31 August 2009

Just the Typical Abuse of Power Story

From Now Hamphire:
In four short years Carol Shea-Porter has evolved from a rabble-rousing, town hall disrupting anti-war activist who once had to be forcibly removed from a President George Bush event in Portsmouth to a Member of Congress who instructed armed security guards to remove a frustrated voter from her own town hall event in Manchester on Saturday.

In the appended video, Shea-Porter can be seen instructing security to remove a man for standing to ask a question without a ticket. Shea-Porter previously held a lottery to determine who could ask questions. She can also be heard taunting the man on his way out by saying, “I do hope the movie theater can be a little quieter for you.”

During a radio program last week, Shea-Porter waved off a hostile question about the constitutionality of the health reform bill she supports because, “The Constitution did not cover everything.” Her response to the caller was grossly inapt. She compared Congress’ efforts to establish a so-called government option for health coverage to the City of Manchester establishing a police force.

“The irony is, of course, that Shea-Porter used to be a ‘tea-bagger’ on the left,” writes Nashua Telegraph columnist Kevin Landrigan. “She stalked then-congressman Jeb Bradley at town hall-style meetings the 1st District Republican incumbent held throughout his district.”

30 August 2009

"It Ain't No More."

They told me that if I voted for John McCain, all levels of law enforcement would be defying the US Constitution in favor of the political power structure - and they were right!

Where is Charlie's Heat?

"Geez; I forgot I own another $1MM home."

In 2004, for instance, Rangel reported earning between $4,000 and $10,000 in outside earnings on top of his $158,100 congressional salary.

But the amended filings show that after the sale of a property on West 132nd Street, his outside income that year was somewhere between $118,000 and $1.04 million.

The forms filed by House members provide for a range of value on such transactions, so the precise number isn't publicly known.

Rangel also lowballed his income by as much as $70,000 in 2002, $46,000 in 2003 and $117,000 in 2006, records show.

Only in 2005 did Rangel reveal his total outside income.

This criminal writes the tax laws of our nation, but it goes largely unnoticed since the legacy media is STILL shitting their pants over what the RNC spent on Sara Palin's wardrobe.

Calling Out Harry.

Sherman Frederick:
We've seen cattle ranches give way to railroads. We chronicled the construction of Hoover Dam. We reported on the first day of legalized gambling. The first hospital. The first school. The first church. We survived the mob, Howard Hughes, the Great Depression, several recessions, two world wars, dozens of news competitors and any number of two-bit politicians who couldn't stand scrutiny, much less criticism.

We're still here doing what we do for the people of Las Vegas and Nevada. So, let me assure you, if we weathered all of that, we can damn sure outlast the bully threats of Sen. Harry Reid.

If he thinks he can push the state's largest newspaper around by exacting some kind of economic punishment in retaliation for not seeing eye to eye with him on matters of politics, I can only imagine how he pressures businesses and individuals who don't have the wherewithal of the Review-Journal.

For the sake of all who live and work in Nevada, we can't let this bully behavior pass without calling out Sen. Reid. If he'll try it with the Review-Journal, you can bet that he's tried it with others. So today, we serve notice on Sen. Reid that this creepy tactic will not be tolerated.

Every time I'm angered by Nancy Pelosi's thuggish folly, old Harry crawls out of the crevices.

Count Me Among the Majority

Nearly 6 in 10 would throw every bum out including me.

If they could vote to keep or replace the entire Congress, just 25% of voters nationwide would keep the current batch of legislators.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% would vote to replace the entire Congress and start all over again.

Half-Assed After-the-Fact Movie Review

So I stayed up too late last night watching "Basic Instinct." It was better written than I remembered and as poorly photographed as I remember. Anyway, I had forgotten that it featured all three of my favorite fat actors George Dzundza, Wayne Knight & Jack McGee.

Our Dog Farm is Poodle-Free

Not that we necessarily hate Poodles, but generally don't trust Poodle owners.

