Friday, July 31, 2015

A Trip To Home Depot

A Man's Age, as Determined by a Trip to Home Depot

You are in the middle of a few projects at your home: putting in a new fence, painting the basement walls, putting in a new garden.You are hot and sweaty, covered in dust, lawn clippings, dirt and paint. You have your old work clothes on. You know the outfit -- shorts with the hole in the crotch, old T-shirt with a stain from who-knows-what, and an old pair of tennis shoes.

Right in the middle of these projects you realize you need to run to Home Depot for supplies. Depending on your age you might do the following:

In your 20s:

Stop what you are doing. Shave, take a shower, blow dry your hair, brush your teeth, floss and put on clean clothes.

Check yourself in the mirror and flex. Add a dab of your favorite cologne because, you never know, you just might meet some hot chick while standing in the checkout line.

And yes, you went to school with the pretty girl running the register.

In your 30s:

Stop what you are doing, put on clean shorts and shirt. Change your shoes. You married the hot chick so no need for much else.

Wash your hands and comb your hair. Check yourself in the mirror. Still got it. Add a shot of your favorite cologne to cover the smell.

The cute girl running the register is the kid sister to someone you went to school with.

In your 40s:

Stop what you are doing. Put on a sweatshirt that is long enough to cover the hole in the crotch of your shorts.

Put on different shoes and a hat. Wash your hands. Your bottle of Brute is almost empty, so don't waste any of it on a trip to Home Depot.  Check yourself in the mirror and do more sucking in than flexing.

The hot young thing running the register is your daughter's age and you feel weird about thinking she's spicy.

In your 50s:

Stop what you are doing. Put on a hat. Wipe the dirt off your hands onto your shirt. Change shoes because you don't want to get dog crap in your new sports car. Check yourself in the mirror and swear not to wear that shirt anymore because it makes you look fat.

The cutie running the register smiles when she sees you coming and you think you still have it. Then you remember -- the hat you have on is from Bubba's Bait & Beer Bar and it says, 'I Got Worms'.

In your 60s:

Stop what you are doing. No need for a hat any more. Hose the dog crap off your shoes. The mirror was shattered when you were in your 50s. You hope you have underwear on so nothing hangs out the hole in your pants.

The girl running the register may be cute but you don't have your glasses on, so you're not sure.

In your 70s:

Stop what you are doing. Wait to go to Home Depot until the drug store has your prescriptions ready too. Don't even notice the dog crap on your shoes.

The young thing at the register stares at you and you realize something is hanging out the hole in your shorts.

In your 80s:

Stop what you are doing. Start again. Then stop again. Now you remember you need to go to Home Depot. Go to Wal-Mart instead.

You went to school with the old lady greeter.

You wander around trying to remember what you're looking for.

In your 90s and beyond:

What's a home deep hoe? Something for my garden?

Where am I? Who am I?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throw Back Thursday - Spotlight On Baylor University

Today we think of Baylor University as a quiet, peaceful, Godly institution of higher learning. But it wasn't always that way.
The pen is mightier than the sword, English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton insisted... but it was no protection against the bullet that buried itself in the back of William Cowper Brann, acid-tongued editor of Waco’s controversial monthly newspaper, the Iconoclast.

As Brann strolled down Austin Avenue in Waco on the evening of April 1, 1898, enraged businessman Tom Davis shouted unprintable epithets, leveled a pistol at Brann’s receding back and fired, hitting him “right where his suspenders crossed” wrote Charles Carver in “Brann & the Iconoclast” (University of Texas Press, 1957).
Brann returned fire.

Both participants in this Wild West-style shootout died of their wounds.

Davis’ daughter attended Baylor University, and the institution was one of Brann’s favorite targets for editorial assault. The defensive father was among hundreds whose threats against Brann had been “thick as the bluebonnets in the meadows,” wrote Carver.

Baylor University, the educational jewel of the Baptist Church since 1845, hit a stretch of rocky road in 1895 after a 14-year-old female student from Brazil working in the home of Baylor’s revered president, Rufus C. Burleson, became pregnant and accused one of Burleson’s young relatives. Brann decried this “brutish crime against the chastity of childhood” and referred to Baylor as “a factory for the manufacture of ministers and Magdalenes,” a comment that didn’t sit well with Baylor’s many supporters...

Brann...was well aware of the boost to circulation that would result from an assault on Baylor. Nothing sells papers quicker than controversy. “Change is the order of the day,” Brann wrote, “and as Baylor cannot very well become worse, it must, of necessity become better.”

Wacoans snatched up the paper for its biting controversy interspersed with bits of wisdom and wry humor. By the late 1890s, almost 100,000 subscribers across the nation and in England, Hawaii and Canada read the Iconoclast.

In October 1897, Brann launched a particularly mean-spirited attack on candidates hoping to replace Burleson, who was retiring as Baylor president, accusing them of “blatant jackasserie.” The scalding commentary prompted a group of Baylor students to kidnap Brann. Several hundred milling students planned to tar and feather him, but someone had gotten wind of the plan and hid the tar and feathers. Frustrated, the students began to chant “hang him.” Only the intervention of some Baylor professors saved Brann, but not before he had been tied up, soundly beaten and forced to sign a promise to leave town by sunset.

