Monday, June 28, 2010

R.I.P. Robert Byrd

The longest-serving Senator, Robert Byrd, passed away this morning. There have already been plenty of moving tributes to him in the mainstream media.

Over at Power Line, Scott Mirengoff has links to several of them. He also adds this, because the MSM seems to have selective amnesia about Byrd's career:

Byrd was old enough, for example, to have vowed memorably regarding the integration of the Armed Forces by President Truman that he would never fight "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."

Even after his resignation from the Klan, Byrd continued to hold it in high esteem, writing to the Klan's Imperial Wizard in 1946: "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia."

And Byrd was old enough to have participated in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as to have voted against it after cloture along with 18 other Democrats -- in the name of the Constitution, of course.

Democrats love to accuse Republicans of racism, but the KKK's membership was Democrats like Robert Byrd. Don't expect them to tell you that, though.

Byrd's passing leaves its mark on the succession to the presidency, should anything untoward happen to President Obama and Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton and Speaker of the House Pelosi all at once. After Pelosi, now, the presidency would go to Daniel Inouye (D-HI). I understand he's much more bland than Sen. Byrd.

I'm going to miss hearing Byrd's rants from the floor of the Senate, from stories about his childhood to mentions of his little dog, to declarations that the Republicans' position on something is, "Wrong. Wrong! WRONG!!!" The Senate will be less colorful without Robert Byrd.

As for the hereafter, I leave it up to God to decide where Byrd will go. God knows much better than I do about such things...

Zoo Time

Saturday I went to the World Famous San Diego Zoo with my roommate, her son and daughter-in-law and their two little boys. I took my camera.

My roommate's son and grandson walking down Easy Street toward the monkeys...

We came to Gorilla Tropics first. This gorilla isn't a redhead. The red is a reflection of somebody's shirt in the glass that lets people get close-up shots. This picture was not cropped.

The baby gorilla, besides having an enormous belly, also had quite an attitude.

After the gorillas, we found the tigers. There were two, and they started out by the water, where the grass blocked some of what could have been some good photos (except for the huge yawn that I was able to capture), but then they wandered over to a better viewing area. They didn't stay long, though. After a quick walk by the glass, they climbed up the hill and disappeared.

We had a map, and we thought we were following it, but somehow we ended up back at the monkeys when we were trying to get to the polar bears to see their new digs. This picture of the Lesser Spot-nosed Guenon is the only one I'm posting that I cropped.

Since the monkeys were near the Zoo entrance and the polar bears were at the far, far reaches of the back of the Zoo, and since the boys were getting tired, we decided to come back another time for the bears (annual passes are beautiful things). Instead, we went to the kiddie play area near the petting zoo.

That route took us past the Reptile House, and what would be a trip to the San Diego Zoo without a look at the albino Burmese Python? He's been in the same corner exhibit since I was a kid. I believe, however, that this guy isn't the one I stared at when I was little. He looks a lot smaller, not as big around as he used to be. Plus, they only live about 20 or 25 years in the wild. I don't know what effect albinism has on their longevity.

And of course, the Zoo has Stuff For Sale. I took its picture, because buying stuff isn't in my budget, even if it's cute. These (and more) gourds are carved by Pablo Teodoro Hurtado Laveriano, a Peruvian artisan. I especially liked the owls he carved (not pictured here).

My roommate and I are planning to go back to the Zoo with grown-ups and do the photo safari thing. Zoos are different with kids than without. With the price of food there, though, we decided that it's best to eat an early lunch, then go to the Zoo and stay until just before dinnertime, then leave and get something to eat afterward. That will really help the cash flow not to hemorrhage.

And then when winter comes, we can go to the Wild Animal Park, because it's just plain foolish to go there in the summer. In the heat. When we could be at the Zoo where it's cooler.

Yep. Wild Animal Park. Winter. They both start with "W". Zoo. Zummer. It's meant to be.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Clint Webb for Senate

Just in case you can't tell, this is not a real candidate.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Soviet Slide

A friend and I were talking, and she said she heard a short portion of the Glenn Beck radio show this past week. He took a caller who said he had come to America from the Soviet Union, and I asked if the Russian guy's name was Boris. She thought it might have been.

I asked that, because last week I also heard a Russian guy who immigrated to America from the Soviet Union. The guy I heard on Hugh Hewitt's radio show was named Boris, and he lives in Cleveland. My friend said her Boris is in Miami.

After Hugh asked Cleveland Boris if his wife's name is Natasha (it's not), Boris said that Obama and the Democrats are remaking America in the Soviet image. According to my friend, Miami Boris said the same thing.

