Saturday, March 28, 2009


I was listening to the Republicans talk about the President's 2010 Federal budget. And while the Democrats are entitled to and will make changes to it, it's likely the heart and money the President want will remain in tact, the Republicans can't seem to just be quiet and accept the deal the President Obama and the Democrats have the power now. They're simply whining.

They whine when they're in the losing position, and often worse, fillibuster, they're thge curmudgeons tool in Congress. It doesn't matter that they were in power from 1994 to 2006 and had 6 of President Bush's years in power, and there is no end to the stories about their spending, deficits corruption, earmarks, fraud, etc. during and after those years. And the Democrats have improved some of that, like earmarks, but politics and power is party independent, everyone does it.

Anyway, the radio message was about increasing the budget deficit under the $3.6 trillion 2010 budget. That was unacceptable to them. But all those deficits from cutting taxes during their years in power wasn't unacceptable? You took a surplus into an enormous deficit. You told us it was good for the economy and we'll "grow" out of any deficit. Except we didn't and the economy imploded and exploded.

And you were and are one of the primary sources and reasos for that, and the loss of people's savings, investments and jobs in this country. You sacrificed the people for your wealth and greed. And now you're complaining when President Obama has to spend money, our money, to fix what you broke? That's not only absurb, it's outragous, and you're absurb and outragous.

It's time you stood up and recognized you blew our money. And we're pissed at you and what you did. If you want to bitch about the Democrats, fine, we can bitch at and about you and your stupidity. That's your choice. You demand we were either with your or with the enemy, and we can do the same. You're either with us or against Americans and America.

Is that clear and understandable? You screwed this country and people, and now we're faced with the worst time since the Great Depression. And you're expecting us to listen to you and your whining? Do us a favor and either shut up or be constructive, not destructive. The American people have spoken with President Obama and the Democrats, so you can either help or be a dumb speed bump.

Ok, that's my speech to you. So I listened to you and now you should listen to us.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I was watching an ad on TV about the AARP. I joined when I turned 50, the year they lower the eligibility age from 55 to 50. I quit just under two years later because I saw what a sham and scam they really are. Harsh? Not in my view. They're not an organization which supports older people. They're a business that markets and sells to older people.

They lie through their dentures. I'm not arguing they do good, even for older people, like their lobby effort in Congress. But in the end, they're a business which sells and markets their own or their endorsed insurance and other products and services to older people. And that's the sham and scam.

When I joined I asked what participation members can provide in the organization. The reply I got to several suggestions and ideas was simple, they said, "We don't soliciit or receive suggestions from our members. We have member representatives who know what the members want." Simply put, they said go away old man, you're bothering us.

When I asked about submitting articles to their magazine, they replied, "We don't accept unsolicited manuscripts. We have staff writers or soliticit from writers we know. We know what our readers want in our magazine." Simply put, shut up and don't complain.

In the end I realized they only want my membership dues and my name and address to market their or their endorsed products and services. I'm a commodity to them, simply a checkbook to bleed and drain for profit. My hard earned income and now annuity for profit. But don't expect anything in return as a member except more ads.

I left and never looked back. They still occasionally send me promotional material and a temporary membership card, but I tear them up now. I treat them like I treat spammers.


Reading the front page story in the USA Today (Friday 3/27) about the FAA's proposed rule change to keep the airport reports of collisions between wildlife and planes from public view, meaning not readily available or through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), I wonder if that's what President Obama meant by transparency.

The article cites that airports only report about 20% of collisions between wildlife, mostly birds, and airplanes, but the FAA believes that 20% could be deceptive to the public and have the number of reports decrease for fear of exagerating the situation at airports. The wildlife organizations, news organizations and other groups feel the opposite is likely to happen, meaning fewer reports would cause travellers to fear it's not being reported.

Well, 80% aren't being reported, and now they want to hide the last 20%?

It seems with Obama's decision to keep the Bush administration rules to classify the many documents on terrorism as secret for fear of informing the American people of the government's work, that this rules keeps the Bush mentality alive in the White House and government, and only goes to further the fear about what we're not being told or what's being done in secret.

