Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Fifty-one more days
Then we fly to Rome - what an

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

52 days and a wakeup

Until we fly to Rome.

Be jealous.

Words Fail

Someone is now in print openly advocating the overthrow of the President via military coup...

When did this kind of talk become acceptable? I understand the option is there if a leader decides to hijack the country, but outside of wingnutville, rational people see a rational president making rational (if not always popular) decisions.

Warranless wiretapping, indefinite detention, torture and the alleged referring to the Constitution as a "goddamn piece of paper?" - fine and dandy. Attempting to dig the country out of massive debt the result of 8 years of deficit spending, decreased oversight, wild speculation and government expansion the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Great Society - coup-worthy?

First read on Balloon Juice.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I'm currently sitting at home while the satellite guy is upstairs installing our satellite service. We finally broke down and got a service (it's only been 6 years). While it will be nice to be able to do crazy little things like watch college football, the History Channel, ESPN, TLC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, I don't particularly care to spend $30/month to do so. Still, it's probably time we had something to watch other than Fox, NBC, and 30 Trillion Bible networks.

Anyway, maybe now I can see what the big deal is about The Daily Show - apparently Jon Stewart might be kind of a liberal???

Friday, September 25, 2009

Big Pharma

They have their hands in just about everything - and they consider anything to be a marketing opportunity.

These companies hire "authors" to write "articles" about their medicines, touting the efficacy/effectiveness of the drugs while minimizing the side effects that might come out. They then publish these "articles" with the backing of the "authors'" name recognition highlighting the positives. The problem is that these "authors" don't write the articles, rather company-paid ghostwriters do. What ends up happening is a 6000 word article written by pharmaceuticals with data-mined information pulling one or two positives from a study and skewing the results in favor of the company paying for the article.

This isn't a new development, though it's arguably a more recent one. Here's a blog post from January 2008 discussing issues with a published article from 2006 highlighting data-mined information. This is but one example, and if you look, you can find several more.

Let's hope Sen. Grassley is serious about his inquiries into this major effort to advertise through "information."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I hadn't heard about this in the news...

First off, it's unfortunate when anybody is found dead, but the facts that are known at this time according to this Huffington Post article, is that a 51 year old Census worker and part-time teacher was found hanged near a cemetary in southeastern Kentucky, and reportedly the word "Fed" was scrawled on his chest.

The FBI is investigating the matter and have reportedly ruled it "an apparent homicide," but haven't given any more details.

As Dougj at Balloon Juice writes, it's too early to jump to conclusions, though it does seem interesting to speculate what would be on Rush had this happened to a census worker in New Orleans or Detroit... If one taped incident of a fight on a school bus (that turned out to not be racially motivated) was the result of "Obama's America," then with the same limited facts in this situation, couldn't Rush just as easily say that this type of violence against the Federal Census is the result of Bachmann and Beck's America? I prefer to wait until we know what's actually happened, though the MSM blackout of this incident might keep that from happening...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Not OK

I know exactly what the congresscritters in MA are doing, and it's not right. You don't play games with the electoral process just for the sake of making it easier for one of your own to get back in office. Here's the post on Balloon Juice.

It's Fall

And we're not a socialist Muslim Fascist nation yet.

Clearly the tea partiers saved us.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Very Very Tired

The good news is that we got to eat lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Photog and Photog's sister today - a very fine lunch indeed, climaxed by a visit to Mama's Cafe by the Oath Keepers - who were a little unsettling to see, as they reminded me ever so slightly of what I imagine a militia group might be (I don't know the Oath Keepers at all and therefore can't speak to what they actually are, rather I can touch on the appearance). Much fun was had by all.

Then I got home and started working. And working. And then I took a break for dinner and am going to start getting back to work. These collections are not pleasant, to say the least. And they just keep coming.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Utter Nonsense

The headline reads "Palin Emerges as Facebook Phenom" on Yahoo. I am unconvinced, after seeing her first post and hearing her speak that her subsequent posts are written by her, and believe, rather, that they are the work of a ghostwriter.

Arrhhh, and Avast!

It's talk like a Pirate day, ye Scalawags! Now go and plunder!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday night

I'm tired. It's been a long week, and I had to bring work home again. This is probably going to continue for the next 2-3 months, which brings me endless joy and plenty of stress.

I'm definitely ready for this trial to be done, and it's not even starting until early next year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rush and Malkin: Race Baiting politics

Regardless of what the facts are. It's more important to vilify and divide than make even the slightest attempt at being factually accurate.

Rush states:
"In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on... I wonder if Obama's going to come to come to the defense of the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard."
I won't link to Malkin, but she runs with the "racially motivated" theme, and then claims that the police officer's recanting of his original hypothesis is not surprising "given the explosive consequences of candor about such matters." - Because it couldn't POSSIBLY be because the more complete picture told a different story...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Very Tired

Gotta make up for a holiday and a sick day last week. This, plus drying out the living room carpet, finishing the lawn which I couldn't finish yesterday due to the flood that caused the aforementioned carpet to be covered in water, and having to reconnect the propane to the grill - this is what I need to do this week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fiscal Conservatism Lives in the Democratic Party?

I have not gone to check these facts, but they are pretty complete - from the comments section of this post on
The last Republican who left the office of the presidency with the federal public debt as a percentage of GDP less than when he entered was Richard Nixon (FY 1975). The last Republican who left the office of the presidency with a federal deficit less than 2.7% of GDP was Dwight Eisenhower (FY 1961).

Since WW II no Democratic president has ever left office with the federal public debt as a percentage of GDP more than when he entered. And since WW II no Democratic president has ever left office with a federal deficit more than 2.6% of GDP.
In my opinion, fiscal responsibility mainly involves reducing the public debt as a percentage of GDP. (Anything less is unsustainable.) Since the end of WW II we've had 63 Federal budgets (FY 1947-FY 2009). If you consider the FY 2002 budget the product of a united Republican government (a Republican congress passed the tax cut) and FY 2003 the product of a divided government you have the following breakdown. Thirtynine budgets were the product of a divided government with 31 having Republican presidents and 8 having Democratic presidents. Twentyfour budgets were the product of united government with 19 having Democratic presidents and 5 having Republican presidents.

The Federal public debt increased as a percentage of GDP in 24 of those fiscal years.(It did not increase during the transitional quarter in 1977.) Eighteen of these budgets were the product of divided government and the remaining six were the product of united government. So although 38.1% of all of the budgets were a product of united governments only 25% of the budgets which resulted in an increase in the public debt were the product of a united government. It seems if reducing the public debt is your goal, then a united government is at least slightly preferable to a divided government.

The worst possible combination is a united Republican government. Three out of the five budgets passed by a united Republican government (60%), an admittedly small sample, resulted in an increase in the Federal public debt as a percent of GDP. The next worst combination was divided government with a Republican president. Eighteen out of 31 budgets passed (58.1%) increased the public debt. Only 3 out of the 19 budgets that were the product of united Democratic government (15.8%) increased the public debt. And none of the 8 budgets passed by a divided government with a Democratic president increased the public debt.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Class from the Right

I'll link to Andrew Sullivan here, becauseI don't want the images on my blog, but it's hard to make an argument that ignorance or bigotry isn't playing a role in the hysteria surrounding President Obama.

I'm aware that there are those on the Right who don't view life though hate-colored lenses, but they aren't the people are showing up to Glenn Beck's rallies...

Can someone give me a cogent argument in favor of an alternative to the current healthcare plan being discussed? Please? Instead of Nazi equivocations (again - they were wrong when said about Bush, they're just as wrong when said about Obama.

Can't watch the Wolverines

Because we don't have Cable and President Bush signed that stupid freaking digital law back when he first entered the White House. Tomorrow I'll be forced to watch Fox for football. Joy.

Stay Classy, Glenn Beck

Hey Right Wingers, why do you listen to this guy? From Politico, via Andrew Sullivan:

The Cat's Out of the Bag

So I've been planning, for the past 3 months, to surprise my wife for our anniversary in November.

What I had told my wife was that we needed to take a vacation around Thanksgiving and drive up to Indiana to spend Turkey day with her parents. We'd spend about a week there, catch up on old times, etc, etc. I had hoped that this carrot would be enough to convince her to ask for 4 days off before Thanksgiving. This way she'd have to think about packing and clearing time and whatnot.

Unbeknownst to her, though, I had conspired with her parents. What we were REALLY doing was that while my wife was getting ready to drive up to Indiana, her parents would really be coming down here. At the last minute, I was going to tell her that we had had a change of plans and that instead of going to Indiana, she and I were going to Rome for our anniversary. Her parents would be here to watch after the kids for those few days we'd be gone, and everyone would be happy.

With her parents' help, we booked a flight, hotel room, and two tours, one a walking tour of Rome and another day trip to Naples and Pompeii. I'd basically thought of everything (including the idea of driving to Indiana thus necessitating the concept of packing). Unfortunately, due to circumstances that were beyond my control, yesterday I had to tell her of the plans. I'm proud to say she was completely in the dark (the in-laws willingness to front the cost of the trip with my reimbursing them later was a big part of that), and since we've been working on this for 3 months, I'm particularly excited about our operations security. However, the secret it out, and while it would have been nice to see her excitement when I told her, it was also very nice to hear her voice when she found out.

So, we'll be in Rome this November. Let me know if you need anythign that I can fit in my carry-on (I don't think Gladiators will fit).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sick Day

I can't remember the last time I missed work due to my own illness, but it happened today. I feel awful, congested, nauseated, upset stomach, headache, fever... This is not much fun.

What's worse is that when I'm laying down, I feel fine, but if I get up, within about 20 seconds, I start feeling like crap again. Stupid colds.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Off to work

Have a great day, and remember: "Some days you win, some days you lose, some days get rained out, but you have to dress for all of them" (Satchel Paige).

The President's Speech

I thought he did pretty well. He managed to make a case that made sense, though I disagree with tort reform (if you want to lower the number of medical malpractice cases, then commit less malpractice - you know, eliminate the source).

I also agree that the cat calls during the appropriate calling a spade of a spade with regard to "death panels" was in bad form, as was Rep. Joe Wilson's shouting of "liar," though I'm sure that will make him a hero to many on the Right.

What do you think, oh 4 of you left who stop by?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Another GOP Flip-Flopper

Apparently, Sarah Palin was for end-of-life counseling before she was against them (of COURSE it's a good idea when it comes from a Republican and death panels when suggested by a Democrat-controlled congress)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obama's Speech to the Children

It's innocuous - except to a few super-paranoid Right Wingers. The speech can be found here, which I found at this post at Balloon Juice.

Laura Bush noted that it's important to let your children hear the President speak, as she noted - it's important to respect the President. I made a slightly different statement, which I view as a little more accurate, in that I believe that it's important to respect the Office of the President - whether you like him or not, he was the duly elected Chief Executive.

I heard Newt Gingrich this morning stating he thought every American should let their children hear the President speak, noting that Bush and Reagan both addressed children directly without the backlash we've seen directed at our Democrat president.

My children will listen, and they will determine for themselves what information to accept and what to reject. I think it's important for them to hear the President speak to them directly - it helps instill a sense of ownership in our nation to know that our country's leaders think enough of them to do so. I would think that would help raise a future generation of proud Americans.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Speaking Engagements

Next weekend, on Sept. 12, one of the expert witnesses from Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District will be in Houston. You can read the details on this post from Americans United, but to add a bit to who she is here - she's a "co-author ... of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press, 2004), which details the political and religious aims of the intelligent design creationist movement."

It should make for an interesting discussion.

College Football Season

And already Oklahoma fans are disappointed.

On a related note, the family and I went to see the UH Cougars play last night at Robertson stadium. It was a blowout win against Northwestern State. I rather enjoyed the college atmosphere, though, and wouldn't mind seeing another game or two. Though I do wish (sort of) that I had a school to which I had a "vested" interest, like most of my friends with undergrad degrees.

I still kick around the idea of getting a teacher's certificate at (say) Rice or UH, and parlaying that into a teaching gig in the local school district, though I would be willing to bet that my near center viewpoints would be viewed as left fringe...

There are some advantages to teaching, though - I would take a bit of a pay cut, particularly with the absence of overtime, but I would have fixed (and much fewer) hours, I'd have the summers off, and I'd have the advantage of job security - plus benefits - you know, government provided healthcare. Additionally, there would still be time for me to get some use of my law license - drafting wills, POAs, other such items...

I don't know how seriously I would consider a switch like this, but it's fun to kick around the idea - having summers off would make vacation planning much easier.

Friday, September 04, 2009

This is just embarrassing

That's the only word I can think of to describe the divisive nature of the current Republican party - the talking heads on the radio and television are riling up the ignorant masses about a threat of President Obama going after the children to try to indoctrinate them into his socialist agenda, like some sort of evil pied piper.

Of course, these same people didn't raise a peep when President Bush implored our nation's children to support the war in Afghanistan or the clusterfuck of mangled "facts" and rhetoric that became the "liberation" of Iraq...

Nor did I hear anything in 1991 when President George H.W. Bush addressed the children, of course, I was in school then, and wasn't aware that I had the opportunity to choose to not listen, just as in 1988 when President Reagan addressed us about the importance of education, low taxes, and the line item veto. (Much of the information provided above is covered in this post at

What's more embarrassing than the fact that the governor of our state is "troubled" by the President of the United States addressing American Citizens is that many people are actually going to NOT allow their children to hear the address, because they're afraid he "might" use it to spout left-wing, socialist rhetoric, and we can't have that happen to our children. God forbid a dissenting opinion be heard, another viewpoint be allowed to be conveyed - discourse is dangerous for democracy, apparently.

This makes me ill.

This is most unfortunate news

According to this post on, Ernie Harwell, the radio voice of the Detroit Tigers for so many years and a fixture in Detroit since long before I was born, has an inoperable tumor near his bile duct - he has terminal cancer.

I don't know that there's a Tigers fan around that isn't familiar with Harwell and his memorial play calling. This is a sad moment for me - a piece of my childhood is becoming a memory, and I'm going to have to watch it happen.

Godspeed, Ernie.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Absurdity of it All

I'm not sure how to respond to this other than say that this came to me just hours after my wife heard griping on Fox News that the President "might use this time to use the children as a conduit to push his platform":

On Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, the President will address school children on the importance of education. It will be broadcast live from the White House website, at 11:00am central time. [REDACTED] will be showing this address during advisement time at 3:10 p.m.

If you request that your child not participate in this broadcast, please send a note to your child's teacher and your child will be provided with an alternate activity.

A hard copy of this message will also be sent home with students on Thursday, September 3rd.

Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns.