Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cheney The Weirdo

Creepy Dick Cheney.

Not only does this guy famously get drunk and then go hunting, shooting a friend in the face in his alcohol induced haze. This ex-vice president is now criticizing the current President of the United States and the Attorney General vehemently.

Some would say that it seems like he is trying to incite violent behavior from the lunatic fringe of the right wing fanatics.

The little torture king is a bit unhappy. Oh, poor little fat-boy Dickie. Someone needs to get this very sick little man back on his medication.

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Denying Medical Treatments to Republicans

There is an article in The Washington Post today which says that the Republican National Committee “suggested in a recent fundraising appeal that Democrats might use an overhaul of the health-care system to deny medical treatment to Republicans.”

It is hard to imagine that some people in America are so stupid as to fall for a lie like this. Propaganda is a more appropriate word for this kind of dishonesty.

As satisfying as that sort of revenge sounds, this is not the plan. The current battle over health care in America stems from the desire of the progressives and Liberals to extend health care coverage to all people in America regardless of their race, religion, age, political affiliation, or income.

This includes providing health care coverage to ignorant and dishonest hypocrites, bigots, and racists. Even those sorts of weird, radical Republicans that you see at the town hall meetings.

LINK: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/29/AR2009082902304.html

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Edward Kennedy's Funeral

Parts 1 and 2 of President Obama's eulogy at Senator Edward Kennedy's funeral service.

The New Yorker






Just like Paul Krugman, each week when the New Yorker magazine arrives I go through it page by page.
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Reading the cartoons.

I find that several times each year there is a long in depth article in the New Yorker which I remember for years. But most weeks I honestly don’t read much other than the cartoons and the talk of the town.
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Polite And Intellectually Honest People

I look forward to Friday evening because the Bill Moyers Journal comes on PBS. Last night his show was about Maggie Mahar and her book entitled Money Driven Medicine.
LINK: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/08/ask_maggie_mahar.html

Bill Moyers is amazing. He is so polite and civilized, and such a gentleman. At the same time he is the most intellectually honest and rigorous journalist in America. How he can keep his equanimity in the face of battling the health insurance industry, the pharmaceutical giants, and the right wing fanatics is remarkable.

Many of the racists on the right wing are going completely lunatic over the combined issues of America having a black President and potentially extending health care benefits to all poor blacks and wise Latinas.

And many of the progressives are feeling increasingly hopeless as we see Obama compromise away one critical issue after another to these greed-driven, dishonest bastards.

When you look closely at this issue and see that we are spending far more per person than in any other country on the planet, but we are getting much worse health care, it is difficult to come to other conclusions than that Americans are either stupid or comatose.
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We have shown that we are not capable of making as good a car as is made in Japan. On this health care issue Americans are demonstrating to the rest of the world that we have now totally lost any claim we may have once had to being a leader among nations in ideas or idealism. The American Dream is just about gone thanks to people like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh.

I think that when Barack Obama’s tenure as President is over we should elect the team of Bill Moyers and Barney Frank to the job. Paul Krugman needs to be chairman of the Federal Reserve, and a good friend of mine suggests Jon Stuart for press secretary.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Dishonesty and Fanaticism

Dishonesty and scare tactics have run rampant in the recent discussions about extending health care benefits to the 50 million people in America who are excluded from the health care system. These people are either excluded because they have a pre-existing medical condition and cannot get health insurance at any price, or because they simply do not have enough money to buy health insurance.

Logic, facts, and honesty seem to have become alien concepts to most of the loudest Republicans and right wingers.

I have been getting more and more racist crap by e-mail from friends who I thought were well grounded, reasonable people. It seems that in reality most of the debate is really about doing anything at all to try and help out Mexicans or Blacks in America. Good old fashioned racism, bigotry, and intolerance.

All these Republican lies you hear are just the modern day equivalent of the KKK or the Nazis. These sleaze balls would be happiest if all people of dark skin were just ethnically cleansed. Probably they would next want to go after the homosexuals, the Jews, and then maybe even the poor white trash. These reactionaries really are the most vile form of low-life scum.

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Silo Mentality

A silo mentality is one where inside of a large organization there are separate departments which not only do not effectively communicate with each other, but which are actively trying to sabotage each other.

The New York Times today has a good article called “Abuse Issue Puts the C.I.A. and Justice Dept. at Odds.”
LINK: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/28/us/politics/28intel.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The intelligence community in many countries has long operated hidden non-democratic governments within open elected democracies. Over the years some have even suggested that this might be true in America as well.

Here is the way it is supposed to work: The CIA, DIA and the many other open and secret intelligence agencies are supposed to provide accurate INFORMATION to the elected officials in our democracy, so that these politicians can make good decisions and properly protect the country. In general the Intelligence people have not been very successful at their core job of providing good and timely information and forecasts to the politicians.

The CIA is not supposed to be some kind of a KGB style secret police force or a second hidden arm of the country’s military. Yet this is apparently what they have been doing for some time. Cheney and his right wing types encouraged them. Using “private contractors” as hit squads, etc.

It is the Justice Department’s responsibility to make sure that everyone in America is obeying the laws of the land, including these well compensated spooks in the CIA. Everyone would prefer to be God-Like and to not have to obey any rules or laws. No oversight. The CIA is no different than any high school boy in this regard.

It is well beyond time that the Justice Department was able to do its job without interference from the anti-democracy politicians. If the lawyers at the Justice Department just ignored this possible use of torture by our government workers and their major violations of our law, then they are useless. Go get them Eric Holder.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Long Goodbye

Ted Kennedy was the only one of the Kennedy brothers who got a chance to prepare for his death. Joe died when the airplane he was piloting blew up in WWII, and President Jack Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy were both assassinated by lunatic conspiracy-theorist gunmen. Senator Ted Kennedy took full advantage of the privilege of knowing that he was dying and having the time to say goodbye.

I was first diagnosed with leukemia (CLL) in December 2002. Almost 7 years ago. I was just a couple of weeks away from turning 54 at the time. At the time I had loyally served the same company for many years, and had gradually worked my way up to where I was then the General Manager of the European Division of the company. By the time I moved, I had been living in Western Europe for almost 15 years.

In addition to being treated by several excellent doctors in the Netherlands, I was a patient of the world famous CLL specialist Dr. Terry Hamblin in the very southern most part of Great Britain. He performed various high tech diagnostic work on me including my genetic markers, and he came up with a scientific prognosis for my life expectancy. The variety of CLL that I have is called “unmutated” which is not considered to be a good thing. It means that statistically only about 35% of my fellow patients with these same markers and symptoms are now still alive.

It took me the better part of 4 years to get everything prepared, and then in late 2006 everything changed. I resigned from my high stress, high ass-kiss job. I sold my house in Europe, and I moved back to America.

I now no longer smoke or drink or eat any refined sugar. I eat lots of fruit, nuts, and whole grain cereals. I get exercise twice daily on walks with my little black doggie. I have grown a nice grey beard, partially to hide the many lymphomas.

In America I bought an almost new, modest, suburban, highly energy efficient brick house, and a very high fuel economy Toyota. Since my only source of income is my savings, I am living much more frugally than in the past.

Weighing the good and the bad I consider myself to be have been given a tremendous opportunity. The reduction in stress is wonderful. Knowing that I don’t have a whole lot of time left has sharpened my thoughts nicely. I don’t put up with nearly as much bull as I did in the past. And I am far more likely to slow down and “smell the roses” or laugh at something silly. Or smile at someone, or thank an old lady for her courtesy. I’ve been shamelessly re-reading my favorite books and watching the excellent movies and TV shows of my generation on my DVD.

My curiosity has increased by several orders of magnitude. I am constantly looking things up now. Places I have visited, and subjects I have heard about for the last 60 years but have never bothered to explore. Thanks to the almost unlimited resources of the internet which I have available to me, almost all of the world’s knowledge is available after just a few key strokes and mouse clicks.

My life has consisted of many discrete chapters, and they have all been pretty good. This final chapter where I am an old, grey haired elder of the community is sure the best one so far!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Warehouse 13

On the latest episode of the science fiction show Warehouse 13 one of the guys said something that I had to write down.

It sort of describes how I feel the right wing fanatics are behaving at the moment.

--------------- “Grim stampeding of humanity against anything decent.”
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Not So Bright Law Enforcement Officers

Carlos Leon, the retired former chief of police for El Paso, Texas was seriously injured this morning in a traffic accident while riding a motorcycle. Leon was not wearing a helmet.

There is a word to describe a law enforcement officer who rides a motorcycle without a helmet. Really stupid and dim-witted.

It is similar to what one would think about a career law enforcement officer who would recommend to people that they not pay their taxes, or suggest ways that they can avoid obeying traffic regulations. Not the brightest light on the mountain for sure.
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Drink Responsibly

The death of Senator Edward Kennedy has gotten me to thinking about the destructive effects of the drug called alcohol.
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I have also been noticing more and more TV advertisements recently telling people to drink lots of their particular brand of hard liquor or beer, but to Drink Responsibly.

I wonder what part of chronic alcoholism it is that these marketing people don’t get. Is it the destroying of families or the brain cells killed and permanent brain damage caused? Or maybe it is the deaths to innocents by drunks who insist upon driving.
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Edward Kennedy

Ted Kennedy died last night from brain cancer. He was a good man who lived a good life (for the most part). Even though Chappaquiddick took place way back in 1969, she is still dead. And he was still driving drunk and AWOL after abandoning her. You have rehabilitated yourself and made up for your mistakes. If there is something beyond this life, good luck on your next journey Teddy. The death of an old person is not a tragedy; it is just part of the plan.

The United States federal budget deficit is continuing to grow, caused by the American government spending more than we make. In these recessionary times it is necessary and completely required that deficit spending be employed. Without deficit spending the world would now be in a 1930’s type Great Depression II.

We soon will need to change gears back to spending less than we make so that we can pay off most of this government debt. The budget deficit would be rather easy to solve if the Republicans and the right wing Democrats in Washington were both competent and honest people. Here is a simple and realistic way to make it happen:


(1) America needs to permanently do away with the immense Bush tax reductions on the super wealthy. In America everyone must pay their fair share. We need to return to a country where the wealthy pay taxes which are a bigger share of their income than the people of modest means. These poor and middle class people are struggling just to get by.

(2) We must change health care in America to a single payer, universal access system like those already in place all over the world, including in Canada and England. Taxes will go up some, but health insurance premiums to profit making corporations will go down by almost twice as much. The net result will be the country saving a truly vast amount of money, while improving the health care of our people substantially.

(3) Congress should immediately reduce spending for defense, the military, and intelligence by 25%. America spends as much money on fighting and killing as all the rest of the world combined. America spends eight times as much as China, which is the number two big spender. A mere 25% reduction would not in any way affect the safety of the American people negatively. This reduction in wasteful spending can be used to measurably improve the lives of millions of Americans.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

President Obama Has It Right

“HAVANA (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is trying to make positive changes in the United States, but is being fought at every turn by right-wingers who hate him because he is black, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Tuesday.”

When you get towards the end of a long and interesting life, it is amazing what clarity one has at times. Right on Mr. Castro. You see it 100% correctly.
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Refined Sugar

The American Heart Association has now confirmed that “added sugar” as found in soft drinks, desserts, and even unexpected things like sauces for meat and peanut butter pose a genuine health risk to modern consumers. I see in today’s news that the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar every day.

The distinction between the natural sugars one gets in an orange, or in blueberries when compared with the highly refined sugars found in sodas, packaged cereals, syrup, or cookies is extremely important to understand.

These refined sugars don’t just case acne, rot your teeth, and make you fat. Consumption of these highly addictive refined sugars are a major risk factor for heart disease.

There really is no question about it. If you want to be healthy you should remove all refined sugar from your diet.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Universal Health Care

Early in the Obama administration either President Obama or some arrogant and condescending spin doctor hired by him decided that the people who supported and elected President Barack Obama were really quite stupid. The decision was made to stop talking about Universal Health Care coverage and instead just talk about cost containment on health care spending. They actually thought that with enough lies and marketing skill they could pull the wool over the progressives’ eyes.

Reducing the greed inherent to the American health care system is indeed important, but it is an entirely different subject.

Universal Health Care coverage does not mean making private health insurance a bit more affordable. It also doesn’t mean extending coverage to some people who previously were not covered. It means 100% total UNIVERSAL health care. Everyone is covered; free of charge. Simple. Yes, taxes go up a bit, but health insurance premiums go away and this saves almost double the increase in taxes.

And everyone receives the same quality of health care. The poor person gets exactly the same quality of health care as the Wall Street guys or Congressmen and Senators.

The cynical scum on the right wing may be ignorant racists, but not all of them are stupid. It is a big mistake to underrate their deviousness, dishonesty, and brutality. The smart ones could see right through this childish ruse by the Obama administration. What these lies did do though was cause a significant portion of the Obama supporters to begin worrying that President Obama might be a dishonest man.

The only solution which will work is a single payer system. Now Obama is even getting wobbly on the Public Option. “No Balls Barack” may end up being his legacy.

Social security was passed with ZERO Republican support. These reactionary cowards on the right are good at throwing monkey wrenches into things, but as Bush proved they are horrible at running the economy or the country. Thinking that the Republicans would be willing to come to some sort of a “reasonable” compromise just shows how badly President Obama is out of touch with reality.
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It's A Great Day For America Everybody!



