Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How The Teenage Mind Works

Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your kids.

I recently stumbled across a letter that a 32-year-old guy wrote to his 18-year-old self. In it, he gave some advice to the teenage version of himself that the 32-y-o version wished he had known way back when. I thought the letter made a lot of sense, so I sent it to my 18-year-old son with the following cover message.

"I know you don't always think I know what I'm talking about, but hopefully you'll listen to a total stranger."

Here's the advice.
Advice to 18-year-old me:

Hit the gym. Just because you’re not the best looking guy doesn’t mean you should give up on being attractive. Weight lifting will help you build confidence and increase your testosterone level so that taking risks literally becomes in your blood.

Cut off the television, internet, and video games. Pick a hobby such as music, writing, languages, sports, or something else that interests you and dedicate one hour per day on it. You’ll be a beast before you even hit 21, where it’ll not only make a positive contribution to your life, but give you the option to take an alternative path.

Read at least two books every month. You don’t know shit about life right now. Hell, you still won’t know a whole lot even when you turn 30. Keep yourself sharp by tapping into the brains of others through their work. Writers have spent hundreds of hours to create books that distill all their knowledge or experience in an easily digestible format. Take advantage of that, and watch your conversational skills increase as a result.

Stop being concerned about what other people think of you. They don’t really care about you. They are so wrapped up in their own insecurities and what you think of them that you’re wasting your energy worrying about impressing them. Be yourself, take risks, try new things, and learn from your mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing enough.
Here's my son's response.
"If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing enough."
Got it. Make more mistakes
Smart-ass kid. He's driving me to drink...

FOD 2013.04.30 Tuesday Version - Part II

Insightful comment from the Wall Street Journal (actually, a reader of the WSJ) regarding the obama's failed sequester, as exemplified by the FAA furlough mess.
So far I haven't seen any commentary on the correlation between Mr. Obama's training as a community organizer and the sequester fiasco. Community organizers' main efforts are to stir up public sentiment to achieve special goals without implementing any solutions. Solutions are the province of someone else. The present administration has used this tactic endlessly, most noticeably with the White House tour shutdown during spring break and now flight-controller furloughs. This is definitely not an effort to solve problems but rather an attempt to stampede citizens to a desired result. We don't need a community organizer in the White House. We need an executive...
Hits the nail square on the head, wot?

FOD 2013.04.30 Tuesday Version - Part I

obama has painted himself into a corner with his big talk about Syria's use of chemical weapons and red lines.
Barack Obama has often warned Syrian leader Bashar Assad about chemical weapons: Wielding them, the president has said, would cross a "red line" and be a "game changer" for U.S. policy, "with enormous consequences."
Now that there are multiple credible reports that the Assad regime has in fact used chemical weapons, barry has to put his money where his mouth is. In his world, "enormous consequences" means a U.N. investigation.

Yeah, that'll teach 'em.

Combine that with the obama administration's empty threats against Iran building nuclear weapons and North Korea testing missiles ("No, no - not more sanctions!"), and the image of America that is being projected around the world is that of an aging, toothless lion.

Now couple that with a weakened military resulting from overuse/overextension, budget cuts, and sequestration, and we are in danger of becoming a laughingstock.

Theodore Roosevelt counseled us to "Walk softly, and carry a big stick."

obama has decided to do the exact opposite - spout a bunch of big talk, while going stickless.

I think Michelle has the big stick in that family...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Words Fail Me

Would someone please explain to me what on God's green earth is so terribly wrong about a kid taking a Swiss Army Knife on a camping trip? (H/T to Moonbattery for the story.)
A 10-year-old California boy was suspended and threatened with expulsion after he brought a Swiss Army Knife on a week-long school school camping trip.
Oh, it happened in California. That explains it.
Tony Bandermann told Fox News that his son Braden was on a science camping trip with his class at Garden Gate Elementary School in Cupertino, Calif.

Bandermann, who was out-of-town on a business trip, said he received a telephone call from the school’s principal informing him that his son had violated the school’s weapons policy. The punishment, she told him, must be immediate and severe.

“She threatened to expel him,” he said. “She kept telling me, ‘you can’t bring a weapon to school.’ A Swiss Army Knife is a tool not a weapon.”
Take a good look at the picture below. It's not even a full-sized knife. It's a mini-Swiss Army Knife. There's no way that thing is a weapon. I think the principal was just pissed off because the knife's corkscrew was too small to open her bottle of wine.

Since he was unable to pick up his son, the principal put the boy in 24-hour isolation at the camp – held in a teacher’s lounge where he was forced to eat and sleep in solitude.

Bandermann said it’s unreal to think that a boy on a hiking and camping trip could get in trouble for having a Swiss Army Knife.
That's not the America I grew up in. Of course, I grew up in TX, not CA - thank God!
Braden is back in school now – but his father is still fuming. He accused the school district of overreacting.

“They’re not teaching critical thinking,” he said. “That’s what she’s teaching these kids – to react on your emotions instead of gathering information.”
Yep, that's how low today's public school system has sunk. Zero tolerance based on emotional knee-jerk reactions, without an iota of common sense.

I weep for the future.

FOD 2013.04.29

The recent defeat in the Senate of ill-conceived gun control legislation has poor barry scratching his head.
“How can something have 90% support and not happen?” asked President Barack Obama on the day the Senate failed to pass even a modest reform of the nation’s gun laws.

