October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween


October 30, 2012

Attaaaaack Watch

Amid the news that the FBI has set up a special hotline for people to report Twitter threats, WND released the news that they had successfully donated to Obama using the name Osama bin Laden with a Pakistan IP address and a prepaid credit card.
The “Bin Laden” donations, actually made by WND staff, included a listed occupation of “deceased terror chief” and a stated employer of “al-Qaida.”
 
“Bin Laden” is currently set up on the official campaign website to contribute more to Obama’s campaign. The name is also registered as a volunteer.

Since the “foreign” contribution was sent, “Bin Laden’s” email address has received several solicitations from Obama’s campaign asking for more donations.
Having flown with Mr. Harper who has a somewhat common name, shared, apparently, with someone on the no fly list, I am dumbfounded that the Big Brother-most administration in history doesn't at least have some filter on their donation programming that might key in to the name 'Osama bin Laden' - much less immediately begin sending a rash of emails asking for more money:
From the time of the first donation until today, the Obama campaign sent nine more emails to the bin Laden Gmail account soliciting more donations.

One email sent Saturday reads, “Thanks so much for your donation of $5.00. Please take 10% off your next purchase of $10 or more at our online store.”

Another, signed by Michelle Obama, was titled “Barack is getting outraised.”

“You’re one of the campaign’s most committed supporters,” Michelle Obama writes in the automated email to “bin Laden.”

“Please make a donation of $19 or whatever you can today.”
I wasn't really surprised to find that the "Attack Watch" moniker is still around, as a page on Obama's website headed "Obama Truth Team". Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a place to turn people in for their perceived misdeeds.  I wanted to let them know that while Chicago politics is alive and well, they could save a few bucks by noting that certain donors are dead, and don't really need email reminders.

October 29, 2012

FOD

Obama is now ducking direct questions about whether Americans under attack in Libya were denied help. I think we all know the answer. Just as Dims want to spin and say that there are many factors and levels of decision making, Obama has never before been afraid to stand up and take full responsibility for being the go/no-go guy. When bin Laden was killed, he sure wasn't dodging questions.  He was sitting in the Sit Room with eyes on the situation and had every opportunity to provide resources.  He.Did.Not.  And four Americans died.

Unfortunately, as long as this P.O.S. is president, our fight against 'terror' is a losing battle:



More info and full length movie available here.

October 28, 2012

How Sandy could screw Mitt

Here is a handy map of the various early and absentee voting laws by state.  It is color coded, but if you hit the link, there is an interactive roll-over feature that sometimes provides a little more info:


Here is the Real Clear Politics Electoral Map as of today:


Here is the current forecast model for Sandy (and keep in mind that if/when she combines with the northern front, severe snowstorms are expected well into the midwest). 


So, add all that together.  Look at how many toss up states have no early voting.  Any long term power outages could extend to and through election day.  What in the world will that scenario look like?  Lawsuits because people didn't get a chance to vote?  Lawsuits to change election day?  Lawsuits to discredit any polling place that has to revert to paper ballots and human hand-counted votes?

There is no doubt that Sandy will have an effect on our nation's election.  At best, a great deal of the country has tuned out politics and tuned into the weather.  At worst, key states are likely to be ground zero in an ugly and extended fight for title of 'winner' on November 6th.

October 27, 2012

Sleep Interrupted

Anyone checking the news or weather has heard of the elements that are setting up to combine with Hurricane Sandy to form an (im)perfect 100-year storm aiming for the east coast.  One of those elements swept through this area right around 2 pm on Thursday, dropping temps and cutting through with a stiff north wind.

Yesterday the temp never got above 60 F, and by dark it was cooling rapidly again.  Near bedtime it was getting a mite chilly in the house, so before everyone snuggled in, I made a preemptive move to thwart what has become an annual tradition.  Each year when the heat kicks on for the first time, all that summer dust burns off, emitting that smell, and setting off the smoke alarms.  Usually it is a scenario just like last night - we hit the low temp, the house cools as we sleep, the thermostat hits its magic mark, and BLEEEP, BLEEEEP, BLEEEEEEEP go the alarms.

Smarty pants that I am, I kicked the heaters on for a few minutes last night before turning in.  Even commented about how the machines were toying with me, as they didn't set the alarms off since we were all still awake.  Went to bed smug and falsely confident.  Boom, who is home for the weekend to vote(!), commented on how nice it would be to sleep in and I guaranteed her that nothing would disturb her until well after her routine school wake up time of 4:45 am.

How wrong I was.  As the temp dropped into the 30's, the house cooled, the heat kicked on and the alarms went off.  Boom stuck her head in our room, pointing out that it was 4:44 am, Crash came running down the hall screaming 'FIRE' (they must be doing excellent fire safety work during school drills) and Bang stumbled around like a pinball before being directed back to bed.

The Princess slept through it, but admitted to hearing it.  She figured it was a false alarm and said she knew we would let her know if it was something she needed to get up for.  At least now I know which kid to rouse first, should there ever be an actual emergency.

October 26, 2012

Ted Turner shows his ass

I can't imagine why Turner and Fonda ever divorced, it would seem they both have a shared contempt of American men and women in uniform.

I strive to live my life optimistically and to be a kind person.  I do, however, have a short...well, okay, a medium-sized list of people that I believe I would physically assault on site.  Ted Turner crossed the line from blowhard generic asshole to person Harper would kick in his tiny little balls, should we ever cross paths.

From Breitbart:

EDIT: the embedded video was one that auto-plays each time the page loads. I don't do annoying very well, so hit the link for the video, should you choose.

October 25, 2012

First Do No Harm

Though it isn't actually found in the Hippocratic Oath, many people commonly associate the phrase, 'First do no harm', with the medical profession.  More accurately, Hippocrates wrote, in Epidemics the phrase:
'The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future - must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm.'
Somewhere along the way it got hijacked, changed a bit, and often (mis)quoted.  It's a good thought, unto itself and I would think that many medical ethics issues are governed by that tenet.

I wish the government worked the same way.

I read this headline with interest, as Barnes & Noble has the market cornered on campus bookstores, which greatly affects me and my often used credit card:

Barnes & Noble: Bugs Planted In Credit Card Readers At 63 Stores Nationwide

Nation's Largest Bookseller Implores Customers To Check Their Statements

Oh my goodness, I thought, mentally preparing myself to check my statement, and have Boom do the same, as I read onward through the article (luckily it was in Yankee land, not Texas).  It was this part of the story that set my blood boiling:
The FBI asked Barnes & Noble not to disclose the breach last month, for fear of compromising the investigation, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported.
Last month, meaning at least 25 days before the story broke.  The PIN pads were disconnected when the breach was discovered on September 14th.  So fraudulent charges would have been prior to that date.  What's your bank's policy on how long you have to report a fraudulent charge and expect to get your money back?  If people were noticing the charges on their own, what were they being told if the FBI had dictated that the breach not be disclosed?

I know plenty of people that a fraudulent charge of any significant amount could really screw up their lives.  When people are on a tight budget and stretching money out paycheck to paycheck, one hit to the bank account snowballs as other payments get returned NSF, and both banks start to add on the fees.

I get that sometimes law enforcement needs to give people enough rope to hang themselves, but should it be to the detriment of innocent citizens? Shouldn't they strive to first do no harm?

October 24, 2012

Hope for Change

When I pull up Drudge today, every ad spot is a Romney/Ryan 'Clear Choice' ad.  Remember when it was just a handful of us hitting that link everyday? 

I am slammed today and will have to make do with swiping, what I hope to be, a decisive set of fact based opinions from Keith Koffler at White House Dossier, on why Romney will win big.  I am hoping, praying, desperately wanting to believe he is right...and I have to admit that my unease is letting up a bit, thinking we just might pull this one out.
  • The polls are moving Romney’s way. The Rasmussen tracking poll today shows Romney making a two-point jump to a four-point lead, 50-46 percent. He’s closing the gap or taking small leads swing states, and states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where President Obama appeared to have a victory in hand, are now tossups.

  • Undecided voters tend to break for the challenger in presidential elections.

  • Beyond the polls, Republicans have enthusiasm on their side. Democrats are less dispirited than they were after the first debate, but their determination is nowhere near that of the GOP rank and file.

  • Romney has used the debates, including last night’s, to point out two bottom line facts that many people did not recognize before the contests: He is ready to be president, and Obama has failed across a broad array of areas, starting with the economy and ending with Iran.

  • Conservatives are now passionate about Romney. All previous apostasies are forgiven. They don’t just want him to beat Obama. They’ve grown to like him, and they’ll be at the polls in droves.

  • The campaigns both know Romney is winning. That is why last night Romney adopted aura of an incoming president and got down in the mud only when he felt he had to, and why Obama looked like a desperate candidate hoping to make every possible point he could think of to take down his opponent.

  • You. From you, I feel that passion from outside of Washington. It’s the same passion I felt before Republicans took the House in 2010. The Obama people don’t have access to this passion. And they don’t know what’s about to hit them.

October 23, 2012

Go Vote Now

I watched the debate on CNN last night.  I like to watch the dial reactions that are shown at the bottom of the screen.  Florida undecided voters sure are a different animal.  They seem independently minded, not grouping together similar reactions for issues that would seem to go hand in hand.  The women's reactions were often at different levels, or at odds with, the men's.

I don't put a lot of stock in their opinion, because this is a group of people assembled by CNN.  Plus it is infuriating, trying to figure out the lag time between when something is said, to when the people react to it, to when it trends on the screen.  It seemed like there were some seriously negative reactions when Obama was interrupting Romney , but it was hard to tell - maybe they were reacting to what Romney said that spurred Obama to interrupt.

There were some clear reactions that were indications that some dial-spinners aren't terribly informed.  There were some positive reactions to things that will surely be rated "liar, liar, pants on fire" dishonest by the fact checkers.  Apparently not everyone in Florida gets the chance to weigh both sides and get factual information (much like the rest of the voting populace).

Bang had a school assignment to watch at least part of the debate and note a "clutter" statement for each candidate.  It took him one question worth to get several sentences from each candidate that had nothing to do with the question.  No offense guys, but this was supposed to be a foreign policy debate, not a rehash of education, jobs, and budget.

In my opinion, it is all over but the crying.  Early voting is underway across the nation and I think that minds are made up.  While I am not terribly worried about an overflowing toilet of such a magnitude that it would keep me occupied for 12 hours on election day and prevent me from voting, I do plan to vote early.  Part of me wanted to go today, but I am waiting for Boom to come home this weekend, so we can go together.  I am not telling her who to vote for, but am confident that I have raised an intelligent young woman who will vote for those who will do the best things for our country, state and county.

October 22, 2012

FOD

Tip o' the hat to the person responsible for the Sunday evening Drudge Report photo spread.  This should sum up all that one needs to know about Blowie's foreign policy.  I doubt it matters much, but I hope Mitt wipes the floor with Blowie tonight. 


