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Cory Doctorow

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

My continued civics education . . .

. . . and I got dinner served to me at the same time.  Civilized indeed.

Last night's meeting was a continuation of the meeting I attended last month which sprang from Organize for America.

The good news is we have a very solid political grassroots action group rolling along!

The challenge?  Somewhat like what happened last spring within the Democratic Party, we have a lot of strong personalities with different agendas.  While the group is well aware of this, the act of merging everyone's passions into one united goal will be a delicate one.

First up was reports from those in the gathering who had attended the City Council meeting earlier this month and had done some research and follow up to see if the issues addressed were going to be on an upcoming Council meeting agenda.

Long story short: City Council meetings are not ongoing dialogues between Council Members and the city's citizens.  The only way a citizen's agenda gets folded into the Council Meeting's agenda is by having City Hall staff bring agenda items to the City Manager who will add it onto an upcoming agenda.

So, the easy way of affecting change just slammed into a brick wall.

To have any hope of affecting change, the group agreed that efforts need to be grown outside of the city's political structure (perhaps the word "grassroots" in the group's title should have been a clue).  To that end, with City Council elections scheduled for April 2010, the group will find others in the city who are trying to cultivate Council candidates (our group has three people who are "exploring" a run for the council).  There are either two or three of the five seats on the Council open in 2010.  My bet is we will have to whittle down many more candidates to find the best two or three to run "as a slate".

If the various progressive-leaning groups in our city can come together, we all stand a better chance of having our ideas represented on the Council (as it stands now, clearly none of the Council Members has any interest in doing things differently) once our candidates are elected to the Council.

Nothing like having your own pipeline to the Council to get your agenda added to the Council's business.

Now, the great big fallen tree in the middle of the road:  How to upset the status quo and change the Council's composition from representation of the largest voter block to representation of the city's entire population?

Right now, the Council oversees the city "at large" -- all five members address the entire city's issues.  While running candidates "on a slate" gives us a better chance at changing the Council, there is no guarantee that any or all of our candidates will win the election.  So, we discussed how best to change the "at large" to a district system.  

In an attempt to illustrate how "at large" elections versus election by district could change the composition of a Council, here's a couple of home-made pie charts.  Whip cream and/or a la mode optional:

I'll confess these charts are oversimplifications.  There is also the issue of drawing up districts to begin with (who decides how to this and how often) and gerrymandering is also a concern.  However, continuing the city governing structure as is assures that nothing gets changed.

Changing the city to district representation could get done either by ballot initiative or by suing the city to coerce change by insisting the current construct does not fairly represent the city's residents.  No harm in pursuing both avenues at the same time and we have many other cities to use as a model for how to successfully district the city.

We meet again at the end of March.  It still amazes me how much things appear to be changing in such a short amount of time, by political standards.  Regardless of how all these efforts turn out, watching and participating in the process is helping me understand how a government works (or does not, in some cases) and will let me experience just how much change people are willing to accept.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Home front news follow up

Both interviews I went to yesterday were breaths of fresh air.  In both cases, the agency representatives were very professional!  I had become accustomed to trudging to the agency and getting uneven treatment at best.  With yesterday's experiences, it is clear there is at least one professional agency geared toward placing office professionals into jobs and that there is also one agency who successfully keeps separate their warehouse/manual labor placement and office professional placement lines of business.

Meanwhile, I got an e-mail from another employer (not an agency) for a part time job.  The obvious question is, when I have two other full-time job opportunities, why consider a part-time job?  The biggest bonuses with the part time job is I can work up to 29 hours a week with work hours anywhere between 4 am and 7 pm during the week and Saturday work hours which end no later than 3:30 pm.  My partner, I'm sure, will appreciate having me available during the daytime and during the week.

Sadly, part time positions do not offer health care.  I would have to be hopeful that under President Obama's proposed health care reforms that I would be able to access health insurance eventually even while working part time. 

>  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >

Even with all the chaos scattered throughout our country, I continue to be grateful for all that I have.  That said, I regularly get e-mail newsletters from the Grameen organization.  Today's e-mail had a link to the story of a woman with an MBA who was led to become involved in a microfinance group in Egypt based on a chance meeting with one its borrowers.

I genuinely had one of those "a-ha" moments when reading the story of how the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh was founded and how it has grown throughout the years.  I'm looking forward to being able to accept one of the jobs for which I am a candidate so I can begin to participate again, even though just through donations, in helping women, one by one, gain their financial independence and rebuild their world.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

RNC Chair Michael Steele Offers Bobby Jindal 'Slum Love'

Well, here's the problem with with the current conservative movement.

When liberals/progressives criticize the response to the President's address to Congress, we criticize the tone of speech, the delivery and the facts versus the allegations/stories told within that response.

When conservatives criticize one of their own, they go straight for the racial stereotypes.

Thought out criticism on substance or knee-jerk fear mongering.

There's the choices. Any wonder why Democrats/liberals are maintaining/growing their popularity as reported in the most recent polls? There is much hope for our country yet.
About Slumdog Millionaire
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interesting developments on the home front

Instead of my usual comments tagged back to me from Huffington Post or some kind of diatribe about something political (wait a few days . . . it will come), I actually had my first full interesting day at home!

I got a call late yesterday afternoon from a temp agency looking for a Supervisor.  Before I could interview; however, I had to pass a series of administrative on-line tests administered by Prove It!.  I got the call back from that temp agency this morning saying I had passed all the test with flying colors and even confirmed that I do type 68 words per minute (so there !).

So, I have an interview tomorrow at 9:30 am.

My dogs, unfortunately, spent the morning (and I assume some of the afternoon) pacing around my feet and panting as if something were freaking them out.  Ruling out other humans, cats, things scurrying on the ground and tofu in their dog food bowls, my best guess is that they were feeling earthquakes.  The USGS site did not do anything to confirm that guess - - maybe they thought Wednesdays were allowance days?

After several hours of panting and hovering by both my dogs PLUS a repeated short chirp which sounded like one of the three smoke detectors.  I tested all three and all were working fine.  No chirping now for the last 30 minutes, though the bits and pieces of plastic all over the floor may say something about how that little issue got resolved  (just kidding . . .)

So, I escaped to the movies and saw the 3-D version of Coraline.  Lots of "wow"s as the 3-D effect is 99.9% crystal clear.  The story was quite good, but I'd keep the little kids at home (gets kind of Grimm's Fairy Tale creepy)

As the movie was starting, I got a call from a second temp agency wanting to interview me tomorrow for a  different job.  I now have another interview at 1:30 pm!!

