Tuesday, July 31, 2012

They tell me the fault line runs right through here**

Victor Davis Hanson has more sense in his writing than any five other people. Even more than I do.

‘California: The Road Warrior Is Here’


** From California Earthquake, by John Hartford. In present case, the fault line has more meaning than the earthquake alluded by Hartford.

It’s not paranoia if they are really after you

The Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Director of NCTC back in March updated the 2008 rules for what to do with information gathered in US spying.

The information gathering community doesn’t call what they do “spying,” of course. That would be bad PR.

The American Civil Liberties Union sees the changes as a threat to what you and I might call “freedom.”

“The biggest change regards the NCTC’s handling of ‘non-terrorism’ related information on US persons. Previously, the intelligence community was barred from collecting information about ordinary Americans unless the person was a terror suspect or part of an actual investigation. When the NCTC gobbled up huge data sets it had to search for and identify any innocent US person information inadvertently collected, and discard it within 180 days. This crucial check meant that NCTC was dissuaded from collecting large databases filled with information on innocent Americans, because the data had to then be carefully screened. The 2012 guidelines eliminate this check, allowing NCTC to collect and ‘continually assess’ information on innocent Americans for up to five years.”


“All of this is happening with very little oversight. Controls over the NCTC are mostly internal to the DNI’s office, and important oversight bodies such as Congress and the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board aren’t notified even of ‘significant’ failures to comply with the Guidelines.”

(That’s the guards guarding the guards.)

I can’t stop US intel agencies from gathering information about me. You can’t stop the agencies from finding out whatever they want to know about you. By reading this blog, you have given access to information. By writing this blog … What the heck, US intel agencies. Do whatever you want; I have nothing to hide. (I just gave the finger to the taped-over camera lens on the laptop screen. In the last week, the thing twice flashed blue.)

Here’s to peace, Mr. Jones … Janes … Jines … Whatever

Egypt’s new president can’t correctly spell Israeli President Shimon Peres’s name, but what the heck, he wants peace, so it’s OK.

What? He says he didn’t write the letter?


Spotted at fark.com

Monday, July 30, 2012

Some 'You didn't build that' cartoons


Is this guy in the right administration?

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack: “I get on my knees every day and I’m saying an extra prayer right now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”

Tom Flynn, executive director, Council for Secular Humanism: “For a cabinet official to recommend prayer as a solution or call attention to his own devotions may violate the Constitution’s prohibition against establishment of religion.”


Link from http://theothermccain.com/

Meanwhile, back in Mayor Bloombergville

“The New York Police Department will soon launch an all-seeing ‘Domain Awareness System’ that combines several streams of information to track both criminals and potential terrorists.

“New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the city developed the software with Microsoft.”


NYPD and Microsoft. What could go wrong? And where is Police Commissioner Reagan?

Official BS: “The Domain Awareness System not only supplies critical supplemental assistance to officers’ ongoing security and public safety efforts, but also enhances the collaborative nature of those efforts by leveraging the resources of the private sector and other City agencies. Given the ongoing threat of terrorist attack, the Domain Awareness System is an important part of the NYPD’s integrated approach to providing protection for those who work in, live in, and visit New York City.”


The above has a July 30, 2012, dateline, but notes privacy guidelines were issued in April 2009.

Waiting for the “If you’re not doing anything wrong, there’s nothing to worry about” statements.

Those droids? Never saw them before.

First link from www.fark.com

Free money

A couple of years ago a newspaper I once worked for ran a story of a small town volunteer fire department’s receipt of a $50,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

I wrote a letter to the editor, wondering who was making decisions in Washington, D.C., to equate a volunteer fire department with homeland security. A week or so later, the newspaper ran a letter from a woman who said her husband was a volunteer firefighter, and just who did I think responded to fires in small towns and in rural areas? She also mentioned the hundreds of firefighters who went to New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

I didn’t respond to her letter, since (a) a response would not have made any difference; and, (b) because she proved my point. Volunteer firefighters have nothing to do with the DHS area of national security. DHS has become another arm of the federal government’s reach into limiting how we go about our daily lives.

The federal government controls citizen activity by buying off segments of society or by issuing decrees that make local governments fall into line.

The buying off part often occurs in small ways. In the early 1990s, then-U.S. Rep. Jim Chapman, Democrat from Texas’ First Congressional District, visited each publicly-supported civic center in his district. Each civic center, he said, would receive a $1 million grant, if each manager came up with a plan for spending the money.

Well, shoot, that’s free money.

Except it wasn’t really $1 million. Counties or cities would have to put in $250,000. That’s not all that difficult, since labor counts as local input in many grants.

Grant-givers know nobody is going to turn down $1 million, or the actual $750,000. Any civic center manager who reported he turned down that much money would be looking for a job.

Same with small town and rural volunteer fire departments. It’s free money.

Olympic Committee sees no difference between murdered Israelis and PLO killers

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta:

“Gilady informed us that a moment of silence was not possible because if the IOC had a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes, they would also have to do the same for the Palestinians who died at the Olympics in 1972.

“My mother said, ‘But no Palestinian athletes died.’

“Gilady responded, ‘Well, there were Palestinians who died at the 1972 Olympics.’

“I heard one of the widows say to Gilady, ‘Are you equating the murder of my husband to the terrorists that killed him?’


“Then Ilana Romano burst out with a cry that has haunted me to this day. She screamed at Gilady, ‘How DARE you! You KNOW what they did to my husband! They let him lay there for hours, dying slowly, and then finished him off by castrating him and shoving it in his mouth, ALEX!’” – Guri Weinberg, ‘Why the IOC will never memorialize the ’72 Munich massacre’


Linked from www.gatesofvienna.blogspot.com

Districted walking

What? You mean it’s not something made up by bureaucrats?

“The UTA (Utah Transition Authority) … adopted an ordinance in March prohibiting ‘distracted walking’ in areas near railway tracks, crossings and stations.”


(Distracted walking is caused by using a cell phone, texting, listening to music through earphones or other device while walking. Used to we said somebody like that “had his head up …” You get the idea. These days, though, nothing is anybody’s fault, unless you own guns, so if a person does something stupid, there must have been an overreaching cause, other than stupid.)

One thing about the walking law:

“So far, UTA has issued only one citation under the new ordinance … The violator got a $50 citation and a stern warning.”

A stern warning? Oh, golly! Does that go on his/her permanent record?

“Distracted walking” showed up today (Monday) in Yahoo’s “Trending Now” space. After a “Do what?” moment, I clicked.

The first three stories were the same, an AP piece about a man in Philadelphia who fell on his head while walking and talking. That story says: “State and local officials are struggling to figure out how to respond, and in some cases asking how far government should go in trying to protect people from themselves.”


“(H)ow far government should go …” Look for hearings at the federal level. Look for studies funded by federal taxes. Look for grants to cities and counties to pay for educating the public on dangers of walking and talking and listening to music. Look for a federal law making such activity illegal on federal property.

Look for those, but do not look for this: “You can’t legislate [not being] stupid.” – Utah State Rep. Craig Frank.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What government interference?

Johnny graduates from Moose Falls, Maine, High School. He enrolls in a community college. He is told he has to take remedial math.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says the Moose Falls School District should pay for Johnny’s remedial math class. Gov. LePage says school districts should pay colleges and universities for every remedial class. Local school districts failed to teach students; therefore, those districts should pay for college classes.


That’s called punishment. It sure doesn’t fit under leadership.

Let’s jump up to the federal level.

“To address the alarming underperformance of African-American students in the nation’s school, President Obama yesterday (July 26) signed an executive order establishing an office in the White House whose primary goal is to improve educational outcomes for Black students.”


Obama’s order establishes “the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, housed within the Department of Education.”

I do not know if each racial and ethnic group has its own office in the federal Department of Education. I do not remember reading of an initiative to ensure Polish-American students improved educational outcomes, or French-Americans, or Dominican-Americans or Texas-Americans. Ordering establishment of an office for a specific racial group seems … well, racist.

The whole thing is here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/26/executive-order-white-house-initiative-educational-excellence-african-am

Here’s something governors and presidents should remember: You can’t fix a complex problem by hiding behind money or by bringing more schools under more government control. Yeah, I know. LePage and Obama think they can. But they can’t.

There are guns at the Olympics??

Kimberly Rhode “became the first American athlete to win an individual medal in five straight Olympics, winning gold and setting a new Olympic record for the highest score in the Olympic Finals with a 99-out-of-100. The previous mark was 93.”

“Rhode won gold in double-trap shooting in 1996 and 2004, and bronze in the event in 2000. That sport was dropped for the 2008 Beijing Games, so Rhode moved over to skeet shooting. She captured silver in 2008.”



Watch the banks fall into line

Some things it’s hard to get a handle on or get people interested in. Finance and economics fall in those categories.

“Hey, I got paid and the check didn’t bounce, everything’s right with the world.”

OK, that’s kind of old worldish, back when people actually got a check and went to the bank and filled out a deposit slip. So now, people access their accounts on line and look at numbers and see there are entries after “Deposits.” The check didn’t bounce.

I don’t know much of anything about finance and economics, but I can read.

The people in charge – the Obama administration – pretty much work on the assumption they know more than the rest of us, and if they work in areas we don’t know – finance and economics – they can do what they want.

So the administration comes up with a new and improved version of the Community Reinvestment Act, but this time with more muscle.

“Yes, believe it or not, the federal government is now starting another initiative to force banks to lend to low-credit-rated blacks and Hispanics -- not just anybody but specifically blacks and Hispanics -- and is threatening -- and already imposing -- huge punitive fines if they don't. Moreover, this time they're going even further. They're going to take over the credit rating agencies and force them to change their standards to accommodate blacks and Hispanics so that nobody will have any idea who is a bad credit risk and who is not. In so many words, the government is about impose its will on the whole home-lending market and force another round of bad loans so that the banks are going to be looted once again so that even the federal government may not be able to bail them out this time.”


(Linked from maggiesfarm.)

Oh, oh! You said “blacks and Hispanics!” You’re a racist!

No, I am not. That’s a secondary argument, anyway; the kind Obama supporters use when somebody disagrees with their positions and policies.

Anyway, watch banks fall into line, lockstepping supposed support, because above all else, banks intend to stay in business, the same as politicians intend to stay in office.

Nazis had banks, Soviet Russia had banks. And bankers followed instructions from government.

Lockstep. It’s the new way of doing business.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

When the U.S. doesn’t take the lead

From ancient times to today, Yale professor Charles Hill gives an overview of empires and states and what is likely to happen if the United States continues Obama’s policy of “leading from behind.”

One of the best-ever short reads on history.


Linked from www.theospark.net

Friday, July 27, 2012

The headline says it all

‘Rahm Stiffs Chick-fil-A, Welcomes Louis Farrakhan’


Well, duh

I ran across these purported Facebook posts, comments on Titanic:

“i think Titanic is fake because, how do they record it when they are all like dieing in water?”

“it’s a remake of what actually happened isn’t it?”

“so the people i the movie arnt alive?”

I wondered: Are there people that stupid? (We know the answer.)

And: People who believe movie stuff is real, how do they get through each day sane? Can you imagine walking out of the theater, believing all those people drowned?

I hope they don’t reproduce. Or vote.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dufus Bill O'Reilly

O’Reilly really steps on it. Dumbasser than usual.

“And he reveals himself for the overwrought ignorant-as-hell talking head coastal elite buffoon that I've long thought him to be ..”


(If you can watch more than two minutes of the video, you are a more patient man than I, Gunga Din.)

Linked from www.theospark.net

Dive, dive!

Americans find ship with £2bn in platinum. 71 tons. Yep. Tons.

“The exact location of the ship is a closely-guarded secret …”

(You reckon?)


Hole on Mars

Maybe that should be “Hole in Mars.”

NASA given us lots of pictures of Mars, some not what they seem, as in the human face that was shadows and a rock formation. (So NASA says, anyway.) Here’s another weird one.


Here’s a panoramic view of another area:


Ah, Mr. President. About those AK-47s ...

“OBAMA: I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. And we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation -– that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.

“But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals –– that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities. …”


(A couple of things: As usual, the president makes himself the focus of what he is about to say. “I, like most Americans …” and not “Like most Americans, I …” Second, the web site is pro-Obama, or at least anti-Romney, and writers see nothing wrong with Obama saying an AK-47 is a soldier’s weapon. Yeah, but which army? A third thing: “Second Amendment … right to bear arms … hunting and shooting …” Yes, there is a Second Amendment; yes, people have a right to own guns; and, yes, people have a right to hunt and otherwise shoot their guns.)

From This Ain’t Hell:

“If in fact the Colorado killer used an AK 47, then our really lame president should have noted that the assault weapon used in this slaughter was one used by America’s enemies for the past half century to thwart American interests around the globe, distributed indiscriminately by the Russians and China to any and all who would take up arms against the Great Satan. He should have made note that this is a weapon imported from Eastern Europe or Asia most likely, not an American weapon of choice. It is a garbage bin weapon easily acquired by any mad man in any country of the world.”

A President is Known by the Weapons He Chooses…

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Atheist dix

Freedom From Religion wins! Yea! Yea!

Press release: "The Freedom From Religion Foundation has stopped a violation in which soldiers were being forced to mow Catholic Charities' lawn. FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel drafted and sent a letter on July 5 on behalf of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and also signed by American Atheists, objecting to using U.S. soldiers to support Catholic Social Services of Augusta. The Regimental Noncommissioned Officer Academy's Advanced Leader Course (ALC) at Fort Gordon, Ga., ordered soldiers to 'provide area beautification support to the Catholic Social Services.'

"FFRF's complainant has assured us that the ‘program with Catholic Social Services has ceased.’"

So the atheists said: “By g … olly, we showed them!” (Dix.)

Not so fast there, Pilgrim.

Fort Gordon says: “Soldiers taking part in community service projects while attending the Regimental Non-Commissioned Officers Academy may choose the project in which they participate from a list provided by the Academy. Catholic Social Services is on that list because they have periodically requested assistance from Fort Gordon Soldiers. However, because CSS is a private organization, all Soldier assistance to it must be provided on a voluntary basis. … We will re-emphasize to our Soldiers that participation in any particular project is voluntary and that they may choose a community service project that matches their personal values. Catholic Social Services remains one of the programs that Soldier may voluntarily assist as part of their service project."


If you can't believe Huffington Post ...

A Huffington Post writer calls NY State Senate candidate Mindy Myer’s campaign web site “the most ridiculous campaign site we’ve ever seen.”

Well, if Huff’nStuff says that, I figured lots of people will like it. I went to


I like it.

It’s kind of pinkish (in color, not political bent).

“The Orthodox Jewish woman, aged 22, is the candidate for both the Republican and Conservative party lines. Mindy intends to utilize her religious values and moral compass as her guide. ‘I can tell you one thing, I have no experience in corruption,’ said Meyer. ‘This is how politics has to change. There is always corruption, but I have the intention to follow my values and ensure that none of what happens in my district is corrupt.’"

So there, Huffy Post!

(They probably think that a young, attractive Jewish woman from Flatbush just absolutely must be Lib’rl or Progressive. But Miss Mindy is not. Many of her causes would require tax money, though.)

Insanity catching up with Sicily?

(Not that Sicily matters in The Big Picture of worldwide finance and disruption, but passing out some numbers and such gives an idea of where we (US) might be headed.)

“Ten million Italians, for example, live in the region of Lombardy in the north whose capital is Milan, compared to just five million Italians in Sicily. Yet the papers say that Lombardy’s regional government has only 4,900 staff, compared to the Sicilian regional government, which has 28,796 staff—six times as many. Palermo City Council has 25,000 staff compared to Milan’s 15,000, despite the fact that Milan has twice as many citizens.

“The newspapers listed the most glaring examples of Sicilian profligacy. In April, the regional government hired an extra 30 camminatori (walkers) to carry bits of paper from one office to another. In the past two years, it has taken on an extra 3,360 ambulance drivers although it has only 256 ambulances.”


(Make government smaller? OK. Lay off thousands and thousands of people? Wait a minute. Let’s not be too hast.)

Link from maggiesfarm.

US to Europe: - - - - off!

‘If Only America Was More Like Brussels’

“Why does America so fear to be like us? It can’t just be the Second Amendment, regardless of what it is supposed to mean. True, the American tendency to treat their constitution as a holy text is baffling at the best of times. (Who cares what Thomas Jefferson meant in 1787? Maybe he hadn’t given people bringing semi-automatic weaponry into cinemas that much thought?) But this surely goes deeper.

“Much as it might look that way, America’s debate about gun control isn’t really about being able to defend yourself (as part of a militia or otherwise) from the inevitable tyrannical government when the Muslims and/or Jews take over. It’s about freedom, and freedom of a very particular sort. It’s about the rights of the individual versus the greater good. America just doesn’t seem to do the latter...”


(I tried to get the whole column through The Times, but the site wanted a subscription, which would mean giving out more information than I am comfortable with. An Englishman’s Castle has a good bit of the column.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Smoke the dope

“The San Francisco Board of Supervisors moved to ban smoking at all public outdoors events except for medical marijuana. It's the new law. Second-hand tobacco smoke is classified as a health hazard while second-hand marijuana smoke is classified as hospitality.” – Argus Hamilton, www.jewishworldreview.com

(I guess passing around the medical MJ is like saying, "How y'all doin'?")

Google gets Amelia Earhart's Vega wrong

Google homepage today "honors" Amelia Earhart, so say lots of flaks who don't know a Vega from a vegan. The stylized Vega has "G" under the right wing and "GLE" under the left. I guess we're supposed to see "GOOGLE." What I saw was a "G" representing aircraft registration for Great Britain.

And if I study the drawing real hard, I see "GOO" "GLE." Pronounced Goo-glee.

Google itends to get its name associated with various birthdays and events of history. The marking of Lincoln's Gettysberg Address could very well be, "Four score and Googly years ago ..." Or the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these Googles to be self evident ..."

With ‘Made in China’

In 2011, US exports to China totaled $103.9 billion, a 13 percent increase over 2010. In 2001, US exports to China totaled $19.2 billion.

What does the US export to China? Power generation equipment; oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; electrical machinery and equipment; vehicles, excluding rails; aircraft and spacecraft; optics and medical equipment; plastics and articles thereof; pulp and paperboard; copper and articles thereof; and organic chemicals.

In 2011, US imports from China totaled $399.3 billion, 9.4 percent above 2010. In 2001, US imports from China totaled $102.3 billion.

Top imports from China: electrical machinery and equipment; power generation equipment; toys, games and sports equipment; furniture; footwear and parts thereof; apparel, knitted or crocheted; apparel, not knitted or crocheted; plastics and articles thereof; iron, steel; vehicles, excluding rail.

The US is not the only country that does multi-billion export and import business with China. For other countries, “Made in China” carries the same notice of trade and the same notice that many products that could be made here, are not.

Numbers and such: ‘US-China Trade Statistics and China’s World Trade Statistics.’


Made in China. Yeah, but …

“But what do we mean when we say something is ‘Made in China.’ Perhaps not what we think we are saying.

“Shenoy emphasizes that Chinese workers do the final assembly of many products, but final assembly is but the tip of the iceberg of production. When you look at the full manufacturing process, you find a system of worldwide cooperation. Most of the materials and machines the Chinese use in assembly were made somewhere else: sewing machines in Japan, Korea, and the United States; dyes in Germany; button-making machinery in the United States, Taiwan, and Hong Kong; zippers in Japan; spinning and weaving machinery in the United Kingdom; raw cotton in Uzbekistan, Egypt, and the United States (subsidized by the government); cotton gins in the United States; and steel in Japan and Korea.

“Once assembled, the goods have to be moved to the docks for transport to the United States. The trucks that do the moving are made in Japan. The ships and containers are made in Korea, Japan, America, and Britain. The shipping services are Greek and Norwegian.”


(The question is not where all of a product is made, but the number of American workers out of work because the product is not made here. That complaint is answered in part by: “You say, how are we going to compete with all these other countries? The answer is, of course, you compete by producing goods that were not produced before.”

Link from maggiesfarm.

Look for the union label

‘200 Screaming SEIU Goons Storm Dunkin Donuts to Protest Mitt Romney’


(The Right-Wing Conspiracy becomes vaster every day.)

It’s a military thing.


My wife was working a homecoming game at Texas A&M – Commerce when two F16s did a flyover. One went vertical over the stadium and hit afterburners. Every car alarm within a half mile announced the aircraft’s thunder.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What do you call a Danish girl in a short skirt?

Provocative and immoral and looking for it, if you are an immigrant from certain parts of the world.

“Iraqis, Iranians, Turks and Somalis are dramatically overrepresented in Danish rape verdicts.”

In 2010, more than half the men convicted of rape in Denmark were “immigrants or Danish-born to immigrant parents, reveal the official numbers from Statistics Denmark.” Of the 66 rape convictions, 32 were “with Danish background, 27 immigrants and 7 children of immigrants.”

What to do, what to do.

“Karina Lorentzen from the Socialist People’s Party is shocked and appalled: ‘It is wildly concerning that immigrants and refugees are so overrepresented […] it would seem that some immigrants have not learned that in Denmark a short summer dress is not an invitation to sex.’”

And, Loentzen says, “Danish girls must learn that they should behave differently in relation to people from different cultures.”


So women born and raised in Denmark, in families not from the “overrepresented” groups, should change their ways of dress and of everyday life in order to satisfy the morality of foreigners?

Here’s what will happen in Europe: (1) Native-born will become so fed up with what Muslims bring in that expulsion laws will reign; (2) Muslims will become the majority; or, (3) the whole region will collapse.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The first time

Staff Sergeant Reid said it was a good shot, the gook running and fifty meters away.

“Where’d you hit him?” he asked.

Tom touched the center of his chest. “Right here. He was at an angle. The bullet went in at an angle. Probably right through his heart.”

Sergeant Reid nodded. “Good shot.”

Tom said, “He was on fire.” Sergeant Reid looked at Tom. “That’s why I shot him when I did,” Tom said. “He was on fire. I mean, I would’ve shot him anyway, even if he hadn’t been on fire. But he was on fire.”

“Yeah,” Sergeant Reid said. “I saw him running through the napalm.”

“He cut left,” Tom said. “He was running fast.”

Sergeant Reid looked toward the black line, but not at it. “In Korea, Third Division, we went up a hill. Chinks were at the top. Artillery tore everything apart, but when we got near the top, a Chink jumped up, maybe seventy-five meters away.” He made a small shrug. “It was automatic, you know? I brought up my rifle, snapped shot him. Head shot. When we got to the Chink, he was lying face down, back of his head gone. I wanted to help him. I killed him, but I wanted to do something for him.”

Tom said, “I guess that’s the way it is.”

“The first time,” Sergeant Reid said, “the first man you kill, you want to do something for him. You know you can’t, but you want to anyway.” He lit a cigarette. “Willie Joe pissed at you?”

“Kind of.”

Sergeant Reid smiled. “He’ll get over it.”

“He said they’re supposed to fry. They fuck with us, they fry.”

“There it is,” Sergeant Reid said. “He’ll get over it.”

The man who burned (Caution: Soldier language)

Willie Joe yelled at Tom for shooting the man who was on fire.

“What the fuck you want to go and do that for, huh?” Willie Joe waved his arms. The M-16 in his right hand went up and down when he waved his arms. “The fucker was gonna die, Man. What you want to go and shoot him for?”

“He was on fire,” Tom said.

The answer didn’t do anything for Willie Joe’s anger.

“Exactly what I’m talkin about, Man.” Willie Joe got close to Tom’s face. “Why you think we called in air support, huh? Why?”

“Because we couldn’t get them out with what we had. Our own fire, I mean.”

“Riight,” Willie Joe said, and his head went up and down in fast nods. “We couldn’t get the motherfuckers out. So we call in air support, they drop napalm, and the gooks fry.”

“He was on fire,” Tom said.

“He was well on his way to being a crispy critter, Man.”

Tom looked across the open space between the rice paddies and to the clump of trees, where there were bunkers and trenches and the black thing lying not fifty meters away. The thing that was the man Tom shot looked like a line drawn in the grass, small and insignificant.

Tom said, “He’s a crispy critter now. What difference does it make, whether I shot him or not?”

Willie Joe got closer to Tom’s face. “The difference is, he was supposed to suffer. The difference is, he’s supposed to be a fucking example. Anybody fucks with us, he gets fried. He doesn’t get shot, he doesn’t get put out of his misery. He fries.”

Tom looked at the black line. Small wisps of smoke rose from the body. “In New Guinea,” he said, watching smoke rise and diffuse in the hot air, “they call it long pig.”

Willie Joe was no longer in Tom’s face. “Do what?” he asked. “What you talkin about?”

“People,” Tom said. “People cooked for eating. In New Guinea, they call it long pig.”

Willie Joe’s face squinched up. “That’s fucking disgusting, Man. That’s -- ” He waved his arms. “That’s the most disgusting thing I ever heard.” He turned then, and walked away.

Every day

One step at a time. Put this foot in front of that foot, that foot in front of this foot. Forget about the heat. Ignore the pain that started five minutes after you moved out, the pain in the lower back, the pain that worked its way up your back, to your shoulders and you want to arch your back and transfer the pain somewhere else, except there is no other place, because every place hurts.

The hurt is the same pain you put up with yesterday, the day before yesterday, the same pain you will put up with tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. You will put up with the pain until the day, the hour, the minute you climb the ramp and get on the plane that takes you home. And when you climb the stairs on the ramp, you will take the pain with you, a passenger on your back.

You put up with the pain because you don’t have a choice. You put up with the pain just as you put up with the cuts and scrapes and bruises, chipped fingernails and the dirt and grime beneath what’s left of your fingernails, the dirt and grime that won’t wash out maybe until you’re in a place where civilized people don’t have that dirt, that grime.

Every part of you hurts, places you didn’t think could hurt. Your feet and ankles and knees, sure. You walk for a living, don’t you? That’s your sole purpose, to go from here to there, and the only way to get there is to walk. Every part that supports your feet and ankles and knees -- those parts hurt. Your fingers hurt. Your ears hurt. And your eyes, when you haven’t had enough sleep, when you know you could sleep all day and most of the night.

Every part of you hurts, okay?

Ben Noonen one day said, “My face hurts, Man. My face hurts.”

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Uniformed personnel in homosexual parade

"In a memorandum sent to all its branches this year, the Defense Department said it was making the allowance for the San Diego event even though its policy generally bars troops from marching in uniform in parades.

"The Defense Department said Thursday it did so because organizers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the parade was getting national attention."


(Well, hell, since the homosexual organizers encouraged military personnel to march, and since there was national attention, why not change the rules? Who can argue against encouragement and national attention?)

And for a little military decorum:


The big one’s probably going to be in NZ

While everybody’s looking at Indonesia or Sicily, in New Zealand "volcano is experiencing signs of elevated unrest above known background levels".

It’s bad enough when a volcano experiences “signs of elevated unrest.” But “above known background levels” might make one think things are about to get interesting.


Found at fark.com.

Cave paintings

It’s always been as much a “Why did they do this wonderful thing?” as “How did they do this beautiful thing?”


There is great irony that the art made by people who had only torches for illumination can be destroyed by modern lighting. Or maybe the whole thing was meant that way.

If you can’t trust your sewers …

Flying manhole covers, exploding pavement injure seven in London.


One of the injured “is claiming negligence by UK Power Networks, a Hong Kong owned company that owns and maintains the electrical cabling supplying London’s power.”

A company spokesman said: “We would like to reiterate that events such as the one unfortunately encountered by Mr Wingate are unusual.”
(Really? One should hope such events are not a regular occurrence.)
The spokesman also said, “The safety of our staff and customers is our main priority. We undertake a robust programme of regular checks and maintenance on our overhead lines and underground cables plus associated equipment.”

(Hey, you got top marks in Public Relations 101, Replying to Complaints that Involve Bodily Injury.)

Linked from gatesofvienna.

Finally, a definition of ‘paying their fair share’

Twenty percent of Americans paid 94 percent of the federal taxes collected in 2009. The evil 1 percenters paid 38.7 percent of federal taxes.


Linked from maggiesfarm and http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-top-20-paid-94-of-income-taxes-in.html

Friday, July 20, 2012

Not sporting, you know

"My habit of attacking Huns dangling from their parachutes led to many arguments in the mess. Some officers, of the Eton and Sandhurst type, thought it was 'unsportsmanlike' to do it. Never having been to a public school, I was unhampered by such considerations of form. I just pointed out that there was a bloody war on, and that I intended to avenge my pals." -- James Ira Thomas "Taffy" Jones, who in three months shot down 37 German aircraft.

Success in war requires a ruthlessness most people neither possess nor understand.

A bit of an eye-opener

What you are is God's gift to you, what you make of yourself is your gift to God. — Jewish proverb


The new kid on the African block has money to spend

Interviewed last night on CNN, former President Bill Clinton praised Rwanda for its increase from $1 to a present $5 in per capita daily income, a great increase in paved roads and the nation’s parliament, more than 50 percent of whom are women. The country, Clinton said, has made tremendous progress since factions stopped killing each other. One word I did not hear Clinton say: China.

“Despite the financial crisis, bilateral trade between China and Rwanda still exceeded $100 million in 2009, increased by 6.4% over the previous year. In 2009, Chinese companies contracted projects totaling $500 million. At present, 4000 items exported from Rwanda to China enjoy zero-tariff treatment. New projects, such as the Kigali International Conference Center and water plant are currently under negotiation. In order to attract more Chinese companies to invest in Rwanda, China and Rwanda plan to sign a number of bi-lateral agreements including the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement and Agricultural Technological Cooperation Agreement.

“Rwanda expects increased investment in its minerals industry following the suspension of mining in some parts of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the Congolese ban, mining companies in Rwanda have started boosting production.

“Rwanda currently produces about 5% of the world's tantalum and about 4% of global tungsten production. Minerals currently account for in the region of 30% of Rwanda's exports, according to the OGMR. Exports of minerals were expected to increase to $60 million in 2010, from $54.6 million in 2009.”


“Last week, the US$ 6 million China-Rwanda Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center expected to spearhead modern agriculture technology and demonstration as a way of improving agricultural output was officially opened by Prime Minister Pierre Habumuremyi.

“At this centre, a result of the 2006 Forum for China-Africa cooperation (FOCAC) held in Beijing, Chinese experts will teach locals the technique of growing upland rice, bamboo, paddy rice and mushrooms etc. They will also train local farmers on simple modern ways of dealing with soil erosion, a major challenge in this hilly country.”


“Chinese firms are increasingly making strategic entries into Kigali, targeting mainly infrastructure projects. China will send an expert group to Rwanda for a feasibility study of a 25km road construction project in the capital city of Kigali, financed by the Chinese government.

“Chinese engineers are also expected to construct a new ultra-modern clinic in Masaka, a suburb of Kigali.”


China is building roads, hospitals and schools all over sub-Sahara Africa. There will be payback, in form of oil sales and mineral sales, which will benefit China and the countries involved. China has learned to make more meaningful inroads through exporting money and expertise, rather than AK-47s.

Talk about bad paper cuts

‘3 LA-area homeless people found stabbed with notes’


They weren’t stabbed with the notes? But the headline says …

No Smoking! Except maybe a little. And some MJ

“It’s widely known that secondhand smoke is responsible for as many as 73,000 deaths among non-smokers each year in the United States, and there is no safe level of exposure.” San Francisco city supervisor Eric Mar in proposing ban on outdoor smoking at events held on city property.


All smoking … Except … “It’s carefully crafted also to exclude smaller neighborhood organized events such as block parties. And also, importantly, it does not prohibit the use of medical cannabis,” Mar said.

Mar also said “he does not foresee the city being able to actively enforcement this tobacco ban if it becomes law.”

So this dude proposes a law that he admits cannot be enforced. Doesn’t that fall under the “Stupid” category?

For the moment, though, let’s forget about categories.

“We now know that 53,800 people die every year from secondhand smoke exposure.”


‘Secondhand smoke kills 600,000 worldwide annually’


“Each year, primarily because of exposure to secondhand smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer (and) more than 46,000 die of heart disease …”


You get the idea. Pick a number. Or, just pull a number out of the air. SWAG is as good as real science.

First link from maggiesfarm. I found the others all by myself.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

These are not the 'droids you are looking for

Say it ain’t so, Hancy!

“Rep. Nancy Pelosi was emphatic. Mitt Romney's refusal to release more than two years of his personal tax returns, she said, makes him unfit to win confirmation as a member of the president's Cabinet, let alone to hold the high office himself.

“Sen. Harry Reid went further: Romney's refusal to make public more of his tax records makes him unfit to be a dogcatcher.

“They do not, however, think that standard of transparency should apply to them. The two Democratic leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives are among hundreds of senators and representatives from both parties who refused to release their tax records. Just 17 out of the 535 members of Congress released their most recent tax forms or provided some similar documentation of their tax liabilities in response to requests from McClatchy Newspapers over the last three months. Another 19 replied that they wouldn't release the information, and the remainder never responded to the query.”


Move along now. Nothing to see here.

(Great picture of the hypocrites-in-chief.)

Scientists find seawater guilty of climate change

“Experts at the University of Toronto and the University of California Santa Cruz have found that the impact of continental collisions and divisions over millions of years has a major 
impact on global warming.

“The geological activity causes the dissolution or creation of massive gyspum deposits which scientists have found alters the sulphate content of the ocean and the atmosphere. That in turn affects the climate.”


(OR: A real inconvenience. OR: Let’s find something else that gets publicity. OR: We knew the Chicken Little people were wrong. OR: Any writer who leads a story with “Experts” is lazy.)
Linked from www.anenglishmanscastle.com

Jobs Australians won’t do?

We’ve all heard that illegal immigrants to the US do jobs Americans won’t do. Looks like a jolt is needed Down Under.

“ONE of the nation's biggest unions is negotiating to import up to 2000 skilled workers from the US on temporary visas, declaring unions will be unable to "hold back the tide" of foreigners needed to plug skill shortages on multi-billion-dollar resources projects.

The Australian can reveal that a company directly related to the union has been approved by the federal government to assess the overseas workers and is setting up facilities in Las Vegas and the states of Maine and Pennsylvania for offshore testing from October.”


Linked from www.anenlishmanscastle.com

The story gets kind of dodgy, with Australian union people saying it’s not true. Sort of.

“Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU) assistant national secretary Allen Hicks told AAP the union's national secretary Peter Tighe attended the Australian government-hosted jobs expo in Houston, Texas, on May 19-20.”

The union, Hicks said, “anticipated a shortfall in local skills in the next decade and wanted to ensure any workers brought to Australian were union members and had the necessary skills.”

OK. That’s a “We wanted to make sure the government doesn’t allow in any non-union workers.”


For qualified miners and others, though, the jobs are there.

“Qualified workers, a challenge for all mining firms, is particularly acute in Australia, the world's biggest producer of the iron ore destined for China's steel mills. Mining companies say that even with current production cutbacks they can't find enough skilled workers willing to toil in the country's rugged, isolated outposts, in spite of salaries exceeding $100,000 a year. The industry estimates it will need 86,000 new workers by 2020.”


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One of those eccentrics the British always find at a time of need

Adrian Warburton, 10 March 1918-12 April 1944.

In 1943, Americans meeting Warburton for the first time “were amazed at the much-decorated officer attired in dirty grey flannels, an oil-stained tunic and topped by a mop of long unkempt blond hair when he came out to greet them at Luqa airfield.He had just ‘returned from the dead’ after being missing for three days. While photographing Bizerte his plane was disabled by flak. He struggled on to Bone (in French territory) and landed unhurt. After being kept under lock and key for two days suspected of being a German agent he was able to establish that he was British and was given a French plane to fly to Gibraltar. There he changed it for a Spitfire and flew back to Malta, picking up his cameras and film at Bone and shooting down a Ju88 on the way. When he landed at Malta his first remark was - allegedly- ‘Sorry I'm late’".


16 December 2002

‘Prominent WW2 pilot Adrian Warburton recovered’

‘Remains found in shot-down aircraft in a Bavarian field’

“Munich - The mortal remains of a prominent British soldier of the second world war have been discovered not far from the village of Egling an der Paar (Landsberg am Lech district) in Upper Bavaria. According to reports in the news magazine Focus, the British reconnaissance pilot Adrian Warburton and his machine have been found in a wheatfield. Warburton was considered one of the Royal Air Force's greatest fliers.

"’He was still in the cockpit, about 2 metres below ground’ said a historian who took part in the dig. His aircraft had rolled on its back immediately before the crash and the cockpit struck first. Both propellers had bitten deeply into the ground. The cockpit of the Lockheed Lightning was apparently ‘completely crushed’. Only a few splintered and charred bones survived of the pilot.

“Wing Commander Adrian Warburton, known to his comrades as ‘Lawrence of Arabia of the skies’ (can this be true?) had been posted missing on the 12th of April 1944, after he failed to return from a reconnaissance mission over Germany. In Britain he was considered the ‘most valuable pilot in the RAF’ and took part in two attempts to abduct the Nazi General Erwin Rommel. As one of the first specialist photo-reconnaissance pilots he helped to prepare the invasion of Sicily in July, 1943. In May next year, Warburton is to be buried with military honours in a war cemetery on the Tegernsee.”


There are many sites that mention Warburton. He is particularly famous for shooting down five Italian airplanes while flying a Martin Maryland reconnaissance bomber.

Somebody shoot this editor!


Or at least take him out back and beat some sense into him.

Paragraph seven: “… prolly crooked only at the neck …”

“Prolly”? “Prolly”? Since when did using such a word become common, even legal?

Good grief! I guess it’s part of the internet way of writing, but … From a newspaper editor? “Prolly”?

“Prolly” is as bad as “supposebly.”

Temptation to say, “Are you stupid?” occurred every time I heard someone say “supposebly.” Manners got the better of me.

“Supposebly” presumes (supposes, if you will) that “supposeb” is a word.

But “prolly” … There is no supposition except for ignorance of the laws of grammar; a supposition that a user of the word connects with readers (and I suppose he would connect with the stupid ones); or that the writer just flat does not give a damn.


And the editor has the gall to insult someone else's writing?

A letter to WalMart

(I sent this on July 7. WalMart has not replied.)

Walmart Home Office
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, Arkansas

Your company needs to retrain managers and associates at the North Little Rock store, imbuing especially in managers the realization that their outlook and manners are reflected in associates’ behavior.

On Tuesday, July 3, I went to the North Little Rock store to buy 20 bags of mulch. After determining which kind I preferred, I went into the store to find out whether I was supposed to load the mulch and then pay, or pay and then load. I also wanted assistance loading the bags, since at 66 years old, I cannot do as much as I could five years ago.

In the garden section, I saw an associate washing the glass in a door. I asked her about loading and paying for the mulch. She said I could do it either way I wanted. I then asked if I could get assistance in loading the bags. She said she would find out. She walked away and turned down an aisle. I followed, figuring to answer questions anyone might have. The associate talked with a management person (identifiable by his shirt and lack of vest). The management person walked toward me. I said, “I don’t think I can load that many bags by myself.” He said as he walked by, “Let me help her at the register and I’ll be right with you.”

He went to the register, where there was some kind of problem. I stood near the door. The management person did something at the register and then returned to the aisle where he had been telling another associate how he wanted things arranged. I waited. I waited longer. Then I saw the management person rearranging items on shelves in another aisle. I watched him for a little while and then went outside, where bags of mulch were stacked. I loaded 10 bags into my pickup and then became unable to load any more in the 95-degree heat. I went back inside, paid for the 10 bags and told the associate at the register that I had asked for help but had not received it. I said, “Do not look for me in this store again. Ever.”

I returned to my pickup and drove across the street to Lowe’s. I asked a cashier in the garden department, “If I buy 10 bags of mulch, can I get help loading them?” She replied, “Of course you can.” And I did.

On Thursday, July 5, my wife and I having used all 20 bags of mulch, I returned to Lowe’s and bought 40 more bags.

My experiences at the North Little Rock store have not been the same as at the Walmart market in North Little Rock, nor at the store in Sheridan, nor at the store at Chenal Parkway and Cantrell Road. Associates at those stores are friendly and helpful; their demeanor reflective of positive managerial philosophy.

Associates at the North Little Rock store, however, consistently display negative attitudes toward customers and unwillingness to give assistance. Those are indicative of negative managerial philosophy.

If for no other reason than corporate benefit, you need to more closely supervise and retrain managers and associates at the North Little Rock store.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Amazing machine

This machine lays brick roads.


At first glance, I thought it was an Onion video or similar, since loose, heavy things unsupported do not maintain form. But, pressure from each brick upon every other brick maintains form, as do the guides inside the machine, shown in the video for a couple of seconds.

I read somewhere that all inventions are cause by laziness and/or greed. That’s cynical. Inventions are brought about by perceived need to lessen the amount of human physical labor to get a job done. There is profit motive, too, from the inventor and the doer.

Linked from www.coyoteblog.com

Just following the script

Airport inspector: "Any sharp items in your baggage, sir?" US javelin star Craig Kinsley arrives at Heathrow for the Olympics.


If it is, tax it

“Some Republican governors, eager to enrich their thinning state coffers, are endorsing a tax that would be imposed on products sold online. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures Strapped, states could reap as much as $23 billion in new annual revenue.”


(Must be a new organization – National Conference of State Legislatures Strapped.)

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently agreed to allow Amazon to collect sales taxes on his state's online purchases if they located distribution facilities there.”

(Does he have the authority to tell a company it can collect sales taxes?)

Is this really something to brag about?

‘All LR grade schools at least 50% literate’

“This is the first year that at least 50 percent of the pupils at every elementary school in the district scored at proficient or grade level in literacy …” (The story does not say “the first year” since when. Back in my grade school/ Stone Age years, literacy rate was at least 95 percent, probably more.)


Monday, July 16, 2012

Do not execute these killers

Malik Jones, 16, of Chicago, has been charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of 62-year-old Delfino Mora.

Nicholas Ayala, 17, and Anthony Malcolm, 18, also have been with first-degree murder and robbery in the slaying of Mora, according to Chicago police.

Police say Ayala and Malcolm each took turns using a cell phone camera to record the beating.


The accused, when found guilty and when attaining age of majority, must not be executed. The three must be given life without parole. The three must be kept alive as long as possible, and every day of the rest of their lives, they must be shown pictures of the man they beat to death.

Gee, we’re sorry we killed the wrong guy

“But, hey, he opened the door and he had a gun. What were we supposed to do?”

Well, for starters, get the right address.

For second, do just like TV cops do: This is the police.

“Officials said the deputies did not identify themselves because of safety reasons.”

If “safety reasons” stand as a defense, then law officers could do just about anything. Every minute of every shift is dangerous.

And let’s look at the way police and deputies and such are often identified: “Authorities.” Back in the days when I wore an Army uniform, “authority” had a twin: “Responsibility.” If I had the authority to do something, based on regulation and traditions, I also had an equal responsibility to make sure I did the thing right. I knew that if I was irresponsible, I would pay a price.

Will the irresponsible deputies face discipline, other than “Don’t do that again”?


'Negro infant found in box'

The best newspaper story I never wrote:

One of the women who worked the front desk said, “Bob, could you help her with the microfilm reader?”

My desk was the first in the newsroom, so I often got requests from people looking for news from years ago. The “her” was a young woman – early to mid-20s – a couple of inches over five feet tall.

“Sure,” I said. I got up and gestured toward the microfilm reader. “This way.” At the reader, I asked what year and month she wanted.

“June, 1967,” she said.

I got the roll of film from a drawer and put the roll on a spooler and ran the film leader through the lens. I turned on the reader light and explained the forward and back controls.

“Thank you,” the young woman said. I returned to my desk and resumed working on a story for the next day. About ten minutes later, I looked up when the young woman approached. She said, “Will you please show me how to print a story?”

“Of course,” I said. She and I returned to the reader.

She pointed at the screen. “That’s me,” she said. I looked at the story she indicated. The headline said:

‘Negro infant
‘found in box’

“That’s me,” she said again. “I am the baby who was found in a box.”

I sat at the reader and read the story, how a deputy sheriff in June 1967, while on patrol on a back road in the county, saw a whiskey box beneath a tree near a barbed wire fence. The deputy stopped his car and got out. It was a dry county, and finding a labeled whiskey box was not a common occurrence.

As the deputy neared the box, he saw a bullet hole in two sides. Then, he heard the crying baby. The baby was wrapped in a blanket. The deputy picked up the baby and the box and went to his car and drove to the local hospital, as fast as was safe. Doctors said the baby was about three days old, and in good condition, other than insect bites and some dehydration.

The young woman said, “There are more stories.”

The next day’s paper in 1967 said the hospital had received 30 requests from county people – white and black – to adopt the infant.

A story the day after that said county officials gave the baby to the husband and wife who owned the city’s black funeral home.

I looked at the young woman. Her face held despair. I said, “You could use a hug, but we can’t do that sort of thing any more.”

“My mother will hug me when I get home,” she said. She then said she had not known until then where she came from.

“At family reunions, old aunts would say, ‘You’re the girl they found in a box.’ I never knew what they meant. My mother always said it didn’t mean anything, what they said.”

She was 25, married to a successful man, had two kids and lived in Dallas. She was at the newspaper office because she wanted answers.

I said, “Let me write your story.”

She shook her head. “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask my mother. If she says it’s OK, then it will be.”

I printed copies of the pages. She left the office.

Next day I called her adoptive mother. I said I wanted to write the story. “It will be a great story,” I said.

The adoptive mother said, in a voice not friendly, “What good would it do?”

I did not have an answer.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana

When jobs and people go away.

Good pictures. If you like ruins in modern cities.


Gary Indiana, etc., doesn’t come close to Detroit in the ruins category.


America’s manliest cities

How chosen: Sports, manly lifestyle, concentration of manly retail stores, manly occupations, Board of Manliness* rankings, salty snack sales.

”Cities also lost points for an overabundance of emasculating criteria – factors that reduced a city’s manliness rating. These factors included the number of home furnishing and décor stores, cafés/coffee shops, sushi restaurants, ‘modern’ male apparel stores and cupcake shops.”

*Board included actor and former bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, former professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter, baseball hall of famer Rollie Fingers, comedian and actress Judy Gold, world beard champion Jack Passion and lumberjack champion Mike Sullivan. In addition to the public figures, the Board includes four everyday Americans – a retired Navy Seal, a school teacher, a police officer and a mother of four boys.


(I live in Little Rock, Ark., which didn’t make any list. Memphis is the nearest manly city. I’ve been to Memphis. … We’ll just let it go at that.)

Linked from www.fark.com

Defense housing unit

You go looking for one thing, run across something entirely different.


Scroll to “Mother’s little helper.” The picture is of innocents involved in what became a fight between New Deal socialists and private enterprise capitalists. Federal money in the millions was involved; even more millions after Japan’s Imperial Navy attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

“… on June 28, the 1937 United States Housing Act was amended, instructing the USHA to waive income requirements for potential public housing residents, and to apply all remaining monies from low-income housing projects into efforts to house defense workers. Additionally, monies were made available for defense housing through the President's Emergency Defense Fund.”

Source -- Federal Works Agency, "Four Years of Public Housing," p. 4; National Housing Agency, "Public Housing: The Work of the Federal Public Housing Authority," p.6; National Housing Agency, "War Housing in the United States," p.9.

From Wikipedia article, “Mutual Ownership Defense Housing Division.”


(The chart lists Avian Village in Grand Prairie, Texas. When my family lived in Grand Prairie (1975-81), we sometimes drove in that area – nice, small 1940s houses. North American Aviation had a plant nearby.

(The mutual ownership idea turned into a fight between New Deal proponents and real estate industrialists, with often-termed “government money” at stake, and, of course, the fights over union or non-union labor.

(A historical marker at Avian Village dodges political questions and makes nice sidesteps: “The private housing industry was unable to keep up with the demand for shelter in these areas. Some federal officials saw the situation as an opportunity for experimentation in architecture and planning, as well as establishment of a pilot program aimed at lowering the cost of quality housing through the use of prefabrication and mass production building techniques. Defense housing officials also wanted to introduce industrial workers to mutual home ownership as an alternative to traditional suburban home ownership.”


(Photo by Nicolas Henderson.)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

'I hate the Olympics'

“What (Prime Minister David) Cameron must do is declare war on the IOC: he must paint out the Olympic rings on their Zil lanes; he must remove the Olympic rings from Tower Bridge; he must cancel the tax-holidays [not a phrase you'd normally hear me use but difficult times call for exceptional measures] for all those businesses which have been battering us to death like baby seals with the ginormous blood-stained, brain-spattered club of their noisome Olympic sponsorship tie-in credentials; and then – damn it, why not – he should announce the immediate cancellation of the games on health n safety n finance grounds because let's face it a) we can't afford them b) our creaking infrastructure can't cope, especially not now the M4 is broken and wouldn't it be, like, so awfully tragic if some Olympic Fat Cat in his armoured Zil (or whatever it is the bastards have chosen as their OFFICIAL OLYMPIC SPONSOR VEHICLE TM this year) were to plunge through a crack in the Chiswick flyover? and c) the whole business is tacky and unedifying and horrible and nationally humiliating, like being invaded by the Disney Corporation and everyone being forced to wear mouse ears in solidarity with the Dear Leader.”


(‘Hate’ is an aw’flee harsh word, don’t you know. In my case, ‘I have an extreme dislike for the Olympics.’ It’s all quite wasteful of time and tax money and benefits only “Official Sponsor of the Olympics” types and a few dozen amateur (guffaw allowed) athletes who garner thousands and thousands of dollars and pounds and euros.

(And most extremely dislikeable of all, it’s in the middle of baseball season.)

Hunting and cave keeping

My friend Les said, “I used to think all those jokes about controlling the TV remote were just that – jokes. Then last night my wife had the remote and in one 30-minute period we watched parts of three different programs. I still don’t know” – he counted on his fingers – “if the jury found the bad guy guilty, or which house the woman from Chicago bought in Phnom Pen, or which wedding dress the stupid woman decided on after arguing with her stupid mother and stupider sister.”

I said, “It’s the hunter, cave-keeper thing. All differences between men and women – except the physical ones – are hunter and cave-keeper.”

Les said, “You think that’s it?” He didn’t sound convinced.

“Sure. Think about it. You got a cave with a couple of families, old man and three sons, old woman and three daughters-in-law. The men do the hunting; the women keep the cave, right?”

“If you believe humanity started off in caves.”

“We’re not talking about theology here; just why things are.”

“Okay,” Les said. “Go ahead on.”

“Men go out, they find a big caribou, they stalk it and put a spear or two into it, field dress it and take it home. Now, if women went on their own hunting party, then you would have the difference between shopping and buying.”

Les looked somewhat skeptical. “Do what? We’re hunting, not shopping.”

“Exactly,” I said. “Where the men would kill the first big caribou they found, the women wouldn’t.”

“Well, that doesn’t make any sense.”

I said, “That’s because you’re a buyer, not a shopper. See, when the women saw a big caribou, they would have a discussion on the shade of its hide and whether that particular shade matched the overall décor of the cave. Or they might decide the caribou was a nice size, but maybe they would find a better one in the valley next over.”

“Well, now, the men should have taught their wives the proper philosophy of hunting. You take what’s there.”

I said, “When you go to a store, what do you do?”


“What do you do? You walk into the store, what do you do?”

“I get what I want, I pay for it and I leave.”

“You ever go grocery shopping with Laureene?”

He kind of snorted. “Not if I’ve got anything else to do.”

“You’ve got a list, right?”

“Sure do.”

“But …”

His face brightened. “I see what you mean! I’m looking for things on the list, but Laureene’s looking at everything.”

“So are the women on the hunting party. Not only do they not take the first big caribou they see, they’re also looking at stuff they might use in the cave. Now, that’s not bad in itself, but they should remember what their mission is – Get a big caribou.”

“All right,” Les said. “I see your point. Now, what’s that got to do with the TV remote?”

I had to admit … “I’m not exactly sure, but I’m working on the connection.”

Friday, July 13, 2012

How many bees? I know you didn’t say 50,000

“I figured it was just a small clump of 1,000 or so," Chen said.

(Dude! One thousand or so is not a “small clump.”)


Pixelated camouflage; or, I see you!

“The pixel print started (like its analogues in high fashion) as a look-book style for the warrior set. U.S. troops had worn the classic, four-colored Battle Dress Uniform and then a three-color NATO design for decades, but in the early 2000s, the Marine Corps pushed into the avant-garde by donning a digital print borrowed from the Canadians. (That one was first tested in 1998.) When it came time for the Army to update its own uniforms a few years later, the Marines' pixelated "MARPAT" scheme served as the model. ‘It was trendy,’ one military textile engineer told the Daily. ‘If it's good enough for the Marines, why shouldn't the Army have that same cool, new look?’"


(What attracts attention? Movement and/or color. And sometimes what your eyes and brain are looking for, but that’s usually movement or color that isn’t there, just your eyes adjusting to what your brain says is there.

(Here’s an idea: Dress a whole bunch of soldiers in varied camouflage types and styles and patterns and send them out into woods and deserts and cities for a week or so and when they come back, ask: “Which do you like best?” and “Which works best?”)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

If it was real life, no one would watch it

Reality TV vs. everything else.

"Tom Logan, head of programming at The Factual Channel, said: 'Our viewers don’t understand the difference between real events and speculative twaddle claiming Nostradamus shot JFK.

“'Also real life can be extremely depressing, which is why I have just cancelled Holocaust: The Ultimate Inhumanity and replaced it with Auschwitz: Secret Nazi UFO Factory?


(Aren't "reality" and "television" contradictory?)

Daddy's 1938 Packard

In summer 1951, Daddy had four cars in the yard at the house near Maud.

One car Daddy drove daily to and from work at Red River Army Depot, the others he was trying to sell. He had bought the three cars for a little bit of money and hoped to sell them for a little more. The cars were a 1939 Ford, a 1938 two-door Pontiac and a 1938 Packard.

The Packard was not something you would call just another car; it was an automobile – long body, black paint, covered spare tires that fit into the front fenders, huge chrome bumpers back when bumpers were real and weight was a thing added to a car, not taken away, because if a driver was going to be in a wreck, he wanted his car to have more mass than the other car.

The Packard was sold to be chauffeur-driven, not owner-driven. The Packard had two jump seats, just behind the divider between chauffeur and passengers. And, the divider had a roll-up window.

Daddy’s 13-year-old Packard looked like this:


To a 5-year-old boy, a car that size and style meant only one thing: Hours behind the wheel, driving wherever I wanted, and times just sitting on the tan, cloth passenger seat or one of the jump seats, rolling up the dividing window and rolling down the window.

It was a marvel, big and American, the car foreign potentates and sheiks and rajahs owned in China and Arabia and India.

The Packard had a radio, too, and I listened to as many AM stations as were in range during the day. I always remembered to turn off the radio. Back then, radio power was independent of ignition keys. Many a battery ran down because people forgot to turn off the radio after shutting down the motor.

One day, after listening to and then turning off the radio, I decided to climb over the divider. For some reason, I had the ignition key in my hand. While climbing over the divider, I dropped the key into the window slit. I could see the key, but I could not get my hand into the slit, and my arm wasn’t long enough to reach that far anyway.
That afternoon, Daddy checked the cars after he got home from work. He came into the house and said, “Anybody seen the Packard keys?”

I said, “I was playing in the car and dropped them in the dividing window.”

Surprisingly, Daddy did not get mad. He said, “How do you expect me to sell the car if I can’t start it?”

I said, “Maybe you can hot wire it.”

“I can,” Daddy said, “but I can’t expect a buyer to do that.”

I’ m pretty sure he got the key out, because he never mentioned it again. He did tell me to stay out of the cars, though.

He sold the Packard not long after. I missed that car.

Change in Libya sends jihadists into Mali

You think most of the world lives in the 21st century?

“A convoy of Land Cruisers duly arrived, laden with bearded fighters clad in sand-coloured turbans and robes. These were not rebels from the local Tuareg tribe, who had claimed credit for the fall of Timbuktu, but international jihadists from across the Muslim world including Algerians, Nigerians, Somalis and Pakistanis. This multinational parade drove home a harsh message: a new state had been born under the effective rule of al-Qaeda. Bewildered townspeople, who had only seen Tuareg insurgents up to that point, realised its true significance.”

“Djenebou Traoré, 48, left the city in May after two men came to her door and demanded to know whether any of the women inside were unmarried. They would be handed to the new overlords for compulsory ‘marriage’”.


Linked from www.gatesofvienna.blogspot.com

(I did not know Tuaregs had captured Timbuktu. Three months ago.)

When in doubt, check it out

On Tuesday (July 11) a friend from high school forwarded one of those things you read and say, “That doesn’t seem right” and you search and find out you are correct.

And you wonder: “Why do people not check these things before sending them?”

Yesterday’s receipt was not the first outright false forward from that friend.

The most egregious was entitled “Army dog wins Congressional Medal of Honor.” If you want an example of internet stupid, search for that.

Why do people make up that stuff? What is it in their minds that leads to complete fabrication?

Yesterday’s forward was not so much fabrication as someone’s willingness to believe something is true because he or she wants it to be true.

Yesterday’s forward had to do with “Muslim store owners” in Bogalusa, La., telling a soldier “We don’t serve your kind.”

Right away don’t you say, “Wait a minute. That doesn’t sound true”?

Most of the forward was a video shot across the street from the convenience store. There were more than a dozen cars and pickups, some people carrying signs, and a voice-over by a man who had not bothered to investigate, but just went with the crowd. The narrator called the store owners “ragheads,” and then said, “That’s right, I said ‘raghead,’” as though he had performed a deed of great courage.

I’m not going into all the details of the story. You can search “muslim store owners deny service to soldier” and get enough information.

One fact that should have ended the demonstration by patriotic Americans: The store owners are Indian. Not Pakistani or Jordanian or Yemini – Indian. If not familiar with Indian-Pakistani blood-letting, search “1947 indian partition” or “1972 indian-pakistani war.”

A little bit of checking goes a long way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Both candidates should just shut up

A Republican congressman standing for re-election has not exactly made friends by his remarks about his opponent, an Illinois Army National Guard lieutenant colonel who lost both legs when her Blackhawk was hit with an RPG in 2004.

On CNN last Sunday, Rep. Joe Walsh said of Tammy Duckworth, “… I mean, my God, that's all she talks about," meaning her wounds and loss of her legs. Duckworth, Walsh said, “played on her injuries to score political points in public.”


For her part, Duckworth uses Walsh’s words and her wounds to her own benefit. Her wounds, she said, “’inform my discussions with the constituents when I talk about health care.’”

So because she has no legs, Duckworth is more qualified to talk about Obama’s health care plans than is Walsh, who has no military service.

Both Walsh and Duckworth seem to have let politics trump manners and logic. Both should just shut up about war wounds.

As the O says, so shall it be

On June 20 the White House announced that it would issue guidelines expanding the scope of Title IX “to help increase the number of women in the science, math and technology fields as part of a celebration for the 40-year anniversary of a law prohibiting discrimination in education based on gender.”


“New guidelines will also be issued to grant-receiving universities and colleges to help institutions comply with Title IX rules in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.
“In 1972, when Title IX was passed, 43 percent of students enrolling in degree-granting institutions were women, compared to 57 percent of new students in 2010.”

So administration leftists are going to make sure the country has more women with science degrees.

Somehow, that just doesn’t seem logical, with the 43 percent in 1972 and 57 percent in 2010. With that percentage increase, shouldn’t women already outnumber men in science and math?

Depends on the kind of science.

“When college women study science, they tend to gravitate toward biology--about 58 percent of all bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in biology go to women. In contrast, women earn some 17 percent of bachelor's degrees in engineering and computer science and just over 40 percent of bachelor's degrees in physical sciences and mathematics. The likely reason for this, found in the study The Mathematics of Sex" (2009) by Cornell psychologists Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams, is that women tend to be drawn to "organic" fields involving people and living things, whereas men are more interested in the objects and abstractions that are the focus of STEM majors. Aversion to math plays a role too: a University of Bristol study finds that biologists tend not to pay attention to scholarly articles in their field that are packed with mathematical equations.” Charlotte Allen,


But, hey, why should Obamaites let facts stand in the way of feelgood/lookgood stuff?

We need more women in math and science!

Make it so, Number One.

Oh. This isn’t TV?

Of a well in the kitchen

The well was in the kitchen at the house that burned. There was a plaster facing around the bricks and a pulley suspended by a hook from a ceiling beam. A rope ran through the pulley. One end of the rope was attached to the bucket, the remainder of the rope wound around a piece of wood attached to the well frame so the rope would not fall into the well. The cover for the well was wooden and round. The bucket was not a normal round bucket with a wire handle, but a long cylinder made of sheet metal and an O at the top, connected to a rod that ran the length of the bucket and opened or closed a trap at the end, depending on whether you pushed the rod or pulled the O.

To draw water, you made sure the end was closed and then lowered the bucket. With its cylindrical shape, the bucket entered the water lengthwise until it was all the way in and water flowed in through the top. You could then pull up the bucket and position the end over whichever container you wanted to fill and pull the O, opening the end trap and allowing water to flow out.

With a normal style bucket, the rope was attached to the wire handle and the bucket always lay on its side when you lowered it to the water. Then, you had to jiggle the rope and the bucket until the bucket began to fill with water and then it would go under and be all the way full.

I remember the kitchen there as dark. I don’t remember any light, except for a little from a bare bulb in a socket attached to a wire than ran along a ceiling beam.

I remember my mother bathing my brother Bill in a dish pan. The pan was not the one she used for washing dishes in, but another one she used for bathing Bill and for some small pieces of laundry. The time I remember must have been 1951, when Bill wasn’t yet a year old.

Before the Army, every house I lived in had a well and a bucket and rope. Even the house at Rocky Branch that had running water and a bathroom inside – that house had a well and we sometimes had to draw water, when the pump went out or in hard freezes and we drained the pipes before the freeze so the pipes wouldn’t freeze and burst. One time, too, at that house, we had to draw water because the well was almost dry, and gritty water was in the pipes. Daddy hired a man who climbed into the well and dug out the sand and put the sand in the well bucket and Daddy drew it up and put it into a red wagon and then we put the sand in holes and low places in the yard. The man dug down as far as he could, and after a day we had enough water.
Momma and Daddy moved to Naples in 1967, while I was in Vietnam. The house in Naples was on city water and didn’t have a well.

‘Xena’ body armor

All kinds of stories are running around the internet today, relating that Army equipment people studied problems women soldiers have with current body armor and then somebody said, “Viola! We’ll use Lucy Lawless as an example!”

Or, “The US military is developing ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’-style body armor for women that it hopes will give them greater protection on the battlefield, with more curves in the chest and hips.”


I haven’t yet learned cut and paste on photographs, so you’ll have to do some work here. Search “zena warrior princes” and then take a look at the pictures. You will quickly realize: (a) maybe 1 percent of today’s women soldiers look like Lawless; and, (b) does the Army really want its women soldiers going around in armor like Zena’s? My guess on (b) is “NO!”

The real thing: “’Some people would like to eventually make plates so it’s like ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ and conforms to the shape’ of female soldiers ...”

And Zena’s top part, uncovered (sort of)? No way a woman wears that in any situation … Except in a costume party or one of those sci-fi conventions.

Makers-up of “news” have no smarts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Remembering the murdered Jews

“A plaque hangs on the wall of a well-to-do apartment building in a quiet German street commemorating nearly 30 former residents driven from their homes or murdered by the Nazis.”

Gabrielle Pfaff … said: "I was born in 1949 and I often asked my parents what they did under the Nazis.

"My parents' generation closed its eyes. I want to make sure that such a crime never happens again."


She exposed a lying fake Marine wannabe SOB and was fired

(This story ran in March, before the Supreme Court justices ruled lying is protected speech, but I only now read it. And, yes, reporters should have learned by now that the medal is the Medal of Honor, not the Congressional Medal of Honor.)

“After dinner, she said, a co-worker began peppering Mr. Alvarez with questions, including which president had awarded him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Mr. Alvarez said it was President Reagan.

“’Alvarez advised that he was in Iran and was on a mission to rescue the U.S. ambassador,’ FBI agents later wrote in an affidavit describing their interview with Ms. Campbell days later. ‘During the raid, Alvarez was wounded several times, but returned to the U.S. Embassy to retrieve the U.S. flag that was flying.’”

”One supervisor said, ‘I don’t understand why you made such a big deal. You’re not even a Marine anymore,’ Ms. Campbell recalled.”


Coming to an airport near you?

“Fed up with having to queue for hours at passport control at Heathrow on returning from holiday?

“Then here’s the good news: there is a new way to jump the line and leave the airport faster. The bad news is that the new way to jump the queue is to get yourself arrested for taking part in a slow hand-clap in the arrivals hall, resulting in your being carted off by your collar in a Black Maria to a police station; with luck quite near your home.

“Immigration authorities have grown so rattled by outbreaks of slow hand-clapping among frustrated travelers that they have told police to issue cautions, and even to make arrests, if they sense that the anger might suddenly boil over into a dangerous spasm of civil disobedience.

“Of course the other option of actually doing their jobs quickly and efficiently isn't a possibility.”


(OK, it is England, but you know how things English have a way of journeying across the pond – language, representative government, the Beatles …)