Thursday, February 28, 2013

Amatuer Hour Part II

Follow-up to the most recent post:

Big Sis Janet Napolitano has been weeping and wailing about the impact sequestration will have on DHS. One problem with that:

DHS Has $9 Billion Budget Excess
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claims that sequestration will undermine DHS’s “core critical mission,” but the White House projects that her department will have $9 billion in unspent funding at the end of the year.

“[T]he Office of Management and Budget projected that at the end of fiscal year 2013, DHS would carry forward more than $9 billion in unobligated balances,” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., wrote in a letter to Napolitano. “This is money that has not yet been spent, nor even assigned to a specific project, raising the question of why we would not start by reclaiming these funds. I would appreciate if DHS could provide an explanation for what these funds are for and whether the agency has considered them for sequestration.”

Sequestration will cut DHS’s budget by $2.6 billion. Coburn also noted that DHS has a large “fiscal stimulus” program, with over twice as much money still unspent in that program as is needed to pay for the sequester.

“Last year, DHS announced that approximately $8.3 billion FEMA grant funds for preparedness programs had not been spent,” Coburn said. “The Department issued new guidance to grant recipients to expedite the spending on those funds “in light of the current economic situation and the need for further fiscal stimulus.” According to an estimate the Department recently gave my staff, $5.25 billion of those funds remained unspent. In light of the looming sequester, DHS might reconsider this move and instead recover some or all unspent grants and reallocate them to higher priorities.”
Does anyone in this administration have a clue, or all they just mindless political hacks that stumble around blindly doing whatever their Dear Leader commands?

Rhetorical question - no need to answer...

Amatuer Hour

This sequestration crap is getting old. One of the things I find particularly telling about it, and which you'll have a difficult time gleaning from the mainstream media, it the absolute amateurish way the obama administration is dealing with it. For example:

Obama Administration Caught Lying About Teacher Layoffs Due to Obama Sequester
The descriptions of the post-sequester landscape that have been coming out of the Obama Administration have been alarming, specific--and, in at least some cases, hyped.

“There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to come up with an example, Duncan named a single county in West Virginia and acknowledged, “whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.”

And, as it turns out, it isn’t.
Lying sack of shit...

Another example:
Neither the White House nor the Homeland Security Department headquarters were made aware of the Immigration Customs and Enforcement decision to release detainees ahead of the pending forced spending cuts, an administration official said Wednesday.

Separately, at a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the decision was made by ICE "without any input from the White House."
Yeah, right. As if some flunky in the obama regime would dare make such a politically loaded decision on his or her own. If you believe that fairy tale I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you.

And as previously reported, the obama administration is claiming that sequestration will affect government departments that don't even exist.
In compliance with The Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, the OMB sent a detailed report to Congress in September 2012. But there's a small problem with the report: One of the cuts it warns against would affect an agency that no longer exists--and didn't exist when the OMB sent its report to congress.

The first line item on page 121 of the OMB's September 2012 report says that under sequestration the National Drug Intelligence Center would lose $2 million of its $20 million budget ... the problem is that the National Drug Intelligence Center shuttered its doors on June 15, 2012--three months before the OMB issued its report to Congress.
Finally, to round things out, here's a blast from the past. On Nov. 21, 2011, "Obama told reporters he would veto any attempt to get rid of the automatic cuts which are set to kick in as a part of the sequester..."

Yes, you read that right. A little over one year ago barry said that he would veto any legislation passed by congress that would override the sequestration that he proposed, initiated, and supported.
“I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts,” said Obama from the White House’s briefing room...
Lying hypocritical worthless piece of shit is an understatement...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Truck Saga Continues

I finally heard back from the garage where I left my leaky ol' truck. Turns out one leak was from a radiator hose. No big deal.

But the other leak was from a split seam in the radiator itself. Big deal.

I could have had the radiator welded (I've driven thousands of miles in the past with a radiator held together by JB Weld) but since I plan on keeping the truck for a few more years I just went ahead and sprung for a new one.

Since the truck was already going to be in the shop for a while, I told them to go ahead and do a thorough bumper-to-bumper inspection, like they would if I brought them a used car I was thinking of buying. Turns out that was a good idea. Overall, things were in good shape, with two exceptions.

One, the serpentine belt had a small crack. Since I do a lot of high speed driving (3 hour trips at 80 mph twice a week) through remote country, I was thrilled to find the problem now, as opposed to having it break while I was in BFE, where I found myself last week when I had the blowout.

Speaking of the blowout, the other problem the inspection uncovered was a damaged right rear suspension strut. It apparently was banged up when the tire blew and a chunk of rubber slammed into the strut.

While it was there I had the mechanic go ahead and clean and adjust the brakes, and flush the tranny and power steering systems. I'm nearing the 200,000 mile mark, which is a major maintenance point, so i figured I'd get a head start.

Bottom line - estimated cost of repair is around $1400. That's a big hunk of change, but spread out over a year it's a lot less than car payments, even taking into account the difference in gas mileage between a '95 model and a newer one. Besides, I just put a new radio in it when the original cassette deck finally quit working.

Now I need to figure out what to do with all those 20 and 30 year old mix tapes...

Falling Down On The Job

What Otters' Penis Shrinkage Could Mean for Humans
Scientists are concerned about the deformed sex organs of England's otters — and what it might mean for humans.

The furry mammals are found in rivers throughout England and Wales, but male otters aren't what they used to be. An alarming number of them now have shrunken penis bones (baculum), as well as undescended testicles...
Obviously the female otters aren't doing their job.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Another Sign That I'm Getting Old

Holy crap am I old! I just saw Boz Scaggs on the Jay Leno show. I thought he (Scaggs, not Leno) was dead. Hell, he's even older than me.

If you don't know who Boz Scaggs is then screw you.

He performed the Cadillac Waltz.

He sounded pretty good, although he definitely looked like an over-the-hill middle-aged (at least) rocker.

Sequestration In Pictures Part II

Here's a follow-up to the original Sequestration In Pictures. First, one short piece of text that illustrates the fallacy of obama's overhyped "The sky is falling" screeching about the effects of sequestration. That's followed by a couple of pie charts from the incomparable Michael Ramirez.

White House Report Claims Sequestration Will Affect Federal Department That No Longer Exists
In compliance with The Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, the Office of Management and Budget sent a detailed report to Congress in September 2012. But there's a small problem with the report: One of the cuts it warns against would affect an agency that no longer exists--and didn't exist when the OMB sent its report to congress.

The first line item on page 121 of the OMB's September 2012 report says that under sequestration the National Drug Intelligence Center would lose $2 million of its $20 million budget ... the problem is that the National Drug Intelligence Center shuttered its doors on June 15, 2012--three months before the OMB issued its report to Congress.

The first pie chart below shows us what a miniscule amount of the overall federal budget the initial arguments were about. When the democrats (proposed budgets cuts: $33 billion of out $3.82 trillion, or 0.86%) and republicans (proposed budgets cuts: $61 billion of out $3.82 trillion, or 1.59%) couldn't agree, obama forced the sequester upon us.

In other words, all this fussing is about a difference of $28 billion out of $3.82 trillion (0.73% of the overall budget).

The second chart is an updated version that shows the relative size of the sequester cuts relative to the overall budget. It also shows how the overall budget, and the corresponding deficit, has grown since 2008, when democrats assumed control of the senate and obama was elected.

Sequestration In Pictures

I'm a simple guy. I like pretty pictures in place of long, boring blocks of text. So I decided to explain sequestration using images supplemented with just a few words to help explain things.

First, a brief background note: sequestration is the notion that because congress cannot make wise decisions about the budget, it will instead force itself to make unwise decisions about the budget.

If this confuses you, just remember the hostage scene from Blazing Saddles.

I'm sure you've heard all the bullshit rhetoric about how sequestration means TEOTWAWKI.

Nonsense. Here's a chart to help you keep things in perspective.

Notice how overall spending continues to increase, even after the 'meat cleaver' sequestration cuts.

That's not to say, however, that some areas of government won't feel some pain. One of the truly negative aspects of sequestration is that the cuts are not spread out evenly across the board, but rather are aimed at specific targets. (Keep in mind that the baseline cut in spending is around 2.3%. Areas in the chart below that are above that line are disproportionally affected.)

