The Widdershins

Katrina Satellite image offshore

It’s not as though I needed a reminder of what this day is.  I will most likely have it and the memories in my mind until the day I die, that is if I keep my mind and don’t slip into a senile, demented old age.  It’s all just clear as a bell.

On Friday the 26th of August 2005 I was at work in the Ops Control Center at USDA’s National Finance Center in New Orleans.  We had these big monitors at the front of the room that we could all see from our workstations.  They showed the status of the IDMS databases, the CICS online systems, and various other systems that we kept track of.  But we had one monitor that had a tv tuner attached to it and we had The Weather Channel on that one.  And what I saw on that channel began to scare me terribly.  Hurricane Katrina had already crossed Florida and was supposed to turn up the peninsula of Florida but it wasn’t doing that.  It was staying out in the Gulf and the weather people were talking about it possibly heading toward the central Gulf and perhaps Louisiana.  We already had Tropical Storm (later reclassified as a Cat 1 hurricane) Cindy pass through and we didn’t have power for two days.  The power situation was hit and miss and it was available in other parts of St. Bernard, including a hotel.  I tried talking the momster into us going there so I could leave her someplace with a.c. so I could go to work.  She refused and there was no way I could leave her in a house without a.c. by herself.

So with Cindy in mind and watching Katrina not doing what she was supposed to do, I got on the phone and started calling hotels out of the area.  Previously we had evacuated to Meridian Mississippi.  It was about 150-200 miles inland and had always worked out satisfactorily before, well out of the way of any

TIMES-PICAYUNE FILE PHOTO/TED JACKSON A cross stands out in the Mississippi River Gult Outlet at Shell Beach as part of the St. Bernard Katrina memorial.

Katrina cross in the MRGO commemorates the 180 people who died in St. Bernard parish

possible water or flooding and the hotel we used accepted pets because we had Chloe with us.  I called the place and there was “no room at the inn”.  So I had to start looking online for hotels there that were pet friendly.  I found one that looked acceptable so I called and booked us two rooms for, I think, 4 days.  We(my Dad and I) never thought as much about getting out of the path of a hurricane as much as we thought of just getting out of the immediate area.  Obviously the idea of levees being breached and floodwalls collapsing never crossed my mind.  So then I called the momster and in my sternest voice told her we had to get ready to leave for Katrina.  I was surprised when she said okay because she had watched the news on tv also.  (big sigh of relief from me!)

That evening I started boarding up windows and putting things away that were in the yard and on the

Memorial plaque with the names of those in SBP that died in the storm.

Memorial plaque with the names of those in SBP that died in the storm.

patio so there would be no flying projectiles when the winds hit.  Saturday I ran errands before getting ready to leave and then spent Saturday evening loading up the Expedition.  We left out Sunday morning and I was concerned about my neighbors because two families of them decided they would ride out the storm there.  That morning I found out  that one of families had decided to leave and that was a relief for me.  After following the news and weather I was awfully concerned about anyone staying behind.

We got to Meridian and the hotel and I was surprised at the number of Louisiana tags in the parking lot and then even more surprised when I found out that many of the people were fellow residents from “da parish”.  We watched the news as they showed Katrina hitting Louisiana and then as it moved inland.  Then we watched as it was approaching Mississippi and I realized the winds weren’t really dying down

A flooded Judge Perez Dr. in Chalmette LA.

A flooded Judge Perez Dr. in Chalmette LA.

much.  I found out later that winds in Meridian got up to 100 mph (I figured this out as I watched pieces of the

hotel next to us break off and fly around).  We lost power there and didn’t get it back for two days.  Meanwhile I was checking with people around the hotel to see if anyone had news from the parish.  Gradually folks started getting some news.  We knew the city had been flooded…we all sat around in shock just watching the videos that were coming in.  But then I started hearing that the levees on the MRGO that protected St. Bernard had failed.  Chalmette was flooded, with some places having water over the roofs.

The storm surge comes through the MRGO overtopping the levees.

The storm surge comes through the MRGO overtopping the levees.

In the picture above I can’t give anything for a reference except to say the tall things there are the supports for a four-laned Interstate type bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.  Obviously those are telephone poles and trees in the front.  Normally the MRGO was so placid people would go out there in flat boats to fish.

