12/8/13

Sam Frankmore

We have a gallery from this year's Sam Frankmore meet over on FaceBook:

Sam Frankmore 2013


11/22/13

Fifty years ago today

Fifty years ago today I was working in the warehouse at the base exchange on MCAS Cherry Point.

I had been accepted to the naval apprentice program over at what was then called the 'O&R', for 'Overhaul and Repair', the Navy's largest aircraft repair facility on the east coast. At the warehouse, I was making $0.95/hour. Yep. Ninety-five cents. An hour. It was considered pretty good pay for non-skilled labor.

I had pushed out a load of goods to re-stock the men's clothing section. The military uniform store was right next to the double doors for the warehouse. Music had been playing over the PA system in the store; I remember it was the old "She ain't got no yo-yo ...".

The music stopped, and the announcement was made that President Kennedy had been shot, and that he was dead. We all stood there in total silence. You could hear a pin drop in the store. I remember a Marine major gave an audible sigh, and went to the counter in the uniform store and asked if they had any mourning bands. These were black bands worn on a uniform, much as the black bands cops wear over their badges. They didn't.

I looked over at the ladies who worked in the men's clothing department, and they were huddled together sobbing. Then the announcement was made for all military personnel to report immediately to their units - because ... who had killed the president? Why? Was it the prelude to an attack? This was at the height of the Cold War, and the Cuban missile crisis and other Soviet shenanigans were fresh in our minds. TV coverage was non-stop; all three networks held up regular programming to cover the event. I remember the Oswald shooting, too.

"She ain't got no yoyo" was actually quite popular on most Marine bases; the Marines still had a large garrison contingent in Japan. The song was really "Shina no Yoru," or "China Night." It sounded like "She no got no yo-ohyooooh!" It's a Japanese song written in the late 1930's, after Japan had invaded China. Itwas first recorded by a female recording artist named Watanabe Hamako and later by Yamaguchi Yoshiko who recorded under the stage name of Shirley Yamaguchi.

And when I started the apprentice program, my hourly pay went to $1.95/hour, and LBJ started cranking things up in Vietnam, and the Sixties were, like, wow, man ... they were On!

Huh. Here it is: "Shina No Yoru." It was also the title of a Japanese propaganda flick, showing the kindliness of the Japanese occupying forces toward the Chinese.

However, they didn't play that at Kennedy's funeral. They played Chopin's Funeral March: Chopin's Funeral March.

11/14/13

Solving the ObamaCare woes

OK, I admit that I'm just a dumbass hick from the sticks, who fails utterly to understand all the wonderful things that President Obama is doing for me personally, to help me wend my stupid way through life ...

But just what is this:

Administration officials say President Obama will direct insurance companies to offer Americans whose health plans were canceled by the Affordable Care Act the option of renewing those plans without change. WATCH LIVE on Fox News and FoxNews.com at 11:35 a.m. ET 

The O is going to direct private companies to do this?

Or else? Or else what? We have a composite reaction from the multitudes:

Apparently, here's how it works. You've heard the expression "... there's an App for that?"  Well, The O believes "... there's an executive order for that."

Don't have congressional approval? No worries, rule by fiat. Doesn't pass constitutional muster?  Screw 'em, here's my executive order.

We know what he's trying to do, but his arrogance seeps through and instead of "I'll direct the government agencies responsible for enforcement to back off temporarily, meet with the Congress and work with them to provide a legal respite to the requirements of the ACA and ask the insurers to bear with us during this period of uncertainty and not issue cancellation notices to any of their policyholders due to the ACA."

Had Bush made that same statement, he'd have been painted as a dolt.  Is the O simply stupid? Or insufferably arrogant? Or perhaps both?

OTOH ... Insurance companies are obviously running dog capitalist pig extortion operations and must be directed by Dear Leader in order to properly redistribute the wealth.

An update from FauxNews:

Obama's insurance plan 'fix' stirs confusion, ridicule at state levels

But we all know that Faux is out to 'get'  The O ... so how about this one, from CNN:

The health care fix won't work


11/12/13

A famous La Juntan

Well ... maybe not so famous, as I have never heard anyone in The Smile Hi mention Wendell Fertig.

Not even those whose great-grandaddies played poker with T.T. Woodruff and Chuck Denney and Bat Masterson.

Fertig was born in La Junta in 1900. He grew up here, and graduated from high school here, and then he went to the School of Mines.

And then he went to the Philippines:

Wendell Fertig

Fertig was basically shafted due to Army politics. Nonetheless:

By late 1944, Fertig commanded a force estimated at between 25,000 to 40,000 effectives, with most sources agreeing on 36,000—the equivalent of an Army Corps—with 16,500 of them armed.[82][83] Officers with responsibility for corps command usually hold the rank of major general. In addition, Fertig created and help administer the civilian government of Mindanao while at the same time conducting the guerrilla war against the Japanese. The USFIP killed at least 7,000 Japanese soldiers and, while a constant drain on Japanese resources, they also prevented the Japanese from fully utilizing Mindanao's resources in support of its war efforts. At one time, the Japanese committed approximately 60,000 troops in an attempt to crush guerrilla resistance on Mindanao, troops that were desperately needed elsewhere. Throughout the entire Philippines, the guerrillas managed to tie down a Japanese army of 288,000 troops, of which approximately 43,000–60,000 were on Mindanao, depending on the time period.[84]

After the war, examination of Japanese records indicated that the Japanese high command felt that 24 battalions of troops would be needed to guard rear areas against guerrillas once the American invasion of the Philippines began. Since seven divisions were slated to resist the invasion, this resulted in a ratio of one rear-area soldier to every three front-line troops. Ultimately, the Japanese concluded that, "It is impossible to fight the enemy and at the same time suppress the activities of the guerrillas."[85]

While summarizing Colonel Wendall Fertig's contributions to the American war effort and his leadership of the USFIP on Mindanao, Keats (1990) states:

...apart from his insistence on honesty and justice, and the idea that the guerrilla army be a process of a responsible civil government, his fundamental contribution to Mindanao was his concern that the reward for performance should always be increased responsibility. In his command, demonstrated competence was the sole means to promotion, and no man was denied an opportunity to prove himself. This concept built a nation in North America, and it built another on Mindanao... It was Fertig, more than any other man, who gave the Filipinos of Mindanao increasing reason to believe in themselves. This, rather than a military victory, was Fertig's triumph.[86]

(excerpted from Wiki article)

The Fertigs lived at 302 Lincoln. Fertig's parents arrived in La Junta in 1888. Fertig's father, Welby, was the water service foreman for the Santa Fe for 33 years.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were some sort of historical plaque or other such marker, memorializing this La Juntan's  remarkable contribution toward the defeat of the Japanese in World War II?

11/4/13

Government efficiency

I had a question about SNAP.

So I went to the website for that program.

I used the search function.

It returns with:

Unknown error.

So I sent an email to the webmaster to let them know of this 'issue.'

I had an almost instantaneous response:

Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:

webmaster@fns.usda.gov (webmaster@fns.usda.gov)

The e-mail address you entered couldn't be found. Please check the recipient's e-mail address and try to resend the message. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.

11/3/13

Prayer at city council meetings

Here we go again:

Atheist to get her day at the Supreme Court

That would be the US Supreme Court.

Here's the deal:

The justices on Wednesday will hear arguments over whether Greece, New York, may continue sponsoring what it calls "inclusive" prayers at its open sessions, on government property.

Stephens and co-plaintiff Susan Galloway have challenged the policy, saying virtually all of those invited to offer legislative prayers over the years were Christians.

"It's very divisive when you bring government into religion," Stephens told CNN from her home. "I don't believe in God, and Susan is Jewish, so to hear these ministers talk about Jesus and even have some of them who personally question our motives, it's just not appropriate."

She's right. It is not. However, that has never discouraged the Christian Right from trying to ram their particular, and too often peculiar, interpretations of 'Christianity' down the throats of everyone else in the nation.

We can expect the religious right to get the wind up over another atheist trying to ruin our 'Christian' Nation. They'll go on, in usual manner, about how our Founders intended this to be a 'Christian' Nation ... and of course, as usual, they will be wrong. That's never stopped them before, and it won't now.

Back the day of the Founders, there was little concern about atheists; there was no concern about Muslims ... or any other non-Christian religion for that matter. Their concern was Christian-on-Christian persecution. A cursory examination of the history of religion in this country demonstrates that very well.

It was 'Christians' who were the main threat to religious freedom back in those days, and it remains so today.

It's time to give it a rest and MoveOn. We have way too many people who believe in way too many different things for town councils to be endorsing, however obliquely, any religion at all.

Pray on your own time.


11/1/13

Benefits

It's good to see that someone is benefiting from Obamacare:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/01/smallbusiness/sex-workers-obamacare/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Meanwhile, we have The ObamaCare Six:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/01/internal-notes-indicate-only-6-people-signed-up-for-obamacare-on-first-day/

Six, in a nation of over 300 million souls ... of course, Jay Carney believes that we have veritable avalanche of seekers just waiting in the wings. And, for those whose wildly increased insurance premiums under ObamaCare are going to drive them deeper in to the poorhouse:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/01/news/economy/food-stamps-families/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

though CNN screwed the pooch with this interview. As you can see from the comments, she isn't getting a lot of sympathy. Of all the people in this country who truly could use some food stamp help, CNN picked this one?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/01/deep-cuts-to-country-food-stamp-program-start-friday/

Knowing

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/11/01/one-month-healthcaregov-horrors-time-for-obama-apologize-meet-with-republicans/

Interesting tidbit. The author is completely wrong, of course. It's not nearly that bad.

A local wage-earner was told this week that he can expect rate hikes in their health insurance in the immediate future that will be just a bit more than double what he is now paying. The 'new' plan will have the mandatory maternity care included. That they do not need maternity care coverage is beside the point. When he asked me, somewhat rhetorically, why he has to pay for maternity care when 'maternity' ain't gonna happen, for various reasons, some pharmaceutical and some surgical, I told him "you have to pay for it so everyone who does need it can afford it. you see."

He doesn't.

See? It's small-minded people like that who are dragging the whole thing down.

Looks like they may be on food stamps after the premium hike.

No ... wait ... food stamps are being reduced ...

I really admire the leadership our beloved president is providing.

He does know he is providing that, doesn't he? Or is that something else he didn't know about.

10/31/13

Stonehenge Bread and other delights

OK, here's another one. This one rivals our Toasting Bread:This is a good one. It rivals our Toasting Bread:

Part 1

3 tblspoons brown flax seed
1/4 cup oat bran
3 tblspoons polenta or cornmeal
1/4 cup Red Mill Meusli
3 tblspoons honey
3 tblspoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup boiling water

Part 2

2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rye flour (dark is best)
2 tblspoons roasted wheat germ
1 1/2 tblspoons gluten
1 1/2 tspoons salt (TEAspoon; not TABLEspoon)

Part 3

1 tblspoon yeast, or 1 tblspoon plus 1/2 tspoon bread machine yeast

Put all the ingredients in Part 1 together in a bowl and let the grains soften by soaking for 15 minutes.

While that is taking place, add all the ingredients in Part 2 to the bread machine.

Add the mess from the bowl and let it cool a bit before adding the yeast. Make sure it is not too hot or the yeast will suffer.

Set the crust on medium; set on the Whole Wheat cycle; make sure it's set for 1 to 1 1/2 pound loaf, and hit Start.

Remove immediately at the end of the baking cycle and place on a rack. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

NOTE: 1 1/4 cups water is almost certainly going to result in a dough ball that is too dry. Add water a tablespoon at a time during the first knead cycle till you get a nice, sticky dough ball typical of a good whole wheat recipe.

This stuff, with butter and a good jelly or jam (specifically, a high grade orange marmelade) will cause your eyeballs to roll back in your head in gustatory ecstasy. It will also earn you the approval of your proctologist.

See also:

Hungarian Fennel Bread

Patriot Bread

Sour Cream Rye Bread

Farmstyle Cottage Cheese Bread

Honey Cornmeal Buttermilk Bread

and ... last but not least ...

Fusion Burgers and Camel Dung

for that one, you have to come up with a nan bread.

10/3/13

Where is Putin?

Oh ... c'mon. Where's Putin when you need him?

Raz-putin pulled the O's shorts out of the fire on the last Red Line ... let him do his magic on this one, too.

Obama: Only one way out - my way

9/27/13

Question of the day

What kind of gat are the Kenyan Defence Forces carrying in this shot?



It's the FN-SCAR, either the -L or -H. They seem to have both.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_SCAR

Featured prominently in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

Our Rangers use it. Also USMC, and ... of course ... LAPD.

9/24/13

Seen in City Park ...

This is an American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis). It's a fairly unusual sight this far out on the plains. From All About Birds we see that it prefers "...boreal forests and montane coniferous forests across North America. Because of its choice of habitat, it is infrequently seen by most people."

It resembles, and is therefore sometimes confused with, the Black-backed Woodpecker. The two species often co-exist in the same habitat.

Both species are quite fond of wood-boring beetles, which would tend to explain the attraction of The Smile Hi's elm trees these days.




9/15/13

Syria!

Tired of watching our beloved political leaders and saber-rattlers posture, pander, and generally behave like 3rd graders in a playground snit over the Syrian 'thing?' You can do something worthwhile, even as they are all sipping fine wines and stuffing themselves with wagyu steaks in Geneva and DC:

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries: Syrian Relief

Colorado floods

Want to help?

Salvation Army Provides More Than 10,000 Meals, Drinks, Nutritional Items

Denver, CO (September 15, 2013 7:00AM) –  Salvation Army emergency disaster services personnel have provided first responders and evacuees of the Colorado floods with more than 10,000 meals, drinks and nutritional items in just 72 hours.

Go here to donate:

Salvation Army InterMountain

9/10/13

Help kickstart WWIII






Sadly, The Kerry Plan - wherein John Kerry has deftly maneuvered the Russians into ending the current crisis - has severely undermined the KickStart effort. Meanwhile, Raz-putin has no clue that he has been had by the keen-witted Secretary of State ...

9/4/13

A chance to vote ...

Proponents of the initiative to repeal the marijuana/hemp ordinance recently passed by city council would have us believe that 548 citizens of La Junta have been denied the right to vote. Of course, we have no idea how accurate that figure of 548 is, since the petitions were in such disarray that the signatures were not verified.

This claim of 'denial of the right to vote' is a bit of obfuscation on the part of those proponents.

Otero County voters, and that includes voters in La Junta, have - as noted by the county commissioners - twice voted against the marijuana referendums put forth in the state elections in 2006 and most recently, November of 2012. The numbers were such that the statement 'voted overwhelmingly against' is not hyperbole. Here are the figures for Otero and surrounding counties:

Amendment 64 (2012) Percentages are shown.

Otero No 54/46
Crowley No 54/46
Bent No 59/41
Kiowa No 68/32
Prowers No 59/41
Baca No 63/37

Amendment 44 (2006)

Otero No 74/26
Crowley No 73/27
Bent No 70/30
Kiowa No 83/17
Prowers No 80/20
Baca No 81/19

That 'the state' approved the amendment is entirely beside the point, since the amendment leaves head shops and other components up to local jurisdictions. The vote last November, despite the overall state returns, rather strongly indicates what local voters think of this.

Now, if the proponents want to try to get the local 'issue' on the ballot, and see where it goes from there ... that's all fine and dandy. They should, however, try complying with the state law on the matter next time around. That it will not be on the ballot now is not the fault of city council, but rather is entirely due to the incompetence of the initiative's supporters.

There has been some talk of forcing a special election. Such an election would cost thousands of dollars. Why should the taxpayers be forced to foot the bill for the incompetence of the petitioners?

Please ... spare us the falsehood that these supporters have been denied the vote, and especially that they have been denied the vote through the fault of city council. That is absolute nonsense. At best, it is disingenuous; at worst, it is a deliberate lie to draw attention way from the incompetence of the initiative's supporters.


