Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So Barack, what do you think about raising the debt limit?

Why aren't the spineless, squishy Republicans playing and referencing this quote at every opportunity? Why? Oh yeah, they're spineless and squishy.
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Senator Barack Obama
March 20, 2006
Keep in mind, that was when he was arguing against raising the debt limit to $9 Trillion. Now, five years later as President, he wants to raise the debt limit past $14.3 Trillion.

Please folks, vote out this clown in 2012.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rule number one of interviewing: Never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer

So learneth Contessa Brewer of MSNBC while questioning Representative Mo Brooks (R-Alabama).

He should have asked her what degree she has. Somehow I doubt it is in economics. What a ditz.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crowds and unbelievable beauty: Yosemite lives up to its reputation

I must admit, I was not looking forward to going to Yosemite National Park during our just-finished vacation. While it has a reputation for being beautiful, Yosemite is also known for huge crowds, waiting in line, and vehicle-choked roads leading in to the place. In all categories, Yosemite lived up to its reputation.

I detest crowds, so hiking in the Yosemite area will never be my first choice; I know of so many wilderness areas where you will see nary a soul during your entire hike. However, there is a reason there are such crowds in Yosemite: It is breathtakingly gorgeous!

While our home base during our vacation was a house near Bass Lake directly to the south, our whole group of ten family members ventured into Yosemite last Tuesday. Here are some of the photographic highlights I took during that day, and remember, you can click on any of the images for better detail:

At the end of the day, I wasn't satisfied with the views we saw, so I resolved to return the next day, and take the road to Glacier Point, which overlooks much of Yosemite Valley from about 3,500 feet up. Everyone else wanted to go to the beach at Bass Lake, so I went solo. Here is what awaited me when I got to the top:

Rather than a wilderness destination, I felt more like I was at some sort of living, interactive art gallery. I can tolerate crowds for something like that!

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, July 08, 2011

On to my next vacation

Not that I have blogged much this summer, but my paucity of postings may get more meager yet.

The family and I have already spent a week enjoying the zoo and beaches in San Diego this summer. Now, we leave tomorrow for a week of swimming and sightseeing at Bass Lake, which is about a half-hour south of Yosemite.

We have never been to this lake before, but we have seen it quite extensively on celluloid, as it was the location filming spot for the 1988 comedy The Great Outdoors, starring Dan Aykroyd and the the late, great John Candy. Let's hope I have a better time than John Candy's character. My brother-in-law will even be there at the lake with me, but he is nothing like Aykroyd's character!

During one of the days next week, we will be driving up to Yosemite. The last time I was there, I was too young to remember, so it will essentially be a first for me. I hope to take some amazing photos. I'm no Ansel Adams, but I figure you can't go wrong snapping Yosemite.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

What goes up, must come down: The United States ends its Space Shuttle program. Now what?

The Space Shuttle Atlantis took off today on the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, which has been launching the Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour, and Atlantis into orbit since April of 1981.

I marginally remember watching the launch of the first space shuttle - the Columbia - when I was 8 years old, but for some reason, I never forgot the names of the two astronauts who flew that mission: John Young and Robert Crippen. Since that time, 355 astronauts have flown on 135 missions, with two of those missions ending in the destruction of the Challenger and Columbia, at the cost of 14 lives.

I am torn regarding the conclusion of the Space Shuttle missions. Being the free market guy I am, I believe that the private sector should be leading the way to space. There are still satellites to send up and, maybe someday, passengers to carry and asteroid minerals to mine... who knows what the possibilities are? But with the possibility to make a substantial profit, entrepreneurial men and women will figure it out. With NASA dominating the space race for the last 50 or so years, with its access to an almost endless supply of taxpayer largess, private enterprise couldn't quite compete against the U.S. government. Now that NASA is out of a job - save raising the self-esteem of Muslims - perhaps all these soon-to-be-out-of-work NASA engineers will find new life in the private sector.

What it boils down to is that while I am always uncomfortable with the government performing extra-constitutional functions that the private sector can and should perform, I do admit to harboring a special nostalgia and pride for our government space programs: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, the Space Shuttle, Hubble Telescope, Mars Missions, solar system probes, and the International Space Station. For goodness sake, we put men on the moon! Yet, the Obama administration seems to have brought a glorious government program to an inglorious end. I feel like our space program deserves a more respectful conclusion. Instead, there is nothing in the hopper, nothing planned for the future (that I know of). The Obama administration comes off like a little kid who has had his fun with his space toy and just tosses it off to the side before moving on to something else.

On the other hand, I am feeling rather queasy thinking about a spacecraft plastered with sponsor stickers like some stock car at Daytona. I'll get used to it.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Monday, July 04, 2011

Don't forget our Founders' sacrifices

As we celebrate the 235th birthday of the united States of America, please be sure to pause and contemplate the sacrifices made by our Founding Fathers in their efforts to make our country a reality. While liars like the late Howard Zinn would have you believe that the Founders only wanted independence in order to make money and exploit people, the reality is that many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence lost everything they had.

One such example is signer Richard Stockton. After returning from Philadelphia after signing the Declaration, here is what happened as he returned to his home state of New Jersey:
As he returned from Philadelphia to his home in New Jersey, Judge Stockton was warned that British troops were coming to arrest him. He fled to a neighbor’s house with his wife and children. But a Loyalist, a supporter of the British cause, betrayed the family’s hiding place. Here is what happened next, as described in a wonderful little book Personal Liberty has made available in PDF form:

The judge was dragged from bed and beaten, then thrown into prison. This distinguished jurist, who had worn the handsome robes of a colonial court, now shivered in a common jail, abused and all but starved.

A shocked Congress arranged for his parole. Invalided by the harsh treatment he had received, he returned to (his home at) Morven to find his furniture and clothing burned, his fine horses stolen, and his library — one of the finest private collections in the country — completely destroyed. The hiding place of exquisite family silver, hastily buried, had been betrayed by a servant.

The Stocktons were so destitute that they had to accept charity. For the judge’s fortune was gone, too. He had pledged it and his life to his country. He lost both. He did not live to see the Revolution won.
For more information on the fate of the signers of the Declaration, please finish the article.

Happy Independence Day, and God Bless America.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Jeremiah Wright proves who the racist is

As you listen to this toxic racist give an extended discourse about how all white people are liars, remember that our Dear Leader, Barack Obama, spent 20 years sitting in this man's pews and considered Wright to be his mentor:

I think what bothers me most of all is the overwhelmingly positive response that Wright receives from his enthusiastic audience at the African Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia.

God save us.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson