Thursday, March 31, 2011

Connect The Dots

You would think that one of the America's largest corporations would have little in common with one of the most socialist presidents this country has ever suffered under. But consider the curious case of General Electric and obama. (Sources here and here.)
Obama wants cap-and-trade, GE wants cap-and-trade. Obama subsidizes embryonic stem-cell research, GE launches an embryonic stem-cell business. Obama calls for rail subsidies, GE hires (wife of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle) Linda Daschle as a rail lobbyist.
GE also marches in lockstep with the loser-in-chief on agreement on corporate bailouts, stimulus spending, climate policy, health care reform, wind energy, electric cars, export subsidies and more.
Then there’s the personal connections: CEO Jeff Immelt sits on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory board and was asked by Obama’s Export-Import Bank to the opening act for the President at the most recent Ex-Im conference.
All of which makes it quite enjoyable for those of us on the other side to watch the fallout from the revelation that GE has paid zero zip nada in corporate income taxes for 2010.
In spite of robust profits of $14.2 billion worldwide, GE has calculated a corporate tax bill for 2010 that adds up to zero, via a creative series of tax referrals and revenue shifts. (This was, indeed, the second year running that the company—which has an enormous, and famously nimble, 975-employee tax division, led by former Treasury official John Samuels—paid nothing in U.S. taxes; indeed by claiming a series of losses and deductions, GE came up with a negative tax of 10.5 percent in the admittedly dismal business year of 2009, and realized a $1.5 billion "tax benefit.")
What's that? You say you haven't heard anything about this? You must have been watching NBC News.
The curious thing about this year's tax story is that it turned up in many major news outlets, with one key exception: NBC News. As the Washington Post's Paul Farhi notes, the network's "Nightly News" broadcast, hosted by Brian Williams, has not mentioned anything about its corporate parent's resourceful accounting, even though the story has been in wide circulation in the business and general-interest press for nearly a week.
Did I mention that NBC is owned by GE?

I guess that's what liberals mean by freedom of the press...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FID 2011.03.30

Too tired to think of anything original (I can handle preparing for class and grading, but the administrative drones are heaping giant piles of dung on the faculty. Burrowing out from under requires an inordinate expenditure of energy) so I'm resorting to Google Images for today's FID.

To make up for my sloth, you get a two-fer: FID + FOD.

Weekend Update

Weekend news from the South Texas border town where I work three days a week. My office is less than five miles from the Texas-Mexico border where all this took place.

Saturday, March 26
Drug Cartel Shootout Kills Three

Three drug cartel members were killed in Nuevo Laredo when Mexican soldiers stopped an 18-wheeler and gunmen fired shots from inside the trailer. An explosion, believed to be a grenade, was heard, killing the men inside and sparking a fire which ended up destroying a large supply of weapons and munitions. 
(Nuevo Laredo is a town in Mexico directly across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas. The two cities are closely related. Think Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.)
Sunday, March 27
11 Bodies Found on Highway in Northeast Mexico

At least eleven bodies are found in Nuevo Laredo yesterday. However, since Mexican media doesn't report murders when instructed by drug traffickers, yesterday's death toll was confirmed through the Mexican military.

At this time the victims, who all shared similar buzz cuts and are estimated to be between the ages of 17 and 29, remain unidentified. They were tortured and shot in the back of the head execution style.

The bodies all had small posters on their body, with writing presumably from rival cartels.
Monday, March 28
Four suspects are dead following a shootout in the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo.

The army said in a statement that assailants traveling in two cars opened fire on troops on patrol on Monday. It said the gunmen died when troops return fired.

The shootout comes just a day after eleven bodies were found in Nuevo Laredo.
(Sources for the above: here, here, and here.)

Final Tally: 18 Dead - 3 "kamikazes", 11 bodies dumped, and 4 gunmen (Warning: graphic images at this link)
Information provided by Grupo Savant, a Washington, D.C., think tank, indicated the dead could have been members of criminal organizations that are currently battling the for the Nuevo Laredo drug corridor.

According to Grupo Savant, the weekend gunfights were started by the Gulf Cartel.

The acts represent a renewed push against the Zetas.

On Thursday, the Gulf Cartel and its allies, operating under the banner of “La Nueva Federación,” announced its latest offensive with narcomantas, which indicated they would be conducting a “cleansing” of Zetas and Zeta interests throughout the region.
Border security remains at best an abstract problem, and at worst a nuisance, for politicians and policy makers on both sides of the aisle who consider Washington D.C. the center of the universe. However, for those of us who live and work on the border it is literally a matter of life and death.

Drugs, illegal aliens, and terrorists move across the border with impunity. Under obama and holder, the federal government not only has abandoned its responsibilities for border security, it has moved to squash any initiative on the part of states to protect themselves. It will take something along the lines of another 9/11 before those worthless parasites get off their bloated asses and do something. Of course, at that point it will be too late for the future victims, and the upcoming tragedy will be politicized without conscience for political gain.

I'd love to see the assholes in D.C. live down here for a few months. I'll bet that things would change damn quick...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crap Rolls Downhill

The mayor of Omaha has proposed a tax on toilet paper.

The jokes just write themselves:
"It looks good on paper."

"It's a pay-as-you-go tax."

"You've got to be shitting me."

"We're already taxed up the ass."
But behind (sorry...) the hilarity is a serious issue.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that Omaha - and many other cities - upgrade their sewer system to bring them into compliance with EPA codes.
“Plain and simple: [The sewer project] is an unfunded federal mandate,” Suttle told the paper. “The EPA isn't getting it. Cities across the country are going to be saddled with this horrific debt."
It's not just Omaha, and it's not just sewers. Other examples:
Today, the State of California spends over $12 billion dollars a year to comply with unfunded federal mandates alone.  The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Act and the No Child Left Behind Act contain just a few of the tens of thousands of regulations imposed on our state and local governments by our representatives in Washington DC. More than 12% of California’s state budget goes toward paying for compliance with unfunded or underfunded mandates.
By 2018, most signs in every locality in the United States must conform to a set of new updates to the Manual on Uniform Control Device, a set of federal codes that regulate everything from crosswalk signal timing to the placement of one-way street signs.

Local officials and officials country-wide contend in a time of strapped budgets and being forced to work with less, changing out thousands of road signs at thousands of dollars is a waste of time and money. They say the way they are now has never been a problem and it's just another frivolous mandate handed down by the feds while the feds are not helping the cause financially.
A state lawmaker testified today that the federal government’s unfunded mandates on issues such as clean air, clean water and flood zones are imposing costs on Nevada taxpayers without authority or justification.
 And it's not just the feds. States also pass on the costs of unfunded mandates to cities and counties.
Texas counties have long faced unfunded and under-funded mandates from the state and federal governments, whereby the state and federal governments pass the buck of paying for services decreed by the larger governments to the local governments – and the taxpayers of local governments.
Unfunded mandates impose costs on Texas counties and their taxpayers into the millions of dollars statewide and force counties to increase local property tax rates to pay for edicts from above – edicts most often in the form of legislation that is passed and sometimes from state agency regulations. High-dollar examples include indigent defense and indigent health care, but there are many other “nickel-and-dime” mandates that add up to major costs.
This practice is bad enough in good times, but it's particularly onerous today, when local and state governments are facing massive budgets cuts. Who cares about the "retroreflectivity" of road signs when schools are laying off teachers? Priorities, anyone?

It'll never happen, but it sure would be nice to see the size and reach of government - at all levels - shrink. It would also be nice to limit, cap, or outright prevent unfunded mandates. There was even a feeble attempt " curb the practice of imposing unfunded Federal mandates on States and local governments" via the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA). Like so many other federal laws, it started off with good intentions but has failed to achieve its objectives.

Kind of like land wars in Asia and the Middle East...

Monday, March 28, 2011

More "You Can Find Anything On The Internet"

First it was "diapers for ducks."

Now there's a product for women that promises to eliminate the dreaded "camel toe."
Women can rejoice - our very last wardrobe malfunction has now been addressed!

At last there's a product that sensibly alleviates the most embarrassing taboo there is for us girls - the crudely named problem of 'camel toe'. Camel toe occasionally happens when figure-hugging clothing like skinny jeans, leggings or linen trousers ride up.

A staggering 55% of women ... experience camel toe at some point.
Thank God there's relief in sight for those poor sufferers. And they come in multiple colors!!!

FOD 2011.03.28

The part of the state where I live is transitioning from a predominantly ranching region to a mix of 'ranchette' type developments and the older, more traditional working ranches. I was sitting in one of the local watering holes with a few of the ranchers when one of the new residents strolled in and plopped down on a stool at the bar. He ordered a beer and, making casual conversation, said, "That Barack Obama sure is a horse's ass."

One of the ranchers jumped up and punched him in the face, knocking the newcomer off his stool. The rancher then stomped out.

The new guy got up, rubbed his jaw, and sat back down. A few moments later he says "Michelle Obama is also a horse's ass."

Another rancher pops the guy, again knocking him off his stool, and stomps out.

The guys gets up, shakes his head, looks at me, and says, "I never would have figured this for Obama country."

"It's not," I replied. "It's horse country."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Funnies 2011.03.27

Yesterday's post revolved around, among other things, Mexican food. So we're carrying that theme over to today's funnies.

A couple goes to Mexico City on vacation and eats at a famous local restaurant. The waiter tells them they have a delicious special every Sunday, so the couple orders the special.

With great fanfare, the waiter brings out a large silver serving platter with two huge steaming rounds of meat, juices dripping. It smells delicious and tastes even better.

The couple is delighted with their meal, and the husband asks the waiter what fabulous meat was in the dish. "Senor," he explains, "each Saturday night, we have the bullfights, and that was the bull's balls you ate."

The couple is a bit taken aback by what they have just eaten, but it was delicious, so they get over it.

Six months later, the couple returns to Mexico City and decides to go to the same restaurant. Feeling adventuresome, they order the same dish.

Once again, with great fanfare, the waiter brings out the huge silver serving dish and places it on the table. But this time, there are two tiny pieces of meat, barely enough for one.

The man says, "Excuse me, but the last time we were here and ordered this dish, it was huge, more than enough for two. Why is this portion so small?"

The waiter smiles and replies, "Well, you see, senor, sometimes the bull wins!"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Life in San Antonio

San Antonio is my hometown, and the closest large city to where we live now. It  may be the second-largest city in Texas (pop. 1.3 million) and the seventh largest in the U.S., but it's still just a giant small town. Two stories that have dominated the local news lately involve a couple of the populace's favorite topics - beauty queens and Mexican food.

March 22:

Miss S.A. jury reviews bikini shots and taco comments
Jurors passed around a poster-sized bikini shot of ousted Miss San Antonio Domonique Ramirez as attorneys wrangled Monday over who first suggested the 17-year-old should “get off the tacos.”

Both sides remember the comment was made during a photo shoot in December, one month before the beauty queen's reign was revoked. But contrary to what Ramirez has told national media outlets while pursuing a lawsuit to try to get back her crown, she was the one who mentioned tacos, a pageant official and the photographer told jurors.

Pageant board President Linda Woods has said insubordination, and not her weight, was why Ramirez was dropped as Miss San Antonio.

Ramirez is asking a jury to restore her title and the benefits that go with it, such as participation in Fiesta and the Miss Texas pageant.

As the defense began presenting its case, Woods told jurors the taco conversation started after she commented that the dress Ramirez brought to the photo shoot was “kind of snug.”

“She said she eats a lot of junk food — Mexican food and tacos,” Woods said, explaining that Ramirez then said she'd lay off such food. “I said, ‘I agree.'”

Photographer Jeffrey Truitt gave a similar account, adding that the bikini photo “wasn't flattering to her.” Ramirez's attorneys introduced Truitt's photos after his testimony.

On the stand for hours earlier Monday, Ramirez had a recollection: It was Woods who brought up tacos and Woods who ignited a media firestorm when she mentioned them to a local radio station after the lawsuit was filed, Ramirez said.

“At first I didn't want to go to the media because I was kind of ashamed,” Ramirez said. But she changed her mind, she said, after “they went to the media and they started slandering me.”

Ramirez also briefly suggested that pageant director Caroline Haggard Flores, who has so far not made a court appearance, insulted her family's financial situation.

“She told me to stop shopping at Walmart for my dresses,” Ramirez said.
FWIW, I do think that Ramirez doesn't fit the profile of the typical bikini-clad beauty queen (see picture below). Not that she's a porker - most women would love to have her figure - but she's a little less cut and a little more 'rounded' than most pageant contestants.

March 23:

Miss S.A. 'degraded the crown'
The strange legal battle over who gets to be Miss San Antonio 2011 has sullied the beauty pageant's reputation, both sides agreed Tuesday as courtroom hostilities continued in the case.

But was the damage done by an irresponsible teen queen attracting a media spotlight with outlandish accusations? Or because the woman who runs the organization spent time in a federal prison and still owes the government $13.5 million?

The answers in court Tuesday sometimes depended on who was talking the loudest.

