Apr 30, 2011

Hey guys! Here comes a Miss USA. Let's grope her.

It is somewhat dangerous to leap to the defense of a crying celebrity who makes a living displaying its body, but everything I can find suggests Susie Castillo has a point. She is one of the latest lookers whose nooks and crannies have been TSA-fingered and declared arms-free zones .

Besides, it led me to the discovery of a writer I hadn't heard of who is establishing a TSA watch. He writes:

"...Castillo is crying, and (an airport) volunteer tries to comfort her. But when the subject of the TSA’s screening methods comes up, the volunteer says something to the effect of, “I’d rather have this than be blown up.”
"I’ve heard that argument time and again, from some colleagues in the travel industry and commenters on this site. I believe they’re just one enhanced pat-down from changing their minds."

Even my cursory study of  Aristotle suggests that the fallacy we're looking at here is the one called "false dichotomy."


If you just blew in from a far galaxy and don't know what Miss Susie looks like, you may add to your store of knowledge here.

Please note this post is not tagged "women with clothes on." (QV, if you want.) Susie is wearing so few in some of these shots that I deem them unacceptable for posting on a strictly family-oriented blog.)

Travis McGee, depressed

Meyer has just returned to Bahia Mar from a conference of economists. Travis welcomes him aboard the Busted Flush with bourbon and ice, one cube.

How did the conference go?  (McGee asks).

These are bad days for an economist, my friend. We have gone past the frontiers of theory. There is nothing left but one huge ugly fact."

Which is?

There is a debt of perhaps two trillion dollars out there, owed by governments to governments, by governments to banks, and there is not one chance in hell that it can ever be paid back. There is not enough productive capacity in the world, plus enough raw materials, to provide maintenance of plant plus enough overage even to keep up with the mounting interest.

What happens? It gets written off?

He looked at me with a pitying expression.  "All the world's major currencies will collapse. Trade will cease. Without trade, without the mechanical-scientific apparatus running, the planet won't support its four billion people, or perhaps even half that. Agribusiness feeds the world. Hydrocarbon utilization heats and houses and clothes the people. There will be fear, hate, anger, death. The new barbarism. There will be plague and poison. And then the new Dark Ages."

Should I pack? 

Go ahead. Scoff. What the sane people and sane governments are  trying to do is scuffle a little more breathing space,a little more time before the collapse.


Written in The Green Ripper, 1979,  the Meyer dirge requires appropriate  adjustment for inflation of the debt and of the number of people scrabbling for a mouthful of food and a tank of gasoline. It needs to be read with appropriate homage to the requirements of dramatic exposition in a work of fiction.

Further, his timing was off. Just after the passage above, Meyer predicts the fall will come by 1984, or 1991 at the latest. This puts him in respectable intellectual company. Orwell's own 1984 target date is delayed, not invalidated. The Erlichs notwithstanding, we had not copulated the race into mass starvation by the 1980s. John Galt still bides his time.


John D. McDonald  (MBA,  Harvard University, 1939) was a capitalist -- publisher, investor -- as well as a writer of novels. He paid close attention to money for the most common of reasons. He wished to earn some, and he wanted it  to be a reliable store of value, worth the same tomorrow as it is today.

Me too. You?


Apr 29, 2011

London Report

The neckline didn't plunge all that much.

I have nothing else to say about the Royal wedding.

Apr 28, 2011

Speaking of politicians

A sunrise visitor to Camp J this morning.

Ron Paul "Could Actually Win"

So says The Week.

The conventional wisdom is that Paul stands no legitimate chance, says Drew Ivers, a member of the state central committee of Iowa's Republican Party ... But 2012 could be different. Paul is "in the epicenter of the three or four or five the most critical and controversial issues in our nation today," including government spending, the war, and the financial crisis. "That's how snowballs develop...". 

Dr. Ivers (PhD plant geneticist with a second masters in theology) is Paul's Iowa campaign chairman. He is heavily credentialed in the  art of caucus politics. He helped handle some winning campaigns as well as losers (Robertson, Buchanan, and, in 2008, Dr. Paul.)  He was a founder of  the Iowa Christian Coalition, now known as Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Make what you will of the relationship between  Paul and the evangelicals. I've hinted at my personal disappointment with the  new coziness, but it's rock-solid that without evangelical support in the Iowa GOP caucus process, a candidate goes nowhere.


I hope Dr. Ivers'  enthusiasm for Paul will prove to be more than the rosiness mandatory for all political operatives about their candidates' chances,  that the new Iowa Paul movement can overcome the obstacles:

--Iowa has its full share of big-government conservatives, aka the WalMart vote.  These are Obama's bitter clingers who, at the same time, want their social security checks, their Medicare, and, crucially, their lucrative farm subsidies. Libertarian talk scares their pants off. These are the Gingrich/Trump/Romney voters.

-- While Iowans claim to be among the best educated people in the country,  the definition of that achievement can be loose. It's wonderful that Paul discusses the peril of fiat money and the tyranny of the Federal Reserve Board. That becomes politically pointless, however, when you can't find one in a dozen main-streeters capable of three coherent and unrehearsed minutes on either one.

