Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dems seek to shift focus of 'gunwalking' probe

Two days before the attorney general is to testify before members of a House of Representatives' Government Oversight Committee, Democrats in the House issued a report today apparently absolving high-level Obama appointees of culpability in the ATF's gunwalking scandal.

President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats issued an 89-page report that said the operations and strategies dated back to the Bush administration and were the brainchild of field agents and prosecutors, not officials at the upper levels of government.
But Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who's been looking into gunwalking for over a year, was quick to dispute the Democrats' claims. In a written release, Grassley said, in part:
“The idea that senior political appointees have clean hands in these gunwalking scandals doesn’t pass the laugh test, especially considering we’ve seen less than 10 percent of the pages that the Justice Department has provided the Inspector General.   They ignored the warning signs and failed to put a stop to it or hold anyone accountable.  Lanny Breuer is a senior political appointee, and he admits to knowing about gunwalking as early as April 2010.  Documents turned over late Friday night indicate he was still discussing plans to let guns cross the border with Mexican officials on the same day the Department denied to me in writing that ATF would ever let guns walk.  He stood mute as this administration fought tooth and nail to keep any of this information from coming out for a year.  It will take a lot more than a knee-jerk defense from their political allies in Congress to restore public trust in the leadership of the Justice Department.  The American people want to see those who failed to act be held accountable.”
Attorney General Holder is scheduled to again appear before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday. With so many documents yet unseen, you'd think the Democrats would at least wait to hear what Holder has to say before coming forward to proclaim their curiosity has been quenched.

Sticker shock

Walmart's house-brand interior satin finish paint is now $16.97 a gallon at my local store.

Last March, the same paint, same color, same SKU number, was $13.97. 

I dug up some old receipts. In December 2007, same paint, same color, was $12.87.  In February 2007, $11.44 a gallon.

I wish I knew what triggered the latest rise in price. While I can't draw hard conclusions from one item, I don't dismiss the notion that inflation is with us. And its pace seems to be quickening. 

Bringing home the gold

Venezuela has repatriated 160 tons of gold, including 14 tons that arrived this week.

The repatriation was ordered last August as a precaution against financial instability in global markets.

What assets do you have within easy reach if there's a financial meltdown?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Flipper's Greatest...

Mitt Romney. A Florida primary. You had to know someone would throw a dolphin into the mix.

h/t Legal Insurrection

New Jersey considers ammo ban

A legislative committee in New Jersey today will consider a proposal to ban certain types of firearm ammunition. The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action says the proposal could be subject to even wider interpretation:
Although the bill only mentions handgun ammunition, it is in fact not limited to handgun ammunition, and would apply to all rifle ammunition for which a handgun is ever made. As an increasing number of gun manufacturers make handgun models that shoot rifle caliber ammunition, the line between "handgun” vs. "rifle” ammunition has become blurred, and the New Jersey State Police have already begun treating rifle ammunition in this category as if it were handgun ammunition for regulatory purposes. As long as a handgun exists that shoots a particular caliber of rifle ammunition, New Jersey treats that ammunition as if it were handgun ammunition.
The NRA-ILA's legislative alert can be viewed here in its entirety.

Update: Looks like the ammo bill was placed on hold at today's hearing.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Romney's path of destruction

William A. Jacobson writes at Legal Insurrection: Romney starts war in Republican Balkans.

Jacobson is among a growing number of  people growing uneasy with the course Mitt Romney's campaign has taken. Instead of a war in the Balkans, I compare Romney's Florida onslaught to General Sherman's slash and burn march through Georgia.

Sherman's March to the Sea drawn by F.O.C. Darley
Library of Congress
More than a presidential nomination is at stake.

Don't expect a bumper crop of GOP House or Senate wins this fall if a presidential candidate is allowed to scorch the party's fields and scatter its workers for the sake of destroying an opponent.

And don't expect a man who divides his party to be a man who can lead a nation.

Occupy and astrology

I'm not a follower or a proponent of astrology, but I do see the writings of pro-Occupy astrologers as a possible source of intel of where some proponents of the movement see it going next.

It appears some are already looking to the stars for signs a more radical escalation may be coming.

Previous related post

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Four more banks fail

The January 27th bank failures claimed two (here and here) in Tennessee, one in Florida, and one in Minnesota.

Chicago appears to be the next big Occupy target

Adbusters, one of the groups gave birth to Occupy Wall Street, now calls for massive occupy-style protests to coincide with NATO and G8 summits in Chicago in May.

Adbusters announced its plan earlier this week in a release labeled as a Tactical Briefing. It says, in part:
From: Adbusters
On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month. With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen. 
And this time around we’re not going to put up with the kind of police repression that happened during the Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, 1968 … nor will we abide by any phony restrictions the City of Chicago may want to impose on our first amendment rights. We’ll go there with our heads held high and assemble for a month-long people’s summit … we’ll march and chant and sing and shout and exercise our right to tell our elected representatives what we want … the constitution will be our guide.
Look out Chicago. Adbusters goes on to say it will present a list of demands, and if the demands aren't met, it will retaliate with flashmobs, and other acts targeting "the shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe" 

From: ChicagoMassAction.org

Adbusters says it will "make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear."

Grassley: DOJ lied

The senator from Iowa made his comment in a Saturday morning tweet:

The Challenger remembered

I was on my way to the Kennedy Space Center planning to do routine post-launch reporting of a Challenger mission when I heard ABC's Vic Ratner utter the words "something is wrong." I pulled over at the first pay phone I cam to, and called my boss at WDBO.

Orlando Sentinel's next day front page
Should I continue to the space center, or divert to Jess Parrish hospital, the primary medevac receiving location of the shuttle launch program? The response from my news director was clear. Continue to the space center. The hospital is irrelevant.

It was January 28, 1986. A rocket booster failed, triggering a fireball. The Challenger was torn apart. Astronauts Dick Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ron McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik, and teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe were on board.

Fast and Furious tie was flashed to the top

Less than a day after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona, an aide to Attorney General Eric Holder was advised of the shooting's tie to Operation Fast and Furious.

