Friday, May 25, 2012

"...If I Wanted Your Chest In My Face, I'd Buy You Dinner First..."

I debated a couple of things in my own mind before writing/posting about this.

First, was this a political issue, justifying its inclusion on this blogsite, as opposed to not political, where it would have been more appropriately posted on one of my "civilian" sites, say, Phelpspeak.

Second, was this worth any discussion at all.

The answer to the former is, as evidenced by its appearance here, yes.

The answer to the latter is, likewise as evidenced by its appearance here, likewise.

What is not as obvious is the moral of the story.

At least the moral that you'll find at the end of this piece.

But, first...


The easy and, likely, assumed punchline to this little brouhaha, especially on a political oriented blogsite that, more than often than not, leans a schoche more to the left than to the right , would almost certainly include the words "free speech".

Guess again, blogarinos...

The issue deserving of focus is here isn't infringement, or not, of one's right to express one's opinion.

It's a simple matter of fists and noses.

As in, the right to swing one's fist ends where another's nose begins.

And invoking the "it's my right to express myself" defense in a case like this is, for my money, reminsicent of Gomer running across the Mayberry square yelling out "citizens arREST! citizen's arREST!".

Lady, you are more than entitled to your opinion.

And if you want to share with friends, peers, co-workers, family, et al your "stand" on this issue, then knock yourself out.

For what it's worth, I am in absolute agreement with the sentiment.

But I am coming down on the side of the captain who bounced you off the plane.

Because I don't want, and shouldn't have, to explain to kids or grandkids, at the least, who might be sitting on the plane with me what your little fifty percent rayon rant "means".

Anymore than while I might passionately agree with you that most of what we get from our elected officials is bullshit.....

...I don't need, or appreciate,  you rubbing my face in it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"...There's Several Obvious Tailpipe Jokes Right In Front Of Me, But I Like To Think I'm Better Than That..."

Here's a little something from the mailbox at the rear entrance.

Colonoscopies could be made a bit more comfortable for people if they involved lying in a CT scanner, rather than being probed with an endoscope, and at the same time didn't require drinking upward of a gallon of laxative fluid beforehand — current requirements that most consider unpleasant.

A new type of "virtual colonoscopy" that uses CT scans to construct images of the colon, as well as to virtually "clean" the organ, was just as effective as a standard colonoscopy in finding colon polyps 1 centimeter or larger in size, a new study finds. Most polyps, or growths on the lining of the colon, are benign, but some can turn cancerous.

"The subtraction of the laxative can only make what's already an attractive test even more attractive," said Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancer at the American Cancer Society, who was not involved with the study.

The discomfort of colonoscopies may deter some people from getting screened, said study researcher Dr. Michael Zalis, an associate professor of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

If this laxative-free, CT scan type of virtual colonoscopy becomes an option for colon cancer screening, Zalis said, it could increase the number of people who get screened, and thus reduce the number of deaths from the disease.

The laxative-free method was not as effective as a standard colonoscopy in finding polyps smaller than 1 centimeter, but polyps of this size are less likely to cause cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health. The new findings must be confirmed by larger studies before the test is put into practice, Zalis said.

The study is will be published Tuesday (May 15) in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The idea of a "laxative (not to mention probe) free" colonscopy will certainly have its appeal with those of us who are of an age to want to keep an eye on that sort of thing.

So to speak.

Gotta tell you, though, while my own experience getting cheeky with the doctor and his posse gives me a certain empathy with those who would prefer to go "flushless", I actually found, last time out (or in, as the case may be) a little silver lining in the cloud of cloudy milky stuff that had me sitting long after even I was tired of sitting.

Put simply, I've never felt so "cleaned out" in my entire life.

Actually made me kinda wish you could buy that stuff over the local CVS counter.

Admittedly, hour after hour....after hour.....of what seems like it will be a life spent stuck in the "elimination round" isn't the kind of thing that one usually finds rewarding.

Truth be told, though, I did.

No shit.

So to speak.

In fact, I was feeling so light and free and fresh and emptied after twenty four hours of emptying that I've begun to think that medical science could do the country an unprecedented service if they could just tweak the process a scoche.

And develop a way to flush all the crap out of Congress.

"...People Put Me Down, But That's The Side Of Town I Was Born In...."

Despite its seeming complexities, the process politic in this country is, at core, fairly basic.

In fact, I could make the case that it's often a simple matter of supply and demand.

Said case to be offered momentarily.

Re' that previously discussed matter of supply and demand?

