Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Don't blame me ...

Don't blame me if you spend too much time checking out your name, your spouse's name, your friends' names, your mother's . . . I almost forgot my do my mother's!

Your name of Neva gives you a clever mind, good business judgment, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation of the finer things of life. You are serious-minded and not inclined to make light of things even in little ways, and in your younger years you had more mature interests than others your age. Home and family mean a great deal to you and it is natural that you should desire the security of a peaceful, settled home environment where you can enjoy the companionship of family and friends. Whatever you set out to accomplish you do your very best to complete in accordance with what you consider to be right. In the home you assume your responsibilities capably, having the self-confidence to form your own opinions and make your own decisions. Others can rely on you; once you have given your word you will do your utmost to fulfil a responsibility. However, there is a tendency to be a little too independent in your thinking and it is difficult for you to accept the help of others when you should. Due to your strong sense of responsibility, you could experience worry and mental turmoil through assuming more responsibility than you should. Friction could arise through others feeling that you were interfering with their rights and privileges, even though you are only trying to help.

Dictionary of Names

(Spotted on a newsgroup.)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Ahhh Kids . . .

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah." The teacher asked, " What if Jonah went to hell?" The little girl replied, "Then you ask him."

A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, "I'm drawing God." The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like." Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor" thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, "Thou shall not kill."

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?" Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white." The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Momma, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?"

A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face." "Yes," the class said. "Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run into my feet?" A little fellow shouted, "Cause your feet ain't empty."

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted in the apple tray: "Take only ONE. God is watching." Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples.

The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture. "Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.' A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the teacher, She's dead."

Via Hey Joe!

Sunday, March 27, 2005


This week's Carnival of the Dogs is now up at Mickey's Musings.

Please be advised that I'm issuing a DRINK ALERT! on the link titled "Loving Like Cat & Dog."

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Thunderstorms, fireworks and other things that go BLAM

When it comes to noises like that, I am the proud owner of a Labrador retriever that becomes a quivering mess. He comes by it honestly, but neither his father nor his brother -- both now gone -- were as bad.

Lucky (S.O.B.) Lab would never have cut it as a gun dog but even in a tent with thunderclaps directly overhead that made Da Kid and me jump, the worst he did was tremble until the storm had passed. At home when fireworks went off in the neighborhood or a thunderstorm came through, sometimes turning radios on throughout the house or having the stereo going full blast worked for him. Sometimes it wouldn't. When it didn't, he'd duck under the dining room table.

Neither distraction, whether alone or in combination, worked for Shadow. What did, however, was tossing into the VCR a tape that captured his attention. His favorite was Call of the Wild . . . or anything else filled with endless barks and howls.

(Shadow liked National Geographic specials with birds making massive amounts of noise, too, but that programming was seldom on when he needed it.)

The tricks I'd learned worked with Tank, too, for a while but as he got older — he'll be 12 next month — not as well with each passing year.


Two years ago it came to a head.

During the neighborhood's annual "Let's Blow Stuff Up" (a.k.a. July 4) gathering, I was inside (again) with Tank. But this time, even hours after it was over, he was still quaking and panting so hard, non-stop, I thought sooner or later he was going to having a heart attack.

Da Kid (Da Vet Tech) had talked to Doc before about Tank's increasing reaction to thunder. Doc suggested tranquilizers. The choice we had was whether to knock Tank out completely or just try to "take the edge" off.

Fireworks can be anticipated, but none of us liked the idea of knocking him out. Besides, since we get storms so frequently and often unexpectedly, Tank would have to be medicated 24/7 at least nine months of the year.

We gave the other option — "taking the edge off" — a try for the neighborhood's next, "Let's Blow Stuff Up" gathering: New Year's Eve.

An hour before the fireworks started, Da Kid injected Tank with 100 mg of what Doc had prescribed: Acepromazine.

For four hours after the injection Tank just didn't give a hoot about all the bangs and screamers going off all around us. He was alert, kinda, and very pleasantly stoned.

Way cool, Dudette!

The problem was that the dosage wore off too fast. Tank was . . . uh, coming down while stuff was still blowing up. He'd already had the full dosage in one shot.

This year we went to the oral version of Ace in 25 mg tablets. Instead of the full 100 mg at one time, we gave Tank only 50. Like last year he was alert (but much more so ) yet even with the decreased dosage, still calm. When that began wearing off after about four hours and he started acting a bit anxious, I slipped him another 25 mg tablet.

The major difference between the injection and tablet forms is how quickly Ace begins to work and wears off, the latter being the slower acting and longer lasting. (The tablet form also gave us the ability to regulate the dosage better based on Tank's need.) The overall results, however, were the same.

Something funny happened, too, with Tank's reaction to thunder.

He still doesn't like it, but even with all of last year's bad weather (in addition to the regular stuff, weather systems spawned off of one tropical storm and four hurricanes) none of it caused him the same level of alarm that it used to.

Then again by comparison to the neighborhood's "Let's Blow Stuff Up" gatherings, what could.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The "games" parents play

"It's time we all get hopping mad," Mike Stratka writes reacting to Jessica Lunsford’s abduction, sexual assault and murder, "but it's also time we do something about it, like take our own precautions to protect our children from the evils that lurk in this world.. . . . Do you teach your children regularly about how to behave in front of strangers?"

Stratka's rant then continued with things that are specific to the Lunsford case like locking doors and windows and installing alarm systems. He ticked me off, I'll admit. Like parents don't try to protect the children in their homes?

He's right, though, that we have to do more to teach our children because unless we plan on keeping them locked inside 24/7, they need to learn more about what to do (and what not to do) in different situations. Unfortunately, we as parents don't think along the same lines as those we want to protect our children from, and as adults, we don't think the same way children do.

Let me give you a specific example:

Stratka wrote, "Do you teach your children regularly about how to behave in front of strangers?"

Of course parents do, most anyway. Just as our parents taught us not to talk to strangers or take candy from a stranger, we teach our children.

If you have a young child ask them to tell you what a stranger is?

The answers just may horrify you because children -- younger ones, especially -- often don't know.

(The correct answer, by the way, is "Someone I don't know well.)

Why do I know that? Because when Da Kid was small mumble-something years ago, I bought a child-safety board game for him, for us to play. I can't even remember the name of it (Agent 911? Inspector 911? I've looked and can't find anything by that name.) but it had a "McGruff" look-a-like dog complete with trenchcoat BUT with a "Sam Spade" hat, question-and-answer cards, chips, a playing board . . . and a parents' guide.

The purpose of the game was to help parents educate their children while making it fun for them to learn, without scaring the crap out of them and making them hide under their beds for the rest of their lives . . . which is exactly where I really wanted Da Kid to remain for the rest of his childhood after I finished reading the parents' guide.

There were so many things Hubby and I hadn't thought of. Da Kid knew his telephone number but not the area code. He'd memorized his address, but didn't know what city or state he lived in. And we threw out every single item of clothing he had that had his name displayed on it.

There are now kits and programs with kits.There are new games out there like this one as an example. (And no, I'm not recommending it over any of the others out there, because I can't tell if any of them include the items on this list, a parents' guide with the explanations for each, or a method to translate each one to children.)

(After looking at the list, if you're wondering what the heck a "McGruff truck" is, the program is explained here.)

AND if you're wondering what Da Kid's answer was to me long ago when I asked him to tell me what a stranger was, he said it was someone who "looked dirty."

Please keep that in mind, parents, when you think your children understand what you've taught them about their safety.

Start with that list, and go from there.

UPDATE: Welcome to readers coming from Carnival of the Trackback IV.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Tammi replied to this post saying:

There are so many cases like this, it just eats at my soul.

I'm having the hardest time realizing our homes are no longer the safe havens they were. I can deal with our neighborhoods, our citys/towns hell, even our schools. But Our Homes! My mind has a very difficult time grasping that.

Our babies are our future. Just how do we keep them safe anymore?

During one of the televised interviews yesterday Mark Lunsford, Jessica's father, made the point that the laws in Florida governing the release back into the community of those like John Couey have to be changed.

He then introduced Joseph Dawson who before reading the wording of a petition, explained that it's important that people realize that the proposed change specificly targets those that Florida law defines as sexual predators.

(Note: Florida's legal definition of sexual offender is here. If someone out there from the legal community blogs the difference(s) between the two, please let me know by replying with the link.)

Jessica's Petition

We following undersign legal voting residents of Florida along with their Authors, Joseph & Marlene Dawson, (352-621-4653) of Homosassa, FL. Request the Honorable Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislators Amend or adopt the Florida Penal Code as follows:

1) All newly convicted adult sexual predators of children are sentenced to a minimum of 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

2) All newly convicted adult sexual predators of children perpetrating truly deviant or heinous acts become eligible for the death penalty.

3) All convicted adult sexual predators of children living in the State of Florida are required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet for the protection of the community.

4) All newly convicted adult sexual predators of children who abduct, injure, or kill a child will automatically be given the death sentence.

It's not a solution, but it may be a start.

UPDATE: The link to the petition has been removed from the Jessica Lunsford site. Blogger Chris Short reports "I was in a Jessica Lunsford chatroom and was informed by a moderator there that a new petition is coming."

UPDATE: April 13, 2005

UPDATE: April 19, 2005

UPDATE: May 3, 2005

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Police have now recovered the body of nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford.

Volunteers and police searched for three weeks for the little girl who’d disappeared from her home without a trace. Posters tacked up on telephone poles, handouts, family members questioned by the police and interviewed by the media endlessly. Pleas from the family to anyone who might have any information or knowledge.

Jessica Lunsford

In 1998 Maddie Clifton, eight, went outside one afternoon to play for a little while before dinner. When her mother called her, she'd disappeared without a trace.

Volunteers and police searched. Posters were tacked up on telephone poles, handouts printed and distributed, and family members were questioned by the police and interviewed by the media endlessly. Her mother pled for information.

Maddie Clifton

Like Jessica, the search for Maddie centered around her home. And like Jessica, Maddie's body was finally found within a few hundred yards of it.

The two cases are completely different, but not the outcome.

While we’re all thinking about Jesse and her family right now, please take a moment to remember Maddie and hers, too.


This week's Carnival of the Dogs is up at Mickey's Musings!

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

I hate these things!

This is where I am on "the map" according to this quiz.

NW-You would feel most at home in the Northwest region. You advocate a large degree of economic and personal freedom. Your neighbors include folks like Ayn Rand, Jesse Ventura, Milton Friedman, and Drew Carey, and may refer to themselves as "classical liberals," "libertarians," "market liberals," "old whigs," "objectivists," "propertarians," "agorists," or "anarcho-capitalist."
Where are you?

(Via INDC)

And if it's Saturday (and it is) it's time for Wizbang's Carnival of the Trackbacks!


Friday, March 18, 2005

Shell shocked

Recently, I thought that was the best way to describe Florida when last year, we were hit by one tropical storm (Bonnie) and four hurricanes in only a few week's time.

Debwire, a Florida photoblogger, has a picture up today showing a scene outside of her building in Tampa after Frances came through.

She also provided a link to a timeline 2004's hurricanes.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Picky eaters with sophisticated taste

Da Kid (Da Vet Tech) handed me a bottle of salad dressing the other day when he came home from work. He looked at me strangely when I crammed it into the kitchen cabinet where we keep other bottles that haven’t been opened yet, before suggesting I might want to take it back out and look at the label.

I did as suggested. I glanced at the bottle again quickly thinking Sizzlin’ Bacon? It sounded interesting, and then I noticed the label also said, Savory Sauce. Just as I was putting it back in the cabinet but this time in with unopened bottles of barbeque sauces, I froze when I happened to notice something else.


The salesman for one of the fancy dog foods Da Vet carries had come through. Before he left, he gave each of the employees a bottle of their newest product for owners who have dogs that are finicky eaters.

I looked at Da Kid. Da Kid looked at me, shrugged, and headed back out the door.

I’ve had dogs for as long as I can remember, but either we never had a finicky eater or my age has dimmed the memory. I put the food down, it disappears.

That doesn’t mean every dog has gobbled it down as if they were starving. Some ate reasonably, others — like Lucky (S.O.B.) Lab — did better with free-choice so they could nibble all day long. Tank (the Yellow Lab) used to be a nibbler like his father, until he learned with the arrival of The Wonderdog, a rescue, "You snooze, you lose!"

"I'm a thophthicated, picky eater. Cancha tell?"

But picky eaters? No. Never. Not a one.

Now, we have provided temporary care for a few that have been. The last one, Tyler — a mostly-paralyzed Chihuahua whose foster family was going out of town for a few days — arrived with everything he’d need while they were gone including his food: tiny tins of very expensive dog food that he might or might not deign to nibble on; cheddar cheese cubes, cooked and drained ground beef, and cooked and already cut into bite-sized chunks, boneless/skinless chicken breasts.

(The damned little monster eats better than we do, and he had the nerve . . . the audacity to growl at me and bite me TWICE when I presented him with his dog food instead of . . . But, that’s another story.)

Because of Da Kid’s job, we’re always getting samples of dog stuff in the mail, too. The one today was a "sophisticated dog food for sophisticated dogs," or at least that’s what the package said.

Tossing the box it came in into the trash, I put the packet in with samples of other dog food we've received that we keep in case we ever have to spike Tank or The Wonderdog's regular feed in order to try to get one of them to eat.

An hour or so later, I heard that sound. You know the one.

The Wonderdog had snagged the box out of the kitchen trash, and was now upchucking it all over the living room carpet.

"Yep," I thought, "that's my dogs: picky eaters with sophisticated tastes."

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Q & A with myself on a dark and stormy day

The price of oil hit an all-time high today of over $56 (US) a barrel, and the Senate has finally endorsed by a 51 - 49 the first actual exploration for oil in ANWR.

You mean with all of the talk about how much oil is up there, nobody actually knows if there is any?

In terms of someone drilling a hole in the ground and that "a-bubbling crude" shooting into the air, you've been watching too much television. Thanks to the enviro-wackies, only one test hole has ever been drilled up there but sandwiched between two huge oil fields, the on-surface geologic tests in ANWR say there's lots. How much, they're not sure but . . . lots.

But, it's going to wreck a pristine wilderness, they'll destroy all of ANWR with their drilling and the ugly oil wells . . .

You're bugging me, idiot. Do you know how big Alaska is? How big ANWR is? And out of all that, how much land area will actually be involved? 3.13 square miles!

So oil prices will go down . . . next month, 'cause of the oil from ANWR, right?

Listen, dimbulb. If everything goes right and there are no obstacles, the first oil should start flowing from ANWR into the Alaskan pipeline sometime between 2014 and 2017.

Say whut! Why didn't we do it earlier?

Go away and leave me alone before I hurt you.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Suppressing the news

Media bias. We see it every day in how the news is covered. Facts that aren't sympathetic to the spin desired on a story aren't mentioned, while those that are, are hyped hard and endlessly. As Rathergate evidenced, documents that authenticate "facts" can be complete, obvious fabrications, but they'll still be used for no other reason than they support the media elite's own beliefs.

And sometimes, the entire MSM makes a concerted effort to ignore a big news story. They don't want you to know about it because it completely contradicts the "news" they've been spinning.

I thought the job of the media was primarily to report the facts. It was obvious to me that many hundreds of [John Kerry's] former comrades coming forward to say that he lied about his record in Vietnam and that he was unfit to be President would be important information for Americans. I only then became aware of the bias of the media.
It was a rude awakening for John O'Neill, co-author with Jerone Corsi of the New York Times best seller . . .

I became a part of [Swift Vets for Truth] early to mid March. I was motivated by several things, the first and most important being a genuine fear of what would happen to our country, our national security, and our armed forces if John Kerry became Commander in Chief.

The reason we had our press conference on May 4 was that we thought if we could come forward quickly, we might be able to prevent John Kerry from becoming the Democratic nominee and allow the Democratic Party to pick someone else, in which case we could all go home.
Few reporters came to the press conference. Those that did, didn't report on it.

The establishment media was very pro-Kerry. They were opposed to any story that was critical of Kerry, and I believe that they were captured by their own bias. We met with one reporter around that time. We told a story to him relating to Kerry's service. He acknowledged it was true and terribly important. And he told us he would not print it because it would help George Bush. That's when we began to realize we had a real problem on our hands.
MUCH more here.

(Via Powerline.)

Oh, and today marks Day 44 since John Kerry promised on national television to sign form SF-180 that would release all of his military records.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Not in the dictionary

New Definitions...

1. BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

2. SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

3 ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

4. SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to die in the end.

5. CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.

6. PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a Cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.

7. MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

8. SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

9. STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

10. SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

11. XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.

12. IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. Michael Jackson or Martha Stewart is a prime example.

13. PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

14. ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

15. 404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located.

16. OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake.

17. WOOFS:Well-Off Older Folks

Via Hey Joe!.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


This week's Carnival of the Dogs is up at Mickey's Musings.

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Picture this?

Sacred Cow Burgers


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Update: Lilly

Last year was a busy hurricane season for Florida, and that's putting it very nicely. Between reports on the radio and television, I also had numerous bookmarks for information and updates. What I'd never thought about looking for were bloggers.

I stumbled across Florida Cracker purely by accident. She, as "they" say, was all over it. Posting from downstate, she was pointing to other Florida bloggers (who were also, as "they" say, all over it), uploading .jpgs, screen shots of radar screens and the like, and linking to the latest news reports.

Some of the reports when things were a bit calmer (Remember, we here in Florida pretty much had six week's of non-stop hurricanes.) were about the overflowing animal shelter situation because of pets that had been abandoned. Nothing about any specific animal, just the general situation there.

Then donnah blogged about one, pointing to a "Dog Blog" that was being "written by" an abuse case looking for a home. After linking to a couple of updates, a few here and there over the days, she let her readers know she might be gone for a bit ending with the "tailtell" words, "I'm gonna go see a man about a dog."

And yes, donnah brought the dog, now renamed Lilly, home. Into her home.

That was last September, and she's been keeping everyone apprized of . . . erm, their "adventures."

Lilly's latest update is here. You'll need to spend a little while reading about her -- starting with the first information, which donnah has displayed in her sidebar, and then her progress reports in the archives -- to see just how far she's come.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Democrat lawmaker in Florida proposes new tax.

So what is new, right? This one definitely is and while new taxes are never a joking matter, it would be if the dingbat who proposed it wasn't serious.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's Legislature is flush with good ideas.

Sen. Al Lawson's involves a 2 cent-per-roll tax on toilet paper to pay for wastewater treatment and help small towns upgrade their sewer systems.
More here.

Friday catblogging, me?


I almost passed the quiz by when I saw it because I don't have cats.

I took it anyway, but instead of felines (which I don't have), I answered the questions as best I could based on having dogs!

Admittedly, I had to stop a few times and think hard (really hard) in order to try to choose from answers designed for cat owners.

(Which I am not.)

After a little change here and there, though, I am not unhappy with the results.

Nurturing Cat Dog Parent: You love to spoil your
four-legged babies. You haven't neared the
Crazy-Cat Dog-Lady line quite yet... keep up the
good work! :)

What kind of Cat Parent are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Mark your calendars!

Mark your calendars for next Tuesday! That's Tuesday, March 15!!!

The Ides of March?

Yeah, it's that too but it's also . . .

(Sorry about the lousy picture. It's a T-bone, but who can tell . . . but it's still meat!)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I hate these things!

What Flavour Are You? I taste like Beef.I taste like Beef.

I taste like beef. I'm probably made of beef. You are what you eat, they say, and if the title didn't mean something else, I would be a beefeater. I think red meat is good for you. Puts hair on your chest. What Flavour Are You?

If not beef, then . . .

What Flavour Are You? I tashte like Alcohol.I tashte like Alcohol.

Heh. Heh. I taste like beer. I like beer. Buy me a beer. I'm not drunk, I can drink plenty without... What was I saying? Beer. What Flavour Are You?

Via Jenna


Monday, March 07, 2005

Debunking Myths

I got an email after I blogged about Social Security the first time. Not a comment added to what I'd written, but an honest-to-goodness email saying that they'd never thought about it like that before.

Few do. Then again after spending mumble-something years working in and around social services, I tend to have a different persective than many do. It's not that the idea of Social Security was bad at the time it was first introduced, it's just that the concept -- aside from being outdated -- is based strictly on political expediency.

The government giveth and taketh away. Actually, it's mostly taketh away with some of the suggested remedies being considered now to once again shore up Social Security: reducing benefits and extending how long you'll have to continue working -- if you live that long -- before you are old enough to begin receiving "benefits."

There's so much disinformation to start with and it's only getting worse.

President Bush, in his State of the Union address, asked why certain members of Congress seem to be against private retirement accounts for the public when they, themselves, have them. That's led some to believe that Congresscritters don't pay into Social Security.

They do, now.

I'm doing this from memory so while my dates may be off, the outline of what happened isn't.

Federal employees were exempt from FICA, paying into a pension plan instead. But with Social Security facing a projected fiscal crisis in the years ahead (Gee! I thought that was something that Dubya just made up!) in 1983 in order to bring more money in (And fix Social Security so that it would be and remain solvent forever and ever.) Federal employees lost that exemption. Instead of having a pension plan for their retirement / disability needs that they paid into, all employees hired after a certain date had was Social Security.

(Also affected were Congresscritters.)

Federal employees were less than pleased. Their unions were not happy, either, saying that forcing its members to rely only on Social Security was a really bad and mean thing to do, 'cause in their old age Federal employees would be living in poverty and having to eat cat food in order to afford their prescriptions . . . well, they didn't put it exactly that way, but you get my drift.

In order to make sure Federal employees (including Congresscritters) didn't have to rely solely on Social Security, the Thrift Savings Plan was added so that they didn't.

Both USA TODAY and the National Center for Policy Analysis note that the "risky private investment scheme" that's part of Bush's plan for overhauling the current Social Security System for we regular folk, would be modeled after the plan Federal employees (including Congresscriters) already have.

The results of a survey in today's paper showed that those surveyed were against the idea of private personal accounts because of stock market volitility. People could lose their entire retirement nest egg, so Social Security is safer! Oh, and its return is better!!!

Gag me.

Both USA TODAY and the NCPC articles above explain the fund choices available under the TSP. None are based on a single stock, or the total retirement plan based on the stock market alone. And compared to the 2 percent return on the T-bills held as IOUs in the Social Security "Trust Fund" (that you may or may not live long enough to ever get a thin dime from) these are the 10-year returns for the five different funds available under TSP.

Funny the disinformation. Like the latest reports that Dubya's plan for overhauling Social Security is dead.

That's what, the second or the third time?

UPDATE: Texasbig links with MORONS! (that doesn't sound right, does it)

UPDATE 2: Welcome Wizbang! readers. I just put a fresh pot of coffee on. It'll be ready in a second.


Sunday, March 06, 2005


This week's Carnival of the Dogs is now up at Mickey's Musings.

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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Happiness is . . .

. . . having a copy of your template.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Remembering Tillie

Tillie Fowler was buried today.

With everthing that's been written about her since she died, to me this describes her best.


I went out to feed the horses this morning, and you know the way it is when you've done the same thing, the same way for years. It's routine so your mind is elsewhere, otherwise occupied.

Carrying the buckets of horse feed, I was about to open the gate when suddenly, a shadow appeared on the ground, moving fast in front of me almost at my feet. In other words, something was behind me and way too close. I felt my hair move as whatever it was sailed over my head, before crashing through the leaves of the old pear tree I was standing next to and under.

Several months ago, going out to feed one afternoon, a huge shadow came up from behind me. It was so big and unexpected, I ducked when whatever it was seemed to hover over me for an instant. The shadow then moved off and all I was left with was the impression that it was a bird of some sort (maybe a hawk?), and it was big.

My impression was confirmed a few days later when I actually got a chance to see it clearly, scratching through leaves in my yard. I don't know which one of us was more startled: it took off while I stood there watching it, my mouth hanging open.

It's not that we haven't had various kinds of critters in the area over the years, it's just that they stayed hidden in the woods for the most part. But with all of the development going on, some are having to move elsewhere.

After a friend pointed me to a website, I finally found out for sure what "Big Bird" was.

Red-tailed Hawk

Not long after, "Lady Hawk" joined the newly renamed "Mr. Hawk," something wonderful began to occur: a marked decrease in the volume of damned squirrels!

We've seen Mr. Hawk and his lady daily, sometimes several times a day swooping in and out of the trees and sometimes, shooting by the window through the passageway between the house and garage. Whether offspring or they've been joined by other refugees, there's definitely now a third hawk (and possibly a fourth) soaring in the skies overhead.

Probably not offspring, but if offspring, then Mr. and Mrs. Hawk have nested nearby. Where? We're not sure but have been on the lookout. Perhaps the old oak in front? The big old pine in back that they seem to favor. Or . . .

I thought I had the answer this morning when I ducked. The hawks are defending their nest! The pear tree!

I turned my head slowly, very slowly, and looked between the leaves that were still moving, at the branch only a foot or so away, where whatever that had whizzed over my head had landed and was still perched.

Perched, SMERCHED!

It was a member of the next generation of damned squirrels sitting there giving me hell, that had jumped from the roof of the feed shed. And (ducking again) here came another one following the same route.

I wish I'd said that!

Preferred Work Phrases...

How about never? Is never good for you?

I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.

I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.

I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.

It sounds like English, but I can't understand a word you're saying.

Ahhh -- I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again.

I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.

I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't care.

I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.

I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

And your crybaby whiny-butt opinion would be . . . ?

Do I look like a people person?

This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.

I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.

Can I trade this job for what's behind door #1?

Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?

Chaos, panic and disorder - my work here is done.

How do I set a laser printer to stun?

I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted a paycheck.

If I throw a stick, will you leave?

Via Hey Joe!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


The beepa-dotta-boopa-dotta-blippa-dotta ding-a-ling tone goes off. Another NEWS ALERT from your news source!

Martha got busted in 'Camp Cupcake' for hiding a hard-boiled egg in her bra!

New revelations on the Robert Blake case!

Kobe (we gotta ensure ratings somehow, huh?) Bryant!

In today's testimony at "The Michael Jackson Trial" . . .

Sadly when something important is happening, we now often don't know that it is.

More and more we're tuning out the beepa-dotta-boopa-dotta-blippa-dotta ding-a-ling tone going off that's supposed to signal a NEWS ALERT, because the news we're being alerted to, really isn't.

UPDATE: Welcome Wizbang! readers. Grab a cold drink out of the cooler. The pretzels and chips are over there.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Tick-tock, Tick-tock, Tick-tock ...

Who can keep track of how many times John Effin Kerry has promised to sign the F-180 that would release all of his military records for independent review. I suggested here that the question posed to him the next time should not be if he would, but when.

Michelle Malkin points to a new clock for bloggers that will help keep track of how long it's been since Kerry last made that promise, one he, of course, has yet to fulfill.

PoliPundit, the script's author, has placed his at the top of his page.

If you're wondering how it might look in a sidebar, that's where I'm displaying mine.