Twelve years ago, January 5th, 2005, I started this blog.
Yeah… Happy B-Day / Blogiversary To Us!!!!!
The main reason was to improve my writing skills while I was in the process of becoming a teacher. You see, I was never much of a reader when I was a kid, or even a young adult. Because of this, I didn’t absorb the fundamentals of the written English language that many of my peers did. I was not a complete English language washout though. As a kid, I had one ambition… To be an actor. Although I didn’t read or write much, I did pay attention to certain details because of that. I could write. And if the subject was something I cared about, like writing dialog or reports about tornadoes or earthquakes, or other sciencey stuff, I did pretty good. My grammar was high C to B average. My HUGE Achilles heel was spelling. In 1991, my junior year in college and long before this thing called “spellcheck” was a thing (you kids don’t know how well you have it), I had a professor write an assessment telling me I needed to make a dictionary my best friend. She was more than a little bit of a jerk about it. Of course she was not wrong. My spelling WAS horrible. But she handled it poorly. Some encouragement would have been more motivating. I graduated in 92 with decent grades, but never took any jobs where there was a lot of writing. But I felt the need to get better, and when I decided I was going to start a new career as a teacher, I knew I HAD to get better. The Sonicfrog blog turned out to be the perfect vehicle to improve my writing and spelling skills. I still make a mistake hear and their (just kidding), but I’m much much better at proverbially putting pen to paper, and with some confidence. It provided the practice I needed to become a better writer and become a good teacher.
There are a couple of other benefits to starting and maintaining a blog. Even though this was never an exercise in trying to get fame, some of my posts were featured on other more popular blogs, such as Instapundit, Ann Althouse, and even a couple of links on Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish. There was a time when I thought about writing more provocative content in order to attract more eyeballs, but I watched what happened with other blogs that went in that direction, and lets just say, blog management became a full-time unpaid job for many of my blog-pals. And that maybe would have caused me to lose sight of why I started doing this in the first place. Plus… MAN… When blogs really became popular, the comments section because freaking zoos.
Who needs that aggravation.
Not only did I decide not to try and become popular – I succeeded at that well enough – but also decided at some point to start challenging some of my own preconceived notions about the world. I came into blogging as a right-wing leaning fellow. I was more of a libertarianish type than anything. But I WAS a strong supporter of the Iraq war, and my early posts reflect that. 2005 was right when a lot of disturbing pieces of news had started to break. I would at first be the parrot, echoing what Conservative media said. But, because of my pledge to try and be accurate, I started getting into the habit of researching things on my own. Being someone who graduated with a degree in mass communications, I studied media / journalism quite a bit in college. One of the most important lessons I was taught is that there is no such thing as “unbiased” journalism. Every single human on this Earth is biased in some way, even me, and journalist, editors, photographers, news anchors, etc, ALL are biased in some way. The better thing to strive to find is the accuracy of information being reported, and look for things that may be omitted. The more I looked at all sides, not just the cherry-picked information each sides relies on to bolster their case, the more I grew to recognize that many of my long held beliefs simply didn’t hold up to scrutiny. So my blogging activities changed my perspective on the world. That was not expected.
An even more unexpected side effect of starting this blog was the act of writing itself. When I started blogging, it was a chore to sit down and write. Twelve years later, not only can I sit down and write on a whim, but, this ability extends to my songwriting as well. I used to have to wait for some sort of inspiration to erupt in my skull to get something down on paper, now I can typically write something at a moments notice. I’m not saying those lyrics are on par with those that are backed by the mysterious creative urge, but I can do it if needed. I find it kind of cool actually.
Oh… And one last thing. I used to have a hard time writing in first person. Because of mm twelve years of experience writing my blog…
Here are a few thoughts.
People did not vote for Trump because of the insane / inane comments and tweets he said… Well… Maybe a few people did. As repulsive as some of his comments and tweets were, let’s face it, we have become numb / immune / apathetic to the vulgarities we are exposed to everyday in films, on the TV, and of course on social media. We are used to it. No, they voted for him because he has marketed himself as the common man (the Forgotten Man – Google it). There are a lot of people who are fed up with government, and I’m talking about Democrats and Liberals too. Hillary chose to market herself is a person with long experience in government. Few responded to that.
