Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Case for Unions?

Unions have been a part of the American landscape for many many years and of course as with any thing else they have their pros and cons.

The Service Employees International Union gets a lot a heat on conservative talk radio of late. The phrase "SEIU thugs" is heard often on such political commentary shows as Rush, Hannity and others. The assertion is that "SEIU thugs" show up to various meetings and events to intimidate and cause a ruckus. This is verified apparently during an incident that got out of hand in Missouri fairly recently. Be that as it may, there are very legitimate reasons for someone wanting to affiliate with this union. Take for example those in the private security industry. This industry is rife with rip off companies that pay the minimum wage, have no benefits and regularly demean those in their employ. Guardsmark Security, one of the major players, has recently been citedfor transferring female officers from one site to another because the client wanted male only security officers. A clear legal violation of course. U.S. Security Associates and Allied Barton also have an extremely bad reputation. These companies are major players in the security industry. In a post 911 world site security is of premier importance. These companies are responsible for security at some very sensitive locations and the level of security actually offered is a joke. For instance, U.S. Security Associates has a contract to "guard" a sensitive research facility in the Houston area where explosives are tested. The officers are of course, unarmed, underpaid and frankly unqualified for the position. With the proper training and wages these employees would be much more qualified to perform their duties as they should be performed. The turnover rate would of course be much lower and the officers would have a sense of pride in their work. This type of scenario is widespread. Any chemical plant in this nation has security forces that are not up to the job. No fault of the employee. Proper training and wages, as previously stated, would solve the problem. Would this be a guarantee against a terrorist assault? No of course not. The facilities though would be much more secure however and just possibly any assault minimized. It is certainly understandable why those in the security field would want and probably need representation.

Those in the hospitality industry are in the same boat as those in the security industry. Underpaid and demeaning working conditions are often the norm. Aramark and Sodexo are notorious problems. Anyone who has worked for these "fine" organizations will have horror stories.

If there was ever an industry that needed organizing it is chemical trucking. These drivers are subjected to long hours, low pay, hazardous conditions and frankly, in many cases, a lack of proper training. For instance hauling molten sulfur is a dangerous task and there are some companies that will give a driver no more than one or two days training before sending them to load and unload this product. They are on the roads with your family. I personally have seen drivers injured and expensive chemical spills occur due to a lack of training on this product alone. A related issue would be "tank cleaners" who job is to well, clean trailers of hazardous and non hazardous chemicals. This is at the minimum a two man job when hazmat or any tank entry is involved. Groendyke Transport actually at one time had one man, working at night, cleaning trailers at one of their facilities. This is well known and easily substantiated. People have died because of this type of unsafe scenario. Yes if there ever was an industry that needs organizing it is HazMat trucking.

The NEA and affiliates are often lambasted for being too involved in the political arena and there are many who blame them for the decline in the public school systems across this land. They may have a valid point. One must remember that this organization came upon the scene because teachers were underpaid and under appreciated. Still are. School districts would pay people as little as they possibly could. It is understandable why teachers organized and continue to do so. Teaching is, after all, a profession that is as important as any and more so than most.

Now the flip side is that these unions have become very powerful and it is dangerous politically for those in public office to trifle with them. SEIU, for instance, is an advocate of overturning the well thought out and actually quite benign Arizona "immigration law." This in itself is reason for the greater public to distrust them. This is a red flag to the ultra leftist bent of this organization (and others like it). Of course the goal is to organize illegal aliens and add their contributions to the union coffers. That is unfortunate and quite possibly borderline treasonous.

With that being said however, it is certainly understandable why those in the service industries feel the need for organization and SEIU is the most powerful force. It is the same for truckers and Teamsters as it is for teachers and the NEA.

It is all about personal economics after all.

Come on Down to Houston and Bag You Some Soviets

Apparently there are ten people who have been arrested for allegedly spying for the Soviet Union err Russia. In the Clear Lake area of Houston where JSC (NASA) is located there is an old saying that goes something like this. "There are more Soviet spies in Clear Lake than there are Russians in the NHL." Of course, these NASA Russians are here with the United States' government blessing. How stupid is that? I am sure it is the same in Cape Canaveral also.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dances with Sludge

