Obama’s not even trying to look competent, anymore.

What else can you call it when he appoints a lawyer as the Czar in charge of responding to a possible outbreak of a deadly disease?

Ron Klain, an attorney who worked for Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is president of Case Holdings, which handles business interests for former AOL CEO Steve Case, and general counsel at Revolution LLC, a tech-focused venture capital firm in Washington, according to the White House.

A lawyer, in charge of a medical crisis. What could possibly go wrong?

What are his qualifications?

Although Mr. Klain does not come from the public health sector, the White House said he possesses “strong management credentials, extensive federal government experience overseeing complex operations and good working relationships with leading members of Congress, as well as senior Obama administration officials, including the president.”

Okay. No medical or public health experience whatsoever. So what are his qualifications?

Well, according to Wikipedia, he “was involved in both of Bill Clinton‘s campaigns, oversaw Clinton’s judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore’s recount committee in the 2000 election aftermath.” He has served as Chief of Staff under former Vice President Al Gore and current Vice President Joe Biden. He was “heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry‘s campaign”. He “apparently signed off on President Obama’s support of a $535 million loan guarantee for now-defunct solar-panel company Solyndra.”

In other words, he’s been a loyal Party hack supporter and lobbyist for a long time, and this position of status and power is his reward.

Never mind the lives at stake, we have to reward Our Glorious Leader’s supporters! SMH.

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[Source: Washington Times article, retrieved 10/16/2014]

[Source: Wikipedia entry for Ron Klain, retrieved 10/16/2014]

Smile!

If you clicked through the product links in my last post, you may have noticed that they went to something called “AmazonSmile”, instead of just plain Amazon. But what is AmazonSmile? It’s pretty much just Amazon – in fact, it is Amazon – but when you buy through Smile, a portion of the purchase price is donated to the charity of your choice.

When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

You log in to Smile with your same Amazon account, and the first time you log in you are prompted to choose an organization. You can change which organization gets the donation at any time. I have my account set up to donate to my local Rescue Squad (the same one I’m a member of, actually).

I have compared between Smile and regular Amazon, and the prices I’ve checked are the same. They’re donating part of their profits (albeit a small part), not tacking on an extra charge. It seems well worth it, to me!

I encourage everyone who uses Amazon to at least consider AmazonSmile. It looks like a good setup.

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First Aid Kit Upgrade!

After reading Tam’s post on adding stuff to her first aid kits the other day, and seeing some offerings on Amazon, I decided (after looking at the checkbook and doing some math) that it was time to finally upgrade my current kit.

What was wrong with my old kit, you ask? Well, that requires a short history lesson. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a member of my town’s Rescue Squad. Back in the late ’90’s, we started up a bicycle EMS team for special events (mainly university football games). For that first year, while it was still being run on a trial basis, we were responsible for providing our own bicycles and our own bags for gear. Since our response area during football games included the dorms and other campus buildings, we had to be able to take our gear with us while leaving the bikes outside, so most of us used some form of fanny-pack. What I ended up getting was this:

Am I going fishing, or rescuing someone?

Am I going fishing, or rescuing someone?

That is actually a fishing pack that I picked up at Wally-World. Cheap, portable, and the extra belt pockets allowed a little more organization than most fanny-packs that were available at the time. But it’s also bulky, the main compartment has no internal organization, and it’s neither marked as a first aid kit nor is it a conspicuous color.

It worked, and it has worked as my in-car kit for over a decade, but it’s far from ideal. Last week, the stars aligned and I ordered this bag as a replacement.

IMAG0084It’s designed from the ground up as a medical kit, has multiple internal pockets and loops for better organization, is a conspicuous color (“Rescue Red”) and can be easily marked as a medkit with a Velcro patch. It is a little smaller, with less internal volume, but I also planned on thinning out my inventory a bit, since it’s main purpose is now as an off-duty personal kit.

So, on to the RFAK (Responder First Aid Kit) building! (Below the fold, since there are several pictures to load.)

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Blowing out the cobwebs

Wow, it’s, uh, been a while, hasn’t it? Well, in the immortal words of Granny Weatherwax, “I aten’t ded.” Sorry about the long silence.

Anyway, I’m actually working on a new post. It should be up in the next day or so.

Snapshot of a College Town

Sitting in the downtown Waffle House yesterday, I heard the folks at the next table discussing, in all seriousness, whether the rise of the Galactic Empire in Star Wars more closely resembles the transformation of Rome from republic to empire, or the rise of the Nazi regime prior to WWII.

Political history as presented in contemporary popular science fiction. Not as unserious as it sounds.

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Busy gun show

The great part about where I live is that the local gun shows are about halfway between my house and my parents. That means that Dad and I have gotten into the habit of meeting at the gun show and spending the day together. Yesterday, we met there and after we had finished wandering around the show I followed him home.

We knew that it would be crowded, and it was. Dad got there first and bought our tickets, after waiting in line for half an hour. Even with tickets in hand we had to wait in line to get in. By the time we made it in it was obvious that centerfire AR type rifles were in very short supply, and of the few that I saw the lowest price was $1250 – and while I’m no judge of AR’s, I think that one may have had something wrong with it. The next lowest was a bare bones model for $1500, that was similar to one I saw at the last show for about $800. Mini-14s were going for $850 minimum for a basic polymer stock model (Dad was irritated. He’s been thinking about selling his – an NRA edition that he paid about $600 for – and he realized he could probably have gotten a grand for it easily even before he got in the door.) The ammo tables were looking a bit anemic by 1:00, with empty pallets and most of the bins only about half full.