October 21, 2012

How to know when a guy is using you...

I don't recall saying much about the Sandra Fluke flak earlier this year.  While I think some political pundits went overboard in their name calling and jokes, I agree, in principle, with their distaste for her position.  I simply wasn't raised to speak publicly about the frequency of my sex life or demand that someone else pay for the responsibilities that come with it.

What bothered me most about the Fluke fiasco was how the Obama administration trotted her out like a show pony.  I am no feminist, but I think that she set womanhood back several years.  Hell, the fact that we have 'contraception activists' sets us all back.  It is hard to describe, but it seems to me that Ms Fluke has no clue that she is simply a pawn in the big Obamacare game.  No one really cares about her or her ability to have cheap birth control, it is all a big political game.  Yet, she clearly thinks she is important to the cause.

Fluke has continued her activism by campaigning for Obama
Sandra Fluke, the woman at the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” spoke Saturday in front of about 10 people at the Sak ‘N Save in north Reno.
At a Sak 'N Save in Reno...

Next week she will be working the phone bank in Mingo Junction, Ohio.  Because she is so revered and valued by the Obama campaign.  Really.  Just ask her.

October 20, 2012

I didn't grab no money or nothing, Jesus

Boom called me as she was walking off campus at Texas A&M yesterday.  I was reminded of the Sweet Brown video, 'cause Sweet forgot her shoes when she realized there was a fire.  Boom did remember shoes during the bomb threat evacuation, but what she, and eight or so dorm-mates did not remember, were things like money or identification.  But they all had their cell phones, which concerns me.  I suppose I could try to be more optimistic and tell myself that I have raised a child that has little concern for material things and was solely concerned with communicating to her family during a time of crisis. 

Bomb threats on college campuses have been much too frequent, and perhaps all the more disturbing for those of us with our first child away at school.  Just the day before, Texas State had a bomb threat, and I spent the afternoon concerned about Boom's friends that were there.

It is sad to hope that this was the work of some idiot kid that didn't study for a midterm - though I did read of at least one professor that ignored the 'classes canceled' mandate and moved his class to a safe off campus location and continued the lesson.  He's kinda my hero.  I love that sort of hard ass dedication.

October 19, 2012

Crossroads

I hope we have truly come to the tipping point that the most recent polls say that we have.  Romney leading in electoral votes, closing the gap in key swing states.  Many are saying that Obama has given up, especially given the reiteration of comments he has made about the actions he will, and will not, take regarding sequestration at the end of this year.  Sounds like the plans of a lame duck president with nothing to lose, having already lost the office.

I hope that American Crossroads finds a way to get this ad into key markets and in heavy rotation.  Ads like this, along with a strong foreign policy debate could make a difference as early voting begins across most of the nation.  I love Romney and Obama's facial expressions at the beginning...

October 18, 2012

As the Labor Department Turns...

Labor's announcement of a REVISED unemployment number for last week should come as a surprise to, well, nobody.  While the president got to crow about his 'recovery' and only 339k jobless claims, the new and improved number FOR LAST WEEK has been revised to 342,000.  Add another 46,000 new initial claims for this week's advance number and we have a grand total of 388,000 initial unemployment claims.

That isn't even my favorite part of the new soap opera known as the BLS report.  This section of the news release caught my eye.  I highlighted the parts that I feel deserve attention:

UNADJUSTED INITIAL CLAIMS FOR WEEK ENDED 10/06/2012

STATES WITH A DECREASE OF MORE THAN 1,000 

State Change
State Supplied Comment
CA -4,979
Fewer layoffs in the service and retail industries.

STATES WITH AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 1,000 

State Change
State Supplied Comment
NY +2,700
Layoffs in the healthcare and social assistance, manufacturing, and construction industries.
OR +2,215
Increase due to quarter change.
IL +1,800
Layoffs in the construction, administrative support and waste management, and manufacturing industries.
TX +1,724
Layoffs in the manufacturing, support service, healthcare and social assistance, transportation, and retail industries.
GA +1,651
Layoffs in the manufacturing, and administrative and support service industries.
MI +1,619
No comment.
KY +1,426
No comment.
PA +1,392
Layoffs in the construction, entertainment, lodging and food service, professional, scientific and technology, and healthcare and social assistance industries.
SC +1,313
Layoffs in the manufacturing industry.
AR +1,225
No comment.
WI +1,110
No comment.
CT +1,078
No comment.
NC +1,065
Layoffs in the machinery and computer equipment, nonclassifiable establishments, business, rubber and plastic products, and transportation industries. 

Some interesting trends there. I am quite intrigued by the 'social assistance' category and wonder if those are via programs that are privately or government funded. It doesn't take a genius to drill down what those layoffs in healthcare, manufacturing and construction will end up costing the end consumer. Stay tuned, the BLS is hard at work on next week's episode.

Canine Psych

I am dog people.  I have had smart dogs, stupid dogs, mutts, purebreds, and dogs of all sizes.  My first dog was an English Sheepdog, a furry hulk that would try to crawl under furniture at the sound of thunder or sirens.   Then came a Lhasa Apso, a Cocker Spaniel, a Rottweiler, Labrador Retrievers, and a Dachshund.  

There were generations of bird dogs at my grandparents and my parents have had a Bassett Hound, a Bull Mastiff, and their current Chow/Lab mix, Jake.  Jake is spending the week with us.  He makes me crazy - because his brand of crazy is contagious, but he is the only one being treated for it.

