The Loud Talker

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#LenoAskObama

Posted by cann0nba11 on August 6, 2013

President Obama will be on the Jay Leno show this evening, they tape it at 5pm Pacific time. I’ve always wondered how Twitter hashtags get started, so just for grins I’m going to try and get one started. This will probably go nowhere, this is just a social media experiment.

#LenoAskObama

Have at it!

UPDATE 1: Did I say this will “go nowhere?” My bad… I made Twitchy! 🙂 Shout out to my pals over at The Socialist Mop for flexing their personal network to help get this ball rolling.

UPDATE 2: Now trending at #3 on the Twitter behind the Amazon CEO (thanks to his purchase of the Washington Post), and legendary crossover pianist George Duke who passed away today. RIP George, you were an amazing musician and will be missed by so many.

Posted in Entertainment | 1 Comment »

When Being Pro-Choice Hurts Pro-Choicers

Posted by cann0nba11 on July 18, 2013

So Planned Parenthood is shutting down three clinics in Texas because of the new law signed by Governor Perry.

Boo friggin’ hoo.

Please notice that there is no business explanation given as to why the clinics are being shut down other than claiming that upgrading to meet the new requirements would cost millions of dollars.

Boo friggin’ hoo.

Funny how liberals like to sing and dance when legislation is passed that will cause entire industries millions or billions of dollars to comply, such as laws that punish companies under the fact-less guise of saving the planet. Hooray when the Keystone Pipeline gets blocked by the Obama administration despite the jobs it will generate and the fuel it will provide to Americans that need it to get to work every day or purchase goods that are shipped using evil carbon burning engines. Hooray for boycotts that shut businesses down that they don’t approve of such as cake shops or photographers. But damn it, get out of my vagina, don’t take away my abortion center!

Planned Parenthood received $542M in taxpayer support in 2012, about 45% of its annual budget. This is up from $487M in 2011 and $363M in 2010. In 2011 it performed 334,000 abortions, it’s best year ever. Congrats on that, can’t wait to see the 2012 numbers.

According to the official Planned Parenthood web site, there are 56 centers in Texas, 42 that provide abortions. Sorry, I mean “family planning” services. Melaney Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said “It is a travesty that Texas politicians are stripping healthcare from women across the state, harming lives and unraveling the health care safety need that has taken decades to build.”

Harming lives? How does requiring abortion centers to meet basic medical standards that hundreds of other ambulatory heath facilities have to meet count as “harming lives?” Frankly speaking, how dare you use that phrase given that your organization ends an average of 915 lives every day. The  immense stupidity and hypocrisy of that statement is quite illustrative.

And for those that were concerned that the 30 mile hospital requirement of the law was going to be a problem (clinics have to be within 30 miles of a hospital so that patients can be admitted in the event of medical emergencies), in the case of the Bryan, Lufkin and Huntsville clinics, the nearest hospitals are 1.5. 0.5 and 0.3 miles away, respectively.

Let me educate you to the real reason these clinics are closing. It’s all about choice. Abortion supporters prefer to be called “pro-choice,” right? Well, Planned Parenthood is choosing to shut down these three centers. They are choosing not to spend the money needed to upgrade these facilities to meet the new requirements. They are choosing to give up and shut down. They are choosing not to seek private donations or other funding sources. They are choosing to ignore and neglect the women in their regions. Sounds to me more like a legitimate war on women conducted by people more concerned about finance than about helping women.

If Ms. Linton and her peers actually cared about the communities they served, perhaps they would seek financial help or review their own finances to see what could be done. Perhaps they could petition George Soros, or Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey or any of the pool of millionaire Hollywood stars that support their cause. Maybe they could launch a massive Kickstarter program. But they choose not to. They choose instead to close down three clinics to make a political statement.

You want choice, enjoy your choices.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

What Happened Between Martin and Zimmerman?

Posted by cann0nba11 on July 10, 2013

This trial has been a mess. No big surprise, when the media gets involved early on to generate ratings, it can’t help but muck things up. This has been a farce of a trial, both sides have made mistakes, but to most rational people this trial is over and Zimmerman will be a “free” man. Then the fun will begin. But that’s not what this post is about.

I think I have a decent idea of what actually went on between Treyvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Martin should still be alive today, and Zimmerman should still be an anonymous neighborhood watch guy.

But that didn’t happen. Mistakes were made and a boy was killed. Zimmerman was wrong to follow the kid. But you know what probably happened? Here’s my guess based on years of people watching, reading, and plain old life experiences. Dig down deep into your reality filter and hear me out.

Zimmerman was frustrated about recurring vandalism in his neighborhood. Far too often local cops don’t give much care about actually solving problems, they are content generating revenue for their local municipality by issuing citations to people with expired inspection stickers or license plate light bulbs that are out. (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything). So Zimmerman decides to play mall cop, a big mistake. He see’s someone in a hoodie in his neighborhood, someone not normally walking the streets there. Most people that live in your typical neighborhood can tell if someone walking the streets alone is not from there, and these days you have to be vigilant and aware (been there done that myself). My own neighborhood has been vandalized, I have been robbed, and I have walked my neighborhood after seeing suspicious people or vehicles on our street. That’s just the way things are today in America.

