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It’s F****** Everywhere!

That bastard CANCER!

I’ve a number of friends on and off the Internet who have had it.

Some have survived; some not-so-much. 😦

I’ve had it twice.

Earlier this year, my dear friend Bob Hall was taken by it.  Brigid’s brother by the same variety as Bob over a year ago.

We found out last week that Tom Lindsay of Fill Yer Hands is battling it.

Enough already!

My roomie’s ex (who remains a friend of hers and father to their daughter) has had a tumor in his sinuses removed, and a bladder tumor.

We found out yesterday another bladder tumor has appeared, and he is scheduled for yet another surgery!

In keeping with the bizarre tradition around here, many of my friends happen to be named Bob or Dave.  His name is David.

Please keep a good thought for him, and pray, if that’s what you do.

He’s a good guy. and another gunnie.

Stupid America

(as seen in SHTFplan.com)

Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog.

Ten years ago, a major Hollywood film entitled “Idiocracy” was released, and it was an excellent metaphor for what would happen to America over the course of the next decade.  In the movie, an “average American” wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that he suddenly finds himself in.  Sadly, I truly believe that if people of average intellect from the 1950s and 1960s were transported to 2016, they would likely be considered mental giants compared to the rest of us.  We have a country where criminals are being paid $1000 a month not to shoot people, and the highest paid public employee in more than half the states is a football coach.  Hardly anyone takes time to read a book anymore, and yet the average American spends 302 minutes a day watching television. 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East, but they sure know how to find smut on the Internet.  It may be hard to believe, but there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet today, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

What in the world has happened to us?  How is it possible that we have become so stupid?  According to a brand new report that was recently released, almost 10 percent of our college graduates believe that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court…

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni publishes occasional reports on what college students know.

Nearly 10 percent of the college graduates surveyed thought Judith Sheindlin, TV’s “Judge Judy,” is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Less than 20 percent of the college graduates knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than a quarter of the college graduates did not know Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during World War II; one-third did not know he was the president who spearheaded the New Deal.

It can be tempting to laugh at numbers like these until you realize that survey after survey has come up with similar results.

Just consider what Newsweek found a few years ago…

When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

Even worse were the extremely depressing results of a study conducted a few years ago by Common Core…

*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.

*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.

*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.

Of course survey results can be skewed, and much hinges on how the questions are asked.

However, even studies that are scientifically conducted confirm how stupid America has become.  In fact, a report from the Educational Testing Service found that Americans are falling way behind much of the rest of the industrialized world.  The following comes from CBS News

Americans born after 1980 are lagging their peers in countries ranging from Australia to Estonia, according to a new report from researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The study looked at scores for literacy and numeracy from a test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the abilities of people in 22 countries.

The results are sobering, with dire implications for America. It hints that students may be falling behind not only in their early educational years but at the college level. Even though more Americans between the ages of 20 to 34 are achieving higher levels of education, they’re still falling behind their cohorts in other countries. In Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees, the report said.

Out of 22 countries that were part of the study, the Educational Testing Service found that Americans were dead last in tech proficiency, dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

So why has this happened?

Why have we become such an extremely stupid nation?

Well, at least a portion of the blame must be directed at our system of education.  The following is an excerpt from an article written by reporter Mark Morford.  In this article, he shared how one of his friends which had served for a very long time as a high school teacher in Oakland, California was considering moving out of the country when he retired due to the relentless “dumb-ification of the American brain”

It’s gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.

Now, you may think he’s merely a curmudgeon, a tired old teacher who stopped caring long ago. Not true. Teaching is his life. He says he loves his students, loves education and learning and watching young minds awaken. Problem is, he is seeing much less of it.

And of course things don’t get much better when it comes to our college students.  In a previous article, I shared some statistics from USA Today about the rapidly declining state of college education in the United States…

-“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago”

-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”

-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages”

-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

I spent eight years studying at some of the finest public universities in the country, and I can tell you from personal experience that even our most challenging college courses have been pathetically dumbed down.

And at our “less than finest” public universities, the level of education can be something of a bad joke.  In another previous article, I shared some examples of actual courses that have been taught at U.S. universities in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

-“Philosophy And Star Trek

-“Learning From YouTube

-“How To Watch Television

Could you imagine getting actual college credit for a course entitled “What If Harry Potter Is Real?”

This is why many of our college graduates can barely put two sentences together.  They aren’t being challenged, and the quality of the education most of them are receiving is incredibly poor.

But even though they aren’t being challenged, students are taking longer to get through college than ever.  Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of all full-time students receive a bachelor’s degree within four years, and only 77 percent of all full-time students have earned a bachelor’s degree by the end of six years.

Of course our system of education is not entirely to blame.  The truth is that young Americans spend far more time consuming media than they do hitting the books, and what passes for “entertainment” these days is rapidly turning their brains to mush.

According to a report put out by Nielsen, this is how much time the average American spends consuming media on various devices each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add it all up, the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged into some form of media.

And if you allow anyone to pump “programming” into your mind for 10 hours a day, it is going to have a dramatic impact.

In the end, I truly believe that we all greatly underestimate the influence that the mainstream media has on all of us.  We willingly plug into “the Matrix” for endless hours, but then somehow we still expect “to think for ourselves”.

There are very few of us that can say that we have not been exposed to thousands upon thousands of hours of conditioning.  And all of that garbage can make it very, very difficult to think clearly.

It is not because of a lack of input that we have become so stupid as a society.  The big problem is what we are putting into our minds.

If we continue to put garbage in, we are going to continue to get garbage out, and that is the cold, hard reality of the matter.

We have an election coming up.  And many of these folks vote.

I weep for our Nation.

 

h/t Doc in Yuma

It’s That Day, Again

SIGH.

Today is the 21st anniversary of the passing of our daughter Molly.

We had been in an automobile accident the previous day, and I spent weeks in intensive care, the hospital and rehabilitation.

Molly spent one day.  She was twelve.

I’m doing pretty well, considering.  On disability – due to lymphoma.  I’ve a roof over my head and a beater car and a supportive family and friends, some of whom I’ve met through these pages in the last five years.

Which brings me to the point I often make.

GO AND HUG THOSE YOU LOVE AND TELL THEM SO!  Because you may not get another chance!

She was a terrific kid, and was going to be a terrific adult.  But never got the chance.

She was becoming a shooter (who knew? :-)) and was definitely a Daddy’s girl.

She will always be Daddy’s Girl.

I Love You and Miss You!

 

 

OOPS!

oops

One only hopes they are training to defend our individual liberties and loved ones, and not to take them away…

Glenn Frey, RIP

The passing recently of David Bowie definitely got my attention, even though I wasn’t a big fan – in any of his incarnations.  (Sorry)

But yesterday, finding out that a founder of The Eagles had passed.  Well, Universe, this is  over-the-top!

As we age, we seem to see more of this – people who are part of our youth, our lives, passing into eternity.

Personal family and friends aside, these bookmarks in the story of our lives remind of us specifics in our past, and of the eventual future for all of us.

R.I.P. Good Sir!

 

 

Apologies…

In planning some changes to my blog, I inadvertently hit a wrong button, and it changed!

Sigh.

Of course, now I need to research where I made the error, and make corrections.

And, I’ve an appointment this morning (!) so, off I go!

Later.

Gov’t Just CAN’T Leave Well Enough Alone!

As recently posted by the lovely and talented Tamara

The .gov giveth and the .gov taketh away…

So, with the brewing industry having finally (mostly) bounced back from Prohibition, and small craft breweries having sprung up all over, you just knew there was some way the feds could screw up a good thing, didn’t you?

Small breweries will have to spend hundreds of dollars per beer to analyze the nutritional value of each type sold.

“A good analysis [will cost] probably somewhere between the $500-$1,000 range of what I’ve seen. Then multiply it across the styles that you have,” said Lawinski.

And at a thousand dollars a pop, that could keep unique and seasonal brews from making it to your favorite watering hole.

I’m thinking the BATFE is seeing the handwriting on the wall, and we’ll see a sharp upturn in revenooers chasing moonshiners as well!  After all, Eliot Ness & Co. wants to keep their jobs!

Yep.  Government.

It continues to be all about control…

November 24, Seven Years Ago

(a follow-up to the November 8 post I Sometimes HATE Novembers, as promised…)

So, here I was, in my insurance-paid-for-rented-condo, about a mile North of my home, while contractors rebuilt it, after the drunk driver had hit it two weeks prior.  That’s what I get for buying a corner lot, off a street that zig-zags.  Drunks never caught that nuance, head straight for the alley, see the power pole, and crash into my back yard.

It had happened before.  Last time it was just the fence that was destroyed.

Good times…

I, of course, still had to go to work, pay bills, and check the mail at the house, all while surveying the excruciatingly-slow process of rebuilding the rear of my home and replacing the fence.

Thankfully (?) I was beginning to have more health issues (joy, joy) which meant I was missing more work. Which gave me the excuse to stop by and check the mail and the progress of the reconstruction more often.

And, it had been a couple of days since I had last checked the mail, and it was my birthday(!), so I thought I’d check the mail again.  Hell, there might be a birthday check from someone in the mail?:-)

I pull into the driveway.  No contractors present.  This always bothered me, as this process was taking forever. Of course, mine wasn’t their only project.

(This had been a little over two weeks!)

AND THE SIDE DOOR WAS STANDING OPEN ABOUT TWO INCHES!

This alarmed me, as no one was around.  The door had been always locked and the extra key placed in one of those Realtor-access combination locks around the door knob.  Which was now nowhere to be seen!

I exited the car and drew my 1911 pistol.  (Yeah, I know.  All my training (which I had trained others to do many times before) was to leave the area to a relatively safe location and call the police to respond. After all, there may have been multiple armed intruders inside burgling my home!)

BUT, this was MY HOME!  And the training went out the window.  Sigh.

I slowly entered the kitchen, listening intently for any activity inside, pistol at-the-ready.  Then into the living room, bath and two bedrooms.  This was relatively quick, as it was a 740 square-foot house.

It was obvious someone else had been inside.  Someone NOT a contractor.  A home computer, portable television, stereo, some faux Samurai swords and a number of other items were missing.  Movers had taken many of the larger furniture items to put into storage prior to the reconstruction.  But I was told they were unable to take the gun safe, as they were prohibited from storing firearms.

They had removed the Dillon XL 650 reloading press from it’s mount, preparatory to the rebuild.  But had not put it into storage. (I guess it was gun-related).  It was gone.

And the 800 pound, Fort Knox gun safe was missing.  And this was on the floor…

20151106_165708 (1)

Someone obviously had pried off the combination dial and locking lever to open the safe.  And when that failed, THEY TOOK THE ENTIRE 800 POUND SAFE! 

Credit cards, spare checks, school transcripts, cameras, my birth certificate and over fifty firearms! Gone.

First, I called the insurance company, to see if they had perhaps authorized storage of the safe and it’s contents, and had inadvertently broken the locking mechanism somehow in transit.  Then, I called the mover and the police.

And was scolded by the 911 operator, as it was for emergencies only.   How was fifty+ firearms possibly out on the street was not an emergency?

Ultimately, the contractor, the storage guy, my insurance man and the police arrived on the scene.  I recounted my actions upon arriving multiple times for each of them.  And I was livid.  To keep me occupied (and busy and out of the way) the police advised me to make a list of what was in the safe, including all the firearms and serial numbers.

I knew most of their descriptions by heart, but the list (with Polaroids and serial numbers) was not around.  It was probably in the materials previously packed and moved to storage.

Fortunately, I still had many of the receipts and gun boxes, which were labeled on the edge with the numbers.

And set about making the list on a legal pad.

All parties were questioned.  The contractor’s employees all had cellular telephones they were required to keep with them at all times (for GPS tracking purposes).  And all passed the location test.

As if someone couldn’t have left the phone at home off-hours to do a burglary?  Or they told someone else?  Come on!  I never broadcast about the safe in my home, suddenly, after many strangers had seen it, it went missing.

After six months, the house was reconstructed, painted, re-floored (safe drag marks) cleaned (even clothes in the closet dry cleaned!) and restocked with the stored items.  I had called in to stop all my credit cards the same day.

I received a check for the maximum available from my policy.  (Note-to-self:  Make certain all valuables are covered, and if there is a cap it covers all firearms.  I was insured for a maximum of 5K on the firearms, eventually paid just over 7K total.  Firearm valuation of the missing?  Over 21K! in 2009 gun values)

Fortunately, I had taken my favorite 1911 and .38 snub with me to the condo!

And none of the identity items, credit cards or firearms have ever surfaced.

I’m thinking Mexico, and thank God that Fort Knox makes a quality piece of security equipment!  I suspect it’s abandoned in the desert somewhere, still unopened.  (Let this be a lesson – if you’ve not done so already, bolt your safe to the foundation and wall studs – even if it weighs 800 pounds!)

And among the missing are my electroless nickel Colt Gold Cup, 1969 Browning High Power, 4 AR-15s, my Ithaca Deerslayer Police Special 12 gauge, my pre-model 27 Smith & Wesson 5″,  my Sig-Sauer P220 – marked made in W. Germany(!) and my 1942 Springfield Garand!!

I had to use the insurance money for other things, and never was able to replace any of the missing firearms.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

FTC – Fort Knox safes gave me nothing.  I bought it at a gun show.  Leave me alone!

 

AMEN, Sistuh!

Roberta X(from the lovely, talented, and geekily knowledgeable Roberta X, in part…)

(…)

Everyone running for the Democrat nomination wants to turn a large number of gun-owning citizens into some kind of Federal criminal, with the only question being, “felon or malefeasant?”  But only one of them has hands-on experience in the kind of police-state tactics it would take to make that work, and in making them palatable to a population of people who could reasonably be expected to be skeptical.

Meanwhile, most of GOP’s hot prospects are sellin’ various flavors of Return-to-Jesusland* and shippin’ out the Dangerously Brown (a difficult trick — y’know how there are so many guns in the U.S. that no power could ever grab ’em all?  Imagine if those guns had volition didn’t want to be found…).  I’ll grant that there are serious, good reasons — including humanitarian ones — for a more secure and better-patrolled border; it’s this business of plannin’ to comb through the population and root out a “dangerous element” often referred to as “parasitic” that stinks on ice to me — and it should to you, too.  Do you recall what kinds of societies had any success at that kind of thing?  Do you realize what it takes to make it work? (Ahem, “Papers, please?”)  Did you sleep through World History class?

This is one of the lousiest candidate pools I have ever seen. Mr. Bloomberg is the worst of them — worse than Mr. Sanders, worse than Mr. Trump.  If he enters the race, I may have to vote in the Democrat primary just so I can vote against him.
_________________________________
* Except this country never was. The American Revolution can be cast as a kind of dialogue between the Enlightenment/Age of Reason ideas that pushed it and the Great Awakenings that bookended it.  From that angle, the Establishment Clause of  First Amendment represents a brilliantly common goal: neither party was desirous of a State church.  Thus the United States was explicitly made a safe place for believers and nonbelievers of every stripe.  This is a delicate balance and has been maintained with varying degrees of elegance and civility though the years.  We should fear any politician who feels a mandate to Do Good — especially if he or she believes it was granted by Divine authority.

There’s really nothing further to say on this subject.

Rich, White Candidate Meets BLM

No, NOT the Bureau of Land Management…

Breaking: Hillary Meets With Cop-Hating #BlackLivesMatter Radicals, Calls Racism ‘America’s Original Sin’

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 7.26.24 PM

Comes out saying this:
Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 7.20.45 PM

Apparently, Hillary Clinton has forgotten or doesn’t care BLM chanting for the death of police and supporters/members actually shooting police officers. She apparently missed DeRay McKesson, that’s the guy in the ridiculous blue vest in the middle of the picture, and his class at Yale, ‘In Defense of Looting’.

Wife of America’s first Black president hanging with her potential constituency. I suspect next on the list are The New Black Panthers*, La Raza and The Weather Underground.

We KNOW which way the wind blows with this woman…

I’m not big on labeling, but divisive, unprincipled, dishonest, and yes, evil…

*not to be confused with The New Christy Minstrels (and no, this is not a minstrel show joke!)

h/t Weasel Zippers

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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