Jake has a lick granuloma. I Google-diagnosed this condition over a year ago.  The vet is just now catching up.  Jake's OCD compulsion is to lick his paw.  Just when one paw will get healed, he will move on to another.  My parents have tried every cone, wrap, shoe, and spray known to discourage contact and promote healing.  Nothing works.  It is all in this dog's tiny little brain.

Today's veterinary medical practices routinely address behavioral issues such as this by prescribing doggie Prozac.  Literally the same medicine, for the same reasons.  As Jake is vacationing at our abode, and the vet is ready to start the regimen, I have been tasked with observing his behavior and noting any side effects.

I am tempted to print out some Rorschach inkblots to use as place mats for Jake's kibble and note his preference for one shape over the other.

Constantly listening for Jake's late night lick-fests, and bandage ripping escapades robs me of sleep and peace of mind.  Now I am supposed to observe how Prozac affects him?  Is there any way to report on that without sounding like an imbecile?

I know it is wrong, but part of me wonders if I should eschew the Prozac and just share a little Shiner with the dog.  Lord knows it keeps me sane...

October 17, 2012

Journalism?

I will admit that I know little about the textbook hallmarks of journalism.  I know what I expect of those that claim to be journalists.  I know that there was once some nobility in the profession.  Whenever our great nation's news agencies and companies tipped the scales from mostly "journalism" to mostly "reporting", we lost a communication tool that I don't see coming back.

Once upon a time, there were checks and balances, editors, researchers, fact checkers.  Recently, I was up late and caught the movie 'Desk Set', a late fifties Hepburn-Tracy movie about a television station trying to computerize the research department - taking out the human element and depending on technology, when clearly some common (human) sense was needed.

This AP headline and story serves as a prime example of what happens when the (educated) human element is dumbed down:
No one killed after suicide bomber attacks near US-Afghan base
Published October 17, 2012
Associated Press
A suicide car bomber blew up his vehicle near the gate of a U.S.-Afghan combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday morning in an explosion that shook houses nearly two miles away. Ten Afghan troops were injured, mostly by falling debris.

Though very large, the blast in Paktiya province's Zurmat district did not kill anyone, said provincial government spokesman Rohullah Samon...
Though not worthy of our consideration, I would bet that the suicide bomber's family would argue that someone did, in fact, die.

Click over to any news site this morning and there will be a story about last night's presidential debate, and how a journalist reporter news reader Obama supporter misspoke campaigned for Obama lied while trying to moderate the debate.  In classic bad reporting mode, she made a very loud and public statement with everyone watching, but the clarification was made after the fact, to a small audience, much the same way that newspaper retractions are buried in small font on page 12.

It is a sad commentary on our society, that with all of the tools given to us through modern technology, we are no closer to truth, accuracy or integrity from our media.

October 16, 2012

Decision Made

No need to watch the debate tonight, no need to vet issues, listen to opinions, platforms, or promises.  Honey Boo Boo has endorsed Obama

I am only vaguely familiar with the Honey Boo Boo phenomenon.  I understand that an 'odd news' headline I read sometime last year, about a pageant mother that mixed Red Bull and Mountain Dew for her young child, was, in fact, about this child known as Honey Boo Boo, video here.  I have also viewed a clip from this family's reality television show in which, in light of a dearth of road kill to cook up, they prepare an old family favorite recipe for 'Sketti', consisting of pasta topped with a mixture of melted Country Crock and ketchup. 

While my family has its share of idiots, idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, nicknames, and pedestrian comfort food recipes, I can find no common ground between us and them (the Honey Boo Boo clan).  If they are for a guy, I think it is a safe bet that I am against him.

We're number 8

Been out of town on a whirlwind trip - will catch up on that later.

This caught my eye, as I perused the below-the-fold headlines:
Total consumption of beer in the U.S. has fallen for the third straight year, according to a report published by the Beer Institute, a beer lobbying group. Since 2008, total beer consumption has fallen by as much as 11% in some states. Americans still, however, consume a massive amount of the foamy beverage — an estimated 6.3 billion gallons in 2011. Nationwide, 28.3 gallons of beer a year were consumed for every American of legal age.
And, Texas is above average, with per capita consumption of 34.6 gallons each year, a tie for 8th with Nebraska, among the top ten beer drinking states.
Of the 604,956,568 gallons consumed annually in Texas, I would attribute a good portion of it to Blownstar.  If we push hard, I think we can crack the top 5.
It should be noted that the rankings were based on sales, with no latitude given to other factors.  I could argue about the fact that we can't buy beer until noon on Sundays in Texas - a clear factor in limiting sales in the wee hours after Saturday night imbibing.  The number one state, New Hampshire, is noted as having considerably lower taxes than neighboring states, with the assumption made that many of their sales are from Vermont and Massachusetts residents crossing state lines to buy their beer, thus pushing their sales number higher.  Isn't the Kennedy family compound in Massachusetts?
North Dakota is holding the number two spot, and they are also ranked second for number of binge drinkers.  I think they should get points off for that - beer drinking should be a commitment.  South Dakota is in fourth place.  There must not be much else to do up in the great white north. 
Montana is number three, and I am not surprised.  I have visited several times, having a good friend that resides in the state.  Beer is (or was when I was there) sold, as in package sales, from the bar.  And most people ordered a six or twelve 'to go'.  At the bar I was at, just an average blue collar kind of watering hole, the bartender called out last call, filled everyone's orders, and then went down the bar and dumped everyone's drink into a plastic cup to take with them.   
The rankings didn't say much about type or strength of beer, either.  They did mention that Texas pulls business from Oklahoma, as the Okies tax their 5.0% and higher alcohol content beer at a much higher rate.  I would have liked to have seen info about what beer all those northern states are drinking.  It ain't Shiner, so I doubt their dedication.

October 14, 2012

Spooky Season

I love haunted houses, or I used to.  I haven't been to a really good one in years.  Growing up, each fall I would make the rounds of the haunted houses.  Since having children, who don't seem as inclined to pay to have the crap scared out of them, it's been corn mazes and not-so-scary kid friendly haunts.

Way back in the early 80's, in Kansas City, there was a haunted house that I loved.  The building was old, with several floors that were used for the experience.  The premise one year was ascending through several stories of various scary themes, ending up on the top floor in a white, twinkly-light 'heaven'.  Just as you were taking a deep breath, thinking you were at the end, personnel grabbed you and sent you down a 4 or 5 story slide into 'hell'.  Satan was at the bottom to scream in your face and then direct you to the gift shop. 

Satan had a huge live snake draped over his shoulders.  My mother is deathly afraid of snakes.  She came off that burlap bag at the bottom of the slide and took off running, freaked the hell out by the snake.  A police officer, hired for security and crowd control, took off after her, as it wasn't a great neighborhood and she was clearly in distress.  What my mom heard was a voice and footsteps chasing after her, and assumed it was the guy with the snake, so she kept going.

I don't know what finally got her to stop, but several minutes later she came walking back with the officer and got just close enough to gather us up to leave.  Best haunted house ever.

I don't get up to the Niagra Falls area much, but if I did, I would certainly try to make it by the haunted house responsible for this picture (more at the link).

 

October 13, 2012

Weighted Voting

CenTexTim, and, I think, Whited, some time back, posted a link to iSideWith.  I had done the questionnaire before, but did it again, paying special attention to the additional answers offered by the "choose another stance button', completing the extra questions and using the sliding scale that indicates how important each issue is to me.  I wasn't surprised by the overall result, except that I have no idea who Virgil Goode is, even though he is, apparently, my third choice for president.

Which brings to mind an idea - how about weighted voting for the presidential election?  Of course, the first thing we have to do is eliminate the electoral college, which in itself, would likely bring about significant change.

I don't know how you would decide how many votes each person gets - though I kind of like the idea of education level, age and number of years actively voting playing into it.  I like Gary Johnson, and seem to agree with the mysterious Mr. Goode, but think that our best choice right now is Romney.  Let's say in my imaginary system, I get 10 votes, because I have been an active voter for over twenty years, I can show the same number of tax returns, I have never received welfare of any sort, etc..

I would likely throw seven votes Romney's way, two to Johnson and one to Goode.  Support the ideas of 'third' parties having a place at the table, yet mostly supporting the candidate with a chance to win.  Though, in my system, the people that have made up Obama's base would get much fewer votes, and in short order, people like me could stop voting for the lesser of two evils and actually vote for someone who best represent our ideals - knowing that they might actually have a fair shake at winning.

A girl can dream, right?

October 11, 2012

Not My Friend

I am sure that some enterprising tech savvy person will soon string together a video highlighting the number of times Joe Biden referred to Paul Ryan as 'my friend'.  Something like this one about Obama and the "uh" video.  Is there a word or phrase that accurately defines the use of a friendly phrase that is clearly not meant in a friendly manner?

I have steered clear of media impressions of the debate.  I will admit to being biased before watching it.  I think Joe Biden is a dolt.  I can't imagine how he got elected, to any political position. I cringed when Ryan brought up the Romney's charity to a family that was in a car accident - knowing that they next thing out of Biden's mouth would be his own, truly heartbreaking, story about his own loss of a child in a car accident.  Still, just because a guy has experienced hardship, and can show emotion without embarrassment, doesn't mean he is fit to lead.

I think Ryan was professional and sharp through most of the debate.  I think Biden acted like a petulant child.  He guffawed.  He smirked.  He threw his hands up in the air.  He interrupted, and the moderator let him.  He changed the subject, and the moderator let him. 

Funniest line from Biden, "I never say anything I don't mean."  Brought immediately to mind about half a dozen of his most memorable gaffes, from telling a man in a wheelchair to stand up, to telling people that Romney wants to put them back in chains.  Hard to brush things like that off when Biden stands behind every word he ever uttered.

Clearly, the VP candidates have divisive issues.  Clearly, I come down mostly on the Ryan side of the argument, so, even if he were the pouting blowhard in the debate, I would probably say he did better.  I think Ryan is probably a lot smarter than many listening to him.  I think that too many people will take either candidate at their word, without digging any deeper, without searching for their own answers and information.  I think too many people vote emotionally without getting facts to bolster what they think they understand.

Getting back to where I started.  When the phrase 'my friend' is coming out of your mouth, but you smirk and laugh whenever your 'friend' speaks, you come across as a jerk. 

The truth about jobs

Maybe someone is adding roofies to the water at the Labor Department.  I can't think of any other thing that would make them think they are releasing credible information.

Excellent, concise, plain spoken post about the 'data massaging' can be found here.  (I have heard several business wonks mention that they can NEVER remember when Labor released a report with the caveat that 'one large state didn't report some quarterly figures'.)  In other words, 'The revision to the revision of our fictional jobs report released last week will be quite a doozy, so we are hiding data for a few weeks, hoping no one will notice the real number until they have voted for Blowie - and we are blaming it on a "large" state, so naturally we are alluding to solidly red Texas or Alaska, hoping to scare some votes out of people.  Couldn't be Nevada, Cali or Florida.  Nope, no way.  But we ain't sayin'...yet'.

To accommodate those without two minutes to read (and weep) over the linked post, I have swiped the most compelling illustration of what is going on.  The RED line is the YTD Initial Jobless Claims number AFTER revisions - you know, those quiet little CORRECTIONS Labor makes after the big story is talked to death.  The BLUE line shows the YTD change in the jobless number as reported in the splashy headlines - you know, those things that many people read or hear and then never delve any deeper into.  In summary, red = truth, blue = MSM/Blowie admin spin:


Mississippi Muffler Shop

Last weekend, many Aggies made the trek to Oxford, Mississippi, for a football contest.  I did not.  I have a thing about the Oxford area.  A few things happened there that left a mark on my psyche and I vowed never to return.  I do not remember all of the particulars.  I was youngish.  I remember the highlights and the bits that have been re-told to me aver the years.

We were visiting 'family' there.  It was newly acquired 'by marriage' sort of family.  My mom and I went shopping.  We perused the wares on both sides of the streets and both sides of the proverbial railroad tracks.  We got some strange looks and stilted conversation in some of the stores.  When we returned to the home, we were promptly sat down and given a talking to about the places white women did and did not go in their town.  A recounting of our path had beaten us back to the house.

That incident was followed by another, equally as terrifying to a youngster from the Midwest.  I was forced to eat okra.  I had to pick it, cut it, help fry it and then choke it down.  Not a fan.

The last straw was a head-on collision on the way out of town.  The highway was under construction and some lady got confused and was attempting to get on the highway going the wrong direction.  I was in the backseat when the cars met doing 60 mph.  What I remember most is my mom's screams.  She was pinned on the floorboard, up under the dash, and all she could feel was a warm liquid pooling around her legs.  Since she didn't have any noticeable severe pain, she thought the warm liquid was my blood, coming from under the seat.

I can't accurately express the emotions I felt, hearing my mother's anguish at, what she perceived to be, a mortal injury to her child. Turned out to be the thermos of coffee on the back floorboard that had burst in the wreck.  She was sitting in coffee.  

I can't remember a good memory to overshadow those and instill any desire to return to the area.  Those that might be traveling that direction should be on the lookout in in Batesville, MS.  This muffler shop owner has quite the sense of humor, as several people have posted this sign, seen on the way to Ole Miss:
 

October 10, 2012

Facebook's Empty Chair

Did Facebook turn on their Messiah?

I am one of those people who stays logged in on Facebook on my personal computer.  But, I also periodically check Bang's page, which requires me to log out and into his account.  On Monday, when he mentioned some spam post on his wall, I did just that, logging out with the intent to log back in.  The FB home/log in page had this picture:


I think it was a video to watch, but I never clicked on the play indicator.  I prefer to draw my own conclusions and bask in the inference, whether intended or not.

Thanks for contributing to the empty chair meme, Zuck.

October 9, 2012

Wood and Balls

Last night I watched Tim Tebow push his way to a short yardage first down, and then knock helmets with a teammate in celebration.  I thought that it wasn't the smartest thing he could do, but could appreciate that a man his size, having just completed an important play, might get a little carried away.  Luckily, no one was hurt and the game went on.

Mr. H and I have frequent discussions about my *unpopular* view on the use of medical intervention in professional sports.  I think that if a professional athlete requires medical attention beyond a simple blood-stanching wrap or ice pack in between plays, they should leave the game.  It drives me crazy to watch players take oxygen on the sidelines, to hear of them going to the locker room for I.V. fluids, or getting injections to dull or mask pain.  Play the game or get off the field.  If you have an injury that impedes your game, then you shouldn't play.

Professional soccer isn't very popular in our country, and I would venture to guess it is because of the dearth of athletes able to stay on the field, in near constant motion, for 90+ minutes at a time.  When they leave the field, it is often on a stretcher.

Rugby is nearly unheard of in the USA and I will venture a guess as to why:  We just aren't tough enough.  Boys, you just go ahead and double over in a sympathetic posture for this tidbit:
British rugby league player Paul Wood has lost a testicle after a collision during the English sport's showpiece final at Manchester's Old Trafford stadium on Saturday.
Wood was playing for the Warrington Wolves against Leeds Rhinos in the Super League Grand Final.
The prop sustained the injury one minute into the second half, but managed to play the rest of the match before seeking treatment.
Good Lord, Almighty!  I had to look it up - they play 40-minute halves.  Name one NFL player that could play 39 minutes with a ruptured testicle.  Oh, and they play without helmets and pads to begin with.

At least the gentleman has a sense of humor (and already had two kids).
"Just coming out the hospital to go home... Seriously feel like I've left something?

October 8, 2012

The obama.com story

As alluded to earlier, there is a campaign finance story simmering.  The ever-mysterious 'sources' say that the story is being quashed by Obama, but a couple of weeks ago, ABC did a story on some preliminary info from the same source document.

The full report by the Government Accountability Institute came out a few days later.  Skip on down to page 63, the 'Curious Case of Obama.com'.  If you read nothing else, note that the Obama campaign owns 392 different domain names, variations of the president's name and/or his initiatives.  They do NOT, however, own 'obama.com'.  That website is owned by an Obama campaign fundraising bundler with 'considerable business ties to China'.  The website is registered anonymously.

68% of the traffic to obama.com comes from foreign locations.  All traffic to obama.com is re-directed to the donation page of barackobama.com.  But there isn't a story there...

FOD

It gets harder and harder to post something on FOD. Over at GGDF, they have declared every day until the election a FOD, likely because they face the same dilemma I do - an overwhelming amount of material to choose from.

Pick any news site, never mind the cornucopia of aggregating sites, and there are dozens of things to choose from. Obama sticks it to this country every minute of every day, both through the things he does and says and through the things he does not do or say.

I had waited a bit this morning, hoping for the 'developing donor scandal' story that was hinted as being one of the reasons for Obama's poor debate performance. I really don't think it will make much of a difference in the election, but the Schadenfreude is quite nice. Seriously, does the typical Obama voter have such a great respect for the rule of law that they would change their vote (or stay away from the polls) if they find out Blowie is taking money illegally? Oh wait, they are the ones donating it...answered my own question.

I am surprised and maybe a little encouraged by the debate bounce that Romney got.  I don't disagree with any of the reasonable conclusions that have been drawn about the debate, but I am painfully aware that the people that need their minds changed, or made up, don't watch debates.  Or research both sides of an issue.  Or care if their candidate lies, cheats, ignores security requests in Benghazi, treats his family to lavish vacations on the taxpayer, or bows to Muslim extremists and extremism.

October 7, 2012

Buhruhk Uhbuhmuh

October 6, 2012

Magic Math

My favorite commentary on the BLS jobs report thus far is this one:
This morning's Employment Situation report showed 114,000 new jobs, but that number reduced the unemployment rate by 0.3%, from 8.1% to 7.8%. Abracadabra – it is magic.
To give you a sense of how goofy the math is, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics says, in the very same report, "The civilian labor force rose by 418,000 to 155.1 million in September, while the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.6 percent."
So, if the number of people in the labor force rises – got that, went up – by 418,000 and 114,000 new jobs were created, where did the other 304,000 people go? Additionally, doesn't 0.3% (8.1% - 7.8%) X 155,100,000 = 465,300? Unless somebody reprogrammed my calculator and Excel while I was sleeping, it's the same every single time I try it.
465,300 minus 114,000 leave another mysteriously missing 351,300 people. Where did they go? The answer is that these people fell out of the workforce, either they retired or exhausted their unemployment benefits without finding a job, essentially, they disappeared – poof - and are no longer interested in working. Yeah, right.
 Those that happen by this blog are smart.  We take these reports with a grain of salt, because, no matter how entertaining the magic math might be, we know that the most accurate indicator is the U6 number, illustrated quite clearly on this chart from 2006 to the present:

from hotair.com

Bearing in mind that the BLS employs a survey method to ask people about their jobs and pay to come up with their report, what is bothering me this morning is the fact that I have never been surveyed.  Never, ever, ever.  I don't know anyone that has.  I don't know anyone that knows anyone that has been surveyed.  The BLS samples 60,000 households for each monthly report.  There are, according to the 2010 Census, around 114,236,000 households in the United States.  By now, shouldn't I have stumbled upon someone that knows a guy that once heard about a guy that got a call asking about whether the people in his house have a job?

Earlier this week I was in Kansas when Hallmark announced the closing of their Topeka plant, with a loss of 300 jobs.  Up the street here, Peterbilt just announced an unspecified number of layoffs.  Lord knows those aren't the only two brand-name manufacturers cutting back.

Here's an idea for a great October labor survey...make the survey calls to households in Topeka, Kansas, Denton, Texas, and towns with NHL teams.

Just in case you misread the title and came here looking for a 'Magic Mike' picture...(boys can head on over to GOC for Saturday Boobage).

October 5, 2012

Where have all the good teachers gone?

Today is conference day at my kids' school.  For the first time, they are taking the entire day and dedicating it to meetings.  They call them 'goal setting' conferences and students are required to attend with their parents.

This is fun in kindergarten and fourth grade...we'll talk about realistic milestones and social development.  Most elementary level teachers I have ever met really enjoy their work.  They love kids.  They like to see the sort of tangible progress that is made as kids learn to read, write and create.

High school teachers suck the life out of me.  Okay, many of them are quite capable, but my kids have had at least one really shitty teacher per year since Boom was a freshman.  Last year it was an English teacher that asked questions that began, "Tell me what you think the author meant by...".

What she meant was, "Tell me what I think the author meant by..."  And she bled marking pen all over those who didn't think the way she did.

This year it is a testy little witch of a math teacher that will be at my mercy at 11:15 am today.  She has no ability to discern if children are learning the subject matter because she is so focused on her rigid classroom procedures.  And she said to me the one thing that drives me batshit crazy, "This is important so the student is prepared for...(the next level).   

Is that lesson number one at teacher school?  Anytime you question something at this level, we will claim it is necessary to get to the next level.  That is acceptable in generalities - sure, preschool is about preparation for kindergarten and primary school is preparation for secondary, secondary prepares for college and/or the work force, etc..  But it shouldn't be a pat answer for when you can't explain your teaching philosophy or methodology.


October 4, 2012

When it rains

I am supposed to be attending a conference today and tomorrow, but fate has intervened.

I returned late yesterday from a quick trip to visit my ailing uncle.  Two weeks ago he was told that nothing more could be done to treat his cancer.  Due to the rarity of the cancer type, location, and damage done to his body from radical surgeries, chemo and radiation, the doctors didn't even really try to venture a guess at how long he might survive.  My aunt and uncle's first grandchild is due in December and the doctor had said that he might live to see the birth.  He was wrong. 

