Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Trip To Whole Foods

Since the day John Mackey made his wonderful statement opposing socialized medicine, and the lefty wackos announces a boycott of Whole Foods, I've been meaning to go there and do some food shopping. Then, perhaps regularly. Finally, recently, I actually went to one of his stores.

Well, I was appalled! There was nothing at all I recognized, outside the meat and produce departments. No Cheerios, no Campbell's soup. Nothing! The word "organic" was emblazoned 'pon not only every aisle and every sign, but on every package. Now, as some of my friends know, I often quip, "I wonder what an inorganic food would be like?"

That's only partly in jest. I know that what the semi-articulate call "organic food" refers to food grown or handled in a particular way. Let's look at that, shall we?

The regular agricultural industry, which most of us grew up with, is the best on earth. Other countries have starving millions, America supplies an abundance of food for the entire country, as well as food for many of the countries unable to do the same. We're, in the aggregate, healthier than most of the peoples of the rest of the world. Food suppliers, understanding that such a vast growth, handling and distribution system find that handling large amounts of their products requires some innovation above and beyond growing food and off to market.

I don't begin to know all the tricks of the trade. Fertilizers are used to increase crop yield. Insecticides are used to mitigate destruction by pests. Preservatives are employed to extend the useful life of foodstuffs between the farm and your plate. Without these and many other processes, food would be much more expensive, if not scarce for the millions of us who occasionally find ourselves hungry.

"Organic" food skips several of these enhancements. "Organic" food is thus expensive, sometimes shows evidence of insect damage, and has a shorter shelf life. It sometimes looks quite gross. In my excursion through Whole Foods, I noticed that the apples were blemished with black spots here and there. The bananas were mostly over-ripe. On the other hand, the meat in the butcher shop looked scrumptious, but was expensive to the extreme.

Packaged food is generally in drab packaging, small package size and, those things I bought while I was there ended up largely flavor-free. I couldn't shop for brand, because there were no brand names I'd ever heard of or seen advertised. I suppose the small packaging was needed because the food would spoil if not eaten immediately.

It rankles that "organic" food producers don't give me my fertilizers, nor my preservatives, nor my colorful packaging; the stuff just doesn't look as good, and yet they charge more for it. Third world people eat what environmentalists call "organic food," all their short, miserable lives. They appear to be chronically malnourished and unwell.

All this is not to say that one shouldn't eat "organic food" if one happens to be wealthy or is so spartan as to eschew flavor and shelf life, but those of us with budgets can suffer with richer flavor and the ability to store food for lean times.

I intend to avoid what's erroneously called "organic food," and look for quality and value on my local supermarkets, and to supplement that food with selected vitamins, minerals, etc. from my favorite vitamin websites.

Deer have a place in Stalag California.....Next to the peas and mashed potatoes.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, December 21, 2009

No Chance That There's Any Context In Which This Is A Good Question

"How did you feel as you gripped the trigger of that gun." --Paula Zahn, Fox News.

This is a question asked by Ms Zahn of an unknown (by me) person about an unknown (by me) event. The nature of the event doesn't really matter to my thesis.

If she asks the question of a person who killed an intruder to protect his loved ones and/or property, she's showing a disdain for defensive action. How would she "feel" if she walked into her apartment to see her daughter being raped? "How could he do such a thing to me?"

Screw feelings! Kill the bastard!

If she asks the question of a murderer in a prison setting, she's appealing to the mentally unhealthy ghoulish curiosity of a sick person who ought to be in a loonie bin. I can imagine the murderer smiling lasciviously, perhaps drooling a bit, and saying, "I wanted to watch her die, dude!" and Ms Zahn imagining the tenement dweller watching and saying, over his beer, "Awright!"

Get the widow on the set, we need dirty laundry.

It's part of a promotional ad for Ms Zahn's daytime show on Fox News, which is apparently designed to play off Ms Zahn's past fame, even at the expense of her credibility during the decline of her career. It's not a dumb question. It's a question that tells far more about the questioner than it ever could about the interviewee. Why would any serious journalist even think about asking something hideous as that?

Does Ms Zahn know that by asking that question she's expressing bias? Does she know that she's telling the world that she'd rather see a young woman lying dead, face down in the mud, having been raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, than see her standing, gun in hand, over the dead body of her assailant?

It goes without saying that one doesn't grip the trigger of a gun. Ever.

These are just a few of the bits of the ugly soul of Ms Paula Zahn revealed by that short question.

We report, you roll over and play dead.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Technology is Still Scary to Some

Let me preface by saying that I, even to this day, observe that many people approach the common escalator with a degree of awe. One can watch them: Stop at the edge of the abyss, look down and judge the proper moment to step off. After these many decades of escalator use, one might think we'd find them second nature by now.

Today, I went to my neighborhood Target to pick up a few items. After taking care of business on the first floor, I took the upscalator to the second. I had to stand idly on the bloody thing, because the folks in front of me wouldn't move. A common thing. It seems as though very few people understand that, even though an escalator is moving, it's still possible to walk it like stairs to change floors more quickly.

On the second floor, I picked up a few items and had to return to the first floor to get one of the Items being prepared for me. That's when I learned that the downscalator was stopped, out of order and had caution tape over the entrance. I went to the two (and only two) elevators to see that there was a deep crowd waiting.

There probably is a regular staircases somewhere, but it isn't apparent, nor is it obviously marked. There is one out in the parking structure, but you can't go to the parking structure without passing through the checkout and paying for your goods, This, I was not yet ready to do.

Being the ne'er-do-well rabble rouser that I am, my solution was to duck under the caution tape and walk down the stalled downscalator. I picked up the rest of my purchases, paid for everything and went to the door, where I braced the security guard.

Does everyone know that the escalator is broken?"

"Yes. We have a call in to the repair shop."

"Do you know that it's possible to walk down a stopped escalator as if it's a normal stairway?"

"The escalator has been closed for safety reasons."

"Do you know that everywhere in the world that has escalators leaves them open when they're broken so that they can still be used as stairs? Your two little elevators ain't making it."

"We're sorry for the inconvenience, but we have to think of the safety of our guests."

"Well, I guess that'll have to do, if thinking isn't an option," I said finally as I headed for the parking structure. I didn't tell him that I just walked down the broken escalator, thinking that with him, I might face arrest.

I'm on the lam, but I ain't no sheep!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, November 29, 2009

War Is The Health of the State

We don't really know if we can trust anything that comes out of the Senate, since each member is wholly involved in a personal quest for undeserved wealth and power. By the same token, we can't trust the words of the various minions of the Administration, either. For the same reasons.

Apologists for the GW Bush Administration have, since sometime during the second year of his Presidency, been falling all over themselves trying to tell us that not taking Obama bin Llama at Tora Bora was either not feasible, not possible or not a good idea at the time.

I distrust any and all of this rhetoric. It's my opinion bin Llama wasn't captured because a shortened war over there wouldn't fulfill the President's not-quite-sane dreams of a fully pacified Middle East under the control of the US.

Such dreams are now, and were at the time, the musings of a fool, but they were his dreams, and would also serve to further another function dear to most elected officials in the past hundred years or so: erode the Bill of Rights and severely lessen individual liberty in the United States. Along with the war came the evil Patriot Act, under the umbrella of an entirely new herd of jack-booted thugs in an unConstitutional goon squad called Homeland Security. Can't you just hear the goose-stepping heels thudding in a death rhythm for American freedom?

