Rule 5 Blogging: United States Marine Corps!

It’s the weekend, and time, once again, for our version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacy McCain described as putting pictures of pretty women somewhat deshabille, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Anne Hathaway 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. Click on any picture to embiggen. This week, United States Marines!

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Corporal Teresa T. Fernandez received a combat meritorious promotion this month for her work as a 2nd Marine Division Headquarters Battalion armorer. She is one of only a few Marines responsible for the maintenance and repair of several units’ weapons. U.S. Mar by Sgt. Stephen D’Alessio (RELEASED)

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The Asylum Is Here, And It SUCKS


Whats True

The Queer Student Union at California Polytechnic University recently orchestrated a three-day “shit-in” at which students preached “Gender Diversity” and encouraged students to use solely gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
“Put yourself in the shoes of a trans*/gender non-conforming student and take the pledge to use only all gender bathrooms,” a post from the organization’s Facebook page read.

Students reportedly created a staged toilet in the middle of campus, which students signed and decorated with several banners, one of which read “We’ve got shit to deal with,” according to images acquired by Campus Reform.

Moron this here:

Are the Republicans going to waste the results of 2014?

From The Wall Street Journal:

Congress Is Tiptoeing Away From Spending Curbs
Republican workaround on military spending, bipartisan deal on Medicare highlight how fiscal restraints are easing
By Nick Timiraos | Updated April 19, 2015 8:58 p.m. ET

At first glance, fiscal austerity remains the order of the day in Congress, where Republican leaders are working to complete a budget that would cut $5 trillion in spending over the next decade.

Look closer and there are signs the era of spending restraint is easing.

Two recent events illustrate how “Congress is done cutting spending, and if anything is more likely to add to it,” said Alec Phillips, a political economist at Goldman Sachs.

Exhibit one: To boost military funding, House Republicans last month approved a backdoor way to bust through the across-the-board spending curbs known as the sequester that Congress approved in 2011. Many Republicans say the 0.2% increase in military spending allowed under the sequester for the next budget year is insufficient.

President Barack Obama also wants to boost the defense budget but says any increases must be matched by an equal bump in nonmilitary spending. To get around that, Republicans would increase a separate account for war spending, which isn’t subject to the curbs, by $38 billion, essentially matching the 7% rise proposed by the White House.

There’s more at the original.

This is looking very bad. I would prefer that the Congress appropriate appropriately, at lower levels, to bring down spending, rather than using the blunt reductions of the sequester, but we supported having the supposedly draconian sequester go into effect than allowing spending to rise. The final deficit number for FY2014 was $484 billion, the lowest since the far-too-high $408 billion in FY2008, and, as you’d guess, the President bragged about that, trying to take credit for it. But the decline in the deficit is due mostly to the sequester holding back total federal spending, something the President opposed. Tax revenues are close to the levels they were before the recession, as a percentage of GDP, partly due to the tax increases starting in 2013, and partly due to a slowly improving economy. But the last thing that we need now is for the Congress, finally controlled by Republicans again, to loosen the reins on spending.

The 2014 elections, in which the GOP did very well, were a referendum on cutting spending, something the Republicans promised to do. The Republicans should keep their promises.

The Keystone XL Pipeline, now running through Pennsylvania!

Well, not exactly the Keystone XL pipeline, but it’s what happens when the environmentalists and President Barack Hussein Obama blocked the real thing. We have noted previously that the oil companies weren’t waiting for the pipeline to be approved, but were going ahead to supply the oil that a modern industrialized society needs, moving oil by rail, with the most predictable of consequences.

Hazardous material placard number 1267 indicates that the cargo is crude oil.

Hazardous material placard number 1267 indicates that the cargo is crude oil. Click to enlarge.

There have been lines of dozens, perhaps over a hundred, new looking rail cars sitting on sidings in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, over the past few weeks. I did not know what they contained, until I got close enough to read the hazardous material placard. Hazardous Material Placard #1267 indicates that he cargo is crude oil. These photographs were taken from the parking lot of the Jim Thorpe Market, which is beside one of the railroad lines along the Lehigh River. There are breaks in the lines of these tanker cars, for the access to the water treatment plant and the construction site for the new Jim Thorpe bridge. There is a line of cars on the other side of the river as well, and these lines extend out of sight, around bends in the river.

This rail tanker car appears to be brand new.  The label on the end states that the capacity is 25,560 gallons. Click to enlarge.

