Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hypocricy . . .

. . . writ large

WASHINGTON – The Senate Tuesday rejected a GOP bid to ban the practice of larding spending bills with earmarks — those pet projects that lawmakers love to send home to their states.

So, let's freeze federal salaries, raise the retirement age and raise taxes - but OUR projects are untouchable.

Strangely enough, the day was carried (or buried, depending on your point of view) by . . . wait for it . . . yep, the Democrats.

Did they NOT see the results of the recent election? Even Barry O wants a ban.

Arseholes, the lot.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Look in Webster's . . .

. . . under "self-righteous prick"

You will find this photo.

Headline: International Warrant Issued for Assange. Perhaps justice will out via a "back door" - pun intended.

Finis . . .

. . . and regrets

One of my favorite bloggers has lowered his colors and cried finito!

For 5-1/2 years, John Wood has held forth on topics critical and topics trivial. No matter the topic, however, his thoughts, his logic, and the amazing command of the language always impressed me.

John had a distinguised career, including time served in NI during "The Troubles," where he was awarded an MBE with oak leaf valor device.

More than a few times, I disagreed with his position, but was hard-pressed to provide significant opposition. He argued his points so damn convincingly that I was often left just scratching my head for words of riposte.

Sorry to see you go, John.
Thanks a lot . . .

. . . Barry

Citing deficit, Obama to freeze federal worker pay.

It's a knee-jerk reaction, because Barry needs to do something - anything - to show that he's sensitive to the budget deficit.

It's OK. I can take it. Everyone is going to have to sacrifice something to pay for the excesses our government has indulged in for the past (way too many) years.

However, that leads me to a question or two for Basketball Barry:

1. Where was this concern when you proposed your new budget based on little more than wishful thinking and inflated projections?

2. Where was this concern when you stuffed a health care plan down our throats, one that created 150 new Federal agencies?

3. Where was this concern when you racked up a deficit that exceeded ALL OF THIS NATIONS DEFICITS TO DATE?

4. Where was this concern when your minions in the Nancy and Harry Show were rolling pork through Congress faster than Armour makes sausages?

And (the ever-present, ever-judgmental) "they" said that Sarah Palin didn't have the experience to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Right now, I would trade her for you, and wouldn't even ask for a future draft choice.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Statistics don't lie . . .

. . . but statisticians do

There is a continuing effort in the press and in some dark corners of Congress to place a large part of the blame for the country's current fiscal problems on the backs of federal employees.

Ms. Julie Snider of USA Today has provided us with a textbook example of the comparison of apples to aardvarks.

The error of this analysis lies precisely in the job mix of the private and public sectors. Included in the "average" salaries of private workers are garbage collectors, janitors, hamburger-flippers, fruit pickers, gas station attendants, restaurant waiters, convenience store clerks, and cub reporters for great metropolitan newspapers, to name a few.

I do not denigrate any of these jobs. All are honorable and necessary. However, Uncle Sam employs very few workers of this type. The federal job mix tends to be heavily oriented towards skilled trades and professionals. The federal workforce necessarily employs scientists, engineers, lawyers, accountants, physicists, electrical & mechanical technicians, nurses and doctors, for example.

Jobs requiring less training or education are indeed necessary in the federal community, but are generally contracted from the private sector.

While anecdotal evidence seldom proves a point, my appointment, which requires a masters degree, a professional license, and more than a decade of relevant experience, pays significantly less than a similar position in the private sector. I have the paychecks from both as proof. Further, my benefits are nowhere close to 50% of my salary, nor are those of the numerous employees in the departments I have managed.

There is no denying that federal employes have a good benefits package. However, the package is not unlike packages offered by major employers across the U.S., and it is necessary for the government to offer it in order to attract quality employees.

I view this backlash as just another version of jealousy fomented by hard times. Those who have less than they would like tend to attack those who have more - a position that the current administration embraces.

The premise of Ms. Snider's analysis is correct.

Her target is not.

The federal employees responsible for said problems - and there are only 596 of them - are not those in the chart above, but those with the title of "Senator" or "Congressman/woman" before their names.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My day off . . .

. . . so far
  1. Slept a couple of hours longer (I'm usuallly up at 0500)
  2. Left for the dentist's office at 1015
  3. Missed a turn and drove 15 km out of my way
  4. Noticed that the whores were still working - even in the rain
  5. More about #4 later
  6. Arrived at dentist on time after all
  7. Two shots of novocaine
  8. Surgical extraction of #5 root
  9. Bone graft
  10. Implant insertion
  11. Three stitches
  12. Many euro handed to dentist
  13. One vicodin
  14. Soft food for dinner
  15. Another vicodin

All things considered, I would rather have been at work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Enough . . .

. . . is enough!

I seldom use exclamation points because most folks with a modicum of intelligence can determine which statements deserve emphasis and which do not.

Besides, internet bloggers and phone texters have already used the entire world's supply of said punctuation, and the supply has not yet been renewed because of the world's financial crisis.

However, I retrieved one from my strongbox specifically for Joe Miller.

For those who do not recognize the name, or believe that American politics is just another diversion for the mentally infirm, Mr. Miller is the Tea Party candidate for the U. S. Senate seat in Alaska, in opposition to the incumbent, write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski.

He has filed a lawsuit because the Alaska election board proposes to count ballots cast for Lisa Merkowski or Lisa Murkowsky or whatever other permutations of her name appear next to the little oval.

To be fair, Alaska election law does state that the little ovals must be darkened, and that the name must appear as written on the declaration of candidacy. However, case law has allowed some flexibility in order to ensure that the intent of the voters is carried forth.

This lawsuit might make some sense if the election were close, but Miller would lose by 2,167 votes even if all the contested votes were discarded.

Yet, Miller slogs on, tilting at bureaucratic windmills on the tundra of Alaska.

Mr. Miller, you are a loser - twice over. Hand your lance to your Sancho Panza and gracefully retire from the field.

Monday, November 22, 2010

They can . . .

. . . but should they?

Developers of the controversial Park51 Islamic community center and mosque located two blocks from Ground Zero earlier this month applied for roughly $5 million in federal grant money set aside for the redevelopment of lower Manhattan after the attacks of September 11th, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. - The Daily Beast 22 NOV 2010

I have said before that all of this is perfectly legal, and is certainly allowed under the basic concepts of freedom in the U.S.

I feel a modicum of guilt for my opposition to the construction of this Mosque. However, it is tempered by a failing hope that this Imam would reach out, acknowledge the feelings this project foments, and offer an alternate solution.

That which is allowed and that which is right are not always congruent.

With any luck, however - and I hesitate to use the word "luck" in this context - this request will not prevail. In order to obtain the grant the applicant must have sufficient capital to seed the project. For an entity wishing to construct a $100M project, Park51 has an amazing paucity of funds - a total of $20,000 on its financial statement.

John Avalon of the Daily Beast characterized it all very succinctly:
It’s a lose-lose proposition put forward by a tone-deaf organization that seems determined to alienate allies and embolden opponents.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Have we . . .

. . . already lost?

TSA Pat Down Leaves Bladder Cancer Survivor Humiliated and Covered In Urine...

Cancer-surviving flight attendant forced to remove prosthetic breast...

TSA says they use a less aggressive touch for children under 12 . . .

Then she went into the top of my slacks, inserted her hands between my underwear and my skin . . .

(TSA) is warning that any would-be commercial airline passenger who enters an airport checkpoint and then refuses to undergo the method of inspection designated by TSA will not be allowed to fly and also will not be permitted to simply leave the airport. That person will have to remain on the premises to be questioned by the TSA and possibly by local law enforcement. Anyone refusing faces fines up to $11,000 and possible arrest.

Later I found out that in addition to touching her swollen breasts – to protect the American citizenry – the employee had asked that she lift up her shirt. Not behind a screen, not off to the side – no, right there, directly in front of the hundred or so passengers standing in line. And for you women who’ve been pregnant and worn maternity pants, you know how ridiculous those things look. "I felt like a clown," my wife told me later. "On display for all these people, with the cotton panel on my pants and my stomach sticking out. When I sat down I just lost my composure and began to cry. That’s when you walked up."

“Listen up!” he said. “You will enter the proper line for passport control. U.S. passports here, non-U.S. passports there”—and he pointed to the appropriate queues. “You will have your passport available for immediate inspection. You will cooperate with the appropriate authorities. If you do not you will be subject to detention and possible arrest!”