NPR reports the disclosure based on documents released by the Justice Department on Friday evening:
The email messages show the former top federal prosecutor in Arizona, Dennis Burke, notifying an aide to Holder via email on Dec. 15, 2010 that agent Brian Terry had been wounded and died. "Tragic," responds the aide, Monty Wilkinson. "I've alerted the AG, the acting Deputy Attorney General..." 
Only a few minutes later, Wilkinson emailed again, saying, "Please provide any additional details as they become available to you." 
Burke then delivered another piece of bad news: "The guns found in the desert near the murder [sic] ... officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about — they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store."
The disclosure raises even more questions regarding Holder's candor as he appeared before Congress last year regarding Fast and Furious and the Terry murder.

Appearing before the House Oversight Committee last May, the attorney general testified he had learned of Operation Fast and Furious only weeks prior to his committee appearance.

He's also testified on the matter before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Mr. Holder is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee again next week.

NPR links to some of the emails in Friday night's DOJ document dump

post updated 12:25 pm EST 1/28/2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hank and the "Haters"

Congressman Hank Johnson at it again, saying something that undermines his credibility. This time the Atlanta area Democrat isn't worried about Guam tipping over. He's on Twitter addressing a tweet to Haters.

Does Mr. Johnson assume all who don't support the politics of President Obama are haters? What kind of congressman would address people among his constituents and others as haters in a shotgun fashion like this?

NY Times via Washington Post
Johnson's tweet links to a chart that purports President Bush's policies led to spending that did far more damage to the national deficit than Mr. Obama's. But the chart has its problems.

It doesn't account for during the last two years of the Bush administration, the federal budget originated in a House of Representatives controlled by Democrats and led by Nancy Pelosi.

I see no accounting for Mr. Obama's doubling down on the war in Afghanistan. Or his military intervention over Libya.

Also note that the tally in the Bush column appears to be based on actual spending. The tally on the Obama side is figured using "projections" through 2017. What kind of criteria was provided to result in these projections? How many times have Washington projections made five years out  proven accurate? It also appears the chart was created to accompany an editorial in the New York Times, not an objective analysis piece.

Obama administration begins turning off the lights

Part of yesterday's news release from a regional utility:

AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 26, 2012 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) announced today that its generation subsidiaries will retire six older coal-fired power plants located in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland by September 1, 2012. The decision to close the plants is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which were recently finalized, and other environmental regulations. 
The total capacity of the competitive plants that will be retired is 2,689 megawatts (MW). Recently, these plants served mostly as peaking or intermediate facilities, generating, on average, approximately 10 percent of the electricity produced by the company over the past three years. 
The following plants will be retired: Bay Shore Plant, Units 2-4, Oregon, Ohio; Eastlake Plant, Eastlake, Ohio; Ashtabula Plant, Ashtabula, Ohio; Lake Shore Plant, Cleveland, Ohio; Armstrong Power Station, Adrian, Pa.; and R. Paul Smith Power Station, Williamsport, Md. 
In total, 529 employees will be directly affected. Existing severance benefits will apply to eligible, affected employees. However, the final number of affected employees could be less as some are considered for open positions at other FirstEnergy facilities and work locations, and eligible employees take advantage of a retirement benefit being offered to those 55 years and older.
"This decision is not in any way a reflection of the fine work done by the employees at the affected plants, but is related to the impact of new environmental rules," said James H. Lash, president, FirstEnergy Generation and chief nuclear officer. "We recently completed a comprehensive review of our coal-fired generating plants and determined that additional investments to implement MATS and other environmental rules would make these older plants even less likely to be dispatched under market rules. As a result, it was necessary to retire the plants rather than continue operations."
FirstEnergy isn't the only utility shuttering capacity. Last June, I compiled a list of other utilities being forced to take long-productive coal powered resources off-line.

Environmentalists and the EPA tell us the closures are vital in the interest of cleaner air and water. But the question no one seems to be answering (or even asking):  How much electrical generation capacity can America lose in the government's coal-fired purge without greatly increasing the risk of local or regional blackouts and brownouts? And how much more will customers have to pay as government regulations make electricity more scarce?

Remembering White, Grissom and Chaffee

NASA photo
The Apollo 1 fire happened 45 years ago.

From NASA:

One of the worst tragedies in the history of spaceflight occurred on January 27, 1967 when the crew of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were killed in a fire in the Apollo Command Module during a preflight test at Cape Canaveral. They were training for the first crewed Apollo flight, an Earth orbiting mission scheduled to be launched on 21 February. They were taking part in a "plugs-out" test, in which the Command Module was mounted on the Saturn 1B on the launch pad just as it would be for the actual launch, but the Saturn 1B was not fueled. The plan was to go through an entire countdown sequence. 
At 1 p.m. on Friday, 27 January 1967 the astronauts entered the capsule on Pad 34 to begin the test. A number of minor problems cropped up which delayed the test considerably and finally a failure in communications forced a hold in the count at 5:40 p.m. At 6:31 one of the astronauts (probably Chaffee) reported, "Fire, I smell fire." Two seconds later White was heard to say, "Fire in the cockpit." The fire spread throughout the cabin in a matter of seconds. The last crew communication ended 17 seconds after the start of the fire, followed by loss of all telemetry. The Apollo hatch could only open inward and was held closed by a number of latches which had to be operated by ratchets. It was also held closed by the interior pressure, which was higher than outside atmospheric pressure and required venting of the command module before the hatch could be opened. It took at least 90 seconds to get the hatch open under ideal conditions. Because the cabin had been filled with a pure oxygen atmosphere at normal pressure for the test and there had been many hours for the oxygen to permeate all the material in the cabin, the fire spread rapidly and the astronauts had no chance to get the hatch open. Nearby technicians tried to get to the hatch but were repeatedly driven back by the heat and smoke. By the time they succeeded in getting the hatch open roughly 5 minutes after the fire started the astronauts had already perished, probably within the first 30 seconds, due to smoke inhalation and burns.

Enough with the moon

"A Trip to the Moon" 1902
Newt Gingrich misses the mark.

When JFK pitched, and committed, to a lunar landing in the 1960s, it was as much about seeking technology to prevail in the Cold War as it was about exploring space. Kennedy's message and mission was right for his time.

But today when Gingrich talks of returning to the moon, it sounds as out of place as when President Obama tried to invoke a "Sputnik moment" in last year's State of the Union Address.

