Wednesday, January 31, 2007

'E's A Clean Young Man

The 2008 Presidential election, still more than 21 months away, is already starting to draw verbal fauxs pas. Today, Senator Joe Biden, on the heels of his announcement as a candidate, spoke to the press at a diner near his Delaware office.

According to a Jason Horowitz story in the New York Observer, Biden's message included criticisms of the leading announced Democrat candidates, mainly Senators Clinton, Williams and Obama. Sen. Biden doesn't think any one of these candidates has a viable plan regarding the ending of the conflict in Iraq. He's conceded by many to be an expert in foreign policy.

While discussing the shortcomings of these candidates, he paused to pay Senator Obama a complement: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he said. "I mean, that’s a storybook, man."

One is left to assume that all of the other Black Legislators in Washington are none of those things. A few of those I've observed speaking in the House and Senate chambers has led me to agree, at least on their ability to articulate clearly.

Sen. Biden has since apologized to Sen. Obama. I wonder how long it'll take him to get around to apologizing to the rest of them.

It's occurred to many, including myself, that this is a more severe insult than that of Sen. Lott 'pon the occasion of the infamous Strom Thurmond 100th birthday event. But not to any Democrat.

Hypocrisy is not a rare commodity in Washington DC.

I fear for the health of the Republic.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, January 29, 2007

LA Road Warrior

Fortunately, I was going in the right direction today: luck o' the draw.

There's an old joke. Why do Mexicans like to deal in cash? Because it's hard to sign a check with a can of spray paint.

Apparently, this morning, one of those dopey Mexi-gang types spray painted a pretty large--and I'd guess a pretty undesirable--message 'pon a bridge abutment wall on the southbound I-5 freeway just south of Boyle Heights. Boyle Heights is a pretty heavily latin (self-imposed) ghetto just southwest of downtown Los Angeles. Mexi-gang lingo graffiti is abundantly visible throughout the area.

As I mentioned, the graffito must've been kind of nasty, though I couldn't tell for sure because I was passing at 60mph, and there was a Caltrans drone painting it out with gray paint. They usually just leave it until someone else comes along and paints over it. About all I could tell from the uncovered portion was that it was Mexi-gang in nature.

The bad part of this whole scene wasn't so much the fact of the graffito. The bad part is as follows: While the painter was working with a paint roller to cover the "art," and his partner had a flat-bed truck alongside in the right traffic lane, a highway patrol idjit had all four lanes of traffic stopped dead, waiting for the painter to finish(!).

As I said at the beginning, I was going in the right direction. All those on the southbound side were stopped, waiting while a civil servant is painting a bridge! Thousands of gallons of gas and diesel fuel were being wasted, costing every driver money for the added wear on his vehicle, not to mention time lost in the life of each and every individual sitting there breathing the concentrated exhaust fumes of all those vehicles while watching paint dry.

Here we have even more proof that freeways ought to be taken out of the hands of the blundering state and given (sold to pay off Guber Ahnold's burgeoning deficit) to those who can operate them efficiently.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Pig in a Burqa

This morning, on her radio show, Laura Ingraham mentioned that, in China, officials have forbidden advertising depicting pigs. Seems that muslims, tender beings that they are, are offended by the beasts. They regard them to be unclean animals.

True, pigs dig in the ground for food, but so do ground sloths, and so do dogs, 'pon occasion. So do potato farmers. To the more rational among us, it's been discovered a long time ago that if something's dirty, you wash it. muslims, still living in the Seventh Century in their minds, apparently haven't yet discovered this technique.

Nonetheless, being creatures of most tender sensibilities, muslims must not be offended. An offended muslim has been known to suddenly explode, often in a bus or an inhabited building.

We don't want to offend muslims.

Trying to create a parallel the sentiment and relate it to herself and other christians, Ms Ingraham, a very devout christian with easily observed severe sexual hangups (common to the breed) asked rhetorically, why don't we, in America, refrain from using images of scantily-clad women in advertising?

Laura, do christians regard beautiful women to be unclean animals?

