Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Going on a Lawsuit Hunt

The linked article details the trials and tribulations of three poor, misunderstood Jewish men who strapped duct-taped black boxes to their bodies, with what appeared to be wires running out of them, went into the lavatory together while the third stood guard outside, and began parying loudly, all while in flight.

It turns out that this was all part of a ceremony:

The men began praying out loud in Hebrew shortly after takeoff on Flight 241 from Mexico City. Flight attendants alerted the flight deck, which then called the tower and alerted law enforcement. When the plane arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, it was met by the FBI, Customs and Border Protection and airport police....

...During weekday prayers, some Orthodox Jewish men wear teflillin, or phylacteries - black leather straps wrapped around the left arm and around the forehead. The straps are connected to small boxes with tiny scrolls containing Jewish scriptures. Many Orthodox Jewish men also wear a prayer shawl called a tallit under their clothes, with knotted fringes at each of the four corners.


However, I can’t figure out what part of the ceremony requires them to go to the lavatory together while another man stands guard, anxiously glancing at the cockpit door and around the cabin.

This is not the first time that this has happened. The suspicious activities of these men, along with their unwillingness to go along with flight crew demands, leads me to believe that they were purposely in search of a religious discrimination lawsuit against the airline. I can develop no other reason why these men were dumb enough to do all of this, and why they felt like it couldn’t wait until they were safely on the ground.

Before you go there, I am not anti-Jewish or anti-religion. I am pro-common sense, and I just fail to see how these men could have reasoned their way into believing that this was a good idea. They are lucky as hell that some passenger didn’t straighten them out. I’m not sure what I would have done in the same situation, but I would certainly have been on a razor’s edge ready to dish out some ass-whoopin’ if I got any indication that their intent was anything other than honorable, I can tell you that much.

That being said, I can tell the difference between radical muslims and orthodox Jews, so I might not have been that worried, knowing that they were Jews and not Muslims.

I know, I totally just went off the PC reservation by suggesting that Muslims are more likely to commit terror attacks than Jews. Its just that, well…

THEY ARE.

Just Freedom Fighters, Fighting for Freedom and Such‏

The MSM has left this story unreported. It obviously does not forward the narrative tht israeli’s are bad and Palestinians are good, and that Palestinians are just poor, downtrodden but otherwise good souls who are being treated badly by the evil Jooooo oppressors.

I’ve linked to Borepatch for this story, because he tells it better than I could. I can’t type when I’m this upset and angry. My soul aches for these poor people.

It seems that they are celebrating in Gaza over this. I guess they really feel like infants are valid targets in their fight for freedom.

Of course, the reporting of this in the MSM, when it was even reported at all, ran the gamut of biased reporting – referring to the Jooos as “settlers” instead of as “the Fogel family” and not commenting on the fact that most of the evil Joooos killed in this were under 6 years old, one of them was only three months old. Real victory for the Palestinian cause, there, huh? There was also a general reluctance to comment on the race and breeding of the Paleoswinian bastards that did this.

The worst headline of all, thanks to Ace over at AOShq, was the following:

Israelis suspect Palestinians in settler killing.

Indicating that there was no proof that it was paleoswinians that did it, and that it was just the evil Zionists blaming Palestinians unfairly for the killing, and going on the offensive without proof. This, of course, ignores the reality, which is that the Muslim Brotherhood actually took responsibility for the killings and celebrated them - dancing and handing out candy in the streets of Jerusalem

The Alamo

Okay, random-ey randomness for today brought me to a discussion over on Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated, regarding the heroic last stand at the Alamo by a group of about 180 Texas Volunteers who fought to the last man against Santa Anna and Mexican oppression.

I do not want to minimize the sacrifice of those men. Most of us today would never even consider something to be worth dying over, and many men would see no problem with compromising their morality and their principles as long as it kept them from being slaughtered. The men in the Alamo were real, true men, who willingly died over what they thought was right.

That being said, I find a massive amount of fault in the concept of “dying for your country.” I could not put it better than the late, great George S. Patton, who stated bluntly that “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. The way that you win a war is by making the other poor bastard die for his country.”

The same great man also stated that “fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.”

And Fixed fortifications are exactly what the men at the Alamo fought and died for – and their deaths were exactly because of their decision to fight within a fixed fortification.

Consider this. David Crockett became famous for his early-in-life exploits with the Tennesee Volutneers, fighting Indians with a rag-tag group of other white volunteers and allied Indian Tribes. During his time as a Tennessee Volunteer, Mr. Crockett fought countless guerilla style campaigns and helped to win the war against the Indians. He knew the value of guerilla tactics. He understood the concepts of striking hard and fading away before your enemy could strike back. He knew that facing a superior force head-on was futile, and that a paltry number of men, appropriately trained and brutally motivated, could bring entire armies to their knees by attacking supply infrastructure and leaving the regular army alone.

So there is no excuse for his decision to hole up behind some adobe bricks and wait for Santa Anna to surround him and his crew, leaving them no escape but surrender, victory, or death. You cannot limit your options like that and call it a tactically sound maneuver, and fighting from within a fixed fortification does just exactly that. It was monumentally stupid, and I say that despite the fact that I have the utmost respect for David Crockett and his men. I understand that I am criticizing the national heroes of Texas, and that that is offensive as hell – but I cannot help but wonder what 184 dedicated, dangerous men like those men at the Alamo could have done if they’d shed themselves of their cannon, traveled light and fast and with the goal of making Santa Anna’s life as miserable as possible for as long as they could. I’ll bet that they could have delayed him longer than they did behind the walls of the Alamo, and I’ll bet there would have been a damn sight more of them available to help Houston at the final battle (if that battle even happened at all – an unfed army cannot fight).

Anti-Gunner Logic

See, the thing I don’t understand is that when these anti-gun folks get themselves in a bind, the first thing that they do is call 911 so that they can have a man – with a gun – come out and fix their problem for them. They seem to fail to realize that in that situation, the evil gun is actually protecting them. All I am saying is why not just be a man with a gun yourself and cut out the middle man instead of waiting in fear for the 15 minutes it will take your knight in shining armor to show up and save your butt?

Update on MLK Parade Bomber - Spokane, WA

So after my long-winded rant about jumping to conclusions, it turns out that the news’ conclusion that the perp was a white supremacist was correct after all. It still doesn’t change my opinion that jumping to that conclusion was the wrong thing to do, because it doesn’t change the fact that the entire suspicion was based on speculation (and hope that it wasn’t another Muslim thing).

It is sort of like how I do not really respect Sherlock Holmes as being a great intellectual, as so many are wont to do, because he doesn’t really solve his cases by logic or deduction, he just makes assumptions based on very little evidence, sticks by those assumptions, and then invariably finds out that he was right all along. That isn’t reason or logic – that is luck. Same thing goes here. Just because they ended up being right does not mean that they did the right thing.

Most Recent "Oh Noes!" Moment in Education‏

I read an article the other day in which the author had gone into “the sky is falling” mode because schools are no longer teaching cursive writing. in her words, “the teachers are so busy with high class loads, unrelenting testing demands caused by “no Child Left Behind”, and the changing world into which these kids will be living that they no longer have time to teach things like cursive writing…”

I also understand that they have stopped teaching children how to use a type-writer, too. In fact, I heard just yesterday that there isn’t a single kid in our local graduating class that knows Morse Code, much less the fine art of telegraphy.

The world is coming to an end and the sky is quite obviously falling.

We are all. Going. To. Die…

…or not.

To those that do not know, cursive writing was invented as a way to hand-write a lot, more quickly, and with less hand fatigue caused by lifting the instrument off of the paper with every letter. In a time when the only real way to write something was by hand, cursive writing allowed people to write longer and faster, and it was invaluable.

Think hard now – when was the last time that you wrote anything other than a quick jot on a post-it note? A complete sentence? A few sentences maybe?

How long has it been since you filled up a piece of paper with your handwriting?