I have not had any interviews since just after Christmas 2008.  When it rains, it pours !  More details tomorrow.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

In far more consequential news, one of my favorite comediennes, Kathy Griffin, is getting  paid for writing a memoir.  Perhaps I should be saving all of this typing until my big paycheck for my memoir is deposited in my account?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

States Consider Ending Death Penalty, Citing Cost

Wow! A failure here in the war on . . uh . . recidivism? I still can't figure out why the death penalty has been such a popular method of punishment. I'm pretty sure I can track down studies that will show that having a death penalty does not do much to lower the rates of capital offenses.

While the reason for getting rid of the death penalty leaves much to be desired, I'll be happy to see it go for any reason. Maybe, in the name of cost savings as well, we can rethink the purpose of the penal system and . . uh . . try to rehabilitate?

That's what I get, I suppose, after listening to one of President Obama's speeches. Optimism and joy are overflowing and leading me to .. think rationally? This is too weird . .
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Green politics and irony

Was wide awake for several hours in the very early morning today and found these two stories:

First up:  One of California's newest State Assembly members Tom Ammiano introduced a bill yesterday to legalize marijuana for recreational use, much as alcohol and tobacco are now in the U.S.  The idea would be to generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion in tax revenue, as you can read in this San Francisco Chronicle article (yes, I chose that site purposefully).

Dollar and cents wise, no arguing with raising tax revenue these days.  And, as long as driving under the influence and use on the job, like is now enforced with alcohol, is kept illegal with regular enforcement, I still don't have a problem with this bill.

At this point in the argument, most who support the continued ban on marijuana growing/selling, etc., will site health risks to users and the likely risk to those in the vicinity of the smoke.  As a recovering alcoholic, I could use the same soap box to sermonize banning alcohol production and sales as I have never had positive experiences with alcohol.  I doubt I'd last two minutes on that box before someone yells at me to chill out.  Frankly, they would be right to do so. 

As is the case with tobacco, if individuals prohibit use in public places and in their homes, they can just as easily avoid marijuana as they now do with tobacco.  On the other end, cigar bars are still open in various places around the country with all those who enter the premises having full knowledge to what they are being exposed.  I would expect marijuana bars/clubs/houses to also sprout up overnight (yes, the imagery is intentional), creating still more tax revenue (could you imagine the money made from selling users all sorts of munchies?)

I'll let the other side of this argument speak for themselves -- I just can't argue against their points.

and, speaking of changes to the environment:

File this under ironic:  A satellite which was launched early this morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California failed to reach orbit and crashed into the ocean near Antarctica.  What was the satellite designed to do?  Measure CO2 levels in the earth's atmosphere.

Hmm, I guess these two stories don't tie in together -- I'm just pulled in all sorts of directions when I'm surfing the 'net for news.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Gary Locke: Secretary of Commerce?

Just saw this very brief news story on MSNBC about former Washington State Governor Gary Locke being considered a top of the list nominee for Secretary of Commerce.

Given this 3 minute clip from CNN, I'm a little surprised he wasn't a second or first choice given a biography similar to Obama's in many respects and with much of our imports coming from China!

I'm sure more details will come out about Mr. Locke in the coming hours and days.  From the little I've quickly found, he seems a good bet to get this Cabinet post. 

(and, yes, the CNN clip is really old - from somewhere in the late '90's.)

Games we play

With thanks to Raw Story, I just played a two-minute very entertaining game called Trillion Dollar Bailout.  Set your inner leftie Liberal or right-wing Conservative free while you choose whom to slap and whom to reward with a bailout from your one-trillion dollar stash. 

Just don't use Safari to visit the site - got an annoying unending dialog box loop of some kind.  Firefox worked well for me.

Unfortunately, I just checked the agenda for tomorrow night's City Council meeting to see if graffiti removal was included as an agenda item (the group with which I attended the last meeting made this request) and it was not.  Our grassroots group meets later this week and, hopefully, we'll take some time to talk about other options we have on getting this added to a future agenda.

We're meeting at a local restaurant so, if nothing else, maybe the dinner will be good.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My favorite night of the year so far

I'm a huge, HUGE fan of the award ceremony which aired last night from Los Angeles.  With thanks to continued unemployment, this was the first night in 4 years I did not have to cram 3.5 hours of TV viewing into two.

I was also happy to share the first two hours of the ceremony plus much of the pre-show with my friend on the East Coast.  First, January's Presidential Inauguration shared with so many on Facebook, now tonight with my friend across the country.  I'm going to attempt to do the Facebook/CNN thing when President Obama addresses Congress tomorrow night.  

I took notes tonight, as I have done with other award ceremonies in the past two months.  I'd never remember whose gowns, jewelry and other things I liked and whose made me gasp . . and not in a good way.

My recommendation is to bring up this address in a separate window so you can find the photos as I comment:  http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/gallery?section=on_the_red_carpet&id=6672325&photo=1

Photo 1:  So lovely to see the man outshine the woman for once when both are famous.  Does that man EVER look unattractive ??

Photo 6:  Best hairdo and gorgeous earrings.  But that gown?  Dark grey with black flowers down the shoulder . . nuh-unh!

Photo 7:  One of my favorite gowns of the night.  Very art-deco glam.

Photo 9:  Stunning gown.  The picture does not do it justice.  Sparkling and gorgeous!

Photo 10:  Such a beautiful bracelet with complimentary earrings.  I couldn't get overexcited about the gown, but it is a lovely color on her.

Photo 13:  Unlucky number for this woman.  Black with shiny gold print? For shame on whoever talked her into wearing this!!

Photo 14:  Beautiful jewelry here as well.  Proof that the best jewelry compliments the woman, not overwhelms.

Photo 15:  What the blue blazes was this gorgeous, talented actress wearing a necklace I could have picked up for $10 at the local swap meet?  Dreadful!  Fortunately, she usually looks fabulous and this incident will soon pass.

Photo 17:  I, for once, agreed with the on-the-scene fashion guru -- this gown looked like a stack of cocktail napkins at the end of a bar.  Too darn busy!!

Photo 18:  All this gown needed was a set of butterfly wings attached to the back and she could be playing Tinkerbell in the umpteenth remake of "Peter Pan".  

Photo 24: Best gown of the night.  Hands down.  Wow !!

Photo 27: I loved the art-deco style of her necklace!! Almost makes up for the unflattering, mummy gauze style gown.  Photo 37 gives you a closer look at it.

Photo 33:  My 2nd favorite gown and it was the first I saw tonight.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  The full gown has a similar style/pattern throughout the gown with a waterfall effect.  Skip to Photo 40 for a full photo of the gown.

