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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99684904@N00/

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 vote....vote 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 

The fundamental question every candidate should ask...

on each and every issue they consider: Can this problem be solved with more freedom instead of less?

Courtesy of Penn Jillette

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This man serves on the House Science Committee....

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” - Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA)
Really fills you with confidence about your Congress doesn't it?

Friday, October 5, 2012

But, but....Romney's supporters all said he was right....

Clearly in a campaign with hundreds, if not thousands, of speeches and question and answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong. And I absolutely believe however that my life has shown that I care about 100%. And that’s been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100%. When I become president, it will be about helping the 100%. - Mitt Romney, Oct 3rd

I think there was some merit to what he originally said; I just don't think the number is 47%, and I think it was one of the more moronic statements for a presidential candidate to say.

The ACA and Contraception

A federal judge has dismissed a company's claim that the 2010 health care reform violates religious freedom.

     At issue is the reform's mandate that requires employers to cover prescription birth control at no cost to enrollees in all private health insurance policies, beginning in 2013. O'Brien Industrial Holdings and its owner Frank O'Brien, filed a lawsuit in March. The complaint was one of dozens filed around the country claiming the mandate violated employer's freedom of religion.

     But U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson ruled the mandate does not impose a "substantial burden" on the plaintiffs. Jackson's ruling is believed to be the first such ruling in the country, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

     "Plaintiffs allege that the preventive services coverage regulations impose a similar ultimatum, and therefore substantially burden their free exercise of religion 'by coercing plaintiffs to choose between conducting their business in accordance with their religious beliefs or paying substantial penalties to the government. Am. Compl. ¶ 40 [Doc. #19]," Jackson wrote. "However, the challenged regulations do not demand that plaintiffs alter their behavior in a manner that will directly and inevitably prevent plaintiffs from acting in accordance with their religious beliefs. Frank O'Brien is not prevented from keeping the Sabbath, from providing a religious upbringing for his children, or from participating in a religious ritual such as communion. Instead, plaintiffs remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives. The burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by OIH's plan, subsidize someone else's participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiffs' religion. This Court rejects the proposition that requiring indirect financial support of a practice, from which plaintiff himself abstains according to his religious principles, constitutes a substantial burden on plaintiff's religious exercise."


In principle, I don't support public funding of elecetive drugs and medical procedures like contraceptives or Viagra; although I am open to arguments that such coverage could mitigate the numbers of the poor having children that they cannot provide for. I would want to see some analysis before judging the efficacy on those grounds.

But I do see merit in the ruling above. The justice system has long ruled that laws of general applicability are not usually trumped by protestations of religious liberties. In this case, though chruches themselves are incorrectly proffered as the targets of the alleged discrimination, the ACA contraceptive mandate applies only to religiously affiliated organizations who both employ and serve the general public.....meaning those of the same, similar, different and no faiths.

I believe the grounds for pushing back against this portion of the law, if not the ACA writ large, are rooted in economic and fiscal liberty...not in regards to relgious liberty, as cited above.

But the recent crusade against Obama, for offenses both real and imagined, include the charge that he is somehow "biblically hostile", as cited in the infinitely forwarded list from faux-historian David Barton. The problem lies in reading through the list, it is striking how many items are nowhere in the purview of any sitting POTUS, and the rest generally speak to cases where Christianity is not being afforded the level of preferential treatment that adherents would desire.

But back to the ruling above. Is this case any different than someone who is religously pacifist, paying taxes that support overseas military operations?

The latest from the excuse machine

First there was the 'liberal media' meme [an enduring piece of political furniture], then came the "skewed polling". The latest preemptive excuse for a possible Romney loss in November is the claim that fact checking organizations are tilted in the Democrats favor.

If the GOP would simply come to terms with the fact that in general, it's ideology is superior to the left [not counting civil liberties], but it's practice is no better than their opposition; instead of wasting so much energy trying to perpetuate themes that already resonate with their base.....they could grow the party to a point where a middling candidate like Romney could beat someone like Obama and the string of poor economic decisons for the last four years.

When Democrat politicians piss down my leg, theres no doubt that it's piss. When the GOP does the same, I get told that it's merely raining.

Perhaps I shouldn't expect more from a party that uniformly takes an entity that is both corporately controlled and must absolutely have the neck and neck info-tainment stife to feed it's business model, and claims that it's "in the tank" for the Democrats.

Perhaps if they covered rants like GOP candidate "Joe the Plumber" stating “For years I’ve said, you know, put a damn fence on the border, going to Mexico and start shooting"; perhaps if the covered the Dominionist and NAR movements, or Presidential Preachers like Hagee and Haggard with the same fervor as they did Jeremiah Wright; perhaps there might be some credence to the charge.

I'm not sure this part of me is hiding, as it's barely perceptible; but somehow I still think there is hope for the GOP if they would just act and govern with principles and maturity instead of relying on faux charisma and shallow memes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CSM Basil Plumley

h/t to Susan Katz Keating

I was honored to ask CSM Basil Plumley (Ret) to be the guest speaker at the US Army Jumpmaster School during my time there. This was well before the movie adaptation of "We were Soldiers", but the book was [and likely still is] on every military professional reading list. We wish him well.

Some of you may remember CSM Basil Plumley as the larger than life and soldier who helped lead men to battle in the movie We Were Soldiers. He is a real person, and a genuine hero.

CSM Plumley served bravely and honorably in Vietnam, most notably alongside the cavalrymen who fought in the Ia Drang in 1965. My good friend Joe Galloway was there. So, too, was the legendary Hal Moore. Those three emerged from combat as lifelong friends who are known as Los Tres Amigos.

Now Basil Plumley is ill. Joe says he is in hospice. 

Please take a moment to say a prayer for CSM Plumley. And also send a card thanking him, one last time, for his service, and wishing him well. Let's give him a good sendoff.

Write to him here:

CSM Basil L. Plumley 
Columbus Hospice
7020 Moon Rd. Columbus, GA 31909

Please. I would consider it a personal favor.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm officially old now......

Today marks the 30th anniversary of a musical format many of us grew up with: the compact disc. It's been three decades since the first CD went on sale in Japan. The shiny discs came to dominate music industry sales, but their popularity has faded in the digital age they helped unleash. The CD is just the latest musical format to rise and fall in roughly the same 30-year cycle.


I remember quite well buying my first CD player [though it would have been around 1985], and while I don't remember which was my first CD, I do recollect that it cam in an obnoxiously lagre cardboard package.

Nowdays, all of my music is on MP3's. I couldn't have even conceived of that medium then.