From Around the Blogroll

Your Editor was in Kentucky, doing some work on our new retirement house, preparing it for the renters, and he took a couple of pictures.

Yeah, it needs some work, but doesn't every home?  (Click to enlarge)

Yeah, it needs some work, but doesn’t every home? No, this is not the house we bought! (Click to enlarge)

More pictures below the fold, along with the From Around the Blogroll listings!

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Rule 5 Blogging: Basic Training and an #Ebola Rant

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Megan Fox in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week: basic training!

The Army is sending 1,400 troops, about half of whom will be combat engineers, to Liberia, as part of the mission to contain the spread of the ebola virus and ebola hemorrhagic fever. But, when I look at how soldiers are trained, and the missions of the soldiers to be sent, the obvious question is: is this a proper and reasonable use of our soldiers?

Combat engineers are trained to build the support structures for the infantry to defend against, and advance upon, the enemy; what does this have to do with fighting the spread of ebola? Our soldiers are trained to fight other soldiers, to overmaster them and win; just what training do they really receive in defending against a microscopic virus? The military mission “will include building 17 100-bed hospital facilities and a health care facility for infected physicians and health care workers,” according to the linked story, but we will still be sending our troops into an area in which the ebola virus is spreading rapidly, on a mission which will put their lives in danger, though the President has declined to place restrictions on travel into the United States from the countries where ebola is a problem.

The goal is: don’t let your boots touch the ground! (Click to enlarge)

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Small Businesses Debate Minimum Wage Increase

Small Businesses Debate Minimum Wage Increase

With several cities and even federal government entities discussing minimum wage increases, small businesses are starting to crunch the numbers. Even the most well-meaning entrepreneur such as Glen Gonzalez can’t make every budget work with higher minimum wages. This economic debate has more than just two sides, however, making it a hot topic until changes occur to local laws.

Skills Versus Value

One of the main concerns regarding wage hikes is skills compared to value. If a fast food worker is paid $13 per hour, for example, their skill set should reflect that hourly wage. For many limited-skill workers, there isn’t a real justification for the wage hike except for cost of living. With their wage increase, other skilled workers may force employers’ hands to increase their specific wage because of perceived value to the company. This domino effect could actually hurt both small- and medium-size businesses.

Quality Productivity

The flip side to this argument is enhanced work ethic. When a worker feels valued with a higher wage, they’re more inclined to work harder and faster in the same time period. Beds could be made faster or food served more rapidly, depending on the industry. This effort only reflects positively on the employer, boosting their profit margin with returning customers and stellar services. The wage increase could even be covered by more business walking in the door, making the debate a moot subject.

Balancing the Ledger

Small business owners argue that higher minimum wages only force them to make creative employee schedules, including layoffs and decreased hours each week. Unlike large corporations, small businesses don’t have the ample loans and credit to float through a month until customers pay bills. Cash flow is tight, making payroll one of the largest debts on the books. Some owners believe a higher minimum wage could actually put them out of business, contributing to unemployment rates and poor local economic conditions.

Economy Boost

Assuming businesses can hold onto their employees with better work ethic as a result, higher earnings spread across the local economy. With more money to spend, minimum wage earners could boost local business profits by purchasing a car or a new bedroom set. Even small expenditures at the grocery contribute to better lives for employees, employers and local residents. Earners may eventually be able to buy a home, lifting property values higher and contributing to lucrative funds for local schools.

Workers Want to Stay

Business owners know that taking care of employees is the best way to keep them at their current positions. When employers have high turnover rates, their costs soar because of recruiting, interviewing and training necessities. Workers earning a solid wage with familiar job duties are more inclined to stay put than to strike out to another job interview. Companies with loyal employees show that employers treat them like humans instead of as a number. Although you can’t stop everyone from seeking other career opportunities, higher pay is a strong reason to stay.

A reasonable quality of life is a right that everyone should have, but small businesses are still concerned for their bottom line. It will only take time to see how these economic changes will turn out. Ideally, businesses will find a way to keep all their employees and still break even. It may be some time before lucrative profits can actually make their way into entrepreneurs’ pockets.

Rule 5 Blogging: Our Secret Weapons against ISIS!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Mila Kunis in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week: the women thumping ISIS!

Islamic State terrorists flee females: ‘They believe they’ll go to hell’ if killed by woman
By Cheryl K. Chumley – The Washington Times – Monday, September 22, 2014

Turns out, terrorists on a jihad are terrified of women — at least, of being killed by a woman.

