Monday, September 30, 2013

Only 61% of the American People...


Trust the American People

It's a sad state of affairs Ollie:  

Americans' trust in "the American people" to make judgments about political issues facing the country has declined each year since 2009 and, at 61%, is down nearly 20 percentage points from its recent peak in 2005.

U.S. political leaders are operating in an era of declining trust in U.S. political institutions, with trust in these at or near record lows. Americans even now have diminished trust in their fellow citizens to make political judgments under the democratic system, though they still trust themselves much more than the elected officeholders who make public policy.


Do you trust your fellow Americans? 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

No Son, Let's Walk Down, and Get Them All

Job One for any politician is to not look crazy, and the GOP is failing miserably. Perception is everything in politics, and their 'optics' are terrible:

Moralistic lectures, imbecilic pronouncement on rape, calling half the country deadbeat moochers, and now actively promoting the image of wild-eyed lunatics threatening the country with bombs and flamethrowers.

Obamacare is the law of the land. Congress passed it and the president signed it into law. This is a direct result of the GOP failing to win enough elections. Here's another shocker:  They don't have enough votes to defund it or repeal it.  Am I the only one who understands this?

Charge of the Lightweight Brigade

I agree with much of what the small band of conservatives is trying to accomplish, but I hate their tactics. As George Bush would say, their strategery sucks. The GOP should be challenging Obama's imperial exemptions and delay decrees at every turn, not leading Charges of the Lightweight Brigade off the Cliff to Nowhere. Beyond that, they should be talking to the American people about viable alternatives as the Obamacare monstrosity sags and groans under its own weight. That would be the smart thing to do, hence, the GOP will never do it.

All Barker, No Bite

Cruz's stunt was an ego-driven political calculation to play to the peanut gallery and fire up the base. Here's the problem. The base is already fired up. What we need is serious leadership that results in policies and legislation we believe will drag this Obama economy out of the ditch. Political stunts and headline-grabbing provocations are sometimes useful if they focus the public's attention on a political plan or public policy gambit, but there's no substance behind the GOP carnival barkers. It's nothing but a circus with clowns shooting seltzer down their clown pants, lighting their farts on fire, and crashing their little cars into one another, while periodically throwing a pie at democrats, but pathetically missing every time. 

Where's the Beef?"

I quote Walter Mondale quoting that little lady from the hamburger commercial: "Where's the beef?" Mr. Mondale may have been a lefty, but he was a serious lefty who loved this country and crafted serious policy.

In contrast, we have Ted Cruz, who enhances his stature with the Sarah Palin types, hoping the religious nuts will power him to early 2016 primary prominence. But if he gets the nomination, he can't win. No way. Why? Because people hate him.

Why do they hate him? Because he's an all-scorched-earth-all-the-time politician, whether he is dealing with Democrats or Republicans, and people don't like having their earth scorched. His image is one of a detestable smart-ass in the mold of Newt Gingrich or the contemptible and sleazy Florida congressman Alan Grayson. At best, he's a self-promoting Sarah Palin with more brains but without the sexy frisson.

Politics is a Game of Addition, not Subtraction

Despite legend, President Reagan and Speaker O'Neill probably never really sat down to beers after a long day of legislative wrangling (Indeed, contemporary accounts have O'Neill saying hateful things about Reagan in private), but the record shows that they fought, debated and, in the end, compromised. That's what politicians do. When you have various competing factions, a pure win with everything you want and a cherry on top is a fairy tale, a chimera, and only a fool chases it.

To be effective in politics, you've got to craft policy and get people on board. Here's a tip: If you smashed a pie in someone's face last week, or last year, he won't get on board with you. Instead, he will try to saw your board in half, because he wants to see you fall on your arrogant ass. That is why Ted Cruz is ultimately an impotent politician. He has alienated everyone on Capitol Hill, left, right and center. Because of this, no one will work with him, and so he will never accomplish anything beyond self-promotion, and we don't need politicians like that. We need people who can get the public on their side and then roll up their sleeves and work with the team to implement conservative, small-government ideas.

The Road Not Taken

A broad swath of America, beyond the GOP, indeed, beyond left or right, is concerned about real-world issues like out of control government, public schools, college costs, jobs, infrastructure, pensions and debt. This is fertile political ground for those willing to come up with practical ideas and then go out there and sell them, retail, to the American people. And the way you sell them is to be friendly as you engage citizens, politicians, pundits and special interest groups in some civil back and forth, showing them that you are a worthy and honest interlocutor. Only a handful of GOP politicians appear to understand this, and Ted "Look at me!" Cruz is not one of them.

George Will - Republicans Get in their own Way on Obamacare
Ted Cruz and the Conservatism of Illusion and Deception

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Little Bit of Country... Women

Before there was Hannah Montana, there was Patsy Montana, who was the first female country singer to sell over a million records with this song:

Then there was Patsy Cline who with her 1957 hit also sold over a million records.

Crystal Gayle had a major crossover hit in the 70's that was covered by a multitude of artists.

A popular country duo during the 1980's and one of my favorites was the mother-daughter team of the Judds

My wife and I went to a concert on their farewell tour in 1991, and ever since they got back together we've been considering demanding our money back ;)


Friday, September 27, 2013

A New Element

Scientists at CERN in Geneva have announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science.
The new element is Governmentium (Gv):

It has one neutron,
25 assistant neutrons,
88 deputy neutrons and
198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lefton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons or protons, it is inert.  However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction normally taking less than a second,  to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years.  It does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons. All of the money is consumed in the exchange, and no other by-products are produced.

Posted for VIBURNUM

Thursday, September 26, 2013

All of Our Politicians Suck!


One definition of politics is the art or science of the practice or theory of influencing other people on a civic or individual level.  Another is the art or science winning and holding control over a government.  It would seem today, on both sides of the aisle that we have far to much of the latter and way to little of the former.

The greatest politicians in history have been great orators or great deal makers.  The orators would cajole, convince, and persuade others to their point of view.  The deal makers would trade and compromise to achieve their goals.

Our Politicians Suck

Would any of you characterize any of our politicians as great politicians?  Obama, Reid, Boehner, Cruz, they all suck.  They may be great representatives of their party platform and position, but when it comes to convincing others of the value of that position, they are completely and utterly inept.

40% of Americans hate Obamacare, 40% love it, and three and a half years later 20% are still undecided.

National Journal

Our politicians haven't sold us one way or another since passage, the people who liked it still like it, the people who hated it still hate it, and everybody else is hopelessly confused.  People on both sides of the argument think the opposition is showing us the good side of their car, while not letting us look at the other.  Neither side has done an acceptable job of selling their position.

There is no trust, in some the hatred of one side for the other is palpable, in my own experience the only thing that Democrats and Republicans I know can agree on is this:

All of Our Politicians Suck


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is This Journalism?

Is Blogging Journalism?

I don't suffer any illusions, and don't consider myself a journalist, nor do I consider this blog a news outlet.  What you get here is more of an Op-Ed page, sans the rest of the paper.  This is predominately political speech and opinion.  I don't need to protect my sources, and include them more often than not.  But then again I don't consider journalists who simply ingest and regurgitate material coming off the wire as journalists either, they're writers using material generated by journalists.

That said, there are blogs and bloggers who are legitimate journalists, who go out and do the legwork, investigation, and research to be considered journalists, regardless of whether or not they derive income from it.

Should the Government Define Journalism and Journalists?

The government is attempting to define, or more accurately refine the distinction between freedom of speech and freedom of press, and who deserves protection of sources under the media shield law  The original bill would have extended protections to a "covered person" who investigates events and obtains material to disseminate news and information to the public" and that is where the dispute arises, who is a "covered person"?

The compromise defines a "covered person" as:

an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have to have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years.  It would apply to student journalists or someone with a considerable amount of freelance work in the last five years. A federal judge also would have the discretion to declare an individual a "covered journalist," who would be granted the privileges of the law.


So, who's a Journalist?

The argument could easily be made that Western Hero is an entity that disseminates news or information, but the same could be said of anyone's Facebook page.  So the crux of the argument would then turn to the definition of "employed".  I am not an employee of Western Hero, I receive no compensation for my work.  We could I suppose generate some small amount of ad revenue if we chose to run ads... would that make me a journalist?

If a government employee gave me information, not readily available to the public, and I repeated it at a dinner party, no one would argue that I was entitled to protect my source.  If I reprinted that information here, should I be entitled to source protection? That's where it gets tricky.

If Woodward and Bernstein were carpenter's and had uncovered the Watergate scandal on their own, interviewed sources, and posted the whole story on a blog... is that journalism?  I think you could make a good argument that it is.

Journalism should not be defined by income or employment

No matter how you look at it, defining a journalist as someone employed by an agency or entity is a restriction of an existing right.  But the law isn't technically defining a journalist, it's defining who is accorded certain automatic protections, such as notification of subpoenas, search warrants, etc.  The escape clause for such a restriction is the discretion of a federal judge to accord anyone the privileges of the law.  

The law is intended to accord privilege to journalists, without including the vast majority of 140,000,000 twitter users the same protections.  As I write this, some 2.5 million blog posts have been published today.  Are they all journalists? I would say no,  are some of them journalists? I would have to say yes.

Number of blog posts so far today

Most modern dictionary definitions of journalism seem to rely upon media as a defining criteria, but that is an overly simplistic definition.  

Me, I like the wikipedia definition of Journalism taken from Journalism: Principles and Practices. Tony Harcup (2009)

Journalism is the activity, or product, of journalists or others engaged in the preparation of written, visual, or audio material intended for dissemination through public media with reference to factual, ongoing events of public concern. It is intended to inform society about itself and to make events public that would otherwise remain private.  

 What do you think?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I May Be Going to Hell in a Bucket

But at Least I'm Enjoying the Ride


Consider this when discussing the budget and debt ceiling:

The US unfunded liability per taxpayer is now well over a million dollars, actually $1,099,889 at the time of this writing.  Broken down we have the following unfunded liabilities:

Social Security: 16.5 Trillion
Prescription Drugs: 21.9 Trillion
Medicare: 87.2 Trillion

US federal spending is 3.5 Trillion, US federal revenue is 2.6 Trillion and the government takes 1 dollar out of every 3 created or earned. 

Drunken Sailors

Right now the US Gross Debt to GDP ration is 106.5 which puts us in an exclusive club with Ireland 102, Greece 155, Italy 103, and Portugal 111.  By contrast Europe's powerhouse Germany is at 57, and France is at 84. Even scarier... Russia's is at 10 and China's is at 20.

"We are not a Banana Republic" ~ Barrack Obama

You are 100% correct Mr President!  The Banana Republics only have an average debt to GDP ratio of 35No offense to our Central and Latin American brethren, but I used Honduras, Guatamala, Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela to come up with that number.

So congratulations Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Durban, Mr. Cornyn, Mr. Boehner, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Cantor, Mr. McCarthy, and Mr. Hoyner... we're not even a Banana Republic. 

You must really consider the circus
It just might be your kind of zoo
I can't think of a place that's more perfect
For a person as perfect as you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fools on the Hill

Teufelei Rant
I just finished reading an exceedingly stupid piece by failed politician Sarah Palin, and the peanut gallery comments in the thread were even worse, so I am agitated.

I will piss off my confreres on the right and give cheer to the left by saying the GOP doesn't know its ass from a blowtorch. 

Taking away foodstamps?

Really? In this shitty economy? That's their big game? What about corporate welfare?

Obama did not steer the car out of the ditch. He drove it in deeper, but he and his apologists still get away with Blaming Bush.  Only a party of fumble-fingered bumblers would allow such an appalling failure to get away with that and get reelected. 

Shutting Down Government?

And the GOOP's obsession with shutting down government plays into the whole bombthrower meme, especially in conjunction with refusing to raise the debt ceiling, risking a financial collapse.  What is their end game in this 'brave' (and stupid) showdown over Obamacare?  Can someone explain the path to victory on this one?  Because I sure as hell don't see it.

Yes, we need to repeal Obamacare, and we need to put the bloated, bureaucratic federal government on a severe diet, but you can't get there from here. You can't.  Politics is about power, and the GOOP doesn't have it right now, and if the Democrat Socialists' red propaganda campaign continues to be so successful, the GOOP may never wield power again.  They've got to convince the American people that they are serious and that they have real nuts and bolts ideas.  So far, all they have is nuts--and Sarah Palin types playing to the peanut gallery. 

The Problem with the GOOP

The first problem is that the GOOPers are just as addicted to federal largess funded by taxpayers and China as Obama's Democrat Socialist party is.

The second problem is that the Senate will never vote to defund Obamacare.  Even if we get sucked through a wormhole and into an alternate universe and they somehow do vote it down, the president would never sign it into law.

The Democrat Socialists have thousands of trained monkeys in the press pounding on thousands of typewriters repeating the meme over and over that the Democrat Socialists are the responsible adults, and the GOOPers are petulant children playing with matches, and everything the GOOPers do reinforces that red propaganda.

If the GOOPers Shut Down Government, They Lose

Not only will the GOOP's confederacy of plonkish fools and tin-eared dunces lose (they will), they've already lost, because they don't understand politics and the use of propaganda. They should do themselves and everyone else a favor and just get the hell off the stage. They've made the worst president in history, who is a feckless nincompoop, look like the adult in the room.

Today's GOP has the morals of Bill Clinton, the effectiveness of Jimmy Carter and all the charm of Richard Nixon.  What the hell are they doing?  They could learn from the Democrats.  Democrat politicians are a nasty, sleazy lot, but they know how to dress themselves up, smile, and bribe and schmooze the gullible public.

The GOOP lost in 2008, they lost in 2012, and they are losing now.  The government shutdown story and the fiscal cliff story are already written.  Obama and the Democrat Socialists are the heroes, and the GOOP are the grandma-killing, child-starving villains.

Boehner and the rest of the fools on the hill should just climb into their clown car and go away.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

We Will Not Negotiate

We will not negotiate... with Republicans.

