimizing corporate taxes) than the congresscritters are at theirs (writing effective tax laws).

Well, here's a modest suggestion for those senators who find this offensive.

Get off your fat asses, quit pandering to special interest groups, junk that absurd pile of dog vomit that passes for the U.S. tax code, and write some simple, common-sense tax laws.

Damn idiots...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This Isn't The America I Grew Up In

Remember the Occupy Wall Street protests? Those bozos trashed property, blocked public access to parks and roads, committed numerous crimes, and otherwise behaved like the threats to society they are.

The government's response?
* Yawn *

Remember Fast & Furious? Hundreds of people, including U.S. LEOs, killed in a botched ATF operation.

The government's response?
* Crickets *

Remember Benghazi?

Four Americans dead in the service of their country.

The government's response?
* Coverup *

Today the Tea Party protested at IRS sites across the country.

The government's response?
Deploy armed DHS agents.

Sometimes I think this is all a dream ... a terrible, terrible dream...

Image Of The Day 2013.05.21



Too bad NBC is forcing Leno off the air. He's become one of the few entertainers with the cojones to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

QOTD 2013.05.21

This brief bit of brilliance explains why there will be no meaningful consequences to the IRS' abuse of power.
It's time for the corrupt President to ask the corrupt Justice Department to investigate the corrupt Internal Revenue Service.
(H/T The Other McCain)

Putting A Face On The IRS Scandal

I'm going to assume that most of the folks who drop by this little corner of the Interweb are aware of how the obama administration has sicced IRS goons on groups that dared to speak out against the buffoon currently wasting oxygen in the Oval Office.

I'm going to further assume that most of us share a sense of outrage over the trampling of those groups' civil liberties and freedoms.

But that sense of outrage is, for the most part, abstract. We deplore the abuse of power, we want to see future occurrences prevented, but we are removed from the immediate impact. It's happening to faceless organizations that, while we agree with their aims, we are distanced from.

The following story, however, puts a face on the abuse of power by the government. It is a chilling and cautionary tale of the evil that government agencies can inflict on decent, hard-working people whose only 'crime' is holding differing views than the person in power.

It's a long story, but well worth reading. So pour yourself another cup of coffee (or something stronger), settle in, and prepare to have your eyes opened.
Catherine Engelbrecht’s tale has all the markings of a classic conspiracy theory: She says she thinks that because of her peaceful political activity, she and her family was targeted for scrutiny by hostile federal agencies.

Yet as news emerges that the Internal Revenue Service wielded its power to obstruct conservative groups, Catherine’s story becomes credible — and chilling. It also raises questions about whether other federal agencies have used their executive powers to target those deemed political enemies.

Before the Engelbrecht family’s three-year ordeal began, Catherine says, “I had no real expectation or preparation for the blood sport that American politics is.” Sounding weary on the phone, she continues: “It’s all been a through-the-looking-glass experience.”

Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who specializes in representing conservative organizations, says that the Engelbrecht family’s experience is “just the tip of the iceberg. . . . I think there’s definitely a Chicago-politics-style enemies list in this administration, and I think it permeates this branch of the federal government.”

The Engelbrechts were not, until recently, particularly political. They had been busy running a tiny manufacturing plant in Rosenberg, Texas. After years of working for others, Bryan, a trained machinist, wanted to open his own shop, so he saved his earnings, bought a computerized numerical-control machine, which does precision metal-cutting, and began operating out of his garage. “That was about 20 years ago,” he says. “Now, we’re up to about 30 employees.”

For two decades, Bryan and Catherine drove to work in their big truck. Engelbrecht Manufacturing Inc. now operates out of a 20,000-square-foot metal building on the prairie just outside of Houston, where a “semi-pet coyote lives in the field just behind us,” Bryan says. They went back to their country home each night. Stress was rare, and life was good.

But the 2008 elections left Catherine feeling frustrated about the debates, which seemed to be a string of superficial talking points. So she began attending tea-party meetings, enjoying the political discussion. A spunky woman known for her drive, Catherine soon wanted to do more than just talk. She joined other tea partiers and decided to volunteer at the ballot box. Working as an alternate judge at the polls in 2009 in Fort Bend County, Texas, Catherine says, she was appalled and dismayed to witness everything from administrative snafus to outright voter fraud.

These formative experiences prompted her to found two organizations: King Street Patriots, a local community group that hosts weekly discussions on personal and economic freedoms; and True the Vote, which seeks to prevent voter fraud and trains volunteers to work as election monitors. It also registers voters, attempts to validate voter-registration lists, and pursues fraud reports to push for prosecution if illegal activity has occurred.

