Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileakspalooza Pt. II...

... and where we defend Hillary Clinton.

Seeking a frank evaluation of Argentina's president, the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires late last year to delve into her psyche.

"How is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner managing her nerves and anxiety?" asked a cable dated Dec. 31, 2009, and signed "CLINTON" in all capital letters.

The cable, sent at 2:55 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and originating in the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, asked a series of other probing questions as part of what it said was an attempt by her office to understand "leadership dynamics" between Kirchner and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner.

"How does stress affect her behavior toward advisors and/or her decision making?" the cable continued. "What steps does Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner or her advisers/handlers, take in helping her deal with stress? Is she taking any medications?"

Delving into the personalities of foreign counterparts may be integral to modern diplomatic give-and-take. But the bluntly worded cable asking about the Argentine leader's "nerves" and "emotions" may further test up-and-down relations between Washington and Buenos Aires. The cable suggests that Washington saw Kirchner and her husband as perhaps prone to emotional instability.

The cable was one of several related to Argentina released in the latest batch of U.S. diplomatic traffic made public this week by WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website that publishes sensitive government documents.

Uhh...what did we miss? What did Clinton do wrong? What is the purpose of a State Department and its embassies but for feeling the pulse of other nations and their respective leaders so that we can leverage this knowledge to achieve what is in our national best interests?

A fair reading of this article doesn't indicate that there was any secretive or clandestine operations that were requested to be put into motion to glean this information, rather a dialing up of well-placed sources in which to tap.

Of course, the ego-maniacal tool at the center of all this wants her to resign because of this alleged transgression. Oft times, you don't need to know a whole lot about an issue, rather who's taking what side.

During the Democratic primary in '08, we figured that domestically-speaking, Clinton and Obama were basically a wash as they would both be pursuing identical statist agendas. It was on foreign policy, however, we believed Clinton had a much more sober outlook and a firmer grasp of how things really operated globally than the pure naivete' promised and delivered by Obama.

Don't back down, Secretary Clinton, BwD has got your back!

Video clip of the day

Look on the bright side: Would you rather hear Nancy Pelosi breaking down Cal-Stanford?

Before we can get to work on the DREAM Act or the Food Safety Act, we can use this as a replacement for our usual Tuesday night viewing of CBS College Sports Network's lineup of college football highlight and analysis shows.

Step aside, Tony Barnhart, because... It's good to be the King.

Oh, quit whining. You were spared the entire 5 minute rant which you can see if you so desire in all its visual-tryptophan glory, here.

Mediaite notes that the best part may be that they are starting "morning business" around 2 P.M.

H/T: Hot Air

Uncommon valor?

Actually, for these guys, quite common.

Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in southwestern Afghanistan, said Wednesday that Camp Pendleton’s 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment drew one of the toughest assignments in Marine Corps history when it was sent in October to Sangin, a strategic crossroads town in Helmand province.

As security improves in other districts, insurgents are putting up a fierce fight with the Marines for control of Sangin, their last major population center in the province, Mills said via videoconference from Afghanistan.

“The bravery and the courage of the Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines stands with any unit in Marine Corps history, any unit,” Mills said.

“I don’t have to tell you that 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines have had a tough month. They have inherited a very difficult mission up there, and they have done it very, very well,” Mills said. “I know that body counts are not a measure we want to use these days, but I can tell you that with the heavy casualties that they have suffered, they have inflicted 10 times that amount on the enemy.”

Despite the intense fighting near Sangin, other areas of the province have become calmer, Mills said. In Marjah, the scene of a major Marine offensive in February, hundreds of children now are able to go to school.

At a recent school opening there, Mills said he was surprised to see several teenage boys standing in the back of a third-grade class. It turned out the teenagers had not been able to attend school under the Taliban, but they wanted to read and write so much that they were willing to attend class with 7- and 8-year-olds, Mills said.

“That is probably the thing I am proudest of. I know there is a book back home that says each school in Afghanistan cost three cups of tea. Well, those schools didn’t cost three cups of tea; those schools cost dead and wounded,” Mills said.

“But we got them built. They’re up and running, they are servicing the people and they are going to change the future of Afghanistan,” he said. “Once you have an educated population, the game changes.”

I've been blogging with a bit of a heavy heart for the past day or so. Upon returning to work from the holiday, I was informed that the husband of one of my co-workers, one of these very 3/5 Marines out of Camp Pendleton, was KIA in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day.

Linsey and her husband both met at my alma mater, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy or Kings Point, a period of my life which I often refer to affectionately here at BwD as my "time at Seminary". Both graduated in 2008 and had been married only since this September.

Memorial services will be held at the U.S. Naval Academy (don't know why they are not being held at Kings Point). My old boss (KP '79) will be attending the services and Will is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

As a Kings Point brother, I am extremely proud of all my fellow Kings Pointers who have decided to serve their country in the Navy and the Marines. I am especially awed and humbled by those who even after fulfilling their commitment to the Naval Reserve and having worked in the civilian sector for a few years, sign up to serve in the Navy or the Corps, such is the strength of the call they feel to serve their country.

Please keep Will's family and Linsey in your prayers.

P.S. I hesitated in blogging about this because of the personal nature of the subject matter but with the accompanying linked article which ran originally back on Nov. 10th, the 235th birthday of the Marine Corps, I wanted to do something to honor Will and highlight what has been incredible bravery and courage displayed by these Marines.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Much ado about nothing...

After all the ballyhoo before the fact, the Wikileaks revelations thus far are pretty underwhelming. Although we’ve been seeing figures like 2.7 million and 251,287 for the number of documents released, so far there have been, er, 220 posted on the Wikileaks site.

Overall though, there is little to justify the screaming headlines of American foreign policy in crisis or being turned upside down. Instead, it’s a case of so far, so blah.

But you can see here the tantalising dates, subjects and places of origin of tens of thousands of other cables.

It seems to me that Assange is teasing Obama. Whereas the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs could be largely dismissed as Bush era material that didn’t really reflect on Obama, the State Department cables are different.

They go up to 28 February 2010, offering a potential window on Obama’s foreign policy which may well not show it in the sainted light he would prefer. It seems to me that Assange is teasing Obama, letting him know what WikiLeaks has and making him sweat.

Today was round one and the action was pretty tame. But there are plenty more rounds to come and Obama is on the back foot.


What action did the Obama administration take to prevent the impending release of such volatile information? State Department legal adviser Harold Koh sent a strongly worded letter urging WikiLeaks to cease publishing classified materials. I'm sure that made Assange think twice.

Is the Obama administration going to do anything - anything at all - to stop these serial disclosures of our nation's most closely guarded secrets? Just this past week, the federal government took decisive action to shut down more than 70 Web sites that were disseminating pirated music and movies. Hollywood is safe, but WikiLeaks is free to disseminate classified documents without consequence.

With this latest release, Assange may now have illegally disclosed more classified information than anyone in American history. He is in likely violation of the Espionage Act and arguably is providing material support for terrorism. But unlike leakers who came before him, Assange has done more than release information; he has created a virtual system for the ongoing collection and dissemination of America's secrets. The very existence of WikiLeaks is a threat to national security. Unless something is done, WikiLeaks will only grow more brazen - and our unwillingness to stop it will embolden others to reveal classified information using the unlawful medium Assange has built.

WikiLeaks' first disclosures caught the Obama administration by surprise. But how does the administration explain its inaction in the face of WikiLeaks' two subsequent, and increasingly dangerous, releases? In both cases, it had fair warning: Assange announced what kinds of documents he possessed, and he made clear his intention to release them.

The Obama administration has the ability to bring Assange to justice and to put WikiLeaks out of business. The new U.S. Cyber Command could shut down WilkiLeaks' servers and prevent them from releasing more classified information on President Obama's orders. But, as The Post reported this month, the Obama administration has been paralyzed by infighting over how, and when, it might use these new offensive capabilities in cyberspace. One objection: "The State Department is concerned about diplomatic backlash" from any offensive actions in cyberspace, The Post reported. Well, now the State Department can deal with the "diplomatic backlash" that comes from standing by helplessly, while WikiLeaks releases hundreds of thousands of its most sensitive diplomatic cables.

Because of its failure to act, responsibility for the damage done by these most recent disclosures now rests with the Obama administration. Perhaps this latest release crosses a line that will finally spur the administration to action. After all, the previous disclosures harmed only our war efforts. But this latest disclosure is a blow to a cause Democrats really care about - our diplomatic efforts. Maybe now, finally, the gloves will come off. Or is posting mournful tweets about the damage done to our national security the best this administration can do?

Plus, Spiegel Online International has a cool interactive global map that shows the quantities of dispatches being generated from U.S. embassies around the world with respect to time frames, here.

A few words about those pesky social issues

Via B-Daddy:

After a letter signed by a handful of Tea Party activists made national headlines for its request to downplay social issues like abortion, a new letter signed by Tea Party Nation leaders goes the other direction

The Tennessee-based tea party group led by National Tea Party Convention organizer Judson Phillips has a new letter and a list of action items that reflects the views of pro-life advocates.

Calling for the dismantling of the “liberal-political complex,” the new letter, addressed to Sen. Mitch McConnell and Speaker-elect John Boehner, calls for dismantling ObamaCare and its abortion-funding provisions and de-funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

“America is a conservative country. We expect conservative leadership,” the more than 185 tea party activists who signed this new letter say.

Last week a dozen Tea Party activists signed on to a letter to Congress urging them to abandon social issues and focus exclusively on economic matters. The letter was sponsored by the homosexual rights advocacy group GOProud.

This is unfortunate because when you start using words like "abandon" and then get the immediate blow back from social conservatives, it illustrates the failure to understand that fighting for fiscal responsibility/limited government on one hand and social conservative values on the other are not mutually exclusive ideas, in fact, they are very much intertwined.

Here's B-Daddy:

Leslie alerted me to a move by some Tea Partyers to take a turn towards social issues. I am somewhat of a social conservative, at a time when those issues are being forced to the back burner by the severity of the fiscal issues facing the country. The Tea Party has amassed an impressive coalition that has seized both the imagination of the country and many seats in state and national legislative bodies. However, those who believe that we should somehow turn to social issues, when the hard work of dealing with the fiscal crisis has not even begun are insane. Almost no progress has been made on the most pressing fiscal crisis our country has faced since the Great Depression. We cannot afford to lose any allies in this fight. Picking fights with gays, or any other group that is supporting our core issues is a costly waste.

(Side note: While fairly social conservative ourselves (strongly pro-life), we've never had much use for what we have always seen as the frivolous pursuits of some of our conservative brethren on such matters as a flag-burning amendment and school prayer, which can legitimately be viewed as government intrusion into personal matters).

B-Daddy nails it on the head. Now that we have a majority in Congress, the work of rolling back government power has only just begun. We haven't won jack squat and now is not the time to declare victory and pull out on the matters that have united the tea party coalition in the first place.

Please go to B-Daddy's link where he explains that battling back against ObamaCare, as just one example, achieves the aims of both sides in this squabble.

People need to realize that, in a sense, the tea party has been fighting for social issues all along.

At the end of the day, ask yourself one thing, tea party people: Got Frank Meyer?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The rich shall lead the way

Warren Buffet, among others, is uncomfortable in his current tax bracket.

With the US Congress hurtling toward a deadline on expiring tax cuts, a growing number of wealthy people are calling for higher taxes on the rich to help restore America's fiscal health.

One effort gathered over 45 millionaires who signed an open petition calling for the end of the tax cuts adopted since 2001 on those with annual incomes exceeding one million dollars.

Tax breaks for the wealthy should expire "for the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens," the letter said. It was signed by Ben & Jerry's ice cream founder Ben Cohen, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt and others.

Guy Saperstein, a retired California trial lawyer who organized the effort, said he was "frustrated" that President Barack Obama appeared to be wavering on his pledge to end tax cuts for the wealthy.

"I think the country's in trouble," Saperstein told AFP. "In hard times, the top strata who have done fabulously well need to sacrifice a bit, and it's not much of a sacrifice... We have among the lowest tax rates of any industrialized democracy."

Saperstein said an estimated 1,500 people have signed the letter although some of them did not want to be publicly identified on the group's website.

Philippe Villers, a French-born US businessman who founded Computervision in the 1960s and now heads Grain Pro, says he signed the letter even though it would mean higher taxes for himself.

While we applaud the noble intention of these fine people, we can't help but think it's all just a bunch of hypocritical posturing.

Why wait for a change in the tax code? There is nothing stopping these people from voluntarily giving to the Treasury Department to the tune of their hearts' content.

What's that? They think that everybody making above $250,000 should be paying more in taxes, not just them? Well, that's mighty big of them - requesting the government to take more of their fellow citizens' hard-earned cash.

Since they are so big on nobleness, we believe that they are now morally obligated to lead the way and start giving more to the U.S. government, starting tomorrow, to be a beacon of voluntary giving for the rest of the ingrate fat cats out there.

And speaking of sacrifice, short of a voluntary giving program, why not just sacrifice the job of those tax lawyers and accountants they pay precisely to keep them from paying a minimum on taxes. That would be a great start.

What say ye, Warren?

Tales from Bailout Nation Pt. XXVIII

And the beat goes on...

General Motors Co.'s recent stock offering was staged to start paying back the government for its $50 billion bailout, but one group made out much better than the taxpayers or other investors: the company's union.

Thanks to a generous share of GM stock obtained in the company's 2009 bankruptcy settlement, the United Auto Workers is well on its way to recouping the billions of dollars GM owed it — putting it far ahead of taxpayers who have recouped only about 30 percent of their investment and further still ahead of investors in the old GM who have received nothing.

The boon for the union fits the pattern established when the White House pushed GM into bankruptcy and steered it through the courts in a way that consistently put the interests of the union ahead of many suppliers, dealers and investors — stakeholders that ordinarily would have fared as well or better under the bankruptcy laws.

The union's health care and pension trust fund earned $3.4 billion through the sale of one-third of its shares in GM last week. Analysts estimate that it would break even if it sells the remaining two-thirds of its shares at an average price of $36 — close to where the stock traded shortly after the offering hit the market. GM shares closed at $33.45 on Wednesday.

Analysts predict that stocks will have to rise anywhere from $52 to $103 a share for the U.S. taxpayer to break even. Currently, the U.S. taxpayer is $9 million in the hole.