Okay, the bison is sort of cool.

27 August 2009

My Own Private Motorcade Boycott

Not all of us are glued to the TV, weeping for false idols. Some have a clearer perspective:
I am very well known, a United States senator. My family is incredibly powerful. There are allegations that I had been drinking heavily hours up to the time I got into the vehicle with the passenger. I deny this for the rest of my life. That at no point did I make an attempt to call for rescue would probably be considered by many people to be outrageous and horrible, perhaps a crime that would carry a prison sentence.

Can you imagine what the parents of the deceased would be going through when they found out that their 28-year-old daughter died alone in total darkness?

I serve no time. Not inconvenienced by the burdensome obstacle of incarceration, I seek to maintain my elected position. I am successful and remain a senator for the next four decades.

Not Part of the Solution

Part of the problem:

In what may prove to be her most controversial remarks to date, Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) on Tuesday defended Washington’s efforts to reform the American health care system by telling a talk radio caller, “The Constitution did not cover everything.”

Someone should bring to Shea-Porter's attention that things not covered in the Constitution are prohibited, not available. You know, it's that whole "enumerated powers" thing. She should brush up on the document she swore to defend by reading this. She should pay close attention to the 10th Amendment, too.

Trouble with politicians is that you can't return them, even if you saved your receipt.

26 August 2009

50th Anniversary Mini Cooper

Well, at least this one's not out-n-out stupid like the Clubman.

Really tough, why can't BMW just leave well-enough alone?

25 August 2009

Another White House Clunker

Oh, by the way, that $4,500 you got for your 'clunker;' yea, that's taxable income. Pay up, suckers!

24 August 2009

"Shaved Into Its Side Was the No. 4"

The Favre phenomenon will be the ruin of us all:
Auto repairman James Prusci has seen some unusual things left in the cars he works on, but nothing quite like what he found Friday in the trunk of a Chevy Malibu.

A woman came into the Tires Plus in Winona just before noon, asking if the shop had time to replace a belt.

Prusci started the paperwork.

"Oh, by the way," the woman said. "I have a goat in my trunk."
Yea, you should probably read the whole story.

21 August 2009

Modern Day Book Burning

Oh my; it seems we've not evolved a bit since the 'good old days' of burning books, witches and other straw men.

19 August 2009

Preference: Not For Little People Like You

Hope and Change; what a slogan that was in the day:

Gosh, what a surprise: A committee of their fellow senators has decided that Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad did nothing unethical when they took out loans from Countrywide Financial on the kind of favorable terms not available to us mere mortals without their financial or political standing – or a personal connection to the head of Countrywide.

The very Select Committee on Ethics did recognize that the whole deal looked bad, and gave its colleagues a gentle pat on the wrist for creating "the appearance that you were receiving preferential treatment based on your status as a senator." But in the end one hand washed the other, if not very well.

Something else seems to have escaped these two U. S. senators – namely, that they are U.S. senators. Which means their getting a loan at a preferential rate through the head of a corporation like Countrywide, which was very much dependent on favorable treatment by the government before it came crashing down at great expense to the taxpayers, is quite different from a private citizen’s getting a mortgage at the same preferential rate.

Why? Because the private citizen is in no position to return the favor through political influence. Which is why the ethical standards expected of public officials are higher. Or at least should be. That crucial distinction used to be well understood. I’m not so sure it is now.

It's fine to be mad at imbeciles like Dodd and Conrad, and that whole incestuous bunch on Capitol Hill, but leave some anger for your fellow citizens, who keep electing these finks and who yesterday left work early, hoping to catch a glimpse of a millionaire change his shirt.

17 August 2009

A Letter to the Obama Faithful

Michael Barone asks America's youth about hope and change:

I am sure that you find it inspiring that America elected its first black president (I do, too). And I am sure you appreciate Obama's openness to alternative lifestyles, although you may have noticed that he, like George W. Bush and unlike Dick Cheney, opposes same-sex marriage.

