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November 29, 2013

Let the Judgement Begin -Thanksgiving Edition

Thank you to everyone who made this week even tougher than last to judge. Truly some fine snark posted. Although, I must admit to disappointment that our newly-trained Padawan of the Sidestep, Elise, didn't join in, but maybe she'll be inspired by the feast of Thanksgiving and her husband's fettucine Alfredo.
0>;~}

Now, on to old business...
To the judgement:

So many great entries this week! It truly made my job extremely difficult, and I will say I was truly torn between several different comments until spd popped up with: "Oh crap. It's that woman from the Christmas party. What was I thinking???"

YAG captured second place for: "Obama has come to regret teaching everyone in his administration to look down their noses."

And this week we have a tie for third because, quite frankly, they were both equally snort-worthy. Grim's - "Whoever designed this seating chart is fired tomorrow morning." and CAPT Mike's - "Not now Kathleen, I have a headache."

Well done everyone. I love when the snark is so prime that the judgement is this difficult.
And now, to new business!

In honor of Thanksgiving and the many family gatherings enjoyed by all...except possibly spd.
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Have at it peoples!
May the Farce be with you.

Posted by DL Sly at 12:13 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 27, 2013

None Dare Call It "Racial Profiling"

Or at least they don't when The Smartest President Evah does it:

...per WH transcript: "just looking at faces, I could tell there were some folks who are here not because they were born here."

Of course this is a guy whose mental powers are so advanced that he reads the minds of purse clutching women in elevators. He knows they're clutching their purses because he's half black, not because (for instance) they're alone in an elevator with a young man. Or they've read one of the many articles that advise women that holding their purses tightly is the best way to deter purse snatchers of all races.

This is a guy who snootily described his own grandmother - you know, the woman who took him in and raised him - as a "typical white person"... apparently not realizing that the existence of racial types implies there's such a thing as "a typical black person", too. This, of course, is nonsense because we all know that assuming things about total strangers based on their race or ethnicity is bigoted and wrong: the kind of thing typical white folks do to be divisive and establish their Otherness.

Fortunately, our President is just too brilliant to meet performance bars designed for inferior beings:

Two statements explain the huge failure of Obamacare. One is by President Barack Obama, the other is about him.

The first was made in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the end of the 2008 primary campaign, when candidate Obama predicted that generations would look back and see his nomination as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Couple this with the assessment of his closest aide, Valerie Jarrett, about his exceptionalism. “He knows exactly how smart he is,” she told Obama biographer David Remnick. “And he knows that he has the ability -- the extraordinary, uncanny ability -- to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them.”
Obama “has never really been challenged intellectually,” she went on. “He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”

Or what an ordinary president does, for that matter. A chief executive less bored than Obama would have stayed on top of his signature legislation. Those upset that he didn’t are bedwetters, the White House says, nervous Nellies who can’t comprehend the larger picture of health-care reform that will, in due time, emerge. White House spokesman Jay Carney intones the mantra that the president “is focused on delivering the access to quality and affordable health insurance” and isn’t concerned “about the politics of that.”

The thing is, Obama is - by his very nature - Exceptional. Which is nothing like American Exceptionalism, because we all know that's arrogant and elitist. It only serves to reinforce our differences and magnify the things that bring nations into conflict rather than emphasizing the things we have in common. No, Obama's unique brand of egalitarian exceptionalism is so limitless that it embraces and reconciles a multitude of mutually exclusive traits. He's superior without arrogance or condescension, detached and impartial without lacking empathy, half-Black without being half-White, elite without being better than the rest of us, in charge without being accountable or personally involved, dedicated and community-focused without feeling accountable to those he leads.

When good things happen, he deserves the credit for being the architect and prime mover behind success. When bad things happen, he was off doing more important things and is not to blame.

Truly, he is a man of almost as many contradictions as he has faces. And always, through it all, hope hangs deep inside of him.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 26, 2013

Blogging, Thanksgiving

Guys, I'm sorry for the dearth of posts.

I'm going to be AWOL for a few days - family medical stuff again. The Dark Lord Sly asked if the Editorial Staff were planning a Thanksgiving recipe post this year. Here's an old one - there are several recipes and menu ideas in the post and comments. Will try to chime in with other recipes if you want to post yours in the comments.

If we don't manage to crank out a post or two before the holiday, we wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings, filled with friends and family and food and football. Of all the things we have to be thankful for, your friendship and the laughter and joy you've brought to the Editorial Staff and our devoted troop of itinerant Eskimo typists are surely at the very top of the list.

Meanwhile, be careful out there, peoples.

Posted by Cassandra at 01:54 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 25, 2013

For Your Amusement

Seen at IMAO was this vid:

Quite frankly I can't top Harvey's title, so I'll just end with it....
"...And then she voted."
Enjoy peoples, and don't forget to put your vegetable trees on order for spring.

Posted by DL Sly at 08:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 22, 2013

Let the Judgement Begin

Boy, you guys really come out when Shillary is the subject of derision. No, I won't ask the question. I know the answer...why do you think I keep putting them up? 0>;~}

Now, on to old business...
To the judgement:

Snatching victory with the final comment is YAG with, "Despite repeated pleas for help, the fans of the beleaguered Lingerie Football League promptly gave up all hope for rescue after it anounced their first round draft pick."
Second place goes to AFE for his all-too-real-sounding, "Hillary was so excited to show off her "special" helmet that she can wear on the short bus to speaking engagements."
And sliding in at third is Don Brouhaha capturing the look of every person in the picture, "Look, I've gotten Billy's codpiece here!"

Special note is made for this converation:
Azrael Eshu - "Billy,
Here's your hat for your next set of comments on ObamaCare...."
Bill Clinton - "Uh, yes, honey, that IS what I meant when I said I always carry a helmet when we travel separately!"
Prime snark in the reply, I must say.

Finally, football reference props go to CAPT Mongo for, "Personal foul. Facemask. 15 yards from the point of the infraction." (Automatic first down. 0>;~})

Nicely done, everyone! This week was very tough. Thanks for that!
And now, to new business!

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Have at it peoples!
May the Farce be with you.

Posted by DL Sly at 03:16 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

November 21, 2013

Down With the Pasty Sandwiches of Privilege!

Many moons ago, the Editorial Staff alerted the assembled villainry to yet another heinous outrage directly caused by the evil, Chinese toy-loving minions of the wealthiest 1% and their foul landscapes of privilege. Yes folks, we're talking about the horror that is arboreal inequality:

“The study says the relationship between tree cover and income is purely correlational, and I agree — to a point,” De Chant says. “Trees [also] provide numerous benefits that can save people money, which would make them wealthier in real terms, even if their incomes didn’t rise. Shade can reduce cooling costs in the summer. Trees filter out particulate pollution, which in turn reduces asthma incidences, cutting health expenses. They reduce stress and make people more productive at work. Tall trees also reduce crime, which can definitely help your bottom line if you live in a robbery-prone neighborhood.”

But hogging all the crime fighting trees to themselves is hardly the only crime that can be laid at the door of the White Man. Not content with using unearned shade trees as exclusionary weapons of inequality, the selfish bastards have found a new tactic - the insensitive flaunting of sandwich privilege: (CWCID)

Verenice Gutierrez picks up on the subtle language of racism every day.

Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.

...Guitierrez, along with all of Portland Public Schools’ principals, will start the new school year off this week by drilling in on the language of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training being implemented in every building in phases during the past few years.

Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.

Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation — to examine a news article and discuss the “white privilege” it conveys.

Sadly, the path of even the most Courageous Conversationalist is mined with inadvertent sexism and discrimination:

Chuck Barber, who also offers boys’ drum corps at Vernon and Faubion schools in Northeast Portland, approached Gutierrez last year to start up a lunch-time drum class for black and Latino boys once a week. This year, it’ll expand to two classes a week, to accommodate new boys as well as those with experience.

At least one parent has a problem with the the class, saying it amounts to “blatant discrimination and equity of women, Asians, whites and Native Americans.”

“This ‘club’ was approved by the administration, and any girls who complained were brushed off and it was not addressed,” the parent wrote anonymously.

Gutierrez denies that any students were turned away from the drum corps, and vehemently rejects any suggestion that it is discrimination to offer a club catering to minority boys.

“When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?” says Gutierrez, 40, an El Paso, Texas, native whose parents were Mexican immigrants. “Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”

Where is the White House Council on Women and Girls when we need it? But perhaps more importantly, how will we ever reach full inclusiveness and equality when we're constantly identifying groups who - for one reason or another - will be given more time, attention, or benefits than other groups?

It is a puzzlement.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:47 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Once Again, Science Has Spoken....

...and its voice is Imperial:

...why is it important that we have a multitude of desperate law school graduates and many more politically ambitious rich than 30 years ago?

Past waves of political instability, such as the civil wars of the late Roman Republic, the French Wars of Religion and the American Civil War, had many interlinking causes and circumstances unique to their age. But a common thread in the eras we studied was elite overproduction. The other two important elements were stagnating and declining living standards of the general population and increasing indebtedness of the state.

Elite overproduction generally leads to more intra-elite competition that gradually undermines the spirit of cooperation, which is followed by ideological polarization and fragmentation of the political class. This happens because the more contenders there are, the more of them end up on the losing side. A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions. Consider the Antebellum U.S.

From 1830 to 1860 the number of New Yorkers and Bostonians with fortunes of at least $100,000 (they would be multimillionaires today) increased fivefold. Many of these new rich (or their sons) had political ambitions. But the government, especially the presidency, Senate and Supreme Court, was dominated by the Southern elites. As many Northerners became frustrated and embittered, the Southerners also felt the pressure and became increasingly defensive.
Slavery had been a divisive force since the inception of the Republic. For 70 years, the elites always managed to find a compromise. During the 1850s, however, intra-elite cooperation unraveled. On several occasions Congress was on the brink of a general shootout. (As one senator noted about his “armed and dangerous” colleagues, “The only persons who do not have a revolver and a knife are those who have two revolvers.”)

