Thursday, December 30, 2010

More green initiative FAIL

So the government-mandated boilers in England are freezing up, leaving thousands of people without heat (and a hefty bill to get them fixed) and  Scotland, the Wind Turbine poster child of Europe, is having to buy power created by nuclear reactors in France because their turbines froze up (oh the irony).  story here via GatewayPundit

This puts me in mind of a bunch of folks sitting around, smoking dope, and solving the world's problems.  Sure, it sounds great and for some reason, these dope-heads have gotten into positions to implement their childish fantasies and we're now seeing the results.  The main problem is that they are not relying on good engineering, they are not asking the right people about these things (like asking plumbers about the reliability of the boilers) before they mandate their use.

If they are doing anything, they are reversing the course of green energy by rushing into mandates (incandescent bulb vs. CFL bulbs) without having any idea of the long-term consequences.   These are only a few examples (there are going to be more) about why government needs to stay out of my heating system and my lampshade and let market forces do their work.  If boilers are good, people will use them without government subsidies.  If people want to save money, they will do the math FOR THEMSELVES and get CFL bulbs (or not--maybe they feel that the environmental consequences of CFL use are too much).  But when governments become the advocates for the use of certain products over others, then we can clearly see what happens:  people freezing in the dark with no power.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Amazing how green initiatives and technologies fail....

An interesting thing has happened in Great Britain with the onset on the cold winter weather and snow.  Ironically enough, in an initiative to cut down on carbon footprints and greenhouse gases and such, the British government mandated the use of green condensing boilers as of 2005.  Well, the condensate pipes on these pieces of green technology freeze and shut down the boiler (and the heat).   A plumber's visit is between 200-300 pounds (on a bank holiday), not including the Value Added Tax for such services.  So the plumbers are busy, but people are freezing their bippies off in the meantime (story here via Gateway Pundit).  Things like this are what happens when politicos jump on a particular bandwagon without thinking through the consequences.  In this case, it could cost people their lives when their state-mandated boilers fail.   This should be taken as a perfect example of government mandates and how they lead to trouble.

Friday, December 24, 2010

For the season...

John Denver and the Muppets.

And as a followup, the animated Bob and Doug and their version.  Couldn't find the original SCTV version.

I will spare you Alvin and the Chipmunks since that's just earworm fodder.

Okay, so the TSA is reactionary again.....

Just saw a guy on WGN (some kind of terrorism expert or official, I dunno).  After explaining what not to take to the airport NOW  (insulated water bottles and cups) due to rumblings by terrorists, he finishes up with the factoid that people are just factoring the possibility of terrorism into their lives, which is, in his opinion, the best thing a person can do.  Why?  Because if you allow the threat to change what you're doing, the terrorists have won.  SO....  why does the TSA go all froggy when there's a vague threat that says jump?

And the sheeple they show on TV are perfectly happy to bah-bah along in the ginormous lines.  They are talking 1-2 HOURS just to get through the security lines.  Oh, and kids' Sippy cups are also suspect (in addition to empty water bottles and cups) and will be inspected in order to make sure that as many kids as possible throw fits in the line to add to the chaos.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


So I go to the bookstore today for a quick look around as well as to find a copy of Handel's Messiah since various parts of it have been running through my brain for the last several days.  I go to the music section and ask the perky girl wandering about if they have Handel's Messiah perhaps in their holiday section or maybe religious section since it was not in classical?  I get a blank stare followed by a "I don't know what that is."  I blink.  I stare back.  I respond "Are you frickin' kidding me?  You really have not heard of Handel's Messiah?"  I get a deer-in-the-headlights look with a somewhat frightened nod.   Perhaps it was my look of total disgust mingled with incomprehension that someone had really not heard of this piece and is working in the MUSIC section of a bookstore.  Maybe she was just helping out and her specialty is children's books or something.

I patiently explain.  "Handel is the composer.  The Messiah is the piece of work that he composed.  It's one of the arguably most famous classical works EVER.  It's a Christmas work.  There are flash mobs singing bits of it at malls.  Maybe you've seen it on youtube??"  No dice and no glimmer of recognition, just a shiny smile and a "the computer can look it up for you.  It's over that way."  And off she skipped leaving me knocking my head against the nearest shelving unit.

The WTF moment of the day

And they wonder why the educational system in this country is in shambles.  In perusing the news of the day this morning, I found this gem on Big Government.  It seems that an Oklahoma City math teacher felt compelled to perform a citizens arrest on a seventh grade student for....  wait for it....  not a weapon, not a weapon facsimile, not a pocketknife, a toy soldier or any other zero tolerance idiocy, but for the heinous crime of using a Sharpie that bled through the paper and marred the desk at which he was sitting.  She swore out the citation, the kid was taken to a juvenile detention center, and the marker was placed into evidence.  FOR A FRICKIN' MARKER using an obscure city ordinance that makes it illegal to "possess spray paint or a permanent marker on private property without the owner's permission".  Seriously, I'm flummoxed as to why this woman still has a job and why the police didn't tell her to act her age, suck it up, and do her job.

So instead of acting like an adult and explaining to the kid that he can't use a Sharpie and perhaps a trip to the principal's office since she's clearly incapable of dealing with the students in her charge, she calls the cops.  And the cops complied with this absolute stupidity.  This is the type of educator that needs to have their happy asses tossed out of the profession, but because of the unions, they go on traumatizing students and teach them nothing except that teachers are evil and helpless.  My disgust knows no bounds on this.
Here's how the call to the police SHOULD have gone:

Operator: "911, What is your emergency?"
BatShit Crazy Teacher:  "Th,, th...  there's a student breaking the law."
Operator:  "What is the student doing?  Does he have a weapon?"
BSCT:  "No, it's worse, he's got a Sharpie!"
Operator:  "He has a knife?"
BSCT:  "No, a Sharpie, a permanent marker."
Operator:  ............ 
Operator:  "Is he defacing school property?"
BSCT:  "Yes, he's using it on a piece of paper and it's bleeding through onto the desk.  I want him arrested under the graffiti statute.  He's not allowed to have a permanent marker on private property."
Operator:  "The marker is bleeding through the paper?  He's using it for schoolwork.?"
BSCT:  "Yes, but there's this ordinance...."
Operator:  "You do realize that schools are public property?"
BSCT:  "Yes...."
Operator:  "You do realize that you're an adult and a teacher and therefore should just tell him to stop using the marker and have him clean the desk...?"
BSCT:  ...........
Operator:  "I'm referring you to our front desk.  They will dispatch an officer to arrest you for improperly using police services in this city."
Operator:  "And, as a personal note, find a different job you nutbag."
But that's my common-sense world.  In my world, she would be fired and the parents of the kid would sue her pension right out from under her for being an idiot.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quote of the Day....

Quote of the day goes to Nikki at  The winning words:

"Apparently global warming is responsible for cold, heat, humidity, rain, snow, sunshine and the rumors about Oprah being a lesbian."


Two firefighters were killed in action and fourteen others injured trying to save an abandoned building in Chicago today.  They were going through searching for homeless people that might have been squatting there.  My heart goes out to the families of those brave men.

Gigglesnort of the day

You may have seen the SNL parody of the 'Shake Weight' for women (which was frickin' funny), but now there is a real product for men as well.  My goodness gracious, someone wasn't thinking (or I guess wasn't thinking pruriently) when they made this commercial.  Below is the men's commercial (real thing) and then the SNL parody.  BTW to the FCC I just thought these were funny, I'm not advertising or anything for them.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The DREAM Act--why I'm glad it stayed a bill

It's kind of funny that I just made this connection, mainly thanks to Himself and his posting of the old Schoolhouse Rock "How a Bill Becomes a Law".  The DREAM Act is not an act, it is a bill--those tricky Democrats and their labeling again--trying to make its passage a foregone conclusion. 