After a house vote of 230-189 funding the government and defunding the ACA,  President Obama upon returning from Kansas City phoned House Speaker John Boehner in a tiff and reiterated his refusal to negotiate over the debt limit.

Washington Post

But he will negotiate with:


He hung up the phone, threw himself down on the Great Seal of the United States, and had a tantrum and a good cry


The Leader of the Free World acting like a petulant child?  Refusing to negotiate with his own government. 

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them, and others just bobble it like a well greased piglet at the county fair.


Yeah, We're trying to mess with you...

And apparently it's working very well.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Great Satchmo

Dream a Little Dream

Hello Dolly 

There is something to be said about as 63 year old African-American who can knock the Beatles off the top of the charts, which Pops did in 1964 with Hello Dolly.

Tiger Rag 1932

What a Wonderful World

I don't think any Louis Armstrong collection would be complete without What a Wonderful World

Friday, September 20, 2013

Washington's Doing Great !!!

Between 2000 and 2012 median incomes for the nation dropped 6.6% but look at the plus side... in the same period incomes in Washington DC climbed 23.3%.

That's not to say that the common people of Washington DC are doing well,  the numbers of the poorest in DC, those that are 50% below the poverty line rose from 9.4 to 10.4%.  DC has the highest rate in the country for the poorest of the the poor.

This is for all those politicians and government bureaucrats living the high life in McClean, Vienna, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, et al.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gun Grabbers Need to Come Clean

C'mon, anti-gun statists, you can do it. Tell us your real agenda.  You've opened up on other topics...

President Obama ushered in a bright new age where his fans could openly advocate socialism and trash American free market capitalism. Progressives freely damn the constitution as standing in the way of "Progress." There is no shame or stigma in advocating for abortions. Indeed, it is a badge of honor, as is throwing mudballs and dirtclods at traditional morality and religion, organized and otherwise (excluding Islam. No liberal is so brave as to risk having her throat slit).

So tell us your anti-gun end-game.

First, some facts, then some questions.

In the 30 years through March, 78 public mass shootings occurred in the U.S. -- incidents in which four or more people were killed at random by a gunman murdering indiscriminately, according to a report issued that month by the Congressional Research Service. These crimes don’t include gang-related killings or domestic disputes where a person slays relatives or other people linked to the murderer.

The mass slaughters listed in the report caused the deaths of 547 people. Over the same three decades through 2012, that’s less than a tenth of 1 percent of the 559,347 people the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates were murdered in America. (Bloomberg)
Indeed, the murder rate, like all violent crime, has been falling, according to FBI statistics. The murder rate is now what it was in 1969, and the overall violent crime rate has fallen to 1979 levels.  So, to sum up, we have no increase in mass shootings, and an overall decrease in murder and other violent crimes.

Now, the questions:

What is the immediate, compelling reason to push for gun control now? It can't be driven by logic and statistics.  We can only surmise that you are leveraging the pain and misery of others for mass emotional appeal.

Why no clamor for law enforcement at all levels to disarm known criminal elements and focus in on illegal arms trafficking?

What proposed law would have prevented the DC Navy Yard shooting? 

That Navy Yard, like Fort Hood, was a Gun Free Zone

Guns are strictly controlled on all Department of Defense installations. People who live on the installation in family housing may keep guns in their house, and people who live in the barracks must keep them in an armory. They are absolutely prohibited in any other location. No one other than people performing official duties may carry a weapon, unless transporting it, unloaded between the front gate and their home or armory. There is no such thing as open carry, and no one is granted a concealed carry permit. If you work on the installation, you many not have a weapon in your automobile or on your person when visiting or working on the installation.

So, I ask again, what would have prevented this crime?

Since only the bravest of liberals can answer honestly, I'll answer for the rest of them: A total and complete firearm ban, including confiscation of all existing firearms. If you really want to prevent these types of incidents, which are 1/10 of 1% of all gun crimes, then that is where you need to go. So, I call on all liberals to stop mealy-mouthing it. Woman up and say what you mean. Given the randomness of human action and the number of sickos out there, only a complete gun ban and total confiscation will do.

Related:  Why Gun Control Can't Eliminate Gun Violence

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gun-Free or Helpless Victim Zones?

Gun Free Zones Don't Work

What do Columbine, Newtown, Aurora Cinemark, Virginia Tech, Oikos University, Northern Illinois University, Fort Hood, and the Washington Navy Yard all have in common?  Aside from all being the sites of mass shootings, they are all gun-free zones.

A University of Chicago Law School study of multiple-victim public shootings from 1977-1999 determined each incident occurred in a "gun-free" zone.  University of Chicago, William Landes & John Lotte, 2000

The latest version of the study illustrates that with the exception of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, all took place in "gun-free" zones.

