Down, But Not Out

January 28th, 2012

My main computer suffered a severe hard drive failure, which has put a serious wrinkle in my ability to blogging and other pursuits. Slowly getting things back together. I have a few reviews to post, which will be coming up shortly.

Of #Occupy Promenade, Ice Tea, and One Percenters

November 15th, 2011

Captain’s Log, Stardate, oh, wait, that’s Pajama Boy stuff.

It had been a while since the last time I had put into port at DS9, and was surprised to see how much things had changed, and not for the better. The Promenade had become some sort of tent city, which is an odd thing to see in the middle of a space station. Protestors most of whom hadn’t showered in a month reeked to high Sto-Vo-Kor, carrying signs like “We are the 99%” and “Tax the 1%”, then “Cardassia Supports Occupy Promenade”, “If I had a job, I couldn’t be here!”, “Legalize Bloodhype” and “Down with Ferengi Billionaires”. The windows at Tunok’s Kill and Grill had been spray-painted with “One Percenter”. Station security were present, as was Starbuck, the refuge from a battlestar; Starbuck was trying to hand out job applications and bars of soap to the protestors, but not finding any takers.

When at last I had made my way to Quark’s, I noticed that several windows had been broken, and the same spray-paint job of “One Percenter” across the doors. Quark’s place was not overly busy, which was surprising as Happy Hour was in full swing. Morn was at his usual spot at the bar; the Doctor had moved his Police Call Box into one corner of the bar; a few other regulars sat about drinking something other than their usual libations.

When I reached the bar, Quark greeted me with what appeared to be the same drink everyone else was having. It was a tall glass filled with a dark brown liquid over ice and topped with a slice of lemon.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Long Island Ice Tea,” Quark responded. “On the house.”

“That’s pretty uncharacteristic of you. What’s the occasion?”

“You’ve seen the Promenade?” Quark asked. It sounded like a dodge of my question.

“Yeah, it was a real stink to get through there to your place.”

“And that’s the reason. I figure anyone willing to get through that mess of stinky hippies to my bar deserves something on the house. Besides, the local Tea Party gave me the money to do it as a counter-protest event. I’m also serving up Alaska Ice Tea, Texas Tea as well as Ferenginar Ice Tea. That last one is a Quark original. I substituted root beer instead of cola. It’s Garak’s favorite.

I took a sip of the drink. The alcohol was present in abundant quantities. I paused, drank a bit more, then said to Quark, “How about a Qo’noS Ice Tea?”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What would that one be?” Quark asked.

“Substitute the cola with blood wine.”

“Of course. I should have thought of that,” Quark said as he slapped his forehead with his right hand in the Intergalactic Sign Language for “Like Duh!” Quark went down the bar and began mixing a new drink, starting with a large amount of blood wine. He looked up at me and asked, “Tribble Sweat instead of Triple Sec?”

“Absolutely. This one is just a tad too sweet.”

“You should try the Ferenginar Ice Tea. The Root Beer makes it all happy and cheerful. Like the Federation.”

“That’s insidious,” I responded.

“I know,” Quark said. He finished mixing the drink, sidled back up to me, and proffered the new drink, sans straw. After all, Klingons don’t use straws.

I took the drink and took a good long pull on it, then quickly drained it.

“Good?” Quark asked.

“majQa’,” I responded. “How about another one?”

“Coming up,” Quark said. As he went to work mixing up a second round for me, Quark asked, “Did you hear what those Fleabaggers did to Morn?”

Being off station for a surfing event, I had no clue, so I signaled Quark to tell me more.

“Well, when Morn was trying to make his way up here after putting into port, he had to get through that Occupy protest. One of those Fleabaggers attached a sign on his back. Then these Fleabaggers began kicking him in the behind and laughing at him all the way here.”

“What did the sign say?” I asked.

“Kick me, I’m a One Percenter,” Quark said.

“These people have no honor,” I said.

“No kidding. When Morn got in here, he looked both relieved and perplexed by what happened. Until I had him turn around so I could remove the sign from his back. When I showed him the sign, Blessed Exchequer, was he livid!”

“I’m surprised they didn’t try that with me.”

Quark looked at me and said, “They wouldn’t have the ears to do it. You’d probably hospitalize the first one that tried to kick you. They’d be better off beating a Wookie at holochess.”

Kahuna out.

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Occupy Halloween

October 25th, 2011

It just had to be done.

occupy_halloween_sml2

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The Constitution and the Assassination of U.S. Citizens

October 20th, 2011

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been a supporter of the Global War on Terrorism, and eliminating terrorists when possible. I applauded Obama’s decision to put boots on the ground to take out Osama bin Laden, one of those rare occasions where I agreed with something Obama did. Okay, it may be the only occasion.

Recently the Obama administration assassinated two U.S. citizens accused of having ties to al Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. to the best of my knowledge, these two males never took up arms against the United States, nor were they involved in any terrorist attacks. All they are guilty of is expressing their views, as vile and as repugnant as they are, that may have inspired radicals to commit terrorist attacks against America and other Western nations. Accused of doing so, alleged to have promoted acts of terrorism, but not proven. They were still citizens of the United States, and as repugnant as their alleged actions are, of inciting hatred against the U.S., they were still protected by our Constitution and deserving of due process of law.

What I mean by this is, the Fifth Amendment states, quite clearly, that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. Yet al-Awlaki and Khan were both denied this basic right accorded to all U.S. citizens by the Obama administration. An administration that is now known to maintain a secret kill list maintained by an unaccountable group of advisors.

When our government sees fit to deny citizens of their Constitutional rights because of alleged crimes, one must ask: How safe are any of us?

The assassination of al-Alwaki and Khan, two U.S. citizens, should serve as a red flag that some of those who we elected have no regard for our Constitution, or our laws. We are moving away from Rule of Law to the tyranny of Rule of Man.

Ron Paul said it best in a recent piece on infowars.com. I don’t always agree with Paul on Foreign Policy, but this time he is right on the money; and I believe President Obama has committed a serious and impeachable offense.

For the record, I would be just as disturbed by this action if it had been performed by a Republican or any other Democrat. You don’t assassinate U.S. citizens because you don’t like what they say.

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Of Facebook, Social Media, and Liberal Sheep

September 8th, 2011

I rarely partake in political debates on Facebook. I can’t even remember the last time I posted a link to something political on my profile’s wall. I don’t do it because my friends are a mixed bag when it comes to politics; some are on the right, some on the left, and some are somewhere in the middle. Many of my friends, however, do post political links, diatribes, and rants on their Facebook wall, and then are surprised when not all of their friends agree with their opinion. Some are respectful, and are able to maintain a civil discourse, others become outright bullies, resorting to the use of name-calling and profanity. Pretty contemptible behavior on their part. “Celebrities” are the worst offenders. I have even had one life-long friend, someone I had known for over 30 years (and had looked me up on Facebook) unfriend me because he didn’t like what I had to say about ObamaCare.

Recently I ran across a piece on Big Government by Lawrence Meyers, where he looks into this phenomenon.

This is a bit of a long excerpt, but is needed, and please, refer back to Meyers original article in its entirety. It is a darn good read.

If a friend posts something political, you might reasonably assume that (absent prior agreements not to discuss politics), that dissenting views are welcome. After all, this is your friend. Friends can, and often do, disagree. If your friend only wanted to hear views that concur with her own, then one might reasonably assume that she would announce this.

So imagine my surprise, and subsequent disappointment, that twelve Facebook friends have de-friended me because I dared disagree with their posts. Now, in real-life, when I have disagreements with friends on matters of politics, we may yell and scream and jump up and down, but when all is said and done, we pat each other on the back and say, “I don’t agree with you, but I love you. Let’s not discuss politics anymore”, and we have a beer.

But in cyberspace, there is a dual sociological phenomenon at work. The first was posited by Dr. Stanley Milgram in his famous obedience experiment, which effectively showed that one is able to do something they might not normally do if they can do it anonymously. While de-friending is not exactly an anonymous act, the fact that it can be done remotely, without warning, without hearing an appeal, demonstrates how cyberspace contributes to the dehumanization of mankind. A de-friended friend is not a person. They are nothing more than a button that can be pressed and – POOF – they’re gone.

Can you imagine a more cowardly act? Before Facebook, before Email, if you got angry with a friend, you would actually have to have a conversation with them.

The second sociological phenomenon is discussed in David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture. Mr. Mamet reminds us that we are quite like rats in a lab experiment. When asked a question or given a task by an authority figure, a correct answer or action yields a reward. Perhaps the reward is praise, or a coin, or approval from a parent, or a pellet of food, or status, or position. Once we leave the lab, or “college”, and enter the real world, we come to prize the idea whose repetition rewards.

The reward in the real world, Mr. Mamet posits, is safety in the group.

I give you the Liberal.

Or, rather, I give you my de-friending Liberals. Because there are people of all political persuasions who unwittingly engage in the same behavior. The point is the same: do not leave the herd! To leave the herd is to risk status and position!

I must admit, in all fairness, I did boot one so-called “friend from my list, because she was so far out on the Left with her political rants, that she had to go. Met her at an SF con, and she, like me, is a member of a Klingon club (I won’t mention which one). She would post one of her political rants, then she would be abusive to anyone who disagreed with her opinion, even deleting their posts from the message thread. This particular person even went so far as to say that I wasn’t a “real Klingon”. Okay, she’s right. I am not a real Klingon. There are no real Klingons. They are a made up race from a television show that I happen to like. Doing Klingon stuff is a hobby. I booted her from my friends list, because, well, she is a rude and abusive nutcase. And blocked. ‘Nuff said.

Then there is the case of one of my best friends for many years, and whom I lost touch with when I moved to Minnesota. He found me on Facebook via other friends, but was bugged when I had the audacity to contest his opinion of ObamaCare. I guess he didn’t like it when told him if he can afford to take an expensive scuba diving vacation to Costa Rica, something I can’t afford to do, then he can afford to pay for his own health insurance instead of using government to force me to pay for his insurance. It took awhile before I noticed he had de-friended me, but when I did, I sent him a private message asking him about it. The silence was deafening. A 30 year friendship flushed down the toilet. So long Mike. Thanks for un-friending me. You’re blocked. Don’t call us, we won’t call you.

