Oct
8
2017

The Chicago Corrollary.

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“CHICAGO HAS THE STRICTEST GUNS LAWS IN THE NATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
 
Ahhhh… The clarion call of gun worshiping Conservatives everywhere, which tries to tie gun violence to gun restrictions, not only saying that restrictions don’t work, but they may also CAUSE more gun violence because law abiding citizens aren’t able to defend themselves with their own guns. I’ll call this the “Chicago Corollary”. But does the meme stand up?

Nope. Of course not.

The shootings in Chicago for the month of September are not analogous to the Las Vegas massacre for a few reasons. First, the shootings committed in Chicago were the result of 51 different crimes incidences spread across the month, whereas the 58 who died in Vegas were all killed by one single individual. Las Vegas recorded 70 gun homicides for the first half of 2017, which is about 12 per month. If that trend held through September, then the gun related deaths for Vegas are now higher than Chicago.

 

Several sources point out that Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco have tougher laws. Chicago USED to be number one on the list, but several court challenges led to rulings that negated the toughest restrictions. Note, I’m not judging the merit of those rulings, but simply pointing out that how the city laws have been scaled back. Interesting to note, Chicago’s toughest gun laws were struck down in 2010 and 2013. Not too long after, gun violence began a sharp upswing.

 
Next: If the Chicago Corollary holds up, then those three cities must also be the top three in gun-related homicides.
 
Nope.

The top three are St. Louis, Baltimore, and Detroit. As of last year, Chicago was in eight place.

Cities with much higher murder rates such as Memphis, New Orleans, and Newark never get mentioned…. Newark???

Oh… And New Orleans is an open-carry city. How’s that working out, and why doesn’t that city ever get mentioned in the debate about gun violence???

Long story short, Chicago isn’t the worst city in regard to gun violence. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not an issue of cities… It’s us, The US. Our societal infatuation with guns and violence has led this country to have the highest gun related homicide rates among the wealthy Western countries.

We in the United States have an expectation that, through American enginuity, we can do anything better than anyone, we can be better than any other country.

I don’t know… Can we?

Sep
24
2017

A Brief History Of Conservatives And The NFL.

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1999: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2000: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2001: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2002: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2003: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2004: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2005: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2006: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2007: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2008: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2009: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2010: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2011: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2012: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2013: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2014: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2015: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2016: Liberals need to stop whining about what NFL players get paid. They get compensated a lot because that’s what the market demands.

2017: “I’m getting real sick of these athletes that make millions of dollars whining like little babies and being so disrespectful. Go get a real job and then you can have a reason to cry because these guys don’t get any sympathy from me making as much money as they do for playing a game!!!”

Sep
17
2017

The FrankenBass!!!

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In case you don’t know, I love’z Peavey basses!!!! Mid 90’s and earlier are some terrific instruments. Here is the FrankenBass I built earlier this year. It’s a Foundation body, Patriot neck, flat wounds, T-15 pup’s, and my own “rail” system to hold the pup’s in place. The T-15 is a regular six string electric guitar, not a bass. I saw them on eBay one day as I was surfing for parts, and wondered what it would sound like to have those in there, so I figured what the heck. Those guitar pup’s??? They’re very HOT, really gives the thing an interesting sound. I swapped the normal volume pot with a push-pull pot. I can now instantly cut the line to my instrument without messing with the volume. I plan on adding a dual pot so I can control the tone of each pickup.

Ladies And Gent’s… The FrankenBass!!!

Oh.. And there WILL be more stickers.

Aug
23
2017

Fun With Binoculars And Solar Eclipses, 2017 Edition.

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I did this during the partial eclipse in 2012.

And this:

So, of course I couldn’t let this eclipse in 2017 go by with out a little bit of fun.

Aug
13
2017

Fed Up

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I’ve been a very patient man, but I’ve reached my limits. Yesterday, certain Conservatives, without waiting for any confirmation, posted the name of a guy, accusing him of being the driver in the Charlottesville attack. A facebook “friend” was one of those who gleefully posted the name of this person. The innocent guy was accused for only one reason, because of the person’s political affiliation, which is liberal.
 
That is blatant slander. The police had not issued the identity of the driver.There was no reason to post except to try and show a “Libtard” did it. When called on it, he didn’t care that the person was innocent.
 
Another “friend” posted a completely false story about Malia Obama getting busted with other Chicago “thugs”, complete with supposed mugshots, who, as you might guess, were all black, over a supposed bust involving several pounds of cocaine. The “friend” didn’t give a damned when pointed out this story was completely fake. It really ticked me off, because, no matter what your opinion of the political figure in question might be, I have long held that, unless the person actually has done something that directly involves policy, such as Hillary being in charge of the healthcare issue when her husband was President, partisan attacks on wives / family members of politicians are out of bounds. The “friend” tried accusing me of doing the same thing here all the time on my page with Ivanka, Malania, or Trump’s young son Barron.
 

