Oh, the joy of being investigated. As a part of renewing my drivers license this year, the state DMV sent me a letter this week informing me that I would be required to pass a Federal background check, complete with fingerprinting, FBI investigation, NCIC checks, the works. All this under the watchful eyes of the TSA, those friendly folks who pry through your luggage and ask you to remove your shoes each time you want to travel.

What, pray tell, did I do to incur this honor? I have a 'hazardous materials' endorsement on my CDL.

It would be simpler for me to just let it slide, give up the endorsement, or better yet just drop to a class C license and save a bunch of money. I have not driven a class A vehicle in some years, and have no plans to start back. But it is a lot easier to keep a CDL that it is to get one back. Plus, it's a pride thing. I worked hard driving 'back in the day' and if things got bad enough, I want that option to do so again. But still...

My first drivers license was a 'chauffeurs license' which cost an extra $5 then, and required that you score 85 or better on the written test, instead of the normal 70. That was all. I did this when I was 16 years old so I could earn money driving a school bus before and after school. (yes, back then 16 year olds were allowed to drive school buses. I loved it.)

Now, here's what I will be required to do: 45 days prior to renewal, fill out paper work here. Please note this is not cheap- $90 for the service, plus taking at least a half day off from work, and gas money to go to a not-very-close big city. Payment in advance, and non refundable.
If you look at the forms, please note a few things: under 'military status' you have only two choices: 'dishonorably discharged' or 'other.' To me, that is kind of insulting. I was "Honorably discharged." I should have that option, not 'other.' Then look at the 'SSN' option: you have the option of not disclosing your SSN, but gee, sorry, if you decide to exercise that option we can't process your application and you will lose your license. Sorry about that. What is it they say? if you aren't allowed to exercise your rights, then you don't have any? Oh well.

Then, hopefully, in a month or so I will get a letter stating I am not a menace to society or otherwise prohibited from handling 'hazardous materials.' With that in hand, I am allowed to report to the DMV and take the written tests- in my case, 7 written tests: motorcycle, class A endorsement, air brakes, tanker, twin trailers, passenger vehicle, and of course hazardous materials.

I would like to point out here that none of this insures that I am either a safe, nor a decent, driver. All it insures is that I can fill out the proper forms and can pass a written test. Some of the best long-haul drivers I ever knew had problems with the forms and tests required now.

My first chauffeurs license cost $15.

This trip to the DMV:
DOT physical- $90
Background screening: $90
Basic CDL test: (application fee) $30
Class A fee $15 per year, or $120 for 8 years.
Endorsement fees: $3 per endorsement, or $21.

Grand total: $351.00 This does not include losing at least 2 partial days from work, nor the medication required to lower my blood pressure after dealing with the bureaucracy.

The sad part of all of this, even with your tax dollars- gas taxes, general fund taxes, etc. -paying for the salaries and infrastructure of of all this, I'll bet they still lose money.

And some of you want to turn our health care and banking industries over to the likes of these people? God forbid!

Everybody remember this glittering jewel or colossal ignorance? Oh yes, simply by virtue of his skin color, the anointed one was going to give us all free gas, pay off our houses, and of course free health care and bread and circuses money for nothing.

Let's see, in less than 6 months, the corrupt gangs in DC (yes, Obama is the primary problem right now, but don't ever lose sight of the big picture- both houses of Congress, plus an out of control Judiciary, are just as much to blame) have nearly completely destroyed the US economy, have bankrupted the government (not an easy thing to do since they can print more money at will, something no other institution can do!) They have destroyed General Motors, not only the largest manufacturer of automobiles, but the largest manufacturer of anything on this planet. (the scope of what GM is, or was, is truly incredible.) Chris Dodd and Barney Frank destroyed the banking industry in the interest of "affordable housing." And then had the audacity to claim they needed more money and power to fix the very thing they caused.

And now, we are headed directly into another oil crisis. This one can pretty much be blamed on the President alone. The President is responsible for meeting with world leaders, and any unbiased observer (which lets out the major networks) can only come to the conclusion that Obama is an a complete disaster. Bowing to a (his?) King, apologising to anyone and everyone for everything from slavery to new coke, he might as well wear a sign on his ass that says 'kick me and raise oil prices.'

And of course, the OPEC nations are only too happy to oblige. As a happy bonus, Obama has even thrown in Israel, too. While the liberal opportunists are rubbing their hands together in glee at the nut case who shot a security person at the Holocaust Center in DC (never let a crisis go to waste, after all) the President of the United States is signaling to any country in the middle east that it is open season on the nation of Israel. Need a nuclear program to produce electricity while sitting on the largest oil reserves on the planet? Sure, makes sense to Obama, go right ahead. Oil consumption at an all time low, not selling much? Raise prices to $100 per barrel, and the US will bend over and ask for more.

I warned you about this man. He wants nothing less than the complete and total distruction of the things that made the United States of America the greatest nation on earth. And he is accomplishing that task with incredible speed, thanks to a huge majority in both houses and a judicial branch corrupted by years of abuse.

If this is allowed to happen, we will be living in a country much like Mexico or Somalia is today. Don't say it can't happen here. It can. It will. It's happening now.

So, Peggy, how's that change working out for you?

Just a note for the folks scheduling maintenance at blogger, there is no such time as '12:00 AM.' It can be 12:01 am, or 12:01 pm, but 12:00 is either midnight or midday- the dividing line between AM or PM.

I know, it's silly and nit picky. But then, so am I.

The man who was all too briefly our representation at the UN gets it, and explains it here.

It's time we all started getting vocal about the violations against the constitution going on in the current administration. Loudly, clearly, and often. Nothing less than our liberty is at stake.

Gunnies, prepare to be nauseated:

NYPD Looks to Futuristic Technology to mask incompetence

Hey, I have an idea... why don't they just find some instructors and teach these guys the four rules?

Via The High Road.us

If you enjoy watching people in public do stupid things, you need to go here.

This one is what every gunny would love to do, just once.

I don't care who you are, that is funny stuff.

First of all, an update for those of you that asked: I am doing quite a bit better this week, and I am back at work more or less full time, not counting visits to various follow-up doctors. For those of you interested in medical details, you can find details on what was going on here. For what it's worth, my EKG didn't even look as nice as that one, it looked more like an epileptic chicken was having a seizure on the graph.

I would like to take this opportunity to give some free survival advice to everyone. One of the quickest ways to end up dead, or at least very, very sick, is to not be able to communicate the correct information to the rescue personnel, and the doctors. This was not my first episode of AF, and I strongly believe the reason I came home in 8 hours rather than 7 days (in ICU, no less) is that I had learned what the problem was and could tell the medical staff exactly what they needed to know. As we say in the repair business, you can't fix it until you know what broke. The first time, having never had any sort of heart problems before, I naturally assumed I was having a heart attack. I wasn't. But when you say 'chest pains' and are old enough and on the heavy side, they take it serious and give you all kinds of drugs immediately to take care of that possibility. Unfortunately for me, that sort of treatment makes my problems worse. Hence, a painful, and expensive, hospital stay.

So, if you want to avoid all of that, here's the thing to do. During your next yearly physical (you do have one every year, right?) find out as much about your condition as possible. Get copies of the reports- especially the blood work. Keep up with your basics, like daily BP, heart rate, etc. You don't have to be a hypochondriac, just put into it as much effort as you do your other daily tasks. Keep these records handy in case you need urgent care. If possible keep a mini version on your person, either with a medic alert bracelet or something similar. Then, if the worst happens, you'll have useful information with you. Of equal importance is being able to give good, accurate information to emergency personnel. I don't know of any short cuts on this, you either know how to communicate or you don't. But a basic first aid class would be time well spent, and if you have a nurse, medical technician, or the like in the family, spend some time finding out how to tell the difference between problems with similar symptoms.

Yeah, not as interesting as 9mm vs. .45 ACP. But it's just as important- perhaps more so. The likely hood of being involved in a firefight on any given day are very small. But your chances of having a medical emergency one day are darn good. It might make the difference between going to the next gun show, or having your widow selling your collection off for what you told her you paid for it... something to think about.

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