American Imperialist Baby Killers Racially Profile and Attack Muslim

That would be the headline of The Guardian had its way, the British newspaper that’s so far Left it makes the New York Times look like The Wall Street Journal if the Journal was run by Fox News and staffed by the Klan. But the Daily Mail reports that two unarmed US servicemen stopped a Moroccan Jihadist firing an AK47 on a crowded train in France.  The soldiers thought the guy was acting suspicious and heard the attacker rack and load his weapon in the train’s toilet, and they jumped him when he burst out firing. One soldier was injured although not seriously, as were two others on the train.

Just another day at the “office” for America’s best and bravest.

 

Of Course There’s Polka In Heaven

My mother passed away last night. I got the call on the highway coming back home after picking up my wife and son from the airport. My brother-in-law explained what had happened, and while there were better deaths to be had there are far worse. She had lived 94 years, the longest of any of my known ancestors. Through her I was able to touch people born early in the 19th century, and learn first hand about life before inventions like indoor plumbing, the telephone and the automobile changed the heart of America.

The loss of that history is one of the unexpected feelings I find myself thinking about today, along with the usual regrets a son has. I really do wish she had made it to our little haven here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but she was too weak to travel. Her spinal stenosis would have made sitting in an airline seat impossible. But I wish she could have seen my dogs running in the fields.

As for the title. The only non-religious music she ever truly loved was Polka – fitting for a woman of Bohemian descent who grew up in South St. Louis during the 1920s and 1930s. And one of the best memories I have as a child is of her with my eldest sister dancing the polka, laughing and whirling. I imagine that’s what she’s doing now, freed from a body that betrayed her, whirling and laughing with my beloved niece who died on the operating table at the age of 5 years.

Hospice

The all-day meeting with the client is pushed back and another meeting takes its place. The teams are told by the acquisitions leader that the client is not happy with our requirements. Wagons are circled and everyone defers to their team leads. We are all to be on our best behavior and avoid mentioning timelines or other key phrases that sets the client’s teeth on edge. We are pros. This is what we do and we know this stuff, but we have a line to walk: making the client happy and supporting our own clients downstream who depend on us for their data. Acquisition Teams always sweat; I suppose it’s what they do.

A text appears on my phone. “We took mom off the bipap machine and we are giving her nasal oxygen. We have decided on hospice care because we have decided to make sure she is comfortable.”

I refocus on the presentation and the droning becomes words again as the acquisition team lead walks the client through my process flow.

The hours pass with few breaks. Once we focus on the data mapping exercise I notice the people representing the client seem relieved. The unknown always frightens people, and they were beginning to understand it wasn’t as bad as they thought.

My phone buzzes. “Just found out the insurance company will be kicking mom out of the hospital tomorrow or Saturday. We will be doing hospice at home.” I text back, “Good. Better for her to be at home.” Droning again, and I ignore it. Another text. “She is delirious today, probably from the morphine and adavan.” “Talk to the nurse about balancing her meds,” I text.

As the droning becomes words again I can feel my mother, a woman’s whose first questions always included “How is your job going?” likely because her husband wasn’t the best at holding one down for very long. Her love of her job made me move gradually towards a place where I loved my own, where the idea of working long hours didn’t really matter. She always accepted my shortened visits because she understood that as a computer contractor I didn’t get paid time off. Now I do but I don’t know how to use it.

The hours role on with very few bio breaks. 4 pm. 5 pm. 6 pm. At 6:30 the acquisitions team lead is pushing for an important technical decision. I know it’s one that we have to craft perfectly, and it will not be done after 8 hours of straight meetings. So I suggest we hold off for tomorrow or the day after. He seems disappointed but the client and the other teams have already lost focus. It’s time to call it a day and regroup later.

After 11 hours I turn off the computer. Other challenges await but important decisions were made today, some more important than others.

