Monday, December 31, 2012

Thinking 2013

Well, it's coming, ready or not . . . 2013 that is. Regardless of what our Congressional malenfants do, or do not do, 2013 will arrive shortly on our shores. Susan Collins of Maine asserted that, should her Congressional colleagues fail to act, we the American people might think they are incapable of governing . . . heaven forfend as the Will might say. What ever gave her the idea that we, the American people, believed that Congress might actually govern some day?? They are the very essence of dysfunction. When one of the leaders of the royal, loyal opposition declares that his single aim while in office is to ensure that President Obama was a one-term president, we can safely conclude they are all about nothing.
So, as we slide over the cliff, let us hoist our glass of champagne and toast the Ausssies, as they celebrate . . .
Happy New Year Oz. We wish you the best . . .



Oh, but lest I forget, we are busily preparing (actually Carol is busily preparing) our evenings repast. As some of you know, we rarely enter the outside world on New Year's Eve, preferring to spend it with our own company, seeing as how we still like each other after 57+ years. So, tonight, as the clocks tick down, we shall begin with our nightly hot tub, sitting in the bubbly hot water and chatting. Then we shall begin our feast of the New Year's Eve. Our standard fare includes:
Caesar Salad
Swedish meatballs
Cold shrimp with cocktail sauce
Baby clams sauteed slowly in garlic butter til they open
Freshly baked (by Carol) sourdough bread, with which one can soak up the garlic butter.
Something sweet.
And of course, we shall pop a bottle of wine, or champagne, still to be determined.
And while all this eating is going on, we shall watch our favorite film of all time, Casablanca, the most romantic movie ever made.
It remains to be seen whether, at our increasingly advanced age we shall remain awake until midnight. Generally we do, but of late we have trouble making it to 10:00. We shall try, of course, but if not, the daybreak will still greet us in the accustomed manner, and the new day will still represent the newest day of the New Year, 2013.
So, there it, we have a plan.
Happy New Year to all who can still read . . .



























 
 
 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Camp Boehner

This just in. Camp Boehner has just released a candid photo of the Speaker at work in his retreat--the Speaker's Camp David, where he goes to develop his plans, the last one being the famous Plan B, of course. The Speaker, always working for America.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Season of the Grinch


So, the seasons change once again . . . it is rumored that the Season of the Grinch is upon us.  At homes all over America, this scene is being re-enacted hourly . . .
 

Yes, the colorful lights are going out all over the towns in middle America, in preparation for the Season of the Grinch, in which the Republican Grinches attempt to steal all the goodies bestowed on the 99% during the season of caring, aka, Christmas.  Indeed, the senior Grinch in Washington DC has been sighted at various subway stops all over town in the Nation’s capital.
 
And the lemmings have been taking practice dives off various high places throughout the capital. Indeed some lemmings have even been sighted leaping off the Smithsonian Castle, the better to prepare themselves for their leap off the fiscal cliff in several days.
 

And the Speaker of the House, a Mr. John Boner, an employee of the Cock Brothers, has officially signaled the beginning of this season, with his proclamation that the 47% have mooched long enough and his 1% employers will no longer tolerate their antics. “Indeed”, he declared, “if not stopped, they may begin thinking they are actual Americans, and we cannot tolerate that.”
 
Mr. Boner further declared that, as soon as the Grinches have done their thing, it will once again be the Season of the Witch, one of his all-time favorite seasons . . . Soon, soon he promises we will again see sightings of some of his favorite witches, most of whom are now practicing in the backrooms of the Speaker’s home base.

 So, prepare yourselves, you 99%ers. It’s time to hunker down, perhaps just after you write your favorite hometown Grinch in Congress to ask for mercy.  "Not the Cliff, Not the Cliff" should be your opening line in your message to your guy in Congress.
And, should you decide that discretion is the better part of valor, and it may be time to leave the country, consider taking your relatives with you as you seek shelter in some country more freedom-loving . . .
 

And in other news, The Faux News Network has reported that the Russian Duma has acted to declare the National Rifle Association and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Republican Party, as terrorist organizations, to be sanctioned by the United Nations. Mr. Putin has indicated his intent to sign this latest declaration.
Thaaaat's all folks . . .

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays

Well, it's that time of year again. Hannukah has just completed, Kwanzaa will be upon us.  Diwali, India's Festival of Lights passed by a month ago, and now the Christmas season is upon us. It is time for us to forgive our transgressors, the LaPierre's of the world, and focus on the world's goodness, and on doing good. Spread some kindness.

Perhaps feed someone or something in need . . .

And take special care to protect the young ones in our care . . .

 
Take time out from our busy schedules . . . put down our phones, and observe the beauty in our lives . . .
 
 
Look your children in the eyes. You will see beauty.
 
 
 Look around you at this beautiful world . . .
 
 
and then , relax and hoist one for the gipper.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you . . .
 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The NRA Dance

And so the NRA (Mr. LaPierre) has spoken. We need Patrick Stewart to utter those fateful words . . . “make it so Mr. Spock”.

But, I was thinking of that damnable Fiscal Cliff thingie. So, I wondered where Mr. LaPierre expects us to get all the money to place armed security guards in every school in America? I am told by reliable sources (Wikileaks . . . or was it the Mayan calendar??) that there are some 27,000 high schools in America.  So, assuming that we have, say five feeder schools for every high school, that makes about 135,000 schools (or rounding up a bit, maybe 200,000 schools—my math was never too good). So, that suggests the need for a couple gazillion dollars—you do the math, please.
So, where does all that moolah come from?
Well, I have an idea. I know that Mr. LaPierre has been so generous in sharing his ideas with us on how to stop the gun violence that he would love to share the burden by paying for his solution. So, how about this:
1.       A special tax is levied by Congress on NRA membership, say $100 per member. That would bring in maybe $450 million.

