Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm just sayin.......

Maybe I'm wrong, but the Republican plan to lay off a million teachers, police officers, firefighters, public utility workers, highway maintenance workers,
public hospital nurses, etc., etc., etc., take hundreds of billions if not trillions of $$$ out of the economy, end unemployment insurance, end social security, end medicare, cut children off medicaid, break all the remaining unions, eliminate collective bargaining rights, lower peoples' wages everywhere, increase taxes on the poor and middle-class, throw people off their health insurance plans, all the while protecting tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and tax-payer subsidized corporations making record profits while paying no taxes and out-sourcing work to China or India, doesn't seem like a good plan to me. I'm just sayin..........

Bud C

What I Still tell my Son when Dropping him off at School Even Though He's a High School Sophomore

Here's what I tell my son every morning when I drop him off at school. I've recited these and other words of advice hundreds, if not thousands, of times since he was in kindergarten, even pre-school -- with a few modifications along the way. It all started out as a simple reminder - "No biting" at his pre-school/day care. There were about two weeks where he was causing trouble by biting other kids. So everyday I'd tell him I loved him and "no biting." He's a Sophomore in High School this school year.

Have a nice day.
Play nice with the kids.
Help the teacher.
Follow the rules.
Be smart. Act smart. Raise your hand. Ask good questions, including "What could possibly go wrong?" And remember, if an idiot would do it, don't do it.
Learn some high school sh**.

No unauthorized leaping, prancing, dancing, dashing, mashing, pouncing, jouncing, jousting, rousting, skipping, bipping, ripping.

If you see any of the following falling from the sky, run for cover: giant construction cranes, lawnmowers, chain saws, frozen donkeys, dump trucks, refrigerators or other large appliances, derelict Soviet space satellites; pretty much anything.

If you see an alien spacecraft, let me know. If elephants parachute into the parking lot, give me a call.

Do not knock the building down; do not flush your shoes and/or electronic equipment of any size down the toilet (this took on special meaning after he flushed his cell phone down the school toilet--it's a funny story).

Eat all your lunch. Don't eat any giant bugs, worm spaghetti, eyeball soup, weasel spit, beaver barf, fish entrails, platypus lips, hippopotamus hips, buffalo chips, or squid lips. Don't eat anything that Andrew Zimmern, Les Stroud, or Bear Gryll, or Dave and Cody or any of the other knock-off survivalist shows would eat on a regular basis. Anthony Bourdain is not totally insane; Rachael Ray is certainly okay.

Do not put peanut butter in your butt crack, honey in your belly button, or cactus in your underwear. And remember - bananas and coconuts are not armadillos, do not dance the rhumba, and do not change the oil in daddy's car on a regular basis, or any basis for that matter.

If you follow these simple rules, you will have a fine, marvelous, wonderful, inspirational, fun, exciting, memorable, educational, swell at Bellevue East High School, Bellevue, Ne, United States of America, North American Continent, North American and Atlantic tectonic plate which also includes Japan, on the planet Earth, which is 2/3 covered by water you can't drink, in the solar system of our sun, a medium sized yellow star 93 million miles away, one star among hundreds of billions stars in our galaxy, located on the Orion spur of the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, a typical spiral galaxy, a member of the local group of galaxies, one galaxy among hundreds of billions of galaxies in the known universe most of which are moving away from each other at rates of speed higher than that predicted by the best minds of modern science. Some of which appear to be moving away from each other at speeds greater than the speed of light. Which has very smart people stumped. So work on that.

And, I love you.

As I said, I've recited this message hundreds if not thousands of times now and Jeremy still listens patiently, and corrects me if I make a mistake, and still smiles, and still gives me the occasional good-bye kiss or hug before heading off into the world.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Channeling Moses

I'm always reluctant to claim to be channeling Moses. I mocked Glenn Beck when he said, much like Pat Robertson, that the Japanese earthquakes and tsunami and subsequent catastrophes at the nuclear plants were messages from God. But after considerable reflection and prayer, I have now concluded that Beck was right. The nuclear meltdowns going on are indeed a message from God: DON'T BUILD THESE @#%&*$#@ NUCLEAR REACTORS ON TOP OF MAJOR EARTHQUAKE FAULT LINES WHERE YOU MIGHT HAVE MAGNITUDE 9 EARTHQUAKES AND TSUNAMIS RESULTING IN RADIATION SPEWING INTO THE AIR, SEA, AND LAND FOR DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS, AND PERHAPS YEARS. Over and out, God.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Symphony of Thoughts on a Tuesday Morning and a Plug for Roy Zimmerman

