Thursday, March 31, 2011

Looking For a Home

This cat needs a good home.  He's a "free spirit" - i.e., outside cat and is not neutered.  The cat has been a "neighborhood cat" for a long time and Steve had been feeding him along with some other neighbors, but then the cat disappeared for months.  Everyone feared the worst but then the cat reappeared this afternoon.  Sadly, someone had taken the cat, put him in a cage inside their house, grossly underfed him, and let him become infested with fleas.  They either turned him loose or the cat made an escape, but he showed up this afternoon, asking Steve for help.

Steve has taken the poor fella to the vet to be checked out, bathed, and will board him through the weekend so he can rest up, eat, and recover a bit.  He has lost a lot of weight compared to this picture, and some hair.  His fur will grow back now that the fleas are being treated.

He's a very loving and affectionate cat and would prefer to be outdoors.  If you have a safe place, some land or a farm, maybe, and can help save this animal, please leave a comment.  The only other alternative is for us to put him back on the street and hope the same people don't recapture and mistreat him again. 

We've researched some no-kill shelters, including PetSavers, but they're full. 

Spread the word, if you will! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Eric Clapton's Birthday!

Is it Not "Imported" Oil if it Comes From Brazil?

Obama two weeks ago:

We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers. At a time when we've been reminded how easily instability in other parts of the world can affect the price of oil, the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy.

Obama this week:

With gasoline prices rising, oil supplies from the Middle East pinched by political upheaval and growing calls in Congress for expanded domestic oil and gas production, President Obama on Wednesday will set a goal of a one-third reduction in oil imports over the next decade, aides said Tuesday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Audacity of Hypocrisy

Obama is finally taking (just) a little heat on his support of Brazilian oil.  The Washington Post has an editorial today pointing out the hypocrisy of Obama's position, Ed Morrissey has a post at Hot Air, and Steven Hayward at NRO comments as well.

Obama's comments in Brazil last week were puzzling at best:

By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States. We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers. At a time when we've been reminded how easily instability in other parts of the world can affect the price of oil, the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy.

The hypocrisy abounds.

Consider this from WaPo:

Brazil already produces vast quantities of a fuel — ethanol — that the U.S. government, under a policy long supported by presidents and farm-state members of Congress from both parties, has promoted as a green alternative to gasoline. But the United States, protecting its own heavily subsidized ethanol industry by means of a 2.5 percent tariff and a 54-cent-per-gallon duty, prevents Americans from importing all but trivial amounts of the stuff from Brazil.

We're willing to import oil from Brazil, but not ethanol; our own ethanol industry is heavily subsidized.  Ed Morrissey thinks Obama should explain why we're willing to import oil but not ethanol:

"Not only does Barack Obama need to explain his enthusiasm for drilling and oil consumption apparently everywhere but in the US, he also needs to explain why the US wants to import oil from Brazil, but not ethanol."

While lauding the Washington Post editorial for pointing out Obama's hypocrisy's, Morrissey also points out:

Most of the rest of the media ignored them, just as they ignored the fact that Obama was cheerleading for Brazilian oil production at the same time he had launched a war against Libya.  Hardly anyone has commented on the connection between those two actions, but Obama has to have his eye open for ways to increase supply and lower fuel prices in case Libya’s production stays off line for a long time, which looks like a pretty good bet.  Otherwise, oil prices will skyrocket and the American economy will stall further into stagnation, which will mean a short political career for Obama.

The lamestream media is alive and well.  The criticism in the major media for Obama's Brazilian comments was nowhere to be found.  

Blood for Oil.  Isn't that what they said about Bush?


Even worse, it seems to me, is that as badly as America needs jobs, why is Obama so willing to shut down our own exploration industry and send these jobs to Brazil?  Since the moratorium only five new permits have been issued.  Senator David Vitter calls Obama's position ridiculous:

“We have abundant energy resources off Louisiana’s coast, but this administration has virtually shut down our offshore industry and instead is using Americans’ tax dollars to support drilling off the coast of Brazil,” said Vitter. “It’s ridiculous to ignore our own resources and continue going hat-in-hand to countries like Saudi Arabia and Brazil to beg them to produce more oil. We need to get serious about developing our resources here at home and working towards lower gas prices and long-term energy independence.”
It's true, as WaPo and Morrissey say that this position abounds in hypocrisy but it's also true that it is further proof that there are children in the White House where adults need to be.   Team Obama says what sounds good at the time then backtracks later.  He'll have to retreat from this in some way or else open up the permit process and get Gulf drilling once again. 

(AP Photo)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Take a Trip to DeSoto Parish

To kick off Spring Break, Steve and I took a day trip to DeSoto parish today and visited Grand Cane and then the Rock Chapel in Carmel, Louisiana.   We were inspired to visit Grand Cane by this article in the Shreveport Times which ran last month.  Grand Cane has a grand population of about 200 people but the Haynesville Shale has turned it into a little boomtown!

