January 31, 2011

Feels like years since the last time I blogged. Lots has happened.

While rearranging our office / bunny room after painting it this weekend our PC slipped off the desk and crashed to the floor. Now we’ve got the numbers 2 and 4 burning bringhtly as the PC runs and runs without booting. I’m told the number 4 is especially ominous, indicating a motherboard failure. Although the hard drive will be fine and we won’t lose any of our data, we’re talkin’ game over here. We’ve been having all sorts of problems since our XPS 400’s storage array crashed last year and I’ve been thinking about a replacement. Looks like the time has come.

The “bunny speed dating” of Geronimo and Butterscotch has been a rousing success! We started out by following the instructions laid out in the House Rabbit Society’s “House Rabbit Handbook”, and it worked like a charm! After keeping them in separate but adjacent areas for several weeks so they could get used to each others scents and habits, we moved them to a neutral location (my bathroom) a week ago Sunday for 30 minutes under careful observation Geronimo bitched and growled at the start, but by the end of their first session he actually started grooming Butterscotch. Each day thereafter we’d keep them together for a longer period of time until by Friday they had their first overnight together. Saturday and Sunday they were together all day, and today they were moved into their new completely new refurbished area. Better yet, I get my bathroom back! It’s a great love story, pictures whenever we get our home PC back.

Some are afraid to say it, but I’m not: I think you’re seeing the beginning of the post-Tiger Woods era on the PGA Tour. Will he win again? Of course. Will he win another major? Ditto. Will he catch Jack’s record? You’d have to say it’s looking highly doubtful. As I said the other day, the reason why Tiger won all those tournaments back in the 2000s was two-fold: 1) his distance was incredibly longer than the majority of the field, and 2) he intimidated the rest of the tour – those who were paired with him on Sunday usually folded like cheap bridge table. Neither is the case anymore. You see the Bubba Watsons, Anthony Kims, Rickie Fowlers, and Dustin Johnsons of the world banging them out there as far, if not farther, than Tiger can, and, more importantly, they’re not intimidated by him in the least. So it all comes down to the short game, and Tiger looks very vulnerable in that regard. Golf Channel can keep on hyping him all they want, but Tiger looks increasingly like just another pro out there on tour.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:31 | Comments (2)
January 29, 2011

Random thoughts while wondering what genius at the Tennesee Titans decided Jeff Fisher was the source of all their problems:

After a warm and lovely day here in the Valley of the Sun it has turned chilly. Can’t help looking at Accuweather.com and seeing the gloomy forecast for the East next week. What a winter! I can’t help thinking about the water content and the flooding New England is likely to see come March and April…

With everything going on in Egypt right now, looking back six years it would appear Condi Rice was right.

This doesn’t sound like a good thing…

This story, I’m sure, is just an aberration. After all, Janet Napolitano says our border is as secure as it has ever been.

Tiger Woods has become just another golfer on the PGA Tour. With all the young bombers out there Woods has lost his ability to dominate the field off the tee, meaning it all comes down to short game and putting. Tiger was always great from 15 feet in during his dominant days, but at his age you’re just not likely to see that on a consistent basis anymore. His age of dominance is over.

But the Phil Mickelson and John Daly stories this week are great to see. As are stories like this.

Just thinking aloud: is there a worse golf announcer on TV than Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman? I’m trying to figure out exactly what she brings to the booth…

I gotta love Glenn Beck going after MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for calling Minnesota congresswomen Michele Bachmann a “balloon head”. Not that anyone watches MSNBC, but…

This is for my Goodboy friends in Ice Station Zebra, a.k.a., New England. Enjoy!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:45 | Comments (2)
January 28, 2011

rand_paul He’s not from my state but lemme tell you, I like the cut of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul‘s jib.

Throughout his campaign he swore he was going to Washington to shake things up, and he’s not wasting any time. Within the span of a week he’s put forth a proposal to cut $500 billion (that’s billion, with a “b’) from the bloated federal government (you know, the one that anytime you propose even cutting a single farthing from some bow-tied, bum-kissing bureaucrat’s budget you’re going to kill old people and toss young children out on the street) and reform a Social Security program headed for default ahead of schedule. In both cases, he’s pushing the envelope in the hopes of promoting honest discussion and not demogoguery.

