Monday, May 31, 2010

Who Knows Mushrooms?

Any mushroom experts out there?  Steve and I came across this little fellow while we were at Forest Park cemetery today putting out flags.  I've never seen a mushroom like it; I love its color. 

Anybody know what it is?

Funeral of Sgt. Joshua Tomlinson

The funeral of Sgt. Joshua Tomlinson.  Rest in peace, soldier.


God bless the Patriot Guard Riders.

Photos here and a great video of the motorcycle procession here.

(H/T:  Kim)

"To Most People, It's Just a Bar-B-Que Day."


"To most people it's just a Bar-B-Que day."

That's what Steve said yesterday after we attended the Memorial Day Services at Greenwood Cemetery and I had lamented the poor public attendance of the event.  The service was very moving and was a lovely way to pay tribute and remember those that have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  But very few people were there beyond the participants.

I've written before about Greenwood Cemetery; it's not too far from my house and there's a huge Veteran's section there.  It's a very old and locally historic place; very beautiful.  The American Legion had placed flags by every veteran's grave.

The service yesterday was sponsored by Disabled American Veterans Chapter 30.  The Parkway High School AFJROTC assisted by doing the presentation of colors, a flag folding ceremony, and served as escorts to the organization members laying wreaths.  The Gold Star Mothers and the Gold Star Wives were particularly moving to me.  There was even a kilted fellow who played Amazing Grace followed by the Parkway AFJROTC who played Taps.

The Sons of the Confederacy were there as well and closed things out with a 24 gun salute.  Awesome!

I was really sorry that the event was not better attended but I have to wonder if people just didn't know about it.  I assume they do this every year; today, I believe, they are doing the same ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton.  I found out about it quite by accident; in checking my SiteMeter yesterday I saw that someone had found my blog by searching "Memorial Day Shreveport."  Curious then as to what actually might be happening around here on Memorial Day, I did the same search and found a little blurb in The Times about the ceremony.

So, I know it was in the paper.  I don't take the paper.  It's a liberal fishwrap and has very little to recommend it.  Most of the news is a day or two old and the editorials are heavily biased.  They did publish one of my features once which was about the state legislature and the budget.  When I submitted one on Cap and Trade they rejected it because "it wasn't of local interest."

That said, The Times today did have a nice article about yesterday's event.

At any rate, maybe next year more people will attend the Memorial Day service; maybe the one in Haughton will have better numbers today.

But sadly, like Steve said, to too many people it's just a Bar-B-Que day.  Sad.

Change gears now.

We rushed home after the services to get ready for a wedding at the beautiful Caspiana Plantation.  It was the wedding of the daughter of a dear friend of mine.

I love weddings and this one was beautiful.  The house is at the end of a long driveway just off highway 1.  Ancient live oak trees wrap their branches around the house seeming to hold it safely against the storms and winds that come off the surrounding fields.  The guests sat in chairs arranged in the front yard and we were all given folding fans as a gift for coming.

The beautiful bride arrived in a buggy drawn by a white horse and after the ceremony she and her groom left the same way.  Actually, they rode around to the back of the house where the reception was.  There we spent the rest of the evening eating, dancing, celebrating long after the sun had set.  Good times had by all and congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Borel!

Today, we're going back to Greenwood Cemetery to place a few flags.  On one of our previous visits there, Steve and I found the grave of one Bose F. Kelley, Jr.  We noted it at first because next to it is the grave of  William C. Kelley and we thought how sad it was that this family lost two sons in World War II.  Then Steve gasped and said, "Oh no!  He died on D-Day!"  We did a little online research and found that Bose Kelley was a part of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment and died at Normandy. 

We're going to put a flag out for Bose Kelley and (his brother?) William, one for my dad, my grandfather, and my godfather, and maybe a few more.  There's a Purple Heart recipient in Greenwood Cemetery (well, probably lots of them) and we always leave a flag for him, too.

So, after we go set out our flags we'll come back home and THEN we'll fire up the Bar-B-Que! 

Have a nice Memorial Day and take time to remember the reason for the holiday.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blogging the Gulf Oil Spill

Lots of my blogging buddies are talking about OilBama this morning and this photo creation by The Master of Photo Shop Carol is priceless!  Love it!  Carol is finding humor in Toby Hamden's piece which I found pretty funny, too.  I mean, the entire situation in the Gulf is so not funny, but Hamden eviscerates OilBama and his response to the crisis.  This line, in particular, summed it up for me, as well as for Carol:

His approach to the issue was that of the law student suddenly fascinated by a science project. 

Exactly.  Perfect.  

Little Miss Attila makes an excellent point, which, I'm sure, the environmentalists will ignore:

Folks, what the hell is so much less delicate about the Gulf of Mexico than ANWR, where we could drill much more safely than in the Gulf? Nothing—that’s what. The ecosystems in the Gulf are far more vulnerable than those in ANWR—as are the local economies that depend on them.
Gateway Pundit has video of Liz Cheney's evaluation of Obama's response:

"Going down to Louisiana and saying, 'Gosh, you know I'm heartbroken,  I'm angry,  I'm frustrated, and then going on vacation to Chicago really doesn't send a message that this is a man who is leading."

She's correct; as I said earlier, appearances count for something.  That's why George W. Bush quit playing golf after the outbreak of the Iraq war because he said,

"I didn't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."

Clearly, Obama doesn't share that opinion.

No, he's Mr. Cool, Mr. Cerebral, "the most intelligent president" we've ever had.

And finally, don't miss Don Surber, who ties it all together, nicely.

What.A.Mess.

(Other reactions at Memeorandum)
(Cross Posted at Pundit and Pundette )

OilBama is Outraged!

Fearless leader is unhappy.  With the news that the BP "top kill" procedure has failed, Obama is now "enraged."  On top of that, the AP reports, this comes after "Obama interrupted a long holiday weekend at his home in Chicago to visit the Louisiana coast on Friday and show its angry residents that he is in command of the situation."