That’s because their beliefs teach that suicide missions lead to an afterlife of 72 virgins — unless they’re killed by a woman. Then, their afterlife is virgin-free, spent in the fiery furnaces of hell, a lawmaker told the New York Post.

“These ISIL soldiers apparently believed that if they were killed in battle, they went to paradise as long as they were killed by a man,” said Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, in the New York Post.

But if they’re killed by a woman, then it’s a no-go on the virgins, he said.

Females are currently being recruited in Iraq to join the Kurdish peshmerga forces and fight against Islamic State terrorists, The Blaze reported. And the results have been eye-opening.

“These female soldiers were communicating their satisfaction with the fact that they had taken the fight to ISIL and had stopped the advance, turned back the advance — slated a number of these fighters, who would then run away,” Mr. Royce said in the New York Post report.

And here’s what they’re facing:

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Our Secret Weapons against ISIS!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

From Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion:

Chelsea Manning Sues for Hormone Therapy
Posted by Amy Miller | Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 12:00pm

Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army private formerly known as Bradley Manning, is suing in federal court over allegations that the U.S. Army is delaying her (sic) hormone therapy treatment.

Manning, who is currently serving a 35 year prison sentence in Leavenworth, Kansas, alleges that (his) diagnosed gender dysphoria will cause (his) mental state to spiral if left untreated:

Via the ACLU:

“The government continues to deny Ms. (sic) Manning’s access to necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria, without which she (sic) will continue to suffer severe psychological harms,” said Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender project and co-counsel on Ms. (sic) Manning’s case. “Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”

Ms. (sic) Manning is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, the ACLU of Kansas and civilian defense counsel David E. Coombs. Last month, Ms. (sic) Manning’s legal team sent a letter to the DOD and Army officials demanding that she (sic) receive treatment for gender dysphoria in accordance with medical standards of care, including hormone therapy and permission to follow female grooming standards. Her (sic) treatment needs have continued to be unmet and her (sic) distress has escalated.

“I am proud to be standing with the ACLU behind Chelsea on this very important issue.” said David E. Coombs, “It is my hope that through this action, Chelsea will receive the medical care that she (sic) needs without having to suffer any further anguish.”

After Manning announced her plans to live as a woman, (which happened just after (he) was convicted for turning over classified secrets to WikiLeaks,) (his) attorneys initiated a full media blitz about her transgender status, (his) diagnosis, and the consequences of not providing Manning with hormone therapy.

In addition to seeking access to the hormones, Manning is also demanding intensive psychological therapy to help deal with the emotional effects of gender dysphoria. (His) current therapist admitted in a statement to the court that she isn’t qualified to treat the condition.

This is the kind of situation where no one wins. The idea that taxpayers should be expected to provide hormone therapy for a transgendered person makes less sense than forcing taxpayers to pay for birth control pills. On the other hand, allowing an inmate of a government facility to mentally devolve to the point of self-harm is something that no one should feel comfortable with.

Bradley Manning had his name legally changed to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, and thus The First Street Journal will, albeit grudgingly, allow references to his new legal name. The federal government, which holds Mr Manning in prison, did not oppose the name change, another bit of idiocy from President Obama and his administration.

However, The First Street Journal also recognizes that Mr Manning, regardless of his new legal name, is still male, and will not use feminine pronouns or other references to him.  If I decided that, somehow, I wasn’t human but was actually a Vulcan, does anyone think that any (serious) person or news organization would actually treat me as a Vulcan and use Vulcan references toward me, apparently sincerely and seriously?

Nope, none would; I’d be regarded as a whacko, whose fantasies ought not to be indulged . . . and the same is true of Mr Manning. He was born male, has male genitalia, male chromosomes, was reared as a male, had all of his previous experiences as a male, and remains male today. If he gets his fondest wish, and is castrated and has a plastic surgeon craft him some faux female organs, he will still be male.

And the last thing we should ever do is waste taxpayer dollars on any “treatments” for him. If he decides to have such mutilation performed on him after he is released from prison, then I don’t care, as long as he pays for it himself.

As for Miss Miller’s statement, “On the other hand, allowing an inmate of a government facility to mentally devolve to the point of self-harm is something that no one should feel comfortable with,” I feel perfectly comfortable with it. It is not the government’s fault, nor is it my responsibility, that Mr Manning is Looney Tunes.

And now, on to the blogroll!

Your Editor will be leaving for the Bluegrass State in the morning, to do some final work on the new house before the renter moves in on October the Oneth. He will not have a computer or the internet available to him, so other writers, step up this coming week!

Even The Philadelphia Inquirer has doubts about Tom Wolf

Even the liberals at The Philadelphia Inquirer can see it!

Doubting Thomas
Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014, 1:08 AM

Little data: Democrat Tom Wolf during this week’s gubernatorial debate.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf’s income-tax proposal is sounding about as convincing as a low-calorie label on a cheesesteak. The businessman has said he would cut income taxes for poor and middle-income Pennsylvanians while raising taxes on high earners. But in his first debate with Gov. Corbett this week, Wolf said he didn’t have “enough data” to determine which incomes would be subject to higher taxes.

Wolf previously said the state Revenue Department’s available records are too outdated to specify winners and losers under his plan. Nor has he explained how he would keep roughly $12 billion a year in income-tax revenue flowing into the state’s coffers.

Wolf has said he supports a “universal exemption” for all income beneath a certain threshold, along with higher taxes for incomes above that level. That would make the state’s constitutionally codified flat tax effectively more progressive by subjecting higher incomes to higher taxes.

But that’s about the extent of the detail Wolf has offered, raising questions about who would pay more and how much. That’s a shame, because the state’s flat income tax places an unfair burden on lower-income taxpayers that ought to be addressed.

Your Editor, as you might have guessed, absolutely opposes taxing people at different rates. We all have to pay taxes, but we should all have to pay equally. But here’s where the Inquirer really skewers Mr Wolf:

It should be noted that Wolf holds a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and used to be the state’s revenue secretary. Certainly he has the credentials to make something of the available figures.

There’s more at the link.

This was the lead editorial in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Inquirer almost always supports Democrats. But even they’ve managed to figure out that Tom Wolf has a credibility problem. The man has been running for governor for over a year now, touting his business expertise and his credentials, yet, with all of those, he still hasn’t been able to tell us what he would do, were he elected, or to whom he would do it.

Perhaps it’s the Barack Obama strategy, to run on great platitudes, and eschew actual programs or statistics, and hope that enough Pennsylvanians just give him a pass.

BORAX

Stolen Borrowed from Modern Survival Blog by September 25, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin http://ModernSurvivalBlog.com/

Borax is an affordable, natural cleaning, odor eliminating, eco-friendly cleaner that has seemingly endless uses around the home.

Borax is a good prep item (cleaner), it can save you money by using it instead of special purpose cleaners which are much more expensive.

Here are some uses for Borax…

Today there are so many branded cleaners to choose from. Many of these cleaners are marketed towards specific cleanup purposes with their ‘special’ formulas.

Here’s the thing… More profits are made if they convince you that you ‘need’ these special cleaners – the one’s that always seem to be re-formulated, ‘improved’, or ‘advanced’.

The brands are constantly reinventing themselves and offering more choices and formulations, to train you into believing that you need many different types of cleaners, each with their own specific special purpose.

With Borax, you can make your own.

One popular cleaner that was (and still is) used is named BORAX. Borax is a multipurpose powdery cleaner whose ingredient comes from a naturally occurring mineral compound of the element, Boron. Much of the world’s Borax comes from the Rio Tinto Borax mining operation in Boron, California.

The most common brand is “20 Mule Team Borax”. It has primarily been known as a laundry booster for whiter, cleaner clothes, but it has many other household uses. It cleans, disinfects, deodorizes, softens water, and neutralizes many bugs. Lets look at a few borax recipes…

Borax Uses and Recipes

Floor Cleaner (1/3 cup Borax, 1 gallon warm water, squirt of dish washing detergent, splash of ammonia)

Window Cleaner for very dirty windows (1/3 cup Borax, 1 gallon warm water, wash with soft cloth, then rinse using fresh water with soft cloth before drying to minimize streaks)

Toilet Disinfectant and Cleaner (1/2 cup Borax added to basin water, let stand for awhile, then clean with toilet brush)

Car Wash Cleaner (1/8 cup mixed with about 1.5 gallons of water)

Eliminate Urine Odor on mattress – handy for accidents while toilet training a youngster (dampen area, sprinkle and rub in Borax, let dry and vacuum)

Ants (mix equal amounts of Borax and powdered sugar, place near ant problem area – keep away from pets)

Carpet Stains (mix Borax with water to make paste, rub into stain, let dry and vacuum)

Unclog drains (dump 1/2 cup Borax into drain, let stand for 15 minutes, then dump in hot or boiling water )

Prevent Weeds from growing in pavement cracks (sprinkle Borax in cracks)

Garbage Disposer cleaner and sanitizer (dump 1/4 cup Borax into disposer, splash in just a little water and let stand for an hour or so, rinse with hot water)

