4/21/15

Super-patriot Todd Starnes

Solidly 'Christian' all-American flag-waving super-patriot Todd Starnes is at it again.

Starnes is of the same ilk as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. All are far right muckrakers who are not overly concerned with fact, who rely on half-truths and outright falsehoods to stir the right into paroxysms of Outrage!™©

Brother Todd's latest is over the apparently left-wing supporters of flag-desecrators at Valdosta State University.

It seems some students were tramping upon a US flag that they had put on the ground.

Michelle Manhart, another self-styled super-patriot, was incensed by this, and took the flag, refusing to give it back. She was then arrested.

Starnes and his supporters have been going off the deep end over the horror of this.

Well ... the Supremes have long ruled that flag-burning and other forms of protest are protected speech. If you examine the opinions handed down by the justices in these cases, you can see that their reasoning is Constitutionally solid.

You may not like such means of protest - I certainly do not - but the fact remains ... this is in fact protected speech. It's not a particularly effective means of protest; not many of us are going to be won over to a point of view that relies on these behaviors to make a 'point.' But, it is protected speech, and it should be, if we are going to live up to the values inherent in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

But Manhart basically stole the protestors' flag, refused to give it back, and disrupted a lawful assembly. Until she showed up, it was a peaceable assembly, too.

The Starnesians are fond of going on about the US Flag Code when they go off the deep end over these matters.

But here's the thing. Manhart, a USAF vet, posed in her uniform - or bits and pieces of it - for Playboy magazine, and in some shots, she was draped in the US flag, with part of the flag lying on the floor. She got her knickers twisted pretty good by USAF, too. She was demoted, and then discharged.



Starnes doesn't see anything wrong with this. Nor, apparently, does he see anything wrong with this:

All-American super-patriots

all of which makes a mockery of his beloved flag code. Apparently everyone in these photos, wearing the flag as some kind of garment, is a 'true patriot' so it's OK to engage in a bit of patriotic flag desecration.

Why is that? Why is this OK with Starnes and his supporters ... yet the lefties at Valdosta are un-American losers?

It's just when you don't agree with Starnes and his brethrens' political and religious views that it becomes an 'issue.'

More hypocrisy from the super-patriot flag-waving 'Christian' right ...

Starnes and his accomplices bring truth to the old saw, “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

4/3/15

Tumbleweeds

Having just spent the last hour or so pitchforking tumbleweeds, huge piles of tumbleweeds, out of the yard, I cannot help but think that any governing body in this part of the state - or anywhere, for that matter - that votes to expend tax dollars to gather up these damned things, spray them with fire retardant, paint them, and then have city utility crews stack them up as a Christmas tree ... deserves to be impeached.

Do we not have anything better to do with the money that the government filches out of my wallet than to make a monument out of one of the state's most noxious, water-wasting weeds? Why not plant Russian olives and tamarisk in our public parks while we're at it.

Do we have to take every cockamamie idea from "The Creative Crowd" and "The Idea People" and inflict it upon the rest of us as though it were coming down from God himself?

Here is a reprint of "All that glitters ..." from last year, when "The Creative Crowd" was in full cry over this nonsense:

Glendale, AZ, has an annual bit of festivity they call 'Glendale Glitters.'

Here is a the link to Glendale Glitters imagery on Google:

Glendale Glitters images

We've been there. It's quite enjoyable. Festive. Wouldn't this be a nice look for the Santa Fe Plaza? Especially if we could get a couple of stores to stay open?

We really like Glendale Glitters. They have shops, restaurants, etc open all around the square, and back a block or two. Sadly, many of the doo-dad shops sell a bunch of Chinese crap, but there is still a good selection of local goods. The restaurants and coffee shops are generally quite good.

Note there are no tumbleweed trees.

The Anthem Christmas tree is another favorite, especially for the kids. You can't miss it as you come into Phoenix from the north, on I-17.

The Anthem Christmas Tree

I don't suppose we need a 112 foot tree, but a 'real' tree of some size down yonder at Santa Fe Plaza would be nice, don't you agree?

If Our Beloved President can speechify whilst lighting the national tree ... I would think local politicians would leap at a similar chance on a local scale.

But we aren't looking at that. We have a bug up our butts over a tumbleweeds Christmas tree.

I suppose a tumbleweeds Christmas tree would be a bit of a novelty in the urban setting, but personally, I see a tumbleweed tree, here in an agricultural community on the high plains, as incredibly poorly advised. But if we are going to be the laughingstock of every rancher and farmer between here and the Nebraska line ... let's do it right. Let's include some Russian olives (bare branches decorate well, as we see in Glendale Glitters) and tamarisk along with the tumbleweeds tree. That way, we can have three of the most noxious water-wasting weeds in the state, on which millions of tax dollars are spent every year for eradication and control, representing our commitment to conserving our water and protecting and preserving our shortgrass prairie. The rest of eastern Colorado - except for recently arrived transplants from California or the east coast, and locals who have taken complete leave of their senses - can ROTF LTAO at us, along with the goofs who buy this stuff:

Extra Large Tumbleweed

Note how the sale is pitched to appeal to the urban drone. Me, I'd add that it was 'organic' and a non-GMO item as well.

But that's just me. And Leece. And what do we know. Other than we're going to start collecting tumbleweeds and sell them to clueless urban hipsters. With free shipping, of course.

For a nominal charge, Leece will even throw in a crocheted prairie dog spare toilet paper roll cover. Very rustic.

The oppression of Christians in the United States

So there's all this hoo-hah over the various 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' bills. You know, the ones that will give God-fearing 'Christians' freedom from the frightful repression and persecution they suffer in These United States.

Meanwhile. one of the 'Christian' companies at the heart of the argument, Hobby Lobby, a paragon of corporate 'Christian' values, stocks its shelves with cheap goods from the most oppressively anti-Christian regimes on the planet. If you haven't yet done so, take the opportunity to walk through a Hobby Lobby and pick up the items and look at the country of manufacture.

Now, is that hypocrisy, or what.

This is the Gao Brothers' "Execution of Christ in China."


More on the Gao brothers:

Zhen and Quiang Gao

Rumor has it that you can get a cheap 'made in China' copy of "The execution of Christ" in most Hobby Lobby stores. They should be right next to the 'made in China' US flags and 4th of July patriotic goods.If they aren't, Hobby Lobby is missing a great sales opportunity.

4/1/15

A study in Civics

Some of you old farts might remember "Civics." It was a course in government. Back in my time, it was a class in 7th grade. You didn't make it to junior high in those days without at least a basic understanding of what was meant by the term "American values." Whether that understanding stuck through later life was another 'issue' altogether, but the basics were there.

Mike Huckabee, that darling of the flag-waving bible-thumping Christian Right, serves as one of the best examples of how the concept of "American values" can be twisted into an unrecognizable state. Huckabee believes that Americans should be held at gunpoint and brainwashed with debunked creationist David Barton's garbage:



Huckabee gives truth to that "When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

Over in the fishwrapper article on the latest shenanigans of our La Junta/East Otero R-1 school board, we find this:

"... Craig also said although some people were afraid of their jobs being on the line if they showed support, she isn't one of them and adamantly supports Noll's leadership."

That gives some interesting insight into the perceptions of at least some of the the public's view of the school board's understanding of "American values."

If you open your mouth, and express an opinion over matter of public interest - your job is in jeopardy.

Given some of the reactions of some of our political 'leadership' to what they perceive as challenges to their self-importance and political prerogatives, that is probably more than just a perception. I suspect there is a good basis in fact for holding that view, for harboring that fear.

The Smile Hi has more self-styled All-American pledge-reciting flag-waving super-patriots than anywhere I have ever lived. An unfortunately significant percentage of these are people who will shove the Bible and the flag down your throats in an instant if you disagree with them. They are the sorts who will fly into a rage over perceived 'insult' to the flag, going so far as to slap kids who fidget during the pledge and agitate for jailing those who do not share their particular brand of reverence.

I think what the school board should do is make available an adult civics course, so as to refresh some understandings of 'American values.'

They could start with a tour of Fairview and Calvary. There are a substantial number of veterans' headstones there. Perhaps they could finish up with Fort Lyon.

Does any political body in this city really believe that all those people died in the service of this nation so that people could live in fear for their jobs for voicing an opinion about the behavior and decisions of our elected officials or their pals and buddies?

After that cemetery tour, perhaps a forced reading of de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" would be helpful. "Forced reading?" Sure. That's in keeping with that darling of the flag-waving Religious Right's views on how Americans should be indoctrinated with American values. I think I'd draw the line at all-American flagwaver Huckabee's 'at gunpoint' thing, though. 

After Mike Huckabee and the school board have a refresher in 'American values," I'd suggest the Urban Renewal Board also have a re-read of that 7th grade civics textbook, and then de Tocqueville.

What those who are in fear for their jobs are afraid of exercising is called 'freedom of speech.' It is a God-given right, not something allowed at whim by politicians, and it was paid for in blood, real blood, and lives, real lives, lives ended far too soon. It is not to be trifled with and cheapened by podunk politicians who are a bit too big for their britches.

My own participation in making payments due on those 'American values' thingies, though the connection is nebulous at best, saw more than 58,000 of our compatriots dead, hundreds of thousands maimed, and unknown numbers PTSD'd for life.

So I tend to find political arrogance that trivializes and discounts all that blood-letting and sacrifice somewhat vexing, particularly so when such arrogance is on the part of self-styled super-patriots who never served, other than themselves at the local buffet.

3/31/15

Tossed under the bus?

Apparently the school board is concerned over test scores.

La Junta's junior/senior high and the intermediate all have "D" scores from ColoradoSchoolsGrade:

La Junta Junior/Senior High School standings 

while the US News and World Report school findings show that despite those abysmal scores the junior/senior high is 'near' the Colorado average.

US News and World Report School Standings 

If East Otero is 'near the state average' with a 12% proficiency in math and a 55% proficiency in reading, then it's clear that the problems East Otero is facing are endemic to Colorado, and nationwide as well. Flushing the one administrator who has considerable public confidence is not going to fix anything.

How exactly is Carol supposed to single-handedly fix any of that, and what exactly is dumping her going to accomplish? She has also had to deal with inherited problems, the sorts of problems that over time become almost institutionalized. If that sounds too much like the Big O blaming Bush ... then consider that she has to deal with all the federal interference and 'oversight' that comes from pandering to the federal and state governments for all that free money for all those free programs. Then, she has to deal with state-wide inertia and the political and economic geniuses that drive our business, social, and cultural establishments.

Carol is, in our opinion (mine and Leece's) the best supe we've had in decades. We have always been able to talk to her without being made to feel like Untermenschen; too many of these 'educators' are so impressed with their own credentials they can hardly find time to talk to common swine like us. Whenever there were problems with the educational process for one of our granddkids, Carol answered the important questions and school administrators and staff took care of the problems. There was no self-serving double-talk or vague promises or vaguer excuses.

East Otero has some serious 'issues.' There's no doubt about it. But then, so does the entire state.

As the SchoolGrades link above shows, Swink - the Princeton of the Plains - is doing pretty well in comparison, but look at the difference in low income stats for both schools. How's that translate into parental involvement, awareness, and understanding of the educational process? What leadership is the school board presenting to deal with that? What marching orders have they given, based on their plans and vision? How has Carol failed - and failed consistently, with a documented-over-a-period-of-time lack of responsiveness to the board's direction - sufficiently to justify getting rid of her? How has she failed in the critical areas of "... fulfilling the adopted school district objectives, fiscal management of the district, district planning responsibilities, and supervision and evaluation of district personnel?"

I've seen railroad jobs where an eval suddenly pops up that is totally out of sorts with everything that went before. It's easy to do that. It's much harder - impossible, in fact - to backfill counselling records that show a disregard for direction or a failure to correct following guidance. So if this eval is bad, I'd like to see that paper trail, that history. I'd like to see the last three evals. We aren't talking about canning a burger-flipping high schooler with a bad attitude here. We're talking about a long-serving professional with a demonstrated ability to get things done. Otherwise ... why was she hired as supe in the first place?

Those areas of her evaluation are to be open for public inspection, by state law. If she has not failed in those areas, then what is the basis for not renewing her contract? East Otero is just below ... a squeaker below ... the state average. East Otero's failings are not even close to being an isolated matter. Throwing Carol under the bus so as to make it look like they as a board - or at least those who voted against retaining Carol - are 'doing something' is a shame and a disgrace.

Considering this is Holy Week, the board's washing of hands is not only quite ironic, but gives considerable pause for thought as to just how much sway that Christ fellow has in our bucolic little 'Godly community.'

Our kids and grandkids have not been well served in this matter by the majority of the East Otero R-1 school board.

2/17/15

"A View of Forever ..."

Leece posts about our recent visit to Pikes Peak:

"A View of Forever ..."

1/3/15

Reminder ...

Good eats and travels over on The View From the Pizer, and photo galleries on WritingPlaces.com.

12/31/14

Trinidad's drug busts ... and Pinocchio's nose

The Trinidad drug bust fiasco continues, like Pinocchio's nose, to grow:

The Snitch Who Stole Christmas

It was on the front page of yesterday's Trinidad Chronicle, and KOAA has been running with it for nearly a year.

Sloppy police work leads to dozens of dismissals

We can only wonder at the enormous erections that must have been generated by this, among the super-patriotic flag-waving right-wingers throughout southeastern Colorado, as the forces of Law and Order crushed the evil criminals with all-American righteousness.

Unfortunately, the cops once again look like complete morons - with considerable justification:

A surprising number were not only loudly proclaiming their innocence, but were insisting that the transactions they were accused of making couldn't have happened at the times and places described. Yet none of this appears to have triggered any skepticism among police or prosecutors -- not until the entire operation began to unravel, just weeks after the big bust ...

... Defense attorneys probing the case soon discovered numerous misleading or false statements in the sworn affidavits submitted to obtain the arrest warrants. The affidavits routinely stated that the dope purchased by the informants had field-tested positive for heroin, meth or some other controlled substance; in several instances, though, subsequent testing by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation indicated that the substance in question had no narcotic qualities at all. Although the informants were wired, the affidavits offered only bare excerpts of the conversations recorded and little dialogue that suggested a buy was taking place. And there was no information provided about how the targets were selected, how the meetings were arranged, or what the informants were getting out of the deal.

and the dopers among us - and they are Legion - have one more argument for their 'cause.'

District Attorney Ruybalid and Trinidad police chief Charles Glorioso did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the operation.

No surprise there. I'll wager they've lawyered up like a pedophile confronted with a hard drive full of selfies.

Meanwhile ...

As for the two confidential informants who lied, Carla Hernandez was not charged with perjury after openly admitting she wasn't being truthful in court. Bachicha is charged with perjury and pleaded guilty.

She will be sentenced in February 2015.

Rybalid, Glorioso, and da Judge ... southeast Colorado's own version of The Three Stooges.