My friend and I were discussing the Borises on our way to a meeting where we'd be seeing at least half of a Russian couple who came to America in 1979. Briefly, this is their story:

They met in Moscow, talked for a long time, and really liked each other. He asked her out, and then he stood her up. A few months later, they saw each other again on public transportation, talked some more, he asked her out, and this time he showed up for the date and impressed her parents by bringing a basket of fresh fruit in the middle of winter. They got married and had to live with one of their grandmothers, because in the Soviet Union, they weren't allowed to have their own place, even though he had a cushy, important job that gave him access to fresh fruit in the winter.

At his job as an engineer, he got to work around 10:00 am, shuffled papers until 11:00, went to lunch until 1:00, when he locked his office door and listened to the Voice of America broadcast until 2:00, and then at 3:00, he decided he'd worked enough for the day, so he went home. Because of his important engineering job, his boss, who liked him, got him a deferment from mandatory service in the Soviet military.

It wasn't what you knew that counted in the Soviet Union, but who you knew, what they had to offer, and what you had to offer in trade. He had access to airplane tickets, which is how he got the fresh fruit from someone who had access to that.

After listening religiously to the Voice of America broadcast every day, he eventually decided he wanted to go to America. He told his wife, who was horrified, but he said he was going with or without her.

It doesn't seem like much to us to decide to move somewhere, but in the Soviet Union, any defection reflected badly, VERY badly, on the people around them. His boss would be damaged goods and would likely lose his job. His wife's father was high up in the Communist Party, and it would be bad enough that his son-in-law was going to America--they could salvage the situation if she divorced her husband and stayed behind--but for the both of them to go to America would destroy her dad's position.
Her mom advised her to stay, because you can always get a new husband, but you can't get new parents. But she decided she and their baby would go to America with her husband.

Somehow, through connections and probably luck, he was able to get the documents giving them permission to leave. But in getting them, it signalled to his boss and the rest of the Soviet hierarchy that his heart had turned against his home country. Immediate orders were generated for him to enlist in the Soviet Army and be shipped to Siberia. The small family had to go into hiding, avoiding all family, friends, and acquaintances to keep him from being taken into the Army, while they waited for the paperwork to come through. When the papers were finally ready, they got out of the country with only a few minutes to spare before the travel documents expired.

They had lived under socialism, where the government controls everything, where you are not your own. The choices you make are only those choices allowed you by the government. Everything else is controlled, except the Black Market, and that puts you at risk if you're discovered partaking. We have no concept, here in America, what that's really like. Some on the Left have idealized it, I believe because they envision themselves as the Ruling Party and not as the controlled masses.

On our way back home, my friend told me she had asked the wife what they thought about what's been happening in America under the Obama Administration. She said they're scared. We're sliding quickly into what the Soviet Union used to be, and we as a nation don't see it, because we don't know what to see.

I'm not entirely optimistic (this is me talking here, the woman who was once accused of being Pollyanna). We have November coming, and it may be our last opportunity to stop the slide. But that depends on electing enough Republicans to be able to overturn the Obama takeover of so much of our nation. And if we manage that, it depends on those Republicans having enough backbone to FINALLY stand up to the Democrats and mean it and to Shut. The. Heck. Up about "my good friend across the aisle." Those words spoken by Republicans between now and January 20, 2013, will signal compromise, the white flag being waved. And that will be closely followed by the hammer-and-sickle being waved in spirit over a once-great nation.

Pray. And vote. And pray some more.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers Day

"The greatest danger our nation faces now is not oil leaking in the Gulf. It is fathers leaking from the family."

-- Pastor Mike Openshaw

Friday, June 18, 2010

Geography Puzzle

Here's another puzzle I got on the back of my Page-A-Day comic this week:

Find the name of the country from the starting letter and the number of letters in the name. For example, E7 is England.




E7 (not England)



I'll give the answers later this weekend, unless somebody comes up with all of them before then. Leave your answers in the comments.

Obama Starts Takeover of Your Health

Not your health care, no. Your health.

