Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fulll Metal Jacket Reach Around: Parade Day Edition

The FMJRA has taken a couple of weeks off but let's take a stab at one this week.  Today is parade day: the first of our "big" parades is this evening and we are blessed today with glorious spring-like weather.  The parade route has been lined for two days with RVs and tents as people stake out their spots.  Steve and I drove through there last night and people were out in front of their RVs with fires going, hanging out with friends, drinking beer, and enjoying the mild evening.   I have a friend with a house along the route and it's within walking distance from my house, so Steve and I always base ourselves there.  Because I'm still battling the cough left over from my Winter Crud, we probably won't do as much walking as we usually do, but we'll have a good time nonetheless! 

I have some things to do before we head out, however, so let's see what's up on SIGIS's favorite blogs this week:

Legal Insurrection notes that Obama's doing nothing is actually something in and of itself!

On a related note, Pundette explains What Leadership Means to Obama.

Paco reveals that thanks to Iowa, today is Bacon Day!  (I've had mine today, have you?)

Ed Driscoll wonders if the MSM can be sued for whiplash?

Pirates Cove takes a closer look at the Weekly Address.

Doug Ross graphs gas prices over the past two years.

The Other McCain is blogging from ... Marion, Ohio?

Mind Numbed Robot has concluded Obama hates America.

Wyblog shares some delusions from liberals.

Bride of Rove has had it with "chenille bedspread wearing" Michelle.

I know this is woefully short, but I've got some errands to run before they close the streets I need to be on.  Have a lovely Saturday, have some bacon in honor of bacon day, and I'll catch you later!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Mystery

What in the world is wrong with this picture? 

Here we are, in America, literally sitting on vast oil reserves in just ANWR and in the Gulf alone and all it takes to make the price of gasoline skyrocket overnight is one crazier-than-a-run-over-dog dictator in Libya shooting his own people and threatening to burn his own oil fields.

Yet the liberals won't let us drill in ANWR and Obama won't let us drill in the Gulf. 

What is wrong with this picture?

2,200 Posts

I just noticed I'm at the nice, round number of 2,200 posts today which is rather incredible given the slow rate of posting lately. 

I'll be back to posting more often soon; I'm still battling Spring Crud.  I came home yesterday and went straight to bed and still feel bleh this morning.  But, I'm on meds and it will all be good soon. 

Besides, it looks like the world is going to hell in a hand basket.  I might be better off escaping to my bed and my books, after all.

Lest there be any doubt, civility is dead.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Take a Trip to Minden's Fasching Celebration and Karneval!

This past Saturday Steve and I went to Minden for their Fasching Karneval celebration, which is the German version of Mardi Gras.  I was coming down with my semi-annual crud when we set out but I was determined to persevere, crud or no crud.  And to pay THAT piper, I've been sicker than a dog the past two days and made my semi-annual trip to the doctor for my crud meds yesterday. 

Anyway, health nonsense aside, the Fasching was wonderful!  We had a great day!  I didn't take many pictures inside Milly's shop this time because she was sooooo busy and there were so many people in and out that it was difficult to lurk around taking pictures.  My objective for the day was to video the first floor for you and I only half accomplished that.  I got the front half of the first floor (and you get a little Milly song about halfway through that).  The parade was coming right about that time and we had to lock up and go watch.  When you watch it you'll get an idea just HOW MUCH stuff she has in there! 



Earlier in the day we watched a couple of the bands at the bandstand:  the Matthew Davidson Band was performing when we walked up.  I'd never heard this kid before but good golly, he's only 13!  Phenom!  You'll definitely be hearing more about this kid. 

Buddy Flett came up next, and that's who I really wanted to see.  I've followed Buddy's music for years and as most good Shreveport groupies know, Buddy has recovered from a serious bout of encephalitis which he contracted in 2008.  He awoke from a medically induced coma and was unable to walk or talk, and that included playing the guitar.  He had to relearn all those skills.  There's no doubt that he's back and indeed, he's just returned from LA where he attended the Grammys as a nominee.  You won't meet a nicer guy than Buddy.

Here is his performance of Grammy nominated Dance For Me Girl which he wrote:



After that we went back to the shop and while there I met a couple of folks who read my blog and introduced themselves - very nice people and I was thrilled to meet them!  It's always fun to meet your internet buddies!

