Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Toasts

We're headed out for a pre-dinner 'social hour,' to be followed by dinner with several friends, and then a couple of post-dinner sips of champagne.

Before we go, I'd like to wish each of you a safe and enjoyable New Year's Eve, followed by a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2013.

Now on with the party!

Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.
-- William Shakespeare

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year’s Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you’re married to.
-- P.J. O’Rourke

FOD 2012.12.31

I'm prepping for New Year's Eve, so I'm going to borrow today's material from one of the most astute commentators on economics and politics around - Thomas Sowell. He exposes obama for the economic lightweight and liar that he is.
One of the big advantages that President Obama has, as he plays “chicken” with congressional Republicans along the “fiscal cliff,” is that he is a master of the plausible lie, which will never be exposed by the mainstream media — nor, apparently, by the Republicans.

A key lie that has been repeated over and over, largely unanswered, is that President Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” cost the government so much tax revenue that this added to the budget deficit...

What is remarkable is how easy it is to show how completely false Obama’s argument is. That also makes it completely inexplicable why the Republicans have not done so.
There is a serious lack of common sense and leadership at the top levels of the republican party, but that's a whole different problem. Let's just stick with obama for today.
The official statistics that show plainly how wrong Barack Obama is can be found in his own “Economic Report of the President” for 2012, on page 411...

... (1) Tax revenues went up — not down — after tax rates were cut during the Bush administration, and (2) the budget deficit declined, year after year, after the cuts in tax rates that have been blamed by Obama for increasing the deficit...

The bottom line is that Barack Obama’s blaming increased budget deficits on the Bush tax cuts is demonstrably false.
Of course, it would help if we had anything remotely approaching a 'fair and balanced' media. God forbid they should do any reporting that includes an unbiased presentation of the facts.

In another column, Sowell goes on to demolish obama's fixation on raising taxes for "the rich." (FWIW, my wife and I don't make anywhere near $250,000 annually. But we also don't think that taking more money from anyone who does will help get us out of the mess we're in.)
...despite all the melodrama about raising taxes on “the rich,” even if that is done, it will scarcely make a dent in the government’s financial problems. Raising the tax rates on everybody in the top 2 percent will not generate enough additional tax revenue to run the government for ten days.
All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting “the rich” to pay “their fair share” is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics. Taxing “the rich” will produce a drop in the bucket when compared with the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration.
As the chart below shows, even if the government confiscates every single penny from everyone who earns more than $1 million, it would only cover about half the current deficit. (click to embiggen)

No previous administration in the entire history of the nation ever finished the year with a trillion-dollar deficit. The Obama administration has done so every single year. Yet political and media discussions of the financial crisis have been focused overwhelmingly on how to get more tax revenue to pay for past and future spending.
As so many others have said, we don't have a revenue problem - we have a spending problem.

The very catchwords and phrases used by the Obama administration betray how phony this all is. For example, “We are just asking the rich to pay a little more.”

This is an insult to our intelligence. The government doesn’t “ask” anybody to pay anything. It orders you to pay the taxes it imposes, and you can go to prison if you don’t.
Obvious lies and staggering incompetence, aided and abetted by his accomplices in the media. We've seen it for the past four years. Why should we expect anything else over the next four?

And it's gonna be a loonnngggg four years...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Funnies 2012.12.30

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. You know what that means...

Last New Year's Eve my wife and I went to a party at the local watering hole. As the time neared midnight my wife stood up and said "It's time to get ready. At twelve o'clock I want every husband to be standing next to the one person who has made his life worth living."

When the clock struck midnight the bartender was almost crushed to death.

The New Year's Eve party had turned into a regular marathon with numerous guests coming and going. At one point, a man knocked on the door, was greeted heartily although no one knew who he was, and was led to the bar.

He sat there happily for a couple of hours before a strange look came over his face. "You know," he confided to his host: "I wasn't even invited to this party. I just came over to tell you that some of your guests' cars are blocking my driveway."

The guest continued: "My wife's been sitting out in the car waiting for me to get them moved."

New Year's Eve is like having sex with my second ex-wife.

10 seconds of pleasure then another year before it happens again.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Throwing Good Money After Bad

As of Friday afternoon, when I composed this post, it appeared inevitable that we would go careening over the fiscal cliff. The dairy cliff also looms, although it seems we have put off the container cliff (at least for a month).

My, my. So many cliffs. How did we get into this mess? The simple answer is that we, the American people, have continually elected a bunch of selfish, short-sighted, self-centered buffoons to positions of power. It is axiomatic that in a democracy the people get the government they deserve. Nevertheless, one would hope that the guy in front of the parade would show everyone which way to go - to lead, in other words.

So what has our 'leader-in-chief' been doing to help resolve the various crises facing us?

He's been busy issuing executive orders, the most recent of which raised the salary of a gaggle of parasites who are already overpaid and underproductive. Yes, I'm speaking of members of congress, along with that bumbling incompetent fool masquerading as VP, Joe Biden, and a whole passel of federal judges.