And while it was, as usual, full of exceedingly polite people – “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me”, and patiently waiting without a bit of shoving despite the crowding – the anger and concern were also quite palpable. This wasn’t a gun show that people were at to enjoy, it was a show that people were at because they were worried they wouldn’t get another chance. There was also a big fear that private sales will definitely be on the chopping block.

My objective was simple: some stripper clips for my Mauser. I didn’t find any of those, but I did pick up some ammo for it, along with some .45 FMJ for practice.

It was interesting, and a bit fun, but I hit my limit for crowds about halfway through (even if I did keep going). I think any anti-gun politician who wants a second term who saw that would (and should) be shaking in his boots right now.
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Still here…

I’ve just been busy.

Mmmmm, venison.

Dad bagged a couple of deer a year or two ago, and my parents were kind enough to give me some of the bits. The bulk of what I got was ground venison (my choice), but I also got a couple of steaks and a couple of tenderloins, too. I had been saving those for when I got a grill so I could do them right, but I still haven’t actually gotten around to buying one yet. I was starting to worry about freezer burn, so last night I took the steaks out of the freezer to thaw, and this is tonight’s dinner.

image

Unfortunately, I overcooked them a bit (I used the oven, and judged it wrong), but they’re still good eatin’!

I actually got to them just in time – they were starting to show a little freezer burn on one end – so I took the unburned ends for tonight (that’s half of each steak in the picture), and the the other ends have been cut up for an experiment in my slow cooker that I’ll be starting tonight. I’ll take pictures of that, too, and post the results tomorrow.

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Interesting evening

So, I come home from work and check the mail, and there’s one of those fancy tear-the-edges-off printed privacy-protection envelopes from the power company in the box. There’s also a power bill to someone else but at my address. So I open the fancy tear-the-edges-off printed privacy-protection envelope, and find a “refund check” from the power company. Now, this is a check for quite a sizable amount (for me), and it’s more than could be accounted for by an accidental double payment. So I go online to check my account, and see there’s a “Final Bill” showing.

WTF?

I still live here, I haven’t told them to close my account, and I haven’t been contacted to confirm that it’s okay to close my account.  But I have a strong suspicion based on that bill to someone I don’t know. So I call AEP’s customer service line (surprisingly with no wait at all), and the customer service rep confirms my suspicion – someone activated a new account at my address, so they automatically closed mine.

Fine. I’m a bit peeved that they didn’t bother calling to confirm that it was okay, but it’s fixable, there’s been no interruption of my service, and apparently they’re not required to (which doesn’t mean that they can’t, or that they shouldn’t, but whatever). Then he tells me that Virginia charges a $12 connection fee for “new accounts.” At that point I put my foot down, and told him (politely) “Hell, no.” It was their screw-up, not mine, and I’m not paying any extra costs to fix it. After we go back and forth with a couple of variations of “We have to,” and “Hell, no,” I ask for a supervisor – I’ve done this kind of work myself, and I know the first-line people can’t waive diddly-squat. The supervisor comes on, and she’s already waived the fee. I ask a couple of questions, and that’s it – everything should be taken care of.

I will give AEP this much: when I called customer service, there was no wait, and the rep and supervisor were helpful and polite. They should, however, give their CSRs the power to waive this fee in these circumstances. Of course, if they had just bothered calling me, they could have avoided the situation entirely.

But that’s not all that happened this evening.

First, a little background. A couple of days ago, I got a single cabinet with countertop at Goodwill, to give me room to actually prepare food – until that, my only counter space was taken up by my microwave. The cabinet is ugly, and doesn’t match anything else in the kitchen, but it was also only $10. Well, it turns out that it wouldn’t actually fit in my car for me to take home. That’s okay, because they’ll hold things like that for 2 days. So yesterday one of the attorneys I work with came out with his SUV to help me move it. When we pull up, there’s a cat sitting in my driveway. He stays there, perfectly calm, as we back in, and is still sitting there when we get out. Then he comes up to us. This is a very friendly cat, and obviously used to humans. He’s also rail thin, and you can feel every rib as you pet him.

I already have a cat. I’ve had two cats before, but it was a real stretch on my resources, and would be now as well. But the temptation was strong, and it didn’t help that when the attorney offered to help with the initial vet costs, including getting him fixed. I decided to see if he would come back when I came home from work, because I thought that maybe he did belong to someone. Well, after work there was no cat.

Today, I come home and the same cat comes wandering up and rubs against my legs. So I let him into the porch were he and my cat can smell each other through the gap under the door and start getting used to one another, and I get some food and water out on the porch as well. Then I go and take care of the power issue. After that was done, I went back on the porch, opened the door, and gave him the option of staying or going. After a few minutes, he wanders out and around the corner. I follow, but he’s out of sight already. Then I see a little orange fur on the other side of one of the bushes next to the house, so I go look.

Boy, am I glad I didn’t decide to keep him on the porch overnight. Because when I got around the bush, I saw this:

Sweet, crispy walnuts!

“He” is a she, and is nursing kittens! (Actually, this picture was taken later, but it was the same thing without the box.) There’s five of them, and they are heart-rendingly cute.

Later, the neighbors come out and confirm that she’s a stray that was probably abandoned, and that people in the neighborhood have been feeding her and some other strays that were also abandoned (they could, in fact, tell me exactly which house some of the local strays came from and when they were abandoned).

So, that lawyer I work with is coming over tomorrow so we can get these guys to proper shelter and eventually to good homes. I’m very likely to end up with a second cat, despite what my brain says I should do. I’m already calling the little orange and white one “Dreamsicle.”

For more “Awwww”, I took video!

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Today’s fortune cookie

You should be able to make money and hold on to it.

So true!

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