Category Archives: Travel

Hitting Below the Beltway

In an effort to spread misery amongst “the masses”, as any good progressive sees the rest of us, the Obama Administration continues to show its true colors during this second week of the so-called “government shutdown”.  So called, because, by most reports, about 80 percent of the government is running as usual.

Some good people are without their paychecks because they’ve been deemed “non-essential” and have been furloughed.  Why Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are considered essential is beyond my ability to explain, even in good times.  But that’s another story.

The worst thing to come out of the “shutdown”, besides the mass media focusing their blame on the wrong people (Tea Party Republicans instead of big government progressives from BOTH parties), is the shutdown of national parks and memorials.  Even—maybe especially—the open air memorials in Washington, D.C. that never have guards around them, such as the World War II and the Vietnam memorials.

Imagine a government that would deny access to the National Mall to American citizens, many of whom have fought for this nation, but open it up for thousands of illegal aliens for an amnesty rally.  They found the cash to build a big stage and I assume needed all of the appropriate police on duty that most rallies on the National Mall require—all for a bunch of discontented felons who broke federal law to be here, who only want to gather to demand citizenship to a country they hate in order to get the benefits they love.  And they did it with the support of some left-wing Congressmen, many of whom were arrested at the rally.  These future democrat voters had the red carpet laid out for them by the administration, but 90-year-old WWII veterans in wheelchairs are apparently the enemy.  When you have Obama’s union buddies sponsoring your rally, you get treated differently than a busload of elderly veterans in town for a few hours to view their own memorial.  To paraphrase George Orwell in his book Animal Farm, all are equal, but some are more equal than others.

The treatment of veterans in this government shutdown has been disgusting, and it hasn’t just been the people who came on Honor Flights—many of them either ignored the barricades set up by federal officials (who apparently haven’t been furloughed)—and went in to see the memorial anyway.  For most of these heroes, this is the first and last opportunity they’ll have to see it, and they weren’t about to take any Obama-crap.

Other shutdown shenanigans using veterans as pawns have included not issuing death benefits to the families of fallen soldiers.  Within three days of a soldier’s death, the Pentagon usually pays out $100,000, but has said there is no authority to make those payments due to the shutdown.  However, Congress contested this saying that a law passed prior to the shutdown gave the Department of Defense the authority to make such payments. The Senate also passed such a law, but the White House resisted because the president doesn’t want to deal with these “piecemeal” laws that fund various parts of the government, but not his precious Obamacare.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that no legislation was needed for this because a private foundation, The Fisher House, has agreed to pay these benefits for the duration of the shutdown.  Carney said they would be reimbursed by the DoD once the shutdown is over.

But wait…there’s more:  military chaplains who have been furloughed were threatened that they will be punished if they perform masses and baptisms for free.

-Obama made sure to spread the hurt across the Atlantic:  he closed the D-Day Memorial in Normandy, France as well as a number of other military cemeteries.

-Obama has dictated that the only part of the American Forces Network that won’t be shut down is the news division.  AFN provides news, sports and entertainment to our soldiers stationed abroad.  During the shutdown, as they risk life and limb for their nation, they will only be allowed to watch the news programming- nothing that will entertain them.

Obama has never been good at hiding his disdain for the military and his choice of what to close and what to keep open speaks volumes.  That’s why veterans from all over will be making their voices heard this Sunday, October 13th in Washington, D.C. for the “Million Vet March on the Memorials”.  If you live within driving distance, please go to show your support for them, or at least take a minute to sign their petition on the website.

The whole shutdown is really about the complete funding for the leviathan law known as Obamacare, which in its first week of operation, has proven itself to be as successful as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.  Obama wasn’t willing to let Republicans in on the crafting of the law before it was passed, and he’s not willing to negotiate with them now.  He doesn’t like opposing views, and in his arrogance, doesn’t believe he has to hear them.

These events can’t be taken lightly.  I hope anyone who reads this will keep all of this in the back of your mind as a red flag.  Any president who would be willing to bully elderly veterans and keep a group of senior citizen tourists at Yellowstone under armed guard (yes, it happened, please read the article linked here) will do anything that needs to be done to make average citizens feel the pain in order to get what he wants…anything.

government-shutdown-cartoon-heller1-495x341***UPDATE 10/14/13:  Thousands of vets and supporters (including Sarah Palin) turned out yesterday to re-open the memorials in Washington, D.C.  Check out some memorable pictures here and here of the day’s peaceful protests.

Un-Lucky Charms

So we made it past May 21, 2011 and the world didn’t end the way religious broadcaster Harold Camping predicted. No one really thought it would–he’s been wrong before. President Obama, or as he’s now known, O’Bama, since his brief stop in Ireland this week, may wish that the reverend had been correct. It would have saved him much humiliation and prevented the gaffe marathon that has been his trip to Europe.

It started off with his apparent attempt to speak in a brogue while standing outside with the president of Ireland, who has just shaken someone’s hand and given them a cheerful, “Top o’ the mornin’!”.  In his defense, that’s a tough dialect to master, and I’m not completely sure he was trying or not.  It’s possible he was just speaking in his usual tilted cadence that he takes on whenever he’s speaking in public.  His voice sort of always goes up oddly at the end of every sentence.  You be the judge:  watch the video here.  On second thought, I think he was trying to imitate the Irish president’s greeting.

The luck o’ the Irish continued to evade the president as his motorcade left the U.S. Embassy on his way to make a speech in Dublin.  His huge, environmentally-un-friendly limo got hung up getting out of the driveway.  Not his fault, but still added to the omens that should have told him to just stay in bed that day.  Luckily for him, he had to leave Ireland prematurely due to another volcano in Iceland.  Seriously, you can’t make up this stuff.  Even First Lady Michelle’s hair wasn’t cooperating.

But the laughs continued in the United Kingdom when he got to toast the Queen.  Yeah, that also worked out well.  This embarrassing moment almost makes you feel a little sorry for the president.  Well, almost.  It’s hard to tell if the band just jumped in too soon there, or if whoever wrote the toast messed up by having what obviously sounds like the end of a toast right there at the beginning.

Things got no better when the Faux-Paux- In-Chief signed the guest book at Buckingham Palace.  Obviously longing for better days in better years, Obama dated the book “24 May 2008”.

If any of this (not to mention all of this) had happened to George W. Bush in one foreign trip, it would have been enough to cause the National Lampoon people to re-make their classic from long ago.  Only this time, it would feature a hapless American president instead of a hapless Clark Griswold.  They could call it, “S.N.A.F.U.:  European Vacation 2011″. 

The Spirit of Christmas Present- In Pictures

All Lit Up- The Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN

Better than Ever- Less than 8 months ago, the interior lobbies of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel sat under several feet of muddy flood water. Now, they're full of Christmas cheer.


Christmas at my house

Reason for the Season- this manger is on public property in Bellville, OH (shh!...don't tell the ACLU!)

Victorian Christmas- Gazebo in Bellville, OH park.

Christmas in My Hometown- small town in rural New York state.

The Facade of Security

This post is just a follow up to my last one about the new airport security measures to share a link to an excellent article from the Canada Free Press website entitled “Why Airline Security Doesn’t Work”.  I hope you’ll take the time to read it because it explains clearly why what we’re doing has no basis in common sense.  I especially hope you’ll read it if you’ve been of the belief that  the new airport security procedures are no big deal and that it’s necessary for us to “be safe”.  How much of your freedom are you willing to give away in order to have what you think is security?  As you think about that, remember that people have died and continue to die for your right to move about your nation freely.

Incidentally, if these scanners are so very important to our safety, why did so many of them sit idle yesterday, the busiest air travel day of the year, at some of the busiest airports?  Check this out.

Flying the (Way Too) Friendly Skies

Happy Holidays from the TSA!

