Monthly Archives: April 2012

Yeah, but how’d the book tour do Newt?

The debate fun is over.

I hear that the pudgy ethically-challenged, three-times-married, removed-from-office-by-his-own-party “candidate” for the GOP nomination is maybe not running anymore.

Santorum’s gone too.

America, land of opportunity

POSTED BY ORHAN

Today under headline “As Occupy Wall Street Comes Out of Hibernation, Are Tasers, Mace or Weapon Detection Systems Good Investments?” smallcapnetwork.com spies gold in them thar hills:

As the weather warms up, Occupy Wall Street and various Occupy protesters should be coming out of hibernation to start protesting again but are stocks like TASER International (TASR), Mace Security International (MACE) and View Systems (VSYM) that make various protection devices or identification systems good bets for investors? … law enforcement authorities across the country are no doubt stocking up on tasers and mace in time for the spring and summer Occupy protest seasons. …are TASER, Mace and View Systems safe investments for those of us in the or who want to be in the 1% or should we give these stocks a pass?

A financial overview of the companies follows. There’s only one sour note: the summary states “Investors should be concerned about the potential number of wrongful death lawsuits that TASER International as well as Mace Security International could face”. But really, what’s the risk of a few dead protesters when compared with the opportunity to become a One Percenter?

Hippity Hoppity

Here comes Peter Cotton Tail

Hoppin’ down the bunny trail

Hippity hoppity Easter’s on its way.

Bringing every girl and boy

Baskets full of Easter joy

Things to make your Easter bright and gay.

There’ll be jelly beans for Bobby. Colored eggs for sister Sue.

There’s an orchid for your Mommy, and an Easter basket too!

Here comes Peter Cotton Tail . . .

I just got a reply to my blind Craigslist ad – from a young friend!

Coincidence?

Any reader here knows that I recently bought a Dummies-type book (my first since 1992) and it’s about as useful as MS Office 2010 (and it’s gruesome anchor Word 2010) is nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

So I’ve found myself using Publisher instead – even for quite ordinary documents. It’s easier, properly intuitive and seems relatively free of Microsoft’s usual ‘scold’ override function (My dear user, you really don’t want to do it that way, do you? Here, let me fix it for you. There. That’s better, isn’t it?)

But it’s a stalling tactic. I’ve really got to get a handle on this newfangled version of Word. I’ve decided a tutor is what I need – someone to give me a jump start. Having figured out what I needed, it was on to Craigslist! I put up a blind ad.

And the first reponse was from a friend. Whom I know to be smart and ‘puter savvy.  So Kris shall be my tutor. He’ll pretend he doesn’t want me to pay him which I will absolutely slap down. And since we’ll meet evenings after work/before rehearsal (he’s an actor poor fellow), I will of course feed him his dinner which will make me feel all maternal. Win-win!

They are watching . . .

Hmmm, Good Friday/Passover oldie for the rest of us?

(give it ten seconds to clear up)

Latest viral giggle: Texts From Hillary

More here.

You have to love Investors Business Daily

Rick Perry and Herman Cain went home, but we still have these guys – to wit, today’s editorial:

Is Obama ‘Dangerously Close To Totalitarianism’?

Given the president’s end-runs around Congress, his shredding of the Constitution and his assault on the authority of the courts, a second term free of electoral restraints may be a frightening prospect.

Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commentator, raised the question on Neil Cavuto’s “Your World” show Wednesday. And while it seems fanciful in light of the safeguards built into our democracy and its institutions, it recognizes the threat posed by the president’s policies and actions if left unchecked.

“I think the president is dangerously close to totalitarianism,” Napolitano opined. “A few months ago he was saying, ‘The Congress doesn’t count, the Congress doesn’t mean anything, I am going to rule by decree and by administrative regulation.’

“Now he’s basically saying the Supreme Court doesn’t count. It doesn’t matter what they think. They can’t review our legislation. That would leave just him as the only branch of government standing.”

I guess Judge Napolitano has a poor memory*, something I understand completely as I am deficient in that way myself. Which is why I don’t opine on the teevee about how Obama is doing stuff that’s never been done in our history. (*see previous post.)

IBD has cleverly provided itself with some cover – by putting that headline in the form of a question. So they can always claim that: “We didn’t say that! We said Napolitano said that! We just wondered if it was true!”

