Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wheel O' Fortune

I missed the Republican Presidential candidate debate last night because I had to attend a social event with my wife. I read a couple of newspaper rehashes of it this morning though.

It's becoming clear that none of the announced candidates are viable challengers against Barack Obama. The Republicans will have to run somebody else. The only one I can think of is still David Petraeus and that's just a wild guess. I don't even have any reason to believe he wants to be President. It's likely he doesn't.

We'll just have to see who emerges. Somebody will. Until then, the guys they have are just enthusiasticly inept volunteers, keeping the lights on, the open sign on the front door and stamping parking validations out for curious browsers, without any hope of ringing up a sale.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thai BBQ Chicken, Better than You Get In Restaurants

A friend of mine opined to me recently that just about the best tasting thing you can eat is a well prepared chicken leg and thigh quarter. I'm not exactly sure about that. The World is full of wonderful things to eat and interesting ways to prepare them. I do think though that a chicken leg, well prepared, is with good reason a star of many, if not most, regional and ethnic cuisines.

I like to grill chicken outdoors. One of the reasons i like to is that it's so good and was totally beyond me for many years. When you think about it, you almost never get good BBQ chicken, whether you're at somebody's house or in a restaurant. It takes a lot more effort than most people are willing to put into it. I like to do it in the South East Asian style. Let me tell you how I do it.

Leg thigh quarters are good to use because they have some fat in them and an unbroken skin, covering the whole piece, this helps to keep the juices and fat in the meat.

I make a marinade. You can put anything you want in it, depending on how you want your chicken to taste. I use soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, MSG, garlic powder and a little sesame oil. I usually let it marinate for at least a couple hours, shaking it up every once in a while. When I take it out of the marinade, I dry it out on paper towels, maybe let it sit awhile for the excess to drain off and the skin to evaporate even dryer. Then I put it in a big bowl pour some Canola or grape seed oil over it and toss it so that all the skin surface is lightly coated then sit again awhile so that the oil permeates into the skin.

I never put chicken directly over a direct heat source. You're gonna have to cook it for quite awhile and the grease from the bird will flame up and burn your chicken black, even while the inside is still raw and bloody. That was pretty much how most of my efforts always turned out. So you fire up under one side of your grill and place the chicken on the other side. As you cook  and turn the pieces, you're going to want to rotate the pieces closest to the heat away and replace them with the pieces that were farthest away, for uniform cooking. At some point, after the skin is dark and crispy, the tendons holding the meat to the ankle end of the drumstick are going to start to give and the meat will move North. The knee joint will start to feel loose and wobbly. That's when you know the chicken is done. Just as that's happening, you want to take the chicken off the grill and put it back in your big mixing bowl. Pour this stuff that you buy in your local Asian store called Nuoc Cham Ga (translation: Sweet Chili Sauce for Chicken) on it and give it a few light tosses, just like you did with the oil, so that all surfaces have a light coverage. Put the chicken back on the grill. If you can adjust the heat, you might turn it down a little. You leave it back on the grill long enough to crust up a little, you don't want it to burn or blacken. Then you're done. Always serve this with more of the sweet chili sauce for dipping or pouring. Be generous. It's real good and I buy it for about $2 a quart bottle. It's always a loss leader item. Vietnamese, Thais and Filipinos buy the stuff by the case.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Check these guys out

Orphaned Land may be the most popular rock band in the Arab Middle East. They are Israeli. The Turks are especially fond of them. They tour there a lot, which is interesting, since they don't usually let Israelis in the country.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

There's a Meetin' Here Tonite

Did you watch the debate between the announced Republican candidates for President tonight at the Ronald  Library in Simi Valley? Nobody said anything but I bet it was at least 110 degrees out there today.

I thought Ron Paul gave the performance that enunciated the commonly accepted contemporary Republican Party doctrines best and also seemed the most intelligent. I thought Governor Huntsman seemed to represent the most mainstream contemporary American views and seemed the most sane. Neither were that well received nor seem likely to find success in upcoming primary elections.

The big dogs seemed to be Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. Neither seemed that magnetic or attractive to me but both got through the evening without doing themselves any additional major harm. Mitt seemed to be trying to skew himself a little farther to the Right than he is usually seen. Rick Perry seems to be comfortable staying well to the rugged, individualist Right, where he has been lodged since he switched from Democrat to Republican, two decades ago.

Unless a new, major Republican candidate emerges soon, I would have to say that Rick Perry seems most likely to be the Republican who emerges from the primary election season next year as the opponent facing Barack Obama. I do not see any third party threat emerging and if one were to somehow materialize, it would probably be one that draws votes more from Perry than Obama, who would likely beat Perry in any case.

