Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Anyone but Romney" wins AGAIN!

BREAKING: Romney wins Wyoming caucuses, CNN projects
(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has won the Wyoming caucuses, CNN projects.

Based on straw-poll results compiled and released by the Wyoming Republican Party, Romney won 39% of the votes cast in straw polls conducted at county-level caucuses.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum came in second with 32% of the straw poll vote, followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 21% and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 8%.
Yep: Romney, 39%... which translates as, "61% vote AGAINST Romney!"

"Anyone but Romney" wins AGAIN!!!

“I was against it before I voted for it”

Mitt Romney Clarifies Stance On Blunt Amendment
In an interview with Ohio News Network on Wednesday, Mitt Romney said he opposed a controversial amendment that would allow employers to opt out of covering any kind of health benefit for moral reasons. But minutes after his answer was broadcast, the Romney campaign was insisting he actually backed the bill.
I'm sure hoping someone at DNC is writing this stuff down!

It's official: Michigan effectively a tie

Michigan Delegates Divided: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney Each Finish With 15 Delegates
Now on to Washington state (caucuses Saturday) and Super Tuesday!
(... ya know, 'faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!')

From the mailbag

RIP: Davy Jones

Davy Jones Dead: Singer Of The Monkees Dies At 66

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Anyone but Romney" wins again!

MI: 59%, "Anyone but Romney"
AZ: 53%, "Anyone but Romney"

Monday, February 27, 2012

This is just so COOL!

Temporal Distortion
by Randy Halverson
Think you've seen the night sky? Not like this. Photographer Randy Halverson took months (when the weather was clear) to shoot the stars overhead of the White River in central South Dakota, Arches National Park in Utah, Canyon of the Ancients area of Colorado, and Madison, Wisconsin. He put it all together in a time-lapse video set to music by the out-of-this-world composer Bear McCreary, who wrote the moody soundtracks to "Battlestar Galactica" and "The Walking Dead."

"Buy low. Sell high."

Buffoon is NOT a financial wizard, but there's one pretty good rule for investing, stated in title of this post: "Buy low. Sell high."

A few weeks ago the NYT featured bit on Franklin-Templeton fellow who's betting agin' the trend:
A Contrarian Bets Ireland and Hungary Will Rebound
By PETER EAVIS and JULIE CRESWELL
Published: February 7, 2012
For months now, a big investor has been betting billions of dollars that two of Europe’s most wounded countries will bounce back from the beating they have taken during the region’s debt crisis.

But the bets, which center on Irish and Hungarian government bonds, aren’t the work of a hedge fund operating stealthily out of London or Geneva. Instead, the buyer is Franklin Templeton Investments, a mutual funds firm that caters to individual investors rather than to sophisticated institutional customers like pension funds.

The man behind the trades is Michael Hasenstab, who at the relatively young age of 38 has already drawn comparisons to some of the titans of the mutual fund industry, including Bill Gross of Pimco.
Today's news (from Bubble Meter):
Warren Buffett is a housing bull
Warren Buffett says along with equities, single-family homes are a very attractive investment right now.

Appearing live on CNBC's Squawk Box, Buffett tells Becky Quick he'd buy up "millions" of single family homes if it were practical to do so.

If held for a long period of time and purchased at low rates, Buffett says houses are even better than stocks. He advises buyers to take out a 30-year mortgage and refinance if rates go down.
When the Dow is soaring (as it is today), that's really NOT the time to jump into the stock market!

Long, long ago, during a previous "gold bubble", one of my friends invested heavily in gold when it hit its then-peak, around $600/oz. He lost his shirt.

"Buy high, sell low" is a really STUPID investment strategy!

[note: Bubble Meter is on My Blog List, right-hand nav bar.]

Oops!

Back in September:
Physics shocker! Neutrinos clocked faster than light
Today:
CERN to re-run Einstein tests in May after loose cable casts theory doubts
My bets are on the loose cable.

a re-run: the GOP fight song

Yeah, I've posted this at least a couple of times before... but it's worth a repost!

This, too, explains a LOT!

Rich People More Likely to Lie, Cheat, Study Suggests
Uh... aren't these the folks running for public office???

This explains a LOT!

Incompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It

It's an age thing (part 2)

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.

From the mailbag (2)

From the mailbag

'tis heart-warming!

Ron Paul Denies Deal With Romney, Calls Santorum ‘Desperate’

Romney accuses Santorum of losing sight of spending cuts

Romney Calls Gingrich ‘Erratic,’ Compares Him to Pinball Machine

Romney Calls Paul Out of Step

Santorum Calls Romney a 'Pale Pastel'

Santorum Calls Gingrich An 'Erratic Conservative'

Santorum calls Paul's view on Sept. 11 'shockingly misguided'

Gingrich calls Romney ‘a pro-abortion, pro-gun-control, pro-tax-increase liberal’

Gingrich calls Santorum a "big labor Republican"

Newt Gingrich Calls Ron Paul 'Racist, Anti-Semitic'


Paul Accuses Romney of Utter Cynicism

Ron Paul calls Santorum 'a fake' in debate

POLITICS: Paul calls Gingrich a 'chicken hawk'
I'm eatin' this up with a spoon!

It's an 'age' thing

This was just on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, then, within about 5 minutes, I got an email about it.
Here's the email:
Mitt Romney recalled childhood memories of a landmark moment in Detroit history, noting he was "probably 4 or something like that" the day of the Golden Jubilee, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile, the Toronto Star reports.

Said Romney: "My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint."

Unfortunately, the event took place June 1, 1946 -- fully nine months before Romney was born.

[emphasis added]
Those pre-natal or - in this case - pre-conception memories can really haunt you!

Received in email this morning

Note: I don't know the author of the following. He is described by my 2nd-hand email correspondent (the original was forwarded to me) as "... an old friend and political scientist (among his other qualifications), now retired from Colorado State University and the author of several books, including "A Politics of Tensions: The Articles of Confederation and American Political Ideas." Bob was a professor of political science before becoming associate dean and then Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, received a master's of divinity from Yale University, a master's in political science from Pennsylvania State University, and a doctorate in political science from Cornell University. He has been teaching at Colorado State since 1976. Prior to that, he taught political science at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and philosophy at Alabama A&M University."

Anyway, here's the essay - worth a read:

Sanctus Santorum

The Republican Party has created a public dialogue that is profoundly disrespectful of those Americans who don’t share their political perspectives but who have every bit as much of a claim to the mantle of “American” as they do. Newt Gingrich fears that his grandchildren will live “in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.” How it is possible for radical Islamists to be the conveyers of secular atheism is a riddle I can’t solve, but clearly he sees his political opponents as demonic traitors to both God and country.

Rick Santorum has taken this strand of accusations to a new level of intensity, claiming that mainline Protestantism has “gone from the world of Christianity” and that President Obama’s faith is fraudulent, based on a phony theology that gives him no right to claim to be Christian. These are not accusations among theologians in the contexts of worship or devotional explorations of authentic faith. These are political attacks in the midst of a political campaign. The relevance of these religious charges to American politics has a simple foundation for those who make them. According to them, our Founding Fathers created an Evangelically inspired Christian nation and state. Democrats, liberals, President Obama, humanists, and secularists have betrayed our Founding Fathers and their good work. In their betrayal, they are neither authentic Americans nor authentic Christians.

Well, let’s hold on a bit. I am an American. At this historical juncture, I am especially proud to not be a Christian. This configuration of my identity is one of the possibilities for me as an American. I am no less of an American than my fellow citizens who are Christians – or, for that matter, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, or Deists. Because so-called “conservatives” have made matters of faith matters of politics, they need to be publicly challenged on their exclusionary attacks. And I will. I am also an academic. That simply means that in confronting their attacks I will rely on information and understandings that can be accessed by anyone, evaluated by everyone, and legitimately dismissed out of hand by no one. So, let’s consider our “Founding Fathers.” Let’s consider three questions – who are they, how unified were they as founders, and what religious traditions were they attached to that may have informed their founding work.

Who are the “Founding Fathers” of the United States? There are various lists that could be created and defended with varying measures of reasonableness. Certainly one of the most reasonable lists would be that of the 343 men who were elected to be members of and at some point actually attended meetings of the Continental Congresses and Constitutional Convention that provided the United States with its four founding documents – the “Continental Association” of 1774, the “Declaration of Independence” of 1776, the “Articles of Confederation” of 1778, and the “Constitution” of 1787. A subset of these 343 men is, perhaps, even more appropriate. It is the set of 139 men who actually supported and signed at least one of these four founding documents.

What generalizations can we make about these Founding Fathers?
1. 59% of those who were elected to participate and who did participate in these founding meetings never signed any of the founding documents. There were many reasons for this, but the chief political reason was that many remained British loyalists and opposed with various degrees of intensity the entire “founding” project. Also, many Quakers withdrew support because of their Christian opposition to war. They knew the course being charted would almost certainly lead to war.

2. There is only 1 (that is ONE!) of the 343 founding fathers and the139 who signed founding documents who signed all four founding documents. He is Roger Sherman of Connecticut.

3. Of the 56 signers of the “Declaration of Independence,” two-thirds did not sign either the first constitution (the Articles of 1778) or the second constitution (the Constitution of 1787).

4. Only 4 of the 56 “Declaration” signers also signed the “Constitution” although 17 did sign the “Articles.”

5. There were 48 signers of the “Articles.” Only 5 of them also signed the “Constitution.”

6. Of the 39 signers of the “Constitution,” only 6 had previously signed the “Articles.”

7. Of the 87 Founding Fathers who were responsible for giving us our two constitutional systems, 81 were in explicit opposition with one another regarding the kind of constitutional order they wanted for America – the Articles’ “United States” or the Constitution’s “United States.”

8. It is reasonable to say that the Founding Fathers had significant political differences among themselves. To represent them as a unity with one voice is not just a technical imprecision of concern only to pin-headed intellectuals, it is a knowing lie or an unknowing illusion that creates false understandings of our heritage for ordinary citizens and corrupts conversations about the impact of that heritage on the political life of America today.
What can we say about the religious traditions that informed our Founding Fathers? If we examine the biographies of the 139 men who signed at least one of the four major founding documents, this is what we find.
1. Although standard biographical information is available for all 139 of these founders, forty-two, or 30%, of them include no reference to any religious affiliation, commitment, or identification. I do NOT assume that this means such linkages were absent in their lives, but I do assume that whatever the reality was for each individual it did not manifest itself in ways that were clear and relevant for standard biographical portraits of them in their role as Founding Fathers.

2. Of the 97 men for whom a religious identity can be ascribed, 3 were Roman Catholics, 4 were Deists, and 90 were Protestants.

3. Of the 90 Protestants, 86 (96%) were affiliated with what Santorum calls “mainline Protestant” denominations – Episcopalian [43], Presbyterian [18], Congregational [17], and Quaker [8]. The other four were simply identified as “Protestant.”

4. There were twice as many of these Founding Fathers whose biographies explicitly identify them as anti-Roman Catholic as there were Roman Catholics, and three times more identified as freemasons than as Roman Catholics.

5. Although there are numerous individuals remembered as loving husbands and fathers and as honest men, some raised in homes of “liberal tastes,” there is not a single one of these Founding Fathers who is identified in association with the Anabaptist/Evangelical tradition of Protestantism.

6. As a graduate of Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, Santorum might reflect on a Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, who also founded Dickinson College. Rush saw himself as a deeply committed Christian who eventually classified himself as a “Christian Universalist.” He described his faith as the joining of “my ancient Calvinistical and my newly adopted Arminian (universalist) principles.” Now, would that pass Santorum’s test for authenticity?

7. Before Santorum trashes Reinhold Niebuhr (one of the most significant Christian theologians of the 20th Century who has been quite influential for President Obama) as an inauthentic Christian, one would hope he takes some time to examine the extraordinary compatibility between the theology of Niebuhr and the expressed religious understandings of many of the 86 Founding Fathers with “mainline Protestant” affiliations. Their 18th and 20th Century voices are profoundly congruent. This is not at all surprising if you remember that Niebuhr’s theology was not a form of “Liberation Theology,” as suggested by Santorum, but a form of “Neo-Orthodoxy” anchored in the New Testament’s concern about human accountability, presumption, and sin.

8. A brief 20th Century note of interest should be considered. In 1960 many Americans still doubted the appropriateness of a Roman Catholic serving as President. That was a legacy connected to our country’s Founding ethos. Transcending that legacy was, in part, a contribution of the “phony theology” of tolerance and brotherly love that Santorum and his Republican supporters are so quick to trash today.
9. All of this presents a rather strange picture. Mainline Protestants, who didn’t include Evangelicals and who marginalized Roman Catholics at the time of the founding in the 18th Century, are now being pushed aside as inauthentic by Evangelicals and Roman Catholics in the name of the Founding Fathers
This has been a largely aggregate picture of our Founding Fathers. Let me close by mentioning four individuals who were significant to the founding of the United States – Thomas Paine, James Madison, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. No one was more effective in rallying ordinary American citizens to support American independence than was Paine. He was a crude and aggressive anti-Christian. Read “Common Sense,” “Age of Reason,” and “Rights of Man” and ask yourself how those writings could have been so powerfully persuasive to a broad base of Christian Americans in the 1770s.

James Madison, the primary author of the “Constitution of 1787” and the “Bill of Rights,” and fourth president of the United States, never expressed affiliation with any Christian tradition, consistently voiced sentiments reflective of Deism, and was steadfast throughout his entire legal and political career in his insistence on a strong separation between church and state and on the profound dangers of establishing Christianity as the state religion.

Washington, whose military and political accomplishments are foundational, was an outspoken leader in calling for religious liberty and tolerance, and used his prestige as general and president to promote good will among Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. He sought to create a national ethos that would enable every American to, in his paraphrase of the Book of Micah, "sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid." Privately and publicly he strongly rejected any sign of intolerance, prejudice, and "every species of religious persecution," while hoping that "bigotry and superstition" would be overcome by "truth and reason" in the United States.

Jefferson was the primary author of the “Declaration” and the third President of the United States. In the context of his day, it is most reasonable to call him a Deist. But let’s permit him use of the designation “Christian” as contemporary revisionists prefer and as even he claimed in a private letter to Benjamin Rush in 1803. What then do we know about Jefferson’s Christianity? Throughout his life he was intensely interested in theology, biblical studies, and morality. He explicitly rejected the orthodox, institutional Christianity of his day and was especially hostile to clergy and to the Roman Catholic Church. He admired Jesus for his “human excellence.” He did not endorse Jesus’ spiritualism, claiming instead to be a materialist. Among the sayings imputed to Jesus, Jefferson says he finds many “of fine imagination, correct morality, and…lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, of so much absurdity, so much untruth and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.”

There is more that could be considered, but surely this is enough for Santorum and his Republican supporters and imitators to inform us that these men must be Founding Fathers who are fraudulent and phony Founding Fathers! For the rest of us, when will we stand up and say, “Enough is enough?"

Bob Hoffert

February 23, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oops! - I missed the Oscars

I had to read this twice...

... it does not appear to be from The Onion:
Penn Judge: Muslims Allowed to Attack People for Insulting Mohammad
Mark Whittington | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Fri, Feb 24, 2012
COMMENTARY | Jonathon Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, reports on a disturbing case in which a state judge in Pennsylvania threw out an assault case involving a Muslim attacking an atheist for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Judge Mark Martin, an Iraq war veteran and a convert to Islam, threw the case out in what appears to be an invocation of Sharia law.

The incident occurred at the Mechanicsburg, Pa., Halloween parade where Ernie Perce, an atheist activist, marched as a zombie Muhammad. Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim, attacked Perce, and he was arrested by police.

Judge Martin threw the case out on the grounds that Elbayomy was obligated to attack Perce because of his culture and religion. Judge Martin stated that the First Amendment of the Constitution does not permit people to provoke other people. He also called Perce, the plaintiff in the case, a "doofus." In effect, Perce was the perpetrator of the assault, in Judge Martin's view, and Elbayomy the innocent. The Sharia law that the Muslim attacker followed trumped the First Amendment.

Words almost fail.
"Words almost fail", indeed!

Then today, Mr. Santorum, esteemed GOP candidate for President, re-affirmed that,
"I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute," Santorum, a devout Catholic, said in an interview from Michigan on ABC's "This Week."
I'm sorry folks: if I wanted to live under a theocracy, I'd take the time to learn Arabic and move to Saudi Arabia... or to learn Farsi and move to Iran.
I'd just as soon stay in the U.S., where my chosen agnosticism has the same rights under the law as Santorum's Catholocism, Romney's Mormonism, ... and Mr. Elbayomy's Islam.
Under judge Martin's "reasoning", a devout Catholic - Mr. Santorum, say - would be justified in beating the crap out of a communicant who dared chew the host! - a clear sacrilege against the Body of Christ!

... there's even more down-side to this decision: Those states, like Oklahoma, which have introduced legislation to ban Sharia law from U.S. courts now have a precedent to cite to justify said legislation!

As previously stated...

... sometimes I just get tired of paying attention.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My "coming out" speech

Thank you for coming here today.

My name is William Russell Sype, Jr., and I’ve called this press conference to announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2016.
Having no political experience, no name-recognition, no money, and no organization, I figured it best to start early.

I don’t know who will be my Republican opponent, but I believe it safe to draw some contrasts between us, anyway. Both of us, I would like to stress at the outset, believe that America is the best and strongest country on Earth, and we are both extremely proud to be Americans. From this basic point of agreement, however, we have very different visions for America’s future.

When he – or she – imagines America’s future, he – or she – harks back to a mythical “Golden Age”:
A “Golden Age” in which labor had no voice.
A “Golden Age” in which “people of color” had no voice.
A “Golden Age” in which manufacturers were NOT obligated to provide safe working conditions, and in which industrial “accidents” were both commonplace and acceptable.
In this “Golden Age”, women had neither voice nor control of their bodies – they were effectively chattel, with few property rights, limited suffrage, and the biological requirement to bear children.

For me, America’s Golden Age still lies in the future.
I believe that, great as America is, it can still be better.
As that hackneyed bumper-sticker says, “America would be a better place if education were fully funded, and the Pentagon had to hold bake-sales!”
Public education is the foundation of an “equal opportunity” society – without it, the privileged few will continue to dominate, while the slaving masses can only hope to put food on the table, with no hope of escaping poverty and degradation.
My Republican opponent – whoever he or she might be – believes that public education is an anachronism, with no place in our society.

I note in passing that the United States is STILL the ONLY developed country in the world without some form of universal health coverage! - THIS is NOT the kind of “American Exceptionalism” I intend to pursue as President!

My Republican opponent, whoever he or she might be, goes to the grocery store, the mall, the corner pharmacy, and is frightened by what he sees: LOTS of folks who look DIFFERENT! Many of them speak English with a FOREIGN accent… some of them don’t speak English at all. This frightens him … or her. He sees his world crumbling before his eyes, and again yearns for a mythical “Golden Age” in the past – a “Golden Age” that has NEVER existed.

Folks, America has ALWAYS been a land of immigrants!... and there has ALWAYS been a fear of immigrants. Benjamin Franklin deplored the presence of lazy, indolent, non-English-speaking Germans in Philadelphia in the 18th century. The 19th century saw anti-Irish and anti-Chinese violence rage in our cities. In the early 20th century it was fear of both Italians and Eastern Europeans, coupled with an irrational fear of anarchism and Bolshevism, that led to shameful injustices and persecutions.

These various immigrant groups – Germans, Irish, Chinese, Italians, Eastern Europeans – were viewed as “The Other” – and seen as dangerous to the American Way of Life.

Today, these “Others” are “Us”! – they are our fellow citizens, competing for – and winning – public office. Running Fortune 500 companies. Teaching our children.
We are today all Americans.

So, when I go to the grocery store, or the mall, or the corner pharmacy and see folks who don’t look like me, who speak English with a foreign accent, or who perhaps don’t speak English at all – what I see is the source of America’s greatness.
After more than 200 years, WE are still seen as the “Land of the free and the home of the brave”. We – America - … this is still THE country to which people aspire – to build for themselves a better future, to become Americans.

Finally, my Republican opponent will seize on “FEAR” as the basis for his or her campaign. Fear of “illegal immigrants”. Fear of Iran, or of North Korea… Fear of “The Other” – whoever “The Other” might be.
My Republican opponent will cast various countries, movements, groups as Existential Threats to America!
Me?
I believe America is stronger than that!... and building a campaign on Fear of “The Other” will demonstrate just what my opponent REALLY thinks about America: he - or she - believes the United States is a weak, vulnerable, beleaguered country, on the brink of failure, defeat and collapse.

We – my Republican opponent and I – have very DIFFERENT visions for America.

When I was in elementary school I learned that America is a young nation.
This just isn’t true!
We have the oldest surviving written Constitution in the world.
It’s served us well.
The United States Constitution is our sacred text.
It is our faith in the Constitution that keeps America a strong, vibrant society – a place worth fighting for.

I look forward to serving you as your next President.
Thank you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nightly News

The debate is over

... What did I miss?

Somewhat disturbing...

Congresswoman Pelosi is on Rachel Maddow.
Rachel asked her to comment on Santorum's candidacy.
She declined, stating [LOTS of paraphrasing here!]:
I'd like to leave the Republicans' selection of their Presidential nominee up to them.
[emphasis added]
It's the "them" that strikes me.

Why "them"?

Okay, I practice fairly crude political polemics from time to time, but I really DON'T like the idea that I think of the loyal opposition as "them".
We're all in this together, no matter who wins.

"Them" are the "others" - the folks who used to be able to scare us really easily on The Twilight Zone.
There's a song in Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific: "You've Got to be Taught" -
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
... Well - no you don't. The song's wrong - sounds really good, but it's wrong.
What we seem to have going for us is the ability to recognize and brand "The Other"... as "The Other".
We're really good at it. It's what we do.
"Your skin is dark!"
"Your eyes look funny!"
"You killed Christ... and you dress funny!"
Taught? NO! - It's what we DO!... all the time.

I'd like to believe that 'civilization' has been taking us away from this base instinct, teaching us that "The Other" is just the same as us! (Sorta weird: it's impossible to discuss this topic without using words like 'them' and 'us'!)

... Anyway: I'll continue to write political polemic, but in my heart of hearts I do NOT believe that the GOP are in any meaningful sense "The Other"!

GOP Caves! (... well, a little...)

Virginia Ultrasound Bill Passes In House [UPDATE]
Laura Bassett, HuffPost
22 Feb 2012
WASHINGTON -- The Virginia House of Delegates passed on Wednesday a revised version of a GOP-sponsored informed consent bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before having an abortion. The new bill, which requires women to receive an external, transabdominal ultrasound rather than a more invasive transvaginal ultrasound, passed by a vote of 65-32.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) revoked his support for the original bill just minutes before the House began debate on it, saying that the government did not have the power to require the transvaginal procedure.

[... it's the bold, italic that sorta counts as "GOP Caves"]
... ya take what you can get!

How's the GOP debate going?

Is it too early?

I'm thinking about declaring myself Dem candidate for President in 2016; currently working on my 'coming out' speech.
[I figure with no political experience, no name-recognition, no money, and no organization, the earlier I start, the better.]

THESE are the folks lecturing Obama on morality!

Kansas City priest accused of molesting 4 brothers
... and, no, this is NOT an isolated incident!

I'm still waiting for some ambitious U.S. Attorney to charge the Catholic Church under RICO statutes, as a corrupt organization.

Public Service Announcement

Arizona Republican debate: How to find it
Natalie Jennings, WaPo
22 Feb 2012
Where can I watch the debate?
CNN is hosting the debate at 8 p.m. ET at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Ariz. CNN will broadcast the event on its network, livestream it on CNN.com and air it on CNN radio. In addition, Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN en Espanol will lead coverage from Mesa which will be simulcast with Spanish interpretation.
Nope - I won't be tuning in, but thought you might want to...

Dow hearts Dems

Obama’s march to socialism drives Dow to new heights, as do most Democratic administrations
Note: the Dow Jones Industrial Average is less than the perfect gauge to measure economic health, consumer confidence, etc... BUT: it is a closely watched index.
For whatever reason, if the Dow is doing well, folks believe the economy is doing well, and it IS a leading indicator of other, more robust measures of economic health.

New Mexico in the news

Susana Martinez, New Mexico Governor, Loses A Hairstylist Over Gay Marriage Stance
Sam Stein, HuffPost
22 Feb 2012
WASHINGTON -- The frontiers of the gay marriage debate keep on expanding.

On Tuesday, Governor Susana Martinez (R-N.M.) lost a hairstylist who refused to clip her locks out of disgust with her opposition to marriage equality.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I used to be a soprano! (It's getting late)

Oops! Mitt speaks the truth!!!

Romney Warns Spending Cuts Will Slow Recovery
Well, yeah: he's right!

BUT: this ain't gonna win him points with the GOP!!!

... 'twixt a rock & a hard place Mitt is.
(... or, for those of you more classically minded, 'twixt Scylla and Charybdis.)

Yep - to run for GOP nomination you've two choices:
1. Tell the truth... certain path to doom!
2. Pretend 'reality' ain't - surer path to the nomination, but not to Presidency!

... Well, I suppose there IS a third option:
3. Ignore the issues - talk instead about women's reproductive rights... and how bad they are!

Easter's coming up...

Newt's challenge answered!

Newt: "You can't put a gun rack in a Volt."
[Newt Gingrich's big applause line, campaign stop in Tulsa, OK, 20 Feb 2012]
From loyal reader, TedTheCat (who also provided the quotation referenced above):
Yes - American ingenuity at its best!

A modest proposal

Commonwealth of Virginia
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That any man desiring a prescription for Viagra, Cialis, any of their generic equivalents, or any other drug intended to address Erectile Dysfunction

a. be required to undergo a penile swab, rectal swab, and colonoscopy prior to receiving said prescription to ensure that he does not have a sexually transmissible disease (STD), the likelihood of transmission being increased by use of said prescription.

b. Furthermore, any such prescription shall not be given for a period longer than one month, and is not to be renewed unless and until the patient re-submits to another penile swab, rectal swab, and colonoscopy again to ensure that he has not contracted a sexually transmissible disease.

2. Should the diagnostic measures referenced above (penile swab, rectal swab, colonoscopy) reveal the presence of any STD(-s),

a. said prescription shall not be written;

b. said patient shall be escorted immediately by law enforcement officers to a secure, in-patient treatment facility, to be held there, at his own expense, until the diagnosed STD has been cured.

3. To ensure compliance with these requirements, the Commonwealth of Virginia forbids the shipment of any and all Erectile Dysfunction medications, from mail-order, Internet, or any other outside suppliers, into the Commonwealth.
This at least has the benefit of being sort of medically justified, as a precaution in the interest of Public Health.

Winning hearts & minds

US apologizes to Afghans for Quran burning
... and one more thing: Whenever the media refer to the Taliban, they're LYING.

Recall: W assured us in September 2004 that, "As a result of the American military the Taliban is no longer in existence."

Afghanistan: Just one big rosy success story!!!

Latest GOP target: The Girl Scouts!

Lawmaker: 'Radical' Girl Scouts out to destroy 'American family values'
By NBC News and msnbc.com staff
21 Feb 2012
There's an agenda behind those cookies the Girl Scouts sell, one bent on promoting communism, lesbianism and subverting "traditional American family values," according to an Indiana lawmaker.

That's the reason Rep. Bob Morris, a Republican representing Fort Wayne, insists he won't go along with a resolution meant to honor the Girls Scouts on the organization's 100th anniversary.
These guys have fallen off the deep end! The Girl Scouts???

Back in the good old days (pre-St. Reagan), the John Birch Society saw communists and subversives under every rock, on every street corner, in every government office.
Looks like today's GOP is resurrecting that glorious heritage!

Go for it!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents' Day!

... in celebration of which, here's a re-post [15 Oct 2009]:
In Praise of the Harding Era
It has been much in style in the United States, since around 1939, to praise the democracies of the world and especially our own. Strong men have become tearful and their voices have broken with emotion as they reflected, aloud and often too loud, that we are a nation in which any man may become President, that we achieve our laws by discussion, and that the rights of our minorities are often respected. These ponderous and occasionally strident writers and radio orators have sounded as if they had only then discovered what a truly wonderful place is the United States of America; and I shoud like to reiterate what I have said elsewhere about this tub-thumping.

All of this shouting has left some of us rather calm and collected, and quite uninterested, for some of us have never since birth thought otherwise than that our country, for all its imperfections, was the finest place on earth. I have never been able to read far in any of the many books written by Americans these past few years which would tell me of the boons of American democracy, nor to finish any of the many magazine and newspaper articles that would tell me the same thing. I have as much need of inspirational reading, or listening, about American democracy as I have of a book that will tell me the Sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.

These special pleaders for America, it seems to me, have merely been doing some second-guessing and are in a great sweat to put down on paper, or to charge the air waves with, statements of things that were obvious truths to many of us when we were ten years of age. We did not have to learn them, either, for we drank them in with the air we breathed, and have since never had cause to doubt them, not for a moment, not even during the administrations of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.

I suspect that many of these suddenly patriotic pleaders for democracy must at some time have lost faith in the Republic, or had never understood it anyway; and, like repentant sinners at a revival, hurried down the sawdust path, to stand at the testimonial bench and give cry to their conversion and salvation. In no other way can I understand the vehemence, the authoritative manner, and the curious and to me pathetic naivete with which they stress the marvels and glories of democracy as practiced in the United States.

It seems to me that one need know only the trials through which our country has successfully passed to believe it so basically stout and secure that only the wear of centuries and the evolutionary forces of time can lay it low. A nation comes through its every trial either weaker or stronger for the experience. Up the present writing I believe the United States has emerged from every crisis with increased national intelligence and ability to operate a vast and complex nation in a fairly competent manner. And if that is true, then it is enough.

That is why I believe the administration of Warren G. Harding to have been one of the most valuable the Republic has ever had. It demonstrated our strength as a nation, our lasting qualities, in a manner that left no doubt. If we American could live through that period, and those of Coolidge and Hoover, including the long horror of Prohibition - if we could pass through those trials and find our system still workable, then he is a skeptic indeed who doubts that the United States continues to have a future.

[Lost Men of American History, Stewart H. Holbrook (free internet download!)]
This passage was written in 1948.
Today I would add the horrors of McCarthyism and the administration of George W. Bush as trials that our nation has weathered... tho' the case for weathering W has yet to be concluded!

Still - the stridency of O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh... all are well-characterized in this brief passage, as the rantings of second-guessers and repentant sinners who, in their heart of hearts, don't quite believe in America.

[Perhaps, twenty years hence - if I'm still around - I'll write a chapter, "In Praise of the W Administration" - yes, folks, we survived W - we can survive anything!]

Urgent Update!!!

Whitney Houston is STILL dead!!!

A lack of imagination!

Loyal reader TedTheCat reports from Tulsa, OK:
Newt made a campaign stop in Tulsa today.

The big applause line: "You can't put a gun rack in a Volt."
Newt here displays a surprising lack of imagination!
Designing a gun rack for a Volt is JUST the challenge U.S. manufacturers need to keep 'em competitive!

They DESPERATELY need TAX CUTS!

The Cash Tech Companies Are Stockpiling: $700 Billion
Nicole Volpe Miller | November 29, 2011
Technology companies have been hoarding cash. Todd Coupland, an analyst at CIBC World Markets, estimates that U.S. companies could top $700 billion of cash on hand in 2011, making tech the most cash-rich sector after financial services. Apple alone is sitting on about $82 billion in cash and marketable securities.
They're sitting on $700Bn, but if we let 'em keep even MORE $$$ with corporate tax cuts, they'll suddenly magically start HIRING!

Note: this $700Bn is $$$ effectively sequestered - it's NOT in the economy, it's just SITTING there!

The Bond Vigilantes are coming! (... NOT!!!)

If we continue to run massive deficits, eventually we will be punished by the market: the cost of financing this debt will increase exponentially, driving up the cost of credit for everyone, leading to rampant hyper-inflation and effectively destroying our economy. The ONLY solution is to immediately and permanently reduce Government spending to eliminate the deficit - strict, Draconian austerity measures are needed NOW!
This, at least, is the current GOP economic orthodoxy.

Here, as reported by Dr. Krugman, are the facts:
Furthermore, bond markets keep refusing to cooperate. Even austerity’s star pupils, countries that, like Portugal and Ireland, have done everything that was demanded of them, still face sky-high borrowing costs. Why? Because spending cuts have deeply depressed their economies, undermining their tax bases to such an extent that the ratio of debt to G.D.P., the standard indicator of fiscal progress, is getting worse rather than better.

Meanwhile, countries that didn’t jump on the austerity train — most notably, Japan and the United States — continue to have very low borrowing costs, defying the dire predictions of fiscal hawks.
Current 30-year T-notes are yielding 3.161% - effectively a 35-year low! 10-year notes are at 2.01% - again, effectively a 50-year low!
[By way of comparison: during St. Reagan's glorious years, the lowest 30-year yield was 7.21%; the lowest 10-year yield was 7.23%... We paid a LOT more to finance the debt back in the days of St. Reagan!]

... then again, reality DOES have a liberal bias!

30-yr T-bill yields (1977-present):
10-yr T-bill yields (1962-present):[click on images to enlarge]

Just for fun

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.


34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
[Matthew 25:31-46; emphasis added]
Sounds a lot like Jesus was a commie-pinko wealth-redistributing socialist with a clearly non-Biblical theology! (You know, the true Biblical theology that only unbridled, unregulated, free-market capitalism Rules the World.)

Oh, good: I'm not alone!

CNN Says Nuclear Attack by North Korea Would Not Affect Whitney Houston Coverage
Wolf Blitzer Promises No Interruption
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – As North Korea ramped up its threats to attack South Korea, CNN reassured its viewers that a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula would have “no effect whatsoever” on its Whitney Houston coverage.

... and, oh yeah: Whitney Houston is still dead!

[Thanks to loyal reader melisandre for the heads-up!]

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In my lifetime...

Interracial marriage in US hits new high: 1 in 12
IN MY LIFETIME: Interracial marriage was ILLEGAL!
Loving v. Virginia
Loving v. Virginia 388 U.S. 1 (1967), was a landmark civil rights case in which the United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, the "Racial Integrity Act of 1924", unconstitutional, thereby overturning Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.
There've been many remarkable changes in my lifetime: Personal Computers, iPods, cellphones... but the most influential?: Civil Rights!... yes, for blacks, but also for gays... for anyone DIFFERENT!

Once upon a time, as a senior in high school, I was convinced that my generation would be the last to face racial prejudice & discrimination. Sigh.

No, we're not there yet - wherever 'there' might be... BUT: we're getting closer! (I think...)

... in MY lifetime...

Darn!

Michele Bachmann will not appear on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Not a good sign! (... for Mitt, that is)

Mitt Romney Challenges Sarah Palin's Claim That He's Not Conservative Enough
Mitt is now responding to Sarah Palin???
Not a good sign!!!

Man up, Mitt: ignore Sarah.
(... well, if only for the rest of us - we REALLY don't want to give Ms. Palin ANY credibility!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oh, good: I'm not alone

Republicans (heart) Not Romney
BREAKING: In Desperate Move, Romney Changes First Name to 'Not'
As stated previously: I'm REALLY enjoying the circus!

Just for fun: Ugliest woman EVER!!!

YaDa-YaDa-YaDa...

Polls now favor Santorum, the ninth flip of the nomination
... again, the "horse race" coverage is getting just a little old!... How 'bout major media INFORMING us about candidates' positions? - How would they govern???

... Naw - that's asking too much.

FYI: PrivateBuffoon is quite likely to continue publishing "Anyone but Mitt wins BIG!" for quite some time. (No - I'm not immune to "horse race" virus.)

... a day late & a dollar short... (but, still!)

Republicans Cave on Payroll Tax Cut Extension
Geez: it took long enough.
At last a good headline: "GOP caves"!

Non-headline headline

Upcoming Michigan Primary Could Prove Pivotal for GOP Race
"COULD" is the offending word.

Well, yeah:
... Martians COULD vote in general election;
... Gingrich COULD reveal affair with step-daughter;
... Santorum COULD admit to spying for Russia;
... Paul COULD confess heroin addiction;
... Romney COULD renounce his faith.

"COULD" is a wishy-washy word, not to be used in headlines!
Once again: is it too much to ask of the media that they provide substantive coverage???

Monday, February 13, 2012

Good news!

[from VERY loyal reader TedTheCat]:
Georgia concludes Obama eligible for ballot as natural born citizen

"Severely Conservative" (... stolen from Krugman)

Severe Conservative Syndrome
Paul Krugman, NYT Op-Ed
12 Feb 2012
Mitt Romney has a gift for words — self-destructive words. On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.”

As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.” Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb “severely”; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured.
...
... tinfoil hats have become a common, if not mandatory, G.O.P. fashion accessory.
Ah, yes: running to the right. As far to the right as possible, as quickly as possible.

As noted previously: pandering to 20% of the electorate may be how to win a primary, but it's not the best strategy for winning a general election!

And Romney is the moderate!!!

A Public Service Announcement from... CATS!

Atom.comWatch it now!
A PSA From Cats: We Will Piss
www.comedycentral.com
Funny VideosFunny CartoonsMore Video Clips
Full disclosure: I am the proud 'owner' of five (5) cats.

"Rick, Rick, Rick... !!!"

New Pew survey: Among Republicans, Santorum in statistical dead heat with Romney
Maybe I'm just crazy, but I'd FAR prefer Santorum as GOP candidate come November!

... stolen from FB friend...

LOL!

Whitney Houston is STILL dead!!!

Just for fun

Article II, Section 1, U.S. Constitution
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
I believe EVERY candidate for President ought be required to provide doctor/hospital-certified PROOF that he/she was NOT delivered by Caesarian section!... if they cannot provide such documentation, they do NOT qualify as "natural born" citizens!

Recall the "Second Apparition's" prophesy to Macbeth:
Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
... which gave Macbeth great confidence till he learned from his nemesis, Macduff, that...
Despair thy charm;
And let the angel whom thou still hast served
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb
Untimely ripp'd
.
"Natural born"??? - insist on PROOF!

More PROOF so-called "Global Warming" is a scientific hoax!

Emergency food flown into stranded European towns
ALINA WOLFE MURRAY | Associated Press
13 Feb 2012
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Military planes and police helicopters flew in tons of emergency food to snowbound villages and ships in the Balkans on Monday, after blizzards so fierce that some people had to cut tunnels through 15 feet (4 meters) of snow to get out of their homes.
Take THAT, Al Gore!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mitt's toast!

Sarah Palin On Mitt Romney's Conservatism: 'I'm Not Convinced'
If Sarah doubts Mitt, has he any hope?

Will we jump on the bandwagon?

Arabs back Syria opposition; Homs bombardment resumes
... in fairness, WE have backed U.N. Security Council resolutions to do SOMETHING!... it's our old Cold War foes, Russia & China, that are being obstinate. (... and in their defense: they're acting out of 'enlightened self-interest'... just like Wall Street!)

Sigh...

Top Republican wants vote on birth control mandate
I note that even after "Obamacare", we are STILL the only developed country in the world without some form of universal health coverage.

Again:
We the People of the United States, in Order to
form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice,
insure domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common defence,
promote the general Welfare,
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

[emphasis added]
If timely access to affordable healthcare does not constitute the "general welfare", what does???

GOP's goal for all of us: serfdom!

House Transportation Bill 'Technical Correction' Would Strip Workers Of Pay Protections
Dave Jamieson
Huffington Post
12 Feb 2012
WASHINGTON -- A little-noted provision in the House Republicans' controversial energy and transportation bill would strip several thousand workers within the rail-industry of their federal minimum-wage and overtime protections, potentially making low-wage jobs pay even less.
[emphasis added]
When we are all making less than minimum wage, personal income tax on capital gains is abolished, and corporate tax rates are 0% - maybe THEN the GOP will be satisfied!!!

Welcome to the Golden Age of Feudalism... and WE the PEOPLE are the serfs!!!

PROOF that so-called "Global Warming" is a hoax!

Wintry mix pelts south central U.S., icy temps chill east

We're screwed!

Al Qaeda leader backs Syrian revolt against Assad
So, if we...
1. support the Syrian opposition, we're in league with al Qaeda
2. do NOT support the Syrian opposition,
... 2a. al Qaeda has one more beef against us
... 2b. when Assad is toppled, we'll be personae non gratae with new regime
3. stand back and look cute: see 2a & 2b above

How come the bad guys are so much more adept at policy than we are?

This is gonna be really fun!

Santorum plans aggressive strategy against Romney

now THIS is a headline!

Greek lawmakers approve austerity bill as Athens burns
Just FYI: austerity measures are just what the GOP advocates for the U.S. ... just like them damn European socialists!

Today's headlines

Whitney Houston, Iconic Pop Star, Dies at 48
- In complicating move, al-Qaida backs Syrian revolt
--Lin, Knicks rally for 5th straight, beat Wolves
...... ME GOP: 61% for "Anyone by Mitt"

Friday, February 10, 2012

I LIKE Turkey's foreign minister!

Turkey’s foreign minister: Syria’s Assad could’ve been Gorbachev, but chose to be Milosevic
What an apt comparison!
Glasnost or Genocide? - It's your choice, Mr. Assad!

GOP's vision for America



Sigh...

Twin Suicide Attacks Rattle Syrian City of Aleppo

By Molly Hunter | ABC News
10 Feb 2012
Syrian State TV reported early this morning that "two terrorist" explosions struck the northern city of Aleppo. 25 people were killed and 175 injured in today's attacks after two suicide bombers drove their vans into the military security building and the law enforcement headquarters, State TV quoted the Health Ministry as saying.

Aleppo, which borders Turkey and is Syria's second largest city, has been relatively quiet as violence rages on in other parts of the country.
As stated previously, I've no idea what appropriate 'solution' to this mess might be - other than Assad voluntarily relinquishing power, which seems doubtful.
At the same time, no civil wars are pleasant.

Bad news!

Gingrich Group Looks for New Money as Big Donor Checks Stop
I note also that media are paying NO attention to Newt.

Any guesses on what will be his response to being counted out?
(He really does need SOME $$$ to keep going... hmmm... maybe it's time to send him a check!)

I just don't have the heart...

... to follow CPAC.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Just for fun: Lee Corso on football

"To upset Wisconsin, Nebraska has to outscore Wisconsin."- Lee Corso

"Florida State has a chance to win this game by outscoring the Gators."- Lee Corso

"To beat the Badgers, Oregon's going to have to outscore them."-Lee Corso

... just a fun description

"Rick Santorum, a Catholic more conservative than the pope,..."
This from The New York Review of Books [subscription required].

A Quiz: Which GOP candidate said this?

True racism in this country is in the judicial system. The percentage of people who use drugs are about the same with blacks and whites. And yet the blacks are arrested way disproportionately.

They’re prosecuted and imprisoned way disproportionately. They get the death penalty way disproportionately. How many times have you seen a white rich person get the electric chair or get, you know, execution?

If we truly want to be concerned about racism…look at the drug laws, which are being so unfairly enforced.
Nope - no prizes.

The pundits among us

Santorum's sweep has the pundits apoplectic!
The world is coming to an end!!!

Among my favorites:
[These two are from the same article]
- "Gingrich is toast"
- "Geography is trumping history"
I find it amusing that folks now count Gingrich out of the picture, while at the same time acknowledging that Geography is important: uh, Newt did pretty well in South Carolina, and is expected to do well in remaining southern states.
Me? I'm not counting Newt out! - if nothing else, he'll continue to snipe at Romney at every opportunity, and, who knows, maybe pick up some delegates in Georgia & Tennessee.

More brilliant punditry: Santorum still faces uphill race in Michigan, state Republican chairman says... this based on Romney's Michigan heritage: dad George was Governor.
Well, maybe... but Mr. Santorum seems to be doing pretty well in "middle America" - his Iowa & Minnesota message may resonate... and he's a dogged campaigner.
(... and Mr. Romney's dad may have been Governor, but Romney fils was governor of MA - that evil nest of liberals!... AND: Mitt has gone on the record that he'd have let Detroit's auto industry go bankrupt, in the name of pure, unbridled capitalism!)

GOP turnout: 2012 v 2008

Colorado - 2012: 66,027; 2008: 70,229 (down 6%)
Minnesota - 2012: 48,657 (98% pcts reporting; pro-rated total = 49,650); 2008: 62,828 (down 21%)

These numbers strike me as odd in a year the GOP is rabidly anti-Obama.
Why aren't GOPers turning out to select their nominee - the white knight that'll save 'em?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Anyone but Mitt" wins BIG in Minnesota!

"Anyone but Mitt": 83%
Mitt: 17%

Romney's theme song

This is just fun... and brilliant

Whatever you do, don't say anything good about the auto industry
This from Nameless Cynic. As is common-place, folks on "My Blog List" are more observant and more articulate than I.

This seems like big news

Note: PrivateBuffoon does not, as a rule, devote much ink to gay-rights issues... BUT: this seems like Big News:
Proposition 8 ruled unconstitutional by Court of Appeals
I'm still waiting to hear ANY well-reasoned argument AGAINST gay marriage.
The "small Gov't" folks seem more than happy to dictate in the area of personal morality: "You can marry that person... but not THAT person!"
... if your religion deems same-sex marriage an abomination, fine! - but why have you the obligation and the right to impose your RELIGIOUS beliefs on the rest of us???

... and it took some digging to find this

Stocks turn higher on strong job openings
This is, in fact, NEWS, on a couple of levels:
1. It reports current market conditions (which could, admittedly, change tomorrow)
2. It mentions improving U.S. economy... I'm guessing most of the electorate is unaware of this surprising fact.

... BUT: It took more than just a little digging to uncover this story. Not on Yahoo's main news page, where I learned that "Santorum aims for victory in GOP contests"!

I am in complete agreement!

From HuffPost
A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT
Chaotic 2012 News Coverage Not Doing Voters Many Favors
Sadly, the link has a different headline:
GOP Primary Show: Non-Stop News And Noise In The Age Of Twitter
... While reporters and political insiders absorb the primary show frame-by-frame, such granularity may be obscuring larger truths or trends. A January Pew study found "many voters unaware of basic facts about GOP candidates." For instance, only about half of those surveyed knew Romney had been the governor of Massachusetts. Less than half knew Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) wants U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

The study suggests that there's a real disconnect between those following the up-to-the-millisecond campaign conversation and the rest of the country, which is less focused on the rush of details and more concerned about the struggling economy and their livelihoods.
I much prefer "A Tale Told by an Idiot" as descriptive of the product of political reporting during this campaign. Again (and I'll say it again): Is it too much to ask of the media that they report substantive issues, not only "horse race"?

The Pre-Game Press Conference

Hooray, again

Gulf states pulling ambassadors from Syria
I've no idea what effect this might have, but at least it makes clear to the Assad regime that current situation is intolerable.

Nope - I've no clue what appropriate 'solution' to this mess might be... well, other than Assad relinquishing power (doubtful).
Isolating Syria may help... or not.

I note that North Korea - as brutal a regime as can be imagined - continues to exist in isolation. The regime just doesn't give a damn.

This is capitalism?

Minnesota Vikings Stadium Plan: Saddle Taxpayers With $1 Billion Field
The Huffington Post Ron Dicker
7 Feb 2012
Here's one way a Republican presidential candidate might gain more votes in Tuesday's Minnesota caucuses: Promise citizens they won't have to pay for the Minnesota Vikings' new football stadium.

A fifth plan for a $1 billion stadium in downtown Minneapolis emerged Monday, with taxpayers shouldering a large chunk to aid a privately owned NFL team that hasn't had a winning season in two years and has never won a Super Bowl. The state would be responsible for at least $340 million and Minneapolis for more than $300 million, according to estimates in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Vikings haven't pledged a dime. They promised $425 million for an earlier proposal in the suburb of Arden Hills. That was several plans ago.
...
From 2000 to 2008, taxpayers contributed $5 billion of the $9 billion used to build 28 major league stadiums, according to a 2008 University of Utah study. That includes the $720 million Super Bowl site, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a losing proposition for taxpayers, Bloomberg News reported.

In fact, most subsidized sports complexes are a bad deal for communities, the Utah study concluded. Harvard professor Judith Grant Long told Bloomberg that taxpayers shell out an average of 40 percent more than the original estimate of stadiums.

Are GOP candidates up in arms against tax-payer subsidies for "Welfare Queen" professional sports teams?
... No, I didn't think so.

Vacuous political headline

Santorum aims for a victory in Republican contests
Santorum's a competing candidate for GOP nomination. Yes, he "aims for victory in Republican contests".
This isn't quite "dog bites man", but it's close.

The "horse race" coverage of GOP campaign is a bit off-putting, but, okay, it gives commentators something to discuss.
This headline, on the other hand, is either content-free or tautological - there's NOTHING in it!

Is it too much to ask for something a bit more substantive in the COVERAGE of the campaign? Presumably the journalists are getting paid to do SOMETHING.

Monday, February 6, 2012

This sounds like good news (I could be wrong)

Heading into Minnesota, Romney focuses attacks on Santorum
Till now, Mitt has been pretty focused on Obama as the bad guy.
If his campaign is now deciding that Santorum is the villain, that's all for the good!
Go for it!

Blatant self-promotion: traffic!

If you like what you read on Private Buffoon, please share it with a friend!
(Nope - I'm not looking to make $$$ - Buffoon is NOT monetized - I just want folks to read my brilliant analyses!)

Hooray!

U.S. Embassy in Syria Closed, Diplomats Evacuated

Why am I skeptical?

Obama: US has 'very good' intelligence on Iran
Note: my skepticism of U.S. Intelligence apparatus pre-dates W and Iraq NIE. It goes back at least as far as 1991, when Robert Gates was nominated by George H.W. Bush to be Director of CIA.

Recall, this was right after fall of Soviet Union.
During his confirmation hearings, Gates said something to the effect that, "Russia is going to have a very hard winter."
Well, duh!
THIS is the best the CIA has to offer???

Our intelligence services - who knows how many exist?!? - are out of control, and of questionable value, having been completely politicized.

See, e.g., Our Secret American Security State.

Where's the outrage?

Activists: Syrian troops pound Homs neighborhoods
By BASSEM MROUE | Associated Press
6 Feb 2012
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops shelled neighborhoods in the restive city of Homs on Monday, a day after President Bashar Assad's government vowed to continue its deadly crackdown on the country's uprising, activists said.
The Syrian government under Assad is killing its own people.

Why is CNN the only network covering this?

Why do none of the GOP candidates talk about this?

Where is the outrage?

Best news of the day so far

Gingrich vows to take fight to "timid" Romney
By John Whitesides | Reuters
5 Feb 2012
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Republican Newt Gingrich vowed on Sunday to press ahead with his struggling presidential bid after a big loss in Nevada, saying he will focus on drawing a contrast with "timid" rival Mitt Romney.
I'm still going with Spartacus as best movie metaphor: Newt will do all he can to destroy Mitt, even knowing that he'll be crucified in the end.

Sigh!

Football season now officially over.

Baseball doesn't start till April.

(No: I've no interest in basketball, pro or college.)

Looks like the only "sport" diversion is GOP Presidential primaries!
I sure hope Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum stay in!

... hmmm... Maybe Mitt will drop out!
Vaguely relevant movie quotation:
Butch Cassidy: Well, the way I figure it, we can either fight or give. If we give, we go to jail.

Sundance Kid: I've been there already.

Butch Cassidy: We could fight - they'll stay right where they are and starve us out. Or go for position, shoot us. Might even get a rock slide started, get us that way. What else can they do?

Sundance Kid: They could surrender to us, but I wouldn't count on that.
[Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, emphasis added.]

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just for fun: "What it was, was football"

SuperBowl: yes, it WAS a good game!

... spent with family & friends... lots of really good food.
... and a 4-point winning margin pretty much reflects the game: it was close, both teams played well.

Prediction: XLVI will go down as one of the best ever.
NE's 96-yd TD drive to end the 1st half was spectacular, as was their, what, 98-yd TD drive to open the 2nd half.
NYG's persistence, on both offense & defense, was fun to watch.
Manning was great (30/40: 75%; 296 yds; 1 TD). (So was Brady [27/41: 67%; 276 yds; 2 TDs].)

on the down side: I didn't win my betting pool! sigh.

SuperBowl Sunday!

... a 'light posting' day.

I'm just hoping it's a good game!
... some vague preference for NYG, but Pats' win won't crush me.

My only REAL interest: I need final "total points" to end in '3'!
(Yep - I'm in a betting pool.)

"Anyone but Romney" again the big winner!

In Nevada:
"Anyone but Romney": 52%
Romney: 48%

... AND:
Although Romney's victory is significant in percentage terms, the voter turnout for the caucuses was not substantial.
[emphasis added]
... not much enthusiasm evident from GOP electorate.

FYI: same story in Florida:
2008 GOP primary turnout: 1.95Mn
2012 GOP primary turnout: 1.66Mn
... turnout down ~15% from 2008... and this in a year when anti-Obama sentiment OUGHT to be driving GOP enthusiasm!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just a reminder

...27 But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you,

28 bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.

29 To him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also.

30 Give to every one that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

32 And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for even sinners love those that love them.

33 And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same.

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much.

35 But love your enemies, and do [them] good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.

36 Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

37 And judge not, and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: release, and ye shall be released:

38 give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.

[Luke, 6:27-38, American Standard version... so it probably doesn't count with Christianists, for whom G-d speaks only King James' English!]
Have the Bible-beating "Christianists" ever actually READ the Bible? Have they thought about the words?

Once-upon-a-time...

... in a universe far, far away - I tried to write more-or-less coherent, more-or-less well-reasoned posts.

Given the state of political discourse today, that tactic seems absurd.
... so I've abandoned it (Yes - I DO take note of reality!).

Note: since abandoning the 'coherent, well-reasoned' tactic, Private Buffoon's traffic has increased significantly!

... oh, yeah: now I remember...

... why I'd stopped paying attention.
Will the real Jesus please stand up?
... and a good many loyal GOPers condemned the President's remarks as "threadbare theology".

As often happens, The Reaction says things a LOT better than I!

As long as that nigger is in the White House, these folks'll be out for blood.
For your sake: I hope you own your house outright, mortgage-free... and that you NEVER get sick!... and it'd be really good if you won the lottery!
If you miss a mortgage payment, or need health care, or just lost your job... don't expect the GOP to help: these are just ramifications of the unfettered free-market!

Passive-aggressive creativity!

Vermont inmates hide pig in official police car decal
Zach Howard | Reuters – Fri, Feb 3, 2012
(Reuters) - Inmates working at a Vermont correctional unit's print shop managed to sneak a prank image of a pig into a state police crest that is emblazoned on police cars, and 30 cruisers sported the design for the last year, officials said on Thursday.
I think the MacArthur Foundation oughta consider the inmate who came up with this idea for one of its "genius" awards!

"Yeah, I'm stuck in the prison's print shop, making crap for the state. How can I make this job more rewarding, more self-actualizing, more fun?
... Hey! - I've got an idea!!!"[Hint: check out the cow's markings.]

What a surprise...

Russia, China veto UN resolution on Syria
On the bright side, they ARE acting in their own economic self-interests - just like good capitalists!

Sigh: yes, we care... but not Russia

Insight: Syria's Assad set for long conflict
The Syrian regime is not unlike the Lybian regime: "Enlightened Despot Gone Mad". But Russia - 'cuz they've got economic interests in the area - fails to respond.

When a government - ANY government - decides it's best to slaughter its own people, something is wrong.

note: "Englighened Absolutism", as propounded by Frederick the Great, it the PERFECT form of government... but chances are the successor - son, daughter, vizier, prime minister - won't be quite so "enlightened".

... then again, when economic interests are at heart, nothing else really matters. (This is as true of the U.S. as it is of Russia!)

We should, in fact, be praising Russia for pursuing pure, unbridled capitalism!

Damn Socialists!

Jobless rate at 3-year low as payrolls surge

Just 'cuz I like it

Friday, February 3, 2012

Money talks! - sometimes for good!!!

Komen reverses move to cut Planned Parenthood funding
Just in case you haven't been paying attention: earlier this week, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, one of the nation's largest breast cancer charities, announced that it would no longer fund Planned Parenthood, an organization devoted to women's health, including breast cancer screening.

Ostensibly the Komen foundation based its decision on the fact that Planned Parenthood is now under Congressional investigation (don't ask)... but it seemed sort of weird that
1) a recent high-level Komen hire is outspoken right-wing critic of Planned Parenthood
and
2) NO other organizations currently under investigation had been de-funded.

Just about EVERYONE - except the far-right critics - condemned the Komen foundation... and it's pretty clear that threatened loss of charitable donations played a large role in Komen's decision to do an about-face.

... It's still not clear that Komen will survive this blunder.

Remembering "the day the music died"

February 3, 1959.



Best blog post title in a while (no, not mine)

Stock markets surge, thwarting Obama's anti-capitalist agenda
This from The Reaction.

[It's on My Blog List... you should read it, and the others on My Blog List. They all write better than I do!]

... more 'personal note' stuff

Teresa's formal memorial service was last spring.
Today's interment 'ceremony' was informal and brief.

Here are the few words I spoke, from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers:
Try we life-long, we can never
Straighten out life's tangled skein,
Why should we, in vain endeavour,
Guess and guess and guess again?

String the lyre, fill the cup,
Lest on sorrow we should sup.

Life's perhaps the only riddle
That we shrink from giving up!

String the lyre, fill the cup,
Lest on sorrow we should sup.
Take life as it comes!
I am comforted by the knowledge that Teresa continues to live in the memories of her family & friends, and in our lives.

Personal note

Teresa died last April.
I've been keeping her cremains, in a beautiful purple urn of her choosing, in a small shrine in the living room.
Today I'm heading to Santa Fe National Cemetery to place cremains in a niche.
The next step in 'saying goodbye'.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

PACs & Super PACs

More history.
Back in the days of Adams and Jefferson it was considered inappropriate for candidates to personally campaign - or even pretend to be interested in the office.
All the campaigning was conducted by surrogates - mostly 'independent press' - pamphleteers.
And these pamphleteers had NO scruples whatsoever!
Accusing the opposition of having carnal knowledge of his pigs was perfectly acceptable! (The LBJ tactic: "Make him deny it!")

Nope: current political environment isn't the worst we've ever endured.
... it is, in fact, almost genteel compared to campaigns past.

(... How come no one knows this? This is simply HISTORY!... You can read about it! - in BOOKS!)

"Is this nastiest, dirtiest campaign ever?" (redux)

See also Jackson v. Quincy Adams", 1828.
The campaign was marked by an impressive amount of mudslinging. Jackson's marriage came in for attack: when he had married his wife Rachel, the couple had believed that she was divorced; however, the divorce was not yet finalized, so he had to remarry her once the legal papers were complete. In the Adams campaign's hands, this became a scandal. Charles Hammond in his Cincinnati Gazette asked: “Ought a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband be placed in the highest offices of this free and Christian land?”

The notorious Coffin Handbills attacked Jackson for his court martial and execution of deserters, massacres of Indian villages, and his habit of dueling.

Adams did not escape attack. It was charged that Adams, while serving as Minister to Russia, had surrendered an American servant girl to the appetites of the Czar. Adams was also accused of using public funds to buy gambling devices for the presidential residence; it turned out that these were a chess set and a pool table.
Again: American Constitutional democracy has never been pretty... it just seems to work... sort of.

[... and sexual indiscretions have ALWAYS been front and foremost!]

political blogging is really easy!

All you have to do is read the news!

... for what it's worth: please visit the folks on "My Blog List" - they all say stuff a LOT better than I do!

Uh... no!

Is this the 'ugliest, nastiest, dirtiest' campaign ever?
No.
Just by way of comparison, see Adams v. Jefferson, 1800. The free press had a hay day! - no one was exempt from malicious libels. It was UGLY!

... American Constitutional democracy has never been particularly pretty.
It just seems to work... sort of...

When I was a kid I learned that America is a 'young' country.
Turns out this just ain't so!
America is one of the oldest surviving Governments in the world!
We somehow manage to muddle through the vitriol, the tangents, the by-ways.

At any given moment I despair... but we've made it this far sort of okay.
(... and, yeah - we could do a LOT better!... oops - does that last sentiment mean I have to leave?)