June 30, 2014

FOD

Obama hit the links on Saturday, the 22nd time in 26 weeks.  Must be nice to have an organization running so smoothly that you can take that much time off.  That brings his presidential total to 179 rounds.  Just after he was re-elected, I predicted that Obama would hit 240 rounds during his presidency. At the time, he was averaging ~30 rounds per year, and I had thrown out his election year stats as that year of only 13 rounds was clearly an anomaly intended to aid his re-election.  I am beginning to think I underestimated.  At his current clip, he will blow by 240.

This week in the Dallas area, local officials are preparing to receive THOUSANDS of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children.  The anchor woman cheerfully reported the news, while a graphic next to her reiterated that NO LOCAL FUNDS would be spent, all aid money would be FEDERAL!  

I blame Obama for a majority that doesn't understand that the federal government doesn't have any profitable ventures other than the forced taxation of the American people.  Our government is funded by us, no matter whether it is local, state, or federal.  Does Obama even understand that?

June 27, 2014

The thought that got away

I had a really great post idea this morning.  I remember where I was and what I was doing when I was thinking about it, and said to myself, 'I will write about that as soon as I sit down at my desk'.

Here I am, but the thought is gone.  I didn't write it down, which, at my age, is proving to be the best way to preserve my sanity when it comes to grocery lists, to-do lists, and blog post ideas.

Maybe it will come back to me, but who knows.  It is frustrating because, unlike grocery or to-do lists, it might never come back.  If I forget an item on the grocery list, it will eventually be discovered when we run out, or a child asks me where their favorite snack item is.  If it is something I need to do, that thought comes back too, as life and circumstances reveal it.  But, blog posts ideas, like poetry, art, music - they are fleeting at times, and I might never think of it again.

In the absence of a real post, I will wish you all a happy Friday!  Have a great weekend.

June 26, 2014

Liberally Dumb

I am having one of those weeks wherein my overriding goal is to get enough work off of my desk by COB Friday, so that the weekend cleaning crew can actually do their job.  Not much time for blogging, or coherent thought that doesn't involve work, but...

On the way to the office this morning I saw a bumper sticker that said 'Jesus was a liberal'.  That phrase is a sentiment so ridiculous, on so many levels, that one is basically left speechless and shaking their head.  Do people really believe it?  Obviously they must, as bumper stickers have been manufactured and sold.

Why would anyone believe that Jesus was a liberal - and by what definition?  Now, in this case, I had context.  Forgive my mass generalizations, but, hey, she is the one with the misguided bumper sticker - short hair, no makeup, Prius driving masculine female - one can surmise that the intent is to compare Jesus to a modern day liberal by political definition.

Does she/do they believe that Jesus should be classified as a liberal because he was charitable?  Because he fed, clothed, educated, and ministered to the poor, homeless, criminal?  Do they not appreciate the difference between charity and forced re-distribution of wealth by taxation?

Jesus certainly didn't believe or teach that government was the answer to anything - he didn't travel around telling people to rely on their government for their needs.

While Jesus was tolerant, forgiving and loved all - I believe that the general message was something along the lines of, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'  Not exactly the same as, 'Your belief/religion/diety is just as good as mine.'

There are theological arguments to be made for days - but why bother?  Liberals are stupid.  That is what the bumper sticker should say.

June 24, 2014

Are people really that stupid?

Some people are unobservant.  Some people are oblivious.  Some people are careless.  And some people, way too many people, are just stupid.

I have had the occasion to telephone a litany of medical facilities recently.  It takes seven office visits and 19 phone calls to decide, order, schedule, pre-register, register, get insurance approval for and get the results of an MRI these days.

In the course of the phone calls, every doctor, department and facility has the same opening message, "If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911."  Seriously?  Are there actually people who would dial the radiology scheduling phone number if they were bleeding out?

A friend posted this on FB yesterday:


Apt observation, I believe.

June 23, 2014

FOD

Last week, the White house hosted a group of illegal immigrants.  These so called 'Dreamers' claim to be children that were innocently brought here by their parents, who were, admittedly, breaking the law when they crossed into our country.  They now have tentative legal status under current non-deportation policies.

The message sent by this president and his administration is so absurdly wrong that it makes me laugh.

Hey kids, would you like to be welcomed to the White House and honored in a ceremony?  Well, you could grow up to be influential - say, a scientist that saves lives through medical discoveries, or a scholar that forms young minds,  or an athlete that wins a championship or represents our country at the Olympics.  Perhaps you could be an entrepreneur that develops a product that revolutionizes society.  Maybe you could be a movie star or musician.  Perhaps you will dedicate your life to civil or political service of your fellow man.  Those things may get you invited to the president's home and seat of our government.

Or, you could break our laws and exploit our social systems.  That'll get you an invite.

Thanks, Blowie, for thumbing your nose at every immigrant that ever tried to abide by the laws of our country by entering legally, making a life for themselves and contributing to our society.  No surprise that in a country ruled by you, the hard working people lose and the leeches win.  GFY.

June 19, 2014

On Hypocrisy

Nevermind the outrage every single American should be feeling knowing that someone (or someones) in a position of power was able to find a backdoor way to try to get the Washington Redskins to change their name.  Who was it, do you think, that called up a buddy at the Patent & Trademark Office and asked for a favor?  Where is the public outcry about abuse of power?  Considering the Big Picture, how do you feel, knowing American soldiers are fighting and dying, children are starving, illegal aliens are pouring across our borders, our country's name is the laughingstock of the world, and your elected representatives are using their energy and resources to force an NFL team to change their name?

The Redskins are my team of choice, but you know what?  I don't give a flip what their name is.  Sure, sure, there are valid arguments to be made about tradition, free choice, free speech, the historical element - but it doesn't make one bit of difference to how the team plays on Sundays.  You might argue that point for either side.  What you can never justify is our freaking government getting involved.  There are only about a gazillion things more important to the American people.

And, just in case you thought that the Patent & Trademark folks were simply trying to be consistent, consider this small sampling of trademarks that they don't find "bring individuals or groups into contempt or disrepute".
Figgas over NiggasThis pending trademark seeks to cover a line of “Apparel for dancers, namely, tee shirts, sweatshirts, pants, leggings, shorts and jackets.” “Niggas,” of course, is a slang version of the word “nigger,” a term considered highly offensive towards black Americans.
Kraut Kap: Another recently-filed trademark, this one for a line of plastic lids. “Kraut” was made famous in World War II as a derogatory term for opposing German soldiers, as well as Germans in general.
Dago Swagg: A label created for a line of clothing. ”Dago” is a corruption of the common name Diego, and is used in English-speaking countries as an offensive term for those of Italian descent, and occasionally people from other Mediterranean countries as well.
Cracka Azz Skateboards: Unsurprisingly, this trademark was taken out for a line of skateboards and longboards, as well as associated clothing such as bandannas. While the USPTO helpfully notes that “The wording ‘cracka azz’ has no meaning in a foreign language,” “cracka” is a slang version of “cracker,” which in this context is a term of derision for whites, used primarily within the black community.
You Can’t Make A Housewife Out Of A Whore: This trademark for T-shirts and hats appears to imply that women involved in prostitution can never transition into the domestic role of a housewife. Such an accusation would certainly “bring them into contempt or disrepute,” the stated reasoning for eliminating the Redskins trademark.
Blanco Basura: A seemingly innocuous phrase, Blanco Basura, rendered into English, is actually the highly offensive slur “white trash.” White trash is a derogatory insult that typically refers to poor, white Americans, who have a penchant for crime and a patent disrespect for authority. Apparently, they thought they could go unnoticed designing a hateful beer.
‘teensdoporn.com’: This is a classic example (Safe For Work) of a harmful stereotype used to justify condescension toward teens in the form of countless hours of sex-ed in high school. It wrongfully supposes that all teens are sex-crazed maniacs, who given the chance, will opt for trading their sexuality on a website for fame and fortune.
Mammy Jamia’s: A company going by the name of A & S Cairns Limited has decided to attach its good name to an antebellum slur used to refer to an enslaved black woman who was in charge of household affairs, particularly caring for white children. The product? Frozen fruits and vegetables. Was it really worth it, A &S?
Uppity Negro: Intended to be imprinted on mugs and apparel, this trademark references the frequently used adjective “uppity” to describe blacks who agitated for greater respect and civil rights in the Jim Crow-era South.
All Natural My Dadz Nutz Carmelized Jumbo Redskins: Available at MyDadzNutz.com, this line of savory peanuts is unlikely to run into trouble for applying “redskin” to a line of peanuts. One might argue the two terms describe different things, and so the overlap does not matter, but that hasn’t stopped the old name for Brazil nuts from fading away. Kaffir limes, meanwhile, are a discouraged name in the Oxford Companion to Food, as “kaffir” is a highly offensive term for blacks in South Africa.