Hillary For Prison 2016

Bernie Sanders has surged to the lead in New Hampshire and is filling his venues to overflowing. The FBI has possession of Hillary Clinton’s email server and will presumably pull every last byte of email residue from its hard drives. They’ve already found extremely top secret satellite intelligence that is assumed to have fallen into Russian and Chinese hands. Remember, she has yet to give a full accounting as to why she operated a personal server in the first place which itself was against the law. Now highly classified intelligence was found on it, and worse, the server was completely open to the internet for 3 months.

Hillary Clinton should be done.

Now if only Jeb Bush was too…

 

Confessions of a Reluctant Cord Cutter

Last quarter 566,000 Americans quit cable or satellite TV. I was one of them. For the first time since 1981 living in this country I have gone without cable TV and you know what? I haven’t noticed it. That’s because for the past year I have been subscribing to Amazon Prime, Netflix and Acorn TV, adding HuluPlus just to cover some of the more popular networks. Total bill after I cancelled my service on June 23? Excluding the Amazon Prime membership which I bought for the discounted shipping, about $21. That’s 20% of my monthly satellite bill.

But honestly I was already relying upon Netflix and Acorn TV for my TV watching for a long time before I called DirecTV and told them I was leaving the country for awhile (to avoid the hard sell and begging to stay subscribed). Instead of turning on the TV and seeing what was available as I had done since I was a kid, I bought a Roku 3 and was binge watching quality shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, as well as British-only fare like Time Team and Doc Martin. Now we’re hooked on Game of Thrones, but for the price of subscribing to HBO I can rent almost an entire season of the show. When HBO Now becomes available, I’ll probably swap out HuluPlus for it (or not until I’m done catching up with the UK version of The Office). The Roku makes navigation  and selecting services easy, although searches within the apps range from tolerable (Netflix) to god-awful (Acorn TV).

The bottom line? I’m watching less TV, but the TV I do watch is of high quality, much better than 99% of the shows you will find on extended cable or satellite. Plus I’m saving money overall, even when I add in the cost of additional rentals.

I grew up with the TV an ever present sound in my childhood. I can sing the Love Boat theme or rattle off quotes from various shows of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s simply because the TV was always on. Now I spend at most two hours a day watching it, and what I watch just cannot be compared with the dross you find on TruTV or E!.

But it still took me months to work up the courage to cut the cord. “What if there’s a news event?” I asked myself. And I answered that I already get my news from the internet from several different sources including the British media including Sky News. “What about Walking Dead?” Available for rental at $3/pop as soon as the show airs. Still I dragged my feet until I opened my satellite bill, saw I was paying $103 a month and couldn’t remember the last time I had watched a show on it.

So I made the phone call and haven’t looked back. And the most illustrative fact? My teenaged son didn’t notice that DirecTV was turned off for over a month.

New Zealand Flag Ideas

New Zealand is considering updating its flag. I’m not sure why, but I guess there’s little else to do in that tiny corner of the world but whinge about America and fret about Australia, so perhaps the flag issue has little mental space to compete with.

Here are my suggestions.

We’ll get the sheep joke out of the way first.

For the Kiwis who feel it’s necessary to lecture Americans about how everything their country does is wrong.

And finally, my impression of what the New Zealand flag will look like by the end of the 21st century.

On Cecil the Lion and Planned Parenthood Videos

As an animal lover and one who has participated in the conservation of an endangered species it’s hard for me to not be pissed off at the dentist. I understand the excitement of a hunt, how much of a challenge it is to track your game, check your target and wait until you find the perfect moment. But I’ve used cameras not guns for my “kills” and the exhilaration felt was not lessened by capturing the image of the animal instead of its skull.