A good read

I snagged this one last time we were up in the Springs, at the B&N across from the Citadel Mall:

The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy and King - the five-star admirals who won the war at sea

It's very good, offering some interesting insight especially into Leahy, who served as FDR's chief of staff. It also contains some rather succinct observations regarding cooperation between the Army and Navy, and MacArthur's role in all that.

Notice the cover photo on this one. It's an official USN shot, January 1945. The lead battleship is USS Pennsylvania (BB38), followed by USS Colorado (BB45), and then by the cruisers Louisville, Portland, and Columbia moving into Lingayen Gulf, for the bombardment preceding the landings on Luzon.






9/2/13

Cheyenne Mountain State Park

We hiked the Blackmer Loop and Boulder run up at Cheyenne Mountain State Park on 09.01.2013. Here is a gallery of some of the shots we took:

Cheyenne Mountain State Park 09.01.2013

8/30/13

"... a chump motherfucker and a piece of shit at best ..."

Our citizen activists, who have been collecting signatures in an effort to force city council to repeal the recently passed ordinance regarding head shops within the city limits, are in a bit of a tizzy over on Facebook, and possibly in other venues as well. Certainly, it's typical of the Pinche Cabrones mindset we see with these people.

It seems that they failed to comply with state law in their filing of the petition and signatures. Therefore, the petition and the signatures were rejected.

This has led to the usual irrational rhetoric we have come to expect from this collection of civic-minded residents of The Smile Hi.

For example, we have a person purporting to be Joe Carson, Jr, over on Facebook, coming somewhat unhinged over the rejection, and commenting on City Attorney Phil Malouff's role: "... Phil Malouff is a chump motherfucker and a piece of shit at best ...".

Does Mr. Carson's view represent the view of others associated with this 'movement?' It would appear so, for there is no objection to the comment, and in fact, others seem to be of the same mindset.

Rather than simply admit to screwing the pooch, so to speak, by failing to comply with the state law in this matter ... they blame city council and other city officials for their own failing.

For example, a person purporting to be Janice Lusk-Huff seems to indicate the existence of some sort of conspiracy between Malouff and our current mayor: "I definitely feel you [Klob] were set up from the get go, and that they had this brewing while you were gathering signatures, knowing that this is where you might fail."

Huh. Well, at least Lusk-Huff acknowledges that Klob failed ... but it was the fault of co-conspirators Malouff and Rizzuto. That's some interesting reasoning.

But we are not to worry in future, for when Mike Moreno is elected mayor in the upcoming election, apparently we won't have to worry about such trivialities as complying with the law. As a person purporting to be Deanna Salas states: "When Mr. Moreno is elected mayor this shit will not be happening to us LJ citizens."

Is that right, Mr. Moreno? LJ residents will not have to be concerned about elected officials complying with the law under your administration? Or will legal compliance be a pick-and-choose operation, based on who you are and who you know?

"Beth Klob Everything had to be done exactly as specified because it is CO election law ... BUT ...... this is a small town....Jan Schooley and Phil Malouff have known Tim since he was a small child. If these petitions had been to get either of them a pay raise do you think they'd be thrown out for lack of a staple or would one of them call Tim with instructions on how to fix it?"

It's the law BUT ...  and then, our purported Beth Klob goes on to presume the likelihood of criminal behavior - another conspiracy - between Schooley and Malouff. Is this really the quality of thinking we have in the mayoral candidate's followers?

Then we have someone purporting to be Bob Gleason, who is apparently 60-ish going on 12, commenting:

"Hey Tim, I am still with you. I grew up in the sixties, we get blamed for everything, when in reality we changed the world. They may have won the battle but they haven't won the WAR. Let's regroup & organize and with [sic] the WAR. Besides, if it isn't challenging it's not fun. Bring on the FUN BABY."

I pawed around in my old footlocker, looking for my old rose-colored granny glasses, a tie-died t-shirt, bell-bottomed flower trousers, and my Cheech and Chong headband. Alas, all I found was an old jungle fatigue shirt with "Không bắn tôi biết nhiều bí mật!" on the back of it. Say, Bob, I rather doubt that you changed much of the world while sitting on your ass on a train somewhere, but if it makes you feel righteous to make that claim, have at it. I have to wonder, though ... who you are going to WAR with. Citizens who oppose you? Elected officials? Well ... maybe I should break out my old SDS t-shirt and regress back into my childhood as well. That seems to be what it takes to be a 'leader' in The Smile Hi these days.

I suppose there will be quite the crowd at council meeting Tuesday evening. I wonder, though, if any of these shit-talkers will have the balls to call Malouff a 'motherfucker' or 'piece of shit' to his face. Or accuse the mayor of participating in a criminal conspiracy to interfere with a political petition process. Or insult Ms. Schooley by wondering about her potential for engaging in criminal activity?

Nah ... that would take some balls. There's lots of mouth with this crowd, but no balls. No manners, either, but that's another story.

Maybe they'll just toke themselves into a stupor and miss the council meeting altogether.










8/23/13

A new revenue source

We were taking a break from overhauling the basement bathroom, and were relaxing over at the Holy Land Quickee's. I slurped noisily at my diet Dr. Pepper, earning a bit of a glare from my rather fastidious Accomplice in Life.

"Why must you do that?" Leece asked, that raised eyebrow telling me that I had struck a nerve.

"I don't have to do that," I replied, "all I have to do is stay white and die. I slurp because I can. Because it makes your eyebrow do that funny twitchy thing."

"Humph!" she snorted, turning her attention to a rather succulent Juan Diego burrito.

"Hey! Hey!"

"Oh boy ...". That last from Leece, as DinkyDau Billy plunked himself down on the bench next to her. He too had a diet Dr. Pepper, the gallon size from the look of it. He isn't a straw user. He slurped at his icy drink like a pack of bloodhounds coming in from chasing the Hound of the Baskerville over hill and dale. Leece cringed. I thought maybe she was going to crawl under the table.

"Hey! Hey! I gots a new source a revenoo for the gummint!" Billy exclaimed, in his usual excited manner.

"Really? And you like that?" Leece asked.

"Yeah! Yeah! Like, we could use this munny for, like, you know ... tourism development!" Billy enthusiastically effused.

"What money?" Leece asked.

"Dope munny! From dopers!"

"Huh? That from me.

"Yeah! Yeah! City council should vote to approve some head shops in the Smile Hi's Turn a the Century downtown shoppin' district! Then they could tax the sales a dope to dopers! They could make thousands! Maybe even more! Colerader Springs estimates they'd pull in $3.9 million!" Billy was already counting shekels. Billy doesn't mind taxing other people. Billy is a Democrat.

"But didn't they vote against marijuana sales outlets?" Leece asked.

"Yeah! Yeah! But that's them! We gots a diff'rent sitcheration here! We gots tourism that ain't gonna mind a little dope! Think a all them bird-watchers tokin' away in them blinds out on all them ranches what's hosting all them birders. They tend t'be left-wingers, don't they?"

Left-winged bird-watchers. Billy missed that one completely.

"Uh ... I dunno," I answered, "but I'm beginning to see your point. I'm not so sure the cyclists that are being attracted in droves to the area would be that enthusiastic ..." ...

"Yeah! Yeah!" Billy interrupted, still excitedly, "they tend ta like them performance enhancin' dopes, not weed ..." ...

"BILLY!" This from Leece.

"Uh ... yeah?"

"Quit interrupting. You're worse at that than Tookie. Besides, I think it's only professional cyclists that go for those exotics. You know, like Lance Armstrong."

"Uh ... yeah."

"He has a point, you know," I observed, "we could perhaps appeal to bikers. Steal the thunder from Sturgis. We could have fifty thousand bikers here for a long weekend, if we had cheap beer and cheaper dope."

"Yeah! Yeah! And ... and ... we could get Cheech and Chong to be our tourism mascots, like! They could visit, and do dustjacket signings of 'Up in Smoke' down at The Lighthouse an'  The Barista and at Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours events!" Billy was on a roll.



"Hmmmm ... I'm visualizing Cheech dressed up in one of those really cool SoCal pimp suits like he used to wear on 'Nash Bridges,' leading the Early Settlers' Day parade in that yellow Barracuda ..." I ruminated thoughtfully.

