6/30/12

Where is Pat Robertson?

Indeed, where is God's premier salesman?

The Waldo fire has become a disaster of biblical proportion. Pat Robertson and his righteous brethren are always quick to jump on the 'Righteous Anger of God' bandwagon, claiming that earthquakes, tsunamis, all manner of disasters, disabled children are the result of sin and depravity on the part of the suffering victims. God is a-gittin' em for their bad behaviors.

Remember the Haiti earthquake?

The silence from the Christian Right has prompted this article from Relevant magazine:

A natural disaster with no one to blame

Robertson and his pals are hoist by their own petard, with the likes of Daily Kos picking up on the silence, and commenting, rather nastily I think, but basically quite accurately:

Huge fire engulfs Colorado Springs as God punishes wingnuts

I used the contact form on the 700 Club website to ask when Brother Pat was going to address what must be the 'hidden sin' of the 'false Christians' of Colorado Springs that has led to God's righteous wrath.

So far, no answer. And I ain't holdin' my breath. I didn't send him any money. Money is very useful in securing intercessions and prayer requests from televangelists. Could it be that Colorado Springs is much too white and much too evangelistic for Pat to risk drying up a funding source?

Now we have the storms that have trashed a good portion of the eastern half of the country. Same deal. You won't hear squat from Brother Pat. He saves all that pointing of God's righteous finger-by-proxy for Third Worlders.

6/28/12

Stolen Valor Act struck down

Meanwhile, the 'Soopreems' have struck down the Obmanians' "Stolen Valor Act".

That works for me. While I agree that the government does have a substantial interest in protecting the integrity of its system of military honors, they could do that by not handing out medals by the wheelbarrow load for people just doing their jobs.

Gulf War medals stir up old resentments

While the idea seemed good on the surface, it was along the same lines as requiring people to recite the pledge of allegiance, or jailing people for burning flags. Don't you just love the idea of jailing people or beating them up or requiring a loyalty oath, in order to educate them as to what it means to be a 'real' American. How does that fit in with that "... I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic ..."?

 There are better ways to deal with such slime as Xavier Alvarez. Public ridicule is just one.

In the event someone's false claims lead to securing some concrete benefit - like money - then it would seem more logical to prosecute that person for fraud. Not for simply being a blowhard. If we prosecuted people for simply lying, and for being blowhards, most of Congress would be doing life without parole.

Here is the opinion:

United States v. Alvarez

Cowboy Wes McKinley

... is political toast after Tuesday's primary election.

McKinley faced Anthony Abeyta in the primary. Abeyta took the ballot, 1386 to 861. That's even more of a drubbing than McKinley was handed by that cute lil' filly from California, Lisa Grace Kellogg.  You will recall that 'the Malibu Cowgirl', as Kellogg was derisively nicked by McKinley's admirers, came pretty close to handing him his head in the last election. Though Kellogg actually lost the election, for a transplanted California lawyer gal to take that many votes against a 'favored son' was really quite the ass-whippin'.

McKinley term limits out of his general assembly seat this time so he's not up for re-election.

The more cynical among us saw McKinley's shifting of address over to Cokedale as laying the foundation for snagging a better-paying gummint job. County commissioners get paid quite a bit more than members of the state house of reps. The commissioner's job would have been quite lucrative for ol' Cowboy Wes ... but it looks like the Democrats have had more than enough of Cowboy Wes' showboating shenanigans and other embarrassing behaviors.

Interestingly, McKinley's supporters really worked Kellogg over the coals for taking up a local address in the district while maintaining her other considerable activities in Agoura Hills. Looks like ol' Cowboy Wes learned a thing or two from Kellogg ... imitation is flattery in its sincerest form, don't you think?

You can do a salary comparison by downloading this report in PDF format:

Salaries of state and county elected officials

So now ol' Cowboy Wes can ride off into the sunset. We would suggest he consider taking up the growing of hemp in commercial quantities there on yon ranch, wherein he could make piles of money, and laugh all the way to the bank.

ObamaTax

We were sitting at our favorite table there in The Holy Land Quickee's.

DinkyDau Billy was scrolling through his iPad, reading news accounts of the recent Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare.

"They says it's really a tax," he informed us, "Them Soopreems is sayin' that the mandate is really a tax. How 'bout that?"

Tookie gave him a blank look. "Huh?"

"Congress has the authority to tax. Or not to tax. I wonder what Boehner is going to do? He was rattlin' sabers about a repeal of ObamaCare. I can't think of a better way to kill it, than not to fund it. But it also means that if you don't toe the line, the IRS will rake you over the coals."

"Yeah ..." Tookie muttered, thoughtfully, "you know, looking at the figures, I'm seeing that ObamaCare has now become the largest tax hike in history. If Congress goes for the tax end of it,  the IRS will be after millions of us to prove we have insurance. And how much authority will the IRS have to stick its nose even further into our business? Well done, Mr. President!"

"And 'they' can't punish states for non-compliance, by barring the funding," Billy went on, "that part went down 7-2.  And the Soopreems even referred to that as a 'threat' by the Federal gummint. The states are supposed to expand Medicaid, which'll cover about half the 'new people', but the Feds is s'posed to take up the funding slack. For the first five years. Then the states have to pick up the funding. But the Soopreems say the Feds can't withhold funding if the states refuse to do that."

"So it's not nearly as clean a win as the Obamanians would have us think," Leece added, "the opinion by Roberts is brilliant; striking the mandate down under Commerce Clause, but upholding it as a tax, so constitutional, even though under the terms of the Anti-Injunction Act it isn't a tax. It really lays a terrific groundwork for repealing Obamacare. It's a TAX!!!"

Leece had the wind up over that part of it.

"And," she went on, "I love listening to all the shocked Dems act as if the Court got it right and did what Congress intended, rather than a found a technical way to uphold it but shut  down the Commerce Clause and essentially say Congress and the President can call something one thing one day, and another the next, and get away with it. They get away with it only if we let them. Do the Dems really have the guts to stand there and tell us they are going to execute the biggest tax hike in the history of the nation?"

"Stripping away the various sanctions against the states as well as individuals guts the law.  If there are no sanctions, there is no law, not effectively, though that has nothing to do with the IRS being able to crucify people," Tookie ruminated, still thoughtfully, "I'm thinking this decision might be called 'the Economic Recovery Act for Lawyers of 2012'; they're going to be litigating all this for years to come."

"I agree. In fack, I think it's going to open entirely new cans a worms. We'll have to let it all shake out. We should wait till the talking heads exhaust themselves and shut up," Billy said.

"They also kept the part about 'children' under 26 riding on their parents' insurance," Tookie observed.

"Yep. And we wonder why so many young people seem to be so helpless," Billy agreed, "when you treat mid-twenny-somethings as entitled 'children' what else can you expect?"

We all sat there, contemplating the Whichness of What and the Thisness of That.

Meanwhile, how's that economy doin' fer ya?

6/27/12

Obama's 'event registry'

Well ... for a three buck donation you'd getcherself in a lottery, the Grand Prize of which was dinner with Barack and Michelle. Since then they changed it to ... no donation necessary, just give us your email address. Perhaps it seemed really cheap and tawdry, even to the DNC? Interestingly, if you read the rules, you are responsible for all Federal, state, and local taxes associated with the retail value of the 'prize', which is listed as $1050.00 for the whole deal.

Now, Obama is fishing for more. You have the opportunity to tell any guests who might be attending your 'wedding, Bar Mitzvah or other occasion' to make donations to Our Beloved President's re-election fund, in lieu of gifts to you.

One can only wonder when Obama will start hitting the funeral homes. You know: "In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society" becomes 'in lieu of flowers, please visit The Obama Event Registry and make a donation to re-elect Our Beloved President'."


Dear potential Democratic voter 

We understand from a review of your electronic medical records (made available under Obamacare through tomorrow until the Court meets) that you have a terminal condition and will soon shuffle off this mortal coil.  We are sorry to hear this.

Have you included a bequest to the Obama Event Registry in your last will and testament?  If you hurry and die before the election, your thoughtful gift will ensure Our reelection, and as promised earlier, though a little late, the receding of the ocean waters.