Ousted Miss San Antonio Domonique Ramirez, 17, filed suit last month to try to recover her sash and crown, which were yanked at the request of pageant executive director Caroline Haggard Flores. A jury has been listening to the arguments since last Wednesday.

“Isn't it true you didn't want Domonique because she didn't have the money you expected her to have?” attorney Luis Vera Jr. asked Flores during hours of aggressive cross-examination. “Isn't it true your whole life has been about money — that's how you ended up in prison?”

Flores vehemently denied both accusations, saying she paid her debt to society by serving a year and three months of her federal prison sentence in the late 1990s under plea agreements for Medicaid fraud and tax evasion.

“This is not about me,” Flores responded several times throughout the morning and afternoon. “This is about a contract and Domonique's infractions, Mr. Vera. I don't know why we're wasting time on all of this.”

Flores said Ramirez routinely put the organization's reputation at risk by arriving late to events. She declined voice lessons from a pageant board member and failed to write a “thank you” note to the same person for a musical plaque that read, “Dream big,” Flores said.

Ramirez's media interviews, Flores said, have “degraded the crown.”

Ramirez's attorney, who also serves as national counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens, returned the jabs by accusing Flores of being an alcoholic and mentally unstable — which she denied.

Flores “made up” many of the accusations that led to Ramirez's ouster, Vera also suggested on several occasions.

“That truly insults me,” Flores responded indignantly to one such assertion.

“I'm glad that it does,” Vera shot back.
Insults flying back and forth. Pageant officials revealed to be felons and jailbirds. Bad manners (late writing thank you notes). I wish I could have sat in the courtroom for this one.

What will be the outcome?

March 25:

Texas beauty queen wins back her crown
The 17-year-old beauty queen who claimed pageant organizers harassed her about her weight before stripping her of the Miss San Antonio title has won her courtroom fight to get it back.

Domonique Ramirez claimed she was unfairly booted in January after pageant officials accused her of gaining weight and told her to "get off the tacos." Pageant officials insisted weight wasn't the issue and that the teenager violated her contract with conduct unbefitting a beauty queen.

A Bexar County jury deliberated 11½ hours before siding with Ramirez on Thursday. Judge Barbara Nellermoe then restored Ramirez's crown, according to court Clerk Grace Montalvo.

However, a top pageant official says she will do nothing to help Ramirez advance to the Miss Texas and Miss America crowns.
Sour grapes...
"I'm sorry, there's no way I would represent her as talent. She's trouble," pageant director Linda Woods said.

Woods said giving Ramirez the crown back was "an injustice for the city of San Antonio."

"It allows young kids to breach contracts and violate authority without any consequences. ... It sends the wrong message," she said.

Ramirez denied gaining weight or being late.

Immediately after the trial, Ramirez went to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to place the crown on its altar as a gift to the patroness.
San Antonio is a very Catholic place, what with all the Hispanics (yes, that's a generalization, but the city does have a high percentage of Hispanics and a high percentage of Catholics. Coincidence? I think not...)

IMO Ramirez was courting favor among the Hispanic and Catholic population.
"She's the queen of all queens, the keeper of all crowns. I wanted to give my crown to her," Ramirez said, adding that she could buy a replacement crown for the upcoming Fiesta and Miss Texas appearances that go with the title. "I just wanted to send a message I'm very grateful and she has answered my prayers."
Asked if she had any advice to other young women, Ramirez cautioned them to always carefully read any contract they sign and, she added jokingly: "Don't go eating tacos in the morning."

March 26:

Miss S.A. controversy lives on (March 26)
What bit of sparkly rhinestone headgear can send San Antonio news organizations scrambling to get reporters and cameras to a West Side church on a moment's notice?

It's the restored Miss San Antonio's much coveted crown, of course, the one she gave to Our Lady of Guadalupe as an offering of thanks after getting her title back from the pageant organization that stripped her of it last month.

Domonique Ramirez left the crown at the Catholic church of the same name Thursday, minutes after a jury decided in her favor in her suit against the organization.

On Friday, her lawyer, Luis Vera Jr., told news organizations that pageant officials showed up at the church trying to get it back.

That drew a furious reaction from the pageant's lawyer, even as the church was swarmed by the media.

Ben Wallis Jr., attorney for Miss Bexar County Organization Inc., which runs the Miss San Antonio pageant, said the allegation was “totally false.”

Wallis said he and pageant officials might consider filing a defamation suit against Vera.

“He's staging things to try to gain sympathy,” Wallis said. “It's a total stunt. I think it's totally inappropriate for an attorney.”

Vera said that even before the media frenzy, a pageant official had called Father Ronald D. Gonzales at the church to ask where the crown was being kept. The priest then took the headpiece from the virgin's altar, stowed it away, and alerted him the official had called, Vera said.

Gonzales was more lighthearted about the episode, saying pageant officials only called to make sure the crown was secure.

“Around this neighborhood, things sprout patitas (little feet) and walk away,” he joked. “But the crown is safe.”
The West Side neighborhood where the church is located is not one of the safest areas of town.

Stay tuned. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this one.

In other news, local Taco Bells have raised the price of their crunchy beef burritos. The reaction?

Man upset by burrito price increase gets in shootout with police
The price of the Beefy Crunch Burrito had gone up from 99 cents to $1.49 and the man at the Rigsby Road Taco Bell drive-thru had just ordered seven.

The fast food customer was so disgruntled by the price hike he shot an air gun at the manager, displayed an assault rifle and pistol while in the restaurant's parking lot, fled as police were called, and pointed one of his weapons at three officers who pulled him over. Fleeing when they opened fire, he barricaded himself in his hotel room — all over $3.50 plus additional tax.

Ricardo Jones, 37, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault against a public servant.

Jones was taken into custody about 6:45 p.m. Sunday after officials used tear gas to get him out of the motel room where he was staying. Police recovered the rifle and two handguns, Benavides said.

It all began about four hours earlier when the man put in his order at the Taco Bell/KFC two-for-one restaurant in the 5300 block of Rigsby Road on the city's East Side.

Restaurant manager Brian Tillerson, 41, said his employees told him a customer was upset about the price of the Beefy Crunch Burrito.

“They did use to be 99 cents, but that was just a promotion,” Tillerson said. “He pointed a gun at me, and he fired it. I leaned to the side and there was a pop but nothing happened.”

Looking out the windows, he said he saw the man put an assault rifle and a handgun on the roof of his Mitsubishi Endeavor. Customers dove under their tables, the employees scrambled to the back and Tillerson ran to the front to lock the doors as he called police.

The man then jumped into his vehicle and took off, Tillerson said.