In command?  Not so much, I think.

You may have seen pictures of Obama's visit to the coast Friday.  There's one where he is stooping down in his slacks and dress shirt inspecting a tiny tar ball on the beach.  Apparently the hundreds of BP workers bused in to clean up the beach before his visit left a few tar balls for just such a photo op.  The residents on the coast would have loved for those workers to stay and keep on cleaning their beaches, but as soon as Obama left, they were out of there.

"The level of cleanup and cooperation we've gotten from BP in the past is in no way consistent to the effort shown on the island today," [Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris] Roberts said by telephone. "As soon as the president left, they were immediately put back on the buses and sent home."
I don't think for one moment that Obama gives a damn about the coast or the people in south Louisiana who are losing their livelihood because of this spill. Such a narcissist can not be concerned about others to the level he would have us believe he is.

The responsibility belongs to BP.  To be fair, I don't think we can hold the government responsible for what happened anymore than we could hold George W. Bush responsible for Hurricane Katrina.  But it is imperative on Obama's administration to provide everything necessary for the protection of the Louisiana marshlands and coastline.  

Appearances count for something.  Obama batting off to Chicago for the weekend, his second vacation since this spill occurred, sends a message opposite of the one intended by his handlers with the staged photo of him inspecting a tar ball.  One says, "I don't care!  Solve it yourself!  I'm outta here!"  and the other says, "I care.  Look at this foul tar ball on American shores.  I'm enraged."

Governor Bobby Jindal was on ABC This Week and HE is outraged.  Politco quotes him as saying:

Now, we have said for weeks now we'd much rather fight this oil on a sandy barrier island than fight it inside our wetlands. We've got miles and miles of these islands… [and w]e proposed a plan, 24 segments, to rebuild or refortify these islands.

“After weeks -- and if they had approved this when we first asked, we could have built 10 miles. Ten miles… Yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers approved six segments out of 24, over 40 miles out of 100. But here's where our concern was. The federal government only ordered BP to pay for to do one of those six segments. That's two miles out of 100. Our message to the president today was, make BP pay for this. The federal government shouldn't be making excuses for BP. This is their spill, their oil. They're the responsible party. Make them responsible. 

Jindal rightly laments the lack of urgency on the part of the federal government to provide what he's asked for.

Needless to say, this story will continue to play out through the weeks and will only get worse.  The politics aside, people are losing their way of life and their way of making a living.  The wetlands are dying.  No amount of federal dollars can replace what will be lost there.

Obama can keep his outrage.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Honoring the Fallen

On this Memorial Day weekend, the WSJ has an interesting history lesson for us regarding the transport of our war dead:

Bringing fallen troops home is a relatively modern idea. Until the late 19th century, military authorities did little to differentiate and identify dead troops...The modern system for cataloguing and burying military dead effectively began during the Civil War, when the enormity of the carnage triggered a wholesale revolution in how the U.S. treated fallen troops. Congress decided that the defenders of the Union were worthy of special burial sites for their sacrifices, and set up a program of national cemeteries.

During the war, more than 300,000 dead Union soldiers were buried in small cemeteries scattered across broad swaths of the U.S. When the fighting stopped, military authorities launched an ambitious effort to collect the remains and rebury them in the handful of national cemeteries.
In both World Wars families were given a choice regarding the burial of their loved ones; they could be brought home or buried in overseas cemeteries - Normandy, for example.  And, oh, the Pacific:

World War II posed a bigger logistical challenge, since American war dead were scattered around the globe. Nearly 80,000 U.S. troops died in the Pacific, for example, and 65,000 of their bodies were first buried in almost 200 battlefield cemeteries there.

Once the fighting ended, the bodies were dug up and consolidated into larger regional graveyards. The first returns of World War II dead took place in the fall of 1947, six years after the attack at Pearl Harbor. Eventually, 171,000 of the roughly 280,000 identified remains were brought back to the U.S.

The process has improved since then and time delays for the return of fallen warriors are not what they were.  Those that are charged with the job of returning our war dead to their families take their task very seriously and very hard.  The emotional toll is tremendous but it matters a great deal to them that the families know that their fallen are being treated with love and respect every step of the way.

TIME has a photo essay here, and if it doesn't bring you to tears, you're made of stone.

We are burying one of our local soldiers today, Spc. Joshua Tomlinson, and the entire area is grieving.  It hits home all over the nation.

Take a moment this weekend to remember the fallen, and their families, and those that have brought them home.

Cross posted at Pundit and Pundette

(Photo credit:  TODD HEISLER / ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS)

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around: The Start of Summer Edition

Summer is finally here!  Yay!  As you know, our last day of classes was Wednesday, we had inservice on Thursday and yesterday was my first day of freedom from the alarm clock.  Except it wasn't.  I had two doctor's appointments and multiple errands yesterday.  I was on the go all day long.  But, I got some things done that I had, by necessity, been putting off because of work.

Steve took me out for Mexican food at Nicky's last night - our favorite - and then we stopped off for a bit at Code 3.  To the locals - Code 3 is located next to Beam's in Bossier (and right outside BAFB) and if you haven't been there, you should give it a shot.  It's run by retired BCPD officer Mike Beam and his mom is often there keeping an eye on things, too.  Mike only hires short bartenders, apparently;  Ashley and Heather both have to stand on tip toes to reach across the bar.  Friday is karaoke night and Saturday is band night.  There are special nights throughout the week and it's always $1.00 draft beer.  For giggles, ask Heather where she's from.  She'll give a little hop, a big grin, and say "N'awlins!"

It always takes me a couple of days to decompress after school is out, to relax, and to put things in order before I can settle in for the summer.  I'm looking forward to a heavier blogging schedule and getting my blog off life-support!  I have lots of yard work begging to be done.  My reading stack threatens to topple over if I don't start reading more.  And Lester's Farm is beginnnig to beckon!  Natchitoches!  Minden!  Day trips!  Steve and I are "putterers."  We like to take day trips to little towns and explore. 

So, enough drivel from the host - let's get on to the links.

Lets' start off with My Bossier and Andy's Place, who in a coordinated effort, have worked to bring news, updates and information about the Spc. Joshua Tomlinson story to North Louisiana.  The three of us (and probably others) are asking for a moment of silence and remembrance today at 2:00 for Spc. Tomlinson who gave his life in service of this country.

And a big thanks to Mind Numbed Robot who linked the story and adds his two cents!

Troglopundit is worried about Steve Benan being worried about Obama being impeached.  And now I'm worried about Troglopundit for worrying about Steve Benan.

The Daley Gator is worried about Massachusetts being perceived as RAAAAACIST.  As Red points out, that just doesn't fly in Louisiana.  *Groan*

I wish I lived near the Stanford Grill.  SWAC Girl is tormenting me.

And I'll just take this moment to idolize Bride of Rove, again, for a minute.  I love the way she writes and even her roundups are great.  She could write out directions to build a computer (and probably has) and I'd read it with rapt attention.  She's gifted.

Bungalow Bill clarifies the issue of those National Guard troops going to the border.  You didn't think they were going to stop illegals did you?  Bwaaahahahahahaha!

Professor Jacobson takes teachers to school about teacher's unions.  No argument, sir.

I'll be chiming in with a series of guest posters at Pundit and Pundette this weekend as Jill takes the weekend off; Anne has put up a nifty guest post pointing out poor Barack's growing detractors.  What a muffed up mess his presidency is turning out to be.

Gateway Pundit comes at the Clintons with both barrells - Bill ignoring questions about Sestak and Hillary bemoaning the lack of taxes paid by the wealthy.  Bah.

Have you ever checked out the People Reading blog?  She goes around and checks out what folks are sitting around reading in public and takes their picture.  It's a neat idea for a blog and I've discovered some interesting people and books by reading it.

Reaganite Republican posts on the Guatemalan Volcano; terrible situation.

The Other McCain has disturbing news from Nevada.  Say it ain't so!  OMG.

Viewed From the Right defends Glenn Beck's mocking of Malia Obama asking her daddy if he "plugged the hole yet."  I'm with Jake Tapper in calling the whole brouhaha Obama's Amy Carter moment and I think if Obama didn't want people to mock the exchange then he shouldn't have put it out there.  The press is pretty fair about leaving presidential kids out of things, but when you open the door, you can't blame them for walking through it.

Everything Obama does, or doesn't do, is "historic," points out William Teach at Pirate's Cove.  Are we tired of that word, yet?

Don't miss Illegal Immigration by the Numbers at Doug Ross's place.

Totally 100% jealous of Fishersville Mike.  Totally.

Little Miss Attila raises a valid, and frightening, point.

Left Coast Rebel has a graphic I haven't seen before which explains a lot.

American Power is headed to Arizona to cover the protest rallies of SB 1070.

The Camp of the Saints has some  Righteous Rants.

Professor Jacobson linked this week to a new blog (for me) - A Cop's Watch; I added it to my sidebar and there's some good stuff going on there.  He takes Peggy Noonan apart, hereSnaggletoothie is none too pleased with Mrs. Noonan either.

Meanwhile, speaking of summer, Sandy has just inspired me with dinner plans for tonight.

I've got to get moving now; Sandy has made me hungry and I have to go out in search of a Farmer's Market because I'm not as industrious as she is.

A Moment of Silence

The funeral of Spc. Joshua Tomlinson will be held today. Take a minute at 2pm, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, to say a prayer or in your own way to show your personal respect and support.

If you are going to Minden for the service, remember that the family has asked that there be no signs other than flags or blank signs to hold in front of the protesters.

Today should be about Spc. Tomlinson and honoring his life and service.  Any dark clouds of protest should be ignored.

Remember Spc. Tomlinson today, his family, and on this Memorial Day weekend, all the others who have given their lives in service.

Rest easy, soldier.



Update: Thanks to SWAC Girl for the lovely link.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another School Year is In the Books

Now I am 'officially' finished with this school year; we had inservice today.  So now I can officially say....



Yeah! 

There is nothing that makes me feel more efficient or organized than setting up a bunch of files.  I had time to work in my room this morning and took all my Creative Writing handouts and exercises and set them up in a new filing system.  Easy to find for next year! 

But there will be no sleeping in for me tomorrow; I have two doctor's appointments tomorrow and other errands that I've procrastinated for weeks.  But after that....a long, nice summer!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Tomlinson Funeral UPDATED 5x and BUMPED

I'm helping blanket the local blogosphere with the unfortunate news that the vile Westboro Baptist Church has plans to picket Spc. Joshua Tomlinson's funeral in Minden this Saturday.  Via My Bossier, here is their flyer (PDF) for the protest which says:

GOD HATES AMERICA & IS KILLING OUR TROOPS IN HIS WRATH.

Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom & play taps to a fallen fool.

This message to be preached in respectful, lawful proximity to the memorial of Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson Sat., May 29, at 1:15 p.m. First Baptist Minden
301 Pennsylvania Ave., Minden, LA

Spc. Tomlinson gave his life for the Constitutional right of WBC to warn America. To deny us our First Amendment rights is to declare to the world that Spc. Tomlinson died in vain, and that America is a nation of sodomite hypocrites.

“Except the Lord build the house, They labor in vain that build it; Except the Lord keep the city, The watchman waketh but in vain.” Psa. 127:1.

The Lord no longer builds the American house; nor does the Lord watch over and protect America. These soldiers are dying for the homosexual and other sins of America. God is now America’s enemy, and God Himself is fighting against America.

THANK GOD FOR IEDs.
 
Over at Andy's place there is talk of the Patriot Guard Riders showing up to help shield the family from these disgusting protesters. There is an active chapter of the group here in Louisiana, so let's hope they can assist.

