Monday, February 27, 2012

A very "lite" week!

It's pretty obvious that the politicians are well aware that there's only about 8 months left until the national elections; either that, or the 3 main media organizations have decided not to report their shenanigans!  No huge scandals, no super controversial bills in front of the houses, so we just get a "breather for the blood pressure"!

Despite the cautious proclamations of an increasingly better economy, a 15 year veteran police officer (ex), in Columbus, Ga., decided to rob a bank of $1,000, in order to "enroll" himself in the "Federal Health System".

And in San Francisco, a rather large naked lady was offended by the fact that John Knight was driving a blue Volvo station wagon!

It seems fairly obvious that we are now fully involved in the "silly season", and I can hardly wait for the first week of November to be gone!  The worst part of the next few months will be the frantic phone calls that we will be receiving from the pols who thoughtfully exempted themselves from the "Do Not Call" law they passed, a few years ago. . .

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me this link to a band that I've been aware of for a number of years, but had never heard:  The quartet is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and formed in 1985, and it just blows me away that they've turned out 8 albums, and aren't better known.  They are a good guitar-driven band, that put out some really nice sounds, and actually seem to have something to say.  Enjoy; they have a lot of videos up!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Good week for music; not so much for politics!

So let's start with a music link for a guy who should be famous:  His name is Paul Thorn, and I picked up on him back in '97, when I pulled his first album, "Hammer And Nail".  He's the son of a preacher and he spent a few years boxing, and the guy sings of Life with both insight and humor, and straight from the heart.  He's a good guitar player,  a great songwriter, and a very good performer.  This song, "Things Left Undone"is one that really touches my heartstrings:   And here's one that's pretty funny:

Hey, do you guys remember when "Presidents' Day" was actually 2 holidays, celebrating George Washington's birthday, and another celebrating Abraham Lincoln's birthday.  Nowadays,  from what I see in the newspapers and TV, it seems to be "All About The Benjamins"!

Apparently, America is not the only country with an "obesity problem". last week, a man in England was involved in eating a 6000 calory hamburger, at the aptly named, "Heart Attack Grill", when he suffered. . . You guessed it; a heart attack!  Truly a study in irony.

And on to the things that do, can or will affect our lives.  On Feb. 14th of this year, ABC news reported that Iran is "allegedly" involved in attacks on Israeli citizens and Jewish interests around the world, although not here in the States.  If war should erupt between those 2 countries, America would undoubtedly be drawn into the conflict, since we are Israel strongest ally, and this article, lends credence to that speculation, going so far as to predict action commencing in September to October.

And onwards, to the shenanigans of our politicians!  Somewhere in the last 4 to 6 months, it's come to light that many of our Congressmen and Senators have been enriching themselves by activities that would land any other citizen in jail, and that is, the practice of insider trading.  When John Stewart brought this to light on his "Daily Show", , he also brought to light the fact that on Feb. 9th, these fine, upstanding examples of morality passed the "STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) ACT", , which would supposedly put a stop to this. . . Riiiiiiight!  Instead, what Congress passed was a watered down bill that eliminateed "“political intelligence” registration requirement and dropping anti-corruption legislation". . . Nice, eh? Here, you want a quick read, guaranteed to raise both your ire and blood pressure:  And they have the audacity to wonder why only 8% of the public has a "favorable" opinion of Congress? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another reason for term limits!

You know, just when you think that maybe the politicians have gotten the message (Jan. 22 post), and you feel a little bit better about our "representative form of government", something like this happens:  Basically, it says that Harry Reid (Democrat and Senate Majority Leader) has not only not gotten the message, but is going to push for any even stronger bill!  So, stay on your toes, and stay informed, and do not give up, folks; "Eternal Vigilance" is the message of the day, and really, if you take 15 minutes a week to keep yourself up to date on what ever issues you care about; that's 1/96 of a day!  Not much of an investment, is it?

If you are one of the naive who still don't believe our government would not lie to us, I present these 2 articles on what is going on in Afghanistan: and , about the views of Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, in direct opposition to the positive spin which our government presents to us.  Note that no action has been taken against him by the U.S. Army, but a spokesman for the Army dismissed his report by saying (paraphrased), "Well, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. . ."

While doing research on the National Defense Authorization Act, I touched base with an old school mate of mine, a Marine who served in Vietnam, who went on to become a well respected lawyer, in Las Vegas.  While David Rivers is a bit to the right of me, politically, he and I do see eye-to-eye on this subject, and he steered me to the Oath Keepers' site ( ), which is an organization of "non-partisan association of currently serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters".  Part of their oath is, "Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and we will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders, such as orders to disarm the American people or to place them under martial law and deprive them of their ancient right to jury trial."  I strongly urge you to visit their site!

A postscript to my last post about ramping up for military action against Iran: and a cautionary "tale" from the poet laureate of my generation, Bob Dylan, "Masters Of War", performed by Leslie West and Ozzy (a very different version!):  I heard it last night while I was listening to "Coast to Coast AM" (google it!), a late night nationally syndicated program (around 550 stations!), which I've been listening to, off and on, since around 1988, when Art Bell was the host, and who has been since been replaced.  On most Saturday nights, John B. Wells sits in the "captain's seat", and the guy has the most magnificent set of "pipes" that I've ever heard!

As I'm sure you're aware, we lost a major musical talent on Saturday, but if you've passed through the grocery store check lines in the last 15 years, I'm sure that the death of Whitney Houston, at age 48, did not come as a surprise.  I was not a big fan of Whitney's, but this morning I heard her version of the Star Spangled Banner, at the 1991 Superbowl, and I was blown away; I don't believe I've ever heard it done better:  After all the deaths of musicians, artists and movie stars over the last 50 years, and despite my psychology background, I still do not understand how or why these people continue to get caught up in drugs and/or alcohol. . . It's just sad, and I can't help but feel that the world is being robbed of so many of their potential contributions. 


Monday, February 6, 2012

Hold on, folks; here we go, again!

Seems as though the world is spooling up for another "party"; I look at Drudge and see headlines that proclaim that Iran is working hard to develop nuclear weapons (no doubts!) and the means for delivery; the U.S. & England are moving warships into the Straights of Hormuz; Israel is considering when might be the proper time to strike. . . And "The Beat Goes On"; (thank you, Sonny & Cher!).  Isn't this an instant replay of 9 years ago? 

We've just gotten our troops out of Iraq and are now in the process of withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan, and things over there are returning to "normal": their people are killing each other in the name of Allah.  Did we accomplish anything?  Did we, indeed, make America safer?  To justify these actions (not "war", mind you!), we used the same excuses (loosely) that we used in Vietnam, but, at least back then, the government thought we could afford it, economically; I don't think they ever consider the physical and emotional costs to the nation.  Now?  "Ah, just put it on the credit card, and let the future generations pay for it!"  How are they going to pay for it?  On the other hand, it is wonderful for the businesses involved in manufacturing for the war effort!

Our economy is slowly picking up, but our country is still producing very little to sell to other nations.  The millions of well-paying jobs that have disappeared since the '90's have been partially replaced by lower paying jobs, many of which are part time.  The middle class is disappearing, and if our economy is based on "consumerism", what are people going to buy "stuff" with?  I mean, this really is a rhetorical question. . .

Man, I don't mean to start off the week with a bummer, so, here, for a bit of musical hilarity:
Watch the drummer!

And, for just a beautiful bit of mandolin playing, and a song I've always liked:

And, for a final positive thought. . . It feels like Spring outside; 5 straight days of beautiful weather, and more coming!  After 5 weeks of not being able to get out on the bike, this is refreshing, to say the least.  And, the sunsets are beautiful!