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Middle Easterners are peaceful and at least as civilized as are most Americans. My biggest problem with them is that, like leftists, they rarely condemn their members at the wacko end of the scale.

Back to the point: According to this story in Yahoo News, there's a report issued by the US Senate to the effect that the GW Bush military could have captured bin Llama had they mounted "a rapid assault with several thousand troops at least" It further states that "a review of existing literature, unclassified government records and interviews with central participants 'removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora.'"

Yet the troops, while nearby and ready, were never ordered to mobilize. A "vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines." Instead, "fewer than 100 U.S. commandos, working with Afghan militias, tried to capitalize on air strikes and track down their prey."

On or about Dec. 16, 2001, bin Laden and bodyguards "walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's unregulated tribal area," where he is still believed to be based."

And we're still fumbling around in Afghanistan, under an incompetent Commander-in-Chief. The best military units on earth, virtually leaderless, under the constant threat of Courts Martial for insulting, scaring and/or injuring the enemy.

Thank you, President Bush, for mucking up what should have been a quick attack and capture and turning it into another forever war.

War is, indeed, the health of the state.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Health Care, Even If It Kills

The one thing He-Who Shall-Not-Be-Named has promised that he intends to fulfill (even if it costs him reelection) is health care. He intends to fulfill it even if it trashes all his other campaign promises. You know, the promise not to raise taxes on the poor, to improve on GWB's economy, etc.

He wants a health care bill passed even if it costs the consumer more than the current system, if the health care deteriorates, if medical innovation becomes impossible, if care of the aged becomes a death gulag, if physicians and other health care workers resign their careers and even if doctors become witch doctors with their bleeding lancets, leeches and multi-colored rattles and feather headdresses.

It no longer matters what's in the health care bill, as long as it is big, thick and says Health Care on the cover page. It no longer matters whether or not it bankrupts the country or that it kills more than it saves. It has to be passed.

It's becoming clear that up to 20% of physicians will quit or retire if this bill passes. Some already have done so because of the heavy government and insurance regulations and reporting requirements mandated in recent times. Imagine how that will increase as government takes over the whole of the medical industry!

Prepare for a massive black market, in which real care and medicines will only available by word of mouth and with hard cash on the barrel head.

We have to do something--anything--even if it's wrong!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The World's most Pussified Army

First, I was angered that a deranged religious fanatic would charge into a crowded group of soldiers and their families and open up with an automatic rifle. I remember that the first question I asked to myself as I watched the reportage on tv was, "What religion is he?" already pretty sure I knew the answer.

Well, I was right. He was both an insane islamic fundamentalist and an Army shrinkologist; a combination that should be watched very carefully. The only reason the Army needs shrinkologists is that the politicians keep involving our military in parts of the world and for reasons not only unnecessary, but unConstitutional and wasteful, and the soldiers know this and know that they are being used merely to further the interests of political agendae.

Most of the news media, in tune with, and under the orders of the Obama Administration, completely avioded and continues to avoid any mention of the murderer's religion, in line with the Administration's guidelines designed to appease Middle Eastern savage despots, dictators Obama apparently admires.

Ok. After realizing all of this, it gave me time to make an observation that many others also noticed. On an Army base, with presumably several thousand soldiers on board of many different ranks and specialties, no one in the area was armed. No one.

Well, this is the part I find embarrassing. Not only are Americans effectively legally disarmed throughout most of the country, but so are those individuals whose task it is to defend the nation from invasion and to protect the rights of individuals. Not only are the orders from the top circumventing those tasks, but they're placing these men and women in danger for reasons linked more closely to the personal desires of self-serving politicians than to their Constitutional purposes.

Note that the Israeli and Swiss militaries allow--indeed require--soldiers to be armed on and off duty. Unlike deputy Barney Fife, the even get more than one bullet!

To prosecute its Constitutional mandate, the military doesn't really have to be very large. A very small regular military to maintain the toys and keep the brass polished, and a good reserve militia system in each state, to be called upon in case of invasion.

But, they should be should we all, those of us who actually have values we'd like to see protected.

Evil and stupid state and federal administrations for many decades have been trying to convert American men and women into a vast herd of sheep, easily led and regularly shorn. Is that what we have to look forward to?

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Well Lived, Happy and Eventful Life

Yesterday, I finally gathered together a small sum of cash I'd been wanting to use for the purpose of buying some common silver coins, for use in the event of disaster to make purchases on the black market. I'm convinced that this will become an issue, maybe soon. I've been making these small purchases, as I can, for many years. If such a disaster never happens, I'll have a coin collection to sell to augment my retirement, should I ever decide to do so.

The gentleman 'bout whom I write will not. He'll die on the job, having lived a happy, healthy life.

I walked into his store in the early afternoon. It's a little hole-in-the-wall just off a major boulevard, almost unnoticeable among the sidewalk cafes and trendy shops. COINS & STAMPS, it says on the window. I stepped inside; there was no one there--just glass cases full of silver dollars, half dollars etc, and a wall covered with envelopes full of stamps.

An elderly man stepped out from the back room with a smile and a "Can I help you?" I told him I was looking for circulated, common date silver--probably half dollars. He directed me toward a case filled with various styles of halves--Franklin, Liberty Walking and Barber. I presume he had some Liberty Seated halves in the safe, but they're out of my price range and too valuable to use as cash.

After a few minutes looking at various coins and package deals, we settled on a package and a price.

I offered him my debit card, but he says he doesn't accept cards or checks; just cash. Well, fortunately I had enough cash to make the transaction. "I like to keep things simple," he said. I told him, "That's fine, I'll make sure I have cash with me in the future, as well."

By way of explaining his preference for cash, he started talking about his youth in Boston. In high school, he got a job in a coin and stamp store and began saving a little money. This was in the middle years of the Great Depression. He started putting a little money away just in case.

His parents were secure in their careers and he continued living at home even after he graduated high school . They wanted him to go to college, but he kept putting it off.

He rented a little storefront downtown for $20 a month and set up a coin and stamp store, not long after graduation.

He told me he would close the shop and go down the street to a deli for lunch each day, then go across the street to a Cadillac dealer and look at a particular black LaSalle coupe he liked. It was priced at $997. A 60 Series Cadillac's prices started at $1200. The salesman started referring to him as the "Lookie Lou." He studied that car every day for a long time. One day the salesman addressed him as "Lookie Lou" and asked him why he kept looking at the car.

"I'm going to buy it." "When?" "Now." "How are you going to pay for it?" the salesman chuckled.

"I'll write a check. You can call the ****** Bank and talk to Mr. ******."

Fact was, the young man-had, by that time, well over a thousand dollars saved up. He bought the car.

He was drafted into the Army in the early part of WWII. Because of his high scores in the tests, and his performance during basic training, he was kept on as a drill instructor. He attained the rating of Staff Sergeant. He was sent over to Europe in time to participate in the D-Day attack, where 17 of the 40 men in his platoon were killed or wounded.

After the war, he reopened his coin and stamp shop, married a lady who had been an Army nurse over there. They moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950's, where he opened another coin & stamp shop in downtown LA, then to where he is now. He worked alone in his shop every day except Sunday and Monday, though now he only opens for afternoons.