You don’t think there’s any waste to cut in the federal government? Here’s just a sample of what Paul proposes to cut:

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH………………………….$1,283,000,000. (23%) Notes: The Government Printing Office is abolished.

JUDICIAL BRANCH………………………………..$2,434,000,000. (32%)

AGRICULTURE……………………………………..$42,542,000,000. (30%) The Agriculture Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Resources Conservation Service, and Foreign Agricultural Service are abolished. The Forest Service gets a $1.2 billion haircut.

COMMERCE……………………………………………$5,322,000,000. (54%) National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is cut by $857,000,000.

DEFENSE……………………………………………….$47,500,000,000. (6.5%)

EDUCATION…………………………………………..$78,000,000,000 (83%) Only the Pell grant program survives.

ENERGY……………………………………………………$44,200,000,000 (100%) The Defense Department takes over all of Energy’s remaining functions (nuclear waste, for example) and about $18 billion of its budget.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES…………..$26,510,000,000. (26%) Notes: FDA is cut by $230,000,000; Indian Health Service is cut by $650 million; CDC is cut by $1.17 billion; NIH by $5.8 billion.

HOMELAND SECURITY……………………………$23,765,000,000. (43%) Notes: Coast Guard is shifted to Defense. TSA’s funds are cut by $900 million.

HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT….$53,100,000,000. (100%) Notes: Completely eliminated. Veterans’ housing programs are transferred to the VA.

INTERIOR………………………………………………..$10,934,000,000. (78%) Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Indian Affairs are abolished.

JUSTICE…………………………………………………….$9,057,000,000. (28%) Note: Office of Justice Programs is abolished.

LABOR…………………………………………….$2,803,000,000. (2%) OSHA, MSHA, and the The Employment and Training Administration are spared from cuts (no cuts to unemployment benefits).

STATE………………………………………………………….$20,321,000,000. (71%) Note: Massive foreign aid cuts. All international commissions and organizations are defunded.

TRANSPORTATION……………………………………..$42,810,000,000. (49%) Notes: Amtrak is completely de-funded.

CORPS OF ENGINEERS………………………………..$1,854,000,000. (27%)

EPA……………………………………………………..$3,238,000,000. (29%)



NASA……………………………………………………………….$4,500,000,000 (25%)

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION……………$4,723,000,000. (62%)


FCC…………………………………………………..$2,150,000,000. (22%)

ABOLISH (1) Affordable Housing Program, (2) Commission on Fine Arts, (3) Consumer Product Safety Commission,
(4) Corporation for Public Broadcasting, (5) National Endowment for the Arts, (6) National Endowment for the Humanities, (7) State Justice Institute……$2,050,000,000. (100%)

Collect delinquent Federal Employees taxes..$3,000,000,000.
Freeze Federal Government employee pay…..$2,000,000,000.
Reduce Federal Government travel……………$7,500,000,000.
Repeal Davis-Bacon……………………………. $6,000,000,000.
Prohibit union project labor agreements……..$2,000,000,000.
TARP repeal……………………………………….$4,481,000,000.
Sell Federal Buildings……………………………$19,000,000,000.
Reduce Federal vehicle budget…………………$600,000,000.

Elimination of the Departments of Energy and Education through realignment with other agencies and/or eliminated all together are long overdue. The Department of Education should be tossed in the nearest swamp; the states know best how they’re children are to be educated. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is an embarrassment to the so-called “war on poverty”, a cesspool of graft and patronage that should have been eliminated a long time ago. The same holds true for Amtrak.

There are a few things missing here that I would recommend doing. One would be to pull all miltary out of western Europe and places around the globe where there are no tensions that threaten our national security or our allies and put them on bases here in the US. It would stimulate local economies and ensure our fighting men and women are serving our country, not someone else’s. I would eliminate all funding of the United Nations and instead offer it whatever $ it feels it needs to move its entire operation to a benign place like Switzerland or Luxembourg so that all those despot-loving hacks, flacks, and blowhards bring their own special version of “global warming” across the pond.

This is serious stuff, and while one might genuinely quibble with the elimination or reduction in this program or that, it’s about time someone starts making hamburger out of the many sacred cows that have brought this nation to the brink of financial collapse. This country needs to grow up, and what Paul is doing here is starting a discussion few, if any, have had the guts to do while Republicans and Democrats alike were spending our futures and our children’s futures like drunken sailors on a three-day shore leave.

