March 31, 2013

Organizing Easter

On the occasion of Easter, Google has chosen to mark the date with a Google Doodle commemorating Cesar Chavez's birthday.

And it is a blatant political statement, based on Google's CEO being neck deep in Obama's ass.
President Barack Obama released a statement in 2011 proclaiming March 31 “Cesar Chavez Day,” declaring, “I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor Cesar Chavez’s enduring legacy.”
Google CEO Eric Schmidt was an informal adviser to both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns, a member of the Obama White House transition team in 2009 and a onetime prospect for an Obama Cabinet post during the president’s second term.
As The Daily Caller has reported, Schmidt is also a steadfast climate-change activist, and has advocated for the complete termination of the oil, natural gas, and coal industries, and predicted that Washington, D.C. will soon be completely underwater due to climate change.

I would venture to guess that the same demographic that idolizes Chavez, also celebrates Easter (the Resurrection version, not just the chocolate bunny version), and hope that they are sufficiently annoyed - both at Google for ignoring the Easter Bunny, and because they voted for a president that declares Easter as a day of celebration for the man who organized migrant laborers into the highly-paid and well-respected workforce they are today.

March 30, 2013

40 years removed

Yesterday, March 29, marked the fortieth anniversary of the last American troops leaving Vietnam.  Something that CBS could have memorialized with a documentary piece, not a benign pseudo-apology about using Vietnam as the set for one of their reality shows. The fake apology was done in the usual way - addressed to "those who were offended" - everyone should be offended.

My father and uncles survived that war.  A close friend of mine was born in a refugee camp as his family fled Vietnam.  I may be too young to remember the events and their impact first hand, but I was raised by people whose lives were shaped by those years, and they made sure I appreciated the sacrifices and hardships that were endured by our military men and women - both at war and at home.  Time doesn't lessen the atrocities of war, nor does it require that we forgive the actions of traitorous Americans.  A lesson television producers and our current government should remember.

There are more photos here.

The strain of battle for Dong Xoai is shown on the face of U.S. Army Sgt. Philip Fink, an advisor to the 52nd Vietnamese Ranger battalion, shown June 12, 1965. The unit bore the brunt of recapturing the jungle outpost from the Viet Cong. (AP Photo/Steve Stibbens)
During Operation “Bushmaster”, a member of Company “L”, (Ranger), 75th Infantry, wearing camouflage makeup sits alone with his thoughts while waiting to participate in an assault mission against North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces in Vietnam in August of 1971. (US Department of Defense/SP4 John L. Hennesey, 221st Sig Co).

March 29, 2013

Hawaii is worth saving

The news is wearing me out - little good, lots of bad, Obama circumventing the democratic process, and Lil Kim threatening to bomb DC. LA, Hawaii, and Austin, Texas!  I am far from knowledgeable on the subject, but would guess that Hawaii might be the only viable target in that group.  And I will save myself an add to the FBI watch list by not commenting on my opinion of bombing those other three cities.

Now, in honor of my kids being out of school for a non-religious, "Bad Weather Make up Day/Student Holiday", we are off for some parental torture family fun involving tourist traps and the emptying of my bank account.  I didn't really call in sick, but this still seems appropriate:

March 28, 2013

Targets

Yesterday, the Des Moines Register published an interactive map showing all of the Iowa public schools that have no security officer.  Their idiotic interactive map included pop up information on the exact location and number of students at the schools.  I will not reproduce it, or its current revision, here, but you can see the screen grabs on The Blaze.
The paper does point out that the number of schools with officers could increase as many districts are currently updating their safety and security plans. However, the interactive map posted online identifies more than 100 public schools, from kindergarten through high school and community college campuses that have no security.
Many Iowans who have seen the map are not happy about this information being made public. It reminded them of the story from last December, when the New York Journal News published the names and addresses of legal pistol owners. Public pressure eventually forced the New York paper to pull the map, especially after they were embarrassed by the amount of outdated and inaccurate data their story contained. In early February, when the New York Times tried to gain access to a list of pistol permit holders, a court denied that request and some legal experts claim that decision also rendered the Journal News action to be illegal.
It is also worth noting that both the New York Journal News and the Des Moines Register are owned by the same company, Gannett — the publishers of USA Today.
Remember when hard hitting journalists published stories about criminals and criminal activities to out the bad guys instead of making targets of the good guys?

Someone spent hours putting together that interactive map, making thousands of innocent school children the potential target of a copycat crime - or any number of other crimes that may indirectly harm them or put them in harm's way.  A school without security may well be attractive to any thief going after computers, locker contents, lunch money, along with pedophiles, rapists, kidnappers...

It goes without saying that the writer of that story, the creator of that map, should be looking for a new job right about now.  And probably some form of counseling to deal with the paranoia of what may come of his actions.

March 27, 2013


Good Friday

The local fishwrap, as well as the various web-based neighborhood news and information sites posted this school district press release yesterday:
School closed Friday, March 29
Students in (Local) Independent School District will be out of school on Friday, March 29. The doors to all schools and offices will close at the regular time Thursday, March 28, and reopen at the regularly scheduled time Monday, April 1.  
For additional information, contact the Communications and Community Relations Department...
Wow.  Is it just me or did these overly politically correct wonks go well out of their way in trying to avoid mentioning any sort of a holiday associated with this Friday?

