Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Overestimating one's relevance to the conversation....

Apparently Rage Against the Machine (a band I've never listened to knowingly) is upset about the Arizona Immigration Law and has decided to mobilize a boycott of the state and 'protest concerts' (via Big Government) by musicians.  Something that I think Hollywood and musicians need to learn (and some are figuring this out) is that the regular public really doesn't give a rat's half-eaten ass about what they have to say about, well, anything (big exception is Kevin Costner who's actually trying to SOLVE a problem pro-actively).  They might influence some teeny-bopper pre-adolescents with their tantrums, but I can't really think they will have an effect on public policy with a 70% approval rating within the state of Arizona.

I think the thing is that people are tired of platitudes and lip service, which is all we're getting from Hollywood and its ilk.  We're seeing too much of that in the White House (hello to the government, could you please rein in the EPA so that the Dutch and Kevin Costner's brother can actually take care of the oil spill, you wankers?)  Protests and Performance Art (see Tam's snark about the Hands Across the Sand 'protest') just aren't going to fly anymore.  Committees and ruminations won't fly anymore. 

Action, real action, not performances, are the only thing that will fly.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Supreme Court speakin' sense

Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of McDonald in McDonald vs. Chicago, expanding its Heller ruling to encompass the fifty states.  It should be noted that it did not 'explicitly strike down Chicago's laws but instructed the federal appeals court that upheld them to review its ruling.  Scott over at MacBourne's Musings gets the kudos for being the first blogger I follow to post the good news.  I still won't be able to carry in Illinois because they don't have reciprocity with my state, but it'll be interesting to see what happens to gun violence stats against regular citizens once this all shakes out.

Something that might not get as much attention is the ruling for the University of California's Hastings School of Law against a Christian group that was suing for official recognition by the University (and the student affairs money that comes with it) even though the group does not adhere to the University's non-discrimination policy (this group has their members sign something about being sexual immoral--including being gay,--is against Christian beliefs).  The Supremes ruled in another 5-4 decision that the group's First Amendment rights were not hampered by lack of official recognition by the School of Law.

I have to say that I'm in agreement with this ruling.  The group wanted an exemption to the rules made by the University and the School of Law which says that an officially recognized group has to have 'no discrimination based on religious belief or sexual orientation'. If you want the money, you gotta accept those rules.  Otherwise, suck it up.  It's the same with a lot of things.  If I want a loan, I read the contract and agree to abide by what's laid out in that document or I don't.  Which means I don't get the money, but then I'm not bound by something that is inimical to my personal beliefs.  Free speech is just that, free.  If you accept money, then you're just the piper and whoever's paying gets to call the tune.  It's that simple.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

LOLCAT of the day...

Our cat has a clean laundry fetish--but only towels and clean socks.  He won't get near dirty laundry.  It has to be out of the dryer fresh, thank-you-very-much.  I barely set down the laundry basket when he started digging in like a demented long-tailed mole.  So I took a picture and made this LOLCAT.

We do more before 10:00 am then most people do all day!

We had a lovely productive day today. Slept in until 7:00 am and then Mr. B made breakfast (he being the resident chef)--special pancakes with brown sugar and a hint of nutmeg and bacon (lots of bacon). While I cleaned up (it's a great trade, believe me because I dare say he cooks better than he welds), Mr. B went out to mow the lawn. Time now: 8:00 am. Kitchen done, I threw in a load of laundry and went outside where we moved 3/4 rick of wood after Mr. B repaired the lawnmower.

While Mr. B cut down a dead tree and did some trimming, I moved another 3/4 rick of wood. We can see threatening weather in the west, moving in quickly. So we get most of the brush moved to the woods in back of the house and get in right as the storm hits. Time now: 10:00 am.

But wait, there's more!
Mr. B heads to the workshop to fabricate something up while I text back and forth with the indomitable and VERY funny Og. After the localized tsunami is over and I fold laundry, we go out and split most of another rick of wood, which is now piled and waiting to be stacked.  Mr. B had to get the wedge and sledgehammer to make some of the pieces so that he could move them (he'd already taken the chainsaw to the even bigger pieces earlier).  The only reason we had time to split the wood is that Mr. B was going to help a friend change his brake pads and do some other truck repairs but the friend canceled.

After a break and a snack, we head to town to do some shopping, which is more tiring than moving all of that wood (that was going to be my solo chore while Mr. B was helping his friend so it worked out nicely). Dinner in town and finally get to enjoy the rest of the day with work well done.

Considering that before I moved up here, if anyone dared call before 10:00am, they would get an earful because I was still in bed, I've made quite a change, and for the better--thanks to Mr. B.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One of the BEST fight scenes EVAH!

From The Cannonball Run:  Makes me smile since these guys seemed to be having a GREAT time.  Also one of the very first appearances of Jackie Chan in an American film.  And Captain Chaos.  What else could you want??  Please to enjoy:

Want to see your retirement disappear??

You need to read this post from Mr. B and a followup post from SmartGirlPolitcs' Annmarie Spiciarich.  And you need to make your voice heard.  According to the article linked by Annmarie, as soon as next week the US Treasury and Labor Departments are going to open for public comment the idea of 'promoting 401(k)s into annuities.

The purpose is to herd and ultimately force Americans to convert their 40l(k)s and IRAs into government-directed retirement accounts.
Like Mr. B, I'll take the hit to make sure the government can't get their mitts on my money.

Okay, that's not-so-much reassuring....

My workplace has an emergency text alert system that they were supposed to be testing yesterday (alerts for threatening weather and other emergencies).  They were unable to test it due to the bad weather.  *sigh* 

Range time and Rain time

Went to the range last night with Mr. B and our friend M (or should that be Q because he always has the coolest toys?).  I'm trying to get used to a new target pistol (Beretta .22 with a nice red dot sight), Mr. B was checking out some new magazines that he bought for his .45 to make sure they function correctly, and Q, who is getting over shoulder surgery, was shooting .45 and 9mm right-handed (he's a lefty). 

Despite the fact that this Beretta throws brass like a drunken baseball player (usually off the partition and onto my head or into my hair), I used the opportunity to re-learn focus and completely took out the X ring on my second target at 50 feet.  Did get one piece of brass down my front so now I have a nice burn mark but managed to stay cool (so to speak), safe the weapon, and then get it out.

While at the range, I got a text from the formidable and weather-wise Og, who gave us the heads-up that the sky was coming down and to batten down the hatches (Thanks so much--it's nice to have someone watching out for us--however, you will pay for the Chicken Dance this morning!!!).  One real good thing about shooting indoors at our range is that the building is mostly underground--a nice spot to be in a tornado-prone thunderstorm.  It was a GREAT thunderstorm though and actually broke the heat that the mornings storms didn't.  Also, no other trees down, so that's a BIG plus!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Idiocy reigns in Chicago

I still think that Chicago's Mayor Daley was scared by a gun or gun-like object or maybe even a pointed stick when he was a child in order to have such a paranoid, unreasoning fear of anyone but his bodyguards in the city of Chicago having access to firearms.  To listen to his voice getting squeakier and higher as he gets worked up is enough to shatter glass and to have dogs and bats scattering in dismay.  To cling to the idea that such stringent gun laws actually DO anything in the face of evidence to the contrary--54 shootings in ONE weekend in a city with the most stringent anti-gun laws in the country says to me that there is FAIL.  To me it says that by disarming law-abiding citizens, you have left the thuggery to run rampant throughout the city because the underpaid, understaffed police force cannot be everywhere and the city is not paying for individual gun-carrying bodyguards for the general populace.

In addition to this, he also misses the point about the strong-arm that the unions are trying to put on Wal-Mart--they are trying to dictate what Wal-Mart should pay its employees and Wal-Mart is not a union shop.  So since the Wal-Mart in question is going into a black neighborhood, Daley figures that it's racism on the part of folks trying to keep Wal-Mart out instead of the unions trying to muscle into something that is totally not their business.  The unions would rather Wal-Mart not go in and bring all of those jobs to the community if it means that they feel they would lose power.  But 'Squeaks' Daley doesn't see that part.  He stammers and yammers about how Wal-Marts go into the 'burbs with no issues (could it be that the 'burbs are not part of Chicago and don't have to bow to the Machine??) and the best he can come up with is racism.  You've totally lost the plot if you  have to pull the race card on something like this.

I grew up in downstate Illinois and remember thinking how nice it would be if Chicago seceeded from the state and became its own entity.  Still think so......

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cleanup Time!

Mr. B took the tractor and chains and got the big pieces of tree (up to 1000 pounds) out of the neighbor's yard and into our woodpile to be split after it has dried a bit.  He did this all by himself, using the tractor to help pre-position the logs so that he could get the chain around them and pick them up.  It's a lot of fun to watch him work 'smarter, not harder', using the tractor as leverage and the tools at hand so there was little to no wasted effort.  As cool as it is to watch him work with metal, it's as much fun to watch him do chores like this.

Why would/should the Mexican government feel they have a say??

Got this article via Breitbart.  The Mexican government has asked an Arizona federal court to declare the new Arizona law to be unconstitutional.  They claim standing because they want to keep their citizens from being harassed while 'visiting' the United States. 

Here's a thought....  how about Mexico keeps their folks on their side of the border, unless they are entering the United States in accord with the laws of the United States.  Where do they get off trying to tell a state what kind of laws to pass and what is germane to United States constitution?

They can bite me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mastery of an Art

To me, artistry is more than just pictures on a wall, a statue, or something that can be captured on film.  An artist is someone who has found what they are meant to do--they understand the intricities of their craft and have an instinctual feel for what they are doing.  This can be shooting, welding, sports, computers.  And watching someone in their element is truly an awesome sight.

In this case, it was tree removal.  Mr. B has posted pictures of the giant tree and our barn being crushed slowly beneath its weight and has lauded A Clean Cut Tree Service in Wanatah, IN (219-916-4968), who left a job because we had an emergency (the barn was slowly being crushed like a beer can and was not going to last another few hours).  Jeremiah was AMAZING.  He was dropping branches that weighed hundreds of pounds exactly where he wanted them, light as a feather.  Despite the fact that his foot, at one time, went THROUGH the roof, he kept at it and brought the tree down with no further damage to the barn.  He would make a few cuts, watch the wood and the swing and would just tap it down.  There was only a six foot space to drop debris into and he hit the mark every time--no pinballing down the side of the barn.

It was amazing to watch, saved the barn, and allowed Mr. B to get up and tarp over the holes in advance of the NEXT set of thunderstorms set to hit today.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gifts from my Fathers--For Fathers Day

I've been pretty lucky in my life in certain arenas.  Although my folks were divorced when I was eight, my mom married a great guy who is a great dad and my biological dad, by his own admission, was not-so-much a good father. 

From my biological dad I got great hair, the gift of gab, and an inquiring intellect.  He might not have been a good dad, but he was an interesting  man and I honor him for his gifts.  He came from a family of bakers, and that skill seems to have been passed on to me so I think of him and my grandfather, whenever I make a batch of cookies or a loaf of bread.

From my dad, the man who raised me, I got the gifts of patience, life skills, and the ability to listen--really listen.  He also taught me ways to go to sleep when it just doesn't want to happen.  He has shown me love unconditional and he is always there for me.  He trusts me and my judgment  and that is a gift beyond price.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Namaste! Now take off your goddamned shoes......

