Sunday, September 12, 2010

NORTHROP GRUMMAN INTRODUCES Y2K!

By Michael R. Shannon
Conservatives occasionally wonder if anyone would notice should the government just go away one morning. This is not an attractive prospect for elected officials and Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling had a personally scary experience in relation to just that topic when he was stranded in Italy last spring due to a volcano eruption.
The Lite Governor desperately consulted the airlines, the Virginia Department of Aviation and even the National Guard, but he was unable to return and preside over a special session of the General Assembly.
Yet the Commonwealth survived.
Many conservatives were pleased by this impromptu test and proposed to expand the experiment by stranding the rest of our elected officials in Europe. Sadly the same volcano that kept Bolling in Florence also prevented the General Assembly from joining him, so the test never took place.
This week the state enjoyed another spur of the moment no government test.
As I write we are in Day 7 of VIRGINIA HELD HOSTAGE: The Great Computer Outage. Thousands of Virginia drivers are unable to renew their licenses, under-taxed Democrats are unable to file their returns and ACORN is unable to register the deceased to vote.
On the other hand, it's been a great week for drivers who don't mind cruising with a suspended license; drivers who have an otherwise sterling driving record marred by a couple of DUIs; and our uninvited friends from South of the Border who drive sin licencia.
With the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database offline, police can't check driving records during traffic stops. Motorists who might have had their car towed to the impound lot and their body transported to jail - because they were driving on a suspended license - are instead issued a ticket and sent on their way with a cheerful "Vaya con Dios."
This latest disaster has allowed DMV to extend the "no smile zone" from in front of the mugshot camera clear out into the parking lot (similes in license photos are illegal because it interferes with facial recognition software). There disgruntled citizens - who normally are only confused by which direction the HOV lanes are running and when - now have to puzzle out when the DMV office will be open again.
This is the price we pay when the contract for the Commonwealth's information technology (IT) work was sole sourced, negotiated by the Mark Warner administration and awarded to Monty Python Computing. Whoops, I mean Northrop Grumman.
The really fun element of this computer catastrophe - assuming you aren't up for a license renewal - is the tech support drones at Northrop are giving Virginia officials the exact same excuses tech support centers give hapless consumers when they call: "Hmmm. This is the first time anyone has ever called with this problem. Are you sure the cause isn't with your configuration and not our product?"
The only difference being Virginia is getting the excuse in English, whereas I'm routed to a call center in Bombay where "Bob" gives me his Hindi-flavored song-and-dance.
Pressed for a more complete explanation, a spokesman for Northrop, said the outage started when a "framowitz" shorted out a "pantaloomer" causing two circuit boards to fail, followed by the government.
At my humble office I can't afford Northrop and it's vast computing expertise, so my answer to massive computer meltdown is called a "backup." If one of the hard drives at Mandate World Headquarters fails and corrupts my data, I have two others where the information is duplicated.
This does not appear to be the situation in Richmond.
We were told on Monday that 24 of the 27 affected agencies' computers are back in service. The thought the Grief Counselor's registry is once again online is small comfort to the 39,000 DMV customers who have been unable to complete their transactions.
And this is just the latest snafu in connection with the $2 billion Northrop Grumman contract. Last year an audit found that Northrop had a reverse Midas touch and that almost every state agency that employs computers had been adversely affected under the Northrop contract.
Yet the agreement was recently revised, the amount payable increased and extended for three more years. But keep in mind at this particular point in the contract it was more like negotiating with kidnappers, than a typical supplier. Northrop had our data and the only alternative was a move to the Dewey Decimal system.
Gov. Bob McDonnell wants an "independent third party" - preferably one that does not use Northrop for IT services - to investigate the disaster and find a credible scapegoat.
Meanwhile, according to Northrop spokesmen, government will soon be functioning again. And if the quality of Northrop's work during the repair is anything like it's been in the past, when the DMV database is restored there is a good chance that seven of the 9/11 hijackers will once again be fully licensed Virginia drivers.

BRASS RING ESCAPES AGAIN

By Michael R. Shannon
My local delegate to the Virginia state house, Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) is not particularly popular in Richmond because he's conservative even when it's inconvenient.
This is why he's urging Gov. Bob McDonnell to refuse to accept a penny of Obama's latest $26 billion government "stimulus" bill. Marshall knows it's easy to oppose government spending when you aren't getting any of the money. It's more difficult to be frugal when Virginia is confronted with 249 million reasons to swallow conservative principles and take the cash.
The judgment of the GOP establishment is that old Bob is just saddling up to tilt at yet another of his many windmills. But before you join their jump to conclusions, consider Marshall's reasoning in the context of the larger issue of Democrat-induced runaway government spending.
Marshall's justification for bouncing the check back to Obama is simple: pocketing this money is a slap in the face to a Virginia Republican Congressional delegation that unanimously opposed this payoff to public employee unions that supported Obama. Accepting the check undermines their work and implies they failed to vote in the best interest of their state.
While in comparison, Congressmen Gerry Connolly (D-Deficits) and Tom Perriello (D-Bigger Deficits), who supported this and innumerable other handouts, become exemplars of public service.
Which is a sobering thought.
Naturally, a McDonnell spokesman dismissed the pesky Marshall, explaining the Obama money is targeted to local government (as if that makes a check drawn on insufficient funds the gold standard of appropriations) and besides the governor closed a $4.2 billion dollar hole in the Commonwealth's budget without raising taxes and "Washington should follow that example."
So why is the governor being an enabler? You can't claim to be the bane of budget busters in Virginia and at the same time cash deficit-expanding federal checks that your own constituents are ultimately on the hook to cover. National deficits are just as dangerous as state deficits.
Unfortunately, there's something about Uncle Sam flashing the cash that brings out the inner prostitute in elected officials. The usual justification is some eyewash to the effect that it's "free money;" the other 49 states are taking it; and if we don't spend it, somebody else will.
An excuse that gains no traction with even the most "modern" parent ("gee, mom, all the other kids are doing it") is considered a serious exploration of national budgetary issues when it comes from a politician.
Instead of viewing Marshall's proposal as another Tea Party-inspired annoyance, the governor should be thanking him for this great opportunity. Virginia could be the first state to take a principled stand and refuse the money.
McDonnell could then invite the other 22 Republican state governors to join him and do likewise. Should enough follow suit, the entire political calculation changes.
If the only states taking the deficit-fueled money are states "governed" by Democrats, then it becomes obvious this entire "stimulus" exercise is another example of the party of big government paying off the public employee unions that supply the votes for bigger government.
And where exactly is the downside in taking Marshall's advice? The teacher's union won't support McDonnell in the next election? Teacher unions view Republicans the same way the Taliban views missionaries.
What if no other state turns down the money? Sometimes having principles is lonely. As long as he doesn't take up with a South American hootchie mamma, McDonnell will be fine.
I'm afraid the governor has reflexively thrown away a chance to become a substantive national leader and break out of the pack of bland potential presidential candidates.
Chances like this don't come along every day. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal booted his when he didn't tell the Corps of Engineers to pound sand and build his own anti-oil berms in defiance of the feds.
Instead of acting, Jindal complained about red tape and bureaucrats, which makes him look whiny and puts him on equal footing with the operators of hotdog stands in DC.
McDonnell has been able to travel the country and raise money for other GOP candidates simply on the strength of his own victory in the governor's race. Think of what it would have done to his profile if he had used this issue to win a victory for taxpayers everywhere.
Democrat deficits are an economic black hole that threaten to pull the country's future into oblivion. The Tea Party has organized citizens at the local level to demonstrate to politicians that we are not all socialists now.
It's time elected officials with the ability to turn protest into power accept the baton and actually do something to prove conservatives are not content to tolerate business as usual in Washington.
Stamping this "stimulus" check NSF and bouncing it back to DC is an excellent place to start. The question is: do we have a volunteer?

SISTERS OF POLITICAL FUTBOL

By Michael R. Shannon

(Note to Democrat press secretaries: even the mainstream media will ask embarrassing questions regarding immigration after a drunk illegal runs over a nun.)
Virginia's Sen. Mark Warner (D-Waffle) successfully dodged commenting on the death of Sister Denise Mosier for almost a week. But last Friday's "news" conference to take credit for an agreement to improve record keeping at Arlington National Cemetery was hijacked by an undocumented question when he was asked to share senatorial thoughts on the eminently preventable death. Warner observed, "It's a tragedy."
Thanks, senator, we needed that.
Democrat Jim Webb, the senior senator from VA and a man who knows something about avoiding incoming fire, found no time to speak on the issue; while local Cong. Gerry Connelly (D-What Else?) lost no time in ducking the question entirely.
Since Democrats don't take responsibility for their destructive policies, they avoid the media when illegal immigration is the topic of the day.
The Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, Sister Mosier's order, are not elected officials, but they've attempted to use their moral authority to downplay the illegal alien and instead focus on drunken driving. This is only natural when you recall that Bishop Paul S. Loverde has been playing footsie with the open borders crowd for years. Illegal immigration fills the pews in many parishes and after the Democrats pass an amnesty bill, formerly illegal votes can fill Democrat pews in Congress.
A nifty plan until it runs head-on into reality on Bristow Road at 8:30 Sunday morning. The USA simply has enough drunks of its own without importing new ones from Bolivia.
Whoops. Now I'm a racist. I've mentioned a country where Spanish is spoken in connection with illegal immigration. It's Huey Newton's Third Law of Political Motion: every reaction in response to an equal and opposite minority group illegal action is automatically racist.
Attempting to address the illegal problem without involving Hispanics is like trying to participate in a Baptism without getting wet. In the fairy tale the guilty boy cries "Wolf." In America guilty Democrats cry "racism."
If you look at immigration enforcement as a type of marketing problem, then the target demographic with the greatest potential ranges from Latino to Hispanic.
Assimilated America's disadvantage is it simply does not have the tribal focus the opposition enjoys. Look at the interest group names. It's not Eins Volk or Gypsies Without Borders. Instead you have La Raza (The Race) and Mexicans Without Borders.
In practice it appears to be okay with elite opinion if you market check-cashing services, offer wire transfer assistance or leave a few bottles of water in the desert for a Spanish-speaking demographic.
But God help you if you focus on this group for emigration enforcement.
Since the last final one-time, no more, no way, amnesty in the Reagan Administration (wait, wasn't he a Republican?) the country has endured a slow motion invasion.
Washington racial frijole counters and the demographic group that composes the vast majority of the illegal crossers immediately claim discrimination when attempts are made to enforce the law. But if the Hispanic community is harboring the lawbreakers, why shouldn't it bear the brunt of law enforcement? Instead, many feel no sense of obligation to the US. Their philosophy is: leave us alone while we enable the rest of our "family" to sneak across the border.
Frankly, I've never understood why the NAACP doesn't support a crackdown on illegal aliens. Currently the Black population in the US is 13.5 percent and the Hispanic 15 percent. If US law enforcement agencies really are engines of bigotry, harassment and racial profiling - as the NAACP contends - then adding Hispanics to the potential discrimination pool more than doubles the number of potential victims and decreases harassment pressure on the black population.
Law enforcement will really have to scramble to maintain current oppression levels with this increase in the target pool.
Plus the crackdown will also serve to reduce under-priced Hispanic competition for entry-level jobs that Blacks formerly held. It looks like a win - win to me.
But somehow it's always up to Republicans and rednecks when it comes to worries about the border.
And while were discussing skin color, immigration enforcement - assuming it ever arrives - isn't going to focus on sight, it's going to focus on sound. You can be as brown as a betel nut when the cop pulls you over, but if you speak colloquial English the officer will only ask you to press hard as you sign the citation and send you on your way.
But if you can't understand English, lack a licencia de conducir and have no proof or residency (the dreaded "papers" so feared by Democrats) then you may enjoy a somewhat longer investigative process.
And what's wrong with that?

THE ELEPHANT COMMUNITY SUFFERS ANOTHER DRIVE BY

By Michael R. Shannon

There was a RINO sighting in the capitol over the weekend. Meghan McCain (Republican In Name Only) was making the rounds selling her new book.
Meghan personifies what former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer said of the birthright privileged: "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple."
She's oblivious to the fact America is full of rich, immature brats and her father is the only reason reporters pay any attention to her.
Little Meghan could have written a book about how inspiring it was to be part of a national presidential campaign and how touched she was to have encountered dedicated conservatives from all walks of life joining together and working to put her father in the White House.
Come to think of it - since this was the McCain campaign - that last part might have been hard, but you get my point. Instead, she writes a book that recycles Democrat attacks on the GOP.
As a result mini-McCain gets publicity because the leftist media loves to use the views of nominal Republicans as a weapon to advance its attacks on the beliefs of genuine Republicans. (And since it appears Republicans are going to recapture the House and possibly the Senate, we are going to see more of these efforts as November approaches.)
And what a role model for conservative youth! Meghan made real sacrifices during her five minutes in the national spotlight. She swore off "hook-ups" (slang for casual sex with random males) during the campaign, only to prove - I'm guessing much to her dismay - that abstinence works, because so far she's not pregnant.
She also took her mammary glands out of the display case and attempted to cut down on the use of the F-word in public. At the rate Meghan was going the next stop was Sunday school teacher, but fortunately dad lost and she could resume normal programming.
Her "book" is soon to be found dominating remainder piles across America, because the reporters who use the book to bash the GOP get their copies for free and no Republican in his right mind is going to buy it. The tragedy is that even farm-grown trees, destined to be pulped and printed, had to be sacrificed for this petty, immature tripe.
It's almost enough to make you want to become an environmentalist so you can grab a starter's pistol and run to the nearest Discovery Channel to fight this kind of waste.
Here's Meghan's wisdom regarding the selection of Sarah Palin: "I was waiting for her to explode. There was a fine line between genius and insanity, they say, and choosing her as the running mate was starting to seem like a definition of that line."
She's young. She's sexy. She's incoherent.
Sarah Palin's nomination was the straw that broke the diva's back, because Palin is the antithesis of Meghan. Her father is not rich, she started at the bottom, her success came through her efforts alone and Palin is actually a conservative Republican.
McCain's role during her father's campaign was designated blogger and youth-outreach. A make-work, leaf-raking job you give otherwise unqualified relatives to keep them away from the rooms where decisions are made. She was fired after her behavior became increasingly erratic in the wake of the Palin selection.
To Meghan's credit she is pro-life - an authentic Republican Party position - but once that's out of the way it's back to the Meghan Zone, which in its way is as dangerous to logical thought as the Ozone: "They go on and on about how evil and wrong abortion is, but don't like to talk about how easy it is to not get pregnant."
What could that possibly mean? Is she trying to tell us the Pope is a Republican? I didn't even know he was registered to vote.
Conservative Republicans do oppose carpet-bombing public schools with condoms and dispensing the pill without parent's permission. But to my knowledge the "rhythm method" is not one of the planks in the party platform.
The Post review of her book calls it "a scathing critique of the Republican Party." I might give her opinions some credence concerning a party that involved music, booze and trashy women; but she has zero credibility regarding any party involved in governing.
Even better, this is not a conclusion that puts me at variance with the majority of conservatives. Republicans are poised on the threshold of a resounding victory in November because, in spite of Meghan's advice, they are not becoming more like Democrats. The GOP is now offering a stark contrast when compared to Democrats.
In fact, I can say with complete confidence that Republicans will start taking Meghan McCain's political counsel the same week Democrats embrace the political philosophy of Obama's Kenyan half-brother.

Friday, August 6, 2010

ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD

By Michael R. Shannon

The DC metro area suffered a little collateral damage this week as part of Democrats long march toward "Social Justice." One nun was killed and two were hospitalized after their car was hit head on by an auto with a drunken Carlos Montano at the wheel.
But three nuns is a small price to pay in return for the feeling of moral superiority you get from enjoying affordable landscaping and watching Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in Congress.
Montano is evidently here in the US to drink the beer Americans didn't want to drink and he gets an early start because he smashed into the nuns at 8:30 AM on Sunday morning. This was his third DUI and fourth alcohol-related offense. What's more, Montano has been belting down cold cervezas in the US for FIVE YEARS.
Montano is a citizen of Bolivia and, according to Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert, his offenses include reckless driving, public drunkenness, driving with a revoked license, speeding and oh yes, three driving while intoxicated charges.
Ebert is outraged that Montano is still in the country but the local Jefe de Policia Charlie Deane considers these offenses to be small potatoes and not worth upsetting the Hispanic community with an illegal immigration crackdown.
Even the paper shufflers at Immigration & Customs Enforcement know a dead nun, courtesy of a drunk illegal they released from custody on two different occasions, presents a public relations problem.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Incompetano has announced an "immediate review" of the case. A review that is certain to deliver a butt-covering report sometime after the November election.
Putting a brave face on inertia, ICE spokeswoman Cori Bassett says Montano was released on his own recognizance pending a deportation hearing, and "has reported as required on a monthly basis to ICE." Which must not have been too troublesome for Senor Thirsty as I count five bars within about a mile of the Fairfax County ICE office.
The fact that Montano's second DUI came after he was released the first time was no cause for concern at ICE. It wasn't like he had to pass a breathalyzer when he reported.
Motorist-of-the-Month Montano is why states like Arizona pass laws to crack down on illegal immigration. It's not racism or profiling or bigotry. It's resentment of foreign nationals breaking the law and demanding privileges they have not earned.
Virginia Del. Scott Lingamfelter is "so mad, I can't see straight." He's been attempting to address the illegal alien problem in Richmond, along with Delegates Bob Marshall and Jackson Miller. They are joined by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who just issued an opinion that says police officers may inquire about the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest.
Do you notice a certain similarity here? Every one of these elected officials is a Republican. That's because Democrats have no intention of doing anything to stop illegal immigration. Local Democrats pass the buck to national Democrats who try to spend it.
Sure some deluded members of the GOP, George Bush and Karl Rove come to mind, think they can out pander Democrats, but that is a fantasy.
During the current nun-induced CYA scramble in Washington the Obama administration is claiming its focus on "criminal alien" deportations proves a commitment to enforcement. What they don't tell you is the increase in that category is more than offset by the large decrease in deportations of other illegals. Meanwhile the administration is also reducing workplace immigration raids.
Some focus.
Mom and dad Montano showed up at the St. Benedict Monastery Monday night to express their sorrow for the death caused by their son. This is a family of five that snuck across our border in 1996 and stayed illegal ever since. Enjoying our schools, our social services and our malt beverages.
In 2007 the crack enforcers at DHS granted work permits to the parents, daughter, oldest son and good-time Carlos - who got his work permit after he had already been charged with his first DUI.
The Montano family is a case history of how "comprehensive immigration reform" - a codeword for amnesty - is going to work under Democrats. The illegals do nothing but avoid capture and Uncle Sam rewards their elusiveness with citizenship.
In spite of what Democrats claim there is not going to be any "go to the back of the line" or learning English or paying a fine. Democrats are going to absorb these new voters and reap the benefits.
Mr. and Mrs. Montano's appearance at the monastery was a nice gesture, but since I don't approve of illegals working in the US, I'm also not going to encourage acts of contrition by people who should not be here.
The Montanos can be contrite in La Paz after Carlos kills someone there.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