Bryan says that when his wife began focusing on politics, working less often at the manufacturing shop, “I told her, ‘You have my undying support.’” He pauses, then adds in his thick Texan drawl: “Little did I know she’d take it this far!”

In July 2010, Catherine filed with the IRS seeking tax-exempt status for her organizations. Shortly after, the troubles began.

That winter, the Federal Bureau of Investigation came knocking with questions about a person who had attended a King Street Patriots event once. Based on sign-in sheets, the organization discovered that the individual in question had attended an event, but “it was a come-and-go thing,” and they had no further information on hand about him. Nevertheless, the FBI also made inquiries about the person to the office manager, who was a volunteer.

The King Street Patriots weren’t the only ones under scrutiny. On January 11, the IRS visited the Engelbrechts’ shop and conducted an on-site audit of both their business and their personal returns, Catherine says.

“What struck us as odd about that,” she adds,“is the lengths to which the auditor went to try to — it seemed like — to try to find some error. . . . She wanted to go out and see [our] farm, she wanted to count the cattle, she wanted to look at the fence line. It was a very curious three days. She was as kind as she could be, and she was doing her job . . . [but] it was strange.”

Bryan adds: “It was kind of funny to us. I mean, we weren’t laughing that much, but we knew we were squeaky clean. Our CPA’s a good guy. And who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor: I got a little bit of a refund.”

Two months later, the IRS initiated the first round of questions for True the Vote. Catherine painstakingly answered them, knowing that nonprofit status would help with the organization’s credibility, donors, and grant applications. In October, the IRS requested additional information. And whenever Catherine followed up with IRS agents about the status of True the Vote’s application, “there was always a delay that our application was going to be up next, and it was just around the corner,” she says,

As this was occurring, the FBI continued to phone King Street Patriots. In May 2011, agents phoned wondering “how they were doing.” The FBI made further inquiries in June, November, and December asking whether there was anything to report.

The situation escalated in 2012. That February, True the Vote received a third request for information from the IRS, which also sent its first questionnaire to King Street Patriots. Catherine says the IRS had “hundreds of questions — hundreds and hundreds of questions.” The IRS requested every Facebook post and Tweet she had ever written. She received questions about her family, whether she’d ever run for political office, and which organizations she had spoken to.

“It’s no great secret that the IRS is considered to be one of the more serious [federal agencies],” Catherine says. “When you get a call from the IRS, you don’t take it lightly. So when you’re asked questions that seem to imply a sense of disapproval, it has a very chilling effect.”

On the same day they received the questions from the IRS, Catherine says, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) launched an unscheduled audit of their machine shop, forcing the Engelbrechts to drop everything planned for that day. Though the Engelbrechts have a Class 7 license, which allows them to make component parts for guns, they do not manufacture firearms. Catherine said that while the ATF had a right to conduct the audit, “it was odd that they did it completely unannounced, and they took five, six hours. . . . It was so extensive. It just felt kind of weird.”

That was in February. In July, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration paid a visit to Engelbrecht Manufacturing while Bryan, Catherine, and their children were out of town. The OSHA inspector talked with the managerial staff and employees, inspecting the premises minutely. But Bryan says the agent found only “little Mickey Mouse stuff, like, ‘You have safety glasses on, but not the right kind; the forklift has a seatbelt, but not the right kind.’” Yet Catherine and Bryan said the OSHA inspector complimented them on their tightly run shop and said she didn’t know why she had been sent to examine it.

Not long after, the tab arrived. OSHA was imposing $25,000 in fines on Engelbrecht Manufacturing. They eventually worked it down to $17,500, and Bryan says they may have tried to contest the fines to drive them even lower, but “we didn’t want to make any more waves, because we don’t know [how much further] OSHA could reach.”

“Bottom line is, it hurt,” he says. Fifteen thousand dollars is “not an insignificant amount to this company. It might be to other companies, but we’re still considered small, and it came at a time when business was slow, so instead of giving an employee a raise or potentially hiring another employee, I’m writing a check to our government.”

A few months later, True the Vote became the subject of congressional scrutiny. In September, Senator Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) wrote to Thomas Perez, then the assistant attorney general of the civil rights division at the Department of Justice (who has now been nominated for labor secretary). “As you know, an organization called ‘True the Vote,’ which is an offshoot of the Tea Party, is leading a voter suppression campaign in many states,” Boxer wrote, adding that “this type of intimidation must stop. I don’t believe this is ‘True the Vote.’ I believe it’s ‘Stop the Vote.’”