A couple of weeks ago I was watching some news program or other that featured Kevin Costner and his oil removal machine. I had forgotten about it until now. Yes apparently Kevin helped finance his brother in some sort of "centrifuge" device that can filter a certain amount of oil from the water and return up to 99 per cent "pure" water back into the environment. That is great news, although one must remember that this is something that will probably not have a serious impact on most of the damage that has been (and is being) done to the environment. This device could however have some effect on helping clean up some areas that are affected. Bravo. According to today's reports, BP has indeed agreed to purchase and deploy some of these units in the fight against this raging disaster. Too little and too late most likely, but better than nothing.
Good for Kevin and his brother. Hopefully their company will be successful and all major players in the oil industry will be making a purchase. Hell perhaps they should even be required to. It is obvious that oil companies have no real game plan to combat a major disaster such as the one now continuing to unfold off our coast. Funny thing, apparently some drilling concerns have balked at purchasing this type of equipment because the water that is released (after the oil is extracted) does not meet "environmental standards" for clean water. Still and all 99 percent purity is better than sludge - or do you not agree? Typical. The government gets too involved and scares off business into making a purchase because of some hypothetical "clean water" standard. Amazing.
This is where the story really gets funny. Some "liberals" are touting the fact that Costner is reportedly "one of them." That is great! Good for Costner and good for you libs. What they do not take into consideration is that Costner and Co. poured a lot of money into this project with the hope and intent of making a profit. I wonder if that will burst any "progressives" bubble.

Kevin Costner! Living the American dream and making a profit. Good for him.

Now doesn't some real world help in this disaster make much more sense than asking that puss James Cameron to heal the planet? Cameron did once ride in a mini sub you know.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Fun Game To Play If You Are Bored

Everyone has heard of the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." I think some call it "Seven Degrees" but not matter. I have been playing a very interesting game that I made up on the Internet Movie Database (imbd.com). Let me explain. Today I decided to pick two of my favorite actors; Ray Winstone and John C Reilly. I started with Winstone and picked the film "Cold Mountain" where he played the father of Renee Z. I then arbitrarily picked co actor Renee Mullins, who I am not familiar with. I clicked her name and it took me to the film "Sweet Life of Bees." I saw that Queen Latifah was in this film and knew her also to be in the film "Chicago." I knew of course that John C Reilly was in that film and tadaaaa. The connection between Ray Winstone and Reilly has been made.
This is a fun game and I have admittedly whiled away quite a bit more time than I should have in this pursuit. For someone who likes films and media it can be quite educational. At least that is what I tell myself.

Have fun!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just Don't Know What to Say About All This

The gusher continues unabated. The BP oil spill? That too. The gusher I am speaking of is the mouth of "Our Dear Leader." Problem is - nothing he says means much it seems. We have heard some of the 1200 National Guard troops that are to be deployed to the southern border. Have any of them arrived for duty? Now there are to supposedly be 17000 troops deployed to the gulf - to assist in the clean up effort I suppose. There is something drastically wrong with this. While 17000 troops to the southern border may be of some assistance of stopping the invasion and keeping the enemy in their place, 17000 troops to the gulf is ridiculous. Why? There is already economic disruption along the gulf and there would easily be 17000 people that could be "hired," at BP's expense of course, to assist in the clean up effort. The disruption, (which will be made much worse by a long term "moratorium,") has displaced those in the fishing, tourism, oil and gas, and various support industries. Like a domino effect if you will. Already in Texas we are seeing some of the effects of this. People who were scheduled to go offshore to work are being told they are on hold. I know at least two people so affected in my small community. Now a short term "moratorium" should have already come and gone. It should have been considered more of a "safety stand down" with the purpose of reviewing safety procedures, equipment, etc. etc. This type of procedure is done in the U.S. Navy and various industries, particularly after an accident. Now BP is in fact a problem and it is well known that they have a safety issue, but to economically crush an entire industry is irresponsible and foolish. This administration is sure to further damage the American economy and even more importantly our defense capabilities with any long term stoppage in deepwater drilling. Perhaps that is the plan.

Now we come to our president's choice of words. To call the horrible oil spill an "assault on our shores" is the equivalent to saying that BP has committed an act of war upon this nation. Such choice of language infuriates those in the United Kingdom, one of our most important allies. An ally which has troops shoulder to shoulder with our forces in the war with the Mohammedans. Why go out of the way to distress our true allies? Again BP appears to be a menace and a rogue player in the oil industry, but President Obama's language appears directed at the people of the UK. Maybe he really just reads what is on the teleprompter.....