At the bottom of the linked article, we get this:

John Paul McDuffie, a professor at the Wharton School of Business, said the full funding of the union's pension and health care trust fund through the bankruptcy process represents progress because it helped solve one of most "persistent and difficult" bones of contention between GM and its union.

GM and the UAW had been at loggerheads for years over how to deal with GM's so-called "legacy" costs — funding the generous worker health care and retirement benefits it promised in earlier eras.

The bankruptcy settlement enabled GM to proceed with a hard-won 2007 plan it negotiated with the union to spin off those huge liabilities and let them be funded in the future by the trust fund that received the stock.

If this plan was already "won" then why was it part of the sweetheart bankruptcy deal?

Translating McDuffie then: Thorny legacy cost issue? Wave magic wand and give union trust fund exceedingly favorable stock treatment regardless of what had been negotiated previously. Problem solved.

We suppose that what is also part of the outrage with respect to this tax-payer funded bailout is that even if you tried to justify this unholy arrangement, where is the evidence that the federal government will not simply swoop in again to salvage a poorly-run business that makes horrible business decisions and manufactures products that no one wants to purchase?

Oh, and did we mention no guarantees against a tax-payer funded bailout with the attendant arm-twisting and smearing of those voicing objections to the bankruptcy proceedings and the lying about how the bailout money was paid back?

Tell it to this guy.

Craig Coffey, a retiree in Nevada who invested $55,000 in bonds in the old GM that are now worthless, was outraged that the union is on its way to recovering all its money before investors get even a cent of compensation.

"We just sat and watched [the stock offering]. We got nothing," he said. "Screwed again."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Video clip of the day

Welcome to the People Magazine edition of Beers with Demo where we will dig deep into the psyche of America's pop culture landscape.

Today's subject: Dancing With The Stars!

Or more precisely, the reaction to Bristol Palin being an improbable finalist on the show.

Here's Joy Behar, Sandra Bernhard and two other chicks on "The Joy Behar Show" opining brilliantly on Ms. Palin's performance. Ostensibly, there are two comediennes on the set but as you will see there is not one funny, insightful, witty or humorous thing said by the lot. It's 3 minutes of hate that only picks up steam as these jackals try to one up each other.

Count this as a reason we do not want to see Sarah Palin run. People come absolutely unhinged with regard to anything related to Palin and this is proof that should she run, we won't get anywhere near discussing/debating the pressing issues of the time. She hasn't declared yet, it's not an election year and it's her daughter on television and this is what passes for civil discourse?

Then again, maybe we should just consider the source.

Debased pop culture commenting on frivolous pop culture.

We hope you have enjoyed today's People Magazine edition of Beers with Demo.

H/T: Hot Air

College football Saturday open thread

We'll blame it on the tryptophan because we realize only now that we should have devoted our open thread to yesterday as the 3 top teams in the BCS rankings were in action the day after Thanksgiving.

#1 Oregon pulled their usual second half okie-doke outscoring #21 Arizona 34-10 to win by a final of 48-29.

#2 Auburn spotted #11 Alabama a 24-0 lead in the first half only to stage a furious comeback to win at Tuscaloosa, 28-27 and which most likely cemented Auburn QB, Cam Newton's status as Heisman front-runner... barring, of course, any further revelations with respect to recruiting improprieties coming out of Mississippi State and/or cold feet by voters who don't want to be shown up again after voting for Reggie Bush.

The nightcap featured one of the most bizarre endings to a game we have seen in a long time as #19 Nevada upsets #4 Boise State. Tied at 31, Bronco QB Kellen Moore hooked up with Titus Young on a deep pass with just 2 seconds remaining on the clock setting up a very makeable 26-yard field goal for Kyle Brotzman who wound up missing it forcing overtime (anyone else here fooled by those short uprights there in Reno?). Getting the ball first in OT, Brotzman again missed a 29-yard field goal setting the stage for Nevada's place kicker Anthony Martinez to bang home a 34-yarder to give the Wolfpack a monumental 34-31 upset.

Say goodbye to any chances at a BCS championship game or, now, any BCS bowl game and say hello to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise or the prestigious Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

The other games today:

Rich Rodriguez attempts to save his job as Michigan goes to #8 Ohio State.

#12 Arkansas hosts #5 LSU. With Boise St. losing, a win by the Tigers puts them at #4 or possibly #3 and in position to play in the championship game should either Auburn lose in the SEC championship game or Oregon lose the Civil War against Oregon State.

(Correction: We don't believe it's possible for LSU to play in the BCS title game since they did not win their conference. The BCS made this adjustment after both 2001 and 2003 Nebraska and Oklahoma respectively were crushed in the Big 12 title game by Colorado and Kansas State and then went on to get crushed in the BCS title game by Miami and USC respectively. Egg on everybody's face. Our love affair with the BCS can be traced back to these two debacles).

#3 TCU is at lowly New Mexico. As we alluded to just above, TCU needs some style points to pad their lead over LSU. If New Mexico keeps it close late, look for the voters to punish the Horned Frogs in the human polls. Boise State's loss last night was actually bad for TCU as well. Voters are looking for any excuse to keep an non-BCS school out of the national title picture.

Bedlam: #13 Oklahoma at #9 Oklahoma State.

USC hosts Notre Dame and is looking for their 9th straight against the tying Irish.

#6 Stanford hosts Oregon State on The Farm.

And deep into the heart of Saturday night, San Diego State looks to go 8-4, playing UNLV.

And finally, trick plays are getting more and more elaborate these days, wouldn't you say? Decatur Central demonstrates just how elaborate below:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Radio KBwD is on the air

The Beatles go on iTunes and sell 2 million singles in their first week. Seriously? Haven't we already uploaded all our Beatles CDs to our iTunes hard drive? Who are these people?

Anyway, perhaps as a coincidence, PBS was airing a special on John Lennon's days in America, post-Beatles, and his fight for citizenship in this country. While recalling director James Cameron, dropping his own citizenship efforts after Bush was re-elected in '04, Lennon's fight to be an American citizen in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate was rather touching.

Though far from being our favorite Beatle, we remember with great fondness, this tune by Lennon right around the time he was granted citizenship.

P.S. Whether or not George Harrison received co-writing credit for this, he should have. That jangly, C&W vibe is all George.

The day after

We've been made aware of whining in some quarters with respect to the opinion that conservatives go overboard in politicizing Thanksgiving.

While we are not quite sure what is so "political" regarding the celebration of property rights and ownership, we have respected this complaint and have chosen to air this clip only now, the day after Thanksgiving.

Having seen this at a couple other of our usual interwebs stops, just consider this as you would the glorious Thanksgiving left-overs that you will be enjoying over the next few days.

Sour dough or French bread, toasted, light on the mayo and dark meat only, please. Cranberry and dressing on the side.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Video clips of the day

The first is titled "I am a Craft Brewer" and was put together by Stone Brewery and is a chapter in the Stone collector's DVD that they were distributing during San Diego Beer Week.

And now, the inevitable parody. (mild bleeped-out NSFWoH warning)

Exit question: Is this an earnest parody of the pretension that does exist in the craft brewing scene or are these people just ticked they weren't invited to participate in the first video?