THE READERS ARE ALWAYS WRITE

By Michael R. Shannon

This is a good week to catch up on reader correspondence concerning pressing national issues like government employee hydration. So stand by for the letters:
Did Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell really reverse former Democrat governor Tim Kaine's ban on state purchases of individual-sized bottled water for government employees? I thought McDonnell was a REPUBLICAN! Is there really something in the water in Richmond?
Hot & Hydrated Taxpayer
I cannot remember the last time I agreed with one of Kaine's policies and now McDonnell goes and reverses it! Of course Kaine didn't ban the bottles for the obvious reason that buying water is a waste of money. He did it to be "green."
The last time I checked Richmond was still located in Virginia, not Botswana or Karjackistan or even DC. The water is perfectly safe to drink. I've done so myself.
The taxpayer's liquid obligation to government employees begins and ends at the water fountain. (Well, maybe the toilet, too.) If Richmond tap water doesn't meet the employee's exacting standards, she can bring her own.
This whole bottled-water fetish is additional proof that rot in a society, like a fish, begins at the head.
I was still in Dallas when trendy, empty-headed pacesetters starting paying good money for Perrier - a French bottled water - to show how sophisticated they were.
Business owners could not believe their good fortune when these nitwits started paying two bucks for water that was free at the fountain. So now the entire populace is infected with this mental defect, but I don't think taxpayers should be on the hook for an employee's private neurosis.
The Washington metro area has some of the worst traffic in the nation. We are usually listed as fourth in time lost to gridlock. Don't you think it would be a good idea to restrict driver's licenses to those under 65-years-of-age and get the old codgers off the road?
Not Able Heed the Call of the Open Road
Since rush hour traffic moves along at about 20 mph, elderly drivers should feel right at home in any of the three lanes. Besides a recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows older driver's accident rates have declined by 37 percent, with the biggest drop among drivers over 80.
Researchers are baffled, but that's because they are overlooking the obvious: elderly drivers are safer because they aren't barreling down the highway while texting. Mainly because drivers over 65 don't know how to operate a smart phone.
Younger drivers are whizzing down Interstate-95 "lol" and "OMG!!!!!!" to a fare-thee-well, while the elderly driver is so grateful the clock in the dashboard now keeps good time, thanks to those nice men in Japan.
An elderly motorist may occasionally be distracted by a minor stroke, but younger drivers are in a constant state of distraction that is driven by technology their grandparents don't understand.
Our highways would be much safer if younger drivers were not allowed to drive autos that contained technology invented after 1966. That would eliminate most of the technology distractions and those that remain would be contending with wind noise and the body rattles from that era's auto, which pretty much eliminates any cell phone conversations.
Texting is out too, since the primitive steering cars had then usually required two hands on the wheel at all times.
I don't' see that happening, though. But in the meantime, lay off older drivers. Grandma is much safer; unless she knows how to operate a camera phone and the grandkids are in the car...
Am I unemployable? Last week at a job interview I mentioned that I'm a people-person who enjoys a good "dialogue." The interviewer frowned and said no one uses that word any more. He also checked my age again. He claims smart people and smart companies have "conversations." So I checked. Everywhere I look people are "joining the conversation" or "part of the conversation" or "dominating the conversation." Has language passed me by?
Clueless on Clichés
Journalists and ad copywriters are an unholy duo when it comes to propagating clichés. As you've discovered "conversation" is the new "dialog," which in turn replaced "rap" - each meaning an interesting discussion, open to all comers. Unfortunately, most of the "conversations" people actually hear are loudmouths yelling into their cell phones.
If you need something to do between job interviews, take a highlighter to the newspaper and see how many times "conversation" is used in the news columns and ads. You should be appalled. Our modern society produces clichés at a blinding rate.
Personally, I can't get over the constant use by media types of "as well," when they mean "too" or "also." "As well" is the "like" of the pseudo-intellectual set and only serves to clutter up language.
As for being unemployable, moldy buzzwords simply indicate a need for retraining, which may qualify you for stimulus funds.

I'M STILL NOT JERRY KRAMER

By Michael R. Shannon

My age and marital status have combined to place severe limits on what are acceptable topics for my formerly rich fantasy life. I'm pretty much down to dreaming about food and fantasy football.
I've found that if you talk too much about food fantasies, people will begin slowly sidestepping away at parties. Until, after a very short while, the only people listening are really skinny adolescent girls who ask you if the carrot stick they just ate makes them look fat.
Fantasy football is a much more serviceable topic for the socially inept. The women clear out pretty fast, usually at the first mention of your draft strategy, while the men stick around.
What's more, talking about the digital fantasy game is an improvement over talking about real analog sport, because you don't have to listen to Cowboy fans boasting about what Arlington's Team is going to do this season.
Each fantasy team is unique and composed of players from many different NFL squads, therefore eliminating a concentration of Texas egomaniacs. From time to time an unsuspecting owner may be burdened with an individual Cowboy player, but one always has the option to bench him.
For those readers who have never played, fantasy football is the perfect pastime for opinionated NFL fans. If you've ever complained about some bone-headed decision the coach of your favorite team made, fantasy is a chance for you to make your own bone-headed decisions.
In the beginning fantasy leagues involved face-to-face meetings, index cards, arguing, booze and calculator abuse. Now fantasy leagues are hosted on computer websites, so just like Facebook you can be "best friends" with league members without ever being forced to actually encounter one in person.
Computers have streamlined and removed all the complicated parts of the game, leaving you free to concentrate on the booze.
Leagues consist of eight to twelve players. Before the NFL season begins a league registers with a host, I like ESPN - it's free, rarely crashes and you can customize your league - and you schedule your draft date.
Each draft consists of 15 rounds. A team fields one QB, two RBs, two WRs, a TE, a "flex" player (can be a WR or RB) a kicker and a defense and as many backups at those positions as you want until all 15 slots are filled. ESPN even suggests who you should draft if you're feeling insecure.
Scoring is based on yards gained for RB, WR, TE and QBs; along with touchdowns scored. Points from the kicker are based on the distance the field goal traveled and how much of a girly-man he is when avoiding the tackle on the subsequent kickoff.
Defensive point scoring is incredibly arcane that even employees of the Congressional Budget Office simply rely on the website.
On game day the starters you pick are matched against your opponent's, the individual scores are calculated the highest total wins. Leagues that charge for their services even have online grief counselors to help you deal with defeat.
You build your powerhouse team on draft day and express your inner Lombardi. You could draft a team composed exclusively of felons. Or you could mix and match, say sex harassers with parolees. You could even base your draft selections on how "creative" a player's touchdown "celebration" is. (If you do this, I want you in my league. Please.)
I'm the commissioner of the leagues at my church where, as you can imagine, we don't concentrate on the booze. And even though we are narrow, intolerant Baptists, women are allowed to join a league.
The only rule is froo-froo team names are forbidden. No man wants to endanger his ego with a defeat by the Cuddly Bears or the Hot Flashes.
We even have a Champions League composed solely of owners who have won a division title or championship the previous season. Unfortunately, I won't be part of this league due to an unfortunate run of steroid suspensions last season.
Finally, I want to give you the opportunity to benefit from my vast insight, so I've formulated Five Fantasy Football principles:
1. Drafting the best available Cowboy is not the foundation of a successful team. It's not even a winner for Jerry Jones.
2. 'Bye' is not the toughest team in the league. Your players don't score when they face 'Bye' because they aren't playing.
3. Sometimes players take an extra, surprise 'Bye' week. See above.
4. The same people who produce the five-day weather forecast also produce the predicted weekly point totals for fantasy players.
5. Resting your starters for the playoffs is not a winning strategy.
6. BONUS: When real players are suspended, reality intrudes on fantasy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BRONCOS VS SNEAK-INS

By Darol Dickenson
Much has been said against Arizona's immigration move to do the Federal Government's job.
"What if the owners of the Denver Broncos discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into games without paying? What if they had a good idea who the gate-crashers are, but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their ticket for entry, and thus non-paying attendees couldn't be ejected.
Furthermore, what if Bronco' ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Broncos had to provide free medical care and shelter?"
What if the "guests" wanted the front center line seats and would shoot other paying attendees to take what they wanted?
What if over 50% of the attendees were "sneak-ins" and the owner decided to take a public vote on policy?
Perhaps the government will sue the Broncos for mistreatment of sneak-in's?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

COUNTERFEIT NOTE REWRITES CHAPTER OF BILLY THE KID

Julie Carter jcarter@ruidosonews.com

For the first time in more than a century, one of the counterfeit bank notes proven to be in the sequence passed by Billy the Kid and his gang has found its way back to Lincoln County. U.S. Marshal Historian Dave Turk of Washington, D.C., and retired Federal Criminal Investigator Steve Sederwall of Capitan began the hunt to find the sample of the counterfeit bank notes passed by the Kid. They knew that at least one would have been preserved after the trials were over that convicted the ring of the crime.
What they found was contrary to, and more than, what is currently recorded.
"History has it that the plates used to print the counterfeit were never found," Sederwall said. "That's not true. There were 22 plates on three different Eastern banks and the illegal bank notes passed in Lincoln County were from a New Bedford bank. This operation was not cowboys with a press in a barn here in Lincoln County. It was organized crime, fine-tuned, clever, very sophisticated and much bigger than recorded by historians."
Complete story at:

