Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Bibi - cheerleading us into war

Bibi just got a huge applause line with the 3 things Iran has to do before we should speak to it.
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Huge applause for #1 - Iran needs to stop fighting outside of its borders.
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Huge Applause.
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hummm... kids - their one war outside of Iran right now is against ISIS.  So, what the hell are you idiots applauding for?

Monday, March 02, 2015

Mascot of the Month for March: The Capital Records Building

My last two mascots were beautiful LA Buildings that are, alas, no more.
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The Day After Tomorrow wasn't so nice to the tower.
But have hope dear ones, the Capital Records building - well that is still around and humming.  It is arguably one of the 2 most iconic buildings in Los Angeles.  It is retro-space age hip.  And when the world is getting destroyed city by city, it is normally the Capital Records Building that goes up with Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.
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There was a lot of talk of tearing it down a few decades ago to make room for a better, newer tower.  And because kids today didn't understand the iconography.   The Capital Records Building is designed like a stack of 45's on a turntable.
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Nowadays, even if people know what a turntable is, they often don't get it.  You see vinyl (they don't call them records anymore) are only 33s.  And the new turntables are designed for audiophiles.  They aren't designed to drop a stack of records to play one after another, like an iPod without shuffle.
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But the Capital Records building was designed to look like a stack of 45s.  Even to the Needle sticking out of the top.  For you kids, you could put this big bulky plastic thing over the needle that created a bigger center hole for a 45.  You then turned the record player ("turntable" was what you parents called it) to 45 rpm to play your cool records.  And when one was done, the next would drop automatically on the stack.  The outside edges and inside labels were always higher than the grooves, so that the record did't scratch.
That record player is older than me, but you get the idea. 

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Reading wikipedia (and hoping it is right), it says that the 150 feet height was the limit in the city until a couple of years after it was built.  Which makes sense.  Shortly after it was built, Capital signed the Beatles and made a zillion dollars and the building was the destination of many a recording artist.
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Eddie and I used to live above it in the hills, and you could tell it was Christmas because they strung lights to turn the needle into a Christmas tree.  As opposed to New York where you can tell it's Christmas because  the weather makes your nuts go hide inside your body until March.
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It makes me smile.

The street is Vine and the light a block down is Hollywood Blvd.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Mexico by Macy's?


Apparently in Macy's version of Mexico there are no hispanics, no sun-tans and one one over a size zero.  Which is not exactly as I remember Mexico.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Clutch My Pearls!!! Wait, throw the teacher in jail.

Anal Sex does seem awfully high on this list 
So in Kansas a parent was freaked the hell out by a Sex - Ed poster on a Science classroom wall.  The poster is here, and is surprisingly thorough in its list of methods of expressing affection.
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But this poster was approved by the school district (and the state) as part of an abstinence only sex education program.  My guess is that some of these were deemed appropriate and some we explained as "not abstinence".
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Well, the good people of Kansas were outraged and had the posters removed.  So far so normal.
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Nw there are working on a law (already passed the Senate - the "liberal" body) to remove protections of teachers with regards to distributing pornography.  They can go to jail.  As, they want this science teacher to do.  Because.. even if it is  an abstinence only education poster that was approved - and even if it was only viewable by 13 year olds - well past puberty - it is just the same as pornography.  Yes, even if it is part of a approved sex-ed curriculum, the Kansas Legislature wants those teachers in jail.
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Along with posters that mention the unmentionable, naughty books like The Red Badge of Courage, Huckleberry Finn and dirty parts of Twilight will get a teacher thrown in jail.
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Link from the Topeka Capital-Journal.
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Funny this, the Topeka Capital-Journal has, in the story, self-censored the words "vaginal" and "masturbation" from the poster - although they are allowed to print "anal sex".
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The Washington Post Does calls Bullshit

(LINK)
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Quick word out to Europeans who might not know, the Honorable Senator James Inhofe is the Chairman of Senate Environmental Committee.  Honest.
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The Washington Post has written a very funny article that is meaner than I would be normally re: James Inhofe - Climate Denyer.  Here it is...
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 February 26 at 5:16 PM  