Take to the fainting couches! Obama criticized the Court!

(Apologies to someone – I grabbed this Daily Kos link from a blogfriend and have now lost track. So whoever put this up before me, thanks. Nice catch.)

Sen Mitch McConnell now:

“The president crossed a dangerous line this week,” read McConnell’s prepared remarks. “And anyone who cares about liberty needs to call him out on it. The independence of the court must be defended.” […]

So, some ‘reporters’ decided to visit the way back machine to see just where this ‘line’ not to be crossed falls.

Candidate Ronald Reagan then:

… campaigning in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, Reagan blasted the court’s most recent abortion ruling as “an abuse of power as bad as the transgression of Watergate and the bribery on Capitol Hill.” …

Reagan administration then:

Attorney General William French Smith accused the federal courts of “constitutionally dubious and unwise intrusions upon the legislative domain,” and vowed to oppose such “subjective judicial policymaking.” […]

President George W. Bush then:

For the judiciary, resisting this temptation is particularly important, because it’s the only branch that is unelected and whose officers serve for life. Unfortunately, some judges give in to temptation and make law instead of interpreting. Such judicial lawlessness is a threat to our democracy—and it needs to stop.

And oh yeah, the good Senator had few words back then too (about the Schiavo case):

MCCONNELL: I don’t know. These are findings of fact that presumably the court, had it looked at it de novo from the beginning, which is what we granted the federal courts the authority to do, could have taken into account

[Between the lines – the Court overstepped ‘what we granted the federal courts the authority to do’?].

(there’s more at the link from lesser lights.)

Good Friday and bunny ears

I just drove past a local Church where a sign announced Good Friday services. And suddenly, memories of the Good Fridays of my childhood came pouring in. My siblings and I went to a  Catholic school and like all good little Catholics, spent three hours of Good Friday, from noon to 3pm (Catholics know exactly what time of day Jesus died. Did you know that?), in Church doing various Church things, but mostly sitting still.

Sitting still is hard enough for kids, harder still for us who had given up chocolate for Lent (the ultimate sacrifice in a family for whom the sweet gooey stuff was nearly a sacrament itself) because our minds were entirely focused on the approaching release from our Lenten vows.

We thought only of chocolate, of eating it, of Easter baskets and chocolate bunnies with those bunny ears. (We knew they had already been purchased – and hidden – by our mother. We knew they were somewhere in the house. We knew because we could smell them.)

Peeps too.

About guns laws: Larry makes my case, but does it better

In a comment thread at Woodgate’s View, proprietor Larry presents a thorough and thoughtful case for gun control laws. I’m so admiring of how well constructed is his argument . . . well, here it is. It’s a keeper:

 [he replies to a commenter] thanks for leaving your comments and no, I don’t think you’re an uneducated moron. I don’t know you well enough to characterize you as such.  My comments are generic in nature but with a purpose.

I am familiar with firearms.  Did some bird hunting before I entered the Marine Corps where I learned even more about weapons, including my M-14 I that I earned a Marksman rating with.  But I had the disadvantage of using my weapon in a way that many people who are passionate about guns never have or most likely never will.  I shot at other people with it and was shot at while serving in Vietnam.  I don’t know that I actually ever hit anyone or worse, killed someone while shooting at them since my actual combat experience was more limited than a grunt who’s routinely out in the bush.  But I was stationed on an isolated hill for nearly a year near the DMZ and would occasionally encounter enemy fire

I have seen the damage that firearms do and because of that I have never owned a gun of my own after being discharged from the service.   I honestly think they do more harm than good and I find no sport in killing animals with them.  The need to kill our own food disappeared years ago.  The “thrill of the kill” is, to me, not a humane response.  There’s something extremely barbaric about it and I’d like to think we’ve advanced over the years where ancient survival instincts need not be acted out at the expense animals losing their lives to fulfill this unnecessary leftover from another time period.

I understand that we live in a world where bad people can hurt us and some are so overwrought with this fear that they feel compelled to seek protection with a handgun.  But the point of my post is that this fear has exceeded rational limits and there is an entire culture now that uses this reasonable exception for owning a weapon where they feel the need to own large arsenals of automatic weapons and their accouterments, like silencers, to go with them.  They have become dangerous toys for otherwise normal people.

Firing your weapon in an enclosed firing range is a good reason to protect your hearing but if you had read the story by Anna Tinsley I supplied a link to you would understand the jist of my comments.  Not everyone who owns a gun buys a silencer for ear protection in an enclosed firing range.  Most, according to one Ft. Worth gun dealer, buy them “because they’re cool.”  It’s a part of a pervasive mentality in this state where people often think with their asses rather than their brains.

Owning a gun is a serious business but you get the idea that too many want them out of some exaggerated fear for their life or to simply be part of an in-crowd.  A strong indication that critical thinking is seriously lacking with them.

You may be one of the few people that takes a common sense approach to owning a firearm but if you’re spending so much time firing off rounds where you need a silencer to prevent using the “medical system later in life” maybe you need a more healthy hobby.

Yes, I know you have to jump through hoops to own a silencer.  Again, had you read the article by Tinsley I supplied you with you would see this fact was pointed out.  And though I could have gone in the direction that said silencers making it easier for dangerous people to kill innocent people and do so more unnoticed, I avoided this mainly because they are, on paper at least, difficult to acquire.  You know of course that a truly dangerous person with malice in his or her heart would simply buy a silencer on the black market to circumvent any detection by the legal authorities, right?

And please, don’t do the apples to oranges comparison with owning guns and other sporting events equipment.  I’m sure there are those novices who pay for the most expensive equipment in some sports who have the least skills but in their attempt to be “cool” a set of golf clubs or a high dollar tennis racket is not going to accidentally kill someone out of fear or over enthusiasm.  They’re designed purely to entertain.  Guns are designed to kill and can do so more successfully and permanently than being whacked with a 4 iron.

If I hadn’t made my pointy perfectly clear, to be sure I’m not opposed to some forms of gun ownership.  I am however opposed to the unlimited ownership of weapons and the ability now to carry a gun damn near anywhere people congregate and expect them to remain sane and rational at all times.  When I see laws that promote these excesses, I jump all over them and hope that I can make them look foolish enough to some people who are contemplating purchasing a gun out of a heightened fear for their safety or because it a “cool” thing to do.

Passover 2012

Thanks to friend Elaine for this .. . .

Colbert Report won a Peabody!

The show got the award for its series of Super PAC segments. Good for them.

Mark Halperin mostly gets it wrong

You know who I’m really tired of? I’m tired of Mark Halperin, who writes an (often wrong) column at Time magazine, appears every 20 or so minutes on MSNBC (where his contract apparently requires that he be introduced as ‘MSNBC senior political analyst’), on NBC when they need to fill up the panel table, on FOX News and recently – dear Elvis –  even on PBS.

He’s kind of like those titans of the financial industry – getting it wrong pays pretty frackin’ well.

Climate miscellaney, and saying it isn’t a problem always solves the problem. Right?

Here in my region we’re heading into a third year of serious drought. Last year’s rainfall was 16 inches below normal. Scary, but not as scary as the fact that in just the first three months of this year, we’re already seven inches behind.

Via a trackback to Whatever Works, I discovered Greenfrye‘s blog (here).  It’s a frackin’ good resource for climate information with lots of handy links and includes a “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” feature, an amusing (at first) but ultimately maddening read that also features dozens of delicious videos. (He’s frequently wonky, but there’s plenty there for we mere mortals.)

A few minutes later, I came across this story at the famous lefty rag Scientific American:

LONDON (Reuters) – The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

A recent panel (lost link, sorry) of environmentalists said that Al Gore’s movie hurt because it energized the deniers and recast global warming as a political issue instead of a scientific human issue. That rings true; Gore’s traditional opponents – like those chicken hawks who mocked his Vietnam service by saying he wasn’t, you know, in battle carrying a gun so it didn’t count. At least not like it counted sitting on the sidelines taking pot shots at those who did go into battle and came home wiser and with less enthusiasm for sending their younger brothers off to become the next batch of dead soldiers – piled on.

This planet of ours has a problem, but not to worry –  I’ll close my eyes, click my heels, and make it all go away. Easy.

The national security state: go along now; nothing to see here

A tidy little depository

There is an astonishing and superbly researched in-depth story at Wired Magazine about the one million square foot facility now under construction in Utah for the National Security Agency.