Hmm. Hard to argue with that. We know this is Scientific, because there's a diagram. With lots of ... arrows. And cartoon figures.

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With the End of Times so near at hand, can baby killing and puppy bouncing be far behind? Science asks, you decide:

Abstract: Background: Infant mortality rates in the US exceed those in all other developed countries and in many less developed countries, suggesting political factors may contribute.

Methods: Annual time series on overall, white and black infant mortality rates in the US were analyzed over the 1965-2010 time period to ascertain whether infant mortality rates varied across presidential administrations. Data were de-trended using cubic splines and analyzed using both graphical and time series regression methods.

Results: Across all nine presidential administrations, infant mortality rates were below trend when the President was a Democrat and above trend when the President was a Republican. This was true for overall, neonatal, and postneonatal mortality, with effects larger for postneonatal compared to neonatal mortality rates. Regression estimates show that, relative to trend, Republican administrations were characterized by infant mortality rates that were, on average, three percent higher than Democratic administrations. In proportional terms, effect size is similar for US whites and blacks. US black rates are more than twice as high as white, implying substantially larger absolute effects for blacks.

Conclusions: We found a robust, quantitatively important association between net of trend US infant mortality rates and the party affiliation of the president.

Meh. Needs arrows to tighten up the causal connection, wethinks.

OH THANK GOD. Andrew Sullivan weighs in: Grim. Challenging. Persuasive. Crude. Powerful. Elite Fratricide.

Posted by Cassandra at 01:31 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 20, 2013

Satire - A Dessert Best Served Cold

This site could possibly warm the cockles of AFE's heart, (perhaps even inspire a new character or three) but it will definately amuse the assemble villainry.
Obamahousing.
The comments are noteworthy as well.

Tip o'the Stetson to IMAO

Posted by DL Sly at 08:37 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

When You've Lost SNL and the Washington Post

Saturday Night Live:

The WaPo has a slideshow listing all the problems the President claimed not to know anything about.

Even the Party Faithful are bitterly clinging to their pitchforks:

...at a recent caucus meeting with Senate Democrats and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, one senator stood up and asked for a political point of contact at the White House.

“There’s been an increase in frustration because people feel like they are continuing to be blindsided,” said one Democrat who attended the caucus meeting, adding that there’s a “check-the-box” mentality at the White House in dealing with lawmakers.

CWCID for the last link: spd

We imagine the media can sympathize with that last bit.

Posted by Cassandra at 05:42 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

A Chicken In Every Pot...

...and health insurance for your dog, too!

A Fort Collins, Colo. man signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and learned that his dog got covered instead.

Baxter received a letter from the Colorado insurance exchange informing him he was covered. Baxter is a dog owned by Shane Smith, according to Fox 31 Denver.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is so awesome,’” Smith said with a laugh. “They have gone out of their way to insure my 14-year-old Yorkie.”

When Obamacare rolled out, Smith’s individual health insurance policy was cancelled, so he had to sign up for a new plan under the exchange.

He said the foul-up probably occurred when the representative asked him a series of security questions

“There was some kind of code or something, so I gave them my dog’s name. They must have just put it in the wrong slot or something,”

Be nice, people. Baxter could totally be a human name. That said, we can't wait to add "Oops! Must have put it in the wrong slot or something" to our ObamaCare phrasebook.

Posted by Cassandra at 01:46 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Don't Know Much About Economics

Bryan Caplan has written a wonderful post on the frankly ludicrous economic ideas embedded in American history textbooks:

In 11th grade, I took Advanced Placement U.S. History. I enjoyed it at the time. Once I started studying economics, however, I was outraged by the economic illiteracy of my history textbooks. Mainstream historians barely mentioned the unprecedented miracle of sustained economic growth. Instead, they focused on distribution: How poor workers used labor unions and regulation to pry their fair share from the heartless capitalists who employed them. These historians never mentioned the negative side effects of unionization and labor market regulation - or even the view that such negative side effects existed.

Too good to even try to excerpt - read the whole thing.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Best Buddies

What is best in life? Snoozing with your best friend:

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CWCID

Posted by Cassandra at 06:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 19, 2013

Once Again, "Science" Conflicts with Liberal Public Policy

An interesting study concludes that diversity doesn't actually bring communities closer together. In fact, increasing diversity erodes civic trust and social harmony:

After 20 million-plus simulations, the authors found that the same basic answer kept coming back: The more diverse or integrated a neighborhood is, the less socially cohesive it becomes, while the more homogenous or segregated it is, the more socially cohesive. As they write, “The model suggests that when people form relationships with similar and nearby others, the contexts that offer opportunities to develop a respect for diversity are different from the contexts that foster a sense of community.”

The graph below, from the study, plots quite plainly the negative relationship between community cohesion and diversity.

These findings are sobering. Because homophily and proximity are so ingrained in the way humans interact, the models demonstrated that it was impossible to simultaneously foster diversity and cohesion “in all reasonably likely worlds.” In fact, the trends are so strong that no effective social policy could combat them, according to Neal. As he put it in a statement, “In essence, when it comes to neighborhood desegregation and social cohesion, you can't have your cake and eat it too.”

But, of course, this is the result of computer simulations of reality, not reality itself.

That's a valid point, but this isn't the first study to conclude that increasing diversity doesn't make us more tolerant, trusting, or engaged. Numerous studies of real people have come to exactly the same conclusion:

I'm not sure public trust can long survive in a sprawling, multicultural environment where we're constantly being told there are no differences (or no differences that ought to concern us) between cultures or interest groups? Some studies suggest that increasing diversity erodes civic trust:
... the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

"The extent of the effect is shocking," says Scott Page, a University of Michigan political scientist.

The computer model in the first study came to the same conclusion as Putnam's real world survey of nearly 30,000 people of all races:

The results of his new study come from a survey Putnam directed among residents in 41 US communities, including Boston. Residents were sorted into the four principal categories used by the US Census: black, white, Hispanic, and Asian. They were asked how much they trusted their neighbors and those of each racial category, and questioned about a long list of civic attitudes and practices, including their views on local government, their involvement in community projects, and their friendships. What emerged in more diverse communities was a bleak picture of civic desolation, affecting everything from political engagement to the state of social ties.

... After releasing the initial results in 2001, Putnam says he spent time "kicking the tires really hard" to be sure the study had it right. Putnam realized, for instance, that more diverse communities tended to be larger, have greater income ranges, higher crime rates, and more mobility among their residents -- all factors that could depress social capital independent of any impact ethnic diversity might have.

"People would say, 'I bet you forgot about X,'" Putnam says of the string of suggestions from colleagues. "There were 20 or 30 X's."

But even after statistically taking them all into account, the connection remained strong: Higher diversity meant lower social capital. In his findings, Putnam writes that those in more diverse communities tend to "distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television."

"People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to 'hunker down' -- that is, to pull in like a turtle," Putnam writes.

These two studies aren't the only ones to find a negative correlation between increasing diversity and civic trust and involvement, which is amusing given the liberal mantra about conservatives being anti-Science. There are scores of studies showing strong positive correlations between marriage, sacrifice, hard work, the ability to delay gratification, and pretty much every outcome liberal public policy claims to promote (happiness, household income, better health, better educational outcomes for children, lower delinquency) and yet for reasons passing human understanding, progressive public policies reward choices that make people less affluent and secure and demonize or even punish people who make choices that reliably maximize success, prosperity, and happiness. Shouldn't public policy aim to maximize the welfare of the polity instead of rewarding behavior that makes it harder to succeed? Maybe "success" isn't the real goal, after all:

The very word "achievement" has been replaced by the word "privilege" in many writings of our times. Individuals or groups that have achieved more than others are called "privileged" individuals or groups, who are to be resented rather than emulated.

The length to which this kind of thinking -- or lack of thinking -- can be carried was shown in a report on various ethnic groups in Toronto. It said that people of Japanese ancestry in that city were the most "privileged" group there, because they had the highest average income.

What made this claim of "privilege" grotesque was a history of anti-Japanese discrimination in Canada, climaxed by people of Japanese ancestry being interned during World War II longer than Japanese Americans.

If the concept of achievement threatens the prevailing ideology, the reality of achievement despite having obstacles to overcome is a deadly threat.

We know that the correlation between marriage and household income is extremely strong:

America's most prosperous households do one other thing differently from their poorer neighbors: they are, to an overwhelming degree, married:
One frequently overlooked dimension of the gap between the "rich" and the "poor" is how much it is affected by marital status.20 As Chart 10 shows, only about 30 percent of all persons in Census's bottom quintile live in married couple families; the rest either live in single-parent families or reside alone as single individuals. In the top quintile, the situation is reversed: Some 90 percent of persons live in married couple families. In this case, equalizing the numbers of persons within the quintiles makes little difference; even after each quintile is adjusted to contain the same number of persons, 85 percent of persons in the top quintile continue to live in married couple families compared with one-third in the bottom.

So why do progressive policies, from our highly progressive tax code to ObamaCare subsidies, actively discourage marriage and reward singlehood and single parenting?

Any married couple that earns more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level—that is $62,040—for a family of two earns too much for subsidies under Obamacare. "If you're over 400 percent of poverty, you're never eligible for premium" support, explains Gary Claxton, director of the Health Care Marketplace Project at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

But if that same couple lived together unmarried, they could earn up to $45,960 each—$91,920 total—and still be eligible for subsidies through the exchanges in New York state,

It's almost as though, having learned what choices most reliably maximize prosperity and stability, progressives are determined to discourage them.

Why, O why are progressives so anti-science? For what it's worth, I don't actually believe that progressives are anti-science any more than conservatives are anti-science. We humans just like to cherry pick studies that confirm our pre-existing beliefs and ignore the rest.

A few months ago, the Justice Department brought charges against Oklahoma oil company Continental Resources as well as six others in North Dakota for causing the death of 28 migratory birds in violation of the Bird Treaty Act. ...Continental was accused of killing one bird “the size of a sparrow” in its oil pits. “It’s not even a rare bird. There’re jillions of them,” Hamm said during an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Yet in central California, 70 golden eagles were killed by wind turbines at Altamont Pass, without prosecution. The findings follow a 2008 study by the Fish and Wildlife Service that estimates wind farms kill nearly a half million birds per year in the United States.

