Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here We Go Again

Goldman downgrades U.S. growth again
... economists at Goldman Sachs last week cut their economic growth forecast for the second time in a month, only to warn a few days later that "we already see downside risk to that estimate."

. . .

Goldman is hardly the only firm to be humming this tune lately. Economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch last week cut their second-quarter growth forecast to 2%, warning that a run of "dreary" data doesn't seem likely to end suddenly.

But Goldman was so bullish at the end of last year that a pronounced darkening in its outlook is ominous – and there is every reason to believe the bad news isn't over. Another day, another giant problem for Ben Bernanke.

"If the data flow fails to improve in coming months," says (Goldman economist Zach) Pandl, "we may need to consider a further downgrade to our US growth forecasts."
Now couple that with the following.

'Double-Dip' in Housing Prices Even Worse Than Expected
U.S. single-family home prices dropped into double-dip territory in March as the housing market remained bogged down by inventory and weak demand, a closely watched survey said Tuesday.

The price index was below the low seen in April 2009 during the financial crisis. The glut of houses for sale, foreclosures, tight credit and weak demand have kept the housing market on the ropes even as other areas of the economy start to recover.

"This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement. "Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight."
Falling economic indicators, falling home prices ... the only things rising are unemployment and inflation.

And what is obama doing about it?

Playing golf.
Can you imagine David Cameron enjoying a round of golf on Remembrance Sunday? It would be inconceivable for the British Prime Minister to do so ... it would be viewed as an act of extremely bad taste on a day when the nation remembers and mourns her war dead. I can’t imagine the PM even considering it, and I’m sure his advisers would be horrified at the idea. And if the prime minister ever did play golf on such a sacrosanct day he would be given a massive drubbing by the British press...
Don't hold your breath waiting for the U.S. kiss-ass press to mention it, much less condemn it.
Contrast this with President Obama’s decision to play golf yesterday, Memorial Day, for the 70th time during his 28-month long presidency. For tens of millions of Americans, Memorial Day is a time for remembrance of the huge sacrifices made by servicemen and women on the battlefield. The president did pay his respects in the morning, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, but later in the day traveled to Fort Belvoir to play golf. The story has not been reported so far in a single US newspaper, but was made public by veteran White House correspondent Keith Koffler on his blog (as reported in yesterday's Bergheim Follies).
The cartoon below is a repeat from yesterday, but some things are worth posting more than once.

It has been said that people get the government they deserve. What the hell did we do to deserve this buffoon and his ilk...?

Troubled And Confused

Many times when I am troubled or confused, I find comfort in sitting in my back yard and having a Shiner, along with a quiet conversation with Jesus.

This happened to me again yesterday after a particularly difficult day. I said "Jesus, why do I work so hard?" 

His reply: "Men find many ways to demonstrate the love they have for their family. You work hard to make enough money to have a peaceful, beautiful place for your friends and family to gather." 

I said: "I thought that money was the root of all evil."

And the reply was: "No, the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Money is a tool; it can be used for good or bad". 

I was starting to feel better, but I still had that one burning question, so I asked it. "Jesus," I said, "what is the meaning of life? Why am I here?"

He replied: "That is a question many men ask. The answer is in your heart and is different for everyone. I would love to chat with you some more, Senor, but for now, I have to finish your lawn." 

* * * * * * * * * * 

I could get into big trouble for this one... 

Monday, May 30, 2011

More FOD 2011.05.30

Obama Goes Golfing on Memorial Day
The business of memorializing our war dead done, President Obama headed out to the Fort Belvoir golf course today, finding his way onto the links for the ninth weekend in a row.
In other words, the pro forma insincere nod to our nation's military out of the way, his political duty done, obama felt free to run off and do what he really wanted to do.
Obama earlier today laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and met with families of those killed in battle. But he emerged from the day’s solemnity to go golfing for the 12th time this year and the 70th time of his presidency.

The decision to golf on Memorial Day invites comparison with President George W. Bush, who gave up the game early in his presidency and said he did it out of respect for the families of those killed in Iraq.
In a sign of his determination to play no matter what, Obama is golfing even though it is currently 95 degrees at Fort Belvoir and it “feels like” it’s 98 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.
That's obama's idea of sacrifice - golfing when the temperature is over 90...

FOD 2011.05.30

I almost forgot about FOD. Here's a biblical quote that succinctly explains much about him.
"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left."
-- Ecclesiastes 10:2

Is Anyone Really Surprised?

H/T to Peter for the link:
The new chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee was criticizing Republicans who opposed President Obama's bailout of the American automakers union, oh, no, make that American automakers.

"If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, "we would be driving foreign cars. They would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes."

So Michael O'Brien of The Hill newspaper went and checked what kind of automobile loyal-American-car-supporter Debbie Wasserman Schultz owns.

Yup, you guessed it -- Japanese.
"To make matters even worse, Ms. Schultz drives a 2010 Nissan Infiniti FX35 - a model built exclusively in Japan, not in Nissan's North American plants."

Jeez, there is so much irony dripping from this story I don't know where to begin. Maybe with the fact that foreign cars are superior to the union-made crap oozing out of Detroit, despite billions of our tax dollars being wasted by the democraps to buy union votes prop up GM and Chrysler.

Or maybe with the blatant hypocrisy of Wasserman-Schultz, coupled with the utter gall of the DNC's response:
"They can try to distract from the issue if they want," said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan. "But if Republican opposition researchers are snooping around garages, they should know that if Republicans — who said that we should let the U.S. auto industry go bankrupt — had their way, they wouldn’t find a single American made car anywhere."
Last time I looked, nobody wanted to eliminate American made cars. We just want domestic auto makers to stand -- or fall -- on their own merits, without funneling heaps of taxpayer $$$ to companies hamstrung by corrupt and greedy unions. Ford, for example, is doing just fine by itself.

I guess by now we should be used to the 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude that permeates politics. But to see it so unabashedly displayed is still somewhat shocking.

Did she really think no one would check see what kind of car she drove? Or did she just not think at all?

Or care...?

Thank You

Sometime today put down your beer, step away from the grill, and turn off the music. Take a moment to thank the uniformed men and women past, present, and future -- and their families -- who have helped make this the greatest country the world has ever known.

My greatest hope is that we can craft a nation worthy of their sacrifice.

My greatest fear is that we won't...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Compare And Contrast

One of the staples of my teaching techniques is the time-honored 'compare and contrast' assignment, where I give my students two options and challenge them to compare and contrast them.

Below are two images. One is of Sarah Palin riding in today's Rolling Thunder Memorial Day Parade.

The other is of our fearless leader.

Your assignment, dear reader, is to compare and contrast them. (Images from here. Rolling Thunder story here.)

Any questions...?

Sunday Funnies 2011.05.29

Because this is Memorial Day weekend...

The movie Forrest Gump was being shown at the base theater. The crowd was pretty quiet throughout the film, until the scene when Forrest graduates from college and is met by an Army recruiter. That's when a soldier in the crowd yelled "Run, Forrest, run!"

As the sun rose over Parris Island, the senior drill instructor realized that one of his recruits had gone AWOL. A search party was dispatched immediately. After a few hours the recruit was discovered hiding in some bushes. He was sent back to the base and promptly escorted to the drill instructor's office. The instructor asked the young recruit, "Why did you go AWOL?"

The recruit replied, "My first day here you issued me a comb, and then proceeded to cut my hair off. The second day you issued me a toothbrush, and sent me to the dentist, who proceeded to pull all my teeth. The third day you issued me a jock strap, and I wasn't about to stick around and find out what would follow that."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thanks Mom

Our kids are reaching the age where they're starting to leave the nest for short periods of time. This weekend, for example, they both have 'social functions' tonight (Friday).

We had planned on a long holiday weekend at our place on Lake Buchanan, but the way the schedule worked out is that I came up here tonight, while the kids, their mother, and assorted friends will show up Sat. morning. Then we all head for home Sunday afternoon, because both kids have more 'social functions' planned for Monday.

So to make a long story short, I headed up here this afternoon. I stopped off at the local grocery store to pick up a few items (beer, wine, charcoal, bottled water, and corn on the cob - that should tip you off to what sort of weekend it's going to be).

While I was in the grocery store, I noticed a little old lady hovering around a display of watermelons. She was trying to lift one out, but it was too heavy for her, so I offered to help. One thing led to another, and soon we were rummaging around through the melons, merrily thumping away until we found one that she liked. I picked it up and put it in her shopping cart. She grabbed my hand, thanked me, and then said "Your mama should be proud of you."

I didn't have the heart to tell her that my mother died just a little over a year ago. Still, the little old lady was right. My mother raised me to help people less fortunate than myself. It was nice to get a little reinforcement of that from a total stranger. I felt all warm and fuzzy, like Mom was looking over my shoulder and saying "Way to go."

Thanks, Mom...

Forget The Government, Worry About Google

There's been an ongoing tiff in San Antonio regarding renaming a downtown street to honor Cesar Chavez. Just about everyone agrees that Chavez deserves to be honored. The disagreement revolves around renaming an existing street (Durango) that (1) has its own historical roots, and (2) would cost businesses and the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to change signs and business forms, not to mention the ensuing confusion and inconvenience.

Other suggestions included renaming parks, plazas, or a portion of a local expressway. Unfortunately, like so much of politics, egos have gotten in the way of common sense. The city council voted, in a split decision, to rename the street. Opponents, led by the San Antonio Conservation Society, have filed suit to prevent the change. They were successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order until a full court hearing can be held. So now, in addition to the signage and document costs, legal fees will be added to the mix. When egos move in, common sense moves out.

So what does all this have to do with Google? It seems that Google has decided on its own to rename the street.

Despite court order, Google's already renamed Durango
California-based Google has renamed Durango Boulevard — even if San Antonio is prohibited by a court from doing so itself.

Since at least Tuesday, a portion of Durango Boulevard appears on Google Maps as “César E. Chávez Boulevard” — something that “shocked” San Antonio Conservation Society President Rollette Schreckenghost

The conservation society sued to stop the city from changing Durango to Chávez Boulevard in honor of the late labor leader.

A district judge blocked the change Monday, pending a full hearing next month. Until then, the city can't proceed.

But Google changed the name anyhow.
At first glance this doesn't seem like a big deal. Google jumped the gun a little - so what. But on the same day this story broke I came across the following.

Why is my Internet different from your Internet?
At home you search for something on Google. Ten minutes later, at work, you enter the exact same query into Google, but get different results. Why?
Back in December 2009 Google changed its search algorithms to take into account the online behavior of users.
“The new generation of Internet filters looks at things you seem to like-the actual things you’ve done, or the things people like you like-and tries to extrapolate. They are prediction engines, constantly creating and refining a theory of who you are and what you’ll do and want next.

Together these engines create a unique universe of information for each of us-what I’ve come to call a filter bubble-which fundamentally alters the way we encounter ideas and information.”
For some time now, Google has been capturing the following information:
  • Search History: Google keeps track of what is clicked on in search results. If Google notices a certain site is picked more often, it will get a rankings boost.
  • Signed-Out Web History: This history is browser-centric. Google tracks all the searches and search-result selections.
  • Signed-In Web History: This history is user-centric. If the user is recognized by Google, everything is tracked.
Google uses the above data to provide customized-search results ... Google customizes your search experience based on past search information linked to your browser, using a cookie. Google stores up to 180 days of search activity linked to your browser’s cookie, including queries and results you click
“The days of ‘normal’ search results that everyone sees are now over. Personalized results are the ‘new normal,’ and the change is going to shift the search world and society in general in unpredictable ways.”

Happy that you’re ranking in the top results for a term that’s important to you?

Look again. Turn off personalized search, and you might discover that your top billing is due to the way the personalized system is a huge ego search reinforcement tool. If you visit your own site often, your own site ranks better in your own results-but not for everyone else.
So that's why my blog pops up near the top of my Google searches, despite its low traffic volume. Hmmm...

The power to manipulate search results can translate into big bucks. Just look how much Google is worth today, and how influential it is worldwide. While you're at it, check out how Google censors what it provides to different countries.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchers?)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Same Song, Nth Verse

While browsing the news this morning, the following headline caught my eye.

28 dead, 700 flee as gang battles hit west Mexico
Fierce fighting among apparent rival drug gangs in western Mexico bloodied one highway with 28 dead, while in a nearby state more than 700 people huddled in shelters after fleeing villages that had become battlegrounds.
Just more cartel violence south of the border, right? Nothing new to see here. Move along, people.

Except for this, tucked away inside the story.
... according to the Norway-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, which tracks such figures. It estimates about 230,000 people in Mexico have been driven from their homes, often to stay with relatives or in the United States.
But how do these undocumented democrats illegal aliens get into the U.S.? After all, both DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and obama himself have proclaimed that the border is secure.

Others beg to differ.
Here's the nutshell truth about the situation here: The border towns are relatively safe, thanks to more agents, more money, and better fencing.  In Nogales (AZ) proper, population 20,000, with more than 60 city cops and approximately 800 federal agents now working there, the crime rate has actually dropped.  Nogales also has 18-foot-tall fences running out east and west of town.

The feds base their security boasts on success in the border towns.  But these efforts haven't stopped the illicit traffic, only moved it out into our remotest lands.

Out of sight, out of mind is part of the government's plan.  With the bad guys high up in the mountains and in the canyons, Napolitano and Bersin get the political cover to claim the war is just about won.

Tell that to the folks living in and around the Coronado National Forest west of Nogales.  It has become a modern-day frontier, as drug mules, illegal aliens, and bandits cross the Peck Canyon Smuggling Corridor.

On Dec. 14, Border Patrol Brian Terry was murdered in Peck Canyon when his four-man tactical team got into a firefight with at least five bandits, several armed with AK-47s.

. . .

Consider the Border Patrol's arrest blotter for a single day, April 20, in areas immediately surrounding the Peck Corridor:

*Agents working near Tumacacori arrest three Mexican illegals, seize 119 pounds of marijuana and a .38 caliber revolver.

*Agents working near Amado arrest a Mexican illegal, and seize 465 pounds of marijuana and a MAC-10 machine pistol.

*An Agent working near Three Points seizes a loaded 9mm handgun and ammunition from two marijuana backpacks dropped during a chase of two suspected Mexican illegals.
And that's leaving out any mention of the human skulls that keep turning up. Hit the link for the rest.

And in one final ironic note, one agency of the federal government is prohibiting another from enforcing border security.
For the third time in a few months a federal report exposes how the U.S. government prioritizes environmental preservation over national security by keeping Border Patrol agents out of wildlife refuges that are heavily transited by Mexican drug and human smugglers.

Among them is a popular smugglers’ corridor, the 2,300-acre San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, used by an illegal immigrant who murdered an Arizona rancher last spring. For years, Border Patrol agents have been prohibited by the Interior Department and the U.S. Forest Service from actively patrolling such areas because it threatens natural resources.

Motorized vehicles, road construction and the installation of surveillance structures required to adequately secure the vast areas are forbidden because it could endanger the environment and its wildlife. In the meantime, Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers regularly use the sprawling, unmanned and federally protected land to enter the U.S. The areas have become the path of choice for illicit operations that endanger American lives and, ironically, cause severe environmental damage.

Adding insult to injury, Interior officials charge the Department of Homeland Security millions of dollars for conducting preapproved Border Patrol operations on its land. Since 2007, Homeland Security has paid the Interior Department more than $9 million to mitigate the “environmental damage” of protecting the border.
Got that? Not only is the Border Patrol discouraged from patrolling prime smuggling routes, it has to pay the Dept. of the Interior when it does.

You can't make this stuff up...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wild Kingdom

We have several bird feeders hanging in an oak mott in our back yard. There are a couple of squirrels that hang out in the trees that enjoy the feeders as well. There is a truce between the birds and the squirrels - they share much nicer than our kids do. We enjoy watching the squirrels, and we don't begrudge them the small amount of bird feed they consume - usually.

But recently there has been a squirrel invasion. Hordes (packs? herds? swarms? flocks? pods?) of squirrels have discovered the feeders. At feeding time it looks like the local grocery store at the first of the month, when the Lone Star cards (i.e., food stamps) are recharged. The end result is that we have been refilling multiple feeders daily. So this morning we said no mas!

We smeared the rods from which the feeders hang with vaseline. That way the squirrels would be unable to climb down the rods and reach the feeders - we thought. Turns out the squirrels could slide down the rods just fine, like firemen sliding down a pole. What they couldn't do was climb back up.

Enter the dogs.

We have two mixed breed rescue dogs. They're basically mutts and relatively small (about 30 lbs. each), quick to learn, eager to please, and, for the most part well behaved, although we're still working on a few issues left over from their formative days.

They were abused early in their lives, and then abandoned (or they ran away). In any event, they lived on their own for a while, so they have an ingrained tendency to chase small game. Make that enthusiastically, vigorously, and intensely chase small game. In their teeny tiny little minds 'small game' is everything up to and including deer, cattle, and horses.

So now the stage is set. We have multiple squirrels trapped at the bottom of slippery rods they can't climb up. We have two dogs who simply MUST hunt down and consume said squirrels. And we have an unsuspecting human who forgot about the greased rods, but who notices that the dogs are quite insistent about going out.

The door is opened...

The dogs burst past me and make a mad dash for the feeders. Birds explode from the ground and from tree branches. Squirrels frantically try to climb up the rods to the safety of the tree limbs. I'm frozen in place thinking WTF?

The feeders are hanging so low the dogs can almost - almost - jump up and snatch the squirrels off the feeders. Once or twice they even take a nip out of a bushy tail. This spurs the squirrels to even greater efforts to escape. They can claw their way up the rods a few inches, but then gravity and vaseline take over and they slowly, agonizingly, inevitably slide back down within range of the leaping canines.

At this point let me interject and say I'm not a Disney-style nature lover. I value and appreciate nature, but I recognize its cruel side. Eat or be eaten and all that. I'm also not particularly squeamish. I remember my grandmother grabbing a hen for Sunday dinner, wringing its neck, and then showing me how to pluck and clean it. I hunt, clean my own kills, and process the meat for our consumption. But somehow I couldn't tolerate the thought of watching squirrels get torn to pieces in front of me. So I decided to take action. 

Squirrels are chattering and sliding. Dogs are barking and leaping. I'm running out to corral the dogs and yelling. I'm also barefoot, so I'm stepping on stones, sticks, and burrs, which adds emotion, volume, and profanity to the yelling.

I wish there was a video of this. The dogs' leaps were timed so that one went up as the other went down. I would run over to one just as it launched itself, then turn and run over to the other only to watch it surge upwards as I got there. After repeating this several times I finally figured out that if I just stayed in one place I could grab a dog as it came down. Then I headed for the house with an armful of struggling and squirming hound. I threw the first one in the house, slammed the door, and repeated the process with the second one. Then I slumped down with my back to the door, sweating, panting, bleeding from scratches on my arms and cuts in my feet, and cussing like the Army mechanic I used to be.

That's when my wife walked in.

She's still laughing...

FID 2011.05.25

For Sale - Palestinian Alarm Clock. Only used once.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Evil Pecker

No, not that kind of pecker. I'm talking about one with feathers. 

I spent Sunday and Monday at our lakehouse doing some belated spring cleaning and maintenance. Between a hectic schedule and the drought (the lake level is down so much that only one boat ramp on the entire lake still reaches the water) we haven't been up there since last fall.

In addition to the expected spider webs and wasp nests, I found that a woodpecker has decided to move in.

Woodpeckers peck holes for a variety of reasons - to get at food, to build nests, and to mark territory and attract mates. This last activity is known as drumming, which was what was going on. A young male had moved into the neighborhood and was looking for a little female companionship. The only problem is that he left holes - lots and lots of holes - in the 4x4 support beams that hold up our second floor balcony.

The picture only shows one side of the beam. The other sides were in the shadows and I couldn't get good shots of them, but they were much more riddled.

The largest of the holes are about the diameter and depth of my thumb. I wasn't too worried about structural damage (I don't think the holes went in that deep - at least I hope they didn't) but I did want to prevent future wood rot from water getting past the surface sealant and penetrating into the beam through the holes. So I spent a couple of hours filling the holes with wood filler. Next trip up I'll sand and paint. In the meantime I put up strips of reflective mylar foil (aka scare tape). Hopefully that will discourage our young feathered Romeo.

Ain't nature wonderful...

Late FOD 2011.05.24

From Hope n' Change:

Pictures don't lie.

P.S. Take a real close look at the hand obama is using to hold his beer. Is that an extended pinkie finger I see? Is this fool really drinking a Guinness like a girly-man?

