Saturday, November 28, 2015


An interesting discussion of "privacy" and how it has developed through history. And on the notion of privacy, the NSA is going to end its bulk surveillance program which is lauded as a victory for privacy. I guess they will simply be more sneaky about their data gathering.

I have heard the assertion that Trump "tells it like it is" repeated all too often and I wondered exactly what "it" is he is telling, what that "it" says about him and about us. I don't think any of it is good and this American Prospect post is right all the way. But lets go a bit further. Much of what he proposes, when he proposes anything and doesn't just emote, is unConstitutional. And yet so many of his supporters say they revere the Constitution. Their biggest complaint, one I didn't hear them raising during W.'s terms, is that Obama's actions are unConstitutional. They don't mind surveillance of Muslims, or proposals that they wear some kind of distinctive badge, or that Mosques be under heavy surveillance if not closed down all together--actions that would not be tolerated if applied to any other religious group in modern America. It seems to be a case of Constitutionally protected rights for me, not for thee. It isn't just that we don't respect the truth (as I noted last post) any more (as seen by the lies various candidates are getting a pass on) but we don't respect the very foundations of our laws.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. We spent part of ours with my brother and his family. Good meal and good company. Interestingly only one of the party planned to do any shopping later on the day or on Black Friday. I remember Thanksgiving Days past when more than half of those gathered spent a good part of the time planning their Black Friday excursions. Those had all the markings of major military assaults. We are staying put today nor are we buying anything on line. Nothing out there really tempts us even with the coupons for on-line shoppers.

Several of our relatives have gone in heavily for tattoos which makes this piece interesting. I didn't recognize the site so I looked a little further and found a couple of other articles from sources like Scientific American which confirms the information. I will let you do your own search if you are interested.

Now for something straight out of the Twilight Zone.

The City of Chicago and the Police Department actions in the McDonald killing get more despicable by the day.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving

I found this to tickle my funny bone this Thanksgiving morning.  The interesting things people are thankful for.

I have a few minor quibbles with Kathleen Parker's opinion piece in the Washington Post but, on the whole, I thoroughly agree.

Once upon a time we valued truth and honesty. Now--not so much.

How many people remember reading Fahrenheit 451? Evidently The Donald didn't bother reading it.

When I read that Rupert Murdock had bought National Geographic I knew what would happen--and it has. Crap!!!!

Damn good question!! I am not on board with the gun control argument but totally agree with the critique of the media for the hysteria of their reports--even when the words seem to be minimizing the fear they induce. Why to they think they have to reassure their viewers that every violent act isn't a part of a "terrorist" plot? Another illustration of what is wrong with our news media is this story. Our news comes out of Chicago and this has been the dominant segment for the last several days. The coverage of the court case to force the release of the video and the release itself rather faded into the background as the focus shifted to a potential explosion and riot that would (might) result from the release. All the accounts were peppered with pleas from political, police, and religious figures arguing, pleading for calm. I wonder what would have happened if the news readers had simply read the facts without going for the sensational emotion?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Warmer this morning than yesterday but still cold. The weather people say the temperatures should rise into the 50s by Thanksgiving Day when we should also see rain.  Should be warm enough to start melting some of the snow we got but not much. I hope for a bit of sun.

Can anyone else spell "bogus trumped up accusations designed to get the guy into U.S. hands and Guantanamo?"

Is this a real trade agreement and not a stealth take over of governments by the global financial/commercial interests? And how would such an agreement interact with the TPP, if The TPP ever gets implemented? Interesting how the TPP excludes China and this Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership excludes the U.S. Perhaps the countries involved in each should get together and come up with a deal that excludes both the U.S. and China.

Mother Jones dissects Hillary Clinton's definition of "middle class." And, yeah, she seems to have set a very high ceiling (a cathedral ceiling, actually) for her cut-off point--$250K.

Huge and pleasant surprise today: we filled up our gas tank for less than $2/gal. Haven't seen prices that low in ages.


The warming continues today and a large part of the snow is melting. Hopefully enough will melt so I can get the bird bath cleaned up and refilled. I didn't have to shovel off the salt-pitted ice yesterday because it melted. I think it got a bit warmer than the weather people thought.

The more  stories I read like this one the more I am convinced that we have a culture of corruption in our large national and global companies. Unfortunately, if they manage to get the TTP and TTIP in place they may get a free pass to continue their bad behavior.

Ah, someone else is asking the kind of questions I have asked on the proposal (nebulous as it is) to keep temperature rise at or below 2C: is it too little, too late. A decade ago, when I first began reading on the subject, I looked up when we passed the 350ppm threshold so often cited. Back in the mid 1980s, for any who are curious. The question now is how do we adapt to the world we are creating because I doubt we have either the political will or the technology to reverse the process or the time.

This was likely to happen.  It was simply a question of who would be involved and when. Now the question is: where will it go from here.

Rebecca Gordon posting at Tomdispatch has an utterly depressing piece aptly titled Home, Sweet Kleptocracy: Kabul in America.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


We finally got our internet connection back. Nothing else went out but that was a major bummer. I am always amazed at how much of our day revolves around the computers. Nothing feels right if they aren't working. On top of the snow we got a thick layer of ice. I spread salt, cleared the crusty four inches of snow off the trash tote and the bird feeder--sort of. I thawed out and cleaned the feeder (and the one we leave for the little ground squirrels) and refilled but couldn't get the dish in the bird bath out. It was frozen to the pedestal.

I would dearly love to see this followed through and implemented. That would take care of a good bit of the "air" pollution on the TV airwaves. The drug ads don't really provide the consumer with much useable information. I often wonder what kind of information doctors and pharmacists are getting.

I agree with Pope Francis that Christmas is a charade but for another reason. If Jesus were really the "reason for the season," then the Pope's critique focusing on a world filled with war and hate would make sense. But the merchants and money lenders have cast Christ out of Christmas. The holiday is so thoroughly commercialized that there is no meaning to it other than a spending orgy. And our society spends more readily on arms and war materials than on people. As for hate, take a nauseating listen to our political candidates.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


We woke to cars and roofs covered in snow. The ground itself is still too warm to accumulate much. Some areas of northern Illinois have had up to 10 inches. (Update: we have some light outside and the snow is sticking a bit on the grass. Not much on paved areas.) (Second update: we have had steady snow, sometimes heavy, all day. I think we got somewhere over five inches.)

I noticed this phenomenon some time ago. Some of the drugs cost more than I have made in income in the last 10 years together. What did people do before all the "wonder drugs" came out? And how often have we seen the drug ballyhooed on the outset only to find that the serious side effects were worse than the condition it supposedly alleviated? And how many "helper" drugs have been introduced over the last few years? You know the ones I mean--where the commercial asks if your dose of X drug doesn't seem to be working and suggests you "ask" your doctor about Y drug to take along with it. Makes me wonder just how effective X was in the first place.

The title of this one has it right. The a#@hole is a terrorist even if he hasn't been charged as one. Might it be because he is white? I notice no one mentioned his religious affiliation.