The upcoming election season, even if there is a lot of tub thumping, name calling and firing of cannons into the clouds to bring down rain, looks to be shaping up as a real yawn. Too bad. I like a closely fought contest and think it is good for the country and the health of our political system.

Michelle Bachman was a disappointment tonight. She acted like somebody had slipped her a big slug of Lithium.

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are both wily, experienced career politicians, who have held major office and are comfortable and capable in a nationally televised debate situation. I expected one or both of them to acquit themselves much better than they did.

One interesting aside. None of the debaters tonight received the kind of enthusiastic, spontaneous, general ovation from the audience over some point they made or tag line, appealingly delivered, that have become common in these kinds of forums.

Stand By Me

The Democratic Party is bigger than the Republican Party. It always has been. That is truer now than ever before. This is the key to presidential politics in America.

When Hubert Humphrey was beaten by Nixon, when Carter and Mondale were beaten by Reagan, When Gore and Kerry were beaten by Bush, they were not beaten by Republican voters. They were beaten by Democratic voters who crossed over and voted for the Republican candidate.

The key to becoming a Republican president is not the level of support that you have in your base but how many Democratic voters and Democratic leaning independents you can steal from the other side. The job for the Democratic candidate is completely different. His job is not to garner crossover votes from the Republicans but to keep his base from deserting him.

Obama is despised by the Republican base like no other Democratic Presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter. In the end, Jimmy Carter came to be seen unfavorably by many Democrats as well. That is what lost him his second term.

Most Republicans believe that Barack Obama is the illegitimate son of a blood thirsty, hereditary Kenyan, Mau Mau chieftain and a wandering hippie Earth mother (I've met several Wingers who swear she was a Jewess, as well), a Muslim Manchurian candidate, a mentally deficient recipient of affirmative action educational and life achievement accolades, a communist, secretly hates White people, plotting furiously to bring about our national downfall and not a legal, natural born, citizen of the United States of America. I think it's unlikely that many Republicans will vote for Barack Obama in 2012, don't you? They could get themselves a side show lobsterboy, with a corkscrew penis, who bites the heads off of live chickens, run him and he would poll a lot better among Republican voters than Barack Obama. You might think that's a joke but are Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman really that far off from the corkscrew penised, lobsterboy, geek?

So here's the real question. Will any Democrats vote for the Republican candidate for President of the United States in November of 2012? Like always, I think that depends on who they run. If they're smart they'll take a lesson from history and run another one of those "uniter, not a divider, guys". That's what's always worked before.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Cat O' Nine, Tale O'Five

There's this couple I know. One I've known for most of my life. The other I knew for awhile before they got married, almost thirty years ago now. Pretty smart, both of them. Got that extra nickel and dime to go with their IQ dollar. They both have college degrees. Both did some graduate work. One has a Masters. Neither has ever been unemployed since they got married. One has a mid level civil service job. The other owns and operates a small business. "Biddness", as GW Bush was so fond of saying in his time. Salt of the Earth, don'cha know. Backbone of America, yeah.

I remember, they flew down to Cancun for a quick, five day honeymoon. Got a real good package deal, as I remember. Saw those Inca ruins. Splashed in the warm, blue waters. Laid in the white, Sunny sand. Bob had never been out and around much before that honeymoon. He was so green he didn't realize the snacks, sodas and little bottles of good liquor in the "complimentary" mini bar of their room weren't really free. They replaced them every day, of course. He went through a couple hundred bucks worth before he learned the awful truth. He had to call home and get somebody to wire the money to cover it because he was too embarrassed to tell Peggy. I don't think they've been on a vacation since.

They live out in what is referred to in SoCal as the "Inland Empire", where the denizens of the snaking, multi culti, urban sprawls of LA, Orange and San Diego came not so gently together, to miscegenate in the once rich farm and ranch land of Riverside and the barren, arid rolling hills and cholla studded, semi desert grasslands of San Berdoo, producing huge bedroom communities of largish, air conditioned, boxy, stucco homes, mostly built since the late 70s.

My friends raised three boys. One's still in high school. The other two are still at home though. College didn't work out and there's no jobs. Never were, really. The real jobs were always 30, 40, 50 miles away. "Were" is the key word here.

Anyway. My friends are in bankruptcy. Their house is in foreclosure. There were expenses. They became over extended. "Biddness" isn't as good as it used to be. Gubment jobs is cuttin' back and downsizin'. Tea Party style! Yeah, man! I guess they'll be starting over. At 60. They're still workin' though. Praise the Lord! Better days ahead.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Warm Weather has Consequences. Pay Up, Dave.

