Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone survived the New Year safe and happy.

Cole Vosbury Sings The National Anthem at the Independence Bowl

There's a little feedback noise but other than that, local superstar Cole Vosbury did a great job on the National Anthem today at the Advocare Independence Bowl!

The Book Thief

I saw this trailer for The Book Thief at The Robinson Film Center a couple of weeks ago:

I'm reading the book now.  It came out in 2007: how did I miss it?   I wonder if the Common Core people will let my sophomores read this?

It is just mesmerizing.  Beautifully written.

I can't wait to see this film.

Next Black Market Item: Light Bulbs

Tomorrow marks the end of the incandescent bulb.

Jan. 1. marks the end of a seven-year effort to outlaw the ordinary lightbulb, thanks to a 2007 law that raised minimum efficiency standards for traditional incandescent bulbs far beyond what the technology can manage. 
It’s lights out for the traditional light bulb, in other words, which was essentially killed by that bill. 
“The government started phasing out incandescents in 2010, starting with the 100-watt bulb, and then followed by the 75-watt,” explained Melissa Andresko, communications director for lighting-automation company Lutron. 
“Come January 1, both the 60- and the 40-watt bulbs are going away. And that’s really going to have the most impact on consumers because those are the most popular incandescent bulb types right now,” she told FoxNews.com earlier this month.
Because we all want the federal government telling us what kind of light bulbs we can use, right?  Freaking nanny state.  The Heritage Foundation:

The “so what” is that the federal government is taking decisions out of the hands of families and businesses, destroying jobs, and restricting consumer choice in the market. We all have a wide variety of preferences regarding light bulbs. It is not the role of the federal government to override those preferences with what it believes is in our best interest.

It's not too late to stock up on bulbs.

Graphic via Heritage Foundation

Entitlement Nation

We are a nation of entitlements.

Via CNS News:
The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,988,269 in December, up from the previous record of 10,982,920 set in November, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration. 
The average monthly benefit paid to a disabled worker also hit a record of $1,146.43 in December, up from a previous high of $1,130.34 in December of last year.

The Foundry posted on disability fraud last year (not to say that everyone on disability is perpetrating fraud, that is):

An 18-month investigation by a Senate subcommittee reports that in more than 25 percent of cases reviewed, evidence confirming disabilities was “insufficient, contradictory, or incomplete.” The staff reviewed 300 decisions in which individuals were awarded disability benefits by administrative law judges. A 2011 internal Social Security Administration report echoed the findings, showing a national error rate of 22 percent.

We spent 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare in the fast five years.  49% of Americans receive some kind of assistance from the government and these figures continue to grow.  Only half of Americans pay income taxes.

When Washington talks about cutbacks, why is it that they look first to military retiree benefits and never welfare?

Graphic via ZeroHedge

Dear 2013

Dear 2013,

I wish I could say it's been nice knowing you, but I can't.

In the spirit of the hundreds of "year's end" posts that are published this time of year, please accept this small one from me.

Go away.

I could list all the reasons why 2013 has been a personally lousy year in my small part of the universe which would include everything from the loss of my mother to the breakup of my favorite local band.  I had jury duty.  There was one expensive household problem after another (plumbing, automotive, etc.) and some expensive legal issues. My ex lost his father, which was my son's grandfather, who was a veteran and a very kind man.  A couple of friends and acquaintances made their exit as well.  The world is a darker place without them.

I could list all those things but

In truth, there were some good things this year, not the least of which is that I survived all those bad things.

When I needed help getting classroom materials and books for my students in August, my blog readers came through big time!  For that, I'm eternally grateful.  Also good this year, my stepson married a wonderful girl and they're on their way to a wonderful life together.  I have a beautiful grandson who amazes me every single day and my daughter and her husband are blessed beyond measure.  Grateful.  My son is making good grades at the local Community College.  Blessed.

Steve and I took a great vacation this past summer visiting a number of places across the Midwest and certainly got our kicks on Route 66; planning something big for 2014!

I am lucky to have some good friends and great people in my life and to have developed some special friendships this year.

Steve and I both have our health, three dogs, jobs, and a roof over our heads.

Dear 2013, while you were often painful and frequently expensive, there was some good there.

But overall, I won't be sad to see you go.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Landrieu Faces Epic Battle in 2014Senate Race

The Advocate is looking ahead to the epic battle that will be the 2014 Senate race in Louisiana:
The end result means tens of millions of dollars are being funneled into Louisiana for a critical U.S. Senate race that could determine which party controls the Senate in 2015. More outside spending is allowed because of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case, which allows some third-party groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns because of free-speech protections.
Senator Mary Landrieu will face two Republican contenders:  retired Air Force colonel Rob Maness and U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.

Landrieu is expected to face a tough battle:
“She’s never had to face the voters after supporting President Barack Obama 95 percent of the time,” Short happily adds. “It’s going to be the central theme in this race.”
With Obama's public approval ratings in the abyss beneath the bottom cellar, that can't be encouraging for Landrieu.

Read more here.

H/T:  The Dead Pelican

Liberal Logic 101

Liberal Logic 101:

It is acceptable to ridicule a child if that child is from a Republican or a conservative family (see:  Trig Palin, Willow Palin).

As part of its year-in-review show, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry welcomed a panel of comedians to ridicule Mitt Romney, his family, and their adopted black grandson. One panelist poked fun at Kieran Romney’s appearance compared with the rest of the family by mockingly singing “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other” as the others laughed along. 
Meanwhile, comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the Romney family photo “sums up the diversity of the Republican party . . . they found the one black person.”
On the other hand, if it's a liberal family, the mocking of children that are "different" is not considered.

Reminder:  Progressivism is the party of tolerance.

Still More Questions Than Answers in Benghazi

Now that The New York Times has stirred up the Benghazi debate once again (and for that, I'm glad), Allen West has a few questions:

  • Why was U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi on 9-11? It should be standard practice that high value targets do not move around in hostile terrorist territory, which Benghazi was on that day. 
    When the message came that the consulate was under attack, why were all immediate resources not allocated? As a former career Soldier who sat on the House Armed Services Committee, I am well aware of security protocols. Why weren’t they followed? 
    Where was President Obama the evening of the attack? We were treated to all the White House situation room pictures of the raid on Osama bin Laden — but where are the photos from that night? 
    According to the president, he ordered Secretary of Defense Panetta and CJCS General Dempsey to get the Americans in Benghazi the support they needed. If true, then who disobeyed the president’s order, and why did Obama never follow up with Panetta and Dempsey? 
    Who came up with the video scapegoat excuse, and why was the U.N. ambassador called out for the Sunday shows and not the person responsible, the secretary of state? 
    Ambassador Stevens had met with a Turkish representative in Benghazi, but why were his requests for additional security denied, and by whom?

Ed Morrissey has a few questions as well:

  1. The State Department was repeatedly warned about the chaos in Benghazi and the increasing aggressiveness of the Islamist militias and terror networks in the area after the US-prompted NATO mission decapitated the Qaddafi regime — including escalating demands for security from the US mission in Libya. Why did State ignore these demands?
  2. Other Western nations bailed out of Benghazi because of increasing terrorism. Why did the US stay put when even the UK pulled out? Especially without increasing security?
  3. The attack took place on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 in an area with active al-Qaeda affiliates, as well as terrorist networks with murkier alliances. Why wasn’t the US prepared to respond to an attack on its most vulnerable diplomatic outpost?
  4. Where was Barack Obama and what was he doing after his 5 pm meeting with Leon Panetta at the beginning of the attack?
  5. If the YouTube video was such an issue, why didn’t anyone in Benghazi or Tripoli know it, and why did the White House end up retracting that claim after a couple of weeks?
  6. Who told the Accountability Review Board to ignore the actions of higher-ranking State Department officials such as Patrick Kennedy, who ignored the pleas for more security, and focus blame on lower-ranking career officials for the unpreparedness of State for the attack?
  7. What was the CIA doing in Benghazi, and how did they miss the rise of Ansar al-Shariah? Kirkpatrick notes that no one seemed aware of its danger until after the attack.

All valid points.

Maybe we can get Hillary Clinton to answer those once she hits the presidential campaign circuit.

Don't hold your breath.

More at Memeorandum.

Dear Gallup: For WHAT is Obama Most Admired, Exactly?

Gallup has issued the results of its annual poll of Most Admired men and women.

I find the results quite depressing and ominous for the future of the country.

My initial response after reading the list was "who in the hell answered this poll?  Where did they get these people?"  Apparently Gallup says that the respondents are equal parts cell phone users and land lines;  they are supposedly from all 50 states, and are all over age 18.  In short, it seems like a fair poll on the surface.  A total of 1031 adults were polled.

And the best we can do is Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton?  Seriously?

What, exactly, are we admiring Barack Obama for?  I'd be interested in a follow-up question to the Gallup respondents to see if they can cite one thing that these people did that are truly worth admiration.  Or do they just say "Barack Obama" because he's president?  Or Hillary because she's famous (infamous?).  Are these respondents political at all?  Informed on the issues?  Educated? Just breathing?

What is it that we admire about Barack Obama?

His efforts to get to the truth about the massacre in Benghazi?  Ooops, no.  Not so much.  His attempts to protect his Ambassador to Libya while stationed in Benghazi?  Nah.  Can't be that.

How about his program to sell weapons to drug cartels in Mexico?  Was that admirable?  I don't think the family of Brian Terry would think so.

Do we admire him for his absolutely relentless push to pass Obamacare, a law that is still being deciphered, its faults and foibles still revealing themselves, and the inoperable, poorly written website that accompanies it?  Do we admire him for the amateur roll out of this unworkable, giant new entitlement program?

His commitment to keep education at the state level and keep the federal government out of your child's classroom?  Not even close.

Maybe its his ability to relate to the common man, the little guy, the average Joe on the street.  Hmmm, no, it's probably not that either.

I guess it could be that people admire Obama for his commitment to the privacy of American citizens and his adherence to the Fourth Amendment.  Wait, no..., that can't be it.

His protection of the Second Amendment?  Nope, not that either.

Immigration.  That's it - protecting America's borders and saying no to amnesty.  The idea that immigrants need to follow the laws in place and follow the path to citizenship that millions have followed before.  The protection of American values and culture, the belief in American exceptionalism!  Dang it, no.  That's not it either.  Obama has just vowed to fight for amnesty (probably trying to protect the Democratic politicians on the chopping block this cycle.)

His refusal to bow to foreign leaders?  Nah.  He's done that at least eight times, not to mention chumming it up with dictators.

I don't get it.  Maybe we admire him for his golf game, his lavish vacations and White House parties, his general ineptitude and his arrogance.

As far as Hillary Clinton goes, I see nothing admirable there either.  It was on her watch as Secretary of State that four Americans were murdered in Benghazi, a situation that should never have happened given that the consulate there asked repeatedly for increased security and was denied.

On the Gallup poll Barack Obama gets 16% of the vote; runner-up to him is George W. Bush with 4%.  Hillary is at 15% with Oprah Winfrey behind her at 6%.

I just don't get it.  At best it's a dismal sign of things to come.  If we are to assume that the poll respondents are informed, educated Americans (and there's certainly no evidence of that) then all hope for conservative values in this country is lost.

At best these are people that vote.


H/T:  Memeorandum

New Year's Eve in Shreveport 2014

I'm a bit slow on the annual "what to do for New Year's Eve" post, but let's give it a shot.  Here's a roundup of events in case you want to get out and celebrate after the Independence Bowl:

The American Legion Post 14 on beautiful Cross Lake will have their annual festivities from 8:00 - 1:00. Music will be provided by Dickie T and the Back When Band and your ticket includes appetizers. There will be a cash bar.  Tickets are $25 for singles, $30 for couples.

El Dorado Casino will have musical entertainment by Big Richard.  Their festivities feature a New Year's Eve showgirl with a 50 foot red carpet train attached to her dress.  The Allure Lounge will have silver clad showgirls.  Visit the casino site for prices and packages.

Sam's Town in Shreveport will feature zydeco legend  Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. in a free concert with party favors and champagne.  He takes the stage at 10:00.

The Moose Lodge on Industrial will host an Elvis tribute with Richard Cook.  There will be a cash bar and tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.  The fun begins at 9:00.  Call 688-6733 for more information.

The always awesome Robinson Film Center will hold its annual screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  The show begins at 10 but you'll want to make reservations for dinner at Abby Singer's Bistro where you can feast on prime rib, lobster mac and cheese, and grilled asparagus.  Top it off with a complimentary glass of champagne.  You'll need reservations so call 459-4125 to take care of that.

The Boot on Texas Street downtown is celebrating New Years AND helping a local animal rescue (Yogie and Friends).  They'll have karaoke and a raffle to enter a brand new Jager machine.  It begins at 7:00 p.m. and goes until 4:00 a.m.

Harrah's at Louisiana Downs hosts an annual party with DJ Love and cover band Miss Used.  There will be fireworks at midnight.

Fatty Arbuckles on the Clyde Fant Parkway downtown will host its annual New Year's Eve party with music by the Lackadasies, Engine, and Jacob Disedare.  Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.  You'll get a bottle of champagne upon entrance.

Diamond Jacks Casino has a free party with music by Elaw from 6 - 9, and Side FX from 9-1; free champagne and party favors.  It begins at 6:00.

Not into the club scene?  Go bowling instead.  Each year Holiday Lanes does intergalactic Glow in the Dark Bowling.  The evening includes unlimited bowling, a breakfast platter, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight.  Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for age twelve and younger.

SciPort will host New Year's at Noon on Dec. 31; wear your PJs and watch the SciPort ball drop.  There will be a party hat contest, face painting, a Space Dome dance party, and lots of craft activities.  The fun begins at 9:00 a.m. and goes until about 2.  Admission is free with paid Center admission.

If you're here for the Advocare Independence Bowl, there are lots of great restaurants in the area to start your New Year's Eve evening after the game.  There are all the normal chain and franchise restaurants and fast food joints (most of them on the south end of Youree Drive) and many excellent local, independent restaurants.  Some of my favorites:

The Blind Tiger in downtown Shreveport is a popular local spot for great Louisiana cajun style food.

If you need to get your Mexican food fix on, you can't go wrong at Nicky's.  Nicky's has several locations (we prefer the one on Airline Drive.  Ask for Mirabelle to be your server!)  Nicky's is reasonably priced, consistently good, and has great cold draft beer in huge frosted glasses.

Herby K's is a local favorite and the shrimp buster is famous.  Again, cold beer, frosted glasses.  Very nice.

My favorite, and the place where you'll find me, is The Anvil Bar and Grill on Line Avenue.  Joe
Fertitta runs one of the best restaurants in town and has a long history of consistently excellent food and service.  At The Anvil you will find the freshest seafood and the finest steaks as well as excellent pasta dishes and burgers. Lennice Bolton will be singing in the bar, working his keyboard and guitar.  He'll sing Sam Cooke, B.B. King, and other mellow tunes.  Reservations are recommended.

Ernest's Orleans Restaurant is another local favorite, famous for their marinated crab claws.  Ernest's is located at the top of the hill as you enter downtown from the south.  Dez Duron will perform and Ernest's will have a Prix Fixe menu.  Reservations recommended.

Texas Roadhouse is a nice franchise with a very good, affordable steak.  It's located right off I20 on Gould Drive in Bossier City.

If Asian food is calling your name, Ming Garden on Shreveport-Barksdale Highway is an excellent choice.

If it's a burger that you crave, you can't go wrong at the newly opened Twisted Root on Line Avenue, near the Loop.  Twisted Root has a full bar, a lively atmosphere, and a variety of burgers (including game like venison or buffalo) and a pickle bar. I recommend the sweet potato chips.

Remember, don't drink and drive.  Get a designated driver or call a taxi.  Some local taxi services you might want to program into your phone:

Yellow Checker Cab:  425-7000
Action Taxi:  222-8294 (222-TAXI)
Casino Cabs:  425-3325
Four Aces Taxi:  632-0005

Stay safe and have fun!

Happy 2014!

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's a Wonderful Life at Robinson Film Center

I'm limping along to Christmas, y'all.  I've got the tree up but all the icicles aren't on there yet, and one string of lights at the top has gone out and I've done nothing about that.

I have made the fruitcake cookies and am planning to make mom's fudge.

I'm planning on getting through this first Christmas without my mom by starting some new traditions.  We've been invited to a Christmas party on Christmas Eve and I'm excited about that!

And how cool will it be to see one of my favorite Christmas movies at The Robinson Film Center on a Saturday afternoon with my husband!  We've got our tickets already and will go out and eat afterward.

After Christmas we will go visit the cutest grandson in Texas.

I think that's going to be my plan - at least for this year.  Some new traditions and some old....just keep swimming.