Spc. Tomlinson, you will remember, was 24 years old and was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan along with four others. 

I think it would be awesome if everyone in the area could attend the memorial, lining the route with flags and support.  Meanwhile, I'm doing some fishing on the protest to see what is developing.

UpdateKTBS has a blurb that says Minden law enforcement is on the case.  I'm hearing that the Patriot Guard will be there but so far no real confirmation.  Stay tuned.

Update 2:  The Patriot Guard Riders site has been down for a while; they are aware of the problem.  From their Facebook page:

From the Board of Directors, we have been working on the website since it went down and we believe this is a result of outside action. We are putting all the resources we have available on the problem.

We will have the website up ASAP. We appreciate your patience and we are communicating with the Regional and State Captains regarding missions. Unfortunately, at this time we do not have estimated time of resolution.

Please note the emails servers are still in operations at this time. For those of you that are wishing to join the PGR, please be patient we will be back online ASAP! Thanks for everyone’s concern and support! The Mission WILL go on!

Stay tuned.

Update 3:  Just a clarification that the Patriot Guard is not a counter-protest group, but attempts to honor the fallen soldier.  Didn't want there to be a misunderstanding there.  Spc. Tomlinson deserves to be buried with honor and, as G.R. and others stated in the comments at My Bossier, nothing should be done at all to bring shame or spectacle to this young man's funeral.   I think that locals standing in attendance with flags is a fine way to honor his life and service but no attempt should be made to confront the Westboro group.

Update 4:   A commenter at My Bossier leaves this:

On Sunday the Patriot Guard escorted the body of Sgt. Tomlinson back home. My son (10 years old) and I had the unexpected privilege to ride beside the group for 17 miles on our way home from Shreveport. To give you an idea of how many riders were in the procession, I got on I-20 at MP21 and when I exited at MP 38 I could barely make out the lights of the police car in front and could not see the end behind me. I was moved to tears to see the support and respect these riders had for Sgt. Tomlinson and my son rode in silent awe. My thoughts and prayers are with the Tomlinson family. Minden is a big Baptist town and we protect our own. Strangers stirring up trouble will not be tolerated.
I'm glad the Guard is involved at it must be a solace to Spc. Tomlinson's family.  Now let's just hope that the service is as peaceful and dignified as he deserves.  I've heard from a lot of folks who plan on attending to honor him.  Line the streets with flags!

Update 5:  John Colter of the Patriot Guard makes contact and tells me they have been asked by the family and WILL be at the funeral for Spc. Tomlinson.  He writes:

Please let your readers know that all are welcome to stand with us as long as they stand with respect.  Under no circumstances will we engage in, or condone, physical violence against any protestor(s) that may show up.  As another reader commented, it only gives them free publicity.   Our methods are to ignore them and shield the family from them.    The media and all the worried whispers and gossip has already helped them as it has drawn some of the attention away from the hero we are honoring.  IGNORE THEM.    


He speaks to the wise; ignore them.  Do not engage the protest group.  The Red River Tea Party will be in attendance, helping to line the streets.  Also, check the comments for the remarks from the church - they have a spanking wonderful idea!   Take part in it!

School is OUT!!!

Jindal's Frustration With Washington

BP has plans to execute the "top kill" solution on their bleeding well in the Gulf today.  The procedure, which attempts to pump drilling mud into the well in order to plug it, has never been tried at this depth.  Nobody sounds very optimistic.

WRNO reports, via The Dead Pelican, that the oil coming from the well is now much darker than before which is absolutely a bad sign:

Live video of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows the underwater plume getting significantly darker. A top oil engineering expert says that suggests heavier, more polluting oil is spewing out.

The color of the oil gushing from the main pipe has changed in color from medium gray to black. Two scientists noticed the change, which oil company BP downplayed as a natural fluctuation that is not likely permanent.

But engineering professor Bob Bea at the University of California at Berkeley says the color change may indicate the BP leak has hit a reservoir of more oil and less gas.

Meanwhile, Politico has a rather critical article of Governor Bobby Jindal and his frustrated response to the crisis, stopping just short of accusing Jindal of capitalizing on these events and using the spill to leverage his national status.

Jindal has been outspoken against the sluggish White House efforts to do anything but hold commissions for accountability; he's asked for more containment boom and not received it and has asked for an emergency permit to build sand berms to keep the oil off the fragile marshlands.  No satisfactory response to either.  Washington has said the berms would be expensive and might not work.

Politico is trying to shield Obama from the accusation that this spill in his "Katrina moment" and instead pushing back on Jindal, a governor genuinely concerned for his state and frustrated by the response he's getting from the government.

Meanwhile, the oil keeps coming.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Straight Talk from Alabama

I love this guy's message!  What's UP with these awesome politicians from Alabama, lately?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Heartbreaking

But What About Mary Katharine, John?

John Hawkins has posted his list of The 15 Hottet Conservative Women in the New Media and I guess through the day folks will be adding their two cents.  My two cents?  I'm wondering why he left off Mary Katharine Ham.  

I guess with fifteen slots you've got to cut somewhere.

Last week he did the 10 Hottest Liberal Women.  Notice he has 10 for the libs and 15 for the conservatives.  Proof that conservative women are more attractive? 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Investigations, Delegations, and Flybys, But No Answers to the Gulf Oil Spill

Federal officials are making their way to Louisiana tomorrow to "inspect the ongoing response" to the horrible oil spill in the Gulf.

Courtesy of BP, you can watch the oil spill live, here.  The stuff coming out of that pipe is both natural gas and oil.

 There's also a Facebook page where you can keep up with things.

According to NOLA...

Salazar, Napolitano and the Senate delegation will conduct a flyover of the affected areas, discuss the latest response efforts in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast with federal officials leading the effort as well as BP representatives, and meet with Gov. Bobby Jindal and local community and industry leaders.