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) has, once and for all, disproven climate change. While "eggheads" at "science laboratories" were busy worrying about how the increase in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere was leading to a long-term upward shift in temperatures and increased atmospheric moisture, Inhofe happened to notice that it was cold outside. Weirdly cold outside. So cold, in fact, that water falling from the sky had frozen solid.
So he brought some of this frozen water into the Capitol and onto the Senate floor to show everyone, but mostly to show the eggheads.
Inhofe brings snowball on Senate floor to dispute climate change(0:52)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) brought a real snowball onto the Senate floor to discusses climate change. (C-SPAN)
He referred back to the time that his kids made an igloo -- and then dropped his bombshell: "It's very, very cold out. Very unseasonable." Inhofe, who is also chairman of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, then turned to his prop for a bit of "scientific analysis."
"So," he said, throwing the snowball to the sitting Senate president, "catch this." Whether the snowball was caught was not known at the time of writing.
How cold is it out? It is below freezing! Last week it was even colder, so cold that records in the region were being broken. Today? Eh, not so much. Especially compared to the history of temperatures on this day.
Now, global warming skepticism skeptics might argue that Inhofe, the author of a book about global warming called "The Greatest Hoax," is using one bit of weather-related data to try to disprove a well-established, very long-term trend. They might note that temperatures in February are supposed to be cold in the Northern Hemisphere since it is a season called "winter." They might point out that at the same time D.C. was very cold, the West Coast was very warm, which is less expected during "winter." And they might note that the government did indeed declare 2014 to be the warmest year on record, a detail that is not disproven by a snowball in the year 2015. (The sad irony of that, though: Much of the eastern U.S. recorded colder than normal temperatures -- and that is where Inhofe goes to work.)
But those skepticism skeptics are wrong. Why? Look at that snowball.

Game over.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Words to Get Me Through the Winter...

I do not like winter Sam I am.  I do not like it on a plane, I do not like it on a train.  I do not like it here or there, I do not like it anywhere.
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So when I ask myself why am I here, I always here the voice of Elle Wood's father in my head - and Elle's response is the only one that makes sense.
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Father...

Why!? Button...
There's no film studios.
It's cold and dark.
No valet park.
All the girls have different noses.

Christ, Button,
It's like the damn frontier
Tell me what you want
Than you can't get right here....

Elle

Love... I'm going there for love.
And love will get me through
I can live without Sun and Valets.
It's a price that I can pay...


(PS: In my head, the words are a little different...)

Ship Ahoy

There is a ship on the front of the New Museum.  I am not sure why, but I kind of dig it.
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Why does every state get 2 Senators except New York....

Every state it in the US gets 2 Senators. Except New York.  We get Senator Kristin Gillbrand (whom I love) and we give our other spot up to Israel, who gets Charles Schumer.
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Senator Chuck has decided not just to attend Bibi's Republican Dog and Pony show, but to urge others Democrats to attend and to urge President Obama to talk with Bibi while he is here.
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I love his public answer, "I don't know" if President Obama should meet Bibi.  This is like telling Charlie Brown that Lucy will really hold the ball this time.

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Look, I am understand the close and wonderful relationship between the US and Israel.  I admire most of their policies, their democracy and defend their right to self-defense.  And, I think it is perfectly reasonable for Bibi Netanyahu to want to undermine the world's talks with Iran.  As a matter of Israeli security, it might make sense (although Mossad would disagree).
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What annoys me is that Charles Schumer is promoting Israeli interests over American interests.  He is welcoming a foreign politician who has  inserted himself in the last election for the opposing party and is publicly rebuking President Obama.  I may not love Obama, but I damn sure don't love a Senator from my party that chooses a foreign power over the US.
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And Chuckie isn't content to simply spit on the President and the process here.  No, he has to go on record to encourage other Democrats to spit on the global peace process as well.  To join the Republicans to embarrass President Obama.
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So Charles Schumer has chosen Israel and the Republicans over the chance for a negotiated settlement with Iran.  Which, duh, the whole point of sanctions was to get them to the negotiating table. Why deny us all the chance to finish negotiations?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And The Stomach Bone is connected to the Vagina Bone

Ahhh.. Idaho - famous potatoes indeed.
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Somethings stand alone as nincompoopery and need only the light of day.
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Vito Barbieri, a state congressman in Idaho, was busying passing laws against doctors prescribing birth control over the phone.  During this discussion (which later passed based on a party line vote - of course, the whole "hearing" was a shame), Vito asked why a doctor couldn't do a vaginal examine by having a woman swallow a small camera and just firing up when it hit the vagina.

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This would be hilarious, except of course, it is men like these that decide what type of patient care a woman gets when there is anything involving her lady bits.
Famous Potatoes Indeed

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) Kabuki - on both sides

The Republicans thought things would change when they controlled the Senate.  They did not understand how the Senate operates.  Much like Democrats when they controlled both houses, it turns out even with "control" of the Senate - you don't have control.
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Any Senator, at anytime, for any reason can call a filibuster.  And it takes 60 votes to override a filibuster.  And the Republicans in the Senate - like the Democrats before them, don't have 60 votes.
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The current Kabuki Theater comes courtesy of the Tea Party Republicans and President Obama.
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Last year, like the 3 years before that, the House Republicans refused to take up an Immigration Bill that passed the Senate with Republican and Democratic votes.  So President Obama made this rather innocuous move.
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President Obama redirected the the Immigration Department (which is under Homeland Security) to focus on serious criminals in the US system for deportation, not otherwise law abiding immigrants. 
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Had he stopped there, the Right would be in uproar.  Since they were demonizing him anyway, he went one further.  If an immigrant had a child or close relative that was legally in the United States, had paid taxes for 5 years and had not criminal history, that person could apply for legal status.
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And howls of "amnesty" went up and the Republicans start frothing at the mouth.
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This delayed our national budget to the point that Congress finally passed spending authorization for a year, but funded Homeland Security for only 2 months.
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As an aside, this was called, by the by, a "Cromnibus" - Brangelina type amalgamation of "Continuing Resolution" and "Omnibus spending bills", although it sounds a little like a sex act on public transportation.
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Since then the House of Representatives passed a funding law for the DHS, but that legally revokes the President's action on registering immigrants.  And then they went a step further.
You can see the spin: Washington Post (rather centrist) blames republicans and Fox News (rather right wing) lays the blame on the Democrats.  All the regular actors are taking up their roles.
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The House of Representatives passed a law reversing the older policy of the nation - and many states - making "dreamers" legal.  "Dreamers" in our parlance are those immigrants that were brought here illegally when they were very young.  The Dream Act made those immigrants legal residents if they were in school or the military, had been brought here as minors and had no arrests.  Before that, they would apply for college, maybe get a scholarship or maybe get deported.  Often to countries where they didn't know the language or have relatives any longer.
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The funding which passed the House of Representatives can't pass the Senate.  And, technically, only the House of Representatives can initiate a funding bill.  The result is a bit in the air at this point.  The Senate may try to "fix" the DHS funding and remove the immigration pieces, but the House says it won't pass that (a "clean" bill).
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This looks bad for the Republicans who wanted to use their majorities in the 2 years until the next election to prove they were "grown ups that can govern".
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It isn't really that much of a big deal, since about 225,000 of the 255,000 employees of the DHS work in "essential" jobs and have to work anyway.  But if the TSA (those people at the airports) are laid off again, then the squealing will be pretty damn loud.
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And so we return to the place we never left, the asinine Kabuki theater that American Politics has become.

A Trip To The Rubin Museum of Art

New York has a plethora of small art museums created, I suppose, by very rich collectors.  Apparently there are big tax breaks for this, which is okay if you happen to live in New York.  Luckily, I do.  These aren't like the Mitchell Museum of Early Iowan Thimbles, but real amazing art displays.
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This week-end we went to The Rubin Museum of Art (RubinMuseum.org), which was astounding.  It is primarily a Himalayan / Nepalese art museum with some great works.
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My favorite is a Temple interior in which many art pieces are there.  But the best is that an audio guide tells you what everything is, why it is located where it is and what it means.
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Very cool.
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The Buddhist Temple
There was a temporary exhibit called Witness At The Crossroads, which was all about the travels in the mid-50s of a photojournalist who traveled from Turkey through the silk road through Iran, Afghanistan, India, China and Japan.  His photograph was evocative of a moment when these lands were all reasonable open.  Before wars in Afghanistan and the Cultural Revolution in China.  It was very cool.
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From the Witness At the Crossroads exhibit - Afghanistan's Khyber Pass
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Two of the five museum floors from the staircase

Monday, February 23, 2015

Boston Globe's graphic is screwed up big time

The Harvard Grads over at the Boston Globe may be smart as hell, but they might want to outsource their web programing.  They have a reasonably nice State by State Gay Marriage Rights graphic (LINK), but when you select "Nationwide" instead of "State by State", it gives you the status on all 101 states plus DC.
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Wow, that is a lot of states.  I would say, roughly double the number of actual states we have.  Apparently, 75 of the 50 statues allow gay marriage.
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