Monday, May 30, 2016

American Cemeteries in Foreign Lands

When I was a student at National War College in Washington, DC one of the great opportunities that I was afforded was going on a regional studies trip.  My little group went to Tunisia, Morrocco, and Spain.  It was a great three weeks.  We saw places we'd never imagined, had access to very high-level government personnel, and learned a ton about that region of the world.  It also served to expand our thinking quite a bit.  It's funny how we think one thing and then when we get up close and personal, a lot of perceptions are dashed.  Such was the case when we went to China last month.

During the course of the trip, we were given the honor of presiding over a wreath laying at the American Cemetery at Carthage, Tunisia.  We had been told to bring our uniforms in case ceremonies such as this would occur.  As the senior military officer, I was the guy who led the group in laying the wreath.  It was an enormous honor!  I have been to American Cemeteries in the Philippines and France besides this one and they never fail to have an enormous impact.  To visit a piece of Americana which can be a little bit of tranquility in a sea of chaos is inspiring and allows one to reflect on the enormous sacrifices our countrymen and women have made to keep us safe.  As we laid the wreath at the ceremony, I dare say there wasn't a dry eye in the house.  This included some pretty hardened and experienced US military and State Department folks.  As I said, it was an honor and as I reflect back on it this Memorial Day, it really brings home the meaning of this holiday.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Media Grandstanding

It has now come to the point that it has become routine that the media will sensationalize and blow things out of proportion to make a buck.  I guess we all know that it's just sorta distressing when it hits close to home.  Trump came to town yesterday.  He had a big rally at the convention center that drew about 10,000 people.  He gave his usual bombastic presentation that included a fair amount of self-aggrandizement, blaming others and vague promises to "make America great again".    I've said before in this space that he is a jackass, is not my guy, and if some other more reasonable Republican were in the lead, they'd get my vote. But that's not the case so I'll vote for him over the criminal or the Socialist.  

In the course of the day there and in what has become routine, there were a bunch of protesters outside the convention center.  I suspect many of them were either paid or professional agitators, but whatever the case, there were about 1000 of them.  The SDPD and the Sherriff's Department did a masterful job of controlling these knuckleheads.  They had a massive presence, a great plan to contain their shenanigans, and when things got a little dicey, arrested about 35 folks and dispersed the rest.  It really, really wasn't that big of a deal to the average San Diegan.  If you were down by the convention center, I suspect there was a bit of a show, but that's about it.  Oh, there were the usual blowhards shouting and throwing things.  But we've come to expect that.

But if you read or heard any news on the subject, you'd think it was a riot of major proportion.  You'd think it was a major disruptive event in the city.  You'd think there was major damage downtown.  I and many others I know are incredulous at the coverage.  I saw a lot of hyperbole, and really could have picked any, but you can read/see a typical report here.  Like I said, this report and so many others aren't close to reality.  So that makes me wonder about all the other reports we hear about every day.  Are they filing sensational stories because they are accurate or because they sell.  Hmmmm....you decide for yourself.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Why Trump?

I've been thinking about this for a while.  We've all watched the tortured path that we've taken during the primaries to get to this point.  And we've seen the #nevertrump movement gain steam, which in my view will do nothing but assure the election of Hillary.  So what is the rationale for supporting Trump if he was never your guy (like me).  Well...I stumbled across a pretty good essay on that very subject by a guy whose writing I like, Victor Davis Hanson.  You can read it here but I'm also going to copy it below.  I think he pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Why Republicans Will Vote For Trump
by Victor Davis Hanson
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

If Donald Trump manages to curb most of his more outrageous outbursts by November, most Republicans who would have preferred that he did not receive the nomination will probably hold their noses and vote for him.

How could that be when a profane Trump has boasted that he would limit Muslim immigration into the United States, talked cavalierly about torturing terrorist suspects and executing their relatives, promised to deport all eleven-million Mexican nationals who are residing illegally in the U.S., and threatened a trade war with China by slapping steep tariffs on their imports?

A number of reasons come to mind.

First, Trump stays in the news not just by taking extreme positions, but also by taking extreme positions on issues that are already extreme. When Mexico prints comic books advising its own citizens on how to enter the U.S. illegally, when the major illegal-alien lobbying group is called The National Council of La Raza (“The Race”), and when major U.S. cities, in Confederate-style, declare themselves “sanctuaries” in which U.S. federal immigration law does not apply, then we long ago entered zones of extremism.

Of course, Trump would be wiser to become both more specific and reasonable about solutions to illegal immigration. “Making Mexico pay for the wall” could be finessed not by a trade war, but perhaps by slapping surcharges on remittances sent to Mexico, at higher rates for those in the U.S. who could not prove legal residency. Deportation certainly sounds like a reasonable punishment for the likely more than 1 million illegal aliens who either have committed serious crimes inside the United States or who have no history of being employed—then, once the border is secure, he could propose granting green card status to the illegal aliens who are employed, long-time residents, without criminal convictions, and willing to pay a fine and learn English.

Trump sounds crazy—and dangerous—in his idiotic idea to ban entry into the U.S. on the basis of religion. But is that inanity any less extreme than the administration’s European-style wish to welcome in tens of thousands of mostly young males from the war-torn Middle East without any proper method of identification and audit—at a time of spikes in radical Islamic terrorism in the West? Again, Trump cannot predicate immigration on the basis of religion, but he certainly could place a temporary moratorium of all immigration from particular Middle East countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, in the way that we do not open our arms to mass influxes of Iranians and North Koreans.  

Trump was bashed for suggesting NATO’s tenure is nearing an end—again another ridiculous and dangerous idea. But that trial balloon remains an unhinged corrective to the present unhinged nature of the alliance, in which few members honor their contractual defense spending obligations, and the alliance has both expanded far beyond anything that its founders envisioned, and conducted optional and sometimes failed operations abroad that had nothing to do with trans-Atlantic security. During the Cold War, we sometimes forgot that NATO members occasionally allowed fly-over rights to Soviet Union air lifts headed to the Middle East, while denying fellow NATO member the United States the use of European NATO air space to resupply Israel.  

Many conservatives tune out Trump’s adolescent solutions, but not necessarily the haywire issues he has raised. Most believe that he will back down from his original, headline-grabbing positions, and eventually offer more studied and reasonable solutions to an ignored problem that otherwise might not have been aired. And though the results may not be what his supporters have cheered on in rallies or what his critics have hoped for, they will, to many Republican voters, be preferable to President Obama’s current and Hillary Clinton’s future positions. Ignoring candidate Trump’s crude bombast for conservatives is analogous to liberals tuning out Obama’s campaign calls for supporters to take their knives to a gun fight or to get in their opponents’ faces, or his arrogant put-downs of lower middle-class Pennsylvanians or his flat-out prevarications about his relationship with mentor and personal pastor, the racist and anti-Semitic Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Trump’s memoirs are often vulgar; Obama’s largely fictional. Trump’s selfish womanizing was consensual; former President Bill Clinton’s often allegedly coerced.

A second reason why many conservatives will vote for Trump is that they, like everyone else, are cynical about what candidates say and what they, as presidents, actually do. In 2000, George W. Bush ran as the realist alternative to neocon interventionist John McCain. Obama in 2008 never uttered the word “transgendered.” Instead, he ran against gay marriage, outlined a health plan to the right of Hillary’s that protected patients’ existing coverage and physicians, predicted a new era of presidential transparency, promised post-racial reconciliation, insisted that he could not subvert immigration law or grant amnesties by executive orders, harked on balancing the budget and reducing the national debt, and, as a former law lecturer, vowed to confine the presidency within its constitutional limits.

Third, we have become so inured to the outrageous, that many conservatives are not quite sure whether Trump is just a more in-your-face version of current politicians or if he truly is an outlier in his vulgarity. Consider, after all, the last month in politics. Recently, news stories noted that a White House guest rapper, paroled on a pending felony charge, had his ankle bracelet go off. The White House deputy national security advisor and senior speechwriter Ben Rhodes bragged about how he more or less lied and perpetuated a con to ram through the Iran deal without Senate oversight. Former Obama speechwriters joked on television about writing the lie, “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.” Obama himself threatened to cut off federal funds to states that did not share his reinterpretation of the 1972 Title IX Amendments to include bathroom access of their choice for the transgendered. Meanwhile, the FBI weighs a federal felony indictment against Hillary Clinton, just as stories have resurfaced of Bill Clinton’s frequent and unescorted flights on convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein notorious “Lolita Express.” If that is a typical month in the life of the current administration and ongoing presidential campaign, then what exactly are the norms by which we can judge Trump as a renegade?  The proper critique of Trump is that he would not restore decorum to political discourse and behavior that long ago were debased.