Brann did not leave town and took the “Baylor bullies” to task in his newspaper. He planned to let it go at that, but others in Waco did not consider the matter settled. Tempers flared again when Brann offered to teach a night school at Baylor free of charge “… for the instruction of its faculty—if each member thereof will give bond not to seek a better paying situation as soon as he learns something.”

In early April, Brann scheduled a lecture tour beginning in San Antonio. His wife, Carrie, suffered from frayed nerves brought on by the host of threats, and the timing was right for a vacation. The day before they were scheduled to leave, the deadly shots rang out on Austin Avenue.

Hundreds of people lined the streets as Brann’s funeral cortege made its way to the cemetery, preceded by a brass band. No one had ever seen so many people at a funeral in Waco, although it was unclear whether the spectators loved or hated the deceased. A large obelisk was erected above his grave bearing a bas-relief profile of Brann done in marble. Before grass had grown over the grave, an unknown gunman fired a final bullet into the side of the controversial editor’s carved face.
My goodness. Pedophilia, lynchings, and shootings abound in the history of Baylor - "the educational jewel of the Baptist Church."

Who woulda thunk...?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wyoming Bound

If all has gone well we are on our way to yet another vacation (it's good to be retired!). This time it's our annual pilgrimage to a ranch nestled in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming.

Cloud Peak and the Bighorn Mountains

It's how we decompress. No television, no cell phone service, very limited Internet access - nothing to do but ride horses, hike, fish, eat, drink, sleep, and talk.

We have a number of friends that come here the same time each year, so it's also a reunion of sorts. We look forward to catching up with each other in a more in-depth manner than Facebook posts. It's a way to reconnect with friends, family, and a way of life that is rapidly vanishing.

The plan is to fly into Billings, Montana via Denver. We rent a car in Billings and drive from there to the ranch - about a two hour drive.

On the way we pass by the Little Bighorn Battlefield where George Armstrong Custer's 7th Calvary was wiped out. It is IMO one of the best national parks in America. If you ever get the chance I highly recommend a visit.

Fear not, loyal readers. I will have something here daily for your entertainment, education, and edification. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy yourself as much as I plan on enjoying myself...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trump This

Another in an irregular series of comments on 2106 presidential candidates. Today's subject target is Donald Trump.

Trump is currently riding high as the leading GOP presidential candidate.

However, I'm not convinced he's the right person to be the next President. But I do have to admit that he's done very well at two things.

One, he's doing a great job of promoting himself. That certainly fits his persona - IMO he's an egotistical blowhard who loves nothing so much as talking about himself - except, perhaps, reading the headlines about himself.

But more importantly, he is shrewd enough to tap into a powerful discontent rumbling throughout this country - the feeling that our federal government is broken, and that the ruling elite of both parties - and their cronies in industry and the press - don't care about fixing it.

“In the land of the blind,” so goes the saying, “the one-eyed man is king.” Donald Trump leapt atop other contenders for the Republican presidential nomination when he acted on the primordial fact in American public life today, from which most of the others hide their eyes, namely: most Americans distrust, fear, are sick and tired of, the elected, appointed, and bureaucratic officials who rule over us, as well as their cronies in the corporate, media, and academic world. Trump’s attraction lies less in his words’ grace or even precision than in the extent to which Americans are searching for someone, anyone, to lead against this ruling class that is making America less prosperous, less free, and more dangerous.

Republicans brahmins have the greater reason to fear. Whereas some three fifths of Democratic voters approve the conduct of their officials, only about one fifth of Republican voters approve what theirs do. If Americans in general are primed for revolt, Republican (and independent) voters fairly thirst for it.

Trump’s barest hints about what he opposes (never mind proposes) regarding just a few items on the public agenda have had such effect because they accord with what the public has already concluded about them. For example,Trump remarked, off the cuff, that “Mexico does not send us its best.” The public had long since decided that our ruling class’s handling of immigration (not just from Mexico) has done us harm. The ruling class – officials, corporations, etc.- booed with generalities but did not try to argue that they had improved America by their handling of immigration. The more they would argue that, the more they would lose...
The point here is simple: our ruling class has succeeded in ruling not by reason or persuasion, never mind integrity, but by occupying society’s commanding heights, by imposing itself and its ever-changing appetites on the rest of us. It has coopted or intimidated potential opponents by denying the legitimacy of opposition. Donald Trump, haplessness and clownishness notwithstanding, has shown how easily this regime may be threatened just by refusing to be intimidated.

Having failed to destroy Trump, Republicans and Democrats are left to hope that he will self-destruct as Perot did. Indeed, Trump has hardly scratched the surface and may not be able to do more than that. Yet our rulers know the list of things divide them from the American people is long. They want to avoid like the plague any and all arguments on the substance of those things. They fear the rise of an un-intimidated leader more graceful and precise than Trump, someone whose vision is fuller but who is even more passionate in championing the many resentments the voicing of just a few channeled so much support to Trump.

