Category Archives: Uncategorized

Friday morning (blue) humor:

This, of course, is only really funny if you go to Google and do a search for “Santorum” and look at the #1 definition at the top of the page.

OK…Back to regular affairs….

Congress is back in session… don’t expect anything new.

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Mark Twain

So now there is a reason to find the day’s comedy on C-Span and C-Span2 once more. Unfortunately, this is no longer comedy, but the essence of our national tragedy.

Tragedies have tragic figures, of course, who fall into the inescapable fissure of their own inabilities. The tragic figures here are not Democrats, not Republicans, not the President,

Mitch McConnell LEADS the Ranks of the Inverted

not Mitch McConnell, not John Boehner, and for heaven’s same not the Tea Party.

We are the Tragic Figures: Americans. Americans who no longer vote because they have  been alienated by one party or the other with the marketing assistance of Corporations and that 1% of the population that controls 80% of the money. Americans who hear politicians say “Put America First” and “Put Americans Back To Work” – yet cancel each other out on their own votes in Congress. Americans who are bought off without even knowing it… have been since Reagan… and who attack their own state of well being while they think they are standing strong.

The major point of tragedies is that they prove their point, but don’t end well. The Tragic Figure dies, or has eyes pulled out, or loses everything necessary to maintain life.

In a recent  Truthout article called “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult”, Mike Lofgren shows the strategy that Republicans use to carry us further into unending misery:

Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.

John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

“Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today’s Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.”

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters’ confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that “they are all crooks,” and that “government is no good,” further leading them to think, “a plague on both your houses” and “the parties are like two kids in a school yard.”

…and, of course, the resulting action is that65% of Americans at a minimum no longer vote.

And that’s the real tragedy.

Another seizure last week…and I wait every day for another.

This is getting scary.

The other night while looking up an e-mail address I felt a little snap in my head and the next thing I knew my wife was asking me questions. They were the usual… my daughters’ names, my dogs’ names… and, as usual in one of these, I couldn’t remember them.

To me it took about 20 minutes to snap out of it and start remembering names. Elly says it was more like fifty minutes and I spent a long time just staring straight ahead until I started speaking again. I do not remember this.

Now, for the last couple of days, I sit in fear that this will happen again while Elly is at work and I won’t remember any of it. Or, it will happen and I won’t snap out of it at all.

A week from this Saturday they’ve scheduled me for more tests. It’s a long time to wait.

Mothers Day

I took Elly out for Thai food for Mothers Day, as that was her request. Plus she gets to take the day off to paint some new artwork.

Our afternoon was a little interrupted when we had to drive over to my daughter Penny’s house to jump her car battery, but I got to see the Mother’s Day images that John and Jason did in school for her. Very cute. Jacob isn’t old enough to do that sort of thing yet. But give him a year or so.

After we got back, I left Elly to paint and drove down to the Harper’s Ferry Drive In Flea Market to get some information on renting a table space there some weekend and selling off some of the mountains of collectibles we have stored downstairs and in the garage.

Not bad for a Sunday.

A Quote for the Day – and the beginning of a column…

“I’m a Catholic woman who makes a living being adversarial. We have a pope who has instructed Catholic women not to be adversarial.

It’s a conundrum.”

– Maureen Dowd in her column yesterday (CLICK HERE).

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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Brent Budowsky’s blog: No doom for Dems

Picked this up over at The Smirking Chimp, and I must say I agree with Brent. This is only a sampling… there are more reasons. Go over to Brent’s blog at Smirking Chimp and see.
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Predictions: In November, Democrats will keep control of the House and Senate. The “doom for Democrats” scenario of ueber-pundit Charles Cook and others will look foolish in six months. Well before then they will reverse course. Here’s why:

* The seven monthly jobs reports released before Election Day may all show positive jobs growth.
* By Election Day, the jobless rate will be lower and curving downward. Consumer and voter confidence will be higher and curving upward.
* Congress will pass a healthcare bill.

* The progressive populist base that elected Democrats in 2006 and 2008 is being roused again, with or without the president, who was the beneficiary but not the cause of the tidal wave for change that began between 2004 and 2006.

* Domestic right-wing terrorism and extremism will hurt Republicans, especially juxtaposed against a growing economy that will benefit Democrats.

* Pro-choice women will vote in far higher numbers than analysts expect.

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Democrats attack earmarks for corporations…

Well, not ALL Democrats. This is a practice that’s going to be harder to cure than anyone thinks.

