Saturday, February 28, 2009

Michelle Obama has amazingly toned arms... 
says the fawning press.

I guess it comes from the Klingon side of the family.

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First they came for the Hummer owners... 
...and I did not speak out, for I was not a Hummer owner.

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U.S. Finally abandons the battlefield to the insurgency.

Three and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard is pulling the last of its troops out of New Orleans this weekend, leaving behind a city still desperate and dangerous.

Residents long distrustful of the city's police force are worried they will have to fend for themselves.

Let's see. We need nearly three and a half years of a troop presence in New Orleans to stabilize the place and secure the rule of law. But libtards and other Democrats wanted to pull pell-mell out of Iraq by the 2006 elections, less than three years after we invaded the whole country.

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Wonkette calls 13-year-old boy a "twat." 
I haven't seen this much class on the left since Ana Marie Cox's anal sex references got her hired at Time.

I guess that's what it takes to be a 'professional' blogger.

Splash, out


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Letters, I get letters ... 
Robert Connelly, speaking up for 'tards the world over, writes: "Must you slap "-tard" to everything you find questionable or dumb?

Why, yes.

Yes, I must.

Seriously: There are two possible reasons this guy is writing in: Either he has friends or family or loved ones who are developmentally disabled, and doesn't want them insulted by associating them with libtards - a concern I respect and appreciate. Although who would think anyone using the word "libtard" actually would think that the insult attaches to our developmentally disabled friends?

Answer: Only a complete moron.

The second possible reason this guy would object is because he's a liberal, or libtard.

I only use the "-tard" form when referring to libtards and fucktards.

While I see the term "fucktard" very loosely defined, but attaching mostly to liberals - almost by definition, as it happens, for me, the term "libtard" is a term of art.

Not all liberals are libtards. But all libtards are liberals. A libtard is a liberal who takes politics personally, and who comes to conclusions on policy issues by emoting, rather than reasoning.

Splash, out


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Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama to widows, orphans, the poor and the handicapped: 
"Drop dead."

Still, the charitable giving deduction reduction, which would limit deductions for couples making $250,000 or individuals making $200,000, provoked the most heat Thursday. Mr. Obama is counting on that provision to raise $179.8 billion over 10 years.

Just when I think the Obama Administration has done the dumbest thing imaginable, they come up with something even dumber.

Many charities rely on just a few large donors for a substantial portion of their cash flows. These donors have large pockets, of course, and are generally wealthy.

The Obama proposal, if the Washington Times' characterization is accurate, is a dagger pointed straight at the United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Ronald McDonald House, the Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and every other large charity you'd care to name, local or national.

The wealthy will not be hurt by this. The wealthy can simply find something else to do with their money. The people hurt by this are precisely the people who rely on these charities, and their low-paid staff.

Splash, out


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Tom Donnelly of the Weekly Standard to Obama: 
"It's duty, honor, country, stupid!"

For the president, the civilian who stands at the beginning of the chain of command--who, by his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief really resides on the far side of the gap--making the leap is an obligation, not an option. He, above all, should speak to his troops in the language of duty, honor, and country which is their native tongue but seems to be such a foreign dialect to a detached, cool, post-modern politician. President Obama must not simply bind up the soldier's wounds or care for his widow, but lead him.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Fair And Balanced Presstards at Work 
Actual A.P. Headline: Obama Address Renews Audacity to Hope.

Whatever, assholes.

Sure, the piece carries the tag "Analysis."

Like you can trust so-called "analysis" from a cesspool that comes up with headlines like that.

At any rate, as someone once said, "You can put lipstick on a pig ... It's still a pig."

Splash, out


Via Ace.

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Countercolumn News Ticker 
Obama Addresses Nation in Annual STFU Address...

Secretary Of Health and Human Services Nominee Withdraws Amidst Criticism for Tax Problems, Eating Woman's Face ...

Liberals Cry "Foul" After Murdoch Purchases "SmirkingChimp.com" Domain ...

Jet Crashes in Amsterdam After Boy Removes Finger from Fuselage Hole ...

More Than 1,000 Take Off Work To Attend Obama Inaugural Ceremony ...

Dow Plummets 82 Points on Hope, Change ...

Upside Down Homeowners Leaking Rainwater Through Basements ...

Humanities Professors Debate Psychosocial Subtext, Paternalist Mysogynist Hermeneutics of March on D.C. ...
Engineering Professors Simply March on D.C. ...

Unicorn Droppings Raise Stink Among Washington Residents ...

Developing ...

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How many hypersensitive liberal morons does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 
Answer: That's not funny, dammit!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Army Emergency Relief Fund speaks out 
The treasurer, COL Andrew Cohen, gives a 45 minute interview here.

WOOHOO! I get a mention! :-)

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...And the libtard assault on reason and common sense continues 
The VFW erected an 8 foot cross to memorialize our war dead in the Mojave national reserve, back in 1934.

Now that our WWI veterans are no longer around to defend their memory, the ACLU has filed suit to erase that monument.

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More hilarity on the Army Emergency Relief Fund hit job 
The libtard assault on the Army Emergency Relief Fund continues.

Today, we have Jeff Donn of the Associated Press leading his story headlined "Veterans Advocates Riled by Report on Army Charity" with an interview with a spokesperson from a veterans organization critical of the AERF.

Who does he lead with? The American Legion?


Veterans of Foreign Wars?


Soldiers' Angels?


He leads with a spokesperson from some outfit called Veterans United For Truth.

No, I've never heard of them either.

Here's their Web site.

Flipping through the pages very quickly, here's what I learned about them:

o they are a non-partisan 501(c)3 organization.

o as a non-partisan organization, they naturally call for criminal charges to be filed against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzalez, and a host of others.

o they don't believe we are at war with terrorists.

o They believe the deployment of National Guard troops to Iraq is illegal.

o Michael Dukakis is on their board of advisors.

o Their newsletter includes exerpts from AlterNet and TruthOut.org.

God knows how these jokers ended up in an AP reporters' rolodex. As a reporter, though, I tried to keep people in my tickler file from all across the political spectrum, and talk to a number of people from all points of view while writing my stories.

So who else does the AP interview on this story? How about Amy Fairweather, a San Francisco attorney, Mills College alma mater and chair of the Iraq Veteran Project. And where is the Iraq Veteran Project headquartered? San Francisco! (So far, California scores 2 for 2!)

And what can we learn about the Iraqi Veteran Project on its Web site?

The Iraqi Veteran Project grew out of Swords into Ploughshares, a veterans advocacy program that started in San Francisco in 1974. It provides veterans seeking to sue the VA for benefits with legal counsel (the law prevents veterans from suing directly, but these guys, apparently, sue on their behalf.

At least these guys appear to have actually done some good for veterans (though their claim that on any given night there are 200,000 to 400,000 homeless veterans on our streets seems high to me.)

They've also helped to out a fraudulent military charity. Nancy Pelosi serves on the advisory board.

But the chairman of Swords into Ploughshares is a guy named Paul Cox. Paul appears prominently with an organization called Courage to Resist. Their motto: "Support the Troops who Refuse to Fight!" According to their Web site, they have lately been conducting "training" of members of Veterans Against the War who are currently serving on active duty - activities which include teaching servicepeople the ramifications of going AWOL, refusing orders, desertion, etc.

Sedition, apparently, is a virtue among these fucks. (Why would Nancy Pelosi willingly consort with a known pro-sedition organization, anyway?)

The third organization the AP talked to is Veterans for Common Sense, out of Washington, D.C. The head of the organization is Paul Sullivan. As far as I can tell, Sullivan's outfit is the only legit organization out of the three AER Fund critics interviewed for the piece. Sullivan at least has some street cred, having testified before Congress on veterans affairs without going completely off his rocker.

But Sullivan is also strongly supporting a lawsuit seeking to prevent military chaplains from using Christianity and religiousity as tools in combatting military suicide. (Although I think he has a point, given the Establishment clause and the particulars of the cases cited, one wonders just what a chaplain is supposed to use? The latest Melanie Beattie book?)

Indeed, although Sullivan is careful to protect his reputation as something other than a screaming libtard, a look through the site's news archive and press releases reveals a consistent pattern of highlighting news and views from a reliable libtard perspective. Veterans for Common Sense highlights the wonderful awesomeness of the Obama transition team, the vile pro-torture policies of the Bush administration, the need for a "Truth Commission" to investigate the Bush administration, and the usual litany of libtard complaints.

Three for three.

Associated Press, you just got led around by the nose by the left.

As usual.


Splash, out


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Monday, February 23, 2009

Speaking of the Army Emergency Relief Fund.. 
Is actually putting a soldier on the Web site home page photograph and not a marine or sailor, too f*cking much to ask?

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The AP Targets the Army Emergency Relief Fund 
accusing it of hoarding vast reserves of cash.

Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.

That's not necessarily a bad thing ... especially as one steers a charity or pension fund (or personal reserve, for that matter) into a period of low interest rates, which decrease the returns available on capital. In order to generate a given level of benefit, one needs a larger sum invested.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but haven't these people ever heard of the function served by an endowment?

Tax-exempt and legally separate from the military, AER projects a facade of independence but really operates under close Army control.

Objection, your honor. The use of the term "facade" is prejudicial. AER is what it is. There is no "facade." Nobody in his right mind thinks that the AER is the Army. And as a matter of fact, the AER is NOT the Army, though it has military officers on its board.

On the other hand, the "facade" is so carefully constructed that the organization's own home page specifically says that the charity operates through commanders.

Founded in 1942, AER eases cash emergencies of active-duty soldiers and retirees and provides college scholarships for their families. Its emergency aid covers mortgage payments and food, car repairs, medical bills, travel to family funerals, and the like.
Instead of giving money away, though, the Army charity lent out 91 percent of its emergency aid during the period 2003-2007. For accounting purposes, the loans, dispensed interest-free, are counted as expenses only when they are not paid back.

The AP writes that the fact that 91 percent of aid is in the form of interest-free loans, rather than grants, is a bad thing. It's not. Remember that the people the charity serves are active duty military. By definition, these people are employed, have access to quality health insurance, and enjoy pay raises every year. Job security for our active component is strong (our activated reserves are not quite in the same situation, though.)

This makes the AER's population fundamentally different from the population served by most charities. A prudent steward of the fund would use loans rather than grants, where appropriate.

I know that functioning as a prudent steward of capital might be a foreign concept to newspapers these days, but bear with me.

They have the ability to repay loans - particularly those made interest-free. When the soldier pays back the loan, that money is available to help the next soldier.

Furthermore, while it is true that the Army's soldiers are still operating under the strain of fighting two wars, this in and of itself counteracts some of the need, because soldiers themselves are able to save more money while on deployment, thanks to a combination of tax-free income and a variety of special pays and allowances, free food, and no Ski-Doo or Harley Dealership in sight for the length of their deployment.

Let's take a look at the disbursements, according to the AP:

Make no mistake: AER, a normally uncontroversial fixture of Army life, has helped millions of soldiers and families. Last year alone, AER handed out about $5.5 million in emergency grants, $65 million in loans, and $12 million in scholarships.

That's $77.5 million in benefits to soldiers and their families in one year, against a capital base of $214 million - a payout rate of 36 percent, in an environment in which 10-year Treasuries are yielding less than 3 percent.

To put this in perspective, a typical endowment fund, until recently, assumed only about a 10 percent rate of return (which was nuts) and a payout rate of about 5 percent.

Furthermore, the charity operates on a demand-pull basis. It makes funds available on the say-so of commanders - as it should be. If commanders don't request the assistance, then donations go to the reserve. The charity has little choice, other than to start giving away money to people who aren't requesting the assistance. But then it would become quite a different thing.

Sure, at some point, maybe it would make sense for some of those reserves to be donated to the MWR program or some other organization. But we aren't at that point yet, in my view. Nor are we at the point where the whole program can be funded from the earnings of that capital reserve without spending down principal. If interest rates rise and stay high, that will help (though more homes will be foreclosed on!).

But in my view, the AP's criticism of the AER is unwarranted.

As for the command's involvement in getting soldiers to pay back the loans, I absolutely do not see why that is a problem.

As a commander, if I put my good word on the line sticking up for a soldier, vouching for his good character and the legitimate need (and yes, I've done so before), then I'm going to make sure he pays back the loan. It's my responsibility as a commander to keep the program in place and in good shape so that the assistance will be there for the next soldier who has a need.

What the AP also fails to understand is that the commander gets a letter in the mail every time a soldier is late on his AAFES STAR-program account, and the command has to come down like a ton of bricks if a soldier is late on payment to a government travel card.

The involvement of troop commanders in debt collection is nothing new or controversial - and indeed the role used to be much bigger.

Splash, out


ADDED: The article says that "most charity watchdogs view 1-to-3 years of reserves as prudent, with more than that considered hoarding."

The problem with that statement is that most charity watchdogs are riddled with libtards who wouldn't recognize sustainable financing if it bit them on the ass. The AER's 12-year reserve is much closer to sustainable.

ADDED: Don't miss Rustmeister's Alehouse today! His take on the reporter: "you're a douchenozzle, Jeff. Your hit piece on AER might read well with the latte sippers, but here, it's just so much crap."


Plays well with seditionists, though.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I felt bad because I had no shoes... 
...until I met a man who had no feet.

...So I asked him, "got any shoes you're not using?"

Splash, out


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Headline of the year 
"Animal Experts are Baffled By Chimp Attack."

Well, geniuses... I'm no Ph.D., but let me see if I can connect the fucking dots for you.

He. is. a. chimpanzee.

If these are our experts, God help us.

Splash, out


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Monday, February 16, 2009

Fiddle Blogging 
Joshua Bell.

Ave Maria.

'Nuff said.

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From a self-described "Marxist" reporting independently from Iraq 
I'm phobically allergic to the conservative Republican types the military is rife with, but I've only been in country four months and already I hate liberals.

Read the whole thing.

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A liberal circle-jerk 
When PBS wants to have a discussion on the role of the Washington press corps, whom do they book?

Why, they book Jay Rosen and Glen "Sock Puppet" Greenwald, of course!

No wonder those idiots can't survive without a government subsidy.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Megan McArdle: Depositors ought to get their contractual (FDIC) insurance 
... and we simply sell the weak banks to the strong.

Sounds good on paper. Except that we can't.

Why? Because even the strong banks are going through a ton of stress right now. Even if they could establish a reliable and fair price for these assets at arm's length (and nobody can put a reasonable valuation on them at this point), they simply don't have a lot of capital available with which to purchase them.

Eventually, though, that will work itself out, and in the long run you don't need government intervention.

But "in the long run" we are all dead. "In the long run" is a huge, huge problem.

Here's why:

The whole scheme relies on the FDIC actually being able to pay off depositors. The problem is they can't. They just can't. There isn't enough capital to do that. As of the end of 2007, the guarantees of $4 thousand billion in insured deposits were perched precariously on a capital reserve of less than 1.25 percent of the total.

That's a lower capital margin than the banks themselves were required to operate with. A lot lower.

And that 1.25% reserve was before IndyMac.

Meanwhile, the FIDC INCREASED its deposit guarantees from $100,000 to $250,000, without any increase in reserves.

Typically, the FDIC's been able to carve out 50 cents on the dollar of saleable assets from banks it has had to shut down. But that's in an environment where asset prices were overinflated and there were buyers available. It wouldn't get anywhere close to 50 cents on the dollar today. Meanwhile, there would be all kinds of family-friendly entertainment as the FDIC struggled to sell its own assets (mostly treasuries) and rescue what was left of its cash and cash equivalents in its reserve fund to pay off depositors.

The FDIC was designed to pick up the occasional local bank failure, and one or two larger banks, so long as they didn't happen too close to one another.

It cannot absorb the Citigroups. It cannot absorb the Bank of Americas. One of these would wipe out the fund. Once FDIC was wiped out it would cause a run on the others. Congress would have to authorize another 500 billion or a trillion overnight to make good on FDIC promises and recapitalize FDIC. They would HAVE to. And then pray that there were still treasury buyers out there. If there is still a market for treasuries, it's going to be at the expense of the money markets, as public debt crowds out private.

The FDIC promise is paper thin.

Splash, out


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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Team America 300 
This is madness!!!!!


Army suicides skyrocket in January 
Hope and change!!!

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What happens when the underwriters take control of the company? 
You get correlation-based analysis run amok.

A row has broken out in Austria after a company tried to recruit workers born under certain star signs.

The Salzburg insurance company posted an advert in major newspapers seeking employees for sales and management that were born under certain constellations, claiming statistics indicated that they were the best workers.

'We are looking for people over 20 for part-time jobs in sales and management with the following star signs: Capricorn, Taurus, Aquarius, Aries and Leo,' read the ad that appeared over the weekend.

Sounds crazy. But there is a lot of consumer credit risk underwriting that is equally irrational - but based on the theory that across a large enough sample, the difference between correlation and causality is irrelevant.

Splash, out


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How did the SEC and FINRA miss Madoff? 
Well, in no small part, because they were too busy screwing with Michael Stegawski.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The music lives 
Rest in peace Buddy Holly, 50 years gone.

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A Modest Proposal 
If Daschle is confirmed, I wonder how it would go down if a million taxpayers put their taxes in escrow, payable to the U.S. Treasury as soon as Daschle or Geithner step down from their posts. Call it a taxpayer vote of 'no confidence.'

The IRS can punish a few hardheads. They can't punish millions.

That said, it would set an ugly precedent, as we're always scolding libtards who threaten to withhold taxes because they don't like a war. This would lend legitimacy to their looniness, even though on the intrinsics I think my position holds up better on the merits, taken in isolation.

(Yes, I'm reconsidering my support of Tim Geithner, because on review, the tax issues were more extensive and egregious than I thought they were at first.)

I think Geithner's a heck of a guy. But maybe not for the head of the IRS.