Aurora Colorado Cinemark

The Aurora shooting is an interesting case study on "gun-free" zones.  Of the seven theaters within 20 minutes of the perpetrator's apartment, he chose not the larges, nor the closest, but the only one that restricted concealed carry on premises.

No Demonstrated Causal Relationship

While there is no demonstrable evidence that shooters specifically choose "gun-free" zones, the facts do bear one thing out... "gun-free" zones do nothing to mitigate multiple-victim public shootings.


Nashua Telegraph

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Here we go again

2010 DFW Mugshot

Could gun control have prevented the Navy Yard shootings?

Armed with a shotgun, Aaron Alexis apparently armed up as he went:

Authorities said they believe that Alexis picked up two other weapons — a handgun and an AR-15-style assault weapon — during the shooting spree, taking the sidearm from a police officer he shot and another from a gunsafe or other secure location.

NBC News

Better law enforcement certainly could have

2004: Shot out the tires on a construction workers car in front of his house.  Between the cops and DA, the paperwork was apparently lost and charges were never filed.

2008:  Arrested for disorderly conduct in August 2008 in DeKalb County, Georgia. He was released from custody after posting $364 bond.

2010: Reckless discharge of a firearm (through his ceiling, the floor above, and the ceiling above).  Charges fired but dropped.

2011: General Discharge from the Navy for "a series of incidents of misconduct"

Treated multiple times for psychological issues — including sleep deprivation, anger and paranoia — sources told NBC News. Most recently, sources said, he had been treated at an unspecified Veterans Affairs hospital in New England.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Your Home? or a Government Holding Cell?

The headline caught my eye. Or, as Archie Bunker would say, it fought my eye:

Underground — And Illegal — NYC Dinner Parties

I was reeled in. What were these clandestine diners doing? Cannibalism? Eating the eyeballs out of babies? Feasting on grass-fed puppies?

According to CBS New York:
"It may look like a dinner party, but it’s really an underground supper club."
*GASP*  And there's more!!!
"Clandestine dinner parties like the one Leitner attended have become more common in New York City. And insiders told Leitner they are completely unregulated."
Unregulated dinner parties! The horror! There's probably free-lance butlering going on at these rogue events as well!

Are We still a Free People?

I don't care if they are gathering to swap spouses, build model airplanes, have farting contests, buy and consume raw milk, study the Bible or Koran, or eat unhealthy foods prepared with blowtorches. Free people gathering voluntarily on private property is no business of government so long as those people are not violating the rights of others or disturbing their tranquility.

Follow the Benjamins
Of course, this is really about money. Everyone has to pay tribute to the petty potentates who rule over their neighborhoods and their lives. It's for "public safety" don'tcha know.

Government bureaucracies unleash rapacious mobs of overpaid regulatory inspectors armed with clipboards and rulebooks to swarm businesses and harass them into government compliance. Stories of corruption, kick-backs and outright bribes in places like New York and Chicago are the stuff of legends.

Unsated after feasting upon business owners, the ravenous government crime syndicate now demands the right to invade people's homes.

Government Extortion

Even worse, this regulatory nightmare has turned into a grotesque "good cop, bad cop" scam that makes the mafia look like a benevolence society.

Here's how it works:

Governments at all levels churn out dense clots of regulatory toxic sludge so abstruse that no sane person can comprehend it. Imperious overlords then sick their flying bureaucratic monkeys on innocent citizens, frightening them into attempting to comply with bureaucratic nonsense only a madman could understand, all upon pain of losing all that they own. That's the "Bad Cop."

The "Good Cop" is the regulatory consultant company that businesses must hire to help them interpret and comply with the dense tangle of government decrees if they want to stay on the good side of the law and not have their livelihood stolen from them. Of course, these "consultants" are former government inspectors. See how this scam works?

Here's what one of the privateering extortionists had to say about free people hiring a chef and hosting a dinner party in a private home:
“It definitely falls into a gray area,” said Leon Lubarsky, owner of Letter Grade Consulting.

Lubarsky’s staff of retired New York City health inspectors advises restaurants on health regulations.

When asked if the underground restaurants should be regulated, Lubarsky told Leitner, “Yes, they should be regulated by the same system that regulates every restaurant in New York City.” (CBS New York)
This is government-sponsored piracy.

More government run amok: Residents fined for parking in own driveways

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It's Sunday, and that means Football

and Controversy

As this season winds back up so does the controversy over the name of the Washington Redskins, although some have opined that "Washington" was the more offensive part and the team should simply be known as the Redskins, another suggested they celebrate the heritage of football by changing the name to the Pigskins, but the Muslims objected. 

As an Irishman and a Celt, I know how they feel

 I could go on, but you undoubtedly get the point

There are probably as many Irish, Scot, Pict, Gael mascots as Indian.  We are not mascots, the use of our cultural and racial heritage in the promotion of sports is offensive, demeaning, and...