In the current day of portable typing devices like laptops and even smart phones, writing by hand is becoming more and more obsolete. Printing in standard letter form, by hand, is literally something people only do to write quick reminders and thank-you notes to other people. I spent months of my childhood learning cursive writing – months which could have been better used learning how to program a computer or plan a proper diet for myself once mom was no longer around to cook for me. It has rarely come in handy (if ever) and all of that time would have been much better spent learning to type on a QWERTY keyboard – something that was not in the curriculum of my grade-school days, apparently having been superseded by more important things - like learning to write cursive.

This reminds me of the constant cries that places like China and Japan are leaving us behind in terms of general education of our young people. Technically, yes, their kids have a better knowledge base, when only pure facts are considered, than ours do at graduation. Yet, it is Americans who continue to out-produce, out-think, and out-earn every other people on the planet, despite this, and I think that this is in large part due to the fact that we spend a lot less time learning stupid facts about things that we don’t need to know*, and a lot less time learning useless things like cursive writing.

*What I mean by this is that yes, they outscore us in Astrophysics at High School Graduation, but who gives a shit? 98% of Americans will never need to know or learn Astrophysics, so why waste time with it? Why not do exactly what we do, and reserve it for specialized higher education for people that actually want to go into a career in Astrophysics instead of teaching it to everyone, including the majority of people who won’t ever need to know these things, will never use them, and could give a shit less about them?

Ponder of the Day - War Crimes

So if President Bush’s decision to incarcerate the detainees at Guantanamo indefinitely without trial made him a war criminal, then what about President Obama’s decision to continue that policy, and to even take it a step further and allow the continued incarceration of folks that have been acquitted? How much do you want to bet that the “fair” and “intellectual” left won’t even pay mention to the cognitive dissonance that had them branding one President a War Criminal for doing exactly the same thing that another President is doing, and yet President #2 is the light bringer and purveyor of hope.

As I’ve said since day one of this debacle; if you have enough evidence to convict them of a crime, then try them that convict. If you do not have enough evidence to convict them of a crime, then how do you have enough evidence to detain them indefinitely? It is either there, or it isn’t. Di they, or didn’t they?

Try them or release them, because if you can’t try them, how can you be sure that they even deserve to be incarcerated?

Trouble's a' comin'

I’m sure I’m going to read this in 20 years and laugh my ass off at my naivety. In fact, I pray that I do, because if that is the case, then I will have been proven wrong, and society did not experience a multitude of big, nasty changes and possible total breakdowns in the next few years.

Right now, though, I just can’t see any way around it. We are spending ourselves into a hole so big that it can never be overcome, and we are completely unwilling to make the tough choices necessary to fix the problem.

Here is what I mean. Our national debt is 14 trillion, when last I checked. Our budget deficit is 1.5 trillion, also when last I checked.

The toughest, most extensive and most heavily criticized (for being too much, not the other way around, surprisingly) budget reduction program submitted to date by House Republicans calls for 64 billion in cuts to the budget. I want to emphasize that this will never pass, because almost everyone, including the great Harry Reid (un sarcasm) is saying that it is far too “ambitious” and cuts way too many “necessary programs” with no concept of the fact that it doesn’t matter how “necessary” something is when you cannot fucking afford it! When ordinary Americans cannot afford something, no matter how much they think it is necessary, they go without. The government, on the other hand, thinks it just gets to tax those same Americans more so it can continue to fund its $500 dollar toilet seat addiction.

Here is a graph that shows the national debt, the budget deficit, and the almost universally lamented, far too “ambitious” proposed cuts to the current budget.



Can you see the cuts? Look closely, it appears to be just a thickening in the X-Axis line over the words “Proposed Cuts.” Pretty “ambitious”, huh?

Have I made my point? Not yet? Okay, try this on for size:

You live in a family that has an income of $50,000 per year. If you sported numbers like the Federal Government, this would be your story:

You would owe $308,370 in debt.

You would spend $84,361 per year, despite only taking in $50,000 per year, which means that you would be putting the difference of $34,361 on your credit cards every year, adding to your deficit next year as you struggle to make payments and interest on the existing debt.

And you would be telling everybody that tries to help you that a suggested cut of $1,400 (a bit over $100 a month) out of your $84,361 budget is far too ambitious and simply not attainable.

Can you see why I think we are in trouble?

Even the most ambitious, most aggressive, and largest cut that has been proposed does not even show up on a graph compared to the total budget and debt. Even the bravest of our representatives in government are only willing to suggest that we cut $1,400 out of an $84,000 budget when we are already spending $34,000 more than we already have. If this is all the further we can go, and it appears that we can’t even get this far, then why even bother? A $64 billion dollar cut will change nothing, so why even care?

The entire house of cards appears to be collapsing around us as we speak, and our representatives are arguing over $1,400 out of a $34,000 deficit. They don’t see it. They don’t get it. They are preparing to crash this ship of state into the rocks, and are quibbling over whether the decks have been swabbed enough – it won’t matter when she sits at the bottom of the ocean, I can assure you.

Like I said, I hope that I am wrong. I hope I look back at my archives in 20 years and laugh at myself. I hope that we continue to live free and with a high standard of living, for the sake of my newborn daughter and her children. But I don’t think we will.

To My Apparent Superiors and Caretakers at the Washington State Patrol‏

And especially to the officer that pulled me over yesterday for talking on my cell phone while driving:

I have seen officers in your employ driving down the road at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, while typing on the keypads of the laptop computers that are mounted in your cars, while keying the hand-held (NOT hands free!) radio in your car and writing down an address on a piece of paper at the same time, and yet you are going to try and tell me that I am a danger to myself and all those around me because I am having a conversation while driving (something I can do all the time, and legally, by the way, with people who are in the truck with me – I fail to see the difference).

I don’t care if you think that your training makes you capable of doing these things while my apparent lack of training does not. I’ve seen the basic training of patrol officers. In fact, I’ve participated in it through the “explorer” program back in the days when I thought being a gun-toting government enforcer might be a good career path. None of your training prepares you for distracted driving any more than my apparent lack of training does me. I’ve been talking on the phone while driving for almost 15 years, and you are welcome to look up my driving record to see how many accidents I’ve been in and how many infractions I’ve been issued. To save you the time, I will fill you in:

I’ve been in one traffic accident in 15 years, in which I was rear-ended by a driver who could not stop in time. I was aware that this was about to happen, had searched out all escape routes, found none, and managed to pull ahead as far as possible to dampen the collision before it came and yet still avoid hitting the car in front of me.

I’ve had one speeding ticket in 15 years, the circumstances of which I still feel make it fully excusable.

As long as you are willing to consider yourselves my better and not subject to the same laws that I am, I am not willing to follow whichever ukases you choose to not follow yourselves. I have no plans to endanger my family or those around me, and assure you that having a conversation while driving in no way does either.

Until one of your myrmidons catches me driving recklessly as a result of distraction from having a phone conversation while driving, and until you, too, choose to live up to the standards that you are empowered by the people to enforce, I hereby respectfully suggest that you get fucked.

That is all.

She's Here!

Evelyn Ann was born at 4:21 am on Wednesday March 2nd, 2011. She was 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and 19 inches long, and the most beautiful thing I’ve ver layed eyes on. I will chronicle some of the more salient points of the birth and subsequent trials when I get a bit more time, but suffice it to say these following things for now:

1.) Any claim that there is no such thing as unconditional love is woefully incorrect, unless you can imagine a situation that would cause me to stop loving my infant daughter with all of my heart. I assure you that you will find no such.

2.) My wife is absolutely amazing, and I will never ever see her the same again. She is a goddess among goddesses, and I cannot express how much I love her and admire her for what she was cpable of doing, and the amount of love and effort it took for her to do what she did. She is a great Mom.

3.) Babies are a lot of work and are exhausting.

I’m going to catch a quick nap and get back to work. More anon.

The Awesome is Strong with this One

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/08/father-says-murder-5-year-olds-killer/
A quick synopsis of the link details the promise of the father of a 5 year old boy who was brutally molested and murdered in 1975, to kill the bastard son of a bitch that did it when he is released from prison in the next couple of months.

I do not think that there is such a thing as repaying a debt to society at all, much less for something like this. No, you repay the debt to those who you owe it – the people to whom you are in debt, which in this case is the boy’s father. The boy’s father is demanding this son of a bitch’s life in repayment for the life of his son, which I think is a pretty fair trade. A just nation wouldn’t attempt to punish this guy for killing the bastard in whatever way he saw fit.

To be honest, I’m truly surprised that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often. I can pretty much guarantee you that I’d do the same thing given a similar situation. If you hurt my kids, you will die. I don’t care how much time you do in jail to pay the debt. When you get out, you are a dead man, and you have my promise that it will not be a quick or easy trip as you throw off this mortal coil. My only quibble with this man’s actions is that he probably shouldn’t have told everyone and broadcast it to every Tom Dick and Harry on Earth, because now when this piece of shit disappears, the cops are coming after him first. As I said before, a just society wouldn’t care and would allow the father to dispose of this worthless trash in any way he saw fit, but we are not a just society.

Forwarding the Narrative‏ - Project Gunwalker

Remember the talk about the “Iron River” where the BATFE was claiming that there was a veritable “river” of guns being bought in the US and smuggled into Mexico in order to be used in the gang violence down there?



The BATFE posted this picture of a bunch of the guns seized from the “iron river.” Notice anything about these guns?



Yeah, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen grenades, an M203 machine gun, a LAW rocket launcher, or C-4 plastic explosive for sale at my local gun store. But that’s just me.

The BATFE is under orders from Janet Nepolitano to forward the agenda of gun control for nation security purposes. This, more than anything, has led to the “iron river” myth being created. Proof that this “iron river” does not exist is the fact that the BATFE has been walking guns across the border themselves, effectively becoming smugglers, in order to bolster the numbers of smuggled guns seized and therefore “prove” that it exists, and then use that “proof” to enact gun control laws here in the US.

Your government, hard at work, protecting you from gang violence by… errr… smuggling guns across the border to give them to the gangs…

…because that will make us all safer and forward the cause of freedom… …somehow…

…or something.

Heads must roll. To the top of the organization. Heads. Must. Roll. I am so flabbergasted by this blatant crisis manufacturing that I can hardly speak, and I am almost immune to surprise when it comes to things the government has done.

STOP THE PRESSES.... GASP... WHEEZE... STOP THEM NOW!‏

Real big time groundbreaking news, here, guys. This is world changing; life changing even. There is a new GAO report out that shows…

wait for it…

…that the government is extremely wasteful and pisses away your and my hard-earned confiscated tax dollars like DC itself was ablaze with a flame that can only be put out by snuffing it in a mile-high pile of dollar bills.

I’ll give you a second to gain control of yourself. I know, this is really shocking news. You good?

Alright, then.

So, let me ask you a question: Since government is pretty much the only entity on Earth that is in the business of spending other people’s money, has the power to extract more money from its subjects anytime it wants to at the point of a gun, and has a monopoly on the application – or even threat – of violence to get its way (since they have the only group of men with guns that gets to use violence to enforce their will), then why in the fuck is it surprising, shocking, a “bombshell”, or even “scathing” to point out that which is obvious; that the government is not the best choice to be keepers of our money, and is not the best choice for making decisions on how to spend it, and should be the last choice of who to give our money to in order to actually acquire anything of value other than waste and a few $500 dollar toilet seats?

How could anyone on Earth possibly think that the government will make better decisions on how to spend their money than they will, themselves, if they were to be allowed to keep more of it and use it in the way they see fit?

Republican, Democrat, or Whig, I don’t care - basic human nature dictates that when you are spending an asset that you did not labor to earn yourself, you don’t give a shit about it and will fritter it away like babies go through diapers. Basic human nature then asserts that government will always be wasteful, inefficient, and deaf to the people, because it isn’t their money that they are spending. They didn’t sacrifice or risk anything to “earn” it. They were given an allocation and told to spend it, and so they do – in the most unintelligent and wasteful way possible because there is no pride of ownership or sense of opportunity cost lost in pissing it all away.

But don’t worry, I’m sure that they are the best people for the job of being in control of our healthcare and healthcare decisions. Just plug your ears, scream loudly enough that the truth won’t trickle in, and keep telling yourself that government run healthcare is going to be just fine. “Government is a terrible servant, and a fearful master” - George Washington

The Place of Gubmint

Because these are people that no sane person would willingly wish into their lives, we must demand that they effect our lives as little as possible. As I’ve said before and I will say again – the valid functions of Federal Government include:

  1. Regulating commerce between the states and foreign interests. Not dictating. Regulating. As in, settling disputes and laying the ground rules on fair trade. This means commerce, as in, monetary transactions where goods and services change hands. Not the commonly-used definition, which is “anything that effects commerce at all” which is to more clearly say “everything”.

  2. Maintaining a military for common defense.

  3. Building the Interstate Highway system (the “Post roads” described specifically in the Constitution).

  4. Coining money.

  5. Ensuring that all states provide a republican form of governance (no, I don’t mean the Republican Party, you ninny, get an education).

  6. Collecting taxes from the various states, NOT THE INDIVIDUAL, to pay for the above.
The valid functions of State government are:

  1. Regulating commerce within the boundaries of the State. Not dictating. Regulating. Basically, setting up the UCC.

  2. Building and maintaining state roads and highways.

  3. Protecting the commons within each state from exploitation in whichever way is deemed most expedient.

  4. Collecting taxes from the individual, including those taxes that will be passed on to the feds. This allows the state to act as an intermediary between the feds and the people to check federal power.

  5. Setting about laws and codes, sticking to malum in se as much as possible, and malum prohibitum as sparingly as possible, to regulate the actions of those citizens who would not self-regulate without rule of law, and to punish those who choose to not abide by these rules.

  6. Provide a state-wide police force, restricted in power to only assist local police forces with technical needs when requested, investigate local police action if needed, and with no direct police powers over the people, themselves, except for over the local police.

  7. Protect private property rights and defend the individual citizen from all violations of his rights.

  8. Setting educational standards to be met by schools.
The valid functions of local (county, city) governments are:

  1. local codes and ordinances, including zoning, land use, and so forth, but heavily restricted to only the most basic, common sense rules. No factories in residential zones, and so forth.

  2. Provide a police force that is the only force that has direct power to police the individual, whose power is checked by the state police, and who’s mission statement, to serve and protect, not to discover and punish, is drilled into their heads every single dy, and fire anyone who does not fall into lockstep with this creed.

  3. Providing schools by whichever means is most practicable, with the caveat that vouchers for taxes paid for public schools shall be issued to whomever wishes to opt out of public schooling and use private schools, instead.

  4. Provide for local roads and maintenance.

  5. provide for utilities, water, sewer, etc by whichever means is most expedient.

  6. Lay taxes on the people to pay for all of the above.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Same Tired Thinking, Same Old Results

I remember so clearly learning about the World Wars in history class, and how each of them brought about “revolutions” to the old paradigm of how to fight a war. It occurs to me that these paradigms are being set and broken every day, up to and including the present day, but more on that in a minute.

One of the things that stuck with me was the fact that the “old school” officers in the armed forces tended to reject the paradigm shifts, while the young turks were off re-writing the ways wars were fought and won.

For instance:

At the beginning of WWI, wars had been fought in trenches and fixed, reinforced emplacements for over 60 years. The American Civil war brought about he first birth of trench warfare in the American experience, and throughout WWI, the paradigm of setting up fixed emplacements, and fighting and dying over 50 feet between these emplacements, ruled the day.

Also apparent was the overwhelming superiority of the iron battleships of the day. The “superweapons” of their time, they were judged by metrics of how many tons they displaced, and how big the bore on their guns were, and they were literally invincible.