The "Arizona Immigration Law" is now under attack from the administration. The federal government will likely stop at nothing to derail it. Why? It appears to be a well thought out and really quite a benign "solution" to the problem of invasion and violence. Those in DC are out of touch. Arizona was forced to take some measure due to a total lack of response from the entity that is supposed to defend this nation - The U.S. government. I wish that those that govern in Texas had the cajones to follow Arizona, but alas, they are cowards. Our governor is a blow dried empty suit and this is not in dispute.

Now Eric Holder is the Atty General of this land and the agency in his charge has made it clear by action that they have no intention of seriously combating the crises on our border. There is a war there after all that is beginning to seriously threaten our citizens. When Holder took the oath of office, he swore to uphold the law and yet it is apparent that he has, probably by direction, no intention of doing so. Where will that lead us?

These are things that just seem to defy understanding. In just over a year this administration has begun to cause damage that may take many years to undo. The shift in our attitude to our admittedly unpredictable, yet very important, ally Israel has had the effect of confusing our allies while giving comfort to the Mohammedan enemy. The targeting of an entire industry due to one (very serious) accident is foolish. This policy, if not reversed immediately, will cause a major disruption in the economy. The lack of defense on the southern border will cause the violent death of American citizens. Already has. I don't want to hear some suit tell us on the television that Obama has been instrumental in beefing up the Border Patrol. That is nice - and totally inadequate. Some of those same border agents will be further put in harms way without adequate military back up. It is apparent that only a complete militarization of the border will solve the problem at this point.

Sorry for rambling. It is just apparent that the current administration is hell bent on damaging this great nation. A nation that I served honorably in uniform, both military and civil. It makes me sick to my heart.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Which Screen Vampire is Best

There is a good deal of controversy on which of the modern era film vampires are the best, or the most cool as it were. Let us discuss this and attempt to lay this issue to rest once and for all.
I truly doubt that we will come to any agreeable conclusion however. I am sure there will be no consensus. but we must try.

The "Twilight" series of movies are pretty good with beautiful scenery, cinematography, and soundtrack. The story lines are fairly compelling and they are just plain good movies. The Cullen family of vampires are good looking, intelligent and dangerous - as vampires must be, but there is an issue that may keep them from earning the title of best film vampires. The are just not evil. In addition to the above characteristics a vampire must above all be vicious and evil. The Cullen's do not fit the bill unfortunately. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), the male lead, is just not evil and in fact seems to have a problem with the creature that he is. There is self loathing and a disturbing "human conscience" apparent that detracts somewhat from the film. One exception is the "hunter" James, played to perfection by the young actor Cam Gigandet. His character is evil, vicious and frighteningly malicious. The way a vampire should be. These vampires score high on looks and intelligence but low on the fear factor. One good thing about these movies though is that there are werewolves running about which brings up a very important question. Would you rather be a werewolf or a vampire? A question to explore another time perhaps.

The HBO series "True Blood" is also a very good set of films. Most of the vampires are as vicious and evil as they should be. Perhaps the best the best may be the vampire Eric played to perfection by Alexander Skarsgard. He is good looking, although he looked better with long hair, vicious, utterly without conscience, and exceptionally intelligent. Kristin Bauer does an excellent job with her character, the vampire Pam. A bit player Zeljko Ivanek, plays "The Magister," a vampire that is truly frightening. These characters are so compellingly evil that one gets the feeling that if they were real creatures, they would need to be exterminated with extreme prejudice. Now with that being said, there is a flaw. The Vampire Bill in the series has the same type of self loathing that is noticed in the Edward Cullen character in "Twilight." Now Bill, in an earlier incarnation, was as vicious and evil as they come. We are treated to this in some of his memories that are vicious to the extreme. His current lack of sociopathology however is unbecoming a vampire. The vampires in this series score extremely high on looks, intelligence and viciousness but Vampire Bill's soft side does bring them down somewhat. One thing that is interesting in these films is that the people of northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas tend to call them "vampurs." I like that. Are these the best screen vampires? A case can certainly be made.

The film "An Interview with the Vampire," based on the Anne Rice novel by the same name is an excellent movie. It has an all star cast including Tom Cruise (Lestat) Brad Pitt (Louis), Kirsten Dunst (Claudia), and Antonio Banderas (Armand). These vampires are intelligent to the point of being intellectual (with the exception of Lestat), beautiful, and vicious in the cases of Lestat and the Machiavellian Claudia. Louis, however is lacking the evil gene apparently. There is something missing there that works in the film, but is disturbing none the less. It is hard to pinpoint Armand. Is he hiding his vicious nature in order to win the affection of Louis (that is what it is, let us be honest)? One gets the impression that he is indeed holding back. A clue to his evil nature is in the fact that he allowed the "background" vampires to kill Claudia and her new immortal "mother." (The "mother" was made by Louis much to his agony. Pathetic attitude for a perfect predator don't you think?) Another clue to Armand's true nature is that he let Louis burn the other vampires "alive" without warning them. Intuitive Louis knows this and leaves Armand, at the alter if you will. This film could not have been more gay, but that beside the point. The question is are these vampires the best in the modern film era? A case can be made for this, but also a case can certainly be made to the contrary. These vampires score medium to high on intelligence, high on good looks and the fear factor is moderate to high.

