Friday, December 30, 2011

Gadsden Purchase - This Day in History

Mexico freely sold this land to the United States in order to pay for the failed military boondoggles of Santa Anna - the infamous general, and President of Mexico. You probably remember Santa Anna as the bloodthirsty megalomaniac that slaughtered Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie at The Alamo.

$10 million in 1853 was not chump change - in today's dollars this is about half a trillion dollars! 
A lot of money for a chunk of god-forsaken desert. 

U.S. Minister to Mexico James Gadsden, and three envoys of the President of Mexico General Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón, signed the Gadsden Purchase, or Gadsden Treaty, in Mexico City on December 30, 1853. Santa Anna needed money to help defray expenses caused by the Mexican War and ongoing rebellions, so he sold land to the United States.

The treaty, amended and finally approved by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 1854, settled the dispute over the exact location of the Mexican border west of El Paso, Texas, giving the U.S. claim to some 29,600 square miles of land, ultimately for the price of $10 million. The land is what is now southern New Mexico and Arizona.

$10 illion in 1853 was not chump change - in today's dollars this is about half a trillion dollars!  A lot of money for a small strip of god-forsaken desert. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Parades for Iraq War Veterans.

Obama is Channeling Viet Nam Veteran Protestors

If Barry was old enough he would have been spitting on Veterans just like his good buddy Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans probably won't be seeing a huge ticker-tape parade anytime soon for troops returning from Iraq, and it's not clear if veterans of the nine-year campaign will ever enjoy the grand, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue homecoming that the nation's fighting men and women received after World War II and the Gulf War.

Officials in New York and Washington say they would be happy to help stage a big celebration, but Pentagon officials say they haven't been asked to plan one.

Most welcome-homes have been smaller-scale: hugs from families at military posts across the country, a somber commemoration by President Barack Obama at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

With tens of thousands of U.S. troops still fighting a bloody war in Afghanistan, anything that looks like a big victory celebration could be seen as unseemly and premature, some say.

"It's going to be a bit awkward to be celebrating too much, given how much there is going on and how much there will be going on in Afghanistan," said Don Mrozek, a military history professor at Kansas State University.

Two New York City councilmen, Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo, have called for a ticker-tape parade down the stretch of Broadway known as the Canyon of Heroes. A similar celebration after the Gulf War was paid for with more than $5.2 million in private donations, a model the councilmen would like to follow.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that he was open to the idea but added, "It's a federal thing that we really don't want to do without talking to Washington, and we'll be doing that."

A spokesman for the mayor declined to elaborate on the city's reasons for consulting with Washington. Ignizio said he had been told by the mayor's office that Pentagon officials were concerned that a celebration could spark violence overseas and were evaluating the risk.

Navy Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said that he has not heard that issue raised and that New York has yet to make a formal proposal. He also said officials are grateful communities around the country are finding ways to recognize the sacrifices of troops and their families.

BOHICA! Obama pushes debt up to $16.394 TRILLION

No matter what any of the common folk have to say, our fearless leader is raising the national debt ceiling - again - all on his own - while Congress is out on vacation.

Everything we see and hear about Congress and the President being concerned about the nation's financial crisis is bullshit. Instead of worrying about Iran getting a nuke, we should drop a nuke of our own on Washington DC.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House plans to ask Congress by the end of the week for an increase in the government's debt ceiling to allow the United States to pay its bills on time, according to a senior Treasury Department official on Tuesday.

The approval is expected to go through without a challenge, given that Congress is in recess until later in January and the request is in line with an agreement to keep the U.S. government funded into 2013.

The debt is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by December 30, when the United States has $82 billion in interest on its debt and payments such as Social Security coming due. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for authority to increase the borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion, part of the spending authority that was negotiated between Congress and the White House this summer.

Under the agreement struck in August during the showdown over the government's debt limit, the cap is automatically raised unless Congress votes to block the debt-ceiling extension. Lawmakers have 15 days within receiving the request to vote, which is largely symbolic because the president can veto it and Congress would be unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority to override it. Moreover, the U.S. House of Representatives also is in recess until January 17.

The deal called for raising the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion to serve the nation's borrowing needs into 2013 and also included mandatory cuts to the federal budget deficit. Since then, the extension has been increased twice by a total of $900 billion.

The debt limit currently stands at $15.194 trillion and would increase to $16.394 trillion with the request.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Motto of the U.S. Congress

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”.

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee - From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.


And here we have the current version of Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dummer

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Here Comes The Sun!

Tomorrow is when the hours of daylight stop shrinking.
It's about time - Badger Lake froze over last night.

I'd make a great Pagan cuz the Winter Solstice is my favorite day of the year - it means we are moving away from Winter and toward  Summer.

Milky Way over Stonehenge at Maryhill, WA

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How Do I Qualify

How Do I Qualify

Ask this simple question on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other search engine.

The results will make you reach for a barf bag . . . unless you are one of the 50% of Americans that are freeloaders, then you will probably stay on your couch and reach for another 40.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Boston Tea Party: 238th anniversary

On December 16, 1773, the taxpayers of Boston had had enough.

The Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum website recounts the story:

On the cold evening of December 16, 1773, a large band of patriots, disguised as Mohawk Indians, burst from the South Meeting House with the spirit of freedom burning in their eyes. The patriots headed towards Griffin’s Wharf and the three ships. Quickly, quietly, and in an orderly manner, the Sons of Liberty boarded each of the tea ships. Once on board, the patriots went to work striking the chests with axes and hatchets. Thousands of spectators watched in silence. Only the sounds of ax blades splitting wood rang out from Boston Harbor. Once the crates were open, the patriots dumped the tea into the sea.

The silence was broken only by the cry of “East Indian” as patriots caught Charles O’Conner filling the lining of his coat with tea. George Hewes removed O’Connor’s coat, threatened him with death if he revealed the identity of any man present, and sent him scurrying out of town. The patriots worked feverishly, fearing an attack by Admiral Montague at any moment. By nine o’clock p.m., the Sons of Liberty had emptied a total of 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbor. Fearing any connection to their treasonous deed, the patriots took off their shoes and shook them overboard. They swept the ships’ decks, and made each ship’s first mate attest that only the tea was damaged.

When all was through, Lendall Pitts led the patriots from the wharf, tomahawks and axes resting on their shoulders. A fife played as they marched past the home where British Admiral Montague had been spying on their work. Montague yelled as they past, “Well boys, you have had a fine, pleasant evening for your Indian caper, haven’t you? But mind, you have got to pay the fiddler yet!”

Montague’s words were to be an omen for the patriots. The party was indeed over for Boston.

See what Michelle Malkin  to say about this august event :

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is Ron Paul too old?

December 11, 2011

Is Ron Paul too old?  Many insist that the 2012 presidential candidate is just too far over the hill, but how old is too old? 

At age 76, is the Texas congressman and White House contender really that old?  Old enough to be declared too old?

Ron Paul will be 77 years old on Inauguration Day in 2013 --- a full seven years older than Ronald Reagan was when he took the Oath of Office for the first time.

Once elected, President Ronald Paul would become an octogenerian during his first presidential term.  For that reason alone, some say that Ron Paul is way too old.

  • Congressman Paul is too old to memorize canned speeches of deception, distraction and thinly disguised contempt for The People.
  • Ron Paul is too old to kiss the backsides of fleeting power brokers who promise him a bright future for simply bending his principles.
  • The Republican candidate is too old for crash-courses in Magnetic Presidentiality, Transactional Harlotry or Constitutional Castration.
  • Rep. Ron Paul is too old to see past the wisdom, truth, experience and convictions which he stubbornly clings to in his advanced years.
  • The septuagenarian Republican challenger is too far over-the-hill to engage in double-speak, half-truths, white lies or black masses.
Congressman Ron Paul serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Committee on Financial Services, and the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee. 

Additionally, he is the chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology.

According to his critics, however, Ron Paul is "too old" and "out of touch" to publicly comment with credibility on American foreign policy and U.S. monetary policy.

That doesn't even make sense.

Ron Paul is just as dated, out of touch, on the fringe, out to lunch and irrelevant in today's mainstream as are The Constitution, the Founding Fathers, liberty, freedom and God Almighty.

That is true, regardless of which angle Ron Paul is viewed from.

Rep. Paul continues to win polls, debates, votes and buzz, yet his detractors declare that he has no real chance of being elected.  Why then does the Ron Paul for President 2012 campaign draw more supporters every day?

It may just be the unchecked criticism, age discrimination and slander against Ron Paul that is getting too old, not the candidate.

From Californiality - Thanks Mark

Pretty Please with Sugar on it - Give Our Drone Back

Isn't this just ducky!
First some boob allows one of the most top-secret and highly advanced tools in the US arsenal to fall into enemy hands.
Obama has been asking Ahmadinejad to return it.
Mahmoud says no.
Barry will now pretend to flail around for a few weeks like Chicken Little, giving his pals in Iran plenty of time to reverse engineer this billion-dollar prize.

Expect to see the efficacy of US drones go down the tubes, while the enemy starts sending their own made-in-China copies over to visit us.

Nobody is really surprised that our waffler-in-chief has not taken action on this egregious assault on United States security.

After firing the lame-brains that lost the drone in the first place, the next step should have been to lob in a couple of tactical Nukes in response to a refusal to return it.

Iran says it will not return US drone - Yahoo! News

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will not return a U.S. surveillance drone captured by its armed forces, a senior commander of the country's elite Revolutionary Guard said Sunday.
Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Guard, said in remarks broadcast on state television that the violation of Iran's airspace by the U.S. drone was a "hostile act" and warned of a "bigger" response. He did not elaborate on what Tehran might do.
"No one returns the symbol of aggression to the party that sought secret and vital intelligence related to the national security of a country," Salami said.
Iranian television broadcast video Thursday of Iranian military officials inspecting what it identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel drone.
Iranian state media have said the unmanned spy aircraft was detected over the eastern town of Kashmar, some 140 miles (225 kilometers) from the border with Afghanistan. U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the drone.
Salami called its capture a victory for Iran and a defeat for the U.S. in a complicated intelligence and technological battle.
"Iran is among the few countries that possesses the most modern technology in the field of pilotless drones. The technology gap between Iran and the U.S. is not much," he said.
Officers in the Guard, Iran's most powerful military force, had previously claimed that the country's armed forces brought down the surveillance aircraft with an electronic ambush, causing minimum damage to the drone.
American officials have said that U.S. intelligence assessments indicate that Iran neither shot the drone down, nor used electronic or cybertechnology to force it from the sky. They contend the drone malfunctioned. The officials had spoken anonymously in order to discuss the classified program.
But Salami refused to provide more details of Iran's claim to have captured the CIA-operated aircraft.
"A party that wins in an intelligence battle doesn't reveal its methods. We can't elaborate on the methods we employed to intercept, control, discover and bring down the pilotless plane," he said.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Far away in the tropical waters of the Coral Sea , two prawns were swimming around. One was named Charlie and the other Christian.

The two prawns were constantly being harassed and threatened by sharks that inhabited the area.

Finally one day Charlie said to Christian; 'I'm fed up with being a prawn. I wish I was a shark, then I wouldn't worry about being eaten.'

A large mysterious cod appeared and said, 'Your wish is granted.'

Lo and behold, Charlie became a shark.

Horrified, Christian immediately swam away, afraid of being eaten by his old friend.

After a while, Charlie found life as a shark boring and lonely. All his old friends swam away whenever he came close to them. Charlie realized that his new menacing appearance was the cause of his sad plight.

While swimming alone one day he saw the mysterious cod again and he thought the cod might change him back into a prawn. He approached the cod and begged to be changed back. Lo and behold, Charlie became a prawn again.

