Friday 20,000 SAMs Missing Open Comments

This should scare the ever-loving bejeebers out of us all.

While we’ve been busy bombing the cr@p out of Libya, approximately 20,000 (that’s right, twenty thousand) man-portable heat-seeking surface to air missiles have gone missing.

The White House announced today it planned to expand a program to secure and destroy Libya’s huge stockpile of dangerous surface-to-air missiles, following an ABC News report that large numbers of them continue to be stolen from unguarded military warehouses.

There go the horses! Someone shut the barn door! But don’t worry we have our best guy on it!

Currently the U.S. State Department has one official on the ground in Libya, as well as five contractors who specialize in “explosive ordinance disposal”, all working with the rebel Transitional National Council to find the looted missiles, White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters. [emph. mine]

The system worked!

Though Libya had an estimated 20,000 man-portable surface-to-air missiles before the popular uprising began in February, Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told ABC News today the government does not have a clear picture of how many missiles they’re trying to track down.

“We’re making great progress and we expect in the coming days and weeks we will have a much greater picture of how many are missing,” Shapiro said. [emph. mine]

We don’t even have a clue of how many are missing, except in the grossest of estimates.

This has been known about for weeks now, but it’s unclear how much has actually been done to stop or at least ameliorate the problem.

Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch first warned about the problem after a trip to Libya six months ago. He took pictures of pickup truckloads of the missiles being carted off during another trip just a few weeks ago.

“I myself could have removed several hundred if I wanted to, and people can literally drive up with pickup trucks or even 18 wheelers and take away whatever they want,” said Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director. “Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles.” [emph. mine]

It’s not clear exactly what missiles are missing, but they are likely to be similar to (or actually are) the Russian-built 9K38 Igla (NATO designation SA-18 Grouse).

They’re not very big, but can really do a number on a soft target like a civilian airliner. Due to their size, they are relatively easy to smuggle into a country and once over the border would be almost impossible to find.

20,000 of these out in the wild is a nightmare scenario. It would only take two or three actual uses to bring civil aviation to a standstill anywhere even remotely near where they were used. If the bad guys were to then publish pictures of an arsenal of tens of them, civil aviation would be effectively ended.

Meanwhile, TSA is spending its time asking us our name to make sure we memorized our driver licenses, confiscating our bottles of soda or water, making sure we have nothing but lint in our pockets, and taking 5 minutes to x-ray a suitcase.

Sounds like the goal of all that would be to reduce the number of secondary explosions when an airliner is shot down while taking off from LAX, Dulles, Frankfurt, Sheremetyevo, Newark, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Houston, JFK, Paris, Chicago…

Thursday Morgan Freeman Open LetterComments

A friend of mine sent me an email with a link to this open letter to Morgan Freeman, regarding his racism charges against the Tea Party. Excerpts:

I also understand that your reflexive comments came from experience. You grew up in a different America than the one that I was blessed to be born into. We both grew up in the south, but I never saw ‘White Only’ signs. I’ve been called a name or two in my three decades, but racism has always been the exception in my life, not the rule, as it probably was in your youth. I understand your suspicion of conservative political movements. It is rooted in pain and fear and memory, and though I never saw the horrors of segregation that you did, we share that cultural heritage.

I’ve attended dozens of tea party events. I’ve helped organize them, and I’ve even spoken at a few. The tea party is not what is often depicted in the news. It is people of all colors who are terribly concerned about the direction that America is heading. We don’t trust big government to make decisions for us.

You’ve rekindled the old painful paradigm of Uncle Tom – that any black man who votes Republican is some kind of sellout. It’s not true. I work hard, pay my taxes, love Jesus, and I’m good to my family and community. In effect, your comments have stereotyped an entire group of people.

There’s already plenty of groupthink among American blacks. Over 90% of us vote Democrat with religious regularity… I realized a few years ago that the Democrats’ promises of equality bestowed by government wasn’t working and will never work. I came to believe that redistributionist policies with the goal of social justice was essentially creating a new plantation within the federal government. Scraps might be thrown our way, but dependence on the plantation would be the inevitable result.

Over half a century since we started voting for Democrat policies, blacks in America are worse off than before…Therefore, I have become a Republican.

I’m hoping that you’ll come to a tea party in Tennessee — the place of your birth. Really anywhere in the country that works for you…I’d be delighted to introduce you to good people who will welcome you with open arms, disagree with you, and then feed you some of the best barbeque you’ve ever tasted.

You need to read the whole letter. It’s awesome. This man has stated himself clearly, firmly, but without the hate and malice with which the Tea Party is so often accused.

From the comments:

However, because we humans tend to personally attach the virtues of the character(s) an actor or actress portrays – particularly to someone of his immense screen power, should not mean that someone should allow that to give credence to that persons power of thought, reflection, or opinion.

I thoroughly agree. Being able to speak lines in front of a camera does not make anyone an expert on anything except reading lines in front of a camera. The opinions of the line readers are no more important, expert, or correct than yours or mine, but because of their name recognition, they are granted some special license to speak “the truth” when it is really “their truth”.

And I’m offended that any person of any color would be put down as “less than” because of their political beliefs. The world is defined by the people who are ready to step out of the box and stand upright before the world.

Frugal Living

With times being so hard financially for so many, I’ve taken steps to tighten our financial belt around the Tedtam household, but it could use even more tightening. Some of the things I’m doing:

    *Cooking more with beans. Hubby really likes his meat, so I can’t do totally meatless meals often, but I slip one in occasionally.

    *I have a $7 cookbook. It turns out that the chicken taco recipe is a family favorite, though I use HEB’s Southwest Sauce instead of barbecue sauce. I love that stuff (I currently have four bottles of it stashed away, because I can’t always find it at the store.)

    *I make extra and store leftovers for me to eat for lunch or use in/as a later meal when I’m in a hurry. I just put away four serving size containers of soup.

    *Along those lines, I try to reuse my leftovers. Hubby’s not going to eat leftovers on his own, but I can use up that leftover chicken and veggies in later meals.

    *I eat at home whenever possible. I really noticed a difference in my wallet when I quit eating in the car every day while running errands.

    *I turn the downstairs thermostat up during the day. I work in my office upstairs, and the upstairs thermostat is programmable. The only room I’m in all day is the office – it stays cool.

    *I can’t say the garden is saving me any money, though I do get a some satisfaction when I CAN get a plant to harvest.

    *Online bill pay saves me postage. Sorry, post office. I’m contributing to all those union workers not getting laid off….wait…oh, you know what I mean!

    *I use the Wal-Mart price matching. I have a shopping list on my computer that I update with the weekly prices, then I can see which flyer price is the best. I’m one of those women you hate to get behind in the check-out lane. I’ve saved up to $40 on one trip. Most of the savings will be in the produce aisle alone. (I do put each “store” purchase in separate bags to speed check-out. I’m not totally heartless.) This way, every store’s loss leader becomes Wal-Mart’s loss leader, and I don’t have to run to different stores to get the best prices on things.

    *Buy meat in bulk and divide into servings at home. I have the restaurant roll of plastic wrap from Sam’s Club, and it’s still going strong.

    *I buy books at Half Price Bookstore when I can. Garage sales usually don’t have what I’m looking for.

    *I don’t garage sale like I used to (the kids used to groan when I found a garage sale sign, then it became a joke I’d play on them), but in the last few weeks I found an ironing board that actually goes up and down for $5.00, and bookshelves for organizing my craft space for another $5. I was sorely tempted to buy the vintage Singer for $25, cabinet and all, but had to restrain myself.

    *I’m “saving fives”. I try to pay in cash whenever possible, and any $5 bills I get in change get saved. (I do toss in bigger bills on occasion. I hate getting caught with my financial pants down.)

