Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hitting Close To Home

Well, it was bound to happen. I'm just surprised it took this long. (By the time you read this it may be old news, but as I type this (Tuesday afternoon) it is breaking news.)

First Ebola Case Confirmed in Dallas - Dallas Fire-Rescue crew quarantined after transporting Ebola patient
A person who moved from Liberia to Dallas a week ago has tested positive for Ebola, becoming the first person diagnosed in the U.S. with the potentially deadly virus, the City of Dallas confirmed Tuesday.
I've said it before - anyone from or who has traveled in that part of the world should be quarantined before being allowed into this country. I realize that's harsh, but it's much easier to prevent (or at least minimize) an outbreak of Ebola here than to try and contain it after the fact.
The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the infected man to the hospital is being quarantined and monitored for Ebola symptoms, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told NBC 5, and the ambulance used to transport the man has been pulled from service.
While I certainly hope the patient recovers, my real sympathy is for the unsuspecting ambulance crew and hospital staff who have been exposed. They now face a period of torturous uncertainty and a potential life-threatening illness.
Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease spread through close, direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of a living or dead person who had contracted Ebola. The virus is only contagious when symptoms are present, and it is not spread through the air, through food or water.

Symptoms for Ebola virus involve a fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage. Symptoms appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure but the average is eight to 10 days.

If someone exposed to Ebola has not shown symptoms for 21 days they are not expected to develop Ebola.
Like I said, put 'em in quarantine for 21 days. Maybe they can stay at all those facilities set up for the illegal immigrants, whose influx seems to be suspiciously correlated with the spread of the enterovirus.
... in 18-plus states, there are children infected with a respiratory virus that makes it hard to breathe.  Enterovirus DV-68, which is rare here but common in Latin America, (emphasis added) is causing some children to turn blue, requiring hospitalization and intubation.

And still the border remains open.
Adding insult to injury, there is now a disturbing report out of the border state of Texas that more than 700 infants and 40 employees in El Paso’s Providence Memorial Hospital have been exposed to tuberculosis.
Based on that news, I have little confidence in this statement.
The CDC said the United States is well-equipped to manage and treat Ebola and that the chances of an outbreak like the one in West Africa is extremely low.
Here's another reason I have little faith in the CDC. They tell the general public one thing ('chances of an outbreak are extremely low') while taking actions that seem to contradict that whole "don't worry" thing.
...the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines to U.S. funeral homes on how to handle the remains of Ebola patients.

The three-page list of recommendations include instructing funeral workers to wear protective equipment when dealing with the remains since Ebola can be transmitted in postmortem care. It also instructs to avoid autopsies and embalming.
Ebola in Dallas. TB in El Paso. Enterovirus in Dallas, and spreading.

I'm starting to feel surrounded...

No Sense Of Humor

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary, had a baby the other day. The NY Post published the news on the front page, albeit in a manner that drove liberals up a wall.

Some people need to get a sense of humor.

Speaking of which, I heard that Bill is passing out Monica-flavored cigars...

And then there's the original "Hillary's Baby" front page:

Monday, September 29, 2014

FOD 2014.09.29

 obama's poll numbers are dropping faster than my bank balance.
Barack Obama’s rating for strong leadership has dropped to a new low in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, hammered by criticism of his work on international crises and a stalled domestic agenda alike. With the midterm elections looming, Americans by a 10-point margin, 52-42 percent, see his presidency more as a failure than a success.

Just 38 percent now approve of Obama’s handling of international affairs, down 8 percentage points since July to a career low; 56 percent disapprove, a majority for the first time. Fifty-two percent say he’s been too cautious in dealing with Islamic insurgents in Iraq and Syria. And the public is ahead of Obama in support for a military response to that crisis, with 65 percent in favor of extending U.S. air strikes to Syria.
And like rats abandoning a sinking ship, his supporters are turning on him in droves:

Liberal base sours on Obama
President Obama's poll numbers are plummeting in deep-blue states, such as New York and California, with core liberal supporters who have stuck with him through thick and thin beginning to sour on his leadership.

Obama’s decisions to punt on immigration reform, defend government surveillance and attack fighters in the Middle East have all alienated parts of the coalition that elected him to the White House twice.

A YouGov survey released last week showed the president’s approval rating at 40 percent, and that among Democrats, Obama had slipped eight points since June.

Obama has taken a number of steps in recent months that put him out of step with the coalition of young adults, women and minorities that helped him win the White House.

The problems began last year with revelations about the National Security Agency’s top-secret surveillance programs — the same kind of programs that were condemned on the left during the George W. Bush years.

A Pew poll this summer found that, despite Obama’s efforts to explain and reform the surveillance programs, 58 percent of so-called “solid liberals” continued to oppose the NSA efforts.

Concerns about the president’s use of military force, meanwhile, have intensified with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Liberals largely elected President Obama in 2008 on the promise he would extract the U.S. from Middle East conflicts, and the prospect of a new military campaign is not sitting well with many of them.

A CBS/New York Times poll released last week showed 42 percent of Democrats had concerns about the president’s approach to fighting ISIS.

His approval rating on counterterrorism more broadly is down 16 percentage points with Democrats since March. And less than half of Democrats — 47 percent — say they have a lot of confidence in Obama’s ability to handle an international crisis.

Since announcing that he would delay executive action on immigration reform until after the midterm elections, Obama’s numbers have plummeted with Hispanic voters. In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 47 percent of Latino voters approved of the president’s performance, down 15 points over the past 20 months.

But as Obama’s base abandons him, helping Democratic candidates becomes a tougher task for the White House. Although the president has attended a slew of committee fundraisers, he has yet to appear at a campaign event with any Democratic candidate this cycle.

... the president is expected to stay away from states where Democrats are in close races, over concern he could be an anchor. Campaign stops will likely be in states like Minnesota and Michigan, where Obama has a deep reservoir of support, and Democratic candidates enjoy comfortable leads in the polls.

“Young people, unmarried women and Hispanics are difficult to turn out in a midterm, and he’s struggling there,” said (Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal) Jillson. “But that doesn’t mean they’re available to Republicans. It just means Obama is going to have to ultimately satisfy their policy demands through initiatives after the election.” (emphasis added)
So taking the long-term perspective, expect a slew of executive orders pandering to the young/female/minority base with a view towards energizing them for the 2016 election - just in time for hillary.

However, one group of obama supporters has remained steadfast in it's loyalty.

Brace yourself. It's going to get ugly...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Funnies 2014.09.28

No theme today - I'm cleaning out the in-box...

Seen in the men's room at a golf course:

Speaking of golfers:

A lion comes across two men. One is reading, and the other is writing. The beast pounces on the reader and eats him, but ignores the writer. Why?

Because a writer cramps, but a reader digests.

* * * * *
Did you hear about the group of cows that NASA launched into orbit?

It was the herd shot around the world.

* * * * *
Two Norman soldiers are relaxing after the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

“What a battle! What a victory!” one exclaimed. “Someday children will read about this as a turning point in history. And we were there!”

“Perhaps,” the other replied. “But I think they will be shielded from most of the details."

“Why?” asked the first. “They need to know what happened here.”

The second soldier shook his head and replied, “Too much Saxon violence…” 

Women Drviers:

My wife came home, with something evidently on her mind.

"Have you ever seen twenty dollars all crumpled up?" she asked.

