July 30, 2013

Nanny B in Weinerland

I am in the jungle of NYC this week.  I have been running my kids ragged, trying to find that happy medium between entertained and worn out enough that the hotel room togetherness doesn't result in bloodshed.

We have seen a wide cross-section of humanity, mostly of the 'you don't see that everyday' variety.  Keeping Crash from commenting inappropriately is our biggest challenge.  Facial expressions are also hard to control, a test we all failed when the chicken feet were offered at a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown.

Funniest thing I have seen so far was a subway ad for a printer that said, 'So fast the mayor is sure to ban it.'

July 29, 2013

FOD

Obama went golfing again this past weekend.

That's 133 for the presidency and 22 for the year.

He likely got rained out, as it began to rain four hours after he started his round.  Do you think he stopped to wonder if God was trying to tell him something?  Nah, me neither.

July 28, 2013

Summer Bankbusters

It seems that Hollywood is referring to this summer as the "Summer of Doom", with nearly every predicted blockbuster instead bombing at theaters.

Of course, most of the movies are shite. 

Of course, most of the actors are outspoken liberal jerks.

Of course, there is a dearth of new ideas.  Studios are remaking old titles, churning out sequels, and releasing increasingly vulgar material.

And they wonder why little yellow minions are raking in the money while Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum and Ryan Reynolds star in movies that aren't breaking even.

Adding insult to injury, the cost to see one of these crappy films is crazy.  While my family generally goes to affordable matinees, simply getting everyone something to drink costs more than the tickets.  $9 popcorn?! 

Is it any wonder that families like mine have grown accustomed to waiting on the DVD or On Demand release, where we can sit in the comfort of our own home, with $5 worth of snacks, and enjoy the movie just as much as if we had seen it on opening night?

July 27, 2013

With friends like this...

...who needs enemies?

Brandon Harker returned home from an eight month deployment in Afghanistan to find his dog Oakley was missing, and possibly sold on Craigslist. The soldier had asked a friend to take care of his 2-year-old purebred yellow Labrador retriever while he was deployed. When he contacted the friend to pick him up, he was told the dog had been given away.
What a P.O.S..  Really.  What is the thought process there?  Was he hoping the soldier wouldn't make it back?  Did he think that he would forget that he had a dog?  Or perhaps he is just a sad excuse for a human that doesn't care that he violated the trust of a friend.

Clearly not a pet owner.  Or a dog person.  I hope that Oakley is found and bites that SOB in the dick.

Here is a link to the ad seeking Oakley's return.

July 26, 2013

RINO isn't even accurate anymore

As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought,” Christie said.

“You can name any one of them that’s engaged in this,” he said. “I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. … I’m very nervous about the direction this is moving in.”

Christie acknowledged that there will always be mistakes when it comes to national security and protecting privacy, but said Americans need to stay focused on what’s at stake.

He dismissed some of the current privacy/national security debates as “esoteric.”

I've never been accused of being esoteric, which, as I learned it, and have reaffirmed with Merriam-Webster, means:
1a : designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone b : requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group
2a : limited to a small circle b : private, confidential
3: of special, rare, or unusual interest
I don't think that people concerned with the protections offered by our Constitution are a small or rare group.  Would Christie like to sit down across from the widows and children of our military members that have fought and died to protect our freedoms?  Freedoms that (were supposed to) include not being constantly watched and monitored by our own government?

Is Christie, and D.C. for that matter, in a bubble?  Do they really believe that conservative Americans are so few and far between?  Do they truly think that libertarianism is a bad thing?  I thought these were educated people?

I liked this comment that followed the story:
Getting foreign policy advice from a New Jersey governor is like getting medical advice from an auto mechanic.
Except I trust my mechanic more than I trust politicians, and he has enough common sense to give decent medical advice...

July 25, 2013

Patrick's Pal

As a semi-frequent visitor to the George (H.W.) Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, I feel that I am somewhat well-versed in the life and times of the former president.

On the grounds of the library is the grave of (Pauline) Robin Bush, the first daughter born to Barbara and George, and George W.'s sister.  Robin died of leukemia when she was 3, and the Bushes often speak of how her death affected the family. 