 Later in the afternoon we went next door to the 507 Grill where a friend of Milly's was playing guitar and singing; plus they had free beer and that's all I needed!  We had lunch there earlier in the day and again with that praline cheesecake - OMG.  Wonderful!  This time I had the broccoli/cheese soup in a bread bowl for lunch and it was good.  Steve had a hamburger. 


The parade was really nice - just the right length, nobody was crazy, everyone had fun.  Milly danced in the streets with the music from the floats and it was all very festive. 

But by the time we headed home, I was exhausted!  The crud got me.

I'm glad I went, though and we'll be sure to go back next year. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Buddy Flett at Minden Fasching

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On the Spring Crud and School Evaluations

When I last saw my ENT guy with my "winter crud" he said, "See you in March!" when we parted.  I didn't quite make it to March before the "spring crud" hit, but I haven't been to the doctor yet, either.  I've just had too much going on this week to get there.

One of the new laws passed by our state legislature mandates schools receive a performance score in the form of a letter grade to "make it easier to understand" what caliber school your children are attending.  The previous system of a school report card which compiled various bits of data was deemed too complicated.  This link from the local station is pretty vague, but you get the idea.

The controversy is, of course, that you just can't always weigh schools evenly; there are too many variables that go into the mix.  Is it really fair to judge the brand new million dollar school with the latest technology and equipment to the inner city school where the AC works on a part time basis?  To give just a blanket letter grade without considering the myriad variables that go into the mix is misleading.  I'll get more into this in another post. 

The school where I teach is an "inner city," neighborhood school and has drawn a fairly low "letter grade" score.  To that end, we have multiple observers coming into our school today and tomorrow to help us figure out how to improve.  So, I've been working late to get things in order and requested documents on top of my regular planning, grading and posting in the gradebook.  I'm not overly stressed about it - I'm of the mind that it's pointless to put on a "dog and pony show" for observers.  I'm going to do my best, which I do every day, and let them see what happens in the classroom daily.  This is what they NEED to see and what they want to see in order to provide accurate feedback.  But still, things out of the routine are kind of stressful.

Really, it's like all you had to do was tell me observers were coming in and I need to be on top of my game for the "spring crud" to come visit. 

Once things settle, if I'm still cruddy, I'll go to the doctor.  Meanwhile, I'm off to work early to thwart any technological bugs or mishaps that are sure to occur today.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Minden Fasching Karneval and Parade

Steve and I are in for a string of busy weekends.  It's Mardi Gras season and we have parades and parties one after the other to attend and then in March we have tickets to a Dallas Stars game, so we are about to be very busy!

The fun starts this weekend with a trip to Minden and their version of Mardi Gras:  a German Fasching celebration.  Milly Rose invited us several weeks back to come over for "the Fasching" and I've been hard pressed to find many details other than that they have a parade at "dusk" - around 5:30 or 6.

After a search again today I found where there's been a Facebook page created, and a website, even though there isn't much there.  The schedule of events says "Coming Soon."

There does appear to be a photo of an ad on the Facebook page with a lineup of bands, and I was tickled to see Buddy Flett on the schedule from 2:00 to 3:00.  There will be "Food, Entertainment, and Fun" the ad says.

I'm in!

I talked to Milly today and she says they've been busy all week setting up rides and food booths, much of it right across the street from her shop.  She's right there in the thick of it all!  Even better, her shop will be open for business Saturday so I'll be taking lots of new pictures and a video of the first floor this time.  If you thought that attic of a third floor was something, just WAIT until you see the first floor!  I'll need a bigger video card.

I'm hoping Sandy might pop in here and chime in something about the Fasching.  I'm wondering if the food will have a German flair since this festival is supposed to celebrate Minden's German heritage. Sandy usually rides a float but isn't planning on it this year.

Budget

I'm not ignoring the story on Obama's budget, I'm just still sputtering. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another American Manufacturing Plant Shuts Down

In an article published yesterday in the New York Times, it seems that concern is suddenly growing that Amercian made goods is in decline:

Concern is increasing that this decline has gone too far. “I think there is a growing recognition that a diminished manufacturing sector will undermine our economy,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics. 

I find this statement to be incredible.  A "chief economist" is just now recognizing this?  