Trump should release all his tax records, but probably will not because they would show he pays taxes at a low rate, is not quite the philanthropist he poses to be, and is certainly not worth $10-11 billion. Candidates do not release data that they know prove they are lying or hypocritical—including Hillary Clinton, who has not released thousands of her now deleted emails she claimed were personal and the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches that earned her millions of dollars in campaign quid-pro-quo donations. Obama was never going to release his college transcripts, his personal medical records, or a video clip of his encomium of Rashid Khalidi, former PLO advisor to Yasser Arafat—most likely because he was a lackadaisical B- student who would have never been accepted to law schools without affirmative action, could have been embarrassed about prior medical issues, and at one time might have sounded as if he were a rabid Palestinian supporter. In other words, the shady Trump is now caught gambling in Casablanca.

Fourth, most Republicans do not quite buy the #NeverTrump argument that Trump is running to the left of Hillary Clinton. His critique of Bush’s nation-building is not analogous to Obama’s outreach to Iran and Cuba, and it will not lead to another Benghazi or an apology tour. Rather, his opportunistic attacks on nation-building is more akin to Jacksonian realism—dangerous perhaps in the fragile U.S.-led postwar world and lacking in idealism, but a position to the right, not to the left, of George W. Bush. He is also a crude nationalist on trade and immigration, not a na├»ve utopian. Deporting some illegal aliens is seen as preferable to never deporting any or protecting criminals in sanctuary cities. Insisting, for example, that Japan treats imported California rice or beef in the manner that the U.S. handles Hondas, is not protectionism or inherently anti-free-trade.

On other issues, such as Supreme Country appointments, the military, abortion, or the budget, Trump will likely be judged as more conservative than Hillary Clinton. After the shock wears off for most Republicans that Trump is only half or two-thirds conservative, they will probably shrug and see him as preferable to Clinton, who has little to no conservative propensities whatsoever.  Trump may have moved the Republican Party to the center, but Clinton moved the Democratic Party much farther from the center—and to the left. The campaign will be long, heated, and polarizing, and Clinton will be attacking conservative positions far more than will Trump. The #NeverTrump crowd will increasingly have nowhere to go, given that their criticism of the Republican nominee will only empower the liberal Clinton as the race grows close. As Republican fence-sitters and dissenters in the next five months watch conservative values serially trashed by the Clinton campaign, their patience will probably wear thin by November.

Finally, Republicans might embrace a democratic fatalism—or the opinion, in other words, that “if that’s what the people want, that’s what the people get.” They may well vote for Trump as loyal party members, but also retreat to the fallback position that they never wished him to win the nomination in the first place. Some Republicans who vow to stay home in November will—but the vast majority will bite their lip and likely vote Trump.

Memorial Day

Update:  I posted this last year and it's pretty timeless.  Wherever you live, whatever your politics, however you view the military...Memorial Day is an opportunity to stop and pay respects to those who have given "the last full measure of devotion".  

This never gets old.  The homecoming.  Been there, done that.  And it is so sweet.  After a long or short deployment with separation from your loved ones, coming home has a special meaning.  Whether you are on a routine training mission across the country, or on a combat mission on a remote and lonely battlefield someplace that was unknown to you until you stepped off the plane , or on a ship at sea on the far side of the world, coming home is something every service member has on his or her mind from the moment they get on the plane or cast off the lines.  And the families at home are no different.  They try to go about their daily lives doing all the routine things that consume their time, but the reality of their loved one being far away for some period of time is always there.  And it doesn't matter what the mission is.  If you are separated by deployment, the danger is always there.  No matter if you're driving a truck on a military reservation somewhere in the U.S., humping a pack through dangerous lands, manning a MASH unit behind the lines, doing a routine job on an American warship, flying a routine mission of humanitarian assistance,  or so many other jobs, the danger is always there.  You could make a misstep and your time could be up in a heartbeat.  That's why homecoming is so sweet.  You're back in the fold with your loved ones. You can be a part of their lives again.  And they can be a part of yours.  It's the way we were meant to live.  Together.


But this weekend we don't celebrate homecoming.  For many, many families they won't ever experience that joyous homecoming.  Too many will weep this weekend.  Too many will yearn for their loved ones who will never return. So what can we, the living, do?  We can honor them.  We can think of them.  We can pause and remember.  Oh, we all know that it is also the first weekend of summer.  There will be barbecues, parties, and fun family times.  It will be a time to relax and get ready for summer.  So have a great time and enjoy whatever endeavor that will come your way.  But for a moment, just for a moment, remember those who have fallen to ensure our freedoms and those left behind mourning their loved ones who gave the "last full measure of devotion".  And it doesn't matter what they were doing when they lost their lives.  What matters is their service.  We live in a secure nation.  An island nation.  We have generally not experienced the horror of attack or the threat of invasion on the scale of other countries around the world.  We've had our Pearl Harbor and our 911.  And those we're horrific.  But think of the war-torn countries around the world.  It's not that so many think it can't happen here....it's that so many don't even think about it.  But there are those that have.  And those that do.  Those who recognize service above self.  Those who are willing to give, to go in harm's way, to risk all.  So take a moment on Monday.  A quiet moment.  Look around you.  Hug your family.  And give thanks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not Just a Parachute Jump

Check this out.  Great little GoPro video of Navy Leap Frogs jumping into a stadium.  This isn't any ordinary jump.  Check out these guys linking up.  And then the spin into the stadium.  Huge ones!


Marketing

The world is full of marketing geniuses.  Whoever came up with this isn't one of them...


What Would You Do?

I wouldn't push it.  No way.


Well...That's One Way



Great Wedding

And if the wedding was great, it looks like the reception was epic!!  Of course, it's funny until you realize that this photo had to be taken by the groom.  Poor bastard...


Application to Date

I've seen this previously.  Pretty funny.  I'm way past needing this for my Daughter.  But I've got Granddaughters and could change the wording pretty easily...




Affordable Healthcare

Lots of stories about the nightmare of Obamacare.  I'm sure they are overblown.  Or are they?


Texas

There's just something about Texas.  I'm a real admirer of the larger than life aspects of the place.  And I'm not sure that most Texans don't think this is about right...


The Media

I've made a few disparaging remarks lately about the loss of independence in the media.  I think this captures it pretty well.  Of all the things that are disappointing and distressing about the direction of the country, I think the lack of independence and unbiased reporting by the media ranks right up there.  And this isn't right or left, liberal or conservative.  It's all of them.


Maybe this is a solution...


Cool Pic



War on Women

I've seen this term bandied about in the media recently with all the usual suspects jumping on the bandwagon.  Okay...I get it.  Since we're routinely creating all kinds of persecuted groups, we might as well include women.  But while blame is being handed out so as to divide us a little more against each other, maybe there could be smidgen of recognition that the advancements that have taken place in the western world are light years ahead of our very good friends, the Muslim world.  Just sayin'.






Monday, May 23, 2016

Motivation Monday

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. -William James

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An Election Alternative

As I already posted I've voted for Trump in the primary and will do so again in the general election.  But some are adamantly opposed to Trump.  I guess they are part of the "never Trump" crowd.  Of course, their alternative is absurd.  Some say they'll vote for Hillary, which I can't even imagine.  Some say they'll vote for the Libertarian.  Okay.  I guess that makes some sense.  But the reality (and they have to know this) is that a vote for anyone other than the Republican or Democrat is a vote for the other party.  Some say they'll support another third party candidate.  Same thing applies.  Or maybe they won't vote.  Okay...that's their prerogative.  But once again, a no vote is a vote for Hillary.      But for all these oh so superior folks who just can't bring themselves to vote for Trump and in turn stop Hillary from continuing another 4 or 8 years of Obama's reign, there is one other alternative that maybe they haven't thought of...


Why I Voted For Trump

The California primary election is June 6.  I've already submitted my ballot and registered my vote.  Usually, the California primary doesn't really matter because it's so late in the process and because it's winner take all, I don't feel like my vote counts for much, but at least I cast my vote.  It's one thing in the primary that my vote doesn't count, but in the general election, my vote won't count either, which is maddening.  It's so frustrating that for Electoral College purposes it is winner take all.  California has become a reliably Democrat state so for the other side (me) it's just an exercise in casting a ballot and at least registering my choice.  But it's maddening.  As an aside, it's important that people start looking at the Electoral College map.  The popular vote is one thing, but the Electoral College vote is the thing that determines the election.  So keep your eye on reports about that.

To my surprise, I voted for Trump.  I had to hold my nose a bit, but I did it.  If you've been reading at all you know that early on I was for Kasich, then Rubio, and then back to Kasich.  It's been quite a roller-coaster ride starting with 17 candidates.  I don't think there was any doubt that it would get down to a few choices and several of the candidates seemed to be good people with good records and good ideas, but that's just too many candidates to last to the end. And it was great that there were a lot of debates, a lot of back and forth, and a lot of analysis.  Of course, as primaries usually go, there was also a lot of dirt and a lot of things said to gain an advantage.  At the end of the day, it came down to Cruz and Trump.  Kasich stayed in longer than he should have and he was really never a viable candidate after Ohio.  I'm glad that Trump wound up as the presumptive nominee because I could have never voted for Cruz.  Never.  He's a snake-oil salesman and my number one hope is that he fades from the national scene.  Probably won't happen, but one can hope.