How many of our tax dollars are being wasted on these bumbling stooges? Too much.

Does anyone out there in Internet-land really think that representatives and senators are earning their $175K per year? Or that Joe Biden is worth $232K annually? If so, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

In July 2011 Warren Buffet came up a brilliant solution to ongoing federal deficits: "You just pass a law that says that any time there's a deficit of more than 3 percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."

That's certainly one way. Here's another: any time there's a deficit of more than 3 percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress no longer get paid, and must immediately pay back all salaries received to date.

Call it the CenTexTim rule...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2012.12.28

This is actually the 2011 to 2012 version, but it's just as applicable for 2012 to 2013. Here's hoping that 2013 is a better year than 2012...

Obviously A Liberal

In today's local paper there was a "Money Matters" column that featured a mix of financial and ethical advice. Most of it was blah-blah-blah stuff, but one letter caught my eye.
I've had to borrow money from a friend several times in the past few years, money I've always paid back.

But recently when I asked "Alan" for a loan, he refused. [Whiny self-centered reason why she needs the cash here.]
Here's the 'money' quote.
Since I've always repaid Alan, isn't he wrong to refuse me the money?
Can you believe the gall of that person leech?
'Someone else has money that they worked for and I need. Therefore they should give it to me when I ask.'
Thankfully the people dispensing advice basically told the beggar leech to go take a flying leap. But if there was ever a perfect example of why this country is headed for a Eurozone-style implosion, this is it.

Oh my achin' back...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wide World Of Sex

Spanning the globe to bring you the latest stories regarding mankind's oldest pastime. That's right, the eternal saga of boy-meets-girl.

Let's start with an unbelievable account of a woman who was fired for being too attractive. In fact, according to court reports, she was downright irresistible.

Hot Worker Fired For Being Irresistible
A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an "irresistible attraction," even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

What a load of crap. Some dude can't control his little head, so he fires the woman who gets him all hot and bothered. I don't know about Iowa dentists, but if I can resist hot co-eds coming on to me for better grades (and yes, it has happened), they should be able to control themselves around their staff.
"These judges sent a message to Iowa women that they don't think men can be held responsible for their sexual desires and that Iowa women are the ones who have to monitor and control their bosses' sexual desires," said attorney Paige Fiedler. "If they get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it."
Knight fired Nelson and gave her one month's severance. He later told Nelson's husband that he worried he was getting too personally attached and feared he would eventually try to start an affair with her.
And that's grounds for firing her? GMAFB.

Where's the outraged women's groups on this one? Maybe they're not speaking up because, for the most part, I have yet to meet an attractive feminist. And what would have happened if the dentist was gay, and fired a hunky guy? Gay rights supporters would have come out of the woodwork.

On the other hand, maybe there is a good reason for upholding the firing. Otherwise it might have led to a worker's compensation claim.

Businesswoman injured in hotel room romp wins payout
A frisky businesswoman injured having sex in a hotel is looking forward to a bumper payout after winning her battle for industrial compensation.

The civil servant was making love to a friend during a work trip when a glass light fitting was torn from its mount above the bed.
Enthusiastic wench, wot?

She was taken to hospital in the town of Nowra, 100 miles south of her hometown of Sydney, Australia, for treatment and later suffered depression which forced her to give up her job.

Her claim for worker's compensation for her physical and psychological injuries was initially approved by government insurer Comcare, then rejected after further investigation.

A tribunal agreed with Comcare that her injuries were not suffered in the course of her employment, saying the government had not induced or encouraged the woman's sexual conduct.
Unlike the U.S. government, which screws its employees and citizens at every opportunity.
The tribunal also found the sex was "not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay" such as showering, sleeping and eating.
I used to travel on business quite frequently. I can testify that sex was not an ordinary part of my overnight stays, no matter how much I wished otherwise. However...
That ruling was overturned in the Federal Court, when Judge John Nicholas rejected the tribunal's findings that the sex had to be condoned by the government if she were to qualify for compensation.
I don't pretend to understand Australian law, but it beggars common sense that an intensely personal act such as intercourse -- especially outside of normal business hours and away from one's place of employment -- can be considered as grounds for worker's compensation. Suppose I was on a business trip, stayed too long in the hotel bar, and tripped and fell on my way back to my room, injuring myself. Would I then be eligible for worker's comp?

Evidently so, if I worked for Uncle Sugar.

Finally, we have this story from Spain.

Car-bomb threat sparks megabrothel evacuation in Spain
Some 300 people had to evacuate from a Spanish brothel after masked men left a car bomb at its parking lot.
First of all, I live in the Bible Belt. We have megachurches down here, not megabrothels. I didn't even know such things existed. (Well, except for the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which was was just down the road a ways. But that's a special case. Go to the link and read the real story, not that fictionalized Hollywood crap.) Second of all, I simply can't conceive of such an establishment so large that 300 people could patronize it at one time.

Police in the town of La Jonquera near the border with France were tipped off Sunday night by a security guard at Paradise, one of Spain’s legal brothels.

