12/30/06

Shopping local

Thursday I stopped by Checker auto supply and asked for one of those repair manuals for a late model Chevrolet van.

No joy.

The young fellow with whom I chatted told me they didn't have one, and he didn't see it listed as something he could get. So sorry. No real interest in doing some followup to see why it wasn't listed, since it's a real common repair manual.

So I came home and went to www.bn.com, found both Haynes and Chilton's manuals for the van, and ordered one of those.

Within a couple of hours I had an email confirming the order and advising that it would shipping within 24 hours. Free shipping, too. And with the 10% membership discount.

There are days I don't even think about shopping local; it isn't worth the hassle of driving or riding the bike over to the store only to be told that nope, we don't have it, but maybe we can order it for you. There's a couple of local stores I'll try first, for some things, but generally, it just isn't worth it.

Shoot. I can order it myself faster and have it here pretty quick, and not have to waste the time in having someone tell me nope, we don't have it.

The thing is, I'm not unique in this respect. In other words, it isn't just me being a curmudgeonly old fart. It's a customer service reaction, and it applies across the consumer board.

12/28/06

The 7 (Mostly Funny) Wal-Mart Objections

This is a good article from Voice of San Diego, written by Gary Sutton. The article may be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/y4pe44

+++++++++++++

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006 One question has been bothering me: Why would a City Council talk up "affordable housing" while endorsing "unaffordable groceries?"

Banning Wal-Mart's Supercenters in San Diego adds a hardship to lower-income residents. It reduces sales-tax revenues. And there's a loss of new jobs.

History shows what the big box stores do.

Remember when Barnes & Noble came to town? Book selections grew and prices dropped. Some small bookstores disappeared while the public went for better value. Borders came along to provide competition, soon followed by Amazon.com. More books sold.

A generation earlier, Waldenbooks and B. Dalton had opened up smaller stores in convenient mall locations, capturing new readers and causing trouble for the less accessible outlets. Waldenbooks and B. Dalton seized one third of the total business, but within two decades, they both became victims of the "big boxes." It's only natural, this thing called progress.

Those little bookstore owners, of course, never coughed up campaign contributions. Therefore, our City Council watched the giant bookstores takeover.

A&P started this whole thing in groceries. Safeway, Ralphs and Vons emerged to doom the friendly corner butcher and his aging meat. And life got better. But those grocers became unionized, so your average food checker now makes more than your average food checkee.

What's behind this outrage against Wal-Mart? It beats me. So I interviewed several local protesters. They expressed seven objections:



Small businesses are destroyed

Parking problems are created

Employees don't get enough health benefits

The buildings are ugly

They don't pay employees well

When Wal-Mart's are abandoned they go empty and breed crime

The stores turn people into non-thinking conformists

Let's examine their criticisms.

Yes, some small businesses are displaced.
As a once-in-awhile author, I notice that my latest book sells today for $21 at Warwicks and requires a special order, is in stock for $16 at Barnes & Noble while Amazon.com promises same day shipment for $7. (But you better buy another book to get Amazon's free delivery.) Warwicks should survive because it's convenient for enough locals and some prefer the coziness. But not the masses. So smaller businesses suffer, and they suffer because their choices, prices or locations suck. The consumer wins.

Parking problems are created.
Duh. While the city decides how many spots each building must provide, low prices do bring crowds and I've cheerfully parked on Morena Boulevard just to get inside COSTCO Wholesale many a time. This is a pretty weak argument against Wal-Mart, and to the degree it may be true, it only proves how ferverently customers like their lower prices.

Wal-Mart doesn't give its employees adequate health benefits, and this creates expenses for society.
On a huge scale, this falls into the "healthcare crisis" we're told we're suffering from. But since 1975 the average lifespan of all US citizens has gone from 73 years to 78 years. That trend's been happening for decades. With everybody.

That's why life insurance premiums have dropped. Everybody's living longer. White women live longest, but their longevity is growing the slowest. Black males die the soonest, but their life spans are increasing fastest. While wailing about the ER's being impacted by so many uninsured patients, the wailers forget that this, by itself, is universal healthcare. It's just not called that.

That's the big picture. Looking closer, Wal-Mart doesn't give benefits to match their shrinking competitors, like Sears and K-Mart. (You older readers might remember when Sears was viewed as the evil predator.) Sears and K-Mart, of course, are shrinking today because they can't offer competitive pricing. And switching industries, McDonalds doesn't lavish the benefits on their employees the way Starbucks boasts about.

But a curious thing's happening everywhere. General Motors, several years ago, didn't talk about cars or sales in the first few pages of their annual report. General Motors preached about the need for our government to provide universal healthcare. Why? That way, you and I, the taxpayers, pick up the tab for all those promises General Motors made to employees and didn't budget for.

And the CEO of Starbucks is already making speeches about the need for universal healthcare as his business becomes closer to a mass market item. Anytime you hear a corporate leader arguing for more government, which is a strange phenomena in any circumstance, remember that this "compassion" often intends to reach into your pocket instead of his.

Wal-Marts are eyesores.
There's no way to call any Wal-Mart pretty. Neither are Home Depots, Ikeas, Lowes or my favorite, COSTCO. These stores are pretty inside, for the values and choices they offer. Outside? Butt-ugly.

Wal-Mart underpays their employees.
Maybe. Maybe not. Just don't tell that to the lines of job applicants Wal-Mart gets when they're hiring. Do you suppose all those people are seeking lower wages and worse conditions? Remember how Ted Kennedy was reduced to incoherent blubbering when the CEO of Wal-Mart endorsed his proposal to raise the minimum wage?

Poor Teddy buys his suits at Barneys, hangs out in his Hyannis, Martha's Vineyard and Palm Beach enclaves without realizing that Wal-Mart's primary competitors, smaller businesses, pay worse. Raising the minimum wage would wipe out Wal-Mart's competition. Liberals despise efficiency, so this argument shall be rephrased.

Wal-Mart abandons buildings, which turn into ghettoes.
If you do some digging, you'll find several organizations promoting this idea, without giving a list of examples. Their contorted logic says that it's bad when Wal-Mart arrives and it's bad when Wal-Mart leaves. Make up your minds! And the thought that a profit-making enterprise sits on unused assets is another stretch. By the way, it's Sears and K-Mart, with their generous benefits, that are firing employees, closing stores and peddling products that cannot be called bargains.

Wal-Mart encourages conformity.
Oh please. If low prices are conformity, put me in a mold. We're talking economics and survival here -- and there's a snobbishness that proves these critics don't understand how tough life is for the guy who washes their car, the woman cleaning the offices and the kid bussing dishes.

Everybody has biases. Mine are that I've only entered a Wal-Mart twice in my life but have been a Price Club and COSTCO Wholesale devotee for decades. I breakfast once a week or more at a Starbucks but haven't eaten an egg McMuffin for years. When possible I use Trader Joe's or Henry's but find Vons to be indispensable for selection when planning meals.

While not eating at McDonalds, it's nice to know that they provide value for many and give kids their first lesson on work habits, like showing up on time and washing their hands, without benefits and having huge turnover. It's better stuff than they learn at school. And the Starbucks cranberry and orange scone, hardly healthier than the McBreakfast offerings, has an ambience I prefer with employees who have such great benefits you've got to know it won't last. Their CEO has already tipped his hand on that.

To me, Wal-Mart and COSTCO Wholesale occupy different worlds, and both do it well. Right now Wal-Mart has twelve men's watches on sale at prices ranging from $41 to $159. COSTCO has four men's watches on display for over $5000; way beyond my budget. Wal-Mart takes credit cards but COSTCO, a true bargain place that's somehow snootier, only accepts American Express.

And COSTCO probably pays 50 percent more per hour and has longer term employees with better health benefits.

You've got to like what the founders of both outfits have done. Sol Price dumps money into City Heights, trying to improve a neighborhood. The Walton family financed Harborside School, giving San Diego inner city kids a choice. (Choice: there's a word unions hate.)

As a Price Club/COSTCO loyalist, I've enjoyed walking those aisles for decades. Once I needed some WD-40, found it at the Price Club, in something that seemed like a fifty gallon drum -- three packed -- and got a deal but felt like a distributor. But I'm happy and love the place.

Most years, with a consumer membership, I pay sales tax. There have been times, in small businesses, when we've used that membership to duck some sales taxes at COSTCO.

Wal-Mart paid California state and local taxes, both sales and property, of $923,000,000 last year. Apparently our City Council doesn't want any more of that revenue.

My two, count 'em, visits to Wal-Mart both took place this year. They might be interesting to those folks who harbor strong opinions about Wal-Mart, but don't lower themselves to observing.

Last fall, the teacher's unions urged their members to boycott Wal-Mart when buying school supplies. This struck me as strange, so I shopped Wal-Mart, Target, Sav-On and Staples for #2 lead pencils with erasers. For some reason I didn't hit COSTCO. The average price per pencil at the other stores came in just above a dime. The price at Wal-Mart, for what appeared to be the same pencil, was a nickel.

(While inside Wal-Mart for that virginal experience, I noticed a collapsible beach chair, similar to what I'd just purchased from REI for $59. The Wal-Mart price was $19. Hmm.)

Doing some quick math, it appeared that if our teachers followed the union mandate, schoolchildren would get half as many pencils, or, the schools would shell out an additional $8,550,000 nationwide just for pencils. Imagine what notebooks would add. Or crayons.

So when our television expired last month, we scurried over to our favored place, COSTCO. We saw high-definition, thin-screened stuff everywhere, with terrific pricing. One embarrassment is that our eyesight doesn't entirely appreciate what these screens deliver.

The cheapest cost $600.

On impulse, we decided to see what Wal-Mart had, knowing that not much is being broadcast yet in high definition, and, that our cable outfit charges extra for this sometimes-available service. So we put on dark glasses, glanced around the parking lot to make sure nobody we knew could see us and stepped inside a Wal-Mart. We found a conventional TV, with a screen larger than the cheapest COSTCO model for $200.

We bought it and snuck out.

Please, can this remain our secret?

The set will probably become a donation to the Salvation Army in a year or two, after the high def stuff gets sorted out, and prices plunge further.

We're sticking with COSTCO and Starbucks. We're mixing it up with Vons and Trader Joes, with Barnes & Noble and Warwicks. But we're not being so uppity that we think the real workers of our city should be deprived of a Wal-Mart Supercenter, just because the unions and the City Council say so. That's elitism to the extreme.

If you want to sample what union dictates can do for a city, visit Detroit. The unemployment rate there is 7.5 percent compared to our 3.9 percent. Detroit suffers 1,251 violent crimes annually for every 100,000 citizens, leading the nation while San Diego sits at a 469 rate per 100,000. Take an entire country, like Germany, where the social improvements have been mandated nationwide and unemployment just passed 12%.

We have a neighbor who moved here from Detroit. When I asked how bad a beating they were taking on their house sale there, he winced.

"I'll let you know if I ever get an offer," he said. "We'll take any price."

Hey, unions can help create affordable housing after all. Wanna live in Detroit?

Gary Sutton is a retired CEO. He is the author of "Corporate Canaries?Avoid Business Disasters with a Coal Miner's Secrets."

12/21/06

Christ is back in Christmas?

OK...here we are, a few days before Christmas. The Salvation Army is out there in front of Walmart, and Walmart employees have been authorized to use the "C" word in greeting customers.

You will actually receive a 'Merry Christmas' from Walmart employees.

Like, wowsers, dude.

"Christians" everywhere are congratulating themselves for having moved America's Favorite Place to Shop to put Christ back in Christmas.

However...

"Christians" are the ones who have had more to do with removing Christ from Christmas than any of the most rabid leftie moonbats.

Tell me, if you will, what this insane spending spree that constitutes "The Christmas Season" has to do with Christ? It's a mad splurge of hedonistic materialism. It has nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas, whatever that might be at the dawn of this, the Third Millennium.

Yet "Christians", swarming through Walmart and the malls, wielding credit cards like swords of God-like vengeance, take smug self-satisfaction in having put Christ back in Christmas.

They have not. The almighty dollar has put something back in the season, but I don't think it has anything to do with Christ.

It has to do with which stridently vocal group has managed to threaten the most economically disruptive boycott.

It has nothing to do with Christ.

The madcap spending sprees continue. Sometime over the weekend, some "Christians" may take a few minutes, an hour or so, and go to church. And after that, they will go back to roll in the swag, putting Christ aside in favor of the latest bit of technology or the latest bit of fashion.

There is a difference between "Christ-like" and "Christian".

That's what it has come down to.

Whose fault is that? The leftie liberal moonbats and the ACLU?

Jesus wept.

12/20/06

Principalities and Powers: The Rape of Europe

Islamofascist apologists won't like this one:

The Rape of Europe

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1609

An excerpt:

The German author Henryk M. Broder recently told the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (12 October) that young Europeans who love freedom, better emigrate. Europe as we know it will no longer exist 20 years from now. Whilst sitting on a terrace in Berlin, Broder pointed to the other customers and the passers-by and said melancholically: "We are watching the world of yesterday."

Yep. And today, Al Zarwahiri, the second-in-command of Al Qaeda, told Muslims in general and the Palestinians in particular that any way other than 'holy war' was the wrong way:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,237678,00.html

"...He attacked Abbas' proposal to hold early elections to resolve the increasingly violent rivalry between his moderate Fatah party and the militant Hamas movement, which dominates the parliament. The situation has degenerated to daily gunbattles in the streets of Gaza.

In the clips broadcast by Al-Jazeera, al-Zawahiri did not say how the two parties should settle their dispute, but he scoffed at elections, saying: "Any way other than holy war, will lead us only to loss and defeat."

And here is a good spoof of James Baker and the ISG (Iraqi Study Group)findings:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w77sLtz754

See also:

http://tinyurl.com/ymbg5y

12/18/06

Economic development dustup in Pueblo

They're going at it again over in Pueblo, over the latest GEO scheme to start up a private prison there.

It involves a bit of conflict of interest, the stink of corruption, the usual greed and avarice and the presumption that the taxpayers are stupid beyond belief.

The article is here:

http://www.chieftain.com/editorial/1166451014/1

Here is a good little excerpt:

"State Rep. Buffie McFadyen of Pueblo West had requested the audit, which found that a former state director of prisons, who turned out to be Nolin Renfrow, was helping GEO to get a contract for a private prison in Weld County while he still was employed by the state.

Mr. Renfrow's commission from that deal would have been $1 million, according to the audit. The egregious conflict of interest reportedly took place when Mr. Renfrow was cashing in on unused state vacation and sick leave.

"Neither the department (of Corrections) nor the former employee provided evidence that (Renfrow) received the express consent of his attending physician or appointing authority to engage in outside work activities," the audit said. "As a result, we question (his) use of about 240 hours of paid sick leave benefits valued at about $14,000." "

and another:

"GEO wanted the guarantee to secure tax-exempt bond financing for construction. There was even talk about the city of Pueblo issuing the bonds. Outrageous!"

Outrageous? Sure it is. But do you remember that theater group trying to weasel the city's reserve funds into backing a theater downtown? Remember that? Despite the fact that there was absolutely no indication that such a business was viable? Despite the fact that all economic pointers showed that the theater industry is not doing well-a fact that hasn't changed. Speaking of which, Tinseltown has raised the prices on popcorn, drinks, and other snacks. Yep.

That theater over in Rocky Ford may not have the greatest facilities, but the price is right, you don't get screwed at the concession stand, and the people running it are a lot friendlier. Yep, they only do one flick at a time, but they're making it work, and it works quite well. At least it did last time we were there, which wasn't all that long ago.

But we wander afield...we were talking about the prison project in Pueblo.

Then we have this:

"Last week, Joe Ortiz, director of the Department of Corrections, notified GEO that the state has rescinded the Pueblo contract."

Question is, why did it take Buffy to root this out? Where was Joe while Nolin was pulling this little scheme? Who else was involved? Is there any fallout over this, or is it 'bidness as usual' over in DoC?

Good thing ol' Buffy was on the ball on this one. Otherwise, the taxpayers would be funding another one of those private prison lashups and lining the various pockets in the process.

Waydago, Buffy!

12/15/06

Wreaths Across America




Every December for the past 15 years, Morrill Worcester, owner of one of the world's largest holiday wreath companies, has taken time in the midst of his busiest season to haul a truckload of wreaths to Arlington from his small Downeast Maine town of Harrington.
For years, he and a small band of volunteers laid the wreaths in virtual obscurity. But in the last 12 months that has changed, thanks to a dusting of snow last year at the cemetery, an evocative photograph, a sentimental poem and a chain e-mail. And this year, Worcester went national. A new program, "Wreaths Across America," shipped a total of about 1,300 wreaths to more than 200 national cemeteries and vets' memorials in all 50 states.

Worcester, 56, says he wants to help Americans remember and honor deceased military veterans, particularly at Christmas, when they're missed most. On the Wreaths Across America website, he makes this comment: "When people hear about what we're doing, they want to know if I'm a veteran. I'm not. But I make it my business never to forget."

On Thursday he looked at the crowd of volunteers — five times as many as last year's — and said, "I didn't realize there were this many people that felt like I do."

The tradition grew slowly. Every year there were a few more volunteers in Harrington to load the truck and a few more in Arlington to lay the wreaths. Every January there'd be a few more calls, e-mails or letters. Worcester says that apart from a newspaper story here and a broadcast report there, "it was almost a private thing."
Until December 2005.

When the day was almost over and all the wreaths had been laid, it started to snow. Around the same time, an Air Force news photographer covering the event went back for a final picture before heading back to the Pentagon.

Master Sgt. James Varhegyi had shot hundred of images that morning. In accordance with photojournalistic convention, almost all had people in them.

But this time Varhegyi took a picture that had no people, just rows of graves, decorated with bowed wreaths, on snowy ground. White, green, red — the colors of Christmas. He didn't think it was anything special.

When the Worcesters returned to Harrington, things quieted down as usual after Christmas. Except that instead of declining in January, the appreciative calls and e-mails began to increase.

Varhegyi's photo had been posted on an Air Force website, from which someone — the Worcesters don't know who — had lifted it, put it in an e-mail, and added a poem:

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell …

"Please share this with everyone on your address list," the e-mail read. "You hear too much about the bad things people do. Everyone should hear about this."

The e-mail became an Internet sensation. It spread like a virus, so far and so fast that Snopes.com, a website devoted to exploring myths and rumors, investigated and confirmed its existence.

More and more people contacted Worcester Wreath Co. with questions, thanks and requests. By February, the company was getting 30 to 40 e-mails a day. People sent checks, which were returned. Company staffers found themselves devoting more and more time to phone calls about the Arlington effort.

One night, Sherry Scott, the office manager, was working late, trying to get caught up, when the phone rang:

"It was an elderly woman from Texas. She says, 'Tell me you're the company that lays the wreaths at Arlington.' When I said we were, there was silence. Then she started crying. She says, 'My Dad's buried at Arlington.' Then I started crying."

12/14/06

The Swift Raids

On Tuesday, Federal agents raided six Swift meatpacking locations and detained over 1200 suspected illegal aliens. The action stemmed from an identity theft investigation.

Some interesting background:

"Immigration officials last month informed Swift that it would remove unauthorized workers on Dec. 4, but Swift asked a federal judge to prevent agents from conducting the raid, arguing it would cause ‘‘substantial and irreparable injury’’ to its business.

The company estimated a raid would remove up to 40 percent of its 13,000 workers."

Doesn't that sound like Swift executives knew they had a large number of illegals working in their plants?

Yet in the same article, we find this:

"In a written statement, President and CEO Sam Rovit said the company never has knowingly hired illegal workers and does not condone the practice."

Sounds to me like Sam is full of the 'internal affairs' of his bovine clients.

But then we have this:

"Swift uses a government pilot program to confirm whether Social Security numbers are valid. Company officials have raised questions about the program’s ability to detect when two people are using the same number."

So what's the deal here?

So far, no Swift execs have been arrested. Yet if they knew they were hiring illegals, as is clearly implied from the preceding excerpts, should they not be arrested?

But what about the gummint program? Sounds like it's in the same league as that masterpiece used by the State of Colorado to manage social services bennies.

Meanwhile, we have all kinds of people missing the point here:

"In Colorado, Garcia worried about the schoolchildren whose parents were arrested at the Swift plant in Greeley.

‘‘Who is going to pick them up?’’ he asked."

Oh, I dunno. Immigration? Then we have this:

"That sense of shock was expressed by Jane Mazur, executive director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Pueblo.

"I couldn't believe the government would make this raid on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is a major holiday for Latino families," Mazur said. "These kinds of raids only destroy families. How would you like to have your kids come home from school to find that you have been jailed and are being deported to Mexico?" "

I suppose if I were an illegal, working illegally in this country, and possessed of an illegal Social Security account, I might reasonably expect to eventually be deported back to Mexico, and that my kids might reasonably expect me to be jailed as well.

I guess the Diocese has no pedophile priests to deal with, so is giving it's attention to protecting other criminals and their illegal activities? Illegal immigration is bad enough. Covering for identity theft is even worse.

http://www.chieftain.com/national/1166119500/1

http://www.chieftain.com/metro/1166120131/1

12/13/06

Iraq Slogger

Here is a new 'clearinghouse' site for news on Iraq:

http://www.iraqslogger.com/

Here is how it came to be:

For the past four years there has been no shortage of news and views on Iraq and the long-running war there. What’s been missing: a one-stop-shopping clearinghouse for nonpartisan information, including material coming out of Iraq itself from natives of that country, not from foreign correspondents.

Now that need is finally being addressed in the form of IraqSlogger, in Beta at www.iraqslogger.com, but due to be officially launched next week. Its director is the former CNN news division chief, Eason Jordan, who quit that post suddenly in 2005 after 23 years with the company. The name of his new venture, he says, was inspired by a Donald Rumsfeld reference to this war being a “long, hard slog.”

The concept, Jordan tells E&P, “grew out of the feeling that I think many people shared that there was no one place to go. Individual news organizations do terrific work but you can spend the better part of a day going from one site to another and one TV outlet to another,” searching for a full picture.

“Iraq is the story of our time,” he declares. His goal for the site is for it to become nothing less than “the world's premier Iraq-focused information source” -- and with no “political slant.”

12/8/06

Then and Now



From Cox and Forkum Political Cartoons

http://www.coxandforkum.com

12/7/06

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

If nothing else, it should serve as a memorial to the end result of appeasement.

Planned Parenthood Redux

Well. We've gotten a few comments on the previous post, same subject.

So far, I haven't heard any comments favorable to the preacher. The general consensus seems to be that he showed up, busted the Chamber's chops, spouted a bit of fire and brimstone, and faded into the woodwork.

Huh. I'd have thought that the preacher would be out there in front of Planned Parenthood, with the courage of his convictions, talking to visitors, telling them about the many things that his church is doing to help those in need, about the adoption net his church has established to place those kids who would otherwise be aborted, to help women through a time of trouble and tribulation.

His church is doing all those things, isn't it?

Some of them?

None of them?

Huh. Well. Back to Planned Parenthood. At least they are doing something besides talk uselessly and posture even more uselessly, even if it isn't the best option by the lights of many people.

12/5/06

Planned Parenthood

Hoodoggie but that minister threw a hissy fit over the Chamber renting space to Planned Parenthood.

Maybe we wouldn't need Planned Parenthood if the churches were doing a better job reaching people. Or reaching out to them.

But too many churches seem to do best at being judgmental, self-righteous, and more interesting in condemning rather than getting out there and wallowing with the unwashed masses, those who most need some real Christian help.

Churches seem to be fond of asking "What would Jesus do?"

Indeed. What would Jesus do? Betcha it wouldn't be just sitting around whining about the Chamber renting a building.

Got an alternative plan of action there, preacher?

12/1/06

Conduct Unbecoming

More on Jim Webb, the Democrat's senator-elect from Virginia. This is an editorial from the Staunton, VA " News-Leader":

http://tinyurl.com/ynae44

Conduct unbecoming

We suppose there will be people who will applaud Democrat Jim Webb, our newly elected senator, for his "courage" and "uncompromising stance" toward President Bush at a recent White House reception for freshman senators.

We'd say it betrays Webb's lack of class and manners and bodes ill for his ability to work with others in Congress.

In case you missed the story, here's the gist of it.

At the private reception, the Democratic senator-elect pointedly avoided being part of a receiving line and photo op with the president. That by itself was somewhat of a social faux pas, but perhaps forgivable. It was the exchange between Webb and Bush that occurred later that concerns us.

Although Webb had ducked the receiving line, he couldn't escape Bush altogether, and the president found him. According to Webb, the president asked, "How's your boy?", referring to Webb's son Jimmy, a Marine on combat duty in Iraq.

Webb said his response to Bush was, "I told him I'd like to get them out of Iraq," to which the president responded, "That's not what I asked. How's your boy?"

"I told him that was between my boy and me," Webb said.

We do not question Webb's depth of belief in his position about the war in Iraq. However there is a time for everything, and this was not the time for Webb to display his disrespect for the president. It would have been more appropriate for Webb to have simply said something along the lines of "He's fine, but I'd rather have him home." You don't have to be "on" all the time,
and displaying some social graces might actually smooth the rough road ahead for Webb if he expects to get anything done with his slim majority.

No matter how much Webb may dislike President Bush and disagree with him about the conduct of the war, Bush is still the president and the commander in chief of the armed forces that Webb's son is a member of. It would not have killed Webb to have been gracious, and it would have reflected better on the rest of us Virginians if our junior senator had behavedappropriately.
It's a sad commentary about the continuing decline of civil discourse in our nation when barely elected officials call the wrong kind of attention to themselves even before taking their oath of office. Webb's behavior was embarrassing, not brave.

Opinions expressed in this feature represent the majority opinion of the newspaper's editorial board, consisting of: Roger Watson, president and publisher; David Fritz, executive editor; Cindy Corell, city editor; Jim McCloskey, editorial cartoonist; Dennis Neal, opinion page editor; and Macon Rich, production director.

More True Colors

Dreadful Democratic Manners
Rich Galen
Friday December 1, 2006

http://www.mullings.com/

 While the President of the United States was in the Middle East doing the business of the free world, the Washington Post ran a front page article about how the next Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, exhibited the kind of manner which would have gotten him beaten up and thrown into the street if he’d done it anywhere but the White House.

 Webb, a Democrat, beat incumbent Republican Senator George Allen by a little over 9,000 votes out of 2.3 MILLION votes cast in the Commonwealth of Virigina.

 According to the Washington Post, the Senator-elect from Virginia went to a reception for newly elected Senators and Congressmen at the White House.

 Keep in mind, Webb didn’t have to go to the White House. He went of his own free will. The Post’s account:

Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

 Keep in mind, Webb’s SON didn’t have to go to Iraq. He joined the Marines of his own free will.

 If Webb wants to start a fight with someone, go over to Rep. Charlie Rangle’s (D-NY) office. He insists he will introduce legislation to reinstitute a draft. If Webb’s son had been drafted, he would have had no choice as to a career path.

 The first question you have to ask yourself is: Why did Senator-elect Webb go to the White House to start with? If he didn’t want to be in the same place at the same time as the President … stay home.

 Also, we only know from the Post account that the President responded as it is written. No sense of whether there was a smile, or a hand-on-shoulder, or dad-to-dad eye-contact.

 I am drawn to this story because the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices and I were invited to the White House for a holiday reception last night.

 We accepted. We did want to get into the receiving line. And we did get our picture taken with the President and the First Lady.

 And we were honored at every step along the way: From having the Secret Service check our names at the front gate, to being handed our color-coded card to get into the reception line, to admiring the Christmas decorations in the rooms on the main floor of the White House, to getting into line and finally being announced to the President and Mrs. Bush for our photo.

 Jim Webb thinks he won the election for Senator from Virginia. He is wrong. Webb got more votes and will be sworn in on January 3, 2007 but he didn’t win that election. George Allen lost the election.

 I didn’t vote for Webb. I voted for Allen. I may have mentioned this before but when it comes to voting, all things being equal, I vote for the Republican. And, when it comes to voting, all things are always equal.

 We have spoken before out the largely fictional “good old days” when Senators battled on the floor and in Committee all day and then shared a bourbon and branch water after dark. Those are the glory days the national press corps pines for.

 I wonder how the national press would have responded to a Republican being publicly ugly to, say, Bill Clinton, at a White House Christmas reception.

 I don’t wonder about that at all. He would have been held up as an example of everything which is wrong with the spiteful GOP.

 My Senator Jim Webb. How embarrassing.

One might argue that the writer is unabashedly Republican, and therefore slanted. OK. He is. However, bad manners are bad manners no matter who writes the story. Google Webb and you'll find that he does indeed tend to be a rude horse's ass.

11/28/06

WIFE

From the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition newsbriefs:

Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) recently adopted a national resolution against the expansion and plans to push it with their other ag agenda items in DC. They frequently go to DC en mass with their red coats and have developed relationships with legislators and lobbyists, I'm told. Here is some more info on WIFE.

Here is an article that was submitted to a newspaper editor for the McCook Daily Gazette by WIFE:

Taking Too Much

http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/1179084.html

McCook Daily Gazette - McCook,NE,USA

An excerpt:

In 1983 the U. S. Government created the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS) in Southeast Colorado. At that time the promise was made that the site would never be expanded.
This year, that same government announced, through the Army at Fort Carson, expansion plans for the PCMS. Instead of taking 250,000 acres like in 1983, the new proposal would extend the site to 2.5 million acres.

The WIFE website:

www.wifeline.com/

11/27/06

The Dems show their true colors

From a retired soldier:

Well, it's not just John Kerry anymore. Now our good friend and resident fan of a return to the draft, Charles Rangel, says that soldiers have no other options but to enlist. I just keep learning more and more about myself from these guys. I learned today that I had no chance at a "decent" career in the civilian world, so I came to West Point and joined the Army instead. Thank goodness that Charley was here to explain the motivation of today's soldiers to me.

What a _____ (fill in the blank with your favorite description of a donkey's rear end).

It would seem that our military is composed of otherwise unemployable morons who are provided the most technologically advanced weaponry available, and trained by other morons to maximize that weaponry's use and effect on the enemy.

Full article at: http://www.nysun.com/article/44138

"If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq," Mr. Rangel, a Democrat representing Manhattan and Queens, said on "Fox News Sunday."

"If there's anyone who believes these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No bright young individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment," the congressman said.

Mr. Rangel was responding to a question about a study by a conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, which found that those enlisting in the military tend to be better educated than the general public and that military recruiting seems to be more successful in middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods than in poor ones.

Mr. Rangel's view is similar to the myth that the Army in the Vietnam war was made up primarily of draftees, and that line units were made up primarily of inner city blacks and poorly educated whites from the rural south. He, like supporters of that view, ignore the facts, the findings of various studies based on empirical evidence.

As the myth about Vietnam is not true, neither is Congressman Rangel anywhere near the truth in his ignorant utterings.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4496

More from the Religion of Peace

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PWIK8YTZS8&eurl=

Except for the Iraqis...

...”We want to see peace, goodwill, and democracy in Iraq.”

“But that didn’t take into account the Iraqis”...

From the French newspapers.

And then we have this:



BAGHDAD, Iraq(AP) Militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi soldiers stood by, and seven Sunni mosques came under attack as Shiites took revenge for the slaughter of 215 people in the Sadr City slum.

With the government trying to avert a civil war, two simultaneous bombings in Tal Afar, in northern Iraq, killed at least 23 people. On Thursday, Sunni-Arab insurgents unleashed bombings and mortar attacks in Sadr City, the deadliest assault since the U.S.-led invasion.

Members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques and several homes while killing 12 other Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood until American forces arrived, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. Gunmen loyal to radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr began taking over the neighborhood this summer and a majority of its Sunni residents already had fled.

The gunmen attacked the four mosques with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and automatic rifles. Residents said the militiamen prevented them from entering the burned buildings to remove the dead, and they and Hussein said Shiite-dominated police and Iraqi military stood idly by.

Later Friday, militiamen raided al-Samarraie Sunni mosque in the el-Amel district and killed two guards, police 1st. Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq said. Two other Sunni mosques in west Baghad also were attacked, police said.

11/22/06

Thankfulness

http://www.michellemalkin.com/

What American journalists should be thankful for

By Michelle Malkin

November 22, 2006 11:05 AM

In between breathless condemnations of the Bush administration for stifling its free speech, endless court filings demanding classified and sensitive information from the military and intelligence agencies, and self-pitying media industry confabs bemoaning their hemorrhaging circulations (with the exception of the New York Post), my colleagues in the American media don't have much to time to give thanks.

Allow me:

Give thanks we don't live in Bangladesh, where you can be put on trial for writing columns supporting Israel and condemning Muslim violence. Just ask Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of Blitz, the largest tabloid English-language weekly in Bangladesh. He is currently facing a sedition trial for speaking out about the threats radical Islam poses in Bangladesh. He has been imprisoned, harassed, beaten, and condemned. In court last week, his persecutors read these charges against him: "By praising the Jews and Christians, by attempting to travel to Israel and by predicting the so-called rise of Islamist millitancy in the country and expressing such through writings inside the country and abroad, you have tried to damage the image and relations of Bangladesh with the outside world." For expressing these dissident opinions, he faces the possibility of execution.

Give thanks we don't live in Egypt, where bloggers have been detained by the government for criticizing Islam and exposing the apathy of Cairo police to sexual harassment of women. Just ask Abdel Karim Suliman Amer, 22, who was arrested earlier this month for "spreading information disruptive of public order", "incitement to hate Muslims" and "defaming the President of the Republic." Ask Rami Siyam, who blogs under the name of Ayyoub, and has been outspoken in his criticism of Egyptian brutality. He was detained this week along with three friends after leaving the house of a fellow blogger. His host, 24-year-old reformist Muslim Muhammad al-Sharqawi, had been detained by the Egyptian government this spring as he left a peaceful demonstration in Cairo where he had displayed a sign reading, "I want my rights." Sharqawi was beaten in prison over several weeks.

Give thanks we don't live in Sudan, where editors can lose their heads for not kowtowing to the government line. Ask the family of Mohammed Taha, editor-in-chief of the Sudanese private daily Al-Wifaq, who was found decapitated on a Khartoum street in September. He had been kidnapped by masked jihadi gunmen. What did Taha do that cost him his life? He insulted Islam, and dared to question Muslim history, the roots of Mohammed, and other Muslims. Before his murder, his paper was shuttered for three months and he was hauled into court for "blasphemy."

Give thanks we don't live in China, the world's leading jailer of journalists and Internet critics. Consider Yang Xiaoqing, jailed for five months because he reported corruption among local officials in the central Hunan province. Or Yang Tianshui, sentenced to 12 years in jail this spring for posting essays on the Internet supporting a movement by exiles to hold free elections. Or Li Yuanlong, a Guizhou reporter for the Bijie Daily jailed for two years on subversion charges because he dared to criticize the ruling Communist Party on foreign websites. Or any of the other 32 journalists and 50-plus bloggers behind bars.

Give thanks we don't live in Lebanon, where outspoken writers pay with their lives. Journalist and Christian Orthodox activist Samir Kassir, who was critical of Syrian involvement in Lebanon, was assassinated in a Beirut car bombing in 2005. His colleague, An-Nahar newspaper manager Gibran Tueni was killed in a car bombing last December. Lebanese TV anchorwoman and Christian journalist May Chidiak survived a separate car bombing last fall, but lost an arm, leg, and use of one eye.

Give thanks we don't live in Russia, where investigative journalists routinely wind up dead. Last month, unreleting reporter and Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya was found shot dead in her apartment. In the days before her death, Politkovskaya had been working on a story about torture in Chechnya, according to her newspaper Novaya Gazeta. She joins a death toll that includes Paul Klebnikov, the U.S.-born editor of the Russian edition of Forbes, who had been investigating the Russian business underworld, and was gunned down outside his Moscow office in 2004; Valery Ivanov, editor of the newspaper Tolyatinskoye Oborzreniye, also shot dead after investigating organized crime and drug trafficking in 2002; and Larisa Yudina, editor of the opposition newspaper Sovetskaya Kalmykia in southern Russia, who was stabbed to death by former government aides.

Give thanks we don't live in Denmark, where the cartoonists who dared to caricature Mohammed and challenge creeping sharia are still in hiding, in fear for their lives.

Give thanks we don't live in Italy, where a spineless judge bowed to jihadists and put famed war journalist Oriana Fallaci on trial for her sharp-tongued critiques of Islam. She succumbed to cancer before they could exact a vengeful penalty against the lioness. But they made the price of "insulting" Islam known far and wide to the cowering Western media.

Give thanks we live in America, land of the free, home of the brave, where the media's elite journalists can leak top-secret information with impunity, win Pulitzer Prizes, cash in on lucrative book deals, routinely insult their readership and viewership, broadcast enemy propaganda, turn a blind eye to the victims of jihad, and cast themselves as oppressed victims on six-figure salaries.

God bless the U.S.A.

More on the promise...or lack thereof...of Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi, soon to be Speaker of the House, would have one and all believe that she is the soul of non-partisanship, the soul of sweet reason.

She is not.

Here is an article from the September 4 issue of Time magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1376213,00.html

and an excerpt:

"Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House, portrays herself as a polite, grandmotherly lady...Don't believe it for a second. Would your grandmother ever say, "If people are ripping your face off, you have to rip their face off" (Pelosi's approach to handling attacks from Republicans)? How about "If you take the knife off the table, it's not very frightening anymore" (her explanation for why she won't let voters forget George W. Bush's unpopular Social Security proposal from last year)?"

And:

"The 66-year-old San Francisco lawmaker is an aggressive, hyperpartisan liberal pol who is the Democrats' version of Tom DeLay, minus the ethical and legal problems of the former Republican House leader."

Minus the ethical and legal problems?

It's Pelosi who backed Murtha, he who stinks of Abscam and a pile of other scandals, the Great Unindicted Co-conspirator, for the Majority Leader position.

