Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Music for the Soul

Via a yoga-buddy of mine:


What if they threw a strike and things were better??

I think that one of the reasons that the federal government fights a shutdown tooth and nail is not because they want to protect the American public but because they're afraid that they will shut down and the American public will figure out that they are better off.  What better way to know what parts of government are truly important than to bring the whole thing to a halt?  If the public doesn't notice that a particular office is not operating, then that office or agency just doesn't reopen.  Easy and quick way to identify necessary budget cuts.

Over in Britain (England, Wales, Scotland), they had public sector strikes that pretty much DIDN'T succeed in shutting down the country.  They were expecting long delays at Heathrow Airport but things actually moved along much more quickly--probably because the slackers are the ones who went out on strike and the good employees are the ones who showed up (approximately 60% showed).  Hopefully those in charge will take note and will use this as a learning day--learning who and what is most necessary so they can cut the rest off the public sector payroll.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Laziness....

So in response to Mr. B's post here, I called my Senator, not that I really think it does much good.  I left a message on the voicemail in Washington and talked to a very nice and noncommittal young man in his Indianapolis office.

As I was speaking, it occurred to me that our politicians have become lazy.  They either write general laws that are subject to interpretation by a non-elected regulatory body or they write laws for which the non-elected executive branch regulators have to write exemptions (see Obamacare and No Child Left Behind).  The Senate of the United States, as controlled by Harry Reid is blocking bills passed by the House of Representatives from being heard and is doing all business using cloture rather than actually debating the merits of any bill.  And most bills passed now are so labyrinthine that they 'must be passed in order to see what's in them'.  And then the legislature abrogates responsibility to the executive branch, thus skewing the balance of power that the Founding Fathers felt was so important to maintaining the Republic.

We are no longer a nation of laws that apply equally to all people, but a nation of regulations that are selectively applied according to political whim.  The perfect example of this is the EPA, which, in complete ignorance of the laws of physics, has issued a regulation 'sharply increasing fuel economy' (ht Cold Fury).  Because by issuing a regulation that cannot possibly be met according to today's science will assuredly lead to fines and more money for the government later.  The EPA is also in service of Obama's stated agenda to increase the cost of fossil fuel-based energy to the point where his failed green agenda can gain traction (in complete contradiction to Congress, which did not pass Cap and Trade legislation).  Another example is the way the 'Occupy' people are getting special treatment by being allowed to camp out in public spaces (which excludes that space from use by the rest of the public) while the Tea Partiers get audited in Richmond, Virginia in retaliation to their demand for equal treatment.

The rights of the people of the United States to be citizens, rather than serfs to the government are being eroded daily, mainly under the guise of good intentions.  The above-mentioned issue from Himself?  It's to catch terrorists, but is written so broadly that it could be anyone.  The state of Ohio took away an overweight child from his parents under the aegis of 'improper medical care'.  But it could have easily been because there were guns in the house or they weren't making him wear a bicycle helmet or a seatbelt or anything else the State would deem as child endangerment.  The Supreme Court in Indiana has tried to wipe away the Fourth Amendment.  The federal government in its infinite hubris has even decided what we can use to light our houses.

But these things are happening because the citizens have also been lazy.  As long as the politicians didn't bother us, we would put up with the plethora of rules and regulations coming at the federal and state level.  We let the media spoon-feed us the meme of the day designed to keep us docile and to hide the wrongdoings of our elected officials.

But now the internet has allowed us to see behind the curtain, to identify the wrongdoing, to recognize the web of lies, deceit, and self-aggrandizement that government has put into place.  Unfortunately, it has flown for too long.  The only way to fix it is to tear it down.  Agencies, sub-agencies, commissions all must be brought to zero and re-built.  Congress and the sycophant class that supports them must be voted out and made anew.  Legal precedents must be re-examined in light of the Constitution, rather than on the judgements of those who might have had their own agenda.    The present system must be swept clean and made anew.  Only then can we be citizens once again, free to live as we will.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving

A wonderful time was had by all.  I got to talk with Himself's cousin--an Iraq veteran, world traveler, and gun aficionado for a time.  My folks came up, much food was consumed, dog shows and football watched, and just general family goodness.  My new bread recipe was a hit as were the tweaks I made to my famous chocolate pie (Brigid--you could actually eat it with a fork instead of a straw).

