Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I did not make this up ....
The CIA has announced it has created a new project called the Wikileaks Task Force. It has been created to study the harm done to US policy and operations by the Wikileaks dump of documents.
That's right ... you may be approached by an Agent from WTF.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
There are tons of money spent developing and hosting Facebook - constantly updating and adding improved features. So ... how does all of that get paid for? Where is the profit for those who created it, and those who run it? Are they doing it out of the goodness of their hearts? Out of a dedication to social service? A contribution for the good of mankind?
Here are some excerpts from "Which is Worse - Wikileaks or Facebook", by John Quain, FoxNews.com, published on Dec. 21, 2010.
"In actuality, its (Facebook) only purpose is to collect information on its members in order to make money off that date. It can be in the form of ads directed specifically at you based on your interests (those sneaky "you might like" pronouncements on the right-hand side of the page). It can also be in the form of virtual goods or gifts, not to mention all the digital games people play pretending to be agrarian farmers.
And Facebook has a lot of information on its users. It can know where they live, how old they are, what sites they visit, what foods they like, where they work, where they go on vacation, where they like to party, and who their friends are. In Facebook-speak, it's all mapped to your 'social graph'. Translation: they know who's been naughty and who's been nice.
That could be very valuable information for marketers who want to reach people they think are most likely to buy their products ...
... Facebook - while often frivilous and fun and a possible goldmine for advertisers - has a dark side too. It has also become a tool for cyberbullying ... on a scale heretofore unavailable. People get fired for what they post to Facebook. Others have been robbed by thieves via Facebook."
The information that Facebook gathers from its users comes from what they enter in their profile, their account information, and the automated tracking of what it's users do, where they visit on the internet, what they tell their friends, and who their friends are. Users have no control on what information is gathered, indeed, do not even know it is being gathered. Users have no control over how that information is used, or who uses it.
Information gathering is especially profitable/horrific when it involves kids who use Facebook. Kids blindly believe that they're only talking to their friends when they are on the site. They don't realize that their communcations are open for others to read and collect. They don't realize how information they think is cool to share with their buddies can be used to harm them or their families. How many kids tell all their Facebook friends exactly where they (and their families) are at any given time? Hundreds, maybe thousands, of burglaries across the world have occurred because a kid unknowingly told a thief that their house was empty. How many kids have unknowingly accepted friend requests from pedophiles and predators, and then divulged dangerous information to those bastards?
Information gathered is not only available to those who gather it, but is targeted by hackers. Huge databases of identities and personal information are prime targets for theft.
A huge danger that Facebook poses for kids is social misuse. Bullying. Ridicule. Cliques. All that stuff that our kids face while they grow up. Except, now it is not just verbal, it is spread out on the internet, where the entire world can see it. Some kids always have had a cruel streak in them when it came to their contemporaries. Now, they have a powerful tool to take their cruelty to a never seen before level. Kids are killing themselves because of cyber-bullying, and Facebook is the primary enabler.
Another danger is inherent in Facebook use. Because of its popularity, its massive audience, and the incredible number of files that are passed through it (pictures), it has been identified by internet security experts as the biggest source of computer virus infenction in the world. A photo that your friend posted can easily have a virus scabbed onto it after it is posted, without the friend having any knowledge of it. You view the photo, and you have created a highway right to your computer for that virus to come screaming in. In many cases, commercial virus scanners (the ones that most people have on home systems) are unable to prevent this. Then when you post a photo, the virus attaches itself, and spreads amongst the rest of your friends. Photos are a favorite way for virus' to travel between computers.
Virus' are also imbedded in many of those cute games and apps you see pop up on Facebook. A word of advice - if you see something that looks cute, and you don't know where it came from, don't open it. You'll probably be sorry if you do.
For all you Facebook users, just remember this ... the people who make Facebook, and the people who take advantage of it for illegal/immoral purposes, didn't make it to give you a convenient tool to keep up with the members of the Class of '75. They built a tool to make a profit off of you, or to steal from you, or to hurt you. The benefits you see in using it are their hook.
So, if you use Facebook, Be careful! Watch what information you put out there. Monitor what your kids are doing, what they are saying, and to whom. Buy the best internet security program you can get, and keep it up to date.
Update - Forbes Magazine has reported that the creator of Facebook is now worth $50,000,000,000, and is likely to be MUCH richer soon after Facebook issues its first IPO.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
You see them everywhere. The Salvation Army kettle folks. The gut reaction to seeing one of these people is to try and manuever yourself as far away from them as possible, trying to remain invisible to them as you enter or exit the store. The alternative is to carry a large wad of singles, so you can put a dollar (wadded up to make it look like several) into each kettle that you pass.
These folks spend hours in the weather, ringing those darn little bells. Some of them are paid (a little), but most are volunteers. Don't walk around them. Don't try to sneak by without them noticing you. Walk right into/out of the store as you would normally. Look at the person in the eye, smile, and give them a greeting.
I've never rode herd on a kettle, but I believe that if I did, I would certainly prefer that someone be pleasant towards me than to try and act as if I wasn't there.
If you transgress against someone in your vehicle (cut them off unintentionally, change lanes without looking, etc.), and they honk their horn at you, don't flip them off. Raise your hand in recognition that you have done something wrong. If they can see your face, just mouth the words 'I'm sorry'. You'd be surprised at how many of those people will smile at you, wave back, and say it's OK.