12/17/14

Pocatello Police Shooting

Killer Kops DRT another one ... this time after an escape and a foot pursuit. The comments in the article from the Idaho State Journal are particularly telling as to citizen attitudes toward this type of reaction.

Cops kill unarmed escapee

Then ... the drama continued with more escapes, possibly with assistance from outside the detention facility:

Following the police shooting of an unarmed escapee in Pocatello, Idaho, four more prisoners escaped, or were possibly released from custody by activists. During the escape, the co-owner of the facility was in fact brutally attacked and suffered several broken ribs. One of the escapees was shot down in cold blood by the slaughterhouse's co-owner; one was taken into custody, and two remain at large. Stories of heavily armed police SWAT teams roving the area remain unconfirmed, as citizens reportedly cower in fear in their homes ... meanwhile, owners of the 'custodial' facility from which the bovines escaped are receiving hate mail and possibly death threats ...

Two escapees remain at large

As it turns out, both episodes were part of an on-going conspiracy. Hats off to Pocatello PD for putting a stop to it before things got completely out of hand. The following video provides outstanding insight into a little understood revolutionary movement. It's the Che Guevara reference that spooks all we leftovers from the Cold War era. I understand that Department of Homeland Security has undercover operatives in the Pocatello area, scoping out the ringleaders of the local cell

"Once more, dear friends ..."

Once more.

Yep.

Once more, into the breach ...

Remember those surveys Urban Renewal put out regarding the Tabares Building? The one where they sought 'community input?'

It turns out they really didn't mean it. Take a look at the November Urban Renewal meeting, wherein that survey is pretty much discounted. It didn't tell them what they wanted to hear, so it got dumped.

Frank McKenzie: Are you going to discuss the survey and those results?

Edward Vela: 88 surveys said to demolish.

Frank McKenzie: Do you feel any responsibility to the people about that?

Jeffri Pryun: I didn’t fill out a survey. If the survey was going to be the deciding factor I would have filled one out. A dozen people have expressed their opinion and didn’t fill out a survey. 

So what was the point of the survey, if it didn't mean anything? Clearly at least one board member knew beforehand that the survey was nothing more than a sop to the unwashed masses ... otherwise, would she not have filled one out?

Rebecca Goodwin: What the majority said that was based upon Urban Renewal putting the
money in to button up the building or rehab or demolish. This is something nobody thought about before and might be another option. What I would say they have a concern with the Urban Renewal money and that there was no longer a DOLA grant. We were looking at all Urban Renewal money. That is a concern to me. We can get help from other people. I would also like to help Mike with an elevator.

MOTION: Rebecca Goodwin made a motion to table any decision on the Plaza Building until the December meeting to give Mike Vigil an opportunity to come back with a more detailed proposal giving him 30 days to come up with more details. Nancy Bennett seconded the motion.

Rick Klein: These are two independent projects – Plaza Building and elevator for the mall.
Rachel Wallace: Are you putting something in the paper about the survey results? If you don’t people will say you didn’t listen to them. You need to address that. This is something new in light of that survey.

Jenny Mathew: From the survey it seems lot of people were concerned because there was no parking and there is parking available. The 2.2 million dollars is very scary. People say you can leverage the money with grants. I think it could be rehabbed for less than demolition. 

$2.2 million for rehab ... and it would cost more than that to demolish it?

Chairperson Leonard: I have had four young people say you are never going to get their opinion if  you send out surveys in the paper or radio. They say you need to put it on facebook.

Facebook. Now there's a reliable means of gauging public opinion.

Rebecca Goodwin: That discussion did come up at our website committee meeting about a way  to get community input through the Urban Renewal website.

Randle Roberson: Voters have input in the survey. It was not an issue of parking. It was an issue of historic preservation. On one side you are trying to find reasons for not spending Urban Renewal money - not 2.2 million dollars on that building. I would be in favor of spending but not on that building.

Rebecca Goodwin: The ongoing discussion on the survey it is a mute point. The numbers that came from that whether people participated or not are part of the survey. This discussion needs to be done. The majority of people that did respond did say demolish. That is something different based on Urban Renewal putting money into rehab, button up or demolish. This is a new chapter with a new proposal that we haven’t had in the past. We need to move forward and see if this proposal is feasible and might work. That needs to be the discussion if we want to move forward.

So they changed the game plan - again - because the votes weren't what they wanted - again - and we hop on the merry go 'round - again.

Give Mike 30 days to come up with a proposal.

Chairperson Leonard: Rachel had a good point about letting the public know what the survey showed.

Mike Pruyn: That survey is not a vote. Would be a lot different if we took every response from our surveys. Surveys can be skewered.

Yes, surveys can be skewed whichever way ... especially when they are written by amateurs who know nothing about constructing survey questions, and especially when the results either never see the light of day, or are only partially revealed.

There's some pretty good tap-dancing and rationalization going on there, don't you think?

You can read the entire exchange here:

Minutes of the November 2014 Urban Renewal Meeting

How many studies and surveys and motions and votes and re-votes and still more surveys have to be accomplished before we are rid of this albatross?

Last time I looked, we are allowed to ask such questions. Or should I have just filled out a survey form?

