Thursday, June 30, 2011

Musical interlude

I can't believe it took me so long to discover Adele (Himself turned me on to her music).

Credential inflation = PhDs working at McDonalds

Look folks, it's simple supply and demand and market overload.  The more folks you force through the higher education system, the more folks you have with degrees (educational quality on these degree factories, which include the Ivys, is a post for a different day). 

What happens then is that jobs that used to need a high school diploma will now want folks with a bachelors, bachelors-level entry positions will require masters degrees, and positions requiring a masters will then want PhDs.  (This excludes the TSA, which does not require even a high school diploma.)

All it will do is force people either into incredible amounts of debt to the federal government (so we'll be subsidizing this fiasco when they default because they can't find a job that will allow them to pay their loans back), or force them out of the workplace.  It will also create a dearth of skilled labor, such as plumbers, electricians, and mechanics--you know, those jobs that make the world move.

As Alison Wolf says in this article,

...degrees are of importance to employers ‘all over the world’. They act ‘as a sort of sifting mechanism’, or as she puts it in Does Education Matter?, ‘a way of ranking, screening and selecting’ people. ‘From an employers’ experience’, she continues, ‘while the degree’s not a perfect indicator, it is useful… they’re using it as a basic IQ test, an indication that people can buckle down and work for three years and to some degree, and sometimes very much, for specific skills.’ That’s why ensuring that as many people have a degree as possible, ‘at the expense of quality if necessary’, is counterproductive: ‘The quickest way to halve the value of a degree overnight is to say, “we don’t care about quality anymore, we’re going for quantity”’, notes Wolf.
It's like the Federal government printing money.  The more that is printed, the more worthless it is.  The meme that a college education will gain you greater financial rewards is a myth that is going to become more apparent as the market is overwhelmed with newly-minted graduates seeking the golden ring they've been promised and coming up with the Golden Arches and a boatload of debt instead.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Civics literacy exam

I was just commenting about this study and low and behold, Low Dog on the Totem Pole has an entire post, plus a link.  I got a 32/33 or 96.97%, although I waffled on two other questions.  It is interesting that there were quite a few questions on economics and such that many folks could stand to re-learn (or learn for the first time).  It didn't surprise me that the populace scored pretty consistently higher than our elected officials.

Go here and read Low Dog's post and here to take the test yourself.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RIP Peter Falk

Peter Falk was a unique actor with a style all his own.  In tribute:

As Sam Diamond in Murder by Death:




As the Grandfather in The Princess Bride:

How Elite Education causes a disconnect..... or Form over Function

There is a fantastic article by William Deresiewicz that starts with his epiphany moment:  that he could not find common ground to talk to a man who came to fix his plumbing.  He's an Ivy Leaguer, start to finish, and the one thing that the Ivy League does is insulate you from ideas and people who are not also in the Ivy League.  It teaches that diversity really is only skin deep because diversity of ideas is non-existent.  It's more than worth reading the whole thing but here's an excerpt: 
An elite education not only ushers you into the upper classes; it trains you for the life you will lead once you get there. I didn’t understand this until I began comparing my experience, and even more, my students’ experience, with the experience of a friend of mine who went to Cleveland State. There are due dates and attendance requirements at places like Yale, but no one takes them very seriously. Extensions are available for the asking; threats to deduct credit for missed classes are rarely, if ever, carried out. In other words, students at places like Yale get an endless string of second chances. Not so at places like Cleveland State. My friend once got a D in a class in which she’d been running an A because she was coming off a waitressing shift and had to hand in her term paper an hour late.
 This article goes straight to the heart of what is going wrong with this country.  You have a set of elitists, by education and training.  They have been lauded and soundly applauded as special snowflakes.  They have not been taught how to think or even how to relate to others who are not like them--they have no diversity of thought.  As one of his students quoted in his piece put it “So are you saying that we’re all just, like, really excellent sheep?”

