Friday, November 27, 2015

Loving the Letters

Wanted to mention a few letters to the editor the past few days. It's very nice that the elections are over and the nuts have the section to ourselves. Here's John Brooks.

I truly believe that Obama is as much a threat as the terrorists are.

He's actually screamingly mundane. So, let's move on to Andrew Dicroce, who is anything but. He also shares the honor of being a big supporter of Mark Frost's recent take on political correctness. I'm not going to bother commenting on much of it, other than this bit.

We cannot prove who is the good guy or the bad guy and you want to open our borders to terrorists, worked so well on our southern borders? Do you lock your doors at night to keep people out or to protect your family?

I just want to say with people like Andrew running around, yes I do lock my doors at night. 

A couple of shout outs: 

Tom Philo for a great letter today on refugees. 

Kevin Murphy with a response to John Siebrecht's letter from a few days back.

As for keeping us in the dark, The Post-Star doesn't create the news that ridicules Republicans. It only seems that way because the party of Lincoln has become a cesspool of uncompromising buffoons who are out of touch with the electorate. Again, don't blame the media. 

You can never have too many Kevin's in the letters section. Thanks Kev. I read that Siebrecht letter and thought, where the hell do you start. You found the loose thread and pulled it hard.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Damage to the Republican Brand?

Apparently by pointing out what they have been for years.

“This is no longer a joke,” said Cullen, who lost his bid before the state Ballot Law Commission to knock Trump off the ballot. “Donald Trump is a dangerous demagogue. He’s doing damage to the Republican brand that will prevent us from running a competitive national election next year.”

Sorry. You own him. And here's some great news.

Party leaders are increasingly worried about the impact Trump’s campaign could have on down-ballot candidates in purple states such as the reelection bids by Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rob Portman of Ohio.

Thank you, Fox News and Rightwing Radio. 

“The only group he hasn’t alienated so far is grumpy middle-aged white men, and there aren’t enough grumpy middle-aged white men to win an election,” Cullen said.

At least he still has his sense of humor. Here's some additional bad news, though. I'm a grumpy middle-aged white man and there's no way in hell I vote for a Republican. 

Should Trump win the nomination, Fleischer said, a coalition of traditional GOP voters plus conservative Democrats could be enough to hand Trump victories in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — three states where he’s either leading Clinton in head-to-head matchups or statistically tied.

Still, he predicted the Republican Party will go into a “full-scale panic and meltdown” if Trump wins either Iowa or New Hampshire — or, if the polls hold, both.

“He will totally rewrite what the Republican brand is if he is the nominee,” Fleischer said.

Did Ari have a serious head injury?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

ISIS Finances

Linking here to an article at CSM on squeezing ISIS financially. We definitely can't do it all militarily.

Air strikes by the United States and Russian militaries show a new focus in international efforts against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: to undercut the group by degrading its ability to use oil as a financial lifeline.

Not a cure-all, but it's part of a strategy.

The leaders of IS “make excellent use of the money they attain…. The more you cut off that money, the more you make it difficult for them to do the funding of all sorts of nefarious projects.”

I had assumed they received money from the Sunni countries in the region as al-Qaeda does. Not so much, tho.

Oil isn’t the Islamic State’s only sizable funding source. Most notable is the extraction of rents (various forms of extortion, fees, and taxes) from populations in IS-held territories.


Other experts say that the extortion of local populations may be the Islamic State’s No. 1 source of income.

Other activities yield smaller but meaningful income: the sale of antiquities, kidnappings for ransom, human trafficking, gifts from rich supporters. Last but not least is the one-time haul of money looted from banks when IS took over places like Mosul, Iraq – a total that may have reached $500 million to $1 billion in that city alone, experts say.

On the cost side of the IS ledger, payroll of fighters alone may run higher than $300 million per year. The group also has to spend on paying oil-field technicians, and on providing some government services in the regions it controls.

Add it all up, and some analysts see the IS financial model as unsustainable in the long run, without further territorial conquests. That becomes especially true if the opportunity to sell oil can be constrained.

And in other news of making Muslims want to kill us, here's John Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today to meet with Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan. The UAE — a close Western ally with some of the world’s largest oil reserves — is a federation of seven absolute monarchies which base their laws on an extreme interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law). Although it tries to present itself as practicing a semblance of democracy, the roles of the UAE’s president and prime minister are effectively hereditary in nature, passed down to the emirs of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The New York Times has described the UAE as “an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state.”

In his trip Monday morning, Kerry applauded the monarchic, theocratic state for its work in the region.

“We respect what United Arab Emirates has been able to do to be able to accomplish significant progress in Yemen,” Kerry said.

What exactly does Kerry mean by “significant progress”? He means the UAE has helped wage a destructive war on Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East.

Supporting autocratic bastards who are raining death on a poor country also filled with Muslims is not going to help us.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Give Me the Refugees Over the Open Carry Terrorists

Some might take issue with my use of the term terrorist to describe the open carry second amendment performance artists (and may they keep it at the level of performance art). Terrorize.

To dominate or coerce by intimidation.

And what are these guys doing?

Police were on hand in the Center's parking lot, with SWAT teams on standby, to allay worshippers' fears as roughly a dozen armed activists, some in face masks, lined the sidewalk. One carried a sign reading "Stop the Islamization of America."

Organizer David Wright, who cited the Paris attacks and rumors of Syrian refugees coming to Texas as reasons for the protest, said he had brought his 12-gauge shotgun because "We do want to show force," according to the Dallas Morning News. "It would be ridiculous to protest Islam without defending ourselves," he said. 

Now, I've mentioned here at Hometown blog, a time or two, that I am open to the idea of accepting refugees from the state of Texas. I realize there have to be some sane folks there. Old friend Doc Biobrain, if he still resides there, would certainly be welcome on the shores of our fair state. There is going to have to be background checks that would make the ones given these Syrians and Iraqis look pale by comparison. 

I had overlooked putting up this tidbit previously.

In September, Irving teenager Ahmed Mohamed's arrest for bringing a homemade clock to school became national news. School officials feared that the device was a bomb, but many,including 29 members of Congress, alleged that anti-Islamic bias had factored into school administrators' handling of the incident. 

The Mohamed family has since announced that they will move to Qatar, where the Qatar Foundation's Young Innovators Programme will sponsor Ahmed's secondary and undergraduate education. 

So, this kid is probably the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates and he's going to be benefiting the country of Qatar. Nice work, xenophobes! There's some info in the article about how there are actually no Sharia Law courts in Texas. Yeah, I'm surprised too. I'm sure Glenn Beck is still looking for them, tho. Gun nuttery is what we're here for.

In January, gun owners with concealed handgun licenses will be able to legally display their guns in public. Despite having many relatively loose gun protection laws, the Lone Star State previously forbade open carry for handguns, leading many supporters to show off their semiautomatic weapons, instead.

Give us your tired (of teh stupid), your poor, your huddled masses of sensible Texans.

Just Water vs. Tap Water

Might be time for a comparison. Frugal bastard that I am, I hardly ever pay for a bottle of water. Only when I've crawled across the desert with vultures circling overhead. See the video and use the tap.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

More Wingnut Letters in the Post Star

Just go read this one. He must be fun at Thanksgiving dinner. I can just see the kinfolk avoiding him like the plague. There's no sense in trying to pick and choose any juicy tidbits from it. I thought about how I would respond to it with a letter and couldn't think where to even start. These aren't worth the time and effort anyway. Why wrestle with pigs? You just get covered with mud and the pig loves it.

Here's one I really liked and it was on the same day as John Siebrecht's. This is from a junior humorless harpy of hate. I find it hard to believe that this 9 year old was precocious enough to have written this letter all on her own. Otherwise, I'd feel guilty about fisking it.

Dear President Obama,
My name is Julia Westfall. I am 9 years old. I go to school at Kensington Road School in Glens Falls, New York. I’m in fourth grade, and my class and I have had some thoughts. Wait! Please don’t put this letter down when you read this for this is important! 

Don't listen Barack, it's a trap and you got better things to do than read letters from junior concern trolls. 

We had a question while we were reading about the presidential election process and it was, “Can a Democratic president pick a Republican vice president?” They could, we found out, but they normally don’t. 

They don't because Republicans are the spawn of Satan, Julia. 

We believe if there’s a Republican president, then there should be a Democratic vice president, and vice versa. 

Well, you're wrong. Get over it.

This class has ages in it that only range from 8 to 10 years old and we want to help our country, do you? Will you listen to us? We’ll give you examples. So listen.

You want to help the country? Study hard, if you pick your nose don't eat it and stop writing condescending letters to the leader of the free world.

If it was an actual law that Republican presidents had to choose a Democratic vice president and vice versa, then our country would be better off. If they had to work together, there'd be 10 less minutes arguing about parties!

Did your teacher promise you a magic sparkle pony for writing this letter. You must believe in those and Santa Claus, too. There ain't no Santa. Feel better? Oh, and your teacher is on her way to the secret re-education camps that Obama runs. And, if you're not careful you're getting a one-way ticket there yourself. 

Back to the point about showing you examples. I said that because in school we learn to: share, be nice, cooperate, and don’t be mad about nothing! Do those rules only apply to children?

You're making me throw up in my mouth a little. Yes, they only apply to children and it doesn't work then either. 

Because you’re fighting against Republicans for nothing! What I’m about to say goes for a lot of things ... a Democrat and a Republican working together will spark new ideas and solutions to problems. Don’t you want to help our country?

How did you pack so much wrong into just a few sentences? Are you related to Maggie Alitz or John Siebrecht? First, the president is not fighting against the Republicans for nothing. They are trying to create Hell on Earth and Barack Obama is taking stand against that. Second, there is not a Republican politician in this country who would consider working with BO on anything. Third, see the Hell on Earth thing. 

We, my classmates, are this country’s future. After all, “U.S.” spells “us.” Ever thought of that? 

Yes, I did know how to spell "us." But, what really scares me is the thought that you are the future of the country. Fortunately, I'm old enough so that I'm hoping to be dead long before they're crowning President Stefanik or worse yet, Funiciello. 

Have you ever heard of a Democratic Republican? Thomas Jefferson got it right! That is a law I want you to pass.

Apparently, your mommy and daddy have been filling your little head with that Obama as dictator tripe. Read the Constitution, Sweetie. Or let Uncle Kevin help. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Letter to a Gun Nut

Have I used that post title before? Good chance. Anyway, here's a fellow from Corinth who's concerned that the French need to arm up to confront the menace they face.

My response:

     I'd like to respond to the letter by Jeff Collura. His feeling seems to be that the higher the level of violence in a society, the easier the government should make it to obtain guns. I believe that if the French take a look at our success with that strategy they'll likely opt for plan B. If you adjust their population to our level, they would have the equivalent of 6,000 yearly deaths from firearms compared with our more than 33,000. That's over 90 a day die from them in the U.S. and nearly two thirds are suicide or accident. Every day and a half, on average, we have more deaths than occurred in Paris.
     I agree there are a lot of illegal guns in France. Is that a reason to give up trying to regulate them? It's a border problem similar to the one Washington DC has. England, with no borders, has annual gun deaths in the low hundreds. A great book on firearms policy is "Gun Fight" by Adam Winkler. I know it's good because it caused me to change some of my liberal ideas. I also learned that "Gunsmoke" lied to us. Dodge City and all those western towns made folks check their weapons at the city limits. They had strict laws against concealed weapons, as well, and almost no deaths from gun violence.
     Interesting story I saw in the past few days is the Texas legislator who said he thought it would be a bad idea to allow in refugees because it's too easy to get guns in his state. To quote Cosmo Kramer, "Without rules, there's chaos." 

I hate wingnuts in my morning paper.

From Chas. Pierce:

"What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers. Jesus once said: 'You can not serve two masters: Either God or riches.' War is the right choice for him, who would serve wealth: 'Let us build weapons, so that the economy will right itself somewhat, and let us go forward in pursuit of our interests.' There is an ugly word the Lord spoke: 'Cursed!' Because He said: 'Blessed are the peacemakers!'"

Bless you, Pope Frank! You are more eloquent than even Cosmo Kramer.