Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'll just leave this here....

The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. - Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

National Review

Saturday, December 22, 2012

HuffPo says retro ads like these are supposed to make you 'wince'

If they mean 'wince' as in remembering when society valued respect and accountability, but no longer does, I agree.

But they don't mean that, they mean 'guns are evil' and nobody should grow up inculcated in the fundamental right of self defense and individual sovereignty.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I constantly find  people who put my thoughts to words better than I can; Laura Walker has done so on this occasion.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”

Until the wolf shows up

This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door. Look at what happened after September 11, 2001, when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, “Thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, “Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.” When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

While there is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, he does have one real advantage. Only one. He is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population

Read the rest at SOFREP

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Honor the Sheepdog....even if you know them not

 The Sheepdogs by Russ Vaughn

The Sheepdog of Clackamas Town Center
Nick Meli is emotionally drained.  The 22-year-old was at Clackamas Town Center with a friend and her baby when a masked man opened fire.

"I heard three shots and turned and looked at Casey and said, 'are you serious?,'" he said.

The friend and baby hit the floor.  Meli, who has a concealed carry permit, positioned himself behind a pillar.

"He was working on his rifle," said Meli.  "He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side."

The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.

"As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them," he said.

Meli took cover inside a nearby store.  He never pulled the trigger.  He stands by that decision.

"I'm not beating myself up cause I didn't shoot him," said Meli.  "I know after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself."

The gunman was dead, but not before taking two innocent lives with him and taking the innocence of everyone else.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Words true to this very day

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." ~Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 14, 2012

Even more disgusting.....

.......than the media's vile exploitation of the school shooting

Paraphrasing: "God is not going to go where he is not wanted and so if school administrators really want to protect students, they will start every school day with prayer"

I'm not going to post the video of the sick fuck...but it can be found here.

Maybe the Mayans were right....

If Glenn Beck starts making sense, can the end of humanity be far behind?

On Wednesday night’s Real News on The Blaze TV, S.E. Cupp and Glenn Beck engaged in a strategy session focusing on ways to move the Republican party forward in the wake of 2012’s losses. Their conversation centered around the GOP’s historic opposition to gay marriage – both agreed that the party of Lincoln must find a politically amenable solution to move party towards accepting, if not embracing, same-sex marriage rights. In the process, however, Beck became somewhat vexed over the real and persistent problem that religious objections to gay marriage pose to formulating a policy that accepts the practice. Beck noted though that the answer to this problem lies in the Constitution – and he is correct.

“What do we do – and by ‘we,’ I mean conservatives, because I feel strongly that the answers are not going to come from Republicans and the party, but conservatives – what do conservatives do going forward to take back this message,” Cupp asked.

Beck detailed on his chalkboard a spectrum of political freedoms and detailed where voters stand relative to Republicans and Democrats in Washington. He found that most voters’ beliefs no longer sync with those of their elected representatives.

Beck then turned to the issue of gay marriage. “All we want to do is get along,” Beck said. “Where we unite is here; maximum freedom. The Constitution.”

“The question is not about gay marriage – should they compromise and move farther left,” Beck continued. “The question should be: why is the federal government involved in marriage at all?

Beck closed by noting that he recently had a conversation with libertarian entertainer and outspoken atheist Penn Jillette. He was encouraged by their agreement on the essential governing principles which would bridge the religious divide between them on the issue of same-sex marriage rights.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Bovine Excrement of the 'war on Christmas'

The contrived "war on Christmas" is the bread and butter of Fox News and other assorted bobble-heads this time of year. They give the Comedy Channel a run for their money in expressing their faux outrage.

Christmas.....the most accommodated holiday in America.

The general gist of the 'coverage' revolves around commercial entities using their free market latitude to have their employees wish customers a Happy Holidays, rather than a Merry Christmas. The premise is to be inclusive of valued customers of many religious faiths who share a holiday during this time of year, and those of no particular faith. This of course seems a tad ironic given that these same commercial entities have diluted the religious aspect of the Christian holiday [based on Pagan foundations] being so utterly diluted by crass commercialism so as to be a cartoon caricature of its original meaning...which doesn't get the same contrived push-back by these defenders of 'traditional America'. This controversy is recycled and trotted out every year around this time...all the while the proponents take advertising dollars from those who would otherwise end up on someones 'naughty list'.

The kicker, is that both 'Christian friendly' retail outlets and those bobble-heads making their living on these kinds of controversies, are guilty themselves of often wishing their audiences and shoppers the very same Happy Holidays.

The other controversy involves the placement of religious symbolism in or on government property. This argument brings forth the meaning of Constitutional clauses and original intent, but sadly lacks reason and logic in much of the discussion. I might ask specifically, what tangible benefit exists for such displays. I get the argument of 'what's the big deal'.....and they don't personally offend or bother me.....but to argue for such action, one needs a logical position. Given that adherents to the Christian faith have no shortage of  time and place to display and admire religious symbology in the private sphere, I've seen much emotion from that position, but not as much reason. Does faith for some require constant public validation, to be fulfilling?

I rather like Steve McKinion's take on this:

Christianity’s most potent enemy is not a secular culture, but a religious one. Authentic Christianity and secularism have little, if anything, in common. Observers can easily distinguish between the two. Religion, on the other hand, can masquerade as true faith. Meaningless offerings of “Merry Christmas” by unbelievers and mindless attacks on non-Christians are just two examples of a cultural Christianity gone mad. Christians should be offended by the unbelievers who claim the name of Christ — like Fred Phelps and the other morons at Westboro Baptist Church — rather than the unbelievers who don’t. The latter group is just honest, the former take the name of my Lord in vain and are an embarrassment to those who genuinely know Christ.

The Christmas season is, and should be, a wonderful time of celebrating family, friends, gift-giving, and helping out the less-fortunate. But Christians understand that those practices are cultural, not necessarily Christian. If we really want to make sure that we keep Christ in Christmas, we’ll do so when we practice and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God conceived of a Virgin, crucified for our sins, and resurrected to give life to all who believe. Enjoy the season. Enjoy the Gospel. Just don’t confuse the two.

Two other points of view:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." - Thomas Jefferson

Monday, December 10, 2012

Memories of old friends........

Toys that is.

For some odd reason, I came across a mention of the Six Million Dollar Man action figure, and it reminded me of the set I had when I was around 6 or 7.

I did a little research, and thankfully, it's not worth thousands....making me wish I had made the impossible decision at that age to keep it boxed in mint condition...unlike my Star Wars action figures and comic books.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The No-Longer-Walking-Dead Body Count

For fans of the show [or comic]....


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Freedom for Me or Freedom for Thee?

One of my regular reads,  Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest, posts a few thoughts that seem to dovetail quite nicely with what I wrote the other day. Concepts of freedom that are constrained to merely what you may want for yourself....that is tyranny.
It has become clear to me recently that some people only want their own freedom. More accurately they want to be able to say yes, no or maybe to various potential freedoms based on their own belief system. This is what really confuses me.

Anybody who gets in the way of THEIR freedom is a jack boot Stazi thug that should be killed; however they have the right to tell everybody else what the hell they can and cannot do. It isn't that they only pursue their own freedoms (in terms of practicing or advocating for them) that is the issue. I do not donate money or time to help causes I don't care about or expect other people to. (Though this year when I voted there was one simple question for everything. Will this person/ bill make people more or less free? I voted for freedom including several bills I do not personally agree with. Think about it.) It is that they have such a sense of moral superiority that they think it is their right to not only do what they want, but prevent others from doing the same. The concept that other people have some rights also is simply not in their worldview. It is pretty clear that these folks do not want to live in a free society, they just want to be the one wearing the jack boot.

This brings us to an interesting point. It isn't that you cannot choose to associate, or not associate, with who you want. It isn't that you cannot advocate for or against what you want by promoting education and whatnot. However when people talk about using force of law (or other types) to make people act the way they think is correct in areas that are reasonably within the realm of freedom it becomes an issue.

It is my personal opinion that to expect other people to accept my freedom I have to accept theirs. That is the trade off.

Do you think that everyone should get out of your business but you have the right to tell them what to do? If so what makes your views inherently superior to other peoples? What are your thoughts on this topic?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

And now for some Lesbian Levity.....

NSFW audio, by the way....

Toleration, Temperament and Undaunted Liberty

 [T]he only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise… The only part of the conduct of anyone for which he is amenable to society is that which concerns others… Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

- John Stuart Mill 
I don't often [if ever] use poor experiences with other sites, to fuel musings on this blog....but a recent encounter has left me both entertained and perplexed. Religious liberty is one of our most sacrosanct values...but religious liberty and liberty writ large, are often at odds by people who seem not to understand that the two can [and should] coexist. They are not mutually exclusive, and those who practice that exclusivity are fooling themselves if they state that they believe in freedom for all citizens.

The subject in this event was gay marriage, and the blog author considers themself both fervently religious and a Libertarian. Nothing wrong so far, both can be very valuable and enviable qualities. I, as usual, take the side of maximum liberty - that which does not harm me, steal from me, or restrict my liberties...should be allowed, excepting instances of national security and public safety. And that those opposed to such tenets not be able to gain the power of the state to enforce an emotional will.

The issue at stake, at it's fundamental core, is the manner in which we as American citizens either affirm or deny the privileges and legal protections to our fellow citizens, that we ourselves enjoy.

With gay marriage, the obstacle to common ground I run across most, is the claim that somehow the ability for gay Americans to enjoy these same liberties and protections that I do, somehow harms another, or harms their marriage.

Here's where I'm perplexed; I can't seem to elicit a cogent answer as to how that harm occurs. There is no tangible injury to said person; and there certainly can't reasonably be an emotional effect that severs or strains the bond between a married couple. So why do opponents of gay marriage so often hang their hat on this point, yet so utterly fail to provide a foundation for it?

Toleration does not equal approval. That doesn't prevent people from conflating the two.

I have, on several occasions, proffered a course of action, to incentivize discussion; offering a logical course of action [and one that I would personally support] to exclude all civil marriages from utilizing the term 'marriage', defining it solely as a religious ceremony....making all other contracts 'unions'...or some such.With this, the term marriage would no longer be allegedly 'redefined', and as such would theoretically take away a [or THE] major obstacle.

What I also find perplexing is that someone so vociferously opposed to maximum liberty, would consider themselves a Libertarian. I fully acknowledge that Libertarians come in many different stripes and flavors......typically, they all maintain a general defense of individual freedom, and the abhorrence of using the state to regulate and restrict those freedoms.