My kids go to an exceedingly liberal minded school, but they still had the foresight to call it a "Bad Weather Makeup Day" with the explanation that if there was no missed day to make up, it would simply be a "Student Holiday".  The district above describes the day off in such a way that it makes you wonder if there is a gas leak or something.  It isn't at all worded in a way that makes it sound like this was a planned day off - even though it has been on their calendar for over a year.

We didn't get to this point by accident - and only we can fix it.  My friend Kerrcarto posted a scary reminder on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, something to effect of:
"Your local sheriff is the highest ELECTED law enforcement official in the country."
Don't spend so much time wailing about national politics that you forget the power in your vote at a local level - county, city, school district - all of these people are making (stupid) decisions that affect you and your family.   There are elections around here in May, which is just enough time for people to attend a couple of local meetings before going to the polls and trying to make a decision.  Get involved! 

March 26, 2013

They found Atlantis

No, no, not the mythical Atlantis, the literal one, in the Bahamas.  In what should surprise no one, as Obama preaches hardship sequester-style, his daughters are vacationing at the swanky resort.

While I could drone on and on about the hypocrisy of the profligate Obama family, what irks me more is this apparent repeat of Malia's Mexico adventure during Spring Break last year.  You remember, that trip she took with her class that was widely reported for about 4 hours, and then the story mysteriously disappeared from all American news outlets in a stunning display of government mandated censorship that no American media had the balls to stand up to.

News flash, I don't give two shits where the Obama girls spend their vacation.  It is no surprise to me that they are spending money, including that of the American taxpaying public - we know they didn't fly commercial and they aren't without the Secret Service, at the very least.  I am surprised that they thought they could pull this censorship stunt all over again.

The girls are at a public resort, and entering public places, and a brave/starstruck few people have snapped (and posted) photos of them in the Bahamas - but those photos quickly disappear, just like the photos of Malia in Mexico did.

It is terrifying, the level of control this administration has over the people.  Someone, somewhere, in our country, tonight, has been coerced into locking down a Twitter account, closing their social media pages, removing legally taken photographs - and all will be reported as done in the interest of respecting the privacy of the Obama daughters, and protecting their individual rights. When is it that their father will respect ours?

March 25, 2013

FOD - Bring 'em home edition

Each year, I download this report of where American troops are stationed, and play a little trivia game with myself, to see if I can figure out why we have American military members stationed in over 150 countries around the world.  Some are easier than others, whether they be current hotspots or strategic locations that are closer to current or potential concerns.  Others are a complete mystery.

It evokes some sentiment to see single and double-digit numbers of Americans currently stationed where once the numbers were much greater.  The Bosnia and Kosovo years were my era of greatest loss - friends, neighbors, and young soldiers in my (ex)husband's command.   

The media talks a lot about the U.S. 'winding down' operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines deploy everyday.  Now, my daughter sees friends leaving, comforts those left behind, and, inevitably, will eventually suffer the loss of someone fighting for, well, I don't know what.

Obama the Warmonger, as my friend Whited calls him, he promised to bring 'em all home.  Yet, just last month he sent troops to Niger to stick our collective American nose into someone else's business, even as we, back home in the good old U.S. of A., can't even pay a living wage to D.C. staffers.

March 24, 2013

Burning Bloomberg's Bankroll

Buried in this nauseating story about Nanny Bloomberg's $12 million gun control ad campaign, was a list of the states that his PAC thinks are divided on gun control:
The new ads will air in 13 states the group believes are divided on gun control: Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 
Help me out here, why are Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina potentially divided?  
I can come up with various reasons for the other states listed (in no particular order as so not to directly offend friends and family that reside north of the currently accepted location of the Mason-Dixon line); liberal, Yankee, easily influenced by current events, brain addled by the cold, elected Harry Reid, etc. But I really don't know the explanations for the ones listed above that are generally considered "Southern", red, conservative, Constitution-loving states.
I am left to wonder what data Nanny B used to determine that the above named states are on the fence. 
A friend recently traveled to Arkansas, Fayetteville to be specific.  We have a bit of a coordinated effort among a group of people, to look for ammo wherever we go, as the supply in Texas is nearly non-existent.  The call soon came that the sporting goods stores there had ammo on the shelves, no limits, decent selection.  He loaded up. 
Is that a sign that folks in Arkansas aren't panic buying and/or burning through ammo at the range sharpening their skills?  Are they truly undecided about gun control, as Nanny B would have us believe?
Or could it be that the fine folks to my east, having survived native son Clinton's gun control measures, are adequately supplied, sufficiently skilled, and smart enough to keep their mouths closed and let liberal over-reachers spend their money to air ads that will fall on deaf ears?

March 23, 2013

Conflicting Messages

Last month there was a bit of an uproar over a 911 call in California.  The call came from a retirement facility where an elderly woman had collapsed.  In the call, the dispatcher scolds the caller for not helping the woman while waiting for the ambulance.  She pleads with her to find anyone that will help the woman before paramedics arrive.  At one point, the dispatcher asks the nurse to flag down a passerby in the street, rather than wait for EMS.

Most of us have heard, if not been party to, some sort of medical 911 call.  The dispatcher assesses the situation and provides direction on stopgap measures to be taken while waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive.  They may ask what resources are immediately available, what people on scene may have any specialized training to help, and they help determine how to address the immediate situation.  The caller, or others nearby, are fully expected to be active participants in aiding those injured or ill.

Contrast that with ANY 911 call from a law-abiding citizen facing a potential confrontation with a criminal.  Why aren't the dispatchers trained to ask if the caller is armed and prepared to defend themselves?  Why do they instruct people to hide and wait for law enforcement to arrive?  Sit quietly, help is on the way, is the mantra in these cases.

How many people stand by and watch crimes committed, while waiting on LEOs to arrive, because that is how we have been trained to respond?  Not this guy:
“They’re beating on my front door right now,” he said.
“Okay, we’ve got them on the way,” the dispatcher replied.
“They better hurry up, because I will blow these (expletive) away.”
A short time later, the home intruder managed to gain entry into the home. It was at this point that the homeowner fired several shots at the suspect.
“I just put three rounds in his ass,” he informed the dispatcher.
The most unfortunate part of this story is that the intruder lived, so the fine taxpaying folks of Oklahoma will be supporting him for some time.

And, I am no legal expert, and I don't think this guy will have any problem, but, in my opinion, call 911 and then hang the phone up.  No need to record your intent to defend yourself and give the lawyers something to build a case on.

March 22, 2013

Rest easy, Marines.


DAVID FENN II, 20
Fenn, of Polk City, enlisted with the Marine Corps in June 2010. He was promoted to his current rank nine months later. Fenn, who served as a mortarman, received numerous accolades including a Combat Action Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal. He was last deployed in 2011 to Afghanistan.

"David, from day one, you could always tell he had a passion for becoming a Marine," said Auburndale High School principal John Hill. "He wanted to be a Marine. You could tell he wanted to serve his country."

AARON RIPPERDA, 26
Ripperda was a football player while he attended high school in Highland, Ill., near St. Louis. He was respectful and hardworking, according to Highland High School Assistant Principal Karen Gauen, and "definitely had the discipline for the military."

Ripperda had dreams of becoming a professional chef. His aunt, Beverly Lesicko, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he joined the Marines for a chance to explore the world. He was scheduled to come home in May.
JOSH TAYLOR, 21
Marine Lance Cpl. Taylor, who worked with mortars and served tours in Afghanistan and Kuwait, had dreamed being in the Corps since watching the History Channel as a boy. He joined right after graduating from a high school in Marietta, Ohio, in 2010.

Taylor's grandfather, Larry Stephens, said Taylor was engaged to be married, with a wedding planned for May.  His fiancee's father called him an exceptional person.

"You don't meet many young men like him today," Keith Malone told The Marietta Times. "He was respectful to everyone, very humble, just happy, happy all the time."

Taylor is also survived by three sisters and a brother.

ROGER MUCHNICK, 23
Muchnick, who'd been in the Marines for about three years, had served in Afghanistan and was considering returning to college after his enlistment was up. He played high school lacrosse and football in Westport, Conn., and later played lacrosse at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he studied business.

In a biography on the university's website, Muchnick said the one thing he would like to do before he died was "live," and his most embarrassing moment was getting caught lip-synching in a school talent show.

"He was at the top of his game when this happened," said his grandfather, Jerome Muchnick. "You can't imagine losing a very handsome, 23-year-old grandson who was vital and loving."

JOSH MARTINO, 19
Pfc. Martino, who hailed from Dubois, Pa., and was preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan, aspired to be a Marine since boyhood.

"Since he was probably 8 years old he wanted to be a Marine," said his mother, Karen Perry. "That's all he wanted to do."

Martino was a talkative former high school athlete and accomplished hunter who hoped to marry his fiancee later this year, Perry said.

His mother said she first heard a radio news report about the Monday accident, then three Marines arrived at her workplace to say her son was among the seven dead.

WILLIAM TAYLOR WILD IV, 21
Lance Cpl. Wild joined the Marines shortly after graduating in 2010 from Severna Park High School near Annapolis, Md. His mother, Elizabeth Wild, said he was in a weapons platoon that was scheduled to deploy in November to Afghanistan. He already had been deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Kuwait.

Wild said her son always wanted to go into the military, like his father, who is a command chief in the Air Force Reserve at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
MASON VANDERWORK, 21
Lance Cpl. Vanderwork, who was last deployed in 2011 to serve in the war in Afghanistan, was a native of Hickory, N.C. Vanderwork joined the Marines in June 2010 and was promoted to his current rank by August 2011. Vanderwork loved going to the beach and cruising in his Mustang convertible. He and his wife, Taylor, married the day after she graduated high school and hoped to start a family.

The 21-year-old loved being a Marine and had a tattoo emblazoned on his chest, she said, that read: "Sacrifice. Without fear there is no courage."