--We're hearing things like Obama having no business in Libya because Qaddafi's oil goes to Europe, that is, gas prices in Strawberry Point are not affected by world oil supplies.

--The same principle applies to foreign policy. Can most of us find Syria on a map?  Explain the high price we pay for our support of the government of Israel?  Accept that there are limits to the morality and usefulness of American "power projection," even as we "support out troops?"


All of which suggests to me that Paul's most formidable task is as much educational as political, and the remaining eight months offer precious little time to accomplish much enlightenment, meaning the Paul race must excel at manipulating symbols. And that is what got us in this mess in the first place.

Still, I wish him well, and I'll hustle support as best I can. We may be beyond the point at which we can vote our way out of our large problems, but we might as well try.

H/T Roberta

Maybe no one from the Black P. Stone Nation applied?

An AP writer decided to make things vivid for us in his report of the latest "national security" job swaps. He writes that  President Obama  wanted  "maximum continuity, installing road tested warriors steeped in his policies."

You're not allowed to remember that Candidate Obama labeled such Beltway old-timers  as  architects of the failed policies of the past. That he promised a massive overhaul of the Washington power structure.

You are forbidden to observe that his actual accomplishment is a rearrangement of butts in the ash tray. Because Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

Apr 27, 2011

Ben Bernanke and Stephen King

This is one of those rare days when watching an electric teevee should not be considered a sign of arrested development.

At 2:15 p.m.  (Eastern Commune Time) the first-ever news conference by a sitting commissar of the Federal Reserve Board will go on the air.  Couple of drive-by points:

--No one is being discourteous enough to suggest that Ron Paul has rattled Bernanke and his courtiers enough to force them to crack the windows a little. A news conference every three months is a long way from a professional audit. However, it's at least a tiny advance from our magic money gurus' insistence that 300 million American have no need to know a damned thing about turbocharged printing presses.

--Ben's dog and pony show will, without the slightest doubt,  tell us most things are fine and that he has a plan to fix the few faltering parts.

Sorry, but that makes me think of digging up the Pet Semetary and not noticing that the cat walks funny.

Apr 26, 2011

Ron Paul makes it official

No one is surprised. The good doctor is to announce something in Des Moines this afternoon, and if it isn't formation of a White House exploratory committee I'll kiss your arse on the steps of the Cato Institute and give you time to get Chris Mathews and his camera crew  to the ceremony.

Ron Paul's 2008 caucus vote  was  9+ per cent. Without Gary Johnson and a couple of even more minor candidates making libertarian noises, Paul would do better this time for three reasons:  (1) He's learned from his 2008 organizational mistakes, mainly frittering away money. (2) He is actively courting the evangelical right with a harder pro-life position. (3)  Libertarian thinking has become less outre after two Obama years which gave even the unwashed a glimpse of what a statist future really holds.

If Johnson perseveres, he'll get a good  measure of the Paul vote. Cain and Trump will also get pieces of it. If we use the caucus vote to measure the advance of  liberty thinking, adding the Paul and Moore tallies will probably be the best we can do.


I'll jump the gun a little and make the day's second edit of your vital list of  Air Force 1 aspirants.   (Link fixed.)

Rand is out.  He  was never much more than a velleity among the small set which prefers younger libertarian heads,  balmed with Brylcreem.


UPDATE:  Ron Paul did the expected.

Iowa Caucuses 2002; Culling the herd

Haley Barbour of Mississippi is out despite a solid tie for third in the latest GOP coolest-hair polls. (He and Michele trailed only Don and Sarah.)

Now, dropping out is often a tactic for dropping back in (beg me, please beg me)  but Haley probably means it.  He claims no fire in his belly, code for "I haven't got a prayer."

The remaining supplicants here in Grant Wood Bucolia now total 19, including the firebellied certains, the probables, the possibles, and a few who have, at most, a little smoldering navel lint.

Your indispensable master list of  mental giants seeking to lead the Free World has been updated.

Birther - ing us all

Joel has a ready answer for the striped-pants set:.

I emerged squalling from the nether regions of a human female. She seemed upset at the time.

The increasingly whacky Department of State wants that kind of information before it will issue you a passport. The  form, here, assumes that within 45 minutes* you can, among other things,  jot down the times  and places of your mother's doctor appointments in conjunction with your debut, along with any welcoming religious ceremonies. (I urge you to stifle disrespectful thoughts about  inquiring among Obama's  mom's physicians.)

I'm exempt because I had the foresight to be born in a hospital run by good Lutheran patriots who promptly reported me to the authorities in order that I might be entered on the tax rolls.

Besides, I already have a passport, but, dammit, I think it would be fun to re-apply, just so I could tell Foggy Bottom: "Upon the13th day of my existence, local Celtic mystics  were joined by coreligionists from miles around.  Garbed in ceremonial nudity accented with woad,  they conducted  the traditional rites of precautionary exorcism."


And lest we think that this uberbureacracy is strictly federal,or that you can get away from it by dying, don't forget the snoopers' compulsions to continue it beyond your grave.  

*Paperwork Reduction Notice. Snort.

H'T also to Tam again.

Apr 25, 2011

Giving perverts a bad name -- and official cover

A TSAer who gets to grope for a living just can't get enough of the little tykes at work.  His off-duty hobby seems to be gaping, along with aiding and abetting similar scum.

An on-line site has it, but so far the big timers haven't found it newsworthy. And maybe our official leaders are fudging a little point  here, too.

"Although the case was unsealed Thursday, neither the indictment nor the news release mentioned Gordon's job searching airline passengers for TSA."

H/T -- Tam

The silver bullet

I need a few silver bullets for my 1911s,  a noble material for a noble caliber. So off to the counting house.

(Punch calculator. Mumble.)

I can't afford it.

This morning's market for an ounce of Ag is a bit more than $49.  An ounce yields  2.18 projectiles @200 grains. That geeks to $22.47 per round.

It is cheaper to feed the werewolves.

Which, come to think of it, would make as good a personal slogan as any for Bernanke and Geithner.

Apr 22, 2011

Captain America for President? Iowa Caucuses 2012

Gary Johnson has made it official. He'll spend a little less time bicycling and ciimbing Mt. Everest and a little more running for president. He's hobnobbed among us rustics and promises to return.

Johnson is a contractor turned New Mexico governor where he performed some libertarian acts, notably wearing out a few pens vetoing  spending bills.  He thinks the war on drugs is a crazy spoof of logic, that the reach of the tax man is too broad and too deep, and that a nation can get in trouble tailoring its laws to the demands of the teevee preachers.

He's treading Ron Paul turf, though Paul is hugging our evangelical right on the abortion issue this time around.

Johnson's entry brings number of aspirants  to at least 18  20, and your handy list of caucus candidates has been updated.

Apr 21, 2011

A departed friend

Chuck Brugman was too young to enlist. So he told a patriotic lie and became a decorated Marine veteran of the Pacific War, a dive-bomber gunner.

In 1946 he mastered the brass hard hat and earned an international reputation as the man to call when things went bad under the seas. He early took to the crazy  Gagnon/Cousteau inventions, moved to  American Samoa, and was THE diver and divemaster of   those Polynesian islands from 1970s through the1990s.  Chuck died in Tutuila last week at 86, depriving us of a gentle friend, a  bona fide hero who had every justification for macho boasting but who never did.

He was my personal connection to sanity for one long  island-bound, office-chained year. Whether aboard his stout  little catamaran Manu Sina, or too deep off Step Rock, or at the Pago Pago Yacht Club after the dives, he was a man with much to teach. Which he did, quietly and gently; if any Chuck tale had a butt, he made very sure it was Chuck.

May there be there be untouched reefs in your new home.

Inkpadutah's Revenge* and Indian Motorcycles

I haven't owned a bike for years, but the taste for old machines remains in my mouth.  When I was a lad I was occasionally privileged to borrow a couple of the veteran  Indians which were still around, held together with shade-tree contrivances  which permitted them to keep running after a fashion.

So there a nostalgic pleasure in learning that someone else is interested in the "Indian" marque -- namely Polaris Industries (ATVs, Victory motorcycles made just a few miles from Camp J).  They'll certainly be as over-gadgeted, over-lawyered, and over-priced as the other crap we're we're offered by vehicle makers, but maybe they'll at least preserve the neat old logo.

It's probably futile to hope they'll re-create anything as elegant as this.

It hurts my head to calculate the number of owners of the Indian bike name over the decades, certainly a number greater than Liz Taylor's husband tally.


*This is unreasonably obscure for anyone not a serious scholar of  the Plains  Indian Wars. Nevertheless, I have suggested to Polaris that it should be the name of its first model.

Apr 20, 2011

Professor Ellen Lewin to students: "F--k Off!"

Ellen teaches gender studies and suchlike at the University of Iowa.  In her spare time she supplements her $94,000 salary writing lefty things, especially (and I assume approvingly) about gay dads and lesbians. So far, no problem as far as I'm concerned. They don't call it Marxist U for nothing, and we've always been willing to grin and bear the Ellens of the lecture halls.

But I wonder why she was on the college Republican kids' mailing list. She was and received an invitation to their "Conservative Coming Out." Her two-word eff off response got around and is creating pockets of both outrage and giggles around the campus. Read about it here.

She finally decided she had to make some sort of apologia and did, emphasizing, however,  her horror at those damned GOPer kids for mentioning the picnic would include an  "animal rights barbecue" and profaning the "coming out"  phrase.

In other words, "I shouldn't have emailed you to fuck off, but you deserved it."

We have to accept that because everyone knows it's only the gun-clinging, tea partying rubes of the right --  and libertarians -- who use indelicate language in political discourse.


(1) -- Later reports confirm the kid Republicans' email was approved by the official university censors and sent to everyone with campus email account.

(2) -- Ellen used three words, not two. She said: "F--k Off Republicans."

Ron Paul selling out

Man, you get a lot of house for your money down toward Houston. 

Lots of room, a nice pool, and the sweet smell of liberty pervading all.  Just $325,000.

That kind of dough up here wouldn't buy you much more than a tarted-up three-bedroom ranch on a golf course.

Apr 19, 2011

Another one with Heaven on speed-dial; Iowa Caucuses 2012

We're up to 17 GOP contenders now with presence of another stalwart from the Bennie Hinn wing of modern American political philosophy.

He's former Judge Roy Moore of Alabama, two-time loser in governor races there and most notable for (a) refusing to remove a Ten Commandments plaque from his court house and (b) deciding that the most crucial national policy need of the century is worrying about what gays do.

(I hear he thinks both Mr. Standard and Mr. Poor were born in Kenya.)


(Your handy Iowa candidate master list has been edited to add Judge Moore.)

The genius of the Heartland

In a hard-luck Iowa burg called Webster City last summer, a couple of sharpshooters decided to tell local officials they would come to town,  set up a business, and fill most of the 850  jobs lost when Electrolux moved to Mexico.

'course, the city would have to do its share -- fork over  some $790,000 in "loans."

"Sure!" said the Webster City fathers.

It was only in the coffee shops where crotchety old farts said, "Wait a minute? Those guys are going to buy car bodies in Romania, ship 'em here, glue electric motors on them,  and make us rich?  Sounds like horse (apples) to me."

Part of the court case ended today. A judge awarded the 46 Dacia Logan (huh?) bodies to one of the warring parties contending ownership. One of the others shrugged it off and said he might buy them at an inevitable bankruptcy sale.

The $790,000 in city loans? Ask the very practical old boys in the coffee shop what chance the taxpayers ever have of seeing their money again.


Right. You don't give a damn about Webster City, even if it spawned McKinley Kantor. Neither do I.

However, the lesson is scalable up to the congressional and White House levels. Lesson:

"It's true you can't fix stupid, but you don't need to elect it to public office."

See, I told you the economy sucks.

Somewhere in central Iowa a satisfied diner is picking his teeth and savoring the last taste of good, greasy swan.

Meanwhile, a family mourns.

Apr 18, 2011

S&P reaffirmed its investment-grade credit ratings on the U.S. long- and short-term debt itself. But it said the U.S. government is in danger of losing the top ranking if it doesn't come up with a credible plan for reducing its debt.

The Washington braying we hear is about reducing only the deficit. It is as though all parties have conceded we lack the will, the discipline, the desire to ever pay down the principle.

King of the Wild Frontier

A lad just old enough for Cub Scouts would have loved finding it in the toe of his Christmas stocking,  a gin-yoo-ine Davy Crockett Barlow.  Later in life he scores, proving it's a good idea to rummage through the knife dealer's one-dollar junk box.

"Mary gave him a bran-new "Barlow" knife worth twelve and a half cents; and the convulsion of delight that swept his system shook him to his foundations. True, the knife would not cut anything, but it was a "sure-enough" Barlow, and there was inconceivable grandeur in that...."  Mark Twain

Sidney School Buzz Nixed

Go to school in  the state of Victoria? The lessons make you lethargic? Ask Teach for a magic drink to perk you up.  Teach says "Sure, Mate, we'll get right on it; got some grant money,  don't you know?"

Alas for the tykes and compliant bureaucrats,  citizens horse-laughed the idiot idea out of the water.  Sounds like the Aussie masses are still shaking off their English heritage.

Apr 17, 2011

Global cooling alert

What worries farmers, traders and meteorologists would be a drought during the early July corn pollination period, combined with temperatures near 100 degrees that have been rare in Iowa in the last decade.

This is just a little sidebar from a series of reports this morning about flimsy currency and expensive commodities. It's here just in case  some climate fraud stumbles across this site.  

Apr 16, 2011

Mr. Providence: How have we in the Northern Plains offended You?  We try to be nice, productive souls. And even if we have slightly strayed from righteousness, is not snow and sub-freezing weather in the latter half of April a punishment too extreme?

Your wrath moves us to seek at least an illusion of warmth:

<br/><a href="http://oi35.tinypic.com/fcp6ww.jpg" target="_blank">View Raw Image</a>

Miss Simmons understands.

Apr 15, 2011


"It is officially "tax day," known at General Electric headquarters as "Friday."

Herding Elephants: Iowa Caucus Clip'n Save

Even dedicated political geeks have a hard time keeping track of all the White House hopefuls trying out their pickup lines in Iowa. For one thing, it is hard to find a complete list of the serious, semi-serious,  and loony  trying on overalls and looking for a comfortable hay-bale perch.  So, here's an alphabetical list of these statesmen as culled from published sources, but I haven't gotten around to ferreting out all of the more obscure dimwaddiedoowops yet.


--Michele Bachmann, 55,  congresswoman, Minnesota

--(OUT) Haley Barbour, 64, Mississippi governor (Dropped out April 25)

--John Bolton,  63, former ambassador, Bush II's point man in Iraq

--Herman Cain, 66, Godfather's Pizza

-- (OUT) Mitch Daniels, 62, Indiana governor (dropped May 21)

--John Davis of Grand Junction, Colorado, lumber yard owner, builder (added May 3)

--Newt Gingrich,  68, former U.S. House speaker, Georgia

--(OUT) Mike Huckabee, 56, former Arkansas governor, Fox teevee star (dropped May 15)

--Jon Huntsman, 51, former Utah governor,  ambassador to China

--Gary Johnson, 43, former New Mexico governor (added 4/22/11)

--Judge Roy Moore, 64, disrobed, two-time loser for Alabama governor  (added 4/19/11)

--Sarah Palin,  47, former Alaska governor, VP candidate 2008

--(OUT) Rand Paul, 48, Kentucky U.S. senator (if  his dad opts out).  (Dropped April 26 in anticipation of Ron's formal "in" announcement.)

--Ron Paul, 75, Texas congressman, former LP presidential candidate

--Tim Pawlenty,  51, former  Minnesota governor

--(OUT)  Mike Pence, 52, Indiana congressman (dropped May 15)

--Rick Perry, 61, Texas governor, (added June 19)

--Buddy Roemer, 68, former Louisiana governor

--Mitt Romney, 64, former Massachusetts governor

--Rick Santorum,  53, former U.S. senator, Pennsylvania

--( OUT?) John thune, South Dakota senator. (Dropped from list,with reservations, May 21)

--(OUT) Donald Trump, 65, businessman, casino operator, teevee star (dropped May 16) 


The list will change, and I'll try to keep it more or less up to date.

EDIT: May 5:Red ink identifies those who bailed after having been considered players or possibles.  I thought of just deleting them, but that seems so cold.

EDIT: John Thune was Xed out May 21. He said in February he wouldn't run, but the weasel words (not planning at this time, etc.) suggested he desired begging. No one has  begged yet,  and he hasn't been spotted scouting our hog lots, so TMR crosses him off with the caution that things are silly enough that he might change his mind.)

Apr 14, 2011

W.E.B. Griffin

Someone once called him the poet laureate of the American armed forces. I won't argue.

But, Mr. Griffin, I'm afraid you've so far earned an "incomplete" In "The Corps 501."

We need a final volume, Sir, set in Vietnam. Ken McCoy would be a colonel, commanding the 9th of the Third. Fleming Pickering is secretary of defense, and his son, Malcom, has at last learned to keep his pants zipped during office hours.  Ellen Feller, finally released from St.Elizabeth's, operates a high-end brothel in Saigon.

Would it help if we said "Please?"

Now, that's a bang

What happens when you combine a 10-year-old lad with a can of ether, two pounds of Pyrodex, and a new bow with flaming arrows?

Jinglebob tells all in my nomination for the  best read of the morning.

A little gun grab in Iowa

A citizen of Storm Lake suggests that cops get a clue about the laws they're paid to enforce. 

An agitated deputy sheriff is bad enough. It's worse when he's ignorant of the perfect legality of an empty and cased shotgun in a vehicle.

It's a fairly small deal by the usual standards of police misbehavior, but it makes a guy wonder how this deputy would handle a more complex situation.

At least someone in the department had the grace to apologize.

Apr 13, 2011

His Obamaness Speaks.

I thought the speech was cute; "cute" in the '50s sense of a well-crafted scam to con  a naif into giving you money.

Yes, restoring U.S. solvency -- if possible at all -- will require new net revenue. It is the the adjective "net" which queers the Obama deal. Is there a soul alive who doesn't understand that the sworn duty of politicians is to keep sucking so they can spend whatever it takes to buy your vote?

It is as though the lawmakers and all their pals view our intelligence as a silly virgin with a self-regenerating hymen.


(A Chuck Grassley release after the speech plausibly claims that, over the past few decades, each one dollar of new federal revenue, has been seen as a license for $1.17 in spending. Compound that a few times, Bunkie.)

Apr 12, 2011

La Belle France

Just when things are going less horribly for the better  (I think) guys, the French foreign minister is telling NATO what a bad job it's doing running the Libya war. He is Alain Juppe. He may be best remembered as the politician convicted of felony theft of taxpayers' money.

NATO General Mark Van Uhm, a Hollander,  told him to bugger off. That counts as a score for the Dutch if you ask me.


Meanwhile, France and Britain are bickering about sending aid to alleviate the misery in Misrata. Wouldn't they just.  Five gets you ten the snit is about who tells Uncle Sam that he's expected to foot the bill.

Iowa Caucus Sidebar

The United States of America hasn't had an ugly president since Richard Nixon, and he got elected because his actual 1968 opponent was Abbie Hoffman, even uglier.

We've noticed that most of the GOP contenders infesting Iowa these days -- and all the faves -- are rather attractive people who look really nice on television, even Donald  Trump (Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your comb).

It's hard to be confident that a good result will follow electoral strategies derived from  What Not to Wear and recent advice from the Hair Club for Men and L'Oreal.

Apr 11, 2011

What gun for carp?

This is funny. Hoosiers in action.

The fantasy is inevitable.  I'm in the bow with a Mossy 500 and a case of 12 gauge No. 6's.  Hoosiers Tam, Roberta, and Brigid  man the rails for perimeter security, carry pieces at ready.


(Courtesy of  former-Hoosier John of the GMA)

The HMS Astute

Only men who sailed with the HMS Astute crew are qualified to say much about why Able Seaman Donovan cracked while in possession of the SR80. However:

You really shouldn't shoot your officers.  Sure, once in a dozen voyages you'll be thrown together with one who needs to be enlightened in a physical manner. You still shouldn't. It's prejudicial to good order and discipline.

I never did, but the tragedy aboard the hard-luck Astute reminds me  of Mr. Klem. I once promised myself that, when we were both civilians again, I would invite him  to  discuss his calling me a son-of-a bitch for correcting his line-of-position plot. Never did, but, Ensign Klem, if you happen to be reading...

(That's not to say I was totally revengeless. For the longest time I let him send his unedited course and speed recommendations to the bridge, hee hee. It is my understanding that this resulted in a number of discussions between the young NROTC officer and our captain.)

Apr 9, 2011

The last TMR comment on the shutdown unless I find a line I like better than the one handed me by my nephew before the "deal:"

"If the government shuts down at midnight, countless millions of fuzzy kittens will burst into flames."

Act 2 Coming Up (or) The African Connection

The curtain falls on Act One of the Great April Crisis. The players fade to silhouettes behind the scrim. We greet the intermission with relief tempered by knowing Act Two is on the way. In a few weeks, the drama returns as the cast portrays grownups pretending to understand the wisdom or folly of raising the national debt limit, which we will do.

By then all Americans will be experts on why funding or defunding Planned Parenthood is the ultimate determinant of national survival.  I vote for telling PP to try its hand in the marketplace.

So on to a bigger money pit called "the rest of the world" which we must borrow more money to help. Africa for instance.

Now, Africa is a big country place, and it's a little easier to understand if we use one small place country there to illustrate the point.

I pick Malawi.

You can follow the link or just accept my summary -- a pretty hunk of southeast Africa on the shores of big Lake Malawi. It used to be called Nyasaland, full of tribes with spears and war clubs and cook pots  big enough for speech-capable bipeds. Queen Victoria stole it from the indigenous personnel in 1891.  The Brits   ran things until 1964 before giving it back to the natives who set up one-party state, then decided to go modern. They got a democacy, some corruption tutors, an army, a navy, and aids.

Most important, Malawi got itself on the list of places where Uncle Sam is required to do good. And how.


Hillary's State Department is pleased the we forked over a little more than $60 million to Malawi last year for just one program. That was so much fun she's asking nice, compassionate Americans to dig a little deeper this year -- $79 million.

The way that works out is that Malawi gets a 25 per cent pay hike because, eeerrrr, because uuuhhhmmmm, I guess because it is Malawi and things suck there. (If you dare mention that you're not getting a 25 per cent raise,  why, you're an Ugly American and ought to shut up because it's for the children, their children, not yours,  but never mind that.)


Okay Jim, once again, as in your bike-trail rant, you're pissing and moaning about pocket change; $79 million could get lost in  Harry Reid's belly button lint. 


No, I P/M about one example of a huge con job on Americans who bust their butts to pay their taxes so the congress, Hillary and His Obamaness can parade world capitals, tossing greenbacks from their floats at every tinhorn operation with a sob story.

The 2011 budget for this USAID Global Health and Child Survival program is a tad over $3 billion. Africa's cut of that is about $1.4 billion. Even Russia gets a little.

I have an idea. Let's quit doing it for at least as long as we have to borrow it from  Chinese money lenders.

To prove our hearts are in the right place we can send Madonna back.

Apr 8, 2011

Libertarian gun love

I've been to dozens of political conventions, but never one with this in the announcement:

 "If you carry and need to use the restroom, a gun wrangler will be designated."

It makes me think of  shining up the 59 and actually attending this one,  May 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn, just north of Des Moines.  

Last time I hit a convention I decided I even needed to leave the little Buck pocket knife in the hotel room.

Gotta love libertarians, even big-L ones.

Click the link for  more details, and for some recent news of Ron Paul.

Apr 7, 2011

STEEEEE-RIKE ONE on Tim Pawlenty

You don't screw around with Hawkeyes. We like our sleep and we have guns.

Iowa proudly claims the honor of hosting the first presidential wannabe staff scandal of the year, thanks to Pawlenty aide Ben Foster who, the reports say,  drank into the wee hours and forgot where he lived. He then wound up 10 miles from home where, at 3 a.m., he banged on the door of a house that must have looked about right. The homeowner held him at gunpoint. The cops were called. They charged Ben with a couple of misdemeanors either before or after he barfed on the deck.

Odd.  Ben hails from Alabama, and I thought those good ol' boys taught their kids to hold their liquor.

(Tim is already on the running TMR list of Iowa caucus hopefuls. You may remember him  from there as the small-government conservative, except for guys who own big-time sports teams and are therefore entitled to free stadiums.)

Wow, deep

I wonder how Lt. Walsh reacts to this after a lifetime of thinking his dip into the  Challenger Deep was a big deal.