And in October, Representative Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, attacked True the Vote in a letter. He wrote that “some have suggested that your true goal is not voter integrity, but voter suppression against thousands of legitimate voters who traditionally vote for Democratic candidates.” He added that: “If these efforts are intentional, politically motivated, and widespread across multiple states, they could amount to a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.” He also decried True the Vote on MSNBC and CNN.

Catherine now says that she “absolutely” thinks that because she worked against voter fraud, the Left was irked and decided to target her.

The next month, in November 2012, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state’s environmental agency, showed up for an unscheduled audit at Engelbrecht Manufacturing. Catherine says the inspector told her the agency had received a complaint but couldn’t provide any more details. After the inspection, the agency notified the Engelbrechts that they needed to pay for an additional mechanical permit, which cost about $2,000 per year.

Since then, the IRS has sent two further rounds of questions to Catherine for her organizations. And last month, the ATF conducted a second unscheduled audit at Engelbrecht Manufacturing.

Catherine says she still hasn’t received IRS approval for her nonprofits, though she filed nearly three years ago. And “the way all of these personal instances interweave with what was going on on the nonprofit side . . . it amounts to something. You can’t help but think that statistically, this has to be coordinated on some level.”

On behalf of the True the Vote and King Street Patriots, Representative Ted Poe (R., Texas) sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI, OSHA, and the ATF, inquiring whether the organizations were under criminal investigation. A statement on Poe’s website states that “the reply from these agencies was that none of these individuals were under criminal investigation. Well, if they’re not, why are they being treated like criminals? Just because they question government.”

Catherine says she knows of at least one other group that received government inquiries about its relationship with True the Vote, and she suspects more did, too. And other Tea Party groups decided not to form nonprofits at all after learning about her experience, she says. “They were scared,” she explains, “and you shouldn’t be scared of your government.”

Meanwhile, Catherine says the harassment has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she’s faced.

“I left a thriving family business with my husband that I loved, to do something I didn’t necessarily love, but [which] I thought had to be done,” she says. “But I really think if we don’t do this, if we don’t stand up and speak now, there might not [always] be that chance.”

Her husband offers an additional observation: “If you knew my wife, you’d know she doesn’t back down from anybody. They picked on the wrong person when they started picking on her.”
It wasn't just the IRS. The FBI, OSHA, and the ATF -- the friggin' ATF, for God's sake -- all piled on this middle class family trying to run a small business. Aren't those the same folks that obama is always babbling about wanting to help?

It's not paranoia if somebody really is out to get you...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pray For OK

Just heard the news about the tornado in Moore, OK. Thoughts and prayers...


FOD 2013.05.20

Obama Denies Role in Government
President Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to reassure the American people that he has “played no role whatsoever” in the U.S. government over the past four years.

“Right now, many of you are angry at the government, and no one is angrier than I am,” he said. “Quite frankly, I am glad that I have had no involvement in such an organization.”

The President’s outrage only increased, he said, when he “recently became aware of a part of that government called the Department of Justice.”

“The more I learn about the activities of these individuals, the more certain I am that I would not want to be associated with them,” he said. “They sound like bad news.”

Mr. Obama closed his address by indicating that beginning next week he would enforce what he called a “zero tolerance policy on governing.”

“If I find that any members of my Administration have had any intimate knowledge of, or involvement in, the workings of the United States government, they will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, the above is a spoof article written by Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker. But it certainly rings true at times, doesn't it?

Here's one that is real, but reads like a joke.

White House Aide Calls Criticism of Obama ‘Offensive’
The remarks came from Dan Pfeiffer, a member of the president’s inner circle, as he appeared on all five major Sunday morning talk shows in an effort to move the administration past what commentators have described as a “hell week” of controversy and missteps. He pointedly rejected Republican criticisms of the president’s actions and leadership style as “offensive” and “absurd,” and he said the administration would not be distracted from doing the nation’s business.
In the same article we get some insight into how seriously the administration is taking the scandals.
...White House chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough...told The New York Times that he instructed staff not to spend more than 10 percent of their time on the three controversies.
I guess they're spending the other 90% of their time in the continuing campaignn that is the obama administration.

Finally, for what I consider a penetrating analysis of the IRS scandal, check out what Kimberley Strassel of the WSJ has to say (Hint: it's along the lines of "a fish rots from the head down").
Was the White House involved in the IRS's targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.

President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an "independent" agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.

But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
It's called leading from behind...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dog Daze

Last night was ... interesting.

It started out pleasantly enough. Several couples in the neighborhood got together for a combination potluck/progressive dinner. We went to one house for a couple of hours where we basically had browsing food - heavy hors d' oeuvres, finger foods, and the like - accompanied, of course, by ample amounts of adult beverages. Then we moved on to another house for dessert, along with a few more adult beverages. Good company, good food, good conversation ... a good time was had by all.

The party broke up around 11:00 (hey, for us that's staying out past our bedtime). We arrived home comfortably full and suitably drowsy. That's when things went wrong.

Usually our two dogs meet us at the gate, where they jump up and down, turn in circles, and otherwise express their joy in seeing us again. This time, however, they were nowhere to be seen. I opened the gate, drove through, and closed the gate behind me. When I turned off the truck I could hear the dogs baying down by the back fence. Naturally, they didn't come when called, so I grabbed a flashlight and went stumbling down the hill in the dark (no moon, loose rocks, uneven footing, lots of cactus scattered around - wonderful terrain for a late night stroll).

I found the dogs in a brush thicket, scuffling with some critter. My first thought was "Thank God it's not a skunk." I crawled in there, got leashes around their necks, and hauled them out into the open. When I looked them over in the light here's what I saw.


Yes, the mutts had tangled with a porcupine. Evidently the first set of quills didn't deter them, so they went back for more.

I've picked up a lot of DIY skills over the years, but removing porcupine quills isn't one of them. So we bundled the mutts into the truck and headed for the nearest doggie ER. Since we live out in the country that meant about a one hour drive - one way.

After getting there and waiting for the vet to become available, we were told that the preferred treatment was to put the dogs under general anesthesia and then remove the quills. It also involves IVs, antibiotics, pain pills, and other expensive canine medical goodies, along with post-op monitoring and recovery time.

To make a long story short, we got back home around 2:30 a.m., then had to turn around and go back and pick them up at 7:30 a.m. So today we are tired, cranky, and broke. That vet was expensive - times two.

And today the damn dogs are getting all the sympathy...

Sunday Funnies 2013.05.19

No funnies today. Instead, since this is Sunday and the Lord's day, please take a moment to give thanks for all who serve our country.

A little over one week ago I posted something about a local serviceman who was killed supporting our forces in Afghanistan.

Last Friday he was laid to rest.
People came in Air Force buses and in their own vehicles, lining 36th Street leading to the gate at the Kelly Field Flight Line where the chartered plane landed with the remains of Capt. Mark Tyler Voss of Boerne.
                             More than 1,000 members of the military from Joint Base San Antonio turn out to salute Capt. Mark Voss as his remains were returned to San Antonio.
Voss, who was assigned to the 93rd Aerial Refueling Wing, died in the crash of a KC-135 Stratotanker in Kyrgyzstan two weeks ago on May 3, but on Thursday he was returned home.
Capt. Casey Miller of the 318th Operation Support Squadron said his squadron was joined by the hundreds of other fellow officers and airmen from JBSA:

"Obviously - especially in the San Antonio community - our airmen and our military men and women are very important to us, so when we lose one of them, it touches all of us. So we're just here to support not only the family and friends of our fallen airman, but also the people that work with him and the people who wear the uniform," Miller said.
From Kelly Field in San Antonio, Captain Voss was transported to his home town of Boerne.
Boerne residents have been honoring their local hero since news of his crash, with flags lowered to half staff and a memorial gathering at Veterans Park.

Cars began lining the streets surrounding St. John Lutheran Church in Boerne hours before the service for Air Force Capt. Mark “Tyler” Voss on Friday.

People pulled their cars halfway into front yards before making lengthy treks to the church or flagging down a golf cart shuttle.

Those who could not find a seat in the sanctuary, or the room across the hall in which the service was projected, lined the streets to pay homage to Voss, whose body was returned to Texas from the Afghan war.
Pallbearers carry the casket of Capt. Mark Voss during a military funeral at St. John Lutheran Church in Boerne.
Capt. Eric Hakos, who attended the U.S. Air Force Academy with Voss, said the 27-year-old was a stranger to no one, but to the nearly 1,000 people who attended his funeral, he was a hero.

After the ceremony, people lined the streets in silence, flinching as three volleys were fired to salute the fallen soldier, and the flag draped over the coffin on which his dog tags hung was folded and delivered to his family.
Marcy and Wayne Voss receive the U.S. flag that draped their son's casket.

If the picture above doesn't make your eyes water then you have no heart.

In a sad twist of fate, the day following Captain Voss' funeral was Saturday, May 18 - Armed Forces Day.

Taken together, the two events serve as a poignant reminder off the hardships, risks, and sacrifices men and women in uniform endure so that we may enjoy our American way of life.

I repeat - please take a moment to give thanks for all who serve, have served, or will serve our country.


