Saturday, May 31, 2014

Resignation II

Following Shenseki's resignation/firing we have the Obama mouthpiece, press secretary Jay Carney resigning.  Wow!.  Here is a guy that gets more air time than Obama himself.  He is in front of the camera's every day, dodging reporter's softball questions.  Despite recent setbacks to the administration the reporters, even the Fox News guys, are failing to ask hard questions, you know the "Who,Where,When,What,and Why" kind.  Instead they ask "What does so-and-so think about what somebody else said" kind of question.
  You would think being press secretary would be fun.  You get a lot of TV exposure, it's easy to look sharp going up against newsies, you don't have to get armies of civil servants to actually do something to justify their salaries, in fact you don't have to produce much of anything at all.  You look good on nationwide TV for just selling the Administration's line.  Indoor work, no heavy lifting. 
   And yet Carney is sufficiently burned out to toss the job when it was his for the rest of Obama's term in office.  I used to do a bit of selling in my time.  The one thing I learned, is to make the sale, you have to believe in the product yourself.  The customer's can read you, they can tell when you are bending the truth (lying), and when they do, that sale is dead.
   Could it be that Carney has lost his belief in the Obama product?  And hence his ability to sell it on TV?

Friday, May 30, 2014


Obama was just on TV.  He started out eulogizing Eric Shinseki, and right then I knew that Shinseki was toast.  Obama finally got around to mentioning that Oh By the Way, Shinseki is gone, but I'd figured that out already. 

Survival of the fittest

Consider the dandelion.  It puts up a bright yellow flower to attract pollinating bees.  Without pollination, the species would die out in a season. It's an annual plant after all.
  On the other hand, that bright yellow blossom attracts implacable dandelion pluckers like myself.  I like a green lawn, no bare patches.  Each dandelion spreads out and kills a six inch circle of grass around its root.  I have kept a reasonably dandelion free lawn for many years by merely hand plucking every blossom that shows.  With luck I get the root to come up too, so I know that dandelion is really dead.  I don't use weed n feed, 2-4-D, Agent Orange, or other weed killers, fearing they will kill more than weeds.  So that bright yellow blossom can be a liability as well. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The scenic route home

So, just for a change of scenery, I drove back on the old roads.  Picked up old US 1 off the Baltimore beltway.  In Maryland it's a two lane road, must date back to the 1920's.  It was Memorial Day, lovely weather, but the traffic was light, pavement in good shape, road signs legible.  Crossed the Susquehanna River/Head of Chesapeake Bay on the old Conowingo Dam.  It's old, but looks like it's still making juice, plenty of water behind the dam.   Crossed the Mason-Dixon line into PA.  In PA they had widened old US 1 into an up-to-date 4 lane divided highway built to interstate standards.  Probably did the widening in the 1960's.  Swung north on old US 202 thru West Chester.  The never ending construction mess at King-of-Prussia was finally ended.  The road crews had moved south toward West Chester and were tearing up a perfectly good 4 lane divided highway. 
   Stopped at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown PA.  Neato.  A guy named Mercer had some money, and got interested in early American artifacts.  He collected woodworking tools, kitchen utensils, horse drawn vehicles, whaling boats, guns, farming tools, gunsmithing tools, gristmills, spinning wheels, looms, everything.  He had the money to put up a seven story vaguely medieval looking museum to hold all his stuff.  It's still open to the public, and it's cool.  There is material in that building to write twenty books on period stuff.  Well worth stopping in. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The VA

Amid the howls of outrage from all over the place, I have yet to hear a few important numbers.  Such as:
1.  How many employees does the VA have?
2.  How many of those employees are real medical personnel treating patients, doctors, nurses, physical therapists and the like?
3. How much money could be saved if all the non-medical personnel were laid off, their health care canceled and their retirements canceled?

"Chic artisan food court"

This is the Economist writing about UNION MARKET in DC.  I was there a couple of days ago, looking for a place to get some lunch.  It didn't even look open.  No lights on.  Big letters falling off the roof sign,  abandoned cars in the parking lot.  It looked so bad that we left and wound up getting burgers and fries at Five Guys. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nigeria's kidnapped girls

TV news claims the girls have been located.  Then they went into a long song and dance about how difficult it would be for the Nigerian armed forces to rescue them.
  What is going on?
  If we have a location, we load a couple of hundred experienced American infantry men in to helicopters and go get them.  Now would be a good time. 
   Boko Haram are terrorists.  We need to give 'em a lesson. 
   Sure, there is a danger than some of the victims may be harmed in the rescue attempt.  But their risks of death, rape, slavery, and never seeing their families again are very very high.  I'm sure every one of the captives would plead for rescue. 

Luxury Hotels in DC

Well, after a $700 bill for a three night stay, it clearly thinks it's a luxury hotel.  It wasn't bad, but there were odd little lapses.  For instance, no exhaust fan in the bathroom.  Which gives the second person thru the bathroom a hot, steamy, smelly experience.  The bathroom tub was some new glossy material that was slippery as glass.  I had to clutch the crash bar to keep from falling in the tub.  The voice mail system didn't work.  The red "you-gotta-voice-mail" lamp in the phone just would not go out, no matter how many times you picked up your voice mail.  Plus, the voice mail I did pick up was just a long dial tone.  Better than heavy breathing I suppose, but not too useful.  No TV guide channel on the TV.  You have to channel surf to see what's on.  I mean my cheapy cable company at home manages a TV Guide channel, why not a luxury hotel?  And the security scare is getting ridiculous.  The elevator demands you insert your room key/card before it will move.  And the architect...  It's a plain boring concrete block.  Front entrance is smaller than the Au Bon Pain, or the Five Guys burger joint.  No decent sign on the roof.  You can drive right by and it's just one more concrete block building, nothing to make you think it's a hotel.  You walk in, and you have to ride the elevator to floor two to check in.  Which gives the hotel two lobbies.  If you tell someone to meet you in the lobby, you only have a 50-50 chance of getting connected. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Hobbit, Desolation of Smaug

I didn't bother to see it in theaters when it came out.  Waited for Netflix.  Well, Netflix brought it to me, I played it.  So-so is the kindest word for it.  The sliced up the book into three parts, to make three movies of it.  This is the middle part, and there just isn't enough plot there to keep the movie moving.  So we have a lot of special effects.  Smaug goes on the rampage, knocks over priceless Dwarf works of art, and keeps on doing so forever. It's a long movie.  I kept hoping it would end.  Little dialog, little acting by flesh and blood actors, the CGI dragon gets the stage for most of the film.
   Too bad.  I have liked the Tolkien books for years.  This flick didn't do much for Middleearth.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Driving down to DC

Its about 600 miles straight thru.  I broke the trip by crashing overnight with an old old friend in Tarrytown NY.  I have done it straight thru in one day, but that was with a relief driver.  I looked at "infrastructure" on the way.  Except for New York, the roads were in good shape.  Fresh new asphalt in many places,  some road work going on here and there.  In New York, everything needed resurfacing, I84, I684, Palisades Parkway.  The New Jersey state line was noticeable for the improvement in the pavement of the Palisades Parkway.  Could it be, most of the media pundits leave in New York, and their constant cries for more infra structure spending are driven be the miserable state of New York roads?  The rest of the way, NH, Vermont, New Jersey, Delaware. Maryland, was good.
  The national motor vehicle fleet has some regional variations.  Upstate in NH and Vermont, there is still a good portion of pickup trucks on the road.  Less so as I went south.  Presumably $4 gasoline has pretty much limited the use of pickups to those that really need them for work.  Used to be, a lot of guys commuted to work in pickups.  Not so much now.  The two seater sports car is pretty much gone, I only saw a couple of them.  No hot rods at all. Every one is driving four door little sedans, either ecoboxes, or Bimmer wannabes.  My full sized Mercury Grand Marquis was pretty much the only one of it's type left.  Merc was running good.  Over the winter his gas mileage had dropped off to a measely 20 MPG.  I gave it a new engine air filter, pumped up all the tires to rated pressure, and I got 25 mpg all the way down.  Not bad for 100,000 miles and 11 years on the road.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Road trip to Washington.

I'm off to daughter's wedding in DC today.  Posting may be a bit light til I get home. 

Fire the bums

In response to the VA scandal, Congress passed a law giving the VA chief more authority to fire senior VA bureaucrats.  If this is a real bill, one with teeth, it is a big step forward.  Right now it is impossible to fire government workers.  We couldn't even fire guys we caught stealing out of the base supply warehouse.  This silly policy goes back to the 1880's civil service reform act.  In the real old days, all government jobs were political, and each time the administration changed hands from democrat to republican and back again, there was a wholesale firing of all government workers.  They were replaced with loyal party members of the winning side, resulting in a federal workforce strong on party loyalty, and little else. 
   They overdid it, and today, it is impossible to fire anyone.  This system applies everywhere except the armed services. 
   We would get better government if we revised the civil service regulations to allow dismissal for cause.  Cause must be documented.  Conviction of a felony in court, espionage, politicking on government time, failure to get to work on time,  sassing supervisors, and failure to pay lawful taxes, and gross incompetence are reasonable causes.  Plus we need an up or out policy.  Workers have to qualify, pass tests for, the next higher grade periodically.  Workers who fail to get promoted, get laid off.  Young guy joins up as GS-bottom-of-the-ladder grade.  He has say three years to work up to GS-next-rung-on-ladder grade.  If he cannot make it, he ain't worth keeping around.  Every three years he has to make the next grade.  Up or out. 
   Incidentally.  The VA employees were on NPR this morning complaining of unfairness in the new law.  The law only applies to the upper ranks of the VA, the janitors and such don't get hit. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Army Green

The US Army has spent 15 years and $100 million dollars developing a lead free bullet for the venerable M16 rifle.  The new round, M855A1, uses a copper slug instead of a lead one.  Actually the bullet is trickier than that, it has a hardened steel penetrator bolt down the center and a steel cap for armor piercing.  The round is finally in service.  The American Rifleman article didn't give the cost per round, the $100 million is non recurring up front R&D expenses.  The article has a lot of deep riflery talk but apparently the new round works as well as the older one it replaces.  They changed the propellant, raising muzzle velocity (good) and chamber pressure (bad).  It will penetrate 3/8 inch mild steel at 350 meters which is impressive for a 22 caliber rifle.  That ought to stop any vehicle short of a tank or APC. 
   I'm so glad we have the money to be so green.   The lead in bullets is not harmful except when the bullet hits you.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Google Maps, enemy of the trees

I want to print a map, to take with me in the car.  Can I just get ONE sheet printed? Noo.  Everytime it prints the map and then wastes a second sheet of paper printing out the Google Logo.

The New York Times

For a national mouthpiece, they certainly have some quirks.  They promote  Jill Abramson to editor, and then fire her a few weeks later.  That makes it a snakepit, where you have to constantly watch your back.  Does not sound like a pleasant place to work. 
   This morning, on NPR, I hear that Jill still loves the Times, and has the Times logo tattooed on her back. Wow!  Except for ugly bikers with "Harley" tattoos, I never heard of anyone with a company tat before. 
Gotta be a weird place that Times.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Indict Chinese hackers or US executives?

The TV news is talking about indictments against Chinese hackers for hacking into US companies and taking trade secrets, classified info, and who knows what.  We won't talk about jurisdiction here, indictments only have force if you can lay your hands on the miscreants.  If they are in China, that doesn't work. 
  I'd like to know what is being done to executives in the US targets.   If they had enforced proper security they would not have gotten hacked.  For that matter, we could have words with Microsoft about gaping security holes in Windows. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

So what is Boko Haram?

Well, since they been kidnapping school girls by the hundred, I'd call them terrorists.  Hillary's State Department is taking flack 'cause they failed to put Boko Haram on the official terrorist list two years ago.  But I heard Fox News call them "rebels" the other day, and NPR called them "militants" just this morning.  Newsies need to wake up and smell the coffee. 

Free Air

They used to offer it at gas stations.  In the old days they would provide a neat little stand with a regulator.  Just dial in the desired tire pressure, jam the air hose onto the tire valve, and kaching, kaching, you were pumped up.  Even worked on my bicycle tires, before I got my driver's license.
  So the other day I noticed trusty Mercury Grand Marquis getting a little soft and squirrelly on I93, going into Littleton.  I eyeballed all the tires, and none of 'em looked soft.  So I rummaged in the glove compartment for the tire pressure gauge that should have been there.  No soap, gauge was gone into that great toolbox in the sky. So, I buy a new gauge at Walmart and go looking for a gas station with air, free or expensive, just air.  I'm at the intersection of I93 and US 302 in Littleton, pretty active place with three gas stations.  Only one of them has air.  Seventy five cents a shot.  Wimpy wimpy.  I put it on the right rear which was 10 pounds low.  The hang-on-the-outside-wall compressor racketed away but it wasn't putting much air in the tire.  The seventy five cents ran out, it stopped racketing, but the tire still hadn't reached 35 psi.  I had to fed it another seventy five cents to get pumped up. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A lotta things to learn about Benghazi

Democrats on TV have been deriding the new Trey Gowdy Benghazi investigating committee.  They say we know everything there is to know, there have been eight previous investigations, and everything is out on the table. 
  I beg to differ.  Things we don't know.
1. Why were no troops or aircraft dispatched to rescue the people in Benghazi?  We had time to get a drone (200 mph) over the consulate, why were jet fighters (1000 mph) not sent?  Why were troops not dispatched, by helicopter or fixed wing?  Who was responsible?
2.  Why did Obama relieve two general officers in the theater of their commands that night?
3.  Who turned down the requests for extra security that were made BEFORE the attack?
4.  Who sent Susan Rice out on the talk shows peddling the internet video story.  She didn't think that fairy tale up all by her self. 
5. Why did acting CIA director Mike Morrel take the Washington analyst's internet video story over the story from the CIA station chief in Benghazi?
6.  What was that massive CIA operation doing in Benghazi anyhow?
7.  What orders did Obama issue that night?  Were they in writing?  If so let's see them.

I'm sure there's more, but these will do for starters.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The A-10

Aka the Warthog.  A ground attack plane, a jet powered version of the Russian WWII Sturmovic.  It can fly low and slow, just what you need for tank plinking, has a honking big 30 mm Gatling gun, and lots of bombs and missiles.  Nice straight wing, top speed around 400 mph.  Twin engines so you can get home if one takes a hit.  Came into service after Viet Nam, did a fantastic job in the first Gulf War.  Best plane out there for ground attack.  On the other hand, if you are flying an A10 and you get bounced by enemy jet fighters, you are in deep trouble. 
  The Air Force officer corps is pretty much all fighter pilots now that SAC has been disbanded.  And fighter pilots want to fly fighters and do air to air combat.  They like the white silk scarf fluttering in the slip stream and they all want to be the Red Baron.  The idea of getting down into the ground fire and shooting up tanks has no appeal to fighter pilots. 
  This year Congress laid a heavy duty funding cut on all the armed services.  It's actually a real cut, the services get less money than than they did last year.  So, the Air Force looked around for things they could shut down or sell off, to keep the little money left them going into the F35 program.  What to cut?  How about that ugly old A10?  None of us fighter pilots like it, if we get rid of  it we can use the money saved to buy that hot F35 that we do like.
   There has been some squawking from the Army and the Marine Corps, both of which like the A10.  Nobody who saw A10s blowing Saddam Hussein's tanks away in the Gulf Wars is going to feel happy about doing without them.
   The issue probably needs to be resolved in Congress, if Congress still has the ability to resolve anything. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Politics is getting mean up here.

It's Wednesday night, the North Grafton Republican Committee is meeting, in the downstairs of the Gold House, Littleton's best pizza place.  Gary Lambert, running for the US House of Representatives, has stopped in to speak to us, do a little campaigning.  Gary is an old New Hampshire political hand, served in the NH senate, served in the Marines for 35 years, a nice guy.
   About this time a young brunette, with a heavy camera bag slips into the room.  I've never seen her before.  But Mike Gilman and Gary do know her, address her as Morgan.  She is a democratic party tracker, assigned to follow Gary Lambert and film any gaffe's he might make.  Morgan is working with or for Annie Kuster's campaign.  We ask her to leave, which she does.
   Discussion turns on how Morgan found us.  Apparently Gary had posted something to his facebook page from his smart phone that evening, and Morgan turned up about an hour after the post.
   Wow.  Pretty big time stuff.  Gary Lambert isn't even the Republican candidate yet, he has yet to win the primary.  That the democrats have the money, or the dedicated people with time on their hands, to track a fairly low level guy like Gary Lambert, suggests a lot of outside money is coming into the state.  It's also probably a waste of resources by the Democrats.  Annie Kuster has done little to nothing in office and is probably toast in November. 