The strip of shops is comprised of at least six buildings all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.

We arrived around lunch time so we decided to eat before exploring so we headed to the Village of Grand Cane restaurant which was recommended in the Times article.  The article also said it was open on Saturday.  It isn't.



If you want to sample one of their famous chicken fried steaks or jalapeno burgers, you'll have to go Monday through Friday.  They close at 2:30 except on Friday when they stay open until 8:30.  It sure looks like a good place to eat, but we didn't get to today.

We went to the other end of the street and ate at Village Cuisine instead.



There are about ten tables inside and we were greeted quickly by a pleasant young lady who told us about the specials.  There also is outside seating but I didn't see anyone out there today:


Today's special included a grilled chicken sandwich on a croissant and a chicken pasta picante.  I think they were caught off guard by the influx of customers today, and one of the local shopkeepers told me they were short of help today.  It took a little bit for our food to come out but everyone was nice and friendly about it.

We both had the chicken sandwich which was basically a processed chicken breast on a croissant with fresh tomatoes and greens.  Potato chips on the side.

We're anxious to try the Village Restaurant next time!

Our next stop was Village Creations which is owned by the very personable Suzanne Brossette.


Suzanne told us when she moved into the building it was basically walls and part of a roof.  Her husband helped her with restoration and this is her retirement dream.  It's a wonderful shop and is filled with gorgeous antique furniture, stained glass, and gifts.


Suzanne has creatively displayed her wares on old freestanding screen doors and hardwood doors mounted on the walls.  I loved this stained glass piece:



I also was really tempted by these adorable wooden, carved finger puppets:


We made a couple of small purchases, visited with Suzanne for a while and then moved on.  Her place is definitely worth a return visit!  Outside we found some folks from Shreveport who had driven over for the day just like us, also prompted by the article in The Times.  They, too, were disappointed that the Village Restaurant wasn't open, but we had a nice time visiting with them outside.  There are benches in front of most of the shops and awnings to shelter you from the sun.


There are little trees and flowers and in most of the trees are these cute gourd birdhouses:


We headed to quilt store which is in the Hicks and Richardson building.  The building is dated from 1902 and housed a "general merchandise and plantation supplies store."  Today the building houses Quilts 'n More, The DeSoto Art Council Art Gallery, DeSoto Life Magazine, and The Raven Bookstore in a sort of mall layout.



The quilt place is upstairs and we were greeted by owner Patty Stringer.  Patty used to be an engineer at a paper mill and this shop is her retirement dream.  She knows quilts!  I don't know much about quilts except that they are beautiful.  I really admired this one - love the colors:


Patty has several rooms and houses cross stitch materials, walls of threads, patterns and another room filled with quilting supplies, patterns, fabrics and more.  She had a huge work table with a lovely quilt in progress that she is piecing.  She told me it was about two days from completion before she will then be ready to do the batting and quilting.  I asked if she quilts by hand and that's when she took us to her quilting machine:


She said she drove to Pascagoula with a trailer, bought the machine, loaded it up and here she is.  That window at the back end of the room?  It looks out over the main street and there's an ironing board set up there where she can watch the barn swallows while she works.

The machine, as most quilting people will already know, will stitch in patterns over the new quilt from whatever your imagination tells it to do.  The quilt I admired (above) has leaf patters in it, for example.  This flag  quilt has a pattern of stars and hearts:


We loved the visit and I really learned a lot from Patty.  I told her I really admired her courage in opening a shop in this kind of economy.  She told me that things really aren't as bad around there as in most parts of the country because of the Haynesville Shale; the oil and gas industry is booming around there right now.  Lots of these shopkeepers are reaping benefit from that.  I hope she does well  - she's a nice lady and it was a neat shop!

Next we headed to the Art Council Gallery.  The only picture I took turned out blurry but it was filled with photography, paintings, carvings, jewelry and other items.  It's a definite stop-again place.

In the same building is The Raven Bookstore and everyone knows Steve and I are going to stop in a bookstore.  My first stop is always the local section.



Owner Vanessa Efferson moved her shop to Grand Cane from Homer, Louisiana when her husband was transferred.  The move shrunk her space significantly but she's made the most of her shop!  It's clever and filled with surprises at every turn.


Since it's called The Raven, you know there will be candelabras around:


Steve bought a book and I got a bookmark.  Steve read Llama Llama Mad at Mama to me from the childrens section; it's adorable.  There are tables for resting and Starbucks coffee and cocoa to encourage your browsing.  We told Vanessa that her shop reminded us a lot of J. Michael Kinney's store in Natchitoches, The Book Merchant.  Regular readers will remember it's a favorite stop of ours when we go to Natchitoches.  Her face lit up and she said she loved that shop and it was part of her inspiration for her own shop.  It shows - it's a cute, well stocked store.  She said she can tell that local history is going to be a big seller for her because she's constantly restocking it.

