An Ol' Broad's Ramblings

Archive for 13 December 2007

Cool!

13 December 2007, 10:43 pm. 2 Comments. Filed under Opinion.

New Book Shows How to Build Lego Guns, Catapults

Legos — they’re not just for good kids anymore.

A book written by two former employees of the Danish plastic-brick giant is burning up the Amazon.com sales charts — and raising eyebrows on the other side of the Atlantic.

“Forbidden LEGO: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against” was published in August by No Starch Press, a small independent publishing house based in San Francisco.

(…)

“You’ll learn to create working models that LEGO would never endorse,” the book’s page on the publisher’s Web site promises. “Try your hand at a toy gun that shoots LEGO plates, a candy catapult, a high voltage LEGO vehicle, a continuous-fire ping-pong ball launcher, and other useless but incredibly fun inventions.”

I’ve been stumped what to get Mr Ol’ Broad for Christmas. I wonder…….  Naw….I’m fairly sure he’d rather have a REAL catapult.  (Mental image of a seriously flying peacock!  Heh!)

If I Was Prone to Violence……

13 December 2007, 9:34 pm. 3 Comments. Filed under Feckless Weasels.

….I might have a great desire to crack that woman smack dab in the mouth!

Pelosi: Republicans `like’ Iraq War

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public’s priorities.

“They like this war. They want this war to continue,” Pelosi, D- Calif., told reporters. She expressed frustration over Republicans’ ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters.

“We thought that they shared the view of so many people in our country that we needed a new direction in Iraq,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference in the Capitol. “But the Republicans have made it very clear that this is not just George Bush’s war. This is the war of the Republicans in Congress.”

Asked to clarify her remarks, Pelosi backed off a bit.

“I shouldn’t say they like the war,” she said. “They support the war, the course of action that the president is on.”

“And that was a revelation to me,” she said, “because I thought the American people’s voices were so—and still are—so strong in this regard.”

Pelosi, who opposed the U.S.-led invasion from the start, said the war was “a catastrophic mistake.”

Despite being forced to make concessions on multiple fronts, Pelosi said Democrats have been fiscally responsible and attuned to the public’s concerns. As a result, she said, voters will reward Democrats in next year’s presidential and congressional elections.

Democrats “set a high water mark” on many bills, she said. “Where we have to come to is a different place,” thanks to the “political reality of not having a president of the United States. And nothing speaks more clearly to Democratic victories in the next election than when you see this is what is possible.”

In response, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in statement: “Republicans have stood on principle to protect current and future generations of Americans, whether it polled well or not. The success our troops are having in Iraq today is proof positive that our stance was the right one.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say NO one likes war, ANY war, not even those who are fighting it. For this woman, who shoves her foot in her mouth every time she opens it, to even dare to breath such a thing is an insult to every American. We don’t back down. Well, some do….the majority have big a big ‘D’ behind their names.

When did we become such a nation of whiners, sticking our fingers in the wind, instead of making the tough decisions? During World War II, when the American people came together with an eye towards victory, weren’t there mothers and fathers, wives and children who wanted an end to the war? I’m fairly sure there were, many in my own family. Odds are, the MAJORITY of Americans wanted it to end so their loved ones could come home.

H/T:  McBride’s Media Matters

Union Wins, Kids Lose

13 December 2007, 9:10 pm. Comments Off. Filed under Education, Feckless Weasels, Opinion.

WHO NEEDS PARENTS?
By Charlie Sykes

Memo to parents: bug out.

The state teachers union won a brave victory last week that may kill of a successful public school. It’s fatal sin? Too much parental involvement.

The Wisconsin Virtual Academy is one of education’s innovative success stories. The school’s website describes its mission: “a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum based on the Core Knowledge sequence, the flexibility of learning anytime and anywhere, the partnership with qualified professional educators, the credibility of being a public charter school in the state of Wisconsin , and an individualized and self-paced learning program that adapts to your child’s unique needs.”

But the school also requires active parental involvement. And the union has a problem with that. Under state law, the union insists, only certified teachers are allowed to teach in a public school. As the appeals court ruled last week: “a WIVA parent performs activities that are undeniably teaching: leading the student through a lesson plan, answering questions and assessing student progress.”

The Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) argued that made the school illegal; and the court agreed. The results could be sweeping.

The Virtual Academy ’s lawyers argued that if the court bought the union argument, then all public schools are violating the law, because they use teacher aides, parent volunteers, and guest speakers, to perform some of the same “teaching” functions in the public schools that parents do in WIVA. As the court noted, [the school] “proposes that there is no reasonable distinction between WIVA and a more traditional public school in which unlicensed individuals play a role in the teaching of students.”

And then the kicker:

“We acknowledge that the statute, as it is written, is capable of being read to produce this absurd result.”

As a result, Marquette University Law Professor Rick Esenberg notes: “On the court’s analysis, any school with robust parental involvement and assistance in delivering instruction would be in violation of the statute.”

So why would the union, with the support of the educational bureaucracy, take this extreme step?

For the educational establishment, the nature of threat is obvious: WIVA offers a high quality education that costs dramatically less than traditional brick and mortar schools. Because it uses cutting-edge technology, it also means that fewer teachers able to teach more students over a larger area. WIVA’s traditional-oriented core curriculum also defies the fashionable educationist fads that reign over much of public education.

So this case was not about “great schools”; it wasn’t even about the teachers – who are, after all, public school teachers and members of the union. And it certainly wasn’t about the kids, who may be about to lose their school. This was about the money. And WEAC proved last week that it was willing to kill a school to keep it.

Unions are nothing more than over bloated bureaucracies.  Teachers unions are NOT about ‘the children’.

My Kind of ‘Apology’!

13 December 2007, 7:44 pm. 1 Comment. Filed under 2008.

Something I rarely do is apologize. Not because I’m not sorry for something I did, or didn’t do, but because I honestly dislike the words ‘I’m sorry’! Why? Well, too many people say they are sorry, and then go right on doing the same thing they felt the need to apologize for in the first place. I really do try not to do things I’ll have to be sorry for, although, it has happened. Ask my daughter how I feel about it….she’ll let ya know in no uncertain terms….if you are going to have to say you are sorry, DON’T DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND DAMN SURE DON’T DO IT A SECOND TIME. But that’s just me.

Now, when it comes to political apologies, we’ve been hearing a few lately. From Huckabee to Romney. From Clinton to Obama. Yada yada, blah blah, sugar won’t melt in my mouth, ad nauseum. However, THIS particular apology from Fred Thompson’s campaign to Mike Huckabee?

We apologize for pointing out that as Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee offered in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. That’s something he’d probably just as soon no one talk about.

We apologize for pointing out that in 2002 Huckabee wrote Pres. Bush a letter asking him to lift the Cuban embargo. It’s easy to see how Huckabee might have missed the finer points of a 40-year embargo. While he obviously knew enough about the embargo to ask that it be lifted, Huckabee clearly didn’t know enough to ask that it not be lifted. So for that, we’re sorry.

We apologize for referencing that 47% tax increase Huckabee imposed on Arkansas taxpayers when he was governor. That must be really awkward for him, now that he’s running in a GOP primary election. We notice he never points it out to voters.

We apologize for telling reporters that a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University doesn’t, in fact, make Huckabee more qualified to fight the war on terror than say…Fred Thompson.

Heh. I like it! I really, really like it!

The AWWWWWW Factor

13 December 2007, 5:30 pm. Comments Off. Filed under Critters.

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FOR SALE:

One Useless Cat

Compliments of Ick!

Shafting the Vets

13 December 2007, 9:17 am. 4 Comments. Filed under Veterans.

Study Faults Charities for Veterans
Some Nonprofits Shortchange Troops, Watchdog Group Says

Americans gave millions of dollars in the past year to veterans charities designed to help troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, but several of the groups spent relatively little money on the wounded, according to a leading watchdog organization and federal tax filings.

Eight veterans charities, including some of the nation’s largest, gave less than a third of the money raised to the causes they champion, far below the recommended standard, the American Institute of Philanthropy says in a report. One group passed along 1 cent for every dollar raised, the report says. Another paid its founder and his wife a combined $540,000 in compensation and benefits last year, a Washington Post analysis of tax filings showed.

There are no laws regulating the amount of money charities spend on overhead, fundraising or giving. But the institute’s report suggests that 20 of the 29 military charities studied were managing their resources poorly, paying high overhead costs and direct-mail fundraising fees and, in some cases, providing their leaders with six-figure salaries.

You would assume that a person running a charity would have the decency to forgo a hefty salary.

How They Fared

The American Institute of Philanthropy, a leading charity watchdog, issued a report card this month for 29 veterans and military charities. Letter grades were based largely on the charities’ fundraising costs and the percentage of money raised that was spent on charitable activities. The charities that received failing grades are in bold type.

(actually, no, they aren’t, but I did put them in bold here)

Air Force Aid Society (A+)
American Ex-Prisoners of War Service Foundation (F)
American Veterans Coalition (F)
American Veterans Relief Foundation (F)
AMVETS National Service Foundation (F)

Armed Services YMCA of the USA (A-)
Army Emergency Relief (A+)
Blinded Veterans Association (D)
Disabled American Veterans (D)
Disabled Veterans Association (F)
Fisher House Foundation (A+)
Freedom Alliance (F) This one REALLY surprised me.
Help Hospitalized Veterans/Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (F)
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A+)
Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (F)
National Military Family Association (A)
National Veterans Services Fund (F)
National Vietnam Veterans Committee (D)
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (A+)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (F)
Soldiers’ Angels (D)
United Spinal Association’s Wounded Warrior Project (D)
USO (United Service Organization) (C+)
Veterans of Foreign Wars and foundation (C-)
Veterans of the Vietnam War & the Veterans Coalition (D)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (D)
VietNow National Headquarters (F)
World War II Veterans Committee (D)

I have to admit, some of these organizations, I’ve never even heard of. We give a lot to veterans organizations, and I’m fairly annoyed that one in particular, HHV, got a failing grade. I understand it costs quite a bit to ask for money, but they might save quite a bit if they’d stop inserting dollar bills when asking. Not everyone returns the bill, with a donation.  And honestly, I don’t need another calender!  The only one I really like are the ones from the WWII Committee.

Snooze Fest ’08

13 December 2007, 8:52 am. Comments Off. Filed under 2008.

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Townhall.com

Morning Coffee 12/13/07

13 December 2007, 8:34 am. 2 Comments. Filed under General News.

EU gives U.S. ultimatum on climate

Gore urged delegates at the conference to take urgent action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

“My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,” he said. The United States has opposed including in a final conference document a suggestion that industrialized countries reduce emissions by between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020.

European nations will boycott U.S.-led climate talks next month unless Washington accepts a range of numbers for negotiating deep reductions of global-warming emissions, Germany’s environment minister said Thursday.

“No result in Bali means no Major Economies Meeting,” said Sigmar Gabriel, a top EU environment official, referring to a series of separate climate talks initiated by President Bush in September.

The U.S. invited 16 other “major economies” to discuss a possible program of nationally determined, voluntary cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to the binding targets favored by the EU and others now meeting in Bali.

That blow hard would do anything to make the guy who whupped him look as bad as possible. The problem with that, he’s bad mouthing his own country, and I find that totally unacceptable. If the U.S. is looking at ALL the information, perhaps algore should pull himself down off that pedestal of his own making, and listen. There’s ALWAYS more than just one view, but not for the moonbat brigade.

Clinton Official: Obama’s Drug History Could Hurt in November If He is Nominee

A top adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign said Wednesday that Democrats should give more thought to Sen. Barack Obama’s admissions of illegal drug use before they pick a presidential candidate.

Obama’s campaign said the Clinton people were getting desperate. Clinton’s campaign tried to distance itself from the remarks.

Honestly, if you know someone who hadn’t at least shown a foolish curiosity about drugs, born after 1960, then you’re really in the minority, whether they admit it or not. Obviously, I’m not voting for Obama, but that’s not why. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find out the Hildebeast toked on a doobie or two back when. Clinton’s sanctimonious attitude seems to have rubbed off on her ‘workers’.

Analysis: Thompson scores debate points

Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney also scored well. They avoided any last-minute derailments of their front-running candidacies in Iowa and shored up the support they’ve built.

But it was Thompson, the former Tennessee senator, who was specific, good-humored and exuded an executive persona during the low-key, 90-minute session that was sponsored by The Des Moines Register and broadcast by Iowa Public Television.

He had several high points. One of them came when he flatly refused to play the “raise your hand” game in answering a question about global warming. Another came when he said the biggest problem facing education was the National Education Association. (Bashing teacher unions is always popular with Republican audiences.)

I rather like the idea of a president not kowtowing to the lowest common denominator. That broad was definitely at the lowest. (They couldn’t find a grown up to moderate?) I don’t doubt he would stand up FOR American, instead of selling it down the river. And good teachers should keep in mind, Republicans don’t bash them, it’s the UNION that allows BAD teachers to keep their jobs that is ‘fun’ to bash. Too easy, and yes, they HAVE given public education a really bad name.

EU Leaders Sign Treaty, Plan to Avoid Popular Votes

Only Ireland is legally bound to putting the treaty to a referendum, as the EU seeks to avoid a repeat of the no votes in France and the Netherlands that killed the constitution in 2005 and plunged the bloc into institutional gridlock.

Opponents geared up for the campaign in Ireland, which voted down the EU’s current rulebook in 2001 only to back it a year later. Support for the Reform Treaty was running at 25 percent in late October, with 13 percent against and 62 percent undecided, according to an Irish Times poll.

“The treaty is being sold as a warm bowl of soup with nice vegetable bits,” Declan Ganley, head of anti-treaty group Libertas, said at a press conference in Dublin today. “We’ll be pointing to the dead mice in there.”

What a lovely way to put it. (heh) Seems to me the EU is taking away the individual countries identity. But, that’s just my uninformed opinion. I can understand citizens not approving the move. I wouldn’t be too happy if Mexico could tell us what we could, and could not, do. Oh, wait a minute….they already do. My mistake.

Bush again vetoes kids health bill
He still opposes cigarette tax hike, middle-class focus

For the second time in three months, President Bush on Wednesday vetoed legislation that would have expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance program by $35 billion over five years and would have boosted its enrollment to about 10 million children.

Bush cited the same reasons that led him to veto a version of the bill on Oct. 3 – that it raised cigarette taxes and provided coverage for children of middle-class families instead of focusing on the working poor.

Well, at least he got something right recently.

Wiretaps ruled admissible

Prosecutors will get to use Mike McGee’s words against him, a judge ruled Wednesday.

After three days of court hearings, wiretap recordings of the jailed Milwaukee alderman were ruled admissible for trial, a significant victory for prosecutors seeking to convict McGee.

It’s not just a victory for the prosecutors, it’s also a big victory for Milwaukee. Now maybe this scuz bucket can be convicted, and take up residence where he belongs….behind bars!

Putin’s anointed successor leaps ahead in Russia poll

The popularity of Dmitry Medvedev, anointed successor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, soared in an opinion poll released on Thursday.

Medvedev was endorsed by Putin as his preferred presidential candidate on December 10 but he was already pulling away from other possible contenders, independent pollsters Levada said of a survey carried out from December 7 to 10.

Seems like Putin hasn’t given the Russian people much choice but to support his guy, especially if you arrest those who would disagree.

Murder indictments in ‘Baby Grace’ case

A couple accused of beating their toddler to death, tucking her body in a plastic box and dumping it in Galveston Bay have been indicted on charges of capital murder.

Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said Wednesday he had yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Kimberly Dawn Trenor and her husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, in the death of Trenor’s 2-year-old daughter, Riley Ann Sawyers.

The grand jury also charged Trenor and Zeigler with tampering with evidence, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison.

Make ‘em serve the 20 years, THEN push the plunger on them both!

State gets some breathing room but not much

Tennessee’s tax collections in November exceeded expectations by $9.5 million, one month after the state missed projections by $100 million.
(…)
Tobacco tax collections were $4.2 million below the budgeted estimate of $31 million, the closest to meeting expectations since the state hiked the tax on each pack of cigarettes from 20 cents to 62 cents in July.

Why can’t these yahoos in gubmint figure it out. You raise taxes, you actually LOSE money. Simple. Sheesh!