The answer to his rhetorical question is simple: it can’t. A Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll showed on Wednesday that the public is far less enraged about the Senate’s failure to pass new gun laws than, say, Joe Scarborough. The poll found that only ... 47 percent were disappointed that the Senate did not pass any new laws ... 39 percent, however, expressed either relief or happiness over the failure to pass new gun laws. Furthermore, a plurality of self-identified independents expressed satisfaction with the fact that no new gun laws were passed.
So how can we explain this? One obvious possibility is that the polls that delivered the 90% figure were flawed - a distinct possibility of polls conducted to further the agenda of a liberal mainstream media.

Another, more meaningful, explanation is that Americans aren't as stupid as the liberal politicians and their media lackeys think they are.
... when it comes to a perceived need for gun control versus the right to own guns, as interpreted by courts in the context of the Second Amendment, Americans seem split on the issue.

About 50 percent of people, in an average of three polls, were concerned that gun-control legislation would take weapons away from them, or believed protection from gun violence was a lesser concern than protecting their Second Amendment rights.
A third explanation is that people are getting tired of obama - tired of his paternal attitude, tired of his smugness and aloofness, and tired of his "the sky is falling" schtick.
Barack Obama is a lame-duck president. Nobody listens to what he says anymore, nobody is interested in winning his approval and nobody much cares if he thinks they have “let the country down”. This is typical for a second-term president who has lost all their leverage because they’re no longer running for office and everybody is patiently waiting for the day when he quits the White House. But Obama's difficult personality has doubled the size of the challenge. Gloating in victory, adolescent in defeat – the Prez doesn’t make it easy to work with him. Why should conservative senators give him a legislative victory after he has spent four years painting them as knuckle-dragging rednecks who hate women and the poor?

Whatever your position on gun control, yesterday’s events are a damning indictment of Obama’s presidency – a flash of style, lots of soaring rhetoric and, when the votes are actually counted, little show for any of it. America has four more years of this lame-duck president telling them that it has let him down. If only he could tear up the Constitution and rule by diktat he might save himself a little disappointment. Alas, American democracy is a stickler for rules.
In truth, the answer is probably a combination of all three. But I sure like the sound of that last one.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Funnies 2013.04.28

Not much humor today, because last night was our daughter's prom night and I don't feel much like laughing. Just when in the world did she grow up and become a young lady? Last time I looked she was flat-chested, missing a front tooth, had a skinned knee, and didn't like boys.

What the hell happened?

 * * * * * * * * * *

Last night was our teenage daughter's prom night. She spent a fortune getting ready for it. $500 on a new dress, $200 for new shoes, who knows how much at the hair salon and beauty parlor.

When I totaled up all the bills I was shocked. "Wow," I exclaimed. "That's more than I spent to marry your mother."

Her response: “Yeah, well, you've been married three times, but a prom is a once in a lifetime experience.”

 * * * * * * * * * * 
I tried to save some money by tinting the windows on her mother's minivan and telling her it was a limo.

Didn't work...

  * * * * * * * * * *

  * * * * * * * * * *

That last image ain't no joke!

Just sayin'...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2013.04.26

Country music legend George Jones dies at 81
George Jones, the country music legend whose graceful, evocative voice gave depth to some of the greatest songs in country music -- including "She Thinks I Still Care," "The Grand Tour" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today" -- ... died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville...
RIP, George. We'll miss you.

Why Professors Drink 2013.04.26

I've just finished slogging through 100+ student research projects. Sadly, they have validated my decision to retire at the end of this semester.

Nothing against the students. They are, for the most part, good kids who appreciate the opportunity they've been given to go to college. They're bright and they work hard. Sure, like most 19 and 20 year-olds, they think they know more than they do, they try to get away with doing as little work as possible, and they can be little smart-asses at times. But that's no different than you or I were at that age.

No, the sad – and frustrating – part is seeing how ill-prepared they are for college. These particular students are mostly juniors.

Juniors in college, and as you'll see below, they still have difficulty expressing themselves clearly and appropriately.

Part of the problem is regional. The university where I work is located in one of the poorest regions of the state. Most of the residents are poor, Hispanic, and undereducated. Most of my students are the first ones in their family to go to college. They grew up in homes with no native English speakers, and parents who struggled to graduate from high school (if they did manage to graduate at all). They have no role models, and no one to turn to for help or support. They don't know what they don't know.

Since most of them grew up in Spanish-speaking households, most of them are bilingual – sort of. A local joke says that being bilingual in South Texas means that you speak two languages poorly. There's a lot of truth in that.

Another problem is the local school districts. Like most public school districts, over time their focus has shifted from educating to warehousing and 'feel-good' programs. Standards and expectations have been progressively (and I use that word advisedly) lowered over the years, to the point where students can graduate without the ability to write a coherent paper.

The university is not without blame either. How did these kids come to be in my class – juniors in college, remember – without that ability? Or the ability to reason, think critically, problem-solve, and all the other skills they will need to be truly successful?


Anyway, I didn't start writing this post intending to vent about the state of today's educational system. I just wanted to share with you a little bit of my soon-to-be-former world.

Read 'em and weep.

 * * * * * * * * * *

From a paper comparing tablets and smart phones. Here's this student's perspective on one disadvantage of tablets.
A big disadvantage is, well, personally, its bulkiness. I mean really. Nobody has pockets that big unless you’re a girl with a purse.
* * * * * * * * * *

On the use of databases by the military:
The data used by the military is not used in a common sense matter. 
Actually, this kid may be on to something.

