The weekly roundup…

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No War! (Well, no additional war)

The Syrians claim a victory. The Russians show diplomacy, The Americans show??? What?

I’m still amazed that the possibility of us going to war, (regardless of what the White House says it would have been a declaration of war to bomb or fire missiles in to another country during their civil war) over what was clearly an internal conflict was ever a matter of discussion.

I’m glad that cooler heads prevailed. I’m somewhat stunned that the cooler head apparently belonged to Vladimir Putin. But I’m glad nonetheless.


Apple announced new iPhone

Wallstreet unimpressed. Microsoft takes advertising pot shot at Apple and demonstrates yet again that they are completely disconnected from the real world. As an ancillary point they demonstrated that their sense of humor is somewhat childish.

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Windows Surface? How’re those sales guys? I saw Microsoft is offering a $200 trade-in for iPads if you purchase one of their tablets. Talk about not being able to give ’em away.

iPhone 5c phones have not sold out during pre-order. That’s a bit of a first for Apple. I find myself wondering if the smartphone market is saturated. None of the smartphone offerings from any manufacturer have been particularly dazzling.

I take that back, Samsung had a dazzlingly bad, perhaps embarrassing is a better term for it introduction of the galaxy s4.

But the smartphones in & of themselves have become somewhat homogenous.

Yes as I’ve mentioned, I’m probably going to go iPhone, but this time around it’s not because its an iPhone, but because I’m heavily invested in Apple tech and it’s just a lot easier to have a single environment to deal with.


Colorado

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Colorado in addition to the flooding also recalled two politicians from the state government over gun control.

Whats amazed the hell out of me in this is that Twitter came alive with Gun control discussions but very little was said on either side of that discussion about the flooding or loss of life.

This re-ignition of the gun control discussion is rather like an endless repetition of a bad Gilligans Island episode. The discussions have begun to bore the hell out of me because they’ve become formulaic.

Gun Control Advocate: Guns are bad, there are too many children dying, guns don’t make us safer, the 2nd amendment is dated and no longer relevant, we need more gun control, no-one needs an assault rifle that can spray bullets to kill people, Only the military needs guns… on and on they regurgitate the same tired and more often than not erroneous sound bites that the media and politicians have spun to reinforce their position on gun control.

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Pro Gun person: Criminals are bad guns are not, yes there are too many children dying but it’s not because of responsible gun owners. Guns do make you safer if this were not so why then are “Gun Free” zones also places with the highest national crime rates? Existing Gun control laws would be sufficient IF the state & federal governments would enforce the laws already on the books. Define assault rifle. So called assault rifles do not “SPAY” bullets they are not machine guns, the fire one bullet with each pull of the trigger. The 2nd amendment is not outdated, The 2nd amendment was about providing the ability of the people to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. And on & on until the cows come home.

In point of fact gun related deaths are by the FBIs & CDCs reports overall down. The CDC report really disappointed the Obama administration because it took the legs out from beneath their arguments for stricter gun control.

But since the CDC report refuted the “Collective Wisdom”, very little media attention was given to the CDC conclusions. And the beat goes on…

There’s a saying… don’t confuse someone with the facts.

I’ve gotten bored with the whole gun debate because it’s not a debate. It’s one side misrepresenting one set of facts and the other side trying to refute specious arguments.

At this rate, the politicians will remove the 2nd amendment provisions while no one is looking and screw us all for a couple hundred votes.

Then they’ll wring their hands and rend their clothing when the whole country has a crime rate like Chicago’s and ask what went wrong. I’m sure at that point we’ll hear calls for stricter penalties, laws and god knows what else.


In other Gun News…

The idiots in the California legislature have sent a bill to the Governors desk that would ban kits designed to make rifles look like assault rifles.

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Yep, you read that correctly. It will now be illegal in California to BOLT on plastic or metal bits designed only to make a legally owned rifle LOOK like an assault rifle.

They’d have done more of a public service making people with face lifts gone wrong illegal in public.

This does nothing but demonstrate how almost incomprehensibly stupid the people running this state are. Or it demonstrates that these people do actually understand the difference between and “Assault Rifle” and a regular hunting rifle and have an agenda to remove both from the hands of the public.

NewImageThey’re also after removable magazines, I have no doubt that they will broaden their focus from rifles to pistols leaving the only legal option for Californians a revolver.

After all a revolver is “old timey looking” and therefore not nearly as dangerous.

