March 31, 2012

Did Lee and Barr forget how to tweet?

Forget Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.  If celebrities, politicians and other public figures want to use their media presence to right a wrong, then here are the two names they should be concerned with:

Drew Faircloth and Alicia Brown
These two shitbags disguised as educators have been making a sport out of verbally and mentally abusing a student in their care.  10-year old Jose Salinas has cerebal palsy.
Salinas was repeatedly and viciously mocked for drooling, as well as for having difficulty speaking, by Alabama-area schoolteachers Drew Faircloth and Alicia Brown.
The scandal was discovered when little Jose’s mother, Melisha Salinas, attached a recording device to Jose’s wheelchair, which caught some of the vicious remarks on tape for all to hear.
“You drooled on the paper, that’s disgusting,” Faircloth says in one recording. Brown, meanwhile, says “Keep your mouth closed and don’t drool on my paper. I do not want to touch your drool. Do you understand that? Obviously, you don’t.”
When Salinas tries to respond to the taunts in one exchange, Brown callously fires back, “That’s not an answer. That’s not even a word.”
When presented with the recording, the teachers were temporarily placed on administrative leave and then allowed back at school.  Now that Jose's mom went to the press, the school board is deciding their employment future.

What about calling the police and having those two fuckwads arrested for abusing a child?  How about cleaning the administrative house at that school?  No one that participated, was aware, suspected but didn't speak up or had a part in allowing those two asshats around children should ever work in education again.

If you would like to vomit, click this link and listen to a snippet of the recorded audio.

March 30, 2012

Millionaire Dreams

I would guess that I have bought lottery tickets a couple dozen times in my life.  Mostly spur of the moment purchases or scratch off tickets for stocking stuffers.  I am not much of a gambler to begin with, and the odds of the lottery make it seem so pointless. 

That said, I have in my possession one Megamillions lottery ticket.  Listening to the news wonks today, I learned that I have a better chance of getting struck by lightning TWICE in my life, than I do of winning this jackpot.  No matter, it is all in fun. 

Time to cross my fingers...

Best. Thank you note. Ever

I admit to being that mom.  I make my kids write thank you notes.  Real notes, not those fill in the blank things.  I like teachers who make their classes write notes after field trips and guest speakers.  While my kids have said cute and memorable things in their letters, none of them have displayed out-of-the-box thinking or a sense of humor anywhere near this Austin, Texas fourth grader's effort at thanking a meteorologist that visited his school:


Here is the text:
Dear Mr. Ramon,
Thank you for coming to our school and teaching us about the weather.
Some day when I become supreme Ultra-Lord of the universe I will not make you a slave, you will live in my 200 story castle where unicorn servants will feed your doughnuts off their horns.
I will personally make you a throne that is half platnum and half solid gold and jewel encrested.
Thank you again for teaching us about meteoroligy, you're more awesome than a monkey wearing a tuxedo made out of bacon riding a cyborg unicorn with a lightsaber for the horn on the tip of a space shuttle closing in on Mars, while ingulfed in flames….And in case you didn't know, that's pretty dang sweet.
Sincerely, Flint.
PS. Look on the back for a drawing. :) )

It is little wonder that this heartfelt, creative gem has gone viral.  I just hope that young Flint uses his new found power for good instead of evil and has the time of his young life riding this wave of celebrity.  That would be pretty dang sweet.

Texas Men and their Trucks

Some folks down in San Antonio are a little upset over the graffiti spray painted on their neighbor's house:


As you might have guessed, the homeowner did the artwork hisownself.  The article points out that police and code enforcement feel like he hasn't broken any laws.  They don't have any ordinances that regulate the painting of houses, and since he didn't spell out the profanity, he hasn't violated any obscenity laws.

I have never had a vehicle stolen, but I have had my car and house broken into.  It is a horrible mix of emotions ranging from anger, violation, paranoia, powerlessness and fear.  We love our trucks in Texas, so I feel this man's pain. 

I do have a hard time believing that 'U R A dead man' can't be construed as some sort of threat.  Maybe the San Antonio PD and DA haven't gotten that far yet.

The neighbors are up in arms because the children can see it!  And it has caused a steady stream of gawkers. 

I say, give the man his day.  It might not get his truck back, but it is making him feel like he is doing something.  I think he will move on soon enough and not want to be reminded.  Then he will have a nice fresh coat of paint on his house and the neighbors won't have anything to bitch about.  Until something of theirs is stolen.

March 28, 2012

Farewell Mr. Scruggs

Earl Scruggs died this morning.  I had the privilege of shaking the man's hand a few years ago at a business conference in Nashville. 

My kids are always asking hypothetical questions, one of the favorites being, 'If you could have any talent for just one day, what would it be?'.  Often, I answer, 'To be able to play the banjo.' 

When I say that, it is playing like Scruggs that I am thinking of.  He was a revolutionary, with his three-finger style.  Never slowed down, either.  God bless you, sir. 

Crash made it to 5

My youngest turned 5 today.  Crash was appropriately manic, yet tolerant of the time schedule that left present opening until 7pm.  I talked him out of a 'invite 20 of my 4 and 5-year old preschool friends' party, but that somehow morphed into 'I want my whole family to go to Chuck E Cheese for dinner to celebrate'. 

If you are ever at a family friendly place on Wednesday night, look around and count how many dads are there with kids.  Mid-week visitation seems to go hand and hand with dinner and kid-themed entertainment.  Most tonight looked like they had come straight from work, ties loosened to challenge Little Johnny at Mario Kart.

I survived the experience and managed to come home with all of my children, unlike some in recent news stories.

As we arrived home for presents and cake, I went to prepare the kitchen table.  We generally slide it out of the way a bit during the day.  I tugged, the table moved, but the (very heavy, solid oak) 5 foot bench didn't slide, it tipped and then fell on the top of my foot.  It is ugly, blue, swelling and throbbing.  I am not yet in so much pain that I am willing to fork out my ER co-pay.  I would rather see how it looks and feels in the morning.  RICE and Shiner are my current plan.  I think I will run out of Shiner before I run out of pain.

March 27, 2012

Yeah, taste the rainbow.

On Monday I mentioned that Spike Lee had tweeted George Zimmerman's home address.  In hope, no doubt, that those with more (misplaced) courage than he has, would show up and Do Something to the man who (we now know) was most likely attacked by Trayvon Martin, who he then shot in self defense.

Turns out, Spike tweeted someone else's address.