http://www.ruidosonews.com/ruidoso-breaking_news/ci_15527647

Monday, June 14, 2010

FRANK PERDUE CAN REST EASY

By Michael R. Shannon

Normally I don't revisit column topics until a decent interval has passed, but there have been so many feathers flying in poultry news that I'm forced to return to the subject of chickens in Prince William County, VA where I live.
You may recall a group of would-be poultry promoters who are trying to convince the Board of Supervisors here to allow them to run herds of chickens on lots as small as one acre. The column was titled: "Here a Chick, There a Chick, Everywhere a Chick, Chick."
This headline evidently confused some of my readers who are not up to speed on poultry lore. There were complaints that a "chick" was either a comely young woman or a baby bird; and somehow the term was incorrect in a column about mature hens.
My response is to take all complaints to the author of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" because that's where I stole the headline. And while they're at it, those readers might familiarize themselves with the collected works of Foghorn Leghorn.
By now you are no doubt brooding over the question of why would anyone want to keep chickens in the Washington, DC metro area? You can't travel and harbor chickens at home, because there are no chicken boarding coops. And no self-respecting teenager is going to risk his position in the pecking order by hiring out to walk your chickens while you're gone.
So when poultry infrastructure is as scarce as hen's teeth, where's the advantage for the potentate of poultry? Simple, a few hens scratching along the pipestem leading to your home make you special.
Any lame brain can keep a dog and many do. Heck the local PWC newspaper attempts to give dogs away every Friday. Even those really wrinkly dogs, that look like a pile of old socks, are now passé among the beautiful people. But keeping chickens - now that makes you an agri-demonstration project and puts you one up on the lowly canine owner.
According to the latest news, urban hen-punchers are not alone. Chickens appear to be all the rage among trendy, boutique farmers. Some chicken hatcheries are running at full capacity to satisfy the demand.
But status in the world of animal domestication is never one of the reasons given for keeping chickens in a metro area. Usually it's - and I quote one of our leghorn lobbyists - "farm-fresh eggs, there's nothing like it."
But actually there is. Wegmanns fresh eggs; Costco fresh eggs (in the handy 52-dozen container) and Safeway fresh eggs all taste just as good as the eggs that come from the urban-pioneer hen.
This quaint belief a chicken that is considered part of the family and allowed to share the Xbox with the kids, will somehow be so thankful that her eggs will contain that delicate flavor of gratitude is yet another "greenie" fantasy that won't withstand the scientific method.
Greenies believe that commercially produced eggs come from grim factory farms notable only for unspeakable cruelty; and the merchants of misery that own these plants all conspire to make the product taste bad.
None of which is true. In point of fact a food writer for the Washington Post - who owns her own hens and suffers from the delusion that giving a bird its own toothbrush results in tastier eggs - conducted a blind taste test to see if eggs from contented birds had less cholesterol and better flavor.
She matched her high-esteem eggs with the commonplace product from three competitors: a run-of-the-mill grocery store; an "organic" supermarket and finally eggs from a high-end super "organic" store where the hens are owned by PhDs in gender studies.
All the taste-testers were blindfolded, the eggs were cooked identically and each portion was served by a robot to make sure no one was influenced by body language.
Sacre bleu! The results were a devastating blow to back-to-nature fantasists. No one could tell the difference between the eggs. All those hours of letting her chickens watch "Baby Einstein" videos had been wasted. The writer's eggs tasted no different from the product of those ignorant chickens at Legree's Mega Factory Farm. "Organic" eggs tasted just like those suicidally depressed eggs from Safeway.
What's more, an authentic poultry scientist at Auburn University confirmed the results explaining, "people's perception of egg flavor is mostly psychological. When you have them actually taste, there's not enough difference to tell."
So there you have it. Chickens don't respond to human fantasy. The local poultry lobby can climb off the perch at zoning committee hearings and get back to commonly accepted animal pursuits.
Like checking next Friday's issue of the News & Messenger for photos of adorable dogs eager to come to your home, after you dispose of the chicken litter.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He can be reached at michael-shannon@comcast.net.

