Aug
18
2016

DAMNED YOU OBAMA!!!!!!!!! YOU’RE NOT VISITING THE LOUISIANA FLOOD!!!!

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That’s all over the social medias today. Obama is getting hammered because he is in Hawaii on vacation – playing golf of course (pun intended) – instead of visiting the flood region of Louisiana.  I got to wondering, what did his predecessor George W Bush do when floods occurred during his administration?

  • Tropical Storm Allison floods in Louisiana and Texas – June 2001

Nope.

  • Los Angeles County Flood of 2005

Nope.

  • Mid-Atlantic and New England Flood – October 2005

Nope.

  • Ka Loko Reservoir – March 2006

Nope.

  • Mid-Atlantic Flood – June 2006

Nope

  • Western Gulf Coast flood – October 2006

Nope.

  • Washington State Flood – November 2006

Nope.

  • 2007 Midwest flooding – August 2007

Nope.

  • 2007 Oregon and Washington floods – December 2007

Nope.

  • 2008 Midwest flooding – Spring 2008

Nope.

  • June 2008 Midwest Flood

Yep. Visited Iowa in mid-June.

  • July–August 2008 Alaska Flood

Nope.

In my search of each of these flood events, I found that George W Bush made a visit to one event out of twelve, which shows that a Presidential visit for floods is not a common occurrence. That doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be better if Obama would make time to visit. But we’ve seen this before. He’ll go, visit some places, then he’ll give a speech and mention global warming, which will immediately draw criticism from the same people who are criticizing him now for not going.

You may be wondering “Where’s the New Orleans visit in 2005???”. I left Katrina off the list for a reason. Hurricanes get way WAY more publicity due to the fact that we can see them coming, kind of like the slow-motion train wreck phenomenon… We just can’t keep our eyes off it… Or at least the media can’t. We follow them for days as they make their way to our shores and hit landfall. Coverage of hurricanes has been that way my whole life. floods caused by too much rain??? Not so much. Yes, floods like these do get reported, and the current Louisiana floods HAS gotten coverage before this “Where’s Obama” meme popped up. But floods never EVER get nearly the coverage that hurricanes, and the flooding caused by them, do.

PS.  I did find one other instance of a visit for flooding in Pennsylvania in 2004, but that was also due to the aftermath of a hurricane, Hurricane Ivan.

PPS. If I missed a flood event, or missed an instance where G W Bush did visit one of the about events, please let me know. I’ll be happy to add that information.

Aug
18
2016

Meme Watch – Our Failing Economy And The World War II “Cure”.

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A Conservative friend on facebook posted a familiar refrain about how FDR’s New Deal policies did not get us out of the Great Depression, that only occurred as a result of World War II. Being a bit of a history buff, I have to challenge that widely repeated assertion.

First, lets define an economic depression: a depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe downturn than an economic recession, which is a slowdown in economic activity over the course of a normal business cycle.

A depression is an unusual and extreme form of recession. Depressions are characterized by their length, by abnormally large increases in unemployment, falls in the availability of credit (often due to some form of banking or financial crisis), shrinking output as buyers dry up and suppliers cut back on production and investment, large number of bankruptcies including sovereign debt defaults, significantly reduced amounts of trade and commerce (especially international trade), as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations (often due to currency devaluations). Price deflation, financial crises and bank failures are also common elements of a depression that do not normally occur during a recession.

Let’s take a look at a few metrics, covering the start of the economic crash in 1929, up to the point where the US become an official participant in World War II at the end of 1941 with the bombing of Pearl harbor.

Here is the sate of the economy, the GPD, during the period in question. Just going by the GDP figures alone, it is obvious that by the end of 1941 we are not in a depression or recession.

Here is unemployment. Note that here too, by the beginning of World War II, our unemployment is certainly vastly improved from the depths of the Great Depression.

By 1939, the DOW was back up to about the same levels as it was in 1926, just before the bull market began it’s final fatal jump-off point into the Great Depression.

By the end of 1941, the fear of war had taken a toll on the gains that occurred during the recovery.

http://www.investmentoffice.com/show_image.php?file_id=1061

Now lets look at industrial production.

