Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sister Hazel - All For You

Oldie, but a goodie!

Panda Tai Shan's Farewell

Oh how I love the Zoo. And LOVE the Pandas. Ever since seeing Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing as a small child, they have a special place in my heart.
On Saturday, the nation's capital says goodbye to one of its most celebrated dignitaries. After four-and-a-half years of causing "panda-monium" at The Smithsonian National Zoo, Tai Shan, the zoo's youngest panda and star attraction, has been called "home" to China.

"I am sad. I got a little teared up, actually, watching him today," Tanya Hester of Los Angeles told ABC News after watching Tai Shan saunter around his pen, munching bamboo shoots in frigid sub-zero temperatures on Friday.

But why the political references?
Some leave Washington in triumph. As he departed in 1989, President Reagan mused, "My friends, we did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference."

Others left in disgrace.

"Sure we've done some things wrong in this administration, and the top man always takes the responsibility, and I've never ducked it," Richard Nixon said in his farewell address at the White House after resigning over the Watergate scandal.

Note to the Washington Post and network news: Not all stories need to be politicized.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shout it Aaron Rodgers!

This guy just grew FEET against my tape measure of awesomeness. I marked him WAY taller than he actually is on the door frame.
Rodgers, who will start for the NFC in Sunday’s game, was asked if he thought Favre would retire.

“I just think nothing is going to happen for a while,” he said as the NFL Network crew burst out in laughter. “There’s not much else you can say.

“I’d say just give it a rest for a while. You don’t need to do an update every day. It’s not going to happen.”
Love you, Aaron.

Keep doin' what your doin'!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Priests a'bloggin

It's the God Squad, gone mod.
Citing the "rich menu of options" that digital media provides, the Pope encouraged priests and clergy members to "proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites)," all of which "can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis."

Though, just because they're dressed in glittery robes and hats doesn't mean that priests will be tricking out their blogs and Facebook pages with the same sense of debonair flashiness.
For some reason I didn't expect any "flashiness."
As USAToday reports, the Pope advised his followers to be more austere (or, dare we say Calvinist?) when it comes to Web-design aesthetics. He elaborated, "[Priests] present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ."
Beautifully put.

I welcome the changing world, and the hip Pope-star who's boldly entering a tech-savvy, tech-centered globe with the word of Christ.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Favre's Final Toss

Brett Favre has been quite the noise-maker this season. Packer fans call him a traitor, while some say not to blame Brett- point the finger at Ted.

In hindsight, we can. We can say "Oh, we should have rolled out the red carpet when Brett initially retired and wanted to come back." But we moved forward and he went off to the Jets.

Hey, that's a decision we could live with and respect. He had a gut check and wasn't ready to walk away (despite the heart-wrenching sob story that he had "nothing left to give", cough, cough)...but he went to a team in the AFC that would show him some love and respect...and never play the Packers for as long as he would be playing. So Packer Fans were cool with that.

Now 20/20 says maybe Ted Thompson will get cut some slack... fans will agree Brett Favre was really NOT the future of the franchise. If you think about it, we could have lost Aaron Rodgers, Favre *could have quit mid-season, even been hurt. And then where would we be?

I wear glasses so I'm not sure I can say I see either argument that clearly or feel comfortable settling on one. But here's the kicker about tonight:

The Vikings put all their chips on Brett Favre. They lay their eggs in his basket, rest their laurels on his shoulders, rolled out the fat lady and gave her sheet music... need I continue?

When they asked Brett Favre into their dome, not only did they tell Jackson exactly what they thought of him (and I'm pretty sure free agency will treat Tarvaris well), they made Brett their future - even if it just lasted one season.

And they got a game-ending, season-ending interception. But that's what you get with Brett Favre! Packer fans have known this feeling for 16 years! Welcome to the club, Vikings fans.

There is something about the man. Call it emotion, nerves - there is something that causes Brett Favre an inner panic and forces him into the red phone booth. He dons the Superman "4" cape and throws it into double coverage, across his body, across the field - and BOOM! The GREATEST feeling ever when it's complete. The worst let down when it's tonight's result.

I am not angry at Brett Favre. I've put on the face that he's a traitor and I never wanted him to win a single game as a Viking! (But really, it was about the Vikings. I was RAISED to loathe them, come on!) But I've truly only been disappointed. In a man I greatly respect. And truly fell in love with - the man he decided to be to Deanna and his girls after addiction and trials, the role model for guys everywhere that he became, and the quarterback who played inspired football for all who love the game.

Forget numbers. Forget the banner year he had in the awful Metrodome with that shady Childress and thugs on steroids (maybe that was a low blow, but you read the news!). Forget he can still throw it like he could in '92.

I simply feel that he made a statement going to the Vikings- traipsing across the Mississippi to give the finger to Ted Thompson. He flipped off Packer Nation- and for what? Because we knew his pattern and we needed to look out for the future of our franchise? The Truth: Brett Favre was BELOVED. EVEN after coming back to the Jets. And now, in purple and gold (the PANSIEST of all team colors), it doesn't matter how many TDs, yards, wins or consecutive starts he has. We'll retire his number and welcome into the Hall of Fame, but I believe his legacy is tarnished.

To prove I'm not completely insensitive, it stung a little to see Brett laying on the ground, clutching his knee. When I saw him hobble a few times, or the tears come down his cheek after the game, I knew how much it hurt. This is a man who invests 150% of his soul into the game of football. I know the pain when you love something so much and make one move to screw it up. But Favre throws with abandon, and often into the opponents' hands.

So Vikings fans, welcome to Brett Favre Fan-dom. It's full of last-second hail mary's to win a game, and 4th quarter interceptions when the game is in his hands. That's what you get.

So I shrug my shoulders and hope, for the greater good, that Brett Favre hangs it up. I think his decision was made before this game. And hopefully the final play won't haunt him.

And to the Vikings: What have you got now? Where will you go? He didn't give you a Superbowl. And, I don't trust Vikings fans as far as I can throw 'em, so for all you fair-weather Favre fans, it won't surprise me when you start to bash him in a week or so.

I'll always love you, Brett Favre. The little girl who grew up pretending to call you at half-time with a pep talk and cherished you for 17 years will always cheer for you, pray for you, wear your jersey, and cry alongside you.

But tonight, I will feel sheer joy for America's 2009 Team, the New Orleans Saints. They may not have played better than the Vikings, but the final score gave them a W.
What a gift they have been to the city of New Orleans!

There is really only one thing left to say.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Ingrid Michaelson - Maybe (Official Music Video)

Holiday Inn - Beyond Disturbing

Human bedwarmers are NOT ok.
Holiday Inn, operator of over 4,000 hotels worldwide, will begin to offer a free five-minute "human bed warming service" at it's London Kensington hotel throughout next week.

If requested, a willing member of hotel staff will jump in your bed, dressed head to foot in an all-in-one sleeper suit, until your nightly chamber warms up.

"Like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed" is how Holiday Inn spokeswoman Jane Bednall described the idea.

Or a stranger in your room with access to your bed.

Too close. Strangers. Creepers. Hobos. Dirty suit. Unwashed. Unclean. Dirty pig. Bed bugs. Weirdos.

Oh, I'm sorry. In my shock I have begun to ramble with disgust.

Who is applying for this kind of job? Is Holiday Inn just going to stick any old maid in a suit and send her up with the night-staff busboy to "warm" up a bed? This has the potential to allow murderers, psychopaths, and stalkers access to hotel rooms.

Perhaps the idea is enough for people like me. I'm hot about this already!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The "Pace" of Change

An email came to me this morning from ""/Organizing for America.
Yesterday's disappointing election results show deep discontent with the pace of change. I know the OFA community and the President share that frustration.

We also saw what we knew to be true all along: Any change worth making is hard and will be fought at every turn. While it doesn't take away the sting of this loss, there is no road to real change without setbacks along the way.

We could have simply sought to do things that were easy, that wouldn't stir up controversy. But changes that aren't controversial rarely solve the problem.

Our country continues to face the same fundamental challenges it faced yesterday. Our health care system still needs reform. Wall Street still needs to be held accountable. We still need to create good jobs. And we still need to continue building a clean energy economy.

The President isn't walking away from these challenges. In fact, his determination and resolve are only stronger. We must match that commitment with our own.

But it won't be easy. Real change never is. For that reason, I am grateful you're part of this fight with us.

Thank you,


Mitch Stewart
Organizing for America
What is the purpose of this email?

