Author Archive

Paint me Skeptical

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

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Reading over a fluff piece on CNN about preferences of beer vs. wine drinkers for political candidates, I came across this:

Overall, 28 percent of all Americans say they prefer beer to wine and 31 percent say they would rather have a glass of wine than a bottle of brew. (The rest claim that they never drink under any circumstances.) — CNN

41% teetotal???? Having spent time in the grocery store at least once a week for-freaking-ever, I have to say the beer and wine jiggling down the conveyors doesn’t lend itself to that conclusion, and I live in the south. So, tell me, do you think that 41% figure holds water in your neck of the woods?

Picture via Danny Hellman Illustration Blog
Famous Drunks, starting in the lower left corner, progressing from left to right, bottom to top: Charles Bukowski, Tallulah Bankhead, Oliver Reed, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Jackie Gleason, Brendan Behan, The Pogues’ Shane McGowan, Ozzy Osborne, Winston Churchill, Kingsley Amis, Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard, Red Sox pitcher David Wells, Modern Drunkard publisher Frank Kelly Rich, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Audits!

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

ruler.jpgHoly moly. Talk about eating your own young. Apparently, there are sticky fingers in the National Republican Campaign Committee. Not just a light pilfering either, but what is taking shape as a deliberate, well planned and ongoing scam to lift cash out of the NRCC.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are missing and presumed stolen from the chief fund-raising arm of House Republicans, according to party officials who described the findings of emergency internal audits.
The financial records of the group, the National Republican Congressional Committee, may also have been falsified for several years, Republican officials said. — NYT

Chief Sticky Fingers, or Christopher J. Ward as he is known to his friends and cellmates political bedfellows, has left the building. He is the focus of the FBI’s investigation. My money ( and probably the NRCC’s) is on sunny, no extradition treaty Belize.

According to The New York Times this morning, it all began to unravel when Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), a CPA, asked to meet with the audit firm that was supposedly checking the NRCC’s books, an idea that apparently no one had had for several years. Christopher Ward, then the NRCC’s treasurer, finally relented, but then chickened out 30 minutes before and fessed up that there actually hadn’t been any audits. — TPM Muckraker

Also noteworthy is the fact that “the financial irregularities might extend beyond the national committee to the campaign funds of individual Republican lawmakers who also worked with Mr. Ward, a longtime party operative.”

I guess that’s what tickle down is really about.

I know lots of Republicans personally. They’re nice people. I don’t think they’d tolerate this kind of behavior from their friends, co-workers or children. Yet, they defend this crap vociferously in the name of their party. That’s a disconnect I just don’t get.

Another One Bites the Dust

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Courtesy of your party of morals. Again. Jeez, people. This ain’t monopoly. Pssst! That whole get out of jail free card thing — it’s not real.jail.jpg

Mad about Meat

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Remember this?

Two weeks ago, when word of this investigation leaked, Central Florida school districts pulled beef from their menus. Smart move on their part.

A disturbing undercover video showing cows too sick to stand being shoved with forklifts or dragged with chains across a cement floor at a Southern California slaughterhouse has sparked the largest beef recall in the nation’s history.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered a recall of 143 million pounds of beef Sunday evening from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., which is the subject of an animal-abuse investigation. The recall affects beef products dating back to Feb. 1, 2006 that came from the company. — ABC

So, did they put animals too ill to stand into the national food supply?

The USDA said it had evidence Westland did not routinely contact its veterinarian when cattle became nonambulatory after passing inspection, which violates health regulations.

Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher contamination risk from E. coli, mad cow disease or salmonella.

So far, no illnesses have been linked to the recalled beef and officials said they believe the majority of it already has been consumed. — ABC

I’m guessing, that’s a yes with a side of retch. To put this into some perspective, if you get 900 pounds of meat off a carcas, that’s @160,000 steers whose lives were wasted in order to shave a few bucks off the top.