Thoughts and prayers to the families, friends, and fellow Marines mourning the loss of these young men.  God Bless.

Bios from here and here.

And now, three more dead at Quantico in a separate incident.  Horrific week.

March 21, 2013

Yankee, move south

I first began this post with the phrase, “And so it starts…”, but realized that this isn’t the beginning.  It isn’t even the middle.  Laws such as this one have been creeping into our lives since the day we agreed, as a country, to establish rights through our Constitution.  It is the inability of people to let others simply be.  It is the bastardization and politicizing of individual freedoms.  It is the lack of discernment from people that have been raised on un-American ideals that refuse to accept the very foundational concept of our country – that other people have a right to their own set of beliefs, and they have the right to live their lives in a way that reflects said beliefs, and our country was intended to be a place where the government had as little involvement as possible in such things.  There was an exponentially greater sense of self-responsibility, integrity, and faith exhibited in those who founded our country.  I can’t imagine that they would have ever imagined these people and these circumstances, that are bringing America to her knees.

So now, not a start, but another breathtaking example of government run amok, and turning citizen upon citizen.
Nearly a year before signing the nation's most stringent gun control measure into law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a hotline that allows state residents to report illegal gun owners in exchange for a $500 reward.
The measure is part of a four-pronged approach established by the governor's office to reduce gun violence in urban communities, according to CBS6Albany.com.
New Yorkers can call the "Gun Tip Line" if they believe someone they know has an illegal gun. Hotline calls are answered by state police and tips are referred to local law enforcement, the station reported.
To the freedom-loving, 2nd Amendment revering, people of New York, did you vote for these people? 

March 20, 2013

Maybe mattress stuffing is the way to go

I am an old school check register user.  I don't write many checks, but I use the register to document all transactions from debit card purchases, automatic withdrawals and direct deposits.  Old school for new tech, I guess.

Often, as I am writing down a transaction amount at the point of sale, the cashier will make a remark about my diligence.  How else would I know how much money I have?  How else would I catch bank errors, that are all too common, even in these modern times?

Boom, despite my valiant attempts to teach her otherwise, uses the 'surprise me at the end of the month' method of account balancing.  We set a monthly stipend amount for her at the beginning of her first semester of college with the understanding that we would review her spending at semester break and adjust it accordingly.  The optimist in me was hoping she would have some documentation showing that she tracked her spending and was diligent in her record-keeping.  Instead, she printed out copies of her electronic bank statements and I built a spreadsheet to categorize the expenditures.  I suppose when you are somewhat thrifty, have paid-for housing, a $2400 meal plan, and some built-up savings, you can get by with that method.

Yesterday, when the top news story was about the potential plan to skim the bank accounts in Cyprus for a bailout, here in the States, Chase bank had a glitch that caused bank accounts to show a zero balance.  It left me wondering how many of those people had any idea what their account balance should be.

While I am a user of some of the wonderful financial tools the internet provides (I love to deposit checks from photos) I just can't buy in to going all electronic.  While I don't think that what is happening in Cyprus could happen here, I am concerned about the number of people who might be, could be, scammed or robbed because they take little ownership in keeping their financial house in order. 

March 19, 2013

Ignoring Laws

Some friends of mine recently purchased a new home in a subdivision that has an HOA.  Ugh.  They soon sought the righteous path to home and landscape improvement, and submitted several requests for such controversial items as pampas grass planting and garden shed placement.  They were denied, even though nearly every neighbor had something in their yard that was similar.

I read through their HOA covenants and rules and soon discovered their errors, as well as the smart, yet infuriating precedent-exempting legalese that said "Even if a neighbor has it, it doesn't mean we have to approve yours."  And they also say they will do nothing to retro-actively enforce the HOA-scofflaws and make them adhere to the same set of rules that they hold the law-abiding residents to.

Sound familiar?

Scanning the news this morning, two stories further drove home the blood-boiling circumvention of our country's intended judicial system (you know, the one where our elected representatives draft laws and then police, municipal and judicial systems enforce them?).

A judge in Missouri struck down a 'moral obligation' loophole that allowed companies a way around providing birth control as part of their health care plans.  The judge had to strike it from the books because it conflicted with Obamacare - but...
Although she struck it down, Fleissig did not issue a permanent injunction against Missouri's law because she said the state insurance department had agreed not to enforce it and to withdraw its administrative complaints against the health insurers.
Eh, we're not planning on enforcing it anyway, just had to get it off the books, so Blowie and his goons won't give us any guff.

And the story that thrills me the most...
Including Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County, Colorado, 340 sheriffs have publicly stated they will not enforce gun laws they believe are unconstitutional.
The symbolism of ELECTED law enforcement officials publicly stating that they intend to violate federal law makes me giddy.  But it shouldn't have to be this way.  We are supposed to value our Constitution, appreciate our historical rights, value our laws.

When did things start getting so backwards?

March 18, 2013

FOD

Blowie flies to the Middle East this week, including a stop in Israel, the first visit of his presidency.

Don't be fooled into thinking that Blowie has suddenly decided to stand with Israel.  Headlines going into the trip say things like "White House lowers expectations ahead of Obama's Middle East Trip".  This, my friends, isn't going to be a Carter-esque peace talk trip.   This trip is nothing more than a trademark series of Obama photo ops.
The centerpiece of Obama's visit will be a speech in Jerusalem to an audience mainly of Israeli students. It's part of the president's effort to appeal to the Israeli public, particularly young people.
He will make several cultural stops in the region. They include the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem; the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, a revered site for Christians; and an Iron Dome battery, part of the missile defense system for which the U.S. has helped pay.
Traveling to the West Bank, Obama will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Obama and Fayyad will visit a Palestinian youth center, another attempt to reach the region's young people.
No stop at the Western Wall - but, hey Jack, he's on the ground less than 48 hours, no time for that kind of thing.  Tourist stops and speeches to kids - and it is no wonder. According to a recent poll outlined in Politico, he's not a very popular guy:
A new poll of Israelis conducted by Maagar Mohot Institute and Israeli daily Maariv found that 38 percent believe he is hostile to Israel and 14 percent believe he is indifferent. Only a third think he is supportive.
In addition, Obama is facing steep unfavorable ratings in the country, the poll found. Some 32 percent said they don't like him but respect him, 19 percent view him unfavorably and 17 percent have a highly unfavorable opinion of him.
Perhaps the most daunting number for Obama in the poll: Only 10 percent view him favorably.
It bears repeating, especially with that 10% approval number - I stand with Israel.

March 17, 2013

March 16, 2013

The good ol' days

A few weeks ago, I wasn't feeling well one weekend morning and was snuggled up on the couch watching The Rifleman as my kids stumbled out of bed.  One by one, they sat down to join me, and were enthralled by the show.  Three or four episodes later they snapped out of their wholesome-television induced stupor and began clamoring for Saturday morning XBox slots.

This morning, a similar thing happened.  I was trying to keep quiet, as the kids worked hard the previous two days, and had gotten to bed late.  Trusty AMC must make The Rifleman a Saturday morning staple - as I soon found it again and settled in for some big-man-with-a-rifle time.  Bang got up first, walked in to say 'Good Morning', saw what I was watching and said, "Oh excellent, The Rifleman," and crawled in beside me.  Two more kids soon joined, forcing me out of my warm spot.

We all love the intro to the show - the rapid firing of Lucas McCain's trusty Winchester, the cool spin it around thing he does, before breaking the fourth wall and giving that sly look to the camera as he reloads, all while walking down the main street of North Fork.

I can't recall every episode of the show I have ever seen, but I can recall the eight I have seen the past month.  There hasn't been a single episode that there wasn't a shot fired.  Not a single episode without a crime and/or a death.  North Fork was a dangerous place!

Nearly every character open carries, young Mark and various women-folk excepted.

I don't buy for one minute, the psycho-babble about violent television and video games desensitizing children to violence.  When kids have a healthy appreciation of life and death, a sound moral base, and caring parents that aren't afraid to discipline them, they turn out okay.  My kids made several comments about wishing their life were more like the one they see Mark living on The Rifleman - and they recognize that he has chores, no electricity, and a father that would scare the bejeezus out of anyone.

If Verizon would come out with a TV channel package that was nothing but pre-1970 westerns and Fox News, I would be the first subscriber.

March 15, 2013

Shall not be infringed

No doubt by now you have heard or read about Senator Ted Cruz's exchange with Senator Frankenstein (my kids came up with that without any prompting).


And while I enjoyed the vein of Cruz's question, and the expected arrogant non-reply,  I think the part of the video that too many people are glossing over is what Dick Durbin said toward the end.  Start the video around the 5:30 mark...

"None of these rights is absolute.  None of them."

Say what?

Is Durbin aware that this part of the Constitution is called the "Bill of Rights"?

Any and every politician that shares that view - that they, the Congress, the government, are in some way a supreme commander of our lives, and that they have the ability to tinker with our country's foundational documents on a whim - should be quickly and roundly dismissed from their post.  These people are not public servants they are tyrants.

March 14, 2013

RIP Clive Burr

I think I owe credit for most of my hearing loss to Iron Maiden.  One particular concert, in particular, I remember the distinct post-concert ringing lasting for a week or more.


Grandparent Genius

My kids, like many across the nation, are on spring break this week.  Boom is home from college, and thankfully, her break aligned with that of her siblings.

Since I started a new job just a few months ago (and there was a bit of a bloodbath at my office between other people requesting the entire week off), we didn't have the opportunity to plan any sort of family vacation.  Mr. H and I have been able to be home, or take the kids somewhere, a couple of afternoons.  The kids have filled the mornings with the obligatory movie watching and XBox playing.

The grandparents had mentioned that they would like to do something with the kiddos this week.  A trip to the movies was the frontrunner early in the week.  Then sometime Tuesday, Granddad got a spark of genius...

As the weather has been warm and lovely after a couple of inches of rain last weekend, Grandma was forming quite the list of spring chores that needed attention; a fresh coat of stain on the swing-set/fort, cleaning the pool, painting a trailer, and various landscaping and garden-planting items.