Here's politics in plain English...

There are, simply, too many Scott Walkers.

And not enough George Carlins.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"...If You Think About It, Voting And Rounding Up The Usual Suspects Are Pretty Much The Same Thing..."

Chances are when you think politics, the first name that comes to mind is very likely not Claude Rains.

The suave and classy character actor's voice splashed right down into my political pool this morning.

How and why coming up.

A New York Times/CBS News poll released Monday night shows the possible political perils of President Obama's recent announcement that he supports same-sex marriage.

Most of those polled say the president's position will not impact how they vote. But among those who say it will influence their choice, 26 percent said they are less likely to vote for Obama as a result, while 16 percent say they are more likely to.

And in what is expected to be a tight race, "even a small shift in swing states could be costly," says the Times.

Also troubling for the president is that a majority of voters suspect that his decision was politically motivated.

Sixty-seven percent said they thought Obama's announcement was made "mostly for political reasons," while 24 percent said it was "mostly because he thinks it is right."

"...a majority of voters suspect that his decision was politically motivated...."

Here's politics in plain English...

Of COURSE, it was politically motivated.

That's what politicians do.

What's that? You're shocked, shocked?

Welcome to the club.

Rick's Cafe' Americain, to be precise.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"...Oh Yeah?....Well, Vote For THIS, Motherf......."

Here's your word for today, kids.

fu·til·i·ty (fy-tl-t)
n. pl. fu·til·i·ties
1. The quality of having no useful result; uselessness.
2. Lack of importance or purpose; frivolousness.
3. A futile act.

Let's use the word in a sentence.

"Believing that your average Wal Mart shopper will ever stop bringing their over flowing carts through the checkouts marked "20 items or less" is an exercise in fultility".

Here's a more intellectual application.

I noticed, earlier today, an exchange between two people on Facebook that started out as a "discussion" of the merits, or lack, of Barack Obama's presidency and, very quickly, degenerated into the text equivilent of a name calling, bitch slapping cat fight.

I had an experience, myself, a few days ago, similar but for a few minor/major differences.

Since my "pen pal" was female, it could hardly be defined as a "catfight".

And, hand to God, I resisted the, admittedly uber-strong, temptation to lower myself to the level of "name calling" my "debate opponent" was employing.

Her final insightful and articulate response to my counterpoint of her point was "screw you, butthead."

Always a pleasure engaging in lively and spirted intellectual dialogues with those Rhodes scholars you just gotta know fit the definition of the aforementioned "20 items or less" transgressors.

For my part, I pretty quickly let it slide and moved on in my search for intelligent life on the planet, this particular political pea brain having offered none of same.

But, here, this morning, I wandered up on these two "ladies" engaged in a raging bout of both issue, and hackle, raising.

And they, unknowingly, reminded me of what I remember was the conclusion I drew from my own brush with bozo-osity.

Which brings us back to the word for today.

Politics may, at the core of it all, may be the most paradoxical of all man's philosophical creations.

Because our better angels want to have us believe that the process can provide a place for opposing points of view to come together, talk, debate, even argue, but, always, in the spirit of working together to eventually find a mutually acceptable, and beneficial, solution to the chalenges and/or problems that spurred us into the talk, debate, etc in the first place.

But the reality of it is that politics will always be a devisive, even corrosive, element in our midst.

If only because of another philosophical truth in that same midst.

Small minded people who like something or someone will always find a reason, justification, rationalization or simple refusal to budge that will allow them to contine liking said something or someone.

And small minded people who don't like something or someone will always find a reason, justification, rationalization or simple refusal to budge that will them to continue disliking said something or someone.

The proof, fellow pudding lovers, is in the all too often inevitable pulling of the name calling trigger.

A tradition of human behavior that begins, at the very latest, shortly after we learn to speak.
"That's my ball"

"Is not".

"Is too".

"Is not".

"Is too".

"Poopy head."

Ah, the arrival of the well argued point.

Those gifted with that particular way with words tend to grow up afflicted with an inability to hear, let alone consider, an opposing point of view.

An affliction whose side effects unarguably include the aforementioned "small mindedness").

Fortunately (or not, depending on your perspective re' the whole 20 items or less thing), the ultimate decision making in our lives is done by quiet, sometimes not even heard, voices of calm, reasonable, dare I blaspheme the word, moderate folks in our midst.

The folks who not only honor the 20 items of less thing but, very likely, do everything they can do to avoid having to go into Wal Mart in the first place.

As for the name callers?