Years ago, when actor James Garner was filming the mini-series Space at Cape Canaveral, someone asked him if he'd like to go into space one day. Garner was quick to drawl back, "No, I'm having enough trouble on Earth." Mr. Gingrich should take a cue from Mr. Garner's honesty.

With growing global financial crises and a federal deficit that grows ever higher, don't try to distract us with talk of the moon. Let's get our house in order before we try to export ourselves beyond our own planet.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beyond the candidates, there's a lot at stake

Time to shake the candidates and their pitches out of your head for a minute. We've been so exposed to so much rhetoric that, for some, things are becoming a blur. Take time to take stock of what's important to you, not to them.

Don't get sucked in by an onslaught of hype for any one candidate. Honestly challenge and, if necessary, refute what you see as deception or falsities. Let's not have another election where many come to regret the vote they cast.

Here's reality check that Tennessee College Republicans put together last November:

Tennessee College Republicans via YouTube.com

Bob Dole?

Camp Romney rolls out Bob Dole in the escalating efforts to drop Newt Gingrich down another notch or two prior to the Florida presidential primary. Dole calls Gingrich a "one-man-band who rarely took advice."

But before you lap it up, consider Dole's record in presidential politics is less than stellar. Dole was the GOP presidential nominee in 1996. And he was Gerald Ford's VP pick in '76.  

He's been part of  two failed Republican tickets. And he's now telling us Romney's the way to go in 2012?

Romney surrogates attack Gingrich as a foe of Reagan

But they omit that Mitt wasn't even a Republican.

Big Sis wants a broader view

"What’s military technology one day is law-enforcement tech the next."

"...at your own peril"

Georgia's Secretary of State responds to President Obama's attorney, who said he and his client will not participate in Obama's ballot eligibility hearing in Atlanta:

Excerpt from Kemp letter

The full letter from Sec. of State Brian Kemp can be viewed here.

What Democrats said about boycotting today's hearing

An hearing is slated for 9:00 am this morning in downtown Atlanta over President Obama's eligibility to be on the 2012 primary ballot in Georgia.

Here's yesterday's release from Georgia Democrats saying they'll boycott the proceedings:

Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Mike Berlon on Hearing to Address President Obama’s Inclusion on the Georgia Presidential Primary Ballot

Georgia –Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Mike Berlon releases the following statement on tomorrow’s administrative hearing to address President Obama’s inclusion on the Georgia Presidential primary ballot:

“Several lawsuits were recently filed against President Obama questioning whether he is an American citizen in an attempt to remove him from the Georgia primary ballot.  Despite the fact that these issues have been thoroughly litigated, a hearing has been scheduled in these cases for Thursday, January 26, 2012.  The Democratic Party of Georgia is not a party to any of these lawsuits.

“This afternoon we received a letter from counsel for the President directed to the Georgia Secretary of State asking him to intervene in these lawsuits and bring them to a halt, because it is well established that there is no issue here – a fact validated time and again by courts in this country.

“In the letter, counsel also indicated that they had no interest in continuing to appear or participate further in the litigation and have suspended their involvement.

“We respect the President's position and urge the Secretary of State to bring this matter to a conclusion.  We also believe that each political party has the absolute legal right to determine who should appear on their primary and general election ballots according to their own rules without interference from outside parties.

“In light of these developments the Democratic Party of Georgia has no plans to continue to be involved in these baseless cases.  Furthermore the Democratic Party of Georgia will cooperate with the President and his campaign in any way requested to make sure that his name appears on the primary and general election ballots for 2012.”
# # # 
A group supporting the ballot challenge, Article II Political Action, plans to webcast today's hearing live. The stream is already up. As of 8:30 am EST, it looks like a packed house.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don and Doug this week

Some of the stuff we'll talk about on the January 26th show:

George Soros is now the one who sees class war and riots coming to American streets.

Last year, Soros-backed Media Matters for America denounced such talk as fear mongering.

Will you be ready if riots come? It might be time to start planning. 

These are indeed interesting times, but not necessarily a unique in light of history. Some compare today's  economic and political crises with those of the 1930s. Some see 1860 all over again. Some even see 1848. We'll take some time to explain.

And we may have an update on Thursday's Obama Georgia primary ballot eligibility hearing in Atlanta. 

Don and Doug is live talk radio Thursdays from 1:00 to 3:00 pm EST on TalkSouthRadio.com. Once we wrap the live show, replay is available until the following week's show. 

A TalkSouthRadio Android app is available here.

Report recommends more DHS emphasis on local policing

A report released this week from the Aspen Institute suggests the focus of the Department of Homeland Security will become far more focused on local police functions - apparently with the federal agents put in place to monitor local police agencies as those agencies monitor for 'threats':

As threat grows more localized, the prospect that a state/local partner will generate the first lead to help understand a new threat, or even an emerging cell, will grow. And the federal government’s need to train, and even staff, local agencies, such as major city police departments, will grow. Because major cities are the focus for threat, these urban areas also will become the sources of intelligence that will help understand these threats at the national level, DHS might move toward decentralizing more of its analytic workforce to partner with state/local agencies in the collection and dissemination of intelligence from the local level.
Department of Homeland Security personnel to staff local police departments?

While the suggestion may be made in good faith, there's danger in placing ever increasing federal control over more and more institutions in our society.

DHS staffing inside local police agencies begins to sound reminiscent of the old Soviet model where political officers were inserted into organisations to insure loyalty to the party and adherence to party policy.

Big Sis says if you see something, say something. I see a Department of Homeland Security that's become too big for its britches.

Does George Soros consult astrology?

The question may seem off the wall, and I'm not advocating the practice of astrology, but...

Could a belief and use of astrology be part of the basis for expectations expressed by George Soros that class war, riots and a possible police state crackdown were coming to America?

Nothing conclusive. But I stumbled across some articles online today that have me wondering what - if any - role astrological advisers play in recent events both political and financial.

