Sunday, August 30, 2009

Moment of Zen For Abbott and Costello

Leaving Airport Rental Car agency  in Denver. The first ten minutes of the vacation weekend

 

Wade: Ok, where am I going ?

 

Rayda: Look for a sign that says to 22

 

Wade: 222 (two twenty two) ?

 

Rayda: Right, to 22

 

Wade: I don’t see any.

 

Rayda: Wait, look over there ! 22

 

Wade: No, that’s not a sign that says 222, that’s highway  22

 

Rayda: Right, it points  to 22

 

Wade: But it’s not 222

 

Rayda: You don’t need to find  a sign that says to 22 if it already says   22.  Why do you need  a sign  to say to 22, you are already there ! ?

 

Wade: because you said to look for a sign that said  222

 

Rayda: no, I said look for a sign that said  to 22

 

Wade: and that does not say 222, just 22. Wait a minute, are you saying a sign that tells us to go to 22 and not a sign that says highway 222 ?

 

Rayda: You are exasperating.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted

“Our future may lie beyond or vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature, nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny.”     Kennedy, Edward ,  Funeral Oration of Robert F. Kennedy , 1968

 

 

He started out as Teddy. That’s what we all called him when he ran for the Senate in 1962. He was Teddy for a few years, then Ted, and finally he began to be referred to as Senator Edward Kennedy, a note of respect that took a long time to arrive. But Kennedy himself took a long time to arrive.

 

Every life deserves a second act, and Kennedy made the most of his. Timing is everything in life, and if “everything” can be doubled, that goes double for politics. For a time in his life, Ted Kennedy was a cheat and a dilettante, the facts speak for themselves. For a time in his life he was a drunk and a womanizer, the record is clear beyond any hope of rebuttal. Some feel that he was worse, that he was no better than a murderer. Of that event, we will never know the whole  truth. But somewhere along the road away from Chappaquiddick, the man changed for the better. It did not happen all at once, there were starts and stops, but he did finally change and, in the end, he deserves the respect being accorded him this morning.

 

As I was watching the news shows this morning, my thoughts went back to the same shows broadcasting the death of Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago. Some sweet old Irish lady was crying on camera and telling a reporter that she had told her daughter that the mayor was now the “Saint” of politics. The camera cut back to the newsroom where Ted Kennedy, about to be interviewed, sat, stifling a chuckle. “Well”, he said, “we heard allusions to Sainthood, that may not be quite accurate.” The same can be said of Ted. Even among all the loving tributes you will hear over the next few days it should certainly be remembered that Ted was no saint.

 

But you don’t have to be a saint to have an impact. Kennedy worked hard for many, many years and , in the course of those years changed many people’s lives. In some ways, almost all people’s lives in this country were changed by Ted Kennedy. Whether they were changed for the better (as I believe) or for the worse, is a matter of political preference, but the change was undeniable. Every time an 18 year old votes, we see a change wrought to a great extent  by the work of Ted Kennedy. In the end, a life should be judged by its totality, not by its parts, whether they were good or bad.

 

Kennedy had many, many tragedies in his life. All three of his older brothers were lost to him through violent means. One in war, two by murder. Kennedy himself survived a crash landing by being pulled out of an airplane. In another accident, he, unlike his companion, survived the icy waters of a car crash off of a bridge, and made it to shore.

 

But Kennedy was lucky too. Had Chappaquiddick happened today ,with around the clock cable news shows, Kennedy would have been hounded out of office in less than thirty days, never to be heard from again, at least politically. So his timing there was good. With regard to gaining the Presidency, his timing (and judgment) were bad. Ted was simply not destined to be President of the United Sates, and that’s probably a good thing. I voted for Ted and showed up for him at my precinct convention in 1980. I shed tears at his oration at the convention that year and felt , in my heart that he would be back. The Reagan revolution overtook him and four years later, and up until last year, it was impossible for a Democrat of his stripe to be elected President. If he had not lived in Massachusetts he would have been voted out of office along the way. But he was not, and I think that’s good.

 

In 1982 my wife and I went over to hear Kennedy speak in Houston, a friend of ours was involved in some local races and we wanted to see Kennedy’s endorsement of them. This is the Kennedy I will remember the rest of my life. His strong baritone, a voice which mellowed with age, far beyond that of his brothers, went through the slate of candidates until he got to the County Commissioners. There he paused,  “And since 1948, E.A. “Squatty” Lyons has served proudly on the Harris County Commissioners Court, no Republican  has ever run against him until this year. How DAREEEE they run someone against our “Squatty”! !!” The crowd roared. My wife and I were standing next to Squatty in that crowd. Kennedy came over after the speech and said, “What do you think Squatty, did I do all right by you ? “ Then he  turned to us and shook my wife’s hand. Knowing his reputation, this did not surprise me, given the choice between Rayda and I, I knew that he would pick Rayda. He had a huge politician’s hand and in person he was simply bigger than life, an overwhelming figure. He lived for 25 more years and never got any smaller. In the end he was a man who stood up “for an ideal”, sending off a “tiny ripple of hope”, such ripple which when, combined with others can “build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Many of those walls have still not been torn down, but at least for his part, not from any lack of trying.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

King Of Pop's Death Ruled Homicide ,Show Trial Looms.

The leaking of a coroner’s report out of Los Angeles County granted what every news agency in the country was wishing for. Michael Jackson’s death is being ruled a homicide.Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s Show trial Time !

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Trials of Summer

Floyd the Barber: Oh, it’s hot

Sherriff Taylor: Everyone talks about the weather but no one ever does anything about it,

Floyd the Barber: Calvin Coolidge said that

Sherriff Taylor: No he didn’t, Mark Twain said that.

Floyd the Barber: Mark Twain ? What did Calvin Coolidge say ?

Sherriff Taylor: Nothing….

 

 

I have made some allusions to the heat of the Austin summer, but I have tried not to write about it, for the simple reason, as Twain implied, that  I can’t do anything about it. But there comes a time when an event is so monstrous that it has to be spoken of, if only for the writer  to maintain some type of credibility. For those of you reading this 100 years hence, the summer of 2009 in Austin was hot ! How hot ? Real hot ? How hot is that ? Above average.

 

We are on pace to have at least  70 days or more be above 100 degrees for the year. We will look back on this year with at least 20% of all days  of 2009 being over 100.Certain people (my wife included) are getting some type of gallows joke out of each day over 100 and each day breaking the old record high temperature  for the day. She figures that as long as it’s 99, it may as well be 100 and as long as it’s 105, it may as well be 106 if that means  that we can break another record. The only good thing about the heat is that air conditioning bills are so high that the amount of money being made by the city owned utility is cutting into our city budget deficit.

 

But I must say that enough is enough. If I had wanted to live in Phoenix, I’d have moved to Phoenix. It never crossed my mind when I came here in the bicentennial summer of ’76 that I’d ever have to face this kind of heat. It is being blamed on some “high pressure” system which has somehow misplaced itself this summer and hovered over Austin instead of the Mojave desert or the Sahara or somewhere where the people who buy homes know what they are in for. There is a temptation to blame this all on global warming ,but many places in the country are having one of their coolest, wettest summers. So I guess that we should place the blame where it probably will fall, on the fact that this is the end of days and Satan has taken over Central Texas in preparation for Armageddon. I suppose that I always knew that it would end up like this, the final battle on the banks of the Colorado with the forces of evil overwhelming Sandy’s Frozen Custard stand over there on Barton Springs Road. Austin is as good a place as any to herald the “old earth” fading away.

 

But what if I am wrong ? What if this is not the rapture, but just the first summer of a lifetime of desert dwelling for all of us here in what used to be called River City ? I will say that this is the first time since college when I have thought about moving out of Texas. I could buy a bank repo house out in California , get a job at a Barnes and Noble and never really sweat again. My lifestyle would change, but so what ? I am too old to do anything exciting anyway, why not be comfortable as I enter what my senior partner calls ” my dotage” ? Think of it, 72 degrees everyday for the rest of your life. You can’t put a price on something like that. Brisk walks along the beach instead of dodging old ladies and teenagers in my mall walks. Lunches of cheap fish tacos and maybe some Pollo Loco every week or so. Crisp California whites being sipped and slices of Monterrey Jack being munched on  in a quiet little living room with the patio door open, letting in that sea breeze which so entranced Balboa. All of this can be yours !

 

“Adieu, adieu, the plaintive anthem fades”.  There is really only one way through this hellish experience. In the words of John Belushi, “I suggest that you start drinking heavily”.

Friday, August 21, 2009

FW: interesting....

Dear Mr. President,

 

My friend Michael Klein (who by the way is no political  supporter of yours) sent me this (name deleted) e-mail from a person who is presumably a rancher in Montana. In the e-mail, various accusations are made about the expense of your last trip to Montana. These expenses apparently include the shipping in of “THOUSANDS” of dollars of Lobster. The e-mail does not say if it was live lobster, but I presume  that it was as there is no sense in the President and his party spending “Thousands” of dollars  on frozen lobster. I mean what kind of a second rate country would we be if we were shipping around “Thousands” of dollars worth of frozen lobster for what must have been a hell of a lobsterfest there in Montana ?

 

Mr. President, I urge you to read the entire e-mail set out  directly below Michael’s inquiry to me.. While I am only interested in an answer to the lobster accusations, there is a lot of other stuff in there about how you are controlling the news and salting the crowds with union goons and anti-abortionists at these affairs. There is also an implication that you somehow managed to shut out many, many sign carrying dogs from the shindig. I had not heard anything about health care reform in the veterinarian field, but perhaps some of the dogs are concerned about these death panels everyone is talking about. Dogs get gassed a lot in this country for the slimmest of reasons, as any  trip to the local dog pound will evidence. I don’t begrudge the dogs being sensitive.

 

I urge you to consider all of this with great care. As a student of history I am sure that you know that our 8th President, Martin Van Buren was defeated because of the rumor that he ate off of gold plates in the White House. That’s nothing compared to the money you are said to be throwing around on these trips. I urge you to carefully consider eating local Montana beef on your next trip to the Big Sky Country. Maybe you should think about inviting some of those sign carrying dogs into a private meeting and explain to them that they are not affected by any of the current health care bills. It might be too late to makes amends in Montana, but at least use this as a lesson for your next travel to Wyoming or Idaho (hint: don’t bring rice into Idaho).

 

Keep up the good work on your blog ! Mine is called “Mills of the Gods” and I urge you to check it out and leave comments ! You might consider changing your blog over to the place I use, BlogSpot. They pay you for advertizing on your blog based on the number of hits you get. You could clean up ! Just a thought I had to help control the deficit.

 

 

 

From: Michael Klein [mailto:mklein@smith-robertson.com]
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2009 8:49 AM
To: Wade Porter; William Allensworth
Cc: Incerto, M. Scott
Subject: FW: interesting....

 

 

 Do you think this is true?

 

This was sent to me by a friend in Bozeman , MT who was there.
Why do we tolerate this?
 
Hello All,
 
By now you have probably heard that President Obama came to Montana last Friday. However, there are many things that the major news has not covered. I feel that since Bill and I live here and we were at the airport on Friday I should share some facts with you. Whatever you decide to do with the information is up to you. If you chose to share this email with others I do ask that you DELETE my email address before you forward this on.

On Wednesday, August 5th it was announced locally that the President would be coming here. There are many groups here that are against his healthcare and huge spending so those groups began talking and deciding on what they were going to do. The White House would not release ANY details other than the date.
 
On about Tuesday Bill found out that they would be holding the "Town Hall" at the airport. (This is only because Bill knows EVERYONE at the airport) Our airport is actually located outside of Belgrade (tiny town) in a very remote location. Nothing is around there. They chose to use a hangar that is the most remotely located hangar. You could not pick a more remote location, and you can not get to it easily. It is totally secluded from the public.
 
FYI: We have many areas in Belgrade and Bozeman which could have held a large amount of folks with sufficient parking. (gymnasiums/auditoriums). All of which have chairs and tables, and would not have to be SHIPPED IN!! $$$$$

During the week, cargo by the TONS was being shipped in constantly. Airport employees could not believe how it just kept coming. Though it was our President coming several expressed how excessive it was, especially during a recession. $$$$$

Late Tuesday/early Wednesday the 12th, they said that tickets would be handed out on Thursday 9am at two locations and the president would be arriving around 12:30 Friday.

Thursday morning about 600 tickets were passed out. However, 1500 were printed at a Local printing shop per White House request. Hmmmm......900 tickets just DISAPPEARED.

This same morning someone called into the radio from the local UPS branch and said that THOUSANDS of Dollars of Lobster were shipped in for Obama. Montana has some of the best beef in the nation!!! And it would have been really wonderful to help out the local economy. Anyone heard of the Recession?? Just think...with all of the traveling the White House is doing. $$$$$ One can only imagine what else we are paying for.
 
On Friday Bill and I got out to the airport about 10:45am. The groups that wanted to protest Obama's spending and healthcare had gotten a permit to protest and that area was roped off. But that was not to be. A large bus carrying SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members drove up onto the area (illegal)and unloaded right there. It was quite a commotion and there were specifically 2 SEIU men trying to make trouble and start a fight. Police did get involved and arrested the one man but they said they did not have the manpower to remove the SEIU crowd.

The SEIU crowd was very organized and young. About 99% were under the age of 30 and they were not locals! They had bullhorns and PROFESSIONALLY made signs. Some even wore preprinted T-shirts. Oh, and Planned Parenthood folks were with them.....professing abortion rights with their T-shirts and preprinted signs. (BTW, all these folks did have a permit to protest in ANOTHER area)

Those against healthcare/spending moved away from the SEIU crowd to avoid confrontation. They were orderly and respectful. Even though SEIU kept coming over and walking through, continuing to be very intimidating and aggressive at the direction of the one SEIU man.
 
So we had Montana folks from ALL OVER the state with their homemade signs and their DOGS with homemade signs. We had cowboys, nurses, doctors you name it. There was even a guy from Texas who had been driving through. He found out about the occasion, went to the store, made a sign, and came to protest.
 
If you are wondering about the press.....Well, all of the major networks were over by that remote hangar I mentioned. They were conveniently parked on the other side of the buildings FAR away. None of these crowds were even visible to them. I have my doubts that they knew anything about the crowds.

We did have some local news media around us from this state and Idaho . Speaking of the local media...they were invited. However, all questions were to be turned into the White House in advance of the event. Wouldn't want anyone to have to think off the top of their head.
 
It was very obvious that it was meant to be totally controlled by the White House. Everything was orchestrated down to the last detail to make it appear that Montana is just crazy for Obama and government healthcare. Even those people that talked about their insurance woes........the White House called our local HRDC (Human Resource and Development Committee) and asked for names. Then the White House asked those folks to come. Smoke and mirrors...EVERYTHING was staged!!!!!!!!!!!
 
I am very dismayed about what I learned about our current White House. The amount of control and manipulation was unbelievable. I felt I was not living in the United States of America , more like the USSR !! I was physically nauseous. Bill and I have been around when Presidents or Heads of State visit. It has NEVER been like this. I am truly very frightened for our country. America needs your prayers and your voices. If you care about our country please get involved. Know the issues. And let Congress hear your voices again and again!! If they are willing to put forth so much effort to BULLY a small town one can only imagine what is going on in Washington DC . Scary!!
 
Kathy
Bozeman , Montana

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moment of Zen

The last few days I have been scrambling around trying to get things organized for my wife’s birthday on the 19th. I had been on a retreat in Colorado the weekend before and so I had to get the card, pick out one gift and make sure the one I ordered was on time. Everything worked out perfectly and I got home with wrapped present and signed and sealed card in hand. As I walked in the door Rayda gave me a puzzled look. “who is that for ? ‘ she asked.”It’s for your birthday” I responded. “Seems a little early” she said. “Only a day, you can open it tomorrow morning, I’ll make you breakfast. “ I said. “You know that my birthday is not for another month” she said. “No, it’s September 19.” I said. “You know this is  still August, right ?” she said.  “Oh…….damn….” he said.

 

 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Health Care and the Sky Mall

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Jefferson, Thomas, “American Declaration of Independence” , 1776.

