A round-up of news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.
Let's start off with a little humor, shall we. Family friend and early reader and commenter of and on BwD, Bevvie, shares this letter from a farm kid in basic training to the folks back home:
Dear Ma and Pa,
I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Army beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.
I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.
Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food, plus yours, holds you until noon when you get fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much.
We go on 'route marches,' which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A 'route march' is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.
The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don't bother you none.
This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges They come in boxes.
Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home. I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6' and 130 pounds and he's 6'8' and near 300 pounds dry.
Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.
Your loving daughter ,
"We love you!"
Dear Leader: "I love you back."
It's hard to get my mind to come to grips with all that's wrong with this. The shamelessness with which it was sent is a nice starter. Bragging not about your husband's accomplishments, but about how many groupies he has? And Obama's response is not the humble "thank you" of a man who might be uncomfortable with such adulation, because his native humility reminds him that he is not perfect. Rather, he responds as the immature rock star who wants more and more.
Next the image of Obama as loving father figure to the masses of adoring fans smacks of a personality cult worthy of Kim Jong Il. He is not our father figure, he is a fellow citizen of the Republic. He is the President, to be sure, but that position is limited and temporary.
What do you think? I am too harsh?
So asks B-Daddy of The Liberator Today.
Not at all. It is perfectly in keeping with this administration's view of itself. Preening, posturing narcissism at its finest.
From The Washington Post:
Before his death, Osama bin Laden boldly commanded his network to organize special cells in Afghanistan and Pakistan to attack the aircraft of President Obama and Gen. David H. Petraeus.
“The reason for concentrating on them,” the al-Qaeda leader explained to his top lieutenant, “is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make [Vice President] Biden take over the presidency. . . . Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour . . . and killing him would alter the war’s path” in Afghanistan.
Biden is totally unprepared? Looking on the bright side, given the terms of succession, we'll thank our lucky stars that bin Laden didn't have designs to take out both Obama and Biden prior to 2011.
The Wall St. Journal on California's math problems:
Long a harbinger of national trends and an incubator of innovation, cash-strapped California eagerly awaits a temporary revenue surge from Facebook IPO stock options and capital gains. Meanwhile, Stockton may soon become the state's largest city to go bust. Call it the agony and ecstasy of contemporary California.
California's rising standards of living and outstanding public schools and universities once attracted millions seeking upward economic mobility. But then something went radically wrong as California legislatures and governors built a welfare state on high tax rates, liberal entitlement benefits, and excessive regulation. The results, though predictable, are nonetheless striking. From the mid-1980s to 2005, California's population grew by 10 million, while Medicaid recipients soared by seven million; tax filers paying income taxes rose by just 150,000; and the prison population swelled by 115,000.
California's economy, which used to outperform the rest of the country, now substantially underperforms. The unemployment rate, at 10.9%, is higher than every other state except Nevada and Rhode Island. With 12% of America's population, California has one third of the nation's welfare recipients.
And any discussion or suggestion of, you know, reform, to attempt a fix of some of the underlying structural fiscal problems of the state is met with swift and forceful opposition by the progressive forces of the left who are just defenders of the doomed-to-fail status quo.
Let's see how that other "progressive" in D.C. is coming along with respect to battling the status quo:
President Obama’s budget would pile up an additional $3.5 trillion in debt over the next 10 years and shows the government’s trust funds running out of money in 2020, Congress’s official non-partisan scorekeeper said Friday.
In 2012 alone Mr. Obama’s budget would leave a $1.3 trillion deficit — $82 billion worse than if none of his policies were enacted. Over the next ten years the deficit would dip to less than a half-trillion dollars in 2017, but would rise again in the later years.
By 2022, a decade from now, the federal government would spend $5.6 trillion and take in $4.9 trillion in revenue — both figures far outstripping today’s levels.
CBO’s analysis also shows the government’s combined trust funds, including the Social Security trust funds and the cash flow of the Postal Service, will begin running deficits in 2020.
Mr. Obama released his budget last month, but it has received scant attention on Capitol Hill, where both Republicans and Democrats have ignored it. It proposed a mixture of new tax increases and tax cuts, and called for some new spending, particularly in education and infrastructure, but mostly left the entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security untouched.
We won't go too hard on the President, as has been noted before, outside of some bold individuals like Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rand Paul (R-TN), no one in the political class appears remotely engaged in wanting to take on the problems detailed above. The math is unavoidable yet everyone is paralyzed in the face of it.
From The Huffington Post:
"Pink slime" might soon have a leaner presence in public schools than many might have initially anticipated.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that it will offer schools an option between two types of ground meat to purchase for student meals. The move is in response to requests from districts amid a weeks-long firestorm of public outcry against the ammonia-treated cow product.
The controversy was spurred by a report earlier this month by The Daily revealing that the USDA planned to purchase 7 million pounds of ground beef for schools that is mixed with "lean finely textured beef," or what has been nicknamed "pink slime." Two microbiologists, Carl Custer and Gerald Zernstein, said they warned the USDA against the "high risk" product years ago, but federal officials did not heed their advice.
The lean finely textured beef is a low-cost product rendered from the mostly fatty outside trim of cow carcasses or leftovers from other cuts. To salvage every bit of meat, the trimmings, combined with connective tissues and cartilage, are heated at a low temperature to remove about 95 percent of the fat. The resulting product is then compressed into blocks to be mixed into ground beef and treated with ammonium hydroxide (essentially ammonia and water) to kill pathogens like E. coli and salmonella that could have emerged during the rendering process.
Discovery of the USDA's purchase prompted Houston mother of two Bettina Siegel to start an online petition on Change.org asking Secretary of Agriculure Tom Vilsack to "please put an immediate end to the use of 'pink slime' in our children's school food." The petition had more than 225,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
The USDA contracted to buy more than 111.5 million pounds of ground beef for the National School Lunch Program, with 7 million pounds of it coming from Beef Products: This South Dakota-based company produces lean finely textured beef. No more than 15 percent of Beef Products' ground beef mix for schools may be composed of lean finely textured beef, according to the USDA.
The announcement grants schools the option to purchase either 95 percent lean beef patties made with Beef Products' mixed product or fattier bulk ground beef without the controversial mix. The change will not affect schools until the fall as a result of existing contracts.
Those are the options? United States public education: making the case for home-schooling on a weekly basis.
OK, gang, that's it for today. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and we'll see you all tomorrow.