Sunday, October 20, 2013

Death Threats for Goblin Valley Rock Tumblers: an OP ED (ok, yes, it's a rant, sheesh)

By this point we've all pretty much seen the video. If you haven't, here it is, one more time, so you can see the raw footage of these self described "heroes" as they attempt to dislodge a rock formation, known as a hoodoo, that's been sitting there since the Jurassic period so it wouldn't "fall over and hit some little kid." Let's all be  honest, here. If they were really that concerned that a hoodoo was going to randomly fall and kill some random kid, they would have gone on a hoodoo toppling spree all over the park.

I won't even get into the "wiggle it just a little bit" sing-song voice the guy holding the camera had going on while filming this. Nor will I go into the little dance the guy on the other rock was doing after "muscles" pushed the rock over. Believe it or not, I'm not going to go into the "modified Goblin Valley" comment the videographer made while filming this.

All of these things, the reactions, the big fun atmosphere of the situation, speak for themselves. These things are self evident and in my mind show full and well the intent behind toppling the boulder from it's perch.

For those of you unfamiliar with Goblin Valley, it was discovered in modern times in the 1920's, proposed to be established as a park in the 1950's in order to protect the area from vandalism, was established as such in the 1960's, and survived the Jurassic era on up through the millennia to naturally erode into some of the breathtaking and incredible natural scenery that exists today when visitors come to hike and camp in the park. Survival, in it's natural state, until three knuckleheads come along to one of the hoodoos and decide to "wiggle it...just a little bit."

Granted, this incident does, clearly, indicate willful and deliberate vandalism on the part of these guys involved in the video footage. No matter how they justify it or defend their actions, the footage speaks for itself.

That being said.

The consequences of their actions should be left up to the legal system, not to a gaggle of lynch happy environmentalist nutcases sending in cards, letters, text messages, telegrams, carrier pigeon messages, airmail, email, sea mail, snail mail, and chain mail (um, yeah, scratch that last one) threatening their lives for disturbing the landscape because they consider it to be "very, very sacred." Death threats are not the answer here, but to some, this sort of knee-jerk reaction is a common sort of thing in response to the "harming of mother Earth."


"Mother Earth" is more than capable of handling herself, and would be much better off without the interference of humankind in other, far more destructive to the environment practices, such as the dredging of wetlands in order to make dwellings and shopping malls, oil spills in the oceans, clear cutting instead of select cutting, relocation of animal species from their native environments and introducing predatory species into regions where they have never been or have naturally migrated from through the years in order to "control" other populations rather than letting those species be hunted (such as introducing rattlesnakes into regions in North America in order to keep wild turkey populations down by the snakes eating the turkey eggs), and other such large scale changes to the face of the planet. The toppling over of one rock in one state park is not even a grain of sand in comparison to some of the things done, commercially, around the world on any given day, but these things are ignored.

It literally pales in comparison, and the event does not warrant death threats to be made against these individuals. First off, let the legal system work, and let them be charged. It seems a no brainer that the charge should be vandalism. Secondly, as these individuals were out on this rock toppling outing, let their community ostracize them in their own way, as I'm sure it is already doing. Who would want to be, at this point, the guy who pushed the rock over, coming home to face his wife and family? Not to mention his coworkers and the people in his neighborhood. Thirdly, let the Boy Scouts of America deal with them as well, as they were out for an official Boy Scout outing while they were visiting the park. While I have my own issues with the Boy Scouts of America over some of their more recent controversial decisions, this is a matter that they need to deal with and address, as well as take a look at what other recent policy decisions that they have made, as a body, which would leave them open to such scrutiny as this, as well as other scrutiny.

The bottom line is this: no people or animals were injured during the filming of this idiotic stunt. There is no monetary loss that has resulted from it. The stars have not misaligned, the polar caps have not reversed, there were no earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, whirlpools, tornadoes, landslides, mudslides, nor death by chocolate involved in this stunt. It was simply that, a stupid stunt.

