timely quote

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.

Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The speech that Obama should have given at Ft Hood

I brought this in whole from Richard Hernandez (Belmont Club) at PajamasMedia and it is one of the truest thing I have read in a while. Thank you Richard for writing it.
Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic thought Obama’s speech at the Fort Hood memorial was the greatest he had ever written. The full text is on Ambinder’s site.

Today, at Ft. Hood. I guarantee: they’ll be teaching this one in rhetoric classes. It was that good. My gloss won’t do it justice. Yes, I’m having a Chris Matthews-chill-running-up-my-leg moment, but sometimes, the man, the moment and the words come together and meet the challenge. Obama had to lead a nation’s grieving; he had to try and address the thorny issues of Islam and terrorism; to be firm; to express the spirit of America, using familiar, comforting tropes in a way that didn’t sound trite.

I thought I would try my hand at speechwriting to emphasize what should have been said. Although my version is less than soaring, it touches upon issues which ought to be have been addressed. My amateurish attempts and an actual video of Obama’s Fort Hood address taken by a participant are after the Read More.

First of all, I would like to apologize, as Commander in Chief and on behalf of the entire chain of command, for failing to protect the men who were shot here some days ago. The specific shortcomings which allowed the shooter the opportunity to commit this crime will determined and rectified forthwith. That is the least I can do for those who died.

You men and women of the Armed Forces are expected to risk your lives in the service of our country; to overcome your fears, to bear up against hardship and risk your life and limb to protect the nation you serve. No one will accept the excuse ‘I was afraid’ from a soldier, though God knows there will be times when fear will be the natural thing for a man to feel. But in return the senior military and political leadership owe you its own kind of courage. Perhaps not the physical bravery expected of you, but courage nonetheless. The courage never to call you to arms unless national interest absolutely demand it; the fortitude to support you unswervingly until your mission — the mission we gave you — is completed. We owe you that. The leadership owes you the best equipment, the finest intelligence and the most competent leadership. But above all we owe you our loyalty and the assurance that everyone placed above you and alongside you wearing the uniform of the United States is someone you could trust implicitly with your life. Because there would be times when you would have to.

And in that duty we have failed.

For reasons which brook no excuse, whether from lack of competence or the absence of professional courage, we have allowed a traitor to gain a position of trust in your midst. We gave him high rank. We gave him the prerogatives and honors due to a member of the medical profession and an officer in the Armed Forces. And he used that position to kill the men we are remembering today. We who demand of you the courage to routinely risk your lives in the service of our nation did not ourselves have fortitude to expel a man from the service who by rights should have been gone because we feared criticism. We feared being accused of bigotry. We feared being accused of persecuting a religion. We feared the bad publicity that would come from recognizing the danger signals which have all too tragically culminated in this. It was out of fear that we forbore and men died.

Let me repeat my apology. By command responsibility the onus of this falls on my shoulders. And the duty for correcting the defects falls on me as well. Already there are those who say “this was an ordinary crime”; or that we do not know what motivated this killer to commit the crime he did. We must not add dishonesty to dereliction. We know. If we were not men enough to do our duty then, then at least we should do it now. Let me pledge that from this day forward, no officer in the Armed Forces, no member of law enforcement, no man or woman in authority should ever dare ignore a danger to you, my men — for you are my men — out of fear of giving offense. Political correctness should fall distant second to duty, honor and country.

I cannot bring back the dead. But I can prevent others from following in their tragic place. Others will eulogize the fallen. They will recall this young life or that promising future cut short on that day. Let others speak of the nobility of those who died on this post. Let others comfort the parents and loved ones of those who will wait at the door for the knock they once heard and hear nevermore. That is not for me to do.

Rather let my deeds from this day speak more eloquently than tributes or flowers. Let my determination to prevent this from ever happening again be my peroration and my tribute to the fallen. "Gesta, non verba" is all the Latin I need to know. Deeds, not words. I will return to my duties and you to yours. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Generations

On this Veteran's Day I'd like to mention some veterans I've known in my life.

First is my Grandfather. He served in WWII in Germany in 1943 and 44 in the Army Corps of Engineers before coming back to live a long and productive life as a stock broker, then later an avid iris gardener before passing away last year. He was married for over 50 years to my Grandmother, and together they raised 3 children. They watched their kids raise 5 grandchildren, including me.

Second, my Father, who was in the National Guard during Vietnam. He served in a reserve capacity for 4 years, prepared to go to a foreign land if his country required it. He and my Mother were divorced when my sister and I were young, but in watching him pull himself back from the brink of death, I've learned more from him about strength and character that any other person.

Third, I spent 6 years in the US Navy from 1990-96. I spent time all over the country and northern and western Europe. I was on a Minesweeper and we swept for mines in the North Sea, further cleaning up the WWII mines laid by Nazi Germany. This is as close as I've ever been to what my Grandfather did for our country and the world.

Last, at least for now, is my son. At 17 years old he has made the decision that he is joining the Navy. He is a senior this year and will graduate in May of 2010 and then head off to serve the same country that I served, and my Father and Grandfather before me. He is currently in the Delayed Entry Program and applying for ROTC.

I keep trying to write things about my son here, but all I can say is that I am so proud of him for making this choice. I can't get the words out.

So to all you out there who have served, who serve now, and those who are still making the decision, please accept my gratitude for your sacrifice and dedication to us and our country. Remember that no matter what the rest of the world says, here, we're thankful that you have chosen to serve. Here, we enjoy the freedoms that you fight to protect, and without you, they would no longer exist.

Thank you, from me and mine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A greater tragedy

Political correctness and diversity, I guess, are the bullet points that have been passed down from the top, as Army chief of staff General George Casey has been out there explaining we can't blame islam and how discrimination against muslims would be a greater tragedy than the Ft Hood massacre.

The Army's chief of staff is saying that even though Hasan was known to maintain radical muslim beliefs; had said openly, in his official capacity as an Army officer, about how muslims should kill non-believers; had contacted known anti-American clerics and terrorist leaders including al-Queda members; and was being watched by the intelligence community, that we shouldn't jump to conclusions.
"I'm a Muslim first and I hold the Shariah, the Islamic Law, before the United States Constitution."
General Casey, 13 of your soldiers were killed and almost 30 others injured by another one of your soldiers. While he was killing them, he was screaming, "Allahu Akbar!" He had made many statements about the righteousness of jihad. Now, you're covering for the political correctness that caused more than two years of purposeful ignorance of this issue.

How can you honestly go out there and say this:
But we have to be careful. Because we can't jump to conclusions now based on little snippets of information that come out. And frankly, I am worried -- not worried, but I'm concerned that this increased speculation could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers. And I've asked our Army leaders to be on the lookout for that. It would be a shame -- as great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.
I have nothing against diversity specifically, but putting diversity ahead of soldiers' security and safety is lunacy. As great a tragedy as this was, I think a greater tragedy is that you're still out there defending Hasan's beliefs. He has a lawyer for that. You owe your allegiance to the other soldiers there at Ft Hood and throughout the Army. Stand by them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A new level of...

