Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Thanks to a flush of spam comments, I have turned on moderation.  Never reward bad behavior.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Couldn't Have Said It Better

As the tenth anniversary of September 11 came and went, I felt more anger and disgust than anything else. Between Dear Leader stumping for yet another excuse to waste our money while accomplishing nothing, and the mandated-helplessness crowd bleating about FEEEEWINGS, I pretty much gave up on writing anything that didn't violate my language-quality policy.

Anyway, I couldn't have said it any better than TamLawDog, MattG, and of course Larry Correia.  Go read.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sidesaddle For Sale

A friend is selling a restored Western-style sidesaddle, without a leaping pommel:

She's asking $350. Leave a comment if you're interested.

UPDATE 09/15:  The saddle has been sold.  Thanks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

If It Feels Hinky . . .

I was running errands last Saturday and had just left a specialty store in a small strip mall with my purchases.  A woman who looked, shall we say, out of place in that area approached me with some sob story about needing help.  She needed money, she needed to borrow (yeah, right) my cell phone, yada, yada, as she kept trying to get within arm's reach.  I maintained my distance, explaining politely but firmly that I could not help her.

Fortunately she finally got the message.  I then watched her go into the store I had just left, the only one in the vicinity with no customers inside, just a single late-teens-early-twenties female sales clerk with the situational awareness of a doorstop.

I pretended to have forgotten something and went back into the store.  The woman was regaling the young clerk with the same spiel as she edged closer to the open end of the counter.  I stood off to one side, where the woman could see I was watching her out of the corner of my eye.

Funny thing, she quickly left the store and was nowhere to be seen when I went out again to the parking lot.

Pay attention to that built-in hinky meter.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oh, This Would NEVER Be Abused

By our Benevolent Overlords:

HR1981 forces ISPs to retain customer names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and dynamic IP addresses for eighteen months. The information would be available to police and attorneys upon request. Even civil litigants would be able to access this data.

As ZDNet's Violet Blue states:
"This has nothing to do with porn. In case you’re like the Reps that passed this nightmare and you’ve forgotten: pornography is legal in the United States.

"It is pedophilia that is illegal. But for the sake of harnessing hysteria to get a bill passed, clearly these particular Republicans find it convenient to conflate “pornographers” as pedophiles. Last time I checked in on the matter, pedophiles did not operate within the laws surrounding adult pornography."
Gee, kinda like criminals do not operate withing the laws surrounding guns.

Just as with guns, there are plenty of ways to track down pedophiles without keeping 18 months' worth of highly confidential data on every single internet user in the country.  As a professional network engineer, I've worked on many investigations ranging from employees behaving badly to kidnappings and serial killers.  Not one of those investigations was impeded by lack of this legislation, or would have been advanced by its presence.

HR1981 (1984 would have been a more appropriate bill number) happens to be sponsored by a Republican ostensibly against Teh Ebil Pr0n, but it could just as easily been crafted by Democrats against Tea Party Terrorists.  One can't help but wonder whether there's some wink-wink-nudge-nudge going on across the aisle with this one.

As with criminals vs. law-abiding gun owners, the percentage of pedophiles vs. legitimate internet users is microscopic.  There is absolutely no justification to collect information on 272.1 million internet users to track down an estimated 10,000 sleazeballs.  Just like registering everyone's guns will have no effect at all on violent criminals, but will surely facilitate abuse of the law-abiding.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Well, Whaddaya Know?

There really IS a pony under all that hair.

Note the Labrador Retriever behind him for a full appreciation of Milton The EvilPony's™ size -- or lack thereof.

That's Erin, the oh-so-patient hoofcare professional trimming the little monster's feet, getting down to his level rather than ruining her back.

Believe it or not, Milton has actually lost some weight since his 24x7 corn-vacuuming adventure last winter.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Brady Campaign Shows Us The Way

The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Ownership Violence has handy "scorecards" that show us what deficiencies exist in each state's gun laws. By examining Nebraska's Brady scorecard, we see that Nebraska has 5 points for gun control out of a possible 100.

Obviously, a score of 5 is a problem. By examining the scoring detail, we find Nebraska earned 2 out of 2 possible points for "Employers not forced to allow firearms in parking lots," 2 out of 2 possible points for "Colleges are not forced to allow firearms on campus," and 1 out of 2 possible points for "Some local control of (firearm) regulations." Nebraska also earned 0 of a possible -2 points for requiring a permit for concealed carry.

That clearly shows us where we need to focus our efforts. Laws must be enacted in our state to prohibit employers from banning secured firearms in locked personal vehicles, remove the "spree killer empowerment zones" from our colleges and universities, enforce total statewide preemption of firearm regulations, and enact Constitutional carry.

Accomplishing all of those things would give Nebraska the coveted Perfect Brady Score of -2.

See? Who says we can't learn anything from the Brady Bunch?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rewarding Bad Behavior

Recently a certain columnist at a certain Pittsburgh online newspaper wrote a sexist, misogynistic screed about women and the NRA. It was picked up by the blogosphere, driving lots of new traffic to that paper's website.

