Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Mitt wins ugly"

You said it. Actually, that's the big headline on Politico's home page  right now. I predicted this yesterday. (Like the media and cable news talking heads, I actually predicted every conceivable outcome yesterday, it isn't too hard to do…..)

So what's ugly about Mitt Romney winning big in Arizona, and winning by several percentage points in Michigan? Well, for starters, the millions of dollars in negative TV advertising, and the endless spew of personal attacks by Romney and Santorum…and the pathetically obvious fact that media reports this morning already are discounting Romney's victories yesterday: "it's make or break for Romney/Santorum/Gingrich is next week's Super Tuesday primary lineup!", the game doesn't end for the media, they're on to the next hype….

And, with some reluctance, I mention the 1,871 citizens in Arizona who voted for Rick Perry, and the 1,910 like-minded citizens of Michigan who voted for the hapless Texas governor, and the 1,765 folks in Michigan who couldn't stop themselves from voting for Michele Bachmann, and the 1,732 dreamers who went for Huntsman, and the 1,243 slightly out-of-it folks who voted for, well, for Herman Cain.

Now, I admit that I've voted for Mickey Mouse for president once or twice in my life when I couldn't hold my nose tight enough to vote for either the Republican or the Democrat…but I now view such throwaway votes as a sort of failure, I'm not completely convinced about this but it's the way I'm thinking now, I want my vote to have as much impact as possible on choosing the person who will be elected…..voting for a candidate who's no longer running may be privately glorious, but it's of little help to the commonwealth.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A turning point...maybe

Here are my official predictions for tonight's Republican presidential primaries in Michigan and Arizona:

1. It's all over for Romney.

2. Santorum now the front-runner.

3. Romney locks up the nomination with strong wins.

4. Santorum surge is over.

5. Romney can't nail it down yet.




6. Mixed day for Santorum, but he's still in the race.

7. GOP voters still mostly anti-Romney

8. GOP swinging away from Santorum.

9. This race will be decided on Super Tuesday.

10. The polls have been wrong, this new poll is right.


Pick the one that works for you, you can always change your mind throughout the day until the actual results come in tonight.

My revised predictions will be available tomorrow.

Some game theory...

Just speechless.....

Monday, February 27, 2012

The wisdom of Marilyn Monroe

"It's not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on."

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)




Straight talk from Norma Jean . You heard it here first, folks. Always make sure there's a radio nearby….




Sunday, February 26, 2012

Movie review: "Steal A Pencil For Me"

Movie review: "Steal A Pencil For Me"

2007 Unrated 1 hr 34 mins
Directed by Michele Ohayon
Starring Jaap Polak and Ina Soep as themselves.
A WWII documentary and a love story.


A believable and deeply touching story of an unimaginable romance that happened in Holland in World War II and bloomed in the horrible camps at Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen. Two Dutch Jews, Jaap Polak and Ina Soep, did what young lovers do, in a sadly minimum way while they endured the terrors of the camps and struggled to stay alive. Their final escape from Bergen-Belsen, on separate trains bound in opposite directions, kept them apart only for a few desperate months.

In this deliberately understated film, they dance at their 60th wedding anniversary and recount only as much of their experience as we would want—they maintain some privacy, while celebrating their love over so many years.

The best moments for me were in a scene with school children on a family outing at a WWII camp location that remains as a memorial to the dead. Jaap talks plainly to the kids who stand listening, mutely attentive to the old man and perhaps unable to fully grasp the meaning of his words. A mother uses the moment to remind her children that "this man is Jewish, but he is no different from us."

Jaap and Ina are old, and they are Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, and they are happy now. I don't want to be different from them.

Web sites for more info on "Steal A Pencil....
review on imdb.com
Rotten Tomatoes

Other movie reviews:
Crazy Heart

Tinker, Tailor......

Hard Times with Charles Bronson

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The wisdom of Oscar Wilde

"Some cause happiness wherever they go;
          others, whenever they go."

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)




Oscar Wilde, the indelible Irish writer, a popular turn-of-the-century playwright and a social scamp, rarely hesitated to give voice to his sharp opinions of others. I could go on and on……he did, to our delight. Keep this little gem in your back pocket for those times when you start to feel like you're not going to be able to avoid saying it out loud….






Oscar's name went on and on as well:

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde

More truthiness...




Friday, February 24, 2012

Game theory...

I've watched most of the Republican primary debates. "Disappointed" is one of the more conversationally neutral words that come to mind when I think about them.

I won't bore you with the standard bitch about "not enough substance," "avoiding the issues," "tired recitation of talking points," "pathetically simple-minded personal attacks," and so on, you know that story…

The more damaging failure of the debates is the media coverage. For the moment, I'll ignore the temptation to put the hammer down on the so-called moderators, who, as a group, just can't seem to deliver the hardball questions and just can't seem to avoid the attempted "gotcha" questions.


The failure is all about the gaming of the debates and of the primary election process itself. The cable news talking heads endlessly probe each other's thoughts and deepest feelings about "who won last night's debate." Of course, all that blather boils down to the Santorum supporter sincerely claiming his guy won, and the Romney champion sincerely claiming her guy won, and a celebrity talking head, more or less fatuously, offering up the insight that, really, more or less neither guy won because neither of them "did what he had to do," whatever that means...


Of course, these haven't been real debates in the classical sense. It seems to me that "winning" isn't the point. Expressing and defending one's policies and philosophies is the point, and there's precious little useful media reporting that offers coherent information about what the candidates actually said, beyond the endless, loopy "sound bite" recaps.


Media reporting should be helpful in case you missed seeing the debate. I double-dog dare you to say that you could get a reasonable summary of what the candidates said in last night's debate by listening to this morning's talk shows and tuning in to cable news.



This primary season has been entertaining, can't deny that. But it's not a game. Dubious dispute about who won this or that debate overwhelms discussion of issues. The ever-changing political poll results are reported breathlessly like so many half-time scores. The polls are presented as forecasts, but most of the time their predictive value obviously is near zero.


The media and cable news talking heads keep giving us a score, but they're really not giving us much help to understand what's going on.

Political gas.....oops, I mean "gaffes"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We're cooking the planet....(part 2)

Just another shot across the bow for the crew of the Good Ship Earth…

Greenpeace, the environmental activist group, has asked the presidents of six universities to investigate their faculty members who have received payments from The Heartland Institute, a nonprofit group in Chicago that is being financed by folks with lots of money who claim they don't believe that humans are causing global climate change.


The Heartland Institute promotes "free-market environmentalism," whatever that is. Frankly, in recent years freewheeling "free markets" have done a lot of damage in the financial and environmental spheres. "Free-market" advocacy is no guarantee that the right thing will always be done.

One prof is receiving $1,667 per month from Heartland, in payment for "regularly and publicly" opposing scientific warnings about the accumulating dangerous effects of climate change and global warming. Folks, that's not a "payment," that's a "payoff." Among the financial backers of the Heartland Institute are the Koch brothers. You draw your own conclusions.

We are cooking the planet. Polar ice caps are melting. Weather patterns are changing. It's OK to say that neither scientists nor the rest of us know every last detail of what's going on with unquestionable precision. It's not OK to say "there's no proof" of global climate change and therefore we don't have to start doing anything about it yet. Our children and grandchildren will suffer for our inaction.

We're cooking the planet. It's going to be expensive to change our energy use and our lifestyles. Let's face up to it. Turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth. What else will you do?

Other comments on global climate change:

Hot times...

We're cooking the planet...(part 1)




Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The wisdom of J. P. Morgan

"A man always has two reasons for the things he does—
               a good one and the real one."

J. P. Morgan (1837-1913)


John Pierpont Morgan, the flamboyant 19th century banker and financier,  cut a wide swath in American business and in government. His career was controversial, to say the least. Most certainly, he had both good reasons and real reasons for the things he did that manipulated and propped up the U.S. economy and banking system.


It's too tempting to embrace this epigram as a suspicious way of interpreting what "the other guy" does. Think about what you do, day after day….what are your real reasons?

More wisdom:

The wisdom of Linus Pauling

The wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Santorum crossed the line...

I'm showing my colors here. Rick Santorum crossed the line in the past few days when he criticized President Obama's administration, saying it is based on "some phony theology." The GOP presidential candidate later went on to explain that he was referring to "environmental radicalism."


Santorum also called for an end to full health care coverage of pre-natal amniocentesis procedures "because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society."

Santorum also stated that federal and state support for public education is "anachronistic." He forgot to mention that if federal and state funding for public education is withdrawn, there won't be any public education.

Yesterday at a church in Georgia, Santorum obliquely suggested that America under President Obama is like 1930s Germany under Hitler.

These statements aren't "taken out of context," they ARE the context of Santorum's stump speeches.

The man is ramping up his narrowly ideological and religious campaign. These very explicit campaign "positions" are goofy, erratic, offensively ignorant and frighteningly irrelevant to any national political debate that seems important right now.

What about jobs, the continuing home mortgage debacle, American infrastructure investment, smarter Wall Street regulation, global climate change, Iranian nuclear threats?….go ahead and add on the real issues you care about…

Let's not go crazy, let's concentrate on doing the right thing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The wisdom of George Burns

"It's too bad the people who really know how to run the country are so busy cutting hair and driving taxis."

George Burns (1896-1996)


George Burns—with the help of his partner and wife, Gracie Allen—enjoyed an endlessly  successful entertainment career  that started with vaudeville, and kept going in film, radio, television and modern movies. If you don't remember "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,"  click here . George never was much of a political expert, as far as I know, but his little gem about "the people who really know how to run the country" is perfect.



I'd be happy if my local Congressman would retire today and give up his seat to the estimable lady who cuts my hair. If I had any taxi driver friends, I'd nominate them, too.

Now, think about it. Aside from the immediate family members of the 535 Senators and Representatives who are desperately mucking it up in Washington, is there anyone in America who couldn't think of good substitutes for his or her congresspersons, right now, I mean Bing! without even thinking about it?

It's not fun, and it hurts, to say that Congress is screwing everything up. We need term limits, we need 'em bad.

Come to think of it, Gracie would be a breath of fresh air on the floor of the House…..

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A penny for your thoughts?

How many pennies do you have in your pocket or purse? I'll bet you're carrying more pennies than you will actually use today, or tomorrow, or the next day...
I never pay with coins. I empty all of the change out of my pockets every day, stash it in a little plastic bag on a shelf in my office, and take a full bagful to the bank every so often to redeem it for genuine paper money.

It costs 2.4 cents to manufacture a penny, and the U.S. Mint is looking at changing the metal composition of a penny to reduce that cost. A Wake Forest University professor says that pennies keep dropping  out of circulation (too many penny jars on too many shelves in too many homes), so the Mint has to keep making more, and, anyway, it would just be cheaper to eliminate the penny as legal tender and price everything in terms of nickels, you know, $2.15, $39.95, $1,499.95 and so on.



In case you think that "all prices would get rounded up and I'd end up paying a couple pennies more for everything," Prof. Robert Whaples says it ain't so. He studied 200,000 cash register transactions at "a multistate convenience store chain" – maybe they'll change the name to 7-Fifteen – and concluded that the "round-ups" almost exactly equal the "round-downs, so consumers wouldn't even notice if we get rid of the penny. Let's do it.



On a side note:

The "Penny for your thoughts" epigram has been around at least since 1546, when John Heywood (c1497-c1580) published  "The proverbs of John Heywood"  in England.

Among his other gems:

Haste maketh waste.

Look ere ye leap.

Love me, love my dog.

Those were worth at least a penny......and considering that in 1546 a penny was really worth something, that says a lot. Keeping inflation in mind, today we should be saying something like: "A dollar and 49 cents for your thoughts"










Saturday, February 18, 2012

The wisdom of Margaret Mead

“Never doubt that a small dedicated group of people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead (1901-1978)


Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist who first made her mark with work among adolescent girls on the island of Samoa. (The quality of her professional work was called into question later her life, and her critics were later challenged, but that's a different story ….)



My sister passed this quote on to me. I tend to be a visceral optimist when I open my eyes in the morning and so I really liked the first part of the statement, it rings true for me that a few people can move the needle for their community, their town, their country, and even the world…..and then reality checks in for me, namely, the world-changing energy isn't always for the good, maybe most of the time it isn't for the betterment of all or even for many…..

In any event, be on the lookout for large groups of dedicated people who want to eat your lunch or take over your traditional hunting grounds or drown the world in toxic sub-prime mortgage loans….

Doesn't stop me from feeling good about the good that a "small dedicated group" can do….

A small tidbit for you language lovers out there:

I did a quick online check and found no less than four versions of the quote from Mead, here are the other three:

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have."

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Several different flavors that broaden the scope of the Mead's optimism about the power of a few working together, it doesn't take all that much to get to the "tipping point."

And finally, in my mind this topper from dear Margaret is a reason for investing some energy in the belief that the many or the few can change the world:

"We have nowhere else to go... this is all we have."
Margaret Mead

I like these bons mots from Chief Joseph





Friday, February 17, 2012

Dead men tell no tales...

...but do they vote?


The respected Pew Center on the States reports that nearly 2 million dead people are on voter registration rolls in the United States. Actually, that's not the bad news.

The Pew Center also says that about  25% of people old enough to vote   —these are people who are alive—can't be bothered to register to vote.





That's over 50 million of the citizens in the world's greatest democracy don't give a hoot or a damn about choosing their representatives.

Their apathy is destructive, too many of us don't care about being part of an active citizenry that cares about the good of the community. Bad things are happening in our community.

I care, and that's why I'm going to keep on voting even when the available candidates don't really measure up to my standards.

More comment from The Hill:


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Job Creators: Look what GE is doing!

I've been flogging the job creators for failing to show up at the party. So, I'm happy to give credit to General Electric Co. for its announced plans to hire 5,000 American veterans over the next five years.


Good show, GE! and a high five to CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who also happens to be heading up President Obama's American jobs council.



So, memo to all you job creators out there, especially the ones who aren't siding with the Re-Elect Obama team: Get to work! Create some jobs!



Corporate taxes are the lowest they've been in years! That doggone "uncertainty" that apparently freezes you in your tracks? It's disappearing day by day…

Hug an unemployed person today! Tell us all about it!


(...and of course, it will be of interest, in 2017, to look back and find out if GE actually did hire 5,000 vets and if they were net, new jobs....still, this is good news today.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The wisdom of Jesse Jackson Sr.

"To feed the poor is an honor, not a disgrace."
Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. (b. 1941)

Jackson spoke at a "Poverty and Inequality" colloquium at Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA) on Feb. 14, 2012, and made that comment to rebuke the political carping about President Obama as "the food stamp president." The audience loved it and so did I. Feeding the poor is a central tenet of most of the world's religions and it is a mutually beneficial behavior in most communities. Are there welfare abuses? Sure. Let's punish them. Are most of the really poor people actually really poor? Sure. I help them, and it does feel like an honorable thing to do.
Jackson bio





It feels a bit awkward for me to toot the horn for Jesse Jackson. Well, I guess "ambivalent" is the right word…..he and I aren't what you could call simpatico in our most cherished political beliefs, I do not walk in his shoes, I fully support the ethical, social and essentially human ideals of racial equality, I abhor bigotry.

I guess I need to fall back on advice from Old Abe: "I do not like the man. I must get to know him better."


The wisdom of Abraham Lincoln



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Right stimulus, wrong tax...

I'm happy that the House Republicans are going to stop messing up discussion of the continuing payroll tax cuts with partisan blather about the Keystone pipeline or contraceptive services or whatever doctrinaire dead-on-arrival issue they're thinking about at the moment…

…and by the way, I actually feel some residual sympathy for Rep. John Boehner, talk about real heroes trying to get the puppies back in the bag while they should be spending quality time on trying to get re-elected….well, it's not a lot of sympathy, but there's something there…


Anyway, I'm glad to see the path being cleared to continue the cuts in payroll deductions for the Social Security tax, but ONLY because it's a fiscal stimulus measure that probably is most efficient at getting more money in circulation immediately so our fragile economic resurgence continues to bloom.

Even a temporary cut in the Social Security tax is a dangerous detriment to the long-term financing of Social Security benefit payments. This tax cut should be allowed to expire at the end of this year.


Let's get back to the full deduction for the Social Security tax in 2013, and let's start steadily raising the cap on earned income that's subject to the tax. We all know we need to put aside more money for future benefits payments that most of us want to look forward to. I think most of us feel good, in varying ways, about paying something in now and getting something back later...and yes, I think there should be a means test for Social Security benefit recipients---if you already have gobs of money, you shouldn't be getting a Social Security check.

And by the way, I think all Americans should be paying more taxes to get and keep all the things we want.

Pay more taxes, oh yeah

Monday, February 13, 2012

The wisdom of Leo Tolstoy

"Everyone thinks of changing the world,
               but no one thinks of changing himself."


Leo Tolstoy 1828-1910
Russian novelist and social moralist

 
Tolstoy's life reflected this homily. Born into a family of old Russian nobility, he served as an artillery officer in the Crimean War. Tolstoy became a canonical novelist of the realist school and in later life was a pacifist anarchist. I don't actually endorse this particular life path, of course....but if once in a while, we all would decide to take the road less traveled by, I think generally that would turn out to be a good thing for all of us.
 