Here's politics in plain English....

Those who like/admire/support___________________ will ALWAYS like/admire/support _____________________________.

Those who do not like/admire/support _____________________will ALWAYS not like/admire/support _________________.

Believing otherwise is, at worst, an undeniable waste of time, energy and/or breath and is, at best, an exercise in....

...say it with me...


Thursday, May 10, 2012

"...Tap Your Heels Three Times And Say "Come On, 2016, Come On, 2016..."

More and more, it feels like the best and brighest has evolved into the lesser of two evils.

What would be the worst possible news for Mitt Romney to have to deal with the day after President Obama announced he supports gay marriage? Romney's already had a gay staffer resign because social conservatives were outraged he'd hire an openly gay person. And having a hypothetical family member come out as gay would probably help him seem more compassionate. But one thing that might project an image Romney really wants to avoid -- heartless outmoded anti-gay conservative -- would be a long profile in The Washington Post about how he bullied a gay kid in high school.

At the exact moment Romney doesn't want to talk about gay stuff, the Post's Jason Horowitz reports Romney led a gang of boys who singled out a gay kid, held him down while he cried, and cut off the kid's offensively un-hetero hair. No one ever likes a bully, but it's really a bad time to be an anti-gay bully.

"Aren't there issues of significance you'd like to talk about? The economy, the economy, the economy," Romney asked a Colorado TV reporter Wednesday with faux-niceness as she kept pestering him about gay marriage, immigration and medical marijuana.

Hot Air's Allahpundit points out that Romney makes a mistake as the interview ends, saying, "I'm not talking about marriage and marijuana -- those are state issues, right?" -- even though he's pledged to support a Federal Marriage Amendment and said he would defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Hot Air says Democrats can paint Romney as ultra-conservative just by making him talk about gay marriage -- "His rhetoric doesn’t have to be strident or out of the conservative mainstream for this tactic to work; all they’re trying to do is make him look like a guy who’s preoccupied with 'values' issues while swing voters are worried about jobs."

I have a number of friends who are, passionately and committedly, not happy with the job that Barack Obama has done.

Here's politics in plain English...

It's foolish, regardless of party affiliation, to not agree that, to one degree or another, Barack Obama is the problem.

That said, it is foolish , regardless of party affiliation, to suggest that Mitt Romney is the solution.

"...When It Goes Down The Crapper Next Month, We'll Hand It Back To You..."

And, now, we turn to the latest in the world of finance...

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- For the first time in more than three years, Washington took in more money than it paid out last month.

The Treasury Department on Thursday recorded a $59 billion surplus. Tax receipts were higher and spending lower than they were last April.

The government has been bedeviled by budget deficits. The last time federal coffers were in the black for a month was September 2008, when Treasury reported a $46 billion surplus.

We interupt this piece to bring you breaking news....

First reports say that over three hundred people, each and every one a Republican and/or a member of the Fox News staff, have been seriously injured in the stampede to take credit for the preceding story.

Film at 11.

"...Give Us This Day, Our Daily Brat..."

Mixed feelings here.

Not a big fan of the whole "holier than thou" thing.

But I do recognize genuine entertainment value when I see/hear/read it.

Come to think of it, people have said those things about me here and there from time to time.


I saw this ad

and gave, at least, a minute or two's serious consideration in terms of signing up.

Being a fairly efficient guy, though, I realized pretty quickly that I could save myself the time I would spend reading Coulter's daily diatribe by simply conceding...

...liberals are morons.

...conservatives are geniuses.

...and that everyone is entitled their opinion, provided they're not liberals, given that their opinion would, obviously, be moronic.

One thing you can say about Coulter.

She cuts through the crap.

Come to think of it, people have said that about me here and there from time to time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

"...Here's An Extraordinarily Good Idea That Hasn't Got An Ice Cube's Chance...."

"...And We Could Call The Fall Campaign The 'Falls' Campaign..."

Today's haha comes from Elayne Boosler.

"A young Mr. Wallenda, following in his famous family's footsteps, will be walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. People will do anything to get to Canada for health insurance."

Good one, E.

Here's politics in plain english.

This walk should be a mandatory pre-requisite to entering any kind of national political primary.

Those that survive could then be taken at their word when they assure us they possess the skillset to govern in a fair and balanced manner.

Worst case, we will be enthralled and entertained as the herd gets thinned.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"...The Next Logical Step...ATM's In The Voting Booth..."

Despite the "dramatic" nature of the main story here, there are, actually, three issues worth noting.