I posted back in September about the closing of the last American GE plant to make incandescent light bulbs.  Those jobs went overseas as we transfer over by 2014 to mercury filled "energy efficient" light bulbs which are supposedly "better for the planet." 

Meanwhile, Americans continue losing jobs.

The Times article notes:

An accurate count would reduce manufacturing’s share of the gross domestic product, or total national output, to less than the 11.2 percent that the Bureau of Economic Analysis has reported through 2009, the latest figure available.

That 11.2 percent would be closer to 10.5 percent, if all of the imported components were counted as imported instead of domestically made. Even the 11.2 percent figure is down sharply from the 14.2 percent share of just a decade earlier, and the nearly 30 percent of the heyday 1950s, when almost every product bought by Americans was also made here. 

As much as the Obama administration touts their success in "jobs created" by their stimulus plan, most of those "green dollars" went overseas:

A report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop and ABC News, found that $8 of every $10 spent on wind energy projects through the stimulus package went to a foreign company. Total recovery funds spent on wind energy projects total nearly $2 billion.

The report estimates stimulus funding for wind projects have created roughly 6,000 manufacturing jobs overseas and just hundreds in America. Thus far, the Recovery Act has paid to create 1,807 wind turbines to fuel American homes, businesses, schools and other buildings. Just 588 of those were manufactured domestically, according to the report.

It's not just energy dollars or light bulbs going overseas.  Auto manufacturing has moved that way for years, partly to avoid the high union costs here in America.

The Times article highlights the last metal flatware manufacturing company closing down because it's cheaper to manufacture overseas.   In 2006, Whirlpool bought out Maytag and practically shut down Newton, Iowa as it moved most of those manufacturing jobs to Mexico.  Rockwell Collins is shutting down operations in Irvine, CA and moving part of its manufacturing to Mexico.

There are still plenty of things manufactured in the US, but many of those plants close down in one state to consolidate operations in another, such as the closing of the Avondale shipyard in south Louisiana, or the Morrell plant in Sioux City.

The bottom line seems to be, to me, if economic recovery stands any kind of chance at all we must find a way to support manufacturing and innovation in America once again.  As the NYT article noted, innovation is also in decline: even though the Apple iPhone and iPad were conceived here, their manufacture is in Japan and that's likely where the next innovation will originate.   Not here. 

We can't survive as simply a service economy.  We're awash in restaurants, hotels, casinos, nail salons, hair salons, bars, and other service related industries.  We must re-energize manufacturing in this country to survive. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Second Hand Rose Comes to Facebook

Be sure to check out Second Hand Rose on Facebook!

We'll be making a trip over on February 19 for the German Fasching celebration and I'll be sure to post new pictures of Milly's treasures.  The Fasching is the German version of Mardi Gras and celebrates Minden's German heritage.

Sounds fun!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This World Has Left Me Behind...

What in the world is wrong with Lindsay Lohan?  Felony grand theft?  REALLY?!  Somebody help this girl, please.

An unprecedented THIRD snow day from Bossier Parish Schools!  Are you serious?  I mean, I'll take it, but I know my Iowa relatives are laughing at us.

Obama says he "hasn't raised taxes" once?!  Are you freakin' CRAZY man?  OMG.

In Bangladesh they've exhumed the body of a 15 year old girl who died after being lashed to death; "no external injuries" didn't fly so NOW they're going to investigate.  Right.

If you're a witch in Romania it might be time to find a new job.  If your predictions "don't come true" you might end up in jail. 

Enough of the weird world!

People are NUTS.  I could totally be a hermit.  Seriously.  As long as hermits are allowed to have computers and beer.  And dogs.

If you're shut in somewhere and getting cabin fever, take another look at Second Hand Rose and help a lady out.  Buy something!  Call Milly (318.371.9830) and buy yourself something fun!  But, I'll tell you, the inkwell is off the table, as are the lamps.  There's still lots of cool stuff, though!  LOVE the ashtray!   Instead of hitting my tip jar this month, help Milly out!  SIGIS appreciates you; she's a nice lady.

Meanwhile, I'll be playing hermit until spring comes.  Well, actually, we're going back to Milly's on the 19th for the German Fasching celebration, but I'll be a hermit until then.

