Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sehr Gut!

I live in Central Texas near a small - very small - town named Bergeim. Some of the other towns near here are New Braunfels, Boerne, and Fredericksburg. As you can tell from those names, this part of Texas was settled by Germans. That heritage is reflected in everyday life.

We love our sausage and beer. We have oompah bands and polka festivals. Lots of people in these parts still speak German. In fact, the local high school only teaches two foreign languages; German, and Spanish.

It's not unusual to hear people on the street or in stores speaking German. Which explains the following.
A local rancher driving down a country road noticed a man using his hand to drink water from the rancher's stock pond.

The rancher rolled down the window and shouted: "Sehr angenehm! Trink das Wasser nicht. Die kuehe haben darein geschissen."

Which means: "Glad to meet you!  Don't drink the water. The cows have crapped in it."

The man shouted back: "I'm from New York and I'm down here campaigning for Obama. I can't understand you. Please speak in English."

The rancher replied: "Use both hands."

Watch Out For Splinters

A few days ago I posted something about a woman who pleasured herself in a MRI tube. Today I came across this story detailing the theft of implements she might have found handy.

Thief Steals 7 Wooden Penises
German police say a thief was in for a surprise after making off with a red plastic box from the back of a station wagon.

Inside were seven wooden penises of varying sizes, 100 condoms, and instructional material for sex education classes at a local counseling center.

Police in Goettingen said in a statement that the material is worth about $260...
Let's do the math. At the Discount Condom King 100 condoms sell for $24.95, with free shipping and a free vibrating ring tossed in for good measure. That leaves $235 worth of seven wooden penises, or around $33 per woodcock (sorry, all you bird lovers). That seems a little steep. Plus there's all those splinters to worry about.

Alternatively, you can purchase a Frisky Fingers personal massager for $ 9.95 (plus shipping).

I'm not an expert on the subject, but the Frisky Finger seems to be a clear winner...

Monday, January 30, 2012

FOD Bonus Post 2012.01.30

We can only hope...

 * * * * * * * * * *

One sunny day in January, 2013, a man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue where he'd been sitting on a park bench.

He walked up to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, "I would like to go in and meet with President Obama."

The Marine looked at the man and said, "Sir, Mr. Obama is no longer President and no longer resides here."

The man said, "Okay," and walked away.

The following day the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, "I would like to go in and meet with President Obama."

The Marine again told the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Obama is no longer President and no longer resides here."

The man thanked him and again walked away.

The third day the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U.S. Marine, again saying, "I would like to go in and meet with President Obama."

The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Obama. I've told you already that Mr. Obama is no longer the President and no longer resides here. Don't you understand?"

The man looked at the Marine and said, "Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it."

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, " I love saying it! See you tomorrow, Sir."

FOD 2012.01.30

Today's guest commentator (unbeknownst to him) is columnist Jonathan Gurwitz of the San Antonio Express-News.

Obama blueprint dramatically flawed
Man plans. God laughs. In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama presented what he called the blueprint for an economy that's built to last. The future may hold different designs.

Take the president's plan to save taxpayers $500 billion over the next decade by cutting defense spending. Let it be noted that he has at least found one area of government spending that he is willing ... no, is eager to reduce. The problem is that there are no others.

In an era of real bureaucratic austerity, every government department, agency and program — including the Pentagon — should be subject to cuts. President Obama, however, lays down the budget ax when he's finished with defense.

The president said Tuesday night that even with those cuts, his strategy will allow the United States to stay one step ahead of its adversaries. Perhaps.

The Obama strategy is predicated on the belief that the security challenges the United States will face over the next decade can be met with a much smaller military and, specifically, much fewer ground forces. North Korea, Iran, an Arab world roiling with revolutionary change or some unforeseen threat from the next “failure to connect the dots” may determine otherwise.

The Obama economy of the future envisions a world in which the expectation of increasing global harmony will allow the United States to safely reduce defense spending from 4.5 percent of gross domestic product last year to 2.7 percent in 2021. That would be its lowest share of GDP since 1940, for those seeking an ominous historical analogy.

Here it's worth remembering John F. Kennedy's admonition that “only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”

The Obama economy of the future also envisions a world in which national debt evidently does not matter. In his address to a joint session of Congress in 2009, President Obama said it was time to “make hard choices to bring our deficit down.” He made none.

In his State of the Union address in 2010, he said the U.S. government had to live within its means like cash-strapped American families and warned, “If I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.” He didn't.

Last year, he declared, “We have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in.” A month later, he submitted a budget with a $1.2 trillion deficit.

On Tuesday evening, the president offered only a throwaway mention of the national debt, a debt to which he is on track to add an unprecedented $6.2 trillion in only one term. He suggested using half a presumed peace dividend to pay down the debt, a plan so lame that Associated Press fact-checkers called it a “budgetary sleight of hand.”

While the defense budget, which accounts for 20 percent of the federal budget, is set to decline to a historic low, the Congressional Budget Office estimates entitlement spending, which accounts for 42 percent of federal spending, will continue to grow from 9.9 percent of GDP in 2010 to 12 percent in 2021. About this, the president of hard choices and vetoes said ... nothing.
President Obama calls this evasion of responsibility his “Blueprint for an America Built to Last.” Would you accept a blueprint for a home that offers only partial shelter against the elements, costs more than you can afford, will leave your children paupers and has a $16.2 trillion hole where the foundation should be?
That pretty much sums things up. Now if only the clowns running for the republican nomination would quit beating each other up and focus instead on Barry's record we'd all be a lot better off.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stand By Your Man - Not!

Posted with minimal comment:

 * * * * * * * * * *

Woman Dumps Man Because He Has Cancer, Still Wants His Super Bowl Tickets
The headline pretty much says it all, doesn't it? John Wessling and Anson Ainsworth, radio show hosts in Houston, pass along this incredible story of bitchiness and greed. Jason Elia, a television writer living in Nashville, went to the trouble of getting Super Bowl tickets for himself and his girlfriend and was even going to propose to her at the game, but life got in the way. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer and upon hearing the news, his girlfriend apparently dumped him on the spot.

Now, she still wants the tickets because she claims they were purchased with her in mind...
Reminds me of my second ex-wife...

Sunday Funnies 2012.01.29

What do you get when you cross obama's State of the Union address with an Italian cruise ship accident?

Of course, it wasn't his fault. It's our fault for being too dumb to understand what a great job he's doing.

Okay, okay, no more politics. Just cruise ship jokes.

* * * * * * * * * *
Q:  How do they serve alcoholic drinks on Italian cruise ships?
A:  On the rocks

Q:  What vegetables do you get with dinner on Italian cruise ships?
A:  Leeks

Q:  What do the Italian economy and the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia have in common?
A:  The bottom's dropped out of both.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

RIP John H. Baker, Jr. - Medal of Honor Recipient

From my generation...

* * * * * * * * * *
John F. Baker Jr., a retired Army master sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War for rescuing wounded soldiers from an ambush and leading a daring counterassault, has died at a hospital in Columbia, S.C.

On Nov. 5, 1966, Baker's unit was tasked with reinforcing a group of American soldiers pinned down near Dau Tieng, close to the Cambodian border.

As the U.S. soldiers advanced ... the jungle erupted in enemy fire. Camouflaged machine gun positions spit bullets that whizzed by Baker's head. Mortar rounds thumped the ground. Snipers in the trees picked off Americans hiding on the ground.

Baker ran toward the front with another soldier and helped destroy two enemy bunkers.

During the attack, the other soldier was mortally wounded. Baker killed four enemy snipers before carrying his comrade away from the ambush.

Returning to the battle, Baker was blown off his feet by an enemy grenade but recovered to make repeated trips through withering fire to evacuate wounded American soldiers...

As his Medal of Honor nomination was considered, Baker spent the rest of his tour as a “tunnel rat.” Armed with a flashlight and pistol, he explored the spider- and scorpion-infested subterranean network used by Viet Cong guerrillas.
Tunnel rats were either the ballsiest or the craziest - or both - soldiers I ever met. I've jumped out of perfectly good airplanes without a second thought, but there's no way on God's green earth you could get me to crawl around in those cramped, booby-trapped graves tunnels.

BTW - Baker was 5'2" tall and weighed 105 - an ideal physique for a tunnel rat.
Returning home in August 1967, Baker served as a drill instructor. One day, he was told he had an urgent phone call. It was President Lyndon B. Johnson on the line, inviting him to the White House to be awarded the Medal of Honor, the military's highest decoration for valor.
I was intimidated enough by my drill sergeant - a short, stocky, fireplug of a man who didn't talk or yell. He growled.

He had several rows of ribbons and awards, including a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star with V for Valor, and a Combat Infantry Badge. That's more than enough to impress a 19-year-old. But can you imagine a DI with the MOH? I would have been even more of a nervous wreck than I already was.
According to his citation, “Baker's selfless heroism, indomitable fighting spirit, and extraordinary gallantry were directly responsible for saving the lives of several of his comrades, and inflicting serious damage on the enemy.”
Joining Baker at the ceremony in the East Room was his company commander, then-Capt. Robert Foley, who also was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the same battle that November day in 1966.
Foley, who retired from the Army as a lieutenant general in 2000, stood 6-foot-7 and played basketball at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Johnson told Baker and Foley they reminded him of the cartoon characters Mutt and Jeff.
The mental image of Foley and Baker as Mutt and Jeff adds just the right, light touch to a sad yet inspiring story.

RIP John F. Baker Jr. - and thank you.

Thanks also to Robert Foley, and all who honorably served in those difficult times.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Follies Happy Hour

A blast from the past - Three Dog Night singing "Liar."

Dedicated to obama and his State of the Union address...

Cougars And Chargers And MILFs - Oh My!

One Utah school district believes a cougar mascot would be insensitive to women.
The Canyons School District overrode the students top choice of a cougar mascot for their high school that is to be completed in 2013.

Would-be Corner Canyon High School students chose the Cougars as their mascot — a name principal Mary Bailey said carries an ugly connotation that is disrespectful to women.

In popular culture, the cougar is a sexually aggressive middle-aged woman who attracts younger men.
The school mascot will instead be "the Charger," which to me also connotes an aggressive woman prowling the mall in search of her prey.

Could it be that Ms. Bailey rejected the Cougar monicker because it hit too close to home? She is, after all, a middle-aged woman who works closely with younger men.

No word on what Ms Bailey thought of the students' second choice for a mascot nickname - MILF.

And in a somewhat related story we have a woman diddling herself in an MRI tube, all in the name of science.
Let me just get this out of the way upfront: I had an orgasm in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner.

I participated in a study at Rutgers University where scientists measured the activity in my brain as I self-stimulated to an orgasm.

I wasn’t the first woman to participate in one of these studies - and I won’t be the last.
I just bet you won't be the last, darlin'. If they did a similar study for men there'd be a waiting list.
Time and time again, I’m asked how I managed to have an orgasm in an fMRI scanner. But that’s not the right question. The important question is why I had an orgasm in an fMRI scanner.
Actually, the important question is "Why not"?
(The answer is) ...to help further our understanding of orgasm and human sexuality. When I say I came for the science - I mean it.
Give her credit. She's got a sense of humor.

So let me get this straight (so do I!). She self-pleasures herself in an MRI and that's okay because its "for the science."

But when a guy tries the same thing in the front seat of his car in the YWCA parking lot he gets in all sorts of trouble...

MRI? No - Tube o' Pleasure

Putting Things Off

Lots going on, both personally and professionally. I meant to have a post ready for this morning, but somehow didn't quite get around to it.

Maybe later...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Overheard At The Deer Lease

"My biggest fear is that when I die my wife will sell my guns for what I told her they cost."

My Last Word On SOTU

By now you're probably as tired of hearing about that abomination of Tuesday's State of the Union (SOTU) address as I am. But please indulge me one last time.

We could be politically correct and say that some of obama's SOTU statements were questionable or open to interpretation. But let's call a spade a spade (no racial slur intended). He flat out lied through his teeth from the beginning to the end of that wretched speech.

ABC News, of all things, rediscovered some lost shred of its journalistic responsibility and fact-checked a few of the liar-in-chief's claims. The detailed breakdown can be found here. However, since the centerpiece of obama's SOTU campaign speech revolved around taxing vilifying the rich successful, let's take a closer look at his pride and joy: the so-called Buffett Rule.

Fact Check: The Rich, Their Secretaries and Taxes
Treasury Secretary Geithner yesterday declined to answer a key question about the president’s proposed “Buffett Rule”:  How many millionaires and billionaires pay lower tax rates than middle-income families?
Gee, I wonder why he might decline to answer. Could it be that the rich already pay their fair share and more? Naw...
The answer: not that many.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has crunched the numbers and found that Warren Buffett and his secretary are the exception to the rule.  For the most part, the wealthy pay a significantly higher percentage of their income in taxes than middle-income workers.

The key numbers:  this year those earning over $1 million will pay, on average, 29.1 percent on federal taxes.  Those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent.
So obama's much-heralded 30% tax rate for the rich will amount to less than a 1% increase. That'll go a long way towards reducing that pesky deficit
There were 236,883 taxpayers who earned more than $1 million in 2009.  That’s less than two-tenths of one percent of all filers.

The Top 400 tax filers  – the very richest Americans – do pay a lower rate of just 18.11 percent of their total income.  Why?  Many of them are hedge fund managers and people like Buffet — their income is pegged to how much their investment fund grows.  For some reason, this income is counted as so-called “carried interest” (even though it is not interest at all; it’s more like a performance bonus) and is taxed at the lower 15 percent capital gains rate.

It’s a loophole for hedge managers, pure and simple.  But while it may be an outrage that these uber-rich hedge fund managers pay such a low rate compared to the rest of us, there are just not many of them out there.

But the top 400 tax filers represent a tiny sliver – just .00028 percent of all filers. The vast majority of those earning over $1 million a year pay at a higher rate, which is why the average tax rate for this group, according to the Tax Foundation, is 29.1 percent of taxable income.  And, yes, this number includes income taxes, payroll taxes and capital gains taxes.
Oops. There goes the argument for raising the capital gains tax rate.
The Top 400 tax filers  – the very richest Americans – do pay a lower rate of just 18.11 percent of their total income.  Why?  Many of them are hedge fund managers and people like Buffet — their income is pegged how much their investment fund grows.  For some reason, this income is counted as so-called “carried interest” (even though it is not interest at all; it’s more like a performance bonus) and is taxed at the lower 15 percent capital gains rate.

It’s a loophole for hedge managers, pure and simple.  But while it may be an outrage that these uber-rich hedge fund managers pay such a low rate compared to the rest of us, there are just not many of them out there.
So do the right thing and fix the problem - revise/simplify the tax code. Diddling around with tax rates is treating the symptoms while ignoring the festering pus-filled cause of the infection.

But fixing complex problems won't get a politician reelected. From their standpoint it's better to run on a populist platform - Tax the Rich! - then do the job they were elected to do.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

obama Declares War On Success

I am not a millionaire - yet.

I am, however, bound and determined to keep working and applying myself to become successful, to be able to provide for my family and descendants, and to be able at some point to enjoy a few of the finer things in life.

In the eyes of comrade obama that makes me an enemy of the state.

In last night's State of the Union address obama declared war on success, calling for a 30% tax rate on people who make more than $1 million per year. It is crass political pandering and feel-good policy at its worst, with blatant disregard for the facts.

IRS tax rates already tax earned income over $380K at 35%, so obama's proposal is clearly aimed at income resulting from capital gains, which currently are taxed at 15%. However, that 15% is the second bite from the apple. Those dividends and capital gains have already been taxed at the corporate level. 
Nobody seems to ask the question why dividends and capital gains are taxed at preferential rates. The simple answer is that they have already been taxed once, and their seeming tax breaks are applied to income being taxed a second time.

Dividends are paid out of after-tax corporate income that already has been taxed at rates as high as 35%. Capital gains are generated by income from investments, which come out of savings. The savings come from income that already has been taxed but not spent.
In other words, the corporation (hopefully) generates income, which is taxed at the corporate level. The individual invests in the corporation, using  money that has already been taxed at the individual level.Any dividends or capital gains resulting from the corporation being successful (which, keep in mind, is not a given) are then taxed again. An example:
A millionaire rock star who squanders all his income on high living is taxed once. An entrepreneurially minded rap star who prudently sets aside some earnings and invests them in enterprises that make headphones or fashions, which create wealth and jobs, is taxed a second time on the dividends and capital gains that may eventually be generated.
So would someone please explain to me how taxing the investor and the entrepreneur will create jobs?

There's also the so-called 'risk premium' to consider. Investing in stocks or start-up firms carries risk. Prudent investors expect that, as risk goes up, so does their potential return. Remove that risk premium and capital will flow from the stock market to low-risk instruments such as municipal bonds (which, by the way, are tax-free).
Whatever they (the 1%) do, they won't stand still. Rich folks have the flexibility to rearrange their affairs, unlike working stiffs. So, they pick up stakes and move from high-tax states to low-tax domiciles. And they have accountants, lawyers and other advisers whose livelihood depends on helping their affluent clients keep what they have out of the clutches of the tax collector. That only stimulates income for those advisers instead of the economy at large.

The alternative is to scuttle the present abomination of a tax code and replace it with a broad, simple one that captures more income at lower rates and with fewer exclusions. That was not on the agenda of the State of Union, however.
That last point bears repeating. The simplest and most effective way to ensure 'fairness' in our tax system is to throw out all the special interest provisions, deductions, and exclusions that make the existing tax code unintelligible. The 2011 U.S. tax code is 72,536 pages long, and growing. Someone who has the wherewithal to hire a stable of accountants and tax attorneys is obviously going to find loopholes and deductions that are beyond the reach of the average taxpayer.

But "Revise the Tax Code" doesn't have the same political appeal as "Tax the Rich"...

SOTU - First Impressions


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SOTU Gag Me With A Spoon

Oh my aching butt!

The opening shot on CBS showed Eric Holder, followed by a shot of a simpering Elena Kagan (or Sonia Sotamayor - all those overweight token liberal appointees look alike).

Then the talking head said something about Warren Buffet's secretary being a guest of Michelle. That's all I could take.

I sprained my thumb hitting the remote...

SOTU Prequel

Tonight is something we've been looking forward to for a whole year. Yes, folks, it's time for obama's State of the Union (SOTU) address.

People are making predictions about what he will say, suggesting bingo games to make the speech more palatable, even serving up rules for a drinking game (massive quantities of booze are about the only way to get through this thing).

I don't want to be left out of the fun, but I also don't want to go along with the crowd. So here's a little different slant on how to get in the proper frame of mind for the crapstorm looming on the horizon.


     - Obama will announce his plan for Social Security: "Take the security part out of it."
         - After the speech a drunk will call the White House and tell the receptionist, "I'd like to become the next President of the United States."
             The receptionist says, "What are you, an idiot?"

             The drunk responds, "Why, is it required?"


           - Isn't it interesting how most of the people who hate the rich buy lottery tickets?
             - The Union is in a truly dismal state.
          But with the president delivering his State of the Union speech to Congress Tuesday night, let’s pause here to take as hard look at the real state of America, by the numbers, using only cold, hard facts.


          This is a little dated, but still hilarious. It comes with two cautions: (1) NSFW; and (2) be careful when drinking beverages. You will spew.

          So stock up on adult beverages, remove all breakable and throwable objects from reach, and watch as much of it as you can stand (for me, that'll be about 15 nanoseconds).

          Then find a rerun of Law and Order...

          Told You So

          Normally I don't like tooting my own horn, but in this case I feel justified (the "I told you so" portion is towards the end).
          Warren Buffet’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC will benefit greatly by Barack Obama’s decision to nix the Keystone Pipeline from Canada.
           This is one of those times I wish I was wrong...

          Monday, January 23, 2012

          Sign Of The Apocolypse

          Yet another sign that the end of time is near. I stumbled across this on e-bay while looking for ... well, never mind. In any event, what I was looking for is nowhere near as weird as this (click to embiggen).

          Yes, you can now bid on a 4-ounce bottle of water from Tom Cruise's swimming pool, water that not only Tom swam in, but also Katie Holmes and their daughter Suri. Along with the water, you get a photo of Tom and Katie swimming in the pool "as a certificate of authenticity."
          For sale is a 4oz. bottle containing water taken from a pool in Miami Beach, Florida in which Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes swam in with daughter Suri on July 17, 2011. There is a very limited supply of this special water. The water has been refrigerated to ensure freshness and quality. The winning bidder will receive a 5x7 print of Tom swimming in the pool with Katie Holmes by his side as a certificate of authenticity. The bottle is hand painted and shows a cross to mimic the effect of a bottle of Holy Water. But this cross also bears four gold rays coming from behind, which can also be considered the symbol of Scientology. Additionally, you can consider the cross to represent the letter "t" as in Tom.
          What, you ask, might one do with said H2O? The seller has a few suggestions.
          Tom Cruise water can be used in rituals, potions, or perfumes. It can be dabbed behind the ears or on the wrists for good luck. You can place some of it around the hearth of your home or baptize your baby with it. The possibilities are endless!
          The starting bid for a 4-oz bottle of Tom Cruise water is $20. I'd much rather pay $4 for a 12-oz bottle of Shiner...

          FOD 2012.01.23

          The Keystone pipeline decision is just the latest in a long line of obama screw-ups that provide the justification for this poster (H/T Curmudgeonly & Skeptical).

          Sunday, January 22, 2012

          Sunday Funnies 2012.01.22

          A weekend full of teen drama...

          A country gets the politicians and teenagers it deserves. (God help us...)


          You try your hardest to raise your teenagers with patience, honesty and good manners, but they still end up being like you.

          Saturday, January 21, 2012

          It's A Question Of Character

          So just exactly how much do you value character and integrity in a person?

          Let's assume you're hiring someone for a position in your organization. You've narrowed the field down to two candidates. Both are qualified, although in your subjective opinion one - Candidate Q - is somewhat more qualified than the other. However, Candidate Q has some personal characteristics that give you pause; infidelity, multiple marriages, association with questionable characters, involvement with questionable causes, etc.

          The other candidate - Candidate C - has a better track record in terms of character (charitable activities and contributions, a stable marriage, that sort of thing), but is, again in your subjective opinion, somewhat less qualified than Candidate C.

          Which one do you choose? Do you pick the best person for the job, or do you subscribe to the theory that 'If you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner?'

          Obviously this is a poorly-disguised parallel to the question facing republican voters in the primaries. Romney has a squeaky-clean background in terms of marital fidelity. He also has a long-term record of charitable and religious commitment, including regular tithing. Say what you will about his politics, but I can't find anything questionable in his character.

          Newt, on the other hand, has what could at best be described as a shaky track record in terms of marriage. There are also questions surrounding some of his past business associations. And there is the infamous video of him and pelosi together, advocating for global warming. But he is arguably better qualified, at least from a conservative perspective, for the position.

          Just to muddy the waters a little further, flash back to the late 1990's. When Bill Clinton's womanizing came to light plenty of conservatives were saying "Character matters." If that was true then, it should be true now.

          I'm torn. Newt is more acceptable to me from a policy standpoint, and I think he'd flat out destroy obama in a debate. But I don't trust Newt. I think he's primarily interested in what's good for Newt.

          On the other hand, IMO Romney is just more of the same that we've suffered through for the last couple of decades, both R and D. I don't see anything in his policies that excites me, but there's nothing there that I strongly oppose, either. I think he could hold his own in a debate with obama. And I think he is a person of character and integrity, which I believe counts for something.

          So back to the original question. How much do you value character and integrity in a person?

          For me, personally, the answer is "Quite a bit."

          Friday, January 20, 2012

          Syllabus Week

          Today marks the end of the first week of the new semester. Syllabus Week, as it is now known, is basically a week of light coursework and heavy partying. For you Navy types, think Fleet Week.

          During Syllabus Week the professors basically go through the course format, expectations, and requirements. The more demanding profs might also toss in a very basic lecture of an introductory nature. Homework might be assigned, but is typically not due until the second week of the semester.

          This has become so ingrained in the U.S. higher education system that Syllabus Week has it's own entry in the Urban Dictionary:
          1. Party week.
          2. The first week of classes, during which all time is wasted by reading through the syllabus.
          Far be it from me to go all contrary to the expectations of America's youth. Plus, the lying assholes powers-that-be screwed me over on this semester's schedule. They promised me one thing, and then changed it at the very last minute, leaving me little time to prepare for the new semester and leaving no time for our tech support group to make the necessary changes to our online registration and course management systems.

          I'm still so mad that steam is pouring out of my ears, no matter how many Shiners I've downed in a vain attempt to quench the raging fires of outrage and injustice. I'm also busy fighting the fires that resulted from this fiasco. I can deal with it, but the ones getting harmed by this flustercluck are the people we're supposed to be here to help - the students. This has caused more than one of them no little inconvenience in terms of class scheduling, child care, and work arrangements.

          But the damn administrators don't care. They're all so busy covering their asses that they don't have time to do anything like their jobs. I was literally told by the dean of the business school that this last minute change was driven by one person who wasn't directly involved, but who was worried about what someone else might think about the original schedule.

          Yes, that's right. Multiple faculty members were disrupted and many students were screwed because of what one person thought other people might think.

          Words cannot express my disgust. I'm stopping now because the veins in my head have resumed throbbing, my field of vision is shrinking, and all I can think of is how nice it would be to apply a .45 ACP vasectomy to certain individuals...

          Thursday, January 19, 2012

          Take Care Of Your Tools And They'll Take Care Of You

          The United States is blessed with the most capable navy ever to sail the seven seas. The backbone of today's navy is the aircraft carrier. These ships - and their crews - enable America to project our influence and might around the world.

          But aircraft carriers are tremendously complex and expensive. In these challenging economic times there is pressure on the military to reduce costs, and the navy is not exempt. There is talk of reducing the number of carriers from 11 to 10.
          ... The Washington Times reports, citing unnamed sources, that the U.S. Navy may be trying to cut one of its 11 carriers to save money.

          Congress has mandated by law that the Navy maintain 11 carriers. But the Pentagon is also under orders from the Obama administration to cut $488 billion from its budget within the next 10 years, Rowan Scarborough reports in the Times.

          Cutting a carrier, along with the other forces that make up and support a carrier battle group, could save the Navy billions of dollars, according to the Times report.
          While doing so would certainly save money, it would place more stress on the remaining carriers and crews. Deployment times would be lengthened. Repair and refit times would be reduced. Our ability to project force and influence events would be degraded.

          More troubling, it would also make the carriers more valuable targets. And our potential competition is definitely taking steps to upgrade their anti-carrier capabilities.
          The USS Gerald R. Ford was supposed to help secure another half century of American naval supremacy. The hulking aircraft carrier taking shape in a dry dock in Newport News, Va., is designed to carry a crew of 4,660 and a formidable arsenal of aircraft and weapons.

          But an unforeseen problem cropped up between blueprint and expected delivery in 2015: China is building a new class of ballistic missiles designed to arc through the stratosphere and explode onto the deck of a U.S. carrier, killing sailors and crippling its flight deck.
          China has also built up its submarine force, to the extent that a Chinese submarine surfaced in the middle of a U.S. carrier group.
          When the U.S. Navy deploys a battle fleet on exercises, it takes the security of its aircraft carriers very seriously indeed.

          At least a dozen warships provide a physical guard while the technical wizardry of the world's only military superpower offers an invisible shield to detect and deter any intruders.

          That is the theory. Or, rather, was the theory.

          American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

          By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.
          According to senior NATO officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.
          That last line is a classic example of British understatement (the news account is from a U.K. paper).

          Granted, the incident occurred a few years ago. I'm sure the Navy has strengthened its antisubmarine defenses since then. But I doubt if the Chinese have been standing still, either. Reducing the number of U.S. carriers would be putting our most valuable eggs into fewer baskets. I'm not convinced that's a smart idea.

          Another concern: the raison d'être of aircraft carriers is, as the name implies, to carry aircraft where they are needed. But the effectiveness of a carrier is to a great deal dependent on the effectiveness of the planes it carries. It does no good to ferry aircraft to a distant locale only to watch them get shot out of the sky. That brings us to the military's new F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, a state-of-the-art warplane designed to replace several aging airframes.

          The F-35C is intended to be both an air-to-ground strike aircraft and an air superiority fighter. I understand the arguments in favor of standardization - the twin sirens of efficiency and economy. But efficiency and economy is not the same as effectiveness. In striving for efficiency and economy, compromises must be made.

          For example, the F-35C will replace the A-10 Warthog. The A-10 is arguably the best ground support airplane ever devised. It's basically an airplane built around a gun. It's hard to fathom how a jet plane can fly as low-and-slow, and deliver a stream of depleted uranium slugs at 4200 rounds per minute, as well as the Warthog.

          Similarly, the F-35C is slated to replace the F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter and the STOVL (short take-off and vertical landing) Harrier. That's a lot of versatility to build into a single airframe. However, versatility in and of itself is not necessarily a good thing.

          An illustration: I own a Swiss Army Knife. It's a handy, convenient little tool. But if I want to do some serious stabbing I'd much rather have a Ka-Bar in my hand. If I'm going to open multiple bottles of wine or beer, give me a traditional corkscrew or bottle-opener designed for that specific purpose.

          Yes, having specialized tools for specific jobs is more expensive, and requires more managing, but like my dear old Daddy told me, "Use the right tool for the job." (Of course, that didn't stop me from using a screwdriver as a chisel a couple of times, but after botching the job I figured out the Old Man just might have a point.)

          And to top things off, there are reports that there is a design problem with the F-35C  that will prevent it from landing on carriers.
          As for the F-35C, reports have begun circulating that the aircraft the military says is "the most affordable, lethal, supportable and survivable aircraft ever to be used by so many warfighters across the globe" won't be able to land on aircraft carriers, apparently because its tailhook is too short and is situated too close to its landing gear for the plane to properly grab the arresting cables that enable planes to land on aircraft carriers.

          The report was first seen last week on the website aviationintel.com and was backed up by a report in London's Sunday Times that has been picked up by press across Britain.

          Aviationintel.com reported that the design flaw is not fixable because there's just not enough space on the belly of the F-35C to move the tailhook back.
          Let me make this perfectly clear. I am not an expert on either aircraft carriers or airplanes. But I do have, IMHO, a little bit of common sense. And unlike many of the weasels currently wasting oxygen in Washington D.C., I'd like to ensure that the United States maintains its military advantage over current and future enemies.

          I don't think that reducing the number of our carriers and relying on a flying Swiss Army Knife will do so...

          Back In Business

          The SOPA strike is over. Only time will tell if it had any effect, but early returns are encouraging. However, we're not out of the woods yet.

          If you haven't already done so, please take a minute to contact your representative and senators. Here's what I sent to mine.
          I am contacting you to voice my strong opposition to SOPA, and any other form of government meddling with the Internet.
          The Internet, electronic commerce, and the underlying businesses have dramatically grown and prospered precisely because of minimal government interference and intrusion. The last thing we need, especially in these turbulent economic times, is more ill-conceived government regulation.
          Please stop pandering to special interest groups. Let the free market flourish.
          Feel free to cut-and-paste away...

          Wednesday, January 18, 2012

          ON STRIKE!!!

          This blog is on strike today to fight the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

          Go here for more information.

          Do you seriously want a coalition of sleazy politicians and even sleazier hollywood jerkoffs controlling what you can post and see on the Internet?

          I didn't think so.

          Let your congresscritter know how you feel. If enough of us do so they just might pay attention.

          After all, that's how democracy is supposed to work...

          Tuesday, January 17, 2012

          Self-Defense Not Allowed Here

          I've published a few posts lately (here and here) chronicling how innocent victims of home invasions defended themselves using deadly force. In all three cases the victims had no choice, being outmuscled, outnumbered, outgunned, or all three, by their attackers. Thankfully, those incidents didn't take place in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.
          If you defend your family and property from a knife-wielding druggie in Massachusetts, you’d better be prepared to also defend yourself from the justice system, too.

          (Anthony) McKay is the young father who, seeing a local druggie breaking into his truck and stealing the tools he uses to pay the bills, confronted him, subdued him and held him for the police. When the police arrived, they found the bad guy had a knife, a billy club and — thanks to the unarmed McKay — a broken jaw.
          What a bad ass! Most reasonable people would say "Good for McKay," bare-handedly defeating a thug armed with a knife and club. But we're not talking about reasonable people here. We're talking about the bozos who keep electing various members of a wealthy elite arrogant liberal family Kennedys to public office.
          Instead of thanking McKay for helping get an armed criminal off the streets, Swampscott officials charged him with a felony.
          Yes, you read that right. The good guy stops some criminal lowlife from breaking into his truck and stealing his property - and remember, the perp is armed and the 'victim' isn't - and the good guy gets booked for a felony.
          As a Swampscott police spokesman said at the time, “We don’t urge anybody to fight back. We want them to call us.”
          I literally cannot think of anything to say in response to such lunacy. I guess MA cops want you to roll over and expose your belly in a show of submission.
          Thanks to pressure from readers of the Boston Herald and others, McKay will not be prosecuted. But the Essex County District Attorney’s office has made it clear that they are not supporting your right to self defense ... the Essex DA insists the decision to decline to prosecute the case does not mean they think the police were wrong in arresting McKay...
          In other words, McKay is lucky that the media made an issue out of this outrageous prosecution. Otherwise he could have spent five years in prison instead of working and paying the bills for his three young children.

          Who can possibly think this is the right way to run a state? Well, Martha Coakley once said, “In Massachusetts we try and discourage ... self-help.”
          Martha Coakley is the Attorney General of Massachusetts. She also ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 to fill the seat formerly held by the drunk murdering rapist Massachusetts icon Ted Kennedy. In a rare moment of sanity, MA voters actually elected the less liberal of two candidates - Scott Brown. Still, they elected the Coakley nincompoop to be the top law enforcement person in that state. Go figure.
          If Essex DA Jon Blodgett had dropped the charges and acknowledged McKay had done nothing wrong, that would send the message to future crooks that the law is on the good guy’s side.

          Instead, Blodgett refused take sides. He and his spokesman have also refused repeated requests to answer questions about this case. All of which leaves us wondering:

          If I see someone breaking into my car or garage, or stealing my property right out of my yard, am I supposed to call the police and just watch them steal my stuff?

          I put that question to three local attorneys and got three different answers:

          Wendy Murphy told me, “The standard in Massachusetts is you cannot defend yourself unless you’re going to die.”

          Joe Flaherty told me, “You have the right to confront them and stop them ... but you don’t have the right to use force.” When I asked what I could do under Massachusetts law, he said, “You could scream and yell at them.”

          Yeah, that’ll work.

          Meanwhile, former Governor’s Council candidate Bob Jubinville said, “If it’s me, I grab a baseball bat and head out. But if a client asked me what to do, I’d say ‘Call the cops and hope they show up fast.”

          So, I asked him, if I’m a crime victim trying to protect my property in Massachusetts, is the state on my side?
          “Absolutely not.”

          Anthony McKay, you’re a lucky man.
          And I'm a lucky man for living in the Great State of Texas, where the right to self-defense is not only tolerated, but celebrated.

          But I can't help but wonder what on earth has happened to the home of Concord and Lexington, where the first shots were fired in our War of Independence.

          Those original patriots must be spinning their graves...

          Monday, January 16, 2012

          Bonus FOD 2012.01.16

          Here's a list of obama's 'historic firsts.' He's been busy... (H/T Little Annie's Orphans)

          First President to Preside Over a Cut to the Credit Rating of the United States Government

          First President to Violate the War Powers Act

          First President to Orchestrate the Sale of Murder Weapons to Mexican Drug Cartels

          First President to issue an unlawful "recess-appointment" while the U.S. Senate remained in session (against the advice of his own Justice Department).

          First President to be Held in Contempt of Court for Illegally Obstructing Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

          First President to Defy a Federal Judge's Court Order to Cease Implementing the 'Health Care Reform' Law

          First President to halt deportations of illegal aliens and grant them work permits, a form of stealth amnesty roughly equivalent to "The DREAM Act", which could not pass Congress

          First President to Require All Americans to Purchase a Product From a Third Party

          First President to Spend a Trillion Dollars on 'Shovel-Ready' Jobs -- and Later Admit There Was No Such Thing as Shovel-Ready Jobs

          First President to sue states for requiring valid IDs to vote, even though the same administration requires valid IDs to travel by air

          First President to Abrogate Bankruptcy Law to Turn Over Control of Companies to His Union Supporters

          First President to sign into law a bill that permits the government to "hold anyone suspected of being associated with terrorism indefinitely, without any form of due process. No indictment. No judge or jury. No evidence. No trial. Just an indefinite jail sentence."

          First President to Bypass Congress and Implement the DREAM Act Through Executive Fiat

          First President to Threaten Insurance Companies After They Publicly Spoke out on How Obamacare Helped Cause their Rate Increases

          First President to Threaten an Auto Company (Ford) After It Publicly Mocked Bailouts of GM and Chrysler

          First President to "Order a Secret Amnesty Program that Stopped the Deportations of Illegal Immigrants Across the U.S., Including Those With Criminal Convictions"

          First President to Demand a Company Hand Over $20 Billion to One of His Political Appointees

          First President to Terminate America's Ability to Put a Man into Space.

          First President to Encourage Racial Discrimination and Intimidation at Polling Places

          First President to Have a Law Signed By an 'Auto-pen' Without Being "Present"

          First President to Arbitrarily Declare an Existing Law Unconstitutional and Refuse to Enforce It

          First President to Tell a Major Manufacturing Company In Which State They Are Allowed to Locate a Factory

          First President to refuse to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena.

          First President to File Lawsuits Against the States He Swore an Oath to Protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN, etc.)

          First President to Withdraw an Existing Coal Permit That Had Been Properly Issued Years Ago

          First President to Fire an Inspector General of Americorps for Catching One of His Friends in a Corruption Case

          First President to Propose an Executive Order Demanding Companies Disclose Their Political Contributions to Bid on Government Contracts

          First President to allow Mexican police to conduct law enforcement activities on American soil

          First President to Golf 90 or More Times in His First Three Years in Office.

          Quite a record our little barry has compiled, eh...

          FOD 2012.01.16

          We laugh to keep from crying...

          Q: Why did Obama cross the road?
          A: To get to the other 9 holes.

          Q. What's the difference between Obama opponents and Obama supporters?
          A. The first group works for a living while the second group votes for a living.

          Have you heard about the new Obama Happy Meal for kids at McDonalds?
          It comes with a promise that they'll get a toy someday.

          Obama claims that he has a balanced budget plan.
          It's exactly one half smoke and one half mirrors.

          Michelle was talking about how considerate her husband is, often buying her surprise gifts for no reason. She went on to say that the presents weren't anything extravagant or expensive because Barack tends to be responsible when he's spending his own money.

          Sunday, January 15, 2012

          A Welcome Trend Continued

          There were a couple of high-profile home invasions a week or so ago where the potential victims, armed with shotguns, fought back and wounded or killed the perpetrators. The same thing recently happened a lot closer to home.
          A home invasion on the Northeast Side ended in a gunfight in which one suspect was killed and another was critically injured early Wednesday, police said. The homeowner also was wounded.

          Andrew W. Wharmby, 27, told officers he heard banging on his front door about 4:40 a.m. He told officers he became suspicious and grabbed his shotgun as he walked to the door.

          He then heard noise in his garage, and when he saw the two men walk into his house, he shot at both. At least one of them returned fire and shot him in the face.

          Police found one of the suspects — believed to be in his late teens or 20s — dead in the garage. The other was flown to San Antonio Military Medical Center in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest.
          Wharmby, the homeowner, was shot in the chin... He also was taken to (the hospital), and was listed in stable condition.
          I just love a happy ending...

          Sunday Funnies 2012.01.15

          The new semester starts tomorrow. New faces, same old students...

          If College Students Wrote the Bible:
          The Ten Commandments would actually be only five -- double-spaced and written in a large font.

          Instead of God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh, he would have put it off until the night before it was due and then pulled an all-nighter.


          At the end of last semester I handed out the final exam to one of my classes, then settled in behind my desk and waited for them to complete it. One student handed in his exam with a $100 bill attached to it and a note that read "A dollar per point."

          I called him into my office the next day and gave him his graded exam back - with $56 change.

          Saturday, January 14, 2012

          Irish Flooding

          To understand this post, go here and watch the video.

          Thought For The Day

          The word "politics" is derived from the word "poly", meaning 'many', and the word "ticks", meaning 'blood sucking parasites'.

          Friday, January 13, 2012

          Friday Follies Happy Hour

          Next week the Spring semester begins. As I trudge back to the mines, forlornly hoping that this semester I'll discover a diamond in the rough, I'll be singing along with Los Lobos as they perform the Heigh Ho song from Snow White.

          The fact that it's in Spanish is fitting, given that I work in Deep South Texas...

          Reacting Predictably and Emotionally

          Remember last week when the MSM was up in arms about the firebombing of a mosque in New York City? Typical headlines:
          Firebomb attacks in New York targeting Muslims

          New York mosque firebombed in ‘hate crime’ spree

          New York leaders condemn mosque firebombing
          In typical knee-jerk fashion, outraged liberals rose en masse to decry the 'hate crime' that reflected what they perceive as intolerance and persecution directed towards non-violent peace-loving followers of a 6th century pedophile.

          The only problem is that the firebombing was the act of an individual with personal grievances against a cross-section of NYC establishments. He also is of Guyanese descent, further disappointing the leftists who were salivating at the thought of hanging the acts around the neck of a Tea Partier, NRA member, or other stereotypical right-wing extremist.
          A man hurled crude firebombs at an Islamic cultural center in part because he wasn't allowed to use its bathrooms and targeted four other New York-area sites on New Year's Day because of personal grievances, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

          Police said that Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, of Guyanese descent, was arrested Tuesday after he was tracked through a stolen car with Virginia license plates believed to be at the scene of at least two of the attacks Sunday evening on a convenience store, three homes and the cultural center.

          Lengend, who lives in Jamaica, had furiously vowed to take revenge following his shoplifting arrest last Tuesday.

          “When they were pushing him out of the store, he said words to the effect of, ‘We’re going to get even, we’re going to get back at you,’” Police commissioner Ray Kelly said.

          The 179th St. Deli was the first of four Queens targets hit by the fire fiend, who also is suspected of striking at an Islamic center, a Hindu temple inside a home and a Jamaica home.
          Even after Lazier was arrested and the motive behind the bombings became clear, muslim leaders continued to play the 'persecuted religion' card.
          A series of fires in New York City, including one (one, count 'em, one) at an Islamic community center on Long Island, has many in the Muslim community calling out for awareness of increased anti-Islamic bias crimes in the city and across the nation.
          One out of four, with no islamic connection. Yet in the minds of some this is indicative of (alleged) increased anti-muslim crimes. GMAFB!

          This is so reminiscent of the Arizona shooting of one year ago in which six people were killed and many more wounded, including U.S. representative Gabrielle Giffords. As you'll recall, there were immediate outcries that the shooting was caused by political incivility fomented by the Tea Party and its supporters.

          Of course, as we learned later, the shooter was a deranged leftist named Jared Loughner with no ties to the Tea Party or any other conservative organization

          Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the facts have failed to deter leftists and their spokescreatures like Debbie Wassername Schultz from continuing to blame the shooting on the Tea Party. One year after the shooting, in response to a question about the lack of civility in congress, she said:
          "We need to make sure that we tone things down, particularly in light of the Tucson tragedy from a year ago ... I hesitate to place blame, but I have noticed it take a very precipitous turn towards edginess and a lack of civility with the growth of the Tea Party movement."
          Here's a link to the video, if you can stomach it.

          There's a reason they're called knee-jerk liberals (Definition: a person of strong liberal convictions who reacts predictably and emotionally to certain events).