Fewer than two miles away, at W.W. White Road and Hershey Drive, officers spotted the suspect and two patrol units pulled over the car, Benavides said. As the officers got out of their cars, the man got out of his car carrying the assault rifle in his hands and pointing it at the officers.

From there, the man sped off to the Rodeway Inn in the 200 block of North W.W. White Road just a few blocks away from Interstate 10.

It was about 3 p.m., and the man refused to come out.

Sharpshooters climbed up on the roof of the Sky Line Food Mart next to the motel. Police blocked off W.W. White in both directions. They evacuated some nearby businesses and some of the rooms in the motel.

Through a megaphone the negotiator could be heard telling the man to pick up the phone.

“No one needs to get hurt,” the negotiator said.

Around 6:30 p.m., and without a reply from the man inside, SWAT used tear gas to clear the room, Benavides said. The man came out without incident.

Tillerson, calm and back at work after giving a statement to police, said after hearing that the customer shot at officers he was even more relieved he didn't get into his restaurant.

“The weird thing is,” Tillerson said, “He was here a week ago around the same time last Sunday. He yelled at me then too.”
Never a dull moment around here...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.03.25

From somewhere deep in the recesses of my memory the following snippet from my past floated up into my consciousness today:
"Bartender - give me another beer before Happy Hour to get me in the mood..."
Perhaps it was triggered by the following email I received from our HR department.
ACTION REQUIRED: please complete online training called "Effective Hiring Practices"
I got your "ACTION REQUIRED" right here...

As a result of the System HR Audit conducted in November 2010, those involved in the hiring process or who may be involved in the future are periodically required to receive training which covers proper hiring policies, procedures, and documentation requirements in order to help them make wise hiring decisions and employ the most qualified applicants.
I've hired and fired people for 30+ years, IMO fairly successfully. Now, all of a sudden, I'm not qualified to do so without wasting time taking a worthless online training seminar. If you've ever taken an online driving course to get out of a traffic ticket you're familiar with the quality of those courses. This is just a CYA ploy by the HR dept. in a feeble attempt to justify their existence.

I've been on two search committees - one for a faculty member, and one for the department chair - in the past year. Both of our recommended candidates were hired, and both have worked out well. But I guess I need more training in how to make 'wise hiring decisions.'
To accomplish this, all administrators and faculty are required to complete the online training called “Effective Hiring Practices.”  The training is to be completed now and every 2 years thereafter.   This very useful training addresses hiring effectively and fairly, preparing/updating position descriptions, posting vacancies, developing interview questions, conducting interviews, and checking references.
Silly me. I thought the HR department was supposed to prepare/update position descriptions, post vacancies, and check references. Last time I looked we (the faculty) weren't allowed to do any of that. 
Shortly, you will receive an automatic email notification to complete the training.  Please ensure you do so by April 30, 2011.

If you have questions, please call the HR Office.  Thank you for your cooperation!
Bite me!

Here's how I wish I could respond. As you watch the video, note the actions of a couple of the wimps towards the end. Instead of pitching in and helping subdue the hero, or protect the women, they hover around the periphery filming the action with their cell phones.

They're obviously HR managers...

Take this Job and Shove It - watch more funny videos

(Pardon the obnoxious pre-video commercial, but I couldn't figure out any way to delete/skip it. In any event, it's only 15 seconds long.)

Quick Hit

During the 2008 presidential campaign the democraps swore that if I voted for John McCain we'd become embroiled in another war in the MidEast.

By golly, they were right...

Snippets Of Truth

There is so much truth in the lyrics of truly talented songwriters. Here are two examples:
"I got these lines in my face trying to straighten out the wrinkles in my life."
credited to Ramblin' Jack Elliot by Guy Clark

And one of my all-time favorites:
"bottom of the bottle sure makes you feel good..."

From the Jerry Jeff Walker song "Pot Can't Call the Kettle Black" (not the best quality sound, but the 'frying bacon' crackles from the original vinyl sure gives it authenticity.

Pure coincidence these two excerpts are published this morning...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

News Of The Absurd

Condom machine stolen in Washington state burglary
A condom machine has been stolen from a shuttered Washington state sports bar, where fixtures are being auctioned off.
Wouldn't it have been easier to just go to a drugstore...?

We Have A New #1

Romney just moved to the top of the list of my presidential contenders.

If I Were President
By Mitt Romney
If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states. The executive order would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them.

As I have stated time and again, a one-size-fits-all national plan that raises taxes is simply not the answer. Under our federalist system, the states are “laboratories of democracy.” They should be free to experiment. By the way, what works in one state may not be the answer for another. Of course, the ultimate goal is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with free-market reforms that promote competition and lower health-care costs. But since an outright repeal would take time, an executive order is the first step in returning power to the states.
Too bad he wasn't thinking this clearly when he pushed RomneyCare down the throats of the Mass. citizens.

This flip-flop does make me think that he's a typical politician, willing to say and do anything to get elected.

However, given the mood of the voters in this country right now that may be a good thing...

My Students Should Thank Me

A second six-pack at 12:45 in the morning sure makes grading student projects go a lot easier...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Can Find Anything On The Internet

Case in point: a website that sells diapers for ducks and geese so you can keep them as indoor pets.

Diapering your duck, goose or chicken is the first step to enjoying the rewarding experience of living with one of these amazing creatures.  It not only keeps your house clean, it gives your little feathered kid the freedom to go where you go and do what you do!

I've had my fair share of 'unusual' pets (that includes a couple of ex-wives) but this is a new one. I guess it takes all kinds...

 * * * * * * * * * *

A duck walks into a pharmacy, and asks for Chapstick.

The cashier says, "Cash or check?"

The duck says, "Just put it on my bill."

 * * * * * * * * * *

A woman brought a very limp duck to the veterinarian's office. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I'm so sorry, your pet duck Cuddles has passed away."

The distressed owner wailed, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead," he replied.

"How can you be so sure," she protested. "I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever.

As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the lab and led it out of the exam room. He returned a few moments later with a cat.

The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately at the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck."

Then the vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.

The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. She screamed, "$150.00!" "$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!"

The vet shrugged. "I'm sorry. If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the lab report and the cat scan, it's now $150.00."

 * * * * * * * * * *

What can a goose do that a duck can't do and a lawyer should do?

Stick his bill up his ass.

FID 2011.03.23

Go here to have some fun blowing away osama bin ladin.

Warning - it's addictive...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sometimes Life Sucks

Two good friends - two sucky situations...

#1 - From the husband of a couple we're friends with. The wife fell ill this weekend, went to the ER, and was diagnosed with a (thankfully) benign, but nonetheless threatening, brain tumor.
Just got back to the room after a 4 hour arteraogram and embolisation procedures. They first inject the arteries with dye so they can see which one gives nourishment to the tumor. They have blocked about 70% which will help the surgeons job.

Bad news tumor is not happy about not being feed and causing headaches. Good news there is morphine.

Surgery tomorrow. 
# 2 - From the friend of a good friend and one of my early mentors. Bob was diagnosed several years ago with brain cancer. In spite of aggressive chemo and radiation treatment it's since metastasized to his lungs. The prognosis is grim.
Guys….. talked to Bob this morning…. Actually, he called me.  He is in the hospice.  Peter (his son) said it is for a few days, Bob thinks this is it…. Peter said it’s the morphine giving him anxiety.  I don’t know.  He said was going to try and call some folks while he had some time.  He is watching the NCAA and we talked about that.

I foolishly said he needed to stop this “I need oxygen” BS and come play golf, and yes, we will give him 18 strokes a round.  I said we all knew that is what he has been holding out for. He started sobbing and said “we had some great times out there”.  Stupid me!  So, we went back to basketball……

So, here is it.  Peter said he’s there for medicine adjustment, Bob said he is there for a more permanent change.  I’m leaving now to go to the hospice……. I’ll be touch….. 
So it's 'thoughts and prayers' time for two good people and their friends and families. If you have a little spare time please add yours. Every little bit helps...

Nonviolent Shooting

Under the category of you just can't make this stuff up, we have the following.

Two Men Charged in Shooting Outside Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence
The father of a teenager murdered in a gang feud and a young man with ties to the gang are accused in Friday's double shooting outside the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.
The shooting is part of an ongoing gang feud between the MOP (Members of Pine Street) and C-Block gangs. There are two noteworthy points regarding this incident.

The first, as previously mentioned, is that it took place in front of the headquarters for an organization dedicated to eradicating violence. The irony abounds, as do questions regarding the institute's effectiveness.
The two men charged in Friday's double shooting outside the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence have been involved in gunfire in South Providence before -- one as a victim and the other as a shooter, according to the police.
I wonder how much government funding the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence receives.

The second point is that one of the alleged (*snort*) shooters is an illegal alien.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on Lopez, who illegally re-entered the United States from the Dominican Republic.
It bears repeating that opposition to illegal immigration is not the same as opposition to legal, productive immigrants - something that many liberals and alleged journalists/commentators seem to have a problem understanding...

(H/T to JammieWearingFool for the link.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

More FOD

obama and osama - the only difference is bs...

 * * * * * * * * * * 

FOD 2011.03.21

It's not just me - or us - that is/are questioning obama's performance as president. Even the Brit's are getting into the act. .

INEFFECTUAL, invisible, unable to honour pledges and now blamed for letting Gaddafi off the hook. Why Obama’s gone from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Er, maybe we shouldn’t’...

Let us cast our minds back to those remarkable days in November 2008 when the son of a Kenyan goatherd was elected to the White House. It was a bright new dawn – even brighter than the coming of the Kennedys and their new Camelot. JFK may be considered as being from an ethnic and religious minority – Irish and Catholic – but he was still very rich and very white. Barack Obama, by contrast, was a true breakthrough president. The world would change because obviously America had changed.

Obama’s campaign slogan was mesmerisingly simple and brimming with self-belief: “Yes we can.” His presidency, however, is turning out to be more about “no we won’t.” Even more worryingly, it seems to be very much about: “Maybe we can… do what, exactly?“ The world feels like a dangerous place when leaders are seen to lack certitude but the only thing President Obama seems decisive about is his indecision. What should the US do about Libya? What should the US do about the Middle East in general? What about the country’s crippling debts? What is the US going to do about Afghanistan, about Iran?

What is President Obama doing about anything? The most alarming answer – your guess is as good as mine – is also, frankly, the most accurate one. What the President is not doing is being clear, resolute and pro-active, which is surely a big part of his job description. This is what he has to say about the popular uprising in Libya: “Gaddafi must go.” At least, that was his position on March 3.

Since then, other countries – most notably Britain and France – have been calling for some kind of intervention. Even the Arab League, a notoriously conservative organisation, has declared support for sanctions. But from the White House has come only the blah-blah of bland statements filled with meaningless expressions and vague phrases. Of decisive action and leadership – even of clearly defined opinion – there is precious little sign.
You know there's a serious lack of leadership when, God help us, the French take the lead. Even the damn Arabs are calling for action. But there sits obama with his thumb up his butt, unknowing, uncaring, uninvolved.
What is the Obama administration’s position on the protests in the Gulf island state of Bahrain, which the authorities there are savagely suppressing with the help of troops shipped in from Saudi Arabia? What is the White House view on the alarming prospect of the unrest spreading to Saudi Arabia itself? Who knows? Certainly not the American people, nor the leaders of nations which would consider themselves allies of America.

The President has not really shared his views, which leads us to conclude that he either doesn’t know or chooses, for reasons best known to himself, not to say. The result is that a very real opportunity to remove an unpredictable despot from power may well have been lost. Who knows when or if such an opportunity will come along again?

Every day for almost the last two months our television screens, radio broadcasts and the pages of our newspapers have been filled with the pictures, sounds and words of the most tumultuous events any of us can remember in the Arab world. The outcome of these events, once the dust has settled, could literally change the world. Yet Obama seems content to sit this one out. He has barely engaged in the debate. Such ostrich-like behaviour is not untypical of the 49-year-old President who burst through America’s colour barrier to become the first African-American to occupy the White House.
Contrast obama's inaction (confused and uncertain inaction at that) with George W. Bush's "freedom agenda" for the Arab world. Bush began his second term as president with an inaugural address that promised “all who live in tyranny and hopelessness’’ that “the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.’’ .
Within days, the administration was making it clear that this “Bush doctrine’’ would apply even to autocratic US allies like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

When Ayman Nour, a leading Egyptian democracy activist, was arrested on bogus charges and thrown in jail, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cancelled a planned trip to Egypt in protest. Her trip was rescheduled only after Nour was released, and upon landing in Cairo in June 2005, she delivered a ringing defense of democracy and the right of peaceful dissenters to be heard.

Meanwhile, two days after taking office in January 2009 our current spectator-in-chief pledged to close down the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay.
Obama promised to close the prison within 12 months and to abolish the practice of military trials of terrorism suspects. ... Two years on, not only is the prison still in use but its future is as assured as ever. Ten days ago, the President signed an executive order reinstating the military commissions at the island prison. Human rights organisations were outraged.

White House spokesmen insisted the President was still committed to closing Guantanamo, which currently has 172 detainees in custody. It was Congress, they said, that had refused to sanction the transfer of the prisoners to the US mainland for trial, leaving no option but to keep the prison open in Cuba. 
How can they peddle such malarkey with a straight face? The democraps controlled congress for two years under obama. Is he blaming his own party? Is this Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid's fault?
... But Obama’s apparent reluctance to engage with momentous events is starting to look like more than aloofness. Some tempering of America’s role as the world’s No1 busybody may be no bad thing but under Obama the US appears to be heading towards isolationism. He is hardly doing much better at home. Economically, the US is in big trouble but the national debt is not shrinking.

... the White House appears to shy away from any tough action. The energy with which Obama entered the White House seems to have all gone in the push to bring in health care reform, which many Americans didn’t want...

All of which means that it is starting to look as if Obama and the Democratic Party have but one aim in mind for the rest of this presidential term: to get elected for a second. 
What else is new? Sadly, it's starting to look as if some republicans are getting that mindset as well.
That means not doing anything that might upset any number of special interest or niche groups, which in effect means not doing very much at all. So, not too many harsh but necessary measures to tackle the financial deficit; no clear direction on where America goes with Afghanistan, even though the war there is going nowhere except from bad to worse.

The Obama government can’t even give clear direction on whether the American people are in danger of exposure to nuclear fallout from Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin advised San Francisco residents to stock up on radiation antidotes, prompting a run on potassium iodide pills, while the President said experts had assured him that any harmful radiation would have receded long before reaching the Western shores of the US.
If obama had any cojones, and any understanding of real leadership, he'd plant himself front and center on the west coast while loudly proclaiming how little there is to fear. Instead, he cowers a continent away in Rio, returning only to watch next weekends NCAA sweet sixteen while safely cocooned in the White House.

Seems to me there's only two places obama's head can be. In the sand, imitating an ostrich...

... or up his ass. 

I vote for the latter...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Where's The Outrage?

As Harper has pointed out, obama has decimated our domestic energy production industry. Now he's sambaed off to Brazil where he's busy putting together a deal to enrich George Soros even more, via the überliberal's investment in Petrobas. And there has been nary a word in what today passes for the mainstream media.

Thought exercise: change "obama" to "Bush" and "Soros" to "Koch brothers." Can you imagine the media's outrage?

At least the Brazilians are on top of things.

The caption at the top of the cartoon translates to: “Obama reaches Rio…”

Obama (dressed as a conquistador) is asking the Brazilian beach-goer, “Where is the pre-salt?”  (The pre-salt layer is an oil-rich geological formation on the continental shelves off the coast of Africa and Brazil.)


Sunday Funnies 2011.03.20

The NCAA basketball tournament started this week. We also saw an earthquake and tsunami in Japan, military intervention in Libya (lead by the French, of all people), continued wrangling over the U.S. budget, and much, much more. Combining all that in cartoon forms gives us the following.

In recognition of the fine scholar-athletes involved in the NCAA tournament, we here at Bergheim Follies would like to offer some examples of their ability to perform at an elite level on the basketball court while maintaining the highest of academic standards.

* * * * * * * * *

"He's great on the court," a sportswriter said of a college basketball player in a interview with his coach. "But's how's his scholastic work?"

"Why, he makes straight A's," replied the coach.

"Wonderful!" said the sportswriter.

"Yes," agreed the coach, "but his B's are a little crooked."

 * * * * * * * * *

Shelby Metcalf, former basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four Fs and one D:

"Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

 * * * * * * * * *

Former N. C. State basketball player Chris Washburn, commenting on his ability to drive to the basket:

"Yeah, I can go to both my right and my left. That's because I'm amphibious."

 * * * * * * * * *

"I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes."  - Senior basketball player at the University of Michigan.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Home At Last

We got back from our Spring Break trip late Thursday night, tired, worn-out, and jet-lagged. Friday morning was spent in a blur of running errands and trying to catch up. To top things off, I'm battling a nasty ear infection that made diving and flying excruciating, along with a touch of tourista - and I can guarantee I didn't get it from drinking the water. 

Friday afternoon a swarm of house guests showed up for the weekend (thanks, honey!).

So posting has been a bit sporadic and perfunctory recently. Hopefully things will trend upwards next week.

We had a great time on our trip. Friends of ours had rented a beachfront villa in Playa del Carmen, about 40 miles outside of Cancun, Mexico. At first I was adamant that there was no way we were going to some third-world country overrun by narcoterrorists and kidnappers. I stood like a rock, holding that postion.

Unfortunately, my wife and kids were like a river that over time wears down the rock.

In my defense, I did a ton of research on crime rates, locations of narcoviolence, availability of assistance, and all that good stuff. I was reluctantly persuaded that the risk was minimal, so off we went.

The flights down and back went smoothly. The villa was quite luxurious - our bedroom suite alone was somewhere between 1500 - 2000 square feet.

Back view of the villa.

Our bedroom suite (not shown: the wood-paneled walk in closet and the large bathroom with jacuzzi tub and shower stall big enough for two with multiple shower heads - it was like being in a car wash).

It was right on the beach, and came with a staff (maid, cook, and gardener/odd job man). I'm embarrassed to say how affordable the whole deal was. We normally don't travel in this style, but I sure could get used to it.

The weather was superb, the people warm and gracious, the town and beach were wonderful, and there was no sign of trouble.

View of the beach...

... from the backyard.

The diving was adequate - moderate visibility, nothing special in terms of fish or underwater scenery - but hassle free and easy to get to/from the dive spots.

All in all, things went well.

Still, I was never able to fully relax or get 100% comfortable until we landed at IAH. It felt really, really nice to be back in the good ol' U.S. of A.

Would I recommend a Mexico trip to someone else? It depends on where you're going, who you're going with, and your tolerance for risk, or at least uncertainty. We went to a relatively safe part of the country, with people who had been there before several times and knew their way around. As they put it, "Would you refuse to go to Palm Springs because L.A. has a high crime rate?"

That's probably as good a situation as you can get down there. If you can find something similar, than you should be okay. 

Otherwise, be very, very cautious.

Utah Rules!

I was recruited by the University of Utah (academically, not athletically). It didn't work out for a variety of reasons, but ever since then I've had a fond place in my heart for a state that has the ability to recognize outstanding talent (*modest cough*).

Now comes more evidence that the good folks in Utah have their heads rightly screwed on their shoulders.
Utah has become the first U.S. state to name an official firearm, placing an automatic pistol on a list of designated symbols, right along with the honeybee and the cutthroat trout.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed the bill into law this week, designating the Browning model M1911 automatic pistol as the official state firearm.
Excellent choice!
The gun, which turns 100 years-old this year, is manufactured in Ogden, Utah.