I don't have a problem with half of the DREAM bill.  If someone wants to put in the time and serve our country in the military (even though they are probably having to do it with forged or false documents--another issue) then they have begun the process of giving something back to the country in which they reside.  And I think that is a good first step towards citizenship.  HOWEVER, I don't think that enrolling in college for two years should be considered to be equivalent to such service.  And here's why:

1.)  The DREAM bill proposed to subsidize, using our tax dollars, college enrollment for illegals--to the tune of $6000/year.  Now, this is discriminatory since legal citizens can't get the same subsidy. 

2.)  Many states allow illegals to pay in-state tuition which has never made sense to me.  If you are illegal, you are not a legal resident of a state.  Therefore, you should pay out-of-state tuition rates, just as any other LEGAL citizen of another state would.

3.)  The graduation rates (six year) for first-generation college students are very low (15% vs. 49%) and the six year graduation rates for Hispanics are lower as well (even compared with other minorities), regardless of economic demographic, which doesn't bode well for them to actually get a degree and most probably won't stay in the required two years (thus necessitating additional programs and moneys to help them get through those two years).  But I'm thinking that once they were in the system, there would be no oversight nor any repercussions for not completing those two years (in other words there would be no 'stay in college or get deported' kind of enforcement).

4.)  And lastly, there has been much in the news for the past two years about how recent college grads are unable to find jobs (by that they mean jobs in their field).  If graduates with Bachelors degrees are unable to find jobs, how on God's Green Earth are folks with two years of college supposed to compete?

The Congressional Budget Office (which has proven itself to be useless--see ObamaCare) says that they project a $1.4 billion reduction to the deficit over the next ten years due to the increase in authorized tax-paying workers. 

However, a report from the Center for Immigration Studies estimates the cost to the American Taxpayer is $6.2 billion/YEAR.  And the part of the CBO report you didn't hear about is that after 2020, the DREAM bill would increase deficits by $5 to $20 billion over the next forty years (2020-2061).  This would be when the recipients of the largess of the taxpayer dollar would become legally eligible for all of the other tax-run goodies such as Medicaid, food stamps/welfare, and other federal health programs. (source:

So, with the low graduation rates, the costs, both hidden and open, and the down-the-line costs, where is the upside for the United States in subsidizing illegals' college careers??

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Small chickens coming home to roost

This is a very small thing in world events and I'm almost embarrassed to be blogging about it, but I have to admit to a bit of schadenfreude about the whole thing.  Seems that Obama and Michelle, those classless, clueless clods, are not invited to William and Kate's wedding this coming April.  Considering the way that they've treated our allies in Britain and the downright insults they've offered them since taking up residence in the White House, if I was the Royal family, I'd ban their happy asses from setting foot on there again ever. 

Of course it seems that the Obama's just can't get the good invites since they weren't invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding either. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Didn't see this on the local news

For the Chicago Tea Party's Christmas party, they got a bomb scare that closed down the venue for a while.  What's interesting, is that we listen to Chicago news quite a bit and I don't recall hearing anything about this.  The really, really interesting part is that the potential violence, according to graffiti left at the site, was directed specifically at the Tea Partiers.  Read about it here and here

Maybe Himself and I can attend their post-New-Years party to support them.

Glad someone else noticed this....

Obama's fall-back line when talking to supporters seems to be "if X does/does not happen, then his legacy/Presidency will end."  His latest is for the tax bill (I refuse to say tax cut since it's a not-raising taxes bill).  Last time it was for healthcare where he was whining to various caucuses about the end of all things Obama (like that would be a bad thing).  Jordan Fabian at The Hill has it here.

So what does that say about Obama?  He's a one-line wonder with a pedantic tone who says that the sky is falling only when it might affect him personally.

I dreamed last night that I lectured him and Michelle about equality under the law, our progressive tax system (inherently unfair) and used an analogy for taxes, explaining that this is my pie and he can't have it.  (I must have had pie on the brain after dinner last night).  Maybe I was just dreaming that I was Michelle Bachman, who states that the Senate tax bill passed on Wednesday is unconstitutional since all tax/revenue must start the House of Representatives.

We'll see what shakes out....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Twilight madness...

Okay, so I'm sitting in the drive thru at Micky D's this morning and the car in front of me, which was driven by a woman about my age (let's say above the 40 year old demographic and leave it at that), had some odd cursive-type writing on the rear window. 

It said "Look after my heart.  I left it with you." and on the other side of the window it said "Twilight". 

I honestly couldn't figure out whether to laugh, to be sad, or to ram her because such stupidity should not survive in our society.

Look, I am an avid (voracious actually) reader and I think I was ahead of the curve on this vampire stuff, but at least I was reading Saberhagen and Yarbro and Hamilton (before she went through her crisis that turned her books from interesting and fun reads into stuff I'm embarrassed to read in public).  I was reading Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books years before they got their own HBO slot.  An acquaintance of mine writes, for a living, paranormal romance starring vampires and I buy her books to notch up her New York Times numbers.  So it's not like I haven't been there/read that.

But I absolutely cannot stomach this Twilight stuff.  And the fact that women my age are going ga-ga for barely post-adolescent schlock romance starring glittery metro-sexual teens is beyond pathetic and is frankly very creepy (I imagine a cadre of Mrs. Robinsons out there lusting after 16 year old boys).  Additionally, the paranormal romance genre has crept like a fungus out of the romance section and has almost overwhelmed my beloved sci-fi/fantasy section at the bookstore.  I am hard pressed to find a book that does not have a frickin' vampire lurking SOMEWHERE in the plot.

So I'm posting this youtube video again (I think I saw it at The Breda Fallacy long ago).  It's how things should be in the genre.

And Buffy staked Edward.  The End.   Now can I have some elves back in my books?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Princess Bride dueling scene with Light Sabers

Shamelessly copied from In Jennifer's Head (a fantastic blog).  I've included a clip of the original too.  Gotta say the lightsaber version really shows how quickly these guys were moving.  IMO, one of the best fights scenes EVAH in a movie.  My favorite move is at 2:43 in the second video  where he changes from hand to hand during the finale of the duel.  Beautiful!

And the original (beware the advertisement at the beginning)

Monday, December 13, 2010

My car looks like a giant marshmallow

SO, we've had quite a bit of snow in the last 24 hours.  Himself had to go into work last night at 8:00 pm and is still there 13 hours later--will probably be there all day and into the evening.  It took him 1 1/2 hours to drive 17 miles--he was turned back once and had to find an alternate route.  It is still snowing here and a state of emergency has been called meaning all roads are officially closed.  My workplace is stupidly open but I'm lucky enough that my physical presence or lack thereof does not mean anything--I can work as well, or better, from home.

I've got the home fires burning and shoveled a path for the dog to get into the yard so she didn't get a snow enema.  I put some food out for the birds, the cats are sleeping in their places, and I'm contemplating going out and clearing off the other vehicles but haven't quite worked myself up to it.  I've got some websites up to monitor traffic for Himself and will text updates as I get them.  And I've already run two reports and gotten them out to my supervisor.

Stay safe and warm, everyone!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christie making sense again!

Part of the reason that Chris Christie is so....  refreshing...  to listen to is that he is saying things that we hope others are thinking.  When he's talking about the tenure system in New Jersey, all teachers in their K-12 system have to do is manage to not mess up bad enough to get fired for THREE years and they are then set for life--tenure.  Even in higher education, it's usually more along the lines of 5-7 years and a bunch of flaming hoops, reports, and committee work (even so, I've seen first-hand what happens when faculty gain tenure and it's not pretty). 

But here in the United States, should there be any job, other than a Supreme Court job, in which you keep your nose clean for three years and you are then ridin' the train with a great salary, benefits, and a pension--and little or no accountability to students, other faculty, parents, and administrators?