So what is the penalty for that?  What criminal charges will be brought against Spike motherf'ing Lee for blasting an elderly couple's address to nearly a quarter of a million of his followers?

Define Equality

Over the weekend we ventured across town on a shopping adventure, stopping in at IKEA and a neighboring mall. The mall has an ice skating rink and it was hosting some sort of youth competition. We had stopped for the obligatory mall snack and decided to eat it while watching the young skaters do their routines.

As I looked around at the colorful personalities coaching and judging the kids on the ice, it got me wondering why we haven't seen a mad push to include same sex couples and/or transgender people in events like pairs skating and ice dancing.

Blades of Glory jokes aside, why are there no same sex couples in ice skating? 

The LPGA got sued and now allows transgendered women golfers to compete on their tour.  The argument, in my book, has little to do with the parts you are born with versus the parts you now do or do not have, and everything to do with the scientific basis of fact regarding the physical superiority of males.  Generally, men are larger, have longer limbs and torsos, are stronger and have less body fat and more muscle.   Male and female bodies are built for different purposes.

Without getting into the whole psychological arguments about why people have gender reassignment surgery, I will simply say that no amount of hormone therapy and surgery changes the basic foundation of the human body.  A woman who was born a man has a physical advantage.

Are there any known instances of a born-female transgender person trying to compete as a man?  

There have always been issues in matters of sport, but last year the Girl Scouts of Colorado made a troop accept little Bobby Montoya - a boy who 'views himself as a girl'.  I said what I needed to say about that back in October.

Now a Miss Universe contestant has been disqualified because she was born a male.  I don't understand why transgendered people want to force their way into gender specific contests and clubs.  Is it a compensation issue?  More power to them if that is their lifelong dream or something.  Unfortunately, to me, it feels like making a scene for the sake of making a scene.

I will admit that I am not close to any transgender people.  I have, in my lifetime, known a few..  They were people that simply wanted to live a quiet life in the way that felt most natural to them.  They didn't challenge established parameters, they didn't demand attention to their way of life and they didn't make any demands for established gender-based organizations to make accommodations for them.  Isn't that what equality is really about?

March 26, 2012

FOD

If it wasn't such a political statement, I would don a hoodie to hide my shame over the uncivilized and blatant racism in the United States.

The Trayvon Martin case will have its days in court.  There is very little valid evidence known to the public. 

And yet,


The New Black Panther Party has offered a bounty for the shooter, George Zimmerman.


What passes for celebrity in this country, Spike Lee, has retweeted Zimmerman's home address.


And with nothing more than the same sketchy and incomplete information that the general public is going on, Blowie took sides.


Anybody remember the last time Blowie prematurely commented about a police matter?

March 25, 2012

He didn't signal the lane change(s)

Dumb luck or mad driving skill?



What I want to know is if the bowel release mess was contained to the driver's trousers, or if upholstery cleaning was required.

March 24, 2012

But you are my best best friend

Blowie has used similar phrasing to describe several countries.  A boxing metaphor, no less.  It took a Dane to point it out.  I'm not sayin' that the American press hasn't done its job, I'm just sayin', well, somebody on this side of the pond should have caught this.  Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland and the Philippines - are there any more out there?

The article and video are summarized thusly:
"Maybe the copy key got stuck on the presidential speechwriter's keyboard."



Would anyone care to count the number of times and different countries, when Blowie labels a country as one of our 'strongest' and 'closest' allies?

March 23, 2012

She's not naturally blonde

On the way to school yesterday morning, the chatter in the car was about a Very Scary video game that has resulted in a wave of YouTube videos that show the reactions of people playing it.  Of course, Boom couldn't remember the name of the game, just the basic description.

She whips out the handy-dandy smart phone and Googles something along the lines of 'scary video games'.  She came upon a video countdown of the five scariest videos of the year.  Boom was naming each of the videos aloud as the countdown ensued.  When it got to number two, she commented that it looked very scary, but it wasn't the one she was telling us about.  'What is that one called?', I said.

'It didn't say, wait, unless it is...'Coming Soon'.

March 22, 2012

Sorry about that

My first trash day in Germany left a lasting impression.  We were still in the unpacking stages, and there was plenty of rubbish to get rid of.  We lived in a government leased house, and there wasn't much in the way of helpful instructions about how things worked on the German economy.  I hadn't thought to ask the neighbors yet, but when I noticed everyone putting out their trash cans one night, I surmised that tomorrow was the day!

In our garage (a true rarity for government quarters) there were five trash bins of varying colors.  A small brown one, an all green bin, a green bin with a yellow lid, a blue bin and a gray bin.  Everyone was rolling out the green bin with the yellow lid and the brown bin.  So, I gathered up all the trash in the house and stuffed all I could into those two bins.  Bear in mind that this was 1997 and, in the United States, recycling didn't happen at the curb. 

The next morning, I was unpacking things in the front hallway, which had a lovely floor to ceiling window with a view of the street.  The trash truck rumbled to a stop out front.  I stood at the window, admiring the coveralls worn by the sanitation worker as he approached my bins.  He lifted the lid of the first bin, shook his head and turned to the other.  He lifted the lid on it, looked over at me in the window and wagged his finger in the universal 'tsk, tsk' motion.  He let the lid drop back shut and left the full bins there.

Needless to say, I got a crash course from the neighbor that afternoon, on how to properly sort trash into the correct bin, and posted the pick up rotation on the fridge.  To this day, I can see that little toad of a man shaking his finger at me in derision.

This past weekend, Boom spent some time on waste management tasks in the horse's pasture.  She usually fills one of our large trash carts about half full with manure, lest it get to heavy to move.  Monday we had a horrible wind storm, followed by about 5 inches of rain overnight.  Tuesday evening as we gathered up trash to put out for Wednesday pick up, we noticed that the wind had blown the lids of the bins open before the rain.  What had once been a trash bin of dried horse apples was now 300+ pounds of manure stew.  It took Boom and I both to roll it down the driveway.  

All morning yesterday I had one ear to the street, waiting to hear the squeaky brakes of the trash truck.  They use a robotic arm-type contraption to lift the can and empty them into a dumpster mounted on the front of the truck.  I heard the truck coming and went to peek out the front window, scarred from my Germany experience and scared that they would deem the can too heavy or too disgusting to deal with.  Sometimes the arm loses hold of a can and the whole shebang ends up in the truck.  Part of me wondered if that might happen, especially if some sort of vacuum formed with the slurry of wet manure and caused the whole can to gravitate south.

I watched as the arm picked up the can, jerked it up and over and dumped it.  There didn't seem to be a problem with the weight or anything, though, in retrospect, I think that the operator should be a little better prepared for spatter and splash when they are picking up just after a heavy rain.  Sorry, horse manure splattered trash dude.

March 21, 2012

Hypocrisy

When the left does it, no one notices.  Well, the MSM doesn't notice, which is where too many people get what little information they have.

Last Thursday, Blowie's re-election team released a piece of propaganda titled 'The Road We've Traveled', a mocumentary about Blowie's first term in office.  I haven't watched it in its entirety, but feel confident that the snippets I have seen and heard over the past six days probably constitute most of the film.

The Washington Post Fact Checker Blog has given the film three 'Pinocchios' due to the creative descriptions of the Obama-mama's cancer and health insurance coverage.

'The Road We've Traveled' is narrated by Tom Hanks, Hollyweird Celebrity and Obama Supporter extraordinaire.  Or maybe the voice-over was nothing more than a paying gig, considering the fun Hanks had being involved in an auction that portrayed black people in a derogatory manner:


Video from The Daily Caller

Bad racial and religious jokes courtesy of Glenn Frey and Tom Hanks.  I guess when you write big enough checks, people will overlook just about anything.

March 20, 2012

It's the censorship, stupid! UPDATED

Last night I got my knickers in a twist over the disappearing story on Blowie's kid vacationing in Mexico.  I went to bed mad about it.  I got up mad about it.  I clicked around the Gorenet and am struck by how many people are completely MISSING THE POINT.

There are some right wingers that want to make a big deal out of Malia going to Mexico while Americans have been warned against traveling there.  Left wingers are quick to point out that there are no travel warnings for the state of Oaxaca, where Malia is.  That, in itself, makes me wonder if Big Brother had a hand in leaving Oaxaca out of the advisories, considering these points:
Oaxaca is on the trafficking route north from Colombia and is a producer of marijuana, but currently there is little conflict between cartels here...
...On a sadder note, on the Oaxacan coast and in Oaxaca City there are occasional incidents like kidnappings, shootings, and threats of extortion or violence that are thought to be carried out by copycat criminals, small isolated gangs of criminals who seek to exploit the country’s fear of the Zetas and other groups for their own benefit... 
...Oaxaca most likely plays another secondary role in the drug war, deriving from the fact that something like 50% of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. come from Oaxaca. Because of this high number, a fairly substantial percentage of human trafficking activity at the border and in the U.S. involves networks of Oaxacans. Similar to the way that many Italian immigrants found it easy to enter into Italian organized crime networks in the U.S. in early 1900′s, Oaxacan people migrating north or attempting to emigrate to the U.S. seem to find an extended structure of friends and relatives ready in place to aid them. It would therefore not surprise me if many Oaxacans were involved in aspects of cartel distribution networks over the border as well.
But I digress.

The original story by Agence France-Presse, stated that Malia and '12 friends' were on vacation.  It is more accurate to say that this is a school organized trip, no different from kids all over the nation.  No different from the trips my kids go on with their classes.  I have no beef with that.  If I were president, I would want my kid to have as normal a childhood as possible.

I don't really have much of a beef with Secret Service, though 25 agents plus local police seems excessive.  On the other hand, if I was the parent of one of the other kids on the trip, I would appreciate it.  Just by being on a trip with the president's daughter, everyone in the travel party is now a target for additional attention, be it good or bad. 

The problem with this whole stinking story mess is the CENSORSHIP.  AFP reported the story and it was picked up by media outlets all around the world.  Then the story disappeared from dozens of sites, both domestic and foreign.

As of this morning, BuzzFeed is the only outlet that offers much of an explanation.   
There's a long tradition of keeping presidents' kids out of the press, but the newswire reported today on details of Obama's elder daughter's travel in Mexico. The story was quickly removed from websites across the Internet, but you can't unring that bell.
But, but, but, Obama, himself, has put his daughters front and center lately.
He has cited Sasha and Malia, now 10 and 13, in discussing everything from the rescue of an American aid worker from Somalian pirates to the touchy subject of public access to emergency contraception. His daughters also are prominent in a family photo being used by his reelection campaign.
The BuzzFeed quote nails it - you can't unring a bell.  The story is out there.  It is still published all over the world.  The disappearance of the story in America only serves to highlight a China-esque level of censorship being employed by the president and his henchmen.  The very same people who publicly condemn internet censorship in countries like China.
“I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable,” Obama told students during his first-ever trip to China. “They can begin to think for themselves.”
The White House admits the censorship:

Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lady, emailed Dylan Byers:
From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.
Apparently they only 'remind' the news outlets that they control.

March 19, 2012

Use that Print Screen button before they scrub it all...

Earlier today I read several news links about the president's daughter, Malia Obama, vacationing in Oaxaca, Mexico for spring break.

Several of the stories mentioned the violence that has been occurring in Mexico for the past several years.  Many mentioned the travel warnings for United States citizens.  All of them mentioned that there were 25 Secret Service agents accompanying Miss Obama and her 12 friends.

The stories have disappearedThe Blaze reported on it earlier, but I thought they were crazy.  I had seen all the stories with my own eyes!  I opened my browsing history and started clicking.  They are all gone.  Way gone.  Some aren't very well scrubbed.  Just like The Blaze shows, many of the pages have the same links, but a different story comes up.

The Daily Caller also notes:
Since the story was first reported, it appears to have been scrubbed from a number of news outlets. The Huffington Post, International Business Times, The Australian, The Telegraph and Global Grind have all removed the article, and AFP, which initially reported the story, now links to an unrelated story on “Sengalese superstar Youssou Ndour.”

The URL says Obama Spring Break, but the story is something different.


Clicking this link goes right back to the home page.  No story to see here, move along, move along.

I could understand that the 'leaking' of the itinerary might cause some concern.  I am no security genius, but I would think the most prudent course of action would be to leave the leaked itinerary on the internet for all the world to see, and change the actual itinerary.

Why is the entire story disappearing from the internet?  The Obamas have never shied away from spending millions of taxpayer dollars on vacations for themselves, their friends, family and dog. 

Conveniently, my husband is fluent in Spanish.  Boom is in her fifth year of Spanish and is fairly conversational.  I've been in Texas long enough to have a decent command of the language.  So, I clicked over to 'Yahoo en Espanol' and entered the same search terms, 'Malia Obama Oaxaca'.  Boom, baby.  Jackpot.


And there are recent photos:

I am not crediting the photog lest he end up with a broken camera.  From here.

I found one story in English that they missed.  I printed the screen, as the link seems likely to disappear:


My God.  I am not a conspiracy theorist, but this is so unavoidable and unbelievable.  Who has this power?  Seriously? Read the list of publications that have not just taken the story down, but AREN'T SCREAMING ABOUT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.

They say that Obama won an election with his savvy use of the internet and social media.  Use the same to show how he is trying to manipulate the press - hell, the world - with this secretive disappearing story bullshit.

Freudian slip?

Not sure if this was intentional, but I like Drudge's new euphemisms for the TSA:

75 days

My oldest child graduates from high school in 75 days.

Last night I had my first full-fledged panic attack about it.  My little girl, kinda all grown up, presumably heading off to college in August.

I once heard a sermon about how the natural progression of our lives prepares up for things in the future.  When we have a newborn, we can't imagine them ever leaving us to go to kindergarten, yet the toddler years prepare us for that separation (for some more than others).  'Firsts' happen to prepare us and teach us how to deal with the bigger firsts of life.  First scrapes and bruises, first bike ride, first sleep over, first loves, all of those youthful events show us that our children can handle what life throws at them.  Sometimes it highlights the areas that most need growth and guidance.  We can't imagine our baby getting behind the wheel of a car, but sixteen (or nearly eighteen, in my case) years of learning and doing, show us that they are capable - whether or not we are completely ready, and prepares us for the day they drive away solo for the first time.

I have no doubt that Boom can be successful in college.  Like most parents, I would prefer she not learn things the hard way, but my idea of what she should do and what is best for her seem to be conflicting.

Mostly what I am panicking about is the basic stuff that most parents go through.  What will I do when I can't see her face everyday?  How do I sleep at night without her hug and 'I love you, Mom'?  Who will sit beside me at the dinner table?

Several years ago, a friend of mine sent her oldest to OU.  One October weekend, the family decided to drive to Norman for a surprise visit.  Her daughter was not amused or pleased.  They turned around and came back home within hours.  I remember how deflated the entire family looked when they got back home.  It wasn't just that the visit hadn't gone well, it was a defining moment for all of them, a clear representation of what life was like, now.  Their little girl grown up, her family displaced by college friends and campus life.

It's like that first time your son or daughter doesn't want to kiss you goodbye when you drop them off at school and you feel unwanted and unneeded.  That's what scares me the most.    

FOD

Went to a museum in Cowtown over the weekend.  Saw one of these 'Disappearing Civil Liberties Mugs' in the gift shop.  Fill it with a hot beverage and watch the Bill of Rights disappear before your eyes!  Couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry.  (Then I noticed they have a global warming mug that makes continents disappear, so I left laughing).

You can get one here, and lots of other places.  Made in China.  Of course.

March 18, 2012

Harper Goodwrench - edited thanks to Kerrcarto

Do they still have auto repair night school or something?  I need to look into it.  It seems like the men in my life that were really handy in the combustion engine department, left this earth before I was old enough to pay better attention and learn something from them.

I had a couple of boyfriends that fancied themselves mechanically inclined, but they really weren't.

My dad and my granddad could fix anything engine related.  Tractors, cars, boats, motorcycles.  I would love to have that ability.  I think I am capable - I just need the initial knowledge.  Of course, they don't make things like they used to, either.

If I could fix the average car engine, I would buy myself a great old car.  Maybe a hot rod, like a GTO or a Chevelle.  Or a great old 40's sedan with suicide doors.  We had a neighbor that used to keep an old car like that in our garage.  It was forest green, had wide running boards and a trunk that my whole family could fit in.  It looked like a mob car.

My cousin has a Model T that has been in our family since it was nearly new - I don't want that kind of headache, even though it is fun to ride around in.  The crank start and ah-ooh-ga horn always make people smile. 

My ex is a car guy, but not a traditionalist. He puts new parts in old shells.  (I would want everything to be original).  When he was in Korea, I had to start and drive his 1942 Ford truck a couple of times a month.  It had a three on the tree transmission, with a miniature eight ball on the end of the column shifter.  That was fun to drive, though I was never quite sure if I was shifting correctly.

He also had a cherry 1970 Olds when we first met.  One of those great finds that some old man had bought and then kept in a garage for 20 years.  He was going to a school at Fort Rucker and some lady hit the car beside it so hard that it not only hit his car, but knocked it into the car on the other side.  It was totaled.

My mom's first car was a 1957 Chevy.  She ended up trading her brother for a '55.  Why, oh why, couldn't she have parked either one of those and saved them for a rainy day in 2012?   

I know that any old car is going to need tinkered with, so I have come full circle here.  Time to Google auto repair classes.

March 17, 2012

Tabhair dom an rud céanna mar atá ag an fhear ar an t-úrlar!

Give me the same as the man on the floor!
 
Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you...

March 16, 2012

The Top 10% Debacle

In response to the 1996 court ruling that banned the consideration of race in college admissions, the state of Texas instituted a law that requires publicly funded universities in the state to automatically admit students who are in the top 10% of their graduating class.  Ultimately, the University of Texas got a waiver to cap their top 10% admissions at 75% of their freshman class each year, as they were literally not able to admit anyone else.

The idea was to give equal opportunity to kids all over the state.  What it does is screw the kids who go to really good schools.  I think it also affects the quality of many college courses, but I don't have the time or inclination to research that hunch.

Case in point, Boom.  4.0 GPA.  Numerous extra-curriculars, volunteer gigs, leadership positions.  Solid SAT scores.  Not top 10%.  Why?  Because she is in a Really Good School.  The top 10% at her school are the valedictorian and salutatorian.  (out of 24 seniors total).

It really makes me feel like I made a stupid decision, trying to ensure that my kid got the best high school education she could get.  It put her at a disadvantage.

The bottom ranking kid at Boom's school could be the valedictorian at hundreds of high schools in the state.  This is the case for so many schools and so many other kids. 
"The current situation in Texas is that you can have a young man who is an Eagle Scout, who's president of his student council and captain of his football team. But because he's in the top 12 percent, he's not automatically admitted," says (Senator Jeff) Wentworth. "But somebody else who's in the top 10 percent, who didn't even take the recommended curriculum for college work, who took the minimum curriculum, automatically goes to the University of Texas at Austin -- and that's not fair."
Boom's school is a K-12 International Baccalaureate School.  A curriculum that the state of Texas thinks so highly of, that they enacted a law requiring state universities to award a minimum of 24 college credit hours to students who receive the IB diploma.  Kids at her school can get into Columbia, MIT, Stanford - but not be automatically admitted into Texas' flagship schools.

That is a crock of shit.

Boom applied to Kansas State University on a Sunday afternoon, online.  It was a fairly simple form, no essays.  She had sent her SAT scores when she sat for the test.  She had her acceptance letter, via snail mail, the following Thursday.  KSU accepted her without ever seeing her high school transcript.  Without knowing her GPA.  When I called and talked to admissions, they said that her SAT scores and a Texas diploma were enough for admittance.  Then the scholarship money started coming.  And the personal letters and cards.  The invitation to secure a place in grad school, simply by doing her undergrad work there.  Boom could be a big fish in a small pond on that campus.  She would come out with the same degree, the same knowledge and be on the same career path.  (Though probably 10 pounds heavier due to the proximity of Aunt Sue's home cooking).
     
It is almost worth the other sacrifices (except for the winters), for Boom to go to a college that is fighting for her, rather than her fighting to get in a college that has to take people ahead of her that are a whole lot more unmotivated, less intelligent, and less likely to ever finish college.

March 15, 2012

A kinder, gentler, more foreign relations-correct Marine Corp

I cannot begin to express my outrage upon hearing that some wonk of a two star general ordered a group of Marines to be unarmed while they listened to Defense Secretary Panetta speak.

The 'official' word is that the general wanted the Marines to 'look like their Afghan partners' and that the general wanted one weapon policy for the tent.  Who gives a shit that the Afghans don't come armed?  Sure, sir, it had nothing to do with that shooting last week.  Since when does the United States Marine Corp care about blending in with foreign soldiers?

In the mother of all humorous comments that say everything and nothing at all, the sergeant major that was ordered to clear the tent of weapons said,
“All I know is I was told to get the weapons out,” he said. Asked why, he replied: “Somebody got itchy — that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy. We just adjust.”
Whether it was an actual order from somewhere above the general, or just the general attitude of our leadership, it doesn't really matter.  Both are equally disappointing and embarrassing.  Some might argue that it has been far too long since a president with past military service was in office.  I don't know that the service component is a necessity, but there certainly needs to be an appreciation and understanding for the training, valor and honor possessed by the vast majority of our fighting men and women.  Unarming them so that they blend in is counterproductive and dangerous.

March 14, 2012

You are always welcome in Texas

Today marks the end of an eight year program of welcoming R&R military members at DFW Airport.  Every day for the past eight years (excepting bad weather delays), there has been an R&R flight arrival at the airport.  And every day there have been volunteers to Welcome Home a Hero.  The last DFW R&R flight arrives this morning.

photo from DallasNews.com

Most were on their way somewhere else and probably didn't expect to be greeted so warmly at this stop.  There were individuals, families, corporate groups, school groups, Scout groups, Kissin' Grannies, church groups, a group that sewed over 45,000 neck pillows, veteran's groups and dedicated USO volunteers.

At some point, the welcome became so well-known that soldiers began requesting to have their travel routed through DFW instead of Atlanta.  Now there is no choice, all flights are routed through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

I issue a challenge to any of you living near, or even visiting, the Atlanta area.  Contact USO Georgia and volunteer to welcome R&R flights.  Hit that link for Welcome Home a Hero above, and look at the pictures and videos, if you need some inspiration.  The few times that I participated were awesome.  Fulfilling. Emotional.  Worth every tear.  Thank you for your service.  God Bless.

March 13, 2012

Decision Time

Forgive the ongoing saga with my eldest daughter.  I know that there are families out there that would gladly trade our painful decisions for theirs, but it is what it is - and I am thankful that our biggest sticking points have to do with her education.

Boom got accepted to every college she applied to, just not necessarily to the extent or degree that she expected.  That is to say, her number one choice, Texas A&M, offered her an alternative admission process.  This year's freshman applicant pool was the largest ever, and there is a STUPID Texas law that requires the two state universities to admit the top 10% of each school's student body, if they apply.  A rant is forthcoming on that.  Boom is partly to blame, as her application was solid, but submitted piecemeal and later than it should have been.  With rolling admissions, being early is essential when you are lumped in with 15,000 other reviews.

So this 'TEAM' program pairs the university with a neighboring community college.  The program allows the students to live on the university campus, and they are afforded nearly every honor and privilege of being a full time student.  They take most of their classes at the community college for the first few semesters, with the ratio of classes taken at the community college and the university shifting so that students take an even number at each institution near the end of the program.   After two years and successful completion of a certain number of hours with a 3.0+ GPA, TEAM students matriculate to being a full time student at the university.

Most kids in this program transfer to the university well before completing the program.  If Boom were to take a full load this summer, she would be eligible to transfer by Christmas.  I like this program for several reasons.  The first is cost, as the bulk of her hours would be at community college prices for at least two semesters.  I like the idea of her living on the campus she plans on graduating from, right from the start.  She gets to buy a student sports pass, take part in the storied traditions, etc. 

I am concerned that both the program and the early transfer opportunities command a level of assertiveness that she does not possess.  But, the fallback is that she can just coast and do the two full years of the program.  Not sure how that looks when it comes time to apply to graduate school, but, quite frankly, that isn't going to be on my dime anyway.   If she bombs her freshman year, at least it isn't at the 'full price' of a university education.

Boom was fully accepted to TAMU Galveston.  Going to school there offers a move to the main campus after one year, with a normal course load and 3.0+ GPA.  The advantage to this is that she wouldn't have to go through the transfer application and acceptance process, it is simply a change of campuses.  The obvious drawbacks being that she would have to learn her way around a new campus her sophomore year.  She wouldn't have the ambiance of the main campus, its sporting events and its traditions.  She would be living on an island, though.  I have read several comments that there is little to do other than drink, so the mom in me has concerns.

I had told Boom, no matter where she went to college, that she needed to be part of some sort of learning community or activity that provided academic encouragement.  Most colleges now offer living/learning communities that group students together by their field of study, so that they are housed together and have resources like study groups, mentors, tutors, etc.

