Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Souter's lame old hovel--or this? Posted by Hello
Welcome to the Hotel Lost Liberty

Might I urge all of you, in the light of last weeks utterly socialistic and anti-American decision by the evil Supreme Court of the United States--you know, the one that puts an end to private property rights in what was formerly the Land of the Free--to read the linked Press Release?


Wish I'd thought of it.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Nobody did it better. Posted by Hello
Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette

There was no one on earth who, back in the '40's and '50's, looked cooler smoking a cigarette than Humphrey Bogart. No one. If we were to ask every American who started smoking during that twenty-year period, to list three or four of the influences that made tham start, Humphrey Bogart would be on most of the lists--even though it was probably smoking that killed him.

I started smoking in 1959. I knew then that smoking was an unhealthy habit. So did everyone else. I quit in 1969. I started again in 1971. I quit again in 1980. I started for the last time in 1987, and quit again in 1991. Occasionally, I think about starting again, but I won't. I'm getting too old to abuse the body like I used to.

I liked smoking. I still like watching someone enjoying a cigarette. When I was in the Navy, aboard an aircraft carrier, some of my most enjoyable moments were a few minutes out on the gun deck, breathing the salt air, smoking a cigarette and watching the ship cut through the water. If it was dark, I'd go out on the fantail and watch the moon reflect off the waves or the phosphorescent glow in the screw wash.

I've always loved to drive. Between motorcycles and cars, I always manage to find a high degree of satisfaction cruising along a desert highway, alone at night. Smoking was part of it. I even installed a can holder on my bike to have a place to put the butts.

So. Here I am, possibly the only man in America who doesn't smoke, who doesn't mind if others do. Oh, I might get annoyed if there's poor ventilation and there's too much cigarette smoke, and pipe and cigar smoke can get really heavy, but I figure that's my problem (unless it's my property).

I opposed the laws against smoking in restaurants and pubs from the start. If the proprietor wants to let his patrons smoke, that's his business. If he can't ventilate the place well enough to suit me, I'll find another establishment.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

A few years ago, well after I quit for the final time, I was sent by my employer to Fort Worth for a training session. It was in the winter and, though there was no snow, but it was cold! A few of us were headed for a downtown restaurant for lunch when I noted the little group of really cold-looking people huddled in front of an office building. They were smoking.

The anti-smoking nazis are really out to punish those who still smoke.

What really gets me is those anti-smoking radio and TV spots. Now, it's commendable that those who'd like to see youngsters not get into the cigarette habit employ persuasion--telling them the reasons why smoking isn't good for you. I'm all for that.

What I don't like, is when they lie. Like when they say that second-hand smoke is even more dangerous than actually smoking. A lie. Maybe if you're in a closed room with a bunch of smokers, but no, they'd still be smoking and inhaling the second hand smoke. It's just a lie to make non-smokers hate smokers.

What's just as annoying, are those TV grossout spots showing the nastiest aspects of smoking. Hey, you don't have to tell me, I've already quit. A long time ago. I don't need to have my viewing of an LA Kings game interupted by images of filled ashtrays and people with various gross-looking illnesses that may or may not have been caused by cigarettes (remember, they lie).

My solution is thus: If the money spent on antismoking propaganda were spent on research to cure the cancers related to smoking, then we could all smoke and be happy about it. Or not.

Your choice.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, June 24, 2005

So....you think this is your property? Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The End of Property

Since I've been old enough to use and control my rational faculty, I've never been under any illusions about property rights in America. Govenment at all levels has been unConstitutionally confiscating private money and property with a host of lame excuses for many decades. The main reason for real property confiscation is failure to pay taxes. A secondary reason is that government wants to build something.

Government owns hundreds of thousands of square miles of land, in all parts of the country already. but whenever they want to build something, they ignore that and take land from some poor, unsuspecting American who actually thought there is a right to ownership of private property in the United States.

Well, as the legal system of the United States was originally written, there is.