"No," I said.

She gave me a sexy little, promising smile, then reached into her cleavage and slowly pulled out a crumpled twenty dollar bill.

Wow, this seemed to be 'going places.'

"Have you ever seen fifty dollars all crumpled up?" she asked.

"No," I said with anticipation.

She gave me another sexy little smile, and slowly and seductively reached into her panties and pulled out a crumpled fifty dollar bill.

I was getting curious at this point.

"Now," she said, "Have you ever seen 30,000 dollars all crumpled up?"

"No," I said, intrigued.

She then said, "Well, go and take a look at our car in the garage."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Frosty And Foamy

It's Friday night, and I'm enjoying a few frosty foamy adult beverages. So no deep thoughts or penetrating insights. Instead, a few humorous observations about man's best friend...


Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2014.09.26

I bought a new shirt today...

Elk Hunt Chronicles - Prologue

After years of trying, I finally drew an elk tag for Wyoming hunt area 37. (Wyoming is divided into many, many different hunt areas. The areas are, of course, different for deer, elk, and antelope. That makes the process of applying for out-of-state big game tags in Wyoming somewhat complicated.)

This particular area is not one of the top trophy-producing areas, but I go there because I'm familiar with the region, and I know some folks who live there. It's where we go every summer on vacation. In addition, I've gone there several times on deer and antelope hunts. Since this is my first elk hunt, I want it to be memorable and enjoyable. What better way to ensure that than to share the experience with friends?

When I was notified that I drew a tag, the first thing I did was research what caliber rifle is most appropriate. Boy, talk about opening a can of worms! It seems that everyone and his brother has a strongly-held opinion, and thinks that anyone who disagrees is a braindead idiot. As one writer put it, "There are many ways to start an argument in polite company, but three of the best are to kick a man’s dog, kiss his wife or insult his elk gun."

The suggestions ranged from .25-06 to .300 Mag., with every conceivable caliber in-between. That didn't narrow things down much. So I started talking with people I know who have actually taken multiple elk. The general consensus was bullet placement matters much more than size, so go with whatever you can shoot the best.

The next step was to look at what I already had in the gun safe: a .270 that I've used for 40 years; a .300 Weatherby Mag that I won in a raffle; and a .338 Federal that I won in another raffle (yeah, I know - I should have bought a lottery ticket instead). Both the .300 and the .338are still New-in-the-Box. They're much too big for the game I usually hunt (mule deer, whitetail, and antelope), and in the back of my mind I'm thinking I might want to sell them someday, so I'm hesitant to start pumping rounds through them. That left the .270.

According to the research I did, that caliber was generally acceptable. In addition, several of the folks I talked with carry .270s as well. Their only suggestion was to use a 150 grain bullet, as opposed to the 130 grain slugs I usually shoot. So I trotted down to my local gun shop and grabbed a couple of boxes of 150 grain ammo. Then it was off to the range.

I squeezed off a few shots with my old 130 grain ammunition just to make sure I was still zeroed in. The first round, out of a cold, clean barrel, went wide right (well, I also may have pulled it a little - I called "flyer right" as soon as I shot). But the next three were spot on - 1.5 inches high at 100 yards.

Then I loaded the new 150 grain rounds.

The first one also went a little right. I've got to work on my trigger pull. The next three were centered pretty good, but strung out a little vertically (breath control).

What was interesting was that the 150 grain rounds impacted around three inches lower than the 130 grain rounds (just to complicate matters, the 130 grain rounds are Hornady and the 150 grain ones are Remington). As near as I can figure out from the Remington ballistics table and the Hornady one, the difference should only be about 1/2". I'm not sure why there's such a difference between my results and the tables. Anyone out there have any ideas (other than lousy shooting)?

Another mystery: the Hornady 130 grain bullets (SP Interlocks) punched ragged holes in the target (upper holes) compared to the Remingtons' neater holes (SP Core-Lokt) (lower holes). This is particularly puzzling because the Hornadys have 'pointier' tips (see second picture below). Any ideas why?

Hornadys on the top, Remingtons on the bottom.

Remington on the left, Hornady on the right.

In addition to working on my shooting, I've also embarked on a 'get-in-elk-hunting-shape' program. I'll share the exciting details of that in a later post.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

So Long Eric - Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce resignation
Attorney General Eric Holder will announce Thursday that he will resign after six years at the Justice Department helm...
It's about friggin' time. As for his legacy, go here for a detailed list of DOJ scandals during his tenure. Or you can see the condensed version below.

Definition Of A Moderate

Here is the problem with obama's Middle East policy in a nutshell: he can't tell the good guys from the bad guys.
President Barack Obama favorably quoted and praised on Wednesday in his speech before the United Nations a controversial Muslim cleric whose organization has reportedly endorsed the terror group Hamas and supported a fatwa condoning the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Obama in his remarks offered praise to controversial cleric Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and referred to him as a moderate Muslim leader who can help combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL or ISIS) radical ideology.
If this guy is obama's idea of a "moderate Muslim leader" then Allah God help us.
This is not the first time that the Obama administration has extoled Bin Bayyah, who also has served as the vice president of a Muslim scholars group founded by a radical Muslim Brotherhood leader who has called “for the death of Jews and Americans"...
It's also not the first time the obama administration has looked like a pack of clueless dolts.
State Department Apologizes for Promoting Muslim Cleric Who Backed Killing of U.S. Soldiers

The State Department’s Counter Terrorism (CT) Bureau apologized on Tuesday for promoting a controversial Muslim scholar whose organization has reportedly backed Hamas and endorsed a fatwa authorizing the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Bin Bayyah ... is one of several clerics who endorsed a 2004 fatwa, or religious order, endorsing the killing of U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq (and also) has called “for the death of Jews and Americans.”.

The CT Bureau apologized multiple times on Tuesday for tweeting in favor of Bin Bayyah and promoting an article on his website.
Sadly for us, it seems that the 'barry and kerry' duo haven't learned their lesson. They continue to hail Bin Bayyah as "a moderate alternative to ISIL and al Qaeda."

As part of his moderate credentials, in 2009 Bin Bayyah proclaimed a fatwa "barring all forms of normalization with Israel”...

Undeterred, in 2013 obama invited Bin Bayyah to a meeting at the White House.
Patrick Poole, a reporter and terrorism analyst who has long tracked Bin Bayyah, expressed shock that the Obama administration would endorse the cleric on the world stage.

“It is simply amazing that just a few months ago the State Department had to publicly apologize for tweeting out it’s support for Bin Bayyah, only to have Barack Obama go before the leaders of the entire world and publicly endorse Bin Bayyah’s efforts,” Poole said.

“It seems that nothing can stop this administration’s determination to rehabilitate Bin Bayyah’s image, transforming him from the Islamic cleric who issued the fatwa to kill Americans in Iraq and calling for the death of Jews to the de facto White House Islamic mufti,” he said.

“This is a snapshot of why this administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East is a complete catastrophe,” he said. “The keystone of their policy has been that so-called ‘moderate Islamists’ were going to be the great counter to al Qaeda. But if you take less than 30 seconds to do a Google search on any of these ‘moderate Islamists,’ you immediately find they are just a degree or two from the most hardcore jihadis and have little to no difference when it comes to condoning violence.”

A White House official said that the president’s remarks speak for themselves and declined to add anything further. (emphasis added)
Gee, what a surprise.