Monday, June 7, 2010

TOXIC WOLF SPILL HOLDS CHILDREN HOSTAGE

By Jim Beers
WOLVES - They're Not Just for Rural Americans Anymore
Part I - Wolf Country in 2010
It was 1974 when the wolf was "Listed" by federal bureaucrats as "Endangered" in the midst of an explosion of new federal laws and authority over everything from marine mammals to hawks, spotted owls, snail darters, and cormorants. Despite the superabundance of wolves worldwide throughout the Northern Hemisphere, their romantic status as a "symbol" of wilderness coupled with anthropomorphic "biology" from environmental and animal rights radical organizations made any questions concerning the propriety of such a Listing both politically incorrect and an indication of someone completely out of step with the "New Age" biology sweeping the Nation.
Alaska and Canada have had robust wolf populations for centuries and damage by wolves to big game herds, livestock, dogs, and the ever-present danger of human attacks have been stressful factors of life there just as in Asia and Europe where wolves are abundant. The following report concerns the disgraceful and un-Constitutional imposition of wolves by the federal government and a cabal of environmental, animal rights, anti-gun, andanti-rural America radicals and lawyers in the past 35 years.
The "Timber" or "Gray" wolves that were roaming northern Minnesota in limited numbers were the only wolves recognized in the Lower 48 States when the 1974 "Listing" of wolves as "Endangered" was pronounced. Immediately,
federal bureaucrats pre-empted all Constitutional State authority over wolves in Minnesota over weak protests by State government. Wolves were given complete protection and millions of dollars were spent to increase their numbers and range. Today, those wolves have spread into Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Livestock losses; loss of foals, goats, and other privately owned animals: loss of deer numbers and deer hunting license revenue; loss of hunting dogs, pets, and watchdogs; visible
decreases in rural economies and land prices; and increasingly stressful rural life where wolf attacks and sightings have placed parents and grandparents in fear when kids ask to go fishing or to go to or come from rural school bus stops or to take out garbage: all of these things bedevil rural Americans where the wolves have become abundant and where they are no spreading like an infection to Lower Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa.
When government or radicals want to cite "science" about wolf "species" keep in mind the following. Wolves, like white-tailed deer and most mammals that exist from near the Equator to the Far North, are smaller in the South and
larger in the North. Small-bodied animals do better in hot climates and large-bodied animals are better suited to cold climates. Prior to the Endangered Species Act, whether we called the large ones "timber" wolves or the little ones "Key" deer was a matter of biological curiosity. Key Deer from Florida can raise fawns when bred with big Saskatchewan whitetails just as big wolves from the Yukon can breed successfully with "little" Mexican wolves (or coyotes, or dingoes, or dogs for that matter). So contain any emotion when told that "saving" this or that wolf "species" is "vital" to some obscure biological purpose. One thing is for sure; the "big" northern wolves were the ones plopped unceremoniously into Yellowstone Park 15 years ago and are now into 6 or more states.
In 1980, federal bureaucrats declared the "Red" wolf "extinct. In reality, the "Red" wolf is merely a "wolf" with an abundance of coyote and domestic dog genes. However, "Red" wolves (from "re-discovered" captive wolves) were introduced to South Carolina in 1988 and later Tennessee where these small wolves have been killed by local people, and where they have bred with and were bred by all manner of free-roaming dogs, hunting dogs, and watchdogs.
In 1995, federal bureaucrats stole Millions of dollars from excise taxes collected on arms and ammunition for the exclusive use of state fish and wildlife agencies for hunting programs and wildlife land acquisition. The
money was used illegally by federal bureaucrats to capture wolves in northern Canada and then quickly release them in Yellowstone Park. These wolves have, in just 15 years, all but eradicated the two largest elk herds in Montana (The Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd) and Idaho (The Lolo Elk Herd)
and the moose in Yellowstone Park. The losses of livestock to these wolves have been in the Millions of dollars just as the loss of state hunting license revenue (in this period of states "going broke") attributable to the
thousands of wolves now existing in these 2 states is being hidden and distorted by both state and federal fish and wildlife agencies that are increasingly seen as tools of the cabal mentioned in the second paragraph.
These wolves are now becoming established and spreading through Oregon and Washington where livestock, wildlife, and domestic dog losses are becoming common and desperate rural residents and rural governments search for a
solution in vain. Utah is beginning to get wolves and reports of wolves in Colorado have been filed.
"Mexican" wolves were introduced into Arizona and New Mexico in 1998. While a small wolf like the "Red" wolf, these wolves have caused high livestock, elk, and deer losses and additionally have begun stalking rural school kids as they go to, wait for, and return from school buses. (Alternative food sources are comparatively rare in that stark desert country.) This has gotten so bad that some school bus stops are cages to which children are
driven and picked up by fearful parents.
While hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by state and federal bureaucracies to collar, "move", and rarely kill offending wolves; such actions where wolves are abundant are akin to removing your hand from a bucket of water and expecting a "hole" in the water to remain. Today, state agencies admit they cannot "count" or "census" wolves so the question of numbers becomes a wolf-"hater" v. wolf-"lover" matter for lawyers and judges. Big game numbers are being "adjusted" by state agencies
increasingly dependent on federal agencies for funding. Just as, for instance, Montana bureaucrats claim a Yellowstone elk herd of 6K and wolf numbers of a thousand; ranchers, hunters, and rural residents know the elk
herd that was at one time 30K and was averaging 19K is now less than 2K mostly old non-breeders with a paltry 4 or 5 elk calves per 100 cows in a dying herd in the midst of many thousands of wolves increasing at rates of 35-40%
per year. Hundreds of dogs killed and eaten by wolves increase annually and mostly go unreported, undiscovered, and ignored by newspapers and bureaucrats in the West as well as the Great Lakes States.
Small towns are dying in the West, rural land prices are decreasing as wolves make rural living and working more tenuous, and stressed rural residents in "Wolf
Country" increasingly resemble stressed New Yorkers in traffic jams on the BQE.
One ranch is being "studied" in central Idaho and the costs of wolves are astounding. Losses of calves and cows plus the loss in weight of constantly stressed steers sent to market is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars
per year. The time and work "reporting to and dealing with" government bureaucracies added to the work trying to avoid losses in the herds is hundreds of thousands per year. The stress on employees and the long hours
necessary are leading more and more owners and their employees to ask "how can ranching persist" and "how can I keep doing this?"
While rural Americans are increasingly suffering and growing angry with federal and state governments run amok, the cabal cited in the second paragraph continues to indoctrinate children in schools and urban residents
with false propaganda. When asked "Why wolves?", the only answer is pagan babbling about "native ecosystem" (like Hitler's "pre-Roman plants and animals") or "the need for 'apex' predators" as if there were something
desirable about uncontrolled killing of animals that complement human society and animal populations that are either overabundant or extinct due to factors that could and should be controlled for societal benefits. The
truth is there is no good answer to the question "Why" when wolves had already been purposefully and prudently eliminated from the most successful and desirable human society the earth has known.
The truthful answer to "Why wolves?" is:
To eliminate hunting.
To eliminate gun owner numbers by eliminating hunting.
To destroy family traditions like annual get-togethers.
To further emasculate rural economic activity and health.
To eliminate grazing on public lands.
To eliminate ranching on private property.
To create political-cover "science" to justify more Public Land closures from Wilderness and Road Closures to "Critical" habitats and Pagan Land Closures like "Corridors", "Wildlands", and "Commons".
To eliminate the management and use of renewable natural resources like timber, forage, wildlife, and fisheries.
To replace the funding of state and federal agency budgets with revenues from hunting, fishing, grazing and timber cutting with increased federal funds from the National Treasury that is so "Broke".
To make current residents of rural communities fearful and stressed such that they will move to cities where they must give up guns, ride public transportation, and live dictated lives where powerful government authority is unchallenged.
To reduce rural land prices as people move away, businesses go broke, and new residents no longer see business or retirement or comfortable living circumstances.
To make rural land prices ever cheaper as federal and state agencies "pick-up" parcels and Non-government profiteers like The Nature Conservancy profit from taking "Easements" and reselling parcels to government bureaucrats at a healthy profit.
To grow the power and budgets of federal bureaucrats and agencies as they claim more land and species that need "protection" (i.e. lock-up).
To assure re-election of "concerned" politicians as they brag at election time and get "support" from radical organizations for "saving" this, that, and the other environmental nonsense.
To strengthen the State/Federal fish and wildlife agency alliance at the expense of state government and rural state residents.
To create the future (immeasurable and never-ending) publicly-funded goal of "Restoring The Ecosystem" for state and federal natural resource agencies.
Finally, to please the imaginings of urban American voters (often a voting majority) that controls the national government and many state governments wherein the destruction of rural voters' rights in the emerging democracy that is replacing our Constitutional Republic has become acceptable.
Thus far, wolves have been the result of urban voters' acceptance of propaganda and misinformation about the havoc and ruin that wolves have been wreaking on "others". The urban voters turn a blind eye to the loss of rural America and traditions and cultures that they neither know nor will
miss. Urban voters and their children are told the lie that wolves are tolerable and that a few rural eggs must be broken to make an imaginary "ecosystem" wherein they may hear a wolf howl during some future but improbable vacation. For mentioning these things I am described as
everything from a "lunatic" to an "anti-predator" extremist that just wants to "kill animals". Nothing could be farther from the truth.
But all this is about to change. Read Part II, "Wolves, A Deadly Threat Coming to Urban America". The wolves are no longer just for nameless rural Americans.
Part II - Wolves, A Deadly Coming to Urban America
Wolves are increasing at rates of 35-50% per year in the Upper Rocky Mountain States. They are spreading almost as rapidly in the Upper Great Lakes States. As they spread into Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Utah, plans are in place to put them into The Grand Canyon and their spread into Nevada and California is inevitable.
Traditional means to control, much less eradicate wolves locally, are both inadequate and very costly for limited and temporary effect in The Lower 48 States. Hunting is a totally inadequate control measure as the recent purchase of 35K+ wolf licenses in Idaho showed it to be inadequate to kill a couple of hundred "dumb" (i.e. previously un-hunted) wolves. Wolves, just like coyotes and dogs, adapt and get "smarter" when threatened. Wolves seldom, if ever, come to calls or bait. Federal laws prohibit the use of
airplanes to kill wolves by anyone but government bureaucrats. Federal laws prohibit the poisons used to great effect by our forbearers. More and more landowners from Ted Turner to the widow in the assisted living home in
Seattle will not allow any predator control on their property. States increasingly prohibit the use of traps for wolves (the most effective method used in British Columbia as this is written). When wolves depress or
locally eradicate wildlife-food like deer and elk; alternatives from live dog-meat and livestock to foals, colts, goats, emus, dumpsters, garbage cans, garage-bins, storage sheds, etc., etc. precludes any "natural decrease" in their numbers or their spread.
One thing that goes unmentioned about early collaring and tracking (by GPS of wolves in addition to their presence at so many livestock deaths is the routine nighttime travel through farmyards and ranch buildings. Also, wolves use roads and trails routinely, especially at night. Wolves neither fear men nor do they avoid human habitations or roads.
Consider further that wolves travel in packs as well as alone and they easily cover 30+ miles per day. In their wide-ranging travels they are putting their snouts into all manner of wild and domestic animals that they kill. They are picking up soil between their toes and on their hair. They pick up fleas and ticks from all manner of rodents and wildlife as they kill and burrow into dens. They breathe in, lick, and are otherwise exposed to all manner of disease and infections as they go from pasture to pasture or
big-game winter area to big-game winter area or rural backyard to URBAN backyard.
When wolves were imposed by federal fiat there was a public impression that all manner of "science" had been used to forecast the results: nothing could be further from the truth. Disease is one such example of a (purposely?)
omitted aspect of the future that wolves would usher in.
Wolves carry many, many diseases and infections. I am neither a veterinarian nor a pathologist - but I can list at least 30 such dangers carried by any wolves at any time. Those more expert than I can list many
more. There is no argument that wolves can carry these dangerous infections nor that they can spread them far and wide as they envelop urban areas and increasingly investigate urban areas at night after picking up the following infections.
Wolves carry the following infections. Those known to infect humans are followed by an (H). Those known to infect other animals, both wild and domestic, are followed by (OA)
1. Rabies (greatly feared by American Indians, Settlers, early Soldiers, etc.) (H) (OA)
2. Brucellosis (H) (OA)
3. Echinococcus granulosis (potentially deadly and debilitating tapeworm) (H) (OA)
4. Echinococcus multilocularis (a deadly tapeworm) (H) (OA)
5. Anthrax (H) (OA)
6. Encephalitis (H) (OA)
7. Great Lakes Tapeworm (H) (OA)
8. Smallpox (H) (OA)
9. Mad Cow (BSE) (H) (OA)
10. Chronic Wasting Disease (H?) (OA)
11. Anemia (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
12. Dermatosis (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
13. Tick Paralysis (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
14. Babesiosis (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
15. Anaplasmosis (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
16. Erlichia (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
17. E Coast Fever (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
18. Relapsing Fever (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
19. Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
20. Lyme Disease (carried by ticks on wolves) (H)
21. Plague (carried by fleas on wolves) (H)
22. Bubonic Plague (carried by fleas on wolves) (H)
23. Pneumonic Plague (carried by fleas on wolves) (H)
24. Flea-borne Typhus (carried by fleas on wolves) (H)
25. Distemper (OA)
26. Neospora caninum (causes spontaneous abortions) (OA)
27. Mange (3 types including Scabies) (H) (OA)
28. GID (a deadly disease of wild and domestic sheep) (OA)
29. Foot-and-Mouth (OA)
30. Tularemia (H) (OA)
31. Helminthes (flat-worms) 2 sp. (H) (OA)
Of the 31 diseases and infections carried by wolves listed above, only 3 are not dangerous to humans and even those (especially foot-and-mouth and distemper) are of great danger to the American Livestock Industry and the
American dog population. An authority on foot-and-mouth has told me that if foot-and-mouth were to break out here (it is in Japan, So. America, and Australia as I write this) in "Wolf Country" it could NOT be isolated.
Remember the anthrax scare in Washington? A little white powder and buildings were closed and fumigated for days by men in Hazmat suits. British farms with Mad Cow or South Dakota farms with anthrax are not only isolated with workers fumigated and not allowed off the property without
non-work clothes: dogs are quarantined or shot. What of wolves running through pastures at night? Rabid wolves were one of the most feared dangers
in early America. Tapeworm eggs in wolf feces not only infect soil and spread with rain or drying, such eggs are carried into homes and onto rugs where they last for long periods in wait for a child's hand that is later placed into its mouth or a man to eat a peanut mistakenly dropped on the floor.
What's that you say? How come Russians or other such people "fortunate" enough to live in "Wolf Country" aren't all sick? A fair question deserves a fair answer.
Wolves are a far greater URBAN human health threat in the United States than probably anywhere else in the world. Let's compare St. Petersburg and Moscow (2 urban enclaves enveloped by wolves) to any Urban area in the US
similarly enveloped by wolves (Boise?, Missoula? Duluth? Or soon Spokane or Portland?)
Consider the following differences between US and Russian Cities:
American cities have paths, trails, and walkways interconnected like a spider web through the city.
American paths are increasingly heavily vegetated with "natural" cover.
American parks are increasingly "natural" with vegetated areas.
Wolves have very enticing entry and exit and rest areas in American cities.
Wolves will defecate, urinate, and lick spots where food had been dropped in these urban walkway areas.
Wolves will snarl at and leave saliva on and near kenneled dogs or dogs in fenced yards.
Wolves will carry and transmit to dogs, fleas and ticks picked up far away.
Wolves will gradually get "habituated" and pose a mortal danger to joggers and other walkers as is happening around Fairbanks and Anchorage.
AND EVERY MORNING IN AMERICA:
Mom or kids walk "the dog". And Bowser -
Sniffs wolf feces, urinates where wolves urinate, licks the spot the wolf licked, and touches other objects like certain plants or objects that the wolf similarly found interesting.
When Mom and the neighbor meet, Bowser and Buffy -
Sniff anuses, touch noses, lick each other, sneeze near each other, and "swap spit" on occasion as they tussle.
Then Mom takes the dog into the home where - Kids "kiss" Bowser. Bowser licks their face (including mouths and noses) and any cuts. Bowser sleeps in the kids' bed. Bowser vomits (especially if it picked up a bone/hairball up-chucked by a wolf that eats such things as
it feeds) in the house. Bowser drags its tapeworm-infected anus across the rug or deposits the eggs in the yard when he poops.
Stray or loose dogs (especially as urban budgets become tight) will further transmit all the pathological wolf-wonders around the urban area.
Even the childless and single condo dwellers downtown will not be exempt.
What do they do on weekends? Why they "take the dog" jogging or out to "the country". Those suburban paths, or worse yet those National Forest/State Park paths will serve to transmit all manner of dangerous pathogens to "the
dog" to take back to the condo and share with all the urban pooches AND THEIR OWNERS!
In Russia dogs are kept outside in rural Russia and NONE of the above mentioned practices occur. Russians and others in ancient "Wolf Country" have learned and kept the lessons necessary to survive with wolves. These are lessons that we have chosen to forget and deny at our own peril.
No, wolves aren't just for Rural Americans anymore. Urban Americans should
consider facing reality and rejecting the pagan nostrum being spread by all those mentioned in Part I. Urban Americans should join with Rural Americans and stop this wolf catastrophe before it gets worse. The cost will be
prohibitive but it will only grow worse the more we delay.
If ever there was a time when Americans need to come together, this is it.
If Rural-Americans and Urban-Americans can resolve this wolf problem, perhaps we can drop the hyphens and once again be simply Americans whose freedoms and respect for each others' rights once made us the envy of the
entire world.