Yesterday, President Bush 41's office released these photos of him (and it looks like he is rocking some awesome socks to go with the 'do):

from Spokesman Jim McGrath's Twitter


That is the former president front and center, with his Secret Service detail.  GHWB shaved his head in a show of support for young Patrick, pictured here:



Patrick is the son of one of the Secret Service agents, and he is suffering from leukemia.  .

I read a lot about how our current president was a community organizer, and how he is the great uniter.  Could someone please show me one example of a kind thing he has done for someone else?  One instance when the narcissist-in-chief did a good turn?  A singular gesture of selfless care or goodwill?

Platforms and policies may determine political winners and losers, but there is something to be said for a society that elects a genuinely caring, kind person to occupy the Oval Office.  What a lovely gesture GHWB made for this family and their sick child.

I miss the Bushes.

July 24, 2013

NY Mayor Race - Stiff Competition


I would not be the least bit surprised if this joke of a man becomes the next mayor of New York.  The fact that he is running is a testament to the short memories, or lack of morals of Dims.

When he announced his run for mayor, there were plenty of jokes:
Schlong-awaited announcement: Anthony Weiner to run for mayor of New York.

Compassionate unveils new, caring political slogan: "I know it's hard."

Did you hear about Weiner? It appears he's sticking his head in the mayoral race...but maybe just the tip.

Anthony Weiner is thrusting his way into the mayor's race.

For mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner it will be long and hard but he'll stick it out.  
And now, new revelations of inappropriate Clinton -like behavior.  Are we surprised that his wife works for Hillary?  

Say what you will about Matt Drudge....the folks at his site have a helluva sense of humor.  Answering the question on everyone's mind...Will he pull out?

July 23, 2013

The older I get...

...the less I like people.

Yet, I find myself to be more forgiving, which, I suppose, comes from the life lesson of learning what is truly important in life, versus what is going piss me off for a day or two.

I held a mean grudge in my younger years.  Some still linger, even if I can't remember the original reason for the discord.  Flipping through my high school yearbook the other night, I was surprised to feel strong emotions for people whose names I really didn't remember until reading the captions, then I would remark, "She was such a bitch".  I suppose it is a good thing that I have never had any desire to attend a high school reunion.

It has long been my goal to reach an age where it would be acceptable to speak like the character Ouiser Boudreaux from the movie Steel Magnolias. Blunt, and brutally honest, yet those closest to her know she has a kind heart. 
I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood 40 years! 
Don't try to get on my good side, Truvy. I no longer have one!  
I am pleasant! Dammit! I just saw Drum Eatenton this mornin at the Piggly Wiggly and I smiled at the son of a bitch for I couldn't help myself! 

Perhaps my aversion to people has more to do with realizing that life is too short to deal with assholes. 

July 22, 2013

FOD - Wookie edition

Golf count: 21 on the year, 132 during his reign.

You might have missed this, from White House Dossier:
First Lady Michelle Obama was Chicago Thursday for an official event touting career training for disadvantaged youth, but she spent far more time at a Beyonce concert the night  before, begging the question: What was the true purpose of her taxpayer-funded trip?
Michelle appeared for only 15 minutes at an event with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel promoting Urban Alliance, which provides assistance to students in low income neighborhoods seeking internships and helps them continue their education after high school.
She opened the session promising “we will talk and discuss,” but then left after making some brief remarks and answering only a single question.
But Wednesday night, a motorcade carrying Mrs. Obama and her daughters was seen being escorted into the underground garage of the United Center, where Michelle and the girls took in a concert by Michelle’s self-proclaimed hero, Beyonce. This even though Beyonce promotes unhealthy food choices for lots of money, records offensive music, and vacations in Cuba.
It’s not the first time taxpayers have been billed for Michelle’s trips to see Beyonce. Last year, she and her daughters jetted to Atlantic City for a Memorial Day weekend show at a Casino.
 Don't forget that the First Family is off to the Vineyard in a few weeks.  How many concerts, golf rounds and vacations have you enjoyed this year?  And did anyone else foot the bill for you?