First, there's this Internet post that tries to interpret astrologically an earlier comment from Mr. Soros:
Does astrological analysis support the June 10, 2010 statement by billionaire investor George Soros that "...we have just entered Act II" of the global financial crisis? Certainly Europe's fiscal woes have worsened. And the curbing of of budget deficits by governments may push the global economy back into recession."
Then, there was a blog at Beliefnet.com discussing the timing and energy of  Occupy Wall Street:
Organizers of the movement say they were inspired by the Arab Spring in which a surge of revolutionary fervor, driven by the approaching square of Uranus in Aries (the revolutionary warrior) to Pluto in Capricorn (the power of the economic structures), resulted in the downfall of Arab leaders in several countries. But while the Occupy Wall Street people were inspired by the Uranus/Pluto square, they no longer have the wind at their back since the square is waning and the energy is fading. 
Another post on an site called PlanetWaves.net attempts to tie 2012's astrological signs to those of 1848, a time of great unrest when revolution swept Europe.

Again, I'm not acting as an advocate for astrology.

My question is, are the architects (at least some of them) of today's progressive politics and so-called democracy movements actively involved in consulting the stars as they make prognostications and move their agendas forward?

GOP: Special treatment for defective Chevy Volts

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform today issued a staff report today critical of the way the Obama administration handled disclosure of battery defects with the GM-built, government backed Chevy Volt:
In the face of that political dependency, it is deeply troubling that public notification of the safety concerns related to the Volt was inexplicably delayed for six months – a period of time that also coincides with the negotiation over the 2017-2025 fuel economy standards. The necessity of a full explanation for NHTSA’s silence concerning the Volt’s safety risk has been compounded by its lack of cooperation with the Committee.
The committee's full 16 page report was released at a hearing today in Washington DC.

The New York Times and the Detroit Free Press were among news organisations that covered the hearing.

Pres. Obama at the wheel of a Volt, July 2010.  US Government Photo

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Obama's cut and paste State of the Union

If President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address sounded familiar, it's because you've heard a bunch of it before.

The Republican National Committee offers a recap:

Republican National Committee via YouTube.com

Despite all the repeats, high speed rail and Sputnik moment didn't rate encore mentions in 2012.

Do you have a plan if riots erupt?

International financier and politically progressive philanthropist George Soros tells Newsweek he sees class war and riots coming to America, perhaps as early as this year. In these times of high unemployment and a rotten economy, Soros isn't the first to voice this kind of warning. He's just among the latest. 

If Soros is right, it's past time to start making individual preps to weather a coming storm.

Some thoughts to consider:

If you live in an area that may be prone to unrest, how will you deal with trouble at your door step? Urban dwellers may want to consider someplace they could evacuate to if things get rough. A relative or friend's  house in the suburbs or in the country might be an option. Talk it over with them. Consider having a bag packed and ready to go. Just in case.

If supply lines are disrupted by spats of unrest, do you have what you need to carry on unhindered? Unrest may not strike your suburban supermarket, but panic triggered by unrest elsewhere could just as easily cause people to clear the shelves. The last thing you want to be doing if panic hits is to be at the supermarket fighting  over the last loaf of bread or gallon of milk. Plan ahead. Get in the habit of keeping a week or two supply of your usual groceries on hand. If trouble comes, you're set to sit tight and ride things out for a spell. 

Consider self defense options. Especially if you live in an area that's already prone to crime. If you feel comfortable with having a firearm, you may consider buying one if you haven't already. But don't just buy a gun. Learn to use it. It takes time to acquire proficiency. It's more than just point and shoot. You want to reach a point in your handling where loading, aiming and shooting come with a natural flow. With proper instruction, you'll also develop instinctive safe handling techniques along the way. 

If firearms are part of your self-security plan, acquire ammunition for 'em. In times of unrest, ammo flies off store shelves faster than beer, bread and milk. And there are fewer local outlets for ammo than there are for groceries.

While things are still normal, scout around for alternative routes to school or work. Know your options should unrest or riots jeopardize your normal commuting route. Also consider designating an alternative gathering place for your family should access to your home become impractical.  

Travel with cash. In the digital age, unrest in the streets may be accompanied by hackers and cyber attacks. Could you buy a tank of gas if ATM or credit card networks went down? You probably could with cash in your pocket.

In the past, riots were usually associated with urban centers. I consider the assumption to be obsolete. Social media and personal data devices could be used by instigators as a means of command and control. It happened last year with riots in England. With greater command and control, troublemakers can direct their reach to wider geographical areas. Even places you now consider safe might be within reach.

To many, the steps I've outlined here will seem overly simple. Some may call them incomplete and insufficient. But for others, this kind of thought process and talk of preparation may be completely new.

Do we know for sure unrest or riots are coming? No. But there's enough buzz out there to at least take notice. Waiting to "prepare on warning" leaves too much to chance. 

A good goal is to begin building habits that will pay dividends if things go bad. Just thinking through various scenarios now will put you a step ahead if trouble comes.

IMF chief warns of global financial collapse

Christine Lagarde is managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Here's part of the presentation she gave Monday in Germany:

In too many places, uncertainty is holding back demand and the willingness to lend. A legacy of high public and private debt is hurting economic prospects. The global financial system remains fragile. 
In an interconnected world like ours, these forces are feeding each other across borders. Capital flows to emerging markets have already dropped off, and growth is expected to slow even in the most vibrant parts of the world economy. Low-income countries are especially vulnerable. 
Christine Lagarde
Yet before we indulge in yet another bout of collective pessimism, which is becoming something of a global sport, let me ask a simple question—why did 2011 turn out so badly? 
I would argue that it was not because of any fresh wound to the global economy. No, it was driven instead by a lack of a collective determination to reach a cooperative solution. We saw many false starts and half measures in 2011—in Europe, but also, for instance, in the United States with its debt ceiling debacle. 
Put simply, policymakers let an old wound fester, and in doing so made the situation worse. 
Looking at it from this perspective, 2012 must be a year of healing. But as Hippocrates put it long ago: “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity”. 
And today, it has to be an opportunity of our making. Otherwise, we could easily slide into a “1930s moment”. A moment where trust and cooperation break down and countries turn inward. A moment, ultimately, leading to a downward spiral that could engulf the entire world.
The world financial gurus she's speaking of have spent the past few years seeking solutions Legarde says must be put in place now. If they've not been able to do it up until now, what makes her think 2012 will be any different?

Are you making personal preps for a worst case scenario?

Soros sees class war coming to America

George Soros sees open class war and riots coming to the streets of America. Writer John Arlidge conveys the Soros message on the pages of Newsweek (and online at The Daily Beast):
As anger rises, riots on the streets of American cities are inevitable. “Yes, yes, yes,” (Soros)  says, almost gleefully. The response to the unrest could be more damaging than the violence itself. “It will be an excuse for cracking down and using strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order, which, carried to an extreme, could bring about a repressive political system, a society where individual liberty is much more constrained, which would be a break with the tradition of the United States.”
It seems Mr. Soros sees things set to unravel just before, or just after, the 2012 elections. Pretty darn convenient if you ask me. 

My Monday debate recap. And my daughter's endorsement

Far as I could tell, the real meat of Monday night's GOP Florida debate was in the first few minutes.

I admit I got bored, and didn't stick around 'til the end. But early on, I learned stuff like:

Mitt Romney takes credit for what he called turning Massachusetts around. I wish he'd taken time to explain how he did it. Maybe he could have told us how he gave Massachusetts its own assault weapon ban in case the federal one expired.

Mitt told us he was "overwhelmed" by the final push in South Carolina. Really? This is the guy the Republican establishment thinks can triumph over Obama's Chicago-style crew?

And Mitt jumped all over Newt Gingrich about Newt's ties to Freddie Mac. Freddie hurt Floridians, Mitt says.  But Mitt failed to disclose or explain why he holds Freddie Mac in his investment portfolio. Fannie Mae too. He has about a half million bucks spread between the two.

Finally, Mitt said all his recent income comes from capital gains. And he's only willing to cut loose two years of tax returns. Begs the question how many assets he shuffled three years ago. Refusing to follow his father's precedent of releasing a dozen years of returns only makes it look like he's hiding something.

Other things I noticed:

NBC played it boring Monday night. No one wanted to be the next Juan Williams or John King. Therefore, we were deprived of Gingrich v. commentator sizzle. Gingrich countered Romney attacks about his speakership with some quick bullet points of accomplishment. But he broke no new ground. 

Ron Paul and Gingrich had a cordial exchange during the debate. I liked it. They acted like statesmen.

Rick Santorum was there. But when surrounded by the other three, he comes off as JV. I get distracted by his mannerisms and sometimes miss what he's saying. He needs to project a deeper voice or something.

As the debate was getting underway, my 10-year-old announced her endorsement of Ron Paul. He's the oldest and the nicest, she says. From her own research, she knows he has 18 grandchildren.

Her pick reminded me of my early pick in '68. I was eleven. And I liked Ronald Reagan. Reagan actually won a plurality of the Republican primary votes that year. But Nixon scored more convention delegates. And It was Nixon who emerged from the Miami convention as the GOP nominee.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Gingrich Challenge

An Insider Advantage poll shows Newt Gingrich takes the lead in Florida as Republican candidates focus on the upcoming primary.

To some, especially to backers of Mitt Romney, the news may be disturbing. But a wee bit of wisdom from the editorial desk the Wall Street Journal helps puts things into perspective:
As for the GOP establishment, such as it still is, Mr. Gingrich's re-emergence is likely to cause a panic attack. They don't believe he is electable. Our advice would be to relax and let the voters decide. If Mr. Romney can't marshal the wit and nerve to defeat the speaker, then he isn't likely to defeat Mr. Obama.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The irony of Romney's attack

In advance of Florida's primary, Mitt Romney denounces Newt Gingrich as a failed leader who resigned after four years as Speaker of the House.

What's ironic is, had the '94 elections been played Romney's way, Gingrich might have had NO record as Speaker at all.

Of Romney and Gingrich, which as done more to advance the Republican Party? Of the two, which now seems to have more fire in his belly to lead the nation forward?

A loony way to endorse Romney

The Pensacola News Journal endorses Mitt Romney in the Florida GOP primary.

But it has an odd way of doing it:

Four years ago, this newspaper endorsed U.S. Sen. John McCain in our state's GOP presidential preference primary. At the time, McCain was trailing badly in the polls and seemed to have little chance of winning. 
But we felt that McCain would be the best choice in terms of what was best not only for the nation, but for Florida and for our area. McCain went on to be the Republican nominee where, unfortunately, his good ideas were diluted by the circus sideshow that was Sarah Palin. 
This year, for the Jan. 31 Republican primary election, we recommend former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney...

First, brag on endorsing McCain? And then take a swipe at Sarah Palin? The Journal gives two reasons for conservatives to disregard its 2012 pitch before letting readers know what it is.

Gingrich win in South Carolina

The New York Times calls it divisive.

The Times appears appalled Newt Gingrich would dare attack the mainstream media. And it worries South Carolina voters say they want to cut the federal budget. In the eyes of the Times, this is clearly dangerous stuff.

The Times also expresses disgust that Gingrich has taken jabs at the president and his cabinet.

C'mon guys. There's supposed to be a difference between Republicans and Democrats. And campaigns are supposed to differentiate the difference between the two sides.

Gingrich has clearly articulated he's a candidate with clear contrast to the current president. And South Carolina shows voters responded with excitement and energy. If the NewYork Times editorital is any indication, the left seems to be reacting with panic.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What happened to the fire?

It seems almost forgotten but in the summer of 2009, conservative were angry. They were on fire. They demanded representation. They demanded government accountability.

Despite handing Republicans a congressional landslide in November 2010, are we really better off now? 

The things that outraged conservatives in 2009 are still with us. We're just further down the road. What seemed threatening then is closer to reality today. Obamacare is law. The federal debt continues to surge higher. But somewhere between then and now, the fire of a grassroots resistance has died down considerably. 

Do you think there's any chance government will begin fixing things if we go back to sleep? 

Training requirement proposed for Georgia carry license

Four Georgia lawmakers have sponsored a bill in the Georgia House that would require applicants to complete a mandatory training program before applying for a state handgun carry license or a license renewal.