"Dracula (1992) is another vampire story with an all star cast. The extremely talented and also highly under rated Gary Oldman plays the role of Dracula. Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Carey Elwes, and Winona Ryder round out the best known players. The only vampire in the film is of course Oldman (Dracula) and he is an extremely talented actor. (One of his best films was "State of Grace" with Sean Penn, Ed Harris and a then up and coming John C Reilly). Of course Anthony Hopkins is a preeminent actor and Winona Ryder and Carey Elwes can hold there own. Now Keanu Reeves does a commendable job with his part as it is mostly done in a monotone. Any part with more emotion or realism than that certainly stretches Reeves' ability. He near ruined the otherwise exceptional "Devil's Advocate." Be that as it may, the film is quite good and well worth watching. But that is not the question is it? The answer to the real question is hard to gauge. Oldman does a wonderful job with his part, but his character has some human emotion that of course works in the movie, but is still unbecoming a vampire. There is no doubt that he is vicious and evil but his infatuation with Winona Ryder is somehow "unvampirelike." This vampire scores high on the looks (at least in the young Dracula incarnation), and intelligence but falls off somewhat on the vicious scale. However a case can still be made for Dracula being the best film vampire.

A while back there was a Will Smith film called "I Am Legend" This was a very good movie and "vampires" were in abundance. Now the problem is that these are not classic vampires. In the Anne Rice novel "An Interview with the Vampire" there were some vampire like creatures that Louis and Claudia encountered in eastern Europe in their quest to find "others of their kind." This was not part of the movie but in Rice's novel only. These were not true vampires but something related that were more akin to zombie's. Sort of a vampire/zombie combination if you will. The vampires in the Will Smith film were of this type it seems. Funny thing about this though, some of these vampire/zombie creatures have a distinct likeness to Handsome Henry Waxman(D-CA.). Now that is indeed disturbing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dana Bash: An Odd Looking Creature

Have you ever noticed that Dana Bash of CNN looks a little bit like a horse? I like that vato. I like that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Snapshot of America