What bothers me - even more than the lamentation that Brown's win on Tuesday was some kind of 'Black Tuesday' for Obama supporters is that this note misses the point!! It's not the PACE of change anyone is upset with.

It's the TYPE of change. You cannot shove universal healthcare down the throats of the Independent, American majority. You cannot expect to reform Wall Street, bailing out anyone who needs it and handing out dollars to those who will not funnel it back into the economy. You cannot stop listening to your constituents or the needs of the middle class, SCREAMING out for a tax refund they know how to use better than you do.

Again, what's the point of this email, Mitch? It's not quite ra-ra enough to rally the troops. If you're a Democrat having watched Tuesday, you should be shakin' in your boots.

And OFA, Obama, Congressional dems - save the HTML relays. My inbox is full.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Going Rogue, a review - Part I

I have just recently finished reading Sarah Palin's Going Rogue: An American Life.

And while I am certainly not at a loss for words, this book altered my perception of a woman so ridiculed in today's modern media, I find it hard to add my own opinion to the myriad of reviews. I will merely offer up that Sarah Palin surprised me, delighted me, and pulled quite a few tears. All within 413 pages.

Here are some of my favorite moments and a few thoughts.

In her first tellings of growing up in Alaska and life within the sports & outdoor-obsessed frontier family having evolution discusssions at the dinner table, Governor Palin is as reflective as she is narrative.
"Eventually, though, I realized that the road, and especially marathon training, holds invaluable life lessons. That to reach your goal you have to put in the tough, drudging miles. That the best rewards often lie on the other side of pain. And that when it seems you can't take another step forward, there is a hidden reservoir of strength you can draw on to endure and finish well" (27).
Simply stated, and likely oft-recognized within one's own heart on any of life's many paths- but rarely so elloquently described.

This is a woman who boldly states, "Everything I ever needed to know, I learned on the basketball court" (41). I love this and find truth in it, a county-league basketball player in my own youth.

Her wedding at a courthouse was witnessed by a few folks from the retirement home across the street and they topped it off with a Wendy's meal- hopefully including a Frosty! That is my idea of low-key. Perfect.

The beginning snipets provide an interesting take on her upbringing, early political views, and a personal glance at the state of Alaska which most of us in the "Lower 48" know little about. But perhaps what I enjoy most out of this book are the prayers she openly shares. This one, after a children's book inspired her:

"I wrote a contemplative prayer in my journal that summer that I recently came across. I had written: 'Let me not become disconnected from You, Lord. Like that red kite, let there be a connecting string between You and me, so that I can fly high and safe as You've created all people to do. With that string, I'll go where You want me to go. I'll be what You want me to be. Thank You for Your grace.' " (83)

Metaphorical, or some may say cheesy, I feel she is nothing short of Genuine.

to be continued...


Whoever said this "Clear message from Massachusetts: We're glad Ted Kennedy is dead." on Twitter should be ashamed of themselves.

And for those who re-tweeted it, I am appalled.

While we are celebrating Scott Brown's victory, the 41st vote against Obama's healthcare, I am not glad that a death of a long-time Congressman is the reason that election came about.

I am not glad that any former member of Congress, former beloved Senator who gave a lot to the state of Massachusetts, no matter what side of the aisle you are on, had to SUFFER from BRAIN CANCER and lose the battle.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

I <3 GWB

Sitting in a relaxed and comfortable manner after meeting with Clinton and Obama to discuss relief for Haiti, Bush told King, “I frankly don’t miss the limelight. I’m glad to help out, but there’s life after the presidency is what I’ve learned, and I’m going to live it to the fullest, and this is part of living it to the fullest, to help other people.”

And that's why we love the guy.

Support relief efforts in Haiti.

Martha Coakley in trouble with Catholics?

Her comment certainly was anti-American. Here's why:
In 1804, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Abigail Adams on the free exercise of individual conscience in America, and its indispensability to our freedoms. We may disagree, wrote the Founder, but that disagreement is to be welcomed, not crushed: “I tolerate with utmost latitude the right of others to differ with me in opinion without imputing to them criminality. I know too well all the weaknesses and uncertainty of human reason to wonder at its different results.”

Martha Coakley thinks she knows better than Thomas Jefferson.