* * * * * * * * * *

For all of you out there who are concerned that liberal college professors are indoctrinating their students, take heart. I try to provide an alternative perspective. Here's what one of my students had to say.
The question to ask is “why would people be at risk”? The answer is simple, as I learned in class. Our government likes to control things.
* * * * * * * * * *

On the other hand, I try, but I can't convince them all.
Just last year we had a presidential election in which the incumbent won because the challenger was too risky to put into office.
* * * * * * * * * *

Someone's been watching too many TV shows about paranormal events.
But what happens to our email once we're gone? As in deceased?
* * * * * * * * * *

Right idea, but not very well expressed.
Indeed it would be a devastating fact that some large bank would be hacked since money no longer is put in the form of money.
* * * * * * * * * *

Right idea, but not very well expressed – part two.
As our technology advances, it simply starts to disappear.
* * * * * * * * * *

Someone really, really needs to use spell-check.
A once-shittered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab...
* * * * * * * * * *

And someone needs to forget that creative writing class.
Most definitely I learned that to be technologically relevant companies have to be always innovative and not sit on the ghosts of past triumphs.

* * * * * * * * * *

Oh well, that's the last time I'll have to perform this particular chore. Now it's time to add a little Kahlua to my morning coffee and get a preview of life after retirement...

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I've checked a couple of different sources, and this seems to be legit.

Williams-Sonoma Pulls Pressure Cookers Off Shelves
Williams-Sonoma, the specialty retailer of home furnishings and gourmet cookware with over 250 stores in the United States, has pulled pressure cookers from their shelves following the Boston Marathon bombing.

A Blow To The Head

Jesus H. Christ on a bicycle. Now some babbling liberal moonbat is questioning whether the Boston Marathon bombing was somehow caused by the fact that the older, deader brother was a Golden Gloves boxer.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev is telling no tales. The older of the two brothers who committed the Boston Marathon bombings was likely the one who planned the attack, but when he died in a shootout with police just days after the blasts, his thoughts and motivations vanished with him.

But the brain that was home to his angry mind remains, and in this case that may mean something.
Tsarnaev was an amateur boxer who won the New England Golden Gloves competition as recently as 2009 and 2010. That speaks to a young man with a healthy sense of discipline and focus, and if he had a violent streak, it was violence well-channeled.

But his sport of choice suggests the possibility of something else too: traumatic brain injury.

As the National Football League and other pro sports increasingly reckon with the early dementia, mental health issues, suicides and even criminal behavior of former players, the risk of what's known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), is becoming clear.

It was inevitable, then, that questions would be raised about whether Tsarnaev's brain may have been similarly traumatized during the years he boxed, and if there had indeed been damage, did that spark his murderous behavior?
I played football, and had my bell rung more than once. I used to ride dirt bikes, and experienced a few spectacular spills. I've trained in martial arts, and been smacked around pretty good. I've been thrown from a horse and knocked unconscious. I've been in a car wreck and suffered a fractured skull. My official concussion count is four, and I'm sure there were several more that went undiagnosed. My poor old brain has been shaken, rattled, and rolled. While there might be some who question my mental status, I have yet to go out and blow up people.

Since the bombing required premeditation, planning, and foresight, that would rule out the impulsiveness, situational anger, and paranoia that is typical of CTE. A much more likely explanation, as dictated by Occam’s Razor ("the simpler the explanation, the better"), is that the brothers Tsarnaev became radicalized islamists, and like all radicalized islamists are violently opposed to the United States of America and everything we stand for.

Here’s another point of view that the apologists who feel sorry for those poor, misguided brothers should think about. Maybe they should be held accountable for their own actions.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't Even Think About It...

... you worthless hypocritical dirtbags.

Lawmakers, aides may get Obamacare exemption
Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.
I've just about had it with those sleazy weasels. We have a solution in these parts for skunks like them

A tall tree and a short rope...

Count Your Blessings

Our long national nightmare continues...
The IRS will issue official furlough notices next week to employees detailing that the agency will be closed for five days with unpaid leave for workers this summer because of the sequester.
Of course, the government and the union goons have to make it look like it's negatively affecting us taxpayers.
“On these days, phones calls to the IRS will go unanswered and Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country will have ‘closed’ signs in their windows,” Colleen M. Kelley said. “I believe this is an unprecedented event that leaves taxpayers out in the cold.”
BFD. Those idiots can't provide the correct answers anyway.
There is speculation that the furloughs could result in fewer audits this year. A report released earlier this week by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse shows audit rates dipped 5.3% last year and could fall even more this year with less personnel available.
And this is a bad thing?!?

Hillary Lied, People Died

Sharyl Attkisson, one of the few journalists operating today who is worthy of that title, has tweeted a few teasers about a soon to be released congressional report detailing Hillary Clinton's duplicitous role in the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi and subsequent deaths of American citizens.

Unsurprisingly, the report indicates that hillary's testimony was "incorrect."
Congressional Report: Secy Clinton's testimony to Congress was incorrect when claiming she was unaware of certain Benghazi security requests.
If you or I gave "incorrect" testimony, we would be charged with perjury.

In other words, hillary lied.

It must run in the family... 

Reflections On Boston

In the aftermath of the tragic and bizarre happenings throughout last week in Boston, it's time to engage in that time-honored American tradition of second-guessing.

I'm not going to venture into the morass of whether or not DHS and the FBI should have known about and taken action to prevent the bombings. Too many unknowns, too much political maneuvering and covering up.

Nor will I get into the implications for immigration reform. If we are honest with ourselves, that can of worms is primarily concerned with people from Mexico, Central, and South America. Granted, the entire system needs massive reform, but the bombers came here as kids, were legitimate legal immigrants, and in the case of the younger one actually became a U.S. citizen.

Rather, I will focus on the implications and consequences of the bombing for our civil liberties. Days after the bombing, obama thumped his chest and proclaimed "We don't cower in fear." Less than 24 hours later, a major American metropolitan area was in lockdown, and its residents were told to "shelter in place." If that's not cowering in fear it's the closest thing to it.
What does it say if Americans further cut back on basic freedoms in response to last week's bombings? And do any of us seriously think we won't?

Of course we will. We've been surrendering liberty in the hope of keeping ourselves safe for the past decade. The marathon bombings will hasten our surrender of freedom from the watchful eye of law enforcement. The Boston Globe is already clamoring for additional surveillance cameras, which are sure to be installed to the applause of a great many Bostonians. You can rationalize increased surveillance as a necessary or reasonable intrusion on liberty, but you can't deny its intrusiveness, or inevitable abuses.
The threat of the U.S. becoming a surveillance state is just the beginning.

There are similar worries related to the door-to-door warrantless searches conducted by heavily armed -- in fact, militarized -- police (go here for a relatively calm discussion and defense of them, and here for a more opinionated condemnation).

Police or the military? hard to tell the difference.

American citizen rousted from his home at gunpoint. No warrant required.

Another topic is the lack of a Miranda warning given to the surviving suspect. I had no idea that there are exceptions to Mirandizing suspects -- I guess I've watched too many Law & Order episodes -- but apparently there are.

What really concerns me about all these issues is the cumulative effect they have on our basic freedoms. Pick your metaphor -- slippery slope; camel's nose under the tent; the drip, drip, drip of steady erosion -- but taken as a whole there can be little doubt they are diminishing our liberty.

I was a Boy Scout in my youth. I learned many things as a scout, but the one that made the greatest impression on me was the dictum to always leave things when we left better than they were when we arrived. If we had a troop meeting in a room or building we would clean it before we left. If we went camping we would always make some improvement to the area before packing up and heading for home. I've tried to apply that at all times in my personal life, and to instill that spirit in my kids. I like to think I've had some degree of success on both fronts.

But I fear I'm failing on the larger scale. I honestly do not think I will be able to go to my grave saying I've left my country in better shape than when I was born. And it's not for lack of trying.

That saddens me...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Welcome Home

This is the way all our troops should be welcomed home! (Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the picture.)

(H/T Abby Normal)

Tempus Fugit

I spent the weekend with a group of old friends. These are people that I knew in my previous 'corporate world' career, back when I used to work for a living before I changed professions and became a university professor.

That was 17 long years ago. We've been getting together every year since to swap lies, play golf, and drink beer. Over time hairlines have receded (or in my case, disappeared entirely) ,waistlines have expanded, and joints have stiffened (with one exception...). But for some reason this was the first time I noticed that everyone had gotten old.

People were moving slowly, having trouble bending over, forgetting names and stories, and generally looking like a bunch of rapidly-going-downhill senior citizens (for the record, most us us are somewhere between the mid-50s to mid 60s). The conversation one night was devoted solely to those of our group who had died over the years. Sadly, it's not a small number.

Then Monday morning I went to the eye doctor for my annual checkup. After the usual "Which is better, number one, or number 2?" routine, he informed me that my eyes were in great shape. Then he added four little words that I'm starting to hear more and more these days:

"For someone your age."

That phrase is popping up more and more lately.
You're looking good. For someone your age.

You do that very well. For someone your age.

You're in pretty good shape. For someone your age.
I swear, the next fool that says "For someone your age" to me is in for a rude surprise. I'm gonna whack 'em upside the head with my cane.

Anyway, while I was struggling with the realization that I'm no longer a young man, the following appeared in my in-box (thanks a lot, Bots).

I know some of you will not understand this message, but I bet you know someone who might.  I came across this phrase yesterday. 'FENDER SKIRTS.'

A term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice  like 'curb feelers.'

And 'steering knobs.' (AKA 'suicide knob' or 'necker  knob.')

Any kids will probably have to find some older person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.

Remember 'Continental kits?'  They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?'  At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term.  But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'

I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.'  Many today do not even know what a clutch is, or that the dimmer switch (and starter) used to be on the floor.

And don’t forget the ‘manual choke.’

Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the 'running board' up to the house?

Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore -'store-bought.'   Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days.  But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.

'Coast to coast' is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing.  Now we take the term 'world wide' for granted.  This floors me.

On a smaller scale, 'wall-to-wall' was once a magical term in our homes.  In the '50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting!  Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors.   Go figure.

When was the last time you heard the quaint phrase 'in a family way?'  It's hard to imagine that the word 'pregnant' was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company, so we had all that talk about stork visits and 'being in a family way' or simply 'expecting.'

Apparently, 'brassiere' is a word no longer in usage.  I said it the other day and my daughter cracked up.  I guess it's just 'bra' now.  'Unmentionables' probably wouldn't be understood at all.

I always loved going to the 'picture show,' but I considered 'movie' an affectation.

Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure '60s word I came across the other day: 'rat fink.'  Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here's a word I miss - 'percolator.'  That was just a fun word to say.  And what was it replaced with? 'Coffee maker.'  How dull...  Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro.  Words like 'DynaFlow' and’ Electrolux.'  Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with 'SpectraVision!'

Food for thought.  Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago?  Nobody complains of that anymore.  Maybe that's what Castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening kids with Castor oil anymore.

Someone forwarded this to me. Just for fun, pass it along to others you think will appreciate it.

Just don't say "This should be interesting ... for someone your age."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Funnies 2013.04.21

I'm sorry. I usually try to keep a positive outlook on life. I like to laugh, and so I try to keep the Sunday Funnies feature of this blog lighthearted and humorous, no matter what is going on in the real world. After all, as the saying goes, Laughter is the Best Medicine.

But there's just not very much to laugh about this week. Tragedies in Boston and West TX make it a somber time.

And then there's the incredible, unbelievable idiocy of this nutcake. (H/T for the link to JWF)
This has been a horrible week for America on several counts, but maybe it exposed the danger inherent in allowing Republicans to run the government.  Their vote to kill background checks assures the next disturbed American citizen who wants to bomb citizens and engage in running gun battles with law enforcement officers will have little problem securing firearms and untraceable gunpowder for improvised explosive devices, and their assumption that Muslims orchestrated the marathon bombing all but assures immigration reform is finished before it started.
Words fail me...

I hope and pray that there are better days ahead.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


The scumbags responsible for the Boston marathon bombings are, at least for the most part, dead or in custody. May they rot in Hell for all eternity.

Meanwhile, back at the corral...
In his hastily called press conference in the wake of the failure of his vaunted gun control push, President Obama's expression said it all.

It was fury. Pure, barely-controlled fury, and you're not wrong if you enjoyed watching the interplay of frustration and anger across his normally hypercomposed face.

On the surface it was about the shellacking gun control laws took in the Senate. Make no mistake: while this was a policy loss for Obama, it was also much, much more.

It was the moment the bully gets popped in the nose, and the unexpected sensation of shock and pain leaves him aghast. It was the moment, to use a rather apropos analogy, the mugger finds himself starting down the black void of a .45 barrel in the fist of his intended victim.

It was shock that the glowing, constant press coverage, the lockstep drumbeat on the nation's editorial pages, the hectoring, lecturing rants from Joe Scarborough and Piers Morgan et al., the Bloomberg TV ads featuring the families of Newtown, the vaunted OFA operation's push, and all the personal phone calls from President Charm Offensive himself couldn't move the votes.

And that enraged Obama. His sense that he is uniquely persuasive and that once he “takes it to the people” the argument is over, was directly challenged, and he failed.

The knowledge that even he, suffused in the glow of a landslide reelection, embraced and beloved and fueled by his willingness to carry his human shields from Newtown and Tuscon to every event, couldn't close the deal on the least-controversial part of gun control was burning in him in that presser and it showed.

Obama is furious he didn't see the disconnect between his desires and the rest of the country...
Maybe he could see it if he pulled his head out of his ass.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2013.04.19

By the time this is posted I should be finishing up my first round of the weekend and headed for the 19th hole...

The Week That Was

My God, what a week!

Bombs at the Boston Marathon. Ricin and an Elvis impersonator. Massive explosion in West, Texas. North Korea still making noise. Arrests in the Texas DA killings. Gun control bill halted - for now. obama throws a temper tantrum. Max Baucus, co-author of the obamacare abomination, says he sees a "huge train wreck" looming as the bill is implemented. More storms and snow for much of the country.

That's enough to keep us talking for a month, all crammed into one short week.

It's so overwhelming that I'm taking off for a boy's weekend out. A reunion of sorts, including a heaping helping of fun and games (four rounds of golf in three days), will distract me from the woes of this weary world - with perhaps the assistance of a few adult beverages.

And the weather forecast is gorgeous - clear and sunny, highs in the 70s.

Virtue is rewarded...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

It's about time the good guys get a win.
In a major defeat for supporters of tougher gun laws, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons modeled after military assault weapons.

After the votes, Obama angrily criticized the NRA and senators who voted against the expanded background checks...
Pouting like a spoiled little child who didn't get his way...

Careful, barry and joe, don't trip over those lower lips.

...and behaving like a little brat in the time leading up to the vote.
Last week, Barack Obama flew some of the Newtown families to Washington, D.C., for a rally at which he argued for the putting aside of “politics” that disagree with his own, warned against “political stunts” (presumably with the exception of the one he was performing), and declared a monopoly on “common sense.”

Over the last three months such behavior has been common. In countless appearances, the president has suggested that the interests of “our children” and “the gun lobby” are diametrically opposed, he has brazenly maligned the intentions of those who have the temerity to disagree with him, and he has made catharsis for the families of the Newtown massacre a national priority. It has been shameless.
In an angry rant after the vote, obama went on to say "Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill."

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Even a columnist for the ultra-liberal Washington Post acknowledges that "nothing proposed in the gun-control debates would have prevented the mass killing of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and everybody knows it."

Oh, and speaking of willfully lying, let's not forget Fast and Furious ... or Benghazi.

One thing that might help prevent future shootings is to enforce existing laws. A House committee report indicates that in 2010 there were 76,142 denials following an instant background check. Of those, only 4,732 were referred for further investigation. Out of those 4000+ cases, only 62 prosecutions resulted.

What's the point of passing new laws if they're just going to get ignored like the ones already on the books?

We must keep in mind, however, that this is just one battle in an extended and ongoing war. Enjoy the moment, but don't forget we're in this for the long run.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombings - Day Four

Lots of confusion today. Multiple reports of an arrest, then multiple reports saying there was no arrest.

But in the midst of all this media incompetence, one stunning piece of absolute idiocy stood out. Gwen Ifill, some blathering talking head for PBS who couldn't get a job with a real network, tweeted this claptrap.

Silly me. I thought providing descriptive characteristics of a suspect was a valid function of reporting. Thank goodness there are media experts like Ms. Ifill around to show me the error of my ways. I'm sure if the suspect had been described as a white male she would have been equally outraged.

I don't know if the guy was dark-skinned, light-skinned, or polka-dotted. I don't even know if it's a guy. But let's try and play by the same rules, okay? Either provide a physical description for everyone, or don't provide it for anyone.

The media has looked like a pack of fools over these last few days.

What else is new...?

No More Big Green For Me

We all know politics is a sleazy business. And I understand a company's executive management doing what is necessary to not only stay in business, but to prosper. Nevertheless, this leaves a foul taste in my mouth.
There have been waves in the world of gun industry recently as politicians pass stricter gun control laws. Just recently, Beretta announced that they would move out of Maryland following new gun control legislation. Similarly, rumors abound that HiViz and Magpul will leave Colorado in favor of more gun friendly states.

Remington CEOs have decided to stay in New York, however, following a meeting with Sens. James Seward, Hugh Farley and Joseph Griffo, as well as Assemblymen Marc Butler, Claudia Tenney, and Anthony Brindisi. Shortly after the meeting, Congressman Richard Hanna announced that the Pentagon would award Remington an $80 million contract to make 5,000 sniper rifles over the next decade for the US Special Operations Command.
Can you say "bribe?"

How about "hypocrisy?"

I expect hypocritical BS from politicians. They trash firearms out of one side of their mouths, then turn around and dump shovelfuls of taxpayer money onto a gun maker just protect themselves from the consequences of their actions. But I had hoped for a more principled response from Remington. I guess money talks ... and in this case, it talks quite loudly.

BTW, if you do the math, $80,000,000 for 5,000 rifles works out to $16,000 per weapon. That's pretty steep, even by government standards. For comparison purposes, a brand new Weatherby Mark V goes for around $2400 (without a scope).

There are plenty of other firearms manufacturers out there who make quality weapons. The same goes for ammunition makers. Remington better make enough from that tainted government contract to stay alive, because it's not getting any more of my business.

And I'm not the only one.
Some gun owners, however, aren’t particularly thrilled about the news, arguing that Remington has turned its back on gun owners by supporting a gun control state. One commenter on the WHAM news site wrote, “I will never buy from a company that confuses 2nd amendment with 2nd class citizen. You deserve to stay in New York” and another offered to sell his recently purchased Remington rifle.
The whole thing stinks to high heaven...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombings - Day Three

The most recent news reports (I know, I know...) indicate that the bombs were constructed from 1.6 gallon pressure cookers packed with black powder and a combination of ball bearings and nails.
Officials found that the bombs in Boston consisted of explosives put in ordinary 1.6-gallon pressure cookers...
The obama administration's response?

Boston Marathon Bombings - Day Two

Yesterday I said that ball bearing were used in the Boston marathon bombings, and that a Saudi national was in custody. Today there are reports that ball bearings were not used, and that the Saudi national is not a suspect.

Mea culpa.

By nature and training I usually err on the side of caution. I prefer not to speak out or take a position until I'm sure of the facts. In this case I let my emotions take precedence over by thoughts.

Lessons learned:

1. Think before you speak (I keep re-learning this one...).

2. Don't expect the mainstream media to accurately report the facts. (Another lesson I have a hard time learning...).

Final Thought:

We in this country have been incredibly lucky so far. America in general is a very soft target. We have a large number of public gatherings (festivals, sports events, concerts, etc.) and open public facilities (schools, parks, malls, etc.). Instructions and materials for building explosive devices are readily available. It's a wonder there haven't been more of these events. I'm sure some have been prevented that we've never heard about, but like the saying goes, we have to be successful 100% of the time - the terrorist only needs to win once.

Given the publicity this bombing has received, I expect more attempts in the months to come.

Given the public's desire for security, I also expect more attacks on our personal freedoms.

Either way, the terrorists win...

UPDATE: Now it appears that there were ball bearings used after all. I'm just going to quit posting about this until things settle down.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombings

Just watched obama's statement re: the Boston Marathon bombing. Two observations:

1. He seemed very wooden, stiff, and insincere.

2. He studiously avoided the use of the words "terror" or "terrorism."

Let's recap. Multiple bombs. Ball bearings used as shrapnel. Saudi national suspect in custody. But it's not terrorism. Must be another "man-made disaster" - or possibly "workplace violence."

What an asshole...

Thoughts and prayers out to all involved and affected.

FOD 2013.04.15

Today is the day our federal income taxes are due. Here are a few related snippets, posted with minimal content:

Obama: We raised taxes, but the rich still aren’t paying their fair share

In a recent video made and distributed by obama's political machine, he reiterates his belief that the wealthiest Americans still aren’t paying their “fair share” of taxes.
“Obviously, there is still more to do when it comes to reducing our debt,” Obama said in the video. “And I’m willing to do more, as long as we do it in a balanced way that doesn’t put all the burden on seniors or students or middle class families, but also asks the wealthiest Americans to contribute and pay their fair share.”
Side note: obama taped the video while vacationing in Hawaii last Jan. 2013.

Tax bills for rich families approach 30-year high
President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress say the wealthy must pay their fair share if the federal government is ever going to fix its finances and reduce the budget deficit to a manageable level.