This issue, being so emotionally based, continues to stymie rational debate. Both sides are guilty, but the discussion should occur. It's a shame that so often, people will assume a defensive posture and lash out, when they are simply incapable of being civil and mature.

If you've made it this far, thank you for enduring my rambling musings. Most advocates and opponents can craft a solid argument for their position, and no matter how much I might disagree with that position, I can respect it. For those that can't...I am left wondering why they even waste their time....

Secretary Hagel?

From the National Journal comes a report proffered by Foreign Policy, stating that former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, is being considered for a posting as Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.
Hagel currently co-chairs President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, an independent group that advises the president on the intelligence community. If nominated, Hagel would be the lone Republican in the Obama administration, as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected leave.

The White House and Hagel’s office declined to comment to FP.
I think Hagel has the temperament for Defense...maybe not so much for State. My curiosity will be - presuming their is any truth to this.....will the GOP embrace having a Republican [albeit one who has been critical of the party] in a key post in the Obama Administration.....or will they turn on him for going to the camp of the 'enemy'?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Was there any sort of thought process behind this?

I'd wager that common sense and job security wasn't part of it.
A South Laurel High School teacher was found to be in violation of district policy when she wrote a defamatory statement on her white board.

The statement read, “You can’t be a Democrat & go to Heaven.”

A student in her classroom took a photo of the white board, turning it in to the Laurel County Board of Education and the Sentinel-Echo.

According to Superintendent Doug Bennett, the accused teacher, Kendra Baker, heard the statement from a student then proceeded to write it on her board.  The statement was not a part of the curriculum or lesson plan and was a blatant opinion following the recent Presidential election.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Definition of the Day

From Michael Austin, author of That's Not What They Meant!:

Founderstein -

An ideological monstrosity that, like Frankenstein's monster, borrows bits and pieces from those safely dead - from that is, the speeches, published essays, letters and journals of any number of different Founding Fathers slapped together with absolutely no concern for context, rhetorical intent or the tremendous differences between the individual Founders.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Judy Morris Report - Real News for Real People: A Twinkie Autopsy

Judy Morris Report - Real News for Real People: A Twinkie Autopsy: Twinkie-gate is getting a ton of media and blogger attention because of its bankruptcy and the loss of over 18,000 jobs. However, the...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Department of Everything

Sen Tom Coburn, R-OK released his long awaited report on areas within the defense budget that can - and should - be cut. These are 'non-defense' areas where the Department of Defense is either duplicating efforts taking place in other areas of government, or simply has efforts under it's purview, that can, and should be handled by other departments, if at all.
The five missions examined by this report—research and development, education, alternative energy, grocery stores, and support and supply services—could be or already are being better delivered by more appropriate federal agencies or departments, civilian federal employees, or even the private sector. Some of these functions have been performed by the military for decades. Others, such as the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, are more recent expansions to the Pentagon’s role and mission.

Three questions were asked when reviewing each of the programs and agencies profiled in this report:
- Does the mission of this program or agency directly relate to the mission of the Department of Defense?

 - Does another federal agency or government or private entity already provide the services provided by this program or agency?

- Could these resources be better targeted towards higher priority defense needs, such as taking care of troops on the front lines or reducing our $16 trillion national debt?

The five areas examined in this report are by no means an exhaustive list of non-defense spending programs at the DOD. These areas are merely a starting point for reviewing Pentagon spending that is unnecessary, duplicative, wasteful, or simply not related to defense. Department of Everything identifies more than $67.9 billion in budget options to protect the nation against the rising tide of the red menace while enhancing the Pentagon’s focus on its true mission, which is our nations defense.

After skimming through the report, I really haven't found much to disagree with. I think the DoD should remain one of the primary entities to conduct critical R&D.

I'm fully on board with the elimination of on-post schools and commissaries....I would even add to that the elimination of Post and Base Exchanges....but in all cases, only where those installations were remote enough for off post shopping to be prohibitive.

I'm not sure how much Congressional play these proposals will get, but it's a thought provoking read if you're both a fiscal Conservative and interested in military policy.

Is the Elephant on life support?

No time to post anything today.....too busy trying to save the world.

But please go check out Silverfiddle's post at Western Hero - God Save the Elephant

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A path forward?

In his first interview since his party’s electoral thumping last week, Jindal urged Republicans to both reject anti-intellectualism and embrace a populist-tinged reform approach that he said would mitigate what exit polls show was one of President Barack Obama’s most effective lines of attack against Mitt Romney.

Calling on the GOP to be “the party of ideas, details and intelligent solutions,” the Louisianan urged the party to “stop reducing everything to mindless slogans, tag lines, 30-second ads that all begin to sound the same. “

He added: “Simply being the anti-Obama party didn’t work. You can’t beat something with nothing. The reality is we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions.”

I'm no political historian, but I have seen what I believe to be a rise in a reliance on meme's and sloganeering in the past campaign season, from both parties....but I could generally care less what the Democrats do. I don't always succeed, but I try to make a policy argument on intellectual grounds, as free as possible from rank emotional satisfaction. This has been one of my bigger beefs with how the GOP has pursued electoral success. If an argument is sound and just on it's merits alone, you don't need to pander to the lowest common denominators of discourse to make your point. If a position cannot stand on it's own merits, then why are you making the case to begin with?