WWII changed both paradigms, and quite violently so for those that hadn’t gotten the lesson. At the close of WWI, the French had developed the “Maginot Line”, a system of hardened, fixed fortifications that was designed to prevent any future German attack from entering France. They slept peacefully behind it’s bristling fa├žade for nearly two decades, with the confidence that it was unbreachable. They hadn’t gotten the memo that fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of men, in the words of Patton, and were beyond shocked when the Maginot Line was taken out of play, not by a stunning defeat, but because the Germans changed the paradigm, and instead of squaring off against fixed fortifications at the time and place of their opponent’s choosing, they simply drove their mechanized military machine right around it without Maginot even firing a shot.

The paradigm of the battleship was rocked to it’s core sometime around the same time, as it became clear that big, lumbering battleships were nothing more than big, lumbering targets for attacks from the air as torpedo and dive bombers proved time and again during the war. Their massive guns became useless against a swarm of mosquitoes, each of which had the power to single-handedly send the massive floating fortification to the bottom of the ocean.

Both of these paradigm shifts were missed by key people at key times at the beginning of the war, and the result was catastrophic to those unprepared. The British, for instance, felt secure with their massive battleship “Hood” and several others. They were proven wrong. The Japanese loved their battle ships, but many of them never even fired a shot in anger before they were sunk by lowly torpedo bombers.

The new paradigm shift has occurred, and many are not ready to accept it. It hasn’t been tested in real battle yet, but the simulations all show the same thing – surface naval fleets have become a thing of the past. They’ve become an anachronism just like fixed fortifications and battle ships. Our aircraft carriers are massive, lumbering targets just waiting to be taken out by a new technology that can be had for a price comparable to the purchase of a new Mercedes Benz.

Research the “Millenium 2002” war games that were had in the Persian Gulf in 2002. I won’t belabor the details because I will assume that you are going to follow the link and read for yourself. I will simply summarize the salient points, which are:

A fleet of Cessna aircraft and small pleasure boats, converted to carry silkworm cruise missiles, managed to destroy 16 out of 24 ships in the US task force on day two of the two-week war games, including a Nimitz Class aircraft carrier, the largest warship on earth, in one massive, coordinated strike on the fleet. The estimated US Navy personnel losses was over 20,000 men and women.

Just so you know, the silkworm is the SCUD of cruise missiles. It sucks. It is cheaply bought, and easily obtained, and to convert a pleasure craft to carry one is about as easy as a bit of welding and wiring. If such rudimentary weapon could do such a thing, what about the most recent cruise missile developed by the Russians, designed to travel mach 3 and to not even be detectable by our missile defense systems before it has already struck the ship? What about the fact that the Russians specifically state that they developed the missile mainly to export it?

If that isn’t enough to convince you, then what about the Falkland Islands fiasco? How many crappy mirage fighters flown out of shitty Argentinian air bases does it take to sink a British warship (or three or four)? Apparently, just one. Oh, and the brits didn’t even know he was there because the exocet missile was deployed far outside of radar range.

Moms – don’t let your babys grow up to be in the Navy, unless it is to be a submariner. There are two kinds of naval vessels now that this new paradigm shift has occurred – submarines, and targets.

On the USAPA

On the conservative blogs on which I routinely commented prior to the creation of this little crap blog, and prior to the election of Barack Obama, I was constantly taking flak for being staunchly against almost every provision in the US PATRIOT Act. I told them that the Department of Homeland Security would become the Department of Homeland Tyranny, with no hyperbole intended. I told them that getting the Federal Government involved in airport security would not increase security, only offenses against innocent travelers and additional hassles (seriously, watch the whole thing. PLEASE!) and bureaucracy. I told them that the wiretapping provisions in the act would only be restricted to terrorist uses as long as the definition of “terrorist” remained inside the realm of reason, which it did, for about three months after passage. I warned them that all manners of violations of rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights could begin, unrestricted by any oversight whatsoever, as soon as they branded you a “terrorist.” I was right.

Of course, they told me I was an idiot for assuming that George Bush would ever see me as a terrorist. I asked them if they thought George Bush was going to be the president forever. They shut up quickly.

Now, we have Janet Napolitano using the PATRIOT Act against “right-wing terrorists” who the DHS defines as people with right-wing bumper stickers on their 4-wheel drive trucks, and returning veterans. It is being used to wiretap baby food smugglers in Maine (note that they said he had terrorist connections, but never backed that up. Convenient, right?). It is being used to deny US Citizens their due process and their constitutional rights simply because they are decided to be terrorists. It is being used to justify warrantless searches and seizures of property, in direct violation of the 4th amendment, simply because a person has been branded a “terrorist” by the loosest interpretation of the term possible.

If there is some chance that someone, somewhere might fear you, then you are a terrorist. I cannot find the link to the old news story about the drug dealer in Oklahom who was denied his rights under the 4th and 5th amendements because his neighbors were scared of him. I can guarantee that there are people in San Franscisco that would fear me and my beliefs, so I am a terrorist. Imagine that. I was right all along.

The Wisconsin Madness

First, I would like to open with a quote.

“What you wish for is irrelevant. What you have chosen is at hand.” Spock from Star Trek.

You can whine and complain and cry and bitch and moan all you want that the State is cutting into your pension, and reducing your benefits, and hurting you in ways we cannot describe, but the facts are very plain – Wisconsin does not have the money to continue providing gold-plated benefits packages and pensions-in-perpetuity, all things that workers in private industry (read, PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY PRODUCE SOMETHING) don’t get. The money does not exist. No amount of bitching and whining can fix that. You either take the cuts, or you expect a pink slip. Those are your options.

Skipping out of work on false pretenses, refusing to do your job, spouting vicious, violent rhetoric, subverting the democratic process by leaving the state and refusing to vote, creating signs that equate a man who was voted into office who is making tough decisions with Adolf Hitler, and actually being violent, are not helping your cause – it is just exposing you for what you really are – bloodsucking leeches attached directly to the throats of every hard-working taxpayer in the State of Wisconsin. It is far past time that government workers everywhere get knocked down a peg and actually start getting compensated for more along the lines of what they are producing for society.

A perfect example of someone getting paid far more than they are contributing is the average teacher in Wisconsin, who is costing the State $100,000 per year, getting the best health insurance money can buy, and a guaranteed pension for the remainder of their lives (instead of doing like the rest of us and getting back only what we put in) and then only working 7 hours a day and 9 months a year*. Yeah, you can go bitch about that on the streets of Madison, if you’d like. Can I trade you jobs?

Finally, I’d like to close with a quote:

"The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted to the public service“ – Franklin Delano (Hitler McUnionbuster) Roosevelt. Even he understood that public sector workers do not need collective bargaining, and that it would be ultimately detrimental to the nation, as a whole, if they got it.

*Yeah, I had a hard time writing that last part because my Mom is a teacher, but I have to post what I believe, and what I believe is that it is remarkably unfair for you to be working for people who do not get guaranteed pensions, who work at minimum 40 hours a week (but mostly more), who have health insurance that they have to help pay for that does not provide total coverage (copays, deductables, and so forth), and who work 52 weeks per year with the average being one week of paid vacation per year; all while you DO have a guaranteed pension, work less than 40 hours per week, have gold-plated health plans, and work only 9 out of 12 months (but continue receiving paychecks in the 3 months off), and on average, get paid more than the people paying your salary! Sorry Mom. I really am, but I promised myself that when I started this blog I was going to be honest, and this just ain’t right.

It isn’t that I don’t respect teachers – I do. It is just that I would expect a teacher to be paid more in line with their contribution. A typical skilled thought worker in America makes about 45,000 per year. Burdened with 401K costs and health benefits, the cost will go up north of 75 to 85 K for 2080 hours per year of work. That works out to $21.63 per hour take-home before taxes, and $40.86 burdened rate per hour.

A teacher at the same base salary (which is fair) would be north of 95,000 burdened, and over only 1,560 hours per year. That is $28.84 per hour take home and $60.89 burdened.

My Stance on Abortion

I was reading my own blog (I know, lame…) the other day and realized that I had made statements on the Dr. Kermit portions of the blog that would have people believing that I am anti-abortion and pro-governmental restriction on abortion, and that has prompted some to claim that I am a hypocrite and not a true libertarian.

I think I need to clarify a bit.

My stance on abortion is more nuanced than being strictly “for” or “against”. I will start by stating emphatically that I do not believe that the government should be involved in the decision at all, until 25 weeks. It is a valid function of the government to protect an individual from harm by another individual. At 25 weeks, the baby is viable and can live outside the womb, and so should be treated as an individual and protected against being murdered just as the government would protect any individual against being murdered. There is no issue with the baby trampling the mother’s rights at that point, either, because the mother is the one who made the decisions that got her pregnant, and is living with the consequences of HER choices, not the baby’s infringement on her rights.

Before 25 weeks, however, abortion is none of the government’s business.

My personal stance on abortion is that I think it should be avoided at all costs, whenever possible. There are other options, and I think that we could virtually eliminate it as a problem by teaching our children differently about sex and its consequences. The problem is that many people want to ONLY teach our kids about abstinence, and then we teach them about how their lives will be ruined – RUINED, I say! – by an unwanted pregnancy. This stuck with my wife for so long that we were thirty before she even wanted to try and have kids, because she was convinced that a baby would ruin her life by the after-school specials and the darkened-face “horror” stories told by her health teacher in High School.

If we were to throw out abstinence only education, and welcome an education that teaches that there are ways to keep from getting pregnant in the first place, and failing that, alternatives to abortion, like adoption, which are more upstanding and less destructive to life, then abortion may not be so prevalent. If we were to let our kids know that there is support, and a pregnancy won’t ruin your life (just change it), and it may be a blessing, well, then, abortion might just become quite a bit more rare. What I’m saying is that instead of scaring the hell out of these kids, lets educate them, so that they aren’t as apt to get pregnant (my wife and I lived together for 12 years without getting pregnant, and did not get pregnant until 4 months after we chose to do so – it is possible!) in the first place, and if they do get pregnant, they aren’t so scared by the prospect of it that their first reaction is to kill their unborn child.

My suggestion is that parents stop having these unrealistic expectations that their sons and daughters will remain celebate (did you at their age? Really?) until they are married, and take a more proactive approach, including helping them acquire contraception prior to finding out that they are sexually active, and also by talking with them about the parent’s expectations and what they would like to see the child do, while making it clear that they love them no matter what.

I think that the greatest crime of all is that we have 17 year old kids making life altering decisions out of fear or sheer terror instead of based on rational fact, because they have been taught some perverted version of the truth, and as a result, they will have to live for the rest of their lives with the horrible decision that they made at 17 years old, because they were scared shitless instead of informed.

And finally, no, I do not support any attempts by any governmental fiat, legislation, regulation, or otherwise, to prevent or regulate the provision of abortions to anyone who wants one prior to 25 weeks. It isn’t their place, and they need to be taught their place.

The Domino Effect

I find it strange that a mere 6 or 7 years ago, George Bush was standing before the nation suggesting that the installation of a democratic regime in Iraq could possibly cause a “domino effect” in the middle east, causing the people of the middle east to begin, one by one, to demand similar governance from their established regimes. The reason that I find it strange is because that very thing is happening, right now before our very watchful eyes, and it seems no one has the temerity to even consider mentioning that on any major news outlet.

I will go on record reiterating that I am not a fan of George Bush, and never have been. There are a myriad of reasons for this, but suffice it to say that he was no defender of freedom (USAPA, DHS, TSA) and was fiscally about as reckless a President as we’ve ever seen (until Obama). I am not really even suggesting that his efforts in Iraq really started the domino effect that we are seeing today, because I don’t know enough about the root causes of these revolutions to really say. But the important point is that no one does so anyone waving off the possibility that Bush’s invasion and regime change in Iraq was the catalyst for all of this is just as honest as anyone claiming that they know that Bush caused it.

Of course, the reason it is being ignored isn’t because no one has thought of it. It is because it doesn’t fit the narrative that Bush was an idiot, evil warmonger Halliburton/oil company stooge that invaded Iraq to get oil. To present the idea that he was right as possibility, it would present as possible, also, that Bush was actually an astute and shrewd planner who had foresight that no one in the media bothered to have. They simply will not allow that.

Now, consider that it was Barack Obama who had suggested the domino effect 6 years ago. Do you think that the media would have conveniently forgotten about it? Or would they be screaming on every headline about how Obama deserved credit for these revolutions, what with his clear, focused, forward thinking and almost omniscient ability to foretell the future and all? I think I know how I would vote. How about you?

Bullying - A Personal Experience

I was bullied in grade school. I was a dork. I still am a dork. I am not ashamed of my dorkiness, nor have I ever really been, except for a period of time in 7th grade when I managed to let my guard down and really let the bullies get under my skin.

When I say that I am a dork, what I mean is that I was very socially awkward. I think a good portion of my awkwardness was based upon the fact that I had a very advanced and above average intellect for a kid my age. My teachers called me an “old soul” and marveled at my ability to correct them when they were wrong in the lessons that they were teaching, almost on a daily basis. To do so meant that I was leaps and bounds ahead of my peers in knowledge and interests, because they were just then learning about things that I was so well versed in that I could catch the small errors, misconceptions, or mistakes in the curriculum that even the teachers weren’t catching. To get to that point meant that I spent a great amount of time learning on my own, reading ahead in textbooks from grade levels above, reading books with differing viewpoints, teaching myself algebra, and so forth. It was what I wanted to do with my life. I hungered for knowledge like it was sustenance, and most importantly, I found myself to be massively bored at school. It was all review to me, you see. The classes just couldn’t keep up with me, and so to stimulate my brain and keep from dying of boredom, I would read these advanced texts when other students went to recess.

I had a few very close friends, some of whom I am still very close to to this day. They accepted me as being who I am. They saw that just because I was awkward socially didn’t mean that I didn’t have something to offer as a friend. My friends all had a select few things in common, however, which I find to be interesting now looking back on it.

1.) They were all above average intellect. My closest friend of all ended up being valedictorian. I did not, unfortunately, because often times I didn’t focus on turning in the right paper at the right time. I was far enough ahead that it seemed remedial to me to have to write this paper or do that assignment, and so I often times ignored them because I didn’t see the benefit in doing them when I knew that I had mastered the subject, much to the chagrin of my teachers.

2.) They were all physically active outdoorsy types, like me, but didn’t find a lot of benefit to playing with our peer group during recess because the things they did – playing hopscotch of dodgeball or whatever – just didn’t interest them.

In hindsight, I realize that I had very few friends from my specific age group, and in fact most of my friends at the time were quite a bit older than I was. This is still true to this day. “Old soul” and all, I guess.

I was also a bit doughy. I was always big for my age, and have since birth carried too much fat for my frame. I was typically the tallest kid in my class, with few exceptions, and was nearly always the heaviest. I wasn’t massively fat, I was just really big, but when you take a physical difference and mix it up with social awkwardness, you have a recipe for a bullied kid.

I was no exception.

The funny thing about it all was that, looking back on it now, I never really let it bother me much. I knew at that time that I was so advanced in intellect over these other kids that them making fun of me was like some Harvard grad making fun of Einstein because he didn’t have an Ivy League education. In my mind, I was like an eagle being harassed by crows – so far above the crows in ability, stature, and concept that they were just a paltry annoyance rather than a real concern.

Until 7th grade. They found a chink in my armor sometime around 7th grade. To this day, I cannot put my finger on what exactly changed in 7th grade that had me go from a boy ignoring a bunch of hectoring annoyances to a boy mentally destroyed by horrible bullies. Something did change, and I was miserable for it.

I didn’t want to go to school. There was nothing there for me, you see. I wasn’t getting any satisfaction from 7th grade classes when I was already reading sophomore-level textbooks, and I wasn’t getting any good social interaction that I couldn’t get from a visit to my friend’s house after school, and so all I was getting was beaten down, hectored, and made to feel sub-human by a bunch of human parasites that acquired their motivation to live by sucking it out of others.

My friends, many of whom ran with the same crowd that bullied me when they weren’t around, to their credit, stuck by me to a man. When the popular girl would come and ask me out, and then, before I could answer, would laugh in my face and call me a fag, they would tell her to fuck off, as good friends should do, but none of them really came to blows over what was being done, and you could see that inside their eyes, they were conflicted about it all – stuck between two sets of friends and not sure which one to stick by.

It only lasted for two years, thank Christ, because I matured, grew into my body, and lost a bunch of fat. My Freshman year in High School, I was bench-pressing 275 pounds, which was 100 pounds more than my body weight. I also developed socially and became gregarious, witty, and not nearly as withdrawn as I’d been for most of my younger years. These factors, put together, meant that I graduated from being a fatty social pariah to the popular crowd, to being a person that they wanted on their “team”. At first I was flattered to be able to be friends with the “in” crowd, and even found myself watching them torturing another person in much the same way that they’d previously tortured me, and to my everlasting shame, though I did not take an active part in it, I did nothing about it.

That lasted about a month or two, before I realized that these were not the types of people that I wanted to be friends with. I moved on, keeping my old friends close and growing as a person, socially, but for the most part, I kept my head down and didn’t do much with the bully crowd, either with them or against them.

I found my last two years of High School to be some of the best of my life. I was no longer socially awkward – quite the opposite, in fact, as I’d suddenly become to life of many a party. I was no longer fat, per se, although as I said before I was and always will be heavy. Think of the “me” back in those days of resembling Magnus Vermagnusson in that I was certainly not a skinny man, and was definitely blessed with an overabundance of body fat, but that I was not fat in the classic sense. I was barrel-chested, tall, and big. By my Senior year in High school, at 17 years old, I was bench pressing 350 pounds and weighed 230 pounds, and stood 6’4” tall. This, more than anything, may have been the reason that the bully crowd left me alone. I could have physically destroyed any one of them in an instant if I’d so chosen, and if there is one thing universal about bullies, it is that they are all, to a person, cowards.

It was in my Senior Year of High School that it really sunk in that I had not been alone in being bullied. It seemed to helpless at the time, and I felt so alone, that it hadn’t really occurred to me that other kids had been living the same hell that I had been. Many others, of whom most hadn’t been blessed with a spontaneous social blossoming or massive size and strength, meaning that their torment had continued while mine was abating, were still out there, living the same hell that they’d lived since first grade. They hadn’t had the same armor that I’d had in my formative years, and a decade or so of being beaten down by their peers had left them convinced that they were useless, and that all of the things that they had been told all of those years were actually true.

One boy in particular caught my attention. I am ashamed that I cannot remember his name after all of these years (I think it was Josh. Pal, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry), but I can tell you that I remember the rest of him very well. He was slight. At 16 years old, he stood to maybe 5’ 4”, and weighed a blush over 115 pounds. He had white, wispy hair almost like an albino (although he was not true albino), and had a very low self-esteem, and a corresponding very low IQ. He sat next to me in German class. I helped him in his studies every day, but soon realized that he needed a lot more help than just getting past German class.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but in hindsight, I realize that the poor kid probably came from an abusive home. He was obviously malnourished, and was so beaten down that he truly thought that he was incapable of even the simplest of tasks, and died a thousand deaths of embarrassment and shame every time he misspoke or made even the tiniest of mistakes.

All of which made him the perfect target for the fucking coward bullies. He was too small to fight back, even if he’d been sure enough of himself to give it a shot. His home life had already beaten him down into tacitly accepting his worthlessness, and so it came as second nature to him to absorb the heaps of abuse that were pushed upon him by the cowards in the commons.

It was this poor boy that made me realize that I had the ability to do something about this torment, and so I did. I made friends with him, even though I wasn’t really interested in being his friend – he wasn’t even remotely close to being my intellectual equal, and his only interests were getting across the school commons without being abused, so we shared no interests and had nothing in common except for the fact that we’d both been victims of the same bullies, only he more viciously than I. I began to tutor him after school on my own time and for no other reason than because I wanted to help him.

I made it clear to everyone in my school that he was my friend, and that anyone who decided to treat my friend with anything other than respect was by extension doing the same thing to me. I had recently gotten in one of the three fights that I’ve ever been in in my entire life after a punk pulled a switchblade on one of my friends while I was nearby. The guy with the knife lost horribly, and so I’d gotten a reputation as a guy that would and could defend his friends. The second fight of my life occurred shortly thereafter, when Josh accidentally got a piece of wood bound up in a table saw in the woodshop and it got bound up and shot across the shop, hitting a popular kid in the back.

The offended kid was big, fast, and mean, and he saw the accident as an affront to his dominance, and after class, proceeded to kick the ever loving shit out of Josh. I almost cried when I saw him later, because he needed to go to the hospital, but didn’t even think that he was worth the nurse’s or doctor’s time to fix him (such was his level of self-worth). He talked about limping home that night and killing himself. I called the school counselor, who came and helped him with that, and who also got him medical attention (that which his parents would allow, which wasn’t much). In the mean time, I went looking for the bully responsible. I didn’t plan on getting in a fight with him for two reasons. First, I don’t fight. It isn’t me, and I’m not the kind of guy that does stuff like that. Second, I was scared of this guy. He was faster than me. He was certainly meaner and more confident in his fighting abilities, and at the time, I was certain that he was stronger (although that proved to be incorrect).

Turns out when I found him that he wasn’t interested in talking about what he’d done, because I think that subconsciously he was ashamed of it. There is no honor in beating the shit out of a wisp of a kid like Josh, and he knew it. Instead of admitting that or discussing it like a rational person, he decided to escalate the situation and fight me over it. I didn’t strike him, although he got a good right to my cheek that stung like blazes. I was a wrestler, and decided to try to wrestle him into submission. I got him into a particularly painful submission hold and made him promise to apologize to Josh and admit to the main office that it was him that had beaten him. I doubt very much that he did either, because I never checked up on him later, but it didn’t matter. My point had been made, and I had proven that this guy wasn’t as tough as he made himself to be.

Three weeks later, I graduated, and never saw Josh again. I don’t know where he is, or what he has done with himself, but I can only hope that he found a way to overcome the adversity that he lived through in the first half of his life and has done better with the second. What I do know is that for at least three weeks, Josh got a reprieve from being hectored and heckled, because none of the coward pieces of shit that were bulling him were brave enough to do so once they knew that there would be consequences.

It is for this reason that I do not care what horrible things happened in a bully’s life to make them a bully. Every man makes his own decisions in life, no matter what has happened to you in the past. The decision to be a bully is simply a pertpetuation of whatever bad thing happened to the bully to make him the way he was, and this inability to break that cycle sits low in esteem with me. I lived through a short period in hell because of these cowards, and I’ve seen people ruined over it. I won’t waste any breath defending a bully. They’ve made their choice, and if I’m around while they ply their horrible trade, they’ll have me to deal with. While that may not be as big a thing as it used to be, before I hurt my back and got sick, it is still 6’ 4” and 300 pounds of stronger than average mean that will be coming after your ass, so think about that before you try to lift yourself up by beating another person down.

