Monday, October 31, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "Barbarians at the Gate" Department - Security researchers have discovered a new trojan program for MacOS titled "Tsunami".  Apparently, the malware is a recompiled program adapted from an earlier Linux Trojan.  Those of us who use Macs have a reputation for not getting malware.  Time to prove it.  Be careful where you surf, don't click on things you can't identify, and for heaven's sake, wear a computer condom when surfing adult content.  
  • From the "Shocked Face" Department - Another company that got funding for energy research from the Obama administration has filed for bankruptcy.  Now, our energy secretary is supposed to be a smart guy.  Don't you think he'd have taken a look at how these companies were going to use the money and made good decisions as to whether their technology was more than vaporware?  Then again, maybe the idea was to give gobs of money to everyone, and hope that someone invents the next big thing.  Kind of like a drunk who spends the rent money on lottery tickets.  If he buys enough of them, one of them has to win big!  It's foolproof!
  • From the "This'll Fix It!" Department - The president, after making the seas flow back and feeding the hungry, has decreed that the FDA is to henceforth 'fix' the problem with shortages of drugs.  Apparently telling the agency to make those mean pharmaceutical companies pump out the medicines quicker is the fix to the problems with the current five-year plan.  Lord knows, the pill corporations are just sitting on mountains of finished product and ingredients, and can just add in a 3rd shift at the plant to keep the pipelines full.  And of course they won't mind losing money on making medicine that the government is about to make them almost give away.  
  • From the "Spitting on a Fish" Department - Authorities in Arizona announced that they broke up a drug smuggling ring that was centered around the area between Phoenix and the Mexican border.  This ring works for the gang that "is believed to be responsible for 65 percent of all drugs illegally smuggled into the U.S.".  Show of hands, people:  How many people have heard about big busts that were supposed to absolutely disrupt the flow of illegal drugs into the country at least once a year since about 1978?  
  • From the "Good Start" Department - UNESCO has given the Palestinians a seat at their table, prompting the U.S. delegation to cut off funding for that agency.  I'd say we need to follow that line of reasoning, cut off all funding to the Manhattan Invitational Debate Club, invite the collected potentates, dictators, and kleptocrats to move to Switzerland or wherever their planes run out of fuel, and then sublet that big building in Manhattan towards something more productive, like hog farming.  Another show of hands, people:  How many people here can tell me one thing that we've ever gotten out of our involvement with the U.N. that we couldn't have gotten without them at half the price?  Anyone?

Today's Earworm

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thought for the Day

After seeing the latest set of very beautiful pictures of Girlie Bear that Irish Woman took today, I need more guns.  Big, pointy, bayoneted, big bore, black guns.  With rocket launchers.

Today's Earworm

Pea soup edition

Probably not the scariest thing to happen there this week

The White House opened up its gates for trick or treaters from near-by communities this weekend.  The Obamas had costumed characters and the Marine band on hand to hand out cookies, dried fruit, and custom M&M's to the kiddies.

My thoughts:  I guess you don't have to worry about your house getting TP'ed for giving out raisins when the guards have authorization to use deadly force.  And nothing says "Happy Halloween" like left-over souvenir candies from the White House gift shop.  Maybe President Obama dressed up as a competent leader this year.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Day

  • I need to do more housework during the week.  Either that, or I need to teach Boo how to work the vacuum cleaner.
  • To the lady in the store who got pissed when I gave myself whiplash looking over at your family when your little boy screamed "Shut the hell up mommy! I'm trying to sing!":  It wasn't your kid I was disappointed with.
  • When trying to check out at the store today, and the line was 10 deep at all four open registers, I had to try hard to resist the urge to break out the command voice and yell "Tighten that line up!".
  • To the nice lady who honked her horn at me while I was loading my groceries in the car:  There is a direct relationship between how much you annoy me and how slowly I move, as demonstrated by my performance today.
  • Young child laundry math:  One 3 year old boy, wearing one set of clothing per day, plus pajamas, towels, sheets, and two extra sets of clothing for accidents at day care equals 17 loads of laundry.
  • Sending out a 13 year old girl to rake leaves unsupervised is apparently less than useful.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Rules for Dating Girlie Bear

OK, I know it's a worn out meme, and others have done it before and probably better than I can. But Girlie Bear has another dance at school Monday night, and I'm almost certain there will be boys there.  So I thought I'd codify the rules for being my daughter's date so that there can be no confusion:

  1. My name is Sir or Mr. Bear.  You will not call me by my first name, my last name without the Mr., or any other way of addressing me.  I'm also not a pronoun.  You may, on occasion, when speaking to my daughter, use the term "your father" to reference me.
  2. Age rule:  One year older than Girlie Bear, one year younger than Girlie Bear.  If you're too young, I'll call your mother.  If you're too old, I'll call your father.  If you're way too old, I'll call the police to come pick your carcass up off the lawn.
  3. My daughter should come home with the same number of tears in her eyes as when she left.  If she ever comes home with a deficit in the amount of eye-water or a gain in the number of bruises, they won't ever be able to find your body.
  4. She may seem like a nice, quiet, thoughtful girl, and she is.  But she comes from a long, proud line of people with big tempers who fight dirty.  I've taught her to punch, kick, bite, scratch, knife, and shoot.  Piss her off at your own risk.
  5. I have veto power on who Girlie Bear goes out with, when she goes, where she goes, and the planned activities. There is no appeal, because there is no higher authority.
  6. If I smell alcohol on either of you at any time, game over.  Same goes for weed or cigarettes. 
  7. Arguing or fighting with me about anything will gain you nothing but a jaw wired shut and your next few meals fed to you through a straw.  I may be old, slow, and fat, but I bet I can take more of a beating than you can, and I know how long it takes to heal.  I will bet money you don't.
  8. I set a curfew for a reason.  I will be waiting when she gets home.
  9. I know that all teenagers lie on occasion, and I have spent years trying to learn how to tell if someone is lying to me.  So if I suspect that Girlie Bear is lying to me about you, you're gone.  If she tells me one thing, and you deny it, I'll know you're lying because your lips are moving.
  10. I have an evolutionary investment in Girlie Bear, in that I want her to survive to proper reproductive age in order to pass on my genes.  I have no such investment in you, and I see no reason to be rational about anything having to do with you.  Never forget that.

I am a RINO

Since I'm sort of running for office around here, I thought I'd make my political affiliation clear to y'all.

My name's DaddyBear, and I'm a RINO.

Now, before you let loose with the rotten vegetables and paving stones, let me explain.

I was brought up in a bluest-of-the-blue, pro-union Democrat home.  My mother was what you could call a mixed-up hippie.  Due to her upbringing in a Navy home, with her father and brothers in the service, and being married to a Vietnam vet, she knew that all of the anti-military rhetoric was nothing but hot air.  But she was all about entitlement programs, environmental programs, affirmative action, and all of the other liberal things that were in vogue during her lifetime.

My father was an upper-Midwest, agricultural Democrat and for a time was the president of his union local.  I guess that pretty much explains his leanings.

As a young boy, I was taken to the local Democrat headquarters and stuffed envelopes, fetched coffee, and the like.  I was sent out to help with taking yard signs to little old ladies, and my parents thought they were doing everything they could to make a good Democrat out of me.

Imagine their surprise when I came home from school one fall day in 1980 and announced that I had voted for Ronald Reagan in a class election as part of our social studies work.  You'd have thought I came home and announced that I was really running off to join the circus.  Her mood wasn't enhanced when I explained that Carter was an idiot, and I wasn't going to vote for the man or anyone like him.

So I was a Republican from a pretty early age.  I volunteered for the Bush campaign in 1988, which did nothing for my social standing at my Bay Area high school.  I was in the military for the Clinton years, and saw all the damage that both he and the Republicans in Congress did while having big schwanz waving contests with each other.  It was also during those years that I learned that "Anyone But Clinton" was not a campaign strategy, which is why I refuse to accept the "Anyone But Obama" strategy the GOP is working with this time around.

But I'm not a robot, and I refuse to be programmed.