2.       Then Congress could levy a special annual tax on all guns owned in the US. I am suggesting a tax of one dollar per caliber. So, if you own one 22 caliber rifle, your tax would be $22/year.  If, because of the size of your penis, you happen to own, say, 30 guns going all the way up to 50 caliber machine guns, your tax might be a bit higher.

3.     Finally, Congress could impose a purchase tax on ammunition, at a rate of one penny per caliber. So, a box of, say 100, 22 caliber bullets would cost you only $22. What a bargain. And, see, that would make all gunners way more cautious about wanting to shoot up an elementary school.  Simple economics.
So, I suggest we all write to our Congresspersons to endorse the idea of the special taxes, as a way of supporting Mr. LaPierre.
Oh, and I assume that this special task--guarding our schools-- would be given to each state’s State Police Force. They really, really need something to do beyond managing the daily wreckage on our interstate highway system from cars and tractor trailers interacting.  See, that's called a win-win.
Always thinking . .

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the World Party


The end of the world will begin in about 15 hours, give or take a few minutes, depending on how precise the Mayans were.  Aside from figuring out what to wear to an end of the world party, I have been trying to think how we might end it in a fun fashion. And, living here in Concord, NC, the land of NASCAR racing, and many, many gun lovers,  I suddenly thought that, we could bring together those grand traditions for a real, bang-up end of the world party at the Concord NASCAR Speedway.
How about, if we get all the great NASCAR racers to modify their cars just a bit, by opening up half of the roof to accommodate a mounted, fully automatic 50-caliber machine gun.  Each car would have its driver and a gunner in the car. Then we would invite all the great NASCAR fans who love to attend the races, in hopes of someone maybe crashing and blowing up. But, each fan would have to bring his own weapon of choice, preferably a semi-automatic assault rifle of some kind (Bushmaster anyone??).
Then the race would start. The starting time would have to be arranged to accommodate the end of the world, say four hours in advance.  The idea would be to see whether any of the drivers and their cars could finish before the world ends.  Here’s the concept. As the cars race around the track at 150 miles per hour or so, the fans would begin shooting at the cars. In return, the gunners in each car would begin firing their machine guns at the crowd—it would be sort of a race to see who could outlast who—the racers and their gunners, or the fans. And it would be no fair for the fans to duck and take cover. No sirree. They would have to stand up in the stands while firing their weapons.
Think of the grand mayhem. Think of the noise, with all those guns blazing, cars crashing at high speed . . . the smoke, the crowd roaring. Wow! What a party. The beer and Jack Daniels would be free of course.  It would be best to end the party thoroughly plastered. What fun!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Beethoven's Birthday

So, Frohliche Geburtstag, Ludwig.  You're a mensch. And my man, congratulations. You don't look a day over 240, and don't let anyone tell you different.  I'll bet the Bonn townies still hoist a stein of lager in your name. And I have to tell you, your Violin Concerto in D is a masterpiece. Nothing by that little putz Mozart can touch it. And you were only 36 when you wrote it . . . a mere boy.
So, Luddie, have a great day up there. I hope they have some vintage champagne for you.
And again, Happy Birthday, my man. You're the best.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

NRA Thanks

I guess it’s time we thank the National Rifle Association for keeping us all, including our little children, safe and for protecting our second amendment rights from the likes of that socialist-fascist crypto commie from Indonesia-Kenya, who wants to take all of our 50 caliber machine guns and anti-tank weapons away from us.  So, yes, NRA, thank you. And I’m certain that the parents of all those kindergartners around the country whose kids are not now dead suddenly will want to thank you personally for the fine protections you afford us.  After all, there were probably 20,000 elementary schools around the country without having a single shot fired at their children yesterday.
And Mr. Boehner, please don’t think that now is the time to have an intelligent conversation about guns in America. No, later, much later, Mr. Boehner. At least wait until Mr. laPierre can fill your stocking with some much needed cash before you even think about conversations about such things.  No, we understand that this is the season of love and merriment. Wouldn’t want to mess it all up with talk about 26 dead people in Connecticut, 20 of whom were between the ages of 5 and 10.
Oh, and you too Mr. Murdoch, and your Faux News Network whores, all of whom decried Mr. Costa’s remarks about guns a week or so ago. Yes, we should also thank you and your bevy of fine whores for helping to protect us.
I am thinking that we should all consider sending the NRA and even Mr. Murdoch a Christmas card, and perhaps a little gift. As for gift ideas, I have a nifty for the head of the NRA. Since Mr. LaPierre and his colleagues have been so successful at protecting our right to own and bear automatic weapons, they are no longer a concern. Next would be dynamite vests. Yes, I am certain that our Founders would have included dynamite vests in the Second Amendment had they only known what they were. So, perhaps, to get the NRA started on lobbying for protections, perhaps the more gifted among us might begin knitting personalized dynamite vests for the head of the NRA and all the Faux News whores who pimp for gun rights.  Remember, dynamite doesn’t kill people. Only people can kill people . .  .
And a little Christmas card for Mr. LaPierre would be in order also. Something perhaps like the one below, just to show our appreciation for all their hard work.