Here's what I think, if anyone cares.  The best way to reform the educational system in the United States is to remove tenure, remove federal and state law that requires 'education degrees' in order to teach, get the federal government out of the equation, and get rid of the teachers unions since they have now outgrown their original purpose. 

Hire teachers who have actually studied a subject, who can tell if the material contained in a book is right or wrong, who will stay engaged and actually care about students since they are not promised a job-for-life (or will get out). 

Protect the teachers and administrators from helicopter parents who refuse to actually parent but who don't seem to have a problem suing teachers and school districts because little Johnny got a detention for stabbing Judy in the hand with a pencil (he's an Indigo child you know) or because Jill fell on off the swings so now they have to be removed because the school district can't afford the liability insurance.  Don't pass zero-tolerance anything--give administrators the latitude they need to actually think something through rather than just say that they are 'following orders'.  Don't leave teachers open to lawsuits if they give a crying child a hug or show any human emotion--that's part of teaching too.

But here's Christie, talking sense once more.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Someone call that man a whaaabulance, he's taking his toys and is going home

Okay, so I've watched the video of Obama putting Bill Clinton in charge of a press conference and every time (after my mind stops going 'whooba whooba') my train of thought takes off for a different destination.   They do start going downhill....  You have been warned.....

First track:  'Seriously, did he just cede the power of the Presidency back to Clinton?  Doesn't he know that being elected President of the United States, the place where the buck is supposed to stop, doesn't include tag-backs?'

Second track: 'So now that even his own party is slamming him, he's lost any semblance of interest in the job and is going to hide in the Oval Office for the next two years alternating between sucking his thumb and plotting revenge on those who would dare question The One.'

Third track:  'Okay, so he President of the United States, supposedly the most powerful man in the world, used an excuse that might work if he was at a party and needed to duck out, but really, saying that a dinner date with the wife is more important than running the country is bad.  Guess we already knew he was a beta male after all of that bowing.....  '

Fourth track:  'Wow, Michelle really has him under her thumb, to speak somewhat delicately.  Maybe that black widow costume on election night was really a taste of things to come and she really will bite his head off after sex next time.'

Fifth track:  'Michelle's hoo-ha must be made of gold and lined with silk and velvet and she HAS to be able to suck a golf ball through a garden hose.'

And it really goes downhill from there to the point where I would blush writing it.

See it for yourself at this link!

Here's Bob!

Himself took a couple of pictures of the new guy last night.  He seems to be getting along okay so far with the other cats--a few hisses and battings but he just doesn't know what to do about the dog.  She's just curious but she totally wigs him out.  I think as long as no one steps on each other's toes, it should be okay.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tis the season for adopting lost kitties.....

It seems this is the season for additions to the family.  Tam and Roberta adopted a kitty that turned out to not have a home as they had thought so they gave him one and Himself found a lost kitty at work on Tuesday.  He's also a yellow tom cat, much like Roberta and Tam's Huck, and is one of the sweetest cats I've had the pleasure to get to know.  Someone dumped him--he was neutered and he'd found a good nest, but with the temps dropping to single digits, food and water were going to become problematic.  One of Himself's co-workers snagged him for us about 8:00 Tuesday night and he's now living in the middle bedroom. 

His bill of health was not quite as we'd hoped since he's tested FIV positive, but the our vet, as well as some others, say that he should integrate in with our Triad of Terror without much of a risk of transmission (if they get into a knock-down/drag-out then it's possible).  We're willing to give it a shot as long as our trio cooperate since I don't think Bob has a mean bone in his body.  He was a champ at the vet (no aggression whatsoever) and just in regular play, no claws (and there are claws) are evident.  His favorite game so far is to just fall over on his side and let me pet him while he goes around in circles like a breakdancer.

Wish us luck!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don't have much today....

I'm still baffled about the Democrat (and some Republican) mindset that claims that the hard-earned money of the citizens of this country belongs to them.  When they talk about 'giving' money to the rich, what they really mean is that they aren't stealing the money from them.  There seems to be a disconnect between the idea that less money garnered in taxes should equal less spending or even *gasp* spending cuts.  Their spurious arguments as to what constitutes 'rich' or 'poor' or anything in between is just smokescreen for a spending addiction.  They truly have lost the plot and the ideas of freedom and free-will that are the basis for the Constitution.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hmmm... If I ever needed another reason to avoid Walmart.....

Okay, I have had no problems with Walmart's business model and they employ a lot of people and seem to treat those people well.  Personally, almost every Walmart I've walked into has been a scene out of a Fellini movie.  But now they have caved to the Department of Homeland Security and are going to be showing Big Sis' report on your neighbor campaign on the video screens at the cash registers.  This was originally something created for transit systems, so why would they be showing it in Walmarts, which are generally in suburban or rural areas and are seldom reached by mass transit??  I'm thinking this is yet another way to expand DHS' so-called authority to, well, everything. 

Coming soon to your nearest Walmart--backscatter machines and enhanced patdowns.  Can't let you in to get your cheap merchandise without seeing you nekkid or feeling you up.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Even academia is noting the heavy hand of the Federal government

I saw this last week.  One of the smaller accrediting bodies, the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) is removing itself from the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity's re-recognition process.  The reasons??  Too many findings and too little time to address them.  They are going to knuckle under later, one the Department of Ed gets its shit together "once the policies of the [Department of Education] have been established with more muscle and resources".  Right now though, they feel that they are being slammed on in order to set an example to other, larger accrediting bodies.  And they are probably right since demands by various governmental and non-governmental entities has increased exponentially in the last ten years.

As a side note, I've seen a lot of articles about administrative bloat in academia (a sampling is here, here, here, and here).  But my feeling, and something that has not really been addressed in any of those articles, is that some (not all) administrative bloat is caused by increasing 'accountability' through increased reporting requirements to the feds, to accreditors, to the state, even to the NCAA (and believe me, the NCAA reporting, even for small programs, is so onerous that for a $1 million/year program with 8 teams, it can take a solid 40 hour week to put the data together and get it into their system).  In order for some colleges and universities to meet those demands, they have to hire administrators dedicated to data collections and dissemination to all of the institutional bodies mentioned above. 

Governmental pushes for increased accountability, as measured by the accreditation standards of various entities:   Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), North Central Association of Colleges and Schools The Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC-ACSCU) have increased the need for administrative staff.  See the list of programmatic accrediting bodies here.  

All colleges and universities will fall under one regional accreditor and will probably have to provide programmatic data to several others. 

All of these report to Council for Higher Education Accreditation--the accreditor for accreditors.

Then there is reporting to the Feds, the state, NCAA and others.  With all of these reporting requirements (and those are growing every day) it's no wonder that there is administrative bloat.  It is another indication of government run wild and the layers put into place in order to control the educational system of the United States.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Admiring our country as much as other countries--Elite Snobbery

I read an article here the other day and it started my train of thought.  The Eliterati, such as Mayor Bloomberg in New York City, brag about their cosmopolitan perspective, their literacy, and they use having and using a passport (or not) as a litmus test for intelligence. 

Now I do have a passport and I've used it but more importantly I have had the honor to live in many places around THIS country.  What I have found is that the people in this country are as varied as any of those found in Europe--even to the use of language.  Each state (and even different places in each state) have their own cuisine, social norms, and colloquial speech.

I think that folks like Bloomberg should maybe take a closer look at what they provincially call 'flyover country' and whose populace is referred to by his ilk (hello Katie Couric) as the 'unwashed'.  Instead of celebrating other countries, try celebrating the United States.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Classic Blunders....

There are a few things that are known as 'Classic Blunders'.  The first is never to get into a land war in Asia.  The second is never do vodka shots with Russians (although some may say it's never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line).  The third is much less well-known but needs to be mentioned....