Well, there is the answer.  The Redskins simply need to do away with the Native American-related images and use Mr Peanut as their mascot.

June 18, 2014

IRS Geek Squad

I don't know who they have working IT at the IRS, but they must be a bunch of blooming idiots.

More likely, the current administration just thinks that we are all idiots, and will believe whatever they tell us.

But, let's suspend that thought for a moment and look at the 'loss' of Lois Lerner's emails, purportedly due to a hard drive crash in 2011.

The IRS would like for us to believe that there is no real-time, or daily, or weekly, or monthly, or even quarterly data backup process that preserves the content of their employees' computers.  There is 9+ months of missing email data, that, apparently, was only stored on the desktop computer hard drive of Lois Lerner.  A hard drive that crashed and all data rendered unrecoverable, even through a forensic analysis and consultation with the manufacturer.

We are to believe they don't have an off-site back up policy.

We are to believe that Ms Lerner didn't ever access, or sync, her email files to another device.

I don't know what is more disturbing; the fact that anyone with two working brain cells would believe any part of this story, or the fact that the general public seems content to swallow this kind of bullshit without an all out revolt.

June 17, 2014

The absence of reason

One of the lakes near my home is nicknamed 'Lake Death'.  For a combination of reasons it has a high number of fatalities. It is a large lake, by area standards.  It has a ton of boat traffic.  It has several public beaches.  It has a number of housing developments on the banks.

In the 90's there was a horrific accident in one of the marinas, wherein a speed boat went over the top of another boat, leaving the women in the boat below seriously disfigured.  It has always been rumored that Dennis Rodman, or at least his boat, was involved.  At the time, Rodman also owned a large construction company, and the gossip that followed claimed that the incriminating evidence (the boat) was encased in the concrete slab of a local building.

This year has been no different on the lake.  The low water level caused by the drought hasn't deterred anyone.  In fact, there have been more stories of boat and swimming accidents due to the low water level.

I am rarely in favor of government intervention and heavy-handed regulation, but this story highlighted part of the problem:
 A search resumed Monday morning for a 38-year-old man who vanished in the waters of Lewisville Lake  while attempting to save his wife's nephew.
As crews scoured the lake, Brianna Mann, Michael Quach's wife, stood by the shore waiting for word.
Mann said she was spending Father's Day on the lake with her husband, his two children and her adult nephew when tragedy struck. Her nephew fell into the lake and yelled out for help, spurring Quach, the only person on the boat able to swim, to jump into the lake.
While Mann's nephew made it back to the boat, her husband never resurfaced.
"I tried to throw a rope at him," she said. "He couldn't reach it, the boat was drifting."
Mann said she then tried to turn the boat around to reach her husband.
"I don't know how to drive a boat," she said. 
Five people on a boat, out on the lake (on a day, incidentally, so windy that seasoned boaters took the day off).  ONE of them knew how to swim and drive the boat.

In Texas, a 13-year old, with completion of an online boater's education course (my kids did it in school or scouts in a couple of hours) can legally pilot a boat by themselves.  Add an 18-year old to the mix, and kids younger than 13 can be the captain. Anyone born before 1993 can jump in the driver's seat and motor away, whether or not they are capable, and without any training.

And, while I hate life jackets as much as the next guy that has ever had to wear one in 100-degree heat, they serve a purpose.  Ideally, if you don't know how to swim, you should never take the damn thing off.  If you do know how to swim, but there are 40 mph wind gusts and heavy boat traffic, you might need to re-evaluate your swimming abilities.  It isn't like the lap pool at the gym.

Is this a consequence of today's 'me' mentality - that people never stop to think about their abilities, they only think about what they want, or want to do, and they set out to get it, or do it, common sense and capability be damned?

June 16, 2014

FOD

Baghdad is likely to fall into Sunni militant control this week.

Children (and adults) are pouring across our southern border.

The IRS has 'lost' 26 months worth of email data.

Putin continues his show of force in the Ukraine.

Barack Obama managed to squeeze in two rounds of golf in Palm Springs over the weekend - but, hey, he has been 'briefed' on all of the above.

June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

My sincerest wishes for a fun, relaxing, enjoyable day to dads everywhere.  I have the privilege of celebrating today with people who I think are great fathers and father-figures.  Though my dad and father-in-law are both in heaven, I am still fortunate enough to have great men that provide support, love, and living examples of what being a father is supposed to mean.

I hope you are celebrating in the way that makes you the happiest.

June 14, 2014

Too Many Opinions

My vacuum died.  It was on it's last leg, and had several broken parts, but this last little piece of broken plastic rendered it unusable (though that didn't stop Mr. H from trying and blowing dust and dog hair all over the damn place).

I figured I would run out and buy the current model of my old vacuum, since it has served us well for eight or nine years.  Then I made the fatal error of sitting down at my computer and pulling up Consumer Reports.  That lead to opening about 73 other tabs of user reviews, manufacturer's websites, and various retail outlets.
Turns out that Dyson doesn't stack up so well in 'scientific' testing.  So, I researched other models.  I read a gazillion reviews.  
My needs are simple.  I want it to clean carpet and bare floors well.  I want the hose/tool attachments to have good suction, as I prefer to vacuum as much as I can, rather than dust with a rag and spread it around.  I need a machine that picks up pet hair.  I don't really care if it is heavy or noisy or has a headlight.
I can't seem to find a machine with good reviews and ratings in the three categories that matter to me.
Just when I find something I think I can live with, based on reviews, ratings, and affordability, my bubble is burst by silly little things like availability.  As in, 'not available to ship and not available in a 200 mile radius of your zip code'.  WTF?  Why are vacuums proprietary by region?
I even entertained thoughts of inviting a Kirby salesman into my home, until I read that the thing I hated most about the Kirby I pushed around as a kid hasn't been improved upon.  Their attachments still require complete removal of the brush head on the front of the machine.  Plus they still weigh a hundred pounds and cost two thousand bucks.
And while I really enjoy the consumer power that is found in internet shopping, I just can't wait 3-5 business days for a new vacuum to arrive.  And I am not too keen on the thought of having to box it back up and ship it back if something goes wrong, or I don't like it.  
The shop vac works in a pinch, but not so great on carpet (and it smells musty, no matter what), so I am now back at square one.  My plan is to get in my car, drive to the club warehouse, and pay entirely too much for a new Dyson.  I will try to get internet-review amnesia, and instead, love my new vacuum and try to believe that it will last for years to come, despite the harsh review and warning not to buy from 'tootsiepop54'.

June 13, 2014

The Beeping Rain

I have been driving my new-to-me SUV for just over two months now.  I am generally pleased with it, though it has had one significant repair for an issue that wasn't evident until I drove it for a few days. But, it was covered under the warranty, so all I lost was a couple of hours of my time.

This vehicle is eight years newer than the one I traded in.  There have been many technological and mechanical advances to cars in that eight years.  Not all of them good.

My 'new' ride has both front and rear 'parking aids'.  There are sensors in the bumpers that detect the proximity of objects and warn you by a series of beeps.  The rear aid includes a camera, which is pretty nifty.

The front parking aid was a novelty up until yesterday.  It is activated anytime the car is in any gear other than park or neutral, and the car is going 8 MPH or less.  I had learned that it's incessant solid-beep tone began to sound long before the front of the car was in danger of contacting anything else.  It had become slightly annoying in the school car line, as it would sound each time someone walked in front of my car.  But, that was for three minutes a day, and not untolerable.

I had also noticed that when stopping quickly on a downhill incline, the alarm would sound.  The result, I suppose, of the nose of the car dipping a bit toward the ground.  This had also happened pulling into a sloped drive, and I had also had some false alarms when bugs managed to fly or jump by a sensor, but, again, the events were few and far between and not much to get in a snit about.

Yesterday, a blessed event happened in my town - rain!  I have driven this car in the rain, but it has been a rare event, and I believe it was mostly highway speeds.  Yesterday, it was pouring as I sat in stop and go traffic and maneuvered in a parking lot.  The front parking aid shrieked the entire time.  At one point I thought that surely I must have something stuck to a sensor, or a flat front tire tire.  I got out in the rain to check, but all was clear.  It was simply the damn sensor getting set off by the large rain drops.

Thankfully I didn't have far to go, but resolved that I would pull out the owner's manual and see how to turn the damn thing off because I have, after all, been driving for three decades now, and have done just fine without the car telling me how to park.

Turns out, you can't turn it off.  Well, that isn't exactly correct.  You can turn it off each time you turn the car on, but it is re-activated each time the car is started.  This will not do.  I don't need the car to drive for me, or tell me when I am about to hit something - I am pretty good at doing those things on my own.  And, adding insult to injury, you have decided that I am not capable of determining which of your 'driving for dummies' features I can live without.  Thank you, Ford Motor Company, for taking part in the great dumbing down of American cars and drivers.

June 11, 2014

Clickstreams & Cookies

I am not sure what sort of trickery and database tracking is involved in the customized ads that show up on various internet sites.  I do a fair to middlin' job at clearing my cache, deleting cookies, using ad blockers - but there are still places where these things creep in, and it tends to crack me up.

I can't remember what I might have Googled, or what sort of article I might have read that has gifted me with an ongoing stream of advertisements for CPAP equipment.  Whatever it was, Chicks on the Right's articles feature such ads, which usually ask me if I am tired of my old, bulky, or loud CPAP equipment.  Having never owned any such equipment, I have never been tempted to click through, though I am sure if I did need CPAP equipment, I would want something new, small, and quiet.

I was encouraged by the CPAP ad that popped up today.  Apparently, the magic of internet cookies has determined that I am younger than previously thought, as the photo accompanying the CPAP ad now features a youthful, pretty face.  Surely that is because they are trying to more accurately appeal to me, and my other track-able internet activities suggest youth and vitality - with a CPAP.

I do have one piece of advice for the marketing genius behind these ads; get a better Photoshop designer.


June 10, 2014

Supporting Soldiers

Last night I read a disheartening news item about the DFW Airport USO lounge.
Soldiers say the USO at DFW Airport is one of best in the country, because it's on the secure side and easy to get to.  About 240 volunteers keep it going. Many are vets, or the parents or grandparents of kids in the military.
"When they smile, that's all the thanking we need," said Jill Helm, who spent 27 years in the Air Force.
But the USO at DFW needs a lot of help. Back when R&R flights were coming through, crowds greeted flights; people donated goods and cash. They would show up with carloads of supplies. These days, not so much.
“I think maybe people are fatigued by the fact that the war has gone on for a long time,” said center director Rhenda White-Brunner. "We need snacks. We need chips. We need peanuts. We need toiletries. Trial-size toiletries. Anything that can bring a little comfort to our service members and families coming through."
She said donations like that are down 50 percent. Cash contributions dropped, too.  But the number of military members seeking TLC at the USO has barely dropped at all.  Last year, the center at DFW Airport served nearly 170,000 people.
When I set out to post this article, I went back to the site I had read it on.  It had already dropped off of the main page.   It had also dropped off of the 'news' page.  The story was originally posted at 8:18 pm, but didn't even get top billing for 12 hours.  That is a cruel irony.  Why bother with a story about the public forgetting to support soldiers if you aren't going to feature it during daylight hours when it might actually get some notice?

