Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A modest proposal

It'd be really cool if I had thousands of readers... but I don't. Nevertheless, I am proposing a simple PR campaign: Write Speaker Boehner.
Speaker of the House
H-232 The Capitol
Washington D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner:
I support President Obama's proposal for avoiding the "fiscal cliff".

If you happen to live in a Congressional District with a Republican Representative, you might also send a copy to your Representative.

Your Representative's mailing address can be found at Find Your CongressPerson.

If you'd prefer email, here's Speaker Boehner's contact page:
Contact John Boehner
Using the Pay It Forward mechanism, if enough of my very few readers take this to heart, Speaker Boehner will be inundated with snailmail and email, all favoring President Obama's sane proposals.

Yes! - please ask three (3) of your friends to do the same!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Day update

... just a quotation from a friend:
"Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you in theirs: the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what." Anonymous

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
It's secular - religious overtones are secondary.
It's American - the rest of world goes on happily without us.

Most of all, for me the basic premise - giving thanks - is a good thing. Yes, I am thankful for my family, for my undeserved good-fortune in life, for friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012


This is a really good time to not be blogging.

"Fiscal Cliff".
"GOP implodes".
... and, oh yeah, Benghazi "scandal".

Petraeus: men (I'm one) are idiots.

"Fiscal Cliff": hey, maybe Intel will actually pay 35% tax rate (as opposed to 24% reported for their 3rd fiscal quarter).

Syria: I view this as just one consequence of W's effort to "stabilize" the Mid-East by invading Iraq for no reason whatsoever. (Tho' I recognize there's more to it than just that)

Gaza: wish I had the answer... Not the time to vacation in Israel.

"GOP implodes": Yeah, right. There's always hand-wringing after a loss - usually to no effect.

Benghazi "scandal": Huh???

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

VERY brief reflections on the election

1. NM1 went to Dem Michelle Lujan-Grisham... only the 2nd Dem to represent the district since its establishment in 1969. Martin Heinrich first won the district for Dems in 2008.

2. Martin Heinrich defeated Heather Wilson for Senate, replacing retiring Dem Senator Jeff Bingaman. It was close, with Heinrich garnering just 51% - BUT: close or not, NM now has two (2) Dem Senators (Tom Udall is the other), neither facing re-election for another four (4) years.

3. I don't understand why NM and AZ - neighboring Southwest states - have such different politics. Immigration - legal or otherwise - is NOT a hot button in NM politics... and, bad as she is, Republican Governor Susana Martinez is no where near as repulsive as AZ's Jan Brewer.

4. Surprisingly, the Democratic party looked pretty well ORGANIZED this time out. For a fun read, see A Vast Left-Wing Competency at Slate.com.

5. I'm convinced that if Obama had been a white guy named Steve, he would have won re-election in a landslide... and believe the only reason the race was close was because significant numbers of GOPers just wanted to get rid of "that nigger in the White House".

6. I'm hoping a re-elected Obama is up for just a little extortion, letting Congressional Republicans know in no uncertain terms that he will use the President's "bully pulpit" to crucify them in 2014 if they attempt to hijack his agenda.

7. Congrats to the GOP: they will almost certainly succeed in making Obama just a two-term president!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I voted!

My civic responsibilities are met: I voted today. If you're in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, you can get sample ballot & list of early voting locations at: Bernalillo County Clerk. Be a good citizen. VOTE!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'm one of the 'victims'!

1. I attended public school (K-12; UT El Paso; Purdue) - yep, my education was subsidized by government (local & state).

2. It gets worse! I attended UT El Paso, Stanford, and Purdue using $$$ from G.I. Bill - a FEDERAL subsidy. (Oh, yeah - I earned grad degrees in math & statistics with the aid of government largesse.)

3. My late wife, Teresa, helped pay for her undergraduate education (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, UT El Paso) with Pell Grants. Upon graduation she was hired by Sandia National Labs and sent to Purdue for her Master's degree - paid for by the Department of Energy. More government largesse for undeserving poor folk.

4. Following six (6) years of breast cancer & chemo, my wife, Teresa, was forced to retire from Sandia National Labs - where she had worked as a mechanical & nuclear engineer for 25 years (among other things, working on our country's nuke arsenal). With her retirement she received Social Security Disability payments, and went on Medicare (tho', thankfully, she had excellent private insurance thru Sandia). Upon her death I received a $255 'survivor benefit' from Social Security. Yep - both of us sucking on the public tit - leeches on society.

5. We DID pay taxes - effective rate of 18% in 2006 (the last full year of Teresa's employment.)
[Yes - I STILL pay taxes on my huge fixed retirement income!]

... on one count, at least, Mitt Romney is right: there is absolutely nothing he can say to convince me to vote for him in this election!

Just for fun: jumping on the bandwagon

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blatant self-promotion

Fun History: James Madison's 1792 screed against the Federalists.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On the campaign trail

I had an on-camera interview today with KQRE's Amanda Goodman about my presidential campaign. She thinks it'll air sometime next week. [KQRE is Albuquerque's CBS affiliate.]

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A modest proposal

Let's make this guy the face of the GOP!
Just for fun: The guy who said, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." is a member of the House Science Committee!!!

Related: from a FB friend

... and if you REALLY want your blood to boil...

... here's something guaranteed to raise your blood-pressure:
CEOs Tax the People
AL'S EMPORIUM August 18, 2012
The more a company pays its chief executive officer, the bigger the tax break it gets.

This is how the game is rigged, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive Washington think tank, which released a report last week titled, "The CEO Hands in Uncle Sam's Pockets."

"The tax code has become a prime enabler of bloated CEO pay," says one of the study's co-authors, Scott Klinger, a chartered financial analyst and former investment manager.

The study counts the many ways our tax code encourages companies to overpay their top executives. One of them is an unlimited deduction companies may claim for the "performance pay" they give their CEOs. The bigger the CEO's performance pay, the bigger the company's tax deduction.

The tax code simply begs companies to lavish CEOs with stock options, the study says. This, in turn, encourages the bosses to take more risks with other people's money, and gets us all into the economic trouble we face today.
The full study upon which this article is based can be found at Executive Excess 2012: The CEO Hands in Uncle Sam's Pocket [click the "Read the full report" link at the bottom of the page].

We the People of the United States, in Order to...

... secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...
Republican party platform committee won’t include civil unions for gay couples
Well, I suppose our LGBT progeny don't really count as "our posterity".

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eastdale Little League Softball: World Series champs

Albuquerque's Eastdale Little League Softball team won the Little League Softball World Series by defeating Florida's Windermere team 16-2 in 5 innings (the 10-run 'mercy rule' was invoked). They won their last 6 games (including the championship game) by combined score of 67-5, with three shut-outs.

Monday, July 30, 2012

You are invited to a political event

What: Announcing my candidacy for president in 2016
When: Saturday, 11 August, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where: Elegante Motel, Albuquerque (on Menaul east of University

This event will be videographed... it'd be nice to have a few supporters in the audience.

My announcement speech was published on these pages in February.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It'd be more fun...

