Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Touring the Aluminum Overcast


Yesterday, Steve and I went to the Downtown Airport to tour the Aluminum Overcast, a fully restored WWII B-17.


The plane is owned by EAA now and tours the USA and Canada.  If you've got some spare cash you can schedule a flight in the plane.  This particular plane was completed in 1945 so it never saw combat, but it is one of 11 or 12 B-17s that are still flying today.

I've read lots of memoirs from WWII but I was totally unprepared for the experience of seeing this plane. 

This one shows the catwalk over which one must walk to get to the back of the plane.  It's extremely narrow!


Space is tight all over the plane.

The radio station:


Another view:


The ball turret: 


And from the outside, you get a perspective of what those ball turret gunners had to do:


Steve checking out the rear gunner position:


I liked the nose art:


You could also walk underneath the plane and look at the bomb bay:


Another shot:


All in all, it was quite impressive.  One volunteers there giving tours told of a veteran who had come to see the plane earlier in the day.  He was so overcome with emotion he just couldn't go inside it, after all. 



There's a great website here that tells about the plane, its restoration, and the organization that runs it.  There's a schedule of appearances and lots of great videos.  One video takes you on a flight and another has historic footage. 

If you get a chance, get out there today to see it.  Or look to the skies around 10:00; it's taking a flight group up around then.

Seeing it gave both of us a whole new appreciation for those brave fliers who went up in them in the war and gave me a whole new definition for the word courage.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Grand Cane Pioneer and Trade Day This Weekend

How is cyber Monday going for you?  Getting lots of shopping done?

I'm planning on doing some old-fashioned "in person" shopping this weekend in Grand Cane.  If you're in the local area, put this Saturday's Grand Cane Pioneer and Trade Day on your agenda!  The activities begin at 10:00 and last throughout the day.

Jody Gore and the DeSoto Arts Council will do a classroom demonstration with adults and children in the craft of making corn husk dolls.  Severn Doughty will display tools and goods that typically were used by pioneers. Joe Hartley, a nationally known wood carver, will demonstrate his craft. Wayne Roberts, with experience in local archaeological digs, will have a display of assorted arrowheads.The event will also feature craft, art and food vendors.

There will be a horse & buggy parade, lots of vendors and demonstrations, not to mention shopping! There's the Raven Bookstore and Village Creations antiques, and oh, the wonderful quilt store! 

It's a quick drive to Grand Cane from Shreveport/Bossier so get on out and see what's happening over there. 

Cyber Monday


Apologies for the light blogging this weekend; I spent the entire weekend with the Christmas decorations and putting up the tree.  We do a live tree at SIGIS and it's time consuming!  But, we're festive and ready to roll around here now and the baking duties will commence sometime this week. 

Meanwhile, it's cyber Monday and you know what THAT means! 

Use this link to get started:



When you use Amazon links through your favorite blogs it's a neat way to get the stuff you want, avoid the crazy crowds and pepper spray at the mall, and it helps support the blog.

So get shopping!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Slow News Day?

The New York Times has pulled all the journalistic stops today in its profile of Rick Perry's military career and Mitt Romney's barber.

Yes, it's true.  The Times dug up Rick Perry's old military and college buddies from 40 years ago and wrote a 1600 word profile on the Texas governor filled with such nuggets as this:

Uniforms were to be kept “neat and clean,” according to the student handbook, with “shoes and brass shined.” An infraction by one cadet meant punishment for the class.

The first year was so difficult, said Tony Best, a Perry classmate, “I saw guys come in and throw themselves on the floor, crying.”
Fascinating.

And Mitt Romney's barber?  We learn:

“He wants a look that is very controlled,” Mr. de Magistris said. “He is a very controlled man. The hair goes with the man.”

Mr. Romney’s is a restrained, classic look: short at the neck, neat on the sides and swept back off the forehead. “It is not something stylish,” Mr. de Magistris noted. “It is clean and conservative.”
No wonder the NYT never went after Obama's college transcripts or dug into his association with Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers!  No wonder we knew so little about the candidate with such reporting chops as this on display.

Is it just a slow news day?

Friday, November 25, 2011


It seems as if the must have shopping accessory this year is pepper spray

Via Drudge:

A woman shot pepper spray to keep shoppers from merchandise she wanted during a Black Friday sale, and 20 people suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

The incident occurred shortly after 10:20 p.m. Thursday in a crowded Los Angeles-area Walmart as shoppers hungry for deals were let inside the store.
Y'all be careful out there.


The Music Is a Little Quieter Today: Sad News from Nashville


The local music industry mourns the loss today of Shreveport's own George W. Clinton.  (He was actually from Helena, but worked here for many years.)  George died in Nashville yesterday after a lengthy illness.