After we exhausted the shops we drove around a little.  There's a lot of new home construction going on and even more renovation of older homes.  We liked this picturesque Methodist church:


Our next destination was through DeSoto parish to the Rock Chapel at Carmel, Louisiana.  We drove the long way, down scenic state road 3015, through Mansfield and then on to Carmel off 509.

We'd heard about the Rock Chapel there for years and never gone in search of it.  We finally did, and it wasn't nearly as hard to find as we thought.

The chapel was built in 1891 by some monks from the Carmelite monastery in DeSoto parish.  Rick Rowe from KTBS did a piece on it and here is a link to a Flickr photograph that has more information.  Note one of the comments under the picture - the frescoes inside were restored by locals which I understand had been destroyed by vandals with sledgehammers back in the 80s.  That's when the doors and locks were added.

At any rate, we parked at the locked gate and walked about a quarter mile through the woods to get to the chapel.  You can stop at Lafitte's Store and get the key, but it was closed.

It's a lovely walk though the woods and after a few slight turns the chapel appears before you  We started here:

 After a while we saw this:



You see it way back there?  Let's get closer:


It's a beautiful scene and all I could think of was how gorgeous it would be in the fall with all the hardwoods showing color.  Then Steve said, "I bet it's gorgeous after a snowfall!"   In the spring, the bridal wreath is blooming white everywhere and on this side of the footbridge are two red camellias still in bloom.  There isn't much water in the creek right now and it's kind of swampy looking, but I'm sure it's higher at various times.

What a lovely place to just sit and reflect, though:



This is the road with the chapel behind you:


What's a chapel without a graveyard:


Here's the backside:


When we left we passed Lafitte's store and happened to catch the owner's dad there.  He offered to let us take the key and go back up so we could see inside, but we'll save that for another trip.  I'd love to see the frescoes and the sun coming through those stained glass windows.  And check out this fabulous shot of the interior on Flickr.

They hold Easter services there and I understand many a wedding has been held there.  All I know is that it's a gorgeous spot in the woods.

By the way, here is Lafitte's store:


See those gas pumps?  Closer?  Okay:


Yeah, they haven't been used in a while.  That's $1.59 for Super Unleaded.

We had a wonderful day.  It all took about six hours and every single person we met along the way was friendly and pleasant.  It's definitely another stop on our day trip rotation!

One last look at that chapel:


Take a trip to DeSoto parish!

Related:  More of the "Take a Trip..." series

Update:  The Historic Village of Grand Cane has a Facebook page.

Here is more info on the Rock Chapel and its restoration.

Rock Chapel in Carmel, Louisiana

Friday, March 25, 2011

Crushing on Bobby Darin

Back when performers had talent...

Spring Break Officially Begins!

And not a moment too soon!  It's a balmy 82 degrees here today and I'm ready to begin a long week of R & R!  Lest you think SIGIS will be sitting around doing nothing all week, think again.  We've got a little day trip scheduled for tomorrow, I have Mom duties Monday and Tuesday, carpets to steam clean, flower beds to clean and plant, a yard to mow, dogs to bathe and Friday we're headed to the Barksdale AFB 2nd Annual Crawfish Boil.  Stay tuned to see if I master the Electric Slide this year.  I'm notoriously uncoordinated so don't count on it.  And next Saturday we'll be headed to Minden to see what Milly Rose has acquired in her shop since our last visit in February! 

But for now, a Noble Pils and the sunshine is calling me. 

DOJ is FUBAR

In case you needed further proof that Obama's Department of Justice is FUBAR, consider the decision by Eric Holder and company to sue the Berkley school district on behalf of a 29 year old teacher who was refused a three week leave of absence (in December!) so she could perform the hajj.

Mona Charen reports that this teacher had only been on the job for nine months when she made her request.  In Berkley, as in most school districts, they like their teachers in the classroom, especially when preparing for high stakes testing.  Safoorah Khan, the teacher requesting leave, is a math teacher.

In the end, she quit her job so she could perform her religious duty and filed a complaint to the EEOC, got a lawyer, and now the DOJ has taken up the case.  The rationale for the DOJ is to combat “a real headwind of intolerance against Muslim communities.”

Seriously?

As Charen points out, this district just wanted a teacher in the classroom.  They didn't refuse this request because of her religion; they refused it because they also have a job to perform which is educating the children of the district.  They didn't tell Miss Khan that she'd be fired for performing the hajj on her own time.  The refused to give her three weeks off during the school year.

I wonder if the Berkley school district allows for sabbatical leave?  Couldn't she do her time, file for sabbatical and then go, if this fell during a school year?  Or, as Charen suggests, wait until such a time that she could do this during her summer vacation?

