Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Odds and Ends

Things I have read today…

138 Countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.

9 Countries since 1990 that are known to have executed juveniles (those under the age of 18 at the time of the crime). Included are China, Iran and the U.S.A.

93% The percentage of the world's executions carried out by the five countries with the highest rate of executions; China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.A.

And just to make ourselves feel morally superior…72% is the percentage of the worlds executions carried out by China in 2008. That leaves just 21% to be divided up among Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.A. We seem to be in good company. Shame on us.

Something I thought about today…

This country, our country, loves to preach at the Islamic countries for their unfair treatment of women. We are also the country that can't seem to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. So I was thinking… that wouldn't we be looking really good to the rest of the world if Hillary Clinton had won the office of President – this, in a nation that doesn't believe in equal rights for women. Shame on us.

Once Again

Some new stuff on my other blogs…Good Eats and Short Laps

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nobody

Expects the Spanish Prosecution | Mother Jones

I can still dream...if nothing else, these 6 bozos will never be able to go to Spain.

Amazing

Choir uses hands to simulate storm. [VIDEO]

Really. It is amazing. Now listen and watch the whole thing...

Thank you, sister!

Healthy Americans

Against Reforming Medicine | HAARM ::
Heal Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps

My new favorite health care news site. Telling it like it is!

(is that Sarah's picture posted on the wall behind the two gentlemen?)

Pastor

Invites Flock to Bring Their Guns to Church - NYTimes.com:

“When someone from within the church tells me that being a Christian and having firearms are contradictions, that they’re incompatible with the Gospel — baloney,” he said."

You may note that he didn't tell us how they were compatible. Perhaps he will get back to later on that.

World mourns?

Michael Jackson - Heir to Elvis?

I guess I just don't get it. My age perhaps? I only know that I'm so underwhelmed by the whole event , much as I was at the news of Elvis departing... and Princess Diana.

Get a grip folks, these weren't real people. They were celebrities and rarely worth the ink that was used to promote them. I do know that somewhere, behind the hype, there were real human beings, a real Michael, a real Elvis and on and on...but I'm not sure that I would have liked them. Why not? Because we never saw that person. And that's a shame.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why California

can't be governed - Los Angeles Times

It is definitely time for a change and it may not be in time. But to suggest that Prop 13 is to blame in any way for this debacle is to ignore the fact that Prop 13 was passed for only one reason, to keep the lawmakers from their unending raids on the property tax. You might notice that no one has ever suggested that corporations doing business in California start paying their fair share. That could have solved a lot of the problems, but instead, those in power wanted to punish the taxpayer for daring to stand up for their rights. And we were punished, year after year after year.

And it's only fitting that a third rate actor is in charge of the state during this crisis. The last time we had a major disaster in government, we had another third rate actor in charge. We really need to start looking at qualifications! And stop voting for whoever is on the cover of People magazine...

Sanford Confession

Is More Bad News for Republicans - NYTimes.com

Oh, I know I should be ecstatic that another Republican leader showed his true colors. I'm not. He is simply just one more failed politician and his political affiliation had nothing to do with it. It was all about the power. That said, it's time for him to do the right thing and resign. No more apologies; just give up the power, give up the office of governor and that will make us believe that you finally understand that you have done something terribly wrong.

From Time Goes By...

Big Pharma to Cut Drug Costs - Whoopee:

"In fact, prescription drug prices in the U.S. are the highest in the world."

Shouldn't we mention this fact to our elected representatives? Yes, they are the same ones that should have been telling us this all along and then telling us how they were going to fix it. That's their job, or am I confused?

Anyway...Ronni does a good job of venting her spleen here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Despite Recession

Demand for Skilled Labor Is High - NYTimes.com

Another indicator that our educational system is failing us. California is actually contemplating the reduction of school hours... in a country where we are already behind the rest of the world in hours spent on education.

And those highly skilled welders that got the jobs? Yes, they are union members. It's just like everything else in this world; you get what you pay for.

