City Slickers

Photo above: City Slickers III. Wind River area, Wyoming. Son Matt, Brother Dave, Son John Paul, Me J.P.

Small Talk

SMALL TALK: View the story of the air rifle that doubled the size of the United States. Fantastic bit of 2nd Amendment history re: Lewis and Clark.

See at:
www.network54.com

Spot Gold

Thursday, December 30, 2010

George Soros, Man or Monster?

Ronald Reagan was known as the great “Communicator.” Arnold Schwarzenegger  is known, appropriately enough given the terminal condition of California, as the “Terminator.” Let me add one more to the list. George Soros, “The Manipulator.”

 George Soros has been cast as the Rasputin to the far left’s dream of empire. According to the likes of Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and countless other conservative media mouthpieces, he is the puppet master behind  the progressive movement. He is incarnate evil squared. Rather than take their word for it, I decided to investigate for myself. What I found surprised me. 

I started by reading his book, The Crash of 2008 and What it Means. The book is essentially a rehash of previous books where he advances his economic theory, with added chapters that discuss the economic crisis of 2008.  My surprise came in that after wading through several chapters of this book, I felt that his theory of economic markets may have some validity. Boiled down to its essentials, Soros maintains that current theories are in error in that they do not account for the fact that the very act of being engaged in the market shapes the market. In other words, the economic markets are not the result of pure supply and demand operating blindly to form a rational market. He maintains the market is irrational in nature because human involvement, hopes, and fears make it thus. He then analysis the impact of “bubbles” or boom and bust cycles, concluding that there was a super bubble formed between the 1970s and now that burst with the economic collapse of 2008.

What did not surprise me was the constant references by Soros that everything that has gone wrong was “Bush’s fault.” He seems obsessed by his belief that “The Bush Administration” was guilty of everything from the failure of domestic economic policy to the failure of democracy in Russia.  He specifically faults Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson for allowing Lehman Brothers to fail, thus triggering the total economic collapse of the world financial markets. It is in this analysis by Soros where we begin to see the true basis of his political activism.

Soros expounds at length that the role of the “Authorities”  (read Governments) during the bust phase of the boom and bust cycle is to intervene with economic policies that ameliorate the bust and eventually turn it around.  In his opinion, the world financial system is not up to the task, since the individual nations and blocs   act independently for the most part with varying degrees of success and failure. He does not explictly state that a more centralized system would be better, but it is clear in his analysis that he feels a coordinated response to world financial crisis would be better than the current fragmented responses. It is in this implied belief that we begin to get a clue as to Soros’ motives in sponsoring or supporting numerous foundations and organizations designed to adopt the Socialist dream of a New World Order.

George Soros is a financial genius. He has become wealthy beyond imagination by understanding how markets function and perhaps even applying his economic theory to his advantage. However, as he admits in this book, he has also taken some real losses when the market has not behaved the way he thought it should. He blames those losses on improper responses or actions by  governments that do not understand the true nature of the market and/or fail to take coordinated actions.  There is an old political truism that posits the way to understand the behavior of an individual or group is to “follow the money.” A Las Vegas casino provides a good analogy for George Soros.

Imagine a casino as a financial market. Most people playing the casino are not winners, but a few, like George Soros, have managed to beat the odds and become hugely successful. The only problem that arises is that like Las Vegas, there are many casinos (financial systems)  to choose from, and each of them has a slightly different set of rules, which in turn have to be mastered by a man like Soros. It would be much, much better for player Soros to just have one casino to deal with while playing his financial games. From Soros’ viewpoint, integration of the world financial markets under one roof would lead to better responses to financial crises and thus better outcomes. Perhaps more importantly, integration would lead to less uncertainty and thus more opportunity for one who understands the rules like Soros.

In order to arrive at this situation, Soros is striving to establish a regime in the United States that will be willing to become part of a greater political system and a common economic policy. To this goal, he has founded and supported numerous organizations and groups dedicated to electing left wing politicians who are willing to advance this idea.  Although his first choice to carry this banner of liberal policies was Hillary Clinton, he seems pretty satisfied by the election of Obama. He has assembled a powerful group of Socialist leaning entities, and with his financial resources, will not cease to manipulate behind the scenes to achieve his goals.

George Soros is truly a dangerous man because he sincerely believes we must fundamentally change the form and function of our country. He also must be immensely pleased by the changes the Obama administration, with help from Pelosi and Reid, have engineered in the past two years. Watch for him to redouble his efforts as the conservatives rally and fight back.

JP

For a closer look at the political side of George Soros, I recommend The Shadow Party by David Horowitz and Richard Poe. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Power Grab

Yesterday the FCC made its grab for controlling the providers of the internet and thus eventually controlling the content of the internet. Make no mistake about this power grab, it is designed to open the door for government control over the internet, and thus directly government control over the right of the people to engage in free speech. This FCC move, approved by Obama, is just another in the long line of government takeovers we have witnessed since this extreme left wing President and his extreme left wing henchmen in Congress have wrought since gaining control. The list grows and grows:  Healthcare, Banking and Finance, Student Loans, the Automobile Industry, Energy regulation by fiat--the list goes on and on. What these extremists want is to completely remake this country into their own twisted vision of what a "progressive" country should be. We have to fight them tooth and nail.

Our next best hope is that the overwhelming rebuttal of their agenda was heard loud and clear in the last election. They know their time is limited, and thus the huge rush in this lame duck Congress to pass their pet projects. The job of our new Congress in the next year will be to dismantle what ever they can of the damage that has been done to our country and Constitution. Now that they are no longer in complete power, the extreme leftists are now calling for "bi-partisanship." I say, ignore those calls. It is time to take back our country.

JP

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Poor Politics Equals Piss Poor Results

The golden State of California, once a beacon of hope and prosperity, has fallen on tough times. Lots of blame to go around, but mainly a result of poor policy driven by progressive ideas, environmental overreach, and plain stupidity. This is no more evident than in the demise of farming in the Central Valley, leading to a third world culture insulated from the snotty elite of the coastal enclaves of a still thriving economy. For a gritty look at what is going on in the other California, please take the time to read the wonderful article from the National Review titled Two Californias

JP, a sad ex-Californian

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Republicans Get Their Ass Kicked

Where in the hell did the Republican's learn to play poker? The November election gave them a Full House (grin) and here they are folding when the Dims called their bluff. I'm speaking of the Great Compromise, ballyhooed around the airwaves this past week. Turns out the Great Compromise was, "We'll trade you two years of no tax increases for every liberal program we can think of, plus enough pork to supply every Chinese restaurant in the country."  How about a pet project that even Al Gore says is a boondoggle: Ethanol subsidies. How about letting Puerto Rico distill some more booze on the U.S. taxpayer? The list goes on and on. 

And the Republicans wring their hands. Wimpy John  McCain whines that its just not fair but we gotta do it because they might get blamed for a short term shock come Janurary 1st. What the hell are they thinking? Come January 4th a Republican House and a strong Republican presence in the Senate could make quick work of reinstalling the Bush tax cuts without the tons of pork to ante up.

Call their damn bluff. Grow some.

JP

Check out my other blog at Stop The TSA if you are tired of being felt up at the airport.

Friday, December 10, 2010

TSA--Destroyers of the Constitution

The internet is full of Paper Patriots. Many talk about defending our Constitution, but not many actually get out there and take positive action. A good example is the TSA's un-Constitutional invasion of our very privacy. One guy had the guts to say, "Don't touch my junk." It was a hot news item for about a week, and then faded into the background as TSA quietly backed off. The flying public, not wanting to miss their flights to Grandma's house, meekly submitted to naked scanning or intrusive pat downs. The media moved on to other news.  TSA may have backed off a bit to damp down the furor, but they continue to touch us in the most intimate ways, and they are getting away with it.


The TSA has to be stopped. This is not Nazi Germany. "Just following orders" was found to be an invalid defense during the war trials after WWII. Are we as a nation going to allow our government to run roughshod over the individual rights we won when this nation was formed? Or are we going to quit being Paper Patriots and really fight back?


One guy, just one guy was enough to send the TSA cockroaches scurrying for cover. It only takes one. Then two. Then three people to stand up on their hind legs and say, "Enough!"


I have started a new website. A place where people can learn what they can do as individuals to stop this takeover by a dictatorial government. I've made it an open site, in that I want to enlist 100 co-authors to contribute to the dialogue with ideas and courses of action.
If you would like to join me, visit the website at Stop TSA and take a look. If you would like to become an author on this site, email me at   minerjp@comcast.net.

Its time to stop being Paper Patriots and actually stick your neck out by doing something.