I have been going to yoga for the past six months.  I like it, I like the people, and I think it's working for me on the physical front (YMMV).  However, in every situation, there are those who are completely frickin' clueless.  To get into the studio, you have to pass at least four signs, prominently posted, that say "Absolutely No Shoes in the Studio".  At the top of the stairs there is a bench under which there are usually ten to twelve pairs of shoes (this week there were a lot more).  There is a 2'X4' above the bench that says "Absolutely No Shoes in the Studio" and a smaller sign above the door handle.  You get the picture.....

So anyway, I'm sitting there, waiting for class to start, and this new woman walks in with her shoes on.  I look at her and point at her feet and say 'shoes'.  I get the same look that you get from a cow when you honk your horn at them.  I point again...  'shoes'.  To the same look of incomprehension.  Finally I say 'Take off your goddamned shoes.'  She finally gets the point and takes them off. 

After a couple of other incidents, I now have the unofficial position of 'yoga-enforcer'......  Part of my new crusade against rude folks everywhere.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The answer is not more regulation and windmills...... Obama FAIL

I just read the text of Obama's speech last night.  My take:  empty air.  Platitudes and wrangling to get cap and tax passed to the detriment of this country.  Fifty-seven days in and they finally 'approved' the sand barrier that Jindal proposed 52 days ago.  Oh, and we should have more regulations, forgetting that we already have them and they weren't being enforced (kind of like immigration law).  And we need windmills, lots of windmills.  And more taxes.  And it's Bush's fault.

What a putz.

All that without a teleprompter--Gov. Christie

Via Insty, this video of Christie in Perth Amboy (which I just thought was a place mentioned in Bugs Bunny cartoons).  The man speaks sense and I think he speaks from the heart.  He says that the government tells you that "we'll give you something but someone else will pay for it" and that change will be blocked by those who are getting something that someone else is paying for (paraphrasing here).    He's actually saying what the rest of us are thinking and are blogging about.  And he's a politician!

And he gives the whole speech with nary a notecard nor a teleprompter.  Every time I see a new speech, I'm more impressed.  But I'm not impressed by his speech making--I'm impressed because he's actually walking his talk--he's taking action and those actions mirror his words.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Can we get this on the Federal Level??

From Balko at Reason (ht AdviceGoddess), in Kansas, a gubernatorial candidate wants to have an "Office of the Repealer" who goes through agencies, regulations and rules.  This is met with quiet condescension from the New York Times who can't imagine why those quaint fly-over people would want to get stuff off of the books and clean their regulatory house.  For me, I think it's just a good practice.  I also think that in order to avoid the pork barrel politics that have led this country to financial ruin, that every budget should be a zero-sum with every tax-payer dime wanted for every federal, state, and local program and position having to be justified at least once every five years.

An interesting contrast: New Jersey vs. Chicago

New Jersey school districts are finding ways to keep jobs even with receiving less state aid (ht, JammieWearingFool).  Contrast THAT with the teachers union in Chicago and a district that is having  to BORROW (against what equity, one might ask) $800 million because they've bowed down to the wishes of the union too often.  With the familiar cries of 'save our schools' and 'children first', the unions take to the lines to protest.  Instead of 'save our schools', they should just tell the truth and yell 'save our pay raises'.

I'd love to see Etheridge try that crap in Alabama

For your viewing pleasure (okay the first one is wickedly scary and I know you've already seen it), but here is the video of Etheridge assaulting a young man for asking him a question.  Better minds than mine have commented on it here, here, here, here, and here.   Below that is the newest commercial from Rick Barber in Alabama.  Do you think Etheridge's behavior would fly in Alabama?  Hell no!  But an interesting difference in attitudes, yes??

Gov. Christie--a Real Leader

From JammieWearingFool, a video showing Gov. Christie's visit to a New Jersey school district.  The school district thought they were going to have to cut 25 jobs but managed to save all of them by taking a wage freeze and having some administrators pay for their health insurance.  Amazing!!!!  It seems that the buses stopping at Boonton district schools actually are clue-buses and the teachers union got on board.  Christie is bringing to light the exagerations and lies told by the unions in order to keep raising taxes and he's winning.  He's an actual leader who is sticking to his convictions about what is right for the citizens of New Jersey.  It was also great to see him interact with the kids--no 'special rug' to separate himself from the students and he was very natural and fun.  Kudos to him as well as the Boonton school district.