This rail tanker car appears to be brand new. The label on the end states that the capacity is 25,560 gallons. Click to enlarge.

This is one of the cars; the ones close enough for me to see appear to be new. One section of the line of cars that I can see from US 209 coming down Mansion House Hill is painted differently, being primarily white rather than black. They could be reconditioned cars rather than new, or provided by a different manufacturer, but, absent hiking down the rail line, I do not know.

But what they provide is the physical evidence of what we have said would happen: the manufacturing jobs that were not created due to the failure to build the Keystone XL pipeline have been created in other industries, the building of new tanker cars for one. Different people got the jobs than would have had the pipeline been approved, but they were good jobs nevertheless.

Line of new oil tanker railcars extending around the curve and out of sight, northwest under the old Jim Thorpe bridge, and into the Lehigh Gorge State Park, at Glen Onoko.

Line of new oil tanker railcars extending around the curve and out of sight, northwest under the old Jim Thorpe bridge, and into the Lehigh Gorge State Park, at Glen Onoko.

What the environmentalists did not stop was the use of oil to fuel our nation. Oh, they’ve made it more expensive — meaning: the left caused the greatest harm to the poor people they claim to champion — because it costs more to ship by rail, and they’ve made things more dangerous, because shipment by rail is inherently more hazardous, but they didn’t do one thing to reduce our dependence on petroleum. We will still use oil and gasoline and diesel, because we need the energy which can be obtained from petroleum for much of our infrastructure, manufacturing and economy.

We would all like the Star Trek future, where energy is inexpensive and completely clean, but that future isn’t here yet. The Pennsylvania Solar Park outside of Nesquehoning contributes a little bit to our energy needs,1 but, realistically, just a little bit. The average annual electricity consumption in Pennsylvania is 10.54 megawatt hours (MWh) per home, and with the Solar Park’s listed annual production of 14,000 MWh, the 55-acre Solar Park can power a whopping 1,328 homes per year.2 We can produce some clean, renewable energy, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to our actual needs. Your Editor certainly hopes that the energy production from clean and renewable sources can be increased dramatically, but if that happens, it won’t be anytime soon.

This is the real problem with the environmentalists: they are so short-sighted and single-minded that they are hurting their own cause. By stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, they didn’t reduce the consumption of petroleum in our economy, but they stopped a more efficient and safer means of oil transportation from being built. Because locomotives are powered by diesel engines, they have actually increased the amount of petroleum being used, and CO2 and other gasses being emitted, than would have been the case had the pipeline been approved and built. We need to be sensible about our environment and our economy, and recognize that while it always makes sense to try to do things cleanly, it never makes sense to be stupid about it.

  1. Full disclosure: my company provided some of the concrete used in that project.
  2. The site claims that it reduced CO2 energy use from 1,359 homes per year.

From Around the Blogroll

Yesterday was the first really nice weekend day of the season that my darling bride (or 35 years and 11 months) did not have to work, so your Editor spent the afternoon (I did have to work, getting home around 12:45 PM) with her, mostly outside. That was work, too, as we were cleaning up the back patio and grilling out. We also power washed the front porch. What I did not do was sit in front of the computer, blogging! But here’s stuff from bloggers who did spend (too much) time inside!

Rule 5 Blogging: Enlisting

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.

“Reception.” The first part of Basic Combat Training is the “reception” unit, where recruits get their first paperwork and an introduction into the most basic things they ned to know.

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Taxes are for the little people!

And I must be one of the small fry . . . not that I ever thought otherwise. I was more than a little annoyed that I had to pay an additional $5091 in income taxes, and it was a big hit: we had the money, saved up, but we are now going to have to pinch pennies for the next few months. Of course, your Editor never advocated raising taxes, unlike MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry:

IRS files $70K tax lien against Harris-Perry, husband
Famed talk-show host and WFU professor said $21,721 paid on Tax Day
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 11:45 pm | Michael Hewlett | Winston-Salem Journal

Melissa Harris-Perry, political science professor at Wake Forest University, has been appointed executive director of the university’s Pro Humanitate Institute. (Andrew Dye/Winston-Salem Journal)

The Internal Revenue Service has placed a tax lien on Melissa Harris-Perry and her husband, James Perry, for about $70,000 in delinquent taxes, according to a notice filed in Forsyth County Hall of Justice earlier this month.Harris-Perry is a well-known host of an MSNBC talk show and a professor at Wake Forest University. The IRS filed the notice April 6.

