Obtuse Observer

November 26, 2012

Charlie Brown Christmas Offensive?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Obtuse Observer @ 6:06 pm

Another example that celebrating Christmas is OK if you don’t believe in God. Charlie Brown is offensive?  Really?

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Link to story of atheist group complaining about A Charlie Brown Christmas



GOP 2016? Really?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Obtuse Observer @ 2:09 pm

I suppose it is never too early to start the discussion but for crying out loud… the biggest problem for the GOP is Republicans. 

I want an electable candidate. I want Republicans and Conservatives to disavow purity tests and see the bigger picture. Government IS the least bad alternative. Only because men are not angels do we suffer the predations of government… that being the case we should seek the least predatory government we can…. NOT ANGELS.

August 8, 2012

Spending We Could Do Without

Solyndra gets a $528,000,000 loans and defaults.  The fiasco is now subject to an FBI investigation.  

From recent article on the investigation:

Senior Obama Administration officials decided to restructure the government’s half-billion-dollar loan to the California solar energy firm Solyndra even after government analysts had concluded it would cost taxpayers far less to allow the company to fail, according to a newly released report on the investigation into the Solyndra matter by House Republicans.

“DOE is likely to be very sensitive about optics if it should default,” one analyst wrote in an email.

“A meltdown that would likely be very embarrassing for DOE and the Administration,” wrote another.

The cost to the administration’s reputation was more important than the cost to the tax payer.


The previous experience providing no education; SolarReserve gets a government guaranteed $737,000,000 loan. 

From an editorial article on the loan: 

Coincidentally, the project which is risking $737 million to power 43K homes, is located in the Majority Leader’s home state of Nevada.  It turns out that none other than Nancy Pelosi’s Brother-in-Law, Ronald Pelosi was the number two man at an energy fund PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC which has invested $100 million in SolarReserve based in Santa Monica, California.

Comments from Florida U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R):

“The administration’s flagship project Solyndra is bankrupt and being investigated by the FBI, the promised jobs never materialized, and now the Department of Energy is preparing to rush out nearly $5 billion in loans in the final 48 hours before stimulus funds expire — that’s nearly $105 million every hour that must be finalized until the deadline.”


A123 is getting $450,000,000.   (Forbe’s article on A123.)   They make “green tech” batteries.  China’s automaker Wangxiang will be aquiring an 80% stake in the cash hemorhaging company, “A123 lost nearly $83 million in the second quarter of 2012, on top of a whopping $125 million loss in the first quarter. Losses in 2011 approached $258 million, with cumulative losses since 2007 totaling more than $815 million.”

Apparently some of A123′s losses have resulted from recalls of their batteries to companies like Fisker Automotive.  A123 is a share holder in Fisker Automotive, a California electric car maker that received $529,000,000 to build cars… in Finland



President Obama defended these “investments” in green energy based on the investment China is making in the industry – do recall that US taxpayers are subsiding that Chinese investment to the tune of 80% of $450 million in the case of A123.  The President just might ought to look at the horrors investing in green tech has visited on the Spanish economy.  The President may want to look at the fact that these investments resulted in failures even with government subsidies propping them up.  It isn’t just that the spending is “too damn high” but that its “too damn stupid.”



June 30, 2012

It’s Not a Tax….errmm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Obtuse Observer @ 1:34 pm

A collection of affirmations declaing ObamaCare is not a tax by administration officials.

 YouTube Preview Image

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June 1, 2012

Torture, Slavery and Nice Kid

Filed under: Uncategorized — Obtuse Observer @ 8:53 am

Today I heard that cutting beards, employing manacles and music played through headphones are forms of torture.   While they may be called culturally insensitive, rude, hard etc. when they are referred to as torture without blushing we have crossed over into new territory.  What term do we now use to describe real torture?  How much easier for everyone to disregard claims of torture knowing that beard cutting, music and manacles are included in the term.  This is the problem with expanding definitions outside their boundaries to give one’s complaints greater shock value in an attempt to win sympathy.