All I can say is that for days there was a bunch of people who were milling around a hotel with no power, hotter than hell , just wondering what had happened to their homes.  We were getting no news about our parish because the bigger disaster was what was happening in New Orleans.  Then news started trickling in as I wrote above.

I’m going to wrap this up with something from The Rude Pundit because writing about “the thing” as Chris Rose referred to it is not something I really want to relive again.

“I don’t wanna write about that. I’m tired of thinking about it,” said one of the Rude Pundit’s New Orleans friends when he asked the woman to post on this here blog about the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that caused the levees in New Orleans to break, allowing cataclysmic, murderous floods to ravage that place and many others. “Why does it matter that it’s been ten years? Every day is another anniversary.” Her family had lost three Katrina shrimp Boat Chalmetteor four houses between all the members. She lived a damn nightmare.

He reached out to another buddy, an old friend, a writer and photographer, who responded, “I’m just keeping my head low and not following it at all. It makes me crazy.” He meant that it depressed the hell out of him, and it was hard to blame him. He had been chased out of his home by the storm and came back to help rebuild the town. – See more at: http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2015/08/not-katrina-anniversary-post.html#sthash.NaWKKbPo.dpuf

And that’s sorta the way I feel too.  We were fortunate in that we had “only” about five to six feet of water in the house and it did not come up in a violent matter.  The house is structurally sound and is secured, just waiting there for the rebuild.

But as Rude Pundit’s friends said, “I don’t wanna talk about it”.  Sometimes wounds take forever to heal and sometimes they don’t heal at all.

When I first saw someone post this song online, after the storm, I was sitting in the Birmingham area, where I am now, and just completely broke down.  I had a bottle of Seagrams 7 near me and just started slugging the shit.  The guy wasn’t even from La, but he knew…he knew.  I sat there slugging and snuffling until I got loaded enough to fall asleep.

It’s an open thread and comment however you’d like.  And writing about this has made me have to take a half of a xanax.

Mr. Prolix here.  Sorry, but I’ve watched one too many Trump press conferences.  I now refer to myself in the third person with a gender-based honorific – you know, just in case by mistake I tune into an episode of I am Cait.spitting llama

Mr. Prolix likes to think of himself as a reasonably calm, sane human.  That is, until Mr. Prolix hears the teevee conservodroids say, “Hillary’s e-mail scandal is just like David Petraeus’ and he was charged with a crime.”

It is at this point Mr. Prolix’s head explodes.  Mr. Prolix then goes into apoplectic fits spitting at the teevee machine like a hyper-salivating llama.  It is quite the scene, a headless zombie llama spitting like a possessed pitching machine – Mr. Prolix must remember to take selfies.

Hillary and PetraeusPetraeus vs. Hillary…

Here’s the deal:  Comparing what Petraeus did to Hillary’s situation is the equivalent of comparing Mt. Everest to an anthill you see between cracks in the sidewalk. There is no comparison.  Even mentioning them in the same breath wouldn’t pass a breathalyzer test.  Let’s visit the Al Gore certified “inconvenient truth”.

First, David Petraeus was Director of the Central Freaking Intelligence Agency – the CIA.  Second, he had been engaged in a conscious scheme to leave his “sweet nothings emails” in a draft folder in a “dummy e-mail” account to avoid any possible detection.

And here’s the big difference – purple pill popping Petraeus, in furtherance of having his dolphin polished and what should have been a career ending forfeiture of his $220,000 a year pension, did this:

Petraeus and BroadwellThe FBI began investigating Petraeus after Paula Broadwell (aforementioned dolphin polisher) sent threatening e-mails to Jill Kelley, a Florida woman who knew Petraeus from his days in Tampa. Kelley, unaware of the sender’s identity, called the FBI. The bureau later traced the messages to Broadwell and uncovered explicit e-mails between her and Petraeus in an e-mail account both frequented without ever transmitting emails, but leaving draft messages in a folder.

Agents also learned that Broadwell was in possession of classified documents, triggering an investigation of how she obtained them.

The FBI searched Petraeus’s house in April 2013 and found books containing a trove of classified information in an unlocked drawer in his study. The books contained top-secret information that the Justice Department said could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security if disclosed.

That information included code words for secret intelligence programs, identities of covert officers, war strategy and deliberative discussions with the National Security Council.  (Emphasis my own.)

Sometimes even double entendres are too easy...

Sometimes even double entendres are too easy…

Petraeus took classified and highly sensitive information from secure locations.  He put it in notebooks, took it home, and left it unguarded.  And here’s the important part, he freely traded that information to someone who set out to seduce him for personal gain.  Did Mr. Prolix mention Petraeus was the Director of the freaking CIA at the time?  The CIA!

The F.B.I. was none too happy about the two-year probationary sentence Petraeus worked out with prosecutors, but those were the wages of his sin.

Now, Mr. Prolix reminds you:  When you hear the likes of Joe Scrotumborough or Sean Banality compare these two situations, don’t turn into a hyper-salivating llama like Mr. Prolix, just remember the Petraeus situation was centered on “hand to glans combat”.

The 14th Amendment and Little Bitty Babies

Okay, my third-person Trump fever has passed.Repeal the 14th

Trump has focused a great deal of white supremacist angst toward the threat presented by colicky, free-pooping babies.  Before I delve into a couple of points about the 14th Amendment, allow me, in the strongest possible terms, recommend an excellent piece of long-form journalism.  The essay is in The New Yorker about the beer-goggled allure white nationalists have with Forrest Trump.  If you have some free time, please take the time to read it.

Now, back to regular programming.

The 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War to bring citizenship to freed slaves.  It provides in part:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

Trump continues to insist there are “some of the greatest legal minds in the country” who opine that birthright citizenship is not absolute.  Stripping away the Trumpiness hyperbole, there are some legal minds advancing such thoughts, but like Yeti sightings, they are rare things.  In fact, those who hold such views freely admit they are a miniscule minority.

Carry Me HomeTheir reasoning goes something like this:

Some scholars argue the 14th Amendment allows birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants but does not require it. Therefore, Congress would be able to pass legislation without the need for a Constitutional amendment.

Peter Schuck, one of the leading scholars who has endorsed this position said, “I would say that our view on the constitutional issue is decidedly the minority view.”

The focus of the argument rests upon the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” to receive citizenship at birth.  If there is no mutual consent for citizenship, Congress could pass legislation limiting birthright citizenship or so the argument goes.

That is the gist of the argument.  Without belaboring it, I don’t find this issue very interesting.  The intrigue is in the subterfuge surrounding this issue.  The zeal with which some of the candidates have taken to this issue indicates there are more than just babies anchoring this all too focused interest.

If the 14th Amendment were to be repealed or amended in a significant way, let’s look at some of the things that would be either extinguished or significantly altered.  Here’s a partial list:

Abortion, Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Immigration, Contraceptive Rights, Marriage Equality, Fair Housing, Non-discrimination in Education, Parental Rights, Child Visitation Rights, Rights of the Incarcerated, Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Obamacare, Right to Public Accommodations, Sexual Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Racial Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, Pregnancy Discrimination, Hate Crimes Legislation, Condemnation Rights, Land Ownership Rights, Zoning Rights, Forfeiture Rights, Federal Medical Leave Act, to name just a few.Pilgrims

From this list you can see almost all of the red meat issues for the fringiest of the fringe Right.  Is there any wonder why some of the candidates have so tightly embraced reforming the 14th Amendment?  Embraced it in a bear hug that would kill an elephant?  And let there be no doubt, it will effectively euthanize the Republican Party.

Things are not always as they seem.  Such is the case with this 14th Amendment imbroglio.

 

Any and all subjects await your comments and observations.

 

Apologies to Carly Simon, but…Carly Simon

We’re so vain, we probably think this economy is about us,
We’re so vain, we bet future swaps this economy is about us,
Don’t we? Don’t we?

A few years ago, when the Chinese economy was booming, politicians said it was an orchestrated plot to take America down.  Now that the Chinese economy is struggling desperately, those same politicians are just as convinced it is – wait for it – a plot to take America down.

The political discourse around this issue is genuinely unhelpful.  Just like Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, Scott Walker snapped, “No state dinner for Xi,” the Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled for a formal state visit.  I guess the closest Benihana will have to do.  Given the impetuous inanity passing for policy, here’s what you need to know about the China Syndrome of the Chinese economy in less than 800 words.

Chinese Stock MarketChina’s stock market is relatively small.  It’s mostly mom and pop investors who have borrowed the money to buy stocks – a majority of them don’t have a high school education.  After gaining 140% last year, this year the Shanghai Composite Index has fallen 40% in the face of a tremendous amount of active intervention by the Chinese central government.  It seems as though the Politburo can’t stop the crash.

The reason all these unsophisticated investors got into the stock market was the implicit support of the Chinese Communist Party.  It appears to have been an overly optimistic act of faith in the Chinese Politburo’s economic stewardship.

With an abundance of labor, China bet the farm on being the world’s low-cost manufacturer and assembly line.  Such an economic model is not sustainable for an economy needing to grow at a double-digit multiple to service a burgeoning middle class.  The Chinese government has been notoriously optimistic in its economic forecasts (some say notoriously deceiving).  There are more than a few economists who believe the Chinese economy is on the verge of recession, if not already there.

This is how it happened:  When global demand went kaput in 2008, China decided to focus on massive domestic Empty cityconstruction projects.  There has been a massive, and I do mean massive, overbuild in China with unused stadiums, skyscrapers, and even whole cities.  They sit empty.

Add to this the relocation of 250 million Chinese from rural settings to cities in just twelve years as official state policy.  In essence, this top down policy from the Politburo turns China into a majority urban country in a dozen years.  Put another way, it would be the equivalent of relocating 5 of every 6 Americans in the span of three presidential terms.

Chinese leadership is terrified of political unrest reminiscent of Tiananmen Square.  Without sustained growth at a level sufficient to service a growing middle class, the leadership of China is at a crossroads.  At once they are both risk-willing to try just about anything to thwart economic upheaval and at the same time, risk-averse against any potential calamities resulting from their actions.

Chinese Stone SoldiersThere is a group of millennial Chinese numbering about 300 million – about the size of the total U.S. population.  This group is better educated and likes its taste of the middle class lifestyle.  The Communist Party worries most about this group.  Quelling political unrest in this group would be difficult, almost impossible, because of the nomadic nature of these 300 million workers and their widespread geographic dispersion.

In its simplest terms, the problem is transforming a manufacturing, rural economy into an urban, consumption-based economy in less than a generation.  For perspective, it took Great Britain 200 years, the U.S. 100 years, and Japan 50 years to do the same thing.

As with all instances of massive historical change, there are naysayers within the Chinese system.  China’s top-down, hierarchical structure ensures elites have control over policy and decision-making.  These traditionalists are wary of many of the enacted economic reforms.  This current economic tsunami strengthens traditionalists at the expense of reformers like President Xi Jinping.

How does this affect us?  Throughout history, when absolute control is threatened in China, it retreats back in on itself.  Hibernation of the world’s second largest economy would be the equivalent of a worldwide recession and catastrophic to our economic well-being and the world economy in general.Chinese Stone Soldiers

Even more sobering is this:  Political instability in a country with a standing army of 200 million soldiers and perhaps 3,000 nuclear warheads is indeed a worrisome thing.  This is especially true in a region where China is surrounded by emerging economies – the “if you can’t make it, take it philosophy” would indeed present existential threats.

Again, my apologies to Ms. Simon:  “Instead of clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee,” there are clouds on the horizon, clouds on the horizon.

Take the conversation in any direction you might like.

 

 

Up, Up and Away

Up, Up and Away

Good Monday to you Widdershins!

Our Madamab is swamped by work!  I think I saw a finger wiggling out from a pile of graphs, charts, handouts and the rest.  And I believe I saw a snorkel stick up out of the pile just so she could breathe!

Dear chat is sitting at home itching and scratching terribly from her case of hives

Good guy Prolix has had to retire for a day or two to rest his fingers because he has been doing the heavy lifting around here lately.

And your faithful servant here is trying to cope with the not-so-good news of the severe illness of a good friend the he went to college with!  We’re talking long times here.

So, with that in mind I went rummaging through the posts and found this hilarious one act play by our  MB and I dusted it off for today.  Do you remember all the coverage of the “balloon boy” when that goofy event occurred?  Remember all of the talking heads pontificating over “how did he do it?”, “where were the parents?”, “Is this a big hoax?”.  Now…take those same talking heads and exchange balloon boy for Hillary Clinton and email server.  It’s the same thing.  The talking heads are grasping at every little “leaked” item they can over this.  Color me surprised, but Friday I watched Bill Maher and even he says he doesn’t get what all the hubbub is about.  So, read the play and make the substitutions of Hillary and server.  You’ll find the similarities amazing.

 

This is a wide open post for any way you wish to discuss things.

line-divider

THE SCENE: A swank TV studio, with all the zoomy, whizzy lights, giant flashing screens, deep-pile royal blue carpeting, poreless, lacquered newsbots, and hysterical black-clad assistants one could ever desire. We are in the back of the studio, in the glass-enclosed center of all the action. EDITORS 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all sitting in their leather chairs, directing the action by talking to each other, pointing at their MacBooks, and shouting into their wireless headsets. They are all in their 20’s and have just been promoted after their more experienced bosses “aged out of the business.”

EDITOR 1 (swigging a Red Bull): What’s new on Twitter? We’ve gotta have something for the next segment.

EDITOR 2 (nervously): Let’s see…Demi and Ashton just tweeted…

EDITOR 3 (yawning): Oh please. They tweet when they pee!

EDITOR 4 (pushing in excitedly): Guys, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard just got bombed! A bunch of people died and that DinnerJacket guy is blaming us and the Brits! This could be the start of a huge international incident!

(A brief silence, then:)

EDITORS 1-3 (bursting into laughter): HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

EDITOR 3 (wiping tears from her eyes): Oh, that was a good one! Like anyone cares about that crap these days.

(EDITOR 4 subsides into a humiliated silence.)

EDITOR 2 (eagerly): What about Sarah Palin? Sometimes we can just say her name and people think it’s news!

EDITOR 1 (dismissively): Nahhhh, we tried that two days ago. It bombed.

EDITOR 2 (peevishly): FINE. Uh, uh…Oooooh! (points at his MacBook) Check this out!

(All the EDITORS gather around the screen.)

EDITOR 3 (finally interested): Holy shit! A kid jumped in a balloon in a back yard and it got loose?

EDITOR 2 (proud): Huh? Huh? Is this good or what?

EDITOR 1 (shouting into his headset): Listen up, people! We’ve got something. Get ready to roll in five!

EDITOR 4: This story is unbelievable! Wow, it’s…hmmm.

EDITOR 3 (dismissively): What is it NOW?

EDITOR 4: Well, just shooting it out there, but…what if the kid was never in the balloon to begin with? Or what if he was, but he’s not now? Or what if these parents are making the whole thing up?

EDITOR 1 (after a brief pause): What are you, 25?

EDITOR 4 (nervously): Uh…26.

EDITOR 1 (smugly): I figured. God, you old people just don’t understand the business any more! (gets up and starts pacing) The story’s a win-win. If it’s a hoax, we do a story about the hoax and we milk that for a week. If it’s true, boo-hoo, the kid’s dead – we milk that for a week. If the kid arrives in the balloon safely, we milk his heroic and incredible escape for a week. (suddenly shouting) DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!

(EDITOR 4 looks cowed and ashamed. EDITORS 2 and 3 look happy and superior.)

EDITOR 1 (with chilling finality): You’re fired. (sitting down, shouting into his headset) Hey! You in the black!

(ALL the assistants whirl around at the same time, with hopeful smiles on their faces.)

EDITOR 1 (annoyed): NOT YOU! The guy with the cool hair and soulpatch. Get up here, man.

(The New Guy pumps the air with his fist, then starts making his way to the glass booth as EDITOR #4 exits ignominiously. Suddenly, EDITOR #4 stops his exit, and stands in the middle of the newsroom. He exudes a quiet and desperate dignity which is compelling enough to cause a pause in all the furious activity.)

EDITOR 4: You are all a disgrace to journalism. Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow are ROLLING IN THEIR GRAVES!

(He swoops out dramatically. With a shrug, the buzzing and rushing resume.)

EDITOR 3 (yawning again): What the hell was he talking about?

THE NEW GUY: Should I Google ’em?

EDITOR 2 (completely uninterested): Whatever. (looks at his MacBook, brightens) Oooh, video!

EDITOR 1 (excitedly): Send it through!

EDITOR 3 (happily):  News for a week no matter what happens. We are AWESOME!

(All the EDITORS high-five as:)

(LIGHTS OUT.)

Good morning Widdershinners!  We made it through another week where about one-eighth of the electorate believes we should be governed in some sort of reality show.  Given the coloring of Trump and Boehner, orange will indeed be the new black.

For those expecting Chat, I poked my considerable nose under the fence with this post and she kindly allowed me to go ahead with it.

Here’s hoping your week has been a good one and your weekend is even better.  And now the news…

First, some animal news… Penguins

“The worshipful treatment of pets may be the thing that unites all Americans,” wrote an Atlantic Magazine blogger in July, describing the luxury terminal for animals under construction at New York’s JFK airport. Known as the ARK, it will offer shower stalls for traveling horses (without showers, horses have long-faces), “conjugal stations” for the forever-horny penguins (who knew penguins were over-sexed), and housing for nearly 200 cows (that might produce 5,000 pounds of manure every day making politicians envious) — and passengers traveling with dogs or cats can book the Paradise 4 Paws pet-pampering resort. The ARK is a for-profit venture; said one industry source, quoted in a July Crain’s New York Business report, “You hear stories about the crazy money that rich people spend on their animals … they’re mostly true.”

Nathaniel Harrison, 38, was arrested in July in a Phoenix suburb on several charges, including possession of a deadly weapon during a felony, but he escaped an even more serious charge when a second “deadly weapon” failed to engage. Harrison reportedly intended to retaliate against a “snitch” and arrived at the man’s home carrying a rattlesnake, which he supposedly pointed at the man, hoping it would bite him. However, the snake jammed and mis-fanged – or whatever one calls such things – and Harrison’s attempted payback failed.  It was recommended to Harrison that he take his mis-fanging snake to a herpetarium, but he indignantly replied, “I don’t have a cold sore.”

HorsesThere is a definite correlation between Phoenix and kinky animal stories.  Last month, Michael Crawford, 68, was arrested when he arrived in Phoenix expecting, according to the sheriff’s office, to have sex with a horse. This raises the obvious question:  How big is the illicit horse sex trade in Phoenix that the sheriff’s office went full gallop and created a sting operation?  In any event, Crawford had allegedly posted an online ad seeking horse owners who would allow him access for brief “mount mountings”. It is unclear how the horses learned to read the personal hook-up ads.  In arranging the horse date with an undercover deputy who I’m sure is known as the Horse Whispering Pimp, Crawford volunteered that he would be bringing five shirts upon which the horse was expected to urinate and thereby serve as mementos of the trip. Nothing says true love like horse urine.  He only brought five shirts because even lovers of horses need their weekends off.

Olympic Update and a new meaning for the word “floatie”…

Race to the bathroom after the race...

Race to the bathroom after the race…

Despite repeated assurances by Olympic officials, it appears more certain than ever those 2016 boating and surfing events in Brazil’s Guanabara Bay and Rodrigo de Freitas Lake will be conducted in water so polluted with human sewage that every athlete will almost certainly be struck with fever, vomiting and diarrhea. An August Associated Press report revealed the waters’ virus levels (of fecal coliform and other viruses) are as high as 2 million times the level that would close down a California beach. One U.S. water-quality expert advised all athletes to move to Rio ahead of the games — to try to build up immunity. I never in my life thought I’d ever type or think about the words – pre-Olympic fecal training, but like with so many things, it’s just a matter of context.

LePage Quote“Mainely” Government Inaction…

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is, to put it mildly, less than popular.  On occasion, the Maine legislature has overridden the Tea Partier’s veto with a unanimous vote in both Houses of the Maine legislature – 100% of both parties.  Last month there was legislation passed to make immigrant asylum-seekers eligible for the state’s General Assistance fund.  This wasn’t to Gov. LePage’s liking and he aggressive promised to veto the bill. Unfortunately, the governor and his staff misunderstood state law believing legislation would be regarded as vetoed if he merely ignored it and failed to sign it for 10 days. According to press reports, LePage appeared stunned on the 11th day when he learned his understanding of the veto law was backward and asylum-seekers were now eligible for benefits.  This is what happens when the last time you studied government was in the eighth grade – take note Donnie Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina.

Misunderstanding the concept…

The San Diego County Fair offered something unique in the deep-fried category this year.  This was the first year of the deep-fried Slim-Fast bar. The recipe:  A 200-calorie “diet bar” breaded in pancake batter, fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and drizzled with chocolate.

Jason Patterson, upset that New Zealand’s health care administration has rejected paying for gastric bypass surgery, announced last month that he will protest publicly.  He will protest by going on a hunger strike — also known as a diet. “The first two to three days will be really hard,” he said as he makes the case for old-fashioned dieting without surgical intervention.

Science Report…Animal House

Zoologists at the University of Basel in Switzerland recently published a study in a prestigious British journal reporting the very real likelihood that a certain flatworm species has overcome the frustration of not finding a mating partner. The scientists believe the flatworm exploits its hermaphroditic qualities and injects its sperm into its own head, from which the sperm migrates to its reproductive facilities. In a related story, scientists are reasonably sure they now know where fraternity pledges come from.

Enjoy the video and consider this the gaping maw of open threads.

 

 

A Mobius Strip is a surface with one continuous side formed by joining the ends of a rectangular strip after twisting one end through 180°.  There is no beginning or no end to a Mobius Strip.  It is seamless.  It is an eternal loop.

Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the media is a Mobius Strip.Mobius Strip

The media uses certain words to describe Hillary.  Here is a list put together by Men for Hillary juxtaposed with words used to describe men:

  • A male candidate is smart, while Hillary is “calculating, scheming, crafty, manipulative.”
  • A male candidate values privacy, while Hillary is “secretive, suspicious, paranoid, uncommunicative.”
  • A male candidate takes strong positions, while Hillary is “polarizing, divisive, alienating.”
  • A male candidate deserves the benefit of the doubt, while Hillary is “untrustworthy, corrupt, deceitful, dishonest, unethical.”
  • A male candidate is an achiever while Hillary is “over-ambitious, will do or say anything to win.”
  • A male candidate is diplomatic while Hillary is “inauthentic, disingenuous, fake, unlikable, insincere.”

Words like these are repeatedly used in articles or like Maureen Dowd, in opinion pieces by those who have long-held grudges.  For twenty-five years this has been normal in coverage of Hillary.

This is how it climbs onto the Mobius Strip.  After incessantly using words like calculating, scheming, crafty, manipulative, etc. – then the media outlets poll voter attitudes.  In a self-fulfilling prophesy, the question is phrased this way:  I’m going to read you a list of words, please tell me whether or not you believe these words describe Hillary Clinton?  Of course, voters will describe Hillary according to the words they have repeatedly heard the media use.

Hillary in Las VegasIt doesn’t stop there.  In the next news cycle, the media then begins to ask questions about Hillary being described by these words.

Next, the media follows up with, “Why does the electorate see Hillary by these characteristic words?”

And then there’s the consummate hat trick to bring this Mobius Strip back to its start:  The media then begins asking questions about why they are asking the questions – questions about questions.  It goes something like this:  Many people are asking the question why people are questioning Hillary’s honesty.  A perfect self-sustaining Mobius Strip loop.

A great example was Tuesday’s Las Vegas press conference.  Ed Henry, of Fox Screws (where else), interrupted Hillary repeatedly.  He was antagonistic and petulant.

Then, of course, there was an analysis of that Las Vegas press conference which proves the underlying thesis of this post.  Here are five criticisms of Hillary contained in that Washington Post analysis:

  1. She sounds like a lawyer. News flash, she is a lawyer.
  2. She casts the whole thing as normal and every day. There are people who are paid to come to work each day in the federal government and question the security classification of communication.  It is normal.  It happens every single day.
  3. She’s dismissive. It isn’t very authentic to pour out empathetic vibes to someone who is deserving of dismissiveness like Ed Henry, especially if that person is on a mission from Roger Ailes to take Hillary down in a single presser.  The author of the article actually says, “Hillary has seen this type of thing a billion times before.”  Now honestly, how could she be anything but dismissive of something she has seen a billion times before?
  4. She’s sarcastic. The author says, “People like sarcasm in their politicians.”  I guess Hillary is the exception to the author’s own rule.
  5. She’s wrong. This criticism has to do with who is asking the questions about the e-mail issue and Hillary said, “Nobody talks to me about it other than you guys.”  The reporter then concludes he doesn’t know who talks to Hillary about what on every second of every day, but that doesn’t stop him from declaring someone must be talking to Hillary about the issue.  In other words, the author asserts, “I don’t know who talks to Hillary or what they talk about, but that doesn’t stop me from concluding she’s being talked to about the e-mails.” Ashley Madison

So what is the title of this post about?  Given the constant media mash-up, I figure it goes something like this:

Hillary’s e-mail equals technology.  Hillary is deceitful and therefore, she is covering up something and must be cheating.  The Ashley Madison issue is about technology and covering up cheating.  In the Mobius Strip that is the media, ergo, Hillary Clinton is Ashley Madison – it’s all about cheating through technology and the woman who enables it.  I expect the headline soon.

Take this conversation in any direction you might like.

 

 

The people to whom I’ve always been most attracted are the folks who understand, “To learn is to change.”  Five words representing a lifelong personal evolution through the constant accumulation of knowledge.  That understanding engenders a comfort in one’s own skin.  It breeds an abhorrence of expediency – political and otherwise.  It is the opposite of fear.To learn is to change

Well my friends, I’m disgusted and I mean miles beyond being a little put out.  I’m talking full-blown, no holes barred, bile encrusted D.I.S.G.U.S.T.!  The genesis of this disgust is the unmitigated revulsion I feel toward the porcine anal seepage passing for our political leadership over the Iranian nuclear containment agreement.

Here’s the way my simple mind processes this issue.  There are only four possible avenues with which to approach the Iranian issue:

  1. Let Iran have a nuclear weapon with a breakout period as soon as two months from now.
  2. Implement the Iranian containment agreement negotiated by the P5 + 1 and ratified by the U.N. Security Council by an unheard of vote 15 – 0.
  3. Attempt to strategically take out the Iranian nuclear facilities for a couple of years by bombing.
  4. Invade and occupy Iran indefinitely.

Those are the four scenarios. Nothing more.  The lip service of going back to the negotiation table after reimplementation of sanctions is nonsensical political pandering.  The defensive excuse of “objections of conscience” is meaningless unless the personal motivation is one of war based upon a commitment of intervention in some fashion.  This is the overwhelming expectation of the Arab world and quite frankly, it is an expectation that is deserved based upon our blind adventurism since 9/11.

Iran deal 2015Russia and China are straining at the reins to do business with Iran.  The billions in Iranian money will be released no matter what happens with this agreement.  Without the agreement, the breakout time for a nuclear device will be measured in months, not years.

With this non-proliferation agreement, a nuclear Iran is ten to fifteen years in the future with limitless possibilities for disarmament, regime change, or military intervention.

While the Republican Party is virtually unanimous in its weak-mindedness regarding the Iran deal, Democrats do not get a pass.  There are more than a few who have tested the political winds and decided to shirk both responsibility and reality.  Most notable of these is Sen. Chuck Schumer, who also just happened to vote for the Iraq War in 2003.Boehner and Netanyahu

It is curious how the Iranian deal is playing out in public with Netanyahu prancing to the “well of the House” to spread Republican sanctioned misinformation in order to influence American foreign policy.  Here’s my theory:

The run up to the Iraq War was played out in the secretive confines of the Bush Oval Office.  It was the perfect storm of war where the interests of the Israeli lobby and the Saudi royal family converged.  There are stories after stories of the influence the Israelis and the Saudis brought to bear as we blindly rushed into a decade of war.

Read the rest of this entry »

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