I guess I explain my political leanings by saying "I'm a Republican, but....":

  • I'm a Republican, but I don't care who someone is sleeping with or wants to marry.
  • I'm a Republican, but I think Bush made a lot of huge blunders in his presidency, most of all in his domestic security agenda and the agencies and policies that we're dealing with because of it.
  • I'm a Republican, and I think that abortion is an evil, dreadful practice, but I dislike the government telling me or anyone else what to do with their body even more.
  • I'm a Republican, but I don't support the party when it says it wants to cut spending then spends money on their own pet projects and favorite companies.
  • I'm a Republican, but I will vote for a candidate from another party who I believe is the best person for the job.  Voting a straight party ticket is for sheep, not citizens.

There is more, but I think you get the picture.  If  you've been reading my ramblings here for a while, you can see that I'm not exactly cut from a completely Republican cloth.

I guess what I'm saying here is that while I self-identify as a Republican, I don't always follow the party line.  If I were in Congress, the party whip and I would always be at loggerheads.  I believe what I believe, and I don't let my party tell me what to believe, how to vote, or who to support.  I stay with the party because there's still some hope that the libertarian wing, whatever that is, will have enough influence to swing us away from the big government, daddy-state wing.  It's not a lot of hope, and I've considered just becoming an Independent, but I'm not there yet.

Anyway, I'm DaddyBear, and I am a RINO.

Today's Earworm

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today's Earworm

An Open Letter

To all producers, traffickers, and users of methamphetamine,

I've been feeling a bit crummy these past few days.  The medicines I have around the house just haven't been cutting it, and Irish Woman is growing tired of listening to me cough through the night.  On the way home with Boo tonight, I decided to visit my local pharmacy to get something to help the situation.  I looked through the shelves of 'alternatives' to pseudoephedrine, and eventually found the card for the medicine I wanted.  Like a good sheep, I took one of them, grabbed some cough drops, and headed over to the pharmacists service window.

After presenting the young man behind the counter with the card, my driver's license, birth certificate (not Hawaiian), blood and hair sample, fingerprint, and retinal eye scan, I then signed a pledge to not turn my cold medicine into your intoxicant of choice, paid for my purchase, and headed out of the store.  I noticed that the item I bought was on sale, and would have stocked up for the upcoming cold and flu season, but didn't because I didn't know if doing so was going to bring black clad men with guns to my door at inopportune times.

Basically, what should have been a 30 second transaction turned into a 10 minute exercise in "spot the methhead" for the pharmacist and an exercise in being suspected of being a criminal for me.

So to all of you tweaking bastards out there, let me say this:

If I ever get my hands on any of you snivelling pieces of dirt, I am going to lock you in a running cement mixer filled with thumb tacks and rubbing alcohol.  Then I'm going to smother you to death in a bag full of my used tissues and throw your body in the septic tank of the local chili restaurant.  I would consider feeding your worthless carcass to some pigs, but I have too much respect for the swine and their sty to do that.

I've been using pseudoephedrine responsibly as a cold medicine since I was a teenager, and you all have ruined that for me.  Now, I have to be treated like a suspect in order to not have a runny nose and a nagging cough. I hope you're happy, you worthless, in-bred, bucktoothed wastes of good gametes.  I hope that your lives and deaths are nasty, brutish, and protracted.  I hope that as you die, the last thing your hear in this world is the sound of your mother coughing and sneezing because you had to get high and she can't get good medicine over the counter anymore.

Respectfully and congestedly yours,



I've been told that there's some kind of sporting event taking place in either Missouri or Texas tonight. 

I predict that someone will win.  There will be a lot of beer drinking and snacking going on during the event.  I also predict that some yahoos will be on the news tomorrow after being arrested for either celebrating a victory or mourning a defeat by setting something on fire or knocking something over, or possibly knocking something over then setting it on fire.

Y'all keep me honest here, and let me know how I did come tomorrow.

Thought for the Day

You know something's going right in that whole parenting thing when your daughter wants to join JROTC next year so that she can be on the school air rifle team.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "Torches and Pitchforks" Department - The governor of California is proving that he likes to live in danger.  He has announced a proposal to cut back on retirement benefits for state employees, which will include a two tier system, more contributions from employees, and an increased retirement age.  Look for cell phone footage of death threats and calls for his defenestration from union leaders anytime soon.  Think more "Tehran 1979" than "Occupy Wall Street 2011".
  • From the "Pennies on the Dollar" Department - Negotiators in the European Union have announced a deal where the financial institutions that own Greek bonds will forgive a huge amount of that debt in order to help the Greeks limp along for a few more quarters.  Remember kids, bonds are promises, not assets.   When the bond holder sends a couple of guys around to tell you that you can either take a beating by 'forgiving' a part of the debt, or they can knife you and you'll get nothing and like it, I guess you take the beating.  I just wish they wouldn't make you smile while they do it.
  • From the "Bad Idea" Department - The widow of the man who set dozens of predatory animals loose before committing suicide is telling the Columbus Zoo to return the surviving animals to her care.  Nothing can go wrong here.  The zoo says it has no right to stop her from getting the animals back under current law, so I suppose she's going to get them. I just hope that the emergency services, schools, and zoo bill her and her husband's estate for the cost of all this, and I hope her neighbors sue her for the distress that having lions, tigers, and bears roaming the neighborhood caused. 
  • From the "They May Have A Point" Department - The family of dead Libyan dictator Mo-Q, as he is known to fans of his electronica recordings, plans to sue NATO in the ICC for causing his death.  Their theory seems to be that the legal mandate for NATO intervention said nothing about close air support of ground troops and interdicting convoys of SUV's, so the attack on Qaddafi was illegal.  Much as it hurts to say, I kind of agree.  The rationale for our involvement was to stop government forces from killing civilians, not to help the opposition win the war.  I don't think this will go anywhere, but it will be interesting to watch if it does.
  • From the "Death From Above" Department - A new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) project is apparently underway.  The object is to create a small drone that could be carried by a larger drone, then launched as needed.  This would give forces on the ground a small eye-in-the-sky that can be deployed from its mothership, then used as either a surveillance platform or as a mini-smartbomb.  This is all really cool and I hope it comes to fruition, but the only thing that comes to mind is this:  "Yo dog, we heard you like flying drones and killing insurgents, so we put a drone in your drone so you can kill insurgents while you're killing insurgents!".  I know, I feel dirty too, and I'm sorry.

Blood is Boiling

OK, two rants in two days.

The local news is on, or at least it was until I shut it off in disgust.  Over the past two half hour cycles, they have spent about 20 minutes of reporting time talking about a study they've 'found' that shows that over the past few decades, the 'rich' have gotten richer, while the 'poor' haven't had quite as much income growth*.  They then drag in one of the local 'Occupy Something' people, complete with carefully sculpted fauxhawk, expensive raingear, and a somewhat cultured Bluegrass accent to tell us how unfair it is that those who work are getting a vast amount more than those who don't.

Look, life's not fair.  Never was, at least since our ancestors figured out that the biggest ape got most of the bananas and the cutest mate.  You might as well complain that the small, agriculturally unproductive area of  downtown Louisville is getting rain when the vast majority of the area is not as wet but has much more acreage.  The mark of a good person is that you don't accept that unfairness as an excuse, and try to find a way to overcome it.

The 'rich', few of whom inherited the bulk of their wealth, have gotten off of their butts and created that wealth that the hipster on the TV is whining about.  Maybe they started a business and through hard work, ingenuity, and a good dose of luck were able to get rich doing it.  Maybe they gave someone else money to do that, and now they are enjoying the fruits of that investment.  Either way, because they invested a chunk of their lives in trying to do something, they're wealthier than they were before, and more people are not among the 'poor' due to their efforts.

Yeah, the rich are getting richer faster than the poor are.  Anyone want to admit that it's not because of their race, or their family tree, or their political connections that they got that way?  My guess is that most of them got that way because they got up every day, worked themselves to death, and got to bed late after putting everything they had into their job or their business.

