Monday, November 30, 2009

Quick Hits

Here then, after a length absense, is the return of Quick Hits:

  • Cops Shot: I was saddened when I heard the news of the 4 police officers executed in a coffee shop yesterday.   Sadder still at how the first 6 people into my office had no clue what I was speaking about this morning - inspite of the headlines and radio news stories saying the police had the suspect's home surrounded (do any of my colleagues follow the news besides Tiger Woods?).  That the alleged monster who did this won clemency makes me wonder if we, overall, give free-passes too often to violent criminals.

    There will always be people who think it is OK to shoot at anyone, even police officers.  That this act was so brazen, so unprovoked (as if any assault on a law officer could be considered provoked) makes one even more frightened at the prospects of tigheter gun controls.

  • Cyber Monday:  Come on, now: how can anyone seriously still consider this day - the first, full work day after Thanksgiving, as a major point in the shopping cycle?  Ten years ago, there were few people who met the following criteria necessary to make CyberMonday happen:

    1. people who had home PCs
    2. who would put up with the comparatively slow dial-up speeds of the day

    Fast forward to today: given the now-common practices of shopping online from home, mixed with the astounding unemployment rate over 10%, it seems to me that tracking the phenomona is as practical as tracking those who still use Christmas Club passbook accounts at their local banks (yes, youngin's there used to be passbooks for savings accounts).  Time to move on.
    • Health Care Bills:  The good news on this issue is that the Senate is only now beginning debate.  That means it is extremely likely (but not absolute) that no health care bill will be passed by the Senate this year.   And the longer it takes, the better the odds are that there will be no health care legislation passed at all.   One has only to look at the recent government recommendations curbing prostate and breast cancer screenings (after decades of just the opposite) as early indications of the kinds of rationing on the horizon should a we lose the ability to choose our own health insurance.   And there's ample evidence to show the kinds of health insurance choices we have today will evaporate should a federal mandate come down from Capital Hill.     I've said it before and will say it again: I'll do whatever 2nd, 3rd or even 4th job I have to in order to prevent my kids from falling prey to a national health care system.
      • Tiger Woods What can I say? His Cadillac Escolade backed into a fire hydrant before going forward into a tree. No air bag deployment. Questions:

        1. Where can you go at 02:30 in that part of Florida? In NYC there a half-a-million things you can do at a quater to three (thank you Huey Lewis); in that part of Florida there's the Waffle House.
        2. Airbags didn't deploy: either he wasn't yet going fast, or he has a hefty lawsuit to GM.
        3.  If the airbags didn't deploy, why did his wife need to take a golf club to the back window - surly the door frames couldn't have been bent!
        4. He went to hospital at around 03:00, and wasn't released for 15 hours.  If you or I go to our local ECU (ER), we're in the waiting room for a time before being seen.  Tiger Woods, on the other hand, probably didn't wait long.  If the injuries were so minor, why was he there so long?

        In the big picture, I can't really care any less about Mr. Woods and his woes. There are far too many more important things to deal with. However, this story won't go away anytime soon, and may well be the threshold of the end of his career.

      Christmas is coming soon... stay tuned for my annual reposts of holiday favs.

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      Friday, November 20, 2009

      Philadelphia Boy Scouts survive another battle...

      ... but the war for their right to exist continues:

      PHILLY.COM: Scout eviction ruling A federal judge yesterday ordered the city to "immediately cease and desist" efforts in Common Pleas Court to evict the local Boy Scouts chapter, the , from its rent-free headquarters building at 22nd and Winter streets while a federal lawsuit is pending. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter does not prevent the city from pursuing similar claims in the federal suit.
      The CoL Council still has a long row to hoe in their battle to make the City honor their lease, but every win like this - albeit a small win - is a step in the right direction.

      More on this case by me:

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      Friday, November 13, 2009

      Touch of Grey

      Must be getting early, clocks are running late.
      Paint my love a morning sky, its all cold.
      Dawn is breaking everywhere, light a candle, curse the glare
      Draw the curtains I dont care, but its all right
      I will get by, I will get by, I will get by, I will survive.

      I see youve got your list out, say your piece and kiss off.
      Guess I get the gist of it, but its all right
      Oh well anyway, sorry that you feel that way.
      Every silver linings got a touch of grey
      I will get by, I will get by, I will get by, I will survive.

      Its a lesson to me, the ablers and the beggars and the thieves
      The abcs we all think of, try to win a little love.

      I know the rent is in arrears, the dog has not been fed in years
      Its even worse than it appears, but its all right

      Cow is giving kerosene, kid cant read at seventeen
      The words he knows are all obscene, but its all right
      I will get by, I will get by, I will get by, I will survive.

      Shoe is on the hand that fits, thats all there really is to it
      Whistle through your teeth and spit, but its all right

      Oh well a touch of grey, kinda suits you anyway,
      Thats all I had to say, but its all right
      I will get by, I will get by, I will get by, I will survive.

      Its a lesson to me, the devils and the east and the free
      The abcs we all must face, try to save a little grace.

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      Monday, November 09, 2009

      Remembering President Ronald Reagan's words

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      Friday, November 06, 2009

      Veteran's Day

      The following is a repost, refreshed for style and accuracy in time references, and updated with the very special video. This serves as this week's contribution to Fatherhood Friday.

      Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

      The idea for this post came before the news of the horrible act at Fort Hood, Tx.  Prayers and thoughts to those brave soldiers who were felled in the last place they ever expected to be threatened.

      This is something I've come to share with my kids each , in my efforts to remind them of the importance of paying tribute to those who have served in the Armed Services.
      On the occasion of Veteran's Day, I wanted to take a moment to thank those who have served.

      I've never served in the military, but I've worked for Defense Contractors for the last 13 years; not sure if that fits the definition of irony or not. However, I don't feel particularly guilty about having not served; anyone who knows me in person can probably guess I may have very likely been passed over for induction. This much I have told to a number of veterans with whom I worked with in the Defense Contracting area, and no one has disagreed with me.
      Regardless, had I been drafted (assuming, of course, there was an active draft provision, I was old enough, etc.) I would have likely burst out laughing the first time I was told to 'drop and give me 20', knowing well that would probably be the last time I ever laughed in uniform. In the end, I would have made a good ol' fashioned 'dog faced' grunt, I would have done my duty and that would be it; I have no delusions of grandeur that I could be officer material.1
      Those same colleagues who know me - when they heard me say this - chuckled appreciatively and agreed.
      In college, I saw students in ROTC, and while others found it easy to joke about, insult, or in other ways disrespect them, I knew they had more courage than the rest of the student body to wear their uniforms on campus, in spite of the narrow minds who mocked them.
      Back in May '04, on the occasions of Memorial Day and the opening of the WWII Memorial I wrote a piece dedicated to my uncles:
      Anthony, one of my father's 3 older brothers, was called to service in March of 1942, just less than 3 months after Pearl Harbor. He served the US Air Force in crash recovery, piloting a PT boat, recovering the many who were downed during the battle of Midway. Unlike the average GI who served about 2 years (with furloughs), Tony served for 3 years and almost 10 months; no breaks, no furloughs. A year later, Gasper - my father's oldest brother - was drafted. He first guarded German POWs as an MP and later served as a medic, providing triage in France.

      My father and his other older brother, Vincent, had poor eyesight and were not eligible for the draft. They, like the majority of others, fought the war on the homefront, with war bonds, scrap drives, victory gardens, and by working hard.

      Six or so years later, John, my father's brother-in-law, spent years defending liberty in Korea.