I like to consider myself a moderate of sorts - a live and live kind of guy, if you will. But as the kidnappings, torture, beheadings, and assorted other atrocities continue to pile up,  I'm beginning to lean towards the "Kill 'em all and let God sort them out" school of thought.

Sidebar: That phrase originated from an attack in 1209 by the Crusaders (sent by the incongruously named Pope Innocent III) on the French town of Beziers. The sad irony of the application of that phrase in this context is not lost on me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why I Worry About The Future - Three Examples

What follows are examples of three things that make me pessimistic about our future. There is no common thread linking these three things, other than an incompetent government run by people that have no clue about how the real world works.

Example 1:

I'm old enough to remember all the gloom-and-doom that was forecast to occur if the Alaska Pipeline was built back in the 1970s. Now, with the Keystone Pipeline, it's déjà vu all over again.
Earlier this year the Obama administration again delayed a decision about the Keystone XL pipeline. The 1,200 mile, $5.2 billion pipeline could increase North American energy security and create more than 15,000 jobs. But behind the White House's unwillingness to move forward are environmental groups that vehemently oppose the project. Groups like the Sierra Club warn that Keystone "poses a health risk to our communities" and is a "climate disaster in the making."

We've lived through these scare tactics before. Exhibit A is the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Since its completion in 1977, this technological marvel has conveyed more than 17 billion barrels of oil, worth more than $1.5 trillion in today's dollars, from Alaska's North Slope to the Port of Valdez for shipment to the lower 48 states. Yet the pipeline was almost not built, thanks to a propaganda campaign by environmental groups beginning in 1969. Most of their dire warnings have proved inaccurate.

... aside from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill—which was a tanker accident, not a pipeline leak—the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, or TAPS, has had an exemplary environmental record.
Example 2:

Speaking of déjà vu, how many cycles of 'cut-the-military-budget-oops-we-need-the-military-increase-the-military-budget' have we been through since WWII. It looks like we may be entering another one.

Navy used 47 Tomahawks last night, 47% of planned 2015 purchases
Last night’s air strikes against ISIS in Syria used up 47 Tomahawk missiles.  The Tomahawk is an extremely effective weapon, capable of delivering its ordnance precisely, without risking a pilot’s life.  But the defense cuts of the Obama administration call for procuring only one hundred Tomahawks next year.

...The US has roughly 4000 Tomahawks in inventory right now, enough for roughly 85 days of a campaign, at the current rate of use.

“Smart diplomacy” was supposed to permit a reduction in the military budget of the United States in order to fund social spending.  The smart thing now would be to recognize that those pretentions are null and void. We may need more than 3 months’ supply of Tomahawks.
In fairness, one reason for the limited number of Tomahawks scheduled to be purchased next year is the planned shift to a new-generation land attack weapon system. But per usual in government procurement, actual development and purchase of the new weapon system is running behind schedule. In the meantime, we face the risk of a shortage in what we need today.

Example 3:

Local boy Julian Castro, the new head of HUD, made a major policy speech last week in which he outlined his top priorities for the department. Be afraid - be very, very afraid.
Castro named increasing access to mortgages for borrowers with low credit scores a top priority at HUD.
Hmmm ... isn't there a name for increasing access to mortgage loans for people with bad credit? Oh yeah - it's called subprime lending. That's what got us into the 2007/2008 financial crisis and recession.
Keeping people with bad credit scores from taking out mortgage loans is not housing discrimination or lending discrimination. It's prudent practice for both borrowers and lenders.

People with low credit scores are people who have not previously paid their bills on time. That's just the definition of bad credit.

Encouraging more people with low credit scores to take out mortgages is a bit like breaking out the Champagne at the AA meeting to celebrate a month of sobriety. Bad things can and will follow.

We don't need more subprime lending, and we don't need government agencies encouraging more subprime lending.
What is it with people in D.C.? Can't they remember what happened in the past? Don't they understand economic realities? Don't they have any common sense?

And why am I asking questions to which I already know the answers...?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You Should See The Other Guy

This morning I look somewhat like Dr. Frankenstein's creature. My face and head have cuts and gashes, and parts of my body are various shades of green and blue. Allow me to explain.

When men reach a 'certain age' we need to visit the restroom during the night. I have reached that 'certain age' (actually, I passed it a few years ago, but who's counting?). Each night around 3:00 a.m. I stumble out of bed and stagger down the hall. This ritual has become so ingrained that I no longer fully wake up. I just go on autopilot.

That works okay when nothing changes or is moved around. However, Sunday night the bath mat evidently got crumpled and folded over on itself. As I entered the bathroom to begin my nightly routine I tripped over it in the dark (no need to turn on the lights - autopilot, remember).

I fell headfirst onto the bathtub. That blow knocked me silly, because I could not regain my feet. My balance was shot to hell. It was like I'd drunk a couple of bottles of tequila. I would get about halfway up and then fall over again.

Eventually my wife heard the commotion and came to check on me. She found me floundering around on the floor, bleeding like a stuck pig. There was blood everywhere. She tried to help me up but all that did was succeed in pulling her on top of me. Normally that wouldn't be a bad idea, but last night was not the time for fooling around.

She eventually got me sorted out and back in bed*, but in the grim light of dawn the damage was evident. The bathroom looked like a slaughterhouse - bloody towels strewn about, with blood on the floor, tub, and walls. The bed wasn't much better. Sheets and pillow cases had to be scrubbed, presoaked, and laundered - twice.

As for me, I have a pretty good cut over one eye, a cut on the back of my head, a deep gash in my nose, and a cut ear that won't stop oozing, accompanied by a swollen and bruised neck, lumps on my head, and bruises up and down my right arm, side, and hip.

I was very lucky. I could easily have knocked out teeth, broken something, or done some other serious damage to myself. Luckily I just have to deal with a week or so of stiffness and soreness.

Oh yeah - I'm going nightlight shopping this afternoon...

* She tried to take me to the ER. I probably should have listened to her, but hey - I'm a guy. Unless I see bone I resist medical care, other than to wash down a couple of aspirins with a Shiner.

No, that's not me, But that's how I feel.

Monday, September 22, 2014

FOD VP Edition

Evidently obama's ineptness has filtered down to his Vice President.

Joe Biden rounds out his terrible week with another awful gaffe
First he uttered the word "shylock."
Vice President Joe Biden drew rebuke this week from the Anti-Defamation League for using an anti-Jewish slur, "Shylocks," while speaking at a conference for the Legal Services Corporation.
Then he referred to the Far East as that mystical land known as "the Orient."
Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday traveled to Iowa, where he referred to Asia as the "Orient." The term is widely considered derogatory...
And now he has praised a Republican senator who resigned in disgrace over charges of sexual harassment — in a speech that was meant to shore up the Democratic Party's bona fides on women's issues.

In his remarks to the DNC's Women's Leadership Forum, Biden gave a shout-out to Bob Packwood, a former Republican senator from Oregon, as an example of a more moderate kind of Republican politician. The problem is that Packwood was forced to step down in 1995 after he was accused of harassment by 10 different women.
That's a bad week even by Biden's exceptionally low standards...

FOD 2014.09.22

Rather than waste my time today, I'm just going to provide a link to an article that pretty much sums up the waste of time the last six years have been.

10 Ways Obama Has Failed as President

I think the biggest challenge in writing that article was limiting the list to just 10.

Anyway, here's the money quote, from Reason #10.
You will notice that most of Obama’s failures result, not from taking a bold stand, but from taking no stand and just letting events drift. Certainly, in a lot of these cases, Obama has given speeches or press conferences to announce his enlightened intentions—then done nothing to plan for how to actually achieve his goals.
What's that old saying about failing to plan is planning to fail ... seems like barry has got that down pat.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Funnies 2014.09.21

Our daughter came home for her first visit since leaving for college four weeks ago. She now has several metal things dangling from her ears that weren't there when she left - and I'm not talking about earrings.

No, it's not this bad. But it still was quite a shock.
Her mother pointed out that it could be a lot worse.
Dear Mother and Dad:

It has now been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and am very sorry for my thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down. You are not to read any further unless you are sitting down... Okay?

Well, then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire shortly after my arrival, are pretty well healed now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital and now I can see almost normally and only get three headaches a day.

Fortunately the fire in the dormitory and my jump were witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm and he was the one who called the Fire Department and the ambulance. He also visited me at the hospital, and since I had nowhere to live because of the burnt-out dorm, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It's really a basement room, but it is kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven't set the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.

Yes, Mother and Dad, I am pregnant. I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the same love and devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has some minor infection which prevents us from passing our premarital blood tests and I carelessly caught it from him. This will soon clear up with the penicillin injections I am now taking daily.

I know you will welcome him into our family with open arms. He is kind and although not well educated, he is ambitious. Although he is of a different race and religion than ours, I know your expressed tolerance will not permit you to be bothered by the fact that his skin color is somewhat darker than ours. I am sure you will love him as I do. His family background is good, too, for I am told that his father is an important gunbearer in the village in Africa from which he comes.

Now that I have brought you up to date, I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire, I did not have a concussion or skull fracture, I was not in the hospital, I am not pregnant, I am not engaged, I do not have syphillis and there is no boyfriend in my life. However, I am getting a "D" in History and an "F" in Science, and I wanted you to see these marks in the proper perspective.

Your loving daughter,
That's not the only letter we've received from her.
Dear Mom and Dad,

I feel miserable because I have to keep writing for money. I feel ashamed and unhappy. I have to ask for another hundred, but every cell in my body rebels. I beg on bended knee that you forgive me.

Your daughter, Katy

P.S. I felt so terrible, I ran after the mailman who picked this up in the box at the corner. I wanted to take this letter and burn it. I prayed that I could get it back. But it was too late.
I wrote her back: "Your prayers were answered. Your letter never arrived!"
Then there was this phone call:
Daughter: “Hey, Dad! I’ve got some great news for you!”
Father: “What?”
Daughter: “Remember that $500 you promised me if I made the Dean’s list?”
Father: “I certainly do.”
Daughter: “Well, I just saved you $500.”
Speaking of her mother, she is thrilled to have her baby back home, even if it's only for a weekend. She's bustling around the house, cooking our daughter's favorite meals, taking her out shopping, to lunch, and to the movies, and of course doing her laundry.

As for me, once I got over the shock of the ear piercings I peppered her with all sorts of questions about college life. How are her classes, what's it like living in the dorm, how's the food - in general, what's it like being a college student?

If there's one thing that sums up the experience of being her father, it's this t-shirt.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday History Lesson

I'm tired of reading and writing about the depressing issues facing us these days. Instead, here's a more enjoyable story from a more enjoyable time.

Teddy Roosevelt's Visits to San Antonio
Teddy Roosevelt’s long-awaited arrival in May 1898 at the San Antonio camp where his Rough Riders were training to fight in the Spanish-American War was treated by local newspapers as if he were royalty.

For more than a week prior to the future president’s arrival, the papers had breathlessly chronicled the doings of the adventure-seeking men who’d come from Arizona, Oklahoma and other states and territories to serve as Rough Riders. There were stories of pick-up baseball games, of men breaking wild horses, of the young mountain lion captured in Arizona and adopted as a mascot.   

“He has been a western plainsman, a New York businessman, a reformer, a politician, an author and several other things,” gushed a reporter in an article in the May 16, 1898, edition of the San Antonio Daily Express, an early iteration of today’s Express-News. “But above all, he is an American gentleman and a patriot.”

Roosevelt arrived in San Antonio wearing a custom-made khaki-colored uniform bearing the initials U.SV. on his collar.

Greeted by newspaper reporters and dignitaries, he first walked to the Menger Hotel where he had breakfast with Col. Leonard Wood and several other officers and later was taken to Riverside Park where the camp was located.
Sidebar 1: TR spent quite a bit of time in the Menger Bar. It's a historic landmark just down the street from the Alamo. Anyone traveling to San Antonio should make it a point to visit both.

The Menger Bar remembers its ties to the Rough Rider. (William Luther / San Antonio Express-News)

Sidebar 2: The Leonard Wood mentioned in the previous paragraph went on to have a distinguished military career, which included being awarded the Medal of Honor. Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri is named in his honor.

Now back to our story.
Touring the facilities, Roosevelt’s gregariousness quickly won over even the most cynical of the roughnecks and cowboys, according to “The Boys of ’98: Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders” by Dale L. Walker.

“Roosevelt’s message to the regiment,” Walker writes, “drew a rousing cheer: ‘The eyes of the entire civilized world are upon you and I want your watchword to be, “Remember the Maine!” ’ ”

Although they were commonly referred to as “Roosevelt’s Rough Riders,” Teddy was not the commander of the regiment. He’d been offered the position but turned it down citing his lack of combat experience.

Roosevelt works at a desk inside his tent during the training of the Rough Riders in San Antonio.( San Antonio Daily Express / File photo)

As for San Antonio, having the Rough Riders training just south of downtown must have been like having a second Fiesta.

On May 7, the Daily Express reported that a “large crowd from the city was out to witness the callisthenic drill yesterday morning.”

And when the men rode the streetcar to visit what most probably thought of as the “big city,” they attracted attention wherever they went. The feeling, apparently, was mutual.

The soldiers “were as highly interested in San Antonio and the ways of Texas as San Antonio was in them,” the next day’s paper reported.

As the regiment’s day of departure neared, the city fathers held a patriotic farewell concert for the men. After a ceremonial cannon was fired, however, several of the more enthusiastic soldiers began shooting into the night sky, one bullet cutting an electrical wire and plunging the park into darkness.

On May 29, barely three weeks after their training began, the regiment broke camp and boarded the train to Tampa, Florida, from which it would soon sail to Cuba and into history.

This wasn’t Roosevelt’s first visit to South Texas. In April 1892, he hunted peccaries, or javalina, with a Texan friend named John Moore, notes his memoir “The Wilderness Hunter.”

After two fruitless days on a Frio ranch, however, a passing cowman mentioned there were plenty of the little wild hogs on the Nueces River, 30 miles to the south.

Roosevelt wasted no time in heading there, yet remained a sharp-eyed observer of the surrounding country during the six-hour journey.

“Now and then,” he wrote, “we passed lines of wild-looking, long-horned steers, and once we came on the grazing horses of a cow-outfit, just preparing to start northward over the trail to the fattening pastures.”

After searching for most of the next day, they came upon a band of five hogs. Along with two borrowed hunting dogs, they gave chase. When a sow stopped, Roosevelt dismounted and “dropped her dead with a shot in the spine over her shoulder.”