One of which will likely be obvious.

The other two?

Not so much.

Stand by.

Newt Gingrich ends his White House dream today with his political committee facing a mountain of debts -- owing about $4 million to scores of businesses and campaign workers around the country who fear they will never get paid.

Campaign watchdogs said the size of Gingrich's debt is extraordinary -- and could have been avoided if the candidate and his team had been more disciplined.

"He was reckless in running up these bills, especially in the last month or so of the campaign when it was quite clear that Mitt Romney would be the nominee," said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the watchdog group Citizen Union.

The campaign has been dogged by financial problems since last summer, but its cash crunch accelerated in recent weeks. It finished March with $4.3 million in debts, an alarming increase from $1.5 million at the end of February, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The campaign raised $1.6 million in March, spent $2 million and reported having $1.2 million cash on hand.

Help may be on the way. USA Today reports that Gingrich, in an interview, said he is embracing Mitt Romney's candidacy, and Romney and the Republican National Committee have offered to be helpful in retiring Gingrich's debt.

Relief can't come soon enough for the Gingrich campaign's anxious creditors. The campaign owes Moby Dick Airways $1.1 million for travel and charter flights.; the Patriot Group, a Virginia security company, $449,502 for helping to protect the candidate; and McKenna, Long and Aldridge, a law firm with offices in Atlanta, $183,658 for legal services, the reports show.

But many of the campaign's creditors are small businesses that say they will suffer major hardship if they are not paid.

In Phoenix, a company called Pro-Production Services is owed $32,506 for providing stages, lighting and sound equipment for a series of campaign appearances by Gingrich in Nevada last January.

"We floated quite a bit of money -- a lot of out-of-pocket costs that we covered," said Ryan Driscoll, a project manager for the company. "I am a little worried. Nobody wants to lose 32 grand."

Vic Buttermore, owner of Signs Unlimited in Ocala, Fla., says he's "keeping my fingers crossed" the Gingrich campaign will pony up the $15,000 it still owes for an order of 25,000 "Newt 2012" lawn signs

"Am I nervous? Oh yeah, by all means," he said. "They keep telling us, 'We've got you covered, you will be paid.' But I have my doubts. I really do. That's a lot of money for a small company."

Moshe Starkman of Chevy Chase, Md., is among the dozens of frustrated former campaign staffers waiting for back pay. Starkman, who helped the campaign build grassroots support, is owed for more than three months of work.

"You hear the payment is coming 'next week,' or 'later,' or 'in a couple of days.' They always give excuses," he said. "I've had to spend my savings."

Gingrich told ABC News on April 10 that his "management team got very excited in Florida" and went on a spending spree hoping to beat Romney in Florida's Jan. 31 primary. Romney went on to beat Gingrich 46 percent to 32, a turning point in the campaign.

"You know, Romney spent $20 million in Florida in three weeks, and I think some of our guys decided to try to match him and we didn't have Wall Street (support)," Gingrich said. "I am going to spend some time paying it off. It is something I have done several times in my career."

None of the other Republican also-rans for president are as deeply in the red as Gingrich's campaign. Michele Bachmann's campaign has about $1 million in outstanding obligations, Rick Santorum owes $1.9 million and Rick Perry has only $14,463 to pay off.

Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race owing $435,542 -- but Romney's campaign helped him raise money to retire the debt in return for Pawlenty's endorsement.

As for the three aforementioned issues?

First, the obvious.

Common sense and basic good judgement skills would have any reasonable person questioning the qualifications of someone asking to be elected President of the United States, an office that, ostensibly, requires a certain skill at managing a national economy when said someone so blatantly mismanaged the financial facet of their own presidential campaign.

Here's two more, less obvious, issues hidden amidst the overdraft notices, though.

First, people who support(ed) Gingrich will, bet the farm, find some way of, at worst, overlooking and, at best, rationalizing this kind of irresponsible behavior. It's the same kind of reaction we tend to have when a loved one commits a transgression. It's really not much of a jump from "he's really a good kid" to "he's still the best man for the job".

Second, the last sentence of the news story screams volumes about the American political process but will prompt nary a whisper of notice.

Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race owing $435,542 -- but Romney's campaign helped him raise money to retire the debt in return for Pawlenty's endorsement.

Here, with undeniable clarity, is politics in plain English...

Most average folks of voting age have, at one time or another, been a part of a conversation that includes some seemingly cynical comment about how elections are "bought".

It's not every day, though, that you see that assertion so casually verified in the national press.