I even have two favorite acceptance speeches:  The first from "Milk" screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and the second from Best Actor winner Sean Penn.  My hope is that all of the teens watching at least the first hour of tonight's award ceremony saw Mr. Black's speech and took his words to heart.

Loved the revamp of the Kodak Theatre and the host, Hugh Jackman, did a great job of keeping the show moving along while showcasing his many other talents.  The unique acting award presentation style was fun for this telecast, but I hope it is something only done once every few years so it also does not become stale.

Tomorrow, back to the job hunt and politics digest.

"Straight talk for young men"

Once again, thanks to the General for finding and posting this gem!  Even middle-aged metalheads like me can find many things to appreciate in this video. For instance, would the speaker in this video be willing to give me his private cel phone number to talk me through a difficult middle of the night . . uh . . experience?

Seriously, I kept cracking up . . especially "beating the demons".  Priceless!  And, about that cel number, buddy ?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Offensive or bad?

Like a lot of news junkies, I've seen the now-infamous political cartoon in the New York Post from earlier this week.  The folks at GLAAD have compiled others from the same artist and have a video/slide show prepared.  Either this guy is equal opportunity offensive or just bad at humor.

My guess is he's bitter.  The slide show is quite telling.

But, just in case the artist could use some help in the humor department, here's a political cartoon that's actually funny.

Friday, February 20, 2009

One great joy of being where I am

Look to the lower center of the above picture -- that's the San Gabriel mountain range capped in white.  Nice to have a clear view of winter on a day like today!

It's gotten rather warm this afternoon and has me whirling this song from the mid '80's around my head.  I'm a HUGE fan of Pat Benatar and this song, "Painted Desert" is one of my favorites of hers (lyrics here).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Follow up on "Disappeared . . ."

Nothing on any of the government's websites, but I'm not surprised and I just don't have the focus to hunt around for hours on end.

I did find, off of the ACLU biography of Mohamed Farag Bashmilah, a "reply brief" regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit filed by the plantiffs (ACLU attorneys, etc.) to ask the court to overturn a previous decision in the case.  The document was signed on 9/25/08.  I'm not an attorney myself, but from what I could make out, they did a great job convincing me to overturn the decision, if I was that Court, of course.

What I was most curious about was the timing of today's post on Huffington Post.  Best I could figure was that the timing had to do with a press release issued by the ACLU on 2/9/09 and another one released yesterday.  My guess is we'll hear soon about what action is coming soon.

It's one thing to hear in abstract about renditions and the role our government and the corporate world may have played.  When I read first hand accounts from a survivor of rendition and one of the soldiers at Gitmo, it makes it so much more difficult to keep treating this as just another news story.  

I'm wondering who else might be feeling the same as I am and if they're in a better position to do something about it.

Disappeared in the Name of National Security

I love the internets -- just typed in the man's name and found the following link on the ACLU's website. Should fill in any detaiils missing from Mr. Bashmilah's post above:


I'll check the White House's website and a few others to see if his story has been forwarded. Far less, I'm sure, has been given in a court of law to let a jury find someone guilty of the crime for which they were charged. What more will it take ?
About Jordan
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Photo from the barrio

and I use the word barrio with affection.  I've lived in this neighborhood around 20 years and, in all fairness, it is far nicer than it used to be.  I used to have to stay away from windows after dark for fear of being hit by stray bullets.  Nowadays, I haven't heard so much as a backfire in years.

However, it seems there's still a small problem with graffiti (and there are still pairs of shoes hanging from a neighborhood power line - it's best to steer clear of that block after dark).  Thankfully, finding graffiti removal phone numbers/websites is fairly easy.

Since this sign is on my usual walk route, I'll let you know if/when this sign gets cleaned or replaced.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Opinions to ponder

Many thanks to my friend Randy for sending me the links to these two Op-Ed pieces from the NY Times:

Paul Krugman wrote on 2/15/09 about the increase in debt while the actual value of assets has either stagnated or declined.  This piece gave me a much simpler way of looking at our country's economic crisis and the government's attempts to fix the problem.

All I had to do was picture a home (asset) built on what was once solid ground (debt) then picturing that house sinking into the ground as the ground liquifies (debt increasing) (easier to picture for me living in southern California with all of the earthquakes).  As this metaphorical ground gets more mushy, the house not only sinks, it begins to break apart and, at some point, becomes unlivable.

To continue the metaphor, the Recovery Act and the mortgage plan announced today by President Obama will act like pushing rock into sinking ground to help keep the house from sinking further.  Hopefully, enough Americans will be OK with pushing still more rock into the ground as the money in the Recovery Act may not be enough to ensure recovery from the recession and a solid foundation on which to rebuild a robust economy.  

Second, Maureen Dowd's opinion piece in the NY Times from today tried to shine a more sympathetic light onto our former President G.W. Bush, especially in the last few years of his administration. Chances are, if she were talking about most anyone else's similar life journey, I would easily be sympathetic, even empathize to a degree with trying to be your own man while trying to be the kind of man of which his father would be proud.

I love having different ways of thinking brought to my attention.  I have strived most of my adult life to not cling so fast onto ideals and beliefs because the more I insulate myself with those ideals and beliefs, the more likely I miss the opportunity to grow and maybe even let the next great idea slip through my fingers.

Homework - Frontline

I'm watching the latest report from PBS' "Frontline" entitled "Inside the Meltdown".  Though I followed the news of large financial companies hemorrhaging cash in the last few months, "Frontline" is doing a great job sewing all the pieces together and getting interviews with many within those finance companies and some in government who had oversight and/or involvement with this disaster.

With this perspective, another piece of advice I heard so many years ago keeps bubbling up: Diversify!  Do not invest all your money in just one thing. Don't even invest the majority of your money in one thing, especially with unknown risk unless you plan on holding on to it in the long term (20 - 30 years).

I keep forgetting I cannot scream at the TV, especially since all of the mistakes have already been made and our country is now tasked with cleaning up the mess with risky mortgages.

If you missed last night's airing, it's available for viewing on-line at your leisure.  I tried the link to DVD/Transcripts and, while there appears to be no charge for the transcript, the link to the transcript appears to not yet be set up (as of 9:25 am pacific on 2/18/09) . . should be available later today, I hope. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Free advice from a job seeker

My quest for a second paying job continues.  My last interview was a long time ago (click on the Employment label below to see how long).  After getting two e-mails today, I need to get up on my metaphorical soap box and exorcise this mess that comes along with this job hunt journey.

If you're going to take the time to post a job opening, include your company's name.  Or, if that's too much trouble, at least say the industry your business is classified.  If your concern is that listing your industry would scare away potential applicants, perhaps listing your job in a trade publication or making an appearance at a job fair is a better way to go.  Job seekers like me avoid ads like this - it leaves the impression that the business is less than reputable:
Please give me the option of being specific about jobs for which I am looking on an automated search:  This is a list of jobs I received not so long ago. I do have retail experience, but only because I worked at a store's Call Center.  Still, this is an odd partial list:

I thought big banks like Chase and Wells Fargo were getting big money from the government (via taxpayers like you and I) .  If your company has lost so much money that you needed government assistance, wouldn't the first thing you'd do is figure out which employees to lay off?  Why are there still job openings at banks??

AND, by the way, the two "Customer Service" jobs are listed as being in Los Angeles within the list. When you enter the posting, you're told that, for both listings, the actual job is in Utah.

. . . and, now for these e-mails that inspired this posting.

If you're going to e-mail me direct after viewing my resume, please do not just give me an IP address.  I now Google your company's name to make sure your offer is legit.  If you include your physical address in the e-mail and it also appears at your company's website AND your sender e-mail address matches one that could come from the company (according to your company's website) then I will be much more convinced the offer is legitimate.  Otherwise, I think you are phishing and will trash your e-mail immediately.

Where do I begin with this second e-mail?  Sad to say there will be a few out there who get the e-mail below, reply and join just for the sake of "earning" what appears to be "easy money".  I'll contact Google shortly (they used a g-mail account) and see if there's anything else I can do about communications like this.

The best advice here is the oldest: if it looks too good to be true, it definitely is!

Good luck to all who are dealing with layoffs or are otherwise trying to find legitimate, good paying work. I am already prepared to get more e-mails like these in the coming months and will do what I can to shine a little sunlight on these . . . communications.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The latest victim to politicization: Movie lists

I found LOTS and LOTS of blogs posting the National Review's Top 25 conservative movies of the last 25 years (here's a blog with the full list).  I, like all of those bloggers, were perplexed with some of the choices.

The Daily Kos has a blog entry and lots of comments with suggestions for a top 25 liberal movies list.

So which of these flicks would make a neat hybrid list of cool movies to see whilst sorting them into their brand new liberal and conservative columns?

Hairspray (the original with Ricki Lake, not the musical).  John Waters inspired insanity about racism and wanting to dance on TV set in 1960's Baltimore.

Manchurian Candidate (again, the original with Frank Sinatra and the uber-creepy Angela Lansbury). Brainwashing, and some serious mother issues. Creepy and thought provoking.  The original was released in the early 60's, but there was a remake done with Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington out a few years back.

Erin Brockovich.  Great story about the power of one person, who was by no means an expert in her field, take on the big bad utility company whose irresponsibility ruined so many of the lives reliant on the utility for their livelyhood.  Not too melodramatic, either.

Little Miss Sunshine. Great story of a typical American family trying to reach up higher and learning, by movie's end, what is really most important

South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut:  Not for those with issues over curse words, gory cartoon violence and general irreverence.  But I laugh myself sick every time I watch, sing "Blame Canada" along with the cast and am overjoyed a movie pushed freedom of expression to new heights.

The Dark Knight (and Batman Begins, the one that precedes this): Heath Ledger just gave me a serious case of the creeps in this one.  Batman Begins does a good job helping the audience understand what motivates Bruce Wayne to develop and continue being Batman.

United 93: No bias one way or the other toward what happened and why on that fateful, brief flight back in 2001. Heroism, or doing what needs to be done whilst being scared silly, is neither liberal or conservative trait.

Gran Torino: No one watching Clint Eastwood from the 1950's to the 70's on TV or film would have guessed this man had so much more to say behind the camera than in front. I laughed and cried during the movie and a good lesson in doing the right thing is never the easy thing.

The Incredibles: Nuclear family as superheroes OR accepting yourself for what you are and working together to defeat a common enemy and protect the world from evil.  Something for everyone and the usual cool Pixar animation with good storytelling.

Ghostbusters:  This was on the conservative list.  I wish I was kidding you.  And here I just thought this was some escapist fun from the eighties.  Good escapist fun, but nothing thought-provoking.

While I'm at it, Ed Rampell was on Thom Hartmann's radio show earlier today with a partial list of 2008's "Progie Award Winners". To me, if you have to explain the names of EVERY award you issue, you may need to rethink the names of your categories.

A couple of Quick Takes on these awards and the interview I heard:  So, why wasn't the movie "Che" better recognized by the group who is presenting statuettes this Sunday?  Maybe because the movie is over four hours long and to watch it On-Demand from my cable system costs me $12?  How does "Che" wind up winning an Progie and get mentioned on a list of "worsts" in the same posting?  How does "Slumdog Millionaire" reinforce the status quo in Mumbai? When I saw it, I didn't overhear others in the theatre not comment on the movie's depiction of life in the poorest parts of that city.

And, outside of "Slumdog Millionaire", I did not see any of the movies mentioned in this posting, though "Waltz With Bashir" based on the trailers looks like something I might find interesting.  Not sure if that means I need to surrender my "liberal" membership card or that I just didn't want to burn the fossil fuel to drive into West L.A. to see any of these movies.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Graham: Nationalizing Banks Should Be On The Table

When I saw Sen. Graham say he thought bank nationalization needed to be kept as an option, I had to pause the DVR, laugh myself sick, rewind and watch again! Was it just me, or did Graham's eyes look bleary and bloodshot as if he'd had a good, long cry before the show? He looked genuinely hurt and humbled to say this.

Have we turned a corner here? Could you imagine Boehner doing something like this? Oh . . yeah. . . tears are not really an issue for Boehner . .that's right . .

BTW, I'm so tickled to have Rep. Waters as one of So. Cal's congresswomen! Loved how strong she sounded. And she kept her own shocked surprise at Graham's comments to a big grin. Better than I would've been!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Kiss-In" at Stephan's Square in Vienna, Austria

While there was a similar, record-breaking event in Mexico City yesterday (nearly 40,000 gathered in the same spot to kiss), I thought a much cooler "kiss-in" took place on 2/14/09 in Vienna, Austria.

I was not able to find an English-language account of the event, but this article does include a picture of a pair of male participants.  So much more cool to see pictures of  two men kissing!