Online newspapers make their money from advertising, and in order to sell advertising their sites need lots of hits. They will be more than happy to hold their noses and keep the most disgusting so-called writers on staff if those writers' vile blatherings generate said hits.

Complaining to the authors of offensive articles, who are attention-whores anyway, accomplishes nothing. Like the dog who soils the carpet because being beaten is preferable to being ignored, any attention is better than none. And complaining to their bosses only confirms the "value" of the hit-generator.

So rather than link back to the crap itself, thus proving its value to the publisher, make one short visit to the newspaper's website. Take note of the biggest advertisers, and contact them. Explain exactly why you will never spend another dime with them if they continue to support such garbage. Copy the so-called writer and his bosses on that message so they understand precisely why their revenues are likely to decrease.

And just for the record, in case this so-called writer should blunder in here, "it's satire and you're too stupid to see that" isn't working for Scott Adams and it won't work for you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Enough Is Enough

Posting has been nonexistent lately. I have power of attorney for my 94 year old aunt, who's in a nursing home with end-stage Alzheimer's. We've reached the point where there are calls from the nursing home at all hours of the day and night. I understand they have to protect themselves from liability. I'm sure there have been cases where family members previously stipulated "comfort care" only, then freaked out after the patient finally died and threatened to sue. But this crap is getting old.

She has come full circle, back to a state of existence worse than infancy: diapered, unable to turn over, unable to feed herself, unresponsive and unaware of her surroundings, making only random inarticulate sounds. She aspirates her own saliva. Were I in that state, I would not want to live. Going through this debacle has made me ensure I have the necessary paperwork on file to prevent it.

Her funeral arrangements are all prepaid under an irrevocable trust, so there won't be any expenses. There are, however, a huge amount of other people's expectations. I want nothing to do with any of them. I don't want to hover anxiously by her bedside. I don't want to have to manage and attend a funeral. I just want this over. I want her gone from my life, for good.

She was a thoroughly nasty person long before she had Alzheimer's as an excuse. Any time things didn't go her way she would throw tantrums worthy of the most spoiled two-year-old, screaming, throwing things, slamming doors. She spit on me on multiple occasions. About the only toddler ploy she didn't try was holding her breath until she turned blue. Her nickname among the staff at the local hospital before she lost the ability to terrorize everyone around her was "Cruella De Vil" and trust me, she deserved it.

Nobody else would step up to manage her affairs. For the last eleven years, I've filled out her paperwork, paid her bills, and untangled her Medicaid benefits when HHS messed them up. For this I have taken no compensation, despite my lawyer telling me I should. Every dime she had, including her serious six-figure inheritance from her sister (my mother), has gone to her care and upkeep.

My whole life has been cleaning up my family's mess. She's the last of them. I'm more than ready to be free of these people.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Well Insulated

Too well, actually.

Milton The EvilPony™ is officially on a diet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nebraska: They Eat Horses, Don't They?

Nebraska Senator Tyson Larson wants to slaughter horses for human consumption. His 2011 bill LB305 would set up a state meat inspection system, designed as an end run around the federal defunding of horsemeat inspection in 2005. Since all horsemeat sold for human consumption must be inspected, that effectively ended horse slaughter in the United States.

The meat inspection bill is bad enough, but with his companion bill LB306 effectively criminalizing horse rescue in this state, Senator Larson would assure his pet slaughter project a supply of horses with nowhere else to go. Nobody would prosecute a homeless shelter for being full, but Nebraska Senator Larson wants to do exactly that to horse rescues in this state. His justification?
"Basically, [LB306] would mandate that humane societies and horse rescue operations would have to accept a horse if one was presented to them, or they would face a class four misdemeanor. I'm giving them an alternative. If they don't want us to process horses, what are we supposed to do?"
Senator Larson claims to be a horseman, but has been quoted as saying the horse breeders in Nebraska who were producing horses exclusively for slaughter were placed under a hardship when the horse slaughter plant in North Platte closed. Funny, that sounds like horse slaughter actually ENCOURAGES breeding MORE horses, when overpopulation is used as its justification. You can't have it both ways.

Another lie about slaughter is that it is a humane end for old, lame, and sick horses. But those kinds of horses will not pass inspection for the foreign markets that buy the meat. Only healthy, sound horses are acceptable for slaughter for human consumption. As far as killing the others for "zoo meat," transporting and stockpiling the old, sick, and lame for slaughter is horrific. I've held horses I'd had for many years, who had given me 110% in all things, while they died, both naturally and by veterinary euthanasia. That's humane. Slaughter is not.

When I lived in Illinois, I saw the Cavel plant and a pet-food facility that slaughtered horses very up close and personal, from the inside. I accompanied two different friends who had been convinced by their boarding stable owners that slaughter at Cavel was the best end for their unsound horses. Back then, horse owners could pay for a "private" kill, outside of normal production hours. My visits to the pet-food facility came when I was drafted by another friend to ride along as moral support when he was hired to haul a truckload of crippled livery horses for disposal. After comparing my direct observations with the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's videos located here, I can unequivocally state that NOTHING has changed in horse slaughter over more than thirty years.

By making horse destruction profitable, slaughter promotes abuse, neglect, and overbreeding. Slaughter also promotes horse theft. Before the horse slaughter plant in North Platte, Nebraska, was shut down, horse theft was surprisingly common in this state. Law enforcement never seemed to take the thefts seriously. Several horses were stolen from a boarding facility where a friend kept her horse. The horses stolen were family pleasure horses, unregistered but priceless to their owners. Their "monetary" value was too low to get any real attention from the sheriff. I found a man on my own property once eyeballing my retired 16.3hh Thoroughbred mare who had been a successful 3-day eventer in our misspent youths. When I demanded he explain his presence, he told me my horse was worth a lot of money for meat. I told him to leave while he still could.

Horse slaughter plants are a management nightmare. No commercial slaughter equipment exists that is made for horses. Horses are bigger, stronger, faster, and far more reactive than cattle. Their smaller heads with longer, more flexible necks make instant kills by gunshot or captive bolt far more difficult with a high percentage of failures. Pound for pound, horses have twice as much blood in their bodies as cattle. A proposed plant in Montana would have required an entire new wastewater treatment plant for a kill as low as 200 to 400 horses a week.

Former Mayor Paula Bacon of Kaufman, Texas, has issued an open letter to state legislatures considering horse slaughter relating her experiences with the Dallas Crown plant in Kaufman.

When I first moved to Iowa, the only job I could get as a woman with an electrical engineering/computer science degree was as a USDA/APHIS brucellosis inspector in a hog slaughtering plant. I worked in the "stick pit" so I got to observe the killing process and what happened immediately before in great detail. I saw frequent and blatant abuse of hogs before and during the kill by employees who treated it as a source of amusement. There was nobody I could report it to who would do anything. When outside inspectors did come in, employees were notified in advance and everything was done perfectly while those inspectors were on site. As soon as they left, it was back to business as usual.

A veterinarian friend working in an Omaha-area beef plant lost his job when he tried to report and stop cattle abuse by employees. According to Dr. Temple Grandin, only about 20% of animal slaughter facilities operate within acceptable humane guidelines. The rest "slip into bad practices" with a full 10% intentionally treating animals cruelly.

Senator Larson and his cronies are liars. Horse slaughter is not humane. Horse slaughter does not reduce "surplus" horses, it promotes more breeding. Horse slaughter is not an appropriate end for those individuals who are old, sick, and lame. The practices and problems with horse slaughter exposed by the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition's videos and veterinary reports are not exceptional but are typical of the process. Criminalizing horse rescue as a way to promote and support slaughter is beneath reprehensible.

I'm sure Senator Larson could watch the CHDC videos and insist it can't happen here. I've been inside slaughter plants, and I don't believe that for a minute. Neither should you.

And I am once again reminded of a very old poem, author unknown:
Look back at our struggle for freedom,
Trace our present day's strength to its source,
And you'll find man's pathway to glory
Is strewn with the bones of the horse.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Chicago Way

I was born and raised in Chicago (don't hold that against me), so I'm all too familiar with Chicago's unique form of politics. President Dear Leader Obama is doing everything in his power to take that sordid corruption to the national level.

If any further proof was needed, we have his appointment of Bill Daley as his new Chief of Staff. Bill Daley as in brother of Richard M. Daley, King Richard the Second, corrupt mayor of Chicago since 1989. As in son of Richard J. Daley, King Richard the First, 21-year mayor of Chicago and undisputed boss of the city's far-reaching Democratic Machine.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Unpossible School Shooting

A student at Millard South High School in Omaha shot the principal and assistant principal today. The shooter was the son of an Omaha Police Department detective. He was suspended this morning and left the campus to return with a gun, thought to be his father's service weapon. When he was later found in his car by police, he was already dead by his own hand after posting a suicide message on Facebook.

Millard South is a posted helpless victim gun free zone by law. Millard South has an OPD school resource officer. Millard South is in a "good neighborhood." The shooter's father was a police officer. I can't think of a single new or existing gun law that would have prevented this tragedy.

Ever notice how these things never happened back in the days before zero tolerance, weaponized pencils, and nobody's-allowed-to-fail?

UPDATE: Assistant principal Dr. Vicki Kaspar has died. Deepest condolences to her family and friends.

UPDATE 2: Looks like the school security officer hid behind his desk. It accomplishes nothing if your sheepdog is a sheep.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Don't Bet Your Life On The Police

They were AT THE SCENE and this felon-in-possession still managed to kill his girlfriend and try to kill himself.

Say again, both individuals were alive and (physically, obviously not psychologically) undamaged when the police arrived. While the police were there, Mitchel Hadan shot and killed Rita Eckhout and then shot himself in the back of the head.

And why was this career-criminal deleted-expletive out on the street?

Don't die waiting for somebody else to save your sorry @$$.