The Senate delegation will be made up of Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Mary Landrieu, D-La., and David Vitter, R-La.

How many "visits" have we had so far by federal officials?  Is it helping yet?  What in the hell are these people doing, anyway?  Oh lordy, I can only imagine the yelling and screaming if the George W. Bush administration was acting like this.

Double standards abound.

Meanwhile, Robert Gibbs reports that the Justice Department is "gathering information."  I feel so much better now.  That'll fix it.

BP is planning to execute a "top kill" this week - an attempt to shoot mud into the well to stop the leak.  It's been tried on land but never at this depth.  I hope it works but it sounds like they're just grasping at straws.  If this doesn't work, they're going to shoot "junk" in there (tires, rope, etc.; literally, junk.)

One LSU expert says "the untold millions of gallons of oil already fouling the Gulf off the Louisiana coast could stay in the area for at least a decade, and on the sea floor for more than 100 years."

The AP Photo above is of Barataria Bay which is a nesting area for brown pelicans, terns, gulls, and spoonbills.  Oil and sludge is washing up now all along the Louisiana coastline and the latest trajectory projection at this time puts it as far as Pensacola, along not making landfall there, yet.  Obviously, this spill impacts the entire Gulf.

And let's point out one more time, Obama is golfing and throwing lavish State Dinners while this is happening. But it's okay; he's "investigating" and sending a delegation.  Feel better now?

(More at Memeorandum)

Update:  Also, see Professor Jacobson.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Graduation Weekend

The graduate and his sister.

We had a big day yesterday as the Teenager graduated from high school.  My daughter and her husband came in from Dallas for the occasion.  After the ceremony we all went to Outback where I had WAY too much to eat. 

It's been a nice weekend but exhausting! 

This week brings 2.5 days of finals, one day of teacher inservice, then SUMMER!  Bring it on!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around: The Graduation Edition

It's graduation season and we're taking part this year:  today the Teenager graduates from high school.  My daughter and her husband are coming in from Dallas for the occasion and so I'm going to get on to the links as I have much to do this morning!  Short and sweet this morning:

Doug Ross reports on a coming Facebook exodus.

Pundette says that ICE can elect not to process Arizona illegals (and has video of Krauthammer - always a plus!)

Pirate's Cove points out the difference between the Ds and the Rs, especially obvious in the Blumenthal issue.

Fishersville Mike highlight's Steyn's evisceration of Obama's Daniel Pearl speech.

No Sheeples Here has taken the rat in the Rose Garden to a new level!

Smitty at The Other McCain highlights a video about Obamacare and the medical industry.

American Power reports on the twists and turns in the Texas textbook battle.

The Daley Gator has Rep. McClintock's response to Calderon.

Ruby Slippers has a great roundup today you can link from when you finish here!

Wyblog documents Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.

That's it for now.  Things to do!  Have a spectacular Saturday and I'll catch you guys later!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Linkage for Friday

A couple of quick links this morning as I'm off to finish my last full week of the school term; next week we have finals.

No Sheeples Here makes some excellent points about Calderone's rabid criticism of America and American law while standing in front of our Congress and in the Rose Garden of our White House.  To no one's surprise, Obama vapidly watches and agrees.  The only thing missing was Obama waving a small Mexican flag and bowing to Calderon.

Bride of Rove analyzes Obama's State Dinner in honor of Calderone and prices everything out, concluding with some devastating commentary on Obama's "leadership" in this economic crisis.

The Wall Street Journal notes what we've been saying all along about the possibility of keeping your employer based health coverage.  It's going away, in case you didn't know.  And you're going to be paying more out of pocket for replacement coverage and no, in most cases, you won't be getting a subsidy.  Well, unless you're already on the welfare chain, then you might.

And finally, American Spectator adds some commentary on the Apology President who has concluded that America is something to be ashamed of and so represents it to the world. 

On those happy notes, you see why I'm blogging about cats being reunited with their families.  It's all too depressing to fathom.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Java is Reunited With His Family!

Java was freed from the Animal Shelter this morning shortly after 8 a.m.

If you've been following the story, the home where Java lived with his people caught fire a couple of weeks ago and so Java had no place to live.  While his owners were relocating and finding another home, the animal shelter came out and captured Java.  Due to be euthanized the next day, a "caring neighbor," aka Steve, went down and paid for his rabies shot and boarding for ten day to spare his life.

Steve got in touch with Java's family and told them Java had been saved and as it turns out, they have found a place to stay where they are able to keep Java.

Steve met them at the animal shelter this morning and returned Java to them.  The photo is Java in the arms of his owner; I can't tell you why they shaved his head.  No explanation for that.  But he's happy tonight and so a special thanks to Red who chipped into the tip jar to leave a donation for Java.  Thanks to you, he's got no worries about rabies for at least a year!

Thanks also to those who expressed concern and who tried to find a home for Java in the event his owners couldn't be located.  If you're looking to adopt a pet, please consider your local animal shelter.  There are lots of loving pets there waiting for a home.

It's Beer Week!

Now this is a Congressional resolution I can get behind!

Via Memeorandum, Representative Betsy Markey of Colorado supports "the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week."

Because if we all had just a little more beer, especially some of those people in Congress, we'd all be a little better off.

I plan to do my part this evening as it is Cook Your Own Steak night again at Hangar 2 on BAFB and Steve has his grillin' tongs ready.

Sam Adams is my brew of choice these days, and while not exactly a microbrewery, they support microbreweries and craft beers, I'm going to be sitting on the deck sipping on a Summer Ale in just a few minutes doing my part to support Representative Markey's Resolution.

Prost!

Update:  Gleefully stolen from the comments section of Jonathan Turley:

Henry Burns Proposes Concealed Weapons in Churches

The Louisiana Legislature is never a dull place and with Rep. Barbara Norton in the House, well, it's even more interesting.