Monday, February 7, 2011

AOL Acquires HuffPo

From today's NYT on AOL's acquisition of the Huffington Post:

By handing so much control over to Ms. Huffington and making her a public face of the company, AOL, which has been seen as apolitical, risks losing its nonpartisan image. Ms. Huffington said her politics would have no bearing on how she ran the new business. 

I'm not sure which is funnier:  that AOL is apolitical or that Arianna will leave her politics out of it.  Bwahahahahahaa!

Okay.

A Father's Tribute

I posted last week on the passing of our blog buddy snaggletoothie, or as his father knew him - Chris Monson.

His dad wrote yesterday to let me know he's posted a tribute to Chris with lots of pictures and the story of Chris's life.  It's a lovely piece.  I can't imagine the pain of losing a child, no matter what age.

I know we've missed Chris's voice in the blogosphere and his absence will be felt for a long time. 

I hope he's at peace now.

(Photo courtesy of Prune Picker.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Get Hate Mail

Since Bill Hall from Northern California didn't have the balls to address his comments in an open forum where it was intended, I'll go ahead and share it with you.  I received his email this morning:

A friend sent me a link to pictures of the snow in Bossier City and I happened on your blog in regards to President Obama, Britain and Russia.
  What a comedy, that you simpletons think that they did not know he was going to do it, that just goes to show how idiotic you radical right wingers are.  President Obama would not turn coat on our greatest alley, so stop with the sniveling.  You and the rest of the goofs that watch that comedy show Fox news, have had your brains turned to mush from all the fear, lies and nonsense.
  Why don't you leave federal policy to the people in the know, and deal with that worthless state of yours.  I grew up in Bossier City lived and worked in New Orleans for many years.  I left because of the totally corrupt ineffective Government you guys vote into office.
  You can start with that idiot Jindal, I got so sick of hearing him cry for help with building berms in the marshes, that eventually collapsed and at the same time he is crying because President Obama put a moratorium on deep water drilling while millions of gallons of oil was spilling into the Gulf. 
  You allowed your levy board to build inadequate levees thus the waters came during Katrina.   
  If your going to governing irresponsibly and make bad decisions, when something goes wrong then handle it, because the rest of the country is tired of bailing you irresponsible people out. 
  Louisiana is a prime example of what is wrong with the rest of this country, so clean up your state figure out what is reality, thin maybe your voice on a national level may be heard.
  The problem is not our President, it's the right wing who insist on keeping us back in the dark ages and not moving this country forward.
You're a joke, Jindal is a joke and your state is a drag on this country.
So you Hicks get your shit together and maybe, you can have the luxury of the rest of the Nation taking you seriously.
Bill Hall
Northern California, where the weather is great and the people care about their state and this country.
As a policy I don't engage with haters in email discourse but feel free to engage Mr. Hall in this open forum if you wish.

Obama Sells Out the Brits

Every time I think Obama can't shock me anymore, BAM!

The new Wikileaks drop and today's Telegraph revelation that Obama agreed to throw the U.K. under the bus to get his START treaty is giving me flashbacks to Clinton's ChinaGate.  It's not exactly the same thing, but exactly what diplomatic advantage is gained by giving our enemies defense secrets?  Ours or anyone else's?

According to the Telegraph report:

Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week. Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.
The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website.
Ace suggests we give this one 24 hours and keep in mind:

One thing: WikiLeaks doesn't have all the diplomatic cables. It might be the case (in fact, I'd bet hope it is the case) that the US and UK had a side-deal where the UK blessed this exchange.
Even if that's the case, it seems to me that any allies we have left might be reluctant to trust us in the future.  That is assuming that they still do, which is questionable.

Nice Deb suggests that this might also violate Article 3 of the NATO treaty.

I'm waiting for the spin to begin so we can sift through and find the real story.  Surely this can't be IT.  But if it is, hearings should begin immediately and as Ed Morrissey says:
Regardless of what Obama thinks of American nuclear deterrents and policy, he has no right to undermine the policies of our closest ally and stalwart friend, especially as they fight with us in Afghanistan.  Congress should immediately investigate this, and if possible the Senate should revoke its ratification of START.
What a disgrace.  Again.

(H/T:  Memeorandum)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day 2011

It's a snow day in Shreveport!  I dared fate and got into the car to go take a few pictures.  Here's the duck pond on East Kings Highway:



The ducks seemed to be enjoying it:



There weren't too many folks out:



So I went over to Centenary College to see what was happening over there:


Pretty quiet.  I walked over to the band shell; it's always neat looking when it snows:



But, all in all, it was pretty quiet there, too.


