Thursday, February 28, 2013

So, When We Gonna Ban Stupid?

Dan McIntyre

Genoa, Illinois

A teacher at Genoa-Kingston Middle School informs a 14 year old student that his T-Shirt is offensive and must be removed or he will be suspended under school policy. The teacher citing the school's dress code, said the garment's interlocking rifles was problematic and had to be removed from sight.

“Student dress (including accessories) may not advertise, promote, or picture alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, violent behavior, or other inappropriate images,” it reads. “Student dress (including accessories) may not display lewd, vulgar or obscene or offensive language or symbols, including gang symbols.”
So I wonder what the interpretation was?  Advocating Violent Behavior?  Gang Symbol?  Or does it just fall under Other Inappropriate Images?

I suppose this would be considered offensive as well...


And we let these ignoramuses teach,

This is an infantry badge...




Hence the association of crossed rifles with the Marines. 

Forget Black History month, Irish Heritage Month, Jewish Heritage Month,  Asian Pacific Heritage Month... when are we going to have American Heritage Month and Western Heritage Month.  The assumption that living in a culture automatically makes you an expert or even knowledgeable is an obviously a false assumption as illustrated by the moron telling this poor kid to remove his shirt. 



In defense of the Genoa-Kingston School District, the Superintendent has come out and reiterated that the shirt is not in violation of policy.  So, What about the teacher? 





Military Times   


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Forget John Kerry

America's Newest Ambassador to the World

That's right, that precocious tot from McIntyre, Georgia is poised to become America's ambassador to the world when her TV show gets released in Western Europe, Latin America, and Australia. 

Third highest rated show in Poland

That's right, she's already available in Eastern Europe and is Poland's third rated show.  Do you suppose they're laughing at us?

If you don't know what a Honey Boo Boo is

Here is a video clip so that you can be proud of your culture


And remember, that's the "LARNIN" channel! 

So am I the only one that sees a strange similarity with the Dunkin Donuts logo?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Involuntary Cannibal


In a truth is stranger than fiction story, guests at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles were confronted with the horrifying fact that they had been drinking one of their fellow guests.

Investigating problems of low water pressure in the hotel, a maintenance worker discovered the decomposing body of a young woman in the hotel's rooftop cistern.

Identified as the body of 21 year old Elisa Lam, a University of British Columbia student missing since January 31st.  Authorities believe that the body had been in the tank at least two weeks.

Here's a Clue

The shower was awful, when you turned the tap on the water was coming out black for the first two seconds.  

Here's a Classic

Well, it did taste kind of funny.

Soup's On!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Ira Silverstein. Illinois State Senator

Ira Silverstein, W.H would like to give you the finger

Americanus, Aristocrotus, Candidus, Harrington, Phocion, Publius, Senex, and one of my favorites... Rough Hewer.

These are just some of the pseudonyms used by our founding fathers and participants in the public debates in and around the American revolution.

The Internet Posting Removal Act

A web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate.

King George would have loved you Ira

While anonymity has a downside as illustrated by the vast majority of childish, idiotic, or just plain spiteful internet comments, anonymity also provides people with the freedom to express their positions without any inhibitions.  It is the conversational equivalent of the secret ballot.

After the aborted Worker's Free Choice Act advocating eliminating secret ballots in union organizing votes, how long is it before the Chicago machine starts advocating open political votes?  After all it makes it so much easier to reward your friends and punish your opposition.

Ira Silverstein, Illinois 8th District

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And What Do You Get?


You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Eddie Bullock spent 27 years in the mines of Peabody Energy, the largest private sector coal company in the world with almost 8 billion in revenue and 16 billion in assets.  He retired in 1998, today he's 72 and suffers from black lung disease.  No problem, he has a good pension and health coverage.


In 2007 Peabody created a new company, Patriot Coal.  It transferred 13% of its coal reserves and 40% of its health care liabilities (for 8,400 retired miners) to the new company.  In 2008 Arch Coal, the second largest supplier of coal in the US behind Peabody with 4 billion in revenue and 10 billion in assets transferred Magnum Coal and the liabilities for another 2,300 retired miners to Patriot Coal.


Patriot Coal, now saddled with almost 11,000 retired miners and 1.37 Billion in liabilities has filed for bankruptcy.  Under Chapter 11 it is seeking to limit or discharge the pension and health care obligations to 22,000 miners.

Would Tar, Feathers, and a Rail be too Extreme?  

These shenanigans are so extreme even free market advocates are crying foul. Professor Bruce Rader, Temple University wrote:

...ultimately will shift the burden to the general public or in a word socialize the health care benefits since the miner’s ability to pay will not cover this obligation and then the health care burden will be shifted to the government. In essence we will all pay the costs. This is a perfect example of the use of the legal system to socialize the costs and therefore lead to a transfer of costs to the general public from the shareholders of a company.

Eddie Bullock never worked for Patriot Coal a day in his life, yet now suffers under the downfall of the company while his former employer skips happily along. 

WAIT!  It Gets Better

Patriot Coal has requested permission from the court to pay more than six million in bonuses to its corporate executives and salaried employees.  The UMW President called it a finger in the eye to thousands of miners and pensioners.  I'll be a little more succinct and simply call it giving them the finger. 

This one's for Eddie Bullock, a Big, Big Man.

New Republic

Wall Street Journal

West Virginia Gazette 




Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Sessions: Marty Robbins

El Paso

Having lived in those badlands of New Mexico outside of El Paso,  I've always been rather fond of this song. If you've ever driven into El Paso from the north on US 54,  you'll know what he's singing about.

 Been There, Done That


Rosas Cantina, 3454 Doniphan Drive,  El Paso TX

Friday, February 22, 2013

The French Way

Thanks, But No.

Approached by the French Minister for Industrial Renewal regarding purchasing the Goodyear Amiens Nord factory, which Goodyear announced it was closing after a 61 million Euro loss Maurice Taylor, CEO of Titan International responded with:

The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three, I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way! 

How Stupid Do You Think We Are?

But Maurice Taylor wasn't done yet...

Goodyear tried for over four years to save part of the Amiens jobs that are some of the highest paid, but the French Unions and French Government did nothing but talk.  

Sir, your letter letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion.  How stupid do you think we are?                              

... Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company, or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage, and ship all the tires France needs.  You can keep the so-called workers.

At least he's honest... read the actual letter here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Advanced Persistent Threat One

APT1 A.K.A Unit 61398

Mandiant, a US cyber security firm has released a report alleging significant electronic espionage by a unit of the Peoples Liberation Army known as Unit 61398.

APT1 is a single organization of operators that has conducted a cyber espionage campaign against a broad range of victims since at least 2006. From our observations, it is one of the most prolific cyber espionage groups in terms of the sheer quantity of information stolen.


In a State that rigorously monitors Internet use, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese Government is unaware of an attack group that operates from the Pudong New Area of Shanghai. The detection and awareness of APT1 is made even more probable by the sheer scale and sustainment of attacks that we have observed and documented in this report. Therefore the most probable conclusion is that APT1 is able to wage such a long-running and extensive cyber espionage campaign because it is acting with the full knowledge and cooperation of the government.

The Chinese Response

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters on Tuesday:

"To make groundless accusations based on some rough material is neither responsible nor professional."

Read the report and judge for yourself whether it is groundless or rough material.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Happy 100th Birthday

The Tax Collector.  Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 1640

The Tax Man Cometh

In 1861 Congress levied a flat tax of 3% on annual incomes over $800 (roughly $20,600 today).  This tax was ostensibly to fund the Civil War and is considered to be the first federal income tax in the United States.

In 1862 it was replaced by a graduated tax of 3-5% on incomes over $600 and a termination date of 1866.

By 1877 the Socialist Labor Party was demanding a graduated income tax and by 1892 the Populist Party had jumped on board.  By 1908 it was part of the Democratic Party platform.

February, 1913

In 1909 Senate Joint Resolution No. 40, submitted by Nelson Aldrich a Republican from Rhode Island was passed and the 16th amendment to the Constitution of the United States was submitted to the states.

On February 3, 1913 Delaware became the 36th state to ratify the amendment and it became part of the Constitution and the law of the land.


The legislatures of Connecticut, Utah, Virginia, and curiously Aldrich's Rhode Island  rejected it.  Pennsylvania and Florida never even considered it.

1%- 7%

In 1913 the bottom marginal tax rate was 1% and the top rate was 7%.  For 2012 the bottom marginal rate is 10% and the top rate is 35%.  

For 2013 that top rate jumps to 39.6%.  Happy Birthday   

Marginally Better Off

In the middle ages a serf owed his lord 3 day of labor a week,  today... we owe our government 3 days of labor a week.  Which goes to show you the more things change the more things stay the same.  One could argue that we are better off as most of us have an eight hour workday... in Britain the serf got 30 acres of land as well as grazing and limited hunting rights on non-arable land, and a cottage, barns, and coops. 