If you are in a parking lot, walking to your car, please don't walk down the middle in complete ignorance of everyone around you and the traffic problems you are creating. Yes, you may have the right of way in a parking lot, but that isn't going to be of much help to you if you are squashed beneath a pickup truck.
For God's sake, if you use a buggy to carry your items out to your vehicle, make sure you put that buggy into a cart corral, or take it back inside. Leaving it there to wander around and damage other shoppers' vehicles is one of the most hateful, self-centered, uncaring, ignorant, heinous, arrogant, stupid asshole things you can do.
The Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree, located in Glastonbury, England (125 miles west of London) is said to have dated back to the beginnings of Christianity. Local English legends place religious significance on the tree, and many in England consider it a Holy place.
Someone attacked the tree over the evening of Dec. 8/9, sawing off all the limbs and leaving just a stump. The criminal(s) and motives are unknown, though the attack took place shortly after a Christian themed Holiday ceremony was performed at the tree's site.
I admit to never having heard of this tree or its legend before this past weekend. I do not know if it is indeed a Holy site. I do know what I read about the attack, and am disturbed (though not surprised) at the lack of outrage over it.
My main source of info was an online article from NPR. This horrendously liberal group calls itself a source of news. However, I admit that the article did not reach any anti-Christian conclusions. Neither did it condemn the attack, either as an example of religious persecution or religious hatred. I don't think they even consider it to be a crime.
What torques me off about this is the double standard. Since it was an attack on Christianity, it is no big deal. If the tree was a Muslim Holy site, this would have been front page news all around the world - an example of the West's attack against the peace loving peoples of the Islamic faith.
If this wasn't an attack on a site that Christians revere, if it was just some anonomous 2000 year old tree in the English countryside, NPR would be up in arms over the ecological disaster that had occurred, and they would demand the culprits (as long as they were Christian) be hung. Eco-nazis all over the world would be rioting in the streets, trying to find a way to blame George Bush.
Religious hatred is religious hatred, no matter who is the victim. Just because the offended parties are Christian, does this make it any less heinous than if they were Muslim? Why is it that the mistreatment of a Koran is a hideous offense, one punishable by death in the minds of many Muslims (and a horrid offense in the minds of almost everyone else) - and the burning of a Bible is considered to be a protected expression of Free Speech?
Religious freedom and tolerance has to be across the board, no matter what the religion in question is. That's the way it should be. Sadly, it never has been, and doesn't look like it ever will be.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Ireland has aksed for, and received an economic bailout from other Eurpoean countries to keep it from going completely insolvent. A crash in real estate prices has left the government with a huge shortfall in meeting its social program commitments. There simply isn't enough money to pay for all the handouts the government gives, and there won't be for many years.
Ireland follows Greece in doing this. Portugal, Italy, and Spain are in danger of needing bailouts as well. The money needed for the bailous is coming from other nations, in the EU, the United States, and through the IMF. The drain of their cash to give to these countries is creating a strain on the nations that are istill in relatively good shape, phsing them into problem areas.
Spain appears to be the lynchpin. If it goes under, the whole EU may implode. France and Germany will not have the will or capital to save everyone else. England is facing massive problems. The riots by college students this week are because the government addressed college tuition prices. The government took away many of the subsidies it gives to finance students through university. It had to to cut their budget numbers. The effect is that the average student who was using the government subsidies will have to pay 3 times more than what they are now in order to continue their education.The financial situation in England is dire. Whole sections of their defense establishment will be cut to trim expenses, leaving the former Empire relatively helpless to defend itself. Why is England having so many problems - Socialist medicine and other government handouts/entitlements that spend far more than the government takes in.
Obama reached a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for 2 years. 2 whole years. The result has been a revolt by the far left and most of the Democrats in the House, who see this as Obama caving in to the rich. All Dems wanted the so-called middle class tax cuts to remain in place (rebranding them as the Obama tax cuts). It is tax rate for the 'rich' that has got their panties in a wad. Democrats in the House conspired amongst themselves in caucus (no Republicans allowed) to block Obama's proposal from even reaching the floor of the House for a vote. Reports from multiple news sources say the meeting was angry, loud, and vindictive. One unnamed Democrat Rep was said to have jumped to his feet during the proceedings and shout "F**K OBAMA" at the top of his voice.
The far left has the most liberal/social President in office the country has ever seen. He is their poster boy. And now, he does one thing they don't like, and they are jumping all over him. F**K OBAMA ... who would have predicted that 6 months ago?
Obama, Democrats, and a few moderate Republicans are freaking out at the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the 'rich'. They say it will cost our government over $700,000,000,000 over the next two years. BULLSHIT. The extension of the tax cuts only keeps the tax rate at the level it has been for the past 8 years. It is not aadditional cuts. No one is going to see more money in their pocket from this extension. What it does mean that $700,000,000,000 will stay in our pockets, rather than being stolen from us by the Federal Government. That doesn't COST the government anything. It prevents them from spending that money, money they don't have.
Obama and the Dems have pushed through their huge spending bills by using CBO numbers to help project the cotst of those bills as much lower than they really will be. The CBO had to use numbers based upon expiration of the tax cuts, and the resulting jump in all tax rates to all Americans, to base their reports on.