Did you ever notice that these places always located near a border?
People were evacuated from the building as the police bomb squad found and disarmed the explosive device. Spain’s Europa Press agency says it consisted of two butane gas tanks, around a kilogram of TNT and dynamite, with a fuse attached, citing sources close to the investigation.

People living in La Jonquera believe the incident to be part of a turf war between gangs.

Paradise was opened in October 2010, and its 200 sex workers serve clients from both Spain and France. It’s located just next to a tunnel entrance, which goes under the Pyrenees Mountains linking the two countries.
I won't even venture a comment on the symbolism of a brothel being located near a tunnel...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Got Milk?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We had 14 family members over. We began with a smorgasbord of snacks and appetizers, which normally would have fed everyone there for a weekend. That was followed by prime rib, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied carrots, and fresh green beans. For dessert there were pies - acres and acres of pies. I think it averaged out to one pie per person. It was all washed down by copious amounts of beer, wine, liquor, coffee, and milk for the young 'uns.

Which brings me to the topic of this post - good, wholesome, All-American milk. Enjoy it while you can, because thanks to our elected loons in D.C., you might not be able to afford it much longer.

'Dairy cliff': Milk prices may double in New Year
With Congress spending all its time trying to avert the fiscal cliff, a slew of other legislative matters are going unattended. One of them is the agriculture bill which, if not addressed, could lead to a doubling of the price of milk early next year.
We have two teenagers in the house who go through milk like I go through Shiner. A gallon of milk lasts two days around here. If the price doubles, we'll be spending between $21-$28 per week on milk alone. And that doesn't even include ice cream!
...the law states that if a new bill isn't passed or the current one extended, the formula for calculating the price the government pays for dairy products reverts back to a 1949 statute. Under that formula, the government would be forced to buy milk at twice today's price -- driving up the cost for everyone.

"Consumers are going to be a bit shocked when instead of seeing $3.60 a gallon for milk, they see $7 a gallon for milk. And that's going to ripple throughout all of the commodities if this thing goes on for an extended period of time," (U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom) Vilsack said.
It should be noted that increases in food and dairy prices were triggered several years ago by federal policies mandating increased use of ethanol as a fuel. Most ethanol is produced from corn, which also happens to be a feedstock for cattle and poultry. In fact, since 2007 food prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation, in large part due to diversion of corn from the table to the gas tank.

How bad is it?
Using current numbers, this year's ethanol mandate would theoretically require 44% of this year's corn crop.
Even the U.N. has urged the U.S. to ease up on its ethanol fuel requirements.

To make matters worse, ethanol isn't an efficient fuel, and damages internal combustion engines.
Alcohol is corrosive and attracts moisture, properties that can threaten mechanical parts.

Alcohol has a high-octane rating, and engines designed to exploit that can produce significant power. But alcohol also has considerably less energy content than gasoline or diesel fuel, so mileage drops as alcohol content rises.
And ethanol is absolutely devastating to small engines, like those in lawn mowers, weed eaters, or chain saws.
In smaller engines, ethanol can create a chain reaction of events that end up clogging valves and rusting out small metal parts — including, crucially, carburetors.

“When you mix ethanol with your fuel, you’ve now put a chemical substance in there that’s going to attract moisture, which is going to promote a quicker deterioration of the fuel that you have,” said Bob Magnotti, owner of Magnotti’s Small Engine Service in Roanoke, Va.

In effect, said Doug Ryms, a mechanic at Como Mower Service in Columbus, Ohio, “the alcohol actually dissipates the oil. So on a two-cycle engine, you’re lubricating the engine, but the oil is being pushed away, so it’s actually not lubricating the engine.”
I started off talking about how congress has screwed up dairy prices, and somehow got off into a rant about ethanol. So to bring this discussion full circle, here's what the congresscritters need to do.
To prevent the price spike, Congress either needs to extend the current bill, pass a new bill, or enact some provision to keep the 1949 law from taking effect.

Given the current state of the fiscal cliff talks and Congress' inability to get things done in general, dairy lovers might want to stock up now.
Of course, another option is for our elected idiots to entirely do away with price subsidies and ethanol mandates, and embrace free market principles.

Don't hold your breath...

Twas The Morning After Christmas 2012

Here's hoping your Christmas exceeded expectations.

Santa's certainly did...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Now more than ever, my sincerest wish for you and yours:

Peace on Earth. Good Will towards Men.
May it come true this year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Countdown - One Day

FOD 2012.12.24

Lots of headlines to choose from for today's post. For example:

Obama Uses Funeral Service to Talk About Himself
President Barack Obama used the funeral for Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye to talk about himself. In the short 1,600 word speech, Obama used the word "my" 21 times, "me" 12 times, and "I" 30 times.
Obama Golfing in Hawaii With Pal Arrested in Prostitution Sting
Taking a break from the fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama is spending the first day of his holiday vacation golfing with friends and aides, including longtime pal Bobby Titcomb, who was arrested last year on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.
Talk about a target-rich environment. But I'm going to go with this story. With all the hoopla about the fiscal cliff and the Newtown shootings, it slipped in under the radar. IMO it hasn't received the ridicule it deserves.

Obama: ‘I Would Be Considered a Moderate Republican’ in the 1980s
In an interview with Univision 23 on Thursday, a Spanish station based in Miami, the president was asked about the perception among some Americans that he has a socialist vision for the country.

“The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican,” he said.
Yeah, right. I get obama and Reagan mixed up all the time. In fact, I could have sworn the following quote was from obama. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was actually from Ronnie...

Speaking of obama the socialist, here's what would happen if he ran into Charlie Brown at the Christmas tree lot.

Finally, here's one you may have seen before. It's worth repeating, however, since obama has jetted off to Hawaii for his annual Christmas vacation. (Click to embiggen, if necessary.)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Funnies 2012.12.23

Christmas Countdown - Two Days

Sign of the Times

As a little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual, "And what would you like for Christmas?"
The child stared at him open mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped: "Didn't you get my text?"

 Santa's True Profession

Consider the following:

1. You never actually see Santa, only his "assistants."
2. Santa keeps his job until he decides to retire.
3. Santa doesn't really do the work; he directs a bunch of helpers to do all his work for him, but he's the one who everybody credits with the work.
4. Santa doesn't work anywhere near a 40 hour week.
5. Santa travels a lot.

Santa is obviously a university administrator.

One of the Worst I've Ever Heard

A man goes to see his dentist because he's having trouble chewing. After a brief examination, the dentist exclaims, "Holy Smoke! That plate I installed in your mouth about six months ago has nearly completely corroded! What on earth have you been eating?"

"Well... the only thing I can think of is this... my wife made me some asparagus about four months ago with this stuff on it... Hollandaise sauce she called it... and doctor, I'm talkin' DELICIOUS! I've never tasted anything like it, and ever since then I've been putting it on everything... meat, fish, toast, vegetables... you name it!"

"That's probabably it," replied the dentist "Hollandaise sauce is made with lemon juice, which is acidic and highly corrosive. It seems as thought I'll have to install a new plate, but made out of chrome this time."

"Why chrome?" the man asked.

The dentist replied, "Everyone knows that there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"They're Takin' Your Bill Of Rights Away From You"

I wasn't planning on posting anything more on the aftermath of the Newtown CT shootings. I figured that horse has been beat to death three times over. But then I ran across two things today: (1) a column on the topic by Charles Krauthammer, who IMO is the best commentator around these days, and (2) an old Grand Funk Railroad song. An unlikely combination, to be sure, but one that motivated me to pass them both along.

First, the Krauthammer column. It begins as follows.
Every mass shooting has three elements: the killer, the weapon and the cultural climate. As soon as the shooting stops, partisans immediately pick their preferred root cause with corresponding pet panacea. Names are hurled, scapegoats paraded, prejudices vented. The argument goes nowhere.
Krauthammer then goes on to discuss each in greater detail. He explains why gun control laws are pragmatically impossible ("Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.").

He discusses why changes in mental health laws over the past 20-30 years have done more harm than good ("... a 2011 University of California at Berkeley study found that states with strong civil commitment laws have about a one-third lower homicide rate.").

He points out the implications of cultural changes over that same time frame ("Older folks find themselves stunned by what a desensitized youth finds routine, often amusing. It’s not just movies. Young men sit for hours pulling video-game triggers, mowing down human beings en masse without pain or consequence.").

He closes by emphasizing the tradeoff between our liberties and public safety.
... While law deters the rational, it has far less effect on the psychotic. The best we can do is to try to detain them, disarm them and discourage “entertainment” that can intensify already murderous impulses.

But there’s a cost. Gun control impinges upon the Second Amendment; involuntary commitment impinges upon the liberty clause of the Fifth Amendment; curbing “entertainment” violence impinges upon First Amendment free speech.
Do yourself a favor and read the entire piece. It's a breath of fresh air and common sense in an environment of toxic debate and emotion-laden tirades.

No matter what eventually happens, someone's rights are going to get trampled.
Actually reducing the number of military-style weapons owned by civilians in this country would probably involve confiscating guns that had been legally obtained; involuntary commitment to mental hospitals for possibly dangerous people will necessarily involve imprisoning people who have committed no crime yet; restricting video games and movies is all kinds of banning speech among consenting adults who are not harming anyone. Essentially, innocents pay the price in all of these scenarios...
And while you're reading Krauthammer's article, give a listen to an old Grand Funk Railroad song: "Don't Let 'Em Take Your Gun" (unearthed by kerrcarto over at GGDF - good job, bro.) Here's where the connection to Krauthammer comes in:
My daddy told me "son, don't let 'em take your gun.
That's what they tryin' to do.
Son, don't let 'em take your gun.
They're takin' your bill of rights away from you."
Yep, the 2nd, 5th, and 1st Amendments are all at risk here.

Christmas Countdown - Three Days

Something for everyone. Do you prefer naughty or nice?

Short Memories, Or Blatant Hypocrisy?

My vote is for blatant hypocrisy.

