Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There's No Such Thing as a Gay Athlete

Soooooo, Jason Collins decided to tell the world that he's a black, gay, basketball player.  If you are connected to anything electronic, by now you know that Collins, a 7-foot center who has played in the NBA for 12 years, is the first athlete in a major American sport to admit that he is gay.
First and foremost, I commend Jason for having the courage to admit to the world that he is gay.  I understand how hard it must be for one to place their personal life under scrutiny to raise the collective consciousness of the country.  My heart also goes out to his family, who now has to deal with the media firestorm (good and bad) that comes with such a monumental announcement.
BUT, and you had to know a but was coming, I'm quite confused about why this is such a big deal.  Last month, when soccer player Robbie Rogers admitted that he was gay, no one batted an eye.  When Brittney Griner, former Baylor basketball superstar and soon-to-be number one draft pick in the WNBA admitted that she was gay, the sports world let out a collective yawn.
So why, oh why, is Jason's announcement the creme de la creme of coming out parties?  Now, I'm not being naive here.  I understand that he is the first person from the NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB that has admitted he's gay.  My question is, with all of the progress made in the gay community, is this really a benchmark that has any real significance?  Work with me here to see my point.

Monday, April 29, 2013

HBO Game of Thrones Recap: Kissed By Fire

This week's episode starts with the trial by combat duel between Beric Dondarrion and Sandor Clegane, The Hound. As mentioned last week, Thoros is a priest of R'hllor, the same god that Melisandre serves. He intones a prayer that the Lord of Light show the truth. As befits the champion of a god so infatuated with light and fire Beric fights with a flaming sword. The Hound is famously afraid of fire. Prayers are chanted by all and the fight is on. It's a classic battle royale with The Hound's strength and size matched against Beric's speed and fire. They go head up for quite some time before The Hound's brute force starts to turn the tide and he cleaves Beric from collarbone to kidney. It's a death blow. The Hound has won the fight but he and Arya are both shocked to see Beric still alive after a quick prayer by Thoros. The Hound is free to leave, albeit without all his gold. An infuriated Arya is prevented from killing the wounded Hound. Arya is further disappointed when Gendry announces he intends to stay with Beric. Gendry thinks the social distance between Arya and himself is too great to allow for true friendship. Arya is personally hurt that Gendry won't trust in her big brother Robb, as she most assuredly does. It's ironic that Gendry is indeed Robert Baratheon's son and thus, illegitimate status aside, could indeed be Arya's future husband. 

Beyond the Wall Tormund and Orell continue to distrust Jon Snow. They interrogate him about the Night Watch and the Wall, specifically how the various castles are manned. Jon gives some answers but finally starts to show a little anger at the disrespect. They threaten him but before the men can engage in more figurative "sword" measuring, Ygritte shows that she'd like to do a little literal "sword" measuring of her own. In a scene Freud would have had a field day with she steals Jon's sword and runs with it into a warm cave. If he wants his sword back he'll have to .. Well you know what happens next. 

Ygritte has decided that her hints and flirting just aren't working with Jon Snow so she lays it on the line. Jon Snow shows that he may not have been a master debater but he is indeed a cunning linguist. After they've done what any healthy non-related heterosexual duo would do when there's no one else around Ygritte recalls some of her previous unsatisfactory experiences. She wants to know where the formerly virginal Jon got skills, especially the special kiss. Jon says he was just doing what came naturally and would prefer not to hear about Ygritte's previous paramours. Ygritte is head over heels in love.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 White House Correspondents Dinner





Saturday, April 27, 2013

Movie Reviews-The English Teacher, Fresh Meat, Yellowbeard

The English Teacher
directed by Craig Zisk
I always liked Julianne Moore ever since the movies Hannibal and Boogie Nights, which is why I was interested in watching this film. I hadn't seen her in a comedic role before. The English Teacher is a successful mix of comedy and drama. And like (500) Days of Summer, it has a few important things to say about life. Unlike (500) Days of Summer I wouldn't say this was a must see movie but it is unusual in that it actually accepts that people over a certain age still have desires and that people under a certain age aren't necessarily dumb.

I liked the setting and background for this movie. Most of it takes place in a school, a gym, or someone's home. Everything looks and feels very real. The sound levels are well done as well. You can hear everyone. The character motivations might occasionally be described as broad but again they are very true to life. People get lonely and do stupid things. People gossip and try to protect their jobs.

The plot is that Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) is a Pennsylvania area high school English teacher. She has incredible zest and passion for her work and her students. But she doesn't quite have that same feeling in the rest of her life. Life is basically passing her by. In a voiceover, an older female narrator (her conscience?, her fear?) explains that Linda is an incurable romantic and thus thinks that any man she meets should live up to the men found in works like "Pride and Prejudice" or "A Tale of Two Cities". Of course most men don't and in one of the film's running gags, when Linda (rarely) goes out on internet initiated dates, she immediately judges and grades the men. Negative comments in red ink appear on screen. No, Linda is happy most days just to go home alone and read or watch TV. And the voiceover says that's just the way it should be, thank you very much.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fight Over Online Sales Taxes: Marketplace Fairness Act

Occasionally I might or might not purchase items from Amazon and other online retailers. When I file my tax returns the State of Michigan insists that I give it a listing of online purchases and estimate and provide the sales tax I then owe to the state. Now it takes more than a bit of chutzpah to bogart your way into a private transaction that neither involved you nor took place in your jurisdiction and then claim that the actual parties to that transaction owe you a cut and need to let you wet your beak, or else. But that's how states tend to behave when there's money at stake.

For obvious reasons I won't discuss my answers to my state's nosy little questionnaire. But in general some higher sales tax states and "brick and mortar" retailers aren't pleased with the explosion in online sales. Apparently some of my fellow true blue Americans don't see the point of paying taxes to their state for transactions in which that the state had no role. Even excessively honest people tend to get amnesia about the $1500 or so they spent online last year without paying sales tax. Retailers who aren't primarily online get annoyed with people using their stores as a showroom or to price check for items they intend to purchase online. Some consumers visit a bookstore or electronics shop with no intention of purchasing anything therein. All they're doing is getting a hands on experience before ordering elsewhere. This makes some retailers rather peeved, as you might imagine. They have less money to kick up to their mob captain, state.

Future Libertarian Voter Tells It Like It Is

I think the Libertarian Party needs to sign this young lady up as a spokeswoman, that is once she finishes teething. She concisely sums up my frustrations with the various busybodies of the world, no matter their age, political persuasion or familial or business relationship to the people they're trying to tell what to do. And she's funny as can be. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Few Thoughts on Boston Now That the Dust Has Settled

It's been a rather emotionally charged roller coaster ride over the past week as the country has been forced to deal with the first terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.  Although many questions still remain, here's what we know so far:

Dear Congress, Thanks a Lot for the Sequestration

This past Sunday evening I arrived at Kansas City International Airport (that's "MCI" to you) on time for my flight back home to New York only to find that my flight was delayed.  At first it was only delayed by 40 minutes, but then 40 minutes became an hour, an hour became two hours, and before too long I was seriously considering taking another flight out in the morning.  Before I could get that far, they finally board us onto the plane.  Everybody rushes in and takes their seats, as if that would make any difference in making us leave sooner.  And, as you might have predicted, as soon as everybody is seated we just sit there.  And sit there.  And sit there.  So there I was, sitting on the runway for about an hour.  The pilots were in the cockpit of the plane.  All the people were on board and seated with their tray tables and seat backs in their full and upright positions.  Yet we were not going anywhere.  Now, normally when this happens it is due to the fact that you are number 18 of 33 planes trying to take off at the same time.  Not that day.  I looked out the window and saw ZERO, I repeat, ZERO planes ahead of us on the runway.  In fact, oddly enough, we seemed to be the only plane out on the runway at all.   But we were not going anywhere.


Answer after the jump.

Monday, April 22, 2013

HBO Game of Thrones Recap: And Now His Watch Is Ended

I don't know that episodes have themes but if they do this one was certainly about the dangers of underestimating people. Folks are not always what they seem to be. Not realizing that and not looking beneath the surface can be dangerous.

This week's episode starts with the travelogue of Jaime and Brienne. Jaime is forced to wear his severed hand as a necklace. He's the subject of much mockery from Locke and his men, particularly about his incestuous relationship with his sister. When Jaime falls off his horse from exhaustion and dehydration, Locke gives him horse urine to drink. Despite this Jaime is able to pull off the same trick he did last week with Brienne and steal a sword in an escape attempt. Brienne tries to come to his aid but is prevented from doing so. Jaime was limited by being manacled last week but now it's painfully obvious that he simply can't fight left-handed. Westeros' greatest swordsman is now laughably inept. It's like watching Ali get beat by Spinks or Holmes. After Jaime's disarmed he's beaten some more and Locke tells him not to try that again unless he cares to lose his other hand. Later, Jaime has all but lost the will to survive. Brienne finds this disgusting and challenges Jaime's manhood. When a 6'4" woman tells you to stop acting like a little b**** you're probably going to pay attention.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

That's Whats UP - The Urban Politico Radio Hour: Sunday, April 21st @ 5PM EST

That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Radio Hour
Join us Sunday, April 21st 5pm (ET) as we talk about the Politics of the United States and beyond.

This week's discussion:
  • Boston Attack
  • National Security and Due Process
  • Immigration Debate
  • Failed Gun Control Legislation
Listen Live Online HERE and Call in to join our discussion (424) 675-6844

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Reviews-The Job, Avalon, Take The Rich Off Welfare

The Job
by Douglas Kennedy
Do you play chess? Do you know the feeling of dread when you're playing against a far superior player who manipulates you into a situation where your only available moves are bad and worse? There's often a sick sensation in the bottom of your stomach when you must finally admit to yourself that you were outmaneuvered and slaughtered because you weren't as smart, experienced or as skilled as your opponent. You didn't see the moves and possibilities they saw until it was far too late. You're making moves that you think are in your best interest and you find out later that the moves you were making were truly in the best interest of your opponent.

Well, theoretically anyway, unless you really are dumb,  you can read and learn more about chess, practice and play this person over and over and over again and get better and better until at some time in the not too distant future the game's outcome is no longer a foregone conclusion. You might be able to make this person sweat some and even beat them on occasion. It all depends on how hard you work. Life is different. The stakes are much higher and unlike chess, if you lose you don't necessarily get to reset the board and start over. That's this book's theme although the book has nothing at all to do with chess. It was just an example I found useful.

The protagonist is Ned Allen, a high flying computer ad salesman for a NYC based company. He's a top salesman and executive who is second in command to Chuck Zannussi, the branch lead and good friend. Ned's married to Lizzie, a similar up and comer in the PR business. They make a lot of money and don't have any kids yet. You'd think they'd be banking it. Nope. As some on this blog have pointed out, Manhattan is an expensive place to live. The couple (especially Ned) lives only for today. Though he's earning over six figures, Ned is pretty deep in consumer debt. He's quite dependent on his next paycheck and year end bonus. Ned lacks much savings to rely on let alone retirement or emergency funds. He's juggling credit card payments, club membership fees, and other creditors.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jon Stewart PWNS CNN for, Yet Again, Reporting False Info on a Major Story (Boston Bombing)

Remember when ObamaCare was ruled on by the Supreme Court?  If you do, then you might also remember that CNN first reported incorrectly that it was struck down - a headline which remained on their website for a full 15 minutes before being retracted.  Seems like the good folks at CNN have not learned their lesson about vetting the facts on major stories before running with them:

[NOTE]: the New York Post (a Rupert Murdock/Fox News publication) also reported the same false information about the Boston bombing.

Your thoughts?

Catherine Kieu and Domestic Violence: Double Standards

Driving into work this morning unfortunately there was nothing on the sports stations I was interested in listening to so I decided to check out the talk show host Mildred Gaddis. She splits her show between political sections and relationship sections, with the latter coming second. I was running very late this morning so I caught her show in the relationship segment. She, and most of her female callers were laughing at something. Most of the male callers didn't think whatever they were talking about was funny at all and that, (paraphrasing one) "the woman should spend life under the jail". I was intrigued but still didn't know what they were talking about. And I was getting closer to work. There were a few commercial breaks. Finally, after one woman caller said "the man deserved it", another woman caller said "it's too bad the garbage disposal didn't work better" and another woman caller said that "she allowed him to call 911, how bad could she be?" and yet another claimed "men need to learn how to act" ,all of which was met with roaring laughter by Gaddis, it started to click for me. They were talking about the beginning trial of alleged (although it's conceded she did it) genital mutilator Catherine Kieu , who in a fit of jealous rage, poisoned her estranged husband, chopped off his penis and threw it in the garbage disposal.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

When Will Democrats Learn??

You've heard me say this numerous times on this site, but it bears repeating. I have the utmost respect for the Republican Party when it comes to their precise timing and alignment of party, during elections. Granted, their alignment over the last few years has been around the WRONG candidate, you have to commend their strategy and overall execution. Republicans know how to get in line. I don't know if there is some secret head person that convenes a secret session and hands out the orders, but they do it flawlessly. For the life of me I can't understand why Democrats lack this skill, and have chosen to ignore this one very important play from the "Republican Play Book on Politics." I guess the Democrats aren't scared of losing a race -- the race for Mayor of New York City.

Monday, April 15, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Terrorist Attack at the Boston Marathon (VIDEO)

UPDATE: President Obama addressed the nation at 6:10pm: "Make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of  this!"

From ABC NEWS:  

Two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing two people and injuring more than 70 others in a terrifying scene of shattered glass, billowing smoke, bloodstained pavement and severed limbs, authorities said.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course.

"They just started bringing people in with no limbs," said runner Tim Davey, of Richmond, Va. He said he and his wife, Lisa, tried to keep their children's eyes shielded from the gruesome scene inside a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners, but "they saw a lot."

"They just kept filling up with more and more casualties," Lisa Davey said. "Most everybody was conscious. They were very dazed."

There was no word on the motive or who may have launched the attack, and police said no suspect was in custody. Authorities in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The twin blasts at the race took place almost simultaneously and about 100 yards apart, tearing limbs off numerous people, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending smoke rising over the street.

Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathons. One of Boston's biggest annual events, the race winds up near Copley Square, not far from the landmark Prudential Center and the Boston Public Library.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis asked people to stay indoors or go back to their hotel rooms and avoid crowds as bomb squads methodically checked parcels and bags left along the race route. He said investigators didn't know whether the bombs were planted in mailboxes or trash cans.

He said authorities had received "no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen" at the race.

The Federal Aviation Administration barred low-flying aircraft from within 3.5 miles of the site.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the explosions by Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco. Obama also told Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick that his administration would provide whatever support was needed, the White House said.
(Continue Reading)

HBO Game of Thrones Recap : Walk of Punishment

Last week we heard of Hoster Tully's death and Robb Stark's decision to attend his maternal grandfather's Riverrun funeral. We are introduced to the new Lord of Riverrun, Catelyn's younger brother Edmure Tully and her uncle Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, so called because of his fierce arguments and rivalries with his brother Hoster. In an opening scene that neatly encapsulates the defining characteristics of both men, after Edmure is thrice unable to light the floating funeral bier with burning arrow, the Blackfish steps in and makes the now much longer shot. He contemptuously returns the bow to his nephew. It's not just anger over the messed up funeral rite that animates Brynden however. In a somewhat clumsy information dump we discover that Tywin Lannister was able to return to King's Landing in time to defeat Stannis because Edmure Tully attacked Tywin and the Mountain too soon. Edmure disregarded Robb's orders and spoiled Robb's plan to draw the Lannisters into a trap. Robb shows some serious anger at his uncle here and is not mollified by the capture of a few distant Lannister relatives. Robb can't afford a drawn out war in which the Lannister numbers, augmented by Tyrells, will turn the tide. Robb's wife Talisa attends to the wounded Lannisters and plays with their fears of Robb's supernatural battle prowess. This ALL should have been in Season Two in my opinion. It's a bit rushed to put it all here. Robb's intense rage comes out of nowhere and we lack context for it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Music Reviews-WAR, The O'Jays

WAR is one of my favorite funk/rock/soul/R&B/blues groups. The band was one of the founding proponents of the seventies West Coast funk/Latin sound. They could and did play some traditional blues numbers from time to time but they generally made updated urban blues that stretched out into many different genres. WAR was an excellent example of how several musics across the African diaspora are related. They created music that was often Afro-Cuban based, combined it with other Latin elements, threw in some jazz and funk and soul and were off to the races. As a group they also had one of the coolest (and largest) group of Afros ever seen in the seventies and probably since then. They were a "world music" and "jam band" before those terms had entered the popular vernacular. If I could only use one word to describe WAR that word would be organic. WAR was similar to a lot of other self-contained funk groups around in the late sixties and early seventies. They stood apart because of fearsome musicianship and a sense of togetherness and brotherhood. Most of the songwriting was credited equally to all group members. Everyone had a chance to sing and shine instrumentally. Although I wouldn't say any of them were great singers individually, their whole was greater than the sum of their parts. They sounded great harmonizing. While a few of them might have been tenors most were definitely bass or baritone voices. This gave their sound a certain depth and for lack of a better word, testosterone. WAR was the last band Jimi Hendrix jammed with.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Melissa Harris-Perry: Kids Belong To Communities

If you ever watch MSNBC you may have noticed a series of LEAN FORWARD commercials featuring their on air opinion talent earnestly giving bromides about how we're all in this together and we need to work collectively for the common good. Usually these things are calculated to be just this side of irritating to more moderate or conservative viewers as the unsaid implication in the spots is often that conservatives are doing every thing wrong. In some respects the commercials are examples of liberals being sore winners. A recent spot featured Professor Melissa Harris-Perry. The terminology and phrases she used sent conservatives as well as a few libertarians over the deep end in rage. 

Of course I doubt this was by accident. On some other boards I frequent occasionally extremely conservative or extremely liberal people will post stories or make comments that are designed to do nothing other than get a rise out of the other side. Flame wars can easily get started that way. I won't claim I've never done that in my life (ha-ha) but it is a pretty cheap way of getting responses and in my opinion usually not as good or mature as actually creating and sharing a deeper analysis. The person who instigates this often pretends innocence and claims to be above the obviously irrational, emotional and gratuitously nasty responses the other side is showing. Sure I poked the caged tiger in the eye with a stick but that's no reason for it to get upset...

When I read the phrases the good professor used I have to believe that she or the commercial creator had to be trolling somewhat. It was reminiscent of the old Looney Tunes cartoons when Foghorn Leghorn would stroll over to the sleeping dog and kick it in the behind. Foghorn would then wait just outside the limit the chained dog could reach. When the dog choked on its collar, sputtering in rage, Foghorn would say "Aw shaddup!!" and hit the dog againWhat could the Professor have said to make some people start barking and shaking their jowls in rage? Well let's see.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Accidental Racist": Can You Separate "Southern Pride" from "Southern History"?

LL Cool J and Brad Paisley
Country singer Brad Paisley has released a new song featuring hip-hop artist LL Cool J entitled "Accidental Racist" which attempts to examine race relations in America; in particular it addresses the issue of Southern Pride and how that squares or doesn't square with the racial history of the South.  Rather than give you our take on it, we thought we'd let you listen for yourself and read the lyrics below:


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

North Korea: Crazy Like a Fox?

Have you ever used public transportation on a regular basis? I used to when I was younger. Fortunately I don't any longer. The problem with public transportation is the public. Most people are okay but there is often some joker at the back of the bus who stinks of excrement and body odor and spits when he talks. This person will often be carrying on a complex conversation with nobody in particular. Of course like most sane people you try to ignore this person but every now and then this person notices you. And they start a profane commentary about you, what you look like, who you're probably sleeping with (or not sleeping with), how much money you make or what a loser you are and how (occasionally depending on your gender) they would either sleep with you or knock you the f*** out. This last can escalate into threats and fights. Remember the epic bus man video or the woman who thought it was a good idea to hit the bus driver after a torrent of insults. But in most cases the person who's running his mouth all the time is generally harmless. His right hook is usually not as dangerous as his unwashed aroma. So you keep your eyes to yourself or laugh it off as the ravings of a lunatic and curse yourself for not getting a new BMW so you won't have to share rides with idiots like this. Often it's not worth getting into it physically with the crazy nut because the police might put both of you in jail or you might be late for work or the nut might have even crazier friends. Unless of course this person either assaults you or makes a credible threat to do so. Then, well you f*** with the bull, you get the horns.

In the world today that crazy bus vagrant with the killer bo would appear to be North Korea or more precisely its new leader Kim Jong Un.

Monday, April 8, 2013

HBO Game of Thrones Recap: Dark Wings, Dark Words

Wow. This episode was a little heavier on the action and jumped around more than last week's episode did. It made some additional changes from the book, some of which I can mention and others which I can't. I am growing increasingly peeved at the direction in which they're taking the Catelyn character. I wrote about this before. That aside, I liked this episode. This episode moved a lot of the story chess pieces around for events that may or may not take place later. Although I've read the books, the story is different enough now that I'm not sure what's going to happen next. And that I think is a very good thing.

The story opens up with Bran running in the woods, so obviously he's dreaming. He hears and sees his brothers Jon and Robb advising him how to shoot his bow and hears his father Ned chiding them for their laughter when he misses his target, a three eyed crow. A boy tells him that he can't kill the three eyed crow because that is him. He wakes from his dream and Osha, looking suitably disturbed, says they need to keep moving. By the way all the children are noticeably older so I hope we get new books and new HBO seasons out ASAP.
While Talisa is trying to get to know her new husband better, emotionally, not in THAT way, Roose Bolton enters and brings bad news (thus the title of the episode). Hoster Tully,  Robb's grandfather and Catelyn's father, is dead. Bran and Rickon are missing. Robb decides for both personal and political reasons to attend Hoster Tully's funeral, something that Lord Karstark is not very happy about. He's of the opinion that time is wasting.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

University of Michigan: ONE GAME LEFT....

Michigan Wolverines Defeat Syracuse Orangemen 61-56

Louisville...you're in the way bub..

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Movie Reviews-Killing Them Softly, GI Joe: Retaliation, Justified Season One, The Possession

Killing Them Softly
directed by Andrew Dominik
This is a quiet little gangster movie and can be completely enjoyed (or not enjoyed) on that level. It's inspired by the novel Cogan's Trade by noir novelist George Higgins. But if you scratch the surface a little bit (the story has been moved to take place during the 2008 financial crash) it's as much about capitalism, failing masculinity, corporate politics and just general bleakness as it is about stereotypical gangsters. President (then Senator) Obama's speeches are often used as ironic backdrop for the gangsters' conversations. Indeed the hoodlums themselves comment on what they're hearing. There's a claustrophobic desperate feel here , which strangely enough reminds me of Glengarry GlenRoss, probably because similar to that movie, this film has no female leads. In fact there are only one or two women who even speak in this movie, if memory serves me correctly. No this film depicts a man's world and a very dark ugly one.

You get the feeling watching this film that the characters are just going through the motions. There aren't necessarily explicit references to glory days long gone but the constant squabbling over small amounts of money and a few asides about how someone wouldn't normally do something, but you know, the economy, set the stage perfectly.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Atrocity in Africa: Children murdered in front of mother!!!!

There is nothing a mother will not do for her infant but even she cannot protect it from bullets. About a year ago, killers attacked a family in central Africa. The surviving witness of the attack told us that the family's guards were completely outgunned. In the end, the mother, riddled with bullets and crying with pain and fear, was left to use her body to shield her baby. Her sacrifice was for naught; the baby was also killed. 
The above is from an article that I will link just below. Unfortunately this atrocity didn't get the media attention that it deserved in no small part because it's become too common in Central Africa. I was outraged and angered beyond belief when I read about it. Murdering a mother and her baby is beyond foul wouldn't you say. The kinds of people who would do such a thing need to be hunted down and either imprisoned for a long period of time or slowly and painfully permanently removed from the planet so that anyone else who would even think of committing such a crime can look at the corpses of those who did carry out this crime and hopefully take the proper and intended object lesson.

I mean how can you just shoot down a mother and her child. Where is your humanity? Why weren't the killers apprehended and tried in court? This needs to be stopped ASAP. I feel every strongly about such things. Don't you? You probably do feel that way having read what I just laid out. Most moral or normal people would. No one or at least no one who's not cartoonishly EVIL likes to read about the killings of a mother and her baby. That link between mother and child is fundamental to mammalian existence. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sequestration: What, exactly, should be cut?

Just wanted to rant for a moment...don't mind me...

As you know, I've always been opposed to the "small government" mantra.  Not that I support "large government", just neither are accurate.  In truth, we should be asking for "smarter government."  By "smarter" I mean instead of cutting and slashing for the sake of cutting, we should work to reduce the inefficiencies and waste within the government.

By-in-large, the government provides services...for someone...who actually NEEDS those services.  To cut that service - just because - literally reinstates a deficiency that we (the government) felt was substantial enough at one time to remove.

If you mix that in a big 'ol pot along with the fact that the largest percentage of citizens literally have NO IDEA WHAT AND/OR HOW the government impacts them - whether the like/know it - you can start to understand the growing frustration with the sequestration. 

It is one thing to say that federal employees should "feel the pain" that the nation faces.  It is another to slash and cut irresponsibly.  Not only do you impact employees who contribute to the economy, but you also disrupt the services they provided hurting fellow citizens and private sector employees. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gun Control Debate: What Constitutes A Criminal?

A couple of Sundays ago on NBC’s Meet The Press, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) appeared as a guest on the show and declared his dedication to ensuring stricter gun laws are enacted. Bloomberg, a long time supporter of tighter gun legislation, made it clear he was willing to take on the NRA in a public relations war, and was willing to put his money where his mouth is in order to win. Through a $12 million dollar nationwide ad campaign, Bloomberg’s goal is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

Bloomberg and other proponents of gun reform laws have repeatedly stated that keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals, is the key to championing the gun control problem in our country. Is it fair though, to create such a broad category of people to systematically deny their constitutional right to bear arms? Additionally what constitutes a “criminal” within the context of this debate?

If my assumptions serve me correct, a “criminal” in this context would be defined as anyone who has ever been convicted of a crime and essentially garnered a criminal history. Yet with this in mind, I myself am essentially denied the ability to exercise my second amendment right and I take issue with that fact.

Rutgers Basketball Coach Mike Rice Fired!!!

It's important for each coach to be able to run his team as he sees fit. Some coaches are easier to get along with than others. Some coaches are famously intolerant of the slightest mistakes while others are more soft-spoken and try to teach via example instead of humiliation. Still, unless a coach happens to have recently won a national title or be related to or have embarrassing pictures of the Athletic Director and/or university President or Regents, there is usually some consistent pressure to "get things done".  Nobody has time for hurt feelings or thin skin. Results count.

This can make coaches act in disturbing ways and do things they might not have done if they knew the public would get a look at them. On the other hand, coaches are also supposed to teach character and leadership. And I was always taught that character is revealed by how you act when there is no one else around to see you or how you treat people over whom you have power. By those standards, Rutgers' basketball coach Mike Rice failed. Rutgers is joining the Big Ten next year. Rice was fired because of this video (and others) and the words and actions he displayed within. I could never allow any man not my father or a police officer exercising a lawful warrant to lay his hands on me without retribution but that's just me.

What do you think?


Monday, April 1, 2013

HBO Game of Thrones Recap : Valar Dohaeris

And here we go. We open in darkness and storm beyond the wall. I have mentioned before how amusing I find it that Sam's brethren booked up and split leaving him to face the White Walkers and walking dead on his own. Sam finds a dead Night's Watch's man who been decapitated. Sam is attacked by a zombie. But Ghost is there to pull the zombie off Sam. The rest of the Night's Watch, led by Lord Commander Mormont, make quick work of the zombie. The Commander wants to know if Sam sent word out and is disgusted to find out that he didn't. Now everyone has to go back to the Wall.

Along with the Lord of Bones aka Rattleshirt, Ygritte cheerfully leads Jon Snow thru the wildling camp. Not everyone is happy to see a Night's Watch member. Jon sees that there are giants in the wildling camp. They arrive at Mance Rayder's tent where Jon mistakes Tormund Giantsbane for Mance and bows to him. This breaks the ice a bit and Mance reveals himself telling Jon that kneeling is not required. However he still wants to know why Jon is switching sides. And after dismissing Jon's first answer it's subtly shown that Mance will kill Jon if he's not convinced of Jon's sincerity. Well the best lies always have some truth mixed in them. Jon shares his anger at Craster's incest and sacrifice to the White Walkers and the Lord Commander's refusal to do anything about it. He says that's what led him to leave. Well that's good enough for Mance and he accepts Jon for now. He's also noticed that Jon and Ygritte are making puppy eyes at each other.