He then chased a rather large boar until it was cornered by the dogs. With the animal’s teeth champing “like castanets,” Roosevelt felled him with a bullet to the back of the neck.

“His tusks were fine,” he wrote.

Roosevelt had at least one of the peccary heads shipped back to his home at Sagamore Hill on Long Island, where it remains to this day mounted on the wall of his library...
I have a javalina that I shot in South Texas mounted on the wall of my study.

Mean, ugly critter - reminds me of my second ex-wife.

Teddy Roosevelt also visited San Antonio on April 7 and 8, 1905, when he attended a reunion of the Rough Riders. The energetic president’s popularity, at least according to newspapers at the time, seemed boundless.

“With a warmth and feeling that cannot be described and which the most vivid imagination annot exaggerate, San Antonio opened her arms to (Roosevelt) and received him into the most sacred depths of the civic heart, and made him welcome,” the Daily Express gushed on April 8.

One event that “pleased the President immensely” occurred when he and his party were serenaded with patriotic songs in Travis Park by what the paper estimated were at least 8,000 children. Afterward, the children pelted him with flowers, an homage, perhaps, to the Battle of Flowers Parade.

At one point, a young boy threw a banquet of flowers into the president’s carriage. A few minutes later, the same boy attempted to throw another bouquet but was hustled off by the Secret Service. When he tried a third time, the president laughed and ordered the agents to put the boy in the carriage following him, but not before signing an autograph and joking that he would make a good Secret Service agent.

   “. . . It is quite needless to say that there is not a happier boy in San Antonio or, for the matter of that, in the whole country, than he,” the article concluded.

Roosevelt and two of his Rough Riders pay a mounted call on Mission Concepción during the training period. (Institute of Texan Cultures / Courtesy photo)

And that concludes today's history lesson. I hope you enjoyed it.

We'll return to our regularly scheduled depressing news on Monday...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2014.09.19

I'm feeling philosophical today... well, this is what passes for philosophy in these parts.

Oh Great - Something Else To Worry About

As if containing the spread of the Ebola virus isn't difficult enough, there is now word out of Africa that the natives are attacking those who are there to help.(Note to all you liberals out there - I am using the term "natives" not in the pejorative sense, but rather to denote those individuals who originate from that particular area.)

Eight Killed in Attack on Ebola Team
Eight people, including three journalists, were killed in an attack on a team trying to educate locals on the risks of the Ebola virus in a remote area of southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday. "The eight bodies were found in the village latrine. Three of them had their throats slit," Damantang Albert Camara told Reuters. The killings are an example of what aid officials have been saying: the Ebola epidemic, in which more than 2,600 people have died, is disrupting not only public health but society in general.
This story raises a larger question.

Can the U.S. Army Degrade and Destroy Ebola?
As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa accelerates beyond the capacity to count its toll, an unprecedented escalation in global support is evident, led by U.S. President Barack Obama's call for U.S. military intervention. In what will amount to the largest humanitarian commitment since the American response to the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, the White House announced late on Sept. 15 that an estimated 3,000 military personnel will deploy to the Ebola-ravaged West African nation.

 At this moment, Ebola is spreading out of control in three countries -- Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone -- and spillover has resulted in infection in West Africa's powerhouses: Senegal (one case to date) and Nigeria (two distinct clusters of connected cases) ... the spread of Ebola inside Nigeria, particularly in Lagos -- a city with a population of approximately 22 million -- would put the world's epidemic into completely uncharted territory.

Today all epidemic-responding parties characterize the epidemic as "out of control," and in Liberia as "rising exponentially."

The virus is out of all forms of control, spreading in homes, businesses, schools, funerals, markets -- wherever, it seems, people congregate.
To make matters worse, the Ebola virus is mutating: "a recent paper in Science shows that more than 300 mutations have already occurred."
A few days ago, Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota suggested in the New York Times that Ebola might mutate to become an airborne contagion. And he warned: "This is about humanitarianism and self-interest. If we wait for vaccines and new drugs to arrive to end the Ebola epidemic, instead of taking major action now, we risk the disease's reaching from West Africa to our own backyards." Osterholm's concern about airborne Ebola mirrors Obama's comments during his Sept. 7 appearance on Meet the Press, when he warned that a mutated Ebola could threaten the American homeland.
It is without a doubt a terrible humanitarian crisis and tragedy. And I agree with obama that it poses a serious threat to America and the rest of the world. Where I disagree is with what is and is not being done.

IMO the very first thing we need to do is to contain the virus. That means a strict quarantine for the entire region. People can go in, but no one comes out. I suppose some exceptions could be made for medical personnel who are tested and placed in a secondary quarantine for a period of time, but that's it. No one else gets out.

As for the 3000 military personnel he is sending, (1) I fear they will be in greater danger than in any combat zone, and (2) similar to the limited number of 'advisers' he is sending to fight ISIS, 3000 is nowhere near enough to get the job done. And now, based on the eight slaughtered health care workers. it appears that security teams will also be needed.
Nothing short of heroic, record-breaking mobilization is necessary at this late stage in the epidemic. Without it, I am prepared to predict that by Christmas, there could be up to 250,000 people cumulatively infected in West Africa. At least 30 nations around the world, I dare predict, will have had an isolated case gain entry inside their borders, and some will be struggling as Nigeria now is, tracking down all possibly exposed individuals and hoping to stave off secondary spread. World supplies of PPEs (personal protective equipment, or "space suits"), latex gloves, goggles, booties -- all the elements of protection -- will be tapped out, demand exceeding manufacturing capacity, and an ugly competition over basic equipment will be underway.
Go read the full story. Very sobering stuff.

Wine Woes

As if the ongoing drought and the recent earthquake in California weren't enough to cause problems for the wine industry there, now we have the state government piling on.

Castro Valley winery fined $115,000 for using volunteers
A small-time vintner's use of volunteer workers has put him out of business after the state squeezed him like a late-summer grape for $115,000 in fines -- and sent a chill through the wine industry.

The volunteers, some of them learning to make wine while helping out, were illegally unpaid laborers, and Westover Winery should have been paying them and paying worker taxes, the state Department of Industrial Relations said.

"I didn't know it was illegal to use volunteers at a winery; it's a common practice," said winery owner Bill Smyth.

State law prohibits for-profit businesses from using volunteers.

Before the fine, volunteer labor was common at wineries in the nearby Livermore Valley, said Fenestra Winery owner Lanny Replogle.

"But not anymore," he said Monday. When word got around, several wineries sent their volunteers home.
What next? Will the Red Cross be fined for using volunteers? In a state with a cratering economy, one would think the powers-that-be would do everything they could to help small businesses - heck, any businesses - to succeed.

One would be wrong.
(The winery's owners) are holding a going-out-of-business sale and plan to shut down before the end of the year. The fines represent more than a decade's worth of profits for the winery (emphasis added), which nets about $11,000 a year, Smyth said.

"There's just no money left; they've taken everything," he said.

"We're a small winery, open only 10 hours a week. We didn't really need any helpers; we were just educating people about wine," he said.

About half the people the state considered Westover employees were taking a free class at the Palomares Canyon Road winery. Students learned about growing vines, harvesting and blending grapes and marketing the finished product.

"This was an incredible opportunity for me," said Peter Goodwin, a home winemaker from Walnut Creek who said he dreams of opening a winery with some friends. "I got to learn from someone who knows the business."

The winery sometimes asked Goodwin if he wanted to assist in different tasks.

"That's what I wanted, to be as involved as much as possible -- it was all about learning," he said. "I don't understand the state's action. It was my time, and I volunteered."

Ken Tatum took the classes because he thought it would be fun to learn more about making wine and running a winery. The state fines were ridiculous and unfair, he said.

"I should be able to volunteer my time," said the retired Castro Valley resident.
I'm sorry, Mr. Tatum, but the state, in its infinite wisdom, has decreed that you should not be able to volunteer your time. The state, you see, knows better than you what is in your best interest.

So one business gets shut down, the owners lose a substantial amount of money, people who were learning a trade no longer have that opportunity, and the state loses tax revenue.

Well done, government bureaucrats!
Why, Tatum asked, didn't the state first warn Smyth that using volunteers was not OK?

The law does not allow for warnings, Melton said.

If there's one thing government drones are good at, it's following orders...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Political Correctness Run Amok - High School Version

Our public schools are sinking in a sea of political correctness. Here's a sample of the latest foolishness.

School bans 'offensive' Chick-fil-A sandwiches
Feathers have been ruffled at California’s Ventura High School, where the principal this week banned the football booster club from selling Chick-fil-A sandwiches over fears that people might be offended.

What, pray tell, could people find offensive about a plump juicy chicken breast tucked between two buttered buns?

“With their political stance on gay rights and because the students of Ventura High School and their parents would be at the event, I didn’t want them on campus,” (Principal Val) Wyatt told the Ventura County Star.

It was a sentiment supported by Trudy Tuttle Ariaga, superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District.

“We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus, and all our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission,” Ariaga told CBS News in Los Angeles.

There’s just one teensy-weensy problem with Principal Wyatt’s explanation: It’s not true.

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t have a stance on gay marriage,” (local Chick-fil-A franchise owner Robert) Shaffer told the Star. “We treat everyone who walks through our doors, regardless of their religion or sexual orientation, with honor, dignity and respect.”
I suspect the principal read the mainstream media's reporting on a 2012 interview with Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy, who stated his support for traditional marriage.

The interview sparked nationwide outrage among the LGBT community and the mainstream media, who put their own spin on Cathy's remarks. Here's what he actually said.
 "We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

That’s it. That’s what Dan Cathy said. Here’s the link to the interview. Read it for yourself. Not once did Cathy say anything disparaging about the LGBT community or gay marriage.
Of course, the truth is meaningless to liberals and their lapdogs in the media. It just gets in the way of their narrative.

Meanwhile, the ones hurt most by this PC crap are the students.
The local Chick-fil-A franchise has a storied history of supporting the school district – to the tune of thousands of dollars – and owner Robert Shaffer had generously offered to give the booster club 200 meals for a “back-to-school” event on Wednesday at which they expected to raise $1,600 for the football team, the Ventura Star reported.

“That would have gone toward the football program, everything from uniforms to food for the boys,” booster club president Dan Swim told the Star. “We don’t charge money for the boys to play football.”

...Chick-fil-A was not making a single penny. They were giving all the proceeds to the booster club.
But who cares if the students lose out, as long as the smug PC tyrants can feel good about themselves - regardless of the facts.

Here's another example.

School yanks U.S. flag from vehicles on 9/11
A South Carolina high school principal’s decision to confiscate American flags from students’ vehicles on 9/11 has promoted meetings this week between school officials and outraged students.

WSPA-TV reported Principal Aaron Fulmer removed the flags from vehicles parked at Woodruff High School in Spartanburg, claiming rules forbid anything that creates a disturbance or draws an “unusual amount of attention.”
It's a shame when flying the flag of our country is considered "creating a disturbance".

That nonsense is reminiscent of an event that took place a little over four years ago.

On May 5, 2010, five high school students were sent home from school because they were wearing American flag t-shirts. Students wearing t-shirts with the Mexican flag, however, were allowed to remain in school. The reason: May 5th is the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo, celebrating a Mexican military victory over the French army in 1862. (Why anyone would celebrate beating the French is beyond me, but that's a topic for another time.)

On that day, students were expected to be “fostering a spirit of cultural awareness.” (Evidently, students are expected to be aware of every culture except America's.)
Administrators at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., called the T-shirts “incendiary” when they were worn on Cinco de Mayo...
Today, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its ruling in favor of the school's ban on American-themed apparel.
Rejecting free speech arguments from parents, Republican lawmakers and conservative groups, a federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to reconsider a ruling that found a South Bay high school had the legal right to order students wearing American-flag adorned shirts to turn them inside out during a 2010 Cinco de Mayo celebration.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals let stand its February ruling in favor of Live Oak High School administrators, who argued that a history of problems on the Mexican holiday justified the decision to act against the American flag-wearing students.
So rather than punish the hooligans who start trouble, the court believes it is better to restrict the constitutional rights of innocent, law-abiding individuals.

Welcome to obama's America.

Building Legacy, Obama Reshapes Appellate Bench
Democrats have reversed the partisan imbalance on the federal appeals courts that long favored conservatives, a little-noticed shift with far-reaching consequences for the law and President Obama’s legacy.

For the first time in more than a decade, judges appointed by Democratic presidents considerably outnumber judges appointed by Republican presidents. The Democrats’ advantage has only grown since late last year when they stripped Republicans of their ability to filibuster the president’s nominees.

Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 United States Courts of Appeals. When Mr. Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat.

The shift, one of the most significant but unheralded accomplishments of the Obama era, is likely to have ramifications for how the courts decide the legality of some of the president’s most controversial actions...
We are so screwed...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Because I'm bazy (busy and lazy) today's post is a mixture of Public Service Announcements and in-box clutter.


The Real Reason obama is taking action against ISIS.

Speaking of golf, here's a little compare-and-contrast for you.

 And speaking of ISIS, here are three great reasons to fight back against ISIS.

Economics 101: Who does a better job spending money - you, or the government?

In case of emergency boil your water ... carefully.

Hunting and Fishing Tips
I went fishing this morning but after a short time I ran out of worms. Then I saw a cottonmouth with a frog in his mouth.

Frogs are good bass bait.

Knowing the snake couldn't bite me with the frog in his mouth I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog, and put it in my bait bucket.

Now the dilemma was how to release the snake without getting bitten. I grabbed my bottle of Jack Daniels and poured a little whiskey in its mouth.

His eyes rolled back, he went limp. I released him into the lake without incident and carried on my fishing using the frog.

A little later, I felt a nudge on my foot.

There was that same snake with two frogs in his mouth.

One day two buddies, Chester and Earl, can't decide whether or not to go out duck hunting.

Chester says to Earl "I'll just send my dog out to see if there are any ducks out in the pond. If there aren't many ducks out there, I'm not going hunting". So he sends the dog out to the pond.

The dog comes back and barks twice. Chester says "Well I'm not going to go out. He only saw two ducks out there".

Earl says "You're going to take the dog's barks for the truth?" Earl doesn't believe it, so he goes to look for himself. When he gets back he says "I don't believe it. There really are only two ducks out there! Where did you get that dog?" Chester says "Well, I got him from the breeder up the road. If you want one, you can get one from him".