Thanksgiving 2010

From beautiful and sunny San Diego, may it be a glorious Thanksgiving for all of you out there spending this most unique American holiday with family and loved ones.

Reflect: there is indeed so much to be thankful for.

Now, call us crazy but we like the Cowboys getting 4 pts. at home against the Saints. This is a completely different Dallas team under Jason Garrett from what it was under the deposed Wade Phillips.

And we also like Cincinnati getting 9 on the road against the Jets. Not so much a testament to the lowly Bengals who won't want to get shown up on the national stage but rather the Jets keeping everything perilously close the past few weeks against some very mediocre competition.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year

With the weather turning cooler and tomorrow kicking off the beginning of the holiday season there is an unmistakable feeling of good will towards mankind in the air. Why, just this past Monday, we reported out on the fact that Al Gore finally admitted that corn ethanol was a horrible idea (no doubt before moving on to the next subsidized green get-rich-quick scheme).

And, also just the other day, we've figured it all along but one of the leading acolytes of the faith-based AGW movement came out and admitted that international efforts to combat global warming/climate change have nothing to do with global warming/climate change.

Just in time for the movement's big confab down in Cancun next week, here's Ottmar Edenhofer:

Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change (say that twice), told the Neue Zurcher Zeitung last week: "The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War." After all, redistributing global wealth is no small matter.

Edenhofer let the environmental cat out of the bag when he said "climate policy is redistributing the world's wealth" and that "it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization."

The spectacular failure that was the climate change conference in Copenhagen last year (remember Hopenchangen?) gets another go around but this time the AGW zealots are dropping any pretense of wanting to do anything towards thwarting climate change and instead will attempt to implement a global wealth redistribution plan.

Edenhofer claims "developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community" and so they must have their wealth expropriated and redistributed to the victims of their alleged crimes, the postage stamp countries of the world. He admits this "has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole."

It's as if these Marxist AGW zealots figured out they junked up the science so much the public no longer believes them so they look around and say, "Well, we don't have much credibility anymore with the "AGW" thing but we still have our "Marxist" and "zealot" chops intact - let's roll with that.

Again, we are appreciative of the honesty and good will that is bursting out all over the place, of late.

And may Cancun '10 be every bit the laughable spectacle that Copenhagen '09 was.

Poll of the day

Poltico.com completely whiffs by missing the point and misreading the mood of the country in their daily poll today.

Are you worried about air travel security this holiday season?

- Yes. I'm not sure all is being done to keep me safe.

- No. I feel our security measures in place are effective.

- I'm not sure.

- I'm not traveling via air this week.

What should've been in there instead of the last question is:

- I have doubts that the current TSA screening techniques are effective in deterring terror plots.


- The new and improved TSA security measures are unnecessarily invasive and violate my 4th amendment rights.

"I'm not traveling this week" is completely irrelevant. It precludes one from having an opinion merely because one is not flying.

And with respect to the first answer, that box could be checked by both those who have no problems with/favor the crotch grab as well as those totally opposed to it reasoning that we are not employing effective behavioral profiling to sniff out the terrorists as the reasonable alternative.

Bad poll, Politico. Bad poll.

Finally: Life's "easy button" has arrived in Connecticut

We stole the video below from KT who uses the no-touching policy at a middle school in Milford, Connecticut as a metaphor for the concept of "competition" in global markets and the ultimate folly of attempting to establish fair outcomes in those same markets.

We don't even know where to begin with this. This is the evil twin brother of the "zero-tolerance" policies at schools where, seemingly, school administrators just threw up their hands and said "screw it" - for myriads of reasons, we're sure, teachers and school administrators, unable to enforce the existing policies decided to opt for the room temperature I.Q. easy button of "no-touching".

There are parallels here with the young lad here in California who was told to take the flag off the bike he rode to and from school. The rational response would have been to identify and take the appropriate measures against those who threatened violence upon the kid. Instead, the "easy button" response, the truly no-brainer response prevailed. Whew. Didn't have to work to hard to solve that problem, right?

If you can't enforce against fighting, bullying, rough housing or "badly kicked in the groin", we suppose the next logical step is "no-touching".

And pity the kid at the end of the clip. He is absolutely baffled. He is attempting to explain this new Bizarro world for which there is simply no rational explanation and his tone and demeanor seem to ask, "Where are the adults, man?" Son, the adults have left the building.

And to bring it full circle: this is the logical extension of attempting to ensure "fair" outcomes. This is the logical extension of years and years of awarding ribbons and trophies to kids in junior leagues for merely participating instead of achieving anything of real consequence.

The leftist dream of eliminating pain, challenges, accommplishments, individual achievement, unequal outcomes and life's necessary and inevitable ass-kickings has been realized in deep blue Connecticut.

P.S. We went to the school's website to see if there was anything there regarding the school's no-touch policy. It seems their no-touch policy extends to the website as well. Not sure we've seen a more dreadful design and layout. Oh, and mum's the word on the touchy.

P.P.S. In the spirit of being ungovernable, how cool would it be for the students to execute a school-wide high-five at lunch when they get back from Thanksgiving? It would be the coolest thing ever, that's what.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So, the guy pictured is some sort of deranged lunatic, right?

Not so fast, explains Secular Apostate.

The dog-eating perve of the peninsula has very rational reasons for behaving the way he does.

Right now, we're doing exactly what Americans should be doing

Via MSNBC, here is Stewart Baker, who worked at the Department of Homeland Security as its first secretary of policy under President George W. Bush, and had this to say regarding the TSA controversy:

“Instead of making this Wednesday National Opt-Out Day in which a bunch of self-appointed guardians of liberty slow down the line for everyone by asking for pat-downs,” said Baker, “maybe what we need is a day when everyone who goes through the line says, ‘Thanks for what you do.

We're not going to argue the merits of what Baker is suggesting you do on pain-in-the-ass Wednesday as that is not what grabbed us but rather it was the (in our humble assumption) snide "self-appointed guardians of liberty" swipe.

At the end of the day and especially with respect to the TSA debate, who the hell does Baker feel are the guardians of liberty? Is not Baker familiar with the words and larger context of "We the People"?

And this is why we have spent as much time on this subject, because it is a debate regarding liberty and it is we the people who are initiating it. It is also a debate regarding national security and the most effective means of screening so the bad guys cannot get on the plane.

The American people, contrary to what Baker may think, are doing exactly what they should be doing right now: Questioning authority. And right now, authority has been doing a pretty piss-poor job of justifying these new enhanced TSA security measures.

If We the People, do not behave in an ungovernable fashion and ask difficult questions of the people who work for us, then who the hell is?

What is happening right now is precisely what should be happening in a healthy and vibrant democracy? While newspaper editorial boards across the country are telling us all to just shut up and bend over, the American people are demonstrating that demanding accountability of those in authority is no longer solely an election year exercise.

To paraphrase the First Lady, we've always been proud of our country but we are exceedingly proud, right now.

As always, be exceptional and...

(Correction: Anon, in the comments, alerted us to the fact we had quoted the wrong person. It is indeed Stewart Baker to whom we will direct the ire if not the full and glorious intention of this post - that is for you our dear friends. The post has been amended to reflect the same. Thanks, Anon.)

Another day...

... another ObamaCare success story.

One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements.

The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage.