A Symphony of Thoughts on a Tuesday Morning and a Plug for Roy Zimmerman-

I am summarizing President Obama's speech last night on Libya: "We figured doing this no-fly thing was better than doing nothing -- but it was a difficult choice. Now we're figuring out what to do do next." President Obama in his speech last night outlined new US policy - "Sometimes we can help. And if we can, maybe we will, if all the stars are aligned right." But the Headlines still read: "Obama intervenes to stop massacres by pathological lunatic North African tyrant - Nobody Happy. Except some guy in Ben Ghazi." And I wake up every morning glad that President Obama is our President.

The Republican response to this action is predictable even though they were very vocal and loud in calling for intervention: too soon, too late, too big, too small, too slow, too fast, not enough, too much, too simple, too complicated, too rigid, too flexible, too salty, not salty enough, overdone, underdone, too rare, too well done, too tall, too short, too nice, not nice enough, too French, not French enough, too nuanced, not nuanced enough....... It doesn't really matter what the issue is either. The criticism remains the same: too soon, too late, too big, too small, too slow, too fast, not enough, too much, too simple, too complicated, too rigid, too flexible, too salty, not salty enough, overdone, underdone, too rare, too well done, too tall, too short, too nice, not nice enough, too French, not French enough, too nuanced, not nuanced enough.......

And Republicans in Congress, by not demanding a vote of Congress on this action, are thereby reserving their right to criticize anything and everything about it: too soon, too late, too big, too small, too slow, too fast, not enough, too much, too simple, too complicated, too rigid, too flexible, too salty, not salty enough, overdone, underdone, too rare, too well done, too tall, too short, too nice, not nice enough, too French, not French enough, too nuanced, not nuanced enough.......

What do Libyans want? As one of the rebels says,“We want democracy. We want good schools, we want a free media, an end to corruption, a private sector that can help build this nation, and a parliament to get rid of whoever, whenever, we want." These are honorable aims. But to expect that they will be achieved easily is to deny the cost of decades of insanity, terror, and the deliberate eradication of civil society which Ghadaffi undertook in his pathological cult of personality.

A recent Congressional Budget Office report says that the much criticized stimulus spending of the previous year created 3.7 million new jobs and the economy is on the rebound. Undeterred by this evidence and all facts in general everywhere, the Republicans aim to stop this economic growth in time for the 2012 elections and are working very hard to stop this economic recovery on a 24/7 basis. When the Republicans campaigned on Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, I thought they meant create them not eliminate them...... My bad. They are dead set on eliminating jobs for teachers, police officers, firefighters, state employees everywhere, county and city employees taking care of our roads, sewers, libraries, parks, the very skeletons of our public infrastructure. Anything "public" is bad. Anything "government" is bad. And anything "union" is bad -- having virtually eliminated private sector unions, the Koch brothers are now pulling the strings of their Pinocchio Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and plenty of other Governors to eviscerate their public unions..... When Republicans campaigned on Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, I thought they meant create them, not eliminate them. My bad...............

By the way, I've got an idea. Instead of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, children, education, working people, medicare, and social security, let's cut military spending by getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq, end the tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, and corporations, stop subsidizing oil companies, and raise the social security tax income limit. And you can't tax cut your way to a balanced budget.

Meanwhile back at home: I watched a CNN Special about Murfreesboro, Tennessee's fight to stop a Muslim center from being built on the outskirts of "their" community. While Muslims risk their lives against the oppressive regimes in the Middle East, we are treating our own citizens in this ugly fashion..........It's depressing. Murfreesboro believes they have the right to worship as they please; but other people don't.

And House Republicans did claim victory in their battle against Socialism - Car Talk and Big Bird were defunded. The issue now goes to the Senate for further action.

On public education that is now a target of Republicans: I am a strong supporter of public education, but my problem is that it appears Michele Bachmann graduated from a public high school, Anoka High School, in Anoka, Minnesota. Something's obviously wrong........

Best line of the week about Glenn Beck goes to Ed Schultz on the Ed Show: "Glenn Beck is a liar running an ignorance marathon."

On US Nuclear power: early on, US nuclear energy boosters were characterizing the troubled Japan Nuclear facility as a "confidence booster." I don't think so.