      To these men, and to the countless others who have served this nations military, and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I salute you. My uncles all came home, but it was the Spring of '04 when we said our last farewell to Gasper, and farewell to John earlier this year, but the work they performed should never be forgotten.   And it never will be, if I have my way.
      The men and women of the US Military -- and their families -- have given in ways that only they can understand. Those of us who have never served cannot fully comprehend this, and are asked to do nothing more but to remember, and to respect their sacrifices. Anyone who attempt to denigrate or insult those soldiers, in peace or in war, deserve the utter disdain of the rest of us.
      As George Orwell has been widely attributed with saying, We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

      Thank God for the brave members of the United States Armed Forces: past present and future.

      This weekend we will be visiting my uncle Anthony, who is celebrating his 90th birthday (geeze, I hope it's not a surprise party! How awful would that be?). My oldest son turns 14 today, and has heard the details of the above post many times before. His brother, 8 years younger, is still unable to grasp the concepts of war and sacrifice (as well he shouldn't), but he does appreciate the fact that his great-uncle was in the Army, and that my two nephews (quick: someone tell me what MY nephews are to my kids - their second cousins, 17-times removed or whatever) are in the Air Force.

      All kids should be taught to appreciate the sacrifices others have made in protection of freedom and liberty.

      Prayers and thoughts to all in the Armed Forces,
      and especially on the news of the Fort Hood shootings. 

      1This discussion with my defense contractor colleagues regarding my doing 20 push-ups occurred LONG before I began my Taekwondo training. At that time, the idea of my doing even 5 push-ups was laughable!

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      Monday, November 02, 2009

      Election 2009: So far, so good

      I write this post the night before the 2009 off-year election, expressing my gut feeling about the prospects.

      The results of tomorrow's election, short of a landslide for Democrat ticket, sets the stage for 2010 mid-terms.  Let me be clear: there will be Democrat victory in several races; there's no doubt.   I will predict some upsets, however.

      Now I am not talking about Virginia;  last week the NY TIMES featured a story of President Obama's administration talking trash about Creigh Deeds chances being spoiled, because he didn't follow the Administration's lead.   That's a done deal: Robert McDonnell is the next governor, to be sure.

      While the Administration will also suggest they weren't running with NJ Governor Jon Corzine, signs like this make it hard to swallow:

      My prediction: New Jersey tax payers will reject the wealthy Jon Corzine and elect Chris Christie, whose record as Attorney General US Attorney speaks volumes compared to what little Mr. Corzine has accomplished in regards to regarding his state's tendency for corruption.

      NY-23:  Ah, I love upstate New York.  Dede Scozzafava did a big favor to all registered Republians everywhere (and registered Conservatives in NYS -- I used to be one of them!) - she demonstrated what a liar she really was.  Tell me now: what level-headed Moderate in NY-23 who was on the fence betweeen Ms Scozzafava and Conservative Doug Hoffman would look at Democrat Bill Owens and think he's the next best choice?   Long time Republican and Conservative Newt Gingrich shot himself in the foot over endorsing Ms. Scozzafava; other than her rating by the NRA, she wasn't a very good Republican, let alone Conservative.  I've written a lot how disillusioned I had become in Mr. Gingrich a few years ago, and this has certainly hurt his cred with me even more.

      Mr. Hoffman will win handily.

      Of course, these are only predictions, and are based on the idea of fair electioneering and voting.   If you add into the equation the New Black Panther party,  SEIU, and ACORN, that can tip the scales quite a bit.

      Still, I am optimistic that tomorrow's election will be the first volley in turning around the radical, Liberal agenda of President Obama.  And hopefully scare enough Blue Dogs to kill the horrible health-care bill.   If that bill can be delayed past Thanksgiving recess, it will surely be dead in 2010 (with the mid-terms on the horizon).   Stopping the Socialized Medicine onslaught is my priority, and I am doing as very much as I can (in my real persona) to ensure my family isn't subjected to that misery.

      Here's hoping the 2,000 page nightmare begins to die of its own weight, starting tomorrow!

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