(AP reporting on the Japan aftershock):  Officials said the aftershock hit 30 miles (50 kilometers) under the water and off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. 


cc: Multiple layers of fact-checking (etc.) file

The critic Janet Leigh

This blog is getting too damned heavy, James. Lighten up, man, or I'll...

"Strangest Theology"

That phrase,  used two TMR posts back, requires sturdier support than my neurological innards.

It also needs careful separation from the private religious practices of people who thoughtfully work out their personal relationships with Eternity and who feel no compulsion to force others to adopt their spiritual conclusions. 

Kevin Phillips was far from the first to recognize that pentecostalism and premillenial dispensationalism* --  in their various forms -- drive the political behavior of vast swathes of people. But he was among the first to offer a comprehensive look at how modern vote whores exploit masses who derive their deepest beliefs from unusual and unverifiable interpretation of scriptures, Christian and otherwise.

His book on the subject is "American Theocracy"  (2006). His research data and conclusions are likely to please no political partisans.

To summarize, perhaps dangerously so, Phillips suggests that the behavior of right-wing religio-statists can be explained by their broad constituency of people convinced that we live in  end times, on the Rapture's verge.  Planning for any sort of future other than that detailed by St. John the  Divine therefore becomes unnecessary and perhaps even anti-God.

Phillips refuses to absolve secular statists of the left.

"Conservatives fixate on the provocations (vulgar popular culture, e.g.)  and ignore the excesses visible in in the neo-puritan and rightest countertide, and liberals have reversed the error;  keening over the religious threat while ignoring the secular provocation." (p. 209)

The  excesses of state religiosity could include such things as recriminalizing private sexual behavior, transferring general tax revenues to religious bodies, and  restricting the private spiritual practices of believers unfavored by the state.

The leftist secular excesses would continue the protracted fraud of free everything for all who "need" it, a Long March to the rule of the proletariat, supervised only by the new priesthood of selfless commissars.


"American Theocracy" is useful in a number of ways, particularly in the demographic maps and charts relating religious beliefs to voting behavior.  It would be easy to disagree with some Phillips conclusions, but there's no denying that he brought an impressive amount of information to the table.


* That mouthful can be explained as the view that God has gone through several periods of relating more or less benignly to His human creatures but that He's now fed up and will, quite soon, implement the horrors and joys of Revelations.

Apr 6, 2011

The looming government shutdown

I used "looming" because AP did.  Pretty scary word. Anything  that will loom over you will crap on you, eh?

But not too much. The National Journall adds color to to the notion that "OMG! A Shutdown!"  is mostly hot halitosis designed to scare Hell out of you.

It also offers a tidy affirmation of what we've been saying around here forever:

"Executive agencies must submit lists of essential employees and "plans for an orderly shutdown in the event of the absence of appropriations" to OMB. But the contingency plans are difficult to come by, possibly because of the political implications of classifying government employees as 'nonessential.' "

That should be about all the illustration anyone needs that government as we know it makes sense only as a gigantic jobs program.

I'm not necessarily for a Washington shutdown, but a Washington shut up would be welcome.

Programs! Get your programs here! (con't.)

Chapter Two in the  TMR tome subtitled, "Who Us Iowans Will Allow You to Vote For For President of Us and the Other 56 States."  Chapter  One covered five of the yawners, all nominally male though not necessarily testiculated.

The two girls in the running have wandered in over the past few months. One of them is attractive. The other is interesting.

Sarah Palin: Even in western Iowa, Sarah will probably never recover from claiming foreign policy credentials because of her ability to see Russia from Alaska. The same applies to her identification of Africa as a country. A plurality of Iowans is proud to know better.

Mrs.Palin is lovely, vivacious, and many of us lust for an invitation to help her hunt her moose.  Unfortunately that's not enough to overcome an atavistic fear of turning the country over to someone whose library card is assessed an inactivity fee.

Her other problem is that she seems far more interested in being in the Fortune 500 than in the White House. (Her last Iowa appearance was a book-signing session in a Wal-Mart near me.)

Michelle Bachmann: It is presumptuous  to write her off as "batshit crazy," even though her default mode is loaded with eye-rollers. The one-word descriptive is "ignorant."  If Sarah's library card is dusty, Michelle never had one. If she attended high-school history classes, her teacher was the basketball coach.

But she is dead serious about becoming our president, concentrating on  one of the great natural constituencies around here, the anti-gay, anti-abortion evangelicals. She talks to them all at every opportunity, knowing their power to pack and control the Iowa caucuses as they did in 2008 when we presented you with the Rev. Mr. Huckabee on a platter. If you require further proof of her ambition, she has just hired a guy named Wes Enos, Huckabee's 2008 Iowa political director.

I describe her as interesting because Michelle is a political flowering of some of the strangest theology ever to cross the minds of shamans anywhere, going back to the mystics of ancient history and continuing through moderns such as Tim LaHaye.  I'm sure she doesn't know that,  any more than she knows the location of the shot heard 'round the world. But she understands in the shrewdest possible way its  vote-getting power in an age where our masters are supremely interested in engaging our emotions rather than our logical thought processes.

Yes, I will get around to Ron Paul before long. He is not being as bluntly snubbed as he was in the last go-round.

Government Shutdown Crisis

If you're a little confused about this, maybe a snippit of personal history will help ease your mind.

I was present in Washington for the great U.S.Government hiatus of 1984.  I personally observed that the White House groundskeepers were not at work and that public access to the Washington Monument was denied. The latter frustrated several Greyhound loads of tourists.

When all the  players had milked the crisis for all the PR it was worth, things went back to normal.  You could climb the monument stairs, and President Reagan once more had the nicest lawn in the neighborhood.

I can't foresee a Great Shutdown of 2011 being much different.

Apr 3, 2011

Ms. Normand

If you liked Mabel as the farmer's daughter in that Wiki cite, you you'll love her as an urbane grownup.

Libya: "I thought YOU brought the custard pies."

Reuters characterizes some of the activity this weekend:

Without the backbone of regular forces, the lightly-armed volunteer caravan has spent days dashing back and forth along the coast road on Brega's outskirts, scrambling away in their pick-ups when Gaddafi's forces fire rockets at their positions.

And if that doesn't make a guy think of Mack Sennett I'll kiss your arse on the shores of Tripoli and give you a day to muster an Arab Brotherhood audience.

Serene Sunday Morning

I was Binging all over the place -- trying to make sense of statistics on Mexican gun imports -- when New Dog Libby started fussing. Since I was dressed only from the ankles up, I settled for through-the-window surveillance of whatever threat alerted her.

--One lonesome hen turkey, pecking around the mulch pile,

--A mallard swimming in the canal.

--Three or four very hyper fox squirrels prospecting for buried acorns in the newly thawed earth.

Spring is nice. Screw Mexico.

Apr 2, 2011

Even if you don't like what those people do

There's a certain unease in citing this opinion piece by a recovering homophobe politician who may have finally decided it's catastrophically wrong to screw up our constitutions with limits on individual rights.  Jeff has, perhaps, come to understand that the purpose of a constitution is to limit government power.

Jeff left the Iowa senate and opened a "media relations" operation. He is now somehow connected with One Iowa, part of the national coalition of weepers who, among more noble goals, want to turn the gay-lesbian-transgendered-etc. bunch into another victim group. If he's being paid, he's not the first ex-pol to shoot for riches by hawking his residual clout to the highest bidder, ideas be damned. Within the limits of my Bing patience this morning, I couldn't learn if he is taking One Iowa bucks.

That said, I recommend the piece. Among other things, he makes a point pertinent to "conservatives" interested in freedoms guaranteed by Amendment Two:

When we start allowing constitutional amendments that limit individual control, and give that control over to the government, we open ourselves up to more limitations on our individual freedom. It's easy to feel so passionately about an issue that you don't look at it objectively, but what happens when the individual freedom we're discussing is gun control or universal health care? We need to set aside the rhetoric and look at the slope on which we're starting to slide.

You can't make this stuff up

Just when you thought American politicians had scaled the Mt. Everest of venality, comes along something like this.

A recommendation approved by the Polk County Compensation Board calls for elected officials with at least eight years of service to "receive one week of pay for every year, not to exceed a maximum of $30,000" when they retire from office or lose a re-election bid.

I sympathize with the argument that it's a cheap way to get  some of them out of our hair, but that ignores the reality that they will be replaced.

It's also pertinent that the takers would be the ones too stupid to steal enough in office to make $30k look like lunch money. I'm not sure whether that is a good thing or bad.

But still...

Apr 1, 2011

Iowa self defense: Run, Rabbit, Run.

Iowa's finest this week decided to kill "stand-your-ground"  legislation.  The old law will continue to govern your legal actions when a thug approaches you on the street. You must try to retreat, giving the goblin a nice broad back to aim at.

It's more complicated than that, of course. The measure would have made it very difficult for a prosecutor to pursue charges when a citizen met force with force. He could nail you for egregious lapses of perception and judgement, but not  because he didn't like you, or guns, or the very concept of a citizen assuming responsibility for his  own survival.  

Even with the duty-to-skedaddle, you retain the right to pay a lawyer to try to talk the county attorney out of  prosecution, and to pay him more to tell your tale to a jury   -- that is, to bankrupt yourself with legal costs because, in a very tough moment, you decided to stay alive. 


Also dead are moves to ban cops from confiscating your firearms during a "state of  emergency" and to let professional school security guards carry sidearms. Iowa legislators looked at New Orleans and Columbine and pronounced them good? 

A Constitutional  carry bill is still alive, but that's probably going nowhere. It died in the first "funnel" week but was revived as a  funnel-exempt tax measure when a backer argued that its tinkering with permit fees constituted tax law.

(It is possible that one or more of the dead bills could also resurface as "tax" measures, but with a liberal majority in the senate, chances of passage remain slim.)


If you like, you can forgive these poor fellows and girls. They were badly distracted this week. The first new legislative redistricting map surfaced yesterday, and all of what ever mental power exists down there was focused on, "Jayzuss!  Am I losing my seat?"

They know what's important.