So, Zimmerman decides to follow the hoodie, Martin notices this, gets nervous about being followed and starts thinking about the situation. “Who’s following me, what will he do if he catches me. I better get my guard up.” So when Zimmerman makes it to Martin, Martin goes into self-preservation mode to ward off his stalker. Nothing wrong with that, many of us would probably do the same thing.

And you know what? I bet Zimmerman backed down. I bet he got up to Martin and saw a kid taller than him and decided to back off. But by this point, Martin is scared, and/or angry, and now he wants to get into this chubby cat’s face, because he is ticked that he was scared and now wants to release some stress.

So, now Martin is getting in Zimmerman’s grill. He’s pissed and has a chance to kick some ass. They exchange some words, Martin gains the aggressor position, and then he sucker punches Zimmerman. Knocks him on his butt. And then the fight starts in earnests and Martin snaps. He starts bashing ZImmerman’s head into the pavement. At this point, now it’s ZImmerman that is reacting instinctively. They continue to struggle, he’s losing bad and fears for his life as his head is being smashed into the pavement (see photos of his injuries), and then the shot is fired. Done. Tragic. Preventable. But not murder.

The press gets a hold of the story, and because it is “white” versus black, it trumps all of the dozens of murders that took place that same month in America. Forget that Zimmerman is Hispanic. Forget that Martin was 5’11” while the press ran with the five year old photo of him as a 12yr-old cute kid., not the @no_limit_nigga in your face persona he was living out as an older teen. The image of the pre-teen cute little boy is the image most of America first saw and still retains in memory today. Once again, the media is largely responsible for shaping public opinion instead of reporting the news, and the media continues to make this a racial issue.

This trial, like the Rodney King incident in 1991 or the OJ verdict in 1995, will certainly make waves, and probably lead to outbreaks of violence. For some reason a certain segment of our population will get violent and decide that breaking windows and stealing stuff is the proper response to what they perceive as an injustice. And this is our reality. I just hope nobody else dies because George Zimmerman decided to follow someone and because Treyvon Martin chose not to let it go.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Understanding Recent US Deficits

Posted by cann0nba11 on July 6, 2013

A popular talking point from the left lately has been “Deficits are shrinking! Republicans are wrong!” Rachel Maddow’s blog is just one recent example. And, mathematically speaking, yes the deficits are decreasing. And thank God they are. But this story requires some context.

The Maddow blog shows a brief history of the deficit. I prefer a bigger picture view to help people understand how bad things have gotten and why this Democratic rally is not as exciting as they would like you to believe.

USdeficits

I created this using whitehouse.gov historical deficit tables (click on it to see a larger version).

  • Presidents are listed at the top, red for Republican, blue for Democrat.
  • The tall colored columns indicate Congressional control: red for Republican control of both houses, blue indicates Democratic control of both houses, and purple indicates a split Congress.
  • The red arrows show the trend of the deficit for the duration of each president’s tenure.
  • The green portion of the bar for 2009 is the $700B Hank Paulson directed TARP bailout.
  • Side note: The deficit for 2012 under President Obama, this single year of over spending, was more than the financial cost of ten years of those hated “Bush wars we can’t afford.” Please, let’s remove that last quote from our vocabulary.

To me a couple of things jump out of this chart. First is the magnitude of governmental spending that kicked in after Democrats took over Congress in 2006. Even without TARP, the deficit would have reached $700B, nearly twice the amount of the worst deficit under President Bush. TARP was voodoo, a scare tactic that gave one man (Paulson) incredible power. And, funny thing, the $700 billion TARP figure was not even based on any analysis or facts. A Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes magazine “It”s not based on any particular data point, We just wanted to choose a really large number.” How’s that for a quality decision making methodology? Glad to see our leaders are sticking their wet fingers in the air and making stuff up.

Second, look at the chart under the GW Bush years. After the initial economic effects of the dot-com crash and 9-11 and the start of a new war, the deficit under Bush was trending back toward zero. But an unpopular war ushered in a Democratically controlled Congress in 2006, and the tax & spend festival got underway. And, the housing bubble that was started in the 70s by Jimmy Carter, came crashing down. These are not problems Bush created, he was just in office when they happened. I’m not defending GWB, (I didn’t even vote for him in either election), but the facts are not debatable. He didn’t cause the 9-11 attacks 8 months into his first term (shut up Truthers), he didn’t cause the dot-com bust, and he didn’t create the housing crisis. In fact, Republicans started raising red flags about the Fannie/Freddie crisis as early as 2001, the first year of the hated Bush administration.

Third, the rate of decrease in the deficit under Obama is welcome, but should also be viewed with some perspective. Think of it this way: imagine if you gained 50 pounds for three or four year in a row. Then in year five you only gained 40 pounds, and in year six you only gained 30 pounds. From a short term perspective, “Hooray for you, you are decreasing your physical deficit rate.” But you are still so unhealthy that you have a very long way to go before you get healthy and drastic action needs to be taken. You are so sick right now that you cannot afford to coast for a few more years living your current lifestyle. You need surgery, you need exercise, and you probably need an intervention.

Another way to view this is to look at gas prices. Gas was under $2/gallon when Obama was elected. It spiked to around $4, so today when people see gas dropping to the low $3 range they think “Hooray! Gas prices are coming down.” True, but not great.