Don't give credence to the idea that because someone earns more than XX dollars, then they should be taxed more.   They talk about 'fair share' but are trying to make some pay more than their 'fair share'.  Fair means that everyone pays the same.  With taxes, that would mean everyone pays a specific percentage of their income.  Ideally, this would be a flat tax where everyone pays the same rate, regardless of income.  We already have a graduated tax system where those who earn more, pay a higher percentage of that income.  What is being proposed makes an unfair system, even more unfair.

In the Democrat/liberal/progressive mind, just as some animals are more equal than others due to their connections, education, etc., those who actually earn money and put that money back into the economic system of the United States via employing others, are cash cows whose raison d'etre is to pay for social programs and goodies for those who do nothing but suck at the public teat.

When there is negotiation in the House and Senate about where to draw that line, they are treating some Americans differently than others.  It's no different than treating someone differently (and punitively) because of the color of their skin.  Additionally, when Americans start buying into the idea that Congress can take our money and dole it back to us as they see fit, then we are lost.  Congress, despite arguments to the contrary is not "giving money to the rich" by extending the tax cuts for everyone--they are taking less of an individual's earned  money by legal force.

Just something I've been pondering.....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

You can't legislate the randomness out of life

Existentially speaking, life seems to be a series of random events (at least to those of us here--those Higher Powers may see a pattern from their vantage point).  We try to think that maybe there is a reason for things that happen--something as small as a guy's SUV that hits black ice and he dents a fender, or things that are experienced by folks like Brigid or Ambulance Driver (you will have to read their recent postings here and here to understand).  The point is, that life isn't safe.  It can't be and still be considered to be life.  If it's static, then there is no change, no innovation, no laughter, no tears.  We can take all of the precautions we want, but we cannot remove the randomness from our lives.  And this is a good thing.  Unfortunately, there are those who don't realize that sometimes pain is the best teacher.  Combine that with a lack of personal responsibility, and it's a combination made in nanny-state heaven.

I'm wavering between two ways I can take this post--the more philosophical or the more political.  So I'm going to take a shot and try to do both.  For the political:  those in power are trying to legislate the randomness out of life.  This is doomed to failure.

It started small with bicycle helmets and seat belts--which ballooned into airbags and crumple zones and all of those things that make it easier to survive a crash but also insulate the driver from the world and coincidentally raise the cost of vehicles and negate the idea of having those gas-friendly cars that are promulgated in Europe.

It started small in a world where stupidity is rewarded by our courts (the McDonald's coffee in the lap incident), more rules are created to protect people from pain--guess what, you put piping hot coffee in your lap, it might spill and burn you.  But then there 'needed' to be rules--things must be labeled as hot or spicy or whatever to try to release a person from being aware of their environment.

It started small with 300 people getting sick from eggs or 4000 getting sick from lettuce or jalapenos (.000333% of the population of the United States).  Now the government is trying to use that as an excuse to takeover the entire food producing industry in the United States.  All to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars that they extort from the people of this country.

But where did it really start?  Perhaps with our educational system which values self-esteem over self-reliance and knowledge.  Perhaps with the pyscho-babble of the 1970s and 1980s where people were absolved of responsibility for their actions because they weren't breast fed or because they didn't get a pony for Christmas when they were eight years old.  Perhaps with the continuing meme that encourages the abrogation of responsibility to the state, the police, anyone but an individual.  Maybe it's a combination of all of those things.

But at the bottom of it all:  the Tea Party and those who got the message can go in and try to end the throwing of excessive amounts of money at small problems but if people don't realize that with that, they are going to have to stand on their own two feet and take responsibility for their choices and their lives, then we will be back in the same boat.  And it will start small.  It is not a truism that if you don't sweat the small stuff, it will take care of itself.  We need to sweat the small stuff in order to regain our country.  And for that to work, individuals need to re-learn the idea that pain happens, but that it's worth the cost to learn to truly live and be free.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Remaking The Mechanic

Just read on Big Hollywood that they've done a remake of The Mechanic--that brilliant film with the oh-so-satisfying ending (don't click the link if you don't want to see it) starring Charles Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent.  The remake stars Jason Stratam, who I really liked in The Transporter and other films, but I just don't think he's going to be able to manage the almost paternal air that Bronson had while showing Vincent the ropes of being a contract killer.  It's almost like remaking Dirty Harry--if you take out the gritty 1970's air (and cars) and put in Mercedes and high tech special effects, you're going to lose something in the translation.  Maybe those who don't know better will like it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hmmmm.... TSA involved in truck checkpoints??

This article is over two months old (via comments by someone called pc  here)  but I don't remember reading anything about it.  Apparently local law enforcement folks in Douglas County, GA, are working in conjunction with the TSA  on an operation the intent of which is "...deterring would-be terrorists or criminal activity."  Of course they did this during rush hour, causing already hectic Atlanta traffic to become even more snarled.

So the TSA, already has employees in action searching trucks.  What's next, a full-body pat down for getting on the toll road??

Monday, November 29, 2010

Power grabs on a whole bunch of fronts

The federal government is really going for the gold in this 'lame duck' session.  While Americans are being (rightly) distracted by the TSA's invasive and counter-to-4th Amendment searches, other branches of the already huge bureaucracy are gobbling up more of our freedoms and are poised to do more.

The Department of Energy, claiming a 'mandate' to force a market transformation on household appliances through issuing higher standards on the efficiency of those appliances.  They already started in April and are really planning on transforming the use of appliances by the American public.  They are also hard at work on Smart Grid technology were all things that get plugged in will have a chip and will then be 'approved' for use (or not) by the Smart Grid  (why am I translating that as Skynet ala Terminator?).

Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security is seizing website domains (those that enable the download of copyrighted music and those that sell designer knockoffs) without any suit being filed or other preliminary court action.

Also, the FCC is set to take over the Internet without any authority whatsoever and despite the fact that the DC circuit court has already ruled that the FCC has no authority in this-- all of this under the supposed aegis of Net Neutrality.  The only reason they are trying it now is because the Republicans have not yet taken over the House.

A final grab is housed in S 510, proposed by Sen. Durbin and will take over and potentially choke out small farm agriculture and hobby farms while putting unfunded mandates on the FDA, the CDC, and the EPA (whose costs will be passed along in the forms of fees to the rest of the farmers who they will be screwing with all of this).  This will add another level of bureaucracy to an already overloaded system and will ensure that absolutely nothing gets done except for 225 new pages of regulations that, like fungus, will expand exponentially over time.

January cannot come soon enough.  As long as the Republicans remember that they are there conditionally--if they fall into the old habits of creating more government or don't follow the mandates of the American public, they will follow their Democratic brethren right into the unemployment line.  It doesn't matter who they are.

ETA:  Can't forget about the Dream Act, dreamed up by our own Dick Lugar (link on 'who they are' above).  Not a power grab, but the beginning of amnesty for illegals.  I don't mind it for those who served in our armed forces but don't think that citizenship should be granted just for going to college for two years--not even graduating, mind you (and probably having it being paid for by taxpayers).  It died once when the Senate still had its Supermajority, but hopefully now with Mark Kirk in place, it'll die again for the last time.  Thanks to GrumpyUnk for reminding me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Maybe they have it backwards....

The House republicans coming in are thinking about putting a moratorium on all of those commemorative bills that fill up the legislative calendar and keep our legislators from actually doing stuff like reading the healthcare bill, reducing government interference in the lives of the American public (like reining in the TSA), or you know, making those Bush-era tax cuts permanent until they can actually cut the tax code to a pamphlet. 

Now this moratorium is a great idea (and I hope they follow through), but here's one that might be better.  Have Congress ONLY pass commemorative bills, except for a greatly expurgated budget that only deals with roads and the military, and get the hell out of our lives as much as possible.  That way they can give pretty speeches and make everyone feel good and can't do anymore harm to free enterprise and businesses in the US.