I like politics, and enjoy debating issues with people. Sometimes I am able to sway their opinion, but not always. I try to be courteous and respectful, maintaining civility in discourse, but they don’t always respond in kind (example – J.G. Hertzler has taken to calling me and others on my side of the political spectrum “jackasses” because we disagree on an issue…in the latest case he tried to excuse his angry rants, but there has yet to be an apology for his abusive behavior).

Facebook is an amazing tool for reconnecting with old friends as well as staying in touch with those you truly care about. Fortunately not all of my friends are like that. Most know how to sit down, have a political debate, then knock back the proverbial round of Scotch afterwards and find something else to talk about, political or not. No anger, no abuse, no name-calling. We may not agree, but then we don’t have to. But we remain friends.

And for those who don’t get civility in debate, you really need to read Meyer’s article. Maybe you’ll learn something; but then, maybe you won’t.

UPDATE: J.G. Hetzler defriended and blocked me this morning because I had the audacity to disagree with him on politics and ObamaCare. What a sheeple.

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Captain America in Review

September 7th, 2011

I finally had an opportunity to see Captain America recently. For those of you who haven’t seen it, get out there and do so while you still can. It is best on the big screen, and don’t forget to stay through the credits for the “Easter Egg” scene at the end.

By way of that first paragraph, you can gather, rightly, that I enjoyed Captain America. In my youth I had managed to read reprints of some of those early Captain America stories, and only have vague memories of them, so I won’t try to make comparisons. Let us say it isn’t like the Liberal tripe that now passes as being Captain America on the comic stands today. It is good ol’ American daring do-or-die action.

This is the origin of Captain America and one of the great marvel Comics nemesis of the ‘60s and early ‘70s, The Red Skull, and the secret organization, Hydra. Steve Rogers, the proverbial 90 pound weakling, finds himself selected for the top secret soldier program not because he fosters a desire to kill Nazis, but because he hates bullies, any and all bullies. During the selection process, a grenade is tossed to where he and other candidates are working out. While the others all dive for cover, Rogers throws himself on top of the grenade in a display of self-sacrifice. The grenade, of course, was a dummy, but it highlighted characteristics in both Rogers and those around him.

Needless to say, Rogers is selected for the program, which is a success, but at a high price, as a Nazi spy kills Dr. Erskine, the lead scientist and steals the one remaining dose of the secret soldier serum for Hydra.

Meanwhile, the Red Skull and Hydra have been developing super-high tech weapons and fostering plans of world domination of their own under Hitler’s nose.

Rogers, as the only super-soldier, finds himself given a choice: lab rat or performing monkey. He chooses the later and eventually finds himself on a USO tour in Italy where the GIs hate him and want to see the girls. Rogers learns that his best friend’s unit, the 107th, was in the area and badly mauled by a troop of Hydra agents. Rogers determines to go after his friend, Bucky Barnes and goes alone, behind enemy lines, and discovers a Hydra facility. During the rescue, we are introduced to several other Marvel Comics icons, specifically some of the characters that made up Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandos: Dum-Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough was well cast in this role!) and Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), as well as some other soldiers that would become Captain America’s elite squad of Hydra-thumpers. I really enjoyed their inclusion into the film, and thought it fit well. That Gabe Jones, in this storyline, not only speaks German, but French, worked when Gabe gave his explanation that the girls liked hearing French better than German.

There are some other little tidbits of Marvel Comics lore thrown in for good measure that added to the story.

Overall this was a good picture that showed a lot of traditional values: courage, sacrifice, loyalty. It also has some good humor in it at appropriate times, especially some lines from Tommy Lee Jones playing Colonel Phillips, the head of the super-soldier project.

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The Natinal Debt, Today and in 2015

August 2nd, 2011

Now that the Dunsels in Washington DC have had their way and handed Obama the power to spend another $2.4 trillion of our money, I thought it was time to take a look at the way things may look in a few years. To accomplish this, I headed over to U.S. Debt Clock and took a few screen shots. It ain’t pretty.

debt_2011

Current Debt Data, and at $14.5 TRILLION, it’s pretty ugly.

Debt in 2015 using CBO predictions

Debt in 2015 using CBO predictions

This is what things may look like using the CBO analysis of growth, assuming they have their numbers right. When has that ever happened? Debt at 18.6 TRILLION.

Debt 2015 at current burn rate

Debt 2015 at current burn rate


If the CBO predictions for 2015 didn’t scare you, then this should. 2015 at current growth rates, national debt over $22 TRILLION, or 136% of GDP.

What I don’t get is why, when Bush was president, the Left was up in arms about the National Debt and deficit spending, but now with Obama in charge, it’s spend, baby spend?

