Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cover Me; I'm Going In

With the wariness of a Marine going into a building in downtown Baghdad, I'm entering into the unknown territory of Windows 7. I'll be taking the time this weekend to install the much-lauded version of Windows that I received for free.

I enter into this fight with a little bit of comfort--I have an install disc that was designed for my computer, and I have an install "helper" file from the manufacturer. It's all supposed to be a breeze..."It's just a simple update."

I have made the recovery DVDs for my laptop, and I am backing up
EVERYTHING. I hope that my backups will be unnecessary, but their existence is almost as comforting as extra ammunition.

What I really don't look forward to is the attempted migration of my software applications. There are so many things that I had to renew, update, reinstall, etc, when I got this new computer. Will I have to mess with all of that again after the update? According to my computer's manufacturer (and that evil bastard known as Microsoft), I will have a smooth migration of that stuff. I don't believe it for a second.

I'm already angry about the chaos that represents the comments on this blog; this is just another cog in that wheel. If it doesn't work, I hope that I can backtrack, and not give in to the desire to go chew out the manufacturer rep at the local PX.

UPDATE: All of this information is based on an upgrade from Vista Home Premium (64 bit OS), to Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit). My laptop has an Intel dual core processor and 4Gb of RAM.:

After utilizing my computer manufacturer's update assistant, it appears that Windows 7 has installed properly and, so far, everything looks shiny and new. In addition, the update assistant seems to have successfully salvaged all of my software, documents, settings, etc. It forewarned me that it would download the newest drivers for hardware, and uninstall various features prior to the update. It spent the night downloading updates, and then I began the actual installation of Windows this morning. It took a couple of hours today, but it didn't seem to encounter any problems.

There appears to be a few utilities on Microsoft's website that will test your computer, and give you a list of software that must be uninstalled prior to upgrading. It will also tell you which version of Windows 7 your computer will support (Basic, Home Premium, Pro, Ultimate, 32 bit or 64). Toshiba's upgrade assistant feature seems to have done that pretty seamlessly. I have not yet encountered anything that doesn't work, but I will compile a list if I do make such discoveries.

Using Toshiba's upgrade assistant provided me with the ability to automatically use the manufacturer's own updating system to install the newest, Windows 7 compatible drivers for my computer's hardware, but it also brought all of the notorious "crapware" with it. You know all of those gadgets and whistles that come with a new computer? Crapware. Windows 7 gave me the option of checking for the newest updates, but I was instructed to not select that feature.

The procedures for upgrading were pretty simple, but I did have to write down a couple of instructions before the process, since there are a couple of choices to be made during the install. Selecting the "upgrade" option, instead of the "clean install," made things a little easier. The clean installation would have wiped the HDD, and I would have been without all of my existing applications, documents, media, etc.

Hats off to Toshiba for providing me with an upgrade utility that worked (so far). I felt a little like the guys on the original Apollo Project must have felt..."I hope this sucker makes it, and doesn't blow up."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, and I hope you get to spend it with friends and family!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Life's Great Mysteries

As I was sitting here pulling my hair out over the failed commenting features of my blog, puzzling over the complexities of XML, and hating the person that invented Cascading Style Sheets, I asked myself one of the many questions that revolve around life's greatest mysteries: Why do I even have a blog?

There are so many unanswered questions in life--What is the meaning of life? Is the universe infinite? Is that guy down the street really as crazy as I think he is? We may never know, or agree on these things, but they bring to mind similar conundrums.

This blog is not my first one. I had a blog in the past that was actually pretty popular. It got a ton of traffic, garnered many comments, and propelled me into blogging stardom. Ok; not really stardom, but maybe mediocrity. I gave it up, deleted the entire blog, and even deleted my entire "Blogger" account. I ended up regretting that a little. While many of the posts on that blog were political in nature, and were the result of my anger and lack of satisfaction with our elected tormentors, there were some pieces on it that I would have enjoyed reading again. A couple of select readers even suggested the same thing.

This brings about an answer to the current question of why I even have a blog. While comments are a nifty feature, they're not the real reason I write this silly stuff. I enjoy going back through it and reading about what I was pondering at different times. It's sort of fun to read a post about trips to a Japanese hardware store, or the comical ineptitude of local drivers. I almost forgot about the guy in my class that wrote, "green," for the size, style and quantity of PT shirts that he wanted to order. These are the intangible, hard-to-put-a-finger-on type of answers that we usually get from the tough questions.

I might not ever know, or care, if the universe is infinite, but I know why I blog.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Intrusive Child Development

In my current line of work, it has grown quite popular to discuss, "intrusive leadership." While the concept is not new, calling it something so catchy might be. The idea is, of course, that a leader should be actively involved with his or her subordinates, and know what is going on in their lives away from work. Is that young Marine having problems at home with his wife? Money trouble? Something else that might affect his or her performance? Have you taken the time to get involved with that young Marine?

Thinking about this idea, and even talking about childhood memories with my wife, reminded me of an incident from my childhood, and makes me wonder how intrusive many parents are these days. I also wonder how intrusive, or even concerned, most adults are as a whole.

I think I was about six years old, or maybe a year or so younger, during a particular trip with my mom to the grocery store. This particular store had a couple of the large bins of Brach's candy. It was sold in bulk, or by weight, and to a young kid, it was very odd to see large quantities of candy just laying about within easy reach. Isn't candy supposed to be in packages? Instead of asking my mom about it, I did what seemed natural at the time and just grabbed a piece.

Do you remember when you were a little kid? Do you ever think about how smart you thought you were, and how stupid you thought adults were? I don't think this is a conscious thought process, but what do you suppose I was thinking when I later tried to eat the piece of candy, and my mom asked me where I got it? Can you guess what my panicked response to that question was?

"I don't know."

Think she bought it? Not for a second. A swat to the hindquarters might have been in order, but Mom didn't spank me. Instead, she drove me back to the grocery store, and made me tell the manager of the store what I had done. There was even a policeman in the store that day! Can you imagine how terrified a young kid would be when given a "stern talking to" by that store manager? I remember that the policeman's belt was the style that actually had bullets stored in the little loops of it, and that they looked like pencil erasers.

How many managers of large grocery stores would take the time to do that today? How many parents?

This is what I would call intrusive child development. It would be so much easier to simply punish a child, spank them, take away a privilege, or do something else that would cost us less time or effort. I'm willing to bet that many store managers today would simply inform the parent that they owe X dollars, or simply refer the matter to the proper authorities. Simpler and faster, right?

Are the days of commonplace intrusive child development gone, or is it simply less noticeable? If you practice, or have practiced this type of teaching, do you feel like you are the exception, or the rule? Got any similar stories from your own past?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Young at Heart

Are you familiar with the phrase, "Young at heart?" Are you as young as you feel? Are you older than you feel? I hope so. Here's to hoping that you feel about 20 years younger than you are! When I examine the idea of being young at heart, I'm reminded of a great song.

Most of us spend our lives ignoring our own mortality, and we spend our early years convincing ourselves that we're going to live forever. Occasionally, we encounter things that give us stark reminders of our own impending doom. Ever have a close call? Have you ever looked back on an incident in your life and thought, "Wow. I'm lucky!"? Our ability to ignore these things helps us perpetuate our contentment. Any psychology majors out there want to chime in?

It's amusing how we look forward to various milestones in our youth (becoming a teenager, driving, voting, drinking/gambling) and then the newness wears off as each box is checked. The pendulum of reality begins swinging in the opposite direction at some point, and we begin to dread new milestones (30, 40, and more). I disagree with this idea, to some degree.

I often tell my father that I'm still a punk kid. I feel like a punk kid on most days, and I occasionally act like it too. Some days I feel really old, older than I have a right to. Most days, I surprise myself. It's a neat feeling to say, "I'm 40 and I still feel 20." Does that make me young at heart? What really leads to that feeling? What sparks the imagination and keeps us arguing with our own mortality?

I know that we have a natural defense mechanism that allows us to degrade bad memories. The bad things that tell us we're going to die, or that a fire is hot, tend to get a little less bad over time. Some things don't. Some memories are so vivid that a mere smell or sound can bring them back as strong, or even stronger, than they once were. How does our brain sort these things out? If we can't get over bad things, most women probably wouldn't have more than one child! Just a guess on that one, but my wife agrees with that theory wholeheartedly.

What sparks your imagination? Do you feel young at heart? What keeps you that way? What makes you wake up one day and say, "This is an awesome day?" Is it knowing that people care about you? Is it knowing that there are more things out there to discover? Is it a hobby? A passion? What gets you fired up like that? What keeps you feeling younger than you are? What keeps you carrying moonbeams home in a jar? I know we've all had those moments, days, weeks, or even months and years. Or would you rather be a fish?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

A hearty wish of a warm, safe, and happy Thanksgiving goes out to all who stop by here. I hope that you have a great weekend, and that your turkey is moist, tender, and cooks fast enough to allow for maximum football viewing!

In regards to the photo above: Dear Mr. Bush, It's not a dog, and it won't fetch a tennis ball.

Sorry; I just had to do it. That picture is just a wee bit too inviting like that. Politicians make such easy targets.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big Cities and Crime

I was recently thinking about how much I dislike big cities. I've visited several of them, and they all seem to have a few things in common. Some are worse than others (Paris comes to mind on the bottom end), but most are crime infested, crowded, loud, ugly, and smell bad. A co-worker was argumentative toward my assertion about crime, and I had to point out that crime is indeed worse in urban areas than in rural. One only need consult the DOJ or FBI for the data to support that. My co-worker had an interesting time browsing their websites.

This one is a no-brainer, and I even laughed when I saw a comment in response to a blog post on violence that countered with, "but we live in a diverse urban community." That should be your first clue that your neighborhood is plagued by violence!

Our DOJ routinely publishes crime data, often in conjunction with the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports. It's absolutely no surprise that crime rates are higher (in number of crimes per 100K) in urban areas than in rural or small towns. I would love to hear your speculation as to why in the comments section. I know what you're thinking, and I ask that you give practical reasons, not emotional leaps to conclusion. Writing that, "there's more idiots in cities than in the country," doesn't explain anything (although I would agree).

Is it the draw of more social handouts in urban centers? Is it greater restrictions on gun ownership? Is it the lack of community cohesiveness? What say you?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Death, Taxes and Change

As I forced myself to take a break from my economics homework (I didn't have to try very hard), I tried to remember how old I was when I first heard the comparison of death and taxes to reliability; I was unable to come up with an age, but I think I was pretty young.

It's ironic that we use two universally disliked items or ideas (the connotation of these terms almost oozes out into your lap) to describe something as being reliable. Yes, we can always count on death, and we know that there will always be taxes (politicians should be a separate species from the rest of us humans). Shouldn't reliability be a positive thing?

I submit that there is another item in our world that we can always count on: Change. It has been said before that the only real constant in this world is change. A certain politician even ran on a mere promise of change...What sort of person buys into that, when all they have to do is sit back and wait for inevitable changes? I like to call that the "shiny trinket effect," and it works well with voters. Change is indeed a constant, and it isn't always good.

I have a friend that joined the Marine Corps a few years before I did, and left active duty as a Sergeant. When talking to him one time, I mentioned what an interesting twist of fate it would be if he had stayed in and I ended up working for him in some capacity. Not that he works for me, but our roles would probably be much different if he had become my First Sergeant, or Sergeant Major. It then dawned on me that his departure from our Corps may have been a good thing, because he wouldn't like the changes that have taken place. It's odd that one of the more prominent challenges that a career Marine faces is being patient enough to put up with "progress."

I have often said to peers and subordinates that the job of the Corps continues to get more difficult as society continues down its path of degradation. As the morals and standards of our youth (and even adults) decline, the standards of the Corps remain the same. Our job of bringing young adults to our way of thinking, nurturing strong morals, and enforcing higher standards, gets harder every day. I often wonder if it's all really worth it, and then I see a young Lance Corporal or PFC that is just as excited about being a Marine as I ever was. It's like hooking myself up to some sort of emotional battery charger; it reminds me that the patience is well worth it. What about these various forms of progress?

It's now acceptable for Marines to wear flip flops as "appropriate civilian attire." Really. In addition, just try asking a 17 year old Marine if he knows what those loops on the waist of his jeans are really for! This type of thing probably sounds very trivial to some people, but the level of discipline that we demand of our subordinates carries over into many realms other than mode of dress. This is, however, not a new concept.

There is a quotation that I'm fond of using in one of the classes that I teach, and it brings things back into perspective a bit:
"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint."

This quotation is not nearly as effective if you are unaware of when it was originally stated. This was first penned by Hesiod (often considered the father of Greek didactic poetry) in approximately 700 B.C. See? Nothing new here.

Every generation of Marine eventually reaches a level of maturity and wisdom that they feel grants them inclusion in an elite club: "Old Corps." How many retired Marines out there (or those that are no longer on active duty) have said the words, "When I came in the Corps...?" Yes; I know--We can't boil water in our helmets like you could. Noted.

My point is simple: Change will always happen, and we can't do much about it. Luckily, we have the wisdom to usually hang onto those things that we know we should not change. Today's young Marines have the same fighting spirit, drive to succeed, and esprit de corps that any previous generation had. I know that when I hang up my cover for the last time, I'll be passing the baton to an equally talented (even more so in many ways) and capable Corps of warriors.

Death and taxes indeed...

Friday, November 13, 2009

WTF For Sale

I came across this ad on a local website:
"Looking to buy a Goat. Anyone know where I can buy a goat? I have some grass i need cut and I don't feel like cutting it. I also hear goats make good golf caddies. Thanks for your time only serious sellers only please..."

(link to ad here)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2009 USMC Birthday Message

I shamelessly stole this from Eric.

This is one of the best birthday videos that the Corps has made to date. Well done.

Happy 234th Birthday Marines!

To my fellow Marines, including those no longer on active duty, I say, "Happy Birthday."

Here's a bit of the trivia from Marines dot com:

"During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia, including the founding of the Marine Corps.

A committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore.

The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines.

As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas became Commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern’s owner and popular patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first captain and recruiter. They began gathering support and were ready for action by early 1776.

Each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines."

A great post about our heritage can be read by visiting Taco's blog here.

D.C. Sniper To Be Executed

John Allen Williams (who later changed his name to the more appropriate "Muhammad") is set to be executed today. To this I say, "It's about damned time." This one is a no-brainer.

One of the pinheads that likes to spend their time milling about outside the prison walls at execution time said,
"The greater metro area and the citizens of Virginia have been safe from this crime for seven years," Panilaitis said. "Incarceration has worked and life without the possibility of parole has and will continue to keep the people of Virginia safe."
I have a couple of questions for the starry-eyed protester--Does your crystal ball use batteries, or is it powered by fairy dust? By what other means are you predicting the future? How many people should go ahead and bet their lives on your assurances that monsters like this one will never get out of prison? In the mean time, I'll rely on the method that absolutely guarantees that the offender will never repeat their wicked crimes.

Story here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pew Research Data About Fox News Channel

So, the pros can see through the b.s.:

"...a study by the Pew Research Center showed that 40 percent of Fox News stories on Obama in the last six weeks of the campaign were negative. Similarly, 40 percent of Fox News' stories on Obama's Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, were negative.

On CNN, by contrast, there was a 22-point disparity in the percentage of negative stories on Obama (39 percent) and McCain (61 percent). The disparity was even greater at MSNBC, according to Pew, where just 14 percent of Obama stories were negative, compared to a whopping 73 percent of McCain stories -- a spread of 59 points. "

This was discussed in an article on Fox (click here) about how a D.C. appointee has labeled Fox News a "wing of the Republican Party." I suppose that's in opposition to a few other news channels being rabid pawns of the Democrats. Can you imagine the response of CNN if that cesspool known as Chicago HAD been given the nod for the Olympic Games? How many reporters would have been peeing themselves in glee over that debacle?

Fox also dared to air some news about ACORN, and other untidy subjects (how much coverage did that get on CNN?). For this, a D.C. stuffed suit claimed that Fox is not a news channel, "...the way CNN is."

Maybe Fox should Reuter a few photos; would that do the trick for the D.C. crowd? Perhaps they could distribute a few pictures that a cabinet member personally, and professionally requests that they shelve; would that put them in the same league as the AP? Perhaps they could get Dan Rather to air some forged documents about the president's employment history; would that make them a "real" news channel?

Career politicians continue to disgust me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dissent Equals Racism?

The hoopla over Rep. Wilson's outburst during the president's address to a joint session of Congress is amusing. Where was the uproar over Hillary's insolent eye rolling, pouting, and blatant disrespect of President Bush immediately following 9/11? I'm no Bush fan, but you would think these whiners would try to at least pretend to be consistent.

In an absurd episode of pot versus kettle, the chairman of the National Newspaper Publisher's Association has declared that Wilson's cry of, "You lie!" is racist. That's right; you cannot claim that a president is lying to Congress (Clinton already made that okay) without being racist.

A tool named Danny Bakewell stated,
"Rep. Wilson's remarks were racist, disrespectful, and a disingenuous violation -- not only of President Obama -- but to the institution of the presidency and only solidified our position and the importance in not spending black dollars where black people are not respected."
Black dollars? I haven't seen those. I wonder if this guy realizes what a racist nutjob he sounds like?

Story here.

9/11 Remembered

A day that will also live in infamy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Associated Press to family of fallen Marine: Screw you

The Associated Press, in all of their journalistic charm, decided against the pleas of, well, everyone, and distributed a graphic photograph of a maimed, dying Marine. The father of young Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard, and even the Secretary of Defense, personally asked the AP to not publish the photo.

The AP decided that they are somehow classier by distributing the photo of the dying Marine.

"The story and photos are in themselves a respectful treatment and recognition of sacrifice," said AP senior managing editor John Daniszewski.

"Respectful treatment?" Are you kidding me? I hope that Mr Daniszewski dies on the shitter, and a photo of the event is published nationwide, in order to give the death a proper and "respectful treatment."

Original story here (among other places).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Career politicians---Hard at work

And some people still don't understand why I'm not a big fan of punching a chad for someone, simply because they're the incumbent....

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The News Sucks

I've been trying my best to ignore the ongoing disposal of "The Swimmer," tubby Teddy. Luckily, I don't watch a lot of television, but even the news sites are infested with that crap. Why so much hoopla over the death of yet another career creep?

I guess that because that entire clan has such a reputation for being slimy crooks, above the law, and somehow better than YOU, the lamestream media feels the need to try and make The Swimmer's corpse more important than it really is. Just dump that sucker in the ground already!

Mary Jo Kopechne unavailable for comment...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Today's Youth and Leadership

Some of today's military leaders have been promoted on the merits of things other than their own potential. Ask any military man if this is true, and you will get a universal answer: Stupid and incapable people get promoted too. Call it a "good ol' boy network," or whatever you want; it happens.

The sad part of this situation is that the entire Marine Corps suffers as a result of a stupid, or incapable, Marine getting selected for an advanced leadership position. Leaders influence subordinates, in both positive and negative ways.

Today, I had a Gunnery Sergeant brief me on an incident that occurred, and it caused much head shaking, and a true sense of disgust. My Gunny (we'll call him Gunny Smith) was driving on base, and saw a young Marine that was in direct violation of our uniform regulations. My Gunny parked his car, and walked over to where the young Marine was, then proceeded to say, "Hey! Come here Marine!"

Nothing wrong here, yet.

The young Marine then rolled his eyes, slacked his shoulders, sighed heavily, sucked spit through his teeth, and spewed a belligerent attitude through every pore of his skin. My Gunny got a little upset at his insubordinate action. Gunny Smith proceeded to chew the young Marine's a$$, and threw a couple of colorful expletives in for good measure. This is par for the course when you draw the attention of a Gunny in a negative way.

Enter Gunny Boone. Gunny Boone happened to see Gunny Smith (my subordinate) chewing the young Marine's a$$, and went over to investigate. Gunny Smith was done correcting the young Marine by the time Gunny Boone arrived, but Gunny Boone was adamant about finding out why some "strange SNCO" would be yelling at one of his Marines. He proceeded to take the side of the young Marine. He later called Gunny Smith at work, and tried to argue his point. He insisted that the young Marine had done nothing wrong.

Let's back things up a bit...Can you imagine a United States Marine, in uniform, riding in a tactical vehicle, with pink earphones plugged into his head? Me neither. Not only is it a direct violation of a Marine Corps Order, but it's also a safety issue. "Gunny Boone" saw nothing wrong with this, and insisted that the young Marine did nothing wrong. Pink earphones? WTF?

I let the telephone conversation, that I could only hear one side of, go on to completion. Gunny Smith briefed me, which he should have, because he thought there was a chance that Gunny Boone would pull a chicken $shit move and go crying to his command. Gunny Boone even emailed Gunny Smith, and tried to argue against the Marine Corps Order on uniform regulations. This idiot even quoted the part of the order that the young Marine was in violation of! This guy shouldn't be allowed to breed, let alone get promoted! This situation should have ended with the a$$ chewing that Gunny Smith provided for the young Marine.

I decided to intervene. Not only was my Gunny doing the right thing by correcting the young Marine, but Gunny Boone needed to be corrected too. I hated to do it, but I contacted Gunny Boone. The issue ended, I think, with that correspondence, but the guy is still a Gunny. He still has influence on young Marines. He's helping to raise a generation of "sea lawyers." This is disturbing.

When you reach a certain rank in the Corps; you really need to stop offering PFC answers for the shortcomings of others (and yourself). This guy makes me want to vomit, and I hope that he leaves the Corps very soon. I also hope that he doesn't influence many young Marines.

That's my rant for the day.

Semper Fidelis.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Gunny-- An Old Joke

This is an old joke that I remember, but it still gives me a giggle now and then:

One sunny day in the desert "paradise" of 29 Palms, California, an old crusty Gunnery Sergeant (aka: Gunny) decided to award two of his young squad leaders, both Corporals, by treating them to lunch at the USO.

After an uncomplicated meal that was slightly better than the fare at the chow hall, the three were walking back to the company area when one of the Corporals nearly tripped over a piece of brass sticking up out of the sand. Upon closer inspection (initially thinking it was an old piece of UXO), the piece of brass turned out to be the handle of an antique lamp. Pulling the lamp out of the sand, the first Corporal rubbed the dirt off with the sleeve of his uniform. This was met with a look of disdain from the old Gunny. "Drop that old piece of junk in the $hit-can over there, and let's get going," said Gunny.

The Corporal was about to comply when smoke started coming out of the brass lamp. He dropped the lamp and, a moment later, a genie, who looked a bit haggard and disheveled, appeared before the three Marines. "I've been trapped in that lamp for thousands of years. I'll reward the three of you by granting you each one wish. Choose wisely," said the genie.

The first Corporal thought for a moment, wiped the summer sweat from his brow, and said, "I wish I was relaxing on a beach in Hawaii with swimsuit models serving me cold beers."

"Done!" said the genie, and the young Marine disappeared with an audible 'poof.'

The second Corporal liked the wish of the first and said, "I wish I was relaxing on a beach in the Bahamas with swimsuit models serving me cold beers."

"Granted!" said the genie, and the second young NCO disappeared with an audible 'poof.'

The genie turned to the crusty old Gunny, and said, "Well, what would you like me to grant you?"

The salty old Gunny offered a wry smile and said, "Chow time is almost over; I want those two sumbitches back at the company office by 1300."

The moral of the story: If you ever encounter a genie, let the Gunny choose first.

Health Care Bill Facts

Here's just a couple of little facts about the 1k+ page bill that most of our lawmakers haven't even read:

1 The bill will cost the average person $460 more in premiums each year.1

2 As many as 114 million Americans may lose their current coverage if the bill passes.2

3 Up to 5.5 million jobs may be lost, according to a model developed by President Obama’s own chief economic advisor.3

4 While the Congressional Budget Office claims the bill will cost $1.28 trillion, it will actually cost $9.2 trillion over the next 75 years.4

5 The bill contains $820 billion in tax increases, the largest tax increase in history.5

6 Companies that do not provide their employees with a government-approved health insurance plan will be taxed at 8%, forcing many employers to drop coverage for their employees.6

7 Individuals that do not obtain a government-approved health insurance plan will be taxed an additional 2.5% of their income, or $1,000 for every $40,000 they earn.7

8 After increased income taxes on those making $350,000 or more, the top tax rate in 39 states will be more than 50%; the highest wage earners in New York will be taxed at 58%, more than any country in the world, including Sweden.8

9 A family of four with an income of $88,200 will qualify for taxpayer-funded subsidies.9

10 Even after the plan takes effect, 34% of the estimated uninsured will still lack coverage.10

This analysis is not designed to endorse or oppose this or any other proposed legislation. Its sole purpose is to discuss the bill’s components in the context of the Center’s research into the topic. The statistics cited herein are current as of August 19, 2009, but are subject to change due to amendments made to H.R. 3200.

1 Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., “The House Health Care Bill: A Blueprint for Federal Control,” Heritage Foundation.
2 “Analysis of the July 15 draft of The American Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” The Lewin Group.
3 Rep. John Boehner & Gov. Tim Pawlenty, “Capital Malpractice: How the Washington Takeover of Healthcare Will Hurt States,” p. 5.
4 “Financing Health Care Expansion with ‘Surtaxes’ on High Incomes,” Joint Congressional Economic Committee. July 20, 2009.
5 Chuck Blahous, “Plan still $820 billion above target,”, July 29, 2009.
6 H.R. 3200, 111th Cong. § 412.
7 H.R. 3200, 111th Cong. § 401.
8 “If Health Surtax is 5.4 Percent, Taxpayers in 39 States Would Pay a Top Tax Rate Over 50%,” Tax Foundation, July 2009, No. 178.
9 H.R. 3200, 111th Cong.
10 Lewin study.

This is courtesy of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. This is the real "inconvenient" truth that the left ignores.

Put as much lipstick on this pig as you want, it will still stink. Our fat, bloated government has a sick sort of Midas Touch; everything it touches turns to crap, and health care will be no different. Just look at medicare, medicaid, USPS, Social Security, and any other program that they've messed with over the years. You can't deny it, no matter how loudly you shout, "hope and change." Wanting something very badly won't make it so.

The actual bill (HR 3200) can be read here: click link to read the bill

Facts and link to TCPR shamelessly stolen from Ol' Broad.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Sweatshirt Story

Have you ever gone out and done the exact opposite of what you should have done, and then tried like hell to "fix" it? You too?

When I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, my unit would go up to Fort Pickett, Virginia every winter for gunnery. The ranges at Lejeune were not capable of supporting the weapon systems that we used, so we turned to the Army for support. What we got for support was the use of a decrepit old base that had almost zero infrastructure in place. It was perfect! Who needs all of those luxuries like hot food, a base exchange, or real medical care?
We had our own field mess to serve us up some heated "k-rats" on a daily basis, and our Corpsmen to identify the cause of death. In a sense, it was just like a deployment, and it suited us just fine.

There was a skeleton crew of civilians on base there, and they kept the electricity on, and that's about it. One thing that they did have, and our (the Marines) first order of business was to inquire about it, was an enlisted club. We didn't have the opportunity to visit the club the first week or so that we were there, but the green flag finally came on a cold Friday afternoon. We were all instructed, very clearly, that we needed to be on our best behavior, and that any "incidents" would result in our unit being banned from the club. Hell, what could go wrong?

My immediate circle of buddies consisted of a Sergeant (Sgt) who thought everyone was plotting against him (this was when he was sober), and a Corporal (Cpl) that was a state champion wrestler with a bad temper. Oh, the wrestler was also a really mean drunk.
I donned some jeans and a sweatshirt for what I thought would be a pretty tame night at the local beer joint. Sgt Winn, Cpl Patterson, and I headed for the club at 1700 on a chilly Friday evening. We were in good spirits, and were looking forward to finally drinking some beer, feeding some quarters into the juke box, and maybe shooting some pool. I reminded both of them that we needed to not get out of hand, or it would be our only night out while we were here; both of my companions were in agreement.

We walked through the frozen mud between the old movie theater and the enlisted club, and discovered that the club was actually pretty nice, in an old, battered, campy kind of way. The jukebox was fairly loud, they had a couple of pool tables, and there were plenty of tables around the ample bar. They also had a very well stocked bar, run by a pleasant man with an older woman helping out.

We sat down at a table and ordered a couple of beers, and then put some money on the pool table. We ended up playing a few games of nine ball with some mortarmen from one of the battalion's line companies. This was our first bad move. The mortarmen didn't share our desire to stay out of trouble, and they were on a mission to get as drunk as possible. They began ordering shots for all of us, and I did what came naturally: I downed shot after shot of cheap tequila. I felt great! I didn't want these shots to interfere with my beer drinking, so I swaggered over to the bar and took up station close to the taps.

I ordered a beer, and struck up a conversation with the bartender. I have no idea what it was about, but I think it involved horses. I was doing just fine with my beer when mortarman number one brought me two more shots of tequila and said, "You're falling way behind, Devil Dog. Get on it." Well, hell. I'm not going to be made a mockery of for turning down free tequila.

Fast forward about 15 minutes, and the same mortarman is back with another couple of shots. I can't remember if the idea that this might end badly ever crossed my mind, but I certainly didn't put up much of a fight.

A few minutes later, I discovered that bar napkins will completely dissolve if you slop enough beer on them. The bartender wasn't nearly as impressed as I was. He still brought me another beer though. Cue the mortarman with another couple of shots.

Mortarboy comes back yet again, and I told him that we needed to stop meeting like this. He laughed and said, "Don't be such a wuss; these shots aren't going to drink themselves!"

I'm now invincible, and have decided to tell anyone within ear shot that I can drink more liquor than any of them! Cpl Patterson, the mean, short tempered wrestler, says, "What? Bullshit! It's on now motherf#^&er." He orders more shots for all of us, and moves the entire party over to the bar, where it's much more convenient for me to indulge in the debauchery.

I'm unsure of how many shots I did after that, or how many beers I drank. Suffice it to say that I consumed far more alcohol than I should have. I found myself sitting (sort of) at the bar, alone, and drunk as I could possibly be while still remaining conscious. For the uninitiated, that's pretty drunk. Then, as if being drunker than the town whino at a wine tasting festival wasn't enough, I soon realized that I was going to vomit. I didn't think I was going to vomit, I knew I was going to vomit. I also knew that I probably couldn't walk very well. This all happened in the span of what seemed like half a second, and before I knew it, I had spewed chunky puke all over the top of the bar.

Now, remember, I was supposed to be on my best behavior, so that we didn't get banned from this bar. I somehow doubt that spraying the bar top with slimy vomit would be considered good form. The Marine in me came through. I had enough of a sense of mission accomplishment and Esprit de Corps to know that I had to somehow fix this social misstep.

I stretched the bottom portion of my sweatshirt out in front of me, just under the edge of the bar (just as if I was going to scrape a few crumbs from a table). I then reached out my other arm and began swiping all of this puke off the edge of the bar, into my sweatshirt. I vaguely remember a warm sensation in my lap, as the liquid portion made it through the sweatshirt. To my credit, I cleaned the top of that bar off so well, the bartender never said a damned thing about me puking on it (he was otherwise occupied dealing with mortarman #1 and Cpl Patterson in the other end of the room at the time; Cpl Patterson had reached "mean drunk" condition). I then hobbled over to a large plastic trash barrel in the corner, and emptied the contents of my sweatshirt into it. It felt like I was carrying a wet bowling ball in my sweatshirt! I tried to scrape the chunks off as best I could, remarked to a passerby that, "We had chili-mac tonight, and I ate a shitload of that slop!" and then headed toward the restroom to try and finish the cleanup effort.

I don't remember much after that, but I know I made it back to the barracks, and so did paranoid Sgt and mean wrestler Cpl. The Army contacted our CO the next day and said that they didn't appreciate the mayhem that ensued. Our CO placated the Army liaison enough that we weren't banned, yet, from the club. What a sense of relief that I felt! I was so worried that I would be the one to get us thrown out! Now it would surely be someone else...Maybe.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Twitter Down, Earth Keeps Rotating

I yawned as I read a small news story about Twitter being down. I checked and, unbelievably, the sun did indeed come up this morning, despite no updates from twits, twats, tweets, whatever, telling it to do so.

This came on the heels of Wired reporting that the Marine Corps has finally issued a policy statement about not using such crap as Twitter and Myspace on government networked computers. Is that really tech news? A good friend sent me an email about it, and his email in response was actually read during a podcast by a couple of allegedly tech savvy folks during their show.
The story on Wired is a bit poor, in that it tries to make it sound like we Leathernecks cannot access social networking sites, while the only restrictions are actually to the government networks. We can still access all of the stupid sites that we want to from our "homes," barracks, even the USO. Yep; rest assured that your young PFC can still do a search for "midget wookie porn" and probably view such crap from the relative privacy of his shared barracks room...Go ahead and shudder along with me on that one! Those of us that are a part of this gun club have known about this since Chesty was around. I guess they've simply issued a policy statement about it. Did anyone twit that on Tweeter/Twitter/Whatever?

I just have to ask, where is your "I don't give a damn" line drawn on such things? Do you care if your friend had a few beers and is watching the sun come up? Are you concerned if an acquaintance cannot access their bank account from their cell phone? Do you need to know about it while sitting on the toilet?

I've always sort of thought that Twitter was a bit silly, but this just seals the deal for me. I'm trying to come up with a way to quantify how much I don't care about Twitter's epic fail, but I guess there's no terminology yet. Does my blog post indicate that I really do care? If someone were to ask me how much I don't care, and I replied, "toaster oven," would that do the trick?

Perhaps we need a new language for these things...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Burial At Sea

A fellow Marine by the name of Taco has posted a link to a very moving story, and re-printed it on his blog. I strongly suggest you read it.

You can find it here: Click this link

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson...Really?

    Loving father...

Is it just another publicity stunt? I guess not; Michael Jackson actually died. His entourage stated that it was possibly a heart attack (not drugs?), but I don't really give a damn how he died, as long as he didn't take somebody else with him.

I keep seeing all of this hoopla and crap on the news about it. Why? I don't normally speak ill of the now-decomposing, but I will certainly speak ill of the idiots that are fawning all over his long-dead career. This guy, for quite some time now, has only been famous for being a child predator, and acting moderately insane. "But John, he was acquitted!" So was OJ.

All of these idiots that are saying crap like, "Oh Michael; You'll be missed!" piss me the hell off. What kind of dope are they smoking? How can he be missed when he hasn't done anything worthwhile in more years than most of his fans can count? Some people have some seriously screwed up priorities. The guy was a creep; get over it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Same Old Song In California?

Do you know what happened 159 years ago this Fall… back in 1850?

California became a state.
The people had no electricity.
The state had no money.
Almost everyone spoke Spanish.
There were gunfights in the streets.

So basically, nothing has changed except the women had real boobs and the men didn’t hold hands.

(Shamelessly stolen from Wirecutter)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Movie Review

I just watched the movie, "Gran Torino," with Clint Eastwood. He did a fine job of portraying the character, and the movie was touching and funny (in parts).

The plot was predictable, and I knew what was going to happen before I was halfway through the movie. He tried to put a bit of a twist on the ending, but it wasn't much. Some of the plot elements were a little weak and unrealistic, but it was still an entertaining picture show.

I'm glad I watched the movie, but I didn't agree with all of the hype over it. I'd say it's a good choice for couples to watch (it has the chick flicky element to it).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vintage Gunny

I was digging through some of my old posts, and came across this post (click it to read it).

I guess it's a neat story, and it reminded me of a recent "Dining Out" that we had at work. The President of The Mess had recently done a tour as a Drill Instructor, and we shared a few sea stories about that tour of duty.

A Dining Out is just like a Mess Night (Google it), but spouses are invited. We tend to tone down the fines and skits a little bit (but not much), but that's about it.

We had a great time, and shared the traditional camaraderie that is normal for a gathering of Marines. We toasted our forefathers, and our fallen brothers.

Good times were had. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Buyer's Regret

Have you ever purchased an item from a store that you thought looked really neat, you couldn't live without it, and would absolutely love or enjoy? Have you ever done that, and later realized that your purchased item was a low quality, poorly performing piece of junk?

If I had to guess, I'd say that roughly half of all Americans have experienced exactly that same form of regret in the last several months or so. Just a guess...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

I hope that everybody enjoys their long weekend. Have fun at your backyard cookouts, trips to the beach, and time away from work and school.

I also ask that everyone that stumbles across this blog take just a moment of your time to remember why we have this holiday. Please remember those that gave that last full measure so that we can continue to live free.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Socialism--Is Anyone Really Surprised?

This guy saw it coming, why couldn't those that voted for his political platform in 2006 and 2008?
-Shamelessly swiped from the Free State of PIG.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Like The Marines Because...

"Author Unknown"

Why I like The Marines

I like the fact that if you are a self-declared enemy of America, running
into a Marine outfit in combat is your worst nightmare... and that your
health record is either about to get a lot thicker, or be closed out

I like the fact that Marines are steadfast and consistent in everything they
do... regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

I like the fact that Marines view the term 'politically correct' with
nothing but pure disdain.

I like the fact that Marines stand tall and rigid in their actions,
thoughts, and deeds when others bend with the direction of the wind and are
as confused as a dog looking at a ceiling fan.

I like the fact that each and every Marine considers the honor and legacy of
The Corps as his personal and sacred trust to protect and defend.

I like the fact that most civilians don't have a clue what makes us tick.
And that's not a bad thing; because if they did, it would probably scare the
hell out of them.

I like the fact that others say they want to be like us, but don't have what
it takes in the Pain-Gain-Pride department to make it happen.

I like the fact that the Marines came into being in a bar named Tun Tavern;
and that Marines still gather in pubs, bars and slop chutes to share sea
stories and hot scoop.

I like the fact that Marines do not consider it a co-incidence that there
are 24 hours in a day and 24 beers in a case because Marines know there is a
reason for everything that happens.

I like our motto... SEMPER FIDELIS and the fact that we don't shed it when
the going gets tough, the battlefield gets deadly, or when we hang up our
uniform for the last time.

I like the fact that Marines take care of each other... in combat and time
of peace.

I like the fact that Marines know the difference between 'Chicken Salad' and
'Chicken Shit' and aren't afraid to call either for what it is.

I like the fact that the people of America hold Marines in the highest
esteem and that they know they can count on us to locate, close with, and
destroy those who would harm them.

I like the fact that people think we are cocky.... yet we know that we have
confidence in everything we do; the fact that they don't know what it takes,
and that makes them look at us as if we are arrogant.

I like that fact that we know the taste of freedom and would give our very
lives for it; that is a taste, the protected will never know.

I like the fact that Ronald Reagan said... 'Some people spend an entire
lifetime wondering if they made a difference... Marines don't have that

I like the fact that we are brothers/sisters to the end... and that no
matter what happens in life, we know that we guard each other's 'six'.

I like the fact that an elected member of congress felt compelled to
publicly accuse the Marine Corps of being 'radical and extreme', and that
our Commandant informed that member of congress she was absolutely correct
and that he passed on his thanks for the compliment.

I like the fact that Marine leaders of every rank know that issuing every
man and woman a black beret (or polka-dotted boxer shorts for that matter)
does absolutely nothing to promote morale, fighting spirit or combat

I like the fact that Marines are Marines first... regardless of age, race,
creed, color, sex, national origin, or how long they served, their former
rank, or what goals they achieve in life.

I like Marines...and I love the fact that I am humbled to walk among the
ranks of other Marines.

I like the fact that you always know where you stand with a Marine. With
Marines, there is no middle ground or gray area. There are only missions,
objectives and facts.

In closing...if you aren't a Marine, the next best thing is to have a Marine
for a husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, best
friend, or friend.

Faithful, Brothers Forever)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Excuse Me For Not Jumping On the Wagon

In the not too distant past, I used to blog about politics. I gave that up, as it just wasn't much fun. After all, blogging is something that I do for my own amusement, not as a career (or even a bona fide hobby). During my foray into political topics, I was often asked what I thought of (then) President George W. Bush. I reluctantly informed my readers that I could not speak critically of my Commander In Chief...It is, quite literally, against the law for me to do so. Now that he is no longer my CIC, I can speak about him in whatever manner I see fit. There's only one problem with that: Why should I even bother?

The press in our nation have maligned Bush beyond any reasonable degree. To what end? They've hinted made it painfully obvious that they intend to report only such news as supports their left-leaning agenda. Every mistake that our nation's President made was plastered on television screens, websites, newspapers and magazine covers. You'd think that misspeaking was comparable to high crimes and treason. There's nothing that I can say that will benefit the situation one bit. I will, however, give a brief synopsis of my opinion of "W." What the heck; it might be fun. I will not, however, jump on the bandwagon of blaming all of my (and the nation's) woes on Bush. I will also not be joining in the orgy of glorifying the 44th President. Once again, the media doesn't need any help in that department.

My opinion of Bush is quite irrelevant, but I'll give it nonetheless. I'll also point out that a lack of condemnation does not constitute endorsement. I've been labeled a "Bush bot" in the past for failing to join the frenzied flinging of curses and epithets regarding our President's policies. I'm not his biggest fan, and certainly not a blind follower of party lines. Without further ado, here's the lowdown:

I believe that George W. Bush is not the worst President that we've ever had. Calling that one is a tough choice (Carter springs to mind, but he's got some keen competition). I do, however, think that he squandered away some incredible opportunities. Prior to the 2006 debacle, he had a Republican led Congress on his "side." He could have used that opportunity to crack down on the joke that is our southern border. Illegal immigration is W's biggest failure. He had eight years to fix it, and didn't do anything about it. He even tried to sell us a recycled load of amnesty, eagerly supported by liberals everywhere. Another popular website even began calling him "Vicente W. Bush." Once the Dems gained a majority in Congress, it was too late. Our southern border will remain as porous as can be, and crime, disease, and social handout overload will continue to rise as a result.

Invading Iraq with no plan for follow-on operations was a mistake. Hell, Rumsfeld wanted to invade with a single Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU)! Can I honestly say that invading Iraq at all was a mistake? No; I cannot. As best I can tell, Bush acted on the intel he was presented with, and I'm not only referring to intel from American sources. Even the Brits, the Russians, and the Israelis were singing the same tune. He did, however, pounce a little too eagerly on that grenade. In the past, whenever Saddam was off his meds and got froggy, sending a few Tomahawk cruise missiles his way did the trick for a while. Leaving him in power kept a certain amount of stability in the region. Are the Iraqi people better off without him? Most certainly, but that's not our problem, or, at least it wasn't our problem prior to March of 2003. We could have bombed terrorist training facilities and suspected WMD locations just as easily from afar. As an aside though, let's not forget that regime change in Iraq became official U.S. policy on Clinton's watch, not Bush's.

Allowing the press to gain political momentum and generally bash him was a mistake. Bush has said that he didn't fire back at the media because it "wasn't important." I disagree. He should have fought back at every turn. He should have squashed the "tax cuts for the rich" garbage at his earliest convenience. He should have ensured that charges were filed against the responsible parties at the New York Times for divulging classified information, and interfering in a federal investigation. It damned sure was important, and he blew it. As evidenced by Obama voters themselves, the truth doesn't drive public opinion anymore, the media does.

George W. Bush is no longer our sitting President and, to the confusion of Obama voters everywhere, there has been no dramatic change in anybody's life because of it (unless your last name is Bush or Obama). At Obama's inauguration, many of the high-class, well informed supporters booed Bush. I wasn't really surprised, but it was still disgusting. This was further evidence of the left's reliance upon emotion. I believe that overall, Bush is a good man, and he was truly passionate about what he was doing. He was far from the conservative leader that most of us wanted, and he made mistakes, but he is not the cause of all of this nation's woes. The cause of most of our problems is in an entirely different branch of government. That's right, and their approval rating is even lower than Bush's.

There; that's it. Some folks were probably expecting a flaming rant of epic proportions. I apologize if this is not as vile as you were hoping for. You can get that sort of thing on the liberal blogs, or the news channels, if you're so inclined.