He'll be 90 this spring, and says he'll keep the shop open as long as he's able. He loves his work, and says it's what helps keep him healthy.

One of the neat things about my two-plus hour visit with him: No paperwork. I handed him the cash, he handed me the coins, and we shook hands. The way it's supposed to be.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Texting vs Spelling

I find the tendency of (mostly) youth to spell words incorrectly to make texting easier (I guess) very annoying--it tends to bleed out into other writings. I recall a few years ago, when government children's prison "teachers" were telling kids that wrong answers were "all right" to avoid offending their students' tender sensibilities. Then, along comes texting, which becomes a perfect fit with bad spelling and poor grammar.

I find texting suspect in its value anyway because all it's good for is "passing notes in class" and for causing auto collisions. Seems like a regular phone call would suffice--after safely parking the car, or finding a private corner in which to make the call.

In business, as well as in polite society, an inability to spell properly and use proper grammar brands an individual as semi-literate at best, and as a Victim of Government schools at worst, or just plain stupid.

Dumbing down the herd.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The First Time I Ever Read Anything On the Daily Kos

Since leftists are many times proven to be utterly unable to deal with facts (A fact to a liberal is like kryptonite to Superman -- Larry Elder), I've gotten used to the snide sniping and sneering, insulting insider humor they use to unfocusingly, not quite make what in the ever-fuzzy leftist world, be inaccurately called a point.

What follows is the reason-free blathering of an alleged writer who calls himself DarkSyde (presumably because he doesn't want his friends and family shamed by what he does in the bathroom with his laptop). Following each of his "Ten reasons why you might not be a libertarian," ripping off both David Letterman and Jeff Foxworthy, will be a short comment.

Notice a propensity of newly minted Libertarians showing up lately? Perhaps it's just coincidence their ranks swelled in inverse proportion to George Bush's approval rating, ditto that so many are mouthing traditional conservative talking points. But what about the everyday gun toting townhall screamers and taxcutters and deficit hawks we see on cable news: are they really libertarian as so many claim, or just conservatives in glibertarian (sic) clothes? Here's a few warning signs.
  1. If you think Ron Paul isn't conservative enough and Fox News is fair and balanced, you might not be a Libertarian.
Actually, Ron Paul isn't libertarian enough, and Fox News is far more fair and balanced than, say NBC. Also, we need to exclude commentators like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity from this judgement, because they're commentators--not news.
  1. If you believe you have an inalienable right to attend Presidential townhalls brandishing a loaded assault rifle, but that arresting participants inside for wearing a pink shirt is an important public safety precaution, there's a chance you're dangerously unbalanced, but no chance you're a Libertarian.
If you replace "brandishing" with the more accurate "carrying," I do have that right--although I prefer a 1911-type handgun. While pink shirts aren't specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights, as is the bearing of arms, the fact was that the Code Pink ladies were noisy and disruptive, whereas the gun-toting attendee stayed well away from the melee.
  1. If you think the government should stay the hell out of Medicare, well, you have way, way bigger problems than figuring out if you're really a Libertarian.
Medicare is a creature of government, and its existence impoverishes everyone. I remember when there was no medicare, and in that time, the United States was a far better place in which to live.
  1. If you rank Anthonin Scalia and Roy Moore among the greatest Justices of all time, you may be bug fuck crazy, but you're probably not a Libertarian.
I've never heard of a Supreme Court Justice (federal or state) that looks straight to the US Constitution (or the state constitution) to render judgement. If they did, there could be no conscription, no anti-drug laws, and the vast majority of police and regulatory agencies could not exist.
  1. You might not be a Libertarian if you think recreational drug use, prostitution, and gambling should be illegal because that's what Jesus wants.
There are religious libertarians--I have no idea how they make that leap, but they're entitled to their opinions, however wrong, as long as they don't try to force their will on others. There is no Constitutional justification for making drug use, prostitution or gambling illegal.
  1. If you think the separation between church and state applies equally to all faiths except socially conservative Christian fundamentalism, you're probably not a Libertarian.
I agree with this. Government should not in any way recognize or facilitate any religious organization. Nor should it discourage or hamper the free exercise of any religious activity unless that activity violates the rights of others.
  1. You're probably not a Libertarian if you believe the federal government should remove safety standards and clinical barriers for prescription and OTC medications while banning all embryonic stem cell research, somatic nuclear transfer, RU 486, HPV and cervical cancer vaccination, work on human/non human DNA combos, or Plan B emergency contraception.
Government and all medical professions should be separated by Constitutional Amendment. Safety standards can be set and enforced by private regulatory firms. Individuals must use or not use the advice offered by these firms as they see fit. One's own judgement is crucial for his own well being, and should be the final screed. Private research organizations should be free to seek knowledge, to the limit of their abilities, as long as they initiate no force and cause no harm.
  1. If you think state execution of mentally retarded convicts is good policy but prosecuting Scott Roeder or disconnecting Terri Schiavo was an unforgivable sin, odds are you're not really a Libertarian.
Any executions should be held by the intended victim against his attacker. Government should not be allowed to conduct executions, because it its inherent incompetence. The unplugging of Ms Schiavo's life support was not, should not have been a government issue.
  1. If you argue that cash for clunkers or any form of government healthcare is unconstitutional, but forced prayer or teaching old testament creationism in public schools is fine, you're not even consistent, much less a Libertarian, and you may be Michele Bachmann.
I don't see a relationship between the above issues, except that they are all government boondoggles. There is no Constitutional justification for the silly and destructive auto buyback program, nor for any kind of involvement with the medical industry. Nor is there any Constitutional justification for the existence of government education. I use the term "education" very loosely here. Lastly, I have no idea what the dropping of Ms Bachmann's name has to do with anything. Leftists, when they have no argument, will often attack individuals.

And the number one sign: if you think government should stay the hell out of people's private business -- except when kidnapping citizens and rendering them to secret overseas torture prisons, snooping around the bedrooms of consenting adults, policing a woman's uterus, or conducting warrantless wire taps, you are no Libertarian.

I agree with this one, too. George W Bush took many strides toward establishing a new fascist state, here in America. B Hussein Obama, however, instead of dismantling Mr Bush's evil work, has acted to extend and intensify the fascist state. He has not varied from the path Mr Bush would've taken, had he remained President.

The above silliness doesn't address the problems of the totalitarian state, it merely suggests that the writer wants a totalitarian state headed by his guy. His lack of understanding of conservatism, libertarianism, and even socialism is appalling. But he does, like both the neocons and the socialists (but, I repeat myself) extoll the wonders of the totalitarian state even in his ignorance. Oh well. Such is the meandering mental journey of the victim of the government children's prison system.

As for me, if there be any state at all, it should follow the Constitution to the letter and make changes only by means of the prescribed Constitutional Amendment process.

Conservatives don't agree with me, or most libertarians on many things, and I happen to think that most elected conservatives are not really very different from most elected leftists. Two sides of a (base metal) coin.

I kind of don't think I'll be any more likely to become a regular reader of Daily Kos because of the dubious wit and utter lack of logic expressed by Mr Syde, but it is kind of exhilarating to once again learn the very limited mental acuity of the average leftist political writer. The only problem is, the government children's prison system is cranking out people whose abilities are similarly limited, by the millions. Imagine how angry they'll be when they find out!

A tip of the old battered fedora to Moxie Cathedra.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, August 30, 2009

C'mon! Let's Be Real!