The text of  HB 735 says, in part:
(2) Any applicant seeking a weapons carry license on or after July 1, 2012, shall
demonstrate completion of a firearms safety training course within one year of the date of the application for a license under this Code section. An applicant may satisfy such training requirement by submitting proof that he or she:
(A) Is a peace officer, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-1-3;
(B) Is serving on active duty with the United States armed forces;
(C) Is serving in the active reserve component of the United States armed forces or
Georgia National Guard;
(D) Is a weapons training instructor licensed by the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies; or
(E) Has completed a four-hour firearms safety training course from either a weapons
training instructor licensed by the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security
Agencies or a peace officer who is currently certified under Chapter 8 of Title 35, the
'Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Act.' Such course shall include
instruction on the features of a firearm and a brief explanation of loading, firing, and
unloading the firearm. Proof of completion of such course shall be a notarized affidavit signed by the person providing the instruction with his or her address, position, and training instructor license number or badge number.
(3) Any license holder who possesses a weapons carry license on June 30, 2012, shall be exempt from the training requirement set forth in paragraph (2) of this subsection until such time as he or she applies to renew such license."
The sponsors of the bill are Rep. Roger Bruce of Atlanta, Gloria Frazier of Hephzibah, Howard Mosby of Atlanta, and Stephanie Benfield of Atlanta. All are Democrats.

HB 735 seems to run counter to another bill that's sponsored by five Republicans. HB 679, the proposed Constitutional Carry Act of 2012, would drop the requirement of a state license for persons who chose to lawfully carry a firearm. 

HB 679 says, in part:
(1) Our founding fathers, in the unanimous Declaration of the 13 United States of America, acknowledged that the purpose of civil government is to secure God-given rights;(2) As such, civil governments are to punish the criminal acts that deprive their citizens of their God-given rights to life, liberty, and property;(3) The mere potential to deprive someone of life, liberty, or property should never be considered a crime in a free and just society;(4) Evil resides in the heart of the individual, not in material objects; and
(5) Since objects or "instrumentalities" in and of themselves are not dangerous or evil, in a free and just society, the civil government should not ban or restrict their possession or use.
There's probably no chance of it, but what if both bills passed? The training requirement would likely open  doors for additional states to honor Georgia's carry licenses. Currently, some states that require training don't give Georgia reciprocity because Georgia doesn't require mandatory training. If Constitutional Carry was to pass, Georgia licenses would be optional in-state. If a Georgia resident didn't want to take training, presumably with Constitutional Carrry, residents could still lawfully carry a gun in-state without a license.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It looks like DOJ got hacked

Anonymous hackers claim to have crashed Justice Department website.

How many months will it take before Eric Holder finds out about this? 

He can't blame Bush for everything

Obama blames the media for his "cold and aloof" image. 

White House terrorism meeting described as "vague"

The White House hosted local law enforcement officials this week for a briefing on homegrown terrorism.

According to a report, at least one attendee felt something was missing at the session:
“I find it astounding how [Secretary] Napolitano could be so longwinded yet never once used the words “Islamic,” “Islamists,” “Muslim terrorists,” or any names of known terror groups. It’s as if Holder and Napolitano never read the report issued by the House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Congressman Peter King during 2011,” said one of the attendees who requested anonymity since his superior is a Democrat mayor.
According to Jim Kouri's Law Enforcement Examiner, the meeting seemed to focus on things like Obama administration efforts to create a new curriculum of federal guidelines for local law enforcement to follow.  The meeting also pitched Obama's Job's Bill which seeks to increase the federal government's financial reach into the operations of local policing around the country.  

Don and Doug up today (Jan 19) at 1 EST

Among things we'll touch on today:

A conservative backlash appears to be building against Mitt Romney, while a former Mrs. Gingrich apparently tries to make things ugly for Newt.

Occupy attempted to revive its energy with a move on Congress this week. It seems to have fizzled.

And police chiefs from around the country were invited to the White House to discuss homegrown terrorists. Among the signs they were told to watch for: People who criticize the government and who attract an audience with their message.

We also like today's column from Victor Davis Hanson. Our regular listeners will recognize it fits an ongoing message of our show. We'll cite some examples to show, as Hanson says, civilization really is going in reverse.

Join us today from 1 to 3 pm EST at TalkSouthRadio.com for the live webcast. Or click here to listen direct.

Civilization is fragile

Victor Davis Hanson's column today makes the case for what he sees as Civilization in Reverse.

Davis writes that civilization as we know it is a fragile thing:
Its continuance requires respect for the law, tough-minded education, collective thrift, private investment, individual self-reliance, and common codes of behavior and civility -- and exempts no one from those rules. Such knowledge and patterns of civilized behavior, slowly accrued over centuries, can be lost in a single generation.
How many of these critical factors are intentionally being undermined by politicians who urge people to increasingly depend on government for everyday sustenance, or who urge citizens to stray from prioritizing the common good by substituting the flag of multiculturalism?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You might be a terrorist if...

The White House has invited state and local police chiefs to the White House to discuss homegrown terrorists.

Expressing criticism of the government, and purchasing a firearm, are two warning signs the White House seeks to stress, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Is the White House really trying to combat true terrorism with this high profile conference? Or are some elements pitched at this event being spun in a manner to intimidate the administration's critics, and stifle legitimate political discussion and activism?

By inviting police chiefs to the White House, the administration appears intent on making local police a party to any political games that may be afoot here.

Americans' messed up priorities

It's still hard, if not impossible to get many Americans engaged in politics. They choose to be passive about issues that directly impact their lives.

Yet at the same time, Americans will turnout in droves for stupid stuff. A "no pants subway ride" is a prime example.

Any wonder the country's become one big dysfunctional mess?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Who said it?

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

While this quote is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, researchers at Monticello suspect it actually originated with President Gerald Ford. According to the folks at Monticello, its first recorded use was when Mr. Ford used it in an address before a joint session of Congress on August 12, 1974.

Romney or Obama: Which is really better?

I remain torn as to who might do more damage to our nation:  A progressive President Mitt Romney or 2nd term President Barack Obama.

I would feel better about Romney had the current GOP leadership and Republican dominated House showed the principles and resistance it promised it would deliver with the November 2010 elections. So far, their performance has been marginal at best, and compromise seems to have gone in favor of the president.

An Obama second term would likely face continued resistance from Republicans. But a President Romney would  likely return to his roots, and strive to show compromise with Democrats. Compromise would be spun as progress, and Republicans would join right in.

Senate debate clip from October 1994 via YouTube.com

If we're going to continue on the path that destroys liberty and adds to the national debt, why not let a Democrat own it? The Republicans, by their own performance over the past decade or so, have shown they have little interest in sticking to true conservative ideals. If we're going to have a progressive president, I'd rather have one that galvanizes resistance than one who lulls the resistance into complacency.