Ridiculous.  Even more ridiculous is that DOJ would look twice at this considering they refused to prosecute the New Black Panther Party for blatant voter intimidation caught on tape.

FUBAR.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Would I Think That?

Just walked into the room and caught a FOX News Alert coming up - a statement on the NATO agreement on action in Libya.  I thought, "Finally!  Obama is going to speak to the American people, while actually IN America, about Libya!"

Silly me.  Why would I think that?

Obama, Brazil, and Gulf Oil Exploration.

Is Obama just plain trying to ruin America's energy industry?

Apparently Obama would rather buy oil from foreign sources while he tilts at windmills and looks to the future of "green energy." 

Since the BP oil spill last spring, the Obama administration has issued five new deep water permits.  FiveBloomberg reports today that Chevron received the fifth permit for exploration in the gulf. 
While Chevron is the fifth company permitted to resume work in the area following the last year’s Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, it’s the first to be allowed to tap a reservoir that has never produced, according to the regulator. 

Thirty-nine shallow permits have been issued to date with 13 still pending.  Why the hold on shallow water permits when the BP spill was deepwater?  The Bureau of Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement has 8 permits pending for wells in depths greater than 500 feet. 

We have vast oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, yet Obama would rather buy oil from Brazil or the Middle East.  Victor Davis Hanson calls this a "man made energy crisis," which is something akin to a "man made disaster," I'm afraid.

Consider the logic of the president’s Orwellian declaration: The United States in the last two years has restricted oil exploration of the sort Brazil is now rushing to embrace. We have run up more than $4 trillion in consecutive budget deficits during the Obama administration and are near federal insolvency. Therefore, the United States should be happy to borrow more money to purchase the sort of “new stable sources of energy” from Brazil’s offshore wells that we most certainly will not develop off our own coasts. 

Does this make any sense at all?  It does if what you want to do is ruin the energy industry in America. In Brazil, Obama said:

“With the new oil finds off Brazil, President [Dilma] Rousseff has said that Brazil wants to be a major supplier of new stable sources of energy, and I’ve told her that the United States wants to be a major customer, which would be a win-win for both our countries.”

Just makes you want to slap your head, doesn't it?  It's not exactly a "win-win," buddy.  Why buy oil from Brazil when we have our own?  Of course, Brazil gets to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. Is Brazil going to drill for our oil and sell itback to us?  THAT makes a lot of sense.  Earlier this month Petrobras received permission to pull oil out of the Gulf, conveniently gaining approval right before Obama's Fabulous Brazilian Adventure.

It's not just oil.  How could we forget Obama's promise to bankrupt the coal industry?  To his credit, he didn't shut down the coal mining industry after the last mine disaster as he did with the oil industry and the BP spill.  Union pressure, maybe.

Cap and trade?  One shudders to think what that monstrosity would have done to energy prices. 

Hanson makes the case that Obama's vision is to turn America into something European with high speed rail and high gas prices:

At a time of trillion-dollar deficits, the administration is borrowing billions to promote high-speed rail, and is heavily invested in the federally subsidized $42,000 Government Motors Chevy Volt. Apparently the common denominator here is a deductive view that high energy prices will force Americans to emulate European centrally planned and state-run transportation.

That would be the key term - "state run."  State run transportation, state run health care, even massive expansion of entitlement programs all fit into Obama's vision of America.

I've got new for you.  That's not my vision of America AT ALL.  What in the world is wrong with drilling our own oil and supporting the current energy industry in our country rather than bankrupting it?  Why not drill in the gulf and why not open ANWR?  What a naive puppet this man is.  How clueless.

Truly.  Every act he commits reveals pure naivete. 

You want to develop "green energy," fine.  But don't run us out on a limb and then saw it off with your solar powered chain saw.


(Graphic from EOEarth)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break is Coming

I haven't updated this week; we've been testing at school and we've also got research papers due this week.  I'm drowning.

Spring Break is next week and I'm hoping to get some blogging done, get this poor blog off life support, and find a way to balance it all once again.  A little yard work and rest would be nice, too.

If you're still here, thanks for sticking around.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bailey Gets a Treat



A little video of my grand-puppy. He's about six pounds, maybe.  We've returned safely from Dallas and the I-20 speedway.  The beer security system worked just fine (and to anyone concerned and prepared to call the child welfare people on me, it was just a joke, really.  Calm down.)

We had a great time even though the Stars lost.  We saw a great game that went into overtime.  Can you believe they charge $6.50 at the American Airlines Center for one Samuel Adams Boston Lager?  One bottle?  I have no brains.  I had three of 'em. 

Going to unpack and decompress a bit. 

Buford


This wonderful dog belongs to my daughter's in-laws. He's got lots of personality and is a big (BIG!) baby!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shootout Coming Up

Stars!