With tears of joy in his tiny little eyes Charlie swam back to his friends and bought them all a cocktail. Looking around the gathering at the reef he realized he couldn't see his old pal.

'Where's Christian?' he asked.

'He's at home, still distraught that his best friend changed sides to the enemy & became a shark'.

Eager to put things right and end the mutual pain and torture, Charlie set off to visit Christian. He banged on the door and shouted, 'It's me, Charlie, your old friend, come out and see me.'

Christian replied, 'No way man, you'll eat me. You're a shark, the enemy, and I won't be tricked into being your dinner.'

Charlie cried back 'No, I've changed.  'I found Cod. I'm a Prawn again Christian'

Friday, December 9, 2011

Don't Screw with the Government

In the Beginning - or - Al Gore Did NOT invent the Internet

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. 

And Dot Com was a comely woman,  broad of shoulder and long of leg.  Indeed,  she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham,  her husband,  "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load,  but simply said,  "How, dear?"

And Dot replied,  "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price.  And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by  Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.  And the drums rang out and were an immediate success.   Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price,  without ever having to move from his tent. 

To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying,  Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew.  It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo,  the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer,  Brother William of Gates,  who bought off every drum maker in the land.  And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh,  Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel ,  or eBay as it came to be known.

He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."

"YAHOO,"  said Abraham.

And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua,  being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was,  soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

That is how it all began. And that's the truth.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Watch Out Bloggers - Here come da Judge!

Be careful boys and girls. You might not be able to hide behind your keyboard like a "real journalist" can hide behind his steno pad.

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.

Although media experts said Wednesday that the ruling would have little effect on the definition of journalism, it casts a shadow on those who work in nontraditional media since it highlights the lack of case law that could protect them and the fact that current state shield laws for journalists are not covering recent developments in online media.

"My advice to bloggers operating in the state of Oregon is lobby to get your shield law improved so bloggers are covered," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "But do not expect the shield law to provide you a defense in a libel case where you want to rely on an anonymous source for that information."

The judge ruled that Cox was not protected by Oregon's shield law from having to produce sources, saying even though Cox defines herself as media, she was not affiliated with any mainstream outlet. He added that the shield law does not apply to civil actions for defamation.

Hernandez said Cox was not a journalist because she offered no professional qualifications as a journalist or legitimate news outlet. She had no journalism education, credentials or affiliation with a recognized news outlet, proof of adhering to journalistic standards such as editing or checking her facts, evidence she produced an independent product or evidence she ever tried to get both sides of the story.

Cox said she considered herself a journalist, producing more than 400 blogs over the past five years, with a proprietary technique to get her postings on the top of search engines where they get the most notice.

"What could be more mainstream than the Internet and the top of the search engine?" she said.

Padrick, of Bend, Ore., was a trustee in a bankruptcy case involving Summit Accommodators, a company that helped property owners conduct real estate transactions in a way to limit taxes. Three executives face federal fraud and money laundering indictments.

The lawyer sued Cox for defamation, a legal fight that is typically difficult for plaintiffs to win. Public figures, for example, must prove the defendant knew the statement in question was false, and the statement must be matters of public interest.

The judge found that Padrick was not a public figure, and that the bankruptcy case was not in the public interest. The ruling opened the way for a jury to award $2.5 million to Padrick and Obsidian.

Cox said she didn't have the money to pay the judgment, and that she intended to keep posting about the Summit bankruptcy case.

"My intensions are the highest and best," she said. "I know I am sometimes over the top or a little bit vulgar. But I encourage people not to listen to me or him but to look at the documents and make their own decision based on that."

Padrick said the case showed how vulnerable anyone was to someone with a computer. He said he has lost business from potential clients who search his name and firm through Google and find Cox's postings at the top of the list, adding that he has no way to remove them.

"If anyone can self-proclaim themselves to be media, the concept of media is rendered worthless," Padrick said. "When everyone is media, the concept of media is gone."

The judge ruled that Padrick and his company did not have to seek a retraction, as required by Oregon law, before claiming damages, because a blogger is not on the list of recognized media, which include newspapers, magazines, television and radio news, and motion pictures.

Padrick said he did not expect to collect much of the $2.5 million jury award, or to see his business fully rebound. He said his only consolation was that all eight jurors who heard the case believed he had been significantly harmed.

Ellyn Angelotti, who teaches about digital trends and social media at The Poynter Institute, said the ruling was significant because so little case law has built up on online media. But she believed it would have little impact on bloggers in general until the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case, or more federal courts rule.

Kyu Ho Youm, a First Amendment expert and journalism professor at the University of Oregon, called the judge's strict definition of a journalist "outdated" since so-called citizen journalists currently outnumber traditional journalists.

"When we talk about the shield law, we should pay more attention to the function people are doing than whether people are connected to traditional and established news media," he said.

From , AP Dec 8

Monday, December 5, 2011

Maxwell's Demon

This excerpt still cracks me up - even after 15 years!

To every question, curse or threat, he would respond with: "Tenk‑yoo. Tenk‑yoo veddy veddy much!" Max couldn't begin to comprehend why the crazed swami had a turban twisted around his sweaty forehead in the 112 degree heat.

Giving up on the corndog, Max grabbed another six pack from the cooler and paid with exact change.

"Oh sir, that is most gracious, tenk-yoo. I am hoping that your little doggie is found." The gracious guru was bobbing up and down with his palms pressed together. He was grinning psychotically through a full set of grey teeth outlined in gold.

Max beat a hasty retreat.

The trusty Falcon waited in the parking lot. It began to hiss at him as soon as he approached. Maxwell's Demon eBook: Carl Strode: Kindle Store

Lott: What's the big deal about carrying guns across state lines?