I ran across a folk singer/political satirist, Roy Zimmerman. Youtube his name and listen to a few of his songs. One of my favorites is "God Bless America - It Just Might Work!" Great stuff!

By the way, I've got an idea. Instead of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, children, education, working people, medicare, and social security, let's cut military spending by getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq, end the tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, and corporations, stop subsidizing oil companies, and raise the social security tax income limit. And you can't tax cut your way to a balanced budget.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is the enemy of my Yemeni friend my friend or my enemy?

An Afternoon in Tunisia. 24 x 36 acrylic on canvas.

Tunisia, or not Tunisia? That is the question....... Give me Libya-ty or give me death.......

Well, we've sided now with the Libyan rebels even though we don't quite know who they are. We know that Ghaddafi is an oil rich megalomaniac billionaire thief and tyrant (not completely unlike many of our "friends" in the region) and we are hoping against hope that the rebels who professed to seeking more freedom are doing just that. Time will tell. French and British war planes and US cruise missles are demolishing Libya's air defense infrastructure as a prelude to a "No-fly" zone. The Arab League, having soured on Ghadaffi's ego, has apparently endorsed the actions as long as we do the heavy lifting for them, but will, I am sure, reserve the right to be indignant later. The richer Arab nations are quite accustomed to importing foreign labor.

That we've sided, so far, with the Yemeni and Bahrainian governments against their own citizens' protests clouds the lens through which we view the region. Yemeni and Bahrainian soldiers are killing civilians in significant numbers as well. The view is not so clear now. Is the enemy of our Yemenis our enemy when it is Yemenis who are our Yeminis' enemies? Trying to figure Yemen out is a "Bah-rain" teaser to be sure. I once quipped that when given Yemens, make Yemenade. So, my attempt to clarify US policy regarding these two countries requires that I make bad puns and hope that people smarter than I make good decisions -- and that hasn't happened that often in the Middle East as far back as written records go.

It still irks me that Libyan freedom has to cost me $4.00 a gallon, though, at a time of record domestic supplies of oil and Libyan oil going to China not us. I'm thinking somebody on Wall Street is milking the teats of the petroleum cash cow for every penny, nickel, dime, and quarter they can. To paraphrase P.T. Barnum, "You can fool Allah the people Somalia the time, and Somalia people Allah the time, but you can't fool Allah the people Allah the time."

I still say the only way to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is to stop fighting them.

Bud C

ps. 3-23-11 update - Headline - President Obama stops possible massacre by lunatic dictator -- nobody happy. Except Ben Ghazi, whoever that is.

PSS. 8-23-11 UPDATE - Libyan rebels enter Tripoli and the end game in the revolution is in sight. We are all hoping this works out well. The U.S. doesn't appear as excited as it did during the Egyptian uprising. It's been a long five months.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tiny Drops in a Large Ocean of Tears

A Flower for Japan.

From the trivia of politics to the tragedy of Japan.

From the irritating mind of Sarah,"Lock and Load," Palin. She advises Wisconsin teachers to tone down their rhetoric so that no one gets hurt. I nearly blew milk through my nose when I heard that. That group of 100,000 pissed off teachers had to the most polite group of that size in human history.

And in the "What's that again, Bill O'Reilly?" category, he stated that he didn't think a college professor should assign The Koran as mandatory reading when we are involved in a "war on terror" because it would be "akin" to requiring students to read Mein Kampf in the years of WWII. And he would refuse to do so. Which is not even what this mention is about. He later claimed that he wasn't comparing the two books, and that claiming so was taking his remarks out of context.

And Glenn Beck, not be outdone in the nut department, said he thought the Japanese earthquake and tsunami "might" be messages from God. He didn't try to interpret the messages, though, leaving us all to wonder. With all due respect to those more versed in interpreting the Word of God, one possibility, though, might be "Don't build nuclear power plants atop ring of fire earthquake zones, or the San Andreas Fault." Or at the very least, it might be, "Build them better." Another possibility is that God is sending us a message that Oracle Glenn Beck needs help.

Michele Bachmann continues her assault on history with her misplacing the start of the American Revolution in New Hampshire. I'd be more forgiving if this wasn't just one more example of a continuing series of historical gaffes. She's volunteered to show her birth certificate if she runs for President - in her case, a history test might be a better idea.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin continues to illustrate the "banality" of bad government with his ongoing legislative attacks on teachers, firefighters, police officers, public schools, basic democratic legislative processes, all the while staring with that empty bland blankness of his smiling face.