In an email Wednesday, Harris-Perry said she was unaware of the tax lien but knew about the debt. She said she and her husband paid $21,721 of the debt when they filed their taxes Wednesday. The remaining debt, $48,581, covers a tax period ending Dec. 31, 2013, according to the notice.

Harris-Perry said she and her husband had been working to pay off the debt but had to deal with a series of personal crises that caused the couple to pay off the debt a lot slower than expected.

More at the link. But let’s look at some of the things that Dr Harris-Perry has said before:




Or, apparently not pay her taxes, smile not required. Better check out those tweets of hers now; they’ll probably be deleted soon!

According to the site Celebrity Income Information, Dr Harris-Perry earns a salary of $1,207,000 a year, and has a net worth of $40,050,000; her husband’s income is not listed, though I assume that the listed net worth is for the family, not Dr Harris-Perry as an individual. The information is dated January 5, 2014, so it’s fifteen months old.

Just think about that: Dr Harris-Perry and her husband James have had a tax lien put on them for less than she makes in one month.  And with slightly over $40 million in assets, they couldn’t sell something to pay their overdue taxes?

Sorry, but I call bovine feces on Dr Harris-Perry’s “explanation” of their problems.  You don’t just not know about a tax lien being placed against you; that’s a legal process, and attorneys get notified of these things.  More, with an income like hers, the Perrys have to be quarterly tax filers, and that means, with their resources, an accountant.  Finally, the IRS does not just put liens against people blithely, and when it comes to a celebrity, they are going to be even more cautious. The Perrys didn’t just get behind in an agreed payment schedule, they quit paying at all, and never bothered to try to arrange things with the IRS to make things right; that hasn’t been documented, to be sure, but it’s the only way that the IRS would have placed a tax lien on such a prominent figure, and supporter of the President.

So, where did all of their money go?  The Perrys have an expensive lifestyle, with Mr Perry living in New Orleans, and Dr Harris-Perry residing in Winston-Salem. She does her show in New York City, which probably means an apartment there, though NBC might pay for that.  But at over $100,000 a month, it’s difficult for me to see how they can’t make ends meet well enough to pay their taxes, unless they are spending profligately on a whole bunch of things. Either they are making too large donations to the Hillary Clinton campaign, or eating way too many $300 dinners, or paying blackmail to someone, or have a huge debt to a drug dealer, or something eating away at their income.  Or perhaps, just perhaps, the esteemed Dr Harris-Perry is yet another liberal hypocrite, advocating higher taxes to pay for more social programs to benefit the poor, but not willing to pay her own taxes.

Well, I didn’t like having to write a big (for me) check to the Infernal Revenue Service, either, but I did it.1  I believe that our taxes are too high, way too high, but I still obeyed the law and paid them. My wife and I will have to economize now, because we virtually wiped out our savings account.2 No more curry chicken lunch specials for me for awhile; it’ll be bologna sandwiches at work! Maybe it’s time for Dr Harris-Perry to cut back a little on the luxuries herself, and pay her fornicating taxes!

  1. Technically, I authorized a direct payment from our checking account, in filing electronically, rather than physically writing a check.
  2. We still have assets, but they are tied up in property and retirement accounts; we have very little in demand deposits at the moment. Our total assets come nowhere close to those of the Perrys!

Chris Christie’s bad, bad idea

From The Wall Street Journal:

Chris Christie Calls for Raising Age for Social Security, Cutting Benefit for Some Seniors
In New Hampshire speech, New Jersey governor proposes overhaul of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare
By Heather Haddon and Nick Timiraos | Updated April 14, 2015 2:00 p.m. ET

MANCHESTER, N.H.—Gov. Chris Christie called for reduced Social Security benefits for retired seniors earning more than $80,000 and eliminating the benefit entirely for individuals making $200,000 and up in other income, along with raising the retirement age to 69 from 67.

The changes would not apply to current retirees or those near retirement, but could help keep Social Security sustainable for future generations, Mr. Christie said. Not acting would jeopardize longevity of Social Security and other entitlement programs, he said, and potentially lead to massive tax increases to prop them up.

“Every other national priority will be sacrificed, our economic growth will grind to a complete halt and our national security will be put at even graver risk,” Mr. Christie said during a 40-minute speech Tuesday.

Mr. Christie’s decision to take on Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and disability insurance stands as perhaps the most significant policy proposal to date in the 2016 race, and one that will likely result in attacks from Democrats and his potential Republican competitors.

There’s more at the link.

It’s a bit difficult to take Governor Christie seriously on this, when despite his claim that we have to address the problems of the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, when he expanded Medicaid in New Jersey under the wholly-misnamed Affordable Care Act.

Anyone who parties with Jerry Jones and is a Dallas Cowboys fan is of questionable intelligence and merit.

But I am more than a little bit annoyed by the Governor’s suggestion that Social Security benefits should be means tested, scaled back if a retiree has too much other income. Social Security was set up as a retirement savings program, and we were promised that those benefits would be there, if we saved for them — not that we had any choice in the matter — no matter what. The Governor’s proposal would, in effect, turn that promised retirement savings plan into just another welfare program, one for which retirees would have to apply just like any other welfare program.1 Governor Christie would turn people who had worked all of their lives, and saved for retirement, into a bunch of welfare recipients!

I’ve said it before: it wouldn’t matter if I had a billion dollars in the bank, I will apply for and expect every last penny of Social Security that I am due. To not do so is to say that other retirees on Social Security are on welfare.2

Social Security does need to be reformed; it cannot survive the way it is. The first reform should be to remove disability from Social Security coverage and eligibility.

  1. Consider what this would mean: seniors would have to prove their income, or lack thereof, every year to remain eligible for Social Security, just like a current welfare recipient. That would mean requiring people who are elderly, and frequently in declining health, to have to jump through the bureaucratic hoops to keep their benefits.
  2. And, of course, I’ve been taxed far too much already, and I want back every little bit I can get.

Marco Rubio is running for President

I’ll give Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) credit for one thing: by simply announcing that he is running for President, rather than the traditional, half-coy-but-not-really “exploratory committee,” he has pushed everybody else to do the same thing. Today was Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) turn:

Marco Rubio Kicks Off 2016 Campaign With Miami Speech
Cuban-American candidate rejects ‘leaders and ideas of the past’
By Patrick O’Connor | Updated April 13, 2015 7:01 p.m. ET

MIAMI—Florida Sen. Marco Rubio launched his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, seeking to position himself as a next-generation GOP leader who can bridge the divide between the tea party and establishment wings of the party.

Citing his roots as the son of Cuban immigrants, Mr. Rubio, 43 years old, is presenting himself to Republican primary voters as the candidate best-equipped to convince the country that conservative ideas will boost lower- and middle-income Americans struggling to get a foothold in the quickly evolving economy.

In a primary bound to draw more than a dozen candidates, Mr. Rubio stands out for his potential to draw voters from many segments of the party, someone who can unite the tea-party activists who helped elect him to the Senate and a party establishment that groomed him before and after that race.

His candidacy will test Republicans’ appetite to nominate an aspirational figure in the mold of President Barack Obama, a relatively new face in the party looking to leapfrog other likely candidates who boast more experience, among them his onetime ally, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Mr. Rubio has become a prolific fundraiser, raking in more than $30.5 million since 2009, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which suggests he can bring in the sums needed to last through what is expected to be a long nominating process. While he doesn’t have the same deep pool of large-dollar donors that Mr. Bush has already locked up, Mr. Rubio’s early financial backers say he will have the money to compete, and his campaign plans to run a much leaner operation than those of his rivals.

One of the youngest of the likely GOP candidates, Mr. Rubio is casting himself as the party’s next generation of leadership, focused on the future. Throughout his political career, he has pitched himself as the product of the American Dream, the son of a bartender and hotel maid who has had opportunities he wouldn’t have had if his parents had stayed in their native Cuba.

More at the link.

One thing disappoints me about the referenced article: parts of it sound like cheerleading, and that’s not something I expect from the writers at The Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, it is a factual article. The full transcript of his announcement can be found here, and his campaign website is

Senator Rubio is yet another good candidate for the GOP, but, as is the case with the other announced candidates, Senator Cruz and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), has little executive experience beyond running his own office. It’s not a good thing when the only announced Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-Hell), has more executive experience than her opponents, even though it’s clearly failed experience. I want to see a Governor run! I want to see someone who has actually balanced a budget tell us how he’s going to balance the federal budget. (After steadily shrinking due to the sequester, budget deficits are creeping up again.)

I am certainly not opposed to Mr Rubio’s candidacy, and I will certainly support him if he winds up winning the nomination, but, as I noted previously with the candidacies of Messrs Cruz and Paul, I am making no endorsements at this stage.