Monday, January 30, 2012

Music div ........

One of my favorites ...........

Considering where I've been over the past five years, words to live by.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nostalgia div ........

This really brings back memories  - - though in a different airplane  - -  but spent enough time around these while on a SAC aircrew to appreciate it. This is from Minot AFB, June 09 - -  and the planes are older than most of the flight crews.

MITO means Minimum Interval Take-Off 15 seconds between like aircraft 30 between others.

Crank up the full screen...... but no speaker can really replicate the actual noise (or the smell).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Workin' For A Livin' div .......

Interesting read in today's Washington Post. Premise being that our work habits are killing us. Good point.
Americans are very productive ... and that's a problem.
We work longer and harder and more efficiently than anywhere in the world. We also receive very little for our efforts. Stop and think, European (those Socialists) have four to six weeks paid vacation a year and don't seem to be suffering.
I firmly believe that the one thing that is keeping the middle-class American worker behing the rest of the world is the absence of universal healthcare. Think of the folks you know who hate their jobs; but won't leave them because they will loose the privilege of participating in their company's plan (along with the co-pays). How many have forgone wage increases for the same reasons (and still seen their "share" of the costs go up) ?? How many, given the availability of universal, single-payer coverage would hesitate to

It isn't an easy thing to do. But ask yourself, just what does the "Healthcare Insurance Industry" contribute to health or care fort that matter ??? Everyone complains about the "government" and the teaparty don't want anyone a messin' wid da MediCare. But those folks at Medicare consistently keep the overhead at  less than 5%.  Think of the savings if the pool of participants is increasesd to, well, everybody. If most of the advanced, civilized countries in the world can do it, why can't we ??

How much you ask. Answer, I don't know. But let's just use a number, say 5% of total income - for everyone - I wouldn't even bridle at a reasonable co-pay, say 10 bucks for a doctor visit.

You earn $100K, you pay $5K. A Million ? - $50K. Your kid goes to the Golden Arches and gets eight bucks an hour to start  - - yep, 5% - - - for healthcare.

If the private insurers want to hang in there and sell nose-job insurance or Botox policies, or breast enhancement insurance,  great.  But let's get basic healthcare to everyone. Not only would the health of every man, woman and child in this country improve, but working folks would have a greater voice in where, how much, and how much for they work.

Friday, January 27, 2012

With Friends Like This div ..........

Things are gettin' so hot in Florida that all kinds of things are comin' outa da woodwork.
So many folks are gunnin' for Newt,  guess he can use some help like this.

So far they've been pretty consistent in demonizing the President, but haven't espoused a single original idea. Just the constant recitation of the Republican talking points  - -  cut taxes, cut regulation, cut capital gains, cancel any attempt at healthcare ...... how's that worked out for ya so far ???

The man who originated "Trickle-down economics was on Bill Moyers last week. David Stockman was St Ronnie's budget director. He seems to have had an epiphany. If you didn't see it, try this  - -

This mornings Post had an excellent article on just who's tactics are being emulated so far in the campaign. The next time you listen to FOX news or one of them "talkers" like Rush, pay attention to rules 5 and 13 (many sources cite between 10 and 13 "rules").  This listing even admits to their use.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Liberal div ........

Think about it ......... This is the kind of shit that encourages this kind of behavior.

Have we really fallen that far ???
My Mother calles me a "Liberal" and a "Socialist" ........ and then prays for my soul. Yep, I'm wrong and I'm goin' to hell. I'm amazed at how many of my retired military comrades think the same way that I do.
Guess I know where we'll be holding a reunion somewhere in the future.

The more and more I hear the rhetoric from those seeking the Republican shiny thing, the more I wonder if these people have been living on another planet in an alternate universe. They obviously have had little recent contact with the middle class ( though they talk about 'em all the time ). Of course at the rate the "middle class" in this country is disappearing, they're certainly getting harder to find.

Yep, I'm one of those ......... and I ain't ashamed of it. I live in the hope that my friends on the right will come to their senses, but I don't hate them. My parents didn't raise me to hate. Friends will respectfully disagree, but will continue to RESPECT.

As Jon Talton wrote today, "The only thing that can save America is liberalism."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shiny Thing div ... cont'd

So, the Newtster wins in SC. Now on to Florida. George Wallace won there in 72 (though as a Democrat), and we know what happened to him. Ya never know what will happen when you get south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Then there's the Mittster trying to spin the loss. He just don't get it  .... the Republican "base" don't really trust him ( in spite of the fact that he's "every thing they want to be") Maybe it 's because we already have the ideal candidate  - -  only problem is he's a Democrat.