It was Pelosi who was slapped down by her colleagues, who refused to support the Sultan of Sleaze.

Huh. Looks like bidness as usual. It's like the closing lines of Animal Farm, when you couldn't tell the difference between pigs and humans.

And this is what is meant by 'taking back the country'?

Here's the latest from Time about Pelosi and her lack of judgment:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1562299,00.html

11/19/06

Pelosi's Promise

There I was, out by the garlic patch, picking up all the trash that had blown into the yard from elseplace. The garlic patch, of course, is in winter mode, but I managed to shake a considerable number of seeds out of the flower pods for use next spring.

"Hey. Hey. Watcha doon?"

"Oh, hey, Billy, I didn't hear you slither up. I'm good. I'm shaking a considerable number of garlic seeds out for use next year. How about you?" I asked our cycling stalwart.

Billy removed his cycling helmet and adjusted the tinfoil liner. That boded ill. He's been remarkably stable of late. He shook out his dreadlocks and wiped some pizza sauce out of his beard.

"Had some pizza this morning, did we?" I observed.

"Naw. I was in Pebler yesterday and stopped in a Little Seezers there by Lowe's."

Ugh. Yesterday's pizza sauce, revisiting today.

"Hey. Hey. Wutcha think about Pelosi and her promise to bring ethical conduct back into the Congress?" Billy asked.

"Hah. I think Pelosi demonstrated a pretty good lack of understanding of ethics, as well as her moonbat mindset, when she backed Murtha for majority leader. That's typical of the leadership in the Democratic party these days. Listen to some of the crap that Howie Dean is coming out with."

"Wasn't Murtha involved in Abscam?"

"Yep. And a bunch of other things as well. He's what you'd call an 'unindicted co-conspirator. That comment he made when the money was on the table, 'I'm not interested...yet...' was enough for me. But apparently in the Democratic Party, you need to be convicted before you are too sleazy, and even then, they'll try to dance around it."

"Ain't the Ree-pubs the same way?" Billy asked.

"Of course they are. At that level, they're almost all political whores. That's the nonsense of it. People run around talking like the Democrats are the Second Coming, when in fact, they are just going to bring a new, and probably far more strident and childish, level of sleaze and slime to the table. Hey. At least the Republicans are professionals at it."

"So you think Murtha is a sleazebag?"

"You betcha. There's enough stink there that I wouldn't trust the man with the key to Dog the Bounty Hunter's chastity belt. I'm not talking about convicting the man; I'm talking about trusting him in a position of considerable responsibility. I mean...dude! would you vote for that kind of guy for a local office? Like...mayor? Or county commish?"

"Huh. Good point." noted Billy, carefully adjusting his tinfoil liner around his ears.

"And it goes straight to Nancy Pelosi's judgment and her own standards of ethical conduct, because she went for the guy. The fact that he got flushed down the toilet on the vote doesn't say much for the confidence of the House in her judgment, does it?"

"No, but it does give a glimmer of hope as to the brains of the rest of 'em, since they did flush him," Billy rather cogently observed.

"Yeah. We'll see how it floats. But Our Nancy is going to provide considerable entertainment over the next couple or more years. She's going to have that 'deer in the headlights' look more than once, I think."

Billy chuckled, rather maniacally I thought. He snugged up his gloves and said, "Hey, dude. I'm outa here. I'm thinking of going down to Port O'Connor and sleeping on the beach for the winter. Have a few at the Hurricane Junction if it's still there. Otherwise, I might just go over to Key West."

"Key West, huh? Well, keep your back to the wall down there, bud."

"Huh?"

"Never mind. C-ya when you get back."

And he pedalled off.

An excerpt from an article in WPO:

"Murtha, a longtime senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, has battled accusations over the years that he has traded federal spending for campaign contributions, that he has abused his post as ranking party member on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, and that he has stood in the way of ethics investigations. Those charges come on top of Murtha's involvement 26 years ago in the FBI's Abscam bribery sting."

The article:

http://tinyurl.com/ydzqpt

11/15/06

The Ineffectiveness of the System

A while back I finally had enough of the Becerra dog's incessant barking.

This mutt lives across the alley from my place. It's penned up all the time. Well, it might occasionally get out of the pen, but I have never seen it happen.

So the dog barks at the sun, the moon, the stars. Squirrels. Cats. Leaves blowing in the wind.

The mutt is a German shepherd. It has a deep, booming bark, and it carries.

I finally had enough of it. So I signed a complaint.

That complaint was paid off. 25 bux.

And the barking continued.

So I signed another complaint.

That one went to pre-trial conference. The outcome? A five dollar fine and 20 dollar court costs.

And the barking continues.

So.

Do I sign another complaint? Or do I just endure the barking?

Obviously the system in place for dealing with these kinds of complaints does not work.

That is why we have such a problem with barking dogs.

But what the hey. We have a pooper scooper ordinance. How many times has it been enforced since it was passed? Has there been any improvement up around city park? I haven't seen it. I was up there yesterday and there were several piles of dog poop right there around the playground equipment.

But what the hey. We have a pit bull ordinance. You know, to end all those pit bull attacks we were having.

I guess I should be happy with that.

11/13/06

Dapper Dan the ex-Sheriff Man

Dapper Dan Corsentino, that paragon of law enforcement leadership over in Pueblo County, has apparently refocused his attention from his zipper and is now in high whine mode over the beating he took at the polls:

http://www.chieftain.com/metro/1163426683/1

Knock it off, Dan. You weren't much of a sheriff. Why don't you MoveOn to something more typically self-serving? I'm sure you can find a job on a Congressional staff somewhere. Those outfits are always havens for the party faithful who have nothing else useful to contribute.

11/12/06

Joltin' Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman withstood the most savage and unsavory attacks from the moonbats of the Democratic Party to win back his Senate seat, as an Independent.

You'd think that would be a wakeup call to the likes of Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats of their ilk. It isn't likely to be.

At any rate, congrats to Joltin' Joe. If the Dems had any brains as a political party they'd run him as their candidate in '08. I'd vote for him.

From Cox and Forkum:

http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/000975.html

From the Danbury News-Times:

http://www.newstimeslive.com/news/story.php?id=1022224

11/9/06

Semper Fi!

Message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps:

BT
UNCLAS
ALMAR 046/06
MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC//
SUBJ/UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY MESSAGE - 10 NOVEMBER 2006//
POC/SGT M. BELL/ADMIN CHIEF/CMC STAFF GROUP/-/TEL:(703) 614-2326//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/

ON NOVEMBER 10TH, 1775, OUR CORPS WAS BORN AS THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS RAISED THE 'FIRST AND SECOND BATTALIONS OF AMERICAN MARINES.' EACH YEAR AS WE CELEBRATE OUR BIRTHDAY, WE PAUSE TO REFLECT ON THE MARINES OF YESTERYEAR WHO FOUGHT IN OUR TOUCHSTONE BATTLES AND FORGED THE MODERN MARINE CORPS WITH THEIR COURAGE, INTEGRITY, AND UNDYING COMMITMENT TO THEIR FELLOW MARINES. EACH OF OUR STORIED BATTLES IS A LINK IN THE LONG CHAIN THAT BINDS ALL MARINES TOGETHER-FROM THE CONTINENTAL MARINES AT BUNKER HILL TO THE TEUFELHUNDEN CROSSING THE WHEAT FIELDS OF BELLEAU WOOD. THIS CHAIN BINDS US TO THE MARINES ON THE CREST OF MOUNT SURIBACHI. IT PASSES THROUGH THE ICE AND SNOW OF THE CHOSIN RESERVOIR AND THE STEAMING JUNGLES OF VIETNAM, AND IT ANCHORS FIRMLY TODAY IN THE DESERT SANDS OF IRAQ.

THIS YEAR'S CELEBRATION AGAIN FINDS MANY FROM OUR RANKS SERVING WITH DISTINCTION IN HARM'S WAY. AS WE HAVE FOR THE PAST 231 YEARS, OUR CORPS IS ANSWERING THE NATION'S CALL. I CAN REPORT FIRST HAND THAT OUR MARINES FIGHTING ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE LONG WAR ON TERROR ARE PERFORMING BRILLIANTLY, ACQUITTING THEMSELVES WITH HONOR, DEDICATION, AND DIGNITY IN DIFFICULT AND DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENTS.

ALL MARINES ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE. REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU ARE SERVING, YOU ARE ADDING NEW CHAPTERS TO THE LEGACY THAT WAS EARNED WITH SWEAT AND BLOOD ON OLD BATTLEFIELDS. JUST AS PREVIOUS GENERATIONS OF MARINES SHAPED TODAY'S MARINE CORPS, YOUR DEEDS ARE MOLDING THE CORPS OF TOMORROW. OUR CORPS HAS NEVER BEEN STRONGER, AND ALL AMERICANS ARE EXTREMELY PROUD OF YOUR MAGNIFICENT PERFORMANCE AND UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO SERVE OUR CORPS AND COUNTRY. WITH HIGH CALIBER MARINES LIKE YOU, OUR FUTURE HAS NEVER BEEN BRIGHTER.

ANOTHER IRREPLACEABLE ELEMENT OF OUR SUCCESS AS MARINES IS THE TERRIFIC SUPPORT WE RECEIVE FROM OUR FAMILIES. THROUGH THE LONG HOURS, THE EXERCISES, AND THE COMBAT DEPLOYMENTS, THEIR SUPPORT IS UNCONDITIONAL AND FIRM. THEY GIVE US LOVE AND DEVOTION, PROVIDING US WITH THE STRENGTH TO DRIVE ON WHEN DUTY CALLS. TODAY WE SHOULD ALL ACKNOWLEDGE OUR LOVED ONES FOR THEIR PATIENT, STEADFAST SERVICE.