    *I try to keep an emergency fund on hand. I’ve had to dip into it several times, usually for the kids, but it saves me from pulling out the credit card.

    * I make my own laundry detergent and “basic cleaner”. Recipes abound on the internet.

    * I air dry my laundry. When I use the dryer and want to use a dryer sheet, I tear it half or thirds. I used to put a dab of liquid fabric softener on a washcloth and use it repeatedly in the dryer. It worked great. One bottle of fabric softener lasted for MONTHS! Then I got my clothesline. 😉 I find hanging laundry a relaxing break during my work day; it brings back childhood memories of walking through our backyard….

    * For business (and personal) purposes, we’ve signed up with Nextiva.com for our faxes and let go of the land line. We were able port our existing number to this service (plus the number they assigned to us). It’s cheap, cheap, cheap, plus we don’t have any “lost” faxes anymore. We can retrieve faxes when we lose our originals, and we can forward like and as e-mails, too. We get a referral credit, so let me know if you’re going to switch so I can give our company name to you.

I don’t coupon yet, but I have been saving the coupon sections. CouponMom.com provides a weekly listing combining the local sales and which coupon to use and when, to provide the maximum dollar savings. I just haven’t taken the time to sort and clip. It’s on my list.

My favorite savings book is The Tightwad Gazette. I’m waiting for a copy to show up at HPB – I loaned my copy to the employee I fired recently, and she brought it back with pages bent and dirty covers. I’ll be giving the dirty copy to my other employee and keeping the nice copy for myself. She’s a new mom and needs to pinch pennies like crazy.

What do you do to stretch your dollar?

Wednesday WMD Open Comments

I, for one, sure am glad that we were able to survive that eeeeeeeeevil Bushitler regime. They led us to war in Iraq on a bed of lies about involvement with Al-Qaida and WMD’s.

What??!?!?!?!?

There actually were efforts toward a WMD program that the media suppressed?

Before the consensus is written in stone, it is worth going over the evidence collected since the removal of the Saddam regime. Leaving aside the fact that he slaughtered more than a million of his own people and was prone to launching unprovoked wars against his neighbors — both good reasons for his violent removal — what threat did Saddam actually pose?

Saddam was just a little pussycat minding his own business. Those evil Kurds went and gassed themselves just to give him a black eye.

Several years ago, the press had a field day when two suspected mobile bio-labs, presented at the U.N. as evidence of Saddam’s continuing WMD development programs, actually turned out to be weather-balloon stations. That same press, however, then ignored the fact that postwar investigators found five actual mobile bio-labs in and around Baghdad. One of these labs was discovered in a mosque, which had been placed off-limits to prewar U.N. inspectors. Another was found in Baghdad’s Central Public Health Laboratory. One can imagine the anguished cries from the Left if we had bombed what the Iraqis claimed was a public-health facility. Saddam even had a huge bio-warfare production facility masquerading as the Samarra Drug Company. This facility would have been capable of producing up to 10,000 liters of deadly pathogens a year. It was less than a month from going into production when the invasion of Iraq began. If this plant had turned its attention to botulinum toxin, it could have produced enough in a few months to wipe out the world. Again, how would bombing a plant that Saddam would claim was producing life-saving drugs have played in the media?

Unfortunately, the media would have had a field day. They were so intent on ridding us of the stain of our selected-not-elected president that they would have eagerly swallowed anything that Saddam and his faithful minion Baghdad Bob would have given them.

But still, they weren’t really working on anything, right? Once they had seen the light, they confined their interest to basic research and nothing else.

In 1991, Saddam moved all of his WMD specialists out of government labs and into universities, once again making them off-limits to inspectors and coalition bombers. According to documents discovered after the war, by 1997 the number of university “instructors” doing solely WMD work numbered 3,300, with another 700 to 800 dispatched to WMD-related facilities to help with technical problems. Between 1996 and 2002 — the eve of the invasion — spending on WMD projects increased 40-fold, and the number of specific projects increased from 40 to 3,200. Top officials captured after the collapse of the regime repeatedly told investigators that Saddam’s WMD projects were in overdrive and ready to go into production the moment sanctions were lifted.

I’m personally satisfied that the Iraqis were only working on peaceful research into insecticides and herbicides to help their agriculture industry feed the people.

Right?

The article talks about nuclear and biological weapons, but they couldn’t have been working on those. Saddam told us so.

Besides, the recent silence on the war in Iraq & Afghanistan proves that Bushitler was up to no good. Why else would all the war protesters suddenly go home?

Could it have been that they were less anti-war than more simply on the other side?

Tuesday Shoes Open Comments

Well, it seems that The Big One has upset some of his base. It seems he wants them to change out their boogie shoes they wore when he was swept into office on a tidal wave of black love and white guilt, and put on some marching shoes.

In a fiery summons to an important voting bloc, President Barack Obama told blacks on Saturday to quit crying and complaining and “put on your marching shoes” to follow him into battle for jobs and opportunity.

“Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,” he said, his voice rising as applause and cheers mounted. “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”

I don’t know that I’d categorize the speech as “fiery,” as I heard definite tones of “whine” in there. And I don’t mean with cheese, either. He sounded hurt that his “own people” would dare to criticize His Great Self. After all, what has he done for them lately?

…not doing enough to fight black unemployment, which is nearly double the national average at 16.7 percent.

And then he goes and accuses them of not wanting to go to work for him!

Doesn’t he know that if everyone would just eat their peas, he and Michelle would both be happy? Or is it just Republicans who should eat those little rounds of good-for-you? Perhaps the liberals should eat something else, like a grilled cheese sandwich, made appropriately over a flame? After all, grilled cheese sandwiches are soft and gooey in the middle, kind of like his economic policies. They also, when grilled over an open flame, start out soft and then get all crusty and brittle on the outside, kind of like TBO himself. He seems to crack and ooze every time he thinks he’s being opposed or unloved.

“The future rewards those who press on,” He said. “I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.”

Actually, yes you do, President Obama. You really do. You complain. A lot. But not to worry, your skin color will protect you from the worst:

“If Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House,” the caucus chairman, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, recently told McClatchy Newspapers.

Well, that vast mass of unemployed may not have cake to eat, but they won’t be hauling out the guillotine any time soon. The shield of the cry of racism will protect him. But he’ll continue to wander around, crying and calling out “Why don’t you love me? Why won’t you do as I say? Just do as I say, dammit! It wasn’t supposed to be like this! Michelle! Michelle! Tell me what to do! What? She’s gone? Dang that woman! Did she take the jet again?!”

We have a Commander in Chief with melted cheese balls.

Monday Raising Cain Open Comments

I hope Herman Cain can start getting more traction. I don’t know enough about him to actually vote for him yet, but I’ve heard more than enough to make me want to know more. At the very least, he would be able to keep the more, for lack of a better word, “establishment” candidates from drifting too far off the reservation.

In one example, he came out swinging this weekend over the current impasse over FEMA funding. The House passed legislation to fund FEMA and the Corps of Engineers more to account for extra work they’ve had to do recently by reducing expenditures elsewhere. Harry Reid tabled that and got legislation passed that funds FEMA using “future revenue” (deficits). Cain slapped him for that, while the other candidates ummm… did something?

It’s the Weekend

I caught the press conference of the release of the American hikers that have been held in Iran for two years. One of the first things Shane Bauer said was “…we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran.”

Nice. America has spent millions of dollars trying to win your freedom and the first thing you do is bring out your Rachel Corrie claptrap and take a big dump on us. Turns out Shane works for queen of the anti-American “progressive” media – Amy Goodman and Democracy Now:

(video removed because it was too slow to reload)