The problem with the 'elite' universities creating a bunch of "really excellent sheep", is that those sheep are supposed to be running our country.  Americans have fallen into the trap that equates elite education with good education or with education as it used to be--something that fosters an ability to look at a situation, any situation, critically and logically.  That fact that  Deresiewicz mustered enough introspection to write the article is frankly amazing considering the indoctrination he has experienced in his life. 

The eliterati are incapable, by virtue of their education and upbringing, to make the hard decisions, to relate to anyone not of their socioeconomic class.  Cartoons, such as Day by Day, often show Obama and company as the French aristocracy, and that's not all that far from the truth.  They have been living life in a rather large and opulent hamster ball and are isolated from any consequences of their actions.  They are takers and not givers.  Their idea of helping someone is writing a check (usually using someone else's money) instead of actually getting out there and getting dirty.  As Deresiewicz says, the elite universities create leaders, not thinkers.  What we need is thinkers who are not afraid to get dirty, whose raison d'etre is to not hold onto power, but to use power in a limited fashion to enhance freedoms, not stifle them. 

But as long as the American public buys into the idea that someone else knows better what is good for all, as long as those elected keep passing laws and rule  by executive fiat, nothing will change.  Americans have allowed a ruling class to develop in opposition to everything this country was built upon.  Do we really want those in positions of power who can't even muster a conversation with another American??

Sorry for the lack of posting in the last few days!

Had a fantastic weekend with Brigid (who along with Barkley) came up for a weekend to visit with Himself and me.  There was laughter, pork roast done on the rotisserie on the grill, range time, and a trip to the winery with the Og family.

There was also horror-movie churches, fishing for puppehs, and great conversation.  It was fantastic all the way around!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Personal responsibility again...

I know that I've been blogging on the subject of personal responsibility a lot.  Not playing the victim card.  Stepping up and not blaming others for your lot in life.  Pulling up your big boy underoos or big girl panties and getting on with it.

But then it comes, literally, to our front door.  D.A.N. from next door.  Yes, the Dumb-Ass Neighbor.  Bearing something that he was wanting Himself to buy because he's not going to have enough money at the end of the month.  Why?  Because he had a swimming pool put in.  He didn't even do the labor on it to save some money.  This was two months after having his shiny big truck repossessed (or as he put it 'they took it'.).  He'd already been to a shop and was told that he could get $300 for the item he was wanting to sell but when he quoted his price to Himself, he asked for $350 (told us about the shop price towards the end of the conversation).

I can't even bring myself to feel sorry for the guy and couldn't even type the platitude because it would be too hypocritical of me to do so.  I tried.  At least he didn't come straight out and beg for money and was willing to sell something.  Next time I'll bet that's how it'll go.

I guess one of the reasons it chaps my butt so much is because we're really working hard on getting out of debt.  We dropped cable and have cut back on other things so that we can do things like put new gutters on the house sometime this year.  I just don't get it.

ETA in Contrast:  Via Insty about the flooding in Minot, North Dakota:

The only silver lining to this disaster has been the response of the community. I am not from this part of the country (I hail from the East Coast) and nowhere that I have lived has ever faced this kind of adversity. But I would be proud to call this town my home. I have not seen one person whine or complain. I have not heard one hopeless person ask when the government or FEMA would rescue them. The town mobilized itself days ahead of the impending disaster and began planning for the worst; secondary levees and sandbag walls went up with breathtaking speed, and thousands of homes were evacuated without incident. Think of it as the anti-Katrina. Once the townspeople saw that their worst fears were about to be realized, and their homes and livelihoods destroyed, instead of giving up, they have only redoubled their efforts to save what can be saved. Their stoic determination in the face of absolute catastrophe amazes me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

These are not the wars.. that is.. the kinetic actions you're looking for...

So Obama gave a speech on getting the heck out of Afghanistan sometime in the next 3 years or so with the first wave bringing troop levels down to where he brought them to in 2009. 

I personally waited for the speech transcript to go up on line because I honestly can't listen to the man's intonations anymore nor can I stand to watch his head go from teleprompter to teleprompter like he's watching a match at Wimbledon somewhere behind his audience.