Tolstoy bio on Wikipedia




Also see my blog on Malcolm Forbes and "open mind"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Maine caucuses: a very few have spoken....

That silence you were hearing yesterday in Maine was the sound of votes being counted in the Republican caucuses.

Yes, as the Washington Post reported, "Mitt Romney wins support of Maine caucus-goers"

But gee whiz, in the final count, Mitt racked up 2,190 votes…folks, that's less than one per cent of the registered Republicans in the state. Maine has roughly 260,000 GOP voters, and more than 99% of them did NOT vote for Romney yesterday.

Only about 5,600 of them voted for ANYBODY yesterday…I bet you can find more people than that lined up to buy tickets for a Madonna concert, probably even in Maine….

MSNBC reports Romney win

So, really, what happened is, the very partisan few turned out to do their civic duty, we honor them for that…..(and if there had been a Democratic contest, probably more or less same story)

But really, honestly, what happened in the Pine Tree State yesterday can't mean much, and if Wolf Blitzer and the folks at Fox News and the other talking heads hadn't used all their air time on it yesterday, I imagine not many of us would feel deprived, or sadder, or less informed….

Anyway, the Maine caucuses are non-binding, they don't elect delegates who are required to vote for a particular candidate, think "beauty contest" kind of thing, nobody locked up any delegates yesterday……




Or think of Macbeth's reflective soliloquy…now of course he wasn't thinking of the Maine caucuses when he said this, but still, you know, the over-the-top news coverage and all…."it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."






The Nevada caucuses, the same story...

The Iowa caucuses......you guessed it







Saturday, February 11, 2012

Did they really think...? (part 1)

...they weren't doing anything wrong?

In a nutshell: in Whiteclay, Nebraska, the owners of four beer stores and their wholesalers representing five national beer companies, whose names you know, have been selling more than 200,000 cases of beer annually.




Wowee. That's almost 5 million cans of beer. That's one case of beer every two-and-a-half minutes, every hour, every day, every week, all year. These guys are all-American beer sellers.




Trouble is, only 12 people live in Whiteclay. There's no tavern in Whiteclay. It's illegal to drink beer in public in Whiteclay. The nearest town that permits drinking is 20 miles away.

The American Indian reservation that's nearest to Whiteclay is Pine Ridge, just down the road, home to about 20,000 members of the Oglala Sioux tribe.

You know where this is going.   The Whiteclay beer bust

Alcohol has been banned on the Pine Ridge reservation since 1832. About one Oglala child in four is born with some fetal alcohol disorder. There is heavy drinking on the reservation. Average lifespan on the reservation is about 50 years, the shortest in North America.

It's wrong to drink heavily, and endanger your life and that of your unborn child.

Just wrong.

The tribe has filed a $500 million lawsuit against the four beer store owners and Anheuser-Busch InBev Worldwide, SAB Miller, Molson Coors Brewing Company, MillerCoors LLC and Pabst Brewing Company. The tribe wants them to stop selling the trainloads of beer that is ending up, illegally, on the reservation.   HuffPost on the lawsuit

The beer drinkers on the reservation know where the beer is coming from. The owners of the Whiteclay beer stores know where the beer is going when it leaves their establishments. The wholesalers and ultimately the brewers know they've got a nice little thing going in Whiteclay.

Obviously, they don't think they're doing anything wrong.

Wrong again.











Friday, February 10, 2012

To All Job Creators: Do your thing (part 5)

…this is another call for the Job Creators!

Pepsico says it will dump 8,700 employees worldwide in a "restructuring" move.



Jeez, George Clooney could easy make another movie, maybe two…

Pepsico's bad news

Pepsico—worldwide maker of Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Quaker Oats, snacks and other foods—pulled in $66 billion last year, including net income of $6.5 billion (up from $6.3 billion in the prior year). Tell that to the 8,700 folks who will lose their jobs. The Pepsi ain't gonna fizz for them anymore.


I'm waiting to hear about all the job creators who are stepping up to replace those Pepsico folks who thought just a few days ago that they were happily working for one of the world's great companies.

It's prime time for the job creators! Politics shouldn't be getting in the way. A lot of powerful people should take their eyes off the presidential race, and focus on getting down to business.

Right now, taxes on businesses—including the elusively-defined small businesses—are the lowest they've been in decades.

Memo to Job Creators: Get to work! Do your thing! Do a cable news spot and talk about it!

Hey, if you see or hear anything about the job creators stepping up to the plate here, send me the link, will you?

My previous posts about job creators:

Job Creators (part 4)

Job Creators (part 3)

Job Creators (forgot to number this one)

Job Creators (part 2)

guess what this one's called?





Thursday, February 9, 2012

The wisdom of Robert Quillen

"Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument is an exchange of ignorance."
Robert Quillen (1887-1948)
American journalist






Try mentioning this point the next time someone is yelling at you. Sure to be a winner.








And while we're on this subject, don't you think it's just terminally annoying when 4 or 5 talking heads sit around the table on cable news and talk or yell at each other, simultaneously? Gee whiz, I score that a zero for information value, and a minus-6 for entertainment value…




Also see:  Malcolm Forbes on education



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Speechless

"Rick Santorum big winner in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri."

Remember when your mother told you: "If you can't say something nice about somebody, don't say anything at all" …?




Well...





I will ask this question though: Why is this being reported as such a sensational revelation? Do the myopic mass media and cable news talking heads actually have an attention span? A day or two ago the talking point was: "Romney is the inevitable Republican nominee, more or less no matter what you think may happen between now and the convention…"

Romney has roughly 107 convention delegates so far, Santorum has 45, Gingrich 32 and Paul 9.

If media reporting to date had any validity, why aren't today's headlines something like this?

"Yawn."
"Santorum won three primaries. As expected."
"Mitt still front-runner. Like we told ya yesterday."
"Momma said there'd be days like this."

My comment on the Nevada caucuses

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nevada caucuses: a few have spoken, again...

What if Nevada Republicans gave a caucus, and more or less nobody came?

"OK, OK, the Nevada caucuses are over, folks, nothing to see here, nothing to see, move along, go home, move along now…."

This ain't what we claim democracy is supposed to look like.

Less than 33,000 of Nevada's 400,000 Republicans bothered to show up for their party's caucus on Feb. 4, that's an 8% turnout, which by any stretch is a pretty small number….and keep in mind, that's only about 1.5% of the 18+ population of Nevada, which is also a pretty small number…

Nevada caucus results

…and I hasten to guess that if we had a Republican in the White House, and the Dems had a burlesque crowd of primary candidates like we have now, we'd be seeing a similar turnout at the Democratic caucuses.

Folks, let's honor the conscientious Nevadans who came out to cast their votes. They did their democratic duty. Let's also say this straight: the measly turnout does not honor our democratic ideals.

An 8% turnout is a degrading, pathetic, despicably dangerous denigration of the shining dream of participatory representative government that we hold up to ourselves and to the world.


Remember the Iowa caucuses?

Nevada was a hollow victory for Romney—he got 16,486 votes. There were more people than that queued up to buy beer at the Super Bowl…

Santorum racked up 3, 277 votes. There are more people than that playing the nickel slots in Vegas right now….The cable news talking heads forgot to ask Rick the right question about his actual vote total.

What happened to all the "likely voters" who were interviewed in the never-ending stream of pre-caucus polls that were reported breathlessly day after day?

It's just politics as usual, you say?

Well, look, let's get angry about it, we're watching a sideshow of the few, the partisan, the desperate, some responsible concerned citizens, a handful of the "I always vote" worthies and some wealthy folks with big bags of money.

But this ain't what democracy is supposed to look like.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The wisdom of Chief Joseph

"It does not require many words to speak the truth."


Chief Joseph or Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt ("Thunder rolling down the mountain") (1840-1904)
Chief of the Wallowa of the Nez Perce





Ain't it the truth.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chief Joseph bio on Wikipedia

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Trump endorsement, root canal...

So, funny story, a presidential candidate walks into a bar and says "I just got an endorsement from Donald Trump." A minute later another contender for the nomination walks in, and says "I just had a root canal procedure in my dentist's office." Which guy gets a drink on the house from the lady tending bar?


I know, I know, you say it depends…..well, sure. What's the bartender's politics?.....or maybe she doesn't give a rat's, you know……or maybe she's handing out the drink as a sort of high five…..or maybe she's the sympathetic type and she's thinking, here, have a drink and you'll feel better….

Which candidate gets your vote?




You really can't decide, can you?
…..just like a lot of Republicans in Nevada….


Saturday, February 4, 2012

The wisdom of Abraham Lincoln (part 2)

"I do not like the man. I must get to know him better."

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
16th President of the United States




Why is it that so many quotes from Lincoln conjure up another quote from someone else?

Here's one that's related but is really a different point of view:

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."




The source of this beauty is disputed. It sounds like something Sun-Tzu would have said but apparently he didn't. Machiavelli should have said it, but apparently he sort of did, but less elegantly, in his characteristic, more convoluted style……



I guess we all know Don Corleone said it best.





More wisdom from Old Abe

Friday, February 3, 2012

Political "gaffes," gag me...

I don't know about you, but I don't need to hear about "gaffes" any more…

Are these so-called political "gaffes" really interesting to anyone other than: 1) the cable news talking heads, 2) the endlessly and shamelessly banal commentators who are invited on the air by the talking heads, and 3) people who should have more of a life than getting excited about the "gaffes" uttered by our presidential primary candidates?

Some recent celebrity political "gaffes": Romney mentioned the words "very poor people" and "I don't care" in the same sentence…..Newt mentioned "man on the moon" without stipulating that he might have sort of been joking…and it goes on and on and on, propagated with high energy by the talking heads and the clips on You Tube.

Let's be honest, much of the time these so-called "gaffes" are really pretty ordinary utterances, if you consider the context of the time and place they were spoken, they just aren't that diabolical or nasty or doofus or socialistic or right-wing or whatever opprobrious adjective gets your heart started at this particular moment…..

Might they be the kind of uh-oh words or sentiments that Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, Obama, Perry, Bachman, or Huntsman probably wish, in the ensuing nanoseconds, that they hadn't mentioned out loud?

Sure.
So what?

Let's be fair, Romney's standing as a presidential candidate should have really, really nothing to do with the fact that he's worth more than $200 million and he mentioned "the very poor" in front of a camera, just ain't got nothing to do with his qualifications to be POTUS. About his REAL qualifications, well, right, let's talk…

So why do the news media and the talking heads use truckloads of ink and hours of prime air time and way too much bandwidth to repeat it endlessly, ask for learned and not-so-learned commentary, and "analyze" it ad nauseum?.........and by the way, have you noticed that on-air "analysis" usually amounts to Talking Head A asking Commentator B "What do you think, Bob?", and then Commentator B sagely reveals that "it could be this or it could mean that…"

I think Wolf Blitzer should be ashamed of himself when he allows "gaffe" stuff to take up time in the Situation Room, because, as the heroic, long-suffering American grunts loved to say in Vietnam, "it don't mean nothin', nothin' at all…."

Some other comments on political sanity:
Somebody tell the truth, please.....

President Obama's long view

Thursday, February 2, 2012

To All Job Creators: Get To Work (part 4)

…uh oh, this is a call for the Job Creators!

American Airlines plans to cut 13,000 jobs—and do other bad things like terminating its pension program and health care benefits for retirees—as it works through bankruptcy.




American Airlines plans to cut 13,000 jobs








Proctor & Gamble plans to cut 1,600 of its non-manufacturing jobs after announcing earlier it would outsource 2,700 merchandising jobs.



P&G dumps 1,600 jobs to cut costs





Apparently no job creators have stepped forward so far to create 17,300 jobs to offset this splendidly strategic cost-cutting by AA and P&G…..or did I miss that announcement?

It's prime time for the job creators. Politics shouldn't be getting in the way. A lot of powerful people should take their eyes off the presidential race, and focus on getting down to business.

Right now, taxes on businesses---including the elusively-defined small businesses---are the lowest they've been in decades.

We all know business taxes haven't been raised since the financial collapse more than three years ago.

The cable news talking heads keep citing "uncertainty," but we all know that doggone "uncertainty" has been steadily decreasing in recent years.

Memo to all job creators: What's stopping you? Create some of those jobs today! Let everybody know about it!

My previous posts about job creators:

Job Creators, get to work! (part 3)

Step up, job creators

that job thingey, part 2

Job Creators, where are you?






Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The wisdom of Charles M. Schulz

"All you need is love.
            But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."


Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000)


Yeah, he's the one who drew the original Peanuts comic strips. Turns out he was right about love, and really an expert on chocolate.



 
Wikipedia bio on Charles Schulz