+++

Literary and historical footnote: That's the first part of the opening line of "Henry V" - full title being "The Life of King Henry the Fifth," one of The Bard's epics. The full line is "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead." Henry utters this as he stands before Harfleur during the siege of that fair city in the late summer of 1415. You can watch the whole thing, including Sir Kenneth's famous rendition of Henry's 'Band of Brothers' speech:



in the 1989 flick. But we wander ...

12/16/14

The Trillion Dollar Bill and New Philadelphia

Our hard-working CongressCreatures recently 'saved' us all by voting The Trillion Dollar Bill into being.

This will 'keep the government going' (you'll notice I avoided 'keep the goverment working') and will fund the continuing defense of the nation.

This is a serious bit of defense work that was funded by our hard-working CongressCreatures. I sleep more soundly at night, knowing that "rough men" like Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and their accomplices are keeping our nation safe:

"Defense bill has provision for New Philadelphia Illinois’ senators say federal defense legislation includes a request to a study if a national park designation is merited for the New Philadelphia archaeological site in western Illinois.

Congress on Friday sent the defense bill to President Barack Obama.

Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk say the bill includes a provision directing the secretary of the interior to conduct a study on the site. New Philadelphia was plotted in 1836 as the first fully racially integrated community before the Civil War. It is the site of the first town founded and built by a freed slave before the Civil War. The senators say designating it as part of the National Park System would ensure the area is protected. They say agricultural activity threatens some of the site’s architectural features. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield is currently the only National Park Service site in Illinois."

 New Philadelphia?

Clearly, this is a top issue in national defense. I understand that the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Heavy Combat Park Rangers Brigade stands ready to kick some serious ass ... but first they seem to be scheduled to train elements of the 4th Infantry Division in keeping tourists from feeding the squirrels. Waydago, you bozos. Oink oink.

12/14/14

"A white rage ..."

Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein ... and their accomplices ... are engaging in a great deal of self-righteous scrambling for 'the moral high ground' as the report on the CIA's 'enhanced interrogation techniques' and other behaviors comes to the fore.

They are shocked, shocked, they tell us.

They are, in fact, cowards, and their posturing and pandering is the epitome of cowardice.

Pelosi knew ... and did not object

"It burns with a white rage against societies as a whole, from military leaders and chiefs of state to comfortable civilians in easy chairs, who send rough men out to serve their interests brutally, murderously, and then—when circumstances change and in the exquisite safety and fastidiousness of their living rooms they suddenly find these rough men’s actions repugnant—disown them."

1981 May, Commentary, “The Uniforms That Guard Us” by Richard Grenier, Start Page 73, Quote Page 76, Volume 71, Number 5, American Jewish Committee, New York. (Verified on paper)

12/12/14

Toy Guns and Circling the wagons

If you haven't seen the report on the DoJ investigation of Cleveland PD, you can get it here:

Investigation of the Cleveland Division of Police

In the summary of findings, there is this: "The employment of poor and dangerous tactics that place officers in situations where avoidable force become inevitable and places officers and civilians at unnecessary risk."

I think that would be more correctly written as "... where use of force that would otherwise be avoidable becomes inevitable ..." but I ain't one a them there edjimikated US attorneys.

This is precisely what happened with the shooting of that kid who had the toy gun. In the video, we see the patrol car come ripping right up to the pavilion where the kid is, putting the passenger cop right on top of a 'person with a gun'. So as the cop is looking out the window, he sees this guy/kid with what looks like a real gat, right there within a few feet. So the cop comes out a-shootin', which is actually a fairly rational behavior under those circumstances.

The police car rolls up at 2:21.


Toy gun that looks real; real gun that isn't loaded ... how does the cop know, and do we really expect him to wait for the first shot? The problem here, based on what we see, is either training, or supervision, or both. They either were not trained on how to respond to a call like that, or they were, and for whatever reason it didn't take, in which case where is the adult leadership and supervision?

So we have a dead kid, a community in an uproar, a cop twisting in the wind ... and police administrators and politicians running for cover, circling the wagons, and pointing fingers in all directions, which is all too often what they do best.

But this time ... we have the DoJ report, and not only that, but the report cites another investigation ten years ago, same 'issues,' and asking, 'was anything done about that?"

Have fun with them there wagons, boys, up there in police HQ and the mayoral palace. I think them Injuns is about to overrun y'all.

12/11/14

The Moral High Ground

I have been watching the various media maggots going on in breathless outrage over the Senate findings regarding 'enhanced interrogation' by the CIA.

I also listened to John McCain's views, and why he disagrees with the use of 'enhanced interrogation.' I am generally, but not totally, in agreeance with McCain.

It has nothing to do with taking the moral high ground, as we see our Beloved President trying to assume, along with various Congressional slimeballs. I'm not so interested in the moral high ground. It's something else entirely. McCain pointed out, correctly, I think, that 'enhanced interrogation' or 'pressured compliance' has not proven particularly effective in gaining useful information or cooperation. It is difficult to argue this with McCain, considering his personal experiences along these lines. Some dispute that, mostly notably Dick Cheney ... but Brother Dick has a personal stake in it, so there is a large grain of salt to be taken there.