I'm hearing all the standard moaning and groaning about the death of Ted Kennedy, and the recriminations against those who point out the many dangerous, irresponsible and downright evil things he's done. Don't speak ill of the dead.

I'm not going to attempt to list all the nasty and damaging things done by this man in life; it would make this entry unreadable in its sheer length. Nor will I attempt to list the relatively few good things in his legacy.

I'll rather address the fact that his admirers and partisans, deluded as they may be, are trying to suppress mention and comment on the man's many failings. Leaving aside the drunkenness and the philandering; the reckless partying that led to (at least) one death, he has been a parasite 'pon all those of us who actually work productively, and has diminished us all throughout his life.

As a Senator from one of the most politically corrupt states in the country, he has worked tirelessly for decades to separate earnings from those who work productively. Simultaneously, he has tried to leave no means unutilized to harass and shackle those who would be productive and innovative.

If there has ever been a tax hike Kennedy has opposed, I've never heard of it. If Kennedy has ever stood up against the excesses of a teachers' union or an industrial union, it has slipped right past me. If Kennedy has ever stood up for the rights of the individual, it's never been recorded.

That I've been able to find.

Kennedy, like all socialists, was an expert at piling individuals into groups, and pitting each group against the others for his own aggrandizement.

But if Ted Kennedy's death ends his personal tapping of the country's wealth, even that will help. Sadly, he will soon be replaced by another just like him, and a once-free country will continue to sink into the dark hole that is national socialism.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, August 17, 2009

My One Day At Court

Several days ago, I was required to go to the Superior Court of the City of Los Angeles, possibly to sit on a jury. I've had jury duty before, and only once was I selected to be a juror. The case ended up being decided by means of a misstatement by the plaintiff, which proved the defendant innocent.

This time, I listened once again to the lengthy and repetitive blather about not allowing anything not heard in the courtroom influence me, and not speaking to anyone once placed on a case. Interesting how government drones are so certain that all of us are stupid. It must be caused by their view of their fellow drones.

At length, I was part of a panel chosen for a trial. I was #27 in a panel of thirty-six.

The prosecutor looked like a 60-year-old Telly Savalas. His assistant looked like a not-too-pretty 30-year-old Jewish girl. The defense attorney was an ever-so-typical Jewish-looking 40-year old who had a balding patch where his yarmulke would normally go. The judge was a 55-ish white guy who, though he seemed affable enough, gave no clues as to his degree of fairness or of intelligence.

The one standout in the little drama was the defendant. He was a black man, about 40 or so, about 6' 3", fit and slender, handsome but tough looking. He was wearing a black pin-stripe suit a bit out of style. He sat stoically at the defense table and said nothing; showed nothing.

As the attorneys detailed the charge and what each intended to say in court, I became more and more disturbed. The defendant was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell, and mentioned that the defendant had $44 in his pocket. I'm not sure of the relevance of the money.

The judge questioned the first 24 prospective jurors about their prejudices and their experiences vis a vis the police, crime and the law. The defense attorney asked about their opinions on race and whether the defendant would have to testify. There was more, but to me it was all irrelevant.

The man was not alleged to have harmed anyone. If he did what they said, he merely possessed a commodity, and was attempting to sell the goods at a profit. In reason, there is no way that can be a crime. The truth is, for those of us who are aware that there really was history prior to our own birth, that anti-drug laws were originally imposed to control black people.

They dismissed a few of the first 24 candidates, and chose a jury from the rest, not including those of us numbered 25 through 36.

I find myself wondering, had I been picked for the jury, how things would've shook out when I refused to convict based on the unjustness of the law.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,
Col. Hogan

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Adventures In The Mediterranean

I've always kind of regretted that I left the sea when I left the Navy, those many years ago. I've always loved the idea of sailing, especially of traveling by sailboat. I don't (regrettably) have any experience with sailboats, but in the Navy days I was occasionally engineer on a 50' power utility boat. I always enjoyed working on the utility boats. One of those really fun jobs!

Once in the seas south of Mallorca, we had to make a transfer of some people and supplies from one carrier--my ship, the USS Saratoga to another--the USS FD Roosevelt.

Turns out, the swells were about 20 feet--which the aircraft carriers didn't even notice, but the utility boats did.

I had the bow line, I was standing 'pon the foredeck ready to tie up as we approached the Roosevelt, and as we made our approach, a massive swell kicked the boat up and toward the side of the Roosevelt. The swell ebbed suddenly, leaving me about ten feet in the air, just holding onto that line for dear life!

The next swell brought the boat back up, violently (as far as my body was concerned). The boat surged upward as I fell downward, with painful results. I landed hard on the foredeck and managed to hang on. I got up and tied the line off and got back into the hold before the next big swell, which banged the boat into the side of Roosevelt. It knocked everyone off his feet but the Bosun, who was hanging on to the wheel. I still remember the bruises and muscle strains from that bit of acrobatics!

Ah, for the good ol' days!

The positive part of the story was liberty in Palma the next day. What a town!

From the Adventures of a wandering boy.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just When You Think They Can't Get More Stupid....

The one thing that every elected official and top-level appointed employee of el Pueblo de Los Angeles is that each and every one of them is stupid beyond belief. Individuals who can actually do things never become Bureau chiefs or City Councilmen. El Alcalde's main ability is that of straight-arming his way in front of any news camera that is anywhere within line-of-sight, toppling all those in his way as if they were tenpins.

Allow me to illustrate.

Very recently, a directive came down from City Hall to the effect that "Men Working" signs and other signs that use such politically incorrect words and language be changed to "People Working," and similar.

At a time when el Pueblo is allegedly strapped for cash, every city agency that uses street signs must throw them away and replace them with "gender neutral" signs, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to already cash-strapped taxpayers.

City engineers have already been required to remove the word "manhole" from all construction drawings, plans and specifications in favor of "person hole." No, that can't be right. It raises another entire raft of forbidden thoughts and the attendant snickers, wheezes and guffaws. Nope, it was, after thousands of hours of high-priced deliberations, decided to call them "Maintenance Holes." To this day, I notice a momentary pause and involuntary intake of breath every time I stubbornly refer to the structures as "manholes," when in company of a younger city employee.

While this might seem incredibly stupid to just about any rational individual, stand by. This is el Pueblo de Los Angeles. Soon or late, they'll come up with something even more stupid!

The true stuff is the funny stuff. --Mort Sahl

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, July 17, 2009

System? SYSTEM!!! We Don't Need No Steenking System!!!

In light of the gradual nationalization of medicine, I keep hearing reference to a thus far undefined term, "health care system." Health care system. What might be the definition of such a phrase?

Was the mythical doctor in the tv series Gunsmoke part of America's "health care system?" Was the almost as mythical small town doctor I went to as a kid in Grand Forks? Did either of them consider himself part of America's "health care system?" Nope. Nor did any of the real 19th century doctors represented by Doc Adams in the tv series. The term "Health care system" was never used in America until the federal government started its quest to socialize the "health care system." Today, we hear both branches of the Boot On Your Neck Party routinely refer to our collection of doctors, clinics and hospitals as "America's health care system." They should, but will not, be ashamed!

I can't speak for how it was in the Old West. I'm not quite that old. History tells us that doctors in those years used to heal first, ask questions later. Doctors in 1950's North Dakota were much the same way, except they generally demanded payment in the legal tender--not with chickens or bags of wheat.