A new analysis, however, shows that average tax bills for high-income families rarely have been higher since the Congressional Budget Office began tracking the data in 1979. Middle- and low-income families aren’t paying as much as they used to.

Obama Tax Rate: 18.4%
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama paid $112,214 in federal income taxes for 2012 on adjusted gross income of $608,611, an effective rate of 18.4%, the White House said.

“Under the president’s own tax proposals, including limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
So why doesn't he put his money where his mouth is and voluntarily give more of his income to the IRS?

Worthless hypocrite...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Funnies 2013.04.14

Tomorrow is April 15th. We all know what that means...

A man, called in for an IRS audit, asked his accountant for advice on what to wear. "Wear your shabbiest clothing. Let them think you are a pauper."

Then he asked his lawyer the same question, but got the opposite advice. "Wear your most elegant suit and tie. Do not let them intimidate you."

Confused, the man went to his rabbi, told him of the conflicting advice, and requested some resolution of the dilemma.

"Let me tell you a story," replied the rabbi. "A woman, about to be married, asked her mother what to wear on her wedding night. 'Wear a heavy, long, flannel nightgown that goes right up to your neck,' said her mother. But when she asked her best friend, she got conflicting advice. 'Wear your most sexy negligee, with a V neck right down to your navel."

The man asked, "What does all this have to do with my problem with the IRS?"

The rabbi replied, "No matter what you wear, you are going to get screwed!"

A man had fallen between the rails in a subway station. People were crowding around trying to get him out before the train ran him over. They were all shouting "Give me your hand!" but the man would not reach up.

A man elbowed his way through the crowd and leaned over the man.

"Friend," he asked, "what is your profession?"

"I am an IRS agent," gasped the man.

"In that case," said the first man, "take my hand!"

The man immediately grasped the other man's hand and was hauled to safety.

The rescuer turned to the amazed bystanders and declared, "Never ask a tax agent to GIVE you anything, you fools!"

A man walks into a bar accompanied by his pet alligator.

"Do you serve IRS agents?", he asks the barman.

"Of course", says the barman.

"In that case," replies the man, "I'll have a beer, and my alligator will have an IRS agent."

I wouldn't mind paying taxes so much if only the money was used for really valid expenses.

Finally, if only it were this easy...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What's Sauce For The Goose...

I'm a longtime member of the NRA - and damn proud of it. I'm also a member of two other gun-rights groups that might be considered a little more extreme than the NRA; the Second Amendment Foundation, and Gun Owners of America (I can hear the drones beginning to circle overhead now...).

The Second Amendment Foundation was founded by a man named Alan Gottlieb. Gottlieb is an interesting person. He is a successful businessman, author, and political activist (conservative, of course) - a self-described "anti-communist, free-enterprise, laissez-faire capitalist."

He can also at times be a bit of a loose cannon, albeit one that makes you think.

Gottlieb recently suggested that politicians at all levels be required to pass background checks similar to those proposed for gun-buyers.
“If politicians want universal background checks, we should start with them,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

He pointed to recent political scandals in the New York Legislature, which just passed a new restrictive gun control law, where a state senator and state assemblyman were arrested last week, as “one small example.”

“But look at politics in recent years,” Gottlieb observed. “From state and federal scandals, to arrests involving several members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, we have had example after embarrassing example of public officials being charged with violating various laws. Does anyone think former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who had to quit his post over a lewd e-mail scandal, whould clear a mental health screening to buy a gun?

“If you compare percentages,” he continued, “the rate of criminal activity by politicians is probably far higher than the rate of crimes committed by the general public.

“What this underscores,” he said, “is the reason gun laws don’t work and never will. People who make the laws we have to live under break them anyway, just like criminals routinely disobey gun laws. Based on their own experience, politicians should know that the gun laws they pass will not prevent crime.”

Gottlieb pointed to crooks like former Louisiana Congressman Bill Jefferson, sent to prison after authorities found $90,000 in his freezer during an investigation. He cited former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, now in prison for racketeering and extortion.

“It is both sad and disgraceful that the list goes on and on,” Gottlieb said. “There are politicians with domestic violence problems, others who accepted bribes, some who stole money or were involved in other criminal acts.

“No wonder citizens are disgusted with politicians and don’t trust them,” he concluded, adding tongue-in-cheek, “And these people want to know why there’s a run on guns and ammunition?”
He may be on to something. Here's another example.

There is a bill working its way through the Texas state legislature that would require drug testing of welfare recipients and those receiving unemployment benefits. Fail the test and either enter a drug treatment program or lose your 'entitlements.' Sounds like a good idea to me.

There was an amendment to the bill that was proposed, but unfortunately defeated, that would have required members of the state legislature to also take drug tests. Fail and you're kicked out. That makes even more sense to me.

The point, of course, is to make our political 'masters' play by the same rules they want to impose on us. Below is an updated version of an email that's been floating around for a while. You've probably seen it. I would not only vote for, but actively support and campaign for anyone with enough cojones to run for public office on this platform.

Tea Party members ... Libertarians ... 'None of the Above' ... are you listening?
Congressional Reform Act of 2013

1. No Tenure/No Pension

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 06/01/2013.
The American people did not enter into such one-sided contracts with congresscritters. Congress made all these benefits for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.

The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who served their terms and then returned home and went back to work. Since when did politicians achieve elite status?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2013.04.12

Dedicated to all those old hippies out there - you know who you are...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

No Catholics Allowed

Just when you think you've heard it all, something comes along that raises the absurd-o-meter to another level.

