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July 22, 2010

Good Reads, House Munching Edition

backhoe.jpgWell, the Blog Princess didn't make it online yesterday. Too much to do.

Right behind our beach house in the Billion Buck Acres residential section, someone has bought a lot with a house on it intending to build a new house. So yesterday, #1 Grandson and I took several trips back to watch an enormous backhoe take big bites out of the roof and push the walls in. Pretty amazing stuff (plus we spent a lot of time saying, "Whoa").

Retriever has a thought provoking post up about kids and entitlement:

I was not supportive when any of my own offspring made moves towards years off and reminded them that such junkets must be self supporting or come from their dwindling college funds, and that it will be the local community college when those dry up, so (as Jesus urged) consider the cost.

The post on years off focusses on American kids, but it's really a phenomenon of rich kids the world over. I respect my young British relatives' academic accomplishments, but they have vacationed in exotic spots 4 times a year their whole life, and still feel entitled (approaching 30) to do so. The appalling stress of work, don't you know...

I have mixed feelings about this one. I was 19 when I married and became a mother a few months after my 20th birthday. It was decades before we could afford to take vacations. When we finally did, it was bizarre seeing teenagers lounging around at expensive resorts sans parents. Must be nice :p

As a young girl I was always happiest when I was out exploring on foot or on my bicycle. I would have loved to travel and see the world but like Retriever, I think that if kids want to travel or take a year off they should pay for it themselves. To me, that's part of the adventure. People tend to appreciate things more when everything isn't handed to them on a silver platter.

In their early 20s, two of my cousins spent 5 years earning enough money to buy a big sailboat. They sailed all up and down the West Coast and down to Mexico. Can't recall offhand if they made it to Hawaii, but they have a lifetime worth of memories. I'm not sure the experience would have been as meaningful if their parents had simply handed them $50,000. What do you think?


You can't fix stupid, but you can subsidize it with other people's tax dollars.


Great Maryland earthquake of 2010:

Great Md earthquake of 2010.jpg

Via Jules


spd sends two great articles. The first is about the Marine Corps Combat Art Program and features the work of Michael D. Fay (recently embedded in Afghanistan) and Kris Battles.

The second continues the entitlement theme. Call me old fashioned but when you get paid to blog for someone else it's generally a good idea not to make your employer look bad. If that harshes your creative mellow, too bad.


Because blaming Bush FoxNews never gets old:

The White House spokesman and the agriculture secretary weren't the only ones offering regrets Wednesday to the lower-level official abruptly fired over a videotape excerpt that turned out to be totally misleading. Bill O'Reilly apologized to Shirley Sherrod as well.

But for all the chatter -- some of it from Sherrod herself -- that she was done in by Fox News, the network didn't touch the story until her forced resignation was made public Monday evening, with the exception of brief comments by O'Reilly. After a news meeting Monday afternoon, an e-mail directive was sent to the news staff in which Fox Senior Vice President Michael Clemente said: "Let's take our time and get the facts straight on this story. Can we get confirmation and comments from Sherrod before going on-air. Let's make sure we do this right."

Sherrod may be the only official ever dismissed because of the fear that Fox host Glenn Beck might go after her. As Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tried to pressure her into resigning, Sherrod says Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook called her Monday to say "do it, because you're going to be on 'Glenn Beck' tonight." And for all the focus on Fox, much of the mainstream media ran with a fragmentary story that painted an obscure 62-year-old Georgian as an unrepentant racist.

I think Rick Lowry got this one right:

Her saga over the last couple of days is a lesson in how the culture of offense often works in contemporary America -- chewing people up and spitting them out before they even have a chance to defend themselves."

Years ago the Spousal Unit got into it with a senior Naval officer who proceeded to complain to the Unit's boss. My husband was not only in the right but acted with integrity in a tough situation. I've never forgotten how his boss handled it - he informed the offended officer that his description didn't sound like my husband at all and before responding to the complaint he felt honor bound to hear my husband's side of the story.

That's not exactly rocket science but it's a shame how few bosses show that kind of loyalty and common sense to their subordinates. A little of that courage would have gone a long way here.

Posted by Cassandra at July 22, 2010 08:53 AM

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I've never understood the notion that you could expect loyalty upwards without extending it downwards, but there are many who seem to think that's the way the world is (and sadly, they may usually be correct.)

Giant tool smashes house! LIVE!

You must have had a fine time, but I bet he had a better one!

Posted by: htom at July 22, 2010 09:53 AM

Having seen the video with context intact (Ms. Sherrod explaining how it isn't always about race by providing an example from her past), I don't see why she deserves her job back. I don't believe she's an unrepentant racist. I believe she's a repentant racist. But she's still a racist.

As I said on Grim's site, she uses racially charged language to this day ("his people," "his own kind," etc), she states very clearly in her own words that it's not just about race and that poverty can play into it too without stating that race shouldn't be a factor, and I do not for a minute believe that the farmer she was talking about was the first and only time she had set out to discriminate against someone in her official capacity as an employee of the federal government based on the color of their skin. This story was merely reflecting when she had her "epiphany". That alone should be more than sufficient to remove her from her job.

And again, exchange the race of Ms. Sherrod and the farmer, let her comments stand in the appropriate context, and tell me if she'd get to keep her job. I contend that she would not.

No double standards please.

Posted by: MikeD at July 22, 2010 10:02 AM

Thanks for posting the links on the combat artists, Cassandra. I heard about the Marine combat art program a couple years ago and found the whole concept fascinating. I've been looking for more information ever since.

Posted by: colagirl at July 22, 2010 12:11 PM

Thanks for the link, Cass. Hope you have a great time being a Grandma! Time with an adorable kid is always preferable to the net. Why I've taught Sunday school so much of my adult life.

Posted by: Retriever at July 22, 2010 12:30 PM

'Integrity and Honor Bound', much like the tear-down house you witnessed being demolished, are but sad reminders to some of distant memories best forgotten. How quaint the notion that those walls held memories that made it a home or those words that bespeak courage, virtue, ethics and morals that separate the nihilist from the believer.

Common sense and benefit-of-the-doubt may be in short supply these days among the "elitists" and self-proclaimed intellectuals but I will let my money ride on the belief that most Americans embrace exactly those principles of behavior that make us exceptional.

Posted by: vet66 at July 22, 2010 03:35 PM

Loyalty downward? *thud*

As to too much to do; making time for the little ones is #1 priority in my book. Taking a child to see the big toys do their thing is always fun.
I like seeing planned destruction.

Did we get our dose of sun and chlorophyll?

Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2010 03:49 PM

One more comment: It depends on the kewl factor of the parents. My parents would have told me to earn my way (no big deal, as that is half the fun of it), but then would have tried to guilt me out of it for some insane reason.

The Engineer and the Lads and Princess Kitty have joined the Venture Crew here; they are going on a float trip.

I am alternating between jealousy and horrible fear and now I sort of understand why my parents were sort of...protective.

Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2010 03:53 PM

Why should the plantation master provide loyalty to his slaves?

That's the viewpoint from the government's Ruling Class and the NAACP. Blacks exist to serve the NAACP, not the other way around.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 22, 2010 04:23 PM

That picture of the Great Maryland Earthquake reminded me of something that I'd just as soon have forgotten.

Posted by: spd rdr, tequila free since 1994 at July 22, 2010 06:17 PM

My understanding was that at the time she was working for a charity which received referrals from the .gov.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano, scotch free since, um, what time is it? at July 22, 2010 06:24 PM

I'm not sure that loyalty is a feature of a master-slave relationship at all.

Posted by: htom at July 22, 2010 09:37 PM

If it is not, you get the Spartans. In order to maintain control of the Helots, a great deal of discipline and unity is needed. To the degree that they are less loyal to their slaves, they would have to be iron in their loyalty to each other.

These are not Spartans. They may be Carthage, though: betraying Hannibal by denying his requests for troops and money.

"...and Carthage fell as nothing has fallen since Satan."

Posted by: Grim, mead-free since ten seconds ago... at July 22, 2010 11:07 PM

"In their early 20s, two of my cousins spent 5 years earning enough money to buy a big sailboat. They sailed all up and down the West Coast and down to Mexico. Can't recall offhand if they made it to Hawaii, but they have a lifetime worth of memories. I'm not sure the experience would have been as meaningful if their parents had simply handed them $50,000. What do you think?"

I think it's great that your cousins did that. My plan is to do something like it, but after I retire. As for having it handed to them, it would be nice to get, but also sends the wrong message...

Posted by: camojack at July 23, 2010 12:33 AM

"a great deal of discipline"

The the government caste didn't get to where they are nor did they acquire the power that they did, by fettering away money in broken marriages and broken alliances.

They sought each other out, worked together with orgs like JournoList, and slowly but meticulously improved their strategic placement.

They could not have done so over so many decades without discipline amongst the circle.

The KGB no longer has a mandate to directly fund Leftist organizations in the US. Most of what we have seen, whether ACORN or NAACP, is domestically grown now.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 23, 2010 10:12 AM

in her official capacity as an employee of the federal government

I heard she was working for USAID. Which is sort of like Fannie Mae. The lines between private and public tends to get blurred.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 23, 2010 10:14 AM

You're thinking of the US Institute of Peace. USAID is an actual wing of the State Department.

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2010 11:30 AM

That actually does change the situation for me then. If she was not discriminating as part of the job she was performing when she WAS employed at the job she lost, then she didn't deserve the firing.

Misconduct on the job SHOULD be punished. I am not in favor of punishing someone financially for expressing or holding unpopular opinions. Regardless of how repugnant they might be. Case in point, I don't think a person should lose their job for saying Republicans are pedophiles who should die in a fire. They're ignorant and obnoxious, yes... but they should lose their job for it (nor someone who said the same about Democrats). Someone who commits a criminal act outside of their job? Different situation. Someone who slanders their boss/company? Different situation. If the opinion is not work related, they can hold whatever foolish/stupid/hateful opinion they want. They bring that to the job site? They're gone.

Posted by: MikeD at July 23, 2010 01:51 PM

Could be. I only caught a snatch of it while looking at the rest of the Sherrod Incident.

I am not in favor of punishing someone financially for expressing or holding unpopular opinions.

Whether you are or are not, trusting in Obama's judgment on this matter is probably not a good bet.

So independent of whether individuals would like to see her getting fired, her getting fired by an Obama guy already gives her the benefit of the doubt you could say.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 23, 2010 02:29 PM

"Working with him helped me realize the issue is not about race, it's about those who have and those who have not," she told the network in a telephone interview. She said she subsequently helped the farmer find a lawyer -- a white lawyer -- to deal with a bankruptcy proceeding, and later struck up a friendship with him and his wife.

But Sherrod said the Obama administration "was not interested in hearing the truth" and told her to resign "because you are going to be on Glenn Beck tonight." Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday, "there is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA." Sherrod was even denounced for alleged racism and abuse of power by NAACP Benjamin Jealous, before she cleared the air on CNN. At the time of her 1986 encounter with the farmer, she was working for a non-profit that aided black farmers and organized cooperatives.

The exact name of the NGO is hard to find, actually.


The point is, this is in some ways classic insurgency, of the Mao kind. You strike a blow against the occupation forces. Then the occupation forces overreact and start thrashing about, harming neutrals or allies. This then gives credence to the insurgency's banner call that the occupation forces are illegitimate and incapable of ruling well.

This isn't just a targeting of Obama, though, it also inflicts wounds upon the NAACP and other race hustlers. Because while it was Obama's man that did the firing. It was the NAACP that conditioned Leftist government officials to take a no tolerance stance concerning charges of racism or discrimination.

Of course, the NAACP soon enough reigned in the perps. And now their story has changed.

Somebody took Vilsack to the woodshed obviously

he's all apologetic now.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 23, 2010 02:40 PM

I am not in favor of punishing someone financially for expressing or holding unpopular opinions.

It depends, I think.

I think an employer has every right to fire an employee who, within the course and scope of his/her employment, expresses personal opinions that place their employer in a bad light or are inconsistent with the mission of the organization.

People really need to get a grip on the difference between expressing personal opinions on your own nickel and "expressing themselves" on their employer's nickel. This is really one of my pet peeves.

That said, I'm really tired of the constant "Off with their heads" nonsense every time someone says something that could possibly be construed amiss.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 23, 2010 04:16 PM

Check out for an update on the story

if you don't stay glued to CNN that is.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2010 12:54 AM

Posted by: Cassandra at July 23, 2010 04:16 PM
And a hearty Harrumph! issued forth from somewhere deep in the cheap seats.

Posted by: bthun at July 24, 2010 09:36 AM

People really need to get a grip on the difference between expressing personal opinions on your own nickel and "expressing themselves" on their employer's nickel. This is really one of my pet peeves.

Oh no, I heartily agree. You don't poop where you eat (to paraphrase) and you certainly don't complain about the dining atmosphere if you do. Anyone who badmouths their employer (online, or in a bar/restaurant/confessional/etc) should expect the consequences to be dire if their employer finds out about it. Doubly so if they use their employer's equipment to do so. Also, even if they aren't talking ABOUT their employer, if they express opinions that could reflect poorly on the employer from their place of business... same deal.

Posted by: MikeD at July 26, 2010 09:30 AM

I admit a certain fondness for big yellow equipment. Anything CAT rocks. Speaking of earthquakes, I was employed as a consultant by one of the railroad companies after the Cypress Freeway in Oakland pancaked. I ran a $100+ million dollar project - it was fun. The employer was a nightmare. I found myself on the carpet before my boss who informed me there were two ways to get fired at the choo choo company - badmouth the legal department, or the environmental sudsidiary. Suitably chastened, I clammed up. Even today I am careful what I say about the train company. Their building full of highly incompetent attorneys would be glad to sue. Their thoroughly dishonest "environmental" clowns could not find their asses with both hands, a guide dog and a search warrant. I slagged the enviroquacks and nearly got canned for it.

I agree with Cass that what goes in private life does not in the employment arena. This can be abused and is. My last neo-nazi employer decided me to retire. Given today's economy, I am glad.

Y, I am going to tease you that your writing has improved. Brevity is the essence of wit, or something like that.

Posted by: Mark at July 26, 2010 01:54 PM