Well, as Steve McQueen said while portraying the character, Nevada Smith, in the movie by the same name, upon seeing a crucifix for the first time in his character's life, "That looks worse'n hanging."

Perhaps it's religion that's the filthy animal.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Elizabeth Caldwell! Paging Miss Caldwell!

Diving way, way back into ancient memory files, I occasionally recall a girl for whom I felt a degree of juvenile fondness. I've stumbled across many of my childhood friends, in recent years, thanks largely to Algore's Internet, but Miss Caldwell still manages to elude my efforts.

It was she who was the seventh-grade science fair whiz about whom I wrote

I was in the same class with her in 5th and 6th grades at West School in Grand Forks. I was just beginning to realize that girls were just possibly worthy of our attention. In junior High, both of us attended Valley, and I had a few "dates" with her. The dates consisted of my visiting at her home in the presence of at least one of her parents. Since I was a very naive young lad, and utterly ignorant of the ways of the world, I found this quite satisfying.

Elizabeth had dark, nearly black hair and very light skin. I though she was beautiful and, in my mind's eye, I still think so.

We had a date or two in high school and had a couple of classes together, but her path was toward the university and an academic life; mine was more technologically bent. She did science projects and played the French horn and I made mischief and worked on my car. And drove it.

Elizabeth graduated early, at the Senior mid-term, I graduated at the end of the Senior year. Two weeks after graduation, I joined the Navy, and completely lost track of her and all my other hometown friends--except those few who also joined the Navy.

On occasion, I've asked some of my friends what happened to others. I've located many of them. All I've learned about Elizabeth is that she went to University of North Dakota, and later I heard that she was a French language professor at Valparaiso. Since I don't know of her marital status, I don't know her surname.

Other than idle curiosity, I'd like to learn more about her because she was the individual, among all my friends and classmates, who seemed like she'd go the farthest.

Or, maybe she's just shrugged.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Never-Ending Campaign

It's only been eleven weeks since the Congressional election, and less than three weeks since the new Congressdrones have been sworn in--to an Oath of Office which has certainly already been violated by every single one of those having taken it, if this is a typical year. Welcome, New Parasites; time to start campaigning for the next election. The 2008 Presidential campaign season is already well underway.

With at least a dozen candidates already announced, and more sure to come, let's look at the near future. With the exception of the Honorable Doctor Ron Paul, every single candidate, announced and yet to announce, is devoted to increasing the role of government and diminishing the prerogatives of the individual. Even Dr Paul has a couple of issues with which many libertarians will disagree, including myself. While Dr Paul is an extreme long shot for the Republican nomination, he would be far and away better than any of the others. I will vote for him, given the opportunity.

Even though, as I wrote above, the prospects for a return to governmental respect for the freedom, sovereignty and dignity of the individual look quite dim, one can still, perhaps, find some enjoyment in the humor and spectacle of the upcoming events 'pon the scene political. Playing the fiddle as the Republic burns, as it were.

There are a number of things to observe, both good and bad, in the coming protracted campaign season to which we'll have to look forward.

First, the bad news:

  • The news will be (already is) so completely cluttered with statist-spun stories about sad, sorry individuals who will never, have never actually lived a productive day in their lives, and who presume to be able to take care of us (by making it impossible for us to take care of ourselves), that time and column space for any news we might actually find informative, will be less available.
  • Our mail (both e- and snail-) will be jammed full of what will prove to be untruthful brochures and letters, filled with unachievable (fortunately) programs and goals, and solicitations for campaign funds.
  • Radio and tv stations will bore us with annoying and untruthful campaign ads for two full years!
  • Politicians, having two full years to campaign, will be out shaking babies and kissing hands when they ought to be doing their jobs (this is a very mixed negative).
  • Streets and highways will occasionally be closed to allow motorcades filled with high-powered politicians to pass unimpeded and flights will be delayed while government planes land and take off, and to allow for Presidential haircuts on the taxiways.
  • We'll be continually bombarded with poll results from various pollsters, and analyses by hundreds of pundits, to the exclusion of entertaining programming.
Now, the good news:
  • Jay Leno et al will have an abundance of new material with which to delight their audiences.
  • Since virtually everything Congress passes into law becomes detrimental to the productive individual, keeping politicians on the road campaigning and fundraising, instead of "working" in their offices and 'pon the floor of Congress, can only be a good thing.
  • Many wealthy but foolish individuals will have their wealth diminished to the extent of their donations to campaigning politicians. Conversely, catering firms, hotels, hookers and other entertainers will be enriched by the foolish spending of campaign managers and the inevitable camp followers.
As for us, while there are few prospects of anything close to an enhancement of freedom in American society, we have to acknowledge that we can look forward to two full years of often-entertaining gaffes and missteps, charges and countercharges, and sometimes the exposure of the lies and hypocrisies of the political animals.

While the future looks bleak to freedom-loving individuals, at least we have bread and circuses to enjoy while the once-wonderful Republic of the United States of America is turned into just another two-bit people's state by the traitors who inhabit the nation's Capitol.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California


This just in--Past Presidential candidate and junior Senator from Taxachussetts, John Kerry, has announced that he will not enter the race for the Democrat Party's nomination this year. He will return to his normal job as one of the statues on Easter Island. Thanks and a tip of the battered grey fedora to Dennis Miller.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Journalism 101-1/2

I took a couple of journalism courses at Fullerton Junior College long enough ago that you can actually see the difference in the government school dumbing down process from then to now. The first rule that was taught, in the reporting of a story, is to find out and include the who, what, where, when and why. I assume that's still the case.

Leaving aside all the allegations of spin and bias, and just sticking to the straight reporting of the story as it exists, I still find many things lacking in many news stories. Case in point: A recent LA local CBS news story about a woman who called police, having been shot. Police found the woman wounded and a man dead inside the store, both shot.

We aren't told the woman's condition. We aren't told who shot whom, whether it was a robbery in which one of these individuals was robbing the store and was shot by the storekeeper, who was shot simultaneously. There was conjecture that it was an attempted murder-suicide, but no indication of a relationship between the two. No names. Only a very sketchy police statement with little useful information.

At FJC, in the journalism class I attended, the story would get a failing grade and a lecture about stayng on the story until you have the facts. It wouldn't have been a pleasant lecture to have to endure. Shame on CBS2-LA and its reporter for a shoddy job of reporting.

Somehow, most of today's working news reporters, seem to be content to go to the press conference, listen to the speeches, get in a question or two and take the handout. The story is written from that, and only from that. What the politician, his hack, or the police spokesman says becomes the whole of the story.

The romantic in me recalls the stories of fast-talking reporters who interview witnesses, politicians, who finds a way to interview the principals involved, and who finds a way to remove the spin and find the truth. If the politician lies (now, who'd believe that's possible!), if the police are covering something up, or if a criminal is hiding something, the good reporter will find a way to ferret the truth out.

Today's news reporters are at worst, bought and paid for and at best, slackers.

Brenda Starr, where are you?

Warm regards,
Col. Hogan

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside--and Inside!

It's a bad time to have the heater go out. We've had a couple of people out to look at it, but they both told us very different stories about what's wrong with it. We're having a third outfit look at it Tuesday.

Meanwhile, all we have to heat the house is four of these electric room heaters. Hey, they work! As long as you're sitting within a few feet of one.

You might say, Dude! you live in Stalag California, where the sun shines all the time. Well, it doesn't shine at night. It was well below freezing last night. One of the squirrels for which Debbie sets food was ice skating on the water pan in the back yard this morning.

I moved here to get away from all that ice and snow crap.

If this happens one more night, I'm going to call for Aid from FEMA. Seems to me like I could get a $2000 Visa card and maybe an expenses paid couple of weeks in New Orleans. Der Governator has already done his part by declaring a State of Emergency, so I only hope we can hold out until Aid arrives.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting in front of my heater, waiting for my Visa card. I wrote an email to Algore, in hopes he'll find a way to hurry Global Warming (might as well keep all the options open), and one to Santa Claus, in case he might be able to give me any cold weather tips.

Now, I'm off to the rink. I've heard it's warmer there.

Chilly regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, January 12, 2007

Woman, Back To The Kitchen!

Ok, I've been ragging on the Socialist Party B (Republicans) for some time now, and deservedly so. Once a Republican gets elected to any office, he checks his spine at the door. Fine.

That doesn't mean I like Socialist Party A (Democrats). There is no reason within the Democrat Party. None at all. The Democrats are all emotion, and have been so for my entire life--and that's a long time.

Today, the extremely leftist Senator from Stalag California, Barbara "Bouncer" (so named because of her proclivity for floating "bad checks" in the House slush find while in office as a Representative, not for any other reason) Boxer, raised eyebrows and dropped jaws throughout the feminist community by asserting that, since Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has no children, she has no possibility of personal loss in the war. Presumably, one might be able to infer her meaning as being that she's thus unqualified to be Secretary of State. Read a NY Times story, with Ms Rice's comments here, a NY Post editorial here, and further comments in a Fox News article here.

The Senator said that she wouldn't pay a personal price in Iraq because her children are too old, and her grandchildren are too young. Ms Boxer added that Ms Rice also wouldn't pay a personal price (Ms Rice is unmarried) either. The utterance seems to imply that a single woman is unqualified to make decisions that bear on military matters, since she has no family members at risk in the conflict.

One would think this kind of statement would draw howls of anger from the various feminist organizations and individuals, but so far, there is silence with regard to Ms Boxer's seeming opinion that a woman's place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant. Had a member of Socialist Party B made this kind of statement about someone in Socialist Party A, not only would the entire Congressional membership of Socialist Party A be calling for this individual's immediate resignation, but nearly every news organization be editorializing a similar condemnation, and every feminist in the country would be marching on the Capitol.

On top of that, the rest of the members of Socialist Party B would help oust the poor sap.

As it stands now: a few weak mutterings that that isn't what Ms Boxer meant from the left, and a lot of talk from right wing talk radio. Even the cowardly Congressional membership of Socialist Party B is largely silent.

Some of the stuff that happens in Washington DC would be hilariously funny, were it not for the confiscatory taxation we, the few, the proud, the productive must bear. That and the police state that's being erected by the power-mad members of both parties.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Child Prodigy or Child Abuse?

I think the conversation started with regard to Donald Trump and the Miss USA Pageant, and the controversy surrounding Tara Conner's recent antics. The point was made that Miss USA is simply a beauty contest. I suggested that it could be termed a high-priced wet t-shirt contest, for which I was pelted painfully with peanut M&M's.

Then someone observed that in the Miss America Pageant, the contestants compete on the basis of their ability to entertain, as well as their beauty and poise, and their desire to help achieve peace on earth.

Somehow, the conversation turned to the late JonBenet Ramsey. Someone repeated the oft-mentioned opinion that poor JonBenet was being victimized (before her untimely death, of course) by her parents for training her so rigorously for these pageants, from such a young age. What kind of childhood could she have? Or could she have had, but for her tragic murder?

We used JonBenet as the example because her case happens to have been running through the news in the past couple of months, and we spoke of her in a manner of projection, as if she had not been murdered, and were still following the plan set for her by her mother--a past contestant and pageant afficionada.

JonBenet would have faced a childhood of dance training, tutoring in poise in front of audiences, as well as child pageants. She would graduate to cheerleading and teen pageants, and go on to the adult pageants, if all had gone according to her parents' plans. One has to guess that JonBenet found all this enjoyable as well, since she appeared to be enjoying herself and appeared to be applying herself.

Where she would've gone from there as she reached adulthood, would've been up to her.

Most media people who've spoken to this issue and this case, all the way back to the time of JonBenet's tragic murder when her story rose to prominence nationally, have spoken from an assumption that hers was to be a tragic life of all work and no play. The tone seemed to be (without anyone having actually said so) that her death was a merciful release from a projected unfulfilling life.

Some of my friends seemed to lean in that direction. I emphatically disagree.

No one can see the future, but we can make projections based on the lives of others and on the lives of those in analagous life paths.

Wayne Gretzky started skating at the age of two. He drilled and trained and played hard throughout his childhood. He played youth hockey on local teams with boys years older than himself. He went on to Canadian Major Junior hockey and finally, into professional hockey at the age of seventeen.

