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Alec Baldwin…one man’s crusade against : the media, journalists, photographers, politicians who disagree with him and American Airlines. June 28, 2013

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Ah, Alec Baldwin is back to his shenanigans apparently.   We should be use to his antics by now, yeah?   At what point do we just admit that he’s not fit to participate in normal social engagements?

http://theweek.com/article/index/229546/alec-baldwins-many-many-tirades-a-timeline

I have no idea what demons lurk in Mr. Baldwin’s closet.  But it’s safe to assume that they are numerous and very animated.  According to a CNN news report, Alec was quoted as saying:

The star of the award-winning comedy “30 Rock” threatened to find the writer of the story and “f****…you…up,” referring to Stark as a “toxic little queen.”

Now that’s the tolerant, understanding Alec we’ve come to know and… well, we’ve come to know.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/06/28/Alec-Baldwin-Launches-Homophobic-rant-against-reporter

Economic Policy… Lessons Learned August 27, 2010

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Economic policy has been a hallmark of American innovation and inspiration for generations.  Our principles of economic freedom and stable growth have been an example for the rest of the world… until now.  As a recent NYTimes article so accurately points out, we ignore the lessons of the past at our own peril.

We’ve abandoned those economic principles that served us so well in the past while, ironically, it has been one of our closest economic and political allies that has taken up those economic policies.  While we founder in a recession that shows little sign of ending anytime soon,  Germany has not only survived the recession but appears to be on a path of recovery.

It should be noted that if we do indeed re-enter another recession cycle (a double dip) then Germany might once again also see turbulent times.  Ultimately, however, they appear to be in a far more advantageous position for dealing with prolonged economic troubles than we are.   The sad part is, they are in that position because they are executing lessons learned from our model while we’ve abandoned that example.

We Fought the Law…and the Law Won August 24, 2010

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As if we needed more proof, I submit this as exhibit Q in prosecution’s assertion that artificially propping up an industry does more harm than good.

While the homebuyer tax credit allowed some folks to purchase a home that otherwise may not have considered doing so (and therefore helping themselves as well as builders/contractors in the process) the net result is a lingering return to market correction.  In other words, it simply prolongs the effects of, in this case, an overvalued market.

Had there been no tax credit (and the expense burden placed upon us as taxpayers) and the market simply been allowed to follow the natural laws of supply and demand we would likely have seen a continued decline in home sales through July of last year but an increase once the market had bottomed out.  In this case, we created an artificial market and the false appearance of  an economy on the rise.

I’m not sure this will lead into a double dip recession…but I am positive it will prolong a recovery that has already taken much longer than necessary.

Rope-a-Dope, Minnesota style… August 18, 2010

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I use to have a lot of respect for Brett Favre.  He was tough, gutsy and had a cannon for an arm.  He always seemed to give his all, especially in the face of adversity.

That Brett Favre died quite some time ago.  What we have witnessed over the past few years is a mockery of that man.  Every year the media frenzy helps to feed his bloated ego and he gets to play the same tired game of  “I have a hurt (insert body part here) ,  so I don’t know if I’ll be back”…at which point he gets to sit out all of training camp only to miraculously “recover” just in time for the season to start.

Shame on Minnesota.  Shame on the entire sports community.  Have we all lost any/all self respect?  Let’s call this fiasco what it is… a disgrace to the memory of a once great football player.  I miss him.  I truly felt dirty watching the events unfold this morning.  The news that 3 of his teammates had flown down to PLEAD with him to return (are you kidding?!) and the convoy of vehicles delivering him unto the Minnesota Viking compound (with chase footage from accompanying helicopter!).  It was just a little much for me, I had to turn it off.

I miss the heroic, brave and tough Brett Favre… I prefer to remember him that way.  These images over the past few years do nothing but taint that memory.

I’ll Have That Beer To Go, Please… August 11, 2010

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As the now infamous Mr. Slater’s story continues to resonate with the American public, I’ve noticed a disturbing phenomenon.   While there is virtually universal support for Mr. Slater, especially in light of the events leading up to his unscheduled departure, there are those that find his actions objectionable.  Fair enough, I can understand someone finding Mr. Slater’s actions reckless and potentially harmful and in complete contradiction to his training not to mention company policy.

There are an increasing number, however, that have become critical of his actions simply because of his… “alternative lifestyle”.  That surprises me and shames me at the same time.

Look, criticize the man for his actions, fine.  I’ll still think you have a limited capacity toward humor and I’ll likely disagree with your perspective on the event(s)… but I will at least understand your point of view.   But to find fault with his actions based solely on something as irrelevant to the topic as his personal lifestyle… that strikes me as truly unfortunate.  Can we not, in this day and age, learn to look at a person’s actions separately from their skin color, lifestyle, ethnicity, etc.?

