Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just Wait 'till Next Year!

Well, the baseball season has come to a screeching halt for our household.  The Boston Red Sox went from dominating the AL East to losing the wild card bid on the last game of the season.  I think this is being billed as the worst choke in the history of the game.  You have got to hand it to those guys in Boston, not everyone can claim a new standard in performance.
Perhaps our Government should set up a bail out fund for underperforming teams, the players do have a union  and this administration is all about protecting union jobs. 
Don’t take this the wrong way, but maybe if Francona had sat Lacky down, and brought in a prospect from AA, A or even High School the team would have had a chance.  They needed exactly two more wins then they could muster.  It was so close, yet so very far away.

Two players picked up this past season were polar opposites in performance.  
So here we are, just wait'n until next year.  Go Rays!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

About Nothing

Sometimes a day hurries by with no clear reason.  Today was one of those days for me.  Each time I attempted to order it, and do those mundane tasks I am expected to do, a new artificial crisis manifest itself.

It is times like this I long for that hermit like retreat on top of a mountain, next to a distillery.
On the bright side it is Wednesday, I have four days until Monday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


For no particular reason I began considering the word Freedom today.  I guess while I mow the yard I don’t have much to concentrate on, and when that happens I wander off into random thoughts.  Today with the clear blue sky above me, a refreshing gentle breeze, and the noise of the mower isolating me, I wandered the yard semi-lost in thought. 
Perhaps it is because I am older, or perhaps because I was in the Air Force and had an opportunity to see other parts of the world, but for whatever reason I like to think I understand the concept a little better than most young adults.  So I thought I would take a few minutes to write about freedom.
In the United States, most of Europe, the Common Wealth, and a good number of other countries the US has influenced, there is a fairly common view of the rights of the citizen.  In the US they are codified in the Bill of Rights, in England and most parliamentary governments they are not so clear, but they are there.  We, for the last 231 years or so, have governed ourselves, sometime well, other times no so well, but our governments have, for the most part, respected the right of the individual, over the rights of the state.  Why?  Because we are a nation of laws, and the courts serve as a valuable check to the Executive and the Legislature, both of which are driven by the passion and politics of the day.
The key here is law, not opinion, not feelings, not common sense, not mob rule, but law.  If we are to maintain our freedom we have to have laws, and we have to have a vast majority of our population believe in and obey those laws.  Unlike a teenager who disagrees with the parents and rebels with little impact, we cannot disregard the law, if we can do so without consequence, then the society fails.
With the advent of television it seemed we would open ourselves up to the rest of the world, to see how the rest of the world is, and let them see us.  Unfortunately it appears television has had just the opposite affect on the US.  Our nightly news rarely has more than a moment or two of foreign coverage and only then if some American has been killed, maimed or otherwise inconvenienced.  So how can we know what life is like and what freedom means to the rest of the world?  We are so busy watching the Simpson’s and taking opinion polls on what we should do about some Mother who murdered her children we don’t ever give the rest of the world a second’s thought.
So what does freedom mean to a good portion of the world?  Well, based on my experiences, freedom doesn’t mean diddlysquat.  It is an abstract concept, for them their concern is survival, today and tomorrow is all they can afford to think about.  There is no thought of choice.  It doesn’t matter if they have a prince, a king, a warlord or a dictator, they are only concerned that someone doesn’t come in the middle of the night to steal their children, their livestock or their lives.  Perhaps some in America can appreciate this but it does not appear to be many.   For all who complain about our nation and how corrupt or wrong we are they have no clue as to what they have that allows them this freedom.
We talk about the homeless, the poor and the starving in America.  It is a shame we have this problem, I believe we shouldn’t, but unfortunately we don’t live in a utopia, in a real world we will always have poverty.  Even if all these people who believe the wealth of the rich belong to the Government got their way; they would not eradicate poverty.  There will always be those who have and those who don’t have as much.  Perhaps it is insensitive of me but when I see the beggars on the corners, they don’t compare to the beggars I’ve seen in other parts of the world.  Here beggars have a chance to be something else, in Bangladesh they don't.  That is Freedom.

Friday, September 23, 2011


A good part of my day is taken up with words.  I’ve been thinking recently about how our language is changing and words and their meaning seem to get lost in the process.  We write and talk in shorthand.  We no longer have time to craft our thoughts into the right words and phrases; we have to get them out before someone else says something, or in response to some deadline.
When I was an instructor in the Air Force I came up with this idea about how to tell as a student he or she had progressed from neophyte to a “professional.”  My theory was each profession has its own shorthand, its own set of words that mean something specific to that profession.  For example, watch any doctor show and you will hear “STAT” at least once.  I think we have all figured out that means now, or hurry.  In the military we use acronyms like crazy.  Almost everything seems to get shortened into acronyms.  Once we are used to them they become our shorthand, and we seem to forget they only mean things to us.  I used to tell my students that once they knew 100 acronyms they could consider themselves professionals, because they could converse with other “professionals” in their field.
So now when I ask someone to craft a paper or a briefing for a senior officer most of it seems to be written in this shorthand, and I often feel like I need a secret decoder ring as I attempt to get clear communication.  For example here area samples of what pass for complete thoughts.
-       The FABS/SABIR combination was successful in the Flt Demo recently performed
-       The UARSSI was installed inline, rather than post production, saving 10 months
-       BLK 7/Inc 3 will cost $xxM in NRE
Acronyms are useful when attempting to save space or pass critical information quickly but they have become an everyday crutch that impairs our ability to communicate effectively.  I wonder if this can all be traced back to when we first started using radios to communicate or does it trace back to even earlier?
Oh well, who can tell?  OVER & OUT.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


It is approaching the end of the professional baseball season, a time where the reality of what the season could have been will be made apparent, if not already so.  Teams like Baltimore, Minnesota, and Seattle in the American League are just playing out their obligations and looking towards next year.  In the National League, Florida, Houston and San Diego are doing the same.  This is the time of the year the minor leaguers are brought up to see if they have a chance for spring training camp.
My wife, like her Mother was, is a Boston Red Sox fan agonizing with each loss the Sox’s are experiencing this month.  In July, they dominated the AL East and now they are struggling to maintain the wild card slot with Tampa Bay nipping at their heels.  I really don’t have a favored team, but when my mother-in-law was alive I used to follow the Yankees just to give us something to have a friendly argument over.  I’d tell her Boston would always play one great half a season, hopefully it would be at the end so they could make the playoffs.  Unfortunately she passed away before the Red Sox broke the “Curse of the Bambino.”  She would have loved that more than almost anything.
Like Yogi Berra said, “Ninety percent of the game is half mental.”  The game, before steroids, was a game of a little more leisure I think.  Today it seems to be a game of numbers.  There is a stat for everything.  How many times has Big Poppi struck out while wearing red gloves?  Someone knows.  I would like to leave you with this video from my youth, George Carlin explaining the difference between baseball and football.  Enjoy. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sometimes I Just Want to Look Out My Window