They’ll be forced to legislate more when they realize that a .357 magnum is a revolver that contains 8 rounds. Or that a .44 magnum is a revolver too and it contains 6 rounds.

Harry Callahan: I know what you’re thinking, punk. You’re thinking “did he fire six shots or only five?” Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow you head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself a question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

The point is, much like a Ferrari vs a Hundai, it’s not so much what the gun looks like… its how it performs.

Our legislators don’t understand this.


Condoms in Porn

These have been some back page articles.

Another porn actor has been diagnosed with HIV. And the CONDOM heads are all a dither pointing to this as reason that their NewImagecondom law in pornography should be extended from just LA to all of California.

What they didn’t point out is that the two porn performers recently diagnosed with HIV 1 man , 1 woman were romantically involved in their private lives. Also not mentioned is that the porn industry required medical screening turned up the HIV before these folks had a chance to spread the infection on set,  and that the screening is routine, broad spectrum (looking for HIV and other STDs)

LA County is noticing a drop in the number of permits for Porn film shoots as well.

While surrounding counties are noticing an increase in permits. Additionally more porn studios are filming completely outside California.

Miami, Phoenix, and Las vegas seem to be popular destinations.

Other studios are noticing that condom porn isn’t necessarily affecting their bottom line. However for aficionados of bareback it’s likely bareback production studios will be leaving LA if not California.

For that matter other studios may simply leave the state “preemptively” anticipating onerous laws and regulations. After all why NewImagespend money on permits, in California when you can go to Phoenix or Las Vegas and do your filming unimpeded.

Then there’s this, while you can force condoms to be used in a film… you’re not going to be able to force people to use them in their personal lives. So are these laws really doing all that much good? Or are these laws nothing more than a renewed puritanical movement?

The actors themselves are pretty free to choose how they engage in sex.  I know of several male actors that do solo shows only. The same is true of using condoms or not.

I find myself questioning again and again how many laws like the LA Condom law are about “public safety” and how many are simply about puritanical squeamishness.


So that’s it folks.

These are the odd bits of news that penetrated my thoughts this week. On the plus side I managed to miss all of President Obamas speeches. On the minus side… HEY! There is now down side to that!

The Hangman by Maurice Ogden

I was looking for the old quote attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller about the Nazi purges of the various groups perceived as threats to the Reich.

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First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

While looking for this quote, I came across a poem that speaks to the same subject.

I like both for their cautionary tones.

I’m worried that we are losing our way, in that we too easily choose a group to blame or demand compensation from.

I find myself asking more often these days, what defines a minority? Your first thought might be to say a person of color. That could be true.

But a minority is more than that. Wikipedia, provides this definition.

Which leads me to why I was looking for Niemöllers quote in the first place.

We as a country have apparently come to the conclusion that wealth is bad. We’ve arbitrarily decided that the “Wealthy” can pay more taxes.

The definition of  “Wealthy” is also variable and apparently chosen based on the needs of the state.

California has defined household incomes greater than $250,000 as wealthy and therefore subject to increased state taxation.

You realize that $250,000 could well be the income for a young Physician and his Stock broker spouse. Both of whom are trying to pay off $150,000 each in student loans.

The arbitrariness of the definition of Wealth begs the question for me.

If the State doesn’t solve it’s budget crisis… Will the politicians decide $100,000 in household income is Wealthy? Where does that line of reasoning end? $50,000?

We have politicians in Washington DC making similar statements about the “Wealthy” being able to pay a little bit more…

I’m concerned that this kind of thinking is a very slippery slope.

Don’t get me wrong… the Wealthy people that have sold our country out from under us, and off shored jobs, who’ve raped, pillaged, plundered, and employed slash and burn techniques on the American economy that MADE them wealthy.

Oh, they richly deserve punishment!

BUT Their punishment shouldn’t come at the sacrifice equal taxation and representation. Let the wealthy peoples tax breaks expire but levying higher taxes on a minority group is certainly as unfair as the tax breaks this group enjoyed.

Presented for your consideration by a centrist Republican who is interested in equality and even social justice.

So long as those things happen… Justly.

The Hangman by Maurice Ogden

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Into our town the hangman came, smelling of gold and blood and flame. He paced our bricks with a different air, and built his frame on the courthouse square. The scaffold stood by the courthouse side, only as wide as the door was wide with a frame as tall, or a little more, than the capping sill of the courthouse door.

