November 20, 2014

The political class, blogs, and prognosticators are all aflutter over the news that President Obama plans an announcement tomorrow night on his executive action involving immigration reform. While the move doesn’t surprise me – heck, he’s been talking about this for months now – I’m gonna wait and see exactly what the guy says first. A few thoughts, however:

1. Remember that everything that this White House does is for political reasons only. Does anyone believe that if Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu had any kind of a chance in her December run-off with Bill Cassidy that President Obama would wait until after that election? She’s behind in the polls, the DNC has withheld funding, and her pathetic attempt to get her Senate colleagues to pass the Keystone XL pipeline was a fiasco, so the President isn’t going to wait. Hasta la vista, Mary.

2. Republicans would do well to hold their powder until they see the details of the President’s plan. After all, if all it amounts to is simply publicizing that he’s no longer going to enforce current immigration law, that would be hardly jaw-dropping: the administration hasn’t been enforcing the nation’s immigration laws since he took the oath of office. If all that ends up is more of the same, just publicized, to me it’s no big deal.

3. If, however, what the President announces is truly extra-constitutional, the Republicans have every right to go after the administration with everything they have. Table all presidential nominations for the remainder of his term. Slash the discretionary budgets of the White House and government agencies that do the President’s bidding, like the DHS, EPA, and IRS. Push and pass legislation that the President will be forced to veto. Make the Democrats the party of “No” going into 2016. In short, make his life miserable for the remainder of his term.

4. This certainly is going to make the 2016 coronation of Hillary Clinton a little more, shall we say, problematic. How does she respond? If she criticizes the president’s actions she risks alienating progressives and left-wing liberals who already suspect she’s an old windbag Washington pol. If she supports, she’s seen as pandering to Latinos and further alienating centrist Democrats and Independents who left the Democrats in droves during the 2014 midterms.

5. Make no mistake about it: this is about Barack Obama and Barack Obama only. He could care less about the thrashing his party got in the midterms, he needs to show everyone that he still matters. He doesn’t see himself as the lamest of lame ducks, and he’s desperate to be back in the game, having folks twittering over what he will do, goading Republicans and making conservatives apoplectic at his actions, and being in the spotlight. It’s what he lives for. Whether what he announces is substantial or not, he’s doing it to show everyone that he is still the President and he’s not going away anytime soon.

So excuse me if I’m not that riled up about this just yet.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 02:16 | Comments Off on Servin’ Up Some Constitutional Crisis?
November 19, 2014

Reince Preibus is right. It’s not just Jonathan Gruber that thinks the American public is both gullible and stupid. Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid do as well. As do most left-wing liberals and progressives. As Rich Lowry of National Review writes:

This denies Gruber his due. He has done us all a favor by affording us an unvarnished look into the progressive mind, which values complexity over simplicity, favors indirect taxes and impositions on the American public so their costs can be hidden, and has a dim view of the average American.

Complexity is a staple of liberal policymaking. It is a product of its scale and reach, but also of the imperative to hide the ball. Taxing and spending and redistributive schemes tend to be unpopular, so clever ways have to be found to deny that they are happening. This is what Gruber was getting at. One reason Obamacare was so convoluted is that its supporters didn’t want to straightforwardly admit how much the law was raising taxes and using the young and healthy to subsidize everyone else.

This is nothing new. I think it was fairly apparent at the time that both the White House and the Democratic leadership knew damned well what was in the legislation and the reasoning behind it, just as they also knew that if the American public truly knew what was in the ACA, not only would the American public rise up against it, but also many members of their own party. Which is why in the end they had to throw so many goodies and promises at members of Congress both left and further left. It’s ironic that Nancy Pelosi’s priceless and inane comment that “we have to pass the bill in order to see what is in it” was probably one of the only truths spoken over the course of the entire debate.

So while Jonathan Gruber’s comments are shocking, they’re not nearly as outrageous as discovering that he’s earned millions of dollars championing the very same cause he admits was sold to Americans under false pretenses. It’s bad enough to be fleecing taxpayers while pushing your own agenda, but to do it so shamelessly knowing full well the legislative lies and sleight-of-hand involved with very little pushback from the mainstream media is in and of itself truly a disgrace.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:10 | Comments Off on When the Ends Justify the Means
November 18, 2014

Now this is what I call a “war on women”. Can you imagine what would happen if the Republicans did this? Why, it would be plastered all over the mainstream media! Stay classy, Democrats. Typical liberal hypocrites.