So Earl goes to the breeder and says he wants a dog like the one his friend Chester has. The breeder obliges and Earl brings the dog home, tells it to go out and look for ducks. Minutes later the dog returns with a stick in its mouth and starts humping Earl's leg furiously.

Outraged, Earl takes the dog back to the breeder and says "This dog is a fraud. I want my money back!" The breeder asks Earl what the dog did. So Earl tells him that when he sent the dog out to look for ducks, it came back with a stick in its mouth and started humping his leg.

The breeder says "Earl, dogs can't talk. He was trying to tell you there are more fucking ducks out there than you can shake a stick at".

Okay, this one really is serious. Please pay attention for 3 minutes and 46 seconds.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Nanny State Is Alive And Well

Talk about your Nanny State - here's the latest from the People's Republic of Austin.
Children's book author Kari Anne Roy was recently visited by the Austin police and Child Protective Services for allowing her son Isaac, age 6, to do the unthinkable: Play outside, up her street, unsupervised.

He'd been out there for about 10 minutes when Roy's doorbell rang. She opened it to find her son —and a woman she didn't know ... the mystery woman asked: "Is this your son?" (full story here - excerpts below)
I nodded, still trying to figure out what was happening.

"He said this was his house. I brought him home." She was wearing dark glasses. I couldn't see her eyes, couldn't gauge her expression.

"You brought..."

"Yes. He was all the way down there, with no adult." She motioned to a park bench about 150 yards from my house. A bench that is visible from my front porch. A bench where he had been playing with my 8-year-old daughter, and where he decided to stay and play when she brought our dog home from the walk they'd gone on.

"You brought him home... from playing outside?" I continued to be baffled.

And then the woman smiled condescendingly, explained that he was OUTSIDE. And he was ALONE. And she was RETURNING HIM SAFELY. To stay INSIDE. With an ADULT. I thanked her for her concern, quickly shut the door and tried to figure out what just happened.
What happened? The usual. A busybody saw that rarest of sights—a child playing outside without a security detail—and wanted to teach his parents a lesson. Roy might not have given the incident a whole lot more thought except that shortly afterward, her doorbell rang again.

This time it was a policewoman. "She wanted to know if my son had been lost and how long he'd been gone," Roy told me by phone. She also took Roy's I.D. and the names of her kids.

That night Isaac cried when he went to bed and couldn't immediately fall asleep. "He thought someone was going to call the police because it was past bedtime and he was still awake."

As it turns out, he was almost right. About a week later, an investigator from Child Protective Services came to the house and interrogated each of Roy's three children separately, without their parents, about their upbringing.

"She asked my 12 year old if he had ever done drugs or alcohol. She asked my 8-year-old daughter if she had ever seen movies with people's private parts, so my daughter, who didn't know that things like that exist, does now," says Roy. "Thank you, CPS."

It was only last week, about a month after it all began, that the case was officially closed. That's when Roy felt safe enough to write about it. But safe is a relative term. In her last conversation with the CPS investigator, who actually seemed to be on her side, Roy asked, "What do I do now?"

Replied the investigator, "You just don't let them play outside."
Words fail me. Since when is letting a kid play outside grounds for a police and Child Protective Services investigation? Granted, evil exists in the world, and terrible things can happen out there. But I don't think the solution is to bundle up kids in bubble wrap and lock them inside.

If that was my kid I would reinforce the rule about going anywhere with strangers. Then I'd give him a can of mace and send him outside, hoping that busybody tries to drag him back home again.

Spray, baby, spray...!

Monday, September 15, 2014

FOD 2014.09.15

Lost in all the ISIS-related news stories has been some disturbing news on the domestic front related to our economy.

Obama’s Spin Can’t Keep Up With America’s Economic Reality
At a Labor Day rally in Milwaukee, President Obama turned the limelight on himself, approvingly and inaccurately.

“By almost every measure,” he declared, “the American economy and the American workers are better off than when I took office.”

In contrast to Mr. Obama’s self-congratulatory assertion, the Census Bureau reports that median household income in the United States, adjusted for inflation, is down by more than $2,000 since Obama’s first inauguration in January 2009.

Additionally, as an indicator of the economic downturn, a sixth of the U.S. population is currently receiving food stamps, an increase in the participation rate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of 61 percent since 2008.
There are several reasons for this dismal performance, but The Federal Reserve has pinpointed one underlying cause - obamacare.
Specifically related to the cause of the economy’s poor levels of job creation and household income growth, an August 25 report in Forbes by economist John Goodman documented via Federal Reserve surveys that Obamacare is a key reason for the nation’s persevering joblessness and declining levels of inflation-adjusted household income ... “The new health law is discouraging a significant number of firms from hiring and is also pushing workers into part-time rather than full-time jobs.”

Bottom line? After more than five years of Obama’s economy — the ill-designed “growth” programs that drained job-creating money out of the private sector, the “shovel ready” boondoggles that weren’t ready, the bailouts for political cronies that transferred capital from the productive to the non-productive, the boom in welfare spending that weakened incentives for productivity at both the top and bottom, and hundreds of billions in “stimulus” spending that ended up to be more about spending than stimulating — all the ill-fitting pieces came together to produce a record-breaking $7 trillion in additional federal debt and a public that’s increasingly opposed to President Obama’s prescription for economic recovery.
In an ironic twist, the people hurt the most by tough economic times are that same ones who put barry in office.
The demographic groups that voted most heavily for Barack Obama in 2012 have suffered the most from this president’s economic policies...

... let’s look at who the Obama voters were in 2012 — and the numbers weren’t a whole lot different in the “hope and change” election of 2008. The demographic groups that were crucial to his victory were: young voters 60 percent (for Mr. Obama), single women 67 percent, Hispanics 71 percent and blacks more than 90 percent.

Here’s how these groups have fared economically since Mr. Obama became president ...  single women with and without children present saw their incomes fall by roughly 5 percent. Those age 25-34 experienced an income decline of 4.4 percent. Black heads of households saw their income tumble by 7.7 percent, while the income of Hispanic heads of households fell 5.6 percent. In other words, many of these groups experienced double the income fall than the average voter.

In dollar terms, between the time the Obama recovery began in June 2009 and June of this year, median black household income fell by nearly $3,000, Hispanic households lost nearly $2,500, and female-headed households lost roughly $1,500.

The jobless numbers show pretty much the same pattern. July’s Bureau of Labor Statistics data (the most recent available) show a national unemployment rate of 6.2 percent. The highest jobless rates by far are for key components of the Obama voter bloc: blacks (11.4 percent), Hispanics (7.8 percent), those with less than a high-school diploma (9.6 percent). For teens, it’s 20.2 percent.

In the 1980s and 1990s, it was blacks and women who had the largest percentage income gains. Now that progress in reducing racial and gender income gaps has reversed course under Mr. Obama. The income gains under Mr. Obama have been concentrated in those in the top 20 percent of income. (emphasis added)
So much for income inequality.
One reason incomes haven’t risen for most groups is the steady decline in labor-force participation. That number has dropped to 62.9 percent from 65.5 percent five years ago. This means a 6.4 million drop in workers earning paychecks.
barry has the reverse Midas touch. Everything he touches turns to crap...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Funnies 2014.09.14

The first cool front of the year blew through last night. Temperatures dropped 30 degrees, from the high 90s to the high 60s, and we got a couple of inches of blessed, blessed rain.

Autumn is almost here.