And we wondered whenever we had the time, Who the criminal? What the crime? The hangman judged with the yellow twist of knotted hemp in his busy fist.

And innocent though we were with dread, we passed those eyes of buckshot lead. Till one cried, “Hangman, who is he, for whom you raised the gallows-tree?”

Then a twinkle grew in his buckshot eye and he gave a riddle instead of reply. “He who serves me best,” said he “Shall earn the rope on the gallows-tree.”

And he stepped down and laid his hand on a man who came from another land. And we breathed again, for anothers grief at the hangmans hand, was our relief.

And the gallows frame on the courthouse lawn by tomorrow’s sun would be struck and gone. So we gave him way and no one spoke out of respect for his hangmans cloak.

The next day’s sun looked mildly down on roof and street in our quiet town; and stark and black in the morning air the gallows-tree on the courthouse square.

And the hangman stood at his usual stand with the yellow hemp in his busy hand. With his buckshot eye and his jaw like a pike, and his air so knowing and business-like.

And we cried, “Hangman, have you not done, yesterday with the alien one?” Then we fell silent and stood amazed. “Oh, not for him was the gallows raised.”

He laughed a laugh as he looked at us, “Do you think I’ve gone to all this fuss, To hang one man? That’s the thing I do. To stretch the rope when the rope is new.”

Above our silence a voice cried “Shame!” and into our midst the hangman came; to that mans place, “Do you hold,” said he, “With him that was meat for the gallows-tree?”

He laid his hand on that one’s arm and we shrank back in quick alarm. We gave him way, and no one spoke, out of fear of the hangmans cloak.

That night we saw with dread surprise the hangmans scaffold had grown in size. Fed by the blood beneath the chute, the gallows-tree had taken root.

Now as wide, or a little more than the steps that led to the courthouse door. As tall as the writing, or nearly as tall, half way up on the courthouse wall.

The third he took, we had all heard tell, was a usurer…, an infidel. And “What” said the hangman, “Have you to do with the gallows-bound…, and he a Jew?”

And we cried out, “Is this one he who has served you well and faithfully?” The hangman smiled, “It’s a clever scheme to try the strength of the gallows beam.”

The fourth man’s dark accusing song had scratched our comfort hard and long. “And what concern,” he gave us back, “Have you … for the doomed and black?”

The fifth, the sixth, and we cried again, “Hangman, hangman, is this the man?” “It’s a trick”, said he, “that we hangman know for easing the trap when the trap springs slow.”

And so we ceased and asked no more as the hangman tallied his bloody score. And sun by sun, and night by night the gallows grew to monstrous height.

The wings of the scaffold opened wide until they covered the square from side to side. And the monster cross beam looking down, cast its shadow across the town.

Then through the town the hangman came and called through the empy streets…my name. I looked at the gallows soaring tall and thought … there’s no one left at all

for hanging … and so he called to me to help take down the gallows-tree. And I went out with right good hope to the hangmans tree and the hangmans rope.

He smiled at me as I came down to the courthouse square…through the silent town. Supple and stretched in his busy hand, was the yellow twist of hempen strand.

He whistled his tune as he tried the trap and it sprang down with a ready snap. Then with a smile of awful command, He laid his hand upon my hand.

“You tricked me Hangman.” I shouted then, “That your scaffold was built for other men, and I’m no henchman of yours.” I cried. “You lied to me Hangman, foully lied.”

Then a twinkle grew in his buckshot eye, “Lied to you…tricked you?” He said “Not I… for I answered straight and told you true. The scaffold was raised for none but you.”

“For who has served more faithfully? With your coward’s hope.” said He, “And where are the others that might have stood side by your side, in the common good?”

“Dead!” I answered, and amiably “Murdered,” the Hangman corrected me. “First the alien … then the Jew. I did no more than you let me do.”

Beneath the beam that blocked the sky none before stood so alone as I. The Hangman then strapped me…with no voice there to cry “Stay!” … for me in the empty square.

Lets not forget the purpose of Flight Tests People!

Morpheus test lander

I’ve been noticing a lot of negative spin from the media about the Morpheus crash.

To the MORONS in the media

That’s WHY you have flight tests.  

You test the machine before you put cargo or people or anything of real value in it. It’s unfortunate that there was a problem during the flight. However you can be sure that the information gathered from the failure will be used to make the next craft better, more stable, and safer.

Unfortunately, the Media Idiots bitching about the cost of the program and the cost of the lost vehicle… WEREN’T on the craft or under it at the time of the crash.

