Thursday, January 27, 2011

High 5

Did Obama do his 5-year plan SOTU speech? I didn't listen. State of the Union speeches are always how far we've come and how much further we have to go. Does that 5-year plan sound like the Soviets or what...

On a "progressive" site I saw a comment on Obama's spending freeze that said "... but no freeze for the Pentagon ... sez it all." Well, no, it does not really say anything. Anyone with any connection to the military knows the DoD has cut spending, downsized, etc.

Remember though, DoD does not cut much from worthless projects or bloated defense contractors. First cuts are the benefits to those lower on their food chain. Even the neocon we loved to hate, Donald Rumsfeld, wanted a military that could do more with less (leaner, meaner military).

Reportedly the 2011 Pentagon budget is $708 billion, including wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What I find curious is that Jimmy Carter's 1980 Pentagon budget was $303 billion - but, with inflation calculation that's $781 billion in 2010 dollars. And the US was not at war anywhere. The 1962 Kennedy defense budget was $364 billion, equivalent today to $2.5 trillion. And we had yet to ramp up massive involvement in Vietnam.

Looking at the above figures, seems to me machismo costs less today than under any previous progressive heroes.

God, remember 1962. Bread was 10 cents a loaf. My mom and I took a road trip that year and gas was 28 cents a gallon. A studio apartment in Chicago was $135 a month. A Saturday matinee was 20 cents. Today, bread doesn't taste any better, gas doesn't go any further, and I haven't seen a movie yet worth more than 20 cents.

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17 #10 :)

Jillian Eleanor
7 lb 10 oz 19"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Responsive Politics

Will President Obama be the first billion-dollar man?

He raised and spent $750 million in the 2008 campaign, and there is already speculation that the cash-collection operation for his 2012 reelection bid will crest the once-unimaginable sum of $1 billion raised. (That's a one and nine zeros. Nine!)

"It's not unrealistic at all, given the amount raised and spent in 2008 and the amount Republican interest groups and 527s will spend against him," said a former Obama administration official.

A look at the trend line of fundraising for presidential candidates over the past several elections suggests a doubling effect every four years.

Four years earlier, President George W. Bush brought in $367 million while Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) collected $328 million. Total spending in 2004 was about half that of 2008's: $718 million.

The key difference between 2004 and 2008 was that Obama became the first person to opt out of public financing for the general election since the adoption of the current campaign finance system in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

----------------------------- Okaaaaaaaay, bring out the idiot slogans for bumper stickers, t-shirts, caps, pins. Voting makes a difference, one man one vote, rock the vote, team you are the one. Blah blah bla blah bla blah blah ba blah bla. Ba blah bla blah blah. Blah bla ba blah. Hoot whistle scream swoon applause chant. Blah ba blah bla blah ba bla blah. Ka-ching ka-ching, ka-change ka-change you been waiting for ... blah ba bla blah blah take back America folks ka-cling ka-clinging to god and guns ... blah bla blah ...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blame Game

The conspiracy theories begin. "That was a LOT of damage done by ONE SHOOTER? Who drove him there?" (WRH). "Well it's not just health care. Lotta issues going on in this guy's head." (BFN) "Right wing radio and right wing blogs express violence openly, without apology." (Kos)

Blame the media, blame political issues, blame the right wingers, blame Wall Street, blame the media, blame poverty, blame wealth, blame bullying, blame Palin.

How about blaming the perp, Jared Loughner. Blame the household that shaped him. Blame the political correctness that says we cannot cause anyone to feel bad about themselves, thus tolerating dysfunctional behavior from toddler to old age.

Everyone looks for Loughner's motivation behind the killings. People like Loughner have no motivation. They have hatred and targets. He targets the government, targets the system, targets Giffords. He is not mentally disturbed, he is not brain damaged. He is not a product of the local sheriff. Jared is the product of his parents and himself.

A few decades ago folks like Loughner would have been considered "retarded" early on and kept on a short leash by family, straightened out by family, or institutionalized. Thanks to political correctness and parental consent, emotionally retarded kids are now Adderall-ed and Ritalin-ed, excused, catered to, and pushed along until they can be dumped into adulthood, emotionally botched, sadistic, and without conscience. There's a whole lot of 'em. Their targets are usually family, friends, neighbors, or random strangers - not high profile politicians.

This is what you get when you have a majority of society willing to encourage everyone to have a chip on their shoulder, to whine that life is unfair, aiding and abetting folks to act on impulse and addictive lifestyles (addiction to drugs, TV, food, sex, shopping, gambling, whining). It's what you get when you tell parents little Johnny's behavior is not their fault when it damn well is their fault.

I know, I know, blaming parents is an outdated belief system.

(Link from a reader: Newsy.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Low on Sympathy

Keeping up with the release of the Scott sisters "wrongful conviction." The sisters, Gladys and Jamie were convicted in Mississippi in 1993 of armed robbery and given life sentences. They have recently been freed, sentences suspended by Gov. Barbour (R), after agreeing one sister would donate a kidney to the other sister if they match, if not they still have their freedom.

Yes, life terms for armed robbery without serious injury sounds excessive. On the other hand, when lighter sentences are given and the parolee then commits a more heinous crime the same sympathetic folks are screaming - why was this guy not behind bars..... The sisters were eligible for parole in 2014. The Scott sisters reportedly did not have any previous criminal record.

There are a few theories out there as to why the judge handed down such a stiff penalty, one being that a black deputy sheriff was shaking down the Scott sisters dad (James "Hawk" Rasco) who owned a night club, selling liquor in a dry county. Also reportedly a Rasco nephew gave evidence against a crooked white sheriff who was sent to prison for corruption and kickbacks.

If you know anything about dry counties there are always juke joints and illegal booze, and the sheriff is paid off. The fee was $100 per week to sell illegal liquor, but when the black deputy came for his shakedown, Rasco didn't feel he had to pay. So the theory goes that the sisters stiff sentence was revenge - by the black deputy sheriff Marvin Williams. Deputy Williams is said to have promised the father (Rasco) that he would "get" him, even if through his daughters. Robbery with double life terms is the method deputy Marvin Williams used to "get" Mr. Rasco. The sisters' mother says it was payback for her family giving testimony in a corruption case against the white sheriff (Glenn Warren) which sent him to prison.

Let me say this, good ol' boys are not brought down by anyone's testimony - they are brought down by others in the good ol' boy inner circle (ask Blagojevich), testimony gives the appearance of due process. I don't believe the deputy "got" Rasco by framing his daughters. That's not how the good ol' boys work down here. The system could have busted Rasco for bootlegging liquor and a dozen other connected crimes and sentenced his butt to prison for life. And then have their prison guard cousins give Rasco extra hard times.

But imagine, if true, a black deputy in Mississippi was powerful enough to trump up charges, coerce witnesses, convince the prosecutor to charge them, with evidence for a jury to convict them, and tell an elderly white judge to hand out life sentences to the sisters.

Was it revenge? Was it Mississippi racism? Was it wrongful conviction or excessive sentencing? Is there truth to the Biblical statement that the sins of the father are visited upon the child? Seems that way sometimes (i.e. the sins you teach your children come back to visit you.) You don't have to be black though. Our state recently freed a white boy who served 15 years for a murder he did not commit. Folks said the same things about the "good ol' boy" system and justice in his case, just no cries of racism around it. Of course, the ones who hate our local sheriff the most are the ones in and out of jail, or their family members. Apparently, if you keep your nose clean and mind your business - the good ol' boys don't even notice you.

In most cases of injustice it's people in the wrong place at the wrong time, usually because they're doing something they shouldn't be doing anyway, and life hammers them hard for it. Life tends to do that unfair thing to us from time to time. It's up to us individually and as families to guard ourselves against life's smack downs.

The saddest thing about the whole Scott story is not that the sisters were in prison for years but that they were both mothers when they went to prison. Jamie, the oldest has 3 children, ages 15, 18, and 21. Gladys has 2, ages 15 and 22. The girls were arrested when they were 19 and 22 and already had 5 children between them. They began their birthing careers in their early teens. They now, at age 36 and 38 have 2 grandchildren each, ages 3, 4, 5, and 7. Which means their children began their birthing careers in their teens. And how much do you wanna bet there are no marriages or a father's commitment in any of these young lives?

According to this story the sisters' children are all mentally handicapped to some degree. "Courtney's father lives in Jackson, Mississippi. He had also been sentenced under the same judge (Marcus Gordon) as Gladys and Jamie. He received a 30 year sentence for drug charges. He has been out of prison for about a year. He stays in close contact with Courtney and tries to help her as much as he can. The other children's fathers have not been in their lives at all."

The Scott sisters' mother, Evelyn Rasco, at one point was raising 10 grandchildren, 5 of the Scott sisters kids, and 5 more from other children. The saddest part of the story is, this is 3 generations in or on the prison and/or welfare system. My oldest daughter said once, discussing the epidemic numbers of lone women raising grandbabies and great grandbabies, that if you raise your kids right you won't be raising grandkids. And, honestly, I wonder how many more children would the Scott sisters have contributed to the system, had they not been incarcerated.

I do hope the sisters used their years in prison to become productive thinkers and doers who can convince those around them to break the cycle of welfare/prison, dependency/ignorance, and blaming mighty whitey's justice for everything wrong in their lives. But, as we are entering the 4th generation of degrading behavior I'm not expecting much to change.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

One of These Mornings

Diane McCauley & Moby

Saturday, January 01, 2011

'O marenariello

Jerry Vale

Vicin'ô mare,
facimmo 'ammore,
a core a core,
pe' nce spassá...
Só' marenaro
e tiro 'a rezza:
ma, p''allerezza,
stóngo a murí...

Happy New Year.

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