My family isn't rich when compared to the truly wealthy, but I know how I got to where I am.  I've worked hard every day since I can remember, I've gotten an education in something that can pay to feed my children, and I've never taken a thin dime from the government that I didn't earn.  I may not be wealthy by our standards, but I've seen both obscene, ill-gotten wealth and crushing poverty, and this isn't either of those.

This is a case of those who are not very well off when compared to their fellow Americans whining because they're only 1000 times richer than the truly poor around the world.  No American goes hungry because there is no food for those who cannot afford to buy it.  Maybe you're not eating steak and potatoes every night, but you're not having to sit and watch your children slowly starve to death.  No American goes without better health care than the middle class in most of the rest of the industrial world gets because they can't afford health insurance.  Maybe you don't get the latest treatments or fanciest procedures, but they'll keep your butt alive.  No American child goes without at least a rudimentary education so long as their parents give a damn and make sure they study.

My point is that I'm tired of hearing people whine.  If I had the power, I'd take each and every one of these class-baiting twits to the real world and let them see what poverty really looks like.  I'd show them people who come from huts made out of garbage who are working their tails off to get out of that hut.  I'd show them women who have to carry weapons every day, not so they don't have their purse stolen, but so that they're not kidnapped and raped.  I'd show them graveyards full of the people who tried to make things better, but were rewarded with a bullet in the head for their trouble.

Then I'd show them the poorest of the poor here in America, a place that gives away free food, shelter, clothing, education, medical help, and just about anything else a person needs in order to not only stay alive, but to thrive and become a producing member of society if they would only care enough to do it.

Then, I would dare them to try to say that even the 'poor' in America aren't doing pretty good.  I'd dare them to show me the thousands of children who are dieing of diseases that can be cured with a dollar's worth of medicine.  I'd dare them to show me the millions of children who aren't going to school because they have to work as hard as an adult to stay alive.  I'd dare them to show me the graves of the people who die from mal-nourishment in America.

Then I'd laugh in their face as they try to come up with examples, because there aren't any.  Generations of Americans have bled into our soil so that these problems stayed away, and we continue to do so now.

If we don't wake up, we are going to lose the ethics of hard work, self-reliance, and ingenuity that have been all that has kept us from sliding back into the morasse that our fore-fathers sailed across oceans to get away from.  Our ancestors didn't come over in steerage or worse so that their grandchildren could demand that others take care of them, and they would be ashamed if they saw how this movement is acting.

As a nation, we are soft.  Hard work, ingenuity, and making your own way have fallen out of fashion with not only our young people, but also with their parents, and that scares me.  The thought that the world owes you anything is a dangerous honey trap to fall into, and what I see when I see these Occupy people chanting, drumming, begging, and speaking is nothing more than a fly that's fallen into the pitcher plant.

Now y'all excuse me while I get cleaned up and get to my job.  There are thousands of protesters in the streets who are depending on me to provide for them.

*Here's a hint:  if your income is growing, then you're not really poor.  At worst, you're only being swept along in the wake of the truly prosperous, but your income is getting bigger nonetheless.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Something in my eye

OK, I'm a big softy.  So what?

The nickname I use was given to me by my oldest when he was just barely old enough to talk.  Our favorite movie at the time was "Jungle Book" and Mowglie calls Baloo "Papa Bear" a few times.  Junior morphed that into "DaddyBear" when I started reading him the children's version of the Jungle Book, and it stuck.

When I deployed to Bosnia in 1996, my ex and I sat down and recorded me reading a bunch of bed time stories.  That's always been my favorite thing to do as a dad, and I wanted Junior to get his daily share of "Green Eggs and Ham" while I was away.  Reports are that he asked for DaddyBear to read to him every night I was gone.  I wish I still had that tape.

What this soldier is trying to do is stay in touch with his young daughter during one of the most important times in her life.  Apparently it's doing some good, because she can still recognize him and tries to interact with his image instead of just sitting and watching.

I wish this father and every other parent who is deployed good luck and a safe return.  Hopefully this little girl won't remember that her dad was gone, but will have a great connection to her father.

Tonight, when Boo and I curl up with "Hop on Pop", I'll remember how lucky I am to have never been away from him for more than a couple of nights, which I can't say for his brothers and sister, and how many other fathers are away from their kids tonight.

H/T to Danger Room for this one.


Adama: Starbuck, what do you hear?
Starbuck: Nothing but the rain.
Adama: Then grab your gun and bring in the cat.
Starbuck: Boom, boom, boom! / Wilco! / Aye-aye, sir! 
It's raining like a son of a gun, Koshka got out of the house when I left for work this morning, and I really want to go to the range.  This keeps popping into my head.

Grow Some Bloody Skin

Begin rant:

A university in Ohio is spending money to fund a campaign by some of its students to try to get people to change the way they dress up for Halloween:
“Some costumes can be offensive to some people where you are highlighting their culture in a negative way,” said Stephanie Sheeley, a spokesperson for the group and a student at the university.
Basically, putting on a costume that is a caricature of a stereotype is considered bad.  For example, the campaign condemns people who wear a dishdasha with C-4 accessories as being offensive to Arabs or Muslims. They also are against costumes that show Italians, Asians, and Mexicans, or whatever in a bad light.

Now, I'm not going to tell someone that they're wrong if they're offended by something.  Everyone has their own tastes and values, and they're valid even if I don't share or agree with them.

But here's a word of advice to someone who's unintentionally offended by something someone wears for Halloween:

Grow the heck up and add a few layers of skin.

Look, my ancestors are stereotyped as being either bloodthirsty barbarian warriors (Norwegian) or drunken midgets in green who jealously guard a hoard of treasure (Irish), or maybe warmongering bumblers with a taste for Polish sausage and French wine (German).  But you don't see the Norwegian People's Liberation Front protesting when someone dresses up as Olaf the Priest Cleaver for Halloween.  You won't see the Hibernians putting up posters because someone wants to dress up as Darby O'Gill.  The local Deutch-American Friendship club isn't going to stage a sit-in because someone came to the party as Sergeant Schultz.

But something tells me you'll see Viking, leprechaun, and lederhosen costumes, along with ones for Skeeter and his redneck cousins, at Halloween parties on college campuses without someone putting up a poster.

Here's the deal folks:  Feel offended by something if you need to.  Even feel free to tell someone who offends you why you're offended.  But for the love of sweet zombie Jesus, lighten up!  It's Halloween!  It's not a Klan rally, it's not an Aryan Brotherhood retreat, it's a bloody holiday.

If someone is dressed up as your ethnicity and is acting like an ass, don't have anything to do with them.  Ignore them. They're doing it precisely so that people will pay attention to them.  If the whole group you're with is laughing along with the guy in the sombrero talking like the Frito Bandito, and that bothers you, get new friends.  They're not worth your time.

Quit wasting your time and my tax dollars trying to convince people, especially college students, to act the way you want them to act.  That beer fueled douchebag in blackface?  He's offensive, and he was a beer fueled douchebag long before he put on the make-up.  If you give him any attention, even negative attention to make him stop, it only feeds his need to be noticed.  Shun him, and eventually he'll either go away or quit being a beer fueled douchebag.

Did something happen to the youth of America in the 1990's that made them so thin skinned?  Was there a solar storm or something that I missed?  Was it the Hale-Bopp comet?  It had to be something.  People don't get this 'sensitive' without there being a cause.

End rant

Thought for the Day

Lord, make me patient with those who are learning, and forgiving of those who refuse to learn.

Lord, help me to not attribute to malice that which is probably ordinary stupidity.

Lord, give me the strength to do what is necessary, not what I'd rather be doing.

And finally Lord, remind me that all of your children are worthy of respect and kindness for your sake alone, and that I should not treat them in the way that they have so fully earned.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Prophecy

And lo, I stood upon the mountain.  My armies were spread across the valley before me like a sea of fire and steel.  A voice like thunder came from the heavens, and spoke unto me:

Now shall you and your army sleep.
Your time is not yet ripe.
Until the time when this mountain lays flat
When there shall come to you visions of a white wombat!
 Now is our time come.  Now is it time for the Ursine cavalry to roar its way across the steppe.  Now our enemies shall know that their time is past.  Now they shall know why they fear the cute.  

Thought for the Day

I really don't mind the 'end of the world' calls at 3 AM. Those are the ones that make the job interesting.

It's the 3 AM 'someone didn't feel like doing their job so we left it for you to clean up' calls that make me itch.

Stump Speech

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for having me here today.

I'm here to talk about something that many of you might find disagreeable to talk about in polite company: misconduct on the part of law enforcement.  But before anyone accuses me and Candidate X of being anti-cop, let me start with a bit of a disclaimer:  It is our heartfelt belief that the vast majority of law enforcement people, be they local, state, or federal, are good people who have followed a calling to try to keep the lid on the parts of our society that refuse to follow our agreed-upon rules.  This post should in no way lead you to believe that either Candidate X or I hold LEO's in general in anything but respect.

However, there are a few bad apples in every basket, and the 1% that breaks the laws or abuses its authority colors our perception of the other 99%.  The answer to this problem, like almost every other government problem, is to shed light on them so that the world can see them. 

So here we go:
  • A woman in New York asserts that an NYPD officer, who is also under suspicion for allegedly planting drugs on otherwise innocent people in order to meet an arrest quota, forced her to use drugs and then sexually assaulted her.  
  • Five NYPD officers have been arrested, along with seven others, for taking part in a scheme to smuggle guns, cigarettes, and slot machines. 
  • A female blogger had a bit of a surprise when she opened her suitcase after a flight to Ireland to find a TSA notice in her baggage that said "Get your freak on girl!".  Apparently the young lady had packed her sex toy, and is now asking the TSA to investigate the incident.  The TSA says there's no evidence their officers wrote the note.
So what do we have here?  We have a police officer abusing his position of power, breaking the law, and assaulting a female.  Then, we have police officers taking part in an organized scheme to break firearms, tobacco, and gambling laws.  We also have unprofessional conduct by members of a government organization that has had issues with theft, bribery, and disregard for the civil rights of citizens. 

The first one I lay squarely at the feet of those who continue to defend the need for a War on (some) Drugs.  Yeah, if the young ladies accusations are true, the guy's a jerk with or without the drugs.  But it's the fact that the drugs are illegal that gave the guy the power in this specific case.  Take away the illegality of the drugs, and you take away the intoxicant used to force the young lady into sex.  You also remove the incentive to frame innocent people for having drugs.  No illegal drugs means no need to have a quota for drug arrests.

Next, we have an interstate conspiracy to smuggle guns, cigarettes, and gambling equipment.  The cigarettes, while legal by themselves, are probably smuggled because of lower prices and taxes in other states.  The gambling equipment and guns are illegal because of federal and state laws that try to control how we lead our lives, and no more.  Why is taking a slot machine into New York an offense?  Because someone in the state or federal legislature didn't care for gambling, so they made it illegal.  Same with guns, both at the federal and state levels.  I have news for those who think that the state should control who has guns, which guns they should have, and how they should acquire and use them:  You can buy just about any gun you want in most parts of the country, and the streets don't run red with blood.  Most places don't even require you to have a license to do it.  And most shockingly of all, you can carry that gun either openly or concealed, and children don't spontaneously combust because of your actions. 

Finally, we have adults acting like children, but it is a symptom of something that should chill the blood of every American.  As I see it, the TSA is rotten to the core.  It's continued, and now expanding, role as gropers, hinderers, and bullies is an affront to the rule of law and civil rights.  Its short history is fraught with stories of people being humiliated, intimidated, and violated.  And now the agency is expanding to doing its work on our highways.  Is the supposed security the TSA is providing us worth the continued erosion of our right to freely move about the country while conducting legal business?

My point on the first and second cases is this:  stop making silly things illegal, and people will stop doing silly things to get around your silly law.  Stop criminalizing the use of narcotics, and punish bad behavior that comes from their use.  Stop legislating morality by outlawing gambling or guns, and people will stop smuggling them into your state.  Stop charging an exorbitant amount of tax on cigarettes, and control smoking through other means, like telling people that Medicaid and Medicare won't pay to treat people who smoke, and people will stop smuggling cigarettes.  Taking that stand would probably save millions in healthcare costs on its own.

For the TSA case, it's another example of why the TSA needs to be either drastically reformed and limited, or abolished altogether.  I have never seen anything that definitively shows that the TSA has made us any safer, but I can probably find hundreds of stories about how they have taken away a lot of our liberty.

To sum up, we need to find a way to punish those who abuse their rights without taking the rights of others away.

While there may be bad cops, just as there are bad accountants, bad IT guys, and bad truck drivers, our laws aren't helping.  We make more things illegal all the time, and usually not because there is an actual harm done to society by the thing, but because we don't personally care for it or we are scared of it.  In order to make it less likely that our law enforcement will act badly, take away the incentive to abuse their power and break the law.

Candidate X and I will make it the theme of our administration to take the government out of as many aspects of your lives as we can.  We will start by working to repeal laws that on their face violate civil rights because someone felt icky about the concept of a free people doing as they wish.  We will reduce the profit incentive to break the law by making fewer things illegal.  Our citizens will have more of their freedom restored, and we will hold those who abuse their rights and authority to harm others responsible for their actions without punishing the public at large.

Thank you for your time.  Please remember, this is your country.  Only you will be held responsible for its condition when you pass it on to the next owner.

News Roundup

  •  From the "UXO" Department - Authorities in North Carolina are searching an area for World War II era bombs after a 500 pound concrete-filled bomb was found in some woods.  A local company made bombs for the government in the 1940's, so that may be the source for the ordnance.  Lots of us are going to the woods this fall.  Remember, if you didn't drop it, don't pick it up.  Yeah, that blockbuster bomb might make a heck of a grill, but you might get a surprise when you try to open it up.  But if you do decide to utilize a surplus bomb as a grill, a crib, or a coffin, remember to cut the blue wire first.*
  • From the "Nothing Can Go Wrong Here" Department - A company in Silicon Valley has come out with a new twist on programmable home thermostats.  You can control it via a physical interface, and it will 'learn' the patterns of your desired temperatures and begin to automatically adjust the temperature of your home.  It also has a network interface, because, really, why the heck not?  Marketing materials assert that you can control it remotely via a smart phone.  Good side of this:  You can adjust the temperature at the house if you forgot to program the thermostat before leaving for a vacation, thus saving a bit of energy and money.  Not so good side of this:  It'll take about 27 minutes for a script kiddy in South Korea to figure out how to get to these devices, turn your thermostats either way up or way down, and then demand a sizeable 'donation' before temporarily releasing control of the temperature of your home.  I'm a geek, but I'm not putting an IP address on anything my home depends on. 
  •  From the "No Kidding?" Department - The U.N. is expressing surprise that those who stand up for human rights in areas that have little to no respect for human rights continue to come under attack, as do their families.  Shocked, yes shocked, I am that such a thing happens!  Imagine that, despotic dictators who place no value on the lives of others would attack people who point out that they are oppressing their people.  Maybe if these human rights workers put a little more stock in a person's right to self defense, especially their own, maybe they wouldn't be such a soft target.
  • From the "Whodunit?" Department - Several Japanese defense contractors, including a company that makes Patriot missiles, have been compromised by a virus and have lost control of critical product data.  This includes data on missiles, airplanes, naval vessels, and nuclear reactors.  Apparently one of the vectors for the penetration was a trade group the companies belonged to, which had lax computer security standards.  No-one is saying who they believe was behind the breaches, but I have a few theories.  I mean, how many large, technologically advanced, wealthy, powerful countries that might be interested in how Japan might fight a war and what weapons they might use are there in that region?  I know, it's a conundrum.

*After cutting the black wire and turning the detonator three times counter clockwise, using non-conducting snippers.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thought for the Day

I consider myself a pretty indulgent father.  I'm doing my best to raise a good, strong, well-educated set of kids.  I especially want my daughter to break out of the molds that society and other parental influences try to shove her into.  But I draw the line at the co-ed wrestling team at her school.  Call me old fashioned, but a 13 year old girl has no business wearing a singlet and grappling with 13 year old boys.