Amen.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

IRS Scandal Raises Fears About Enforcing Obamacare

First, the boring, albeit disturbing, details about the role of the IRS in obamacare.
The Internal Revenue Service scandal would be bad enough if the IRS just handled issues like collecting income taxes and granting nonprofit status. But the immensely powerful federal agency is about to become even more powerful with the arrival of national health care, and that makes the still-unfolding scandal even more troubling.
A look at the text of the health care law reveals that much of it consists of amending the Internal Revenue Code to give the IRS more power. When Obamacare goes fully into effect in January, every American will have to prove to the IRS that he or she has "qualifying" health coverage, meaning coverage with a list of features approved by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. That will be done by submitting a document to the IRS, something like a W-2, to confirm coverage.
The IRS will also decide who is, and who is not, eligible for Obamacare's subsidies. The law authorizes the IRS to share confidential taxpayer information with the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of determining those subsidies. And since subsidies don't just apply to a relatively small number of the nation's poorest citizens -- under the law, they can go to a family of four with a household income of nearly $90,000 -- they will affect a huge segment of the population.

In addition, the IRS will keep track of even the smallest changes in Americans' financial condition. Did you get a raise recently? You'll need to notify the IRS; it might affect your subsidy status. Have your hours been reduced at work? Notify the IRS. Change jobs? Same.
If Americans don't keep the IRS up to date on their financial status, they might incur penalties, which the IRS will collect by withholding income tax refunds.
That's bad enough, but here's the really scary part.
The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.

Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.

After all, if the IRS can abuse its power to punish groups that have different political views than obama, what's to stop them from doing the same thing to individuals? Shuffling obama flunkies around to different positions within the agency does nothing to prevent future abuse.


The Rest Of The Umbrella Story

As Paul Harvey used to say (God, I miss that man!), here's the rest of the story.

I recently posted a few images critical of obama for forcing a Marine to hold an umbrella so that obama didn't get rained on (what, he's gonna melt like the Wicked Witch of the West? We should be so lucky.).

Anyway, here's the real reason the Marine had to hold the umbrella.


Yep, the leader of the free world is too stupid (or lazy - or both) to operate his own umbrella.


The sad thing is that umbrellagate is distracting everyone from the real issues.

When You've Lost Keith Olbermann...

...well, you haven't lost much.

But you have lost what used to be one of your leading ass-kissers
...a growing number of journalists and politicians have called for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder over the Justice Department's largely unprecedented acquisition of hundreds of reporters' call logs.
Okay, it's stretching things a bit to call olbermann a journalist, but the point is still valid.
Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus was one of the first people to call for Holder to quit, along with former Current TV hosts Keith Olbermann and David Shuster.

Olbermann called for Holder to resign via Twitter...
Of course he did. After all, olbermann isn't on the air anymore. Nobody can stomach watching that loser.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reason Number 137 Why I Can't Stand obama



(H/T Michael Berry)




Friday Follies Happy Hour 2013.05.17

Great old cowboy ballad. Wonderful images of old Laredo. All we hear about today is the violence and drugs, but Laredo is a very historic city with a wonderful story to tell. I enjoyed my time there.

Retirement - Day One

Ran errands for the wife in the morning.

Did three loads of laundry in the afternoon.

Cooked dinner in the evening - Chicken in Cream with Bacon, served with a nice bottle of chilled Chardonnay.

Cleaned up after dinner.

I think I may have made a strategic error in setting the expectation level way too high...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happiness Is Laredo Texas In My Rearview Mirror

(With apologies to Mac Davis)

Short post this a.m. because I had a long day yesterday.

I am now officially retired.

I finished out-processing Tuesday (more on that later).

Wednesday was devoted to packing, cleaning, moving, and unpacking. Started before 8:00 a.m., finished after 8:00 p.m..

Did I mention that my Laredo apartment was on the second floor, and that most of the stuff I brought back home went on the second floor of our house?

My knee is screaming bloody murder (three operations on it will do that), my back is yelling almost as much (61 years will do that), and my wife is muttering loudly (a newly retired husband will do that).

As she put it, "I now have twice the husband and half the income. Where's that bottle of wine?"

But I'm happier than a liberal working for the IRS...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Incest Begins At Home

During last March's visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, obama introduced him to his chief foreign policy speechwriter, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, and said:
"Just remember that anything offensive that I say, it's because of him." Obama then pointed out that Rhodes' brother, David, runs CBS News and has a "proud Jewish mother."
Netanyahu quipped, "It sounds like a very incestuous relationship,"

"Not if you watch CBS News," Obama retorted.
Benjamin Netanyahu is a very perceptive man. There's a world of truth in his observation and obama's reply.

It's an article of faith among most of us that there is a profound media bias in obama's favor. I always wrote it off to the general tendency of 'journalists' to lean left.
Surveys over the past 30 years have consistently found that journalists — especially those at the highest ranks of their profession — are much more liberal than rest of America. They are more likely to vote liberal, more likely to describe themselves as liberal, and more likely to agree with the liberal position on policy matters than members of the general public.
But it's now becoming obvious that in obama's case there's more in play than just the 'normal' liberalism of the media. For example: (Hat tips to Day by Day and A Nod to the Gods for the heads-up on the following.)
Barack Obama's "Tower of Fabrications," as Peter Wehner describes the Benghazi scandal, is beginning to crack. And that crack will soon reveal a central figure behind the cover-up, a man close to Barack Obama for years but generally unknown to the public: Ben Rhodes.
Rhodes has absolutely no foreign policy or military experience. So what makes him qualified to be a top NSC adviser to the President of the United States?
Coincidentally (or not) Ben Rhodes's brother, David Rhodes, is the head of CBS News. One of the most dogged journalists trying to peel away the covers behind the Benghazi scandal has been CBS journalist Sharyl Atkinson. She has had to endure pressure from liberal journalistic colleagues to stop digging. Politico reports that "network sources" say that she "can't get some of her stories on the air."

The coercion may be going into overdrive as the investigations gets closer to fingering Ben Rhodes as the key player behind the Benghazi cover-up.  According to Patrick Howley of the Daily Caller, CBS News may be on the verge of firing Atkinson.

Furthermore, Ben Rhodes is married to Ann Norris, senior foreign and defense advisor to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California).
As if that's not enough:
ABC President Ben Sherwood's sister, Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, is a Special Assistant to Barack Obama on national security affairs.

CNN's deputy bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is the wife of Tom Nides, who until February was Hillary Clinton's deputy.
Not convinced yet? Here's one more example. Jay Carney, obama's spokesweasel, is married to ABC senior national correspondent Claire Shipman. Doesn't that seem to present just a teeny little conflict of interest for Shipman?

Evidently not, since she's never been remotely close to being objective.
Shipman ... has a reputation as an activist liberal. In 2008, she hailed Barack Obama, the now-boss of her husband, as "brave" for a speech disassociating himself with radical preacher Jeremiah Wright. In 2007, she fawned over Obama's "fluid poetry."

In 2000, she lauded Al Gore as a "pretty conservative Democrat."
Maybe in her universe, but not in the one the rest of us inhabit.
In 2004, discussing former Communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev, she touted him as "generally regarded" for being "the man who broke down the ‘Iron Curtain.'"
I guess she never heard of Ronald Reagan.

One definition of incestuous relationship is "being so close or intimate as to prevent proper functioning."

There should be a picture of obama and his extended White House family next to that one...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Life Is Still Pretty Darn Good

With all the scandals and other bad news we've been subjected to lately, I felt in need of something positive and uplifting. Thankfully, I found it.

Bacon Dogs Are Here! Thanks, Oscar Mayer
Oscar Mayer on Monday introduced five new hot dogs, one of which has bacon cooked right into it.
Bacon lovers were overjoyed.
Count me among them.

The new dogs won't be available until just before the Memorial Day weekend, but my mouth is already salivating.

Same Song, Different Verse

It's getting hard to keep track of all the scandals orbiting the White House. What with the lies and coverups associated with the Benghazi debacle (not to mention four dead Americans), the IRS' targeting of conservative organizations, and the Justice Department's seizure of AP reporters' phone records, spokesweasel jay Carney is working overtime these days spinning his progressive ass off.

Oh yeah - don't forget Fast & Furious.

Lost amidst all the high profile headlines is this little bit of information that surfaced today.
Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS’ hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government,” said CEI fellow Chris Horner.
It's the Chicago way...

Unanswered Questions

I've been following the Benghazi hearings, and one thing I've noticed is that most of the recent commentary revolves around the talking points.
How -- and why-- did the account of what happened at Benghazi (i.e. the infamous talking points) go through a dozen iterations, beginning with a fairly detailed description of the potential involvement of al Qaeda that morphed over the course of a day into a simple, gauzy, bland (and false) theory?
A meaningful issue, to be sure. There is no doubt that the obama administration intentionally mislead and lied to congress (no big deal - congress lies to us all the time) and the American public (a much more serious act). That by itself richly deserves condemnation and quite possibly legal action.

However, in my mind the two areas that deserve full investigation and disclosure are the failure of the State Department to provide adequate security to our personnel, and the decision to withhold military assistance once the attack was underway.
A report by an independent panel led by former top diplomat Thomas Pickering and retired Gen. Mike Mullen has already concluded that there was "grossly" inadequate security at the mission as a result of managerial and leadership failures at the State Department...
Yeah, but ... who turned down the requests for additional security? At some point someone in the bowels of the State Department said "no." That decision was likely reviewed and approved by senior officials, quite possibly including the then-Secretary of State, hillary clinton.