Monday, May 23, 2011

FOD 2011.05.23

Borrowed from Jay Leno:
"I spent President's Day acting like Obama. I took someone else's money and spent it on something I don't need."
Better late than never...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Funnies 2011.05.22

Like I mentioned yesterday, I went to a funeral this weekend. It was a memorial service that celebrated the life of an old friend. As such, it was not a sad affair. That was in keeping with his personality. In his memory, please enjoy the following.

Dedicated to my second ex-wife:

A man placed some flowers on the grave of his dearly departed mother and started back toward his car when his attention was diverted to another man kneeling at a grave. The man seemed to be praying with profound intensity and kept repeating, "Why did you have to die? Why did you have to die?"

The first man approached him and said, "Sir, I don't wish to interfere with your private grief, but this demonstration of pain is more than I've ever seen before. For whom do you mourn so deeply? A child? A parent?"

The mourner took a moment to collect himself, then replied, "My wife's first husband."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekend Plans

Off to an out-of-town memorial service today. An old friend and a mentor of mine finally lost his battle with brain cancer.

In the early 1980s I started working for a bank holding company. A bank holding company is a company that owns a lot of different banks. At the time we were one of the 20 largest financial institutions in the country.

The holding company's headquarters were in Houston, but I was stationed in Austin. The sexual revolution was in full swing, and the country-hippie-redneck music scene was coming into its own. Like Flounder in Animal House, I was fat, drunk, and stupid (well, drunk and stupid, anyway - back then I was in pretty good shape).

Anyway, Bob saw something in me beyond the party animal facade. He challenged me to make something more of myself, and dragged me kicking and screaming from Austin to Houston. He is responsible for whatever professional success I might have had.

He is also responsible for my second and third marriages. Number Two was a dizzying roller coaster ride of exhilarating highs and frightening lows. She once attacked me with a pair of scissors because I got tired of fighting with her and just ignored her. That pissed her off even worse than fighting with her. She also was famous (infamous?) in our neighborhood for yelling at me to get out and then chasing me down the road screaming at me to get back here.

In time I recovered from the trauma and married Number Three, which was the best thing that ever happened to me. So I have a lot to thank Bob for, both professionally and personally.

One more Bob story: last February, when it became apparent that the end was approaching, we had a reunion of all the people whom Bob had touched in their lives. When it was time for him to speak he thanked everyone for coming to the "pre-funeral festivities."  :-)

After the service I have to go to our little place on Lake Buchanan - about a five hour drive. I haven't been up there since last fall -- too busy -- and need to get things ready for Memorial Day weekend.

Bottom line - blogging will probably be light for the next few days...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Follies 2011.05.20

In honor of the Great Chex Mix Screw-Up (which thankfully has blown over) we have this musical interpretation of the situation. Enjoy...

Right Message, Wrong Topic

Obama: 'Status quo is unsustainable'

Finally, he and I agree on something. The economic, budgetary, and entitlement mess is totally unsustainable. Under obama and his liberal cronies we are hamstringing our businesses, stealing wealth from productive members of society, and bankrupting future generations. This is so patently unsustainable that it should be glaringly obvious to even the most casual observer.

Oh, wait...

He was talking about Israel.

Never mind...

Thin Gruel And Media Cheerleaders

Obama gave another speech yesterday.


This one was billed as a major speech on Mid-East policy, but it fell far short of bold new initiatives: "It was pretty thin gruel for an area crying out for big changes."

IMO the most significant - and least helpful - aspect was his call for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the borders that were in place before the Six Day War way back in 1967. In case you don't remember, Israel was attacked by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Six days later Israel was done kicking their collective asses, in the process taking the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. A wave of several hundred thousand Palestinians were displaced from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, adding more fuel to the long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Technically, the Israeli Air Force attacked Egypt first in what Israel claimed was a preemptive strike in response to seven Egyptian divisions massing in the Sinai.)

But back to obama's speech:
"The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine," Obama said in the concluding section of his 45-minute address that looked at political and social change sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa.

"We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states," Obama continued.
Initial reaction to obama's speech was primarily negative. The Israelis reject it for two reasons: one, the territories held have strategic implications, serving to both buffer Israel from its neighbors and providing much better defensive capabilities than the land held before 1967; and two, in the past 40+ years a large number of Israelis have settled in the annexed territories. They would face the choice of giving up their homes and businesses, or living in a Palestinian state. Neither option is particularly appealing.

Even Hamas panned the speech, calling it "empty of concrete significance."

An interesting side note will be the reaction of the press to the speech, especially in light of recent comments by veteran journalists.

Today's White House Reporters Are Too Timid
Several veteran and prize-winning journalists who covered presidents from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush say that the current crop of White House correspondents are too timid and deferential...

... Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Haynes Johnson, "It's all very stale, very structured, very pale."

... longtime NBC and ABC reporter Sander Vanocur: "You want to know what's wrong with the press? The press is what's wrong with the press."

When the topic turn to today's White House press corps, the grizzled veterans were dismissive, calling them weak imitations of their Cold War predecessors.

(Sid Davis, the former NBC Washington bureau chief who covered nine presidents,) says "I don't like today's news conferences" with the president. Kennedy's, he says, were "thoroughly unrehearsed, natural and they worked to a large extent." Today's versions, he adds, "look like they are rehearsed." 
Worse, he says, reporters look like stenographers.
Or PR flacks ... or cheerleaders...

Thursday, May 19, 2011


What is it with those loonies in San Francisco? Don't they have more important things to worry about? And why is this any of their business?

Circumcision on ballot in San Francisco: Will voters okay ban?
What's the truth about circumcision? Is it a valuable tradition with important health benefits - or just another way to inflict suffering on little boys?

Voters in San Francisco will soon be able to weigh in, as a measure to ban male circumcision is on the ballot for the upcoming November election.

The proposed law would prohibit circumcision in males under age 18. What if a child is born into a religion that requires circumcision? It wouldn't matter - whoever wields the scalpel would face a $1,000 fine or up to one year in jail.

No matter how you slice it, this debate is going to upset a lot of people.
I don't have particularly strong feelings about circumcision one way or the other, but I do have strong feelings about the government telling people what they can or cannot do. This is a matter of parental choice, not something for the government to get involved in. If the government goes around poking its nose in where it doesn't belong at some point it's going to get chopped off...

What'd I Do?

I'm in the doghouse tonight, for no other reason than opening a bag of Chex Mix.

A couple of days ago I felt like a mid-afternoon snack, so I poked around in the pantry. I found a bag of Chex Mix, opened it, and grabbed a couple of handfuls.

This evening, as we were on our way out the door to our son's sports 'banquet' (in this case banquet = potluck dinner), my wife asked me to get the Chex Mix. That was her assigned contribution. When she saw the opened bag the ol' crapola hit the fan.

In my defense, there was no notice given to not eat it, and no notice posted on the bag. In my opinion that's an airtight case. In her opinion I should have known somehow, perhaps through ESP.

In any event, her opinion counts and mine doesn't.

So move over, Rover. We'll be sharing the accommodations tonight...

What Will They Think Of Next

A little while back I posted about a woman who crashed her car because she was shaving her vajayjay while driving. Based on the traffic stats, that has become one of my more popular posts. So in response to customer demand, below are a couple of links to related topics. (That's a business professor's way of saying I'm shamelessly pandering to those readers interested in such things.)

If you're a 'less is more' type, here's some hints for nether region grooming.
Decide On What Pubic Style You Want
This may sound quite an obvious thing to say but you need to get it clear in your mind what style you want. It's so easy to start trimming away and then realize that you have gone too far and removed more hair than you had anticipated. To avoid any embarrassing mishaps, decide first before you reach for the shaver. Also, what style you choose will dictate what equipment you will need.

Trimming Your Pubic Hair

If you are feeling a bit wary about the whole subject of pubic hair shaving, you may want to just give yourself a little trim to start or you may just want a tidy up for that trip to the beach or swimming pool maybe. If you are a man and a bit unsure about how much hair to remove, a quick trim can drastically improve the appearance of your pubic hair.

Ideally, the pubic hair you are about to trim should be freshly washed and dried. This has the advantage of fluffing the hair up so you can see how much to take off.

The Brazilian Style

The Brazilian style of pubic hair shaving or removal basically means shaving all the hair off until your pubic region is completely bare. Many people find the experience very liberating especially the first time they do it. There are other practical reasons too. Many people report heightened sensitivity when involved in sexual interactions.

Fun Pubic Styles

If you are committed to shaving your pubic hair, why not go for something a bit different? You can 'sculpt' your pubic hair into a variety of different shapes and designs. This will provide a fun surprise for a lover, or make quite a talking point amongst your friends. Some common designs are the 'Landing Strip'. This is essentially a narrow strip extending from the lower pubic bone to the top on the genitals. The width and length are entirely up to you. Another popular design is the 'Triangle' or for your loved one, why not try a heart shape. For the really adventurous, you could use hair dye to add that extra dimension.

To achieve these designs may take a bit of skill. If you know somebody who will help you, all the better. Every artist needs a good canvas...
There's more at the link above. Sorry, no pictures.

If you feel like a little something extra, you can go beyond hair removal and Vajazzle Your Vajayjay.
You’ve tried everything to spruce up your lady parts. First, you made sure your garden was neat and tidy. Then, you trimmed up the hedges. Finally, you decided to go for the gold and deforested all of “virginia.” Where does a girl go from here?

One sparkly, special word: Vajazzle.

Vajazzling is a burgeoning beauty treatment, popular with celebs and kinky Martha Stewart-ites alike, that involves ladies bedazzling their freshly waxed lady parts ... with tiny, magical crystals.

Jennifer Love Hewitt sparked this sparkly trend a few weeks ago when she announced her labia luster on Lopez Tonight. “After a breakup, a friend of mine Swarovski-crystalled my precious lady," J.Love said, while discussing her new dating book. "It shined like a disco ball, so I have a whole chapter in there on how women should vajazzle their vajayjays."

These “labia sprinkles” (yes, that’s what I’m calling them) seem to serve double duty. They cover up those unsightly skin reactions that appear after no-nonsense Natasha rips hair from your body with her pot-o-molten-wax. Vajazzling also masks all evidence of childbirth.

Bryce Gruber, a writer from TheLuxurySpot.com just gave the old vajazzle dazzle a whirl. She underwent a vajazzling treatment to cover her C-section scars. Here’s a description of the service she received from New York’s Completely Bare spa, the artists behind her pretty private-part art:

“Accessorizing your privates is the hottest rage. From crystal flowers to customized favorites, you too can now decorate your own jewels. Whether it’s a special occasion or you just want to sparkle everywhere, you can choose from an assortment of real Swarovski crystal designs so you can shimmer and shine."

My car shimmers and shines after I wash it. So does our Christmas tree. I'm not sure that's desirable, or even appropriate, for women.

On the other hand, it could lead to a career change for me...

UPDATE: In one of those Internet coincidences, Peter posted something along the same line, only his has links to pictures for all you pervs out there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Oldie But A Goodie

It's late ... I've had a few adult beverages ... so here's one from the past.

Just because...

Am I Way Off Base?

It's still a year and a half to the 2012 presidential election, and I'm just about ready to concede it to obama.

It damn sure isn't because of his record. In just about any other election the worst president ever would be ripe for the taking. But the republicans seem unable to find anyone who stands a snowball's chance in hell of winning.
The Republicans may have the keys to victory in 2012 in their grasp, but it's a question of getting the horses out of the barn, onto the track and into the race.

So far, the Republican presidential field is awful. It's no wonder President Barack Obama is smiling. And it's not just getting bin Laden that has him grinning. The economy is starting to recover. And the Republicans resemble “The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and billionaire real estate developer-turned-reality TV star Donald Trump have both said they're out. Huckabee and Trump had shown more promise in the polls than some of the other names running or considering a run.

So, who will fill the void?

There is Mitt Romney - already lost. Newt Gingrich - not happening. Sarah Palin - please, get serious. There is Ron Paul, a man with great ideas about how to solve our problems, but serious questions about electability. Then there's Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, both with potential to score big with evangelicals, but neither seem to be scoring points with the rest of the electorate.

That brings us to Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, who almost everyone agrees would be a formidable challenger to Obama. And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie says he's not "ready to run for president," despite the fact that Republicans all over the country are begging him to get in the race. And Daniels, who says he hasn't made up his mind yet. Daniels also says he could beat Obama…and he might be right.

It's pretty much a lead-pipe cinch the rest of the Republicans mentioned can't, except maybe for Christie.
Which brings us, however reluctantly, to Rick Perry.
As many grass-roots Republicans remain in search of a conservative candidate with the pizazz to go toe-to-toe against President Obama, a man from deep in the heart of Texas who was tea party before the tea party was cool appears to be giving the presidential race some thought.
A Texas pol who is close to Perry has been telling a few key strategists that the nation's longest-serving governor sees a vacuum and is waiting to be summoned into the race. This source believes that could happen by late summer. Without fellow Southerners Haley Barbour or Mike Huckabee in the race -- and with Newt Gingrich's early troubles raising further doubts about the current lineup -- there could be a glaring niche for Perry to fill.

According to another well-connected Republican, at least one Perry confidant has been very quietly making inquiries about the political terrain in the nation's first voting state of Iowa. A third Perry associate, RCP has learned, has been heralding a small contingent of Iowans with the time-tested line that is often used by would-be candidates who are leaving their options open: "Keep your powder dry."

Perry's presidential prospects may ultimately be contingent on the decision made by the only GOP White House hopeful who can boast a resume and home state that is large enough to mess with Texas: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Perry shares Palin's dexterity with the simple, tough-talking language that tends to fire up the tea party faithful and is similarly adept at connecting on a human level that comes across as decidedly anti-politician, despite his more than a decade in the governor's mansion.

Palin endorsed Perry in his contentious primary against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison early last year, and they are both larger-than-life figures to the tea party rank and file. In other words, the race might not be big enough to hold both a Texas cowboy and a certain Mama Grizzly from the 49th state.

As Palin relies on her unrivaled star power and intensity of support to afford her the luxury of waiting to see how the field develops, Perry cannot remain idle quite as long, particularly in putting himself in a position to begin raising money in a timely enough fashion to run a national primary campaign that starts early in the new year.

Perry remains well known to the Republican base these days. In December 2009, his visage adorned the cover of the New York Times Magazine, and he showed last year by beating back Hutchison -- who enjoyed the backing of Bush administration allies, as well as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- that the Rick Perry brand remains formidable.

He was a headliner at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans last April, and it was announced last week that he'll be reprising that appearance at this year's conference in June.

The event is a cattle call for 2012 GOP hopefuls, with Gingrich, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and businessman Herman Cain all confirmed to speak, along with Perry.
So IMO we are stuck with a choice between an ideologically pure (relatively speaking) candidate like Ron Paul or Sarah Palin, and a pragmatically electable candidate like ... well, I'm not really sure. At this point I'll vote for anyone over obama, and I hope enough other people will too.

But I'm not sure the country is ready yet to elect another governor from Texas...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This Really Burns Me Up

It's bad enough that obama and his clones deny Texas emergency aid to help with the wildfires that are crisping the state (Obama Fiddles While Texas Burns), but now they have started setting fires themselves.
Oh the irony!  On Tuesday while Barack Obama was in El Paso fanning the flames of anti-Republican rhetoric before a carefully selected crowd of adoring supporters, the ATF was setting off a blaze of its own in North Texas.  According to the Plainview Herald, an ATF training exercise got out of control and started a fire in the drought ravaged panhandle.

Seemingly unaware of the drought in North Texas and the recent wildfires which have devastated the region, the ATF decided to conduct a training exercise for area law enforcement bomb squad officers.  Shortly after the stockpile of explosives was detonated the “Fast and Furious” flames spread out of control and required nearly six hours and the efforts of five area volunteer fire departments to extinguish.  The flames consumed approximately 150 acres of pasture land in the already hard-pressed region.

Motley County Attorney Tom Edwards said the explosions could be heard up to 28 miles away from the site and that an investigation is in progress.  “We have the federal government that has just refused aid to the state of Texas for all our fire damage throughout the state, and then here comes federal agents who start another fire,” said an incredulous Edwards.  The ATF could face charges for violating the county’s ban on burning during the current drought.  The ATF agent in charge of the Lubbock office, Jim Luera has claimed full responsibility for the fire and the agency will reimburse landowners for their losses.

At a time when the ATF and Eric Holder’s DOJ are embroiled in controversy stemming from their “Gun Runner” and “Fast and Furious” campaigns which have increased the flow of firearms across the border into Mexico, it seems the height of incompetence to intentionally detonate explosives in a region which has already suffered from a series of devastating wildfires.  What could the ATF possibly have been thinking?

Perhaps when the ATF conducts its next training exercise they should check with the White House to make sure that all necessary precautions are taken.  I’m thinking if they were to build a moat around the site it could contain the damage and prevent the destruction of private property. 
Not only do the assholes in D.C. deny federal assistance to fire-ravaged areas of the state, not only do they supply weapons to narco-terrorists south of the border, now they actually try to blow the place up/burn the place down.

Tom Edwards, the Motley county attorney where the ATF arson began, nailed it with this quote:
"That bunch has a real corner on stupid."
For once, I find myself agreeing with a lawyer...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Eye of Newt

IMO Newt Gingrich's 1994 Contract with America (here and here) was one of the most brilliant political moves of all time. It established Gingrich as a solid conservative and a shrewd politician.

Unfortunately, he's gone downhill ever since.

I'm not going to get into his personal life right now, other than to note that I believe that character does matter. (Newt has done things that would shame even Bill Clinton - for a thorough treatment see Why Newt's Personal Life Matters to You.)

No, what has set me off today is his unconscionable and incomprehensible attack on Paul Ryan's Medicare reform plan
White House hopeful Newt Gingrich called the House Republican plan for Medicare "right-wing social engineering," injecting a discordant GOP voice into the party's efforts to reshape both entitlements and the broader budget debate.

In the same interview Sunday, on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mr. Gingrich backed a requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, complicating a Republican line of attack on President Barack Obama's health law.

The former House speaker's decision to stick with his previous support for an individual mandate comes days after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defended the health revamp he championed as governor, which includes a mandate.
I will never support anyone, D or R, male or female, black or white (or other), that has the unmitigated gall to mandate that I purchase a particular good or service.

Under Roman law, a mandate was "an order or decree by the emperor." Today it means "to order or require" (source), although in their minds there isn't much difference between our elected 'leaders' [*snort*] and the emperors of old - except today's politicians are better paid.

My wife can tell me what to buy, but that's a voluntary arrangement (sort of). I don't need the damn government doing the same thing.  

So Gingrich is off my list of acceptable candidates. Romney was never on it. I'm not sure who that leaves, but I'm beginning to worry that the republicans are going to hand the 2012 presidential election to obama by default.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us..."

FOD 2011.05.16

Quote of The Year
"Thanking Obama for killing Bin Laden is like going into McDonalds and thanking Ronald McDonald for the hamburger.

It's the guy cooking the burger that should get the credit, not the clown."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Today's History Lesson

I've mentioned before how much fascinating I find 'what if-ing' history. What if Lincoln had survived after being shot by John Wilkes Booth? What if Hitler didn't survive his assassination attempt? What if Al Gore had received a few hundred more votes in Florida?

In today's paper there was an article about a WW II U.S. submarine named Finback. The Finback was the sub that rescued then LT JG  George H. W. Bush after his plane was shot down by the Japanese. As the story notes, just imagine how different today's world might be if the Finback was in a different position or arrived at its  position too late.
Capt. Ruhe ordered the cast off of all lines, and the Sea Devil slipped away from the finger pier at Pearl Harbor. It was September 1952, and we were on our way to the Korean War.

On the way, we stopped at a little island named Chichi-jima. We were to evaluate the island for a possible submarine base.

After a swim party we found out from Tony Ciotti, a quartermaster, that Chichi-jima is the breeding place for tiger sharks in the Pacific. That ended our swim parties.

Lt. Jim Barrett, Russ Damey and I did a photo recon of some of the fortifications in the miles of tunnels. Before World War II, the Japanese had spent 25 years fortifying the island.

Returning from bombing raids on Japan, a few badly shot-up B-29s, unable to make it back to Okinawa, made forced landings there. The surviving crew members were captured.

A local missionary took a couple of us on a little tour and showed us where the Japanese beheaded the American prisoners, who were then served as meat rations in the officers' mess. Eight crewmen had been captured, but none survived to the end of the war.

In 1946, the Chichi-jima commanding officers were tried and hanged on Guam for cannibalism and other atrocities. The details of the cannibalism were not made public until all the immediate relatives of the victims were deceased.

In 1991, I read an article in the newspaper telling about President George H. W. Bush being shot down over Chichi-jima on Sept. 2, 1944. He managed to get his crippled plane over open sea before bailing out.

It also told about the submarine USS Finback being assigned to lifeguard duty in the Bonin Islands. It was on station close to where Bush landed in the water. Ensign Bill Edwards recorded his rescue in an 8-mm movie.

The other planes in Bush's flight strafed the Japanese gunboats coming out from the island after the downed pilot. The Finback spotted him through the periscope, surfaced and maneuvered to rescue him. It was nip and tuck. The planes were almost out of ammunition and low on fuel. Under fire from shore batteries and the gunboats, they quickly got Bush below deck and submerged the sub.

. . .

Looking back, I realized if the Finback had not been at that exact position, none of the six Bush children would have been born. And I'm sure history would have been quite different.
(More info about Bush's rescue here.)

Just imagine what the long term implications might have been if people had paid attention to obama's qualifications (or lack thereof) back in 2008...

Sunday Funnies 2011.05.15

Blogger was down for over a day this week. The world as we know it came to a crashing halt.

Q: How is Blogger like a penis?

A: It can be up or down. It's more fun when it's up, but it makes it hard to get any real work done.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Geaux Tigers

In spite of the fact that I took basic training at Ft. Polk in LA, I've always liked the Cajun culture down in dem bayous. I don't blame Justin Wilson and his buddies for the drill sergeants, humidity, or mosquitoes I suffered through.

I've also got a couple of friends who are on the faculty at LSU, which makes this story somewhat personal.

A mob of angry protesters chased a would-be flag burner at Louisiana State University (LSU) off campus Wednesday to chants of "USA, USA." (H/T JammieWearingFool)
A jeering crowd swarmed after communication studies graduate student Benjamin Haas on the Parade Ground this afternoon after he outraged many students and community members with an announcement that he planned to burn an American flag.

After chasing Haas off campus, the group of more than 1,000 straddled Highland Road, shouting a back-and-forth banter of "GO AMERICA" and "GO TIGERS."
The civilized, rational part of me cringes at the thought of stifling 'free speech.'

The conservative part of me agrees with the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist that flag burning is not speech, but rather "the equivalent of an inarticulate grunt."

The primitive, emotional part of me thinks "Good - run the damn hippie out of town on a rail."

I guess what makes us human is how we balance the conflicting parts of our makeup. Except in this case there wasn't too much balancing to be done.

The neanderthal won...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.05.13

At long last, the Spring 2011 semester is over. School's out for the summer!!!

What better way to celebrate than with Alice Cooper and the Muppets?

And on a Friday the 13th, no less...


Well, as we're all aware, there have been some problems with Blogger over the past 24 hours. Hopefully the missing posts will be restored soon.

In the meantime, I am thrilled to report that I am back home in Central Texas for the summer. No more weekly trips down south for the next three months. Classes are over, finals have been graded, final grades posted, and most if not all of the post-grading whining and begging have been dealt with. Now it's time for summer vacation fun and leisure.

Except for research projects ... and preparing for next Fall's courses ... and a nine-month backlog of honey-do's...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Speaking Of obama's Speech

The community-organizer-in-chief just got done giving a speech in El Paso that was supposed to be be a major policy statement on immigration reform. Instead, he used the time to make a campaign speech lambasting those of us who see border security and immigration reform as two separate but related issues that desperately need resolution now. For reviews of the speech go here (serious) and here (a little more light-hearted.)

Anyway, today I received the following in my email in-box.
Did you know “listen” and “silent” use the same letters?

Do you know that the words “race car” spelled backwards still spells “race car”?

And that “eat” is the only word that if you take the first letter and move it to the last, it spells its past tense “ate”?

And have you noticed that if you rearrange the letters in “illegal immigrants,” and add just a few more letters, it spells “Go home you free-loading, benefit-grabbing,  resource-sucking, baby-making, non-English-speaking jackasses and take those other hairy-faced, sandal-wearing, bomb-making, camel-riding, goat-loving, raggedy-ass bastards with you.”

How weird is that?
How weird, indeed...

A Man After My Own Heart

I understand the urge, but I must respectfully disagree with the action.

Man Calls 911 For Beer - 65-Year-Old Asks Officers To Pick Up Beer
A 65-year-old Bridgeport man faces criminal charges after police said he called 911 to solve a beer emergency.

Raymond Roberge called the emergency number three times on Sunday. Authorities said when emergency personnel arrived at his home, Roberge offered them money to go to the store and buy him some beer.

He was charged with misusing the 911 system and was freed after posting a $500 bond.
We've all had our 'beer emergencies.' And granted, calling 911 is better than driving yourself to the store after consuming all the supply on hand. But I do think he could have found a better option.

I called my ex-wife once and asked her to make a beer run for me.

I think I would have been better off calling 911 and going to jail...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

They're Not All Bad

If there were more Muslims willing to stand up and speak out like this one, perhaps there wouldn't be so much animosity towards them.

When speaking about the death of Osama bin Laden, Imam Hassan al-Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, the leader of one of the nation's largest mosques, had this to say about the now-fish food terrorist:
"There is no doubt that this man was a thug, he was a murderer," Imam Hassan al-Qazwini told worshippers at the Islamic Center of America in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. "His hands were stained by the blood of thousands of innocent people — Muslims and non-Muslims alike."

Qazwini, who delivered his sermon in a large, circular hall filled to capacity, said the Quran is clear that someone who kills one innocent person "is doomed to hell forever." And the imam was particularly incensed that bin Laden "committed atrocities against innocent people ... while he was calling 'Allahu akbar,'" or "God is great."

"He's responsible for tarnishing the image of Islam in this country. He's responsible for tarnishing the image of Muslims," he said. "We're happy to see the man who caused so much pain for Muslims in this country is gone ... finally."
Good for al-Qazwini. Now where are the rest of his 'moderate' brethren...?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guns And Sausages

Recent events in Austin bring to mind the old Otto von Bismarck saying:
Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
Specifically, I'm referring to the shenanigans surrounding Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth's bill enabling Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders to tote weapons on college campuses.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth is relentless, and today, the San Antonio Republican got his way.

Wentworth finally got his campus carry bill successfully tacked onto legislation — this time a bill by Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, that would reform methods of finance for public and higher education institutions. The measure is turning into a virtual Christmas Tree for amendments.

Wentworth's measure would would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry on university campuses. Wentworth filed his own bill, SB 354, to do so, but he could not secure enough votes to bring the legislation up for debate on the Senate floor. Over the last couple of weeks, he repeatedly tried to tack a similar amendment onto a bill by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, to eliminate some college reporting requirements and reduce administrative costs. But Zaffirini killed her own bill after Wentworth's amendment passed.

Zaffirini got her own reporting bill tacked onto Ogden's measure today...
There's more at the link, but that's all I've got the stomach for right now. It perturbs me that the legislative process creates an environment that causes one senator - Zaffirini - to scuttle her own bill, and a worthy one at that, in an attempt to halt the passage of another. Why can't our elected buffoons leaders congresscritters just vote on each individual bill, one at a time, and let them pass or fail on their own merits? Why do 'procedural processes' constantly interfere with the passage or defeat of proposed legislation?