And regarding the national political scene: Hey, I've got an idea. Instead of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, children, education, working people, medicare, and social security, let's cut military spending by getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq, end the tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, and corporations, stop subsidizing oil companies, and raise the social security tax income limit.

The enormity of the multiple human catastrophes in Japan is ever unfolding and the nuclear disaster is an on-going nightmare. I gave a few dollars that I could spare to my church's relief efforts and painted a flower picture for Japan. But I know those are tiny drops in a large ocean of tears.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

You can fool Allah the people Somalia the time.....

You can fool Allah the people Somalia the time, and Somalia the people Allah the time; but you can't fool Allah the people Allah the time. Iranian fundamentalist theocrats should probably take note of this as Muslims throughout the Middle East demonstrate for freedom. Brutal oppression of Islamic Iranians and Libyans is taking place on a daily basis by a theocracy in the first instance and a secular cult of personality in the second.

And in our own country, Congressman Peter King, the sponsor of the Let's Investigate Islamic Americans Committee, has convened his McCarthy-esque hearings, just weeks after the above freedom-seeking Muslims across the Middle East began their quests at the risk of their lives demonstrating against oppressive regimes we and other western powers helped install.

The conflation of these two events illustrates Mr. King's moral vacuity. Muslim firefighters died going up the stairwells of the World Trade Centers. Muslim Americans died in that attack.

The perpetrators of the 9-11 attacks were disaffected Saudis with the assistance and safe haven of Taliban fundamentalist theocrats we helped recruit, train, and arm, who overthrew the Soviet backed Afghan government, who overthrew the monarch, etc., etc., etc. Our hands are not clean, as the old saying goes.

Mr. King's hearings likely have a greater chance of increasing discrimination against and suspicion of our own Islamic American neighbors than ferreting out any internal threats to the United States of America. I'd let the FBI and local law enforcement handle this.

Muslims enjoy a degree of freedom in this country far greater than those seeking the overthrow of oppressive governments in the Middle East we do business with: Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, etc., etc., etc. For these anti-American hearings to take place is anathema to our Constitution and to our own citizens and an insult to freedom seeking Muslims all across the world. Mr. King should be ashamed of himself.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Price of Gas

A few thoughts on this last week:

The price of gas - "Revolutions begin with enthusiasm and end in tears." The attention span of the American lame-stream media is on display again as Charlie Sheen's public mental breakdown gets more news coverage than the ongoing "freedom" revolutions in the middle east. Libyan dictator Ghadaffi is mass murdering his own citizens in his attempts to crush the rebellion against his cult of himself. And fears of disruption of Libyan oil production is sending the price of gas in the US up and up and up. Wall Street oil speculators are making tons of money on the "futures" market, further driving up the price of gas. The those self-same Middle East authoritarian governments that people are rising up against are making $$$ billions more each month as the price of gasoline climbs. So the price of gas this week is Libya's freedom. Talk about a vicious circle.

Politics and budgets -- several polls now show that sizable majorities of Americans favor cutting military spending, rolling back the tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, increasing corporate taxes, and INCREASING social spending for education, job training, child health, etc., etc., etc., and not cutting Social Security, Medicare, and social spending. The Republicans campaigned on Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, but I thought they meant create them not eliminate them. Their budget proposals are projected to cost the US economy about a million jobs. And Republicans and the Koch Brothers, instead of creating jobs, are continuing their attacks on Mexicans, Gays, Planned Parenthood, women's reproductive rights, Teachers, Unions, public sector employees, the Middle Class, Muslims, PBS, children's health programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, job training, unemployment insurance, , etc., etc., etc., all the while protecting various tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations, and, of course, their own personal earmarks, now called "letter marks" for their Congressional districts.

Sarah Palin's new campaign slogan? - "I'm not as ignorant as McCain's campaign staff thought --- elect me President." For reasons known only to herself, Sarah Palin has resurrected the charges made by the campaign staff of McCain/Palin for President and VP and reported on FOX News of all places that she didn't know whether Africa was a country or a continent. Raising the question of just how ignorant she really is doesn't seem to help her much. And even if the charges by McCain for President campaign staff weren't true, it doesn't set a very high bar. "I do too know where Africa is -- elect me President" doesn't have much of a ring to it.

And, God forbid, should Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann both be Republican candidates in the Iowa caucuses, any debates between those two should be interesting. One or the other trying to "outsmart" the other is a frightening thought. Linguistic experts will be sorting through the transcripts of their statements for months, if not years, trying to figure out what they said and what they meant.