As far as treating Trump like the Republican Congress treated Obama… No. Show them you are better than they were.
And purge the party of the Clinton machine. You lost because her blind ambitions clouded her from the long standing reality that she’s not a very appealing person. I spent too much time defending her against inaccuracies and flat-out falsehoods, not because I’m a Hillary fan, but because I’m a fan of accuracy and truth. And even then, with as many falsehoods as I worked to expose, there were still plenty of legitimate and questionable aspects concerning Hillary and her lapses in judgement, and her lame attempts to try and obfuscate and lie her way out of them.
Hillary Clinton was a horrible candidate.
Hillary’s selling point was her many years of experience in government. Her time as Sec of State was not a shining light of competency. Granted, the Middle East is so fubar right now, I don’t know that anyone can do a good job in the position. By most accounts, she was a pretty good Senator of New York. There are interviews of former Senate colleagues who have high praise for her work and demeanor during her tenure there. That includes Republicans, who are otherwise critics of her. Yes, she would have come into office as one of the most experienced candidates ever to run for the President. But much of that experience also comes with tons of baggage, real and imagined… Thirty years worth. And she was accumulating even more bad even as she was running this campaign for President. On the one hand, I’m horrified that so many in this country seem apathetic that a foreign entity such as Jillian Assange would be working to interfere with this election. On the other hand, what those leaks reveal, about how Hillary and her team corrupted the the DNC and turned it into an “Elect Hillary” machine… And then, when the shit hits the fan, and the corrupt individual running the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz is fire as head of the DNC, she is immediately hired by the Clinton campaign… COME ON PEOPLE!!!! Then Donna Brazzile is hire to replace her, and SHE is reveal to have been passing question
A few weeks ago, while giving a speech somewhere, she commented that she couldn’t understand why she was 30 points ahead in this race. The fact the couldn’t see the reason is part of the problem, and, because of that blindness, that was something she would and could never overcome. Of course, she has since come out and blamed Comey for her loss. But if she would have been more careful with the details of running an email server, done it by the book, not deleted things… Well… Maybe that’s where the real problem lied.
The wall of Peavey is complete. From left to right:
1984 Fury – My most recent acquisition. Ash body, maple neck. First gen was old T-20 renamed. Second gen became a true P type bass. I accidentaly bought it in Reno last week, and after tuning it up a bit, I’m falling deeply in love with this thing! It ALMOST has a Rickenbacker sound.
1989 DynaBass – The first bass I bought was a black DynaBass in 1991. It got stolen in 2000. I had lined for another for a long while, and found “Red” for sale on The TalkBass forum in 2008ish. I LOVE that beast!!!
1998 Fury – A fine P bass for less than a Fender. It’s not as “cool” as having a real Precision Bass… But then, I was never cool.
2011 Millenium AC 5 String – One of my old bands was having a reunion, and I played mostly 5 string on our songs. Problem was… I no longer had a 5er. I found this for a bargain. Not their top of the line model, but it does have the same electronics and pickups of their more expensive Cirrus bass… Which I wants btw.
Oh… And the thing hanging on the wall with the squares is an early “Acoustic Frames” prototype.
UPDAT: I was just checking eBay, and there is a Peavey fretless 5 string that needs a new home….
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
- Los Angeles County Flood of 2005
- Mid-Atlantic and New England Flood – October 2005
- Ka Loko Reservoir – March 2006
- Mid-Atlantic Flood – June 2006
- Western Gulf Coast flood – October 2006
- Washington State Flood – November 2006
- 2007 Midwest flooding – August 2007
- 2007 Oregon and Washington floods – December 2007
- 2008 Midwest flooding – Spring 2008
- June 2008 Midwest Flood
Yep. Visited Iowa in mid-June.
- July–August 2008 Alaska Flood
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”””
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.”
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 »
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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???