It's a sports team.  Do you think Paddy didn't start out as a derogatory term?
The way to demean the power of a slur is to embrace it, Lord Edward Fitzgerald (fighting the Anglo-Saxons also, I might add) in 1798 declared himself "A Paddy and no more" and said "he desired no other title than this".  Take this from a man whose people were oppressed by the English for more than 300 years before they even knew you existed.



Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Sounds of Music

Stop, Listen, Think.






From the primitive to the unexpected, from everyday objects to the human voice as an instrument, music is what you make of it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Americans for Whatever Barack Obama Wants

This is dedicated to the sycophantic Obama-nuts who visit here.  I exclude Ducky from that group, and thank him for bringing this to the attention of Western Hero.

There is hope yet for the young generation.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Listen to your constituents, not the White House.

After passing sweeping gun control legislation in the wake of the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings that placed limits on magazine capacity and required background checks in private sales, Colorado legislators just learned who the boss is.

Colorado Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and and Colorado State Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) just got booted out of office for not listening to their constituents in the first Colorado recall election, ever.

John Morse

The Ex Senate President in a concession speech that more closely resembled a scolding of voters than contrition, called the act symbolic and stated that his record was phenomenal.  This phenomenal record is illustrated by the legislature ramming a gun control package through by scheduling seven hearings in one day, preventing hundreds of scheduled witnesses from testifying.  

It may only be symbolic, but buddy, you're out of a job!

Angela Giron

In heavily Democratic District 3 (Pueblo) where only 23% of the voters are Republican, Giron was ousted with a 12 point spread.  Pueblo is a blue-collar union town and everyone thought that this was going to be the close race.  What wasn't counted on was Democrats turning out to vote FOR the recall.  20% of the votes to recall Giron came from Democrat voters and the end result was to put a Republican in office in her place.


To Michael Bloomberg, Eli Broad, Kirsten Gillibrand, and the Koch Brothers, et al. we would like to present you with the Western Hero Award...

The good people of Colorado just told you what you can do with your money, and please fold all 3.5 million of them into sharp corners before doing it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

I was completely unimpressed:

            Obama Speech 


I don't mean to be disrespectful, but this speech was an insult to the American people.  The President said nothing that couldn't be discerned by picking up yesterday's newspaper.

What were your thoughts on the speech? 

So, why are we dicking around with the Syrians?
Why are we, if not allying, at least indirectly helping the assholes who did this? And yes, I am aware that all of the rebels in Syria are not affiliated with Al-Qaeda, but a goodly portion, perhaps 30% or more are affiliated with Al-Qaeda.


Never Forget


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer War Drummers

What the hell is it with the oligarchy?  Why are they so enamored of war?

I was working out at the gym and the bank of TVs had sports, etc, but one television had one of those Sunday Morning talk shows where the oligarchs and their lawyer spokemouths compete to see who can shovel the most bullshit.  Of course, I wasn't tuned into the sound, but I doubt the statist toady Chuck Todd asked Barbara Boxer how many millions in war profits she and her husband stood to make off of the Syria action.  They won't make as much as Sanfran lib Diane Feinstein and her husband.  They are the champion war profiteers, making Dick Cheney's Halliburton stock holding look like chump change.  (And by the way, where is that Iraqi oil we supposedly exchanged our blood for?)

We're Not In It To Win It

Anyhoo, I am anti-war for one simple reason:  We haven't won one since 1945.  We're hella good at fighting people and tearing their shit up, but we don't know how to win anymore.  And fighting an unwinnable war is immoral. 

What about Panama? 

It was an invasion, not a war. We killed thousands of people and burned thousands more out of their homes all to take down a Frankenstein's monster that we created.  See, first we create the problem, then we go to war against it.  I know, I know...  The left has been saying this for a long time, and I am loathe to agree with them on anything, but the truth is the truth.

Are Iraqis better off for our efforts?
Depends on which faction you ask.  The simple fact that no major thoroughfare in Baghdad has been renamed George Bush Avenue, that no Iraqi holiday expresses thanks to America for 'liberating' them, I'd day the Iraqis have answered my question in the negative. 

Same goes for Afghanistan 

So we got some girls to go to school, rounding them up in one building so 7th century child rapists can kill them all at once.  We've done an immoral thing.  We went against an ancient culture, but we left the gargoyles who guard it in place, and they rape, stone, bomb, slash and murder the people we have wrongly encouraged to stand up and defy them.

Syria:  Islamo-Butchers v. Secular Butchers

In Syria, we're preparing to bomb the one man standing between a Christian minority and the Islamo-fascists who want to butcher them like hogs.  All on the pretext that instead of simply bombing them or machine gunning them in the street, Assad used gas, and the Untied Notions has said that is a no no.  The International Clown Car known as the UN issues absurd pronouncements it cannot back up, and promulgates 'international laws' that it cannot enforce.  It even goes so far as to condemn those foolish enough to try to enforce its laws.  It's madness.

It Really is a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

We live in a mad world, and we are afflicted by the human condition.  We don't have to look far to see something that offends our sense of goodness and humanity, but if history has taught us anything, it is that violence more often than not begets more violence.  The 'good' wars that ended decisively are few, while history is blistered over with ugly scars and gashing wounds that fester and run rivers through successive generations.  It's bad enough out there as it is.  Our crashing around just makes it worse.

Beware people beating war drums who have never been to war.   

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dazed and Confused

Dedicated to the Obama Administration:



The White House

Appearing on Meet the Press,  White House Chief of Staff David McDonough said:

"nobody is rebutting the intelligence; nobody doubts the intelligence” that is the basis for President Barack Obama pinning the blame for an August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria on President Bashar Assad's regime"
NBC News

From Germany

"President Bashar al-Assad did not personally order last month's chemical weapons attack near Damascus that has triggered calls for US military intervention, and blocked numerous requests from his military commanders to use chemical weapons against regime opponents in recent months, a German newspaper has reported , citing unidentified, high-level national security sources.  The intelligence findings were based on phone calls intercepted by a German surveillance ship operated by the BND, the German intelligence service, and deployed off the Syrian coast"
The Guardian

You got Islam in my Secular Revolution!

You got Secularism in my Religious Uprising!  


John Kerry:

"I just don't agree that a majority are al-Qaeda and the bad guys," Kerry said in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "That's not true."

There are two major Al-Qaeda factions fighting in Syria. One is Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Last month, the U.S. State Department announced Baghdadi had moved his base of operations into Syria.  The other major Al-Qaeda faction in Syria is the Al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra.  The Al-Nusra Front now openly declares loyalty to Al-Qaeda's Egyptian leader, Ayman Zawahri, who is thought to be hiding in Pakistan.          Radio Free Europe

Radio Free Europe is a US Government funded broadcast service

Other Groups operating as part of the Syrian opposition are:

Ahrar ash-Sham
The Al-Haqq Brigade
Al-Fajr Islamic Movement
Ansar Al-Sham
Jaysh Al-Tawhid
The Abd al-Muttalib Brigade
Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya

These are all members of the Syrian Islamic Front with the stated goal of "toppling the Assad government and establishing an Islamic state, governed by religious Muslim law, for the benefit of all Syrians"  MEMRI

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Under New Management

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Liberal-National Coalition swept into power in Australia with a commanding 85-54 majority over Labour.  The Liberal-National Party is the center-right conservative party in Australia.

Abbot ran on the repeal of the carbon tax, lower taxes, and on tighter immigration controls.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Classical Music Comedy

If you don't know what Rob Paravonian is talking about,  watch the video below and pay close attention to the cellist.

Victor Borge had his own way of poking fun at classical music:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Buddha, Pascal and Lena Dunham Walk into a Bar...

Peter Augustine Lawler shines a light on our current culture as viewed through the prism of HBO's hit, Girls:
"We see time and again, for example, that there’s little more degrading than casual sex in the absence of love. When we’re shown an abortion clinic, or women contracting STDs, or a string of pathetic hookups, and whiny, brittle, pretend marriages, we see the stupidity and misery of an abysmally clueless life. The show’s bitter, intended irony is this: while these girls are so proudly pro-choice, they lack what it takes to choose well.

What’s wrong with these Girls (and their boys) is that they lack character. Their easygoing world of privilege has saved them from any experiences that might build it. Their affluent parents are hardly “role models,” and they’re too flaccid to give their kids the “tough love” they need.
He goes on to explain how our education system and the 'Girls' have failed one another:
We also see plenty of evidence that what these girls really want is meaningful work and personal love. But they have not the first clue on how to get them.

Their education has failed them—another piece of realism. Hannah majored in film studies [...]  She learned nothing that would help make a living, but she did glean enough vanity to make her unfit for the “entry-level” jobs for which she barely qualifies. She also fancies that she can earn a living as a writer. While her prose style is pleasing, she has nothing “real” to write about. She didn’t read with passionate care any “real” books in college. Her education taught nothing “real” about her responsibilities as a free and relational being." (The Secret Moral Message of "Girls")
A Tragic Sense of Life

Soren Kierkegaard reflects upon the birds of the air and the lilies of the field in his upbuilding discourses, which are all meditations upon Christ's teachings.  The lilies and the birds perfectly serve the purpose for which God created them.  So far as we know, they feel no longing for something else and they are blessedly unburdened by the cares of the day or the worries of tomorrow.

Not so us humans.  Miguel de Unamuno observes that life is tragic and consciousness is a disease.  The unhappiest are those who do not realize this, or worse, who try to fight it.

Viktor Frankl tells us that man's greates will is a will to meaning.  He famously said that if someone knows the 'why' of his existence, he can bear almost any 'how.'  How many millions of flickering souls swarm this pimple of time having no clue what their 'why' is?  It's tragic.
“All of man’s misfortune comes from one thing, which is not knowing how to sit quietly in a room”  -- Blaise Pascal
The ability to sit quietly in one's mind is a blessing, and it can keep one from a host of troubles.  Here is a Buddhist writer's take on it:
Ultimately, Pascal points out in that same passage in his Pensées, our desire for diversion is an avoidance of the sense of our own mortality. Our “weak and mortal condition” is a “natural misfortune” that afflicts us and renders us inconsolable. Our being, he points out, is contingent (we might never have been born had circumstances been different) and impermanent (it’s certain we will die). And thus there is a deep-seated fear of non-existence, to which the ego tries to blind itself by embracing diversion and removing any possibility for deeper reflection. ( - Buddhist Meditations)
 It's not Hollywood's fault.  Pop culture is holding up a mirror.

See also, Victor Davis Hanson's learned observations in American Satyricon

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Magnets Don't Kill Children (or "And Now For Something Completely Different")


Negligent Parents Kill Children

Buckeyballs, along with other similar products such as Zen Magnets, Magnetix, and Mag Links are a type of rare earth  neodymium magnets sold as a "desk toy", that is, a toy for adults.


The Consumer Product Safety Commission has successfully driven Maxfield & Oberton out of business and is now going after the company's CEO.  One down, it has now turned its attention to Zen Magnets of Denver, Colorado in its mindless and irrational crusade.

But children have been injured!!! You might exclaim, and you are correct.  Buckeyballs has an injury rate somewhere in the vicinity of 1 per 100,000 products sold. But taking a more rational approach you will notice that dogs have an injury rate of 129 per 100,000 sold, shall we ban dogs?  Skateboards have an injury rate of 829 per 100,000 sold... BAN THE SKATEBOARD!!!

Pools, Tennis, Bicycles, Trampolines, and the list goes on.  Balloons counted for 23% of the reported childhood toy accident fatalities in 2011, a fact that led one writer to refer to them as "Doom on a string". 

Adult Toys

Now I'm not the kind of guy who sits in his office and plays with his balls,  but if other adults want to do that the government shouldn't be empowered to stop them, although their bosses may well be entitled to.  As long as they don't let children play with them, it shouldn't be anybody elses business.

More and more we disassociate responsibility from the conscious actor to the inanimate object.  If Buckeyballs randomly exploded, blowing peoples fingers off, the government might have a case with merit, but these products function as designed and intended.  They are magnets and they stick together, in your living room or in your stomach.  Maxfield & Oberton is no more responsible for your child swallowing magnets than Gillette would be responsible for your child swallowing your razor blades.

If you go to the Vat19 site (from the picture at top) you will discover that "This product is not currently available for purchase".  It doesn't matter if you're 14 or 40,  magnets are apparently now a government controlled substance.

Doesn't our government have better things to do with its time and our money?

Wall Street Journal




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Only Legitimate Target

Photo: César

If you believe the regime is culpable.

Face it,  a few dozen or few hundred Tomahawk missiles aren't going make much of a difference one way or another, especially when one would do.

Mind you, I'm not advocating assassination of a foreign leader,  this would be a decapitation strike on the Syrian Military Command & Control Authority... the fact that he is a foreign leader is entirely coincidental.

Unless willing to use thermobarics and accept the resultant high collateral damage,  the chemical weapon stores are not a realistic target.  Attacking the airfields and military bases accomplish little in the way of thwarting future chemical weapon use, although they may have a remote chance of prompting the military to remove Assad (My guess - slim to none).  Attacking infrastructure only causes the Syrian people to suffer further deprivations.

The only logical target to hold Assad responsible for the use of chemical weapons is Assad himself.  It would require good and timely intelligence or a mass attack against known residences and bunkers, would be difficult to pull off, but even a miss sends a powerful message.  You are not immune to reprisal.  It is doubly effective if delivered along with the message that in case of a miss, we will try again... and again... and again.  Not saying when, not saying where.  The psychological stress of not know when the next Tomahawk is going to come streaking out of the sky would be enormous.

Frankly, I believe that the only thing that could happen in Syria in favor of US interests would be a military coup.  We may not want Assad in charge,  but I don't think we want the rebels in charge either.  As someone else once said about Syria, it's a lose/lose situation.

Note that I preface this with "If you believe the regime is culpable", I'm not saying it is and I'm not saying it's not.  Obviously, this is not the answer if you believe the rebels culpable,  although if it was a rebel group I'm not sure what we could do about it... support Assad?

What are your thoughts?