 
Tis the season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ravi Shankar

Another great talent , Ravi Shankar, has left this world. Well, technically, he didn’t really leave anywhere. He simply ceased to function. But at the age of 92, Mr. Shankar led a long and very productive life. He shared his amazing musical talent with the world. Although he began his music in India, studying under one of the great musicians of his time, Allauddin Khan, a disciple of Wazir Khan, who was a direct descendent of the legendary Tansen, the chief musician of the Mughal emperor Akbar, he moved beyond his home countryside. We were lucky enough to see and hear Mr. Shankar perform on several occasions in New Delhi during the 1960s, and then later in Washington at the Kennedy Center and in Charlotte. Listening to him play was a transcendent experience. Even to the uninitiated, his Indian musical performances were amazing.  He was a true global talent, carrying his music well beyond India. He played with jazz groups, western classical groups and with the likes of the Beatles. He literally filled the airs of the world with music that uplifted one.

Thank you Mr. Shankar for sharing your talents with us. You dazzled the world.
The Manchester Guardian has published a wonderful obituary on Mr. Shankar, which you may read at this site:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/dec/12/ravi-shankar-dies?CMP=EMCNEWEML1355

Friday, December 7, 2012

Republican UN Conspiracists

So, the republican party is so hung up on the United Nations that they have now refused to ratify a UN convention on, of all things, disability rights that was modeled on our own Americans with Disabilities Act.  So, this puts republicans in the same group as, say the Vatican, led by its Nazi pope. The Vatican has indicated that, at present, it will not be signing the new, widely-heralded international treaty to protect the rights and dignity of people living with disabilities.  The Holy See says that, despite reassurances to the contrary, it is concerned that the treaty's inclusion of a reference to "sexual and reproductive health" could be construed as promoting abortion.

And now, led by Republican opposition, the Senate on Tuesday rejected that very same United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled. With 38 Republicans casting "no" votes, the 61-38 vote fell five short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify a treaty. The vote took place in an unusually solemn atmosphere, with senators sitting at their desks rather than milling around the podium. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, looking frail and in a wheelchair, was in the chamber to support the treaty, as was the old guy John McCain.

The treaty, already signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, states that nations should strive to assure that the disabled enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens. Republicans objected to taking up a treaty that could pose a threat to U.S. national sovereignty. "I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society," said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

Really Jim?? Really? You’re afraid of the UN trying to enforce a convention already in place here in the US of A?? What else are you afraid of Jim? How about the Girl Scouts of America? Are you afraid of them, too?

Could we be any more pathetic than to be one of the only nations on earth to be opposed to supporting the rights of the disabled? What else do republicans have in their little kit bag of absurdities? Opposition to food aid?

Well, on that same front, the teabagger of the year, senator Jim DeMint has announced that he will follow the lead of that other teabagger favorite, Sarah Bimbo Palin and renounce his seat in the Senate, thereby sticking his finger in the eyes of the people who elected him, in order to make a lot more money as head of that old favorite of the Neo-Con fringe, the Heritage Foundation. Yep, he learned the lesson promulgated by Sarah Bimbo—when the brass ring comes around, you better grab it, you betcha, cuz it might not come around again. I expect we’ll see Jimmy on the Faux News Network talk shows, reaping in the harvest of geld, which is the only thing republicans actually worship. Way to go republicans.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What’s Blasphemy, Anyhow??

As I was sitting, drinking my early cup of coffee this morning, while awaiting my bride (of 58 years) after our morning workouts, I was reading some news in The Guardian newspaper, on my I-Phone. I know . . . amazing stuff, huh? Anyway, the article I was reading really blew me away . . . I thought, this really defines chutzpah.  So, here’s the article, taken from this morning’s Manchester Guardian:

“When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.

So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland.

Now he is calling for European governments to press Delhi into dropping the case. And on the first leg of a tour around EU capitals on Friday, he warned that India was sacrificing freedom of expression for outdated, colonial-era rules about blasphemy (the present blasphemy law was passed in 1860 during the colonial period, while Britain still ruled India).

"There is a huge contradiction in the content of the Indian constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and the blasphemy law from 1860 under then colonial rule," Edamaruku told the Guardian in an interview in Dublin.

"This blasphemy law can affect anyone in India – even a girl recently who wrote on Facebook against closing down a city because of the death of a famous local politician. She was prosecuted under the blasphemy law and another girl who 'liked' her comment on Facebook was also arrested and then charged with blasphemy."”

Turns out, Mr. Edamaruku loves debunking crap like this. One of his thoughts on the issue was, “this was sewage, and people were actually drinking this water, hoping for some miracle.”  Didn’t seem like such a good idea to him, so he ratted them out.
But, this whole thing set me to thinking. When does blasphemy occur . . . when a rationalist reveals the reality of a purported “miracle”—in this case, lousy plumbing—or is it true blasphemy when church elders disguise bad plumbing as a religious miracle, wrought by God, thereby defrauding the believing public into thinking they are actually witnessing something from God?
Now, lest you think this whole affair was quickly resolved, No. Mr. Edamaruku was last seen hiding out in Finland, to avoid his arrest in Delhi on the blasphemy charges.  But really, why aren’t the church elders being hauled before a magistrate for committing blasphemy?
And this garbage actually occurred in India, not Pakistan, or Afghanistan. And here I thought that India had already emerged long ago into the 21st century (I mean, 80% of the population has a cell phone, including most of India's prostitutes). How can they still pretend to fake miracles? I wonder whether the Nazi pope weighed in on this one??? There's still time. It isn't even Christmas yet . . .