I have probably mentioned Ivanka on business issues / practices a time or two. I’ve maybe mentioned Melania once, when she was caught plagiarizing a Michelle Obama speech. But I’ve NEVER in any way said anything slanderous about Barron. NEVER. I have a long policy of showing distain for that practice. Here is a post I wrote concerning attacks on Anne Romney:

I have no problem criticizing any politician when he or she is pandering, which Mitt was doing with his original comment. And it was clumsy, as usual. But what Rosen did, in order to score some political points, was akin to throwing fellow woman Ann Romney under the bus. And here it’s worse, because Mrs Romney wasn’t even in the road, but was a pedestrian on the sidewalk, and Rosen had to swerve to nail her!

I’ve felt this way since the Reagan years. I defended Laura Bush. I defended Michelle Obama, and I have defended Melania Trump. And I have defended their families. I have written about Donald Trump Jr. But he’s actively involved with the campaign, and he has been shown to have lied about things directly tied to his fathers campaign.

The same people who have no problem slandering others, are also the same people who cheer when protesters get run over. Even though I don’t share the same opinion, I can understand the opinion that blocking traffic during a protest is wrong. I get it. But to celebrate and revel when a person uses a car as a weapon…. Nope. That is a love and lust for violence I just can’t tolerate.

Those “friends” are gone from my facebook page.

So I’m fed up. If you

Jul
30
2017

Brat Tail Light.

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Because the forum I’m on doesn’t allow links to Google photo, I’ll put this here and link to it instead.

They thought they could defeat me…

Jul
1
2017

Happy Birthday Tim Finn – Persuasion.

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The other night at the Intimo’s Open Mic, I decided to pay tribute to a favorite artist, Tim Finn, who recently had a birthday. He’s been an influence on my songwriting and playing over the years. I usually play a more simple guitar rhythm, but I just recently realized I could play this more like the original recording. I’m still getting the hang of it, so forgive the rough moment here and there. Right now I play with a .63 pick. I think I’m going to try a lighter gauge for this kind of strumming to see if that will smooth things out.

So, here’s my rendition of Persuasion, by Tim Finn and Richard Thompson.

Jun
13
2017

California Single Payer – The Cost Of Freedom.

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This year, in the middle of 2017, the California legislature is in the process of moving a bill that would convert the entire healthcare system from the insurance based system we all know and “love”, to a single payer system, that, quite frankly, is completely unknown to the average US citizen.

Well, not really. Our police and fire services are also “single payer”. The come, do their job, and unless a ticket is being issued, you the citizen don’t have to pay a bill for those specific services rendered.

You DO pay taxes, which pay for those services. But we accept that.

There are legitimate complaints against the Affordable Care Act passed by Democrats and President Obama in 2010. It has also been good for a lot of people. But it is complicated and convoluted, and a lot of things that were promised did not come to pass.

The health care proposal the Republicans in Congress are working on, the American Health Care Act, doesn’t seem to make anyone except Donald Trump, certain partisans, and a number of Republican politicians happy. The GAO score on the thing is abysmal. There are many who voted for Trump and Republicans, who wanted the ACA repealed, but now realize they will lose their health coverage if the ACHA replaces the ACA.

It’s a mess.

So, if healthcare were indeed converted to the same type of single payer system, here are some of the clear advantages:

You, the citizen, would no longer have to deal with all the paperwork and hassle of getting an insurance company to pay for medicines and procedures that you think they are contracted to cover, but they say they are not.

That is freedom.

You, the citizen, could see any doctor you chose*, because there would no longer be insurance companies, or government for that matter, to restrict you from seeing them. Government pays for all doctor visits, so it no longer matters which one you choose.

That is freedom.

* If the doctor is a quack, and is practicing non-science based medicine, then that should really come out of your own pocket.*

Since insurance would no longer be tied to employment, loss of health care coverage would not be a deciding factor on whether you should change jobs or not.

That is freedom.

If you are an employer, you would no longer have to shill out gobs of money to pay for health coverage for your employees.

That is freedom.

There would no longer be insurance based cost tabulations to administer, there should theoretically be far less paperwork that doctors would have to handle, which means they could spend more time with patients. This was one of the huge failings of the ACA; it created more paperwork, not less.

For doctors…. That is freedom.

Of course, this system is not perfect. If you examine single payer type systems in other countries, you will of course find problems with those systems. But, when all is said and done, health care administered in a “single payer” type model, especially those found in all the other developed first world nations except ours, they are rated better in almost all metrics of healthcare than that of our system.

Including cost.

Oh yes…. Cost.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the cost of implementation of a single payer system in California would be expensive. The estimates range around $400 billion dollars. Yes, that is expensive. But modern medicine is expensive. And here’s the deal. We will not be facing a tax increase of $400 billion dollars. According to the Times, approximately $200 billion would be covered through existing state and federal subsidies. And, remember those employers I mentioned earlier? the amount they pay per year to cover their employee’s healthcare is estimated to be somewhere between $100 billion to $150 billion dollars.

That leaves an unpaid deficit of $50 to $100 billion dollars that we would have to pay in the form of taxes or other revenue generator.

OK. Let’s assume that it’s the high figure of $100 billion dollars we must pay for healthcare. That is no pittance.

But….

There is one basic question that I have yet to see addressed in this debate; what is the cost that the average Californian pays out of pocket in insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays? The latter two are complicated and hard to quantify, but insurance premiums are well documented. The average insurance premium for single coverage, excluding the contribution from the employer, is about $350 per month, or roughly $4,200 a year. California has a population of over 39 million. Multiplied together, that comes out to about $163.8 billion dollars a year. That total is far more than what would be needed to pay the remaining balance of the single payer system. But we know of course that not all 39 California citizens pay for their own insurance. Lets say only 25 million contribute. That still comes out to $105 billion, which, again, is over the high cost estimate that we, the taxpayer, would have to make up to pay for single payer healthcare in the state. To pay for the shortfall, California would implement a tax of some sort. If this was collected as part of the income tax, the cost would be spread out more. Therefore, people who currently pay insurance premiums would likely pay less of the healthcare taxes than they currently do for their insurance.

For arguments sake, let’s say the tax we would pay is still more than the average insurance premium. How much would it be worth to be able to walk into a medical center and get treatment at any time, without the hassle of insurance generated paperwork, without having to fight for coverage for even basic care….

That seems like a good deal to me.

 

Jun
10
2017

Lying – The Record – Trump v. Comey.

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What a week!!!! Former FBI Chief James Comey testified under oath during Senate hearings about his interactions with Donald Trump as candidate, then as President and boss. Comey did not have kind words, and under oath, continued to say Trump demanded he pledge “fealty” to Trump. Trump is saying these, and other things Comey said, are lies.

Yes. He’s flat-out accusing the former head of the FBI of lying under oath.

That’s a very serious accusation. Trump has hinted that there are tapes of the conversations… I think he’s hinted… Sometimes he says things and you’re not quite sure if he’s saying what it seems like he’s saying… Anyway, people seem to think Trump hinted that he has tapes. He’s demurring on whether there ARE tapes or not, but he’s saying he’ll let us know one way or the other “soon”… Just like how he said he would show his tax returns soon… After an IRS audit was done… After the election, after he leaves office, etc,… Or just like the evidence he gathered in his quest to prove Obama was really born in Kenya: “I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding.”

OK. Sorry. Sidebarring there for a moment.

Let’s have some fun and do a wee bit of investigative journalism and look at the record of each man, Comey and Trump, to see if either has a history of lying under oath.

First up to bat: James Comey.

Other than the current accusation by Trump and the Trumpublican media, an accusation which has yet to be proven or debunked, I couldn’t find much evidence that Comey has lied while under oath. I found this instance concerning the Huma Abedin ? Clinton emails, where Comey said Abedin regularly forwarded Clintons emails to her husband Pickle Pants… I mean Anthony Weiner. At a later date, he said he misspoke. Maybe. But for the heck of it, let’s call it a “lie”.

So far, that’s all I found.

One possible Comey lie under oath.

Now, let’s look at Trump’s and see if he has ever been caught lying under oath….

Here is one where he lied under oath about then NFL Commissioner offering a team to Trump if Trump and his USFL didn’t sue the NFL.

Both men seem to have at least one instance where their sworn testimony may not have matched reality.

What about public statements and the like?

Comey has a little cover here. As the head of the FBI, there were certainly circumstances where he had to lie to protect the integrity of work and investigations being conducted by his office. There is the fallout from this odd incident in 2004, when Comey raced Alberto Gonzeles and Andrew Card to the bedside of G. W. Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft to try and prevent the two from getting approval of a domestic spying program the White House was seeking. Of course the Trumpublican press has their side of the story, where Gonzales is the hero and Comey is the villain. But, at least right now, I don’t see very many using this incident to discredit Comey.

Trump and lying.

Where to begin…

How about here. In Donald Trump v Tim O’Brien, Trump, in one deposition, stretched out over two days, Trump is forced to admit, under oath, that he lied or misrepresented the truth. How many times did he lie or misrepresent the truth????

Thirty times.

From the article:

“That deposition — 170 transcribed pages — offers extraordinary insights into Trump’s relationship with the truth. Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did”.

Or what about this?

“Contradicting repeated denials from Donald Trump and his team, Newsmax reported on May 14, 2016 that Trump met Russian Ambassador Kislyak at a VIP reception in Washington on April 27.

And while meeting the Russian ambassador is fine, why lie about it?”

Here is a list of 101 lies told by Donald Trump, and it’s written in April of 2016. And most of the material evidence presented is from his campaign for the Presidency up to that point.

There are more, of course. A LOT more. But you get the picture. Donald Trump is now on the record saying he will testify under oath that Comey lied and perjured himself on Thursday. If Donald Trump is serious about testifying under oath about who lied, himself or Comey, it’s pretty obvious Trump is going to have a “yuge” problem and have a much steeper hill to climb in establishing credibility. And Trump may HAVE to testify under oath, as he has just accused Comey of perjury. That is not a charge taken lightly by anyone, least of all, by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

PS. Note the rambling third paragraph. See… It IS possible to ramble and make sense. I should maybe offer Donald Trump lessons???

Feb
16
2017

The Lost Lesson Of Gary Hart

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Dear Mr. Trump.

If you don’t want the press to turn the journalism knob up to eleven and investigate the hell out of you…

Don’t challenge them.