Himself says that a Heinlein model might be better.  A simple majority makes a bill go away but it takes at least a 2/3 majority to pass it  (see The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for details).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've got a lot of things to be thankful for, and I am, every day.  I have a partner with whom I laugh, use extraordinarily long words in conversation, and share a sense of humor, reading preferences, and hobbies (oh, and he's also a Renaissance man and a fantastic cook who prepped Thanksgiving dinner before going to work a full day today). 

I have family and longtime friends that I can count on, no matter how long it's been since we've talked.  It's great to just pick up the phone and it's like we talked yesterday.

In the past year, I've made new friends in the blogging world that have become friends in the flesh and they enrich my life as do the other friends I've made.

I've got cats and a dog who everyday bring smiles to my face.

Truly the blessings outweigh anything else, and that's pretty good, IMO.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

ETA:  And I'm grateful that I live in the greatest country in the world.  I think the American people are starting to realize that freedom and liberty should not be given up for a little bit of safety and that bigger government is not the answer.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh HELL yeah!!

This is what the country needs more of... people standing up for themselves.  If more people called others out on rudeness (or flashing their penis' on the subway) while throwing in a nice dose of humiliation for the person perpetrating the act, I think these things wouldn't happen as often. (via Advice Goddess)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gee, Al Gore now thinks that ethanol subsidies are bad....

Moreover, he admits that the only reason he supported them was to pander to farmers in Tennessee and Iowa when he was running for President.  One now wonders how much of his other 'green-ness' was additional pandering to get the hippy/green/ecology vote?

Og put me in mind to watch Highlander..

This is a good clip with the original score.  I just wish youtube had the scene from Boston Common.  Clancy Brown was definitely at his over-the-top best in this movie.

Monday, November 22, 2010

So.... where the heck is Bono in Ireland's hour of need?

Ireland's economy has gone down the tubes and they have requested bailouts.  Instead of the approximately 1% of Bono's charity proceeds going to supposed third world countries (instead of into the pockets of the charity's employees), he should change gears and take care of his homeland.  If he doesn't, he's the ultimate hypocrite.

So, our reactionary TSA is doing exactly what the bad guys want

Apparently an Al-Qaeda affiliated magazine is touting the 'Death by a Thousand Cuts' to the West.  By doing small-scale terror attacks, like the Underpants Bomber or the printer cartridge bombs, they force reactionary governments to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on screening, equipment, etc. plus the cost of lost revenue from travelers not traveling. 

They have to totally be laughing their butts off watching pictures of 3 year olds being felt up, amputees and grandparents being humiliated, and rape victims being forced to endure intimate groping by a stranger.  Of course with lobbyists like the Chertoff Group and its connections to both Homeland Security and the companies building the backscatter machines, the spending is exacerbated.

The nanny states of the West--the US, Germany, England, etc. are chasing shadows instead of just taking low-tech, low-cost methods and letting everyone take their chances.  Nothing in the world is going to stop someone who is thinking small target and is willing to die.    Let government worry about the big stuff and quit walking on the liberty of Americans and let us stay alert when we travel.  We'll do the profiling, even if government doesn't and those around us will be safer for it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What I'm learning without having cable/satellite TV

We are doing an experiment in our household--can we live without all of those channels??  What happened is our service started crapping out on us and the provider (and I use that term loosely) was going to charge a MINIMUM of $15.00 to come out and look at it.  Himself and I talked about it, looked at other service providers, and decided to try to go it using only the digital converter box that we had to buy when all service switched over last year.

I watch a lot more TV than Himself, so it was really going to be more of a trial for me.  But I did some investigating and I can get the couple of shows that I really want to watch (necessary prioritization) on the Interzwebz.  Other than that, I have to admit I keep the TV on mainly for background.  With the digital converter, going wireless is not as severe as it would have been back in the day of three channels plus PBS.

So I was wondering if I was going to end up curled up in a small ball whining because the only thing on was Merideth Viera on the Today Show (can't STAND Matt Lauer and crew) when I discovered the MeToo channel.  I watched Magnum, PI, Hart to Hart, Perry Mason, Bonanza, Charlie's Angels and TJ Hooker.  Much better than my usual Friday fare.  But I noticed some things and learned some things by watching these 'nostalgia'  shows.

1.)  Tom Selleck just exudes nice.
2.) Johnathon and Jennifer were actually pretty kinky (lots of cosplay)
3.)  I don't think that Raymond Burr can smile
4.)  I really like shows that have a moral, even if they have to hit you over the head with Hoss' hat
5.)  Farah Faucett's hair was REALLY good and the fashions of the time really weren't that bad (even if only two percent of the population could pull them off)
6.)  William Shatner's acting style is eternal.

I think I can deal with having no pay provider......

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Assertion of States' Rights while getting rid of the TSA!

Over at Coordinated Illumination, there is a video of the New Jersey legislature performing legislative theater--begging the federal government to call off their dogs at the TSA.  Since at this point the use of the TSA is optional (per the original federal legislation), why don't the States start passing some laws requiring airports within their borders to punt the TSA and institute private screeners??  It's a great double whammy--asserting States rights as well as getting rid of a government agency that has overstepped its bounds by trampling the Constitution.  It would be a nice 'in your face' to Napolitano as well as the socialists who are trying to grab power on several fronts.

In addition, I did write to my Representative asking him to support HR 6416, the American Travelers Dignity Act, which essentially removes the immunity of the TSA from prosecution for taking naked pictures and/or physically assaulting members of the flying public.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Follow the money: Backscatter machines and Homeland Security

I'd heard something about this yesterday and Himself and I had discussed parts of it, but Nikki over at Liberty Zone has such a way with the snark that you should read her whole blogpost here.  It seems that the former head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff,  has a consulting group (it's how bureaucrats reap the benefits of their 'public service').  That group has a client that just happens to manufacture those get-you-nekkid-in-the-airport machines.  Gee, and that client company also happened to get a pretty big chunk of stimulus money too ($25 million).  Per Chertoff's bio on wikipedia here, it seems that his consulting group employs a whole bunch of Homeland Security folks as well as the former head of the NSA and CIA, Michael Hayden.

Now call me cynical or maybe I'm just reading this wrong, but I would think that what we have here is not a failure to communicate, but instead we have a BIG 'OL conflict of interest due to the incestuous nature of Washington DC.  Additionally, per the Washington Examiner, one of the early purveyors of the nekkid machines is a company who employs as one of its lobbyists, a former deputy administrator for the TSA. 

Lest you think it's just the 'R' side of the aisle that's in this mess, the companies hedged their bets by hiring folks from the other side to also lobby for them, such as former Rep. Bud Cramer (D, Alabama), who sat on the House Appropriations subcommittees for both Defense and Transportation.  It's interesting that Mr. Cramer, after a successful career in the House, announced that he was not going to run for another term in 2008, which freed him up for his new gig.

So we've got Napolitano basically doing her version of 'let them eat cake' by telling the American public that they can either submit to the machines or walk, we've got folks who formerly held her position lobbying for the companies that build the machines, and we've got former Representatives stumping for the machines as well.  Hmmmm...  I don't think that the safety of the flying public is their first priority, do you??

So what's the deal about Katie Couric? Google hits galore....

I've had a slough of google hits for people searching for Katie Couric and her unwashed comments.  Stands out on my sitemeter since I'm just a baby-blogger anyway.  Very odd.  Maybe her employer is actually looking to see what we great unwashed actually think about the elitist bint.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TSA--I think they are a visible symptom of the public's problem with government

Himself has been rocking the TSA roundups with these links here (via Walls of the City), here, here.  It's amazing how, with a leader (or leaders) people are coming out of the woodwork to protest, to complain, to draw a line that says that in this, the government has gone too far.   ETA: You should really read this piece over at MArooned.

It still makes most of them sheep, since they wouldn't have started this on their own, but like Rick Santelli and the Tea Party movement, all they needed was someone to stand up and say that it's okay to question and to not have fundamental rights taken away arbitrarily.

Starting with Michael Roberts, pilot in Memphis who refused to go through the scanner, to Jeffrey "The Resistance" Goldberg, to John "Don't Touch my Junk" Tyner, people are starting to stand up and assert their rights in the face of Janet "Big Sister" Napolitano who is trying to keep the veils over the eyes of the American public by saying that this security theater is for the safety of the public and if you don't like it, you can take other transportation.

Problem for her is that the cat is already out of the bag.  The American public is watching the watchers much more closely now than in the past and we aren't accepting at face value what they are saying.  The Government is being questioned and they don't like it one bit (hence their intended 'investigation' of John Tyner for not completing his manhandling (or would that be handling of his manhood).

The thing is, this TSA stuff is just a symptom of what the Tea Party hopes to correct--extreme government intrusion into the lives of American citizens.  The fact that our tax money (and boat-tons of it as well) are going to pay for the dissolution of the Fourth Amendment under the guise of 'safety', shows what happens when administrators and bureaucrats are allowed to make rules and regulations carrying the force of law without any input from the people, without any checks at all.  As far as I know, federal bureaucrats don't have to take an oath like Congress does 'to defend the Constitution'.  And it shows.  But reactionary intrusions that take away our rights is something that needs to be brought to heel, and quickly.  The new Congress has its work cut out for it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Called it in one....

We happened to have the news on when Obama announced that he'd 'almost reached an agreement with the South Koreans' on a proposition that would create 70,000 jobs.  Right then I knew he'd blown it.  You don't announce ANYTHING until it's a done deal and you've got the signed paper in your hand.

Considering that Obama's foreign policy is being run by the Amateur Hour, did anyone actually think he could walk out of this with something substantial?

Called Lugar's office

He's on the fence about voting for the earmark ban.  I let the nice man who answered the phone know that I want the Senator to vote for the ban, that it's the first step in sending a clear message about less government spending and said that if he didn't, he's not likely to make it through the next election.  This website has the scoop.

German Pirates leading the Protest

Didn't really expect this in Germany but it's good.   The Pirate Party in Germany mounted a protest against full-body scanners by stripping off and going through the airport.  No full Montys or anything (don't want to be arrested before you get your point across), but enough that the point was made.  Maybe Tam can add it to her list of ways to deal with the security kabuki theater going on at American airports.  'Cause if you're nude going through the line, what are they supposed to do then?  (via Breitbart)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sometimes you just don't know--heroes are found in the most unlikely of places

In my office there is a lady who works part-time for us.  She's unfailingly polite, smiling, and just a real nice lady (about my age).  She's as wide as she is tall.  Today she was wearing a "I Proudly Served" hat.  So I asked her if she is a veteran.  As a matter of fact yes, she served in Navy during Operation Desert Storm.  She talked with obvious fondness about training, about how she was able to meet up with friends while stationed in Italy, and about her fear when she was in harms way.  But she was proud and I was proud to be talking with her.  I thanked her for her service and for keeping us free.

You just never know and I think that my recognition of her service touched her as much as the fact she served touched me.  Made it a real good day.

Remembrance and Thanks on Veterans' Day

Himself says it better than I can, but I want to add my words to his.  Thank you to my ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War and helped to bring this country into being.  Thank you to my grandfather, Killed In Action in WWII.  Thank you to my uncles, who served in Korea and Vietnam.  Thank you to my brother, who served in peacetime.  Thank you to my sister, who served in Iraq at the hottest spots and at the height of the war there and who still serves.

Every day, I strive to remember and to act in accordance with the principles for which my family has fought and died.  They have all, through their service, tried to make the world a place where freedom reigns.

Thank you to all the veterans who have put their lives on the line to safeguard our way of life and our freedoms.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trashcare, Fountain Hills Arizona

So, the HuffPo and the MSM, in yet another attempt to make the Tea Partiers look funny and weird, in that "crazy aunt" kind of way, post an article about those crazy kids and how they are making a fuss because their city is taking over trash collection.  And friends of mine on Facebook took up the meme.  And truly, if all you read was the HuffPo article, which said: 
..."Fountain Hills Town Council proposed hiring a single trash hauler and starting a curbside recycling program. On Thursday, a divided council approved the changes -- currently there's no mandatory recycling program and residents can choose from five haulers -- but not before the local Tea Party activists loudly objected to what they viewed as, essentially, a step toward socialism."...
you might think that the protests were a tempest in a teapot.  However, what the article does not say is that the folks in Fountain Hills, Arizona, all privately contracted their waste removal with the five different companies in the area--the city was not previously involved in the trash removal business other than mandating that it be twice a week or once a week plus a recycling pickup once a week (Town Code Chapter 10).

What actually happened is the city passed an ordinance making it illegal for citizens to privately contract with the waste hauler of their choice by mandating that citizens use the city's chosen contractor AND mandating that citizens recycle.  And, oh yeah, they'll be poking through 25% of the populace's garbage to ensure that things are getting recycled.  (Hmmm... a government entity requiring that individuals purchase a service through them....  sounds oddly familiar somehow).  Read it at the link above.

In any case, after I tried to correct the Facebook meme, the comments I was getting back were along the lines of 'well if it will save the town money..' and 'recycling is good so it's worth the loss of a bit of freedom'.  And I'm just dumbfounded.  These are not dumb people.  But they can't see that a town intervening itself into what was previously private enterprise PLUS incurring enforcement costs is not going to ultimately save the town any money.  Nor is mandated recycling since I believe right now the going rate for pop/soda cans is $0.11/POUND (corrected from ton, thanks to Himself), which means that just transportation costs are more than what the product is worth.  So they must be getting subsidies, which puts it onto the backs of the taxpayers again.  So maybe it is saving the town, as an entity, money, but not the citizens of the town.  Oh, and to reiterate, recycling was available before, it was just optional.

And then there is the whole mindset that it's worth it to have people poking through your garbage because it's going to 'save the planet'.  These are the same people who are slamming on John Shimkus for his belief in the Bible.  What really is the difference between a belief that Mother Gaia will get angry and destroy us if we don't recycle and a belief that God already did once for being really bad?

With the rate that I'm pounding my head against an ideological wall with these folks, I'm hoping that Himself laid in a good supply of spackle for wall repair.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

So I tried to put Mom's mind at ease....

She had a bit of a cow over the picture of my backside with a firearm on it saying that people will take it badly since they are scared of guns.  I pointed out two things to her--1.)  unless she points out to people who read this blog that I'm her daughter, they won't know it's me; and 2.) from Og's comment, they were looking at my butt and not my Sig anyway.

I don't think I put her mind at ease.......

Monday, November 8, 2010

How email use is the bane of back-room politics

Looks like Harry Reid's campaign might have been indulging in some illegal back-room shenanigans with Harrahs' casinos in order to get that unexpected jump that put him over the top for the win.  At his campaign's urging, Harrah's put the lean on their employees to get out there and vote... Democrat, especially Reid, only.  Not surprisingly, Harrah's was apparently putting the screws to folks who were reluctant to usurp the electoral process by voting a Reid ticket.

What is nice, is that there's an email trail a mile long.  Even the DoJ could follow this trail, if they bother to.  I certainly hope the regular citizens of the good state of Nevada make their displeasure known, loud and clear.

Via the Washington Examiner.

And to Obama and his ilk, we're still just dumb....

In an interview on 60 Minutes, Obama (again) blames the drubbing that the Democratic party took last week, on the fact that he was so busy ramming stuff down the throats of the American people using shady and illegal means that he forgot that he needed to use small words and make 'an argument that people can understand'.  (ht: Paul Rahe at Big Government).

Seriously, this is all he can come up with?  That we're not capable of understanding his genius and his vision and he just wants what's good for us and that we're responding like recalcitrant children by refusing to take our medicine (I mean our Health Insurance Reform)?!?