I was going to call this "A new level of contempt," but it occurred to me that Obama's fun-loving "shoutout" to his friend the Medal of Honor winner (patience...) and casual mention of the Ft Hood massacre during a different speech probably weren't contempt. I'll say that it shows where the military ranks in Obama's hierarchy of issues. Now why he and his handlers thought it was a good idea to handle it that way, I can't say. I can say that the way it was handled was just plain stupid. There's no other way to put it.

Not to mention calling the Medal of Freedom a Medal of Honor. Obama even awarded that medal personally. Of course, if Dubya had done that it would have been front page news with the discussion on how stupid he is, after all, he can't tell the difference between the medals.

So in the middle of all this, he goes in to damage control mode, give another pale soulless speech then schedules a trip to Ft Hood for tomorrow, to explain how his teleprompter feels about this tragedy.

But then, FoxNews broke the story that the last known leader of the free world, George W. Bush, visited Ft Hood and spent "considerable time" visiting with the surviving victims and families, as well as the families of the deceased. It's nice to see a president who cares, isn't it?

What's interesting is the commentary showing up from overseas on Obama's gaffe. The Telegraph has this headline: Bloodless President Barack Obama makes Americans wistful for George W Bush.
Completely missing was the eloquence that Mr Obama employs when talking about himself. Absent too was any sense that the President empathised with the families and comrades of those murdered.
That says something, doesn't it? Maybe it is contempt after all.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This site closed


From DBD

Chris Muir over at DBD has pointed out a CNET story and described it perfectly, as usual.

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
That is a scary set of statements. The wording in the excerpt is very vague, and there's no way to know how that could possibly be interpreted. Well, it will be interpreted in the way that gives the government the most power and leeway in any situation.

Rockefeller's revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a "cybersecurity workforce plan" from every federal agency, a "dashboard" pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a "comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy" in six months--even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," he says.

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

"The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."

Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

Wow. If you're a power company or a telecomm provider or a bank or, I don't know, Wal Mart...anything that this new cybersecurity coordinator deems "critical" then you have to submit to network mapping, hiring regulations and approval as well as federal control over your network whenever there is an "emergency." Because more regulation always promotes competition and performance. Just look at the mortgage industry.

So the real question, other than what in the hell does the government think it's doing, is what would be considered an emergency? There are hacking attempts all the time from China, Russia, various African countries and others, and that's just from script kiddies who downloaded the most recent rootkit. China, for one, has a comprehensive, government backed hacking effort aimed at the US. Is that an emergency? What gets taken over and shut down if something happens? If Chris runs a critical 'toon during an "emergency," do we see the picture above instead of our daily dose of conservative art?

Anything that gives the government more control over the private sector reduces our rights and freedoms. Isn't the republican party the party that wants to preserve our rights and freedoms? Then why the hell is Olympia Snowe (R[ino]-Maine) a sponsor of this bill? Why isn't the ACLU screaming about this? I remember the Patriot Act and all of the screaming from the Dems and ACLU about how it was an encroachment on our rights and freedoms, so where are they now? This is a bill that would allow the President to selectively shut down private websites, networks and computers, and there's no outcry from the ACLU? Wouldn't this be considered an encroachment on our rights and freedoms? I think we know the answer to that last question: It's because the ACLU is dedicated to protecting the rights and freedoms taken away by the evil republicans. Because if the democrats do it it is for the greater good and therefore acceptable.

As for Sen Snowe, it's because she's not really a conservative. She's only voted with the republicans 57.8% of the time, which is the lowest party line voting percentage in the entire Senate. Regardless of your current view of the republican party, they're all we have up there right now, and we need to be able to count on them. We can't count on Olympia Snowe. Or Sen Susan Collins (R[ino]-Maine), either, who has the second lowest partly line vote record at 59.3%, right above Snowe. And we can't count on the Senate to throw this bill out if it makes it to a vote, so contact your Senator and let them know that more government control is not acceptable. Add this vote to your list of issues you'll use to decide for whom you'll vote, and let your Senators know that this one is on that list. I know it's on mine.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shooting, shooting, shooting

Man, my life has been all about shooting recently. I haven't had time to do much else. I'm getting ready for my first 3Gun match, which happens to be the Rocky Mountain 3 Gun World Championship, one of the largest matches in the country.

3Gun uses the IPSC (international) rules instead of the USPSA rules for Multi-gun competition. I'll be shooting pistol, shotgun and rifle, one, two or all three at a time. There will be rifle shots out to 600 yds, shotgun slug shots out to 100 and pistol to 50. I'll be up in the mountains at the NRA Wittington center for a full week working and shooting.

We're driving to Raton, NM this Saturday to get started.

So again I'll mention the USPSA for any of you shooters out there who want to become more involved in shooting or have an itch to compete.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gunslinger's Journal: A Warning From Flyover Country

Gunslinger's Journal: A Warning From Flyover Country

A woman from Arizona whote a letter to Glenn Beck recently (Gunslinger, I agree with you on Glenn Back by the way), and she is firing on all cylinders. Tell me you don't jump up and down agreeing with her.

"I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me.

Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some non-politicians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law.

I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course.

What happened?

You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance.

Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us.

We want our voice back.

You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington.

Our president often knows all the right buzzword[s and the latest] is 'unsustainable'. Well, no kidding! How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words.

Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you—not for long—because we are coming.

We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work, pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you.

You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust.

We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish.

We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now.

We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back.

We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired.

Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you.

If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are.

If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one.

We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming.

We the people are coming."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

So where's Jimmah Carter?

There are riots in Iran today due to what many are calling a rigged election that puts Ahmadinejad back in the presidency. Of course, Ahmadinejad says that the protests are nothing more than "passions after a soccer match," but I'd be interested to hear him if he hadn't been on the winning side. Mir Hossein Mousavi received so few votes overall that he wrote a letter to the Guardian Council — a powerful 12-member clerical body closely allied to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — where he claimed "fraud is evident."

Also, the Iranian government has started to crack down on the media. The international media has been told to prepare to leave and to be careful in how they report the "chaos." In addition, internet access has been restricted, and some newspapers, including Mousavi's have not been published:

Mousavi's newspaper, Kalemeh Sabz, or the Green Word, did not appear on newsstands Sunday. An editor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the paper never left the printing house because authorities were upset with Mousavi's statements.

The paper's Web site reported that more than 10 million votes in Friday's election were missing national identification numbers similar to U.S. Social Security numbers, which make the votes "untraceable." It did not say how it knew that information.

Now international officials are starting to talk about the election, but stopping short of calling fraud:

On NBC television's "Meet the Press," Biden said: "Is this the result of the Iranian people's wishes? The hope is that the Iranian people, all their votes have been counted, they've been counted fairly. But look, we just don't know enough" since Friday's vote.

In Paris, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said his country is "very worried" about the situation in Iran and criticized the "somewhat brutal reaction" to the election protests.

I still think that Jimmy Carter should have been there. He took the time to "verify" our election, so he should be able to handle Iran. Or maybe he has some bad memories from a certain hostage situation and election that he participated in a while back.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My analysis of the Oklahoma pharmacy shooting

If you've read my writings (as sporadic as they may be), you know I'm a shooter. I carry, I shoot in the USPSA and I support those who support my Constitutional rights. So you can bet I was incensed when I heard that OK county DA David Prater was filing first degree murder charges on Jerome Ersland for what appeared to be a justified shooting.

If you haven't heard the story, Jerome Ersland runs a pharmacy on the south side of Oklahoma City. His store has been robbed before, and now he has a concealed carry license and keeps guns in the store for protection. On May 19th, they needed that protection. The video evidence is clear. Two teenagers, 16 and 14 came in to the store with masks on. The 14yo had a gun. Everyone scrambled and Jerome grabbed a gun from behind the counter. He shot the 16yo and he fell. The 14yo ran out of the store, followed by Ersland. Ersland came back in, went behind the counter and retrieved another gun. He then shot the 16yo again. Then, he called the police.

On the face, we can't see the kid on the floor, and we don't know his condition at the time of the second shooting. We can't tell if the kid he shot was reaching in the backpack he was carrying, or had a weapon or if he was even conscious. I've defended this as a good shooting based on the evidence I've seen, which admittedly wasn't much.

I was up in arms about the charges, because DA Prater is a shooter and a hunter himself. I couldn't fathom why he was charging this Iraq war 1 disabled veteran with murder for protecting himself and his coworkers from these punks with guns. These punks started the shooting, and the police say 15 shots were fired. Ersland was hit in the arm, but the two female employees were unharmed.

Ersland's statements to the press after the shooting was pretty basic:
"Two people came in with masks on gray masks and they said "We want all your fu***** money and all your fu***** drugs."

There were only three workers inside, Ersland and two female co-workers. What happened next was like a scene from a western shoot-out.

"All of a sudden the first thing I know there's gunfire, and I feel a sting on my left arm, and I pull out my Keltec 380 out of my pocket," Ersland said.

And a Taurus Judge revolver out of a drawer behind the counter.

"They were coming around each side of the pharmacy to kill me," he said. "So, I was able to get to my other weapon."

Ersland said with a gun pointed at suspects, he tried to hold them off as long as he could

"They were firing at me from so close, and I could feel the bullet go by my right ear," he said.

About 15 shots were fired.

"Unfortunately I shot the guy," Ersland said. "And he didn't make it."

16-year-old Antwun Parker died at the scene.

"It was a bad experience, but I'm glad that the girls were safe, and I hate it that somebody got killed," Ersland said.
Unfortunately, I have some very good information that there is more to the story than that. Apparently, Ersland hit the 16yo in the head, grazing him and knocking him out. The 14yo was unhurt. After Ersland came back in from chasing the 14yo, he retrieved another gun, then stood over the unconscious teen and shot him 5 more times in the abdomen. He is reported to have said that he wanted to, "teach the n*****s a lesson."

I've wanted to believe that this was a good shoot, and that Ersland was a hero for protecting himself and the other employees. Unfortunately, I can't defend his actions past the first time he shot the 16yo. Oklahoma law is very clear. You can defend yourself from an imminent threat, but once the threat is neutralized, you are done. Anything past that is excessive. Ersland had a good shoot when he shot the kid the first time, but when he came back, the kid was unconscious and no longer a threat. Then, after that, his (reported) statements are really pretty damning evidence.

I don't believe he'll be convicted because this state, and this city is pretty well armed and very sympathetic to those who protect themselves. The problem I have is that this was excessive and a kid died that didn't have to. The threat was neutralized. The second shooting was over the line and Ersland deserves to be prosecuted. His fate will be determined by the jury.

We're in a fight to preserve our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I carry legally, and I am prepared to take a life should the situation warrant, but I hope to God that I never have to do so. The last thing we need is people going outside the line and possibly making our fight more difficult.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Obama the apologist

From Fox News:

It has always been bad form to criticize your own country overseas. You don't hear foreign heads of state doing it, and up until now you haven't heard an American president do it. Up until now.

The following is a list, in reverse chronological order, of the Obama administration's overseas apologies and clarifications to date:

April 18: "We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations."
-- President Obama, at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad

April 16: "Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors. We have been too easily distracted by other priorities and have failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas. My administration is committed to renewing and sustaining a broader partnership between the United States and the hemisphere on behalf of our common prosperity and our common security."
-- President Obama, in an op-ed that appeared in U.S. and Latin American newspapers prior to the Summit of the Americas

April 6: "I know there have been difficulties these last few years. I know that the trust that binds us has been strained, and I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced. Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not at war with Islam."
-- President Obama, in Ankara, Turkey

April 3: "In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive. But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad. On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. ... They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated."
-- President Obama, in Strasbourg, France

April 2: "It is true, as my Italian friend has said, that the (economic) crisis began in the U.S. I take responsibility, even if I wasn't even president at the time."
-- President Obama, at the G20 in London, as reported by Germany's Der Spiegel

April 2: "I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we've made, that you're starting to see some restoration of America's standing in the world."
-- President Obama, at G20 summit in London

April 1: "If you look at the sources of this crisis, the United States certainly has some accounting to do with respect to a regulatory system that was inadequate."
-- President Obama, at a press conference ahead of the G20 in London

March 25: "I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility (for drug-fueled violence in Mexico). ... Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians."
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, en route to Mexico City

Jan. 26: "All too often the United States starts by dictating ... and we don't always know all the factors that are involved. So let's listen. And I think if we do that, then there's a possibility at least of achieving some breakthroughs. ... My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect."
-- President Obama, in an interview with Al Arabiya

The Obama administration has also expressed plenty of regret stateside as it rolls back some of Bush's counter-terrorism policies. The president, for instance, acknowledged potential "mistakes" as he addressed CIA employees April 20 and discussed his ban of enhanced interrogation techniques.

"Don't be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we've made some mistakes. That's how we learn," Obama said.

Now it seems we almost have the criticism du jour from the White House. Hey, at least it's change...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

All of the country's problems are solved!

There's no more war, no more disease, no more poverty, no more crime. Everyone is rich and has all they could ever need or want! How do I know this? Because there's a congressional committee holding hearings on the BCS Bowl system! No, really! Everything else must be perfect!

Sarcasm aside (and that's difficult, given this story), there were three (yes, only three of the 32 total) members of the House commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee in attendance to ask BCS coordinator John Swofford some questions about the NCAA football championship system in place. Oh yeah, and they also threatened him with legislation that would prevent the BCS from calling their final game the national championship game if they don't "voluntarily" go to a playoff of some sort.

It was a not-so-subtle reminder that the leaders of the country are college football fans, too, and make no mistake -- the three seated at the front of a hearing room in the House of Representatives on Friday morning made it clear they're in favor of a playoff.

"It's probably better than a 50 percent chance that if we don't see some action in the next two months of a voluntary switch to a playoff," warned Barton, "you'll see this bill."

Barton was speaking directly to BCS coordinator John Swofford, also the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and he was referring to proposed legislation that would prevent the BCS from marketing its final game as the national championship.
...

"It's in my mind a little bit like communism," he said. "You can't fix it. It will not be fixable. Sooner or later, you're going to have to try a new model."

This is all because some congressmen have decided that the country needs a playoff system for college football and are willing to waste taxpayer funds and abuse their power to get it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the BCS, and I would love to see a playoff. I think the smaller bowls would be a marvelous 32 team round, followed by larger bowls and ending up with a true championship game. But (as with many other things) it's not the government's job to make it happen.

Oh yeah, and the BCS is like communism, huh? Controlling speech, punitive taxation, gun control and mandatory indoctrination-like education isn't, but the BCS is?

Boy, if there were any real problems in the world, this would seem like such a small, insignificant thing.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama now compared to FDR in addition to Lincoln and JFK

From the AP: Analysis, Obama channels FDR amid crises
Banks failing and the economy in shambles, the new U.S. president reassured a nationwide audience that his administration was putting America back on the right track.

"It was the government's job to straighten out this situation and do it as quickly as possible," Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in the first of a series of radio addresses dubbed fireside chats, "and the job is being performed."

More than seven decades later, Barack Obama borrowed heavily from FDR's playbook as he tried to slip as effortlessly into the role of comforter in chief. "Every American should know that their entire government is taking the utmost precautions and preparations," Obama said of the flu outbreak Wednesday night.

Balancing two wars, a creaky economy and — now, suddenly — a flu bug of near-pandemic proportions, this new president used his third prime-time news conference to assure America that its oft-derided government could rise to the challenge. At the same time, he sought to inspire citizens to help themselves rather than rely solely on Washington.

Yeah. It doesn't surprise me that the press is doing this again. Ever since he put his hat in the ring they've been comparing him to this president or that president. The problem is, they can't think anything to really say about him, so they talk about past presidents in relation to Obama.
Read the transcripts of FDR's fireside chats. You'll find that he spoke in plain, sometimes folksy language to methodically explain the nation's problems and outline his proposed solutions. Agree or not with Obama's politics, it's hard to argue that he doesn't communicate as effectively as Roosevelt.
This is one of my favorite lines. Bush spoke in "plain, sometimes folksy language," and that made him an idiot. Obama does it and he's just like FDR. Nice.

Of course, the comparison may not be unfair. FDR did more than any other president, to date, to socialize and expand government with his New Deal, which prolonged the great depression for several years. Maybe Obama is like FDR after all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day


So for earth Day today I did my best to help out. I didn't leave my truck running with the AC on all day to make sure it was nice and cool when I got off work. The things I do for Gaia. The sacrifices I make. She better appreciate it.

So what did you do for Earth Day?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not able to make it today


Well, I was not able to make the local OKC Tea Party due to work. Unfortunately, when you pay your bills, sometimes you can't set your own priorities.

I did keep track of what was going on, and here in OKC at the capitol building the estimated crowd was up to 7000 people. I wish I could have been there. There were several speakers and a local conservative radio guy provided the music, a good speech and lots of publicity.

You can tell that it was a good day because CNN and MSNBC says: "Tens of thousands of protesters staged "tea parties" across the nation Wednesday to tap into the collective angst fueled by a bad economy..."

There were at least 5000 and likely close to 7000 here. The AP is trying to play it down. Check the numbers coming in at the Tax Day Tea Party website.

This was an outstanding day, and I wish I could have been there. I'll take vacation next time.

Friday, April 10, 2009

MSM pushes Universal Health Care agenda

Found at Day By Day, which led me to Doug Ross:

When a labor fronted group called FamiliesUSA puts out a press release, the MSM all line up, and what you get was over 200 almost identical headlines around the country. Doug Ross' outstanding breakdown includes bits like "Obama promised FamiliesUSA that he would implement universal healthcare by the end of his first term," and and actual, factual, census backed breakdown of healthcare in America.

It's a great expose, but I bet it won't be picked up by over 200 newspapers around the country.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obama DOJ asserting total "sovereign immunity" under Patriot Act

From the Electronic Freedom Foundation and Salon.com:

Wow. Remember when the liberals were complaining about Bush expanding FISA law for warrantless wiretaps and using the Patriot Act to get rid of civil rights? They just couldn't wait to get Obama in office so he could roll back all of Bushitler's unconstitutional power grabs and bring back personal privacy. Glen Greenwald (the same guy that wrote the Salon.com piece above) wrote a piece condemning Bush about this exact thing. Even presidential candidate Obama talked about how "no law supersedes the authority of the FISA court."

Well, I'm sure they're glad Obama is in now, and he's putting the 4th Amendment first in all his policies, especially when it comes to the the (now unmentionable) War on Terror.

What? He's not?

Friday evening, in a motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, EFF's litigation against the National Security Agency for the warrantless wiretapping of countless Americans, the Obama Administration's made two deeply troubling arguments.

First, they argued, exactly as the Bush Administration did on countless occasions, that the state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the issue out of hand. They argue that simply allowing the case to continue "would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security." As in the past, this is a blatant ploy to dismiss the litigation without allowing the courts to consider the evidence.
...

Sad as that is, it's the Department Of Justice's second argument that is the most pernicious. The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying — that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes.

This is a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one — not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration — has ever interpreted the law this way.

So, Bush's DOJ used the phrase "state secrets" a lot, but Obama's DOJ says that not only are state secrets at risk if the government is sued, but that they are completely immune from suit for violating federal privacy laws.

From the Salon op-ed:

When Congress immunized telecoms last August for their illegal participation in Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program, Senate Democratic apologists for telecom immunity repeatedly justified that action by pointing out that Bush officials who broke the law were not immunized -- only the telecoms. Here, for instance, is how Sen. Jay Rockefeller justified telecom immunity in a Washington Post Op-Ed:

Second, lawsuits against the government can go forward. There is little doubt that the government was operating in, at best, a legal gray area. If administration officials abused their power or improperly violated the privacy of innocent people, they must be held accountable. That is exactly why we rejected the White House's year-long push for blanket immunity covering government officials.

Taking them at their word, EFF -- which was the lead counsel in the lawsuits against the telecoms -- thereafter filed suit, in October, 2008, against the Bush administration and various Bush officials for illegally spying on the communications of Americans. They were seeking to make good on the promise made by Congressional Democrats: namely, that even though lawsuits against telecoms for illegal spying will not be allowed any longer, government officials who broke the law can still be held accountable.

But now, it's different. Obama is in power and we can't have any piddly little lawsuits jeopardizing state secrets, now can we?

But late Friday afternoon, the Obama DOJ filed the government's first response to EFF's lawsuit (.pdf), the first of its kind to seek damages against government officials under FISA, the Wiretap Act and other statutes, arising out of Bush's NSA program. But the Obama DOJ demanded dismissal of the entire lawsuit based on (1) its Bush-mimicking claim that the "state secrets" privilege bars any lawsuits against the Bush administration for illegal spying, and (2) a brand new "sovereign immunity" claim of breathtaking scope -- never before advanced even by the Bush administration -- that the Patriot Act bars any lawsuits of any kind for illegal government surveillance unless there is "willful disclosure" of the illegally intercepted communications.

In other words, beyond even the outrageously broad "state secrets" privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and -- even if what they're doing is blatantly illegal and they know it's illegal -- you are barred from suing them unless they "willfully disclose" to the public what they have learned.

So the Bush administration violated the 4th Amendment with the FISA warrantless wiretaps, which was bad, and now Obama is saying that the government is immune from prosecution. Change. It's a wonderful thing. I'm waiting for the Dems to start explaining why this is ok when it was evil before. You know, not even the HuffPo has touched this one.

So when Salon.com says something like this:
It is hard to overstate how extremist is the "sovereign immunity" argument which the Obama DOJ invented here in order to get rid of this lawsuit. I confirmed with both ACLU and EFF lawyers involved in numerous prior surveillance cases with the Bush administration that the Bush DOJ had never previously argued in any context that the Patriot Act bars all causes of action for any illegal surveillance in the absence of "willful disclosure." This is a brand new, extraordinarily broad claim of government immunity made for the first time ever by the Obama DOJ -- all in service of blocking EFF's lawsuit against Bush officials for illegal spying.
when they used to say this:
The veto threat from the President [Bush] is so unbelievably corrupt and manipulative that if our national press had even the smallest amount of critical faculties and understanding of the issues, that veto threat would be a major story. After all, how can the President possibly threaten the country that he will veto a law that he himself has claimed for months is indispensable for Protecting Us All?
you know it has to be bad.

Man, I'm glad that Obama is bringing back the personal privacy that the evil Bush took away.

Jesus, ol' W has to be kicking back on his porch down in Texas and laughing. I know I'd laugh, but I'm too busy canceling my home phone.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Simon Jester lives

The wonderful folks over at Liberty Girl and The Line is Here have resurrected an old character called Simon Jester. Who is Simon Jester?

Simon Jester. A symbol, since “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein was published in 1966, of dissent against authority. Let the press, and the government, and your neighbors know that you are paying attention to what the Federal government is trying to do. Let someone ask you what that little devil underneath the word “Citizen” across your chest means and then explain it to them. Explain to the one pool reporter who shows up at the next Tea Party that you and Simon have your eyes open and are watching as the government tries to control your life. Explain to your pastor, or your waitress, or your barista at Starbucks, that our government is power hungry and that you and others like you are trying to be heard.

We are Simon Jester. So are they.

And so are you.

And so am I.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The 90% myth debunked

From Fox News:

For a while now we've heard that 90% of the guns confiscated at crime scenes in Mexico came from the US, which is a major argument in the fight to ban "assault weapons." We've heard it from the assistant director for field operations at the BATFE, Secretary of State Clinton, various news anchors like Bob Schieffer, and Senetor Feinstein (not a big surprise...she'll repeat anything she hears anyway).

The reality is that the Mexican authorities will trace guns to the countries of manufacture, and that includes the US. The 90% is the percentage of guns that the authorities thought were from the US being actually from the US. But only a small percentage of guns are actually traced in the US. That percentage is actually 17%.

What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told FOXNews.com, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, "is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

"Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market," Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.

In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced -- and of those, 90 percent -- 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover -- were found to have come from the U.S.

But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.

In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.

Remember that it requires a special license to purchase or own automatic weapons, so why would Mexican drug lords take all the time and effort to go through background checks to purchase single shot versions of the guns they can get from other national sources? Answer: they don't.

So if they're not getting all of these guns here, where are they coming from?

-- The Black Market. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

-- Russian crime organizations. Interpol says Russian Mafia groups such as Poldolskaya and Moscow-based Solntsevskaya are actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

- South America. During the late 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with the Tijuana cartel, according to the Federal Research Division report from the Library of Congress.

-- Asia. According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China has provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese assault weapons and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico.

-- The Mexican Army. More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifle made in Belgium.

-- Guatemala. U.S. intelligence agencies say traffickers move immigrants, stolen cars, guns and drugs, including most of America's cocaine, along the porous Mexican-Guatemalan border. On March 27, La Hora, a Guatemalan newspaper, reported that police seized 500 grenades and a load of AK-47s on the border. Police say the cache was transported by a Mexican drug cartel operating out of Ixcan, a border town.

So why would the statistic be intentionally misrepresented? The NRA thinks it is to strengthen restrictive gun laws and I happen to agree with them. The left has consistently misused information, falsified reports and lied straight to our faces about the proliferation of those nasty cop-killing guns, and this is just the next soundbite designed to scare people into allowing the left to take away their right to keep and bear arms.

So what makes me think that?

But Tom Diaz, senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, called the "90 percent" issue a red herring and said that it should not detract from the effort to stop gun trafficking into Mexico.

"Let's do what we can with what we know," he said. "We know that one hell of a lot of firearms come from the United States because our gun market is wide open."

So Tom thinks that the fact that the Secretary of State is intentionally lying about a statistic to make the case for more gun (citizen) control is a red herring? A made up issue to distract from the problem? Out of the millions of firearms in the US, 5114 of them ended up in Mexico, and that is a "hell of a lot?"

This is SOP for the left.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Robert Gates gives N Korea permissions to fire missiles

From Fox News:

Appearing on "FOX News Sunday," Gates said North Korea "probably will" fire the missile, prompting host Chris Wallace to ask: "And there's nothing we can do about it?"

"No," Gates answered, adding, "I would say we're not prepared to do anything about it."

I'm sure that Kim Jong-Il is dancing a little nuclear dance right now. And I'll bet Gates is so happy that he stayed on to help the new administration.

Gates conceded that North Korea will likely get away with thumbing its nose at the international community by test-firing the missile. He also said that six-party talks aimed at curbing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions have been largely fruitless.

"It's very troubling," Gates said. "The reality is that the six-party talks really have not made any headway anytime recently."

"The reality is that although we are talking a good game in the press, our military and foreign policy is impotent to stop this kind of thing."

Gates also lamented that the missile launch planned by dictator Kim Jong-Il comes just two months after President Obama took office.

"If this is Kim Jong-Il's welcoming present to a new president, launching a missile like this and threatening to have a nuclear test, I think it says a lot about the imperviousness of this regime in North Korea to any kind of diplomatic overtures," he said.

Well, Russia did this about the missile shield, Iran has done it about pretty much everything we stand for, Iraq is doing about our troops, the UN Arab group is getting criticism of religion criminalized...

Sounds like people see Obama's election as a sign of weakness.
The Obama administration has signaled it wants to scale back the deployment of a missile defense system that was initiated by former President George W. Bush. The White House is also talking about dropping plans for missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Gates lamented the futility of diplomatic efforts toward North Korea and Iran, another nation with nuclear ambitions. Despite the Obama administration's talk of ramping up diplomatic overtures toward Tehran, Gates was pessimistic about that strategy.

"Frankly, from my perspective, the opportunity for success is probably more in economic sanctions in both places than it is in diplomacy," Gates said. "What gets them to the table is economic sanctions."

At least Gates remembers what it feels like to have testicles, although I'd have liked to hear, "What gets them to the table is the threat of regime change."

But we sent that guy home.

Friday, March 27, 2009

So much for education in jolly old England

From the Guardian:

Children will no longer have to study the Victorians or the second world war under proposals to overhaul the primary school curriculum, the Guardian has learned.

However, the draft plans will require children to master Twitter and Wikipedia and give teachers far more freedom to decide what youngsters should be concentrating on in classes.

The proposed curriculum, which would mark the biggest change to primary schooling in a decade, strips away hundreds of specifications about the scientific, geographical and historical knowledge pupils must accumulate before they are 11 to allow schools greater flexibility in what they teach.

...
The plans have been drawn up by Sir Jim Rose, the former Ofsted chief who was appointed by ministers to overhaul the primary school curriculum, and are due to be published next month.

Well, I guess the liberals in England have really gotten their way. Take away the important parts of history and add in pop culture. No more real science, just science fiction.

The proposals would require:

• Children to leave primary school familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication. They must gain "fluency" in handwriting and keyboard skills, and learn how to use a spellchecker alongside how to spell.

• Children to be able to place historical events within a chronology. "By the end of the primary phase, children should have gained an overview which enables them to place the periods, events and changes they have studied within a chronological framework, and to understand some of the links between them." Every child would learn two key periods of British history but it would be up to the school to decide which ones. Schools would still be able to opt to teach Victorian history or the second world war, but they would not be required to. The move is designed to prevent duplication with the secondary curriculum, which covers the second world war extensively.

• Less emphasis on the use of calculators than in the current curriculum.

• An understanding of physical development, health and wellbeing programme, which would address what Rose calls "deep societal concerns" about children's health, diet and physical activity, as well as their relationships with family and friends. They will be taught about peer pressure, how to deal with bullying and how to negotiate in their relationships.

The six core areas are: understanding English, communication and languages, mathematical understanding, scientific and technological understanding, human, social and environmental understanding, understanding physical health and wellbeing, and understanding arts and design.

Ummm. Yeah.
John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers, said: "It seems to jump on the latest trends such as Wikipedia and Twitter. Then it has very traditional descriptions of chronological teaching of history. It seems to be about trends on the one hand, then political pressure on the other hand - the government didn't want to look like it is scrapping traditional education. Computer skills and keyboard skills seem to be as important as handwriting in this. Traditional books and written texts are downplayed in response to web-based learning."
I have no problem with web based learning. I take web based continuing education courses myself. Kids of this generation (including mine) grow up with computers in the house. more than one. I don't know any of my kids' friends that don't have their own personal computer. Having kids use a computer instead of a book is fine, as long as you're teaching some of the important things, like history. Maybe even science. but Twitter?

And this was done without the Teachers' Union.
The leak led to a row when it emerged unions had been excluded from the consultation about what should be included, and subject specialists were given only three days to respond. Bousted said: "It's entirely unacceptable that it hasn't come to the teaching unions. Our members have to teach this. We've responded at all other stages of consultation. I don't know why we have been missed out now."
I'd think that the union would be happier about all this. Just give the kids unrestricted internet access for 8 hours a day and go get a spot of tea.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is free speech really protected?

There's a case in front of the SCOTUS right now about Citizens United's 90-minute documentary Hillary: The Movie. CU attempted to put it on a cable provider's On Demand function but the FEC decided that it was a political ad, "prohibited electioneering communication," and forbid the showing of the movie.

Of course CU has sued and they are now in front of the SCOTUS. This is going to be an interesting case, because the Supreme Court is going to uphold or strike down the First Amendment with their ruling.
The test "does not depend on the length or the way it's communicated," Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart said.
...

The government lawyer also suggested that books could be prohibited in the same way McCain-Feingold restricts the airing of certain political advertisements within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. That proposition did not sit well with the court's conservative members.
...

Justice Antonin Scalia who has consistently ruled against restrictions on campaign speech rhetorically asked the government lawyer if the First Amendment "cover[s] the right of any individual to -- to write, to publish?
So now it's books and movies (but not W, that's ok because it was about Bush).
So what's next? Flyers? magazine articles about candidates' gun stances? Blogs? If McCain-Feingold gets upheld, if the government can regulate free speech based on who is speaking and when they choose to speak then free speech in this country is truly dead.

The First Amendment to the Constitution is very clear:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
So all of you reporters out there who think that because this was a commercially produced product and isn't the same as what you do, putting your opinions out there as fact every day, look again. If they take out part of the amendment to keep it fair (?) then the entire amendment fails. You will have no real protection. If you speak out you can be targeted. God forbid you speak out during an election cycle.

"This sounds like campaign advocacy," Justice David Souter. "If that isn't an appeal to voters, I can't imagine what is," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg added.

But Citizens United lawyer Ted Olson told the court that ruling and the law itself smothered his client's First Amendment rights to free speech. He added the government must have a "heavy burden" in limiting the speech.

"The government cannot prove and has not attempted to prove that a 90-minute documentary made available to people who choose affirmatively to receive it..." Olson said. "Indeed, this documentary is the very definition of robust, uninhibited debate about a subject of intense political interest that the First Amendment is there to guarantee."

God, I hope that the SCOTUS feels the same way about it. This was a bad law when it was passed and George W Bush lost a lot of my respect when he signed it in to law. This is one of the reasons I held my nose when I voted for McCain. There have been a lot of unconstitutional laws (like the Ex Post Facto, Bill of Attainder AIG bonus tax that made it through the house - see CoUS Article1, sec 9) passed recently but this is one of the worst.

Make your voice heard while you still can. Write your representatives and speak out. Tell them what you think of this bill and the case in the supreme court. Write the supreme court. If this is upheld you may not have much more time to speak your mind without concern. Also, I hope this story gets a lot more coverage than it has so far.

Awesome Op-Ed in the NY Post

AMERICA'S enemies smell blood and it's type "O."

by Ralph Peters

All new administrations stumble a bit as they seek their footing. But President Obama's foreign-policy botches have set new records for instant incompetence.

Contrary to left-wing myths, I wasn't a fan of the Bush administration. (I called for Donald Rumsfeld to get the boot in mid-2001.) But fair's fair. Despite his many faults, Bush sought to do good. Obama just wants to look good.

Vice President Dick Cheney was arrogant. Vice President Joe Biden is arrogant and stupid. Take your pick.

Don't worry about the new administration's ideology. Worry about its terrifying naivete.

Consider a sampling of the goofs O and his crew have made in just two months:

China: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (you know that gal married to the Saudi hireling) crawled to Beijing to tell the party bosses that human rights don't matter. Our "relationship" is more important than freedom and human dignity.

Beijing's response? A staged military confrontation with an unarmed US Navy vessel; continued screw-America currency cheating; a renewed crackdown on dissidents and, yesterday, a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar.

Thanks, Hill. You're a sweetheart.

Pakistan: With viral corruption throughout and Islamist fanatics sweeping half of its territory, Pakistan's coming apart. Its Dem-adored prez tries to ban opposition parties and gut the judiciary. It has nukes and seethes with hatred of America. And Islamabad controls our primary supply route into Afghanistan, using it as an extortion tool.

Obama's response? Billions in new aid for Pak pols to pocket. We'd be better off handing the money to AIG to pay out more bonuses.

Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam. Am I the only American who remembers that candidate Obama had a plan to capture Osama bin Laden and fix our previous "mistakes" in Afghanistan? President Obama doesn't have a clue.

Iran: Obama tried to reach out, to talk. After all, talking got him to the White House. But America-bashing is what keeps Iran's leaders in office, it's their political essence. After 30 years of fierce hostility, hasn't anyone figured out that the senior mullahs need us as an enemy? Without the Great Satan America to blame, they'd have some real explaining to do to their homies. So O got the left-hand finger.

He wanted to chat with the Taliban, too. They told him he could stick it where the sun don't shine.

North Korea: Obama wanted a fresh start. North Korea's response? Threats of war with South Korea and the kidnapping of two American journalists. And the renewed pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, along with rocket tests.

Cuba: Obama would like to liberalize our relationship. The Castro boys told him to kiss off. They need an enemy, too. (Dear Mr. President: It's not always about us or how evil America is.)

Venezuela: Guess who else needs an enemy?

Mexico: The good news: Obama knows where it is on a map and recognizes that Mexico's government faces a narco-insurgency that threatens our country, too. His first action? Cave to the Teamsters, violate a lawful treaty on cross-border trucking, reignite fading anti-Americanism and undercut President Felipe Calderon.

Poland: Obama's stance on our bravest ally on the European continent? The Russians are more important than you are. He's sending the same message to Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia: Bolshie Biden, the commuting commissar, knows he's the man who can turn Russia into our best pal. After "Friend of Bill" Strobe Talbott tried and failed disastrously. And after poor W saw into Putin's soul, only to get his butt handed to him. "Uncle Joe" Biden has nothing to learn from past failures, though: He's got a re-set button.

Moscow's response to the Obama administration's bid for a new start? It threatens NATO members it once occupied and continues to back Iran's nuclear program. Plus, it bribes Kyrgystan to kick us off the critical-to-Afghanistan Manas airbase (then offers to help replace that supply lifeline, giving Russia a choke-hold on our troops).

Next, the Kremlin threatens massive re-armament and demands the abandonment of the dollar as the international reserve currency.

Obama's response? Push that re-set button again. And again.

At what point does naivete become cowardice?

As for our allies, Obama apparently needs them less than Bush did. O treated Britain's prime minister like the deputy Paraguayan veterinary inspector, and he blindsided the leaders of the Czech Republic, Poland, Mexico and Canada on issues ranging from missile defense to trade. But he'd like them to take the Gitmo terrorists off our hands, please.

The one bright spot thus far has been Iraq, where Obama quickly tossed aside his campaign promises. The O-man doesn't want to be on the blame-line for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Baghdad. And his MoveOn.org supporters can throw all the tantrums they want. (Breaking news, folks: O's a professional pol, not the messiah . . . )

Apart from Iraq a success Sen. Obama did all he could to prevent his foreign policy's an instant wasteland. By comparison, the Carter administration is starting to look like a model of manly strength, courage and patriotism.

Thanks Ralph, you put it much better than I could.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This is how you handle it

Kudos to FedEx who is saying that they will cancel their 30 plane, $7.7 billion order with Boeing if Congress passes a law that removes them from union protection under the Railway Labor Act. Since FedEx was originally incorporated as an airline, their truck drivers aren't allowed to organize with the Teamsters without a national vote. The Teamsters have been trying to get in to FedEx for years.
Commissioning the 30 planes — at a price tag of $225 million each — is expected to create thousands of jobs for Boeing employees, workers at General Electric Co. who make the jet engines and workers at hundreds of subcontractor companies.

...

FedEx might be particularly concerned about unions forming within its ranks as the company's new economic realities unfold. Thousands of employees have taken wage reductions or salary freezes as the company tries to adapt to deteriorating demand, and it warned last week that even more cuts are coming. The company has also frozen 401(k) contributions for a year.
The best quote is this:

"If the regulatory and congressional environment remains hostile, there is virtual uncertainty over how we'd proceed," FedEx spokesman Maury Lane said Tuesday.

The change would "stymie competition and create an economic roadblock to recovery," he said.

...

"This notice gives Congress a chance to protect jobs instead of killing jobs," spokesman Maury Lane told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "This is a prudent business decision based on a potentially devastating Congressional decision."

Read the story here and here.

The legislation has been approved by a House panel already. Getting in to FedEx would be quite the coup, and this bill will move FedEx under the National Labor Relations Act. Of course, UPS with 50% Teamster membership thinks the bill is a good idea because it will "level the playing field."

In a note to investors, Avondale Partners analyst Donald Broughton said the bill is "directed at making it easier for the Teamsters to try to organize FedEx Express workers."

"We find it more than a bit intriguing that now Congressmen will have to vote against Boeing, GE, and the creation of thousands of unionized jobs for machinists (and several other trade unions) in order to change the labor law status of FedEx in an attempt to possibly help the Teamsters union," he wrote.

It sounds like the administration is beginning the process of paying back the unions for their support. Took him long enough I guess.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Four days of shooting

I've been shooting and RO'ing the High Plain Shotgun Challenge over the last few days, and it's been taking up all of my time. The shooting, the competitors and the homebrewed beer has been excellent. The youth shooting division of the club came out and cooked lunch for the competitors on both days. This has been a first class match.

For you shooters out there, I highly recommend you look in to competitive shooting. It's a whole different game, and you'll meet a bunch of outstanding people.

Just to give you an idea, on one stage of fire we had 75yd slug shots and 10yd steel plates you shoot with birdshot. There's nothing quite like it. It is more fun with necessary, and any time you can get out and spend four days shooting and hanging out with your friends that shoot, that's a good time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is anyone paying attention?

I've been listening a lot to what our current President has to say. Watching the things that he's doing. I've been getting more and more concerned about the lack of response by anyone to the things that have been going on. At least when Bush did something there was a reaction. Both from his supporters and his detractors. The only thing I'm hearing now is the sound of burning 230 year old parchment.
"Since the economy is bad, business can't survive without government intervention, so lets give $775 billion to whomever wants it." [chirp chirp]
This should have raised more alarms the first time it happened under Bush; it did in certain circles, but not in the majority of the public. The ones who spoke out were only those of us who understand what "nationalization" means. Then it happened again. I guess because it worked so well the first time.

Oh yeah, they're trying to do it a third time. Because the government knows how to spend your money better than you.
Since the economy is bad, we must work towards nationalizing education because kids can't get an education in this country. [silence]
After dems screaming that the NCLB act was the worst piece of legislation (written by dems) ever signed by Bush...except for all the other ones, Obama wants to fund and expand it, while canceling the DC voucher program. I'm sure the teacher's union is ecstatic.
Since the economy is bad, people can't afford health care, so the government has to pay for everyone's health care. [...]
Obama wants to start putting up money, to the tune of $630 billion, to help people pay for healthcare. Where, exactly, does he think this magic money will come from? Just wait, we'll find out soon enough.

In the middle of all this, CNN says that the honeymoon is still on, but dems in congress are starting to get rather impatient. They're wondering aloud when things start to get better. I'll tell them that as long as they keep throwing good money after bad, things will stay bad.

With the polls still giving Obama a 61% approval rating, I can only wonder what people think he is actually doing? Don't they see the seeds he is planting? If he succeeds with his plans and makes a second term, I think we'll see the mask come off and the real socialist come out. These are tests. There's no hardcore socialist program changes going on here, just the primers. If these easy things he's doing now work, then he has a purpose for his second term. That's when we'll see the real "Change."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Democrats oppose tax increase for the rich...sort of

So this one is a little unexpected...

From Yahoo News:
President Barack Obama's proposal to limit itemized tax deductions for high earners is running into opposition from key Democrats in Congress who worry that charities and the housing market would be hurt. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus questioned Wednesday whether the proposal was viable, a day after his House counterpart also expressed reservations.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said tax increases on families making more than $250,000 a year are necessary to make a down payment on health care reform and to limit future budget deficits. But, he said, he was willing to work with lawmakers on proposals they objected to.
So Obama wants to decrease the deductions for charitable donations on people making more than $250K a year, tacitly increasing their taxes, hopefully without having to say that he's raising their taxes.

But there are a lot of democrats on capitol hill that think this is a bad idea. Not because it would be a tax increase, though. Because it might hurt charitable donations. The funny part about that is that conservatives give more money to charities that liberals by as much as 30%

So the liberal senators and representatives, who give less money to charity according to the statistics, are concerned that the richest (apparently conservatives) won't give enough money to charity if they don't get a large deduction for it.

On Tuesday, Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said he, too, had reservations about the proposal.

"I would never want to adversely affect anything that is charitable or good," the New York Democrat said.

That was unexpected. Charlie Rangel, opposing a tax increase on "the richest Americans."

Of course, republicans are fighting it, too:

Republicans have been even more critical of the proposal, saying it would reduce charitable donations at a time when many charities are struggling.

"There are people with the means to help. Why would you make it harder for them to do it?" said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.

I'll be honest, I think that charitable donations are only really charitable if you don't get anything from them except the feeling of helping someone less fortunate. If the only reason you give to charities is for the tax break, that's not really charity. It's greed. Keep your money and offset your taxes that way.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Zero sum game

Based on what I've read about the speech last night, and Obama's pledge to reduce the deficit by 50% by the end of his term as president, I can only assume that he is using a variation on the "Zero Sum Game." Basically, in a two player game, if you take the gains by one player and the losses by the other player, they should even out to zero.

Unfortunately, he's looking at it as the gain of those who do nothing, and the losses of those who work. Add it all up and it equals zero, which is where we'll be if we keep going this way.

I couldn't even watch the speech. I'm reading some good analysis on it, and I'll read the speech so I can do my own slightly sarcastic analysis on it.

:edited to correct the timeframe for deficit reduction - folly

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Bush Truth Commission?"

Here comes the culmination of BDS...Sen Patrick Leahy is calling for a "Truth" commission to investigate the Bush administration to find out the truth of what went on.

The Vermont Democrat, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pitched the idea last week during a speech at Georgetown University, saying the commission would not pursue criminal indictments but would launch a fact-finding mission to "learn the truth" about the Bush years.

He said the commission would strike the "middle ground" between those who want to prosecute Bush officials for alleged violations of civil liberties and the politicization of the Justice Department and those who want to resist any inquiries into the past eight years. Leahy has since launched an online petition that has garnered more than 26,000 signatures.

26,000 whole signatures? I seem to recall a petition I signed against the "stimulus" package he just voted for that had almost 500,000 signatures. That didn't matter to the Senator, so I have difficulty believing that a petition with a paltry 26K signatures would sway him.

Some Democrats say the proposal is no good because it doesn't go far enough. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said officials should not be "afraid" to use the Department of Justice to investigate torture allegations and punish anyone who broke the law.

"I don't know if we require a formal new commission to do that," Reed told MSNBC.

Bob Fertik, co-founder of Democrats.com, wrote on his Web site: "I truly do not understand the distinct minority of 'liberals' who would rather 'learn the truth' about George Bush's most heinous crimes than prosecute them. And when I read the 'arguments' for a 'Truth Commission,' all I see are fallacies."

These people still can't get past "Bush Lied, People Died," and "No Blood For Oil." In an extraordinary time, and extraordinary man stepped up and made our country safer. He was the right president for the situation. He made some poor choices here and there (especially towards the end), but even Democrats were glad Gore or Kerry didn't win.

Leahy said the commission could look at matters ranging from the firings of U.S. attorneys, interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects and the authorization of warrantless wiretapping.

A poll conducted last week by USA Today/Gallup found that nearly two-thirds of Americans polled want some kind of investigation into whether the Bush administration allowed terrorism suspects to be tortured. But they were split on what form that investigation should take.

Thirty-eight percent said a criminal investigation would be best; 24 percent called for an independent panel. Thirty-four percent said neither option should be pursued.

What's funny about the poll is that even gallup.com says there's no mandate for a commission. They did have a pretty good breakdown of the percentages of who wants what:


What they didn't have was a breakdown of how many republicans or democrats they talked to. No sampling data. The closest they had was this:

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,027 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Of course, Sen Russ Feingold came to Leahy's defense saying:

"Getting all the facts out about what happened over the last eight years is a crucial part of restoring the rule of law," Feingold said. "There needs to be accountability for wrongdoing by the Bush administration, including the illegal warrantless wiretapping and interrogation programs. We cannot simply sweep these assaults on the rule of law under the rug."
Of course not. Even if they were allowed under the fisa courts, or allowed in the patriot act, that's no excuse. Bush was evil! He tricked us in to voting for these things!

In an interesting twist, Obama has actually been cold to the idea of investigating, but he has used his typical language that can be later changed to meet the current trend.

But other Democrats, including President Obama, have suggested that an investigation of the Bush administration would be too divisive. Obama declined to endorse the idea of a "truth commission" at his prime-time press conference last week.

"My view is also that nobody's above the law, and if there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any ordinary citizen, but that generally speaking, I'm more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards," Obama said.

So if someone is obviously guilty, we can give them a fair trial, then hang them. The purpose of the commission is to determine that guilt in the eyes of the press, before any trials begin. I know that he understands that. His statement is designed to relax opponents of the commission so there will be less push back when it starts showing up for votes. "Look, we don't want to persecu...prosecute anyone, we just want to know what really happened in the Bush white house."

So before you let your guard down, remember that any time someone calls it a "truth" whatever, what they want is not "THE truth," but "MY truth."