Good for Senator Paul. We send our elected to Washington to (at least supposedly) watch out for our own self-interests, make a difference, and not get absorbed into the swamp of corrupting self-interest it has become. Rand Paul is taking his job seriously, and he’s someone to keep an eye out for. Let’s hope his proposals at least start the discussion of debating our country’s priorities and financial future like adults.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:56 | Comments Off on Go Rand Paul!
January 27, 2011

Got this from my folks today – especially with yet another snowstorm on their door, it must sure seem appropriate:

“Moved to New England”

August 15: Moved to a new home in New England. It’s so beautiful here. The lake to the north looks so majestic. I can hardly wait to see it snow covered. I’m going to love it here.

October 14: New England is definitely the most beautiful place on earth. The leaves have turned all the colors and shades of red and orange. Went for a ride through the park and saw some deer. They are so graceful. Certainly they are the most wonderful animals on earth. This must be paradise, I LOVE IT HERE.

November 10: Deer hunting season will start soon. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to kill such a gorgeous animal, hope it will snow soon. I love it here. Those red and orange leaves have covered my yard. Looks like a magnificent multi-colored carpet. HOW BEAUTIFUL. Raking and cleaning up the yard will be an opportunity for invigorating exercise in the cool crisp air.

November 15: Ah, more leaves and more exercise.

November 18: Jesus, still more leaves. Guess it’s best to wait until they’ve all fallen before I rake again.

November 25: Finally, all of the trees lost their leaves and today’s final raking it’s over for this season.
Chiropractor suggested I use a lawn maintenance service next year. Only four blisters became infected. Should probably remember to use gloves.

November 30: What the f–k? Where did all of those leaves come from? A little wind last night and the lawn is covered again. Oh well, they’ll just have to wait until spring.

December 12: It snowed last night, FINALLY. Woke up to find everything blanketed in white. It looks like a postcard. We went outside and cleaned the snow off the steps and shoveled the driveway. Had a snowball fight (I won), then the snowplow came by and we had to shovel the end of the driveway again. What a beautiful place. I love New England.

December 14: More snow last night, I love it. The snowplow did his trick to the driveway again. I love it here.

December 19: More snow again last night. Can’t get out of the driveway to get to work. I’m exhausted from shoveling. F—ing snowplow.

December 22: More of that white sh-t fell again last night. As if dealing with the leaves weren’t bad enough, now I’ve got blisters all over my hands from shoveling, must remember to wear gloves. I think the snowplow hides around the corner and waits until I’m finished shoveling the driveway. The a–hole.

December 25: Merry Christmas. More frigging snow. If I ever get my hands on that son-of-a-bitch who drives the snowplow. I swear I’ll kill the bastard. Don’t know why they don’t use more salt on the roads to melt the f—ing ice.

December 27: More white sh-t last night. Have been inside for three days except for shoveling out the driveway after that plow goes through every time. F—ing gloves got wet and then froze on my hands. Doctor said it was just a mild case of frostbite, disfiguration is probably only temporary. Can’t go anywhere, car is stuck in a mountain of white sh-t. The weatherman says to expect another 10 inches of the sh-t tonight. Do you know how many shovels full of snow 10 inches is?

December 28: The f—ing weatherman was wrong. We got 34 inches of that white sh-t. At this rate it won’t melt ’till summer. The plow got stuck up the road and the bastard came to the door and asked to borrow a shovel. After I told him I’d already broken six of them shoveling all the sh-t he pushed into the driveway, I broke my last one on his f—ing head.

January 4: Finally got out of the house today. Went to the store to get food and on the way back I hit a damned deer that ran in front of my car. Did about $3000 damage. F—ing beast should be killed. Wish the hunters had killed them all last November.

May 3: Took the car to the garage in town. The thing is rusting out from all the f—ing salt they put all over the roads.

May 10: Moved to The Villages in Florida. I can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind would ever live in that God-forsaken New England.

Hang in there, everyone!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:53 | Comment (1)
January 26, 2011

Didn’t watch the State of the Union speech last night – I gave up watching these a long time ago, they’re so phoney and full of baloney. But I did read both President Obama’s speech and the Republican response by Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan. I’ll let their words stand for what they are and the message they are attempting to portray:

At stake right now is not who wins the next election -– after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but the light to the world.

We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again. But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children. That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together

…We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools, changing the way we use energy, reducing our deficit –- none of this will be easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The costs. The details. The letter of every law.

Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they build a railroad, no matter how many homes get bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written. And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.

We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything is possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.

That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working-class kid from Scranton can sit behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth. That dream -– that American Dream -– is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era. It’s what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future.

…From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future. We’re a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company.” “I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree.” “I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try.” “I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”

We do big things.

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it’s because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

Then this…

Our debt is the product of acts by many presidents and many Congresses over many years. No one person or party is responsible for it. There is no doubt the President came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation. Unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt.

The facts are clear: Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies – an 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus. All of this new government spending was sold as “investment.” Yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9% and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt. Then the President and his party made matters even worse, by creating a new open-ended health care entitlement.

What we already know about the President’s health care law is this: Costs are going up, premiums are rising, and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. Job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates and fees. Businesses and unions from around the country are asking the Obama Administration for waivers from the mandates. Washington should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. The President mentioned the need for regulatory reform to ease the burden on American businesses. We agree – and we think his health care law would be a great place to start. Last week, House Republicans voted for a full repeal of this law, as we pledged to do, and we will work to replace it with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage. Health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt. And the President’s law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy.

Our debt is out of control. What was a fiscal challenge is now a fiscal crisis. We cannot deny it; instead we must, as Americans, confront it responsibly. Our nation is approaching a tipping point. We are at a moment, where if government’s growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America’s best century will be considered our past century. This is a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency. Depending on bureaucracy to foster innovation, competitiveness, and wise consumer choices has never worked – and it won’t work now.

We need to chart a new course.

…Speaking candidly, as one citizen to another: We still have time… but not much time. If we continue down our current path, we know what our future will be. Just take a look at what’s happening to Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and other nations in Europe. They didn’t act soon enough; and now their governments have been forced to impose painful austerity measures: large benefit cuts to seniors and huge tax increases on everybody. Their day of reckoning has arrived. Ours is around the corner. That is why we must act now.

Some people will back away from this challenge. But I see this challenge as an opportunity to rebuild what Lincoln called the “central ideas” of the Republic. We believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy and create millions of new jobs and opportunities for all people, of every background, to succeed and prosper. Under this approach, the spirit of initiative – not political clout – determines who succeeds.

Millions of families have fallen on hard times not because of our ideals of free enterprise – but because our leaders failed to live up to those ideals; because of poor decisions made in Washington and Wall Street that caused a financial crisis, squandered our savings, broke our trust, and crippled our economy. Today, a similar kind of irresponsibility threatens not only our livelihoods but our way of life.­­

We need to reclaim our American system of limited government, low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money, which has blessed us with unprecedented prosperity. And it has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed. That’s the real secret to job creation – not borrowing and spending more money in Washington.

Limited government and free enterprise have helped make America the greatest nation on earth.

Y’all can decide which one is most effective. My only comment is this: if your house is on fire and in danger of collapsing, or you’re hideously overdrawn at the bank and you can’t pay your bills, I’d rather have give me the hard truth with an honest portrayal of the situation. That’s why I hate the SOTU speeches: no matter who delivers them, Democrat or Republican, they’re all full of crap. I understand that’s the way it is and that’s the way Washington works – it thinks of itself as the center of everyone’s universe – but there is a new wind blowing out here in the heartlands, and the states are starting to take what belongs to them rightfully back.

The center of gravity in this country is shifting, which is why so little of what was said above means so little going forward if all they are are words.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 08:55 | Comments (2)
January 25, 2011

Thoughts while trying to figure out if my Blogs-About Hosting internet hosting service has (as it appears from all the hassles I’ve been going through the past few days) been taken over by an Australian company called TsHosting. It would have been nice for them to tell me…

I’m not watching any of the State of the Union address nor any of the Republican responses. Instead, I made a big batch of chili, am enjoying a couple of margaritas, and have the Sandals on shuffle. Personally, I think I’m a better man for it.

Another snowstorm for the folks back home. What can I say, except tonight we had a lovely sunset and the sun felt warm before the evening chill set in.

Our “bunny speed dating” effort to link Geronimo and Butterscotch is really coming along well. We started Sunday, and each day has seen some progress in making these two kids realize just how much they need each other. Today they actually snuggled together for about a half-hour, and Geronimo only growled at Butterscotch once. Pictures coming shortly!

I was happy about the anti-government riots in Tunisia, and even more excited about the goings-on in Egypt today. Wouldn’t it be incredible if the Muslim world saw an uprising akin to that in 1989 Eastern Europe? Don’t think the mullahs in Iran aren’t paying attention…

Truck day is three weeks from today. Vegas weekend with the Goodboys at TI is just two weeks from Friday. On both counts, I can’t wait.

For my buds back in Ice Station Zebra, enjoy this fine tune by the Aqua Velvets – a bitchin’ San Francisco surf band.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:13 | Comments (3)
January 24, 2011

As I write this it’s a chilly here in Gilbert tonight, but it could be worse – we’re at 45 going down to around 37, about 42 degrees higher than my folks are in North Billerica, Mass. That’s freakin’ cold.

Great to see the Packers and the Steelers playing in the Super Bowl. I hate the Jets, but not nearly as much as I hate the Yankees. New York’s professional teams are all such a bunch of loud-mouth jerks. Ought to be a great game. The early line has got to favor the Packers by 7.

Does anyone really care about what Barack Obama is going to say during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday? Me, I hate all the stupid mainstream dino-media and cable network talking heads hyperventilating at what the Kenyan might or might not say. Instead, I’m going into media blackout for the next three days and melt into a surrounding of music by The Sandals augmented by a boat drink and/or glass of wine or two. Or three.

Congrats to Jhonny Vegas, winner of this weekend’s Bob Hope Classic. Not to take away from such a great story – and it really is a great story – but next week the big boys arrive at Torrey Pines to establish some order.

Let’s forget about the cold and talk about surf – and I mean real surf. Things were crazy at the Monterey Bay Sanctuary this weekend – big water there. And check out this video of surfer Mark Visser conquering a 40-foot wave at Jaws in Maui – at night!! (you have to scroll down). Amazing!

Finally, to all my Goodboys friends at Ice Station Zebra: my thoughts are with you, I want to warm you up so much. So here’s a treat for y’all: one of my absolute favorite surf bands, Laika and the Cosmonauts, doing their classic, “Fadeaway”. Crack open a brewskie and dream of warmer days and the greenest of fairways. I miss you guys, but I don’t miss New England in January!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:19 | Comments Off on Weekend Wrap-Up
January 23, 2011

Unlike many conservatives down in the South Florida region, the recent decision by the Obama administration to loosen travel restrictions to Cuba doesn’t bother me much – in fact I embrace it and give ol’ Barack kudos for taking such a low risk / high reward bet on Cuba’s future. The irrefutable fact that the Castro regime has begun to show increasing boldness to introduce free-market reforms into its economy deserves some kind of reciprocation on our part as a reward for taking such steps.

(Before I go any further, I understand completely that the Castros motives have little to do with any admission of failure or rejection of socialism and everything to do with the end of the Cold War, the demise of the Soviet Union, and Russia’s waning interest in propping up the corrupt Castro regime and Cuba’s overall economy. As a result, the Castros had little choice but to loosen their control if they wanted to avoid a complete collapse of the Cuba’s economy, and, with that undoubtedly, their outdated and obsolete totalitarian regime.)

Like many, I’m guessing, Cuba has always held a fascination to me since I was a young boy, but I don’t exactly know why. Maybe it was the image of a mysterious, forbidden tropical paradise just 90 miles from Key West: so near and yet so far. The 1963 missile crisis, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Hemingway – all with that mysterious Cuban connection. Or maybe it was as innocuous as watching Desi Arnaz on “I love Lucy”. I clearly remember The Sandpipers’ hit “Guantanamera” stirring my imagination of Cuba and dreams of rain forests, mountains, palm trees, and faraway places – heady stuff for kid growing up in Massachusetts.