TO ALL WHO HAVE EARNED THE TITLE MARINE, TO THE SUPERB SAILORS WHO SERVE WITH US IN EVERY CLIME AND PLACE, AND TO OUR PRECIOUS FAMILIES - I WISH EACH ONE OF YOU A HEARTFELT HAPPY 231ST BIRTHDAY.

SEMPER FIDELIS AND KEEP ATTACKING

M. W. HAGEE, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS

Household tips and other wisdom

From a lawyer pal:

1. If you are choking on an ice cube, don't panic. Simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat and presto, the blockage will be almost instantly removed.

2. Clumsy? Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

3. You can avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat just by using the sink.

4. For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use an egg timer.

5. A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives. Then you will be afraid to cough.

7. Have a bad toothache? Smash your thumb with a hammer and you will forget all about the toothache.

8. Sometimes, we just need to remember what the rules of life really are: In life, you only need two tools - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move but should, use the WD-40. If it should not move and does, use the duct tape.

9. Remember: Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

10. Never pass up an opportunity to go to the bathroom.

Thought for the day: Some people are like Slinky toys. They are not really good for anything but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

Dapper Dan the Sheriff Man

Dan Corsentino is out.

I expect that there are huge sighs of relief from women all over Pueblo County.

Now, if Sheriff-elect Taylor can concentrate on law enforcement activities rather than dining out and feeding his pals on the taxpayer's dime, things in the SO over there will improve considerably.

But there are few organizations that can pull internal snow jobs better than a sheriff's office. Sheriff-elect Taylor probably should be looking at some serious housecleaning over there, especially among the entrenched staff of Corsentino sycophants.

Otherwise, he'll be pulling knives out of his back for years to come.

2A

Quite predictably, 2A went belly up at the polls.

I suppose it would be less than tactful to say "I tole youse so."

Well.

I tole youse so. So did a bunch of other people.

Now. Do you suppose that them what's in charge could finally, at long last, get their heads out of wherever they've been and get the show on the road regarding tourism development?

C'mon. We the Taxpayers are funding a team of professional advisors, who have already either come all the way out here to discuss it with we Hicks from the Sticks, or have offered advice...all of which has been ignored in favor of some ill-conceived, poorly informed cockamamey schemes that the voters, not being all that stupid, have rejected handily.

I am speaking, of course, of the people at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade:

http://www.state.co.us/oed/index.cfm

and the Colorado Tourism Office:

http://www.advancecolorado.com/tourism/index.cfm

who were out here during the Community Assessment Forums.

So. How about we quit messing around and get back to going where the CAP was leading us?

And in the meanwhile, rather than the Chamber just sitting around waiting for mo' munny to be thrown at them, let's see something get done in the meanwhile with what resources are already available. A little imagination, a little of that entrepreneurial resourcefulness would go a long way toward convincing the voters - and the shopping public - that someone, whoever is in charge, has enough vision to actually accomplish something.

BTW. I recently made some travel arrangements. I noticed that the hotel had a ten percent lodging tax. I asked the reservations clerk if anyone had ever questioned that tax. Or had refused to stay in the hotel because of the tax.

Nope. "No" on both counts. In fact, she thought it was a really odd couple of questions.

11/8/06

Elections

The elections went pretty much as expected.

The Republicans, having screwed the country, have lost their majority in the House, and possibly the Senate.

How did they screw the country? Well...they had the opportunity to do good works, and missed it. In so doing, they have caused power to be turned over to the Democrats. Is that necessarily a bad thing? It depends. I voted for Ritter, for example, because I think he'll do better for us than Beauprez. OTOH, we now have Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House, and some of the other more volatile moonbats, such as Charlie Rangel taking over some rather important committees. That ain't good; it's worse than having Republicans in charge. And we'll see that, soon enough.

Stand by for some tax hikes, too.

11/7/06

Megalomania or God's Work?

"Hey dude!"

I was standing out in front of the Woodruff, looking through a new shooting magazine. I looked up to see Billy standing there, straddling his bike, wearing his iPod earbuds. He had the iPod going. I could hear the Stones doing "You Got Me Rocking" from ten feet away.

"Hey. Here's dat stuff I was tellin' you about."

Billy handed me a bunch of stuff from the Air War College. I looked through it.

"Yeah. This is the stuff we talked about when we were doing the bombing in Laos and Cambodia, way back a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away."

"Yeah. Yeah. But you see how it applies to the stuff we was talking about, about Ezekiel?"

"Of course. That's not the issue. The issue is the smarmy self-righteous who think they have the answers, but don't have a clue."

"Yeah. Yeah."

"OK, dude. I'll post these and we'll see what happens."

Billy pedaled off.


Look here:

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-law.htm

for a better idea of what Billy was talking about.

Further down the page, you will find:

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-law.htm#justwar
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-law.htm#warcrimes
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-law.htm#useofforce
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-law.htm#low

All of that...all of it...is founded in the Judeo-Christian ethos and tradition. This is what guides the armed forces of these United States. This is what drives moral considerations in military policy, planning, and operations. Yeah, we have military people who screw up, as we see with the allegations of murder at Haditha. But you will see that those responsible have been criminally charged, as were those responsible for the so-called 'torture' at Abu Ghraib. At Haditha, they murdered as an individual criminal action, not as a matter of national or organizational policy, and they are individually responsible for it. And they knew beforehand that they would be held responsible for it.

In contrast, we have a large number of Islamic fundamentalist organizations - not just Al Qaeda - who, as a matter of policy, deliberately target non-combatants and kill them as messily as possible. This is clearly a violation of man's law as well as God's law...at least in the Christian tradition. They will convert us to Islam or kill us. There is no middle ground. That strikes me as the quintessential war of principalities and powers, and we are in it right now.

I have my doubts that jihadic killing is in violation of God's law in the tradition of the Old Testament. Ezekiel seems to make that especially clear, all the more so if we insist on literalness.

The only question seems to be: Is a jihad truly the work of God? Or the work of megalomaniacs?

If the latter, what is the moral question in engaging them on the field and killing them all. Ezekiel seems to make it clear that this is not only justifiable, but a moral imperative. Unless we don't take Zeke literally. And if we do not do that, then how do we take him?

My question remains: At what point did God stop working through men to accomplish his works, including smitery. If he continues to work through men, as I have heard said in the case of missionary work, then at what point did God stop working through men to smite those who blaspheme him and hold him in contempt and disdain?

Can we pick and choose like that? How do we tell the difference between a megalomaniac and someone who is truly moved in God's work?

Ezekiel and the War Crimes

There I was, sitting down there at Sonic, snuffling a chili dog and contemplating the whichness of what and the thisness of that. I idly dipped one of my fries into my little heart-stopper of a shake.

I heard the squeal of bike brakes behind me. I smelled a ripe odor, like a feedlot on a hot summer day.

Dinkydau Billy was back in town.

He sidled on into the seat across from me. Fortunately it was downwind.

"Yo. Howya doon?"

"Pretty good," I said, "You?"

"Real good. Real good. I been at the national PTSD center over in SoCal."

"Umhmmmm...." I said, noncomitally.

"Yeah. Yeah. Hey. We gots a good argument going about killin' them Godless commie pinko SOB's."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. Yeah. I tole 'em that I felt good when I sent them commie scum to hell in a handbasket."

"I'll bet that went over well," I observed.

"Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it went over real good but not with one a the staff what's a self-described Christian," Billy told me.

"Oh?"

"Yeah. Yeah. He said he didn't see how any Christian could be happy over sending someone to hell."

"Huh. I guess he hasn't really thought about what murderous scum those Godless commies really are, hmmmm?" I observed.

"Yeah. Yeah. And then he made some comments about we baby-killing military hotheads, too. Or ex-military hotheads."

"Hotheads? Baby-killing? This guy is working at the national PTSD center?"

"Nah. He was at the bus station. But otherwise, you gots it. I tossed out Ezekiel."

"Ezekiel?"

"Yeah. Yeah. You remember we was talking about Ezekiel 21?"

I thought about that. I particularly like Ezekiel 21. Aside from the fact there is some excellent poetry there, it contains a very good analogy to sending Godless communists to hell. Or at least smiting them mercilessly, and without regard to the Law of Armed Conflict, Geneva Conventions, or whatever else we want to blame George Bush for violating this week:

"Tell her, "This is what the Lord says: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people - the righteous and the wicked alike. Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. Everyone in the world will know that I am the Lord. My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished."

Yowzah. That's some great stuff, ain't it? No wonder Billy gets excited when he hears it. Billy's an Old Testament kinda guy.

Many people insist that we take the bible literally. They really get their knickers in a knot if we don't. So. Do we take that literally? If so, it would seem that God is perfectly willing to kill off the righteous as well as the wicked.

In war, it is an unfortunate fact that civilians wil be killed.

What the Geneva Conventions, the Law of Armed Conflict, the Law of Land Warfare, and the Theory of Just War all have in common is the requirement that civilians, non-combatants, will not be deliberately targeted.

The United States is one of the very few nations that has made a real effort to make sure that it does not target non-combatants.

Call them 'the righteous' or 'the innocent' or 'the helpless'. Whatever.

In the military, that deliberate targeting can easily be called a 'war crime' and is punishable under the UCMJ. The Uniform Code of Military Justice. The old Articles of War. In the international courts it is called 'crimes against humanity; in internal national courts, it is multiple counts of murder; and Saddam Hussein was just sentenced to hang for it.