The left is screaming bloody murder at how the rich are stealing hundreds of billions of dollars from the government through extension of the Bush tax custs for those who earn over $250K. I have heard such incredible claims as it is going to cost the government up to $700,000,000,000 to extend these 'rich' cuts for two years. What an absolute load of political bullshit.
Consider this. The filthy rich, those who the left hates so much, employ armies of lawyers and tax accountants to help them avoid paying taxes. Does anyone in their right mind think that George Soros, billionaire Socialist, payes income taxes on his worth at the current top rate of 35%. No way in hell. I'd be surprised if he hasn't managed to find a way to get the government to pay him! Loopholes and tax shelters createds specifically to allow the rich to avoid taxes are scattered throughout the tax code - put there by politicians helping their rich friends. This theoretical example is entirely possible. Billionaire T.T. does not work for anyone, and hence does not receive a 'paycheck'. He makes millions every year through his investments in tax free bonds and securities. He takes advantage of government tax breaks, and shelters for his money. T.T. could double his fortune in a year, and not owe a single penny of income tax - under Obama, he could even receive a government check back.
Is upping the tax rate on the 'rich' going to make these people pay their share of taxes? If they aren't paying at 35%, what makes anyone think they'll pay at 39.6%?
There have been movements in the past to close these loopholes, but they haven't gone anywhere. Why? Because the targets of such a movement own the politicians who would have to change the laws. It just ain't going to happen.So, what does this leave? It leaves the 'rich' who fall into the category of $250K up to, I guess, about $5,000,000. Rich, perhaps. Paying income taxes, because they aren't rich enough to have the armies to gain all the loopholes with. Upping the tax rate on them by another 5% or so will do what, exactly? It might gain the government an extra $12,500 from someone making right at $250,000, per year. That's less than a drop in the bucket to the government, It is a lot of money to the person it is being taken from, money directly out of their pocket, decreasing what they can spend, what they can invest.
So, if Obama and the Democrats are right in claiming $700,000,000,000 lost from the loss of this tax increase on the 'rich', and presume that the uber rich aren't going to pay anymore than they already do (which is almost none), that means that there have to be about 56,000,000 people in the United States making between $250K and $5,000,000. (Yes, my math is not exact, but it does illustrate the size of the issue pretty well).
Either 1/6 of all people in the United States (men, women, and children) are mid-level millionaires, or Obama's numbers are a trumped up pile of BULLSHIT. I tend to believe the latter is actually the correct choice ....
Update - While they are screaming bloody murder that the Bush tax cuts on the top level tax rate will cost the government $700,000,000,000, Democrats are tyring to push through an overall spending bill to keep the government running, before the lame duck session is over. Republicans are balking, because the 1924 page spending bill is full of pure pork spending. Lawmakers, primarily Democrat, have loaded this bill up with every pet project and vote buying scheme they can think of, and are trying to push it through quickly before anyone can read the massive document. Billions upon billions of wasted money - OUR MONEY. Democrats - absolute f**king liars when it comes to fiscal responsibility.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
In a nutshell, a pre-existing condition is something you are afflicted with/experiencing before you sign up with the insurance company. If you are signing up for private insurance (you pay for it) the insurance company will either adjust the premium you pay to take into consideration this condition, or they may deny you coverage completely. If you are receiving insurance through an employer, the insurance company will probably have something in the policy stating that they will not cover the condition under the policy.
If you are a person trying to get this insurance, pre-existing really sucks. You are either going to have to pay more for your insurance, look for another insurance company, or pay for that condition out of your pocket.
If you are an insurance company, pre-existing really sucks. You know up front what your likely costs are going to be to cover this person with a known condition. You have to make a business decision as to whether to charge more for the insurance, deny coverage for that person, or deny coverage for the condition. If you choose none of those, you know up front you are going to lose a bunch money.
Pre-existing conditions really suck. They are a fact of life. Rarely does your body, your health take into consideration what your insurance situation is.
Obamacare prevents insurance companies from taking any action due to pre-existing conditions. No fare increases. No denied coverage. Insurance companies MUST cover the condition, whether they have collected any premiums for the coverage or not. The private citizen/healthcare consumer in me loves this. I hate the word pre-existing condition in relation to insurance, because it invariably means it will cost me money. However, when I consider the broader implications, I am concerned.
Obama and his minions leave the discussion right there, because it sounds so good. They purposely avoid the difficult questions and situations their declaration brings up. This is by choice, because the American Public as a whole would recoil if they knew the ramifications.
As I've explained in earlier posts, insurance is a risk pool. A group of people pay into the pool (premiums). When a member of the group has a loss (or injury/illness), they can pull money from the pool to recover. A simple example - a village of 20 families creats an insurance pool. They each pay $5 into the pool. One family suffers a barn fire. They can pull money from the pool to rebuld the barn. The pool is depleted until additional premiums are colected form the families to replenish it. If the mayor manages the pool, he may charge a fee, that fee being taken out of the pool.
The village families are the insured. The family who lost their barn is the claimant. The mayor is the insurance company. The system works. The insurance companies make the profits they need to stay in business. The system is so large that many people just can't grasp the fundamentals.
Obamacare's pre-existing ban has a good effect when a person changes insurance companies (due to personal choice or job change). The ban prohibits the new insurance form declining to cover the condition that was previously covered by the other company. This is good for the consumer, but bad for the insurance company.