So the seed was planted somehow, ultimately leading me to the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, movies like Andy Garcia’s “The Lost City” (one of my all-time favorites) and fine books like T.J. English’s fine “Havana Nocturne” and Tom Gjeltin’s “Bacardi and the Long Fight For Cuba”.

I remember one of our cruises and watching, as we drifted past Cuba, our ship being approached by Cuban patrol boats. So near and yet so far. A jewel just waiting to be discovered once again, perhaps in a way where the whole island could prosper once again, and free.

I’m often critical of the Obama administration, but not in this case. My hope is that by opening the door ever so slightly that Americans will go to Cuba and bring their money with them. As someone who takes not for granted just what freedom and capitalism mean, I am convinced that once the free-market door is open in Cuba there will be no going back. There is a time to put pressure on the Cuban regime and a time to take the foot off the brake, and now is the time for the latter. If, somehoe, Cuba were to slide back on its economic reforms, we can always close the door again, but I doubt that will be the case. The opening of Cuba to the rest of the world will come within the next decade – there’s simply too much money to be made through travel and tourism. I only pray that someday I might know what it’s like to step on Cuban soil and see my dream of visiting this magical island realized.

Until then…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:48 | Comments (4)
January 22, 2011

Most people, I think, equate the term “genocide” with bad stuff that has either happened long ago or something you see crop up from time to time on the Africa continent. What the vast majority of people don’t know is that there is a very real genocide that has been happening right here in America – a kind of genocide you’ll never hear discussed in the mainstream dino-media or the political halls of Congress. Why?

Because the moment you bring up the systematic elimination of what amounts to a virtual generation of African-Americans over the past several decades through abortion on demand you will be marked and tagged as a loon or a racist, for it doesn’t follow the meme put forth by the mainstream dino-media and race-baitors like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Sheila Jackson Lee and every other member of the Congressional Black Caucus who somehow – like most liberals – simply can’t envision a world beyond that of the great Civil Rights battles of a half-century ago. Perhaps it’s because they’re afraid to see the fruits of their very labor and the truly pathetic state of African-American life and culture in 21st century America.

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum drew flack earlier this week for comments he made about the hypocrisy of African-Americans like President Barack Obama who would want to deny human rights to the unborn child when doing so has done such destruction to the African-American community:

“When Barack Obama is asked is a child in the womb a human life? [He says,] ‘Oh, well, that’s above my pay grade.’ Just about everything else in the world he’s willing to do, to have the government do, but he can’t answer that basic question, which is not a debatable issue at all. I don’t think you’ll find a biologist in the world who will say that that is not a human life. The question is–and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer–is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.”

Santorum was alluding to a statement Obama had made on Aug. 16, 2008, when he appeared at the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Pastor Rick Warren asked Obama at that forum: “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?”

Obama answered: “Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.”

On March 30, 2001, Obama had been the only member of the Illinois state senate to speak on the state senate floor in opposition to a bill that would have legally defined all born babies, including those who had survived an induced-labor abortion, as a “person.”

Rather than prompting your typical, liberal knee-jerk reaction, Santorum’s comments should have been given at least a little consideration, for he was making a valid point that few – if any – would have the courage to discuss in the hallowed salons and parlors of Washington, D.C. For, as National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez points out in her column today (my boldings):

None other than the New York Times has reported that “data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that black women get almost 40 percent of the country’s abortions, even though blacks make up only 13 percent of the population. Nearly 40 percent of black pregnancies end in induced abortion, a rate far higher than for white or Hispanic women.”

Anyone with a conscience should find this kind of thing disturbing, prompting one to ask what is really going on here. You look at how the well-intentioned programs of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” have devastated the African American community over time, and you can’t help but shake your head in wonder at why the Jacksons / Sharptons / Lees, etc. are such suck-ups to a political party that has, in reality, done very little (if anything) to promote the interests and well-being of African-Americans.

(Of course, if you think that having a significant portion of American society with a grossly-disproportionate number of abortions, out-of-wedlock births, imprisoned male adults, percentage of teen unemployment, and generations upon generations dependent on some form of government assistance is what the so-called “American Dream” is all about, then you’re either heartless, clueless, an unabashed liberal, or not paying attention to what’s going on around you.)

I’ve written on this topic a number of times before, and Lopez’s column is an absolute must-read. Fortunately, there are signs within the African-American community that their support of Democrats and their “plantation agenda” is starting to crumble: just look at the new member of the Congressional Black Caucus, an emerging black middle-class, and the founding of an African-American tea party chapter right in Jackson-Lee’s backyard. The African-American political mindset is beginning to change; it won’t be easy – decades upon decades of generational dependency will be a monumental obstacle to overcome – but it will happen if given the chance.

Lopez again:

Last year, the New York Times appeared beside itself over a Georgia ad campaign talking about abortion in terms of a “black genocide.” Like Santorum’s comments, though, the ad did get people talking. As Michael New, a pro-life researcher and professor at the University of Alabama, told me at the time: “The fact that a disproportionately high percentage of abortions are performed on black women is not well known outside of pro-life circles. Neither is the fact that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was a proponent of eugenics. These pieces of information might be of interest to the black community, especially since many surveys show that African-Americans are more likely to describe themselves as ‘pro-life’ than whites.”

Yes, let’s be talking about that.

The time has come when we can and we should. Realistically, you can’t easily transform the lives of those who are already here, but you can certainly start by giving more of those who would be born at least a fighting chance at their own “American Dream”.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:39 | Comments Off on American Genocide
January 21, 2011

So much time, so many to choose from. If given the choice between…

…that turkey soup I made for Wednesday night (one of the best I’ve ever made, BTW) or attending the state dinner at the White House in honor of Chinese President Hu Jintao that same night, I’ll take the latter. Can’t speak for the host and his wife (who, I will admit, looked uncharacteristically fantastic) or the invitees (“pop diva” Barbra Streisand? Try “pop has-been and rabid leftist”), but the menu sure sounded fabulous:

At the request of the Chinese side, the menu for the dinner honoring Hu, after a day of frank talks at the White House, was quintessentially American fare, such as poached Maine lobster and dry-aged rib eye with creamed spinach.

And nothing could be more American than the old fashioned apple pie offered as dessert in a final flourish for a meal washed down with a selection of wines from California and Washington state.

For lobster and rib-eye steak I’d be on my best behavior – even if I were sitting at the same table as the so-called “pop diva”.

…hiring union workers and/or working for a union or not, I’ll take the latter. There’s no doubt that unions had their place in their day, and perhaps if allowed to organize differently than be led by a bunch of corrupt, money-grubbing, self servers whose sole purpose is to peddle political influence via members’ dues they might still serve a useful purpose. But there is no way I’d ever join a union, as they’re all run by a bunch of socialist thugs. Don’t believe me? Check out this story from South Carolina (my boldings):

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the South Carolina AFL-CIO alleges that [South Carolina Governor Nikki] Haley is violating the federal constitutional and statutory rights to free speech, free association and due process.

…At issue is whether a new Boeing assembly plant for the company’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft will be unionized. After a long battle, Boeing in 2009 selected South Carolina as the site of a 787 final assembly plant. The company aims to ramp up 787 production to 10 planes per month in 2013.

The plant in South Carolina is expected to create thousands of new jobs, and machinists in South Carolina voted against representation by the union.

The lawsuit asks the court to compel the South Carolina state government to remain neutral in enforcing state employment laws.

But that’s the unions for you these days – they’re dying out and there is nothing they won’t resort to in order to try and force people to join them.

doing business in Berkeley, California or anywhere else, I’ll choose anywhere else. Just check this story out; it confirms just about every reason one could have to distrust government and the liberals who seek to regulate virtually everything they can. Freakin’ crazy…

…the Steelers and the Jets, I’ll take the Steelers. I’ve always liked the cut of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s jib, and this is one reason why.

…the Packers and the Bears, I’m going with the Packers. A Steelers / Packers Super Bowl would be a great match – not least of which because, way back in September, I, The Great White Shank, picked the Steelers to go to the Super Bowl.

…buying pearls for that special someone at a local jewelry store or at PearlParadise.com, I’ll choose the latter. The Freshadama pearls I gave Tracey for Christmas were stunning, it made her a very happy (and lovely) wife, and it was all done and ordered in the comfort of my own home office. And their service can’t be beat. Check ’em out.

…the weather here in Gilbert or back home for this coming weekend. I mean, wow…and that doesn’t even take into account the possibility of another snowstorm early next week.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:39 | Comments (2)


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