Unsolicited Medical Advice

What is it about illness that opens a person up as a free-for-all repository of the worst, most condescending advice imaginable? You find out you have cancer, and you go to work the next day and tell your co-workers about it, and suddenly, you are getting “drop-bys” from people you hardly know and e-mails with links to every type of “alternative” medicine that you could possibly imagine, all of them breathlessly guaranteeing you that if you don’t do it this, that, or the other way, you are surely going to die – oh, and don’t listen to those “medical professionals” that say you need “medicine” or “radiation therapy” because those don’t work, but if you change your diet to only nuts and raw meat, then your cancer will miraculously and spontaneously die. Oh, and don’t ask why the actual “medical professionals” don’t know about this, because they are in the pockets of “big pharmacy” who apparently single-handedly have decided that we will not do things that actually work and save lives because it doesn’t sell as much drugs because these are evil companies without question because, well, you know… profit.

My favorite thing to do is point out that no drug company has a patent on the drug “radiation”, so if it is the case that “big pharmacy” is killing us all (because, well, profit) then how does a technique like radiation therapy, which makes them no money, slip through the cracks, but nuts and raw meat didn’t?

I do not believe that this is coming from any attempt to help (for the most part, anyway). I’ve paid attention to the types of people that provide this type of unsolicited advice, and have found in general that they are the same people bragging about the things they’ve owned, done, or how many people they’ve outsmarted. It is an ego trip. It is them assuming that you are not smart enough to have done all the research yourself. It is an opportunity to stand in front of someone and say that you are smarter than not just them, but the entire medical establishment, and that your way is better because their way… well… profit!

Take my friend Jack. I love Jack like a brother. I enjoy my time with him and we have great times. I see past Jack’s faults, just as he sees past mine, and we accept each other for who we are, as-is.

That being said, Jack is a braggart. He loves to brag about things he’s done, things he owns, and things he knows, and hates to be in a situation where he might be “one-upped.” This personality has lead Jack to be a very successful, highly driven person who simply refuses to come in second. It has also lead him to become the type of person who gives out unsolicited medical advice.

Jack has minor psoriasis on his scalp. It is something he’s dealt with for most of his life, and believe you me, I feel for him. He has been able to control his psoriasis, and even get it to go away, by using a special type of shampoo, which he swears by. He recommended it to me when I was having my very severe problems a few years back. Being as I was 80-some-odd percent covered in the stuff, it was only going to work on my scalp, if it worked at all, but what the heck, I was willing to try anything.

Problem was, I had already tried it. I had tried everything. None of it was working. Jack continued to insist that I try his special shampoo, and told me it would solve all my problems. I told him that I’d tried it and it hadn’t worked. In a display of cognitive dissonance that was startling coming from a guy as smart as Jack, he continued to nag me about it every time I saw him, despite the fact that I’d told him clearly that it didn’t work. He insisted that it did, and that I was either using it wrong or not enough or, or, or…

Yeah, he was so stuck on being right that he was actually accusing me of not being able to use shampoo properly. It was an ego thing, and had nothing (or very little) to do with Jack actually wanting me to get better. He wanted the shampoo to work because it would mean that he was right.

Another person that I know came to me insisting that I try UV therapy. Despite the fact that I told him that I did try it and it hadn’t worked, and that the side-effects were untenable and that a goodly portion of my problem was in body areas where you can’t do UV because of radiation damage issues, he seemed to not hear me at all and insisted that his aunt’s roommate’s brother’s cousin’s psoriasis had been cured completely with only two UV treatments, and went on to tell me that I really ought to try it. I explained again, almost in the same breath as the last, that I had tried it and found it lacking, and he went into his tirade again about how it would cure me and I should give it a shot. At that point, I walked away, shaking my head.

Finally, I had another person insisting that they’d read somewhere that turmeric would cure eczema, and that I should try turmeric because, hey, if it fixes one rash, it would fix another, right? I tried to nicely explain his logical fallacy to him, by telling him that psoriasis is an auto-immune condition, of which one symptom is a rash, whereas eczema is (to the best of my knowledge) an allergic response to a topical irritant, and that there is no cure for an auto-immune condition, and that to make the rash go away, you either suppress the immune system, or use an anti-inflammatory to reduce the effect. It seemed to go nowhere, and the next words out of his mouth were “yeah, but they are both rashes…” Again, walking away.

Like parenting, dieting, and many other things, medical problems will get you a massive ration of unsolicited, condescending advice. It would do everyone some good if maybe you thought about that before proffering your own.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Update

Sorry for the writer’s block of recent weeks. It wasn’t writer’s block, per se, because I had plenty to write about. It was more a physical writer’s block – things were physically keeping me from having the time, or when time was available, the reserve energy, to actually write my thoughts on paper and post them to this blog.

Still no baby, as of today, but my wife told me that her contractions were uncomfortable last night and kept her up for a good portion of the night. Blissful in my ignorance, I slept through the entire thing. I’ve told myself to get used to the guilty feeling I get every time my wife is up doing something and I sleep through it, because I am nothing if not a very heavy sleeper; but I still feel bad.

I got sick two weeks ago yesterday, and have been sick ever since, with a slight reprieve as the viral portion of my illness subsided and the bacterial portion kicked into high gear. The medications that I take to control my immune system can exacerbate a common cold into bronchitis and even pneumonia quite easily. I am on day 5 of a 6 day antibiotics regimen, so I feel much better now. Two weeks is long enough, as they say (I’m not sure who says that, but whatever).

I went pheasant hunting again last weekend, coughing and hacking my way through the entire mess. I was not happy, but the clients I took with me were really happy and had a great time, so there is that. That, however, has been the extent of my outdoors endeavors since Christmas. Usually at this time of year I find time to go coyote hunting, but it isn’t in the cards this year. I’m just too sick and too busy. Maybe I’ll go in March, but since the baby will be around by then, I doubt it.

April signals the beginning of the really good time to go Sturgeon fishing. The big lunkers will bite all year, and fishing is open in most places all year, but spring and fall seem to be the most productive time of year to fish for them (when the heat of summer and cold of winter have abated). I’ve made it a point to have some of my friends from the west side of the state meet me at the fishing hole, and also to take some folks here from Spokane that I would like to get closer to.

But enough about me… back to happenings and such.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Shocker" in the Desert

A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.
The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/01/27/iranian-book-celebrating-suicide-bombers-arizona-desert/

In a political climate where the desire to take a flight from Spokane to Seattle is considered “probable cause” to subject me to a stripsearch and a rifling through of my effects, we are still allowing our borders to be porous and are essentially giving tacit permission for anyone who wants to come in to do so by our inaction – without search, without background check, without review – hell, we don’t even know that they are here in the first place. All of this is happening because to try and stop our border from resembling a pasta strainer would be considered racist. I don’t necessarily understand why that is racist, but since I’ve been called a racist for suggesting that we need to secure our borders, I’m guessing that is the reason that our politicians haven’t done anything about it.

But back to the original point…

We are at war with a people who specialize in asymmetrical warfare and terror attacks. In such a situation, it concerns me that the general gist of this article is that they were “surprised” to find this book, as opposed to the reaction I would like to have seen from the people that I am paying to secure my borders, which is “we were totally expecting this.”
Surprise, to me, means that they were not expecting our enemy, who fights assymetrically through terrorist attacks, to want to cross over our porous, unsecured border to attack us in our heartland. They were surprised by this. I am not in law enforcment, or in politics, but I could see this coming for years and am completely unsurprised at all that terrorists are crossing our borders and obtaining access to our country through our ineptitude. If the terrorist threat is so great that my pregnant wife must either submit to a massive does of radiation in a virtual strip search, or be felt up by a government lackey before she takes a commuter flight across the State, then why are we allowing anyone and everyone to cross the border that wants to?

Colonel Bunny at Eternity Road - Immigration

Colonel Bunny over at Eternity Road has a good, short post.

My response? What could you possibly expect from a generation of men who’ve been disarmed their entire lives, told that violence is not the answer, and that because they are white, it is racist to stand up for yourself?

We aren’t far behind here, only our immigrants generally speak a different language than theirs do.