 

 

Austin humorist John Kelso had a good time this morning poking fun at a recent Wall Street editorial written by John Mackey, founder of Austin based Whole Foods, a large grocery store chain masquerading as a health food store, lambasting the currently debated health care plan. Among the statements made by the sensitive Mackey was this gem, and it’s crudity does not change the fact that it is true. “A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. This ‘ right’ has never existed in America.”

 

The Declaration of Independence is not positive law, so it does not matter a tinker’s damn what rights it does or does not convey. It conveys the opinion that England’s American colonies were and ought to be free and independent. The declaration was enforced by a long war. Jefferson’s theft of John Locke’s ideas notwithstanding, the Declaration provides no such thing as a free lunch or a visit to a doctor’s office for only a small co-pay.

 

The Constitution does not explicitly provide for any of these things, although that is a shadowy matter as the meaning of the constitution shifts dramatically with the shifting  of political winds. For all I know there is a penumbra somewhere in the Bill of Rights which guarantees every American both doses of the swine  flu shot this fall. We will have to wait and see. Mackey, who recently learned a lot about Anti-Trust law while fighting off the government attempts to block his purchase of a chain of real health food stores, in order to try to perpetrate a monopoly on wheat germ, has every right (and this one is in the Constitution)to criticize government intervention in the health care system. It may be that he is correct in his assessment that a government system (the currently proposed one which has the potential of raising the cost of the  benefits supplied by Mackey to those who toil in the  organic spinach aisles of his stores) is a bad idea.

 

The question is not whether Americans have a “right”  to health care anymore than it was 75 years ago as to whether old folks had a “right” to social security. The question is ,does the majority of the nation want to provide it to them, and at what cost ? For 60 years we have debated this issue. For sixty years, twice in the past 15 or so we have seen tremendous forces unleashed against the concept of universal health care. In all my days of watching legislation ripped apart, I have never seen  anything like the effectiveness of the leaders of the anti-health care coalition in scaring people to death and preserving the status quo. They lose battles, but never lose the war, and if they do lose  this time, it will be because the President of the United States has decided that he would rather be reviled by half the nation and bear  the expense of possibly destroying the rest of his administration than not provide some sort of federally funded health care.

 

I am a provider of health care. Money I earn (along with my partners) pays for the health care of a number of my employees. It is a significant expense, which  rose 60% this year alone. That gets your attention. You can see the money leaving your pocket, and it will get worse if the current plan is passed. Is that fair ? I don’t know what is fair .Ever look at the Sky Mall magazine while you are on a airplane ? That magazine is how I measure the richness of a country. By examining the fact that there are products on page after page of the magazine that are needed by no one and will only improve the lives of those who spend large amounts of money on them at the most marginal of levels Assuming I owned a swimming pool, how much better off would I really be with a giant floating screen so that I could watch DVD movies from the comfort of the shallow end ? Is it better that I get to do that, or own a pair of glasses which allows my on- airplane viewing pleasure, of the same DVD to appear as if it was on a 60 foot screen, or that  some child should  get treatment from leukemia with my money ? Is it better that I have a home theatre popcorn stand and a pair of goggles that shots videos underwater or that my  money goes to a 65 year old to get a new kidney ?

 

I am not saying that national health care is a good idea. What I am saying is, Aren’t we really a better people than  those which John Mackey would like us to be, than John Mackey, founder of  the store known locally as “Whole Pay Check “ apparently is ? Can’t we move past what is “guaranteed” in the constitution and think about the most efficient way to provide health care to all, government involvement or  not, not   because it is a “right”, but because it is the right thing to do ? Maybe we are not those “better people”. We certainly have every “right” not to be.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

Talk to God and listen to the casual reply.      John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High”, 1970

 

If all goes as planned I will be on an airplane from Austin to Denver tomorrow at this time   (“Oh it’s a long way from Austin to Denver”)heading for our partner’s retreat at Pike’s Peak. In the entire world, only Mt. Fuji in Japan is a more visited mountain than Pikes Peak , and I have never seen it. I have hung around Denver from time to time and was looking forward to this trip, until I noticed we had picked about the only summer week where Denver is almost as hot as Austin. Well, maybe it’s a dry heat.