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Why the 14th Amendment Option is Unconstitutional

July 29th, 2011

There is a lot of hub-bub going around about the Democrats push to raise the Federal debt ceiling, the GOP push for a Balanced Budget Amendment, and the need for the House Republicans to compromise on these issues, and the more important issue of out-of-control government spending. There is even talk that Obama can, and should, use executive power to bypass Congress and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally.

Ed Morrissey, over on Hot Air, has a good take on why this would be a disaster for Obama if he did use an Executive Order to raise the debt ceiling. To briefly summarize, the debt ceiling is a matter of statutory law. An Executive Order cannot be used to override a statutory law. Ed goes in to a lot of detail on why it would be both bad fiscally as well as politically and I encourage you to hop on over to Hot Air and give it a read.

This, however, will not dampen the calls by the Left encouraging Obama to raise the debt ceiling under the 14th Amendment. They claim, wrongly, that the 14th gives Obama (the Executive) the power to do exactly that. Here is the pertinent part of the 14th Amendment which the Left claims to grant such power:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

The rest of that section has to do with saying it doesn’t have to pay for debts incurred by rebellious states.

Granted, they (the Left), and everyone else, is right when it is claimed that the public debt must be paid. It does not grant the power to acquire more debt (raising the debt ceiling), only that current debt must be paid: military pay, Social Security, Medicaid, interest on current debt, etc.

The worst case scenario, contrary to the claims of Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and the Left, is NOT default, but that the Federal Government will be put on an immediate diet, forced to reduce spending by between 25% and 40%. In my opinion, this is a good thing. It may hurt a little initially, but many of the programs (National Endowment of the Arts, National Public Radio, welfare programs, to name a few) didn’t exist until the 20th Century (how ever did we survive as a nation without them?).

But those who keep claiming that Obama has the power under the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling (and spend gobs more money America hasn’t got), miss two very important points. I touched on one already, and that the 14th Amendment does not give the President power to create statutory law, which is what the debt limit is, statutory law. The second, and this is even more important, is that the 14th Amendmentors (for lack of a better term) are ignoring this last section of the 14th Amendment:

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

It doesn’t say that the Executive has the power, but that the Congress has the power to enforce the provisions of the 14th Amendment. That’s right; Congress has the Power, not the President.

So, if Obama does unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, bypassing Congress, it will end up in the Supreme Court where his actions will be found unconstitutional. Whether or not the House also moves to impeach is another matter as, no doubt, the Democrats will form a circle around their Chosen One and protect him from being tossed out of office so that we don’t end up with Bozo the Clown, er, Joe Biden as president until January 20th 2013.

Bottom line, raising the debt limit via Executive Order is unconstitutional and an impeachable offense. If Obama pursues that course, he needs to man-up and take ownership for his disastrous agenda.

My take on the debt limit: Don’t raise it. Period. Stop the spending now. And yes, back in ’92, Perot was right.

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Attack in Norway

July 24th, 2011

The news related to this heinous and tragic attack in Norway sickens me. Details keep pouring out and the death toll has hit 90, most of the victims teenagers attending a politically oriented summer camp.

The NY Times has a fairly detailed background of the sick maniac who carried out the attacks. The perp, Anders Behring Breivik, had posted a 1,500 page manifesto shortly before the attack. Based on what little information to come out of this, it is clear that this guy is one sick nutcase. I don’t know if Norway has a death penalty, but I am sure that there will be some calling for this freak’s head to be put on a pike, just as would have been down during the Middle Ages.

According to the NY Times report, Breivik was obsessed with multiculturalism and Muslim immigration. IN his manifesto it is reported he wrote “The time for dialogue is over. We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come.”

From the NYT piece:

Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim point of view. Like Mr. Breivik’s manuscript, the major Qaeda declarations have detailed accounts of the Crusades, a pronounced sense of historical grievance and calls for apocalyptic warfare to defeat the religious and cultural enemy.

There is also mention of a meeting, attendees not identified, by a group desirous of reforming the Knights Templar. Considering that Breivik is assumed to have been one of those in attendance, it is worrisome that there is such a group out there somewhere.

I condemn such attacks for the evil that they are. Although Breivik is said to be a Christian, there is no doubt in my mind that he is not. A real Christian would not carry out such a horrendous act of evil. There is no room for condoning or justifying the acts of Breivik under any circumstance. This act of evil is as vicious as any of the acts of terrorism carried out by Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbolah, and a host of other such terrorist organizations. Further, if there is such a group as alluded to by Breivik’s manifesto, it must be snuffed out in its infancy.

Just googled it up, Norway outlawed the death penalty in 1905. Sad as it is, it is tragedies like this one that justifies having a death penalty.

My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones in this horrific attack, and to those who were injured.

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Maybe it was MN Republicans Who Blinked

July 19th, 2011

Looks like I may have been premature last week when I declared that Governor Dunsel, er, Dayton, blinked during his game of chicken with the MNGOP over the State’s budget. It may be more accurate to say the Legislative leadership blinked. And that is disappointing.