I've had this discussion among friends. I know I'm not alone in this line of thinking.

I'm not saying I wouldn't vote for Romney if he were the Republican nominee. But I'm not saying I will. A lot can happen between now an November.  Republicans may even wake up and realize how flawed a candidate Romney really is before they bestow the nomination.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just-in-time inventory failure

When the unexpected hits, skirting by on usual inventories can get dicey.

Is this an example of what the British think tank Chatham House warned about in its recent report?

Friday, January 13, 2012

The TSA's unwelcome expansion

An editorial in a small North Carolina newspaper says the Transportation Safety Administration goes too far with the program it calls VIPR.

VIPR stands for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, and the expanding program now operates random security screenings at transit stations as well as checkpoints along U.S. highways. The VIPR program also encourages truck drivers to be eyes and ears for Homeland Security.

The recent editorial in the Burlington Times-News says enough is enough:
To us, this sounds like something more like the Stasi secret police in the former East Germany, in which citizens spy on one another. “Your papers, please!” should not be a command Americans hear, and fear.
The Times-News calls on Congress to eliminate the VIPR program, and closes with a quote from Ben Franklin: 
 “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Bravo for the Times-News taking a stand against further intrusion into our lives via Homeland Security and its TSA. I continue to be disappointed larger media outlets have, best I can tell, chosen to remain silent.

Introducing the novice to shooting

One of the best ways to overcome anti-gun bias is to take someone shooting. But the person who's doing the introduction may want to follow some simple steps to make the newcomer's experience as positive as possible.

I'd like to offer some suggestions to those who want to give others an introduction to shooting:
Give some friendly coaching prior to going to the gun range. In a safe, quiet location, using an unloaded gun (show how to check this, and explain the importance), demonstrate some of firearm's basic functions. Go over other safety rules. Explain range etiquette. It's much easier to do these things where it's quiet rather than wait until the racket of the range creates distractions. 
Choose the right gun. Pick something of an appropriate size and caliber for a first time out or other early shooting experiences. A downsized .22 rifle is perfect for a child. A .22 pistol (or something else with low recoil) is a good option for novice handgun shooters. Stay away from heavy artillery the first time out. A too heavy gun or a punishing recoil can be a turn off to the first time shooter. Over time, as confidence and proficiency grows, you can bump things up. 
Build early confidence. Place targets at an appropriate close-in distance. Another confidence builder is to allow a new rifle shooter to use a bench rest to assist in hitting the target. Nothing elates new shooter like a center-of-target hit. And nothing dulls a new shooter's interest like repeated misses. 
Pick a good venue. Commercial or public shooting ranges can be crowded and they are noisy. Indoor ranges are especially loud. Even with proper ear protection, this can be intimidating to the novice. If you must use an  indoor or other public range, try to pick an off-peak time where distractions from others will be an a minimum. 
If you are lucky enough to have access to private property that can accommodate shooting, do so only with permission. And be sure to explain steps that are taken to ensure safety. Be sure there's a proper backstop (man-made or natural terrain) to prevent bullets from flying off the property. Also take time to point out the direction of any nearby neighbors or populated areas (and the importance of not pointing guns in those directions).  
Making a new shooter's experience a positive one helps them see guns can be fun and safe. Do what you can to make someone's first time out a good one, otherwise they may not want to give it a second chance.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Did something happen in New Hampshire?

Is this another sign the GOP presidential field fails to stir excitement?

New Hampshire Barely Moves the TV Ratings Needle

If Tuesday's vote count wasn't important enough for more people to watch, it may reflect most people haven't emotionally attached to a candidate. They just don't care.

Then again, it may be more a sign of the declining influence of TV news.

I didn't watch the New Hampshire count on TV or cable. I got what I needed online.

Ahead of the pack

Last week on Don and Doug we talked about Department of Homeland Security (and the White House) paying online visits to various blogs including some recent visits to this blog.

Vistors to RadioShowNotes.com

Look what's now being reported by The Atlantic Wire:
It's unclear exactly why, but the Department of Homeland has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" program to monitor the top blogs, forums and social networks online for at least the past 18 months. Based on a privacy compliance review from last November recently obtained by Reuters, the purpose of the project is to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture." Whatever that means... 
Don and I are back with another show Thursday afternoon at 1:00pm EST on TalkSouthRadio.com.  You never know who may be listening.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Understanding Bain Capital and Romney's role there

PBS News Hour tonight had a good segment discussing Bain Capital and the role played by venture capital firms.

The nearly ten minute segment had easy to understand information for those wanting to make some sense of the political rhetoric currently being tossed around reagarding the firm, Mitt Romney's role there, and the relevance these may play going forward this campaign season.

Not a lot of political spin. Just some good analytical discussion. 

How the government enlists your bank to spy on you

Ever hear of SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports)?

Read all about 'em here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Government weather survey

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) set me a survey.

It asks such probing questions as:

In the past 12 months, have I participated in recreational saltwater fishing?

In the past 12 months, have I been scuba diving.?

In the past 12 months, have I been to the beach or coastal park?

It also asks if I get my weather forecasts from TV, Internet, radio, newspaper or some other source.

If I tell 'em I went to the beach last year, do you think it will help the government provide better weather forecasts? Or have an impact on some other government program?

I wonder how much NOAA spends on surveys like this.

Don and Doug sneak preview for January 12th

We have plenty to talk about on this week's Don and Doug including a lot you won't hear anywhere else:

Legacy firearms. Why rush out to buy a new gun when granddad may have one in the closet he'd love to pass along? We'll explain. And tell some stories

Just-in-time-inventories. It's how business operates now. A noted think tank says it could also trigger a societal collapse even in an emergency of only moderate duration. Sound familar? It should.

And Republicans are rushing too fast in their push Mitt Romney their presumptive presidential nominee. We'll lay out a bunch of reasons why the GOP makes big mistakes possibly to the point of disenfranchising the party base.

Don and Doug is a live webcast each Thursday at 1:00 pm EST at TalkSouthRadio.com. You can also just click here to go straight to the audio player. We also have a free Android app available here.

It's trash day

So far this morning, at least one pickup and two minivans have cruised through my neighborhood looking for curbside treasure.

One grabbed the old microwave my neighbor threw out.

Another scavenged the metal components of an old crib discarded up the street.