New

Something new on my Short Laps blog


 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

From Just my little piece of the world:

The AMA Weighs in on Health Care

Ah! Just when I needed it...some levity!

Priceless

'English-Only' Supporters Hold Conference, Can't Spell 'Conference'

Why do I let these idiots get to me? I was planning on not even responding to the rantings of the Right and then I saw this. Being a spelling 'phreak', I had to make note of it...

Hmmm, I wonder if these 'English Only' idiots know that English is comprised of words from all over the world? For instance; Khaki, what our soldiers wear; it's an Indian word. And how about Alfalfa? Yes, it's Arabic. And I can't even begin to list all of the French (Gasp!) words that are now part of our language. Me, I enjoy the sound of various languages being spoken; makes me think that perhaps we are all connected in some way upon this small planet.

(You need to scroll all the way down the page to see the entire article)

Daily

I've checked my marbles with a quick solve of the daily Jigzone puzzle and I will refine those findings later with the daily crossword puzzle. And I have read the daily news… what a disaster! For some reason, I'm letting it get to me these days and that's not healthy. I'm definitely losing my objectivity when I read what the morons on the Right have to say. I can no longer trust myself to stay calm, cool and collected when I read this, this…stuff! It's as if they are from a different planet. One where reasoned thinking is not allowed and slogans are substituted for actual speech. Don't have a clue? Shout some buzz words!

Sigh…I guess I'm going to my crosswords early this morning.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Currently

I'm reading The Prosecutors: A Year in the Life of a District Attorney's Office by Gary Delsohn. A most scary book. It's all about the DA's office in Sacramento and the cases seen and prosecuted during the year 2001. It was the Sacramento part that drew me in as we lived there during those years and the cases were already familiar to me from my reading the local paper; the Sacramento Bee. Unfortunately, the book reveals more about the District Attorney's office than I may have ever wanted to know. These are not the kind of people you would want to see in your living room; foul mouthed and evil minded. And I'm talking about the District Attorney and her deputy DA's here, not the criminals. All of these years, I have believed that DA's were focused on justice and the righting of wrongs. Not even close. It's all about their egos. They would prosecute a rock if it would add to their 'win' column. And the law enforcement types that they work with are revealed to be just as dumb as the rest of us... and the criminals. The Public Defender's office doesn't come off any better here either. They are revealed to be as criminally minded as their clients, except for the fact that they wear better clothes and get to go home at night. And of course we, the taxpayer, get to pay for both the prosecution and the defense. I rest my case.

(You know, I'm surprised the author wasn't prosecuted…for something. Anything. If not, I would bet that he's very careful about how he drives around town; he wouldn't want to get pulled over for a minor traffic violation. He might get twenty years to life for a broken taillight.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Clear Eyed Conservatism

Translated Into English (Comics)

Tom does it again! Another award winning exposure of the Conservative World.

The Supreme Court - Again

makes age-bias suits harder to win - Los Angeles Times

Yes, it's the same five bullies that conspire to rob you of your rights. They are denying you equal status in the courtroom and in the workplace. Shame on them!

NYT Editorial -

Unparalleled and Denied -

Once again it's the same five bullies that ignore the Constitution in their rulings. Somehow, I can imagine them giving each other 'high fives' after their not so surprising decision. That's an ugly picture of Justice...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Justices Rule

Inmates Don’t Have Right to DNA Tests - NYTimes.com:

"Justice Scalia said he was struck by the absence of a full-throated declaration of innocence from the defendant, and quoted from a sworn statement Mr. Osborne had submitted to the state courts: “I have no doubt whatsoever that retesting of the condom will prove once and for all time...”

Here, Justice Scalia observed, a listener would expect to hear the words “my innocence.” But the defendant did not say that, saying instead “either my guilt or innocence.”

Hmmm? Sounds as if a Justice was using his 'emotions' to decide a case. Indeed.