Another; slavery.   Working for minimum wage or working without benefits may be rock bottom compensation but it isn’t slavery.  What do we say to the millions of women and children bought and sold in the Sudan the past decade or two when we are told that not making enough money to support a family of four as a grocery clerk is slavery? 

Today we learned that “nice kid” includes cannibals who eat the faces of their living victims.  I’m thinking this one is unlikely to catch on, for want of cannibals, thank God, not, sadly, for want of people willing to (mis)use the term.

May 29, 2012

Thank You

Filed under: Uncategorized — Obtuse Observer @ 3:59 am

Lt.Col John McCrae



Other battles have been fought near the Battle of YpresLord Macauley wrote of the Battle of Laden:

 ”The next summer the soil, fertilised by twenty thousand corpses, broke forth into millions of poppies. The traveller who, on the road from Saint Tron to Tirlemont, saw that vast sheet of rich scarlet spreading from Landen to Neerwinden, could hardly help fancying that the figurative prediction of the Hebrew prophet was literally accomplished, that the earth was disclosing her blood, and refusing to cover the slain.”






The Below Pictures were borrowed from this website: http://www.battlestory.org/index.php?p=1_67_USA-CEMETERIES-IN-EUROPE 

America played a vital role in each of Europe’s great wars of the twentieth century.   We fought because it was the right thing to do, not for reward.

I am unaware of a state ever sacrificing so much blood and asking for only enough land to bury their dead.  They have all done their duty.  Ours is much simpler.   

We Will Never Forget




Aisne-Marne, France. “The 42.5-acre Aisne-Marne Cemetery and Memorial in France, its headstones lying in a sweeping curve, sits at the foot of the hill where stands Belleau Wood. The cemetery contains the graves of 2,289 war dead, most of whom fought in the vicinity and in the Marne valley in the summer of 1918.”



Ardennes, Belgium. “The 90-acre cemetery contains the graves of 5,329 of our military dead, many of whom died in the 1944 Ardennes winter offensive (Battle of the Bulge). The headstones are aligned in straight rows that form a Greek cross on the lawns and are framed by tree masses.”



Brittany, France. “The Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in France covers 28 acres of rolling farm country near the eastern edge of Brittany and contains the remains of 4,410 of our war dead, most of whom lost their lives in the Normandy and Brittany campaigns of 1944.



Brookwood, England American Cemetery. 468 American dead. “Close by are military cemeteries and monuments of the British Commonwealth and other allied nations.”




Cambridge, England. “The Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial site in England, 30.5 acres in total, was donated by the University of Cambridge. It lies on a slope with the west and south sides framed by woodland. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead; 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing. Most died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe.”



Epinal, France. “The Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France, 48.6 acres in extent, is sited on a plateau 100 feet above the Moselle River in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. It contains the graves of 5,255 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the campaigns across northeastern France to the Rhine and beyond into Germany.




Flanders Field, Belgium. “The Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium occupies a 6.2-acre site. Masses of graceful trees and shrubbery frame the burial area and screen it from passing traffic. At the ends of the paths leading to three of the corners of the cemetery are circular retreats, with benches and urns. At this peaceful site rest 368 of our military dead, most of whom gave their lives in liberating the soil of Belgium in World War I.”




Florence, Italy. “The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy covers 70 acres, chiefly on the west side of the Greve “torrente.” The wooded hills that frame its west limit rise several hundred feet. Between the two entrance buildings, a bridge leads to the burial area where the headstones of 4,402 of our military dead are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside.




Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. “At the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium, covering 57 acres, rest 7,992 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives during the advance of the U.S. armed forces into Germany. Their headstones are arranged in gentle arcs sweeping across a broad green lawn that slopes gently downhill. A highway passes through the reservation. West of the highway an overlook affords an excellent view of the rolling Belgian countryside, once a battlefield.




Lorraine, France. “The Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France covers 113.5 acres and contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II in Europe, a total of 10,489.




Luxembourg, Luxembourg. “The Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, 50.5 acres in extent, is situated in a beautiful wooded area. The cemetery was established on December 29, 1944 by the 609th Quartermaster Company of the U.S. Third Army while Allied Forces were stemming the enemy’s desperate Ardennes Offensive, one of the critical battles of World War II. The city of Luxembourg served as headquarters for General George S. Patton’s U.S. Third Army. General Patton is buried here.




Meuse-Argonne. “Within the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France, which covers 130.5 acres, rest the largest number of our military dead in Europe, a total of 14,246. Most of those buried here lost their lives during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I. The immense array of headstones rises in long regular rows upward beyond a wide central pool to the chapel that crowns the ridge.”




Netherlands, Netherlands. “The World War II Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. The cemetery site has a rich historical background, lying near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway built by the Romans and used by Caesar during his campaign in that area. The highway was also used by Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. In May 1940, Hitler’s legions advanced over the route of the old Roman highway, overwhelming the Low Countries. In September 1944, German troops once more used the highway for their withdrawal from the countries occupied for four years.




Normandy, France. “The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 and the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its ½ mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,387 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations.”




Oise-Aisne, France. “The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in France contains the remains of 6,012 American war dead, most of whom lost their lives while fighting in this vicinity in 1918 during the First World War.”




Rhone, France. “The site of the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial in France was selected because of its historic location along the route of the U.S. Seventh Army’s drive up the Rhone Valley. It was established on August 19, 1944 after the Seventh Army’s surprise landing in southern France.




Sicily, Italy. “The World War II Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy covers 77 acres, rising in a gentle slope from a broad pool with an island and cenotaph flanked by groups of Italian cypress trees. Beyond the pool is the immense field of headstones of 7,861 of American military war dead, arranged in gentle arcs on broad green lawns beneath rows of Roman pines.



Somme, France. “The World War I Somme American Cemetery and Memorial in France is sited on a gentle slope typical of the open, rolling Picardy countryside. The 14.3-acre cemetery contains the graves of 1,844 of our military dead. Most lost their lives while serving in American units attached to British armies, or in operations near Cantigny.”




St. Mihiel, France. “The World War I St. Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial in France, 40.5 acres in extent, contains the graves of 4,153 of our military dead. The majority of these died in the offensive that resulted in the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient that threatened Paris.”



Suresnes, France. “Originally a World War I cemetery, the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial just outside Paris, France now shelters the remains of U.S. dead of both wars. The 7.5-acre cemetery contains the remains of 1,541 Americans who died in World War I and 24 Unknown dead of World War II. Bronze tablets on the walls of the chapel record the names of 974 World War I missing.”






May 22, 2012

Regulation is Destroying Democracy: Pools

Filed under: Pool Lift Chair,Swimming Pool,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Obtuse Observer @ 4:30 am

Increasingly we are a country run by unelected bureaucrats  issuing “rules” which have the effect of law through the rule making rather than law making process.  This is eroding our traditions of liberty and democracy.

The Obama Administration has decided that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to swimming pools and is requiring such facilities to install lifts by January 1, 2013 or face fines of up to $100,000.  This will result in the closure of many pools that cannot afford to install the lift.  Whom will this hurt the most?  Those pools that can least afford the lift.  That is to say the poor.  Not a fine example of regulation serving the greater good nor fostering the democratic process. 

Full article on the issue here.

Link to accessibility regs.. if you dare.


December 8, 2011

Rich OWS Supporters and Obama’s Vitriolic Rhetoric

Here is an interesting list of people who have apparently (not my list – happy to be corrected if anyone listed inaccurately) voiced support at one time or another with varying degrees of volume as well as their net worth: 


Recently there has been much vitriol and overbroad criticism leveled at “the rich” not least of which by our President and an author from North Dakota whom I used to respect.  Some one I was communicating with about this anger at “the rich” noted that these angry people really don’t hate the rich so much as they hate the rich who don’t give money to liberal causes or support liberal candidates.  What they really mean is that they hate Republicans, the monolithic party of greed according to that author, with money and regard anyone who is not rich that supports them is brain dead lackeys who fail to recognize that Obama is trying to take the rich guy’s money (“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”) and  and give it to more deserving people, that is, Democrats. 

They express a more angry, heated and emotion-only based version of an argument made by Thomas Frank in What’s The Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America.  He argues that non-rich supporters of GOP candidates vote against their own economic interests.  Obama and others say the same thing only they remove any semblance of civility, reason or fact.  (That “the rich” don’t pay their fair share of income and other taxes is absurd considering the federal income tax burden borne by the top 5% of American wage earners, roughly 60%of all federal income taxes paid in 2009).  However, with the President’s approval ratings below Jimmy Carter’s bitter demagogic behavior from him and his trickling supply of supporters is not shocking in the least.

Leon Cooperman, worth an estimated $1.8B, and former Obama supporter recently issued an open letter to President Obama expressing his concern for the political tone the President is setting (echoed by that author by the way).  I’m sure he will now be purged from the party for heresy and added to the list of nasty greedy rich people.  I excerpt two paragraphs from the full letter found here:

But what I can justifiably hold you accountable for is your and your minions’ role in setting the tenor of the rancorous debate now roiling us that smacks of what so many have characterized as “class warfare”. Whether this reflects your principled belief that the eternal divide between the haves and have-nots is at the root of all the evils that afflict our society or just a cynical, populist appeal to his base by a president struggling in the polls is of little importance. What does matter is that the divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them. It is a gulf that is at once counterproductive and freighted with dangerous historical precedents. And it is an approach to governing that owes more to desperate demagoguery than your Administration should feel comfortable with.

With due respect, Mr. President, it’s time for you to throttle-down the partisan rhetoric and appeal to people’s better instincts, not their worst. Rather than assume that the wealthy are a monolithic, selfish and unfeeling lot who must be subjugated by the force of the state, set a tone that encourages people of good will to meet in the middle. When you were a community organizer in Chicago, you learned the art of waging a guerilla campaign against a far superior force. But you’ve graduated from that milieu and now help to set the agenda for that superior force. You might do well at this point to eschew the polarizing vernacular of political militancy and become the transcendent leader you were elected to be. You are likely to be far more effective, and history is likely to treat you far more kindly for it.

It is odd how similar that author’s recent polemics (monolithic selfish wealth) mirror the very same rhetoric from President Obama that is lamented in this open letter.  It would be nice if Obama can change his tone and appeal to our better angels rather than demonize for short term political gain, but, like pretty much all of the change promised by President there appears little reason to hope for it.


December 1, 2011

Lincoln Chafee’s Holiday Tree

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Obtuse Observer @ 4:44 am

Holiday tree?  Really?  What “holiday” is that?  This is as dumb as Freedom Fries.  Article. 

November 26, 2011

The Aarne–Thompson Classification System

Filed under: Uncategorized — Obtuse Observer @ 3:16 am

Stolen entirely from wikipedia but I thought this was really interesting stuff; outlines of archetypal stories.

The Aarne–Thompson classification system 

The Aarne–Thompson classification system is a system for classifying folktales. First developed by Antti Aarne and published in 1910, it was translated and enlarged by Stith Thompson. As a treatment of morphology, it uses motifs rather than actions to group the tales.

Over all, the tales are grouped by Animal Tales, Fairy Tales, Religious Tales, Realistic Tales, Tales of the Stupid Ogre, Jokes and Anecdotes, and Formula Tales. Within each group, they are further subdivided by motifs until the individual type.

Antti Aarne was the student of Julius Krohn and his son Kaarle Krohn. He further developed their historic-geographic method of comparative folkloristics, and developed the initial version of what became the Aarne–Thompson classification system of classifying folktales, first published in 1910. The American folklorist Stith Thompson, in translating Aarne’s motif-based classification system in 1928, enlarged its scope, and with his second addition to Aarne’s catalogue in 1961 created the AT-number system (also referred to as AaTh system) often used today.

The Aarne-Thompson system catalogues some 2500 basic plots from which, for countless generations, European and Near Eastern storytellers have built their tales. As Europeans and Near-Easterners travelled to the New World, the Far East, Africa, and other distant places, their tales migrated as well, often flourishing in their new environments. Hence, the Aarne-Thompson system encompasses tales found around the world.
—Ashliman, p. ix
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