News Roundup

  • From the "Moon Rocks - The New Scourge" Department - An elderly lady in California was arrested recently by investigators from NASA for the high crime of owning a speck of moon rock.  Her story is that an astronaut gave it to her family, while NASA maintains that no-one but NASA and those they deem worthy may own a piece of the moon.  As has sadly become the norm, the tactics used to retrieve the celestial pebble and arrest this dastardly criminal of a kindly old lady were pretty heavy handed.  I just hope that if NASA has a SWAT team, they're armed with something more exciting than shotguns.  If I'm going to pay for space explorers to be armed, I want it to be something that Marvin the Martian would approve of.
  • From the "Fail!" Department - Four men in New York failed the victim selection process the other day when they tried to rob an off-duty police detective with a fake gun.  These geniuses continued their endeavor even after the officer identified himself as police.  Two of the miscreants were wounded after the good officer pulled his own real gun and showed them the difference between lead and airsoft.  I'm glad to hear that the officer is doing well and that all four were eventually arrested.    I would love to be a fly on the wall when these four bluntskulls explain to their fellow convicts why they're in prison.
  • From the "Going a Bit Too Far" Department - The New York City educational system appears to be taking sex ed a little too seriously.  According to recent reporting, the new curriculum, while emphasizing that abstinence is the only way to be 100% certain of not getting pregnant or getting a disease, will also be teaching the little dears about safer ways to have sex.  OK, so far so good.   If the school system is going to teach kids about sex,* then teaching the kids how to keep from bringing unplanned children into the world and catching diseases is good information to give out.  However, it appears that some of their sources also teach about a bit more than the basics.  I run a PG blog here, so I won't go into too much detail.  Suffice it to say that the textbook and website the school board is supposedly going to use sounds more like an instruction manual for the porn industry than an instrument of higher learning. 
  • From the "Doing a Good Thing" Department - The on-line hacktivist group Anonymous recently released a statement detailing how it tracked down and shut down 40 child pornography sites.  They also list the identities of 1500 individuals who logged into these sites, and invite law enforcement to investigate and prosecute them.  Bravo for them.  Apparently even nihilists and vandals have their limits.
*Personally, I would prefer that the school system leave sex ed up to the parents.  Unfortunately, a lot of parents aren't going to do their jobs in this area, so the nanny-staters can use this as an opportunity to teach school kids how they think sex should be handled.  My approach is to have discussions with the kids, over several years, that are appropriate to their intellectual and social growth, about sex, morals, self-worth, and of course, safer sex.  I just go over the basics though.  If they want the advanced course, I will suggest they learn the way their father did: on the back of a captured Soviet T-34 tank that is parked in front of the Russian school at the Defense Language Institute.  

Excerpts from an Interview

The following is a partial transcript of an interview given by vice-presidential candidate DaddyBear on "Talking Heads, Inc." this weekend.  Mr. DaddyBear was interviewed by Amanda McNicerack-Hugandkiss and Conner Goodhair.

Amanda - Mr. DaddyBear, you've seen the video of Qaddafi being shot after being captured, and you've heard the protests of Secretary Clinton and other world leaders over this apparent extra-judicial execution.  What would you say to the person who is perported to have shot Mr. Qaddafi?

DaddyBear - Amanda, first, I'd tell him to unload and show clear.  Safety first, after all.  Also, if the BBC footage is to be believed, I'd have a little talk with him about the 4 rules.  That goober had his finger inside the trigger guard all the time and is was pointing that pistol at a lot of people he probably didn't want shot.

Amanda - You mean you don't agree with world leaders in that it would be preferable for Qaddafi to have been tried at the Hague?

DaddyBear - Honestly, it's none of my business.  The fact that the Libyan people decided to give him the Mussolini treatment is just fine with me.  Undisciplined militias with a metric ton of donated guns and ammo aren't known for their regard for the Miranda rights of the dictators they catch. 

Conner - Mr. DaddyBear, what did you feel watching the digitally enhanced, slow-motion graphic footage of the shooting that we've been playing on a loop for the past 36 hours?

DaddyBear - You mean the first time I saw it or the 157 times I caught it while trying to get the score for the Minnesota game on your ticker?

Conner - The first time.  And you have my sympathies for the Vikings.

DaddyBear - Thanks Conner.  That means a lot to me.  Anyway, about the footage.  Well, vicariously, I felt recoil.  Other than that, I started wondering which software suite y'all use to get the gray matter to show up so vividly against a coyote brown background like that.

Amanda - Let's move to economics.  What do you think about the refusal by Congressional Republicans to pass any part of the President's jobs agenda?

DaddyBear - I'm all for it.  The government needs to remove itself from the economy as much as possible.  The government doing nothing is better than the alternative.

Conner - Are you saying that the wonderful plan put forth by President Obama shouldn't be passed?  How can you say that?

DaddyBear - Well, Conner, since you obviously didn't pay attention in biology class, I'll explain.  First, I inhale, then I constrict my diaphragm to force air out over my larynx, causing the vocal cords to vibrate, making a sound, then I use the muscles in my throat, tongue, and lips to shape that sound into words that you should be able to understand.

Conner - ummmmm

DaddyBear - If you meant why do I feel that it's a good thing that the President's attempt to continue meddling with the economy is being held up in Congress, well, that's another story.

Conner - Yes, that's what I meant. 

DaddyBear - OK, then.  Well, as I see it, most people in government are OK, when taken as individuals.  But for some reason, when they all try to do something together, they couldn't pour whiskey out of a bottle without the instructions being printed on the bottom.  So giving them even more money and power to try to 'fix' the economy is, in my opinion, a bad thing.  The government's proper role is to stay out of our way and leave us alone as much as possible.  Spending another trillion or two is not going to induce private employers to hire people.

Amanda - So you're OK with Congress stopping the President's glorious plan?

DaddyBear - That's kind of their purpose Amanda.  By the way, would you mind buttoning your blouse a couple more buttons?  It's a distraction. Thanks.  Anyway, Congress is well within its power to vote against anything the President asks for.  That's the point of having a legislature.  If the President wants to just be a strong man with nothing to stop him from following the policy du jour, then he needs to find another country to do it in.

Conner - But you're no fan of Congress, are you?  Last week you called Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell, and I quote here, "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum".  Care to comment on that?

DaddyBear - No problem.  Yep, I said it, and stand by it.  If you've been in the Congress for more than a couple of terms, you're either a megalomaniacal parasite with delusions of adequacy, or you're a Kennedy.  But I repeat myself.

Conner - .......

DaddyBear - Look, these two simps are playing chicken with the future of our nation.  Both are so wedded to making sure the other loses that they're not at all interested in doing what's right for the country.  My point is that we need to replace these career politicians with temporary statesmen. You know, the kind of men and women who have spent most of their life in the real world, then go to Washington for a few years, then return to the real world.  Most of the fools we have now shouldn't be trusted to go to the restroom without an escort, much less the pursestrings of the largest economy in the world.

Conner - Mr. DaddyBear, President Obama recently announced that all American forces in Iraq will be home by the end of the year.  Any comments?

DaddyBear - Well, Conner, all I can say is that I'm glad to see our troops coming home.  And I wish the leaders of Iraq luck as they transition to a new period in their countries future.  I look forward to my first state visit with the leaders of the new country of Kurdistan, and will certainly have more to say after the rest of Iraq becomes the western-most province of Iran.

Amanda - In closing, Mr. DaddyBear, do you have any thoughts on the "Occupy Wall Street" protests?

DaddyBear - Amanda, the right to peacefully assemble and express dissatisfaction is a bedrock of our republic.  If these people want to get together, make their speeches, and try to convince their fellow citizens to change their way of thinking, I have no problem with that.  However, the part of this movement that is advocating extra-constitutional confiscation of private property, forced re-education of our citizens, and elimination of entire swaths of our people for socio-economic reasons is beyond the pale.