I can't write this without a shout out to Gary Sinise:
Army Chaplain Bill Buell knocked down a free barbeque lunch in the USO lounge Monday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.  It helped him smile through a two-day delay getting to South Carolina for training.  He sat surrounded by others in the military; A young Navy SEAL getting advice from an older Navy Reservist and about a dozen teenage Marine recruits headed for boot camp.
“Today is Gary Sinise barbecue day,” a volunteer cheerfully greeted a soldier. “Once a month. I hope you're hungry."
Forrest Gump's "Lieutenant Dan" bought barbecue for the USO in Terminal B; that's about 300 meals.
One guy, sure, a Hollywood guy, but still, one guy manages to support 300 military members on this day in Dallas.  (I know that Mr. Sinise spends a big chunk of his time supporting the military in many other ways.  I have had the pleasure of seeing his LT Dan Band perform to raise funds for families of fallen soldiers.)

There is no excuse for the DFW Airport USO to be struggling for donations or support.  This is a huge metropolitan area.  It is largely conservative (as if that should make a difference).  There are hundreds of corporations headquartered here.  There are dozens of billionaires.  There are millions of people living here.

Hey, Mark Cuban!  Hey, Ross Perot!  Hey, Alice Walton!  Hey, Hunt Family!  Hey, Jerry Jones!  Hey, Bass Family!  Those sports teams, arenas, shopping meccas, performing arts centers - they are nice and all, but could you throw some of your loose change toward supporting the people that preserve your freedoms?

June 6, 2014

70 Years

70 years ago today, Allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy.

It breaks my heart that the remembrance is little more than a filler story on national news stations.  Our local paper had a small story below the fold, instead leading with headline stories about synthetic marijuana, open carry demonstrations, and George Strait's last concert.

Having lived in Europe, and having had the privilege of visiting the landing sites and corresponding monuments, museums, and cemeteries, I do not doubt that the day is marked with significant, and fittingly poignant, activities in northern France.  While so many Americans have forgotten, or have forgotten to care, about the sacrifices of that Greatest Generation, the people that were liberated as a result of our actions on that day, certainly, and appropriately, have not.

Today I am humbled and thankful for those that fought.  I will not ever forget how they changed our world for the better.

June 4, 2014

Good luck sleeping at night

On Monday there was a horrific accident in Dallas.  Yes, it is a big city, and, yes, there are accidents everyday, but this one was notable - even more so now, but not for any good reason.

I don't know anything about the cause, but the result was a car engulfed in flames and trapped in an HOV lane that was lined by those concrete divider walls.  There were two people in the car. 
An off-duty Dallas police officer stopped to render aid.  He began asking the other witnesses that had stopped to gather fire extinguishers and anything else they could find to put out the fire.  One man apparently tried to rally some fire extinguishers.
“In my peripheral vision, in addition within a very close distance, you see people filming with their cell phones,” said Williams. “That’s what you see -- a person’s actually dying in front of their eyes, and rather than you making it a priority, putting yourself in the role of a first responder, just to try to help out in some way, you choose your priority to be filming somebody’s death.”
Williams says he even asked a woman to back up away from the car as she recorded at a close distance with her phone.
I hope that those people enjoy their personal Faces of Death recording.  I hope they enjoy it so much that it is all they see when they close their eyes.  I hope the images haunt them forever.  I pray that they have to stand before their God, and those two lost souls, and get the reckoning that they deserve.  No earthly punishment is enough for people like this, so I will have to find some comfort in believing that a higher power will deal with the trash of this world.