After the NRA called for increased police presence at schools in response to the Newton shootings, liberals and the media (I repeat myself...) responded immediately and predictably "with a combination of disbelief, disgust and, of course, some mockery."

How quickly they forget.

In 1999 Bill Clinton announced funding for a federal program to place armed LEOs in schools, "heightening school safety."
Clinton also unveiled the $60-million fifth round of funding for "COPS in School," a Justice Department program that helps pay the costs of placing police officers in schools to help make them safer for students and teachers. The money will be used to provide 452 officers in schools in more than 220 communities.

"Already, it has placed 2,200 officers in more than 1,000 communities across our nation, where they are heightening school safety..."
But when the same thing is proposed by the NRA it is ridiculed.

The hypocrisy is beyond belief.


More recently, the obama administration slashed funding for school safety programs.
The Obama administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have joined in a chorus to call for action in the wake of the atrocities committed last week in Newtown, Conn. But, over the past few years, the administration and Congress actually slashed millions of dollars in federal funding for school safety. In 2011 and 2012, for example, Justice Department programs that provided $200 million to schools for training, security equipment, and police resources were not renewed.

The Obama administration also eliminated funding for an Education Department program intended to help schools prepare for mass tragedies...
Where are the howls of protest from the leftists over that?

* crickets *

How many outraged 'journalists' have called the administration to task over that?

* more crickets *

My disgust is beyond words...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2012.12.21

It just wouldn't be Christmas without my all-time favorite Christmas song...

Christmas Countdown - Four Days

Yesterday I posted some Christmas eye candy for the guys, but promised that today I'd have something for the ladies.

I'm a man of my word...

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

In the news:

Pakistan reports 9th death in polio team attacks
Another victim from attacks on U.N.-backed anti-polio teams in Pakistan died on Thursday, bringing the three-day death toll in the wave of assaults on volunteers vaccinating children across the country to nine, officials said.

Since Monday, gunmen had launched attacks across Pakistan on teams vaccinating children against polio. Six women were among the nine anti-polio workers killed in the campaign, jointly conducted with the Pakistani government.

...Islamic militants accuse health workers of acting as spies for the U.S. and claim that the vaccine makes children sterile.
Where's the outrage from the liberals in this country? Talk about a literal 'war on women.' And what about the children? Thanks to these ignorant cowardly attacks thousands -- perhaps even hundreds of thousands -- of children will be condemned to a miserable, wretched existence. Even more miserable and wretched than what they might have experienced without contracting polio.
The U.N. suspended the (vaccination) drive until a government investigation was completed.

The suspension was a grave blow to efforts to bring an end to the scourge of polio in Pakistan, one of only three countries where the crippling disease is endemic.
The only thing more ignorant and cowardly than the SOBs that perpetrated these attacks are the hypocritical leftists in this country who haven't uttered one peep of condemnation. They're too busy gearing up for their anti-gun campaign in response to the Newton shootings.

What a bunch of  lowlife scum - both groups. Sometimes I think we should just leave them in the primitive state of existence they seem to prefer.

Peaceful -- but still ignorant -- Pakistani protestors deface a pro-polio vaccine poster

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Countdown - Five Days

That special day is getting closer. Here's hoping that you guys get what you really want for Christmas...

Ladies, we'll have something for you tomorrow.

Belated Thoughts On Newton CT

I've put this off as long as I could, but I guess it's time to toss out my $.02 worth on the tragic shootings in Newton CT. There's been so much already written and said that I have little to contribute, so I'll just try to organize a few thoughts about the entire sad and sordid situation. First, a little context.

The first reported attack on a primary (K-12) school in the U.S. occurred in 1764, when four American Indians tomahawked and scalped 11 or 12 (the reports vary) school children. It's uncertain (but probable) that liberals of that time immediately called for tomahawk-control laws to be passed.

Seriously, check out the link. It's a depressing list of 250 years worth of senseless attacks on schoolkids, indicating that, despite what many liberals would have us believe, school shootings are not a recent phenomenon.

More context:
...mass shootings have not increased in number or in overall body count, at least not over the past several decades.

