Monthly Archives: March 2010

April is the Last Month that my Century Marks font will be available for FREE…

…when you help support Under The LobsterScope.

I usually sell Bill’s Century Marks for $29.95, but until April 30th I will be sending it out for FREE to anyone who makes a contribution of $5.00 or more to Under The LobsterScope, the blog of Politics and The Arts.

Unlike many other blogs that ask for a few bucks, I send you a free, quality picture font (see Sample below) for a donation of $5.00 or more… not available ANYWHERE ELSE.

Even a small donation of $1 or $2 would help (although $5 helps a whole lot more.) The amount is up to you. We accept contributions through PayPal and the credit/debit cards shown below.

All contributors of $5.00 or more receive a copy of my Picture Font, Bill’s Century Marks in versions for BOTH Macs and PC, plus a handy keyboard chart.

In May, I will be putting Bill’s Century Marks back in the “for sale only” and I will make a new font available. Over the past few months many of you have come on board with an average donation of $10.00 and were sent and for those of you $5-Plus donors who received our last Free Font, Bill’s Cast O’Characters, I hope you are enjoying it. I know it is a picture font I use all the time.

So please click on the “Donate” button below:

Bill T.


I have accidently upset my job hunting…

Lately I have been spending my afternoons in the Mellow Moods cafe in Shepherdstown, which is the Best WiFi location in town and doing my job search with coffee. I run into all kinds of people while doing this, so I started carrying my camera with me. Behold one of the results:

The other day I secured a job interview opportunity while nursing my coffee along at this downtown location. Exciting.

I never got there… the night before last, while Elly was at a teacher’s conference in Baltimore for a couple of days, I was changing  the battery in a smoke detector (ceiling location of course) when I lost my balance and fell off the second step of the ladder, bumping my side on a corner wall when I hit the ground.

This has left me with an awful pain when I cough or breathe or walk, so I started in on a program of painkillers and a heating pad alternating with ice. This morning I felt about 30% better, but still not in great shape… so I had to reschedule my interview for two days from now. Hopefully, if I stay relatively still (despite dog walking, dog feeding, etc.) for those days I wil get to about a 60% recovery feeling (I’ve had aches and pains from falling before) and will be able to do the interview.

Meanwhile I haven’t felt that interested in sitting and typing into the blog… when I feel better I’ll be back t my 5 or so posts per day.

Steele fires RNC Staffer who approved expenditures.

The story continues this afternoon… The RNC has fired Allison Meyers, director of the group’s “Young Eagles” program, since she was the one who had approved the reimbursement of a hefty tab racked up at a bondage-themed L.A. nightclub.

The Young Eagles program is billed as “The Big Donors Of Tomorrow” and Meyers had run it since February 2009.

The trip to the sex-oriented club was sponsored by another Republican donor and The Washington Post reports:

The reimbursement went to Erik Brown, a Southern California GOP donor who has spent time with Steele in the past and whose marketing firm has earned more than $160,000 from the RNC and other Republican committees, according to campaign disclosure records.

Erik Brown, who lines up multi-thousand dollar donors as well as himself can’t be fired. Meyers appears to be a pawn in all of this.

S0… Is Michael Steele really off the hook?

Are we more concerned with WHAT Republicans do or WHO does those things?
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Man who spent RNC money at racy nightclub identified

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is off the hook for the almost $2,000 spent at Voyeur West Hollywood, a risque nightclub. Sort of.

The man who actually spent the money has been identified as Erik Brown, a Republican consultant. And the RNC maintains that Steele had no involvement whatsoever.

“The chairman was never at the location in question; he had no knowledge of the expenditure, nor does he find the use of committee funds at such a location at all acceptable,” an RNC spokesman has said.

That may not be enough to get him off the hook altogther, however. There’s still the issue of an expenditure like this being approved at all, and there’s a larger context of skepticism about consultants that Steele has brought in during his tenure at the RNC; that was one of the reasons RNC members forced the chairman to give up some of his control over the group’s finances.

Brown will reportedly return the money to the RNC.
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Obama’s Weekly Address

…in case you missed it on Saturday:

Republicans becoming more concerned with Women’s Issues?

Interesting info. Politics has no morality.
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RNC Spent Nearly $2,000 At Club With Topless Dancers

The Republican National Committee spent thousands of dollars at hotels and clubs in February, the Daily Caller reports.

According to FEC reports, the RNC spent $1,946.25 at Voyeur West Hollywood, which the Caller describes as “a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.” Voyeur is an exclusive, expensive club frequented by celebrities and, for example, hosted Heidi Klum’s Halloween party last year.

During the same trip, the RNC spent $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel and $6,596 at the Four Seasons.

The RNC also spent upwards of $17,000 on chartered flights in February and more than $12,000 on limousines.

A spokesman for chairman Michael Steele did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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This from the NY Times: Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print By ROBERT PEAR

Here’s an article that shows me why the Insurance companies need to be monitored really closely… and why we should have gone for the Public Option.

I’ll give you a clip here, but go in and read the whole thing:

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WASHINGTON — Just days after President Obama signed the new health care law, insurance companies are already arguing that, at least for now, they do not have to provide one of the benefits that the president calls a centerpiece of the law: coverage for certain children with pre-existing conditions.

Mr. Obama, speaking at a health care rally in northern Virginia on March 19, said, “Starting this year, insurance companies will be banned forever from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.”

The authors of the law say they meant to ban all forms of discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, birth defects, orthopedic problems, leukemia, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. The goal, they say, was to provide those youngsters with access to insurance and to a full range of benefits once they are in a health plan.

To insurance companies, the language of the law is not so clear.

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Obama makes 15 Appointments while the Senate is Off…

With, as David Axelrod said this morning on TV, 77 Presidential Appointments pending which the Republicans in the Senate have been holding up, most since the beginning of the Administration, by filibuster techniques, the President this weekend used his power of constitutional authority to fill vacancies without the advice and consent of the Senate when Congress is in recess. He finalized 15 of the 77 appointments who, under the law, will serve until the next Congress is convened.

Even though George W. Bush made a total of 171 such appointments by the end of his presidency, Obama has faced coordinated whines and Cries from the Republicans in the Senate.

“This is going to make problems worse,” Lindsey Graham, a Republican and South Carolina’s senior senator, said on NBC’s MEET THE PRESS. Graham specifically referred to the appointment to the National Labor Relations Board of Craig Becker, a former associate general counsel for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. whom 41 Republican Senators have depicted as a pro-labor radical. Graham suggested that this would work against Republican cooperation with the President.

Frankly, I don’t see where there HAS been Republican cooperation with the President. Not with McCain stating that there would be no agreeing with any Democratic decisions until the next elections are over because Obama’s Health Care Bill was passed.

There are 4 or so more positions that Obama may fill during the Senate recess and I’d encourage him to go ahead. But that’s me.

A Quote for the Day – Why The Repubs Failed on Health Care

… from a Republican strategist and blogger:

“Much ink and many pixels are being expended on writing health care’s political postmortems, but the focus should rightly be on the policy front — in the think tanks and in the legislative priorities of recent Republican administrations and Congresses. In short, the battle was lost before the first shot was even fired because Republicans did not present a compelling alternative story of what was wrong with the health care system, or how they would fix it.”

Patrick Ruffini

A long Open Letter to Conservative Americans from American Dad…

Are you a Conservative Republican who has lost his or her perspective on life and the Party? Here’s the first paragraph of a terrific TPM aricle :

Dear Conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now.  You’ve lost me and you’ve lost most of America.  Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I’d like to give you some advice and an invitation.

Now go HERE and read the rest.

Joan Walsh has a great column in Salon…

Here’s a clip from it, but go in and read the whole thing. Then decide for yourself if Eric Cantor is lying to get back at Democrats…
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Eric Cantor’s phony victim story
Did House GOP Whip Eric Cantor just become 2010’s answer to Ashley Todd, the white McCain supporter who claimed she was assaulted by a black Obama backer in October 2008?
You remember the story: A 20-year-old McCain-Palin volunteer told Pittsburgh police that a black man robbed her, and then, when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on her car, he beat her and carved a B – for “Barack” — into her cheek, and told her she better support the black Democrat. Days later, the clearly disturbed Todd confessed that she made up the attack, and apparently mutilated herself to provide “evidence.”
No one’s accusing Cantor of shooting up his own office, but from the minute he made his claim — also implying he was targeted because he was Jewish — it was almost certain to be untrue. In the very first AP report on the incident, the Richmond police  said the bullet had been fired into the air, not through Cantor’s window.
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There’s more… go HERE.

OK… A Quote I Couldn’t Resist

(picked up at All Hat, No Cattle)

“James Cameron, who directed ‘Avatar,’ is in a feud with Glenn Beck, because Cameron called him a mad man. The two are very different. One makes millions creating fictional stories, and the other is James Cameron.”

–Craig Ferguson

A (hee hee) Quote for the Day

“It is really quite sobering what has happened. From 100% of our economy was private prior to September of 2008, but as of Tuesday, the federal government has now taken ownership or control of 51% of the private economy.”

– Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

Let’s see… prior to September 2008 Social Security, the US Military, all the employees of the Government, NASA, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were all private entities?

Yeah, right.

How does this woman get elected?

Alan Grayson Needs Our Help…

Grayson is about 80% of the way to getting 100 signers to co-sponsor his “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act,” a stronger public option that would be available to everyone. Now that the basic Health Care plan has gone through, it’s time to start working on a public option for all Americans.

You can join the cause by calling your Representative. Go HERE for more info.
Act Blue is raising funds to support his effort. Click HERE.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Healthcare and Partisanship

This has been a week for similar themes thanks to the Republicans taking up stalling while opting out of any actual participation in the Healthcare legislation.

Bob Englehart in the Hartford Courant:

Social legislation has a partisan appearance…

– and –

Rob Rogers in the St. Petersburg Post Gazette:

… and, of course, partisan “news” sources can provide that appearance…

– and –

Tom Toles in the Washington Post:

…Of course, reality often steps in to provide the actual image…

– and –

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

… so who really won this week. Republicans? I doubt it.

New attacks on Democrats supporting Health Care Plan?

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Update: White Powder Sent to Rep. Weiner with Note about Health Care
[UPDATE BELOW] A health care reform opponent sent a letter containing a suspicious white powder to outspoken health care reform supporter Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Kew Gardens district office, according to police scanner reports. Wire dispatches indicate that nine people are being decontaminated after potential exposure to the substance, which was sent in a letter “making reference to President Obama’s healthcare reform bill.”
Since the health care reform vote passed the House on Sunday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Politico that some Democratic lawmakers have faced threats of violence.
Talking Points Memo has posted a handy map highlighting reports of “vandalism and threats against Democrats.”
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Here’s the Update:

(4:15 p.m.): In a statement issued to the media, Weiner confirmed that his staff had been sent a suspicious substance, and noted that his Kew Gardens office will remain closed until law enforcement officials finish their investigation:

Earlier today an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter was delivered to my community office in Kew Gardens. The NYPD was immediately alerted and have responded appropriately by sending a Haz-Mat team. Any questions related to their response should be directed to the NYPD. My first priority is the safety of my staff and neighbors, and the authorities are currently taking steps to investigate and resolve the situation.

A Quote for the Day – All the stalls in getting the Health Care Bill through reflects on Republicans…

…and as we look forward to upcoming issues and elections:

“The ace we have in our pocket is the Republican party. The Republicans have concluded that their success lies in our failure. The American people are smart. They smell a rat. They know there was nothing about trying to get a better bill.”

– VP Joe Biden being interviewed on Fox.

Thank you, Mock Paper Scissors…

…for presenting the Best Commercial Ever.

I couldn’t agree more… this made my morning (also appreciated MPS’s comparison to the Republicans and their current childishness in getting a shutdown of Congress every day at 2:00 PM.)

Robert Culp dies at age 79

This was unexpected.

Television actor Robert Culp (I Spy, with Bill Cosby,  and other programs) was rushed to Queen of Angels Hospital on Wednesday morning after falling outside his Hollywood home, authorities said. He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Culp suffered a fatal blow to the head after falling while taking a walk and was found by a jogger who called 911. Paramedics, patrol officers and detectives responded to the scene.

Police report says this was purely accidental.

The Byrd Rule – Senate Parliamentarian rules that Health Care Bill must go back to the House…

Now it is up to Nancy Pelosi to get the Public Option back in. It looks like the votes may be there in the House.

Here’s a clip. but the whole article is worth reading:

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Senate Republicans succeeded early Thursday morning in finding two flaws in the House-passed health care reconciliation package. Neither is of any substance, but the Senate parliamentarian informed Democratic leaders that both are in violation of the Byrd Rule.

One is related to Pell Grants and the other makes small technical corrections. Why they’re in violation of the Byrd Rule doesn’t matter; the upshot is that Republicans will succeed in at least slightly altering the legislation, which means that the House is once again required to vote on it. With no substantial changes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should have little problem assembling the same coalition of 220 Democrats who passed the measure Sunday night. That’s already four more than the minimum 216 required for passage.

But the ruling might give Democrats another option — the public one.

The Senate is now free to put to the test that much-debated question of whether 50 votes exist for a public option.
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Rachel Maddow has been covering the violence being aimed at Democrats by folks from the Right…

… and John Boehner doesn’t come off all that well.

Take a look:

It’s 1:40 in the AM and the Senate is still in session…

As usual, I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, so I came downstairs and turned on CSPAN2 and, Lo and Behold, the Senate is still in action voting down Republican amendments to the Reconciliation bill.

If this is a political technique being pushed by the Repubs, I can’t see how it benefits them… aside from keeping a bunch of old men from getting their sleep. Perhaps that’s it… maybe they will make a mistake, vote in one tiny amendment and send the Rec bill back to the House for a longer stall.

Then again, Republicans need sleep, too… maybe they are screwing themselves.

Wednesday Humor – How to Speak Republican.

This from gave me a chuckle (after watching a couple hours of Senate debate on the Reconciliation bill).

Have a good time:

Today is Ada Lovelace Day (part of Women’s History Month)…

… and so I give you this brief bio on Ada Lovelace (daughter of Lord Byron) who was the world’s first computer programmer… male OR female.

(This is reprinted from a page by Colleen Br0ndou at Finding Dulcinea)

Ada Lovelace, Creator of the World’s First Computer Programs

Augusta Ada Byron, now known as Ada Lovelace, was the only child of the poet Lord Byron and Lady Annabella Byron. Just five weeks after Ada’s birth, Annabella separated from Lord Byron and was granted sole custody of her daughter. Fearing that her daughter would follow in Lord Byron’s footsteps and become a poet, Annabella raised her daughter to be a mathematician and scientist.

In 1833, Ada met Charles Babbage, a wealthy amateur mathematician who invented the ophthalmoscope and two computer-like devices: the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine.

A decade later, Ada translated a memoir written about the Analytical Engine and added notes on a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine—“the first computer programme,” the Ada Lovelace Day Web site explains. Although the machine was never actually built, and the calculations were never made, Ada also wrote “the very first description of a computer and of software.”

Ada died young, at the age of 36, and didn’t have the chance to further her theories in computing. In 2009, however, the first Ada Lovelace Day was held on March 24 to “celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.”

Here’s a great article – Republican Party Poopers’ Revenge: Repeal Health Bill & Kill The Ill

Filmmaker Daniel Tilson had this in OpEdNews this morning.

I’ll give you a clip, but it is worth reading the whole thing:

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The Republican Party, working with America’s largest private health
insurers, is willing to let your ill loved ones die in order to score
political points and protect their patrons’ profits.
It really is just that simple.
The ink isn’t dry on the new health care legislation,
and GOP leaders have already launched their campaign to repeal it. They want to repeal the newly granted right that this bill gives you and your loved ones, the right to be able to get health insurance coverage,
and never lose it, regardless of medical history, or employment status.
congressional leaders — hardcore conservatives like John Boehner and
Mitch McConnell — have shown the hand they’ll play in the months
leading up to Election Day in November. And these guys don’t bluff. They
will continue to try to take the anger and fear that so many Americans
have for so many different reasons, and direct all that negative energy
into anti-Democratic activism.
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