 

As I have written before, nothing good ever happens at these partner retreats. Over the years I have been to about 20 of them.  Chief Justice Greenhill used to say, “I wish I could take three licks and stay home”. Greenhill was (is) a wise man. I think that this whole retreat concept got started in the church and was adapted for corporate types thirty years ago or so. The larger ones quite often have team building exercises which I have found can be duplicated by drinking tequila in a bar with all of your partners. As long as it is drunk  to excess. Why else would you drink tequila ? It takes three shots to make you forget the taste. The only hangover I ever had in my life was a result of tequila shots at a firm retreat back in the 80s. I don’t think that you can drink as much at 11,000 feet as you can at sea level, so I am going to pace myself, as well as take an oxygen canister.

 

Pike’s peak, despite its name, never really belonged to Pike. We bought it from the French with the rest of the Louisiana Purchase. At the time it was known as Jacque’s  Peak and subsisted mostly on escargot and Bordeaux. Since that time only  Coors has been consumed there. The explorer Pike, who went by the somewhat suspect name of Zebulon, mapped the area in 1806, in an expedition that was overshadowed by Lewis and Clark, the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of American history. You can’t really say that Pike discovered it, it had been there for a long time and a lot of Indians and explorers knew about it. It’s hard to hide a mountain for very long They tend to be among the first things discovered on any given expedition..There are ten counties in America named for Pike. I don’t know which one is the famous Pike County which Ike and Betsy traveled from along with their yellow dog, red rooster and one spotted hog (too ra lee, too ra lay, singing to ral e to ral e to ral e eh). Oh don’t you remember them ?  That Pike county must have been one sorry place considering all the trouble Ike and Betsy had with the landscape after they left.

 

But as John Denver (actually John Deutschendorf-he changed it because it was hard to spell ) from Lubbock, Texas tells us, God not only converse with you in the Rockies, he does so in a casual manner. This  as opposed to other mountains where you run into God, Sinai springs to mind. God tends toward the pedantic in most recorded mountain situations. I think in the Rockies he lets you keep  your shoes on which actually sounds less casual, but is much less intimidating. I’m not really sure how casual the conversation is going to be, I think cursing is still frowned upon. But it should give me good fodder for my next blog. “Area  Man Casually Talks to God”. I have got a list of questions prepared for God, most of them about the Health Care Plan now being debated.

 

So it’s off to the high country to commune with God and my partners. I’ll see you when I get back closer  to sea level.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prognostication Wrong Again

Way back in the Spring of 2008 I was writing a lot about politics. At the time I mentioned that I was going to vote for Obama over Clinton because I thought that another Clinton in the White House would be too polarizing. After his election, I felt Obama was going to be a calming influence on the body American Politic. He seemed to be for awhile, but that has changed. It has been a long, long time since I have seen a President as hated and castigated by a portion of the country as this guy is. I have seen pictures of him with Hitler moustaches, I have seen his name elongated to every insulting “Arab sounding” name a person can think of. Yesterday a small child was carrying a sign accusing him of wanting to kill her grandmother. It has been ugly, ugly, ugly.  The proximate cause (as we lawyers like to say) has been the health care plan, which no one, either pro or con understands, but the ugliness that is being released is much deeper than that. We have had health care debates before, we did not paint swastikas on the offices of Congressmen who supports the plan.

 

The plain and simple fact is that there is a decent sized group of people in this country who hate the thought of Obama being President of the United States, they hate his policies, but that hate him more. I guess just because a country can elect a President does not mean that he/she won’t be harassed by fringe elements of the electorate. There was a time when I was in a fringe element and somewhere in the archives of Richard Nixon are the telegrams my roommate and I used to send him. At the time, the left was every bit a nasty as the right is behaving now. It comes from total frustration, and, I’m afraid, a certain disposition toward nastiness. A certain part of the element is violent and I imagine that we will see some of that before this particular debate is over, but maybe not, right now the element of choice is rudeness and intimidation.

 

The older I get the more stock I put in simple human decency. If John McCain had been elected, it would have never crossed my mind to paint a Hitler moustache on his picture, but some on my side of the table would have. George W. Bush was called vile things. Partially in defense of his detractors, he started an unjust war that killed thousands of our young people. But that defense only goes so far. We have always had debates over whether a particular war was necessary, it can be discussed civilly. I’m sure that I stepped out of bounds in some of the things I called Bush and as I see the morons of this country shouting down the policy makers, it makes me sorry for my past behavior. There is no reason to get personal in all of this.

 

I don’t know if the health care plan is worth a damn, mainly because I don’t understand it. I can’t hear the explanations over the shouting about socialism and death squads. My strong suspicion is that there are an awful lot of dumb things in it, and I would like to hear about them from a rational conservative  source, preferably at a decibel level that in some way approximates a conversation. If I don’t like it, I will join the chorus of nay sayers,that’s my right and to some extent our duty. But we also have a duty is to admit that there are policies being debated   here  that are not motivated by the fact that the President’s middle name is Hussein .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It Had Been a Quiet Week in Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin

Nothing special was happening. A married  man quietly made his way to a cheap hotel room where he was intent on continuing his affair with a woman. After a few minutes the middle aged couple began to experiment with a little activity they had not tried before when the woman bound the man tightly to the bed with sheets and blindfolded him. Whatever the fellow was expecting next he certainly was not expecting his lover, his lover’s sister, his wife and a second woman he was having an affair with, to come over to his bed with a glue gun, glue his penis to his stomach with “Krazy Glue” and slap him around for a time. They also had a gun for good measure, although they never used it. Then they took the man’s wallet, cell phone and car and made their escape, leaving the bound man to free himself after a long night of “chewing through the sheets”.

 

Most people think that this is funny. The ones that don’t, other than the guy with his penis glued to his stomach, are the women who assaulted him, all looking at six years in prison, with perhaps (one would hope) some time off for creativity. Can you imagine though how bad this guy must have been to get his wife and two extra marital lovers worked up to this extent ? There is  no doubt in my mind that it was one of the lover’s “sisters” who dreamed this up. Most scorned people (I almost said women) are egged on by a friend or a relative . It probably sounded good when it was first brought up, heck, maybe it just started out as an intervention, albeit an aggressive one, and things got out of hand when someone decided to bring a glue gun. I will admit that the bringing of the glue gun does make it sound premeditated, unlike that Lauren Bobbitt who used a pair of scissors on her husband some years ago, that always sounded like a spur of the moment reaction to me. I wrote a blog a long time ago about women who set their lovers on fire, I was shocked to find out how often it happens. Maybe this glue gun thing is all the rage and I just did not know it.

 

The thing which surprises me the most about all of this is that it happened in Wisconsin. It sounds like such a New Jersey thing to do. The other thing that surprises me is that it was reported to the police. If you are such a jerk that everyone you are having sex with decides to do something like this, it might be better just to buy some solvent and file for divorce, and perhaps move to Minnesota where the women are a little better humored and not as much beer is consumed. Making it public really is not going to advance your position in any specific way and could lead to turning you into a running national joke, making it impossible to keep employment, and certainly making you less attractive to women. I’m guessing that, at least as far as Lake Winnebago is concerned, the guy is going to have a tough time getting dates, and maybe that was the reason behind the women’s mayhem in the first place. If so, they got what they wanted.

 

 

 

Friday, August 07, 2009

Author, pictured on the left as Red X, celebrates his 500th post.

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The latest from Blogger Buzz

Tweet Your Blog

August 3, 2009permalink

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_d4v-kZf0xqA/SndXoJ-LEvI/AAAAAAAABOU/eaMyL1PzGhk/s320/branding.jpgTweeting your new blog posts is a great way to engage your readers, and something that many on the team have taken advantage of for our own blogs. An easy way to do this is through Twitterfeed, which automatically updates Twitter with each new blog post. Here's how to set it up:

Head on over to the Twitterfeed site, click Sign In with OpenID and type in your Blogger blog's URL. Once you've registered you'll then be taken to the New Feed page where you can start linking blog feeds to your Twitter account.

First click the Connect your feed to Twitter Account button, which will prompt you to enter your Twitter login credentials to authorize Twitterfeed's access. You will get a nice little confirmation once you've successfully linked up your Twitter Account.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_d4v-kZf0xqA/SkEotZg9mWI/AAAAAAAABCs/sEbvLrBZCbw/s320/twitterfeed.PNG
Next just enter a name for your feed, as well as your blog's Feed URL into the form. If you want to customize your feed's settings you can modify frequency, add prefixes, and even create keyword filters. Otherwise you're all set—click the Create Feed button and your Twitterfeed is enabled.

You can always come back later to the Twitterfeed site and modify your feed settings, as well as look at click-through metrics for existing feeds.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/2399953-865659981563487158?l=buzz.blogger.com

— brett

Contribute Gadgets to Blogger

July 8, 2009permalink

(cross posted from Blogger In Draft)

Calling all Developers! We've just launched several extensions to the Gadget API that will enable developers to build more relevant and engaging gadgets for Blogger.

As you may already know, every Blogger blog is a gadget container. What's more, every blog is an OpenSocial gadget container powered by Friend Connect. This means that as a gadget developer you can leverage social APIs to build engaging tools for bloggers and their audience.

In addition to leveraging social data, gadgets can now access a blog's post and comment feed via new JSON APIs. For example, with this data you could easily build a map gadget that maps the geo-location of posts, or a "Most Commented On" gadget that ranks posts by the number of comments they've received.

Need to be inspired? Recently we asked our users what gadgets they most wanted to see in Blogger. Hundreds responded and here's their wish list.

When you build a gadget for Blogger, it becomes available to millions of active bloggers. Just submit your gadget to us, and within minutes it will surface in the Blogger gadget directory where users can easily browse, configure, and add your gadget to their blog's sidebar.

So now that you know Blogger is a great distribution platform for your gadget, what are you waiting for? Get started building Gadgets for Blogger now.

Important Note: The APIs and documentation are new, so there may be bugs. Let us know by posting to the Blogger Developer Group if you run into problems developing your gadget.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/2399953-4950220073497061965?l=buzz.blogger.com

— Siobhan Quinn

Partner Profile: Lijit

July 6, 2009permalink

http://www.lijit.com/res/images/big_logo.png

Periodically, we profile a Blogger partner that can add functionality to your blog. This week we'd like to spotlight Lijit, a company building "search powered web applications for publishers" (that's you!). Lijit has made adding its "wijit" as easy as could be—just fill in your blog's URL and complete the sign-up wizard, you'll be good to go.

What does Lijit give you? For starters, Lijit provides a nice search tool for your site that will not only search your blog, but search the blogs of your friends, and all of the related sites (Flickr, YouTube, Picasa, del.icio.us bookmarks, etc.) that you and your friends use regularly.

Where Lijit shines is in the stats they gather for you: what are people searching for when they come to your blog? Once they arrive, what do they then look for? Where are they coming from? How has search traffic changed over time?

Best of all, Lijit lets you expose this info via a customizable "wijit" so that your visitors can see where other visitors are coming from and what they are looking for. To see this in action, take a look at Dark UFO's Lost Spoilers site, a Blogger blog focused on unraveling the mysteries surrounding the TV show Lost. The Lost Spoilers wijit shows not only the most recent searches that have brought visitors to the Lost Spoilers site:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_VZjSRH2ZEXY/SlIhxOHYJaI/AAAAAAAAF2Q/2QW5S2dMkLM/s320/Picture+42.png


It also shows a map of their visitors:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_VZjSRH2ZEXY/SlIhzoImKmI/AAAAAAAAF2Y/8JL5fXxEMm4/s320/Picture+43.png


And finally it shows a list of the most recent visitors, their locations, and if they used a search to visit the site, the search term they used:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_VZjSRH2ZEXY/SlIh1eev56I/AAAAAAAAF2g/hMVw5WcuuBM/s320/Picture+44.png


Interested? Give Lijit a try - just visit their site and you'll have it on your blog in just a few minutes!

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/2399953-2440148655865219626?l=buzz.blogger.com

— Rick Klau

Get more news from the Blogger team at the Blogger Buzz blog

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