I believe policy positions should be tested against preconceived notions and confirmation bias. This intellectual process seems to be a rarity these days.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Post Election Observations

From Intellectual Bubblegum, Lessons from the 2012 Presidential election:

Pundits: The people who believe they’ve seen it all didn’t see it coming.

The candidate who’s famous for working with numbers, apparently not so good with Census math.

GOP: Quick! Somebody get copies of Spanish for Dummies! TiVo Chesprito!

MSNBC: Schadenfreude. FOX News: See? Liberals love using foreign words over American ones.

Woooo! This is grea….Oh yea, the fiscal cliff.

Mayans: Sure you don’t want to take another look at our calendar?

Anti-Obama T-shirt makers: Back in business, boys!

Denver Colorado’s “Mile High City” takes on new meaning.

Gay people can now be quietly miserable too in Maryland.

The end of America is apparently upon us, but people still going to Applebees tonight and planning for Christmas
My personal observations have been primarily through the postings and comments sections of other blogs. I've seen blogs go quiet, bloggers publicly and dramatically quit, moderated comments go unapproved....and a distinct theme of blaming everyone and everything except their own party. Libertarians were blamed on more than one blog, even though we didn't tip the scales in any state from Romney to Obama.

Obviously, left leaning blogs seem pretty happy, but the opposition has been lashing out, with few exceptions. Of my daily stops, the more erudite bloggers have made thoughtful inquiries from their readers, as to what went wrong on Election night.

The GOP has lost it's way; not only in regards to what it means to say that you support life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...but also as it applies to how it views itself in the American political landscape.

David Frum writes "At a time when the need to broaden the party’s appeal seemed overwhelmingly compelling, Republicans narrowed their appeal to the most ideological fragment of the conservative base."

This was shown in the allegedly skewed polls, their over reliance on pimping the "liberal media" meme, and many of it's most prolific members, such as Florida's Allen West who stated that upwards of 80 members of the Democrat Party are "members of the Communist Party". Without any shred of sourcing...of course.

One conservative luminary offers his advice to the GOP.

George Will,  Nov 9th, 2012:

On Feb. 11, 2011, the person who should have been the Republican nominee laconically warned conservatives about a prerequisite for persuading people to make painful adjustments to a rickety entitlement state. Said Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels: “A more affirmative, ‘better angels’ approach to voters is really less an aesthetic than a practical one. With apologies for the banality, I submit that, as we ask Americans to join us on such a boldly different course, it would help if they liked us, just a bit.” Romney was a diligent warrior. Next time, Republicans need a more likable one.

And one who tilts toward the libertarian side of the Republican Party’s fusion of social and laissez-faire conservatism. Most voters already favor less punitive immigration policies than the ones angrily advocated by clenched-fist Republicans unwilling to acknowledge that immigrating — risking uncertainty for personal and family betterment — is an entrepreneurial act. The speed with which civil unions and same-sex marriage have become debatable topics and even mainstream policies is astonishing. As is conservatives’ failure to recognize this: They need not endorse such policies, but neither need they despise those, such as young people, who favor them. And it is strange for conservatives to turn a stony face toward any reconsideration of drug policies, particularly concerning marijuana, which confirm conservatism’s warnings about government persistence in the teeth of evidence.
I wouldn't place a wager at this juncture, on whether or not the GOP will take that advice.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Note to a younger self

Alex Horton is someone who, like me, was in Iraq during the surge. He never fails to impress with his words......

Oregon needs to start scouting the next Kenjon Barner....

She's 8 year old Samantha Gordon from the Salt Lake City, Utah area.
A highlight reel of a peewee football player has become an Internet sensation, showcasing the impressive speed and versatility of Utah youngster Sam Gordon -- a girl playing in an all-boys tackle football league.

While female football players tend to be relegated to the kicker position, Sam made waves on the field with her physicality and fearless nature. The video, posted by the girl's father, Brent, displays the girl's talent for bursting through coverage, breaking tackles and making tackles of her own. Most notably, however, is the section in which Sam shows that she can take a hard hit -- just like the boys.

Sam finished the 2012 season with a stat line that would make any parent proud. According to the video, she scored 35 touchdowns on 232 carries, totaling 1,911 yards and averaging 8.2 yards per carry. She also added 65 tackles, for good measure.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Forget the liberal pablum.....

This is how it 'takes a village'.

h/t TAH

Frank Recce didn’t wait for the cavalry to come. He created one.

When superstorm Sandy socked Staten Island last week, the 24-year-old longshoreman from the borough’s Great Kills section sprang into action, connecting neighbors with able-bodied men who helped clear debris, pumped away filthy floodwater and removed rain-soaked sheetrock from homes in New Dorp and Oakwood Beach.

“We’re basically giving the people of the neighborhood organization,” Recce told “We were able to hit more than 200 houses by Monday. We’ve done more for our community than FEMA, the Red Cross and the National Guard combined, directly hitting houses and people in need.”

What began as a ragtag group of 12 men has grown into expectations of more than 100 volunteers this weekend as the group — using the name Brown Cross — will resume its operations after taking a much-needed planning day on Thursday, Recce said.
“It basically signifies that we’re willing to get dirty, to do the labor,” Recce said of the group’s name. “And we’re from the neighborhood; we’re strictly from the neighborhood.”