The other day I was visiting a Starbucks to get my tall(small) hot mocha with no whip. I am kinda an addict and really enjoy these drinks although I must say that all Starbucks are not created equal. There is an inconsistency there that is sometimes a bit bothersome. I like my mocha drink to be bitter and really get irritated if it ends up tasting like warm chocolate milk. There are other places that are a good deal more consistent. Dirk's Coffee shop on Montrose in Houston is pretty good as is Coffee Grounds(z) on Brazos. It is the coffee shop right behind the big Specs Liquor on Smith St., which is in itself another quite cool place to hang out. With wines, beer and liquor from all over the world it is an educational visit and a good place to kill time. At any rate, Coffee Grounds(z) is always good and the coffee is always fresh. They now have a full bar for the enjoyment of those so inclined. No you can't get a shot to go. This is Texas and not Louisiana after all. Pity. Coffee Grounds(z) tends to cater to the local yuppieish type crowd and there is always seems to be some weenie hanging around writing a novel. Dirk's caters more to the local hippy type crowd that is a reflection of the neighborhood. I love both places. Now, be that as it may, I visit Starbucks simply because they are convenient. There seems to be one on every corner. In Pearland, a southern suburb of Houston, there are three of them in the same shopping complex. No lie. One is a stand alone company store ( I assume), another is located in Target and on the other end of the block there is one located in the Randall's (Safeway) grocery. A bit of overkill if you ask me. The one I visited was in Sugarland, a suburb just to the SW of Houston proper. As I walked in I noticed that I was the only Honky there. There was a family in the corner talking in Spanish, another person obviously from Africa somewhere with tribal scars and the whole works, another person was talking in her cell phone in an Asian language, along with two women from India. There is a rather large Indian immigrant community nearby. Let me tell you something about bartending an Indian dominated event. There is a location called the Safari Ranch nearby that tends to cater to Indian weddings. I have bartended there quite a number of times and usually found it pretty profitable. Those people certainly throw a bash. The women all want to drink Margaritas it seems and it behooves the bartender to make a large batch. Otherwise the barman will be making individual Margaritas all night long. That my friend is a pain in the ass if you are busy. The men tend to drink Scotch Whiskey. I actually had a man order Scotch and Dr. Pepper with three olives. That is perhaps the strangest drink I ever made. But I digress. As I was getting my drink at Starbucks it occurred to me that this was a slice of America. That is one of the few things I really like about the Houston area. There are people from all over the world here and that translates into some damn good eating. The restaurants here are second to none. I have eaten Cuban, Vietnamese, authentic Thai, Brazilian, Sonoran, TexMex, Spanish, Italian (the real deal), BBQ that melts in your mouth, "Soul" food, Lebanese, Indian, etc. I have not tried the Ethiopian (yes there is one)place on Richmond but may do so someday. With such diversity in the area, ever day is Christmas for a real "foodie." This is a good thing.
Now how does this openness to other cultures "fit in" with someone like myself who believes in the rule of law? Or to be more plain, a person that believes in severe restrictions on immigration. There is no conflict. To me people are welcome to come to this great land in search of the American dream as long as they go through the proper channels and come here legally with the preferable intent on becoming citizens of this land. I do not care (for the most part) what a person's country of origin is. However, this is a sovereign nation and we in this nation can certainly say who comes in and who does not. That type of thinking automatically creates cries of "racism" Imperialism, etc etc from those in the "race business." Our most glaring problem is an invasion from an unfriendly nation just to the south and anyone advocating closing that border is accused of being a racist. Nothing is further from the truth in my case. I say let those from Mexico (and other nations) come in as long as it is done legally. Those that attempt to cross the border without going through the proper channels will be turned back by any humane means necessary. Those that are already here illegally, when discovered, are to be deported expeditiously.
A very easy fix to the problem would be to militarize and close the southern border. Problem solved. That is not racist. If you think it be so, then you are a dolt. It is a common sense approach to the defense of the nation.
Now with that being said I must admit that I would prefer a severe restriction on those that are followers of the Prophet, no matter the country of origin. I fully understand that this is prejudicial and plead guilty to this with no apologies. To me this is nothing more than common sense and again a prudent strategy of defense. Islamaphobic (is that a word?) you may say. Damn right is my reply. For good reason.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup Coverage - Not

I sure will be glad when the "World Cup" is over. Futbol is for the most part a pretty uninteresting sport to watch. About the only thing of interest in the whole thing is watching the crowd. In that it is kind of like NASCAR. Most people watch NASCAR to see the spectacular crashes and I would imagine that many glance at "futbol" hoping to see some kind of riot.
On the rare occasions that I do check out the game it is only to watch the English (Barclays)Premier League, the NFL of soccer. It is fun to listen to the fans drunkenly sing in the stands and plus the teams have cool names. The team from Arsenal has perhaps the best name in professional sports anywhere. I have an Arsenal Gunners t shirt just because I love the name and the logo.
Here in the USA soccer continues to gain popularity. There is now of course a professional league that actually has a chance to stand on its own. I personally would not pay 50 cents to go see it, but to each his own. Soccer is probably a good sport for children to play as it is, for the most part, a non contact sport. Oh sure, you can get hurt, but you can get injured walking from the living room to the kitchen. It is without doubt good exercise and a good way to keep fit. It is also pretty fun to play, but to watch it is like pulling teeth.
Now with that being said, it will not be too long before the USA is the top dog in the exciting world of "futbol." This is can be viewed as both good and bad I guess depending on your perspective. At any rate it is apparent that soccer is here to stay despite the fact that it is viewed by many as just somehow "Un American."
That reminds me of something. Do you remember a few years back when Iran beat the USA in some sort of multi national soccer match? The Iranians jumped for joy and ran around like maniacs. One would have though that the Prophet himself had shown up and scored the winning goal. Sports Talk great Jim Rome commented that he hoped the Iranians were happy with themselves but that they should realize that the USA is much better than they at the only sport that really matters - War.

I liked that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Boycott the Products of Mexico

I have recently decided to avoid knowingly buying products made in Mexico. This should not be too hard for me as there are really very few small ticket products from there that are worth buying anyway. There are exceptions of course. Jarritos Tamarind flavored soda is very good and I used to buy this quite frequently. The other Jarritos flavors that I have tried are just a bit too sweet for me. I guess I can live without Jarritos Tamarind. Now the other day I did violate my self imposed boycott with the purchase of a Bohemia beer. This was recommended by Gary Fouse of the excellent blog Fousequawk. Check him out on garyfouse.blogspot.com. At any rate, he was correct and Bohemia is an excellent beer but I can certainly live without it. The good beers of Mexico are "German" beers anyway. I can purchase similar products made in the USA, Germany, etc. Corona Beer and the various copycats are tasteless and for the most part not worth buying.

The other day I went to a major grocery retailer to purchase some squash. The sign above the vegetables noted that the squash was a "product of the USA or Mexico." I opted out of making a purchase. If the squash was grown in the United States, then I apologize to all involved in the growing, transport, etc. etc. process. There was just no way to tell if they were American grown.

There are a lot of big ticket items produced in Mexico that are shipped north. I will be investigating this and will attempt, time permitting, to come up with a list in the near future.

Oh, why have I decided not to buy Mexican products? If you require an explanation then you may be out of touch with the state of our nation.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Taken to Task

I have been taken to task on a couple of issues. Yes Sir, taken to task indeed. The other day I mentioned in one of my oft read (lol) rants that Libertarian(ism) is a prescription for anarchy. I live in Ron Paul country and that type of thinking can tend to be anathema around here. Now these folks are not what I would call conservative, many have no use whatsoever for the federal, state and sometimes local government. A good many are true Libertarians. Now I do agree that there needs to be drastic reduction in the size of the federal and state government - after all, do we really need the Bureau of Indian Affairs? I also totally agree that the feds need to get the heck out of people's business and get the hell out of the way, but an almost complete dismantling of the federal government is ridiculous. I stand by my statement. True Libertarianism (is that a word?) may be a prescription for disaster.

I have also been reprimanded on my use of the word "Mohammedan(s)." I have been informed that this is insulting verbiage and is in the same vein as using the "N" word. In response I must ask a question. Have you ever seen the old Viagra television commercials featuring ex major league great Rafael Palmeiro? If Viagra is good enough for Rafael then it is good enough for me. If the term "Mohammedan" is good enough for Winston Churchill and Bertrand Russell to describe the followers of the Prophet well then it is good enough for me too.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

James Cameron and Larry King Might Be Idiots

The other day I was flipping channels and came across Larry King who was about to interview James Cameron on his thoughts about controlling the BP oil disaster. I chose not to bother watching it. James Cameron? The guy is an arrogant ass. There are those who believe him to be a good film maker. That is arguable. At any rate, just because he makes movies does not really make him an expert on anything else. Even questioning Cameron on his thoughts about how to control the spill is as ridiculous as asking the late great Gerard Damiano (if he was still with us) his thoughts on how to perform an exorcism because he once made a film called "The Devil in Miss. Jones." I think Georgina Spelvin was in that film.

James Cameron - I don't like him. I just don't like him.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Buh Bye Helen

Adios Helen. You didn't let the door hit you on your ass on the way out did you?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Important Day

Today is June 6. It is important to remember those who participated in the operation to free Europe. D Day - June 6, 1944.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

For The First Time In My Adult Life ...........

For the first time in my adult life (where have we heard that?) I am afraid for the future of our nation. Why? A myriad of reasons. Here are a few.

The BP oil spill is a "man caused disaster" of perhaps biblical proportion. It must be said that the "biblical proportion" part may be overstated. It is probable that the oceans will break down the petroleum and the environmental damage will be minimized. You must note that I did not say minimal however. The salt and fresh water marshes that have been affected will take a very long time to come back. The fishing industry, both commercial and recreational, have taken a huge hit and many of those who make their living in these endeavors will not be coming back. The tourism industry will be affected to a great extent but that should not be long term. Of course this is all dependent on BP "plugging the damn hole." It will be plugged before long (hopefully)or we are certainly all up the ass of the Prophet. While the environmental damage is and will be quite significant the thing that really scares me is the radical faction(s) in the federal government now have an excuse to damage or destroy an industry that is of prime importance to the economic well being and national security of the nation. How? By severely curtailing off shore oil drilling. Now I may be in favor of a temporary "moratorium" on deepwater drilling - It is apparent that the oil industry has little idea how to stop a major oil spill at those depths, but it is assured that lessons are being learned the hard way. It would have been better for all concerned of course if the oil industry had a real game plan before a disaster of this magnitude, but it is obvious they did and do not. Of course they should be required to "plug the damn hole," pay for clean up, and restore livelihood to those adversely affected. It is interesting the BP is the company involved in this disaster. They do appear to have a very bad safety record. Either they are extremely unlucky or they have some major safety deficiencies to rectify. Be that as it may, a temporary deepwater moratorium does make some sense, but shallow water drilling and of course land work should continue unabated. It truly frightening but somewhat predictable that the government may try to totally derail the industry at the cost of untold thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

Now back to deepwater drilling- Pemex (Mexico) apparently is operating deepwater rigs in the Gulf. India and China and of course Cuba considering (if not already are) drilling in the Gulf in the Cuban economic zone. Agreements have been signed by Cuba and Russia also. So if these countries are to drill deepwater then our nation still is at great risk to having unabated petroleum foul the Gulf and wash up on our shores. Will the moratorium on deepwater drilling affect the aforementioned nations? Not at all. Can the U.S. force a deepwater moratorium on foreign interests. Not legally. Our government could I suppose invoke a bastardized version of the Monroe Doctrine to enforce compliance. That may of course require military coercion - something that will not happen. The naval forces of Mexico are pretty darn good, with anti air and ASW capabilities, are probably close to top notch for a third world nation, but would be swept from the ocean in a matter of hours by the sea power of the U.S. Cuba has no navy to speak of any more. A few Osa class missile boats I believe are the only naval forces left functional. Not a threat. The diplomatic and military outcome of tampering with Russia, China or India over Gulf oil rigs would be problematic. No any military response to foreign deepwater drilling in the Gulf is out of the question. So what good does a moratorium on deepwater drilling do in reality? Very little. If it be temporary, so be it. A time out if you will and probably a good idea. However, the moratorium may be a first step in the dismantling of an industry that is of vital importance to the nation. That is what scares me. Fundamental change you see.

Now let us examine another subject. The assault of illegal immigration upon this nation's sovereignty. This is a national defense issue of great importance. There is at this time a war being fought on our southern border that is every bit as dangerous as the conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan. What are we doing to protect our citizenry in the border states and beyond? Very little it seems. Some border patrolmen, county deputies, small town cops, state troopers, etc etc. are not enough to stop the invasion nor prevent the war from spilling over into our southern counties. We will hear some leftists complain that the border violence is a direct result of drug consumption by those in the U.S. They have a valid point here, but in reality that does not matter. What does matter is that the border and even interior Mexico are becoming more and more anarchic and that violence will and has found its way over the border. This does not even include the possibility of Mohammedan terrorists crossing the border. Does national defence not matter? Seal that border and do it now and with any means necessary. This would seem the most rational policy. Instead what we have are attempts by states to control the problem that will be hampered by the same federal government that is required to protect this nation. A very scary (and perhaps treasonous) scenario indeed.

I guess now we should discuss Mohammedan terrorism, both state sponsored and "independent." There is no doubt that this nation and our allies are still in grave danger from the spectre of Islamic terrorism. It has been near a decade since the horrible attack on our country. We are not the only nations so affected. There have been attacks in Spain and the U.K. Troops from all over the globe have been killed in the war against "the religion of peace." Oh sorry, we are not in a war with Islam? Excuse me. History shows otherwise. Now again there are those, mainly from the left (Pat B. and some right wing radicals like Dr. Duke excepted), who insist that our support of Israel and our "exploitation" of Mohammedan resources are the main factors of the conflict. They insinuate that if we would just drop our support for the "Zionist entity" and remove our boot from Muslim lands then all would be forgotten and we could all live in harmony. Perhaps they have a valid point, but that matters little. At any rate, does a cop concern himself with the socio economic background of a criminal when making an arrest? No. We as a nation need not concern ourselves too greatly on why we are hated by most Mohammedans either. It is enough for the cop to make an arrest based on criminal action as well it should be. It should also be enough for us in this nation not to concern ourselves to greatly with the "whys" in the conflict with Islam. It is enough that we are in conflict and should fight the battle without one hand tied behind our back. In a sane world there would be no such thing as an Iran, Al Qaeda, Hamas, etc. etc. The problem would have already been resolved satisfactorily. The fact that it is not scares me.

