Sick day

March 27, 2014
"Blah"

“Blah”

This isn’t quite how I planned on enjoying a long weekend (1), catching a head cold that keeps me indoors. There’s plenty to write about, but, right now, the nice medicine just makes me want to take a nap.

Maybe some short stuff later. After the nap.

Footnote:
(1) Friday is Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday here in California. So, I take Wednesday and today off and… promptly get sick. Perfect timing.


(Video) Herb-roasted chicken

January 17, 2014

Because it’s Friday and because I’ve had today off and because I just don’t feel like ranting about politics today (1), we’re going to take a digression today into one of my hobbies, cooking.

A lifelong bachelor whose mother didn’t believe in kids in the kitchen, I had to teach myself when I left home. And, while I’m a pretty good cook, my self-education has been spotty in the basics; there are just some things I’ve never tried, and one of those is the basic roast chicken. (Cue shocked gasps from the audience)

Anyway, I found this great web site, No Recipes Required, which provides tasty recipes and, most importantly for me, videos of the techniques used. I can’t tell you how much it helps to know “Oh, it’s supposed to look like that!”

So, back to roast chicken. Here’s site owner Dave Beaulieu’s (2) video of how to make a roast chicken with fresh herbs. (Recipe at the link).

See? So easy, even a progressive could do it without government help.

Enjoy.

smiley eating gluttony

Footnotes:
(1) Oh, okay, just one. (ahem…) “Impeach Eric Holder!!” There, happy now?
(2) I wonder if Dave’s related to the Beaulieu wine family? Here in California, that would make him a demi-god.


Happy New Year from Public Secrets

January 1, 2014

It was a heckuva party last night, wasn’t it?

Happy New Year, folks. May 2014 bring you all you could desire. :D


Have a Happy New Year: privatize @USPS

December 31, 2013
Poor, trusting fool

Poor, trusting fool

This is a bit of a personal rant to end the year on, but a recent experience with the US Post Office and trying to get a package delivered has lead to the conclusion that one of the best “little things” a new Republican Congress could do in 2015 is privatize the danged thing. First, my recent travails:

On Christmas Day I received some Amazon (1) gift cards. Being a good little consumer, that afternoon I ordered some goodies, including a highly-rated electric skillet (This one, in fact. It’s a great price.) that Amazon promised to deliver for free by the 28th. Great!

So, on the 28th I stayed home to wait for the delivery. By that afternoon, I was curious, so I checked Amazon; “delivery attempted.”

“Really?” I thought. So I checked the USPS site: “Delivery attempted at 9:37 AM. Notice left.”

By now a bit concerned, I went down to the front of our apartment complex to check the mailboxes: no package, no notice, no nothing. Like I said, I had been home all day. My cell phone was on, the ringer set to “loudest.” At 9:37 AM, I was letting in my writing partner for a day’s work. In other words…

I WAS HOME!

Apparently the schmuck carrier couldn’t be bothered to actually try to contact me. I understand he couldn’t come to my door (it’s a large, winding complex), but… he could have called. I’d have come right down. But, I guess he didn’t want to make the effort. Maybe he was tired.

Checking the USPS site again, I saw a redelivery option (2) held out the promise of delivery Monday (yesterday). So, I filled out the form and printed the receipt. Problem solved — yay!!

You can guess what’s coming.

I waited at home all Monday, not daring to leave my apartment lest I miss the carrier and my new toy. By 5PM, I went downstairs to check and found the regular mailman. I asked her about the package — she’d never heard of it. “What about redelivery,” I asked.

Jay Carney gives more informative answers.

Finally, she helpfully suggested the other carrier might have left it with the building managers. Nope. Not on on their list.

So, this morning, I walked to the post office, waited for the lone clerk at the counter to finally call me forward only to tell me to go to “the door on the left.” After a half-hour or so, I was beginning to fear my package was really “out for delivery” this time, probably to the wrong address. But, no, I was rewarded at the end, the package was mine. Happy New Year, indeed. I then trudged the 1.5 miles home, this time carrying a bulky box and swearing eternal vengeance on the Post Office.

