Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Thoughts for 2014

. . . from Thomas Sowell. He has a real knack for encapsulating complex circumstances and making them eminently understandable. As, for example, his comment on a recent statement from the former Secretary of State:

Hillary Clinton's idea that we have to see the world from our adversaries' point of view — and even "empathize" with it — is not new. Back in 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, "I have realized vividly how Herr Hitler feels." Ronald Reagan, however, made sure our adversaries understood how we felt. Reagan's approach turned out a lot better than Chamberlain's.
And that should be no surprise to anyone — except, maybe, for those on the "squishy Left". Sowell also makes a broader point:
There are few modest talents so richly rewarded — especially in politics and the media — as the ability to portray parasites as victims, and portray demands for preferential treatment as struggles for equal rights.
Sowell also comments that Republicans, as a group, are far too gentlemanly. Especially when they should be slapping down the demagogues.
Republicans complain when Democrats call them racists. But when have you ever heard a Republican counterattack? You don't win by protesting your innocence or whining about the unfairness of the charge. Yet when have you heard a Republican reply by saying, "You're a lying demagogue without a speck of evidence. Put up or shut up!"
I agree with that. Strongly. The Democrats' (mis-)leadership really needs to be called out on their continuing dishonesty in this and in so many other areas.

These are just a few of Sowell's "random thoughts" at the end of the year. There are some additional good ones at the link above. I can't wait to see what he says in 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

You Should Have Started Sooner

This reminds me of a saying: "Bad planning on your part is not an emergency on my part."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

End of the Year Chuckles

Lately I have been struck by the humor in things I have run across. I have collected a few of them here. Some of these have a sharp edge to them, and some (especially the last ones) are just funny.

First up: Retirement benefits, anyone? Who has earned theirs?

Russian President Vladimir Putin's government may have fallen on hard financial times, but he still feels like he can issue a warning to his neighboring state.

This cartoon brilliantly captures political correctness run amok.

I like things that are punny, too. Especially if the pun is terrible, like this one.

And then, for end-of-the-year laugh-out-loud funny, it's hard to beat this description.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Rest in Peace

My old friend Paul has gone to join his beloved Mary Alice, so he is now happy again.

Paul was always upbeat, always joking. At church one day he asked his pastor

Why did the raisin go out with a prune?

Because he couldn't get a date.

Their pastor often told Mary Alice over the years that she was sure to go straight to heaven, because she had put up with Paul for so many years.

Paul served his country proudly, and then served the people of New Mexico with his training and his humor. And Paul was always devoted to Mary Alice. His family says he died of a broken heart because he couldn't face a Christmas without her. I believe that is true.

Rest in peace, dear friends.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Who Pays?

Eventually, everyone (or, at least, everyone with a brain) gets around to asking "Who pays for all this 'free' stuff?"

Here's the answer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The SSIC "Torture" Report

I kept seeing and hearing reports on the news — radio and television — about the report on CIA torture released by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. All the news stories characterized the report that way. None of the stories noted that it was a report by the committee staff, not the committee. And not the whole staff, but only the Democrats' staff (the "majority staff" until next month). None of the stories mentioned that the minority staff also released their report today, and none mentioned what was in that report. All the news stories stated the Democrat staff's claims as if they were true; none noted that these claims were contradicted by all involved at the time as well as the statements made at the time by the very Democrat officials now attacking the agency. And none mentioned the statement/report released by six men — all three CIA directors and all three CIA deputy directors during the years in question. That statement begins

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation of terrorists, prepared only by the Democratic majority staff, is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question. The committee has given us instead a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation — essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks.

How did the Democrats' staff get so much so wrong? For one thing, they interviewed none of the agency's senior leadership from that time period. That is, they interviewed none of the people who could definitively confirm or deny the statements they were making in their report. That was deliberate; it was not an oversight. And who could make that decision? It would almost certainly have to be the Democrat senators and, in particular, the (temporary) committee chair Senator Diana Feinstein.

And why was the news media so one-sided in their coverage? I'd have to guess it was because the Feinstein Report story fit their agenda. A more balanced coverage didn't.

UPDATE: It's even worse than I thought. While in the Senate, former Senator Bob Kerrey served as one of the Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In that capacity, he participated in investigations of CIA procedures. In those cases, he writes, "the committee staff examined documents and interviewed all of the individuals involved. The Senate's Intelligence Committee staff chose [in this case] to interview no one." John Yoo adds another important detail: "Worse yet, Feinstein and her staff refused to interview the very officials at the CIA, the White House, and other agencies responsible for the interrogation program." And, before the report was released, CIA veteran Jose Rodriguez noted in the Washington Post that

The report’s leaked conclusion, which has been reported on widely, that the interrogation program brought no intelligence value is an egregious falsehood; it’s a dishonest attempt to rewrite history. I’m bemused that the Senate could devote so many resources to studying the interrogation program and yet never once speak to any of the key people involved in it, including the guy who ran it (that would be me).
Why? I think Senator Kerrey has the answer:
I do not need to read the report to know that the Democratic staff alone wrote it. The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.

Friday, December 5, 2014


I've seen various acerbic statements from Maxine. Usually very sharp, and frequently right on the mark. This one, however, is outstanding — even for her!


But for sheer jaw-dropping unbelievability, it will be really, really hard to top this!

Decorating for the Holidays

It's time to begin decorating for the holidays. And that can be dangerous.

Sometimes showing that is the decoration.

You also may want to pay attention when purchasing your decorations.