A History of the English Speaking Peoples

Written by Winston Churchill.  The first volume, The Birth of Britain, was started in 1939, seventy five years ago. Finally published in 1956.  As most of you know, Winston Churchill had some other things to attend to between 1940 and 1945.  I started to read it again yesterday. 
   The first volume starts with Caesar's invasion in 55 BC and goes up thru the Norman Conquest and the Plantagenet kings.  Reading a history book this old, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Churchill's writing is pretty much up to date.  I have read more modern histories of the period, specifically, Leslie Alcock's Arthur's Britain, and despite another thirty years of archaeology,  the story stands pretty much the way Churchill wrote of it in 1939. 
   Partly of course, the few written records of the period, Caesar, Gildas, Bede, and Nennius, were well known to Churchill. The contributions of archaeology, although interesting, don't change the story much.
  And Churchill writes well.  This, probably the last book Churchill published, has his best writing.  All writers of history  always feel compelled to comment upon the history and the historical figures.  Churchill's comments are the informed thought of an highly experienced man of affairs.  He understands the need for economic growth, even during the Roman Empire.  He knows of the need for effective military force to repel invasions and maintain civil order.  He knows the importance of Christianity in history.  He lovingly describes the growth of political institutions, especially Parliament, of which he was a member for better than fifty years.  His viewpoint is balanced and insightful. 
   It's a good read.  Check it out. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Money for Milfoil prevention

Op ed in the Onion Leader today.  Milfoil is a lake weed, grows rapidly and can choke a lake to the point where you cannot swim in it, canoe in it, or fish in it.  They described it as "invasive species" which is evil.  The writer was pleading for more state money for Milfoil control.  
   Trouble is, the control measures amount to hiring divers to go down and pull up the weed by hand.  Ow.  My aching back.  That sounds worse than pulling up dandelions by hand, only under water.  And divers don't come cheap.  I can see why the anti Milfoil crusaders are begging for more funding.  There ain't enough money in the entire state of New Hampshire to pull up lakeweed by hand from underwater.  
   Somebody has to find an animal that eats Milfoil, or a herbicide, or a disease that attacks it, or something practical.  Until then, forget it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bills and Blegs

I still pay my bills by check, largely 'cause I don't really trust electronic payment.  Witness the Target data breach disaster.  So the mail comes in, and the bills and the blegs (letters begging money) pile up on my desk.  Once a month I haul out the check book and pay them. 
  This month, I paid 9 bills and still had a huge stack of envelopes to open.  So I counted.
Twenty one blegs total.  Most aggressive blegger, the Republican party.  with seven.  Followed by the Tea Party and the NRA with 3 each.  My old colleges, my old high school, Scott Brown, John McCain, and four local charities came in with one each. 
   To a certain extent I ask for this, I have in fact contributed to each of them in the past, so it's natural for them to come back to the well. Not that I give all that much, $35 is about my utmost.  But I was surprised to find more blegs than bills. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

$20 Billion for new presidential helicopters?

Marine One is getting a little old.  There was a program to replace it about 10 years ago, but terrible cost overruns led to program cancellation.  The replacement was going to have electronic systems good enough to conduct a nuclear war from on board the chopper.  And they kept on gold plating it until the project sank.
   Well, they are at it again.  The new program will get a new design from Sikorsky in Connecticut.  For $20 billion overall, we get 23 gold plated presidential helicopters,  That's nearly $1 billion per aircraft.  That's totally rediculous.
   All we need for a presidential chopper is one of what ever the service is flying.  Give it a nice new paint job and maybe a couple of cushy seats in back.  Take the aircraft from an operational squadron, something that has been flown long enough to get a good feeling about it.  No fancy electronics.  If the president just has to communicate in flight let him use his cell phone.  And we don't need 23 of them,  two, a primary and a backup is plenty. 
   $20 billion for special design, special build gold plated choppers, when the country is as broke as it is, just doesn't make sense. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gumshoes and REMF's won't help.

The TV news is playing up the dispatch of a dozen American "experts" to Nigeria to "help" recover the kidnapped Nigerian girls.  Sorry O, that won't help.  Makes you look wimpy on TV.
  What's needed is about a hundred good soldiers, and the helicopters to lift them.  And a location.  The location the girls are held at.  The choppers land the troops just out of gun shot of the location, the troops move in and shoot anyone who fails to put their hands up in the air.  Choppers provide fire support as needed.  Then fly the girls out to safety.   Repeat as necessary until all the girls are freed.
   So why don't we do this? Do we secretly support Boko Haram?  Lack of guts?  Too many REMF's and not enough soldiers?  Multiculturalism? 
   You don't know what REMF means?  Old service acronym for Rear Echelon M_____ F_____.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lick 'em or join 'em?

The Democrats are choosing between two options.  The House of Representatives is forming a committee to investigate Benghazi, with Rep Trey Gowdy as chairman.  Option 1 for Democrats.  Refuse to participate, make it an all Republican deal, and then trash it as political witchhunting.  Option 2.  Put some Democrats on the committee who can slow things down, waste time, give the witnesses softball questions that make them look good, raise procedural objections, and in general water down the proceedings. 
  Which option to take?  Option 1, abstention, only works if the public can be persuaded that there is nothing in the Benghazi story.  Polls suggest that this won't work, they show a majority thinks Benghazi is a shameful scandal, being hushed up by the administration.  Certainly the failure to send troops to the rescue, the firing of general officers who refused to call back rescue missions, the mysterious CIA operation set up in this sinkhole, the attempt to call it a political demonstration sparked by an obscure internet video, and the denial of security assets requested before hand by officials on the scene, go together to make an ugly and shameful story. 
Option 2  only looks good for Democrats only if they decide Option 1 won't work. 
Good Luck Democrats. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reform the Congress

As the November election approaches everyone is looking to see the Republicans take "control" of the Senate.  Should that happen, Obama will have to warm up that famous pen, and veto stuff.  And sign his own name to it.  Right now, one man, Harry Reid, does the veto for Obama, in secrecy.
  That should not be allowed in a democracy.  Every Congressman ought to be able to submit a bill and have it voted upon.  This business of the Congressional leadership's ability to silently trashcan bills they don't like ought to stop.  For that matter, each house ought to be required to vote on every bill the other house passes. 
  And this business in the Senate where it takes two votes to do anything ought to stop.  Right now they hold one vote one whether they will vote on it and a second one to actually pass it.  This is ridiculous, wastes time, and obscures each senator's real actions.  Plenty of slimy senators vote one way of the first vote and the other way on the second vote.  You gotta be a real political junkie to figure out just what senator so-and-so is really doing up there in DC, out of sight of his district. Most voters don't pay that close attention, they have lives to life after all.
   Then we ought to demand that each bill be read aloud on the floor before the vote on it.  That will cut down on those 1000 page bills that no one understands.  Any bill too long to read aloud is a bad bill. And any bill must be printed (letterpress on paper) and distributed to the press, the public and all Congressmen BEFORE it comes up for a vote. 
   Then we ought to adopt the Confederate States of America practice of demanding each bill laid before Congress must address a single topic, that topic to be announced in the title of the bill.  No more riders.  The Supreme Court ought to hold bills violating that rule are un Constitutional. 
   And English is the language of the United States, plain English.  Fancy Latin words will invalidate any bill. Sentences must be active voice, subject-verb-object.  No compound sentences. No outside references, clauses that read "in accordance with such-an-such" , where such and such is some other document.  A bill ought to stand on its own, no external references, which nobody has the time to find and read.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Scratch one university, Rutgers

Dis inviting Condolezza Rice as a graduation speaker shows a university locked in the grip of crazies.  Condolezza Rice is an inspiring figure, a black woman, born into modest circumstances, who by pure ability rose to become US secretary of state, the third highest office in the land (after the President and the chairman of the federal reserve, and above the vice president).  This is an amazing story, any university student  should be inspired to emulate.   Graduation speeches tend to stick with you, I can still remember some lines from my own graduation speech and that was a long time ago.  I'm sure Condolezza Rice would have been memorable graduation speaker.  And Rutgers drove her away. 
   Ringleader in the anti-Rice crusade is Rutgers professor Deepa Kumar.  She "teaches" journalism and "media studies" what ever that might be.  She writes about Islamophobia, imperialism, anti muslim racism.  She appeared on Russia Today, a Russian government sponsored propaganda show bragging about her "victory" in driving Condolezza Rice off campus.  
   That Rutgers would have this kind of fruitcake on the faculty says a lot of things, all bad, about Rutgers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What would America fight for?

Cover story from The Economist, a London based weekly news magazine.  Written from the point of view of Europeans, terrified that the Americans will let the Russki's eat them up.  The article reaches no worthwhile conclusions.  They don't know what the Americans might do.  For that matter I don't think we Americans know what we might do. 
   With the exception of the Brits, the rest of Europe has disarmed, and can offer no more effective military resistance to a Russian invasion than the Ukrainians have.  Plus, the Russians can turn off the heat all over Europe if they please, so the Europeans are timid about economic sanctions.  In actual fact the Russians have more sanctions to lay on the Europeans  than the Europeans have to lay on the Russians.
   So far, the Russians are attacking an non NATO member, and are going to some trouble to disguise their land grab as another Anschluss, (the people really want to become part of Russia).  After the Ukraine aggression has cooled off, say in a year or two, the Russians may try the same thing on a NATO member.  Would the US live up to its treaty obligations and defend NATO members?  The Europeans fear that we won't. 
   And if we don't, the Russians will move on Europe, country by country, and in a few years control everything up to the English Channel. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

So what is he guilty of?

  A Florida high school student (I didn't catch his name off the TV) is in the dock for hacking into his high school's computer and changing other kids grades, for money.  The TV showed him in orange coveralls and handcuffs.  Clearly the prosecutor is preparing to throw the book at this teenage boy.  Nice looking boy too, thick dark hair, combed neatly, regular features, slender, should have no trouble getting dates at school.  Dates will be harder come by in the clink.  
   Clearly this is a practice to be discouraged.   Changing people's grades, transcripts, medical records, land ownership records,  bank account records, driving records, and you name it, should not be allowed.  No way, No how.
   But,  what crime is this kid guilty of?  It isn't robbery or burglary.  It isn't murder, manslaughter, arson, barratry, assault, perjury, embezzlement, income tax evasion.  Forgery perhaps?  Traditionally forgery is printing false paper money, or creating other false documents.  But we could expand it.
   For once, I'm thinking we need to pass a law, criminalizing this sort of thing.  Broaden the law to include altering records of any kind for profit.  Give this crime a name,  say fackery, for forging by hacking,  Spell out the test of the crime, and the penalties.  Give the judge some discretion to let first time offenders off with something less than prison, say probation or even a slap on the wrist   
   And let's have some penalties for officials who fail to take obvious security measures, such as requiring passwords to access sensitive  records, demanding a password change every six months, keeping computers with sensitive records OFF the internet. 


Sunday, May 4, 2014

340,000 layoffs equals 288,000 "new" jobs?

The Obama administration keeps touting figures for "new" jobs.  They never did spell out what makes a job "new".  I'm thinking that every single hire is counted as a "new" job.  In the same week they claimed 288,000 "new" jobs, they also announced 340,000 new claims for unemployment benefits, i.e. 340,000 people got laid off.  First thing anyone does after getting laid off is go right down and file for unemployment.  Put the two numbers together and we lost about 52,000 jobs last month.  They don't say that on the evening TV news.
   They do say that GNP growth has dropped to just about nothing.  0.1% is the number given, which is so low it might as well be zero. 
  Obama doesn't talk about that either.  At least he isn't blaming it on George Bush any more.