Autumn is a season for big decisions -- like whether or not it's too late to start spring cleaning.

Autumn -- time to drag out your winter clothes and see how much they've shrunk during the summer.

Autumn - when all the leaves turn brown to match the grass.

Autumn lawn and garden tip - if you haven't found the hedge trimmer yet, forget it. It's time now to lose the leaf rake.

A couple goes to an art gallery. They find a picture of a naked women with her privates covered with leaves. The wife doesn't like it and moves on but the husband keeps looking.

The wife asks, "What are you waiting for?"

The husband replies, "Autumn."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

If Scotland Can Do It, So Can We

There is an upcoming vote in Scotland that will determine whether or not that nation remains as part of the United Kingdom.

Sidebar - For those of you who, like me, were a little unclear on the concept, the UK is officially titled as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It consists of four countries; England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

It gets even more confusing. Ireland is a single island divided into two countries - the Republic of Ireland, which is an independent sovereign state, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

Now back to our story.

On September 18th Scots will vote on the question  "Should Scotland be an independent country?" The most recent polls have the election rated just about even.

The election is being driven by the Scottish National Party, which claims that the 300-year-old UK is no longer viable. The party also believes that Scotland could become a rich oil state a la Saudi Arabia, thanks to the North Sea oil reserves.

Historical and cultural ties aside, there are serious economic ramifications for an independent Scotland.

Currency confusion - Scotland would no longer have the British pound as its currency. The European Union has made it plain that Scotland would not be allowed to join it, so the Euro is out as well. A new Scottish currency "would be so volatile and problematic that it would dissuade investors, reduce trade with the rest of the world and threaten to turn Scotland into an economic backwater."

Delusions of oil grandeur - North Sea oil and gas revenues have been declining, from around $15 billion in 2012 to roughly $11 billion in 2013. Predictions for 2015 are approximately $5 billion. That may sound like a lot of money, but it's not enough to finance a country. Furthermore, "many of the North Sea rigs are at the end of their life and production levels are falling."

Financial mismanagement
- Scotland’s banks have become a byword for chaos and catastrophic losses, after the hubris of the 1990s turned into the near-collapse of the mid-2000s with massive rescue packages needed for Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds (both of them based in Edinburgh).

Loss of credibility
- The UK has sunk an awful long way since the height of empire in the 19th century, but it remains the world’s sixth-largest economy and the second-largest in Europe behind Germany.  This confers all kinds of useful benefits, including low interest rates, a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, leadership in NATO, a major role at G20 conferences and in the WTO, among many others.

An independent Scotland would have none of those perks. And as previously mentioned, Scotland would not be allowed into the EU, making it problematic for its citizens to travel, work, and live in the rest of the UK.

Lack of natural resource
s - Once the North Sea oil dries up, all Scotland has left is whiskey. Granted, that's a wonderful resource, but it doesn't generate much revenue ($4.8 billion annually). Major employers and manufacturers would have little reason to move there, for the reasons outlined above. In fact, existing firms have already threatened to leave the country if it votes for independence.

"The insurer Standard Life has already warned that it could relocate its headquarters in the event of a Yes vote for independence, endangering 5,000 Scottish jobs.  Many more companies are doubtless thinking along the same lines."

All these arguments for remaining in the UK are ignored by Scottish nationalists, who see the vote as an opportunity to pay back the English for centuries of domination and exploitation, either real or perceived.

So what does all this have to do with the price of eggs? Well, since I live in Texas, and since there is always talk down here of seceding from the union, I was curious about parallels between Scotland and Texas. Then I stumbled across this article.

If Scotland can secede, so can Texas
If any state is fed up with the rest of America, it’s Texas. Republican Gov. Rick Perry floated the idea of seceding from the United States in 2009... A petition for Texas to “withdraw" from the United States, lodged on the White House’s “We the People” Web page, gathered 125,000 signatures before voting closed in 2013. A group called the Texas Nationalist Movement has nearly 190,000 likes on Facebook.

Even as a state, Texas has strong anti-federal leanings. It’s a hotbed of Tea Party activity and has declined, so far, to participate in the Affordable Care Act. Perry has called Social Security, the cherished American retirement program, a Ponzi scheme. Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, also a Republican, wants to abolish the IRS. In lieu of a strong federal overlord, secessionists want to form — or rather, recreate — the Republic of Texas, which was an independent nation for a decade before Texas joined the union in 1845.

The case for Texas existing as an independent nation is considerably stronger than it is for Scotland. Here are some of the reasons Texas might thrive as an independent nation:

It’s big. With a population of nearly 27 million and GDP of $1.6 trillion, an independent Texas would be the 13th biggest economy in the world, between Australia and Spain. That’s plenty of heft to play in the big leagues. Scotland, by comparison, is puny, with 5.1 million people and GDP equivalent to about $210 billion--which would rank around 50th.

Texas could lure companies from America. The corporate tax rate in Texas is 0, which would instantly make Texas the most tax-friendly country in the developed world if it became a country. Instead of fleeing to Canada or Ireland, U.S. firms seeking a better deal than the federal government’s 35% corporate rate could just head to Dallas or Houston. Scotland, by contrast, would have no particular tax advantages as a nation, since its tax rate — 21% for big firms — is the same as in the U.K. overall.

Texas has a healthy, diverse economy
. It has energy galore, along with Big Ag, a tech hub centered on Austin and a few corporate giants such as Exxon Mobil (XOM), AT&T (T) and American Airlines (AAL). Scotland also enjoys oil wealth due to long-established wells in the North Sea, but oil extraction is declining and Scotland has little of the oil infrastructure or home-grown energy firms Texas does.

Adios, Federal Reserve. Splitting from the United States would allow Texas to wriggle free of the Fed’s loose-money policies, which have rankled Perry and other prominent Texans. If Texas adopted a new currency, meanwhile, it could make it as weak (good for exports) or as strong (good for egos) as Texans wanted. Scotland will have to wean itself off the Bank of England if it becomes independent, which is more problematic since the financial sector is a bigger part of the economy in Scotland than in Texas, and Scottish financial firms could suffer without the BOE’s implicit backing.

Independence would produce a few disadvantages for Texas, too. Here are the cons:

No more federal funds. Texas gets a good deal from Washington, receiving about 43% more from the federal government than its citizens pay in federal taxes. If it were to become independent and lose highway funding, U.S. military establishments and other types of federal spending, it might have to impose corporate taxes after all. Scotland is in a similar position, since it accounts for more public spending per person than in other parts of the U.K. and would suffer a net loss if it became sovereign.

The Texas Dept. of Defense. Texas would have to establish its own national security force to deal with problems such as illegal immigration, coastal defense, terrorist threats and of course any territorial incursions from New Mexico, Oklahoma or Louisiana. The good news is Texas has a well-armed citizenry it can tap to form local militias. (Scotland doesn’t.)

Political opposition. Texas has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980. Losing the state’s 38 electoral votes would severely impair Republican chances of retaking the White House in future elections, which could make the kind of small-government Republicans who run Texas intent on keeping the state in the union. In the U.K., leading politicians want Scotland to stay, too. Threatening to secede is one way to find out who really cares about you.
One more reason to support an independent Texas - no more barack obama. I'm not a big Rick Perry fan, but he's exponentially better than obama.

From where I stand, the pros for Texas secession outnumber the cons...