August 24 is a special day for lots of reasons. In El Paso, Texas lots of students are going through the torture of returning to school after their summer holidays. A few students actually feel positive about this return, and thus will get something out of their years in the educational system. The others are mostly just wasting their time.

In Hampstead, London, about 1-1/2 miles southwest of Karl Marx’s ostentatious and anti-proletarian grave site in Highgate Cemetery, the brilliant British author and actor Stephen Fry was born on August 24, 1957.

August 24, 2006 was the fateful day when the astronomical body called Pluto was officially downgraded from a full blown planet to merely being a dwarf planet.

On August 24 - 25, 79 AD near to Naples, Italy the mountain called Vesuvius erupted for 19 hours. Approximately 1 cubic mile of the mountain just ceased to exist. The ash and rock which was blasted away fell over a wide area to the south and southeast of the mountain, completely covering up the thriving Roman cities of Ercolano and Pompei.

On August 24, 2009 in Martha's Vineyard the first black President of the United States of America was on vacation with his wife, their two lovely daughters, and their friend Bo.

In the middle east the Arabs still hated the Jews and refused to recognize the right of the state of Israel to exist. The Muslims and Christians worldwide distrusted each other, and the states of India and Pakistan continued to feel threatened by each other. North Korea and Iran continued their quest for nuclear weapons.

After hearing that the government in Great Britain had released the Libyan man who was found guilty of killing 270 people over Lockerbie, Scotland after having served only a few years of a life sentence (for compassionate reasons because he has cancer) the prosperous Wall Street thief and convicted mastermind of the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme Bernie Madoff promptly announced that he was dying from pancreatic cancer.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Right Wing Bozos

The right wingers are on the war path. They are outraged. A black president and a wise latina on the supreme court? And now the liberals want universal health care. What is this country coming to? OMG!

These Republicans, racists, and reactionaries have been lying so often for so long that they have gradually lost track of reality. Now they have begun behaving like crazed lunatics. I read a quote today on Paul Krugmman's blog which I think fits these ignorant bozos just fine:

---------- Hopefully, the attempt to restore 1953 America will not turn into an attempt to impose 1933 Germany.
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American National Budget Deficit


As the national budget deficit worsens the need to implement single payer universal health care increases. In America we seem to like to waste money. We spend far too much and we receive substandard health care.

In America we spend double the amount per capita spent on health care in Great Britain, yet we get much worse results. And fifty million people are completely excluded from the system in America whereas in all other civilized western democracies there is universal health care.

People are dying needlessly, simply because of the greed of the American health care system. The irony is that this is taking place in the country where politicians all fight over who can appear to be the most religious!
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here?

About 100 years before I was born it became obvious to most reasonable people in America that slavery had to be ended. It was also understood that under the law black people had to be treated equally to white people. Unfortunately there were some ignorant white supremacists who could not accept this. They were a minority, but a fairly large and vocal one. Probably 30% of the American population felt strongly enough about this racial issue that they were perfectly willing to destroy the country over it.

Now 150 years later America has its first black president. It is almost like history is repeating itself. It has become completely obvious to most reasonable people that Universal Health Care must be implemented. There are people dying unnecessarily, and America is the last western democracy to accept that universal health care is a right, not a rich man’s privilege.

And the same types of fanatics are doing everything they can to stop the efforts at including everyone in the health care system. They are also using this as their main issue in trying to destroy the nation’s first black president.

The people who oppose extending health care coverage to the 50 million people in America who are uninsured are increasingly behaving like dangerous, wild eyed lunatics. They are bringing loaded assault rifles to health care discussion forums, and they are fostering all sorts of monstrous lies.

It is difficult to see how this can all turn out good. It sure feels like when two people are inexorably moving towards the break up of their relationship. I have no idea where this is going to end up, but it doesn’t seem like either side is inclined towards giving up. In fact quite the opposite.

The progressives are increasingly realizing that they are taking the moral high ground, so they understand that they can’t possibly give up.

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The ignorant right wing racists who oppose extending health care to the uninsured are being led by fanatics and weirdoes. They think that the more chaos they can generate, the more inept it makes President Obama look. The anti-health care reactionaries are not bright enough to realize that the rest of the country (and the world) is just looking on in disgust and horror at their stupidity.
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Times They Are A Changing

RollingStone magazine used to be for young “hip” types in their teens or 20’s. It is still targeted at these very same people, but now these same readers are the ones who have survived the journey have grown into old geezers in their 50’s and 60’s.

Printed-On-Paper news media like newspapers and magazines are rapidly becoming an anachronism. Much like CDs are to the sale and delivery of music, the printing press is fast becoming so “Yesterday.”

In and early 1970’s and again 30 years later in the mid 2000’s I visited the Gutenberg museum 15 miles west of Frankfurt, Germany in Mainz. Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1398 – 3 February 1468) was the first European to use movable printing type printing around 1439. He is also credited as being the inventor of the mechanical printing press. His major work was the Gutenberg Bible. This book was highly controversial since it allowed normal mortal people to read the Holy Book and scripture, thus taking enormous power away from the clergy whose power had rested in the ability to interpret what God said and wanted to the ignorant masses.

Printed books, flyers, and newspapers promptly became very important in the mid 1400’s. Now roughly 500 - 600 years later most information is being delivered to you on an electronic screen over your computer, television, or portable telephone.

RollingStone is probably the very best news magazine still being sold. Issue 1086 which shows a date of September 3, 2009 just came out. It has two really excellent articles.

One is called “Why The Beatles Broke Up.” This is a long and in depth review of the world’s most famous musical group. It is a very good article.

There also is an article called “Sick and Wrong” which is an in depth analysis of the current attempt to implement Universal Health Care in America which should be read by anyone who thinks of themselves as well informed.

LINK: http://www.rollingstone.com/nationalaffairs/index.php/2009/08/19/matt-taibbi-on-health-care-reform-sick-and-wrong
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Ordained Minister



I am now an officially Ordained Minister. I can legally perform marriages and other such religious ceremonies like baptisms and officiating at burials. If it makes you feel more comfortable you are free to refer to me by my title “Reverend.”

Many people feel the need to have faith and believe in something greater than themselves. They sometimes appreciate the help and support of an ordained minister when going through the difficulties of life.

I have chosen to specialize in confessions, sunrises, and sunsets. If you think that I may helpful in your quest to rise to a higher plane in life, please e-mail me.


------------------- Reverend Hadley Paul Garland
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The Presidio


This is a 1988 movie with Sean Connery playing Lt. Colonel Caldwell. Mark Harmon plays the wonderfully wise ass San Francisco Police Inspector Jay Austin, and Meg Ryan plays the beautiful, sexy, and feisty daughter of Colonel Caldwell.