Recce, an Army veteran who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq, said he wasn’t shocked by the disaster response from federal agencies, but questioned whether authorities were truly prepared for the storm.
Read the rest....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My vote counts!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Is America a Christian Nation? What Focus on the Family Gets Wrong

Reposting this essay by John Fea from The Way of Improvement Leads Home
This piece never found a home in an Iowa newspaper, so I am publishing it here.  --JF
In the last twenty-four hours many citizens of Iowa have received a brochure in the mail from CitizenLink, a political affiliate of the evangelical Christian group called Focus on the Family.  The brochure calls attention to the fact that Barack Obama does not think the United States is a Christian nation.
As an evangelical Christian, someone who has learned much about being a father and husband from Focus founder James Dobson, and an American historian, I would ask you to think twice before making a decision on Tuesday based on some of the information provided in this brochure.  My concerns with this brochure are motivated not by politics, but by the irresponsible way that groups like Focus on the Family have twisted history, particularly the relationship between Christianity and the American founding, for political gain.
While the brochure is helpful in distinguishing Obama and Romney on questions related to life, marriage, and religious freedom, it assumes that such ideas can only flourish if the United States is a Christian nation.  
The quote attributed to Barack Obama at the top of the brochure is correct.  In 2008, while running for president, he said: “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation—at least not just…We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation and a Buddhist nation and a Hindu nation and a nation of non-believers.”
What Obama meant was that we are a nation defined by religious freedom.  America belongs to everyone who abides by its laws.  The First Amendment does not support one religion over another and provides for the free exercise of religion by people of all faiths, or none at all.  
Granted, Christians today far outnumber people of other faiths, but the Founding Fathers set out to create a republic in which religious minorities could flourish.  The Founders were not interested in creating a nation built on religious “toleration.”  This implies that one religion is supported by the government or the culture and others are merely tolerated.  When translated into common language, “toleration” often means something like: “I don’t like you and your religion, but I will tolerate you.”
Religious freedom, on the other hand, implies religious equality for all.  Unfortunately, many conservatives are unwilling to accept this reality. Many of them are not yet ready to come to grips with the implications of the Immigration Act of 1965, a law that opened the doors of the United States to a host of new immigrants from Asia and the Middle East.  The Act profoundly reshaped our religious landscape.
In other words, religious liberty—an idea that the Focus on the Family brochure praises Romney for upholding—implies that the United States is not a Christian nation.  Though Romney has not blatantly proclaimed this (to do so would be a bad political move), his views on the matter are quite similar to Obama’s.  The brochure is thus misleading.
In reality, the question of whether or not the United States was founded as a Christian nation is a difficult one to answer.  I have spent a lot of time exploring this question and have concluded that the answer is complex.  It is an issue that cannot be decided by sound-bites or campaign brochures.   
But I do think that subsequent amendments to the Constitution (such as the 14th Amendment) and later Supreme Court decisions have made it clear that the United States, as it exists today, is not a Christian nation.  
On the other hand, I think that a pretty good argument could be made for the idea that we are not a Christian nation based on the coarseness of our popular culture, our rampant materialism, our disregard for human life, and our failure to care for one another and love our neighbors.
In fact, the question of whether or not the United States is, or ever was, a Christian nation, should be irrelevant to one’s views on life, marriage or religious freedom.  Christians are to promote life, family, liberty, peace, justice, care for the creation, care for the poor, and humility in foreign affairs whether we are a Christian nation or not.
Why do Christians need the nation to be Christian, or a leader who upholds the idea that America is Christian, to live faithfully in the world?  I think I remember something about the first-century Christian church thriving amidst a Roman government that no right-minded historian would call “Christian.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

Will this be your "choice" tomorrow?

h/t to South Park

A wasted vote, is a vote for someone you don't believe in

So if you vote and think your vote should express your political beliefs, there's nowhere else for libertarians (and Libertarians) to look.

But of course, Gary Johnson is not going to win the election. Indeed, if past is prologue, he will likely finish with less than 1 percent of all votes cast. So the real case for Gary Johnson - a tougher case to make - is arguing for why you should think about pulling the lever, tapping the screen, or punching the butterfly ballot for the guy knowing that he's a bigger lost cause than the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, the Gilmore Girls movie getting made, and the release of Dr. Dre's Detox put together.

As it happens, Johnson has addressed this very question in his forthright manner. "A wasted vote," he says, "is a vote for someone you don't believe in." He's even exhorting people to "waste" their vote, telling an audience at New York University, "We can make a difference in this election. Waste your vote!”

The Republicans will move in a libertarian direction when they finally realize that the libertarian ethos of live and let live doesn't represent moral nihilism but a goddamned sustainable future in a globalized, post-mainstream world. Who do you want sitting next to you as Spaceship Earth hurtles through time: Todd Akin or Gary Johnson? The Republicans have failed to wrap their heads around the unmitigated disaster that the Bush presidency was. Forget social issues for the moment. George W. Bush - in total cahoots with a Congress led by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who still roam the corridors of power like Tor Johnson roamed the set of Plan 9 From Outer Space - kicked out the jams on spending and cronyism. He was a big-government disaster, the political equivalent of Hurricane Sandy. And he did what he did with the full aid and succour of a GOP majority that signed on for The Patriot Act, Medicare Part D, the invasion of Iraq, the creation of the TSA, and TARP. The fully unconvincing and meager attempts by Mitt Romney to say he's going to rein in spending while "preserving" and "strengthening" Medicare and Social Security and ramping up military spending to a perpetual 4 percent of GDP flatly demonstrate that the Republicans have yet to get the simple message that voters first delivered during the 2006 midterms.

For their part, the Democrats have yet to learn the lesson of 2010, when voters sent exactly the same midterm message: Don't just do something, stand there! In 2010, the party of Thomas Jefferson took a "shellacking" (Obama's term of art) not despite all of the president's highly touted "historic" successes but precisely because of them. Obamacare, stimulus, more bailouts up the ying-yang, stupid interventions everywhere from Detroit to Afghanistan to college football's ranking system - all helped spark a strong and obvious reaction among large swaths of voters. And yet, Obama and Team Blue haven't changed a goddamned jot or tittle in their basic script. If you don't vote for the (liberal) Democrat, this line goes, then mere anarchy will be loosed. All that is decent and civilized about America will forever be destroyed and we will be bombing indiscriminate countries into the Stone Age, women will go barefoot and be forcibly impregnated and shoved back into the kitchen and Paul Lynde will once again be closeted in the center square. The skies will once again be filled with the choking fumes of plutocrats lighting cigars with $1,000 bills featuring the image of Ayn Rand and power plants will once again exclusively be powered by grinding the bones of the poor, the tired, and non-unionized illegal immigrants. It will be the Hunger Games, but without the laughs. The important thing, the Democrats say without blinking, is that government spending can never, ever decline because it's all essential spending and we'll pay for it merely by asking the super-rich to pay just a little bit more. It's like South Park's Gnomes Underpants Profit Plan, only slightly less detailed.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Huh, so that’s what it looks like when he plays four quarters

Kenjon Barner rushes for more yards in a game than any other running back in Oregon history.

Oregon over USC 62-51.............And the Quack Attack rolls on.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Convenient definitions of terror

In a paradigm where we have declared "war" against an elusive and amorphous enemy....a war that strains the normal framework of the definition....when infrastructure and officials of our Government are attacked, is it really an act of terror?

Or is it an act of war?

"It’s hard to define because one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist." George H.W. Bush, on supporting the Contras and UNITA.

Seems that we like to have it both ways, since we like to think that we get to define the rules.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Warriors Can Do!

At Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday, a triple amputee veteran not only threw out the ceremonial first pitch, he also stunned onlookers when he pitched a strike.

As Business Insider notes, Marine Cpl. Nicholas Kimmel, who lost both legs and one of his arms during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, threw the impressive strike before the second Giants-Tigers game in San Francisco.

Kimmel, who was at the game as part of Major League Baseball's Welcome Back Veterans program, told USA Today that the whole experience had been "like a dream."

Friday, October 26, 2012

What makes a man

You know, I tire of the superficial definitions society throws out there for “what makes a man”. Such as “the clothes make the man” or “the watch makes the man” or “the shoes make the man” or “the (alcoholic drink) makes the man” or “you become a man” when you have sex.

None of that superficial nonsense has anything to do with “being a man”.

Your character makes you a man. Your integrity makes you a man. Treating others — especially women — with respect makes you a man. Taking personal responsibility for your actions makes you a man. Dealing with success with humility and dealing with failure with maturity and resilience makes you a man.

Manhood comes from within.
Michael in MI

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Brewmeister’s Armageddon beer has an incredible 65% abv.

The brewery, which began production earlier this year with a local pale ale, is situated about 25 miles outside Aberdeen, on the estate of Kincardine Castle.

John MacKenzie, who runs the brewery with Lewis Shand, said: “The beer has a viscous quality to it, due to the special freeze fermentation method we use to produce such a high alcoholic beer.”

This process involves cooling the beer to zero degrees during the brewing process; as the water freezes the alcohol does not and then the ice that forms is removed, leaving a very strong beer.

Shand said: “The phrase ‘delivers a punch’ doesn’t quite cut it. ‘Delivers a supersonic charged explosion and conveys the taster to drunkville’ is probably more appropriate. It really is a powerful beer.”

The beer will be launched at the Inverness Beer Festival on 3 November where it will sell for £5 a 35ml nip. The brewers recommend drinking it in small quantities, rather like a brandy.

"Naked" body scanners and teh Gayz? Oh my!

The homosexual lobbies and blogs cried and stamped their feet.
"Give us our naked body scans of anybody going to the airport" and frequently mocked and attacked Public Advocate's frequent condemnation of absurd measures which included the "naked body scan".
Many of these small minded "perversion cheerleaders" even personally maligned and slandered Public Advocate leaders as "fixated".
The homosexual lobbies fully support the invasive body cavity searches of elderly citizens, small children, young women and the absurd and dangerous X-Ray machines that scan the human form in minute detail--- anybody and everybody for little security reasons whatsoever.
Now the "naked body scanners" are being pulled to "speed up" transit services at the largest airports in America.
Slowing down thousands of travelers and explicitly exhibiting their body to a room full of TSA agents is "no longer necessary".
This is thanks to your support of Public Advocate. As usual most of the "negative" publicity in the Huffington Post and other "news" groups did not impact Public
Advocate's consistent political education program to oppose this front and center.

What the........? I can't even wrap my head around the intellectual gymnastics required to pin TSA body scanners on gays, utterly and completely outsourced I might add. And this guy is an elected representative of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Perhaps his ire would be better served if directed towards not only the decision makers that envisioned the TSA, but those decision makers who began the acquisition of the scanners.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Constitutionality of Lapdances

Lap dances are taxable because they don't promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, New York's highest court concluded Tuesday in a sharply divided ruling.

The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there's no distinction in state law between "highbrow dance and lowbrow dance," so the case raises "significant constitutional problems."

The lawsuit was filed by Nite Moves in suburban Albany, which was arguing fees for admission to the strip club and for private dances are exempt from sales taxes.

The court majority said taxes apply to many entertainment venues, such as amusement parks and sporting events. It ruled the club has failed to prove it qualifies for the exemption for "dramatic or musical arts performances" that was adopted by the Legislature "with the evident purpose of promoting cultural and artistic performances in local communities."

If ice shows with intricately choreographed ice-dancing routines to music haven't been regarded by lawmakers as qualifying, then it was "surely ... not irrational" for the tribunal "to conclude that a club presenting performances by women gyrating on a pole to music, however artistic or athletic their practiced moves are, was also not a qualifying performance entitled to exempt status," wrote Judges Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, Victoria Graffeo, Eugene Pigott Jr. and Theodore Jones Jr.

In the dissent, Judge Robert Smith wrote that it was a question of what the law and regulations actually say. The law defines a "dramatic or musical arts admission charge" for "a live dramatic, choreographic or musical performance," he noted. Choreography means dance, and clearly the women at Nite Moves dance, he wrote.

So.......on the philosophical level.....what is the actual distinction between lapdances or other 'Gentlemen's Club' entertainment...and other forms of dance?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Don't 'Teebow' without approval!

Apparently the trademark is not solely on the term to Tebow, but on the pose as well. You don’t have to call it “Tebowing” to be subject to Tim’s approval. Drop to one knee with your fist to your forehead, and if Tebow does not approve of the context, you will pay.

No one believes Tim Tebow is going to spend his days checking the media to be sure the world is respecting his trademark property. But in the sticky muck that is the “separation of church and state,” the Tebow trademark may set a slippery precedent.

If Tebow can trademark the pose of praying with his fist on his forehead, can the Catholic church trademark the “praying hands” pose? If Muslims trademark the traditional poses that coincide with their daily prayer obligations, the yoga instructor at your local gym may be in trouble. Is the term “Buddha belly” indicative of religious affiliation or beer consumption? Or in our case, just a chubby baby?

This may sound far-fetched, but when an everyday act or saying takes on marketability, someone will market it. Apple owns the right to the rectangle, at least when used as a phone shape. (Wouldn’t an oval fit better in your palm anyway?) Tell an incompetent employee “You’re fired!” and Donald Trump may come knocking.

I'm sure there's nothing to fear though...remember, we live in a "free" society....

Ghosts of WWII

Some pretty cool photography, superimposing World War II photos on the modern scene.

More here:

Taking a bit of a break from politics. Living in the swing state of Virginia, my TV hasn't left Sports Center and Animal Planet....for fear of seeing another political ad trying to convince me that the two major Presidential candidates are diametrically opposed.

Don't waste your Liberty.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Is "terror" the new "is"

During last nights Presidential debates, Mitt Romney challenged Obama on how long it took the Administration to characterize the Benghazi Consulate attacks as 'terrorism'. Mitt stated that the Administration had failed to use the word "terror" until around two weeks after the event.

Obama shot back by chiding "get the transcript". The debate moderator Candy Crowley interjected by claiming that "He did in fact call it an 'act of terror", but also conceded that "It did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that."

The transcript from the September 12th Rose Garden speech does contain the word "terror": “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation”. However, the timing of that term within the overall remarks make it a bit ambiguous if Obama was speaking specifically about the Benghazi event, or the overall theme of the misnomered 'war on terror'.

To stir the pot a bit more, on September 13th, Obama said in Colorado:  "So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished."

Who is right? All three of them. Who is wrong....depends. If your a Democrat, clearly Romney was mistaken. If your a Republican, surely Obama is incorrect.

If your neither.....get some more popcorn because the theater of political vocabulary drama continues.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Voices of Sanity

It's a shame that voices of reason and intellectual discussion get shoved aside by the media and most political commentators [both the professional Commentariat and the casual blog commenter] in favor of rhetoric and hyperbole...and rank hypocrisy.

Once in awhile, honesty breaks through the fog and morass.
Both parties have equally participated in abandoning the limited role of the federal government. You lay on top of that the careerism of politicians who want to do things so they can get reelected and what you have is a catalyst, which makes that even go faster.

Our problems today are two-fold: We spent money we didn’t have on things we don’t absolutely need, which refers back to the enumerated powers listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
 Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Judge Napolitano on the debates

Because Romney and Obama are different only in degree, I wish the cabal of former leaders of the two major political parties that runs the debates would permit former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to participate. He is the Libertarian Party candidate who is on the ballot in all 50 states and the only current national candidate who if elected would shrink the government and keep it within the confines of the Constitution.

Don't hold your breath. The debates are crafted by the folks who run the Romney and Obama campaigns. Romney is afraid of Johnson because he might take the votes of those who are tired of unconstitutional government and deficits and war. Obama is afraid of Johnson because he might take the votes of those who are appalled at the government's murderous drug wars and its assaults on personal freedom and who also are tired of war. Both sides fear Johnson because he is essentially fearless when it comes to his belief that the Constitution means what it says -- meaning if it does not authorize the feds to regulate health care, fight undeclared wars or mortgage the future, then they simply cannot do it.

