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Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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    Monica Smith

    Monica Smith
    Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."
    Number of posts: 212
    Email address: email
    Subscribe to my RSS Feed: http://likethedew.com/author/monicasmith/feed/

    By Monica Smith:


      right to privacy

      NSA and TSA, a worthwhile two-fer

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jul 29, 2013
      NSA and TSA, a worthwhile two-fer

      All of a sudden, Congress is having second thoughts. The New York Times reports that the strategy of letting the National Spy Agencies build haystacks to look for needles is going to be reconsidered by Congress. This is good news.

      Backers of sweeping surveillance powers now say they recognize that changes are likely, and they are taking steps to make sure they maintain control over the extent of any revisions…

      who's screwing you?

      Reflections on Detroit declaring bankruptcy.

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jul 19, 2013
      Reflections on Detroit declaring bankruptcy.

      The thinning of the cities was no more a happenstance than the thinning of the electoral herd is now. After the civil rights era and the rioting in the cities, the powers that be took fright and embarked on an agenda to distribute the population — build suburbs and roads and sell people cages on wheels to get there. Disinvestment in the cities and the reduction of services was part of the agenda to promote “urban removal” and replace people with commercial structures and parking lots.

      rewarding donors

      Mica down on Amtrak

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jul 15, 2013
      Mica down on Amtrak

      Maybe it’s just that the idea of reconnecting America turns John Mica off. After all, the Cons have put much effort into isolating/segregating the population.

      Perhaps it is just a coincidence that the trains from Miami to D.C. are not WiFi equipped.

      ineffable reality

      We report; you decide

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jun 27, 2013
      We report; you decide

      That little flourish, “we preport, you decide,” with which FOX radio announcers conclude their segments is actually an accurate representation of their operation. It would also be applicable to FOX TV, which is really nothing but radio with pictures and a written scroll, just in case the talking heads get boring, but I don’t know that they use it.

      “We report; you decide” fits perfectly with the binary model of the world in which instinct-driven people reside.

      Citizen Obligation

      To Do or Not To Do

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 18, 2013
      Pig In A Poke by James Herriot (Border Fine Arts)

      That is the 21st Century question. Whether agents of government are tasked with telling the public what to do or, as the United States Constitution suggests, are to limit themselves to prohibiting socially injurious behaviors by individuals and corporations.

      Republicans, being descendants of royalists, whose model of social organization is the family with its paternalistic head of household, continue to hold fast to the belief that their fellow man needs to be strictly ruled. Because people doing their own thing make them feel really insecure.

      Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces

      The AUMF reconsidered

      by | 2, Add your Comment | May 26, 2013
      President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House (White House photo by Eric Draper - public domain)

      Let me suggest again that while we know that the PATRIOT Act was sitting on the shelf just waiting for an opportunity to be enrolled and passed into law, that the AUMF was waiting in the wings has received less consideration. But, if the interest in a “unitary executive” whose authority is above the law was real, then making the Commander-in-chief during wartime a constant was just as important a component of the re-establishment of the sovereignty of the term-limited presidency.

      Instructions From the Top

      Heritage Inaction

      by | 1, Add your Comment | May 17, 2013
      The Republican House Leadership

      For some reason, a letter from the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation was characterized as having been received by NBC News, as if it were some sort of privileged communication. In fact, the thing was a press release and rather obviously designed to change the conversation about the Heritage Foundation from trying to defend the indefensible “study” of Hispanic intellectual insufficiency to food stamps, a real two-fer issue.

      Shadow Economy

      Labor Force Participation

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Apr 28, 2013
      Labor Force Participation

      Yes, labor force participation is back to what it was when the contributions of most women to the economy weren’t counted. That people aren’t getting paid doesn’t mean they aren’t contributing. Sometimes it’s just a counting problem — an accounting problem.