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grateful

Checking in periodically on the mess in Gaza is a depressing business. I understand that one definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results”. Makes me think about Gaza, and wondering what it says about Hamas and its “seekers after 71 virgins” crowd. They keep shooting rockets into Israel; Israel keeps beating the crap out of them; then they repeat.  But then, the Pakistanis keep doing the same thing vis-à-vis India. They mount some attack against India; India beats the crap out of them; then they repeat.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Israel and India keep building their economies and their nations, while the Paks and the Arabs remain mired somewhere in the 14th century.

 Very sad, really.
But all this sad stuff brings me back to my own reality. We are both approaching an age that bends the definition of “middle age” to the breaking point. Maybe, at almost 78 and almost 77, we are both classified, at least by the youngsters in our lives, as “old”.  I still remember, when my own grandparents were in the late 60s and early 70s, that they were truly “old”.  But, you know, achieving status as an “elder” seems arguably better than the only alternative. So, we must be content with our elderly-middle ages.  One advantage—our children are now old enough that we can interact with them as mature adults, and the parent-child thing is unnecessary and even not terribly useful. Turns out they are charming adults, and nice to converse with (to end one of those dreaded sentences with a preposition).  
But even nicer, we have a flock of grandkids and even great grandkids to chat with and smile at. Hugs from a grandkid are special indeed, even when the grandkid stands a head taller.  Yep, grandkids turn out to be one compelling reason for surviving into elder-middle age.  Simply, they are wonderful.  And because we are close enough to three of them to see them almost daily, we can observe the little things that constitute growing up.  Again, nice.
So, tomorrow, my wife of almost 58 years and I will sit down to a groaning table full of wonderful food—several turkeys, yummy stuffing, cranberries, onions, white and sweet potatoes, green beans, all consumed with love and wine. We will finish with Thanksgiving pies and then smile a lot. But, we will begin with Thanks. For that is what this meal is all about. The food is quite wonderful, but feasts are about more than just the food. They are a special way to look around, up, down,. And at each and every person surrounding you, and saying, Thank You for making my life so wonderful.
Giving Thanks is the reason for this special day. And we really do have so much in our lives for which to be grateful. And I give a special thanks that we are here and not in Gaza or Tel Aviv, and that none of our children or grandchildren lie in harms way. And we need to give special thanks to those in our larger community who are in harm’s way, somewhere in this troubled world.  May you be safe, and may you return quickly to your own loved ones.
So, Thank You.

Oh and The Dude thanks you also:
 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Obama Four year Agenda

I’m thinking about the demands within Britain for a complete structural overhaul, from top to bottom, of the BBC.  Not to suggest that, their fairly glaring screw-up on the news show requires some serious accountability, but seems to me to stop short of blowing up BBC and starting over. Now, to be fair, we are great fans of the BBC, finding them to be both serious and talented for virtually all of their programming, from straight news to dramatic shows.  So, while we agree that a shake-up is perhaps needed, we also hope that the main parts of the BBC remain healthy and continue on as they were.  There are no public services that seriously rival the BBC for content and intelligence.

But, while I was thinking about dramatic structural redesigns, I was drawn inexorably to the global financial system. Now, if ever there is a case ready-made for a complete redesign, it is our global financial system. It would seem that global finance is too important to be left to (private) bankers.  I keep wondering why we don’t seem to grasp that simple fact—private bankers have demonstrated amply, beyond any reasonable doubt, that they are willing and able to gamble with other peoples’ money to the point of exhaustion, i.e., the exhaustion of the entire world’s supply of money. They seem not to care about any consequences, especially on other people, including their own clients. And when they are caught out and show signs of collapsing the entire financial structure, they expect to be bailed out by various sovereign governments.  And then they would get all huffy at the suggestion that any of them are criminals who need to spend some serious time in the slammer.  I mean, we pulled our accounts and money from the HSBC bank, upon discovering that they were really just part of a criminal enterprise—laundering and protecting the funds of Mexican drug lords and establishing offshore accounts to hide their (illegal) funds. To my knowledge, nobody has gone to prison from the HSBC bank community.
Another bank basically set up highly risky real estate ventures, sold those capital ventures to their clients and then went around them to bet against the success of the ventures—in effect betting against their own clients.
We have so many instances of the big banks—the “global” banks-- doing at best grossly unethical things and at worst patently illegal acts, that it seems to me the evidence is now in. Banks and bankers can no longer be trusted to operate global financial systems and they need to be regulated to the point that they no longer have much freedom of action. We need to get banks out of the gambling business. Goodness, we spend considerable time and discussion about Internet gambling, tsk tsking all over the place. Yet, we seem not to care that big bankers are basically very large gambling institutions. Las Vegas mobsters must be envious.
So, I am awaiting some sign from our global leaders that they now recognize that we need a new, from the ground up, redesign of the entire global financial system, including both international transactions, and actions within national boundaries. It may be that “global” banks need to be broken up into very small entities. Surely, we know by now that any bank “too big to fail” is also too big to exist.
So, maybe we have an additional item on Mr. Obama’s four year agenda:
1.       A strategic solution to the current financial mess, created by our republican banking community;

2.       A complete redesign of the world’s financial mechanisms and institutions;

3.       A strategic plan for engaging the climate change problem, with its potentially catastrophic effects should we not act;

4.       And, a new single payer approach to health care that gets rid of insurance companies and that covers all citizens of the nation.
So, there you go, Prez . . . a whole neat four-year agenda. Now, it’s your turn.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Richmanistan

However much should have changed since the re-election of President Obama,  the little people of the country remain stubbornly angry and sullenly ignorant of their responsibility for their own losses.  They remain fixated on blaming someone else.

Mr. Romney and Mister Ryan cannot stop lying. Now they are explaining to their billionaire friends that the reason they blew through all their money with so little to show for it was that the President bestowed gifts on the voters.  Unlike the republicans, who receive hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for promises to their rich benefactors—their owners really—it seems the Dems just bribed the electorate.  My God, they can’t even dream up something interesting . . . like maybe the dog ate their homework . . . or the ballots.
It’s time the Randians moved off the stage and went off in search of a spiderhole somewhere near Mr. Cheney’s. They are disgracing the very concept of being an American-- waaah, waaah, whine . . . whine.  And to you especially Mr. Ryan. STOP LYING. You can’t both pretend to being a good Christian and then lie every time you open your mouth. You can’t pretend to be a good Christian and then promise to dismiss the population of Americans who are not among the “Fortunates” of the land.  It just won’t wash you miserable cretin and you really need to get off the stage.
I know. Maybe Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan can form their own secessionist party and lobby their rich friends for permission to leave the country, taking maybe Texas and a few other malcontent states with them.  I’m sure Mr. Murdoch and his cast of delusional sociopathic actors who play their parts so well on the Faux News Network, would love building a country on their own, right next door to Mexico. And don’t let the door slam you in the ass on the way out guys. They could call it Richmanistan and begin with their own version of Christian Taliban Sharia Law instead of a real constitution.
Just let us get on with becoming civilized again, huh guys? We all understand that the now standard two-year election process practically eliminates civilization for that whole long dreary night. But you make that recovery task practically impossible with all your caveman grunting. Oh, and take old man McCain with you, please?? He will never be happy until he has his own country.  Maybe you can crown him Emperor of Richmanistan.
Just a thought.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Republican Huffing and Puffing

The wonder of it all. A billion bucks and bupkus to show for it. Sheldon Adelson, one of the darlings of the 1% set, lavishly supported eight candidates, all of whom lost. George Will, Newt Gingrich and others of that ilk lost their intellectual credibility (not sure whether the Newtster had any to begin with)  and now may have to look for a new day job, involving actual work. Poor old George. He is so distraught.

And that old southern racist, Frankie Graham, is mouthing off that the election of an intelligent black man means essentially the end of civilization as he has known it. He may be right actually. Whereas St. Ronald the Reagan seemed to have made racism ok again in America, it now seems that’s really not ok. The people have spoken, not once, but twice on that issue. Republicans, take notice. It’s not ok to be a racist political party.  Perhaps the teabaggers can now pack up their garbage bags and go home to whatever spiderholes they occupied before hearing the call of the Cocks to come forth and rain hellfire and damnation upon this fair land.
Perhaps the funniest of the election season utterances was when that fat dimwit drug addict, Rush Limbaugh, accused Gov. Chris Christie of being a fat fool for pronouncing President Obama as an ok, competent chief executive.  Hahahahahahaha . . .
But apparently, the severely demented right wing has not yet retreated back into their caves. A group of Nazis from Detroit is poised to march on Charlotte, and one of the seriously rich guys who wasted that billion dollars, thinks that War is on and the 1% need to gear up for the War. And these same people get all huffy when people think they are responsible when an idiot like Jared Loughner takes a Sarah Palin “target ad” seriously and decides to shoot Gabby Gifford and many others.  Republicans love war rhetoric. They love war actually, so long as somebody else’s kid is doing the fighting.
And now Mr. Boner, the putative Speaker of the republican majority in the House has pronounced that it’s Game On. He dares the President to show up with anything like a tax increase to cover the fiscal deficit we now face. He isn’t opposed to new revenues, don’t you know. Just don’t ask his Lords of their Manors to pony up any additional revenues.
Ahh, but it’s good to know that Citizens United (thank you Supremes) failed to totally corrupt the political process here. But, clearly the predatory plutocrats of the country are not yet done with us poor serfs.
Stay tuned to more from “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” that old republican theme song.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Once More With Feeling

Wow, what a shocker. Just when you think that you really cannot underestimate the intelligence of the American people, they throw you a curveball, and go out and do the right thing. I’m shocked . . . shocked.  We gave an intelligent, decent black man another four years in the White House! How sweet it is.  And, almost as good, they rejected the true idiots like Tod Akin and Richard Mourdock. Wow . . . impressive. That Elizabeth Warren won against Scott Brown is perhaps not a big surprise. She seemed to stand for something, whereas he just stands there in his empty suit, looking and acting like the doofus he is.

Now, I don’t know how to feel about our very own Larry Kissell. We worked hard in 2008 to elect Mr. Kissell, going door to door in an effort to unseat Mr. Richguy Robin Hays—talk about standing for nothing. Wow.  But then, after we succeeded in getting Mr. Kissell elected, that same gent basically turned around and spit in our eyes. He voted against Obama’a signature health care program—OBAMACARES--. But then, right in the height of the election season, he told us that he would not be supporting the President this election, and he wouldn’t even show up at the Democratic Party convention. Excuse me??? So, basically, he was telling us . . .” look, I’m not a real democrat. I’m just a Dem because of the “Lincoln won the war” thing. So, if you’re a Dem voter, vote for me if you dare.” And he lost.  But the good thing is that the guy who defeated him, a Mr. Richard Hudson, announced at his victory speech party that he had checked his brain at the door and would not be using it any longer.  Seems he doesn’t need a brain anymore, cuz he was now going on full God Autopilot. Yep. He intends to just listen to what God tells him to do and all will be well. Oh, and for his first act, he plans to work really, really hard to take health insurance away from those unfortunates who couldn’t get health care until President Obama passed his health care bill—OBAMACARES.  So, see, now we will get to see a true conservative Christian Taliban moron running things in Washington. Stay tuned to more to more of the  Richard Hudson Theatre of God.
And of course, not to be outdone, Mitch McConnell lost no time in announcing that nothing really has changed in Washington and he intends to be the same hyperpartisan asshole he has been since Obama’s first election.
Wonder what the pundits will say about all this. I mean:
Mr. Romney lost heavily because he is an empty suit who seems to hold no convictions except that he is totally wonderful.
Mr. Ryan helped to lead his party to defeat by lying every time he opened his mouth.
The Republican Party, having been taken over by the likes of the Cock brothers, Karl Rove, and the teabaggers tried their best to inform the country that the Middle Class should disappear and be replaced by serfs.  Public schooling—hah, what a waste. Why educate those whom you intend to rule over?  Oh, and that same Grand Old Party announced that, if you are not a white Christian conservative, they don't give a shit about you.
And so the great saga continues. The great uncertainty is when/whether the United States will either emerge into the sunlight and become the Great Nation it once was, or will sink into the 14th century morass that grips much of the world and that republicans seem to so love.  Stay tuned. But in the meantime, congratulations to the most thoughtful of our nation. You rock, guys!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dancing with the folks whut brung ya

So, it remains close, this sorry election. And some polls show Romney ahead. I guess it’s another example of “dancing with the folks whut brung ya”.  The Romney forces,  beginning with the Bush Neo-Con crowd who destroyed the economy through greed, deregulation and tax cuts producing record deficits, are now promising “Change from Day One”. You betcha they will. Mr. Romney wants now to eliminate FEMA (at the height of the Frankensturm Sandy) and give the function back to the states, so that the Feds have no actual power or money to help in disasters. It’s their standard answer to all things—give it back to the states, who we know have such a good record in that regard. Take away Medicare and give people vouchers that exclude pre-existing conditions, so that individual families can fight with insurance companies to obtain insurance worse than what they now have under Medicare standards. Yeah, that’s Change from Day One we can believe in.


Oh, and they continue to rage on about people getting government issued food stamps.  Talk about no shame. As Romney continues to park his money in tax-free accounts offshore, he actively despises poor people. The Romney-Ryan folks really do hate the 99%. Yet, 49% of American voters still seem predisposed to invite them to lead the country.
Maybe Americans are yearning for a return to yesteryear, when good old King George ran the place . . . ya know, when there were real tea partiers, instead of the fake Astroturf crowd organized by the Kochs of the land.
Yeah, that’s right folks. Dance with the crowd whut brung ya.  And when Ford Motor Company begins to fail, Mitt’ll sell it to the Chinese and tell the auto workers to move to Florida to pick lettuce and oranges with the Mexican kids.
So, remember you 47% plus people—annoy a Republican. Go to the polls and vote.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dreary Election

As the election nears, it is beginning to be difficult both to pay attention (we voted on the first day of early voting) and to avoid becoming depressed about the prospects of republicans basically stealing the election.  It has been such a depressing affair, beginning with the early Gong Show, mounted by the republicans. Think of it—assailed by the likes of Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and Ric Santorum and Michelle Bachman. That these clowns actually thought so little of our once great nation that they believed they could and should be president is itself depressing. Have we sunk so low that we actually deserve the clowns?  Romney, as awful as he is, actually seems a shining light on the hill compared with the clowns.

And then the Romney decided to hang out with Paul Ryan and have him a step away from the presidency. This guy is a devotee of a fantasy writer of post-apocalyptic fantasyland. But, to be fair, he’s also a good Catholic—talk about post-apocalyptic fantasyland. What a great combination for a possible vice president—a follower of that Nazi Pope who seems not to mind priests raping children, but can’t tolerate birth control, abortion, gays, or science. Yeah, that Paul Ryan, the one who seems to despise those less fortunate souls who have to rely on food stamps, at least partly because Ryan’s republican banker thieves stole their livelihood.  What a guy.
And now we are being visited by that Frankensturm, currently smashing into the eastern seaboard. That storm seems to be interfering with the election process—keeping at least some folks away from the polls.  And since that’s the job of republican poll watchers, maybe we should conclude that God is weighing in??  But no, it isn’t God. That’s for the stupid people, like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who seem to believe that God intervenes whimsically in all of our petty affairs. But they’re idiots and we should really try to ignore idiots.
I guess I am not alone in devoutly wishing for the end of this dreadful election (“but, be careful what you wish for, Richard”). I have been paying attention and in fact voting since 1956. This particular election seems the most awful of all the ones in which I have participated (by voting).  I know, 1964 seemed scary—Johnson v. Goldwater. But Goldwater seems a paragon of virtue when compared with Romney-Ryan.  Then there was Nixon, lying to us about his Vietnam plans.  We of course were treated to wholesale lying and corruption in the 2000 and 2004 elections—that’s when republicans discovered apparently that it was ok to engage in the Big Lie, because Americans are after all, pretty stupid. And we paid the price fully for that act of foolishness.  This election continues to be affected and corrupted by the eight Bush-Neo-Con years.  This process seems to be wearing out all of us to the point of exhaustion.  But will it ever go away? Maybe not, because republicans have discovered that it’s ok to buy any and all of our elections—huge money matters, apparently to the exclusion of anything else.—thanks Supremes.
Well, let’s be positive--maybe we will all awaken on November 7th and discover that the world is still ok and the republicans have crawled back into their spiderholes, joining Dickie-bird Cheney.  And the sun will shine and people will begin working at reasonable wages and home values will return to normal, and everyone will resume smiling at one another. Oh, and maybe the Faux News network will announce that it has entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. Wouldn’t that be a nice pre-Christmas present for America???
Just a thought.
Oh, and if you haven’t already . . . annoy a republican -- Vote.

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Time to Vote

We are approaching an interesting period of comparative history. As most people know by now, George McGovern recently ended his hold on this life and is now gone from our world. Mr. McGovern presented this country with a sense of decency and intelligence now fast disappearing from our political arena. We are so in love with our media feeding frenzies that we seem unable, or unwilling to apply such decency and even common sense to our national decision-making processes.

George McGovern ran for the presidency in 1972 against a person, Richard Nixon, who has now gone into history as a criminal and a war crimes figure of historic proportions. He had a plan in 1968 to end the war in Vietnam, or so he told us. His plan was to enlarge the bombing campaign to include countries with which we were not at war and to expand greatly the killing fields of Southeast Asia.  We had a four year history to examine prior to the election in 1972. That history showed a compelling need for a “regime change” in America.  There were even early warning signs of a presidency that was resorting to outright criminal behavior to remain in office. Yet, the nation re-elected him, defeating George McGovern in a landslide.  What kind of nation might we have become had the reverse happened? We will never know.

Happily, in 2008, when Barack Obama ran for the presidency against John McCain, the Nation was so weary from the eight disastrous years of Bush and Republican misrule, arguably the worst period since the period just prior to the Great Depression under Mr. Hoover.  We opted to “throw the bums out”.
Having cleaned house, however, the Nation failed to understand fully the breadth and depth of the economic and global mess Mr. Obama had inherited.  Americans have notoriously short attention spans, and little to no memory of recent history. Americans were paying attention, only to a point.  By the time of the inauguration, it was back to business—“get me a beer hon, so I can relax and watch Dem Bears.”
Despite the reporting of just how extensive and how grave was the damage wrought by the Bush Neo-Cons, Americans seemed not to grasp what was happening. They expected a rapid turnaround, despite the collapsing structures all around them. It was as though we were in San Francisco in the middle of the 1906 quake, while assuming that the commute to work might be a little more difficult the next day.
So, after nearly four years of digging ourselves out, with zero assistance from Republican ne’er-do-wells—the “Just Say No” crowd—we are now officially fed up with blaming Bush for the continuing misery, and we imagine that by now, all the problems should have disappeared.  But the truth is, it’s really now 1936 all over again. Hopefully, it will not take WW III to bail us out, although Republicans seem to be heading in that direction for their answers.
The Nation under President Obama has made some large strides towards a more favorable economic structure, but we have miles to go before we sleep. Rather than reducing regulations and reducing the tax rates, we need to do the opposite. We need, in fact, to reinvent our entire financial system, much as we did after Great Depression I. This time, the changes may need to be reinvention more than redesign.
We also don’t need to mindlessly expand our military as some have argued (Mitt comes to mind). We need to reinvent our military, so that it can operate with relatively greater brainpower.  We probably need to reinvent the War against Terrorists. It is not really a “War” per se. In the Taliban and Al Qaida, we have one or more organized crime rings composed of assassins. They remain operational through exporting opium, and through their ability to hide in places like Pakistan that seem to have vast regions outside their national control.  The answer to that problem is not clear, but building three more nuclear submarines per year is surely not an answer.
If ever this Nation needed a thoughtful national election it is here and now.  Unfortunately, our media has deteriorated to the point of being a national joke, led in their mindless quest for ratings of course by Murdoch’s Faux News Network.  The people are surely suffering from election reporting fatigue. But we really cannot afford to succumb to such fatigue.  We must think as we go to vote, and go to vote we must. Thinking is hard, because it requires sweeping away the garbage heaped on us daily by the media.
My wife and I have already voted in North Carolina, joining several hundred thousand other citizens of this state.  Hopefully, the national polls are wrong and the President will be re-elected.
But before you enter the voting booth, it would be well to remember that a vote for Romney-Ryan is equivalent to a vote to re-elect George W. Bush. The Nation cannot afford such a disaster.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pathetic Taliban


So, the Taliban in Pakistan are afraid of a little girl.
How Pathetic are they??
They specifically targeted and then shot in the head Malala Youfsatzi, a 14 year old girl.