What I was looking for in his speech was anything about Libya.  And here it is:
"But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute. When threatened, we must respond with force — but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas. When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don't have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we are doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their destiny."

So he's basically standing by his meme that we don't have anyone on the ground there so it's a good thing.  And it's not a war or anything because all we're doing is 'supporting allies'.  And it's not a war because we haven't deployed a large force.  This man is the king of semantics.  And the legislative and judicial branches are letting him get away with it.  Does anyone outside of the White House's inner circle actually believe that, despite the money and US personnel 'supporting allies' that he hasn't dragged the US into another war that we had no business being in anyway?

And he's probably going to try to use this weak-kneed speech as meeting Boehner's request that he justify our involvement in Libya to the American people.  I don't buy it, not for a minute.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I think this person just insulted all thinking women

Wow!  Talk about the culture of victimhood and not stepping up to take responsibility for one's actions.  Via Ann Althouse, there is a conversation on JoeMyGod's blog about Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston and how both of them were drunk in a tent and then intercourse happened. Most of the commentors are personal responsibility types of folks who realize (as Bristol did when she lied to her folks about where she was going and who she was with) that there are consequences to drinking excessive wine coolers (which is a conscious choice).  Some are small minded Palin haters engaging in ad hominem attacks.  But here's one that just floored me:

I don't want to judge anybody or make assumptions, but in my opinion, a lot of men here seem to forget, or perhaps have never realized, the way men can control, manipulate, intimidate and yes, coerce women into doing things they do not want to do or wouldn't normally do.
Gah!  Seriously!  WTF!  In one foul sentence this person has wiped away the idea that women are thinking human beings with a will of their own.  From their other comments, I am assuming that this person is female, which makes it worse.

The second you pull the victim card or have dismissed the idea of free will  you have lost the frickin' argument.   Really, you absolutely cannot have it both ways.  Either you are a thinking, rational being or you are a hormone-ridden emotional mess who needs the hand of man to keep you in line.  You are either someone who takes responsibility for your actions, or you are a victim.  Pick one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My tin foil hat doesn't chafe quite the way it used to...

My tin foil hat seems a bit looser today with the revealing of more and more data on the ATFs Operation Fast and Furious by which gun shop owners were coerced by ATF agents into deliberately letting straw purchases go through obstensively so that firearms going into Mexico could be tracked to the bigwigs of the drug cartels.

As Congressman Darryl Issa said this was a "felony stupid idea".  It is seeming more and more that it was an agenda-driven politically-based felony stupid idea.  The ATF has tried to hide behind sliding definitions of 'walking', the DoJ has closed ranks and is obstructing justice by giving page after page of completely blacked out text to the congressional oversight committee, Napolitano is disavowing all knowledge of the operation, and there seems to be no mention from the State Department regarding any international cooperation efforts since they were deliberately aiding and abetting the flow of illegal firearms into Mexico (which, by the way, has cost the lives of over 150 Mexican police officers and military personnel).  As a matter of fact, the Acting Head of the ATF had signed an agreement with Mexico interdicting the smuggling of guns to the Mexican drug cartels.

It amazing how this 'operation' just happened to fit the gun control meme put out by the White House and others right after Obama got into office and after they failed to re-pass the assault weapons ban of the Clinton era.

Bob Owens over at Pajamas Media is on top of this.  Go and read his article, follow the links.  And then adjust your tin foil hat since it seems that some paranoia, especially when it comes to the present Adminstration, is entirely justified.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Small blessings.

Sometimes it's the little things that mean the most:  a suprise phone call from someone far away; a made-specially-for-me decorated ice cream bar for dessert.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

And NOW they're worried about the budget??

The Dems are fighting tooth and nail to raise their spending bar, a.k.a. the debt limit.  I find this to be utterly disingenuous since they were not interested in budget issues enough to even pass one in the two years that they had a stranglehold on the federal government. 

Happy Fathers Day to my Dad!

You should be getting your cards in the mail today--I tried to maintain tradition by having to overnight them--thank goodness the postal service has a Sunday delivery option! 

Thank you for being there, for listening to me, for allowing me the honor and privilege to listen to you.  Thanks for teaching me patience, right from wrong, and for showing through example what unconditional love really is.   Thanks for supporting me and allowing me to make the mistakes that have made me a better person and for celebrating with me when I make the right choices.

I love you!!!!!!  And I very much hope your cards actually do get there today!  :-)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Comparing and contrasting...

In the past week I had a chance to experience a couple of different cultures--one very highbrow and the other on the industrial side of life.

Compare:  The first one is a very tony specialty store with candies and spices and such.  I have gone there in the past because they have pretty good prices on chocolate covered almonds, which is one of my favorite snacks.  This time as I'm making my purchase, the woman behind the counter says "Do you get the local ads?" I answer in the affirmative and she says, "Well, if you had gotten this week's ad, I could have given you twenty percent off on your purchase."  So I answer "Since I don't have it, could you see your way clear to go ahead and give me the twenty percent off and I'll keep an eye out for the next ad?"  And she answers, get this....  "Oh no, I can't do that."  So now I'm thinking then why on this good green earth did you mention it in the first place you stupid bint....  Please note that I'm not naming the place and I won't be going back.  My sister said she would have just punted the order and walked out but we folks with manners are hamstrung sometimes.

Contrast:  Himself ordered clamp-on forks for the new tractor through a third party supplier.  The actual supplier called and said that if we want to come pick up the forks (she saw the shipping address was only twenty miles away), we could save shipping costs since we were in a bit of a hurry to get the forks for use this weekend.  We got there and were met by the nicest people in the world.  We got a bit of a tour, some good conversation, saw one of the coolest paint jobs on a truck I've seen (ghost skulls which depended upon where you were looking), as well as a cold beverage.  These are folks who take pride in their work and who are a growing business.  If you need clamp on stuff for tractors and trucks, these are the folks to call:  Paynes Forks.  Their website is a bit ishy, but give them a call and they are more than helpful.  It is rare that anyone would take the time to try to help the way that Nancy did at Paynes Forks.  They even have aluminum forks that are a fraction of the weight of the steel but hold as much weight.

Something that the 'credentialed' elitists will never, ever understand is that true class is how people treat one another and cannot be judged by any other measure.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Double standards

I've got something that's been running around my head for a bit about double standards of behavior.  For example, I know a female who volunteered for a two month deployment.  Folks at her place of business are absolutely livid because she volunteered.  No matter that if, for example, she turned up suddenly pregnant and would take off even MORE time than her Guard duty necessitates (volunteer time and all), to their minds it is just wrong for her to volunteer for service, but it would be okay to take beaucoup time off for 'woman things'.

Then there are the Schwartzenegger and Weiner issues.  They both screwed around, never mind that for Weiner it was only virtual screwing (Arnie got a kid out of the deal, Weiner got his wiener plastered all over the internet--good heaping helpings of Karma, methinks).  But what about the women involved?  As Arnie's mistress said "it wasnt' his fault alone.  It takes two."  And Weiner's sexting partners knew that he is married and yet still carried on with the correspondence.  But they are still being seen as 'the victims' as if they weren't complicit.

I guess I'm getting tired of the idea that sexism is a one-way street, just like racism.  It's overdone, its only raison d'etre now is to perpetuate a culture of victimhood.  Guys making comments about strippers.  The very existence of places like Hooters.  These things do not make women into victims.  Choosing to work as a stripper, in porn, or at Hooters does not make a woman necessarily a victim (maybe except of the economy).

What if guys started complaining about the existence of 'romance novels', the porn of choice for many women (and yes, a lot of it is as graphic as any movie, except it is in print form)  or if they started throwing into jail the 'Twilight Moms' like they do men who lust after nubile teens (both are equally creepy).  Or if women who lie about their 'baby daddy' or being raped actually started being prosecuted or punished.  Or, heaven forbid, they start pulling the David Beckham underwear ads (guess what, those weren't targeted solely at gay men but at the women who buy the underwear for their families)....