          Thousands of air passengers are getting ready to take to the skies this week for what is usually the busiest travel season of the year. Some will reluctantly go with the knowledge that they will have to subject themselves to the new “enhanced” safety screenings performed—in many cases by some apparently over-zealous—agents of the Transportation Safety Administration.
          As of late October, passengers may be selected to walk through a full-body scanner that leaves very little to the imagination. These “virtual strip searches” show every bulge, crevice and (for those so inclined) every piercing on the human body. I would put a link from here to the images produced by these scanners, but this is sort of a “family-friendly” blog. All you need to do is search for them…you’ll find them.
          Should passengers be a little camera-shy, they must then go through an enhanced pat-down. No longer are the TSA agents using the backs of their hands for a quick check on top and a quick swipe of a wand below the waist. No, sir—these are now full hands-on searches of a person’s private areas. Reports and photos have been coming out daily of nuns, three-year-olds and pretty much everyone least likely to be a terrorist getting pulled aside for extra scrutiny since the new guidelines were put in place.
          One particularly disturbing story comes out of Charlotte, NC. It was there that a veteran flight attendant and breast cancer survivor was forced to remove her prosthetic breast during a pat-down on her way to work. Cathy Bossi, a flight attendant for 32 years, told WBTV, “I did not take the name of the person at the time because it was so horrific of an experience, I couldn’t believe someone had done that to me. I’m a flight attendant. I was just trying to get to work.”
          It makes me thankful that I only have to put up with heavy traffic on the interstate on my way to work.
          Ms. Bossi has since contacted her flight attendants’ union, which has put their Legislative Affairs Team on the case to look into it further.
          Another cancer survivor, 61-year-old Thomas Sawyer (yes, that’s his name!), was even more shaken as he traveled from Detroit to Orlando in early November. Mr. Sawyer had the unfortunate situation of having his urostomy bag broken while going through his pat-down. Though he warned the TSA official about the bag prior to his “encounter”, he was apparently ignored. As a result, he was forced to walk through the airport and board the plane with wet clothes, and was only allowed to clean up after the plane took off. For his troubles, Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole, called Mr. Sawyer to apologize. Now that’s compassion. It’s nice to know that when your own government humiliates you in public and forces you to walk around in clothes drenched in urine that you’ll at least get a phone call from Washington.
          Tales of bizarre antics of passengers and agents alike surface with regularity on the internet and the airwaves. Some are hilarious, like the guy in San Diego, who decided to just strip down to his boxers (or maybe they were briefs), rather than have strangers see everything else via the scanners.
Others are just plain sad as those of the cancer survivors previously described. Sad not just because their health issues and privacy were compromised (by the same government that put health care privacy laws in place, no less). But it’s sad because all this chaos has not resulted in the apprehension of any terrorists because they always seem to be one step ahead. In some cave somewhere, Osama Bin Laden is having a good belly-laugh as he sees the pictures and videos of Americans being subjected to nearly the same kind of screenings that people who have already been found guilty of crimes receive. It’s now guilty until proven innocent in America. The terrorists have won as the Fourth Amendment crumbles.
          When will we say, as a free people, “This is the line and you may not cross it.”?


“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin

Low Volt-age

I’ve been away from my blog for a few weeks due to writer’s block and a trip home.  Most of the time, I drive the nearly-740-mile trip to the town where I grew up, which takes anywhere from 12.5 to 14 hours, depending on road construction, traffic, weather and my own tiredness.  So, being someone who likes to take road trips, I was slightly interested when I heard this week that Chevrolet is finally taking orders for the new Volt, an electric car that has gotten a big build-up from the media, environmentalists and the president…you see why I was only slightly interested?

Glowing comments from those mentioned above mean that something is probably a total bust…and it is.  The Chevy Volt will cost $41,000 (unless you take the $7,500 tax credit for buyers of electric vehicles), and will get—wait for it— 40 miles on a full charge of its battery, plus an additional 340 miles on a gasoline-powered generator.  My drive to work and back alone would be enough to cause the Volt to have to use the gasoline.  The good thing is, from what I understand about the Volt, it does have a way to re-charge the battery while you drive using the gasoline generator, which is what makes it different from other plug-in cars, that take hours to re-charge.  The bad thing—it uses premium gasoline, so you’d be paying the top price when you need gas.

Just as a way of comparison, the 2010 Honda Civic I rented to make my drive home allowed me to go about 400 miles on a full tank of regular gas.  They cost less than $20,000.  My own car, a ’99 Prizm, still gets about 350 miles per tank when the tank’s full—and that car cost me less than $10,000 when I bought it almost ten years ago.  Needless to say, I won’t be in the market for an electric car of any type.

Even with the tax-payer-funded assistance to buy it, the Volt isn’t likely to be seen with any regularity in most middle class neighborhoods anytime soon.  People still like their SUV’s and pick-up trucks.  According to a news report I just heard, sales of large vehicles were up by 19% in the first half of this year, compared to 14% for small cars.

That won’t make Obama very happy.  Remember, he said this during the 2008 campaign:

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.  That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.”

This from the man who flies everywhere on a gas-powered private plane, gets chauffeured around in gas-powered limos, is pictured on every trip he takes stuffing his face with some local fare, and cranks the heat in the winter in the Oval Office.  So typical of this “do as I say, not as I do” administration.

Inefficient and Expensive: ...and the car's not so great either! This is the only time you'll see Mr. Prez in one of these things.

He also promised to put 1 million plug-in cars on the road by 2015.  But, if he gets his Cap and Trade energy scheme going, that will put many coal mining companies out of business, and since we get nearly half of our electricity from coal, where will the electricity come from to power all of these wonderful cars?  No one wants to see every rural field filled with windmills (which are known to be noisy and destroy wildlife), and Niagra Falls isn’t even big enough to generate the power needed by 300 million people every day.

This is just another way the elitists in our government hope to make us more like Europe.  They drive tiny little cars there, pay upwards of $6.00 a gallon for gas, and live very close together.  I’ve said in previous posts, we are NOT Europeans.  We are still Americans, and we like the freedom of driving where we want and when we want, and we really don’t want anyone to tell us what kind of car we should drive.  If these Volts and other such vehicles were the wave of the future, the government wouldn’t have to bribe people through tax credits to get them.

Slacker Nation

Are vacations the newest human right?  Maybe…at least if you live in Europe.  The European Union has declared that traveling is, in fact, a human right, and wants to make sure that everyone—regardless of their ability to pay for it—will get to go on a holiday.  Of course, this will be paid for courtesy of the taxpayers of the EU.  According to The Times of London, the idea was proposed by Antonio Tajani, who (oddly enough) is the EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry.  It will cost European taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to keep the recipients of this program from being enterprising and industrious.

 Mr. Tajani said, “Traveling for tourism today is a right.  The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life.”  The program will be fully implemented in 2013.  Just who will benefit from it is yet to be determined.  My guess is the ones who benefit from it would be anyone that the progressive politicians see as “downtrodden”, and in need of a taxpayer-sponsored vacation.  Oh, and to keep these people voting for the right party of course.

 So why should we care?  Given the current climate of Big Government handouts in the United States, our nation is ripe for adopting even more European socialistic ideas such as this.  One example is in the health care reforms coming our way.  Prior to the passage of the massive spending bill, all we heard from liberals was that “health care is a human right”.

In defending the horrendous freedom-stealing, un-Constitutional health care law, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-LaLa Land) recently commented that it was an “entrepreneurial bill” that would allow people not to feel locked into a job. How so? Because all of us—those who pay taxes—will continue to work our tails off in order to allow others among us to keep their health care.  Therefore, anyone who wants to can quit whatever crappy job they might have to go off and find themselves.  Nancy doesn’t seem to know what an entrepreneur is or does.  They don’t just sit around thinking creative thoughts and looking for inspiration in the clouds.  They sacrifice, work 10-15 hour days, and sometimes work at a job they don’t like until their dream job can replace their income.

The problem with these progressive schemes to stay in power by buying votes is summed up best by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when she said, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually, you run out of other people’s money.”

If everyone leaves jobs they hate to pursue some venture that brings no income, those people will not be paying taxes.  Where will the political class get the money to pay for all of these ridiculous plans they concoct?  They’ll just have to print and borrow more. 

Back before the health care bill was passed into law, Speaker Pelosi told us to imagine an economy where people could be free to pursue their artistic passions and not have to worry about not having health insurance.  I can imagine it.  It’s called Europe, and we are not Europeans.  They are already bankrupt, and we’re headed in that same direction…and there’s no reason for it.  After all, we left there for a reason.

What other “human rights’ can we soon begin to claim?  Let’s see…everyone should have a new car, fully loaded, of course…and maybe a beachside condominium…and…well you get the picture.