The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.
(italics, ours)

Considering there have been quite a few pro-ObamaCare union entities and locals that were granted temporary exemptions from having to comply with ObamaCare by the Department of Health and Human Services, one wonders whether the big cheeses at 1199SEIU were merely incompetent or simply were not bringing enough to the table to get themselves off the hook.

“In addition, new federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26,” Behroozi wrote in a letter to members Oct. 22. “Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible, and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”

Behroozi estimated that the fund faced a $15 million shortfall in 2011 and more in the following years for the coverage of workers’ children.

Well, well, well. Berhoozi who runs 1199SEIU's pension and benefit plans is learning the hard way that all these extra bennies mandated by ObamaCare and which were cheered on by many of these same unions comes with a real price attached. A price that is causing this particular union to start dumping coverage.

Lest anyone think we're engaging in gratuitous union-bashing, let us be clear we have a tremendous amount of sympathy for these home attendants as they provide a valuable service to society in tending to the sick and elderly. It is their leadership we are excoriating and for which we have no need.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Al Gore: Hey, sorry about that whole ethanol thing

Alternate headline: I pimped corn ethanol for the votes, otherwise corn ethanol is a complete loser.

Maybe it's the fact that the man has no designs of ever getting back into politics or perhaps it's because he has now made millions off of taxpayer-subsidized green investment - because whatever it is, this recent bout of truth-spasming, though, quaint is too little, too late.

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.

U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31.

Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

"It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."
He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.

"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."

Wishing to drive up the price of food worldwide in return for an alternative energy that you know is bad policy is just what a man has to do in order to be President, we suppose.

A food-versus-fuel debate erupted in 2008, in the wake of record food prices, where the biofuel industry was criticised for helping stoke food prices.

Gore said a range of factors had contributed to that food price crisis, including drought in Australia, but said there was no doubt biofuels have an effect.

"The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices.

"The competition with food prices is real."

A slow clap for this tool is definitely in order.

He supports 2nd generation biofuel technologies, however, as it does not compete with food. 2nd generation technologies such as cellulosic technologies which use chemicals or enzymes to extract sugar from the fiber in wood, waste or grass, as examples.

As we will take a look at later, however, these 2nd generation technologies are just as energy intensive or even more so to produce than corn ethanol. Forgive us for thinking then, that this supposed "come to Jesus" moment is less that than Big Al signaling he's merely moving on to the next big taxpayer-subsidized gravy train.

H/T: Hot Air

Video clip of the day


This Wednesday, let your voice be heard

This coming Wednesday being the most heavily-traveled day of the year, the enhanced TSA security measures and perhaps a new-found spirit of being ungovernable has resulted in a confluence of happenings for which B-Daddy believes presents a golden opportunity to exercise our freedom of assembly and freedom of speech as guaranteed by the 1st amendment as well as extending some good will toward our fellow man.

My fellow Americans, what is to be done? Stay ungovernable my friends, but within the bounds of law and respect for our fellow Americans. Here is my suggestion. Sing. That's right, we need to sing loudly and long while in line. It will disrupt the ambiance of submission, but is itself not unlawful. Maybe we could start with the pledge of allegiance, to remind our fellow citizens, employees of the TSA, of their duties under the constitution. As a federal employee I know I took this oath.

We could then go with patriotic and traditional songs while while waiting in line. Imagine, the power of showing our government that we are not submitting willingly. There is no law against this action of singing and reciting, but it would show our solidarity against this intrusion into our privates and private lives.

B-Daddy has some suggestions for the nation-wide sing-out. Leave your own song suggestions at the link above.

The thought of spontaneous karaoke contests breaking out at airports across the nation this Wednesday has us quite excited.

Can't sing? Not a problem. Via W.C. Varones, whistling will do just fine.

"Hitler has only got one ball,

The other is on the kitchen wall,

His mother, the dirty bugger,

Chopped it off when Hitler was small.

She threw it, into the apple tree

The wind blew it into the deep blue sea

Where the fishes got off their dishes and ate scallops and bollocks for tea."

(from the YouTube comment section)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Radio KBwD is on the air: The Country Dick special

The San Diego Union-Tribune has a nice write-up on local legend Country Dick Montana of The Beat Farmers. Country Dick passed away behind his drum kit while the The Beat Farmers were performing a gig up in British Columbia on November 8 some fifteen years ago and surviving members of the band as well as Dave Alvin, Mojo Nixon and Candye Kane are getting together this evening at The Belly Up Tavern for "Pay Up Cheaters: A Country Dick Celebration".

Having moved to San Diego some twenty years ago we were informed that The 'Farmers were the band to see and indeed we probably saw them 15-20 times before Country Dick passed. And without hyperbole, we can say that they were easily the best live act we've ever seen.

Country Dick was a larger-than-life showman of the highest order. And much like a box of chocolates, because of Country Dick, you never new what kind of show you were going to be treated to. Often times, before shows, Country Dick could be found at the bar holding court and downing beers and tequila shots. And strangely enough, it was those same times when later while the Beat Farmers were performing, Country Dick would pass out while playing the drums. Not to worry - roadies would swoop in to collect Country Dick while the drummer for the Dead River Angels who frequently opened for the Beat Farmers would hop behind the skins and start banging away, missing only a few beats all told. Sometimes Country Dick would make it back to complete the set in triumphant and wildly delirious Willis Reed-like fashion, other times, he wouldn't. No harm, no foul.

Those were the fun, sloppy Beat Farmer sets. When Country Dick was straight, however, the band played clean, tight sets, blazing through their 3-1/2 minute two-guitar roots-rock songs with bad intent but great efficiency.

Pickings were slim on YouTube so we figured we'd go with a classic and crowd favorite, "Lucille".

R.I.P., Country Dick. You are missed.

"Foopie" Folly

A while back we conducted a poll of who was the biggest hack in the Obama administration. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner won relatively easily besting the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department for whom we were pimping quite hard. Perhaps results would be different if we held this poll a second time.

Ahmed Ghailani was supposed to be the test case, the reason why political opposition to trying Guantanamo goons in civilian courts was just hot air.

But now, after "Foopie" Ghailani was acquitted on all but one count for his role in the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings by Al Qaeda, Team Obama's hope of trying Gitmo's worst in civilian courts has been all but dashed.

Look for the secure courthouse at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba to get busy with military commission trials for many of the remaining inmates of the terrorist prison there, who number less than 200 now.

Never mind the five monsters in custody, led by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who've gleefully admitted orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks. Most Obama administration officials have given up hope they'll face justice in a federal court and aren't even planning another military commission trial anytime in the foreseeable future.

Want a little more balance in this analysis? You got it. Click here (sorry, won't let us embed video of Katie Couric) for a breakdown of this case from CBS News where you will hear:

"a disaster"

"test case"

"very bad news"

"acquitted Ghailani of the most serious terrorism charges against him"

"convicting on one count of conspiring to destroy U.S. property with explosives"

"minimum of 20 years"

and our favorite:

"they (Ghailani, KSM and the rest of the gang) remain at Gitmo and with this verdict, in all likelihood, will remain there for the foreseeable future"

The hubris and arrogance of the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department, aided and abetted by the President, has landed themselves and the rest of us in this pickle. They painted themselves into a corner, or onto an island as the case may be, with no foreseeable way out/off. Nice work.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quickies: the "junk" edition

A round up of news items, columns and blog posts that caught our attention this past week.

