Sunday, September 29, 2013

What if you had a government shutdown and nobody came?

So Boner and the boys & girls of the house found their spine and revised and passed the CR to

  1. Fund the government until December - changed from November 1st end of funding
  2. Delay Obamacare for one year (whatever that means) - changed from defunding Obamacare (whatever that meant)
  3. Remove medical device tax from Obamacare
  4. Separate funding CR for military
This would of course change the timing of the beginning of the Obamacare implementation from hitting in an off year to going into action just before the 2014 election. When the low information voters realize that they have gotten screwed out of real money with the huge tax increase that is Obamacare just before the election, even the dead people voting block won't be enough to overcome their indignation.

Predictably, Sub-President Reid has said the Senate will reject anything other than a 'clean' CR. It really is amazing how he can read and control the minds of all the duly elected US Senators:
Reid: "You don't need to see what's in the bill"
Senators: "we don't need to read the bill"
Reid: "This in not the CR you are looking for"
Senators: "This isn't the CR we are looking for"
Reid: "you can go about our business"
Senators: "We will go about our business"
Reid: "Move along"
Senators: "move along, move along"

Kinda like this:

(heh - did you notice that Obi-Wan has a Trevon hoodie?)

What is more entertaining is what will happen when the government is shut down. A good example is how the DC government has already reacted. They have a conceptual 'emergency fund' that will guarantee that everyone on the DC payroll will continue to get paid, and have declared that all city services are 'essential', from the police to DC's notorious meter maids.

I wonder what congress would do if Obama pulled a similar move and refused to shut anything down, continuing to spend money without congressional authorization? Would congress have the will to impeach him? I suspect not - especially as long as Reid controls the minds of the Senate. Obama has already exceeded his legal authority on other numerous occasions, and gotten away with it. Why would it be different now? It reminds me of the story about the dinner at the White House... go read it if you haven't already. Lately it is echoing eerily in my head...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Data Flow Diagram Update

(Disco never dies - neither will Obamacare i'm afraid)

So yesterday while I was out hiking and doing stuff, Reid did the predictable thing and pushed through the stripping of the 'Obamacare de-funding' from the continuing resolution to fund the government. Then everyone, democrat and republican, lined up and did the kabuki theater vote, thus passing the bill back to the house for 'reconciliation'. That leaves us here with the data flow diagram I started a few days ago:

In the interest of full disclosure, while reviewing this I realized that there was a small error in the top right where processing should flow from "Obama lays off park rangers" to "House Caves" and corrected that. My apologies.

The absurd thing about this whole process is that the real outcome is nominal should the Republican succeed. The 'de-funding' would not stop the Obamacare roll out, as a great deal of the machinery necessary for that roll out is already funded or dependent on regulatory changes that don't have anything to do with direct funding. De-funding the IRS and HHS would probably be the only way to stop the Obamacare roll out, and even then the administration would simply ignore it. 

Ironically, a government shutdown will probably do more to hurt that roll out then this symbolic gesture. With a shutdown, the regulators who are responsible for the roll out have the possibility of being furloughed. Naturally, the administration will merely furlough other federal workers that are visible and doing real work, like park rangers, sailors, and soldiers. 

I fear the dominoes are being lined up for a very unpleasant future. This reminds me of an episode of the Bear Grylls survival show. I don't remember which one, but it made an impression on me as it reinforced what I have been taught in real survival courses. He diverged into a discussion about choices that you make in a survival situation. He noted that people that get in trouble in the wild rarely make just one bad choice. It is usually one wrong decision after another, each one reinforcing the next, until reaching the dire reality of a life or death situation. The trick in a survival situation is quite simply to never let it reach that point or if that is unavoidable, make choices that limit the harm.

What concerns me is that is where this administration has taken us. We are at a tipping point that has nothing to do with anthropomorphic global warming. It has to do with real decision made by real people. Pretending to control the actions of the Syrian dictator made us look weak. That has emboldened Iran to pretend to negotiate with John 'Chamberlain' Kerry's state department on their almost completed nuclear weapons. This sets the stage  for the very real possibility of a nuclear conflagration in the gulf. The monumental loss of freedom that Obamacare represents, along with the numerous congressional investigations into this administration's utter corruptness, will fade into the background in the horrible light of such drama. That is a flow diagram I am loath to draw.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Barack Gets An Emu

I had just got home from a hard day’s work and I noticed an angry look on my wife’s face. Now I know that most of you are thinking how could you tell? I mean that lady looks perpetually unhappy. Well let’s just say that after ducking around her, and the whole smoking cessation thing we did 16 years ago, fear is a great motivator for learning such things.

So she says to me “Karrab”, she calls me ‘Karrab’ when she is upset with me, “What is that large box doing in the back of the van?"

I smile at her, partly because I know she will just love the surprise, partly because I fear she will tear my head off. “Elle May” I say (that’s one of my pet names for her, at least one of the ones I use when she can hear me). “That's my surprise for the neighborhood and for you!”

Her face lightens a bit. It is only the raising one of her formidable eyebrows a millimeter, but it is a hopeful sign. She replies, “I hope this is not like the last time when you and your little honky friend Kerry started drawing red lines all over the neighborhood, daring mean old man Assad to step over them. That did not turn out well.”

“No”, I say. “It’s nothing like that. It’s an Emu! Aunt Pelosi bought it sight unseen a while back, but we can’t take it out of the box until October 1st.” I can tell I have surprised her. I can tell because her eyebrows go up by three millimeters. 

“What in Sheba’s name are we going to do with an Emu?” she asks me. 

“They are fabulous!” I gush. I am so glad I can get my sales pitch out before she gives me that love tap in the sternum that leaves me curled up on the front lawn. “They make these giant eggs. Each one can feed a family for a whole day! And they have magic properties that will keep you in tip top shape or cure you even if you weren't sick before!”

She frowns, but somehow maintains the friendly lifted eyebrow. “Doesn't the money you are taking from all rich kids at the bus stop feed the neighbors and take care of their visits to the abortion and breast exam clinics? Besides, big birds like that require a really big fence. You don’t think the imaginary fence you made to keep all the Mexicans out will stop it from wondering off?”

I plunge ahead. “I have thought this through. I talked to crazy Uncle Lew and Aunt Sillybus who live in the basement. They assure me that they will get all the neighbors together to set up the Emu egg distribution. You know how Lew is. They will help or he will break their fingers. Eric the cop says he will go along with it, since we have the same haircut. My best buddy Dier says it can’t fail!”

While the angry expression on her face doesn't change (it never does), her eyebrows rejoin together for a neutral uni-brow, indicating she is thinking it through. “What about that pesky white boy, Boner, who is always trying to tell us what we can or can’t do. Have you thought about what he is going say about this?”

I smile. I am proud of this part. “Well he did tell Dier that he wasn't going to let the bus stop rich people give us any more money, starting October 1st unless I take the Emu back. But that is not a problem. You see Dier and I have a plan for that. Come October 1st we plan to slash the tires on a couple of buses. When the rich people see there are no buses running for a couple of days, they will get really mad.”

“Won’t they be mad at you for slashing the tires?” she asks.

“No. That’s the beauty of the plan. We’ll just say we slashed them because we had to or there would be no Emu eggs for the neighborhood”. I reply.

Both eyebrows go down. This. Is. Not. A. Good. Sign. “Why would they care? Those eggs will only feed or cure two families at most. There are millions of families in this neighborhood. It’s not just the rich people that ride buses, some of the people in this neighborhood have jobs too.”

She smiles. This just got serious. Speaking in an icy tone, she says “This is what you are going to do. Tell the neighbors that the rich people at the bus stop called them all egg eaters and are laughing at them. This will make them mad at the bus stop people with their fancy buses and jobs. Then, because they are mad, Boner, being the weak-assed white boy he is, will ‘accidentally’ give Deir permission to let the Emu out. Everybody wins.”

Chastised, I begin to head down to the basement to tell Uncle Lew and Aunt Sillybus to take care of the Emu. As I walking away, she yells at me, “Hey! Stop by the hall closet and let your cracker brother Joe out of the closet, but this time make sure his shotgun is unloaded”.

UPDATE:  Once again I welcome the readership of the IMAO faithful. Thanks for following the link, and thanks again to Harvey. If you haven't already, take a look around, sample the free ice cream, and bookmark me for when you are really bored. That is my key demographic - really, really, really bored people.

Actually so far all the ice cream is free here as this is a non-revenue blog - I don't want to figure out the paperwork for the IRS.  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Roll, Not the Rock

I know there's stuff going on with Obamacare and the CR to continue to fund the government, but frankly, I need a break writing about that right now

So a there's this study that basically indicates that sea sickness may be all about posture and sway (H/T NY Times Blog via Instapundit). I found this interesting as I am one of those that are mildly effected by sea sickness.  I recall the first time I got sea sick, which was coincidentally my very first 'sea journey'. Upon my completion of advanced training in the Army, but before my deployment overseas to Alaska - yes Alaska was considered an overseas assignment - I took a vacation with my brother to Hawaii. While there, we decided to give deep sea fishing a try. Now you have to understand that we had both been fishing all our lives. In fact we were cohorts in the 'fish shooting incident' which I will wait to write about until I am sure that the statute of limitations has expired. Deep sea fishing was an area we had not tried. The lure of catching a really big fish was just too big a temptation for us.

In any case, we thought that it would be a great idea the go out on one of the charters from Honolulu. Those things started early, so on the way to the boat, we walked by Burger King and got a couple of (greasy) breakfast croissants. At first it was cool being out on a small boat in the 'real' ocean. The fun of course ended as soon as the shore disappeared. It was a solid hurl fest for both of us. After a bit my stomach settled down and I was able to fish. I caught a nicely sized dauphin (not the mammal dolphin) which we gave the crew upon our return. Sadly my brother remained out of it for the whole adventure. I will admit, even to this day I will not eat Burger King croissant breakfast sandwiches.

My next memorable encounter came when I was working on a navigation system for the Osprey class Navy mine hunters. I had learned my lesson from subsequent fishing forays and knew enough to take the Dramamine early and often. It was a fine balance to keep enough meds in me to avoid getting sick, but not so much that it made me too woozy to do my job. That all worked fine until on one trip we met up with a fairly stiff storm. Those ships had a tendency to roll even in the mildest of seas, and in a good blow, they were quite frankly awful. It was so bad that I think less than 25% of the crew were able to stand at their post. I somehow managed to be one of the barely walking non-hurlers, but until things calmed down, it was a miserable experience. What made it even worse was the night of the storm was scheduled to be one of the quarterly meals where the ship served lobster. With the weather, they turned out to be disgusting overcooked rubbery messes that no one could eat anyway. That was a real tragedy.

Having said all that, the above study's assertion about 'learning' and 'stance' does make a bit of sense. I suspect that there might be some strategy to countering the roll of the ship so the inner ear matches the visual in such a way as to get a close enough match. Once this pattern is established, no more seasickness. Such a skill is probably pretty hard to 'teach', and in the thousands of years, there has been apparently no new ideas about how to do it. Thus, any progress the researchers might come up with to overcome it would be spectacular. I will note that at the time of the Osprey work, I was just starting to get interested in pressure points. There are a couple of points on the wrist and ear that seem to do some people some good. This was fairly new information back then, but now days I believe that it is well known.

One man's million words...

UPDATE: This ended at noon - no point in leaving Reid to spout more lies - Instead, now a few words of wisdom from Bluto to take to heart...

I have to work today, so I didn't stay up and watch Ted Cruz's noble 'stand in the breach' action last night. I was gratified to come into work this morning and find him still there, banging away. Go Ted! If only the Republicans in the house will stiffen their spines and continue to stand against this. As noted in my flow diagram, I just don't see that happening. But never the less, he is standing in the breach. This is exactly what I expect every elected Republican to do. Now more of the same tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that... If there is anything we have learned from the current administration, you have to keep telling the low information voters stuff over and over if you expect for it to sink in...

To help you follow along, here is the state of the flow diagram so far (green is complete, red are steps that I got wrong - see notes in the bottom left corner...

(click on to make larger - no you pervert - it doesn't mean that)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bias? What Bias?

Bias not Baez you idiot!

Just clicking around a bit this morning noted Drudge had featured a WSJ article about Cruz's Quixote-like attempt to get the house Obamacare defunding bill to a vote. I was taken just a little aback by the abject media bias on that one. The indication there was a problem starts with the Title:

Cruz Sets Confrontational Tone as Senate Debate Begins
I would argue that Reid is the one with the argumentative tone. Rather than allow a vote and let the democratic process proceed, he is blocking a vote on the actual bill sent by the house. What is he afraid of? Surely he has the votes to defeat it. Why is he reluctant to lay his cards on the table? Just perhaps because he is afraid of exposing his minions the the ire of actually voting the shut down the government? My theory on the broken state of the representation system of our government is demonstrated in spades here. Here's what sub-president Reid said:

President Obama has been clear. I have been clear. Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead on arrival in the Senate.
The piece rambles on, then, out of the blue, comes this bit of 'fair' analysis:
 Mr. Cruz was in danger of being seen as a pot calling the kettle black when he said, “There is a tendency in this town toward brinksmanship, towards pointing to events that can cause instability and uncertainty and using them to try to get your way."
 I would say that Reid and Obama are the very embodiment of brinksmanship. They are the ones that refuse, year after year to negotiate a real budget. Bet I suspect that to use the same analogy on Obama would probably be considered racist, and my momma taught me better than that.

I suspect we will hear more of this kind of nonsense as the debate moves forward. I also suspect the low information voters will buy it hook, line, and sinker. For the record, here is how far we have gotten in my flow chart:

UPDATE 3:57pm (ET):
It appears that Reid has not tabled, and Cruz has started a filibuster - a real one 'until he can no longer stand'. But apparently it's not an actual 'filibuster', but a really long speech. You can watch it here..
"Townhalls are not an inconvenience"
It's like he read my blog!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Poop-Per-Ree Dump

(Someday i'll write about the first time I heard this one...)

So it's Monday, and I can't think of a better time to clean out the tech & other junk drawer of stuff i've been collecting to post about. So here I go... 

First up is this:
I really like the occasional archaeology related mystery novel. I will freely admit seeing the Indiana Jones movies, and reading all of Clive Cussler's books. I will even admit that the one archaeology class I took in college was something of a disappointment (too much blah, blah, not enough digging in dirt & pygmy fighting). Thus, I perked up and paid attention when I saw this about a finding fabulous gold treasure on a dig near the temple mount. What is amazing is the workmanship of the items they pulled out of that site. Imagine the patience and skill required to craft the above with nothing more than primitive tools. Incredible!

Next is this:

50 knots? Pshaw! The Hydroptère  hydrofoil sailboat (H/T Popular Mecahnics via Instapundit) is a testament to marine engineering ingenuity. I suspect that since it is carving the fine edge of engineering that there will be the inevitable breakdowns. With the pacific being a tad unsettled, they are delaying their departure from SF until next year. I look forward to their attempt at a record next year.
There seems a rule that the more educated you get, the dumber you sound. This guy's thoughts on time travel (H/T Instapundit) is no exception:
"You've got almost total freedom of movement in the future."
On the picture - I have just not been inspired to get into the whole "Dr Who" series. I also have never seen the whole "Lost" series. I have a really hard time investing in a series that builds on previous episodes. I guess you could call me a short attention span viewer.
I am not quite sure what Texas has in mind for drones. As a tech guy, I like the idea of playing with the technology and seeing what is possible. Thus silly laws that limit that exploration seem a little short sighted. Given the source of the article, i'll remain skeptical as to what the actual impact of the law will be.

When I read about a lady dying due to a propane torch explosion, I thought that maybe somehow she was using the torch to add a crisp layer to a steak or something and the thing exploded in her hand. I first saw a propane torch used by my grandfather to heat up bolts on his machinery (tractor, cat), to get them loose. I had never seen him worry about the thing blowing up. Of course, he didn't worry about too many things blowing up on his farm. As I recall, my brother found some sweating blasting caps he had 'forgotten' and left in one of his sheds. In any case, when looking over the report, it turns out these people were candidates for a Darwin award, as they had left their torch, which they used to light their BBQ, next to the burning hot BBQ. When it got hot enough, BOOM.

This map with all the bigfoot sightings was interesting. I too have seen bigfoot. Here's how it happened. I was backpacking alone in the Washington National Forest, located just west of Shenandoah National Park. I walked a trail which followed the ridge line, and had turned around to walk back to where I was going to camp. I looked up from the trail just in time to glimpse a large black shape moving very quickly through the undergrowth. It was a clear day and there was still sunshine out. While I never got a clear look at it, it was all black, the wrong color for a deer, and moved way too quickly for a bear - both of which I have seen numerous times in the wild.

I actually ended up retreating to my car that trip, not because of the bigfoot, but because a major storm was closing in. It was a narrow escape involving the storm with lightening chasing me down the mountain.

I don't see it beyond the realm of possibilities that an autonomous robot could do rescues. The more interesting question is why? Are we so short of qualified rescue pilots that we need such things? I would think that cost of paying a pilot a salary is the least of your worries with a multi-million dollar helicopter. So again, why? There is a place for such machines, but rescue is not one of them.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Health Exchange Fun - Part 2

This is the second part of the series I started a couple of days back. If you missed it (How could you?) it is here. If you are really coming in late to this series and by some miracle I write another post about the healthcare exchanges before I wonder off, distracted by a shiny object, you can see them all by going to the Health Exchange Fun label summary.

In my previous post, there was one observation in the comments about how it seemed unfair that I didn't include a link to government healthcare marketplace that I was reviewing. For those that are having trouble, here's how you find the site:

  1. Go the the main google search page (
  2. type (exactly) "Healthcare Marketplace" and hit enter
  3. Select the very first entry that comes up in the results
You see, the government has given Google bazillions of dollars to ensure that result is what you get, so as a taxpayer, why not get your money's worth? I'd encourage everyone use this method. Following a link from me is just lazy - and Americans are anything but lazy. Why do you want to be so un-American? (my apologies if you are a foreigner reading this from someplace like Austria or Australia) Oh - and since the exchanges open up on October 1st, why not go there on that day to see what's up? It's every American's duty to check it out. Let's all check out that link at like 1:18:09pm to celebrate the day Obama was first sworn in. I'll see you there!

To continue my examination of the healthcare marketplace, as noted before I had clicked on my state and got the information prompt telling me that this web site is where I can signup. The information section provided links for applying for coverage, comparing plans, and enrolling. That seems odd - isn't 'applying for coverage' the same as 'enrolling'? Man - this healthcare stuff is going to be hard. It's not just about catching the flu and going to the doctor's office for antibiotics anymore.

I selected 'Apply for Coverage' as that was the first thing listed and seemed like the logical choice. Uh-oh, no more smiling people, just a long page of words and stuff. This just got real! Since I have an admittedly short attention span I went to the most colorful part of the page - the box at the bottom with the big friendly green button offering to 'FIND HELP'. That's exactly what I needed! I put in my city state and hit enter.

Well, how nice. Another screen asking me once again to put in my address,

even offering an example:
Example: "Austin, TX" or "33109"
Out of curiosity, I checked to see where that zip code was located using the fore mentioned Google search. here's what I got:

Cool! An island! I wonder if they have pirate treasure there? The only problem is how do I get there from Austin TX? Something is just not right here...

Moving on, I entered my city and state. No Help. I thought, well what about someplace close to DC, like Arlington VA. That's like less than a couple miles from the White House. Surely they would have someone to help me navigate the ACA maze. Here's the results:

Well, they aren't in Arlington. But I guess they will do. Looking at their 'services' page I see:
HealthWorks for Northern Virginia is a charitable nonprofit that provides medical, dental and behavioral health services to anyone in need, regardless of age or ability to pay
So a one non-profit health clinic with offices in Herndon and Leesburg is going to provide sign up guidance to the millions of people that live in the Northern Virginia area? This will not end well. Perhaps the HHS could reach out to the abortion clinics too. There's bunches of them and I'd bet they'd be glad to help.

I did a little checking to find out about that organization, since they obviously are a very important part of the ACA implementation in Northern Virginia. First off I learned that, according to their web site, the President of the board is Tom Couglin.

No, not that guy, this one:
Tom Coughlin, a resident of Sterling, has more than 32 years experience in the Public Health Service in the Department of Health and Human Services. He is recently retired from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Primary Health Care
A recently retired HHS employee. Well that makes sense. The CEO is listed as Deborah Dever. LinkedIn has her listed as the President of Money Mailer - you know, those packets of index card sized coupons you used to get in the mail? That was her. I say used to as I haven't seen any of them in quite a while. I guess they just couldn't compete with Google.

That's all I have time for today. I think perhaps next time I will explore a state Marketplace site - like the state of Washington DC's marketplace. That should be fun.

Today marks the Autumn Equinox, so off I go to seize what I can of the day, as it will only get less as winter progresses. To quote a wise old TV cop "Let's be careful out there"

Saturday, September 21, 2013

So what's going to happen on October 1st?

I saw this discussion about the Senate Republicans filibustering the CR from the Republican majority house which funds the rest of the government but defunds Obamacare (H/T Drudge). I was confused. Weren't they for defunding Obamacare? A deeper look at the way our government (currently) works revealed that by filibustering they keep the bill alive. I know - crazy, huh?

As a programmer I often have to map out the logic of things not as I wish them to be, but as they exist. This is often the only way I can get an understanding of a process. So, I approached this apparent logic conundrum in the same way. For non-programmers and those not versed on logic diagrams, here's a helpful guides as to what the shapes in my diagram mean:

Here's the diagram that explains (as best I understand it) what is going on and what is going to happen in our government over the next month or so...

Yep, that is a reference to a certain scene from 'Justified' in there... Yellow has a meaning too...

UPDATE: My apologies the the IMAO readers. I am a bit late in getting this greeting up as I got distracted by 'real life'. In any case, take a peak around, kick the tires, and leave comments. Just don't kick the dog - he's getting old and is a little slow, but can be provoked into biting. A pat on the head is probably more appropriate.

The dog:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Health Exchange Fun - Part 1

So I have heard that the Obamacare Exchanges were going to open soon, so I took a little stroll over there to see what it was all about. I was greeted by this young smiling lady:

Who is she and what does she have to do with Obamacare? A Google image search of her did not reveal any matches. I looked carefully at her earrings, and the appear to have letters in them - 'SMMM'. Could that mean 'Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy'? Probably not. I guess it's her initials - so i'll call her 'Samantha'. So Samantha, can I call you Sam? Yes? Good. I am interested in getting health insurance. Ah, I see you have a link over there to 'Get Insurance'. I'll click on that. Goodbye, and thanks for all the help!

More pictures of smiling people! This time two ladies, perhaps a mother and daughter? There is still no explanation of what they have to do with healthcare insurance but there must be something about this site that is making everyone smile! I guess they aren't worried about being kicked to the curb when their employer drops their coverage (hereherehere) . When I clicked on "Small Business", I found this lady, who apparently couldn't put down her phone long enough to have her picture taken:

I'm guessing the message here is that Obamacare doesn't include dental care. I have to say, as a middle aged white guy, I am starting to feel a little awkward, like I wondered into the wrong bathroom or something...

I then went to the 'Choose Your State' selection bar to see what my options were. Clicking on the menu, I noticed right away that territories and the District of Columbia had apparently become states with the adoption of Obamacare. How nice for them. Just for fun, I selected the Northern Marina Islands state. The 'information' section informed me that if I live in the Northern Marina Islands I am not eligible to use the 'Marketplace' to apply for health insurance. So first the ACA makes territories into states, but then excludes them from coverage? That's just not right! What about people from other states that are there on extended stays or otherwise domiciled in a 'real' US state? They can't apply? I am already confused...

So then I picked my state, Virginia. The help selector noted that I could use this web site to apply, compare plans, and enroll. This is because Virginia declined to set up it's own exchange, so the Federal government opted to do that for the citizens of Virginia. How nice and helpful of them. Was it part of the law that they would have the authority to do this? This is what I found on the HHS site:
In states that elect not to establish a Marketplace, the ACA requires HHS to establish and operate a "federally-facilitated Marketplace" (FFM) in that state. This would also apply in the event HHS determines that despite state efforts to establish a Marketplace, the Marketplace has not made sufficient progress to become fully operational by January 1, 2014. An FFM can be implemented by HHS alone, or a state can enter into a “partnership” with the FFM, combining state-designed and operated functions with federally designed and operated functions. Partnerships are considered a subset of the FFM, indicating that HHS has authority over partnerships in the FFM.
So rather than set up a separate web site for each state that does not set up an exchange, there is one federal site for all of them. I am not a lawyer, but this seems to be a violation of the intent of what the ACA says is to be done. Where exactly in Virginia is this FFM that the HHS has set up? The location wasn't given in the web site. I strongly suspect that it doesn't exist, but that is a topic for another time.

That's all I have time for today. I must make more time to look into this wonderful web site in the future. Stay tuned!

On to more madness: Part Two

UPDATE UPDATE: Even Better! Welcome IMAO Readers! Take a look around and maybe come on back sometime. Oh, and feel free to give the puppy blender readers a piece of your mind in the comments, or whatever...

UPDATE: Holy Cow! An Instalaunch! Welcome Instapundit readers! Have a look around and see if there is stuff on my little blog that amuses you. I do humor, serious, and hiking notes. A little something for everyone... to quote a very wise old TV man, "ya'll come back now, ya hear?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

There are no accidents...

On Drudge - just love their juxtaposition this morning:

Guess it's not a good week to be an Aggie or a surfer...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Millions of words...

I listened all yesterday to the reports of the incident at the Washington Navy Yard. Living in the DC area, it was kinda hard not to. This morning I see a jumble of articles in Drudge, and imagine that papers around the world are headlining the incident. Millions or words will be written, and every aspect of the shooting will be examined. The dead perpetrator's life has already started to be investigated in minute detail. There is much we know about him, much more we will never know, and millions of words will be spent trying to rationalize, explain, and account for the unaccountable. In the end we still will have only a vague understanding of why one guy brought a shotgun to work and tried to kill as many people as possible before being put down. Ultimately evil is just a real and palatable thing that exists in our world whether we acknowledge it or not. Laws, counseling, and community can sometimes mute it's effect, and sometimes can exacerbate it.

What is more worrisome for me is the million words that will be written. I can imagine that the troglodytes squatting in caves around the world, dreaming of virgins in paradise, would view this spectacle with an eye toward what a wonderful opportunity it presents. The massive reaction that it enjoined and the world wide attention it has garnered is sure to inspire them. This is the real danger that the incident brings to all of us - and I am hopeful that somehow the current administration will surprise us and do the right thing to gird our defenses for what may be coming. That being said, this administration has a demonstrated track record of doing all the wrong things to press such incidents in the service of its own ends ("never let a crisis go to waste"), and there are apparently no adults left in the room to mute that effect.

The Navy Yard shooting may indeed become for our era the sinking of the Lusitania, which triggers a backlash of the rolling back of freedom on a scale not previously imagined or possible, coupled with an increase of troglodyte attacks that only strengthen that reaction. And as we drift further and further down that road, we will all forget that it all started with one unbalanced individual with a shotgun. Therein lies the true and ongoing danger this incident brings to the rest of us. God help us all.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hamburger Revenge

Heh - watching this video, it's clear that Glen Campbell doesn't have a clue about how to ride. Now there's a metaphor... uh - unless he is riding like that on purpose...

I saw this a while back & filed it away. Since it's a fairly slow news weekend, I thought i'd go ahead and write about it. It seems that in the UK, there was some cows that attacked and killed a guy that was 'just walking' through their field. Yikes! We are not talking about a bull, but just plain old cows. 

Now I will admit, I have had suspicions about cows all my life. When I was a kid we would visit my grandfather's farm. Yes - that grandfather that I posted about when I first started blogging. One the 'chores' we would have when visiting was to join my grandfather early in the morning feeding the cows. He would summon us downstairs by yelling up 'Time to get out of the hay - those cows aren't going to feed themselfs'. We would tumble downstairs and select an old stetson from the rack - an array of which i'm sure they put out only when we came visiting - and pile into the back of the pickup. Oddly enough we only wore hats like that when visiting. In our suburban home, such accouterments were generally frowned on by my mother. Breakfast of course was only eaten after the cows were fed.

Feeding was generally great fun as we would get to climb up in the barn and throw down hay into the pickup. Then we would ride around in the back on top of the hay, taking turns to jump out and open & close gates as he negotiated the fields. For amusement he would wait until the gate closer had almost got to the pickup, then start pulling away, requiring a running jump to the tailgate or a long walk back to the house. Once the pickup was empty of hay, he would pick his bumpiest road, and negotiate that, as we all attempted to not get bounced out. Great fun.  'Child car seat' was definitely not a part of his vernacular.

One we got to the cows, we cut the bales and droped them into the feeders for the eating pleasure of the waiting bovines. We would also dump supplements in the form of what my grandfather called 'cake' into feeding troughs, which the cows really liked. This required you to mingle nose to nose with the cows as you had to turn over the troughs to knock out the poop, then pour the buckets of 'cake' in with 'hungry' cows nosing in around you. Imagine the fun of sending in a 10 year old suburban boy with dozens of 1000 pound cows crowding around him, carrying a bucket of 'cake' he could hardly lift. That was character building.

So I guess you could say that I have a passing familiarity with live cows. That being said, I must admit that there were times, as the cows crowded around the feeder and troughs in anticipation of the bales of hay or cake, that they looked capable of murder with that wide eyed glare they are so good at. 

But capable or not, they just aren't really too smart. If they were, you would think that when it came time for herding them into the 'squeeze chute' for branding and castrating, it would be an impossible job. My grandfather did not bring in a vet for that task, just a very sharp pocket knife. I am hoping he cleaned it before cutting up apples for a snack. And kicking or punching them to get them to move back really does no good, and according to my grandfather was 'a good way to hurt your foot'. Of course he also used the term 'cutting your foot' when you stepped into a pile of cow manure, which confused me for longer than I care to admit.

Getting back to the above story, it turns out that the walkers had a dog with them and that was what the cows were going after. That makes sense as dogs are generally disliked by cows and, at least in the UK, are probably their primary predator in the form of wild dogs. Other than that, I can't imagine they were much a real threat. Common sense would dictate that if you were venturing into their field with a dog, that you keep it on a leash - but then common sense is not always as common as you might think.

As for a celebrity that you wouldn't think has riding skills but actually does, consider this guy:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Let slip the surly bonds of earth...

Yesterday was an epic day for mankind. The folks at NASA (Houston!) confirmed that Voyager 1 has left the solar system and is the first man made item to reach inter-galactic space. As others have attested, this is a unique accomplishment for man, like Magellan circumnavigating the globe, Hillary climbing Everest, Peary reaching the North Pole, Amundsen reaching the South Pole, or Neil Armstrong putting the first footsteps on the moon. Mankind's capacity to engage the challenge of life continues to be awe inspiring.

I sometimes forget that space is a singularity hostile place. There literally is nothing like it on earth where radiation, heat, cold, and the vagaries of gravitational forces conspire the thwart the pursuits of man. Yet Voyager continues to fly along despite those forces, and will continue to patiently relay it's status and readings for another 13 years or so, thanks to the load of plutonium fuel it has on board. Amazing to think that back in 1977 we took the chance of blasting that through the earth's atmosphere atop a Titan III rocket. In those days, NASA was willing to do great things.

It is also worth noting that back in 1977, the idea of extra-terrestrial life was not something that just wingnuts and wackos believed in. It was such an integral part of the mission planning that the designers sacrificed precious payload weight and volume to include a 'golden record' just in case this tiny bit of human flotsam ever chanced across sentient lifeforms who were not from our neighborhood. That speaks volumes about what the space program was all about back then.

So congratulations to the team from JPL who designed and built this amazing technological feat. Godspeed Voyager. At 11 miles a second, unlike all other ships in human experience, your journey will (with luck) never end, even though your communication with us will stop in a few years. You are the first, but hopefully, not the last.

Oh, the title of this? You might not remember, but in 1986 Reagan paraphrased this poem in his address to the nation after the Challenger disaster:

 ‘High Flight’

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless falls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor eer eagle flew – 
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee
Royal Canadian Air Force
Died on a training flight, age 19, 11 December 1941
Scopwick, Linconshire, England

Thursday, September 12, 2013

An Open Letter to the NFL Commissioner

So I understand the commissioner of the NFL recently stated that if just one person is offended by something the NFL is doing that the NFL should 'listen'. Now he carefully didn't note what 'listening' meant, but I am thinking that might mean an action is implied. So Mr. Goodell I have to tell you - I am offended! Listen to me!

Oh - perhaps you thought I was goign to go on about something silly, like the name of the that team in DC that can never seem to get a decent offensive line since all the Hogs retired? No, the thing that I find offensive is the absolutely embarrassing and disgusting victory celebrations I keep seeing during the football shows you put on. You see, it used to be that you would see a high five, low five, or helmet knock whenever a player would make a sack for catch a long pass. Those days are long gone. What you see now is shocking. After every nominal good play, the players will shimmy, bump, grind, twist and shout. The gyrations are frankly embarrassing to watch. I fear that some of the guys I have seen doing them might actually be hurting themselves in these performances.

Now I know that there are 'new' rules in place to try to limit these celebrations, but I have yet to see these threatened penalties have any deterrent effect on the players actions. Mr. Goodell, this issues goes beyond your league and the institution of football. It goes to the sense of fair play, hard work, and the studied sense of humility that good people try to instill in their kids. When kids see grown men dance and shake every time they do a good job, what must they think? Just once, i'd like to see a top receiver score a TD, drop the ball and just walk away. That would indicate character. Instead what I see makes me think of school yard bullies and braggarts. Is that the way that you want people to think about your players?

I recognize this all may be an odd concept to you. After all, moral turpitude is not exactly the watchword of the average NFL player. If it were, the dog killer Michael Vic would have never been allowed to play again. While that race has already been run, this one hasn't. I ask you to do something about these displays.  I find them offensive.

An Old Fan

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This is what I see

When I saw this headline on Drudge:

                                'Rebels' oppose proposal

I thought of the above moment from the Simpson's where Ross Perot punches through his straw hat. They gotta be thinking 'Damn! It almost worked!'

Meanwhile Obama is doing this:





Ok - that's all I got...

Bizzaro World

(Yes This video is bizarre - but I heard that videos with Miley Cyrus (and Midgets!) get lot's of hits, and I feel the need for the cheap endorphin hit that comes from lots of blog hits)

does anyone else feel like we have stumbled into Seinfeld's Bizzaro World?

Not to worry. Even with the crackdown on end zone celebrations, judging from last night's Skins-Eagles game, we will still be seeing large men shake their business on national television on Sunday afternoons every time they manage to do something right.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Short Essay on Lying

There are certain places where you just expect that everyone is lying. Take a poker game for instance. Poker players win or loose not so much based on the the turn of the cards, but on how well they can lie about their strong or weak position with respect to the other players. This is expected and in a poker game, and if you are horrified or angry about such behavior, you really ought to find something else to do with your money.

In other pursuits, lying is generally frowned on. Cheating wives or husbands, children with balls and broken windows, or the family member that polishes off the last piece of pie in the fridge. These are instances where lying is just not acceptable as a normal course of events, and generally has dire consequences for the liar such as divorce or alienation, a tanned butt or drained allowance, or family members secreting snacks in less vulnerable locations.

Then there is the middle ground. Personal taxes and politicians come to mind. I would wager that more than half of the people who file taxes enhance their 'charitable contributions' simply because there generally are little or no consequences since receipts are not required for amounts less than $300. Overall such little lies are insignificant as the $100 savings on taxes is insignificant. Similarly, politicians will often lie and say they are either doing something when they are not or will claim they are doing nothing when they are. It is the nature of the beast and citizens generally expect no less, as long as the lie does not embarrass them or cause any real harm. That is the key.

One common denominator of chronic liars is their 'tells'. The more they lie, generally the easier it is to see their tell. That's why really good poker players excel at reading tells and muting their own. The more impaired a liar is, the more pronounced the tell. take for example your average drug abuser. They generally lie all the time and feel that they are good at it. Some of them even are. Mostly though, for those around them, their lies are transparent and even a little sad.

So that brings me to the reason for this little essay. I heard on the news this morning that our fearless leader did a series of taped interviews with major networks to try to convince the citizens of the need for his desire to punitively punish Syria. My thoughts were two fold. First, he has proven himself untruthful on matters of substance too many times for me to believe any evidence he may present (Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, et. al.). Secondly, the fact that he is only presenting his case in controlled and taped interviews is something of a tell for him. If he had real and incontrovertible evidence, he would have gone to the UN and Congress like Bush did and presented his case there. Choosing to make his case to a NBC interviewer virtually negates any minute chance that he might be presenting truthful information.

What is perhaps saddest is that somehow he and his advisers believe that they are able to fool the public with this ruse. Only the most brain dead of citizen will not recognize this tell and believe what is presented. I do feel sorry for him in the same way that I feel sorry for the drug addict on the corner insisting that he needs 'just a dollar or two to get something to eat'.  Yet there is some percentage of the population that will reach in their pockets and give that guy money. There is also a percentage of the population that will be convinced by these taped interviews. The scary thing is that the thin margin of those that recognize and reject the 'tell' is the same margin on which our democracy teeters over the brink of the unimaginable.

God help us all.