Saturday, March 31, 2007

Scott Helvenston, R.I.P.

Today marks the 3rd anniverary to the day of the death of Scott Helvenston, he was ambushed in Fallujah on 3/31/04.
I first saw Scott on a short lived reality TV series called "combat missions" that featured a bunch of former SEALs and special forces operators along with SWAT team members doing excercises that demonstrated their considerable skills and competing for a truck and a 6 figure prize.

Scott went to Iraq as a security guard for Blackwater USA. Scott Helvenston, Jerry Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, were dragged from their cars, beaten, and set ablaze. Their burned corpses were then dragged through the streets before being hung over a bridge crossing the Euphrates. The two vehicles that they were charged with protecting were able to escape.

Thoughts and prayers to all those currently serving in harm's way and thanks to those who have sacrificed their time, their efforts and in some cases their lives.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Scott Adams is a genius

Scott Adams, the Dilbert creator is a genius. Every day he produces a funny cartoon that manages to sum up a brilliant idea in three frames. They are brief, and pithy, and get to the heart of a universally recognized truism.

He then has time to post to his website really amusing and insightful stuff that you won’t likely find anywhere else—“unique” ideas, inasmuch as that is possible.

Read here about the Happiness Formula. It makes perfect sense, a short book that starts at a very high level of defining happiness:
Happiness = health + money + social life + meaning.

Then break each individual component down.
Health =
Money =
Social life =
Meaning =

Of course, every day his “comments” get lit up with people who beg to be noticed by the powerful Scott, either agreeing in fawning admiration, or disagreeing with sarcastic condescension. That’s the beauty of his blog—I recommend it as required reading.

Ram Bomjon in a bunker?

I don't know why I find this story so amusing, but I have been posting about Ram Bomjon since he first came to "fame" a couple years ago.

He has begun meditating for three years in an underground bunker and will neither sleep, eat nor drink any water during that time, supporters claimed Tuesday--except for when he is sleeping, drinking, and eating. (he is after all, not the buddha, he is merely an "austere sage.")
I think the idea that his "supporters" are profiting off of a fictional belief in the boy's mystical superpowers, while everyone agrees that he doesn't have any superpowers is just too good to pass up. It could never happen in America, their would be amicus briefs flying all over the place and a fight all the way to the supreme court over all sorts of silliness, Fox would buy the exclusive rights to his meditation, and Geraldo would do an expose on his family, Oprah would invite the entire village to her studio and give them all iPods, and John Stossel would question why the government of Nepal was taking kick-backs from the Bomjon supporters and using it to fund wasteful programs---which I think clearly proves how advanced our society is...

“Katrina recovery, veterans’ care and for other purposes.”

That's how the US Congress describes the $100 million dollars it plans to spend on the two party conventions, 50mil for each. I would imagine it falls under the "other purposes," description.

The best line: John Hart--a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., told The Examiner on Monday, “Congress will have to make the choice between booze and balloons or bullets and body armor."

The President asked for $100 billion and the Senate, lead by the Democrats are giving him $120 billion, throwing the extra 20 at their pet projects including $14 Billion for Katrina relief, $13 million for “ewe replacement and retention,” $24 million for sugar beets growers and $95 million for dairy producers, $3.5 million for the Capitol’s guided–tour program and $20 million for, in part, insect infestation control in Nevada, thanks to Majority Leader Harry Reid. For what it's worth, $14 billion, is enough to give every single person in New Orleans, man woman and child 10,000.00 bucks each---on top of what has already been spent rebuilding.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Monday defended the extra spending, describing it as “common sense and good economics.”

“Funding for the war is not the only critical need worthy of the supplemental spending,” he said. The war “must not obliterate every other concern.”

How is it that a former KKK grand poobah can serve in the US Senate as the longest serving Democrat, spearhead the spending/fleecing of America for more than 40 years getting all sorts of buildings, bridges, facilities named in his honor, and the good folks in West Virginia keep sending him back? If he were a Republican the national media would shame him into resignation within a week. Since he is a Democrat they turn a blind eye to his ideas about "good economics," and give him a free pass to spend the tax payer's money in his own honor.

But it doesn't matter---"the people" aren't paying attention, besides I heard that they ruled out foul play in the Anna Nicole case, it looks like she might have OD'ed.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Koan of the week--Eating the blame

Circumstances arose one day which delayed preparation of the dinner of a Soto Zen master, Fugai, and his followers. In haste the cook went to the garden with his curved knife and cut off the tops of green veetables, chopped them together, and made soup, unaware that in his haste he had included a part of a snake in the vegetables.
The followers of Fugai thought they had never tasted such great soup. But when the master himself found the snake's head in his bowl, he summoned the cook. "What is this?" he demanded, holding up the head of the snake.
"Oh, thank you, master," replied the cook, taking the morsel and eating it quickly.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Senator Justus, representing the thought police?

I understand the introduction of "anti-bullying" laws or the intentions of those that sponsor such legislation. They want to protect the children, or specific identity groups, but the reality is that "anti-bullying" legislation is unnecessary and quite probably unconstitutional as it is currently written as one cannot determine the motivation of behaviors.

All schools already have policies and procedures in place to address harassment, abuse, behavioral misconduct, intimidation, and other associated disorderly conduct. If the behavior goes beyond merely disrupting and crosses the line into assault, that is also currently addresses by all schools and is illegal. "Anti-bullying" legislation does nothing more than attract attention to elected officials proposing it but does nothing to improve the safety of our children in schools.

We do not need and cannot legislate away an undefined thought crime of "bullying," regardless of whom we are trying to protect. We cannot place "unfunded mandates" on schools to implement "anti-bullying" policies.

The focus should be on the disruptive and/or illegal behavior, or the commission of an illegal act, not the perceived underlying motivation of an illegal act. Consider this, if a child brings a weapon into a school to do harm to his/her fellow students, is it even more unacceptable if they are "bullying" someone or responding to "bullying?" No--because attempted assault and bringing a weapon onto school grounds is already illegal...

For more info, see the School Security dot org.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Senator Justus is out of order

The KC Star recently wrote that the Republican’s in Jeff City are “retaliating” against freshman State Senator Jolie Justus for proposing an “pro troops, anti-Iraq war” resolution in the State General Assembly. More than 20 other states have brought similar measures up in their respective state legislatures despite lacking the controlling legal authority to do so.

The Star gets it wrong in at least three ways:
1. The Republicans that chair the committees as the majority party determine what resolutions make it out of committee and to the floor for a vote. While Vogel admitted that he is disappointed in the resolution that Justus to introduced he is not even on the committee that didn’t allow a vote, he is not on the Rules Committee he is on the Ways and Means Committee which the Star brielfy noted as an aside—the Star claims that Vogel is retaliating against Justus and not allowing a vote on two unrelated measures in response to the introduction of this frivolous bit of media grandstanding. They did not get a comment from Vogel on why he was not allowing her two unrelated resolutions out of the Ways and Means committee.
2. The Star references the “office of Senator Justus” and uncritically repeats their claim that an anonymous assistant to Vogel told them that Vogel would not allow a floor vote on her other bills because of this introduction of the “anti-war, pro-troops” resolution in the Rules Committee as the Star refers to it. Talk about circumstantial and unsubstantiated. They make an accusation of retaliation based on the claim of Justus’s office that an assistant to Vogel said so…
3. The US Congress, not the Missouri State Senate, is the proper forum for debate regarding issues of national security; the Missouri State Constitution does not give the State Senate the authority to legislate on these matters, that authority is correctly vested in the federal government with the POTUS and the US Congress. Justus has stated that the reason for introducing the resolution was to send a message, “to our delegation in Washington.” But this is a failure to understand high school civics 101. All of the citizens of Missouri are currently represented in Washington by properly elected officials, including 2 Senators and 9 Representatives. It is not the job of the State Senate to “send messages” to the United States Congress--- as elected members of the US Congress are already accountable to their constituencies and can receive messages directly from the people. Our elected representatives in the State General Assembly need not be the bridge of communication to our elected federal representatives. We all have the power to speak or write to each of them directly.

Senator Justus has every right to oppose the Iraq War---she can contact her Senators and Congressman and voice that opposition. She should not waste the people’s time and money in the Missouri State General Assembly introducing non-binding extra-jurisdictional resolutions to send messages to Washington; it is not her forum for political speech as it relates to federal powers or military strategy in a time of war, it is the people’s forum for State legislative business.

See Senator Justus’ blog for more info, and a link to the KC Star for their article.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Darin Jobe

Self portrait of me having a great weekend. Self portrait smirk included.

A day at the farm

Kayak season opens

A beautiful weekend---my dad and I took the opportunity to put our boats in the water and paddle down stream.

We certainly underestimated how far away to park the pick-up but it was a perfect day on the water, the river was running well and we only had to hop out and portage a couple of times.

Here's some highlight pics:

Chester's broken legs

This is what happens when a cowboy, an inexperienced heifer, and a big calf meet at 12:30 in the morning...
This is Chester, he broke his leg's on his way into the world. Actually, Marvin broke his leg's and he has PVC pipe taped to his legs to splint them while he gets better. He has 5 more weeks in the pipes and he should be good as new. It could have been worse.

First visit from the tooth fairy for Cam

Due to inflationary pressures, the tooth fairy now only brings small bills---it saves her the hastle of carrying all those quarters.