Who said "no," and who knew about it?

As for withholding military help:
The deputy of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens has told congressional investigators that a team of Special Forces prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks was forbidden from doing so by U.S. Special Operations Command Africa.

The account from Gregory Hicks is in stark contrast to assertions from the Obama administration, which insisted that nobody was ever told to stand down and that all available resources were utilized...

According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound "when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, 'you can't go now, you don't have the authority to go now.'
That leads to the obvious follow-up question. Who issued the order to stand down? And by "who" I mean which individual, not which command.
Mr. Hicks testified this morning that the stand down order for the rescue team in Tripoli came from either AFRICOM or SOCAFRICA.
Did the military heads of those commands issue the stand-down order on their own, or were they passing on orders from above? Keep in mind that the only two people in the chain of command above the AFRICOM commander were then-SECDEF Leon Panetta and CINC barack obama.

Also worth noting is that shortly after the Benghazi attack the AFRICOM commander, General Carter Ham, was relieved, and Leon Panetta resigned.

There are conflicting reports regarding the Ham situation, along with other high-ranking personnel moves. I have no idea what the truth is, but back when I was in uniform we made sure that significant and potentially controversial orders were either in writing or given in front of witnesses. That way there was no doubt where the order originated.

Granted, that was a long time ago and I was a junior enlisted man (SGT E-5), but I would like to think that the situation today is similar. Otherwise how can you be sure of the legitimacy of a life and death order like this one?

I'm not the only one wondering about the pap we're being spoon-fed regarding the lack of a military response.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., issued a sharp and unusual challenge to the truthfulness of the nation’s top uniformed military commander on Thursday, demanding that U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, return to Capitol Hill to provide fresh testimony on the Benghazi attacks.

The point of contention involved whether any military officers issued an order to U.S. armed forces personnel on the night of Sept. 11, when the U.S. consulate and a nearby annex came under terrorist attack, to “stand down” from providing assistance.

“I asked [Gen. Dempsey] directly,” Graham said in an exclusive interview with Fox News. “Were there any military assets in motion, to help folks in Benghazi, [that were] told to stand down? And what did [State Department whistleblower] Greg Hicks say? That Lt. Col. [Steve] Gibson -- a DOD employee, a member of the Army -- was in Tripoli, ready and willing to go to Benghazi, preparing to go to Benghazi, and was told to stand down.”

“Clearly,” Graham added, “our chairman of the Joint Chiefs' rendition that no one was told to stand down is now in question.”
Fortunately, DoD has trained professionals ready to help clear up confusing issues like this.
Asked to comment on Graham’s challenge to the chairman’s veracity, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Rob Firman told Fox News: “They weren’t told to stand down. They were simply told not to go to Benghazi..."
Sounds like Maj. Firman is being groomed as a replacement for spokesweasel Jay Carney.

One final question that has long gone unanswered:

Where was obama during the attack, and what was he doing?


Monday, May 13, 2013

It's All Bush's Fault

I drink more beer than I should. Because I drink so much beer, I've amassed quite a collection of koozies - those insulated beverage holders that help keep the golden amber nice and cold.

I like all my koozies, but the prize of my collection, the one I use most often, has the initials IRS inside a circle with a slash through it. That pretty much sums up my attitude towards that particular government agency.


My attitude has not been improved by the recent news that the IRS has targeted conservative political groups for 'special attention.'
The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
As others have pointed out, IRS computers do not program themselves. Someone made the decision to target groups opposed to obama and his administration. This outrageous politicization of what should be a neutral tax collection agency is just the latest in the string of broken laws and coverups that have occurred on obama's watch - with no one being held accountable.
We need for President Obama to do what he never did on "Fast & Furious" or Benghazi. We need a speech to the nation admitting that people in his administration violated the law and that someone will go to jail for this. We also need to know why this practice has apparently being in place since 2011!
Actually, obama did have a response.

It's all Bush's fault.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said, in response to a question about the I.R.S. targeting conservative groups, that the I.R.S. is run by a George W. Bush political appointee.
As if that isn't bad enough, guess what's coming down the road under the guise of obamacare.
"When Obamacare's individual mandate takes effect in 2014, all Americans who file income tax returns must complete an additional IRS tax form.  The new form will require disclosure of a taxpayer's personal identifying health information in order to determine compliance with the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate."
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid...

FOD 2013.05.13

Reposted with minimal comment from The American Thinker:
(Yesterday), four bereaved women will be facing their first Mother's Day without their beloved sons, who were murdered in Benghazi last September 11.  Will Hillary Clinton be thinking of them this Mother's Day?  And if she were to send the Benghazi Moms a Mother's Day card, would it say, "What Difference at This Point Does It Make"?

Clinton herself may well have made a difference -- a life-or-death difference.  Evidence is mounting that Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens, staffer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods could be alive to celebrate this Mother's Day with their moms if Clinton and others in the Obama administration had heeded Stevens's pleas to beef up security at Benghazi.  Or if they had sent a fighter plane roaring overhead or special ops team to respond to the desperate signals for help that the men under attack repeatedly sent out.

Yet Mrs. Clinton stood at a podium in the Andrews Air Force Base hangar before four flag-draped coffins and solemnly told their families that "an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with" was responsible for their loved ones' slaughter.  Media reported that "her voice broke" and "she fought back tears" as she rolled out what she knew to be a shameless lie.  Then Hillary and Barack hugged the bereaved...

...Obama took the stage before the U.N. General Assembly and deplored the "crude and disgusting video" that "sparked outrage" throughout the Muslim world.

By the time the "talking points" emerged from a hastily called White House meeting and the obedient scalpel of CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell, all references to "Islamic extremists," the agency warnings about al-Qaeda in Libya, the reference to "jihadists" in Cairo -- anything that might get Clinton or Obama in trouble -- were gone.

They needed to vanish so Obama could hang on to the presidency.  Just weeks before a critical election, the myth that the president had terrorism on the run, the campaign theme that "Osama is dead, General Motors is alive" was endangered.  They couldn't afford to allow evidence that would tarnish Obama's Iron Man image, that showed terrorism resurging in Africa in defiance of the commander in chief's diplomatic genius.  They must maintain the fantasy, even at the cost of Americans left behind.

And Clinton knew she might never occupy the Oval Office if her rejection of her good friend Ambassador Stevens's cries for help came to light.  She would be deprived of her righteous reward for all those years she was humiliated and cheated on by Bill.

So rescue was denied, a special response team was told to "stand down," and the former SEALs under fire were also denied a show of force from the fighter aircraft based two hours away in Italy, whose intimidating flyover probably would have scattered the terrorists.  In the saddest of ironies, Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, says she voted for Barack Obama because Sean talked her into it.  Like the majority of Americans, she and Sean came to believe that he was the candidate who truly "cares about me."

Now Patricia Smith blames Clinton and Obama for her son's death.  This Mother's Day, she is still wondering why help was denied, how they could have lied to her face, and what the president did after he learned that the consulate was under attack.  Wondering if he was upstairs in the White House packing for his big Las Vegas fundraiser the next day.  And facing her first Mother's Day without her son...
I don't know what disgusts me more - obama and hillary's callous and calculated decision to sacrifice four Americans in order to further their own political ambitions, or the ambivalence and disinterest of so many people towards their lies and coverup.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Funnies 2013.05.12

Today is Mother's Day. If your Mom is still alive make sure you take the time to thank her for putting up with you.

If she's passed on, like mine, set aside a few moments to think about her. She'll be pleased.

And if she's like my Mom, she has a sense of humor. Share these with her.


As the family gathered for a big dinner together, the youngest son announced that he had just enlisted in the Army.

There were audible gasps around the table, then some laughter, as his older brothers shared their disbelief that he could handle this new situation.

"Oh, come on, quit joking," snickered one. "You didn't really do that, did you?"

"You would never get through basic training," scoffed another.

The new recruit looked to his mother for help, but she was just gazing at him. When she finally spoke, she simply asked, "Do you really plan to make your own bed every morning?"

 * * * * * * * * * *

Mother to daughter advice:
Cook a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
But teach a man to fish and you get rid of him for the whole weekend.

 * * * * * * * * * *

Miss Jones had just given her second-grade students a science lesson. She had explained about magnets, and showed how they would pick up nails and other bits of iron. Now it was question time.

Miss Jones said, "My name begins with the letter 'M' and I pick up things. What am I?"

A little boy in the front row proudly said, "You're a mother!"

 * * * * * * * * * *

4 Years Of Age - My Mommy can do anything;
8 Years Of Age - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot
12 Years Of Age -My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.
14 Years Of Age -Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either
16 Years Of Age -Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned
18 Years Of Age -That old woman? She's way out of date
25 Years Of Age -Well, she might know a little bit about it
35 Years Of Age -Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion
45 Years Of Age -Wonder what Mom would have thought about it
65 Years Of Age -Wish, I could talk it over with Mom