We don't get that much warm weather here. Maybe 4-5 week long stretches a year. The last few years it's been much less, maybe two little stretches a year. Usually in the Summer it's cool and overcast in the morning, burning off by the early afternoon. Maybe the temperature will peak in the low middle 70s. then overnight it cools down into the low middle 60s. It's not really the Sunny California resort weather that everybody imagines but it suits me. I really like the fact that the weather is not that much different, year round. It gets at least up into the mid 60s most days, year round. It's been years since we had a freeze.

We've been having a warm spell the last week. Up to about 80, every early afternoon for an hour or so. The median temperature is enough higher that my 25 year old GE refrigerator is failing to keep the bacteria at bay. Bummer.

Everybody has their favorite place to get major household appliances. I tend to like to get high end ones. My theory is that they tend to work better and last longer. It may not be true but that's what I think. I moved into this house in 1987 and all the appliances pretty much date from that time, except for the stove, which is original, so 35 years old. I need to replace that next, still works good but it has a few ignition problems. Anyway, it was down to the Sears scratch and dent warehouse today. Got a Kenmore side by side refrigerator, with through the door ice and chill water. I'll probably regret that but that's what it came with. If it quits working I'll just detach the guts and go with ice trays. What the Hell. It's black. I don't care for black appliances but it is what it is. Looked like the best deal in the place today. What the hell. It's got a couple of dents and a big scratch on the side. Shipping damage, not a repo. It's their premium line. Looks like an Asian model, probably made by LG. Has one year parts and labor and a valid extended warranty offer. Didn't buy that. It was almost $500 and the refrigerator only cost me $620, down from a retail of $1500. Didn't seem worth it. Edison will come and pick up the old one and recycle it free and give me a $100 rebate for buying a new, energy efficient refrigerator. Thank you, GE.

Hope this one lasts 25 years. Then they can bury me in it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No Blogging

I haven't been blogging. I especially haven't been blogging about Presidential politics. Here's why.

Likely Republican primary voters, in most States, Red and Blue, skew heavily to Tea Party supporters. They will likely prevail in electing a pro Tea Party primary candidate to stand in the general election of 2012 against Barack Obama. It doesn't really matter which one it will be, even though some are markedly more crazed than others. A Tea Party candidate, any Tea Party candidate, stands no chance of winning a nation wide general election for anything, including the Presidency.

At this point, it really makes no difference how popular or unpopular Obama may be with his base or anybody else. Unless the Republicans elect a centrist, compromise candidate for the general election, they stand absolutely no chance of winning. There's no way that you can massage the numbers to make it work.

The only person at all, that I can think of off he top of my head that the Republicans could put up that might both have a chance at garnering enough primary support and then winning a general election for President is David Petreaus. I haven't heard that he's interested in running, have you?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Suck it up

I have two vacuum cleaners in my house. One for upstairs and one down. They're old, from second hand stores. They were real cheap and worked great when I got them, many years ago. One is a Eureka, probably 70s vintage, the other is a Filter Queen, undoubtedly older than I am. Both are canister types.

They were still working but with decreasing efficiency for a couple years. Didn't bother me too much. I'm just not that fastidious of a housekeeper but I finally realized something must be done.

They both continued to have really good sucking function, as tested by sticking my hand over the intake hole. The carpet sweeper attachments, with the little whirling brushes also seemed to still be working but I hypothesized that the rubber belts that power the brushes from the little electric motors in them were old, cracked and probably too stretched out to work efficiently.

I went to my neighborhood appliance repair store, they do vacuum cleaners, sewing machines and shit like that and got a couple of new belts. Cost me $4 each. They're probably worth about a quarter but what the Hell. Took about 30 seconds to replace. Man, they both pick up that cat hair like nobodies business.

They can bury me with those two vacuums, a few sturdy, copper bottomed cooking pots, my good kitchen knives, pruning shears and the old clothes I've been wearing now for thirty years, inside my old VW Bug. Like a Viking funeral. I'll need all that shit in the after life.

Do yourself a favor. Replace the belts in your carpet sweepers. You'll be happy as a pig in shit, like your old friend Dave.

I'm pathetic. It takes so little to make me happy.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Conservative Drift

Democrats see Obama as a centrist. On defense issues, they even see him as fairly right wing. Republicans see Obama as very far to the left.

Republicans do not believe that they need to move very far into the center to beat Obama. They saw McCain as too centrist in 2008. They see Romney as too centrist for 2012. None the less, Romney is beginning to look like the best compromise Republican candidate for the general election next year.

If the Republicans go with Romney in 2012 and he is beaten by Obama, there will be no compromise Republican Presidential candidate in 2016. The Republican Presidential candidate in 2016 will be an anti intellectual, fundamentalist Christian, anti abortion, anti immigrant, anti Muslim, strongly nationalistic militarist, free market capitalist who demands both decreased taxes and a balanced budget.