So why did I vote for Trump?  I continue to think he has been too shallow in his policy statements and worry that he will act in a rash manner.  But, at the end of the day...he's not Hillary.  I worry about some of his statements that seem rash or ill-conceived.  I worry that he will go off half-cocked and get us into trouble on the international stage.  But at the same time, he didn't get to be a billionaire by being stupid.  He has a reputation for surrounding himself with smart people.  And I fundamentally agree with his stance on many things including immigration and trade.  It will be interesting to see how it unfolds over the next several months.  I think he has to be aggressive because the Clinton/Obama machine is going to come after him with both barrels.  We've already seen it start.

As for Hillary, here are a few things (and there are many others) that, in my mind, disqualify her for the Presidency:
  • Hillary is a criminal.  The whole email dustup is bad but it's getting swept under the rug.  But anyone who has handled classified material will know that she committed serious crimes by having SAP material on an unclassified server.  Having the private server was bad enough, but the classified material thing is, quite simply, a felony.  If I or anyone I know who was in a position of responsibility in the military, we would be facing court martial and potentially jail time.  No doubt about it.  So I think this crime disqualifies her for the Presidency.
  • Hillary is a liar.  You can go all the way back to the time she burst onto the national scene with Bubba and find incident after incident of her lying to the American people.  And along with the lying, comes the fact that she is an opportunist.  She will say and do anything if it's to her advantage.  Which brings me to the third reason.
  • Hillary is disingenuous.  And I think this fact will really put her at a disadvantage with the Democrat base, which seems to have shifted way to the left.  That she would be the candidate to take more from Wall Street than any other, and then trot out to campaign events and excoriate Wall Street is disgusting.  When she starts running a national campaign, we will see her shift back to the middle.  And the left should be pissed about that.
  • Hillary is incompetent.  If you look at her record of accomplishment as a Senator from New York, there is not much there.  Oh, many said she was affable, but she was an empty suit.  She was definitely one of the worst Secretary's of State in history.  Remember the reset with Putin?  She had no idea what she was doing.  I've commented many times on the lack of a National Security Strategy.  Hillary had a hand in that vacuum.  And she did nothing.  And then there is a Libya.  That was a disaster from the beginning.  And she was the architect.  We've all heard everything we need to know about Benghazi.  She was responsible for the deaths of Americans, did nothing to help them, and then lied about it.  
  • Hillary is limited in her thinking.  She's against the Keystone pipeline.  She's against fracking.  She's anti-coal.  She's against the Pacific Free Trade Agreement.  Now, I don't think all those things are a panacea, but rather than being against everything, we need people who will look at activities or efforts to help the country and figure out how to make them work, not just say no.   We need people who recognize that through innovation, we can solve all kinds of problems and create all kinds of opportunities.  We need someone who will surround themselves with smart people who recognize that one of our greatest strengths is our ability to use technology and innovation to achieve success.  I suspect that Hillary largely responds to interest groups and she responds with her finger in the wind.  
  • Hillary was an enabler.  We all know about Bubba and his shenanigans.  She was his chief enabler.  She also went after the women he dallied with.  Not the great feminist she purports to be.
  • Hillary will be more of Obama.  She will continue policies, both domestically and internationally, that have been disastrous.  She will continue programs that will increase the debt and make us less secure.  Simple as that.
  • Hillary's Supreme Court appointments will be scary.  And this is probably the most important reason to not allow her in the Oval Office.  Even with the temporary insanity of those supporting the Socialist Sanders, I like to think that most of the country are pretty moderate.  I would worry that her appointments would be very liberal and make decisions that could impact our society for generations.  We can't let that happen.
And here's the final thing that led me to cast my primary vote for Trump...the media.  I'm a big 1st Amendment guy.  I strongly believe in freedom of the press.  It is a fundamental right.  And my recent trip to China reinforced the need for that right.  But it seems like our press has really veered off the independent path.  It is really, really difficult to find non-partisan reporting these days.  Whether it's right or left...it's all the same.  Biased.  Maybe because of my natural leanings, I believe the left-leaning mainstream media has skewed the story dramatically.  And their level of political correctness is nauseating.  So every time I see some sensational story in the headlines I look at it with skepticism.  And given her history, I usually don't think it's too much of a stretch to believe what they say.  And it's usually proven to be right.  But with Trump, I don't really care.  Everyone knows he hasn't led the life of a monk.  So what.  He's never denied it.

And the thing is I think most folks are like me.  I think most folks just want someone who will just try and get things done.  Someone who will bring us together and do what's best for all of us.  Someone who maybe hasn't led a perfect life, but has a plan to "make America great again".  Don't know if he can do it, but I think he's got a better chance than Hillary.  Because here's really the final thing.  When Obama won in 2008, I didn't know much about him but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I decided that he wasn't my guy, but he was my President, and I'd back him.  But he quickly left me and others like me behind.  He quickly moved to divide the country.  And with Hillary, I know all about her.  She's not my candidate and won't be my President and if she wins will not have my support.  

Wednesday Jam!

This is a waaaaaaay throwback.  There are better versions, but this is the original.  Saw these guys in my high school gym in San Diego.  Small little surfin' band.  Who knew?


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Transgender Brouhaha

I was trying not to, but I guess sooner or later I was going to have to comment on this idiocy.  Like so many things, the whole issue is colored and shaped by media interpretation and celebrity comment.  We really are a nation of sheep.  But not all of us.

My view is that when compared to the population as a whole, there are a microscopic number of people who fit in the category of transgender.  Microscopic.  And I think really there is a question about folks who just feel like changing versus those who actually go through the surgery, hormone replacement, etc.  Sorta like the difference between being committed and dedicated.  If a guy gets his penis cut off, is castrated, and undergoes all the other rigamarole involved in changing, well then he's committed.  I can't really comment on women who become men physiologically because I don't know what they do (and don't really want to know) but it's the same thing.  Anything else and, well, you're just playing dress up.  You might be dedicated to pretending to be the opposite sex, but you're not committed.

I do think the whole hysteria about predators sneaking into bathrooms to rape little girls is overblown.  But that is a natural hysterical reaction to the crazy rules being proposed by our government.  Saw this over on FB.  Dan Forest is Lt Gov of North Carolina.  Makes a lot of sense to me.  I would say if there is a situation that requires it, then address it then and develop a solution.  But don't create a situation that discriminates against the 99.7% of the people who are normal.  And before you get all lathered up about the use of the word normal, just don't.  Because someone who does this is not normal.  They just aren't.  I think there have to be serious mental issues going on.  And I'd much rather devote some time, energy, and money to getting them the help they need, than on making sure they can go into whichever bathroom they feel like at the moment.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest released the following statement in response to President Obama's bathroom policy directive:

"North Carolina will not stand by and let our locker rooms and high school showers be used for social experimentation at the expense of the privacy and protection of our young boys and girls. I do not think it is appropriate for teenage boys and girls to share the same bathroom. I don't think it appropriate for teenage boys and girls to shower next to each other. I don't think it is appropriate for male coaches and male teachers to have access to girls' locker rooms and showers while the young girls are naked and exposed. I feel confident, the vast majority of North Carolina parents feel the same.

The President needs a reminder that the United States Constitution grants education decision authority to the states and localities, not to the President of the United States. Our current state policy protects our children by maintaining bathrooms and restrooms consistent with the biological sex of the child and already gives schools, should special circumstances arise, the freedom to grant private single stall - single shower bathroom accommodations to individuals who might not otherwise be comfortable using the bathroom of their biological sex or a bathroom shared with other people. This is the only reasonable response to the situation that exists today. Opening all showers and all restrooms to all sexes at all times as the President is suggesting, is not a reasonable solution, but an invitation for violations of privacy and personal safety.

North Carolina public schools in receipt of the President's letter are reminded that there is a binding state law on the books governing bathroom policy and the President's non-binding directive is merely his attempt to push his version of a social policy on our state with no Constitutional authority to do so. It should be rejected as a matter of principle and policy."

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Solution...



Cool Pic



Wild Ride

Something tells me that this isn't going to work out like planned!


Mighty Warship

This is a very cool pic of the nation's newest aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford.  There is nothing in the world like a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.  Most of the photos that you'll see of them are while they are operating.  This is really unique.  


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Friday Funnies

Stealing this from a friend over on FB.  Have seen it before but it's still hilarious.  I'm sitting here by myself LMAO at this list.  I guess you had to have been there...