“As the TSA agent was frisking plaintiff, the agent pulled the plaintiff’s blouse completely down, exposing plaintiffs’ breasts to everyone in the area,” the lawsuit said. “As would be expected, plaintiff was extremely embarrassed and humiliated.”

TSA actually forced a 37-year-old Texas woman to remove her nipple ring with a pair of pliers before they would allow her to get on an airplane.

Ben Franklin wept . . .

Gentlemen, you are to consider, that a great Empire, like a great Cake, is most easily diminished at the Edges

- Benjamin Franklin, September 11, 1773

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ouch . . .

. . . and ouch!

Ouch #1: I thought I had a loose crown on on #4. (That's the fifth tooth back from the centerline on the right upper, BTW) Wrong! It fell out Friday, but it wasn't a loose crown. The remainder of the tooth that the crown was attached to had broken off at the gumline). The fix: extraction of the tooth and the root, insertion of a post implant and attachment of a new crown.

This normally wouldn't have been very stressful - other than the cash outlay, that is - but living in a foreign country adds a "few" extra problems. Fortunately, through pure happenstance, I located an Italian dentist who is married to a Navy doctor, and who has qualifications from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Oh, and he speaks English.

Upside: I found qualified dentist.
Downisde: It's going to cost € 1.800.
Upside: He's only 500 meters from the base.
Downside: My dental insurance covers NONE of this.
Upside: Our health savings plan lets me pay the bill with pre-tax funds.

Ouch #2: Our Ford Escape, which we bought almost a year ago has only 6,500 miles on the odometer. (I guess it has 6,500 miles on the engine and tires also, but back to the point.)

While backing out of our drive today, I was carefully watching the wall across the very narrow street. Yep, I carefully watched it while I backed into it. Parged concrete is very much like sandpaper, and the left rear corner of the bumper cover is testament to that fact. Merda!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day . . .

. . . 2010

Although the "Great War" did not officially end until 28 JUN 1919, hostilities officially ceased on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The anniversary of this day was known as "Armistice Day" until 1954, when it was changed to "Veterans Day."

This is the first time I have flown my flag on foreign soil, but fly it does.

Friday, November 05, 2010

My last . . .

. . . Political statement

At least for this week, because I am just totally pissed off at ignorance and hypocrisy.

Party of NO

I am sick of hearing this tired cliché. Barry O has offered his menu only, then has the gall to whimper about the lack of bipartisanship when the offerings are declined. On Tuesday, he discovered that majority of the people in the country are de facto members of the Party of NO.

We're too stupid, Chapter 2

Barry O said that he hasn't been able to successfully promote his economic-rescue message to anxious Americans. He also said he recognizes now that "leadership is not just legislation." "It's a matter of persuading people, and making an argument that people can understand."

Dude, I told you on Wednesday that calling the folks too stupid to understand your magnificent policies is not a winning strategy. It didn't work in this election, and it won't work in 2012.

Vanity Fair - or not?

The general anti-Obama rage out there is palpable. But it’s no more virulent than the anti-Bush sentiment that has pervaded the country for much of the past decade—although this being America, there’s an attendant hatred for Obama that has more to do with race than anything else. What makes today’s fury more worrying is the fact that angry right-wing extremists tend to carry guns in disproportionate numbers to their liberal counterparts. - Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair, December 2010

Graydon, you twit, Socrates has a message for you: "When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." As someone who takes pride in refusing to vote, your rhetoric rings a mite hollow. If you're not willing to help fix it, quit whining about it.

I find it interesting that the preponderance of those crying "racist" are those who are trying to convince themselves that he took a standing eight-count because he is black. I assume that allows them to rationalize that the policies weren't really that bad. Well, believe what you will. On the other hand, the demographics suggest that more people voted for Barry O because of his race than voted against him for the same reason.

The throw-away gun argument is so specious that it hardly deserves comment. However, I submit that the "liberal counterparts" are much more of a risk to the republic with their policies than the "angry, gun-toting right-wing extremists" are with anything tucked away in their locked gun safes. This election was won at the ballot box, not at the O.K. Corral.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Belaboring . . .

. . . the obvious

President Barack Obama furiously worked the phones to urban-format radiostations Tuesday, arguing that his agenda would be "all at risk" if Republicans trampled Democrats.

Uhhhh . . . Dude, isn't that the point?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Windy . . .

. . . innit?