My being female, except to these guys and maybe some Dianic Wiccans, does not make me a better person and does not, except through my own actions and choices, make me a victim.  The manifestations of behavior might be a little different, but they are still there, there's just not full accountability on both sides for the same thing.  Will the sexism card ever be fully maxed?  I sure hope so.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Maybe I'm just jaded....

Maybe I'm too cynical or something but when I heard that Newt was keeping his hat in the ring as a possible presidential candidate  (cough, cough, gag) my first thought was that he's out of money and wants to either siphon off as much campaign moola as legally possible or needs to beef up the honorariums for speaking gigs.

Flag Day (and also for Mrs. Borepatch)

As Himself notes, today is Flag Day.  It is also Mrs. Borepatch's birthday and Mr. Borepatch has requested that everyone fly a flag on their blog.  So here it is!

Monday, June 13, 2011

For my sister...

Apparently abnormally small noggins run in our family but this scene always makes me laugh...  And it WAS from "So I Married an Axe Murderer".

What not to say during an interview

Chances are this is what NOT to say during a telephone interview:

Interviewer:  "Why X institution?  And why now?"

Me: "Well, I applied for the job in November and you repackaged it, pulled it without notice, and then put it back out there, so now is when you were taking action.  Why X institution--you are within driving distance of my house and you have a position for which I have the experience."

Not surprisingly, haven't heard anything further, even from my followup email.

I know that what they want to hear is that 'you are the best institution of your type EVAH and people are busting down the doors for the privilege of working there.'  But the truth is the truth--I wouldn't be applying for another job if mine was going swimmingly and paid well so what really do they want to hear? Is it a bad thing if one of the comments you get is 'thank you for your honesty and candor'?

*sigh*

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meant to be comedy

A clip from the movie "PCU".  It's funny but I think it's more realistic than the writers of the screenplay anticipated.

Sorry....

Sorry blogging has been light-to-non existent.  Dealing with immediate matters--birds, dogs, cats, basic dogpaddling to stay afloat. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So THAT'S why they needed those shotguns...

A little over a year ago, the US Department of Education posted an order for 27 Remington shotguns (details of their order here).  And now we know why...  They are apparently using SWAT tactics to try to collect unpaid student loans.  And, as happens when you send a SWAT team onto a non-violent offender's property, things go FUBAR pretty darn quickly.  In the case here (ht:  Guffaw in AZ), they did a knock-in-the-door raid, cuffed and dragged off a guy while executing a search warrant on the guy's ex-wife.  Please to note that said ex-wife does not live at the domicile of the guy they detained for SIX hours and whom they hauled off in handcuffs in front of his kids. 

It was originally reported that this travesty was for unpaid student loans, but the Dept. of Ed. said that their Inspector General authorized the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION'S SWAT TEAM to execute a knock-down-the-door search warrant for issues regarding "bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds".  As far as I know, bribery, fraud, and embezzlement are pretty much non-violent crimes--why would a SWAT team be needed to execute a search warrant?  This is so egregious that even the Stockton police department has been at great pains to publically note that they didn't do this--they were asked to provide a police car and an officer at the scene, but the DoE was the force that kicked in this guy's door at 6:00 am. 

What we have here is clearly government run amok.  When the US Department of Frickin' Education has its own SWAT team and is sending them out to bust down the (wrong) doors of citizens, there is an issue.  If there is a federal crime, it should be turned over to the FBI.  Why on God's Green Earth was the Department of Education allowed to create and arm its own SWAT team??  Seriously....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Westboro Baptist Syndrome

So a guy puts up a picture of Breda and labels it with something inappropriate--using an anagram of pron, if you get my meaning.  She objects to the label as well as to her copywritten picture being used without her permission.  Dude takes down the picture and replaces it with a link to HER blogpost that has the same picture, thus avoiding legal action for copywrite infringement BUT he leaves the header as-is.  Now maybe the guy used that phrase the way that other people use the phrase 'Gun Pron'--nothing personal, no ill-intent or insult meant and Breda chose to take it badly--I dunno.  If so, he should have explained how he meant it, changed it, and been done with it.  Instead, the situation has escalated, and folks are rushing to the aid of their insulted comrade (just an aside, would a guy take it amiss if I put up a picture and label it 'Pron' and would the blogosphere rush to his aid if he objected to the label?--maybe a double-standard post is in the offing for later).

But here's the thing folks and it's called the First Amendment-- and before you all come down on me like a ton of bricks, hear me out.  Just as the Westboro Baptist Church folks have a clear right under the First Amendment to be complete and total wastes of air (and if there is Cosmic Justice will end up rotting in a Hell made especially for them), so does this guy have a right to act like a buttwad and to pretty much say or label anything anyway he wants on his blog, just like the rest of us do, as long as he's not breaking any laws (which he WAS but has now corrected).

The thing that he might not realize though, is that the chivalrous men and women of the Gunny blogosphere have long memories (what happens if you mention Lon Horiuchi's name in a crowd of gun bloggers?) and the Internet is, in many ways, eternal.  What he has done by being recalcitrant on this issue is lose a boatload of credibility amongst his blogging peers, and we don't forget.  You see, under the First Amendment, you have every right to say whatever you want and I stand by that right.

But I don't have to associate with you, link to you, or in any way acknowledge you--that is my right.

It's the Internet equivalent of dueling (or maybe it's actually more Amish).  You've been challenged on something, you've made your answer, and then, rather than pistols at dawn, a silence--no comments, no links, no nothing.  If you want to be part of a group, there are norms to which you should adhere.  If you chose not to, you lose your place.  There is nothing in a reasonable society (case laws notwithstanding) that says that any group has to accept you as a member, unofficial group or not.  We all trip over our keyboards every now and then--we're human.  And we have our First Amendment right to 'show our asses' in public.  But free speech doesn't mean free from consequences and that's something to remember.

Monday, June 6, 2011

D-Day

A story from a veteran of D-Day here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm having to do too many of these posts

Too many in such a short time:  RIP James Arness and Joel Rosenberg. 

Arness (the brother of Peter Graves--something I did not know before reading his obituary) died in his sleep at age 88.  He was talked into taking the part of Marshal Matt Dillon by his good friend John Wayne.  From all accounts, a private and very good man. 


Joel Rosenberg--sci/fi-fantasy writer as well as a 2nd Amendment defender, died today also of a heart attack.  According to Ed Morrisey at Hot Air, Rosenberg literally wrote the book on concealed carry, which were part of the cause of his legal issues in Minnesota.  There is a defense fund here since his trial was set for 2 months from now.  Today would have been his 32 wedding anniversary.  I remember him as one of the fantasy writers I read in high school and college.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Define Lewd... Possibly NSFW

ETA:  Possibly NSFW (depending on where you work). 

Well, I wasn't going to post about Weinergate, but just have a rather small nit to pick.  Everyone is calling the picture that has not been confirmed to be that of Congressman Weiner's briefs containing the turgid supposed junk of the Congressman 'lewd'.  I know that there are a whole bunch of other issues, such as a sitting Congressman using his verified twitter account to follow a bevy of girls half his age, etc. and the fact that he will neither confirm nor deny that the package in question is his..... 

But I'm not seeing it as all that bad, lewd-wise.  After all it really doesn't show more than David Beckham's Armani underwear ad (although the Congressman comes out on the short side of a comparison with Beckham).

Let's do a comparison, shall we?

Weiner (supposedly):



And Beckham (definitely):

















In the newest battle of the bulges, I'm calling Beckham a clear winner.  And if that's lewd, I'm okay with that.  At least he claims his package as his own.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Go pout someplace else....

When I was in college, we used the phrase "go pout someplace else" when someone was just being over-the-top whiney.  And now the citizens of the state of Wisconsin can say that to Joanne Kloppenburg, who, despite the best efforts of unions from all over the country, has finally conceded the Supreme Court Justice race to David Prosser.  She further stated that she will not be seeking judicial review.  So millions of Wisconsin taxpayer dollars have been needlessly spent because those on the left cannot take defeat with quiet dignity and grace.