Most scientists (and mathematicians) would tell us that half a million birds - every year! - or 70 endangered eagles killed by turbines have a greater impact on the environment than a single bird drowned (possibly) by Evil Fossil Fuels.

Ah, but that one tiny bird.... what an unsupportable loss!

Posted by Cassandra at 07:36 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Traditional Morality - the New Transgressiveness

Interesting idea embedded in this review of Masters of Sex (a show the Editorial Staff have assiduously avoided watching):

Sometimes, the most satisfying surprises happen when the 1950s don’t seem so old, or seem to be winking at the present: Bill Masters, for example, gets schooled by a handful of women about faking orgasms as if When Harry Met Sally were old news. But the most compelling moments in Masters of Sex aren’t when the show portrays what’s now common knowledge as a myth-busting breakthrough. Rather, they happen when the show presents ideas about society and sex that we might today consider laughably backwards as legitimate—and makes viewers sympathize with attitudes many have since villainized.

Masters of Sex’s treatment of its female characters, for instance, illustrates why “outdated” ideas about women’s roles once made sense, and perhaps still do to some people. For much of the season, Virginia has struggled to balance her work and home lives, juggling two young kids and her sex research while considering going back to school. But after her young son, fed up with her late nights, briefly runs away, she breaks down after her former fling Dr. Ethan Haas recovers him.

“[Children] want both parents,” she tearfully confesses to Ethan. “It orders a kid’s universe to have both parents there. It orders adults’ universes too. I’m not meant to do this alone.”

Virginia’s relationship status isn’t the real reason she’s struggling to make it on her own—instead, it's probably a combined result of a lack of childcare resources limited job prospects and educational opportunities.

Yet it’s easy to empathize, especially when Ethan manages to be sincerely charming as he offers to act as a part-time, surrogate father for her kids—a role he’s a natural at (despite the fact that he smacks Virginia in the pilot). Virginia turns down his offer, given their history, but it’s clear his support would be a big help. Entertaining the idea that a relationship with Ethan could be an asset, however, raises questions about where society assigns blame for why women “still can’t have it all”: Is having a spouse a prerequisite for a work-life balance? If it’s so easy to think women like Virginia can’t succeed unattached, does that belief linger today?

Masters of Sex has pulled this trick elsewhere. As things heat up between Ethan and the provost’s precocious teenage daughter, Vivian, he discovers their first sexual encounter together was also her first time ever. He’s visibly horrified, not just by the blood on his bed, but by the thought of his casual-rendezvous partner becoming too attached. After the deflowering deed is done, his colleague Jane asks if guys like being a girl’s first sexual partner. “Are you crazy?” Ethan answers. "It’s too much responsibility. Suddenly you’re everything! They want your love, time and devotion. They’re basically glued to you … it’s like those signs you see in thrift shops: ‘You break it, you buy it.’”

Instead of proving him wrong, however, Masters of Sex makes his prediction come true. Later, Vivian corners him outside a party and tells him, “I only seemed grown-up because that’s how you wanted me to seem. I guess now that I really am a grown-up, I brought you out here to tell you … you have my love and devotion, because you and I were meant to be together.” Ethan wonders what he’s gotten himself into—and so does the audience. While Sunday's episode finds him half-heartedly proposing, it seems clear the relationship won’t end well: He’s still pining for Virginia, and Vivian wants to settle down sooner than later.

When you've relentlessly pushed the envelope as far as it can go, the only remaining way to shock people is to suggest that your parents and grandparents might not be as stupid and ignorant as you like to tell yourself they are.

How positively edgy of them :p

Posted by Cassandra at 07:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

NAYSAYERS!!!!

Those pesky buggers are everywhere:

A downbeat President Barack Obama repeatedly asked his worried supporters Monday night to help resurrect his spirits, following weeks of political disasters and personal humiliations caused by the cascading collapse of Obamacare. The distracted president railed against opponents and at one point appeared to forget the number of people in the Obamacare system during the rambling quarter-hour address.

“My main message is I’m going to need your help, your energy, your faith, your ability to reach out to neighbors, kids and friends [and] co-workers,” he told listeners to the Internet broadcast arranged by his grassroots group, Organizing for Action.

But his worried followers would also benefit from proselytizing for Obama and Obamacare, Obama suggested.

“I’ve never lost faith in our ability to get this done… you guys have lifted me up, and lifted each other up at every step of the way, and I know you’re going to just keep on doing that,” he said during his 14-minute sermon.

‘We have experienced discouragement and setbacks and naysayers every step of the way, but you know when you’re on the right side of something, then it gives you energy, it gives you motivation,” he said.

“All the people out there who need help, everybody out there who is working hard but just finding that the system kinda feels rigged against him… that’s got to motivate us,” he said.

During his monologue, he made a mistake that illustrates the strain he’s facing while trying to save his Obamacare network.

“In the first month alone, we’ve seen more than 100 million Americans already successfully enroll in the new insurance plans,” he said, inaccurately referring to the 106,000 Americans who managed to pick a health-benefit plan via the cripple website.

When the going gets tough, the tough start advertising. Wethinks the White House needs something along the line of McDonald's golden arches. It's not really derivative - hip hop artists riff off other musicians' work all the time. Imitation is the new creativity.

We can see the tagline now: "Over 100 million served!"

No, wait! Let's look to history for inspiration. Remember all the scorn and ridicule Bush's "stay the course" line drew from the Left? Far from the resolve and determination Bush meant to suggest, the Left saw only stubbornness, arrogance, and a White House that was completely out of touch with popular opinion or reality.

But when ObamaCare supporters say "stay the course", it's just different somehow. Darnitall, it's positively inspired!

Too funny.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Randomness

Bad Influence.png

"Don't you wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There's one marked 'Brightness,' but it doesn't work."

"If your knee bent the other way, what would a chair look like?"

"Frankie Valli sings 'Walk Like A Man, Talk Like A Man'... sings it like a woman!"

"Women wear a pair of panties but only one bra."
- Gallagher

breathe in the ocean.jpg

math problems.jpg


So I had these big plans on Friday to hold San Francisco hostage to my mad demands, so of course that got ruined.
Actually, isn’t holding San Francisco hostage to mad demands the job of its local government?

Obama has a plan to make this all come together. While you’re sitting there playing checkers, he’s playing three dimensional Candy Land.
-- Frank J. at IMAO


monty python thermostat.jpg

they found the holy grail.png

Posted by DL Sly at 03:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Houston, We Have A Problem

*Screen/Monitor Warning!*

My Mom always told me that it's not nice to laugh at people when they're down. Well, I'm sorry, Mom, but this is pure comedy gold.

"President Barack Obama held a conference call Monday meant to whip up support for Obamacare, but many supporters who logged onto the Organizing for Action website to listen in experienced technical problems instead of the President's inspiring words.
[snip]
One chatroom visitor asked if everyone was getting the 'reconnecting message'? Another complained, 'I can't hear any audio.' Still another screamed in all caps, 'WHERES THE SOUND YO?'

The most pointed chatroom posting reportedly read, 'Don’t tell me there are troubles with this live event like there were with the Obamacare website!'"

One could almost think it an SNL skit -- only with more "cowbell".
heh

Posted by DL Sly at 02:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 18, 2013

Incroyable!

Colorado University students compare the recent "doyougotcoverage" ads to a sexist ad from the 1930s:

Full marks to the young woman who pointed out how demeaning the ad was to men, too.

CWCID

Posted by Cassandra at 08:00 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Oh, You Meant *That* Kind of Unisex??? Nevermind.

Somehow, we suspect that there will be no outrage on conservative blogs over the Marine Corps' recent decision to move to "unisex covers" for all Marines:

The Commandant of the Marine Corps on Friday approved a recommendation from the service’s uniform board to adopt the men’s dress and service cap for all Marines.

...Though Marines said the decision to change the female cap was driven primarily by the fact that the manufacturer would no longer be able to produce them, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus had asked the Navy and Marine Corps to consider unisex covers.

“The secretary believes that when you look at a group of sailors and Marines, you should see a group of sailors and Marines, indistinguishable by uniform,” said Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Mabus.

What a concept. We are just beyond relieved that Obama won't be forcing male Marines to dress like sissies.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:22 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

The Ties That Bind

The projection of American military power across the seas creates a bond between two nations:

'I have an uncle there in the U.S. Can you help me to contact him?"

Trudoro Dado Tan is yelling this plea at the top of his voice, but it's nearly impossible to hear over the roar of the two MV-22 Osprey aircraft on the grass behind us. U.S. Marines have just arrived with large boxes marked "USAID" and "From the American People." Inside are woven-plastic tarps to serve as temporary shelters—the first relief supplies seen in this remote fishing town since Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall six days ago, bringing rain, rushing water and winds three times as strong as Hurricane Katrina's.

"I don't have a house—my house was blown down," Mr. Tan shouts. "We have no food, no shelter, no medicines. . . . There is no electricity here, no signal in the cell phone. Nothing. Nothing at all."

Tan's now-American uncle, it turns out, served in the United States Navy:

... Mr. Dado is explaining, in Filipino-accented English, how he joined the U.S. Navy in 1959, at age 24, having never seen America. "We didn't have to be U.S. citizens to join—that was quite a privilege for Filipinos," he says. Especially since in his childhood, "saying 'America' or 'USA' meant saying 'Oh, that's the one, that's the best.' " He was 7 when the Japanese bombed the Philippines in December 1941, and he got "candies and chocolate" from the U.S. troops who recovered the islands three years later.

After high school Mr. Dado "couldn't get a job in the Philippines" except as a messenger in Manila, "so I wrote a letter to the U.S. Navy at Sangley Point," a naval station outside the capital. A written test, a physical exam and a few weeks later he was off to basic training in San Diego, one of 10 Filipinos in a company of 60.