So yes, the Obama deficit is decreasing each year. But it is doing so only because of the massive spending at the start of the Democratic control of Congress (rubber stamped by the lame duck Bush,) and then accelerated by the Obama presidency that stomped down on the “free money” gas pedal. Current trends look positive, but they are still slow, just like unemployment numbers. We need real action and real financial change, not this trickle up spending decrease mentality that will take decades to work. We don’t have that kind of time. Perspective matters.

Posted in economy | Leave a Comment »

Texas Senate Bill 5: Abortion Not Popular In Texas

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 26, 2013

I’m seeing lots of angst on the left over the failed filibuster of Texas Senator Wendy Davis (District 10). She did her best to prevent Texas Senate Bill 5 from passing, but came up a couple of hours short. That’s how the process works, both parties are fond of the filibuster when they are in the minority. Imagine that, pro-life laws are popular in Texas.

I’m struggling to see what the problem is with this bill. My motto is “emotion is the enemy of critical thought,” and often you can find emotions clouding reason when hot button topics like abortion, or voter ID, or immigration reform are discussed. As evidence, consider the childish act of Houston Democrat Senfronia Thompson hanging a wire coat hanger on the microphone while voicing her opposition to the bill earlier today. When you can’t win on facts, act like a fool to get attention.

I read the SB5 bill this evening, give it a shot yourself, it’s not very long. If you want the Reader’s Digest version, allow me.

The main point of the bill is to ban abortion after 20 weeks when there is medical evidence that the unborn can feel pain. The bill does not make abortion illegal, it makes abortion illegal after 20 weeks. In my opinion, you should know within five months whether or not you want to have an abortion. At five months a fetus can make facial expressions, it can hear the mother’s heartbeat and voice. The fetus has regular sleep/wake periods, and at five months parents can go to their doctor to get an ultrasound and determine what color to paint the nursery. But for folks like Sandra Fluke, abortion is just a more complex form of birth control than tax-payer funded contraception or condoms. To their ilk, a baby is an inconvenience. I wish every woman that thought this way could speak with one of the many women out there unable to get pregnant.

A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows that 46% of Texans think abortion should either be illegal or only legal in the cases of rape, incest or when there is danger to the life of the mother. Thirteen percent approve if need is clearly established (but the study does not define “need”). Furthermore, banning abortion after 20 weeks — one of the provisions of SB5 — has the support of over 62 percent of Texas residents. Remember, this is a Texas law.

Here is my own summary of the sections of this bill. I’m not a lawyer, nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express. I defer to my lawyer friends for corrections.

  • Section 1: Provides for safety by requiring that physicians performing abortions have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles; provides the patient with contact information for the physician and staff for post procedure follow up needs; and provides contact information for a hospital near the patients home just in case problems arise and she requires immediate medical attention. My take: this is all about making sure that the physician is legit, it helps to ensure that patients are safe, not victims (see Kermit Gosnell).
  • Section 2: Modifies an existing Health and Safety Code by defining Abortion inducing drugs, how they can be administered, requires that doctors administer them, and requires that physicians follow up with their patients within 14 days. My take: This is about drug safety, patient awareness and patient safety.
  • Section 3: Amends the section of the Texas Health and Safety Code about minimum medical standards to require that abortion facilities meet the same medical and safety standards of other medical facilities. Abortions are serious and still legal, therefore they should be performed under safe conditions that meet proper medical standards. My take: This is about patient protection.
  • Section 4: Repeals a Health and Safety code section 245.010 that Section 3 defines.
  • Sections 5 and 6: Legal mumbo jumbo about how other laws can/cannot affect this particular bill.
  • Section 7: Makes current facilities not in compliance with health standards of other medical facilities have to be compliant by 1/1/14.
  • Section 8: Makes the law effective immediately if a 2/3 vote is achieved, or in 90 days if not.

That’s it. It should be noted that there are 42 abortion clinics in Texas, and only five meet current standards for ambulatory surgery centers. That means 37 clinics may be sub-par or lack safety and cleanliness features that one should expect from a place where surgery is performed. In Texas today women travel an average of 43 miles to get an abortion. People up north may consider that a long drive, but in Texas we call that a daily commute. The press is already reporting that “37 of 42 clinics will be forced to shut down.” Really? You’re telling me that they can’t update their facilities to meet proper medical safety standards? They can’t relocate if needed to be closer to hospitals? Do they care so little about their patients that they would rather close up shop than do the work needed to remain in business? Could it be that they are more interested in making money and that all of this angst is, dare I say, faux? Could they actually be capitalists at heart chasing after profit? Oh, that is some rich irony right there folks.

So why all the angst? This bill is meant to protect women and their unborn children. It does not make abortions illegal, and if it takes you five months to figure out that you want an abortion, you have some serious issues.

It is sad that the left only seems to care about life when it involves cute fuzzy animals or obscure insects on land where liberals want to prevent construction. Killing your child is ok, but don’t you dare eat that chicken sandwich! Do you have any idea how much those chickens suffer? If liberals cared about life, perhaps they would express outrage that while blacks make up about 12% of our population they account for 35% of all abortions (according to the CDC). You could say that the least safe place for a black baby is in the womb. Harsh, but true.

Consider these words from a minister fond of racial justice;

In other words, the net effect of putting abortion clinics in the urban centers is that the abortion of Hispanic and Black babies is more than double their percentage of the population. Every day 1,300 black babies are killed in America. Seven hundred Hispanic babies die every day from abortion. Call this what you will—when the slaughter has an ethnic face and the percentages are double that of the white community and the killers are almost all white, something is going on here that ought to make the lovers of racial equality and racial harmony wake up.

Tell me again how SB 5 is a threat to women? Look at the numbers. Also consider the irony that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a racist who worked with Nazis and others who wanted to purify the human race and wanted to sterilize those she deemed unfit for our society. Today Planned Parenthood is defended by scores of emotional folks claiming to represent women’s rights while ignoring the thousands of babies killed every year. They are unwilling to look at the facts or even admit that Planned Parenthood is primarily in the business of abortions.

SB 5 passed one step, and barring unforeseen surprises should be signed into law this month. There will be screaming and cries of a war on women, but they will ring hollow to anyone willing to think clearly about the subject. Besides, this is a Texas law. If you don’t like it you are free to move somewhere else where the laws suit your fancy.

Note: While researching this post I found this informative and better written write up on the bill than my own little blurb here. The author does an excellent job of pointing out liberal tactics and media bias.

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments »

A Saxophone Lost And Found Story

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 13, 2013

Professional musicians become one with their axes like baseball players to their glove or jockeys to their horse. It”s a bond that is hard to explain and is equally hard to break. Think of that NRA “pry it from my cold, dead hands” bumper sticker and you get the point.

In March I was robbed. Two saxophones were stolen from the trunk of my car. Yeah, I know… I should not have left them in the trunk; I should have carried them inside when I got home. My hands were full when I walked into the house and I fully intended to go back out and get them, but having two young kids can often be distracting. Needless to say I didn’t make it outside again that evening. The next morning as I walked to my car I noticed that the trunk was partially open. I knew right away that they were gone.

two-saxesTo put this in perspective, these horns are top of the line professional instruments worth thousands of dollars each. I’ve owned each of them for 20 years. Professional musicians become one with their axes like baseball players to their glove or jockeys to their horse. It”s a bond that is hard to explain and is equally hard to break. Think of that NRA “pry it from my cold, dead hands” bumper sticker and you get the point.

The night that they were stolen the thieves canvassed our street and painted racist graffiti on some of the brick houses and the sidewalk. I was the only one that lost anything of value. Paint can be removed, but recovering stolen instruments is not so easy.

After completing a police report I blasted emails to my musician network and posted messages on a few web sites including www.saxontheweb.net. Then I printed out a flyer and visited every pawn shop that I could find, about 20 in all. I was absolutely bummed out. My alto is a cream of the crop vintage 1960 Selmer, and my soprano is a fairly limited edition Yamaha that is highly sought out. Also, my father gave me this soprano when I got to college, and he passed away in 1999. Lots of sentimental value. The thugs had absolutely no idea of the value of their ill-gotten booty. My fear was that they would be pawned for a hundred bucks, or worse, be recognized as too valuable to sell and then tossed into a dumpster. Either way I expected to never see them again. My wife, known for the occasional premonition, felt differently. She thought that we would get them back.

About two months later I got a phone call from a fellow sax player in town. He said that he thought he found my horn. I gave him my detailed description and serial number and asked to see it. I learned that he heard another guy talking about “finding a saxophone in the road on the south side of town.” He called the guy and it was in fact my horn. I was stoked! Then he told me that it had a dent at the bottom of the body. Oh well, at least I have my alto back. It is the more valuable of the two, financially speaking.

When I got the horn back I saw that there was more damage than I thought. The hard shell case had a dent the size of a quarter at the base, and the energy that created this dent was transferred to the instrument. A saxophone is a highly complex instrument with many rods, keys, springs, and more importantly many properly aligned and spaced tone holes that are closed by precisely aligned pads. Even the smallest air leak out of a closed key makes an instrument not respond properly. My alto was seriously misaligned. The body was not only bent, it was slightly corkscrewed. This pulled the holes away from the keys and made for a very manually intensive repair job. Fortunately I’ve got one of the best repairmen in the business (Ken Beason) and he has repaired my horn. The $700 repair cost is well worth it given the vintage of this sax.

So I got one of my horns back. That is pretty friggin’ incredible. Who woulda thought? Then last Sunday evening I got an email that literally jolted me out of my chair.

From saxontheweb.net: Your post indicates that you had a Yamaha 62R with a serial number of 0319. If that”s so, then it”s being sold by someone on ebay right now.

Holy crap! I ran downstairs, told my wife, and we both grabbed our laptops to log on and see. When I logged on I saw that there were only 33 minutes left in the auction!

I freaked… my heart was racing. Do I bid? Do I contact eBay? I called the detective on the case, but it was 11:30 on a Sunday night; there”s no way he will answer. I decided to bid super high on the item to make sure I won and then deal with law enforcement later.

I placed a bid of $5,000, and had another browser window open with an $8,200 bid ready just in case. Sue was ready with a $10,000 bid under her ID just in case someone came in at the last minute. There”s no way we were going to let this slip away. I won the auction with a price of $3,050. Now the fun begins.