I expect it is an effective measure if applied under such circumstances influencing Samuel L. Jackson's character in 'Rules of Engagement,' an action with which I would be in complete agreeance.



I think perhaps much less so when in a prison or some other holding environment, trying to beat info out of someone. I think drugs, sleep deprivation, isolation, mind games, that sort of thing, would in the long term be more effective. But then, sleep deprivation is one of the things over which opponents have their knickers in a knot. I'm not really understanding the hoo-hah all that well. It isn't like Sheriff Shawn is beating Otero County residents with rubber hoses in the back cells at the SO. We aren't talking about civilian police and our own people here.

I am not about to forget the 2,977 whose only sin was going to work on September 11th, and for those whose only "moral imperative" that day was to turn and perish in the fire or step out of the window, or who were crushed into oblivion in the collapsing towers, along with those who tried to save them. Nor those who have perished before or since ... be they the Marines in Beirut, or poor terrified souls having their heads sawn off by some spawn of Satan.

Generally, screw (I have a more colorful term in mind) those who would murder us, who would destroy us and our families. It isn't a matter of taking the moral high ground. It's a matter of getting the best, and the most, information that can be used to kill more of them.

A sidenote for Our Beloved President: It's difficult to occupy the moral high ground when you are known throughout the world as "The Drone President."

How do ya like the double meaning in that one.

Toy guns

Guaranteeing that every 'gun of color' is a toy gun:


12/10/14

All that glitters ...

Glendale, AZ, has an annual bit of festivity they call 'Glendale Glitters.'

Here is a the link to Glendale Glitters imagery on Google:

Glendale Glitters images

We've been there. It's quite enjoyable. Festive. Wouldn't this be a nice look for the Santa Fe Plaza? Especially if we could get a couple of stores to stay open?

We really like Glendale Glitters. They have shops, restaurants ,etc open all around the square, and back a block or two. Sadly, many of the doo-dad shops sell a bunch of Chinese crap, but there is still a good selection of local goods. The restaurants and coffee shops are generally quite good.

Note there are no tumbleweed trees.

The Anthem Christmas tree is another favorite, especially for the kids. You can't miss it as you come into Phoenix from the north, on I-17.

The Anthem Christmas Tree

I don't suppose we need a 112 foot tree, but a 'real' tree of some size down yonder at Santa Fe Plaza would be nice, don't you agree?

If Our Beloved President can speechify whilst lighting the national tree ... I would think local politicians would leap at a similar chance on a local scale.

But we aren't looking at that. We have a bug up our butts over a tumbleweeds Christmas tree.

I suppose a tumbleweeds Christmas tree would be a bit of a novelty in the urban setting, but personally, I see a tumbleweed tree, here in an agricultural community on the high plains, as incredibly poorly advised.

But if we are going to be the laughingstock of every rancher and farmer between here and the Nebraska line ... let's do it right. Let's include some Russian olives (bare branches decorate well, as we see in Glendale Glitters) and tamarisk along with the tumbleweeds tree. That way, we can have three of the most noxious water-wasting weeds in the state, on which millions of tax dollars are spent every year for eradication and control, representing our commitment to conserving our water and protecting and preserving our shortgrass prairie. The rest of eastern Colorado - except for recently arrived transplants from California or the east coast, and locals who have taken complete leave of their senses - can ROTF LTAO at us, along with the goofs who buy this stuff:

Organic Montana medium tumbleweed

Note how the sale is pitched to appeal to the urban drone. How about that 'organic?' Is that a nice touch, or what. Me, I'd add that it was a non-GMO item as well.

But that's just me. And Leece. And what do we know. Other than we're going to start collecting tumbleweeds and sell them to clueless urban hipsters. With free shipping, of course.

For a nominal charge, Leece will even throw in a crocheted prairie dog spare toilet paper roll cover. Very rustic.

12/5/14

Mr. Majestyk Park

So, after all these years, and all those trips passing by, we finally did it.

We found ourselves standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.

Winslow is cashing in on 'Take it Easy,' with their Standing on the Corner Park.

Here are a few shots:





It's the girl, my Lord, with her flatbed Ford!


From the website:

Now you can stand on the corner in historic downtown Winslow, like thousands of people do every year, and have your picture taken at the Standin' on the Corner Park. The park features the artwork of muralist John Pugh and sculptor Ron Adamson.

And thousands of people, who would otherwise get their gas, grits, and coffee at the Flying J at Exit 255 and hie on down the Interstate, are moved to stop in downtown Winslow to get a selfie. There are several businesses, including a couple of restaurants, right around the park; the smell of sausage and bacon and pancakes wafting down the street is a pretty big draw ...

So ... if Winslow Arizona can cash in on the Eagles - you really would not believe the steady flow of picture takers on that corner - why can't The Smile Hi do the same with its own moment of Filmdom Fame? Why not have a sculpture of Charles Bronson standing next to that pile of welded together farm scraps, and name the old Kit Carson site "Mr. Majestyk Park" and on Early Settlers' Day, have a shootout on Colorado in front of the post office? If Royal Gorge can have Old West gunfights, pulling in tourists by the hundreds, if not thousands, can't we have a bit of excitement, too?




Starting at 1:03, you will see some quick views of the famous shootout at 4th and Colorado, in front of the post office.

Who is Charles Bronson? Bronson was, at one time, the most famous American actor in the world. Not the US, but the rest of the world. Here is an excerpt from Roger Ebert's interview with Bronson, at the old Capri:

Charles Bronson is said to be the world's most popular movie star. Not America's. He will grant you Robert Redford in America. But in the world it is Charles Bronson. There is a sign in Japan, his publicist says, that displays Bronson's name a block long ...

and here is the entire interview:

"It's just that I don't like to talk very much"

But wait! There's more!

"[Bronson] knew that I was in La Junta to interview him. What other mission would have drawn me to the cantaloupe capital of Colorado, where Bronson was shooting "Mr. Majestyk," a movie about a melon farmer with union troubles?"

Indeed. And if that worked for Roger Ebert, then what about the multitudes who pass through and by what should be "Mr. Majestyk Park," who could be ... should be ... stopping off to snap selfies in front of the famous post office, and snuffle at the Copper Kitchen? And perhaps visit the re-born Capri?

The movie was pure '70's Bronson. The acting was not great, but it's better than you will find in "Criminal Minds" or "NCIS" or other such pap. I loved the shoot out scene in front of the post office. There are still people in town today who remember that scene being shot. Some of them didn't realize at first that it was part of a movie. And how about when Jim Brooks, who was an LJPD officer back in that time frame, escorted Bronson into the old PD entrance, back before the extension, when the antenna mast was still in the parking lot along with that red fire thingie from the old Hoser days. Brooksie was wearing an OCSO uniform, though, complete with an Eberly Cowboy Hat.

My favorite Bronson flicks include Breakheart Pass (based on the Alistair MacLean novel); The Magnificent Seven; The Great Escape; The Dirty Dozen; and Death Hunt. That last one is noteworthy for the display of so many of the world's finest rifles. From a review:

As in a Western, the characters are larger than life. But the setting is a more recent (and colder) frontier. Here you can see the full array of leverguns at their finest, from Winchesters long and short to the Savage 99 Bronson's sourdough makes sing. You can also see a mix of single and double barrel scatterguns, sporterized SMLE's and Marvin's sporterized Krag. All very realistic and in keeping with the arms of the interwar northern frontier. The scene where Bronson rises from the ashes of his cabin and fan fires a trench gun into the posse is on par with John Wayne in "True Grit"

But we wander afield. The point is that Charles Bronson was one of America's great actors, and he filmed one of his cultiest of cult flicks right here in the Smile Hi, right in the middle of downtown La Junta.

So why not, a "Mr. Majestyk" Park?

What the hey ... the arts and crafts crowd could even set up their tumbleweeds tree there.

9/20/14

"So help me God ..."

USAF has once again stepped on its pecker over religion. It wasn't enough that they got their heads handed to them over the forced proselytizing and abuse of 'non-Christian' or 'improperly Christian' cadets up at USAFA ... so back in October 2013 they changed the manner of administering the oath of enlistment to *require* troops to include 'so help me God.'

The oaths of enlistment and commissioning are defined in the US Code, and they both include the phrase 'so help me God' at the end.

The problem with that, is the existence of the US Constitution, which explicitly states that "...  but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." 

It seems somewhat contradictory that an oath to protect and defend the Constitution would actually violate the Constitution, but it does ... or at least, it would, were it actually required of oath-takers to include that 'so help me God' phrase.

Until USAF got another evangelical bug up its ass, it has never been required of any oath-taker to actually include that phrase. So the conflict between the US Code and the Constitution has never really gotten out of hand. Many, possibly most, do include the oath. But many choose not to, and that is - according to the Constitution they are swearing to protect and defend - their right. It is not up to the Air Staff to decide otherwise.

A good many of the 'Christian' Right have a bug up *their* asses over the shocking revelation (as opposed to Revelation) that there are not only people who don't recite the phrase, and who not only refuse adamantly to do so, but who are willing to make a huge stink over being required to include it.

They need to get over it. It should suffice that a person be willing to serve the nation, and if necessary, bleed for it, and quite possibly die for it. Anything else is so much BS, and rather than express their self-righteous prickishness, they should simply be glad there are those willing to serve.

The old saw that 'there are no atheists in foxholes' is also so much BS. Staunch believers, overwhelmed by the butchery and destruction of warfare, have asked, "What kind of God allows this?" and not receiving any coherent answers from God's professionals, cease believing. OTOH, others, cowering (even the bravest will cower under the right conditions; it is what they do in spite of the cowering that makes them 'the bravest') in their foxholes whilst the (insert enemy of choice) blasts the landscape around them to a blood-soaked shambles, choose to allow God's embrace. All of that has nothing to do with the oath of enlistment. You'll note that it is a matter of personal choice and conviction, not something mandated by a pompous ass in a blue uniform.

So the Religious Right has once again completely missed the boat in their rants, raves, and shock and dismay.