But the powers that run the means by which we elect presidents have decided that they can ill-afford a frontal assault on the big government they have created, on national television much less, and four weeks before a presidential election. You see, without Johnson in these debates, the argument will remain how much the feds should regulate, rather than whether they should do so.

There is no argument from me that the Libertarian Party has often mis-prioritzed it's money and it's efforts; and there is merit to the idea that the LP should not spend energy and money on a Presidential candidate, until it is able to build a solid base of local and state elected officials.

That doesn't diminish my support for Gary Johnson or the LP writ large, and nothing that Judge Andrew Napolitano states above regarding the debates is incorrect. Adding Gary Johnson to the mix would interject ideas and philosophies fundamental to the concepts of liberty and fiscal responsibility. Ideas that you will not hear from Obama or Romney. 

Political Blame Games

Just a short mental meandering.....

There is a deficit of logic in using the rhetorical technique of saying "XXXXX did it too" when analyzing an action during the current Administration.

There is also a deficit of logic in attempting to portray an action by the current Administration as unique and therefore worthy of more scrutiny than was paid to a previous [especially of one's own party].

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We are all diminished.......

Rest in Peace CSM Basil Plumley.

From Susan Katz Keating:

This via Joe Galloway. One of our greatest national treasures, CSM Basil Plumley, hero of the Ia Drang in Vietnam, veteran of World War II and Korea, passed away this morning a little before 0400 hrs. Thank you to all who sent cards and letters in his final days. He was much loved.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A small victory for British citizens

Homeowners win right to use lethal force on burglars: 'Disproportionate levels of violence' backed
The long campaign to give householders the right to use maximum force against burglars will end in victory today.

Chris Grayling will announce he is changing the law to allow people to use ‘disproportionate’ levels of violence to protect themselves and their families.

The Justice Secretary said it would ‘dispel doubts once and for all’ over the right to fight back against intruders.

The new rules could, in some cases, allow for lethal force.

The move is designed to remove the threat of a burglary victim being arrested – let alone charged – if they use violence to drive the intruder away or stop them from advancing through their home.
Daily Mail

Now, if the British government would see fit to allow their citizens the proper tools for defending oneself in a free society.....that would be progress.

Monday, October 8, 2012

You'd think a 'liberal media' would be all over this...

State Senator David Storobin (R), who was elected this year to represent a heavily Jewish district in Brooklyn, recently publicized a photo of him visiting Israel's border with Syria.

This seemed somewhat extraordinary to people, like councilman and Republican congressional candidate Dan Halloran, who also visited Israel recently and whose aide said, of the Storobin camp, "we don't really want to have anything to do with them."

This morning, Storobin's spokesman offered an explanation: He was required to wear an Israeli uniform and carry a gun because the Syrian border is so dangerous.

"As Israelis know all too well, the Syrian border is a hostile area," the spokeman, Steven Stites, wrote. "Visitors there are required to don a uniform and carry a gun. Even members of the Knesset do so. There are snipers on the other side. If they see an unarmed person not in uniform, they may assume it's a leader of some kind, and that person could be a target."

A spokeswoman at the Israeli consulate in Washington told me she'd never heard of the protocol.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

The debate should should have happened on Oct 3rd

O'Reilly v. Stewart 2012

Mitt's bad math?

In 2012, I believe Obama deserves to lose. Everything I detested about Bush, Obama has expanded—the debt, entitlement state, “national security” state, and an even more powerful executive branch. Despite Obama having an edge in the polls, his actual job performance approval is not high. Many, and perhaps a majority, of Americans would like to reject him.
They are just not so sure Mitt Romney deserves to win.
Something Romney promised with his winning personality Wednesday night—deficit reduction—is also something hard numbers indicate he cannot deliver. If Obama said anything true it was this: “When you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper income individuals are currently taking advantage of, you don’t come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending.”
He added: “It’s math, arithmetic.”
But Romney’s platform proves my point. If our annual deficit is between $1-1.5 trillion, and neither candidate is really serious about cutting entitlement costs which are far, far greater—how can anyone even pretend they’ll reduce the deficit while increasing spending by $2 trillion on our military?
If our soldiers are not paid enough, do not receive proper benefits, or do not have necessary weapons or essentials it is not because we don’t spend enough on the military. We currently spend more on our military than we ever have—and most of that money goes to fund a massive bureaucracy that has little to do with our actual defense.
Romney’s proposal to add $2 trillion in military spending makes it impossible to cut the deficit. Period. It’s math. It’s arithmetic. Barack Obama deserves to lose this election. But Mitt Romney does not deserve to win it.
The American Conservative

I've always held forth that not a dollar of defense spending should be cut before entitlements get drastically slashed......that doesn't get defense spending off the hook. One of the comments accompanying this article was a great reminder of someone who got it:
"During my 1980 campaign, I called federal waste and fraud a national scandal. We knew we could never rebuild America’s strength without first controlling the exploding cost of defense programs, and we’re doing it. When we took office in 1981, costs had been escalating at an annual rate of 14 percent. Then we began our reforms. And in the last two years, cost increases have fallen to less than 1 percent. We’ve made huge savings. Each F-18 fighter costs nearly $4 million less today than in 1981. One of our air-to-air missiles costs barely half as much.” - Ronald Reagan