The Democratic contender for the late Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat made her uphill climb to election a bit steeper this past Thursday when she told radio host Ken Pittman of WBSM that persons with certain ethical principles should not work in the medical professions. Pittman specifically asked Coakley about the rights of conscience of health-care providers, and segued into a query on Roman Catholics in Massachusetts’s hospitals.

A response grounded in the American tradition of pluralism, freedom of conscience, and an ethical consideration for the autonomy of the individual would have gone something like this: “Ken, it’s not the state’s proper role to interpose itself between the conscience of the provider and that provider’s duties. In America, government derives its moral convictions and authority from the people — not the other way around.”

Martha Coakley is not grounded in the American tradition of pluralism, freedom of conscience, or an ethical consideration for the autonomy of the individual. Her response to Pittman was to denounce the idea of any allowance for individual conscience in federal healthcare legislation. Then she uttered the line that alone ought to sink her campaign: “The law says that people are allowed to have that. You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”

It’s not often that a candidate for federal office goes on the record with her belief that whole classes of Americans should be excluded from whole sectors of our economy. Martha Coakley did exactly that, and the only term to describe it is one we should use sparingly in our public discourse. It should be reserved for direct attacks on our heritage as a free country of free people. It should be reserved for assaults on the foundations of our liberties as laid down in the American Revolution.

It’s anti-American.

Martha Coakley’s declaration that Roman Catholics “probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room” doesn’t just betray an ignorance of history and society, though it does both in full. Catholic provision of healthcare is a proud tradition of centuries that, if you’re theologically minded, goes back to the healings of the Apostles — and if you’re historically minded, goes back to the lay and clerical orders that provided care to travelers, pilgrims and the poor beginning in the Dark Ages. In the United States today, Catholic healthcare facilities exist in all fifty states. Despite Coakley’s wish that they not do so, those facilities provided care in nearly 17 million emergency-room visits last year.

Beyond Coakley’s ignorance, the effect of her pronouncement is nothing short of pernicious. If public officials decide it’s appropriate to recommend exclusion of faith groups from employment, where does that end? It doesn’t take much imagination to grasp that the threat only begins with Catholics. Adherents of Christian Science might find would-be U.S. Senators questioning their fitness for any health-related profession. Believers in literal Biblical Creation could see liberal officeholders demanding their ejection from the teaching profession. Muslim faithful might be urged out of security and military professions.

The logical consequences of Martha Coakley’s statement are both grotesque and stupid.

Martha Coakley does not exist in a vacuum. Her belief that conscience and its protections must be forced out of the healthcare sector are tightly bound up with the ideology underlying the President’s push for healthcare reform. That reform threatens ever-greater government involvement in healthcare, and probably portends its takeover if passed.

With that comes the precedence of government priorities — and there’s little room for individual conscience then. That’s why President Obama last month moved to revoke the conscience protections afforded healthcare workers and providers under Federal rules. As Kevin Hasson and Luke Goodrich of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty wrote, “Regardless of one’s view on abortion, contraceptives, war or capital punishment, respecting conscience only when one agrees with you is no respect for conscience at all. Those who champion ‘choice’ and ‘tolerance’ should respect the conscience-based choices of those with whom they disagree.”

President Obama is taking the first step toward forcing healthcare professionals to follow the government’s ethical agenda rather than their own. If Martha Coakley wins on Tuesday, it won’t be the last.

Support Scott Brown.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google's Got Guts

Love 'em. Google, that is.
A familiar pattern has emerged in Beijing since Google announced that it would close its Chinese business unless it is allowed to operate its search engine here uncensored.

The Internet exploded in a welter of comment from China’s online community, mostly supportive of Google. The government has remained tight-lipped, and now appears to have ordered websites to stifle discussion of the affair.

Making no mention of Google or its bombshell announcement, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Thursday only that “China’s Internet is open. The Chinese government encourages development of the Internet and is building a beneficial environment for it.”
Is it really?
So can the majority of Chinese Internet users; 60 percent of them search the Web with a homegrown search engine, Baidu, which has twice as many users as

Baidu, however, cannot match services such as maps, translation, and calendars, and most users, unfamiliar with English, expressed dismay at the prospect of living without their favorite search engine.

“Without Google … I wouldn’t be able to finish so many tasks in one day,” wrote Sun Bo, a “netizen,” on his blog. “Without Google, how can we survive?”
How will we survive?