This movie is a thriller in the finest sense of the word.

As is often the case, Sean Connery does a masterful job of portraying a character who is somewhat flawed but who absolutely reeks integrity and honesty. The DVD has subtitles and Dolby 5.1 sound. The good guys win in the end.

I give this movie a solid 9.9 out of 10.
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Obama's Trust Problem

Paul Krugman has written a brilliant article which can be read in today’s New York Times called “Obama’s Trust Problem.”

In it he suggests that President Obama has finally lost the trust and support of the progressives who were so vital in getting him elected. Krugman sees the situation perfectly.

Yes, Obama was substantially better than the old woman who always wears pant suits or any of the dishonest Republicans. But he is a pretender. He is not at all what we thought we were electing. This is what happens to people who pretend to be something they are not.

I say it is time to start a Barney Frank For President movement.


LINK: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/opinion/21krugman.html?em

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Lockerbie

In 1988 some religious fanatic Arabs from Libya placed a bomb on a civilian airliner Pan American Flight 103 . The bomb blew up on 21 December 1988 when the airplane was flying over the beautiful little town of Lockerbie in Scotland. The Libyan intelligence officer and mass murderer Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was convicted in the death of the 259 innocent people on board the airplane and another 11 innocent people who were on the ground. He was given a life sentence by the Scottish legal system.

He was granted a compassionate release from prison earlier this week because he has terminal cancer. He returned to Libya where he was welcomed home as a hero by cheering crowds.

My ancestors are from Scotland. I have visited Scotland many times. On important ceremonial occasions I wear a kilt with my family’s tartan which I bought in the town of Ayr in Scotland located on the Firth of Clyde, less than five miles from where William Burns was born. I have visited my ancestors’ graves outside the church in Clunie (N56.579400, W-3.451247) in Perth and Kinross, right next to the beautiful little Loch of Clunie.
LINK: http://paulgarland.blogspot.com/2006/04/scottish-ancestors.html

I have also spent some teary eyed time in the graveyard at Lockerbie. I give all of this background because I think this gives me the right to express my honest opinion about the people who made the decision to release this fellow.

When you are given a life sentence in connection with the death of 270 people that means that you die of natural causes in prison. The other option is a death sentence where you are killed in prison, somewhat earlier. It is horribly uncompassionate to the families and friends of all the innocent people who were killed to let this punk out of jail just because he has prostate cancer and is dying.

The Scotsmen who made the decision to let this guy return to Libya as a free man are clearly suffering from brain damage due to excessive consumption of alcohol over a lifetime. They should be put in jail to serve out the remaining portion of this guy’s life sentence. When he dies they can be released. If he lives a long time then they lose.

What an incredibly bad decision. No wonder the British defeated these losers. I am so glad that in 1840 my 24 year old great-great-grandfather Edward Malloch decided to move to Texas.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

CLL

A friend of mine who also has chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is in the middle of another round of chemotherapy. I woke up in the middle of the night last night thinking about her and about the doctors, clinics, and drug companies who are all making so much money from her unfortunate battle with CLL and her suffering. Keep in mind that I am not a Doctor…in fact I have absolutely zero medical training. I am just a CLL patient who is trying to be well informed

Her white blood cell count (WBC) is now up to 55K, which is what mine was the last time I had it checked three years ago. But in CLL the total WBC is not really all that important. Much more critical is how fast the WBC is increasing. Typically they talk about doubling time. Her WBC has doubled in the last month. That is incredibly fast.

Equally disturbing is that her platelets are now down to 55. According to my records the normal range is a high of 400 - 450 and a low of 140 - 150. Blood tests are all inaccurate within some tolerable range, but 55 is indeed very low. She says that she is “all bruised and spotted.” From what I have read, when one’s platelets begin dropping this is a very bad sign.

One of the dilemmas with treatment for CLL is that CLL is incurable. The various therapies are mostly intended to improve the patient’s quality of life. I keep asking the question, and to my knowledge there still have been no valid medical trials which demonstrate that any of the commonly used therapies cure or even significantly increase the lifespan of CLL patients. In fact most of the normal chemotherapy agents used to treat CLL actually make the patient’s immune system function even more poorly that it did before treatment.

I wish my friend all the best. I really do.
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Computer Virgins

Recently I was watching Antiques Road show and they interviewed some expert. He proudly bragged that his fingers were keyboard virgins, that he had never operated a computer.

I thought: I have been using (and programming) computers since the late 1960's, or more than 40 years. I thought, you poor ignorant bastard. I suppose you have never leaned to read, drive a car, or tell time from an analog clock either.

These arrogant people are missing out on the opportunity to learn so much.

They are completely in the dark. Like the sick white supremacists who oppose everything that Obama stands for.
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Fractal Geometry


BenoƮt B. Mandelbrot is famous for having come up with an entirely new way of looking at mathematics called fractal geometry. This has enabled math to be useful in all sorts of investigations into natural phenomena which in the past could not happen.

I am competent with math. I am not the slightest bit intimidated by it, and I can use math and statistics to do all sorts of useful things. But to me math is simply a tool which one uses to solve a particular problem.

To see math visually and to deeply feel that a particular type of math is “beautiful” requires a certain type of brilliance which I do not have. I am more of a Mr. Fix-It, nose to the grindstone type. My brother Michael Dwight Garland had the kind of mind which could see the beauty in math.

When Mandelbrot first went public with his ideas about fractal geometry Mike immediately saw the brilliance and accepted this type of mathematics as very useful and beautiful. He turned me on to the Mandelbrot set, which I enjoyed, but I was not able to truly understand it.
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Barney Frank


Congressman Barnett "Barney" Frank of the U.S. House of Representatives has a terrific resume. He is extremely well educated and is open-minded on a wide range of issues. He is considered by many to be one of the most powerful members of Congress.

In 2004 and again in 2006, a survey of Capitol Hill staffers gave Frank the title of the brainiest, funniest, and most eloquent member of the House. I certainly agree with their assessment, but I would broaden it to include the Senate, Executive, and Judicial branches of government as well.

Congressman Frank has advocated making a 25 percent reduction in the overall military budget of the United States. He wrote that "The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity....”

He argues that such a significant reduction would have no effect on the ability of the United States to defend itself. "If beginning one year from now, we were to cut military spending by 25 percent from its projected levels, we would still be immeasurably stronger than any combination of nations with whom we might be engaged." The U.S. military budget is almost equivalent to the rest of the world's defense spending combined, and is over eight times larger than that of China, the next biggest spender.

In my judgement Barney Frank is the very finest statesman we have in America at the moment. -
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LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYlZiWK2Iy8

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dim-Witted Repbulicans

America has a population a little above 300 million people.

Just hypothetically let’s assume that 10% of these people are brilliant, 80% of the population are normal, decent, hard working people, and 10% of the population are not too bright. That means 30 million dim-witted Republicans who hate Obama and everything that he stands for.

We sure have seen a lot of these dumb asses recently. This minority of ignorant, white supremacist jerks has been collectively speaking out of its ass.

These thick right wingers are beginning to give racists and red necks a bad name.
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Tribute To The First Amendment

Uncle Tom

I worked in the campaign for Barack Obama both in the primary and the general election. We thought he was an ex-community organizer who as a U.S. Senator had the most liberal voting record of any Senator.

Hasn’t he learned anything in the last 16 years? No matter how far you bend and compromise your values it is never enough for the white supremacist Republican Party.

It is a horrifying thought, but you don’t suppose we have elected an Uncle Tom do you?
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Motor Vehicle Accidents

The World Health Organization (WHO) has completely a study of how many people die from road fatalities. Worldwide each year 1.27 million people die from road traffic crashes. About half of the people who die are the most vulnerable - pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.

In Germany where many of the vehicles are much higher performance than in America, and some of the freeways have no speed limit at all, the death rate each year is 6 deaths per 100,000 people. This is a little higher than Great Britain at 5.4 deaths, and slightly below France at 7.5 where they do have a maximum speed on the freeways and have far fewer high performance cars than in Germany.

Anyone who has ever been to Egypt is absolutely horrified by the driving. The Egyptians are among the world’s most erratic drivers, and this is borne out by a death rate of 41.6 per 100,000 people.

The U.S.A. has 251 million cars spread over 306 million people, which is a higher rate than in any other country. And there are 13.9 fatalities per 100,000 people in America, which is about the same death rate as in Turkey and Sri Lanka. This rate of death by motor vehicle in America is more than double that in Germany.

But of course the American legislators in Washington D.C. are so arrogant that they can never admit that anything could possibly work better in some other country. Especially in socialistic Europe. So we don’t set up a blue ribbon panel of experts to go study why health care is so much more effective and costs less than half the price in England. And we don’t send a team of experts to Germany to learn what they are doing right and what America is doing wrong.

How pig headed.

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So Long You Racists

It looks like the Democrats are finally beginning to realize that the right wingers have been completely dishonest with them since Obama came into office seven months ago.

The white supremacist jerks with the Republican Party have demanded concession and compromise on every single issue, and then have voted against the legislation anyway.

It is about time to tell these corrupt, rude, deceitful politicians from the right wing to go take a hike. In fact it is way overdue.

This is what Paul Krugman has to say on the matter today in his blog.

“Actually, I really don’t even want to think about health care right now. It’s too painful. Have the Obama team learned nothing from the past 16 years? No concession will satisfy Republicans — they’ve said so themselves! Yet the administration keeps signaling weakness.”

See you later you un-American right wing assholes.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wild Boar
















The Wild boar (Sus scrofa) has always been respected by people familiar with it. In mythology they are seen as brave, strong, straightforward, and fearless warriors. In battle they are fierce. A mature wild boar typically weighs 400 - 600 lbs., and has dangerous tusks which it uses in fighting.
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The boar is an aggressive animal, and is known to be unrelenting in its attack. The wild boar was a sacred animal for the Celts, for whom it symbolized military strength and goodness. In Celtic mythology the boar was sacred. Some myths portrayed boars as the fierce quarry who led their hunters to the otherworld. Some Celtic tribes wore amulets of the wild boar to protect themselves in battle.
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At least three Roman Legions are known to have had a boar as their emblems: Legio I Italica, Legio X Fretensis, and Legio XX Valeria Victrix. Legion X Fretensis was centrally involved in the First Jewish Roman War which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple in 70 AD. Norse warriors would use the image of the boar for decorative purposes as well as its actual teeth for various forms of adornment. In ancient Japan the war god was sometimes depicted as a boar.
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So far during my 60-1/2 year journey I have never gotten a tattoo. Since I am battling leukemia and according to statistics I am not too terribly far from the closing stages of this little one act play, then whatever I have left that I want to do in this life I better get with it.
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I am considering getting a tattoo - of a wild boar!
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Cars Must Be Insured

On Jon Stewart today I heard a joke.

"Cars in America are required by law to be insured, because cars are important.

But people don’t have to have insurance. "


You can see this video by clicking here. Or copy the following link into your browser to view the video: http://www.hulu.com/watch/90331/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-mon-aug-17-2009

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Moslem Religious Fanatics

I read in the news today that an Afghan bill allowing a husband to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex has been published in the official gazette and will become law. This law was demanded by the Moslem religious fanatics.

No wonder so many people hate these weirdoes.

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p.s. And this is the Afghanistan that our young soldiers are dying for.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8204207.stm
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J. A. Flores

After our walk out in the desert this morning, I drove my little doggie about 15 miles down to the old Spanish Mission town of San Elizario. This used to be the county seat in the middle to late 1800’s.

We parked the car under a nice tree which was across the street from the old jail which Billy The Kid busted his friend out of. Position 31.58605N, -106.27402W http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_the_Kid

There was an art fair being held in the plaza across from the old Mission at San Elizario. I didn’t really intend to buy anything today, but the western paintings of an older artist named J.A. Flores just practically reached out and grabbed me. Juan Flores is 85 years old, and has been an artist all his life. He studied under some of the most famous artists in the southwest. You can immediately see the many years of experience when you view his work.

Mr. Flores was born in Los Angeles, and his family moved to El Paso when he was 10 years old about 75 years ago. He served in the military in WWII and has studied in art schools in Chicago and under some of the most famous southwestern artists, such as the man who created Mount Cristo Rey.

Most of his paintings which were on display today were of magnificent mesas or bluffs like one would normally expect to see in Arizona or New Mexico. His painting of the remarkable Santa Elena Canyon in the Big Bend of Texas was particularly attractive. Anyone who has ridden a raft down the Rio Grande River through Santa Elena would recognize it immediately. The Rio Grande funnels through solid rock walls 1,000 to 1,500 feet high on both sides of the river at this place. Position 29.162321N,-103.622173W http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/secyn.htm

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Doctors Supporting Universal Healthcare

A group of doctors from the Pacific Northwest part of America have formed a group called http://www.madashelldoctors.com/.

They say that “We believe there is only one way to control costs, one way to remove profiteering from the system, one way to reclaim the care of our patients, and one way to be sure everyone is covered: We must replace our current pay-or-die system and with a comprehensive, publicly financed, privately delivered, Single Payer system that puts people first.

Our moment to take a stand for Single Payer is NOW. We may not have another opportunity like this in our lifetime. There is a time for compromise but this isn't one of them.”

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

American Healtcare Reform

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The healthcare system in America is in as bad shape as General Motors is when compared to Toyota.

In the USA we spend vastly more on healthcare than any other country. But the results we get are poor. The life expectancy is lower in America than in England and the infant mortality is higher. Yet in America we spend more than twice the amount per person on healthcare they do in the UK.

Of the almost 50 million people in America who are excluded from the healthcare system roughly 10% are White, 15% are Hispanics, and 20% are Blacks.

I am becoming increasing convinced that the main opposition to major reform of the American healthcare system is coming from white supremacists. They may think of themselves as Republicans, but I would call them dishonest, ignorant, bigoted racists.

I got the chart on the right from the BBC news website and the one on the left from one of the largest news organizations in Germany Der Spiegel. Click on either of them and they will enlarge.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Bankrupt Church

While out walking the dog this morning I noticed that a newish church in the neighborhood is up for sale. According to the brass plaque on the wall it was built in 2003 and that at the time it was built it had a female pastor.

What a shame. Having a derelict, empty building is never good for a neighborhood.

I was raised in the Episcopal Church, got baptized and confirmed. I have attended church services many places including Westminster Cathedral in London and Charlemagne’s 1,200 year old cathedral in Aachen, Germany. I’ve been to the Vatican in Rome, in the Saint Sulpice and Sacre Coeur churches in Paris, the famous gothic cathedral in Cologne, Germany, the church in Bethlehem, and the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy.

This is pure speculation, but I’ll bet that the loan which financed construction of this beautiful building was securitized, bundled and sold off long ago. So the loan officer and the loan committee which approved this loan will not be held accountable or responsible in any way. No doubt this is just one of the millions of real estate loans which have gone sour and which collectively have brought the American economy to its knees.

Churches seem to be going bankrupt all over the place. The Catholic clergy’s penchant for having sex with underage parishioners has not helped. But the real problem is that in all the advanced societies around the world people are beginning to realize that Christianity is just a big fairy tale. Like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Big Bad Wolf. People are seeing that this religious faith is just an old timey form of self delusion designed way before the printing press or the internet.

The idea that a woman 2,000 years ago could give birth without ever having had sex with a man is completely absurd. So is the idea of a talking serpent, a carpenter walking on water, or spontaneously combusting bushes. The real kicker to this religion is how bizarre it is to think that after your dead body has had three days to decompose and putrefy that it could be reanimated.

No doubt the lady pastor who started this church is dynamic and charismatic, in addition to being a deluded religious fanatic. Unfortunately in the early 21st century it is still true that a woman has to be far more competent and hard working than a man to achieve the same level of success. And in a reactionary and poorly educated border community like El Paso, Texas this is even more true.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Darth Vader of Amerian Politicians

I heard recently someone calling former Vice President Dick Cheney the Darth Vader of American politics.

Cheney is ruthless and brutal, that is certain.

Darth Vader was at least intelligent and had a certain amount of class too. Cheney was just creepy.
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Abuses by the Mexican Military

A lot of people are becoming worried by the continued reports of egregious civil rights abuses by the Mexican Military in its fight trying to stop the drug cartels. Sometimes it feels like the Mexican Government and Military is almost as corrupt and evil as the drug dealers are.

Almost daily I read reports of the Mexican Army engaging in the same types of murder, rape, intimidation, and theft as the drug dealers. The history of governmental corruption in Mexico is so long standing and pervasive that these reports are hard to entirely disbelieve. No doubt many or maybe even most of them are true. We are now even beginning to hear frequent reports of bribery and corruption of the American law enforcement officers with the Customs and Border Patrol.

The problem is, what do we do? We certainly can’t just give up, bend over, and let the drug cartels take over entirely. The civilian police departments at all levels in Mexico have been shown to be almost entirely corrupt, so the military would have a difficult time being any worse.

It would make no sense at all to send American or UN troops into Mexico, thinking that they would have the slightest chance at all of defeating (or even identifying) the bad guys with the drug cartels.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

I am not a big supporter of Hillary Clinton, and I never have been. I still remember quite well hearing her say (very disingenuously), “Obama is not a Muslim…..as far as I know.” So she strongly implied that he is in fact of the Moslem faith.

Over her history of being associated with Slick Willy she has shown that she is both smart and tough, but that being completely honest is not one of her strengths.

So I feel a little strange taking her side, but I am. In the Congo a student rather stupidly asked her what her husband’s opinion was on some issue. She was very correct in telling the student that she does not speak for her husband, and that in fact the student should be asking her about her opinions on things since she is secretary of state. Where she went wrong is the mean, bitchy manner she employed in answering the student. She should have been nice, kind, and classy. Instead she acted like a ruthless high school girl who was competing for the affection of the Captain of the football team.

No doubt she feels a little eclipsed by Bill Clinton.

What Hillary keeps forgetting is that for the most part she has held very few ELECTED offices during her life. After all, this is a democracy. Being elected by the voters is what counts, not being appointed to a position. And just because you are sleeping with an important man does not give you the same power. She was elected as the junior Senator from New York. Bill Clinton was both a state Governor and also was elected as the President of the United States. There is a world of difference between his accomplishments and hers.

Respect does not automatically accrue to a person just because they hold a particular job title. Respect is something that one earns. And being rude and bitchy to some student in Africa is not the proper way to earn respect.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rising Sun

Recently I have been watching several of Sean Connery’s older movies. I just finished “Rising Sun.”

The graphics on the DVD cover are so poor that I am certain someone must have lost their job over it. Please don’t judge the movie by the atrocious DVD case cover.

This is a really excellent movie starring Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes. It takes place in Los Angeles largely in the mysterious and “shadow world” of Japanese culture and the worldwide corporate culture of high level mergers and acquisitions.

I found this movie very enjoyable, and I recommend it highly. You can rent it or buy the DVD used. Either way this flick is good, cheap entertainment.

One thing I got out of the movie: A certain portion of the American culture is remarkably ignorant, extremely intolerant, xenophobic, and racist/white supremacist. In this movie one scene shows the minority of Japanese people who feel this same sort of superiority regarding Americans and our culture. It got me to thinking. If you look at which country is now manufacturing the highest quality steel, cameras, computers, televisions, and automobiles it certainly is not America.

If you ignore all the wild talk and just look at the actual track record over the last 50 years it is difficult to not conclude that maybe the Orientals like the Japanese and perhaps the Chinese are indeed a good bit smarter and wiser than the Americans.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

No Longer Politics As Usual


I have heard various people refer to Paul Krugman as the smartest person in America. I certainly cannot disagree with this assessment. He is a college professor and a Nobel Prize winner, so he is way ahead of me.