November 28, 2011

Dr. John Lott
From Dr. John Lott on the House-passed National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act:
The proposed National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act contains two provisions: if your state issues a concealed handgun license, that permit will let you travel to other states. Of course, you also have to follow the rules in the state you visit, so for Illinois -- the single state that still bans concealed handguns -- an out-of-state license wouldn't let you carry a concealed handgun there.
Gun control advocates are now apoplectic about the possibility of the bill passing. Democratic Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York released a letter last Wednesday warning that letting people carry concealed handguns constitutes a "dangerous measure" and "harmful legislation."
Echoing the warnings made by gun control advocates when state concealed-handgun laws were originally passed, that permit holders would lose their tempers and there would be blood in the streets. Obviously that never happened.
We now have extensive experience with concealed-handgun permit holders. In 2011, about 7 million Americans hold permits that allow them to carry concealed handguns. Forty-one of these states have relatively liberal right-to-carry laws, letting people obtain permits once they pass a criminal background check, pay a fee, and in many states receive training.
Take Florida. Between Oct. 1, 1987, and July 31, 2011, Florida issued permits to over 2 million people, many of whom renewed their permits multiple times. Only 168 had their permits revoked for a firearms-related violation -- about 0.01 percent.
The same pattern has been observed in state after state. Permit holders lose their permits at hundredths or thousands of one percent for any type of gun related violations, and in the few cases where licenses are revoked, it is usually due to rather trivial offenses.
Read more here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Did you Say Queen Mary Old Man?

WA7CS operating CW at W6RO - radio room of the Queen Mary


Dana (my XYL) and I had a conversation a couple of months ago – it went sorta like this:

“I’m booking a cruise to Hawaii.”

“I don’t wanna go.”

“C’mon – It’ll be fun.

“Nope. Don’t wanna go.”

“We’ll stay in LA for a few days first and visit my family, then go on a Hollywood bus tour”.

“Now I really don’t wanna go.”

“We’ll see all the sights and maybe even visit the Queen Mary on our way to the cruise ship terminal.”

“Nope. Wait; did you say the Queen Mary? The one in Long Beach?”


“OK. I’ll make a copy of my Ham License and pack my Vibroplex.”

Why, you may ask, was my abrupt change of attitude accompanied by a desire to Xerox a ham ticket and take a Morse Key to Hawaii?

Somewhere, somehow, I recalled that even though the Queen Mary has been out of service for 45 years, her radio room is alive and well and on the air. Somewhere in a shoebox is a QSL card I received from W6RO after working this very famous station.

A couple of weeks before our departure I sent a memo to John Rogers (KF6TTR) of the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach (ARALB) to see if I might be able to work some CW as a guest operator in the W6RO radio room.

Arriving in Los Angeles, I endured visits with relatives and throngs of camera toting tourists as we hopped from hotel to hotel. The first night was at the Roosevelt on Hollywood Boulevard. The second was at the Los Angeles Biltmore on Grand Avenue. Don’t get me wrong – these places are not flea bags. Not only are they historical landmarks rich in history and jaw-dropping architecture, they are also five-star hotels with fabulous food and the best in white-glove service. If you must stay a night or two away from home I give these two joints my highest recommendations.

Finally – the morning of November 8th brought us to the Queen Mary. Dana went off to look for the spa to see about a manicure, and I made a bee-line for the Sports Deck: QTH of W6RO - Radio Room of the Queen Mary.

John Rogers had made all the necessary arrangements and told me that the ARALB club officers would roll out the red carpet for me. And that they did. When I located the Radio Room, it was a beehive of activity. I was given the warmest of welcomes and was invited to take a seat at the CW position.

Happier than a pig in “mud” I fired up the CW transceiver and started making contacts. Several of our fellow FISTS were ecstatic to swap numbers with W6RO.

I cannot recall meeting a friendlier or more accommodating group of Hams than those standing watch at W6RO. During a break, Bob Grubic (NC6Q) and Art Borges (WA6UNC) escorted me to the Grand Ballroom where, over coffee and cake, we chewed the rag about all things ham radio.

The absolute and penultimate highlight of our three week Hawaiian vacation (for me at least) was as a guest operator at W6RO and an overnight stay aboard the Queen Mary. The opportunity to operate the radio station of the most famous ocean liner in the world will, without a doubt, remain as one of the most memorable moments of more than 40 years as a Radio Amateur.

FISTS 4561

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Real Time National Debt

The clock time bomb is ticking.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Keemosabe Go Home

Indian (sorry - Native American) tribes had very strict immigration laws. Foreigners were usually attacked, run-off, scalped, invaded, raped, pillaged, etc.

When the Pilgrims showed up, enforcement of territorial rights was for some reason not the first thing on their minds. The cute Europeans with their quaint ways (not to mention trinkets and whiskey) were seen as a harmless curiosity by the Indians.

Sadly for them, they were a bit laissez faire with the white man's trespassing and incessant encroachment. If they had been a bit more forceful and killed the pilgrims right away and tenaciously enforced their borders from day one, they would certainly not have been overrun from their traditional homelands so easily.

Friday, October 21, 2011

One Term President with a Cream Pie Fetish

A very telling exemplar of arrogance.

Jobs - one of the most accomplished marketing and business success stories in recent decades - couldn't come to grips with the fact that Obama's fondness for cream pie was more important than the success and security of the United States of America.

The genius of Jobs was stymied by the narcissistic ego of Obama.

Here is the story:

Steve Jobs, known for his aggressive and sometimes prickly personality, didn't hold back when he met President Obama in 2010: The Apple CEO warned Obama he wasn't going to win re-election.

"You're headed for a one-term presidency," Jobs said during a meeting with the president that took place a year prior to Jobs' death related to pancreatic cancer, according to his upcoming biography as reported by the Huffington Post.

Walter Isaacson, who wrote the forthcoming Jobs bio, reportedly reveals that Jobs argued that Obama was jeopardizing his re-election prospects because of what Jobs took to be a pervasive anti-business climate in his administration. Jobs cited excessive federal regulations and operating costs for businesses as harmful legacies of the Obama White House.

Also, Jobs nearly missed the meeting in the first place.

From the Huffington Post:

Though his wife told him that Obama "was really psyched to meet with you," Jobs insisted on the personal invitation, and the standoff lasted for five days. When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt. He seemed to have transformed from a liberal into a conservative.

After laying into the White House's purported anti-business outlook, Jobs offered to help Obama repair the rift by arranging meeting between the president and a group of CEOs. When the guest list began to grow, Jobs reportedly resolved to back out of the gathering. Instead, he attended, though he poo-pooed the fancy menu. "But he was overruled by the White House, which cited the president's fondness for cream pie," Huffington Post writes.

Jobs also offered to to help create political ads for the president in 2012. Jobs had scotched a similar effort to craft Obama ads in 2008, when Isaacson claims that Jobs was unhappy that Obama strategist David Axelrod showed insufficient deference to the Apple honcho.

This and other political news is just the latest information to leak from the hotly anticipated book.

Steve Jobs predicted Obama would be a one-term president | The Ticket - Yahoo! News

Friday, October 7, 2011

America doesn't need another Politician

OK folks - I know that most of you have the attention span of a warming ice cube - however there may be a few among my subscribers that can focus for 15 or 20 minutes to watch this video. Herman Cain lays out a lot of specifics in this clear and straight-forward interview.

Someone will be selected as the GOP nominee - For the County's sake, I hope it is Herman Cain.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Justice for Osama

A good sample of a British point of view. I only wish more Americans had Pat's perspective.

His closing comments on the final resting place of OBL are choice!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hard Work and Brains - Hope for the American Presidency

Herman Cain is running for president. He’s not a career politician (in fact he has never held political office). He’s known as a pizza guy, but there’s a lot more to him. He’s also a computer guy, a banker guy, and a rocket scientist guy.
Here’s his bio:
  • Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.
  • Master’s degree in Computer Science.
  • Mathematician for the Navy, where he worked on missile ballistics (making him a rocket scientist).
  • Computer systems analyst for Coca-Cola.
  • VP of Corporate Data Systems and Services for Pillsbury (this is the top of the ladder in the computer world, being in charge of information systems for a major corporation).
All achieved before reaching the age of 35. Since he reached the top of the information systems world, he changed careers!
  • Business Manager. Took charge of Pillsbury’s 400 Burger King restaurants in the Philadelphia area, which were the company’s poorest performers in the country. Spent the first nine months learning the business from the ground up, cooking hamburger and yes, cleaning toilets. After three years he had turned them into the company’s best performers.
  • Godfather’s Pizza CEO. Was asked by Pillsbury to take charge of their Godfather’s Pizza chain (which was on the verge of bankruptcy). He made it profitable in 14 months.
  • In 1988 he led a buyout of the Godfather’s Pizza chain from Pillsbury. He was now the owner of a restaurant chain. Again he reached the top of the ladder of another industry.
  • He was also chairman of the National Restaurant Association during this time. This is a group that interacts with government on behalf of the restaurant industry, and it gave him political experience from the non-politician side.
Having reached the top of a second industry, he changed careers again!
  • Adviser to the Federal Reserve System. Herman Cain went to work for the Federal Reserve Banking System advising them on how monetary policy changes would affect American businesses.
  • Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. He worked his way up to the chairmanship of a regional Federal Reserve bank. This is only one step below the chairmanship of the entire Federal Reserve System (the top banking position in the country). This position allowed him to see how monetary policy is made from the inside, and understand the political forces that impact the monetary system.
After reaching the top of the banking industry, he changed careers for a fourth time!
  • Writer and public speaker. He then started to write and speak on leadership. His books include Speak as a Leader, CEO of Self, Leadership is Common Sense, and They Think You’re Stupid.
  • Radio Host. Around 2007—after a remarkable 40 year career—he started hosting a radio show on WSB in Atlanta (the largest talk radio station in the country).
He did all this starting from rock bottom (his father was a chauffeur and his mother was a maid). When you add up his accomplishments in his life—including reaching the top of three unrelated industries: information systems, business management, and banking—Herman Cain may have the most impressive resume of anyone that has run for the presidency in the last half century.

Lowering Standards for the American President

August 18, 2011

Obama: The Affirmative Action President

By Matt Patterson

Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential job?

Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a "community organizer"; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote "present"); and finally an unaccomplished single term in United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions. He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as legislator.

And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama's "spiritual mentor"; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama's colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?

Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal:

To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass.

Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass -- held to a lower standard -- because of the color of his skin. Podhoretz continues:

And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) "non-threatening," all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?

Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon -- affirmative action. Not in the legal sense, of course. But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and especially white liberals, feel good about themselves.

Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow. Liberals don't care if these minority students fail; liberals aren't around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin -- that's affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn't racism, then nothing is. And that is what America did to Obama.

True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be? As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois; he was told he was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate. All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. What could this breed if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks?

In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama's oratory skills, intellect, and cool character. Those people -- conservatives included -- ought now to be deeply embarrassed. The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of clichés, and that's when he has his teleprompter in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all. Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth -- it's all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years.

And what about his character? Obama is constantly blaming anything and everything else for his troubles. Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited this mess. It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerlessness, so comfortable with his own incompetence. But really, what were we to expect? The man has never been responsible for anything, so how do we expect him to act responsibly?

In short: our president is a small and small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job. When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office.

But hey, at least we got to feel good about ourselves for a little while. And really, isn't that all that matters these days?

See also: The Era of Confronting Obama at Public Events


Author's Note. A lot of readers have written in asking me how I came to the conclusion that Obama was an unremarkable student and that he benefited from affirmative action. Three reasons:

1) As reported by The New York Sun: "A spokesman for the university, Brian Connolly, confirmed that Mr. Obama spent two years at Columbia College and graduated in 1983 with a major in political science. He did not receive honors..." In spite of not receiving honors as an undergrad, Obama was nevertheless admitted to Harvard Law. Why?

2) Obama himself has written he was a poor student as a young man. As the Baltimore Sun reported, in:

"'Obama's book 'Dreams from My Father,'....the president recalled a time in his life...when he started to drift away from the path of success. 'I had learned not to care,' Obama wrote. '... Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.' But his mother confronted him about his behavior. 'Don't you think you're being a little casual about your future?" she asked him, according to the book. '... One of your friends was just arrested for drug possession. Your grades are slipping. You haven't even started on your college applications.'"

3) Most damning to me is the president's unwillingness to make his transcripts public. If Obama had really been a stellar student with impeccable grades as an undergrad, is there any doubt they would have been made public by now and trumpeted on the front page of the New York Times as proof of his brilliance? To me it all adds up to affirmative action.

Return to the Article

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cain Wins Florida Straw Poll

The delegates, made up of Republican voters from every county in Florida, cast 2,657 ballots for the straw poll that was sponsored by the state Republican Party.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney placed third with 14 percent and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann came in last with just 1.5 percent. Neither campaign officially participated in the straw poll.

"You'd think Mitt Romney would've done better today after being in the race for five and a half years," said Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner. "It's a devastating loss for him today."

The straw poll concluded three days of campaigning in Orlando that began Thursday with a presidential debate and included a conference for activists sponsored by the American Conservative Union.

Several delegates participating in the straw poll said that Perry's weak performance at the debate led them to consider Cain instead.

Full results:
  1. Herman Cain, 37.1%
  2. Rick Perry, 15.4%
  3. Mitt Romney, 14.0%
  4. Rick Santorum, 10.9%
  5. Ron Paul, 10.4%
  6. Newt Gingrich, 8.4%
  7. Jon Huntsman, 2.3%
  8. Michele Bachmann, 1.5%

The grinding is nearly completed.

Panem et Circenses

The folks who are getting the free shit, don't like the folks who are paying for the free shit because the folks who are paying for the free shit, can no longer afford to pay for both the free shit and their own shit.

The folks who are paying for the free shit want the free shit to stop.

The folks who are getting the free shit want even more free shit on top of the free shit they are already getting!

The people who are forcing the people who pay for the free shit have told the people who are RECEIVING the free shit that the people who are PAYING for the free shit are being mean, prejudiced, and racist.

So... the people who are GETTING the free shit have been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free shit by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free shit and giving them the free shit in the first place.

We have let the free shit giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free shit than paying for the free shit.

Now understand this: All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded.

The reason?

The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them.

The United States officially became a Republic in 1776, 231 years ago.

The number of people now getting free shit outnumbers the people paying for the free shit. We have one chance to change that in 2012.

Failure to change spells the end of the United States as we know it.

Oh - by the way - panem et circenses is Latin for Bread and Circuses.

Those scornful words "bread and circuses," panem et circenses in Latin, become more meaningful when you understand that in Ancient Rome, the citizens became increasingly addicted to free distributions of food and the violent gladiatorial and other contests held in the Coliseum and the chariot races of the Circus Maximus. Romans had lost the capacity to govern themselves so distracted by mindless self-gratification had they become. 

Thus, bread and circuses, is a phrase now used to deplore a population so distracted with entertainment and personal pleasures (sometimes by design of those in power) that they no longer value the civic virtues and bow to civil authority with unquestioned obedience. Bread and Circuses has also become a general term for government policies that seek short-term solutions to public unrest.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Victim in Montana grizzly attack was shot by friend

Don't worry about the Bears - Look out for Elmer Fudd 

The "Victim" was not the hunter, but the hunted.

This most recent revelation was predicted by Dana (my better half) as soon as the lame-stream media began wringing their hands after this pair of "poor innocent sportsmen and nature lovers" were "attacked and killed by a "rogue bear".

It sure as hell is not the bear's fault. The bear was protected by state an federal law, however no law, rule, or regulation can protect anyone or anything from a mouth breathing, knuckle dragger with a six-pack and a hunting license .

The one and only requirement to obtain a hunting license is a paltry license fee.  The very idea that these fools could not discern a Grizzly from a Black Bear shows full well they had no clue what they were hunting for.  Milk cows, horses, dogs, and even farm implements are shot by hunters with licenses each and every year.  Here's an idea:  how about testing these idiots on game recognition before they are let loose on an unsuspecting public?

It is difficult to decide which is more dangerous - the government bureaucrats making the rules, or the idiot citizens that elect them.

(Reuters) - An autopsy shows that a Nevada man believed to have been fatally mauled by a grizzly bear in northwestern Montana was instead shot and killed by his hunting partner, authorities said Friday.

Steve Stevenson, 39, of Winnemucca, Nevada, was mauled on September 16 by a grizzly bear that had just been shot and wounded by Stevenson's friend, Ty Bell, 20, also of Winnemucca. Bell opened fire on the bear again when it turned on his buddy.

"In attempt to stop the grizzly bear's attack on Stevenson, hunting partner Ty Bell shot the bear multiple times. One of those rounds struck Stevenson in the chest," Lincoln County, Montana, Undersheriff Brent Faulkner said in a statement.

Faulkner said an autopsy by the Montana State Crime Lab showed Stevenson died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Stevenson and Bell had paired off as part of a four-man hunting party seeking black bears in the rugged Purcell Mountains that straddle northeastern Idaho and northwestern Montana.

Bell mistakenly identified a young male grizzly as the quarry he was licensed to kill and shot the bear, which sought refuge in a heavily wooded area. The two men tracked the grizzly, which then attacked Stevenson and was shot repeatedly before being killed by Bell. It was one of those shots that caused Stevenson's death, authorities said.

"It was a very unfortunate, tragic accident where bad timing and the snap judgment on the initial shot at the bear came to a head and someone lost his life," Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe told Reuters.

Preliminary findings from the investigation showed the grizzly was on top of Stevenson at one point and that the animal was dragging him, Bowe said.

Bear experts said the case of mistaken identity will reemphasize programs designed to ensure hunters can distinguish between black bears and their hump-shouldered cousins.

A struggling population of about 30 grizzlies, which are listed as threatened in the Lower 48 states under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, roam the mountain forests where the hunting accident happened.

While hunting the protected bears is banned, the law allows them to be killed if they threaten human life.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A hunter attacked by a wounded grizzly in a Montana forest was killed not by the bear, but by a gunshot fired by a companion trying to save him, authorities said Friday.

Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe said an autopsy determined 39-year-old Steve Stevenson of Winnemucca, Nev., died of a single gunshot to the chest. The cause of death was determined by a medical examiner with the Montana State Crime Lab.

The shot was fired by 20-year-old Ty Bell, also of Winnemucca, as he attempted to stop the bear's attack. No charges are expected, Bowe said.

The autopsy found bite marks on Stevenson's leg caused by the bear.

"We're fairly convinced it was obviously an accident," Bowe said. "But the county attorney will review the final report once we're done."

Bell and Stevenson were on a black bear hunting trip with two other people in a thickly-forested region along the Montana-Idaho border when the attack occurred Sept. 16.

The foursome had split into two-member teams, and early in the day Bell shot and wounded what he thought was a black bear, which are considered less aggressive than grizzly bears.

Bell and Stevenson waited about 15 minutes until they thought the bear had died, then tracked the 400-pound grizzly into thick cover, according to Stevenson's mother, Janet Price.

When the bear turned on the men, Stevenson yelled at the animal to distract it and keep it from attacking Bell, Price told The Associated Press last week. When the animal instead went after Stevenson, Bell fired multiple shots trying to kill the animal, Bowe said.

It was unclear how many times the bear was hit, or whether the bullet that killed Stevenson had first hit the bear. Bowe said that possibility was under investigation.

The bear also died.

It is illegal to kill grizzly bears in the lower 48 states, where the animals are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and the case is also under investigation by federal wildlife agents.

Grizzlies were largely exterminated across the lower 48 last century, but their population has rebounded dramatically in recent decades.

The grizzly shot by Bell was one of about 45 of the animals that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates live in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem Area in northwest Montana and northern Idaho.

Ron Aasheim with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the case underscored the potential danger hunters face when pursuing wounded animals.

"Anytime you follow a wounded animal, but particularly a predator like a bear, you have to be very careful," he said.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Obama Photo Fail

The article on Yahoo had this photo captioned as" Obama accidentally ruins U.N. photo"

At the Open Government Partnership Event, President Obama covered the face of another world leader.  Obama’s hand accidentally blocked the face of the President of Mongolia.


I don't think so.

Barry is such a media hog that there is no doubt he hammed it up on purpose. Looks just like a typical third grade class picture.

As usual the class goof is clowning for attention.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Obama: "25 dollars is a fair price for a cup of coffee and a muffin"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. government grapples to find ways to trim the bloated federal deficit, a new report suggests officials might start with cutting out $16 muffins and $10 cookies.

"We found the Department (of Justice) spent $16 on each of the 250 muffins served at an August 2009 legal conference in Washington," said a DOJ Office of Inspector General report released on Tuesday.

The DOJ spent $121 million on conferences in fiscal 2008 and 2009, which exceeded its own spending limits and appeared to be extravagant and wasteful, according to the report that examined 10 conferences held during that period.

The review turned up the expensive muffins, which came from the Capital Hilton Hotel just blocks from the White House, as well as cookies and brownies that cost almost $10 each.

The department spent $32 per person on snacks of Cracker Jack, popcorn, and candy bars and coffee that cost $8.24 per cup at another conference, the report said.

The DOJ also spent nearly $600,000 for event planning services for five conferences, the document said.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said most of the gathering were held when there were no strict limits on food and beverage costs, adding the DOJ had taken steps since 2009 "to ensure that these problems do not occur again."

Word of the agency's extravagant spending drew a swift response from Capitol Hill.

Senator Chuck Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee which has oversight of the Justice Department, said the report was a blueprint for the first cuts that should be made by the "super committee" searching for at least $1.2 trillion in savings.

"Sixteen dollar muffins and $600,000 for event planning services are what make Americans cynical about government and why they are demanding change," Grassley said in a statement. "People are outraged, and rightly so."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

YOUCUT Phase 2

VOTE on CUTS  Here:

We have changed the debate in this country. Two years ago, Washington was focused on new ways to spend trillions in new programs - today, the debate has finally turned towards ways our government can get its fiscal house in order.

You elected the new House Republican majority with orders to stop Washington from spending money it doesn't have, and we listened. The jobs and savings of too many Americans are at stake for Washington to continue ducking the toughest choices.

This spring, the House passed a budget that would cut spending by trillions of dollars and encourage private-sector job creation - without raising taxes. Among its key components are tax reforms that close unfair tax loopholes, while lowering the tax rates for everyone.

Unfortunately, the Democrats who still control the Senate and the White House rejected both our budget and a House-passed "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan that would save trillions.

The Budget Control Act, which has now been signed into law, represents a step toward fiscal sanity in Washington, but only a step. It includes roughly a trillion dollars in up front deficit reduction including real caps to restrain future spending, and no new tax increases.

Bottom line, Washington can't keep spending money it does not have. By participating in the YouCut program over the past year and a half, you were among the first Americans to take action in this cause. Together, we have made a lot of progress, but much more remains to be done.

In the weeks and months ahead, be sure to stay tuned, as there will be several unique opportunities for you to participate in the legislative process. Working together, we will change Washington's culture of spending into a culture of savings.


Rep. Eric Cantor
Majority Leader 


Monday, August 22, 2011

National Debt - Simple and Understandable

A short (3-minute) video that simply explains the size of the National Debt.

Watch this before you vote in any national or state election.

Friday, August 19, 2011

You Can KISS Obama Goodbye

Just looking at a picture of KISS grosses me out, but you’ve gotta wonder whether Gene Simmons might be on to something with a prediction he tweeted yesterday.

“I voted for Pres Bush. I voted for Pres Clinton. I voted for Pres Obama. The next president will be Gov Rick Perry,” Simmons broadcasted.

A few minutes later, he backed up the prediction with another tweet touting what few conservatives would consider to be Perry’s most sterling credential.

“Gov Perry worked for Al Gore and then switched to Republican. He will be our next President. I’ve never been wrong,” Simmons wrote.

But, before you disqualify his opinion because he voted for Clinton and Obama, consider that Simmons has been vocal about his regret for the way he cast his vote in 2008. The Daily Caller has more:
While the iconic musician may claim to be an infallible crystal ball, Simmons has on multiple occasions expressed regret for voting for President Obama. In an interview with CNBC last May, Simmons, who is Jewish, slammed the President for calling on Israel to return to its 1967 borders.
“I think [Barack Obama] is actually a good guy. He has no … idea what the world is like because he doesn’t have to live there,” the vociferous musician told a rather startled Jane Wells.
In the same interview, the increasingly political Simmons waged a harsh war of words against the United Nations, calling it the “most pathetic body on the face of the planet,” “garbage infested, and a “paper tiger.”
Simmons did, however, accurately predict the outcome of the 2010 mid-term elections last September, forecasting that the Tea Party movement would bring “major change.” Only time will tell whether the KISS front man will be right again.

Of course, any astute observer could have predicted that the Tea Party movement would bring “major change” in 2010, but that doesn’t mean Simmons is wrong about Perry. Any astute observer of the GOP primary race so far knows the Texas governor has already brought major change to the dynamics of the field, from topping Romney in Rasmussen’s latest poll to trading barbs with the president about jobs to accusing Ben Bernanke of treason. The question, of course, is whether he has staying power. The Ames debate and straw poll have barely receded into the background and the nation’s already ready for the next debate — or, really, any opportunity to scrutinize or praise Perry on the national stage.

by Tina Korbe 



Thursday, August 18, 2011

I don't know, so I'm an atheist libertarian

I try to claim that I was friends with the genius Richard Feynman. He came to our show a few times and was very complimentary, and I had dinner with him a couple times, and we chatted on the phone several times. I'd call him to get quick tutoring on physics so I could pretend to read his books.

No matter how much I want to brag, it's overstating it to call him a friend. I would never have called him to help me move a couch. I did, however, call him once to ask how we could score some liquid nitrogen for a Letterman spot we wanted to do. He was the only physicist I knew at the time. He explained patiently that he didn't know. He was a theoretical physicist and I needed a hands-on guy, but he'd try to find one for me.

About a half-hour later a physics teacher from a community college in Brooklyn called me and said, "I don't know what kind of practical joke this is, but a Nobel Prize-winning scientist just called me here at the community college, gave me this number, and told me to call Penn of Penn & Teller to help with a Letterman appearance."

I guess that's close to a friend.

My friend Richard Feynman said, "I don't know." I heard him say it several times. He said it just like Harold, the mentally handicapped dishwasher I worked with when I was a young man making minimum wage at Famous Bill's Restaurant in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

"I don't know" is not an apology. There's no shame. It's a simple statement of fact. When Richard Feynman didn't know, he often worked harder than anyone else to find out, but while he didn't know, he said, "I don't know."

I like to think I fit in somewhere between my friends Harold and Richard. I don't know. I try to remember to say "I don't know" just the way they both did, as a simple statement of fact. It doesn't always work, but I try.

Last week I was interviewed for Piers Morgan's show (which used to be Larry King's show). Piers beat me up a bit for being an atheist (that's his job) and then beat me up a bit for being a libertarian (also his job). He did this by asking me impossible questions, questions that none of us, Harold, Richard, me, (or Piers), could ever answer.

He started with "How did you get here?" and I started talking about my road to showbiz and atheism and he interrupted and said he meant how the universe was created. I said, "I don't know."

He said, "God," an answer that meant Piers didn't know either, but he had a word for it that was supposed to make me feel left out of his enlightened club.

Then he asked me what we could do to help poor people. I said I donated money, food, medical care, and services and he said, "No," he meant, what could society do to solve the problem of poor people. Again, I was stumped.

He said the government had to do it, which I interpreted as another way of saying he didn't know, but he thought that made me look mean ... even though I do care and do try to help.

What makes me libertarian is what makes me an atheist -- I don't know. If I don't know, I don't believe. I don't know exactly how we got here, and I don't think anyone else does, either. We have some of the pieces of the puzzle and we'll get more, but I'm not going to use faith to fill in the gaps. I'm not going to believe things that TV hosts state without proof. I'll wait for real evidence and then I'll believe.

And I don't think anyone really knows how to help everyone. I don't even know what's best for me. Take my uncertainty about what's best for me and multiply that by every combination of the over 300 million people in the United States and I have no idea what the government should do.

President Obama sure looks and acts way smarter than me, but no one is 2 to the 300 millionth power times smarter than me. No one is even 2 to the 300 millionth times smarter than a squirrel. I sure don't know what to do about an AA+ rating and if we should live beyond our means and about compromise and sacrifice. I have no idea. I'm scared to death of being in debt. I was a street juggler and carny trash -- I couldn't get my debt limit raised, I couldn't even get a debt limit -- my only choice was to live within my means. That's all I understand from my experience, and that's not much.

It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.

People try to argue that government isn't really force. You believe that? Try not paying your taxes. (This is only a thought experiment -- suggesting on that someone not pay his or her taxes is probably a federal offense, and I'm a nut, but I'm not crazy.). When they come to get you for not paying your taxes, try not going to court. Guns will be drawn. Government is force -- literally, not figuratively.

I don't believe the majority always knows what's best for everyone. The fact that the majority thinks they have a way to get something good does not give them the right to use force on the minority that don't want to pay for it. If you have to use a gun, I don't believe you really know jack. Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It's just ganging up against the weird kid, and I'm always the weird kid.

How did we get here and how do we save everyone? I don't know, but I'm doing the best I can. Sorry Piers, that's all I got.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Penn Jillette.

August 16, 2011  By Penn Jillette