Sometimes I just want to look out of my window and yell “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more,” but then I remember two important things.  That was a line from Network, issued by a mad news commentator played by Peter Finch, and our office windows don’t open.  I am frustrated at every turn!
There are varying degrees of insanity, right now I am dealing with the insanity of new leaders who want to make instant decisions, not because they are necessary or correct, but because it allows them to feel they are affecting change.  It is typical of a bureaucracy.  When things are calm and progressing without conflict it is time to reorganize to improve efficiency.
For those who believe in the core of their being that a bigger government is the only way to save America, I would offer you this one important thought.  No one in Government thinks of saving money, when it really comes down to it, its not theirs so who cares?  If new furniture would improve efficiency then lets buy new furniture!  If abandoning a modernization program that has already spent $1,500,000,000.98 and is almost ready to enter production but people think it has been a waste will improve efficiency then lets start all over from scratch, hell its not our money, we can’t worry about that money, it is water under the bridge.  We have to protect future taxpayers dollars, kind of.
If you want to see government waste at its finest look to what the Congress will do in the fiscal year 2013 budget as it scrambles for voter sympathy.  I am afraid the Republicans will be forced to concede to foolish spending plans as the Democrats create this class warfare of increasing taxes on those rich folks.  What everyone forgets is eventually those taxes will be passed on down to the middle class.  The poor will see little difference since they don’t pay taxes now.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I saw a video today about a young family who had lost their three children in an automobile accident.  A few days ago there was a video posted with the caption “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  A few weeks earlier, a friend lost a loved family member and is now dealing with that grief.  I think this must be a question asked universally, anytime something happens to someone close to us.  Each, based on our faith and beliefs, must come to find an answer that makes the most sense, individually.
These events got me to thinking about this question, and I am convinced I don’t have a good answer for it, especially in light of all the deep religious and philosophical thought that has gone into trying to find THE answer.  Nonetheless I find myself sitting here with the keyboard trying to formulate my reasoning for these tragedies, sometimes large, and sometimes very small and personal.  It is a hard thing to do, for as I look at my life, I have been richly blessed and not forced to question why something happens as it does very often.
In the “Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People” video, a faith based one; it tried to rationalize this answer with an explanation of Man’s free will, and God’s allowing us to have a choice.  We, therefore, are subject to our own decisions and that is why occasionally something tragic will happen to a good person.  I am not sure I buy into this whole idea that because we are allowed free will, we will occasionally be struck down because of some decision we made in the past.  Perhaps there is some sense to it though, for I have no explanation on why when an airplane full of people crashes into the earth with two people sitting next to each other, one dies and one lives.
When confronted with the loss of close friends in tragic aircraft crashes, one in Iran the other in the Philippine Sea, I sat down to rationalize this for myself.   In the later case the sole survivor sat near the middle of the plane, strapped into an aircrew seat.  He had a radio operator next to him in an identical seat.  When the aircraft flew into the ocean it was doing about 200 knots in a gradual descent.  In flying we call this “controlled flight into terrain,” which means there was nothing mechanically wrong with the aircraft, the aircrew just allowed it to happen.  As the aircraft impacted the water it broke apart about ten feet in front of the survivor, he remembers hitting his head, then being ejected into the water.  The next thing he remembers is breaking the surface, seeing a raft next to him, and then the lights of some Pilipino fisherman.  He doesn’t remember climbing into the raft, or them pulling him from the sea.  The entirety of the aircrew and passengers, save him, were lost that day.
From those events I’ve come to accept a principle, voiced in crude aircrew language of “When your numbers up, your numbers up.”  It doesn’t depend on answering the question why did one worthy person die, while another less worthy survives.  It doesn’t require a strong belief in how God works, or most importantly why God works in a certain way.  It does depend on an acceptance we are but one small part of a grand universe, created by some force we cannot understand.  For me that force is God.
I find it necessary to accept I am not God, I can only know what God reveals for me, and what I have been taught as the right things to do with my life.  God, in infinite wisdom, has set into motion, and controls to some degree the paths of each of our lives.  We never know how long or short those paths will be.  It requires I accept that each of our lives somehow affect others, sometimes in ways we will never understand.  There is a purpose in what happens, it may be a purpose we can never grasp, but it isn’t random.  
I comfort myself with this simple view, I believe God’s plans are for a greater good, and although I am suffering and cannot understand why, God will not abandon me, it will be me who abandon’s God.  If I am to come to grips with why God allows these tragedies I must first accept there are things I can never understand, life must be committed to living with what we have, knowing nothing is assured in our future.  We must be strong for ourselves, constant for our loved ones, and honest in our grief so we may let go and move on.  It is not our right to ask God to explain why. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


There are always memories we save, hidden in the recesses of our mind.  Some are so good we never want to let them go.  Some are so bad we want never to let them come back. For all of us though it is useful, sometimes, to let them rise to the surface to bring joy to our lives, or perhaps lessen the pain of the moment.  How each individual deals with their life, how they hold themselves and others accountable is unique distinction of a human, in a human society.
We, as individuals have two choices in life.  We can continue to grow, to learn, to discover, and to share, or we can wither away becoming shells of our youth, reliving those glory years.  Sometimes, it is good to look into our soul and decide to grow, even when its is hard.
As we discover more about the natural world around us we find that some species function as individuals in the animal kingdom, while others are part of a larger collective.  As far as I know, if they deviate from that collective, they are cast out, or they fight to assume dominance.  Sometimes, it is important to recognize that dissenting views are a right of our society, and when you choose to denigrate the individuals with those differing views you lessen yourself.  It seems to me to be perfectly reasonable, for example, to say the President’s proposal for his jobs bill is a tired rehash of old ideas that have proven unsuccessful.  It does not seem reasonable, at the same time, to say the President is a complete idiot.
For example, there is an Episcopal Church sign about Governor Rick Perry that is getting a lot of attention on the Internet.  Putting aside the unchristian approach of this church does it really have a valid opinion to offer?  While I may not agree with Governor Perry on a lot of issues the whole idea of a primary system is to let the party faithful weigh the pros and cons of the individual, and to judge, as best they can, whether or not they should be hired to represent the goals and ideals of the Party.  Sometimes, it would be useful for those not directly participating in the Republican, or Democrat, selection process to keep their opinions to themselves.  In an open campaign say all you want to persuade others of the value or cost of either candidate.  As for me, how you present an opposing idea will fail in the first words if all you intend to do is challenge the individual as a member of our society.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On This Day

On this day, ten years ago, the average American was made tragically aware of the threat of Islamic terrorism.  Up until then terrorism was something that happened to other people, in remote places in the world.  Sure there were signs of the growing threat, bombings in Europe, even bombings of US military bases in Europe, but for the average American that was a problem for someone else to worry about.
The rise of this modern terrorism can trace its origins back to the radical groups in Europe in the 60's and 70's, the rise of fundamental Islam clerics who began teaching jihad, the American support of the Mujahideen who fought against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980’s, and the Palestinian groups who have used terrorism to attack Israel and Israeli interests.  These all worked together to form the foundation for a global network, financed with the oil revenues of a Saudi family, with a fanatical son who learned to fight against the infidel during the Soviet occupancy of Afghanistan.
That son is now dead, but there will always be someone to follow him.  Terror networks are like the hydra; if you cut off one head seven more grow back.  We will not have peace until three things happen.  Religious fanatics give up their belief that violence is justified, Jews, Christians and Muslims learn to celebrate their commonality, rather than condemn the differences, and all people turn their backs on, and their support for, these networks allowing law enforcement to end them (this includes gangs and narco-trafficers who have their own terror networks).
I think those things are about as likely to happen as seeing the sun rise in the West, and that is unfortunate for our future as weapons get more and more deadly.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Just a Thought on Justice

One of the beautiful things about blogging is you can express yourself to an audience.  In my case a rather small audience, but one that will, on occasion, let me know they agree.  Although I really welcome a dissenting opinion as well, it just seems no one is willing to do so. 
I was drawn to a NY Times piece today (9/10/11) by Ann Althouse, writing at Althouse on the last Republican debate where, when questioned about Texas willingness to execute those convicted of capital murder the audience applauded.  The mediator, Brian Williams, was caught by surprise by Mr. Perry’s confidence the state had done the right thing, but more so by the public response of applause.
Of course the liberal commentators writing in the NY Times were completely aghast the audience, or the Governor, would take such a view and wrote or tweeted amongst themselves at how base and savage the Republicans are.  I find this to be hilarious.  These are the self-same people who have no problem vilifying the candidates and suggesting that someone should “take them out,” or “they should be shot” and that they should be “removed from the picture.”  This is also the same group that has absolutely no qualms with sanctioning the killing of the unborn, including those in the last trimester where life is obviously sustainable.  Yet the idea of Capital Punishment in a formal process is wrong?  The perverse stupidity of this is unfortunately real.
I accompany my wife to Roman Catholic Mass every week and I’ve got to tell you the Roman Church seems to be consistent in the view of life.  At least here in the South they condemn the killing of any human being, whether they are unborn, or a murder.  This seems, to me, to be an appropriate and legitimate position for the church.  Any church that supports abortion, but condemns execution should perhaps look inward towards their understanding of God and his will.
But the decision of life and death, at least here in the United States, is not one for the Church to make.  It is a responsibility of the State or the Federal governments in the courts. The legislature, acting on behalf of its citizens, determines what is justice, and how it should be metered out.   The lower courts exercise that authority and the higher court’s roll in this process is to insure due process is served, and the rights of the convicted have not been violated.  The liberals do not seem to accept this process and attempt to subvert it with emotionally irrational words like revenge.  I believe they do this to reflect a not so subtle message that what the state is doing is controlled by the same emotions they resort to so often.
Justice and Revenge are not synonyms are they?  Wait let me check the Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus.  Justice – 1) just conduct, 2) fairness, 3) the exercise of authority in the maintenance of right, 4) judicial proceedings….  Lets go with definition 3.  So what are some synonyms, evenhandedness, impartiality, and neutrality?  These all seem to be good synonyms, and I didn’t see revenge mentioned once.  So I am going out on a limb here but I don’t think revenge is the same as justice.  That is not to say that in carrying out justice there may be emotional issues, but they are not the controlling force as they are in revenge.
The US Constitution and, as far as I know, the states make the process of execution a long and laborious process, defense attorneys can appeal and appeal and appeal.  It is so laborious the average time a convicted murder waits for execution is about 14 years.  Since some states have decided execution is barbaric their murderers may spend 70+ years in prison.
There are a lot of arguments for, and a lot of arguments against executing someone for killing another human being.  Each of us must come to our own position, but our position doesn’t really matter a hill of beans, it is what our elected officials have agreed to that matters.  That is what a republic form of government does, it vest power in representatives to decide for us.  If you don’t like what they’ve decided then vote their sorry butts out, but for me execution is justified for the following reasons.
Ø  First, I don’t think if you are convicted of murder there is a high percentage chance of rehabilitation.  I believe the odds of convicting an innocent is relatively small, and the odds of convicting an undeserving individual of capital murder is smaller.  The jail systems being as they are we see an unfortunately high recidivism rate for common criminals, do we really want to accept that same rate for murderers?  The counter argument is what if an innocent man/woman is put to death?  First I don’t think they would be there if they were completely innocent, next we err on the side of release and I am good with that, and finally, innocent people die everyday that is life. 
Ø  What is more inhuman, a quick resolution of the sentence or rotting in jail for 70+ years?  There are those who make the case that execution will reduce murder rates.  I would say to them, show me!  I’ve not seen anything to suggest the murders consider the consequences of their act when they kill someone.  Doesn’t matter if it is life in prison or a death penalty, if someone wants to kill some one he/she will.  So let’s move through the process as quickly as possible and save the murderer the pain and suffering of a life in prison.
Ø  A belief in a just God.   If, on the off chance the State made a mistake, and you were completely innocent, don’t you end up in heaven early?  How is that bad?  I know this is probably out of touch with the fact we shouldn't make a mistake, the government shouldn't make mistakes and a life is lost.  Far more lives are lost by mistakes made elsewhere.  To say humans will get it right 100% of the time is nonsensical.
Ø  There is a lot of talk about the number of black men on death row.  There is also a lot of debate about how black men who kill whites are more likely to face the death penalty.  Maybe if all people stopped killing people this wouldn’t be an issue?  Actually Black on Black crime is higher than interracial crime so what is the point?

Friday, September 9, 2011

How Do You Talk Reasonably With a Liberal?

The other day I made an observation on a social media network; that borrowed from something Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection said in one of his posts.  It spoke to the President proposing to send employers $4,000 if they hired an individual who had been out of work for six months.
Professor Jacobson did a nice job of showing how a $40,000 job cost the employer $65,000 and the $4K the President was offering would do nothing to incentivize the employer; it would just pay him/her for a decision they would make regardless.   So in effect it was throwing tax dollars at someone without a good reason to do so.
The response from my liberal friends was predictable.  I didn’t know what I was talking about, the President wasn’t doing this to pay people who were already planning to hire someone, he was doing this to pay people who weren’t going to hire anyone, besides most people don’t make $40,000 dollars.  So I changed the analogy to show how even to create a full time minimum wage job it would cost about $20 - 25,000 and it was unlikely the appeal of a $4,000 gift from the government would lead an employer to do something they weren’t planning to do already.  The response to this was to say I should look at it from the worker’s point of view.  In fact here is the response.
Okay - Let's look at the math a different way - and NOT from the EMPLOYER's point of view. Let's look at it from the WORKER's Point of view - and especially those THOUSANDS of workers who are NOT - Working! ... How much unemployment benefit do you think they are making a week - which is taxable? .. Does it add up to what your Corporate America is so afraid to spend? ... AND - that OLD way of thinking about taxes that an Employer pays on each employee is outdated. I do payroll every month and it is NOT as much as it used to be - mostly because of things like health savings plan deductions - BEFORE taxes get assessed. It's a whole different ballgame, John. The OLD thinking just does NOT apply any more. It's time for a CHANGE.

This was so convoluted that I really didn’t know what to say, fortunately I had posted a nice video from Bill Whittle just a short time ago that helped me understand how this all plays out.  I was looking forward to round two, but someone else attempted to explain and it went just as smoothly.  So I decided to just let it go.  But if this is typical of the reasoning Liberals use it is no wonder we have a problem here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Opposing Views

Tonight, as the lawnmowers growl in the distance, and the house vibrates from a CV-22 Osprey passing over I wonder what are the important issues for the remainder of the year.  Tomorrow our President will speak to a joint session of Congress, and probably use it as a campaign speech to the nation, about how he will use government funds to create more jobs.
But today there is a foolish column by Douglas Rushkoff in CNNOpinion suggesting we really have more than enough of everything to support everyone we just need to distribute it and do away with the concept of full employment.  It is a column that will be loved by those who agree with the President that the real problem is all those rich millionaires not sharing their wealth.
Then on the other front we have Robin of Berkley writing in American Thinker on the cult of Obama and how he is pulling the strings leading to cultural breakdown, much as Charles Manson did with his followers.  He has encouraged the attacks on women, the thugs of the labor unions and is making sure there is an increasing supply of persuadable followers by keeping unemployment high.
As I look at these two opposing views I am more sympathetic to Robin of Berkley but I believe she has, like most psychologists placed too much faith in that black art called psychology.  She goes so far as to build a vast Liberal conspiracy in the government.  Having worked 37 years for the federal government I am dubious we can actually coordinate well enough to achieve that vast conspiracy.
So who is Douglas Rushkoff, is he the same “trusting fool” as Alan Gross?  The Maryland native who was recruited by the administration to distribute satellite telephones and other communication equipment from USAID to people in Cuba, a communist country that, with the exception of Alan Gross, everyone in the country knows is not the place to preach free speech.  Or is he part of this vast liberal conspiracy Robin sets out before us?  Since he is writing for CNN, a liberal main stream media outlet he must be part of the liberal conspiracy, or as I believe just an idiot with a column.  So here we have a witting accomplish pushing really unsupported and unthought out ideas that a vast majority of “something for nothing Americans” will wrap their hands around.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wisdom from the White House

And it came to pass that a new leader was chosen, a man from many places, who had a past cloaked in mystery, who promised much to a land suffering from the famine and pestilence of war, low these past eight years.  He came, carried on the backs of his multitudes – idolized not for his experience, not for the great victories he had won, not for his ability to lead, and not for his mastery of the kingdom, but for what he was not.  For he was not the “Bush.”
So here we are, approaching three years since President Obama was swept into office, carrying with him resounding support in both the House and Senate.  Lets take a few moments to see the man, in his own words, and reflect on how those words match the reality of his performance.  All quotations, but one, are drawn from
There's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America. ~ Barrack H. Obama
Noble words offered in the spirit of one nation, moving forward toward a common good.  But where is this demonstrated in the administration of government under the President?  Can it really be true ~ the evil Republicans, Tea Party members and millionaires have collaborated to undo the noble work of this Nobel Laureate? Do we find it in his approach to crafting legislation for consideration of the full Congress?
A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, 'Huh. It works. It makes sense.' ~ Barrack H. Obama

When it came time to craft the single most important piece of legislation for his administration, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to, as “Obama Care,” were the principles he speaks of applied?   In their rush to create new law and fundamentally change the way America functions wasn’t it his Speaker of the House who said:  “But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”  How possibly could that have been in keeping with what the President views as good legislation?  Perhaps, just perhaps, this is why this law is now being contested in the federal court system, and will go to the Supreme Court for final adjudication.
When asked about this legislation and its affect on the country the President had this to say.  “But if you - if what - the reports are true, what they're saying is, is that as a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's going to increase our costs, we knew that.”  So, when the President took office and complained about his predecessor’s near doubling of the national debt and the long term affect that would have on this country, it really didn’t bother him to significantly increase the debt more, and sell off the assets of this country to the likes of China.
This isn't surprising from a President who when pressed about the need for bipartisan support offered this view.  “We can't have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.” How about when discussing the need for financial responsibility?  “We need earmark reform, and when I'm President, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”  Funny thing about that last one, the President doesn’t get to go line by line to make sure we are spending wisely, and his Congress took no action to implement this great idea.

“I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.”  “In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world.” ~ Barrack H Obama
Well, you can certainly see these two ideas square up as the President disregards the requirements of the War Powers act to bring America into a war led by the French and other European powers.  Now several months later we hear on a daily basis how it is “almost” over.  Is anyone keeping track of how much we are spending on that little exercise?  Did anyone really stop and ask why it was important to rush into it now?  It couldn’t be the French wanted to stop the Libyan mass exodus to France, surely that couldn’t possibly be a reason.
This has got to be among my favorites.  “I don't take a dime of their [lobbyist] money, and when I am president, they won't find a job in my White House.” Only to find out later: I've been fighting with Acorn, alongside Acorn, on issues you care about, my entire career.  Of course Acorn is not a legal lobbying organization operating within the constraints of the law.  They were a community activist organization that thought little about breaking the law with voter fraud, if it helped Mr. Obama and hurt the Republicans.  Something about a not for profit organization and maintaining political neutrality?
So how about support to Israel, a nation the US has defended and  has been on the US side since its founding.  A country with citizens who share close family ties to many US citizens.  A mid-eastern country with a real "no kidding" elected democracy.  Israel is a country that has consistently supported the US in voting at the United Nations.  Before the election: “The Bush Administration's failure to be consistently involved in helping Israel achieve peace with the Palestinians has been both wrong for our friendship with Israel, as well as badly damaging to our standing in the Arab world.”  And this past year?  “So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”  I am not sure how much more US help Israel can stand.  How can siding with a political organization that claims its origins in the killing of Israeli athletes in the 1974 Munich Olympics and whose avowed purpose is the destruction of Israel not be a great idea?
    Finally this is the quote that scares the dickens out of me.  We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.  I don’t know for a fact, but I am guessing some notable world leaders in the past have thought the same thing, and they came up with the SS, the KGB, and the Palace Guards.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Stop Me If You've Heard This Before.

Frankfurt International Airport is notorious for having arrogant controllers who expect their commands to be carried out swiftly and with precision.  One day there was an exchange that went something like this.
Tower Controller:  Speedbird 435 continue to taxiway Charlie and exit right, hold short of parallel taxiway until cleared.
Speedbird (the call sign for British Airways) 435:  Roger.
As Speedbird 435 exits the runway at taxiway Charlie he fails to stop short of the parallel taxiway, turning onto it.  The tower immediately calls him up.
Tower controller:  Speedbird 435 you have violated my instructions, have you never been to this airport before?
Speedbird 435:  Sorry Frankfurt, yes I’ve been here before, in 1944, it was dark, and I was flying a Lancaster at 25,000 feet.
Frankfurt Tower:  a pause, ah… Speedbird continue to your gate.
Flying precision radar approaches into foreign countries can be a challenge for American aircrews unfamiliar with the inflection of someone who is speaking English as a second language.  This is an approach I was on with a C-130 crew from Dyess AFB, TX.  I will try and show the inflection with the added a’s.
Pisa Arrival:  Old(a) 45 you are cleareda to descenda to 3,000 feet for hand offa to approach control.
Old 45:  Pisa approach, Old 45 level at 3,000 feet for precision radar to runway 04 right.
Pisa Approach:  Olda 45 we have you, you are cleared for approach you willa begin youra descent in three miles.  Maintain heading, maintain altitude, do nota acknowledge furthra transmissions, Okay?
Old 45, Roger.
Pisa Approach:  Olda 45 begina descent nowa, come right o43a degrees, 7 miles froma touch down
Pisa:  Olda 45, continue descent, on glida patha, heading 043, 6 miles froma touch down
Pisa:  Olda 45, slowa ur descent, slightly below glida patha, heading now 045 degrees, 5 miles from touch down
Pisa:  Olda 45, you below glida path now, slowa descent, heading left 040 degrees, 4 miles from touchdown
Pisa: Olda 45, You well below glida slope, I tella you to slowa descent, you no listen you busta you ass.
Pisa:  Olda 45, You com’n back to glide slow now, heading 040 touchdown in 2 miles.
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