Saturday, March 27, 2010

Best of Biden

Saluting a Regular Joe

And his his fans


As the chair of the local county board of supervisors, Harry Reid initiated the project which expanded the road from 2 to 4 lanes... Literally paving the way to Searchlight, NV for future protestors.

TEA-baggers descend on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's home town today to hear the platitudes of Palin and Plumber... But in 2008 those who were serious about small government conservativism promoted Ron Paul. His rallies were the most well-attended at UNLV.

Nothing But Nets

When your team is in the running for the designation of "Worst NBA Team Ever" you might expect your fans to complain, if you have any fans left... But at the very least, be nice to the ones who still come.
Audio: NPR & WBUR's Only A Game 3/27/10, Commentator: Bill Littlefield.

Tracy's Smooth Moves

So... Maybe my opening lines weren't dumb enough.

Andy In The Andes

A collection of silk screen images by Andy Warhol are on display in a most unlikely place… A small Andean village in central Colombia. The town of Jerico got their hands on a world-renowned pop art collection.
Audio: The World 3/25/10, Reporter: John Otis, Host: Marco Werman.

Consumption Junction

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought for Food - 3/16/10
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Friday, March 26, 2010

Not So Good Friday

Those who assume the title and instantly acquire all the trappings of Catholicism's cult of personality are just men elected by other men... And whatever our destiny, we all arrive with a past... One lived as ordinary human beings; without any pretense of infallibility.

When Pope Benedict XVI was still called Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he didn't defrock (strip of all priestly duties, power & privileges) an American priest who allegedly molested as many as 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin over the course of three decades. This latest disclosure comes a week after the Pope's role in mishandling a pedophile priest scandal while serving as Archbishop in Munich was exposed.

Internal Vatican communications records obtained by The New York Times, show several bishops had been told of the behavior of the serial molester of the deaf and did nothing for many years. When they finally did forward the matter to the Vatican it was to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (think police internal affairs), headed by Ratzinger. The office never convened procedures to expel the offender... Instead he was moved to another diocese where he continued to have regular interaction with children in schools, a parish church and even a juvenile detention center.

New York Times national religion correspondent, Laurie Goodstein, uncovered the documents and reports on what this means for the Vatican and the Pope himself. And she's joined by Walter Robinson, who led the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize winning investigative unit which documented in 2002 and 2003 sexual abuse within the Boston Archdiocese, leading to the resignation of the area's Cardinal Law.

Audio: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway 3/25/10,
Host: John Hockenberry.
CNN's Jack Cafferty asked: "In light of the pope's role in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, should he resign?"

It's not unprecedented; 7 have... The last was Gregory XII in 1415.


"Politics is war without bloodshed. War is politics with bloodshed."
-- Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary/political theorist (1893-1976)

One side says they're already victims, the other doesn't wish to be.

"In war, truth is the first casualty."
-- Aeschylus, Greek tragic dramatist (525 - 456 BC)

And those who speak truth also fall... Often to friendly fire.

Simple Solution

While proponents of financial reform have proposed simpler legal contracts for loans and credit card agreements, Alan Siegel says it's time to take on and simplify all the tax forms, regulations and legislation crammed with unintelligible gobbledygook.

Alan Siegel's TED Talk, February 2010.
See a credit card agreement made simple sample.

Time for Reflection

Recently the BBC invited its audience to make and enter short personal documentary films in a competition called MyWorld.

Of the over 500 entries, curators selected "Wash, Rinse and Spin" by Frederico Teixeira de Sampayo from Spain as the contest winner.

Sun Strip

Sun Flare on Las Vegas Blvd by Michele Santee.

Sincere Form of Flattening

The Bee Gees, plus one.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 3/16/10.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rage Uncaged

In a survey taken Monday, after passage but before becoming law of the land, public opinion pollsters went to work calling over a thousand American adults on behalf of USA Today. Their results, published Wednesday, found 52% in favor and 39% against the the changes included in the health care reform bill. During the run-up to the final vote, Gallup also found it gained fans, not foes.

Ed Schultz has a segment called Psycho Talk on his MSNBC show. For the most part the clips are silly or stupid if you can dismiss them as isolated incidents. Taken as a whole they're more serious, even scary. Now Democratic supporters of the health care reform bill are literally finding themselves in danger as the anger goes criminal.

Free Speech

The opposition was strident, but in the end, yeah they did.

In a way YouTube mash-ups or Photoshop creations are this century's political cartoons... Not necessarily correct, but a protected right.

It was George Mason who insisted that the U.S. Constitution needed its Bill of Rights... Foremost among them: Freedom of Speech, particularly political speech. And politics has always been rough.

Free Speech is a sword that can cut many ways. It's what allows things which offer insight, or those that incite, without judgment. That's something you have to supply for yourself.

Cat Stack

Hard to herd... Easy to store and organize.

From Damn Cool Pics

Online Identity

Unless you're an identical twin, your DNA is unique... But little else is.

If you Google your own name you'll find a lot of examples... Other people with the same name, who might be confused with you, or who have staked out a domain, email address or beat you to a social media site.

Have you ever tried to contact someone else with the same name? Jon did.
Audio: APM's Future Tense 3/22/10, Host: Jon Gordon.

3 of 4 comments about this story on the Future Tense site were left by other Jon Gordons who weren't in the story.

Lots of people find online duplicates... And some find love:

Having a name that's not gender specific opens up possibilities, but it's not just couples connecting via social networking.

The BBC found clubs of people who share names within Facebook. For example: the "Our Name is David Nelson" group, or a 52-member group called "We Are Paul Quinn." They are strict about an exact match and won't even accept Paulas or Paulines.

The San Francisco Chronicle consulted the director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, who suggested there's a certain "fascination" to finding a person who shares our name but no other component of what makes us who we are.

So, have you Googled yourself lately?

Where It's @

New York City's Museum of Modern Art is where it's @.

MoMA announced they "acquired" the famous "@" symbol for their collection.

According to Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the Department of Architecture and Design, the "@" mark excels in form and function - though its not exactly a modern design, it's one of the most ubiquitous symbols of the Internet era.

The man who put "@" on the map was Ray Tomlinson, an engineer for the company hired to build the ARPANET for the US Defense Department. He wrote the first program to move messages from one computer to another, actually two computers that were sitting besides each other, but connected by the ARPANET. In 1971, a simple test message: "QWERTYUIOP" became the first spam... Because as Tomlinson is quoted as saying, he invented email, "mostly because it seemed like a neat idea." In 1971 nobody was asking for it.

Beck - Where It's At (1996) courtesy Geffen Records.

Why We're Fat

Blame Art!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

America's Pro-Israel Lobby

Are the interests really as intertwined as the flags suggest?

The picture is from the homepage of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The caption reads "Israel is America's closest ally in the Middle East."

You've probably heard the same words coming from politicians, diplomats and "think tank formers;" members of previous administrations who play the roles of Statler and Waldorf criticizing the more recent winners while waiting for a return to power. But for the most part, anyone who parrots AIPAC's language refuses to question Israeli provocations.

Constructing Jewish settlements in predominantly Arab areas has been an Israeli tactic for decades. The CIA's 2007 estimate includes about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, 20,000 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and 177,000 in East Jerusalem. Every one of them is a tripwire for larger conflict, a provocation of a subjugated minority and an obstacle to any potential of negotiating a durable political agreement with the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Israel’s “right to build” in Jerusalem, saying it was “not a settlement, it’s our capital,” while making a speech to AIPAC in Washington; our capital.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 3/23/10,
Reporter: Matthew Bell.

While Obama & Netanyahu met, Melissa Block spoke to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who's now the Middle East envoy for the Quartet — which includes the U.S., Russia, the UN and the EU. The Quartet wants to reach a peace deal on the two-state solution within two years. Blair says that's not an unrealistic goal if talks get going. He also says Hamas could be part of the process if they are prepared to work toward a two-state solution in a peaceful way.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 3/23/10.

Britain has expelled an Israeli diplomat, believed to be the Mossad's chief spy in the UK, after evidence suggested Israeli assassins used forged British passports in the killing of a Palestinian Hamas official in Dubai in January. The British government says trust between the two countries has been damaged.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 3/23/10,
Reporter: Laura Lynch.

The AIPAC logo also suggests that American and Israeli interests are inevitably and inextricably intertwined.

In terms of America's domestic politics and political fundraising, that may be true. Absolute and unconditional support for Israel without question is a "bullet vote" issue, as critical to a candidate's constituency as social security, gun ownership or "right to life" issues can be.

Israel: the fourth third rail of American politics.

Intergalactic Winter Croquet

The beauty of Vermont draws tourists in droves for three seasons of the year. But Spring doesn't arrive on time and isn't that long, popular or special... Unless you love mud. So as winter winds down, Vermonters are ready for something fun.
Audio: It's Only Game, 3/20/10, Reporter: Karen Given, Host: Bill Littlefield.
Croquet set sculpture in winter photo by Allen Bukoff (January 2006).

Still In The Rough

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Scandal List: Tiger Woods 3/22/10
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

Playing out of a bad lie...

Spice Cream

Cool with a kick.

A Mexican dinner desert idea via Unique Daily.

Dwarves For Dinner

Intergalactic gravity has no respect for individuality. Even as the universe continues to expand as a whole, parts of it that come close enough attract and merge. Cosmic scale cannibalistic carnage... Stargazers witness the crime scene.
Audio: CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks 3/20/10, Host: Bob McDonald.

Foos Rush In

Danger makes everyone run... Most run away.

We didn't become the heroes that kids dress up as at Halloween, let alone the real ones who run toward the danger when it's time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Arc of History

During the 2008 campaign for the Presidency, Barack Obama addressed a crowd of supporters outdoors in St. Louis, Missouri.

In the distance, you can see a building with a greenish-copper dome. That's the Old St. Louis Courthouse, where for years slaves were auctioned on the steps... And the the same building where in 1850, two escaped slaves named Dred and Harriett Scott had their petition for freedom overturned.

The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Roger Taney threw it out because, as he wrote, the Scotts were "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

The arc has bent to a point where a black man is the democratically elected President of a nation whose legal scholars consider "The Dred Scott Decision" as the greatest injustice in that nation's history.

In theory preserving what's good about your past is fine... But only if you are honest, and selective about what you wish to conserve.

As the arc of history bends toward justice, it also exposes injustice and the hateful folly of its perpetrators.

Losing Argument

Whose Waterloo?

Turning Point

Front-Runner Fallout

Fear, Anger, Hatred, Suffering

Virtual Round Table

Journalists find lessons in leadership, "Morning Joe" Scarborough voices talking points from the campaign to come, left-overs from fights already lost and his envy of LBJ-style power plays.

Stupak Human Trick

Snopes Says Nope

Urban Legend was a 1998 horror film based on a story bout a serial killer who used the same methods of death described in certain urban legends as a means to kill his victims.

Scary, right? The film even starred Robert Englund... Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger!

Although they make up a lot of contemporary folklore, these myths are not a new phenomenon... Stories represented as factual, portrayed as coming from a reliable source known by the teller, often having elements of humor or horror. Although those with a political connection tend to be mean-spirited, not all are malicious. Most are false, but all get repeated.

Long before the Internet these stories were viral. Most would be identified as apocryphal before appearing in print, because editors and publishers insisted on verification: Fact checking, the 18th Century version of a spam filter.

In our time, however, urban legends are pandemic. In a world of cut and paste, email forwarding and putting whatever you want up on the World Wide Web without any editorial process your own inbox is a source of infection.

“It is easier to believe a lie that one has heard a thousand times than to believe a fact that no one has heard before.”
--H.L. Mencken (American journalist/social critic 1880-1956),

But at, they try to sort it all out.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 3/20/10, Photo/Reporter: Guy Raz.

"You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.”
-- Anton Chekhov (Russian physician/playwright, 1860-1904)

"Trust, but verify."
-- Ronald Reagan (American actor/politician, 1911-2004),
quoting Damon Runyon (American journalist/writer, 1884-1946)

Making An Ass...

Assume The Position

Yo' Mama's so fat, when she wears polka dots, people play Twister.

Toying with Taylor

Twister was introduced in 1966. Taylor Swift was born in 1989. Duh!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Progress, Not Perfection

For nearly one hundred years, Presidents have struggled with the complicated politics of health care reform and universal coverage.

Theodore Roosevelt (1912):
"The Square Deal"
Franklin Roosevelt (1935):
"The New Deal"

Harry Truman (1948):
"The Fair Deal"

Lyndon Johnson (1964):
"The Great Society"

Richard Nixon (1974):
No Deal (Watergate)

Bill Clinton (1993):
No Deal (Harry & Louise)

Barack Obama (2010): Done Deal... "I promised Teddy."

There's no doubt he meant the late Senator Kennedy, but it could also apply to the first President Roosevelt, first to champion the cause.

Long Time Coming

Crosby Stills & Nash circa 1977.

Seal (1994)

If the figure of 45,000 unnecessary deaths a year attributable to the lack of health insurance is correct, that's equivalent to 15 times the death toll of 9-11 annually... American lives, wasted.

So think about it that way, then see where do you stand.

Bear, Not Bull

Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere


Believe it or not, the real ones are in much bigger trouble.
Audio: CBS Radio's Osgood File, 3/18/10.

Single Signals

A pre-existing condition from Cameron Crowe's film "Singles" (1992).
Richard Jeni - Single or Married
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Redneck Fire Alarm

There's always a chance you'll be done first...

A corny suggestion from Ken Morgan.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pre-Game Rallies

Crack that whip!

7 Years of Lost Youth

"The World" anchor Jeb Sharp speaks with Dexter Filkins about the many young American soldiers he’s met as a New York Times correspondent covering the wars in Iraq (now 7 years old) and Afghanistan (8.5). Filkins has written a personal essay on young soldiers at war for this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. It's accompanied by the photographs of Ashley Gilbertson.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World, 3/19/10.

We have all been here before...

Numb Nuts

We're so proud to be from Nevada... NOT!

Jonathan Humbert reports for KLAS-TV's investigative unit. The Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston has also reported on Ensign's scandal creep. The Review Journal's Jane Ann Morrison says Ensign's only resigned to hang on, no matter what it costs others.

Panelists on local PBS' "Nevada Week In Review" agreed it's in Ensign's interest to hold out a potential resignation as a bargaining chip for a future plea deal or reduced sentence... Despite the Senator's protests, the preponderance of evidence is not favorable.

Eat It

To say Jamie Oliver ran headlong into some stiff resistance is an understatement. Red-meat red-state residents of Huntington, WV didn't open their cholesterol clogged hearts to the idea of revolution.

Oliver's "Food Revolution" previews tonight. ABC series debut Friday.

Not to be outdone in celebrity chef cameos, the CBS Early Show offered up something that sounds contradictory from the start.
Can there really be such a thing as "healthy" comfort food?

There's a slippery side to any food or drink that promises less of the bad stuff... People will think it's now all good stuff, and get stuffed thinking they have a license to do it... Some is good, more is better.

Unlike drinking or drugs, you can't cut food and beverages out completely. You have to know, be incented to realize or be told, how much is enough. Americans aren't very good at that, or ok with it.

Not Music, Muzak

Despite bankruptcy, they're still making the noise that annoys.
Audio: CBS Radio's Osgood File, 3/19/10.

You May Ask Yourself