Obama Botches Border Issue, Could Put Millions At Risk

April 30, 2009


In his press conference last night, President Barack Obama raised a few eyebrows when he said now is not the time to close our borders with Mexico, comparing it to “locking the barn door after the horse is out.”  It was a poor metaphor to begin with. In this case, there are milions of “horses” still in Mexico that would love to leave and come here to get away from the Ground Zero of the Swine Flu… but if they are in the early stages, they could easily be bringing it with them during a time when they are most contagious.

What doesn’t President Obama understand about taking all available steps in a crisis like this? Yes, it’s too late to prevent the flu from entering the country; but it’s another thing altogether to keep out others who might carry it here and spread it even farther or faster.  Any type of missed opportunity to slow down or limit the spreading of this disease is unfathomable, and could quite possibly cost more lives.

In his first hundred days, Obama has spent more money than all previous Presidents combined (and that’s money that’s been adjusted for inflation).  As he begins his second hundred days, he has shown extremely poor judgement in regards to sealing the borders in an attempt to limit the spread of Swine Flu.  This could be a huge mistake in the number of lives needlessly put in jeopardy.

I was going to end by saying we may live to regret this.  But I already regret having a President with no guts and no vision as to the consequences of his actions visa-vis a pandemic scenario. 

So I’ll end by simply saying, some among us may not live to regret this.  Bad decision, Mr. President.  

Gerry Ashley


The Most Expensive 100 Days In American History

April 30, 2009


Actually, the title could just as honestly be: The Most Expensive 100 Days In World History.

Last night, I read that the area I live  is now into double-digit unemployment.  Foreclosures are still on the rise. Companies that have done business here for generations are simply closing down. The commercial real estate market is also in decline.

I shook my head in despair for those who find themselves out of work and out of options. I also gave thanks that I am still gainfully employed. But then I remembered: “It’s Wednesday night! I’ve got to put this out of my head and get home…  American Idle is on!”  No that’s not a spelling error. I’m talking about watching the new hit TV show starring President Barack Obama called “American Idle.”

You know, that show where  Obama feigns modesty as he praises himself for his accomplishments of his first 100 days in office. Then he puts on his “aw shucks” expression as he claims how it’s just a beginning and how he has miles to go before he sleeps…” That show. And it’s called “American Idle” because a good chunk of the audience is out of work.

Sure enough, I got home just in time to see him walk down the hallway and up to the microphone. Ahhh… it was showtime! It will take some time to go through his prepared speech lie-by-lie, misrepresentation by misrepresentation, but while I try to get a grasp on the enormity of the sleight-of-hand used in this speech, here’s a responsible response from Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl who sums things up just fine:

Well put, Senator Kyl. If you only had the charisma President Obama has.

Gerry Ashley

Breaking: Fox News Reporting Chrysler is Filing Chapter 11

April 30, 2009

UPDATE: Fox is now reporting that a WH announcement is due noon, EST… Chapter 11 still pending. (I wish these reporters would get their stories straight.)

UPDATE: 12:20 PM EST… President Obama just spoke… Chrysler will file for bankruptcy.

Fox News is reporting that Chrysler is filing chapter 11… And they just had on the WSJ reporter Stephen Moore who claims that he doesn’t think that the government will let the company completely fail and predicts another bailout of apx. $5 billion dollars.

Will update when possible.

Alan Speakman

“Scare Force One”: Photo Ops for Everyone!

April 30, 2009


Thanks to the NY Daily News, we can all have Air Force One do a virtual low fly-by in our own neighborhoods!  

With some stock images, few minutes and a couple of clicks of a mouse, a White House staffer could’ve placed the jet in front of just about any New York landmark.

We should know. We did just that. 

But we can’t be the only ones with a flair for Photoshopping. Think you can do better? Be our guest.

In full Tea Party mode, I’m going to suggest doing this for more than just fun; I recommend that, once you’ve created some photos, email them to the President with a message:

Dear President Obama,

You’ve created a multi-generational multi-trillion dollar deficit. Let me help you save money by donating the attached photos of Air Force One in my neighborhood, so that you don’t have to spend more of our tax dollars on PR photo shoots.

All you have to do open a photo editing program (such as PhotoShop), grab a scenic photo, and use the handy “Scare Force One” image provided by the newspaper. Voila! Instant publicity shots for White House tchotchkes. It’s so easy, even I could do it.

You can create nature photos:


Family leisure photos:


Vacation memories–yes, that’s Scare Force One way up in Alaska!



Create new “Scare Force One” photos of your own and send them to President Obama. Let him know you’re none too pleased with the “felony stupidity” and expense of the “Scare Force One” fly-over stunt that he pulled on Tuesday.


Quantifying Political Truth via Drake Equation

April 30, 2009


Why am I writing this? And why on earth are you reading this post? I mean really… Seriously… What are we doing here?

Clinton didn’t inhale. We read GHWB’s lips. We’re still looking for the definition of “is”. Obama didn’t bend over to bow to that Saudi King.  And Pelosi certainly didn’t know that rough stuff like water boarding was going to be afoot back in 2002.

Look, I’m just a dumb engineer. But there is so much “in your face” lying by our politicians, that I have to fall back on the only mechanism that I know to render reason – that of equations. Specifically, I’m going to model using the Drake Equation. (If you’re still reading this, you probably should get a life, but onward…)

Simply and roughly put, the Drake Equation calculates the likelihood of finding life in the Milky Way Galaxy. It is:

N = R * fp * ne * fl * fi * fc * L


N = The number of broadcasting civilizations.
R = Average rate of formation of suitable stars (stars/year) in the Milky Way galaxy
fp = Fraction of stars that form planets.
ne = Average number of habitable planets per star.
fl = Fraction of habitable planets (ne) where life emerges.
fi = Fraction of habitable planets with life where intelligent evolves.
fc = Fraction of planets with intelligent life capable of interstellar communication.
L = Years a civilization remains detectable.

Now, let’s see if we can’t warp that puppy into giving some numerical indicator of actual truth flowing out of DC…

N = R * fl * nj * fmt * fW * fmi * R * A


N = Number or percent of legit info coming out of Washington.
R = Average amount of iformation flowing out of the Beltway.
fl = Number of lawyers/lobbyists involved.
nj = Number of journalists involved.
fmt = Type of media covering the story (blogs, print, etc.)
fW = “Whopper factor” or “whopperness” (Obama didn’t bow to Saudi king.)
fmi = Media impact per audience type.
C = Role of religion in story.
A = Agenda factor.

Obviously, there’s a little tongue in cheek in the equation above, but not nearly as much as you might think. I’ve seen equations like these used in the real world (and on subjective matters too). When properly applied, they can be freakishly consistent. Two examples:

  • Years ago I worked as a member of a team of technical managers, and we needed to promote someone into our team. The promotion was going to cause strife and we all knew it – we all had our favorites. The boss came in, told us that we’d have a unanimous choice in 60 minutes, and then asked us for the important aspects for the open position. When we agreed (at about 15 minutes), he put those parameters on a white board and asked us to assign weights. No prob… At about 30 minutes he then asked that we all rank our individual choices per category. After 45 minutes, we all started looking at the resulting numbers and tweaking. At one hour we left with one unanimous decision.
  • I used the same type of Drake technique when judging a contest… Though the sample size was small and the judging panel was diverse, the numerical decision was again unanimous and varied by only 0.01.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone makes a modified model of the Drake equation and plugs in some actual numbers.  


“The stars might lie but the numbers never do.”

Alan Speakman

Grade Obama’s First 100 Days

April 29, 2009


UPDATE: Oooh, it’s not looking good for the Prez! With 346,000+ votes in, 39.1% give him an F on his performance so far. Ouch! If you haven’t voted yet, go do it now!


Man, MSNBC never seems to learn! Having forgotten their last debacle in which they allowed the public to grade Obama, they’re at it again.

A of this writing, with 95,000+ votes in, 36.1% give the president an F on his first 100 days. 35.1% give him an A.


Go vote here. Give the President the grade he deserves.

H/T: Instapundit


It’s Only Been 100 Days…

April 29, 2009


See the trouble you can get into when you make rash promises you have no intention of keeping?

1,359 days to go.


H/T: HotAir

Liberal Opinionist vs. U.S. Soldier: Guess Who Wins

April 29, 2009


At NRO’s The Corner, Michael Ledeen shared a beautiful letter from a soldier in Afghanistan, which clearly explains how the soldiers view themselves; hype-free, somewhat introspective, and beautifully articulated. What Mr. Ledeen missed, however, was that this letter, originally published in the Benninton (VT) Banner, was in response to an opinion piece published earlier by one Charles Putney.

I think it’s important to get the context of what Maj. Albrycht was responding to, so I have included the original column and the Major’s response below. After reading both, I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Their ultimate sacrifice
Charles Putney

In the Gettysburg Address, one of the greatest speeches in our nation’s history, Abraham Lincoln tried to make sense of the horrendous loss of life at Gettysburg and the entire war. He said, in part, “It is … for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain… ”

Lincoln enshrined in his speech what we would all like to believe: that those who die in war will have done it for a noble reason. This is particularly important in a “citizen army” made up of volunteers, reservists and National Guard members. Ironically, as Lincoln pointed out in his Second Inaugural Address, Northern and Southern combatants and their families all prayed to the same God for the same victory.

It is a common refrain, in unpopular and losing efforts, that withdrawing without winning negates the value of the sacrifice made by soldiers. It leads us to persist in wrong-headed war policies because not to persist means we are diminishing the sacrifice of those who have died.

In the 60 years since the end of World War II, the U.S. has had to face the fact that not all of our wars have been successful. Korea was a draw. Vietnam was a loss. Time will tell about the outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In these wars, there has been a big risk that those who have died — more than 56,000 in Vietnam, for example, lost their lives with no discernible benefit to the U.S. The Civil War, which led to the deaths of more Americans than all of our other wars combined, had a major impact on the way we think about war and death. The number of soldiers who died in the American Revolution was relatively small, and subsequent wars were small and localized. The Civil War led to massive numbers of young Americans — from both the North and the South — dying in horrific battles. The three-day battle at Gettysburg resulted in about 50,000 casualties on both sides.

In “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War,” published last year, Drew Gilpin Faust details the difficulty Americans faced when their young men died away from home, often remaining unidentified amidst the carnage. The U.S. Army was incapable of keeping up with the identification of wounded and dead or their graves, and it was not until after the war that many cemeteries were established for Union dead.

In the South, community-based organizations, largely run by women, took the lead in establishing cemeteries for Confederate war dead. The U.S. Congress was not about to worry about the dead from the rebellious states.

Given the carnage, Lincoln faced the task of how to calm Union sentiments to pull out of the war and let the Southern states go their own way. His argument was, in part, that to do so was to negate the deaths of Union soldiers who had died in the effort to keep the U.S. whole to promote liberty. Its logic was appealing and convincing — one of the reasons the Gettysburg Address is probably one of the best known of U.S. speeches. In a few words he brought home the point that death in war is about the final ends, not about the deaths, and that these deaths are ennobled when the ultimate objective has high moral purpose.

So, what do we tell family members of military personnel who have died in our modern and very ambiguous wars? Or those who are permanently disabled as a result of active service in Iraq? Do we say it was all worth it? America is safer for your sacrifice, or do we say “sorry, but we goofed”?

Charles R. Putney is a consultant to not-for-profit organizations nationally. He lives in Bennington.

Maj. Sarah Albrycht’s response:

Service itself is our honor
March 21
Sarah Albrycht

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. “
— Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

A few nights ago, I walked a quiet mile with hundreds of other service members. It was a clear night in Bagram, Afghanistan. Although it was late, the birds were singing, perhaps roused by the unusual occurrence of people walking under their trees at the late hour. Soft voices broke the solemnity, but no words were discernible. Suddenly, as if on cue, soldiers, airmen, seamen, marines, broke off the sidewalk and lined the road, spacing themselves regularly and assuming a position of silent watchfulness. The honor cordon had formed.

Heads began to turn right as flashing blue lights appeared far down the road. As the vehicles neared, one by one, service members assumed the position of attention and rendered the hand salute. In the back of an open truck sat eight military members, and between them, at their feet, was a flag draped casket.

As I rendered my salute, I thought about the fallen soldier. I did not know his name, his unit or his home. I never saw his face or spoke to his family. I did not know why he volunteered for the Army or what he was doing when he was killed. But there was much I did know. I knew he had fought and died in an honorable cause, a cause that had little to do with our policy on Afghanistan. This soldier had volunteered to put his very life on the line in service to his nation and his brothers-in-arms. I see no more honorable cause that that.

In a column, Mr. Putney has again raised the debate about the sacrifice of America’s “sons and daughters” in uniform. Some have argued that we must continue the fight to honor their memory “so that they have not died in vain.” Others argue we must stop the wars to save soldiers from this fate. I think an essential understanding of what motivates those of us in uniform is missing in this debate.

We are not your sons and daughters, whom you must protect and defend. We are your sword and your shield. We are men and women who volunteer to place our lives on the line so you do not have to. We do not decide when or where we will be sent. We go. You are our advocates, not our parents.

We trust you to care for our families, to hold our jobs, pay for our equipment, salary and medical care and yes, to honor our sacrifice. We trust you to vote for good political leadership, to speak out against bad policy decisions and to demand public accountability. However, we do not count on you to explain the honorable character of our service. We are ennobled by the very fact we serve.

Our “high moral cause” is one of service to a nation whose principles we believe in. We miss the point of political debate when we distill it down to numbers of service member deaths. Debate should be about the policy that leads us in or pulls us out of war. I, as a soldier, am personally insulted when debate about war becomes not about policy, but about deaths, because it implies that my service is at best uninformed or ill-conceived, and at worst valueless.

I know my life is in the hands of others because I choose for it to be that way. I am not your daughter, a child who must be guided. I have made my choice and pledge my honor to it. I will thank you to remember that because we serve our nation, none of us dies in vain, regardless of the cause; end of debate.

Every day a new Marine enlists or an airman puts on her uniform is a reminder that our defenders come from people who still believe in our nation and the values it aspires to, as flawed as we sometimes are. War does not make our sacrifice honorable, death does not make our service honorable; service itself is our honor.

We, your American service members, do not see the cause for which we may give our last full measure of devotion, as our nation’s goals in Iraq or Afghanistan, and perhaps that is the difference. Our cause is our nation, in all her beautiful, imperfect glory.

So on a dark night in Afghanistan we stood under a velvet sky of a million stars to honor one man who lay under 50. We never doubted what he died for. Pfc. Patrick A. Devoe II died for you, the United States of America. That, Mr. Putney, is no goof.

Sarah Albrycht is a Bennington native serving in the Army in Afghanistan.

Maj. Albrycht, thank you for your service and God bless you. Mr. Putney… er, get lost.


Obama Admin Shoots Self in Foot… Again

April 28, 2009


More fodder for GOP commercials for 2010 and 2012:

Call it tin-eared; call it tone deaf; call it what you will. It’s shameful.


[Edited to correct Air Force One cost.]

Take THAT, Yankees!

April 27, 2009

Jacoby Ellsbury steals home against the Yanks in last night’s game at Fenway. Now that’s entertainment!

UPDATE: Link fixed