Many will remember George from his work at Sound City Recording Studio on Line Avenue.  With his big Buick LeSabre ("The Shark"), parked out front, he worked with many of the best in the business and for years Sound City was the place to be!  George also worked the sound board at The Louisiana Hayride on Saturday nights for a few years.  He had the opportunity to meet and work with many great entertainers there.

Locally George worked with Miki Honneycutt, Tag Graves, Joe Spivy, Dennis Zimmerman, Michael Grady, Eddie Giles, Reuben Bell, Ted Taylor, Geater Davis, Little Johnny Taylor, Shay Holliday, Tommie Young and the African Music Machine. Bobby Patterson ran his Soul Power label there.

Even if they weren't cutting tracks, the local greats would come by to jam, to visit, or just sit in.

In Nashville, George and his business partner at Bayou Recording Studio,  Joe Spivey, worked with such acts as Booker T & The MGs, Isaac Hayes, Alabama, Charley Pride, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, KISS, Martina McBride, KT Oslin, Hank Williams Jr, and many others.

George was a personal friend of mine, though we lost touch through the years, and I had the opportunity to witness his talents behind the mixing board and his gift with people.  He had an easy smile and a gentle manner that drew people to him.

The music is a little quieter today.

AddedGeorge's obit, from The Tennessean:


CLINTON, George W. Age 68, of Nashville, passed away on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at his home. Born in Helena AR, he had lived in Nashville since 1983 where he worked in the music industry. Until earlier this year, he owned and operated Bayou Recording with his business partner and long-time friend, Joe Spivey of Hermitage, TN. He was preceded in death by his parents, George V. "Buck" and Catherine Clinton, and his granddaughter, Chelsea Suzanne Weisz. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Jill and Dwayne Weisz-Keller of Nashville; his son and daughter-in-law, Jay and Christine Clinton of Asheville, NC; his sister and brother-in-law, Sue and Jack Russell of Decatur, TX; his granddaughter, Rachel Weisz of Nashville; many cousins, nieces, and nephews; many dear friends; and his canine companion, Daisy. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Thursday, December 1 at 6 p.m. at Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 516 Franklin Rd. in Brentwood, TN. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association .

NYT: Black Friday Shoppers Forced To Go Out in the Dark of Night for Deals While Idle Rich Stay Home

If one is to believe the New York Times, all you Black Friday shoppers out there are miserable, poor underlings forced to leave the comfort of your Thanksgiving tables and stand in line at WalMart in the dark of night with a passel of kids in tow because you can't afford a babysitter.

Meanwhile, the idle rich never leave the comfort of their warm, comfy homes simply because they don't need to do all that:


Budget-minded shoppers will be racing for bargains at ever-earlier hours while the rich mostly will not be bothering to leave home.

Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Target will start their Black Friday sales earlier than everat 9 and 10 p.m. in some instances — with dirt-cheap offers intended to secure their customers’ limited dollars. A half a day later, on Friday morning, higher-end stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom will open with only a sprinkling of special sales. 

Is The Times suggesting that retailers are sacrificing profits to help the lowly, unemployed shopper?

The low-end and midrange retailers are risking low margins as they cut prices to attract shoppers, while executives at luxury stores say that they are actually able to sell more at full price than in recent boom years. 

The Times misses the point that stores are opening earlier and earlier, not so much because people have fewer dollars and they're just feeling benevolent, but because they're trying to scoop each other.  

It's less of an altruistic move on the part of the big box store than a profit hugging move by savvy retailers.

And those damned rich people!  They can stay home and order their cashmere sweaters while tucked under their down comforters using their iPads and their American Express cards!

Meanwhile, many affluent shoppers will avoid the scene altogether, he said. “The women who are shopping the fourth floor at Saks are not Black Friday shoppers,” he said.

The Times also misses the point that a lot of those Black Friday shoppers actually enjoy the "sport" of it:

“Those in a more modest income situation are the people who are going to the Wal-Marts and the Best Buys and the Targets at 8, 9, 10, 11 p.m. with little kids in tow because they can’t afford a baby sitter,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultant firm. “It’s a very unpleasant shopping experience, frankly, for a lot of people.” 

 I know a gal who gets together with her girlfriends and they comb the ads, plot their stops, and fan out.  They aren't miserable, poor shoppers having to suffer the indignities of WalMart at midnight while dragging kids behind them.  They just like the thrill of the chase.

The Times is simply adding fuel to the OWS fire.  The evil, idle rich get to sit home on Black Friday eating bon bons and tallying up their money market accounts while the unwashed masses sit in pup tents in front of a Best Buy in the drizzling rain.