June 2, 2014

FOD

Our president, illegally, released five foreign terrorists - Taliban commanders - from GITMO:
“They are undoubtedly among the most dangerous Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor at the Long War Journal who keeps a close watch on developments concerning the detainees left at the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Fazl, for example, was the Taliban’s former deputy defense minister and is wanted by the United Nations for his role in massacres targeting Afghan’s Shi’ite Muslim population.
According to the 2008 Pentagon’s dossier on Fazl disclosed by Wikileaks (PDF),  Noori also was a senior Taliban military figure and, according to his Pentagon dossier, was asked personally in 1995 by Osama bin Laden (PDF) to participate in an offensive against northern alliance warlord Rashid Dostum.
Wasiq, a former deputy minister of intelligence, at one point tried to cooperate with U.S. forces in Afghanistan and asked for a GPS system as well as a special radio to communicate with the U.S. military after the U.S. invasion in 2001. His dossier (PDF) says that he was a crucial liaison between the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalist groups while he was deputy intelligence minister. But the 2008 report also said he was holding out information he had on other top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders during interrogations.
Khairkhwa, a former Taliban governor of Herat, was considered by the Pentagon’s 2008 dossier to be a likely heroin trafficker (PDF). That dossier also says he likely participated in meetings with Iranian officials after 9-11 to help plot attacks on U.S. forces following the invasion.
Nabi held several military leadership posts for the Taliban and helped organize the al Qaeda/Taliban militias that fought against U.S. and coalition troops in the first year of the war, according to his Pentagon dossier (PDF). 
In exchange for one domestic terrorist masquerading as an American soldier:
Bowe Bergdahl would detail his disillusionment with the Afghanistan campaign in an email to his parents three days before he went missing.
“I am sorry for everything here,” he wrote. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.”
Bergdahl also complained about fellow soldiers. The battalion commander was a “conceited old fool,” he said, and the only “decent” sergeants, planning to leave the platoon “as soon as they can,” told the privates — Bergdahl then among them — “to do the same.”
“I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools,” he concluded. “I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

June 1, 2014

Everything that is wrong with youth sports

Friday night and all day yesterday we spent at the baseball fields cheering on Crash's team as they competed for the championship.  His team won their age category for our town, and played in a tournament against the other top teams that make up our youth baseball league.

I live in a smallish town.  Our league is made up of other smallish towns.  Some smaller than others, in both size and amount of character.

Now, I have seen the antics of parents on YouTube and the evening news.  I have been to a sporting event or two hundreds in my life.  I have seen and heard people that were out of control.  I have watched the idiocy of street riots after college and professional championship games.  I always wondered where those people come from, how they were raised, what atmosphere produces people and actions like that.

Mind you, Crash is our youngest child.  Our older kids have played sports.  We have been witness to many a ridiculous antic, but something has changed - and not for the better - around these parts.

The opposing coaches berated and screamed at the kids.  The fans berated and screamed at the kids.  The fans taunted the opposing team's kids.  The fans used language that wasn't appropriate for an 8U game.

I can understand a loud-mouthed parent or two, but a whole team's worth?.  I can understand a harsh coach having a bad day, but calling time outs to go out and scream at a kid after a missed play?  We had previously played all but one of these teams before, and I can attest to the fact that this is routine behavior.

If there is a silver lining, it is that my kid ended up with a coach and a group of kids and parents that did a stellar job of turning the jeering and name-calling into teachable moments.  Our coach advocated for our kids without arguing or losing his cool on the field.  When the kids that were supposed to be shaking hands at the end of the game instead spit insults at our kids, our coach told his players how proud he was that they didn't react, and spoke to them of integrity and class.
'We' (society) missed the boat by allowing the bullies and shrieking harpies from our youth to procreate.  They didn't grow up or learn to manage their anger, now they project all that immaturity and hate onto their children as they live vicariously through them.