      Actually, there are many accounting problems. One has been discovered and and is now being addressed and will result in a revision to the GDP. That is, the Gross Domestic Product is going to take into account what dollars people invest in creative endeavors that don’t manifest in material products —

      Fore

      Lord of Little Rock to Host Western Amateur Championship

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Apr 8, 2013
      Lord of Little Rock to Host Western Amateur Championship

      The Lord of Little Rock, Arkansas is, of course, Warren Amerine Stephens, the head of Stephens, Inc, the premier private equity firm not located on Wall Street. That he’s hosting the Western Amateur Championship (July 29 – Aug 4) at the Alotian Golf Club in Roland, Arkansas should not come as a surprise. One suspects that Stephens is proud of being an amateur himself, someone who does what he does out of love. At least that’s what I get when I peruse this interview he gave to inARkansas.com last year.

      Flower to the People

      Patent #6630507

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Apr 2, 2013
      Patent #6630507

      We, the people of the United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, have been issued a patent for Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. According to the abstract:

      Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases…

      PeopleFAIL

      GunFAIL

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Mar 23, 2013
      GunFAIL

      I’m stealing this title and part of the post from David Waldman at DailyKos because it is just too perfect. Guns fail — never the people in whose hands they end up. Can we say “false attribution of agency”?

      This week’s summary:
      Among this weeks GunFAILers, we have three who shot themselves removing their guns from their cars, which I suppose lends support to the guns = cars crowd.

      Big Fat Juicy Ones

      Think I’ll go eat worms

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Mar 6, 2013
      Think I'll go eat worms

      Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,
      I think I’ll go eat worms!
      Big fat juicy ones,
      Eensie weensy squeensy ones,
      See how they wiggle and squirm!

      That nursery rhyme is about as good as any to explain how the Sequester, with which we are now wrestling, came about. The Congressional leadership had a hissy fit and the Sequester is the result.

      Endemic Incompetence

      Don’t ask. Don’t task. Don’t tax.

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Feb 21, 2013
      John Boehner - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

      Perhaps that’s the problem. The Cons, people stuck in an antagonistic stance, can’t differentiate between words that sound so much alike. Or, they don’t want to be asked, tasked or taxed because they can’t respond. Poor Boehner. His “no, you can’t” rant really was more of a plaint, an expression of his own frustration, discovered in the other because the self is unknown.

      No wonder “Yes, we can” was such a frightening anthem. It hit the nail on the head of the Cons’ problem — endemic incompetence.

      God & Taxes

      Georgia Underground

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Feb 14, 2013
      Georgia Underground

      First, let me assert that money, like any other tool (a hammer, for example) is worthless, unless and until it is taken in hand and put to use. To be more precise, money is a measuring tool, at the same time that it is symbolic of energy expended and value accumulated. In that sense, money somewhat resembles a mound of oyster shells or cache of flint flakes, which attest to the activities of many collectors or one collector over a long period of time. Or the collection may just be evidence of a failure to dispose of waste. Regardless, just as a collection of detritus is tangible evidence of activities which occurred in the past, so is money…

      Behind the Gates

      Ostentatious Crooks

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Feb 7, 2013
      Ostentatious Crooks

      The perception that modern day crooks, in addition to having figured out how to manipulate the law to their advantage, are ostentatious came to me overnight. I suppose it’s a consequence of tracing how and by whom some of our so-called “gated communities” were acquired and developed to hide what are surely ill-gotten gains.

      Perhaps it is unfair to suggest that medical doctors, when they are lured into purchasing building lots on the edges of marshes and meandering streams, nature’s nurseries for crustaceans and fish, are investing ill-gotten gains.

      Laundering More Than Sin

      Give Unto Caesar

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jan 27, 2013
      Give Unto Caesar

      e IOR is, apparently, not a believer. The IOR, in case that acronym is unfamiliar, is the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, the Vatican’s bank. That’s right, the place where the Church of Rome collects money is where the work of religion originates. “In God We Trust”

      Anyway, the Vatican’s bank is in bad odor with the Bank of Italy, as the Economist reports

      Control

      Why the Cons Need Guns

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jan 17, 2013
      Why the Cons Need Guns

      It has been reported that Congress has stymied research on gun violence since 1996 by explicitly prohibiting the spending of dollars for such research by the Centers for Disease Control. Given that one of the main Congressional obligations is to “provide for the general welfare, the wanton killing of thirty thousand persons a year, most in the prime of life, coming up with a sensible strategy to prevent that would seem a reasonable thing to do. But, the Congress taking the opposite tack is actually quite rational.

      Exploitation Or Slaughter

      On Sally Miller and the Rule of Law

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jan 11, 2013
      On Sally Miller and the Rule of Law

      The Australian journalist, John Bailey, came upon the story of Sally Miller while he was researching the laws of slavery in the United States. He found the story of Sally Miller, supposedly a German child who had been sold into slavery so compelling, that he decided to use her as an exemplar of what he’d discovered about the law and tell her story, which had been publicized in many pamphlets in the early 19th Century when the action took place, from a slightly different perspective. Legal principles do drive the tale.

      Full Faith & Credit

      The Fiscal Kerfuffle

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 2, 2013
      The Fiscal Kerfuffle

      We are agitating over figments of the imagination.

      We already know Obama loves him a kerfuffle. The real issue is how to get Congress to realize that their job is to spend or dispense money. Managing the currency is one of their prime responsibilities. Scrimping and hoarding is not managing. The Congress hoarding dollars is not only unseemly, but detrimental because the federal government is the only source and without money to mediate transactions, we are left with taking things on faith.

      Resolution:

      Take a Hike

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Dec 29, 2012
      Take a Hike

      America’s State Parks Association is sponsoring a first day hike in which all fifty states will participate. Texas, being a big state, has forty five venues on offer, while Georgia is promoting twenty sites and Missouri is offering programs at thirteen parks. Meanwhile, poor Louisiana seems able to manage guided hikes at just two of its parks. But, they are free.

      Rationing

      Like Frogs

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Dec 14, 2012
      Like Frogs

      It really doesn’t matter, from an economic perspective, what useful endeavor people are engaged in, as long as they are compensated sufficiently with currency (money) to enable them to compensate others, who do the things they don’t have talent and time for, in turn.

      What really undermines efficient trade and exchange of goods and services is the rationing or sequestration of the currency (money) we use to mediate those transactions. Rationing currency is comparable to restricting access to reading and writing skills in order to hobble the ability to communicate.

      Ass-Backwards

      Outstanding

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Dec 5, 2012
      Outstanding

      The spouse, a now-retired professor of film studies, who was certainly entitled to be considered “outstanding in his field,” addressing movies from a literary and communications media perspective and having authored a couple of biographies of Nevil Shute Norway and Charlie Chaplin, as well as the totally original study of movies about war, “Looking Away; Hollywood and Vietnam”, is not really a studious person. Indeed, it’s quite likely that he moved from the study of novels and poems to film because movies made it possible for him to be somewhere else, even as he had to sit still in a room.

      Empty Calories

      The Fiscal Frappé

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Nov 27, 2012
      Fiscal Frappé

      Yes, that’s a flippant title. I could call it the fiscal scam, but “scam” is getting to be a hackneyed term. Besides, it is hard to take the most recent fiscal kerfuffle seriously. That the President’s spokesperson enunciates according to news reports:

      “We should address the drivers of the deficit and Social Security currently is not a driver of the deficit,” Carney told reporters today. The senior retirement program is solvent for another 21 years, at which time recipients could see a reduction in benefits.

      Button, Button

      Anatomy of a Hostage Taking

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Nov 17, 2012
      Anatomy of a Hostage Taking

      If people aren’t obligated to pay taxes on their income in the first place, what difference does the rate make?

      If your car is electric, what difference does the price of a gallon of gas make to you? Yes, there may be some psychic pleasure in seeing your neighbor having to shell out more and more dollars at the pump, but that’s not nice.

      This whole kerfuffle is starting to look like the campaign finance scam in which Congress put restrictions on individual contributors and no limits on what incumbents could collect and even distribute to their cronies — all to insure their continuance and power in office.

      Were It Used For Good

      The Six Billion Dollar Stimulus

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Nov 12, 2012
      This is what only one billion dollars looks like.

      It’s peanuts compared to the trillions we spend annually on medical procedures and pills, but the psychic rewards of participating in the most expensive U.S. election ever are much greater.

      While the billionaire donors who opened their trust funds and expense accounts so generously deserve a hearty thank you and some pretty notes, everybody who chipped in a buck or an hour or a month or a year is entitled to a good gloat and a hearty pat on the back. Truer words were never spoken than the President’s “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

      Your Vote Might Count

      Being Cavalier About Counting the Votes

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Nov 8, 2012
      Being Cavalier About Counting the Votes

      There has been lots of talk during the 2012 election season about efforts to suppress the vote or, as I like to refer to it, “thinning the electorate.” The legislative requirement that voters validate their existence with documentary evidence was part of that effort, made supposedly less onerous by letting forgetful people fill out provisional ballots and then come back with the paper-work a few days later. Suspicious people assumed that the provisional ballots would, like the ballots of absentee voters never be counted, regardless of whether they’d be validated, because that’s what had always been done…

      Education Goes Bad

      Willard’s Planning an Inside Job

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Oct 30, 2012
      Willard's Planning an Inside Job

      Willie Sutton explained in his autobiography that he never actually explained his bank robbing as being motivated by the money’s location. Sutton just liked robbing banks. He collected the money as evidence that he’d done it. Willard, on the other hand, has acknowledged he’s going to D.C. ’cause that’s wherethe money is. He’s got a Willie Sutton complex.

      Guess where he got it? At the Harvard Business School.

      Religion of Growthism

      A Management Problem

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Oct 16, 2012
      Money Black Hole

      As if to validate my hypothesis that economic theory has veered into the management and manipulation of people, rather than the material resources and assets we need to sustain our existence, the Nobel Committee has awarded this year’s prize to two Americans:

      Two researchers whose work has made for better matchups among students and the schools they wish to attend, and between kidney donors and recipients, were awarded the Nobel Prize in economics Monday.

      While I’m arguing as follows on the internets…

      Monetary Theory

      Modern Money

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 2, 2012
      Modern Money

      John Kenneth Galbraith, American economist, famously said that “the best money is worthless.” His son, James Kenneth Galbraith, now teaches at the University of Texas in the LBJ School of Public Policy, whence he continues to agitate for a more realistic science of economics.

      James has a number of acolytes who make their home at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. And they’ve actually come up with a moniker that, quite frankly, is not a barn burner. MMT for Modern Monetary Theory may remind of the MTA, where Charlie was famously lost in Boston, but it doesn’t resonate. MM, for Modern Money, seems to work better…

      Wake up, America

      Orson Swindle has turned up again.

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 23, 2012
      Orson Swindle has turned up again.

      Like a bad penny. This time I found him on my doorstep. He’s written an op-ed for the Florida Times Union, the major paper in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, pretending to be a movie reviewer and touting something put together by Dinesh D’Souza:

      The author and co-director is Dinesh D’Souza, an intellectual; a distinguished author and journalist; a conservative; and an honest man in every respect.

      Right. And, in typical conservative fashion, Swindle touts his own “credentials” in support of what would seem to be a hatchet job on the President of the United States…

      A Mean Clown

      John Boozman, Senator Double Cross

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Sep 20, 2012
      US Senator John "Bozo" Boozman (R-AR)

      When Rachel Maddow introduced a segment of her show about four unknown United States Senators, who recently voted to deep six legislation to provide additional support for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars coming home to unemployment, she started out by saying most people probably don’t know who these men (they are all men) are.

      I know who John Boozman is because I’ve been paying attention ever since the establishment-favorite Blanche Lincoln was selected in the Democratic primary in Arkansas in 2010 and then replaced by the newcomer, John Boozman because, as Howard Dean rightly pointed out, when voters have a choice between a fake Democrat and a real Republican, they vote for the latter.

      Vicarious Cannibals

      The Rich Are Revolting

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Sep 4, 2012
      The Rich Are Revolting

      Funny how that sentence can have two opposite meanings. Anyway, Mike Lofgren, writing in The American Conservative, charges the rich with revolting and seceding from the nation state. While many of his observations are on point, I’d argue that he’s got the causality backwards. The rich are always the same, disconnected from the societies in which they exist, because they share a common quirk of personality.

      They’re not disconnected because they’re rich; they get rich because they are disconnected.

      Anti People

      Insubordination at ICE

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 3, 2012
      John Bozeman

      The Constitution of the United States of America is based on the belief that what individuals do is good, unless and until it is proved to have injured or insulted someone else. Also, the Constitution directs the agents of government to provide for the general welfare, which includes individual human rights. Of course, before the ink was even dry on the original document, the human rights of some persons were legally discounted or abrogated.

      Hannah's Blog

      Vicarious

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 25, 2012
      Vicarious

      That the brain makes connections on its own is pretty obvious to anyone who’s aware of one’s dreams (some people aren’t). So, that might be a factor that should be referenced when one expounds on what one thinks, whether the thoughts are spontaneous or have been reflected upon and parsed before being shared.

      I guess I’m particularly aware of the autonomous brain because when I woke yesterday morning I had the thought that a small bouquet of the rose in my yard with a few marsh heather stalks would look nice.

      Summer Reading

      Willard Likes Poetry

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Aug 22, 2012
      Mitt Romney and Bill Koch

      Bring me men to match my mountains,
      Bring me men to match my plains.
      Men with empires in their purpose,
      And new eras in their brains.

      Willard Romney likes poetry, especially if it’s short and if it connects him to a person whose respect he craves. That’s why, as the Washington Post reports, he’s been reciting the four lines he learned from William Koch…

      Don't Say Anything At All

      If you can’t say something nice…

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 17, 2012
      Obama v Romney

      Does this bit of folk wisdom account for notoriously gabby conservatives resorting to euphemisms as a matter of course? Not being able to keep their opinions to themselves, do they feel compelled to make the nasty sound nice? If so, then can we conclude that this apparently innocent habit just sort of morphs into a pattern of communication in which nothing is as it seems — i.e. the web of lies in which much of the nation is enmeshed just developed by happenstance?

      Threatening the Implausible

      Burning urbs

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 1, 2012
      Suburban neighborhood on fire

      The “burning of the cities” in the 1960s continues to haunt conservatives. When they’re not concerned with “drowning government,” something’s “burning.” The latest iteration is a screed in the National Review by one Stanley Kurtz who’s trying to convince himself that the heir of the burning cities now has his eye on the suburbs.

      Frankly, I don’t intend to even read the whole thing, but the first paragraph of “Burn Down the Suburbs?” seems worth dissecting.

      Eat Less Chicken

      That’s innovation!

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Jul 21, 2012
      That's innovation!

      t used to be that competition was defined as more than one person striving for a common goal. The object was, as in a foot race, to get there first and, through the process of measuring oneself stride for stride against the others, keep improving. Competition, ideally, increases efficiency and improves the quality of products and talented people.

      At some point, this traditional understanding of competition got transformed into something else.

      Mitt Romney?

      What’s Willard hiding?

      by | 10, Add your Comment | Jul 13, 2012
      Former Governor of Massachusetts and a perenial Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by DonkeyHotey

      His stash of cash, mostly. Why? It goes with the territory. Obsessive accumulators hide things. Squirrels do it; pack rats do it; and so do the bees in their hives. Hoarding and hiding are like that proverbial horse and carriage.

      Barack Obama’s operatives are more verbose.

      1. Mitt Romney refuses to release multiple years of taxes, ignoring decades of precedent.

      Boiling It Into A Conserve

      Making lemonade out of lemons

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 19, 2012
      Political lemons who make an awful tasting lemonade

      Every person is unique. However, we do share common behavioral patterns, based on our characteristic functions, by which we can be categorized. We walk, talk, touch, imagine, invent, reproduce and recreate.

      Speech is a good example of how the patterns are then set, into distinct languages, in response to the influence of our environment. While almost all infants make sounds, it’s their environment which renders some meaningful and some meaningless, depending on the response to the prompt.

      Socialism

      No public lands in Texas?

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 26, 2012
      Texas Wildlife Ghetto Regions

      I don’t know if that’s true, but it may account for why Dr. James Kroll has moved on up to Wisconsin to become the Deer Czar and convert Wisconsin’s public lands into private enclaves so the deer herds can be more properly managed and controlled. As if there weren’t enough reasons already for Governor Scott Walker to be recalled!

      If you love deer hunting you better vote out Walker!!! Walker is currently in the process of creating a system where public hunting lands will be turned over to private companies..

      People Are Corporations

      How Willard Creates Jobs

      by | 5, Add your Comment | May 14, 2012
      Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer, Patriarch Partners

      By prompting people like Lynn Tilton to decide that “enough is enough.”

      Well, to be honest, as a neighbor tells it, Lynn Tilton is responsible for the rescue of the paper mill in Gorham, NH because her father came to her in a dream and said that taking the two million dollars from the settlement of her sex discrimination law suit and retiring early was the wrong way to go.

      Take & Take

      The Conservative Dilemma

      by | 2, Add your Comment | May 5, 2012
      Dogs fighting over rope

      Government by the people is the ultimate DIY enterprise. Mainly, we benefit each other by taking turns. Conservatives are people who, for whatever reason, do not know where their interests lie. And, having no basis for comparison, aren’t able to divine others’ interests either. They are self-centered without being self-aware. From a societal perspective, they probably exist to be recipients of other people’s creative ministrations. After all, for the shoemaker to perfect his craft and experiment with style and design and criteria of comfort, he needs people other than himself to use his product.

      Know Before You Owe

      Obamas at Ft. Stewart, Georgia

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Apr 27, 2012
      The Obamas speak at Ft. Stewart

      A two-fer, if ever there was one. According to the White House Press office, both the First Lady and the President spoke. However, despite Republican carping about the President using the official plane to campaign, this visit to northeast Georgia had an official purpose — to explain and sign legislation that reforms how veterans interact with college programs and, one hopes, avoid getting ripped off.

      White Collar Criminals

      Yes, but…

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Apr 15, 2012
      Yes, but...

      Pre-conceived notions are funny. They make a sunny day cloudy. They make the successful Department of Justice prosecution of banksters and fraudulent mortgage brokers, like Lee Farkas, look like a failure because every conviction can be appealed to a higher court. Even the staid New York Times found it necessary to point out that sentencing Farkas to thirty years in prison fell far short of the 385 years the prosecution had suggested. And somehow, trying the case in Virginia for crimes committed in Alabama and Florida counts as a demerit.

      Keeping the Peace

      Of Fraidy Cats and Copy Cats

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Apr 8, 2012
      Of Fraidy Cats and Copy Cats

      “To know that you can’t walk down the street at night in your own neighborhood,” the councilman said. “That’s a terrible shame. That’s a terrible feeling. No one should be subjected to that.
      “This is Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Henderson said. “We should have the ability to stand out on your porch anytime, day or night, that you want to.”

      No doubt, Jack Henderson, the Commissioner for the Tulsa District, in which five people were shot by a guy in a pickup truck, is sincere in his statements. People should be able to walk (up or down) the street…

      Self-Centered Myopic Pricks

      Stuck in the ineffable present

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Mar 13, 2012
      Stuck in the ineffable present

      Some people do not have a sense of time passing. They don’t perceive time as a linear sequence of events in which the past, present and future are distinct entities and, especially the past is over and done with. So, they exist in an ineffable present in which what was, what is and what could be are all muddled together. The result, not surprising, is that such persons are in a state of constant insecurity and whenever they do something that fails to satisfy, they can’t help but think that had their mother had a choice, they might well not be here. Which is why, just to be on the safe side and in case a miracle occurs, no babies, dead or alive should be taken from the womb prematurely.

      Mouth of Mass Destruction

      Grinchy Gingrich Gossips in Georgia

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Mar 4, 2012
      Grinchy Gingrich Gossips in Georgia

      Newton Leroy Gingrich has to have a good showing in Georgia. He’s admitted that’s important, if he’s to continue as a candidate for the presidency of the United States. Which, presumably, accounts for the message he delivered Friday in Brunswick, on the Georgia coast.

      “Barack Obama clearly has a vision, but it’s the wrong vision,’’ Gingrich said.
      Obama’s vision is of a socialist structure guided by politicians in Washington, Gingrich said.
      “Like Barack Obama, I’m a visionary,” Gingrich told the crowd. “It’s just that my vision is directly opposite from his.”

      He’s right. President Obama is looking forward and Gingrich is looking back to the jobs he claims to have created before he was forced to resign from Congress and to fixing a tax code the chief executive has no ability to legislate.

      Our Empire's Distant Outposts

      Camp Bondsteel revisited

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Feb 26, 2012
      Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo

      Every couple of months, I check the Google to see what’s happening at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. My interest in the place, one of the largest U.S. military bases ever built and the obvious prototype for what was being built in Iraq, goes back to 2005 when Kellog, Brown and Root (KBR) was engaged to supervise the leveling of hillsides and the filling in of valleys to accommodate a U.S. watch-tower in the Balkans.

      Who is John Galt?

      “They know not what they do.”

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Feb 19, 2012
      "They know not what they do."

      “[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
      We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
      But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”
      —United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

      Rumsfeld left out one category – the unknown knowns. Randians are the people do not know what they know – nor what they want to do.

      Automated Theft

      Side Notes to the $25 Billion

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Feb 12, 2012
      Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial

      Both Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, and Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the U.S. have made the point, in discussing the $25 billion settlement agreed to by four of the major banks involved in the mortgage fraud scam, that this is a beginning and that no criminal or civil suits would be canceled out by this action.

      So, as if to prove the point, the Department of Justice announced on Friday a separate fund, over and above the $25 billion, to compensate members of the military services whose rights had been abused

      Super Bowl Politics

      One and Half Time in America

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Feb 8, 2012
      One and Half Time in America

      There has been much discussion by the pundits about the significance of the “Half Time” ad for President Obama’s reelection. Democrats have a hard time understanding the Republican Clint Eastwood’s motivation in associating himself with a project that highlights one of the President’s singular accomplishments.

      The rescue of the American automobile industry is the President’s to claim. No doubt about it. But, that’s from the perspective of the people who design, manufacture and sell the cars. From the perspective of the financial engineers, who thrive on breaking companies up and selling the parts as so much scrap, the “rescue” was an intrusion on their standard operating procedure.

      Voting Them Off The Island

      Lord of Little Rock Lighting Candles to Rove

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Feb 5, 2012
      Lord of Little Rock Lighting Candles to Rove

      Forbes, the money publication, reports on who’s giving money to the Super PACs in hopes of affecting the upcoming elections so the flow of assets from the public purse into their pockets isn’t interrupted. Since there aren’t all that many billionaires, their donations, as reported to the Federal Elections Commission, are easy topics for lazy journalists. Having them aggregated in so-called Political Action Committees makes them even easier to track. Like the votive candles in a rack, donations attest to the devotion of the congregation.

      Southern Views

      Exploitation is not racist

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Feb 4, 2012
      Exploitation is not racist

      The exploitation of their own kind being promoted by conservatives and their politicians (it is a mutual admiration society) is not prompted by the race or gender of their victims. While it is natural for the victims of unprovoked attacks to assume they must have done something to prompt this irrational behavior, exploiters don’t require a prompt, just as a lion doesn’t need a prompt to go after a kid for lunch. Besides, and this is why I keep getting exercised by the suggestion that a victim is in any way “responsible” for an assault, when we focus on the victim, the perpetrators get off.

      A Consumer Win

      When Debt Collectors are Bullies

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jan 31, 2012
      When Debt Collectors are Bullies

      Anyone who’s ever been hassled by debt collectors calling incessantly to collect a debt, especially one that’s not even owed, will be glad to learn that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, a consumer protection agency, have been working together to rein in some of the worst debt buyers. In United States v. Asset Acceptance, LLC, a suit brought in the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida, in Tampa, the defendants have agreed to a settlement which imposes a fine of $2.5 million and a number of changes in their business practices.

      Then Our Leaders Will Make Millions?

      Running government like a business.

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jan 27, 2012
      Running Government Like A Business, by Jeff Parker

      If the stories coming out of Wisconsin are to be believed and Scott Walker was, indeed, oblivious to the fact that his county staff were running a political operation from work, the conservative mantra about “running government like a business” apparently means “one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.”

      If that’s the case, then we’re left with the question whether oblivious management is a flaw or a feature. Both the “Peter principle” and my version of “up and out” suggest that…

      The 99 Percent

      No Way to Live

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jan 23, 2012
      No Way to Live

      In a story for the Associated Press, Eva Vergara reports on a maid in a suburb of Santiago, Chile whose pedestrian adventures have set the country atwitter.

      CHICUREO, Chile — Felicita Pinto arrived early at the gates of the luxurious community where she labors as a maid, but the minibus to her employer’s home was late. So she decided to walk six blocks to work, on streets lined with broad lawns and imposing homes.

      Security guards quickly chased her down and forced the 57-year-old widow back to the gate. Pinto’s employer protested, as he had before, against the community bylaws that forbid servants to move at will.

      In Line for the Throne?

      The Royal Romney Undertaking

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jan 19, 2012
      The Royal Romney Undertaking

      Republicans are royalists. They’re groupies, attracted by star power and into hierarchies which hold out the promise of taking a turn in the spotlight for even the briefest moment of fame.Although the Latin scholars among us know well the ‘re’ in Republic refers to ‘res’–i.e. the things or concerns of the people (publius), Republicans think it’s short for ‘rex.’ That makes it more consistent with their preconceived notions about how society ought to be organized–in layers. Similarly, the ‘re’ in responsible is cut off and reduced to signify repetition.

      Tea Patrons

      Vapors in the Koch Kitchen

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jan 16, 2012
      Vapors in the Koch Kitchen

      Question: Should two of the richest men in the richest country on earth set up a separate company to handle public relations if they want to remain reclusive in Wichita, Kansas and Manhattan Island, New York?

      I’d say, since that’s what Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have done, their concerns about privacy can be rightfully questioned. Tasking Melissa Cohlmia, Director, Corporate Communication, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC with chiding Art Brisbane at The New York Times for the kind of coverage provided, especially in the opinion and culture sections, suggests a concern over style, rather than substance. The coverage is great, but they’d like it to be more Koch-friendly.

      Profiting on our Children

      What’s going on with our schools?

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jan 9, 2012
      What's going on with our schools?

      On one level, it’s called privatization. The overt justification for privatization is always an increase in efficiency and higher quality. But the real reason lies in the fact that public officials don’t savor being actually accountable to the public. Shoving their obligations off to private enterprise via contracts strikes them as an opportunity to retain influence without having to actually do anything. And private enterprise is willing, regardless of the likelihood of failure, because American enterprise has a long tradition of exploiting public resources and assets, suckling at the public teat.

      Abusing the Trust

      Gov. Scott Walker–a case study in abuse and deception

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Dec 29, 2011
      Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

      Madison– Gov. Scott Walker announced a plan Wednesday to lift the enrollment cap on a state long-term care program – a move he made two weeks after federal authorities told his administration it had to take that step.

      Walker touted the $80 million plan with advocates for the elderly and disabled at a Capitol news conference, but he made no mention of a recent order from the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, or CMS, directing his administration to lift the cap in the Family Care program.

      Abusers are punitive. They get away with it by being selective in their targets, so those who escape feel grateful to have been spared…

      Human Rights & Wrongs

      Department of Justice cites Seattle Police Department for Excessive Force

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Dec 18, 2011
      Seattle Police Motorcycle Unit

      Of course, the Mayor and Chief of Police refute the findings because a review of internal documentation and after-action reports can’t be but an indictment of people who had the information and took no corrective action.

      The Justice Department’s investigation involved an in-depth review of SPD documents, as well as extensive community engagement.
      /…/
      Based on a randomized, stratified and statistically valid sample of SPD’s use of force reports from Jan. 1, 2009, to April 4, 2011, factual findings include:

      • When SPD officers use force, they do so in an unconstitutional manner nearly 20 percent of the time;

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