JP

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Liberal Democrats Make a Huge Miscalculation

According to Karl Rove in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Obama is going to have a tough time getting his compromise through Congress because his own party finds it a too bitter pill to swallow. You have to admire the Democrats, they are the party of class warfare and they appear to be sticking to their guns. Never mind that it will amount to political suicide to allow the tax levels to rise on everyone come January first. Guess who then becomes “The party of no”? If the Republicans are smart, they should just sit back and feed out the rope as the Democrats go about hanging themselves. Then, come the 1st of January, they can don their white hats, saddle up old Paint, and come riding to the rescue.  And, this time around, they may be able to negotiate a better deal. Obama knows this, so he is going to have to spend a huge amount of political capital in strong-arming his own party to do the right thing and give him his compromise. The entire situation is a Win-Win deal for the Republicans. This time, it is the intransigence of the likes of Pelosi that have painted themselves into a corner.

So, a big hooray for the leftists. We Americans love class warfare and will show you just how much in the next election.

JP

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elections Matter. We Won, You Lost.

After whistling in the dark for about a month after the huge defeat handed to him in November, it appears Obama has finally started to face  reality. To use one of his own favorite retorts, we won, he lost. Elections matter. The people of this country once again have a semblance of a messy, rough and tumble democracy after living through nearly two years of the dictatorship of the left. There is now a rough balance between competing ideologies where give and take and compromise become the modus operandi of governance, unlike the Pelosi/Reid/Obama troika that effectively ruled by fiat. The pejorative word used by the snarling leftists is that Obama has “caved” on the extention of the Bush tax cuts. Obama has not caved. He is finally accepting the reality of a changed political landscape, and is smart enough to grab what he can before things really get nasty come January when the conservatives again regain the power of the purse strings and the Congressional hearing rooms.

Many pundits believe that Obama’s  political DNA will prevent him from moving toward the center, as did President Clinton in 1994.  Not so, as evidenced by his reluctant, but non-the-less real efforts to achieve a compromise with the hated Republicans. The old Obama never compromised. The just shellacked Obama is smart enough to realize that the days of running rough-shod over his political opponents have come to an end.

And that is a good thing. Good for him, in that he may still yet earn the mantle of the Presidency. Good for us, because the people of the United States can once again be governed under something resembling a democracy.

Now if he would just fire Nancy.....

JP

Monday, December 6, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell--What They Are Not Telling Us

The following analysis of the DADT survey presents a different view than is being reported in the MSM. As a career military officer, now retired, I have mixed feelings about the controversy, but have a sneaking suspicion that at the troop level there is less ambiguity. The troops are not going to be happy with revoking DADT--anybody with half a brain should be able to see this. But this has turned into another of social issues being foisted on us by the secular progressives. Read the article below and judge for yourselves.

JP

Article starts:

Now the REAL the real message:  Pentagon Poll:  91% reject open homosexual service.

Former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt just read the full Pentagon report on repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and here's his analysis:

"Don't believe the phony liberal media reports that 70% of troops support open homosexual service, because that statistic included 'mixed' feelings. A closer reading of the fine print in the newly released Pentagon survey shows our troops answered as follows:

Q45.  If you had a leader whom you believed was gay or lesbian, 9% positive, 91% negative or mixed effect on unit's performance.

Q68c.  85% of Marine Combat Arms, 75% of Army Combat Arms, 64% overall say Negative, Very Negative, or Mixed impact on unit trust.

Q90.   29% would take no action if assigned open showers.  71% would shower at other times, complain to leadership or chaplains, don't know or do "something else" [including violence.]

Q81.   24% will leave the military or think about leaving sooner than planned.  [One half million troops will QUIT early, destroying national security.]

Q80.   6% will positively recommend service to others after repeal.  94% feel negative, mixed, no effect, or don't know about recommending military service to others.  [Destroying recruiting efforts.]

Q66.  If open homosexuality impacts combat performance, is the impact....9% positive, 91% negative or mixed impact.

Q71.  11% feel positive or very positive about open homosexuality in field environment or out at sea.  60% negative or mixed.  19% no effect.

Q73.   5% say repeal would positively boost morale.  41% say negative or mixed impact morale.  Rest no effect or don't know.

"In summary, the real stats prove our nation faces a NATIONAL SECURITY DISASTER if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed, and open homosexual aggression is forced upon our troops against their will."


The new Commandant of the Marine Corps, 4-star General James F. Amos, effectively asked YOU to help his Marines last week, when he advised Senators to support Senator McCain's filibuster of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and to keep open homosexual aggression out of our military. 

"There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women — and when you talk of infantry, we're talking our young men — laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers," said General Amos. "I don't know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that’s what we’re looking at. It's unit cohesion, it's combat effectiveness."  In other words,repealing Don't Ask will cost lives in battle.

Meanwhile the New York Times revealed Senator Harry Reid's (D-NV) new strategy to force the homosexual agenda through this lame-duck Senate:  "Mr. Reid could try to bring the defense bill to the floor under an open amendment process, a move that Republicans presumably would not block but that would mean committing a large block of time to debate. In that case, opponents of repeal would not be able to pass an amendment stripping it out of the bill."  In other words, don't believe the liberal press reports that Reid can't get this done....they are closer than you think, so we must continue this fight.

Four Top Generals were ignored by Democrats who betrayed our troops.  They said:

"This is not the time to perturb the force that is, at the moment, stretched by demands in Iraq  and Afghanistan and elsewhere without careful deliberation."  Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff

"Serious concerns about the impact of repeal of the law on a force that's fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for eight-and-a-half years."  Gen. George Casey, Army Chief of Staff

"I think the current policy works... At this point...my best military advice to this Committee, to the [Defense] Secretary, and to the President would be to keep the law such as it is."  Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps

"There has never really been an assessment of the force that serves....Equally important are the feelings of the families that support that force." Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations


Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt




Thursday, December 2, 2010

South of the Border, Down Mexico Way

There is a war going on south of the border, and the good guys are losing. Their loss will soon become our loss, because from a national security standpoint, we can’t afford the consequences if the bad guys win. The drug cartels have moved to a new stage in their murderous struggle to control the supply routes vital to their drug trafficking. They are seeking no less than total control of the border cities and villages, and are doing so by employing terrorist tactics to intimidate or drive away honest Mexican citizens from their homes. Just recently, a newly appointed female police chief was gunned down on her way to work. In Ciudad Juarez, more than a dozen teenagers were ruthlessly murdered at a birthday party. Although there still appears to be fratricide between the cartels as they jockey for power, this new stage of violence is more and more directed at the people and Mexican authority and law enforcement. The cartels are employing these tactics to achieve their overall strategy--which in basic terms reduces to: “Who controls the border controls the flow of drugs into the United States.”

We are misreading the threat this poses to our security. Our main concern seems to be that this violence will “spill over” into our country and the cartels will take up fighting in the streets of El Paso. Although a possibility, this would be akin to them shooting themselves in the foot. They are much to savvy to really stir up the sleeping giant to the north.

Another misread is the fact that we have couched the control of our borders in terms of illegal immigration, which in turn leads to highly charged political arguments and posturing. Illegal immigration by those seeking a better life in the United States is a huge problem that needs to be solved in the long run, but there is a more ominous, clear and present danger in the short run that needs to be met, and the sooner the better.

It is safe to assume that those who run the cartels aspire to no moral code whatsoever. Their one god is money, and with it, power. Those who would traffic in misery have no compunction about how they go about their business--for the right price, they will do anything to further their goals. And, they are hugely successful in accomplishing their goals--they manage to smuggle in enough illegal drugs to keep the trade flourishing in the United States, despite our gallant efforts to interdict the flow. They are good at their trade, and if they can smuggle drugs in huge amounts, they can also deal in human traffic--for the right price. Like any thriving business, they will seek other sources of revenue that fit their business model.

 If the cartels can smuggle tons of illegal drugs through our porous southern borders they certainly can smuggle Al Qaeda operatives as well. There is no doubt in my mind that Al Qaeda and their kin are aware of and have exploited this weakness in our security. It is time to change the issue of border security from that of illegal immigration of Mexican workers to that of illegal infiltration of terrorists bent on causing grave damage to our country. We have the power to seal our southern border, we have just not had the will to do so. Perhaps a re-assessment of the real threat facing us would give us the political will. As an added bonus, a sealed border would starve the cartels of their supply lines, and in addition, slow the flow of ordinary illegal immigrants into our country.

JP

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Hand Account of a Pat Down

I had to fly to Phoenix last week on business and pleasure, escaping the sub zero temperatures of Northern Utah for the milder climes of the flaming bird. Got up to the scanner point and the TSA agent, noticing my shock of gray hair and other obvious tip offs to shady character hood, waved me over to the full body scanner. I politely refused. "Got an opt out here," spoke the agent into his shoulder mike, and had me stand to the side. After about five minutes, they shut down the full body scanner and the agent tending it waved me over to where my removable stuff had passed through the baggage scanner. While walking over, he was busy donning his latex gloves. Asking me to point out, but not touch my stuff, he grabbed the bin and directed me to the screening area. He informed me that I was going to receive a comprehensive pat down and began the process, informing me every step of the way. When he got to the "sensitive" areas, he said he was using the back of his hands. The entire pat down was minimally intrusive and did not invade my "junk." When he was through, I looked him in the eye and politely stated, "I hope you understand you have just violated my 4th Amendment rights." He made no reply and I departed.

In summary, I do believe TSA has backed off on the intrusiveness of the pat down, at least in my case. Maybe as an old gray haired guy, I was actually profiled. Or, it could be that they have been instructed not to be as aggressive in the past. Secondly, I found it interesting that they shut down the full body scanner shortly after I opted out. Perhaps only coincidence, but I do believe when they are short on manning they don't want to push too many people into the pat down.

I still believe that the full body scan and the pat down exceed "reasonable search and seizure of person and effects" and should be eliminated. I also believe that the only way to effect this change is through public pressure, Congress, and the courts.

JP

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Powerful Stuff, If True

I came across this site and started reading the series supposedly obtained through interviews with a Democrat White House Insider. Amazing series, and since they were published before the election (for the most part), pretty spot on. The big story, of course, is that Hillary is getting ready to step in when Obama stumbles. See for yourself at  White House Insider

JP

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are TSA Scanners Safe? You Be The Judge

Here is some science to bring into question the safety of the TSA scanners.

Body Scanners May Be More Dangerous Than Feds Admit.



http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/health_stories/blaylock_TSA_scan_safety/2010/11/24/363489.html?s=al&promo_code=B2F7-1

How I Got to Flyover Country--Sort Of

From his boyhood home on a tobacco farm in Maryland, my great grandfather Raphael Morgan made his way West during the Civil War years at the age of sixteen. Finally settling in Montana, he married a 1/2 Indian woman and founded a large family and an even larger ranch. The following article, written by Linda Reno, a St Mary's County genealogical researcher, provides some interesting details. Her article was published in the latest issue of the magazine, Country Times.

"Raphael Morgan, son of James Alexander Morgan and his second wife, Mary Ann Delahay was born near Morganza December 16, 1849. Initially the Morgans were very prosperous and lived on the land James had inherited from his father, Raphael Morgan (died 1833).
The Morgan family went through some very hard times during the 1860s. In 1863, they lost their property through foreclosure, but things were to get even worse. On June 27, 1864 James Veasey Morgan (James Morgan’s son by his first wife, Ann Priscilla Howard), age 26 and Alice Morgan (Mary Ann’s daughter), age 20, both died. Alice had just been married three weeks before to William Burroughs. Then, just a little over two weeks later, on July 13, 1864, Mary Ann (Delahay) Morgan also died. All three were buried in the Old St. Joseph’s Cemetery at Morganza. James Morgan died in December 1871 and is buried beside his wife.
In 1865 Raphael left home and headed west. He went first to Cottonwood, Nebraska where he obtained employment herding stock. In 1870 he moved to Montana where he worked for several ranchers herding cattle. About 1875 he rented a ranch and began raising his own stock.
On July 28, 1880 at Choteau, Montana Raphael married Mary Weipert, daughter of Isaac Weipert (born in Quebec, Canada). Mary’s mother was from the Blackfoot Indian tribe. In 1886 Raphael and his wife secured 1,120 acres (Indian allotment claims) in Teton County, Montana.
In Teton Co. Becker and McLean of Medicine Hat, N W T have purchased 500 head of horses from Raphael Morgan and are now preparing to drive the herd overland to their destination. The brands will be vented near Cutback.” (Anaconda Standard, Montana, 7/20/1899).
At the time of the 1910 census, Raphael and his family were living at the Ft. Belknap Indian Agency in Chouteau County, Montana. Raphael was listed separately from his wife and 11 children who were in the same place but were listed as a part of the Indian population.
By 1920 the family had moved to Spokane, Washington where Raphael died on March 10, 1927. His obituary read: Pioneer Once Hunted With Buffalo Bill. Raphael Morgan, 78, whose funeral was held yesterday, was one of the pioneers of the Pacific northwest, arriving in Montana 64 years ago when Indians and buffalo were the chief inhabitants of that state. For two years he hunted game with Buffalo Bill, riding with the ox teams that brought freight from the Missouri river to Helena and shooting game for the drivers. Mr. Morgan later entered the cattle and sheep business and was one of the large stock raisers of Montana. He was twice shot by Indians and had frequent brushes with them in the early days. He came to Spokane in 1913.
Mary (Weipert) Morgan died in 1833. She and Raphael are buried in the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery in Spokane, Washington."

By Linda Reno, Charlotte Hall, MD

JP

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA--Some Facts to Consider

The TSA full body scan and pat down controversy has reached a fever pitch. Lot of rhetoric out there, but its time to calm down and examine this controversy from a factual, not emotional standpoint. To that direction, I offer the following:

1. Fact. In 2008 about 756 million Americans traveled on domestic airlines. I assume that they all went through TSA screening. As far as I know, there were no terrorist attacks that originated on U.S. soil. TSA must be doing a hell of a job.

2. Fact. Since 9/11, all attempted terrorist attacks via our airlines have originated overseas.

3. Fact. About 9 million passengers pass through Ben Gurion airport undergoing Israeli screening. It is considered the gold standard of air travel screening.

4. Fact. About 46 million passengers are screened at Las Vegas airport alone each year. Nationwide, about 756 million as mentioned above. Think we could fully apply Israeli methods to our system? Opinion: I think not.

5. Fact. Since and including 9/11 we have either uncovered or prevented or lucked out on numerous terrorist plots against airline travel or domestic high value targets. Sixty two of the plotters were Muslim with Muslim names. Of the numerous attempts, only one, Richard Reid had a non Muslim name, although he did admit that he was a member of Al Qaeda.

6. Fact. The full body scanners may not detect explosives such as the underwear bomber carried. (GAO report April 2010)

7. Fact. Michael Chertoff’s consulting firm represents Rapiscan, a company that recently sold TSA 15 million dollars worth of full body scanners. Michael Chertoff used to be the head of Homeland Security.

8. Fact. Tom Blank, the former Deputy Director of TSA, now works for Wexler and Walker, a lobby firm that represents American Science and Engineering, that manufactures another full body scanner.

9. Fact. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits un-reasonable search of person and property of U.S. citizens.

I’m not going to hop on my soap box here and offer my solution to this controversy. I know what I would do, but I’m not in charge. The facts speak for themselves. You draw your own conclusions. I do know that since I do fly often, that if given a choice of the scanner or the pat down, I will elect the pat down, and politely inform the TSA agent that he is violating my Constitutional rights as he performs his search of my person.

JP

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Jersey Challenges TSA--A Big Attaboy!

Now we are getting somewhere. Would be nice if some other states jumped on the bandwagon. Saw some cracks in the administration position this AM. Hillary Clinton, on Face the Nation, opined that maybe we should find a way to reduce the numbers of people undergoing the invasive screening. In other words, Positive Profiling, like they already have with the Pilots.

Watch the New Jersey news conference  at :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EUJb_DJgBc&feature=related

Easiest way is to just click on the title above.

JP

Friday, November 19, 2010

TSA Caves on Youngsters and Pilots


Of course, that leaves the rest of us for the Peep Show and Grope. Ron Paul introduces a House Resolution to ban all touching. Pelosi sends it immediately to committee, where it will never see the light of day until after Jan 11, 2011. Keep up the pressure on your members of Congress, folks. We may just win this one after all.

Click on the Title to read the full article about the pilots.

JP

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where Now The Moral Outrage, Obama and Holder?


 
Over the past couple years, we have heard Obama and Eric Holder cite the importance of staying true to our values when dealing with terrorists. Obama was quite clear on this subject when he banned waterboarding as being torture, and Holder in citing the rule of law as a rationale for trying the nasty sheik in Manhattan.

Where now are Obama, Holder, and all their sanctimonious sycophants on the subject of American Values? They have suddenly gone quiet in the maelstrom of controversy surrounding the intrusive policies of Homeland Security’s TSA. Perhaps hoping the whole thing will blow away before they have to make any further brilliant remarks such as Janet Napolitano’s inane comment, “Well, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to fly.”

When Obama and Holder were talking about “American moral values” they were describing a  country defined by basic principles of integrity, rule of law, and a sense of fairness that permeates our unique experiment in governance. It thus seems strange that when confronted by a very specific example of the exact opposite, they choose to remain silent. I am referring, of course, to the enunciated moral values found in the United States Constitution. Specifically, the first ten amendments to the Constitution know collectively as the Bill of Rights. And, even more specifically, Amendment IV, which bears directly on the current controversy.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I assume there are lawsuits either under way or on tap that claim the searches by TSA are not Constitutional because they are unreasonable. I also assume the Department of Homeland Security, along with the Attorney General of the United States, will argue that the searches are reasonable since they are made to ensure security of the flying public. However argued, the government is on some pretty shaky grounds here, since the morality of carrying the searches to the point of sexual intrusion crosses a line that everyone knows instinctively is wrong. I would assume the nine wise men and women on the Supreme Court will feel the same, should the matter reach that far.