July 20, 2013

Short and convenient memories

The MSM is hopping tonight, with their pre-written and carefully crafted stories of the death of Helen Thomas.  I think the harshest thing I have read was a reference to her "inflammatory remarks about Israel".  That said only well after hundreds of words about her "pioneering" and "trailblazing" work in journalism.

Here, let me fix it for ya:

Bitter old anti-Semite hag finally burning in hell.

Minus 1

It's been a long week. 

Cancer sucks.  For humans and animals alike.  Treatment in animals complicated by the fact that they can't speak to tell you what hurts, or what other symptoms they are having.  It makes the decisions more difficult on the humans entrusted with their care. 

Like any loss, I think we would feel better if something good came out of our experience, if we could ease someone else's path.  Unfortunately, our world makes that hard. 

We have an array of no-longer-needed prescription bottles lining the counter, among them, the only FDA-approved oral chemotherapy drug for canines.  The prescribed dose, for Gus at 100+ pounds, involved three separate strengths.  14 doses cost nearly $800.  We have 10 doses left sitting on our counter.  Common sense would say that those ten doses could help someone who can't afford this treatment.  Heck, that amount of medication would last a smaller dog for quite awhile.  Prednisone, Tramadol, and a few other drugs commonly used in veterinary care are also going to waste, because in this crappy society I can't be trusted, and neither can you.

While I clearly loved my dog and had the luxury of being able to afford the very best care for him, society, and our law, assumes that I am a criminal or nutjob.  Once those prescriptions were dispensed, I must have adulterated them in some way.  And, even if I can be trusted to simply want to help someone out by passing on what we have leftover, you can't be trusted - if your dog declines or, God forbid, dies from their disease while using my dog's leftover meds, well, clearly, you will sue me.

Because those chemo drugs come with a big orange bio-hazard sticker, they have to be disposed of properly, as in, taken back to the vet.  I may be jaded, and even though I love our vet, and I was very pleased with the vet oncologist that we were referred to for this treatment, a little part of me wonders if those drugs are being re-dispensed (and re-sold), because they are, after all, perfectly good. 

We should be worthy of the trust of our dogs.

July 18, 2013

Vigil

Checking out for a bit.  Need some time to say farewell to my sweet Labrador, Gus. 

July 17, 2013

Visiting Bloombergville

After days and weeks of tossing around some great road trip ideas; from a cool itinerary sent to us by CenTexTim (who went galavanting around Down Under for a month) to plans to hike part of the Appalachian Trail and sight-see across Tennessee, our travel plans took a decisive change of direction. Mr H reminded the kids that he had enough frequent flier points to fly everyone somewhere, so out came the flight route map and now we are going to New York City.  NEW YORK CITY?

I will admit that there are several worthwhile landmarks that I would like my children to visit.  We sat down to do some preliminary planning, making a list of things that were 'absolutes' and 'want to do'.  This being when sports stadiums and Broadway show plans divide the family.  It is also where Hollywood impacts my children's list of things-to-see, for instance, the Guggenheim, not for the art or iconic building, but because it was in Mr. Popper's Penguins and When in Rome.

Boom would be content to go on an all-food tour of the city.  Between iconic neighborhoods and restaurants, and television chefs, she could eat her way around the city.

The Princess wants to shop.

Crash is interested in the plane ride, rental car, and hotel room.

Bang is afraid of heights, so I will likely get in some quality time with him at the foot of the Statue of Liberty and in the Lobby of the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock, while the rest go up.  He is excited to go to Central Park.  Maybe rent a bike, or take a Frisbee to toss.  That kid is easy to please in the travel department.

The final couple of days, we will drive out to the Hudson Valley area where my father is buried.  Just an hour or so outside the city, but world's away - at least it was when I was there last.

I have two fears that are keeping me on edge.  One, is that Crash will get lost.  He is fiercely independent, and quick.  Seriously considering a kid-leash.

The second fear is that one or some of my kids will fall in love with the Big City.  I know they will all eventually grow up and leave home (they will, won't they?), but I hope to keep them relatively close, and certainly not in some soul-sucking hole like NYC.