What else. Well for one thing this country needs to take a look at some sort of education reform. The classic liberal education (not politically liberal) does not seem to be working for us any longer. Our nation's children are falling behind. Curriculum is dumbed down and this is detrimental to our national security. Of course children should be taught history, social studies, English literature, etc. etc. but a greater emphasis should be placed on mathematics and the hard sciences. There is a lot of fluff in the public school systems that do very little to educate kids for the real world. There are a lot of kids who are not, as the say, "college material." There is no shame in this. Some kids just are not interested in college and in reality some are not "geared that way." There should also be some real world vocational training in the systems that can teach a kid to frame houses, work on automobiles, start small business, food prep training, etc. etc. Some districts have this already of course, but a great many rely solely on a "college prep" curriculum for all. It wastes a good deal of time for those not so inclined to further their "formal" studies.
The federal government probably should have a role in education of course, but the majority of the decision making needs to be at the local level. Of course there are a great many school districts that struggle financially just to provide the basic "readin, writin and rithmathtic." This is a huge problem and we in this nation need to find a solution. Quickly.

These are just a few of the problems this great nation faces but we need to start somewhere to get this nation back on track. We will surely go the way of the Roman Empire if we do not begin the process now.

For the first time in my adult life I am truly afraid for our future.

Whale Wars is Back

Whale Wars, the exceptional television program about a group of environmentalist that go to sea to "defend the whales" is back on. The first show of the new season premiered last night and it was a good one. The sailors on the "Steve Irwin" actually looked pretty competent, but the new vessel, the "Bob Barker" was having engine troubles (to say the least). The "Ady Gil" is a cool addition to the fleet, but it has been destroyed by the whalers. We will see it in an upcoming episode. Yea!
The Sea Shepherds group is considered terrorists and pirates by the Japanese and they perhaps are correct. If so they are good pirates and terrorists, much like the Mujaheddin was during the Soviet occupation of the Afghan "nation."

As a friend of mine says, "Fuck a Japanese, they don't need to eat a whale."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thoughts on "The Raid"

At first glance the raid by Israel's special forces could be viewed as the ultimate stupid move on the part of a nation state. While it is no doubt a huge public relations disaster for Israel, the strategy involved may not be stupid at all. Indeed it is probably better viewed as a legitimate response to provocation from a group that is avowedly at war (Hamas) with Israel. While it is a tragic event and probably could have been handled in a better way, the fact remains that the captains of the vessels were directed to an Israeli port where presumably the cargo would be inspected and non contraband items shipped to the Gaza strip. Naval interdiction is a lawful endeavor by any nation state to combat smuggling. During my service in the Coast Guard we did it all the time. That is stop a vessel, inspect the crew and cargo, and release the innocent and apprehend the drug and weapon smugglers. If there was any doubt then the vessel was either directed or taken to port for further inspection. We did indeed have to fire a shot or two over a bow on a couple of occasions to enforce compliance with our lawful order to heave to. This is nothing out of the ordinary and all capable nations with ocean access have a coastal type naval force on watch for smuggling. Is the action on the part of Israel any different? Granted it became a, as they say, clusterfuck, but interdiction at sea is a legitimate means to combat smuggling and of course is perfectly legal during war. But Israel is not at war you may say. Hamas has declared the destruction of Israel as their goal and regularly conducts operations directed against the nation state, so in this matter at least, Israel is taking Hamas at their word and retaliating in kind to warlike provocation. Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza which is itself an act of war. The blockade is well published and known and therefore vessels entering the area with announced intent to make way for Gaza are of course liable to be subject to interdiction.

With all that being said, it is difficult at times to sympathize with Israel. Many Americans have not forgotten the USS Liberty and the men who died due to an air and naval attack by Israel. While Israel has apologized and paid some reparations, the case they make that it was a friendly fire and mistaken identity episode remains pretty hollow. It is noteworthy that none of the neighboring Mohammedan States have directly attacked America so forthrightly. Of course we have been attacked by Mohammedan proxy forces in the region(Marine Barracks), but not by one of the legitimate Muslim nation states in the immediate area. So, while Israel is an ally, they are not fully trustworthy.

Now Israel, our somewhat untrustworthy ally, must be supported by the U.S. and others. There are very legitimate cultural and, more importantly, strategic reasons for this. The Holy Sites of Christendom are in Israel and a victory by radical Muslims over the Jewish state would put those sites in jeapordy. In the realm of global strategy Israel must be supported and her sometime "violent overkill" tendancies at times overlooked due to her proximity to the major trade route (Suez Canal), which if blocked or damaged has the potential to cause economic damage to those nations that rely on it. A radical regime in Egypt will most assuredly again use closure of the Canal as a source of blackmail and a strategy of war. A friendly Israel is a military bulwark in the event of radical regime change in Egypt.