To all of you people out there getting your collective panties in a wad over something that really, in the end, is a trivial local matter to be handled by park officials in Utah, GET OVER YOURSELVES. STOP MAKING DEATH THREATS. The making of a death threat is something that should be done with careful consideration over the events leading up to the making of such a threat. Death threats are to be made only as a retribution for such dire events as rape, homicides, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, and, occasionally, by certain female members of the species toward their male household members for leaving the toilet seat up. When we, as individuals, do such things as make death threats for something like these bone heads have done, we show ourselves to be mindless little reactionaries who give no thought. Yes, I meant to leave the sentence on that. If you get so upset over the toppling of a rock by some moron that you stoop to making death threats over it then you are a non thinking individual and perhaps, in the final analysis,  you are the one who should be considered for termination yourself.

Something to think about.

Unfortunately, thought seems to have left the building on this one.

Sic vis pacem parabellum.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Government Reopens...For Now....

Having reached a deal yesterday to reopen the federal government, sequestered, laid off, furloughed workers today began to report back to their jobs in and around the country. What deal was reached,  however, may not be exactly what you may think it is, at it only funds the government until the middle of January, putting a burden on a committee to make sure that things role smoothly past that point:

The group of Democrats and Republicans from the Senate and House of Representatives is expected to start working in coming days and would have to report recommendations by December 13.
While there are no prescribed consequences if the committee fails to agree on recommendations, government funding runs out again on January 15, and the threat of another federal shutdown will put pressure on lawmakers for a deal.
On the other hand, such committees do not have a great track record. Washington has seen numerous deficit commissions and negotiating "gangs" and "supercommittees" fail, most notably after the budget deal in 2011.

One can only speculate what conditions will have to be met for compromise in order to keep this country rolling under the current governmental representatives. Full details on the compromise package, which include a $174,000 check to the widow of late millionaire Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. With these kinds of "deals," is it any wonder why we can't keep the country running?

Sic vis pacem parabellum


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Senate Reaches Deal to Open Government

Senators Reid and McConnell have brought their parties, at least at the senate level, into agreement range in a bid to reopen the federal government. Speaker Boehner will call the House to vote on a resolution for the end of the shutdown as well.

The House is scheduled to consider the deal at 3 p.m.; the Senate, "after dinner," according to CNN.

The Senate deal would:
  • Keep the government open until Jan. 15;
  • Increase the debt ceiling through Feb. 7;
  • Appoint negotiators to hammer out a long-term budget deal;
  • Require income verification for those signing up for Obamacare subsidies.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced the agreement on the Senate floor, where it was expected to win swift approval after a main Republican critic of the deal, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said he would not use procedural moves to delay a vote.

Senator Cruz of Texas has come out against the deal stating that it does not address Obamacare: ""The deal that has been cut provides no relief to millions of Americans who are hurting because of Obamacare. The deal that has been cut provides no relief to the young people coming out of school who cannot find a job because of Obamacare."

Regardless of who is to blame for having kept the government shut down for the past two weeks, the people of the United States are the real losers in all the political wrangling during this beltway showdown. The politicians that have been sent to Washington are not there representing the interests of the people of this country. The bullying, the haranguing, the posturing and posing, have all been for the benefits of the cameras covering the events of the shutdown. Washington keeps itself separated and segregated from the rest of the country by passing laws that they, themselves, do not follow or adhere to.

According to some legends of King Arthur, Camelot fell into sharp decline when there was one set of laws for the kingdom and a different set of laws for the King. Are we, as Camelot, falling into decline as a nation because of the same circumstance? Can a nation exist if there is one set of laws for the governors and another set for the governed? If history is any judge, looking at Rome and the Soviet system, such a system is doomed to failure...

Just a thought

Sic vis pacem parabellum


New Hampshire Man Fired for Protecting Gas Station

It seems that if you are a responsible gun owner, using your legally purchased firearm to protect yourself AND your employer from loss or injury by would be thieves in this country, the reward coming your way for acting in what should be and used to be a logical and appropriate manner will result in your dismissal.

Shannon "Bear" Cothran told the Telegraph of Nashua that he was working at a Shell station in Nashua early Monday when a man approached him with a knife. Police confirmed that the would-be robber fled after Cothran pulled out a gun.
Cothran said he then filed a report with Nouria Energy Corp., which owns the station, and was fired hours later even though the store manager and a district manager lobbied to save his job.
The company states that while they are "grateful" no one was injured and there was no loss of property in this instance, their no weapons policy falls in line with the policies adopted by other companies across the country. One has to wonder, however, how many companies go along with policies like this under pressure of the anti-gun lobby, and how much longer will companies continue to run along like lemmings over the edge of a cliff while convenience store employees are killed because they ARE unarmed in accordance with company guidelines?