Government wants us to believe economic recovery is around the corner. As long as I see moms in minivans rooting through trash, I know its not here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A typical legacy firearm

Over the weekend, I posted about the likelihood that families were rediscovering part of their heritage as they rediscovered overlooked firearms that have in storage for years.

A typical find might look like this Winchester Model 02 single-shot .22 rifle dating back to around 1919. It first belonged to the current owner's great grandfather, then his   grandfather, and then his father before it passed to the current set of hands.

I'm told it was used to slaughter hogs on a farm in the 1920s and '30s. Used to hunt squirrel and rabbit as well as other varmint control applications. And used to teach generations to shoot.

A year or two ago, a 9-year-old girl fired her first shot with this rifle.

It's probably typical of the kind of family firearms tucked away in closets and attics across America. Others are hunting rifles, shotguns, pistols and such. Some are even foreign military arms brought back from overseas by soldiers returning from war.

Are there treasures like this tucked away in a closet at your house or those of your extended family? Some may have been tucked away so long, it's been forgotten they're even there.

Electability? Another way to look at November 2012

Establishment Republicans insist Mitt Romney is the most electable in the GOP presidential field. Others in the party counter that Romney can't energize the party's core conservative base.

Is the electable Romney theory really the way to go? Or would the GOP actually stand a better chance if it went with a firebrand to stir the party's conservative backbone?

What if we get an election where Romney takes a beating prior to election day (or otherwise simply fails to inspire), and conservatives just stay home. What are the chances the House also slides Democrat with a Romney defeat, and that Dems pick up additional Senate seats?

I suspect there's strategic value to at least consider that someone the party establishment considers unelectable would be better suited if they are able to energize the GOP conservative base. While conventional wisdom would then cast the presidential race as a bit riskier, a true conservative stands a better change of energizing the troops to make Congressional gains - something just as important as the presidential contest.

Republicans went the safe route with an electable McCain in 2008. I fear the party is doing down the very same road again.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How many "new" guns are really out there?

Over the holidays, there was plenty of reporting that U.S. gun sales were breaking past records.

The reports were based on background checks required for retail purchases, often with a focus of the reports being new guns going into new hands. But that's likely just part of the story as Americans re-embrace their fondness for firearms.

I saw an ad today pitching repair services for a long out-of-production pistol. The ad provoked a thought. With the new wave of gun popularity, people are likely digging into closets or attics, and pulling out legacy firearms that belonged to dad or granddad. Many of these guns haven't been fired (or even cleaned) in years.

There's no way to track how many older firearms are being cleaned up and put back in service within a family for either recreation or personal protection.

If you've found an old family heirloom shootin' iron, and have considered putting it to some use, check the weapon thoroughly before firing it. If you're not knowledgeable, find someone who is.

Ad from a Boy Scout Handbook, 1951 printing

I remember well the firearms belonging to family and extended family that I learned to shoot with. Few things please me more than to see legacy firearms cleaned up, checked out, and once again providing another generation with years of shooting. This is especially true when the owner knows a firearm's history. They're more than guns. They're part of a family heritage that may extend well into the future.

Would any in the current GOP presidential field have stood with Patrick Henry?

Do any in the current field understand liberty?

Or are today's politicians the people Mr. Henry warned us about?

Patrick Henry, on March 23, 1775, said, in part:
...it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
The idea that a candidate's surrogate in New Hampshire told voters they should sacrifice their personal beliefs and principles, and vote for his candidate, continues to infuriate me. If liberty loving people sacrifice their beliefs and principles, why bother going through the charade of an election?

The primary season is just beginning. Be informed. Vote your conscience. Don't kowtow to candidate organisations or party pressure. Surrender is detrimental to liberty.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What I got out of ABC's debate in New Hampshire

Rick Santorum seems to loathe Libertarians (and apparently libertarian leaning Republicans as well). 

Coming out of that squabble between Ron Paul and Santorum, Rick Perry sounded pretty good. 

Newt still sounds like the only one who really has a grasp on what the job of president entails, and the only one who would be able to get through a day at the White House without someone either telling him what to think,or showing him a poll telling him what to think. 

Romney was at the debate. But he's oh so forgettable.  

More voices add to Don and Doug's

Since Don and I began our Don and Doug webcast more than a year ago, we've preached the vulnerabilities of today's just-in-time economy.

For example, for many items, retailers today often have no more than a few days worth on inventory on site. They are dependent on computer-controlled inventory systems and rush in additional stock as the need arises. Local warehouses may be stocked in much the same manner.

While modern conveniences and systems make life easier and make businesses more efficient, these same systems introduce weakness in being able to provide normal service levels when disasters or unexpected events occur.

Now I see, other voices are coming forward with a similar message.

A recent article in the U.K. Telegraph declares:
The UK could stand "at most a week" of disruption if a natural or man-made disaster struck before severe problems, economic and social, that would bring chaos to the country, according to a new report from the international affairs thinktank Chatham House.
The root report from Chatham House is available here.

If your community or region would be hit by a disaster or some other black swan event, would you be ready to carry on despite disruptions? Or does your personal lifestyle revolve around just-in-time model as well? Would you have enough food, water and other basics on hand if resupply was unavailable for an undetermined amount of time?

If your sources of goods and services operate under a just-in-time model, maybe it's time to do what granny did: Have your own backup inventory at home.

Another teen shoots a home invader

In addition to the incident where the 18-year-old mom shot and killed a bad guy, a teenager in North Carolina also turned back home invaders with a shotgun last week.

Courtesy: Oleg Volk
According to WRAL TV, the 14-year-old boy and his 17-year-old sister were home alone with the break in occurred.

After shooting one man with the shotgun, the boy tells 911 he still has one round in chamber.

Here's where it gets weird. According to WRAL, the 911 operator orders the boy to put the gun down despite the possibility the home invasion was still in progress, or that the attackers might return. The news account suggests up to four men were involved in the break in.

This is a case that seems to go smack in the face of conventional wisdom pushed by gun control advocates that guns and ammo should be locked up and kept away from teens. And why was the 911 operator so eager for the boy to disarm? The way the story is written, it suggests police may have still been minutes away.

No, I'm not saying all teens should have access to firearms. But in the hands of a teen with the right temperament, knowledge and skill - an accessible firearm can be a life saver.