First Granddad put a price on several of the chores and offered them up to the grandchildren.  They were moderately enthused.  Now, the idea has morphed into a Big Day of Fun (doing Granddad's chores), with an all-cousin sleepover, candy, popsicles, and an end-of-work-week barbeque complete with s'mores, provided the kids get the fire pit cleaned out and ready for the season.

Now why didn't I think of that?

March 13, 2013

Conspiracy Theories

As we get older, we tend to collect people.  You know, the sort of people that you can talk about having known, in the "I knew a guy..." sense.

I know some marginally famous people, in fact, I think I have a draft blog post about that somewhere...

I have known some great people and some truly evil people.  But, I am most fascinated by those who have some wacko side that you would never expect based on their outward appearance and general demeanor.

I know a lady that is all-in on the Sasquatch thing.  Her Facebook teems with linked stories to sightings, television documentary listings, and comments from other Bigfoot believers.  For those who don't know her that well, she seems like a kindly old piano teacher.

I once knew a guy that steadfastly refused to believe that dinosaurs ever existed.  It wasn't a religious thing, and he wasn't an uneducated person.  He just did not believe that dinosaurs ever walked the earth.  Really.  And all the museums and paleontologists are in on it.

I don't think I have any outlandish conspiracy theory beliefs.  Do you?



March 12, 2013

Cops Ignoring the 4th Amendment

This isn't one of those shock stories about a SWAT team busting in the front door of the wrong home, or shooting an innocent family's dog - but for freedom-loving Americans, it should be just as disturbing.
"I don't feel safe here at all," said Jon Locke, who owns the house.

He isn't concerned about criminals, but instead is worried about Garland police after reviewing the images his surveillance cameras recently recorded.

"We lost that trust in GPD. It's time for us to go," Locke added.

Garland police had an arrest warrant for Locke's brother, who does not live at the address. Still, two officers showed up looking for him when the family wasn't home, according to surveillance video reviewed by News 8.

The images show one officer open Locke's truck and then dig through a bag of papers outside.
A second officer is seen at the back of the house peering through several large windows. When the policeman sees a surveillance camera watching him, the officer walks up to it and twists it off its mount, leaving it aimed at a brick wall.

"After looking through the windows and displacing my camera, [the officer] did open the [back] door here — which was unlocked at the time — and opened it up two to three feet, stuck his head in, and then closed the door," Locke said.
Most people never realize they are under constant surveillance in this modern world.  More and more homeowners are adding cameras to their home security systems.  One of my neighbors had a pile of evidence photos to use against someone stalking their daughter.  Another caught a thief.  Can you imagine coming home and seeing that your local police poked around while you were gone?

Like every other career in the world, there are good cops and bad cops.  It scares me when the bad ones find other bad ones to pair up with and go around doing crap like this.  Makes you wonder about their leadership and training, and how many of their fellow officers have the same level of disrespect and lack of education.

These officers must have had Obama as their Constitutional law professor.

March 11, 2013

FOD

Golf count holding at 116, but spring and summer are sure to ramp up that number.

And today, a story of survival.  Of a woman once thrown to the wolves (of Sunday morning television), and thrown under the bus, yet lives to tell the tale - and now is likely to get herself a Cabinet post.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is the leading contender to become the White House’s new national security adviser, following a failed bid to become secretary of state, a senior Obama administration official told Fox News this weekend.
President Obama could appoint Rice without the Senate confirmation needed for a Cabinet post. Rice withdrew herself from consideration for the secretary of state post in the face of withering criticism by congressional Republicans and others for her handling of the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012, Libya terror attacks.
This woman is an idiot all on her own.  Nevermind that she has been Obama's puppet and main flak jacket on Libya - which, incidentally, we still know little about.
Why in the world does this doormat of a woman keep getting considered for important positions?  Does she have some smoking gun that would harm the prez?  
And why does this administration want to recycle damaged goods?  I suppose I would want a yes-girl lackey that did my bidding in ugly situations, the way Rice did on Libya.  I guess that explains it.

March 10, 2013

Laugh a little

The time change and a promise to paint The Princess' room today have me running late today...some humor for your Sunday:

HOLY HUMOR
During these serious and troubled times, people of all faiths should remember these four great religious truths:
1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's Chosen People.
2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.
4. Baptists do not recognize each other at the liquor store.
GOOD SAMARITAN
A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan.
She asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and
Bleeding, what would you do?"
A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, "I think I'd throw up."
DID NOAH FISH?
A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?"
"No," replied Johnny. "How could he, with just two worms.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter. Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.  On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know.
UNANSWERED PRAYER
The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.
"Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages. "I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon."
"How come He doesn't answer it?" she asked.
BEING THANKFUL
A Rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, "So your mother says your prayers for you each night? That's very commendable. What does she say?"
The little boy replied, "Thank God he's in bed!"
SAY A PRAYER
Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.
"Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer." said his mother.
"I don't need to," the boy replied.
"Of course, you do "his mother insisted. "We always say a prayer before eating at our house."
"That's at our house." Johnny explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook.

March 9, 2013

Smoke rings

I am not Catholic.

I am somewhat fascinated by Catholicism.  I think what appeals to me most is the legality and pageantry. 

I tend to be a black and white kind of girl, so the traditional list of things you are forgiven for versus the few that get you on the fast-track to hell make sense to my need for strict order and discipline.

I also like the traditions and the ceremonies. Sure, sure, they seem antiquated and ridiculous on the surface, but I appreciate time-honored practices.  Having lived in Europe for a few years, I think that Americans have a disposable attitude about too many things.  Change isn't always good.  There is comfort to be found in doing (some) things the way they have always been done.

I got a bit teary-eyed watching the pope get in a helicopter and fly away from the Vatican.  I have no political or religiously political opinion on his decision to retire.  I cannot possibly comprehend the emotional attachment that Catholics have with their pope.  I am excited to await the puff of white smoke announcing the selection of the new pope.  I don't care one whit who it is - though I think it would be a riot (and nothing short of a living miracle) if Cardinal Timothy Dolan were to be selected.

I once visited the Sistine Chapel, and am curious as to the set-up for the conclave.  When I visited, it was, as most landmark churches in Europe are, empty of seats - so that the people can mill around, looking up, of course.  We didn't get to linger long as Bang, who was 2-year's old at the time, discovered there was an echo, and decided to "whoo" loudly to hear it.  Stern looks from security with gestures toward the signs demanding silence in the chapel encouraged us to make our way to the door.  I like the thought of that beautiful room filled with voices, and, perhaps, laughter, as the leaders of the Catholic church choose their new father.

March 8, 2013

Summah at the vineyahd

As Obama makes sixth-graders from Iowa cry and beg for their White House tour to be reinstated, staffers are busy making plans for the summer sojourn to Martha's Vineyard.

Like many children across the nation, a group of Iowa students has spent the school year in preparation and planning to visit the nation's capitol.  Weeks before departure, the sequester kicks in and, BAM!, no White House tour, as Obama has made sure that only the most obvious and PR-worthy cuts are made.



It didn't take long for the media to jump on the story - both of the kids, and of the actual savings of cancelling White House tours
They wouldn’t say how much this saves, so, we did some math. Tours are open 20 hours a week and use 30 uniformed Secret Service officers at about $30 an hour. Total saved? Approximately $18,000 a week.”
Now comes calligraphy-gate, with the illumination of the cost of the White House's THREE on-staff calligraphers.  Their combined salaries add up to $277,000 a year.  I will put my ancient, $40 Print Shop software and HP printer up against anything those calligraphers are churning out.  Seriously?  How much waste does hand-writing produce?  Can't you just see the floor of their office covered with wadded up balls of card stock and smears of ink before state dinner invites go out?

Maybe one of those calligraphers could train the auto pen to do their job.

March 7, 2013

How not to conceal

There are any number of ways to conceal a carry gun.  Perhaps I should add the word "legal" before "carry gun".

In Texas, the basic rule is that wherever and however a gun is concealed, it shouldn't be noticeable - "the presence of which is not openly discernible to the ordinary observation of a reasonable person".

In my unprofessional and humble opinion, if the grip of your revolver is hanging out of your vagina, you have missed several key points regarding concealment.
After being taken into custody Harris begged the officers to use the bathroom, so they let her.  But when she returned they noticed some protrusions from Harris’ private parts, or as court records stated, “Harris’ vagina area.”
Harris tried to conceal her ’5 shot’ revolver in her vagina, and police later found bags of meth stuffed in between her butt cheeks.
That protrusion coming from her vagina area was the wooden handle of a Freedom Arms revolver, which was, by the way, loaded.  Harris faces charges for drug possession and for smuggling a firearm into jail.
Loaded!  Both the revolver, and, I would guess, the woman.

March 6, 2013

Begging for work

An Inland Empire (California) woman is determined to move heaven and Earth – or give away $500 – to help her daughter find a new job.
Linda Smith, 61, is offering $500 to anyone who will take her daughter Lisa’s resume and get her a job.
Granted, I haven't seen Lisa's resume, but if she has even remedial clerical skills (which is the sort of job she is looking for), she could easily make the $15 per hour she is looking for - if she would get the hell out of California.

I wonder if Lisa and Linda have ever sat down and put a pencil to paper to look at the cost of living on the left coast?  A $15 per hour job is nothing to sneeze at, but that money can't go far in Cali.

To paraphrase the great Sam Kinison, "Hey Linda, get your kid, get your stuff, and move to where to jobs are!".

In retrospect, I hope that people like Linda and her daughter stay put.  While occasional outside-the-box thinking is good during a job search, who really wants a job their mom got for them by standing on a street corner and offering a bounty?  There is this little thing called a work ethic, and it is displayed even during the job search process.  If their solution is to beg for a job, rather than look beyond their narrow view of what, where, and how much - then California is right where they belong.

And just for fun:

March 5, 2013

Congressional Abdication

This is long.  It is worth every moment of your time.  Written by former Virginia Senator and Secretary of the Navy, Jim Webb, presented in its entirety and without comment (because what else is there to say?):

IN MATTERS of foreign policy, Congress, and especially the Senate, was designed as a hedge against the abuses exhibited by overeager European monarchs who for centuries had whimsically entangled their countries in misguided adventures. America would not be such a place. The Constitution would protect our governmental process from the overreach of a single executive who might otherwise succumb to the impulsive temptation to unilaterally risk our country’s blood, treasure and international prestige. Congress was given the power to declare war and appropriate funds, thus eliminating any resemblance to European-style monarchies when it came to the presidential war power.

March 4, 2013

FOD

The Sequesterer in Chief is not without emotion.  Over the past four years, he has seen fit to make public statements, expressing grief over the deaths of many people, including:

...author Ray Bradbury, singer Donna Summer, business tycoon Steve Jobs, Eunice Kennedy, Dick Clark, Richard Chavez – the brother of Cesar Chavez – Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai, Wilma Mankiller – first Cherokee Nation female chief - King George Tupou V of Tonga, basketball coach John Wooden, Chicago Bishop Arthur Brazier, and Kam Kuwata, a former Obama poltical aide.
And yet he has never even acknowledged the murder of Chris Kyle.   Every day is FOD.


List from White House Dossier.

March 3, 2013

Asbestos Pants...

...Blowie must be wearing them.  I got an email from the White House yesterday that started off by calling the sequester effects "arbitrary":
Starting today, our government will need to grapple with a set of arbitrary budget cuts that will hurt the economy, make life harder for middle-class families, and threaten our national security.
I don't think "arbitrary" means what they think it means.  These cuts were specifically chosen by this administration to have the most shock factor and be the most painful for people that they wanted to manipulate. 

The "high-ranking official" known as the president, is even getting called out for his lies by those that normally bow down to him:
Obama warned that starting on Saturday “the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol” and “the janitors, the security guards” would face a pay cut. But in a letter to supervisors and building staff, obtained by POLITICO, superintendent (of the Capitol) Carlos Elias said “the current sequestration plan does NOT include ‘Reductions in Force’ or Furloughs. The pay and benefits of employees WILL NOT be impacted as per out current plan.”
He wrote: “There was a specific mention in the news today by a high ranking official that said ‘The employees that clean and maintain the US Capitol will receive a cut in pay’ (not a specific quote but close to it). This is NOT true. Therefore, I request that you please notify all our employees about the importance of ignoring media reports.”
I love that - "notify all our employees about the importance of ignoring media reports" - especially when the media is showing clips of the president lying his ass off to try to scare people.

March 2, 2013

More preaching to the choir

I have spent many hours over the past few weeks, around people who are involved in the fight to preserve our 2nd Amendment rights.  Not much of the information is new, but sometimes having it illuminated again, and in a slightly different light, gets my blood boiling all over again.

All of "us" like to point to the high rate of gun-related violence in Chicago, a town with some of the most restrictive, and ridiculous, gun laws in the nation.  It is also mightily convenient and telling that Chicago is generally referred to as the president's hometown (except at Christmas when he needs to justify travel to Hawaii).

Earlier this month, a woman was jailed for a week, for carrying an unloaded pistol in a case, to her place of work:
A 55-year-old woman who works as a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago was jailed this week for bringing a pistol -- licensed, unloaded and in a case – to her office.
The woman, who also holds an “Illinois firearm owners registration card,” told Chicago police that she had brought the handgun, recently purchased for home defense, to her workplace because she did not want to leave it at her residence while a work crew was there doing a renovation project.
But Chicago has perhaps the toughest gun laws in the nation and carrying the weapon, even without ammunition, is a serious offense.
A co-worker spotted the pistol case and called police who came and snatched up the information specialist from her workplace. The Chicago Tribune reports that the woman was held on $25,000 bond pending trial and placed on leave by the university.
Restrictive and ridiculous.
It is an unarguable fact that Chicago has racked up more gun-related deaths than the war in Afghanistan.  Chicago is gunning for 6,000 deaths by the end of 2013 - which will be nearly triple the number of casualties from an actual war, during the same time period.
I think the simplest conclusion is that the bad guys with guns outnumber the good guys with guns.  They have unarmed the good people that are in the neighborhoods with the thugs.  Cops can't be everywhere and citizens have a right to protect themselves.  Chicago's laws force their law-abiding citizens to bring a knife (though not with a blade over 2.4") to a gun fight.

March 1, 2013

The 2200

How's your memory?

I notice mine going a bit.  I find it more and more important to write things down - and that is working out.  I am not sure what will happen when I start to forget where I put the list, or can't remember the importance of the things on it.  I still think I have a pretty decent memory.  Mr H would say I never forget anything he does wrong...

After reading the story below, I tried to mentally walk through an exercise wherein I named any 2,200 unique people.  I thought that I could list family, friends, colleagues, and then move on to celebrities; naming favorites authors and actors.  It would be a frustrating challenge.

A Navy veteran, Ron White, recalled the 2,200 names of military members killed in Afghanistan.  Working for over 11 hours, he wrote each name, from memory, on a mobile memorial wall:


Mr. White will be repeating this feat, in other places around the country, to honor his fallen brethren.  What a lovely way to let families know that their loved ones are remembered for their service.