CN&R

From the Edge

I remember this column from a couple of years ago. It sped me along in my growing appreciation of Mr. Porter's work. Could I argue against his points made? Oh, maybe a few, but certainly not all of them...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Changes

What odd animals we are. We are faced with a new federal report that predicts global warming could have serious consequences for how Americans live and work. Yet some of us want to argue the point that the warming isn't an act of man. Most believe it is, but even if it weren't true, the fact remains that the earth is getting warmer and we are seeing the results of that warming. So what are they arguing about? Manmade or natural, it's getting warmer and something needs to be done. The deniers are simply wacko's.

And, being the odd animals that we are, we really don't want to hear about what is going to happen in the future. Most reports that we hear about are focused on the long range; what will happen in 50 to 100 years from now. If you really want our attention, you need to tell us what's going to happen next week, next month and next year. And then it has to happen if we are to believe. We need to look at a yardstick, planted in the ocean, and see the water rising, inch by inch. Telling us that it will rise doesn't seem to work.

Being an elder, I have my own imperfect yardstick; my memory. And, despite the failings of memory, I can tell you that I live in a different climate model than the one I grew up in. And the places we once lived are now different; Lassen County doesn't have the winters that held on through a good eight months of the year anymore. The woodstove was fired up in September and shutdown again in June. Even here, on the Planet Orland, I can sense a change…and we've only lived here five years.

And along with the climate, other parts of the environment have changed as well. The fish are fewer and the deer less abundant. Where did the dove go? Where will we go?

Texas

Punishes 268 Abusive Employees

What's with the people in Texas? Were they not paying attention when Reagan was governor of California? You have problems with mental health facilities, you simply close them. No more problem.

Naiveté

I was reading about the Senator John Ensign affair; poor choice of words? Anyway, I noted that some of the headlines were quick to point out that it was a Republican Senator that had broken his trust with the people. As much as I would like to jump on that bandwagon, I can't. He broke his trust with all of us; Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. No – sorry, it was not just his wife and family. And I'm sure he is truthful when he says he is sorry. Yes, he is sorry that he was blackmailed into revealing it to the public. You have to know he wasn't going to tell us later; at some more appropriate time. But shouldn't he resign? Isn't that what an honorable man would do? OK, so he isn't honorable. But, shouldn't his peers require that he resign? Shouldn't that be a standing rule for all lawmakers? Am I being naïve again?

I Give…

It's one of those mornings where I'm sure that I should have remained in bed – for the day. The news is so depressing. It's really no different from yesterday's news and that may be exactly why it is so depressing. It doesn't seem to change a lot. The same liars lie and the same believers believe those lies. Doesn't anyone do any research? Doesn't anyone read?

I'm thinking right now about the crisis that is named 'California'. And the push to rid the state of the foolishness of Proposition 13. But wait, I voted for Prop 13 and for good reason. Legislators at that time regarded the property tax as an open source for any and all funding. Need more money? Raise the property tax! It was a well that never ran dry and the only way the voters could save their homes was by putting up a fence around the well. Did the voters say that they were opposed to all taxation when they passed Prop 13? I know I didn't…I wanted the legislators to find another source. Such as closing some of the loopholes that have allowed so many corporations to avoid any taxes at all. (They still do) That seemed like a good plan. And it still does. But instead we were hammered by the government, punished for our rebellion by depriving us of services and telling us it was all our fault because we had passed Prop 13. And today, it the same old story. It's the voters fault once again and this time I may agree… the voters elected the bozos that reside in Sacramento and suck us dry.

But, I have a plan. As soon as the housing market improves, and it will…we will sell the house and move. We'll do some research before we move, of course. I do like the idea of Santa Fe, New Mexico and maybe Prescott, Arizona. Hawaii beckons…maybe some small place on the Big Island. I'm thinking not too far from Hilo. There are no resorts to speak of in Hilo and the people are friendly. They have a marvelous Farmer's market every weekend. Yes, it rains more than we're accustomed to. That's one of the reasons why the resorts are on the opposite coast of the island. I like it!