July 16, 2013

Today's GMAFB story

I doubt this story would be getting any traction if it weren't for the decision about gay scouts that took place in May:
Boy Scouts' Jamboree should include those barred due to BMI restrictions, experts say...
Boy Scouts hate gays and now they hate fat people.

My son is at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico right now.  A trek that he trained for.  A trek that his adult leadership trained for.  In fact, one of the leaders was at Philmont last year for a training course, and they would not let him up on the mountain due to his weight.  He came home and consulted a personal trainer, bought a gym membership, and ate more healthy, dropping nearly 50 pounds to clear the height and weight standard so that he could return with his troop this year.  

My son had to have a complete physical, and his doctor was provided with several pages of what the trek would entail, so that he could make an accurate determination as to whether my son's physical and mental capacity was equal to the task.  Just as all Scouts headed to camp must do:
 All Scouts were required to have a physical exam in advance of the Jamboree and those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater were barred from participating at this year’s gathering, which features strenuous activities such as hiking, rock climbing, rappelling and biking. Scouts with BMIs between 32 and 39.9 had to provide additional health information to take on the 1,000-plus acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia. But critics told FoxNews.com excluding obese Boy Scouts goes against the spirit of the organization.
Of course no one has actually named a single scout that was denied participation. And a BMI of 40 or greater is generally a heart attack waiting to happen.  Even muscle-bound athletes (and we all know that muscle weighs more than fat) don't hit the 40 mark:
The average BMI for an NFL player for the 2012 season was 31.35, according to SportingCharts.com, well above the normal range of 18.5-24.9 as set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scouts choose to go to camp, it is not a requirement.  Summit Bechtel, the site of the Jamboree, is the newest of the Scouts HIGH ADVENTURE CAMPS.  By its very nature, it is physically demanding.  It is a gorgeous place, adjacent to the New River Gorge.  But it is a wild, demanding, adventure of an experience.  It isn't basket weaving and pottery class.

Boy Scout camp is a want, not a need.  The want versus need standard is one of the things sorely lacking in today's entitlement-minded parents and their saintly, and apparently obese, offspring.

July 15, 2013

FOD

Obama, the great uniter, the half-white candidate that became the first black president, that was going to have the most transparent administration in history.  Transparent, as in, smart, educated people see right through him.

Obama has quite famously commented on the Martin/Zimmerman case, twice now, officially.  He has not commented on any of the black teenagers killed by one another, or white men killed by black teenagers, or any other of the hundreds of cases of black on white violence that grip our nation, and more disturbingly, his 'hometown' of Chicago each night.  I can't wait for him to move back.

Back to my first thought.  Obama was to be the great uniter, half-white, half-black, someone who knew a thing or two about communities and the people that make them.  And yet, I don't recall our country ever being this divided on a racial line since the sixties.  This morning's leading headlines from Drudge

July 13, 2013

The circus came to town

Austin, Texas, my great state's capitol, has, for some years, pushed the motto, "Keep Austin Weird", and the recent abortion debate brought every moonbat available to town.

The state senate kept pace, with a catheter-employing Dimocratic filibuster, and now, the grand finale:
As protesters came to the Capitol building in Austin on Friday, bottles of urine and feces, and even tampons were confiscated by state troopers as they tried to prevent anything from disrupting the debate.
I loved this response:

Granted, there were people protesting on both sides of the issue, but if the widely published photos are any indication, it was mostly one side of the debate being carried out of the senate chamber. I really don't want to put those kind of pictures on my blog, but you can look at a few in the above link.
I don't care what the senate was debating, there are rules of decorum.  There are established pathways to being heard by elected representatives.  There were weeks of public testimony before committees.  The people making a mockery of our governmental process disgust me because they waste my time and money - every taxpayer foots the bill for the senate to be in session, for the DPS officers that had to unchain the nutjobs from the gallery railing, and to dispose of the contraband.  And we would have been paying for the carpet cleaning, had they managed to get in with their fecal-matter Molotov cocktails.
If you don't like our system, work toward positive change.  Yes, it is hard.  Yes, it is an uphill battle.  And that is what is wrong with our country, in a nutshell.  It takes work to get positive results - not drama.

