Some Texans are bonkers

And their Governor is a fool. Apparently there’s something about the office itself which makes its occupants even more stupid than they started out to be.

That’s harsh, Link! Well, sorry, but it’s true.

See, there’s this US military training operation called Jade Helm (.pdf) being planned by the US Army. Its purpose is to meld the Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Air Force Special Ops, Marine Special Ops, Marine Expeditionary Units, the 82nd Airborne and interagency personnel into working units to prepare for Unconventional Warfare, and it’s going to take place across half-a-dozen southwestern states, including Texas.

Some of the good citizens of Bastrop, Texas felt this was surely the beginning of a military coup against their town and Texas as a whole, and they raised such a ruckus that the newly-elected Governor of Texas has assured them he’ll have the Texas National Guard out there monitoring what the evil Federal Government and its military is doing.

Why is the Governor pandering to the idiots like this? Because those idiots have been stirred up by the likes of this clown. Here are some sample discussion topics from his radio show:

  • Lt. Col. Caught In Lies About Jade Helm: Our Worst Fears Confirmed
    Dave Hodges April 14, 2015

  • Jade Helm and the Forced Relocation of Tens of Millions of Americans
    Dave Hodges April 12, 2015

    Dave Hodges April 11, 2015

  • Take Your Money Out of the Bank Before Jade Helm Ushers in Martial Law
    Dave Hodges April 10, 2015

I swear, this country gets stupider by the day.

A frightful experience

Today I took Mom to a doctor we’ve only seen once before. Nothing serious, just a routine examination of things. There, in the waiting room, was a wall with a glassed-in set of shelves. There were three parts to this display of tchotchkes. On each side were figurines of San Francisco Giants baseball players of the last ten years or so, including Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey and Barry Bonds. Not simple bobblehead dolls, either; these things were ceramic or porcelain or something.

Well. To Dodgers fans like my mother and me this was bad enough, but the center display’s bottom shelf had ticket sleeves from each of the three World Series the Giants have played in and won in the past five years. Not only was the doc a Giants fan, he was a bloated plutocrat who’d attended World Series games!

I was hard-pressed to remain in the office another minute, I tell you. But for my mother I would have exited at once!

Slowing down and stopping is a good thing, I guess

Brake pad replacement, rotor replacement, brake system flush, and lifetime brake repair agreement = $572.79.

It’s amazing what one little idiot light on an instrument panel can lead to.

Oh! On the brighter side, back in January I discovered that the tires I had on the car were not Run Flats but ordinary old radials. In the process of getting access to the brake pads the mechanics needed to use a specific lug nut key to undo one of the four on each front wheel. I hadn’t a clue whether I had said key. We lifted up the floorboard in the miniscule storage compartment behind the passenger seats and there, recessed, was a little tool kit which held the lug nut key, a scissors jack and a lug wrench. Now I wondered: why do I need a jack if there’s no spare tire, which was what I’d been led to believe? We bent down and looked under the car, and lo and behold, there is a spare in a wheel well under the car’s chassis.

There. Besides the new brake pads, I discovered I have a spare tire too. I guess I shouldn’t complain overmuch about this episode.

How to treat a troubled employee. NOT!

Josh Hamilton is a major league baseball player with an addiction problem which apparently began when he was 21 in 2002. He had a long history of addiction to booze and drugs in the early 2000s which cost him three years of potential major league service. He has had a couple of relapses since he first came up to the big leagues in 2007, but he played at a high level for five years with the Rangers. After the 2012 season he became a free agent and signed a 5-year, $125M contract with the LA Angels.

Mostly due to injuries, Hamilton has not performed for the Angels to the same high level he had in the past. Then, this spring, he self-reported a relapse of his drug and alcohol addiction to MLB. Because he self-reported, an outside arbitrator ruled he had not violated the terms of his treatment program.

This infuriated Arte Moreno, the owner of the Angels. Mr. Moreno seemed to see a way of ducking the remaining $83M the team owed Hamilton if only the arbitrator had ruled the other way.

Angels management was livid, with President John Carpino saying the ruling “defies logic” and Moreno pointedly refusing to say Hamilton would play for the Angels again.

Additionally, Moreno conveniently forgot what Hamilton’s contract language said:

Moreno also said Hamilton’s contract contained language that would protect the Angels from a relapse, an assertion vigorously denied by the players’ union. An attempt to enforce any such language almost certainly would have resulted in another arbitration hearing.

When the Angels signed Hamilton in 2012 — to a five-year, $125-million contract — Moreno said the contract contained no such language.

Now comes word that the Rangers will take Hamilton off Moreno and the Angels’ hands, trading cash considerations for him. It looks like Moreno will still be on the hook for $60 or $65 million bucks while the Rangers will pay the balance of Hamilton’s salary.

Sorry, Arte, but I think you deserve to get the economic shaft here. If you’ve got an employee that has an addiction problem (not a steroid problem, which at this point in MLB’s experience would merit immediate firing), I think you owe the guy help and support, not a blast of angry public words and a blatant desire to wash your hands of the man. You willingly entered into that contract, knowing he was an addict. You can’t hope to look good when you bail out on the guy and throw him overboard like this.

If I were a baseball free agent at the end of this season, I’d look twice at the Angels and perhaps go elsewhere for less money if I could be sure I’d get treated like a human being rather than a hunk of raw material, as Moreno apparently sees his employees.

Ack! Warning light on instrument panel! Oh no!

Um, thanks, Mini for telling me my brake pads have worn thin. Why can’t you also infuse my checking account with the cash to pay for replacing them?

I like this car fine, and I’m sure I’m just misremembering what happened with the previous car, but it sure seems like things happen to the Mini more often than they did with the Geo. On the other hand, it’s a 2005 Mini, so it’s 10 years old and things happen to 10-year-old cars.

Rats. Well, Lex Brodie’s,, see you Monday morning.

Filed under Car

Too big to jail?

General Petraeus “was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine but was spared prison time on Thursday after pleading guilty to mishandling classified information.”

If it had been any old analyst or clerk, you betcha there would have been jail time. When you reveal classified information to a woman you’re sleeping with, particularly a woman not your wife, you’re not ordinarily given the benefit of the doubt. I guess when you’re a decorated General and the overall boss of the CIA you can get away with stuff your subordinates can’t.

The system is rigged.

Update: Just saw this at Facebook:

Please, O Internet Writers

Use a dictionary. Do not assume you know how to spell the word.

It’s “straitjacket”, not “straightjacket.” It’s “backpedal”, not “backpeddle.” It’s “lose”, not “loose.” It’s “for all intents and purposes”, not “for intensive purposes.” It’s a “dog eat dog” world, not a “doggy dog” one. It’s “publicly”, not “publically.”

This has been a Public Service Announcement on behalf of your readers.

ESPN & Tebow

For whatever reason, ever since the former Florida quarterback appeared on the scene and won the Heisman Trophy back in 2007, ESPN has been fascinated or possibly obsessed with him. They’ve devoted more screen time to Tim Tebow than to any athlete I can think of (with the possible exception of Johnny Manziel), even true football champs like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

With the word that Chip Kelly, coach of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, has offered Tebow a one-year contract and he’s accepted it, ESPN has gone bonkers again. I took note of this phenomenon way back in 2009.

Um, you guys at the Worldwide Leader in Sports? It’s still unseemly.

My question is, is Kelly just trolling ESPN for fun?

Tebow now will join a crowded Eagles quarterback roster that includes Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and Barkley, giving Philadelphia three former first-round picks at quarterback in addition to another decorated college player.

Tebow hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2012. You cannot persuade me that he’s better than a healthy Bradford. He might be better than Sanchez. I don’t know enough about Barkley to judge.

Book recommendation

Back in March of last year somebody suggested Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe® books to me, and I’m very glad they did. Dragon in Exile has just been published, and I’m waiting for it to arrive. Meanwhile, I found Ms. Lee’s Archer’s Beach trilogy. I’m a third of the way through the last book and enjoying it immensely. If you like contemporary fantasy, check them out. The first book is Carousel Tides.

The principal character is Kate, a young woman who has just returned to the small ocean town which bears her family name, Archer’s Beach. Her family has run the carousel in the Fun Park which brings in much of the town’s revenue during the (too-short) Season. Her grandmother has been in charge, but she’s signed over control of the ride to Kate and disappeared.

I think I’m enjoying these more than I usually do contemporary fantasy because the non-humans aren’t thrown in your face as they are in so much of urban fantasy. There are no evil vampires, no dread werewolves. There are complicated Others, but their motivations are as murky as any human’s and thus much more interesting. There’s magic, but it’s not flashy.

Give ’em a shot.