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.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

We Don't Get No Education.....

I' ve had numerous conversations over the years with parents about the perils of sending your kids to the government children's prisons--my term for government schools, and a more accurate term than those used by the government or the media.

Some tell me that the academics at their kids' school are better than the ones we hear about all the time. Maybe so. Maybe not. Maybe the parents are actively involved, helping the kids learn their school work and even going above and beyond.

What only a relative few parents realize is that, since the federal government has ignored the US Constitution and gotten involved with education, all schools are standardized to a very high degree, in many respects. Even the much touted exceptions--the magnet schools.

Magnet schools started well after my kids graduated, but I'm given to understand that they actually are superior academically to "ordinary" schools--the ones that are inflicted 'pon the poor kids. The ones in which seem to tolerate muggings, rapes, shooting, gangs, knifings and all manner of mayhem except learning.

All these government children's prisons, though, have one thing in common: they are propaganda mills. Well, two things--they're also indoctrination centers. Run largely by leftists, they continually bombard the kids with statist propaganda and indoctrinate them in every sort of leftist cause imaginable, from global warming to fear of weapons and self defense to government can do no wrong and many, many more.

The real reason government school fascists hate home schoolers is that parents won't inject the students with the "proper" indoctrinations and keep them physically restrained in those little desk-chair combos where the only actions that are not forbidden are shut up and listen.

Any child who shows any spunk, of course, is declared ADHD and doped up. We can't allow any initiative or enthusiasm to disrupt the rest of the child-zombies, can we?

Schools try to take moral and philosophical education away from the parents and in many cases, seem to be trying to separate kids from their families and demonize parents who aren't toeing the "proper" leftist line.

All of this is bad enough, but it gets worse. They do this stuff during time when they should be teaching academic subjects. Hence, academics suffer. Kids graduate school unable to read well, unable to perform simply math and with no concept of the history of the country and the world.

But, it's ok. Your kid did well on the standardized tests. They're fine.

No, they're not.

Government has made up standardized tests--nothing new, it began decades ago--that are supposed to tell a number of things, including whether the student will perform well in college and how well he's learned what the primary and high school purports to have taught.

It actually tells how good the student is at rote memorization, and not much more.

At no time does the government children's prison system attempt to teach students effective uses of their rationality. Nor does it attempt to teach critical thinking. The history they offer is stunted and distorted. Economics, if offered at all, assumes the need for government intervention and the market's inability to regulate itself.

Government children's prisons teach sex education, something better left to the child's parents--or even to the child himself. The philosophy of sexual (never romantic) relationships, shifts like the desert winds from various degrees of abstention to "here's how; have fun!"

My son's high school had day care, fer cryin' out loud! For students with children!

Government children's prisons have generally eliminated the practical tech classes, such as wood, metal and auto shops, home economics, music and art classes (not to be confused with the nonsense pottery-making and basket-weaving baloney sometimes offered.

And then, there are the various and sundry "Zero Tolerance" rules for various, mostly politically correct actions. Zero Tolerance is more accurately termed "Zero Intelligence" on the part of school officials. They don't want to, or are unable to consider whether a given action is dangerous, or even worthy of note, or not.

Zero T for drugs includes bringing aspirin from home for a possible headache, or a cold pill to minimize coughs, sensitivity or congestion, or sometimes even prescription meds, unless you get approval from the jack-booted school nurse.

Zero T also forbids students from bringing anything more pointed than the digits 'pon their sticky little hands. Not to allow a boy to carry a jackknife in his pocket is part of the emasculation process, as well as a denial of American heritage. No self-respecting lad in the 1960's or earlier would be caught without a jackknife. Yet, somehow, we avoided killing ourselves or each other.

There are Zero T rules for speech, action, and even thought. A school in Connecticut recently announced a Zero T Policy against any form of touching of one student by another. Teachers can't touch students, although strangely, in some LA schools, students hitting teachers goes unpunished.

Face it: government children's prisons are child abuse.

The 10-year-old will learn more practical knowledge on a three-day camping trip with his parents--or a few days at work with a parent, or a few days working in and around the house--than in a full semester in a government children's prison.

Kids go to school with a great deal of enthusiasm, at first. They want to learn. It usually takes only three or four years for the children's prisons to beat that out of them.

Government children's prisons are hazardous to your child's mental health. Keep your kids out of them!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California