It is also good when someone who does not have insurance signs on with an insurance company, and that company must cover conditions the consumer already has. This is very good for the consumer, and very bad for the insurance company.
A 'loophole' is created by this last 'good deed'. Under the new law, someone who chooses to not spend any money on insurance can wait until they find out they have a condition/illness before signing up for insurance. the insurance companies cannot deny them coverage, or charge them extra. The insurance company has to shell out money to cover this person without ever having collected any premiums to pay for it.
This is not insurance. This is welfare. It is welfare dictated by the government, but provided by private insurance companies at their cost.
What healthcare consumer in their right mind would pay for health insurance if they are not in actual need of it right then, given the government has told them they don't have to? It would be stupid not to wait until you get sick to take out a policy.
Likewise, no insurance company in their right mind would offer health insurance under these conditions. There would be no money coming in in the form of premiums, just money going out for claims. No business can operate like that. Only the government can do that.
So, if you read the headline description of Obamacare's handling of pre-existing conditions, it sounds great. The detals (all 2400 pages of them) contained within the bill are the real defnition, the defnintion that Obama and the Democrats refuse to talk about.
The end game in this is simple. Obama is on record multiple times stating this is his goal. He wants a single payer healthcare system, where the government controls all healtchcare, and pays for all healthcare. There is no room for private insurance companies or private health insurance, or employer provided health insurance in Obama's model.
Obama's model is not new. Leftists/Socialists in this country have been trying to force it on us for decades. Each time it has been uncovered for what it was, and defeated. This time, they succeeded in fooling enough people to let them put it into place.
Here is Ronald Reagan speaking to theAmerican People back in 1962 about he dangers of Socialized Medicine. Darned near exactly what Obama has pushed onto us. Remember, if you take the time to listen to this, he was a registered Democrat at the time ...
Rep. Boehner called Democrat efforts to pass a half assed measure to extend some of the Bush era tax cuts by what it is - chicken sh*t. Decorum dictated he use a slightly less offensive word, but the message got across just the same ...
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
They stop in the aisle, apparently discussing something. I get to within 20-25 feet, and it hits me. A powerful stench, it causes me to gag out load. I almost lose my lunch right there in the middle of the aisle. At first, I don't realize where it is coming from. As I continue walking, it gets stronger the closer to these women I get. They are actually seperated by about 15 feet now. The stench seems to be a mix of body odor, halitosis, and the putrid smell of flesh rotting.
As I pass the older woman and get nearer the younger one, it is apparent that the older one is the source of the odor. From snippets of conversation I hear, they are mother/daughter.
How awful. How can you stink that bad, and not know it? How can you stink that bad and your family not notice it? Or do they think they are being kind by not mentioning it to you? If I smelled bad, I would want someone to tell me so I could take care of it.
Lady, please ... take a long, thorough shower. Use some deodorant. Your fellow shoppers, and I suspect your family, will be grateful.
(And no, this was not at a Walmart ...)
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Now I admit to not having known much about DREAM. I had heard some of the mainstream media reports that it establishes a path to legal citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, children who are working towards college degrees or are serving in the military. To me, that actually sounds pretty good.
Republicans have stood against it, and I couldn't understand why, unless it was just from being the Party of NO. It seemed to me that getting behind it would help, at least in small part, the GOP's standing with Hispanics.
Well, details of DREAM are coming out, and it is clear to see why it is objectionable.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has authored an excellent article on "10 Things You Need to Know About S.3827, the DREAM Act". This is a real eye opener, and should be read by every American. It shows the real reasons behind DREAM and the Democrat push to get it quickly through Congress.
In addition, John Romano over at Yes, But However has written a piece exposing how DREAM is actually amnesty for illegals. Well worth the read.
If you aren't fully versed on DREAM, if all you know is what the mainstream media and Democrat Congressional leadership have told you, you owe it to yourself to read these pieces and understand what they are trying to do. Read, then contact your congressional representatives and demand they stop DREAM.
This latest round of Wikileaks has caused the White House and State Department to finally try and get tough with the a*hole who is publishing all of these illegally obtained documents. Hillary Clinton is in full damage control on the airwaves, and flying around overseas like crazy trying to smooth diplomatic feelings over the contents of some of the leaked communications. Eric Holder has come out and sternly stated that if any criminal activity is connected with the leaks, his DoJ will fully invesitigate it. IF?????? Mr. Holder, do you not know that espionage is a crime?
Where have these morons, and their leader His Higness Obama, been? Where was the outrage over the previous leaks, which were centered around defense related documents? Why haven't they captured and jailed the accused rapist who runs the site? Why haven't they killed the site itself? (The technology to do that is certainly available - just ask the Chinese).
The answer is pretty simple, and it is disturbing. The previous leaks actually benefitted Obama and his policies. Anything that embarrasses America's military and the previous Administration is welcome. Those leaks must have had the White House laughing their butts off - and they made no attempt at all to curtail them.
What's changed with this latest round of leaks? Something rather big, it turns out. The majority of the State Department documents leaked have been produced by the Obama Administration and Clinton's Department of State - their efforts, their policies, their personnel. This time, the leaks embarass THEM, and it must be dealt with. Unfortunately for our country, they knew this was coming, they had plenty of warning, and they did nothing to stop it. Now they are in damage control, and not doing a very good job of it.