Then there's the religion thing ....... So many folks still think that Mormons are a cult (well, any religion that won't admit you to their sanctuary .......... ). Of course the Mormons have so many things going for them things going for them.

Of course, the Founding Fathers basically felt there was no place for "religion" within the political structure, thus, Article VI, section III of the Constitution (the US one so revered by the Tea Party and Republicans - when it suits them) stating, "... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the United States."
Then there's that inconvenient First Amendment thingee about "establishment of religion or free exercise thereof." What that means is you can't bring Heavenly Father, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, Jesus, the Buddha,  Flying Spaghetti Monster, Satan, Spider Grandmother (and so on for the uncounted names of the various and sundry greater and lesser deities out there in their many flavors, colours and manifestations) into the public arena under the sponsorship of "government." Get it ???
You are free to practice your beliefs in public and private, advertise them, annoy others with them; but you can't give them the power of government approval.

My beliefs are MINE. You may respect them or not. You may attempt to sway them, if you choose. That's your right, and possibly an edict of the tribe you belong to.  Every time one of the political class puts his or her religion on display, I immediately lose a modicum of respect for them. It's wonderful to have your "faith" but I'd rather you earn my respect and trust through your actions.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Good Day div ........

Today was GREAT !!!!
Picked up the Les Baer Custom, .38 SuperAuto, 6-inch  I ordered 4 Months ago   . .  shoots like a dream though two of the Baer supplied mags failed. Small problem - easily corrected.

Replaced my stolen Les Baer .45 ACP  - --  the insurance came through and covered most of the cost.

Received the Ultimate Equipment folding knife I won in a no-cost raffle (I never win anything).

The rock is the weapon that broke my window and helped the thief (may he/she contract a disfiguring social disease and suffer for many years - the rock probably won't suffer much).

Cooked a Rack of Lamb for the Goose Girl and a filet for myself (she said "excellent"). Nice bottle of wine with dinner ...........

All in all, a great day ...... Happy Bear

At Last div ....... (so long Etta)

Great voice, tragic history and now at Peace. One of the Goose Girl's favorites :

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Great Yellow Father div

For years, I did semi-serious photography. The guiding dictum at that time was "the cheapest thing in your gadget bag is film." Since the rise of digital photography and all the digital ways to massage an image, that philosophy has pretty much gone by the wayside.
Ironically, Kodak (who's bankruptcy was announced today invented the digital camera but surrendered the manufacture to Asia  - -  believing that it would never replace film.

Every film they made had its differences, Kodachrome gave great reds and yellows, but required special processing. Ektachrome was for blues and greens and could be processed at home. The B&W films ran the gamut of speeds and graininess. Every one of them required some thought to composition, lighting, focus and exposure  - -  you paid for the chemicals, the time and the paper  - -  pointing and shooting cost money. I think the digital world has opened the art and hobby to many more folks than film ever would, but it saddens me to see instant gratification replacing that anticipation of waiting for the image to appear in the developer or opening that packet of photos on the way home from the drugstore.

Paul Simon sure made a lot of money off it, and never took a picture. But probably to most evocative words are from Josh Williams' Kodak 1955  --  "little letters in the corner Kodak 1955." (sorry, no video)

So, the little yellow boxes are gone  - -  but the heavy old Canons are still upstairs.

Shiny Thing div

And then there were four ; the guy that won in Iowa,  the rich guy that doesn't trust local banks,  Newt and  that other guy that no one wants to talk about.

Gubner Goodhair's departure (remember the late Molly Ivins compared him to Dubya by calling GW "the smart one.") was a forgone conclusion, but what's amazing that people allowed him to get this far considering the things he's said and done long before his "oops" moment in New Hampshire.

When you look back at political campaigns in general, it seems that Republicans are really good at running for office and lousy at governing. P.J. O'Rourke probably said it best.
Meanwhile Barry thinks he won the SuperBowl and is already at Disneyworld. I'm sure something catty will be said about this, but, whatcha expect, eh ???

Monday, January 16, 2012

Workin' for a Livin' div

Last nite after getting home from Driving4$$ (work is slow and tips suck),  I turned on the tube for company during dinner (and to wait for the Good Wife). Happened upon Undercover Boss on CBS.

Ya know, if the OWS movement and the 99% ever need a real publicity department, they only need to call on CBS and use this show.

I've caught parts of it in the past and am dumbfounded at the total ineptitude of these Captains of Industry when it comes to relating to or accomplishing even the simplest of tasks that their rank and file employees do every day, over and over.