Catholic University Bans Catholic Group
Gonzaga University will not allow students to organize a Knights of Columbus chapter because the group only admits Catholics – a violation of the school’s non-discrimination policy.

Students told The Cardinal Newman Society they had been trying to get university approval for the group for about a year – but school officials have been less than helpful.

“To embrace the diversity and yet endorse a group based on faith exclusivity is a challenge that cannot be reconciled at this time,” (said Sue Weitz, the university’s vice president for student life) — adding that it was a decision about “social justice, equity, and the desire of the university to create an environment in which none are excluded.”
Ah yes...'embrace the diversity'. That's more important than everything else.

Social justice and equality, at least to me, means that people are free to associate with whoever (whomever?) they choose, as long as all such groups are treated equally. If I want to form a club consisting solely of bald-headed overweight over-the-hill Shiner guzzling reprobates then I should be able to do so. But the school should not grant my club special privileges or treat us differently than other groups. And it should not ban the formation of other self-selecting groups.

Especially those that so closely reflect the university's mission and core values.

The Knights of Columbus are a Catholic organization composed of men -- Catholic men -- who organize and participate in a wide variety of community, charitable, and church service projects.

That would seem to be in agreement with Gonzaga's mission statement, which says in part "Gonzaga University is an exemplary learning community that educates students for lives of leadership and service for the common good. In keeping with its Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic heritage and identity..."

I don't see a problem there.
Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, told Fox News that the ban is absolutely ridiculous.

“It boggles the mind that an institution that is Catholic can’t figure out a way to allow exceptions to the rule,” He said. “This is a Catholic organization...
Yes, but Gonzaga, like most universities, is run by bureaucrats who are deathly afraid of being accused of not being sufficiently politically correct. Still, there has been enough of a ruckus raised over this nonsense that common sense may yet carry the day.
The outcry has been so significant that Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said they will review the decision.
In bureaucracy-speak, that means we'll stall for a while and hope this whole thing just goes away...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Update To Today's Events

An earlier post today mentioned a firearms company leaving an anti-gun state (Oregon) for a gun-friendly state (Texas).

Now there's a report that another firearm manufacturer is leaving another anti-gun state (Connecticut) for someplace where they'll be more welcome.
Rifle manufacturer PTR Industries kept true to its word when it announced on Tuesday it planned to move the growing company out of Connecticut.

PTR chief exective officer Josh Fiorini told the Republican-American on the eve of legislature's vote last week that it planned to move its company to another state if the new law banned gun hardware. On Tuesday, the company posted a message on its Facebook page announcing it planned to move.
PTR hasn't said where it's headed, but the ripple effects of its announcement have already started.
...the move is something local vendors are watching nervously.
Sam Cavallo, owner of CavTech Industries, said if PTR stops buying parts from his manufactured products company after the move it will affect his company. Products for PTR make up a third of the business for CavTech, according to Cavallo.
It appears that states which pass knee-jerk ill-considered feel-good legislation are learning that the consequences can be fast and furious (sorry...).

Updates To Yesterday's Events

First, the weather: Yesterday's high of 108 was an aberration (Thank God!). Today is much more seasonable. It's 30 degrees cooler, with a forecast high of around 80. Much, much better.

I think I'll celebrate by polishing off those leftover Shiners...

In other news, last night obama threw an extravagant party at the White House.
The “sequestration” budget cuts may have halted public tours of the White House — but they didn’t stop President Obama from partying the night away at a celebrity-filled private concert in the executive mansion last night, with taxpayers footing part of the bill.

Take a good look. That's as close as us common folk will get to seeing the inside of 'our' White House for a while.

A Pair Of Win-Win Items

Somehow I missed this bit of good news.

Texas rules. I’m sorry my yankee friends stuck behind blue state hellhole lines! But the Lone Star State kicks culo! You just have to live here to understand how @#&*ing great Texas is! In keeping, Texas has picked up another gun manufacturer fleeing the blue state statists trying to destroy the 2nd Amendment.
Okay, that's a little bombastic, so I did a bit of digging. Those involved seem to be trying to low-key the news, but here's what I found.

Firearms Company Relocating To North Texas
A firearms company that makes AR-15 style rifles for the iconic brand Colt, will open a plant in Breckenridge in Stephens County (TX). Oregon company Bold Ideas confirmed the development Friday.

Bold Ideas goes by the name Colt Competition, making high accuracy rifles for competition shooting.
Company website here.

Evil Black Rifle picture below (image courtesy of Colt Competition).

The company has not officially announced the opening, but employment applications are already available at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce.

The move by Colt Competition into Breckenridge comes as the CEO of Colt Manufacturing in Connecticut has said there will soon be few good answers to keep his company in the state. Connecticut passed some of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws this week.

It also comes weeks after Governor Rick Perry reportedly sent letters to gun companies, encouraging them to move to Texas.
Let me be one of the first to welcome the fine folks from Colt Competition to the great State of Texas (aka God's Country). And let me say to all you other firearm-related firms out there .. Come On Down! Not only is this a firearm-friendly environment, but we don't have a state income tax.

Just sayin'...

I'm not a big Rick Perry fan, but I'll give him major props on this one. He brings new jobs into the state, while at the same time tweaking the nose of libs and anti-gunners. A true win-win.

And speaking of win-win, the image below (hidden because it's NSFW) is a true win-win for red-blooded American males (and some females...) who oppose islamic nonsense.

I have no idea what the backstory is, but the message comes across loud and clear.