How To Simulate Being A Sailor
1. Buy a steel dumpster, paint it gray inside and out, and live in it for six months. 
2. Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls. 
3. Repaint your entire house every month. 
4. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of the bathtub and move the shower head to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down. 
5. Put lube oil in your humidifier and set it on high. 
6. Once a week, blow compressed air (or use a leaf blower) up your chimney, making sure the wind carries the soot onto your neighbor's house. Ignore his complaints. 
7. Once a month, take all major appliances apart and then reassemble them. 
8. Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them. 
9. Disassemble and inspect your lawnmower every week. 
10. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn your water heater temperature up to 200 degrees. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn the water heater off. On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family they use too much water during the week, so no bathing will be allowed. 
11. Raise your bed to within 6 inches of the ceiling, so you can't turn over without getting out and then getting back in. 
12. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 3 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say "Sorry, wrong rack." 
13. Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house - dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc. Re-qualify every 6 months. 
14. Have your neighbor come over each day at 0500, blow a whistle so loud Helen Keller could hear it, and shout "Reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up." 
15. Have your mother-in-law write down everything she's going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in your back yard at 0600 while she reads it to you. 
16. Submit a request chit to your father-in-law requesting permission to leave your house before 1500. 
17. Empty all the garbage bins in your house and sweep the driveway three times a day, whether it needs it or not. Have someone repeat loudly, "Now sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms, give the ship a clean sweep down fore and aft, empty all ****cans and butt kits over the fantail!" 
18. Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you. 
19. Watch no TV except for movies played in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, then show a different one. Repeat the same movie several nights in a row. 
20. When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting that your home is under attack and ordering them to their battle stations, shouting, "Now general quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations!" 
21. Make your family menu a week ahead of time without consulting the pantry or refrigerator. 
22. Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When you finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs. 
23. Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly. Spread icing real thick to level it off. 
24. Get up every night around midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread. (Call this "Midrats".) 
2 5. Set your alarm clock to go off at random during the night. At the alarm, jump up and dress as fast as you can, making sure to button your top shirt button and tuck your pants into your socks. Run out into the backyard and uncoil the garden hose. 
26. Every week or so, throw your cat or dog in the pool and shout "Man overboard port side!" Rate your family members on how quickly they respond. 
27. Put the headphones from your stereo on your head, but don't plug them in. Hang a paper cup around your neck on a string. Stand in front of the stove, and speak into the paper cup "Stove manned and ready." After an hour or so, speak into the cup again "Stove secured." Roll up the headphones and paper cup and stow them in a shoebox. 
28. Make your family turn out all the lights and go to bed at 2200, saying, "Now taps, taps! Lights out! Maintain silence throughout the ship!" Then immediately have an 18-wheeler crash into your house (for the benefit of aircraft carrier sailors). 
29. Build a fire in a trash can in your garage. Loudly announce to your family, "This is a drill! This is a drill! Fire in hangar bay one!" 
30. Place a podium at the end of your driveway. Have your family stand watches at the podium, rotating at 4-hour intervals. This is best done when the weather is worst. January is a good time. 
31. When there is a thunderstorm in your area, get a wobbly rocking chair, sit in it and rock as hard as you can until you become nauseated. Make sure to have a supply of stale crackers in your shirt pocket. ALT: Find the biggest horse you can, put a 2-inch mattress on his back, and strap yourself to it. Turn him loose in a barn filled with snakes for six hours and try to sleep. Then get up and go to work. 
32. For former engineers: bring your lawn mower into the living room and run it all day long. 
33. Make coffee using eighteen scoops of budget priced coffee grounds per pot; let the pot simmer for 5 hours before drinking. 
34. Have someone under the age of ten give you a haircut with sheep shears. 
35. Sew the back pockets of your jeans on the front. 
36. Add 1/3 cup diesel fuel to the laundry. 
37. Take hourly readings on your electric and water meters. 
38. Every couple of weeks, dress up in your best clothes and go to the scummiest part of town. Find the most run down, trashiest bar, and drink beer until you are hammered. Then walk all the way home. 
39. Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you are going to take them to Disney World for "liberty." At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for an inspection, and it will be another week before they can go.

Pets

We humans can be incredibly cruel to one another, but when it comes to our pets, we can be incredibly tender.  And it doesn't matter if it's a cat, a dog, a goldfish, a gerbil, or whatever.  We love them, we take care of them, and they (usually) bring us incredible joy.  And when we lose them oh so soon, it becomes a pain in your heart and a hole in your soul.