Obama issued an Executive Order on June 10, 2010, while the rest of the country was busy watching the Gulf Oil Spill. (Thanks to my brother-in-law for sending me the link.) This order establishes another bureaucratic nightmare, the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. Its purpose is 7-fold (emphasis mine):

Section 3:

The Council shall:

(a) provide coordination and leadership at the Federal level, and among all executive departments and agencies, with respect to prevention, wellness, and health promotion practices, the public health system, and integrative health care in the United States;

(b) develop, after obtaining input from relevant stakeholders, a national prevention, health promotion, public health, and integrative health-care strategy that incorporates the most effective and achievable means of improving the health status of Americans and reducing the incidence of preventable illness and disability in the United States, as further described in section 5 of this order;

(c) provide recommendations to the President and the Congress concerning the most pressing health issues confronting the United States and changes in Federal policy to achieve national wellness, health promotion, and public health goals, including the reduction of tobacco use, sedentary behavior, and poor nutrition;

(d) consider and propose evidence-based models, policies, and innovative approaches for the promotion of transformative models of prevention, integrative health, and public health on individual and community levels across the United States;

(e) establish processes for continual public input, including input from State, regional, and local leadership communities and other relevant stakeholders, including Indian tribes and tribal organizations;

(f) submit the reports required by section 6 of this order; and

(g) carry out such other activities as are determined appropriate by the President.

Section 5:

The national strategy shall:

(a) set specific goals and objectives for improving the health of the United States through federally supported prevention, health promotion, and public health programs, consistent with ongoing goal setting efforts conducted by specific agencies;

(b) establish specific and measurable actions and timelines to carry out the strategy, and determine accountability for meeting those timelines, within and across Federal departments and agencies; and

(c) make recommendations to improve Federal efforts relating to prevention, health promotion, public health, and integrative health-care practices to ensure that Federal efforts are consistent with available standards and evidence.

This is all brought to you by the authority of section 4001 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), aka Obamacare.

What concerns me is that this is not just recommendations on what people can do to be healthier, but it is intended to achieve national wellness, including on an individual level. And there will be goals and timelines and measurable activity for carrying out those goals.

What will happen if you decide you don't want to do the exercise they say you should (or your aches and pains prevent it)? Will they, as has happened in the UK, not let you get medical care because they don't think you, with your vices, deserve it?

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but with this Administration, I don't believe I am. It's coming, and November may be our last chance to prevent it. If we can get some Republicans elected with the cojones to stop playing nice with the Dems and stand up for We The People instead.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


President Obama gave a speech tonight (full text here) from the Oval Office, discussing the Gulf Oil Spill (GOS). It was infuriating.

Did you know he's been on top of this catastrophe from the get-go? And did you know he has Nobel Prize winners working on the problem? And did you know he's going to make BP pay?

Yes, it's true. Because President Obama said so.

And tomorrow he's going to finally meet with the CEO of BP, and Obama is going to boss him around some more, because if Obama doesn't tell him what to do, the BP CEO won't do more than twiddle his thumbs. It's sure a good thing our President has been on top of the GOS from the get-go.

One of Obama's decisions that concerns me, and not just for the reasons I've seen in the typical objections (killing jobs, driving up oil prices). In the last couple days I read something by an oil-drilling industry guy (darn! but I can't find it now - Found it!), and he says there are two things that are... problematic. The first is that the most dangerous part of the operation of a deep water oil rig is during the shut-down process. That's where things are most likely to go wrong. Normal oil extraction is the safest part. So Obama is going to put all the other deep water rigs at higher risk by shutting them down. Great idea.

The second concern is what will happen in six months, assuming the Administration gives the go-ahead to resume drilling. From a financial standpoint, the moment the oil rigs are shut down, the oil company stops making money from them. What does a company do with an unprofitable hunk of equipment? It sells it to a company that can use it somewhere else. Then, six months from now, when operational improvements have been determined, there aren't any rigs left to restart. And that means there aren't any jobs for the out-of-work oil drillers. And our gas prices go up, and more of our oil dependence is on foreign sources rather than our own. Great idea.

So naturally all the liberal commentators loved the speech, especially the part where Obama blamed President Bush (without actually mentioning his name) for being the real cause of the disaster, and the part where he promised that he'd replace oil with "clean energy jobs and industries" like China's. They liked those parts, right? Here's what Chris "Thrill Up My Leg" Matthews said on Keith Olbermann's show on MSNBC:

For Matthews to bring up President Carter when he's talking about Obama means the Left is losing its love for their Leader. And my favorite Olbermann quote is, "It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days."

I posted this video back in January, but judging by MSNBC's harsh reaction to the President's speech, it looks like the sentiments of the video are only growing stronger.

And if this ominous assessment of what's happening under the ocean at the oil leak proves true, it'll be more than just the earth's crust imploding. President Obama is driving the Democrats' chances into the ground.

Photo source: Michelle Malkin

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Channeling Carly

I got a haircut Thursday. She went much shorter than I expected, and now every time I see myself in the mirror, I see Carly Fiorina in her post-chemotherapy hairdo (pictured here).