It is with this belief that I feel moral values will eventually trump the need for security. And since moral values have been cited by Obama and Holder as the very basis of the way we approach security from terrorists, I would also assume they will join with the American people in halting the invasive searches.

But I am not holding my breath.

JP

What The Fed is Really Up To (Hint: No Good)

What does "quantitative easing" really mean? You may be surprised. For a wonderfully simple explanation of what is going on with Bernake's actions, check out

Monday, November 15, 2010

Are We a Nation of Sheep?

Or, are we going to stand up and fight against this latest affront to our personal dignity?

It is with grumbling compliance that we Americans accept the need for airport screening. So for the most part, we placidly put up with all the irritations and small humiliations that are part and parcel of the process. We shuffle through the Disney waiting line maze with detached annoyance, but resigned to do our part to keep our future flight from harm. The Thousands Standing Around (TSA) for the most part perform their duties with detached professionalism, not wanting to further irritate the masses of passengers who have arrived before them already irritated. So it is with an almost sheep-like acceptance we have come to cope with the realities of the post 9/11 era. Until, that is, TSA unveiled it’s latest technology that I call the Peep Show and Probe initiative. This, somehow, steps over some invisible line in the sand because it invades the very essence of our right to personal privacy. To pose, like a common criminal in a back scatter X-Ray device, knowing that some professional peeping tom is checking out the size of your privates, is a grave insult to our dignity as a human being. Or, as an alternative, to undergo an invasive pat down that ends only when “resistance” is met with a man, and the lack of “resistance” is met with a woman is the ultimate invasion of whatever personal privacy you thought was guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. We have to stop this, and stop it fast. The time for action is now. With this in mind, I offer the following practical plan of action.

Forget individual resistance at the airport. If you refuse the back scatter or the pat down, at the least you are going to miss your flight; at the worst you are going to be detained unlawfully as TSA tries to figure out what to do with you.

First, we need to bring public pressure to bear by writing or calling our Representatives and Senators to make them aware of our concerns. (As an aside, it would be a good idea to require all members of our Congress to undergo mandatory back scatter or pat down screening when they fly).  In addition,  a campaign of writing Letters to the Editors of our local newspaper in order to raise the level of awareness of our objections.

Concurrently, employ that good old American tradition: sue the government in Federal Court to cease and desist a practice that observably violates our Constitutional right against unreasonable search. What better organization to assign this task than the ACLU? They have the power and the funding to carry this into our courts while showing us they really do care about our civil liberties. It would also give them something to do besides suing the Boy Scouts.

Finally, institute the practice of what I call Positive Profiling. Let me explain how this would work. I know who I am. I am not a terrorist. The problem is that TSA does not know who I am. They have their “watch list” of  thousands of potentially dangerous people, but they don’t have a “watch list” of the millions of Americans who pose no danger. May I suggest, that over a period of time, they develop the second watch list that would qualify for minimal airport screening. The key to this list would be a foolproof identification system which is technologically feasible today. This system would consist of either thumbprint or iris matching to positively identify the person on the list. Getting on this list would be akin to the process of obtaining a U.S. Passport--by vetting documentation of one's citizenship, occupation, and background and once vetted, the capture of your unique thumbprint or iris scan to be used at the airport to match the person with the “Go Fly” list. Positive Profiling would have the additional benefit of reducing passenger angst and speeding up the screening process.

I believe that with the application of the three positive actions listed above, we can put an early end to this terrible practice that so clearly violates the personal liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. The time for action is now, before all vestiges of our human dignity is taken away from us in the name of security.

James  P. Morgan
Sandy, Utah

See  http://tinyurl.com/39dpnlv  for a Washington Times article. Excellent. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius

Modern life is dictated by the clock. Up in the morning, kids off to school, out on the job--appointments, meetings, deadlines, eat, sleep and start all over. Pretty hectic. Not enough time in the day. I’m late, hurry, speed up; run Forrest, run. It wasn’t that long ago that our lives were dictated by a kinder, gentler, rhythm. In fact, for the most of human history, time passed in sync with the grand celestial dance of Earth, Moon, and Sun. The clock is a late invention, and just records the time intervals established by nature’s dance.

Up in the morning
Out on the job
Work like the devil for my pay
But that lucky old Sun
With nothin’ to do
But roll around Heaven all day.

(Beasley Smith and Haven Gillespie)

We used to live in a different world. We marked the passage of time with the light and the darkness; the equinox and the solstice; and the yearly pivot about the Sun, while the Moon roughly measured the months. We planted in the Spring, harvested in the Fall. We retired shortly after dark, and were up with the Sun. We measured our lifetimes by the number of orbits about our star. We marveled at the grand march of constellations across the night sky. In many ways, it was a kinder, gentler existence.

We tend to forget that our notion of time has been dictated by the movements of celestial bodies. And even when we do, we limit our concept the the movements within our solar system--the yearly cycle is about as far as we take it. However, ancient societies found an even larger cycle in the night skies, one that takes around 24,000 years to complete. With a little patience, you can discover it also. It is called “The precession of the equinox.” You are all familiar with the Zodiac, that collection of constellations that march across the night sky in the same plane as our own Sun. Every year, the Zodiac backs up about 1/60th of a degree. This is why it takes 24,000 years to complete the full 360 degrees.

What this means in a practical sense is that at the time of Christ, some 2000 years ago, if you looked into the eastern sky on the spring equinox just before the sun came up, you would see Pisces on the horizon. If you looked today, Pisces would be receding and Aquarius would be rising. Thus, “This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, Aquarius, A-quar-ri-us.” (Name the group that made that song the number one hit in the 60‘s)

 The ancient Hindu, Babylonian, Egyptian, and perhaps even the Mayan were acutely aware of the cycle and imparted huge significance to the phenomena  in as much as it marked rising and descending ages of mankind. Supposedly, by their measurements, we are in an ascending age of man at the present. Lets hope so. Finally, though, a bit of astronomy to explain the movement.

The accepted scientific view as to what causes the backward movements of the Zodiac is that the Earth, spinning like a giant top, has a slow “wobble” that takes 24000 years to complete, thus the slight backwards movement is caused by a small change in the orientation of the Earth as it “wobbles”. This explanation his highly technical and subject to criticism due to some pretty obvious holes in the theory. And, it does not pass the “Occum’s Razor” test--it is so complex that there probably is a simpler explanation.

If our Sun was in a binary relationship with another star, and the two circled each other about a common point of gravity in an elliptical orbit, as binary stars do, then that motion would account for the precession as the Sun curved through space. About 80% of all stars are in a binary relationship with other stars, so the idea isn’t that far-fetched.  In the next installment of this blog, I’ll lay out the case for a possible candidate--and one that fits the ancient myths.

JP




  

Friday, November 12, 2010

All in the Family

My nephew Chris Morgan, a F-16 pilot with combat action in all three wars out there in the Middle East, was interviewed yesterday by a local news station. Did a great job. To view, click on the title, it is linked to the interview. Chris' dad was a RF4C pilot in Vietnam--yours truly a forward air controller in a C-130. Runs in the family.

JP

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Victory Gardens and Arrow Shirts

By the time World War II ended in 1945, I was seven years old, so I do remember quite a bit about those times. One of my strongest memories is of our family cultivating a “Victory Garden” along with every one of our neighbors and relatives. A bit of research on my part found that these gardens, instituted as a national movement during the war, accounted for fruit and vegetable production equal to the entire commercial market at the time. Victory Gardens were ostensibly a way to ensure our troops would receive the lion’s share of the commercial growers output, but in reality the main reason was that they provided a way for Americans to feel like they were participating in the war effort. In addition, most every other commodity was rationed; for example, meat, sugar ,milk, butter, and so on. Hard to believe for anyone born after 1945. 

Shortly after the war, I remember that every Sunday we would take a family drive in the country. At the time, I did not realize that pleasure driving had been banned during the war, and that gasoline had been strictly rationed. (As a side note, the coveted “X” ration card with unlimited gasoline purchase was found to have been illegally issued to 200 congressmen--I guess things haven’t changed much after all.) The United States really had all the gasoline it needed, so the true reason for the rationing was to save on distribution costs and minimize the use of rubber in the tires. The Japanese had choked off our rubber supplies, so the military needed all the rubber we could produce with our limited capacity.

So what does this all have to do with investments? First of all, to demonstrate that it was only three generations ago that the United States was coming out of a deep, deep depression and that there was a time, in my lifetime, when there was not an abundance of foodstuffs and consumer goods. We are so used to the lifestyle we have now that it is hard to believe that it was not that long ago that there were shortages of commodities, whether man made or natural. It is only through complacency and ignorance that we deny that it could happen again.

But it can--in a heartbeat. The “big one” could hit California any time. Al-Qaeda could succeed in nuking a major city. A stray asteroid could slam into the Los Angels basin. An economic crisis as bad as the Great Depression could occur. (It nearly did a couple years ago.) Mt Rainier could blow its top and wipe out the Pacific Northwest. The list goes on and on--catastrophes could happen at any moment. Are you prepared? Probably not, and that is where I feel you can make the best investment you will ever make for your family.

You have to invest in your survival. That means instead of dumping money into the stock market, or the gold market, or savings accounts, that you invest some of your hard earned cash in the things that keep you alive, eg., food, water, shelter, and energy. Enough to last you for six months. No, I am not Mormon, although I live in Utah, but I do believe as they that it is prudent to prepare for the worst by ensuring your family can survive even the most dire man made or natural disasters. You cannot eat certificates of deposits, paper money, or even gold. Not so long ago, the main enterprise of mankind was the production of food because that was the very basic essential of life on Earth. If you don’t eat, you die. My little nest egg is worthless unless I can convert it into the essential commodities of life, and in a real crisis, I would not count on paper money having any more value than the ink that was used to print it.

Six month’s worth of food, water, and energy is surprisingly affordable. Basic commodities such as wheat flour, corn meal, rice and beans are cheap and easily stored in bulk. Water, or a way to produce potable water is essential. Energy in the form of charcoal or solar panels is available. I have spent less than $1000 in setting aside enough of the above to feed myself and my family for at least six months, keep us warm in the winter, and ensure a clean drinking supply.  Basic survival stuff, but the best investment I have ever made. May I also suggest you do the same. Its what we do out here in Flyover Country. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

In the past 60 days, soybeans 22%, sugar 51%. In the past 4 months, wheat is up 72%. This year, corn is up 48%. These numbers are the market telling us that the smart money is shifting from dollar investments to commodity investments as fears of devaluation of the dollar mount.  Better stock up--its a long way to Spring and getting your Victory Garden planted.

Lead story in the Wall Street Journal today--Cotton up 100% this year. Better stock up on your Arrow Shirts.

JP

http://twitter.com/minerjp

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Its OK to be Paranoid



My old flying buddy Moose tells me its OK for me to be paranoid because the bastards really are out to get me. So it was with sullen suspicion I greeted the news that the Fed was going to pump another gazillion dollars into the U.S. economy by buying some of our own Treasury Bills. I immediately suspected that the Danes were letting their garbage pile up again, but since I am a complete pointy head when it comes to macro economics, I could not quite identify my unease. So I took to the kitchen table again, only to find that my $5.00 calculator did not handle numbers that large, so I had to create an analogy that made sense of it all. Here’s what I came up with.

Imagine there is a very large corporation that manufactures lots of “stuff.” This corporation sells their “stuff” to a super mega corporation and makes a ton of money doing so. Everything was going along just dandy until the management of the mega corporation made some bad decisions and they found they had a cash flow problem and were having trouble meeting their payroll. So they turned to the supplier corporation and asked them to loan the mega corporation some money so they could meet their payroll. Corporation number 1, not wanting to lose their best customer, loaned out the money and everyone was happy. Mega corporation then hired some new management but they made some decisions that only made things worse, so they turned to their supplier and asked for more loans. By this time, Corporation 1 was getting a little nervous, and thought the risk was going up, so figured it was about time that the Mega Corporation coughed up a little more in interest payments. Not so fast, said the Super Mega Corporation--you see, we can print our own currency and loan it to ourselves.

So China gets the message. If you want to keep selling “stuff” to us, we want you to buy our debt, but we are going to keep the interest rates low because we control the currency of trade. In fact, we can just print more of our currency any time we feel like it, since we are the biggest economy in the world.

The official reason for the Fed to buy our own debt is to keep the interest rates low so the economy can recover faster. But here is what is rotten in Denmark. We hear about trillions of dollars piling up in banks and corporations, waiting in reserve while the managers figure out if the U.S. mega corporate managers are going to get things right. If interest rates are kept artificially low, the banks and corporations will eventually have to invest that cash in capital improvements, goods, and services. Thats a good thing. The bad news is that I am getting shafted.

You see, I have reached “senior citizen” status and live on a fixed income. For years and years I sacrificed and saved my dollars so I could have a nice little nest egg for retirement. I figured that nice little nest egg would create some income in the form of interest. Last time I looked, I was getting a return of around a half a percent on all that hard saved money. So what am I to do for investments? Well, that will be the subject of my next blog. This one has grown a bit large.


One last observation. If the U.S. prints more money, doesn't that decrease the value of each dollar in circulation? I'll leave that question to someone who really understands macro economics.

JP   

http://twitter.com/minerjp

Friday, November 5, 2010

Action vs Propaganda

Go to wsj.com to see the two articles that prompted me to write a "letter to the editor" of the "Wall Street Journal."  Here is what I wrote:  (This letter was actually published by the WSJ)

November 5, 2010Wall Street Journal

Letters To The Editor

Dear Sir or Madam (With apologies to Senator Boxer)

I was struck by the contrast between Rep John Boehner’s article in Friday’s WSJ (What the Next Speaker Must Do)  and the article just below his (An Undeserved Win for the GOP). In the first, Boehner offers four specific actions for the next speaker to take that would restore some confidence in our Congress.  In the second, and shorter opinion piece, Ms Henvel manages to absolve the Democrats of any blame, call for redistribution of wealth, slander the Republicans as the party of empty slogans, raise taxes, get out of Afghanistan, empower the downtrodden minorities, and for Obama to redouble his efforts that led to the “shellacking” he took. She is truly a gifted writer, being able to pack all that progressive pap into one short piece. Boehner’s article offers solutions--Henvel’s offers the same old tired propaganda from the left.

James P. (JP) Morgan
Sandy, Utah
http;//flyoverfeedback.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Bubble Nebula

Out there in the night sky, near the constellation Cassiopeia (The big Dubya in the sky) is a fascinating object called the Bubble Nebula. Located only 11300 light years away, it is the result of a massive star (the bright area of the bubble) blowing out gases and intense radiation to form and light the bubble. This star is 100,000 times brighter than our own sun and is 45 times more massive. The bubble is about 10 light years in diameter.

Taken the night of 3 November 2010 with backyard telescope in Sandy, Utah.

JP

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Star is Born

I wrote the following blog a couple days ago, before the election. In his victory speech, Rubio reinforced my belief that he will play a huge role in the Latino voting bloc by asserting that the American Dream is still alive and well and with in reach of everyone. It was a positive message, and will resonate with those striving to achieve success in this great country.


In Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Matthew Kaminski published an article titled “Who’s Afraid of Marco Rubio.” Excellent article about the up and coming new Senator from Florida. The thrust of Kaminski’s opinion was that Rubio has the Democrats frightened since they sense a rising star in the Republican party, thus the ham-handed attempt by Bubba to stop Rubio by encouraging the Democratic candidate to drop out, thus throwing votes to Turncoat Charlie Crist. Kaminski does a great job outlining why Rubio has emerged as such a charismatic politician, astounding the political class with his rapid rise from the barrio. However, Mr Kaminski sidesteps the most compelling argument as to why the Democrats fear Rubio.

Simply put, Rubio represents a Republican candidate who has vast appeal to the Latino population. As the fastest growing bloc of political voters, the Democrats felt they had locks on the Latino vote. Rubio’s compelling story, in addition to his upbeat attitude and communications skills, mark him as someone who will be closely watched by the Latino bloc.

That is why they are afraid of Marco Rubio.

It will be interesting to see how he performs in the Senate and on the national stage. I predict bigger and better things for this exciting politician.

Kaminski Article:  http://tinyurl.com/2a8p4vl    or, just click on the title.





JP

Monday, November 1, 2010

What Comes Next?

The wait is nearly over. Tomorrow, the people of this great Republic will file to the polls, cast their votes, and hopefully restore some balance to our body politic. The pontificators and the pollsters have had their say, now it is our turn to voice the only opinion that really counts.

It is pretty obvious by now that the Republicans will regain the House, effectively firing Nancy Pelosi. That alone is a huge step in returning some sanity to the legislative process. Control of the Senate is a long shot, but even if the Republicans fall short, there is a good chance Harry Reid may take a long overdue retirement.

The important thing to remember is that change alone will not guarantee desired outcomes--look what our current President, elected with a mandate to “change”, has wrought. Hopefully, we are sending a new crop of legislators to Congress to accomplish two main goals. 1. Undo some of the extreme changes enacted by Pelosi and Reid and signed by Obama. 2. Govern intelligently and with the consent and support of the great American people.

This will only happen if we, the people hold our representatives and senators accountable for their actions. To paraphrase another conservative blogger found in these pages, “Be forever vigilant and remain true to our core beliefs.”

JP

Sunday, October 31, 2010

North, To Alaska

Guest blog time. My dear friend from USAF pilot training years ago, and bush pilot extraordinaire up in the great State of Alaska, has provided some local color to the shenanigans taking place up that way. Here is some insight from Wasilla Willie:

"What a sick mess our politics has become.  In stead of debating the issues up here this last week, the strategy pundits, and I use the term loosely, are forcing the voters to focus on minutia like what is " unauthorized assistance" at the polling place!  What a waste of time for the state courts to deal with - rulings about whether a list of names of write-in candidates is violating state law.

Has anyone noticed that all the other candidates are provided on the printed ballot?  To argue that a list of the write-in candidates is "illegal" and "excessive assistance" at the ballot box is ludicrous!  Anyway, someone had a court rule that names could not be provided at the polls for write-in candidates.  The other side got another court to "stay" that ruling.  Then the other side raised it to the State Supreme Court.  On Thursday or Friday the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that a list of write-in candidates could be provided if voters asked for it at the polls.  True, a voter should be smart enough to know who they want to write-in and how to spell their candidate's name, but to debate the legality of a list of write-ins at the polls is trivial, ridiculous, and a waste of time.  So, on Tuesday, we will have Lisa and other, if any, write-in candidates on a list that voters can see at the polls if they ask.  But the plot thickens.

This decision irritated Dan Fagan, a local conservative radio talk show host.  He immediately encouraged his listeners to hurry up and register as write-in candidates before the Friday deadline in an obvious attempt to make it more difficult for all those voters who were going to vote possibly for Lisa but didn't know how to spell her name. As a result of Fagan's encouragement, we now will have 200 write-in candidates for review if requested.  Give me a break !  The latest in this caper is that Fagan was fired after this advocacy by the station manager for "exceeding station policies".  I guess Fagan is a Miller supporter which I am also, although Lisa did help with some prodding to get Medicare to finally authorize a local hospital here to include lap band surgery (less expensive and less intrusive than bypass surgery) for those on Medicare.

So this has been a large part of the local media focus this last week before the mid-term elections.  And I'm sure the local news will debate whether or not Fagan should have been fired.  Fagan is no Juan Williams and should not be another diversion but probably will be.  On Saturday night news I heard that there is yet another court challenge to the latest status of the "too much help" issue.  Will we ever focus on the issues?  I guess not.

Will Lisa pull this one off?.... I don't think so, but it might be close.  Lisa was "caught" in a "good old boy" deal on the Kenai a few years ago when she was purchasing a property way below market price.  When the details of this deal became public, she backed out of the deal with little political repercussion.  She grew up under her dad's political machine and methodology and apparently is willing to participate in some of the shenanigans that got her dad, Ted Stevens, and others in trouble. The Kenai caper has been mentioned in Miller ads.  Lisa just is too close to the "business as usual" crowd for me and I hope Joe Miller gets a majority to avoid the expense and time wasted for a run off.  Tuesday will be a long night, particularly if Alaska voters will determine the outcome of the required tenth additional senatorial seat."

Wasilla Willie

"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want."  ---Tori Filler

Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Rats Leave the Ship?

Time magazine predicts that Pelosi may retire rather than work under a Republican House majority. Classic end game. I knew it well when I was a kid. “I’m taking my marbles and not gonna play with you anymore.” Of course, if she does, I will be infuriated and sorely disappointed--I was looking forward to that San Francisco female canine having to eat some crow after the way she ran roughshod over her own inmates and the American public. But she, like many of her cohorts, will take the easy way out and retire to the good life on their government pensions and health care for life. She is, and was, and will be, an evil woman. Good riddance.

JP

http://flyoverfeedback.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Step to The Rear of the Bus, Please

We are making headway. Instead of throwing  conservatives under the bus, Obama has agreed that they can ride--but only in the back. I’ll bet the next step will be to have their own separate lunch counter in the Senate dining room.  Can equal but separate rest rooms be far behind? Gotta hand it to the guy, he does have a way with words.

JP

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Signs of a Pending Divorce

It is usual just prior to a divorce that one of the spouses will state that the other spouse just does not appreciate what he/she has done for the other.

The second in line to the presidency of the United States is now whining that us poor folks out here in flyover country just don’t appreciate what the Democrats have done for us. She must have her head screwed on backwards. Of course we appreciate what they have done. We love being another several trillion dollars in debt. We love having a brand new health care system that takes from the rich (Medicare senior citizens) and gives to the handout class. We love the Cap and Tax bill passed by her and her cronies in the House that will send us back into the iron age. We are thrilled to have them take over 2/3 of our domestic auto industry. We are overwhelmed by their payoffs to their Union minions in their one billion dollar “stimulus” bill that stimulated the unions to contribute over 140,000 million dollars to Democrat candidates this go around.

I used to think that Nancy Pelosi was just another misguided San Francisco liberal. I have changed my mind. She is truly an idiot. She deserves to be divorced. From we the people.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Beautiful Workout With a Dumbell

Another break from politics. Check out the image at the top.

The Dumbell Nebula, otherwise known as Messier-27, was discovered by the French astronomer by that name in 1764.  It can be easily seen with binoculars or a small telescope near the constellation Vulpecula, which is near Lyra overhead in early evenings in Utah. You can see why it picked up its common nickname. It is a planetary nebula, which means it developed from an expiring star that ballooned into a red giant and then shrunk into a white dwarf some 8000 years ago in relative terms. It has the shape of a prolate spheroid, which is a fancy name for an egg shaped object but with equal ends. We see it along the plane of its equator. The central star can be made out in the image. It is one of the most spectacular of the planetary nebulae.

Technical stuff: 10“ Meade LX200 GPS telescope; Meade Deep Sky Imager Pro I CCD camera; 30 minutes of luminance @ 30 seconds per frame; 10 minutes each of red, green, and blue filters again at 30 seconds per frame. Processed with NASA’s Fits Liberator, then combined in Photoshop 7 as a LumRedGreenBlue composite. Taken from my backyard in Sandy, Utah on the night of 20 October 2010.

8GEGKAHJEF9K

JP

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Can't Be Bought for $250

In a desperate bid to buy votes, the administration and their cronies in Congress have floated the idea of sending out a check for $250 to everyone on Social Security. I think the total cost of this was around 14 billion dollars. This ploy fails on several levels, the first being the fact that the U.S. does not have 14 billion dollars extra laying around to bribe its senior citizens. I don’t want my check since I know they will have to borrow it from my two month old grand daughter. She already has too much on her plate in terms paying off the U.S. debt.  It also fails the smell test because it supposedly will be appropriated by the lame duck Congress, and you know, you just know, that the Democrats will be in no mood to bring up the subject once they have been trounced in November.

Speaking of Social Security, did you notice that for the second year in a row, there will be no COLA?  More importantly, did you notice that we seniors haven’t taken to the barricades to vent our displeasure, ala France? Probably because as American citizens, we realize that with the economy in the dumps, this is no time to be sniveling for a bigger share of the pie. Most of us are thankful for just getting a check in the mail every month, unlike many Americans who are really struggling to get by.

So lets bag the bribe and get on with returning our economy to its rightful place. A good place to start will be to throw the bums out of office who have practiced fiscal diarrhea and get someone in there who understands you can’t spend more than you take in. It really, really, is as simple as that.

8GEGKAHJEF9K

JP

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Wonder of it All

M-42 (Messier Nr 42) The Great Nebula of Orion

The constellation Orion, the Hunter, is beginning to rise on the eastern horizon late in the evening. By January it will be coming up early enough for backyard viewing, but for now, about 3AM is a good time to observe. Since I know most of you are catching some well-deserved Zs about that time, I decided to image an interesting part of the constellation so you could share it early. Just below the three stars that mark the Belt of Orion, there is a fuzzy patch you can see with the naked eye called the Sword of Orion. A small telescope or a good set of binoculars will reveal a huge area of star formation, with dark and light clouds swirling in interstellar activity. With a larger telescope, like my 10“ Meade LX200, the area comes alive with detail. In the center, is a group of four stars (two with unseen small companions, for a total of 6) called the Trapezium. These bright new stars are illuminating the huge clouds of interstellar dust that are gradually coalescing into new born stars.

Imaging the visible Universe is my way of escaping the day to day follies of our political landscape. It provides a perspective that reduces the angst and increases the awe of just being alive to witness the wonder of it all. 

JP

Monday, October 18, 2010

California Dreamin' Dimwits

It never ceases to amaze me the innate capacity of Americans to inflict self-induced wounds to the body politic. California immediately comes to mind. As a resident of that state for thirty years, before coming to my senses and fleeing with all my worldly possessions to a much saner state, I watched that quintessential  beacon of prosperity and hope slowly dim as the dimwits took charge. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge believer in good environmental policy, but environmental policy run amok can destroy the quality of life with a vengeance. Here are just a few examples of green run wild.

Over what now turns out to be faulty, if not bogus science, nearly the entire logging industry of California was wiped out over a small bird called the Spotted Owl. California mandated fuel standards requiring ethanol and other additives ensures that state gasoline prices are always ten to twenty cents above what I pay here in Utah. Now we are finding out that ethanol production is just as damaging, carbon-wise, to the environment, as well as driving up the cost of corn. Then there is the big one--global warming and the dimwits response to it. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the Earth has been on a warming trend over the past hundred years or so. The science, with some caveats, supports that fact. However, the cause of the warming has yet to be determined, although the chief dimwit, Al Gore, seems to think so. He and his ilk have convinced a lot of folks, including the Terminator, that California should lead the way in capping carbon emissions. Since the dimwits can’t get Congress to go along with their goofy schemes, they figured California would be the next best thing in advancing their agenda.

So Arnie and the boys passed AB 32, California’s climate change law, a Cap and Tax scheme right out of the playbook of Babs Boxer. Reality has set in, now that the costs of this law are beginning to be understood. One study commissioned by the California Small Business Roundtable concluded that over one million jobs would be lost and that each California family would incur an additional $3,847 per year in expenses. Now, with unemployment at over 12 percent in that once great state, the voters have been given a chance to put off this ruinous bill by voiding it until such time as the economy improves. If you are a Californian, for your own economic benefit, vote FOR Proposition 23.

If you are not a Californian, urge your friends out that way to put some common sense back into play.

JP

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Ring Nebula

See image to the right.

The Ring Nebula is located in the constellation Lyra, which is pretty much overhead in the night sky here in Utah about 8 PM. The very bright star Vega marks the constellation. The Ring Nebula was formed when a medium mass star, like our own Sun, burned out all its hydrogen. In order to achieve a new equilibrium where it can continue to burn, it expands into a Red Giant, throwing off clouds of matter in an expanding ring. The clouds are illuminated by the central star, which is formed after the Red Giant stage into a White Dwarf. You can just make out this White Dwarf in the center of the ring, which is viewed at a 30 degree angle from Earth, thus its elongation. I’ll add some color once I have imaged some additional frames. The Ring Nebula is a classic example of what are known as Planetary Nebula, due to their circular shapes and large size as seen through a telescope.

Technical Data: Taken with a Meade LX200 GPS 10 inch telescope with a Meade DSI Pro I ccd camera from my backyard in Utah. Twenty three 30 second exposures combined and processed in Photoshop 7.

JP

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Are Our Leaders Really Idiots?

I received this guest blog from a crusty old friend. He does have a way with words and ideas. He takes exception to John Thune’s assertion that Obama and his cronies are clueless as to what troubles the average Flyover Country American.
 

From an article by John Thune, “A Tangible Step To Economic Recovery”

http://tinyurl.com/23kal89

 "President Obama does not seem to realize what is plain as day to millions of Americans, which is that our economic recovery and lack of job creation are linked to wasteful Washington spending and record debt."

 Obama doesn't realize...???!!!!   He's not as smart as we are???!!!

Thune, the author of the article, appears to have his cranium fully lodged in his fundamental orifice. Either that or he's afraid of being labeled as an "extremist" or..EGAD!...a Conspiracy nut.
After decades of an uninterrupted series of ruinous government actions consistently leading our country inexorably toward the dictatorship of Fascism, anyone believing that the responsible individual actors have been uniformly stupid, ill informed, poorly advised or otherwise deficient in the mental qualifications necessary to serve in public office, is not thinking rationally.

Highly educated, politically clever and superbly manipulative politicians are not as intelligent or as well informed as the average American high school graduate? PUHLEEZE!!!
Whoever came up with such a preposterous premise had to be relying on the native vanity of the unwashed masses. Sadly, he (Thune)  was demonstrably correct in his assessment to the point where even knowledgeable insiders must be amazed that we'd be that irrational and gullible. Not only did we accept the premise but, now, they don't even have to initiate mentioning it. We've so internalized the manifestly inane notion that we do it on our own without prompting. Only vanity could allow the average Joe Sixpack to buy into that Big Lie with such stunning arrogance.   Alas!  So much for critical thinking.

 As for me, I don't like the color gray in any shade, however nuanced and subtle it may be. Ashes are gray as is the sky just before a storm or the dark of night.  Smoke and fog are gray.  Gray pallor is a sign of illness or great emotional distress.  I prefer white and black. That quirk allows me to wield Occam's razor and attribute evil outcomes to the evil intentions of evil people. Sweet talk is for social occasions.  Politics requires clear thinking and plain talk.  I, therefore, risk being censured by folks more delicately sensitive than I by asserting that the Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et.al. gang are highly intelligent, well educated and extremely well informed and organized traitors to America, carrying on the agenda of their Gramscian predecessors through the decades in a thus far successful effort to bring America to its knees economically and culturally so that it will obediently accept its assigned position in the NWO.

As for the non-ideologues who aren't dedicated to the cause of treason but simply go along with the master plotters in pursuit of money and prestige, well, their morality quotient is beneath that of street whores. Even the most degenerate crack whores don't solicit in the name of true, everlasting love.  Their clients know up front what they're paying for.

Pupah

 "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
 Heny L. Mencken

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sixteen Tons of Number Nine Coal

"Another day older and deeper in debt"


I woke up this morning to find I was another $3000 in debt. No, I did not go out and charge a flat screen mega pixel voice of the theater super sized TV yesterday. I just woke up, and turned on the news and found out that our government had managed to run up another (ho hum) trillion plus in deficit spending. I did a little checking, and found that my share of the total U.S. national debt is $176,126 and rising fast.

Message to the IRS: I’m not gonna pay it back. I’m too old and don’t make enough to ever pay it back. Let my newly born grand daughter, Molly Bell Morgan pay it back. How would you like to have been born a month ago and already be $176,126 in the hole?

No, its not all Obama’s fault, although he sure is not helping things with his warped policies that are driving this country deeper and deeper in the hole. It took a real effort by countless gutless, special interest, crooked, ambitious, self-serving SOBs in leadership positions in our government, mostly in the House of Representatives, who have led us into this mess.

So the Repubs are going to take over Congress this November? Ho Hum again. As I recall, they did not do so well the last time they were running things.

Throw them all out. Start over.

JP

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Useless But Interesting Trivia

Time for a little break from all the political stuff. My friend Mikey sent me these, from a website called Jokeroo.

Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?

A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay
called "pygg". When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars
became known as "pygg banks." When an English potter misunderstood the word,
he made a bank that resembled a pig. And it caught on.

Q: Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches,
while pennies and nickels do not?

A: The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold
and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the
precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they
used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren't notched because the
metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave..

Q: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have
buttons on the left?

A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily
by the rich. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put
the buttons on the maid's right. Since most people are right-handed, it is
easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. And that's
where women's buttons have remained since.

Q: Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?

A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write,
documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to
fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually
became synonymous.

Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called "passing the buck"?

A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from
player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not
wish to assume the responsibility, he would "pass the buck" to the next
player.

Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?

A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him
a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became
customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of
the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his
host, he would then just touch or clink the host's glass with his own.

Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be "in the limelight"?

A: Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and stage lighting by
burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre,
performers on stage "in the limelight" were seen by the audience to be the
center of attention.

Q: Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use "mayday"as their call for help?

A: This comes from the French word m'aidez -meaning "help me" -- and is
pronounced "mayday,"

Q: Why is someone who is feeling great "on cloud nine"?

A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with
nine being the highest cloud If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that
person is floating well above worldly cares.

Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called "love"?

A: In France , where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on
scoreboard looked like an egg and was called "l'oeuf," which is French for
"egg." When tennis was introduced in the US , Americans pronounced it
"love."

Q: In golf, where did the term "Caddie" come from?

A: When Mary, later Queen of Scots, went to France as a young girl (for
education &survival), Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scot
game "golf." So he had the first golf course outside of Scotland built for
her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while
she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary
liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in
the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is
pronounced 'ca- day' and the Scots changed it into "caddie."

JP

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Connecticut Compromise

Last night, my grand daughter and her good friend, Olivia, both high school seniors, came over for a study session and homemade pizza. They were preparing for an upcoming test on the U.S. Constitution, and had asked me to assist them in their studies. We had a lively kitchen table discussion as I attempted to fill in some of the blanks in their study guide. It became quickly apparent to me that although they had diligently mastered an impressive list of facts about the Constitution and the government that flowed from that document, they had no real grasp of the context in which it was written. For example, they knew the Connecticut Compromise, also known as the Great Compromise, created the upper house of two Senators from every state. The problem was, they had no idea as to why this was included in the Constitution. The original proposal of one house of representatives based upon a proportional number of seats according to a state’s population did not sit well with the smaller states. When the delegates from the small states balked at the original idea, the two delegates from Connecticut offered up the compromise, which was accepted, and the writing of the Constitution continued. The context of those times led me to thinking about the context of the present times, and what appears to be a political upheaval going on.

I believe the pervasive unease we see today, illuminated by the Tea Party movement, is is partly the result of a loss of context. In the past two years, the change delivered by the Obama presidency has shifted the political landscape dramatically, taking a large section of the population out of its comfort zone. It is as if we woke up one morning and found the good old U.S. of A. was starting to look like the good old U.S. of Europe. Too much change, too quickly. We see a government that looms ever more intrusively in our daily lives, running up debt like a drunken power shopper, and the sense of unease grows apace. The coming upheaval in the November elections will be the people’s way of attempting to put this country back into a context they understand. I sure hope we succeed.

JP

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Many evenings of late, as I am out stargazing with my large backyard telescope, I try to wrap my mind around the vast distances I am observing. The size of our Universe is beyond human comprehension--distances so far that even professional astronomers deal with the vastness by using sterile math formulas that refer to distances as ‘parsecs” and “astronomical units” and “light years.” Since I am a kitchen table kind of guy, I needed something a little more down to Earth to try and understand the vastness. With pencil and paper in hand, here’s what I came up with.

Take a tennis ball and put it on the goal line of a football field. On the other goal line, place one of those huge beach balls, about five feet in diameter. The tennis ball is the Earth. The beach ball is the Sun. Use the 300 feet between them to represent the distance from the Earth to the Sun, (about 93,000,000 miles). Using the same scale, how far do you think it would be to the nearest star from our solar system?
A mile? Two miles? Ten miles? Not even close. Using that same scale where a football field represents 93 million miles, the nearest star would be around 33,000 miles away. That, folks, is how much empty space there is out there.

One final note, a little closer to home. People toss around the word trillion dollar deficit as if they really had an idea of just how much money that is. Here is what a trillion looks like:

1,000,000,000,000

That's a one with 12 zeros.

Put a dollar sign in front of that and you are talking some serious money. The three stooges have managed to rack up several of those in deficit spending since they took office. Deficit spending is the same as whipping out the old credit card and charging goods and services. Each one of those trillions adds $3,230 owed by every man, woman and child in our country. How would you like to be born today not knowing you are in hock up to your pacifier? When the bill comes due, don’t expect Obama, Pelosi, and Reid to be making the payment. It be we.

JP

Friday, October 1, 2010

We Didn't Start the Fire

For 50 years of history in less than five minutes, check out this Billy Joel classic set to images and lyrics.

Click on the title, above.

JP

The Rats Flee the Good Ship Obama

In the days of tall sails and wooden ships, rats took up residence in the bowls of the ship, nesting in the hold and living on scraps left by the sailors. Down close to the keel, they would be the first to know that sea water was flooding in faster than the bilge pumps could handle, and like the smart little furry animals they are, began to look for dryer places. As they raced up to the higher decks, they were  chased by the sailors until they plunged off the side. Later, when the ship finally sank, the sailors remembered the scurrying rats and thus was born the phrase, “Like rats deserting a sinking ship.” At least that is one version of the origins of the idiom.

The Great Ship Obama appears to be taking on water faster than it can be pumped out. Thus, the wily rats are leaving before it goes completely under. Rahm Emanuel leaves today to run for the most corrupt leadership role in America--the Mayor of Chicago.  Peter Orszog, Christina Romer, and Lawrence Summers, all key architects of the Obama economic policy, have fled from the coming disaster. Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, won’t be far behind.  Democrat congressmen are running as far away from the Great Ship Obama as fast as they can. (“Not me, I was against that damned Health Care bill all along. Nancy made me do it.”) I hope that like all good Captains and First Mates, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid will go down with the ship this coming November.

The rats know something.

Hillary must be inwardly smiling.

JP

Thursday, September 30, 2010

U. S. Attacks Iran!

According to Iran’s chief computer security secretary, Mahmoud Alyaee, Iran’s industrial computer system has been under devastating attack for several months. A computer virus, called Stuxnet, has infected thousands of computers, leading to severe disruptions in their industrial complex, specifically  their nuclear program. They have been unable to control this virus, and have secretly offered huge rewards to anyone who can rid their computer systems of the malware.

Reliable sources attribute the attacks to the U. S. with cooperation from Israel. If so, think of the mischief we can apply to that rogue country. Can the power grid be next? How about the banking system? The possibilities are endless. According to the same sources, President Obama is fully behind this cyber war attack, and is using the potential threat as the “big stick” in the carrot and stick diplomatic efforts to rein in Iran’s ambitions. Good for him.

That the U.S. has developed this capacity is the good news. The bad news is that the bad guys are working just as hard to wage cyber war against our systems. Lets hope we stay ahead in this particular form of warfare.

For the full report, click on the title above to go to the source web site at

http://www.debka.com/article/9050/         

Thanks to Aram for this heads up.

JP

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Silly Willie

What on Earth is ex-President Bill Clinton up to? While George H.W. Bush and George Bush II maintain a respectful silence as befits ex-Presidents, Bill Clinton is taking a page out of Jimmy Carter’s playbook and running off at the mouth as chief finger wagger in charge. It must be a Democrat thing--in or out of office they have to have to keep yapping. Just recently Clinton was reverting to form by snidely referring  to Republican women as looney wing nuts. Is he crazy,  knowing he is going  to piss off a significant number of American women by his remarks?  Crazy like a fox, he be.

It seems to me that the more the Democrats get clobbered this November, the better Hillary’s prospects are to rescue the Party from the Obama/Pelosi/Reid disaster. Could it be that her rascal husband is actually campaigning for the defeat of Democratic candidates while appearing to be a loyal supporter?

Machiavellian , I know, but that is the way my mind works.

JP

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Conservative Blogs Central: O'Donnell Is Going To Win

Conservative Blogs Central: O'Donnell Is Going To Win

Gold Spikes Thanks To Obama, Pelosi, and Reed

The price of gold shot up this morning to over $1305. Gold has been steadily moving upward for the past year, and is now accelerating. There can be only one reason for this rise: investors are scrambling to find a safe haven for their money as the fear of economic collapse grows. Why the fear?

Obama and his two stooges in Congress.

Their liberal agenda has moved this country on a non-sustainable path of reckless spending and entitlements. They are printing money at a record pace to fund this extraordinary growth in government. Left unchecked they will bankrupt the country--and I am beginning to believe the Chicken Little’s who have been warning that this has been their goal all along. Bankrupt the country, then start anew with a fresh slate that would impose their vision of social order.

If the dollar collapses, the whole fiat currency system of the world will collapse in turn. Watch the price of gold carefully--the smart guys are on to the game.

JP

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jupiter Tonight

Jupiter will be on display this evening, the brightest object in the sky save the Moon. It is currently as close to the Earth as it is going to be for the next 50 years, around 368 million miles away on the other side of Mars. It is some 11 times the size of the Earth. Look for it to rise tonight a bit south of east, ahead of Moonrise. With a pair of binoculars, you should be able to pick out four of its largest moons. I'm going to attempt to capture some closeups with my 10" telescope this evening, and with any luck, will have good "seeing" and be able to post a picture or two.

JP

Friday, September 24, 2010

High Noon at Denny's

Seems like someone was asked to leave a Denny's restaurant because he was carrying a weapon on his hip lawfully in an open carry state. The Denny's manager cited a Denny's policy that open display of weapons by someone other than law enforcement was not allowed.

This kicked off a  lot of chatter on the internet concerning open carry of firearms. I live in an open carry state, and fully support the right of citizens to openly carry a firearm. I own firearms, and fully intend to use them in protection of self and family if required.

That said, I find open carry in an urban setting rather ostentatious and in your face. If one is truly concerned about one's safety, then pack heat with a concealed weapon permit. To protect our Constitutional 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms it is not necessary to display a weapon on your hip anymore than it is required you grab a soapbox and exercise your 1st Amendment rights by speaking in a public park. The rights still exist whether exercised physically or not.

Open carry while hiking, camping, fishing or other rural or remote activities makes good sense. Making customers uneasy in your local eatery is just plain dumb.

JP

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hope This Ad Goes Viral

Click on the title. Or go to

http://cftr.org

JP

Bell, Book'em Danno

So I’m watching the news last night, and then read about it in the Wall Street Journal how those thugs from Bell, California have been indicted for raiding the public treasury. And I say to myself, how on earth did the idiot citizens in that small town allow that to happen? Was not anyone minding the store?

Then I got to thinking--when was the last time I attended a city council meeting?  About twenty years ago, probably more.

 Hmmm.

Guess I’m one of those idiot citizens.

JP

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Tea Party?

I don’t know a single person who is active in the Tea Party movement. I have yet to carry a banner, or wave a flag, or attend a town hall meeting. On the other hand, I don’t know a single person of my acquaintance who does not subscribe to what the Tea Party folks stand for: Smaller government, less taxes, less spending, reduce the debt, balance the budget, and in many cases, throw the bums out who got us into this mess in the first place.

I know this is anecdotal evidence, but it seems to me that for every active Tea Party member there are ten, maybe twenty, hell maybe even one hundred citizens lurking in the shadows with the same views. I think that is the real power of the movement--aside from the active ones who are raising Cain, that there is a huge, ticked off electorate who will make themselves heard come November. We are mad as hell and we are going to be heard loud and clear.

How else can you explain the stunning losses to the liberal agenda in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Alaska, and Delaware? Conservative voters seemed to come out of the woodwork. I personally think we haven’t seen anything yet.

All it took was nearly two years of an Administration and Congress completely out of sync with the folks in Flyover County.  Its about time.

JP