... if I had something to say.

This one's fun

From one of my 'favorites':
Irony Supplements

Eating their own!

LUGAR UNLOADS: Tea Party Victor 'Embraces Unrelenting Partisan Mindset'
Chasing 20% of the electorate is a good way to get a nomination, but a really horrible way to win an election.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

RIP "Goober"

George Lindsey, December 17, 1928 - May 6, 2012 (aged 83)
George Lindsey, known as TV's Goober Pyle, dies

New Mexico in the news (sort of)

New Libertarian Nominee Gary Johnson Slams Republicans For Gay Staffer Flap
Full disclosure: Johnson once ran a contracting firm that did LOTS of biz for my former Fortune 100 employer.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

John Lithgow as Newt

... there's a LOT of Colbert preceding Lithgow, but here goes:FYI: I'm seeing Lithgow in "The Columnist" in NYC, 18 May.

p.s. I first saw John Lithgow in 1965. He was 19, I was 12. He appeared with Oberlin College Gilbert & Sullivan Players at Highfield Theater in Falmouth, MA. Memorable roles: Chancellor in "Iolanthe", King Gama in "Princess Ida".

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guns are just so COOL!

Officer shoots, wounds teen outside Texas school
Associated Press – Tue, May 1, 2012
PASADENA, Texas (AP) — A police officer told investigators Tuesday that he shot a 14-year-old boy suspected in the overnight break-in of a Houston-area classroom after believing the teenager was reaching for a gun.
The boy, an eighth-grader at the school, was shot in the chest by the district police officer, who was investigating a broken window in a portable classroom containing computers after an alarm went off, Pasadena Independent School District Superintendent Kirk Lewis said.

[emphasis added]
We're reverting to the Wild West!
Yeah, it's fun to watch on TV, but not so fun to LIVE in!

Whatever happened to "rule of law"???

"I was so much older then..."

Blatant self-promotion

Happy Birthday: Pete Seeger - 93 and counting!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


"It's May!"

Music humor

"A rising tide..."

"A rising tide lifts all boats."
Well, yeah - but it helps to have a boat!
CEO Pay Grew 127 Times Faster Than Worker Pay Over Last 30 Years: Study
The Huffington Post | By Bonnie Kavoussi Posted: 05/ 2/2012
...Income inequality between CEOs and workers has consequently exploded, with CEOs last year earning 209.4 times more than workers, compared to just 26.5 times more in 1978 -- meaning CEOs are taking home a larger percentage of company gains.

But, of course, this disparity isn't really a problem...

It's easier this way

Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. - Tom Lehrer
This pretty much captures my view of blogging today: it's just hard to compete with the headlines!

Yes, I continue to read the news - NYT, YahooNews, HuffPost... BUT: What can I add?
The headlines themselves are sufficient.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Help needed

I'm looking for a concise theme for 30-second political ad/vid. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nothing to say...

... but, of course, I'll post about it anyway.

I just read the news (NYT, Yahoo, HuffPost), and my favorite blogs.
There's nothing I feel deserves my comment.

"If a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up!"
- Tom Lehrer

Back in the good old days...

... when you bought a TV, you could plug it in and watch TV. Now you have to pay - monthly - for the privilege. Go figure.

GOP primaries...

... I missed 'em.
Apparently Mr. Mitt had a really good night and Mr. Newt not so great.

I was attending a concert by these guys:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wild turkey in Chicago!

Pictures taken from my nephew's backyard in Chicago:

GOP talking points

Pinko, Socialist, Commie!
Un-American, ANTI-American!!!
Wealth-redistributing, Welfare Queen...
KENYA! Birth Certificate!!!

In 2008 Mayor Giuliani, running for U.S. President, was riducled for his campaign speeches:
A noun, a verb, and "9/11".
Seems the current GOP field has reverted to this rhetorical device... without the nouns and verbs. Just call Obama names.
This is known as "school-yard invective"... aka "BULLYING"!... serves no purpose, but it's a lotta fun.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just outta curiosity...

... How come GOP Presidential hopefuls haven't promised to annihilate North Korea?
North Korea issues unusually specific threat
North Korea has a proven nuclear capability.
It does not play well with others.
It is the last bastion of a pure Communist state, with an autocratic leader completely out of touch with his subjects.

But Romney et al. are silent.

Could it be the simple fact that North Korea has no oil? (... not to suggest that Romney et al. are in the pocket of Big Oil...)

Just askin'.


A New Ad Campaign Won't Save the U.S. Postal Service
Yeah - I've seen the ad campaign. ... and I've read the news.
US Postal Service processing network too big: GAO report
A bit o' background:
The United States Postal Service (also known as USPS, the Post Office or U.S. Mail) is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. The cabinet-level Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin's operation and transformed into its current form in 1971 under the Postal Reorganization Act.[United States Postal Service]
This re-organization was undertaken under that OTHER GOP President, Richard Nixon... in the interests of, you know, efficiency.

Before this re-organization, the United States Postal Service was the United States Post Office, a purely governmental organization. The re-org didn't change the basic function: deliver mail in a timely manner to every man, woman, and child in the U.S.

Today? USPS is expected to compete with FedEx and email.

Postal service is a BASIC government function. (Did you notice that reference to Ben Franklin in the Wikipedia summary?) For the price of a stamp I can pay my bills!... and so can anyone else in the U.S.!

Believe it or not, not everyone has a computer, access to on-line checking, access to email.

Every once in a while I go to my local convenience store, Circle K. Believe it or not, the folks in line in front of me are frequently buying money orders to pay their bills! ... intending to mail those money orders to their creditors, to pay their utilities, to pay their rent!

Government is not supposed to be EFFICIENT - it's supposed to be EQUITABLE, giving every citizen (that "We the people" bit) access to fundamental services. Postal service is a basic service.

Yeah - USPS loses money. So what? FUND IT!!! It's a basic service. (... who knows, maybe turn it into the "Post Office" again!)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A very rare event

White Sox RHP Phil Humber throws perfect game
There've been 20 perfect games pitched since 1900, including Mr. Humber's today. Congrats!

On the bright side...

... Yahoo News seems to be mostly a repeat of yesterday's news... ... I don't feel so bad about not posting.


Blogspot changed its formatting... OR - I'm being re-directed to different site by horrid virus!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just for fun

Hookers Downgrade US Credit Rating
Shortchanging by Secret Service Draws Strong Rebuke
Note: "Borowitz Report" items are available "this day only" - he doesn't link to specific posts.


Even conservative pundit, George Will, is starting to see the light!
Should the U.S. legalize hard drugs?
By George F. Will, Published: April 11
Amelioration of today’s drug problem requires Americans to understand the significance of the 80-20 ratio. Twenty percent of American drinkers consume 80 percent of the alcohol sold here. The same 80-20 split obtains among users of illicit drugs.
In “Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know,” policy analysts Mark Kleiman, Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken argue that imprisoning low-ranking street-corner dealers is pointless: A $200 transaction can cost society $100,000 for a three-year sentence. And imprisoning large numbers of dealers produces an army of people who, emerging from prison with blighted employment prospects, can only deal drugs. Which is why, although a few years ago Washington, D.C., dealers earned an average of $30 an hour, today they earn less than the federal minimum wage ($7.25).
In the 1920s, H.L. Mencken wrote a series of articles damning Prohibition... on exactly the same grounds: the social cost of alcohol addiction is FAR LESS than the cost of enforecment... and PROHIBITION simply creates a well-organized criminal class!

There are two GOP-friendly arguments AGAINST prohibition of drugs:
1. Why, exactly, is it the Government's job to tell ME what to do with my body? If I choose to kill myself, isn't that MY business??? - this oughta appeal to the Ron Paul libertarian conservative.

2. From a cost-benefit persepective, the War on Drugs JUST ISN'T WORKING! The social costs of drug use - even hard drugs - is FAR LESS than the cost of enforcement! - shouldn't this appeal to the 'fiscally conservative', Mitt Romney branch of the GOP.
... in addition, our draconian drug policies deprive LOTS of third-world countries of their only viable export!... and we create the horrid 'drug cartels' of Columbia & Mexico!!!

Stop the madness!!!

Dems are bad for biz! (redux)

Wall Street jumps on solid corporate earnings
By Chuck Mikolajczak | Reuters
20 Apr 2012
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks rose on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on pace for its biggest gain in the past five weeks, after earnings from a slew of bellwether companies propelled what has been a solid earnings season to date.
[emphasis added]
Yep - that damn Socialist, Obama, is just CRUEL to business!

Happy 4/20

420 friendly
For an extensive discussion of "420" (or "4/20"), see:
4/20: How 'Weed Day' Got Its Name

[tip o' the hat to loyal reader, melisandre!]

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My bad

Secret Service Agents Out Following Colombia Prostitution Scandal
I'm sorry, but every time a prostitution scandal breaks I can't help thinking:
Breaking News: Men Pay for Sex!!! - Shocking!!!!!

Dick Clark: 1929-2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dems are Bad for Business!

During the 2nd term of that biz-friendly, MBA-trained President, W: DJIA drops 50% (14000 to 7000).
Under the Socialist, anti-Biz Harvard-trained liberal lawyer, Obama: DJIA rebounds to 13000.

Dems are Bad for Business!

Pay your taxes...

... or the Big Bad Wolf will eat you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's Obama's fault!

The sun unleashed a beautiful prominence eruption from its east limb (left side) on Monday, April 16, 2012. Here, the M1.7-class solar flare was seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Even Karzai is asking!

Taliban attack shows failure by NATO: Afghanistan's Karzai
Yep - it's a failed mission.
Let's declare VICTORY and get the f**k outta there!... NOW!!!

Stop the madness.

Uh... okay

Newt Gingrich Bitten By Penguin At St. Louis Zoo

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tell me again: why are we there?

Taliban attacks: Militant group claims responsibility for embassy assault in Kabul, prison raid in Pakistan
"Embassy assault in Kabul"???... isn't this the ONE place we pretend to actually control?

We got bin Laden.
Mullah Omar is still at large, but no one seems to care.

Why are we still in Afghanistan?

Stop the madness!

They Lie!

Taliban Attacks Hit Several Sites Across Afghanistan Capital
We KNOW this isn't true!
President's Remarks in "Focus on Education with President Bush" Event
September 2004
... And as a result of the United States military, Taliban no longer is in existence. And the people of Afghanistan are now free.
[emphasis added]
W told us EIGHT years ago that "Taliban no longer is in existence".
How DARE the liberal media now assert that Taliban are attacking sites in Afghanistan?

Stop the madness!!!

Two anniversaries

15 April 1912: Titanic sinks.
15 April 2011: Teresa T. Sype dies.

I'll mourn 'em both.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Talmudic Tale

Vayeishev: "They went that-a-way!"
By Michael Carasik
Arlo Guthrie, the Jewish folk singer, likes to call him "the 'they-went-that-a-way' guy." He is the man who tells Joseph where to find his brothers. If Joseph did not find them, Guthrie points out, his brothers would have no opportunity to throw him into a pit and he would not have been sold down to Egypt. Everything that naturally follows would also fail to occur: Joseph would not be able to interpret Pharaoh's dream; there would have been a famine in Egypt as well as Israel; Jacob and his sons would not go to Egypt, grow into a nation there, be enslaved, and then be freed; and there would be no story to tell—no Bible and thus no Western civilization. All because one guy was at the right place at the right time to say, "They went that-a-way."

To recap the situation: Joseph (in the first of the three sets of two dreams that structure this story) has dreamed that his family would bow down to him. He has told his father and brothers of the dreams, and his brothers hate him because of them. The brothers have taken Jacob's flocks to the vicinity of Shechem to pasture them, and Jacob sends Joseph to find out how they are.

When Jacob gets there, however, the flocks and the brothers are gone, and "a man" (Gen. 37:15) finds him wandering aimlessly in the field. "What are you looking for?" the man asks. "For my brothers," Joseph replies. "Tell me, where are they pasturing?" The man tells him, "I heard them saying, 'Let's go to Dothan.'" Joseph follows them to Dothan . . . and the rest is history. Make that "History" with a capital H.

In plain English—who was this man? Rashi (France, 1040–1105), the most famous of the traditional Jewish commentators on the Bible, explains: "It was Gabriel." In Daniel 9:21, this angel is referred to as "the man, Gabriel." So obviously when an unidentified character called simply "the man" tells Joseph where his brothers are, it must be Gabriel.

In Back to the Sources, Edward Greenstein's "Medieval Bible Commentaries" chapter contains a complete discussion of this passage, along with a wonderful introduction to the world of the medieval commentators and a delightful skit turning their comments on Gen. 37:15 into a conversation. For now, it's enough to look at the comment of Nahmanides (Spain–Israel, 1195–ca. 1270), who explains:
The Holy One provided Joseph with an unwitting guide in order to give him into his brothers' hands. That is what our Sages meant when they said that such men are "angels." This is not just a story; its purpose is to let us know that "The human mind may devise many schemes, but it is the Lord's plan that is accomplished" (Prov. 19:21).
The Hebrew word for an angel is malakh, but this is simply the word for a messenger, someone who is sent (whether by God or by a human being) to accomplish a particular task or melakhah. Nahmanides' understanding of our story is that this man was in the countryside near Shechem for his own purposes and merely happened to overhear the brothers and then to encounter Joseph. But, says Nahmanides, such things do not really just "happen." This man had no idea that God was using him to start the Israelites on their way to slavery in Egypt. It was not really Gabriel—but calling Gabriel "the man" was a hint to us, the readers of the story, that this man going about his own business was also, unwittingly, going about God's business.

And this is what Nahmanides would call a miracle. He was, of course, well aware of the flashier kind of miracle, of which the Bible is full: the splitting of the Red Sea, the sun standing still for Joshua, and so on. But Nahmanides insisted that there were many, many more "natural miracles." That is, many events that seem to be following the ordinary course of nature are in fact, independent of whatever human scheme they are intended to further, arranged by God to accomplish the divine plan.

Is that really true? By definition, we can never know. Those who pray for a miracle may be hoping for the kind that is accompanied by special effects, but most people's experience suggests that any miracles that occur nowadays are likely to be of the natural kind. If you are hoping for a miracle that has not yet occurred, you may or may not take comfort in the recent suggestion of another Jewish singer, Kobi Oz, that your miracle is probably on its way, but has gotten stuck in a "Traffic Jam of Miracles." The more miracles there are, the harder they are to schedule.

The other message to take away from Rashi's and Nahmanides' comments on our story is a bit more surprising. Miracles of this "natural" kind would be done not just for you—but by you. When you give a stranger directions, step aside to let someone pass, or hold the elevator door, you may be doing an unwitting miracle of your own. All it takes to save Western civilization (it seems) is finding the right moment to say, "They went that-a-way."
When you give a stranger directions, step aside to let someone pass, or hold the elevator door, you may be doing an unwitting miracle of your own. All it takes to save Western civilization (it seems) is finding the right moment to say, "They went that-a-way."

Oh, good

Quick check of news reveals we're not in any new war.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Paraskevidekatriaphobics — people afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th.
Legend has it: Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams. If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow. Don't start a trip on Friday or you will encounter misfortune. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck, as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday. One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell the longstanding superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned and given the name "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday, and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday — and was never seen or heard from again.
[from the website Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky]

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just asking...

How did
... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms...
... the right to shoot anyone you don't like?
Again, just asking.

How come the NRA is dictating the terms of this debate???
... oops, my bad!
They have $$$ - tons of it!

Stop the madness!

I really DO need a maid!

Now you can order a topless maid just like a pizza
By Taylor Bigler - The Daily Caller
11 April 2012
If you’ve ever asked your significant other to clean in the buff and you were rebuffed — and you happen to live in Texas — think about calling Lubbock Fantasy Maid Service.

For $100 per hour, Melissa Borrett, who started the company in February, will clean your house in lingerie or completely topless. For $50 more, you can order two topless maids at the same time.
... I'm single (in a relationship, but we don't live together). I've 5 cats and a dog. The 'house-cleaning' bit is something I don't do well.
A topless maid, for just $100/hour?
Sure, why not?

I'm pretty sure the animals will appreciate it... I mean, just having a clean house!


North Korean Rocket Launch Fails: US Officials
By ALYSSA NEWCOMB (@alyssanewcomb)
ABC News, April 12, 2012
An anticipated missile launch by North Korea failed today when the country fired the long-range test rocket in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and an agreement with the United States.

The 90-ton rocket launched with a larger than anticipated flare. But U.S. officials said that the missile is believed to have crashed into the sea.
Don't get me wrong - I'm NOT a big fan of North Korea... BUT: Why are WE held accountable for North Korea's bad behavior?

Foreign policy

North Korea launched an orbital rocket today.
Syria's Assad continues to kill Syrians.

I can't help thinking that America's foreign policy would be a whole lot simpler if we hadn't decided that we, without sanction from anyone, "bear America’s global responsibilities". (These are the words of John Bolton & John Yoo: Hands Off the Heavens... two of my least respected sources.)
WHAT "global responsibilities"???

Who, exactly, appointed us the world's policeman???
Why, exactly, do we insist on this role???

These questions fall under the rubric Things I don't understand.

Stupidest headline ever!

What kind of car would President Obama be?
THIS is what passes for 'journalism' today!

Things I don't understand

Some time ago I posted Things I don't understand
Some things I understand; most things I don't. Sometimes I worry that the ratio, (understand/don't), is approaching zero. Most of the time I don't.
Recently, many of the things I don't understand are GOP orthodoxy:
- GIVING $$$ to wealthy is good for the economy, BUT TAKING $$$ from middle-class is good for the economy.

- W's off-budget wars ($1.3 TRILLION) aren't a problem, BUT Obama is to blame for the deficit.

- Sanctioning Iran, restricting Iran's oil exports - this is GOOD. BUT, high price of gasolene is BAD!

- the so-called "Patriot Act" - allowing Feds to monitor my every move - is GOOD! BUT, so-called "ObamaCare" infringes on my Constitutional liberty.

- Mitt Romney - the multi-millionaire whose wife drives two Cadillacs - claims Obama is 'out of touch'.

I'd be very happy if anyone could explain this stuff to me!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"You can't always get what you want"

From the first year of St. Reagan's presidency:

An inadvertent comment on Presidential politics

From Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus:
"The struggle itself...is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."
Yes - one MUST imagine Sisyphus happy!

... Perhaps this post would be better titled, "An inadvertent comment on American politics", or "An inadvertent comment on Democratic aspirations":
"The struggle itself... is enough to fill a man's heart."
In our struggle with the GOP's lies and fear-mongering, yes - we MUST imagine ourselves happy!

Europe: socialist welfare state... now THIS!

Study: Fungus behind bat die-off came from Europe
Just in case you think this has no bearing on your life:
If Bats Went Extinct, Insects Would Smother Humanity W/in 5 Years
I fully expect Mr. Romney to exploit this in up-coming anti-Obama ads!

Existential cat

I could be in trouble...

... I agree with Condi Rice!
Condoleezza Rice: 'I Don't Know When Immigrants Became The Enemy'
The Huffington Post | By Nick Wing
Posted: 04/11/2012
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke on a variety of topics in front of a crowd at Duke University Tuesday night, offering a particular criticism of the nation's stance on immigration.

"That immigrant culture that has renewed us ... has been at the core of our strength," she said, according to the The Raleigh News & Observer. "I don't know when immigrants became the enemy."

[emphasis added]
Yes - when, indeed!
(Actually, I know the answer: when Lou Dobbs woke up one morning and decided that Mexicans were evil!)

Fiscally responsible Republicans

Gingrich Campaign Leaving Trail Of Unpaid Bills In Its Wake
... and THIS is the guy that wants to 'fix' the U.S. economy???

The fringe?

Allen West: I've 'Heard' 80 House Democrats Are Communist Party Members
It'd be nice to believe that Rep. West is simply an extremist who does not represent the Grand Old Party.
... BUT: given today's political climate, I'm not so sure...

In 2008 - again during an election year - Rep. Michelle Bachmann accused then-Senator Obama of being 'anti-American', and called for a media investigation of all members of Congress to determine just who - and how many - held 'anti-American' views.

The GOP has adopted fear as its single commodity - the only thing it can peddle.
It's sorta sad that the Party of Lincoln has sunk so low.
... it's even sadder that it seems to be pulling MY COUNTRY down with it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Endorsements: a two-edged sword

Every Candidate Endorsed by God Has Now Lost to Mitt Romney
Dan Amira, NY Magazine
12 April 2012
The end — sorry, um, suspension — of Rick Santorum's presidential campaign is a major milestone in the primary race, clearing the way, as it does, for Mitt Romney to cruise here on out to the nomination essentially unchallenged. But Santorum's withdrawal is also a major milestone for God, the beloved all-powerful deity whose personal endorsement somehow failed to secure the nomination for any of the numerous Republicans — Santorum, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry — whom he reportedly encouraged to run for president. It is unclear at this point whether God will even bother to offer anyone his apparently useless endorsement in the general election.

I just like the headline

GOP: Check Your Intelligence At The Door

These guys need more tax breaks!

Apple Market Cap Hits $600 Billion
Folks, it's not just Apple.
Fortune 500 companies are SITTING on piles of $$$.
They're not investing.
They're not hiring.
They're SITTING on piles of $$$.

... BUT: the GOP wants to GIVE 'em even more $$$!!!

Stop the madness.


Life can begin BEFORE conception!
Arizona Abortion Bill: Legislators Pass Three Bills, Including One That Redefines When Life Begins
John Celock, HuffPost
12 April 2012
Arizona lawmakers gave final passage to three anti-abortion bills Tuesday afternoon, including one that declares pregnancies in the state begin two weeks before conception.
A sentence in the bill defines gestational age as "calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman," which would move the beginning of a pregnancy up two weeks prior to conception.
Okay - Buffoon every once in a while goes out on a limb and makes predictions about the future... BUT: I've NEVER tried to legislate my pre-cognition!
"Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."
[attributed to both Niels Bohr (Nobel Prize-winning physicist) and Yogi Berra (NY Yankees catcher)]

If Florida weren't so populous...

... we wouldn't be reading this headline:
Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen Apologizes for 'I Love Castro' Remark
With 27 electoral votes, Florida figures prominently in national elections.

I note that we long ago normalized relations with the largest Communist country in the world: China.
But we still can't recognize Cuba.
'Cuz southern Florida has a very large Cuban-exile population! - and they just HATE Castro. (Can't say that I blame 'em... but still!)

If 'twere possible to win a Presidential election without winning Florida, this would not be an issue... but it's not.
(Only NY, TX, and CA have more electoral votes!)

A nation of immigrants

We are - most of us - immigrants or descendants of immigrants... most of us 'undocumented'.
[Me? To the extent that I know - German, Welsh (dad); Polish, English (mom)]

The Founding Document that GOPers love to cite is the Declaration of Independence, usually referencing that bit about being endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.

Most of the document is a legal brief against King George III.
Among the many specific torts alleged is the following:
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
Yep - the Founding Fathers faulted King George for restricting immigration!

The current anti-immigration frenzy has created situations like this one:
Living the DREAM: Undocumented Youth Build Lives in America
Julia Lurie, The Atlantic
10 April 2012
When he reaches for his earliest memories, Nico Lopez recalls clenching his small fists around his seat belt buckle and straining to listen to the smiling flight attendant's directions for take-off. As he watched Guatemala City disappear beneath him, he pulled his feet onto the seat, wrapped his arms around his knees, and quietly began to cry. It was 2001, and Nico was seven years old.

Now a tall, quietly confident young man with dark hair and green eyes, Nico will soon graduate with honors from a public high school in Stamford, Connecticut. Despite having grown up in a neighborhood where gunfire is likened to the doorbell ringing -- you hear it all the time and don't really think much of it -- he is the leader of the student government, often the only non-white member of his AP classes, and, in his spare time, an English tutor for recent immigrants.

You know how the rest of the American dream story is supposed to go: Nico receives a merit-based scholarship to college and finds a job that helps him support his mother, who has worked as a housekeeper for the past 17 years. He gets married, has second-generation kids, and serves as a shining example of how any American can succeed if he tries hard enough.

Except Nico isn't technically American. He overstayed his tourist visa as a seven-year-old and is now one of over 2 million immigrant youth who entered the United States as minors and now live here illegally. Federal law prohibits Nico from going to college at a public university, while, somewhat counterintuitively, Connecticut state law gives Nico access to in-state tuition though not financial aid.

As a result, Nico's choices lie along a cruel spectrum. On one end, he could adopt the tricks of the trade of living as an undocumented person in America: he could find a low-paying job that pays cash under the table, have a friend at the DMV make a license for him, go to doctors who don't require social security numbers or insurance cards, and sweet-talk bank tellers into opening accounts. Like the vast majority of undocumented residents, Nico could squeeze into America's shadowy corners, away from the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
All because Lou Dobbs woke up one day and decided Mexicans were evil!

A brain-limberer

Hint: that bit about pre-school children is, in fact, useful information.

Bye-bye, Rick!

Rick Santorum concedes to Mitt Romney in phone call, meets the press
The GOP primary season now gets REALLY boring.

Aside: Rick - best to you and yours. You've chosen to concentrate on family during time of need - good for you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pagan Ritual Celebrated on White House lawn!!!

Obamas Host Annual White House Easter Egg Roll
What next, Druids?

I was wrong

Not too long ago I predicted that Mr. Newt would stay in the race forever, if only to do everything in his power to destroy Mr. Mitt.

Since that bold prediction, Mr. Newt HAS stayed in the race, but has been remarkably mild towards Mr. Mitt...
... and today it appears that Mr. Newt is conceding Mr. Mitt's nomination, and promising his on-going support:
Gingrich all but quits presidential campaign
Rachel Rose Hartman | The Ticket
9 Apr 2012
This week, Newt Gingrich will hold events in North Carolina, New York, Delaware and Missouri as he maintains a packed 2012 campaign schedule. But the former House speaker's activity belies what is quickly becoming the certain end of his presidential bid.

Asked by "Fox News Sunday" host Brit Hume Sunday if he's resigned to the idea of Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee, Gingrich flatly agreed. "Well, I think you have to be realistic, given the size of his organization, given the number of primaries he's won. He is far and away the most likely Republican nominee," Gingrich said, adding a preemptive endorsement. "And if he does get to 1,144 delegates, I'll support him. I'll do everything I can this fall to help him defeat Obama."

Unlike most prognosticators, Buffoon DOES check from time to time to see just how well he has seen into the future... and reports the results!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Another leading indicator that economy is improving

GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler: ‘I Have Doubts That It Is Really His Real Birth Certificate’
Yep - job creation is up, retail sales are up, consumer confidence is up, S&P and Dow are up, inflation is under control... Must be time to resurrect Birtherism!

Doesn't he know this is a Christian nation?

President Obama wishes Jews, Christians happy Passover, Easter
Happy Passover???
Get with the program, Barack!

Next thing ya know, he'll be in the pocket of the Muslim Brotherhood!
oops!... oh, yeah:
Joe Walsh: Obama Should Distance Himself From Muslim Brotherhood

I shoulda been paying attention

2012 is the 225th birthday of the U.S. Constitution - signed 17 Sep 1787; ratified June 21, 1788 (New Hampshire - the 9th state to ratify); implemented 4 March 1789. [Things moved more slowly in the 18th century!]

Today - 8 April - is the birthday of the 17th Amendment, establishing direct election of Senators:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

[ratified 8 April 1913]
Some folks were and are unhappy with this Amendment, as direct election turns the Upper House over to 'mob rule' - stripping the presumably better-informed, more level-headed members of state legislatures of the right and obligation to select Senators, making the Senate less patrician and more attentive to current political whims. As originally conceived, the Senate was a 'patrician' House - with Senators representing the well-informed, intellectual, propertied class.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Begins sunset of April 6 to nightfall of 13 April / 14 April (7th day).
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the slaughter of the first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over these homes, hence the name of the holiday[clarification needed]. There is some debate over where the term is actually derived from When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matzo (flat unleavened bread) is a symbol of the holiday.

[Wikipedia, Passover]
There are worse ways to spend this Friday evening!

It's looking like a good day to ignore news...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More delusional than I thought...

Mitt Romney: Obama 'Spent Too Much Time At Harvard,' Also A Year Less Than I Did
Mitt Romney continued his verbal assault on President Obama on Thursday, accusing him of spending "too much time at Harvard" while speaking at a rooftop event in Harrisburg, Penn.

It's an odd attack coming from a fellow Harvard graduate, especially considering Romney spent more time at the Ivy League institution than Obama did.

Romney enrolled in a four-year program at Harvard in 1971, eventually earning a joint JD and MBA and graduating cum laude in 1975. In 1988, Obama began attending Harvard Law School. He spent three years there, eventually becoming president of the Harvard Law Review before graduating magna cum laude and receiving his JD in 1991. That's four years for Romney, three for Obama.
On the bright side: no mention of birth certificate!

Time to trot out 'birth certificate' bit again...

Jobless claims fall to lowest since 2008
... of course the guy who pays 14% tax on millions, and whose wife drives two Caddies will once again claim that the incumbent is wrecking... something. Who knows what?

Maybe a kewpie doll...

Rick Santorum on Pennsylvania: ‘We are going to win’
Been nice knowin' ya, Rick... but seriously?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Free Falling



Dunster House & Charles River.


Mitt Romney Claims President Obama Will 'End Medicare'
uh... isn't that the GOP position???
... and, since it IS the GOP position, oughtn't now Mr. Mitt start campaigning actively for Obama?

Breaking News!!!

Whitney Houston is STILL dead!!!
Autopsy: White residue on spoon in Houston's room

The Supremes

... and I keep wanting to ask Samuel Alito how it feels to know that in W's opinion, he was the 2nd-best choice... after Harriet Miers!

Me? I'd much prefer to trust Dianna Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard with policy decisions than the current sitting bunch of five!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Answering my own question...

Why are we asking this question?
What is America’s biggest national security threat?
Answer: 'Cuz the GOP has managed - again - to frame the narrative.
The U.S. is a weak, threatened nation.
We are vulnerable to attack from all quarters.
We must remain ever-vigilant.

I'm sorry, folks, but in my world, the U.S. is NOT a weak, threatened nation.
We are a vibrant, strong nation... and worrying about the bogey-man is an absurd waste of time and energy.

Let's move forward!

Why are we asking this question?

What is America’s biggest national security threat?
... the headline?
America’s Biggest National Security Threat: U.S. Debt
... I'm not sure I agree with the headline, but I DO find it bizarre that we're asking the question.

It's snowing!

Monday, April 2, 2012

This I like!

Illinois sheriff introduces jail chess program
DON BABWIN | Associated Press
2 Apr 2012
CHICAGO (AP) — Call it the Sheriff's Gambit.

A sheriff in Illinois is turning to kings, queens and rooks to help teach inmates at his jail not to behave like pawns.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart launched a chess program at the county jail in Chicago. The law enforcement officer, known for making unusual moves in the name of justice, hopes inmates can take what they learn from a game that rewards patience and problem-solving and apply it to their own lives.

Mitt & "Full Disclosure" - he don't!

Mr. Mitt has called upon Mr. Barack to fire Ken Salazar (Interior Sec'y), Steven Chu (Energy Sec'y), and Lisa Jackson (head of EPA), on the grounds that these three are conspiring to raise the price of gasoline via imposition of ever-increasing tax on gas.

What Mr. Mitt doesn't tell you is that his senior econominc advisor, Greg Mankiw, has advocated just this position!
TAX BADS RATHER THAN GOODS A good rule of thumb is that when you tax something, you get less of it. That means that taxes on hard work, saving and entrepreneurial risk-taking impede these fundamental drivers of economic growth. The alternative is to tax those things we would like to get less of.

Consider the tax on gasoline. Driving your car is associated with various adverse side effects, which economists call externalities. These include traffic congestion, accidents, local pollution and global climate change. If the tax on gasoline were higher, people would alter their behavior to drive less. They would be more likely to take public transportation, use car pools or live closer to work.

The incentives they face when deciding how much to drive would more closely match the true social costs and benefits. Economists who have added up all the externalities associated with driving conclude that a tax exceeding $2 a gallon makes sense. That would provide substantial revenue that could be used to reduce other taxes. By taxing bad things more, we could tax good things less.

[NYT, 22 Jan 2012]
Ah, Mitt, we wish we knew ye!

Carrot and Stick

I've frequently noted that it would've been a whole lot cheaper for us to offer Saddam a deal he couldn't refuse: buy all his oil at double or triple then-prevailing market price. This would've been LOTS cheaper than going to war with him!

We've been using stick against Iran, in the form of sanctions.
Doesn't seem to be working.

How 'bout trying a carrot?

Let's suppose that following Obama's re-election, oil prices drop dramatically.
This is NOT an unreasonable proposition (see graphs in preceding post).
... say $40/bbl is the prevailing market price.
We offer to buy ALL Iran's oil for double that price - $80/bbl.
Iran exports around 3Mn bbls/day.
That'd cost us about $88Bn/year.
We'll make the deal for 4 years.

Of course there would be strings attached.
IAEA and anyone else who wants to inspect Iran's nuclear facilities would be welcomed with open arms.
There would be NO movement toward developing a nuclear weapon.

On the plus side: this is $$$ directly from U.S. tax-payers - and we just GIVE the oil to our Big Oil buds. They don't have to pay one red cent for it.
(Of course, they would have to pay for transport & refining... )

That $88Bn/year works out to about $350Bn over 4 years.
Based on cost of Iraq war, 4 years of war with Iran would cost about $356Bn.
We save $6Bn with my plan.
... AND - our Big Oil buds get the oil for FREE!

GOP & women: someone more clever than I

An Open Letter to the Tiny White Man the Republican Party Has Sent to Live in My Underpants


Just in case any GOPer tells you gas prices are today at record highs:
Nope, they're not - the record high was under W's administration!
[Note: price started going up just as soon as we invaded Iraq! - yep, this is a REAL cause-effect relationship!... but none of the war-mongering GOPers today seem to care.]

Price of oil?Same story. Fairly steady till W's invasion of Iraq. Record? About $140/bbl.

... and do any of the GOPers ever wonder if their strident militancy towards Iran might just have something to do with price of crude on the up-swing???

Just for grins: Obama's inauguration brought prices WAY down, really fast.
... 'Tis been GOP's threats against Iran, and insistence on punishing Iran since then that's caused oil & gas to steadily increase!

Being politically incorrect... and explaining Mitt's flip-flops

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) has an "open scripture". This means that the Church President can - and does - receive God's word, today, and is free to change Church doctrine in response to these revelations.

Till 1978 the LDS Church held that blacks were inferior to whites - a status determined by God Almighty.
The Church's President then had a revelation.
"Oops - sorry! Blacks are equal before God!"

I suspect this attitude towards DOCTRINE goes a long way to explaining Mitt's pliability regarding just about everything.
No belief is carved in stone, no position is absolute...
... He could have a revelation tomorrow.

[I'm betting that some future Mormon prophet will have a revelation that, in fact, gay marriage is just hunky-dory!]

From a far-flung correspondent

"An anthropologist proposed a game to African tribe kids. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?

UBUNTU in the Xhosa culture means: "I am because we are".

Economics 101 (again...)

(Why do I bother?)

Gross Domestic Product: GDP.

GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)

In the modern U.S. economy, that 'private consumption' term accounts for close to 70% of GDP.
"Private Consumption" = folks buying stuff.

Giving tax breaks to investors (the GOP's so-called "job creators") is pointless as a spur to the economy. Investors constitute that "gross investment" term.
Why invest (in capital equipment, factories, workers) when no one has any $$$ to buy the goods and services you produce?

The current recession derives from depressed DEMAND, not lack of supply.
Business statistics confirm this: firms are SITTING ON tons of $$$, waiting for the economy to rebound.

The economy will rebound when folks have jobs!... and are earning $$$ to SPEND! - generating DEMAND.

How best to quickly generate JOBS?
The third term in the equation: GOVERNMENT SPENDING!!!
Build/repair roads and bridges, fund education, fund healtcare.

In GOP parlance, "fiscal responsibility" means CUTTING government programs - withdrawing $$$ from the economy, killing jobs... and thereby reducing employment, reducing tax revenue, ... and making the U.S. economy WORSE!

Folks, this isn't rocket science, but your friendly GOP hasn't a clue.

Domino’s v. That One Greek Place Over on N Street.

The Supreme Court Issues a 5-4 Decision on Where to Order Lunch

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Santorum switches party affiliation!

Having failed to de-rail Mitt Romney in the Republican primaries, Rick Santorum today announced he is running as a Democrat!

No new war!

In keeping with the spirit of the season: "Hallelujah!"

More linguistics humor

Friday, March 30, 2012

Just too cool a headline to ignore...

Man Attacked by Mountain Lion, Saved by Bear
(Nope - didn't read the story.)

Buffoon off-line for a few days

Sorry folks - I'm off to Boston for a few days... if we end up in a war I'll do what I can to comment, but otherwise I'll be silent till Sunday, late.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


A Perfect Number is a positive integer that is equal to the sum of its proper positive divisors.
For example: 6 = 1 + 2 + 3.

Euclid proved that [2^(p−1)]*(2^p−1) is an even perfect number whenever 2^p−1 is prime.
('^' here represents exponentiation: 2^2 = 2*2 = 4; 2^3 = 2*2*2 = 8; 3^2 = 3*3 = 9.)

Euler proved that every even perfect number has the form given above.

Does an odd perfect number exist?
No one knows.

On the bright side...

... okay, I give up.
Someone - give me a clue!

Sounds like New Zealand is the place to be!

Elephants Down Under
Published: March 27, 2012
... Indeed, to go from America — amid the G.O.P. primaries — to Down Under is to experience both jet lag and a political shock. In New Zealand and Australia, you could almost fit their entire political spectrum — from conservatives to liberals — inside the U.S. Democratic Party.
For instance, there is much debate here over climate policy — Australia has a carbon tax, New Zealand has cap and trade — but there is no serious debate about climate science. Whereas in today’s G.O.P. it is political suicide to take climate change seriously, in Australia and New Zealand it is political suicide for conservatives not to.
Conservatives in Australia and New Zealand have also long accepted single-payer national health care systems. The Labor Party ruled New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, when it was replaced by the conservative National Party. During Labor’s tenure, it passed legislation legalizing civil unions, giving prostitutes the same health and safety protections as other workers, and extending income subsidies for families with children, noted Jon Johansson, a political scientist at Victoria University of Wellington. While these moves were resisted by conservatives when in opposition, he said, they have “not tried to repeal any of them” now that they are in power.
Ah, yes: sane politics.
... and I understand that Wellington has a nice climate!

Just for grins

It's not quite April.
The big election is in November.
Today's polls mean NOTHING!

A very good question!

"What does a pope do?" Fidel Castro asks Benedict

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Earl Eugene Scruggs: January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012

Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs dies at age 88

Linguistics humor

Limbs in the news

note: these fall under rubric, "Stories I didn't read".
Man saws off own foot to continue receiving unemployment benefits

Severed Leg Belonged to Missing Florida Woman

Financial advice

MegaMillions jackpot is currently $500Mn (annuity), $379Mn (cash now).
I'm figuring state & federal taxes at 40%, leaving just over $215Mn, after-tax current dollars.
Odds of winning are just a wee bit better than 1 in 176,000,000... which means the current after-tax value of a ticket is about $1.23.
It only costs a dollar.
Buy one.

(Above analysis does not take into account likelihood you'll have to share the jackpot...)

GOP's plan for us all

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kickin' back...

... and thinking, "Preserve sanity - ignore news".

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Tale of Two Dollars


Let's be honest: "justice" for Trayvon Martin will not be forthcoming.
He's dead. His killer will never face a jury.

The Florida "stand your ground" law will not be repealed.
The NRA has a LOT more $$$ than the rest of us.

BUT: there is SOME - remote - chance that the Florida legislature could rein in so-called "Neighborhood Watch" organizations.
Let's focus on the verb: "watch".
Your job is to WATCH! - call in suspicious activity to the professionals - the POLICE. (Okay, - the police aren't angels either, but at least they ARE subject to formal review.)

I'd suggest including PROHIBITING "Neighborhood Watch" members from carrying firearms while on patrol. They are NOT deputized. They are NOT agents of the state. They are NEIGHBORHOOD folks - just our NEIGHBORS.
Yeah - call the police if you notice suspicious activity, but do NOT confront anyone. That's not your job.
Your job is to WATCH.

Just a thought.

On the bright side...

1. We're not in another war today.
2. We haven't been attacked by terrorists today.

You can thank Obama for both.

At last: honesty in politics!

Mitt: I Won’t Detail Plans, Because Then I’d Lose
Mitt'll say what it takes NOW to get GOP nomination... but who knows what he'd actually propose as President?

His rivals have been trying very hard to make this case against him... so far, without much success.

Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

THESE are the folks lecturing on morality!

In Pa. abuse trial, a window into church practices

MARYCLAIRE DALE | Associated Press
25 March 2012
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A landmark priest-abuse trial opening Monday in Philadelphia may unveil the cryptic operations of a Roman Catholic archdiocese and detail how child sex-abuse complaints were buried for decades in secret archives adjacent to a soaring cathedral as the priests they named went unpunished.

Monsignor William Lynn is the first U.S. church official ever charged with endangering children for allegedly failing to oust accused predators from ministry. But he may not be the last.

Philadelphia prosecutors say he helped carry out "an archdiocesan-wide policy ... (that) was criminal in nature." And they've hinted they could charge others when the trial ends.
Yeah - I have deep faith in the Catholic Church when it comes to matters of morality! - Birth Control is a SIN!

Full disclosure: The Catholic Church counts me as one of Her own - I was baptized!

Well, yeah: I'd feel "threatened" in his presence!

Friends fear for safety of man who shot Florida teen
Well... yeah! - if all it takes to kill someone in Florida is to feel "threatened", then yes - George Zimmerman has reason to fear for his life. At this point, I'd guess just about anyone finding himself "confronted" by Mr. Zimmerman would legitimately feel "threatened"!

101 years ago today

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. It was also the second deadliest disaster in New York City – after the burning of the General Slocum on June 15, 1904 – until the destruction of the World Trade Center 90 years later. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three; the oldest victim was 48, the youngest were two fourteen-year-old girls.

Because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits – a common practice at the time to prevent pilferage and unauthorized breaks – many of the workers who could not escape the burning building jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors to the streets below. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.
This is what pure, unbridled, unregulated, predatory Capitalism looks like!

... and, oh yeah: that bit about "The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards"? - THAT'S what the GOP calls "Socialism"! - restrictive legislation, REQUIRING pure, unbridled, predatory CAPITALISTS to adhere to standards that protect their workers!... clearly inhibiting profit and "innovation".
Me? If "Socialism" means the gov't protecting me from pure, unbridled, predatory Captialists, I'm all for it!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

That was FAST!

Rick Santorum Wins: Louisiana Primary Results 2012
Rick Santorum was projected the winner of the Louisiana primary on Saturday night by CNN.
I'll miss you, Newt.

[... of course, this assumes Newt will have the grace to bow out... somewhat doubtful.]

Cpt Fogg says it well

If I had a son
Cpt. Fogg
24 March 2012
"You know, if I had a son he would look like Treyvon,"
said the president and I guess that's true to some extent. He'd have dark skin, of course, but I took it to mean that his son would be an ordinary looking, ordinary acting 17 year old and not a shooting gallery target.

Newt Gingrich took it differently because he saw the comment, which was clearly an attempt to show compassion and to suggest that he couldn't avoid putting himself in the place of the grieving father of Treyvon Martin, as an opportunity to launch another Fox-faux outrage. Hasn't the entire Republican reaction to the election of Barack Obama been a collection of phony, trumped up, fabricated and exasperatingly stupid outrages?
"Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be ok because it didn't look like him?"
said Newt to Sean Hannity on Fox News. Certainly Fox is the Cape Canaveral; the launch pad of most such desperate grasping at rhetorical straws -- the place where the unscrupulously ambitious launch calumny after slander after blatant lie, not because this president is beyond criticism, but because they, the Republican insiders, are themselves accessories before, during and after the fact of the collapse of our economy, the corruption and outrageous economic policies and the unjustified war that precipitated it and only wild claims can distract the public from remembering. Only wild, unsubstantiated and preferably ridiculous statements can rally the bigotry against honesty and decency.
One of the things that makes it easier for The Buffoon to keep going is that I don't have to be all that brilliant: I just have to shamelessly steal what other much-more-brilliant folks have said.

Just in case...

... you've $$$ burning a hole in your pocket:
You could do worse than to send a few $$$ in the direction of Expressions of Joy, a non-profit providing "the opportunity for adults, ages 17 & up,
with developmental disabilities and/or other special needs
to participate in choral music."
I attended one of their concerts this afternoon.
'Twas a delight!

Friday, March 23, 2012

I thought we all knew this...

"Walking-While-Black" is a crime!

I'm happy not to do this for a living!

Every day, more shit.
"News" shit.
"Political" shit.
"War" shit.

Fortunately, I have the option of ignoring all the shit - an option which I choose to exercise today.

Till tomorrow!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Even the Loyal Opposition is on my side!

Santorum suggests that re-electing Obama would be better than a Romney presidency
Thank you, Rick. You're right!

How Congress ought NOT be spending its time!

Saints Bounty Scandal: Senator Dick Durbin Calls Hearing To Examine Bounties In NFL
Maybe it's just me, but for Congress to devote time to "Bounty-gate"... or "Steroids-gate"... or any other pro sports scandal seems a complete waste of time and tax-payer $$$.

Don't you all have better things to worry about?... like, e.g., the economy, foreign policy... or just GOVERNANCE!!!

Oh good: I'm not alone

Breaking: Whitney Houston is still dead!

Whitney Houston Cause Of Death: Accidental Drowning Reported

Happy Birthday, Chico Marx

Leonard "Chico" Marx: 22 March 1887 - 11 October 1961.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Anyone but Romney" wins Illinois!

With 96% of precincts reporting:
"Anyone but Romney" 53%!

Lewis Carroll in the news

Santorum to GOP: Don’t nominate ‘Tweedledum’ like Romney
David Edwards
Monday, March 19, 2012
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum says that Republicans can’t win if they nominate a “Tweedledum” like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.

[Through the Looking-Glass]


Things I don't understand

Some things I understand; most things I don't. Sometimes I worry that the ratio, (understand/don't), is approaching zero. Most of the time I don't. This nonchalance is one of the things I don't understand.

Among the many things I don't understand: "Small Government" Republicans insisting that the Government ought regulate my sexual behavior.

Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up

Monday, March 19, 2012

Uh... okay...

Law firm fires 14 employees for wearing orange shirts
Eric Pfeiffer | The Sideshow
19 March 2012
They weren't wearing sagging pants or revealing clothing. But dressing in an orange shirt is apparently enough to get fired at one Florida law firm, where 14 workers were unceremoniously let go last Friday.

In an interview with the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, several of the fired workers say they wore the matching colors so they would be identified as a group when heading out for a happy hour event after work. They say the executive who fired them initially accused them of wearing the matching color as a form of protest against management.
Ironically, had the employees been wearing orange as a form of protest, it would have been illegal to fire them, ABC News reports.
And there's really nothing anyone can do about the terminations since Florida is an at-will state, meaning employers can fire an employee who doesn't have a contract "for a good reason, for a bad reason or even for the wrong reason, as long as it's not an unlawful reason," Eric K. Gabrielle, a labor and employment lawyer at Stearns Weaver, told the Sun-Sentinel. Gabrielle said there was no apparent violation of the law in this case.
I'm not quite sure what to say.
Wearing Orange is a fire-able offense???

There's a word for it (pointless)

I suspect this is an age thing, but more and more often I find myself walking into a room and then wondering why I'm there... "I know I came in here for a reason...!"

My sister-in-law provided a word for this phenomenon: "destinesia"
[it's in the Urban Dictionary!]

This doesn't sound good

Russian Anti-Terror Troops Arrive in Syria