Monday, February 28, 2011

Cricket Fan Now

Yay for Steven Davis.

Which Squeak is Worse?

The loud annoying squeak of tennis shoes that annoy everyone in the gym (and Ed at home).  Or the occasional squeak of leather shows at the office, which is less annoying, but sounds like you might be trying to sneak a fart.
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Never mind, I answered my own question.

Peter Beinart: Smart Neo-Con

(From Peter Beinart: in The Daily Beast - He is actually here correct his own earlier statements (yes - Some People actually admit when they are wrong)).
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They’re exhilarating, of course. But from an American perspective, the revolutions transforming the Middle East are also deeply sad. They’re sad because they underscore what a terrible waste the last decade of American foreign policy has been. Since September 11, the United States has spent more than $1 trillion in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those wars have cost thousands of young Americans their lives and maimed many more. And for what? We were told (and I, for one, believed) that in jihadist terrorism we faced a threat of epic military and ideological power. We were told that unless we toppled anti-American regimes and imposed American ideals, the military and ideological balance would tip decisively in our enemies’ favor. “I will not wait on events,” vowed George W. Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address. We were told to wage war because time was not on our side.
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Turns out, time was on our side. It was on our side militarily, because Saddam Hussein had no nuclear-weapons program and because in almost 10 years Al Qaeda hasn’t managed another attack on the scale of 9/11 anywhere in the world. But it was also on our side ideologically, because although our foes appeared ideologically strong, they were actually ideologically weak. From Egypt to Libya to Bahrain to Iran, the lesson of the last month is that any regime that offers its people neither free speech nor a decent job is ideologically weak, whether it wraps itself in the mantle of leftism, secularism, or Islam. Had America’s leaders understood that after 9/11, they might have realized that waiting on events, rather than trying to remake the Middle East at gunpoint, wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Out of Afghanistan Now

The revolutions in Arab Africa (and simmering in the Middle East) have undermined the goals and methods of Al Queda (this NY Times article is but the latest that has said this).
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And so it is time to get the hell out of Afghanistan.   Being an occupier is the greatest threat to people now - regardless of how noble or valid the reason (look at Israel for proof of that).  There is no valid reason to stay anymore.  Get the hell out now.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Story of Tyler Trapani: Scooter Tears Up a Little

There is a huge tradition at UCLA (probably at all schools that have big basketball programs) where the gutty little walk on makes the team and spends a year or two with the team.  He may, at some point, get a partial schoolarship, but that isn't why he walks on.  He loves the game and loves the school and would rather go to UCLA and warm the bench then go to another school and maybe play.
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And towards the end of blowouts at home - espically as the year runs down - students scream for them to be put in the game.  Well Don pointed this out to me and it is the best story I have seen in a long long time.
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One more thing you should know - Pauley Pavilion is closing for refurbishing and expansion.  Pauley was built for John Wooden after he won a National Championship - and he went one to win nine more. And Tyler scored his points on the John Wooden Court - the last basket scored before closure.
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Tyler Trapani, John Wooden's Great-Grandson, Scores Final Basket At Pauley Pavilion


by Brian Floyd • Feb 27, 2011 8:00 AM EST
On a day when fans came to say goodbye, for now, to Pauley Pavilion, it was a player with ties to the most beloved UCLA figure that sent the old court out in style. Tyler Trapani, great-grandson of UCLA legend John Wooden, was in the right place at the right time, collecting an airball and laying it in during the final moments of the Bruins 71-49 upset win over the Arizona Wildcats.
You can't script a more fitting way to send the "old" court out in style than this. The beauty of sports is the unscripted, unfiltered nature of the game, and Trapani's basket is an excellent example of how a small moment can mean so much more. It was the only time he touched the ball, shortly after being inserted into the game as head coach Ben Howland emptied the bench, but he sure made it count.

Sure the court will be back in the same place under the same name, but this was the end of the old, traditional Pauley Pavilion. And what a way to say goodbye.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Teachers vs Bankers

So why are budgets required to be balanced when discussing teachers, firefighters or police (New Jersey is out of money and laying off hundreds of police in Trenton and Newark - areas that desperately need them).
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But when $700,000,000,000.00 was needed to save bankers this was ponied up toot suite. SEVEN HUNDRED BILLION - but we can't afford to teach our kids, patrol our streets, pave our roads, reset our air traffic control.
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Now I GET it.  I get that one is at the state level, and one is at the Federal level - but still, as a country WTF? Does not make sense to me.

Yoga Yesterday

So, yesterday Eddie and I went to Yoga for the first time.  As it turns out the pictured guy (Keith) was our teacher (this is the "pose of the month".  It is a 6 week class and we wanted to go to get more flexible and stretch - so it is great.
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Now, as to what we thought, it was pretty good.  Lots of stretching and breathing work.  It turns out some simple things (say for example, "child's pose") are a helluva lot hard when you first start than you expect.  My feet cramped up and the instructor's assistant (Linda) kept coming by and trying to get my hips lower.  They don't go lower.
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It's funny - some of the post Yoga stretches were the same as aerobics - and I can still does those with ease -  so I am hoping I learn the rest fairly easily.  PS - No meditation or Sanskrit yet.  The six week starter includes mainly breathing and poses.  Ancient Indian Secrets come later.
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ps - And yes he is just about that smilely.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The only thing I would add to Robert Reich's Tirade is...(not just Republican)

So Robert Reich has a great column about the origins and causes for our budget shortfalls.  Except that it casts Republicans in role of villain, it is a - great column by the gnome (who finds it easy to scream about this but did bup-kist about it when he had a chance).
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The link above still works, but I removed the column after re-reading it.  I think RR's nearsightedness on this issue is that he sees the Rich and Powerful (caps in lieu of airquotes) as only Republicans.  I think the elected class, whether Republican or Democratic, are financed by wealthy and therefore loath to bite the hand that feeds them.
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It makes reforming the system nearly impossible.  But, if you substitute "powerful" for "Republican" in his essay - it is great.
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"How Does It Effect Me?" Nincompoopery

Eddie and I joked about disaster coverage in the Los Angeles Times.  It wasn't a disaster unless a Star lost his or her home.  The bigger the Star the bigger the disaster (which is why Malibu Mud-slides are HUGE and Riverside Wildfires where 50 homes were burnt are Metro Section at best).
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We also tend to look at world events purely in scorecard terms.  What does it mean to us?  The cover of the New York Times shows this all to blatantly.
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The uprisings do NOT help Iran, you nincompoops!  Iran has been subject to revolts themselves.  It may (MAY) ultimately help the Shiite Majorities, but that isn't so much helping Iran as, you know, Democracy or a Republic.  Given people a voice isn't tantamount to burnishing Iranian Flags and demanding a nuclear weapon.  I find it amazing that the New York Times would print drivel like this.
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Here is the other thing it does recklessly.  It casts Iran as our enemy - because it assumes we need a simple national enemy.  But Iran isn't awful.  They want a nuc, but so what.  Pakistan and India both have them and we don't care.  North Korea has one and we haven't invaded it.  Israel has them.  Waiting a nuclear deterrent makes perfect sense in reality.  Iran doesn't have to be our enemy.  We are grown ups and shouldn't fear a country we could destroy in less than 9 hours with ease.

Only one SECTION of DOMA was rejected by the DOJ

Actually in reading the Attorney General's note that the DOJ will not defend Defense of Marriage - it is really on 1 section they are saying is unconstitutional.  They are saying that the Federal Government will NOT defend the proposition that Federal Government defines marriage.  It was traditionally left to the states, and goes back to the states now.
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This concerns married pensions, taxes, inheritance etc.
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The Department of Justice said that ONLY this part is unconstitutional and they will not defend it.  To be fair, they are turning this back over to the states (which should make all those state right's fans happy).  They did NOT say the section that protects each states right to define marriage as unconstitutional.  So technically Obama did not say that each state has to recognize each other's marriages (of course this is long established law so it will be struck down in any case).  But he is really turning this back over to the states to define.

Hilarious Column In NY Times can be summed up as "Don't Worry..."

The New York Times article (by Gail Collins) on the pending government shut-down is damn funny.  Full article here, but here are 3 hilarious bits.
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Right now concerned citizens are probably asking themselves: What will happen if the federal government shuts down?  Also, why is the federal government in danger of shutting down? Whom can I blame for this? Does it have anything to do with what’s going on in Wisconsin? Did Congress pass a budget last year at all? Why not? And does this relate in any way to the report that Christine O’Donnell, the former United States Senate candidate from Delaware, may be joining the next cast of “Dancing With the Stars?” Wow, you are really asking yourselves a lot of questions, concerned citizens. Calm down..
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All hope for averting disaster lies with Speaker John Boehner, who used to be a strangely tanned blowhard but is now regarded as a beleaguered statesman. This just happened a few days ago, so you may not have gotten the memo.
Unfortunately, so far, Speaker Boehner has not been all that helpful. There is very little in Washington that can’t be explained by an episode of the original “Star Trek,” and Boehner is playing out the one where the Romulan captain prefers the ways of peace but is saddled with a crew that will mutiny if he fails to follow through on the plan to blow up the galaxy
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One thing that never changes in Washington is the difference in metabolism between the House and Senate. Have you ever watched pet-rehabilitation shows like “The Dog Whisperer”? The House is the deranged Pomeranian that yelps and throws itself against the window and tears up the upholstery 24/7. The Senate, meanwhile, is like a narcoleptic Great Dane you can hardly rouse for dinner.

It is hilarious, read it if you want a chuckle instead of a worry.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wow: That's Big, Unexpected and Unforcast: Updated

So, in case you haven't heard, here is the headline being reported;
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Obama: Marriage Act Is Unconstitutional
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This is a surprise.  He has instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending it.  Here is the full blurb.
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Gay-rights advocates can celebrate a major victory. President Obama has reportedly decided that the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional and has instructed the Department of Justice to stop fighting challenges to the law in court. Obama has struggled to balance support for some gay rights with existing laws, including an incident where the administration called for repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy while defending it in court. The president has said that he personally does not support gay marriage, but recently added that his views are evolving.
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Now, this is not at all unprecedented. Other Presidents, notably George W. Bush, have directed the Department of Justice to stop fighting laws he believed were unconstitutional.  But this one wasn't where I thought he would take the shot.  The Don't Ask Don't Tell seemed a much safer bet for this last year.
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However, the current Dept.of Justice challenges have been lost repeatedly because the basic arguments (gay marriage increases straight divorce, gay marriage harms the children of straight families, AND gay marriage some how harms the children already living in a same sex household) these basic arguments have been shown as hollow as marriage is legal in many states (including the 18,000 in California).  Once you show that gay marriage doesn't have a detrimental effect on children or on straight marriage - the arguments used by the Justice Department under Bush and Obama fall apart.  And, once the DOJ has committed to an argument in federal court, it is hard to go back and change the fundamental argument.  The bill was written with the preamble that gay marriage threated straight marriage - not just that everyone hated fags.
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Since the Department of Justice lost in Federal Court in Massachusetts (about taxes) AND California required the refiling of federal income tax (Gays that are married can't file as married, BUT California required the Feds to redo everyone's taxes because California is a community property state) - well it makes sense to keep one set of rules particularly if they are going to have to go back later and allow homos to file as married and the Feds would own back taxes and interest.
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So it's great and it makes sense, but the shit is going to hit the fan.
----------Update By scooter------
So I checked how and why they can do this. Apparently there are 3 reasons - the first and most important being that subsequent rulings have made a law indefensible.  That seems to be the case here.  Since DOMA was passed the Supreme Court has (quoting MSNBC here...)
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In the statement, Holder argued that the legal landscape has changed since the Defense of Marriage Act was passed 15 years ago and signed into law by President Clinton. He mentioned the Supreme Court's ruling striking down criminal laws against homosexuality, the repeal of the military's Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy, and the fact that several lower courts have found the DOMA law unconstitutional.
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So it is a reasonable thought.  Now the burden goes to those in Congress that want to fight this.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sometimes you say: How Can They Think That

Sometimes you say, how can they think that.  For instance, in the ad for "Body Politic" Reviews Off Broadway is quoted as per below.
Well, if you read my full review you will see this last sentence (bold is what they pulled out).
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Director Margarett Perry pulls some great bits out of the show, and keeps the pace moving well. As the show continues, it plays up the love and competition between Spence and Trish, and so The Body Politic ends stronger than it starts. Never bad, there is a feeling that the show isn’t quite as good as you want it to be – occasionally hilarious and ultimately touching, but missing something.

BEFORE Wisconsin was "Out Of Money" a Business Tax Break was passed...

So, in Wisconsin one big argument from the new cuts in Public Sector work-force is the budget which is barreling down and which will not be balanced without cuts in Public Service Worker's benefits.
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But according to the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Online, it turns out that last month - right before he worked to take away benefits and bargaining rights, the Governor worked for a Busienss Tax Break - which was granted in a bipartisan vote.
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So it isn't a budget issue.  It is a preemptive move to remove collective bargaining and set Public Unions against everyone else.  Like having a pension that was fairly negotiated and health insurance are horrible things.  Like the public unions shouldn't get these.  Republicans won't be happy until the worker's rights are the same in Wisconsin as in China.

Now: In Evolution News

(From the Huffington Post).
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Apparently humans aren't the only ones filled with self-doubt and uncertainty. A recent study found that certain monkeys question their own thinking as well.
Professor John David Smith and Michael Berantrained macaques, which are of the Old Worldgroup (native to Africa, Asia, and Europe), to play a computer game where if they got an answer right, they received a treat. A wrong answer meant no treat, but a brief pause before the next question. But there was a third option -- the question mark. By selecting the question mark, the screen skipped the present question, considered too hard, and moved on to the next.
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The macaques responded in the exact same way as humans -- the monkeys chose to skip the tricky questions. (Unlike Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston who recently hit the evolution question head on when he stated, "I came from God, not from a monkey.") Meanwhile, Dr. Smith told the BBC, "Monkeys apparently appreciate when they are likely to make an error... They seem to know when they don't know."
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Capuchins, New World monkeys (found in Central and South America), failed to choose the question mark option. Because the macaques are Old World primates, their ability to recognize their own level of thinking may reveal a step in human evolution. Dr. Smith believes that this level of cognition may have only developed in the line of Old World primates that led to humans. In other words, stop blaming your mother/teacher/boss/first therapist for filling you with self-doubt, and blame the Old World monkeys instead.

So Apparently.. The People of Tunisia have a problem with their new French Ambassador

Full story here, but the long and short of it is:
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A) He is kind of haughty.
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B) He is dismissive of the press in Tunisia (which is finally free of censorship - so dumb thing to do).
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C) He might be a homo (who else puts pictures like this of themselves on the net is the question.
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Now, in his defense of from the homo allegation, the picture was posted on opains d'avant (Buddies from Before - kind of a "where are my old friends now" web-site, not a gay web site).  If I looked like that - particularly if I was not that attractive in high school - that would be my picture too!

Language Whiplash

 So we saw “The Eagle” yesterday, which is about the love affair between Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell in Roman England.
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I mean, that isn’t what they say it’s about, but if there was one more longing stare between them it would have gotten an R rating.  And there were no women in the movie, except for village lasses missing teeth (and not one woman had a line in English / Roman).
What was odd though, were the accents.  Normally when one hears a Roman in a movie or TV he has a British English accent (years of “I Claudius” reruns have conditioned us to expect Romans to speak in British accents).  So it was jarring at first to hear all the Romans speak with flat American accents – even some American colloquialisms.
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Then, much later, Jamie Bell is introduced as a “Briton” slave.  Now of course, Jamie doesn't like Channing, but Channing did save his life - so he pledges his life to Channing and grows to respect the lovable American Oaf with a heart of gold and oh baby those lips.
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Here is Jamie Bell in a completely NOT-homoerotic introductory scene.
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They give Jamie plenty of "come hither" totally non-gay looks.
He speaks fluent “Roman” (which – yes I know is Latin in real life, but is American English in this movie) but with a British Accent – so it’s how to tell the British Romans from the American Romans.  That or they didn’t’ want to risk Channing Tatum trying to speak with a British accent (although – after seeing Kevin “Prince of Thieves” Costner on again – off again accent – could it really be worse).
The actually “Britons” of “The Eagle” were either hairy / ugly Viking left-overs or overly tatted renegades drifted in from a Mad Max movie, or white people with mud-war paint and the left over “ogga bogga” costumes from King Kong.  They lived in the North of Scotland and wore African lion cloths.  Ooookayyyyy?
And their accents?  Well they all spoke some sort of bizarre made up language with sub-titles (maybe it was Celtic, but it did NOT sound like Enya!).  If it WAS Celtic, then I now know that “Na-Na” means “No” in Celtic and “ruhh-me” means “Roman”, which is – you know – great if I am at a Cornish Cannibal dinner and don’t want seconds, “Na-na ruhh-me”

Regal E-Walk Theaters

This week-end, Eddie and I went to see 2 movies.  "Unknown" and "The Eagle".
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Forgetting about how good or bad they were (easy to forget with Unknown, which wasn't bad, just forgettable), the Theater name always gets to me.  You see we saw Unknown at the AMC and we saw "The Eagle" across the street at the Regal E-Walk.
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Think about that... E-Walk?  What the hell does that mean.  It was named back when internet things were still called "e-" (e-Cards, e-Mail, e-Cash, etc), before Apple made the ubiquitous i names (iPhone, iPad, iPod, iBook).  But there is no Electronic Walking at the E-Walk.  An E-Movie Theater would be one that you don't go to - you see it on the computer or at home.  Netflix is like E-Movies.  As for E-Walking - virtual tours of galleries or something would be E-Walking.
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You know what E-Walk is.  Ewok spelled wrong.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Theater Works Project

So,you know I review plays (see http://reviewsoffbroadway.blogspot.com/).  Well almost every show I see the people at least one thing in common in their credits.  Law and Order.  It is like the 1990-2000 Theater Works Project.
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I don't know if it makes money for the network, but it pays a lot of salaries for actors (add in the CSI's and you got a gold mine).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So I finally got the picture cable back so I can upload some.

So I finally got the cable (I actually had to buy a new one) so I could down load pictures.
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Now these are from the Royal Gardens in England.  These plants lose their leaves in the winter, but then the new growth turns amazing colors.
 This is Jane and Eddie at the bottom the hill.  We took the round way up to my very favorite part of the Gardens.  I love the Alpine Gardens.
 And these are the little tiny plants in the Alpine Gardens.  I really dig them.  These were all from our trip to England over the holdays.

Eyewitness: Glare mile

Cool, right.  It's from The Guardian iPad ap. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stupid Columbia Pictures

Look, I know that  that you can't get everything right - geographically.  But COME ON.  If you have the Big Words BATTLE:LA - you would assume the picture is right - you dopes. (Picture above is screen capture).
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So, the picture below is a blow up of part of the  big screen.
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Now you might say, where in LA is this?  To which I have to say it exists only in some dip-shit's imagination.  The first Pier is the Santa Monica Pier - except that arcade items (Ferris Wheel, etc) in the picture are on the  the North Side of the Pier - when in actuality, they are on the South Side
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The second Pier isn't there are all.  You might say it is the Malibu Pier, but then it isn't far enough along.  Or you could say it is a restaurant Pier, but there is no parking.  So it is computer added incorrectly.
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Or, more probably, it is the Venice Pier but they wanted it North of the Santa Monica Pier on the way up to Malibu.
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Really, I get that movies are fake, but then set it in a fake ass city.  But if it says BATTLE:LA - get it right!

Wow! Talk about your Gilded Age

So the Wisconsin Governor is threatening to use the National Guard to break a strike by Wisconsin workers (link 1 of many).
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This is a relic of the Gilded Age, when the money and power in the US were concentrated in the hands of the very very few.  A time before anti-trust and the basic human rights were given to workers.  (Of course, even then the trusts weren't considered "beings with full rights to donate politically and in secret" - but that's progress.
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There is a long history of calling in the National Guard.  A long, ugly history that we thought was behind us.  Welcome to the new world - same as the old, only more cynical.
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During the late 1800s and early 1900s, governors often mobilized the National Guard during strikes.  Sometimes the Guard was genuinely neutral, assigned to buffer the dangerous zone between strikers and their employers. Other times, the Guard was explicitly charged with breaking the strike. During these instances, violence often erupted between strikers and soldiers with terrible, bloody results.
National Guard soldiers clashed with strikers in Buffalo, N.Y., Birmingham, Ala., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  Salt Lake City and Telluride, Colo., at the turn of the 20th century. In just two years, between 1911 and 1913, the militia was mobilized against coal miners in West Virginia, textile workers in Massachusetts, textile workers in New Jersey, and copper miners in Michigan. During an infamous bloodbath in 1914, soldiers killed striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colo., including at least six men, two women and 12 children.
During the 1934 Auto-Lite strike in Toledo (see picture above), a battle raged for five days between 6,000 strikers and 1,300 members of the Ohio National Guard, leaving two strikers dead and more than 200 injured. Three years later, during the famous occupation of General Motors in Flint, Mich., the governor ordered thousands of soldiers to the factory, as the workers swore to resist them by force.
And in Wisconsin, Gov. Albert Schmedeman used the National Guard to disrupt a 1933 strike by dairy farmers, sometimes with bayonets and tear gas, when they tried to raise the price of milk. Newspapers reported that he was preparing for a "bona fide war." The Guard mobilized again the next year during a strike by the United Auto Workers. It was the last time the National Guard would be used during a strike in Wisconsin. Until, possibly, now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pitting the Plebes Against Each Other

So, if you haven't been watching, the Wisconsin State Congress is working hard to strip the Public Unions in Wisconsin of any power.  They want to remove their ability to do collective bargaining, change their contributions into health care and other things ( from MSNBCUnions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.)   This would effect teachers, police officers, and firefighters among others.
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What this is doing is pitting people in Wisconsin against public employees - people accused of getting a free ride.  Republicans have successfully framed the Unions as bastions of lazy workers, free riding on the public dime.  Yes, those damn teachers and policeman are lazy asses.  Funny, but the Wisconsin Congress isn't lowering their own salaries.  They aren't attacking corporations that are located off-shore to avoid taxes.  They are piting the middle classes against each other.
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The loudly point at the Unions and say "Look what they have that you don't!"  When, I believe, they should be trying to get a living decent wage for everyone.  Perhaps a system that doesn't balance the budget by breaking contracts.
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It is an efficient and effective tactic.  People across the world see unions as obsolete and greedy.  CEOs and top level executives of the Forbes Top 500 Companies make an average of 260 times the average salary of a worker in the company - but they are ok.  No, it is Unions that are the problem.
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Unions brought in 40 hour work weeks (now routinely ignored for white collar workers), stopped child labor, and worked to introduce minimum wage (argued as a "job killer" by Republicans).  They also helped to introduce unemployment insurance.  All of these are "drags" on wealth creation.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's a Dog's Life

What a life my Trevor has.  Staying home and relaxing is such hard work.

The Flight Home (or... Grandma Takes A Trip to Israel and keeps bumping into Ed)

So, yesterday we flew from LAX to Newark after 4 days in LA.
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The plane was full full full.  And, they boarded us passengers oddly.  First Class.  Then Elite Members in rows 20 - 40, then Elite rows 6 -20.  Then the cattle 5 rows at a time.  Ed and I moo'ed our way on when they got to rows 21.
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The plane was very full, and as we trundled down the jetway, we realized why.  Turns out there was an elderly Christian Church Group taking a trip to Israel.
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Now we got in, and helped people but their bags in the overhead (because the complaining about having to lift their own bags was deafening - plus we're good boys).  One of the little old ladies said I looked like Anderson Cooper (which was sweet, but she was clearly losing her eyesight).
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Now, the plane takes off and I fall right asleep.  I was up at 4:30 AM for a conference call and was tired.  I sat in the middle and slept.
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Ed sat on the aisle, and had the luxury of 5 hours of air travel, with big boned people walking constantly back and forth - to the bathroom - to visit Bertha and Marv - to "run" down the plane and point something out of the window to a friend - to share something in their LARGE SCRIPT READER'S DIGEST MAGAZINE that they just could not believe.  Basically to make a bother of themselves, and to knock into Ed's shoulder every single time that they traversed the plane.  Either the aisles were thinner than the last time they flew (which was never ago) or they were wider, but either way, Ed's shoulder took the hit.
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When we landed at EWR, the PA asked (fruitlessly - of course) that the 9 people waiting for wheelchairs wait until everyone else had deplaned.  After all, they boarded first, so they had to wait for the wheelchairs.
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They did not.  They proceeded to shuffle their asses from row 18 to the front of the plane in the relatively quick pace of 18 rows in 24 minutes.  Relative to the laggards in row 19, who couldn't keep up the pace, and had to stop repeatedly to catch their breath.  All of this to the strains of "hurry up, Marv has claustrophobia" coming up from farther back in the plane.
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Fun

Ah Joys of the Web: Blog of Kim Jong Il Looking At Things

Odd Blog: Kim Jong Il Looking at things....


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Header: Orange Trees in February in Los Angeles

This is an Orange Tree from the Golf Course this week-end.  However, the new Blogger shows my iphone pictures on their sides.  It sucks.
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However, it is a nice header.

Cute Ass Welsh Terrier Picture

As we come up on 5 years without Ashford (our Welsh Terrier), I saw this picture of a Welshie on The Daily Beast Site.  Thought I would share.  It's no Ashford, but s/he has that Welshie Face!

Iran: Unclear on the Concept

A little unclear on the concept of Democracy (as we understand it). (MSNBC)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

About to golf in the Valley

First.
How pale do we look (okay - me!).
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I have never been this pale I don't think.  It's painful.
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Second,
The weather in New York has actually made me like (gulp) The Valley.  I mean I was excited to go golfing over there this morning.  Nice and in the 70s.
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Third
By "golf" I mean smack a poor defenseless ball around a 9 hole public 3 par course.  My second time golfing ever (without Castles and Windmills).  It was mainly a wonderful excuse to walk around in the sun.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It was 86 here today (Yes - I am in LA right now)

Staying with Gavin and Mickey for the week-end.  86 degrees.
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Dim Sum breakfast with 11 friends, then Chinese Foot / Body Massage for 75 minutes for $25 plus tip.
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Heaven... .I'm in Heaven..

Friday, February 11, 2011

This is what freaks me out at night

So, I know I worry for our government and our people.  I am a worrier.  This summation (in the middle of a lengthy post on something else) sums up my worries. I used to talk my friends Steve and Clay, andwe all thought that there was a huge divide in this country, thank goodness we were on the right side.  I don't think we are any longer.  I think the really really rich have set sail without us and will destroy anyone who rises up.  So that is what bugs me.  My friends think I shouldn't worry about such things.  Best to stay happy. (It used to be fat and happy - but "fat" is so out-of-vogue :-).
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But the real issue highlighted by this episode is just how lawless and unrestrained is the unified axis of government and corporate power.  I've written many times about this issue -- the full-scale merger between public and private spheres --  because it's easily one of the most critical yet under-discussed political topics.  Especially (though by no means only) in the worlds of the Surveillance and National Security State, thepowers of the state have become largely privatized.  There is very little separation between government power and corporate power.   Those who wield the latter intrinsically wield the former.  The revolving door between the highest levels of government and corporate offices rotates so fast and continuously that it has basically flown off its track and no longer provides even the minimal barrier it once did.  It's not merely that corporate power is unrestrained; it's worse than that:  corporations actively exploit the power of the state to further entrench and enhance their power.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So very very confusing

So, since I have lived in New York - and quite a long time earlier, this set of billboards have been owned by Target.
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In fact, I have commented to one and sundry that it is annoying that there is a giant Target Billboard in Manhattan - but no Target (and don't get me started on the new one in SpaHa).
Well, this week the Target billboards went all white and I thought - wow, this must be a big new thing they are doing.
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Then....
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This!  A Mini Cooper ad.
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Very confusing.

Mary Whitaker Bono Baxley Mack McGillicuddy is a conudrum

So, Mary Bono is the Representative for Palm Springs (my old Representative).  She now goes by Mary Bono Mack.  Bono, because Sonny Bono was famous and she is still riding that train.  "Mack" becuase she is married to Connie Mack - a representative from Florida.
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First,  it is odd that these two representatives from two states thousands of miles away maintain separate homes so they can continue to work in Congress (to her credit Mary Bono is not anti-gay marriage per say - although Connie is).  Of course, you must live in your district - so either they don't live together or they are lying.  But whatever
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Anyway, I find her name is wrong.  She is Mary Bono Mack.  But Connie Mack is not his legal name - and he is reasonably honest about it.  His name is Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV . Now this doesn't sound very down home, so he goes by Connie Mack.  But how can Mary Bono have her name legally changed to Mary Bono Mack?  Can't you only do that with a married name?  (I know California is different, you can change your name by use, but then go to a judge - but "Mary Bonon Mack" is her "official" name in Washington DC - which has different rules).
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At the very least shouldn't she be Mary Bono McGillicuddy?  Just a thought.
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I mean McGillicuddy has a long a beautiful history.  Lucy Ricardo was a McGillicuddy.  And there was a Loch Ness Monster in her McGillicuddy past.

What the Patriot Act SAYS it does versus what it ACTUALLY does

Some knee-jerk believers in the benevolence of the US Government (forget Republican or Democratic) have outlined what the Patriot Act provisions are needed and not controversial.  I quote..
The second provision up for reauthorization is Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the “library records” or “business records” provision. A police officer investigating, say, a check-kiting fraud can chase the paper trail by issuing a grand jury subpoena through the clerk of the court. Section 215 allows national-security investigators essentially to do the same thing in counterterrorism investigations, compel the production of business records (including library records). But this provision can only be used to obtain foreign intelligence information about non-U.S. persons, or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Indeed, unlike ordinary grand jury subpoenas issued by the court clerk, orders under Section 215 must be issued and supervised by a federal judge.
sounds great right?
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However, let me quote the very Conservative CATO institute about what ACTUALLY transpires under this innocuous section. I quote:


But as a detailed report released last month by the office of the inspector general (OIG) revealed, between 2003 and 2006, the FBI sought to stretch its NSL powers beyond even these ample boundaries. Investigators obtained thousands of records from telecommunications providers using a made-up process called an "exigent letter" -- which essentially promised that a proper NSL would be along shortly. Among those whose records were obtained in this way were reporters for The Washington Post and The New York Times -- in violation of both the law and internal regulations requiring that the attorney general approve such requests.

Still more incredibly, investigators sought records pertaining to more than 3,500 telephone numbers without any process at all, simply requesting records verbally or via scrawled Post-It notes. Many of those data requests were either unrelated to any authorized investigation or had to do with domestic criminal investigations -- meaning they could not legally have been made via NSLs. Despite this, the letters would routinely, and falsely, claim that an NSL or subpoena was already being sought.

When the OIG interviewed the agents responsible, it found that "no one could satisfactorily explain their actions," instead offering only "unpersuasive excuses." When supervisors attempted to implement a database to track these requests, agents revolted, refusing to use the new system "because they did not want the responsibility for inputting the data," which suggests either an extreme aversion to clerical work or an awareness that something not quite Hoyle was afoot. When information obtained by these extralegal means was later cited in warrant applications to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the applicants falsely claimed that legitimate NSLs or subpoenas had been used.
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Whether under "control" of Bush or Obama - giving free reign to the government to check everything you do is stupid in a Republic.  We are NOT presumed guilty and subject to random fishing expeditions to see if we screwed up anywhere.
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When things like this surfaced in Egypt (random wire taps with no oversight) we laugh at their backwardness.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Jock Itch Debuts

So a friend, Rosa Blasai, an actress, model and professional sports jersey chaser, has published a book on the thrills and perils of dating professional athletes (and marrying at least one).  Now, I am not getting a dime for promoting this, but I do love Rosa.
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And, it's good karma as her book debuts on my birthday - so if you want a chuckle, and the real deal on penis size.  Well, go to Amazon and pre-order.  The link is:
http://amzn.com/0061999733.
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Since I have been known to favor the sporty guys myself, I will be eagerly reading.
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The cover, featuring the lovely Rosa (ex-star of Strong Medicine and all around hottie) is below.  Select to expand.

Good Job At Least Some Tea Party People

Okay, so we all know (or should know) that in the political arena - one thing that bugs me more than others is lying (sure sure, call it disingenuous support if you like, but you know what I mean).
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Well yesterday there was a vote to extend all the Patriot Act provisions without  discussion another 3 years.  Remember, this was a huge expansion of imperial Presidency rights that were "temporary" after 9/11.  Fully embraced by the Republicans under Bush and now fully embraced by "disingenuous" Democrats under Obama).
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Well, the GOP in the house and the President were so assured it was going to pass, they did it on a voice vote, with no amendments that needed 2/3s of the house to pass.
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It didn't pass.  A combination of liberals (lefties) who don't want to hock all our freedoms in the name of safety and of some Tea Party (righties), who actually BELIEVE that government should be limited combined to vote no.
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Now, it will pass after "study" and on an up or down (not 2/3s) vote.  But the fact that some of members of Congress on the Left and the Right can agreed that we need to evaluate things before we give our government more rights to willy nilly lock people up is encouraging.
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PS We have had these "temporary" measures in place for 10 years.  Egypt, who we laugh at their human rights records, have had the same ones in place for 30 years.  Maybe 10 years of unassailable government oversight is enough.
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So congrats where it is due.  In this case to the Tea Party Conservatives who really believe what they are saying.  Now, if they will just stop checking the bedrooms...

Monday, February 07, 2011

Thank you Mood!

So today we went to Mood for some stuff for a project.  Anyway, we got to leave and say "Thank You Mood".  It is not that big, but really really busy and helpful.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

So .. Yesterday was Day D for my Neck Lipo and My Eye Puffiness-Removal Operation

So yesterday I went in and got my meck lipo'ed and a suture'd up so I have only 1 chin again - not 2 - going on 2 1/2 like before.  They also removed the huge ass bags under my eyes, and put some of the fat into the crevase under my eyes.
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When they were done and Ed picked me up, they asked where my dark glasses were.  Dark Glasses?  I forgot them.
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So my honey went and got me dark glasses, concealer (for when I go out without the glasses) new earphones.
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And a little Pan Am back to keep them all in.
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Pictures when I am healed.

Friday, February 04, 2011

House Republicans Dropped "Forcible" Rape Definition and returned to "Rape" exception

Credit to the Republican Caucus for listening to the critics.
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House Republicans have dropped language from an anti-abortion bill that critics said sounded like an attempt to redefine rape.

The offensive phrase, "forcible rape," was used in legislation seeking to permanently ban use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions. It allows exceptions for pregnancies caused by incest or when the life of the pregnant woman is endangered. The original language also permitted an abortion exception for cases of "forcible rape," which angered women's groups who thought the term suggested some rapes were not forced.

The bill was quickly amended to cover all cases of rape, so as not to suggest that some types of sexual assaults -- statutory rape of someone underage, for instance -- were not covered.

A spokesman for chief sponsor Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) told the Washington Post the dropped language had been "misconstrued."

The bill, called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, would simply write the "Hyde Amendment" -- an existing year-to-year ban on use of government money to pay for abortions -- into permanent law. That way, the prohibition would not need repeated reauthorization by Congress.

1 Iowan's Declaration

This is 19-year-old Zach Wahls, who spoke before the Iowa House of Representatives this week during its constitutional hearings to ban same-sex marriage. Wahls, the son of a lesbian couple, is an Eagle Scout and engineering student who scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT college aptitude test. He's also as proud of his parents as many of the parents on Born This Way are of their kids. "We go to church together. We eat dinner. We go on vacations," he says, thereby effectively destroying traditional marriage as we know it. Whew, thank God you voted to repeal gay marraige, Iowa!
Even though Wahls acknowledges that "what you’re voting here isn’t to change us. It’s not to change our families," he adds, movingly, "We just hope for equal and fair treatment from our government. " It's a magnificent testimony to good parenting, and further evidence that who you love matters so, so much less than how much you love. And as Lady Gaga sings, there's nothing wrong, either, with loving who you are.
Scott: I love the comment that voting won't change them or their love.  Voting only removes their legal protection and tells us all you really really feel they are less worthy than "normal" humans and don't deserve respect or legal protection.
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ps. Ed posted this already on facebook - so if you saw it you saw it.

Is it just me, or does Andrew Garfield seem "super-pysch'ed" to play Spiderman

And, of course, by "super-pysch'ed" I mean inappropriately excited in the picture below.
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