It's really all quite depressing. Maybe I'll go paint a flower or something.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

American Idol #2

Thank God that Wisconsin Governor has pinpointed the main problem in the United States today - reasonably well compensated teachers, firefighters, police officers, and government workers.

Governor Walker's tax cuts for Wisconsin businesses have left his current budget with a $137 million deficit -- and what better way to pay for these tax cuts than socking it to public sector employees and their unions! Talk about killing two birds with one stone! With $$$ from the Koch Brothers and their out of state oil industries (soon to be cherry picking Wisconsin businesses with a sweetheart deal with the Governor), Walker is standing firm like Muamar Ghadaffi in Libya against the thousands and thousands of demonstrators fighting for their rights. Even though the unions have agreed to his wage and benefit concessions, Governor Walker will not rest until collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin are severely limited. He refuses to take yes for an answer.

And he has bravely done so despite the direct challenge to Ronald Reagan's revered place in the Republican Party: "These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland ... They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." —RONALD REAGAN, Labor Day Address at Liberty State Park, 1980.

How brave Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker truly is. He is willing to risk Wisconsin's ACT/SAT scores for his principles! Destroying collective bargaining has long been the province of the private sector and Scott Walker campaigned to run Wisconsin like a there you go. No surprise there.

Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows: South Carolina -50th; North Carolina -49th; Georgia -48th; Texas -47th; Virginia -44th. If you are wondering, Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is ranked 2nd in the country.

Wisconsin clearly has an ACT/SAT cushion that will allow for thousands of teachers to be laid off and for future teachers to be paid less and less to help fund business' tax breaks well into the 21st century. ACT/SAT scores can safely drop into the middle of the pack before he will worry too much. Why be above average when you don't need to be.......

The Republican Governor's association is even purchasing TV ads in Wisconsin defending their brother in the battle against education.....

Meanwhile, Republicans in Wash, DC, are continuing their efforts to cut as many jobs as possible from the nation so they can run on their Jobs, Jobs, Jobs message so successful in the last elections. Three studies now including one from Goldman Sachs have suggested the budget cuts sought by the Republicans will slow the economy by two full percentage points and eliminate 400,000 to a 1,100,000 jobs across the nation. "So be it," says Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner. The Republicans continues to focus on reducing government spending on the poor and middle classes, women, children, education, the environment, the arts, peacemaking, energy independence. "So be it," says Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.

With Republican Governors proposing Draconian cuts in many state budgets across the country, eliminating collective bargaining wherever possible, undermining health insurance reforms as best they can, continuing their culture wars against gay rights, women's reproductive rights, gun control, Mexicans, Muslims, unions, etc., etc., this next two years will be interesting if nothing else.

A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie."

It's all pretty depressing.

On the brighter side of the news, a small nuclear war could be a good thing: "Scientists from NASA and a number of other institutions have recently been modeling the effects of a war involving a hundred Hiroshima-level bombs, or 0.03 percent of the world's current nuclear arsenal, according to National Geographic. The research suggests five million metric tons of black carbon would be swept up into the lowest portion of the atmosphere. The result, according to NASA climate models, could actually be global cooling."

And freedom movements are gaining steam in the Middle East and North Africa -- if only their freedom didn't mean my $4 per gallon gas at the gas pump. I was heartened to see that Libyan oil fields have resumed exporting oil, except that it was to China.

The coordinated Republican strategy of keeping our economy in the doldrums, breaking unions, and fighting the culture wars will be a challenge for President Obama and Democrats. I have a theory that the reason Republicans so revere President Reagan is that he is the only President they have to elevate to iconic status. GWB, no. Nixon, no. Gerald Ford, no. Herbert Hoover, no. Abraham Lincoln, yes, but Lincoln would be a Democrat today. So they overlook his budget busting spending, his negotiations with terrorists, and his many tax increases. The current crop of Republican candidates is long list of has beens and never weres.

So with nobody who can chew gum and walk at the same time including a number who can't string together a coherent set of words into sentences ( I didn't even need to say the name, did I?), their strategy is to misrepresent, lie, lie, attack, undermine, posture, and dissemble.

I saw a report this morning that Fox News can't get a license in Canada to broadcast because Canada has a law that prohibits lying on the air. That's too funny.

I'd better go grade papers.

Later, Bud