I emailed the seller acting as if I didn’t know it was stolen. At this point I didn’t know if the seller was the thief, or just a guy that found it in a pawn shop. Through eBay communication I asked for the sellers address and said that I would be paying with a cashiers check. I also asked if the shipping fee could be waived since I lived in the same city as the seller. The next day he responded he would, but only if I paid via PayPal instead of a cashiers check. I countered with the “I don”t trust PayPal” argument and offered cash. He then asked for my phone number. Hmm…

By this time the detective had finally made contact with me. I called him and told him where we were in the deal and he said I should try to get the sellers phone number so we could track him down. The detective had requested an expedite from eBay to get the seller’s contact info. Anything I could do to find the guy would be quite helpful to the case, since eBay might take a week or so to get the detective the info he needed. It turns out that the seller responded to me outside of eBay and the email address was a fully formatted military address at Lackland Air Force Base. This gave the detective what he needed and the next day he contacted the seller directly to tell him that he had sold a stolen horn.

The seller denied that it was stolen. Then, in a smart move, he called the local police to verify whether or not the detective he spoke with was really a detective. Once this was confirmed he then wanted proof that the horn was in fact mine. Since it was purchased 20 years ago I definitely didn’t have any sort of receipt. Fortunately I gave the serial number of the horn to the detective on the day that we reported the horns stolen. For a moment this wasn’t good enough… apparently non-musicians don’t know that instruments have valid serial numbers. I then described more of the contents of the case as well as the stickers that were on the case. This sealed the deal since they were not shown in the pictures used for the auction.

The detective then learned that the seller bought the horn at a local pawn shop for $100. Seriously… a $3000 instrument for $100. It was pawned the day after it was stolen. The person that pawned it was Jesse Gomez, a thug already wanted for a few crimes. I”m waiting to hear back if this guy gets arrested. If he pawned lots of other stuff they should have enough evidence to launch a thorough investigation on him.

What pisses me off is that it looks like the pawn shop sat on the horn for five months before putting it out for display/sale. Assholes. And, I may have visited the store where it was sold during my initial tour of pawn shops the day after I was robbed. I plan on visiting the store this weekend to see if this is the case.

Ultimately I am a very luck and blessed person. To think that I would get not just one but both of my horns back was unimaginable to me. But my wife was confident that we would get at least one back. She actually had a strong feeling that we would get the soprano back, not the alto. Heck… nobody’s perfect.

Posted in Entertainment | 2 Comments »

Yes, there were WMD in Iraq.

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 10, 2013

As more and more scandals rise to the surface of this disgusting cesspool known as the Obama administration, the die-hard supporters on the far left are really getting testy. Some have realized that they were mesmerized by a charismatic politician and regret it. Many others have simply checked out due to the constant negativity and hypocrisy on display. But there are is a shrinking yet annoyingly loud minority that remains, and all they are left with is their now subconscious pre-2008 verbal ticks. “There were no WMD.” “Wars we can’t afford.” “Bush lied, people died.” It is sad, really, but the First Amendment applies to everyone. At least for now.

So let’s jump right in. Here is an account from “SEAL Target Geronimo“, an excellent first-hand accounting of the raid that killed Bin Laden. I know that there are Marines out there angry that the book was published, but it is because of their code, not because there are factual problems with the book. I’m not a fan if ignoring the truth simply because it was delivered by someone you don’t like.

May 13, 2003: The tech quickly identified the improvised explosive, a 155 mm artillery shell, painted with a faded yellow band. The shell was maybe twenty inches long, a steel cylinder truncated into a tapering arch. A digital clock taped to the shell had stopped at 11: 30. Without incident, the bomb tech attached a “disrupter,” a countercharge designed to separate the main explosive shell from the smaller, electrically activated blasting cap connected to the clock. The tech returned to cover, radioed “fire in the hole” and set off the disrupter using a remote firing device. There was a small, sharp crack as the disrupter blew off the clock and battery, rendering the roadside bomb safe. The bomb technician doffed her protective suit and walked forward with her partner to inspect the IED. Per standing orders, they would collect what was left of the shell, watch, and battery. The pieces would be studied and logged, and details of the incident would be added to the growing catalog accumulated by the FBI’s Bomb Data Unit.

As they approached the curb, both technicians could smell a sweet, flowery odor, not unpleasant, something like the smell of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The first tech was close enough to see a puddle of amber colored liquid rolling against the curb. He knew immediately what it was, and he waved his partner back. By now, there was a ringing in his ears and his vision started to wash out— the sunlight seemed suddenly blinding, the result of his pupils dilating uncontrollably. The artillery shell placed against the curb did not contain high explosives, but a deadly nerve gas called sarin. And now both techs had been exposed. The bomb tech tried to yell a warning, but could only stumble backward and fall. His partner grabbed him under the arms and dragged him back toward the Humvee. She laid him out and fumbled in the cargo pocket of her trousers for an atropine serette. The serette was a spring-loaded syringe containing valium, atropine, and obidoxime. It was now her only hope of saving him. His eyes rolled wildly, the pupils huge and black, and his hands began to shake and clutch as the muscles in his body locked up. The tech slammed the serette into his leg, and then pushed a second one into her own thigh. She told the infantry guys to get away from them— they were both now contaminated. She told the lieutenant to lead the patrol away, upwind, and radio battalion they had been exposed to nerve gas.

There is more about this topic in the book, I encourage every history buff to read it. The author also mentions the Wikileaks document dump from 2010; 492,000 classified U.S. documents relating to the war in Afghanistan. From these documents we have learned that since 2004, Al Qaeda has carried out at least one hundred chemical attacks on coalition forces in Iraq. Most attacks used “re-purposed” chemical warheads from Saddam’s arsenal— nerve gases and mustard gas.

The obvious follow up question to this? “Why didn’t the press jump all over this?” There are two reasons, one for each party, as explained by Melanie Phillips in April, 2007. (Note: Phillips originally wrote the article for The Spectator, which ran her political blog. She left them in 2010, so the complete article is no longer available there.)

The Republicans won’t touch this because it would reveal the incompetence of the Bush administration in failing to neutralize the danger of Iraqi WMD. The Democrats won’t touch it because it would show President Bush was right to invade Iraq in the first place. It is an axis of embarrassment. If the purpose of the American intervention in Iraq was to remove the threat of Saddam’s WMD it has backfired, dreadfully. Clearly, there is a major disconnect between public perception, media reporting, government admissions, and truth on the ground. For the administration and the media, the mantra “we didn’t find any” remains preferable to the admission “we have armed the enemy.”

OK, so both parties are ignoring the existence of WMD. Shocking, yes, but not unexpected given the quality of our current political representation these days. So, the next obvious question is “where did the WMD go?” The answer comes to us from the second highest ranking general in the Iraqi Air Force under Saddam Hussein. He was interviewed by Larry Elder in 2006.

Elder: “What happened to the chemical and biological weapons?”

Sada: “The chemical and biological weapons were available in Iraq before liberating the country, but Saddam Hussein took the advantage of a natural disaster that happened in Syria when a dam was collapsed and many villages were flooded. So Saddam Hussein took that cover and declared to the world that he is going to use the civilian aircraft for an air bridge to help Syria with blankets, food and fuel oil, and other humanitarian things, but that was not true. The truth is he converted two regular passenger civilian aircraft, 747 Jumbo and 727… all the weapons of mass destruction were put there by the special Republican Guards in a very secret way, and they were transported to Syria, to Damascus, by flying 56 flights to Damascus… In addition… also a truck convoy on the ground to take whatever has to do with WMD to Syria.”

Is this starting to make sense? And as we fast forward to today, this all might explain where Syria got the WMD that they are now using on their own people. I’m sure they will stop because our president has drawn a red line. Oh wait, they’ve crossed that red line. I guess that’s how we define “leading from behind?”

Posted in Military, Politics | Leave a Comment »

I never wanted a class ring.

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 3, 2013

I never wanted a class ring.

My mother wanted me to have one when I graduated from high school and I said no. In my senior year of high school I was focused on getting ready for college. I felt that a high school ring wouldn’t mean much to the girls, excuse me, women, I was going to meet at college in the great state of Texas. And, I didn’t want to worry about losing it. Spending that kind of money for something that I would probably lose just didn’t seem worth it. We were a modest family; money was not scarce, nor was it abundant. But I was taught that money was to buy things that were important and necessary, not luxury items or fluff.

As I approached college graduation my mother asked again and I said no. I really didnt want a ring. I don’t wear jewelry. But mom was so proud of her only child graduating college, she simply had to get me a ring. It sealed the deal for her in a tangible way. She insisted and I capitulated. She even offered to pay for it. So, due to the price of gold in 1988, I got a pinkie ring instead of a big traditional ring. [editor’s note: gold back then was about $400/oz, gas was about $1.05] I tricked it up by having a saxophone engraved on the stone to show off my pride for our world class jazz program. The ring cost more than $500, and mom was quite proud to write the check for it. Mission accomplished. Mom was happy, what else could you ask for?

Fast forward to about two years later. I wore the ring to an all-day judging session for the annual high school All-State auditions. This is the last time I remember having it. It was gone. I couldn’t find it anywhere.

I was crushed.

I grew to like my unique ring. I grew to appreciate the hard work and accomplishment that it symbolized. I grew to appreciate my mother’s stubborn dedication to her hard headed son. And I lost the damned ring.

Of course, there’s no way I was going to tell mom about this. Or dad. He would have had a shit fit if he learned that I lost a $500 ring that he probably protested the purchase of to begin with. I visited every pawn shop near the area I last remembered having the ring. They were a real help. One guy even said that he usually melts down class rings since they don’t sell well. I visited the school where I adjudicated the All-State auditions to see if anyone turned it in. Nothing.

So, in the spring of 1991 I began living a tiny but occasionally inconvenient lie. I’d claim that I forgot to pack the ring those few times I flew home for visits. I’d smoothly change the subject if class ring talk came up. It became second nature. Eventually I actually forgot about the ring. Life was maintaining an ironclad grip on my attention. I was now working for a major consulting firm, then I was engaged, then married in 1993. Then I was in grad school. Then thanks to some luck and good timing we bought our first home. We found a wonderful starter home with a great view in a nice neighborhood, and the initial buyer’s financing fell through so we grabbed it. My life seemed to be going in the right direction.

Fast forward to 1998. I received a call at work from my dad. He asked me, “did you lose your class ring?” What? How did he know? Remember, my parents had no idea that the ring had been missing for seven years. I said yes and he then told me that a woman named Nicole called claiming that she had my ring. He gave me her number and I of course called her right away. I asked her to describe the ring and right away I knew she had my ring. I then asked for directions to where she was and Nicole gave me her address. I had to wait a few more hours before I could leave work and make the 30 mile drive to the gym where she worked.