In his blog today he talks about the fact that President Obama is facing “truly crazy opponents” in the health care fight and “that it’s not just politics as usual.” This is a very clear view of the situation.
-------------- http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/broken-tubes/?emc=eta1

I have come to the conclusion that many, if not most, of Obama’s opponents are just poorly disguised white supremacists. Ignorant losers who hate Mexicans, immigrants, blacks, Muslims, homosexuals, and foreigners.

In the mail today I received a nice bumper sticker. Frankly I am just a little apprehensive about putting it on my car considering the insanity of these right wing fanatics at the moment.
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Healthcare in the United States of America

According to a New York Times article today by Nancy Folbre, who is an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, approximately 80% of the roughly 46 to 50 million people in America who do not have health insurance are American citizens.
LINK: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/the-citizenship-of-the-uninsured/?partner=rss&emc=rss

The racists of the right wing Republican variety are well known xenophobes, and they are perfectly happy to sit by and watch the remaining 20% slowly suffer and die. They will sit there drinking their beer and watching TV and laugh at the suffering of these people. These immigrants by and large are hard working people doing the nastiest jobs at the very bottom of the pyramid too.

So most of the people who are excluded by the current health care system are citizens of the USA. And the vast majority of people who are seriously underinsured are also Americans. But you can be sure that these ignorant, reactionary racists will not even notice these statistics. These types of people are not known for their intellectual brilliance or open mindedness.

Click on the chart to the right so that it will enlarge. This chart tells it all. In America we are horribly wasteful of the large amount of money that we spend on healthcare, and even though we spent vastly more than any other civilized country, we have ended up with a health care system which produces much poorer results.
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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Berlin

Berlin is one of my more favorite cities anywhere.
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I first visited there in 1972 and have been back 5 or 6 times since then. In my living room here in El Paso, Texas I have a street sign that came from Leninplatz, which was taken from East Belin before the wall came down.
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This is a cute YouTube video of the famous landmark in Alexanderplatz just east of the Berlin Cathedral (52.520703N, 13.409496E) which anyone who is familar with Berlin will enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_UyIp0nRC4

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sick Bastards

The people living in America who actually enjoy watching people suffer and die because they cannot afford the American health care system are sadistic bastards. People like this should not be allowed to call themselves Americans.

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I would not associate with a Nazi prison guard who takes pleasure in sending people to their death in gas chambers. Nor would I willingly associate with members of the KGB secret police, or someone who in the 21st century still supports slavery. Rapists, murderers, and child molesters too.
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I feel the same way about the greedy and racist right-wing sadists who take pleasure in watching others suffer and die. I don't want them involved with my life in any way, and I sure wouldn't call one of these revolting creatures a “friend.” They need to go join their perverted buddies with Al Qaida and the Taliban.
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If President Obama walked on water, these Republican racists and right wing fanatics would say that he couldn’t swim. These sick bastards are beneath my contempt.
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Click on this chart over to the right. It will enlarge. It tells it all.

One hundred and fifty years ago America had similar right wing fanatics who believed in the inherent racial superiority of white people and wanted slavery to continue. Their fanaticism was so intense that families were broken apart. My own family had officers fighting for both the Union Army and for the Confederacy.

These ignorant right wingers are filthy and disgusting. They make me want to vomit.
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

The five top cars being bought under the American Cash for Clunkers program are:

1. Toyota Corolla
2. Ford Focus
3. Honda Civic
4. Toyota Prius
5. Toyota Camry



The top ten vehicles being traded in under the Clunkers program are:

1. Ford Explorer 4WD
2. Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6. Ford Explorer 2WD
7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
8. Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
9. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
10. Ford Windstar FWD Van


Both lists look really good to me. It appears that the American consumer has finally begun using his head again.
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Radio Controlled Airplanes


A few weeks ago I celebrated having had a pilot’s license for 25 years. In America once you get your license to fly it is permanent unless revoked. Of course you have to fulfill certain requirements like an up to date medical and the biennial flight review to be considered by the FAA as “current” but you still remain a licensed pilot even when you are not current.

More than a half a century ago my Mother was a pilot, and I am told that I first flew in a small private aircraft when I was a baby in arms.

Many years ago I got involved with radio controlled cars thanks to the avid interest of my stepson. Recently I have taken up flying radio controlled airplanes. As with computers and cell phones modern digital technology has improved quite a lot over the last few years. The same is certainly true for radio controlled cars, boats, and airplanes. With digital transmitters and receivers, brushless motors, and the latest technology of high capacity and light weight lithium polymer batteries everything has improved a great deal. These li-po batteries are the next generation beyond what you have in your laptop, which is most likely a lithium ion battery.

The radio controlled airplane I recently built is a high wing; sort of a copy of a Cessna 172. The wing span is almost 60 inches and with modern materials technology the entire airplane is very light. It is so big that when transporting it in the car one has to put down the back seats in the car and remove the wing from the fuselage. The aircraft has a brushless electric motor, so it is quite powerful and more than able to do STOL (short take off and landing). The elevator and ailerons are fully controllable, as well as the throttle and the rudder. Thanks to using an electric motor rather than a messy and noisy gasoline engine, it flies very quietly. As in a real Cessna, turning the rudder left or right also steers the nose wheel.

Unfortunately the aircraft flew through some extremely violent clear air turbulence (read pilot error), and now the patched up remains of the aircraft are just an interesting looking mobile hanging from the ceiling of my house.
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Barack Hussein Obama II has a birthday today. He was born on 4 August 1961 so today he turned 48.

Congratulations!

You are an amazing person Barack.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Prehistoric

I was watching on DVD an old episode of Time Team yesterday, and I heard the famous British archaeologist Carenza Rachel Lewis refer to a shard of pottery as “prehistoric.”

A couple of months ago I was out exploring an abandoned adobe church with an archaeologist friend of mine when she pointed out a small shard of “prehistoric” pottery. It was a small piece of Jornada Mogollon El Paso Brown pot.

In each case I was surprised to hear reputable archaeologists using the word “prehistoric.” It is such a vague, imprecise, and value laden word. To the layman it implies really, really super-old, which it may or may not be.

I feel more comfortable hearing the more descriptive phrases like Jornada Mogollon ceramic or El Paso Polychrome pottery. In Europe the words Paleolithic, Neolithic, bronze age, iron age, Classical Greek, Roman, and Middle Age are much more descriptive than “prehistoric.”
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El Chuco

El Paso is sometimes called El Chuco ("the disgusting one").

This may be an accurate view by some locals of the border town, but with all the killings and lawlessness in the neighboring Mexican city of Juarez I wonder what these same people would call it?

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Dreams and Memories

I have read that when one dreams about events in your life, it is one’s mind reprocessing and working over what it was the really happened. Your mind reviews this and learns from it. I am inclined to think that in certain cases this is true indeed.

Others who have faced immediate death (but then lived) have experienced what they describe as the events of their life flashing before them in super high speed.

I do know for certain that the slogan “sleep on it” is one of the finest pieces of advice you can give yourself or anyone else. Many times the next day I still concur that what I thought yesterday was correct, but also a great many times when I wake up the next day I have realized an entirely different perspective on the matter in question. Certainly before making a long term, major purchase this is a wise thing to do. Always sleep on it. If nothing else it eliminates all the pressure for you to make an immediate decision RIGHT NOW.

Recently I have noticed that I am dreaming very detailed and vivid dreams about events and conversations which took place early in my career, about 30 years ago. It is like the mind is making one final in-depth review of these events (in the light of maturity) to see if there are any additional lessons to be learned from them before these memory episodes are archived into slow retrieval, long term storage.

With the type of leukemia that I have, at 100 months (this coming March 2010) there is a 35% survival rate. So any time beyond that, death from the secondary effects of leukemia (like a badly functioning immune system) would not be at all unexpected.

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Cash For Clunkers

The wildly popular American program where the government would give a $4,500 rebate to people who traded in old cars for new cars that got slightly better fuel economy was so popular that it used up its entire funding of $1 billion in about one week.

The program is such a horribly watered down compromise with the badly informed Republicans that you can get the government rebate when buying a new Ford F150 full sized pickup truck. The program needs to be fine tuned a little so that it encourages people to buy motor vehicles which truly fall into the category of vehicles which get good fuel economy.

Originally the program was intended to have a funding of $4 billion, but the political party of negativism (the Republicans) got this reduced to $1 billion. The Republicans are vehemently opposed to anything which helps the “common man” and they are passionately against anything which makes the Democrats look good.

The dishonestly of the ill-mannered right wing and the polarization of American politics continues to strengthen.
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Suicide when Terminally Ill

The wonderful British author Sir Terry Pratchett wrote an article for the UK Daily Mail today regarding assisted suicides. If you aren’t familiar with Terry Pratchett, you really haven’t been reading enough books. There is no need for you to read any further. Really.

When I was diagnosed with incurable leukemia I began a really fantastic journey. At first I cried a lot and was very melancholy. But this didn’t last long. Soon I figured out how wonderful life was, how easy it was to extinguish, and that what I needed to do was get my ass in gear and enjoy the time I had left to the fullest.

Of course everyone is terminally ill. But very few people face up to it. I have the luxury of knowing approximately how much longer I have left. Here are a few quotes from this wonderful article:

“I intend, before the endgame looms, the die sitting in a chair in my own garden with a glass of brandy in my hand and Thomas Tallis on the iPod.”

After many years of drinking a bit too much, since being diagnosed with Leukemia I have quit drinking entirely. I prefer it this way. But I did order a two CD set of Thomas Tallis music from Amazon today.

I want to “jump before I am pushed and drag my evil Nemesis to its doom, like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty locked in combat as they go over the waterfall. In any case, such thinking bestows a wonderful feeling of power; the enemy might win but it won’t triumph.”

“Those brave souls lately seeking death abroad seem to me, on the other hand, to be gifted with a furious sanity. They have seen their future, and they don’t want to be part of it.”

“Naturally, I turn my attention to the future. There used to be a term known as ‘mercy killing.’ I cannot believe it ever had any force in law but it did, and still does, persist in the public consciousness, and in general the public consciousness gets it right.”

“I am enjoying my life to the full, and hope to continue for quite some time. But I also intend, before the endgame looms, to”
take matters into my own hands.

“What they are doing, in fact, is buying themselves a feeling of control.”

Terminally ill people “don’t dread death; it’s what happens beforehand that worries them.”

“I believe that if the burden gets too great, those who wish to should be allowed to be shown the door.”

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The Traq War

There are several reports in the news today that the remains of the pilot of the first American aircraft shot down during the war in Iraq have been found and identified. Navy Pilot Captain Michael Scott Speicher was shot down in Iraq in January 1981.

Young Americans have been dying in Iraq for 18-1/2 years, and we are still there. The government in Iraq has recently been hinting that it may be necessary for us to remain there longer, and now a few courageous members of the military are beginning to speak out and say that it is time to go home.

Now seems like a good time to reflect back on what we have achieved. If Capt. Speicher had a wife and a young baby when he went into combat, this child would now be almost 19 years old. Basically a full generation of people around the world have grown up seeing American troops killing Moslems and getting killed by other Moslems in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein was a bad guy indeed, just like many of the dictatorial regimes around the world. Because he threatened to kill President Bush the First, President Bush the Second’s troops finally did capture the guy. He was put on trial and then hanged. Saddam Hussein did in fact try to pretend that he had weapons of mass destruction, but it turns out that this mostly was to try and intimidate the Iranians, not the Americans. I say good riddance to Saddam and his brutal children.

The Republicans started this war under Bush I, and the Iraq war began to wind down somewhat under the Republican regime of Bush II. The Republicans refused to raise taxes to finance the large military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan with an almost religious fervor. Instead of paying for these wars as they spent the money, the Republican politicians in America used their credit card (borrowed from Communist China) to get the money to fight these wars.

At the beginning of the wars these severely mathematically challenged Republicans claimed to the American people that Iraq’s oil resources would more than pay for the cost of all this warfare. The irresponsible refusal of the Republican politicians to raise taxes to the level required to pay for this spending on warfare virtually bankrupted the United States of America.

So one thing which has been accomplished over the last 18-1/2 years of warfare is that we got our revenge on Saddam Hussein. I have been trying to think of anything else positive which these corrupt, hack politicians in Washington, D.C. have accomplished either in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The right wing fanatics claim that all this militarism has prevented any other Moslem fanatics from attacking America like they did on September 11, 1991. Maybe, but maybe not. This is pure conjecture which cannot be proven.

In the 1950’s Cincinnati and Detroit both had almost double the population that they have today. The American government made it more profitable for the industries to go overseas, so they did. It was a winner for the rich business owners. They could evade all those silly rules regarding environmental pollution, workplace safety, minimum wage laws, or treating their employees humanely. So over the last half a century all the good jobs have gradually moved away from America. It has taken 50 years, but now we are witnessing the fall of the last superpower.

All higher life forms on the plant earth have been destroyed several times by collisions with comets and meteors. Entire solar systems and galaxies are constantly being created and destroyed. It is just the normal way things work.

Rather than moaning and complaining about the decline of the American Empire it will be more useful to start studying how the next superpower might avoid making the same mistakes which were made by the Americans, the Romans, the Aztecs, and the Incas. One piece of very sincere advice: If you have the resources, pay to send your young child to language classes in Mandarin Chinese.
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