"Yeah! Yeah! An' ... an' ... we could have posters of 'em welcoming visitors, out by them 'Welcome to the Junction' signs!"

"Billy, I think you may have stumbled on to the salvation of The Smile Hi's economy," Leece told our excited stalwart, "You may even receive a Sunshine Award for this!"

"Aw ... I awreddy gots one a them, from back in the nineties. I think they done forgot about it, though."

"Well ... perhaps you should run for mayor, then."

7/23/13

The consummate integrity of the FBI

Check this story:

Head of Milwaukee FBI office is reassigned after refusing to testify in court

an excerpt:

Carlson is accused of trying to influence a subordinate’s testimony on whether the FBI refused to give an Army veteran a job because of his disabilities.

The Office of Inspector General is investigating what could become a criminal case, the Journal Sentinel reported.

So cute little Terry was 'reassigned.'

Would you like to know what she is doing now?

She is a deputy assistant director of the FBI, at Quantico. That's where the FBI academy is located. Perhaps she is teaching ethics to baby agents.

You think that's something? Check this:

The FBI: No margin for love?

Some excerpts:

Joe Demarest, the Bureau's Big Apple top gun, is the latest G-man to have his life complicated by matters of the heart. In January, 2009, FBI Director Robert Mueller thought so highly of the high-strung Demarest, a lean, crew-cut Delta Force lookalike, that the Bureau lured him out of retirement to head its prestigious New York office. He gave up his lucrative position as Goldman Sachs' Director of Security for his FBI dream job.

Today, barely a year later, Demarest is on what the Bureau describes as "temporary assignment" in Washington. and Sources say the Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating whether Demarest used his influence as a senior manager to get his FBI agent girlfriend promoted.

The agent, Teresa Carlson, is described as a looker -- slim, blonde and blue-eyed. She headed the white collar section of the New York office's Criminal Division with eight or nine squads reporting to her. After a lateral transfer to the Intelligence Division, the FBI promoted her to a job in Washington.

 More:

Demarest move would be blow to FBI/NYPD relations

Milwaukee FBI chief reassigned, investigated

Ex-chief of Milwaukee FBI office under investigation

Ex-Milwaukee FBI chief under criminal investigation

We can only wonder when Theresa is going to become Director of the FBI.

7/22/13

Outrage!

Once again, the right-wingers are in a state of outrage - actually, let's make that "Outrage!" with a capital O and an exclamation point.

They are outraged over the Rolling Stone cover.

And they are even more outraged, it seems, over the suspension of the 'tactical photographer' who released crime scene photos of whatsisname the bomber, without authorization from the Massachusetts State Police.

In other words, this 'tactical photographer' violated MSP procedure for handling evidence. Anyone who thinks that the arrest scene wasn't a crime scene hasn't been watching enough NCIS, America's favorite cop show; and anyone who thinks that photos taken at a crime scene aren't evidence is really out of touch.

That the public thinks this isn't real evidence is beside the point.

The guy violated MSP procedure and was suspended pending outcome of a hearing.

So the right is/are 'Outraged!'

Huh.

I wonder if they would be that Outraged! if the fellow had released photos of a rape victim, because in his mind, for whatever reasons, he thought that would be the Right Thing To Do. You know, show the public what a vicious bastard the rapist really was. What if next time, it's a leftie leaking something the Right doesn't want leaked? Is it still OK?

Meanwhile ... what's a 'tactical photographer?' A Ninja with a Nikon?

Further meanwhile ... I'm armed and dangerous, looking for drones to shoot down. That seems to be the Right-Minded Thing to Do these days.

How about that. The Right has something in common with the most vicious of murdering Muslim fundamentalists.

7/15/13

America's Political Police Agency

That would be the Obama Department of Justice.

The DoJ, run by Eric "Fast and Furious" Holder, has agreed to participate in an NAACP witch-hunt prompted by the Zimmerman verdict.

The verdict wasn't what the NAACP wanted, and it wasn't what the media maggots wanted, so now the DoJ is going to see if they can do sufficient muck-raking to somehow come up with enough to make a civil rights case of it.

The problem with that is that despite dozens of interviews and a lengthy investigation, the FBI has not found any evidence that the shooting was racially motivated.

Justice pursues civil rights probe; FBI documents show no racist bias

An excerpt:

McClatchy also has reported on another set of documents that show FBI agents interviewed  dozens of people in the course of probing possible racial bias but nobody  would say Zimmerman showed such bias before the shooting. 

Here is another good piece on the peculiar phenomenon of using the federal government to 'fix' jury decisions selected groups of influence don't like:

Former Federal Official: Fed Prosecution of Zimmerman Case Would be A Mistake


7/12/13

Obamacare and denying reality

 Our Nan is on a tear over the delay that isn't really a delay:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/12/fact-check-rips-pelosi-claim-that-obamacare-mandate-not-delayed/

Cutting through the Fauxnews BS, the article does a bit of enlightening as to what is really happening with the mandate.

But here is a better explanation from the capitalist oppressors of the masses over on Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/07/12/the-employer-mandate-delay-may-have-drastic-consequences/

Sadly, however, it is really the Affordable Care Act, not the Affordable Car Act.

7/5/13

Church signs

I saw this on a local church recently:

"God's plans put man's best dreams to shame."

What else can you expect from churches that wallow in the idea that we mere mortals are POS losers, unworthy worms, etc etc etc.

Perhaps something like "Man's best dreams pale in comparison to God's plans ..." or "Man's best dreams are inspired by God ..." would be a little more constructive; a little more likely to draw some poor sot into the fold.

But no. Let's just work on the idea that humans are POS losers.

I can feel the love.

Speaking of which:

6/12/13

But it's a really nice field ...

We seem to be having a bit of a dustup over in the Otero R-1 school district, with the teachers wanting more money and the school board saying they can't afford it:

Most of the four million reserve is tied up in obligations, such as the new Tiger Field. The actual reserve fund is 1.4 million not restricted. The school district is spending more than it takes in.

Back when Tiger Stadium or Tiger Field or whatever it is was being considered, and then being built, I was wondering why the district was so willing to spend so much on an athletic field. After all, they were closing one school building and consolidating the middle school and the high school in one facility. That was because the student population had been declining steadily and fiscal intake was dropping. The population of the district, the population that pays property taxes, had also been declining steadily.

But it was, apparently, a 'must have,' so now we have it.

And the teachers want a raise, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen. It's simply a matter of what the school board and the rest of the influential power hitters and string-pullers consider to be most important.

Another thought ... if a 'reserve' is tied up in 'obligations,' is it really a 'reserve?'

And we can only wonder if yet once again, the school board is going to have their party up at the Broadmoor:

CASB's party at the Broadmoor
School Daze
High times at the Broadmoor
No right to speak
 
Meanwhile, as all this is going on, Dee tells me that it's going to cost her about $150 to register the grandkids for school this year ... not counting any club/organization fees. But it's a very nice stadium, and what's a few thou at the Broadmoor in the overall scheme of things?

It really is a very nice field, and I'm sure all the power-hittin' Tiger alumni in the center section are pleased as punch.

So ... are the parents going to organize a big bake sale in the lobby of the Broadmoor, for the next CASB meeting?That would be a good way to raise money for those fees.

Note: All this aside, I'm having a real problem working up much sympathy for the teachers and their pay raises. I don't know of anyone who has gotten a raise in the last several years. Our mayor is fond of referring to those who are 'on fixed income' every time we hear about utilities rates being raised. Who isn't on fixed income these days? Most of us are just glad to have jobs much less pay raises. 

But it's a very nice field.

6/11/13

"I'm not going to hide ..."

But Snowden, the 'hero' who outed the NSA's phone records scheme, seems to be doing just that:

As Justice Department officials consider charges against Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who claims to be source of classified leaks, the whereabouts of the 29-year-old computer expert appear to be unknown after he reportedly checked out of his Hong Kong hotel.

Snowden is being touted as a 'hero' by the unholy and unlikely Dynamic Duo of Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, as well as millions of others who apparently remain completely clueless regarding the hows and the whys of what the NSA was doing with their 'pen register' operation.

