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

Music....

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 theLibertyzone.com.  The winning words:

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

RIP

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: 
http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/dream-act-budget-reid/2010/12/05/id/379020?s=al&promo_code=B3DF-1)

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.