The next chart provides a better way to illustrate the true impact of the sequestration cuts by comparing the percentage of the cuts felt by each area to its percentage of the overall budget. It becomes painfully obvious that defense spending gets well and truly slashed, while other areas are largely spared.

While we're at it, let's not forget whose idea this was in the first place. No matter how much he tries to deny it, and no matter how much his media cronies try to cover it up, it was barack hussein obama who came up with this plan to neuter our military under the guise of deficit reduction.

So the next time you hear obama ranting and raving about how children will starve, cities will burn, and democrats criminals will run wild in the street, just remember this line from Shakespeare's Macbeth:
" is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Or, in pictures:

Monday, February 25, 2013

FOD 2013.02.25

Say what you will about obama -- and believe me, I've said plenty -- but give the devil his due. The SOB is pretty damn good at managing his image and covering up his actions (or inactions).

Case in point: the tragic deaths of four Americans during the attacks on our Benghazi consulate.
The Obama White House is to be congratulated. It has executed one of the most effective stonewalls in recent memory over the Benghazi attack Sept. 11 that killed our ambassador to Libya and three others. Its handling of the debacle's aftermath is a model example of the power of obfuscation and delay.

The imperative for the White House was, first, to try to deny that the assault was a coordinated terrorist attack lest that undermine its anti-terror credentials and, second, to push further consideration of the matter past the November election. After that, there would be no electoral consequences. And it all would be “old news.”

So the Accountability Review Board report from the State Department was scheduled to hit ... in December. When asked about Benghazi during the campaign, the president could aver, “Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.”

Of course, President Barack Obama knew what he did or did not do during the eight-hour attack that started at the consulate and continued at a safe house, where two security personnel were killed. If he had covered himself in glory, surely he would have let reporters know.

Instead, nothing. Time passed, and he won re-election. When Congress got around to hearings the past few weeks, “Benghazi” had become a watchword for right-wing obsessiveness.

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has revealed under questioning that after a previously scheduled meeting with the president at 5 p.m. at the outset of the attacks, he had no communication from the White House the rest of the night. Neither, according to his testimony, did Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey.

This raises the question of what Obama was doing during the long hours of an attack that killed a U.S. ambassador for the first time since 1979.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina vows to hold up Obama administration nominees until he gets answers. His determination is admirable, but by now, no one really cares.

The stonewall worked, alas. PR experts might want to rewrite their rules, at least for clients who can count on a compliant press. Benghazi was a fiasco. The handling of its aftermath by Obama and his team was brilliant.
It helps, of course, to have a media that is an extension of the obama campaign machine.

I try to stay positive, but at this point in time I'm beginning to have serious doubts about the long-term future of my beloved country. If an administration that is directly responsible for the deaths of American citizens through running guns (Fast and Furious), turning its back on American citizens in distress (Benghazi), and outright killing American citizens without due process (drone attacks) can garner the support of the media and a majority of the voters, then I fear we may be lost.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Funnies 2013.02.24

The adventures with my truck continue. We had the Great Blowout last week. Yesterday was the Great Coolant Escape.

I ran a few errands during the day and when I got home I noticed a small but steady trickle of coolant dripping from under the truck. It looked to be either the thermostat or the water pump - probably the water pump, because that's more expensive.

In any event, I didn't have time to mess with it. I also didn't want to take a chance on driving it, since it's 200 miles between where I live and where I work and I didn't want to get stuck on the side of the road (again). So I topped the radiator off, grabbed a couple of jugs of water just in case, and headed for the repair shop. Dropped it off, picked up a loaner car, and headed home. I go back to Laredo on Monday, so the shop has four days to figure out all sorts of ways to pad the bill.

Anne meets up with Dana while she is picking up her car from the mechanic.

Anne asks, "Everything ok with your car now?"

Dana replies, "Yes, thank goodness. I was worried that my mechanic might try to rip me off, so I was relieved when he told me all I needed was $12 worth of blinker fluid."

 * * * * *

There are four engineers in a car; an electrical engineer, a chemical engineer, a mechanical engineer, and a Microsoft engineer. Suddenly the car quits running and coasts to the side of the road. The engineers look at each other wondering what could be wrong.

"Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized. We'll have to strip down the engine before we can get the car working again," says the mechanical engineer.