In the words of my friend, Kate, Google is gonna take over the world!

Brown Boos Obama

Scott Brown doesn't need DC's head honcho messing up his race.
Surging GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown yesterday warned President Obama to “stay away” from the Bay State during his roiling race against Democratic rival Martha Coakley and not to interfere with their intensifying battle in the campaign’s final days.

“He should stay away and let Martha and I discuss the issues one on one,” Brown said. “The machine is coming out of the woodwork to get her elected. They’re bringing in outsiders, and we don’t need them.”

Coakley’s campaign showed signs of panic as they scrambled to get a last-minute appearance by Obama to bolster their effort before Tuesday’s election.
At this point, with all the momentum and media talking about Brown, I can see Coakley whimpering in the corner like a kicked little dog. But of course, she's singing a different tune to the media.
Coakley said yesterday she hasn’t heard from the White House. “I welcome his support, but we’ve got a lot of support here in Massachusetts (and) I think he’s got a lot on his plate in Washington,” she said.

Here's the thing, folks. Brown is right. I don't even believe Obama would help Coakley at this point. He's not a rally-er. He's not a stand up, pump your fist, and cheer kinda guy, or President, for that matter. (BORING!)

That's what Coakley needs, and she likely won't get it. So my former professor sums it up:
A Brown win would be crushing for Obama, who would lose a 60-seat Democratic majority in the Senate, said Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Let's sure hope so.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kleefisch's pre-announcement uninspiring

I just read this (yes, I'm a little behind and lacking blog inspiration) on Steppin' Right Up. And I gotta say, the letter from Rebecca Kleefisch announcing her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor isn't floatin' my boat.

Now I've never met Rebecca, and I am sure she is a lovely lady. However, a few beefs:
When I first introduced myself to you via e-mail, I sent you a link to my video blog, my Youtube Channel called "RebeccaForReal". That's how I'm known on Twitter and Flickr, too. It's because in the world of politics, I think there are too few willing to be just that--real. With me, what you see is what you get: a dose of kitchen table common sense from a marketing contractor/TEA party speaker/political watchdog/mom!
Here's where it starts. What are ya, honey? The slashes are NOT professional, and they seem extremely casual like you just filled out a chain-email survey about how best to describe yourself in one word. And couldn't limit it to one word, because ya gotta be real!

Let's think commas and literary style.
That's probably why I was approached last May to run for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin. Combine my private sector marketing expertise with our future Republican Governor's public sector success and you have a ticket with broad life experience, and the best CEO and VP of Marketing Wisconsin could get! That's how I see these jobs: while the Governor fixes the business climate of our state as our CEO, we need our Lt. Governor, our Marketing VP, working on the marketing efforts to let job creators know, "Wisconsin is open for business again!"
This is just a mess.

I'm glad you have a vision for each position, but this is starting to feel like an essay from a kid who didn't study for the latest 12th grade government exam.

And, we all know it's Walker you're talking about, without having to ask. Why not just come out and endorse him?
I'm writing you now to let you know that I have filed my papers to become a Lieutenant Governor candidate. I would love to meet you personally and, if you allow it, speak at your Lincoln/Reagan Day functions or others where you allow candidates to talk. Would you please e-mail me the dates of events like these on your county's calendar?
Again with the slashes!

This is extremely idealistic, that county parties and GOP vols actually care or take initiative. On the contrary. You're going to have to do the legwork yourself. With this many candidates (what is it, 6 now?), you will fall into the cracks if you expect them to give a rat's patoot about squeezing you onto any speaking agenda. Get in there, and ROAR woman!
In the meantime, please continue to look for my new video blogs, released every Thursday on Youtube. When I officially launch my candidacy, the videos will also be available through my website. When that happens, I'll be sure you send you a headshot and a link in case you like to post those on your website or Facebook page.
So this isn't an official announcement? It's a pre-announcement announcement to GOP insiders. A mere preview of what's to come - the headshot, of course.

Why send this out before the big bang?

And lastly, YouTube is a great modern tool for reaching voters hidden behind screens, Blackberries, iPhones and Tweetdeck all day. It's great to see local candidates using it, but careful of the talking heads and taupe background walls!