Tile and Grout Cleaner (sprinkle Borax with just enough water to paste, scrub with brush)

Laundry Booster (add 1/2 cup Borax to wash load for brighter, cleaner, deodorized clothes)

Carpet Powder Deodorizer (sprinkle Borax on carpet, let stand overnight and vacuum)

Flea Killer (sprinkle Borax on carpet, let stand overnight and vacuum)

If you have your own recipes or uses for Borax, leave a comment and let the rest of us know…

BORAX

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane: Blaming the rape victim

The First Street Journal has not always been particularly charitable in our assessment of Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane. Mrs Kane is, sort of amusingly, ineptly corrupt, squashing a sting and an investigation into bribery by some members of the Pennsylvania state legislature because, surprise! everyone caught has been a Democrat, an action so egregious that even the editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer complained.

And, to no one’s surprise, she’s at it again!

Kane responds to Rockview rape victim suit in filing, says woman partly responsible for brutal assault
By Lori Falce | lfalce@centredaily.com September 23, 2014 Updated 3 hours ago

Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D-PA)

In a response in federal court to a lawsuit brought by a Rockview state prison clerk brutally raped at work in July 2013, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane asserted that the woman may be partly responsible for her assault.In the documents, Kane defends the state Department of Corrections, the former Rockview superintendent and two employees, arguing, among other things, that there was contributory negligence on the part of the victim.

“Some or all of the damages plaintiff have alleged are in part, or substantially due, to the acts of third parties other than the answering defendants, and/or plaintiff acted in a manner which in whole or in part contributed to the events which led to the damages plaintiff has alleged in her complaint,” Kane wrote.

Omar Best, 37, of Philadelphia, was convicted of the crimes in May. On Sept. 12, he was sentenced in Centre County to life in prison under three-strikes provisions that allow maximum punishment for habitual offenders.

More at the link. But in case you were thinking that, well, the Attorney General has no choice but to defend the state and its interests in court, Mrs Kane, once described as the Democrats’ new “it girl,” decided on her own that she wouldn’t defend the Commonwealth’s ban on same-sex marriage. The Attorney General, an independently elected officeholder in Pennsylvania, has taken the position that she does not have to defend the state in cases with which she disagrees, and that means that she could have decided not to fight this lawsuit, or to have written her response in a manner which alleged contributory negligence due “to the acts of third parties . . . and/or (the) plaintiff.”

You can bet your last shilling that, had the state’s Attorney General been a Republican and filed the identical document, we’d be hearing all sorts of screams “#WarOnWomen” from the Democrats; there’d be no mumbled, “Well, it was just a poor choice of language,” or “It must’ve been written by a low-level male staffer.” Mrs Kane is the Commonwealth’s Attorney General, an office she asked the voters to give her, and she is responsible for everything that comes out of that office. Unfortunately, she is wholly incompetent.

The Pennsylvania gubernatorial race

Corbett hits Wolf hard in first of 3 debates
Thomas Fitzgerald and Amy Worden, Inquirer Staff Writers | Last updated: Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 1:08 AM | Posted: Monday, September 22, 2014, 9:55 PM

HERSHEY, Pa. – Behind in the polls, Gov. Corbett went on offense Monday night in the first televised debate of the Pennsylvania governor’s race, defending himself as a steady steward of taxpayers’ money while characterizing Democrat Tom Wolf as an untested entity with vague promises. . . .

Corbett argued that Wolf’s expensive ambitions would make a tax increase inevitable. “We just have to figure out what it is,” the governor said.

Wolf said he did not have “enough data” to specify at what income level a household would be subject to higher income taxes under his proposal. But he said news reports that it could be as low as $60,000 were wrong.

Really? If Mr Wolf doesn’t have enough information to specify at what level a household would see higher income taxes, how can he say that couldn’t be as low as $60,000? Mr Wolf has been running for governor for over a year now, and he still hasn’t figured it out?

Asked how much more the state should spend on schools, Wolf said he wasn’t sure.

“How much money is that going to take? I don’t know. But it’s not enough to say, we’re going to spend more or we’re going to spend less. What we need to do is say, we need to have a public education system that delivers.”

If Mr Wolf actually has a plan on how to “have a public education system that delivers,” then he ought to know how much money that is going to require. Not knowing how much money it’s going to take is a sure sign that he has no real plan beyond just throwing money at the public schools. How can Pennsylvanians who are actually concerned about the commonwealth’s government and their own tax rates support a candidate who promises to increase taxes, but can’t say by how much or on whom, and who promises to spend more on public education, but can’t tell the voters how much or for what?