Monthly Archives: January 2012

Originally posted on The Tribune of the People:

The pace of US economic growth increased in the final three months of 2011, according to official figures.

The economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.8%, the Commerce Department said.

This was up from the 1.8% annual rate recorded in the previous quarter, although it was slightly lower than the 3% rate predicted by analysts.

However, the growth largely came from businesses stockpiling goods they had produced, rather than selling them.

Although the stockpiling lifted the figures, analysts believe businesses will not continue doing this, resulting in a lower growth figure for the current quarter.

The pace of consumer spending picked up to 2% from 1.7% in the previous quarter.

via BBC News – Growth in the US economy quickens in fourth quarter.

View original

Florida is voting today… we’ll see the results tonight.

“The Truth is the New Lie.”

- a line from the Canadian TV Series Slings & Arrows.

What is Truth? What is a Lie? We have been listening to Mitt and Newt go after each other, accusing each other of lying with statements that are obviously true. The assumption is that the voters will believe anything they say.

The upsetting thing is that so many of them will.

Drowning our Kids in Liberalism :)

From Yahoo News:

Several weeks ago, Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center told Fox Business host Eric Bolling that “The Muppets,” the new movie starring Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, had a liberal agenda.

“It’s amazing how far the left will go … to manipulate your kids to … give them the anti-corporate message.” Gainor went on to say that Hollywood is trying to brainwash kids. Bolling later apologized (sort of).

Kermit and Miss Piggy fired back…

 

And as it said on All Hat No Cattle:

The difference between a Fox News anchor and a Muppet is one is a puppet who says whatever their handler wants, no matter how ridiculous or factually incorrect…and the other is a Muppet.

So keep an eye on your kids (suggestion… take them to the movies.)

Quote of the Day – as we look at the Florida Primary, where does Obama stand?

“If his predecessor cursed Obama by handing him a depression and two wars, the Good Lord has blessed him with the weakest field of opponents in memory. I stand by my early assessment: when I look at the economy, I think Obama can’t win, but when I look at the Republicans, I think he can’t lose. The economy is starting to get better; the Republicans aren’t. The president has moved to the populist center, smoothly co-opting the legitimate grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement and ensuring that he wouldn’t face a primary challenge from the left. ‘Barack’ means blessing in Swahili. Perhaps ‘Obama’ means luckier than a dog with two tongues.”

- Paul Begala

… and it looks like Romney will carry Florida, mainly by overspending Newt and his other opponents by a total of 12 million bucks. Money can buy anything.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – What will we do for humor when Newt is gone?

Signe Wilkinson in The Courier-Journal:

One of these days, Newt, POW….

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Chan Lowe in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Are his hopes up in the air?

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David Horsey in the L. A. Times:

He’ll treat us like family…

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Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star:

But he’s open to review…NOT.

Going after old BBC favorites…

On nights when nothing I am interested in is on television, I have been going on line and revisiting favorite BBC channel  series from the previous decade.

I’m halfway through the three year series (six episodes each year) of the great Canadian series Slings & Arrows, the story of a Shakespearian theatre festival in Ontario, covering a different play each season (they opened with Hamlet and, in the second season, I am immersed in the Scottish Play.)

As many of you theatrefolk know, it is bad luck to say the name of the Scottish Play when you are discussing it… you can say the main character’s only in context of the lines in the performance. In the third season we will be getting into King Lear.

I love Slings & Arrows and could watch it many times over (You Tube has each episode in 7.25 minute units, but no commercials.)

Once I’m through these I’m going into two related series that were, at the time, my overall favorite of their seasons: Life On Mars (2 seasons) followed by Ashes To Ashes (3 seasons). These are about English police detectives who get into major accidents in the first episodes of each and wake up in the past (Life On Life on Mars (TV series)Mars in the 1970’s and Ashes To Ashes in the 1980’s. Each time the detective wakes up in Manchester where they are active in the existing Detective unit, but can’t figure out how they got there,

There was an American version of Life On Mars tried some years after the British, but it didn’t last a full season… the British was so much better.

If you’ve never seen these shows, I recommend them highly.

Almost time for my Saturday radio show…

I’m in the outer studio at WSHC FM getting my playlist ready for the 11 AM show (we’re up until 1:00 PM.) The station is 89.7 for those of you within 50 miles or so from Shepherd University (our owner) and on the internet at http://www.897wshc.org. Feel free to tune in… or call in at 304- 876- 5369.

We’re probably going to talk about some of the dreadful things Newt and

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Mitt have been hurling at each other in Florida this week, among other things. Also, there is a production of Sweeney Todd opening next week at Shepherd, which I’m looking forward to… so they’ll be a little theatre discussion.

I expect that Ralph, Mark or Stu or some other of our regulars will be calling in as well. I also have my usual eclectic mix of music.

Have a nice day… I’m signing off for a couple of hours.

A Florida Question: Can Republicans Capture Latinos

In the National polls concerning Latinos, it doesn’t look good for Mitt or Newt or the rest:

Washington Post national poll, December 28, 2011:

Obama 68
Romney 23

ImpreMedia/Latino Decisions, 9/30-10/9:

Obama 61
Generic Republican 17

PPP, 9/30:

Obama 67
Romney 29

Latinos are, in general,  disappointed in the lack of progress on immigration reform. But they saw who voted against the DREAM Act in Congress (Republicans), and they see who is still campaigning against the DREAM Act (Republicans). They see who is demagoguing Mexico and kowtowing to the notorious Latino-hating Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Republicans), and they see who is passing anti-immigrant laws in places like Arizona and Alabama (oh yes, Republicans).

Romney wants to make things so miserable for undocumented immigrants that they “self-deport,” according to speeches he has made in the primaries. Not a popular position among Latinos.

Then there was the straight attack on Cuba in the last debate. Cuban Republicans are a strong Latino group in Florida, but, like many Americans, they wonder if, after 50 years of maintaining the Cuba boycott, we might like to try something else.

Guess we wait and see. Tuesday is the Florida Primary.

I’ve only seen 5 of the Oscar nominees so far…

… but I knew two of them were clearly going to end up on the list when I saw them. Unfortunately they are competing against each other. I enjoyed them both with equal enthusiasm.

Hugo was a salute to the early film industry in France (the fantastic films of Georges Melies) with chase and mystery in the Paris railroad station. I brought two of my grandsons to see it and I don’t know who liked it more, them or me. Martin Scorsese made a real winner here… and it was in 3D!

The Artist, which Elly and I saw last week, was a tribute to silent movies… black and white, some sound added for effect… and funny. One of the few movies I’ve seen lately that I would have watched again on the same day.

Both of these are worth winning the Oscar. I hope one of them comes through.

The Newt in the Moon…

While he makes the budget balanced as President, Newt Gingrich has now promised to put a US base on the moon… by the end of his second term!

The two problems with this are 1.) the cost would blow us even deeper into debt, and 2.) we have to elect Newt for Two Terms!

Now we know he was angling for the NASA vote on the “Space Coast”, but doesn’t Newtie realize that the whole nation is watching (and laughing)?

Nicol Williamson, legendary British actor, dies at 75…

He was once heralded as the greatest British actor of his generation. Nicol Williamson was known for stormy onstage behavior- including calling off a 1969 performance of “Hamlet” mid-speech because he was too tired to go on.

“I’ll pay for the seats, but I won’t shortchange you by not giving my best.” said Williamson. And then he walked off stage.

At age 26 when he auditioned for “Inadmissible Evidence,” playwright John  Osborne wrote in his diary that this “pouting, delinquent cherub produced the face to match the torment below the surface. He is much too young, 26, to the character’s 39, but no matter. He is old within.” The playwright called Williamson “the 

greatest actor since Marlon Brando.”

After appearing in films, television productions and plays on the English and Broadway stages, he retreated to Amsterdam about two decades ago and focused on playing country music. Before he died, he was able to finish recording the CD he had been working on, said his son, Williamson’s only immediate survivor. “He didn’t want any fuss made over his passing. He was not interested in publicity,” said Luke Williamson.

Nicol Williamson was known for being hard to get along with, especially by directors and producers (he once punched David Merrick during a rehearsal), and he commentd on his own personality:

“I think the only valuable thing you can do as an actor is to make people recognize in themselves what is also there in you, and what you see in them. Then they’ll hate you because they don’t want you to do that to them. That’s why I’m hated a lot of the time. They don’t want you to show these things in you because it makes them uncomfortable. It makes them frightened. But I think you must show these things in order to be true to yourself.”

Boy, I’m sick of Spam…

Akismet, the spam removal software that’s put up by WordPress for bloggers using their program, is very efficient in removing comments that are meaningless, or advertising, or just inappropriate.

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I’m not sure why anyone reading these comments would print them. So why do these idiots waste their time posting them?

I must have missed this over the Holidays…

…but it’s worth playing it now. I need some humor this afternoon.

Thanks for your Donation:

My thanks to Laura Bakin for today’s donation to Under The LobsterScope. Watch your e-mail, your Bill’s Barnhart Ornaments font is on the way!

- Bill

If you’d like to help us out at Under The LobsterScope (and we hope you will), go HERE.

Under The LobsterScope needs your help to keep going…

…but there’s something in it for you (beyond the daily goodies put out for your enjoyment):

Support this blog with $5.00 or more…

…and get “Bill’s Barnhart Ornaments,” a great image font,based on authentic turn-of-the-century ornaments in the Barnhart Bros. & Spindler specimen book, e-mailed to you immediately.

So many of you have been following this blog since 2004 that I feel like a member of a huge web community.

I have enjoyed bringing you The Cartoon or Cartoons of the Week, the Quotes, the Political and Arts News, the Blogrolls to the best sites in America and beyond… They are all a joy to put together. Often we get the breaking political stories before you see them anywhere else. And our wide open communication channels with readers can’t be beat.

Well, once again, I need YOUR help to keep it going. I’m hoping you will make a small contribution, by PayPal or credit/debit card, in support of Under The LobsterScope. You’d be amazed at how much $5.00 can do to help me bring more and more to these pages. And it is probably the LOWEST annual subscription fee you will make to any publication… interactive or not.

And for a contribution of $5.00 (or MORE) you will receive a copy of my Picture Font, Bill’s Barnhart Ornaments (I send you the True Type versions for both Macs and PCs by email). I regularly sell this font for $29.95. (See the Sample Below.)

You should know, however, that even a contribution of only $1.00 adds to the ability of this unemployed blogger to find things for your benefit, and gives you my heartfelt thanks. By clicking on the DONATE button below, you tell me that Under The LobsterScope makes a difference in your time on the web.

Thanks,

- Bill T.

Did you see this article? This is why the Republican right scares the s#%t out of me…

From Think Progress:

Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants To Outlaw Use Of Human Fetuses In Production Of Food

By Adam Peck on Jan 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Oklahoma State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R)

Oklahoma GOP State Senator Ralph Shortey is on a mission to finally put an end to his state’s allegedly rampant cannibalism problem. Alarmed after his own research, which consisted of reading a nameless report stating that companies have used stem cells in the production of food, Shortey introduced a bill that would prohibit the manufacturing and sale of food “which contains aborted human fetuses.”

Shortey explained his reasoning to local radio station News Talk Radio KRMG in Tulsa:

There is a potential that there are companies that are using aborted human babies in their research and development of basically enhancing flavor for artificial flavors.

Shortey was unable to provide any specific examples of the problem he’s trying to curb, and admits that it’s possible there aren’t any human fetuses in Oklahoma’s food. “I don’t know if it is happening in Oklahoma, it may be, it may not be,” he said.

NPR suggests Shortey may have caught wind of a boycott waged against PepsiCo and others last year after they contracted with the San Diego research and development company Senomyx, which employed the use of stem cells in their research. But the cell line in question dates to the 1970s, and can be traced back to human embryonic kidney cells, a far cry from Shortey’s claim of human fetuses.

 

And there are people who believe this stuff! The wavin’ wheat may sure smell sweet in Oklahoma, but the politics stinks.

The State of the DisUnion

Just once, after a State of the Union message, I’d like to get the sense that the member of the opposing party making the comments on the President’s speech had listened to it.

Gov. Mitch Daniels (R – Indiana) was the opposition leader commenting last night, and he was content to give a list of everything the Republicans consistently say is Obama’s lack of policy decisions. This, of course, ignored just about every statement the President made that not only contradicted the Republican positions, but backed up each statement with statistics and examples proving their fairness and worth.

Daniels, however, accused President Obama of doing the things which just about everyone who watches this stuff would lay at the feet of Republicans:

“No feature of the Obama Presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others,” he said.

Obama dealt directly with reducing the deficit, with everyone playing “by the same set of rules”, by adjusting taxes on the rich and saving deductions for the middle class. He gave support to businesses, while the Republicans stated that he ignored business.

Obama’s speech was positive and moving. The total result of the Republican response was that they could only solve all our problems by reducing the deficit. The President gave the outline of what is going to be a very strong campaign. The Republicans seemed to be on the ropes.

Monsanto Attempts to Lockout Socially Responsible Shareholder at Annual Meeting…

CLICK HERE

In the Organic Consumers Association blog, the report concerns Monsanto shareholder (and organic food activist) Adam Eidinger. A clip:

Eidinger, who organized last October’s a 100 person, 313 mile “Right2Know March” from New York City to the White House for federally mandated GMO food labeling says: “With the rise or Round-Up resistant ‘superweeds‘ the company is simply telling farmers to spray even more toxic herbicides including 2,4 D, the main ingredient in Agent Orange.

I urge you to go read the article and to contact your representatives about Monsanto poisoning (and hiding their actions concerning) our food.

A number of blogs are picking Gingrich as the Republican candidate…

Let me remind you of Newt’s basic life expression:

GINGRICH 2012: HE WILL ALWAYS LOVE AMERICA. UNLESS IT GETS CANCER (or MS).

So let’s hope that the country wouldn’t get sick under a President Gingrich… he would probably leave it for Canada. :)

Tonight is Obama’s State of the Union Address…

President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union speech tonight at 9 p.m. EST. It is expected to last at least an hour, after which Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana will deliver the Republican response (there will be a Tea Party response from Herman Cain… don’t miss it. All speeches like this should end with humor.)

Obama is expected to use the State of the Union to pitch new initiatives on jobs, taxes and housing, in what will be billed as his opening salvo in a long 2012 election race. He will probably push tax breaks for bringing manufacturing jobs home from overseas, give ideas to help the troubled home-mortgage market and create incentives for alternative energy development. Expect him to call again for higher taxes on the wealthy – despite consistent Republican opposition – and to speak of further pressure on China over currency and trade practices.

There are a number of ways you can watch and follow the speech online. The official White House website, which will not only be streaming the speech live, but will be accompany it with charts, stats, and data that reinforce the address. On television, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC will all air the speech live. The Huffington Post will also run liveblog coverage of the event, accompanied by an embedded live video feed.

Some items based on recent Obama remarks leading up to the address:

“Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.”

The President has promised to let the Bush tax cuts for millionaires expire at the end of 2012.

_____

“[The Affordable Care Act] is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage.”

At least 2.5 million young Americans now have health insurance through their parents’ health care plans until 26 years of age. As of November, more than 2.2 million people with Medicare had saved more than $1.2 billion on prescriptions (I’m one of them. I support this whole heartedly. - Bill)

_____

Expect the Republicans to make it clear that they will continue to oppose Obama’s positions… but also expect Obama to say that he will be seeking bi-partisan progress even though it is an election year.

It should be noted, however, that State of the Union messages have historically not effected increases in a President’s poll ratings (an exception being Bill Clinton’s 2nd address which increased his numbers by 3%.)

Are you supporting the supporters of far right propaganda?

Check your kitchen cabinets, NOW!

________________

Boycott the Koch Brothers

by Ben Hoffman

Reblogged from Tribune of the People:

Click to visit the original post

These products are owned by corporations owned by the Koch Brothers — the fascists that began the whole Tea Bagger movement. Boycott these products.

Wonders of the Law

Ben Stein Sues: “Ad Agency Replaced Me Over My Global-Warming Position”

I found this over at The Wrap and Japan Real Time :)

Instead of winning Ben Stein’s money, Stein is seeking to win Kyocera’s in a touchy lawsuit.

The conservative pundit and actor — and former Nixon speechwriter — claims that his position on climate change had him kicked off a $300,000 acting gig scheduled to start in 2010, only to be replaced by a lookalike.

Stein filed a discrimination suit against Japanese company Kyocera Corporation and New York ad agency Seiter & Miller Advertising, in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday.

He is alleging breach of contract, wrongful discharge and emotional distress, among other charges.

In the suit, Stein says Kyocera reneged on the deal and replaced him after the company found out that he isn’t sure humans are responsible for climate change.

The deal would have had Stein — who has previously been featured in advertisements for Comcast, Clear Eyes and Hewlett-Packard — acting in commercials for Kyocera and appearing at a major company event.

Apparently, when he was asked about his position on Global Warming, Stein told Kyocera and Seiter & Miller that he was extremely concerned about the environment but unsure whether humans are responsible for global warming.

“He also told Hurwitz to inform defendants that, as a matter of religious belief, he believed that God, and not man, controlled the weather,” the suit claims.

Kyocera then tapped well-known economics professor Peter Morici – a bow tie enthusiast with an uncanny resemblance in appearance and mannerism to the actor –  to appear in the commercials. Stein claimed hat they were basing the character of an “economics professor” on his image. According to the suit, Stein has been described as “the most famous economics teacher in the world” for his iconic role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

“In an astonishingly brazen misappropriation of [Stein's] persona, [they] dressed him up as Stein often appeared in commercials (bow tie, glasses, sports jacket).”

It seems that Stein is claiming a brand logo kind of situation for the image… as if he owned it.

Stein is seeking $300,000 for the work he agreed to do, along with attorney fees, court costs and punitive damages.

I don’t know what Morici will seek from Stein.

Cartoon(ist) of the Week – David Horsey of the L.A. Times

Sorry this didn’t get up yesterday, but Elly and I went down to Frederick to catch The Artist. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it highly… a beautiful and funny film.

Anyway, this week I’ve decided to do something I haven’t done in a while, and that is to focus on one editorial cartoonist – David Horsey.

David Horsey in the L. A. Times

The horror show…

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Now I understand primaries…

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It’s the economy, stupid!

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Mitt loves to fire people…

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He still doesn’t see what it takes…

First primary poll I’ve seen from Florida…

After Newt’s win in South Carolina, he seems to be having a surge in Florida. I just saw an InsiderAdvantage poll of of 557 registered Republican voters and Gingrich leads Romney by 8 points:

  1. Gingrich: 34 percent
  2. Romney: 26 percent
  3. Ron Paul: 13 percent
  4. Rick Santorum: 11 percent
  5. Other: 2 percent
  6. No opinion: 14 percent

“Gingrich has been closing the gap nationally, according to the Gallup tracking poll. Florida is a reflection that Republicans nationally are moving toward Gingrich.”

- Matt Towery, chief pollster for InsiderAdvantage

Mitt is going to be going heavily into the Florida media market… look for him to be on the offensive instead of the defensive petitions he held in South Carolina… and there are two debates ( first one tonight) before the primary voting.

This will be interesting to watch, unless, like me, you don’t want to miss the new episode of House.

Gabby Giffords will be leaving Congress…

It is unfortunate, but Rep. Gabby Giffords (D -AZ), who was shot last year while speaking to constituents in a mall parking lot, will be stepping down from her seat in order to continue her recovery.

We are losing a Representative of great promise and distinction.

Here is her statement:

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