While we were with family, some blogfriends checked in--Borepatch, Brigid, and North and added some additional brightness to the evening.

And then I get a custom Black Friday Breakfast made by Himself--hash browns layered with ham, eggs done just right, and mild cheddar cheese.  Of course the only shopping I do will be online but I'm now fortified for some work around the house this afternoon....


Life is good and I'm very thankful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  I spent yesterday baking--my contribution to the coming feast. 

I feel blessed to be where I am--to be with Himself, and to be living in the greatest country in the world.  I have a partner who, in addition to being my oldest friend, challenges me to think, teaches me new skills, and trusts me to drive a tractor straight at him and stop within an inch of his chest.  I don't have the words that describe my joy in him and being with him.

I am very lucky to have my Dad and my Mom, my friends, both IRL and virtual (or both)-La, one of my oldest friends and sister-by-choice (and now officially a crazy cat lady thanks to the mama cat who made a home in yard), D-PA my sister-by-blood and choice, my Kansas Cousin, A-my college roommate, Nancy, Brigid, Old NFO, the Mighty and Indomitable Og (and family and Partner), Dave at Cancer Ward to name a few--the list is now too long or I'd be re-creating my sidebar and my address book here (for which I am also grateful)..... 

My contribution for the day as requested (sorta) by my sister:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An outsiders' perception of the TSA and Janet Napolitano's group....

In Egypt, they have renamed their secret police force--they will now be referred to as "homeland security".  These are the thugs who make people disappear, bug telephones, assault citizens, and act as the strong arm of a dictatorial government. 

I can't imagine why the Egyptians would get the idea that the United State's Office of Homeland Security would be a good role model with its invasive searching of citizens trying to travel freely within the country, with its agents performing acts of rape, intimidation, and theft.

If a foreign country perceives the US Department of Homeland Security as a strong arm enforcer of the government, why can't many Americans wake up and see them as what they are?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I've posted this before but thinks recent events require it again: Buffy vs. Edward

Brigid apparently had the dubious pleasure of attending a showing of the new Twilight movie this weekend.  She took it in stride, naturally, laughing throughout despite the fact that it was not intended to be a comedy because she is a woman of taste and class and doesn't feel that a metrosexual teenager is the be-all/end-all of movie heroes. 

I find the whole Twi-Hard  phenomenon to be very scary and very sexist since if the tables were turned and 40-50 year old men were drooling over barely post-adolescent females, the lot of them would be thrown in the slammer.

But here's something that makes me feel better:



Still thinking about getting one of these....

EU declares water not wet

So the EU has said that bottled water providers can no longer say that water can prevent dehydration.  Next up from the EU, the sky doesn't appear to be blue, the check is in the mail, and green energy such as windmills and solar panels can exist without heavy government subsidies.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Karen Lewis: Poster child for a dysfunctional educational system?

Karen Lewis, the President of the Chicago Teachers Union, and who, according to her speech that is linked here, had a good ol' time smoking dope throughout her time at Dartmouth College (so much for an Ivy League education in the early 1970's), is a science teacher.

Notwithstanding that she could be the poster child for all that is wrong in the educational system today as typified by her video, how on earth do Masters degrees in Inner City Studies Education and Fine Arts qualify ANYONE to teach chemistry??  If she exemplifies the criteria by which teachers are hired, then no wonder the Chicago School System is in such bad shape.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Again with the hypocrisy (and lying)

So, the Obama's are traveling Hawaii and Asia--nice time of the year to get out of the coming cold and wander the world.  Not like there's a budget/economic/job crisis or anything.  Between luau's, Obama is calling the people of the United States 'lazy' and MEchelle is mooing about arugula and steak being 'her favorites'.  Except really, her favorite food is french fries.  But when you're trying to establish control over the eating habits of a country (starting with the children, you'll note in the article), you can't go around touting the benefits of a bunch of deep fried potatoes loaded with salt.

It's interesting to note that while MEchelle is touting the benefits of healthy food and locally grown produce, the USDA as well as the FDA, under the aegis of her loutish husband is pulling crap like this.....  Local health departments are following suit with raids like this....  It's all about the control.  Not about the nutrition or the food.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trust is.....