For the next two decades he was a U.S. Navy cook on land and at sea—at Pearl Harbor, Norfolk, the USS Fletcher and many other postings that he proudly rattles off (along with the alphanumeric abbreviation of each vessel). When North Vietnamese torpedo boats fatefully attacked U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964, Mr. Dado was there aboard a destroyer deployed from Subic Bay, in his native Philippines.

He retired in 1979, then worked security at a Virginia hospital where his Filipina wife worked as a nurse. Their four children include a son born at Pearl Harbor who earned a lieutenant rank in the U.S. Navy. And almost every year Mr. Dado traveled back to his now-stricken hometown.

Nice story. The blog princess was born in Subic Bay.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:08 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The 5 Percent Lie

Unexpectedly (!), all those unexpected and unforeseeable problems with ObamaCare turn out to have been expected all along:

Unable to deny that millions of Americans have lost the coverage he vowed they could keep, Obama and other Democrats are now peddling what we might call the “5 percent” con job. The president asserts that these victims, whom he feels so terribly about, nevertheless constitute a tiny, insignificant minority in the greater scheme of things (“scheme” is used advisedly). They are limited, he maintains, to consumers in the individual health-insurance market, as opposed to the vastly greater number of Americans who get insurance through their employers. According to Obama, these individual-market consumers whose policies are being canceled make up only 5 percent of all health-insurance consumers.

Even this 5 percent figure is a deception. As Avik Roy points out, the individual market actually accounts for 8 percent of health-insurance consumers. Obama can’t help himself: He even minimizes his minimizations. So, if Obama were telling the truth in rationalizing that his broken promises affect only consumers in the individual-insurance market, we’d still be talking about up to 25 million Americans. While the president shrugs these victims off, 25 million exceeds the number of Americans who do not have health insurance because of poverty or preexisting conditions (as opposed to those who could, but choose not to, purchase insurance). Of course, far from cavalierly shrugging off that smaller number of people, Obama and Democrats used them to justify nationalizing a sixth of the U.S. economy.

But that’s not the half of it. Obama’s claim that unwelcome cancellations are confined to the individual-insurance market is another brazen lie. In the weekend column, I link to the excellent work of Powerline’s John Hinderaker, who has demonstrated that, for over three years, the Obama administration’s internal estimates have shown that most Americans who are covered by “employer plans” will also lose their coverage under Obamacare. Mind you, 156 million Americans get health coverage through their jobs.

John cites the Federal Register, dated June 17, 2010, beginning at page 34,552 (Vol. 75, No. 116). It includes a chart that outlines the Obama administration’s projections. The chart indicates that somewhere between 39 and 69 percent of employer plans would lose their “grandfather” protection by 2013. In fact, for small-business employers, the high-end estimate is a staggering 80 percent (and even on the low end, it’s just a shade under half — 49 percent).

That is to say: During all these years, while Obama was repeatedly assuring Americans, “If you like your health-insurance plan, you can keep your health-insurance plan,” he actually expected as many as seven out of every ten Americans covered by employer plans to lose their coverage. For small business, he expected at least one out of every two Americans, or as many as four out of every five, to lose their coverage.

...while the president has been telling us that, under the vaunted grandfathering provision, all Americans who like their health-insurance plans will be able to keep them, “period,” his administration has been representing in federal court that most health plans would lose their “grandfather status” by the end of this year. Not just the “5 percent” of individual-market consumers, but close to all consumers — including well over 100 million American workers who get coverage through their jobs — have been expected by the president swiftly to “transition to the requirements under the [Obamacare] regulations.” That is, their health-insurance plans would be eliminated. They would be forced into Obamacare-compliant plans, with all the prohibitive price hikes and coercive mandates that “transition” portends.

A million here, a million there. After a while, all these isolated millions start affecting someone who matters.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:44 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Coffee Snorters: Are You a Man Or a Mouse Edition

This is a fascinating theory: fear causes physical changes to the brains (and noses!) of mice, which are then passed from fathers to their offspring:

When a male mouse becomes afraid of a specific smell, this fear is somehow transmitted into his sperm, the study found. His pups will also be afraid of the odor, and will pass that fear down to their pups.

“Parents transfer information to their offspring, and they do so even before the offspring are conceived,” said Brian Dias, a postdoctoral fellow in Ressler’s lab, at an engaging talk about this unpublished data on Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.

And why, evolutionarily, would a parent pass down such specific information? “So that when the offspring, or descending generations, encounter that environment later in life, they’ll know how to behave appropriately,” Dias said.

The researchers made the mice afraid of certain odors by pairing them with a mild shock to the foot. In a study published a few years ago, Ressler had shown that this type of fear learning is specific: Mice trained to fear one particular smell show an increased startle to that odor but not others. What’s more, this fear learning changes the organization of neurons in the animal’s nose, leading to more cells that are sensitive to that particular smell.

So what happens when an entire generation grows up in relative security? How long does the effect take to die out?

Two things in this article rang true for the Blog Princess. The first one could well explain the feeling so many happily married people report of experiencing a special connection with their spouse:

“If you ask people about their experience of falling in love, over 90 percent will say that a major factor was discovering that the other person liked them,” according to Dr. Aron...As a result of the interviews, the researchers speculated that the best strategy would be to give a potential date the impression that in general you were hard to get (and therefore a scarce resource worth having) but really enthusiastic about him or her specifically. They tested this notion by using some of the same techniques… and found overwhelming evidence to support their hypothesis.

The second one may well explain why I've always found it incredibly off putting when men brag about how many women they've slept with. Speaking only for myself, such talk generally produces exactly the opposite effect of the intended one:

Conscientiousness is predictive of a number of very important positive elements in life.

Agreeable, conscientious people make better spouses and parents — but disagreeable, non-conscientious people have more sex partners.
The former invest in quality, and it seems like the latter make up the difference in, well, volume.

Looking to settle down? Check if that person has their ducks in a row, is organized and easy to get along with. That’s marriage material.

Schadenfreude is a dish best served cold:

Public school advocate and actor Matt Damon has taken heat for sending his own kids to private school, and now he’s eating his words for comments he made about the Bush family on CNN Friday.

Damon promised to eat his own shoe if any of the Bush family even walked into public schools. He may want to start chewing now:

The Miami Herald reported in 2002 that Jeb Bush initially attended the public Grady Elementary School in Houston before mother Barbara enrolled him in the private Kincaid School closer to where they lived.

Brother George W. attended public schools in Midland, Texas – Sam Houston Elementary and San Jacinto Junior High – before being enrolled at Kincaid when the family moved to Houston.

Tweep @bzaz points out that George W’s kids Jenna and Barbara both attended public schools – Preston Hollow Elementary in Dallas and Austin High School in Austin – and Jenna a few years after graduating college worked as a teacher’s aide at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington D.C.

Progressive do-as-we-say, not-as-we-doism is everywhere you look, from big tax-and-spenders like John Kerry mooring his yacht out of state to avoid paying taxes to Al Gore's ginormous carbon footprint to the relationship between charitable giving and political party.

But our favorite example is undoubtedly this one:

Public School Teachers: Nationally, more than 20% of public school teachers with school-age children enroll them in private schools, or almost twice the 11% rate for the general public.

Philadelphia Public School Teachers: 44% enroll their own children in private schools, or four times the national average.

Cincinnati Public School Teachers: 41% enroll their own children in private schools, more than three times the national rate.

Chicago Public School Teachers: 39% enroll their own children in private schools, more than three times the national average.

Rochester, NY Public School Teachers: 38% enroll their own children in private schools, or more than three times the national rate.

San Francisco-Oakland Public School Teachers: 34% enroll their own children in private schools, slightly more than three times the national average.

New York City Public School Teachers: 33% enroll their own children in private schools, three times the national rate.

"Good enough for other people's kids" seems to be a core tenet with these folks.

Joe Queenan on scientific studies:

Drinking too much alcohol makes it hard to drive an 18-wheeler. Really hard. Just about impossible. And excessive use of cocaine falls into the same general category. The study will appear in The Journal of Automotive Obviousness.

Dishonest people can't be trusted. High-level research conducted among duplicitous Swedish twins separated at birth confirms that no matter where a dishonest person grows up, and no matter what his background, he simply can't be trusted. The chronically dishonest are just plain untrustworthy.

Little boys make lots of noise and break things. They are very fond of the word "vroom!" Just in from The Annals of Juvenile Epidemiology.

Athletes aren't as smart as brain surgeons. Though there are exceptions—curling, badminton, Xtreme golf—the study published in The Journal of Cerebral Endorphins asserts that brain surgeons, by and large, are a lot smarter than jocks. "It may be the reason they choose medicine over boxing," says the lead author of the study. "Well, that and small hands."

Posted by Cassandra at 05:20 AM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

November 16, 2013

It Was An Accident

Some of our greatest inventions have been a case of screwing up in reverse. For instance, Teflon-

Teflon.png

"or as scientists call it Polytetrafluoroethylene was accidentally discovered in 1938 when Roy Plunkett was researching ways to make a new refrigerant without using chemicals like ammonia and sulfur dioxide.

One day he opened a container with one his samples and found that the gas he expected to see was gone. Instead, he was left with a slippery resin that was heat resistant which we use today on nonstick cookware."

Oh, and if anyone finds the tenth one, be sure to let me know.
0>;~}

Posted by DL Sly at 10:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

All Kinds of Kinds

Just when you thought all our superheroes were gone, along comes Batkid to save the day.

"A 5-year-old Northern California boy who has battled leukemia for years became a darling of social media and attracted thousands of fans at home and around the country — including the president — as he took on the persona of his favorite superhero. [snip]
Batkid was called into service by Police Chief Greg Suhr and spent the day zooming from one "crime scene" to the next. Accompanied by an adult Batman impersonator, Batkid rescued a damsel in distress from cable car tracks, captured the Riddler as he robbed a bank, and saved the San Francisco Giants mascot — Lou Seal — from the Penguin's clutches."

Go. Read it all.
It'll bring a smile to your face.
Even yours, spd.
0>;~}

Posted by DL Sly at 12:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 15, 2013

Let the Judgement Begin

I gotta tell ya, you guys are pretty good. Even if CAPT Mike did wimp out in the face of competition. *snicker* 0>;~}
Now, on to old business...
To the judgement:

Conveying what seems to be exactly what was said is spd rdr in first place with: Obama: "Policies issued in accordance with the Affordable Care Act cover a many more services than those "sub-par" plans that got cancelled. For example...Well, just tell 'em how big it is now, Joe."
Biden: "Heh."
Obama: "I'm telling you, folks, you're gonna L-O-V-E Obamacare!"

Starting our next conversation is htom's: "Joe, show them how close it was while she was shaking it!"

With George Pal answering: "'Big F*cking Deal' – missed it by that much."

Well done, gentlemen...and spd.
And now, to new business!

Shillary II.JPG

Have at it peoples.
May the Farce be with you.

Posted by DL Sly at 10:18 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

November 13, 2013

File Under, "Thank God the Adults Are Finally in Charge"

So the Blog Princess, having been preoccupied of late with earning a living - is late to the Brosurance / Hosurance party.

Grim notes the weirdly ungrammatical URL of a promotional Obama website (doyougotinsurance.com):

I realize [using incorrect English to sell health insurance to young people] is the smallest thing wrong with this, but somehow it seems to tie it all together.

Can you imagine the reaction if the Bush administration had done something like this? When Democrats do it, it's "edgy" and "fun" - the inability to master basic English grammar says precisely nothing about their intelligence or credibility. Why, the very idea is absurd!

But when Republicans "misspeak" in real time ('Rarely is the question asked, "is our kids learning"), their verbal missteps, malapropisms, and grammatical errors are endlessly touted by the media as proof of their stupidity, ignorance, or general unfitness for high office. No ambiguity or nuance is left unexamined, for lurking beneath each dangling participle and mangled metaphor is a veritable cornucopia of cleverly concealed "lies", racist dog whistles, coded language, benevolent and not so benevolent sexism, and the hateful, hate-y hate speech of hate.

Not so with the linguistic faux pas of Democrats. When they say the kinds of things Republican are mocked and criticized for, it's all clever and lighthearted. Lighten up - you see the difference, don't you? When Obama "misspeaks"... repeatedly, using exactly the same words over a multi-year period, the NY Times writes editorials breezily assuring us that scrutinizing the pronouncements of our elected leaders for hidden meaning is - or should be - an activity unbecoming of Serious Journalists. Who among us has not forgotten how many United States there are? And who but the most racist partisan hack would expect the President of the United States to accurately describe (let alone understand) his greatest legislative achievement?

The bar, for progressives at least, appears to be set considerably lower than it is for conservatives. This is odd when you stop and think about it; don't we normally expect more from smart/educated people than we do from dumb/ignorant folk? If progressives are more enlightened, intelligent, and well informed than conservatives, shouldn't the bar be set higher for them?

So much for all that "From each, according to his ability" nonsense. Get a grip, people. The mistakes of our more highly evolved brethren in Christ are unimportant trivialities, revealing exactly nothing of significance.

Except, of course, when such faux pas have Deep Meaning; a phenomenon that only seems to manifest itself when a conservative "misspeaks". How can the exact same behaviors can be interpreted so differently? Some - clearly - have Great Significance. Others are obviously silly and unworthy of notice. The distinction appears to lie in the subjective interpretation of the beholders, some of whom are clearly more Significant than others:

Actual experiences like being robbed or threatened illustrate no larger theme about race relations in America. In this, they are different from the woman clutching her purse or the click of a car door. These more privileged experiences clearly underscore Deep, Racial Truths. The experiences of white folk, on the other hand, are treated as isolated incidents with no deeper meaning. Bringing them up is Not Helpful - it can only lead to forbidden thoughts and proscribed ideas (like the notion that people of all races are slow to forget unpleasant experiences, or that we all have an unfortunate tendency to generalize from particulars). The President is right to think purse-clutching women are indicative of some larger problem. Hanson is wrong to think that menacing teens are symbolic of anything.

While we're looking for Hidden Meaning and Deep Significance, does it strike anyone else as odd that both the Brosurance and Hosurance ads contradict mainstream progressive dogma?

The driving force behind health care reform was supposed to be that the cost of health insurance was so incredibly high that it justifies forcing richer, younger, and healthier Americans to subsidize other people's premiums. Yet once the bill is passed, we see ObamaCare supporters suggesting that it's really not so big an expense (or deal) at all. Hey bro - you shouldn't have to tap into your beer money!

bros.png

And wait a minute! Isn't "bro culture" exactly the kind of thing progressives have been fighting, lo! these many years?

It’s getting harder and harder to separate the men from the bros. This week, Business Insider’s chief technology officer, Pax Dickinson, was ousted after tech blog Valleywag noticed that he’d been airing sexist, racist opinions on Twitter for years. Then a friend jumped to his defense, saying his buddy was actually a “frequently hilarious performance-artist who tweets with a faux-brogrammer alter ego.” And Dickinson attempted to channel all of the media attention toward a pitch for his real start-up. Sweet pivot, dude.

Perhaps the difference between parody tweeter and privileged twit would have been more pronounced if Dickinson’s account had surfaced any other week. Mainstream news has been dominated lately by stories lamenting “bro culture” — a term that used to be found solely on feminist blogs — everywhere from Silicon Valley to the U.S. military to the financial sector to pockets of academia. Last week, National Journal published an examination of the military’s fratty atmosphere under the headline “How the Military’s 'Bro' Culture Turns Women Into Targets”; and in Sunday’s New York Times, reporter Jodi Kantor examined Harvard Business School’s attempt to de-bro itself. Also over the weekend, at a TechCrunch-sponsored hackathon, two “grinning Australian dudes” got onstage and pitched a “joke” app called Titstare. (Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like.) “It's as if,” wrote the Atlantic Wire, “the brogrammers seen here didn't know their audience wasn't all bros like them.”

“Bro” once meant something specific: a self-absorbed young white guy in board shorts with a taste for cheap beer. But it’s become a shorthand for the sort of privileged ignorance that thrives in groups dominated by wealthy, white, straight men. “Bro” is convenient because describing a professional or social dynamic as “overly white, straight, and male” seems both too politically charged and too general; instead, “bro” conjures a particular type of dude who operates socially by excluding those who are different.

Why would good progressives deliberately invoke an obviously sexist remnant of white male privilege and unashamed patriarchy? But the Hosurance adds are even odder, if that's possible. Where are all the admonitions about the dangers of rape culture and unchecked testosterone? Instead, we get the suggestion that unbridled male sexuality isn't actually dangerous to women at all:

hosurance.jpg

Just met a random man on the street? Got insurance? OK - all you have to do now is worry about how you're going to get him betwixt the sheets.

Are the medical bills of young men so crushing a burden that not providing them with subsidized insurance is essentially a human rights violation? Is 'bro culture' a sick manifestation of sexist patriarchal hegemony, or just harmless fun? Do young women really live in a world where the biggest risk from having sex with total strangers is who will cover the cost of birth control?

We are so confused. It's almost as though these folks don't really believe in their own dogma.

Posted by Cassandra at 11:34 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 12, 2013

Back Tomorrow

Sorry, guys. I will be back tomorrow - very busy couple of weeks but at least the blog princess has not had to amputate her head...

Yet.

Posted by Cassandra at 02:41 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 10, 2013

This Makes More Sense

Via Bookworm Room comes this excellent video.


Leave it to our formidable vets to give the petulant Ms. Cyrus' lyrics some real meaning.

But then what else would we expect from the members of our Greatest Generation and the children who emulated them. Hilter's Germany couldn't stop them. Hirohito's Japan feared them so much they believed they had to waste pilots and planes in kamikaze attacks for what "...was Japan's last attempt to balance the ever increasing technological and material advantage of the American forces advancing to Japan." The rice paddy fields of Korea and the jungles of Viet Nam couldn't dampen their spirit or fighting resolve. They "...never understood what all the fuss [was] about. We never thought we were heroes until you guys told us we were." Even the petulance of those pulling the strings within the government of the country they fought to preserve couldn't keep these now aged, (some infirm and wheelchair-bound) yet determined, vets from visiting their memorials;

Vets storm barrycades.png

to touch the names of their brothers and sisters-in-arms who stood by them when that moniker was earned, but were not fortunate enough to come home and take silent pride in being called such as well by the following generations.

To touch their names.png

I know Veteran's Day is traditionally for those who can still touch their memorials. I, however, will also remember and honor the reason why it was so important to yet again storm the barrycades of a childish tyrant: To touch and remember the people who were those names on those walls.
I will remember them all today.
That their sacrifices were not in vain.

Posted by DL Sly at 11:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Misguided Children Having Another Birthday

usmc.jpg

Happy 238th Birthday, Marines!
Yeah, I'm a *little* late to the party but only your party. Here on the Dark Side it's early afternoon. That's right, Sunday football starts before noon here. One a personal note, Happy Birthday to MH, the Spousal Unit, Grim, my BIL and his son - yeah, the nut really doesn't fall far from this family tree. As well as a very big Thank You for the blood, sweat and tears you gave to earn the title.
The Title.JPG
Blackfive has a great video salute to Marines and the Corps up today. It's a great video with the soundtrack provided by Madison Rising.

My favorite Marine quote is the memorable one from Ronald Reagan:

"Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
It a good quote, (although I've read that it wasn't originally Reagan's) because it speaks to the ethos that is instilled in recruits at basic. From the pride the DI's take in their Corps through the classes where recruits learn why and where that pride comes from. It begins to seep in that they, too, can feel the strength that comes from being in that band of brothers. That strength isn't just mental or figurative, though.
image002.jpg
And when all is said and done, when the final formations flow like blue mercury across the parade deck and the transformation is complete, the people from your previous life recognize you but don't. They see the change but can't quite put their finger on what exactly is different. They speak of standing taller, a *different* bearing...you aren't that person they saw 2 1/2 months ago. And they're right.
You're a Marine now.
Pin-up girl on Marine Corps.jpg
Very few in our country these days volunteer their lives in service to our country and Constitution, even fewer still ever earn the right to call themselves Marines. Given the possiblity of combat duty these days, those that volunteer warrant high regard...no matter the service they choose to enter.
image014.jpg
I've always considered myself amongst an even smaller subset, the wife of a Marine (and a longtime one, at that). So, today, in a small vicarious way, I also think of as a celebration for those women who have stood by their Marine through late nights and long deployments, 2 weeks of training every month and really screwy hours, and, lately, tours of duty at war - all in anticpation of the homecoming or hearing the car pull into the driveway...finally, and, on the rare occasion, getting a phone call (or text these days) that says, "Getting off a little early, let's go out for dinner". It's not an easy life, but life was never meant to be easy in the first place.
So, Happy Birthday, Marines! May you have many, many more.
Semper Fi!
Double Eagles on crossed swords.jpg

Posted by DL Sly at 02:13 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 08, 2013

Wonderful Map Collection

At the WaPo, 40 fascinating maps. Lots of food for thought there.

If you like this sort of thing, the NASA site has some gorgeous photos as well.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Friday Morning Ferocity

The eternal battle: babies vs. doorstops.

Somewhere we have pictures of The Burrito attacking a doorstop in the hallway of our old house. Hard to believe that little guy is 6 years old now.

Posted by Cassandra at 06:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 07, 2013

Let the Judgement Begin

I have to admit I didn't quite know what to expect from last week's picture, (well, with the exception of "Hmmm... we are sensing a theme with these contest photos...") but you guys shirley didn't disappoint.

So, on to old business...
To the judgement:

First place, hands down, goes to CAPT Mike's "Dear sweet God almighty; I knew that girl in Subic bay!"

Coming in at second place with her self-professed, first attempt at lowering herself to our level (sure, uh huh) is Elise for "Troll dancing. It's not just for Poles anymore."

And, finally, confirming CAPT Mike's first place comment, is bud with "The soldier and the Marine left, but the sailor is still here. Thank goodness for long deployments at sea."

And now, on to new business!

Big Fucking Deal press conference.png

Have at it peoples.
May the Farce be with you.

Posted by DL Sly at 11:03 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Heart of a Lion

Our beloved Princess lost her Battle Buddy, Sausage, three years ago. He was a dear friend who brought so much comfort and joy to our host - even when he was stealing her steak. Sausage was a Dachshund. A dog variety specifically bred to hunt badgers within the confines of their burrows (called setts), courage and fearlessness was a vital and highly-valued trait.
A Michigan dachshund named Bradley was no exception.

"When the men saw the 400-pound bear bear on the trail with her cubs, the bear stared them down, which made Bradley, who was only 4-5 pounds, jump off of the cart and go after her. The two got into a scuffle and the bear even threw Bradley, who didn’t give up in the fight. Eventually the bear grabbed the dog and took off into the woods. The group of men finally scared the bear away and Force rushed his brave dog to an emergency vet. Unfortunately, Bradley’s wounds were too severe and he died an hour after the attack."
Those of us who have been blessed with four-legged family understand well how they change our lives for the better. The Dark Lord's father was a great animal lover and made sure we grew up with dogs in the house. Consequently, she has had a dog ever since she left her parent's house to seek her own fortunes. While our current *terrorist cell* is not as populous, the Dark Side's various castles have seen the hair of as many as four dogs and one PITA of a cat at the same time on the furniture, the carpet, MH's uniforms, the beds....

I remember an email I received way back when the innertubes and email were fairly new. (Man, that was a long time ago!) The story told of a young boy who had accompanied his mom to the vet for their family dog's *last* visit. After the dog's passing, the mom was distraught and wondered aloud why their family pet had to be taken so soon. Her son answered that he knew why, "It's because dogs already know how to love unconditionally and don't need as much time here before they go to Heaven."
Bradley was the epitome of unconditional love. He gave his life to protect the master he loved, literally, with his entire being. Such courage and loyalty in that tiny 5 lb. body. Truly, the heart of a lion.

Posted by DL Sly at 07:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 06, 2013

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

A loser under ObamaCare asks the President and Congress to put their money where their mouths are:

Sundby also said President Obama and every member of Congress should voluntarily put themselves and all their family members and staffers into the health care exchanges instead of remaining on their government-funded 'Cadillac plans.'

'There's something we could do right now,' she said, 'and that's for the American people to insist that government officials sign up for their own insurance on the exchanges.'

'That's the right thing to do. They legislated it. The American people have to use it. That's the best way to fix the health care system. Make everyone in charge understand just what a big mess this is.'

'I think the executive branch – president Obama actually – Do you know what would warm our hearts, really? It would be for President Obama to get up and say. "I have just put all my staff, and I just put my family, my precious family, on the health care exchanges. I believe so strongly that it will work and that it's working now, that we're going to get in the boat with you."'

She said Obama should issue an executive order 'requiring that my cabinet and other parts of the federal government's executive branch sign up for our health insurance on the exchanges.'

'Congress should do it on their own too,' she said.

Asked if putting government in charge of health care was a recipe for disaster, Sundby gave an enthusiastic 'Yes!'

'Government is potentially making life-or-death decisions for me? My God – they can't even run the DMV.'

You go, girl.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:16 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

November 05, 2013

Entitlements, Savings, Spending, and Prosperity

Over the past few days, la Princesse du Blog has seen several interesting items about the relationship between a social safety net (entitlements), saving, consumer spending, and economic growth. In the first item, Alan Greenspan claims to be surprised (and 'initially skeptical!) at the relationship between entitlement growth and declining household savings:

In his new book "The Map and the Territory," to be released on Tuesday, Mr. Greenspan, 87, goes on a hunt for what has gone wrong in American politics and in the U.S. economy. He doesn't blame the current administration for today's partisan divide. The culprit? "It's the benefits," he says, pointing to the disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over how to deal with the growth of entitlements.

In the book, he also ponders why the Fed failed to predict the financial crisis, where he himself went wrong and how that discovery has completely changed his worldview.

Mr. Greenspan's biggest revelation came one day about a year ago when he was playing with gross domestic savings numbers. What he found, to his surprise and initial skepticism, was that an increase in entitlements has closely corresponded to a decline in the country's savings. "We had this extraordinary increase in benefits, with each party trying to outbid the other," he says. "That practice has been eroding the country's flow of savings that's so critical in financing our capital investment."

For the life of us, we cannot imagine why it would surprise anyone that having a social safety net would reduce a nation's savings. The old maxim about "saving for a rainy day" makes a lot less sense if households know they can pass the costs of that rainy day to their fellow taxpayers. Deferring immediate gratification is generally the kind of thing people do because they have to, not because they naturally want to. A social safety net lessens the future cost of not saving and makes present consumption seem more affordable.

On to a related item from the Chinese, who are scrambling to create a social safety net so Chinese consumers will save less and spend more:

China is trying to rebalance its economy away from investment and exports towards consumption, which Beijing hopes will deliver more stable long-term growth for the world's second-largest economy.

The problem, say strategists, is that China's consumers remain elusive.

"China is still sitting there with the lowest consumption to GDP [gross domestic product] ratio in the region. Consumption is 35 percent of GDP and is a good 25 percentage points from where it should be," said Paul Gruenwald, chief economist, Asia Pacific at Standard and Poor's Ratings Services.

"The Chinese authorities know this, they know they have to get all the social safety nets in place so they can reduce precautionary savings and get SMEs [small to medium enterprises ] to pay dividends [that could encourage spending], it's just proving to be very difficult," he told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box."

...Consumption was the largest overall contributor to economic growth in 2012, accounting for 51.8 percent, while investment contributed 50.4 percent.

However, consumption as a proportion of GDP is much lower than other major economies such as the U.S. where it accounts for about 70 percent of GDP or regional neighbor India where it makes up roughly 60 percent of GDP.

During October, the Blog Princess was traveling most weekends. We usually fly out of Baltimore, and the week before last were delighted to have nearly perfect weather (and a correspondingly perfect view of the city and surrounding areas) both on takeoff and landing. Looking out at the constantly changing landscape is something I never tire of.

Baltimore is not one of the more prosperous cities on the Eastern seaboard, but it has gotten noticeably more affluent looking (at least from the air) over the last 20 years. Looking at the orderly structure of streets, neighborhoods, schools, retail and industrial parks, I couldn't help but be struck by how much cooperation (and peaceful conflict resolution) is needed for a city to thrive. We chose to dwell in a semi-rural area, but we can afford to do so because our jobs are in the city. This conflict resolution process is playing out right down the road from us, where a big developer is planning a huge PUD (planned urban development) where farms used to dot the landscape, punctuated by a few houses here and there. Along the route I take to work, almost every home has bright yellow signs posted prominently that read "Stop Monrovia Center!".

I sympathize with them. We live far from DC and Baltimore because we love the gently rolling hills covered with cows, horses, burros (!) and goats. Feeling obviously runs high against the development, yet I suspect there will not be a single shot fired in anger even though most people own guns out here. Somehow, things will be settled peacefully (if not to the satisfaction of some).

As we flew, I couldn't help thinking of a pervasive theme of old movies from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s: the country bumpkin leaves home and travels to the city - often the Big Apple - in search of work. That's what concentrations of people provide: opportunities. And as things become more crowded and people work together on various endeavors, conflicts multiply (as do the laws put in place to resolve them). And each law that is created, often for reasons that seem very good and practical at the time, has seen and unseen consequences:

"Belgian iron is sold in France at ten francs, which obliges me to sell mine at the same price. I should like to sell at fifteen, but cannot do so on account of this Belgian iron, which I wish was at the bottom of the Red Sea. I beg you will make a law that no more Belgian iron shall enter France. Immediately I raise my price five francs, and these are the consequences: "For every hundred-weight of iron that I shall deliver to the public, I shall receive fifteen francs instead of ten; I shall grow rich more rapidly, extend my traffic, and employ more workmen. My workmen and I shall spend much more freely to the great advantage of our tradesmen for miles around. These latter, having more custom, will furnish more employment to trade, and activity on both sides will increase in the country. This fortunate piece of money, which you will drop into my strong-box, will, like a stone thrown into a lake, give birth to an infinite number of concentric circles."