Some of what I've heard in this round of leaks is actually good information to have out. In no way do I condone the theft, but some of what has come out so far is good for the world to know (a little bit of it, anyway). Some bolsters US stance in the world. Some shows the incompetence of Obama and his policies, and the folks he chose to implement them. They're not laughing now that the egg is on their face, rather than across the Potomac.
They need to find this criminal, get him extradited here, try him, and lock him up for the rest of his life. Espionage. They need to find the person in the State Department that stole all of these documents and gave them to this jerk - and that person needs to rot in jail for the rest of their life. Someone needs to find out how documents classified as SECRET are being swiped by the thousands and provided to someone who uses them to attack our country.
Obama's Administration hasn't been too concerned with stopping this. After all, liberals rejoice in whistle-blowing and illegal information leaks. People who break laws to dump private information, no matter what the consequences, have always been heroes of the Far Left. Now that one of these leakers has hit the hero of the Far Left square in the 'nads, it will be interesting to see the reaction.
Update - Facts are coming to light that indicate Obama and his minions aren't that bothered by the leaks this time, either. The internet servers that mirror the leaker's web site (the locations from which pepople in the Western Hemisphere see the web site) are located in the US and owned by Amazon.com! The DNS that services the site, and the domain name registrar are also located in the US. This means that the DoJ has jurisdiction, and could shut the website down anytime they want to.
The government has proven it has thispower already, when it shut down multiple web sites accused of pirating copyrighted materials last week. They shut down the sites and siezed the domain names.
Apparently, Obama's government thinks protecting a Lady Gaga recording from being reproduced illegally is far more important than stopping this incredible leak of secret government communications and other documents. Says a lot about the Far Left's priorities, doesn't it?
Update II - I saw a comment from John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN. His supposition is why should we believe all of those leaked documents? There is nothing that would prevent this criminal and his buddies from throwing in a few fake ones. If they have digital copies of the originals, forging more to say whatever they want would be easy. Hidden amongst all the thousands of other ones, who would know? Their purpose is to embarass and damage the US and its allies - why not add a few fakes ones with really controversial stuff in them to stoke the fires a bit?
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
John Force won his 15th NHRA Funny Car Championship a couple of weekends ago at the season ending event out in Pomona, CA. Force entered the event trailing points leader Matt Hagan by 38 points. Since each round of eliminations is worth 20 points, Force had to go two more rounds than Hagan to come from behind and win the title.
Hagan lost a close race in the first round. Force went on to win the event, clinching the championship in style.
John Force is the most recognizable and most popular driver in drag racing. His boisterous style causes fans to either love him or hate him. His teamates love him, his competitors pretty much all hate him - though there is a lot of respect. You don't have to like someone to respect their accomplishments.
Force runs a racing empire. His son-in-law, Robert Hight, drives one of his team cars, and won the championship last year. His daugher, Ashley, drives a team car, and is a very talented driver. Another daughter, Courtney, is in the sportman categories, and will be testing in a Funny Car soon (a car with her name on it was displayed at Pomona).
Force has also endured a lot ot pain and tragedy. Eric Medlen, a young driver full of promise, died in a Force team car during a practice run. Force himself barely survived a horrific crash in Dallas two years ago. At age 62, John is decades older than almost all of the competitors trying to knock him off. How many more years will he run? He says he will as long as he can still win. The way he's going, retirement won't be for another decade or so!
Force has had more than his share of 'moments' during his career. Here are a couple, leading off with the Dallas crash that came very close to ending that career.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Oh boy ...
The NASCAR world goes ... YAWN ...
NASCAR ratings continue to fall. Popularity continues to drop. Fans continue to lose interest. Why? Because a guy most fans can't stand has dominated the sport for 5 years now.
To Mr. Johnson, this is what I think of your achievement - to quote a famous Frenchman (as heard in the classic cinematic masterpiece "Monty Python and the Holy Grail") ...
"I fart in your general direction"
Saturday, November 20, 2010
3 mid-teens, 15 or 16 maybe. Two boys and a girl. Dressed goofy, with Converse high tops, multicolored knee socks, old style beenie baseball caps tilted off to one side. No cigarettes or visible piercings, thank goodness.
All three have pacifiers in their mouths.
Yes, baby pacifiers. Blinkies. Fautzees.
They pull them out to talk to each other, then plug them right back in. I truly wish I had a camera with me, I would have not hesitated.
I really don't know what to say ...
Friday, November 19, 2010
DHS Nazi-In-Chief Napolitano and TSA Head Inquisitor Pistole are trying to convince us that these more stringent regulations are necessary to keep us safe. Granted, these methods MAY prevent incidents like the underwear bomber ... and notice I said MAY. Threats from terrorists are always evolving - it is a deadly game where they make a move, we counter move. We are always playing catchup, because no matter how much we hate the people who want to kill us, we must realize that they (at least the head guys) are pretty damn smart.
So, do we need more security? More TSA agents standing around looking like potted plants? More old ladies and babies being frisked? Not exactly.
What we need is better security.
Better security requires going after the terrorists themselves, not going after what they are trying to smuggle onto a plane.
How do you do that? Well, besides the spook work that takes place where we don't know about it, there are measures that can actually take place at the airport. What are they?