Republicans and Democrats profit personally and through their corporate cronies by a welter of legislation and regulation by which they command what we must eat, how to shower, what medical care is proper and what is not: mandating that a third of the U.S. corn crop be turned into ethanol, restricting the use of coal, how we may use our land, etc. ...
At increasing speed, our ruling class has created “protected classes” of Americans defined by race, sex, age, disability, origin, religion, and now homosexuality, whose members have privileges that outsider do not. By so doing, they have shattered the principle of equality – the bedrock of the rule of law. Ruling class insiders use these officious classifications to harass their socio-political opponents...
Habitually, our ruling class tries to intimidate its opponents by calling them “haters” (“racists,” etc. is part of the all too familiar litany.)...
No argument that Trump is highlighting serious problems that the ruling class is failing to address. But I remain skeptical about his ability to get elected, and if elected, about his ability to solve those problems. He is, IMO, a richer, more bombastic version of Chris Christie.

Don't get me wrong. I think The Donald is performing an invaluable service in pointing out the failures of the ruling class. But I don't think he's the right person to do anything about it...

Monday, July 27, 2015

FOD 2015.07.27

Just because barry is running around out of the country checking on his roots or something equally inane doesn't mean that he still isn't screwing up things at home.
Now that he’s “solved” the problem of Iranian nukes and re-established ties with the Communist dictatorship in Cuba, our Dear Leader has finally declared war on dishwashers. Naturally, the American people are the big losers.
Companies that make dishwashers are warning that the Obama administration’s latest efficiency standards for their industry would backfire.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers is accusing the Department of Energy (DOE) of a politically motivated drive to increase dishwasher efficiency, which are so bad that they would cause consumers to re-wash dishes, erasing any efficiency gains.

Rob McAver, the group’s head lobbyists, said regulators are going too far, and the new rules will allow only 3.1 gallons to be used to wash each load of dishes.

“At some point, they’re trying to squeeze blood from a stone that just doesn’t have any blood left in it,” McAver said.

Some of the group’s members, which include companies like GE Appliances & Lighting and Whirlpool Corp., tweaked their models to comply with the DOE’s December proposal to ratchet up standards.

They then ran standard tests with food stuck to dishes.

“They found some stuff that was pretty disgusting,” McAver said.

McAver brought DOE officials to his office recently to show them the results, and released photos of it publicly this week.

He’s hoping that the disgusted reactions to the tests will spur DOE to go back to the drawing board for the standards, and work more closely with the industry this time.

“The poor performance that would result would totally undercut and go backwards in terms of energy and water use, because of the need for running the dishwasher again, or pre-rinsing or hand-washing, which uses a lot of water,” he said.
Sounds similar to those damn low-flow toilets that were mandated by the feds back in the 1990s. The house we live in now was built in 2001. It has low-flow toilets ... and a plunger in every bathroom. Our family motto is "Flush early, and flush often"

Somehow I doubt if we are saving any water when multiple flushes are required to accomplish the same thing that a single flush used to do.

Leave it to the government to screw up something as simple and effective as a device that has been pleasing its users since the mid-19th century. And now that same government is going after our dishwashers.

God help us all...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Funnies 2015.07.26

I don't want to say it's hot here, but...

It's so hot that:
You learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron.

The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a bit chilly.

You discover that it takes only two fingers to drive your car.

Your biggest fear is: 'What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?'

You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hardboiled eggs.

Cows are giving evaporated milk.

The trees are whistlin' for the dogs.

Chickens are laying omlettes.

Directions on soup cans now say "Just pour and eat."


Ranchers in Texas hit by sweltering heat are selling fully cooked barbecue right from the barn.

"We let the customer choose the cattle and then we hose it down with sauce and send it out into the pasture.  Within twenty minutes the barbecue is piping hot and ready to eat," said a Texas rancher.

Barbecue restaurants are crying foul over the direct sales of the product to the public.

"This damn heat wave is killing our business.  We can't compete with the lower overhead of the rancher when we provide our customers with a table, chairs and fans, as well as swatting flies," said waitress Flo Moore of the "Greasy Fat Dripping Spoon" restaurant in Amarillo.

The heat has also changed business for farmers who are using their former crop fields as giant baking pans for brownies.

"It's the only way I can put my land and this hellish heat to any use so I'm baking white chocolate, espresso brownies with macadamia nuts for those rip-off coffee houses, said a farmer outside of San Antonio.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Some Lives Matter More Than Others

The last two days have seen two separate and horrific events.

Wednesday in Broken Arrow OK five members of a single family were slaughtered in their home. A sixth victim clings to life.

Thursday two people were killed and nine wounded in a Lafayette LA movie theater. The suspect killed himself as police closed in.

Keep an eye on how the media treats these two stories. Both, of course, are terrifying and tragic. Both deserve national attention. However, I suspect we'll hear much more about the LA killings that those in OK.


Because  in LA the killer used a gun. In OK the victims were stabbed and hacked to death.

Given the liberal persuasion of the mainstream media, expect the by now familiar cavalcade of anti-gun propaganda. Also expect the media to salivate over the depiction of the shooter as an angry white man and a right-wing extremist. In addition, the media will also ignore the fact that the death toll in OK was higher than in LA.

In other news, media attention and #blacklivesmatter protesters are focused on the case of Sandra Bland, a black woman who hung herself while in jail in Hempstead TX. While it seems that her arrest was questionable, to say the least, there is little doubt that she committed suicide while imprisoned. Another tragic and regrettable death of a black person while in police custody, this case certainly merits a close examination, which it will get.

However, where is the mainstream media and the #blacklivesmatter folks when it comes to multiple deaths of blacks in Chicago?

10 dead, 34 wounded in weekend violence
Much of the shooting was concentrated in the East and West Garfield Park, Lawndale and Humboldt Park neighborhoods on the West Side, from about Division Street south to Ogden Avenue east of Cicero Avenue and west of California Avenue.

Eighteen of the people wounded over the weekend were shot within those boundaries, including four people shot a few hours apart near St. Louis Avenue and Grenshaw Street early Saturday. Two of the 18 died.
Wanna guess the predominant ethnicity of those neighborhoods?

I guess the good folks at #blacklivesmatter didn't focus on the slaughter of blacks in Chicago because they were too busy booing Martin O'Malley for saying "All lives matter."
Several dozen demonstrators interrupted the former Maryland governor while he was speaking here at the Netroots Nation conference, a gathering of liberal activists, demanding that he address criminal justice and police brutality. When they shouted, "Black lives matter!" a rallying cry of protests that broke out after several black Americans were killed at the hands of police in recent months, O'Malley responded: "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter."

The demonstrators, who were mostly black, responded by booing him and shouting him down.
According to them, only black lives matter.

And we're the ones being called "racist."


Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2015.07.24

After this morning's post, what else could today's song be but...

An American Icon

It's the weekend. Time for grilling, partying, and just kicking back and enjoying yourself.

Any and all of the above activities are often accompanied by what has become an American icon - the Red Solo Cup.
If you’re attending a backyard barbecue, pool party, or any kind of group gathering, chances are someone’s going to offer you a beverage in a red Solo cup... the disposable, recyclable, and brightly colored plastic cup has been a de facto accompaniment to good times in the good old U.S. of A.

Especially popular at the beach
Although the Solo Cup Company has been making paper cups since 1936, it wasn’t until the 1970s — the decade of Animal House and Dazed and Confused — that the plastic version was first released and immediately adored by collegians, campers, and backyard burger-flippers alike.

Officially called the Party Cup, it was originally introduced in four sizes and four colors, but it’s the red 18-ounce version that’s risen to iconic status...

And here’s something you might not know about the party staple: it’s not just a place to pour your drink, it’s a place to measure your drink too!

Yep, the lines on the classic cup design aren’t just for aesthetics or grippiness — in an act of kismet, they correspond to common fluid-ounce measurements. Starting from the bottom up, they mark one ounce (a perfect shot of bourbon for your Boulevardier or gin for your Negroni); five ounces (a standard wine pour); 12 ounces (a typical can of soda or beer); 16 ounces (aka a pint); and the final 18-ounce mark for any overflow from ice.
Click to embiggen.
So if you’re ever in a pinch and can’t find your trusty Pyrex measuring cup while you’re cooking, you can always grab a cup from your party stash and save the day.

Just don't over-indulge...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Irony Abounds

Here's a classic example of irony that would be funny if it wasn't so serious

Baltimore anti-violence group work suspended after guns, drugs found in raid
City officials have suspended operations of the Safe Streets anti-violence program in East Baltimore after police officers found seven guns and drugs stashed inside the Monument Street office.

Safe Streets, a grant-funded program under the city's Health Department, uses ex-felons in an effort to stem crime...

The program has had trouble in the past, with offices previously suspended in 2010 and 2013 amid criminal allegations against employees. It has also faced criticism over its recruiting practices.

... a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said, "The Mayor remains supportive of the program and the effective way it has been able to reach many people in our city and reduce crime. But she recognizes the program must be vigilant with respect to the activities of the program's participants and staff members."

The city had been in talks with the Abell Foundation about creating a new Safe Streets zone in Sandtown-Winchester, where 25-year-old Freddie Gray was arrested... The foundation approved a $180,000 matching grant to help fund the expansion...
Ah, now we're getting closer to the reason the program lives on after multiple failures. Can you say "kickbacks"?
... When officers eventually raided the (Safe Streets) office, they found guns, heroin, cocaine, and other items used in the manufacturing and sale of drugs, including cutting agents and scales, police said.
That shouldn't be too surprising. This is the same city that's been controlled by liberals and democrats (but I repeat myself) for the last 50 years. It's a case study in corruption, back room deals, and abuse of power.

In a related note:
So far this year, Baltimore recorded 155 homicides, including three people who were killed late Tuesday evening near the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. The 2015 homicide toll is 50 people higher than it was at the same point last year.

On Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, citing the spike in murders in the city.
Somehow I don't think the top cop is the reason for the surge in murders. Can you say "scapegoat"?

Speaking of the mayor, let's end on a light note.
A woman ran up to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings–Blake and dumped what appeared to be water on her head at the Mondawmin Festival.

Aides helped the mayor dry off after the incident Saturday morning...

Rawlings–Blake attended the festival at the same mall where violence and rioting erupted in April.
I guess you could say the mayor of Baltimore is all wet...

"Space to destroy..."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This Leaves A Bad Taste In My Mouth

Following up Monday's brief post on how obama trusts Iran with nuclear weapons but not our military with firearms, here's a little more expanded commentary.

First, the good news.
The military has directed recruiting centers nationwide to step up security in the wake of the Chattanooga, Tenn., attacks...
Yay! It's about time the higher-ups got their heads out of their asses and allowed our military to exercise the same self-defense rights that we civilians enjoy.