Please read JWF's blogpost about Christie's latest win--he said that school districts had to use their surplus (tax) money in order to make up the state aid that they wouldn't be receiving due to state budget cuts and an appeals court has upheld his constitutional authority to do so.  All but 17 school districts had been socking away taxpayer dollars in rainy day funds while asking for more taxpayer dollars.  Interesting but now that game is up too!

Go Christie!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My condolences to Brigid

Just saw her posting where she lets us know that her Mom has passed away.  My condolences to her and her family.

And this is why my gender sometimes embarrasses me.....

I just followed a link from Mr. B on the change of tenure rules in the state of Colorado.  Maybe it'll  help the state of education in that part of the US.  I hope so.  The embarrassing part??  A Colorado representative (female, Democrat) burst into tears at the news of the passage of the bill. 

It's as bad as some professor (Liberal Arts, Harvard) getting a case of the vapors at the suggestion of Larry Summers that some studies show that in general, women might not be suited to the hard sciences.

Yes, I think that if you believe in something and are passionate about it, that your dedication to an issue should show.  But to have adult females--professional, educated--react like small children having their lollypop taken away, just undermines their position. 

Especially in the case of Summers (who I do not like and whose ideas and position in the Obama administration is bringing ruin to the country), but who I think got screwed at Harvard since the woman mentioned above couldn't muster the intestinal fortitude to confront him directly on his questioning, but instead got him put on double-secret probation and subsequently forced his resignation (which put him ultimately in the Obama administration). 

Hmmmm.... so we can blame the Liberal Arts faculty at Harvard for the state of the country (at least partially).  Why am I not surprised??

Friday, June 11, 2010

Conan the Objectivist vs Conan the Barbarian

This posting from RobertaX got a spit-shot this morning--it should have carried some kind of warning.   I still like the original although I'd pay good money to see Arnold read her lines.

The original, for your viewing pleasure:

For kicks and grins, overdub Bobbi's words into the scene in your head while watching.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So is Obama going to bring a can of Whoop-Ass to the meeting??

According to an article from Breitbart, BP officials have FINALLY been invited to meet with Obama.  I'm hoping for a televised smack-down since the Anointed One has been talking like he's a WWE wrestler but yet hadn't had the balls or the brains (I'm betting on the former) to actually meet with the folks that he's been criticizing.  I think he doesn't really understand that metaphorically kicking someone's ass in an abstract 'gotta talk the experts instead of taking action' kind of way doesn't do your street-cred any good.

The Brits are understandably a bit miffed over the attitude of this trash-talking ball-less wonder who has only been relying on press reports and information that has filtered up through the layers of his ever-increasing bureaucracy rather than actually picking up the phone and getting the data from the horses' mouth.

Maybe if both BP and the Obama administration would stop pointing fingers at each other and actually take the help that's been offered (ht Mr. B) and make use of  items just sitting in warehouses, or use the power of the office of the President to cut through the red tape preventing action, then maybe some of this could be remediated or stopped before it does further damage.

Not even in force yet, but already working--the Arizona Law

Per Fox news (ht Drudge), a story about the Mexican consulate in Phoenix, Arizona is having a lot of work to do lately what with all of the illegals trying to get back into Mexico (oh the irony) LEGALLY so they won't have to pay taxes on their belongings when they schlep them back over the border.  They are also getting paperwork so they can enroll their kids in Mexican schools, where I'll bet there aren't any bilingual education classes.

This migration is basically being caused by the provision in the Arizona law wherein a business owner can lose their license if they have illegals working for them. Since 12% of the Arizona workforce is apparently illegal, then there is going to be an interesting tax shift in the state as businesses are going to have to have everyone on the books.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Did someone mention Samurai Swords??

Yesterday Brigid illuminated me as to the beauty of a well-honed samurai sword.  Being geeks, the conversation turned to Kill Bill so for your viewing pleasure--The Bride vs. O-Ren Ishii.  Now if I could only get a Hanzo sword.....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lunch at the Range

At the invitation of Brigid, Mr. B and I made our way to the Range for lunch today to be greeted by Brigid, Barkley, and G-Dog.  Og, Partner, and Rich also were there after their trip to the Indy 1500.  We had some wonderful food--pasta with venison meat sauce, rosemary infused sourdough bread, and a heavenly chocolate cake for dessert (there was also broccoli).  I also discovered that I really like Chili Flavored Beer.

The company was fantastic and the conversation was laughter-filled.  But the quote of the day came from the Lady of the Range after Og, the often-injured but still indomitable, relayed his story about the largest appendage on his foot being impaled by a falling fork.  While the rest of us marveled at the apparent sharpness of his flatware, Brigid chimes in from the hall....  "So, did you have to call a TOE truck?"  In the resultant silence after the collective *facepalm* echoes vanished, Partner summed it up for all of us....  "I must be slipping--wish I'd thought of that".

It was a lovely afternoon and I look forward to doing it again!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Kool-Aid they were selling was not to my taste.....

Sorry I haven't posted all week--I was off to a nerd-fest conference.  One of the propagandists keynote speakers is from a foundation whose purpose and raison d'etre is to get more kids into and out of college.  He was speaking from a point of view wherein you cannot be happy or healthy or content if you do not have a college education.  His foundation is integral to trying to create federal standards for education in order to further that goal (in other words, at the base, they are statists).  So I could not bring myself to even acknowledge their base premise because I don't think it's necessary and I think the push to get people into college is actually detrimental to society.  I think it's one way of creating a system of indoctrination and elitists (please to witness Obama and company as Exhibit A).  I also think that the studies and reports saying that a person is going to earn more money, etc. is one way to create dissatisfaction within the American public and pave the way for more government intrusion into our lives (please to witness the attempts of the government to take over K-12 education using college as a carrot as Exhibit B).

Fortunately I was saved from having to commit career hara-kiri by a gentleman who pointed out that all of the discussions regarding the need for everyone to go to college are peopled with those who have gone to college--non-college persons aren't part of those conversations so there might be some bias (duh).  Someone else pointed out that college costs are skyrocketing and by pushing students to go to college, then the debt-load on them, their families (oddly enough the taxpayers weren't mentioned but this was an academic conference, so maybe not-so-much odd), would be such that it could be detrimental to the economy as a whole.  Also, if everyone is the educated eliteratti, then who is going to fix the pipes, build the buildings, and re-wire the electric in the McMansion that they can't afford?

Bias, indeed.

Gov. Christie--talking sense AGAIN!

From JammieWearingFool, a video of Christie rebutting the negative ads being run about him that are funded by the teachers' unions.  In addition to pointing out that the money for those ads and the millions of dollars being collected by the teachers' unions are actually taxpayers' dollars, since the taxpayers are paying the salaries of the teachers who then pass that on to the unions, he (quite rightly in my opinion) points out that
"...the teachers' union is about the accumulation and exercise of raw power."
This is why teachers' unions have served their day.  Because they have forgotten that their base purpose is to protect the safety and the livelihoods of their constituents.  Union leadership is creating their own fiefdoms to the detriment of the people paying their salaries.  Plus, and this was not emphasized in his speech, but what would happen if the teachers could KEEP that part of their salary that is tithed to the unions?  Why should taxes be increased to pay for an organization that works to the detriment of those who they are supposed to serve?  Why should OUR taxes pay for an organization that protects incompetence??

In any case, it is refreshing to see someone talking sense and someone who is willing to take the heat in order to do what's right for HIS constituency.  Watch the whole thing!