For those upset about the dentist killed Cecil the lion I can’t help but wonder how they feel about the abortionist making jokes about cracking the skull of a baby. I’m sure many upset with Cecil’s untimely demise aren’t familiar with the video making the rounds of the pro-life community, but I wonder if they would react a similar way, or if as I expect they would justify it as many in the hunting community have done with the lion’s demise. There’s something intrinsically screwed up with trophy hunting, just as I think there’s something intrinsically wrong with people who laugh about crushing the skulls of unborn children and make a profession of it. “Right Livelihood” is part of The Buddha’s Eight-Fold Path, and it’s hard to think of a livelihood further away from Enlightenment than the troglodytes shown in the videos. At least Cecil had more of a chance to defend himself than the kids crunched before birth.

Perhaps Cecil’s killer should have been an abortionist instead of a dentist.

Emperor Valerian: What’s Past is Prologue

Emperor Valerian was born Publius Licinius Valerianus during the reign of Septimius Severus in 195 AD. At the time of his birth the Roman empire stretched from modern day Scotland in the northwest to Sudan in the southeast, Morocco in the southwest to Armenia in the east. Although the empire had reached its greatest extent under Trajan a century earlier, Severus had arrested the gradual decline during his rule that lasted until 211 AD. Unfortunately the emperors that followed Severus accelerated that decline as mismanagement, incompetence, and vanity eroded imperial power internally while external threats grew. By the time Valerian took power in 253, the previous emperor had allowed the Goths to invade the empire and return home keeping their captives and plunder as well as an annual payment from Rome, suffering a humiliation the Romans hadn’t experienced in over 500 years.

Valerian had at his disposal a great army, the legions of the Upper Rhine, appointed to him two years earlier. Those legions declared him emperor, and after taking Rome the Senate conferred the title on him.

Valerian had inherited a mess. The empire was besieged by all sides so he appointed his son Gallienus co-emperor to rule the western part of the empire and took the eastern part on himself. Gallienus was in charge of protecting the frontier at the Rhine and keeping the Germans on the northern side of this natural boundary, while Valerian moved his army east to handle the Goths. Plague decimated his troops. Seeing the empire divided and weak the Persian king Shapur I struck, sacking dozens of Roman cities, provinces and protectorates in Armenia, Syria, modern day Iraq and Turkey. Valerian moved his forces to counter the Persians and enjoyed some initial success. But the ravages of plague and war took their toll on his army, and the eastern campaign became a quagmire for Valerian. This didn’t stop him from sending orders back to Rome commanding the execution of Christian leaders and forcing of converts to make public sacrifices to the Roman gods.

Desperate for an opportunity to sue for peace, he sent a peace delegation to Shapur, who suggested a face-to-face meeting between the two emperors. The meeting was arranged and Valerian, ignoring the advice of his generals, went to meet Shapur with a small entourage of aides.

He was never seen again.

Christian historians wrote that Valerian had been captured by Shapur and was either flayed alive or forced to drink molten gold, his skin then being used to cover a stool or filled with straw and hung in Shapur’s court. But that could reflect the desire of the historians to see Valerian punished for his anti-Christian pogroms. Others suggest that he was kept by Shapur as a personal servant or even protected from his mutinous troops and given a comfortable place in exile.

Source Wikipedia: Emperor Valerian standing at the background and held captive by Shapur I found at Naqsh-e Rustam, Shiraz, Iran. The kneeling man is probably Philip the Arab.

A mighty empire in disarray. A quagmire in the Middle East. A vain emperor and persecutor of Christians willing to make a deal at any cost with an Iranian leader.

It will be interesting if Ayatollah Khameini issues an invite to the President.

And it will be even more interesting if he accepts it.

 

The Council Has Spoken: July 17, 2015

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Council Submissions: July 15, 2015

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The Council Has Spoken: July 10, 2015

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Council Submissions: July 8, 2015

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Time To Stand Up Against the Morality Police (Once Again)

If there’s any libertarian creed it is this: I don’t know what’s best for you. This statement expresses my honest ignorance that it is impossible for me to understand your situation well enough to offer anything more than advice based on my experiences. Consequently that admission prohibits me from meddling in your affairs, and it is expected that you refrain from meddling in mine.