Trust is your partner letting you lift him up in the bucket of the tractor so he can do some work ten feet up.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day Thank You!

Thank you to all of the veterans out there.  Thank you for your service, for putting yourself into harm's way for the rest of us.  Thank you to your families for supporting you as you protected and protect our freedoms.  Thank you to my sister and to folks like Old NFO and all of you out there.  I wish I had words to match your deeds.  Thank you seems so terribly inadequate but I hope you all take it in the spirit and the gratitude that I feel when writing them. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Similarities between the Occupiers and Universities

I was reading this over at Atomic Nerds.  The post discusses the insularity of Penn State administration regarding the Sandusky child molestation cover-up.  In response to these crimes being brought to light outside of the university and subsequent sacrifices to try to belatedly look pro-active, the students riot--not against the university officials, but against the news vans.

Now look at the feral children of academe--the occupiers.  There have been rapes, murders, brawls, lice infestations, drug deals.  But the occupiers have done their best to keep these acts internal to their camps only 'fessing-up' when one of their own breaks the code and goes to the police or if an outsider happens to see the acts in progress.

As LabRat irradiates, there is a tribe mentality in academic institutions and I think this has translated to the occupiers as well.  In both cases, as with the Catholic Church, there develops a feeling that the institution is somehow above the law.  And this is the danger.  When there is a feeling that the laws of this land are no longer applicable (and this is being exacerbated by the behavior of the mayors of the various occupied towns who are letting these people constantly break the law), then chaos and destruction are soon to follow.

It's very scary.... oooh.....

And not like Monster Chiller Horror Theater either.  But an invitation to a baby shower for my nephew and his girlfriend.  There seems to be a trend starting with my OTHER nephew who promptly found himself another girlfriend once his son and heir was born.  Not sure why I merited an invite this time since that side of the family resembles a Jerry Springer episode, and not in a good way.

Well gee whiz Senators.....

When some Senators met with John Pistole to discuss the TSA, as usual, they clearly missed the point of the furor surrounding the government's heavy handed (in some cases literal) handling of air passengers in this country.  Not one time was the Fourth Amendment mentioned. 

Sen. Claire McCaskill wants more women TSA agents so she doesn't have to wait as long for her Unconstitutional patdown but did admit she tries to avoid them because of their intrusive nature.  Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said "I did have a situation where I had to have a pat down, but they were unfailingly polite."

Could it be that they were 'unfailingly polite' SENATOR Hutchison, because you're a frikkin' Senator??  Remove that title and try it as a regular person and see what kind of treatment you get. It may be that Senator McCaskill doesn't waive around her government credentials quite as freely and so gets what everyone else does. 

But if a Senator who has sworn to uphold the Constitution is also willing to be a sheep and just demand a better type of sexual assault, I weep for this country.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Because it fits my mood.

The only movie wherein Keanu Reeves actually looks like he's having a good time.....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Conversation in the kitchen..

While listening to the news...

Himself:  I heard the 'fights' on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago last night were actually more wilding attacks.

Me:  I think we should pit the Occupy people against the wilders in Chicago.  It'd be the ultimate cage match.

Himself:  I'll put three to five against the Occupy men versus the wilding women.

Me:  No bet. Those women would totally kick the asses of the Occupy Men.  They wouldn't stand a chance.

And when you've lost the French.....

So the EU is discovering what some of us knew all along and what has been amply demonstrated over the course of the Obama administration--that the Obamas are clueless clods with no sense of proportion or class. 

Do I think what he said about the new Sarkozy baby was particularly bad (“And I informed Nicolas on the way in that I am confident that Giulia inherited her mother’s looks rather than her father’s, which I think is an excellent thing.”)??  

No, but it is something that is generally said among friends, not among acquaintances and definitely not among heads of state unless there is a particularly close and long relationship between the parties in question.  This isn't the first time that one of the Obamas has put their foot in it with the French.  There was MEchelle's comment about hating her new gig as First Lady to Carla Bruni, then the fiancee of President Sarkozy.

And as a complete aside, was I the only one that laughed when I heard that Obama was traveling to the EU Financial Summit to weigh in with his ample experience??  Presumably what he can chime in on is what NOT to do because if the Europeans follow the present administration's example, there will be a worldwide financial crash within the year (and yes, I do mean in 2011).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Because there's no more money to be wasted....

Colorado voters went on a 2-1 margin against Proposition 103 which would have 'temporarily' (the quotes are because generally tax increases are forever, only cuts are temporary) increased both the state income tax as well as the state sales tax to 'make up' for funds received under Stimulus II--Doubling Down on Stupidity (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009).  The state of Colorado received more than $622 million in funds for higher education and in this article from April of 2011, was already projecting a $625 million shortfall.  Apparently they didn't realize that the funds were meant to be one-time and not in perpetuity. 

So then the whining began and the holding out of hands for even more money which the voters of Colorado promptly slapped down.  Most of the universities in the state used their money for things like building their library collections, avoiding layoffs, etc. but there was one exception, Metropolitan State College of Denver.  They eliminated 100 positions and used campus input for strategic use of the funds to streamline processes and in general use the money in the spirit in which it was meant--to give a boost to long-term strategies.  Colorado State University, on the other hand, seemed to have spent the money like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

As Neal McClusky at the CATO Institute posits:
No matter how you slice it, the burden of funding the Ivory Tower has grown ever heavier on the backs of taxpaying citizens. Whether one examines taxpayer dollars in total, per enrollee, per degree, or per tax-paying citizen, real spending has gone up.
And the taxpayers of Colorado are no longer willing to foot the bill for increasing higher ed costs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm pretty sure I know why there's no 'Occupy Gary, IN'

Due to road issues on the main east/west routes, I chose to take an alternate path right through downtown Gary.  Not my preferred alternative route but an acceptable risk during the day.  While I only saw one zombie (and a slow-moving one at that), I'm pretty sure that any Occupiers would get eaten alive, figuratively speaking, should they try their schtick in that particular area. 

It's pretty clear why the History Channel used Gary, Indiana in its 'Life After People' series but it would be amusing to have some Occupiers and see them end up on the evening news bruised, battered, and robbed or SHOCKED that people tried to take their stuff.

Creation vs. re-categorization

I was listening to Stewart Varney this morning on WLS (Wolfe and Profft were filling in for Don and Roma) and he was talking about 'green jobs' and the erroneous figures put out by the Obama administration.  You see, and a few folks have talked about this, when the present administration is talking about green jobs created (new verbiage includes 'saved' and now 'supported'), they are really talking about the re-categorization of jobs already in place.  Some examples:  a lobbyist working for a 'green' company is considered to be a green job.  If a bus driver is now driving a hybrid bus rather than a pure diesel or gas powered vehicle, it is considered to be a green job.  Pretty much anything having to do with transportation has also been re-classified as 'green' thus jacking up those numbers.

Borepatch has an interesting post up that shows that for every 'green' job created using taxpayer dollars (new job, not re-classified job) then 2.2 jobs are lost in the real world.  Why??  Because those jobs suck in hundreds of thousands of dollars per position.   Or even millions....

For example:  Solyndra received approximately $500 million.  Their company had 1200 employees.  Let's assume that a quarter of the $500 million went to salaries.  That would be over $100,000 per position of taxpayer money.  Not quite what the feds are making now, but getting pretty close.

Obama's green obsession and his continuing insanity (doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results), especially in the light of failing green industries worldwide since countries cannot any longer maintain the subsidies that would keep those industries running, is costing this country hundreds of millions and probably trillions of dollars if you count the jobs lost by regulatory fiat.  When does it stop??  In 2012.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Living on a loan....

Something that I'm not sure I've seen in the discussion of the Occupiers and their issues with student loans is the fact that many students use their student loans for far more than their college expenses:  tuition, fees, books, room and board (if they live on campus).  When they apply for student loans they are, in some cases, encouraged to include expenses above and beyond those needed for their education.  It is bandied about that it is too difficult to work while they are pursuing their educational dream so they need to apply for enough money to cover their other expenses--gas, food, rent, credit cards.  The university takes their cut first and anything left over goes to the student to use as they will.  They are choosing to live a higher lifestyle in the easiest short-term manner.

So all of this boils down to a bunch of people living on government-guaranteed credit that they are unwilling or are unable to repay.  The Occupiers are those people.  At this point it's no different than if they wanted their credit card debt to be forgiven.  Same issue, different lender.