One of the concessions Dayton demanded when he agreed to accept the June 30th budget proposal (note the date of the proposal, June 30th. This whole shutdown was brought about by Dayton and his accepting the proposal proves the shutdown was unnecessary.) included a bit requiring the MNGOP to drop plans to reduce the state’s workforce by 15%. Then you learn the details of that 15% cut in state workers was to be accomplished through attrition via retirement. Which is to say, positions vacated by retiring employees would not be filled. This is a heckuva a better deal than some employees in the private sector received, which was a “thanks a lot…don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out.”

It also included increased spending above and beyond the original BALANCED budget passed by the State Legislature, which already included about $4 billion in new spending over the previous biennium budget. And that, it turns out, was not enough to satisfy Dayton. There was an agreement for an additional $500 million bonding bill.

None of this is a done deal as yet. And hopefully the Legislature will say “no deal” to any proposal that includes spending above and beyond the estimated revenues for the next biennium.

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Governor Dayton Loses at Game of Chicken Over Budget

July 14th, 2011

Governor Dayton blinked. The Dunsel in Minnesota played chicken with the State Legislature over the biennium budget by shutting down the state government, and The Dunsel blinked. But in his capitulation and acceptance of the proposed budget floated by him on June 30th including some conditions that may be a deal killer. Dayton insists that the Republican caucuses remove their policy issues and their expectations in “Drop 15 percent across the board in reductions to state employees in all agencies”

Sounds kind of odd to me.

Quite frankly, I thought the original biennium budget passed by the Legislature was fine. It was a balanced budget, based on projected revenues, and was a 12% increase over the previous biennium budget. A bit spendy, but as it was based on projected revenues, should have been acceptable. Except to a hard-core tax and spend Leftie like Dayton.

Now that Dayton has capitulated, the ball is in the Legislatures Leadership’s court. Will they accept Dayton’s conditions or say “no way, Jose.” If the offer is rejected, then it is possible that opinion will shift against the Republican controlled Legislature on who is at fault for the shutdown. And things could get ugly.

I am not advocating that the Legislature accept Dayton’s conditions, just presenting an observation of the potential ramifications if they don’t accept them. It also depends on how binding the “remove policy issues” (and what is actually meant by that) on the Legislature is once a budget is finally implemented. I don’t know all of the details of the offer by Dayton, or what the ramifications of accepting his conditions will be.

On the upside, this means I may finally be able to get the fishing license I forgot to get before the shutdown and begin to teach my daughter.

Update

Dayton and Legislative leadership announce that they have made an agreement. MN Shutdown should end within days.

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Minnesota Shutdown Continues, Impacting Businesses, Jeopradizing Economy

July 14th, 2011

As the Great Minnesota Shutdown continues, its impact is hitting more and more people. Recently I read how a number of small eateries in down town areas are reducing hours and staff due to a drop in business as a result of state workers being put on furlough.

Now I am reading how a number of restaurants, bars and other outlets are running out of booze. Man, that’s hitting us where it hurts. I better buy a couple of bottles of wine for the Sangria I want to make this weekend while I can. It seems that a number of businesses were unable to renew their licenses in time before the shutdown. Kind of like how I didn’t get to buy a fishing license before the shutdown, only the former has a greater impact on Minnesota’s economy.

From the Star Tribune:

Of the roughly 10,000 establishments that sell liquor in Minnesota, most of those who needed to renew their buyer purchasing cards managed to do so before the July 1 shutdown started. About 300 were caught with cards that expired on June 30 and no way to renew the permits.

That number will grow to 425 by the end of the month, according to state officials, and grow as more cards expire at random intervals.

And it gets better, or worse, depending on your point of view.

The state has stopped issuing the tax stamps that distributors must glue to the bottom of every pack before it’s sold for retail.

Holy pack of smokes, Batman! People won’t be able to get their cancer sticks if this goes on.

Of course, all this means is that Wisconsin and other neighboring states may enjoy an upswing in business as those who can will drive those few extra miles to fulfill their needs.

The entire only reason Governor Dayton vetoed the budget bills passed by the State Legislature was because he wanted to raise taxes in order to justify more spending. Meanwhile, Minnesota businesses, as well as state workers are paying the price of Dayton’s shortsightedness and agenda of government greed.

Just a little background for those who missed it. The previous biennium budget, covering July 1, 2009 through June 30th 2011 was for $30 billion. The budget passed in May by the State Legislature was for $34.4 billion. (courtesy the Star Tribune.) That’s an increase of nearly four and a half billion dollars, or about 12% larger than the previous budget. The projected state revenues for the current biennium (BEFORE the shutdown) was $34 billion, which means the Legislature did their job and turned in a balanced budget (for once). Dayton called this Draconian as it didn’t spend enough money; his budget called for an additional $2.6 billion in spending with significant and draconian tax increases to help pay for it.

When Dayton failed to get his way on spending and taxes, the Governor, who garnered a mere 43.6% of the popular vote (less than 9,000 ballots more than Tom Emmer at 43.2%) and believes that constitutes a mandate for his tax and spend into oblivion agenda, chose to shutdown the state government, throwing private sector workers as well as state workers under the bus, and ruining small businesses.

