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.