"Well," says the chemical engineer, "it sounded to me as if the fuel might be contaminated. I think we should clear out the fuel system."

"I think it might be a grounding problem," says the electrical engineer, "or maybe a faulty plug lead."

They all turn to the Microsoft engineer who has said nothing and say.

They ask him, "What do you think?"

"Well, I think we should close all the windows, get out, get back in, and open the windows again."

 * * * * *

A young nun who worked for a local home healthcare agency was out making her rounds when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it there was a gas station just one block away. She walked to the station to borrow a can with enough gas to start the car and drive to the station for a fill up. The attendant regretfully told her that the only gas can he owned had just been loaned out, but if she would care to wait he was sure it would be back shortly.

Since the nun was on the way to see a patient she decided not to wait and walked back to her car. After looking through her car for something to carry to the station to fill with gas, she spotted a bedpan she was taking to the patient. Always resourceful, she carried it to the station, filled it with gasoline, and carried it back to her car.

As she was pouring the gas into the tank of her car two men watched her from across the street. One of them turned to the other and said, "If that car starts, I'll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life!"

 * * * * *

A hip young man goes out and buys the best car available: a brand-new Ferrari 550. It is also the most expensive car in the world, and it costs him $500,000. He takes it out for a spin and stops for a red light.

An old man on a moped pulls up next to him. The old man looks over at the sleek, shiny new car and asks, "What kind of car ya got there, sonny?"

The young man replies, "A Ferrari 550. It cost half a million dollars!"

"That's a lot of money," says the old man. "Why does it cost so much?"

"Because this car can do up to 320 miles an hour!" states the young dude proudly. The old man asks, "Mind if I take a look inside?"

"No problem," replies the owner.

So the old guy pokes his head in the window and looks around. Then, sitting back on his moped, he says, "That's a pretty nice car, all right... but I'll stick with my moped!"

Just then the light changes, so the young guy decides to show the old man just what his car can do. He floors it, and within 30 seconds the speedometer reads 160 mph. Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rearview mirror.

It seems to be getting closer! He slows down to see what it could be, and suddenly, WHHHOOOOSSSHHH! something whips by him, going much faster.

What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?! the young man asks himself. He floors the accelerator and takes the Ferrari up to 250 mph. Then, up ahead of him, he sees that it's the old man on the moped.

Amazed that the moped could pass his Ferrari, he gives it some more gas and passes the moped at 275 mph. WHHOOOOSSSHH!

He's feeling pretty good until he looks in his mirror and sees the old man gaining on him again. Astounded by the speed of this old guy, he floors the gas pedal and takes the Ferrari all the way up to 320 mph.

Not 10 seconds later he sees the moped bearing down on him again. The Ferrari is flat out and there's nothing he can do.

Suddenly the moped plows into the back of his Ferrari, demolishing the rear. The young man jumps out; unbelievably, the old man is still alive!!! He runs up to the mangled old man and says, "Oh, my God! Is there anything I can do for you?"

The old man whispers softly, "Unhook... my... suspenders... from... your... side-view... mirror."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Two Pictures Worth Thousands And Thousands Of Words

My original intent was to write a brilliant, penetrating, insightful treatise on the woeful state of our public school systems. Then I got busy, it got late, and the Shiner starting calling. So instead I'm just posting these two charts.

You're all smart people. You'll figure it out.

As the chart above shows:
Since 1970, inflation adjusted public school spending has more than doubled. Over the same period, achievement of students at the end of high school has stagnated according to the Department of Education’s own long term National Assessment of Educational Progress (see chart above). Meanwhile, the high school graduation rate has declined by 4 or 5%, according to Nobel laureate economist James Heckman.

So the only thing higher public school spending has accomplished is to raise taxes by about $300 billion annually, without improving outcomes.
The question that immediately comes to mind is, of course, where is all that money going? The answer may be found in the next chart.

Administrative bloat in US public schools
America’s public schools are bloated with bureaucracy and skinny on results.  Nationwide since 1950, the number of public school administrative and non-teaching positions has soared 702 percent while the student population increased just 96 percent. Over that same period, teachers’ numbers also increased — 252 percent — but still far short of administrators and non-teaching personnel (see chart above).

Notably, that hiring trend has been just as prominent over the past two decades. From 1992 to 2009, students’ numbers increased 17 percent whereas administrators and other non-teaching staff rose 46 percent. And during that time, some states actually lost students yet kept hiring more non-teachers.
Not only are those administrators a sponge that soaks up school funding (or, more aptly, leeches that suck the life out of our schools), but they also interfere with the schools mission of educating our children. I don't have the time or energy to go into detail here, but if you have kids in the public school system you can probably cite your own examples.

Locally, I'm constantly amazed at the absurd amount of money spent on King Football here in Texas (and I like high school football - I just think the money could be more wisely spent).

Then we have teachers unions that advocate for seniority over performance.

Keep all this in mind the next time you here some liberal whining that we don't spend enough money on education.

Just in case the liberal you're talking with isn't convinced, here's another piece of data to beat them over the head with.
It is finally dawning on liberals that Head Start, America's 50-year experiment with early childhood education, is a failure.
A Department of Health and Human Services study found that:
The positive effects Head Start has on children (which are mild to begin with) simply vanish by the children's first year of school.  Head Start kids are no better off than those not in the program, but taxpayers are billions poorer.
It took 50 years and billions of dollars to figure out that Head Start was nothing more than a glorified baby-sitting service?


Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2013.02.22

An oldie but a goodie - and one that I can identify with...

Another Example Of Teachers Behaving Badly

It's late and I'm tired, so I'm just going to post this with minimal content. I will say, however, that this is a classic example of a teacher allowing his or her personal beliefs to get in the way doing his job; that is, educating students, as opposed to indoctrinating them.
A Denton teacher allegedly refused to grade two student reports because they were about guns. Now one mother is demanded answers and an apology.

Marshall Williams said he and his classmates were told by Mr. Dewey Christian at Denton High School to write a report on anything that they were interested in using different types of sentence structures.  He chose to write about the Fort Worth gun show.

But then he said his English teacher told him he would get a zero on the assignment because of the topic.

Williams' mom confronted the teacher. She asked him if he had outlined any criteria for the topic and posted a video of his response on YouTube.

"So because it had guns in it you refused to grade it?" Kimberly Williams asked.

"Not just guns, but you see we've had a certain amount of violence and things in schools…" Christian replied.

"I'm not asking you about that. I'm asking you about the subject matter of his paper and why you took issue with it," the mother said.

"The problem was not the subject matter…" the teacher said.

"You just told me it was the subject matter," the mother said.

The family demanded an apology.

The Denton Independent School District said in a statement, "The teacher has accepted the paper and apologized to the student for misperceptions. The teacher's intent was for guns not to be trivialized in any school situation because of recent events."

"I don't feel like I've gotten an apology yet. I feel like he has just stomped on our right to free speech. He told us we would not be allowed to express ourselves and didn't even consider what we had said.  He didn't have a clue of the content of my paper before he told me… he just knew that my paper was about guns before he told me that I would be getting a zero on the assignment," Marshall Williams said.

His mother called it blatant censorship based on personal moral beliefs.

"If it went against any district policy I would support it completely, but it doesn't. It's just his own moral beliefs trying to be put in his classroom and I disagree with that," Kimberly Williams said.

Her son said he wrote about going to the gun show because it was something he enjoyed, the paper didn't mention anything political about guns or even shooting guns.
The teacher should be getting the "Fail" - not the student.

The school's administrators should also get a "Fail" for lack of supervision, training, and clear policies and standards stating that teachers should grade students based on the subject matter - nothing else.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Was I Thinking?

At one point I actually thought NJ governor Chris Christie might be a viable conservative candidate for president.

What the hell was I thinking?

Christie: ‘I’m not much different from Andrew Cuomo’
...Larry Bulman, former Saratoga County Democratic chairman and a South Glens Falls native who, in his new job as political director for the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters recently got 90 minutes of face time with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Bulman said when he told Mr. Christie he is from upstate New York, “(Christie) said, ‘I’m not much different from Andrew Cuomo. I probably agree with him on 98% of the issues.’ ”
Other nonsense spewed from Christie's piehole can be found here, here, and here.

