Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Whiney Spice Isn't Enjoying This...

Sean Spicer (Whiney Spice) spends a lot of time at the podium whining about coverage. His latest whinge was to complaint that the Travel Ban is NOT a ban. And the media shouldn't call it that.

Asked about the President Tweets about how fantastic the new Ban was going? He "umm"ed a little while and finally said the President was using the media's terms. Before the Media. Because President Trump is clairvoyant. And really really smart.

I would like to paraphrase Samantha Bee here and call him a little gender non-specific baby who needs to sac up and grow a pair of ovaries.  You're in the big room now.

Did You Know!

Did you know that LA is full of idiots?

That the weather in LA is horrible because its never cold?

That LA people are vacuous and shallow because they drive?

That LA people are too stupid to walk and yet so crafty they will stab their co-workers in the back?

That anyone who gets ahead in Los Angeles is an evil person that has no morals?

Now, I know this because I have watched plays in New York now for 7 years. And, their asinine stereotypes NORMALLY don't bug me.

However, this evening I learned all that - and more bad shit about all Angelinos, from a play that lectured me on how Mexicans are the victims of stereotypes.


I Hate Blake Shelton and I Am Mad At Gwen Stefani

Together, the adulterers broke Miranda Lambert. Blake couldn't keep it in his pants, and had to screw his co-star.

Before this, Miranda has not put out one bad song, much less one bad album since she started.

But this album is - IMHO - not good. Okay, I'll say it. It's bad.

Damn you Blake Shelton.

La Garudia Restaurant

Now last time I was in Havana (17 years ago) - it was tough to find food - almost no restaurants.  Now it is tough to get reservations at the best.

We walked to La Gaurdia one night without reservations. We almost missed it as it was in a derilect building, where the front door man said "La Gaurdia" in the same tone that people in Hawaii used to say "Weed"?

I put my name on the list, in the off chance that someone didn't show up.

Now, to get to the restaurant you have to enter a building that is abandoned on the first 2 floors. It's much darker than my pictures makes out and kind of freaky.  Remember we go into the dark building after being "psst"ed by the doorman.

Ed and Suzanne enter. So far, it was NOT looking promising...

After you go up a couple of flights, they sent us up another flight to the bar to wait to see if a table would open.  Okay we go to the roof-top bar, and it is stunning. A neon picture frame framed the view. We had a couple of drinks, ate a great appetizer and though, dang it, we missed eating here.

Then, just as we were about to leave, then sent a runner up to tell us that a table was ready if we wanted it.

Eddie and Suzanne and I ate on a sheltered outside patio. I had some of the best Ropa Veija ever.  I also made fun of Ed and Suzanne - both turning 50 that week - since they needed their little iPhones as flashlights for the menu.

But all was forgiven with a great piece of chocolate birthday and a sparkler.

We had a lovely time and a great dinner. But, as we were walking done the 3 flights to the exit, the power went out everywhere. It was hilarious to watch a bunch of well dressed and well off people traipsing through a semi-abandoned building using their phones as flashlights. And giggling.  For those us going down, in fine humor - for those going up, in uncomfortable fear.

Monday, January 30, 2017

So As I Get Ready to Post Cuba Pics Over the Next Few Days....

So, as I get set to keep my sanity and post Cuba pictures over the next few days, I thought I would start with these two.  More daily.

This is the picture as we flew into Cuba, just east of Havana. We didn't get to the beach (I am 57 and have no need to show my girth thank you), but we did visit the countryside later.

This is the same model and year of car that brought us into Havana from the airport.  I thought it was a Nash Rambler, but it is a "Rikard" (i think). A 1957 German car that did crap out on us on the highway from the airport. The driver freaked out, just like the old days, and flooded it trying to start it. 

He didn't make us push it in order to jump-start, but we did have to wait while gas evaporated and we could go.  Mucho honking was heard.

Most of President Trump's Actions are EXACTLY What He Said He Would Do

UPDATE : 1/30. President Trump just signed an order for item Day1.3, so even more.

I understand many people are upset by President Trump's Actions.  Fair enough.

But more of those people should have voted, because the President is doing EXACTLY what he said he would do. Except for the empty rhetoric bits.