Please contact http://www.barackobama.com/news/entry/the-obama-event-registry for instructions on creating such a provision in your will (and euthanasia instructions if it looks like you might linger into November 2012).

Thank you.

Your beloved president, Barack H. Obama


Meanwhile, the opening venue for the DNC has been changed from the Charlotte Speedway to downtown Charlotte, not, as the DNC would have us believe, so as to make it 'more accessible to more Americans', but because of a pesky $27 million deficit.

Yet the President has a pile of munny.

Including a $50 million grant for the convention, from DHS. Of course, so do the Republicans, which might prompt you to ask ... WTF? Why are We the Taxpayers paying $100 million for these clowns and their circuses? It's partisan political activity, on either side, and the fact that We the Taxpayers are forking over an equal amount to each party does not, despite the logic of our CongressClowns, make it non-partisan.

6/25/12

Supreme Court ruling on AZ immigration statute

If you have been following the Supreme Court rulings, you will know that the Supremes ruled against most of the statute, but upheld the part where cops can, during routine stops, check the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.

So, the Obamanians are having a bit of a snit fit over it:

Obama administration says in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law that it is suspending a program that allowed local authorities to partner with the federal government on immigration checks.

further:

Officials also said Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be selective in responding to the expected increase in calls from Arizona and other police agencies about immigration status of people they pull over. Officials said ICE will not respond to the scene unless the person in question meets certain criteria -- such as being wanted for a felony.

 In other words, the Federal government is not going to uphold immigration laws. I'm shocked ... shocked, I tell you.


What this Obamanian reaction is, is an example of "I'm going to stomp my feet, whine, take my ball, and I'm not going to play with you because you hurt my feelings."  It's an easily recognized tactic by those who have small children or grandchildren.

Meanwhile, speaking of illegals, we have this:

Mom gets bill to clean street after son killed by DUI driver

Loretta Robinson spoke on June 19 of the emotional and financial toll her son Justin Walker's death had on her as the driver Anna Gonzales, who is an illegal immigrant, pleaded guilty in the case.

Gonzales, an illegal immigrant who didn't have a South Carolina driver's license, was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Fortunately, Obama's Department of Injustice wasn't involved.

6/22/12

Gay Twits

What pair of idiots:

"Activists" photographed flipping off Reagan portrait in White House

What are these morons, forty-somethings going on twelve?

6/20/12

Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve 06.14.2012

We visited Carrot Island, part of the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve, on June 14. We timed the visit so we'd be there during low tide, as we wanted to get some shots of marsh life, as well as Leece's primary interest, the plants and especially flowers.

We managed to get some very good photos of the horses, and some of the more common birds. We used our Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, on a Canon 5D MkII for all the horse photos and most of the bird shots. At 500mm, the Sigma telephoto is a very good stand-off lens, especially when used not on the 5D, but on one of the cameras with an APS-C sensor. Macros were Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro or 24mm F2.8 EX DG Macro.

The gallery is up on Writingplaces.com's galleries page:

Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve 06.14.2012

We did OK for a ... dare I say it ... 'a three hour tour ...'.

Actually, we spent four hours. Can you imagine the photo ops if we could go over more frequently? It near boggles the mind.

6/19/12

Tryon Palace, New Bern, NC

New Bern was the colonial capital of North Carolina around 1770. Tryon Palace was the governor's mansion. Built under considerable controversy, it actually was a pivotal point leading to the War of Regulation. To say that Governor William Tryon was unpopular would be something of an understatement.

The original palace was destroyed by fire in 1798. Like Bent's Old Fort, the modern site is a restoration.

The palace is renowned for its gardens, and we spent a few hours sweating like pigs, on a hot, humid day last week getting some macro shots. It was worth it, we think.

The gallery is up on the WritingPlaces.com galleries page:

Tryon Palace Kitchen Garden

This gallery includes four shots of the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, which is usually the first place we stop, coming over the bridge from US Highway 70. There are also several shots of the palace, front and rear.


Nuns on the run ...

The nuns gave the Vatican a blast from both barrels a couple of weeks ago. The nuns had been silent for some weeks after the Vatican had ripped them a new set of knickers.