Eliot Ness would have envied the phone records operation. Would that he could have done this back when he was chasing down Al Capone. But things were so much simpler back then. CongressCreatures like Issa and his henchmen could posture and pose, but they could not do so for such large audiences with such ease. Speaking of Issa ... can you imagine the righteous wrath from him and his pals were Al Qaeda or some other murderous outfit to pull off another major 'public safety event'? I can just hear it now: "Mr (insert name of squirming government minion of your choice) where was your organization and what were you doing while AQ was running up their Verizon bill plotting and scheming?"

Meanwhile, though FoxNews continues to do its best to fan the flames of outrage among its followers, CNN and the rest of the 'news' outlets seem to be giving it another one of their journalistic yawns.

Has anyone considered that Congress is 'outraged' over this because they fear the NSA can follow their calls  for booking 'escorts' and other interesting activities?

Has anyone considered that none of the 'journalists' were 'outraged' about any of this until it became apparent Eric Holder's boys and girls were keeping on eye on them, as well as we hoi polloi?

Now even the editorial board of the New York Times has joined the buzzard-like feeding frenzy, issuing a statement in which they said the Obama administration has lost all credibility on this issue.

Really? Where have you guys been the last several years?





6/10/13

The Great NSA scandal

Yawn.

The NSA is gathering metadata on phone calls. Numbers, times, dates, duration, frequency. Nothing indicates there is eavesdropping on conversations.

Sounds to me like the NSA is doing what the NSA should be doing, which is looking for calls to known 'threats' and vice versa, and developing patterns indicating such activities.

The GOP and the Tea Partiers and other affronted and outraged groups and individuals really need to go find some other scandal to unearth. I'm sure there are plenty of them.

I don't like the secret courts, however. Never have, and never will. That's a bone that sticks in the craw ... but that they are doing this is not worth the ink and bytes being wasted on all that outrage. And I really would like to know what safeguards, if any, are in place regarding eavesdropping. It's one thing to 'pen register' all this data, but it's another entirely to eavesdrop. Snowden said, in this excerpt:

"I, sitting at my desk, had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email."

 But 'wiretap' refers to standard telephony, not wireless, not cell. And does Snowden understand the difference between 'wiretap' and data gathering via pen register? 'Wiretap' to me indicates 'eavesdropping', which means listening in on conversations. While I would love to see the Obamanians hoist by their gonads, I'm going to have to have more reliable sources than this little turd in the punchbowl. Consider that he fled to Hong Kong, claiming he wants asylum in a place that believes in 'free speech.' Hong Kong? Free speech? Really? And there's the little detail that Hong Kong will extradite him in a New York minute. The latest has him wanting to go to Iceland. Snowden clearly is not a rocket scientist.

Back in the day, when law enforcement was working organized crime, RICO, and other surveillances were it would be very useful to find out who was calling whom, a device called a 'pen register' was used.

What follows is an excerpt from Wiki, which is a very good presentation in lay terms as to why this whole NSA thing is a bag of wind:

Background

In Katz v. United States (1967), the United States Supreme Court established its "reasonable expectation of privacy" test. It overturned Olmstead v. United States and held that wiretaps were unconstitutional searches, because there was a reasonable expectation that the communication would be private. The government was then required to get a warrant to execute a wiretap.

Ten years later the Supreme Court held that a pen register is not a search because the "petitioner voluntarily conveyed numerical information to the telephone company." Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 744 (1979). Since the defendant had disclosed the dialed numbers to the telephone company so they could connect his call, he did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the numbers he dialed. The court did not distinguish between disclosing the numbers to a human operator or just the automatic equipment used by the telephone company.

The Smith decision left pen registers completely outside constitutional protection. If there was to be any privacy protection, it would have to be enacted by Congress as statutory privacy law.


Pen Register Act

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was passed in 1986 (Pub. L. No. 99-508, 100 Stat. 1848). There were three main provisions or Titles to the ECPA. Title III created the Pen Register Act, which included restrictions on private and law enforcement uses of pen registers. Private parties were generally restricted from using them unless they met one of the exceptions, which included an exception for the business providing the communication if it needed to do so to ensure the proper functioning of its business.

For law enforcement agencies to get a pen register approved for surveillance, they must get a court order from a judge. According to 18 U.S.C. § 3123(a)(1), the "court shall enter an ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of a pen register or trap and trace device anywhere within the United States, if the court finds that the attorney for the Government has certified to the court that the information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation."[6] Thus, a government attorney only needs to certify that information will 'likely' be obtained in relation to an 'ongoing criminal investigation'. This is the lowest requirement for receiving a court order under any of the ECPA's three titles. This is because in Smith v. Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled that use of a pen register does not constitute a search. The ruling held that only the content of a conversation should receive full constitutional protection under the right to privacy, since pen registers do not intercept conversation, they do not pose as much threat to this right.

Some have argued that the government should be required to present "specific and articulable facts" showing that the information to be gathered is relevant and material to an ongoing investigation. This is the standard used by Title II of the ECPA with regard to the contents of stored communications. And others believe probable cause should be required; Daniel Solove, Petricia Bellia, and Dierdre Mulligan say a warrant and probable cause should be necessary, and Paul Ohm argues that standard of proof should be replaced/reworked for electronic communications altogether.


The Pen Register Act did not include an exclusionary rule. While there were civil remedies for violations of the Act, evidence gained in violation of the Act can still be used against a defendant in court. There have also been calls for congress to add an exclusionary rule to the Pen Register Act, as this would make it more analogous to traditional Fourth Amendment protections. The penalty for violating the Pen Register Act is a misdemeanor, and it carries a prison sentence of not more than one year.


USA-PATRIOT Act

Section 216 of the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act expanded the definition of a pen register to include devices or programs that provide an analogous function with internet communications. Prior to the Patriot Act, it was unclear whether or not the definition of a pen register, which included very specific telephone terminology, could apply to internet communications. Most courts and law enforcement personnel operated under the assumption that it did, however the Clinton administration had begun to work on legislation to make that clear, and one magistrate judge in California did rule that the language was too telephone-specific to apply to Internet surveillance.

The Pen Register Statute is a privacy act. As there is no constitutional protection for information divulged to a third party under the Supreme Court's expectation of privacy test, and the routing information for phone and internet communications are divulged to the company providing the communication, the absence or inapplicability of the statute would leave the routing information for those communications completely unprotected from government surveillance.

The government also has an interest in making sure the Pen Register Act exists and applies to internet communications. Without the Act, they cannot compel service providers to give them records or do internet surveillance with their own equipment or software, and the law enforcement agency, which may not have very good technological capabilities, will have to do the surveillance itself at its own cost.

Rather than creating new laws regarding Internet surveillance, the Patriot Act simply expanded the definition of a pen register to include computer software programs doing Internet surveillance. While not completely compatible with the technical definition of a pen register device, this was the interpretation that had been used by almost all courts and law enforcement agencies prior to the change.


You can read the entire article here:   Pen Registers

Meanwhile, the self-righteous little prick who violated any number of laws regarding the handling of classified data, has fled to Hong Kong where he is seeking asylum, all the while claiming he isn't going 'to hide.'

Well, then, young Mr. Snowden, why don't you just come on back to the ol' US of A?

5/28/13

Swink graduation

We have a two galleries up:

Swink graduation 05.26.2013

and Froggy's:

Swink graduation 05.26.2013 part 2

Recalls

So the recall efforts against Giron and John Morse are in full swing.

I don't think they have a chance, at least the one against Giron.

But I'm glad to see these efforts, and if I were a constituent of either, you can bet your last dollar that not only would I have been an early signer, but I'd also be out there working the streets as well.

The bills passed by the General Assembly, and signed into law by our governor, are perfect examples of what is meant by 'arbitrary and capricious.'

Like Obamacare, which our Congresscreatures did not read before they passed it, it is fraught with stupidities and inanities. Most of these are covered in the lawsuit brought by 54 of the county sheriffs of the state.

The one that really illustrates this is the limit on magazine capacity. First they wanted to limit that to 10 rounds. Then they went back and forth over it finally settling on 15 rounds. There is no information as to how or why they arrived at that figure as the one that will make the state 'safer.' They pulled it out of their backsides.

We see the same thing about how they 'adjusted' the original bill from banning the manufacture of such magazines to allowing the manufacture but not the sale thereof. Someone pointed out to these characters, Morse and Giron being chief among them, that we have at least one such manufacturer in the state, one that employs a fair number of people, and one that brings in a fair amount of tax revenue for them - Morse and Giron - to spend on whatever porky project has their attention for the moment.

So they changed the bill to allow Magpul - the outfit that makes these death-dealing implements of destruction - to make them in Colorado, but only sell them out-of-state.

How's that fit in with this 'concern for public safety?'  Clearly Morse and Giron don't mind if these death-dealing implements of destruction are used to wreak mayhem on other populations in the nation, so long as they get Magpul's tax money to spend.

We have a General Assembly peopled with a large number of knee-jerks who don't have the sense to consider the ramifications of the bills upon which they vote, and send to the governor.

They do indeed need to be recalled. 

5/23/13

Politicizing Religion

All this uproar over the IRS 'persecuting' so-called 'Christian' organizations is interesting.

But, mostly hot air.

Here's the deal. Back in October 2012, an organization of over 1400 Protestant pastors decided that they would challenge the IRS, and that they would preach partisan politics from the pulpit. They called this "Pulpit Freedom Sunday."That wasn't the beginning of it; it was just a high point. They've been going on about it for years.

They took the position that the fact that they could not claim tax-exempt status while politicizing religion was somehow an affront against free speech. In other words, they wanted to have their cake, and eat it too. We have some preachers in The Smile Hi who were in that up to their necks.

Of course, it had - and has - nothing to do with free speech. No one is telling these characters that they cannot politicize religion. Certainly the Republicans are not, for they do it all the time. What these characters are being told is ... 'if you want your tax-exempt status, you can't politicize religion.'

But they flung down the gauntlet, and it would appear the IRS picked it up.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday: Pastors challenge the IRS

Then, when these other so-called 'religious organizations' starting filing for tax-exempt status, they came under this IRS scrutiny. How could the IRS be sure that these were not more of the same - claiming to be 'religious' and wanting the tax exempt status, yet clearly carrying a political agenda?

So the IRS was doing what the IRS is supposed to do - grilling these clowns to find out what they really were up to.

Much has been made of the claim that the IRS asked some of these people for examples of their prayers. That has sent them into paroxysms of outrage. How dare the IRS ask about that?

Well ... most of these outfits are claiming association with low-church Protestantism. They do not have a liturgy, like the Roman and Eastern churches or the high-church Protestants. If you ask the Roman church for an example of their prayer system, they can produce the Missal and a liturgical tradition that goes back for centuries. If you ask a low church for an example of their prayer tradition, they generally can't produce it, because they don't have one. So the question then becomes ... can you give some examples of your church's prayers? A 'real' church should be able to do that. And once again, this is not a matter of free speech; it is not a matter of freedom of religion. It arises only because these so-called 'religious' groups are seeking tax exempt status. If they weren't doing that, no one would be asking them questions about anything.

It's like this ... in many Protestant denominations, you really don't need an education to be a preacher; you don't need much of anything, other than to have awakened one morning and decided to be a preacher. Some Protestant denominations do require their preachers to be educated and many are highly educated and well-trained. But the bottom line is, anyone claiming to have a calling can be a preacher.  The Protestants don't even have the concept of apostolic succession, though some claim that nonetheless. If I wanted to call myself Reverend Mikey of the First Church of the Sainted Watermelon Seeds of the Arkansas Valley ... there's nothing to stop me from doing so.  But should I have tax exempt status as a 'church?' Perhaps the IRS should ask some questions about what I really do? Ask for some examples of my 'congregations' prayer tradition? How about asking for my mission statement, and some proof that I meet that? How about financials? Sennnnnnnnd me some mo' munnnnny cuz Jeeeeezus needs a new Mercedes ... and that tax exemption!

So I don't see that part of the 'scandal' as a big deal. The preachers asked for it, and they got it. They need to get their big girl panties on and quit whining. It's isn't the government persecuting Christians. It's 'Christians' looking to preach specific partisan politics, and still get their freebies from the government in the form of tax exempt status.

But then beyond the 'religious' groups, we have a similar thing with these so-called 'conservative' groups, who are clearly political. But how political? In what kinds of political activities do they engage? Do they fall within the tax exempt status guidelines? The IRS has a duty to question them about all that.

Where the IRS has screwed the pooch on this is through their foot-dragging on reviewing these applications and subsequently granting tax exempt status to those groups that qualify for them. What makes this worse is that they have not been foot-dragging on applications from so-called 'liberal' groups. You'd have to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to know that unions engage heavily in political lobbying, and in acquiring huge sums of money for leftie political candidates. The SEIU, for example, arguably makes up a significant part of Obama's base. So why is the IRS not subjecting these groups to the same level of scrutiny as the 'conservative' groups?

The IRS cannot be political, yet it seems that they have done just that. And that is why they need to be raked over the Congressional coals, and why Congress needs to do some serious house-cleaning in the IRS.





 

5/21/13

The Oklahoma and Kansas tornadoes

One way to help the KS and OK tornado victims:

Make checks payable to General Treasurer and send them to:

Global Treasury Services
Church of the Nazarene
P.O. Box 843116
Kansas City, MO 64184-3116

Be sure to put ACM1041 USA Tornadoes in the memo area.

This is through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.

You can also contribute online:

Church of the Nazarene help for tornado victims

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries accountability

5/17/13

The Titus 2 home

Our favorite conservative evangelical shepherd of the masses is at it again:

“Males have a tendency to wander a little bit. And what you want to do is make a home so wonderful he doesn’t want to wander.”

 Pat Robertson shrugs off adultery; CBN regrets the 'misunderstanding.'

So if the dumb broad had kept the house like Harriet Nelson, met the dope with his slippers and pipe, and served the dope his dinner like a good little waitress ... the dope wouldn't have 'strayed.'

 That has to be the broadest interpretation of Titus 2 I have ever heard. It was really all her fault, you see. If she weren't such a bad cook and so slovenly ... but Brother Robertson's handlers 'regret the misunderstanding.

 The Christian Right ... bringing insanity and God together in one breath and inspiring the unchurched heathens of the world to flock to the altar calls since the time of the Pharisees ...

5/6/13

Fort Carson Spartan Sprint

We went up to Fort Carson yesterday where Michael, Jon, and Ethan participated in the Spartan Sprint:

Fort Carson Spartan Sprint 05.05.2013


5/3/13

Onward, Christian Soldiers!

Fox News, which of late is making the term 'fair and balanced' something of a journalistic joke, is whipping the rad right to a froth:

Poll shows 29 percent of voters think 'armed revolution' might be needed 

Of course, most of them are a) Republicans and b) FoxNews readers - or watchers, since the werds in many of the articles are, like, big werds, sometimes with more than two syllables, and kind of hard to understand. Here's the deal ... in any given 'normal' year, there's always a crowd that thinks This Is The Year Of The Second Revolution, if not the Second Coming. So I'm not sure that this is really news. OTOH,  we have Todd Starnes  whippin' 'em into a high state of paranoia what with the military about to start court-martialing 'Christians'. 'Christians,' as we all know, are among the most persecuted of individuals in These United States, what with all those legions of jack-booted government thugs (thanks and a tip of the hat to Wayne LaPierre for coining that one) bent on kicking in doors, arresting people, confiscating guns, and presumably burning bibles in the street and bulldozing churches to the ground.

Meanwhile: Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Fox News he was stunned that the Pentagon would be taking counsel and advice from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

I'm stunned that the Pentagon would be taking counsel and advice from Perkins and the Family Research Council, who are among the most militant organizations in the nation when it comes to forcing their version of 'Christianity' upon the rest of us. They are also among the most vocal of whiners about how they are 'persecuted' here in the US. I would suggest that if they really want a perspective on persecution, they should spend a few months in China, North Korea, or any of a dozen other such countries.

Starnes makes Beck look like the soul of reason. He cherry-picks news articles, writes 'em with an incredible slant, leaving out salient little details that might show what a weasel of a manipulator he really is. Starnes is an example of what Fox News has become - a pathetically transparent panderer to the right. Starnes' fans continually spew an irrational, thoughtless fountain of verbal - written, actually - bile that rivals the worst of what you'll find on the left. You'd think there's more than enough actually going on with the left and the Obamanians to get worked up over that the right wouldn't have to resort to such sleaze ... but that's the Republican base for you.

Meanwhile, let's let the 'Christian Right' get on with their important work of bashing Catholics, Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, JW's, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus,and host of other religions and gays.  That's not 'persecution, you see. It's simply 'Christian righteousness.'

5/1/13

The Genesee Diary

Leece is doing a series on Henri Nouwen's "The Genesee Diary" over on YahBut:

"The Genesee Diary" - Nouwen learns to live in the moment

and

"The Genesee Diary" - Our sense of self

are the first two installments.

Meanwhile ... Mark Hillman writes

Here is Brother Mark's latest tidbit:

Democrats keep sticking it to rural Colorado

In the last paragraph, he writes:

Perhaps Democrat leaders in Denver have concluded that they can write off rural Colorado and the voters who live here. This bill certainly gives us one more reason to think so.

"Perhaps?"

What do we need? A slap across the chops with a dead fish, ala Rahm Emanuel?

The Democrats have concluded they can write off rural Colorado, because rural Colorado tends to vote Republican, at least at the state and federal levels. "Tends" leaves some wiggle room, but by and large that's what happens. The rest of the state clearly has different values, but not necessarily bad ones.

If the Republican party were not so irrelevant, and so incompetent, it might be different.

But they keep on goin', like the Energizer bunny, with the likes of the Republican committee here in Otero County and in other counties.

And rather than do anything about it, the state GOP defends this nonsense, and leaves it in place.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over, with the same unsatisfactory results.

Meanwhile, we can take the New Republican Manifesto and use it for toilet paper, for all that 'the base' will learn from it.

Further meanwhile ... Leece makes the observation: "If Hillman could drop the us versus them rhetoric, he would be much better. Just stick up for the people."

But Hillman and the rest of those 'theys' are not going to do that, are they. 

Outrage!

I am practicing being outraged. Outraged, I tell you! I'm working myself up to a fine state of volcanic rage!

I received this from Rince Preebum or whatever his name is, the fellow who is now the RNC chairperson, and who is going to remake the GOP into A Party That Appeals To We Little People:

While millions of Americans are set to suffer the consequences of Obamacare, Democrats in Congress are trying to find a way to exempt themselves and their staffs from the health insurance exchanges set up by this horrible legislation.
We have always known this law is a disaster, and now Democrats want special treatment while middle class Americans continue to bear the brunt.

If Obamacare isn't good enough for Harry Reid and his staff, it isn't good enough for us!

Sign the petition today and tell Congress that all Americans should be exempted from Obamacare.

They left out the part about "If you are a real red-blooded American you will forward this immediately to 100 friends. Otherwise you must be a PHONY MUSLIM SOCIALIST PRICK!!!!! with a FAKE BIRTH CERTIFICATE!!!", or something similar. But there's enough of that going on over on the Todd Starnes commentaries.

It's good to see that the GOP is paying attention to its Great Leap Forward manual.I wonder if it has occurred to any of the Republican 'leadership' to actually read it.

You'll notice there is no source cited for their claim. I wonder if they get Glen Beck to write this crap for them.

Meanwhile, I'm working myself up to a state of OUTRAGE! OUTRAGE, I tell you.I'll watch Bill O'Reilly this evening and let him put a fine polish on it.

Further meanwhile, don't forget to click on the link and Let Congress Know Where You Stand, and that you too are OUTRAGED!

Does the Republican Party really do a fine job of getting idiots to run their show, or what? I realize that 'idiots' is, like, ad hominem-ish name-calling, but it's OK this time, because I am, like, you know ... righteously OUTRAGED!

++++++

More on our Good Friends, the Republicans:

The Last Republican Vote 

Otero County Republicans 

Political assemblies: Democrats

Political assemblies: Republicans

Political assemblies and U.S. flags

Party of American values

Hitting a nerve

I had a dreeeem!

A reader writes

Abraham Lincoln and Republicans

4/25/13

Getting a bit of a grip on reality

McCain and Ayotte, having temporarily (we hope) lost their minds regarding the classification of Tsarnaev as an 'enemy combatant,' have turned their attention to other matters:

CIA had Tsarnaev's name put in terror watchlist after being contacted by Russians

Two top Republican senators are now calling for a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on the Boston Marathon bombings, as lawmakers question whether enough was done to prevent the attack.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, requested the hearing Wednesday, saying "it has become increasingly apparent that more questions need to be answered regarding the failure to prevent this tragedy."

I'd agree with that.

Hopefully McCain and Ayotte have got their fever-pitch flag-waving under control and are thinking a bit more critically now. Of course, all that nonsense about Tsarnaev did have a certain appeal to the far right especially. Gotta keep the base happy, doncher know.






4/23/13

Shame on the GOP

We've been hearing the flag-waving super-patriots of the GOP making all kinds of noises about the Obamanian Decision not to consider Tsarnaev an 'enemy combatant.'

There is nothing tying Tsarnaev to any group as an actor in the Boston bombings. Unless, of course, the lack of such connection is all part of a vast left-wing conspiracy ...

The GOP wants to deny a US citizen his Constitutional rights so they can be free of such constraints in order to extract 'intelligence' from Tsarnaev.

I have always believed that the biggest internal threat to this country is not the far left, but the far right. We have a history of dancing with facists; all you have to do is examine political activity and associations in the first part of the 20th century and through the McCarthy witch hunts to see that.

Mix that far right borderline fascism with religion, and you get a far more dangerous combination than mere socialism. Though I have yet to hear The Inquisitors invoke the name of God in their righteously patriotic quest for 'intelligence,' the inability of the GOP to separate religion from their political platform and agenda is enough to suggest that they think they are on a mission from God.

John McCain, of all people, should know better than this. After all the time he spent in Hoa Lo prison - the Hanoi Hilton - you would think that he, of all people, would understand what this nation stands for ... and it isn't playing games with the Constitution so the government can extract 'intelligence.'

I believe we will find there is more than enough evidence to legitimately allow our criminal justice system, despite its 'issues', to put Tsarnaev away for the rest of his life. Perhaps he'll even get the death sentence, though from my perspective, the idea of him sitting in his little cell at ADX Florence for the rest of his miserable life seems a much more fitting Final Solution to the Tsarnaev 'problem.'

McCain and his henchpersons, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, will just have to put their waterboarding tools, rubber hoses, pliers, electrodes, and what-have-you away for another day and another opportunity.

Shame on McCain. Shame on Graham. Shame on Ayotte. And shame on the GOP.

4/21/13

An enemy combatant

Some of the GOP Congresscritters are wanting to have Dzhokhar Tsarnaev declared an enemy combatant. That means that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can be detained, denied the rights inherent in US citizenship.

Those GOP Congresscritters are Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and Kelly Ayotte.

But like it or not, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in fact a US citizen.

The 'enemy combatant' thing is really blurry, but one thing is clear - it has heretofore not been a status applied against a US citizen for crimes committed on US soil.

Following a number of court cases and rulings, we find this definition of 'enemy combatant' in the 2004 Rules for Combat Status Tribunals:

‘Enemy combatant’ shall mean an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This includes any person who has committed belligerent act or has directly supported hostilities in aid of enemy combat forces.

Tsarnaev so far does not meet any of the requirements of that definition. So far, Tsarnaev has committed murder and felonious assaults against a number of people, within the state of Massachusetts.

It may come to pass that there is a direct link between Tsarnaev and some external 'enemy combat forces,' but so far it isn't there.

Then we have 'lawful enemy combatants' and 'unlawful enemy combatants.' These are defined by the Military Commissions Act of 2006:

 "The term 'unlawful enemy combatant' means —
        (i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al-Qaida, or associated forces); or
        (ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense."

