2/26/10

Weird science?

Climate data compromised by heat

The National Climate Data Center (NCDC) uses this massive network of sensors to determine daily highs and lows at the 1,219 weather stations in its Historical Climatology Network (HCN). The network has existed since 1892, but only in the last decade has it come under intense scrutiny to determine whether the figures it measures can be trusted.

For the past three years, a group of zealous laymen has visited and photographed nearly every one of the weather stations to determine whether they have been placed properly. And what they found is a stunning disregard for the government’s own rules: 90 percent of the sensors are too close to potential sources of heat to pass muster, including some very odd sources indeed …

and

“So far we’ve surveyed 1,062 of them,” said Anthony Watts, a meteorologist who began the tracking effort in 2007. “We found that 90 percent of them don’t meet [the government's] old, simple rule called the ‘100-foot rule’ for keeping thermometers 100 feet or more from biasing influence. Ninety percent of them failed that, and we’ve got documentation.”

Watts, who has posted pictures of the sensors on his Web site, SurfaceStations.org, says he believes that the location of the sensors renders their recorded temperatures inaccurate, which in turn brings some of the data behind global warming theory into question.

“It’s asinine to think that this wouldn’t have some kind of an effect,” Watts told FoxNews.com.

However, not to worry. None of this matters to Obama and his Chikaga accomplices, who do not let facts get in the way of truth. That sounds strange, doesn’t it?

Not if you watched any of yesterday’s ‘healthcare summit’. We were treated to an incredible display of arrogance on the part of Obama, Pelosi, Laughin’ Joe Biden, and Harry Reid. You’ll note that we put Pelosi second, and not Laughin’ Joe. Well … we probably should have put Pelosi and Reid first, as the puppet masters.

Well. Where were we. The Repubs, in spite of the fact that as a political party they are pretty much inconsequential at this point, put forth some very good arguments for starting over with this whole mess. They pointed out the tap-dancing around with making figures say what Obama wants them to say. They talked about Town Meetings and what an awful lot of people think – none of it good – about Obamacare.

None of it matters.

Obama says he is going to ‘contemplate’ the Repub inputs … and then we are going to see the Democrats ram this legislative abortion through using reconciliation.

That’s Obama’s Hope and Change.

2/25/10

Uncle Achmed's Lenten Lentil Soup

We’re going to have a pot of this Palestinian lentil soup at the Nazarene Church after the Lenten Service on March 19. I am sure others will have their special dishes, but this one is Uncle Achmed’s, and it goes back almost a thousand years, handed down generation after generation after generation.

It is not a meatless lentil soup. You have to have a nice chunk of lamb to make it right. New Zealand lamb works well, though it would be nice if we could get a chunk of Petramala’s local goods. If you insist on a meatless soup, that’s OK. It will still work quite well without the lamb. Do not substitute other meats for the lamb. This is a Palestinian soup, not something Rachel Ray tossed together in New Joisey.

Here it is:

Dice up the lean lamb. You don’t need much; this is not a meaty soup. All you need is a half pound at most.

Heat a hefty splash of olive oil in a cast iron pot. You can use a black iron pot, or one of the feau-feau enameled or porcelained jobs. Sautee the lamb. Then, add a finely diced, large onion. A Texas 1015 is perfect for this.

Crush about half a dozen garlic cloves with the flat of your knife. A heavy French butcher’s knife works well, though a Santoku will do. A Damascus steel shepherd’s blade would be the very best, of course, but Damascus steel knives are quite pricey these days. Sautee the garlic at the same time as the onion and the lamb.

Now, traditionally, you would toss in the lentils – red lentils – at this point, along with all the spices. Maybe a cup, maybe a cup-and-a-half. More makes it thicker.

Spices? Yep. Toss in a tablespoon or so of sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, and a teaspoon of ground coriander, and a tablespoon of cumin. You can vary this by experimentation for the best combination and amounts.

Then you would add 8 cups of water and boil it briskly for about 5 minutes. But … we do live in the 21st century and time is usually short, so … pressure cook those babies first. Then add them and the spices and the water and bring to that brisk boil.

Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a half hour or so.

Run the heat back up to a boil, add a quarter to a half cup of long-grain rice – Basmati is perfect; Jasmine works well too. Give it a minute, turn it back down to a simmer, and cover it, and let the rice cook.

After you take the soup off the heat, add some lemon juice. Freshly squeezed, one lemon. Or bottled juice to taste.

Serve with a nice pita bread. If you can’t find any of that, try some of Walmart’s Eye-talian bread. With that big hole it usually has in the middle, it passes for a pita.

Uncle Achmed, we have it on good authority, moved to Alexandria about the time of the Second Crusade, and took up with a Coptic Christian belly dancer, and lived happily ever after.

2/24/10

"Murder for hire"

Sounds like a Mickey Spillane novel, doesn’t it?

But it isn’t. Nope. We’re referring to the dustup over the dog pound.

First, we had the article in the Pueblo Chieftain, as factually inaccurate a bit of reporting as you will find anywhere. The reporter just took what he was told at face value – which wasn’t much – and made no effort to confirm the story. You can find that one here:

Eight days to live, appearing on February 14.

Then on the 18th, four days later, we had this:

La Junta euthanasia rules unchanged

and then, in the T-D, we had this, on February 23:

La Junta dog pound ‘dinged’ for sanitation issues, which has an interesting comment blaming the city as the culprit, and going on about a ’scapegoat’.