I've never heard of anyone being turned away by those doctors.

My dad worked for the Great Northern Railroad most of his career. Railroads being nearly nationalized then as now, were required to add major medical health insurance to its employees' list of perqs. The insurance took care of most medical expenses above a certain threshold--I don't know what that threshold was. Below that threshold, Dad was sent a bill, by the doctor--almost like free enterprise.

I don't think anyone in our family ever had an illness or injury that rose to the level to be covered by the railroad's major medical insurance. I think Dad paid for the hospital stay required when each of us was born. I had a tonsillectomy when I was twelve. That may have been covered. Much later, Dad had a hernia surgery. That was covered.

The bills seemed high, according to the comments I'd keep hearing at bill paying time, but Dad paid them. That was the way it was. If Dad really thought the doctor was charging too much, he was free to shop around.

Back to the point: there was no "health care system." There were many doctors, clinics and hospitals, all around the country whose only links to each other were professional organizations and a small amount of unneeded government regulation.

Can anyone, other than a few escapees of the worst communist dictatorships, imagine such an insane freak of nature as a "shoe supply system?" In which every one of the shoe manufacturing, wholesale, retail, shipping and repair entities are under the control of a single "tsar" whose job it is to determine how many shoes are produced, of what materials and styles, where they're shipped, what the prices should be.

How many shoe repair shops should there be? Where located? What kind of qualifications should shoe repair technicians be required to have? What kind of pricing?

What kind of shoe manufacturing and repair trade schools should there be, and who should be admitted? What kind of reporting should be required, so that the tsar's minions will know if its directives are being followed?

These are exactly the horrors that socialized medicine will bring--to an industry that holds, or will someday hold, most of our lives in its hands. We're already hearing comments from socialists, domestic and foreign, about how much care should be given to an aged, ill individual who will "soon die anyway."

Lastly, I'd be remiss not to refer you to the Dr Hendricks "why he quit" speech in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

America's health care system. It'll be the death of us all!

Warm Regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I've been a mite slow lately adding new articles to this blog. The well is (I hope) temporarily dry. I just can't bring myself to get excited right now about anything political. Both of my Senators, my Congressman, and my state legislators (may they all rot in their own private hells) are raging socialists who won't be swayed by reason or anything else other than vast sums of money. This tends to dampen my enthusiasm just a bit.

Additionally, I'm writing a novel. I was stuck for at time at a point in the plot, beyond which I could not seem to get (make the most of it, TWC!). I puzzled over it for over a year, and I finally know what I'm going to do. The work will require some restructuring and some deep rewriting. I want to make the most of it, in the hopes of finishing the story before senility hits.

I am able to throw in the odd quip on facebook or twitter, thus can conclude that I'm not quite brain dead yet, so I can assume that I won't quit writing this stuff completely. Perhaps I'm just a little bit politically depressed at the thought of America turning into the USSA.

I'll place things here as my mood, and my time permit. I just don't think it will be very rapid-fire for a while.

I apologize, and thank you for your indulgence.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, June 22, 2009

Exodus From Reality

All the years that I've lived in the southern part of Stalag California, I've been aware that there are a large number of Jewish people here. I became even more aware during my twelve-year relationship with a lovely Jewish woman who hails from New York City. Even though she was secular, she introduced me to parts of the Jewish communities in New York, Miami, San Diego and Los Angeles. I met bankers, tax accountants, attorneys, retired folks, entertainers and storekeepers.

I've met two Jewish survivors of the Nazi death camps, their numbers tattooed in the web of their thumbs.

Nearly every one of these folks--one exception was my lady friend--favored gun control.

Gail explained to me that most WWII era European Jews literally didn't believe that the Nazis were enslaving and killing their neighbors that were herded away in the night. Until it happened to them, as one of the elderly camp survivors told me.

None of them thought of defending himself and his neighborhood. Very few of them hid away weapons and ammunition along with their other family valuables. A notable exception was the residents of the Warsaw ghetto in which, with very few old guns and little ammunition, these people were able to defend themselves and their community until the ammo ran out.

Moving ahead to today, we observe tiny Israel, nestled in the midst of several nations with tens of millions of individuals, many of whom wish the Israelis were pushed into the sea. Israel has had to defend itself almost since its inception.

Nearly every military-aged Israeli is armed. Almost every Israeli knows that he--or she--must be prepared to answer an attack anytime, day or night.

Unfortunately, most American Jews haven't made the same mental connections.

Every now and then, some deranged individual has entered a Jewish school or other building with weapons, and has shot up the place, killing a number of people and then himself, or he escaped unscathed to be arrested later. Do American Jews insist on the right to defend themselves? Well, no. More likely, they call for more stringent gun control--doing nothing against the psychotics, but guaranteeing that they won't be stopped.

Jews who are opposed to the right to self defense are, in a sense, Holocaust deniers.

And, by calling for the ownership and use of weapons of self defense to be made illegal, they are depriving themselves and their neighbors of the ability to defend themselves, while doing nothing to curtail the actions of murderers and thieves.

While I generally respect the tenacity and the self reliant nature of the stereotypical Jewish individual, as well as the many with whom I've been acquainted, I'm at a loss to understand this flaw in their philosophy.

Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, June 15, 2009

Reasons To Fear B Hussein Obama

I guess I stepped away from politics for a while, out of utter disgust for the speed with which the once free United States are being thrust into collectivism by one one would be dictator after another. Not only is the slope slippery, but it's getting steeper, fast!

The Patriot Depot, from whom I bought a couple of Gadsden-style car window flags, has brought a well-written letter to my attention. It's an open letter to B Hussein from Lou Pritchett, a former vice president at Proctor & Gamble. The letter pretty well captures many of my thoughts about the most dumbed down national election in US history, and the absolutely hideous results thereof. Have your blood pressure medicine handy while you read it.

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America, and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and "class," always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the "blame America" crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer "wind mills" to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use "extortion" tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

I don't know if this will hit you the way it hit me, but it pretty well covers all the bases--until I find more. It looks like a rough four (let's work to see that it's not eight) years, boys and girls. Hide your valuables and keep your powder dry!

People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of the people.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Trip Back In Time

I've always liked Knott's Berry Farm. I think the first time I went there was in 1969. I was fully involved in reading Western paperbacks at the time, Louis L'Amour in particular. I also like the few Donald Hamilton Westerns and read some of Zane Gray's. Going to Knott's was a way to immerse myself in the trappings of the Old West that didn't involve a long trip.

I won't go into the history of Knott's now, since it's very well covered in the news article linked below. What I used to do was simply wander about in the ghost town part of the Farm and look at the Old West exhibits in the museums and in the buildings of the ghost town.

This past Sunday's OC Register commemorated the 75th Anniversary of Cordelia Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant in a story to be found here. I've eaten there several times. The chicken is kind of similar to that of Col. Sanders, but much tastier and more consistent. It's a full, old-fashioned country-style dinner with fried chicken, mashed spuds, gravy, a veggie, biscuits and a dish of rhubarb sauce, followed by a dessert. I could eat at Mrs. Knott's restaurant a lot more than I actually did. I honestly don't know where one can get better fried chicken.

Perhaps the best part of Knott's is through the tunnel under Beach Blvd, where Knott built a faithful replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, complete with the Liberty Bell. Within, they run a tape loop of quotes from some of the founders, as might've occurred within the building during the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It gives one pause for reflection.