The fact that we in the US do not legally allow any type of profiling is ludicrous. To say that a young man of obvious Middle-Eastern heritage should receive no more scrutiny than a 90 year old white grandma from Iowa is insane. Yet, we are forced to do it, to remain politically correct. To look at them differently violates civil rights. Just plain insanity ...
We should take hints at air travel security from the Isrealis. They've been doing it seriously for a lot of years now, and they are very good at it. Their primary concern isn't for civil rights, their primary concern is keeping their citizens and their aircraft safe.
Isreali security is in charge of screening for all El Al flights. They are also in charge of screening for passengers bound for or flying out of Isreal. They write and enforce the rules. They use profiling as their primary tool. I have been to Isreal once, on business. I was subjected to a thorough 30 minute 'interview' before I was allowed to get onto a US owned airplane to fly OUT of the country. This wasn't anything special. People who fit certain profiles were automatically pulled aside for such interviews. Certain people who fit more suspicious profiles got longer 'interviews'. There was nothing personal about it. It was not abusive. It was intense, purposeful, and professional. You trip up on your answers, or your answers lead to more questions, and you got taken to another area for a much longer interview (thankfully, I was not selected for this priviledge). These people knew exactly what they were doing, what they were looking for. Every look, every question, every movement had a very specific reason. It all starts with profiling to identify those who should receive this level of screening ...
Now, I'm not saying we should curtail civil rights. I truly hate it when the government tells me to do something, and I would not want to be on the wrong end of profiling. However, what we are doing violates everyone's civil rights equally, and its effectiveness is debatable. I'm not saying we should to to the extreme of the Isreali model, but to handicap our security efforts by not even being able to mutter the word 'profile' is insane. Insane. Insane .....
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
This simple but clear statement regarding the out of control spending going on in our government is right on target. Who said this?
No on all of the above. This statement is attributed to Marcus Tellius Cicero, a Roman scholar who lived from 106-43 BC. The Roman empire didn't pay much attention to him, and look at what eventually happened to them ...
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I know ... those of you who have read this blog for a while may be shocked at those statements, but I truly believe them.
Hydrogen is a gas. It burns clean. It is plentiful, since it is one of the elements that make up water. Many of you will have seen images of cute little cars sporting 'hydrogen powered' decals on them. Like this:
The reality of hydrogen powered vehicles for public use may be more along the lines of this - something big, very well protected, not vulnerable to normal traffic fenderbenders:
Hydrogen is extremely flamable, and very easy to ignite. I have a difficult time seeing a future of small, cute hydrogen powered vehicles filling the highways. They will be involved in collisions. They will be split open, because small cars just don't have much protection around the propulsion system, not matter what the fuel is. What in the world is going to keep the hydrogen fuel cell from cooking off and incinerating everyone within a hundred yards? Drive a huge armored vehicle? That's the only way I'm getting into a hydrogen powered vehicle.
To all you eco-nazis who feel I am being a paranoid tool of big oil, I give you this as a shining example of a hydrogen vehicle's encounter with a spark .... the Hindenburg.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I set foot in my parent's house of over 40 years for what was probably the last time. My father is no longer with us, my mother has moved to downsize - the house was just too much for her to keep up with. The last several months have seen us cleaning, moving, throwing away, and repairing it in preparation to sell. I never knew how much stuff a family could accumulate over the course of 40 years until it had to all be gone through and distributed/disposed of. It was a long process, sometimes putting us at odds with each other. But it seems to be finished now. The house stands empty, awaiting the final papers to be signed so the new owner can take the keys.
My parents designed the house themselves in 1969. It saw me and my siblings through our formative years. It was our first 'real' home - being Air Force and airline brats, we had spent our lives to that point in apartments or rentals in different locations. 40 Thanksgivings ... 40 Christmas celebrations ... those walls saw an awful lot of joy, and some sadness. My father drew his last breath there, comforted in the knowledge that he was 'home' and not in a hospital bed.
The emotional impact of severing ties with the structure eluded me until today. There has been so much to do that it was easy to not concentrate on what we were actually doing. Until today. The last pieces moved out, I stood alone inside of it, and the impact was suddenly there.
I looked around. It had never looked so empty. I looked outside at the area where we had returned so many of our beloved pets to the earth, and cried. I know in my head that their spirit, their essence, is long gone, but in my heart it hurts.
I close the door and lock it, start the truck, and for one last time, back down the winding, narrow, tree lined driveway way too fast - as I had done a thousand times before. For the last time ...
It's just a house. I keep telling myself, it's just a house ...
Friday, November 12, 2010
John Patrick Barton was charged with two counts of murder for killing Kandace Hull and her daughter Autumn when he hit their car on I-35 just north of Dallas. Tony Hull, husband, and two more children were injured. Barton hit the Hull's car from behind at such a speed that it forced the Hull car's trunk into the front seat. Police testimony during the trial estimated that Barton was doing in excess of 120mph at the time of the accident. His blood alcohol level was 3 times the legal limit.
Barton had been convicted of DWI three times previously, and was out on parole for his latest violation at the time of the accident.
Barton's trial was this week. He pled guilty to the two counts. A jury sentenced him to two life sentences. He will not be eligible for parole for 30 years. Barton was apologetic, took responsibility. A shame he didn't do that before that last drive ....
The legal system worked in the aftermath of this tragedy. Barton will not be driving drunk endangering the public for at least 3 decades. The family, and the public, will receive some small comfort that he was not plea bargained and turned loose on the streets again.
If the legal system had only worked this well after his first DWI ... or his second ... or his third ...
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
This sounds like, and is, a bunch of money. It isn't what it used to be, thanks to Obama's out of control spending. $100,000,000,000 just isn't as much as it used to be - but it is still a very large chunk of money.
News organizations and Democrats have been pushing these GOP leaders to be specific on what they will cut. Some of the questioning has been blunt - who will you upset, what critical programs will go away and how will they affect the people who are dependent on them? Even some of the more conservative commentators, those who supported the GOP ascension, are asking, and asking hard.
So far, the GOP has refused to start giving a list of items they will attack. This is very smart on their part. Identifying spcific programs and cuts at this point in time would allow Democrats and proponents of programs that are targeted to fight back. It would give the Democrat controlled lame duck Congress time to move to protect those programs. It would give special interests a head start on working to defend the programs they benefit from. Lobbyists would have plenty of time to prepare to fight for their causes.
This is smart, and the GOP should not give in to the temptation to start laying out the cuts until the new Congress is sworn in and can begin the work on cutting out that $100,000,000,000 of wasteful spending.
As a result to that meeting, $787,000,000,000 was placed in the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). A single person was placed in charge of distributing the money as he saw fit. No provision was made for any kind of oversight or any kind of accounting for what happened to the money. By law, there is no way for the American Public to know what happened to this money.
A large portion of the pile of cash (all of which was borrowed - deficit spending) were large financial institutions - banks, credit card companies, mortgage companies. Supposedly , this cash was supposed to flow through those organizations to the public in the form of mortage relief, credit card paydowns, and low cost loans. None of that happened - that money went to those organizations, who pretty much all kept it to bolster their bottom lines. How much money exactly was this? No one except the TARP director and Obama know - estimates I have seen place this at $250-300,000,000,000.
The rest of the money has sat unused. Actually that isn't correct, because the money doesn't exist. It is actually Congressional authorization for the TARP director and Obama to spend that much money without having to ask permission or justify the expenditure.
Republican efforts to revoke that authorization have fallen on deaf ears. Obama will not even allow the subject to be discussed. Who can blame him? He's got the largest slush fund in the history of the world, and Congress' authority to spend it however he wants to without fear of anyone questioning it.
Some Republicans in the new House leadership have announced that they will hold investigations into TARP, and demand an accounting of the expenditures. Republican, Democrat, I don't care ... we deserve to know what has happened to this incredible sum of money! If there is any of it that hasn't been spent, authorization for spending it should be revoked immediately. It is clear that the money was not needed for the purpose for which it was made available.
Now, Obama and his finance 'geniuses' want to spend another $600,000,000,000 on another stimulus package. Even though the last stimulus was a dismal failure and horrendous waste of money, they want to do it again. To 'soften' the blow, Obama is offering to use $250,000,000,000 of those unused TARP funds to help fund this stimulus. How generous of him.
It is a very sad statement about the condition of our government and its leadership over the past couple of years that figures of hundreds of billions of dollars are thrown around as if they are chump change. This is one huge sh**pile of money, money our country doesn't have. How much? Each billion dollars Obama throws around is equal to $3.33 for every man, woman, and child in the US, including illegals. The original TARP fund was equal to $2623.33 for every one of us, whether we pay taxes or not. Where is all of it? What has happened to it? Why can't we hold anyone acocuntable for it?
I want to know ...
Friday, November 5, 2010
I do not hunt. Although I think firing a weapon (the larger the better) and busting targets is fun, I just don't care to kill animals for sport. I don't have that big a problem with those folks who do ... but I get a kick out of how many consider themselves 'real outdoorsman/hunter' just because they grab a rifle and go sit in a deer stand for a couple of weekends a year. Might be a bit more exciting if the deer could shoot back.
Anyway, for all those who will be out in the scrub this weekend trying to bag that 'Trophy Rack' to put above the fireplace, may I suggest a couple of Trophy Rack alternatives?
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Harry Reid's campaign manager appearing on MSNBC after the race was called, attributed his victory to the unbelievable support of unions, who brought in thousands of people and millions of dollars from outside the state to influence the election. Imagine that - a bunch of union thugs came in and stole the election, and he publicly states that it is something to be proud of!
I spent entirely too much time watching the returns on TV. Most of the time was spent with Fox News, but it was instructive to hit some of the other channels as well. MSNBC was hilarious - somehow they were trying to convince their tiny audience that this was a good result for Democrats, that it showed how fractured the Tea Party had made the Republicans, and it was a glorious victory that some of the Tea Party candidates were defeated. All of their pundits were predicting that this victory was actually going to doom the Republican Party. WTF are those idiots smoking - San Francisco's pot?
CNN was universally the slowest major network to call races. Every race they called had been called, with exactly the same prediction, by Fox News 5-10 minutes earlier. Couple this with the fact that several of their pundits uttered lines that had been spoken verbatim on Fox a few minutes earlier, and it looked to me that CNN had cut their budget by laying off all of its researchers, and were just watching Fox News to get their material.
CNN's absolutely horrible political panel forum was on prime display last night. Two tables full of political has-beens and far left kook media talking heads argued, yelled, and fought amongst themselves so much that there wasn't a single coherent thought that came out of them. This is the second election they have tried that format - someone really ought to tell them it ain't working ...