Jim Beers
7 June 2010
Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and
Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting at jimbeers7@comcast.net

Monday, May 31, 2010

WHY EDUCATORS "DON'T GET NO RESPECT"

by Beverly K. Eakman
Friday, 28 May 2010 16:35
Despite efforts in some states to counter the now-admitted failures of education policy at the state and federal levels, overall it has been a daunting, brutal and thankless task.
Ting-Yi Oei, a Northern Virginia high school teacher/administrator who dared to try to maintain discipline (and decency) among students at Freedom High in Loudoun County, Maryland, (“My Students. My Cellphone. My Ordeal,” The Washington Post), found himself defending his principles in court, with no real support from either of the teachers unions while simultaneously being in the throes of an emergency at home, his wife having been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor. (Now there’s “compassion” for you!)
A related commentary, “Texting vs. Teaching: Who Wins,” by Jay Mathews, took on the pervasive problem of “high schools [that] are full of secretly texting, blithely unengaged adolescents….”
Ting-Yi Oei, the author of the first piece, says he still struggles, even after the charges against him were thrown out of court, to understand how his “actions could have been so badly misconstrued” in the “sexting” case at Freedom High School. His life was “turned upside down,” his otherwise stellar career and reputation was left in tatters, and all for “trying to negotiate the slippery terrain where rapidly advancing technology intersects with risky adolescent behavior,” in this case, for trying to stop his students at Freedom High in Loudoun, County, Maryland, from “sexting” nude pictures of themselves.
His article in the Post sounded the first warning for educators so bold as to attempt enforcement of moral discipline. Bad ideas morph: An even worse instance of sexting occurred this year in another nearby Maryland county as well as a case litigated in Mississippi involving a lesbian who tried to take her lover to the senior prom.
The dilemmas cited by Ting-Yi Oei and Matthews are easily explained: They happen (a) when schools focus more on non-academic issues (a.k.a. “the affective domain”) than cognitive learning; (b) when the authority of children supersedes that of adults for years on end; (c) when youngsters come to school dressed like hookers, pimps and bums from the earliest grades; (d) when adults, including those with masters’ and doctorate degrees in computer technologies, are not permitted to transmit their values to youngsters, unless such values are counterculture, perverted, anti-Christian or pre-approved by psychiatrists; and (e) when social workers, with ambulance-chasing attorneys at the ready, are calling the shots, but academics and scholars are deemed irrelevant.
Mr. Matthews observed, accurately as far as it goes, when he learned that school officials had proposed allowing “students to text during lunch, despite previously attempted cell-phone bans,” that “[e]ducators can’t keep up with the latest technocrazes.” Mathews further complained:
No one … asks my question: What do good teachers do about this? The best classes, in my experience, are the ones in which the teacher is holding a conversation with the entire class. Nobody is allowed to sit in a corner and dream about the prom, or text their dress choices to friends. The teacher has her eyes on the entire class, and is calling on everybody. If you are not paying attention, you are going to get caught. If the instructor is particularly good, the frequent texter decides what the class is doing is more interesting than sending another message.
But since such classes are relatively rare... bored [students]…tune out and send messages.
The problem none of the above writers “get” is that teachers aren’t in the classroom to entertain, but to transmit knowledge. Unfortunately, such notions started going out the window in the late 1970s, and for good in 1981, when Archie LaPointe and Willard Wirtz wrote their seminal work, “Measuring the Quality of Education,” for the U.S, Department of Education’s National Institute of Education. That was when the concept of excellence and focus on knowledge was replaced with two different objectives: “functional literacy” (otherwise known as “getting by”) and “keeping kids in school” (otherwise known as babysitting and keeping children off the streets during work-hours, which equates to social work and policing).
Cell phones, texting and even “sexting” are not the core problems.
The trouble is that school time is still taken up with politically motivated, special-interest malarkey — junk science; flawed campaigns against drugs, smoking, AIDS, pregnancy, and violence; disruptive, divisive social engineering and “diversity” experiments; age-inappropriate and privacy-invading surveys masquerading as academics; “revised” — even treasonous — history; counterproductive fads like “conflict resolution”; and pro-promiscuity, pro-homosexual rubbish. All this will take years to get out of the system even if every school started today.
The trouble is that time-tested, as well as newer, successful methodologies, continue to be scuttled in favor of failed teaching fads in key subjects like reading and math — the very subjects every President claims national and state assessments are centered on.
The trouble is the individual is still denigrated in favor of a “team,” or group approach, resulting in group-think and consensus being valued over principle and over individual effort. This subtly undermines the founding principles of this country — adversely affecting the continuance of the Republic.
The trouble is teacher preparation at the university level is inadequate and the chaotic K-12 school environment is not conducive to concentration. Attention Deficit “disorder” resides in the classroom, not in the kids!
The trouble is good parents are treated like dummies. The trouble is lack of discipline and structure (not lack of metal detectors). The trouble is students being pressured to spend all day primping and jockeying for social position. The trouble is that really good teachers are frustrated, their time being taken up with nonsense and paperwork.
The trouble is that bright youngsters, who somehow manage to learn in spite of the system, are either skimmed off the top, or shuttled off to mentor lagging students, causing average and slower pupils to view intelligence and excellence as “uncool” and creating a vicious cycle of more special education and legal drugs as remedies.
The trouble is, the red tape for private schooling is so onerous that it’s prohibitively expensive to start one, leaving only wealthy conglomerates to take up the slack. Vouchers may be better than nothing, but in many parts of the U.S. there are few, or no, private schools.
The trouble is goofball ideas like the one during the Bush Administration hawking a pro-marriage initiative. It targets funds to unwed parents to encourage marriage once a baby’s on the way. Three hundred million a year was earmarked for that one, and its 2010 sequel just got a boost in Minnesota:
Or how about this taxpayer-funded gem, the “Great Sex Workshop”: It got a 5-year, $5.5 million budget in 2004: “Get ready for some fun interactive intimacy games to help you keep sex safe and hot! Then share your techniques for finding Mr. Right…,” the advertisement went. Then, when state officials in Arizona complained that an 8th-grade state math test was too difficult, policymakers worked to make it easier the next year.
Moreover, the trouble is that domestic and social policies —nearly all of them — are geared to the irresponsible and neglectful element of society, instead of to the upstanding, decent backbone of the nation.
No wonder parents opt out of the system, and educators “don’t get no respect.”

Beverly K. Eakman began her career as a teacher in 1968. She left to become a technical writer for a NASA contractor. She was a former speechwriter for the Voice of America and for the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger when he chaired the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. She served as a writer for the U.S. Dept. of Justice before retiring from the federal government. She is the author of four books on education policy, mental-health issues and data-trafficking, with dozens of feature articles to her credit.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

IN MEMORIAM

By Michael Connelly

As another Memorial Day approaches many Americans look on it as just another day off of work or school when they can sit around and barbecue hamburgers and drink soft drinks and beer. Yet, to those of us who are veterans know the true meaning of the holiday. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was established in 1868 to honor the memory of members of the American military who have died defending the United States of America. Its first official observance was on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of soldiers, both Union and Confederate who died in the Civil War. It was later expanded to include all of the Americans who died in the wars fought by this country to preserve our freedom and it became an official Federal Holiday in 1971.
On this 2010 Memorial Day I want everyone to look at some staggering figures about our American heroes. Beginning with the American Revolution, a total of 43,362,376 men and women have served in the U.S Military during all of the wars we have fought including the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of these, 655,231 were killed in battle while another 540,254 have died during their service due to other causes. That is a total of 1,195,485 Americans who have died in wartime while wearing the uniform of our country. In addition, 1,468,196 have been wounded. There are currently approximately 24,000,000 military veterans still alive in our nation.
So who were these people, who as someone pointed out, wrote a blank check to their country laying their lives on the line for poor pay and often deplorable living conditions. They were and still are, our fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and friends and neighbors. They fought and they died at places that the history books often mention in passing, it they are mentioned at all. Places like Saratoga and Yorktown where our freedom was secured, and battlefields like Gettysburg and Fredericksburg, where many brave Americans died fighting each other. Then there are the battlefields of World War I like Belleau Wood where U.S. Marines fought valiantly and suffered heavy casualties to stop the German advance, and the fights during World War II on the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima that opened the door for American victories in Europe and the Pacific.
Turn next to the Vietnam War where over 55,000 Americans died yet never lost a battle. However, though the actions of the politicians in Washington D.C. the war itself was ultimately lost and the history books blame it on the military. Yet, it was the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen who fought that war were often ignored or even spat upon when they returned home. It was not until recently that their contribution to the freedom of our nation was acknowledged. To them, I can only say “Welcome Home.” Well done my brothers and sisters in arms.
Since then our valiant heroes have fought and died in Grenada, Panama, Operation Desert Storm and the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, liberal politicians and members of the left wing news media continue to attack them for doing the job of defending freedom. Our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are subjected to Rules of Engagement by the current administration that severely limits their ability to protect themselves and our way of life. This is being done under the banner of “political correctness.”
There is no such thing as a “politically correct” war. When the lives of Americans are threatened and our very existence hangs in the balance there is only one way to fight, and that is to win. Our men and women in our military know this, and despite the restrictions imposed upon them by politicians who have never served in the military and know nothing about the sacrifices required, our troops continue to do their duty to us and our nation. On this Memorial Day we must honor them and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They were and are the best of us. If we allow them to be forgotten then we inevitably lose our own identity as a free people and “the government of the people, by the people, for the people,” will indeed “perish from the earth.”
I will ask this of each person who reads this. Enjoy your memorial Day, but make a special effort to contact someone, whether a family member, a friend, or even a stranger, who you know has served in the military or is currently serving. Just tell them “Thank you for your service to our country”. You have no idea how much that will mean to them. Also take a moment to honor those we have lost, either by visiting the grave of a veteran, or just saying a brief prayer. They will hear you and they will know that their sacrifices were not made in vain.
Michael Connelly
U.S. Army Veteran
mrobertc@hotmail.com
www.michaelconnelly.viviti.com