Unfortunately, I was never fortunate enough to meet Walter or Cordelia Knott, but I did see Andy Devine there a couple of times. He used to tell tales of the wagon trains in a recreation of a circled wagon camp in the ghost town.

Living in The Valley now, it's a bit farther to drive to the Farm now, but I'll still go there from time to time. The Knotts were freedom-loving individuals who lived their lives during a freer time. They saw the way the country was going even then, and did what they could to fight it. Near the Independence Hall reproduction, there was a book store, selling freedom-oriented books and souvenirs. I'm not sure if it's still there.

Here and there, the spirit of liberty still lives!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A Quick And Easy Way To Quit Smoking

I used to like cigarettes. A lot. It's probably why I returned to smoking twice after having quit. I really didn't want to quit. The third time, I wanted to quit, and I quit for good.

The first thing you have to do, is want to quit.

The second thing is that you have to ignore all those messages that say that smoking is addictive. I don't actually know if tobacco is addictive or not, but I refused to believe that it was. After all, I went to bed every night and went smoke-free for many hours until I awoke. Then how about a few more hours?

So, if you want to quit smoking, here's what you do:

  1. Disabuse yourself of the notion that smoking is addictive, or that you can't quit. It just is not true.
  2. You have several packs of cigarettes on hand. Fine. Continue smoking as is normal for you.
  3. Buy one carton of your favorite brand. This will be your Last Carton of Cigarettes.
  4. You can write that on the box with a sharpie, if you want, but it is your Last Carton of Cigarettes. Keep that clearly in your mind for however many days it lasts. Your Last Carton of Cigarettes.
  5. Continue smoking as normal, but buy no more cigarettes.
  6. When you get to your Last Carton of Cigarettes, open it and take out one pack. Set it aside as your Last Pack of Cigarettes.
  7. Continue as is normal, but buy no more cigarettes.
  8. As you get down toward your Last Pack of Cigarettes, you have to do a little planning. You have to modify your smoking pattern so that your Last Cigarette comes at bedtime.
  9. It's bedtime, you have only your Last Cigarette in your hand, and you smoke it, remembering the whole time that it is you Last Cigarette. Enjoy it. Sit on your patio in the cool night air and really enjoy your Last Cigarette.
  10. Go to bed and sleep well.
  11. When you wake up, you will have already quit smoking for about eight hours, depending 'pon how long you let yourself sleep.
  12. Go about your day's routine in the knowledge that you are no longer a smoker. Whenever you think about buying or "borrowing" a cigarette, remind yourself firmly that you no longer smoke and haven't for X hours (include the number of hours you slept). Put smoking out of your mind.
  13. For a few days, it might help to stay away from places where people smoke, and avoid smoke, smokers and places in which cigarettes are sold--to the degree that you can.

I followed this path three times. The third time just over twenty years ago.

Also, it worked best for me not to tell anyone about it while you're doing it. you don't want to hear how difficult it is. It's not difficult. You don't want to hear someone tell you you can't quit. You can, and it's the confident knowledge that you can that gets it done. You don't want your friends telling you how addictive tobacco is. It isn't. It takes a physical act of will to light a cigarette, and you simply have to refuse to do it.

I didn't mention to anyone that I was going to quit. Not before, not during and not for some time after. A few of my friends realized, after a time, that they hadn't seen me smoking in a while, and only then did I admit it.

I'm not a nut-case anti-smoking nazi, as are most of the denizens of Stalag California, and I don't mind others smoking around me as long as the smoke doesn't get uncomfortably thick. Seeing someone smoking doesn't tempt me.

I'm cured, and you can be, too. All that's necessary is that you have to want it.

What if they raised cigarette taxes and nobody smoked?

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Better Children's Prison?

This blog article is worth a read. While I still think that education should be separated from the state by a titanium wall thirty feet thick, and while I think regimentation and enforced conformity is a huge mistake, these children's prisons seem to be getting results.

Wolf Howling: An Educational Revolution In California?

You can learn, or you can leave.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Waste

I always feel a little twinge when I hear that some young mind, 'pon taking his BA degree, announces that he's going on to law school. Of course, any intellectual endeavor isn't a bad thing--learning is always school?

Law is a growth industry, which is why so many students choose the discipline. Legislators (mostly lawyers) continually create more laws, assuring plenty of work for practicing attorneys. It must look very good to the grad, seeing hundreds of thousands of lawyers, in nearly every area of American life, all becoming wealthy helping resolve disputes among men.

I won't begin by saying that the law profession is a negative factor in American society, even though in many ways it is, but I will say that the law profession is largely wasted time.

There are far too many laws. Attorneys create laws for everything. Then, they create laws to fill loopholes in laws. They create laws that contradict other laws. They create laws that cover the same ill (real or imagined) using different verbiage.

They do it largely to make work--hence to make more money as many more hours are needed to sort, separate and identify which law applies to a situation while the opposing attorney finds laws that contradict the case of his opponent.

Wasted time: not wasted time for the attorney, of course--it's cash in the till, but wasted time for the litigants who, in a healthier place and time, might simply discuss the matter, come to an agreement and shake hands to do business together on another occasion.

Why is the idea of doing real work; discovering and applying knowledge gleaned through research, inventing and building useful things, going to new places to explore to find phenomena never before known, and other constructive endeavors gone so completely out of fashion? Why do only a relative few study engineering, physics, medicine--in short, areas of study that will actually lead to something beneficial?

Government has regulated these disciplines to the degree that many of those who might take these studies are apprehensive about the conditions under which they'd have to work. The possibilities presented by the study of law must appear very attractive to the student who sees the uncertainty that exists in the future of, say, medicine.

Don't murder, don't steal and don't lie. These three laws are all that's needed. An unequivocal affirmation of each man's right to his life and property and his right to use and disposal as he sees fit.

Then, and only then will there be freedom for each to be a creative individual to the extent of his ability and potential.

Not many attorneys are needed for that.

From each according to his ability to each according to his ability.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Hidden Bonus In This Election

This past weekend, John & Ken, a pair of local talkers on KFI-AM radio in El Pueblo de Los Angeles, held a party/protest out at Tom's Farms, a sort of farmer's market complex outside of Corona, Calif. It was a protest against Guber Schwarzengroper's tax & spend referenda 'pon which some of us voted yesterday. The set of referenda were sniggeringly sold as a way to help balance Stalag California's budget, but would really have served to hand billions more dollars to the Stalag's administrators to wantonly spend on wasteful things the embattled residents of the state neither want nor need.

Reports from The Wine Commonsewer and others indicated that it was a good-natured (if angry) group of protesters as much making fun of the Guber's (and the state legislators') actions as being critical. It seems to have worked, since the event got a fair amount of media coverage and helped point much of the voting portion of the Stalag's population toward fiscal good sense (for a change). The worst five of the six referenda were defeated resoundingly.

Guber Schwarzengroper just happened to be in Washington DC, home of the slickest and most accomplished thieves and murderers our nation can manage to produce, hat in hand, begging for Mr. Thompson President Obama to loot the other forty-nine states and give him the money. The trip had the added bonus of placing the Guber farther from the humiliation of having lost again.

We're all, those of us with even the least regard for our personal well-being and some small amount of pride in our ability to produce and our desire to live independently, are pleased that more and more people are beginning to understand that the looters will take all of your money if they aren't stopped. These insatiable parasites will never be satisfied until they've starved their hosts to death and then will go looking for more.

Michael Chrichton once observed, within the pages of his marvelous novel, Andromeda Strain, that a successful parasite never takes so much from his host that the host's life is endangered. An unsuccessful parasite kills its host by his greed, finally endangering the parasite himself, which must then quickly find another host before he, himself, starves.

Boys and girls, the state is rapidly becoming an unsuccessful parasite.

My congratulations and thanks go out to all who fought, voted against, and ultimately defeated this round of foolishness.

And thanks to John and Ken for making a lot of noise, saying the right things at the right time.

People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of the people.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, May 15, 2009

Facebook, Your Agenda Is Showing!

Rep. Jeff Flake (R Ariz), who appears to have been named after his personality, has been selling himself as a fiscal conservative, bordering 'pon libertarianism, for longer than I've known of him (a couple of years or so). He has been hyped as being tight-fisted with taxpayer dollars and has signed on to the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge and who says on his website “[t]he last thing this economy needs is a tax hike."

Some of the conservatives on my friends list on facebook recommended adding him, which I did. Not paying a lot of attention to politicians, I didn't think much about Flake until I read this article on Freedom's Phoenix about his having introduced a carbon tax bill, and realized he's just another spineless, tax-and-spend socialist like everyone else in Washington DC. Now, I ll have to remove him from my friends list and write on the blackboard 10,000 times, "I will never believe a lying sack-of-shit politician again!"

Apparently Flake has signed onto the algorian notion (which is to say, psychotically ludicrous notion) that carbon, 'pon which our very own bodies are based, is a pollutant. Algorians are, of course, self-hating fools, but writing this nonsense into law is suicidal!

Well, I made that decision many years ago, but I have a severe weakness of trusting people too much. I just momentarily forgot that Flake is, first and foremost, a thievin' politician and once one goes down that road, one can never come back. Am I disillusioned? Maybe a little. It's unfortunate, though, that one is disillusioned hundreds, if not thousands of times in a lifetime. You get used to it.

The reason I entitled this entry for facebook is that I wrote a somewhat scathing message (no profanity) to Flake's facebook page, then watched it disappear from the screen. That tells me that the fine folks at facebook are good with an all-powerful, ever growing government. But hell, who isn't? Just us couple of million libertarians trying to fly under the Luftwaffe radar.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,
Col. Hogan

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do What You Want--Leave Me Out Of it

All the stuff I've been hearing/reading about the lovely Carrie Prejean doesn't make me regret my vote against Stalag California's Prop 8--well, it kind of does after watching those bloody fools go crazy protesting the way the vote went. If you live by the ballot, you die by the ballot. As I gradually follow many of my libertarian friends toward non-voting, I actually think maybe I should give it up as one of my many filthy habits.

Carrie Prejean was asked a question, answered it honestly--if a mite hesitantly--and has been getting verbally bludgeoned for it ever since. Why can't (certain) homosexuals accept the fact that not everyone likes them?

Proposition 8 allowed anyone who can vote decide how a minority should live. This is the precise practical application of the old definition of democracy: that democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. I wouldn't have advocated putting Prop 8 on the ballot. The proper initiative would've been "should government have any role in marriage." The answer is no. There is no clause in the US Constitution allowing government to be involved in this area. There is no rational justification for government involvement here.

The whole thing is simply conservative christians deciding to write christian doctrine into law--already forbidden by the First Amendment. Any couple--or group--wanting to declare themselves married should do so, with whatever ceremony they can put together and with whatever vows they can agree upon.

Marriage is first a religious tradition. It's a rite of passing, a blessings to a couple's union and and, I guess, permission to conceive, birth and rear children. Not being a religious sort, I don't fully understand the concept (in view of the religious persons' oft-exercised propensity to end the lifelong vows exchanged in the ceremony) and probably never will.

Marriage is second a "contract" between the couple for mutual support and division of labor. And for division of property and responsibility in the event of the end of the relationship. In practice, this contract should be explicitly negotiated, agreed 'pon, and rendered fully legal and enforceable prior to the beginning of the union, and should become the first issue to be settled prior to the union.

Terms should be any that can be agreed 'pon by a couple or group, regardless of the sexes, orientations, or degrees of wealth and success of the parties involved.

Once government is thrown out of the equation (except if the parties name government courts as arbiters) , there would be no more arguments over who can marry and who can't. Anyone can declare himself married to anyone--or more than one. The only requirement would be sentience to the degree of being able to sign a contract.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Dating In The 21st Century

When I was a wee lad, those many years ago, even the bums riding the rails wore suit jackets and hats--often a long time between cleanings, and usually a mite threadbare, but they wore 'em. Men dressed in suits for dinner in a restaurant, and wore suits for indoor work and hats (if not hardhats) for outdoor work.

Things have deteriorated over time. The breakdown seems to have happened during the late 1960's to early 1970's.

I've been working nights lately, doing in-street work on the very busy (and very narrow and winding) Laurel Canyon Boulevard. For a lunch break, I paused for an early breakfast at Jerry's Famous Deli, in Studio City. I've eaten there many times over the years, and though it's a mite pricey, the food makes it worthwhile. Good cooks, fair portions and a New York deli style I learned to value some time ago. And, they're open 24 hours.

Last night (or this morning) I arrived at about 1:00am. Shortly after I was seated, I saw a lovely young woman returning to her booth, directly next to mine, from the bathroom. She was wearing a delightful yellow summer dress, her hair was done nicely and she looked like the kind of girl any man would be proud to bee seen with. The only flaw I could see was that unfortunate predilection many women have to wear their bra straps visible alongside her dress straps. Tacky, but apparently in style with some.

Momentarily, her date joined her in the booth.

This dope was wearing a pair of those atrocious baggy denim shorts--you know, the ones that are so long and baggy that they can be mistaken for jeans for a fat, but very short guy. I blame baxabaw for this sad trend. The short bit of leg that sticks out of I call them garments?--makes them look like Eric Cartman, of South Park fame. Oh, my! To continue the fashion statement, the otherwise good-looking fellow wore a "wife beater" shirt, was fashionably unshaven (fashionable twenty-odd years ago), had his hair cut so short he looked like he's recently taken chemotherapy treatments, and was heavily tattooed on his arms, shoulders and perhaps more.

The contrast was startling!

Now, we all know that many young women are incredibly careless in their choices in men and their lack of feminine restraint in their company. The high numbers of single mothers easily attest to their lack of discrimination and resolve.

This lovely young woman obviously spent a lot of time preparing for her date, and her date looks like he spent the day leaning against a lamp post in East LA.

Women should take the initiative and require that their dates look presentable, be clean and neat as well as polite and respectful.

Darwin was wrong!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chief Pontiac Dies a Second Death

I've never owned a Pontiac car. My brother had a 1969 Pontiac GTO, which he graciously let me drive a few times. Great car! During the many car searches I've experienced, I've answered a few ads for Pontiacs, and almost bought a couple of them, but never actually owned one.

A good friend, the Kosmik Kid suggested that this week's news deserved comment. Though I've had a mixed opinion of the line over the years, he's right.

The Pontiac brand began after the Pontiac Spring & Wagon Works Merged with Oakland Motor Company in 1908. General Motors acquired Oakland in 1909, and built Pontiacs as a companion line with Oakland. Pontiac became an economy six-cylinder which eventually outsold the Oakland. Oakland was eventually dropped.

Pontiac shared many parts with other GM lines (mostly Chevrolet), but mostly used its own running gear.

The Pontiacs I admire most include the post WWII years through the 1960's. Pontiacs had the distinctive trademarks that had reference to the American Indian. Model lines, the Chief the Cheiftain, Star Chief and the Firebird (I'll refrain from comment on the awful Aztek), were blended with Torpedo, Streamliner, Bonneville, Catalina, the Tempest and the GTO. After that, I lose track.

After the first demise of the Pontiac GTO, I (kind of deliberately) gave up on Pontiacs, except for the Firebird. The newer models of Pontiac mostly became re-trimmed Chevys and further became very generic in look and performance. A couple of recent exceptions are the new Grand Am and GTO, with GM's small-block V8.

The long, slow skid to oblivion began with GM's unforgivable caving to outrageous union demands, and its failure to resist unConstitutional edicts from the federal bureaucracy.

GM is on the brink of corporate death. As it stands, it would be better if it reorganized under bankruptcy but, in the effort to keep the union thugs and corporate top management intact, GM has decided to saddle the American taxpayer with its liabilities. The evil socialist who has assumed the office of Head of State, tail-waggingly following his predecessor, is aiding GM in this effort.

In the effort to appease Washington dictators, part of GM's plan to steal billions from Americans is to streamline its operations by dropping one of its marques: Pontiac.

Too bad. This is a small part of the reason why I eschew buying a new car. The car I drove prior to my current 1957 Chevy, was a 1975 Oldsmobile. Oldsmobiles were dropped from GM's list a few years ago.

Farewell, Chief. I'll miss you!

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,
Col. Hogan

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Much Needed Amendment to the Constitution

The following is a proposed Amendment to the US Constitution. It's an amplification of an idea proposed in an essay in The Libertarian Enterprise, penned by L Neil Smith.

Proposed: Amendment XXVIII

Whereas: Legislators and other elected and appointed officials, and law enforcement personnel no longer see a need to pay any heed to the limits placed 'pon them by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Whereas: Legislators and other elected and appointed officials, and law enforcement personnel no longer see any need be truthful in the performance of their jobs.

Be it resolved that, to remind these hired hands of their proper place in society, it becomes necessary for Americans to take control of their local, state and federal civil servants and require that dereliction in their jobs will no longer be tolerated.

Toward this end, we propose the following Amendment to the US Constitution.

Section 1. Any legislative action that is not specifically authorized by the Constitution of the United States shall be considered null and void.

Section 2. Any legislative action that violates any article of the Bill of Rights shall be considered null and void.

Section 3. Any elected official who submits, sponsors, votes for or signs any Bill that violates either Section 1 or Section 2 shall be guilty of committing a felony.

Section 4. Any elected official who communicates a falsehood while acting within his Office, or who violates his Oath of Office shall be guilty of committing a felony.

Section 5. The punishment to be imposed upon those convicted of any of the felonies enumerated above shall be death by public hanging.

Section 6. Congress shall screed all current laws against the wording of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, and repeal all laws, directives and regulations found to be out of concert with these documents.

Section 6. Only the wording of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights themselves shall determine the legality of any proposed legislation.

Section 7. Amendments shall be adopted by means specified in the Constitution of the United States.

I don't think very many actual hangings will result from the enactment of this Amendment; government officials and employees want nothing more than to reach retirement and true stagnation. I suspect that the Amendment means Congress will react to it by doing nothing. This, of course, is the best of all possible worlds.

People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of the people.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, April 20, 2009

Plenty of Money For Guns, None to Fix the Ravaged Streets

For months we here in and around El Pueblo de Los Angeles have been regaled by Antonio Vinaigrette, el alcalde, with his song of woe regarding the city's financial shortfall--never once blaming himself for his dozens of wasteful and useless programs. Listen to any local news broadcast and you'll hear of proposals to cut programs--never the useless ones which give millions to people whose main characteristic is that they don't feel like working for a living, but rather to lay off teachers and police officers.

Laying off a few of the useless layers of management and administration is never suggested, but just those who do the work--however poorly.

Drive the length of Wilshire Boulevard , if you dare. Everywhere along its length--from downtown to the Miracle Mile financial district to wealthy Westwood and on into wealthier Brentwood, and you'll find yourself bouncing and banging about like a medieval farmer in an oxcart over a cobble road, fighting to miss the bigger and deeper potholes and rough, poorly done patch jobs.

There are a couple of exceptions: As one drives to the west, he'll eventually find himself entering the city of Beverly Hills. It's easy to tell you're entering Beverly Hills. Suddenly Wilshire Boulevard is a smooth, asphalted throughway, virtually devoid of irregularities. Keep driving. Soon, as Rod Serling used to say, There will be a signpost. It says: "Welcome to Los Angeles." The sign isn't necessary, as the street immediately becomes bumpy and full of cracks and potholes again. Like flipping a switch.

To one who lives in el pueblo, it's embarrassing. It's entirely the fault of el alcalde, who likes to lavish city taxpayer money 'pon the gang thugs with whose parents he once lazed on the sidewalks of East LA. Sidewalks which were in much better repair then, than now.

Alcalde Vinaigrette has, acording to this story broadcast on KCAL-TV, recently announced a new wasteful plan to throw away city funds: another gun buyback campaign. KCAL, affiliated with CBS News, appears to approve of this scam, and reports it in glowing terms.

A number of pickup points have been established at which one can take his $600 Glock, turn it in for a certificate worth $100 worth of groceries. What a deal! Your really mean-looking $1500 rifle or carbine is worth $200 in groceries.

El pueblo, ever looking for new ways to throw away money, isn't even going to resell these little treasures to honest citizens to turn a profit, but they're going to destroy them. So they say.

The Invisible Man could undoubtedly sneak into the dens of any of several of el alcalde's pal's and find the best of the weapons that will be scammed from the more stupid gunowners who will go for the groceries.

Better yet, it's all "no questions asked!" Any criminal can steal a gun, kill a member of a rival gang, then have his girlfriend turn the gun in for some groceries. The murder will never be solved.

There are actually people (not many) who will give up a perfectly good gun for $100--el pueblo has no shortage of really dumb people--though most of the guns they get will be useless old chunks of metal that no prudent individual would dream of trying to fire.

But Wilshire Boulevard will remain bumpy and full of potholes. As will Santa Monica Boulevard, Imperial Highway, Ventura Boulevard, La Brea Boulevard and countless others. El Pueblo de Los Angeles will remain in dire financial straits as this alcalde and the next continue to waste money on all manner of scams and boondoggles, filling their own bank accounts as part of the deal.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California


This past Friday night, the Street Department actually repaved a few blocks of Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood. They did an excellent job, which shows that they can. Oddly, or not so oddly, all the local news shows made a super big deal about it, including interviews with local denizens, a couple of workers and (predictably) even a couple of City officials. What this tells me, is that this is rarely done, and is cause for special notice whenever it happens.

In a city like Los Angeles, a crew should be working on one street or another full time, year after year. We have no shortage of streets that desperately need repaving. Programs like the gun buyback simply waste money that could help pay for things like this.