Who knows. That might win the Presidency for them.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Coulda' been a Contenda'

In what is becoming a routine occurrence among young and not so young lions and lionesses of the GOP, Mitch Daniels stated for the benefit of the Sunday news shows today that he chooses not to run for President but that if he had he would have easily gained the Republican national nomination and gone on to beat Obama in 2012.

The Republicans would seem to have a bunch of potential candidates that can beat Obama but none of them wants to run. Does this mean that they don't want to be President? Does it mean that they would just as soon let Obama stay President for another term? Is somebody lying to them about their chances of being elected. Are they all just retards? These are all important questions that the Republican Party must ask and answer for themselves before they actually decide who is going to represent the party in the Presidential elections of 2012.

Just to keep the record straight, every Republican so far, that I thought might be a successful Presidential candidate has declined to run. They all agreed with me that they could have won though, so I'm feelin' pretty cocky.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Bin Laden Dead

I understand that Osama bi Laden has been killed by a Navy Seal team in a daring helicopter raid on an isolated house outside Islamabad.


Can we go home now?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Black Dirt, Ignorant Pig Fuckers

How do you feel about Barack Obama releasing his birth certificate today?

Let me tell you how I feel.

It was a big mistake.

The Birther movement was never about believing that Barry O wasn't born in this country. The people that whipped it up don't even believe it. Donald Trump certainly never believed it, nor could he care less. All the Donald cares about is who he can next swindle their life savings out of and the next underage girl he can defile. Birtherism is simply a mechanism by which Republican hacks can whip the dimwits into a frenzy of xenophobic fear and hatred.

Only a small group of people ever believed Obama was not born in this country, none of whom voted for him in the first place and none of whom would ever vote for him again.

Releasing his birth certificate can do nothing to change the way people think of him, it only gives credence to the birthers accusations by providing a serious response, thereby legitimizing their claims. It will not assuage their lying charges or silence them in any way. The charges are not and never have been worthy of response.

Letting the birth certificate question continue unanswered on the other hand, would have given daily proof to the rest of us, that they are nothing but black dirt, ignorant pig fuckers and that is a good and true thing.

All Barry has done today has let Republican dirty tricksters know they are getting to him and spur them on to even more extreme and ridiculous charges. See if I'm not right.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Could he be "The One"

All of a sudden, Paul Ryan is everywhere. It looks like he is going to be the Republican spokes model in their continuing fight with the Democrats over the budget, which will have deep deficits, no matter what either side does or who gets their way. He's an attractive figure for the Republicans. No divorces. No scandalous baggage. Not only is he young but he looks young. Hopefully he's SoCon enough to satisfy the Republican base but not so much that he scares away independents.

That's a good thing for the Republicans and maybe for Paul. He's going to be getting a huge amount of free publicity and ample opportunity to blame Barry O for whatever happens. They need a guy just like him right now, unless they want to go with one of the sickly current crop of contenders in 2012. He seems to be shaping up as a Republican Howard Dean. What do you think?

He could easily run for President. It's possible that he could win the Republican nomination, simply because there won't be another viable candidate. Who knows, he might even win the general election. He'd be a sure fire big donation getter.

The problem is, what would he do once he gets elected President? So far, that's been Barry's biggest problem. He's doing OK and in the current environment, that's all anybody can hope for but it may not be enough. The people want a guy who's bullet proof, walks on water and can bring back the Golden Age. It's just my opinion but I don't think that's likely to happen. Do you?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Adulterating Salsa

Recently when making any kind of fresh salsa or pico de gallo, I have been adding green papaya. I have long been looking for a good additive to fresh Mexican style hot sauces. Often they are just too much and need something to mellow them out and tone them down a little. A lot of cooks use tomatillo for this purpose but I don't like tomatillo. I've tried a lot of different stuff, like celery, cucumber, jicama, etc., with varying success. Often it's good but never great. You can either shred it fine or pulverize it in a food processor.

Green papaya is great. It absorbs and combines all the flavors from the other ingredients, lightens it up, and creates a more subtle flavor. It's great right after it's made but even better after several hours to a full day of melding.

I can get green papaya here in the Asian markets all the time. It grows just fine in SoCal and Mexico. It's cheap. I got on to green papaya because it is the basis of many of my favorite, spicy, South East Asian salads that feature salty, fermented crustacean products, lime juice and fiery hot chiles, requiring a lot of buffering.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How 2012 Will Work

The 2012 elections are not going to be about what the majority of the people want.  The majority of the people have no idea what they want. It's questionable that they ever do.

There are a lot more Democrats than Republicans. That's been true for awhile. It's going to be increasingly true in the future unless something changes drastically. Few Democrats will likely cross over vote, that's even more true of Republicans. There are a lot of independents though, maybe more than ever before.  Unless there are attractive third party or independent candidates, probably more than half of independent voters will align with Republicans than Democrats.