The larger point is this: You want policies that will enable you to choose your future. Obama backs policies that would let centralized authorities choose much of your future for you. Is this the hope and change you want?

16 August 2009

Sunday Night Intelligence

You know, intelligence; something you'll not find in those working for themselves in Washington DC:
While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment.

Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.
More very good stuff from Radley Balko here:

Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most employee-friendly places to work in the service industry. In fact, Whole Foods treats employees a hell of a lot better than most liberal activist groups do. The company has strict environmental and humane animal treatment standards about how its food is grown and raised. The company buys local. The store near me is hosting a local tasting event for its regional vendors. Last I saw, the company’s lowest wage earners make $13.15 per hour. They also get to vote on what type of health insurance they want. And they all get health insurance. The company is also constantly raising money for various philanthropic causes. When I was there today, they were taking donations for a school lunch program. In short, Whole Foods is everything leftists talk about when they talk about “corporate responsibility.”

And yet lefties want to boycott the company because CEO John Mackey wrote an op-ed that suggests alternatives to single payer health care? It wasn’t even a nasty or mean-spirited op-ed. Mackey didn’t spread misinformation about death panels, call anyone names, or use ad hominem attacks. He put forth actual ideas and policy proposals, many of them tested and proven during his own experience running a large company. Is this really the state of debate on the left, now? “Agree with us, or we’ll crush you?”

These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.

12 August 2009

Live Music is Better

Sarcasm Missed on the Political Jokes

The children are stomping their feet because daddy won't let them eat cookies all day long:
In a sarcasm-laced letter, Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday brusquely rebuffed DFL legislative leaders' invitation to a summit meeting that would address the state's ongoing financial crisis.

Late last month, Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher invited former governors, speakers and majority leaders to a "Minnesota Leadership Summit."

In Tuesday's letter to Pogemiller and Kelliher, Pawlenty declined the invitation. "The state already has a 'Minnesota Leadership Summit,'" he wrote. "It's called the legislative session and it lasts approximately five months."

He then went on to lambaste the DFL legislative leadership for having "wasted the first few months of the session," only to pass budget bills in the waning moments of the session.
After the disaster that was the last session Marge and Larry are still crying for some manner of do-over.
The summit, scheduled for Sept. 8, will also feature economic experts and specialists in fiscal management. The summit's immediate goal is to devise strategies to deal with chronic state budget deficits. By some accounts, the state could be $7 billion in the red by 2011.
How to deal with chronic state budget deficits? Simple; stop electing chronic spenders. There; solved. Go home Larry, go home Marge.
During the past year, Pawlenty wrote, "DFL legislators have done a thorough job of admiring our state's budget difficulties, but have refused or been unable to take action to address them."

The summit, he wrote, would do little more than "rehash already established concerns."
Of course it also will give Larry and Marge more time to spin and weave their blankets of political cover; their situations made tough by that mean old daddy, Governor Pawlenty.

The Country's in the Very Best Hands

11 August 2009

Old Dogs and Their Old Tricks

What an operator - she's slogging through Africa and he pops up in Las Vegas, a week before his actual birthday.

Turns out Mr. Clinton decided to celebrate his 63rd birthday with a dinner at one of this city’s hottest – and most pricey – restaurants: Craftsteak at the MGM Grand hotel. How pricey? The 8-ounce wagyu New York strip steak goes for $240. (Potatoes and other sides are extra.)

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, is in The Congo, as part of her trip to Africa, and thus will miss the celebration. No worries. Mr. Clinton might be celebrating on the strip on Monday, but his actual birthday is not until Aug. 19.

10 August 2009

Tracking the Stimulus was so Yesterday

It's so much money, who can keep track of it all? Doesn't matter; no one is taking that seriously it seems:

Despite a new oversight panel, a new special inspector general, the existing Government Accountability Office and eight other inspectors general, those charged with minding the store say they don't have all the weapons they need. Ten months into the Troubled Asset Relief Program, some members of Congress say that some oversight of bailout dollars has been so lacking that it's essentially worthless.

"TARP has become a program in which taxpayers are not being told what most of the TARP recipients are doing with their money, have still not been told how much their substantial investments are worth, and will not be told the full details of how their money is being invested," a special inspector general over the program reported last month. The "very credibility" of the program is at stake, it said.

Yup; Washington phones it in again.

The program also has undergone a major transformation. When the Bush administration first went to Congress for the money, TARP's main purpose was to buy up hundreds of billions of dollars in bad mortgages and so-called mortgage-backed securities that were bought and sold on Wall Street .

Today, TARP consists of 12 programs that sent those hundreds of billions of dollars to big banks, but it's also bailed out auto companies, auto suppliers, individuals delinquent on their mortgages, small businesses and American International Group , the big insurance company.

Uncontrolled expansion of an unaccountable federal program; neat, huh?

I Am Not Cargo

When I buy a ticket from an airline, I have purchased a contract for travel. I have NOT signed away my rights nor agreed to be held captive against my will:

The Continental Airlines flight Friday night from Houston to the Twin Cities was left parked at the Rochester airport for six hours, complete with crying babies and the aroma of over-used toilets and no way for passengers to leave.

ExpressJet Airlines, which operated the plane, said that crew members on the plane reached their maximum work hours in the air, so another crew had to be flown in. Thunderstorms in the area also were a factor in the decision to redirect the plane to Rochester.

The plane, which left Houston about 9:30 p.m. Friday, arrived in Rochester about midnight, and passengers weren't allowed to leave the plane until 6 a.m. Saturday.

One alternative that night, chartering a bus, couldn't be worked out. And letting the passengers into the Rochester airport was not possible, ExpressJet said, because they would have to go through security screening again, and the screeners had gone home for the day.

What an absolutely agonizing recounting; cowards hiding behind words on paper and demonstrating no initiative to resolve the situation for live people with whose care they are charged.

I've used this analogy before: Your family is in a theater seeing a movie. The the film breaks. Or the power goes out. Or the projector operator doesn't show up for work. For whatever reason, when the wheels come off at the theater, you are free to get up and leave. Hopefully you'll get a refund or a voucher for a return showing, but the theater operator cannot hold you in your seat against your will until they get their own shit straightened out.

Who among us would tolerate being stuck in a movie theater, held prisoner for 9 hours without being allowed to use the indoor plumbing or find some food and drink while the projector operator struggled with splicing the film back together? "Sorry, a thunderstorm knocked out the power; you're all going to have to sit here until the power comes back on and then we'll pick up where the movie left off."

I say this - there is nothing so unique to air travel that compels us to be held prisoner in a fuselage. Security screening, FAA, pilots union, airline personnel costs all be damned; there is nothing about airline travel that makes it okay to hold people against their will, on the ground, within sight of an airport that has plumbing, food and maybe a rental car to get the hell out of there. The reason this happens to travelers is because the people calling the shots are stupid, lazy, unimaginative and/or cheap.

"Sorry, Homeland Security is off for the night."

Sure, I'm a big talker, but I am telling you this - if this happens to me I will politely inform the flight crew of my intentions, give them all my contact information and then I'm going to blow the door, go down the slide and walk away. If I'm arrested, I'll look forward to the day I can stand before a jury of my peers and walk out of court free and vindicated. In the second paragraph of the story, it says the passengers had no way to leave. Bullshit. The airplane had at least one functioning door; THAT is the way to leave.

The bottom line is that any outfit calling themselves an airline had damn well better know the phone number to get an airport terminal door unlocked at all hours, know who to call to get some fuel for an airplane, and know where there's a place to rent a bus to actually move people toward their destination. If you can't do that, you have no business playing with airplanes.

09 August 2009

Everything Changed on January 20th

Immediately after President Obama took the oath, change came quickly:
  • Seems no one is afraid of big government, privacy matters or record deficits anymore.
  • Gone are those "grannies for peace" who used to carry signs demanding an end to the wars that are still going on.
  • The open and operating GITMO no longer the cancer of our national soul since someone else now sits in the Oval Office.
  • And it's no longer okay to petition the government for a redress of grievances:
When handfuls of Code Pink ladies disrupted congressional hearings or speeches by Bush administration officials, it was taken as evidence that the administration's policies were unpopular, and that the thinking parts of the populace were rising up in true democratic fashion.

This was just good, boisterous politics: "Robust, wide-open debate." But when it happens to Democrats, it's something different: A threat to democracy, a sign of incipient fascism, and an opportunity to set up a (possibly illegal) White House "snitch line" where people are encouraged to report "fishy" statements to the authorities.
Civility is fine, but those who demand it should show it. The Obama administration -- and its corps of willing supporters in the press and the punditry -- has set the tone, and they are now in a poor position to complain.

Whether they like it or not -- and the evidence increasingly tends toward "not" -- President Obama and his handlers need to accept that this is a free country, one where expressions of popular discontent take place outside the electoral process, and always have. (Remember Martin Luther King?)
Rather than demonizing today's protesters, perhaps they might want to reflect on how flimflams and thuggishness have managed to squander Obama's political capital in a few short months, and ponder what they might do to regain the trust of the millions of Americans who are no longer inclined to give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt.

02 August 2009

Rmember This Well

The video makes this very relevant news:
To get the economy back on track, will President Barack Obama have to break his pledge not to raise taxes on 95 percent of Americans? In a “This Week” exclusive, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told me, "We’re going to have to do what’s necessary.”

Geithner was clear that he believes a key component of economic recovery is deficit reduction. When I gave him several opportunities to rule out a middle class tax hike, he wouldn’t do it.

“We have to bring these deficits down very dramatically,” Geithner told me. “And that’s going to require some very hard choices.”
Another Oval Office fool; either he's contradicting policy or he's revealing the lies. Neither makes for good news to the Obama faithful, or anyone who pays taxes in the United States.

01 August 2009

Long Live the Queen

Bailey 1993-2009

In the spring of 1994, Mrs. OctaneBoy went to a pet adoption event knowing that there would be a second-hand Golden Retriever needing a home. Believing that she (and no other) would provide the best home and life for that dog, she pretty much muscled the dog away from all others who also showed interest. She took the dog home, christened her Bailey, survived the puppy years, used her to snare a man (lucky for me) and, together, we watched Bailey mature into the matriarch of the pack.

In her prime, she was a lightning bolt; incredibly fast for her breed. For many years, nothing was more fun than making squirrels run for their lives. Bailey wasn't much of a swimmer, but she loved being wet and dirty like any proper sporting dog. She was a great camper, always welcoming to visitors and was happiest when she could relax in the back yard with her people around. Once past her very active puppy hood, she became the easiest and most accommodating pet. She ate whenever we fed her, rode in the car as long as it took and took care of business when we finally let her outside. She could made squeaky toy last for years, only ate what she needed and never bit a soul.

I recall her tormenting prairie dogs at the airport in Watertown, South Dakota once she discovered four of the holes they used. I still laugh at how she'd watch other dogs retrieve a ball from a lake only to take it from that dog once it'd reached ankle-deep water, essentially making the other dog do all the work. I'll always be grateful for how well she received other dogs, ours and visitors, helped them assimilate and often took a back seat to their more needy tendencies.

Bailey was the definition of loyalty in a domestic canine and today we said goodbye. Sixteen years finally caught up with her. She had very little gray hair and went out like a lady. Our dog farm, for the first time, is without that wonderful, faithful orange retriever, although we'll be finding strands of that gorgeous hair for years to come.