The Naked Emperor

23 March 2007

Random Thoughts of the Day

Well, the Congress went and did it. The House managed to vote out their bill solving the peanut storage crisis, hogtying a Commander in Chief, and incidentally funding the troops. Except they didn't do it.

As I said before, the President will veto, so they've accomplished absolutely NOTHING in the last few weeks. Sorry, folks, but a symbolic effort is no match for substance. All you've done is to place our troops in needless jeopardy and for what? So you can score a few brownie points?

It is said that they were following the "will of the voters". But you've determined that will by hammering on the President for six years, making shit up if it didn't suit your needs. It's funny that your approvals are similar to the Presidents, and thats without a concerted effort to demonize you. You've done it all yourselves.

I feel like a parent right now. Folks, there's a war on. One that was started many years ago by killers using Islam to justify their heinous deeds. And the best the Congress can do is "symbolism". Kids, stop playing with your food, the bus will be here soon. If you miss it, and I have to drive you to school, you'll regret it. I'll take away your "fact finding junkets" to exotic locales, and make you use the same health care the rest of us do. So hurry up and eat.

Another little random thought. Everybody's upset about the VA system. It's been reformed many times and still is shameful.

But isn't this government run health care? It's a tragedy that our bravest have to suffer so. But if we listen to some, soon we'll ALL be in the same boat.

The answer to that one is simple. Make the Congress use the VA system for their primary health care. Just watch it improve.

Another news item today is that John Breaux, (D-MD) has all but thrown his hat in the ring for Louisiana's Governor's race. And no, the notation behind his name is not a typo.

Breaux was a Representative and then Senator from Louisiana. When he left public life, he never came back. He's now officially a resident of MD and votes there. Hasn't really lived here for more than twenty years.

Louisiana law says that you must be a citizen of Louisiana for the last five years to run for Gov. Breaux is having a friendly Democrat ask the also Democreat Attorney General of LA. for a ruliing of his status. He argues that he's still a "citizen" of the state, although he's no longer a resident.

Any takers on how the ruling will come down?

So another carpetbagger comes down to rape us. What else is new.

Sorry John, but you chose to stay up there and didn't come back. If you'd come back 18 months ago, I wouldn't mind. But we have been here through the entire Katrina experience while you made millions as a paid lobbyist in DC. If you were so concerned, where was your sorry butt?

If you thought you had any leadership skills, we could have used you from September 05 on. We've certainly had damn little leadership and too much command since then. But to come back now is pure opportunism.

And John, If the above makes you unhappy, I'll be the one in the booth pulling the lever for a dog that stayed with us over anyone who's been MIA for a year and a half.

And lastly, I do have some good news.

I came across the blog of Micheal Yon, a private blogger with the troops in Iraq. Whether or not you support the war, it's still a good read. As I said in an earlier post, I just love it when words are well used. His writing is deeply personal, and very moving. Some have called him the Iraq war's Ernie Pyle. I won't disagree.

And I'm happy to put a link to his site on mine.

Since he's private, he lives by donations. Forego a Latte once in a while and support a guy writing his butt off in terrible conditions.

Until later,


Spring!! And my back is Sprung!!

To those of you who are looking for politics or my usual grumping, this won't be it. This will be about the infamous farm.

I don't know how to post pictures to the blog, but I'll try.

As I have said, I've been very busy with Spring around the farm.

Partially it's my fault, since I had been just doing bare maintenance since Katrina. Unfortunately, the storm destroyed my garden, along with my wooden trellises. I just didn't plant last year, and the garden got overgrown with weeds. And the flower beds got really nasty.

I did design and build one storm proof wooden trellis over my raspberries last year, but the rest just got ignored.

After the storm, lots of extra stuff wound up in the shed I'd built as a workshop. MRE's, water, tarps, a Coleman stove and lantern, coolers, etc. I couldn't walk in there and could barely get to my tools, let alone actually WORK in there.

So to get going this spring, I needed to get some extra storage so I could access my tools to do the rest of the work.

I got lucky. My neighbor's wife let her car roll into the open door of their storage shed. This knocked off the door and did major damage to the front framing and sheathing. He was looking to get a bigger shed anyway, so he offered the damaged one to me. He said there's something about testosterone to rednecks and sheds. We always want a bigger one.

It cost $125 to get it moved, and about another $325 in materials. A new one like this goes for $2000, so we got a good deal. It just took about five full days work to restore it completely. And get shelves built and get it stocked. But here it is:

So now I could clean out the workshop. That took another day, plus more time to paint it anew. I hadn't built the door well, just 1x4's over the plywood edges on the front. So it was sprung. I spent most of another day destroying it and rebuilding with LOTS of 2x4 bracing, plus making the 1x4 cross for the front.

But it's good to go now. Here it is with the raised beds of the veggie garden in the front:

The "storm proof" trellis is by the shop, and my permanent blueberries at the back corner.

So once the construction was done, I could actually get to working on the yard. But wait a minute. Still had to change the blades on the tractor, and but a new gas weed whacker, the old one was dead. But my ramps to roll the tractor up rotted over winter, so I headed into town to buy some plastic ones. And I ran straight into the Oyster Festival parade. There went another hour.

So NOW I could get on the yard. I had to cut all the weeds in the garden, and I redid the flower beds in front of the house and built one new one.

This is just for reference. All the beds were tilled, potting soil added, then weed cloth and mulch on top.

Around the sycamore, I did petunias. The bride and I both like them, even though they're annuals. The boxwoods have been there for years.

In front, I added aztec verbenas in front with lantanas behind to go with the holly bushes. Forgive the junk on the porch, I've got another run to the dump coning up next week off. We'll be replacing the cheesy wooden border with brick next year.

So what to do now?

Well besides the dump run, my next week off will see me doing a paving stone border around the crabapple tree at the front of the property, and a flower bed in there. But what I'll put there, I have no clue.

We also will clean out behind the liriope at the chimney and do a bed with a couple of butterfly bushes.

Also the old Katrina and Rita damaged antenna will be down on Tuesday!! Got some help coming for that one.

All that will be left for sure will be to plant the veggie garden. I know I'm late, but so what. It probably won't be full sized this year, but I am planning to try growing potatoes in old tires.

And I've designed some new trellises to be made from PVC and fencing, so I'll build a few to try with my climbers. They will be more flexible than the wood, but much lighter and much easier to move. If they work out, I'll post the design

If I have time, I'd still like to redo the beds behind the kitchen window and around the persimmon tree. But who knows. Also I need to get a load of dirt to full in the ruts made when the new shad came, Add some fill to my backstop and cut and install a new target board on my small bore range.

I not only "keep and bear" arms, I use them as regularly as time allows.

So as you can see, I just don't have much time at home to sit on the computer. That's why I do my research and blogging between patients.

One of the problems of my profession, and many professions, is a lack of physical gratification. When the shift is over, the only physical reminder of my hard work is paperwork. Not terribly rewarding. But at the farm, my handiwork is evident year round.

Now if I can just find a way to sell "carbon credits" to ecofreaks in high rise condos to pay for all this greenery, I'd have it made.

Until later,


22 March 2007

The Peanut Storage Crisis!!

I've been bad about the blog again.

But this is spring, and there's a lot of work to do around the farm. More about the farm in another post. Working on the land yields immediate results, while blogging is just for fun. OK, the farm is fun too. But blogging is a lower priority.

We've all heard about this new congress and how much good or evil they'll do, depending on your point of view.

When I've been reading about the congress for years, I just keep coming back to the comedian Gallagher. He once asked "If pro is the opposite of con, is Congress the opposite of progress?"

And this new bunch is no different.

As far as I know, they've passed no legislation that has made it to the President's desk yet. Nothing.

Right now they're caught up in two controversies.

The first is the President firing two political appointees for what they call "Political" reasons. Hell, they're the President's appointees. If they're not doing the job he hired them to do, it's his right and responsibility.

If you fire your gardener, it's up to you. He's not doing my yard, it's your business.

And it's not like the critics really object. Most of these people were in office when a former President fired ALL of the US Attorneys. But he was a member of their party, so no one said "BOO". If they thought such things were so bad, why didn't they speak up then?

So if they don't really care about the US Attorney firings, why are they doing this?

Easy. They're playing "Gotcha" politics. It's all about scoring political points for an election that won't happen for another 18 months. Apparently members of the House of Representatives no longer have time to do the work we sent them there to do, they're just campaigning for re-election. And they've only just arrived for this term.

The second big controversy is about a bill funding the war in Iraq.

Some members of Congress support the war and others do not.

Those that do not have put language into the funding bill that will do a "slow bleed" (not my words) by imposing restrictions on the Commander in Chief and the troops. This is blatantly unconstitutional, but they put it there anyway. The President has promised to veto such a bill. And the anti-war members know this and know they do not have the votes to override a veto.

It get worse.

Some members opposed the bill, opposing any funding for the war. Others did not want to hamstring our troops. Or so they said.

I guess their views aren't too strongly held though. The funding bill has been so loaded down with pork that it makes a Texas Bar-B-Que look like a Slimfast. And that was one of the reasons I quit being a Republican. Sorry, Congress, this is NOT the way to impress the center.

They said the only additional funding was for "emergency" items. Like peanut storage somewhere. Millions of dollars for peanut storage. Why I was just saying to my bride the other day ,"When is Congress going to act on the peanut storage crisis?".

None of these "esteemed" members of Congress seems to have any courage of their convictions. "I'm anti-war. But I'll be for the war for enough peanut storage." "I support the troops mission. But I'll cut them off for peanut storage."

And they've spent weeks working on this. In that time they've revealed their cowardice and just how much it takes to buy them off.

And all for something that's going to be vetoed anyway.

They've been terribly busy with all this garbage, but haven't gotten around to any actual legislation that will become law. It's as if I spent my time cleaning the clinic windows, while patients die. I'd be very busy, but would have failed to do my job. And these people aren't doing their jobs either.

I know that if anybody reading this is left of center, you might say "but it's President Bush!!". To paraphrase Herman Wouk, you don't work with a Captain (or President) because you like the way he parts his hair, you work with him because he's got the job or you're no good.

So I guess they're no good.

What I find amusing is how the Democrats and some Republicans are running away from voting to authorize the war. "We were duped" some of them say. If you read Democrats true thoughts on the President, they find his intellect somewhere south of Kumquat. And yet those in Congress say the President duped them. So how intelligent does that make you?

And it gets even more pathetic. One of the main adversaries of fighting arab terrorists is Rep. Murtha, who was willing to take bribes from alleged arab businessmen as long as he didn't get caught. See FBI videotapes from the "Abscam" scandal back in the seventies.

And the new leadership is shocked by Scooter Libby's conviction, while protecting William Jefferson (D-LA), who was given 100K in a sting operation, and the feds recovered 90K of it in his freezer. He also commandeered Army trucks, needed for rescue operations, to recover his personal property from Katrina's flood. Not only do they protect him, the new leadership gave him a seat on the Homeland Security Committee.

Does it make sense to take advice on Arab American relations from someone who took bribes, or to entrust our security to another who took bribes?

This isn't a paradigm shift, it's just restocking a bunch of self-centered bastards with some that wear slightly different clothes and make slightly different noises.

No wonder their approval is even less than the President's.

Some good things come from unexpected places. I've seen a bumper sticker I loved, and sums up my feelings quite well. It is on a pickup outside Guy's bar in Amite, LA, and belongs to the owner. I went in to meet Mr. Guy Spitale, and he said he was going to order some of the stickers for sale. I told him to sign me up, I should have it in a few weeks.

Stop in and have a beer at Guy's if you're in the area. Corner of Hwy 16 and Hwy 51 in Amite. He's good people.

Oh, that's right. The bumper sticker. It simply says:

Don't Re-Elect Anybody

Until Later


12 March 2007

A damn good day

Significant is defined as:

1) important in effect or meaning,
2) fairly large, and
3) rich in significance or implication.

For example, normally this blog is insignificant.

But the news tonight, no doubt to be glossed over by most of the mainstream journalists is highly significant.

A few days ago, the Iranians started accusing us or the Israelis of kidnapping their Brigadier General Ali Reza Asgari from Turkey. But it gets better.

It seems he was recruited several years ago as a "defector in place" and has been gathering intel ever since. Apparently things were getting a bit hot so a few months ago, there was a plan made to get him out. And not just Asgari, but his whole family.

The news seems to indicate that he is currently being debriefed at a NATO base in Europe, and that his family are all out safe.

His history is interesting to us. He apparently led the Iranian connection with Hezbollah in the 90's and has information on their terrorist activities both in and out of Palestine. So much for their claim of just being "freedom fighters". More like hired assassins now.

He later headed up the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and would know most of their secrets.

Further on, he was a Deputy Defense Minister in charge of internal investigations and uncovered a lot of corruption. That makes enemies, including the current Iranian president. One should be careful of who you piss off.

Last he was a consultant for their defense ministry.

So why is this "significant"?

First for the Israelis. Asgari can show that Hezbollah are not "just trying to be free from Jewish tyranny". They are mere paid killers. Nothing more. Bombings around the world, including in the Americas as far back as 1984 can now be laid at Hezbollah's feet without question.

And for us, it's just as good.

Back in Nov of 2005, the head of the Revolutionary Guard bragged how they were exporting the revolution, including to Iraq. Now I know that captured Iranian officers and certain Iranian weapons have been pooh-poohed by the mainstream media. But now we have a guy on our side who knows the people supplying the weapons. He may even know routes and standard procedures for the Guards to bring the weapons into Iraq.

Not to undermine the capture by the Iraqis the other day of a head of the "Islamic state of Iraq", but that was tactical. It's like cutting off one of the hands of someone you're fighting. That hand can't hit you anymore.

But being able to interdict the flow of weapons into Iraq from Iran is like having a choke hold on the throat of the enemy. It's a big strategic advantage.

We've got to move fast before the Iranians can change their operational patterns.

But more important, he knows all of the senior Iranian leadership. Asgari will know personality conflicts that we could exploit. And as a head of internal investigations, he knows where the figurative bodies are buried. If his doing that job caused his conflict with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, maybe the dear delusional pres isn't as clean as he would have his followers believe.

And last, but best of all, he may know a decent amount about the Iranian Nuke program.

I've read a report that said the Iranians are already recalling personnel from embassies worldwide, apparently before Asgari's information can "out" them. Always best the stay one step ahead of the law if you're in the terror business.

So this seems to be having an impact even now.

I have nothing but admiration for the grunts and fly-boys and track toads who serve with pride. But even they must admit that the intel weenies may have hit one out of the park here.

Now whether the mainstream guys have the sense to see this for what it is, and the courage to report it honestly is a whole other story.

But otherwise it's a good day. A damn good day.

Tomorrow or so I'll get back with some common sense energy stuff, and maybe a little humor. I've been too serious for a while now.

Until Later



09 March 2007

Kitty Farts

Well, it's been a busy week.

Two weeks ago we got a new shed. Well new for us. Our next door neighbors wife had her car roll into the edge of the door while it was open. This destroyed some of the framing on the front along with some of the sheathing.

Her husband was looking for an excuse for a bigger shed, and this was it. So he offered us the old one.

And thus my last week off was mostly spent in honey-doing the new shed. New framing, new sheathing, repainted barn red. All I have to do now is cut two pieces of trim and paint the trim.

I even built two sets of shelves. I wanted to take back the first shed I'd built as a workshop. But between all the Christmas lights, the tree, assorted decorations used once a year, and all the hurricane supplies we've gathered post-Katrina, I could barely get in the workshop, let alone get to tools.

So the new shed now has all of my part of Christmas, a dozen cases of MRE's, forty gallons of water, numerous tarps, ice chests, and a Coleman stove I picked up. (Grilling is OK once in a while. But to use it as your main method of cooking for a couple of weeks is VERY annoying. I haven't grilled a damn thing since.) We also put in a bunch of folding yard chairs, the hammock and the grill. So now I can walk in the workshop, I'll finish re-organizing it next week off.

I got to thinking about honey-dos. Since I had spent the better part of four days on this project, could we say that I'd honey-did? Someone else suggested I'd honey-dood. Or honey-dude?

One thing about honey-dos. They multiply like bacteria. And if you don't honey-do on a regular basis, you can end up in honey-doo-doo. Just ask any married man.

Actually I didn't mind doing all of the above. Maybe there's something to my English/ Scot heritage, but as spring arrives my thoughts turn out of doors, and especially to the garden.

Unlike some commentators, I live on a small (OK, tiny) farm. I normally grow a veggie garden every year. I may be death incarnate to house plants, but my garden usually does pretty well.

Instead of reading pamphlets on the political benefit of such and such, I download literature from my extension service. I actually grow things and eat what I grow.

So my ideas on the environment are a bit more realistic than most.

A couple of environmental stories caught my eye recently.

First, there's a company in Australia that will sell you carbon off-sets, for $6 US to make up for the damage to the environment caused by your pet cat's flatulence.

I'm not, and never could make up anything this ridiculous.

Yes, the environmental movement has reached the point where your kitty's farts will be the doom of us all. But that's OK, just send in $6 and all will be forgiven by carbon off-sets.

In other words, you send them money, that they will supposedly "invest" in "green" technology, and then it's OK for Fluffy to break wind.

Who gets the money, and how they spend it are not terribly clear. But you're off the hook, you're forgiven.

I know we shouldn't mix religion and politics, especially being an agnostic. I get shot at from all sides. But doesn't this sound an awful lot like the indulgences that the Catholic church sold to build the Vatican?

Catholicism used to be the only Christian game around. But the rampant corruption and hypocrisy of the indulgences led to a monk named Matin Luther. He saw the lies for what they were, and nailed a list of theses to the church door. Unfortunately for the Church, he did this just when a communication revolution was happening. Little guy named Gutenberg with a device called a printing press. Before long, Luther's ideas were spread through all Christendom. Ever hear of Lutherans? Or protestants? The Catholic Church has never been the same for the last 500 years.

Saying "it's OK to sin (pollute) as long as we get paid" is the lowest form of callous hypocrisy. It shows that the leaders of the environmental movement actually care nothing for the environment. It's just a dodge to them, a shell game to get their hands on money.

Maybe that's why Mr. Gore feels safe running up a monthly energy bill 25 times larger than mine and flitting about in jets while saying I have to turn my thermostat up and give up my pickup. I know the "global warming" crowd will never believe this, but hell will freeze solid before I'm without a pickup.

And If you mix lies to cover greed with unrestricted communication, you risk losing big time. With blogoshpere and Myspace, the environmentalists risk losing almost every shred of credibility by screaming "the sky is falling" and selling carbon "forgiveness".

Their only choices are to back off the warming hysteria and get back to sound science, or restrict communication to protect their con game. Many countries are trying to restrict the internet, and our own Congress is attempting to silence talk radio for having an alternative viewpoint.

And as long as we are near Mr. Gore, that brings me to the second story. Apparently PETA thinks he's not a "true" environmentalist since he doesn't advocate a vegan lifestyle. (wow, vegan isn't even in my spellcheck!) They say that farm animals pollute more than all the internal combustion engines in the world or suchlike.

I guess these people just don't think before they open their mouths.

Animal products provide not only employment but a substantial portion of the nutrition for the developing world. To do away with them would require one of two things. For lesser developed nations agriculture to meet bare minimums for nutrition without animal products, they'd have to get much much more productive. And since they wouldn't have any manure based fertilizers, they would have to use massive amounts of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Holy Dow and Monsanto, Batman! Big business would make money, we can't have that, they're capitalists and evil.

They'd also have to mechanize their agriculture much more. Holy Big Oil, Batman! Holy Big Agriculture, Batman!

How adding so much more artificial chemicals and exhaust would be good for the environment escapes me.

There is one other alternative. They can starve and die.

If we go with the first choice, the animal rights people will have to battle the environmental people. All I ask is that they wait while I have my people burn some fossil fuels to provide the electricity to nuke some popcorn and fix an ice cold Coke before they start.

In thinking about environmentalists Vs. big business, I come to realize something. Politically correct environmentalism IS big business. I'm sure that industry makes a hell of a lot more than many. But unlike most big businesses, PC environmentalism produces nothing. Like the lilies of the field neither do they spin nor do they toil. All they have is scare tactics.

Sounds a lot like extremist islamic terrorists, doesn't it. They're just better at it. They use political blackmail instead of murder.

My we've come a long way, Cat farts to big business to terrorism. And we started at....... Oh, thats right. The shed and the garden.

Before the yelling at me begins, I do like a clean environment. And I practice what I preach. I've done organic, vertical gardening, square foot gardening, raised beds, double digging, natural amendments, no pesticides except once when the bugs were about to destroy the entire crop, companion planting, no treated lumber, composting. Every year I pick a couple of new things to experiment with. Some work, some don't.

If you don't know what some of the above terms mean, maybe you aren't the environmentalist you think you are. And just maybe you should leave the overpriced coffee shop where you're reading about environmental issues on the internet, and actually get out IN the environment.

Well that's about enough for tonight. The veggie garden won't be as big this year. With a new practice, the job, and some honey-do priorities, there won't be enough time. The wife wants me to redo the flower beds near the house, and repaint inside.

If you know of some butterfly friendly perennials that bloom a lot with little work, please let me know.

until later,