That also recovered. This chart does show one aspect of the New Deal that some do ignore, that every single program did not have the desired effect to boost the economy. In this case, the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) hampered industrial production recovery somewhat. It was one of the acts struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935, and industrial growth resumed.

In a nutshell… FDR’s New Deal worked.

Now to the second part of the Cnservative argument… It was World War II that got us out of the Great Depression. For the sake of argument, lets say that is true. What did the government do during the war years to get us out of the depression???

  • Government controlled many facets of industrial production, paying, or sometimes forcing companies to make products such as ammunition and weapons for the war effort.
  • Wages and prices for goods were regulated by the government.
  • Marginal tax rates for the rich were at 81 to 90%.
  • Many products were rationed and US citizens could only buy certain products on certain days.

So, in other words, the United State basically became a Communist Country for the duration of the war!!!

I have a question: why couldn’t we adopt a little of what was done in World War II and implement a massive push to improve our crumbling infrastructure? If Conservatives are right, this would lead us to more prosperous times.

It could be done.

Aug
9
2016

When Supposed “Fact Checkers” Fail. UPDATE.

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I love it when someone at some blog tries to strip fact-checking sites like Politifact or Snopes of their “fact-checking” status, only to have overlooked things that show them to be in error. This is a tricky post to write, because I would be lying if I declared I hadn’t gotten things wrong from time to time.

But I try my best to be as accurate as possible. And I have changed my mind on things when my research shows I’m wrong.

And then there’s this. A writer by the name of Jack Marshall took on Snopes, declared it to be “unethical” and “biased”, based on their examination of the rape case Hillary took on in 1975. I remember hearing about this on the Rush Limbaugh show way back, how Hillary got a rapist she knew was guilty out of jail, and laughed about it later. Of course, no contest was given. Mr. Marshall seems to be following the same playbook. Here’s what he writes on his blog Ethics Alarm:

Ethics Alarms has been tracking the increasing political bias exhibited by Snopes, once the definitive “Urban Legends” web source to identify false stories on the internet, e-mails hoaxes  and other pollution of public information. The website has made the disastrous decision to wade into political topics and to hire some new social justice warriors and wanna-be Democratic Party operatives to cover them, resulting in the site becoming bad imitation of PolitiFact.

The disturbing trend really established itself this month, but it was in evidence earlier. For example, Snopes rushed to defend Hillary Clinton when the story of her defense of a child rapist was used to smear her. (Ethics Alarms explained, correctly, unlike Snopes, what was unethical about the attacks on Clinton (all defendants deserve a zealous defense, no matter what the charge, and a lawyer isn’t endorsing or supporting a client’s crimes by doing her professional duty).The Snopes defense, in contrast, was dishonest and misleading. Quoth Snopes, via its primary left-biased reporter, Kim LaCapria.

Mr. Marshall then goes on to show how Snopes was wrong:

Claim: Hillary Clinton successfully defended an accused child rapist and later laughed about the case.

MOSTLY FALSE
WHAT’S TRUE: In 1975, young lawyer Hillary Rodham was appointed to represent a defendant charged with raping a 12-year-old girl. Clinton reluctantly took on the case, which ended with a plea bargain for the defendant.

WHAT’S FALSE: Hillary Clinton did not volunteer to be the defendant’s lawyer, she did not laugh about the the case’s outcome, she did not assert that the complainant “made up the rape story,” she did not claim she knew the defendant to be guilty, and she did not “free” the defendant.

Notice that the TRUE and FALSE sections don’t match the claim. That’s because Snopes is playing the logical fallacy games of moving the goalposts and using straw men. The claim, as stated by Snopes, is 100% true.”””

100% true????

Nope. Mr. Marshall is not presenting the whole case as laid out by Snopes. He is lying by omission. This “takedown” of Snopes, by the writers own standards, is “unethical”. The blogger fails to account for the meme displayed at the top of the Snopes article. Here is the meme that the Snopes article is addressing:

 

So, you can see that the meme specifically DOES state in no uncertain terms that Hillary “volunteered” for the case. In fact, she tried to get out of it. So, right there, the meme that Snopes is debugging already fails Mr. Marshalls 100% claim. Hillary did NOT volunteer for the case. From another, better researched article on this matter:

“””[Mahlon] Gibson, the Washington County prosecutor and one of the only people still alive with knowledge of the case, has said emphatically over the years that she did.

In 2008, Gibson told Newsday that “Hillary told me she didn’t want to take that case. She made that very clear.”

Recently, Gibson made similar comments to CNN. He said the judge, Maupin Cummings (now deceased), found Clinton on a list of lawyers who would represent low-income clients.

According to Gibson, Clinton called him and said, “I don’t want to represent this guy. I just can’t stand this. I don’t want to get involved. Can you get me off?”

“I told her, ‘Well, contact the judge and see what he says about it,’ but I also said, ‘Don’t jump on him and make him mad,’ ” Gibson said. “She contacted the judge, and the judge didn’t remove her, and she stayed on the case.””””

The writer at Ethics Alarms says this:

“”””That is certainly laughing about the case. Then Snopes tries equivocation, saying that Clinton didn’t laugh about the outcome of the case. I see: she laughed (three times!) while talking about the case, but wasn’t laughing about the case’s outcome, just…the case. Ridiculous.””””

And yet, he includes the transcript of exactly where Clinton laughs when telling the account of the trial:

“””In 2014, the Washington Free Beacon published the audio of an interview that Arkansas reporter Roy Reed conducted with Clinton in the 1980s. In the interview, Clinton recalls some unusual details of the rape case, and she can be heard laughing in three instances, beginning with a joke she makes about the accuracy of polygraphs.

Clinton: Of course he claimed he didn’t. All this stuff. He took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs. [laughs]

At another point, Clinton said the prosecutor balked at turning over evidence, forcing her to go to the judge to obtain it.

Clinton: So I got an order to see the evidence and the prosecutor didn’t want me to see the evidence. I had to go to Maupin Cummings and convince Maupin that yes indeed I had a right to see the evidence [laughs] before it was presented.

Clinton then said that the evidence she obtained was a pair of the accused’s underwear with a hole in it. Clinton told Reed that investigators had cut out a piece of the underwear and sent the sample to a crime lab to be tested, and the only evidence that remained was the underwear with a hole in it.

Clinton took the remaining evidence to a forensic expert in Brooklyn, New York, and the expert told her that the material on the underwear wasn’t enough to test. “He said, you know, ‘You can’t prove anything,’” Clinton recalled the expert telling her.

Clinton:I wrote all that stuff and I handed it to Mahlon Gibson, and I said, “Well this guy’s ready to come up from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice.” [laughs]””””

Laughing because polygraphs suck. That’s NOT laughing at getting the rapist off the hook.

Then she laughs at the fact that she had to got to such effort to see evidence in the case, something that could get the case thrown out all together if evidence was withheld.

The third laugh? It’s pretty clear she laughs because the crime lab screwed up. She ended up winning a plea deal for her client, which happened because of the screwed up evidence.

Never ONCE did she laugh because the rapist got off free.

Ethics Alarm has much less credibility than Snopes at the moment.

PS. Here are the transcripts from the trial in question, if you want to examine them.

UPDATE: Here is a defense of Hillary and her role in the case. Key quote:

“The prosecutor in the Clinton 1975 rape case obviously came to an early conclusion that there was not enough credible evidence to present to a jury or that the factual circumstances were such that it warranted a settlement. He therefore put a plea deal on the table.

As the defense attorney in the case, Clinton had an ethical responsibility to either open or discuss plea negotiations with the prosecution. But at the end of the day she did not have the authority to craft a plea deal. She could only accept, or reject, any plea deal ultimately proffered by the prosecutor. And this decision could be made only after Clinton discussed all the details of the proposed deal with her client, including any alternative defense strategies. She had no other ethical choice.”

Aug
5
2016

Paid To Play… Or Not.

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starving artist

 

On a friend’s facebook page, there is a brough-ha-ha that’s going on about paid vs non-paid music venues, and it revolves around the The Starving Artist Bistro in Clovis California.

The Starving Artist Bistro (SAB) is a retaurant that provides a stage for musicians and comics to go up on stage on a whim and perform. Note that the stage is small, so regular full piece bands are not going to fit on the stage. This is a venue geared toward the singer / songwriter and comedian. Musicians usually end up playing about six or seven songs and then surrender the stage to the next guy who is waiting in the wings. Some musicians are ticked because the place doesn’t pay performers, other than tips you might make from customers who are dining there. They have the view that SAB is ripping you off and you’re getting exploited if you play there. Continue Reading »

Aug
4
2016

Super Chicken Yell… In Blue.

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Bakka Bakka Bakka Bakka 

Bakka Bakka Bakka  

Bakka Bakka Bakka Bakka 

Bakka Bakka Bakka 

Baaaaaaak….

B’Coooooooock!!!!!! 

Aug
4
2016

_________________________

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The biggest story of the day, maybe the year, is the fracturing of the GOP and the Trump campaign for the Presidency… If that’s really what he’s doing.

There is this very famous news aggregate site that prides itself on being the master at featuring the biggest stories, on featuring the breaking stories before anyone else does.

Anyone notice something missing???

drudgenotrump.

Aug
2
2016

For Shi Jaramillo

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flower-bloom-animated-gif8

 

Happy Freaking Birthday!!!!!!!!!!

Aug
2
2016

Trump Is NOT Hitler. Pt 2

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post that compared aspects of the Trump populist candidacy and possible election to the Presidency to one of Americas most prominent populist Presidents, Andrew Jackson. This afternoon I realized there is a better, if equally imperfect, comparison to be made. It came to me as I was squawking with a Trump supporter on facebook. The supporter was comparing Hillary’s horrible record as Secretary of Defense and her lies involving Benghazi and the email scandal vs Trumps lies involving national security. Now, there is no comparison because Trump, of course, doesn’t even have a record in that field at all.

And then it hit me…

There is a much more recent political novice that we can look to that is a much better example of how bad things can get for “outsiders” officeholders. The one I’m thinking of met many of the same criteria as Trump. Here’s the list of promises made when this other guy was a candidate:

  • He was a celebrity, which helped him campaign against opponents.
  • He could say things that other politicians running for office couldn’t.
  • He was hailed as an “outsider” because he’d never held office before.
  • He was going to be able to fix the budget because he was a successful businessman.
  • He has plenty of money and pledged not to take money from special interests.
  • He proposed tax cuts for the rich.
  • Fix education (everyone promises that)
  • Proposed tightening immigration due to terror risks.

The person I’m referring to is, of course, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He ran as a Conservative, noting he had voted for then Gov Pete Wilson’s famous anti-immigrant prop 187. Problem was, with everything else he was more liberal. In the campaign the people that brought that up were brushed aside. In his first year in office, he did try to govern as a Conservative. The “Governator” tried to use brute force based on his star power and popularity to get the Conservative agenda passed, but that didn’t provide him the kind of political leverage in the hallowed halls of of the legislature everyone assumed it would. After failing to get his agenda passed via the the legislator, he bypassed them and brought several laws up for popular vote through the initiative process.  The voters smacked his initiatives down.

Then what did The Governator do???? He reverted to his true nature and governed the rest of his first term as a liberal. And he got re-elected as a Republican liberal / centrist.

For all my friends who are Trump supporters, I can’t ask you not to support him, as I know you either like him, or view him as the lesser of the two evils between the two major candidates. What I do ask is that you consider that Donald Trump may very well be a modern day Trojan Horse, a man who is likely to betray you and the country at the first difficult challenge.

Aug
1
2016

Celebrating The Old Forgotten Song!!! The Teenage Years.

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Back… WAY back in the day, there used to be this radio station that covered the San Joaquin Valley called KKDJ. It played AOR rock, and had great JD’s and personalities that always entertained.

Ahh… The “good ol’ days”.

Back in this time, so long ago – just slightly after the dinosaurs went extinct –  we didn’t have the internets and steaming music services and mp3 players and smartphones with “gigs” of music on them. We, well I, didn’t have a lot of disposable cash to go out and buy tons of records. The solution was to place a cassette tape recorder in front of the home stereo speaker and press record.

And often a stereo wasn’t even something that played music in stereo. For much of my childhood, my musical life was in mono. The family had one of these, and it only had one speaker… It was a “Mono”, not a stereo!

This is what the inside typically looked like.

They were big and heavy, and ours was mono. But it got the job done.

Then we got one of these! A REAL Stereo!!!! With a cassette deck!!!

I could now ditch the little cassette recorder and record things in STEREO!!!

BEAUTIFUL SACRED STEREO!!!!!

I happened across a picture of the exact same model we had. I completely forgot it had a DIGITAL display too…. IT WAS GLORIOUS!!!!!!

This post was not even supposed to be about the stereos of my past, but there you are. The topic of the post is lost music, found. The big and popular songs are readily available on YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, etc (I won’t use Spotify btw, and rarely use Pandora). But what about the songs that did make it to the airwaves, but never became hits. In my late 20’s, I could scrape up some money to buy the CD’s if I really liked the song. Before that, Miami Vice, with its fashion and flair, had cemented songs into pop culture that may have otherwise also been forgotten… Hello Lunatic Fringe! MTV had come, done it’s thing, and was starting to die, taking the music video along with it. What about song that didn’t make the cut for either, but weren’t bad songs? They were played on the radio for a bit, but never hit it big. Those songs faded quickly from the playlists, as well as the record stores. But for my cassette taping sessions, so many of these songs seem lost for ever. To make matters worse, most my tapes got lost to time; hungry car tape players, car break-ins, and many a move over the years. Funny thing is, I can still remember so many of those songs. They’re “Ear Ghosts”, and have remained with me, even 40 years later.

Here is one example. I always remembered this song. I had no idea who did the song, but I remember the verse and the chorus. It’s been rattling around inside my head for all these years. I looked for it over the years, but the title “Keep On Fighting” is not exactly unique and tons of hits for different songs come up when you google it. This morning, for what ever reason, I decided to search yet again…

BINGO!!!!

And here it is. Who remembers it?

Here’s another. Anyone remember the group 707? They did have a semi-hit with the title track to the silly MEGAFORCE movie, but this was before that.

Shooting Star???

Try googling Toronto. You’ll get everything, even but the band named after the city doesn’t show up. They were a fun band though, and had at least two songs that are on my “lost” list. I keep thinking there is one from them I forgot. The lead singer has a pretty strong and memorable voice. Through the magic of the internets, I just found out this group are the original writers of the song, “What About Love”, made famous by Heart.

Anyone remember the group Prism?

What some of your favorite “lost” songs?

PS. It’s interesting that many of the band linked above are from Canada.

Jul
26
2016

“Crooked” Hillary, Pt 3 – The Wal-Mart Years.

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This was a request from my Laurel canyon bandmate Jim, who is very liberal – a socialist really, he’ll tell you so – and is not happy about Hillary having been on the board of directors of the “evil” retail store Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the poster-child for horrible corporate governance for liberals. The aren’t unionized and fight it tooth and nail. Their employees are paid low wages. They instruct their employees on how to get food stamp and other forms of welfare so they can keep paying lower wages. Etc. So, of course, any involvement with that company is a ding against her.

Jim wanted to know if it was true. And i told him I’d look into it.

Yep. She was, at one time, on the Wal-Mart Board Of Directors, from 1986 to 1992, the year she became first lady. She came into the fold at a time when Wal-Mart was expanding, but was not yet national. Wal-Mart of 1986 was not yet the mega-giant we know today. In 85, before Hillary came on board, they had about 882 stores in operation in about 22 mid-western and southeastern states, recorded sales of 8.4 billion, and had about 104,000 employees. When Hillary left the board of Wal-Mart to eventually become First Lady, the chain had grown into a much larger retail chain, and had stores in 45 of the 50 states. Today’s Wal-Mart US division has about 4,600 stores, 1.4 million US employees, and it’s revenue is something around $482 billion.

Needless to say, the Wal-Mart Hillary Clinton was associated with is not the behemoth that is Wal-Mart today.

That doesn’t mean that the same problems didn’t exist. Sam Walton, the founder of the company was already notorious for keeping costs down, which included employee pay. But they did offer stock options, and I’m betting many of the longterm employees have done pretty well in that regard. But their benefits are nowhere nearly as good as unionized competitor Costco. There are other issues as well.

The New York Times does a good job describing her time on the board. Note that she was the first female appointed to the board, and the Times notes that, although she didn’t seem to lobby hard for employee pay increases, she did press for, and get some improvements in other areas.

So, Jim, there you go.