And what was her crime?? She promoted the education of girls. Wow! How heretical. Imagine that. A 14-year old girl wants to be educated, and wants other girls to be educated.  And for that, the cowardly Taliban shot her in the head. Aren’t they brave defenders of their faith . . . well no; they’re sniveling little cowards who disgrace the very concept of Islam.
The Taliban seem to be ignorant little people still living mentally in the 13th century; people without a moral compass. And people who are so insecure about their god, that they must kill little girls who wish only to become educated.
The Taliban leaders defile their religion with every breath.
May they all rot in hell.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

So the first debate is in the history book being written by the Faux News Network. And I understand that Bill O’Reilly is writing another book, entitled “Who Killed America”, in which he blames the political campaign season for the demise of America the Beautiful. I understand that he and Jon Stewart collaborated on the book (well technically, they each wrote half, and O’Reilly is still arguing about whose half gets to go first).

I know that some people think that it wasn’t POTUS who showed up at the debate but his body double, supplied by the Secret Service (SS). Others argue that he was out drinking champagne with Michelle to celebrate his victory over the Mittster, since he was certain that his pet rock might have been able to beat Romney.
But No, everyone insists that Romney won.  But what they don’t say, or perhaps don’t agree on is, just exactly what he won. Liar of the Year???
Let’s see, he came on stage, played the part of the Village Liberal by lying about his proposals to make them look like a far lefty had written his answers. Obama was so taken aback by Romney’s absurdist replies to questions that he was unable to respond himself.  In her Sunday column, Maureen Dowd nailed the whole thing, when she made Obama sit down with President  Bartlett (even better than Clint arguing with an empty chair) who posed as Romney, while coaching POTUS on how he should have replied.
Dowd goes on . . .
“BARTLET “I want to take that $716 billion you’ve cut and put it back into Medicare.”
OBAMA The $716 billion I’ve cut is from the providers, not the beneficiaries. I think that’s a better idea than cutting the exact same $716 billion and replacing it with a gift certificate, which is what’s contained in the plan that’s named for your running mate.
BARTLET “Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.”
OBAMA Not unless you’ve come up with a new plan since this afternoon.
BARTLET “You doubled the deficit.”
OBAMA When I took office in 2009, the deficit was 1.4 trillion. According to the C.B.O., the deficit for 2012 will be 1.1 trillion. Either you have the mathematics aptitude of a Shetland pony or, much more likely, you’re lying.
BARTLET “All of the increase in natural gas has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half.”
OBAMA Maybe your difficulty is with the words “half” and “double.” Oil production on federal land is higher, not lower. And the oil and gas industry are currently sitting on 7,000 approved permits to drill on government land that they’ve not yet begun developing.
BARTLET “I think about half the green firms you’ve invested in have gone out of business.”
OBAMA Yeah, your problem’s definitely with the word “half.” As of this moment there have been 26 recipients of loan guarantees — 23 of which are very much in business. What was Bain’s bankruptcy record again?
BARTLET And finally?
OBAMA Governor, if your ideas are the right ideas for our country, if you have a plan and it’s the best plan for our future, if your vision is the best vision for all of us and not 53 percent of us, why aren’t you able to make that case in the same ZIP code as the truth?
BARTLET And?
OBAMA Tell John Sununu anytime he wants to teach me how to be more American he knows my address for the next four years. He used to have an office there before he was fired. “
So, maybe Maureen Dowd should be POTUS’ coach for the next session. She knows how to speak truth to inanity.

 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reality & Perception


"If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to perceive it, does it make a sound?"

Philosopher George Berkeley, in his work, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), proposes, "But, say you, surely there is nothing easier than for me to imagine trees, for instance, in a park [...] and nobody by to perceive them. [...] The objects of sense exist only when they are perceived; the trees therefore are in the garden [...] no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them."[1] Nevertheless, Berkeley never actually wrote about the question.

Berkeley's example is referred to by William Fossett twenty years later in a consideration of the emergence of meaning: "[T]ease apart the threads [of the natural world] and the pattern vanishes. The design is in how the cloth-maker arranges the threads: this way and that, as fashion dictates. [...] To say something is meaningful is to say that that is how we arrange it so; how we comprehend it to be, and what is comprehended by you or I may not be by a cat, for example. If a tree falls in a park and there is no-one to hand, it is silent and invisible and nameless. And if we were to vanish, there would be no tree at all; any meaning would vanish along with us. Other than what the cats make of it all, of course."[2]

Some years later, a similar question is posed. It is unknown whether the source of this question is Berkeley or not. In June 1883 in the magazine The Chautauquan, the question was put, "If a tree were to fall on an island where there were no human beings would there be any sound?" They then went on to answer the query with, "No. Sound is the sensation excited in the ear when the air or other medium is set in motion."[3] This seems to imply that the question is posed not from a philosophical viewpoint, but from a purely scientific one. The magazine Scientific American corroborated the technical aspect of this question, while leaving out the philosophic side, a year later when they asked the question slightly reworded, "If a tree were to fall on an uninhabited island, would there be any sound?" And gave a more technical answer, "Sound is vibration, transmitted to our senses through the mechanism of the ear, and recognized as sound only at our nerve centers. The falling of the tree or any other disturbance will produce vibration of the air. If there be no ears to hear, there will be no sound."[4]

There is a well-known story of Hui-neng, a well-respected Buddhist monk who later became known as the founder of the Zen school, who one day happened to be passing by two monks.

"Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, "The flag moves." The other said, "The wind moves." They argued back and forth but could not agree.

The Sixth Ancestor said, "Gentlemen! It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves." The two monks were struck with awe."

- The Mumonkan Case 29, translation by Robert Aitken
 

And if humankind becomes extinct, and no one is around to pray,

Does God still exist?