Monthly Archives: May 2012

Dick Beals dies at 85; voice of Speedy Alka-Seltzer

Richard “Dick” Beals was an American voice actor who performed many voices in his career,  spanning the period from the early 1950s into the 21st century. He specialized primarily in doing the voices of young boys. He was well known as Davey in the Davey and Goliath animations.

Perhaps his most recognizable characterization was the voice of the stop-motion animation figure called “Speedy Alka-Seltzer“, featured in TV ads for more than 50 years….

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Half a year to go and I can’t wait to see the film of Les Mis…

They have released a “teaser” and that’s just what it is. I am teased. I’m really looking forward to the December release of the Les Miserables movie… not the kind of thing I usually get so fired up about.

Here’s the teaser:

That’s Anne Hathaway performing as Fantine. And I can’t wait to see Hugh Jackman do Jean Valjean.

(geez, I sound like a teenage girl!)

So, it looks like we’ve sold our Town House…

Three months after moving over here to rural Harper’s Ferry, we have just signed the agreement to sell our Shepherdstown town house…not for as much as we wanted, but for enough to move forward in our plans to eventually build a totally sustainable house in the lot next to ours. In Elly’s mind, we are moving again next year, but I’ll just wait and see.

Life is never easy.

 

Birthers should be evaluating Mexican Mitt…

This was clipped from AmericaBlog:

“The second Birther claim is by far the most hilarious: namely, that the Constitution states that both parents must be natural-born citizens of the United States in order to be president. The Philadelphia Convention must have written that clause in invisible ink, because nowhere in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution does it state that. The Constitution states that the candidate must only be born here (check), must be at least 35-years-old (check), and be a US resident for at least 14 years (check).

“What makes the second thinking so hilarious is that under Birthers‘ very own logic, the GOP‘s 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney is also ineligible to be president – his papi was born in Mexico.”

 

You don’t hear Birthers going after Mitt on this, oh, because he’s the white guy? What about the fact that his grandfather living in Mexico was there so he could have multiple wives?

This election is getting insane…

Starting the day with a quote about Trump…

The Donald is becoming the leading entertainer of the Republican campaign… Romney‘s comic sidekick. But how do you define him?

Frank Rich has the answer:

“There is no more naked celebrity in America than Donald Trump. He doesn’t do subtlety. He doesn’t do ‘thought.’ To say he has a political calculus is a wild overstatement. His strategy amounts to no more than junior high school algebra. The equation is: Trump + infantile public statement x infinite repetitions on TV and Twitter = maximum publicity for flailing Trump products and insatiable Trump ego.”

Rich also has a warning for Romney concerning the Trump fundraiser:

If you will fly to Vegas for a one-night-stand with a bleach-bottle bimbo, you look as if you will do anything for money.

And that is apparently true.

David Swerdlick sums their pairing up in the  New York Daily News:

…there’s a reason why they can’t ditch each other — and why Romney won’t create his own “Sister Souljah moment,” dumping Trump to win over the swing voters who’ve lost faith in President Obama but don’t buy into Trump’s ongoing birther crusade.

It’s simple, actually. Romney’s earnest demeanor might not mesh with Trump’s headline-grabbing persona, but they’re more alike than you might think — and in different ways, they need each other’s help to take on Obama.

For one thing, they both got their start the old-fashioned way: from their dads. Trump’s left him a growing real estate empire, and Romney’s father-governor of Michigan and secretary of housing and urban development was the CEO of American Motors. They both spend a lot of time bragging about their business chops, but neither one gives Obama credit for making millions on his own.

They’re also both brand-new “conservatives.” These days, they rail against the perils of Obamacare, but Romney is the godfather of the individual mandate, and in his 12-year-old manifesto, “The America We Deserve,” Trump argued for universal health care — positions that both hope the public will forget.

Maybe The Donald SHOULD be considered as Romney’s VP choice… it’s as least as good a move as John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin.

Quote of the Day – Romney and Education

Mitt Romney was attacking Obama about our failing education system. He has a point. We are graduating millions of people in this country who are so lacking in basic analytical skills, they are considering voting for Mitt Romney.”

Bill Maher

..and he’s a triumphant speller.

Belly Laugh!

Over at All Hat, No Cattle:

Donald Trump will do anything to to be Vice President:

Thanks, Lisa, for putting that one out… I just got up off the floor.

Romney Campaign Misspells “America”

iPhone supporters of Romney probably didn’t notice it, but everyone else did:

 

Talking Points Memo:

The “With Mitt” app, released by the campaign, lets users customize photos with various “Mitt-inspired” frames. “I’m With Mitt,” “American Greatness” and “Believe in America” are among the frame options.

But one stands out: “A Better Amercia” — typo and all. The misspelled word was widely mocked on Twitter after the photo frame made the rounds. An instagram user flagged the photo, and TPM verified the unfortunate typo was still a part of the app Wednesday morning.

The Romney campaign told TPM that the mistake was “corrected immediately” and submitted to Apple. “They have to approve our update,” the campaign said.

 

Yeah? The graphic above was copied less than 2 hours ago. I didn’t know Apple got that involved with designer’s apps.

Any idea who is reading your cyber posts?

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees work on the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) operational watch floor where they monitor, track, and investigate cyber incidents.

The Department of Homeland Security is watching YOU (and me, too).

If you are a blogger, or play on the Social Network, the DHS is monitoring the appearance of key words to trigger investigations of terrorist or other anti government postings.

How does it work? To start with there are hundreds of words which draw DHS attention… words which I guarantee you have used at some time or another.

RT.com gives this description of how it could happen to you:

So, you’ve just come back from a beach holiday in Mexico and posted about it on your blog. Or maybe you’ve tweeted about skiing lessons? Updated your status, saying you’re stuck home with food poisoning?

All those things will tweak the DHS antennae, according to a manual published by the agency. The Analyst’s Desktop Binder, used by agency employees at their National Operations Center to identify “media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities,” includes hundreds of words that set off Big Brother’s silent alarms.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. It revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organizations for comments that “reflect adversely” on the government.

And what are the words, pray tell. Here they are in a graphic format so they don’t call attention to themselves as text:

List of words used by the National Operations Center to monitor social media (taken from the DHS Analyst’s Desktop Binder)

Any words you use in there? That’s what I thought.

Big Brother is Reading You!

Some early evening humor…

 

Politics is driving me nuts… at least I have some guidelines now for when I drop over the edge.

How many blogs give a free gift for a minimum of $5.00 in support?

This one does…

If you support this blog with $5.00 or more…

…you get “Bill’s Barnhart Ornaments” a great image font, based on ornaments and images from the 1898 Barnhart Brothers and Spindler Type Catalog. This is a font, for Mac or PC, that I usually sell for $29.95 and it’s one of my most requested. It’s my way of saying “Thank You.” If you already have Barnhart Ornaments, let me know and I’ll substitute a different one of my picture fonts.

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(s) 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.

I really 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 – a classic collection of images for use in many kinds of documents and designs.

(I send you versions for both Macs and PCs by email… 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.

Of course, working women try to avoid pregnancy in Swaziland. What about the US?

The United States is one of three countries that does not guarantee new mothers paid maternity leave. The other two countries are Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.

Women are forced to put their careers and financial future at risk simply because they want to have children. During their pregnancy, they face being fired unfairly or not being able to properly care for themselves. They should not have to worry about making ends meet without paid maternity leave on top of that.

And where do Republicans stand on this outrageous situation?

As Bob Cesca says:

“…Republicans would rather ban abortion, ban contraception and make it super-expensive to be pregnant. Because they care about kids.”

 

 

Wouldn’t it be better if they supported paid maternity leave as an effort to avoid abortions without making it terribly expensive for working mothers? Don’t count on it.

Legalizing Marijuana Benefits All of Us…

This is a followup to the Penn Jillette commentary I posted last week commenting on the problems with Obama‘s marijuana policy. This piece is from Online Paralegal Programs and has relevant statistical information:

So… this would save us public funds, help the economy, keep medical needs filled and would allow us to grow hemp for fabrics and other products, as this country used to do.

Quote of the Day – Criticizing his own Party

Alan Simpson regarded the current Republicans in Congress unwillingness to compromise on proposed tax increases as their greatest failure.

“If you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the east or something. But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise. And you learn to compromise on the issue without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rock for brains.”

– Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.)

It’s certainly time to remember that before the teabaggers got in and before Mitch McConnell said publicly he would not support ANYTHING that Obama wanted, compromise is what kept the system running. And now it is, at best, stalled out.

“For heaven’s sake, you have Grover Norquist wandering the earth in his white robes saying that if you raise taxes one penny, he’ll defeat you. He can’t murder you. He can’t burn your house. The only thing he can do to you, as an elected official, is defeat you for reelection. And if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we’re in extremity, you shouldn’t even be in Congress.”

I never really cared for Alan Simpson before…but this gives me a whole new understanding. And to stick a finger in Grover Norquist’s eye… Bravo!

A Fairy Tale from Paul Krugman…

Settle down kiddies and listen to this, before you nod off to passive sleep and let those Republicans walk all over us…

Once upon a time, …America was a land of lazy managers and slacker workers. Productivity languished, and American industry was fading away in the face of foreign competition.

Then square-jawed, tough-minded buyout kings like Mitt Romney and the fictional Gordon Gekko came to the rescue, imposing financial and work discipline. Sure, some people didn’t like it, and, sure, they made a lot of money for themselves along the way. But the result was a great economic revival, whose benefits trickled down to everyone.

You can see why Wall Street likes this story. But none of it — except the bit about the Gekkos and the Romneys making lots of money — is true.

– Paul Krugman, NY Times

The Power is Back! (9:00 AM)

We just finished a 13 hour power outage due, I am told, by a tree falling over a line down Uvilla Road.

Elly and I drove over to Charles Town to have breakfast (and COFFEE) at the Mountaintop Diner and came back to the lights being on (although the Potomac Edison trucks are still working on the lines around the corner from us.)

The wind and thunderstorms last night blew all kinds of things from Elly’s gardening around the yard and it will have to be picked up today… although it is getting up to near 90° outside… and there are more thunderstorms due later this afternoon.

Happy Memorial Day.

Church Member defends anti-Gay Pastor

Remember last week when I wrote about the North Carolina Pastor who wanted to put all Gays and Lesbians behind an electric fence and keep them there until they died out? That got a lot of play all over the net, mostly, I guess, because it was so disturbing… no disgusting… and even the religious folks out there were sort of pissed about it.

Well, Anderson Cooper interviewed one of that pastor’s church members who defended him. Keep an eye on Coopers face as he interviews her… you rarely see anyone so upset during an interview.

I believe Cooper himself is gay as well, so this must mean a lot to him.

Quote of the Day – George Will dumps on The Donald

(Of course, it’s not hard to do… but coming from another Republican?)

 

“I do not understand the cost-benefit here. The costs are clear. The benefits – what voter is going to vote for him because he’s seen with Donald Trump? The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me. Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low, and you can still intrude into American politics.”

– George Will

I guess Will isn’t going to the fundraiser The Donald is throwing for The Mittster (which, I understand, is being held to show up George Clooney’s Democratic affair.)

Bill Maher satirizes Birthers… this is FUNNY!

Bill created the concept of “wifer” and stuck Mitt with it, the same way some Republicans hit Obama as Birthers… You’ll like this:

Mitt Romney comes from a Mormon background. I don’t know how many wives he has. I am not saying I believe in that. I am just saying he was born on a Mormon compound. I’m not a wifer, but for some reason he has never shown his original marriage certificate.

“Again, I’m not a wifer. I’m just saying that he has the blood of nomadic polygamist tribesman and I think that has shaped his world view. Now, this is a copy of Mitt Romney’s marriage license. I specifically asked for the original. I even offered to go to the Romney house and take it out of Ann Romney’s marriage scrapbook, but some reason they frowned upon that idea and instead sent me this obvious photocopy. And isn’t a little weird that they chose to send only the short form license? And why next to Ann Romney does it say spouse and not only spouse? I’m just asking the hard questions that the mainstream media won’t ask about Mitt’s unholy harem of obedient sister wives which I really hope I’m wrong about.

 “How is it that Ann and Mitt Romney have five kids and they’re all thirty years old? And here, what is Mitt pointing to in this picture? The Olympic symbol. What is it five rings. What else has five rings? Five wives. And why did Mitt Romney strap his dog to the roof of his car? Could it have been because his station wagon was full of wives? I’m not saying I believe this wifer stuff. I take Mitt Romney at his word, but how do you explain this video.” (Video of Romney saying he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, and a woman, and woman, and a woman).

So pass the idea around… especially when the righties push Donald Trump at us.

Relating fiction to fact: Something to make you think.

Found at The Bottom Line:

And if corporations came and did the same thing?

This isn’t science fiction… it’s contemporary fact.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Moving backward in the 21st Century

Matt Bors in The Village Voice:

,,, and the circle goes ’round…

– and –

 

Mike Thompson in the Detroit Free Press:

… get used to it.

– and –

 

Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Meanwhile, we abandon our intelligence…

– and –

 

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

…and without intelligence we’ll believe anything…

– and –

 

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

… even when presented with the truth.

 

I think I agree with Penn Jillette…

… and his views on Obama and his drug policy. Indeed, the 750,000 people in jail on minor drug busts are overburdening our economy and it is no joke.

Take a look:

Penn, of course, is NOT a drug user and I admire his position (I also like his glasses, which are Superfocus like mine).

Romney’s Lies of the Week are back again…

Steve Benen has 16 of them this week… here are three of them:

 

 

  • On taxes, Romney argued, “I’m not looking to lower the tax burden paid by the highest-income Americans. That’s a fundamental principle.”

That’s a fundamental falsehood. Romney’s plan slashes taxes on the wealthy.

  • On a related note, he added, “I’m looking, if there’s any break at all, the break will go to middle-income Americans that have been most hurt by the Obama economy.”

In reality, it’s the rich, not the middle class, that primarily benefits from Romney’s tax plan.

The Romney campaign has never been able to point to a single credible example of Obama attacking success.

Read the rest of them HERE (this is Steve’s 19th week of documentation…you’d think Mitt would realize he’s being covered and just stop it.)

No Islamic Law in Kansas (were these folks really worrying about it?)

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has now signed a bill banning the

Sam Brownback, Freedom’s Hero

state’s courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic Law (or any other foreign legal code). This, of course, is something that was keeping the good people of Kansas up all night wondering when Allah was going to take over their fast food restaurants and soap operas.

The law takes effect on July 1, and doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. It says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can base no rulings on any foreign law or legal systems that do not grant the same rights as those guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

Let’s take this a step further… a national Muslim group is apparently planning a court challenge. the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law…it wants to protect Americans’ freedoms from “infiltration” by foreign laws and legal doctrines, “especially Islamic Shariah Law.” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a court challenge is likely because supporters of the measure frequently expressed concern about Shariah law. also, If Brownback “claims it has nothing to do with Shariah or Islamic law or Muslims, then he wasn’t paying attention.

I guess we’ll keep an eye on Kansas for a while and see the result of protecting our freedoms and all. These are tough times.

A lovely Saturday…

I took a long ride in to WSHC this morning along the love;y Potomac River. There were fishermen out casting in those little flat-bottom boats with the tiny outboards, and people just sitting on their porches looking out at the Potomac’s flow.

Much as I dislike living in West Virginia, I have to admit that the countryside is beautiful. And there are so many different kinds of birds (from bright red cardinals to dingy black vultures) to track along the back roads.

Today I’ll be doing my show from 11 AM to 1 PM on 89.7 FM (as a 1000 watt station we have a range of about 30 miles from downtown Shepherdstown), or we are streamed live on http://897wshc.org if you are anywhere else in the world. The show is “Talk To Me” and the phone number to do so is 304-876-5369 (if you can squeeze in a call between my regulars). I do song challenges (my score is pretty good – you name it and it’s likely I can play it), music out of my library, discussions of politics and local or national events… whatever you want to talk about.

So tune in if you get a chance.