Oh, wait...
The security boost doesn’t authorize recruiters to carry weapons in the centers...
What?!? That's absurd! How are the men and women in uniform supposed to protect themselves against terrorist attacks?
... Instead, officials said they are directing hundreds of recruiting and reserve centers and ROTC facilities to increase surveillance and take basic steps such as closing blinds at the offices. (emphasis added)
Seriously? The best the brass can do is to tell those members of the military who are exposed to close the friggin' blinds? What next - close your eyes and pretend no one is there?

I'll bet whatever high muckety-muck that came up with that is sitting in a corner office with the blinds wide open, while being protected by multiple layers of armed security personnel.

As if that's not bad enough, the highest ranking officer in the whole damn United States Army has come out and said he doesn't trust the men and women under his command with loaded weapons.
A day after a gunman shot and killed four Marines and wounded three other people in Chattanooga, Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, told reporters that arming troops in those offices could cause more problems than it might solve.

"I think we have to be careful about over-arming ourselves, and I'm not talking about where you end up attacking each other," Odierno said during a morning breakfast. Instead, he said, it's more about "accidental discharges and everything else that goes along with having weapons that are loaded that causes injuries."
C'mon, general. That's why we have basic training, advanced training, refresher training, training, training, and more training. If a whole bunch of cops, security guards, and civilians can run around with loaded weapons, why can't members of our highly trained Army. You know, the ones we give guns to and tell to go fight the bad guys.

Granted, there are negligent discharges with LEOs and civilians, but they're not as highly trained as professional warriors - right?

One of the reasons I left the Army was because of officers like Odierno. I had a few good officers - men I was proud to serve with - but it seemed like they were outnumbered by, and usually reported to, paper pushing political drones like the current Army chief of staff, who were more concerned with appearances than with the welfare and morale of their troops.

Adding insult to injury (literally), the Marines (of all people, the U-S-by-God-Marine-Corps) have told their recruiters not to wear their uniforms.
The military services have taken swift action to increase security after Thursday's shootings in Tennessee, even closing some facilities and telling Marine recruiters not to wear uniforms in public.
I was flabbergasted when I read that. If there is one branch of service that I thought would never back down, would proudly and defiantly march to the very gates of Hell in dress blues, it would be the USMC.

And now the higher-ups have allowed a never-to-be-sufficiently-damned bunch of pedophile-worshipping goat-loving hygienically-challenged sons of bitches (literally!) to humiliate the Corps by denying its members the privilege of wearing the uniform of a United States Marine. I never thought I would live to see such a thing.

This is how the terrorists win.

Has it really come to this? Civilians protecting Marines? I mean, good for them. They're standing up and doing the right thing. Too bad our so-called leaders won't do the same.

Notice the prosthetic leg on one of the civilian defenders.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Now It's Scott Walker's Turn

Despite recent posts on Jim Webb and Marco Rubio, I didn't plan on spending much time discussing the 2016 presidential candidates. However, more and more stories about them are popping up in the mainstream media. I usually just give them a quick scan, but every once in a while something catches my eye. In this case, it was a few quotes on foreign affairs by Scott Walker.
Walker saw no need for diplomatic niceties in response to the Iran nuclear deal that President Barack Obama announced last week with Tehran: He would terminate it as soon as possible and persuade U.S. allies to join Washington in imposing more crippling economic sanctions on Tehran.

"This is not a country we should be doing business with," he said... "This is one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism."

Walker would also be more confrontational with both Russia over its aggression against Ukraine and against China, for the territorial pressures Beijing is putting on U.S. allies in the South China Sea.

He would dramatically increase U.S. military spending after budget cuts that have drawn complaints from military officials.

"The United States needs a foreign policy that puts steel in the face of our enemies," Walker says.
Can't argue with that.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bonus FOD 2015.07.20

FOD 2015.07.20

Just when I think that SCOAMF wasting oxygen in the White House can't come up with anything stupider than what he's done in the past six years, he surpasses himself. I guess I shouldn't be surprised any more...

Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security
Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.

At first glance that sounds reasonable. After all, if someone 'lacks the mental capacity' to balance their checkbook, we don't want them running around with EBRs (Evil Black Rifles), right? Besides, the VA already uses that criteria as a means to disarms large numbers of veterans.
...a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.
But critics — including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled — say that expanding the list of prohibited gun owners based on financial competence is wrongheaded.

Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.

"Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe," said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. "They are very different determinations."

Steven Overman, a 30-year-old former Marine who lives in Virginia, said his case demonstrates the flaws of judging gun safety through financial competence.

After his Humvee hit a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury that weakened his memory and cognitive ability.

The VA eventually deemed him 100% disabled and after reviewing his case in 2012 declared him incompetent, making his wife his fiduciary.

Upon being notified that he was being reported to the background check system, he gave his guns to his mother and began working with a lawyer to get them back.

Overman grew up hunting in Wisconsin. After his return from Iraq, he found solace in target shooting. "It's relaxing to me," he said. "It's a break from day-to-day life. It calms me down."

Though his wife had managed their financial affairs since his deployment, Overman said he has never felt like he was a danger to himself or others.

"I didn't know the VA could take away your guns," he said.
Yeah, well, welcome to the Orwellian world of barack hussein obama.
The VA reports names under a category in gun control regulations known as "adjudicated as a mental defective," terminology that derives from decades-old laws. Its only criterion is whether somebody has been appointed a fiduciary.
Granted, there needs to be a system to weed out people who are truly mentally ill or incompetent from possessing firearms. But the current system casts too wide a net.
The agency's efforts have been criticized by a variety of groups.

Rosen, the Yale psychiatrist, said some veterans may avoid seeking help for mental health problems out of fear that they would be required to give up their guns.

Conservative groups have denounced the policy as an excuse to strip veterans of their gun rights.

Republicans have introduced legislation in the last several sessions of Congress to change the policy. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, now under consideration in the House, would require a court to determine that somebody poses a danger before being reported to the background check system.
Posing a danger to themselves or others is different from being incapable of managing one's personal finances. And of course, this being the obama administration - the most transparent administration ever - the proposed new policy was done out in the open, so everyone knew what was going on.

[sarc off]
The agency has been drafting its policy outside of public view. Even the National Rifle Assn. was unaware of it.

Told about the initiative, the NRA issued a statement from its chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, saying: "If the Obama administration attempts to deny millions of law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights by executive fiat, the NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks."

Gun rights advocates are unlikely to be the only opponents.

Ari Ne'eman, a member of the National Council on Disability, said the independent federal agency would oppose any policy that used assignment of a representative payee as a basis to take any fundamental right from people with disabilities.

"The rep payee is an extraordinarily broad brush," he said.

Since 2008, VA beneficiaries have been able to get off the list by filing an appeal and demonstrating that they pose no danger to themselves or others.

But as of April, just nine of 298 appeals have been granted, according to data provided by the VA. Thirteen others were pending, and 44 were withdrawn after the VA overturned its determination of financial incompetence.

Overman is one of the few who decided to appeal.

He is irritable and antisocial, he said, but not dangerous. "I've never been suicidal," he said. "To me that solves nothing."

More than a year and a half after Overman filed his challenge, the VA lifted its incompetence ruling, allowing his removal from the background check system before the VA ever had to determine whether he should be trusted with a gun.
No guns allowed for veterans. No guns allowed for active duty military. Yet these are the same folks who were or are entrusted with protecting our nation using - you guessed it - guns.

What a screwy world we live in...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Funnies 2015.07.19

The biggest joke this week is the agreement reached between obama and Iran that allegedly prevents that terrorist nation-state from developing nuclear weapons. Sadly, the joke's on us.

The bad news is Iran is capable of making a nuclear bomb. The good news is they have to deliver it from a camel.

 * * * * * * * * * *

So Iran wants nuclear weapons, that's fine by me.
Just tell me where to drop them.

 * * * * * * * * * *

What did the Iranian president have for lunch after signing obama's nuclear agreement?
Fission Chips!

 * * * * * * * * * * 
obama visited Little Johnny's class shortly after the nuclear agreement with Iran was reached. obama told the class he would like to talk about the historic deal.

"OK," said Little Johnny. "That could be an interesting topic. But can I ask you a question first."

"Certainly, young man," replied barry. "What's your question?"

"Here it is," said Johnny. "A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat grass. The same stuff. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?"

"Jeez," said obama. "I have no idea."

"Well, then," said Little Johnny, "How is it that you feel qualified to discuss nuclear treaties when you don't know shit?"

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Score One For Marco Rubio

Following up on this morning's post regarding Jim Webb as a presidential candidate, I just ran across this quote from Marco Rubio.
Speaking at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit, Sen. Marco Rubio posed this question as it relates to immigrants coming to our country.

"Are you coming here to live in America or are you coming here to be an American?"
A few more remarks like this and I may have to become a Rubio supporter.

Just Curious

I was first introduced to Jim Webb via his 1978 book about the Vietnam war (Fields of Fire). As the saying goes, it resonated with me.

He wrote several other books about the military, war, and politics. I enjoyed some, didn't care for others, but they always were thought-provoking.

Webb went on to have an interesting and varied life in academia and politics.
The highly decorated combat veteran, who led a Marine Corps platoon and company in Vietnam, went on to serve as assistant defense secretary and secretary of the Navy. His other medals include the Navy Cross, the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars. He has also written 10 books (including six novels), taught literature at his alma mater (the United States Naval Academy), won an Emmy Award in 1984 for reporting he did on U.S. Marines in Beirut as a journalist for PBS, and earned a law degree at Georgetown University. 
He is also a former democrat senator from Virginia, and is currently one of the five announced democrat presidential candidates. He strikes me as a person with more integrity than the other candidates (not that that's saying much). As such, he merits a serious look - even if he is a democrat. He seems to be a throwback to what used to be called, without any sense of irony, a conservative democrat.

I don't know much about him, but I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say as the campaign progresses. I'd also be curious to hear your thoughts - or is it too early...?

Friday, July 17, 2015

It's Time To Arm Our Armed Forces

No Happy Hour today. Instead, I'd like to ask you a favor. Please read the following article. Then, if you are so inclined, please go to the link provided below and sign an online petition demanding the same self-defense rights that you and I enjoy be restored to our military personnel. (H/T to OldNFO for the heads-up and the petition link.)
It turns out that at least one of the two military facilities attacked in Chattanooga, Tennessee -- was a gun-free zone.

If you looked closely at crime scene photographs - you can see the sign -- plastered on the front of a bullet- riddled window.

Four Marines were slaughtered -- a fifth wounded -- along with a Chattanooga police officer.

Authorities say the gunman, identified as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, was killed in a shoot-out.

Abdulazeez is reportedly a Kuwaiti-native who attended high school in the Chattanooga area. The Times Free-Press posted his graduation photo – that included the phrase; “My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”

The FBI says it’s too soon to speculate on the suspect’s motive – but I think we’ve all got a pretty clear understanding of what went down.

As many as 50 shots were fired -- and all the survivors could do was barricade themselves inside.

The brave men and women who staff these military recruiting stations are sitting ducks. Soft targets - is the terminology they use.

The same thing happened at the Fort Hood massacre.

In response to the shooting Homeland Security ordered enhanced security measures at federal buildings. Since they can’t carry weapons what are they going to do? How are they going to defend themselves against the next Muhammad Abdulazeez -- lock the doors, pull the shades?

It's time to arm the Armed Forces. Now, I’m sure the experts will say there’s some sort of logical reason why military personnel should not have access to firearms – but I’m not convinced. Brave Marines gunned down in a Southern city -- and that is something we cannot abide. Our elected leaders must give them at least a fighting chance.

It makes absolutely no sense that Marines and Airmen and Sailors and Soldiers who defend our nation are unable to defend themselves – on American soil.
 Here's the link to the petition. Please add your name to mine ... and many others.

Thank you.

First Impressions

Three quick stories from our first day back in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

First, it looks like someone didn't want me back in the country.

Planes Are Struck by Lasers Near Newark Airport
Eleven commercial flights and a military plane reported lasers illuminated their aircraft Wednesday night as they flew over New Jersey between the hours of 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ...

Pointing a laser into a cockpit is a federal crime that carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The FBI launched a campaign in January aimed at people who focus potentially blinding lasers at airplanes, and is offering as much as $10,000 for any information leading to the arrest of an individual who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft.

The number of nationwide laser hits is climbing each year, the Federal Aviation Administration said, from 2,200 incidents in 2010 to 3,400 in 2012 and more than 3,900 in 2013, an all-time high. That’s more than 10 incidents every day across the country.
I'm not sure who is doing this, or why. Might be terrorists, might 'just' be idiots, but I'd sure like to some counter-battery fire used against those jerks.

Next up is the ridiculousness of Bruce Caitlyn Jenner's ESPN award for courage.
Tonight's ESPY awards are not only honoring performances on the court, pitch, field or track, they also will pay tribute to the heroic actions of fellow athletes and colleagues who have faced their toughest challenges outside of their respective games.

One of the most noted ESPY honorees is Caitlyn Jenner, who will tonight be presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Caitlyn -- known formerly as Bruce, the decorated Olympic champion -- has transitioned to a woman.
I really don't care one way or the other what anyone does to their body. But please don't confuse that with real courage - for example, the courage that firefighters show when they run into a burning building to rescue people trapped inside.

Or courage like this.

And then there's that pesky little matter of the fatal car crash caused by Bruce/Caitlyn.
“I find it difficult to understand how the culture we live in can honor a person who is responsible for taking a life and injuring several others with both an award and a reality show...”
Police investigating February’s fatal car crash involving Bruce Jenner’s SVU have turned over their findings to the Los Angeles County District Attorney this week...

That means charges may potentially be filed against Jenner in the same week his reality show debuts...

Jenner’s Cadillac Escalade plowed into the back of Kimberley Howe’s car, sending her car careening into oncoming traffic where she collided head on with another vehicle. Howe was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jenner’s lawyers are in talks with the DA’s office begging them to hold off on filing charges at least until after his show premieres.

The buzz for Jenner’s I Am Cait “docu-series”, which premieres on E! Network on July 26, has died down significantly.

E! paid Jenner a reported $5 million to throw open the doors of his home to reality show cameras for an “unfiltered” look into his “transition” from former Olympian he-man to a 65-year-old drag queen.

E! is quietly sending heavily Photoshopped images of Jenner dressed as his alter-ego, “Caitlyn”, to the blogs...

Additionally, insiders whisper that E!’s producers are furiously re-editing the show’s footage to give Jenner a more filtered (read: softer) look on camera.

The signs are everywhere that Jenner’s popularity is fading. He isn’t trending anymore, and his nearly 2.7 million followers on have all but abandoned his Twitter timeline.

It sucks to be him.

Lastly, on a sad note, we have the following.

As I type this (1800 hours CDT, Thurs. 16 July) details are still scarce regarding the shooting of four Marines in Chattanooga. However, two 'facts' (I think) are beginning to emerge.

The shooter's name:
The FBI named the suspect as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez...

The location:
The Marines were shot in a gun-free zone.
Draw your own conclusions...

We'll see how this one plays out. In the meantime, thoughts and prayers for the victims and their loved ones.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Home At Last

It was a long day yesterday - 22 hours from the time we got up until we laid our heads down. But at least we laid them on our own pillows. That's a very nice feeling.

Our flight out of Edinburgh to Newark was delayed. Much uncertainty on the part of the airline as to the new departure time. Updates were few, far between, and inconsistent. Frustration level mounted accordingly.