No One is Advocating a Return to Serfdom

But seriously... is 40% of anyone's labor a fair share?

Welcome to the Anarcho-Syndicalist Collective 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Round Up Ready?

No, Not That Kind of Round Up Ready

This Kind of Round Up Ready


Genetically Modified Patents

Vernon Bowman a 75 year old Indiana farmer has ran afoul of the agricultural behemoth Monsanto with the replanting of second generation genetically modified crop seeds.


RoundUp is a popular broad-spectrum (kills most anything) herbicide used in both agricultural and residential applications, you're probably familiar with it.  The active ingredient is glyphosate and it kills plants by intefering with amino acid synthesis.

RoundUp Ready

RoundUp Ready crops have a gene taken from Agrobacterium CP4 inserted into their genetic code providing them with glyphosate resistance, meaning you can plant them and spray the field with RoundUp killing everything but the genetically modified crop.

Vernon Bowman

Vernon Bowman plants a primary crop of Monsanto GM Soybeans every year.  Every year after harvesting his winter wheat he plants a second, relatively low-yield crop of soybeans.  Rather than pay a premium for a second batch of GM soybeans he goes to the local grain elevator and purchases a batch of commodity soybeans, soybeans intended for the general market and not being sold as seed.

The assumption is that if the bulk soybeans in the grain elevator are primarily Monsanto GM soybeans , then they will be second generation and still carry the glyphosate resistance of the parent generation.  Mr. Bowman complies with the terms of his agreement with Monsanto by not saving and replanting soybeans from his primary crop.  He purchases "junk" soybeans with no guarantee of being RoundUp ready.

And on to the Supremes

The patent violation case has reached the Supreme Court, much to the chagrin of the Obama administration which supports Monsanto, and arguments are scheduled for today.  Those on Mr. Bowman's side argue patent exhaustion. The concept of patent exhaustion is a common law (uncodified) doctrine and is why if I sell you my I-Phone, neither of us have to pay royalties to Apple.  The argument against Monsanto is that the controlled or patented sale occurs from Monsanto to the farmer,  the sale of the crop from the farmer to the grain elevator is an unrestricted sale, thus subsequent transactions are also unrestricted.

The argument for Monsanto is that they have "intellectual property rights of significance to the entire agricultural biotechnology industry" in the seeds and in subsequent generations.  Allowing farmers to plant second generation seeds pretty much nullifies their patent, would have cataclysmic repercussions, and would basically end the agricultural biotech industry.

So far a lower court and Federal District court have ruled in favor of Monsanto,  ordering Mr. Bowman to pay $84,456.  The issue for the Supreme Court is just how many generations does Monsanto's patent apply to?  Also at issue is the price of crop seed,  the price of soybeans has tripled  over the past two decades and unpatented seeds are getting more and more difficult to obtain. The long agricultural practice of planting and setting aside a seed crop for the next season is virtually extinct.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Whose Day Is It?


No, I haven't a clue... I was hoping one of you could explain it to me.



Okay, it's a 3 day weekend and I want to be lazy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Bear is Back

Dancing with the Bear

Just before President Obama gave his State of the Union address two Russian TU-95 "Bear" Strategic Bombers were intercepted circling Guam.  The bombers, capable of carrying six KH-55 nuclear cruise missiles, were intercepted by F-15 aircraft launched from Anderson AFB on Guam.

Old Hat

To an old cold warrior, ten years in early warning before the wall came down, this stuff is old hat.  We used to routinely spar with the Soviet Union, poking and prodding at the corners and edges of each others airspace.  In terms of recent history, this is somewhat unusual, if not unprecedented.

In June of last year Russian bombers entered what's defined as the Alaskan Air Defense Zone in violation of the 2010 New START treaty.  This was followed up with Russian bombers off the coast of California on the 4th of July.

It's Political, not Military

Incidents like this while of military training value are more of a political message than anything else.  It is not the act but the timing of it that's important.

Perhaps, a friendly reminder to Obama of his remark to Medvedev caught on an open mic that "after my election I have more flexibility" at a meeting between the two in Seoul discussing missile defense.


If you ask me, we seriously screwed the pooch on the diplomatic front upon the fall of the old Soviet Union.  Historically Russia is a western nation, now, 22 years later they are still stuck in an adversarial role against the west.

Meet the Bear 

Don't Laugh... it's the same age as the B-52