Monday, June 30, 2014

ISIS Tweaks Its Branding

In today’s social media world, even terrorists understand the power of marketing and image.

ISIS, the Islamic terror group that’s been making waves lately, has a branding problem.   No, not the beheadings; that’s part of its terror strategy and it’s working just fine to help craft the image the group wants.  No, not the crucifixions, which are accomplishing the same purpose.  No, not its habit of lining up prisoners in front of mass graves and then opening fire until the weapons run dry.  Same deal there.  ISIS obviously subscribes to the notion that anything worth doing is worth overdoing.  And when it comes to terror and brutality, it’s clearly emerged as the best in its class.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I’m Bitter about the Cats

I used to have cats.  Now the Bride does.

I try not to be bitter about the cats.  But it’s difficult.

Bride of the Bloviator (BOTB) never had a cat in her life until she met me.  My silver tabby Travis charmed her immediately.  When I went over to her apartment one day to ask her to marry me and move with me to Texas I took Travis with me to assist me in my suit.   I'm pretty sure he clinched the deal for me.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Problem with Pieholes

In our country, you open yours at your extreme peril.

America is often celebrated for its right of free speech, as guaranteed in our constitution’s First Amendment.  But what no one warned you about in that high school civics class is that exercising this right can destroy you.  Never has that been more true than it is right now.  In some cases the destruction is appropriate.  But not always.

Despite the alleged constitutional protection, the actual language of the First Amendment only forbids Congress from doing anything to abridge freedom of speech.  It says nary a word about businesses, bosses, political leaders, or your fellow citizens.  They’re free to abridge away. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Psychology of Illegal Immigration

The written rules aren’t what matters.

I once worked for a company whose employee handbook laid out very specific rules governing attendance.  Excessive tardiness and excessive absences were not to be tolerated.  The handbook contained the language you’d expect to see about what might become of those who broke the rules—words such as, “Violators may be subject to disciplinary action up to and possibly including termination of their employment.”  Scary stuff.  So, having read that, employees showed up every day and on time, right?  Wrong.  The supervisor in my department wanted to be popular, and let such matters slide.  Predictably, certain people dragged in when they felt like it, if they felt like it.  They were least likely to feel like it just before or just after a weekend.  As a consequence, we were chronically short-staffed on Fridays and Mondays.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Toilet Zone: The Adventure Continues

And I thought my adventures in trying to secure a new health policy and keep my doctors under Obamacare were over.  Silly me. 

Okay, where were we?

I’ve posted five previous entries about the grand time I’ve had trying to get a new insurance policy and keep my doctors after Obamacare erased the old one, all of which I had to do in the midst of a major medical crisis (“Mr. Carr, how are you today?  Never mind, we’re about to tell you:  There’s a four centimeter mass on your left kidney”).  In the course of trying to deal with this, I received confused, incorrect and conflicting advice and directions from the fine folks at, and confused, incorrect, and conflicting advice and directions from my new health insurance company.  Among other things, I was led to believe that my doctors were on the new plan when they weren’t, which forced me to switch from the government Exchange policy to a private one offered by the same company.  Then I was told the new policy was in effect when it wasn’t.  For a period of several weeks no one with the company could tell me what premium or premiums I needed to pay or when I needed to pay them.   

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Country's Officially Approved Human Smuggling Ring

The administration’s immigration policies are undemocratic and arguably illegal.  What do to?

Picture this scenario:  You’re waiting in the desert to meet a family of undocumented immigrants.  The meeting takes place as intended.  Once you link up with the family, you arrange transportation into the interior of the country, to whatever destination the family wants.  Then you get caught.  Called upon to explain your actions, you deny having broken any laws, but refuse to say how many times you’ve done this before.  If the immigration laws were to be enforced in your case—which, in today’s climate, is not a given—what charges do you think you'd face?

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Parade of Iraq Absurdocities Continues

More and more people seem to think that stand-off, push-button joystick warfare is the answer.  It ain’t.

Less than two weeks ago I was telling you that we’d be lucky if only half of Iraq falls into the hands of the bloodthirsty, America-hating, enemy-decapitating ISIS forces now rampaging through that country.  In the days since, a few things have become clear:

1.  Blame game aside, none of our leaders and politicians really know what to do.  Many are comically clueless.

2.  Absurdocities” rule—a lot of people are saying things that are just plain stoopid.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Musings about Strange Happenings

And now for something completely different.  This is the first of about half a dozen entries I plan to write on strange and unusual things I have experienced, which may or may not be connected to the paranormal or ESP.  I claim no particular abilities in this area, and believe these kinds of things can happen to anyone—and do.  But for the most part such phenomena go unnoticed or unacknowledged because the average person doesn’t accept that these things can occur.

I can go long periods of time and not ever encounter what one might call a “coincidence.”  But then suddenly there will be a flurry of them.  Very seldom do any of them have any obvious meaning.  But sometimes they do.  2013 was a banner year for them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Iraq Absurdocities

They’re piling up.  And you know what kind of pile I mean.   

The mounting successes of brutal terrorists in Iraq continue to have our leaders scrambling to find some kind of face-saving steps to take—the definition of which is something that looks like action at first glance and which helps to deflect blame.  In support of the latter, our president has become increasingly critical of Nouri al-Maliki, the leader of the Iraqi government that we installed.  But he’s stopped short of calling for the guy’s resignation.  Why?  According our president, “It’s not our job to choose Iraq’s leaders.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why the Dr. Oz Flap Doesn’t Bother Me. Much.

He may or may not have been wrong.  But he was sincere.  And believe me, there are worse things.

This has not been a fabulous week for Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, a.k.a “Dr. Oz,” host of the TV show by the same name.  A senate subcommittee investigating false weight loss advertising claims gave him the third degree for touting certain suspect substances on his popular program, flat-out accusing him of making false statements to his audience.  In the aftermath, news organizations across the country ran stories about his public spanking.  A medical reporter for Fox News called him a “snake oil pitchman.”  CNN’s story ran a banner exclaiming in big capital letters “Dr. Oz accused of peddling bogus drugs.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Burqa Company Announces Expansion and IPO

Company says business is booming, and more orders are on the way

PORTLAND, Ore. (Gloomberg News) – Bakir’s Burqa Barn, a Portland, Oregon based religious clothing wholesaler and online retailer, Tuesday announced an initial public offering.

Bakir’s said it would sell shares to investors and use the proceeds to grow its business. A company news release stated that the firm plans to offer five million shares of stock priced at $25. In addition, Bakir’s has granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase another 75,000 shares of common stock at the initial public offering price to cover any over-allotments.

Monday, June 16, 2014

I'll See You in New York

Those chilling words from the leader of ISIS tell you all you need to know about what this group plans for America

Before last week more than likely you’d never heard the name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Now they’re calling him the most dangerous terrorist leader in the word.  This guy makes Osama bin Laden look like a  chant-chanting, incense-burning, flower-passing-out pacifist.  Al-Baghdadi and his ISIS followers are so brutal that al-Qaeda fears them and has disavowed them.   Right now, thanks to inept, confused, and incompetent U.S. foreign policies, this man and his bloodthirsty fighters control huge swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and are steadily capturing more.  

Sue the Bastards

In this installment:  a drunken work party leads to a mishap; a too-delicious sandwich causes a dangerous distraction; and a snack customer has a cheesy encounter.

Dear STB:
My boss held a get-together for junior executives last week at his home.  I’m not clear on whether it was an “official” work event.  The invitations were only verbal, and he mentioned to a friend of mine that he was paying for it out of his own pocket.  But my peers made it clear to me that it wouldn’t look good not to go.  Drinks were flowing, and I felt pressure to participate in that, too.   I had a bit too much, and on the way home I ran my car into a tree.   The car got totaled, and I suffered some broken bones.  Can I sue?
--Tipsy in Topeka

Friday, June 13, 2014

Let the Iraq Blame Game Begin

It won’t solve anything.  But as a feel-good exercise, it can’t be beat.  And there is something to be said about embracing this comforting, long-standing U.S. political tradition.

You can always tell when a situation has transitioned from “Going to Hell” and has arrived at “Gone to Hell.”  It’s the precise moment when politicians bust out with the pointing fingers and begin jabbing them in each other’s faces.  When you see our leaders engaging in that long-standing American tradition, you know with certainty that your speeding hand basket has just crossed the Hell city limits.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Add Iraq to the List

And Afghanistan is next

If we’re lucky, when the dust settles only half of Iraq will be in the hands of al-Qaeda inspired forces.   I’m not convinced we’ll be lucky.  And for the privilege of watching this unfold, we sacrificed 4,500 American war dead and paid not quite a trillion dollars.

You can add this to my list of grievances with the Obama administration (which are, to recap:  the Bergdahl trade, our open borders, the ACA deceptions, the VA scandal, the out of control deficit, and the administration’s war on fossil fuels).  Oh, I agree, it’s probably not fair to blame the president for this one.  After all, he didn’t get us into this mess.  That would be his predecessor, W., who led us into the war and also established the initial timetable for withdrawal.  But the current situation is unfolding on Mr. Obama’s watch. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fingers in Ears

“I don’t agree with what you’re saying.  But I defend to the death my right not to hear it.”

The rest of the country considers Arizona a conservative bastion—or a haven for right-wing nutjobs as some would prefer to phrase it.  It’s not hard to understand why anyone would feel this way.  Arizona gave the world the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and it’s only gone downhill here from there.  Anyone who believes the Wild West days are just a part of our quaint past hasn’t been paying attention in class.  To anyone with a pulse, my state will hand out anything from a 2-shot derringer to an assault rifle.  Come on over!  Bring your Glock.  Of course, you do have your immigration papers, don’t you? 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Why I’ve Finally Had It with This President

One word sums it up

I watched a really good movie this weekend, Sole Survivor.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It’s based on the true story of a team of Navy SEALS—who are among the very best this nation has to offer—sent on a mission to kill or capture a terrorist commander in Afghanistan, one who had been responsible for the deaths of dozens of Americans.  The mission led to the most intense firefight in SEAL history, ultimately killing three of the four team members.  A helicopter full of servicemen who tried to rescue them also was lost to enemy fire.  The film does a tremendous job of portraying the heroism and sacrifice of these remarkable Americans.  In the end you’re left to wonder where our country gets such people, and what motivates them to do what they do in defense of our still-great nation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fox News Is Not Destroying America

When I posted a missive on my Facebook page a few months back containing the statement referenced in the title of this blog entry, it really got people's blood pumping. To say the least, folks have strong feelings about Fox News.  But my 33 years of TV news trench warfare taught me that those viewers who are most vocal in demanding "fairness" and "balance" in their TV news coverage don't mean it, don't want it, and won't have it if you try to give it to them.  Yet our democracy manages to muddle through anyway. Why is that?

Read the full article here via Articlesbase.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Just Say No to TV Speak

Have you ever noticed that English-speaking TV anchors sometimes seem to be using a strange dialect?  One that doesn't contain a past tense?  Absolutely everything is happening right this very second!  Or so they'd have you believe.  Recently "TV Speak" led a station in Texas astray in a major, embarrassing way.  This article, written for the Radio Television Digital News Association, explores the phenom.  The article is targeted to TV types, so it contains some "how to" information on how to resolve the problem.  But even if you're not in TV, you may find it worthwhile to pick up one more bit of knowledge on why those crazy TV guys and gals do the things they do.

The full article on the RTDNA website is here.