Transparency is what it is. It's not opaqueness or even blackness, but clear and obvious. If President Obama wants to assure the American people and ensure his promise of transparency, then he has to do that, and not hide behind verbal smoke screens about terrorism and fear.

We're smarter than you think. And I've always believed that too much information is better than too little. You can always sift through and remove what irrelevant to your need or interest, but you can't add when there's nothing there. We can imagine what we think it is and we can imagine what you're hiding, but neither may be true or correct, but it will instill more fear than the information will if released.

The fear isn't in the transparency but in the secrecy. If you haven't learned that from George Bush, then you need to reread your recent history. Remember we elected you on your promises, renige and all your support fades with our promises.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Patriot Act

I was reading the Washington Post article about the FBI wanting the Patriot Act to be extended past its December expiration. I've written here before that I was against it then and I'm against it now, and I'm still against it. The Patriot Act wasn't needed and the evidence has shown it hasn't worked as promised.

Over 95% of the cases in which its provision have been used were for investigations into criminal acts, not terrorism. There have been more than significant examples of misuse and even abuse of the law by the FBI to get information that normally needed warrants by a court. It's been misused and abused against innnocent citizens. It's been abused against legal immigrants including children, many of whom have been deported after years here or with legal standing to be here.

All the abuses have been in violation of the Patriot Act, yet the FBI continues to do the same thing to others. The Patriot Act gives the FBI the power to conduct an investigation into every aspect of a citizen's life and work without a warrant and without probable cause beyond a suspicion of something, which is almost always based on circumstantial evidence at best and nothing at worst.

It's been used for fishing investigations, looking into the lives of innocent people who had "contact" with a suspect, even if the contact was and is normal in the conduct of everyday life and work. The FBI assumes guilt first, then go fishing for the evidence. And they drag innocent people into their view for guilt by association.

And the most important issue about the Patriot Act is what it was supposed to do, capture and prosecute terrorists. And to date no one has been prosecuted and sentenced for terrorism. All of the convictions in the end were for "providing material support to terrorists.", meaning guilt by association.

On top of that failure, the Patriot Act gives the FBI the right to pre-emptively investigate and prosecute people, including citizens, for thinking about terrorism. All the terrorists prosecuted have been before anything took place, and in all of those cases the FIB provided material support to the terrorists to capture and prosecute them. The FBI created the terrorists, then captured and prosecuted them.

The Patriot Act was and is Big Brother. Nothing more and nothing less. It's not needed in our justice system. The FBI has all the tools without it to do their job. The faiures of 9/11 were about communications and people. Simply put, the FBI screwed up. They had all the information and all the people giving warnings, and they failed to act properly and timely.

And now we want to continue to give them even more power they've already abused? Sorry, you don't have my vote. I support the FBI's work, but I don't support gving them unchecked power over American citizens. But in the end, does it really matter? They do what they want anyway, they don't let the law hinder them and their work.

Congress should repeal the Patriot Act or let it expire. I don't expect President Obama to allow that. It's one of the promises he is reigning on with the American people, the restoration of our civil rights and protections in the face of invasive government power. He likes that power, and it's easy to convince the people it's for a good cause, except history has shown it hasn't been used for good causes and has been used against innocent Americans.

The FBI needs to provide the American people prove it's worked as promised and not use trumped up evidence to make their case. Otherwise, they should learn to do without it and do a better job focusing on real terrorists, not fictuous ones and especially American citizens.

Comcast's deception

Update.--After Comcast's promise not to call again, they did, but a different number. I decided to give them three strikes (calls) before I start dropping service package I rarely or don't use. You can see the list of calls. That's strike one.

I have been receiving calls from Comcast's "Toll Free Service", even after I have filed notices with them about not calling me. My telephone is registered with the Do Not Call registry, but that registry allows companies with whom you are or have been a customer to ignore your registration. Apparently Comcast has elected to annoy its customers with calls about their other services which we don't not want.

So, today, March 21, 2009, they called at 2:41 and were informed not to call me again. They agreed to put my number on their internal do not call registry. And the next time they call I will certrainly take a look at my cable (TV) service and likely at least reduce it or cancel it. They have pushed the limits of customer patience and tolerance to the point they're on the verge of losing one and creating a more vocal critic of them.

I have updated my Do Not Call log (see "Toll Free Service") and although Comcast is allowed to call me, you can see their persistence to be deceptive and dumb. I refrain from calling them what I really think, but for now, let's just say it wouldn't be positive, unless you consider bad tavern language after several pitchers positive.

In short, they're now on notice I'm not a happy or satisfied customer and on the verge of simply walking away from them, and would today except there's no competing cable service here, something I would love to see - satellite TV service costs the same an isn't as good (signal). They're a monoply and a very bad one at that. They're deceptive and the lie through their cable.

So, we'll see where and how this will go, but for now, Comcast is one asshole company and are pushing the limits of their customers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thoughts of the day

Well, it's Wednesday, my free day. Mondays are exercise or lounging and planning days. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are errands and work at home days, on my photography business and projects. And Wednesdays are free. From spring to fall I usually grab the 4x5 camera and go some place, and from fall to sping I parse the trips and spend more of them at home working or doing other things. Simply a free day.

Mondays and Wednesdays are the days I usually don't buy newspapers but read the on-line version. The other three work day of the week I buy papers to read at lunch. So what have I glearned or learned of interest.

Alas, the Obama administration has dropped the term, "global war on terror" to be what it really is, "overseas contigent operations", meaning separating the idea from the reality. This is good. It's not a global war but civil wars in two countries, which has, as all wars have, global effects and impacts. But at least they're using better descriptors.

But the Obama administration isn't reversing much, if any, of Bush's secrecy rules. That's not good and even bad. Bad for Americans, and bad for our civil rights and liberties. This means we still won't know any more than we did under Bush what the government is really doing with people, many innocent people, like keeping information classified from public view and conducting surveillence under secret silent warrants. They're not giving us what this country means about freedoms because they still don't trust us, the American people.

I'm saddened by this, even though I know it's been going on since our country was founded. We've always had government secrets and secret programs, but ever since WW II it's grown disproportionately out of fear and under the Bush administration, it literally went over the top with unilateral secrecy when most wasn't necessary. And now they're rolling on at the same level of secrecy.

That was scary and spooky under Bush, but to me, it's even worse under Obama because we don't know what's going on behind the lies. He promised transparency and less secrecy, and we're learning he learned it's better not to have as much transparency and to be less secret. True, it's a different world, but still not to trust your own citizens?

What's a peace conference without the Dalai Lama? Certainly not peace and more discrimination and politics. And now cancelled. We're sorry, peace isn't attainable today due to fear.

What's the policy of letting more prisoners out early or not even spending time in prison despite felony convictions? Certainly not safety and security for people.

Reading science news, they've found structural differences in families with a history of depression, mainly the brain's cortex, where one hemispere indiciates potential and both real possibilities. I'm not sure I agree with the connections they make between physiological and psychiatric conditions, it's interesting.

On the personal side, I haven't heard from MySpace who banned this blog, along with another blog of mine. I don't expect an answer, or maybe just the, "Tough shit" answer. The one thing I've learned that jerks do well, being arrogant and ignorant, and that's the usual perspective of many blog founders and their staff, like Facebook and MySpace.

Well, that's it for now. Ding! Sorry, gotta' go, the hotdogs are ready.

Tax cuts

So, next week when I get my new tax cut in my monthly check, what will I do with the new, or really my, money? Well, despite all the noise from the economists and members of Congress to spend it, I will do one of two things, or both. I will save it or pay down my current debt. I will put the money into the financial and bank industry. I won't be spending it on foreign made products or even American made products. I have enough to fit my needs and interests for now.

The reason for saving and paying down debt is that I will be taking out a big loan for some personal interest later this year or next year. I want to go into that debt with no current debt. My new debt will take 5-7 years to pay off, so I don't want to compound debt on debt. So, since Congress and President Obama are being generous with my (taxpayer) money by returning it, I'll use it wisely thank you.

Or at least I'll try. After all as much as the President would like me to stimulate the economy, that's hard considering the realities we all live with every day now and for the near if not foreseeable future as we begin to rebuild our economy. Aside from that I can only tell the President if he wants more money, go after the corporations who have millions and some with billions of dollars of profit paid by us taxpayers, the ones who bought the goods and services and invested in our mortages and investments.

And as usual I'll keep you posted if things change or I change.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It seem MySpace has taken upon themselves to ban two of my blogs, this one on my Mt. Rainier NP photo guide blog. And they never informed me when or why this decision and action took place, only hyper links to them goes to a "naughty" Web pages which doesn't apply to either of these two. I have not and am not violating any MySpace policy, but their unilateral artitrary action seems to fit their style. We act and don't care what you think or want to say.

Did they really check the blogs out? I doubt it because the Mt. Rainier NP blog is harmless and provides information for visitors and photographers going to Mt. Rainier NP. There's nothing else there, no phishing, viruses, userid/password stealing, etc. And the news and opinion blog is just that, stuff I find interesting to read and present my view. The same applies, harmless with nothing else there. So what's the story?

Well, if that is the case, and I have an e-mail into them to explain their actions, I will likely leave and become a vocal critic here about them. I joined them to follow some friends, some of whom have left, and I found some new friends too. But damned if I'll tolerate such censorship without an explanation or due process to appeal. Right now to me, they and their decisions and actions suck.

At least right now. And I'll keep you posted what happens.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Seattle P-I

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper quit publication this last Tuesday (3/17/09), timely huh? Well, they're now an entirely on-line paper at So, what do I think of it? Like my opinion is going to matter beyond this post?

Well, for starters, there's nothing new or innovative about it, and it's trying to reach everyone at the front page. That's a big mistake, and likely the worst mistake of a new on-line Website. It only drives people away with all the clutter and noise. It's simply too much in too small a space.

For another, it's overkill. It has no clear focus or plan other than the first criticism, simply splashing lot of news on the home page and hope something attracts your attention to stay awhile. It won't because it's too much, it looks like all the other newspaper Websites, most of which are like that. And so it's simply a lot of reposted news stories.

They need a vision about who they are and what they want to present. They need a clean, clear Home page. Right now it looks like the computer geeks designed, it's the, "Let's see how much news we can squeeze into one Web page." concept. It doesn't work and the ad space is overkill and distracting.

They need to make it like the print where you can open pages, or not, scroll through pages, scan headlines, and so on. They don't need to replicate the print edition, but they need the features and functions. They forget many readers are old-time print readers, not the younger generations readers who don't mind all the clutter and noise, and will search for what they want.

We read papers from start to finish. We'll read on-line news Websites we can decipher the structure and organization to scan and read, but don't make us wade through a lot of news crap and ads to get there. We also read the P-I for what the paper was and says and for what it covered about Seattle and western Washington. We didn't read it to hear the crowd.

Right now, the P-I Website is simply another commercial news service, like Google, Yahoo, MSN, etal. As as they have shown, you don't make money on the Internet being a copy of someone else. You need to have a dedicated audience and customer base to start. You had that with the print edition. Then you expand into other areas wihtout betraying your history and loyal readers.

But you didn't do that, did you? And now you have your Website. I wish you luck, but will I come back? Right now. No way in the world when the other news Websites are better designed with the same news. The only thing I like right now is the Thursday Getaway section. Everything else is just more of the same I've read elsewhere. And simply wasting my time.

I wish the P-I well. But until they get something unique to themselves and for their readers, I don't see it. The die-hard new Web junkies will love it, that's not why I read the P-I then and won't now. As they said, the announcement of your death was a litttle premature, it's in your future as the Web version slowly dies too, as the old reader simply mouse click somewhere else.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Veterans care

Update.--The Obama Administration and retracted this idea. That is good, a good decision and action. And I hope never to surface again. But it doesn't change my view which will stay as a matter of record against it.

There are stupid ideas and then there are dumb ideas. And on occasion there are even worse, ideas which are dumb and stupid on the face of them, wihtout going into any further discussion. Meaning, maybe an interesting thought, but something you quickly resort to the mental trash can.

And that's what the recent Obama administration's idea to use private healthcare providers and private insurance to care for war-related injuries sustained by veterans. The VA can now use private insurers for non-military related conditions and healthcare, and that's seems reasonable to me, especially if the individual can or does have health insurance.

But never for any war-related healthcare. I won't save money, only where the money goes, into the hands of for-profit health insurance carriers and healthcare providers, usually hospitals. It's belongs in and with the Veterans Administration. The VA should only be allowed when it benefits the veterans, usually because of distance due to family, work or other concerns, and the provider can provide equal or better healthcare than the VA can.

It's really very simple. It's what the American people do for their veterans. I am a veteran, and while I never needed to use the VA healthcare system, it doesn't change how I feel about my fellow veterans, especially those who served in a war zone and were injured. They risked their life for us and our country.

It's always the right thing to do for our veterans. I want my tax money to do that, support them as we always have and even better and more so now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Some off-hand comments on or about the news of late.

To Mr. Cheney. Please go back into the rabbit hole you're living in. You're not worth the $.02 anyone gives you for your opinion.

To AIG. You don't give failures bonuses, you fire them. Especially the subsidary company that caused your near-demise and required government bailout. And you don't give bonuses with taxpayer's money.

To the media. Dr. Kissinger isn't relevant anymore outside the historical perspective. He's in the camp with Cheney, let him stay in his rabbit hole.

To the FDA. If you can certify overseas reserch and production facilities for drug companiies to import those drugs at US prices, then American should be able to directly import those same drugs too.

To TSA. American citizens aren't the enemy, so stop treating us like we are.

To Chrysler. Since you're privately owned, go get your own bailout money.

To China, Free Tibet. It wasn't and still isn't your country.

To Amy Winehouse. Please stay in rehab. Not because you need it, which you do, but because we don't want to hear or see you in public.

To the Seattle P-I. You'll be missed. And the company owners are idiots.

To Marianne Faithful. Please stop singing. I didn't like your voice then and it's worse now.

To anyone. 300 million people live in poverty in Africa, the equivalent of the entire population of the US. Why?

To supporters of AIG. Smart and stupid aren't mutually exclusive. The financial service guys were very smart but horribly stupid.

To anyone. Why does everything in the world today have to relate to terrorism? It wasn't before 9/11 but now people automatically connect imaginary dots.

Just some thoughts in passing while reading the news the last few days. I'm sure I'll think of more this week as I read the papers again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Easy Money

It seem AIG thinks taxpayers' money is free and easy to spend, and with the approval and help of the former President Bush administration cabinet secretaries, especially Secretary of the Treasury Paulsen, political appointees, and staffers. They used $75 Billion of the total $170 Billion to pay off debts and failed investments, incluiding to their own subsidary company which created the financial mess.

On top of that they paid $165 Million in bonuses to employees made the bad investments, because, "It's in their contract." To what reward losing money? Like that's, "Hey, don't worry about your really bad decisions which bring the company to the point of bankruptcy, you'll still get your bonus." Who wouldn't want that deal, be so stupid, don't worry, you'll still get paid.

Somehow through all the polticial rhetoric all I see of the economic stimulus is the bunches of billions we're giving corporations under the guise of stimulating their business back into the economy and finding the money is going elsewhere, and we're getting a handful of billions to make us feel better, except they want us to spend the money too to help the economy, meaning those same corporations.

Is this what we wanted? Obviously not, but our elected representatives in Congress thought we wanted, or they wanted after all the campaign money and lobbying they got from the financial services and banking industry. We're on the hook, Representatives and Senators look good, and the financial folks get richer, at our expense. We were duped and still being duped, but we don't have any recourse now.

Let's not forget all the Bush appointees and the Secretary of the Treasury came from the financial service industry. They stacked the deck with their own people who conned with our investment money then and out tax money now. The money is gone, unaccounted, and lost in the profits of companies and bonuses of the corporate thieves.

On top of that some of the companies used the money to buy other companies. Yup. Bank of America bought CitiGroup and then used some for advertising, including sport contracts for endorsements. And many other banks and financial companies used their money to expand by buying banks and services companies on the brink of collapse. That's because the government doesn't want banks to fail, so they allowed the failing ones to be bought with the money.

And what's worse, like it can get worse, is that it's only the beginning. If things don't change, we'll be asked to pump more money into the economy, excuse me, companies, to shore them up from failure. And around we go with the money which gets lost in the accounting of those very companies who sell their need and then take it and run.

Maybe Woody Allen could do a movie on this?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Let's not forget

Before we begin to be critical with President Obama's economic stimulus plans, all the various flavors, and with this federal budget, let's not forget he, meaning we, inherited this mess from 8 years of the Bush incompetence and arrogance. Let's not forget that Bush's 2008 fix for the economy failed misearably and at least half of the $850 Billion can't be found or accounted for, just like billions lost in Iraq (in pallettes of cash too).

My point?

After listening to the Republicans' responses to Obama speeches and radio talks, It's simple. Let's not be critical until you have good or better ideas. I don't hear that from the Republicans. All I hear from them is whining about "It's not going to ..." And they've adoptd a Rush Limbaugh mentality. So where were they these last 8 years and last fall when they passed the then stimulus plan that failed? They proposed and passed it.

The Republicans endorsed President Bush and his policies. They passed all the bills he wanted. They passed more earmarks worth billions of dollars more in their 8 years of power than any administration and congressional sessions in history. They created more national debt, our debt, than any administration.

And they let the financial services sector drive this country into a recession and likely a depression. And then they handed the whole mess to the Democrats and President Obama when we decided we have had enough of this bullshit from you. And now all you can do is gripe and whine?

You know if the Republicans were at a tavern on a Friday night and talked like they're talking now, they'd be run out after being verbally pummelled. We simply don't want to hear it. You've run this country for eight years and into the ground, creating the global economic recession. And you haven't announced even one good ideas to get out of it.

You're just a bunch of hot air and noise. So, until you can actually propose some real ideas, trying shutting up. That's not a quesion or a request, but a notice. Just shut up.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Odd things

I haven't posted here in awhile, mostly because I've been busy elsewhere, see my photography/life and my Mt. Rainier NP Photo Guide blogs, I've had some recent health issues, and I just haven't been that angry with the news of the world. The last isn't that I'm not mad at dumb and stupid people, especially hose in power, like Congress, I'm just not mad enough to write.

But some things have occurred to me that strike me as odd. And these are?

First, why is it that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been spending taxpayer's money to travel to foreign countries, like India and China, to inspect and certify production facilites contracting with American drug companies. You and I can't buy foreign made drugs, but the companies can, import them freely, and charge us the same price they charge for US made drugs.

And recently a Chinese company was caught producing frauduent drugs for the US market. They didn't reach the market, but the FDA admitted it had "been awhile" since they had inspected that factory. It's just odd to me the government helps the drug companies profit but not the taxpayer to save money, both on their drugs and their taxes.

Second, why is it that with all the violence on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border lately almost all the weapons are from the US, sold by gun dealers along the border. The cartels have more and better firepower than the Mexican police and military fighting the cartels. And all of it thanks to the US military and gum producers. Yes, the cartel often have military grade weapons.

So where is the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Administration and FBI, the latter who licenses and monitor gun dealers? Obviously they're elsehwere do something I'm not sure of, but it's certainly not watching gun dealers and cross border gun smuggling.

Third, why do drivers still use their cellphones and blackberries more than a year after the State of Washington banned text messaging and more than 8 months after banning the use of regular cellphones while driving (only hands free cellphones allowed)? A day doesn't go by on trips or errands seeing at least one driver, and often half a dozen or more, with a cellphone stuck to their ear, oblivious to the world and other drivers.

The problem here it's a secondary offense, meaning it can't be the reason the police or highway patrol stop you, only if they see you and stop you for something else. And if you try to tell those drivers, often at traffic lights, they either get mad or give you a cheery wave, like they don't care.

Fourth, the government bans lead and some toxic chemicals in children's toys. That's not only a good thing but a great thing. Why odd? Because all the businesses that bought the products to sell to consumers are dumping them in landfills, if those landfills will take them, with recyclers, with reselllers, refusing to pay for those made but not delivered, or simply leaving them in shipping containers.

Meaning they're unloading the products on others and taking the loss in the financial statements. That's not what Congress had in mind here. Corporations, like WalMart, Target, etal, who sell most of these products are simply finding ways to unload them and then using them as corporate losses. The people who made or ordered the products aren't paying the price, but the rest of us.

Anyway, just a few odd things in the news of late.