And It All Went Downhill From There

In the war of ideas between the good guys (conservatives) and the bad guys (liberals), the first step is to gather data. One of the links on the sidebar is to the Heritage Foundation, a conservatively-oriented think tank that does a very good job of data collection and analysis. They have recently released the 2013 edition of their Index of Economic Freedom.
For over a decade, The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, Washington's preeminent think tank, have tracked the march of economic freedom around the world with the influential Index of Economic Freedom. Since 1995, the Index has brought (Adam Smith's) theories about liberty, prosperity and economic freedom to life by creating 10 benchmarks that gauge the economic success of 185 countries around the world. With its user-friendly format, readers can see how 18th century theories on prosperity and economic freedom are realities in the 21st century.

The Index covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship – in 185 countries.

Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state. In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.
Given the long-term problems facing the United States, the economic turmoil of recent years, looming sequestration and massive budget cuts, and the 'new normal' of continual manufactured economic crises and kicking the can down the road, the following should come as no surprise.
... two advanced economies and one developing country have registered five consecutive years of declining economic freedom: the United States, Ireland, and Equatorial Guinea. Each has recorded a cumulative score decline of 5 points or more since 2008. All have suffered from substantial declines broadly across the 10 components of economic freedom, particularly in the areas of the rule of law and limited government.
Five consecutive years of declining economic freedom. Hmmm ... let's see ... what happened five years ago?

Oh yeah - this country elected (and subsequently re-elected) perhaps the most unqualified person to ever hold the office of President of the United States.

While the Heritage Foundation does a commendable job of data collection and analysis, that's not enough. In spite of the abdication by the media of their watchdog function (Watchdog? Hah! They're more like lapdogs these days) if there is any possibility of working our way out of this mess we have got to get the word out.

Supporting the Heritage Foundation is a good place to start. As an added bonus, it's also a great place to go for facts and arguments guaranteed to give liberals a case of stuttering apoplexy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Something Else To Lose Sleep Over

Here's something for you to mull over just before you go to bed tonight.

Pleasant dreams...

Is Your Local Police Department Using Pictures of Pregnant Women and Children for Target Practice?
What if I told you police in your town could desensitize themselves to the idea of shooting a (armed) child, pregnant woman, or young mother, for just a couple of bucks? The "No More Hesitation" series from Law Enforcement Targets Inc. offers exactly that. For less than 99 cents per target, police can shoot at real-life images "designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training."

The series contains seven targets in all, titled Pregnant Woman, Older Man 1, Older Man 2, Older Woman, Young Mother, Young Girl, and Little Brother. Each of the depicted subjects is armed.

Considering that the company has landed $5.5 million worth of contracts with the federal government, it might also be interesting to know if these targets are being used by federal law enforcement agents.
Oh my...

In their defense, the company states:
"The subjects in NMH targets were chosen in order to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training. I found while speaking with officers and trainers in the law enforcement community that there is a hesitation on the part of cops when deadly force is required on subjects with atypical age, frailty or condition (one officer explaining that he enlarged photos of his own kids to use as targets so that he would not be caught off guard with such a drastically new experience while on duty). This hesitation time may be only seconds but that is not acceptable when officers are losing their lives in these same situations. The goal of NMH is to break that stereotype on the range, regardless of how slim the chances are of encountering a real life scenario that involves a child, pregnant woman, etc. If that initial hesitation time can be cut down due to range experience, the officer and community are better served."
I can see their point, but I'm not sure I totally buy into it. I might if they had a line of No More Hesitation - Politician targets.

Bottom line - just one more thing that keeps me awake at night...

He Feels Our Pain

I feel much better about sequestration after learning that the White House says it could also feel sting of spending cuts.
In the latest dire warning about the effects of automatic government spending cuts known as the "sequester," an Obama administration official said on Wednesday that not even the White House's own operations will be spared.

"The Executive Office of the President is subject to the sequester, and we anticipate significant disruption to our operations and mission, which could include furloughs," said the official, who did not provide further details.
Of course no further details were provided. Those leeches won't stop sucking the blood from taxpayers' necks until they're booted out of office. I'll believe it when I see a reduction in the number and extravagance of barry and michelle's vacations.
President Barack Obama has been sounding the alarm about the impact of the $85 billion in automatic across-the-board government spending cuts set to take effect on March 1.