If you read the Founding Documents--the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, if you read the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers and other letters and declarations of those who signed the above documents--you'll have to come to the conclusion that the Founders and supporters of the early United States considered it beyond question that property rights were absolute.

The Eminent Domain law was put into place to allow government to build roads, government buildings, etc for "public need" without having to pay exhorbitent amounts to get land. I don't agree with eminent domain law, because property rights are absolute and if someone wants an exhorbitent price for his land, he should get it, or prospective buyer should look elswhere.

Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling killed whatever was left of property rights. The grossly flawed decision gives any government agence at any level the "right" to steal any bit of property for any reason. The government agency merely has to claim that the taking is for the public good. To my knowledge, there is no requirement to justify the claim. The law, and the Fifth Amendment calls for just compensation according to fair market value, but who decides what's fair? The government agency that's stealing the property, that's who. It doesn't take a marketing genius to figure out which way that's gonna go. This ruling goes against every principle of property rights that most people thought existed.

This court action should incite violent rebellion. It might still, when government attempts to steal the wrong parcel of land. Those folks in Connecticut probably won't do anything. They're Easterners, used to peace and love and corrupt local government. When they try it on the wrong group of mossy-horned old cowpokes in the West, though, it might turn ugly.

This single Supreme Court ruling could just be the beginning of the end of Law....

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

How rationally crippled will this youngster be by the time he spends fourteen years in this robot mill? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Walking to School

Yesterday: Each morning, during the eight o'clock hour, there are dozens of youngsters walking along the sidewalks, in groups of two to maybe seven or eight, sometimes singly, and sometimes on bicycles. They're laughing and talking, goofing around, but generally moving along in the same direction. As they pass an intersection, more kids come running up to join the parade.

This boy is showing his friend his new jacknife. That girl is with three friends, giggling and pointing at a small group of boys clowning around up ahead.

They're carrying books; they're on their way to school.

Today: Stylish sedans and suv's line up along the street for blocks, clogging the street and moving forward, feet at a time. Late-sleeping neighbors suffer angry horn honking and dozens of idling engines as they do the stop-and-go crawl. The sidewalks are empty.

Amid exhaust fumes and the heat of engines, the kids are disgorged in the school parking lot, one or two at a time, barely able to greet their friends as they rush to their classrooms, arriving late. Parents, afraid to upset those in the long line of cars behind them, say hasty goodbyes.

Everyone who's read these pages for any time at all knows what I think about government schools. In a short phrase: Government schools are child abuse. In a longer sentence: If government school teachers spent half as much time teaching students acedemic subjects as they do spreading propaganda, we'd have very intelligent graduates, indeed.

This entry isn't about schools, however. It's about what teachers call "socialization." Not teaching kids to be good little fascists (which they will), but rather making friends and doing fun stuff.

Government school teachers complain that kids who don't go to "public" schools don't socialize well.

Years ago, we "socialized" on the way to school in the morning, then goofed around more on the way home in the afternoon. We got to know the kids in the neighborhood that way, and parents got to know each other as they told each other what "those darned kids" have been doing in the back yard.

Now, it's out of the car, into the classroom and out of the classroom into the car. I suppose they get a little time during lunch or during whatever passes for recess these days. But don't dare show your friend your new jacknife. Don't even bring it. Not only will you be carried of in irons by the police, but the record of it'll follow you through your entire academic career, and perhaps beyond.

Let's look at the school in which your youngsters spend almost a third of their young lives. Crackerbox buildings, often without heating and air conditioning. Sometimes they're literally trailers, set in rows. All this, for over $8k per child per year. The grounds are surrounded with tall chain link, to condition the kids to know their choices are limited and that they can't escape. They'd be better referred to as Children's Prisons.

The most intelligent kids are kept down to the progress level of the slowest kids in the class. When they get bored and start entertaining themselves, they're required to take tranquilizers to dope them down. On the other hand, if one of them smokes a joint, it's virtual death. If they smoke a cigarette on school property, it's even worse!

Don't give an asperin to your classmate who has a headache. That makes you a drug pusher and you're scarred for life. And never, ever point your finger at a pal and go "Bang!" They'll hang you by the thumbs from the chain link fence, for that.

Well, I said this wasn't about schools, and it is, sort of.

While the government teaching establishment talks about socializing, and spends millions on programs to teach kids to be good neighbors (money that could go into academics) if allowed to walk to school and play in the afternoons between school and dinner, and if parents arranged outings for groups of friends, etc. kids would "socialize" quite nicely without the schools' help, thank you very much.

"But," the government school advocate asserts. "There are child molesters and drug pushers who'll victimize our children."

My Answer: If parents teach their kids how to defend themselves against criminals, they won't be victims. The key is that parents have to do their jobs as parents. It's not a school problem. Or is it?

In government schools, the teachers are often the drug pushers--requiring that kids use various psychoactive drugs to make the kids more compliant. Occasionally, we hear about a teacher sexually victimizing a student. How can they escape, when they're surrounded by chain link?

Like a prison.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, June 20, 2005

This fellow, Connor the Condor, was one of the leaders of the exodus. Posted by Hello
Leaving a Sinking Ship

My son works for U-Haul. He tells me that many, many people are renting trucks and trailers to move out of California to Nevada, Arizona and points east.

One of my brothers just bought a house and plans to move to Arizona this summer. My other brother moved to Texas many years ago.

California, like New York, Taxachusetts and a number of other states, seems to be attempting to tax and regulate Productivity to death. Every now and then, we hear of one of America's medium-sized-to-larger corporations moving its home offices out of California.

Governor Arnold claims to be attempting to reverse the trend, but he has to work through the state legislature--a mangier pack of thieves and would-be slavemasters you'll not find in any single city this side of Pyongyang. My money's on California bankruptcy in my lifetime.

They're giving away the state to the non-Productive for votes, and financing it by ripping off the Productive--any of us that actually dares to aspire to reach middle class. If you happen to make six-figures, there's a bull's eye painted on your back.

Just about everyone I know who makes pretty good money--and works his butt off for it--is at least thinking about bailing. We're checking out which states have the lowest taxes and the smallest state governments. We're wondering if we can find a job in our career areas there, that'll pay enough to let us maintain *or even improve* our lifestyle.

Well, I just read the ultimate story in yesterday's OC Register. The ultimate refugee.

The headline: California Condors Soar Through Arizona Skies.

And we thought they were dying off! Barbara Streisand! They all went to Arizona, where taxes are lower, fewer regulations, and better pickin's. My parrot tells me that the seagulls are planning a move, as well. I'm hoping they opt for Oregon.

They've killed Freedom! Those Bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

The San Diego, Arizona & Eastern railway--the railroad Dad was working for when he retired in the mid '80's.They'd actually progressed to diesels by then. Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Been Workin' on the Railroad......

My dad was born during World War One. He grew up in the little farm town of Emerado, North Dakota, one of ten children of Sylvester and Grace Grantham. Sylvester owned the only grocery and general merchandise store in town--although Grand Forks, a much bigger town where the locals went to do their serious shopping, was only fifteen miles away. In the late '30's, he bought a fleet of grain trucks to carry the nearby farmers' wheat to the grain elevator in Emerado. Dad and his brothers drove some of the trucks during the harvest.

Grandpa died when I was two, so I don't remember him. Dad spent a couple of year being a hobo, riding the rails and seeing the country. I wish he'd told me more about those adventures. He came back, got a job on the Great Northern Railroad, which had him working as a telegraph operator at small town train depots in the surrounding area. His job included receiving train orders by telegraph, typing them out and handing them off to trainmen on passing trains.

When WWII broke out, Dad went down to enlist, but was told that railroad men were needed on the railroad. He stayed on the job. It was during this time he met, wooed and married my mom.

