Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Can We Be More "White" In Future Years?

• How do we make sure that in future years we have less minorities?
• If in decades ahead we are as "brown" as we are now, we have failed as a society.
• In the future if we have as many minorities as today, we will be relentlessly driven toward mediocrity,    
   a sad shadow of our current self.

WHAT? What's that you say, I'm a bigoted, racist, hate-monger? Moi? You must be joking. No friends, I am just paraphrasing (with a little poetic license) Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard.

You see guys like Dr. Shepard are everywhere these days. They run our education establishment, our media, our institutions and our government. They are Lester Maddox, George Lincoln Rockwell and David Duke...with only a few slight differences. They despise the idea of a color blind meritocracy and they are as obsessed with race as any Klansman who ever lived. But their methodology is different. They use terms such as "white privilege" and "economic justice" to confuse their message with the rule of law and property rights. As Mike Adams said, they don't burn crosses, they ban crosses. Their's is Marxist inspired propaganda, lies born of envy and entitlement and their brand of bigotry is more pernicious than anything George Wallace ever aspired to.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

On the Making of Saints

I skate now onto thin ice, and I apologize in advance to anyone who takes emotional issue with what I write.  Some preliminaries first.  I was born and raised a Roman Catholic, and it is to this church that I owe whatever religious allegiance that I have.  This, even as I have attended Protestant services almost exclusively over the past twenty years.  I know, I know.  Lots of reasons for this, mostly to do with the women I was courting.  But I've never backed down from my sense of loyalty to Catholicism and a great reverence for the Papacy. Additionally (as a conservative), I really, really like the Catholic Church's adherence to Tradition and its resistance to "changing with the times".  If you think something is Truth--then you stick with it. Man's propensity to sin is insufficient rationale to redefine what sin is. 

That said, I am somewhat unsettled by the canonization today of two former Popes--John (23.0) and John Paul (2.0).  I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I have to cop to it.  Of course, I am no expert in what makes someone worthy of being a Saint.  And I have no way to know whether whatever those qualifications are, these two men were so qualified.  At the end of the day, the Church makes its rules and the Church decides on who should be Saints--not me.  

But it is hard to think that I walked the Earth at the same time as one of these men--in fact, stood not more than ten feet from him.  I realize that there is no rational reason to think that there cannot have been a Saint walking around in the modern age, but then again, does the existence of Sainthood itself not strain rationality?   
I cannot get past my sense that no matter how amazing these two men were, the bar has been lowered for Sainthood, that their previous office somehow gave them a "jump" on things.  

Why is it so hard for me to accept 1) miracles and 2) that miracles happened while I walked the Earth?  I guess I don't find it hard to accept miracles....I find it hard to accept that miracles occur through the intercession of human beings, even dead ones.  I'm becoming so incredibly monotheistic as I age--very much a fan of a God who is That Which There Is No Greater Than, but less so with everything else that has accreted onto that God over time.  Let's face it....if God is Omniscient (all-knowing) and Omnipresent (everywhere)--both of which I believe--what role is there for Sainthood?  

I'm going to have to keep noodling on this, and I would be grateful to any of you for guidance and advice on this matter.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

DJ Cook Pursued His Passion, and We Are Doomed

Poverty stricken teacher, in more flush days
I happened upon this little piece in Huffington Post yesterday morning during my Facebook read.  In what appears to be a regular "Working Poor" feature, 36-year old DJ Cook recounts his tale of woe, one that has him currently in a temporary teaching position and living in a converted garage.  I urge you to read his story, but don't do so with hot coffee anywhere near you or the violent shakes that you get while reading will lead to serious injury.  I'm going to take his effort apart, piece by piece, if you don't mind.

I graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2000 with an Economics degree (cruelly ironic, I know). My student loan debt was minimal from my undergrad and I ended up paying off about $6,000 from 2000-2007. In that same time I bounced from job to job, ultimately looking for a career. In 2007, I realized that my passion was teaching. I went back to school, obtained my teaching credential and a Master's degree in Education. At about the same time, the economy collapsed, taking most local, state and federal budgets for education with it. My Master's degree cost $36,000 with a 6.8 percent APR. But I was lucky enough to land a teaching job the first year out of school. I thought I had finally captured the elusive "American Dream."

Mr. Cook's parenthetical about his undergraduate major is interesting.  In it, my sense is that he is citing irony as in, "I got an economics degree and here I am on the receiving end of economic burden" or something like that.  No Mr. Cook, that is not what is ironic.  What is ironic is that you would accrue $6000 in student debt, pay it off while you meandered from job to job (good on you--that's sometimes what folks in their 20's do), and then--armed with the knowledge of labor supply and demand that one would suppose you accrued while studying economics at UCSB--you took on SIX TIMES that debt to obtain an MA in a field that, while it may have been your "passion"--is not particularly well-known for its salary structure, at least for inexperienced teachers.  