Splash, out


Riddle me this, peoples! 
Why is it that Tom Daschle can simply blow off paying taxes on his car to the tune of nearly a hundred thousand dollars $128,000 and nobody catches it until he's nominated for a cabinet position, but Nancy Killefer, Obama's choice for performance czar and overall shooter of the wounded gets slammed with a tax lien for less than a grand (for failing to pay unemployment insurance on household help.)

Unlike Tom Daschle, who had to be bitch-slapped into compliance, Killefer took care of her tax debt on her own, years ago.

And out she goes.

Obama still stands behind Daschle, who doesn't have the grace or honor to step aside for the good of the Administration.

Killefer gets thrown under the bus.

Sorry, Ms. Killefer. The country could have used your services.

Mr. Daschle? Not so much.

Splash, out


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Obama vs. his generals 
Now this is interesting:

CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21.

But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn't convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.

Not convinced? Well, if he's not convinced by the combined advice of Gates, Petraeus and Adm. Mullen, speaking with one voice, then obviously, Obama's been convinced by someone or something else. He's basing his decisionmaking on some other source of information and advice he considers more reliable.

The question is, if he doesn't accept the considered professional judgment of Petraeus, Gates and Mullen, then who's advice is he taking?

I guess this is that retreat from empiricism I've heard so much about. Or more precisely, it's Ready, Fire, Aim decision-making (RFA-DM).

On a more meta level, it's interesting trying to parse who's doing the leaking here. If it's DoD people doing the leaking, then Obama deserves better than what he's getting from the DoD. That's unacceptable.

Likewise, if it's White House people doing the leaking, then Obama's staff is deliberately undercutting the perceived authority of our senior military leadership - authority they were so exquisitely hypersensitive about when it came to the sainted General Shinseki. And that's unacceptable, too.

It will be hilariously funny to watch the libtards, who were so orgasmic when a few Generals Eason, Sanchez, Zinni, Newbold, Swannack, and the others were publicly critical of the Bush Administration, fly into high hysterics when retired flag officers state what they really think about President Obama's leadership.

But if Obama continues on his present course, and a bitch fit ensues between Gates/Petraeus and the White House, then rightly or wrongly, you are going to see a Generals' revolt that will make the problems the Bush Administration faced 2006 look like a parade ground exercise.

Splash, out


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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Iraqi voter participation dwarfs U.S. midterm turnouts 
The media, of course, looks for the negative spin.

The turnout in Iraq's provincial elections yesterday was just over 50 per cent, lower than expected, after confusion over voter registration prevented many people from casting a ballot.

Some Iraqis also blamed a ban on vehicles, saying that their polling station was too far away to reach on foot.

Of course, had Iraq not banned vehicular movement, the threat of car bombs would have had its own depressing effect on voter turnout.

To put it in perspective, Iraq's 51 percent turnout came about during provincial elections. The U.S. only manages to come close to Iraqi participation rates in presidential election years -- and sometimes not even then. And that's without the constant threat of terrorist attack and the proven ability and willingness of terrorists to murder scores of people at a time. And that only after a marathon media blitz.

To compare, here are the turnout percentages over the last five midterm elections in the United States:

2006.... 37.1%
2002... 37.2%
1998... 36.4%
1994... 38.8%
1990... 36.5%

Iraqis turned out to the tune of 51%.

There is a farging miracle happening in Iraq, and all these dorks can do is pull at threads.

Splash, out


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Kentucky: Where's The Cavalry? 
I guess President Obama doesn't care about white people. Well, at least not the ones who pay their taxes, anyway.

Local officials were growing angry with what they said was a lack of help from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In Grayson County, about 80 miles southwest of Louisville, Emergency Management Director Randell Smith said the 25 National Guardsmen who have responded have no chain saws to clear fallen trees.
"We've got people out in some areas we haven't even visited yet," Smith said. "We don't even know that they're alive."
Smith said FEMA has been a no-show so far.

No, I'm not slamming FEMA. Roads are icy and treacherous, and it is extremely difficult to reach many areas of rural Kentucky, and that's true whether you work for the federal government or the state or the county.

And bitching doesn't change that fact.

So I'm not slamming FEMA, or Obama. I'm slamming the dipwads who were so hysterical over FEMA and the Bush Administration's incompetence in the face of FEMA's solid performance during Hurricane Katrina, and who ignored the utter ineptitude under Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin.

Is the Kentucky government inept? I don't know. I'm pretty confident they're better than the chuckleheads down in Louisiana. And as a former Kentucky Guardsman, I know those great soldiers will be up to the job. They are competent, professional, and, incidentally, they have, hands down, the best sense of humor I've ever seen in the military.

Splash, out


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