With its scathing commentary directed at the nuns, the Vatican demonstrated once again just how out-of-touch the One True Church is regarding The Real World As We Know It.

The nuns’ bus tour is taking the issue a step farther, though, mere weeks after the Vatican called on American nuns to stop highlighting economic justice issues in order to focus more on other church priorities, including abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.

The Vatican has been leaning hard on the nuns, and this has really aggravated more than a few American Catholics.

Regarding the priorities of the One True Church, DeChant has this observation:

More than 77 percent of American Catholics consider using birth control morally acceptable. None of us can recall the last time we heard a priest support the Vatican's birth control ban from the pulpit; even our pastors -- looking into parishes with two-child families -- know that that ship has sailed. It left way back in 1963, when the pill was prescribed by Catholic doctors for the health and welfare of mothers and families. Our nuns should be the last to be interrogated on this issue, and at this late date. 

On the nuns' involvement with the Evil of 'social justice':

The nuns quit wearing the medieval habits that separated them from others, and many moved from convents into a larger community to serve in new ways. They also embraced the Council's call for dialogue, by not only talking with but listening to those they serve, many of whom are poor women. Would that our hierarchy could seek and get such an education! 

Clearly, 'the Council' view of 'dialogue' is akin to that marvelous line out of 'GI Jane':

"When I want your opinion, lieutenant, I'll give it to you."

and finally:

Does the Pope really want to force American Catholics to choose between standing with our nuns or with a male hierarchy interrogating them for nebulous infractions, with a stated agenda of keeping their findings secret? Where could we find Jesus in all this -- among our nuns, whose life of service is based on the Gospels' call to justice and charity, or in the Vatican, whose concerns appear to be power and secrecy?

I would suggest that those running the show over in the Vatican give a bit of reflection on why Martin Luther was moved to post his Ninety-Five Theses. It would appear that they have forgotten, and in so doing, have proved that while change is inevitable, some things never change. Is it time for a Second Reformation?

Leece observes:

It makes me sick that the Catholic church can protect pedophiles but treat these honorable women like toddlers.

You go, sistahs!

MSNBC's "Amazing Sandwich" screw up

You'd think that by now MSNBC would be able to use adult smear tactics, rather than the puerile nonsense upon which they continue to rely:

MSNBC edits Romney speech to make him look like an idiot

C'mon. This one doesn't even get my pinkie tingling.

Cape Lookout, North Carolina 06.09.2012

We visited Core Banks and Cape Lookout on June 9. We went all the way to the point of Cape Lookout, as far as we could without having to swim to the next sand bar.

WritingPlaces.com galleries

We got some good shots of black skimmers, royal terns, plain old terns, some of the flora, and quite a few of the lighthouse.

This year, we went over on the Cape Lookout ferry service, which is based in Davis, NC.  Susie and Louie had arranged for a fairly hefty diesel-powered ATV to use for getting around. This ferry goes over to the fish camps near Great Island, about the middle of Core Banks and about 7 miles, more or less, from the lighthouse. On other trips, we had used the Harkers Island Fishing Center's ferry service, which puts us right near the lighthouse. Previous years' galleries are on the same WritingPlaces.com's galleries page.


Core Banks is part of Cape Lookout National Seashore. Cape Lookout is the central cape of the three "Carolina Capes" - Cape Hatteras being the northernmost; Cape Fear the southernmost. The capes, especially Hatteras and Lookout, have gained the reputation of being "The Graveyard of the Atlantic", because of the huge number of ships that have grounded and been lost on the shoals extending for miles out from the capes.

In addition to 'natural' losses, the waters off the capes were a shooting gallery for German U-boats during the opening days of World War II. A quick read of U-boat.net's summary of Operation Drumbeat will give you some idea of the terror wrought within sight of our coastal towns and cities.

Leece loves Core Banks and Shackleford Banks not only for the scenery, the pristine beaches and water, but also the shelling. She can't seem to take more than a few steps along the beach without stopping to root for shells. The first three shots below are actually on Shackleford Banks, which is south of Core Banks, and still part of Cape Lookout National Seashore.





While these are on Core Banks, near the lighthouse at the south end of the island.



Question: How many pictures can you take of one lighthouse?
Answer: As many as there are sides to the lighthouse.

And the fishing is magnificent.

6/18/12

Budsin Boats

Hand-crafted electric-powered boats, built in Marshallberg, NC.

Leece examines two boats being custom-built for the Broadmoor up in Colorado Springs.

Budsin Wood Craft

6/7/12

The Kit Carson Hotel

 Update 08.06.2012: Kit Carson Hotel Demolition Day 1 gallery is up on the WritingPlaces.com Galleries page, under Events.

As we all know by now, the Kit Carson is finally ... after lingering on like a rotting albatross around the necks of We the Taxpayers... going to be demolished.

There is an article in the online version of the Pueblo Chieftain:

Kit Carson Hotel faces wrecking ball

There seems to be some feeling that 'the State' or 'the City' hasn't 'done enough' to save the Kit Carson.

In fact, in the article, we have this:

Babb said she has asked City Council and the town's Urban Renewal Authority for help but neither was interested.

That is so much horsecrap. Council and Urban Renewal have bent over backwards to help Babb.

Urban Renewal, with the approval of city council, gave Babb $75,000. That $75,000 was from tax-generated revenues. That means that it came out of the pockets of property owners in the Tax Increment District, many of whom are business owners, and a great many of whom are residential property owners.

In other words, that $75,000 is money that was taken from the pockets of We the People, by local government, and handed out to Babb as a 'gift'. Yep.

Boy howdy, but I'd sure like for Urban Renewal to hand me $75,000 to restore our house in La Junta. I'd even put a little sign on the front, like in the Beaufort, NC Historical District.

And I sure as hell wouldn't be telling the Pueblo Chieftain that after handing me $75,000, Urban Renewal and city council 'weren't interested.'

In the second comment to that Chieftain article, we have this:

If the State can't or won't help, what are towns of Colorado with old buildings to do?

The commenter clearly doesn't understand that 'The State' gets its money from people like you and me. It doesn't appear out of thin air. It is not created by God snapping his Divine Digits, causing wheelbarrows of Free Money to appear.  'The State' gets its money by dipping deeply into your pockets and mine, and I am really fed up with the attitude that the money is 'free'.

Also, why are We the Taxpayers expected to give people like Babb piles of 'free' money to either get their businesses started, or to keep them running? The economy of this nation has always depended upon the brains, hard work, and entrepreneurial skills of business owners - successful business owners - and in particular, small business owners. Taking money from the pockets of those people, who earned their money, and who earned their success, and giving it away as 'free' money for things like this Kit Carson lashup is an insult to the spirit of America.

And just who is that John Galt fellow, anyway?

"He was guilty of nothing except that he earned his own fortune, and never forgot that it was his."

-- Atlas Shrugged




Speaking of John Galt ...

Here's a good one:

Dems can't make it without government unions

Unions in general, and government unions in particular, have come to epitomize the 'useless leeches and slugs' mentality so prevalent throughout Atlas Shrugged.

6/6/12

Hitting the beach

Last year on 6 June we were here:

Cape Lookout National Seashore 06.06.2011

as part of what has become our annual trek back to eastern North Carolina. Cape Lookout is one of the most wonderful spots on God's earth. It's easy to see why Down Easters are fond of saying, "God may be everywhere, but he lives down to the Cape."

Sixty-eight years ago today, other people were hitting a different beach, one that was not nearly so pleasant, one that was, in fact, a living hell on earth. The allies were invading the Continent. It was D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944.

The Americans - the 29th Infantry Division; the 1st Infantry Divison, and nine companies of Rangers - were hitting Omaha Beach, which turned into a bloodbath.

So there we were, enjoying the day, wandering around getting sunburned, getting sand in our shoes, enjoying the peace and tranquility, yukking it up with the park rangers, and generally having a good time.

The oaths of enlistment/commissioning, an oath which all those men who hit Omaha Beach took, includes the phrase:

"... I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ..."

You will notice that the oath is to the Constitution, not the state.

The Preamble to the Constitution sets forth the reasons for establishing that document in the first place. Among those reasons, we find:

"... secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity ..."

And then over in the Declaration of Independence, we find:

"... they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness ..."

The only reason that we were able to spend that time frolicking in the surf, walking on the beach below Lookout light, and generally pursuing our own brand of life, liberty, and happiness ... was because those men on Omaha Beach, and thousands upon thousands like them throughout our nation's history ... lived up to that oath they took. Because of their sacrifice, we are all, today, free to take our lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, as we may find them, wherever we may find them.

God bless them all.






6/5/12

Religious or political purposes

An excerpt from the minutes of the last city council meeting:

1. Library Use Policy. There has been a recent request by a political entity to use our Library for political reasons. This has raised the question of whether or not City buildings may be used for such activities. The Senior Citizens Center, within its guidelines, has specifically precluded the use of that facility for religious or political purposes. This is a complicated matter and I feel that the Library Board look at drafting a policy and then make a recommendation to the City Council as to what the guidelines for usage of the library conference room should for religious and/or political purposes. Until this policy has been formulated, it is my suggestion that we do not allow the library facilities to be used for religious or political meetings. I would like a directive from the City Council to the Library Board that they work on a policy and make a recommendation to the City Council 

MOTION THAT THE CITY COUNCIL REQUEST THAT THE LIBRARY BOARD CREATE A POLICY FOR THE USE OF THE LIBRARY CONFERENCE ROOM AND PRESENT IT TO THE CITY COUNCIL FOR ITS APPROVAL: Freidenberger 

SECOND: Schmidt 

DISCUSSION: None 

VOTE: The motion carried 5-0 (Velasquez, Johnson absent). 

 One can only wonder which political group requested to use the Library for political reasons. Rumor has it that it was our local Tea Party constituency. That can be neither confirmed nor refuted at the moment, basically because we here at Blogger Central haven't asked. You'd think the reporter would have done that, wouldn't you?

But here's the thing: City Council has a religious invocation, always "Christian" so far, as part and parcel of their meeting. The mayor calls the meeting to order; he leads the Pledge of Allegiance; and then someone does some praying. As part of a political function by our elected leaders. Yep.

The issue here is not that council is having a political meeting in a city building - that's what they are supposed to do, and that's why we have those council chambers upstairs in the city building.

The issue is that we have a religious function as part of a political function. One might reasonably question the praying thing, but so far, the only one who has openly done that is Cheryl Lindner, who resigned shortly after being elected, right after good ol' Tony Bolen stuck his foot in his mouth down past his tonsils with his prayer over abortion. That was some 'invocation', I gotta tell you.

We can only wonder what would happen if some citizen who is a Wiccan priest or an adherent of the Baha'i faith ... or God help us all, a Muslim ... or a Mormon, or a Seventh Day Adventist, or a Jehovah's Witness (we can only wonder at the reaction if a JW showed up to do a prayer - but refused to recite the pledge) ... wanted to offer up an invocation, purely in the spirit of expanded ecumenical brotherhood, of course. I guess we'd find out pretty quick if council is pushing a 'Christian' agenda, wouldn't we.

So we already have a 'religious' function in the city building, with every city council political meeting. It's just that so far, no one who might cause a vaporlock has come forward to ask to pray. Unless, of course, we missed it, but if we did, it ain't in any council minutes.

What's the big deal then, over allowing such functions over at the library? Or political functions? What if someone wants to hold a meeting about abortion issues? Is that political? Is it religious? Is it both? What if someone wants to hold a meeting to discuss utilities rates, which are set by the city's utilities board and approved by city council, both of which are political bodies. Would such a meeting be political? What if such a meeting were held specifically to express outrage over proposed rates, calling for recall of council and board members? Would such a meeting be political? Is council going to deny citizens use of a public building to hold such meetings? The school district is already using the high school for religious functions, and though the school district/board is a different political body, the high school is still a public building, funded in large part by the same people who use our library.

Where does council intend to draw the line in defining 'religious' and 'political' purposes?

BTW ... those religious functions being held up at the high school? Who's paying the costs required on that? Is it coming out of the school district budget?