Then, there are two letters to the editor, with more of the same, calling dog euthanization ‘murder’ and going off about the brutality of it all:

Animal Shelter condition concerns residents

In response to the comment about the ’scapegoat’: Yes, the City is the scapegoat in this one, for all those dog ‘lovers’ who palm their unwanted ‘four-legged friends’ off on the city’s taxpayers. Yes indeed, when the dog is no longer a cute little puppy and becomes an inconvenience, you can always do the things that are the hallmark of La Junta dog owners. You can stake the mutt out in the back yard on a chain and let him stay out there for years, barking like a nutjob at everything that blows by in the wind; you can dump the mutt out on the rural roads so it can chase Petramala’s sheep and have fun with all the cattle; or you can palm it off on the taxpayers and then throw a fit when ‘the city’ doesn’t take up your responsibilities for you.

I am interested in what services to citizens the city should cut so as to be able to fund keeping the dogs … what? Two weeks? A month? Indefinitely? If dog ‘lovers’ are having a hissy fit over this dustup with over the dog pound, they should take a collective look in the mirror to discover who is behind the strays and unwanted dog ‘issue’. As for euthanization, if ‘the city’ following the law is ’so sad’, as one other reader wrote, what about the person shoving the needle in? Hey, if we’re going to call euthanizing stray dogs ‘murder’, then let’s go whole hog and make some comparisons to Nuremberg.

If it’s murder, where does that leave Sarah, who gave the dogs the needle? How is it that an individual can take a high moral stand over the ‘issue’ yet willingly kill over fifty dogs in one year. That ‘I was only following orders’ has never been an acceptable excuse at any level. Or does it become a ‘moral issue’ only when you don’t get the job? Can you light the fires in the ovens and then say, ‘… but I really didn’t like doing it, so I’m excused …’.

So .. what services should the city cut in order to fund keeping unwanted dogs indefinitely? Should the city keep the dogs until they can be adopted? How likely is adoption, given the number of dogs that are being dumped? Why should the taxpayers be forced to accept this additional burden?

Is this a lesser corollary of the abortion debate? There seem to be similarities. The acidic rhetoric of the dog ‘activists’ is no different in tone and logic. Hard core ‘right-to-life-advocates’ demand that no abortions take place. So what do they do with unwanted children? Keep them in a ‘baby pound’ until someone takes them? Despite a few truly blessed individuals who will adopt a minority race baby with drug addiction, HIV, and other ‘issues’ , are there not far more of such babies than people willing to adopt them? If abortion as an ‘ex post facto’ method of birth control is not acceptable, will right-to-life proponents establish and fund enough shelters to take these children? Why should the taxpayers be forced to accept this additional burden, forced upon them by largely irresponsible individuals? How is the problem of unwanted … or merely inconvenient … children solved, without simply flushing them down the drain? More to the point, how to solve the problem of the people who create those unwanted and inconvenient children.

You see, in the abortion conflict, the children are not the problem. They are simply a defenseless result of the problem.

Same with the dogs. The dogs are simply a defenseless result of the problem. The problem is dog owners. What do you propose to do about them?

2/23/10

"...disabled kids are God's punishment ..."

A couple of thoughts float through this morning …

First, this guy has just gotta be on Pat Robertson’s show. They’d get along so well.

Second, if this guy and his pals are an example of a good “Christian”, it isn’t hard to understand why there are so many atheists.

February 22, 2010 – 11:27am
by Kelsey Radcliffe @ The Gainesville Times

RICHMOND – Western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall, R-13th, says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.

He made that statement last Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” said Marshall, a Republican.

“In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”

Marshall was among more than 20 people, mostly Christian pastors and clergy, who gathered for the press conference in the General Assembly Building.

They called on Virginia officials to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions.

2/19/10

ObamaCare is alive and well

Now, Obama has taken it upon himself to write his own healthcare bill, and then get his accomplices in Congress to ram it through using the so-called ‘reconciliation’ process.

There is nothing conciliatory about it.

This guy just doesn’t get it.

Obama writes his own healthcare bill

The president’s proposal, which is still being written, will be posted on the Internet by Monday morning, senior administration officials and Congressional aides told the New York Times.

By piggybacking the legislation onto a budget bill, Democrats would be able to advance the bill with a simple majority of just 51 votes, averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

The White House signaled Thursday that an aggressive, all-Democratic strategy for overhauling the nation’s health system remains a serious option, even as Obama invites Republicans to next week’s televised summit to seek possible compromises.

“It will be a reconciliation bill,” the Times quoted a Democratic aide as saying. “If Republicans don’t come with any substantial offers, this is what we would do.”

A majority of Americans do not want Obama’s version of healthcare, nor Nancy Pelosi’s, nor Harry Reid’s. Yet, they persist in trying to ram it through, blaming their erstwhile failures on the Republicans.

The Republicans don’t have the juice to block much of anything, even with the Massachusetts win. It isn’t the Republicans who have blocked ObamaCare; it’s other Democrats, despite Obama’s bribes, threats, and buyouts.

Obama's $1.5 billion Vegas bribe

So we all know that Obama has managed to really irritate the governor of Nevada and the mayor of Las Vegas, as well as a good many others who live in Nevada.

What’s his solution?

He’s going to use $1.5 billion of our tax dollars to buy Nevadan votes.

He’s going to use $1.5 billion of our tax dollars to overcome his motormouth.

He’s going to use $1.5 billion of our tax dollars to campaign in Nevada.

Hope and change.

What a lie that’s turned out to be.

Obama to unveil $1.5 billion housing assistance for Vegas

Proposition 101

Prop 101 is going to be on the ballot this year.

You can read a bit about it here:

Colorado Motor Vehicle, Income, and Telecom Taxes

and here:

Proposition 101

and here:

Preliminary Analysis of Proposition 101

OK … here’s the deal:

Most of us are pretty much fed up with Beloved Leader Bill “Land of the Fee” Ritter’s fee increases and other means of holding taxpayers upside down and shaking the coin out of our pockets. The answer to the state budget deficits is found not by increasing taxes and fees, nor in taking huge handouts from the Federal government.

It is to be found by getting costs under control, and doing away with spending that really does not fall under the basic reason for government’s existence in the first place. Getting costs under control includes slapping outfits like PERA back into reality; it includes not allowing unions to drive the government agenda; and most of all it includes not raising taxes on small business … or even large business for that matter. The purpose of government is to provide services essential to maintaining social, economic, and financial stability. The purpose of government is not the redistribution of wealth in the form of handouts, be those handouts in the form of welfare, union ‘contracts’, or PERA retirements.

Proposition 101 is a knee-jerk reaction to Bill “Land of the Fee” Ritter and to the state ledge and its revocation of tax breaks for manufacturers and agriculture. It goes way too far in the opposite direction. There are certainly some provisions of 101 that sound good. I like the one about considering as tax increases all fee increases for telecommunications – other than 911 surcharges at the 2009 rate. Cutting back the income tax rate sure sounds good, but can we do that and have a functioning government? What about vehicle registration fees? I would rather see them rolled back to where they were rather than what 101 proposes. In my experience, in states where such fees and use taxes are minimal, vehicles are included as a property tax item. In North Carolina for example, vehicle registration is dirt cheap. But in North Carolina, vehicles are assessed as property for taxation purposes. The second link shown above is in defense of 101, and it certainly offers some superficially good arguments about vehicle taxes and registration fees under Ritter and his taxaholic accomplices in the state ledge … but just as Ritter has gone too far in one direction, 101 seems to go too far in the other. Add to the mix the shafting of the steel mill in Pueblo (thanks in part to Sal “Did I vote for that?” Pace and Buffy “Capitalist running dog imperialists” McFadyen), and 101 sounds even better.

Real corker (Pueblo Chieftain editorial on the cluelessness of McFadyen and Vigil, and salving Sal Pace’s original ‘ooopsie’).

McFadyen and the money-grubbing Russian capitalist (in which Buffy McFadyen demonstrates total cluelessness about who creates jobs and how).

But take a good look at it and have a good think on 101, because this is one bit of ‘feel-good’ legislation that has a good chance of coming back to bite its supporters right on their political backsides.

The answer is really in throwing the bums out of the state house and the state ledge, and getting someone in there who has a clue about how to run a business, not a glorified tax-and-spend welfare state.

The Fundamentalist Pet

A fundamentalist Christian couple felt it important to own an equally fundamentally Christian pet. So, they went shopping.

At a kennel specializing in a particular breed, they found a dog they liked quite a lot. When they asked the dog to fetch the Bible, he did it in a flash, and it was the King James version, not one of those liberal leftwing Bibles like the NRSV. When they instructed him to look up Psalm 23, he complied quickly, using his paws with dexterity. The dog was able to leaf through the Book of Revelation and find passages of import on command. The couple shouted, "The Rapture! The Rapture!" and the dog went straight to 1 Thessalonians. The man shouted "Barefoot! Pregnant! In the kitchen!" and the dog flipped over to Titus 2. They were so impressed, they purchased the animal, and went home.

That night they had friends over. They were so proud of their new fundamentalist dog, they called in the dog in to show off a little.

After seeing the dog with the Bible, the friends were impressed. They asked whether the dog was also able to do any of the usual dog tricks as well. This stopped the couple cold, as they hadn’t thought about “normal” tricks.

Well, they said. “Let’s try this out.” Once more they called the dog and they clearly pronounced the command, “Heel!”

Quick as a wink, the dog jumped up, used his paw to slap the man’s forehead, closed his eyes and bowed his head.

2/17/10

Robert "Brian" Cowdrey in Afghan battle

SSgt Robert Cowdrey of La Junta, CO, with Task Force Pegasus
Feb. 17: During a sporadic firefight, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. and flight medic Robert B. Cowdrey, of La Junta, Colo., far left, with Task Force Pegasus, coordinate a medical evacuation mission as Marine infantrymen carry a combative and wounded Taliban fighter captured minutes earlier, according to witnesses, in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (FoxNews)
SSgt Robert Cowdrey, La Junta, CO, coordinates an evacuation mission
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. and flight medic Robert B. Cowdrey, of La Junta, Colo., with Task Force Pegasus, talks with a U.S. Marine coordinating a helicopter medevac mission on the southern end of Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (UK News Yahoo)

Update 14 Oct 2011:

Staff Sergeant Cowdrey,  La Junta High School class of 1990, was killed in Afghanistan on 13 October 2011:

Flight Medic SSGT Robert "Brian" Cowdrey Killed In Afghanistan

Update 15 Oct 2011:

Blogpost from Soldiers' Angels Germany:

Godspeed, SSG Robert "Brian" Cowdrey

More in this Soldiers' Angels Germany blogpost:

The Gypsies

and

"No one dies in my aircraft"

Laughin' Joe

Our beloved vice president has demonstrated once again what a gaffer he is.

First, he insists that Porkulus Americanus was a raving success, saving …. yep … saving … 2 million, count ‘em, 2 million jobs.

He presents no data to support any of his claims, because he cannot. But because he is Laughin’ Joe, the Vice President, him just sayin’ so, makes it so.

Uh huh.

Biden says taxpayers got money’s worth

Well, here’s one Tea Partyin’ Enemy of the State that says Laughin’ Joe is as full of crap as a pelican sitting on a piling in Core Sound, North Carolina. If you know anything about pelicans, you know they are so full of it that every time they take off, they dribble a trail all over everything in the vicinity.

It is an apt comparison, because when Laughin’ Joe leaves office, that is exactly what he and his primary accomplice, Barack H. Obama, are going to leave as their ‘legacy’.

In yet another yet related pelican-like appearance, Laughin’ Joe said “the United States will continue to lead the world’s economy throughout the twentieth century.”

Hey Joe. I’m just a dumbass hick from the sticks, but even I know we’ve been in the 21st century these past few years.

$5 million worth of Malarkey

Yep. Malarkey from Markey. Five million tax bux worth of vote-buying largess by Betsy Markey.

Markey announces $5 million for OJC

How do you know when a Democrat is doing you a favor?

Well … when she is shoveling someone else’s money at you.

Sister Betsy is graciously participating in Obama’s Redistribution of Wealth Program … aka “Porkulus Americanus” … aka “The Obama Stimulus Bill” by shoveling money into OJC. That it is our money, at least in part, is beside the point.

When is the last time anyone has seen Markey down these parts? Did we see her when Obama was acting “swiftly and boldly” (read that “impetuously” and “ill-advisedly”) to spend nearly $800 billion of our money to pay off his purple-shirted SEIU goons and the rest of his hack pals? Did we see her when Obama and Pelosi and Reid and Bennet and Udall and Salazar were trying shove that crap sandwich of a ‘healthcare bill’ down our throats?

Nope.

Now she has the opportunity to buy off the voters of Otero County, who went for McCain in the last election. And all the ‘community leaders’ are standing in line, hats in hand, simpering and shuckin’ and jivin’ over what a Congressional Wunderkind is our Betsy.

This is supposed to ‘create jobs’. Obama says so. Markey says so.

Well … I guess all soon-to-be-laid-off steel mill workers from Pueblo can come here to retrain as nurses, thanks to Sal Pace, Buffie McFadyen, and the rest of the spendthrift taxaholics in the state ledge.

Don’t you just love it when our state and Federal legislators work so well together?

2/15/10

The school finances solution

It’s a wonder that the solution to the school finances ‘issue’ hasn’t been solved out of hand. The solution is obvious, and fits in very well with the current fiscal viewpoints of both our beloved governor, Bill “Land of the Fee” Ritter, and the spendthrift tax-mongers we have in the state ledge.

Here’s the deal:

Take a look at your property tax notices, the ones that our county treasurer, Dennis Smith, so thoughtfully send out every year.
Up in the top right you will see “Tax Entity”, and therein you will find listed a breakdown of where your property taxes go. For those of us here in The Holy Land, a substantial chunk goes to “SCHOOL DIST SWINK 33″. Another pile goes to “SWINK”, which we presume is the government of The Holy Land. But let’s look at that school district thing.

Look a bit further down the sheet, at the bottom of LEGAL DESCRIPTION. There you will find a Note. On our Tax Notice, The Note says: “School District Swink 33 General Fund is 21.997 dollars per thousand. Without state aid it would have been 215.579 [dollars per thousand].

In other words, if we here in The Holy Land were not receiving all those state dollars – which presumably come from tax revenues from other Colorado taxpayers as well as we here in The Holy Land – our taxes for the Swink school district would be very close to ten times what they are now. Go back up to that Tax Entity box, and multiply that Swink 33 entry by 10. That’s what your property taxes would be, with no state aid at all, in order to support the current funding levels. La Junta property residential property owners have similar figures on their Tax Notices.

“They” are talking about up to a 20% reduction in state funding for the school districts. So we aren’t looking at losing all of the state funding. So to maintain the school funding levels at the levels to which they have become accustomed, we’d only have to increase your taxes (and mine, too, but what the hey, it’s ‘for the chirrun’) by 20%. Of course, that’s presuming all of the state aid goes into the school district general fund, which it may not. But no matter. A simple increase of property taxes will take care of the problem.

That’s a Bill Ritter/State Ledge solution. The government needs mo’ munny? Just raise taxes. You can do that a number of ways which do not require the vote of the people. You can just eliminate an industrial/agriculture tax break, for example. Does a mill levy hike require a vote of the people? Or just the governing body since the tax is already there. Most people really don’t know. Do you?

Here’s another question for you. Walmart is within the city limits of La Junta. It is also within the La Junta Tax Increment District. But … for basic property tax purposes, the area around Walmart falls into the Swink School District, not the City of La Junta. Did you know that? Most people don’t. But wait! There’s more! Because Walmart and environs also falls into the La Junta TID, property tax revenues resulting from any improvements in property that increase valuation go to La Junta’s Urban Renewal pot, not to the Swink school district. Heretofore, the state has made up that difference. Is that still going to be the case? Are those funds drying up too? I don’t know. Nor do the people whom I have asked.

Our ’solution’ to ‘education system problems’ has always been to throw more money at them. That really hasn’t worked. Now school ‘managers’ are scrambling to find ways to save money. I’ll betcha they can do that. I’ll betcha if you can get them out of ‘government think’ mode, and start thinking like small business owners – or at least ones that know what they are doing – or just plain old ‘family managers’, we’re going to find they can do exactly what the rest of us do when money gets tight. You find what you really don’t need, and you cut it out of the budget.

That’s what they should have been doing all along, but with the state throwing our money at them in piles, and We the People floating huge bond issues for new gyms to replace gyms that are ’safety and health hazards’ … why would anyone expect them to?

BTW … how’s that ’safety and health hazard’ doing these days?

More Swinkian pix

The Lady Lions v. Rocky Ford Meloneers, and the Swink cheerleaders galleries are up here:

Image galleries

Scroll down to the sports section. The galleries are the last three links in the list.

2/12/10

Swink Lions v. Rocky Ford Meloneers

Photos from the boys' varsity game are up in two galleries, 64 images, under the Sports section, here:

WritingPlaces Image Galleries

2/11/10

The Federal government's "best week ever"

Best week ever

Some excerpts:

Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn found himself stranded inside the Capitol, an odd position for a small-government curmudgeon who called the government shutdown a "dream." He cleaned his desk, wrote to constituents, read books and reveled at the empty corridors of power.


and this quote from Brendan Daly:

"Recovering from this blizzard demands patience, cooperation, collaboration and teamwork. Unfortunately, the Senate is in session this week."

He got that right. And, Daly is an aide to Nancy Pelosi, which means he is well-versed in what he said.

And the best one:

"This storm can try as it might but a few feet of snow have got nothing on Senate Republicans' ability to paralyze Washington with their blizzard of filibusters and procedural gimmicks."


And that was from good ol' Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, who never loses an opportunity to whine, cry, and point fingers.

Now, we can only hope for a blizzard of Biblical proportions up in Denver, to accomplish the same thing with the state ledge. With any luck, Denver will be buried in snow until the session ends. Then, we might actually have a few bucks left in our wallets.

2/10/10

Swink Annual Dog Clinic

ANNUAL DOG CLINIC
TOWN OF SWINK
February 20, 2010
8:30 – 11:30
Swink Community Center
321 Columbia
Ark Valley Animal Hospital
If you need more information,
Please call 384-7155.

Lodging tax board redux

Actually, the board meeting is today (Wednesday), noon, power board room, city building. Scorry ’bout that.

But here’s some more tidbits:

The Patels are talking about ‘three or four dollars’ as lodging tax for their rooms.

a 70 buck room rate = 3.15 lodging tax.

a 90 buck room rate = 4.05 lodging tax.

So according to them, their rooms are in the 70-100 bux a night range.

Yet an online check, rack rate shows this:

A Queen bed non-smoker at the Stagecoach is 45 bux.

a 45 buck room rate = 2.02 lodging tax.

A 3 double-bed suite is 80 bux. How many of those suites do they have? And how often are they rented out?

We’re looking at 42 bux for a queen non-smoker at the Midtown though Leece and I found one at Midtown through HotelReservations.com for 39 bux. Hampton Inn, same source, was 85.

One wonders … do people really throw a hissy fit over two bucks a night? And drive to Rocky Ford? And presuming they have business in The Smile Hi City, drive back? What do these people do when the electricity rates go up and the Patels pass through that cost to the customers. That’s how it works, isn’t it? If a business’ costs increased, aren’t they usually passed through to the customer? Well … I suppose employees could be laid off or other areas cut, but sooner or later, costs have to be passed through, don’t they? So what do motel customers do when that happens? Go to Rocky Ford? Perhaps they don’t pass through costs in Rocky Ford. That might explain a few things about Rocky Ford’s fiscal state, but that’s another story.

2/9/10

The lodging tax board

The lodging tax board meets again, today, at noon. The meeting will be held in the power board room, on the second floor of the city building.

There is an interesting undercurrent here. Here is the background, taken from the TD article on the last meeting:

Two hotel owners, Nick Patel, who owns the Midtown Motel, and Mahesh Patel of the Stagecoach Hotel, also came to the meeting to voice their concerns about the fact that no hotel owners were on the Tourism Advisory Board, since the lodging tax directly affects them.

“How do you plan to coordinate with the hotel owners?” Nick Patel asked. “Regardless of the process the reality is that there are seven hotels here in town and we’re seeing our customers leave because they are used to paying ‘x’ amount of dollars and they are having to pay three to four dollars more. They are asking us to lower our rates.”

Nick Patel suggested that the board add a member who would represent the hotels since the ordinance allows 11. Davis mentioned that no hotel owners had applied to be on the tourism board, but said that there was no reason why a hotel manager could not be on the board if someone petitioned city council.

“We don’t advocate changing the make up of the group,” said Nick Patel, “but if you give us the opportunity, we will participate.”


Back then they didn’t ‘advocate changing the makeup of the group’. But now, the word is that this is exactly what is being considered.

Here’s something else:

“… but if you give us the opportunity, we will participate …”.

No one has denied anyone the ‘opportunity to participate.’

Here’s the deal: we have a couple of business owners who have attended none of the previous meetings and who have not participated in the process of establishing the tax, or the board. They say they don’t take the TD and so were unaware of all this. Really. Apparently they don’t know how to use the web either, since the information has been posted to the TD website as well as running in the print paper.

Now, we have two motel owners who have heretofore not had sufficient interest in the local community to read the local paper -by their own admission - about what is going on in the local community, showing up at the board meeting to complain that no motel owners are on the board, and who now expect special treatment by the board and by city council so as to remedy this egregious wrong.

That’s nonsense. Do We the Citizens want people on the board who are that unaware of what is going on? Do we expect council and this board to suffer a case of the vapors and knuckle under?

It’s another case of that “I’m a business owner. You owe it to me …” mindset.

No, Mssrs. Patel, we do not. When you show enough interest in The Smile Hi City to participate in our processes, and to become at least as aware of what is going on as your average middle school student, then perhaps when seats on this board come up for reappointment you should be given some consideration – but no more and no less than anyone else.

Now, let’s see what the boards do about it. Will they stand firm, or will they knuckle under to the whining.

2/7/10

Cutting off your nose to spite your face

That’s what Obama’s administration is doing over the Toyota dustup.

As most of us know, Toyota has been racked and pinioned, in a manner of speaking, over the Gas Pedal Fiasco.

Obama’s Transportation Hood … uh … secretary, Ray LaHood, is ranting about it. He has announced that he ‘is not finished’ with Toyota, as though he is some kind of avenging minion of The Obamessiah, bent on single-handedly savaging the Wily, Inscrutable Oriental Masterminds.

The UAW is definitely ranting about it.

And to be sure, the Gas Pedal Fiasco is in fact real.

But where were the UAW and all their henchmen back when Ford’s pickups – made in UAW union plants – were blowing up?

But where were the UAW and all their henchmen when police Crown Vics – made, or at least assembled, in UAW plants, were immolating police officers?

But where were the UAW and all their henchmen over the General Motors airbag ‘issues’?

We could go on … and on … and on.

The answer is they were hiding behind their lawyers.

Toyota employs 30,000 workers here in the US. Toyota has a $16 billion investment in this country.

Toyota is not trying to hide the defect; far from it. They have been working overtime to resolve the problem, unlike their American counterparts, who seem to find the courtroom the best place to beat American victims of UAW shoddiness into submission.

Here is a good article explaining why Obama’s minions are doing the nation no good service with their political posturing:

Why invest in the US?

A meaningless loyalty oath

This was originally published as “A compelled pledge of allegiance …”.

This Sunday, for the first time in our church, at least in the few years I have been attending, we were subjected to a mix of political and religious drivel based in Christian Fundamentalism. The Pledge of Allegiance was held up as an example of why religion must be embedded in government. The clause about ” … one nation, under God …” was held up as proof of this.

It was quite obvious that church representatives have no idea about the origins of the pledge, or of the hypocrisy that surrounds those origins. It is also clear that church representatives, as is so typical of American Christian churches these days, are essentially clueless regarding the issues that serve as the foundation for the separation of church and state.

God, Government, and Roger Williams' Big Idea

Christians, and in particular Christian Fundamentalists, in America have made victimization an art form. They carry on as though they have been deposed from their rightful place as the nation’s leaders. They ascribe this to the godless hordes, the liberal left, to homosexuals, to … Democrats. To any business that wishes customers ‘Happy Holidays’ rather than ‘Merry Christmas’, as though such an utterance is a mortal sin, beyond redemption. They make political affiliation a measure of one’s faith in God.

And they use the Pledge of Allegiance as a bludgeon, in the same manner as the use the Bible as a weapon, to belittle others, to call the faith of others to question, and all too often, to destroy those who refuse to buy into their drivel.

It’s as though God gave them the singular ability to not only divine the Constitutional Truth, but to reprimand, ridicule, revile, and destroy those who disagree with them, all in the name of Christ.
There is very little of Christ’s love in the behavior of these people. They are too busy hating in Christ’s name. Perhaps they would do better to simply concentrate on following Christ’s new commandment, with which they already have enough difficulty without adding their interpretations of the Constitution.

But enough of that. Here is the original post:

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Here is one that will get the right-wingers pinging off the walls:
Pledge of Confusion? Schools Wrestle With Flag Policy in Classroom

The Pledge of Allegiance has an interesting history.

It was authored by a fellow who was a Christian Socialist, one Frank Bellamy, who was also a Baptist preacher. Christian socialism is an interesting mix of Christianity and socialism, with a twist of liberation theology, shaken, not stirred. It - the pledge - was developed as part of a push to sell flags. It was part of a sales pitch. And, Bellamy was eventually defrocked and kicked out of the Baptist church.

The pledge was quite simple when first used:

“I Pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

With ‘liberty and justice for all’.

Yet Bellamy reportedly considered adding the words Fraternity and Equality. Shades of the French Revolution! Liberté, égalité, fraternité!

He left them out because he realized there was a great deal of opposition to equal rights for women and African Americans. So much for that ‘liberty and justice for all’, huh? Nice if you can get it but let’s not rock that boat too much. Fundies may insist that we are a “Christian” nation, but let’s recognize that the line must be drawn somewhere, right?

That ‘under God’ never came up until about 1948, and was not made official until 1954, during the McCarthy witch hunts. Some of our younger readers may not remember those. Joe McCarthy, a CongressClown, decided to accuse a significant number of Americans of Communist – and by extension ‘ungodly’ – leanings. The Pledge of Allegiance, heretofore a fairly harmless bit of feel-good emotional fluff, somewhat meaningless given that hedge over ‘liberty and justice for all’ except blacks and women, now became a mandated loyalty oath.

Since when do we Americans force other Americans to take ‘loyalty oaths’?

Of what value is a ‘loyalty oath’ that is forced?

It’s probably about as worthy as a forced pretension of a belief in whatever God d’jour is being forced upon people by the local ministerial association. America. Love it or leave it. Screw you and the horse you rode in on if you don’t see it our way. We real Americans know what American values are all about.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses protested being forced to recite the Pledge, back in the forties. They have this odd notion that one does not swear allegiance to a lesser being or entity than God.
They were beaten senseless and vilified by good, red-blooded Americans who knew what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and American values are all about. We’ll teach you what free speech means …

A compelled Pledge of Allegiance is a joke. Rather than requiring … compelling … a Pledge, how about requiring a good education in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. How our government is supposed to work. They used to call that ‘civics’. Some history wouldn’t hurt either.

Then, when kids recite the Pledge, they are moved to do so voluntarily, because they understand what this country is all about. Or supposed to be all about. Not because some clown with more emotion than brains forces them into it by beating them senseless if they don’t recite it. Can we all spell “Sieg Heil”? Can we all sing “L’Internationale”? Do we really want “Praise the Lord” to fall into that category?

The same reasoning should apply to those pastors and ‘Christians’ who think God should be required in government. The truth of the matter is this: A truly ‘Christian’ lifestyle is voluntarily undertaken. Christian values become a part of how one does things, how one regards self and others. If this is so, then it is naturally reflected in how a government is run. Perhaps these pastors and ‘Christians’ are not leading such an exemplary Christian life, and so do not lead lost sheep to the flock. Perhaps if they worked more on that failing, our churches would not be declining.

Can it be possible that they have the cart before the horse?

2/5/10

Cluelessness defined

That’s our president, who still just doesn’t get it.

For example:

Lincoln presses Obama on party extremes

That’s Blanche Lincoln, of Arkansas, not Abe.

Centrist Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) on Wednesday asked arguably the most contentious question during a discussion between Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama, hitting at conservatives and liberals.

Lincoln, who faces a tough reelection fight, asked Obama to push back against “people at the extremes” of both parties, especially against Democrats “who want extremes.”

She also took a swipe at Obama’s White House, referencing a constituent who “fears that there’s no one in your administration that understands what it means to go to work on Monday and make a payroll on Friday.”

Lincoln is not a left-wing whackjob. She’s one of those middle-of-the-road Democrats. She stands good chance of having her head handed to her in the mid-terms, primarily because of voter attitudes toward Obama’s New Marxism. As noted in the article, she is 23 points behind her Republican challenger and suffers a 27 percent approval rating. The Republicans are at least as clueless as Obama – have you listened to Michael Steele lately? And yet a Repub has Lincoln down by 23 points.

So how did Obama respond?

“Moving forward, Blanche, what you’re going to hear from some folks…[is that] the only way to provide stability is to go back and do what we did before the crisis.”

and

“If the price of certainty is for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression…the result is going to be the same.”

See that? He’s still blaming Bush. He ignores the fact that both parties have been complicit, up to their ears in it, for decades, not simply the last eight years. He ignores that he has brought new meaning to the term “irresponsible spendthrift”. He ignores that his ’spending freeze’ is ridiculous on its face. He ignores that most Americans are well aware that his State of the Union was full of holes, errors, and downright lies. He and his ‘team’ are clueless about counterterrorism. We don’t even have terrorists, you see. We have ‘criminals’. Obama’s ’stimulus bill’ is a joke that be would a huge giggle if it weren’t such a frightful waste of money and such a useless effort. And he still goes on and on and on about ObamaCare.

Further, Obama is perfectly willing to stick to his leftist extremism, his socialist agenda. He either doesn’t care what the people think, or is oblivious. I suspect that it is the latter.

2/3/10

Stepping on his wang ...

In a manner of speaking … Barack H. Obama has done it again:

President Barack Obama is known for having a way with words, but some lawmakers from Nevada wish he would pipe down about trips to Sin City.

After sparking a firestorm of criticism from Nevada’s elected officials for suggesting that people saving money for college shouldn’t blow it in Las Vegas, Obama told U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a letter that he wasn’t saying anything negative about Las Vegas.

It was the second time since taking office that Obama singled out Las Vegas as a potential example of spending excessively.

“I was making the simple point that families use vacation dollars, not college tuition money, to have fun,” Obama said, according to the letter released by Reid’s office. “There is no place better to have fun than Vegas, one of our country’s great destinations.”

First, he enrages the Nevadan delegation, presumably even Harry Reid.

And then he says … “… there is no better place to have fun than Vegas …”.

Betcha the Christian right is loving that, hey wot?

Tell the truth, I don’t think much of it, either. It’s a matter of taste, to be sure. If you like Vegas, then by all means, go to Vegas and have fun. I’m not going to foam at the mouth over it, like our Christian fundamentalist ‘pals’.

But really … in these United States, there is no better place to have fun? Scorry. I’ll take a Carolina beach or the North Maine Woods or Colorado’s mountains or a thousand other places over Vegas any day of the week.

You don’t have to bow and scrape before Harry Reid, Mr. President, although you have certain skills in that area. A simple butt-smooching is all the man expects. Save the bowing and scraping for Arab kings and other tin pot despots. Just work one of those famous Chikaga deals with Harry; give him a couple of hundred million as a ’stimulus’ to ‘create jobs’. You know, as in remodeling the Strip or somesuch.

Well done, Mr. President.

"Hecho en China"

In her speech to the Chamber of Commerce the other evening, Rachel Wallace observed:

There is a lot of talk about thinking and shopping local and what local is. Have every one of us gone to Pueblo to buy something. Yes. But we are missing the point. THINK local first. If you go to Pueblo 10 times a month, go seven and spend it here. Why? Because shopping is more than just grabbing a bargain. Shopping is an investment. It is a political action. It is a vote we are casting on the future of our community. There are choices to be made and we can all, to varying degrees, make those choices.

“Shopping is an investment …”.

We were in Hobby Lobby in Pueblo last week. Curious, I started picking up items of merchandise to check the country of origin labels. I found that from the cash register area all the way back to the art supplies, every single piece I checked – and I checked a lot of them – was “Made in China”. Well … hold on … there were some items that were made in Vietnam, and a few from India. In the entire store, we found a few artist’s canvases that were made in USA, and some of the fabric. Some of the oil paints were English.

Some of the labels were not even in English. Not even a little bit. “Hecho en China”, if you please. Or even if you don’t please.

Over in Sears, and in JC Penney, I found that almost all of the clothes and shoes were from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, or Mexico, or El Salvador. Not the USA. Tools, electronics, lawn care equipment … you name it. Almost none of it was from the USA. Most of us are aware of this to some extent, but until you actually walk through a store checking item by item, the magnitude of it may well escape you.

Here’s the thing: I agree with Ms Wallace about that ‘community investment’ thing. But if America’s entrepreneurs … if America’s business ‘community’ … is so driven by the bottom dollar that it cannot invest in the national community in that quest for the bottom line … and if our local businesses are entitled to shop outside the local community in order to get the most for their dollars – that ‘bottom line’ again … what can I, the lowly customer do? As a customer, apparently I can’t even exercise my right to get the most for my dollar by shopping where my dollars stretch the most. If I do – and I’m vocal about it – why … I must hate the town and everyone in it, and I certainly should be canned because we all know who pays my salary, and … apparently … that makes it obligatory for me to shop where I’m told to shop. Or else. How does that attitude fit into the old ‘American entrepreneur’ view?

We moved here in 1978. “They” were running surveys about shopping downtown back then. Some other surveys have been run since. Oddly, in the thirty-odd years since we moved here, those surveys seem to indicate the same concerns … over and over again. Doesn’t that indicate that the customers’ concerns, the customers likes and dislikes, have been largely ignored? So why do they ask my opinion when they so obviously don’t want it? What it seems to boil down to is when the business community wants my opinion as a customer … they’ll give it to me. Isn’t that a strange way to respond to customers? Whatever happened to ‘the customer is always right’? When did it become the responsibility of the customer to make sure businesses survived? Where is that good ol’ all-American entrepreneurial spirit and drive?

A fellow who is a third generation La Juntan recently told me that ten years ago, if he went to Walmart to shop, he knew everyone he met there. Today, he says, he feels that he knows fewer than half of the people he will meet there. “There are a lot of new faces in the Valley,” he observed.

Yes. But the population here has declined, hasn’t it. So that means the percentage of ‘new faces’ is actually quite a bit higher relatively speaking. Is it possible that those ‘new faces’ have very different shopping patterns and shopping expectations than those of the crowd whose great grandpas played poker with T.T. Woodruff and Chuck Denney down at the Masonic Lodge, and who fondly remember ‘the way it was’? Is it possible that even some of the old crowd has changed shopping habits and expectations to fit an entirely different market model? What ever happened to the idea of ‘building a better mousetrap’, especially when the old mousetrap so obviously no longer works?

In reaction to the loss of what has traditionally been a Democrat’s seat in the senate, Barack H. Obama has vowed to keep on “fighting” for his so-called “health care reform”. Yet a considerable majority of Americans have come to oppose ObamaCare. So who is the president fighting? We the People? When did We the People become the president’s enemy?

Similarly, Ms. Wallace encourages the Chamber of Commerce not to yield. Yield to whom? The customers, whose opinions are expressed by their shopping habits and patterns? The larger business community, who are demonstrably not in the least interested in investing in America, and for whom ‘made in America” is a sad joke? An exhortation to ‘not to yield’ implies an adversarial relationship somewhere. My question here is … with whom does the Chamber perceive that adversarial relationship? And why?

Ralph Waldo Emerson didn’t really make that comment about better mousetraps. What he did say was this:

If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.

Business owners who understand and apply that concept will do pretty well, in my observation. Unless, of course, Obama has any say in it. Or our friends and business partners, the Chinese.

The three witches

The except below is from “The New and Improved Iron Curtain”, which appeared on 6 Dec 2009. It is by Burt Prelutsky, who has written for a number of newspapers and magazines, and who has written a few books to boot:

“Frankly, I don’t know what it is about California, but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office. I’m not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine, even comes close. When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington, we’re number one. There’s no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on ‘Macbeth’. The three of them are like jackasses who happen to possess the gift of blab. You don’t know if you should condemn them for their stupidity or simply marvel at their ability to form words.”

Further comment would appear to be unnecessary.

Worry not ...

From 'the Recovering Fundie':

Most of us are comfortable with spiritual formulas, especially those that reduce complex questions and concepts of morality, personality, and spirituality to simple black and white explanations. But for me, there are not many areas of life that are that simple, that are black and white. There are many shades of gray, and I believe God manifests himself in those uncertain areas. Nonetheless, I also believe there are certain foundations, or guidelines, which are necessary. For example:

“If you want a good litmus test of your spiritual growth, simply examine the nature and the quality of your relationship with others.” M. Robert Mulholland, a New Testament scholar from Asbury Seminary, said. Mulholland wrote a book called “Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation.” In this book he wrote about how essential relationships are in spiritual formation. Of course this is not a blanket statement. We cannot judge our spiritual life by whether or not everyone likes us; however, we can judge our growth by our general attitude toward everyone. Does love rule our hearts and actions? Do we honestly try to think the best about people? Are we critical? Judgmental? Do we forgive when wronged? Can we separate wrongful acts on the part of others from the person? In other words, do we take issue with the wrongful act, or with the person?

The other day, I awakened with many worries. I carried these worries until I remembered another guiding phrase from Mulholland: “Biblically, anxiety and care are symptoms of a failure of trust.” I felt gently rebuked and also encouraged. As I apologized and asked the Lord to take care of my problem, I felt a sense of release and calm. I learned once again that it’s much better to trust God with my worries than to carry them myself. He is a lot stronger than I.

If I am feeling anxious or worried, am I wholeheartedly trusting God? Definitely not. In Matthew 6:25-28, Jesus talks about worry, citing how the the birds of the air depend on God to feed them. “Are you not much more valuable than they?” Jesus asked in verse 26. We must be, if Jesus suffered so greatly for us.

“A good barometer of what’s important to you is listed in your checkbook ledger, or your credit card statement.” I picked up this phrase from a sermon on finances and added the part about the credit card. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 that “where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Good questions to ask might be: How much am I giving to God’s work? Am I at least tithing? Do I give to people in need if I have what it takes to give? Have the needs of my family been met? Do I pay my bills and/or meet my obligations before buying things for pleasure?

Remember, these statements are guidelines, not rules. By considering them from time to time, I allow the Spirit to work more closely in my life as I uncover potentially destructive behavior.