The Diamond Resorts guy last nite flies in his private jet to his first "position." (Any line-boy I've ever met would have been on the phone to the property manager before the engines had finished spooling down). He's driven by his major-domo/body guard to a local motel (subsequently adjudged by the neckless guy to be insecure - so we move on to a luxury suite). Here (presumably after a good night's sleep and room-service breakfast) our hero dons a wig and glasses to assume a geek/yahoo appearance and heads to his new "employment."

In the course of his country-wide job experiences, he seemed perplexed at how to climb a ladder, flumoxed at why the reservation clerk couldn't find the caller a room in Hawaii between Christmas and New Years and disgusted that sanding dry-wall by hand was boring and dirty. Don't these guys get it. Most work IS hard, boring and/or dirty (except maybe for chashin' those dividend checks).

The amazement that these "little people" had to put up with overwork, low pay, understaffing, lack of training and just plain old contempt and disdain for their efforts makes me mumble "Mama Mia" as my head bangs against the keyboard. But it's OK 'cause at the end of the show he invites them to his beach house and surprises them with a reward and promises to correct the company faults that he's discovered. Everyone cries, smiles and tells him how wonderful he is and praises the change he's made in their
lives  -- "Honey, you won't have to work two jobs now."
I doubt that CBS will ever follow up and see if the promises of improvement made have ever been carried out or have continued (wouldn't this make a great lead-in to this show by having 60 Minutes do it ??).

It's a given today that companies (in the interest of the almighty god of shareholder equity) first cut staff,  then cut training, then capital investment, maintenance and R&D  --  but not management salaries, perks or shareholder dividends.

I remember the high muckety-muck of Johnny Rockets saying "I don't know anything about the fast food industry" and the deer in the headlights stare of an environmental clean-up boss at what his employees actually did.

When that librul media talks about the inequality in our system and the inability of what was once the middle-class of this country to grow or get ahead, you only need to tune in to this.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bible div

Isn't it great that just about anything or anyone can be praised, condemned, justified, banned, encouraged, discouraged and so on by almost randomly picking out some passage of Scripture ???

Out there in Kansas, and it's not the only place a verse from Psalm 109 is being construed as a prayer to remove the President. Some say that it's an incitement for a violent and premature end to Mr. Obama's Presidency. Ah well, it's the Bible and it pretty much depends on your point of view.

Now, what if . the President decides to go to a church,  give the reading from the Old Testament and choose Psalm 109: which begins:

1 Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;
2 for the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me:
they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred;
and fought against me without a cause.
4 For my love they are my adversaries:
but I give myself unto prayer.
5 And they have rewarded me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

Now, I guess a reasonable person may be tempted associate a face to surrounds that "mouth of the wicked (or deceitful)" - -  the uncharitable among us might call to mind John Boehner or Mitch McConnewhom the later verses call to have visited upon them all sorts of nasty things  - - unto whole generations  - - ( it does leave out more graphic things like pustulating sores and such ) . well you get the picture.

Imagine the explosion of viperous flak from the likes of Rush, Glen, Bill O  ........ well, you get the picture.

But, take it from Proverbs 18 :

7 A fool's mouth is his destruction,
and his lips are the snare of his soul.

Now Here's an Opportunity div

Virginia's Republicans now have a real chance to show that Mittens isn't good enough. Simply put your "X" next to the other guy's name.
It isn't like these birds didn't know what the requirements were to get on the ballot, eh ?? And deciding to check that the signatures were valid ??? Lordy Me !!!!! (guess it's alright to harass "those" people about voting, but Republicans ??? What's the world a comin' to ??
So, if Willard (or his alter ego Mitt) isn't your guy, simply vote for what's his name.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

" ....... and to keep our Honor clean" div

I was raised by a Marine. Though I served in a different branch of the military, I worked for Marines while on the Joint Staff. The most important thing expected from a Marine (and anyone they associate with) is integrity and honor.

War hardens those who participate. War is about killing. If you can de-humanize your enemy, it's much easier to justify his death and subsequent degradation. I guess these guys hadn't had a chance to read the manual. I'm sure that there are many who will refer to the stress of combat and accuse me of becoming a whining liberal, but that still doesn't justify this conduct. What's going to happen when one of our killed or worse yet wounded can't be recovered immediately ??

“When you're left wounded on Afganistan's plains and the women come out to cut up what remains, Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains, And go to your God like a soldier”

I remember guys back from the 'nam showing off pictures of severed VC heads. One guy boasted of having a string of dried ears (though I was never afforded a look). This stuff has been going on for ages, and both sides have done it; but that doesn't make it right and certainly doesn't make it honorable.