Once again, the Taiwanese, of all people, provide a summation of the American cultural zeitgeist:

Charles Krauthammer on the new TSA screening procedures? Not a big fan:

Don't touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the Tea Party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm election voter. Don't touch my junk, Obamacare - get out of my doctor's examining room, I'm wearing a paper-thin gown slit down the back. Don't touch my junk, Google - Street View is cool, but get off my street. Don't touch my junk, you airport security goon - my package belongs to no one but me, and do you really think I'm a Nigerian nut job preparing for my 72-virgin orgy by blowing my johnson to kingdom come?

And David Harsanyi on the General Motors IPO? Yeah, not a big fan either.

Oh, good, the Obama administration has another imaginary victory for taxpayers to celebrate.

As you've probably heard, there's quite a bit of hubbub surrounding the news that the administration's car company is going public.

President Barack Obama tells us that General Motors' IPO is proof that one of the toughest tales of recession "took another step to becoming a success story." Not "survival," but success. Taxpayers are going to make a profit, even!

Now, admittedly, success is a malleable concept. If by success we mean that General Motors still owes the government $43 billion — not including that piddling $15 billion it borrowed to fund its financial arm — with many analysts uncertain that it can ever flourish, we're home free.

Success will mean temporarily setting aside the fact that the Treasury actually lost billions on the IPO as it "bought" GM stock at inflated prices. To break even on the freshly printed money taxpayers are "getting back" will probably mean GM needs to double in value over the next year to make us whole.

$9 billion to be exact.

So, Team O strong-arms secured creditors and bond holders, shoving them behind the unions at the bankruptcy buffet, they lie about how they are paying off the TARP loan, lose billions on the IPO and their "star" attraction is an expensive, yet heavily-subsidized lemon that no one wants. Yep, highly successful all around.

Iowahawk pens some new lyrics to a classic standard:

And you know who else hates the new TSA rules? TSA screeners, naturally.

"It is not comfortable to come to work knowing full well that my hands will be feeling another man’s private parts, their butt, their inner thigh. Even worse is having to try and feel inside the flab rolls of obese passengers and we seem to get a lot of obese passengers!"

Not doing much for morale.

"Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me, said in my presence as I patted passengers down. These comments are painful and demoralizing, one day is bad enough, but I have to come back tomorrow, the next day and the day after that to keep hearing these comments. If something doesn’t change in the next two weeks I don’t know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry. I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country."

We've said it before but without exception, TSA screeners have been the epitome of professionalism and efficiency in our travels around the country since 9-11. Homeland Security leadership would do well to rethink the current screening policies as they are accomplishing nothing but pissing off the public and providing a disincentive to any effective screening that is performed.

Is Chris Christie a "true conservative"? Shane Atwell does yeoman's work in breaking down an otherwise assertion made by Conservative New Jersey, here.

Thin slicing: Him cheezing off the right people should count for something, right?

And finally, B-Daddy on the Republicans' unity with respect to earmarks:
Now this is in fact a small, but symbolic victory. I have always felt that earmarks were "the gateway drug" to Congressional wasteful spending. This is only a rule that governs Senate Republicans, but it gives them a moral advantage over the Democrats in the Senate. Further, it shows that the Republican establishment can be made to listen. Until Monday, McConnell had been opposed to ending earmarks, but he realized that in these times, it was important to listen to the voters.


College football Saturday open thread

'Twas the Saturday before Thanksgiving and Ohio St. plays... Iowa?

Chipping away, bit by bit and time-honored tradition by set-your-watch-by-it tradition, conference realignment and the BCS are turning college football into NFL-lite.

Time was, November 20ish was the true rivalry weekend: Ohio St. - Michigan, Army - Navy, USC - UCLA, Cal - Stanford... oh, wait, Cal is playing Stanford today. You get the point: Rivalry weekend is now spread out over the last two weekends in November and the first weekend of December. A depressing development in our book.

The ranked matchups:

#9 Ohio State at #20 Iowa

#13 Arkansas at #21 Mississippi St.

#8 Nebraska at #19 Texas A&M

#24 Miami hosts #16 Virginia

Other games of note:

Both #1 and #2, Oregon and Auburn are off.

The subway alum get their fighting Irish at Yankee Stadium against Army.

BCS busters: #4 Boise St. whupped Fresno St. 51-0 last night and #3 TCU, after surviving a scare against San Diego St. last week, has the day off.

Michigan hosts #7 Wisconsin. Word around the campfire is that Rich Rodriguez needs to win one of the two remaining games on the schedule (Ohio St., next Saturday) to hold onto his job. The zone-read spread attack he installed 3 years ago has taken hold, it's the deplorable defense there at Ann Arbor, however, that may be his undoing.

The image above is not photo-shopped. Some genius thought that staging a tackle football game at a place known as "the friendly confines" would be a swell idea. The good news: late this week, Big 10 officials put their considerably larged-sized thinking hats on and decreed that both offenses would be directed away from the ivy-less though padded though still possibly paralysis-inducing outfield wall of Chicago's Wrigley Field. The bad news: this momentous occasion is wasted on Illinois and Northwestern.

#6 Stanford at the cramping Cal Bears

#5 LSU, in their 13th home game of the season, hosts Ole Miss.

USC goes to Corvallis where they have dropped two straight to take on Oregon St.

And deep into the heart of Saturday night, #23 Utah comes out here to the coast to play a resurgent San Diego St. Considering affairs of late with the Aztec program, perhaps, "surgent" would be more appropriate.

And finally, Montana Tech football coach Bob Green announced his retirement yesterday after 24 years with the NAIA Diggers. Why is it only now that we find out about this guy?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Radio KBwD

We'll take a break from our grainy live videos for our KBwD feature and hook you all up with a highly-stylized, PBS membership drive quality clip of our favorite border band, Calexico, performing Love's "Alone Again Or."
Ladies and Gentleman, Calexico...

Link of the day

"...social programs that weren't investments, they were wish fulfillments."

Or why socialism fails again and again.

KT has more on Ireland and the EuroZone crisis, here.

Sarah sez

One in a series that takes a look at some of the zany and madcap things said by Sarah Palin

"There's a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to Fox and to MSNBC, 'Out. Off. End. Goodbye.' "

"It would be a big favor to political discourse; to our ability to do our work here in Congress; and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and, more importantly, in their future,"

Oopsy-daisy... that wasn't Palin but rather West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller commenting upon a subject for which the FCC has no control as both Fox and MSNBC are on cable.

And is that a reporter or one of Rockefeller's staffers over his left shoulder who is darting her eyes around trying to gage the reaction to the dung flying out of this guy's mouth? We're going with staffer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Free Captain Elliott's Party Boats!

President Obama told us that with ObamaCare, if we liked our health care plan, we could keep it. Well, we can keep it, if we're granted a waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services, that is.

When McDonald's applied for their waiver back in September, it was done so that they could keep their low-wage employees in their current plans and not be forced to dump them from their coverage because of the added expenses tacked on by the benefits McDonald's would be mandated to offer because of ObamaCare. (We blogged about that whole debacle here).

Once both McDonald's and Jack in the Box were granted waivers the flood gates have opened so that now 111 entities, representing 1,175,000 employees, have been exempted from ObamaCare (complete list, here). No information from DHS as to how many more companies are currently in the pipeline seeking waivers.

And how is it that you know a law has been thoroughly compromised and is so convoluted as to be completely counter-productive? When the groups that fought hardest for ObamaCare are themselves seeking exemption status. Count United Food and Commercial Workers, Allied Trade Health and Welfare Trust Fund, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union No. 915, Asbestos Workers Local 53 Welfare Fund, Employees Security Fund, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 123 Welfare Fund, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 455 (Maximus), United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1262 and Musicians Health Fund Local 802 among those unions that have been freed from ObamaCare.

At the link above, it explains that the waiver only lasts one year at which time we are assuming you have to go through the whole process again. That will keep a few people busy, no?

Exit question: In keeping with the spirit of inquiry of the Obama administration prior to the midterms in seeking to find out just who was giving money to groups like the Chamber of Commerce who were, in turn, giving to Republican candidates, just what was exchanged by these groups in return for being exempted from ObamaCare? Surely, we can't be expected to believe that legislation fashioned in the sleaziest, back room manner is suddenly free of quid pro quo? That would require a suspension of disbelief of which we are just not capable at this time.

Here's a little red meat to wrap up your day - Michelle Bachmann and the One-eleven.

H/T: Michelle Malkin

Your non-George Soros quote of the day

"Well, it's not really the right word, but freedom is kind of a hobby with me, and I have disposable income that I'll spend to find out how to get people more of it."

A comedian at the gates, here.

Blog link of the day

Our blog buddy, Harrison at Capitol Commentary, thinks the reaction to the recent developments with respect to TSA screenings is "overblown" and provides a nice summation of the whole debate, here.

We think what galls people is that they are subjected to what they see as humiliating treatment while we still get near misses (the Christmas/crotch bomber, for example) that should've been taken down before they boarded the plane.

One-way destinations, paying in cash, learning to fly but not how to take-off or land, no luggage, suspicious behavior at the gate, no-fly lists… all the above were huge flashing red light indicators of terrorist plots from 9/11 onward that were not picked up on or that we failed to act upon and which did not require racial profiling, strip searches or body scans.

Instead of employing common sense and competent vigilance, we are combating terror at the check-in counter in the most ham-fisted and intrusive manner possible. It makes no sense.

And not to go into full-blown conspiracy mode but as commenter (at Harrison's post) Sharon S. mentions:

I’m under the impression that TSA (Thousands Standing Around) employees don’t get any situational awareness training. Why should they? Fear is profitable. Security is a lucrative business. Body scanners run 150K a piece. It’s a billion dollar industry! Sure, this technology has now also become a moral dilemma. “The war on terrorism” has taken over “the war on drugs”. Back in the day, there were agents to pull aside suspicious looking individuals, such as drug mules. What ever happened to human intelligence? Can’t we train DEA agents to sniff out bomb mules? Oh right, that’s not PC. That’s profiling! But I guess it is PC to strip search people with scanners or grope those of us who opt out. As for children, leave them alone.

Incidentally, ProVision is making a fat buck selling scanners, compliments of the tax payer. The irony, we are paying to get strip searched. Maybe TSA would enjoy a little dance when I go through security next time, a la pole

Tall order all around, for we don't see a vast bureaucracy like the TSA suddenly transforming into the nimble, learning and smart agency they need to be in order to combat today's (and tomorrow's) terrorist threat.

Please leave any and all suggestions in the box provided before heading out.

Video clips of the day

Deadspin has dubbed this rant by Illinois coach, Ron Zook, after the Illini's loss this past weekend as his "Jim Mora moment". You be the judge.

First, the Zooker:

And now, the gold standard:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A 13 yr. old shows what it is to be "ungovernable"

Last week, Cody Alicea, a middle-schooler in Denair, California, was told by school officials to take the flag off his bike he had been riding back and forth to school with for the past couple of months in order to honor this nation's veterans including his grandfather. The school district warned of potential violence against Cody because of his clearly insensitive flag-waving. The school district eventually relented after um, pretty much all of America descended upon Denair in one big electronic shit storm tying up the switchboards and effectively shutting down Denair Middle School's website.

Cody was back at school on Monday receiving an escort from a group of vet bikers and attended a small pep rally of sorts out in front of the school.

Behold this gloriously off-key salute to Cody and this country.

A few thoughts:

After all the hoopla dies down, we sincerely hope that Cody has some large and loyal friends who will have his back when the time comes, because it will come.

We're thinking of setting up some sort of 1-800 public servant hot line to keep people like the Denair school district from making fantastically inept and tone-deaf decisions. After fielding this particular call, we would advise the following: "Are you sure you want to do that? Are you sure you want every Fox News affiliate from here to inner Mongolia descending upon your town there in Northern California like a swarm of locusts demanding answers as well as the rest of America melting down your grid in a veritable electronic assault? Do your job. Quarantine the aggressors. We thought bullying was supposed to be bad? Do the right thing and look like you actually give a damn about this country rather than kow-towing to the Mexican kids who want to beat up Cody. Now leave us alone and don't call back.

We think there is some potential in this hot line thing.

Recall that it was also up in Northern California this past spring where a handful of high schoolers in Morgan Hill were told to change their American flag t-shirts they wore to school on Cinco de Mayo. The aggrieved in this particular situation responded by walking out of school the next day to stage a march waving Mexican flags to demonstrate what were not really sure.

Lessons learned: Wave an American flag on your way to school? Get told to take it down. Wave a Mexican flag on your way out of school during school hours? Get a police escort.

Finally. Being "ungovernable" does not necessarily mean breaking or disrespecting the law. What it means, quite often, is cutting against the grain or orthodoxy of correct thought and behavior as defined by the political class. Clearly, young Cody was running afoul of "the law" so to speak and though he was threatened with bodily harm, it was obvious that he bore the responsibility for the actions of others. Unfortunately, for the ruling class, Cody and others did not back down from this challenge. May we behave accordingly.

As always...

Graphic of the day

America: we're getting older and this extended bout of un- and underemployment is not helping matters any with respect to generating the necessary revenue that is needed to fund our expenditures.

B-Daddy has a long but worthy piece on we can revive the economy, cut spending and reduce the budget deficits, here.

We see crazy people

If some of you out there are curious as to why some of us right-wing law and order types are somewhat reflexively opposed to "comprehensive immigration reform"...

Illegal immigrants can continue to pay in-state tuition at California’s public colleges and universities, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday.

“We’re really pleased with this judgment,” said Constance Carroll, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, which advocated for that outcome. “As we said in our brief, this is really a matter of California law and California decision making. We feel that these young immigrants, who have bright futures, are being treated fairly.”

The court ruled on a suit originally filed in Yolo County in 2005 by a group of students and parents from 19 states outside of California. The plaintiffs contended that a 2001 state law, AB 540, improperly circumvented a federal law meant to prevent the granting of in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. The state law remained in effect during the litigation.

You see, we would love to "dialog" about "comprehensive immigration reform" but we don't dialog with crazy people and Constance Carroll is crazy. Where exactly does this alternate reality exist where a lunatic like Carroll makes sense talking about the "fair" treatment of people who are not even supposed to be here with respect to their tuition payments? We have illegal immigrants here taking advantage of our education system and we're arguing about tuition?

And don't even get us started on our legal system that upholds this illegal behavior.

Screw these people. Recall the great Amnesty push of the summer of 2007 when an unholy bipartisan political-class cabal tried to ram through an Amnesty bill but which was met and defeated by a bipartisan country-class uprising. It's kind of tough to "dialog" after that debacle in which the well was poisoned, perhaps irreversibly, and when pretty much the same ruling-class cast of characters are still at the levers of power.

Perhaps after the humiliations of 2006 and 2008, the Republicans can recapture their brand as "the Party that actually enforces the laws on the books." That would inspire confidence, no?

Allow us to dial it back for a moment: yes, we do realize that "dialog" is important but where is the middle ground, where is the room for compromise when dealing with a culture and mentality that don't see illegal immigration as... illegal?

And as long as the open-borders set continues to pander to and refuses to marginalize groups like La Raza and Mecha and their thinly-veiled third-world socialist, anti-American and Latino supremacist ways, there is, quite frankly, not a whole hell of a lot to talk about.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Owning it

Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, on portions of the health care bill that suck: Don't blame me...

Dozens of politicians got elected on Nov. 2 by calling the health care overhaul laws passed in March a "government takeover," but its implementer-in-chief characterized the laws as a public-private partnership with the business community in a speech Monday.

Speaking to the National Business Coalition on Health's annual meeting, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said most of the key concepts in the unpopular law originated in private business' attempts to cut health care costs and improve worker health. And she asked for continued help.

"We know that the business community is among the best innovators when it comes to prevention and wellness, and we want to give you the support you need to build on those efforts and share those best practices," she said.

(italics, ours)

In a horribly lame attempt to shift blame, did she more or less just admit right there that it was lobbyists that wrote large portions of the bill?

And then immediately after throwing them under the bus for doing such a lousy job, she actually solicits more help from these same people. Unreal.

Yep, we're in the very best of hands.

P.S. Related: Obama's pick to head up Medicare and Medicaid, Dr. Donald Berwick and his love affair with the collapsing-under-its-own-weight British healthcare system will be up on the Hill tomorrow for hearings

Photo image of the day

We were granted this award for coming closest in predicting the midterm election results (out of the SLOBS - San Diego Local Order of Bloggers) and which was created and presented by our friend Leslie of Temple of Mut at the latest SLOB confab a couple of weekends ago.

Thanks, Leslie!

P.S. The imagery of Don Draper from "Mad Men" perhaps needs an explanation. In the run-up to the midterms, the House minority leader John Boehner, became the target of attacks from the Democrats, obviously, but also an anonymous Republican who called Boehner "a lazy bar hopper". Lumping this together with the fact that Boehner smokes and (in another pre-midterm smear) is an alleged womanizer to go along with his rakish good-looks, it hit us like a bolt of lightning - this idea that Leslie was working on at the very same time...

We implored America to embrace its dark side and indeed it did. And we were just grateful to play a small part in fabricating a new American folk hero and role model for aspiring pols everywhere.

Telling the story (Updated)

(please scroll down for the update)

If you are anything like us, you are familiar with your parents' past perhaps not in a chronological sense but rather in a narrative form... stories and remembrances of friends, co-workers, neighbors and loved ones from their past that help develop the story arc of their lives.

"Pops", while doing a Christmas play for the church, based upon the events at Pearl Harbor, penned the following for his fellow cast members:

When I was about six weeks old, my Daddy was killed in an industrial accident. Fortunately, we had a great uncle who was an attorney and a high mucky-muck in Toledo civic affairs who was able to secure a generous (for those days) settlement for Mom, money to purchase a home and $19 a week for ten years to raise my brother and me.

When I was about five, Mom saw that she needed to be prepared for when the ten years were over - she had graduated at the top of her 8th grade class but her father saw no reason to send a girl to high school. Mom decided to go to beautician's school in Toledo, which meant finding a place for me to stay. I went to my father's parents on their farm a few miles away where I lived for the next three years. There was cornmeal mush when there was nothing else to eat, no plumbing, no electricity, but lots of love.

Before supper, it was my job to walk back to the woods to call the cows for milking. On one evening, I ran a thorn into my thigh. I tried to pull it out but couldn't. As I limped back to the house, the thorn worked its way further into the flesh. Grandma tried to remove the thorn but had no success. We had no car so Grandma walked across the road to the Zalesak's for a possible ride to the doctor in town. Their youngest son, Tommy, about 17, was delighted for an excuse to drive the family car. I don't remember the drive into town or Dr. Scheidemann removing the thorn but remember that Grandma and Tommy laughed and joked all the way home.

A few years later on a summer evening, we were sitting on the front porch, probably doing something exciting like counting fireflies. A figure came out of the darkness from across the road. We quickly recognized Mrs. Zalesak coming to see us. She was a native of Prague who loved her adopted home. She studied the Constitution at night by kerosene lamp for her naturalization test. I have always remembered her saying proudly in her badly broken English, "when I go up to that judge, I tell him the Constitution in American."

But this particular summer night she had two small boxes in her hands, one contained a Purple Heart and the other a Silver Star for bravery in action. Tommy's lieutenant had been wounded and was trapped between the lines, pinned down by enemy fire in the Philippines. Tommy volunteered to try to bring him back. He crawled out into enemy machine gun fire and died from his wounds in a field hospital.

Grandma said what she could to comfort Mrs. Zalesak and she walked, sobbing, back into the night.

Doing the play brought back these memories as clear as yesterday and gave me a chance to reflect upon them. I have heard so much of bravery and heroism during the war. But as I thought of Tommy, I don't think he had any thoughts of bravery or heroism when he volunteered to try to save his lieutenant. I think it was love that motivated Tommy, the love for his fellow man. Tommy performed the ultimate act of love by laying down his life for his fellow man, a powerful reminder of what was done for us nearly 2000 years ago. I pray that this message of sacrifice will be clear to everyone who is here for our presentation the next few nights.

As wonderful as a natural coincidence is San Diego Beer Week, the Marine Corps' birthday and Veterans' Day all falling on the same week, remembering and honoring those who have given that full measure should be a year-round exercise.

Update #1: We didn't plan it this way but there was a Congressional Medal of Honor ceremony today at the White House.

Yesterday, President Obama spoke with Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta to inform him that he will be awarded the Medal of Honor for acts of gallantry at the risk of his life that went above and beyond the call of duty. Sergeant Giunta will be the first living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan. The President thanked Sergeant Giunta for his service and extraordinary bravery in battle.

Further information about the date and time of the ceremony will be released at a later date.


Then-Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself by acts of gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.

When an insurgent force ambush split Specialist Giunta's squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.

Here is a video of the ceremony (if embed no worky, please go here)

(Doggone it! We can't get the correct video to load so, yes... please go there.)

When the President said he was looking forward to this "joyous occasion", we fully take him at his word as we can imagine being in the presence of heroism and bravery is pretty much the exact polar opposite of what the typical day in Washington D.C. is like. Also, please remember this clip the next time you hear some pol drone on about making "brave" votes that may not sit well with the electorate. Child, please.

And when you wonder just what institutions in this country contribute to American exceptionalism, this is certainly one of them.