In Ezekiel 21, we see one of many biblical examples of how God appears to be indifferent to the killing of innocents, and in fact actively targets them.

Why is that? Do we take Ezekiel literally? What is the purpose of Ezekiel and the other prophets?

Putting this into the context of sending Godless communists and fascists to hell, consider this:

They showed, and continue to show, utter disdain for God. I believe most Christians call that a 'sin', and consider it to be a fairly significant one at that. The communists destroy churches, murder and imprison those who attend churches, murder and imprison those who believe not only in God and Christ but anything else of consequence as well. The chief of state of the Soviet Union once swore, "We will bury you...". They invaded sovereign nations and subjugated entire populations and denied them the most basic of human rights. They are Godless scum, a scourge upon the earth, the most corrupt of human beings outside of the Islamofascists, and they are today the moral equivalent of the Canaanites and other 'wicked' people.

God also works through humans to accomplish his smitery. We see this with Joshua, David...any number of people. If God can use Joshua - a sad sack of a whining wimp in my book - to smite the Caananites for - among other things - showing disdain for God...then why can't God have been using the likes of Curt LeMay or Hyman Rickover to provide the ways and means for smiting communists, who demonstrably show considerable disdain for God? Consider that it is the armed forces of the United States who for over fifty years kept the communists at bay. The only reason that the churches in our fair city exist, and that people can worship freely in them, is because of the armed forces of this country. In protecting, defending, and sustaining the nation, the military were guided by God's law in the form of the legal conventions - the covenants - cited above. These did not allow the sort of smiting that we see in Ezekiel. Yet how many self-styled Christians do we see, exercising that First Amendment right to worship as they please, knowing that they are washed in the Blood of the Lamb but completely indifferent to the fact that they are also washed in the Blood of Private Ryan and a few hundred thousand like him?

And at what point does all this smiting become not God's work, but a war crime? Who is there to tell us the difference? On the one hand, the bible seems to indicate that war crimes, crimes against humanity, are acceptable so long as "God does it". But God often works through humans. There are many examples of this in the bible.

When did God stop being involved in smiting 'wicked people'?

Do we not consider the communists 'wicked people' in a biblical sense? If not, why not? Has God quit using people to do his work? If so, who decides when that occurred? Perhaps we are to use the Tridentine Council as the cutoff point? Or some other council of codification and canonization?

How does God tell us to go about doing his work? In other words, how does God communicate with us. If a guy goes around telling people that he hears God telling him to smite the Godless spawn of Satan - in other words, communists and Islamofascists and some Democrats...just some...we have two choices. We can commit him to the State Hospital, or we can make him Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Air Command and shovel all kinds of money his way.

I have yet to see God anywhere in the bible show much remorse for smiting those who have offended him, and if we take Ezekiel literally, God isn't all that averse to smiting the righteous as well as 'the wicked'. In other words, God is not all that averse to collateral damage and the deliberate destruction of non-combatants, the innocent, as a matter of policy, and he seems to revel in it.

I'd like to see how far that would go at The Hague.

"Hey. Hey! You payin' attention to me?" It was Billy, upset that I had drifted away for the moment.

"Yeah. I was thinking about Ezekiel and smiting commies and Islamofascists."

"Huh. Hey. Hey. I gotta run. Hey. I'll send you dose law links I gots from the Air War College."

"OK, dude. Hey. Don't forget to go over to the courthouse and vote."

"Yeah. Yeah."

10/29/06

"...a serious state of denial..."

Here is a good editorial response to the McIndoe letter:

http://www.chieftain.com/editorial/1162187801/6

The response was written by Tom Clason, a business productivity consultant living in Pueblo.

The McIndoe Letter was a Bush-bashing rant that essentially - and predictably - blames George Bush for all of our woes of today, and even goes so far as to call Bush a greater threat to the country than the Islamofascists.

Here is an excerpt from Clason's response:

"I believe that those who side with Mr. MacIndoe are so blinded by their hatred for President Bush that they totally ignore the real threat to America. George Bush is not our enemy, he is OUR President. He may not be who you voted for, but I assure you he is not on the side of the enemy. If you have to hate someone, hate the enemy!

I encourage everyone to take note of Mr. MacIndoe’s final words in his letter: "Instead of worrying about the terrorists killing us all, we should worry about the next two years under George W. Bush." Honestly, if you are not scared about that kind of ideological rhetoric, you are, as Mr. Hudson suggested, in a serious state of denial."

No whiners here

http://www.chieftain.com/business/1162102906/1

An excerpt:

"In the shadow of the former company that employed them, a group of former Neoplan employees have come together to refurbish their careers much like the buses they repair.

Neoplan USA, which once was a mainstay bus manufacturing company in town, closed its 25-year-old plant last January leaving more than 300 workers without a job and crippling the local economy.

The vacant Neoplan building - one of the town's largest - stands on the east side of Lamar's main drag keeping watch over the small town it once nourished.

More than a dozen former Neoplan employees with more than 200 years of experience have combined to establish a startup company, Colorado Bus Works, that has three areas of emphasis - repair, remanufacture and repowering of used buses."

How 'bout that? No whining about how the city isn't doing this or isn't doing that.

Good ol' American entrepreneurship and hard work is still alive in Lamar.

10/28/06

Another bit of wisdom from "The Religion of Peace"

http://tinyurl.com/yfj9yj

Down Under in Australia, there is a great deal of hoo-hah presently, because of a speech given by Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly. According to "The Australian", a national newspaper Down Under, the head Muslim in Sydney gave a speech that puts responsibility for rape upon women; the old 'they asked for it' gambit. He states that he would have rape victims 'jailed for life'. 5000 of his Islamic supporters cheered the speech.

Non-Muslim Australians have their knickers in a bit of a twist over it. No matter. The Sheik isn't backing down. Okay. No matter. It's yet another example of the intolerant misogynism inherent in "The Religion of Perpetual Outrage". Keep it up, Sheik. You'll make a lot of converts that way. Women will be flocking to the mosques begging to be converted.

The transcript of this medieval throwback's speech is contained off the link posted above. Here is the salient excerpt:

"But in the event of adultery, the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time with women. Why? Because the woman possesses the weapon of seduction. She is the one who takes her clothes off, cuts them short, acts flirtatious, puts on make-up and powder, and goes on the streets dallying. She is the one wearing a short dress, lifting it up, lowering it down, then a look, then a smile, then a word, then a greeting, then a chat, then a date, then a meeting, then a crime, then Long Bay Jail, then comes a merciless judge who gives you 65years.

But the whole disaster, who started it? The Al-Rafihi scholar says in one of his literary works, he says: If I come across a crime of rape - kidnap and violation of honour - I would discipline the man and teach him a lesson in morals, and I would order the woman be arrested and jailed for life.

Why, Rafihi? He says, because if she hadn't left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn't have snatched it. If you take a kilo of meat, and you don't put it in the fridge, or in the pot, or in the kitchen, but you put in on a plate and placed it outside in the yard. Then you have a fight with the neighbour because his cats ate the meat. Then (inaudible).

Right or not?

If one puts uncovered meat out in the street, or on the footpath, or in the garden, or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, then the cats come and eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem! If it was covered the cat wouldn't have. It would have circled around it and circled around it, then given up and gone.

If she was in her room, in her house, wearing her hijab, being chaste, the disasters wouldn't have happened. The woman possesses the weapon of seduction and temptation. That's why Satan says about the woman, "You are half a soldier. You are my messenger to achieve my needs. You are the last weapon I would use to smash the head of the finest of men. There are a few men that I use a lot of things with, but they never heed me. But you? Oh, you are my best weapon."

10/27/06

The Muslim Taxi Driver Histrionics

As we all know, Islamic taxi drivers up at the airport in Minneapolis-St. Paul are refusing to carry as passengers infidels who possess alcohol.

There is a very interesting article up on the Cox and Forkum website about this. Here is a link to the article:

http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/000966.html

Note that the organization driving this was actually organized in Egypt:

"The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna. The Tribune described the Brotherhood as "the world's most influential Islamic fundamentalist group."Because of its hard-line beliefs, the U.S. Brotherhood has been an increasingly divisive force within Islam in America, fueling the often bitter struggle between moderate and conservative Muslims," the paper reported."

Also:

"The international Muslim Brotherhood "preaches that religion and politics cannot be separated and that governments eventually should be Islamic," according to the Tribune. U.S. members emphasize that they follow American laws, but want people here to convert to Islam so that one day a majority will support a society governed by Islamic law."

Yah, you betcha, Sven. I can just see all dem Minnah-soe-tens converting to Islam.

Once again we see that the "Religon of Peace" is anything but, and is in fact the "Religion of Intolerance".

Yet we continue to worry ourselves to death -literally in some cases - about 'offending the vast majority of peaceful Muslims'.

Yah, you betcha.

Sodium Cyanide

From the 'net:

"Sodium cyanide is a highly toxic chemical compound, also known as sodium salt of hydrocyanic acid and cyanogran. Immediate medical attention is required in the event of cyanide poisoning, as it is quickly fatal. Like the similar potassium cyanide, NaCN has a smell like bitter almonds, but not everyone can smell it. Sodium cyanide is used to extract gold and other precious metals from ore, and so metal mining operations consume most of the sodium cyanide production; see cyanide process for the use in gold mining. Sodium cyanide is illegally used to collect fish; see cyanide fishing. Accidents with cyanide solutions are a severe danger to aquatic ecosystems."

Huh. Sure sounds like this stuff is not the kind of stuff you just want to flush down the toilet or the drain. Or leave lying around the old shop, hey wot? Damned dangerous stuff.