Before I left the office I called the gym to verify the location. This time I man answered and when I asked for Nicole he said “nobody named Nicole works here.” What? My mind started racing: Is this some sort of sick joke? What do you mean you don’t know who she is?

So, not knowing if my ring was really there I headed out at peak rush hour to drive from north Plano to south Arlington. NOT a fun drive at any time, never mind rush hour. I found the gym, walked up to the receptionist and asked for Nicole. The woman behind the counter said “We don’t have a Nicole here.” Aaaaargh!!! This is insane! I explained my situation and asked for the manager. He came out and said “Oh, Nicole. Yeah, she’s new here and works in the day care down the hall.” Apparently the front desk staff didn’t know the name of the new part-time daycare worker.

I walked down to the kid area and called Nicole over. She came over and I introduced myself. She went into her purse and puled out my ring. Holy crap… there it was! It was dirty, but it was my ring. I asked where she found it and she said that her brother Jason found it a few years ago but she didn’t know any more details. She was able to track me down because my name was inscribed inside the ring, and my last name is somewhat unique in Texas. They called information and got my dad on the first try.

Now the story gets interesting.

It turns out that in 1991 when we moved out of our rental house on Oakwood Lane in Denton to move closer to Dallas, Jason is the guy that moved in. He had recently moved to Texas from Connecticut which, coincidentally, is where I am from. All Nicole could tell me is that he found the ring while living there. He was now living with Nicole in an apartment. I asked for their address so I could send them a reward for their honesty. She gave it to me, I profusely thanked her again and then headed home. That night I wrote a letter to these fine people thanking them for their honesty and for making the effort to find me. I never met or spoke to Jason during this entire affair.

Now for a seemingly unrelated tangent.

On the corner of the street near our house near a light post there was a puzzling inscription in one of the sidewalk squares. It said “JD 95.” Our neighborhood was small, we lived on a small block and all of the neighbors knew each other. Nobody on our block had the initials JD, and since we were all the first owners of our homes in this new neighborhood we knew that it wasn’t a previous resident. We wrote it off as graffiti from a passing teen that found some moist cement when the streets were being paved.

Now back to our story.

My neighbor Dirk was the resident social coordinator. He would host block parties across the street from our house during most major holidays and whenever else the mood hit him. One warm April weekend we were gathering in his driveway enjoying a cool beverage when we saw a beat up compact car zip into the neighborhood and turn quickly into my driveway. “That’s weird,” I thought. I had never seen that car before, what is this guy doing in my driveway? I thought it might be a lost pizza delivery guy. When I saw the driver get out of the car and head for my front door I walked across the street to see what he wanted.

He said, “Are you Paul?” I said yes and he said, “walk with me for a second.” I start thinking, this is weird, but if I’m gonna get capped by a mobster or something at least I”e got a driveway full of friends that can help me out if needed. It turns out that this person was Jason, the guy that found my ring. He said that he found the ring one day when he was looking out of the bedroom window into the backyard. He looked down and caught a brief glimpse of something shiny. He went outside to see what it was, and buried in the dirt was my ring. (apparently the ring must have fallen off of my hand when I was mowing the lawn or something.) As I was thanking him for his efforts he walked me to the street corner and pointed at the inscription in the sidewalk. “See those initials? They are mine. I wrote that two years ago.”

Wait. It gets better.

Jason then tells me that he was the original buyer of the house that we owned. He is the person who’s financing fell through thus enabling us to buy our first home. He lived in our former residence, and he tried to buy the house that we ended up buying. This is really weird.

It gets even better. Jason then pulled out my thank you letter and told me an interesting story.

The reason Jason left Connecticut was to get away from a horrible life of substance abuse. He was an alcoholic and a coke addict. He hung around with a bad crowd and it nearly killed him. He would steal from friends and family to support his habit. He decided to escape to Texas, a place very far away and very different from Connecticut. And he quit drugs cold turkey. Not long after he moved into the house on Oakwood he found my ring. As Jason tells it, he could have sold the ring for cash and bought some drugs. But he resisted the urge; he kept the ring. He kept it for several years and got clean. Eventually he decided to find the ring’s owner and was successful.

Pretty cool story, huh? There’s still more. My favorite part.

Jason keeps my hand written thank you letter in his pocket all of the time. He uses it as proof that he beat his addiction. He told me that he went back to Connecticut once to take care of some personal business and he saw some old “friends.” When he told them the ring story and how he quit, they called bull on him. He then pulled out my letter to prove it. He won his battle and my letter was proof positive. Jason told me that this was a pivotal moment of closure in his life. He showed his cohorts that he was better than his former self. He then left Connecticut again and continued his new life.

And to think that I never wanted a class ring. I got the ring, but Jason got so much more.

[note: I originally wrote this 8-30-2007]

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Understanding Church Charity

Posted by cann0nba11 on May 3, 2013

During lunch today someone sitting near me was talking about visiting the Vatican. She commented with angst “look at all of the gold on the ceiling, how many poor people could they feed with that?” This instantly reminded me of a comment my dad said years ago. He complained that the church could sell its art work and donate millions to the poor, and that they were hypocritical for not doing so.