Meanwhile, our national cemeteries continue to include not just those deemed acceptable by the Religious Right, but all who have served and died for us. The VA has several dozen different markers for the various faiths and non-faiths. You will find them all in one cemetery or another.

God bless the Armed Forces of the United States, and *all* who serve in them.

8/27/14

Facts can be troublesome things

Does anyone remember Detective Melvin Santiago? He was a Jersey City police officer who was shot to death just a month ago, on July 13th. Santiago was white. His killer, Lawrence Campbell, was black. Does anyone recall Obama appearing before national television and calling for justice for Officer Santiago's family? Does anyone recall Eric Holder rushing to Jersey City to see that justice was done?

How about Officer Jeffrey Westerfield. He was a Gary, Indiana police officer who was shot to death last month on July 6th. Westerfield was white. His killer, Carl LeEllis Blount, Jr. was black. Where was Obama? Where was Holder?

Or Officer Perry Renn? He was an Indianapolis, Indiana police officer who was shot to death just last month on July 5th, the day before Officer Westerfield was killed. Officer Renn was white. His killer, Major Davis, was black. I don't recall any mention by Obama about the untimely death of Officer Renn. And, I doubt that Eric Holder rushed to Indianapolis to make sure justice was done. Or, maybe I just missed it.

Vermillion Parish Deputy Sheriff Allen Bares was gunned down by two men just last June 23rd in Louisiana. Deputy Bares was white. His two killers, Quintlan Richard and Baylon Taylor, were black. Was Obama outraged? Did Eric Holder rush to Louisiana to make sure that the family of Deputy Bares found justice?

In Killeen, TX, Detective Charles Dinwiddie of the Killeen Police Department was murdered by Marvin Lewis Guy, a black male. Officer Dinwiddie was white. This happened on May 11th, just over two months ago. I don't even recall seeing anything about that on the news. Certainly, the white citizens in Killeen didn't take to the streets to loot and burn businesses. Again, I don't recall any mention by Obama or Holder.

Then, there is Officer Kevin Jordan of the Griffin, Georgia Police Department. He was gunned down just two months ago on May 31st. Officer Jordan was black. His killer, Michael Bowman, was white. This was a white man murdering a black police officer. Where was Jesse Jackson? Where was "The Reverend" Al Sharpton? Was there looting and burning on the streets of Griffin, Georgia? No. In fact, I don't recall hearing about this one in the news, as well. Why? You can draw your own conclusions.

Over the past 60 days, there have been five reported deaths of police officers by gunshot in the US. Of those, four were white officers who were murdered by black men. Blacks complain that white officers threaten black men more aggressively on the street. You can draw your own conclusions on that one, as well.

8/20/14

Jay Nixon: A shameful excuse for a governor

John Darkow, who does political cartoons, most of which are spot on and some of which are less so, has a pretty good one here:


There is a certain truth to Maslow's observation, which is why adult leadership and supervision is helpful.

That is not always available. In 1965, Barney had his one bullet, and Andy was providing the adult supervision, and doing a pretty good job of it. Then ... by 1968, it was quite apparent that neither Andy nor Barney, with his one bullet, was up to the job of keeping the peace, and neither were many metro PD's - anyone recall the Chicago riots in April '68, and again at DNC in Chicago in 1968? Now there are some examples of po-po thuggery that would curl Cap'n Ron's toes.

 How about the rest of that Long Hot Summer in over 100 cities nationwide?

By then, the militarization had begun. It got a good jolt again with the Clinton 'Crime Bill' and something like $5 billion injected into local PD budgets, and again with all that free money from the Department of Homeland Security.

The funding for all of these 'toys' does not come out of thin air. Budgets are approved by governing bodies. So the 'militarization' that suddenly seems so onerous is directly attributable to elected officials ... representatives of The People. If The People don't like this 'militarization' all they have to do is look to themselves.

In the immortal words of Bobby Kennedy: "Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on."

American society would seem to be hoist by its own petard.

But wait! There's more ... Missouri's governor, Jay Nixon, has been ranting about how 'thunderstruck' he is over how 'militarized' the police in Ferguson have become. He says the Ferguson police were 'aggressive.' And he continues to be 'thunderstruck.'

Nixon speaks with a forked tongue. Clearly the man is frightened out of his wits over the uproar in Ferguson. Whether that is over the violence being done in the streets, or over the damage to his political career seems unclear, but my money is on the latter.

Nixon is so busy throwing the Ferguson cops under the bus - Nixon, along with his henchman Cap'n Roy, who has lost no opportunity to do the same -  that he has conveniently overlooked his role in this 'militarization.'

‘Thunderstruck?’: Missouri Governor Helped Ferguson Get Surplus Military Equipment

Nixon thought he was getting a good deal. The cops got the 'toys' they wanted, and Nixon's administration didn't have to pay for them.

Now, Nixon is doing more 'buck-pedaling' than our own Ken Buck.

Worse, he is now calling for 'vigorous' prosecution in the Ferguson shooting. He has no idea what really happened there, yet he is essentially calling for a lynching of the police officer.

It's a shameful display, by a shameful excuse for a governor. A pathetic little excuse for a man.