2010 March


Interesting take and discussion on current Republican status in America can be followed in this thread:

…and this from my mailbag.

PeterFromColo might not be a professional journo, but I think he’s captured the true essence of the current problems faced by our Congressional leaders in Washington D.C.

This just might appear in the dictionary under the word apropos:

Ollie asked his wife, “You never argue when I get mad at you.
How do you always control your anger?” 
“I clean the toilet,” she replied.
“How does that help?” he asked.
“I use your toothbrush.”

Well PeterFromColo, I think this is a terrific idea. Let’s give it a whirl in here, shall we?

It’s time to clean up the mess in Congress.  Our pollies need to know that we expect them to spend more time, energy and resources on solving problems rather than allowing some miscreant whingers to create new ones by reigniting the dead issues of racial and civil disharmony.

Just how many generations need to straddle a social ignorance the majority of us have outgrown and tossed in the bin the way a child outgrows a toy? Was the blood shed during the last 200 years not sufficient proof  our moral compass points in a new direction? Are today’s Republican leaders so out of touch with reality they actually want us to go back and shed more?

How many generations must beleaguer a bigotry that serves no earthly purpose in our society? Why do Republicans, in their desperate scramble for votes, hang their political futures on a subject most of today’s mature voters are loathe to revisit and so foreign to young voters most can’t even get their heads around the concept?

Maybe if the Republican side of the aisle would read more Lincoln and less Reagan, quote more Ghandi and less Palin they would chuck fewer tanties and we could get on with truly important issues like health care reform and climate change, educating our young and keeping America safe from outside harm.

Thanks for the idea Peter! I’m for cleaning up Congress. And I’m for using the Republican’s toothbrushes to do it.

I just might send a few pollies a toothbrush along with a note:

 

On second thought… think I’ll be sending these!

…might even add more – who knows – one can never have too many cleaning supplies 🙂

[As always, feel free to copy/paste any portion of this post – OzMud]

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title Giving Congress a Hand and click on the word comments just beneath.  Thanks!

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…and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put the Republican Party back together again.

It should be sad watching an institution crumble but for me, watching the Republicans receive their much-deserved comeuppance this week was more like watching the Berlin Wall topple to the sound of several million cheering onlookers. The Republican Party who – in their haste to win an election – forgot their manners, disrespected the office of the President of The United States and acted on the advice of pollsters rather than constituents – is now gasping its last bit of air as a responsible representation of the American people.  And try as I might, I’m hard-pressed to conjure up any sympathy.

For most of us, this week marks the burial of a campaign that should have died and been put to rest more than a year ago.  It used to be that once an election was over, the losing side pulled up their socks and got to work for the people they represented. They worked with the guys who won the election to get the job done and gave America their full attention until the next campaign. Something about honouring a good battle and behaving like men. Attributes the current Republican leaders seem to have dropped along the way, I’m guessing somewhere between Alaska, Arizona and Iraq.

No, there’s no sadness in my home. There is, however, a sense of justice.

This week’s events have been marked by really excellent writings of bloggers, journalists, columnists and television commentators alike. So many, in fact, it’s truly difficult to pick just one. Starting with this article from the Huffington Post, for the rest of the week, I’ll be posting links to my favourites.

Robert J. Elisberg
Posted: March 23, 2010
   
     
     

GOP Applies for Health Care for Self-Inflicted Wounds  

Putting all your eggs in one basket is a good thing when it’s Easter. In politics, though? Not so much.

The Republican Party put all its eggs in the “Tear Down President Barack Obama and Defeat Health Care Reform” basket. This was a questionable action at best. At worst, they could end up breaking their own kneecaps.

Unanimously fighting health care reform was questionable at best because few in America didn’t think the health care system had to be fixed in at least some way.

But at worst – yipes.

Yipes, because the President of the United States won the election campaigning on it. Both houses of Congress won majorities campaigning on it. And from the start, polls showed that the majority of the public wanted some kind of health care reform. Including a public option.

Yet in the face of all this, the Republican Party in Congress put every single one of its fragile eggs in a single basket and chose to unanimously fight health care reform.

The bill contained over 200 Republican proposals, and Republicans still unanimously voted against it.

The GOP was simply going to do whatever they could – unanimously – to defeat health care reform and bring down President Obama. Turn “Yes, We Can” into “No, He Can’t.” Republicans didn’t just want the seats a party out of power traditionally picks up in an off-year election. They wanted it all …<snip>…

Mr. Elisberg goes on to fully describe how the Republican plan to derail the Democrats backfired in epic proportions and then… he drops this precious little gem:

Republicans, who are usually so good at coming up with fake catch-phrases like “Death Taxes” made their biggest gaffe of all. Gargantuan.

You see…for the past year, Republicans have called this bill (say it all together now) – “ObamaCare.”

Health care reform is now known to everyone – thanks to Republican Talking Points – forevermore as ObamaCare.

They gave President Barack Obama full name credit.

ObamaCare. ObamaCare. ObamaCare. ObamaCare.

Care.

President Barack Obama – cares.

And the Republican Party is the one who told you …<snip>

 Please go to HuffPo and read the entire article here. 

PS. And for those who may have noticed, yes – yes I did, in fact, have a bit of fun with the tags on top. Why? Well because… I can!

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title A Lesson on: ObamaCare 101 and click the word comments just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

HR: 3590 passes with 219 votes –

President Obama – Get your pen ready please, sir!

Oh maaaan you’re either all asleep or drunk already… WAKE UP WAKE UP ALASKA!!! I NEED VIDEO LINKS! I WANNA REPLAY THIS VOTE OVER AND OVER!

This is like being a little kid and waking up at 5am Christmas morning and realize you have to WAIT A WHOLE HOUR until mom and dad get up and let you open pressies 😛

*impatiently dances by herself

——————–update———————

Well I haven’t danced this much in well I can’t even remember! [see comments] What good dancers you all are!

I woke up this morning with this song running through my head and thought oh oh! Must post so all the ‘happy dancers can sing too!

I’m renaming this: 
Sarah Heath Palin is Redundant Now (all of her death panels have disappeared)
…we need bright shiney new lyrics:

 

telegraph.co.uk
Sunday 21 March 2010
Alexandra Williams in Geneva 

Called the Hotshot, the condom has been produced after government research showed 12 to14-year-olds did not use sufficient protection when having sex.

The study, conducted on behalf of the Federal Commission for Children and Youth, interviewed 1,480 people aged 10 to 20.

It showed more 12 to 14-year-olds were having sex, in comparison with the 1990s.

The Hotshot condoms, which cost 7fr60 (£4.70) for a packet of six, have been created by Lamprecht AG, a leading condom manufacturer in Switzerland.

The company has said the UK would be “top priority” if they expanded abroad, considering that it has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.

<snip>

Family planning groups and the Swiss Aids Federation campaigned to have the Hotshot produced after a number of studies, including the government study researched at the Centre for Development and Personality Psychology at Basel University.

Nancy Bodmer, who headed the research, said: “The result that shocked us concerned young boys who display apparently risky behaviour. They have more of a tendency not to protect themselves. They do not have a very developed sexual knowledge. They do not understand the consequences of what they are doing and leave the young girls to take care of the consequences.

“The results of this study suggest that early prevention makes sense.”

Read the rest of the British news article here…

Well now… Cyclone Ului may have skirted our shoreline causing minimal damage, but leave it to the Swiss to slide into it’s wake bringing the mother of all storms 🙂

Hotshots! I can’t say I’m at all surprised. My first husband boasted of having lost his virginity at the age of eight on his paper route to a suburban housewife with an erm… abundance of knowledge. Throughout my lifetime I’ve heard more than just a few ‘men’ cop to having engaged in sexual intercourse prior to having two digits in their age number. So I guess I’m just not ‘shocked’ by the results of the above study.

And when you follow history from generation to generation, each becoming more educated and freer than the last, one can see that we inadvertantly expose our children to progressively more things that tend to quash their innocence at progressively earlier ages.

Case in point: My three year-old sister would never have been seated at a dinner table in front of television during a news story graphically depicting rape, torture and murder. My mother would have been mortified. My father would have called the television station and ripped the producers a new one. Today, my grandchildren are not only exposed to it – they’re expected to deal with it. It’s all around them. The sex and violence. It’s in advertisemets and youtube clips. It’s in everyday conversations and Facebook posts.

The primary target of video game creators is 15 year-old boys. That, by the way, is the universal age of consent in video game-eze. Packaging around the world on ‘adult-visual’ graphics in games contains the disclaimer “Not suitable for children under 15 years of age”. World of Warcraft, which has a following of more than 9 million players, has a parental mode installed which allows for the characters above the numbers on your keyboard (@#$%^&*) to automatically replace swear words in the chat fields. Then it pits your 12 year-old son in a bear costume against warrior women in skimpy bikinis and very, very big bossoms. Well it’s ok, really, they all wear helms and boots.

My point is, technology puts everything about life in our kids faces whether we want it to be this way or not. So while I’m certainly not advocating the loss of virginity at age 12, I also acknowledge that it happens, and with more frequency than makes the rest of us comfortable. So for me, the bottom line is – I want my grandkids to be able to make mistakes that don’t kill them the first time out. If that means giving the pre-teens access to condoms and educating them about sexual intercourse, then so be it. Beats having to measure for a coffin.

But putting all the philosophical waxing aside… I do so want to be a fly on the wall when the news of these little hotshots swishes up Sarah Palin’s skirt. And then I want to see her and Glenn Beck discuss it on the air – face to face – I’m guessing Beck wouldn’t be able to appear on camera without having a newspaper covering his lap.

I can see the veins on her rebuilt neck pulsating now…

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title Extra Small Condoms for 12 Year-Olds Launch Their Debut In Switzerland and click the word comments just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

Saturday 21 march 2010

Cyclone Ului was downgraded to category three early this morning. Here’s a satellite (google search is amazing!) showing the size. What the photo can’t illustrate is how Ului’s momentum has dropped as it approaches shore. All good news.

And these are photos from my yard, at around 3:30pm. Not too drastic  a shift from yesterday, but the planet is definitely darker today. Ului’s effects are not expected to reach my area until late Sunday afternoon. So – more photos tomorrow!

As the imminent threat of Ului subsides, my attention has been drawn to the two major wolverine problems facing Alaska at present.

The Mudflats shines a beacon of light on the unnecessary aerial slaughter of wolf packs in Denali State Park by what appears to be a corrupt Board of Game, headed by Governor Sean Parnell. I wept. Some of the wolves were collared, tagged as research animals, part of an ongoing study that’s in its sixteenth year. Reports describe how the shooters saw the collars, understood what the collars meant – and killed the wolves anyway, an overt act which only demonstrates how easily the current Alaska Administration thumbs it’s nose at their duty of care.

The second is the uncovering of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan has successfully bilked the city out of $193,000 in a story you have to read to believe. It begins in 1982 when his father, George Sullivan, retired as mayor. Having undergone triple-bypass heart surgery, the city administration (in testiment to the man’s years of service) voted to keep active his slot in their group life insurance policy aware that Mr. Sullivan would not qualify for insurance on his own (once he left office) given his age and medical condition. George Sullivan died this past year, around the same time his son became mayor of Anchorage. Two weeks ago, current Mayor Dan Sullivan took to his local Assembly the issue of payment of his father’s life insurance policy with the city Muni trust. They voted almost unanimously to pay an amount of $193,000.

Several problems have come to light. First, no one ever told the insurance carrier (Aetna) that an unemployed man was on their books as part of a group package. Second, the amount of the yearly ‘premiums’ paid by the Sullivan family beginning at over $900 per year in 1982 and dropping twice until it leveled out at $555  some years later is completely suspect. Third, and most damningly imho, is the manner in which Dan Sullivan put the issue to a vote without putting forth pertinent details (trust me, this is no big deal, just vote yes and we can all go fishing!) about the city’s factual obligation.

He then – and only then – let it be known that he was the executor of his father’s will, with full power to distribute the $193,000 as he saw fit – and as mayor of Anchorage, ordered himself to cut the check to give to… himself!?!?! And finally, he has withheld information as to the disbursal of the funds. (He does, however, have his eye on a honey of a boat..)

That’s hootzpah Mr. Sullivan. But not in a good way.

The single Assembly nay voter (Harriet Drummond) has called for a hearing. Mel Green, Alaska blogger extraordinaire has sifted through a 28 year paper trail of interoffice emails in an effort to put a timeline on the events surrounding the conception, maintenance and execution of Mr. George Sullivan’s city-owned life insurance policy. The hearing will take place this coming week.

I highly recommend both site articles be read.

It’s Sunday morning here. The sun is shining and Ului has touched down  a few hundred kilometers north of us as a category two cyclone. It’s reported 60,000 homes are without power but damage cannot be assessed until the roads are safe enough for crews to traverse. An area already under a meter of flood water has so far accumulated 450 mm of rain since last night.

Clean up is going to be slow, wet and muddy. More later.

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title Cyclone Ului – Saturday and click on the word comments just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

Preparation for our share of tropical Cyclone Ului (pronounced you-lee) is complete. The only things left standing in the yards are the two trash bins, and even they are tethered to the porch with rope and D-Rings. BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) reports a slight subsiding in the strength of Ului as it enters our northeastern coastal waters. By the time it reaches southeast Queensland, it may be nothing more than a big spit. Wouldn’t that be perfect!

But one can never actually predict a storm’s path or muscle with 100% accuracy so we continue to err on the side of caution and reinforce our modest wooden nest.

Which brings me to these clever little gadgets! A few years back I stumbled across them in a bargain shop. I bought two on a whim and after seeing how well they worked, went back and bought several more. Throughout my house, they sit quietly on night tables, bathroom sinks, my desk and kitchen benchtops. Others, like the one pictured here, are mounted on the walls beside the light switches. When the lights go off you just smack the dome and *poof* there’s instantly enough light to get you across the room or down the hall.

This particular one is still using the original battery and I’m guessing it dates back to 2006 or 2007.  We have at least three blackouts a year. Some result from storms, others from cars slamming into poles or workmen sneezing at the exact wrong moment and blacking out whole neighbourhoods for hours. Some are even the result of lightning strikes getting the better of our government-run power sources. (Oh dear me, did I say that out loud?) At any rate, at about $1.50 each, you can see we’re still getting our money’s worth after 3 or 4 years.

The idea is to smack one in a pinch. It gives off just enough light to find your radio, phone, torch, slippers or glasses. Then, as soon as you’re organized, you smack it off. When we’ve had houseguests, we leave one by the guests bed. No need to leave nightlights plugged in or wake up others when you’re making a nocturnal trip to the loo in unfamiliar territory. They allow you a guiding light without casting a glare on everything else. (No, the kids can’t shine them on the ceiling – lol)

The ones mounted on the walls all have frames painted white and coated with an irridescent-glitter varnish. The speckles pick up any light, anytime, making the domes easy to find.

[end of commercial]

These photos were taken this afternoon at about 3pm. We’d just come home from the last bit of shopping (you would not believe how noticeably empty the shelves were of paper towels, bottled water and matches) and the sun was shining as if it had no clue what was on the other side of the mountain. So after putting the  last of the groceries and paper goods away, I took a stroll around the yards and pointed my trusty digital at the whimsical clouds and blue skies. There was a bit of wind, but the temperature was normal for early autumn.

At 3pm tomorrow, regardless of the storms progress, I plan on duplicating my stroll and we’ll have photos to compare.

(Click each image to enlarge)

Happy Hunkering to all my fellow storm-waiters – and thanks (also too) so much to everyone for the really gracious comments and prophecies of safety!

Stay warm and dry 🙂

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title ‘Twas The Night Before Ului… and click on the word comments just beneath.  Thanks, ozMud

Cyclone Ului (you-lee) has been upgraded to a category four cyclone and is slowly heading toward the east coast of Australia. While we aren’t directly in it’s path, we tend to get plenty of residual rain and wind  from any tropical storm, far north, offshore or on.

So we’ve been in batten down the hatches mode for the past few days. I’ve just this evening finished washing every towel, blanket and sheet I could find, plus all our clothing. (Did you know that when all the washing in my house is done there’s actually not enough room to put it all away? Interesting arguement for letting it go, eh?) We tend to have water come under the front door with driving winds, and the downstairs laundry and craft room flood as they are built a meter below ground level, so when I know it’s coming, I like to pull the plugs on the machines and get everything mechanical off the floor.

Spouse is on resupplying torches and batteries detail, along with cleaning the camp stove and buying fuel. The larder is stocked with tins of food, drinking water and paper goods. Two things I can’t live without: Coffee and toilet paper. Everything else has a workable substitute – but you don’t want to be around me if I have to use yesterday’s coffee grounds in the morning and then tear up old magazines in the afternoon.

Patio furniture and garden tools like to take flying lessons in tropical Australian storms, along with my potted orchids and bromeliads. Having gained control of the inside, over the next two days I’ll be outside locking things away in the shed,making sure no loose items are hanging around, waiting to replay scenes from Harry Potter.

Then it’s the sit tight and wait game for the rest of the weekend. Hope you all stay warm and dry this weekend.  Meet you on the other side – Oz

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title Batten Down the Hatches! and click the word comments just beneath. Thanks 🙂

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