Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Good morning, all.  Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We will be with my brother and his family for dinner.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chalk one up for the self-fulfilling prophecy.  After weeks during which the news media, politicians and police spokespeople emphasized the potential for violence after the grand jury decision in Ferguson, the violence has come.  Is it any surprise?

Dana Millbank echoes my thoughts on Obama's foreign policy pretty well.  Obama does seem to be morphing into an imitation of GW Bush.  I was skeptical of how well Obama would extricate us from our Middle East wars.  Inertia isn't just a matter for physics--it is evident in societies as well.  Trajectories are very hard to change.  The problem is that the underlying premises behind our actions haven't changed.  Our policies are still based on the assumptions that the area is somehow critical to our national interests and that we have the right to remake those societies into something resembling our own.  If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions are also.

I don't know about any one else but this item is not likely to do anything for us.  We don't eat out much any more and when we do we aren't any more likely to look at the calorie counts than we are the prices.  And if the results of the rules requiring fast food restaurants to post calorie counts are any indication, few of us will change our normal behavior and opt for lower calorie items.  We are certainly not among those who consume one-third of their calories away from home.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Good Monday morning to all.  I don't know what I will find to comment on today.  We pretty much shut down the TV yesterday after our local news.  I really don't want to hear about "All Ferguson, all the time."  Nor did we what any of the fluff that dominates the so-called news.

An excellent piece by Andrew Bacevich at Tomdispatch this morning.  Unfortunately, most of the political idiots in Washington probably aren't listening so sometime soon reality will rise up and bite us in the ass.

I am a skeptic on most technology.  On the one hand, it can be very convenient.  On the other, it can fail and sometimes the consequences of that failure is dire.  Ronni Bennett has an interesting piece on "Elder Surveillance For Their Own Good."  All of the devices out there are peddled to us as for our "good" in some fashion or another.  Depends on how you define good.  What strikes me in Ronni's piece is the persistent effort to substitute increasingly scarce and expensive human contact with some form of robotic and/or electronic care.  I find that a dismal and depressing prospect.

As my Dad always said: figures don't lie, but liars figure.  Or as others have noted: there are lies, damned lies, statistics and government statistics (in increasing order of untruth.)

Fear + stupidity = tragedy.  If you buy a damn tool, of any kind, damned well learn to use it and use it properly.

We do like Pope Francis here.  Too bad there are so many other aspects of his faith that make it unpalatable.  I love that phrase: God always forgives, the earth does not.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday.

Thanksgiving is next Thursday and the commercial "silly season" is following fast on the political silly season, a.k.a. midterm elections.  Over the years, as commerce has reduced holidays to shopping frenzies and most, if not all, meaning to them has been lost, I have felt more and more disconnected from them.  If we didn't, usually, spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and (sometimes) Easter with my brother and his family, the holidays would barely register on our consciousness.  I like this piece by John Beckett at Patheos on the Thanksgiving Arms Race.  I have said, all too often, that the yearly yammering by Christian pundits bemoaning a "war on Christmas" reveals a war already lost.  For all their screeching about people saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" or other faiths insisting that their sacred days also be recognized with their symbols on public spaces.  The real war killed the soul of Christmas and replaced it with a "golden calf."  But few have said a word about that.  After all, who wants to piss off his sponsor?

Another episode in The Obscenity of Modern Employment.  If they can't build a robot to do the job, they will try to make humans over into robots.

We see a lot of products whose manufacturers claim they are "natural."  We take that labeling with a ton of salt because when we read the labels (and we do read the labels) we know there is no way that crap is natural.  Well, General Mills has agreed to a settlement of a lawsuit on its use of "100% Natural" which will strip the term from some of its products that include more than 0.9% of ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and others of that ilk, or GMOs.

Gee, I didn't know Moses was "the first American."  And I have a MA in History.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday.

Beautiful day today.  Cold but sunny which is always a plus.  Whatever snow the weather people predicted failed to materialize.  That is usually a good thing.  We seem to be between systems that gave lake effect east and north of us as well as south.

Two places we rarely shop any more are Kmart and Walmart. Our drift away from what were once mainstays in our shopping lives came gradually because they just don't meet our needs any more.  They simply don't carry what we want or they want far too much for their shoddy goods.  We came to the conclusion a good while ago that spending a bit more for something that will last is better than spending less for something that won't.  Though we are far less disenchanted with Kmart, this item adds a further inducement not to shop there.  Our commercial culture has pretty much destroyed any notion of holidays for ordinary workers.  We simply refuse to shop on holidays.  We make sure we have whatever we need well before.  If we forget anything, we simply do without.  Participating in such exploitation simply nauseates me.  I refuse.

Friday.

The weather people say today should be like yesterday: a beautiful sunny but cold day.  We'll see.

Now this is an interesting post on the American electorate.  The notion that "we want what we want" and "by we I mean you and I" explains the phenomenon of overwhelming expressed disapproval of elected officials generally but those same officials being re-elected--over and over and over.  We say we want to throw the bums out but our bums are ok.

Since none of the major networks carried Obama's immigration speech last night, preferring to protect their bottom line during the November sweeps by broadcasting their regular popular (in some quarters) programs, we couldn't watch it even if we had intended to.  I will be honest we had not planned to watch it figuring that we could get more out of a transcript and/or the commentary on line.  We figured correctly.  Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has done a nice job of dissecting the speech and finds it sadly wanting in substance.  A lo of political flash, no practical bang.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday.

It is a bit warmer this morning.  Actually in the low, very low, 20s.  The weather report on the morning news said that all fifty states had below freezing low temperatures.  "All FIFTY???  Even HAWAII???"  I found this at the same time the news reader was talking about the extent of the arctic freeze.  I remarked that it seems a bit odd to think that 2014 will be, barring something unforeseen, the warmest year, globally, since records were started in the late 19th century.  We experienced the coolest summer I can remember--much below normal temps.  But the West of the country baked under relentless heat and drought.  The hot areas more than compensated for the cold ones.

Now this is an interesting idea.

As a person once owned by cats I can attest that everything the Archdruidess says is absolutely true.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday.

I am not a great fan of either Anonymous or the KKK but in this skirmish I cheer for Anonymous.  Score so far: Anonymous 2, KKK 0.  Crooks & Liars has this account making me think the score should be more like 3 or 4 to zip in favor of Anonymous.

From the Adventures and Musings of an Arch Druidess.  Great jump rope that.

Tuesday.

Cold. Cold.  COLD!!!  The TV news says 11F.  Whatever site Mom was on said 9F here.  And the wind chill takes that down to sub-zero.  But we didn't get the snow that is falling, and has been, overnight east of us.

Mom had heard a snippet about this some time ago.  I hadn't seen anything at all.  Bottom line: no one knows how the LSD got in the beef.