The nice thing about hair (if it isn't falling out) is that it grows.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Helen Thomas Retires Immediately

Helen Thomas, the Grande Dame of the White House Press Corps, has announced her immediate retirement. It's because of this:

How someone as media savvy as she is supposed to be can look into a camera and say such anti-Semitic comments that invoke the Holocaust is beyond me. But to be fair, maybe she thought she was talking to the questioner's boutonniere and not a microphone at all.

Two explanations for her brazenness come to mind. Either she is still living in the Dark Ages of ink and paper and has had no idea before her clever little answers went viral that there's an electronic medium invented by none other than Al Gore, or she counted on her like-minded Israel-hating lefties in the mainstream media to have her back on this and not report it. Or both.

In fact, most of the MSM didn't bother to report Helen's comments. They didn't report her apology much either, because then they'd have to explain what she was apologizing for. Can't have that. Here's how the New York Daily News described her apology:

Thomas posted a lukewarm apology on her personal Web site.

"I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon," she wrote.

Umm... Yeah.

On the Politico article I linked to at the top, I like the way Larry, a commenter, reworded her apology:

A more accurate statement would read: "I deeply regret that I my long standing anti-semitism was captured on videotape, and in light of this becoming public knowledge, I am no longer employable and have decided to retire."

That's more like the truth, not that the MSM was around with that kind of anaylsis. No, most of the MSM coverage started when her agency threw her out faster than I shake off a spider that starts crawling on my hand. It continued when a high school canceled her appearance where she was to give the graduation speech. And then the rest of the media had to start covering the whole thing too, when Helen found herself suddenly without a job.

It's an ugly affair, start to finish, but there's a glimmer of hope in it. Sometimes--not very often, but every once in a long while--someone prominent with hate in her (or his) heart gets her comeuppance. Now maybe the other Israel-haters in the media will stand up and take notice and not be so quick to condemn Israel.

I won't be holding my breath, though.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Dogs in Boots

When I was a kid we had a little dog named Fifi. I was very defensive about her name, because the kids at school mocked me about it if I didn't get the explanation out there quickly enough. When someone would ask what my dog's name was, I would say, "Fifi, but she already had that name when we got her."

We got Fifi from the dog pound when my dad was out on WestPac on his submarine. If he had been home, he would have tried to talk us into getting a more substantial dog than a 5-pound (6 pounds after dinner) poodle/terrier mix. By the time he got back home, though, Fifi was part of the family, and Daddy just had to get used to the idea.

There were times when he would hold Fifi in the crook of his arm, and while he scratched her tummy, he would say to her (always within our hearing, of course), "Now, dog (actually, he threw an "r" in there, so it came out, "dahrg"), you know I don't like you (more tummy-scratching). And I've tried to teach you how to run away, but you just won't learn." Then about that time, one of us kids would let out an exasperated, "Daaad-deee!" and he would give us a look that said, "You don't believe me?" while he kept up with the tummy scratches.

When my dad retired from the Navy, we moved to Montana to be near both sets of grandparents, and that first winter was Fifi's introduction to snow. I've told the story before this way:

Fifi grew up in San Diego and then moved to Montana with us, where she learned about snow for the first time. Little snowballs stuck to the hair on her feet, and she shivered. It was so sad.

So my sister bought Fifi a set of doggie snow boots for Christmas, and my grandmother accidentally shrank her dog's sweater, so she gave it to Fifi. My dad rigged up string to hold the snow boots on like idiot mittens, because Fifi hated the boots and would kick them off. The sweater kept the strings in place, and we'd let her outside all decked out for snow. For fun, one of us would put her at the end of the driveway and the others would be by the door, and we'd call her. She'd run as fast as she could, flicking all four feet to try to get the snow boots off, and we'd just about roll on the ground laughing at how funny she looked.

Not too long ago, I was on YouTube, and I found a couple "pictures" that are worth a thousand words each. Somebody else (more than one somebody else) has a dog with boots. This is what it looks like, only Fifi's boots were black and she ran and flicked faster:

Or this:

Dogs are so entertaining, and Fifi's entertainment value was endless. This was just the tip of the iceberg.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Gov. Christie Takes On Teacher's Union

I want Gov. Christie to come and be the governor of California!

His accent is kinda cute, much cuter than Ahnold's. And he's taking on the teacher's union. Go get 'em, Governor!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

How Did They Know?

Let's get this straight. My calendar was made last year. Before this year. Before the middle of April when the BP oil rig exploded and started leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I peeled off yesterday's comic and found this for today (click to enlarge):

Credit: Guy and Rodd

How could they possibly have known?

Quote of the Day

"If it involves more than talking, this president doesn't do it."

-- Hugh Hewitt