I raise a small amount of livestock for personal consumption. I get that what I do on my small farm in terms of care of my animals is not what works on large scale farming, but dammit, it IS possible to raise animals for food without abuse. I have toured commercial egg facilities and while I’m sure my birds are much happier, the birds in cages are clean, fed and watered. My pig and steer are regualrly wormed and fed a wholesome diet appropriate to their species. They taste good, and are appreciated at my dinner table. My kids know where meat comes from and are involved in caring for these animals we will eventually consume.

We could learn a few things from Native Americans about how we look at the food we kill in order to survive. We are so disconnected from the circle of life we don’t see or respect it.

The Bush adminstration has routinely gutted the FDA to the point of complete inability to police our food supply. We aren’t much help when we don’t respect the animals enough to demand better.

Fat Truly IS the New Black

Friday, February 1st, 2008

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We spend most of our lives inside ourselves. Overcome a tough situation? Self congratulations are the first we get. Screw up on the job? The first castignation is self inflicted. We know, as we live the life we’re given, the calibre of person we are and that which we want to become. We are all human, and for the most part, the range of experience is similar. Joy, pain, pettiness, sorrow, passion, kindness, exultation, depression, exhaustion, nervous energy… it’s part and parcel of each of us. If we lived as a species of mind, most of our issues with each other would be moot.

At least we’d be able to finally give up this mundane fixation on differences. I wrote here that fat is the new black. I wasn’t kidding.

It has actually happened. Lawmakers have proposed legislation that forbids restaurants and food establishments from serving food to anyone who is obese (as defined by the State). Under this bill, food establishments are to be monitored for compliance under the (Mississippi) State Department of Health and violators will have their business permits revoked…
Should this pass, scales will appear at the door of restaurants, people with BMIs of 30 or higher won’t be allowed to be served. And to comply with government regulations, restaurants will have to keep records of patrons’ BMIs. — Junkfood Science

There are hundreds of medical reasons for obesity, and gorging is only one of them. This bill smacks of Big Brother, and is indicative of how far we’ve fallen in the protection of civil rights and freedoms in terms of functioning in this country as unmolested nationals. Is what you weigh and where you eat the business of anybody but you? Is the business you’ve build up so carefully deserving of the embarrassed ire when one person in a party of 6 flunks the BMI and you lose the whole group? Even more idiotically, show compassion and serve the one at the risk of losing your livelihood?

This sets a scary precedent. If there are under cover food narc’s lurking in every establishment, what’s to stop them from tracking the number of drinks you had? Who you ate with? Whether you wore suggestive clothing? There are areas of our lives that the government should not be involved in. Further, the government should NEVER use forced discrimination as a preferred weapon against the citizens for whom it works.

Are we really willing to embrace public humiliation as a solution for our own inability to deal with people shaped differently than we are?

We used to have signs on restaurants. They read “White Only”. Think about it.

Weird Mood

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Perusing the headlines today, I came across two that left me laughing.

Snow falls on Baghdad for first time in memory — Rueters

Massive US Air Attack South of Baghdad — AP

Laughing isn’t the right word I guess. Whether it’s our planet struggling, or the deaths of so many for vanity and greed, forged in an unholy alliance built of lies and deceit, nothing that happens in Baghdad is natural.

We have to stop this. All of it.

New Year’s Musings

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

I’m not much for resolutions for the sake of tradition. If you’re going to make a change in your life, July 23 is just as good as January 1. The point is to begin, and to do your damndest to stick the landing. I do like to take stock over New Years though. It’s a good time to grab a few introspective moments, and think about the big things, and where I am in that cosmic slush.

I drove three of my visiting sister-in-laws to downtown Orlando to hit the clubs last weekend (yeah, we are all in our 40’s, shut up). On the way we listened to a cd my brother-in-law made, containing everything from that bear song by Lyle Lovett to Pink Floyd. Then a live recording of The Moody Blues, I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band, came on, and the car was suddenly a chorus of “people who are scorching the earth”.

It is no accident that liberals have been calling for planet preservation for nearly my entire life. What is interesting is that this means that nearly two generations of American kids have grown up listening to social responsibility in their music, and many have translated that into a green mindset. The key to moving this country off oil dependency is the receptivity of the consumer to making changes in their purchasing and consumption. I think we’re going to hear a lot of green music, both old and new, in our advertising in the next 10 years, as our cars, our fuels and our packaging are marketed to us, in a language we intuitively understand.

Starting at Lent last year, my first as a soon to be Catholic, I gave up sugary food. For six weeks, I eschewed the donuts, breakfast bars, cookies, and candy. The toughest was ice cream. Man, I LOVE ice cream. I made it, though, and I found I’d lost almost 10 pounds. So, I kept it up, and reasonably avoided most sugary treats for the rest of the year. The upshot is I lost 27 pounds. I feel great, and I think I’m going to try to lose a bit more. So sugar, for the most part, is staying off the table for me, and this year I’m giving up wine for Lent. Trust me, when I mentioned that over the holiday, it garnered some raised eyebrows. I think that it will be good for me, and incorporated with some exercise will help shed some additional weight. I am not doing this for anybody but me, and I think looking at diet and weight loss as love for yourself takes some of the sense of denial from it. I’m not skipping ice cream and hurting myself, I’m skipping it because I love myself. All we need is love, right?

Fat is the new black in this country. We denigrate the heavy to their faces, and we use fat as a derogatory descriptive to slur everyone from the guy (fat fuck) who cuts us off in traffic to the ex-girlfriend (fat whore) who dumped us. This is what this country sounded like in the previous millennium, and regretfully, in pockets still today, when we talk about African-Americans. Please tell me it won’t take 3 generations to grow past this insane need to name call and bully anybody who isn’t shaped like you. Each life is precious, each life has meaning. This idiocy of needing to define ‘us versus them’ is national crack. Put down the pipe before you pollute your children. There’s a vicious cycle to emotive eating, and extreme ‘in your face’ prejudice perpetrates it.

This country is ready to elect a black president, but we damn sure won’t vote for a fatty. Think about it.

Quote of the Day 120607

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

“I get bored easily, and that’s a great motivator,” said Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s. “I think everybody should have dyslexia and A.D.D.”

That explains a lot — particularly why over 1/3 of entrepenuers are dyslexic. Might as well play to your stengths.

Jim Gooch: National Embarrassment

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

The bright people in Kentucky are all apparently suffering from voter apathy. That’s the only reason I can surmise that explains why a raving starkers buffoon like Jim Gooch got into the Kentucky House. Check this out:

“You can only hear that the sky is falling so many times,” said Kentucky Representative Jim Gooch, explaining why he only invited global warming skeptics with no scientific background to address state legislators on climate issues. Gooch, the Kentucky Democrats’ chief environmental strategist, is “a longtime ally of the coal industry.” His invitees were James Taylor, a fellow with the Heartland Institute, a think tank partially funded by ExxonMobil; and Lord Christopher Monckton, an adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who once suggested that HIV / AIDS patients “be locked up for life.” During the Kentucky hearing, “Monckton quoted the Bible and quickly recited math formulas as he accused [Nobel laureates Al] Gore and IPCC scientists of lying to make warming seem worse than it is.” Taylor claimed that “most scientists don’t believe in global warming,” and that hotter weather would allow “our children” to “enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life.” After protests by legislators, Gooch allowed “two environmentalists in the audience talk about global warming … for about five minutes each.”

Shorter Gooch: “I can’t hear you! La la la la la la la la!!!”

Cheney’s Ticker Behaving Badly

Monday, November 26th, 2007

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Well, these things are bound to happen when you dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight.

Although, he really IS more The Penguin type.

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Fish.Travel