The Marines ARE better than this ......

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On the Road (or driving 4$$) div ....

Yesterday, I had to stand the van on it's nose to avoid an accident on the beltway. Set off the safety-cam, but I'll hopefully have it counted as a "save."

I can't understand why I'm one of the only people that can read the signs that say "RIGHT (or LEFT) LANE CLOSED AHEAD. Are they only readable with my magic glasses ?? Do the other drivers see MUFKL OKNE WLIFRJ KLAMT ??  It's a given that losing one lane on the Beltway due to sumpin' stoopid happenin' will snarl things up; but when there's more than enough notice to slow down, get over and pay attention ??

From my lofty perch, I see numerous cases of the ubiquitous cell-phone in the ear and worse, the thumbs in the lap ( that really can excite the sense of wonder). Yesterday I saw a cop doing it !!

Seems to be a given out there on the road that merging is a lost art and yielding is a sign of weakness. Add 'em up and you have the formula for gridlock.

At least someone else seems to be noticing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

War Is Over div

On this day in 1815 the final battle of the War of 1812 took place (we won it).
The irony of the whole thing was that the war had ended on Christmas Eve 1814 (Treaty of Ghent, subsequently ratified by the US Senate on 15 February 1815).
Being as how there wasn't an internet, cell phone, telegraph or even Pony Express, the word never got to the Boys in Red (or Blue). The Brits had the worst of it and Andrew Jackson assured his future.

Deja vu ( all over again ) div .....

Isn't this the same sort of shit that George W. and Karl Rove did to John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary ??

This is probably the guy with the best resume and credentials (except, of course for being a Republican). Wonder what the General Election will hold (not like the previous three years haven't been a preview)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Books vs Current events div

Currently reading The Man  Who Never Died by William M. Adler. It's the biography of Joe Hill, the poet and songwriter of the IWW during the labor disputes in the American West just after the turn of the 20th century. His life, his "crimes," times, trial execution, "martyrdom" and legacy.

The one thing that stands out in reading this story is the amazing parallel of the IWW to the beginnings, philosophy and establishment reaction to the present day OWS movement.

My feeling is that employers today don't want good workers, they want cheap workers; and are willing
to screw the average worker
Add to that the ever rising inequities and the ever increasing inability of working folks to get ahead.

I'm all for 'Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps." Heaven knows, "been there, done that." But why do they keep raising the price of the boots?? (or outsourcing their manufacture).

I've always felt that the one impediment to the success of a General Strike in the US (aside from our aversion to mass action) is the absence of Universal, Single-Payer Healthcare. If you go out in protest, you loose your job, you and your family loose their "healthcare" benefits (not to mention your wages) and the other people that need to pay the cable and cell phone bill step up and take your job (and probably for less money).

I'm frightened at the path the country is on ............ and it ain't because of the "black guy" in the White House

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Vehicle Theft div

Went to the pistol range today to finish zeroing the new Baer 1911. On the way home I decided to stop at the hardware store to pick up something. Covered my range bag and went inside.
20 minutes later, I wondered why there was glass around the lil car.
Yep. No range bag  - - and no gun + the assorted shooting stuff therein.

Oh well, Police and Insurance called, car to the shop for new window. My stupidity ............ guess I've just become complacent.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Friendly banking div

This morning's Crooks and Liars reports that B of A is cutting back on local lending. Remember, these are the guys that screwed up, lost a pile of money, got bailed out, and got big bonuses (wonder how big  they'll be this year - - the stock only lost 58% of its value).

Aren't these banks supposed to be helping out the "job creators?" (or is the only magic bullet a tax-cut that seems to have worked out so well lately?).

As shaky as they are ethics-wise, the City Council of Washington, DC has come up with a pretty good idea that might get the bankster's attention.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sloganeering div.

Well, the papers and the tee-vee are full of the R's out there in the cornfields making their appeal as the ultimate "shiny thing" for a minuscule number of potential voters (for an obscene amount  of money).
This morning's Washington Post talked about all the research goin' on to use the President's words against him. Oh well, probably the same ole tired out of context shit that's been going on for three years and, (no doubt) references to "Obamacare."

Next time one of those people makes that reference, simply interpret it as a question and reply, " Yes, President Obama DOES care,  ........................................... (now fill in the blank - use "Prudential", "Aetna", "Romney," "Republicans", etc - as you see fit; I'm sure there is no end to the examples you can use) doesn't"
Time to make folks aware of what's in their interest, eh ??