While this may seem a harsh review, it's not about the lady, it's about the email sent from a candidate or her campaign for Lieutenant Governor. This is a critical year for the GOP in Wisconsin. I am looking seriously at these candidates, and expect their campaigns to be innovative and fresh, yet with professional, well-written materials and attitudes behind the work they present to the voters.

So far, I haven't felt the need to hit for the opening night of Kleefisch for Lt. Gov.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Avatar, just another action movie

Avatar wasn't all that special, I didn't think. But some critics are losing it over a fictional movie.

First a Chicago Alderman attacks Avatar for being anti-military and anti-American, and now the Vatican criticizes it for worshipping nature over God - well, the article said religion but I'll let that go.

Simply stated? It was a fictional movie in a fictional world, billions of light-years away. A different society, of yes, blue people worship a god called Eywa and fly around on pterodactyl-looking creatures. If James Cameron was trying to make an anti-American statement or disavowing a God of all things, I didn't leave the theater up in arms, and I'm one of the most patriotic Jesus-freaks out there.

I was actually somewhat entertained, and I hate science-fiction.

That said, it was a disappointment. Action scenes gallore, sure. But the color felt muted in the 3-D theatre, and the characters were beyond stereotypical. The writing was severely lacking in my opinion (see quote: "well then I guess we better win!"), and all of that from some "dream"?

If the Vatican wants to waste it's time slamming the latest blockbuster, it's a Da Vinci Code/Angels and Demons all over again. And Chicago, there has GOT to be something more important worth your time.

Avatar is not going to be responsible for the denouncing of any religion or anti-American discourse. Let Hollywood say what they want. They're not at home with our kids after the movie, explaining what is real and what is not to impressionable young minds. And lock these people up:
James Cameron's completely immersive spectacle "Avatar" may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora.

The world isn't ending in 2012. It's just a movie.

"It's the people's seat"

Scott Brown is on a roll in Massachusetts.
Coakley supports ObamaCare, opposes the war in Afghanistan, and favors higher taxes on the wealthy. Brown is against the health care legislation, backs the president’s surge in Afghanistan, and wants across-the-board tax cuts à la JFK. Coakley is an EMILY’s List prochoice hard-liner; Brown condemns partial-birth abortion and is backed by Massachusetts Citizens for Life. Coakley has no problem with civilian trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Brown thinks it reckless to treat enemy combatants like ordinary defendants.

When Ted Kennedy died five months ago, who would have guessed that the contest to replace him would be anything but a slam-dunk for the Democrats? Yet there was no slam-dunk on that stage last night, and the race certainly doesn’t feel like a slam-dunk now.

“It’s not the ‘Kennedy Seat,’ ’’ Brown has been reminding Coakley lately. “It’s the people’s seat.’’ Amazing thing is, he could be right.
Can I get a YEE-HAW?!

All you GOP'rs and Bay-Staters- get to "Red Invades Blue" and support Scott Brown.

January Not Equal to Spring

Dear retail outlets, January is not spring. Spring does not arrive until March. Here in the midwest, January is the DEAD of Winter.

I find it insensitive to see email promotions in my inbox for "woven sandals for spring!" I believe this calls for a #FAIL.

"But you can prepare for spring," they all say. Not possible. I will still likely be donning the snow boots to tread anywhere in early March and who knows, maybe May. My current sandal stash is in a plastic storage bin collecting dust under my bed.

So please, retailers, have pity on those outside of "warm weather climate regions." It may even add to the distress by adding 10% off.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The left is weak on terror

Conservative Outpost talks Obama on terror.
But there’s an even more damning flaw to the contention that Bush should have been able to prevent 9/11, and is therefore as bad as or worse than Obama on national security. Namely: just what would Bush opponents have preferred that he do in his first eight months in office to prevent terrorist acts, when they now scream bloody murder at the slightest suggestion of profiling at airports, when they accuse Bush of being Big Brother for trying to monitor terrorist communications, when they’ve demonstrated their clear disapproval of any war Bush started abroad to target Al-Qaeda? Are liberals implying that they would have been fine with Bush doing all of these things in a pre-9/11 world? They’re not even fine with The One doing these things in a post-9/11 world.