The City of Denver defeated a ballot initiative that would have required the City to publicly begin tracking illegal aliens. NO ... not those illegal aliens ... illegal SPACE ALIENS. I am not kidding. The strangest part of that is that it was in Denver, not San Francisco.
More proof that California is the most f***ed up state in the Union. Jerry Brown, far left kook flake, wins the governor's chair for the third time. This is the guy who was run out of Sacramento on a rail for his fiscal insanity during his last tenure in office. CA is already bankrupt ... hard to imagine it getting any worse for the state, but it is going to! Couple that with Barbar Boxer squeeking out reelection, and you've got a state that continues to prove that it would be best for the rest of the country if the Big One hits and CA sinks into the Pacific.
Democrats, led by Obama are now calling for more cooperation, more compromise, more hands across the aisle ... BULLSHIT! Democrats offered no compromise when they swept into power in 2006 and 2008. Now they want to be cooperative??? If Republicans fall for this, they will have completely misread the meaning of this election. The GOP has made historic gains because the vast majority of the county wants Obama stopped! If that means being the Party of NO, then that's fine. If the House majority does nothing but stop the Obama agenda, then it has succeeded.
The central Texas Congressional seat saw incumbent Democrat Chet Edwards trounced by Republican newcomer Bill Flores. Edwards had been in that seat for almost 20 years. He had survived election after election, being a Democrat in a overwhelmingly Republican district, by being moderate (and to be honest) helping champion military causes. (Ft. Hood is in his district). When Obama swept into power, Edwards became a Pelosi lapdog, doing her bidding and voting with her almost every single time. He voted against Obamacare - but he was allowed to do so by Pelosi after it became clear his vote was not needed to pass it. The public saw through him and his lying campaign rhetoric, and sent him packing back to Waco.
Eddie Bernice Johnson handily won reelection as Congressional rep from South Dallas, even though she had been tainted by the scholarship scandal recently. Just goes to show that if you are a minority representative to a overwhelmingly minority district, and your schtick is race baiting and telling your constituents that they should get everything form the government for free, you can pretty much get away with murder and still win reelection.
Update - a few more gems ....
MSNBC has suspended Keith Oblermann for making donations to political candidates, including one who he hosted on 'his show' several times. The screeching lunatic made the donations without seeking the network's permission, which is a violation of NBC's internal policies. Imagine that - they let this lunatic spew his vile hatred across the airwaves for years, and now they suspend him for donating to a politician's reelection? Yeah, I want to be rid of him, but that is one of his less offensive offenses .... (he should have been fired many moons ago)
Left wing pundits, manistream media sources, Democrats, and a few RINOS are telling anyone who will listen that the new Republican majority has to compromise with Obama and the Democrats. Can't have gridlock, country wants compromise, got to have bipartisanship .... BULLSHIT. The country didn't elect compromise on Nov. 2, it elected to reject Obama and the far left agenda. Those who came to power in 2008 believing theyhad a mandate to fundamentally change our country now want to cling to some power, in hopes of keeping intact the damage they have already done. If Obama wants to come across the aisle and help undo some of the damage he has done, then it is fine for him to compromise. Unfortunately, his definition of compromise is for Republicans to cave in to what he wants.
Look at political compromise in our recent past. George W. Bush bent over backwards to compromise with Democrats. Even with majorities in both sides of Congress, he went out of his way to address Democrat concerns and causes. Instead of forcing Conservative values and legislation ont he country, as he could have, he stood in the middle and 'compromised'. While he did many great things, and kept this country from falling apart financially post 9/11, he allowed the Federal Government to grow far too big. He listened to the left too much. What did he get for it? He was savaged by the same people he bent over backwards to accomodate. What did we get for it - big, expensive government.
Barack Obama came into office riding the lie of governing from the middle, wanting to compromise and become the great uniter. He immediately showed us that he had no such intention of following up on that campaign platform. Can anyone out there name a SINGLE thing that Obama/Pelosi/Reid compromised with Republicans on? Democrats used their majorities to shove their far left agenda down our throats, and no Republican dissent was tolerated.
Why should there now be this great call to compromise? Because the losers always want to compromise in order to stay relevant.
As Obama and so many of his minions told us -
Update II - I just saw that Pelosi has decided she will grace us by running for Minority Leader of the House. It's not a guarantee she will win - her arrogance and far left kook stance caused many of the Democrat losses in the election, and many of the remaining Dems (and the Democrat national leadership) have got to be wary of her causing a repeat in 2012.
It will be so nice to see Pelosi, self appointed Queen of the United States, have to eat some humble pie and stand in the background. She will not be sitting behind Obama as he lectures Congress anymore. She will not be jetting around on her personal Air Force anymore. She will not be sitting in her throne room anymore - John Boehner will! I hope she gets banished to one of those closet sized offices across the street. I hope she has to fly commercial (gasp!) on her way back and forth to the sin pit of San Francisco. Better yet, put her on a Greyhound bus, where she belongs.
I would love to see John Boehner get himself a Louisville Slugger. Every time she opens her mouth, he needs to whack her up the side of her head, and yell "Shut The F*** Up".
She treated Republicans, moderate Dems, and the American public as trailer trash - things to be manipulated and ridiculed. She will demand that she be treated with dignity now in her new position (providing she wins it) - she should receive exactly what she deserves!