Brilliant at Breakfast has a good post up about the American Taliban with links to other sites.
Tiller was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, where Sunday morning services were being held, Stolz said. The gunman then pointed a gun at two men who tried to stop him before driving away in a 1993 blue Ford Taurus, authorities said.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
This may be a first.
[I've had a cough for over a month that just won't go away. I was hoping for something exotic with an unpronounceable name, but the reality appears to be a really boring minor sinus infection triggering post-nasal drip. Solution: antibiotics for a week, and if that doesn't do it then less common possibilities get checked out.]
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It was a rather quiet weekend at home. The S.O. and the dog went on their merry way, the back of the truck packed full of stuff that the S.O. thinks he's going to need while working on the retirement bunker, and I retreated to the recliner with a good book. Or two. Or three. One of the library books (Mummy Dearest) was a nice fun read in which one author (Joan Hess) paid homage to another (Elizabeth Peters). It had a lot of in-jokes that fans of the latter would find amusing, and I did. The book ends with the heroine declaring that the absolute one thing she will not do while in Egypt is to give in to the cliche of being photographed while sitting on a camel in front of a pyramid -- and then when you look at the back cover, there's the author: sitting on a camel in front of the Great Pyramid at Giza. You gotta love an author who can mock herself.
The weather was sufficiently wet and dreary that I didn't venture far from the recliner until this morning. The one bright spot was a vintage dress finally sold on Etsy, giving me hope the others will eventually move, too.
I did listen to various news shows, did the usual weekend C-SPAN immersion, but must be hitting the saturation point (again) because listening to the tinfoil hat crowd didn't trigger much of a reaction. It does floor me that there are still people out there in wackaloon land who want to keep harping about the infamous 'fake' birth certificate. Some of them are good for a laugh, e.g., the ones who only memorized half of Rush's talking points and so babble about Obama being born in Hawaii* and therefore not a citizen, but most are just pathetic.
I'd ask rhetorically just how long this whining is going to last, but I already know. The next four years for sure, and probably the next eight. The Clinton-haters didn't let up on Bill the entire time he was in office; the Obama-haters aren't going to be any different. And now. . . back to work.
*A digression: the ignorance of many Americans is never ending. I find it perfectly believable that there are a lot of wackaloons who would believe being born in Hawaii would make a person a noncitizen because I've run into many people who think Michigan's upper peninsula is part of Canada -- and just recently I heard a great story about the Atlanta Olympics. When people from Albuquerque called the agency here in Georgia that was doing advance ticket sales via phone orders they were told that the tickets could only be sent to U.S. addresses, not to foreign ones like in New Mexico. The frightening thing, of course, is those people are voters.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Judges at Spain's National Court, acting on complaints filed by human rights groups, are pursuing 16 international investigations into suspected cases of torture, genocide and crimes against humanity, according to prosecutors. Among them are two probes of Bush administration officials for allegedly approving the use of torture on terrorism suspects, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Maybe my fantasies about seeing Darth Cheney do a perp walk will come true after all.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I'm not sure which of them I'm going to miss more. Granted, Charlie is Tammi's dog so he's usually not here, but I have been enjoying the early morning walks with him.
The S.O., on the other hand, cooks.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Brown v. Board NHS was established in 1992 when President George H. W. Bush signed the enabling legislation, but did not open to the public until 2004. The site interprets, for the benefit and inspiration of present and future generations, the people, places, and events that contributed to the landmark United States Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation in public education. Furthermore, the site interprets the integral role of the Brown case in the Civil Rights Movement, preserves the former Monroe School and cultural landscape, and assists in the interpretation of related local, national, and international resources that further the understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Monroe School and its cultural landscape have been beautifully restored and the exhibits are first class. If you're ever in Topeka, don't miss it. Just be sure to bring lots of Kleenex -- the film "Race and the American Creed" is a heart breaker.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Bizarre. They may read whatever is shoved in front of them but Wolf Blitzer et al apparently have the comprehension levels of a first-grader. Social Security will not be depleted in 2000-whenever (anywhere from 2037 to 2045, depending on the projections being used); that's the possible year the trust fund zeroes out and the system has to rely solely on contributions being made to the system by workers. And that's assuming absolutely no fixes to the existing system are made, such as removing the earnings cap on taxing wages or upping the age at which a person would qualify for full benefits -- I've never heard a suggestion about upping the age when we all can start collecting partial benefits, which is 62.
When I was listening to the news CNN had a clip of President Obama suggesting the first -- removing the earnings cap -- but of course Wolf et al totally ignored that particular sound bite and instead blathered on breathlessly about Social Security not being there 40 years from now. The man's an idiot.
Of course, having recently sat through a 2-day pre-retirement workshop during which everything a person could ever possibly want to know about Social Security, federal pensions, and private investments was laid out in excruciating detail, I know that Wolf isn't alone in being an idiot. Most Americans are clueless when it comes to Social Security. I heard some truly strange questions asked by co-workers, and if my co-workers (who I would hope are slightly better read and/or informed than the average American) are clueless, that doesn't give me much hope concerning the rest of the populace.
For a start, it's absolutely astounding how many people still labor under the mistaken belief that Social Security is an investment plan. No, no, no, people, it's old age insurance! The money we all pay into Social Security isn't an investment, like buying a bond or putting money into a 401k, it's an insurance premium to protect us from starving to death if we get too old or too crippled to work. When the system was first proposed, in fact, that's how it was described: Old Age Insurance. And just like every other insurance system, it's based in large part on the assumption that a goodly number of the people paying into the system are never going to have to collect, which is why the retirement age for full benefits is set where it is. Back in the 1930s actuaries looked at death rates and deliberately set the minimum age high enough that the number of people who actually collected would be low enough to make the system sustainable. In 1935 the life expectancy in the U.S. was 61; in 2005 it was 77. And there's the Social Security problem in a nutshell; people are living too long.
I could go on, but I need to get to work.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I'm not sure which is more hilarious -- the notion that some radical Islamic sleeper cell cleverly arranged for Obama's birth back in the 1960s and carefully manipulated his life so he'd be in just the right place to be elected President in 2008, which is the most elaborate of the fantasies I've heard spun out in C-SPAN calls, or the simpler fantasy that at some point after Obama began his political career the original birth certificate showing a purported birth in a foreign country vanished and a forged one appeared. Which, I assume, also included going around the world finding every single micro fiche copy of the Honolulu paper from that time period and substituting doctored microfilm that included the birth announcement.
Then again, I have a hunch quite a few of the wackaloons are totally convinced Hawaii itself is a foreign country so it doesn't actually matter where Obama was born -- the key thing is they don't like him for purely visceral reasons (he's black and he's smarter than they are) so there's got to be something they can use as an excuse. I can understand the impulse. Obama's predecessor made my skin crawl. Fortunately, when it came to finding rational reasons to dislike a politician, aWol provided plenty of ammunition. No one had to go all the way back to hovering over Barbara Bush in the delivery room to come up with stuff to use for Bush-bashing; we had lovely recent material like the "My Pet Goat" video. Although, of course, it would have been so much more fun if it had involved aWol with a goat instead of just reading about one, but, despite intriguing rumors, we never got that lucky.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
One of the first 45s* I ever bought -- and also one of the songs that tend to run through my head whenever I wake up to the sound of rainwater running off the eaves.
In retrospect, I'm not sure why I bothered to buy it when I'd been hearing it through the floor of my bedroom for months. At the time, my family was renting an apartment on the second floor of a building in Saxon, Wisconsin. Today the structure is a one-story place known as (the last time I checked) The Bear Trap, one of those typical smalltown Wisconsin taverns. Until the 1990s, though, it was two stories. It had probably begun as a hotel with a hallway running right down the middle of the building. At some point it was remodeled into apartments, 3 or 4 coldwater units that shared a bathroom, which did get hot water, thank goodness. For the approximately 5 years we lived there, most of the other apartments were unoccupied -- another thank goodness, or getting ready for school in the morning could have been a real headache.
When we moved in, I thought it was a huge improvement over the family's previous digs. We'd moved to Wisconsin in mid-winter because the Old Man had finagled a promotion to section foreman with the Chicago & Northwestern. Financially it was no doubt a big step up, but I don't recall us kids being too thrilled about it. The first place the Old Man found for us to live was in the middle of nowhere -- the former Kimball railroad depot. It was cold, it was drafty, heat was provided by a woefully inadequate oil-burning space heater, and plumbing consisted of the classic little brown shack out back. The biggest thing it had going for it, I assume, was it came furnished so my parents didn't have to worry about moving furniture back in the days before U-Haul. We had to walk up what felt like the world's longest driveway to get to the bus stop for school, and the closest neighbors all seemed to be retired farmers. Then when Spring arrived we discovered most of the local vegetation consisted of poison ivy, and the predominant fauna were woodticks. (Now that I think about it, it was like a dress rehearsal for visiting Arkansas.)
Moving into an apartment with steam heat and indoor plumbing was, of course, wonderful. And the fact there was a bar right under my bedroom with a jukebox blasting until late at night was a bonus. (Another insight: no wonder I was able to ignore my kids fighting once they got big enough to start annoying each other -- I'd already spent five years of my life tuning out much rowdier combatants.)
[*If you need to ask what a 45 is, you're too young to appreciate the Cascades.]
Sunday, May 3, 2009
The S.O. switched the tv to NBC because he couldn't stand to listen to Gillespie for one more second. Guess it's tin foil hat time in Georgia, too. According to the local news folks, the state's lone case of swine flu has magically vanished. The state health department has decided that even though the patient is in a hospital in LaGrange, it's not a Georgia case after all. It's Kentucky's, because that's where the woman is from.
Then again, Georgia is a state that's great at putting a happy spin on problems by wishing them away. They've reduced their poverty rate by denying (or cutting off) welfare benefits to most of the people who qualify -- if they never issue a TANF check, they can claim there's no one in the state who needs the help.
And, speaking of stupidity on a massive scale, a definite failure to communicate, the AJC has an article today about the state health department doing a fax to all the clinicians in the state asking them to report possible swine flu cases ASAP to the health department, including sending in specimens to be checked. Except they didn't bother to provide instructions on just exactly what they meant by specimens, how to take them, and where to send them. One doctor said that he did have a patient he had questions about, so he called the state health department for information. He got voice mail. He persisted, finally connected with a human who told him to "use the special packaging," which he didn't have. She said they'd send him some -- but by the time he received it, too much time would have elapsed and the sample would be useless. He had taken a throat swab, but wound up just throwing it away.