One piece of legislation garnering national attention is H.B. 68 (PDF: 4 pgs) by Rep. Henry Burns (R-Bossier) which will allow guns in churches "if the pastor or head of the religious body approves."  The bill has passed the House with by a vote of 74-18 and has been passed to the Senate where it currently has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Churches would be required to notify parishioners through bulletins, newsletters, or verbally that there is armed security in their congregation, reports this NOLA article last week.

Rep. Barbara Norton is, not surprisingly, totally against the bill:

"If God is looking down on us today I don't think he is happy with us discussing how we can carry our guns to church," Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, a major opponent of the bill, said. "The church is a place of peace. I don't think God said it was OK to carry a gun in the house of the Lord.

"Nowhere does it say (in Scripture) the Lord said you have to have a gun in church. If you need to have a gun in church, you need to go to another church."

MSNBC interviewed Rep. Norton who voiced concern those that have concealed permits may not have proper firearms in which Rep. Norton describes a frightful free for all scenario:

"...When I think about, uh, we have no metal detectors that that is required to be placed in churches.  We don't know who is it may be sitting right next to us and a gun may go off and someone else thinks someone is shooting and then you have a lot of people pulling their guns.  The other thing is we may live in areas where there are crimes but at the same time that's what we pay our policemens and our sheriffs and our marshalls to protect us. If we give everybody a gun and tell them to go and start doing protecting themselves and others then we're taking it out of the hands of the law."
Video of Tamron Hall's interview is here.

Newsbusters plays devil's advocate with the Norton interview questioning why interviewer Tamron Hall didn't ask Rep. Norton about the 2007 Colorado incident in which an armed parishioner ended a shooting spree by an armed killer.

Church shootings have become more and more frequent.  In February of this year two teenagers were shot at a Richmond, California church.   In 2009 in Illinois a pastor was killed as he spoke to his congregation.  He tried to use his Bible to shield him from the bullets.  Two parishioners who tried to restrain the shooter were slashed with a four inch knife.  In July, 2008 a shooter entered a Knoxville, TN church during a childrens performance of Annie and opened fire, killing two and injuring several others.  And let's not forget about George Tiller who was killed last year as he entered his Wichita church.

Representative Burns does not require that churches have armed security.  It does require that parishioners be informed if there is armed security present.  From my perspective, I'd have some sense of security if I knew there was an armed police officer, or some other trained expert, in the congregation who could provide protection should the need arise.

For Representative Norton to assume that you are safe just because you are in church is to assume you are safe because you are locked in your home, because you're at school, or because you're at the mall.

It's naive.

Update:  By the way, Rep. Norton says in that interview with MSNBC that in Louisiana you don't have to have training to get a concealed handgun permit; she's wrong.  See the application here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Last Thoughts on The Pacific

One more week. School's out in one more week.  I can do this.

I haven't posted much because I've been wrapping up school; finishing grading Caesar papers, and working on my reading stack at home.  I mentioned Monday that Steve and I finished watching The Pacific this weekend.  I know it got mediocre reviews most of the way through (I quit checking after a while) because everyone wanted it to be Band of Brothers redux.

It wasn't.

And the Pacific war wasn't the European war, either.

As soon as the series was over I pulled Bob Leckie's book, Helmet for My Pillow, off the shelf.  I bought it but hadn't read it, right before the series started.  I've cued up With the Old Breed for a re-reading.  I've got a couple of others in line, too.

I thought the series was so well done.  I wasn't there, of course, and don't know how accurate or authentic it all was, and I know they changed a few things from Eugene Sledge's book, but I thought it was awesome.  The awe those young men inspire is incredible.  They were just kids...all of them.  What they sacrificed to defend this country - well, it was a story that needed to be told.

Lots of movies have been made about the European theater - some cheesy and some more realistic.  Lots of stories have been told about Iwo Jima, too.  But the Pacific war as a whole, I don't think, had been told in film.; at least, not quite so well.

HBO is going to rerun the series on Memorial Day weekend.  If you missed it you absolutely should make it a point to watch.  If you did watch it, tell me what you thought.

Even the music was well done!  Listen to the theme - it's haunting.  Emmy nominations to come.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In Which I Post The Ag Commissioner Ad and Properly Hat Tip Stacy McCain

I didn't blog much this weekend; I'm just digging in mentally and getting through this last week and a half of school.

I have been reading my blog buddies though, and I saw Stacy post this ad, which is now everywhere:


It caught my eye when Stacy posted it because I'm not ALL THAT far from Alabama and stuff like that interests me.  So I made mental note of it.  Then what do you know, there it is much later on Hot Air by AllahPundit without so much as a hat tip.  There's even a Memeorandum thread on it.  I was reminded of Stacy's oft repeated refrain, "Allah hates me."

Stacy updated his post as others linked to the ad, or also posted the video, and he noted Allah's lack of hat tip.

The reason I even mention it is because Stacy said...

Although I don’t do the atavistic blood-vengeance enemies-list thing — it’s too much hassle to keep track of all the people who’ve screwed me over – I must occasionally point out how I get screwed over, just so that my peers in the Chopped-Liver-Sphere know that they’re not alone.

Solidarity is very important in the Legion of the Doomed. Otherwise, we might become even more demoralized than we already are.

...which I appreciated because, well, everyone gets screwed out of hat tips.  I've posted breaking or novel stuff before and, following Rule 1 of How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog, will mail it out, then get skunked.  It sucks, but what are you going to do?  You can't waste time being mad.

Anyway, it's a cool ad for Ag Commissioner!  ;)

On another note, we finished watching The Pacific last night.  The series  started out sort of rocky but I tried to keep the faith that it would pick up and redeem itself in the end.  It did.  Loved it.  What heroes those young men of that generation were.  Good Lord.  Incredible stuff.

I'm off to work.  Have a happy Monday and remember to hat tip your blog friends when you use their stuff.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pass the Bill then DEFINE What's in It

Even the insurance companies are learning that we had to "pass the bill to find out what's in it" and in some cases, even to interpret and define what's in it.  As it turns out, parts of Obamacare are still malleable and, shocker, not clear.