Okay, so, as far as horrible experiences with the USPS goes, and as maddening as it was, that was fairly minor. I’m sure any of you reading this could come up with far worse. But the whole experience had me wondering…

Why do we put up with this garbage?

Private companies have a much harder time getting away with poor service. Not only are there irate customers who can go elsewhere, but angry shareholders to wonder why they’re not making money. And, at the end, a poorly run, money-losing company goes out of business.

The USPS, which lost over $20 billion from 2007-2010 –and $5 billion in FY 2013, goes chugging on. This report from the Cato Institute well-documents their problems. For example:

A key driver of mail delivery costs is the congressionally mandated obligation to serve virtually every mailing address, regardless of volume, six days a week. Fulfilling this “universal service” obligation results in the USPS having large fixed costs, including the costs of more than 36,000 postal outlets, 215,000 vehicles, and 600 processing facilities.

However, even given the universal service obligation, the Government Accountability Office and USPS officials believe that more than half of these processing facilities aren’t needed. Why aren’t they closed down to save money? The GAO notes that the USPS faces “formidable resistance” from members of Congress and postal unions when attempting to close or consolidate facilities.

The USPS is required to provide services to all communities, including areas where post offices have low traffic and are not cost effective. Before closing a post office, the USPS must provide customers with at least 60 days of notice before the proposed closure date, and any person served by the post office may appeal its closure to the Postal Regulatory Commission. The USPS cannot close a post office “solely for operating at a deficit.”

Members of Congress whose districts would be affected by a post office closure often raise a big fuss. Last year, for example, the USPS proposed consolidating 3,200 postal outlets, but following a congressional outcry, the number under consideration was reduced to a paltry 162. That is no way to run a business.

No, it’s not. Labor costs are also a problem:

While the USPS has been able to eliminate a substantial number of employees through attrition, the USPS’s predominantly unionized workforce continues to account for 80 percent of the agency’s costs despite increased automation. The USPS estimates that, in the absence of changes, its total workforce costs will soar from $53 billion in 2009 to $77 billion in 2020.

And at the root of these costs are restrictive union contracts:

Another factor that reduces postal service efficiency is that union contracts inhibit the flexibility of USPS leaders in managing their workforce. For example, most postal workers are protected by “no-layoff” provisions, and the USPS must let go lower-cost part-time and temporary employees before it can lay off a full-time worker not covered by such provisions.

There’s a lot more in this report, which makes a great case that the postal service should be privatized and its monopoly on first-class mail ended. The benefits would redound to the benefit of taxpayers and customers, providing the service the Founders had in mind when they gave Congress the power to “…establish Post Offices and post Roads.” In this day and age, that does not require a government-run, inefficient, and monopolistic postal service.

It’s time to privatize the USPS.

I might then get my packages on time.

Footnote:
(1) By the way, if any Amazon employees are reading this, tell your boss, Jeff, to stop using USPS for deliveries. It’s your two-day guarantee to Prime customers they’re breaking and your reputation they’re harming. Fire them.
(2) The page for which apparently works as well has the healthcare.gov payment system — not at all. I sense a trend in government-built web sites.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Merry Christmas, one and all

December 25, 2013

Santa and I wish you a very happy day.

(Normal service resumes tomorrow.)


Sorry for the light posting this weekend

December 15, 2013
"Blah"

“Blah”

Been fighting a cold or a massive allergy attack. Don’t know which; just wish it would go away. Normal service resumes tomorrow. I hope.


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2013

No blogging today, folks. Enjoy the holiday. Happy


Slow day today

August 25, 2013

satire napping

No  real news worth working oneself into outrageous outrage on this lazy Sunday. Good for napping and reading, though. Just finished Lincoln’s Constitution (Great book), trying to figure out which to open up, next.

What’s new with you?


Rule 5 Friday: Wonderful World edition

March 15, 2013

It’s a slow Friday, news-wise, which is sometimes a signal that it’s time to sit back and contemplate the good and beautiful in this world, those that make life worth living.

Such as Kate Upton in a black bikini:

Rule 5 Kate Upton black bikini.jpg

As the great Louis Armstrong said, “What a wonderful world!”

Happy Friday, folks! :D

Related: Rule 5 explained.


Happy New Year from Public Secrets

January 1, 2013

It was a heckuva party last night, wasn’t it?

Happy New Year, folks. May 2013 bring you all you could desire. :D


Merry Christmas, one and all

December 25, 2012

Santa and I wish you a very happy day.

(Normal service resumes tomorrow.)


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2012

No blogging today, folks. Enjoy the holiday. Happy


Sunday Links Fiesta, debate-skipping edition

January 8, 2012

I still can’t bring myself to watch the Republican debates: the quiz-show format, the never-ending quest for the gotcha moment or highlight soundbite, and (usually) liberal MSM hacks asking questions of conservative Republicans. (And on that last, I say “WTF??”)

Thank God there’s NFL football on.

But there are also good articles to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Here are a few I want to commend to your attention:

Debt-Watch: Senator (and future president) Marco Rubio has had enough with debt ceiling increases and wrote a scathing letter to President Obama to announce his opposition to another increase. Key phrase: “…the first three years of your presidency have been a profile in leadership failure.” Ouch!

Operation Fast & Furious: Three key ATF officials have been reassigned pending the DoJ Inspector General’s report. More scapegoats to protect Eric Holder and President Obama?

High-Speed Railroad-mania: For some reason, the statist Left are obsessed with high-speed railroads. (I suspect it’s a control-thing for them.) China’s vaunted program has been mired in scandal, while California’s proposed high-speed boondoggle has neared $100 billion in projected costs. So, what does the supposedly conservative (and definitely broke) government of the UK propose to do? Build their own high-speed railroad! James Delingpole calls it Britain’s “latest suicidal gesture.”

American Decline-Watch: President Obama announced massive cuts in military spending and active forces. The President says this will make American forces leaner and more efficient, while meeting our defense needs. Analyst Max Boot say these cuts put America on a “suicidal trajectory.” I agree with Max. For a reminder that American decline is a deliberate choice by Obama and his allies, have a look at Charles Krauthammer’s brilliant “decline is a choice.”

ObamaCare: The Supreme Court will be holding hearings on the constitutionality of ObamaCare soon. In preparation, Mario Loyola and other conservative-libertarian scholars have filed a brief explaining why not only should the individual mandate be struck down, but other key provisions, too.

Candidates-Watch: I’ve announced my support for Governor Perry for president, but other candidates are worth looking at, too. Fred Barnes argues that Governor Romney is more conservative than we think. I’m not wholly convinced, but thought there was enough here to chew over to make it worth passing along. Meanwhile, at Conservative Commune, a conservative, pro-life, Catholic woman makes the case against Rick Santorum.

Liberal Fascism-Watch: Call it “statism,” “the Chicago Way,” the “thugocracy,” whatever, President Obama is showing an arrogance and disregard for constitutional government that I have never seen in my lifetime. (In fact, I suspect this is what a Huey Long presidency would have looked like). At City Journal, Fred Siegel and Joel Kotkin write about “The New Authoritarianism.” It’s alarmist, but rightfully so. Meanwhile, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy takes Obama and the Democrats to the woodshed for violating the constitutional order and the Republicans for doing nothing to stop it.

Birthday-Watch: It was Kim Jong-Un’s birthday this weekend, though it’s a state secret as to just which day it is. The Telegraph has video of the latest Dear Leader celebrating by doing his best Michael Dukakis impression and driving a tank. Really, these NoKo propaganda videos are almost an entertainment genre themselves. My favorite is the happy soldiers jumping up and down for joy at the little Un’s visit.

Finally, food: After all those annoying or depressing articles, doesn’t some comfort food sound good? And what’s a better side dish for breakfast than potatoes? You’ll love these “Perfect Breakfast Potatoes,” from Crepes of Wrath.

Hey, I’m not all-politics, all the time, y’know!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Merry Christmas, one and all

December 25, 2011

Santa and I wish you a very happy day.

(Normal service resumes tomorrow.)


It’s 11:11:11 on 11/11/11

November 11, 2011

A bit of time geekery, for no reason other than I’m a geek.

Another geek, Obi’s Sister, points out that 111111 (today’s date) in binary converts to 63 in Base 10.

Like I said: geeks. I bet she can tell you all about her D&D character, too.

PS: Want to hear about mine?

PPS: And, by the way and in all seriousness, it’s also Veteran’s Day. If you see a vet, be sure to thank him or her, and keep the significance of the day in mind.


Sunday morning errands

August 21, 2011

I’m out until the afternoon — why is it a “day of rest” can be so hectic? 

But, if you’re in the mood for good content, have a look at some of the fine sites in the sidebar on the right.


Busy morning…

August 19, 2011

Normal posting resumes later today. :)


Independence Day link-a-palooza

July 4, 2011

None voted "present" here

Happy Independence Day! While you’re enjoying cookouts and fireworks, here are some links I think you’ll find of interest:

The Basics:

The Fourth of July commemorates the publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Take a moment to read what is, in essence, our vision statement. And while the 4th isn’t specifically about the Constitution, a refresher-reading of our nation’s operator’s manual is never out of order. (Unless you’re a progressive Democrat in Congress, but that’s another story.)

Further Reading:

The 4th of July isn’t just our Independence Day, but it was also the day of freedom for the Israeli hostages held at Entebbe Airport, Uganda. Today is the 35th anniversary of that amazing operation.

Some of the lesser-known Founders, signers of the Declaration, are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

We’re at war with Muslims who’ve chosen to wage jihad against us. Robert Spencer compares what we defend to what we defend against.

We’ve all heard of the Declaration of Independence. But, let’s face it, folks: it’s old and probably too hard for some to understand. Thankfully, Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has the lowdown on its replacement, perfect for the modern age: The Declaration of Dependence.

At Big Peace, a Cuban refugee says thank you to America.

The Republic is in danger, and the Fourth of July is its source! According to a Harvard study, patriotic events like Independence Day parades create more Republicans. The horror…

(Actually, it probably is horrifying in Harvard.)

Finally, and speaking of Republicans, here’s a transcript of an essay Ronald Reagan wrote on the eve of his first Independence Day as president: What July Fourth Means to Me. He was truly special.

Enjoy the holiday, folks!

UPDATE: One last link. At Blood of Prokopius, Father Dave, an Orthodox priest with an interest in roleplaying games and religion, looks at the Declaration of Independence from a Christian perspective.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Test

May 15, 2011

Just testing Windows Live Writer 2011, which I just discovered on the new Public Secrets Hamster-Powered Supercomputer. This is a picture, centered: DSC00278This is a table (it would be neat if I could finally do tables in WP):

A B C
D E F
G H I

Won’t bother with the smileys. The Microsoft selection is still El Stinko.

UPDATE: Hmm… It’s much improved over prior versions, but I may only use it when I need tables. For one, it posts thumbnails of all images, whereas I may want to use a larger size. Hence, I’d need to manually edit. Second, it still has that bad Microsoft habit of throwing unnecessary HTML code into a post, something that’s always bugged me.

Oh well.


Happy New Year and Blog Holiday

January 1, 2011

It was a heckuva party last night, wasn't it?

Happy New Year, folks. May 2011 bring you all you could desire. :D

Normal service resumes tomorrow.


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