Finally took off over two hours late. A manageable connection in Newark (4+ hours) had shrunk to a narrow window - about 1 1/2 hours. That may sound like enough time, but we had to clear Immigration and Customs, recheck our bags, and go through security again - plus get from one end of the airport to another (why are international gates always placed as far away as possible as the other gates?).

At Newark, the baggage carousel was having problems. Luggage would get jammed up at the top, creating a backlog below. The baggage handlers would crawl up the ramp, clear the logjam, and restart the carousel. Lather, rinse, repeat...

We finally got our bags, dashed through Customs and Immigration (if you haven't enrolled in the TSA Pre √ and the Customs Global Entry programs, do so ASAP - they've saved me untold amounts of time and aggravation), and made the mile-long sprint from the International gates to our departure gate. Got there sweaty and breathless just in time.

We made the flight - our luggage didn't.

So today I'm catching up on mail, doing chores around the house, getting my internal clock back in sync, and all that sort of stuff while waiting for the lost luggage to turn up.

Oh well, at least I don't have to do any laundry...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

UK Roadtrip Notes - 3

Wrapped up the trip today with a 21 mile bicycle tour around Edinburgh.

21 miles may not sound like a big deal on a stationary bike in the gym, but it's a totally different matter outdoors, on cobblestone streets and narrow bike paths that constantly go uphill ... and into the wind. I was dying...

Partially recovered by popping some Ranger candy (ibuprofen) and washing that down with a few pints. But I am NOT looking forward to tomorrow.

The good news is that tomorrow we board a flight for home. It's been a great trip, but I'm ready to sleep in my own bed for a change.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Current Events - Not Missed

I'm still on vacation, but I made the mistake of checking the news today.

Sorry, no links, but you're undoubtedly familiar with these stories.
Greece votes to not pay its debts, then reverses itself when its bluff is called.
Obama slashes the mi!itary - again...
Mexican drug kingpin escapes from prison - again...
 Donald Trump is in the news for something.
 Hillary is in the news for no good reason other than the media is pumping her up.
 Iran is closer than ever to having nukes.
Terrorists kill some undetermined number of people at some undetermined location.
etc. etc. etc. 

I'm headed back to the pub...

Monday, July 13, 2015

UK Roadtrip Notes 2

Transferred our base of operations from Stirling to Edinburgh. One is small (Stirling) and the other large (Edinburgh). Both are lovely places. Both are home to amazing history. And they have one more thing in common.

Everything is uphill in both places.

I don't just mean uphill. I mean up-the-friggin'-steepist-in-the-world-hill.

I haven't walked uphill so much since I went to school as a kid. Back then it was also uphill both ways, but at least now I'm not barefoot. And here there be pubs at which one can rest and recover, so it's not all bad.

More castles and cathedrals tomorrow.

More detailed posts later.

Keep the home fires burning until I return...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Funnies 2015.07.12

Still visiting Scotland. They are a quite humorous people.

"How's the flat you're living in in London, Jock?" asks his mother when he calls home to Aberdeen. 

"It's okay," he replies, "but the woman next door keeps screaming and crying all night and the guy on the other side keeps banging his head on the wall." 

"Never you mind," says his mother, "don't you let them get to you, just ignore them." 

"Aye, that I do," he says, "I just keep playing my bagpipes."

Dougal was a typical Scot. His wife Janet had just died and he wanted to place the least expensive death notice. He went to the newspaper office and wrote on the lodgement from, "Janet died."

The clerk explained that there was a minimum charge and he could have five words. 

Dougal added three more words: "Janet died, Toyota for sale."

This Scottish bloke goes on a skiing holiday to Canada. 

After a hard day on the slopes he retires to a bar at the bottom of the mountain.

After about five or six whiskeys, he looks up and notices a stuffed animal with antlers on the wall.

He asks the barman, "What the fuck is that?"

The barman says, "It's a moose."

The Scottish chap says, "F**k me! How big are the cats?"

What's the difference between a Scottish funeral and a wedding?

At the funeral there's one less drunk.

Friday, July 10, 2015

UK Roadtrip Notes

My wife and I left San Antonio at 9:00 a.m. local time Monday morning. We caught a connecting flight at Washington Dulles on our way to Manchester, England (BTW, Dulles is about the worst airport we've ever experienced to catch a connection - especially from Concourse A to Concourse C).

That flight landed in Manchester at 7:30 a.m. San Antonio time Tuesday morning - almost 24 hours after we left home. We were walking zombies that first day there. However, after a good night's sleep and a great breakfast (I love English bacon) we were good to go Wednesday.

We spent the next two days touring the Englsih countryside. Very lovely - green, lush, quaint ... all the stereotypes come to life. Lunches in old country pubs, home cooked dinners, and lots of English ale served at room temperature. Oh well, you can't have everything.

This morning we caught a train and travelled from Manchester to Scotland. Our son obviously missed us, as he declined our invitation to dinner in favor of having one last night out with the other students in his program. (I may have mentioned earlier that there are 12 students in his program - 11 girls, and him). He has achieved local legend status. The bartender at the pub where we had dinner knew who he was... "That lucky chap with all the birds."

Tomorrow will be spent wrapping up his program and exploring Stirling. Then we head to Edinburgh for three days, and then home.

In the meantime, this is one of the first things I saw upon our arrival in Stirling.

I just may convert to the Church of Scotland...