As reported in The New York Times this morning, one of the countless provisions in Obamacare is strict regulation against profits and premiums.  For their part, insurance companies want to be clear what, exactly, that means:

Insurance lobbyists are trying to shape regulations that will define “unreasonable” premium increases and require them to pay rebates to consumers if the companies do not spend enough on patient care.
What is "unreasonable" and who decides?  The Democrats just wanted to pass this thing; they couldn't be worried about defining the rules!  The details can be worked out later!  Pass it then WRITE what's in it.

One [provision] bars insurers from carrying out an “unreasonable premium increase” unless they first submit justifications to federal and state officials. Congress did not say what is unreasonable, leaving that to rule writers.

Here's another one:
Another provision, effective Jan. 1, requires that a minimum percentage of premium dollars be spent on true medical costs related to patient care — not retained by insurers as profit or used to cover administrative expenses. Insurers must refund money to consumers if they do not meet the standards, known as minimum loss ratios.

Michael W. Fedyna, vice president and chief actuary of Aetna, underlined the importance of this issue, saying no other aspect of the law would be so “influential in shaping the future of the health care marketplace in the United States.”

The definition of medical loss ratio will “determine the willingness of health plans to enter new markets and remain in existing markets,” he said. 

I'm not sure where the money for research and development will come in; all those life saving new medicines and new devices.  Experimental techniques.  Research studies.  What exactly are "quality improvement activities" that would be allowed? 

Some consumer advocates, like Carmen L. Balber of Consumer Watchdog, favor a strict, narrow definition of quality improvement activities, limited to those that produce measurable benefits to individual patients.

 Alissa Fox, a senior vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, said that if the definition is too narrow, “health plans will come under enormous pressure to cut back quality improvement activities, including highly effective programs to reduce hospital infection rates.”
The problem is that in the massive Obamacare bill, nobody really knew what they were passing.  The Democrats that voted for Obamacare simply voted for an idea, an ideal, even, a Utopian plan they could conceive but not implement.  

So now it degenerates in to a war of semantics..  Companies are working to reclassify, or rebrand, expenses in order to fall under that "directly to patient care mandate" and to make it appear as if they aren't using secretaries or administrators to run their business.  Horrors!  Making a profit!?  Horrors!  No!  That would be capitalistic!

Meanwhile, emergency rooms are preparing for the onslaught of newly insured who will continue to go to emergency rooms for primary care just like they always have. There aren't enough primary care doctors in America to cover all of them and aren't likely to be now that Obamacare has passed and the new rules for Medicare and Medicare are discouraging them from opening a practice.

The real-world implications in this behemoth are beginning to be sifted out and it's not a pretty picture.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Questions on the Funding of Machete

Drudge is now posting on the Machete film we've been talking about since last Monday.  Drudge links to this article at InfoWars which asks:

Why does such a production warrant the support of the people of the State of Texas? Will people standby as as tax breaks and other valuable resources– such as shooting access at the State Capitol, which likely required closing it off from the public– are poured into the creation of divisive, reductive and ultimately offensive portrayal of Mexicans and Americans alike, whether white, black, brown or otherwise.

At issue is the fact that the film was filmed mostly in Austin, Texas and received tax incentives and location access from Governor Rick Perry's office as likely many other films produced in the state do.  There's a similar set up in Louisiana which has brought a booming film industry to Shreveport.  (Right now Nicholas Cage is filming a movie a couple of blocks from my house which makes getting to and from point A to point B a challenge).

Perry's office was contacted by Infowars for clarification on the funding question and has received conflicting information, the latest being "that Rodriguez has applied for Machete funding but has not yet received any funding from the commission because the film must be completed first."

There's no question that the film encourages a race war.  Go to YouTube and search for a Machete trailer and you can find one but they're constantly being pulled.

There are reports from those who have seen early screenings of the film that it is much more "racially inflammatory" that the trailer suggests.  The trailer shows machete wielding Hispanics ready to do battle as one of the female leads stands with arms aloft shouting "Viva La Raza!" and "We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us!"

InfoWars has video clips here and links to the leaked script.  Disturbing as it all is, you can't buy much better press for a film than this, but the timing for such a film could hardly be worse.

I'll post the trailer again, but it may not work long:

Why Are So Many People Interested In a Kevin Johnson/Michelle Rhee Sex Tape?

Every now and then I check my sitemeter and look at the things people are searching for.  I can't tell you how many people find my blog while searching for "Kevin Johnson Michelle Rhee Sex". 

Is there some sex tape we should know about?

Inevitably, their search leads them to this post, but honest, I don't have a Kevin Johnson & Michelle Rhee sex tape. 

Sorry. 

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around: The Lazy Saturday Edition

I'm going to call this the lazy Saturday edition because that's what I want today to be.  I'm on countdown toward the end of school - we have one more full week of classes than a half week of finals.  The kids are past ready to get out and many have just stopped the intake valve on their brains and are refusing any new information for the semester.  We have graduation for The Teenager next weekend and that will make for a busy weekend.  So, today is starting out sort of overcast and rainy, although it looks to be clearing off a bit, I'm hoping for a lazy day.  It seldom works out that way, but one can hope.

My summer reading table in beginning to stack up.  Two books came in this week that I had ordered: Laura Bush's book, and Seal of Honor.  I picked up Red Helmet by Homer Hickam off a bargain table this week for $5.  Hickam, you know, wrote Rocket Boys and the Coalwood series which is a favorite of mine.  So I thought I'd give his fiction a try.  I'm about halfway through The Manchurian President right now.

On to the links:

Tuesday's special election in PA-12 is just around the corner and Stacy McCain is all over it.  He's got tons of photos of the rally with Scott Brown Friday.  And check this post out for the extent of Stacy's coverage.

The Daley Gator admires Chris Christie's outspokeness. Bob Belvedere is also a fan.

Doug Ross posts on the latest payoff to teacher's unions.  It's only $23 billion - what's the big deal?!  Heh.  We have "plenty of money" someone recently told me.

Heinz caves in to the salt police, as per Left Coast Rebel.  No matter to me - I never, ever buy Heinz if I can help it.  But, I'm thinking it might be time to start stockpiling salt like I do light bulbs. 

Pundette has an IN YOUR FACE moment of the day for you; the ground zero mosque is set to open 9/11/2011.  WTF?!

Bride of Rove makes a nice correlation between Miami and Arizona and enlightens Glenn Beck on Johnny Appleseed.

Gateway Pundit removes all doubt that Woody Allen is a loon.

Pirate's Cove has a post on Obama's proposed delay in terror suspect hearings.

Professor Jacobson is keeping up with his law school classmates and I don't think he wants to adopt a cat (a reference I can't link to because he cunningly put it in his sidebar!). 

Troglopundit notes that Katherine Hepburn gets her own stamp.

Thanks to No Sheeples Here for the reminder that today is Armed Forces Day.

Ruby Slippers concludes that since Elena Kagan's thesis and grades are online we should also get to see Obama's.  Silly girl!

Reganite Republican notes how difficult it is to delete a Facebook account and points out some security concerns as well.

Donald Douglas picks up on my post about the upcoming Machete film.  There's been a problem with the trailer being pulled from YouTube so you have to search around to for another version if the clip doesn't work.  But find one.  You need to see this.

Headline of the Day Award to Jimmie Bise at The Sundries Shack.  They Will Doink Doink No More Forever.

That'll about do me for now.  It's creeping on 11 a.m. and even though I'm shooting for a lazy Saturday I should probably shower and dress.  People sort of expect that. 

(Photo credit by Rachel at The View From Here)

Friday, May 14, 2010

John Kerry Defends Dr. Death Panel

To the surprise of no one, John Kerry is standing up to defend Dr. Donald Berwick, Obama's pick for Medicare czar.  At the end of a day when several Republicans took to the floor of the Senate to criticize Berwick, Kerry said (emphasis mine),

“We need better than phony assertions that he’d ever set up death panels in Medicare, or interfere in personal health care decisions made between patients and their doctors,’’ Kerry said. “Frankly, we need a more honest debate than we had over health reform itself, which didn’t serve anyone well. It’s time to permanently retire these ridiculous accusations from politics and thoughtfully consider our nominees so that first rate experts won’t shy away from public service.’’

 That doesn't exactly jive with what Berwick has said previously:

"The more I have studied it, the more I believe that less discretion for doctors would improve patient safety." He then looks down. "Doctors will hate me for saying that."

That sounds to me like he plan to set up a system that comes between doctors and patients.  A system that takes "discretion" from your doctor who knows you, knows your history, and place it in the hands of a bureaucratic system.

Not that anybody listens to John Kerry, anway.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Obama's Medicare Czar: It's Worse than You Thought

(Thanks Michelle Malkin for the link! )

(See also:  Dr. Death Panel Gets a Recess Appointment)

Here is Obama's pick for Medicare czar, Dr. Donald Berwick, explaining how the ideal medical system should act.  He is speaking to a British audience in 2008 about how wonderful their national health care system is.  He applauds them for choosing their system over a "simpler, less ambitious, less troubled plan than the NHS; you could have had the American plan.  You could have been spending 17% of your GDP to make health care unaffordable as a human right instead of spending 9% and guaranteeing it as a human right."

Yes, Berwick loves the NHS.  In fact, he criticizes "the darkness of private enterprise instead of accepting that a politically accountable system must act in the harsh and admittedly sometimes very unfair daylight of the press, public debate and political campaigning."

Berwick says you should use "your tax base to provide a single route of finance" instead of a "monstrous insurance industry of claims and rules and paper pushing."

He says the NHS recognizes that "sick people tend to be poorer and that poor people tend to be sicker."

And the kicker:

Berwick says that "any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate.  Excellent health care is by definition redistributional."

Hear it for yourself:



The buzz is building against this guy.

Red State had a detailed article about him yesterday.

Here are my earlier posts on Berwick here and here and here.

American Spectator also has some informative posts on Berwick by Robert Goldberg and Philip Klein

Mark Levin is all over this guy and I'm sure Glenn Beck must be too, although I don't watch him.

Naturally The New York Times does not report any of his controversial opinions; in fact, they conclude:

Dr. Berwick could help shield the White House from Republican charges that Mr. Obama’s policies would lead to the rationing of care or even a government takeover.

Their piece on his selection is here.

Berwick must be confirmed by the Senate.  Start making your phone calls now!

In Swoops Dr. Death Panel to Ration Your Care

Philip Klein at American Spectator has taken notice of Dr. Death Panel, aka Dr. Donald Berwick, who is Obama's pick for Medicare Czar.  This is the guy, you may remember, who is "starry eyed" over the NHS - the British Health Care system.  I researched several of Berwick's articles here.

At American Spectator this morning, Klein points out Berwick's tilt toward rationing:

In his writings and speeches, Berwick has defended government rationing and advocated centralized budget caps on health care spending. 

It is inevitable, of course.

"(T)he Holy Grail of universal coverage in the United States may remain out of reach unless, through rational collective action overriding some individual self-interest, we can reduce per capita costs," Berwick wrote in an article for Health Affairs he co-authored in 2008.
 
He went on to write that, "The hallmarks of proper financial management in a system… are government policies, purchasing contracts, or market mechanisms that lead to a cap on total spending, with strictly limited year-on-year growth targets."

So goes capitalism and the free market. It was nice knowing you.

And so, while everyone is worried about Elena Kagan's total lack of a paper trail or whether or not she's gay, Dr. Death Panel swoops in under the radar.  Is the mainstream media, now out of love with Obama, going to cover this one?  

Don't hold your breath.

Read the whole thing.