Based on data extracted from official police reports to the FBI, the figure below shows annual incident, offender and victim tallies for gun homicides in which at least four people were murdered. Over the thirty-year time frame, an average of about 20 mass murders have occurred annually in the United States with an average death toll of about 100 per year.
Without minimizing the pain and suffering of the hundreds of who have been victimized in senseless attacks, the facts say clearly that the has been no increase in mass killings, and certainly no epidemic. Occasionally, we have witnessed short-term spikes with several shootings clustering close together in time.
In fact, the deadliest massacre of schoolchildren occurred in 1927. No firearms were involved. Rather, the weapon was dynamite.
The recent shootings in Newtown, Conn., have led many people to characterize school violence as a modern affliction, a byproduct of our national obsession with guns and media violence. But the deadliest school-related massacre in American history happened in 1927, at an elementary school in Bath, Mich. A school board member named Andrew Kehoe, upset over a burdensome property tax, wired the building with dynamite and set it off in the morning of May 18. Kehoe’s actions killed 45 people, 38 of whom were children.
And recent attacks at schools in China show that any weapon -- or even a common tool such as a hammer -- can be used to kill or injure.
A series of uncoordinated mass stabbings, hammer attacks, and cleaver attacks in the People's Republic of China began in March 2010. The spate of attacks left at least 21 dead and some 90 injured. Analysts have blamed mental health problems caused by rapid social change for the rise in these kind of mass murder and murder-suicide incidents.
Ignoring all of the above, the left reacted to the Newton shootings with knee-jerk predictability, immediately exploiting the deaths of innocents to press for increased gun control. I realize that I'm for the most part preaching to the choir here, but there is little to no correlation between firearms and homicide rates.
...there is no relationship between rates of gun ownership and homicide. Countries like Russia and South Africa have murder rates that dwarf ours, with a tiny fraction of the gun ownership. Countries that have relatively high levels of gun ownership, like Switzerland, Italy, Canada and Norway, also have very low homicide rates. There just isn’t any correlation, as the linked article demonstrates with statistical precision.
There are, however, factors other than gun ownership at play.
In most of Africa, homicide rates are sky-high, as much as five to ten times America’s rate. The homicide rate in Brazil is around five times that of the U.S. And here in the United States, according to the Department of Justice, the murder rate among African-Americans is almost eight times the murder rate among whites.
If not firearms ownership, then what might explain the different homicide rates in different locales? One possible answer lies in a recent study (Segal, 2011), which determined that socio-economic, demographic and other social factors have the strongest association with state homicide rates.

That same study found three factors related to different states' mental health system -- involuntary treatment standards, psychiatric hospital bed availability, and quality of mental health services --  were also statistically significant in variations of murder rates among states.

Which brings up another point - the availability and effectiveness of our public mental health system. In a statement headlined "TREATMENT FOR MENTAL ILLNESS SHOULD BE AS EASY TO GET AS GUNS" a mental health organization had this to say.
“Our mental health system has completely failed individuals with severe mental illness and their communities,” said Doris A. Fuller, executive director. “We have emptied the nation's hospitals, gutted state and local mental health programs, and turned involuntary treatment into a debate point instead of using it as a viable option to prevent tragedy involving those too ill to help themselves.”
That same organization provided the following statistic: out of 100 rampage murders committed in the U.S. over the 50-year period between 1949 and 1999, "The study found that 48 killers had some kind of formal [psychiatric] diagnosis..."

Couple an ineffective mental health system (especially the weakening of involuntary commitment policies and procedures) with the trend towards 'mainstreaming' individuals with mental disorders and the end result is an increasing number of individuals among us who have mental health issues. While not all of them are violent, as their numbers increase a certain number of violent incidents becomes inevitable.

A related factor is the influence of popular culture on people with a tendency towards aggressive behavior and violence. Rap lyrics glorify drugs, abusing women, and violence. Movies and television churn out films and shows full of fighting, stabbing, shooting, explosions, and other gory ways to die - or kill people.. Compare the language and gore of TV shows, including network shows that used to be much more restricted in terms of language and violence, to shows of 20 or even 10 years ago. The same goes for movies. Violence is celebrated and glorified today to a degree that would have been unthinkable when we were kids.

But in particular, look at the popularity of 'first-person-shooter' video games. While there is some disagreement in the psychological community, there are strong indicators that violent video games influence violent and aggressive behavior.
Recent video games reward players for killing innocent bystanders, police, and prostitutes, using a wide range of weapons including guns, knives, flame throwers, swords, baseball bats, cars, hands, and feet. Some include cut scenes (i.e., brief movie clips supposedly designed to move the story forward) of strippers. In some, the player assumes the role of hero, whereas in others the player is a criminal.

Some studies have yielded nonsignificant video game effects, just as some smoking studies failed to find a significant link to lung cancer. But when one combines all relevant empirical studies using meta-analytic techniques, five separate effects emerge with considerable consistency. Violent video games are significantly associated with: increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased prosocial (helping) behavior.
So if we are serious about preventing future shootings, it would make sense to consider mental health issues related to those shootings. Here's one proposed starting point.

Other suggestions include improved school security, as pointed out by OldNFO.
Many school systems rely on 'passive' systems like locking exterior accesses, 'limited' access after specific times, or camera systems.  The 'rationale' is they don't want to 'scare' the children by having armed 'police' on campus. 

A few school systems use School Resource Officers (SROs) who are either retired LEOs or are LEOs specifically hired to work in schools both for security. those SROs are armed, have full police powers and are directly connected to the local police departments via radio if they need assistance/backup.

Many were funded under programs from the Federal Government after Columbine...

However, those programs were de-funded by the current administration. Full article HERE...
One thing that should be patently obvious is that rampage murders almost always take place in gun-free zones. The perpetrators may be crazy, but they're not stupid. If you want to kill as many people as possible, go someplace where no one can shoot back. There's a reason why none of these wackos attack police stations, or NRA meetings, or biker bars. The folks in those places would make short work of anyone trying to do them harm.