I was born during World War Two, in another small town, Langdon, North Dakota. Langdon is a stone's throw from the Canada border, also in farming country. It was one of a number of small towns in which Dad worked early in his career. He also worked in his home town (Emerado) where I attended first and second grades, then Larimore, another nearby town where I went to third and fourth.

Seemingly, my "real life" actually started when Dad got a job at the Grand Forks rail yard, and managed to stay there for several years--through the school years of all four of his kids. Grand Forks was (and is) a really good town to grow up in.

One of the worst things about Dad was his (very) occasional bouts with Demon Rum. It didn't happen often, as I recall, but it was very uncomfortable for all of us--especially Mom--when it did.

The best thing, from my POV, was that he and Mom pretty much left us alone to grow up without "too much" interference. I made my own mistakes and learned from them. I had some rather amazing adventures, some of which could've been my end. As my muse takes me, I'll probably tell the odd tale on these pages.

Unfortunately, Dad passed away a couple of years ago and, though he led a very interesting life in his own right, I owe him a debt of gratitude for allowing me to become the man I've turned into.

Thanks, Dad.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Surf's up, Dude! Posted by Hello
Smart Tsunami

Anyone who's heard the Southern California Emergency Alert System knows what I'm talking about: the never-ending, several-times-a-day on every radio station announcements that're like sandpaper on the eardrums.

They seem to be designed to make you change the radio station before your ears start bleeding, and they're always drills. A General Quarters call at three AM would be sweet music compared to these hideous blasts. Did I mention that they're always drills? "If this were an actual emergency we'd play it even louder!"

Well, yesterday at about 8:10 PM they played it on TV. And again at 8:20. And yet again at about 8:30. It was interrupting my intense viewing of a rerun of The Gilmore Girls. It came out with those same awful buzzes that they use on radio, then a message flashed onscreen that you should tune to Channel 6 for details on the emergency. Since my neighborhood seemed not to be either burning, flooded, tilting or shaking, I paid it little attention, except the anger of having The Gilmore Girls interrupted.

Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, and I tuned in Channel 6.

It was a tsunami warning. I suppose, since *The Big One* in the south Pacific, we're all supposed to panic and get in our cars and high-tail it to Big Bear. But since I live five miles from the beach ( as the seagull flies), I didn't really think I had much to worry about.

I went to Drudge after turning back to The Gilmore Girls.

Drudge had a link to Earthquake Central, who was showing a 7.0, in the Pacific 80 miles southwest of Crescent City. While hoping that othing serious was happening to the good folks in Crescent City, I also noted that Crescent City is a good deal north of lovely Santa Ana.

Ladies and gentlemen, attend: the tsunami, had there been one, would have had to whoosh over 600 miles, curving around Cape Mendocino and Point Conception, then make a hard left (over 90 degrees) in order to slam into the Los Angeles and Orange County beaches. That, my friends, would require both intelligence and purpose--that is, a smart tsunami.

Aside: does anyone know what the word tsunami means in English?

Well, we had no tsunami, and apparently no one else did, either. Knock me over with a feather.

Which brings me back to The Gilmore Girls. Why did the brainiacs at the plush penthouse offices of SoCal Emergency Alert Center decide they had to interrupt my TV viewing with a bogus emergency that any moron could tell was a non-starter? Why does the Emergency Alert buzzer sound so hideously annoying that one's first and second impulse is to change the station or hit the mute button? Why couldn't they give the emergency message during the abundant commercial periods rather than during programming?

I think there are grounds for the establishment of a Blue Ribbon Panel to investigate these shortcomings and answer these and other questions, and they should do so before the next emergency.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This is a fish plaque. I feel fortunate that none of these seem to be on LA area freeway walls. Posted by Hello
The Importance of Art

A few years ago, Caltrans began a program of attaching cast concrete objects d'art on the sound walls alongside the freeway shoulders in urban areas. These squares were often colored depictions of flowers or sea life. At the time, a relatively small number of spending watchdogs questioned the expenditure in letters to editors, but Caltrans whipped out excuses 1 though 23 why the art was relatively inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing. There was further blather about stress reduction for commuters, and even a redution of accidents caused by boredom.