Same meme, different day for Obama.  The American people are speaking, loud and clear, but he refuses to acknowledge reality or do what a good leader will do-suck it up and take the blame.  Maybe even change course to match the will of the people.  That's the problem when you've got an academic with no real world experience trying to operate in the real world.  There's going to be a disconnect and it's painfully obvious that he just can't catch the clue bus, even when it's stopping on Capital Hill.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Range Day!

Went to the range yesterday with Himself and M to get some recoil therapy and work on dialing in my new Sig P238.  I have my new Stoner Holster (which I got, custom ordered in less than a week, to my door) and it totally rocks.  Fits perfectly, the placement of the belt clip puts the grip perfectly placed for my hand, holds the Sig firmly but it's not stuck in there.   (pics below)

While Himself fired in his new Llama (blogged about here), I began firing my new Sig.  I had two goals--get familiar enough with the firearm so that I can get 'em where I want 'em and seeing what types of ammo she'll eat.   I had to work on my trigger pull, with some patient coaching from M and just occasionally, Himself (it's better for a relationship to have a third party doing the lion's share of coaching, we feel).

According to the circle of shame (a poster on the wall with a circle and notes --if you're consistently shooting down/left check your trigger finger, etc.), I was pulling badly with my trigger finger (down and to the left).  After I got that corrected, and started coordinating the laser sight with the Night Sights I pretty much closed my groups in by half (just making a single large, ragged hole) at 21 feet.  I did have one flinching incident--jumping BEFORE I even pulled the trigger, which had M backing off the line because he was laughing so hard (and I deserved it).  In my own defense, I'd already put 200 rounds through and was getting a little tired.  But the Sig is actually a nice little gun to shoot, especially for a light .380.

M made me feel a little better by letting me fire his .45. I was only outside the black once (just outside) but it was only 21 feet also. 

So a very nice day, followed by an intensive firearm cleaning session today.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I need to look closer at Terry Goodkind, his latest work is most interesting

I'm reading his latest book, The Law of Nines.  The first two hundred pages are good, your basic dimension travel sci-fi/mystery.  As I got further in though, it's looking more and more like a political commentary as well.  Apparently Mr. Goodkind, in addition to having an unusual affection for the name 'Rahl' as used in his other books, is also a proponent of the 2nd Amendment and is a lover of freedom--his character speaks of those giving up their freedom and individuality for supposed security, etc..  Not terribly subtle as far as political commentary goes, but so far, as of the middle of the book, a pretty good read.  I might have to go back to the Sword of Truth series (which I stopped reading at Book 3) and see if there's anything I might have missed by not reading his later works.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Obama's India trip cost--seriously

After hearing the $200 million figure bandied about by reasonable sources as the cost per day for Obama's junket to India and a discussion with Himself (who is my reality check), I decided to do a little math and see what would happen if I translated dollars to Indian rupees.  Turns out that an Indian rupee is .022558 to 1 dollar.  That takes the $200 million figure to about $4,511,600/day which is much more in line with reality. 

Still, over the course of either a three or ten day trip (sources vary), the total cost for the trip is either: $13,534,800 or $45,116,000 which still lands this whole thing into 'let them eat cake' territory, much as Michelle's trip to Spain did due to buying out entire luxury hotels and such.   He's also taking the kids, which should be educational for them but kind of pulls this from a business trip to an academic conference/vacation kind of trip.

  I don't think either figure (mine or the others)  accounts for the lost revenue and problems in the city of Mumbai since they are going to have their major thoroughfares closed and will not have access to parts of their city (much like Obama's trips to Los Angeles).  I don't think that this will do much to endear him (or the U.S.) to the regular folks in Mumbai who are going to have to deal with traffic delays, re-routes, and closed businesses for the duration of Obama's stay there.

I just wonder if he's going to bow to the Indian Prime Minister and President  like he's bowed to just about everyone else.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election day postscript

As I commented to Himself this morning, I don't think that I've ever stayed up watching midterm election results before.  I was also as knowledgeable, in some cases, about the races in other states as I was about ours.  With the federal government's attempted and mostly-successful attempts to take over individual and state rights, I have started watching more on the macro-level, rather than just keeping an eye on local issues.

Echoing Himself (who says it all right here, much better than I could), we need to not get complacent.  Indiana is actually a pretty good place to be so it's easy to fall into bad habits and not stay aware of what the state and feds are doing.  But we need to stay on Visclosky, Lugar, and especially old guy/new guy Coats and make sure that they know that if they don't toe the line, this is the last ride for them (Lugar is up in 2012, I believe so hopefully he'll man up and act like he actually listens to the people of Indiana).   We also need to keep an eye on the state and local folks. The property tax cap passed, which I think is marvelous--if they can't get any more  money, then they'll actually have to learn to be good stewards of the money they do get.  Of course you know they are going to take this to the absolute limit so we'll have to keep County board folks on speed dial as well.

All in all, a pretty successful night for the GOP as run by the Tea Party.  New they'll have to work to keep what they've won because we're not going to get fooled again and I don't think we're going to be lulled into complacency either.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Election-Day post

As I'm reading through all of the blogs, news, etc. as well as listening to the sheeple with whom I work, a couple of thoughts come to mind.  Voting is a right and a responsibility, not something that comes in a TV dinner to your couch. 

If you can't get off your lard and get to a polling place, then I'm thinking that you're probably one of those who is just a taker anyway (unless you're really old or in the hospital or something, in which case there are reasons) and I'd be just as glad if you don't vote. 

If you don't look at each candidate, their record (if they have one), their stance on issues (not just one issue, but a total package), and look for the ones who best match your personal philosophy, then you are just as bad as those folks waiting for their turkey pot pies to be set in front of them. 

Sometimes your vote will come down to 'this one is a lesser evil' and that's okay.   Because you can subsequently put the lesser evil on notice that the only reason you voted for them is because they weren't as bad as the other guy and if they want your vote again, they need to prove why they are BETTER than the other guy. 

The problem is that Americans fell into the trap of 'better the devil you know than the one you don't'--fear of change (real change) and the unknown.

Well, now we've seen real change, from a free society to a socialist one and we don't like it.  It's time to pare down, cut back, and take back what is ours, not continue to fill the trough at which the federal government (and state government, and local governments) feed.

I commented to my sister this morning on the property tax cap that is proposed here in Indiana.  The way I explained it is that if we cap how much they can take, then they are going to HAVE to start spending smarter and making good choices instead of picking our pockets every time they want a new PA system for the soccer field. 

If we don't control how much they can take, they will want to take it all (like the proposal in England where all paychecks are sent to the government and then they dole it back to the people).

So my votes are going to the folks who have not been part of the problem.  It's time to zero-out what's been done and start over.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Philosophical thought of the day....

70% of what you need to know really boils down to knowing who to ask.  YMMV.

Another very nice weekend....

Despite the bother of having to go into work for a forgotten meeting on Friday (and it turning out to be a non-event), the weekend was quite lovely.  I got my Stoner holster in less than a week and it fits the Sig with the laser sight perfectly.  They also canted the clip (by request) which will definitely aid my draw.

Went to Nappannee on Saturday with Himself and a friend (blogged about here), had a great meal at the local Mexican joint, followed up by coffee and mellowing at home sorting out the gemstones from the $10 bag that we got for $5 by color.  Next sort will be wheat from the chaff but it looks like we've got quite a few of the more common gemstones--citrine, peridot, amethyst, and the ubiquitous blue topaz.  But there are a few genuine Linde stars (with the L on them to distinguish from other synthetic star sapphires) so we definitely got our money's worth, if only for the entertainment value.

