Monthly Archives: February 2013

Much Ado

About this sequester thing: there’s a part of me which, the more I hear the administration cry “Doomsday!”, the more I wonder if it might turn out more like YTK. That is, nothing much happens. We just end up with lots of basements full of freeze-dried food and stockpiled ammo.

The feds obviously need to cut spending, but nobody’s up to the task. So maybe, if they can’t cut spending responsibly, let them cut it irresponsibly.

On the other hand, this may turn out to be one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever said.

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Cheers! to Our Railroad Graffiti Artists!

http://graffiti-art-on-trains.blogspot.com/

I’d like to give a big “Thank You!” to all the nameless scofflaws who spray-paint artwork on railroad cars. I never get tired of looking at it (and there’s not much else you can do at a railroad crossing). This is some highly creative artwork, an all-American platform, and there really needs to be a museum for it. How you get it there without tearing apart railroad cars, I don’t know. But anyway–thank you, anonymous artists, for making a little piece of life more interesting.

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Obama and the Seussquester

seussquesterThe article “Obama and the Seussquester,” tells the story of the sequester in the language of Dr. Seuss. It comes from the Heritage Foundation, which is now headed by Tea Party favorite Jim DeMint, so you know it’s going to blame Obama for everything. Which it pretty much does. But hey–it’s FUN TO READ.

The Democrats, for their part, spin everything against Republicans. Both sides wander into alternate realities as they cast blame. But with this cute article by Amy Payne, Republicans totally destroy Democrats in the Spin Game. This is spin that, albeit not exactly intellectually honest, is nevertheless fun and creative. And, I should add, mostly dead-on accurate.

My only read gripe is that it’s written in prose, rather than in verse format. But enough with quibbles and nits.

So it is out of respect for Amy Payne’s creativity that I provide this link. And I expect my many conservative Facebook friends to gleefully share it with reckless abandon.

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Oblivious Drivers

So this morning I’m heading west on Aboite Center, and toward me is coming an ambulance–lights flashing, siren blaring. The ambulance reaches the intersection at Homestead Road. All around the intersection, cars are stopped, as they should be. And then, just as the ambulance is ready to enter the intersection on a red light, an SUV headed south crosses RIGHT IN FRONT OF IT.

I was stunned. And I wondered: what prevented that driver from seeing the ambulance? From seeing the lights flashing? From hearing the siren? There are multiple possible answers.

A couple years ago, at that same intersection, I saw the same thing happen with a firetruck. An oblivious teenage guy forced the firetruck to come to a stop at the intersection.

All of which is an advertisement for defensive driving. If people aren’t noticing sirens and flashing lights and other cars stopped along the road, how are they going to notice my ordinary vehicle doing nothing special?

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The Man Who Actually Killed Bin Laden

binladenraid580

I enthusiastically recommend “The Shooter,” a wonderfully written feature from Esquire magazine (I read it on their website). It’s a very lengthy story about the Navy SEAL who actually shot Bin Laden. The man doesn’t want to be identified, and wouldn’t tell his story until after leaving the military (which he did last September). In the article, he is referred to only as “the shooter.” But his story is fascinating, and doesn’t differ in any substantitive way from other accounts we’ve heard.

Having just watched “Zero Dark Thirty,” I had visuals fresh in my mind as he told his story (which followed the movie well). Toward the end of the article, the author accompanies The Shooter to a viewing of “Zero Dark Thirty.” His insights and observations are quite interesting (at one point during the raid sequence, he stands up to yell at a character for what he’s doing on screen). He also confirms the character of Maya from the “Zero Dark Thirty” movie, and says Jessica Chastain absolutely nailed the character.

The feature also focuses on the plight of these highly-trained warriors once they leave the military. Some say that despite all the firefights and everything else they’ve experienced, their greatest fear is entering civilian life. The article tells much about what awaits them, and how they are somewhat abandoned once leaving the service. Very good stuff to know.

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A Well-Regulated Stoning Being Necessary….

iran-stoning

Here’s a fascinating graphic about how Iran conducts stonings. The executions are quite regulated…and still quite barbaric. But hey, the mullahs are trying hard to give a patina of civilization to their 14th Century ways. (You can also view this PDF file.)

One rule says, “The size of the stone used in stoning shall not be too large to kill the convict by one or two throws, and at the same time shall not be too small to be called a stone.”

Another rule says that adulterers can go free if they manage to wriggle out of the hole in which they are buried. Men are buried up to their waist, women up to their chest. Advantage (no surprise, this being Iran): men.

Stonings typically take 30 minutes to 2 hours for the person to die. A doctor periodically checks to see if the person is dead yet.

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Violets are NOT Blue

violets580

I understand roses being red, but not violets being blue. If they were blue, they would be called blues. I realize it kills the rhyme, but violets are purple.

To maintain our intellectual integrity, we simply need to rewrite the poem. This is difficult, since very few words rhyme with “purple,” but integrity is not something you want to sacrifice for expediency. And so, I offer the following.

Roses are red,
Violets are purple,
Sugar is sweet,
And so is Aunt Myrtle.

Roses are red,
Violets are purple,
Water is cold,
Like the Arctic Circle.

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I Decide, You Die

Carol and Axel

Carol and Axel

Toward the end of “The Walking Dead” last night, I was wondering which cast member would die next. Because nobody is safe. Shane, Lori, Dale, T-Dog–anybody can go next.

So there was a scene with Carol (who I had expected to exit long ago) and a former prisoner named Axel. I figured it would be either Axel or Beth, the daughter of Hershel whose character hadn’t been developed.

As I watched that scene, I decided it would be Axel. And WITHIN SECONDS, a bullet went through Axel’s head.

I decide…it’s done. Eery.

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Bringing the Federal Budget Down to Earth

This came to me from a friend in Canada. I’m not going to even try to verify the numbers. They may be a couple years old, anyway. But that’s beside the point. The analogy with the household budget stands, regardless of how much people might want to quibble over actual numbers.

U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cuts: $38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:

Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Total budget cuts so far: $38.50

Get the picture?

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Get Wayne LaPierre Out of There

I love the clip above, which comes from a recent Fox News Sunday interview of NRA head Wayne LaPierre. I applaude Chris Wallace for coming at him so hard and calling him out for that shameless ad the NRA put out which focused attention on the President’s children. “That’s ridiculous and you know it, sir,” Wallace told LaPierre at one point. LaPierre probably thought an interview on FoxNews would be a piece of cake, talking to the choir. Wrong! Wallace nailed him over and over.

People who favor gun reform have been using (not unfairly) Wayne LaPierre’s words to Congress in 1999. “We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone,” he said, representing the NRA’s position to Congress.

Why, now, is Wayne LaPierre totally opposed to that? What changed? I’m guessing it’s the influence of the gun and ammo industry, which provides so much funding to the NRA. “Follow the money,” Woodward and Bernstein were told. It applies to lots of things. In the current hysteria which has resulted in guns and ammo selling out and prices going way up, who is profiting? Not the president. Not Joe American. It’s the gun industry…which gives tens of millions of dollars to the NRA, and to numerous politicians.

In his 2013 testimony before Congress, Wayne LaPierre came down strongly against straw-purchases. If you use your good background to buy a firearm for a criminal, LaPierre wants to prosecute you. But he wants to keep the gunshow loopholes open, which means criminals can skip the straw-purchase middlemen altogether and buy guns directly. Yeah, that makes sense.

Why do NRA members tolerate having Wayne LaPierre represent them? A good majority of NRA members, according to polls, favor universal background checks. Yet LaPierre is against it, and thereby represents his constituent members as being against it. In fact, LaPierre seems to oppose any and every idea for reform.

In my view, LaPierre is most interested in representing these two constituencies:

  • The gun and ammo companies who significantly fund the NRA, and who reap big bucks when conservatives whip gunowners into a frenzy because “they’re gonna do away with the 2nd amendment.”
  • The survivalist wing of the NRA–those members who envision black helicopters descending to confiscate their guns.

Most NRA members are decent, ordinary Americans. If I were an NRA member, I would be embarrassed by LaPierre. I certainly wouldn’t endorse everything he says out of some notion of loyalty.

I, personally, wouldn’t be opposed to joining the NRA. But not as long as LaPierre is the face of the NRA.

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