Saturday, May 22, 2010

HERE A CHICK, THERE A CHICK, EVERYWHERE A CHICK, CHICK

By Michael R. Shannon
Tuesday was a time of feverish activity for the Economic Development Authority in Fairfax County, just North of where I live. As soon as the leadership saw the front page of the newspaper featuring a drive to bring chickens back to Prince William County, the fax machines in the Government Center were put on full alert.
Every business thinking of locating in Northern Virginia would soon know of PWC's rekindled passion for poultry.
Don't you know there's nothing like a few chicken feathers blowing through the background of a TV interview with our county officials to attract the urban sophisticate to your neck of the woods?
Residents of my county are already viewed by Beltway elitists as an inbred bunch of rednecks whose main activity is keeping the Mexican down. "Chicken rights" is just another example of those dumb clucks acting up.
Our own economic development department is probably trying to down themselves in the Potomac - assuming it would not upset the ecology or create too much traffic.
According to the paper the "pro-chicken movement" has grown to 23 residents - which is still smaller than the average lunchtime crowd at The Colonel's. What's more, I take exception to their appropriation of the "pro-chicken" descriptor. The day before I wrote this I ate part of a chicken for lunch. Surely you can't be any more pro-chicken than that.
The "chicken rights" supporters are squawking because you can't keep poultry on lots as large as 100 acres, if that lot is located in an area designated as residential.
But as usual with activists there is always the hidden bait-and-switch. What they want the Planning Commission to do is indulge their boutique farming fantasy by allowing chickens on a lot as small as ONE ACRE.
Let me put this in terms with which we rednecks can relate. An American football field, the home of manly men, is 1.3 acres. Just as a thought experiment, let's say a rooster perched on the 40-yard line and cut loose with a greeting to the sun at about 5:30 AM. Do you think you could hear him in your bedroom on the goal line?
I've got news for you: you can.
Back in the 80's, when I lived in Dallas, TX, my neighborhood was located in the middle of the city. In fact, my duplex had been built in 1930, so it wasn't as if homesteaders were still bustin' sod.
On my block we had quite a few illegals doing the work American's wouldn't do and evidently they were also doing the animal husbandry that Americans wouldn't do, because I lost count of the number of times I was awakened by a rooster crowing in old East Dallas.
And there was the time I thought a small child was being skinned alive as I raced down the street only to discover it was goat-killing day at the hacienda. (We won't dwell on that because currently there is no pro-goat movement in PWC.)
Of course our pro-chicken activists are extremely nuanced in their desire to alter zoning codes. One-acre lots can keep chickens. Two or more acre lots can have ducks, turkey, geese, roosters, elephants, lions, tigers and the rest of the circus.
There is an upside according to the chicken wranglers. Your lack of sleep will be more than offset by their access to "farmfresh eggs, there's nothing like it."
After reading the quotes from one of the chicken herders, I'm a little worried about his mental wellbeing. He claims "chickens make great pets."
I've spent time around chickens and I can tell you from personal experience that dogs make great pets, cats can make great pets, but chickens do not make great pets. Chickens make great dinners.
You can't teach a chicken to fetch. It won't roll over. And a chicken won't wait patiently by the door for you to get back from work.
But in all fairness I will say chickens can be trained to be great tic-tac-toe players. My wife, Janet was once beaten at tic-tac-toe by a chicken competing in the I.Q. Zoo, but I will let her tell that story.
If residential chicken herding is approved it will add just that hint of The Real McCoys to really spice up our reputation. Assuming approval doesn't queer any remaining slim chance we have to keep our minor league baseball team, the P-Nats, the new team mascot can only be Foghorn Leghorn. And it goes without saying the new stadium will be called "The Coop."
But you can kiss any chance we had for a Morton's Steakhouse goodbye. It's going to be Hooters for as far as the eye can see.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He's a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker and can be reached at michael-shannon@comcast.net.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT

bY Michael Connelly
Personal website and Blog http://michaelconnelly.viviti.com/
Author of "The Mortarmen" a book about my father's unit in WWII; "Riders in the Sky: The Ghosts and Legends of Philmont Scout Ranch" ; and my just released novel "Amayehli: A Story of America".
I also teach law courses via the Internet through colleges and universities worldwide. To find a college or university near you, go to Education To Go's website at www.ed2go.com.
New: Check out my radio talk show every week called "Our Constitution" at this link: http://www.radiosandysprings.com/showpages/OurConstitution.php

Sunday, May 16, 2010

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

By Michael R. Shannon
In the old terminal 'A' at Washington's National Airport the Underwear Police (TSA) installed the latest, greatest detecting machinery a few years ago. This Sherlock Holmes of the snooping was the "puffer." (I'm assuming it was installed in DC instead of LA because out there people would have assumed a "puffer" was either blowing marijuana or spray paint fumes in your face.)
In theory it blew rapid-fire puffs of air all over your body and dislodged any fertilizer fragments, C-4 chips or shell casings a would-be bomber might have adhering to his dishdasha. I had a sneaking suspicion the device would have been popular with dogs, since it gave you that head-hanging-out-the-window feeling.
The "puffer" was at the end of the "elite" security line that was limited to frequent flyers, Congressmen, Senators, Supreme Court Justices, pilots, flight attendants, diplomats, gate agents, ramp personnel and cab drivers who speak English.
[As a side note, I've never understood the populist outrage at frequent flyers getting a shorter security line. Any successful business gives big customers better perks than they give occasional customers. For example, big spenders get to use the skybox at Redskins Stadium, the occasional customers get to listen to Vinny Cerrato on the radio.
Even with the shorter line the frequent flyer still spends a greater portion of this life in security lines because he's at the airport more often.]
The "puffer's" heyday was back when the Underwear Police claimed that removing your shoes at the airport was "optional." I used to take them at their word. And a form of peaceful, non-violent protest at government idiocy -the security "experts" didn't start requiring this until months after the shoe bomber failed to meet his virgins - I would refuse to remove my shoes. The guard would direct me to the secondary screening line away from the "puffer" where I could sit as he waved a wand around my feet.
My hope was wand radiation would kill my toenail fungus and save me a trip to the laser, but it never happened. But while the rest of the sheep were hopping around in their stocking feet, I had a seated encounter with Leviathan that took a little longer, but was much more dignified.
Now it seems the "puffer" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Evidently the modern-day equivalent of a bellows wasn't the terrorist nemesis the lobbyists said it was.
So now we have the full-body scanner, which is composed of thousands of tiny cell phones (why did you think it costs so much?) that bathe your body in radiation that produces a picture that is pretty much you in your birthday suit.
Women and ACLU lawyers in particular find this alarming.
Even though the image resembles a sonogram in quality and it obscures your privates and face, they fear the TSA attendants will fail to renew their subscription to Playboy since the scanner photos will now fill their every prurient need.
As a result we are now getting reports that travelers who decline to be microwaved, are complaining they are singled out for "harassment."
In their fantasy land if you tell the Underwear Policeman that you are a regular reader of the Huffington Post don't want to have your privates scanned, he says, "I know exactly how you feel, go ahead and board your aircraft."
In reality land you will be directed to another line where a highly-trained government employee will rub his hands all over your body while moaning softly to himself.
Well, maybe not moaning, but he will touch areas that high school students only dream of encountering on a first date. This is called a frisk or search and it's the alternative to the scanner.
Of course comes as big news to DC-area residents. Somehow it's a surprise that one way or another either radiation or fingeration is going to explore your corpus delicti.
There is no opt-out for government groping.
I suppose in an age of Cafeteria Catholics, Boutique Baptists and do-it-yourself Episcopalians it's only natural that citizens think they can pick and choose their way through life.
But Big Government is a package and when you opt in you get the whole megilliah. One way or another, Uncle Sam is going to have his way with you before you board that plane.
Currently at National not everyone has to enter the microwave and I have not been selected as yet. (Although after this column runs, those days may be over.) But when it happens, I plan to submit cheerfully and when it's over ask the TSA minion if my prostate is looking any better.

IT'S TOUGH BEING ENLIGHTENED

By Michael R. Shannon
We haven't been swapping senior living tips lately, but something tells me Prince William County, VA Jefe de la Policía Charlie Deane won't be moving to Arizona when he retires. I doubt he'll even consider a vacation there, considering what's been happening on the illegal immigration front.
But I tell you, I could have sworn I saw him carrying a sign in one of the marches protesting Arizona's new law that requires law enforcement there to detain illegals rather than harbor them.
And did you notice how most, if not all, of the protest marches were held in "sanctuary" cities where the police are not allowed to enforce immigration law? I don't think it was a coincidence.
Of course time really flies when you are harassing Mexicans. It was only three years ago that Prince William County (PWC) passed our first response to the illegal alien invasion, which at the time was characterized as revival of the Nazi racial laws, but it turns out is weaker than Arizona's law.
Once the PWC law was passed the racial grievance mongers - or more accurately tribal, since a common language doesn't constitute a racial group; in spite of what ignorant liberals would have you believe - have been dancing a complicated two-step. First the law is an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of foreigners to break our laws; and two, it won't work anyway.
So it's no surprise the University of Virginia is releasing results of a preliminary study of the law that "prove" the effects of the law are small potatoes and have no bearing on the drop in violent crime in PWC since only 2.2 percent of the arrestees caught in our draconian dragnet were illegal.
Que Dios nos ayude!
There is less here than meets the eye since there are some peculiarities to enforcement of our law that may not be found in Arizona. For example: our líder sin miedo, Jefe Deane had no intention of enforcing the ordinance if he could avoid it. The fact a majority of the board passed the ordinance and he works for the board and the citizens they represent had no bearing on the matter for the Detrick Bonhoeffer of Prince William County.
Unfortunately the election he had hoped would defeat members of the Board of Supervisors who supported the bill turned out to re-elect them quite handily. Pesky, unreliable voters!
So it was off to Plan B. Deane announced, "We made it very clear . . . that we were going to focus on individuals who had committed crimes, and that we were going to protect crime victims and witnesses regardless of their status, and we were not going to do racial profiling, roadblocks, sweeps or employment investigations."
No wonder Deane only catches 2.2 percent. When the chief actively discourages enforcement it really puts a damper on the enthusiasm of patrol officers who want to enforce the law, but also want to stay on the good side of the command staff.
Not doing ANY employment investigations is like refusing to visit pawnshops in pursuit of burglars because it interferes with the free market.
Personally, I feel kinda sorry for the illegal felons who actually fled the county when the ordinance was first passed because they assumed - wrongly as it turned out - that police would be making life much harder for them.
In spite of the fact we had law enforcement handling foreign lawbreakers with kid gloves, there were still complaints about the "climate of fear" in some PWC neighborhoods - not to be confused with the "climate of hate" produced by the TEA Party that also jockeys for mainstream media time.
But isn't that the idea? If a neighborhood is full of lawbreakers isn't it a good thing for them to be apprehensive?
It's also pretty obvious that Deane has a fairly low opinion of the character of his own officers, since he is evidently fearful that without his constant nagging and oversight they would use the ordinance to institute a reign of terror in some county neighborhoods.
And speaking of Nazis, what does this Arizona law actually do?
It forbids sanctimony by banning "sanctuary cities;" increases penalties for conspiracy by cracking down on illegal laborers and their employers; permits arrests of immigrants found without their documents (something already required by federal law) and penalizes those who knowing transport or harbor illegals - which is sending tremors through the NGO community and their bus drivers who routinely haul illegals to demonstrations throughout the country.
Sounds like a great law to me and one the Commonwealth should adopt. It's a certainty that if Virginia followed Arizona's lead, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli would be much more apt to follow the will of the General Assembly than our own Charlie Deane.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He's a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker and can be reached at michael-shannon@comcast.net.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WELCOME TO THE HOUSE OF TOFU

By Michael R. Shannon

As if we needed more evidence of how little reason there is to trust the Democrats, the Obama administration has cruelly betrayed the illegal alien community by passing Obamacare.
Hidden inside the 2,000 page monstrosity is a provision that requires restaurants to post the calorie count for every item on the menu; adjacent to the listing rather than behind the toilet in the stalls.
This will deal a crippling blow to the Mexican food industry - first stop for many of our uninvited and undocumented compadres. When diners discover the cheese enchilada special contains enough calories for a family of four, with plenty of fat left over to plug the dog's arteries, business is going to go South, so to speak.
But for Democrats, cruelly dashing the hopes of Latin America is a small price to pay for "curbing the nation's obesity problem."
It's pretty obvious the Food Police have not been dining where the bulk of America, no pun intended, actually eats. Nothing short of a muzzle will curb the caloric intake of the average Old Country Buffet patron. Which brings to mind: how do you calculate the calories at a buffet?
Are they going to put an average serving total and then produce a chart where the initial number is multiplied by number of trips through the line? It would be easier to glue a calculator to each serving tray and let the patron do the ciphering.
I've had personal experience with obesity and take it from someone who used to drink the meal replacement liquid WITH a full meal; a few integers on the menu won't interfere with the mastication.
When I was a teenager in Midland, TX I was so fat we had to drive 130 miles to Lubbock to find pants. I'll never forget wedging myself into a pair of black wool, pleated dress pants (the fashion sensation of 1889) and having my mother tell me if I gained any more weight we would be buying my clothes from Omar the Tent Maker.
I was forbidden to wear corduroys, after an unfortunate experience with the incredible friction caused by my ample thighs rubbing together. Basically it constituted a fire hazard in arid West Texas - to say nothing of the loud buzzing sound the rubbing produced. I sounded like a bumblebee with the hiccups as I made my ponderous way through the junior high halls.
The idea of losing weight was great in theory, but in practice it required being hungry. I tried the Metrecal diet where you were supposed to drink a can (very small) of this chocolate liquid instead of eating. I found Metrecal went great with a salami sandwich. I tried the Gluten diet, the low-carbohydrate diet (Atkins, before Atkins), the 1,200-calories-a-day diet and the Grapefruit diet. I vanquished all.
The choice would come down to foregoing current food pleasure - with a vague promise of weight loss in the future - or a peanut butter cup right now.
Reese's won every time.
I just thank God this was before the invention of the Lark Scooter, otherwise I might be the size of the Dunwich Horror today.
Eventually the weight came off and stayed off, but it was not due to any intervention on the part of "public health professionals." The "sticker shock" that calorie information on menus is supposed to produce won't happen either. The only study of calorie totals on menus has revealed that New York City diners consumed more calories after the labeling law than before.
All this law will accomplish is increasing the cost of meals as restaurants boost prices to cover the printing bill for new menus.
Waiters, at least the ones that speak English, should be outraged by the change. It takes women forever to make up their minds and order now, I can only imagine how the new calorie information will increase the dwell time of female diners, reducing table turnover and tip potential.
Fortunately, the law only applies to restaurant chains that have more than 20 outlets. Guilt won't spoil the flavor when you order the full rack of ribs at Dixie Bones. Ignorance with a side of ribs will still be bliss.
After the new menus are printed I plan to go to Cracker Barrel and watch the rednecks play Calorie Calendar. It's a simple game where players order from either the breakfast or regular menu, but keep the calorie totals covered. After orders are placed the diner whose total comes closest to matching the number formed by the date and the last two digits of the year, eats free!

Friday, March 5, 2010

THE PERILS OF COUNTING CATTLE

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy Julie Carter
Comparing numbers
The probability factor for knock-down drag-out fight in corrals zooms to 100 percent when him-and-her cattle counting is involved.
"Differing slightly" is a smooth term for what happens when he expects her to count and she expects him to help or accept her count as correct. Neither of which ever happens.
Counting cattle appears to be a simple process of pointing and starting with the number one and progressing to a finally tally. Nothing could be further from the truth.
First, let me say that of all the skills required to work cattle, counting is one that is always taken for granted.
No one ever asks if you can count, they just expect that you will. And it's never an issue, until of course, you've done it wrong.
In every counting situation, it helps to know how many there are supposed to be. It's been suggested by better cowboys than me that the best way is to count at least twice and get an average. You might end up with 37-1/2 but that's a number.
A couple of broke cowboys bought a huge roan saddle horse at a horse sale in Amarillo.
Because neither had enough money to individually pay for Roanie, they partnered on him.
The day Jess got his turn with the new purchase, he was supposed to help his bride count a big string of wheat pasture cattle.
There were about 450 head on three sections of undivided wheat pasture and when they got them pushed to one side, they headed them down the fence.
The cowgirl was counting them at the corner and her able partner was supposed to keep them coming and count anything that went behind her.
When she finished her count, she turned to ask for his to add to the total.
What she saw indicated he'd never even started his job.
The cowboy and his new roan horse had ridden off and were doing little turns, circles, stopping and other assorted horse training maneuvers.
After the fight, the cowgirl hired some reliable help and the next day got a good count on the herd.
Another time, they were riding through a big string of cattle on a couple sections of wheat. He was to count one side and she the other.
Her horse had to stop and water the ground, so she got a ways behind.
When she caught up, he managed to take the time out of his busy schedule to raise hell with her, but in doing so, lost his count.
They managed to settle on a plan. One day she counted and the next it was his turn.
Florida cattle are treasure to count. When they arrive in the West, most of them have never seen men or horses.
Often described as wilder than "outhouse rats," getting them to slow down enough to count them was a feat and if that happened, then they wad up in a ball, all looking at the rider with no intention of stringing out for the count.
Darrell always had a lot of Florida cattle and would gather up everybody within a million miles to come help receive them.
The trucker would turn out the first bottom compartment of the trailer and it was pretty standard that they all had to be roped and tied down because they simply would not stop running.
The theory was that the next compartment would stop to see what was tied down.
Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.
One cowboy suggested that the words women use that don't really mean what they say were created in the corrals during counting.
The definitive use of "Whatever!" "Fine!" and "Never mind!" suggest a few rocky days ahead.
When the boss asked me that dreaded question, "How many did you get?" I categorically always answered with all the sincerity I could muster, "All of them."
Julie, never good at counting, can be reached for comment at jcarter@tularosa.net

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