When I was coming of age in the 1980’s it was the Religious Right as personified in Jerry Falwell and his acolytes in the Moral Majority that claimed to know what is best for me. Today it is the Left that tells me that I should reduce my carbon footprint, lose my guns,  avoid GMO in foods, and in general control every aspect in my life the way the Moral Majority tried and failed to do in Reagan’s America. Back then I was younger and had more hair than money, and while the situation may be reversed today my feelings haven’t changed: whether the Moral Majority or the Regressive/Progressive Left, in the words of the great politically incorrect Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten “f*** off.”

These days are much like the 1980’s with the exception that the music and movies were better then. Both have an atmosphere that I best characterize as humorless. When the few talented comedians left like Amy Schumer are blamed for racist attacks like Dylann Roof’s rampage in Charleston, we’re living in a new Victorian era, and likely one that won’t be subject to endless period pieces on Masterpiece Theater. Amy Schumer’s humor is tepid compared to the greats of the 1980s like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and pre-movie career Robin Williams. Schumer obviously tries to avoid upsetting people, sticking to a lot of sexual humor and often regressing to toilet humor as she searches for laughs. But off-color jokes are to humor what alcohol is to wine. You’re never going to have anything remarkable without it. Schumer seems to instinctively know this which is why she occasionally lets slip a joke that upsets our humorless morality police.

In the Washington Post two Leftist heirs to the mantels of Jerry Falwell and Ed Meese of 3 decades ago, Stacey Patton and David J. Leonard write, “What matters is the costs and consequences of these “jokes” to those being objectified. Invoking the “it’s just a joke” defense denies the social, historic and cultural implications of racial humor. It ignores the ways that disparaging jokes provide a safe vehicle to share stereotypes, release inhibitions and spread racism.” These self-appointed officers of the morality police then lay blame on Schumer for Roof’s actions.

Personally I blame his mother for naming him Dylann. It’s spelled like the name a transsexual would take mid-change. Or perhaps I’ll just blame Dylann himself.

Whereas I don’t know what’s best for Ms. Patton and Mr. Leonard, they clearly claim to know what’s best for us. Just as the Moral Majority sought to control what we watched (no porn) and listened to (no naughty lyrics), the Left seeks to control what we say in the magical belief that if we would all stop saying racist things we would stop being racist, as if that’s all we need to do. Schumer’s success at speaking freely offends them, so they attack her. After all, she’s a relatively easy target. Although a woman she is white, straight and better yet, Jewish. I suppose the next step will be to have her justify her sins in some public forum, the way Dee Snider of Twisted Sister was forced to defend rock music in front of Congress in 1985.

But before then we need to begin to stand up for ourselves, and eventually go all-Ferguson on these self-appointed morality cops. But for now the very least I’ll do is spin up the best album of the Punk era, “Never Mind the Bollocks” and tell Stacey Patton and David J. Leonard to just “f*** off.”

Update: At least we can assume the Ed Meese watched the porn he wanted to ban and Tipper Gore listened to the music she wanted taken off the radio. Debra Kessler writing for Interrobang interviewed Ms. Patton, and Patton admitted she has never watched one of Amy Schumer’s shows or seen one of her stand-up routine (worrisome in itself given how popular Schumer has become).  Kessler notes, “Despite seeing the quotes out of context, and without the benefit of knowing anything about Amy’s comedy, she was comfortable making judgements about whether Schumer’s comedy was or wasn’t racist.  She also was comfortable deciding whether Schumer’s audience was or wasn’t racially diverse (she characterizes Amy’s following as predominately white), and she was comfortable to conclude that Schumer’s comedy breeds racism in others.” Schumer even apologized and said she would try harder to be more sensitive.

But there is no pleasing these people when it comes to humor since they are humorless ideologues whose minds have been filled with the very hate they claim to despise. No, Amy Schumer should have simply said, “F*** off.”

The Council Has Spoken: July 3, 2015

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