Amanda - So you don't feel that the protesters should be allowed to say things that are threatening to the status quo?

DaddyBear - That's not what I said, Amanda.  And your buttons seem to have come undone again during the commercial break.  Can you tuck that in there a bit?  Thanks.  What I said was that calling for the illegal and violent disruption of the lives of other citizens is going over a line.  No-one is saying that citizens can't protest the way things are.  I'm not happy with the way things are. I just object to people calling for heads to roll because no-one told them that the free stuff stops once you are old enough to shave.

Conner - So we can expect that you won't be taking part in the protests.

DaddyBear - Quite the opposite.  I'll be across the street from Occupy Wall Street tomorrow morning, drinking a hot beverage and enjoying a fine fall morning.  All of that while pointing and laughing at the hippies in the park.  I may even take the kids.  It's rare these days to see such a large herd of free roaming hippies, and I want them to be able to tell their grandchildren about it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Goodbye, good luck, and thanks for all the wounded

Taken from a speech given by Vice Presidential Candidate DaddyBear:

Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan for as long as he can count on American troops to keep him alive, has publicly stated that in the event that Pakistan and the United States get into a scrum, he would stand with Pakistan.

Hey, no problem.  He's an adult and kind of the leader of a sovereign nation, provided that someone else's sons and daughters do the bleeding.  If he wants to side with his neighbor in a war against us, that's his call.  Far be it from us to force someone to be our friend and ally after we put him in power and kept his useless hide from being tacked to the city gates of Kabul for the past 10 years.

But just so he knows how much we appreciate his candor, if elected, Candidate X and I will bring home every swinging dogtag in Afghanistan the day after the inauguration.  We will make sure to destroy every building, road, fighting position, gun emplacement, and runway we constructed.  The term "no stone on top of another" would be included in the operations order.  The Air Force will get to re-live that whole "carpet bombing" thing they've been salivating for since the end of Vietnam so that the process won't take too terribly long.  Just for good measure, any equipment we leave behind will be stacked up, doused in diesel fuel and have thermite grenades thrown on top to make sure that the best that Karzai and the rest of his kleptocrats can do with it is use the puddled remains for aluminum siding.

While we're at it, any Afghani that has worked with us and been an actual help as opposed to a parasite or spy for either Karzai, the Pakistani's, or the Taliban will be granted a green card and a one way ticket to the States.  That way, the go-getters of Afghanistan who have worked hard and risked their lives can come here and enrich our society rather than be killed or wasted in the civil war that I think will start about  9 minutes afte the last C-17 goes wheels up.

One other thing:  Once the Afghanistan withdrawal is complete, we can tell Karzai's pals in Karachi to go piss up a rope, which Candidate X and I will do as part of the inaugural address.  That way Pakistan and Afghanistan can be buddies without us interfering.  We will, however, make both governments acutely aware that the next time we have to mess with that particularly God-forsaken part of the planet, we won't be as gentle or restrained as we were this go-round.  Expect "Carthagio Delenda Est" to be the name of the operation for that one.

As for Karzai, we will freeze every account related to him, his family, his government, and anything to do with them.  Let him try to flee the country after the Taliban and the Pakistani's put a price on his head without the billions of dollars that we've been pouring into his country for the past decade.

Ladies and gentlemen, we should be outraged by the lack of gratitude shown to us for the blood, sweat, and treasure we have poured into Third World crapholes for the past decade.  Thousands of American families have an empty chair at the table.  Thousands of American veterans have left part of their body and soul in the dust of jerkwaters with the goal of bringing freedom and a better life to the people who live there.  I won't even talk about the trillions of dollars we have poured down these toilets for the past decade.  Now we are being told that we can't count on those we've put in power to return the favor if it's not politically or financially beneficial to them.  If you're not mad as hell, you're not paying attention.

Hamid, you've had a good run, and you've got some nifty cape and hat combinations to show for it.  Candidate X and I wish you luck.  Say hello to the Pakistani intelligence agents that will be in charge of your interrogation and execution for us.  Just tell them DaddyBear said hey!

News Roundup

  • From the "When I See It, I'll Believe It" Department - The 'transitional' government in Libya has promised open and free elections within months.  Something tells me it'll run along the lines of "one man, one vote, one time" or it'll be put off indefinitely due to some long-term emergency condition.  
  • From the "Simpleton on a Statue" Department - A twit in New York thought he would express his dissatisfaction with the status quo by taking off his jacket, climbing up a piece of statuary, and shouting out a list of demands, which included the resignation of Mayor Bloomberg.  Apparently being a public nuisance is now considered political discourse.  I'm ashamed to say that the NYPD called out the hostage negotiation unit to get him down.  Guys, this is one of the best cases I can see for rubber bullets and beanbag rounds.  Either that or announce to him in front of witnesses that he's on his own when it comes to liability for any injuries he incurs and then ignore him.
  • From the "Rule 4, Dumbass" Department - A Marine reservist who was hiking in Oregon was killed the other day by a hunter who thought he was a bear.  The hunter was clean and sober, but didn't make sure that his target was indeed a bear.  The article mentions that the victim was wearing dark clothes, but that doesn't matter.  I read about some grade-A idiot shooting at movement or noise every year, and it almost always ends in tragedy.  All hunters and gun owners are tarred with the same brush over it, and it makes me mad enough to spit.  And no it wasn't an accident.  When it comes to firearms and hunting safety, there is almost nothing that is an accident.  This was at best negligence, and I hope the hunter who pulled the trigger without knowing what his target was spends the rest of his life in jail.
  • From the "Til Death Do Us Part" Department - Archaeologists in Italy have unearthed a pair of skeletons what are holding hands and appear to have been buried with their faces toward each other.  Most will see this as a testament to undying love.  My guess as to the circumstances?  She was cold, wanted some body heat, sucked the life force out of him, then perished herself.  If you look carefully, you can see her cold feet up against his backside.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today's Earworm

Queensryche meets Simon & Garfunkel

Thoughts on the Day

  • We took Boo to the Zoo for some Halloween fun tonight.  Now I know why scientists invented birth control.
  • Ladies, you looked great in the naughty Halloween costumes.  No, really, you did.  However, this was kind of a kid's event, and even the 9 year old boys were distracted.  Maybe you could save those outfits for the bar and dress like moms next time, OK?
  • Dude, the zoo is a non-smoking place.  Flicking an ash onto the kid of a guy who easily has a foot of height and 100 pounds on you is not a good idea.  Also, doing it where the director of the zoo can see equals an early end to your evening and that of your kids.  Happy bloody Halloween to you too. Jerk.
  • Lady, I know it's kind of dark and crowded, but make sure you grab the hand of the correct child.  I'm a gentleman, but I will lay a beating down to keep a fool from walking off with my kid. 
  • To the volunteers and staff who hand out candy, dress up in costumes, stand around for 4 hours, deal with thousands of people to put on the party, and do it all cheerfully, you have my utmost thanks and respect.
  • I realized I was doing something right as a parent tonight when while we were riding the haunted carousel they were playing "Dead Man's Party" and Boo knew the lyrics and could sing along.
  • Contrary to popular belief, labrador retrievers will indeed eat candy corn out of a child's hand.  I did not know that.
  • Finishing the day by popping a big bowl of popcorn  and letting Boo watch "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time just feels right.

Applesauce Spice Cake

It's that time of year again, where a bear's thoughts turn to things with nutmeg and cinnamon in them.

Girlie Bear's going to a sleep over tonight, so we thought we'd whip up something for her to take, and this seemed appropriate.


1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
Vanilla, bourbon, or almond extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup applesauce

1 small apple, cored and peeled, and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup raisins

Sift flours, soda, baking powder, and spices (to taste) into a bowl.

In another bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and honey.  Add vanilla, bourbon, or extract and eggs.   Combine milk and applesauce in a bowl.  Add dry ingredients to sugar/butter mixture and mix thoroughly.  Add milk/applesauce mixture and mix thoroughly.  Mix in apple and raisins.

Place in a small, greased baking dish ( I use a 6x6), and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a knife poked into the center comes out clean.

Number Day

Fred over at Guns and Coffee reminded me that today is October 22, 10/22.  To commemorate this auspicious day, here's a pic of mine:

I've shown you mine, now you show me yours!

This can't end well

I'm letting Boo and Girlie Bear play with my Nerf six shot single action revolvers.  I've been a target of opportunity several times now.  On the bright side, the cats are getting a much needed workout, and from the squeals coming out of the back of the house, so is Irish Woman.

But here's the thing that keeps going through my head:

"How can you shoot your poor old father?"
"Easy, you don't lead him as much!"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good for him

The owner of a tobacco store in Louisville proved the old adage "Don't use a gun in a crime.  Your victim might take it away and shoot you with it".

The jerkoff who tried to rob the smoke shop got a bullet in the leg for his trouble, and is currently in the hospital awaiting his time in the gray bar hotel with a distinct limp.

Excuse me for a little schadenfreude here, but I hope it hurt like a son of a gun.

Props to the Navy

The U.S. Navy announced recently that it is drumming out 64 sailors who were caught using and/or selling a form of synthetic marijuana.  Use of other drugs, such as cocaine and meth, was also found in the investigation. 

Y'all should know by now that I'm a proponent of legalization of at least the milder drugs that are currently verboten in our country.  I think the government needs to butt out of our private lives, let the states regulate what they want and don't want happening within their borders, and spend the money saved on either cutting budgets or doing something that's actually productive. 

But that feeling doesn't involve the military.  Period. Dot.

In the civilian world, for the most part, one day is much like the last and the next.  Most people don't have an expectation that in the blink of an eye, every part of their world could change from boredom to bedlam with a distinct risk of someone getting maimed or killed.*

Not so with the military, whether they're deployed or stateside, off-duty or on.  Things happen in the world, and when they do, we have to know that our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are ready to go without hesitation.  Yeah, service members drink, but unless you're blind drunk, you're not going to get someone killed in the hour or two it takes for you to sober up.  If you're high, stoned, tripping, or wired you're going to take much longer with many more after effects that will put your mission and the people who depend on you in danger.

Bad things happen in our world every day with little to no warning for the military:
  • Pearl Harbor
  • The Battle of the Bulge
  • The Tet Offensive
  • USS Cole
  • Khobar Towers
  • 9/11
  • Fort Hood
And the list goes on and on.  What they all have in common is that there was no warning and no way for servicemembers to plan on when they could get high and not impact their unit when tasked to respond to them.

I cannot imagine a sailor on an aircraft carrier underway being high.  How would he respond to a fire or accident on the flight deck?  How would he be able to help in damage control parties?  How could he safely do his job when the inevitable sudden change in work schedule happens?

So, and this hurts a lot for me to say, good for the Navy. 

*Yeah, I know, such an expectation is the bedrock upon which all self-defense thinking lies, but I expect that someone who's taking responsibility for their own safety isn't going to eat a hash brownie and concealed carry to the grocery store for Crunch n Munch.

Quote of the Day

Side note: Ga-Ka-Quadaffi’s escape was thwarted by bombs from a FRENCH plane. Of all the Causes of Death possible in this world, “Killed by the French” has got to rank as one of the most shameful ones, right below “Accidental Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation” and only slightly above “Death By Infection From That Tiny African Worm That Swims Up Your Wing-Wang”.

-- Marko, The Munchkin Wrangler, writing about the death of Qaddafi


Yesterday, I commented on a young lady of Muslim faith who has been told that she cannot wear the hijab with her JROTC uniform.  I took the position that AR 670-1, which governs the appearance of soldiers and how they wear their uniforms, needed to be upheld.  I also felt that if the Army said there would be no exceptions for wearing religious articles that could be seen in uniform, then she should either hang up her ACU's or conform. 

But after I wrote that, a little voice in the back of my head kept bugging me.  I half-remembered that other religious groups had, on a case by case basis, been given exceptions to the uniform standards.

So I did a little digging, and I found something.

The Army has given at least three Sikhs who wanted to serve an exception to AR 670-1.  They have been allowed to go without the normal haircut or shaving, and have been allowed to wear a black turban in place of a beret and a camouflage turban under their helmet.  Reports are that the soldiers have done well, and are not looking for exceptions to other standards or special treatment.

So it is possible for members of our society who have religious beliefs that require them to have overt, visible manifestations of those beliefs to serve. 

Now that I realize this, my opinion on the case of this young woman changes.  If other people can have an exception made, so long as they conform in every other way, why can't an exception be made for practicing Muslim women to wear a hijab?

Above and beyond the fairness issue here, there's a more practical issue at stake.  The military is fighting wars in the mid-East, and will be in one way or another for the foreseeable future.  By encouraging loyal Americans who happen to be Muslim into our armed forces, we become better prepared to fight those wars.  Muslims would probably know more about the culture and language of the countries we will be fighting in, and their knowledge can be leveraged to improve the training of other soldiers.  This is similar to the thousands of Eastern European immigrants who served during the Cold War, or descendents of German immigrants who served in the World Wars. 

So my point is that if the Army can make an exception for Sikhs, why not Muslims?  The armed forces could gain by making inroads into a community with unique skills and knowledge that could be used to improve their effectiveness in wars, and it only seems fair.  That being said, the young lady in question, and other Muslims who want to serve but still wear a hijab, should consider following the example of the Sikh soldier I linked to, and wear headgear that blends in with the rest of her uniform.

What do y'all think?

Thought for the Day - Doomsday Edition

Guys, remember, if today truly is the rapture, do something good for yourself after noticing that some of your neighbors are missing.  Something like arming yourself well for Ragnarok, then visiting your local spirits vendor.  What's the point of having to fight your way through Armageddon if you can't do it carrying your grail gun and having a bottle of your favorite booze in your ruck?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Alrighty Then

Mohmar "Senor Psychopath" Qaddafi was killed today.  Thus ends 42 years of despotic rule over Libya.  In my lifetime, he's picked and lost fights with the U.S. Navy, bombed a bar in Berlin and killed Americans, supported terrorists throughout the Middle East and Europe, gotten bombed, arranged the bombing of an airliner that also killed Americans, and become everyone's favorite oil-rich pariah. I expect to see reports of Chinese arms manufacturers, Italian hair dye producers, and female bodyguards weeping in the streets.

His friends in Italy and France turned on him this spring when he crossed some otherwise invisible line in putting down mass uprisings in Libya.  Apparently using helicopter gunships against demonstrators is just too much for them to ignore.  Their reaction probably had more to do with Al Jazeera and CNN broadcasting the video than it did with the act itself.  For some reason, we went along with their plan to support a rabble with 21st century airpower.  My gut tells me it's because the Europeans told President Obama it was important that NATO do something, and NATO couldn't use a urinal unless we were there to help them aim and flush.

So now the "kinetic action" is pretty much over.  Time to pack up our close air support/ interdiction aircraft..... Wait, I'm sorry, time to bring home our aircraft that were only used to protect Libyan civilians from direct action by forces loyal to the dictator.  No matter how you spin it, it's time for us to stop helping out the new despotic regime.  This is going to be a case of "Meet the new bastard, same as the old bastard".

One thing I'd like to see, and I will be pleasantly surprised if it happens, is for President Obama to present NATO and the new Libyan regime with a bill for the pay of the pilots, crew, and staffs, the cost of fuel and munitions, and wear and tear on our aircraft.  Yeah, I know, I'm ever the starry eyed optimist.  But we're not going to see one thin dime of anything from this war when it comes to improvement in American interests, and we spent a lot of money we didn't have so that Italians could get cheaper petrol for their Deathrace 2000 reenactments along the Via Appia.  It'd be nice if after two World Wars, the Marshall Plan, the Cold War, Bosnia, Kosovo, and now Libya if someone else would kick in for the pizza and beer at the after party.