In fact, that approach has been proven to work in our schools.
It took place at a university in Virginia. A student with a grudge, an immigrant, pulled a gun and went on a shooting spree. It wasn’t Virginia Tech at all. It was the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, not far away. You can easily drive from the one school to the other, just take a trip down Route 460 through Tazewell.

It was January 16, 2002 when Peter Odighizuwa came to campus. He had been suspended due to failing grades. Odighizuwa was angry and waving a gun calling on students to “come get me”. The students, seeing the gun, ran. A shooting spree started almost immediately. In seconds Odighizuwa had killed the school dean, a professor and one student. Three other students were shot as well, one in the chest, one in the stomach and one in the throat.

Many students heard the shots. Two who did were Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges. Mikael was outside the school having just returned to campus from lunch when he heard the shots. Tracy was inside attending class. Both immediately ran to their cars. Each had a handgun locked in the vehicle.

Bridges pulled a .357 Magnum pistol and he later said he was prepared to shoot to kill if necessary. He and Gross both approached Odighizuwa at the same time from different directions. Both were pointing their weapons at him. Bridges yelled for Odighizuwa to drop his weapon. When the shooter realized they had the drop on him he threw his weapon down.
Do yourself a favor and go to the link. In fact, do us all a favor and spread it around. You'll find more information there about how armed response stops violent incidents. But what's equally telling -- and more disturbing -- is the documentation of how the media has totally ignored that aspect of the incidents.
The media, though it widely reported the attack, left out the fact that Bridges and Gross were armed. Most simply reported that the gunman was jumped and subdued by other students. That two of those students were now armed didn’t get a mention.

...“A Lexus-Nexis search revealed 88 stories on the topic, of which only two mentioned that either Bridges or Gross was armed.” ... “This was a very public shooting with a lot of media coverage.” But the media left out information showing how two students with firearms ended the killing spree.
A few brave souls, wading against the tide of public hysteria, have offered what I consider to be common-sense solutions: permitting selected school personnel to be armed, similar to how airline pilots were allowed to arm themselves after 9-11.
St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says it is time to talk about arming civilian school personnel following Friday’s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, comparing it to arming airline pilots after September 11, 2001.

“I see it no differently,” he said. “Pilots have been armed now for many many years, we’ve not had another hijacking and the issue is, for the bad guy, he doesn’t know which airplane he’s getting on, if the pilot is armed or not.”

Fitch said the killing will not be stopped by legislation or laws. “If there’s somebody that’s really hellbent on doing something like this, they’re not going to care what the law is.”
A Texas state legislator will introduce a bill to do something similar.
Dallas Republican Jason Villalba said Tuesday he will file a bill in the state Legislature that would allow armed marshals at Texas schools.

The bill, which will be filed in the Texas House this week, calls for “trained ” marshals to carry concealed weapons at schools in order to protect children and teachers.
The governor of Virginia is also getting in on the act.
On Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said discussions about arming school officials need to be had and suggested that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre may have been prevented if the principal had been trained and armed with a gun.
Some school districts aren't waiting for politicians to get off the pot.
Lawmakers and educators in Texas say the way to guard against school shootings like last Friday's at a Connecticut elementary school is to make sure teachers can shoot back.

...David Thweatt, superintendent of the 103-student Harrold Independent School District in Wilbarger County, said his teachers are armed and ready to protect their young charges.

Thweatt is the architect of “The Guardian Plan,” a blueprint for arming school staff, including teachers ...

“We give our ‘Guardians’ training in addition to the regular Texas conceal-and-carry training,” Thweatt, whose school is about three hours northwest of Dallas, told  “It mainly entails improving accuracy…You know, as educators, we don’t have to be police officers and learn about Miranda Rights and related procedures. We just have to be accurate.”

Thweatt said there have been no incidents since October 2007, when his district adopted the plan giving an unspecified number of teachers and school staff -- dubbed "Guardians" -- authority to carry concealed weapons on school premises. Participating staff are anonymous and known only to Thweatt and the school board, which must approve each application for an employee to become a Guardian. They receive a small stipend annually.

“We’re 18 miles and 30 minutes from the nearest police station," Thweatt said. "So we are our first responders. If something happened here, we would have to protect our children. You know, police officers are true, everyday heroes in my book, but one of them once told me something very revealing. He said, ‘Ninety-five percent of the time, we get to the scene late.’
I love the quote by Superintendent Thweatt about "we don’t have to be police officers and learn about Miranda Rights and related procedures. We just have to be accurate.” That pretty much sums things up nicely. This country would be so much better off if more people had such common sense.

I didn't mean to ramble on this long, but I guess I got carried away. There's quite a bit more that needs to be said, especially the role of the media in reporting publicizing the murderers, but I'll save that for another day. I'll close with a few random observations.

We have a massive system of drug control laws. Yet, the Left is the first to argue that the war on drugs has been a failure. And whether or not one deems it a failure, the war on drugs surely hasn’t prevented tens of millions of Americans, including teenagers, from obtaining drugs illegally. Why, then, does the Left believe that a war on guns would be any more effective than the war on drugs?
Liberals talk about banning guns as if it's the same as banning murder and banning evil.
After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Countdown - Six Days

I've been pretty disgusted with the media's coverage of everything before, during, and after the 2012 presidential election. Then I ran across this copy of how the media reported the first Christmas those many years ago.

Nothing has changed...

Tis The Season

It's been a hectic few days, catching up on a long honey-do list that I let slid while I was out of town last semester (repairing the well pumphouse roof, wrapping pipes, replacing a garbage disposal, fixing the doorbell, resealing a toilet base -- in an 18-year-old's bathroom, whose aim leaves a lot to be desired -- doing some drywall touch-up and painting, cleaning carpets, etc. etc. etc.). Top that off with the usual seasonal activities, and a round of Christmas parties that seems to grow every year, and I've barely had time to squeeze in a couple of rounds of golf (I love living here - today we teed off at 9:30, and by the 6th hole were in short sleeves - sorry, you northerners).

Anyway, I just can't muster up the mindset or energy to comment on the two stories that dominate every media outlet - the shootings in CT and the fiscal cliff. It's not that I don't care. It's just that I'm worn down by the incessant bleating of ignorant, emotional bloviating windbags (see O'Brien, Soledad.). So today I'm going to borrow a theme from BMEWS and pass on a couple of other examples of liberal lunacy.

NJ governor Chris Christie -- former conservative, now darling of turncoats and liberals everywhere -- has signed a law regulating when and how people in that wretched state can fertilize their lawns.
According to New Jersey's fertilizer law, as of November 15 residents cannot apply fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus to their lawns until next spring (March 1).
As if that's not bad enough, all 'lawn care professionals' have to pay extortion be certified in order to scatter around a bag of what politicians produce in abundance.
Please be advised that as of January 5, 2012, all lawn care professionals must be certified in order to apply fertilizer in New Jersey. Rutgers University is administering the online training and certification program. Online training information is available and lawn care professionals can register to take the test.

The fees to become certified or trained are as follows:

Certified Fertilizer Applicator:
$75 fee for the first year (training and testing)
$25 annual fee for the subsequent three years

Trained Fertilizer Applicator:
$25 annual fee

Banned in New Jersey

No word yet on how many Yard Police will be hired to enforce this nonsense.

A little farther north, our Canadian friends -- well, at least one of them -- has taken it upon herself to rewrite the Christmas classic "Twas the Night Before Christmas".

Why, you might ask yourself, does this timeless poem, which has served us so well for 189 years, need to be rewritten?

Because it contains two lines -- two friggin' lines -- referring to smoking.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

Santa spreading bad habits

In addition to removing those lines, the Canadian loon "added a letter from Santa on the back cover of the book explaining that the fur on his coat and pants is faux, out of respect for animals."

Lord give me strength ... or at least another Shiner...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crafty Bastard

Still busy. Hopefully I'll have a little free time tomorrow. In the meantime...

 * * * * *

A fellow strolling on the beach stumbled across an old bottle. He uncorked it and out popped a genie, who said, "A thousand thanks for freeing me. In return, I will grant you one wish."

Immediately the man said, "I want to live forever."

"Sorry," said the genie, "I'm not allowed to grant eternal life."

"OK," the man replied, "Then I want to live until Congress gets its head out of its ass!"

"You crafty bastard," said the genie.

Monday, December 17, 2012

FOD 2012.12.17

Too busy, and too tired (lots of weekend holiday parties) to do much, so here's an abbreviated FOD post (borrowed from here).
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Obama economy is in a single sentence about the Federal Reserve Board's latest attempts this week to deal with unacceptably high unemployment.

"Fed officials projected that the jobless rate, now at 7.7 percent, would not reach 6.5 percent until near the end of 2015 at the earliest," The Washington Post reported in its lead front page story Thursday morning.

If there's anyone out there -- besides Barack Obama's top advisers and diehard allies in Congress -- who think his economic policies, or lack thereof, will restore a weak economy to its full vigor in his second term, they've got a long wait.
And to celebrate the Christmas season, we have this image, from one of my favorite web sites.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Funnies 2012.12.16

My wife dragged me out Christmas shopping yesterday. Every store we went to was packed. In the crowd and confusion we somehow got separated. My wife got quite upset because 'we' (she) had a lot of shopping to do, so she pulled out her cell phone and called me, demanding to know where I was.

In a calm voice, I said, "Honey, you remember the jewelry store we went into about five years ago where you fell in love with that diamond necklace that we could not afford and I told you that I would get it for you one day?"

There was a slight pause, and then in a softer, choked-up voice she replied, "Yes, I remember that jewelry store. Don't tell me..."

I said, "Well, I'm in the bar right next to it."

The economy is tough this year. How tough is it?

We bought the kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying "Toys not included."

Christmas is the season when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money.

Oh, for the good old days when we would stop Christmas shopping when we ran out of money.

Christmas shopping is a race to see which gives out first - your money or your feet.