What he did was either incredibly funny, outlandish, childish, irresponsible … or any mix of these or other adjectives.  But to form opinions on those actions based on whom he lives with or what he does privately is irrelevant at best.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions of what took place, of course.  All I ask is that those opinions be limited to the events leading up to, during and immediately after the incident took place.  Can we not just appreciate them for what they are?  They reflect us as a society, after all.  And I, personally, find that more than a bit humorous.  I know that the next time I fly I will very likely glance at the flight attendant… maybe follow that up with a quick peek at the emergency exit closest to me… and think of Mr. Slater’s exploits with a grin on my face.

That cannot be a bad thing.

Tragedy, Heaped Upon Tragedy… August 3, 2010

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It isn’t bad enough that a gunman allegedly opened fire at his place of employment (former?).  It isn’t enough that the pain and confusion heaped upon these families and the community will remain with them for the remainder of their days.  Now, we have to introduce RACISM into the equation.  Of course.

Never mind that Omar Thornton had apparently been caught, on camera, in the act of A) partaking of alcoholic beverages while on duty as a driver and B) stealing from his employer.  When confronted with the video evidence, he was allowed to keep his dignity and simply walk away.  No one would have been hurt except for the ONE person who should have… the person allegedly carrying out the offenses.  But no.  Evidently admitting wrongdoing and simply accepting responsibility was too much for Omar Thornton to take.

This is no more about racism than it is about illegal immigration or health care reform… or any other nonsensical diversion from the true story of needless suffering due to one man’s inability to cope with his demons.

Opening Shots Fired… July 28, 2010

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The first ruling has come down in the case of SB1070.  In her ruling today, Judge Bolton found that portions of the law were indeed superseded by Federal authority.  Additionally, she ruled that enforcement of the law as written would place too great a strain on existing resources.

I actually have no problem with these findings.  They both support the assertions that have been made for far too long.  Namely, that our Federal government hasn’t taken an active role in enforcing the laws that already exist.   If there is no disagreement that Federal institutions SHOULD already have the authority to act on laws as they exist, then I think its logical to follow with the question “Why aren’t they?”.  And that, really, is what lies at the crux of the matter.  This is what the law was meant to do make no mistake about that.  It is intended to focus attention on the fact that our Federal officials already have the laws in place to do exactly what SB1070 intended… they simply weren’t/aren’t doing anything about them.

Unfortunately, that’s the frustrating aspect of all of this for residents of Arizona.  Its like having a stretch of road where speeding routinely takes place.  There is already a speed limit in place and anytime someone calls for law enforcement to follow through on prosecuting speeders, officials eagerly point to the signs on the side of the road and proclaim the issue is “already covered”.  Yet the speeding continues.  So when local citizens ask their local sheriff’s office to begin enforcing the limit State officials jump up and scream and point out that there is, again, a law already in place.  Yet the speeders carry on.

The point being, no one is disputing that there is already the legal precedent.  What remains to be seen, however, is the enforcement side of things.  To date, that has been the issue.   There seems to be very little will to actually enforce/carry out laws on the Federal level.  States are beginning to recognize this and address their concerns as best they know how.

This is going to become an issue that will go to the Supreme Court for sure.  There is simply too much at stake to allow rulings at any lower level stand.

As an addendum:  I do find it curious that this administration continues to pursue policy that flies in the face of national sentiment.  There is overwhelming support for the law as written.  There was overwhelming opposition to the Health Care Reform bill as it was written.  Virtually all polls show that the issue highest on everyone’s agenda can be summed up through one word… J-O-B-S.  And yet so much attention has been given to these side “projects” while job growth has continued to stall.  In my opinion, this translates into very poor results for anyone attaching themselves to this administration come November.  I think we are going to see some distancing between Democrats running for office and the White House.  Should be interesting.

The Racist Within July 19, 2010

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I have stayed away from the NAACP/ Tea Party uproar, primarily because no matter what your position is you tend to look like a racist. Why?  Because anytime someone disagrees with your position now, rather than look at the issue itself and intelligently debate the topic it’s far easier and more effective to label the opposition “racist” and focus shifts immediately from prior issues to this singular topic.  It’s a topic that has no winners but has plenty of victims.

For all of the  focus on who founded the Tea Party or who makes contributions to its efforts, no solid evidence has been presented to show that the Tea Party is a racist organization.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there are certainly racists within the Tea Party movement.  Of that I am absolutely positive.  Is there a disproportionate number of racists within the organization than that found in society as a whole?  I have yet to see any numbers supporting that assertion.

Yet the NAACP, who’s very NAME proudly proclaims a racist bias (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People… not people, in general… not Americans… but only colored people) would have you believe that the Tea Party movement is one step removed from the Arian Brotherhood or the KKK.

I’ve followed the Tea Party through many media sources and admittedly subscribe to many of its views (namely the push for smaller/more efficient Government and frugal spending).  I would NEVER support an organization that condoned much less had racist views a part of its charter.  The movement is a political one, dealing exclusively with change.  Not the false change as advertised by President Obama during his campaign.  In my research incumbents are scrutinized regardless of skin color.  Their ability to balance a budget, keep promises made, look their constituents in the eye and tell them the truth, not just what they want to hear… those are the values being looked at by Tea Party members, not the color of a persons skin.

Yet if a white person were to approach the NAACP regarding assistance on an issue I somehow doubt they’d receive similar consideration.  I believe the color of a person’s skin would factor very much in how they were received and their issue heard.  In my opinion, the average Tea Party member cares far less about the color of a person’s skin than the NAACP does.  And yet it continues to be the Tea Party and its members who fall under scrutiny and are forced to purge the “bad elements” from its ranks.  Maybe we, as a society, should hold the NAACP to the same standard.

Addendum:  As the fallout from Shirley Sherrod’s dismissal continue to reverberate through the media, I can’t help but point out that it serves to illustrate my point.  Rather than take evidence and weigh it as is proper, she was removed from her position based solely on the perception of impropriety.  The focus shifted from the act itself to race and all of the negative attention/connotations that carries.  Once you take away the ability to discuss a given issue and examine all points of view and shift the focus away from that issue, the issue itself never gets the attention it deserves since race becomes the focal point.  Mrs. Sherrod’s actions/statements became irrelevant in favor of saving face over the possible bad press.  There was precious little interest in hearing her point of view on events and that is the real tragedy here.  Truth and integrity took a back seat to politics and injustice.

The Fix Is In… July 9, 2010

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“By your own estimate, the Doc Fix adds an additional $371 billion to the cost of health care reform. With the price tag beyond what most Americans could handle, the Majority decided to simply remove this costly provision and deal with it in a stand-alone bill.”

“Hiding spending doesnt reduce spending.”

Paul Ryan, R (WI)   House Committee on Budget  and House Committee on Ways and Means


And yet that is exactly what they did… they simply removed the doc fix provision completely and thus, the CBO never took it into consideration…voila!…instant $350B+ shaved off the cost of the bill.   That doesn’t mean it isn’t a cost that we, the taxpayers, have to absorb, it simply means that it is no longer attached to the HCR bill and therefore isn’t in CBO’s calculations.  It will impact our wallets all the same.  They hid the spending.  They manipulated the numbers to get their bill passed, regardless of what the impact on the budget would be.

And now, finally, on June 24th… the “doc fix” was addressed in the manner in which we have come to expect.  It was patched temporarily until the issue comes up for review again in December!  Lovely…

WSJ article on “doc fix”

What does all of this really mean?  In short, it means doctors are going to start refusing to accept Medicare patients.  Don’t believe me?  This article does a pretty good job of summarizing.

The American Medical Association (AMA) warned that unless Congress restores the cuts, physicians will limit the number of Medicare patients they treat. A survey of 9000 members revealed that 17% of physicians — and 31% of those in primary care — would take such action because Medicare rates are too low.

Just before the vote, when the 6-month fix was still seen as viable, the AMA condemned it, saying that Congress has broken its promise to America’s seniors and military families. In a news release titled, “Senate Fiddles as Medicare Burns,” AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, MD, noted that Congress has been arguing about the “doc fix” for months.

“Delaying the problem is not a solution,” Dr. Wilson said in the statement. “Continued short-term actions are creating severe instability that harms seniors as physicians make decisions to protect their practices from Medicare’s volatility. Continuing down this path just slaps a Band-Aid on a problem that needs urgent surgery.”

That’s right… for all of the promises about how nothing would change for seniors and Medicare would remain intact, the truth of the matter is that there are likely to be significantly fewer doctors to handle the same patient load.

Bottoming Out… July 8, 2010

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I was reluctant to comment on recent events regarding Lindsay Lohan and the media circus surrounding her legal troubles of late, yet I feel compelled to say something at this point since she felt it necessary to invoke quotations from Cato in her tweets.

Is she seriously trying to draw parallels between her situation and “unjust treatment” with respect to prisoners?

Did she seriously try to pass off her vulgar message on her fingernails as “a joke”?  Hint to Lindsay: when making a court appearance, especially one that will determine your freedom, that may not be the best time for making a joke…just a thought.

Is she seriously trying to take up the issue of sentencing guidelines at this (self-serving) juncture?

Is she seriously trying to, in ANY way, shape or form draw a parallel between her situation and that of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman sentenced to death by stoning in Iran?

I thought celebrity hubris and ignorance could no longer shock/anger me… I freely admit to being wrong on that count.  The next logical step would be for Dina to get Amnesty International involved on Lindsay’s behalf.

If this young lady hasn’t hit bottom with these statements and with her recent court showing, then bottom is a place that I truly don’t want to see.  This is scary enough for me.