Say...what about, like, you know, firefighters and suchlike. Suppose they have to deal with sodium cyanide while fighting a fire?

"Respirator Recommendations NIOSH/OSHAUp to 25 mg/m3: (APF = 10) Any supplied-air respirator(APF = 50) Any self-contained breathing apparatus with a full facepieceEmergency or planned entry into unknown concentrations or IDLH conditions: (APF = 10,000) Any self-contained breathing apparatus that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure- demand or other positive-pressure mode(APF = 10,000) Any supplied-air respirator that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode in combination with an auxiliary self-contained positive-pressure breathing apparatusEscape: (APF = 50) Any air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator (gas mask) with a chin-style, front- or back-mounted canister providing protection against the compound of concern and having an N100, R100, or P100 filter."

More:

"In case of fire in the surroundings: foam and powder, NO hydrous agents, NO water, NO carbon dioxide. "

Like, wowsers. Pretty dangerous stuff, ain't it? 25 milligrams per cubic meter requires that kind of protection? No water, no carbon dioxide? Can you imagine the results of a fire in a place that had this stuff improperly stored? But of course, a firefighter, a properly trained firefighter, would know this, and be able to respond appropriately. But further of course...any business using this stuff would have it properly stored and be disposing of it properly. Any responsible business owner would see to it.

Right? Ain't that so?

Here is a link to the Emergency Response Guidebook for Guide Number 157, which applies to sodium cyanide:

http://environmentalchemistry.com/yogi/hazmat/erg/gn/157.html

10/23/06

Pinon Canyon II

Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition Meeting:

Friday, November 3
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Otero Junior College
Student Center Banquet Room
2001 San Juan Avenue
La Junta, Colorado

Pinon Canyon I

Since we aren't hearing about Pinon Canon from other sources, here is a press release recently published by the PCEOC:

Kim, Colo. October 22, 2006

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently released their Draft Transformation Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) marking the army’s latest move in the Pinon Canyon expansion efforts. “While the Army is quick to tout this EIS as separate from any discussion of expansion, everyone understands this process is connected to an expansion effort,” said Lon Robertson, President of the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition (PCEOC).

Immediately after the DEIS’s release, the Opposition Coalition set in motion its response plans. Many groups, supporting agencies and individuals working alongside the PCEOC are an active part of those plans and the mutual efforts to halt the Army’s expansion of the Pinon Canyon maneuver site East of Trinidad. “Numbers are key in any battle and this one is no different. Our numbers convert to more and more votes every day,” said Mr. Robertson. “The tremendous support from so many different groups and so many people is very exciting and it obviously illustrates the national importance of this issue,” he added.

To date, PCEOC has close to 1,000 members and those members are making widespread efforts to educate and inform the nation of the Army’s intended SE Colorado expansion. They have written their members of congress, state legislators, and elected officials all across the country. These efforts have made Washington D.C. very aware of the Pinon Canyon issue.

Over the next several days PCEOC will be encouraging its members, other groups and interested persons to attend all three hearings that are part of the PCMS DEIS process. These hearings will allow public comment by individuals and parties that have an interest (stake) in the issue. They are scheduled for 5:30 pm on November 1st in Colorado Springs, 5:30 pm on November 2nd in Trinidad and 5:30 pm on November 3rd in La Junta.

For more information on the DEIS Hearings locations, the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site or the Opposition Coalition please visit www.pinoncanyon.com. A toll free number is also now available by calling 1-866-426-7026.
# # #
This Press Release, and all the land associated with it, are NOT FOR SALE to the Army!

10/22/06

The Cheraw Fire Department

Actually, there is no 'Cheraw Fire Department', nor, as Joey Gacnik has pointed out, is there a 'Cheraw Fire Chief'.

But some people apparently think there is.

The current dustup, reduced to its most simplest terms, is over training. The Fire District, to which the Cheraw Fire Station belongs, is a stickler for training. I've watched the Hosers do their training every week for years. They do this training so as to keep up with new techniques in fighting fires, in executing rescues, in emergency medical practices.

They do it so as to make sure the fire fighters and EMS people maintain a high level of competence, which means that they are able to provide a very high level of service to the community, as safely as possible.

And they do a very good job of it.

I've always thought that we are very fortunate to have a fire department as good as the one we have, all the more so given that it is manned primarily by volunteers.

So I gotta tell you, when four Cheraw fire fighters start whining about how they are being picked on by the fire district because they haven't maintained their training levels, I have no sympathy for them. Worse, they have done the entire fire department/district a great disservice with their ignorant rumor-mongering and smear campaign.

I say we're better off without them. Give 'em the boot. If they don't want to maintain and improve their skills and knowledge, who needs 'em? Sure, I appreciate their volunteering, but these days there's a lot more to firefighting and EMS work than just the label. When they volunteer for such as the fire department, they also take on a responsibility to maintain those skills and their knowledge. Almost everyone in the various sub-departments of the fire district does an admirable job of doing just that.

But not those guys in Cheraw. With their whining, gossip-mongering, and smear tactics, they have stabbed the entire fire service in the back. Who needs 'em?

If you haven't read Joey's letter to The Fence, you should snag yourself a paper copy of the fishwrapper and take a look at it. It goes a long way in setting the record straight.

Vital Issues of the Day

You will all be happy, nay, thrilled, to know that the Federal government continues to be ever vigilant in protecting us from threats from overseas.

The government has cracked down on the importation of Vegemite, a substance used by Australians everywhere, in an effort to protect us from the insidious effects of folate:

http://tinyurl.com/w7hv9

An excerpt:

"Former Geelong man Daniel Fogarty, who now lives in Calgary, said he was stunned when searched for Vegemite while crossing the US border on a trip to Montana recently."

It's truly good to know that our Federal government continues to work diligently to protect us from all threats, foreign and domestic.

What's Vegemite?

Check here:

http://www.vegemite.com.au/

10/21/06

One Ranger Speaks...

http://tinyurl.com/yc2u8b

This is a perfect example of how a couple of young men can march off to the beat of the drums, filled with patriotic fervor or whatever you want to call it, and then find that it really doesn't work that way.

Pat Tillman was, you will recall, killed by 'friendly fire', and then the Army tap-danced around that. It was like pulling molars, getting the truth out of the Army.

From my own experiences with the military, it was nothing new. Pat Tillman was a 'high visibility' soldier. Killing him off by 'friendly fire' was bad for publicity. 'Friendly fire' incidents do happen. And the military has taken some great strides to reduce such incidents. But the sad fact of the matter is, they do happen.

That's not the real stink here. The real stink is that rather than just admit it in the beginning, the Army had to try to spin it.

Hand out some medals; give one of those real tear-jerker funerals; wrap it all in the flag and make it look good.

That's the Army. It was that way during Vietnam; it's that way now, despite all the changes for the better.

How many families have trusted the government with their kids, and had this happen to them? A substantial number, is the answer.

So. Are there any answers for Kevin Tillman's questions? Are they valid questions? Good questions? Or is he just another young fellow who has found out the Truth, as so many have before?

10/12/06

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we're free at last!

http://www.chieftain.com/editorial/1160653317/1

Colorado Springs dumped another 10,000 gallons of raw sewage into Fountain Creek on Monday. This latest Chieftain editorial describes the pathetically inadequate actions of the Colorado Springs government in dealing with the sewage and runoff problems that affect everyone downstream.

Excerpts:

"THE COINCIDENCE would be laughable if not so serious. On the same day Colorado Springs again delayed a decision to implement a stormwater fee, the city's inadequate utility system spewed another spill of raw sewage into Fountain Creek."

"El Paso County Commissioner Douglas Bruce has threatened legal action against the stormwater fee. Mr. Bruce believes a fee constitutes a tax and, therefore, is subject to voter approval under his own Taxpayers Bill of Rights amendment."

"Colorado Springs officials face a firestorm of protest from their own constituents if they implement a stormwater fee. If they don't, they will spark a renewed political battle with Pueblo and others downstream who want the Fountain cleaned up."

We Hicks from the Sticks are sucking up the poop and slime from Colorado Springs. What are our local governments doing to bring pressure to bear on Colorado Springs to force them to clean up their act?

Yup. You got it. We're free of pit bulls.

What are we doing to counter the economic impact of the Pinon Canyon expansion?

The Cowboy Store is gone. The Watterhole is supposed to be closing. George's might be closing, or he might just be throwing a snit fit over being 'abused' by public safety officials over storage of hazardous materials. Ranchers' Supply is rumored to be laying off people. Is that just normal end-of-season cutback? Or something more ominous?

What's going to happen to local business if the Army has its way? Why do we have to go to the Chieftain or the Gazette for more news about what's up with that?

Not to worry.

We're free of pit bulls.

10/11/06

Handwringing over North Korea

Cox and Forkum have a good article up about why North Korea is the wrong focus:

http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/000954.html

They talk about China being the key player in all this. They're right.

But China is now a major trading partner with the US. What's going to happen if the US starts slapping sanctions against China? How is that going to affect America's Favorite Place to Shop?

Meanwhile, a good many people snicker over the North Korea's posturings, seeming to draw reassurance of some sort from the small yield of the bomb they tested on Monday, or the failures of their missile program.

But does anyone remember our own missile program? If we hadn't had those sanitized Nazi rockets scientists, like Werner von Braun to help us along, we'd still be blowing 'em up on the launch pad. And the Trinity shot was only a precursor to goodies like that wonderfully all-encompassing and perennial favorite, the B61.

So while we're out buying cheap shoes at Walmart, the people who made those cheap shoes are working on snookering us hugely, in a game where there is no second-place winner.

Historical tidbit:

http://www.brook.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/b61.htm