The left have been digging up examples of localized attacks carried out by truly isolated (not Abdulmutallab-style “isolated”) loonies—such as Bruce Ivins’ anthrax-laced letters to news broadcasters in September 2001, Hesham Hadayet’s shooting of two Israelis at LAX in July 2002, the Beltway sniper attacks in October 2002—as proof that Bush didn’t keep us safe. Ignore for the moment that when each of these incidents happened, these same people criticized Bush for using these events to “hype” the threat of terrorism to justify extra security measures. Instead ask: what level of government intervention into our lives would have been necessary to prevent every one of these attacks? And how likely is it that liberals would have supported Bush’s carrying out such interventions?
I'd add, "What action, in the left's eyes, by Obama's administration would best respond to the threats recently posed to our nation?"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

WI Releasing Prisoners

WI is speeding up inmate release.
The Department of Corrections has spent the past three months reviewing hundreds of nonviolent offenders eligible for early parole in exchange for good behavior. Twenty-one were released Tuesday, agency spokesman John Dipko said. More could be released later this week if housing and other arrangements are set, he said.

The parolees came from across the state correctional system's institutions. Their crimes include retail theft, driving while intoxicated, operating a vehicle without consent, forgery, burglary, drug possession and disorderly conduct, Dipko said in an e-mail.
Great. So now I can rest assured, those "non-violent" offenders have learned from their 61 days in prison and reformed.

(anyone else notice that DWI, Operating w/o consent, burglary and disorderly conduct all hold the potential to be violent acts?)

Here's the kicker:
Paula Harris became the first inmate granted early release on Dec. 15, Dipko said. The 45-year-old Milwaukee woman was sentenced in 2006 to 18 years in prison for first-degree reckless homicide while armed. She qualified for early release under the health condition provisions.
After barely 3 years, a murderer goes free.

I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shanahan could be good for the 'Skins

Tuesday night, when word began to spread that Mike Shanahan -- he of the two Super Bowl championships -- would replace Zorn as the Redskins' on-field leader, there was no need for introduction. Several players embraced the move immediately and openly.

"I think we needed a guy in here who people are going to respect off of his name alone, and Mike Shanahan is that guy," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "You already knew he was going to come in here with a great scheme, a great mind because he's a great coach. You know he's a great leader. But to have that name, Mike Shanahan, associated with the Redskins is big for us, it's big for the fans, and it's just great news."
It IS great news.

As a Virginia girl - and though Packer fan first - there's a soft spot in my heart for the Redskins.

Particularly after watching the end of the Joe Gibbs years, a couple of forgettable seasons, Norv Turner (NORV!!) and Steve Spurrier (yikes), and the RETURN of Joe Gibbs (OY), the Skins deserve a respectable name - and a great coach.

I look forward to watching them next year.

Feingold wants more troops?

Strike that, he wants troops in more places.

Senator Russ Feingold seems to think he's the only one talking about global terrorism.
On Tuesday, Feingold cited the botched Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound plane — allegedly by a Nigerian man with suspected ties to al-Qaida in Yemen — as evidence of the threat he's warned of for nearly a decade.

"It's very sad that it takes an incident like this for people to pay adequate attention to places like Yemen," Feingold said in an interview. "Time and again, I've been trying to get people to think about the war against al-Qaida as a global war rather than fighting it country by country."
We know there are other nations involved. Terrorists are certainly harbored in more than Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. But you cannot send troops to 100 different nations and think the force will be strong enough to dispel terrorists world-wide.
James Phillips, a senior research fellow on Middle East affairs at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said while more attention should be given to Yemen, it shouldn't detract from the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Yemen definitely requires a greater effort," Phillips said, "but not at the cost of reducing resources in Afghanistan and Iraq. We should not make the mistake of using the recent problems in Yemen as an excuse to retreat from Afghanistan."

Where they are strongest, we must be. A lone Nigerian bomber from Yemen with explosives in his crotch isn't exactly the mastermind of Osama.

This IS a global fight. The Christmas bomber showed terrorists can come from anywhere and take their fight anywhere, not just from the caves of Afghanistan to the shores of America.

So I ask you, Mr. Feingold, where is everyone else?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

North Dakota News

Senator Byron Dorgan will not seek re-election.
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced this evening that he’s retiring at the end of his term, a shocking development that threatens Democratic control of his Senate seat next year.