But, health care is an issue that we need to think about when planning a move to anywhere at all. And isn't that a shame? With a national health care plan, a single payer plan, it wouldn't matter where you lived. The amount you paid would remain the same. OK, there would be some concerns; you do have to make sure that there isn't a shortage of doctors in the area you wish to move to. But any of the doctors, no matter where you lived, would have to care for you. Isn't that what doctors are supposed to do?

Health care reform. What a joke that is turning out to be. The majority of the people want a single payer system, similar to Medicare – which works, and yet the legislators yammer on about how that is just another name for 'Socialism' and do their best to ignore what we want.

Socialism is the 'Communism' of the 21st century. As if socialism was something to be dreaded. It's not. We've had socialism in this country ever since we funded the Continental Army with our taxes and that was back in the 18th century. All taxation represents socialism. Duh! And we tax ourselves for the common good. Another Duh! So where's the evil?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Most Cool...

Three Different Techniques Using Chalk Pastels

Browse around the MindBites website. I followed a link from Polly's art class site and was surprised at what is available here. There's another site that's similar, 'Craft', but it's pricey (everything starts at $10) and it doesn't seem to have the friendly tone of this site. The only downside is the fact that PayPal seems to be the only payment accepted.

How About KIPP?

Some Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

"Teachers typically work a nine-hour work day during the week, half days on selected Saturdays, and three weeks in the summer. They also are available via cell phone for homework help in the evening."

"KIPP teachers typically receive 15 to 20 percent more in salary than the average teacher in neighboring public schools for this extra time."

I've said it a hundred times before...you have to pay teachers what they are worth if you expect good things from them. Paying them the same amount that you pay the school custodian will get you nowhere.

And if you pay them as professionals, you can demand professional performance. It's really quite simple...

True, it's going to cost a lot of money to fix our educational system, but since we are not a heavily taxed nation (not even close) it is certainly doable. It only requires a national will to do it...if not, we deserve what we get.

From The Economist

The underworked American

"American children have it easier than most other children in the world, including the supposedly lazy Europeans. They have one of the shortest school years anywhere, a mere 180 days..."

And we have the shortest school days as well. Also, the least amount of homework! What are we thinking? Ah! We aren't...

The Numbers

I've always liked data. My favorite paperback book is still the Pocket World in Figures, published every year by the Economist. For, unlike politicians, figures rarely lie. Yes, figures can be manipulated, but the raw data is usually right on.

So I was quite happy to read Citizen K's piece on Senator Gregg. Apparently, the good Senator assumes that his constituents and 'Fellow Americans' are completely ignorant and can be duped by him at will. And, included in this revealing piece, are the links to healthcare data that should make the Senator so embarrassed that he resigns in shame. But it doesn't happen. Obviously, he cannot be shamed…

Link to Citizen K

Link to the embarrassing data

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wife and I


I don’t know what triggered it, but the other day we had some fun talking about our memories of growing up in the 1940’s and in Southern California. Born only 3 years apart and living in the same small town, our memories are similar. We both spent our early childhood days in Los Angeles itself, and then, when we were about 5 years old, we moved to Manhattan Beach. A very rural suburb and about a two hour drive from downtown Los Angeles. There were no freeways in 1945. And in Manhattan Beach, we had some unique experiences…the Helms man came by every day to deliver bread. Our mother had a blue cardboard sign that went in the front window of the house on the days that she wanted ‘Ken’ to stop at our house. If Ken saw no signs, he would slow down and blow a silver whistle that hung around his neck, to alert any housewife that may have have forgotten about him. And all of the children on the block would be waiting for Ken to stop; when he did, we would surround the back of the truck as he opened the doors and rolled out the long, paper lined oak shelves that held cookies and donuts and bread, of course. Our hope was that Ken or a mother would take pity on us and buy us a donut. Once in awhile we had our own nickel and we could be the shopper. Ken was very patient and waited as long as it took for us to decide which donut we wanted.

But Ken wasn’t the only delivery man; our milk, dairy and eggs came early in the morning and were left on our front porch. Later in the day, Tony, the vegetable man came by, ringing a bell as he drove slowly down the street. His truck was loaded with all sorts of fruits and vegetables. And, occasionally, we saw the ice man. He delivered ice to the few remaining houses without refrigerators. He came by about once a week and we would pester him for chips of ice. I can still remember watching him split huge blocks of ice with his ice pick and then, using ice tongs, sling the block up onto a rubber pad he had over his shoulders.

What was the point of these stories? None…it was just one of those rare moments when you realize how much the world has changed. Was it a better world back then? No. It was different and that’s all you can say for it. It might be fun to remember it, but I wouldn’t want to relive it!

The images? They were all stolen by using Bing to search for old photos.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

From Time Goes By...

Guest Blogger Ronni Prior: The Snowball Effect

Sad but all too true story about our health care system as it is today. When did we stop thinking of our fellow citizens...as our fellow citizens?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Debunking

Canadian health care myths - The Denver Post

I found this link over on Citizen K's blog and it should be read by all. The right wing lies about single payer health care are coming fast and furious these days and you need to have some facts in hand...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In a nutshell

Anthony Porter makes a good point...or two.

Tell me, what has congress done for you lately? Ever? I knew it...absolutely nothing.

Op-Ed Columnist - Nicholas Kristof- NYTimes.com

This Time, We Won’t Scare -

I can relate! Oh, yes I can...average time waiting for me to see a specialist; 6 weeks. Time from diagnosis to my pending surgery; 18 months.

Ya know...I'm really not afraid of Canada. I've done my research and I have found that most claims of long waits are simply overblown. Lies. And when it comes to their health care system, where everyone pays $49 a month; I say bring it on!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

From Consortium news

We're wrong again!

All 119 million of us.

Since the past year has been one with the greatest exposure (for me) to the modern world of medicine, I have become far too familiar with the complaints about the current system. And I'm on Medicare! (with supplemental coverage, of course) So, although my health care cost worries are less, I constantly hear from others about how they are being gouged and ripped off by insurance companies.

And don't ever forget that the same members of Congress that are trying to protect you from the evils of single payer health insurance, are, themselves, the beneficiaries of the finest single payer health system and they pay not a dime for it.

From Hrrmph!

Whoa!

Take a look here and then head over to the Awkward family photo place...it will keep you glued to your monitor. Afterward, you can go through the family photos and burn the bad ones. You wouldn't want them to show up here...

Link

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Something New?

Bing

I'm a sucker for the new stuff and so I signed on. It's kind of nice...Google may have to retaliate with something cooler. Either way, we win!

U.S. Lawyers

Agreed on the Legality of Brutal Tactic - NYTimes.com

What does this tell you? That some are willing to do anything at all if the 'law' protects them. Anything. And who makes those laws? Failed men. Doesn't anyone see how flawed this argument is? Didn't the Allies argue, convincingly, at Nuremberg, that moral laws took precedence? How have we lost our way as a nation?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

From the AP

Sotomayor's objectivity on bench is key question

As usual, I'm at a loss for words when I read the Republicans thoughts on 'objectivity'. We pay these people to represent us?

Let it be said, once and for all...there are no objective judges, never have been and never will be; all judicial decisions are colored by subjectivity. That's what life is all about! We are always subjective and probably even more so when we are loudly proclaiming our so-called objectivity. I'm sorry, but only machines can truly be objective.

Senator Sessions said this...

"if a judge is allowed to let his or her feelings for one party in the case sway his decision, hasn't that judge then demonstrated a bias against the other party?"

"Although we sometimes take our heritage of neutral and independent judiciary for granted, the truth is, this great tradition is under attack," he said.

Sessions said Americans should follow the confirmation process closely and ask what kind of judge they would want in court."

Can the Senator truthfully say that Thomas, Scalia and Roberts are independent and objective? Oh, please! They are conservatives and that means that their decisions are always colored by that conservatism. Well, I know what kind of judge I want, an empathetic one and a liberal one.