The trip home was spent mentally compiling the tasks that needed immediate attention, so that I can return as soon as possible, though it will most likely be for a funeral.  I thought I had everything planned out.  Though it would be hectic and tiring, I was going to be able to do everything around the conference.

Somewhere around Guthrie, Oklahoma, I got the call that my daughter was quarantined to the dorm with a respiratory virus.  Boom was a preemie and stared her life with lung issues that have left her with a predilection for pneumonia anytime she gets any sort of congestion-related illness.   Trying to get her appropriate care from 200 miles away isn't comforting right now.  Especially when she is taking three 'this may cause drowsiness' medications and is basically comatose and not answering her phone.

On top of which, Boom's car wouldn't start on Tuesday.  She got a jump, and went to get a new battery only to be told that the battery was fine.  Lost in translation was the need for someone with a little bit of auto knowledge to check and clean the terminals and cables.  I was hoping to get that nailed down, in case the car needs further attention that might require parental intervention over the weekend.     

I went to bed thinking that everything was still on track as long as Boom kept hydrated and didn't worsen overnight.
 
I got up early, did a bit of research lining up other things; checked flight schedules for Boom if/when we need to put her on a plane to Kansas, checked flight schedules for Mr. H from the various cities he will be in, should the call come while he is out of town over the next couple of weeks, checked my dogs' vaccination schedule and noted that they need Bordetella if they are going to be boarded.  Had a stack of stuff for Mr. H to run to the bank and various places as he traveled for work today. 

I was still on track, getting ready to leave for the conference when The Princess woke up with a raging fever.
   
Stick a fork in me.  Begged off the conference, got the little one snuggled up on the couch, got the other two off to school, waiting to hear from the oldest and praying that life doesn't deal any more blows (though the swelling around the dog's surgical scar is ominous) before the next wave hits.

October 3, 2012

Debate drinking game

Decided to have a swig of Shiner for each 'uh' or 'um' uttered by Blowie...

I donst knwo bout yew butt i thikn ronmee mite juss pul this owne oot

Exhausted

I got nothin' good and don't want to bring anyone down with me.  Maybe I can get some rest soon and walk among the living again.

October 2, 2012

Not everyone can be a rockstar

Mr. Harper has an employee that he wants to get rid of.  It isn't that she is incompetent, it is more about being high maintenance and low return.  She never goes above and beyond.  She isn't harming the business, but no one would miss her if she left.  Most likely, in hindsight, they would probably appreciate her going away.  Mr. H mentioned that he had a long talk about these sort of 'just here to get my paycheck' employees with his boss (on the golf course, where all important business takes place).  They didn't come up with any solutions, but I question if they need to.

Is that wrong?  If people come to work, do their job, earn their wage - is there anything wrong with that? Shouldn't it be the ones who do go above and beyond that are rewarded with better pay, better benefits, better opportunities?

It almost seems to me as if this is along the same vein as the 'everybody gets a participation trophy' mindset.  Why do businesses assume that everyone wants to do more work than is required of them for the same pay?  Why does everyone need to aspire to be employee of the month?  

Our society has long lacked the work ethic of the generations before us.  It has also lacked patriotism, morality and the courage of those who fought and died for the basic ideals that have led to the entitlement mindset of this generation.

I blame the government and minimum wage.  They have set the minimum bar too high, leveled a playing field that many people shouldn't even be on.  Invited illegal workers and situations to flourish.

What has changed in our society, educational system, morality, that has led to so many people to be wastes of oxygen?  How did a once adventurous, rebellious, revolutionary country grow to the biggest nanny state this side of Communism?

October 1, 2012

FOD

It hasn't been widely reported - if you lurk around to alternative news sources, you probably saw it - either the MSM faked version, or the exposed for what it is version.

MSNBC wonks are setting up a piece about how Ryan will be doing more campaign appearances in the coming days and weeks, to offset Romney's inability to excite crowds or something like that.  They portend to underscore their point with a video of a crowd, at a Romney-Ryan event chanting.  MSNBC's caption department (directed, one would assume, by some producer, editor, news writer, etc) pegs the crowd as chanting, "Ryan - Ryan - Ryan," and then Romney stops them, and encourages them to chant, "Romney - Ryan, Romney - Ryan."

The MSM's play being that the crowd was loving Paul Ryan and the presidential candidate is such a big loser that he had to ask the crowd to chant his name.

Joe Scarborough is shown with his head in his hands muttering, 'Sweet Jesus,' on camera.

The MSNBC wonks had a good little on air holier-than-thou chuckle and then very serious analysis, and then news agencies across the liberal spectrum ran with the same story.



And then reporters that were actually AT THE DAMN EVENT started calling in and reporting that the crowd was chanting Romney's name and he encouraged them to add Ryan to the mix.  I haven't yet seen an apology or retraction of the original story line.  In fact, most of the updates read much like the one on HuffPo:
UPDATE: A reporter who attended the event contacted The Huffington Post to say that the crowd was chanting Romney's name, not Ryan's, and that Romney added his running mate's name to the chant, not the other way around. Either way, the clip doesn't show Romney getting the chant he wanted.
I don't know which 'Sweet Jesus' Joe Scarborough and company pray to, but let's hope it is the forgiving kind.  I might get stuck with a crappy president for the next four years, but at least I know when to admit I am wrong and stay right with my God.