Thinking that I would be able to keep my job for as long as I wanted based on good performance, I was excited to start the process of looking for a house to purchase. My student loan payments started to kick in six months after I graduated and that is when I realized that a home purchase was far away for me. 

So let's get this straight.  New job, low salary, $36K in debt--hey, must be time to buy a house!  

I didn't realize what I was agreeing to when I was signing my student loan documents for graduate school because it had never been explained to me. I had no clue about the difference of borrowing from Sallie Mae or the federal government. I had no clue what the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized meant. I thought my loan repayments would be similar to my undergrad experience. 

UCSB really, really ought to put a hit out on this guy, not to mention whatever institution (where he got his MA is not cited) handed him a Masters.  Have you ever read a more pitiful explanation in your life?  This is what we call in America these days, an EDUCATED MAN.  With an economics degree.  Yet he can with a straight face write this drivel?

After three lay-offs in four years I decided to move from California to Colorado in order to continue to teach but pay a lot less for rent, gas and everything else that is cheaper outside of California. In my two years in Colorado, I was laid off both times, so I moved back to California to take another teaching position. In my seven years as an educator, I've been laid off six times.

Hmmm....bounced from job to job for six years after college....can't read loan docs....doesn't understand supply/demand relationship (with an econ degree)...laid off six times.  Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Cook isn't very good at this "adult" stuff? 

On top of all that, there is a low key war in education between public education and for-profit charters, online schools and private schools. The for-profit machine has undermined the unions, backed standardized testing and refuses to acknowledge that our failing education system is due to social and economic issues rather than "bad teachers." 

So here now is Mr. Cook singing to the chorus--remember, this was a Huffington Post piece--with the standard tripe of left of center education theory.  Things would be better if we only paid more taxes to our public education system, gagged any and all competition, and eliminated all methods of holding that system accountable.  Where I do agree with Mr. Cook is that I don't think "bad teachers" are the cause--but then again, that isn't a criticism the right makes of modern education.  Teacher unions?  Now that's a problem.  Bad teachers?  Nope.  Additionally, his characterization of the failures being attributable to "social and economic" issues is half right, in that social issues--primarily the breakdown of the American family/single parenthood--are at the heart of the failure of public education.  "Economic issues" is code for "spend more", and there is ample evidence to suggest minimal connection between dollars spent per pupil and performance.

I currently live in a converted garage (500 sq/ft) with no heat, no air conditioning, and no kitchen -- and all of that costs $900/month. I live paycheck to paycheck, with no savings. I have a dog, which I use to fill the biological urge to have children. At 36 years old, it's slowly starting to dawn on me that I will most likely never have children, as I would never intentionally bring another child into the world of poverty. A house and/or a family is a laughable proposition at this point.

Finally, Mr. Cook begins to make good decisions.  I do not wish for him to bring a child into this world either, if its intelligence is in any way a reflection of biology.  One question I do have--what is Mr. Cook doing ALL SUMMER LONG?  He presumably has 10-12 weeks at his disposal--what good is this time devoted to?  

In six and a half years I have paid off $2,000 of principle even though my payments have been roughly $400/month. Most of the payments have gone towards interest. 

UCSB--are you reading?  This guy graduated from YOUR UNIVERSITY.  WITH AN ECON DEGREE!  And he didn't understand the way loans work.

Something needs to change and it needs to change now. Too many people are affected by this for it not to be something that everyone is aware of. For the vast majority of citizens of the U.S. and the world for that matter, we are not in a recession. We are in a depression disguised as a recession due to the fact that the upper one percent continue to pull obscene amounts of wealth out of the global economy, which ultimately covers up the loss of wealth the rest of us have suffered through.

It needs to change, but not in the way you want it to or because you have failed.  Things need to change because the education market is distorted and its products think like you, Mr. Cook.  Once again--I want to stress--this man earned a college degree in economics.  And his understanding of economics borders on the absurd.  We are in neither a recession nor a depression.  "Vast majority"?  Did he fail statistics, too?  More singing to the choir with the reference to the "1%", but that's to be expected.  

I have covered this ground before, but it is worth saying again.  The reasons that so many people are so incredibly indebted as a result of their education is that 1) too many vastly unqualified people are pursuing higher education 2) the federal government has stepped in to provide a sea of funding to enable this behavior 3) the distorted excess resources in the system raises total demand faster than total supply can keep up, which raises price and 4) the funding provided to students to pursue their educations is pegged to the price of the place they attend, thereby removing ANY incentive for the institutes of higher learning to control their prices.  Perhaps even a 20-year old version of Mr. Cook--were he to put the bong down long enough--would understand the distorted economics of higher education. 

I urge you to read through some of the comments at the end of the article to get a sense of just how screwed we are.  You and I (I'm speaking to the conservative readers now) read this piece and it comes off almost as a work of parody, something we might see in The Onion.  But for the readers of Huffington Post (and voters of Barack Obama), Mr. Cook's story and illogic is ample justification for a whole host of government programs that would MAKE IT EVEN EASIER to obtain funding to pursue higher education (therein deepening the distortion presented in the previous paragraph).  

One last thing.  Whenever you "pursue your passion", you don't get to bitch about the conditions of its pursuit.  By definition, you are putting logic and reasoning aside.  

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Weight: 188.4
Last Weigh In: 188.4 (18 Apr)
Diet Start: 198 (Aug 11, 2013)

Aw, is something bothering you?  Did you diet all week and lose not an ounce?  Are you still living in a converted garage pursuing your dream?

Let it out, friend.  Share!  

Are Women Really This Stupid?

Do American women really believe conservatives (and I use that term loosely) are "at war" with them? Do they believe that any discussion of their "rights" be it abortion or wage disparity or whatever, is a sign of hostility towards them? I think most probably do not, but I also believe many don't care what the facts are if this argument works with the ill-informed, low info voter. To put it another way, if slander works then use it until it doesn't work. But make no mistake friends, this is slander designed to keep women on the political plantation.

So let's look at a few facts, what about this 77% figure the left keeps trotting out? Do women make 77% less than men? The answer is...yeah, but so what? If you take all the women working in America and add up their salaries and do the same for men, then yes it could very well be 77%. But what does that mean? Not a helluva lot.
•Men comprise 54% of the labor force. Men work more hours than women, 10 hours a week more on average.
•Men do the more dangerous and more skilled jobs therefore their pay is higher (50% of pediatricians are women, but only 16% are higher paid surgeons).
•Since about 1990, if we look at female college graduates, in 10 years 20% have left the labor force and 17% are working part time compared to 2% for males in BOTH categories.

But women have some advantages as well.
• According to the last census, 685k men graduated from college in 2009, compared to 916k for women. That's a 40% swing in the past 40 years.
•60% of college graduates are women. The earn more four year degrees, more graduate degrees and more doctorates.
•Women under 30 who enter the workforce straight from school earn 8% higher salaries than men with the same job description.

So from where I'm sitting women have in no way been given the short end of the stick, at least not lately. In fact I would argue that males have been discriminated against with Title IV and other ridiculous, grievance motivated laws. But will this "War on Women" tactic work? The short answer is HELL YES it will work because facts don't matter and so many people are so easily manipulated...and that stat is about 50/50.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Dem Senator Vies for Darwin Award


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Skipper Always Knows What to Do

Saw a bit of "U-571" last night including this bit...of which I was not previously aware.  Sorta sums up my view of command at sea, from the time I was a pup until the job was mine.

Cliven Bundy is No Hero

The interwebs and cable were thick in the past few weeks with the story of Cliven Bundy and his standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over some $1M in grazing fees he has been assessed over the course of several decades, but has refused to pay.  The link above provides a nice timeline of events, and is worth perusing if only for the sense of just how long this dispute has been ongoing.   A couple of things.

1)  I have no idea why the federal government of the United States needs to own 80+ percent of the State of Nevada.  But it does, and so it (we) has the right to the revenue that comes from public use.  Just like we do from public use for drilling oil (except that we don't do much of that anymore, least not on public lands) and cutting down Christmas trees.
2) The rule of law has to count for something.  Mr. Bundy's case is ridiculously unfounded, as this nice bit of commentary by Charles C.W. Cooke lays out.  Sure, there are echoes of great western disputes and romantic notions of one man standing against the weight of the federal government, but the actions of the federal government here are simply not the kind of tyranny against which we conservatives are supposed to applaud.

3)  I additionally have no idea why the Bureau of Land Management needs its own paramilitary.  Those who would point to the presence of armed militia as rationale need then to explain why the FBI would not suffice.

4)  Harry Reid's designation of Bundy's armed supporters as "domestic terrorists" is overheated and incorrect.  One needs (in my view) to actually have committed and act of terror to be considered a terrorist.  I was unable to find any press reports of Senator Reid having branded Black Panther poll watchers with similar rhetorical excess.

5) That said, the presence of armed "militia" bespeaks a level of lawlessness, threat and intimidation that is incompatible with "a nation of laws".