Here’s a clip:

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House Democratic leaders announced Wednesday that they will ban the much-criticized practice of using annual spending bills to direct pet projects to companies that often return the favor with campaign contributions.
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the Appropriations panel, told reporters that he hopes the step will mean 1,000 fewer earmarks and break the linkage between campaign contributions and earmarks that has sparked intense criticism and resulted in ethics probes of several lawmakers.
But the move sparked strong opposition from Senate Appropriations panel chair Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, his Senate counterpart and a long-standing defender of earmarking. He issued a tartly worded response defending the current system and calling Obey’s move “quizzical.”
Republicans, meanwhile, are weighing giving up earmarks altogether in an appeal to voters frustrated with Washington’s free-spending ways.
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Roger Cohen on Health Care…

This is a clip (actually the last words) of an op-ed in the NY Times this morning by author and columnist Roger Cohen. I recommend that you read the whole thing, but these last paragraphs should be tattooed on our Congress folks:
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Americans don’t want a European nanny state — fine! But, as a lawyer friend, Manuel Wally, put it to me, “When it comes to health it makes sense to involve government, which is accountable to the people, rather than corporations, which are accountable to shareholders.”

All the fear-mongering talk of “nationalizing” 17 percent of the economy is nonsense. Government, through Medicare and Medicaid, is already administering almost half of American health care and doing so with less waste than the private sector.
Why not offer Medicare as a choice — a choice — to everyone? Aren’t Republicans about choice?

The public option, not dead, would amount to recognition of shared interest in each other’s health and of the need to use America’s energies and resources better. It would involve 300 million people linking arms.

Or we can turn away from each other and, like Narcissus, perish in the contemplation of our own reflections.

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Roger Cohen on Health Care…

This is a clip (actually the last words) of an op-ed in the NY Times this morning by author and columnist Roger Cohen. I recommend that you read the whole thing, but these last paragraphs should be tattooed on our Congress folks:
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Americans don’t want a European nanny state — fine! But, as a lawyer friend, Manuel Wally, put it to me, “When it comes to health it makes sense to involve government, which is accountable to the people, rather than corporations, which are accountable to shareholders.”

All the fear-mongering talk of “nationalizing” 17 percent of the economy is nonsense. Government, through Medicare and Medicaid, is already administering almost half of American health care and doing so with less waste than the private sector.
Why not offer Medicare as a choice — a choice — to everyone? Aren’t Republicans about choice?

The public option, not dead, would amount to recognition of shared interest in each other’s health and of the need to use America’s energies and resources better. It would involve 300 million people linking arms.

Or we can turn away from each other and, like Narcissus, perish in the contemplation of our own reflections.

  blog it

From Firedoglake: Democrats Singing Off The Same Songbook – Reconciliation Sidecar Is Go

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For the first time in the health care debate in a couple months, the major players seem to be reading from the same script. The President made his pitch for health care reform before the big summit this week. Democrats, including members of the leadership, continue to sign on to using reconciliation to finish off the bill. And Harry Reid provided a timeline.

Democrats will finish their health reform efforts within the next two months by using a majority-vote maneuver in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said.

Reid said that congressional Democrats would likely opt for a procedural tactic in the Senate allowing the upper chamber to make final changes to its healthcare bill with only a simple majority of senators, instead of the 60 it takes to normally end a filibuster.

“I’ve had many conversations this week with the president, his chief of staff, and Speaker Pelosi,” Reid said
“And we’re really trying to move forward on this.”
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The coming week is going to be very interesting. We’ve got to get through a bunch of small. 60 member votes in the Senate to get to a basic majority vote for Reconciliation.

We’ll see if they can pull it off.

The Dark Side of American Humor: CPAC

Well, CPAC is underway in DC and TPMDC (Talking Points Memo’s Capital Coverage) is there. I guess this has to be reviewed so we can see what’s coming up in the next election from the Really Right Wing.

Here’s a clip… if you feel you must,  go in and read the whole thing:

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Many of the 2012 GOP presidential field will be on hand as well, with the notable exception of Sarah Palin, who declined an invitation to speak at the event for the second year in a row. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum and Gingrich will be there, though, giving political prognosticators something to write about other than Rubio.
The biggest event on the social calendar isn’t focused on a current GOP politician however. Politico reports that the “the climax of the week” will be “the sixth annual ‘Reaganpalooza,'” where attendees pack a Capitol Hill bar and “drink one for the Gipper.”
If that’s not entertaining enough, there are outlets for physical violence among the parties as well. Female guests at the CivicForumPAC party Friday night will get the chance to break open a pinata modeled after Nancy Pelosi, The Hill reports. Male guests at the party will be invited to take their best shot at the Harry Reid punching bag.
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Joe Biden Comments…

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Vice President Joe Biden says “Washington right now is broken” and the country is in “deep trouble” unless it attacks ballooning federal deficits.

Asked about the political climate across the country, Biden said in a nationally broadcast interview that “we understand why they’re angry. … We get it.”

Speaking of intense partisanship in the capital, Biden said on CBS’s “The Early Show” that “I’ve never seen it this dysfunctional.” He said the message coming from the stunning Republican upset in the recent Massachusetts election was, ‘Hey guys, get your act together. Get something going.’ “

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HMMM. The possibility that these folks in Congress, and especially in the Senate, will get their acts together is minimal at best.

If Washington IS broken, and it seems to be, I’m not sure even we, as voters, can fix it. Both Political Parties need major reform. All lobbyists need to be removed. Corporations have to NOT be considered as citizens. Television commentators need to shut up… maybe bring back the Western on TV (back when it was the American Art Form.)

One more night with NO SLEEP!

I have been going on for close to five years now getting only 3 to 4 1/2 hours of sleep a night… all in hour and a half chunks (at nights when I take a sleeping pill I may get a three hour stretch… but it is rare.)

I still have a vague memory of getting a full night’s sleep without waking up and needing an hour of boring television (re-runs of certain committee meetings on C-Span are favorites) causing an hour and a half checkout on my recliner.

I watch a lot of the shows I missed while rehearsing Snark by signing on to Hulu on my laptop… but I generally slip off to a short snooze in the middle of a Burn Notice or Psych replay,

I look at the time on the screen display and it is not 2 AM yet. This is going to be a long one.

It’s 2009…the 21st Century…Right?

TPM ran this piece about a JP in Louisiana who won’t marry interracial couples. Isn’t this against the law by now? This is really disappointing.

Here’s a clip:

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A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.
Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist.
“I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house,” Bardwell said. “My main concern is for the children.”
“I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves,” Bardwell said. “In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer.”
If he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.
“I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.
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Maybe the children will later suffer by getting elected President of the United States. Hmmm?

And while we’re on the subject of Louisiana (and the President), Obama was in New Orleans today reviewing the reconstruction since Katrina, and, while speaking in front of an audience including Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, he noticed that the mention of the Governor’s name brought out “boos”. His comment shows why I like Obama so much, Here’s the video:

31 Years Today…

Bill&EllyElly and I are celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary today (actually we’ll celebrate on Saturday… today we are both working, she overtime while she subs for one of her instructors in an evening class, and I am finishing my day working on Search Engine Optimizations for one client by heading to Full Circle Theater to run lights tonite on dress rehearsal.)

31 years… that’s quite a while… and while we’ve had the kind of ups and downs that I guess most people go through, we’ve managed to come this far an still be together,

So I wish Elly a Happy Anniversary: You are my one and only and I’d be nothing without you.

First time in years… had a car accident today

This is just what I needed… a car accident coming out of the grocery store in Martinsburg, WV, this afternoon. Even though my Progressive insurance will give me a rental while my right front headlight, fender, etc, are being repaired, I still have to come up with the $500.00 deductible.

Hope this isn’t the first bad news incident in a string… I don’t need it.

What has happened to the Hartford Courant?

My daughter Cassandra sent me an e-mail this morning forwarding me to an excellent blog called (which I have added to my News Blogroll). It is written by George Gombossy, who spent 14 years as the Courant’s Bysiness Editor and was the first investigative consumer columnist in the Courant’s history. He was fired on August 14 for refusing to “be nice” (ie: tell lies about) major advertisers.

As a born and raised Connecticut guy (who left the state seven years ago but who still maintains strong family and friend connections there) I was shocked to read the articles at the site relating to thr demise of America’s oldest continuously published newspaper.

If you are interested in good journalism in general, or in Connecticut journalism in particular, this is a blog you should check in on.

Here’s a Sunday Evening Laugh

This from my friend Cecil Thompson:

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboardskan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

Blogiche is down…but it will return.

We have been participating with Blogiche, a service which connects more people with blogs, and our user base has gone up tenfold in a month. Then yesterday Blogiche stopped working and when we went to check it we got a message from their service provider that it was “Suspended.”

I sent some email out to the provider, since Under The LobsterScope also lists Blogiche over on the right hand column side so other bloggers can use it, and got this back today:

Hi Bill,
Blogiche is down because of excessive bandwidth consumption issue. Once this has been taken care of, the site will be resumed immediately.
This will be taken care of in a couple of days time.
Blogiche Team

So, hopefully, the service will be back soon. Keep an eye out.

If you haven’t read this yet…

… you’ve missed something that’s all over the Web:


this morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to ny house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

35 Years Ago Today


Ahhh.. memories.

Heat and Humidity

Just came in from walking the dogs and must say the heat and humidity make today a really uncomfortable one to be outside. However, it IS Farmer’s Market day in Shepherdstown and I have a list I want to fill for the kitchen. Elly, I’m sure, has things, too.

The sweatiest parts of summer here in the near-south are the times I like being here the least and miss my New England roots… especially the breezy years we lived on Cape Cod between the Ocean and The Bay.

I remember working for CSC in Austin where it was often this hot, but the air was so dry that the discomfort I feel today was rarely there. When my CSC job moved to Falls Church, VA, this was the kind of weather I had to put up with again in August… making me an air-conditioning insider for weeks on end.

If the world is truly getting warmer, then this kind of summer discomfort will spread further north and last for a longer time. It’s not something I look forward to.

Have we become a Fascist Country?

Here is a disturbing article that you MUST READ (click on the headline):

Fascist America: Are We There Yet?

This article from Blog For Our Future was recommended by Dave Johnson at Seeing The Forest.