The problem arises from this leftist concept that there is no personal reason or responsibility for being poor, and that rather, it is all society’s fault. If you are poor, they say, you should likewise be pissed, and violent, and unpredictable, because your plight has nothing to do with the fact that you are uneducated, lazy, and have no marketable skills besides feeling sorry for yourself.

Proof of this is the shift in attitudes in immigrants of all stripes in the last 10 years. Used to be that immigrants were the hardest working, most goal-oriented people in any community. They tried to make something of themselves, given the opportunity that freedom and western society presents, and they succeeded because they tried. Now, many of them do none of this, and simply sit around and bitch about their plight until someone does something about it for them. If they lift a finger at all, it is to protest, burn flags, and riot – not to do something about their problems.

Again, I’m speaking in generalities here, and this is certainly not true of all immigrants. However, it has become more common, the world over. Again, we find that leftist attempts to “help” the poor have in fact hurt them far worse than could have ever been imagined – yet, the poor are still voting for them so that they can continue to be objectified and exploited.

It boggles the mind.

Patterico's "Most Offensive Line in the SOTU"

Patterico found the “Most Offensive Line in the SOTU Address” yesterday, and I am flabbergasted.

http://patterico.com/2011/01/25/the-most-offensive-line-in-the-state-of-the-union/

The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes


Catch that? Did you really? Read it again. This is your president calling tax breaks “spending.” Thereby indirectly positing that the government is “spending” money by not taking it from you; that the money – ALL MONEY – belongs to the Government and you are only allowed to keep it if the Government spends it by giving it “back” to you by not taking it in the first place.

These little syntax errors in his speaking – these little Freudian flubs that he throws out from time to time – shed more light on what Mr. Obama thinks about us, as citizens, than a thousand hours of tele-prompted political speak ever possibly could. He wants to “spread the wealth around” (remember that one?) and wants to remind you that whether you think you do or not you work for him and he owns you and if you are allowed to keep any of the fruits of your labor at all it is because the government allowed it, bitch! You should be thanking him!

On the Russian Bombing

It never does any good whatsoever to jump to conclusions when the facts are not all in. Case-in-point:

1.) The Times Square bomber was not a white guy (sorry, Contessa Brewer!)

2.) The IRS plane crash-guy was not a right winger. C’mon, he quoted from the damned Communist Manifesto!

3.) Nidal Hassan wasn’t white, and did not act because of PTSD by proxy.

4.) John Lee Muhammad was not a white guy, and his actions did, indeed, have ties to Islam

Of course, the opposite was assumed in all of the cases above by a slathering, excitable press (who forgot about all four stories the instant they found out that they didn’t fit the “Narrative”).

So, like I said, it never does much to assume things in situations like this. However, I will say that I suspect Chechyn Islamist radicals to be to blame. I also suspect that the reason that they’ve failed to claim responsibility is two fold:

1.) it isn’t necessary – the Russians know.

2.) For purposes of survival, it is a good thing to not spend your time blowing up Russians and then gloating about it. Thy aren’t gentle about their reprisals like we Americans are.

Debt Ceiling

I love how every time they increase the debt ceiling, it is always under the auspices of an emergency, to “keep things going for now, until we can get our arms around a solution.” The spendtrhifts in washington never see an increase in the debt ceiling as a reason to cut back, however. Suddenly, they have more money to “spend” and they spend it, crossing their fingers that in 5 years when they have maxed out the country’s credit cards yet again, and they have to raise the debt ceiling one more time, that we’ll have either forgotten the last “emegency” or we won’t be paying attention.
Since when is it good fiscal policy to fix deficit problems by raising your credit card maximum? How does that compute to a group of people that are advertised as being our superiors, and emminently smarter than us flyover idiots?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Immortality Lost‏

Look, I nevr thought I was immortal. I always knew that I could get hurt or killed in an accident, and so I was always somewhat creful to at least look before I leapt my entire life. But I never really came to terms with my mortality; never really accepted that no matter how careful I am to avoid accidents and so forth, I’m going to die anyway, until I got hurt and sick a few years back. It was ain interesting process; one which I’m sure all men experience at some point in time, at some event or another when the immoderacy of youth finally catches up to the wisdom of age.

I hurt my back. That was the beginning. There were several steps to the final result, but the final result is all that mattered - Ruptured discs in l4/l5 and l5/s1. The pain was debilitating.

Then, I got stressed out. The project that I was working on at the time was the remodel of a PAC-10 Stadium. $15 million dollars worth of work had to be completed in 7 months, prior to the first football game of the 2008 season. Never mind that this stadium is two hours from my house, and I decided to commute instead of hauling the 5th wheel down and staying there for the week. Four hours of commuting, every day. I had to be there at 7 am, so I left home at 5. Got up at 4 every morning. Yuck.

The combination of stress and pain during this time period caused an otherwise controlled, regressive genetic condition that I have to rear its ugly head. By July, only about a month and a half before Grand Opening, I was covered head to toe in a psoriatic rash that felt like a 4 day old 3rd degree burn. The doctors told me I was 80 some-odd percent covered. My scalp, body, legs, face, and yes… even down there, was covered in a throbbing, burning, itching rash. The disease was auto-immune, so as I went further down the path, my immune system crashed. I woke up for work one morning in the following condition:

1.) It took me 15 minutes just to get stood up straight from bed, because my back hurt so badly that I couldn’t move. I took three Vicodin and waited for them to kick in before I could get into the shower.

2.) The water stung like blazes on the rash, everywhere it hit, but it was almost like relief, because at least the sensation changed for a minute from dull burning and itching to stinging.

3.) I had gotten 2 hours of fitful sleep that night, because the rash kept me awake. And the back pain. And the Vicodin.

4.) I realized as the pain in my back subsided from the vicodin that I couldn’t see out of my right eye. I checked it in the mirror, and realized that it was glued shut with pus. I had a case of pink eye. Wonderful.

5.) I realized that my other eye was infected, too, just not as far along. I was very sensitive to light at this point, and so I shut off the light to keep the discomfort down.

6.) With no light, I couldn’t see very well, and lost my balance immediately. Until I managed to stumble to the light switch and turn it back on, I had no sense of balance at all. It was about then that I realized that I had a dull pain in my right ear, and figured I had an ear infection. It became excruciating by about 10 o’clock that day, to the point that I had to have my assistant drive me to the emergency room. But more on that later.

7.) I’d had a chest cold for about five days prior to this, and it came back with a vengeance that morning. I was coughing badly on my way to work, which sucked because every time I coughed, it hurt my ear so badly that I wanted to pass out.

I made it to the emergency room for the ear infection by 10:30 that morning. By the time they were done checking me out, the list of damages was extensive. My fever was 103 degrees. I had a skin infection (staph) in one of my rash-inflicted areas, presumably from scratching at night during my fits of sleep. I had double conjunctivitis (pink eye). I had an ear infection in my right ear, which was spreading to the other ear (and did by the end of the day). The kicker? My chest cold was actually a case of pneumonia.

I was admitted to the hospital. My doctor called my office and told them to find a replacement for me because he said there was no way I was coming back to work for – get this – at least a month. I went on short-term disability, and had the strong belief that I would get back to work in a week. 5 weeks later, I finally came back in. I was reassigned to a different project for a month after that, until I was allowed to go back to my stadium project and finish it out.

I learned that day that I was not immortal, for sure and for certain. I’ve since managed to get control of my auto-immune condition, and am living happily (although much, much greyer – people think I’m 45 from how grey I am, when I’m only 30) doing the same job I was before. The big difference is that I appreciate life much more now. I don’t get upset about the little things. I don’t worry about losing my job, or not being able to pay bills, or any of those things because none of any of that matters as long as I’m not living the hell that I lived in the year of our lord, 2007. They say what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. I agree. I’m not really afraid of anything, because on that day in 2007, I wanted to die. I prayed for it. I hurt so bad, was so tired, so miserable, and had been for so long, that I didn’t care if I lived or died. What could I possibly fear now?