So, here's hoping that Qaddafi is roasted slowly over a fire fueled with demon poop in his new digs in the pit, along with his fellow bastards Hussein and bin Laden.  Here's hoping that we haven't made the same mistake we made in Iraq and all the really neat military hardware that he was sitting on doesn't get added to the armories of people who want to see Walmarts burning.  Also, here's hoping that the rest of the world figures out how to police itself for a while.  After almost 70 years of making the world safe for other people, I think it's time we took a couple of years off.  I've heard that it's quite nice to not have to worry about which European/Asian/African/Whatever tribe is going to whack its neighbor next.   At least that's what George Washington said.

News Roundup

  • From the "Enforcing a Standard" Department - A Muslim student at a high school in Tennessee has quit JROTC after she was told she could not wear a hijab while in uniform.  The girl's family is working with CAIR to try to get an apology and a change in policy.  Basically, the Army is telling her that regulations say that all religious garb has to be out of sight when worn with a uniform, and it's pretty much impossible to completely hide a hijab with a uniform hat.  But then again, that's why it's called a 'uniform'.  The young lady needs to learn that the military doesn't and shouldn't make exceptions to uniform standards because of whatever religion you choose to follow.  She should choose to either follow AR 670-1 and wear a uniform properly or choose to follow her religion's requirements for covering her hair and face.  Oh, and by the way, I've done my share of pushups because my St. Christoper's medal came out of the top of my tee shirt. Tuck it in or take it off, then drive on. 
  •  From the "YGBSM!?!?!?!" Department - A grown man in California who is getting a government disability check for "a range of conditions -- from post-traumatic stress disorder to ADHD to spinal problems to depression", but is able to dress up like a baby and have someone act like a parent for him and is able to build his own outsized nursery equipment, has had his benefits restored.  The Social Security Administration reviewed his case after he appeared on TV, causing Senator Coburn from Oklahoma to go into fits of outrage that were shared by yours truly.  I'm not sure I can comment on this one due to my utter disgust at not only an adult who wants to be treated like an infant and paid for it, but also at a government that thinks it's OK to cut him a check.  Personally, I'd like to see a mob of people who are truly disabled but still get to a job every day take this bozo out and beat him with his blankie wrapped around a bar of baby soap.  You know, a baby blanket party.
  • From the "Can't Search This!" Department - 80's rapper M.C. Hammer has launched a new search engine.  No word yet on whether or not it will optimize for fly haircuts and baggy, shiny pants.

To my Beloved British Cousins

If you ever really want to contest the Declaration of Independence, bring a lunch, so we'll have something to eat.

A group of British barristers debated a group of American lawyers about the legality of the Declaration recently in Philadelphia.  Their point was that the actions taken by the Continental Congress were treasonous, and they have a point.  If any of the signers of the Declaration and other leaders of the Revolution had been captured, they would have been hanged for their trouble.

No-one has ever claimed that the decision by the American colonists in 1776 was legal under British law.  That was kind of the point of the 7 years of war we fought to convince the British that continued efforts to bring us back into the fold weren't worth the effort.  We're not saying that in this instance might makes right, but if George III was so convinced in his own divine right to rule, then he should have found a way to win the war. 

Yeah, I know the debate was mostly just tongue in cheek navel gazing and an opportunity for two nations that have grown very close over the past 235 years to get together and go over an old historical point of law. But there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank the Lord for those cantankerous landowners and smugglers in the 18th century who decided they didn't want their descendants to grow up in Southern Canada and started a war over it.

Overheard in the Office

Co-Worker - We're not doing that because that's stupid.

Someone needs to promote that young man into management before he loses that wisdom.

Gun Lust, I has it

I love my Mosin Nagant 91/30.  I shoot it as much as I do my 10/22.  It's reasonably accurate (minute of  Nazi at 200 yards), cheap to shoot, and comfortable on the shoulder.  Yeah, I get a humungous bruise after shooting 40 rounds through it in an afternoon, but it's a good bruise.   Ammunition, even though it's come up significantly since I started shooting it, is dirt cheap, and there has started to be more brass cased ammunition on the market, so reloading is definitely possible.

But I've always wanted to take it and the 7.62x54r round it fires to another level.  I've put Mojo Microclick sights on the rifle, and I'm considering a Timney trigger too.  I bought a scope mount for it that replaces the rear sight and put a Long Eye Relief scope on it for a while, but eventually took it off.  I could just never get comfortable with that setup.

But none of the major American rifle manufacturers make guns in this caliber.  A search for aftermarket barrels hints that someone used to make them, but no-one appears to be selling them at the moment.

So what's a 54r junkie with a jones for a modern hunting rifle to do?

Thanks to a FB friend, I have hope:

It's a single shot break action, but that also intrigues me.  I've seen some Baikals in a few gun shops.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for one in God's Own Caliber (Eastern Orthodox).

Also, Izmash appears to be making a true hunting rifle in 7.62x54r.  Never seen one of these in the wild, but it's definitely something to watch out for.

Until either the U.S. manufacturers wake up to the merits of 7.62x54r and the large market of people who already have Mosins or the Russian imports start to become more prevelant, I'll just keep plugging away with my little 91/30.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Today's Earworm

You can blame this one on Michael Bane. He used a later version of this little ditty to start his latest podcast, and I've had it rattling around in my brain pan ever since.

Topico Overexposo

Attention Media!

I have heard enough about the following subjects and wish to never be bothered by them again, unless you are told otherwise:

  • The travails of an attractive young celebrity, either male or female, who is self-destructing due to his or her own stupidity or lack of maturity and will-power.
  • The marriage and mating habits of foreign potentates
  • The latest mobile phone that includes more computing power than the combined might of every spacecraft ever launched from Cape Canaveral and Baikonur 
  • The latest re-hashing of a crappy movie or concept from the past by Hollywood
  • The 'drama' of the latest attempt at reality TV soma foisted on our Republic by network executives
  • The latest political ramblings by 'entertainers'

There will be more as time goes on, so check back occasionally to find the latest list of stuff to filter out.

Quote of the Day

"Will I be better off with these freaks in charge than the bastard who's there now?" 

Michael Z. Williamson, in reference to the "Occupy Something" demonstrations.

News Roundup

  • From the "Again?" Department - A man has been arrested in Texas for disrupting a Southwest Airlines flight.  Initial reports were that he tried to break into the cockpit, but the airline and law enforcement assert he only became beligerent, caused a ruckus in a lavatory, and confronted flight crew when they tried to calm him down.  Again, my question is why is this guy not in a full body cast?  Guys, starting a fight on an airplane should be an ugly way to commit suicide, not a way to get on the 11 o'clock news as you're escorted off the jetway.
  • From the "So What Else is New?" Department - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has accused the Republican minority in the Senate of paralyzing the political process.  He says he can't work with the Republicans because they have a stated goal of removing President Obama in the next election.  I can't remember how the process worked in 2003, but I find it hard to believe that Mr. Reid had a problem with the way things worked when his party had a stated goal of unseating President Bush.  Of course, I'm pretty sure these tactics have been taught in political science classes since the Gracchi brothers learned the hard way that rich slobs can make politics very personal.
  • From the "Oh My!" Department - A rural Ohio community is on lock down after a local exotic animal preserve owner was found dead with the cages and gates to the facility open. Lions, tigers, bears, and other dangerous predators are feared to be roaming the area.  Local law enforcement and representatives of the Columbus Zoo are trying to either capture or kill the animals before someone gets hurt.  The Tin Man and Scarecrow could not be reached for comment.  Allan Quatermain has been asked to advise on proper ways to bring the lions to heel..
  • From the "Nothing to See Here" Department - Five men, reported to be of French-Moroccan descent, have been arrested in Texas after breaking into a courthouse.  Fox News reports that they had travel documents and other things with them that suggests they had visited several other sites in the United States.  I'm sure this is just a silly misunderstanding.  All French-Moroccan tourists want a guided tour of the courthouse in San Antonio.  At 2 AM.  On a Wednesday.  After scoping out other sensitive sites in several other states.  Move along citizen.  Your favorite reality show or variety show is on in a few minutes.
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