My Grand-Puppy

Beer Security System

We're on the road today, headed to Dallas for the Stars/Flyers game tonight.  I'm leaving my 19 year old in charge on the home front.  Do you think this security system will work?

Hope so.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fallout

Check out this interactive map at NYT on the path of the radiation plume.  But don't worry.  Obama says it's okay.  No worries.

Green Beer Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, otherwise known as Green Beer day here at SIGIS. 

The Fork You Say!

Those dastardly, insidious Republicans on Capitol Hill are doing everything they can to undermine the Democrats, right down to taking away their compostable cups and utensils at the three House cafeterias.

Viva the return of plastic cups and forks!  Foam containers!

Under the tenure of Nancy Pelosi, the House food vendors began using "green" eating utensils and cups, but the Republicans complained that these biodegradable items didn't hold up, saying "the spoons would often dissolve in hot liquids, and forks and knives bent and snapped"  According to reports from Capitol Hill, the forks couldn't even penetrate lettuce.  Shocking!

And so, the Republicans have brought back the foam.  The plastic!

“Contrary to the objective of the program,” said Salley Wood, the spokeswoman for Representative Dan Lungren of California, chairman of the House Administration Committee, who moved to end the program, composting “failed to produce significant savings in carbon emissions.” On that score, she said, the total savings were equal to taking one car off the road per year. 

Yet again, proof that "green energy" is more expensive?   Miss Wood says the program was more expensive than the foam 'n plastic program:

The program took $475,000 each year from the fees that the House collected from the food vendor, Restaurant Associates, between the materials, labor and costs of hauling refuse out.

Pelosi's office is not pleased.

Advice to enviro-conscious libs in Congress?  Bring a baloney sandwich in a brown paper bag. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Obamacare Must Go NOW

Michael Tanner at NRO is less than impressed with the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare:

In fact, one wonders what the Republican leadership is doing to stop Obamacare. Sure, they took a vote to repeal it. But since there was no chance that a repeal bill could get through the Senate and past a presidential veto, the vote was mostly symbolic. Since then, what have Republicans done? There was another vote calling for various committees to propose an alternative health-care reform. Where is it? Where are the votes on proposals to kill some of the more unpopular aspects of the health-care law? What about the individual mandate? The employer mandate? The new taxes? What about CLASS Act, the long-term care program? Even Secretary Sebelius says that it won’t work as currently structured. Why has there been no vote to repeal that?

Cutting off funding for Obamacare now is all the more important because the administration is pushing full speed ahead on implementation. And the sad fact is that Obama is all too often being aided by Republicans.

It does, in fact seem as if little is being done beyond simple symbolic measures. 

The number of waivers has climbed to over 1,000, the mandate has been declared unconstitutional, it's already been proven that Obamacare won't lower costs or the deficit and in fact Sebelius admitted to the double counting fiasco.

I'm with Mr. Tanner on this one: it's time to get rid of Obamacare before it's too late.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Today's "WTF Moment" Comes Via Politico

Via Politico, a real WTF moment:

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, helped elect Rubio, and like many Republicans, is putting a lot of pressure on him to live up to expectations.

Hunh?  Isn't Cornyn the guy who endorsed Crist right out of the gate?  What am I missing here?

(Cross posted at Not One Red Cent!)

Are You More Worried About Obama's NCAA Brackets Than You Are Japan?

It's been a while since I posted one of these but somehow it just fits right now:


Obama's detachment while "Rome burns" is beyond belief.  Long ago I concluded that nothing this putz did would shock me and he consistently proves me wrong.

As yet another CR is passed with no real resolution to the budget issues, (you'll remember, it was the Dems that kicked that can down the road last year...), as Libya continues to disintegrate, as the news from Japan gets worse and worse with each passing hour, what is Fearless Leader doing?  Well, his NCAA brackets, of course!  Not only that, he's taping a spot with ESPN about his picks.  Does anybody really CARE? 

I'm rather worried about the kind of person who cares more about who Obama has picked in his brackets that what happens to Japan, Libya or the United States. 

And lest we sound repetitious at SIGIS, I must ask once again, can you just imagine if GWB had diddled like this? 

We watched helplessly as Obama golfed his way through the Iranian protests last year.  In fact, during those protests for freedom, Obama planned a luau, grilled with Bobby Flay, and invited the Iranian ambassadors over for hot dogs.  We sat by as he made little or no comment on Egypt.  He's ignored one world crisis after another while concentrating primarily on his golf game under the pretense of not wanting to interfere with the business of other nations.  And it a "let them eat cake" moment, he jokes about this at the Gridiron Dinner. 

Yet now, with Japan, when Obama has an opportunity in his Saturday address to plea for funds, for donations, for aid, what does he do?  He votes "present."  He runs a pre-taped spot on Women's History Month.  Hunh?  It's as if he didn't even know the world was in a meltdown.  With Libya, he has now, now, directed his staff "to fully engage in the discussions" with NATO and the UN.  Were we not "fully engaged" before?

I'm sorry, but I have less respect for this jerk as each day goes by.  I don't respect him as a leader, much less as a man.  My goldfish has bigger gonads than this putz.

Please.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Browser Tabs

I spent most of the day grading papers and updating grades for the end of the nine weeks reporting period.  It has been a gorgeous day and, believe it or not, I really wanted to be outside raking leaves but it just didn't happen.  (My neighbor has a wicked oak tree that sheds vigorously this time of year.)

There are a couple of quick links to pass along - as Jimmy Bise would say, "clearing the browser tabs:"

The news from Japan is worse every time I look at the news, but this video is simply incredible.  No special effects master from Hollywood could adequately replicate this video of the tsunami coming ashore.   Via Memeorandum.

Pundette rounds up a world in crisis and notes that Obama hit the links today.  Priorities.  Appearances matter.

Via Arts and Letters Daily, I found this essay fascinating.  You never know who is sitting in your classroom.  And sometimes, you do.  I've never had this exact situation, but close, and I know exactly what she's talking about.

If you live in the Houma, La. area, keep an eye out for Haze.

Michelle Malkin's family is still searching for Marizela.  Continue to spread the word, please.

Bride of Rove plays the Q&A game!

I'm going offline for the night; I'm still engrossed in my studies of the Pacific war.  I have six or seven memoirs standing by.  Yeah.  I hit Amazon pretty hard last week. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Perspective

Incredible.  From CNN:

The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.


"At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass," said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters).

 It's hard to get my head around that.  I hope I remember that when I start bitchin' about what a bad day I had at work or some other insignificant gripe.  It puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

Spring is Here!

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around: Spring Forward Edition

The FMJRA returns today with spring in the air and my calendar still so chock full I can barely catch a breath.  We have a slower day today, however, and I plan to make the best of it.  Our run started several weeks ago with the start of Mardi Gras; parades and events have consumed the last three weekends.  This evening we have a surprise party to attend, next weekend a trip to Dallas and a Stars game, and then maybe we can squeeze in a trip the weekend after that to Minden and see what new treasures Milly has in store.

My list of Things to Do is overwhelming and I don't know where to even start.  But I have some basic domestic issues to attend to here at the SIGIS home base and would like to get some yard things done, too.  Fingers crossed.

I love spring.  Baseball is coming.  St. Patrick's Day (and green beer at Hangar 2!) is this week, there are 9 more weeks until summer, and I love the warm, lazy days ahead!   Don't forget to spring forward tonight and set your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

On another note, all the news from Japan continues to be horrible.  Let's round up some links and see what's going on in the blogs:

Legal Insurrection exposes (again) the bias of PolitiFact.

Pirate's Cove reminds us why Jesse Jackson is irrelevant.

Doug Ross has some stunning images from Japan.  The power of nature, indeed.

The Other McCain takes a look at Obama's press conference yesterday.  If that's what you want to call it.

American Power finds yet another example of civility from the left.

For your musical interlude, Reaganite Republican remembers Three Dog Night.

Ed Driscoll notes that Peggy Noonan continues to alienate conservative readers.

Fenway Nation has been posting excellent coverage of the disaster in Japan.

No Sheeples Here made me snicker - Harry Reid, cowboys, and Brokeback?  OMG.

WyBlog has had enough of Lisa Murkowski, not to mention the RNC NRSC and NRCC.  (Hope you're staying dry up there, man!)

Pundette was linked by Mark Steyn, and with good reason; this is a spot on post.

Mind Numbed Robot has a mind numbingly huge roundup but worth every link!  Good stuff!

Critical Narrative points out that gas prices have risen 67% under Obama. 

Pecan Corner links to a new blog about Paris; it's on my list to check out.

Please do NOT ask Bride of Rove for a restaurant recommendation in the Keys.  Bwahahahahaa!  She cracks me up.

I've got to get moving.  I have to plant some Hollyhocks, shampoo carpets and finish grading To Kill a Mockingbird finals so I can enter report card grades.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake in Japan

This is an AP video about the earthquake this morning in Japan:



The images coming across the news this morning are incredible.  It's difficult, sometimes, to fathom the power of nature.