You want to talk about wasted money???

Look at the presidential campaign, how about congress pissing away billions on social programs that don’t create anything except a sense of entitlement and a class of people for whom getting off public assistance isn’t an option. 

How about reporting that our politicians haven’t maintained the nations infrastructure, or that many politicians today seem to be far more interested in regulating what goes on in American bedrooms or how best to subvert the constitution than actually providing leadership?

7 Million dollars to research and build a device that flew and is designed to leave Earth to deliver supplies to the moon?

That’s nothing!

I’ve heard of  20 million dollar military projects that pissed away 20 million and NEVER produced a damn thing or saw the light of day.

At Least NASA made something tangible.

And one thing the Media has failed to mention at all…

This wasn’t the first test of the Morpheus. There had been a number of tethered tests that preceded this flight. So it’s not like NASA engineers just wheeled this craft out onto the tarmac and pushed a button flushing 500K down the tubes.

All the data that had previously been collected said that the craft was ready to fly. But as with any new device, glitches happen. The preliminary information suggests there was some kind of hardware failure.

I prefer that the machine fails now, rather than when it’s carrying a billion dollars worth of materials and equipment wouldn’t you?

Maybe I’m just out of sorts…

Or maybe I’ve just been pushed over a  threshold.

There was an article in the Daily Mail talking about actor Jim Parsons. The article seems to have been trying to whip up some shock value about Mr. Parsons being gay, in a 10 year relationship and never having brought his other half to any events or award shows.

The author  LINDA MASSARELLA appears very interested in the fact that Mr. Parsons hasn’t revealed his lovers name.

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SAY WHAT????

Ms. Massarella I have to ask… What the hell business  is it of yours?

There may be some very good reasons for not doing a Hollyweird REVEAL.

Mr. Parsons other half could be working in any one of a 1000 businesses where the knowledge that he is gay could limit his advancement or terminate his career.

I’ve seen American Business up close and personal. I’ve watched what happens when a fundamentalist boss decides an employee is gay.

No more promotions

No more raises (or fractional percentages)

Business needs trumping the suspected gay employees vacation at the last moment. Or vacation requests not being approved at all because of business needs.

The gay employee is sent on every business trip (hey they’re gay… they can go to a bus stop and have sex.) This phenomena is especially evident around holidays. The US Office of Personnel Management lists 10 days as federally recognized holidays in 2012.

Most American companies don’t recognize four of those holidays. That means that if a business trip is likely to take an employee away during a holiday, the employee that is ordered on the trip will be single and probably gay.

Contrary to popular belief… being gay in American business often demands living in the closet. It’s not about being ashamed of being gay… it’s about making sure that promotions, raises, and career advancement isn’t artificially limited.

Even if an employee has a good boss when they come out there’s no guarantee that the next boss won’t be a fundamentalist or even a mostly moderate Christian hell bent on punishing the evil gay sinner.

For those people reading this who are thinking “Well you can sue for discriminatory practices“. Yep you’re right, you can… If you can prove it and the burden of proof is on the employee being discriminated against. Even in California! 

If you consider the rather volatile nature of a performers income, it’s possible that Mr. Parsons other half was the primary breadwinner in the relationship. They built a life together based on faith, trust and the overwhelming desire to help each other achieve their dreams.

Mr Parsons desire could have been funded by his other half working in business providing financial stability while Mr Parsons went to auditions, taking any parts offered. They probably never counted on Mr Parsons landing a recurring part in a hit TV series. Mr Parsons probably took care of a lot of the day to day household things so that his man could focus on moving up in his career, come home in the evening, have a drink and relax.

They likely built their lives around their combined income and lived modestly. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if they were still living a mostly modest life where the rules haven’t changed much. As anyone in long term relationships knows the roles each party chooses don’t really change much over time.

Ms. Massarella cites an Out Magazine article written by Michael Musto as support for her thesis that somehow Jim Parsons is less than honorable because he hasn’t outed his other half. The Musto article says absolutely nothing about performers outing their other half. It says that the group in the glass closet is shrinking. And that it’s finally become honorable and sensible for performers to bust out of the glass closet.

Between the time the Musto article was published and Ms. Massarellas piece in the Daily Mail… Mustos point has been proven. Jim Parson is now standing in the rubble of his shattered closet.

So Ms. Massarella… before you imply someone is dishonorable you really should think about what you’re saying.