A couple of final thoughts that I need to share. If this goes on, how long will it be before we start seeing a black market in cigarettes and booze? And why, since the state is shutdown, are we still paying sales taxes, excise taxes and dealing with income tax withholding? Shouldn’t the state stop collecting those as well in the interim? Yeah, I know, wishful thinking there.

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Obama May Consider an End-Run Around the Constitution

July 7th, 2011

When I heard about this, I was shocked that there are those in Congress who may be encouraging Obama to bypass Congress and order the Treasury to raise the Federal debt limit.

According to a report on FoxNews, Geithner asserts that the important part of the 14th Amendment is “shall not be questioned”.

Here is the pertinent clause of the 14th Amendment:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.[emphasis mine]

Geithner is correct in that the debt “shall not be questioned” but misses the very important point that is must be “authorized by law”, and only Congress has the power to make law, which the President can either enact or veto.

The Constitutional power “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States”, Article 1, Section 8, clearly rests with Congress, NOT WITH THE PRESIDENT.

As Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) stated in a town hall meeting, If Obama does take this course of action it will be an impeachable offense and if Congress should fail in doing its duty, should this happen, we will have a Constitutional crisis greater than any other point in history as this will mean Obama will have dictatorial power over America.

Let us hope that wisdom prevails and that Obama does not take this course of action. Unfortunately, we are talking about Obama here, so don’t hold your breath.

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Minnesota Shutdown Day 5

July 5th, 2011

Minnesota shutdown is into day 5, thanks to Governor Mark Dayton. As I write this, I don’t know what will happen next as Governor Dunsel finally calls Legislative leaders together to negotiate a resolution to the crisis that he has created. I am not being partisan here, just stating the simple facts. This shutdown could have easily been avoided if the governor had done his job.

Some of the misinformation in the media is that there is a dispute over a $5 billion budget deficit. The budget that the MN Legislature passed was for $34 billion, up from the previous biennium budget by about 10%, and was considered a balance budget (no budget deficits) as it was based on projected state revenues of $34 billion. But that wasn’t good enough for Mark Dayton, aka Governor Dunsel. He wants to spend close to $36 billion and wants to raise taxes in order to meet the additional expenditures.

Dayton, for some odd reason, believes that by having been elected in a close election, that he somehow has a mandate to execute his agenda. Some things to keep in mind: Dayton won the election by a scant 8770 votes; Dayton garnered 43.6% of the vote, a weak plurality, vs. Tom Emmer’s 43.2% of the vote. That’s a very narrow margin and 43% is no where near a majority of the vote. But Dayton is behaving as though he has one.MNSOS

Another tidbit not being reported in the MSM is that the MN Legislature passed the budget bills in mid-May, but it wasn’t until the last day of the Legislative session that Governor Dayton vetoed the bills, and during the six week interim, refused to negotiate a compromise. I give kudos to Ed Morrissey over on Hot Air for making that point known to me. That’s a significant point to keep in mind for those wanting to play the blame game. Add to that Dayton’s refusal to consider a “lights on” stop-gap bill in order to prevent a shutdown, demanding, instead, a “total package”, which the Legislature previously provided in May.

On Friday, Dayton, Governor Dunsel, had this to say about the shutdown (Fox News):

“It’s significant that this shutdown will begin on the Fourth of July weekend,” Dayton said. “On that date we celebrate our independence. It also reminds us there are causes and struggles worth fighting for.”

Dayton proves in one fell swoop that he doesn’t understand history. The American Revolution was (IS!) the greatest tax revolt in history. There are reason why our Declaration of Independence states “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent”. The Stamp Act, the Townshend Act (which led to the Boston Massacre), the Intolerable Acts. But Dayton is dead set on raising taxes in order to increase spending by an additional $2 billion. Or, maybe, it is the other way around and Dayton wants to increase spending an additional $2 billion as a means of justifying a tax increase.

When will this budget crisis be resolved? Heck if I know. I doubt it will be resolved by the time this was posted, but maybe by then we’ll at least have a “lights on” bill in operation.

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Chance Vought F4U Corsair

July 2nd, 2011

This time around we’re featuring the Chance Vought F4U Corsair, one of the best fighters produced during WW2. It saw service with the U.S. Navy and Marines, as well as with the Royal Navy and the RNZ Air Force.

The Corsair’s gull-wing design gave it a distinctive look, as well as making it a practical carrier aircraft with its folding wing. Elegant, fast, with a high rate of climb, in addition to being well armed, made the Corsair a formidable aircraft in the Pacific Theater of WW2.

The Corsair was the plane flown by Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington (Retired, USMC) and the VMF-214, made famous by Boyington’s memoir Baa Baa Black Sheep, and by the 1970s TV series of the same name inspired by their exploits.