Let's see how well my grammar-school level German plus a German to English dictionary works on this article:

"The LGBT Rights group from Amnesty International organized on Valentine's Day a "Kiss-in" for Homosexuals:  On Valentine's Day a "Kiss-In" protest was held by homosexuals at Stephan's Square. Many same sex couples gathered at the "stick in ice square" at the outskirts of Stephan's Square for the "Kiss-In".   This was organized by the LGBT Rights group of Amnesty International.  When they announced in their last speech that there was no direct response from Austria's religious community, it likely caused the religious community to revisit the topic.  The event began at 2 pm and was also sponsored by the Vienna Gay & Lesbian Center."

"Nationwide activities:  At 8 pm tonight there is an annual blessing service in Stephan's Stadium. The Homosexual group used the event to bring attention to their cause.  Nationwide, , there are no other actions planned; however, individuals and small groups would not be excluded from joining similar events."

"Service for Loving:  St. Paul's cathedral in Salzburg is planning an ecumenical "service for loving".   Same sex couples are welcome to attend.  Couples may gather together for blessings or may opt to receive blessings couple by couple. The Salzburg Gay & Lesbian Center is quite happy about this, with spokesperson Josef Lindner saying 'the church truly accepts our presence'.  The Center hopes for continued advancement even with the church's new Bishop Linzer having made "discriminating" statements in the past."

Valentine's on a budget

In all the 20 + years of my relationship with my partner, this is our first with me not having a second job.  While neither one of us breaks the bank planning celebrations for each other, this year's Valentine's Day was a special challenge (apparently, we weren't the only ones who were facing the same challenge).

My partner was due yesterday to have his remaining teeth pulled in preparation for a full set of dentures and so we had our "official" Valentine's Day celebration on Thursday 2/12/09.  He offered to take me to lunch "anywhere (I) wanted to go, even for fish" of which my partner is not particularly fond.

So, I picked a local chain restaurant for lunch and enjoyed a veggie burger with fries while he polished off a turkey sandwich.

After lunch, I stopped off at the Trader Joes and grabbed a small box of my favorite dessert, chocolate-covered frozen bananas.  I also picked up two small bouquets of flowers which had just a couple of red roses in them.

I think between the two of us we spent $50 on Valentine's gifts for each other.  I loved the gift of someone else doing the cooking and, after all of these years, he still cries and smiles when he sees the flowers I bought for him in one of our cheap glass vases.

Keeping it simple worked for us this year.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Reasons to celebrate today

This week is Freedom to Marry week with many civil disobedience-style actions taking place in several states having occurred yesterday, even here in California.

It looks like all of the efforts may have actually paid off, at least for one lesbian couple.  A little legal turmoil has been started in Arizona and, while there is little optimism that their marriage will remain legal, I congratulate these two women as well as others who showed up at their City Halls to apply for and try to successfully obtain a marriage license.

If no one showed up to these sorts of events, nothing would happen. The more that show up to demonstrate, the more likely change will be affected.


I heard a new song by a very new band (just together for one year this month) Gloriana called "Wild at Heart" (click here for lyrics). The only other country artists I listen to with any regularity is Dolly Pardon, so for me to happen upon this was entirely by chance.

Enjoy a little happy dance, do-si-do or whatever you'd like while we skip along into the weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th, Darwin & Lincoln!

What an interesting coincidence having scientist Charles Darwin and 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln born on exactly the same day and year (2/12/1809)!

The only place I heard or read about this was on the Thom Hartmann show earlier today.  Hartmann had as a guest on his show a gentlemen with The Darwin Project.  The guest made some interesting observations on the "survival of the fittest" notion Darwin only mentioned a few times versus many more mentions of the term "moral sensitivity".  This makes a stronger case that humanity's survival has little to do with the "pulling (of one's self) up by (its) bootstraps", which conservatives tend to champion as the American ideal in economic issues; rather, it is how people treat each other which point to how long and well we may survive on the planet.

Update: I found an article approximately 6:30 pm today on MSNBC about Darwin's birthday.  My apologies for the oversight

Mr. Hartmann also played a voicemail during the program from a pastor who mentioned the Clergy Letter Project.  They are having their Evolution Weekend today through Sunday.  The link to the Clergy Letter Project above will take you to their site and let you find congregations who are recognizing this weekend in your state as well as a link to sermons delivered by various churches during previous weekends.  

The group seeks to recognize that ". . . numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith."

It feels good to know that I am not alone in my view that evolution is how life on this planet has come to be what it is now and that religious faith need to be set aside to accept the theory of evolution.  I imagine it more interesting to see how evolution determines what type of life exists on a planet rather than scooping up clay, molding it and breathing life into it.  I think the saying which begins "Give a man a fish . ." is the easiest way to summarize why evolution would be much more interesting to a deity.

The White House website gives a good thumbnail sketch biography of Lincoln.  President Obama is scheduled this evening to speak at the Abraham Lincoln Association Annual Banquet.  It appears to me that, once again, the only way President Lincoln's birthday was going to be acknowledged was through the current U.S. President attending this banquet and delivering the keynote address.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hilda Solis - an opportunity / Capuano - applause!

I just read here that President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis may have her nomination voted on and, likely, confirmed as soon as tomorrow.

I've readily admitted before that I am a member of the Service Employees International Union Local 434B, so I cannot claim to be impartial about this appointment.  Regardless of how unions in general may be viewed these days (they are only as good as the people who support them), Rep. Solis looks to be a good choice to truly represent the nation's labor force about what is important to them (and me, by extension).

Here is a petition you may opt to sign in support of her -- the sooner the better.


Perhaps I'm just a sucker for a politician with righteous indignation in his/her voice (real or overly-hyped), but I just LOVED watching and hearing Rep. Capuano earlier today addressing a group of Wall Street executives regarding TARP monies already loaned out to these companies.  Round of applause!

Metalhead's big adventure in civics

For the first time in 18 years, I attended a City Council meeting.  The last visit was for a college class project.   I attended last night to support people from the newly formed local Organize for America grassroots group and to see what might have changed since 1991. 

The group and I stayed for the first hour of the meeting, at which time the "open communication" to the Council had ended.   After the public had the chance to address the Council, a fairly standard, dry, "routine business" meeting continued (old meeting minutes approval, infrastructure issues, petitions from individuals, etc.).  

Here is how the room looked at the start:  The Council, at the head of the room, were four men, one woman, all white and at least 15 years older than the city's resident's average age.  The city itself has around 80 to 85,000 people with the ethnic composition split 50/40 between Hispanics and Whites, according to City-Data.com (have some fun checking out the info on your own town/city or a nearby larger city)

Somewhere between 40 and 50 people were in the room during the hour -- it's an estimate as people were regularly traveling in and out of the meeting room.  Oddly,  the composition of the audience more closely matched the composition of the city.  I figure that this bodes well for new faces planning on running for the Council in the coming months

At the start of the "open communication" section of the agenda, 10 people queued up to address the Council with each speaker given no more than 3 minutes.  

In California, the Brown Act of 2003, pages 19, 20, 59 and 60, does not state the maximum length of each speech nor how long the entire "open communication" part of the meeting may last.  However, given what folks outside of our group brought up (gas to gas/electric hybrid leafblower exchange, congrats on conversion of train track land to public park, greetings and prayer offered by the Salvation Army, a local hardware store petition - - about what, I could not tell - - and other complaints from people the Council knew by name - - my guess - - due to frequent attendance and outspokenness), three minutes per speech is plenty generous.

With the five grassroots members who spoke, each was on message, passionate and well informed. Each addressed the decline of graffiti removal and prevention even with a bigger budget versus the increased police budget yet decreased presence.  This issue is most evident in the historical part of the city which, like what happened in Lower Manhattan but on a smaller scale, had been transformed many years ago into a retail/residence style neighborhood.  

By having half the 10 speakers address the same issue with passion, intelligence and some deference to the Council's need to balance ongoing city development and the concerns of involved citizens, I'm pretty convinced the Council will place this subject on a future agenda.

After our group left the meeting, we discussed other ways to get our issue to be added to a future meeting's agenda.   With all noble notions of changing the world with grand gestures aside, the saying "it's not about what you know, but whom you know" applied here, as some in the group knew some who work for the city and may be able to get the issue onto a future agenda.

The true path to change starts with building bridges between agents of change and those in positions of authority.   Today, graffiti removal.  Tomorrow, who knows?  The next group meeting is later this month and I'm already looking forward to it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photograph Art: John Moore

Too much news to digest and I have every intention of writing a full post after the City Council meeting tonight.  Checking around for news, I found blog posts which include photos taken by John Moore of Getty Images.  A selection of photos were posted on the website for the Sacramento Bee newspaper on February 2, 2009 and feature scenes from the current state of our country from Colorado and Ohio.

The images speak for themselves. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Quick Takes

Yeah, yeah, President Obama . . prime time press conference . . blah, blah, blah

Back to "business" after tonight's City Council meeting.

For tonight, I answered a "dumb survey" and was reminded of a singer my partner took me to see in Las Vegas a few years ago for our anniversary.  It was one of the rare times I got a performer's autograph after the show.  My partner is one amazing fellah to have trusted me with getting this dude's autograph!

In addition to being a snappy dresser and, as you'll see, quite good looking, he's got his own sound that blends jazz, traditional pop and, I imagine, something Canadian.  Enjoy Matt Dusk singing "Back in Town" (lyrics here)

The meaning of it all

Just a few minutes now until the President's first prime-time news conference, set to be broadcast on multiple channels.  I'd better type a little faster than usual.

Though, this time, I'm letting this latest exercise in communication happen without my commentary.  For now.

I was drawn to a pair of articles posted by Newsweek.  The first one provided a cool splash of water to the face -- the kind I need most days in order to wake up fully and think clearly.  It's quite easy to surf the 'Net and despair over the state of the U.S. (and world) economy; however, the article cites predictions made over the decades that, by staying calm and by all of us learning from mistakes in the past, our country can survive this wave of bad news. 

The second Newsweek article, rather than discourage me, assured me that I am still on the right path to achieving the goal I set for myself in my first post.  I write about what not only interests me, but what ignites in me a passion to write -- whether I form opinions or just hold a mirror up to what is happening outside my home.

Finally, I read today's post from The Mudflats about how a virtual media infrastructure (blogs, print media, TV/Radio) when connected to a nationwide news medium like CNN, can solicit immediate response, outrage and support for those in need.  I loved reading that their next goal is to ensure those who live in remote villages have a means for the remainder of this winter and winters to come to support themselves, as they have done in the past.  Better still, all of this was done without assistance from any city, county, state or federal government intervention.  This new construct also continues pushing to hold government responsible for its lack of action and pressuring government to get involved in actual future infrastructure to avoid what happened this winter from happening again.

I have no idea if this blog will lead to the change witnessed in rural Alaska.  I also face this uncertainty in my job hunt, spiritual journey and in the relationships I have built and maintain.

I am certain that if I don't pursue my bliss/passion, nothing will happen for me.

Can't wait to see how Obama's pursuit of his own passion this week will turn out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Music awards show picks/favorites

I have Shrimp with Salad ready to go for tonight's supper as I watch the start of the awards show happening later today.

Here are some of my favorites and/or picks for award winners:

Metallica - in some form or fashion, they have five nominations this year including Rock Instrumental, Rock Album, Recording Package, Non-classical Producer of the Year (for Rick Rubin, who also produced tracks for Neil Diamond and Weezer amongst others) AND Best Metal Performance

My guesses are that Slipknot would get the Best Metal Performance (a freaking awesome head-banging tune -- and with two percussionists, they have a sound all their own).  Also, the Rock Album will go to anyone but Metallica (there's a real hesitancy to award two different category of award to the same artist).

Hard Rock Performance - I'm torn between Disturbed (solid pop-metal work on every album they put out) and Motley Crue (yes, the same one from the '80's.  "Saints of Los Angeles" is a great comeback for these guys!)

Some quick guesses: Lil' Wayne gets Album of the year, Song of the Year to Coldplay, New Artist goes to Adele or Duffy (if it's the Jonas Brothers, a shoe will go flying at the team).

I'd be thrilled if Rufus Wainwright gets the award in the Traditional Pop category - amazing singer with all kinds of talent and has had a rough couple of years recently.

* * * finally * * *

MIA - two nominations . . . Record of the Year (yeah, sure . . . your winners are two industry veterans and I'll be stunned if anyone else gets that award) and Rap Album.  MIA is up against two rap heavyweights - Jay-Z and Nas.  Also, Lil' Wayne got A LOT of nominations, so if he wins elsewhere, that improves MIA's chances.

Here's the video for the title track "Paper Planes", (lyrics here) which you'll also hear in the movie "Slumdog Millionaire".  Can't get the chorus' sound effects out of my head.  M.I.A is slated to perform though she's due to give birth today.  If this song gets performed as is on tonight's network TV broadcast, I will REALLY be stunned!

Flooding, Flaming and the final word on Ted Haggard

Ooh, it's going to be a busy Sunday!

Australia is presently going through an awful mess.  In their northeast, a cyclone has caused flooding and in the southeast, wildfires are raging, allegedly set intentionally.  To put it in terms Americans can appreciate, imagine Atlantic City NJ being overwhelmed with flooding from a hurricane at the same time West Palm Beach FL and surrounding towns were burning to the ground.

Within the article about the fires in the southeast, there is a link to the Australian Red Cross.  If I had the extra scratch myself, I'd make a donation to it myself.  Please consider making a donation to them if you have been blessed with unexpected money, a raise or promotion.

Living in Southern California, we've seen our share of flooding and mudslides in the winter months and fires all around at any time of the year.  To have both going on at the same time?


This commentary by Reverend Irene Monroe summarizes nicely what is going on with Ted Haggard lately and what responsibility his former church also bears with all of the scandal surrounding him, both old and new.  Let this be the final word on that issue.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I am one of 13,000,000 !

I attended one of the Democratic National Committee / President Obama organized community meetings earlier today (there are, apparently, over three thousand of them going on between yesterday and tomorrow night).

Rather than ramble on and on here, this article from MSNBC gives you a good idea, more or less, what happened at the meeting I went to this morning.

Just a few differences:
  • The person who was supposed to bring the video of Governor Tim Kaine's response to Recovery Act questions did not show, so we did not have the video to view to kick off the meeting.  I'll check out that video on line later today (it can be viewed by clicking on the hypertext above).
  • No single-payer universal health care PowerPoint presentation at our meeting - ours was only loosely organized conversation over Obama's first few weeks in office and what we, as a group, would be able to do to support needed changes at the city/community level.
  • No chicken nuggets and beer here - I helped brew the coffee, the leader brought pastries and someone went on a run for disposable cups.  We'll all have to bring mugs next time - keeping things green and all . . .
  • I said very little after introducing myself to the group.  I really wanted to listen to what everyone there had to say.  There was one woman there with her teenage son who shared both she and her husband were also unemployed.  Some there were Union members (as am I), though the description of our group is a good match to the group written about in the MSNBC I referenced above. 

We'll be attending our next city council's meeting as a group to voice our agenda and have the next meeting scheduled for later this month.  This is, it seems, where real change begins.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New report from the Congressional Oversight Panel: Bailout

Have a look for yourselves at the report published today on how the TARP monies loaned to financial institutions were valued.

Hint: If I bought my iPod shuffle for $75 when it's readily available for purchase at $50, just imagine what you would think of me.  Now, transfer that to Congress.  Yikes!

On the left, I've added bailoutsleuth.com to the list of blogs to read.  So lovely that someone else is keeping tabs on all of this money being handed out.

While you read either/both documents, enjoy this way cool tune from the 90's: Garbage "I'm only happy when it rains". (click here for lyrics)  It's a little soggy on the left coast for once.  

And, by the way, catch Garbage's lead singer Shirley Manson's return to the mysterious company owner role in the Fox TV show "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" which returns on 2/13/09, just before the new Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) show "Dollhouse".

All around the blogosphere for 2/6/09

It was all of 7 days ago since I did this "list of blog entries I saw/read and enjoyed and you might too" thing.  Not my usual thing to do these types of entries with so little space in between; yet, there is just so much out there to see which grabbed my interest:

"And the award goes to":  I would have loved to have given some kind of statuette to Senator Graham; however, Senator Boxer called him out on his "theatrics" on the floor of the Senate, which was nearly as satisfying.  I got a lovely fit of giggling out of it and I am so proud she is one of my Senators!

A cartoon panel's worth a couple hundred words:  The General strikes again, summing up the Republican's "morality" and their solution to all the world's ills.  He is owed a manly, heterosexual expression of appreciation from me for this.  

The awards season continues this Sunday:  Cool post at Huffington Post about past music award shows -- who won what and why and who should have won (oh, if only we could have another award show to give awards to those who should've gotten awards: the Oopsies or the WTFs, maybe?)

My favorite story from this morning:  Fred Phelps' version of Christianity versus the real deal.  Proof, if you still need it, that peace and love will always triumph over evil.  Keep the facial tissues handy.


My partner is in the process of getting ready to take me to lunch and a movie.  This would be the "married for twenty years and who wants to be out after dark" version of a date. Yay !

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'll make up your mind for you

Groucho Marx performing "I'm Against It" from the movie "Horse Feathers" (click here for lyrics)

Perhaps it's been the utter lack of a formidable opponent in the top spot in U.S Government in recent years, but it seems lately the conservative radio talk-show hosts have been fired up like they've not been since 2006 (my bet, without hard evidence to back me, is the downturn in conservative talk-show punditry began with the switch in majority in Congress from Republicans to Democrats).

I'll let you search for Limbaugh, Hannity and whomever you adore in conservative talk-radio to read/watch/hear what they have to say about Obama, his recent issues with Administration appointments and the language used to describe the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009"

(hmm...I'm missing the words "stimulus", "spending" or, I don't know, "peanuts" in the title of this bill.  In the body of the Senate's version of the bill, the word "stimulus" appears 4 times, "spending" appears 17 times.  The word "invest" appears over 100 times, though.  Maybe "invest" just doesn't have that certain "zing")

There are a couple of things the Administration is doing to counter the spin.  First is the editorial included in today's Washington Post written by President Obama (you can connect to the editorial here).  Yes, the current President of the United States had an editorial published today.  I tried all kinds of searches to see if any other sitting president had an editorial published and came up empty, so perhaps President Obama is making history once again.

I am also attending a meeting late Saturday morning which promises participants will ". . . discuss President Obama's  (Economic Recovery) plan . . " and ". . . watch a video of Governor Tim Kaine (answering our) questions about the plan".  My first thought is that this will be an opportunity to solidify talking points on the plan and find ways to bullet point the content of the bill for use in our community.

I'll most definitely post what my experience was at the upcoming Saturday meeting and whether or not the exercise was worth the effort put into organizing these meetings.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Adventures in job hunting

For the first time in over 10 years, I attended a job fair today.

I was hired in 1996 to a managed care company from a job fair the company itself held one day.  I managed to stay employed with that company for 8 1/2 years and had a lot of different jobs while there.

On the other hand, I participated in the interviewing at a job fair that same company had a few years after I was hired.  That experience was less than positive.  At least for that particular fair, so many unqualified people showed up.  Of those who met the minimum requirements, many of them either had very poor interview skills (I could tell the answers were rehearsed or the applicant was way too informal with me) or were inappropriately dressed and/or unprepared for a job interview.  I do not even remember if anyone was hired that day or not.

Today's job fair experience was a mixed bag.  To avoid what I figured would be parking lots filled to overflowing and/or parking fees somewhere between $10 and $20, I took light rail into Los Angeles.  Sadly, it took nearly 30 minutes to find an available parking spot at the rail stop closest to my home (I drove to three different "park and ride" parking lots until I found one with open parking stalls).

I spent just 15 minutes at this fair today.  Here's why:  While the job posting site hosting the fair had rented out a large ballroom-sized space, there were only 16 booths set up.  Out of those 16, five were either job publications or universities who were trying to bring job applicants into their school -- not to hire folks as administrators or professors.

I also did not see were any employers who were either a) taking resumes at the fair or b) doing on-the-spot interviews or c) doing a) or b) in lieu of accepting resumes on their websites.

All was not lost today, though.  I had to get cleaned up, shaved and dressed up (where one or more of these is usually optional most days.  Ah, the joy of unemployment!). I also have a list of the employers who were at the fair today.  I can now go to these companies' web site to apply for jobs. 

Also, I grabbed a brochure for a group with which I stand a really good chance of employment, albeit on a temp basis and for not as much pay as I would have by staying on unemployment.

I also got out of the house for 3 1/2 hours and did a fair amount of walking while going to/from the light rail to the job fair location.

Another job fair is scheduled for February 11 and this one will be much closer to home, so it should be worth the much shorter drive.  After that, I just cannot see continuing to go to job fairs if it appears to have no advantage in attending versus keeping my job search on-line.

Still more good news: instead of an IOU from the state of CA in light of their recently "cash broke" status, I did receive an actual unemployment check for the full amount in yesterday's mail.

Potential employers:  My hope is that you noticed how effortlessly I found so much positive in a day that, on it's surface, did not bear much fruit.  Just write a Comment about this post and I will more than happily get back in contact with you about an interview.

Go, Joe, Go. No, really, Go !

Perhaps the most famous political, er . . I'm not sure what, of the decade, Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher, is on the move.  

He did spend 10 days in Israel, as promised, filing reports/interviews with his boss about his experiences there.  And, later this week, he's taking his new found confidence and skill to Washington D.C. to try and talk to a legislator, any legislator, about the Economic Stimulus bill now in the Senate.

Mere text cannot do justice to the Joe-the-Plumber-tude that . . uh, well . . just check out the free 8 minute video at PajamasTV.com (free with registration.  Perhaps it's just me, but that is the best 90 seconds I ever spent registering on-line for something.  It ranks right up there with registering at job posting websites).

And, fresh on the heels of news from PajamasMedia about the demise of its Media Ad Network for conservative bloggers (I was wondering why I hadn't seen something similar for political bloggers on the left side of the aisle . . and now I know.  Talk about your progressive thinkers -- they were already so far ahead of the curve they've apparently not even thought of starting their own Media Ad Network.  Good thing I've already got that primo top dollar job . . oh, nuts, that's right, I'm starting month four of Unemployment. . .), Mr. Wurzelbacher has gotten even more industrious.

Yes, now you can take in as much Joe as you can handle by visiting Secureourdream.com.  Check out the link to Joe's sponsors (um . . sponsor.  Just one.  For now, anyway.  It's one more than I have, so yes, I'm a little jealous.  The fact that the sponsor is most likely the same group that designed the website is just happy coincidence).  Shop Joe's Store . . for Joe's book, which has a co-author. You can also buy the co-author's book there . . or go to barnesandnoble.com and buy it there for less.  It's how I read what I saw on that page.  Then again, I don't have a "Shop Tinsteelandrust" page here.  I also don't have a book ready to publish and know next to nothing about e-commerce, except maybe buying the occasional ViewMaster reel from E-Bay.  Still, compared to me, Kudos to Joe for the entrepreneurial spirit!

Visitors may also want to check out the We The People section and scroll down to the bottom to read "How do I (the visitor) make a difference?"  Basically, register to the site, go to the Joe the Forum section and offer ". . solutions to the problems we face in this country and we welcome content suggestions and investigational support from members.  This site is not about complaints, but about people coming together with alternatives to socialist government solutions"

Now, I just have to choose between the free "We are Joe Membership" or, for $19.95 (I assume that's per month) become a Premium member which gives me "Total Access to Joe The Forum where (I) may chat directly with Joe" and "Blog with Joe on Joe The Blogger" along with other . . oh, please, my budget these days is pretty much "If it's free, it's worth it!"

So, I'm now signed up, along with 22 others, for Joe The Forum.  I can already sense the sheer entertainment/educational value I'm getting even though my account is still "in moderation".

Monday, February 2, 2009

A cereal, Lutefisk and Islam connection?

If my mind ever works like the General's mind, it will be time to cart me away to someplace safe.

Gratefully, he has "connected the dots" and, blessedly, gave me a hearty, long laugh.  Wicked, silly genius!  Enjoy!

Senate Stimulus Bill (Full Text)

Oh, the glorious 21st century and Ctrl+F ! I did a search for COBRA in the final, voted-on version of the stimulus bill in the House as well as the proposed bill from the Senate.

The House version could well qualify me for a reduction in the COBRA payments I make to hold on to my last employer's health insurance. It would save me $250.00 a month. Yay!

The acronym COBRA or the Act's full name is NOWHERE in the Senate bill. Ugh.

Just do Ctrl+F for any word which you think affects you on both of the .pdfs. Seems the easiest way to find differences and you'll spot them easier because you actually care what the bills say.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Blogroll Amnesty Day

This is a nifty idea which, if my figuring is correct, is in its 3rd go around officially tomorrow. We have bloggers jonswift and skippy the bush kangaroo to thank for the b.a.d.  However, perhaps it's time to add blogger bluegal to the list of originators as it was her post earlier today at CrooksandLiars that got me hooked into this.

The idea is to find up to five blogs I read which have smaller traffic than my own.  Then, crack no jokes, no puns nor whine about how no one's blog has fewer readers than my own.  Done!  In my real-world life, I'm in management and whining is done only over a high-priced lunch or behind a closed door, none of which exist here.

I like reading a blog written by a friend of mine.  Actually, he's an even better story writer than blogger and, as he cherishes his privacy, I'll let him read this post then decide if he wants to "roll" with everyone else by clicking on the "this is a nifty idea" link above.

I am most definitely interesting in finding other blogs to add to my list, especially those that are funny and those that write about their experience in their part of the country.

Ooh, and I'd DESPERATELY love to change the wallpaper, but don't want to have to learn everything there is to know about html to do it.

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