Find contact information for Nouria Energy Corp. here, if you wish to drop them a line and tell them what you think of their policies.

Sic vis pacem parabellem (if you want peace, prepare for war)


Thursday, October 10, 2013

U.S Cuts Aid to Egypt...Maybe...

Sometimes it's like watching parents who can't decide how to deal with unruly children. To many, this is a no brainer: cut aid to them NOW, and don't even CONSIDER restoring it until they have a government that is friendly and receptive to us.

Or do things the way that I think we should and stop giving aid to other countries at all until we have rendered aid to OUR OWN COUNTRYMEN first...

At stake: a sizable portion of the $1.5 billion the U.S. provides Egypt each year. Much of the aid is in military equipment, and at least a quarter-billion in cash assistance to the Egyptian government and $300 million in a loan guarantee are also now in limbo.
The State Department made clear Wednesday that the decision to freeze the aid wasn't permanent and it could be restored if "credible progress" is made toward setting up an inclusive government in the wake of the military coup that overthrew the elected if unpopular government of President Mohammed Morsi.

It should be remembered that Morsi was Obama's choice for leadership in Egypt during the "Arab Spring." Now, as the "spring" seems to show only more signs of shifting and evolving (as any fire eventually does to survive. The world wonders what form it will take next.

Sic vis pacem parabellum.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Updated: Government Denies Death Benefits to Service Members During Shutdown

See update below.

Adding to the list of things not being done by the federal government during the government shutdown, the Pentagon has released a statement that it does not have the "authority" to authorize death benefits for service members killed during this time period.

All of the leaders noted that despite the recall of most civilians, and the resumption of many activities across the Department of Defense, there are critical programs and benefits that remain halted. For example, the department does not currently have the authority to pay death gratuities for the survivors of service members killed in action – typically a cash payment of $100,000 paid within three days of the death of a service member. In addition, emergency funding that supports commanders on the ground and intelligence activities remains unavailable. Service leaders also reported that because of the shutdown, they are curtailing training for later deploying units – an activity that has already been reduced due to sequestration.

Blame who you will for the current governmental shutdown, but for service members to be denied death benefits, for the families of those service members to have stress added upon them unnecessarily, because two groups of people cannot come to terms, compromise with each other, and come to agreements over what amounts to little more than individuals being worried about their legacies over serving the public they were elected to represent, is reprehensible.

It is of little wonder that our founding fathers warned us against political party systems.

To our legislative bodies: fix this mess.


Sic vis pacem parabellum.


Update: A private charity has stepped up to the plate to do what our government can't/won't do during the shutdown period.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday families of troops who die during the government shutdown will receive a death benefit payment, despite legal restrictions on the Pentagon, thanks to a deal reached with a private charity.

But Can They Be Declared "Legally Stupid?"

Sometimes the mainline news is just too strange to be true. A New York (could have been anywhere else other than California?) court is today weighing arguments that three convicts cannot be guilty of murder because they were "too intoxicated" to realize that they were a danger to themselves or others.

Yes. You read that right. It's amazing the lengths some people will go to in order to avoid taking personal responsibility for their own actions. Worse, it's amazing what lengths attorneys will go to in order to help them do so.

From MSN:

The murder convictions of Martin Heidgen, Taliyah Taylor and Franklin McPherson all hinge on the prosecution's contention they acted with "depraved indifference to human life" in fatal crashes that share a number of common threads: driving too fast in the wrong lane while under the influence.
Defense attorneys argued prosecutors failed to prove their clients acted with depraved indifference and, in fact, their clients were too impaired to know what they were doing.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and with the judge in the case hoping common sense will prevail on the bench.

Sic vis pacem parabellum.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Arizona to Require Citizenship Proof for State Elections

Illegal Immigration and Arizona, next round.