Bundy strikes me as a man with deep-seated views and the kernel of a beef.  He is not however, someone worthy of adulation or praise.  He is a scofflaw, and a rich one at that.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's got you down, Shipmate?  All the good sports are over for the year and so you're stuck with lame NBA playoffs and baseball?  Did all your dieting in the early part of the week get blown out of the water by overindulgence late?  Share, people, share!

Weight: 188.4
Last Weigh In: 189.4 (11 Apr)
Diet Start: 198 (Aug 11, 2013)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

News & Perspective From a Half-Drunk Redneck

Have you seen this story? Well...Miss North Carolina (Johna Edmonds) is getting some stick about her "revealing" clothing. It seems a lot of folks think she's not setting a good example for our youth. Forgive me but that's not how I read this. When I look at Miss Edmonds I see a beautiful, confident young woman performing her duties as a representative of our great state. She also happens to have a spectacular rack which she is none to shy about parading before her admiring public. If our "youth" need a role model then they could do a lot worse, beats the Khardashians or Rihanna. But to add a bit of cultural perspective, I can well understand the criticism. Southerners are uncomfortable with clothing like this. Why I myself have been to semi-formal affairs and after a few libations caught myself ogling some Yankee woman's rotors to the consternation of all. It makes things very awkward and the ride home ain't that great either. Women tend to get very pissed off when they wear clothing accentuating their assets and men actually take the bait. Don't ask me why.

Did you happen to see the Rev. Al was outed as an FBI informant? Well I hope you did because you're not likely to see it mentioned again (much like the California legislator who was so anti-gun, you know up until he was caught running guns). Anyway I am not at all surprised by the Rev. You know why? Because I'm a redneck that's why. You see one of the big differences between Southerners and the rest of the country is that even though we had Jim Crow and all the other forms of discrimination both subtle and not so subtle, we actually had daily contact with black folk. Non-Redneck Americans had, and probably still have minimal contact with blacks. You people stayed with your own kind be it Irish, Italians, Jews or Poles. Now I know times have changed, but the point is Southern whites know black folks a thousands times better than anybody else. Our cultures are very similar, NOT IDENTICAL by any means, but very close.
So, in light of what I just told you here's the short course on black preachers. They like pussy and fried chicken and ain't no nappy-headed, jive-ass, stump jumping (insert ethnic slur here) gonna stand in their way. In other words they could care less about black grievance, it's just a means to an end. Al Sharpton is running the black preacher playbook, no more no less.

Well it looks like Issa might have run out of patience with Lois Lerner. I think he's playing it pretty well. He's dragged it out with an eye towards the mid-terms and the release of the Elijah Cummings communication with Lerner was a game changer. So now they've voted to hold Lerner in contempt (and she ain't the Attorney General) which means she can be arrested and detained. The pressure has been appropriately cranked up, the next step is to offer her immunity. If they can get her to roll over she would be a goldmine I'd say. She's spent her career as a political hit-bitch going from the FEC to the IRS, whenever and where ever she might be needed to advance the cause of her handlers. I'll bet she can put some asses in some wringers if she spills. It'll all come down to who she's most afraid of, and don't think this is a slam dunk. But however it plays out don't you just love our ever diligent media? My God if Nixon had been a Democrat he'd still be President.

That's all I got. Oh, I'd like to congratulate Mr. Stewart for winning the NCAA bracket competition. I'm over the disappointment of losing... AGAIN!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Something got you down?  Bummed about a second rate former Big East team winning the title?  Fattening up for Spring?  Share you thoughts, friends.  We're here for you.

Weight: 189.4
Last Weigh In: 184.4 (Mar 28)
Diet Start: 198 (Aug 11, 2013)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

                          MUDGE GOT PUNKED! 

I Get it Now

That's right, I get it now. Look, let's get it straight, I much prefer a private healthcare system. I think American medicine has been a wonder of the world, far better than any other country rich or poor. But those days are over. We have allowed leftists to import 100 million third worlders. We have our own domestic scumbags who have been spoiled and coddled and are like domesticated animals, incapable of fending for themselves. What are they to do, or more to the point what are we to do with them? Well, we could just say to hell with them all, but come on, that's not going to work. First of all, they show up at emergency rooms for primary care and until such time as there are no more Democrats we will continue to treat them for "free". Plus we have to look at public health as a whole. Suppose we let disease run rampant through the poorer communities? Well obviously it won't take long before the rest of us suffer. So maintaining the health of the "herd" (for lack of a better description) is in all of our interests.
So, the Affordable Care Act sucks, I think we can all agree on that. I hate it, you hate it, we all hate it. But it's an important first step addressing a real problem realistically. How we got here is not the point, it's what we do now that counts. So let's all get behind this effort and stop resisting, we'll all be better off.
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