If you all remember, Donald Trump gave a speech where he laid out his "Day 1 Actions" (which he later said would be week 1 - and I gave him credit for all of those) and his Day 100 Actions.  Here is his scorecard....

Okay here on his campaign "Promises" section he has pretty much blown them all off.  He has officially dropped the ideas of:
  1. Special Prosecutor for Hillary Clinton (and in fact he and 1/2 his staff are using private servers).
  2. Putting his company into a blind trust. He says he doesn't have to.
  3. Changing libel laws (BUT Kellyanne Conway is threatening to have reporters fired).
  4. He DID settle the Trump University Lawsuit.
  5. His spokesman said his taxes will never be released because "the election adjudicated that", when in fact, the election adjudicated they were alright with waiting until after the election.


Now we get to the meat of the matter. He has promises on  Day 1 and have done a great job. He issued Executive Orders on 1.2, 1.4 and 1.5. I don't know about 1.6 But that is a great score for keeping promises for a President. At least 60% here.

He does okay for the section on Day 1 items to he says will help workers. I disagree with Wrkrs.2 as I think the TPP would help with jobs, but it is easy to demagogue. As for the Keystone XL and Dakota Pipelines, he did what he said he will do. My opinion, I think the pipelines are better than the alternatives - good for him. At least 50% here.

As for Wrkrs.5, well this is really tricky. Congress (particularly a Representative from Utah) has made it easy to sell off access rights to national land by setting the current value as $0. So they can give it to the states who can then sell it without having to find the money to give the feds.  So if a company is mining on federal land and paying the government $5 Million per year, they used to have to make up those funds in full before selling the land.  Now it doesn't make any difference what the land makes or might make, the states can sell it to their friends investors for a minimal price. I don't see how that helps workers, but okay.

Oddly enough, he does the worst here, but has caused the most outrage. I don't think I need to say more about this. Giving him half credit for the items he has started, 33%.

I also have his delineated list for the first 100 days - and I'll share that in April. Be warned (those of you that care) that it includes a "full repeal of ObamaCare".

Instagram Pictures from Last Week in Cuba

Again - you can always follow me at scott9m. I was in Cuba doing research for the non-profit I work for Project1948.ngo. But we also found time to see some of the city, a little of the countryside and celebrate a couple of birthdays.  Here are the pics - in kind of reverse-ish order.
This is the Jose Marti Memorial Tower. It was completed in 1958 and anchors the Plaza of the Revolution. At the top is a view of the city in a space where the mosaics are stunning.

These are all from the Christopher Columbus Cemetery. Some of the most beautiful are from a large monument to fallen Fire Fighters. I am in love with the Art-deco Pieta in the lower middle square (where Mike Brady would be).

This was (honestly) just a simple shot of cars outside our AirBnb window.

We took a day trip out to Vinales in the West. It is covered in karst caves and valleys.

More pictures of the mosaics (as well as Ed, myself and Suzanne) in the Jose Marti Tower.

Eddie and I in old town.

Me on top of the Hotel Saratoga. It was one of the few spots that you could purchase internet wifi from. We had drinks and internet there a couple of times. That is the Capitole in the background and further is the gorgeous Theater.

A night at the Tropicana.

The roof deck of the restaurant La Gaurida

I was taking a selfie in the tower of the Cathedral with Suzanne in the background and the ocean behind here (too bright to see). Eddie photo-bombed me.

It was Eddie and Suzanne's 50 birthdays. We got a cake, but I also got a shot of the old folks having to use their iPhones as flashlights to read the menu.  I'm funny.

This was a very hip bar that Suzanne's sister, Dianne, found for us. It was not easy to find, but well worth it. As for the picture in the upper right. The bartender was cute as hell, so I was going to take a picture "of the bar" and happen to get him in it. The waitress totally read me and got in as well.  And who is the woman with me (and my fat) on the bottom left? Someone who just ran into the frame as Eddie was taking a picture of me.  

Republicans and Democrats Trade Sides in an On-Going Battle

So Republicans and Democrats have traded sides in the virtues and drawbacks of Executive Actions - no surprise there.

Where Republicans called Obama's Executive Actions "illegal" and "attempting to make our democracy a monarchy"; those same Republicans find Trump's Executive Actions "refreshing" and "just".  Democrats now complain bitterly about the Unconstitutionality of them.

And when Democrats railed against the actions of one lone (Republican) Texas Judge to slow down the entire executive branch one Executive Actions - they find the rare (Democratic) Judges slowing down Trump's Actions to be brave and just. Republicans are not pleased (now) with "judicial activism".

But, if I may, I would like to step back a minute to remind us how we got here.

This isn't the work of a Dictator or Lunatic (depending on your thoughts on Obama or my thoughts on Trump). These actions do not occur because Presidents Obama or Trump hate America. Just as they didn't mean hatred when used by Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton or other Bush.

Presidential Executive Actions occurred (back the days of the twentieth century) - as a way to set guidelines around areas that laws hadn't covered. Or to cover areas lawmakers had not gotten to yet.

Once our Congress stopped working altogether (pick a date - by for ease, let's go with 1/1/2000), Presidential Executive Actions were used not because Congress hadn't addressed items YET, but because they wouldn't address them at all.

Sometimes, okay - often, it was partisan gridlock that meant nothing happened in a specific legislative sphere (cough - immigration - cough).

But, more often, it was Congressional chicken-shit'edness. Afraid to do something that might get them beat in a vote, they ABDICATED their responsibility to the Executive Branch and encouraged Executive Actions.

Don't believe me? Look at the wars we are in. We have combat troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.  Yemen!  Hell, we just lost a Navy Seal in Yemen - we aren't even "technically" in that country!!!

And, President Obama submitted to the Congress, over 4 years ago, a War Authorization to replace the general sloppy law justifying extra-territorial combat that has been used since 2001.  Congress didn't even vote on it. So they get to sit on their big, fat, lobbyiest bought rear-ends and complain,  AND take credit, about the outcome no matter how it turns out.

Now look at ObamaCare. President Trump has issued two Executive Orders that will slowly and painfully kill it - slowly and painfully for those Americans using it. Which is hard to believe since the House has voted to repeal ObamaCare (or parts of it) 60 times since it was put into effect. SIXTY -  and yet not once since they have a President that will sign the legislation.

So, now Presidents use Executive Actions. Now we have a vote every 4 years that would allow those actions to be overturned by a new President. But that wasn't enough for our idiot Congressmen. I mean, if they can't gum up the works, what are those lobbyists paying for? So, originally to thwart President Obama, they found a new (and questionable) legal tactic of "the Brave Federal Judge" to stop Executive Actions.

Now Democrats are using this to stop Trump - well different "Brave Federal Judges", but same idea.

But NEVER FORGET, the whole reason this mess is occurring is that those lazy, self-serving assholes in Congress will NOT govern. They are so afraid of being voted out and losing their place at the pig trough that they won't do what we (stupidly) elect them to do year after year - that is to make the laws that run the country.
(this cartoon is pre-Obama and pre-Trump)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

You CANNOT Make This Shit Up

Buckle up pussy grabbers, we're in for a ride. (I was going to say "Buckle up motherf*ckers", but I thought that might be crude, so I decided to use USA Born Again Christian Approved vernacular).

Breitbart News Editor Turned President Trump's Chief of Staff is now on the National Security Council.  You know who ISN'T? Head of National Intelligence. AND The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They will be invited in when their opinion is wanted. SERIOUSLY!!!

 Now some of you might say, "He was head of a news organization, how bad can it be?"  Ha ha ha!

Here are the "news" organization headlines (some screen grabs and some twitter links). 

And, "How bad can it be?" It's going to make Slim Pickins look like a motherf*cking pussy-grabbing** genius (**BAC Approved vernacular).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cuba Was Lovely: - Why So Little Donald Trump Scott?

Cuba was lovely and will be the subject of most posts. I will not post about everything Donald J. Trump does.  Why - you ask?

Who cares? Those people that are outraged are outraged. Those people that are not outraged will never be convinced he has done wrong. As I have noted previously...
Some examples are below:

Or, as my new motto goes...

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Heading out to Cuba

I'll b semi offline for a week. Going to Cuba to do some research for Project 1948. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

This is Where Coming From California Makes Me Miss Things

So last night on the Nightly News, this dickhead (sorry Secretary Elect Dickhead) was reported on. Apparently, during the recession, he quick Goldman Sachs and bought a bank (IndyMac) - he renamed it and starting foreclosing like a mofo. He was known as the King of Foreclosures.

Included in his foreclosures were 35,000 cases of "Widow Foreclosures" or reverse mortgage foreclosures.

For those of you not familiar with a reverse mortgage, it is when you essentially mortgage your house and get payments back - and then when you die, the bank gets your house.

I am all too familiar with it from the AIDS crises when these (and reverse life insurance purchases) were created.

But as this goes on TV and the widows are kicked out of their houses, I say to Ed, I say "I don't get it. They are still alive - how can they foreclose?"

Ed explained that the houses were usually in the man's name in the old days. Once he died, Secretary Elect Dickhead Munchkin's company would kick grannie out.

"But," I said stupidly, "she is STILL alive, they can't do that."

And Ed explains, patiently, that California is a Community Property state, and no, they can't do it there. But most states are NOT community property states so it happens elsewhere.

And again I think, not for the first time and not for the last, California Rocks.

When Lewis Black is Funny - He's Really Funny

Thursday, January 19, 2017

You Surprised Him by Being a Day Early!

Guess what my husband turns on Saturday?

Doesn't everyone love turning 50?


Geography Mistakes Make Me Nuts! - UPDATE

I was going to title this "Geography Nazi Strikes Again", but I didn't want to offend anyone. So I am going with "Geography Mistakes Make Me Nuts, particular in National Geographic Magazine".

I received my issue of National Geographic Traveler (Feb . March 2017) in the mail and was pleasantly scanning the issue in the "library", when I discovered a STUPID error. Now, I don't want to blame Fox News Corp for stupidity, although it did just happen after they bought National Geographic.  And, perhaps, they believe that just saying something makes it so, but they are wrong!

First the lovely picture...

Now the last line of the caption
Corey Arnold captured Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Glacier Point and one very daring visitor, all in a single shot.

Mr. Arnold may well have done that in some shot. But this isn't that shot.  In this shot, Yosemite Falls would be to the extreme left of the picture across the valley floor.

The falls he did capture were the low flow of two other famous falls. Nevada Falls (arrow in red in the picture detail) and Vernal Falls (arrow in orange on picture).

I wouldn't be so offended if it wasn't National GEOGRAPHIC.  Good grief, hire a fact-checker.

Later on the same day I posted this and wrote a note to the Magazine, I received a charming response from National Geographic Traveler. I appreciated it very much.  Here it is:

Dear Scott:

Thanks for your note. Heather and Meg are my colleagues and forwarded it to me.

What a stupid error. I am very sorry we made it. Today we all met on the editorial team to discuss how this happened. A breakdown that involved swapping images without thoughtfully (or accurately) updating text is one of the errors we identified. And it's really too bad, because there is a lot to say about the image we selected.

Can we hire you as a clean reader before we ship off to press next time? We do our very best with each issue to be accurate, inspiring and smart about our travel coverage. The most inspiring thing about our work is that readers really care and notice. So I'm sorry we let you down here, but we all value your close read and support of our magazine.

I hope this year brings you great adventures and...accurate experiences!

Best, George Fischer

Wow! Birth Control is Expensive (and testing for Breast Cancer too!)

Slate has an article that basically explains how much some procedures will cost that are mandated as "covered" under the ObamaCare / Affordable Care Act.

Some legislators tried to ensure these would continue to be covered under any new scheme (by voted to require it - but that was voted down by the Republicans because of their great "replace plan" which no one has heard hide nor hair about. I think the plan is repeal the ACA and replace it with God's Will.

In any case, I had no idea how much some birth control cost. The cost of the IUD is staggering to me. For us, before all the test were done we just used condoms because we only had to worry about STDs, not getting pregnant. And condoms are helluva cheap compared to the IUD.

In the case of Mammograms - the more I understand them, the less appealing they seem.  First there is the painful squish factor, which some of my friends have explained in great detail, particularly post doctor visit. If you are a guy and don't know about these, talk to your female friends - it is like squishing your testicles between two steel plates to Xray them and the more spread out they are the better. AND it turns out not all insurance covers it, so some women are paying for this torture.

Now, screening should help avoid cancer. Cancer will cost a hell of a lot more, so I don't know why it isn't covered. And, if it turns out to be good news (i.e. no cancer) - your reward is you have to come in again and again to get them squished all over again.  And pay for it!