The White House has talked about potential layoffs for a broad spectrum of federal employees such as emergency workers, preschool teachers and meat inspectors to illustrate the impact, part of an effort to spur congressional Republicans to negotiate with Democrats to avert the cuts.
While we're at it, let's not forget that this whole sequestration mess is obama's idea. Even the uber-liberal Washington Post acknowledges that.

Oh, and BTW - the $85 billion in spending cuts amounts to less than 3% of the annual federal budget. No argument that some will feel the impact more than others (e.g., the DoD), but overall federal spending will actually increase under sequestration (here and here).

I'm so tired of this crap. I'm going to wander off now and seek wisdom in the bottom of a bottle of Shiner...

Man, Do I Feel Old

Somehow this bit of news slipped by me a few days ago.

'Underdog' cartoon co-creator dies at 85
William Watts Biggers, the co-creator of the cartoon "Underdog," the mild-mannered canine shoeshine boy who turned into a caped superhero to rescue his girlfriend, Sweet Polly Purebred, has died. He was 85.

The native of Avondale Estates, Ga., worked for the New York City advertising firm DFS when he accepted an assignment from the agency's largest client, General Mills, to create television cartoons to promote its breakfast cereals. The most famous was "Underdog," which debuted on NBC in 1964.

The canine superhero, voiced by comic actor Wally Cox, also battled villains including mad scientist Simon Bar Sinister, and a gangster wolf Riff Raff.

Upon hearing the cries of Sweet Polly Purebred, Underdog would rush into a telephone booth and transform into the hero.

He spoke in simple rhymes, his most famous probably "There's no need to fear, Underdog is here."

The family said Biggers "delighted in the enduring appeal of his 'Underdog' franchise," including the balloon that appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the 2007 live-action film.

Underdog was one of my favorite cartoons. It was a simpler time back then. The difference between heroes and villains was clear-cut. Heroes stood for truth, justice, and the American way. They never used their powers for evil or personal gain. Their love interests remained chaste and pure. They never backed down. They did what was right because that's what good guys did.

Yes, things were simpler back then. We didn't know how good we had it.

Man, do I feel old...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Border Update 2013.02.19

News from the city across the border from where I work:
The police chief of the violent Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo is missing, authorities said Monday.

Tamaulipas state prosecutors said they have opened an investigation into the whereabouts of Roberto Balmori Garza, police chief of the city across the border from Laredo, Texas.

Local media reported that two of Balmori Garza's brothers were found shot dead Sunday inside the trunk of a car in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon.
Not a good sign.
One of his brothers was a federal investigator, media reported.

Nuevo Laredo, a stronghold of the Zetas drug cartel, has been the scene of bloody drug-gang turf battles since the beginning of the year.
Actually, for much longer than that. It's just that things have gotten even more violent the last few weeks.
Two years ago, gunmen killed a retired army general who had been police chief of Nuevo Laredo for a month. Two of his bodyguards also were slain and two suffered wounds.
I'm not sure why anyone would accept the position of police chief.

Or be one of his bodyguards...

Speaking Of Spare Tires

Driving home from South Texas last week, I had a blowout.

Not a low-key puncture, accompanied by a nice polite hissing -- a slow, steady air leak – which results in a gentle depressurization that leads to the rhythmic thump-thump-thump of a normal flat tire.

Nor was it a muffled firecracker-sounding ‘pop’ that accompanies a more rapid flattening of the tire, causing one to sit up and pay attention.

No, this was a full-fledged blowout: a howitzer-sounding explosion that was audible even over the blaring of the Charlie Daniels Band on the car stereo (which, coincidentally, was playing “Uneasy Rider”).

It was so loud it almost caused me to drop my beer (kidding … just kidding…).

The speed limit for that particular stretch of highway is 75 MPH. I usually cruise along at 80, which means only about 25% of the traffic passes me.

Anyway, after the sonic-boom sized “BANG” (Russian meteor? HAH! That was for wimps.) large chunks of rubber began spraying out from under my right rear fender. Don’t for a moment believe that tire rubber is soft. Those pieces did a thorough job of mangling the quarter panel.

That was a blessing in disguise, though, because it encouraged the vehicles around me to back off and give me some room as I swerved across the highway. Keep in mind that I was on a four-lane interstate at the time. Slabs of rubber large enough to make sandals for VC trekking down the Ho Chi Minh trail flew through the air. In a twinkling I went from driving at 80 MPH to careening wildly from shoulder to shoulder on three tires and a rim.

I never knew that one could ejaculate adrenalin. At least, I assume that’s what I ejaculated…

Anyway, after I wrestled the truck to the side of the road it was time to change the tire.


I drive a 1995 Ford F-150. The spare is carried underneath the bed, in a cradle formed by a shaped metal arm that traps the spare tire between the arm and the truck bed. It’s held in place by a large eye-bolt that screws into the underside of the bed.

Like the ‘Be Prepared’ Boy Scout that I used to be, I periodically check the spare. The air pressure was fine.

What I failed to do, however, was periodically raise and lower the metal arm that holds the spare in place. Needless to say, the eye bolt was held in place by 18+ years of dirt, rust, and corrosion.

Fortunately, I had a piece of rebar that fit through the eye of the eye bolt. That gave me the leverage I needed to wrench free the bolt and lower the spare tire.

Unfortunately, the shoulder of the road was so sloped that I couldn’t raise the truck high enough to change the tire.

I carry a 6-ton hydraulic bottle jack for just such a situation. I also carry a piece of 2X6 lumber to slide under the jack for additional height. That still wasn’t enough.

But I also carry a folding shovel for ‘just-in-case’ situations. So I unfolded the shovel and got to work digging a trench under the flat tire. Took me back a couple of decades.


All this took place on the side of an interstate in South Texas. For those of you unfamiliar with the region, the side of the road consists of gravel, broken glass, sand burrs, and fire ants (this is South Texas – fire ants do not hibernate). So I ended up with scrapes, cuts, pricks, and bites. (If you’ve never experienced a fire ant bite, think of a mix between scorpions and ex-wives).

As an added attraction, as I lay sprawled under the truck with just my legs (clad in jeans and terminating in cowboy boots) sticking out, no fewer than three Border Patrol vehicles drove by. Once they saw that I was not Hispanic, and that there weren’t a dozen or so illegal undocumented indeterminate status aliens packed into the bed of the truck, they waved and merrily sped off on their way. 

This happened between Laredo and Pearsall (Texas). Talk about the middle of nowhere. And of course, there’s no cell phone reception anywhere around there. Thank goodness it was winter and not summer. Otherwise I’d be CenTexTim jerky lying dessicated by the side of the road.

Monday, February 18, 2013

FOD 2013.02.18

Just five short weeks after obama returned from his most recent Hawaiian vacation, he's off for a long weekend playing golf at an exclusive Florida resort.
Faced with a long weekend in an empty White House, President Barack Obama figured he needed a getaway, too, so he put together a golf outing with some buddies.

Not at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland or at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, two Washington-area military posts where he's a regular on their courses.

Instead, he went south, to Florida, to spend the long Presidents Day weekend staying and playing at the Floridian, an exclusive and secluded yacht and golf club on the state's Treasure Coast.
He left without his main squeeze, although he did take her out for an exclusive, swanky, and expensive Valentine's Day dinner.
After an expensive Valentine's Day dinner date at an exclusive, swanky Washington restaurant, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are apparently vacationing separately over President's Day weekend.

The President will be in West Palm Beach, Fla. But the Aspen Daily News reports that the First Lady, along with Vice President Biden, will be visiting Colorado. Both are expected to do some skiing in the Aspen area.
Playing with barry during one of his rounds was Tiger Woods.
President Barack Obama played golf Sunday with Tiger Woods, the White House said Sunday.

The foursome also included Jim Crane, a Houston businessman who owns the Floridian and baseball's Houston Astros, and outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, a former mayor of Dallas, said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. Crane and Kirk also were part of Obama's foursome on Saturday, the White House said.

The White House has prohibited media coverage of Obama's weekend golf outing.
Gee, I wonder why. Maybe because over the last six weeks he's been lounging on the beach in Hawaii and strolling around exclusive private golf courses in Florida, while at the same time michelle is off skiing.

Meanwhile, sequestration and massive budget cuts are looming.

One of the most oft-repeated pieces of advice to golfers is "keep your eye on the ball."

The same advice applies to presidents...