I was treated on Sunday to breakfast in bed (a VERY rare treat and more appreciated as such).  Breakfast was corn pancakes (since I'd enjoyed the fried mush in Nappannee the previous day), along with extra-extra crispy bacon (just this side of flashpoint), and a Pepsi.   It was a good thing that I had such a solid breakfast because then the day kicked into productive mode:  finishing laundry, vacuuming (while Himself helped Friend spread dirt using Bobcats and tractors and all of the big toys).  Then fixing the leaf sucker and going to town on our yard until the oil plug sheared on the engine.  Since we could do no more on our yard, it was back over to Friend's place-- Himself hauled dirt using the tractor while Friend used the Bobcat to smooth the lawn.  I did traffic control and manual labor since we didn't have another tractor.  Friend's neighbor, while not quite as hapless as our Dumb-Ass Neighbor, had stepped into his house 'for a sandwich' and didn't reappear until we were almost done (an hour and a half later).  Since the Bobcat is $250/day, wasting that much time would not have been cool.

By the time he reappeared, however, the cold had started seeping into my core (the dog even wanted to wait in the car instead of outside) so we went home where Himself made some glazed porkchops and I made some of the Extreme Cheese Mac-n-Cheese, which I don't think we're going to buy again, because although it was nice and cheesy, the instructions call for the use of unsalted butter and fat-free milk.  So Kraft is seeing the writing on the tablets of the Code of Federal Regulations and is capitulating without a whimper.  Despite that, it was a nice end to a great weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just give me three steps..... Katie Couric and her Tapdance for the Great Unwashed

We here in flyover country are used to being denigrated by the effete snobs from either coast (effete:  from :  –adjective  1.lacking in wholesome vigor; degenerate; decadent: an effete, overrefined society. 2. exhausted of vigor or energy, worn out: an effete political force. 3.unable to produce; sterile) but Katie Couric, that poster child for the eliterati everywhere, really takes the cake. 

She was so excited to get her boots on the ground in such exotic and off-the-beaten-track places like Philadelphia, Boston, New Brunswick, and (gasp) even Chicago that she blathered on (along with Rick Kaplan her executive producer) about making contact with the "Unwashed Masses" and really getting to know what we, the little people, think.  The only problem being that we unwashed masses take umbrage at being called derogatory terms by elitist pseudo-intellectuals.

Maybe I'm being unfair, middle class society is indeed middle for a reason.  In France we were the bourgeoisie (please see how that turned out here when the ruling class went too far).  So perhaps the parallels are not so far-reaching for the new Gentry/Political class and their hangers-on and lapdogs.

What makes the whole thing funny is how she tries to backstep (in our household we call it 'doing the dance') to try to mitigate the damage caused by her unguarded and ill-thought out words.  So after confusing Boston, New Brunswick, and Philadelphia with the 'heart of the country' (to be fair, Chicago is, geographically, but not politically), and touring them in order to 'divine the the mood of the midterms' via conversations with the 'unwashed' (One wonders if she was obliged to bring a translator in order to communicate with the lower orders?), she then tweets the following when called on her 'unwashed' reference  (via Jim Treacher at the Daily Caller--the snark is great in his article, you should read it):

It's interesting that a 'reporter' such as herself, would go with the most pared down definition of the term and would not be familiar with the connotations associated with it.  It's no wonder that with people like her as the former gatekeepers of information that more of us ordinary folks now head to the internet for our news and that the MSM is going the way of the dodo (or of Louis XVI if they stay this course).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Teachers Gone Wild"

James O'Keefe does it again.  He got folks to tape a leadership conference for New Jersey's teachers unions.  While I do know some good teachers--people who really and truly want to help kids learn, these 'leaders' do not show any of those qualities.  What they really are is a reason to get rid of the tenure system altogether since a lot of the video is about how unless you are f***ing a student in the hallway, you can't get fired once you're tenured and how great tenure is because you can get away with almost anything, including using racial slurs to a student's face (anywhere else, that would be a firing offense, apparently in New Jersey, the most that would happen is that the teacher gets demoted).  Also, it seems that union leadership conferences in New Jersey include chants and songs about committing assault on the person of the governor of the state.  Read the article here and watch Chris Christie's response as well as the O'Keefe video.  Christie, as usual, is spot on.  The teachers in the video are frightening.

Something that occurred to me while I was watching the video is that this attitude seems to be, in my experience, pervasive through the United States educational system, from K-12 to higher education.  I believe that the attitudes shown by the NJ teachers was actually indoctrinated into them during their higher ed experience (since there are so many roadblocks to becoming a teacher if you haven't gone through the entire programming process).  As an aside, I find it interesting that a synonym for indoctrination is teaching

There are two sides of the problem with the educational system in the United States.  The first is the fact that the teacher's unions in the US have grown beyond their function into parasitic entities.  Instead of working for the good of their constituency, they are working to maintain their own power.  One way of doing that is preventing accountability by any teacher to the administration, parents, and the students themselves. 

The second side to this coin is government involvement in the educational process and the co-option of that process by the unions.  When teachers are having to teach to standardized tests, rather than passing on actual information, when teachers are not required to take more than a few courses in subjects they teach (and pass a standardized test...  hmmmm) but instead are taught 'teaching methods' and 'self-esteem building' but don't even have the skills or knowledge to tell if the books that they are using have correct information, then that is a breakdown of the system that is exacerbated by tenure and the unions.  Spending has gone through the roof, mainly due to union demands and the increased number of teachers, without any real results.

Himself passed me the below information a few days ago (source: Cato @ Liberty).  I think these graphs illustrate my points without my having to elaborate further.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Free speech does not equal subsidized free speech....

Having several friends who are of the left-ward leaning bent, I often run into a cognitive dissonance when reading their statuses on Facebook or the like.  I had been, as my cousin so aptly puts it, 'biting my tongue until it bleeds' out of respect for them and their right to have an opinion that differs from mine, but when they aren't thinking anymore or are just passing on the party meme, I've started commenting with facts.  Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't.  Maybe I'll lose some friends, but I just can't stand by and watch them mirror the meme of the day.  I have noticed however, that I'm not alone in this since others are also correcting them.

The two that immediately come to mind are the O'Donnell/First Amendment kerfuffle that the press was all over like white on rice.  They tried to paint her as an idiot, when what she was doing was correcting her opponent (the words 'separation of church and state' are not part of the First Amendment (Establishment clause) and don't appear until much later in writings by Adams and Jefferson (and then they were talking about specific churches, not religion in general).

The second one is one I find to be a little more interesting because of the dichotomy inherent in it.  There have been calls to de-fund NPR due to its firing of Juan Williams for saying on another network that he gets nervous when there's muslim folks on a plane with him.  Something that we've all thought.  But NPR seizes a chance to both fire him and insult him later (his feelings should be between him and his psychiatrist according to Vivian Shiller, the CEO of NPR).  So Demint and some other folks feel that since NPR is clearly into stifling free speech, that maybe public dollars ($430 million of them, as a matter of fact) could be better used elsewhere.  But the lefties are saying that de-funding NPR is 'stripping our freedoms', completely ignoring the fact that Williams was fired for not toeing the progressive opinion line, thus seriously crossing the First Amendment line.

The ironic part (there are so many ironic parts to this)....

Another ironic part is that if anyone would have listened to the WHOLE thing, he actually was toeing the line and made a statement about making sure everyone understands the difference between muslim and muslim extremists... yadda, yadda, yadda.

My thought is that with so many other avenues of news available to the populace today, most of them privately funded, that NPR and PBS have both really run their respective courses.  If folks want to privately cough up the $430 million to NPR to keep it up and running, more power to them.  It would be a good litmus as to their true dedication to NPR.  Hell, maybe George Soros could just pay for the whole thing and dispense with any pretense that he's not calling the shots there.  For myself, I think that could be something safely carved out of the federal budget without impacting my life at all.

On the brighter side, as long as I've still got friends on that side of the ideological fence, I'll have a heads-up as to the meme of the day.

ETA:  My friend thanked me for the correction on his O'Donnell meme.  Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit and they are actually thinking--just aren't exposed to other thoughts very often.