It’s very disturbing. And it’s in full view (well, not exactly full view – the photograph accompanying the story is by “Name Withheld”, suggesting that such stories have consequences) to any media organization that cared to look. Few do.

A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

So much for the outcry and so much for Congress. The NSA moves forward under its own gargantuan authority and can barely be challenged any more.

Your tax dollars at work suckers.

The American way of guns: what’s next – the maternity ward?

It seems mass murderers here in the US, especially at schools, have become so commonplace that yesterday’s killing of six college students didn’t even make it to the front page in my paper.

When Columbine happened in 1999, it stunned us. The story dominated the news for weeks. Newspapers ran long biographies of those who died.

But that was then. Today, events like this have started to define us, even as the sickness of the lone gunman mowing down innocents for no reason or because of some paranoid delusion or perceived slight, begins to spread into other countries.

And our uniquely American logic dictates that we therefore must have more guns and be allowed to take them everywhere. So now, in my own State, the gun-loving land of the clinically insane, I am not even surprised by  this:

TAMPA — If Tampa’s proposed rules for the Republican National Convention are passed, protesters could not bring squirt guns into a designated protest zone.

But they could bring real guns if they have concealed weapons permits.

That’s because state law does not allow local governments to enact laws regulating guns, City Attorney Jim Shimberg Jr. said.

“Even if we tried to regulate it, it would be null and void,” Shimberg said Monday.

Not that the city didn’t consider it.

. . . “It was just kind of common sense,” Assistant City Attorney Mauricio Rodriguez said. “We felt if we’re going to regulate people carrying sticks and poles, why wouldn’t we regulate people carrying firearms, because those could pose significant risks to police and other protesters.”

But later, city attorneys removed the ban on guns after finding that Florida Statute 790.33 prohibits local governments from enacting any laws on the sale, purchase, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage or transportation of guns or ammunition.

Passed last year, the state law allows judgments of up to $100,000 against local governments that enforce local gun ordinances. It also says local officials could be removed from office and fined $5,000, with no representation from the city or county attorney.

There is, however, one place where guns won’t be allowed. That’s the convention itself, and it’s because the U.S. Secret Service has authority to make the rules inside the convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 27-30.

Maybe they could do a warm up round before the next debate?

It devolves further: Now eating their own as Michelle Malkin calls Ann Coulter delusional. Wheeeeee!

Coulter is under the continued delusion that Sarah Palin was the problem with the 2008 ticket and not McCain. Later in the show, when Van Jones floated former Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rices name for VP, Coulter snorted again: “Too much like Palin.”

Say what?

Like her love object Chris Christie, Coulter has been taking many open shots at Palin lately.

Aaron Sorkin is going all Aaron Sorkin on us again

HBO just released a trailer for its new series Newsroom by Aaron Sorkin. It looks like a bit of same old, same old, but that’s just fine with me, cuz no one does same old,  same old quite as well as Sorkin.  Show premieres in June.

History – according to the History Channel*

* original source Graphjam.com, but I found it at Under The Mountain Bunker, which urges the reader to “Come for the Apocalypse; stay for the coffee”. Okay.

You didn’t know about this because it only happened everywhere else on Planet Earth, just not here in USA! USA! USA!

We look pathetic enough with our insane refusal to address the horrific costs and poor outcomes of our health care system. We look worse yet when we are 5% of the world’s population and use 25% of its energy and when we incarcerate more people per capita (by a huge factor) in the US than any other free nation on earth while hundreds of thousands have died on our streets and still do while we deny that we long ago lost the poorly conceived War on Drugs. And we can pretend that angry eyes aren’t turned our way from South of our border as entire regions become war zones fighting the drug cartels who kill and maim to bring our drugs to us.

The world may sit back and actuallyl enjoy it when our time comes to face the awful truths but meanwhile, I invite them to go ahead – go ahead and just make fun of us for this bit of silliness and greed. We’ve been asking for it.

Earth Hour was observed yesterday across Planet Earth (except, well, you know, here). The story is at Scientific American:

The world is a wonderful place

Just got new pix of some of the snugglies . . .  all appears to be going well so far.

Sheer joy lifts my black heart