Come election time 2012, I bet I will be able to predict the outcomes of a lot of the races pretty well. It's going to depend on who's mad and how mad. Mad people are more likely to vote.  If only the Republicans are really mad, the races will be close but they will lose. If only the Democrats are mad, they will win decisively. If everybody is mad, it will be a very close race but I believe the Democrats will retain the Presidency and make modest gains otherwise. Republicans have to stay mad, they have to convince independents to get mad and they can't allow Democrats to be mad on the first Tuesday in November. That's the only way they can win. It may not be that hard, they're half way there already.

The Republicans have been whipping their troops into a frenzy since the medrassa mud boy won the Presidency in 2008. They do not have time to take a breather before 2012. They're going to have to keep the troops riled and get independents foaming as well. Their biggest problem isn't even that. In order to get enough independent votes, they are going to have to field a slate of candidates, virtually anywhere they want to win, who are not socially conservative.  Social conservatives make up no more than 30% of the total vote, virtually all registered Republicans. Many independent voters have sympathy for fiscally conservative ideals, even some Democrats do but they all think the Socons are wacky, making them unsuitable to govern, no matter what their stand on other issues. The Socons, who now make up a majority of Republican primary voters may well insist on candidates drawn from their number. If it was hard core liberals in charge on the Democratic side, they would insist on the same thing.

There are three issues that nobody should fuck with if they want to get elected in 2012, abortion, the poor and illegal immigrants. My feeling is that both sides would like to throw these issues at each other as they have in the past but there is no way that they can do it to advantage. They are going to agree that abortions are fine but won't be paid for by the government. The poor and illegal immigrants don't vote so they're going to get thrown under the bus.

The wars aren't going to be an issue either. Both sides have so much blood on their hands that they're just going to pretend they don't exist.

Besides fiscal austerity, which is, always has been and always will be, all hand job and no cunt by both sides, it's going to be interesting to see what big issues will shake out. Don't ask me, I got no idea. I think they may still be looking hard for that long form birth certificate right up until election eve, 2012. What do you think, Bub.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Woman Republican President?

There's going to be a woman President soon. The only questions involved in it are who it will be and what side will she be on.

The Republicans are well positioned to accomplish it. The Democrats, not so much.

On the Democratic side, the only woman on the track is Hilary Clinton. She has good name recognition but a lot of it and especially on the conservative side of the voter spectrum is bad. Also, no matter how you dress up her many skills and accomplishments, a strong case can be made that everything she's gotten is because of the length of her popular husband's coat tails.

The Republicans have a lot of women on deck. Even though many of them have turned out to be weak sisters, it's clear Republicans are willing to vote, in large numbers, for women.

There are two Republican women I think have an especially good chance of capturing the Presidency, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina and ex Senator Kay Baley Hutchison, of Texas. Both are capable of mounting a credible campaign.

Kay Baley is an old war horse. She knows all the movers and shakers inside the beltway. She would be acceptable to the old boys that run the party. She's no longer a Senator and would be free to devote the next two years to the run.

Nikki Haley is the newly elected Governor of South Carolina. She's young, attractive and intelligent. She's a woman of color, coming out of the immigrant, minority community and yet models strong conservative values, socially and fiscally.

The smart thing to do would be to get both of them going now, with well funded and professionally staffed campaigns and let them push all of the other contenders down for the count, then let them fight it out between themselves. Whoever comes out on top should get the Presidential slot on the Republican ticket and the other given the Vice Presidential nod at the convention in 2012. That way both of those on the ticket would have had a lot of exposure and campaign experience. One would be from the deep South and the other from the West, strongholds of Republicanism. Both would be acceptable to conservatives in the Midwest.

It would be better if Governor Haley became the Presidential candidate, as the dynamic, fresh face of the party and Kay Baley was the elder stateswoman by her side, kind of a Bush/Cheney arrangement but either way would work.

I don't think they'll do it. I still think the Republicans will field a Southerner for President and a Westerner for Vice President, both men. They are going to miss a good opportunity.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fuck Them

I haven't said that much about Fukushima Daichi. I have two things to say.

First, if you read between the lines, it's very likely that the US Navy 7th Fleet, within hours after the disaster, offered to back up a super carrier to the plant, power up the pumps and give the technicians time to safely cool down the reactors into a non critical state. This would have allowed the situation to be dealt with, even though it was still serious, in a more organized manner and over a longer period of time. 

The only reason I can think of that the Japanese refused this help is because of their long standing antipathy to American nuclear ships harboring in their ports and perhaps a misguided desire to be seen as able to deal with the disaster on their own and independent of American help. If any part of this scenario is true, then fuck them, they endangered the whole World for no reason.