From MSN:

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 in June to strike down a voter-registration law designed to stop illegal immigrants from casting ballots in the state, which borders Mexico and has been at the heart of the U.S. national battle over immigration.
The law had required would-be voters to show proof of citizenship both when registering to vote and when casting a ballot, but the court ruled that the measure was trumped by federal law.
On Monday, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne spelled out the new policy in an opinion issued in response to a request from Secretary of State Ken Bennett, seeking clarification in light of the top court's ruling.
"Those who registered to vote using the federal form, which does not require evidence of citizenship, should not vote in state elections or sign petitions," Horne, a Republican, concluded in the 16-page opinion.
Related: Southern states are moving to tighten voting rules
But he said the rules outlined in the Arizona voter registration measure, Proposition 200, were still valid for local elections.
"Persons seeking to register to vote must comply with Proposition 200's evidence of citizenship requirement in order to become ... eligible to vote in state and local elections and to sign candidates, initiative, referendum or recall petitions," he added.
It should be noted that illegal immigration is not as tolerated in Mexico, which has, traditionally, had some very harsh penalties for persons found to be in Mexico illegally. Under pressure from the U.S., Mexico has begun to implement changes to their own policies regarding illegal immigration within Mexican borders.

One has to wonder how many "undocumented workers" have been furloughed by the U.S. federal government during the shutdown.

Does the government practice what it preaches in the hiring of  the "undocumented?"

Or is this something that the government, once again, expects for the rest of the country to tolerate and promote while exempting itself?

Sic vis pacem parabellum.


American Kids Aren't the Only Ones With Low Test Scores

For years concern has been raised that American children do not fair as well as children from other countries in academics. Public education has been trying, in my opinion unsuccessfully, to rectify this problem by introducing standardized curriculum and standardized testing across the country, but it hasn't seemed to make the impact that was desired.

Unless you ask the companies who create the standardized subjects.

From MSN:

WASHINGTON — It's long been known that America's school kids haven't measured well compared with international peers. Now, there's a new twist: Adults don't either.
In math, reading and problem-solving using technology — all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength — American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.
Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.
Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation's high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven't.

The study does note that children of college graduates do preform better than those children of parents who did not attend college.

The point is this: we are too concerned with teaching political trends in our school systems today, especially at the younger ages, than we are in teaching our children how to do one simple thing, the art of thinking. We have removed the thought process, the practice of using intellect and reason, from our classrooms and school systems, teaching a watered down, spoon fed, agenda driven curriculum in the classroom, that agenda mainly being the content of what will be on the standardized tests that students take at different points throughout their school years. Our kids are becoming experts on filling in the little bubbles on a card that will be scanned in to check their responses, but give them an essay examination  and the results are often frightening. Correct grammar is hard to find, as text message lingo often is used in place of correct grammatical entries. Throwing in the allowance of cell phones into the classroom,  kids today have learned a new way of getting answers that they've found on television, most notably from game shows, by using the "phone a friend" method of getting answers to questions they don't know themselves.

If the United States (I still, personally, cringe at using the generalized "Americans," as there is no nation called "America") is to succeed internationally in competition with other countries, then we're going to have to revert to an older method of teaching, and that is to include using rational thought processes back in the daily curriculum

Sic vis pacem parabellum


Monday, October 7, 2013

Hulk Montana? Huh?

Just when you think things regarding Miley Cyrus can't get any stranger, Hulk Hogan comes along and shows, yes they can:

I like the Hulkster, but some things are just a comment in and of themselves...

Mike Tippitt

Living In an Amish Paradise

As the list of groups opting out of Obamacare grows, one more segment of society can be added to the mix: the Amish. Following their tradition of segregating themselves from "English" society and governmental regulations, the Amish have, as a group, chosen not to participate in the President's health care reform.

From MSN:

Along with eschewing cars and many other modern technologies, the descendants of 18th-century German immigrants who practice the Amish and Old Order Mennonite religions, have effectively opted out of Obamacare, along with most federal safety net programs.
A little-known provision of the law with its roots in a 1950s battle over Social Security exempts these communities from the individual mandate, an element of the Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance in some form.
But it is not the idea of health insurance the Amish reject — the close-knit communities essentially insure themselves.
"We have our own health care," said a retired Amish carpenter, who like other Amish interviewed for this story, asked that his name not be used because of a traditional aversion to publicity and bringing attention to oneself.
Meaning no disrespect to the Amish community in any way, the title of this article does take it's name from Weird Al Yankovich's parody Amish Paradise.

It should be noted that no barns were damaged in the writing of this article.

Mike Tippitt

Satan is Real, Scalia Says So

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believes Satan is real. According to an interview with New York Magazine, in which he discussed topics ranging from words having meaning to Seinfeld and the dropping of the "F-bomb," Justice Scalia reveals his personal belief that the Devil is alive and well, but that he doesn't think Satan does much of anything anymore.

Perhaps Justice Scalia should compare notes with Reverend Billy Graham and Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson. Graham, in an interview with Newsmax, forwards his belief that America is a place run amok with immorality, and his belief that the second coming will be soon. In similar tone, Robertson, founder of Duck Commander and star of A&E's Duck Dynasty, sends his own message, stating that America would be better if we all loved God more and repented of our ways.

Mike Tippitt

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Blame Game

I have a very serious question to ask. If you didn't know, thanks to the media telling you over and over how the government was shut down, would you feel any repercussions from it personally? It's a serious question, not one that requires any answer to me, personally, but one that you have to answer for yourself. Once you've answered that question for yourself, then you have to decide whether or not to do something about it.

The media is full of blame, the politicians are full of blame, the American people are all taking their sides on who is to blame for this shutdown. The main streamers seem to want to blame the Republicans, shouldering the burden of blame fully on them for responsibility for this latest (I shudder to use the word that has been so overused the past several years) crisis. According to Media Research Center, the main stream media was blaming the pending shutdown on Republicans for two weeks before it even happened. There seems to be a trend to this, we'll discuss that at another time.

Who do we blame, who do we blame, who do we blame and pile heeps of shame? The real answer to this question is no further away than your bathroom mirror.

I'll let that soak in for a moment while posting a picture of a random Kardashian, Rob, who doesn't care about "keeping up" with the rest of the family, to distract you, main stream media style, from the real problems and events of the day:

I'm not here to play the blame game with anyone, I'm not here to play he said/she said. I will point out that the federal debt limit has been raised under el Presidente Obama. I will also say that we, the citizenry of the United States, do not do our own research on our candidates, but will instead let the media present our politicians to us like a pig at a luau. We the people do not participate in our government, as responsible citizens, such as were our founding fathers. We participate in keeping it with the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, or who George Clooney is being seen with this week. Distraction is the game of the day, and until the government shuts down, we don't really pay that much attention, and as a result we do not send the best and brightest to Washington, or even to our state or local governments, to represent US. When we do pay attention, such as in the case of the current shutdown, the main streamers do what they can to hype it up into an evangelical frenzy, only instead of preaching about the Grace and Wrath of God, their subject is how you should be afraid, be VERY afraid, that your nanny state isn't able to watch over you...

Just a thought.

Sic vis pacem parabellum.

Mike Tippitt

Thursday, October 3, 2013


It's been over a year and a half since my last posting saying I'd be back soon. Soon has arrived, and it is now.

There have been a lot of things that have changed in the past few years since I was actively blogging and keeping up with the melee that seems to be our political structure, some changes for the better, some for the worse, some changes of a personal nature, a great, great many changes that have happened in our country and in our world since I decided to pull my shingle in that day back in 2009. Some days it seems like yesterday, some days it seems to have all happened a lifetime ago. However, these are things that are private and personal to me, and while there are blog sites that are dedicated to the musings and going's on of the day to day and personal reflections, that was never the intention nor purpose of Highly Opinionated. This is a site that was, and is, dedicated to the following of current events and news, and how those events and happenings affect us politically and as a society.

For those of you who are finding me for the first time, let me qualify my positions by stating this: I am not politically affiliated nor aligned with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Tea Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, nor any other political party in existence today or prior to today. Our founding fathers warned us against the formation of a party system in this country, yet we have not heeded their warnings and have done so. It affects us adversely today, as can be seen by the current gridlock in our national government and the closure of "non-essential" offices and agencies of our government. We'll discuss "non-essential" at a later time, quite likely tomorrow morning.

For now, I am back, and intend to be back, for the foreseeable future.


Sic vis pacem parabellum.