Dorgan was up for re-election in 2010, but the third-term senator wasn't facing any strong Republican opposition-- but was facing the growing possibility of a serious challenge from popular Gov. John Hoeven (R-N.D.).
Yes, definitely serious challenge. Hoeven was leading Dorgan in polls by over 2o points.

This is big news for the Bison State! I like it.

RunPee. Go Now!

This is hilarious. tells you when you can hit the Ladies- or Gents'- room at the movies.

For those of us who like our Icees extra large, this is helpful.

Transgender makes news....Why The Face?

Can someone please explain to me how this is news?
Transgender Appointee Begins Work at Commerce Department

One of the first-ever transgender presidential appointees, a former test pilot named Amanda who used to be called Mitch, began work Tuesday at the Commerce Department.

Amanda Simpson was appointed to be a senior technical adviser in the department's Bureau of Industry and Security.

She worked in the aerospace and defense industry for three decades and most recently worked for Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz. According to MyFoxPhoenix, she made history in 2004 by becoming the first openly transgender candidate to win a primary -- she ran for the Arizona House of Representatives but lost in the general election.

Simpson said in a written statement that she was "truly honored" to join the Commerce Department.

"As one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others," she said, in a statement put out by The National Center for Transgender Equality, where Simpson served as a board member.

According to a 2002 article on Simpson in the Arizona Daily Star, she went under the name Mitch for 39 years until undergoing six surgeries at a cost of $70,000 to make the transition from male to female.
In no way do I need to know this person is a woman who used to be a man, how much she paid to change her gender, or that she's waving the Transgender flag. NOR do I think it is important for the American public to know.

Does this, in any way, impact how she does the job at hand? No!!

Same goes for the appointments of LGBT personnel, or concerning any other gender or sexual-preference distinction.

Congrats on the job, Miss Simpson. I too sure hope to make headlines when I take a position and announce how proud I am to be a former ____(fill in the blank)_______ that has nothing to do with my qualifications or job performance.

Stop wasting your headlines, folks.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thoughts on a terrorist plot

"Obama has ordered a thorough look at the shortcomings that permitted the plot, which failed not because of U.S. actions but because the would-be attacker was unable to ignite an explosive device."

The shortcomings started FAR before the terrorist got through airport security with a bomb in his pants, to put it politely. Here's some musings:

1. This guy's FATHER - his own blood- turned him in as dangerous. Strike one.
(AbdulMutallab had a valid, two-year, multiple-entry visa into the United States, despite the fact that his father had twice spoken to at least one representative of the CIA at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria about his son's increasingly extremist views.)

2. He WASN'T on a list of possible terrorists. WHAT?! Um, shouldn't that be flagged RED before people are allowed to buy a plane ticket? Strike two.

3. Paid Cash. No bags. RED FLAG RED FLAG.

4. Apparently, the "tiered threat" system isn't working.
Despite his father's intervention, Abdulmutallab's name hadn't been added to either a 3,400-name no-fly list or a 14,000-name roster of persons who could be subjected to intensive searches. His name was added to a 555,000-name list of persons considered suspicious but less of a threat. Apparently he would have received greater scrutiny if he applied for another visa. The problem was that he already had one.

5. I'll say it here: I'm for "common sense" profiling. What happened in Fort Hood was a direct result of our nation's pansy-ass attitude about political correctness. If you look like a terrorist -if you are of middle eastern or African descent standing in an airline flight without a single bag, probably walking funny because you've strapped explosives to your junk - you should be frisked and your name should be double-checked on an airline passenger list. We have a clear cut profile of most terrorists who want to kill us. All criminal investigators build a "profile" - why can't we operate within one? Oh that's right, we're too worried about hurting feelings. I'm done with it.

6. Our media has allowed photos of the charred underwear to be released. Gross. No one wants to see a terrorist's crotch.

7. Al-Qaeda is singing. You go ahead and strengthen your rapport with the Yemeni government, Mr. President. I want our troops hunting, seeking, and killing. Could we please NOW use the words "Victory" and "Winning", Mr. President, when we talk about responding to terror? Let's shut 'em up!

We have GOT to do better. As the LA times put it:
Some experts suggest that this incident demonstrates the need for vastly expanded use of high-technology screening devices. Before Congress accepts that counsel, however, it needs to focus on something that seemingly eluded officials in this case: the human factor.