"It does capture a portion of Utah's history," Utah State Representative Carl Wimmer, a Republican who sponsored the bill, told Reuters.

"Even bigger than that, it captures a portion of American history," Wimmer said.

The late John M. Browning, who founded the company that makes the gun, was born in Ogden, Utah, in 1855 and he lived until 1926. He designed the automatic pistol for the U.S. Army, which was bogged down in sporadic battles with guerrilla fighters in the Philippines and needed a quick-firing weapon.
Not only quick-firing, but with more stopping power than the then-standard military issue .38 revolver.
In response to problems encountered by American units fighting Moro guerrillas during the Philippine-American War ... the .38 Long Colt was found to be unsuitable for the rigors of jungle warfare, particularly in terms of stopping power, as the Moros had very high battle morale and frequently used drugs to inhibit the sensation of pain. ... the heavier bullet (.45 caliber) was found to be more effective against charging tribesmen.
Effective not just against charging tribesmen, but also against every opponent since. The caliber of choice for discriminating pistoleros.
The pistol was adopted for use by the Army in March 1911, which is how it got the name Model 1911. It was first combat tested by the U.S. military in Mexico in 1916, in the pursuit of bandit-turned-revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa.
Of course, we have the obligatory whining.
Utah State Representative Brian King, a Democrat, opposed the designation.

"When we are talking about a state symbol we would do well to come up with one that is more unifying than divisive and this is a very divisive symbol for obvious reasons," he said. "This is just a poor choice for a state symbol."
Divisive? About the only divisiveness I can think of would be between .45 ACP and .40 caliber proponents. Otherwise the M1911 is just about universally respected for its soundness of design and reliable stopping power.

I own one, and my only quibble is that it's a little too bulky for concealed carry. (Well, that and the fact that its capacity is limited to 7+1. But if you know what you're doing, that should be enough.)

So rock on, Utah.

(H/T to PowerLine for the link and the graphic.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.03.18

One last lingering holdover from Spring Break...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sometimes The Hypocrisy Is So Thick You Can Cut It With A Knife

Yesterday I posted about irony. Today's subject is hypocrisy.
You don’t have to be an art critic to see something tasteless going on at Pratt Institute. Since 1887, this venerable New York institution has been dedicated to educating “artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society.” Yet teachers and administrators at Pratt have been nothing but irresponsible in their recent dealings with a fifth-year drawing student named Steve DeQuattro.

Mr. DeQuattro is a political artist. He uses his background in graphic design to illustrate the dominant political culture of his world. At Pratt, this means creating work that addresses, as he wrote to me, the “growing bureaucracy, higher tuition, new buildings for administration, new offices, and departments, and left-wing bias, all at the expense of the students.”

As part of his recent work, Mr. DeQuattro has designed a cereal-box-like sculpture that he calls, ironically, “Sustainable Liberalism in a Box” (the graphics are pictured above). He has developed a piece that takes the ubiquitous Apple iPod ad campaign to address abortion. He has designed a sobering five-foot-wide mural that tracks the Democratic Party’s record on race, from Jefferson’s slave-holding days up through the racially charged speeches of Senator Robert Byrd and Vice President Joe Biden.

As a senior in the school, Mr. DeQuattro has been working on this art in preparation for a group show for Pratt’s graduating students, which is scheduled to open on April 23. While his faculty advisor has been supporting him, his peers have not. Mr. DeQuattro says they recently wrote a letter to his professors, calling his work “offensive” and complaining about exhibiting alongside him. Last week, the chair of the fine arts department stepped in to prevent Mr. DeQuattro’s participation alongside the other students in the group show--an unprecedented move in the history of the department, says Mr. DeQuattro, despite the fact that none of his work is pornographic, libelous, or in violation of the laws of free speech. Mr. DeQuattro's advisor did not return a request for comment.

For the administrators and students at Pratt, the problem isn’t political art itself, says Mr. DeQuattro, but the nature of his politics, which are conservative. He says his school takes a liberal position on politicized discourse, just as long as that discourse does not deviate from a left-wing position.

. . .

Art that preaches to a wholly agreeing public is little more than propaganda.

... as a conservative artist (Mr. DeQuattro) currently stands outside of the politics of his own time and place. ... The fact that his politics are not shared by his peers does not render his art as irrelevant or “offensive.” Instead, it is a reason his political art is valid and deserves to be shown.
There's not much else that needs to be said...

(H/T to Cranky Professor for the link.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Note From The Beach

The bikini is a wonderful invention.

However, not every woman is equipped to wear one.

I have seen some marvelous bikini-clad sights down here. I've also seen some that made me plunge into the ocean and rinse my eyes out with salt water.

We need some sort of system that rewards those who should wear bikinis and punishes those who shouldn't.

And any dude who wears a mankini should be executed on the spot...

Sometimes The Irony Is So Thick You Can Cut It With A Knife

Definition of Irony:
President Obama’s only event at the White House that isn’t closed to the press on Wednesday is a ceremony in which he’ll accept an award for being open to the press.

According to his public schedule, Obama has four behind-closed-doors meetings from 10 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. ... and all of them are “closed press,” the White House says.

But at 2:55 p.m., Obama will emerge to “accept an award from a coalition of good government groups and transparency advocates to recognize ‘his deep commitment to an open and transparent government—of, by, and for the people’ in conjunction with Sunshine Week,” the White House said in guidance to reporters.

The White House didn’t specify what Obama will say, if anything, when he accepts the award. But he probably won’t mention that his administration acted on fewer requests for information last year even as it was asked for more, a tally documented by the AP.

And he also probably won’t talk about his aggressive effort to prosecute federal workers who leak information to shed light on wrongdoing. Or that despite his anti-lobbyist rhetoric, his aides are meeting with lobbyists just outside the White House, allowing the administration to keep the meetings off the books from public view.

We wonder if he’ll even take a question from the press pool, a practice Obama seems to have grown to hate.
You just can't make this stuff up...

It's Not Just obama

The federal government's fiscal year 2011 is almost half over, and our elected officials are still fiddling while Rome burns.
The fiscal year is nearly half over, but lawmakers are still shooting spitballs across the aisle over a very small part of the budget instead of doing what they should have done six months ago -- fund the government for the rest of the year. 
... Republicans and Democrats aren't anywhere close to tying a bow on 2011 just yet. Instead, they'll pass a three-week stopgap measure by Friday -- their sixth since last October.

And that means three more weeks of partisan hissy fits over spending conducted in the name of fiscal responsibility and concern for the economy.
This country is facing a critical economic crisis with profound long term implications, and the buffoons in D.C. can't even agree on a three-week budget
By focusing so myopically on 2011 spending, lawmakers are "chasing ants and ignoring elephants," said David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell International...
Some of the elephants include:

The national debt ceiling.
The Treasury estimates the country's accrued debt could hit the $14.294 trillion legal debt ceiling as soon as April 15. That's a little over a month from now -- and just a week after the next expected stopgap measure expires.
The 2012 budget.
In theory, the House and Senate are supposed to come to agreement on a budget resolution for 2012 in April.

It's an important document: It would lay out the spending and revenue levels for next year and offer guidance to lawmakers who would then spend months figuring out how to fund government programs and agencies.

In reality, the House and Senate are nowhere close to doing any of that. So don't faint when they get to Oct. 1 with no budget in hand and start passing short-term funding bills.
Reducing existing deficits and the overall national debt.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget put it this way: "Decisions our leaders make now will help determine whether we look back upon this time as 'the age of foolishness' or 'the age of wisdom.' " 
So far, foolishness is winning.
 For the full - and troubling - story, go here.

Thomas Jefferson once said "A politician looks forward only to the next election. A statesman looks forward to the next generation."

Unfortunately, we have a whole passel of politicians in congress...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quick Hits

Being on vacation in a somewhat technologically-challenged location often results in one being behind the rest of the world. I had a chance to catch up today and found the following worthy of note.

 * * * * * * * * * *  

Sadly, but not surprisingly, Attorney General Eric Holder has again revealed himself to be a racist. This time, he demonstrates the racism of lower expectations when the DOJ forced the Dayton police department to lower entrance requirements so more minorities would pass the exam.
Specifically, the Department of Justice found that the Dayton police department had too few African-Americans...because not enough of them could pass the basic entrance exams. It wasn't exactly a lofty bar: there are two tests, and passing only required scores of 66% and 72%...until Holder got involved and ordered them to lower the bar. Now, applicants can get in with scores of 58% and 63%, which previously would have been an "F" and a "D." The policy change is so ludicrous, even the head of Dayton's NAACP is saying it's a bad idea and refuses to support it.
Insight and further commentary supplied by Stilton Jarlsberg at Hope 'n Change.

 * * * * * * * * * * 

Remember New Orleans after Katrina? Or just about any major disaster in the U.S. and elsewhere. One of the things that invariably occurs in the aftermath is widespread looting. So why is there no looting in Japan after the earthquake? My admittedly unscientific opinion, based on nothing other than the fact I lived there for three years, is that the Japanese culture embeds respect for tradition, order, and others in its citizens.

What does that say about us? (H/T to BMEWS for the link.)

 * * * * * * * * * * 

We've all seen those cheesy photo spreads of shapely models posing suggestively with a snake wrapped around them. I don't find them appealing, but I guess enough people do so that they continue to appear. Well, in a 'news of the absurd' sort of way comes this twist on man-bites-dog.
It should have been an alluring photoshoot between two of nature's beautiful creatures as a model wrapped herself in a snake.

But surgically enhanced Israeli model Orit Fox got more than she bargained for when the massive boa constrictor took objection to her over familiarity and reacted by biting into her breast.

However, it was the snake who came off worse because, while Ms Fox need a tetanus shot in hospital, the reptile later died from silicone poisoning.
Full story and pictures here.

 * * * * * * * * * *

Finally, from Peter we have a link to the following story.

Always leave 'em laughing...
We've all had trouble with our animals, but I don't think anyone can top this one:

Calling in sick to work makes me uncomfortable. No matter how legitimate my excuse, I always get the feeling that my boss thinks I'm lying.

On one recent occasion, I had a valid reason but lied anyway, because the truth was just too darned humiliating. I simply mentioned that I had sustained a head injury, and I hoped I would feel up to coming in the next day. By then, I reasoned, I could think up a doozy to explain the bandage on the top of my head. The accident occurred mainly because I had given in to my wife's wishes to adopt a cute little kitty.

Initially, the new acquisition was no problem.

Then one morning, I was taking my shower after breakfast when I heard my wife, Deb, call out to me from the kitchen.

"Honey! The garbage disposal is dead again. Please come reset it."

"You know where the button is," I protested through the shower pitter-patter and steam. "Reset it yourself!"

"But I'm scared!", she persisted. "What if it starts going and sucks me in?" There was a meaningful pause and then, "C'mon, it'll only take you a second?" So out I came, dripping wet and butt naked, hoping that my silent outraged nudity would make a statement about how I perceived her behavior as extremely cowardly.

Sighing loudly, I squatted down and stuck my head under the sink to find the button. It is the last action I remember performing.

It struck without warning, and without any respect to my circumstances. No, it wasn't the hexed disposal, drawing me into its gnashing metal teeth. It was our new kitty, who discovered the fascinating dangling objects she spied hanging between my legs. She had been poised around the corner and stalked me as I reached under the sink. And, at the precise moment when I was most vulnerable, she leaped at the toys I unwittingly offered and snagged them with her needle-like claws. I lost all rational thought to control orderly bodily movements, blindly rising at a violent rate of speed, with the full weight of a kitten hanging from my masculine region.

Wild animals are sometimes faced with a "fight or flight" syndrome. Men, in this predicament, choose only the "flight" option. I know this from experience. I was fleeing straight up into the air when the sink and cabinet bluntly and forcefully impeded my ascent. The impact knocked me out cold!

When I awoke, my wife and the paramedics stood over me. Now there are not many things in this life worse than finding oneself lying on the kitchen floor butt naked in front of a group of "been-there, done-that" paramedics.

Even worse, having been fully briefed by my wife, the paramedics were all snorting loudly as they tried to conduct their work, all the while trying to suppress their hysterical laughter......and not succeeding.

Somehow I lived through it all. A few days later I finally made it back in to the office, where colleagues tried to coax an explanation out of me about my head injury. I kept silent, claiming it was too painful to talk about, which it was. "What's the matter?" They all asked, "Cat got your tongue?"

If they only knew!

Monday, March 14, 2011

FQD 2011.03.14

obama graced us with a press conference on March 11, supposedly to comment on the earthquake that rocked Japan. He did start off with that topic, but after expressing pro forma regrets and stating that the U.S. would do its best to help, he shamelessly segued into a defense of his energy policy. I won't go into a detailed deconstruction of the misleading statements, falsehoods, and absolute lies he foisted on the American people - for an excellent job of that, go here - but I will note that the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

Or in this case, the price of gasoline.

Consider price per gallon under Bush vs. obama.

Or even Clinton vs. Obama

This is where we are today.

This is where we're headed.

This is the media's reaction.