Charmed with his discourse, delighted to learn that it is so easy to promote, by legislating, the prosperity of a people, the law-makers voted the restriction. "Talk of labour and economy," they said, "what is the use of these painful means of increasing the national wealth, when all that is wanted for this object is a Decree?"

And, in fact, the law produced all the consequences announced by M. Prohibant; the only thing was, it produced others which he had not foreseen. To do him justice, his reasoning was not false, but only incomplete. In endeavouring to obtain a privilege, he had taken cognizance of the effects which are seen, leaving in the background those which are not seen. He had pointed out only two personages, whereas there are three concerned in the affair. It is for us to supply this involuntary or premeditated omission.

It is true, the crown-piece, thus directed by law into M. Prohibant's strong-box, is advantageous to him and to those whose labour it would encourage; and if the Act had caused the crownpiece to descend from the moon, these good effects would not have been counterbalanced by any corresponding evils. Unfortunately, the mysterious piece of money does not come from the moon, but from the pocket of a blacksmith, or a nail-smith, or a cartwright, or a farrier, or a labourer, or a shipwright; in a word, from James B., who gives it now without receiving a grain more of iron than when he was paying ten francs. Thus, we can see at a glance that this very much alters the state of the case; for it is very evident that M. Prohibant's profit is compensated by James B.'s loss, and all that M. Prohibant can do with the crown-piece, for the encouragement of national labour, James B. might have done himself. The stone has only been thrown upon one part of the lake, because the law has prevented it from being thrown upon another.

Therefore, that which is not seen supersedes that which is seen, and at this point there remains, as the residue of the operation, a piece of injustice, and, sad to say, a piece of injustice perpetrated by the law!

This is not all. I have said that there is always a third person left in the back-ground. I must now bring him forward, that he may reveal to us a second loss of five francs. Then we shall have the entire results of the transaction.

James B. is the possessor of fifteen francs, the fruit of his labour. He is now free. What does he do with his fifteen francs? He purchases some article of fashion for ten francs, and with it he pays (or the intermediate pay for him) for the hundred-weight of Belgian iron. After this he has five francs left. He does not throw them into the river, but (and this is what is not seen) he gives them to some tradesman in exchange for some enjoyment; to a bookseller, for instance, for Bossuet's "Discourse on Universal History."

Thus, as far as national labour is concerned, it is encouraged to the amount of fifteen francs, viz.: - ten francs for the Paris article; five francs to the bookselling trade.

As to James B., he obtains for his fifteen francs two gratifications, viz.:
1st. A hundred-weight of iron.
2nd. A book.

The Decree is put in force. How does it affect the condition of James B.? How does it affect the national labour?

James B. pays every centime of his five francs to M. Prohibant, and therefore is deprived of the pleasure of a book, or of some other thing of equal value. He loses five francs. This must be admitted; it cannot fail to be admitted, that when the restriction raises the price of things, the consumer loses the difference.

But, then, it is said, national labour is the gainer.

No, it is not the gainer; for, since the Act, it is no more encouraged than it was before, to the amount of fifteen francs.

The only thing is that, since the Act, the fifteen francs of James B. go to the metal trade, while, before it was put in force, they were divided between the milliner and the bookseller.

The violence used by M. Prohibant on the frontier, or that which he causes to be used by the law, may be judged very differently in a moral point of view. Some persons consider that plunder is perfectly justifiable, if only sanctioned by law. But, for myself, I cannot imagine anything more aggravating. However it may be, the economical results are the same in both cases.

What surprises me in all of this is how hard it was for Alan Greenspan, a famous economist who has spent all his life thinking about the intersection between markets and public policy, to see the unseen effects of maintaining a social safety net. But also, how hard it is for conservatives like myself to imagine a world they have never lived in: one in which households save for a rainy day but - because they have no social safety net - don't spend enough to support the local economy, forcing producers to transport and sell their wares overseas at greater cost and less profit.

Tradeoffs, again. No one seems to be very good at assessing them.


Posted by Cassandra at 08:48 PM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

Neologism of the Day: "Meta-lying"

That's when you are reduced to lying about your previous lies:

Watch the video of Obama reinventing history with the "what-we-said-was" construction. Notice how he is looking at notes. Remarkably, this was not an off-the-cuff remark; it was written, reviewed, and approved by senior White House officials, then recited by the president. An orchestrated deceit.

Why didn't Obama add their caveats during his reelection campaign? His aides debated it. Some argued that the president had to shoot straight with the public. Others feared that he public wouldn't understand the nuance and GOP rival Mitt Romney would use it to his advantage.

The cynics won. The truth was buried. And the man who promised to run the most transparent administration in history participated in a lie.

On history's scale of deception, this one leaves a light footprint. Worse lies have been told by worse presidents, leading to more severe consequences, and you could argue that withholding a caveat is more a sin of omission. But this president is toying with a fragile commodity: his credibility. Once Americans stop believing in Obama, they will stop listening to him. They won't trust government to manage health care. And they will wonder what happened to the reform-minded leader who promised never to lie to them.

Egad. Does this mean he's not actually going to heal the oceans either?

Posted by Cassandra at 12:22 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

A Few Good Men (and Women)

Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.

- John Stuart Mill, 1867

Last week, the Blog Princess alighted from her editorial high horse long enough to address rumors that Barack Obama - whose interest in being Commander in Chief is so weak even the NSA can't detect it - has put aside his long list of number one priorities to lay waste to the armed forces in a manner reminiscent of John Foregainst Kerry.

This is a man famous for talking... and talking... and talking about all the miracles he'd perform if only those dumb, bomb-throwing terrorists in Congress would stop giving him wedgies and stealing his lunch money. For some reason, the Smartest President Ever, despite being the most intelligent person on the planet (and possibly the multiverse) is continually rendered helpless by far less capable beings. Obama was using this excuse even before drooling hordes of barely sentient Republicans took over the House in 2010. That durned GOP kept... opposing him! With obviously stupid, ignorant WORDS! Sadly, his genius-level IQ was no match for their moronic arguments. He couldn't be blamed, and it was all just too hard, and anyway he inherited a real mess from that incompetent moron Bush.

It didn't help that some time around the time Obama took office, the country officially became ungovernable. Problems formerly used to demonstrate Bush's inability to lead suddenly became Signs of a Deeper Problem Too Big for Even the Anointed One to overcome. At long last, change had come to Capitol Hill and it wasn't good.

No one could possibly have foreseen the obstacles Barack faced: gridlock, partisan sniping, malfunctioning teleprompters. Joe Biden's big mouth. Blah, blah, blah.... lather, rinse, repeat. Occasionally, The Lightworker's own rhetorical brilliance temporarily overwhelmed him and he "misspoke"... 20, 30, 40 times in a row. Sometimes, the misspeaking went on for years without the smartest President ever gaining the slightest clue that he had just... misspoken.

Again. Using exactly the same words.

Fortunately, in the hands of a natural born politician history is infinitely malleable - if you don't like the first draft of history, simply call for a rewrite.

Let's be clear about this - if Obama had a superpower, it would be bullsh**. Or perhaps the ability to utter ream upon ream of frankly unbelievable promises:

Heal the oceans. Or was it the planet? Hell, he's got 8 years now. Why not heal both?

Single handedly restore American moral legitimacy in the eyes of the global community.

Bring enlightenment and democratic values to Egypt and Libya.

Go through the budget line by line, eliminating wasteful spending with a single stroke of his Imperial Pen. Or maybe just send down a budget capable of getting more than 0 votes from his own party.

Close Gitmo.

Bridge the racial divide and end sexism.

Ensure that Evil Dictators don't use chemical weapons on women and children (we're good with the non-chemical weapons).

Stop Bad Apple Insurance Companies from cancelling your policy.

Enact game changing gun control legislation.

Obama is good at making promises. He's not so good at keeping them.

On those rare occasions when our President bestirs himself in style majestical, it is to give the earnest appearance of caring doing something without actually doing anything. After it's too late to do any good, the press dutifully discover that Obama has delegated the hard work (and conveniently, the blame) to one of the throng of inexperienced yes-men-and-women he surrounds himself with. You know, people who are beneath him (and who can therefore be easily thrown under the bus). On those rare occasions when the White House actually does do something, it's done so badly that even Obama's most ardent supporters find themselves closing their eyes and thinking furiously of England.

Given his well established track record of extravagant promises followed by inertia/incompetence, it came as quite a surprise to learn that the President has suddenly sprung into action. Last week, he was trying to force the Marines to wear diaphanous pink tutus and regrettable headgear with a LGBT version of Hellooooooooooo Kitty replacing our beloved chicken on a beach ball.

In the ensuing week, the Editorial Staff read reports that Obama is purging the military of leaders who won't promise to fire on American citizens. Why, he's personally fired 9 senior commanding generals (isn't this redundant?) this year alone!

As we pointed out last week, some of those 9 "generals" were actually admirals, but no matter. You can totally trust the accuracy of these stories. Of course, several of these "generals" supposedly fired for ideological reasons had committed offenses junior officers or enlisted personnel would fry for committing. If holding senior leaders to the standards they get paid to enforce is "ideology", this former Marine wife hopes there's lots more ideology where that came from.

Obama has been accused of snatching the Navy Jack patches right off the uniforms of helplessly blubbering Navy Seals. How do we know this? An article in The Daily Caller cites an unsigned email by an Unnamed Enlisted Advisor. And here we thought that rules like this were why everyone (including officers) hates officers.

*sigh*

This President can't even get his signature legislative accomplishment right or make sure the Healthcare.gov website works, but suddenly he has time to edit Army training manuals and forbid active duty military personnel from supporting Christian groups? Has the military outsourced their mistakes and stupidity to some offshore location? In the past, we were perfectly capable of making our own mistakes (and fixing them). That last part - the part about fixing mistakes - is what makes our military so wonderful. Because we all make mistakes. It's where you go from there that matters.

During the Evil Bu$Hitler-Cheney years, left wing blogs and discussion forums were full of rumors about Bush taking over the military. There were rumors of loyalty oaths and the imposition of martial law. Bush wasn't going to go quietly at the end of his 8 years - he had his own private army of blindly loyal baby killers who had cut their teeth on raping and murdering innocent Afghans and Iraqis and were now going to be set loose upon the American people in some sort of demented rape-and-murderpalooza.

Allegations of war crimes, torture, and sadism were a dime a dozen. And every time, our answer was: these are good people. People who have sworn to uphold the Constitution. Men and women - our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, and parents - who are willing to give their lives to defend the dream that is the United States of America. "Let the system work", we argued. Have faith. Haven't they earned a little faith from you?

I read the swirling conspiracy theories - many of which are virtually identical to ones I remember reading during the Evil Bush YearsTM - and I wonder: whatever happened to trusting that system? Do we really believe that things like this are going on every day and NOT ONE active duty man or woman is brave enough to come forward and put a stop to it?

Really? Not one? Did they all lie down and meekly surrender without a fight?

During the last few years of the Bu$hReich, the Spousal Unit worked on the Joint Staff. Even then, DoD were talking about downsizing the Marine Corps, which had grown top heavy as the armed forces were pared down. The last thing to be pared down were the top ranks:

By almost any measure, the military is more top-heavy an institution than it has been for decades. Today, there are 40 four-star generals and admirals -- one more than in 1971, during the Vietnam War, even though the number of active-duty troops has shrunk by almost half.

The number of active-duty generals and admirals of all rank, meanwhile, has increased by about 13 percent since 1996.

These changes have been in the works for years. I remember, because I recall my husband talking about these plans before the 2008 election was even held:

As the military downsized after the Cold War, the ratio of general and flag officers to lower ranking personnel grew. Now, in the face of at least $350 billion in cuts to national security spending over the next decade and criticism of a top-heavy force, the Pentagon is culling its highest billets.

By the end of 2014, 103 general and flag officer positions will be eliminated, according to Senate testimony this month by senior military representatives.

The overall size of the Army and Marine Corps swelled in the last decade to meet the demands of ground combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the twilight of those conflicts, both services are planning to reduce their numbers through attrition. The Navy and Air Force, meanwhile, are forcing some into early retirement.

Look, I understand suspicion of this administration. Their conduct has been anything but confidence inspiring. What I don't understand is the suggestion that a White House that hasn't managed to focus on anything - including its signature legislative accomplishment - for more than 20 or 30 seconds between fundraisers and golf games has suddenly directed its laser-like focus on destroying the armed forces.

We survived the Clinton years, and many of the same rumors were floating around then. Oh, and that Navy Jack story?

A number of concerned readers contacted Navy Times to determine whether these claims were true.

The Navy has thus far been unable to confirm the validity of the email from the senior official. If it’s legit, then someone in in the spec-ops community got their wires crossed.

“As of September 2013, all Naval Special Warfare personnel are authorized to wear the U.S. flag and the “Don’t Tread on me” uniform patches,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty told Navy Times. “In the past, NSW did not authorize wearing either patch unless one was deployed or in a work-up cycle. However, NSW recently sought special permission from the Chief of Naval Operations staff to wear the patches within the continental United States.”

Now that my husband no longer wears a uniform to work, I don't write as much about the military. He still works for the Marines as a civilian, but I am no longer a part of that proud tradition. But one thing I brought with me into this new life is a deep faith in the honor and integrity of our armed forces.

As with any profession made up of fallible human beings, the military has its share of shirkers and bootlickers. But they also have more than their share of good, honest, hardworking men and women: soldiers, Marines, and airmen who would literally rather die than let their country down. They know the difference between right and wrong, they share a culture and a proud tradition of holding each other accountable. They have earned some small measure of confidence in their ability to stand watch over our freedoms. Too many of them have given their lives to defend our ideals and prosecute our foreign policy objectives.

By all means, watch this administration carefully. Their track record has made it far too easy to believe ill of them, but that doesn't mean we should abandon rational skepticism of unverified stories.

Keep watching, pay attention, and always ask to see the evidence. And try trusting that, as happened with the Army story about Christian extremism, the military can be trusted to police itself when problems come to light.


Posted by Cassandra at 07:56 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

"The Only Part of Government That Actually Listens"

We don't care who you are - this is funny:

canyouhearmenow.jpg

Posted by Cassandra at 05:41 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 04, 2013

ACA Warnings "Dire, Specific, and... Ignored"

Say it isn't so!

Three years ago, a trusted Obama health care adviser warned the White House it was losing control of Obamacare. A memo obtained by CBS News said strong leadership was missing and the law's successful implementation was in jeopardy. The warnings were specific and dire -- and ignored.

We're sure the White House just misspoke when they said the President didn't know there were problems until he read about it in the news.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:30 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Hard Wiring?

These guys must not have gotten the "marriage strike" memo:

When it comes to “having it all,” men want more: 79 percent of male respondents said that “having it all” included being in a “strong, loving marriage,” compared to 66 percent of women. Eighty-six percent of men say the calculus includes children, compared to 73 percent of women. Men are also more likely to describe themselves as “family-oriented” than women are. And the proportion of women who don’t prioritize relationships in their definition of success at all has almost doubled—from 5 percent to 9 percent—since last summer.

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The Atlantic Wire’s Zach Schonfeld seems surprised by these findings (which Citi and LinkedIn say are based on a “representative” sample of 1,023 American professionals). He calls the gender discrepancy “staggering,” notes that women are “increasingly defying gender stereotypes by deemphasizing marriage, relationships, and children in their definitions of success,” and asks, “are men more obsessed with 'having it all' than women are?”

We blame feminism for this.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:17 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

"This Is My Calling..."


A New Perspective For Moms from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2013

The President Clearly "Misspoke". At Least 24 Times. Using the Same Words.

...says the NY Times:

Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.

Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that.

Clearly. All 24 times

Err... make that 25:

“No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people,” he told the American Medical Association in 2009. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

To misquote Oscar Wilde, misspeaking once may be regarded as a misfortune. "Misspeaking" at least 25 times over several years, using the same words each time starts to look like carelessness.

Perhaps telling the truth bores the NYT Editorial board our President. After all, he's just too talented to do what other people do.

Posted by Cassandra at 12:31 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

The Politics of Fear

The Washington Post, on how the President ignored repeated warnings from top economic advisors about the folly of launching "the world's biggest startup" without a single person with business or startup experience:

In May 2010, two months after the Affordable Care Act squeaked through Congress, President Obama’s top economic aides were getting worried. Larry Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, and Peter Orszag, head of the Office of Management and Budget, had just received a pointed four-page memo from a trusted outside health adviser. It warned that no one in the administration was “up to the task” of overseeing the construction of an insurance exchange and other intricacies of translating the 2,000-page statute into reality.

Summers, Orszag and their staffs agreed. For weeks that spring, a tug of war played out inside the White House, according to five people familiar with the episode. On one side, members of the economic team and Obama health-care adviser Zeke Emanuel lobbied for the president to appoint an outside health reform “czar” with expertise in business, insurance and technology. On the other, the president’s top health aides — who had shepherded the legislation through its tortuous path on Capitol Hill and knew its every detail — argued that they could handle the job.

In the end, the economic team never had a chance: The president had already made up his mind, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid. Obama wanted his health policy team — led by Nancy-Ann De­Parle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform — to be in charge of the law’s arduous implementation. Since the day the bill became law, the official said, the president believed that “if you were to design a person in the lab to implement health care, it would be Nancy-Ann.”

Three and a half years later, such insularity — in that decision and others that would follow — has emerged as a central factor in the disastrous rollout of the new federal health insurance marketplace, casting doubt on the administration’s capacity to carry out such a complex undertaking.

“They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn’t have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business,” said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign...

What did anyone expect from a guy who was elected leader of the world's largest superpower without ever having run even a small town, much less a state? Can you imagine if most companies hired this way?

"I see from your resume that you have no previous experience with running a company or even a small business. And you have never actually performed any the functions this position entails. In fact, your achievements place you in the bottom 10th percentile of applicants and no one who ranks that low has ever been hired. But let's ignore all that - everyone, congratulate the new boss!"

Posted by Cassandra at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You Had One Job

What can I say? Sometimes the pictures just speak for themselves. So, here for your viewing pleasure and snarky ridicule is "You Had One Job" supermarket edition:


Watermelon or corn.jpg

Fanta or Coke.jpg


Silverware.jpg


Parking lot arrow.jpg

Posted by DL Sly at 01:07 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 01, 2013

Let the Judgement Begin

Well, I see what gets you guys *going*, and it ain't pretty.
*snicker*

To the judgement:
First place goes to CAPT Mike for, "The look on her face suggest it has batteries and she's just finished a free trial offer." (Yes, I have a dirty mind, who amongst us didn't know that?)

Second place goes to the ever-inventive spd rdr, "Alas, even the addition of the Queen's Royal Pen to Her Royal Smile could not improve upon the Queen's Dreadful Pantsuit."

Jumping into the fray at third place is htom with, "I don't need Bill now."

Yu-Ain Gonnano claims movie reference props for, "Bill, do you know the real reason the pen is mightier than the sword? It's because it's dull. It'll hurt more, you twit." (One of the best lines from that movie, IMNSHO)

And coming in with the most vaguely phrased comment is Da Boss with, "You guys are killing me... :)" (I'm still not sure whether or not this was meant as a comment or a comment, but, hey, it never hurts to sweet talk the boss.)

You guys really made it hard (heh, I said....hey, CAPT Mike started it!) to determine winners this week. Thanks for that!
And, now on to our next contest!

After the Princess confessed her early love of Troll dolls in the recent doll-themed post, I just couldn't resist....
trolls_on_stripper_poles1220993448.jpg
heh

Posted by DL Sly at 01:55 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack