1. We awoke to a CRANE (the bird kind, not the machine kind) in our backyard the other day playing around in the pond.
Quite the interesting sight for the middle of suburbia. I don't think cranes and fish are a good mix. Black Labs and cranes, though, that's another story....
2. It seems that in general sports programs in our high schools are going the same way as the music programs (in general). Schools are so strapped for funding that anything that doesn't fall within the "no child left behind" required curriculum just gets left by the side of the road.
3. 41% of Americans making up to $40,000 per year don't have health care coverage. Health care costs in this country are QUICKLY reaching epidemic proportions, to borrow a health term. The middle class is carrying the country's economy, and the health care companies are riding on their (our) backs like an old sway-back mule, extracting everything possible til the last breath leaves our tired old bones.
4. A post over at Reach Upward HERE notes a change in political motion between the two major parties and more notably some of the sub categories of each. He notes that fiscal conservatives within the Republican party are not diggin the "spend and then spend more" attitude of our nation's own prezz. I noted this because I do consider myself a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Some say those two things are kind of mutually exclusive, but I seem to have a pretty strong (and I think generally defensible) position on most things - which you know if you spend any time reading around my blog.
Anyway, it's interesting how fluid the political landscape really is. I often think how interesting things would be if there were more parties for people to affiliate with. The two parties we are forced to choose from seem to move, in varying degrees, closer to the middle with each passing day, depending on the issue. It's like a glacier, measurable motion, just not always visible to the observer who sits and watches all day every day.
In a side conversation I had with Reach the other day, he noted that the Christian Right movement has grown strong in the last while, having learned how to ply their brand of religious intimidation and money-pandering to an expert level. He notes though that their influence could be more noise than actual substance. They represent up to 14% of the republican party, which was more than the margin "W" needed to win his last trip around the White House lawn. I guess that's all the power you need, when it gets you the man you want. They came out in droves to support the state-level Marriage amendment traffic, and now I wonder if they still feel the same way about him now that he has apparently become TOTALLY senile, and has run out of real potential staffers to the point that he is now pulling new Press Secretaries right off the floor of the white house briefing room... it's like a nasty game of hot potato lottery.
Reach notes that an amendment such as the one proposed would have a hard time passing 34 state legislatures in order to become valid. And while that's probably true, it still pisses me off that something this hurtful and discriminatory, so obviously phobic could even reach the point of going to the states for ratification. I believe this would be the first Constitutional amendment to actually formalize the EXCLUSION of some CITIZENS from rights the rest of us enjoy.
Needless to say, I was startled for sure.
Most members of the LDS Church will be familiar with most of these symbols. Chuch detractors have maintained for MANY years that early LDS rituals were lifted directly from Masonic practices. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, along with MANY other early church leaders and members, were also Freemasons.
Thus my utter shock and dismay that KBYU is accepting ad dollars from them. I can't, for the life me, however, remember what program I was watching.
Note that my comments come from a MASSIVELY pessimistic view of the Church's stand on this issue, as well as the thought that the country's political system is being overrun by the highly powerful and overfunded Christian Right movement, to which the Church now apparently subscribes.
Pretty interesting for an origanization that has claimed to be apolitical in general nature. The group sponsoring the ammendment has produced a series of what they call "pew inserts" supporting the views. My question is this: How long will this continue, all the while allowing these VERY political groups to maintain a tax-exempt status?
Just a thought. There are more coming, but that's the thought for the moment.
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Theodore Roosevelt 1907
After enduring a lengthy explanation of industrial-age economics, and the like, the good Senator finally got around to talking about only slightly more relevant points. At best it was non-descript, and at worst, a blaring example of the type of disconnect our Senators, both Bennett, and “Utah’s Senator from Pennsylvania, Orrin Hatch”, have with their state, and the concerns that actually impact us on a daily basis.
There was generally nothing to even write about, until it came around time for the little question period. Following are some DIRECT quotes I wrote down as they were uttered from the lecturn:
1. “There was no recession in the first part of this decade.”
2. “Oil companies don’t price-gouge.”
3. “Walmart has a positive impact on the economy, both locally, and nationally. They should be granted their petition to open an ILC banking division located here in Utah. Their workers have benefits, they are good neighbors and citizens, the treat their people well, and they make a living wage.” He’s obviously Walmart’s water-carrier.
4. "If your job is a commodity only, requiring no real expertise, it will be lost overseas, and that is okay.” (apparently all who are in this position need to find other gainful employment.
And finally, the number one stupid comment of the week, earning Sen. Bob the MORON OF THE WEEK AWARD:
5. “It’s not yet clear that the war in IRAQ is failing or has failed at this point in time.”
First: Big story running on the front page under the headline "Fear of the Unknown: The other side of crackdown"
Generally, the story is about employers who now see raids as a very real possibility, and wondering if more will get down ot the business of making sure documentation for all employees is proper before hiring them. The other side of the story is about the illegals who are now afriad to go to work, and have stayed home since Wednesday. Now they're all worried... well, HELLLLOOOO? You SHOULD be afraid if you are here illegally. In actuality the fact that illegals are only now becoming afraid is not a slam on them by any means, but more a slam on the weak enforcement of a complicated spider-web of laws in this country. ICE officals are now stating a renewed effort to enfore laws that have been on the books for several years, without any teeth. I guess we'll see how that goes.
In other news, The Minutemen have stated that if the government doesn't build a fence around the southern part of the US border states, THEY WILL, through free enterprise and donated materials and labor. They've given the White House a deadline of May 25th before they start to build it on their own.
And this just in, Area Man "Weeping Larry" gave his speech at the University of Utah yesterday, and "if you read between the lines", feels like he made a mistake pulling Brokeback Mountain from his theaters. It seems he didn't know gay people are humans too. People who were not hapy about his being asked to speak wore cowboy hats and paid shirts in protest. One of "them", said Mr. Miller probably doesn't know many gay people and probably didn't realize the impact of his decision. "It's so easy to hate people because of a stereotype, but at the end of the day, you realize everyone is human." (and, might I add, "deserves to be treated with respect.")
Can I have an "AMEN..." !!!
Full text is here, link is supplied for you cyber-voyeurs who are more "visual" in nature.
Fake porn euro notes being sold as a gimmick in Germany are being successfully passed off as real cash.
The notes, in 300, 600 and 1,000 euro denominations have a ring of 12 hearts instead of the usual EU stars and feature hunky men and big-breasted nude women.
Instead of the word 'Euro' being printed in the corner these notes have 'Eros' - the Greek god of love.
But despite these differences - and the fact that the only large euro notes currently in circulation are 100s, 200s and 500s - police say they are being passed off as the real thing.
Cologne newsagent Bernd Friedhelm, 33, accepted one of the fake 600 euro notes from an unknown customer who bought two cartons of cigarettes and walked off with 534 euros in change.
Friedhelm said: "He told me it was a new type of note and I just figured I hadn't seen one before."
A spokesman for the Cologne police said: "You can tell straight away by looking at it that it's fake."
"There aren't even any 600 euro notes anyway. But anyone trying to pass it off as real, even as a joke, faces prosecution."
I commented that in my view the best way to stop the flow of humanity over the fence, is to remove that for which they are coming: the jobs. I submitted that the government needed to find a way to punish those who are giving these people jobs.
Then last night on the news, they reported that ICE had swept up at a national palette company and gathered up just over 1000 illegals for deportation. So maybe somebody heard my plea. Ummm... Hardly, I don't give myself THAT much credit.
But anyway, I was then reading in the paper this morning that the parent company of this palette company is from the Netherlands. Then I got to thinking... was it not the Netherlands, about a year or 18 months ago, that instituted a policy to simply round up and expel ALL illegal immigrants to their country? Am I wrong? I don't remember for sure if it was Netherlands, or some neighboring country. Pretty interesting coincidence if that's the case...
Anyway, although the Federal Government here in the US has a long way to go before effective systems are in place to deal with corporations who flout that law, this publicity is good news in the right direction.
Just thought I'd apss along a little humor for the day...
Greetings to all my soon to be wealthy readers. I've been so busy the last several days making my money work for me that I have not had time to impart my wisdom to you. Therefore, for this update, I decided to outsource this blog entry to a highly trained Indian worker with years of experience you can't find in the United States. And with that I introduce to you Sandeep.
Thank you very much. With pleasure and helping attitudes I bring today many good advices to make money in American real estate homes. ...
You can grab the entire 178 page "family" document here from the Institute:
Then the mayor got all huffy, wrote nasty letters to his high school counselor, and hit Stake President, calling for this young fellow to be chastised and reprimanded, then promptly went out of town for two weeks. In the meantime, businesses are suffering the effects of a nationally publicized call for a boycott of tourism in the area.
A week or two ago in the paper here in Salt Lake (Tribune), there was an interview with a restaurant owner in the area who said that there used to be about 3 or 4 busses full of tourists who would stop at her restaurant per day, and now they just drive by. She said that every time they go by, she loses about 40 meals that she otherwise would have served. She said she is suffering her way out of business and claimed that she is by no means the only one.
Apparently women who work in Kanab should be ashamed of themselves, and men whose families cannot be supported by their efforts alone are failures as well.
Anyway, on my way home from the office last night, KUER's Doug Fabrizio was in Kanab doing a live broadcast of his daily show, Radio West, on the entire controversy.
I haven't listened to the whole thing yet - I grabbed it on iTunes this morning though and I'll get to the rest of it shortly.
The Tribune this morning is reporting it though, under the headline "Kanab kid takes on mayor - in person".
There are 11 articles linked on that page showing the history of this controversy.
Good article - at the end Fabrizio asks the kid of he is planning on sticking around Kanab after he's through school. His reply: "depends on who wins the next election." He got a thunderous round of applause on that remark.
So, why capsulize this here? It seems to me that no matter what level of government we're talking about, civic, state, or federal, when the government tries to impose a moral agenda on its base of citizenry through legislation, it is crossing a line. There are lines with regard to Church/State interference, albeit sometimes hazy, and sometimes a moving target, but by and large, this kind of meddling in the private and personal moral beliefs of a community (of any size) through legislation of any type (full-blown law all the way down to a "non-binding resolution") is just wrong. The government's sole, boiled-down purpose is to provide for the societal welfare and protection of all its citizens. Period.
Right now it seems this state is a microcosm of a national "faith-based" initiative that puts a HEAVY Christian spin on all things legislative. One can EASILY argue that Bush won his last election on the backs of about 10,000 right-wing Christian voters in Ohio, if you recall. The faith-based lobby is growing huge and VERY powerful in the land these days, and there is a problem with that when it becomes so obvious in legislation like this. It leaves out other people who make choices that offend the more tender sensibilities of this "bull in a china shop" lobby movement, and it becomes a very slippery slope when the politicians try to prove they are caring for all their constituents. In reality, they are caring for the ones who throw the money behind their voices, who invoke the fear of God in debate, and who feel fine with discriminating against people who don't think like them. This is a familiar song when you look at the smaller model of this state's government. Our state representatives apparently are fine with denying basic regular-person rights to people whom they think are morally bankrupt. I have a problem with that - they are supposed to be serving al the citizens of the state, not just those who think like they do.
Remember, it was Jesus himself who chose to eat with the sinners, and socialize with the Publicans and Sanhedrin. When the prostitute was about to be stoned, it was Him who declared, "let him who is without sin cast the first stone." I just have a REALLY hard time with the self-righteous mountain-top dwellers we have in office. They've convinced a majority of people that they are needed in order to preserve the moral values they supposedly care so deeply about.
It's about time that Sen. Hatch, Mr. LaVar, Chris Buttars, (to name only a VERY few) and all their ilk be publicly shamed and soundly defeated in their next races, and replaced with individuals who will spend time, energy, and (our) money on legislation that will benefit all our citizens, no matter their lifestyle choices or other circumstances.
And I heartily applaud the City of North Salt Lake, and others, for SOUNDLY dismissing the adoption of a similar family resolution. Governments who take seriously the responsibility to care for its citizens have no right whatsoever to be entertaining such a narrow view.
Seems these massive behemoths are sprouting up to the displeasure of many communities nationwide.
In My previous post ( http://meaningless-blather.blogspot.com/2006/01/supersize-my-house-how-mcmansions-go.html ) I noted that the biggest reason for people doing this is to show outwardly to all who drive by how wonderful they are and how much money they can spend on a house. Gimme a break. Is there any more outward manifestation of the greed and conspicuous consumption that is so prevalent in this nation?
Anyway, don't get me started on that one. Again.
So, over this last weekend we went to a movie, and decided to check out a new place for us to eat. We pulled City Weekly's "best-of" listings and found a place called "Q4U" it was nto far from where we were going to the movie, so decided to go there. As City weekly notes, it is truly a hole in the wall place, but it was VERY good, recommended.
We saw Lucky Number Slevin. I thought it was a modestly smart movie, especially campared to what hollywood is making for the mass-market these days. Nice to actually THINK at a movie. A couple of other thinkers we've seen recently: V For Vendetta - that was a pretty good movie as well, and Inside Job - although it was a remake of an older story, it was a pretty good movie with some twists to it a la Ocean's 11.
In other news, we finally were able to get the pond in the yard uncovered and running from it's winter dormancy. Nice to report that we had no piscine fatalities this time around.
The doggies like it when we get it all uncovered. This picture is from when we barely had it finished. Now there are plants grown in around the pond, and things are finally starting to take shape.
Seriously, if anyone knows of a competent mortgage loan processor, I need to add to what I've got, we're burnin out our one dude.
NPR is reporting this morning that the French student protests seems to be working and at least we're talking about the French President (Jacque Chirac- sp?) not being re-electable next time around. Then they turned to the protests here of the last 48 hours, drawing a parallel between the two events. I find a disparity here though. The young citizenry of France is upset by Chirac's signing of this labor bill that allows a more liberal hiring and firing policy, and a longer "probation" period. They vote and have vocalized thier unhappiness with the bill for some time now - I first heard this story about a month ago, and heard that Chirac was going to sign it.
So, by contrast, (or, listening to the press report it, "similarly,) we have our own demonstrations here over the last 48 hours. I say 'by contrast" because of two main differences: first, the VAST majority of those protesting here are not voters, hell, they're not even citizens of the country. Second, most of the nation's registered voters (between 61% and 80%, depending on which poll you read), would prefer that these people protesting in our streets would just as soon see these people deported and the companies that hire them to do the jobs they claim no one else will do charged with felony aiding and abetting a criminal.
At the very least, every employer shoudl be FORCED to use the SSN verification service, which is currently voluntary. With that in place, there is no excuse for hiring someone you 'thought' was legal. If you don't get a green light from the verification service, it's a no-go. Just my $0.02 on that one.
This just in: was it not a LONG TIME AGO that national elections were held in Iraq? Where the hell is the new government? Didn't they convene a session about a month or two ago, FOR ABOUT 30 MINTUES? Did they get tired? are the malnourished, and couldn't remain in a meeting sitting down? Seems to me, these people want their own brand of government, period, and even if we walk in there and SHOVE our brand of democracy down their throats, they'll jsut waddle along after the reigns are partially turned over, and at every opportunity simply try to wear us down with boredom at the speed they move through the process. I think they hope we'll soon just get bored with the whole idea and go away.
I read a funny post on a blog I read occassionally about this very issue:
Crack me up - funny stuff.
and in other news: I had a good old friend call me the other day and tell me he was going through a bit of trauma in his life. Shout-out to him, hope all is well - at least as well as can be expected...
Another friend asked me to recommend a book because he needed a few more bucks to qualify for the free super-saver shipping at amazon.com. I recommended The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. He is a bit like me, in that he digs architecture, and this book has a lto to do with that. In fact, it was rumored in the 40's and 50's that the author was secretly having an affair with Frank Lloyd Wright, and this book was her public tribute to him. I enjoyed the book.
I was also thinking of some other books I have read lately. I recommend The Kite Runner. That book will open up your eyes once or twice. A good read. I also recommend the Beethoven biography, from Edmond Morris. The universal composer, written by a VERY competent biograher - check his list of work.
I need to do DaVinci Code again - I read that (seems like) a decade ago, and want to read it once more before the movie hits theaters now. Speaking of which, last week the judge in London took 71 pages to write a decision that basically said the suit against Dan Brown was without merit. Lawyers get paid by the word.
I have had to postpone my bass lesson today. I haven't had time to practice this week, but I'm not going to tell him that. :) I'm such a schmuck.
Speaking of that, we went to The Bayou a couple of weeks ago, and I forgot to write a little about that. So here that is: we went with friends and I wanted to go to the Bayou because my bass teachin buddy was supposed to be playing there that night. He was playing a couple of years ago with a group called Mambo Jumbo, headlined and organized by an EXCELLENT jazz drummer named Ricardo Romero.
He went away to school in Las Vegas and the group went away along with their web site. Well, when I asked Ben, my bass teacher about it, he said Ricardo was playing with him at the Bayou on Saturday night... so that's where we planned to go. Then in the paper a day or two later, we noticed that Ricardo was scheduled for Zanzibar. Anyway, to make a long story short, Ben was indeed scheduled for The Bayou, and that's where we decided to go. He noted that apparently, Ricardo heard that somebody was scheduled for the emsemble that he didn't get along with, so he went to Zanzibar. Anyway, at the Bayou, there was a guy playing Sax who I had not heard before - John Flanders - I head seen his name around before, but I had not heard him play before. My loss, for sure. This guy was amazing - never a wrong solo note, and always right in the pocket. I was totally impressed. When Ben came and sat down with us during one of their breaks, he noted that John has "all those Saturday Night Live" sounds. He had all the right sounds and was VERY good. He's on my watch list for sure from here on out.
So there you go. http://www.johnflanders.com/
So, that's it for now... lots of randomness for you random-loving dweebs.
A couple of easy sentences: If you came here under illegal pretenses, you are not here under the law. You have only the basic human rights, therefore. And since you are here illegally, you should EXPECT to be removed from this country under the law. Period. You have a family here? A job? Too bad so sad.
Why do you think you should come here illegally and then PROTEST in the streets for your "rights", all the while waving the MEXICAN FLAG??? At least, if you want to BE Americans, wave the AMERICAN flag. If you want to wave the MEXICAN flag, I know a place where you can do that. And don't send your 14 year old junior high students to do your dirty work in the streets and on our school grounds - they don't even know the issues. You have taught them to think that by virtue of your very presence here, and that presence only, you are somehow entitled to citizenship, or some other form of legal status.
The problem is not that you want to BE Americans, you simply want what Americans HAVE.
You are welcome here when you have gone through the process legally. Until then, go back to where you came from. No matter where that is.
There, that's the end of my ranting on this matter. The House of Representatives had it right, and the Senate caved in on the issue because they all have to get re-elected this year. Once again, the continuing amnesty will go on status-quo. The invasion is almost complete, without a defense even having been mounted or a shot fired in our defense. But the "war in Iraq" (read: "the personal vendetta for oil") is going great.
All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost there lives.
Looking for 3-4 agents that want to explode there sales by joint venturing.
Why else would we be hear.
“Free pair of Thorol socks with purchase.” (Should be Thorlo – I’m sure they’re thrilled.)
“Like the now merging phone companies of AT&T & Bell South, their trying to compete with cable and also want to cross sell….” Reported on MSNMoney.com
Woods traveled cross country Tuesday to check on his on his father, Earl Woods, who has been battling cancer in Cypress – MSNBC.com
One of Utah's smallest counties, but home to the it's second biggest touristdraw, Ashdown addressed how the Federal Government has ignored rural considerations but could do so much so easily. – Pete Ashdown For Senate press release Apr 3 2006.
"In a way, the Governor was wasted on a room full of Democrats. Governor Schweitzer's message is extremely powerful and compelling to western Americans. The Governor's vision of the mountain west rising to become America's primary defenders should ring true to Utahns who enthusiastically embrace the independence, freedom, optimism, and opportunity of the west. (then confusingly elect an east coast carpetbagger who actively tries to hobble the freedom and independence technology gives us)
I wish Utah's voters could have Governor Schweitzer's image in their heads as they hit the polls this year. What impressed me was Schweitzer's clear vision of a future void of America's dependence on foreign oil. Governor Schweitzer says there is a solution that can be up and running in five years. What he has in mind is using a process that will turn coal into a synthetic liquid fuel or synfuel.
The governor explained that there is enough coal in the U.S. to meet our fuel needs for the next 250 years, more than enough time to develop even better fuel sources. He also explained that the process that converts the pressurized coal into fuel (the Fischer-Tropsch process) is both clean and environmentally safe.
The most important statement I took from Schweitzer's speech was one that the governor asked everybody to write down. He simply said,
"Issues divide people, and values unite people."
Governor Brian Schweiter embodies the spirit of optimism; a spirit our country so desperately needs to embrace once again. Why would we want to continue a path of fear and divisiveness when we could be going to Mars.
Overall I agree with Ethan, it is an optimistic future we should be voting for this November. A future that is focused on solutions. Schweitzer is the first Democratic Governor to be elected in Montana since 1988. He also has one of the highest approval ratings for a governor in the country at 69%.
If he runs for president I might just grab the next bus to Montana.
It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and - -Fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Nobel Peace Prizewinner
Mr. Hatch, please sit down.