July 12, 2013

Boom's Birthday

19 years ago today, I became a mother for the first time.  Much is written about the terrible two's and adolescence, but I must have missed the bookstore section on young adulthood.

It has been quite the whirlwind, watching that sweet chubby-cheeked infant grow into the woman she is today.  And I will be the first to admit that I am still startled and amazed by the things that are uniquely her.  I can point to the evidence of my gene pool, and that of her father, but it is the things that came from the combination of the two that astound me.

Of course she is beautiful and smart - but she possesses an even keel that eludes me.  It is a little odd, to see qualities in your kids that you love, but can take absolutely no credit for.

At this point in her life, she is focused on the things she needs to pave her chosen path in life.  My biggest worry is that she isn't having enough fun along the way.  I hesitate to verbalize that concern, lest I live to regret it! 

I have friends and family members that are quite happy in long marriages without children.  I am not the sort to harangue them, and tell them what they are missing.  To each his own.  But, man, I wouldn't trade the joy and heartbreak of being a mom for anything in the world.

Happy Birthday, Boom.

July 11, 2013

My right is more important than your dead...

This gentleman nails it.  Originally posted by CharlieDelta.  Thank you, my friend, everyone should see this.  Just don't read the ignorant comments on YouTube.

July 10, 2013

Exactly what our leaders should be working on

You can't make this stuff up:
Two House Democrats are proposing that the next national park be out of this world.
Reps. Donna Edwards, D-Md., and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, propose in the "Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act" that a national historical park on the moon be created to ensure the American landing sites are preserved for future generations.
The lawmakers say the legislation is necessary to protect the Apollo landing sites for "posterity," as commercial space exploration increases and more foreign nations head to space.
The Hill reports the bill would allow the federal government to accept donations to help preserve the landing sites and would create visitor services and administrative offices "within reasonable proximity to the Historical Park."
Without comment, I will provide you with links to these elected representative's websites: Donna Edwards and Eddie Bernice Johnson.  For the record, I do not live in Ms Johnson's district, nor will I apologize for the idiots in Dallas that voted her into office and have kept her there.

July 9, 2013

Distractions

On Sunday (scroll down two posts), I was ticked about Secretary of State John Kerry not doing his job, and even more ticked about the State Department wonks that lied about it for him.  Spokesperson Jen Psaki came out swinging, saying that reports of Kerry being on his boat were 'completely inaccurate'.


Now, a story that broke here in the Dallas area, is gaining some traction, and has earned itself a Jen Psaki denial.  The last weekend of June, a law firm in Dallas was burglarized.  The thieves were caught on security camera, entering and exiting the building in broad daylight.  They ignored all other suites in the building, even the one across the hall that was unlocked.  The thieves didn't take a silver coin, or bars of silver, that were in plain sight.  All they took were the firm's three computers.

What makes this interesting?  The small law firm is representing a State Department whistleblower:

The firm Schulman & Mathias represents Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator at the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General. In recent weeks, she raised a slew of explosive allegations against the department and its contractors ranging from illicit drug use, soliciting sexual favors from minors and prostitutesand sexual harassment.
It’s a crazy, strange and suspicious situation,” attorney Cary Schulman told The Cable. “It’s clear to me that it was somebody looking for information and not money. My most high-profile case right now is the Aurelia Fedenisn case, and I can’t think of any other case where someone would go to these great lengths to get our information.”
You can watch the video report here.

And Jen Psaki says:
“Any allegation that the Department of State authorized someone to break into Mr. Schulman’s law firm is false and baseless,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
I am not wishing ill will on anyone, but I will say that I hope, for the sake of my country and my blood pressure, that Teresa Heinz-Kerry is truly sick and was hospitalized for something other than a convenient PR distraction.

July 8, 2013

Hometown Holiday FOD

Chicago was not the place to spend the long weekend:
Violence tore through parts of the city from Wednesday night to Sunday night. Police and community sources said the bloodshed was driven by gang warfare, good weather, easy access to guns and a reluctance of witnesses and the victims to identify the shooters.
The Chicago Sun-Times has counted 38 separate shooting incidents since 6 p.m. Wednesday. Ten men were killed and 55 other people, including two young boys, were wounded.
To date this year, there have been 202 homicides, down from 275 for the same time last year, according to Sun-Times data.
Of course, none of the violence happens near the Obama home, there are 15 miles and a world of distance between the anointed one's Hyde Park home and the violence of the West Side. 

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is one of Blowie's staunch admirers and takes every drop of blood that is shed as a call to demand more gun control:
Gov. Pat Quinn said the four-day toll should be a new impetus to the state Legislature to support his amendatory veto of a concealed-carry gun bill. Calling them “commonsense” changes in the name of public safety, Quinn wrote in provisions limiting a person from carrying a gun onto private property or anywhere that serves alcohol, among other changes.
Quinn hopes to change the Illinois concealed carry law, a law that was passed with a veto-proof majority.

So once again, an Obama fanboy follows in his idol's footsteps - it isn't about the democratic process of our country, it is about what legislation Dimocrats are able to shove down our throats.

This isn't a gun control issue, though the government has the media and much of Chicago believing it is.  Look around, people.  This is a culture issue, not a concealed carry issue.  Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas...each have hundreds of thousands of concealed carry permits without the gun violence seen in Chicago. 

All Obama, and his boy Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have done for Chicago is prove that thugs can get elected.

July 7, 2013

Redifining 'Work'

Yesterday I wrote about our hard-working vacationing president.  Now, I will be the first to admit that even Blowie, I am certain, does what so many of us do, so far as constantly being 'on' - phone on, email on, thoughts on work.  The difference is, we do it as we go about our daily lives, trying to make a buck so our kids have it better than we did, so we can retire while we are still young enough to enjoy life, etc.

If I take the day or afternoon off, turn off my phone, or ignore email, I might tick off my peers or boss.  An employee or customer might be inconvenienced.  My company might lose some money.

When our country's leaders tune out from work, there could be devastating effects.  Fortunately for us, with this administration in office, we are probably better off when they aren't 'working', and ignoring their abysmal work ethic beats the stress inducing alternative of revealing their lies.

Wednesday, as Egypt's government was ousted in a military coup, our Secretary of State, John Kerry, was tooling around on his yacht.  You know the one, the Isabel, famous because then-Massatwoshits State Senator Kerry had avoided paying MA taxes on it by docking it in Rhode Island.

Later in the day he was photographed in a kayak.  A full day of water sports, it seems.

When asked about Kerry's absence from the office during a Very Important foreign affairs sort of event, State responded as you would expect:
Kerry spokesperson Jen Psaki denied the report.
“Any report or tweet that he was on a boat is completely inaccurate,” she said, clearly trying to quell any impression that the nation’s top diplomat was not on the job.
“Since his plane touched down in Washington at 4 am, Secretary Kerry was working all day and on the phone dealing with the crisis in Egypt,” Psaki said in a statement.
Kerry was absent from a White House photo showing President Obama meeting with members of his national security team to discuss the situation in Egypt, but Psaki said he had dialed in on a secure phone line for that meeting.
“He participated in the White House meeting with the President by secure phone and was and is in non-stop contact with foreign leaders, and his senior team in Washington and Cairo.”
Earlier a State Department spokesperson said she could not comment on Kerry’s whereabouts on Wednesday, but said Kerry is kept in the loop on all the latest developments.
“The secretary’s department is in touch with officials regarding the developments in Egypt at all levels at all times,” State Department Press Secretary Beth Gosselin said in a statement.
Reading just a little between the lines, it sounds like Beth Gosselin knew exactly where Kerry was and used ambiguous language to deflect, while poor Jen Psaki, either didn't know, or was trotted out as the scapegoat, since the entire course of questioning was based on a photograph that was hard to deny.

So, caught red-handed, State eventually admitted that Kerry was in Nantucket, but claimed that he was working constantly and released this statement:
“While he was briefly on his boat on Wednesday, Secretary Kerry worked around the clock all day including participating in the president’s meeting with his national security council,” she said.
A Kerry aide who was not authorized to speak publicly said the denial on Wednesday was the result of “confusion,” saying Kerry had apparently taken his grandson out for an hour-long sail.
Ooooh, they played the grandson card.  How dare we hard-hearted cynics deny that poor little baby his time with gramps on the boat, during a holiday weekend?  Egyptian coup notwithstanding.

Kerry was photographed on the boat, again, on Friday. 

July 6, 2013

Saturday FOD

Obama and his extensive entourage returned from Africa on Tuesday.  Friends, family, and staff back from a three nation trip (Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa), courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.

After no scheduled, or much reported, activity on Wednesday, the White House hosted a 4th of July barbeque, Blowie attended one well photographed and reported meeting about Egypt, then hosted an evening party.  Friday, he golfed and then headed off with family and friends to Camp David.

Because we all know how exhausting working vacations are.  It requires golf and a weekend getaway to recover.

If I am not mistaken, there is a looming Martha's Vineyard vacay on the horizon.  Probably sooner rather than later, since the summer will be over before you know it and the Obama kiddos will be back in school.

Egypt is on the brink of civil war, 19 brave American men died fighting uncontrolled wildfires in Arizona, Snowden still on the run, the IRS still not held accountable, Obamacare employer mandate delayed, and yet all Blowie can find time to do is take time off.  Looking forward to his permanent vacation.

July 5, 2013

The day after

I hope your holiday was good - in fact, I hope that, unlike me, you have today off and are free to enjoy a long weekend of family, fun, and/or friends.

It is official, I am selfish and pessimistic.  As I read the news, local and national this morning, I noticed that my thoughts were seldom sympathetic, and mostly cynical.  While it is unfortunate to have lost a home due to fireworks, and it is certainly horrific to see people injured when a professional fireworks display malfunctions, and it is beyond comprehension, the pain of a parade accident that causes the death of a child - I can't help but read the stories and think of the new regulations and laws that are likely to result, and the millions that will be made by lawyers as the lawsuits emerge from these accidents.

And, of course, I wonder how all of that will affect me.

Has it done me, or my children, any good to have a sense of personal responsibility?  I thought that the blame-someone-else thing was a phase people went through, and I worked hard to beat it out of my kids (figuratively beat, not literally).  Our president never learned that lesson, and neither have a startling number of adults in this country.  Maybe it even goes beyond the USA, but, in my life experience, there are still places out there that have a population of reasonable, decent people, who don't look to every bad thing in life as a reason to change, or make a buck, or force other people into their way of thinking.

I hope that there is some great reward at the end, because I don't even sleep well at night knowing that my actions and beliefs have integrity.  I lose sleep wondering if I have set my children up for failure in this society by teaching them to be rational and forgiving.

July 4, 2013

Independence Day

I am envious of those that were dancing in the streets in Egypt this week.  It seems we have forgotten the ideals of our forefathers.  Freedom - from many things and for many things, was the basis of our country's revolutionary genesis.  And a government of, by, and for the people.  Too many Americans have shirked their duty to be an active participant in our republic.  I hope that tide is turning.  We still have rights and remedies, and a freedom to do something about our government when it oversteps its bounds.  I am celebrating those freedoms today, with much hope for the America my children's children will inhabit.


July 3, 2013

Un-ringing a bell

The White House announced yesterday that they are 'delaying' the employer mandate portion of Obamacare:
The law requires companies that employ 50 or more workers to offer coverage or face fines. The Treasury Department and the White House said that, based on complaints by employers that the system for reporting the coverage was too onerous, they would simplify that system and give employers an additional year to comply. 
The mandate's implementation deadline is now 2015.  In the interest of transparency, the White House should have just said "after the mid-term elections".
And while some of us may have some hope that this delay will lead to further concessions, changes, delays, and maybe even repeal - much of the damage to the end consumer is done.
As I sit here, my husband's company just sent their annual open enrollment information - with a cover letter (drafted last week) that blames the cost increases on Obamacare.
At my place of business, I was intimately involved in our new health care plan selection, and spent hours with our broker, learning the ins, outs, and costs of today's coverage, as well as what to expect in future years.
You see, insurance companies issue their renewal rates months in advance.  And those rates have skyrocketed since the health care law was passed.  Each implementation deadline has served as little more than another excuse for the companies to explain away rate increases.
Delaying the employer mandate, no matter what ultimately happens, just gives big insurance another money grab opportunity.
The best hope I have, after hearing one of those 'experts' on the radio suggest it, is that a medical black market will evolve, with patients and doctors working outside of the system, reverting to individually negotiated pricing and payment.  
Heck, if my doctor is willing to take a chicken and some garden-fresh produce in return for an exam and diagnosis, why should Obama care?