Happy 76th birthday, Gordon Lightfoot! May you stay on that “Carefree Highway”.

A story to make you cry and be proud. Well done, sir – may you rest in God’s peace. (Hat tip: Free Republic)

You know what bugs me? That I always get the Spring movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Hayden’s Water Music Suite #2. And can’t decide which on I like better. What say y’all?

And while we’re on the subject of classical music, isn’t this lovely? And a lovely image and sentiment as well. Wish it could be a statement on and of this world.

Uh, Mr. President, wouldn’t it be better if we employed ground troops to stop ISIS before they get their hands on a nuclear weapon? Sigh. I’ve given up trying to make sense of anything this guy says. If he isn’t outright lying to people, he spouts stuff that are both sophomoric and imbecilic.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:03 | Comments Off on Tuesday Tidbits
November 17, 2014

I’d been tossing around in my mind joining a gym for several months, but didn’t really know what I wanted or what I was looking for. I just figured I’d walk into a couple of joints an would know the right one when I found it. So when I walked into Desert Fitness – just a few blocks south of us – and spoke with one of the fitness directors there I knew I had found a match. No contracts, unlimited visits with a single monthly rate and a small annual rate if you stayed using it for three months seemed perfect for me.

What locked it in for me was talking with Tony, one of the fitness instructors there. We met for an hour (no charge) and went over my goals, the state of my current health, my diet, and what I was looking to accomplish. I liked the fact he didn’t bat an eye when I said, some kiddingly, that “when I go to Vegas in three months I want the chicks at the Parasol Up bar at Wynn Las Vegas fighting over me and the guys at the Wynn spa amazed at what great shape I’m in”.

Since I hadn’t been in a gym for well over thirty years, I knew how much the equipment had changed, and I’m no dummy – I know that any time you enter a fitness program it’s critical to know how you use the equipment right – not just so you get the most benefits from your workout, but so you don’t hurt yourself in the process. We agreed to an arrangement that wouldn’t break my wallet but would also put me on the right path towards looking good and feeling good about myself. For the next four weeks, my Thursday nights and Saturday and Sunday mornings would be handed over to Tony and the program he would set up for me.

I’m three days in and am just now beginning to revisit the concept of crunches, lunges, and lifting with exercises designed for my upper body, lower body, and core. I’m aching from my shoulders to my knees, but it’s a good hurt – my body and muscles are getting reacquainted with themselves after decades of inattention. At 59, I’m not getting any younger, and I’m determined that I will NOT enter my 60s broken down and filled with aches and pains. It’s not as if I’m overweight or hopelessly out of shape, but, well, I guess yes I am out of shape and I’m excited about taking this step into fitness.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:44 | Comments (2)
November 14, 2014

No, not me.

Sure, I could be ranting over Barack Obama playing tin-pot, third-world dictator out of spite because he happened to get jammed in the mid-terms, but I’m not in the mood. …well, maybe another time.

But after a long, hard work week, I thought it would be fun to cruise into the weekend and listen to someone else blow off some steam. But first allow me to put this in context…

As someone who used to play in a band you know there are gonna be nights where things aren’t going the way they should – y’know, everyone and everything is a little out of sync, the equipment’s faulty, the set-up stinks, the sound is crummy. Like they say, that’s show-biz. Of course, if you’re playing the American Legion hall at some shotgun wedding or anniversary party you might be able to get away with a version of “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” that’s out of tune or off-key. But if you’re playing Vegas, baby, and backing none other than the legendary Paul Anka, you better be top notch and on your toes – at all times.

And if you don’t you get this treatment. (Warning: foul language in spades!)

Me, I found this absolutely hilarious. I wonder if fellow Goodboy “Killer” Kowalski’s immensely-talented show-biz squeeze has ever talked to her band like that. I sure hope so – that would be something I’d like to see! 🙂

OK, time for the weekend, and it can’t come soon enough.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:10 | Comments Off on Rant
November 13, 2014

For whatever reason I’ve always musically associated Pink Floyd‘s work with the month of November. Whether it’s because their body of work is somewhat dreamy and dreary as a cloudy November day full of browns and gray, stark and painted with great contrasts as a crisp November day with bare trees against a clear sky, or just because their music evokes a mood similar to that I’ve always associated with this transitional month (similar to March) to me Pink Floyd and November are perfect sound partners.

Therefore, to see The Endless River, their first release of new material in twenty years and their final planned release take place during November seems to me a fitting way to end more than four decades of incredible music. Inspired by the sessions surrounding their previous album The Division Bell and the loss of keyboardist and original member Rick Wright, The Endless River is unique to the Floyd catalogue in that it is primarily instrumental; there’s only one sung track on the album. But make no mistake about it: the classic Pink Floyd “sound” is intact, made even more so by Wright’s contribution – one that is greater here than perhaps any time since their 1975 classic Wish You Were Here. And Wright’s contributions make one realize just how much of a part he played in creating that sound before bassist Roger Waters’ lyrical tendencies took the band off in a different (and not always positive or popular) direction.

Congrats to guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason for a fine and fitting end to Pink Floyd’s musical journey. Having Rick Wright along for one final ride makes it all not just worthwhile, but an incredibly joyful listen as well. I just wish my brother Mark could be around to hear it – as a huge fan of the classic Floyd sound I know he would have truly enjoyed it.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:54 | Comment (1)
November 12, 2014

It’s feeling a lot later in the year than November across much of the northern U.S. while here in the Valley of the Sun it feels like a month earlier. I’m not complaining – temperatures in the ’80s are just fine with me. Hard to believe we’re a couple of weeks away from Thanksgiving and you-know-what follows after that. All of which makes this poem perfect for a mid-November day:

“How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow.”
– Elsie N. Brady, Leaves

Hat tip: egreenway.com

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:16 | Comments Off on November Poem
November 11, 2014

There’s not much I can write that already hasn’t been said before and by others. Having never served (or desired to serve) in the military it nevertheless has always been both humbling and amazing to me to about and learn about those who have served, and are serving, their country for the cause of freedom both here and around the globe. Folks can argue about the political decisions by which our brave men and women – and their families – have made this sacrifice across the ages, but on this day I hope anyone who cherishes the freedoms we take so much for granted will take a moment to express their gratitude to our serving men and women and veterans for all they have done and continue to do on freedom’s behalf.

Goodboys Nation weblog thanks you for your service and remembers in both thought and prayer those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving under the flag of this great country. May your service and sacrifices never be forgotten.

—-

While I hate to inject politics into what ought to be a non-political post, it’s instructive, I think, to understand how the liberal left thinks, as evidenced by this incredibly moronic and repugnant Salon article penned by one Daniel Masciotra. Look, you can be as anti-war as you want. And you can even be anti-military, believing that if the leaders of the world all just sat around in a great big circle and sang Imagine, there’d be no wars and we could all focus our full attention on truly important things like man-made climate change. But only in the astonishingly juvenile and out-of-touch world of liberalism could someone pen a piece that is not only void of reality, but so shockingly insensitive and disrespectful to those who volunteered, fought, and died so that he and others can pursue and live the American dream.

And that dream does exist. Don’t believe me? Check this heartwarming story out. Mr. Masciotra should be so lucky in his life, but frankly, he’s so bat$hit crazy he wouldn’t know the first thing about what this country stands for and means to others far less fortunate than he obviously has been in his coddled, elitist existence. Personally, I think he needs a tongue-lashing from Sam Kinison.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:25 | Comment (1)
November 10, 2014

Got this in an e-mail from fellow Goodboy “The Funny Guy” the other day. Pretty darned funny in and of itself whether you now play golf, have ever played, or even if you never have if you ask me, but as TFG so succinctly puts it, shades of things to come.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 16:20 | Comments Off on Obamagolf
November 9, 2014

This is the first of a couple of posts I hope you’ll like, taken from a nature reserve up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire during my visit back East a couple of weeks ago. You wouldn’t know it, but busy Route 1 is no more than a mile or two away. The day was cloudy and warm – a perfect day to walk, breathe deep the clean, woodsy air, and snap a few pics. Hope you like them!

I love the contrast between the bright yellow leaves and the surrounding woods.

You don’t see lovely sights like this in the Valley of the Sun come October (or any time of year, for that matter!). Given the progress of the seasons, I’m guessing most of the tree-bound leaves have joined their counterparts on the ground.

Quintessential New England, wouldn’t you say?

A perfect picture for two days before Halloween. I would have loved to place some jack o’ lanterns on the posts!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:06 | Comments (3)

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