TAMU has a military Corp of Cadets.  Boom has shown some interest in the Corp.  She did a 'spend the night with the Corp' program and, while she didn't come out of it with an 'I drank the Corp Kool-Aid' mentality, she didn't hate it,either.  What she has said, is that she doesn't think she could do it. 

I have a LOT of interest in the Corp.  Not just because of my love of the military and that way of life, but because of the payback.  Just like some kids discover what they are capable of in the military, many college students join the Corp and are thusly rewarded with confidence, leadership and lifelong friends.

The person-writing-the-checks in me loves the idea of the Corp because of the structure.  For a kid like mine, knowing that someone is in her dorm telling her when to wake up, when to eat, when to exercise, when to study, when to sleep, is the best case scenario.  Corp members study three hours each night.  The Corp hires tutors for their most challenging subjects.  While they are, um, micromanaged their freshman (and a bit of sophomore) years, they are also growing into self-sufficient leaders.

The TEAM program allows students to be part of the Corp.  They even have a Corp unit that is made up of current and former TEAM members, that offer the additional knowledge and support of their experience.

I think this is the best option for Boom.  TEAM students can't join any of the learning communities, so that leaves the Corp as the only remaining option for a holistic academically-focused college experience.  And if I am paying for it, that is all I am interested in.

I am not saying that I don't want Boom to enjoy college.  I know plenty of Corp members and, believe me, they didn't miss out on any partying.  It might not be of the debauched fraternity row variety, but they still have a good time.  They just party smart. Usually.

So the late acceptance to TAMU also means that on campus housing is full.  Boom is wait-listed and will probably get temporary quarters.  It also means that we have to take whatever is available.  Most likely it will be the $2,700 a semester dorm room.  But the Corp is guaranteed housing and it is only $1,700 a semester.  I see that as a sign from God.  Boom thinks I hate her.

I am having a hard time being objective.  Of determining what it is that is BEST for Boom versus what I want for her.  I get that she dreamed of leaving her school uniform behind and rolling into class in pajama bottoms, not a military uniform.  But, what about the payoff?  If I pull parental rank and 'make' her do it - and she is successful, is it worth the heartache now?  Is trying it for a year (even though the freshman year is The Worst for Corp Cadets) asking too much?

March 12, 2012

FOD Schadenfreude



That is Alan Grayson's Mercedes after he ran a red light and hit a public transport bus on his way to a fundraiser.  

March 11, 2012

The gun run

I'm not a statistical analyst, but I can usually discern a reasonable conclusion when given information.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently posted a story about 'booming gun sales'  CBS posted a 'gun sales rise in Texas on fear of Obama re-election' story in their election news section.  Other outlets have jumped on the bandwagon as well.

Where I sit, personal experience is the best indicator - not what the media tells me, though many of the above linked stories are full of official numbers (the most impressive of which is that the FBI had 16.3 million inquiries for gun purchases in 2011).  Short of interviewing every gun purchaser I know, or see, I can't definitively say why people are buying guns.  But they are.

A recent and poorly timed Saturday morning trip to Cheaper Than Dirt revealed that half of the population of North Texas goes shopping there on Saturday mornings.  It was assholes to elbows.  To get to Cheaper Than Dirt, I pass by Cabela's.  On the way home we stopped to get Bang a couple of things for Boy Scouts.  The bank of computers that I thought were set up for Christmas gun sale purchases was still there and still in use, as Saturday traffic in the Cabela's gun department was brisk, to say the least. 

When Boom left the local school district 3 years ago, one of her classmates was the son of (what I would characterize as) a crunchy granola-Birkenstock wearing-tree hugging-gun hating-embracing my hippy side surgeon.  This man holds a chief of staff position at a local hospital.  Three years later, he now owns the equivalent of a small country's arsenal worth of weapons, has his CHL and carries at all times.  He has a one word answer to his character transformation - Obama.  Of course, he has a very intelligent explanation of the financial, medical, civil rights and personal hardships caused by the policies of the current administration, but it all boils down to The One.

I sat in the new office building of a friend yesterday.  His new business is related to the petroleum industry.  He shared with me that his most effective interviewing tactic is his introduction, 'We are a bunch of rednecks.  We wear jeans and boots to work, we go to church, we liked the Bushes, we hate Obama and Hillary, and we have guns.  Lots and lots of guns.'

So far, he has had only one applicant run for the door.  The rest have said, 'count me in'.

My last example was found on the 'Texas Gun Talk' forum.  8 o'clock on a Sunday morning and there were 1,002 users online.  There are probably thousands of other gun sites and blogs online, with just as many readers.  It's too early in the day to do the math, and, again, I am not a statistical analyst, but that seems like a decent chunk of the population, showing not just awareness of their 2nd Amendment rights, but an active interest.

March 10, 2012

Bon Voyage, Enterprise

The USS Enterprise is headed to the Middle East for a 7-month deployment.  This is the last deployment for the carrier which is scheduled to be deactivated December 1st.


For my generation, this is the 'Top Gun' ship, home to Maverick and Goose.  But, for all of us, this ship has on the front lines, defending our country.  It is the oldest and longest carrier in the fleet.  It was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.  It took 2,400 miles of blueprints to design!  There are 37 miles of ventilation and 625 miles of electrical cables on the ship. 


The Enterprise won't become a museum - removing the nuclear fuel causes too much damage.  This grand ship isn't the first to bear the name 'Enterprise', there have been seven others.  There will likely be more in the future, as naming a future carrier 'Enterprise' seems like a fitting tribute to the history of this ship.

Fair winds and following seas, Enterprise.  Thank you, and your crew, for your service to our country.

March 9, 2012

Chris Christie Porn

Oh, to be so revered that talking plainly to people in terms they understand, is allowed and, even, applauded:


WILLIAM BROWN: My question for you, governor, is please consider veteran students and [unclear] ike myself, here in South Jersey.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: Here’s what’s going to happen. Rutgers is going to merge with Rowan, and here’s why: What I’m doing is providing other opportunities for a bigger and better university.
CHRISTIE: If you decide what you want to do is put on a show today, let me tell you something, I can go back and forth with you as much as you want. And let me tell you something, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a court room, your rear-end’s gonna get thrown in jail, idiot.
CHRISTIE: You know, I tried to be patient with the guy. Every time I tried to answer, he started yelling over me again. Damn, man, I’m governor, could you just shut up for a second?
Video and text from Washington Free Beacon.

March 8, 2012

Weatherproofing tip

For $75, the local electric company will come to the house and perform something called a blower door test.  This test shows exactly where a house is leaking air.

For free, my 2005 model Labrador Retriever achieved the same result.  He challenged a skunk just outside the living room windows, demonstrating that there is massive air exchange happening somewhere, as the cloud of skunk essence knocked me off the couch.

If you haven't ever been in the immediate vicinity when a skunk sprays, let me tell you, it is not a pleasant experience.  We have all smelled a little pole cat, but concentrated fresh skunk spray smells like burning rubber.  Like burning rubber and skanky skunk ass. 

Enter the confused teenager and city slicker husband.  The second I realized what the horrific smell was, I shouted to Boom and Mr H to get the dogs to the back door and determine if they had been skunked.  In their infinite wisdom, they both went running outside to see if they could spot the skunk.  Fortunately, it had shot its load and moved on.

Our older lab (Woody) was standing by the door when they went out.  It was the younger one that was skulking around over by the living room window area.  I let clean-smelling Woody in and asked Boom and Mr H to determine if Gus had gotten blasted.

This past weekend, I heard a phrase that has stuck with me, "Dictate, delegate, disappear."  I have been trying to do that.

I went back into the house, turning on fans and opening windows along the front of the house.  It was very windy, so I figured the smell would clear pretty fast.  When I entered the kitchen, there was Boom, sitting on the floor with Gus partially in her lap.  I commented that he obviously didn't get sprayed, to which I was told that it smelled so bad outside, that they had decided to bring him in to see if it was really him that stunk so bad.

Oh my giddy aunt.  They willingly purposely stupidly brought a skunked dog into my freaking kitchen.

Three hours, one trip to Wal-Mart, one supply delivery from my mom and 6 quarts of peroxide/baking soda/Dawn mixture later, the dog smells fine, but my house still smells like rubbery skunk ass.

The TSA steps in it again

Blogger Jonathan Corbett, of TSA Out of Our Pants, is an engineer, a Smart Guy.  Mr. Corbett sued the TSA for 4th Amendment violations in 2010 when they started to get all touchy-feely and began using the instant nude machines.  His case is headed to the Supreme Court.

More recently, Mr. Corbett conducted an illuminating experiment.  He went through airport security with a metal box on his person.  A box large enough to contain explosives, blades or other Bad Things.  The box was undetected.  There is video on his blog.  Go watch.  What he has figured out, that the Bad People obviously know, is that the scanners only detect metal objects that are on the body.  Mr. Corbett sewed a hidden pocket on a loose fitting shirt so that the metal box was never against his body.  When scanned, the black image of the metal box blended in to the black of the background image shown on the scanner screen.  Here is a photo for clarification.  Somewhere within the green circle, there is a metal object.

This is a little NSFW, so click to see it bigger.

The TSA is 'downplaying' the incident. Holy Crap! I would have thought they would be hauling Mr. Corbett to the hoosegow for revealing their billion dollar folly. The TSA has a blog, as well. Blogger Bob Burns answered Mr. Corbett's video on their site.
A video is making its way around the interwebs this morning from some guy claiming he figured out a way to beat our body scanners (imaging technology).
I watched the video and it is a crude attempt to allegedly show how to circumvent TSA screening procedures.
For obvious security reasons, we can’t discuss our technology's detection capability in detail, however TSA conducts extensive testing of all screening technologies in the laboratory and at airports prior to rolling them out to the entire field. Imaging technology has been extremely effective in the field and has found things artfully concealed on passengers as large as a gun or nonmetallic weapons, on down to a tiny pill or tiny baggies of drugs. It’s one of the best tools available to detect metallic and non-metallic items, such as… you know… things that go BOOM...
There is more, but it is just as comical.  The thing about this spin piece that got my attention was the line about extensive testing in the lab.  Just this afternoon, Shepherd Smith was talking to some experts on the Fox News radio, about these scanners and their safety.  The study that the TSA uses to tout the safety of their scanners was conducted using a machine that was built specifically for labratory testing, not a field production model.  There hasn't been a comprehensive study of the machines being actually used in the field, with the daily use calibrations, settings and radiation emissions that we are all exposed to.

If you haven't flown lately, this issue might be waning.  Don't let it.  It is potentially harmful to our health, it is invasive, violates our rights, hasn't stopped any terrorists, and the costs are out of control.  

March 7, 2012

Intended Consequences

News this week that several major US airlines are retro-fitting overhead bins and their doors to accommodate more and larger carry on luggage.
Because of fees on checked bags, more passengers are bringing carry-ons, which are growing in size. And with planes more crowded than ever, bins fill up before everyone has reached their seat. Travelers fight physics and one another to shove one more bag overhead. Or they're forced to check luggage at the gate.
The result is upset travelers, harried flight attendants and delays.
The percentage of passengers bringing bags on board has hovered around 87 percent in recent years, United Continental says. And "the size of the carry-on has increased ... They are stretching the limits of their bags," says Scott O'Leary, managing director of customer solutions at United Continental Holdings Inc.
Call me crazy, but...wouldn't it have been easier to eliminate checked bag fees?
Common sense aside, there must be some ulterior motive at work here.  Airlines don't give a rat's ass about customer service.  'Harried' is about the nicest word I can think of to describe most major carrier's flight attendants.  For most airlines, 'Battle Axe' would be a more appropriate descriptor.  (I am excepting Southwest.  I love the cattle herd airline).
I can't image that the business traveler is such a key component to their business, that they will see a decent ROI on the money spent to add overhead space. 
The airlines are up to something with this bin space.  Watch and see.  I really don't think that we are too far away from paying by the pound for air travel.  They will make us step on the scale with our luggage and charge a flat fee per pound. 

Or something equally obnoxious.

March 6, 2012

Edwin & Ruby Shields should be in prison. Or hell. UPDATED

UPDATE to the last story - thanks to the news item, Mrs Major was found, safe, at a state hospital.

As I clicked around reading the news this morning, three nursing home-related stories caught my eye.  Anyone that has ever cared for an aging or ill person knows of the struggles, and the heartbreaking decisions that are sometimes made to commit a loved one to a care facility.  While I don't know that it was ever a conscious decision, the people I consider to be my side of the family have not gone the nursing home route.  My grandmother died suddenly.  During his final years, my grandfather lived with one of my aunts, with everyone pitching in to help.

Mr. Harper's dad lived in a boarding house-type of facility for a year or so before his death.  We weren't involved in the decision, but he seemed happy enough and well-cared for when we visited.  In fact, his caretakers remain in touch with the family.

It breaks my heart, and infuriates me, to read about people who mistreat those they are entrusted to care for.  Today's examples start across the pond, where in a stunning display of stupidity...
A retirement home in the UK has apologized after billing a grieving woman £3,000 (US$4,735) for not giving a month's notice of her father's death.
Yes, you read that right, the home requires advance notice if you plan on dying.
Kenneth Cann, who had lived in the facility for 17 months, passed away last month aged 79 after a long battle with dementia.

He had already paid £63,000 for his stay at the aged care home, but according to a letter sent to his daughter, £3,052 was still owed because she had not given the required four weeks notice in the "event of a resident moving out or passing away."
What you would expect now is some sort of announcement that this was a typo, or mistake.  Nope, they really do have a 'death notice' provision, and they aren't doing away with it, though they did say they will shorten it to 7 days notice.  A death tariff.  You have got to be kidding me.

In Ohio, a man was killed when a METH LAB caused a nursing home to catch fire.  A meth lab in a nursing home.  Do you think that was listed in the activities brochure?

Closer to home, a Seagoville, Texas, facility closed, moved the residents to other locations without telling the families and lost one family's mother.
The owner (Edwin Shields) shut down Seagoville Haven on January 3 and moved the eight remaining residents to several boarding houses he owns nearly 20 miles away in South Dallas.
Yet by the time the Majors realized this in late February, their mother was gone again.
Leatha Major, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, apparently walked out of a boarding house on Chalet Lane on January 11, six weeks earlier.
The police department has no record of any missing persons report.  The owners claim they called both the family and the police - but can't recall who called, who they talked to, when it was, or how many times they called.  They also never had the correct licensing for the facility.  So what is their defense for losing a resident?
Shields then suggested that Major's children would have known about the moving plans if they had visited their mother more often.
"Her family should have been concerned with her when she was in Seagoville," he said. "Now they’re upset because mamma's not there… when they should have visited with her more often."
What a piece of shit.  That statement alone should land that S.O.B. in hell.  This man makes a living (supposedly) taking care of people.  How dare he shift blame to a family doing the best they can to provide a safe place for their mother?

It's cases like these that make me wish I had a pile of disposable income and endless resoursces, to help search for that woman and to make the owner's life miserable.

March 5, 2012

FOD

Saw this on White House Dossier.  The only thing I don't like about these videos is that I can't listen to the songs again, without picturing Blowie singing them.

March 4, 2012

Ronnie Montrose

Dayum.  Good memories of listening to Montrose, cruising around Olathe Lake and cruising the Fe in a friend's Trans Am.  It's disconcerting how the lesser-heard stuff that I used to wear out on the cassette deck, is the music that invokes some of the strongest memories.

RIP Ronnie Montrose.  Here is some video of him from a gig in Dallas a few months ago.

Not so electrifying

Nobody wants to buy the Obamamobile, aka the Chevy Volt.
General Motors Co. announced the temporary suspension of Chevrolet Volt production and the layoffs of 1300 employees, as the company is cutting Volt manufacturing to meet lower-than-expected demand for the electric cars.
"Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand," GM spokesman Chris Lee said. The car company had hoped to sell 45,000 Chevy Volts in America this year, according to the Detroit News, but has only sold about 1,626 over the first two months of 2012.
Why aren't people leaping at the chance to buy a taxpayer subsidized electric car?  Is it the price?  Design?  Safety features?  Nope, according to GM, sales are down because of, wait for it....media coverage.
"GM blamed the lack of sales in January on “exaggerated” media reports and the federal government's investigation into Volt batteries catching fire, which officially began in November and ended Jan. 21," the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News reported.
Exaggerated media?  Whatever happened to the adage that says there is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary?  GM had the freaking president of the United States sit in their electric car as it rolled of the assembly line, and have pushed those photos and videos ad nauseum.  Maybe they should re-think that PR campaign.

While anyone with two functioning brain cells can figure out that a car that costs over $80,000 to build, but retails for $40,000 is an upside down business model - the wonks at Chevy are gonna keep on building them and they are going to keep on screwing the taxpayer in the process.

In the grand tradition of unionized labor, Chevy shuts down an assembly line and lays off workers that they have publicly said they will rehire April 23rd.  Could Chevy do what mom & pop businesses have successfully done for decades, and find some other work for their employees to fill the gap?  Hell. No. They lay them off so they can collect unemployment, while their unions offer stop-gap programs that provide insurance and other benefits.

Chevy should be paying us to drive their damn cars.

March 2, 2012

The $50 light bulb years

I don't have nearly enough time to give this post the attention it deserves, but I am sufficiently disgusted and think you will be too.

In 2008 the Department of Energy announced a contest, the L-Prize, to spur companies to come up with more efficient light bulbs

It should be no surprise that the first winner, in the 60 watt bulb category, is not an American company.  It is Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (AMS:PHIA), an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based global electronics company.  Of course, the DOE is promoting the winner as "Philips Lighting North America".

No matter what they call it, they just handed over a $10 million cash prize and other incentives that combine for a total $20 million value prize.  $10 million in American taxpayer money to a Dutch company.

But, but, but....it's for the environment.  Blah, blah, blah. 

So what about this miracle of a bulb?
The bulb trims over 2.5W off Philip's previous generation LED bulb designs, a power savings of roughly 20 percent.  Unfortunately those savings come at a cost -- where as Philip's previous generation models are retailing for around $33 USD, the new bulb retails for $49.95 USD, nearly 50% more expensive.  The bulb is assembled in the U.S. from components manufactured in Shenzhen, China with LED chips made in San Jose, Calif.
$50 bulb, designed by the Dutch, parts made in China, with LED chips from Mexicommiefornia.  Power savings of 20%.

If someone else, with time on their hands, would care to do the math, that would be great.  My mind spins at the thought of rectifying $20 million in American tax dollars (and that is just for the actual prize, not accounting for the DOE PR, website, promotion, oversight, etc.). a consumer cost of $50 each with a power saving of 20%.  What is 20% of a 60 watt bulb?  And there is still a prize offered for PAR 38 halogens...

March 1, 2012

Slammed

I am slammed, but that is to be expected this week.

What the hell happened to Andrew Breitbart?

I probably won't be coming up for air until Sunday. 

That which does not kill us makes us stronger...