Fact is, while dodging cell phone addicts and high speed map readers, not to mention newspaper readers, one hardly has time to notice the art plaques on the sound walls. I haven't cared enough to research what Caltrans pays for these useless subsidies for hack artists, but knowing the state of Califorina, they didn't get them from the WalMart sale bins.

Sunday past, Debbie and I were motoring up to "The Belly of the Beast," aka Los Angeles, in the Great White Whale and what did we see on the sound walls alongside the northbound San Gabriel Freeway but a long series of these relatively tasteless rectangles of deliberately generic-looking flowers. The continuing interest in the positive aesthetic effects of these representations of no kind of flowers on this earth or any other, is to be noted in the fact that they'd also planted very thick and clingy vines below these walls. The vines were well on the way to fully covering the concrete flowers.

O! Woe!

I'm gonna miss those flower plaques, and all the money deducted from my paycheck represented thereby.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, June 11, 2005

It starts with our first days in school Posted by Hello
Long May It Wave

Of course I love America, the land, the people, the capitalist system (distorted as it is), and the opportunities still afforded those who intelligently seek them. What I don't like about America is the government. Everything the government does makes things a little worse; makes living a little harder. Government, and those who are employed therein, have forgotten that they are working for Americans, and they are a tool to do the things Americans want them to do, under the limits of the terms of our Contract--the Constitution of the United States and its Amendments.

In Great Britain, and many other countries, the king/queen/chief/emir/fuhrer/tsar.....and even president, is the supreme entity and the people work for his benefit. The United States was founded to put an end to this obvious tripe, but little by little, we've forgotten.

More and more, as each generation graduates from the government schools, it's deeper ingrained that the federal government is the ruler and the people must obey its edicts. The Constitution is largely ignored and the meaning of the Bill of Rights is diminished.

Part of the propaganda that prepares youngsters to accept the supreme power of the federal government is The Pledge of Allegiance.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a socialist baptist minister in 1892. It was first published in The Youth's Companion magazine later that year, in a shorter form that that to which we've become accustomed. It's been altered slightly a few times since, the most recent change made by Dwight Eisenhower in 1954, in which he added the words, "under god." He didn't specify which god, but I assume he meant Thor, the Norse god of war, who seems to be today's most closely followed god by Washington DC.

The Pledge was clearly devised, by Mr Bellamy, to be a propaganda tool to indoctrinate our youth in the government's schools to accept the (alleged) superiority of government over the masses.

When I was in school, we recited the Pledge each and every morning at the beginning of the school day. We placed our hands over our hearts and recited the words aloud, having memorized them in first grade. I recall when they told us the pledge had been changed, that we had to add the words "under god" after "one nation." In what may have been my first act of political rebellion, I never accepted those two added words. I didn't think they belonged.

Years later, I realized that a pledge to the ever-growing federal government, the entity represented by the flag in this context, doesn't belong. It was adopted as a declaration of subservience of the people to the state.

Mr Bellamy knew what he was doing, and it seems to be working. Increasingly, over the decades, most Americans have become used to their accepted subservience.


They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What Washington DC knows about marijuana Posted by Hello
The Persecution of Mary Jane

Actually, 'twas during the tenure of the evil Franklin Delano Roosevelt that the decision was made. The decision was to have the Supreme Court that FDR kept in his hip pocket to declare any transaction, whether in any way interstate or not--even the sale of milk, for example, from a Norco dairy farm to a Santa Ana grocery store--subject to Interstate Commerce regulations.

This was all reaffirmed Friday by the Supreme Court that GWB keeps in his hip pocket as they decided that the possession of marijuana for medical purposes, legalized by referenda in California and several other states shall be declared illegal under Interstate Commerce rules.

I don't like the fact that the Supremes, not to mention all the other state and federal appeals courts, can look at questionable decisions made by questionable judges over the over two centuries of the existence of the Republic, and use them as precedents to make all manner of unConstitutional decisions that mainly benefit the government and the politicians. It's pretty clear to me that we'd all be better off if these rattlebrained judges were constrained to simply and only consult the Constitution and its Amendments for guidance in deciding Constitutional questions. If any of you legal eagle knows exactly why judges were ever allowed to make decisions based on the mistakes of other judges, I'd appreciate enlightenment.

Meanwhile, thousands are going to suffer and, perhaps, die because of one erroneous decision of six of nine self-important idiots in black dresses.

Having made an exhaustive search of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I find no language that allows our Representatives to in any way limit that which we voluntarily ingest. I'm sorry. It just ain't in there. No amount of study will bring such a moronic notion into view.

Even if it did, well, everyone who's paying attention knows that man's rights don't come from the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the courts, the President, our Representatives on any level, nor even from a majority vote. Man's rights exist in his nature as a rational being and cannot be taken away except by means of an initiation of force by another.

Really, it's no more complicated than that.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, June 03, 2005

Here's looking at you, Kid! Posted by Hello
Click it or Ripoff

Sheriff Lou Baca, alleged sheriff of Los Angeles County, is once again having his annual whine-in at the Supervisors' offices for more money to run his already bloated agency. He wants yet another county referendum to increase the sales tax to buy more politically correct, but largely ineffectual officers to cruise the ever shrinking county (as the cities annex more land) looking for schlubs who aren't wearing seat belts in their cars.

I guess all those intersection red-light enforcement cameras aren't paying off as well as he thought, eh? Fade in to the Sheriff's fancy hardwood-panelled conference room with the seven-figure teak conference table (seating for thirty).

Sheriff: "Dammit, those assholes are actually stopping for the red lights!

Ass't Sheriff: Yes, but there's a marked increase in rear-end collisions at thos intersections.

Sheriff: Who cares? We can't fine anyone for a rear-ender. Let's increase the fine for not wearing a seat belt.

Coincidentally, the state, in order not to lose federal highway funds that they'll use to fund the recent state senate and assembly salary hikes, has ordered a statewide program to increase seat belt compliance.

Folks, I'm not used to this. I don't usually let stuff get to me, but here we are in the midst of a war against a bunch of savages that couldn't even manufacture the turbans on their heads without Western help, battling against a government that's spending more money messing with its own citizens than effectively fighting the evil "terrorists" who are battling us with weapons we politely gave 'em, and I gotta remember to buckle my seat belt?

O! The pressure!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

"This is how freedom dies. To thundrous applause." --George Lucas Posted by Hello
HR 1528

Called "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005," Rep James Sensenbrenner's new bill promises to convert once-free Americans into stoolies, spying on their neighbors and reporting any "illicit acts" observed, like Soviets used to be encouraged to do during the life of the USSR.

Children have already been admonished to report any adult drug activity to their government school teachers. One might wonder how many parents have been rousted and perhaps arrested during a child's anger tantrum.

Since it'd be impossible for George Bush's police state to watch everyone, all the time, what could be better than to get everyone to watch everyone else, and report in whenever they see someone breaking the law. Since, at any given moment, under the American legal system as it's evolved under the Patriot Act, everyone is breaking some law or another at any given time; it's all covered!

Therefore, if this stunningly unConstitutional bill becomes law, it'll be illegal not to turn someone in if you see him engaged in any (real or imagined) drug activity under pain of at least two years in prison, if I see anyone committing these dastardly acts, I just plan to turn in someone I don't like. So, be nice!

Rumor has it that the feds are going to put all law-abiding Americans in Kansas, and the rest of the United States will be the George W Bush Memorial Federal Prison. Logical analysis requires me to conclude that Kansas will remain a desolate, empty wasteland.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California