Oh!  The unfairness of it all!


(Photo:  Henrietta Widsmith/The Shreveport Times)

(More at Memeorandum)






Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Windows


I'm not one for celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving is over and we still have four more hours of Thanksgiving SIGIS time.  However, I did check out Vanity Fair's Christmas windows from around the world.  There's some weird stuff going on out there, man...really weird:


I mean, it's kind of cool and it's very creative, but does it just scream "Christmas!" to you? 

When I think Christmas window displays, I think A Christmas Story:


And no.  I'm not doing Purple Thursday, Black Friday or any of that standing in line nonsense.  Crowded WalMarts, lines, and crazed shoppers are so not my thing.  But if it's yours, good luck to you!

Meanwhile, it's time for a turkey sandwich.

I'm Running for Mayor of South Podunk: Immigration and the Republican Field

Newt caused quit a stir at the foreign policy debate with his stance on immigration (emphasis mine):

So I think you've got to deal with this as a comprehensive approach that starts with controlling the border, as the governor said. I believe ultimately you have to find some system -- once you've put every piece in place, which includes the guest worker program, you need something like a World War II Selective Service Board that, frankly, reviews the people who are here. 


If you're here -- if you've come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home. period. If you've been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out.

The Creeble Foundation is a very good red card program that says you get to be legal, but you don't get a pass to citizenship. And so there's a way to ultimately end up with a country where there's no more illegality, but you haven't automatically given amnesty to anyone.

Gingrich was referring to The Krieble Foundation plan, here.

Newt's idea of a "Board" to review people is rather odd, it seems.  Mark Steyn makes the point:

So the North Podunk Town Meeting could vote to deny you your Green Card but ten miles down the road the burghers of South Podunk could vote to give one to your cousin? That sure sounds like a plan.

It’s a tribute to Mitt Romney’s soporific caution and Herman Cain’s blithe indifference to the bit on the map marked Rest of the World that Newt is now what passes for the GOP’s deep thinker.
And why should this be the problem of the folks in South Podunk, anyway?  Maybe Newt hasn't thought that one through.

And is Newt offering amnesty as Bachmann claims...:

Well, I don't agree that you would make 11 million workers legal, because that, in effect, is amnesty. And I also don't agree that you would give the DREAM Act on a federal level. And those are two things that I believe that the speaker had been for, and he can speak for himself.

And as Romney claims...:
 “Newt Gingrich supported the 1986 amnesty act, and even though he conceded that was a mistake, he said that he was willing to repeat that mistake by extending amnesty to immigrants who are illegally in the country today," Romney adviser and spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said in the spin room following the AEI/Heritage Foundation debate in Washington, DC.
I don't think Newt is offering amnesty to all.  He said, "there's a way to ultimately end up with a country where there's no more illegality, but you haven't automatically given amnesty to anyone."


Andrew McCarthy says Newt is just offering "common sense":

All he said was, “Let’s be humane in enforcing the law.” That was my reaction last night when Newt Gingrich argued that the federal government should refrain from deporting illegal immigrants who had been in the U.S. for many years if the effect would be the break up of a family.

I did not take him to be proposing a new law conferring amnesty. To do what the former Speaker proposed would require no change in U.S. law. All you’d need is the sensible application of prosecutorial discretion.

Part of the argument, though, seems to be about "magnets."  Romney fired back at Newt during the debate and insisted that not to deport them all would be legitimizing a magnet and serve as an incentive for others to come:

Look, amnesty is a magnet. What when we have had in the past, programs that have said that if people who come here illegally are going to get to stay illegally for the rest of their life, that's going to only encourage more people to come here illegally. 

Andrew McCarthy again:

In my mind, if you are in the country without authorization and we elect not to use our power to kick you out, you are the recipient of humane treatment and a very valuable benefit. You don’t rate more than that. We simply leave you alone: You don’t get the windfall of some sort of legal status, we don’t make it easier for you to work, and it’s not our job to relieve your anxiety over your status — you brought that anxiety on yourself when you entered or stayed illegally. If being here without authorization is causing you grief, go home and try to come back through the legal process. If you don’t want to do that, you takes your chances — period.
Now that, to me, is common sense.  I'm for the McCarthy plan!  We leave you alone.  If you're here illegally, you don't get free social services, you don't get to vote, you don't get a driver's license, you don't get in-state tuition in Texas or any other state.  If you're a criminal, terrorist, drug user, or other burden on society, we'll use our resources to deport you.  Is that a "magnet"?  Probably.  So secure the border, already.

I think it is, frankly, unrealistic to think that with the current staffing of ICE that we would or could deport every illegal.  I also think Newt makes a bit of sense when he suggests we must be humane about it all. 

It's sort of like this Republican field.  There's no perfect answer.  There's no real conservative option. 


Bossier Sheriff's Office: Turkey of The Year (Somebody Better Get Fired for This)

BUMPED AND UPDATED


Via KTBS:

Bad news for Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office employees right before the holidays.

Today, they learned that the because of problems with how their salaries were reported to the IRS, they actually owe the government money.  Bossier Sheriff Larry Deen says a computer formula error has been discovered in the department's payroll system.

This error caused not enough state and federal taxes to be withheld from employees pay checks.  Early estimates indicate the financial impact on the department will be approximately $689,000.  Some employees owe as much as $1,000.

KTBS 3 News has learned that the employees were told in a meeting today that they have to two options for repayment.

Employees can reimburse the government in one lump sum by December 5, or have the make installments payments. Those payments will come with a penalty attached.

What terrible news right before the holidays.  

Somebody needs to get fired and somebody needs to make this right.

Update:  And from The Times?  No raises either!  Bah, Humbug!:

“We have already made changes to the payroll system and made payroll adjustments for employees that will not cause any extra expense to the taxpayers of Bossier Parish. This is a very unfortunate mistake that means there will not be any Bossier Sheriff’s Department pay raises for 2012. This is being done in order to offset the financial impact to the department and taxpayers,” said Deen.

Merry Christmas.

Update 2:  This from The Bossier Press:

The error was programmed in a decade ago, but the office will only be responsible for making payments in 2008, 2009, and 2010 due to the IRS only being able to pull records for the past three years.

This totals an approximate amount of $689,000 to be paid.

.....

The office stressed no law has been violated, pointing out the error went unnoticed by state auditors for years.

....

Sheriff's Office employees are to pay 10 percent to the pension system. The error was, essentially, the under withholdings were read as tax deferred income instead of taxable wage.
The mistake was found by a department accountant who studied her own payment slips.

And please check the comments; from Anon 1:33:

The "installment plan" is taking a 2% pay cut for the next 12 months. For many who can't pay the lump sum with 10 days notice, this is the only other option. The bad news is a 2% pay cut has almost doubled what some employees have to pay back. A fairly new deputy who hired on at $45,000.00 a year owes $600. 2% of 45,000.00 is $900.00. How is that even close to right? And it's "too time consuming" to adjust each employees salary to reflect their lump sum so 2% across the board is all you get.

Good grief.  I'll be following this and updated as more develops, and I'm sure more will develop.  While it sounds innocent enough, I have a nagging suspicion that there is more here than meets the eye.  An investigation is definitely in order.

My Bossier is following this, too.  He has some interesting comments as well.

Keep checking back.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011


Happy Thanksgiving!

Rick Perry Ad Thanks Veterans


In his latest ad, Rick Perry gets a boost from 'Lone Survivor' Marcus Luttrell:



It's a pretty good ad.

You've read Luttrell's book, right?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Live-Blogging The National Security Debate

We're about five minutes from kickoff. 

Tonight's debate is sponsored by CNN, the Heritage Foundation, and The American Enterprise Institute.

Debate prep here.

7:05:  Good grief.  War montage opening, dramatic music, and candidate profiles that look like Mission Impossible dossiers.  Live-streaming here.

7:10:   What in the world could they all be taking notes about before the debate even starts?  They're scribbling on their notepads.  Hmmmmm.

Oh good grief; personal intros.  Does anybody not know who these people are?  Can't we just get started?

Finally, first question.  But why oh why must Wolf Blitzer always clarify, rephrase, or parse the question?

The question is about the Patriot Act and Newt explains what we'll "all be in danger" for the rest of our lives.  Be scared.  He would not change the Patriot Act.  Newt:  "I've spent years studying this stuff."  He does make a nice distinction between criminal law where "you're on the defensive" and national security.

Ron Paul, of course, disagrees.  And now his 89 seconds are done.

7:20:  Newt:  I don't want a law that says after you take out an American city, we're going to come find you.  I want a law that says if you try to take out an American city, we're going to stop you.

Bachmann says we've turned national security over to the ACLU and warns against Miranda rights for terrorists.

Mitt gets a question about TSA patdowns.  He says "we can do better" and then decides to answer another question.  He makes a distinction between crime, war, and terror.  "We need tools when war is waged domestically," so that the president can defend the country.  "Yes we'll use the Constitution and criminal law for those who commit crimes," but we'll use a very different form of law for terrorists.

Wolf tosses the TSA question to Perry who wants to privatize it and "get rid of those unions."  He, too, agrees with the Patriot Act and suggests strengthening it.  Perry touts gathering military intelligence around the world and suggests we may be lacking in that these days.

Santorum explains why he supports profiling:  "We should find the bomber, not the bomb."

7:25:  Santorum explains now who he would profile.  Ron Paul is coming unglued.  "What if they look like Timothy McVeigh!?"  They're not terrorists, he says, "they're suspects!"  Lawsy.

Finally to Herman Cain.  Should Muslims get extra screening?  Cain, too, says we could do a whole lot better with TSA.  He also likes privatization.  Cain:  The terrorists want to kill all of us so we should kill them first.  That sound you hear is Ron Paul imploding.

Did Cain just call him Blitz?  Okay.  "Well, since we're on a Blitz debate....!"  Laughter.

Next question regards using an extended drone campaign in Pakistan.  Huntsman says "it must be done."  We don't need 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, he exclaims.

Bachmann would continue aid to Pakistan but "the Obama policy of keeping your fingers crossed" in Pakistan is not working.

Perry says Pakistan has showed us time after time that they can't be trusted.  He's not sending them a dime and the audience applauds.  "If you're not going to be an ally of the United States, don't expect a dime of our citizen's money..."

Bachmann calls this "highly naive...."We're not just writing blank checks," she says, "we're exchanging information."

Huntsman suggests the American people are tired of being in Afghanistan and Mitt challenges him:  Are you suggesting we just pull out next week?, he asks.  Mitt harkens back to what the commanders want.  "I stand with the commanders in this regard," so as to not risk what has been achieved so far.  "The mission is pretty straightforward," Mitt says. 

7:45:  Newt is confused.  He's trying to clarify the question.  He's getting applause on the line that killing bin Ladin in Pakistan drew Pakistan/American relations to a new low.  Once again, Newt stays above the fray.

Sam Adams break.

7:55:  We're to Israel now.  


Rick Perry reasserts the need for a no-fly zone over Syria.

Newt:  We could break the Iranian regime within a year by sabotaging their only refinery and other strategic moves.  Replace the regime without a war and before they get a nuclear weapon.

Bachmann:  Why are we talking about Israel having to make a strike against Iran?  Because Iran wants to eradicate Israel.  Obama has failed, she said.  For 2.5 years, Obama gave Iran the "luxury of time."

Question:  Can the US afford to continue foreign assitance for AIDS, malaria?

Cain:  It may be worthwhile to continue, it may not.  I'd like to see the results.

Ron Paul:  Aid is all worthless; it doesn't do any good.  You take money from poor people in this country and give it to rich people in poor countries.  "Nobody cares about the budget!  Nobody wants to cut anything!"  Endless wars!  OMG!  Panic!

Romney:  They're cutting a trillion dollars out of the defense budget!  We need to protect America and stop ObamaCare!

Paul:  They're not cutting anything out of anything!

Applause.

8:05:   Mitt runs through the list of what programs and weapons are getting cut.  He refocuses on "the failure on the part of the president to lead with strength."

Mitt promises that his first foreign trip will be to Israel.

Perry gets a question on the Super Committee and cuts.  "If you were president of the US, would you compromise with Democrats in Congress to avoid Washington gridlock?"

Perry says the Super Committee was a Super Failure and everyone expected that.  Obama didn't lead.  Perry passed budgets in Texas.  This president has been a failure.  Perry actually seems to be having a pretty good debate, and all that means really, is that he hasn't made a huge gaffe yet.

"If Leon Panetta is an honorable man, he should resign in protest!" (to defense cuts.)

Wolf pulls Perry back to the gridlock question.  Perry says you can work with people on both sides of the aisle, but in this particular case. Obama didn't lead.  Perry says if he had been president, we would never have been in that situation in the first place.

Everyone piles on Obama now. Santorum says all he does is campaign and "he's poisoned the well" in Congress.

Wonderful!  A question about entitlement reform!  Newt likes it.

Newt says entitlement reform could begin with his Social Security reform plan. He cites the Chilean plan.

To Bachmann:  What would you cut first?  She goes back to the Super Committee and drawing lines in the sand.  Sigh.

8:20:  Bachmann:  Our money will be used to grow China's military at the expense of our military.  That should give every American pause.


Interesting.

Border questions.  Perry fields this one.  "It's time for a 21st century Monroe Doctrine."  He explains the border is porous for terrorists working in and through Mexico.  Border security "is paramount" to the security of the "entire Western hemisphere!"  Working with Mexico is important as well as "boots on the ground."  He promises the border "will be shut down and secure" within 12 months of his inauguration. 

Ron Paul is for calling off the drug war.  Eliminate benefits for illegals, like education and free health care.  Paul says the war on drugs is a total failure and that sick people should have marijuana.  "The federal government is over riding state laws" on those matters.  Get rid of alcohol!  he says.

Don't come between me and Sam Adams, Dr. Paul.

Herman Cain:  Yes, an insecure border is a national security threat.  Terrorists have come into this country through Mexico.

Woah.  Cain says the number of people killed in Mexico last year equals the number of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.  Where did that come from?

Rick Perry makes the most intense faces sometimes.

Newt says if you've just come to this country and you have no ties here, you ought to go home.  If you've been here for years and have 3 children and belong to the local church, we're probably not going to separate you from your family.  Give people with engineering degrees, etc, a green card upon graduation!

Bachmann: sounds like amnesty to me!  "I don't agree that we should make 11 million workers who are here illegally, legal."

Newt:  I don't see any reason to punish someone who came here at 3 years of age and wants to serve in the military.

Bachmann:  "We need to move away from magnets...."

Romney is still here!

"Amnesty is a magnet," he says.  The right course is to welcome people legally.  Make an easier, more transparent system. 

Mitt:  "Secure the border, turn off the magnets...".

Newt:  I do not believe that the American people will oust people who have been here their whole lives from this country.  Paraphrase:  I don't believe that the party that says it's the party of the family is going to separate families.

Perry comes after Mitt on magnets.  Please don't bring up the lawn service again.

Perry wants to secure the border first and then put something in place that keeps families together and clean up the process.  Nothing happens until the border is secure, he says.  "Boots on the ground" again.  Drink.

Mitt:  "I'm not gonna draw lines here on who gets to stay and who has to go."  No amnesty.



Commercial break.  You know what that means.

8:50:  Next question is about Syria.  Wolf reframes the question and asks Cain if he'd support a no-fly zone over Syria. 

Nope, he says.

Somebody forgot to tell Cain this is a foreign policy debate; he's back to growing the economy again.

Perry deftly handles his position on the no-fly zone, I think.  It's a weird position, but he explains it well! 

He appears to have studied a bit on foreign policy.  "If we're serious about Iran, we have to be serious about Syria as well.  A no-fly zone is one of a multitude of options...".

How can Ron Paul be so clueless and isolationist!?  Sometimes he says the most naive things ever.

"Taliban doesn't mean they want to come and kill us.  It means they want to kill us over there."  Yes, he really said that.

Mitt:  Good answer.  America leads the free world and the free world follows America.

Mitt is not in favor of a no-fly zone.  Use sanctions and covert actions to obtain a regime change.  He refers to the Syrian Alawites.  I bet Herman Cain doesn't even know what that is.

Perry:  "Get serious about Syria", again.  Tongue twister deftly handled.  Easier to remember than three departments to cut.

Okay well they're wrapping this up.

Newt didn't get as much thunder as I anticipated; could have something to do with being the front runner now.  He's still the smartest person in the room.  Ron Paul got a lot more time than I thought he would/should.  Ditto Huntsman.  Cull the herd.  Perry was actually stronger than I've seen him but not exactly on fire.  Mitt Romney was steady and consistent as always.  He didn't hurt himself, I don't think.  Bachmann was strong.  I guess if there's a loser it's Cain but we expected that.

One more debate in the books.

I'm out.

Thinking About the Kindle Fire

I still don't want to read books on it but I'm thinking this might be a cool tablet.  I have a Dell Streak and it's okay but I don't LOVE it.  Me and Android just don't click.  (Yes, I know Kindle is 'Droid, but the OS seems to run better on this device.  My main problem is with the battery life of the Streak.)

I use my tablet for reading periodicals, news sites, checking weather, Facebook, Twitter, and sometimes for blogging.  I don't read books on it and I don't play games on it. 

The Kindle Fire is definitely cheaper than an iPad.  It could be ME.

David French has a glowing review.

Anybody listening?  Christmas?

Bachmann Dissed by Fallon's Band Leader

Classy as ever, Jimmy Fallon's band, The Roots disgustingly dissed Michele Bachmann in her appearance on the show last night:

Republican Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann emerged for an interview on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" Monday night to the song "Lyin' A** B*tch" by the band Fishbone, Spin Magazine reports

It's unlikely that Bachmann, who smiled and waved as the song was played, recognized what was happening - though the (wordless) music certainly sounded out of place.

The dis was intentional:

Prior to show airing, Questlove, the leader of Mr. Fallon’s Late Night band, The Roots, posted on Twitter, “aight late night walkon song devotees: you love it when we snark: this next one takes the cake. ask around cause i aint tweeting title.”
Band leader, Questlove, now says he didn't mean anything by it:

Roots' bandleader Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson said on Tuesday that the song was a 'tongue-in-cheek and spur of the moment decision.
'The show was not aware of it and I feel bad if her feelings were hurt,' Thompson said. 'That was not my intention.'


Really?

Stay classy now. 

Here's the video.  What do you think?






On Debate Prep and Coffee Beans

So there's another foreign policy debate tonight.  This one is hosted by CNN, The Heritage Foundation and The American Enterprise Institute.  The timing of this one is interesting, I think, now with Newt in the lead.  He'll do well tonight which should solidify his presence at the top.  It likely won't help Cain's free fall any. 

Dashiell Bennett at The Atlantic Wire agrees this will likely be a good night for Newt:

Also, tonight's debate should play to one of Gingrich's strengths. The topic is national security, and no matter what you think of Gingrich's opinions on the matter, he's adamant about them and has been spouting on TV and in op-eds for decades. As the former Speaker of the House, he'll be the only one on the stage who can reasonably say he's played a role (such as it was) in matters of foreign policy. It will also make it harder to steer the conversations toward the stories that have dogged Gingrich the last few days, like his business dealings or his personal life. He just isn't going to make the kind of classic debate mistake that makes him stupid or uniformed. He is a history teacher, after all.

SIGIS will be live-blogging.  Why not?  I'm on holiday this week, I've been eating dark chocolate covered espresso beans for two days, the fridge is stocked chock full with Sam Adams Winter Lager, and I've got a head start on my Thanksgiving dinner prep.  Let's do it!

But first, do your debate prep.

The WSJ has six things to watch for in tonight's debate.  I'd add to the list:  Will Ron Paul get more than 89 seconds this time, and who is his time keeper?  Heh!  Seriously, expect the Super Committee Fail to be on everyone's mind and looming defense cuts (even though Rush Limbaugh insists nothing is getting cut).

Mark McKinnon at The Daily Beast has his predictions for each candidate.

Professor Jacobson is considering a live-blog tonight, too.

The Foundry frames tonight's debate:

Over the past weeks, Heritage has highlighted some of the central foreign policy and national security issues confronting America today: the threats to defense spending, a continually rising China, the war in Afghanistan and against terrorism, the failed attempt to “reset” relations with Russia, and the increasingly dangerous, hostile, and emboldened Iran. Each issue poses serious questions and choices for the man or woman who sits in the Oval Office.

Much more at the link.

And if you need something to get you fired up (besides dark chocolate covered espresso beans), read Donna Brazile's take:

Expect lots of bluster and loose talk at Tuesday's debate, the sort that brought us the Iraq war earlier this century while the search for Osama bin Laden was essentially called off. Then compare it to the pragmatic, effective approach of Obama and his list of accomplishments. It's clear who should be on the receiving end of the 3 a.m. phone call.

She just might need a good fisking before the day is out.

As for me, I'm ready to cull the heard a bit.  I'm sure Jon Huntsman knows a lot about foreign policy but franky, his chances of getting the nomination are nil.  Move along.

Live-blogging here at 8 p.m. ET, (7 p.m. SIGIS time). 


Hungry?



Monday, November 21, 2011

Obama to Oil Companies: Don't Bother!

In yet another move pandering to environmentalists, the Obama administration has delayed shale drilling in the Utica & Marcellus shale formation in the Ohio area.  This follows right behind his announcement to delay decision on the Keystone pipeline last week.  His new slogan, "We Can't Wait!" means only "We CAN Wait Until After Elections!" 

Shale drilling is booming around the Shreveport-Bossier area with the discovery of the Haynesville Shale a few years ago.  Take a drive down south from Shreveport on Highway 1 or Highway 71, among others, and you'll see gas production every where you turn.

Chesapeake Energy, one of the major Haynesville Shale developers, describes hydraulic fracturing:

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is a proven technological advancement which allows producers to safely recover natural gas and oil from deep shale formations. This technology has the potential to not only dramatically reduce our reliance on foreign fuel imports, but also to significantly reduce our national carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and accelerate our transition to a carbon-light environment. Simply put, deep shale gas and oil formation development is critical to America's energy needs and economic renewal.

Chesapeake is also involved in working wells in the Marcellus shale area.

Here's a YouTube video on how fracking works.

The concern of environmentalists to fracking is the chemicals used in the process:

Shale gas production involves drilling deep wells and one or more horizontal shafts from each vertical well. By pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals under pressure into the horizontal borings, producers fracture the shale, releasing the gas and oil, which is then produced through the vertical well. 

Environmentalists criticize the technology, arguing that the risk of methane infiltrating underground water reservoirs must be figured out before the big energy corporations run rough-shod through the state.  Ken Salazar's statement of concern is here.

One concern of environmentalists is that methane would leak into water wells.  Chesapeake disputes this claim in a Marcellus Hydraulic Fracturing Fact Sheet on their website:

The measures required by state regulatory agencies in the
exploration and production of deep shale natural gas and oil
formations have been very effective in protecting drinking
water aquifers from contamination attributable to fracking.
Based on reviews of state oil and gas agencies, there has not
been a documented case of drinking water aquifer
contamination related to the fracking of a deep shale natural
gas or oil well.

Chesapeake is not the only oil and gas company working the Marcellus shale, but they have gone to great lengths to reassure and inform on their process to the extent of even forming a GreenFrac program:

Despite being successfully used by the oil and natural gas industry since the 1940s, fracking continues to draw attention due to concerns over the contents of frack fluids and potential contamination of groundwater, despite the fact that there is virtually no risk that the mixture can escape from the targeted zone. Most of the chemicals used in fracking can be found in common, everyday household products such as laundry detergents, cleaners and beauty products. Some are even present in food and beverage items. While some additives have historically been classified as toxic, many, such as pH-adjusting agents and chlorine-based sanitization aides, are found in approximately the same concentration as in your backyard swimming pool.

The research abounds.

The bottom line is that fracking is a procedure that has been around for decades.  And it would not matter HOW the oil was collected, the environmentalists would not be pleased.  Most of them won't be pleased until we're back to horse and buggy transportation and using windmills to power our electric cars.

This latest move by Obama is simple pandering and should be seen for what it is.

Note:  It was reported that this delay would cost over 200,000 jobs but the actual number is actually up to 200 jobs, according to an "adjustment" by the USDA.  Even still, the point remains that it's a pandering move meant to appease a portion of his base and 200 jobs is still 200 jobs.

The bigger picture is that the message has been heard by future developers.  This administration will thwart you at every turn.  Don't bother trying to get your permits, your pipelines, your leases.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shopping with SIGIS


I just saw a report that the Kindle Fire is expected to hit four million in holiday sales! That's a lot of fire. Consider doing your shopping from the safety of your laptop this year and help your blogger friends get a little kickback from your shopping.  SIGIS will periodically be providing shopping links and suggestions for your convenience and as always, you can search through our Amazon search box on the sidebar which helps YOU and it helps ME!

And be sure to check out the SIGIS store, complete with a Christmas wing.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival

The 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival is in the books and what a grand time it was!

The weather was perfect:  not too cool, not too hot.  The clouds gave way to sun every now and then.  The rolling hills of Columbia Park started filling in around 11:30 which is when we arrived.  Technicians were doing sound checks and getting things set up.  Wonderful food smells started drifting through the park:  smoky grilled meat smells, sugary funnel cake smells, and of course, turkey legs.  

Things kicked off at noon with Buddy Flett on the Pavillion Stage.  Buddy just gets better and better.

One thing I especially love about Buddy is the way he interacts with the audience and talks to everyone.  He regaled the crowd with tales of his trip to the Grammys and his encounter with Lady Gaga.  "She's quite a chick," he said, "but she's just not my type!"  



A.J. Cascio came up and helped Buddy out with some cool harmonica:



Buddy played for about 40 minutes before clearing the state for Jazziana.

The Gazebo stage at the other end of the park was hopping, too, but we mostly stayed where we were.

If you're into people watching, this is definitely the festival to attend.  And it seemed as if there were as many dogs as there were people.  This is "Ladybug":


The food vendors were there in force with something for everyone.  Steve ate a giant hot dog, I had red beans & rice, and we finished it all off with canoli:


And of course there was beer:


The Ron Paul contingent was in attendance:


And you could learn to play the bongos:


David Egan was in fine form:


And all the kids were having fun:


As the day went on, the crowd filled in:


My friend Jennifer showed up:


Wes Jeans was a crowd favorite:


More dogs:


Finally the headliner came on:  The Preservation Hall Jazz Band:


These guys know how to put on a great show.  They looked like they were having a wonderful time!


To see better pictures of them, check out The Shreveport Times photo gallery.  I did take a couple of videos, though.  Here's "Hello Dolly":



And here is perennial favorite, "When the Saints Go Marchin' In":




Eventually Ladybug got tired:


As did we all.  Another fabulous year for the Highland Jazz and Blues Festival!  Can't wait until next year!