It’s easy to tell other people to do with their money, when you have no reason to complain other than your emotional hate for the church. It’s easy to redistribute, to point out how you would spend it if it was your own. And, it’s easy to criticize the Catholic church because you know doing so won’t result in your head being cut off or getting stoned to death.

People continue to battle the church, including the president. His healthcare laws forced the Catholic church to choose between coverage and their morals, then last year he changed his stance (one of his myriad flip flops), and then recent modifications to the law shifted the decision away from churches and put the choices on the insurance companies now. In other words, instead of the faith-based employers or churches paying for contraception coverage, either the insurers or the government will pick it up. So, the same moral dilemma occurs, but now the church just isn’t paying for it.

Remember, the left enjoys attacking the church and loves to point out the horrific atrocities that occurred hundreds of years ago. They love to point out horrible mistakes made by a very small percentage of priests, while at the same time they dare not speak out against radical Islamic practices such as stoning women to death because they were raped (Muslims call that adultery). They ignore how radical Muslims burn homosexuals alive, or regularly beat their women. (Remember, in Islam, women are somewhere between slave and a free person.) Liberals dare not take on the traditional black Baptist population, one that is largely opposed to gay marriage. Instead they pick on the Catholics, an easy target. You know what that sounds like to me? Bullying.

Let’s take a look at just how much the Catholic church helps the world.

  • The Catholic Church was founded long before there were hospitals. Today, nearly one-sixth of all hospital patients in America is taken care of by a Catholic hospital.
  • Catholic hospitals are ahead of other hospitals in a wide range of public health and specialty services traditionally considered “unprofitable.”
  • The Catholic Church teaches 3 million students a day: in its more than 250 Catholic Colleges and Universities, in its more than 1200 Catholic High Schools and its more than 5000 Catholic grade schools.
  • Every day, the Catholic Church feeds, clothes, shelters and educates more people than any other organization in the world.
  • At least ninety-three Catholic Charities adoption agencies can be found online; they are nationwide and have placed thousands of babies into loving homes since the 1920s.

Churches all over the world serve as a refuge to the poor, the needy, and the destitute. Yet in America there exists a rising tide of anti-church hatred, despite all of the good that the church performs. At the same time Americans are being asked to embrace Muslim practices in America, whether it be burqa day at school, or ignoring Muslim honor killings in Texas, or sweeping stories about the New Jersey hate crime of beheading Christians under the rug, or calling the Boston bombers lone wolves, or calling the Fort Hood massacre an incident of workplace violence. Remember, we are not at war with anyone, all of that stuff going overseas is just workplace violence.

So before you consider a liberal anti-church rant, or before you rush to dismiss terrorist activities in America, consider the following. The Catholic church is by far the most giving global charity in both human volunteer time and billions of dollars every year. Meanwhile,

  • Have you ever been tended to in a Muslim hospital?
  • Have you benefited from a Muslim charity?
  • Have you ever seen a Muslim gay pride parade?
  • Have you ever visited a Muslim women’s shelter?

If you think the Catholic church could do a better job with charity, or that it should lose tax-exempt status, check your premise. Then again, if you tend to say these things, you probably believe that the government would do a better job of spending money than the church.

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Why are sports teams are so hateful?

Posted by cann0nba11 on April 30, 2013

Well, it’s apparently time to resurrect the idea that the Washington Redskins team name because it is racist and derogatory. This argument comes up every now and then, and it is defeated every single time. Given the myriad problems our nation is facing, you would think that our politicians could focus on more pressing matters? Nah. That’s like asking local police to focus on capturing criminals instead of pulling citizens over for petty citations that serve the sole purpose of generating revenue for the city.

So, in an effort to help the Washington D.C. council member with this project, I offer the following list of team names that should also be changed, just to keep things fair.

  • Detroit Pistons: How can anyone name their team after a key component of evil carbon-burning machines?
  • Golden State Warriors: Promoting violence, mocking native Americans.
  • Houston Rockets: NASA is dead, and rockets kill people.
  • Miami Heat: Don’t promote global warming!!! Al Roker might blame them for Superstorm Sandy.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Why promote terrorist revolutionaries?
  • Sacramento Kings: Promotes the 1%. The fix? Change the name to Obamas.
  • Kansas City Chiefs: Obviously hateful, chief.
  • Cleveland Browns: That’s just racist. You might as well call them the Cleveland You People.
  • Oakland Raiders: More violence.
  • Minnesota Vikings: They pillaged and burned. Bad role model.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: More stealing and violence.
  • San Francisco 49ers: Promoting gold-digging evil rich people.
  • Buffalo Sabres: Violent weapon. How many clips does a sabre hold?
  • Carolina Hurricanes: Hateful racist storms caused by man-made global warming.
  • Nashville Predators: Duh.
  • Edmonton Oilers: Bush. Cheney. Halliburton. War. Big Oil. So hateful.
  • Atlanta Braves: Mocking native Americans again.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Sounds too close to wetback.
  • San Diego Padres: Separation of church and state.
  • Chicago White Sox: Why’s it gotta be about race?
  • Cleveland Indians: Let’s face it. Even mentioning the term Indian is hateful.
  • Los Angeles Angels: Obviously promoting Heaven. Separation of church and state again. Rename them the LA GLBT’s and you will be just fine.

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