White House Coorespondent's dinner

Getting a lot of press coverage this morning.  Obama has a fancy dinner for all his lovers in the press.  How is this news?  We know the press loves him and covers for him. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Up here trees are the enemy

Damn things keep growing, spreading, reseeding, putting up shoots, dropping leaves on the grass.  Around the edge of my lawn,  the brush and the saplings try to move in on the grass.  Shade it, bury it in dead leaves,  emit hostile pheromones.  The trees were staking a claim to 4-5 feet into the lawn.
   Can't have that, they will be tearing down the house next.
   Hedge clippers, very good against the pricker bushes, the saplings, the low hanging branches.  And lopping shears for the stuff too thick for the hedge clippers.  And a rake, a metal leaf rake.  I used to use a big bamboo rake but it isn't strong enough to tangle with the brush.  Any how,  I pushed the woods back a good 5 feet.  Long live the grass.
   Gotta wait for the grass to green up this year.  At least I got it all raked and looking better before the trees leafed.    

Friday, May 2, 2014

Meet and Greet Jim Rubins, running for US Senate

I'm doing a meet and greet at my place for Jim Rubins next Thursday 8 May 6 PM.  Jim is a Republican running for US Senator for New Hampshire.  My place is up at the top of Franconia Notch.
22 Ridge Cut Road
Franconia, NH 03580

The Mittersill driveway is a couple of hundred yards down the road from the Peabody Slopes parking lot at Cannon.  You can get off I93 at the Peabody Slopes/Echo Lake/ State Rt 18 exit.  It's one exit north of the Cannon Mt Tramway exit.

Obama fired general officers on the night of Benghazi

With the new Ben Rhodes email the Benghazi story is coming back to life.  As was obvious at the time, Obama spun the story, from a terrorist attack to a political demonstration.  The consulate held out under attack for seven hours that night.  Plenty of time to send reinforcements.  Commanders on the scene, General Carter Ham, and Admiral Charles M Gaouette were fired by Obama that night.  No explanation has ever been given.  Rumor has it that Obama fired them when they refused to recall rescue missions en route to Benghazi. 
   I noticed that while Bret Baier was roasting Tommy Vietor medium rare last night, he didn't ask about the firings of general officers with distinguished service records. 
   Put this together with retired Air Force general Robert Lovell, who testified before Congress that "We should have gone in."
  I think the real untold story of Benghazi is that the armed forces  attempted rescue missions but Obama ordered them to stop and return to base.  I think Obama sacrificed four brave Americans to prevent an incident that would have made him look bad, and demanded some serious US intervention in Libya, which he did not want to cope with. 

Microsoft does one more XP patch.

Despite months of XP whines about Microsoft cutting off upgrades and patches, a new "zero day exploit" (hole in Windows just discovered today) is so bad that M$ cranked out a patch for it.  Actually the hole seems to be in Internet Exploder Version 8, rather than in Windows proper, not that it mkes much difference to us users.  We don't care where the bug lives, we just want it squashed.  Anyhow, if you fire up Windows Update, and wait, the Exploder patch will download and install.

Sexual Orientation

We have a push to amend the New Hampshire constitution to guarantee equality (or something) for "sexual orientation".  Not sure just what sexual orientation means.  Is it a new word for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered?  Actually I, and everyone else, assumes that anti discrimination laws already on the books covers them.  Or is it a term that just covers boys who want to be girls and girls who want to be boys?  And what equality does it offer?  I can understand requiring equality in things like college admissions, apartment rental, hiring.  But what about more intimate jobs such as live in house keeper, day care provider, or nanny?
Apparently the NH senate has passed the amendment (dubbed CACR 17) and it's now over at the House. 
   I'm dubious about the value of this one. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Citizen's ID cards

They used to be a characteristic feature of police states.  Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, North Korea, Red China, the Soviet Union, all issued ID cards, and woe betide the citizen who failed to produce his ID when stopped by the police.  In America we have always taken pride in an open society,  we don't have citizen's ID cards.  When social security cards first came out they were marked "Not for Identification Purposes" just to emphasize that they were for social security benefits only.
   Well that's faded out.  Driver's licenses now have color photos.  You better have yours on you should you get stopped on the road.  You need to show ID to board an aircraft. You have to show ID to get a job.  And now, we are moving toward demanding ID in order to vote.  The democrats are pushing back against this, claiming that many citizens lack photo ID.  This I doubt, everyone has a driver's license.  The majority feels voter ID is a good idea to prevent voter fraud.  Which it probably is.
   But, I kinda like the old ways, when we didn't have to show our papers all the time.  When we put in voter ID we are telling citizens, get ID if you want to vote.   It's a step toward a police state.