Friday, June 5, 2009

From Time Goes By

Guest Blogger Elaine Frankonis: Easing Into Death:

"According to a 1999 Gallup poll, 73% of Americans are in favor of 'making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering."

12 states allow it. 38 don't. How cruel...

As one reader commented here, "Given all the other legal medications doctors can prescribe I've always had difficulty understanding the justification for excluding marijuana. There are benefits and negatives associated with all our meds, but we're allowed to use them."

Is it because the powers that be are simply too embarrassed to admit that they are wrong about marijuana?

The debate goes on... and this is a well reasoned post for you to read.

(Some statistics if you are interested in what happened to a lot of your tax dollars…the ones you wanted to see used for schools, etc. Link)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Slump

Pushing Cost of Drugs Out of Reach - NYTimes.com

Is this how we take care of each other?

And think about the politicians that start each speech with, "My fellow citizens..." as if he or she really thought we were equals. Yeah, right...

Musing

The new netbook we bought is pretty good. It's an Acer, a red one, with a 10" screen and a 160 GB hard drive. Everything else is pretty much standard for netbooks. Oh, I did include a portable USB powered DVD player/writer with the order. The keyboard has a few quirks, but the only ones that bother me are the 'End' and 'Home' keys, which require a Shift. And I use a mouse and not the quirky touchpad. We bought it so that I could use the home network during my recovery and access the internet from wherever I happened to be…and it works. But first I had to put in a more powerful router to cover the house from one end to the other.

How well does it work? I watched a movie yesterday afternoon and it never slowed down once to buffer the input. Yes, the screen is small, but for quick entertainment...it's hard to beat. And with cloud computing, using Google Docs, I can write what I want where I want.

I was watching a Netflix movie on the new netbook; Benny and Joon, the 8 year old movie with Johnny Depp. I always love a Johnny Depp movie…and I was just thinking; isn't it time for him to be called John? John Depp. C'mon, he's a seriously good actor and diminutive names, such as Johnny, sound silly.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ronnie gets us again!

Reagan statue unveiled at Capitol building - USATODAY.com:

"A teary-eyed Nancy Reagan watched as a bronze statue of her late husband, Ronald Reagan, was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington Wednesday.

A blue-cloth cover was pulled from the seven-foot statue of the 40th U.S. president as Mrs. Reagan, 87, and a crowd packed with Reagan-era policymakers, looked on in the Capitol's Rotunda. The statue cast Reagan flashing a grin."

One would hope that no tax dollars went into the creation of that statue, but you would hope in vain...

From My Left Wing:

Twenty Things You WON'T Be Reminded Of, Tomorrow

Of course I had to post this link...the truth is always welcome.

From...Just my little piece of the world

Boycott Business That Play Fox, Or Ask Them to Change Channel

What a great idea! Read the whole post here for an even better idea..."Stop calling these people Pro-Life.. Call it like it is.. ANTI-CHOICE!"

From [daily dose of imagery]

king biking

Look at this and tell me you can't feel the wind in your hair...

Reactions

To Dick Cheney's Startling Revelation (Comics)

Tom is right on, again!

From Time Goes By

Guest Blogger Mage Bailey: Remembering to Laugh

Here's a 'Must Read'

Something New


Here is a photo of the gourd I finished yesterday. I like this one because it’s different; not at all like so much of the work I had been doing recently. This piece uses ink and gold leaf, plus fine copper wire. I am also working on one with oil pastels in an encaustic method? I’m not sure how encaustics will work on round surfaces on a warm day, but it’s worth a try. Yes, change is good. What would I do without some sort of creative expression? I can’t imagine life without it. The pain just fades away when I’m actively engaged.

I do need to find a better method for photographing these gourds, the stove is OK because it’s white, but the light from the shiny surfaces is far too harsh. I need to find an old sheet to drape on the kitchen table under the hanging light. I think that would do it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A World Gone Mad!

Tom Tomorrow tells it like it is...(Comics)

Apartment Therapy

From The Kitchn | Market Days in Cornwall Penzance, England

One of my favorite sites for inspiration and this morning I saw Duck Eggs! Oh I wish I could find some around here...

OK, it is a childhood memory and the reality may be something else entirely, but I still would like to find some local duck eggs. Just to see if they taste as good as I imagine.

Another Op-Ed Columnist -

- Reagan Did It - NYTimes.com:

"We weren’t always a nation of big debts and low savings: in the 1970s Americans saved almost 10 percent of their income, slightly more than in the 1960s."

As a nation, we need to get over Reagan. He was a fool and we made a mistake in electing him. Let the history books reflect that!

Op-Ed

The Quagmire Ahead - NYTimes.com:

"...unless G.M.’s culture is fundamentally changed, especially in North America, its true heart, G.M. will likely be back at the public trough again and again."

True story... now ask yourself, what has GM ever done for you? When has GM ever done anything for the good of the consumer? Who lead the fight against the tougher CAFE standards?

Minnesota

Justices Are Skeptical in Senate Case - NYTimes.com

I never thought I would say it, but we really do need Al Franken. That the truth...we need Al Franken to take a seat in the Senate. As a rule, I really dislike the idea of one political party having a lock on the passage of legislation. We need healthy debate from both sides so that we can have consensus and meaningful legislation becomes law. But that's not what's happening. The Republicans have become unrecognizable as a responsible opponent. They are behaving as small and spoiled children will sometimes behave. Children that you don't want your own children to play with. But...now that I think about it, they have always been that way. Perpetual children.

Life in the slow lane

Yesterday, we had an appointment at 1:30 with our financial planner and so we spent some time in the morning shopping, here and there, in Chico. The stores were mostly empty? And then we had a small lunch before meeting with Jim. Again, the restaurant was mostly empty. But, at our meeting, the news was mostly good news. True, we had lost a lot of money, along with everyone else in the world, but our investments were starting to show a little growth again; foreign investment growth. And that was the main thrust of the message I heard from Jim, we are solidly connected, financially, with the rest of the world. Our fortunes and misfortunes aren't limited by our borders. Xenophobes just don't get it! That's something I've always known but it was nice to hear it from an expert; our own expert, that is true, but I think he's right.

On a different note; I'm not a fan of borders. Any kind of border. I don't understand why imaginary lines on a map can dictate how we behave towards one another. There is only one earth and we all have to live upon it. That's right; 'why can't we all just get along?' Call me misguided if you wish, it won't bother me. I just don't believe we were put upon the earth to hate one another. But…I don't see any change in the near future. Sigh.

New Stuff

Something new at Good Eats and Short Laps.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spitting in the eye

of mainstream education - Los Angeles Times:

"...attracts academically motivated students, relentlessly (and unapologetically) teaches to the test..."

I'm extremely upset that any (ANY) amount of my tax dollar goes here. Teaching to the test means that the student can take 'the test' and do well. That's all it means. Life isn't a standardized test.

Make

Make: Online

I don't remember if I have ever posted a link to this site...I should have. There's a whole bunch of great ideas in here if you are a little bit creative.

End of the world?

The Invisible Hand strikes again! General Motors is bankrupt. Yada, yada, yada. No…it's not the end of the world. GM is still quite profitable in Brazil and in China. GM will reorganize. New fat guys will replace the old fat guys and the assembly lines will continue to push out product. Sure, it will be a different product and perhaps not as many, but the market won't disappear. It will change. That's what happens in life.

And here, on the Planet Orland, change happened early as the local GM dealership was raided last Thursday and closed down. All of the vehicles were removed and the locks on the building were changed by creditors…and I believe GM was one of the creditors. Employees were caught unaware and the owner was nowhere to be found. Or so the rumor goes. But this appears to be a case of poor business practices and not the direct result of GM's bankruptcy. Some of us wondered why they hadn't been closed a year ago?