Gretzky had a full career as a professional hockey player, is considered one of the game's premier stars of all time, and continues his career as an owner of the Phoenix Coyotes National Hockey League club.

Two of his brothers also had professional hockey careers. Brent, the youngest, still plays in an east coast minor league team.

I cited the Gretzky family because of my knowledge of their careers, but I might also have cited any of a host of olympic athletes--gymnasts, figure skaters, skiers, etc, not to mention musicians many others.

It's almost always true that the best at any endeavor is the individual who began learning it in his childhood, who loves it and continues to refine his skill throughout his life. The parents' job in this area is to teach the child the need for goals and how to select them, then to help the child select goals, guide and help motivate the child toward what appears to be his early goals, and see that he has the tutoring, coaching, equipment and encouragement to allow him to achieve these goals to the best of his ability.

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I have to assume that this was what the Ramseys were doing with JonBenet, prior to her death. Admittedly, I didn't follow the story closely at the time, and there might be details I missed in the news coverage, but my opinion stands: when a child shows promise and aptitude in any reasonable endeavor, one ought, as a parent, to give all possible aid and encouragement.

Teach your children well.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Of Blizzards and Self-Reliance

I grew up in the Great White North in the 1950's. I often tell friends that I think that was probably the very best time in history to be a child, though I'll admit that I'm looking through Wayne-colored glasses. The period just before World War One might have been a better time (as long as certain illnesses were avoided), but I don't have a clear vision of that time.

We actually walked to school in those days, carrying our Gene Autry lunch boxes filled with goodies made by Mom and bought by Dad. We weren't carried to a chain-link surrounded prison-like structure sixty miles from home by an evil-smelling retard driving an ill-maintained black smoke spewing yellow death trap, or even in a bullet-proof four-wheel-drive rebodied pickup truck with heated seat cushions and a HDTV screen in the back.

Sometimes it was cold. As I've told my friends here in the Stalag, we had to slog four miles through waist-deep snow in -20 degree temperatures, and it was uphill both ways. That's a bit of a stretch, but we did walk and some days it was -20. The good part was that we were free to experience little adventures of many kinds, within the constraints of getting to school on time and getting home in time for dinner. Today's kids don't get that.

The main reason I bring all this to your attention is that this may be a part of the difficulty I'm about to discuss.

There were some really cold and miserable winters in North Dakota in the 1940's and 1950's. Added to that, technology was far less advanced than it is now. I'm not saying that winters are milder now. Winters and short periods within winters are very severe, where others are less so. No change there.

The change is, however, in how the "victims" handled severe weather then, as opposed to now. People rarely died in blizzards in the '40's and '50's. We made sure we had a basement full of coal or a tank full of fuel, and replenished it well before we ran out. Our winter clothing may not have been pretty or stylish, but it was warm. People didn't trust their cars: everyone realized that the car might not make it, and so we carried chains and shovels in the trunk. We had outdoor clothing with us in the car (usually, we were wearing it--the car heater often wasn't enough!).

This winter, and numerous times in recent years, there are news stories about individuals dying in cold and blizzard conditions. I won't try and tell you that this never happened in those earlier decades, because it did. What I will say, is that many of the recent freezing deaths ought to have been, and could 've been, avoided.

Herein lies the problem. We (most of us) trust our cars. We tend to let our technology do our thinking for us. That and, as I often say: today's younger people don't know how to connect actions with possible consequences.

The news reported, over a period of days last month, the plight of a family that got stuck in Oregon, in very cold weather and far from a town or any help. Fortunately, mother and child were rescued before they succombed, but Dad, having left the car to try to walk to a place in which help could be found, died.

In the chatter about the heroism if the dad in his sadly failed, but valiant attempt to find help for his family, the fairly long list of errors that led to their predicament was hardly mentioned.

There was no emergency clothing in the car. Nor were there any emergency tools or survival gear. Having missed a turn, they took an unknown road shown on a map, and got stuck when it turned out that the road was unmaintained in winter.

A series of small errors that proved fatal.

So, are we (many of us) getting too soft? Are we of the opinion that "something" will take care of us? Why is it that so many of us step off into very dangerous situations, unprepared, thinking we'll make it, somehow?

Or, is it that we know that, in the end, we're gonna die anyway?

Ponder it, if you dare!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Addendum, Jan 7:

Today, I was just made aware of a "weather bulletin," an unattributed news story from the state in which I lived in my childhood. I've read something like this before, and I don't know if it actually appeared in the news (no names of officials nor actual locations), but I've lived through situations much like this myself, a couple of times. In essence, it is truthful.

This particular version appears in "Tibor's Place on the Web," Tibor Machan's website on MSN.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Thugs of Surf City

Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, is a scenic, sleepy, mostly upscale town along the Pacific coast between Newport Beach and Long Beach. Huntington Beach is the town about which many of the Beach Boys' and other surf bands' songs are written. Hundreds of bikers and hot rodders can be spotted kroozin' up and down Pacific Coast Highway through Huntington Beach on any nice weekend afternoon. Thousands of beautiful young bikini-clad woman can be seen tanning, swimming and playing on the miles of perfect beach, along with an equal number of young men doing the same things, and families and elders each enjoying the sun, surf and fine Stalag California summer weather in his/her own way.

There is a dark cloud over Surf City, though, and it hovers over the city civic center. Specifically, it's centered over the out-of-control Huntington Beach Police Department.

As a long-time resident of nearby Santa Ana, and other nearby towns, I was able to observe the radicalization of the HB police as it built up. It seems to have started with those old wild-and-wooly Fourth of July street parties of the 1970's (they may be even older than that, but this is my recollection). Given the moral laxness of the hippie years, there was a lessening of enforcement of civic ordnances, combined with the usual large number of visitors from other towns, abundant liquor and other intoxicants, the tendency was for this partying to get more and more outrageous.

We more cautious individuals who had enough sense to stay away from Huntington Beach heard tales of drunken brawls and vandalism, bonfires in the streets using items stolen from vandalized businesses for fuel, even asssaults and muggings.

The citizens and business owners of Huntington Beach, alarmed by the sheer insanity of the bacchanalia, not to mention the destruction, naturally complained to the city.

The police were ordered to toughen up.

Devoid of any philosophical background, respect for property rights nor even any respect for the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, the unofficial attitude of the HBPD soon became, "Let's go out and kick some ass!"

I'm not sure of the degree of officiality of the clampdown, but it's gotten to the point where the most benign gatherings can be broken up, the most peaceful drinking parties can face arrest for public drinkenness, and it's even illegal to have a beer in one's own front yard while mowing the grass!

More recently, according to an article by Steven Greenhut of the Orange County Register (Commentary, Dec. 17, 2006), police have taken to brutalizing their victims for even the most trivial offenses (both real and suspected). Greenhut cites the police as having tossed a loaded pistol into the trunk of a DUI suspect's car, not in an attempt to enhance the prosecution based on the presence of that weapon, but merely to frighten the hapless suspect as to the degree of his legal trouble.

The officers admitted their folly as the suspect identified the weapon in detail in open court, and attempted to pass it off as some sort of training exercise for the officer. More recently, a contractor for the Register, who operates coin operates sidewalk newspaper racks in parts of the OC, was violently rousted by HB police, not giving him an opportunity to explain that they were his news racks. The man was held at gunpoint, forced to prostrate himself, painfully handcuffed him and angrily yelled at him abusefively. Allegedly, as they say.

Whenever the HB goon squad is called on this sort of behavior, the complaints apparently end up in the round file, officially called "official confidentiality." "Exempt from the public records act."

What the HB thug squad apparently has forgotten, and no one seems to have the stones to (forcefully) remind them, is that they work for us. They're our employees. They have to do what we say.

As author L Neil Smith often admonishes, and I fully second, "no more secrets, no more lies." Any one of us might, under the correct circumstances, be elected to any office in the land. It's to be presumed that, any one of us, in other words, is trustworthy enough to be privy to any and all of the records and acts of our "civil" employees.

In a free society, that's how it must be.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California