Another video:



Incredible.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Search for Marizela


Michelle Malkin's cousin is still missing.  Please continue to spread the word and keep the search alive.  I can't imagine the torment the family must be going through.  Visit Michelle's site for updates and here is the pertinent information once again:

MISSING PERSON
Name: Marizela Perez
Date Missing: Saturday March 5, 2011
Last Seen: 1-2 P.M. at the Safeway in University District
(4732 Brooklyn Ave NE Seattle, WA 98105) (this is CONFIRMED)
Possible Routes: Sound Link Light Rail stations, downtown/Chinatown areas, UW Seattle campus, U-district
Description – Asian female, 5’5” tall, 110 lbs, skinny build, asymmetrical bob with short bangs and brown/red highlights hairstyle, tattoo on left inner arm with the words ‘lahat ay magiging maayos’ (Tagalog, meaning ‘all will be well’), last seen wearing a dark hooded jacket, denim jeans, light brown suede laced boots, possibly wearing green eye contacts, possibly carrying a denim drawstring bag with rainbow butterfly screenprint (not the plaid backpack that was before mentioned) with a Macbook Pro laptop, taking medication for depression
Please contact if you have any information regarding this person:
Edgar: 609 – 646 – 0905
Jasmin: 609 – 742 – 2360
Mel: 206 – 760 – 1822
Joy: 609 – 742 – 2336

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has been giving the entire country a huge civics lesson.  And as insane as things got last night, I'm pretty sure it's not finished. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Obama's Reversal on GITMO

After all the blogging I've done on GITMO I'd be remiss if I didn't note Obama's reversal of policy on the facility:

President Obama on Monday reversed his two-year-old order halting new military charges against detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, permitting military trials to resume with revamped procedures but implicitly admitting the failure of his pledge to close the prison camp. 

Team Obama won't go so far as to vindicate Bush policies, however, and have tried to appease the left by explaining that this isn't exactly Bush's GITMO.  There is supposedly a new periodic review process in place.  The WSJ notes that this was actually tweaked in 2006:

By executive order, a new panel will now also conduct a "periodic review" of detentions. But the bipartisan Military Commissions Act of 2006, or MCA, had already included "administrative review boards" dedicated to the same goal.

The Wall Street Journal has some concerns with Protocol 1:

The other note of trouble is Mr. Obama's decision, also announced yesterday, to seek Senate ratification of a radical 1977 revision to the 1949 Geneva Conventions known as Additional Protocol 1. President Reagan repudiated Protocol 1 in 1987 because it vitiated the distinction between lawful and unlawful enemy combatants. Terrorists fight out of uniform and target civilians and thus do not deserve traditional prisoner-of-war protections. This was the two-decade political consensus until the Bush Presidency. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post editorialized in favor of Reagan's Protocol 1 decision.

Our guess is that Mr. Obama has adopted Protocol 1 to appease the domestic left and especially the "international community" that will be dismayed by his new embrace of Gitmo and George W. Bush's policies. Remember the moralizing Europeans? (See below.) Mr. Obama is nonetheless complicating the task of U.S. terror fighters, and encouraging further barbarism, by extending the laws of war to terrorists who hold combat restrictions in contempt.

It may all be political posturing in preparation for 2012, but however it comes, I'm glad the administration is now at least making gestures to return to military tribunals and keep GITMO open.   Take it with a grain of salt, though.  See how it unfolds. 

I don't think George W. Bush should look for his apology note in the mail anytime soon.  Even though Obama bashed Bush relentlessly on this issue, and even though he's now adopted many of Bush's policies, he'll never admit that Bush was right.  He'll stand by the old, "but we've tweaked it and made it BETTER" argument.  That's okay.  Whatever keeps America safe.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Take a Trip to Shreveport's Mardi Gras

Fat Tuesday is still a couple of days away but Mardi Gras 2011 is in the books for us.  Steve and I went to the Highland Parade today which is really our favorite parade.

North Louisiana has been doing Mardi Gras for a couple of decades now with a couple of "big" parades and some smaller parades.  I'd venture to say that the Highland Parade is our third "big" parade even though the media still acts like Gemini and Centaur is all there is.

The parade route for both Gemini and Centaur is the same.  People stake out their spots and usually return to the same spots each year.  The parade starts downtown, travels along the Red River along Clyde Fant Parkway, comes up Shreveport/Barksdale, then makes the turn along the bayou (aka the "duck pond") and ends in the Broadmoor neighborhood.

If you're reading this from somewhere other than the south, the whole concept of Mardi Gras might be baffling to you.  And with good reason when you think about it.  Why would anyone stand alongside the road for hours waiting for a bunch of floats blaring rock music to pass by?  Why would you stand on the side of the road and scream like a maniac, wave your hands, wear funny hats, and yell for cheap plastic beads made in China that will live in your garage for the rest of eternity?

Last weekend we had gorgeous weather - 70 degrees and clear blue sky.  I live within walking distance from the parade route and as soon as I stepped outside onto my deck last weekend I could smell the woodsmoke and the BBQ pits.  People gathered along the bayou all day getting their grills fired up and parade sites organized - putting out chairs, tables, flags, tents, music systems, all nestled amongst the city supplied porta potties.  Steve and I based ourselves at a friend's house along the route, across from the bayou, where there were three fire pits (even though it wasn't cold it helped with the mosquitoes!) and two grills going full time.  All along the route people were cooking boudin, burgers, hot dogs, red beans and rice, jambalaya, crawfish, and shrimp on a stick.  At the Centaur parade a church group with a U-Haul filled with bottled water was tossing water out to passers by.