I met Boyington for the first time the evening after the premier of Baa Baa Black Sheep. I was a high school kid at the time and tagged along to an interview that a buddy of mine was doing of Boyington. What an experience. Boyington is one of the most unique individuals I have ever had the honor of becoming acquainted with. He showed us one of his medals (if memory serves me, it was THE medal) and related how he was the only person awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously and lived to talk about it. The Military Museum backs up Boyington’s claim in its biography of him. The picture of Boyington on the wing of a Corsair is from 1976, taken during the filming of the series Baa Baa Black Sheep. Boyington said he was disappointed that the owner wouldn’t let him take it up for a spin.

references for pictures

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_F4U_Corsair

http://www.mywarhistory.com/browse/printPreview.aspx?serviceHeroId=15

The picture of Boyington on the wing of a Corsair was given to me by Greg the first time I met him. I have no idea who took the picture.

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McKeon Says Bachmann is an Extremist

June 30th, 2011

I’ve been meaning to start a feature on the material that arrives in my “inbox” from various Democratic Campaigns, so I guess now is the time to start.

First, a little background. I never asked to be on these mailing lists. How I got on them is rather questionable campaign tactics by Senator Barbara Boxer. You see, several years ago when Boxer became Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, she ran a survey, from, I thought, the EPW website (a government, taxpayer supported website), on people’s views about global warming. Boxer’s campaign, unbeknownst to me, harvested the emails from this survey and used it for her campaign, then provided it (I don’t know if money changed hands) to the Democratic Congressional Campaign committee. Any rate, I have been treated to a regular diet of Leftwing Hate-the-Right propaganda ever since. Granted, some of them are just straightforward requests for my money and nothing more, but all of them
are requests for campaign money. Bottom line, I only provided my email to what I thought was a survey on an official government website.

Welcome to the First Edition of Mail Call.

That being said, I give you the latest rants from the Leftist DCCC:

dccc_mail_1

Is Michele Bachmann an “extremist”? According to Kevin McKeon of the DCCC she is.

I love this bit:

Michele Bachmann is the EXACT kind of extremist we’re fighting to keep OUT of Congress.[emphasis original]

According to the DCCC, people, especially people like Michele Bachmann, or favor a Constitutionally limited Federal government, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, people who support a balanced budget, lower taxes, and a better standard of living, people who oppose Cap and Trade which would increase the cost of energy, people who oppose ObamaCare and other intrusions into our private lives are “extremists”. I always thought that the “extremists” were the ones who want government to control our lives and tax us into oblivion.

And why are they “fighting” Bachmann instead of opposing her? Fighting connotes battle or warfare – violence. I thought this was the age of a kinder, gentler, more civil tone. Guess I was wrong about that as well.

Memo to Kevin McKeon – No way am I sending you any of my hard earned dollars to support YOUR extremist agenda and candidates.

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The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

June 24th, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve done up one of these posts, and with the recent loss of the Liberty Belle, I figured it was time to do one on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.

One interesting side note on the B-17’s history, and an SF connection, is that Gene Roddenberry flew B-17s with the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy), XIII Air Force, during World War II.

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Incredibly Stupid Video Portraying Libertarians

June 21st, 2011

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook wall and saw it. The producers f this video have no clue as to what the Tea Party movement is about or what Libertarians believe in. We don’t believe in no government. We advocate a Constitutionally LIMITED government. The difference is huge.

Any rate, here’s the video for anyone in need of a good laugh.

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RightOnline 2011

June 19th, 2011

I was pretty beat when I got home from RightOnline 2011 last night, but the event was well worth going to. I had two goals major goals in attending the conference: learn to be a better writer (and blogger) and hear some good speeches by some of our nation’s leaders as well as leaders in the New Media and Conservative Right. I also wanted to have a chance to chat with some familiar faces (success) and meet some new folks (also, success).

One of the speakers on Friday was Minneapolis Mayor, R.T. Rybak. It seemed somewhat out of place to have such a Leftie at a right-wing event, but he is the Mayor of the host city. One take away quote from the Mayor “Think Conservatively, spend Liberally…at the bars,” which garnered some good laughs. Rybak played well to the target audience.

My own Congressman, John Kline spoke on Friday as well, and he had a lot of great things to say, including this tidbit, “Unless we change our culture from one of entitlement, the American Dream will cease to exist.” Not quite exact quote, but close. I was writing notes as fast as I could, and I am a slow scribbler. I’ve always maintained a high opinion of John Kline, and he always delivers the goods, whether speaking publicly at an event, or in the Halls of Congress.

Ann McElhinney introduce me to a new term (new to me): CINO. Conservatives in Name Only. Some examples she gave to identify CINOs: “Anyone in favor of subsidies, is a CINO. Anyone who believes we can control the weather, is a CINO.” There were many other examples.

On Saturday, Michelle Bachmann gave a darn good campaign speech, and she continues to justify a position of being one of my top choices for the Republican nomination. Bachmann is a real spitfire.

Tim Pawlenty also gave a great speech, justifying his consideration for the GOP nomination, but, in my opinion, he still lacks the fire, the charisma (to be precise), to pull it off.

The conference closed with a rousing speech from Herman Cain. Unlike Bachmann and Pawlenty, I had never heard Cain in person before. He has a lot of fire in his belly, and he makes it a darn tough choice on who I will want to support in the primary season. He is THAT good. And his life story is one of success after success in the private sector, not the story of the career politician we are so accustomed to seeing.

Some of the great panels I attended covered topics from law for journalists (including citizen journalists), research tools, twitter (thanks Nansen, for the great panel!), podcasting by Ed Morrissey of Hot Air and Jenny Erikson from FTR Radio, youtube videos (and why it is important to travel with a buddy and multiple video cameras) by Ed Frank of Frank Strategies, just to name a few of the great sessions.

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air was there with his wife Marcia. I hadn’t seen them in a couple of years now. Mitch Berg, Chad the Elder, Brian St. Paul Ward, were there and had a great, though brief, chat with them.

I also met folks from the Institute for Justice, and Terry Bowman of Union Conservatives, a relatively new organization formed to unite and inform conservative union workers.

There were way too many good talks and speeches to detail in a blog post. And a lot of very nice folks at this event. It was a joy, and a pleasure, as well as an educational and enlightening event.

One tip for attending an event of this type: If you want to stand out amongst the thundering hordes, wear something distinctive. I wore my Scottish Balmoral hat, which made me readily identifiable to people I met and attracted numerous comments and questions about my Balmoral.

Twitter tag #ro11 for Right Online 2011. Check out their extensive collection of videos.

Crossposted between kowabunga.org and libertysf.org

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BYOB

June 14th, 2011

Captain’s Log, Stardate, oh, wait. That’s Pajama Boy talk.

One thing I enjoy when I hit port is cruising the Promenade to see what’s new. Whether it’s a new line of wave making surfing torpedoes, planet busters, or something new to eat or drink. This time around I spotted a cart with a rather lonely looking fellow. The guy looked to be selling hot dogs, and although his prices looked reasonable, less than a pint at Quark’s, the vendor seemed to not be getting any business, despite it being lunch time. In fact, it looked like most of the station personnel were going out of their way to avoid being seen at the hot dog cart. Curiosity got the best of me, so I walked on up to the cart. The guy brightened up, somewhat, as he watched my approach.

“What’ll it be,” he asked.

I looked over the sign that served as his menu, settled on something that sounded up my alley. “Beer brats sound good. I’ll have a couple of those.”

“Sure thing.” He busily began getting my order together. I could see, and smell, that the brats had been simmering in a mustard and beer sauce. They looked darn good to me.

“New here?” I asked.

“Yeah, just opened last week. I had to find a new gig after I lost my last gig,” he said.

“I’m the Kahuna,” I introduced myself.

With a cocked eyebrow he responded, “So you’re the Great Kahuna. I’ve heard quite a bit about you.”

“Quark’s been running his mouth again?”

“No. Flipper Kerry is a colleague, well, former collegue, of mine. Call me Tony.” He handed me the brats. “Want something to wash these down with?”

“Pint of Bitters would be nice.”

“No can do, there. I don’t have a beer license yet. Maybe next week. I can set you up with a Root Beer.”

“That’ll work,” I said.

He pulled out a bottle of Frostie. It had a smiling Santa Clause like face with a white hat on the label. Happy and cheerful, just like the Federation. It went surprising well with the beer brats. I handed Tony a couple of quatloos to cover my tab. We chatted for a few more minutes while I made short work of the first of my pair of brats. As I started to head on my way, Tony said, “Hey, let you friends and crew know about my hot dog stand. Best Wieners on DS9.”

“Sure thing, Tony.”

As I finished my lunch, I strolled into Quark’s ready for a few pints and shots. Quark spotted me stuffing the last bit of my second brat into my mouth, and he couldn’t help but comment on it.

“So, Kahuna, I see you visited the Promenade’s latest addition. What did you get?”

“Couple of beer brats.”

“That should be safe,” Quark said.

This caused me to raise an eyebrow. “Safe?” I asked.

“Yeah. You did get them at Weiner’s Wieners, right?”

“Um, yeah,” I answered.

“Whatever you do, don’t order the Congressional Wiener!” Quark said.

“Why not?”

“You don’t know who that guy is?”

“Um, no.”

“Sleeping under a rock the last few weeks? That’s Congressman Anthony Weiner. There was some big news about his sending pictures of his wiener over the Galacticnet.”

“No way.”

“Yep. Even Pelosi pushed to get him out of Congress. Unfortunately he ended up here. Selling…”

“Wieners,” I finished Quark’s statement. “The beer brats were pretty good. So, what can be wrong with the Congressional Wiener?”

Quark looked at me with all seriousness. “Think about it. Congressman Weiner. Congressional Wiener. And that BYOB after the entry for it doesn’t stand for ‘Bring your own bottle’.”

“No?”

“No. Bring your own bun!”

“Oh.” I was beginning to feel a little sick.

“Usual?”

“Um, no. Better give me a Bin Laden.”

“Two shots and a splash of water coming up.”

I think I will have to avoid that hot dog cart in the future.

Kahuna out.

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