July 2, 2013

A long way from china

I have two cousins getting married this summer.  Well, they are my cousin's kids, so more properly referred to as 'cousins once removed', but that sounds silly and snooty, so we stick with 'cousins'.

Both live in another state, and both have wedding dates that conflict irreparably with my family's other obligations, so we have had to regretfully decline attendance. 

Even though we can't attend, we would like to send gifts, and, despite Emily Post's objections, like many modern-day couples, they are not shy in letting everyone know where they are registered.

I like that sporting goods stores and home improvement stores are often on the list. 

I had a little chuckle over cousin #1's registry at a department store, as 'men's black crew socks, one pair' was on their registry.  I am sure it was something along the lines of a SKU issue, with some item being entered wrong in the computer system or a scanning problem.

Cousin #2 wins the prize, though.  Registered for the usual suspects at the usual places, fine dinnerware, drinking receptacles, small kitchen appliances, and linens, for all the boring people in the family to choose from.  They are also registered at a sporting goods establishment, so I clicked on over to see what sort of 'sports' they were requesting things for.

I am now very enthused about this marriage.

Cousin #2 and fiance apparently own a small arsenal of firearms, as their sporting goods registry detailed over a dozen different calibers and types of ammo.

Why didn't we have this sort of thing back when I got married?  Power tools and ammo would have been much more useful in my marriage than Waterford and silverware that needs polished.

July 1, 2013

FOD

You might have heard of Malte Spitz before, from articles, his website/blog, or YouTube videos that feature "six months of his life".  Spitz is a German politician that sued T-Mobile to get six months worth of the data they had stored related to his phone records.  The data collection and storage was part of a European Union directive that the German Constitutional Court eventually ruled as unconstitutional.

Spitz took the 35,830 records that T-Mobile turned over to him, combined it with other public data, and crafted a scary presentation of how easily one's life can be mapped.  Here, you can literally watch his movements and many of his actions mapped out.  Bear in mind that the data presented is from 2009.  Technology - GPS tracking, wireless capability, cellular tech - improves and become more and more intrusive each day.

In an Op-Ed piece for The New York Times this past weekend, Spitz recounts the brief romance that Germany, like so many other countries, had for Obama.  A romance that has now ended.  Abruptly.  Decisively.

Regarding the NSA, Spitz brings to light what we can't (without cries about Godwin's Law).
Given our history, we Germans are not willing to trade in our liberty for potentially better security. Germans have experienced firsthand what happens when the government knows too much about someone. In the past 80 years, Germans have felt the betrayal of neighbors who informed for the Gestapo and the fear that best friends might be potential informants for the Stasi. Homes were tapped. Millions were monitored.

Although these two dictatorships, Nazi and Communist, are gone and we now live in a unified and stable democracy, we have not forgotten what happens when secret police or intelligence agencies disregard privacy. It is an integral part of our history and gives young and old alike a critical perspective on state surveillance systems.
Spitz goes on to speak of the loss of trust with our nation - and hones in to what I find the most appalling generalization of all:
His speech caused many Germans to question whether Americans actually share our understanding of the right balance between liberty and security. 
It is somewhat of a kick in the gut, to think that this president represents me, in the eyes of those in other countries.

Hell, yes, red-blooded Americans understand the balance between liberty and security.  We understand that this president has no respect for our Constitution or the rights afforded by it.  Herr Spitz ended his piece with a quote from Benjamin Franklin (again, my hair is on fire thinking that a German has a better grasp of American political history than our own president).  This quote should be tattooed on Obama's forehead:
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."