There weren't any die hards out at Querbes Golf Course, either:




There were lots of folks out driving around.  Everyone looked to be driving pretty carefully.  I stopped by McDonalds for the Teenager and into the grocery store for me and headed home.  I filled the bird feeder and the birds are swarming around it!

One thing about the snow...my Lab absolutely loves it.  I can hardly get him to come inside!



Now I'm going to make a cup of hazelnut coffee and settle in with my book.  Stay warm!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today's Must Reads on Obamacare

Karl Rove's WSJ column this week is a friendly reminder of all that is wrong with Obamacare:

*  Consider "700,000 seniors whose private Medicare Advantage insurance policy was not renewed last year because her insurance provider quit the business."

*  There will be more nonrenewals in 2011. This year's funding cuts to Medicare Advantage will be $2 billion; next year's will be $6 billion. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimate that half of those with Medicare Advantage policies—seven million seniors—will lose their coverage eventually. And 60% the doctors surveyed by the nonprofit Physicians Foundation said health-care reform would "compel them to close or significantly restrict" the number of patients in their practices, especially those on Medicare or Medicaid.

*  Providers such as Guardian Life and the Principal Financial Group are dropping their health-insurance businesses.

*  Last week Richard Foster, CMS's chief actuary, confirmed to Congress that ObamaCare's Medicare cuts couldn't be used to reduce both Medicare's unfunded liability and to pay for ObamaCare's expense.
And that's just for starters.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are in total denial, dismissing the court's decision on the unconstitutionality of Obamacare this week and continuing to insist that he nation loves Obamacare and is against repeal.  Total denial.

Read Rove's column and don't miss Peter Ferrara's piece in today's American Spectator, "The Legal Furture of Obamacare."

Must reads!

Pacific War Memoirs

I finally finished Hugh Ambrose's The Pacific.  The book is meant to parallel, or to serve as a companion, to the HBO mini-series, which it does.  The same characters are there:  Eugene Sledge, Sid Phillips, John Basilone, and to a much smaller extent than in the film, Bob Leckie.  This book introduces a couple of other characters that weren't in the series,Austin "Shifty" Shofner, and Vernon "Mike" Micheel.

If you're looking for an in depth analysis and history of the Pacific war, this book isn't for you.  The purpose of this book is, just as the film did, provide a certain perspective of the war through the eyes of these characters who lived it.  Here's a link to the book's website.

There are so many books on the war in the Pacific and yet each serves a purpose.  You have the overall histories, the analytical perspectives, some concentrate on single battles, some on certain divisions or regiments...yet each has its place.  I'm trying to learn more about the Pacific war but for now I'm really fascinated by the personal memoirs.  You'll remember me raving about how much I loved Eugene Sledge's books, With the Old Breed and China Marine.

Now I'm reading the new Sid Phillips's memoir, You'll Be Sor-ree!  I just love this one.  It's so different from Eugene Sledge's book, which was so detailed and introspective.  Phillips reads as if he's just talking to his grand kids.  It's wonderful.  I absolutely loved this passage in which Phillips describes his feelings upon leaving boot camp at Parris Island:

"A strange feeling frequently came over me that was to return repeatedly during the war.  It is very difficult to express in words.  It was a feeling of safety in the power of armed might.  I would get it often when marching in step in ranks as though I were a leg on an invincible centipede or some such idea.  I would feel secure because of the trained warriors surrounding me.  I would feel it in a large convoy or in a landing craft under full power headed for the beach.  There was danger all around, but also a sensation of safety in what you were a part of.  I imagine this sensation only would occur during wartime.  It as, of course, associated with deep national pride with an element of 'Look out, here comes Uncle. Sam.'"

I love that!

This book is going to be a quick read at some 250 pages.  The font is fairly widely spaced compared to The Pacific and will go quickly.  Too quickly, I'm afraid.

Add this one to your reading list!

Cold!

Yeah, so I was outside doing yard work Saturday because it was 79% and sunny.  I popped open a Noble Pils and prematurely celebrated the imminent arrival of spring.

Bam!

We're warming up to 33 degrees today.  Wind chill is zero.  ZERO!

This southern girl can't take much of this.  Bah!