    "The term 'lawful enemy combatant' means a person who is —
        (A) a member of the regular forces of a State party engaged in hostilities against the United States;
        (B) a member of a militia, volunteer corps, or organized resistance movement belonging to a State party engaged in such hostilities, which are under responsible command, wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry their arms openly, and abide by the law of war; or
        (C) a member of a regular armed force who professes allegiance to a government engaged in such hostilities, but not recognized by the United States."


But after that, we have Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008). That's the one in which the US Supreme Court held that the Military Commissions Act was unconstitutional in that it restricted or denied detainees' use of habeas corpus and access to the federal court system. In that case, the court ruled that detainees could have access to the federal courts, and could submit petitions of habeas corpus, and restored the protection of the Constitution.

The Military Commissions Act was amended in 2009 to reflect the findings in Boumediene v. Bush. Nonetheless, the ACLU noted that the act still falls short of providing the protections of the Constitution.

You can say what you wish about the ACLU, but consider that we now have at least three US senators calling for  a US citizen, who has committed crimes on US soil (let's skip the 'allegedly'), to be essentially denied those Constitutional rights.

How does Tsarnaev's citizenship status affect all this? So far, I have not heard any sensible discussion on that.What I am hearing is three US senators - Republicans - calling for a declaration before the blood at the various crime scenes has even congealed. Aren't these the guys who have done so much complaining about 'knee jerk' emotional reactions by the Obmananians?

These people need to get a grip. Tsarnaev isn't going anywhere. A knee-jerk reaction here can easily lead to policies and practices that assault our Constitutional rights far more than ill-conceived background checks for gun sales.

I believe our criminal justice system is well-suited for handling Tsarnaev as it stands. Our 'tribunal' of senators needs to get a collective grip, and put their jackboots away.


4/20/13

Exigent circumstances - the public safety exception ...

 ... or, "Where's the gun?"

The talking heads on the cable and other 'news' outlets are showing themselves to be the compleat twits they really are.

They're making noises about Suspect 2 getting off because he wasn't 'read his Miranda rights.'

First, they aren't 'Miranda rights.' They are 'constitutional rights', of which the suspect is advised per the findings of the Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

Second, a suspect must be under custodial arrest before the Miranda ruling kicks in. I believe we can all agree that Suspect 2 was in that state at the time any interrogation took place. Interestingly, any statements an arrestee makes that are not in response to interrogation may in fact be used, falling outside of Miranda. To trigger Miranda, one must a) be under arrest and b) interrogated. Spontaneous comments by the arrestee not in reaction to interrogation are fully admissible. This is why the worst thing a cop can do sometimes is actually advise the thug per Miranda. The advisement is nothing less than a 'shut up, fool' warning. So long as the officer asks no questions - for example, during transport to the PD - anything the arrestee spews forth is admissible. There are, however, a number of cases that establish what constitutes 'arrest' and what constitutes 'interrogation,' and one should not 'play cute' in trying to get an arrestee to talk.

Miranda is not triggered by 'focus of suspicion' though a lot of cops still believe that even in this day and age. Certainly one gets that impression from all the cops shows, but that doesn't make them right. It just illustrates the ignorance of the script writers.

Third, there are a number of what are called 'exigent circumstances' that can preclude the need for a warrant for search and/or seizure, and for interrogation of an arrestee.

Here is a good examination specifically of the public safety exemption to Miranda:

FBI - The Public Safety Exemption to Miranda

This article is found in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, which may be found in magazine racks in police department bathrooms across the land, right next to Car and Driver, American Rifleman, the latest Gall's catalog, and other such professional reading matter.

However, the public safety exemption is temporary, and applies only to interrogation that directly affects circumstances presenting an imminent danger to the public. This is important, because once that 'imminent danger' dissipates, the public safety exemption no longer applies.

Meanwhile, Suspect 2 ain't getting off anything, unless you consider that for the rest of his miserable life the only way he's going to be 'getting off' will be as the result of whacking off in the federal prison over in Florence. Given that he is only 19, that looks to be a very very very long time indeed to be staring the walls in his little cell.


4/18/13

Obama's hissy fit

Obama threw a bit of a hissy fit yesterday, putting up a bit of a temper tantrum over the failure of the Senate to pass the amendment package to his 'gun bill'.

"All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington," Obama said, in his usual petulant, accusatory manner.

"The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill," Obama said. He said the claims "upset" some gun owners who in turn "intimidated" senators. 

I don't think 'the gun lobby and its allies' willfully lied about the bill. I am one of those 'allies.' I don't believe they lied. I think they looked out for my interests as a citizen and a gun owner. They also looked out for the interests of the gun and ammunition manufacturers. That's what they are supposed to do. As for 'intimidating' senators, I prefer to think of my communications as 'remonstrating' and 'petitioning.' And I doubt that I intimidated anyone. OTOH, several million of us may well have accomplished just that

The master of Chicago-style politics should understand intimidation quite well.

Obama said that 90% of gun owners favor expanded background checks. That's a bit of an overstatement, but it is fairly accurate, which is surprising, coming from this president. Most of the polls show somewhere about 85%, perhaps a bit higher, of gun owners supporting expanded background checks. I do. Yep. I do indeed. I even support some kind of mandatory gun safety training before a citizen can own a gun. The main argument against that is that it interferes with a constitutional right. I think that can be worked out.

I've been a police firearms instructor for well over twenty-five years. I see a safety training requirement as 'common sense.' I see a requirement that guns be stored securely in some manner as 'common sense,' too, but these are things that need to be discussed and debated at length, not jammed down our throats as an emotional knee jerk reaction, with a smarmy 'I won and you lost' attitude on the part of our president, surrounded by political props in the form of the parents of dead children and sycophantic police administrators.

I agree with these guys:

"I believe very strongly that our current background check system needs strengthening and improving, particularly in areas that could keep guns out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill. At the same time, I cannot support legislation that infringes upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms," Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., one of those opposed, said in a statement. 

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, echoed Heller in a statement released following the vote saying "Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook, we all wanted to find answers that would reduce crime and prevent the next senseless act of violence. Unfortunately, the Senate did not consider any proposals that would achieve these objectives."

I am also pleased that both of our US senators, Michael Bennett and Mark Udall,voted against the Feinstein amendment That is the one that would have re-instituted the ban on so-called 'assault weapons'.

OK then. Get back to the legislative drawing board and come up with something that will accomplish these objectives. And Mr. President? The problem with you is not that you don't like guns. The problem with you is that you don't like people who like guns. That would be people like me and a good many of my neighbors.

Meanwhile, Obama and Michael Bloomberg should go back to dealing with the pressing issues of the day, like banning high capacity soda feeding devices.

More on gun control:

NRA Beats Major Gun Proposals?
The NRA
Recalling Giron
John Morse: Ignore them
John Morse, Angela Giron, and 'threats'
Giron v. Magpul

4/15/13

A year with Henri Nouwen

Leece begins a new series on one of our favorite theological scribblers:

A year with Henri Nouwen

4/11/13

Mitch McConnell misses a chance at PMS



Operative claims liberal group Progress Kentucky behind secret McConnell recording



It's beginning to look like Butthead and Beavis just walked into the building, and stood there in the hall with their iPhone, and recorded the whole thing.

The whole affair just illustrates what losers both parties are. The Republicans, for their slimy commentary and lack of comptetence in running their 'campaign headquarters' and the Dems, for their dumb tactics.

The Repubs look totally clueless:

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton told Fox News that there is a video camera in the lobby where anybody would have to pass through to get to the second floor, where the meeting in question took place.

"They certainly were not authorized to be there, if they were indeed there," Benton said of the Progress Kentucky operatives. 

"... not authorized to be there ..." implies that there was some kind of security in place, to prevent the unwashed masses and Democrats from just wandering in and having a good listen.

So how did a couple of Dem operatives manage to wander in, up to the second floor, and stand in the hall listening, recording with a phone ...

and no one noticed?

Benton sounds like an incompetent buffoon. He's so busy pointing fingers everywhere that he has completely missed that he and McConnell and their henchmen sound like a bunch of spoiled frat boys punking the opposition for the election of the chapter Beer Monitor.

Hey Benton ... Mitch ... guys, how about a couple of cheap shots about PMS and women candidates? Were you so busy trashing the opposition over mental health issues you missed that one?