For the record, I'm a college professor and a CHL holder. I work within spitting distance from the Texas-Mexico border, at a university that has benefited greatly from Sen. Zaffirini's dedication to higher education. I respect her. I also think, based on first-hand experience, that college reporting requirements and other assorted administrative nonsense addressed in her bill is adding a ridiculous amount of overhead to the cost of a college education, and distracting - no, make that interfering with - the primary mission of a university: delivering high-quality education at a reasonable cost to our students.

Having said that, I see absolutely no reason why CHL holders, who must pass a background check and undergo a training/evaluation course, cannot be trusted to do on a college campus what they do just about everywhere else. The latest DPS statistics provide overwhelming evidence that CHL holders are much, much more law abiding than the general population.

The bill is not about arming  a bunch of drunken frat boys. It's about adding a layer of protection to places that are inviting targets for terrorists or the deranged, by virtue of the fact that the evil-doers are guaranteed a 'target population' that cannot protect itself.

Once you get past the knee-jerk reaction of "guns = bad" why would any thinking person oppose this bill?

Timing Is Everything

Follow the bouncing ball...

1.  On Wednesday of last week Dept. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano proposed a “border security index” to measure enforcement progress along the Southwest border.

2. The next day, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee called the new plan “nothing short of inflated facts and figures to give them an excuse to say the border is secure.”
Miss Napolitano said the new yardstick would better reflect the improvements the administration says it has made along the border, adding that the agency’s longtime mantra of gaining “operational control” of U.S. borders had become obsolete. She said the new index would include crime, immigration and economic data.

During the hearing, the committee’s ranking Republican, Susan M. Collins of Maine, noted that some 300 bodies had been discovered in mass graves just 90 miles from Brownsville, Texas, and last month FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III reported that drug cartels constituted a threat “to the security of the entire country.”

“This backdrop explains why many were perplexed to hear Secretary Napolitano state in late March that security on the southern U.S. border is ‘better now than it ever has been’ and that violence from neighboring Mexico has not edged north,” she said.

With the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress chief watchdog, saying less than half of the southern border is under “operational control,” the Obama administration has been distancing itself from that measure for more than a year.
If you can't fix the problem, change how it is defined...
“The Government Accountability Office and Border Patrol agents on the ground know the truth,” said Mr. Smith. “According to a recent GAO report, only 44 percent of the southwest border is under the ‘operational control’ of the Border Patrol. Mexican drug cartels are out of control and the violence threatens to spill over into the United States. And each year, millions of illegal immigrants enter the U.S.”
In February, the GAO said the U.S. had operational control along 873 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico  border. Of those miles, just 15 percent were designated as “controlled,” while the rest were designated a slightly lesser category of “managed.”
"Operational control" ... "managed" ... what the hell difference does it make? The fact is that the U.S. - Mexico border is a sieve. Granted, illegal immigration is a concern. But the real threat is from narco and islamic terrorists crossing the border with impunity.

3. obama is heading to El Paso this week to make a major speech on immigration reform.

4. Today, 13 people were killed in a drug cartel-related shootout on an island in the middle of a lake between Texas and Mexico. This is the same lake where a U.S. citizen was killed by cartel members and his wife pursued and shot at as she fled. (For first-hand stories from Texas ranchers along the border go to http://protectyourtexasborder.com/Home.aspx. For my previous posts on the earlier Falcon Lake shooting go here and here.)

Okay, asshole, explain that away in your speech.

obama and the rest of the morons on his team don't seem to be able to differentiate between immigration and border security. If you've got a hole in your boat, the first thing you do is patch it. Then you worry about who's on board and where you're going.

I've posted about this before until I'm blue in the face. For a couple of the more recent and relevant posts go here and here.

Whether or not you're a Ron Paul supporter, it's time to give his plan some serious scrutiny.
Ron Paul’s six point plan puts a stop to illegal immigration:
  1. Physically secure our borders and coastlines. We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.
I work and live on the border part time. I've heard the shots, seen the explosions and smoke, seen LEO actions and arrests first hand. I've also seen the shock and terror in the eyes of ordinary, innocent people who are just trying to live their lives peacefully, but who get sucked into the maelstrom of violence. I can't imagine what it is like to raise a family under these conditions - on either side of the border.

I have nothing but disgust and contempt for politicians of either party who try to score political points off this, without making a sincere effort to solve the problem.

And how on God's Green Earth can someone who lives in New York or Washington D.C. even begin to comprehend what it's like down here? 

I don't know whether to sigh heavily and open another Shiner or break out my XD and go postal.

(Just kidding, DHS. I have nothing but love and respect for my fellow human beings...)

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Monday

Our weekday morning routine starts with my wife taking her shower while I make the bed and the coffee, and let the dogs out. This morning, she's in the bathroom lathering herself up when I tug on the contoured sheet to get the wrinkles out. It was either one hell of a tug or a very worn sheet, because it ripped right down the middle.

After starting the coffee, I gathered up the bird feeders to take them outside. We have four of the damn things. They're about 1 1/2 feet tall, 4 inches in diameter, and hold close to 2 pounds of bird seed. They have a little metal loop at the top from which they hang (see the picture below). We bring them in at night to prevent raccoon raids. Those furry little vandals have made a large nuisance of themselves lately, knocking down the bird feeders, carrying away hummingbird feeders, getting into the garage where we keep the trash and dog food, and just generally behaving like liberals (taking things they have no right to, and messing up what they don't carry off).

Anyway, as I was carrying the feeders outside, the little metal loop at the top of one of them came off. The feeder fell (right onto my toe, naturally) and spilled its 2 pounds of seed all over the kitchen floor.

While I was cleaning up the seed, the kids came downstairs for breakfast. After laughing at me on my hands and knees under the table sweeping up seed, one of them opened to door to let the dogs back in. Somehow, in the two minutes they were outside, they found the only mud puddle for miles around. They bounded happily into the living room, leaving muddy paw prints all over the carpet.

So to date my Monday has been spent making beds, sweeping floors, and vacuuming.

I thought Mother's Day was yesterday...

FOD 2011.05.09

I spent most of Sunday prepping, cooking, and cleaning for/after our Mother's Day dinner. Actually, I spent most of the time supervising the kids as they did most of the work.

It certainly would have been quicker, not to mention much easier, to do the work myself. But I'm trying to teach them skills they will need in the future, and part of that is to let them do the work, make the mistakes, and learn from that.

I went through this exercise because I'm concerned about our children's future. That is one reason I consider obama to be not only incompetent, but a very real threat to my kids and their generational cohort. There's no need to go into the details here. Most thinking people are already aware of them (I'm assuming that any readers of this blog are thinking people, which differentiates them from the majority of voters in 2008).

Anyway, I'm too tuckered out to put much effort into today's post, so I've borrowed the following images from FRedStates.com. Enjoy.