We've been dog people since our early Navy days in Pensacola.  We got a mutt from an advertisement in the paper.  Her name was Sierra and she was a funny dog.  She gave us many years of love, fun, and joy and lived a good long life.  One funny thing about her was that in her later years for some reason she took to growling at our son.  We all (except him) thought it was pretty funny, but knew deep down that she wouldn't hurt him.  

After Sierra, we got a wonderful yellow Lab named Maddie.  She was a scamp!!  She could dig, tear things up, run away, and retrieve balls for hours.  She also had an incredibly lovable side and when she would hug you, it was pretty difficult not to love her.  And love her we did.  After some time, we decided that she needed a playmate so we got a black Lab named Annie.  Maddie definitely dominated in the pairing but they had many great years together.  I'm pretty sure that in my entire life I've never known a more sweet and loving being, animal or human, than Annie.  She was the epitome of a  lovey-dovey girl.  But as these things go Maddie grew old, had some seizures, and we had to let her go over the rainbow bridge.  We all thought Annie would be devastated and sad.  Not so much!  Mother Nature is an interesting old girl.  With Maddie and her domineering ways out of the picture, Annie came into her own.  We had her about 4 more years before it was her time to go, and they were wonderful and loving years.

And so how it goes we decided we had to get another dog.  One of my favorite sayings is that "a house is not a home without a dog".  And that proved to be sorta true for us.  We both missed having a dog around the house.  But this time, we went looking for an older dog so we wouldn't have to go through puppyhood.  We found Windy at a kennel up in Hemet.  She was 4 years old, would no longer have puppies, and they wanted to move her to a home.  So we agreed to adopt her.  From the beginning, it was obvious that she had been abused.  When we took her to our vet for a checkup they found all kinds of things wrong.  Things that indicated abuse.  She was also incredibly skittish around people.  She loved us and fit right in with us, but she wasn't at all interested in any stranger coming close.  It took a lot of patience and loving, but she finally came around.  And the people she loved more than anyone was our Granddaughters.  When they would come into the room she would light up, start prancing around, and start whining for attention.  She had really come full circle.  But, as is always the case in life, it was finite.  She lived to a ripe old age of 15, which is pretty amazing for a Lab.  In the last few months, she had a lot of problems that I won't detail here, but suffice to say her quality of life was badly compromised.  Fortunately, we have a wonderful Vet who lovingly walked us through the decision-making process and late this morning Windy went peacefully over the rainbow bridge to join Sierra, Maddie, Annie, and so many others who have been loved.  We will miss her and remember her with love and a smile.  And we'll not forget her. 


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Winner

When my son was a Webelos, he entered the Pinewood Derby two years in a row.  And won two years in a row.  It's all about graphite and lead.  Don't think this car has a chance.  But it sure is gnarly!


Cool Pic



Idiot

As I surf around the net, I see a lot of idiotic tattoos on guys and girls.  This just about takes the cake though.  Would love to see the look on the face of the hiring manager when this guy shows up for an interview.


Safety Briefing

I really like the guy sitting at the table on the right.  He's really into holding the ladder.  Meanwhile, the other two guys are chatting.  Lots of paperwork if the guy on the ladder falls!


Brilliant

Some guys will do anything for fun.


The IT Department

This is so true.  Ctrl-Alt-Del...who thought of that?


Danger From Below

This guy was doing a serious low level flight!

Lupita Nails It!



Nothing Like Waking Up In A Tent!

I used to go camping quite a bit in my younger days.  I remember sitting around a campfire at night and then turning in to a good night's sleep in a tent.  And then waking up in the morning to camp smells and the anticipation of breakfast and a day of fishing or hiking.  Of course, I don't remember the view quite like this...

Cool Pic

Don't know where this is but I'm thinking it would be a pretty cool place to have dinner!


Wednesday Jam!


Monday, May 9, 2016

Dogs Are Cool



Talent

I love watching a talented artist work!


Crack!

Falling in this thing could ruin your whole day.  Probably don't want to be doing any trail riding around here either!

Cool Pic



Great Idea

Haven't seen this before but it's a great idea.  Could see lots of applications and places for it to work.

Dogs Are Cool!


Dragon Holes!

When we were in Hong Kong recently we asked the tour guyid about holes in the middle of certain buildings on the sides of hills.  He gave us this exact explanation, which frankly I thought was bullshit.  But guess not.