Interesting


Sometimes life works in the most unexpected ways. And sometimes you are presented with a situation where an opportunity presents itself that simply cannot be ignored or put off. Such was our adoption of our new “kid”, Chet, last December. Wednesday, December 19, 2012 to be exact.

Chet came into our lives in a most serendipitous manner. Deb had been searching the internet for places to donate to for the holidays. During one of her searches, she was presented with a list of 10 places — one of which was www.dogorphans.com. Dog Orphans is a no-kill shelter located in Douglas, MA that specializes in rescuing and adopting out dogs. When she looked at the website to see if this was a suitable place to donate to, she decided to take a look at the “orphans” being housed at the shelter then. Well, she scrolled down the page of available dogs she came upon a complete surprise — a pure bread Wire Fox terrier named “Chet.”

Mr. Chet was described as 10 years old and in excellent health. However, there were some troubling idiosyncrasies listed for him as well. He had nipped someone in the past. He was food and dog aggressive. In fact, he had been rescued by Dog Orphans because a local veterinarian refused to euthanize him per his previous owner’s request. These issues were even more troubling because we already live with two Wire Fox Terriers (WFTs) — Lily and Honeybelle, and there was no way we wanted to upset their happy apple cart with the  adoption of a newcomer who essentially may be the canine equivalent of Hannibal Lechter.

Now, I think upon seeing his, well, adorable visage she fell head-over-heels in love with him. You couldn’t help but have strong feeling for him…particularly since the both of us are crazy about WFTs and terriers in general. There is just something about terriers, and WFTs in particular, that inspires a zealous adoration of them by “terrier people.” Deb made the mistake of showing me Chet’s picture, and, well, I did the head-heels thingy too! But through this whole prospective love-fest, there was the nipping/aggressive behavior hanging over Chet’s head.

Well, between busy work schedules and Thanksgiving intervening, we couldn’t get to Douglas to see Chet for over three weeks. But I kept torturing Deb with my want to go and meet him and my dread that he was some kind of monster that we simply could not adopt without accepting great risk to our girls and ourselves.

But we decided to bite the proverbial bullet and go visit Mr. Chet to see what this legend looked like in person. So on Saturday Dec. 16th we trekked down to Douglas to Dog Orphans — which by the way is smack-dab in the middle of nowhere in the Douglas State Forest on Route 16. When we got there, we were directed to the kennels, which reside in the converted basement of a former ranch house. There, almost across from the entrance door was Mr. Chet’s kennel. He was actually smaller and cuter than we had expected. He was super-energized by the visitors in the kennel (although Deb and I were his only admirers at the time) as well as the barking and activity of the other dogs, so he really didn’t notice us much. In fact he would quite nervously run outside into an open exercise run area then back inside without regard to us or anyone else.

One of the attendants suggested that we take Mr. Chet into a small sitting room off the kennel area to get acquainted. So, we took him there on a leash and we sat with him for a while while he explored and sniffed and, embarrassingly, peed on Deb’s leg. Oh well, so much for his social graces. But we got to stroke him and give him a cursory check out. Naturally he didn’t know us from a hole in the wall, so he was sort of aloof and more interested in his surroundings than in us.

So, we asked if we could take him outside to walk him around and let him calm down and focus. And we did this. But we also had an ulterior motive! We preemptively took the girls with us with the intent to introduce them to Mr. Chet on “neutral” ground. So, we walked Chet around for 15 minutes for him to explore and pee…and just get used to our presence. Finally, there was one point where I decided to pick him up and talk to him face-to-face. Whereupon to my surprise he licked my entire face. Needless to say, he had me right then. Chet was coming home with us.

So, Deb went and got the girls one-by-one to meet Chet. As we hoped, there was no aggression and no problems. In turn, the three of them got to meet one-another. They sniffed and generally ignored each-other…giving each other a cursory once-over and then basically milling around us as we waited to see if there would be an illicit sneer or lip curl on any part. We were absolutely relieved and delighted when there were none!

So…it was time to go meet with the administrator that we wanted to take Chet home. But there was one small issue that stood in the way of taking Chet that day…Mr. Chet had a very prominent rectum that quite visibly protruded greater than what we had known (from the other dogs we had owned) by what looked like a half an inch. We wanted Chet to be checked out by Dog Orphan’s vet to make sure he didn’t have a more serious problem. Regardless, we were going to adopt him…we just wanted him checked out. So, he had to stay in Douglas for a couple more days until he could get his check up.

Well, his “butt inspection” came on Monday, and to our relief, he was cleared to come home with us. The best the vet could determine was that he has a case of “puffy butt” due to his having been neutered later in life…which causes such an occurrence in some dogs. This was later confirmed by our two other vets. This condition doesn’t bother Chet, so it doesn’t bother me. [And with a clever "butt coiffure," this issue is completely unnoticeable!] So, we made arrangements to go to Douglas once again to pick up Chet for his ride home. Home…what a great sounding thing!

So, on Dec. 19th, 2012, Chet came home with us. To his home. And there he has been since. During the first few weeks, there were a few outbursts — the new pack had to establish its pecking order. But thereafter, it has been a thoroughly peaceful house. Chet, it seems, is a gentleman and very demure with the ladies. In fact, it has been established that Honeybelle is “top dog” and Chet does not object. He is anything but food aggressive, and he gets along tremendously with both Honeybelle and Lily. However Lily, being blind, growls at him because she just can’t get used to him because she’s never seen him and thus mistrusts him. But he does try to gain her favor as he gingerly licks her eyes, even though she shows a full mouth of teeth to him. After a few minutes of tender , persistent licking, the fanged sneering turns to the occasional grunt. Chet still is working his charms on her with mixed results.

We set up a crate in the bedroom for him so he would have a safe place he could retire to. But he tends to “retire” for the night between 9 and 10PM…to the bed. When Deb and I finally turn in, he then retires to his crate for the night. And boy can that little dog snore!

Chet’s a great eater…when we first picked him up his ribs were showing and he was voracious when he ate — which may explain his reported food aggression. If I were that skinny, I would be pretty greedy of my food resources, I will tell you. Like Honeybelle and Lily have had done for them for years, Chetty has all his food home-made from fresh meat (bison, turkey and other novel proteins) and veggies…with the occasional store-bought mix-in: We think this gustatory treatment has blown his mind! Still, out of an abundance of caution, we’ve kept him separated from Honeybelle and Lily during feeding times. But that really isn’t necessary as there have been times when we’ve forgotten to close the gate…and nothing has happened. Nothing! (since we’ve adopted him he’s already gained two pounds and you can no longer feel his ribs.) He’s proven himself to be a gentle soul and a perfect house mate.

But there is one thing Chet is for sure…a sneaky escape artist! He has pulled this escape trick three times…the last time he came within inches of being hit by a car as he bolted into and down the street, helter-skelter. Thankfully we found him in the across the street neighbor’s yard, gamboling through the snow, after the first time he escaped. The second time he benefited from the ID tag we purchased for him just after his first escape. A fellow called us from the parking lot at the hospital down the street from us (about a half a mile away) informing us he had our escapee in his van and to come and get him. Upon retrieving him, the man told me that he was almost hit by a car in his frantic running about. After this escape, we put a plan into action — when either of us leave the house, Chet is locked behind the baby gate in the kitchen and then released after we’re safely out the door. If both of us leave, he’s crated so that we’re not greeted by an escape upon opening the door! When either of us comes home, we ring the doorbell and wait for the “all’s clear” signal from whomever is home at the time before opening the door. He had one accidental escape after we implemented our plan because he’s so damned persistent. After almost being hit, I jumped in the truck and tracked him down — I found him about 1/4 mile from home (only after about 30 seconds on the loose!) running full tilt down the street that leads to Clinton proper. I cornered him and when I called him to come to me, he immediately jumped in the truck and began to kiss me on the face. So much for being angry with him…oh well.

He’s all set up with his new doctors…both locally and at Angell Memorial in Boston. He’s had both physicals and eye checkups and passed all with flying colors. All the doctors comment that Mr. Chet walks with a “confident” gait. That’s for sure!! And he gleefully kisses his physicians for their troubles!

So Mr. Chet is now a comfortable member of the Marini household. It’s almost like he’s always been here. He spends his days defending the house from invaders (USPS and UPS) and choosing comfy spots to snooze when he’s not laying in the sunbeams on high alert. He also loves going for his daily walks around the neighborhood with dad. He prefers to speed walk, so I’m getting my fill of long-overdue exercise, for sure.

Deb and I hope that we have many years to come to spend with our little man Chet. He’s someone very special!

This

or this

or this

or these

or this

have not killed a single person, let alone have committed mass murder.

However this has

(particularly if it is the brain of a mentally deranged or mentally ill person.)

If we keep these

out of the hands of the likes of these

then we don’t seem to have a problem with mass murder perpetrated with firearms.

I hope this helps our liberal friends understand that playing with or truncating the unalienable rights of countless tens or hundreds of millions of law-abiding Americans will not save a single life if a deranged or mentally ill person has the will to obtain a firearm and use it for nefarious purposes. If folks in the Senate were serious about this issue they would do everything possible to insure that folks like in our rogue’s gallery above are identified and prevented from obtaining a gun BEFORE they use it. Violating my rights and those of every other law-abiding citizen in the US will not accomplish that end. It will only serve to make us hate and distrust our already hated and distrusted government even more. Is that really what we all want???

Let’s use the Constitution as our guide for once and punish the guilty instead of the innocent.

Despotism By Any Other Name. Daniel Hannan is a member of the EU parliament from the UK and a thoughtful, articulate and outspoken conservative. Recently, he addressed the CPAC conference in Washington, DC with a stern and dire warning of the path that we are traveling on as a nation. His speech can be found HERE:

Daniel Hannan/CPAC

His words at CPAC dovetails with an op-ed piece that he wrote almost a year ago in March 2011 for the WSJ. His astute and prescient words still ring as true today.

If you repeat our mistakes, we know exactly what lies in store for you. — Daniel Hannan

We ignore his warning at our own peril.

It Is Better To Receive Than To Give. A twist on the old saw to be sure, but truer words have never been spoken, I assure you. Approximately 50% of our society is on the receiving end of things, in one form or another, from the federal government. Whether it’s inflated benefits from a lifetime of forced contributions (contributions plus presumed interest that only account for a fraction of what is received), subsidies in the form of housing and food or benefits like a monthly check in the mail for whatever reason, contemporary Americans are increasingly and sadly becoming more co-dependent upon government for their living. So it’s not unexpected when those who productively contribute to society (read: WORK) clamor for reforms and changes to the system to encourage (read: FORCE) others to toil and contribute as well that those who receive show their ire through demonstrations and other overt displays. A prime example is the “Occupy” movement with its numerous squatters campsites scattered throughout the country. This movement was a microcosm of “slacker nation” on full display for all to see and hear. Our nation was regaled with this nonsense for over three months in the fall and early winter of 2011 as the “Occupiers” took to public parks with their protests and succeeded to foul them with human waste and refuse. And we were also treated to an amusing hodgepodge of demands and proposals from a group of protestors who obviously have too much time on their hands and who haven’t worked in a meaningful way in far too long. But isn’t this what it’s like with American society writ large? Our nation is running up record debt and burdening ourselves with record deficits, and we all know that the party must end at some time (lest someone else turn off the lights for us) but we cannot bring ourselves to elect and command our representatives to do what is best for our nation — decrease spending. It is instructive to note that we will find the will to decrease spending on those things constitutionally-mandated, like the military, but we cannot find the will to even broach the subject of entitlement reform or benefit reduction. I guess it really is better to receive than it is to give…that is until there’s no more to receive or to give. But that’s where we are inexorably going as we’ve recently passed the 100% GDP point in our national debt; this number growing every day. With all the “receivers” out there and their high expectations (they voted, now they DEMAND results from Obama’s “stash!”), I imagine we all will have hell to pay when the gravy train derails and the goodies stop flowing. This will all be good, though. It took a long time to learn to be hopelessly co-dependent with the government, so it will take some time for those who are in some cases the results of multi-generational dependence to muster the initiative to go to work each day for their living. We better discover soon as a nation that it is better to give than to receive or else we will have no future to give to our children. And we will be despised by our heirs for our treachery and selfishness.

Obama’s Budget Jackpot! Barack Obama released his 2013 budget without much fanfare last week. As predicted, it maintains the spending tack that has been the hallmark of his past budgets. But critical analysis of the budget by the public at large was overhshadowed in the news by a bit of overt and controversial (to say the least) political maneuvering by Obama and HHS regarding Obamacare and “free” contraception as it relates to the Catholic Church. But as Mark Steyn points out in his brilliant opinion piece in the NRO this weekend, there is a telling component to this budget that is being little talked about:

My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on page 58 of their 500-page appendix on “Analytical Perspectives.” This is entitled “Publicly Held Debt Under 2013 Budget Policy Projections.” It’s a straight line going straight up before disappearing off the top right-hand corner of the graph in the year 2084 and continuing northeast straight through your eye socket, out the back of your skull, and zooming up to rendezvous with Newt’s space colony on the moon circa 2100. Just to emphasize, this isn’t the doom-laden dystopian fancy of a right-wing apocalyptic loon like me; it’s the official Oval Office version of where America’s headed. In the New York Times–approved “responsible budget” there is no attempt even to pretend to bend the debt curve into something approaching reentry with reality.

As for us doom-mongers, at the House Budget Committee on Thursday, Chairman Paul Ryan produced another chart, this time from the Congressional Budget Office, with an even steeper straight line showing debt rising to 900 percent of GDP and rocketing off the graph circa 2075. America’s treasury secretary, Timmy Geithner the TurboTax Kid, thought the chart would have been even more hilarious if they’d run the numbers into the next millennium: “You could have taken it out to 3000 or to 4000” he chortled, to supportive titters from his aides. Has total societal collapse ever been such a non-stop laugh riot?

“Yeah, right.” replied Ryan. “We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.”  — Mark Steyn

The graph that Mark mentions does not simply suggest dereliction of duty by Obama and his financial functionaries, it illustrates it in a textbook manner. I have included a thumbnail of it for your viewing pleasure:

Critical analysis reveals that Chart 5-1 suggests two things: the first is that the Obama administration is under some delusion that we can somehow obliviously spend ourselves into penury without a flitting care in the world; and unfortunately the second is that that graph represents the pinnacle of inter-generational treachery whereby we are spending at such an irresponsible level that we are willfully burdening our children and their children’s children with our debt. This isn’t much of a legacy and birthright to pass on to future generations, huh? But what is all this debt as compared to the worship and adulation that one man, Barack Obama, can reap with his willful disregard of our nation’s future prosperity? Politics, and free rides, are indeed messy things.

The New Nominal. We are on the road to unsustainability at an unsustainably unsustainable rate of debt accumulation as a nation. This is no more evidenced than by our switch of scale when it comes to discussing the federal budget of the United States. We have now eclipse billions and have left that paltry magnitude in the ash heap of history. We are now blazing a new frontier into the domain of trillions. A trillion dollars may not seem like a lot to you, but to me that’s A LOT of walking around money. And considering that our national debt passed the 15 trillion dollar level, we are talking serious shekels here. I recently read a comparison where if we were to stack one million dollar bills atop each other that it would take a stack over a mile high to represent a trillion dollars. So, our present debt puts us safely into low Earth orbit.

How’s the view??

This begs the question: How long before we start talking interstellar levels of debt using billion dollar bills as our reference? At some point it doesn’t matter. At some point the sheer magnitude of the debt number is so huge, it defies comprehension by an individual. But sit and think about this for a moment. One million dollars represents the average LIFETIME earnings of an average citizen (if said citizen is inclined to work in the first place.) There are approximately 150 million wage earners in the USA at the present time — a sad fact given our population is just a touch over 310 million folks. All things being left constant, if we were to give the government 100% of our earnings over our lifetimes, we could indeed service the debt…and perhaps have a little left over for paving roads and groping travelers at airports. But as in our discussion of Chart 5-1 previously, where does that leave our kids? If we are to do anything about this unsustainable debt and associated budget deficits (where our borrowing  from foreign adversaries to service it is out of control) we need to reject the “new nominal” that is being forced upon us by the government and this administration. The only reason we even discuss budgets at the 15 trillion dollar level is because we have become a hopeless welfare state, and engaged in a federal spending spree that would even make drunken Russian sailors blush. If we accept the new budgetary vocabulary, the new nominal as it were, then we cede our control and our comprehension of the magnitude of the problem. At some point, the problem becomes too large to adequately grasp because of its sheer size. It literally becomes the immoveable object. And if we are not careful, then we will be trapped beneath its crushing size and weight.

The present social morass that we labor within is just an extension of the wages of sin. Our culture has become so self-possessed and self-obsessed, seemingly without linkage or fear of an Almighty law giver, that it is beyond troubling. In our society, God has been shown the door without remorse.

Our American “culture” makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like Sesame Street. It’s all about *ME*, right here, right now — 24/7. Instant gratification and self-aggrandizement are the not-so-hidden agenda watchwords in our ever-decaying society.

Women have become hyper-sexualized “ho’s”…with little girls, for God’s sake, being made into proto-bimboes with the provocative clothing and adult-like behaviors that their imbecilic mommies make them don or ape. Little boys are castrated by the over-feminization of our society…them being reduced to ADHD alphabet-soup zombies by the adult pity partiers. Kids spend further zombie time on cell phones texting “friends” while wholesale ignoring those physically elbow-to-elbow with them. Instead of just being kids, they fear the world and are ignorant of it because they don’t properly experience it as curious beings. Helicopter parents have turned ostensibly normal kids into hyper-’schedulized’ mini-CEO’s. Play dates and dance classes have replaced mud pie making and puddle jumping. Kids are being forced to mature at an accelerated rate so mommy and/or daddy can live vicariously through them.

Call in the councilors!

But if we must criticize this new-age aberrant behavior, we mustn’t muss up a single feeling, except(of course)  for those of the folks who decry the debauchery and the decrepitude. The critical folks are mercilessly ostracized and (almost) subject to hate crimes prosecution for their moribund clinging to traditional values…whatever *they* are any more.

But history teaches us that we are not a good indicator of our own failings. Future generations of Earth-dwellers (I’m not so sure there will be Americans in the not-too-distant future) will look upon our contemporary generations and question our sanity and our souls. They will look at us like the fools greedily embracing the bread and circuses provided to them during another fall of a once great past empire.

These historians and scholars will clearly see what we simply cannot: That we’ve embraced covetousness, greed, sloth, avarice, hubris, sloth, lust, vainglory, gluttony and several other sins that don’t have a precise name or definition. Take a particular fiscal, social or government issue and tease it to it’s root cause and you will find an unnatural embrace of sin at it’s rotting core. But we’ve cloaked this sinful behavior in a good intentions wrapper. So, when a politician espouses soaking the rich, they’re not guilty of covetousness. Nope. They’re fighting for the poor or the middle class.

Poppycock! Let’s call a spade a spade.

This example of class warfare incitement is simply a pol using man’s lesser angels (covetousness) to feather their political nest at the expense of others. See for yourself how many other social and political issues have a similar foundation. It is truly shocking. And I am convinced that when we play along, we anger God in ways that we never dreamed.

The wholesale “separation of Church and State” and the eschewing of traditional moral values and virtues in our modern society has worked out swimmingly for us, eh?

Shovels??

Yup…Shovels!

It’s time that the Congress authorizes the purchase of millions of shovels in order to put the legion idle goody-getters to work. If someone is going to receive an “entitlement” from the US government, then they must be expected to expend some energy for the privilege. Shovels, and the hard work that they would assist doing, would be the national tonic that we would need to break so many citizens from their no-fault government-individual co-dependency. Our nation cannot remain a viable international entity for much longer by the continued fostering idleness and the cultivation of class warfare, sloth, envy and greed without a shred of return for our collective investment. When our purported “representatives” in Washington begin to consider deep cuts in the defense budget (which by the way is a constitutional mandate) over making common-sense and fair changes to the welfare state that our nation has become, then there is something totally wrong with the ethos and moral fiber of our country. It is prime evidence that we have completely abandoned the Founder’s vision and the Constitution.

I was always told from an early age that there are no free lunches. Well, forgive me from Heaven mom and dad…but YES there are! Tens of millions upon tens of millions of checks come from the US treasury on a monthly basis to fund such free lunches. Generations of folks have earned their sole livelihoods from the public dole. And they have given NOTHING back in return, except more and more and more consumption — either by remaining on the system for their entire lives, or perpetuating the practice by having more children, than they could afford if they were indeed working, on our dime and creating further inter-generational dependence.

It’s high time that our representatives started to trade in the currency of common sense and hard work. Those of us with jobs are yoked in the system…we pay our taxes and we live our lives under a certain level of government tyranny. But we’re too busy working for a living to complain much. But I assure each and every one of the five hundred thirty-something elected morons in Washington that we are not amused any more. When trillions are being thrown around like millions, our ire is rightfully stirred.

Just like us, the Congress and this profligate president need to rein in the spending…lessen the debt and live with our means as a nation. They need to start to “encourage” hard work, personal responsibility and self-sufficiency for ALL Americans…not just from taxpayers. They need to create MORE taxpayers…by drastically cutting back the mandated charity that disguises itself as Welfare, WIC and other social entitlements.  They need to emphasize that there are no more free lunches.

Only until they cherish and respect the sheer amount of hard work and blood, sweat and tears that the tax revenues that are spent on a daily basis represents can we working American expect a fair shake. Perhaps then these political cowards might summons up the courage to make significant and permanent changes to the modus operandi of our government.

For me, it all begins with a humble shovel…

I was in Boston yesterday having lunch with my wife in the Seaport district and afterwards, as we frequently do, we went to the end of the commercial pier to watch the planes take off and land at Logan Airport located just across the narrow channel. On the way to the airport viewing location, we have to pass the Boston Ship Repair Depot on Drydock Avenue. In for (what appears to be) de-rusting and re-painting in the drydock was an enormous cargo ship named the USNS Watkins (T-AKR-315). As it turns out, the Watkins is a large, medium speed, roll-on, roll-off (RORO) prepositioning ship for the Military Sealift Command: It is an impressive vessel due to its sheer size.

Now, knowing from past experience that most of these ships are named after Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH) winners, I immediately wanted to do some research on the eponymous Watkins. It turns out that the “Watkins” on the ship was Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins, and he was indeed a CMH winner from the Korean War. He was KIA near Yongsan, South Korea in 1950 at the age of 30.

Travis Watkins was born in Waldo, Arkansas, on September 5, 1920 and he was raised in Troup, east Texas, and enlisted in the Army in 1939. He served in the Pacific during World War II and earned a Bronze Star during the Guadalcanal Campaign.

Upon returning to the United States at the end of the war, Watkins married Madie Sue Barnett on April 15, 1948 and they had two daughters. He settled with his family in the east Texas town of Gladewater. [In an odd connection to Boston, in the 1930's, Gladewater was the home of the Gladewater Bears, a minor league team franchised to the Boston Red Sox.]

Sgt. Watkins remained in the Army during the peacetime between WWII and the Korean War, and in 1950 he was deployed to Korea as a Master Sergeant with Company H, Ninth Infantry Regiment, Second Infantry Division.

On August 31, 1950, Watkins and 30 men from his unit were separated from the American forces by an enemy advance, and they were subsequently surrounded near Yongsan, Korea. Watkins took command and set up perimeter defenses to repel the frequent enemy onslaughts. He dodged heavy enemy fire to visit each foxhole and troop emplacement, giving instructions and encouragement to the soldiers. When the group’s ammunition ran low, Watkins shot two enemy soldiers outside the perimeter and went to retrieve their ammunition alone. Three other enemy soldiers attacked and wounded MSgt. Watkins once he had left the defensive perimeter. Watkins killed those three, recovered arms and ammunition from the five enemy soldiers, and returned to his command.

Eventually, Watkins’ position was attacked by six enemy soldiers with grenades. Watkins left the safety of his fox hole to engage the attackers with rifle fire and was shot, but he continued firing until the attackers were killed. Paralyzed from the waist down as a result of his wounds, he collapsed. He refused all food in order to provide more for his men. By September 3, Watkins the intensity of the enemy attacks convinced Watkins that waiting out the siege was hopeless. He then ordered the remaining men to escape to the safety of the American front line. He refused to be evacuated himself as he knew his condition would greatly slow the other troop’s treat. Watkins was cheerful and encouraging as he bid his men good luck in their escape. He died of his wounds shortly after they departed.

Watkins’ cool leadership and demonstrated valor throughout the ordeal helped to keep his men alive while roughly 500 enemy soldiers were killed. In January 9, 1951, MSgt. Travis E. Watkins was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor — presented to his wife by President Harry Truman in Washington D.C.

His Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Master Sergeant Travis Earl Watkins (ASN: RA-6295287), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company H, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Yongsan, Korea, from 31 August to 3 September 1950. When an overwhelming enemy force broke through and isolated 30 men of his unit, Master Sergeant Watkins took command, established a perimeter defense and directed action which repelled continuous, fanatical enemy assaults. With his group completely surrounded and cut off, he moved from foxhole to foxhole exposing himself to enemy fire, giving instructions and offering encouragement to his men. Later when the need for ammunition and grenades became critical he shot two enemy soldiers 50 yards outside the perimeter and went out alone for their ammunition and weapons. As he picked up their weapons he was attacked by three others and wounded. Returning their fire he killed all three and gathering up the weapons of the five enemy dead returned to his amazed comrades. During a later assault, six enemy soldiers gained a defiladed spot and began to throw grenades into the perimeter making it untenable. Realizing the desperate situation and disregarding his wound he rose from his foxhole to engage them with rifle fire. Although immediately hit by a burst from an enemy machine gun he continued to fire until he had killed the grenade throwers. With this threat eliminated he collapsed and despite being paralyzed from the waist down, encouraged his men to hold on. He refused all food, saving it for his comrades, and when it became apparent that help would not arrive in time to hold the position ordered his men to escape to friendly lines. Refusing evacuation as his hopeless condition would burden his comrades, he remained in his position and cheerfully wished them luck. Through his aggressive leadership and intrepid actions, this small force destroyed nearly 500 of the enemy before abandoning their position. Master Sergeant Watkins’ sustained personal bravery and noble self-sacrifice reflect the highest glory upon himself and is in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.

It is fitting indeed that I saw this ship this weekend. Life is funny in the things that it brings a person’s way. And the coincidence of seeing the very large ship, and fitting tribute to MSgt. Watkins, Watkins in that Boston drydock was a humbling experience for me after my research. Reading about MSgt. Watkins left me with the question: Where do we get men and women like this?

Learning about the valor, bravery and ultimate sacrifice of Travis Watkins personalized the concept of Memorial Day for me once again. We are a free country, with citizens able to speak and act as they please, because of the sacrifice of men and women like Travis E. Watkins. So tomorrow, on Memorial Day 2011, bow your head in reverence and respect for MSgt. Travis Watkins, and for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and security of our nation.

God bless Travis Watkins. God bless America.

In the run up to the State of the Union (SOTU) address, and the kickoff to his 2012 re-election bid, President Obama is going to hit the ground running as the Optimist-In-Chief. Everything he purports to have accomplished, or didn’t, is going to be touted by the POTUS as the best thing to happen to America since sliced bread. Hopefully, this week kicks off the last half of his term as president. (We can hope for change, can’t we?!?!) But how well Obama is able to frame the benefits of his agenda so far versus the extreme damage that they’ve done to our nation is going to set the stage for his re-election chances. He is going to have to put the most positive spins on the Stimulus (aka Porkulis), Obamacare, the financial sector bailouts and the takeover of GM and present them in the best possible light. In conjunction with his adoring MSM, Obama must accentuate the positive in any way he can. This is already happening as Obama has clearly pivoted (as opposed to the triangulation of Bill Clinton) from the fundamental change president to the jobs president. He is moving towards the center; a move that may be more uncomfortable for his radid progressive supporters than it is for him. And there are already paeans and love odes about his first half-term that are appearing in the MSM to aid in his movement.

Obama clearly has no deeply held feelings about capitalism. In fact, by all indications he’s a progressive socialist. So rather than an ideological epiphany, his centrist move is less about substance and more about re-election calculus. So, as he tacks towards the political center, one has to wonder how many of his Progressive ideological soul mates he will drag with him. Were the passage of Obamacare, his restricting homeland oil exploration and the onerous regulatory actions actions of his czars (so far) enough to mollify the crazies on the extreme left? Time will tell, but it’s hard to get into the skulls of the true believers. Reading the tea leaves of the Cloward-Piven crowd is tough, particularly since they measure their progress towards achieving their agenda in inches and not miles. The moonbat lefto’s may lionize Obama for his passage of Obamacare…which sets up a controlling structure for the government forevermore. Who knows?

But I think we can count on this. Obama is all about Obama. He will throw his fellow “Democrats” and Progressives under the political bus if it means political longevity for himself. Be prepared for the man to say anything in order to couch what has occurred in the first half of his term in a positive light. This SOTU will be Obama in full rose-colored glasses mode. He is going to re-iterate his “inheritance” of two wars and a “lousy” economy…and try to convince us that he is an extraordinary turn-around artist.

But with inflation just beginning to rear its ugly head, gasoline and heating oil prices increasing on a daily basis and unemployment still in the vicinity of 10%, he has a tough row to hoe. Perhaps his supporters will give him a break and give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, he and the TOTUS are tremendous “speechifiers.” But I think as time goes by more and more Americans are recognizing his agenda for what it it…the greatest governmental spending spree in the history of the world and the greatest assault on individual American’s rights and liberties since the Roosevelt administration.

In his SOTU address, Obama will begin his precipitous move towards the political center. If you’ve been a keen observer of his past politics, he and the political center are strange bedfellows indeed! But move towards the center (and presumed moderation) he must. However every American should be wary of his words and mindful of his actions, both past and future. He might get the privilege of speaking out of both sides of his mouth during the SOTU address, but it will be the Obama who speaks from his one mouth after his national self-adulation during the SOTU that we must have great concern about.

Obama cannot change his stripes, nor can he gain new ones. He is who he is, and we are going to have to understand this fact and deal with its consequences. Over the next 23 months we are going to witness an Obama as POTUS who is going to do everything humanly possible to derail the plans of the Republican majority in the House while portraying himself as “Mr. Goody Two-Shoes” and a moderate’s moderate. He will preach “bipartisanship” and civility, but employ his usual cut-throat Chicago-style political tactics and antics. Americans, don’t be so dumb, gullible or ignorant to buy the “stuff” that he is selling. America has a long way to go to pull ourselves out of the social, economic and governmental mess that was foist upon us in the first Obama half-term. We are going to need a strong leader who recommends strong medicine to get us out of our morass. This will include major cuts to social entitlements and a reduction of the size of government — something we are never, ever going to see from an Obama administration.

By his actions and his words in his completed half-term…when the REAL Barack Hussein Obama held sway…Obama is not nearly half the man to guide us towards a better future. If we’re completely honest with ourselves, the majority knows that this is true. So PLEASE, don’t be fooled by the repackaged, new-and-improved Obama and the utter propaganda and sloganeering that you will hear from him from now on.

Seems like apt company for our modern day Nero. The one thing you’ll never see is our august presidente in a group photo with Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, et. al.

Give Me Liberty, or Just Go Ahead and Grope Me. There are a growing number of Americans who see the ridiculous screening techniques employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for what they really are. Unconstitutional. But that doesn’t stop the political lemmings and ‘Surrendercrats’ from knee-jerk supporting these measures as essential to the safety and security of American air travelers. For example, Emmett Tyrell, a columnist at Townhall.com blames Matt Drudge for the growing brouhaha regarding the airport grope-fests. He suggests that folks who object to the scans and pat downs are somehow hyper-sensitive, less-than-patriotic (after all, we’re at war!) and ersatz civil-libertarians. Gimme a break! The government, in the form of the TSA, has opted to ignore the Constitution in a wholesale manner. The Fourth Amendment guarantees us:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Mr. Tyrrell may wish to surrender his rights as easily as one breathes. But there are others, myself included, who do not wish this. And it is easy to forget when one’s mind is lost in thoughts of a socialist Utopia that one person may not relinquish or abridge the constitutional rights of others because of how they “feel” or what they believe. Or our rights may not be truncated even if the US is at war. The Constitution does not support Constitution Free Zones, or situational limitations of our rights “depending.” Mr. Tyrrell is free to walk into any airport, or into any building for that matter, and request to be searched. The remainder of us freeborn American citizens are guaranteed that we need not submit to hair-brained schemes and onerous searches, regardless of the good intentions put forward. This is of course true unless I’ve missed the memo and we finally live in a post-Constitution America, where the Congress and the government may give and take rights without our knowledge and consent.

In Massachusetts Being Illegal Isn’t Such a Bad Thing. After his re-election on Nov.2nd, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has become emboldened that his less than majority victory (he won with 49% of the vote) gives him a mandate to implement any scheme that he sees fit. This includes his recently announced plans to completely implement the recommendations contained in the so-called New Americans Agenda report that he commissioned during his first term. This includes his recently announced plans for granting in-state tuition for illegal aliens. Mr. Governor — with our state locked in the grasp of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, with our state running a 2.5+ billion deficit and with the state cutting back on local aid to cash-strapped cities and towns do you really think it necessary to burden the already overburdened LEGAL taxpayers of Massachusetts with costly “benefits” to illegals? Regardless of your reasons, this plan to reward the minority and illegal alien constituency of the state’s population is infuriating and ill-timed. Regardless of your assumed mandate(s), Bay Stater’s want tax relief…and a state government that obeys the laws of the land. We want a governor who concentrates first-and-foremost on the hard-working, taxpaying legal citizens and their concerns before he turns his attention (and our resources) to the affairs of illegal aliens who invade our state.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving. The US House Democrats are apparently “stuck on stupid!” Yup, that’s right and the evidence to prove this condition is the recent re-election of Nancy Pelosi as the House Minority Leader. Or Commodore of the SS Clueless, as I’ll think of her for the foreseeable future. Having Nancy Pelosi, the woman who single-handedly wrought the recent election carnage upon the Dems, as the continued face of the liberal Democrats is a fantastic outcome for the conservatives in the House. No better differentiation of ideologies and actions could exist than between San-Fran Nan and the new majority Republicans who seek to return the US’s governance to constitutional compliance. This return will follow the rampant constitutional abuses by the Pelosi-led Congress, and the string of unconstitutional laws shepherded through the House by the then Majority leader Pelosi. It will be personally satisfying to watch this abrasive and offensive woman be relegate to essentially back-bencher status. She and her Democrat cohort had the chance to do some real good for the American people, but instead they chose to abuse their power and threaten our constitutional liberties. Having Ms. Pelosi around as the face of the failed Democrat agenda will be a good thing, and strong medicine to remind the Republicans that the voters mean business if Mr. Bohener cannot deliver on his promises. And she will be a reminder that the Congress should do our business and not the monkey business that Ms. Pelosi encouraged in the House.

Sen Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA), Progressive/Marxist. In a stunning bit of unscripted candor, Sen,. Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA) revealed his true inner feelings regarding the Constitution at a senate hearing this week. You can see the video HERE. According to Mr. Rockefeller:

“There’s a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to FOX and to MSNBC: ‘Out. Off. End. Goodbye.’ It would be a big favor to political discourse; our ability to do our work here in Congress, and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and more importantly, in their future.”

In these parts, we call that protected First Amendment speech. Your “little bug” aside, we plebes are free to listen to whatever news outlets that we see fit, and support those who we find have value. Somehow, the voter of West Virginia need to disabuse Mr. Rockefeller of his god complex — his knee-jerk reaction that he has the ability to implement his autocratic feelings by decree or diktat. Unfortunately, this predisposition to ignore the Constitution is deeply held by many of our elected representatives and legislators. They blatantly ignore their sacred obligation to support and defend the Constitution, and they substitute a raw contempt for the document (and our rights) in its place. Rockefeller’s outburst is yet another confirmation that elected office does not draw individuals to public service who represent the best of us. Rather, public service has become the place where individuals who are more interested in power and glory gravitate to. Hopefully the good voters in West Virginia wake up sufficiently in 2014 (a long way off) and “retire” the overly-patrician Mr. Rockefeller at the ballot box. At this point in our history, our country needs more George Washington’s than Jay Rockefeller’s representing us.

Inflation is Here! Inflation is Here! Despite the steadfast reluctance of the government to admit the obvious, inflation IS here. Anyone who purchases gasoline, energy or food know this fact, and knows it well. This news does not bode well for the average American consumer, whose finances are already stretched to their breaking points by the persistent economic downturn/recession. Nothing will kill off consumer confidence and personal financial stability like the prospective double whammy of consumer price inflation and the end of the Bush tax cuts. Folks teetering on the edge of financial ruin will topple over the edge and into the abyss. The government cannot alter reality by simply excluding inflationary factors or commodities from its assessments. By doing so they are only kidding themselves and lying to the American public. we need action — we need the Congress to renew the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, and we need Fed Chairman Bernanke to reconsider his foolhardy attempts to rescue the economy with quantitative easing (QE) — and economy hamstrung by over-regulation and anti-capitalist policies. Bernanke cannot do by printing money what Obama and the Democrats have failed to do over the past two years — get the hell out of the way and let the engine of American enterprise pull us out of the ditch and help us to speed away from our economic malaise.

California, Dreamin. I recently heard a joke: “Q: What’s the difference between the Titanic and California? A: The passengers on the Titanic didn’t vote to hit the iceberg!” That pretty much encapsulates the problems in California in a nutshell. The citizens of California strive to make the place some sort of misbegotten socialist/progressive Utopia, but they simply cannot afford the largess required to keep their Titanic away from the iceberg of financial ruin that awaits them. Simply put, they have far too many unproductive beneficiaries and not enough benefactors. They are like an addict or a drunk that has run out of money…they’re going to get that money by hook or by crook. And based on the election results from the local to the federal level this past election, where they eschewed conservative candidates and embraced pseudo-commies as their leaders, Golden Stater’s do not see themselves as having a problem. Everything is hunky dory…the status quo is just fine. So what if there are structural budgetary issues? So what if the state perpetually operates in deficit mode? “Hey man, chill!” But facing a bailout of misguided and mismanaged California, the remainder of Americans cannot afford to chill out. We must make sure that we inform our representatives that we don not want to bail out the crazy and out-of-touch Californians. They got themselves into this mess; they now need to buck up, bear up and get themselves out of it. Californians don’t need coddling and quick fixes (which will only encourage more bad behavior on their parts,) they need a sobering smack of reality to wake them from their torpor. They can try to be everything to everybody, but when the bill comes due they need to step up, face the music and accept the consequences. It will be tough to watch, but they cannot operate under the misconception that the laws of finance, logic and nature do not apply to them — regardless of how “kewl” that they think they are.

It’s official! The 2010 election season is here.

How do I know? Well, it’s not because of the campaigning going on. It’s not because of the smattering of political yard signs beginning to appear. Nope, I know it’s election season because the mud (or the threat of mud) slinging has begun in earnest.

There was a news article on Drudge today that described something that I though might be coming. In case you’re in suspense and wondering, the title is: “Globalist Soros Launches Frontal Assault Against Tea Party“.

I had heard rumblings of this earlier in August…with snippets here and there that videos, news stories, pictures, etc. were wanted so that they could be posted online to reveal bad and racist behavior. The funding wasn’t mentioned — it was rumored that either Huffington or MediaMatters would be the sponsor.

But in the loony left-o-verse of thought and politics, all dough in one way or another leads back to Soros. And it is fitting that Soros is funding this smear effort: He is purported to HATE the Tea Party and it gets under his skin like nothing else.

I predict that this smear site, Teapartytracker.org, is going to do more harm to the left than good. The crazed left is convinced that there are bigots and racists and hate-mongers under every rock. Particularly rocks on the property of Tea Party members. But just like the political nonsense that oozes from the left…the “stuff” found on the .org site will be primarily manufactured by the left, for consumption by the left.

Those on the left who despise the Tea Party (pretty much everyone with a pulse) have tried for months to tar and feather rally attendees or folks at town meetings. The crown jewel of proof of Tea Party racism was the alleged hurling of racial pejoratives at members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the day of the passage of Obamacare by members of the Tea Party who assembled to protest this action. Contrary to the claims by the individuals who were alleged to have been the “victims” of this verbal assualt, no evidence of any kind has emerged — even in the face of a $50,000 reward by Andrew Breitbart.

So now every Tea party event from now until Nov.2 will be documented every which way to Sunday. And like I said, if the deportment of the Tea Party members is stellar, I’m convinced that questionable “bad” behavior will appear on the .org reporting site and exploited for all it’s worth.

The sad part of this is that rather than being skeptical, the MSM will run with the garbage hurled by the anti-Tea Party .org site. They won’t give the Tea Party folks the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. No, no, no. I predict they will pig pile on the alleged “bad” behavior. And they will ignore any evidence that would prove otherwise.

See, as much as Soros hates the Tea Party, the combined MSM hates them worse.  The thought of freeborn citizens exercising their constitutional rights in a public forum drives all these leftist/socialist/statists CRAZY! So they will need the mud and the garbage assembled by the .org site to create controversial headlines and leading news stories.

At least we all know what’s coming. But let’s not fool ourselves, regardless of how exemplary we act from here on in, don’t be surprised if any of us see ourselves portrayed as racists or some other label with negative connotation attached to it.

My advice — smile and say “Have a nice day.” What we will experience on Nov. 3rd will more than compensate us for having Smearbots hurl the mud, garbage and dreck at us.

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