Vendors with push carts move up and down the entire parade route selling novelty beads, scarves, feather boas, crazy hats, colorful plastic horns, and those nasty foil bags you stomp on and it smells like a stink bomb.

And the people - they're everywhere, walking, milling about, looking at each other and being seen.  People taking pictures, throwing footballs and frisbees, walking dogs, eating, drinking, listening to music, dancing...everywhere along the route there is music.  Not far from where we based ourselves there was a party with a live band in the front yard.  They were serving jello shots in plastic syringes.

By the time the parade gets to our end it's 7:30 and has been dark for an hour.  The parade announces itself with blaring sirens and the firetrucks blowing their horns.  You have to cover your ears or risk a busted eardrum.  The honor guard and flag comes through and people salute and are respectful as it passes, usually.  Then the floats and other parade units come through.  There are horse patrols, marching bands, hot rods, tow trucks, hay trailers with live bands performing, and the floats...

The floats are awesome!  Loud music blaring, loaded with dancing krewe members, lots of lights and color, the floats pass by while you yell and scream trying to get some poor krewe member who is busy untangling beads to notice you.  There are anywhere from 20 to 50 members on a float and with some 30 floats in a parade there are plenty of opportunities to catch things.

At the Centaur parade some guy leaned over the side of his float and handed Steve some beads with a medallion honoring policemen which was cool since Steve is in law enforcement.  We caught nerf balls and footballs in purple, gold and green Mardi Gras colors, lots of beads and cups and a few stuffed animals.  The real "treasures" are the beads with medallions on them.  The medallions depict certain float themes or krewes.

We have a friend that was on one of the floats who saw us and said, "You like Jimmy Buffet beads?!" and tossed us some beads with margaritas and parrots in them.  We got beads denoting the various branches of the military.  Some of the beads are huge and heavy; I've known people to get a black eye by getting hit in the face with beads while not looking! One year a float was throwing CDs until they figured out how dangerous that was - a friend of mine had to go get stitches after getting cut under the eye by a flying jewel case.

Because the Highland Parade is in the daylight you can really see everything.  We love the Krewe of BBQ; they throw hot dogs.  I have a friend in that krewe and she hits me every year!  When my kids were little, years ago, she leaned over the side of her float and handed us a long bamboo spear with purple and gold feathers on it.  What a treasure!  She gets at least one or two hot dogs to us each year.  I'd have take a picture of it for you this year, but Steve ate it before I could!  The hot dogs are in foil pouches with a mustard and relish packet tucked inside!

Other floats throw, besides beads, moon pies, yo-yo's, cups, stuffed animals, candy, and other trinkets.  We got a Highland Jazz & Blues Fest poster!

During the Highland Parade today Steve and I were up front catching stuff (and passing most of it off to the kids around us) but once the hot dog float came through we moved to the back just to watch.  I opened a beer and he ate his hot dog and we just watched the last half of the parade but even still we were pelted with beads.  There was this cute older man near us  and he and his wife were racking up!  Almost every float threw something at him!  They were having a great time!

As I was sipping on my beer, looking up at a float, a handful of tangled beads came sailing toward me but they caught on the power line, whipped around and stuck, balled up on the line forever.

The parades last about an hour on average and when its over the trash along the route is incredible.  Just incredible.  Bottles, cans, plastic bottles, broken beads sparkling in the headlights, various wrappers, broken glass, crawfish heads, broken plastic cups, etc.  By midnight, it's gone.  The cleanup brigade comes through and the route is pristine by the next morning.

We came home, I leaned over the table and pulled my beads over my head and emptied my plastic bag.  We'll keep the cool medallion beads and give the regular ones to Milly who gives them to her customers.  Steve will eat his Moon Pie. I caught a big container of mini-Tootise Rolls which I'll eat and I caught some Skittles for the Teenager!

And so, for us, Mardi Gras 2011 is in the books.  We skipped the Dog & Cat parade, i.e. Barkus and Meoux, because the weather was dicey and we were worn out from the Centaur Parade the night before.  And what is one to do with all these beads, really?  I've tried for years to be creative and think of something to do with them.  One guy told me today he hangs them on his ficus tree.  Another said he covers the dirt of his houseplants with them.  Some people make wreaths out of them.  I once saw a joke that said, "You know you're from the South when you have to reinforce the floor in your attic to store Mardi Gras beads."  This is not far from the truth.  I have boxes and boxes of them in my garage.  Surely there's a good use for them?  I just don't know what it is.  It sure is fun when you make eye contact with someone on a float, they point at you and throw, and you snag them out of the air while he looks back and gives you a big thumbs up!

Until next year, laissez les bon temps rouler!