The second thing is that nuclear power generation was originally entered into, by the major nations, in order to produce the plutonium necessary to make atomic weapons. That's all they cared about. They never bothered to do the work or incur the expense to make nuclear power safe. It could have been done.  Fuck them.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

And It's Good For You

You gotta love this. Ann Coulter, on her blog, tells us how large doses of radiation, like you might get if a nuclear reactor core somewhere in your neighborhood melted down, promotes better health for those in the vicinity.

I hope Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann got this message. This is exactly the kind of good, patriotic news they like to get out to their people.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Democracy Doesn't Work

Citizens of democracies initially are happy just not to be oppressed and taken advantage of. Eventually they learn that they can vote themselves whatever benefits that they want. Free education, liberal social welfare benefits, health care, whatever they want. Cool. Then the Governments go broke. Eventually a dictatorship takes over and cracks down. Society is back in balance and spending is under control but so are the people. They are no longer free. It doesn't matter. The majority welcome it.

America is getting close to hat point. Democracy isn't a functional form of government. It never was. It never will be.

In the end, people crave order and function over freedom. I'm not being snotty about this. I 'm just like everyone else. We're all Nazis at heart, including me.

It's still a free country today. Go out and enjoy yourself while you can. It won't last. I guarantee it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tuna Melt

Wingnuts want to build a lot more nuclear reactors. I got no problem with that. They need to be shielded and able to shut down in such a manner that they can withstand at least 9 Richter scale earthquakes and tsunamis like happened in Japan last week.

The San Onofre plant is about 20 miles from my house. It's already operated ten years past its designed shutdown date. The reason is because there is no way they can shut it down and stabilize the site in a safe manner. I'm pretty sure that any kind of major seismic event in the area, much less a monster tidal wave would totally fuck up a big chunk of the SoCal coast, radioactivity wise. I doubt it would do the Pacific Ocean that much good either.

What Do You Replace Planned Parenthood With?

The wingnuts want to defund Planned Parenthood. For many years, I volunteered at a local free Clinic that was partnered with Planned Parenthood. 99% of what they did was screenings and treatment for cervical cancer and STDs, contraception and prenatal care and nutrition. It was also set up to provide indigent medical care to those that fell through the cracks and had no other general health care options.

Yeah, they provided abortion referrals. The abortions were through an outpatient clinic, not free but very affordably priced. So what?

I like Planned Parenthood.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oil Boom

The price of oil is up, way up, on fears about political instability in the Middle East. Buy oil if you want. It may go up more. Probably will.

In reality, I haven't heard that in fact, the social and political unrest in the Arab World has affected oil production at all. In fact, big oil producers are selling existing excess inventory into the steepening price curve.

Around here, gasoline is getting close to $4 a gallon. I assume that similar price increases are taking place around the World. This is going, at least in the short and medium term, to depress petroleum consumption. There is already a World wide glut of oil stocks left over from the last crude oil price surge fueled by rampant speculation that ended precipitously 2 years ago.

In the long term, the price of oil has nowhere to go but up. This current round of price increases will end badly though and pretty soon, I think. Might be time for that last big road trip in the motor home soon.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Travels With Charley

A lot of people are saying a lot of things about Charley Sheen and his notorious lifestyle.

I never really had the kind of resources to devote to the pursuit as Charley but I like to think I  did my fair share.

I think I can tell you exactly how he feels. Sometimes when I would come to, pull myself together and revue recent events, sure, I was a little humiliated by thoughts of the things I had done. I felt bad at the way I had treated family, friends and lovers. It never occurred to me that I was scraping bottom and needed to change my ways.

I always figured I needed a little more practice, get in a little bit deeper, extend my control and at some point I would become perfectly acclimated to the life. I would reach a nirvana of depravity, with no more mornings after.

I only ever quit when I got so old and used up that the turnaround time was eating up most of my life and the turnaround time was no fun at all. If Charley ever reforms, it'll be for the same reasons. Charley may never reform. He may just die. Nirvana. I envy him.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I don't know very much about Egypt. I know that the Camp David accords were bullshit. Egypt and Israel agreed to leave each other alone in return for weapons Israel needed to subdue its other neighbors and the Egyptian military its own population.

Egypt has a large population, most of whom are desperately poor. They have no education. They have no skills. Many Egyptians are made slaves in payment of their parent's debt. The idea that Egypt will ever be a democracy is ridiculous.

Perhaps they will achieve some basic freedoms of movement and expression. Maybe a few  hundred more calories a day in their diets. Every little bit helps.

The only real freedom longed for by most Egyptians with any real ambition is the freedom to escape the confines of Egypt, to the West, where the possibility of a real life awaits.

Monday, February 07, 2011

San Francisco

A week ago, my wife and I had our yearly jaunt to the City by the Bay. Best Winter weather I've ever seen in San Fransisco. Sunny and up into the 70s, every day. My wife went to Mac World. I got a cheap bus pass and enjoyed being out and about.

You can certainly see the city evolving into recession times over the last few years. There are fewer people in the city. Fewer street people, fewer workers, more foreign, ethnic enclaves. The buses used to be difficult during morning and evening rush hours. No more. Always seats available, no matter the hour. Plenty of elbow room on Market and Van Ness. No waiting for tables at restaurants, even the gyp joints at Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach, not that I'd ever eat there. Made for a nice, relaxing tourist experience. Here's a tip. Food's a little pricey there. The best cheap lunch in town is the In n Out Burger franchise at Fisherman's Wharf. Same prices as any other In n Out. No drive thru, counter service only with lots of eat in tables looking out over the Wharf. I'm sure it's maintained by the company as a promotional location because there are so many national and international visitors to San Francisco and they all eat at Fisherman's Wharf. Believe me, In n Out will be the best and most authentic food you get there these days. No fishermen work out of the Wharf anymore. All the seafood comes in frozen from Alaska, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Hotel rooms weren't as cheap this year. I think it's simply because management has given up on trying to lure non existent travelers in with cheap rates. The Hotel Carlton, is a very nice, rehabbed, 1920s era speakeasy, whorehouse and men's club, has 160 rooms and never more than a few dozen rented while we were there. I only saw two maids and they were moving at a very leisurely pace, never a problem getting an early check in or late check out. The desk clerk seemed eager to do both and begged us to return again next year, even though we were shameless, bottom feeding trollers from Priceline, paying little more than a third of their rack rate. I highly recommend the place, by the way, Room was clean. Nice linens and bathroom. Plenty of hot water pressure to the shower. No air conditioning but hardly necessary any time of the year in Frisco with big windows in the room and a ceiling fan. The walls are a little thin but with the place so uncrowded, it wasn't a problem. I paid $52 a night for a large room with two queen beds. Rack rates start at $139 for a single Queen, double occupancy. I was worried it might be a little out of the way, on the corner of Larkin and Sutter but turns out the entire center city is walking distance and frequent buses to everywhere within a block. Great neighborhood. Yemani ethnic enclave during the day and evening and a stroll for tranny hookers, late night. Very few street people. Good reasonable restaurants. Nice area.

I came down with a little virus the night we got home. Achey bones, chills and a little upper respiratory smut. At my age and general condition, you got to start worrying that it's really congestive heart failure from the exertion of hiking up and down steep hills. Didn't seem to be the case though, so I guess I'm still good to go for a while yet.

If you get the opportunity, visit San Francisco. It's a great place to visit. No place else quite like it in America.  Weather is nice. Lots to see and do. Cheap public transportation. Buy a visitor's bus pass, $20 for 3 days, $27 for a whole week and the bus drivers never check whether or not it's expired. You could probably buy one in January and use it the whole year, not that I would ever do that. Senior passes are only $20 a month. If you can convince them you're retarded or disabled they're almost free.

Fluffy Barry

So, did you see the State of the Union address a week or so ago. It was interesting I thought. Mostly an exercise in shifting blame, letting the new Congress know that if they wanted to cut government spending, they should have at it but emphasizing that domestic spending, which includes all those nasty entitlements to the young, old, poor and disadvantaged comprise only about 12% of the Federal budget.

I'm not a big fan of Obama's administration, so far. We're still spending huge money on foreign war  and more money by multiples than the rest of the World combined on National defense. The wealthy and corporate sectors of the nation's economy have a greater percentage of the wealth, among fewer people, than in any other nation, at any time, in the World's history. As far as I can see, Obama is simply letting them rape the rest of us, not that this is any great departure from any other President in living memory. I have to admit, he looks very cool and stylish doing it.

Yesterday was the Superbowl. Before the game, Barry let Bill O'Reilly interview him live at the White house, also a very fluffy experience for him. Barry never let himself get ruffled or pinned down. He may not have answered many of the questions directly but that's nothing new, especially compared with his recent Republican predecessors. The important thing, in this interview, as well as the State of the Union address, was that he never let himself appear stupid, mean or angry. Given the rampant ignorance and punishing rage that the Republican opposition has been caught up in since he was elected, that's all he has to do to appear superlatively in charge of himself and the national situation.

I believe that this sunny, self control, however shallow and non reality based, will be the dominating feature of his 2012 re election campaign.

It will likely be enough to get him re elected easily. It's not going to win him a lot of new votes. I think probably fully 40% of the American electorate will end up hating him more than any other modern President. There may well be whole geographic regions of the country that will want to secede. They will continue to believe that he is an, alien, Islamic, mudman, Manchurian Candidate. I say fine, let them go. In fact, America might be better off as four or five different countries. Only time will tell. I don't think anybody is willing to have another Civil War to keep the country together. I think the country would break up in interesting and surprising ways. I think Western States would band together based more on mutual interest than stupid Blue/Red State social, religious and economic philosophies.

What do you think of Barry? Would you rather have Michelle Bachmann as President?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blood Libel

You have to ask yourself what was Sarah Palin thinking when she invoked "Blood Libel" against the media in it's treatment of her in the wake of last weeks shootings in Tucson? If she thought it would provoke an unflattering response on the part of the media, she wasn't thinking too clearly.

All the media players have to do is play the clip of her saying it, over and over again, while letting her, ever so slowly, twist in the wind.

I'm not saying it's not a little embarrassing to watch, because it is and most of the embarrassment has to do with the realization of the sick fascination that something like this engenders in all of us. That doesn't really do her any good though, does it?

Kick Off

I don't want to be too cynical but it seems to me that somebody needs to be. Tuning into the memorial service for the victims of last weeks mass shooting in Arizona, yesterday, was a big surprise. I have never seen a memorial service for the victims of this kind of event that was anything like it. I'm not going to go into what went on there. If you've seen it, you know. If you haven't seen it, you need to watch it. Make up your own mind what you think about it.

It was not a traditional memorial service in any sense. It may not really have been a memorial service at all. What I think it might have been, was the kick off, by President Obama and his campaign staff, of the 2012 Presidential campaign. We should know more about this after the President's State of the Union address to Congress in a couple of weeks.

I think that the coming election campaign will not be about concrete issues. Both parties are going to be saying the same kind of things about the issues and more than usually, both parties will be saying one thing and doing another.

The next Presidential campaign and perhaps for legislative and State executive offices as well, may be about feelings. About what kind of people and what kind of a nation we want to be.

Republicans will still try to brand Democrats as tax and spend, entitlement bearing liberals who are soft on crime and immigration, anti military and Godless atheists. Both sides will charge that the other wants to steer a course toward fascist, totalitarianism. I don't think anybody is going to listen to any of that.

I think it's going to come down to would you rather hang out with one posse or another. Rebs and Yanks, relativist or fundamentalist, Lions or Rotary, Crips or Bloods. Style not substance. Don't let anybody kid you, style is real important.

I'm going to be left out, probably. I don't have those kinds of sensibilities. More of a Geek than a Mod or Rocker. Still, it should be interesting to watch as they battle it out.

Who do I think will come out on top? The Republicans are going to have to nominate somebody really special to beat Barry O, unless he really blows it.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Gunned Down

A lot of people seem pretty grateful that the 9mm slug and following propulsive exhaust gasses, unleashed at point blank range, that ripped through the brain of Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords from back to front, didn't completely liquefy the contents of her skull, killing her instantly. Several other people did die from gunshot wounds, including a senior Federal judge and a little 9 year old girl. That seems bad enough. I doubt Gabrielle will be returning to a normal life and her Congressional duties any time soon.

It seems moot as to whether or not the shooter was politically motivated or just mentally deranged. It seems to me that many, if not most, of the Tea Partiers, Birthers, ethnocentric racists and xenophobes that make up the bulk of the Republican Party base are mentally deranged, the leadership being closer to the pod people that replaced previously rational people a la "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and the rank and file little more cognisant of what's really going on than the shambling zombies in "Night of the Living Dead".

What seems to me the most typical response to the shooting, by the Right Wing, that I have seen so far, was posted on "Hot Air" and lamented that Sarah Palin would now be in great danger from retaliatory gun violence from enraged "Leftards" and she had better recruit and travel with large numbers of heavily armed body guards. Right, that's where we should be placing out main priorities at this time, protecting the safety of Sarah Palin. What would the country do without her? We need someone to tell us who to shoot next.

It would be nice to think that this senseless episode of gun violence would provoke a discussion among Americans about the heightened levels of inflammatory, divisive, political rhetoric among us and the inevitable consequences of them, but it would also be a mistaken thought.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Wingnut Creed Is A Lie

The crux of the wingnut creed is that government exercises too much control over the individual. Bullshit.

Wingnuts believe that Church and State should not be separate. They think that a woman should not have control over her reproductive function. They believe that the individual should patriotically support any war that the government engages in, for whatever reason. They think that it's all right to withhold basic civil rights from individuals because of personal choices they have made regarding religion, sexual preference, political or personal philosophy.

It is the wingnuts who want to institute totalitarian control and repression on the people of this country. It is they who want to roll back the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They need to quit lying to themselves and everybody else but they never will. They're too stupid to even see what they are.