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Sat Jan 03, 2015 at 06:50 AM PST

Origin of Santorum "Blah" People

by ZedMont

Maybe somebody noticed this before, but I was watching this movie, "The Promotion," from 2008, and was surprised to see a character try to explain his way out of a remark to a black superior that presages Santorum's "blah" remark in 2012.
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Discuss

This is the text of an email I sent the Navy today.  I knew the Air Force had gone nuts with it's proselytizing, but now the Navy has gone full teabag???

I watched the Army-Navy game the other day and was quite disappointed to see that the United States Navy is aligning itself with organizations that advocate far rightwing positions, if not outright rebellion against the United States of America.  The use of the Gadsden Flag on Navy football uniforms is an insult to those who have pledged their loyalty to and served this country.

And don't give me your "historical" balderdash.  It was appropriate in 1775.  News flash!  This is not 1775.  

NOW, in the 21st century, this flag is flying over those who hurl racial insults at the president of the United States and openly propose rebellion against the United States government and you DAMN WELL KNOW IT.  I personally saw it flying on an overpass on a busy Dallas freeway next to a depiction of President Obama WITH A BONE THROUGH HIS NOSE!!!

Here's a version that doesn't even attempt to hide it's intent.  Curiously enough, the Confederate version (scroll) looks more like your uniforms than the original, which is yellow.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.  You know better.  Your oath of office teaches you better.  God help this country defend it's sense of honor and loyalty.  You sure as hell aren't.

By the way I'm a BIG fan of Roger Staubach and WAS a fan of Navy before your irresponsible display of insolence against your own government.

Correction:  As so many commenters have so graciously pointed out, the Navy football
uniform is based on the "original" Navy Jack, which happens to contain the emblems (snake, "Don't Tread On Me") of the Gadsden flag, but is not the Gadsden flag per se.
The modern Navy Jack prior to the 9/11 attacks was stars on a blue field, but after the 9/11 attack, the navy felt the "Don't Tread on Me" version an appropriate symbol of our response to terrorism.  They apparently now feel it's also an appropriate response to opposing football teams as well.
Discuss

I got this email from my friend Maggie telling me that she neither knew nor liked any of the Texans running for Senate, so she wrote in my name.  Then I got another email saying she mentioned it to her sister Toni, who said if she had thought about it she would have done the same.

My rather thoughtful reply can be seen beneath the chopstick-swirled Lo Mein drenched in orange chicken sauce:

Continue Reading

Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM PDT

I am the world's biggest WIMP!

by ZedMont

Okay, so I was taking my daily hike today and there were these two chicks that I passed and I was going up this steep hill looking all cool, senior citizen jogging up hills and stuff and then I fell on my face and skinned all the flesh off my knee.  I was able to find my glasses that fell off and scramble to my feet before they got close enough to see what happened, but then as I limped down the trail I realized that there was some seriously serious pain going on here.  

On the way home I got these sharp, shooting pains that made me holler.  I couldn't believe it.  If you had told me a skinned knee could hurt that bad, I would have said you were nuts.

I went home and did all the stuff my RN wife taught me to do - washed with soap and water, apply antibiotic cream.  NO HYDROGEN PEROXIDE, ZEDMONT!!  Okay I got that.
It just kept on hurting so bad that every couple of minutes I would yelp like my chihuahua when he gets too close to the cat.  So I drank vodka mixed with peppermint schnapps and followed that up with peach brandy and it still hurts but I can't remember the pain too well.

I'm supposed to be on this low carb diet but there's nothing low carb about vodka, peppermint schnapps and peach brandy.  I need barbecue bad.

Discuss

Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:42 AM PST

What Makes Texas Different?

by ZedMont

I'm watching Leticia Van De Putte, Dem candidate for Lieutenant Governor, miss a golden opportunity while being interviewed by His Wordship Chuck Todd.

Todd asks her why Texas has done so comparatively well during the recession, and she gives him the obligatory "abundance of natural resources" bromide, without elaboration.

Then Todd says that Rick Perry would say that it's because Texas has fewer regulations on business.  And this is where she should have said:

Oh really?  Texas has fewer regulations than other states?  You mean somehow Texas got an exemption from federal regulations?

To which Todd would have said, no, no, I meant Texas itself imposes fewer regulations on business than other states.

Ah, she should have said.  Then it's not a matter of FEDERAL regulations, since obviously every state in the union is under the same federal regulations.  But it's a matter of how the state regulates itself.  So, Chuck, you're saying that any state could have an economy just as robust as that of Texas, if only they would regulate themselves less?

Uh...uh...well that's not exactly...

Then what are you saying, Todd?  I'm saying that Texas has been blessed with advantages that not every state possesses.  Obviously this is not about federal regulations, despite Rick Perry's protestations to the contrary.  This is about hard work in an atmosphere of tremendous good fortune, and any state with the resources of Texas could match its relative success.

Unfortunately, drugstore cowboys like Rick Perry are only concerned about success for the successful.  Outside that relatively small bubble of actual prosperity exists a state that is drowning in this sea of plenty.  As the Texas Legislative Study Group has said in its 2013 report "Texas on the Brink," Texas is

50th in high school graduation rate, first in amount of carbon emissions, first in hazardous waste produced, last in voter turnout, first in percentage of people without health insurance, and second in percentage of uninsured kids.
Now, the GOP has nominated Gregg Abbott, a Perry clone, who has dedicated his entire career to preserving this despicable travesty.  It's time for Texans to fight their way through the GOP media fog, financed by wealthy special interests out for no one but themselves, and listen to some alternatives.

Wendy Davis knows that Texas can do better, that we can be a state of decent human beings who have each others' backs.  I only ask that Texans listen to what she has to say with an open mind, consider which candidate will act in the best interests of all Texans and which candidate will act only in the best interest of the politically connected elite, and then register and vote their conscience.

Chuck, one only has to look at the slate of radical extremists the GOP has just nominated to know that Texas truly is on the brink, and this election may be the state's last chance to reverse this parody of real prosperity that is Rick Perry's chest-thumping Texas for the wealthy, and restore a Texas of which every Texan can once again be truly proud in every sense of the word.

Let's do it.

Discuss

"KENNEDY SLAIN ON DALLAS STREET," screamed the inch-and-a-half letters in the 4-inch headline.  As if large words could somehow assuage the sorrow and guilt of a city at the center of "Why?"

There were words of contrition and pain within, even large department store ads that said nothing more than "John F. Kennedy."  If there were those who quietly celebrated the president's death, there were far more who had great respect for the president, and even more who may have opposed the president politically, but held the office in high esteem. Shock was the only word to describe the feeling that day, and it was every bit as real in Texas as it was in Washington, D.C.  I know.  I lived it.

The conspiracy theories were immediate, mostly centering around the mafia, Cuba, and the Soviet Union.  But the front page words that would address the real guilt and shame within the pages of that newspaper were in the sub-headline, in much smaller letters that belied the world-shaking impact they were to have.  They said simply:

"Johnson Becomes President."

The first hint of the paradigm shift this president was to preside over was presaged by this story, hidden at the back of the sports section:

"Negro Status Unsure in Senior Bowl."
Some 16 years after Jackie Robinson had started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, NBC was deciding whether or not it would cancel television coverage of the Senior Bowl, because "Negros are not invited to play."

And in tiny print, hidden in the want ads were these:

"WHITE MOTHER or older woman in South Oak Cliff High School area needing to supplement income: 1/2 day.  Flexible hours."
"LIVE IN - Middle-aged white woman. care children school age.  Generous salary.  Give references."
"WHITE lady, for child care.  light housekeeping, 5 days, in my home."
"WHITE FRY COOK" $80 week, 6 days, 5 meals and uniforms furnished."
"FRY COOK - White, to 35. Fast and thorough.  Nights."
"Young man (white) for counter work.  18 to 40."
"WHITE Practical Nurse companion.  Also drive car.  Days only."
"WHITE housekeeper for elderly lady.  Must drive. Under 50."
At first, I thought that "must drive" ad was specifying the driver must drive under 50 miles per hour.  But after encountering dozens of ads specifying not only race, but sex and acceptable age range, I concluded "under 50" meant age.

And it was not only the color of your skin that mattered, apparently it was the color of your voice as well:

"WOMEN to take Christmas orders on the phone in our downtown office, part or full time, no experience necessary, $1.25 per hour.  White only..."
This is not to say there weren't job ads that SPECIFIED minority candidates, like this one:
"DISHWASHER Permanent job for colored boy, age 18-25, to wash dishes, do janitor work and help in kitchen.  No nights.  No Sundays.  Do not phone."
Black people KNEW, if they didn't want to waste their time when asking for work, to specify their race:
"COLORED girl wants daywork. maid, cook, ironing. ETTA."
Despite the "WHITE COOK" ads, minorities were often welcome and even specified in restaurant ads - especially behind the kitchen wall:
"COLORED WOMAN PASTRY COOK" cafeteria experience preferred."
"COLORED WOMAN VEGETABLE COOK" cafeteria experience preferred."
 If I were guessing, I would guess that the preference had more to do with wages and working conditions than it did with an appreciation of black people.

Black people even had their own classified sections in some cases:

"For Rent to Colored  P-27"
And you ladies, y'all had your own sections too:
HELP WANTED Female (Miscellaneous)  E-9"
For you ladies, there was extra care to see that the job was "right" for you:
"WANTED (really wanted) Well established aggressive and dignified company has opening for nice-appearing lady for secretarial position.  Shorthand not required.  Pleasant telephone manner essential....Reply, reflecting age, marital status, dependants, and brief resume of experience..."
emphasis mine.

So, there, hidden behind the big headlines, is a snapshot of what awaited Lyndon Johnson in the years ahead.  Thank God he was up to the task, although the task is far from finished.

It only took the election of a black president in 2008 to draw the attitudes hidden in the back pages of the November 23, 1963 edition of the Dallas Morning News into the open in all their ugly, bigoted glory.  

The only reason there weren't ads barring heterosexuals from employment in 1963 is not that homosexuality was tolerated, it was just that gay and lesbian people didn't look any different than heterosexuals, they didn't acknowledge their sexuality for the most part, and it was simply easier on puritan sensibilities to act as if they didn't exist than to explicitly bar them in ads.  

Besides, the erroneous but widespread belief in sexual stereotypes led managers to believe they could take care of such things at the interview, if they were so inclined.

We have come so far, and yet, the ugly spirit of November 23, 1963 is still among us, waiting - impatiently of late - and longing for a return to "the good old days."  That spirit sees 1963 as only a revolution away from reality, and backed with seemingly endless financial support, those filled with that spirit are hard at the task of electing representatives who can get them back there, from city council to president.

We. Can. Not. Let. That. Happen.    

Never again.

Discuss

Sun May 19, 2013 at 08:08 PM PDT

ZedMont's Casa Caliente Guacamole

by ZedMont

INGREDIENTS

5 large avocados

3/4 cup cherry tomatoes

juice of 1 lemon   

1 tsp. sweet onion

1 clove garlic

1  fresh jalapeno pepper

1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves   

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

corn tortillas

cooking oil   

1 tsp. salt or to taste

METHOD:

 Slice avocados in half and twist to separate halves

 Remove seed by whacking seed with edge of knife and twisting (Don't miss and
 whack your hand. Or any other valued parts)

 Scoop out avocado with a spoon into a large bowl

 Quarter the cherry tomatoes and add to avocado.

 Juice the lemon and sprinkle juice over avocados

 Chop the onion to a fine mince and add to avocados.

 Using garlic press, crush the garlic clove and add to avocados

 Remove seeds and veins from jalapeno, chop to a fine mince, add to avocados.
 Wash hands carefully before touching anything sensitive...like your eyes

 Chop cilantro leaves and add to avocados

 Add worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, ground cumin and salt.

 Using a potato masher, mash the mixture gently and mix with a spoon.  Don't mix to
 mush.  You want to see some avocado chunks.

 Adjust seasonings to taste (add more salt, heat at your own risk)

 Heat cooking oil to 350 degrees.

 Cut tortillas into wedges and drop a few at a time into the hot oil and
 fry until oil no longer bubbles and chips are crisp and lightly browned.

 Drain and while still warm, toss the tortilla chips with salt, allow to cool.

 Place quacamole and chips into serving bowls and dip away.

(Resist the temptation of store-bought chips.  There is no comparison).

Warning:  The addition of mayonnaise to this recipe will be recorded in your
              permanent file and will not be forgiven.

Discuss

Update to title after reading comments and poll:  Or Maybe The Can After All...

This is a short diary, inspired by this, posted by Something The Dog Said

Taking what Something The Dog Said idea in another direction, a 2014 ad supporting Dems who back gun control measures could use it to devastating effect.

The ad:

No spoken words at all.  Simply a rolling list of all the children killed or injured by guns since Sandy Hook in the background, with some of the most egregious instances magnified and held for reading as the list rolls behind it for as long as the ad runs.  

Closing words:  

"When will enough be enough?  

What's worth more?  These lives?  Or the smug refusal by these congress members and their NRA puppet masters to require common sense, life-saving background checks (another rolling list of the congress members)

How long must this list become before sanity prevails?

At the end, a website where every incident on the list can be read in detail.

(By 2014, the list will be far too long to run to the end)

I'm sure professionals can do a far better job in execution, but the stakes are too high not to at least make the suggestion.  I would think contributions dedicated to running this ad over and over would be overwhelming.

Poll

Such an ad would be:

5%2 votes
50%17 votes
32%11 votes
11%4 votes

| 34 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Here are some numbers from "First Read" (Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Brooke Brower) this morning that I haven't seen before.  I've seen the NBC/WSJ/Marist poll with Obama 48% Romney 47%, but I haven't seen this punchline until just now:

Link: * Undecided vote breaking in Obama’s direction? (about 2/3 down page)

Here’s one last point we want to make about our national poll: The survey found that 9% of the likely voters are up for grabs (meaning they’re undecided or just leaning to a candidate), and these folks have more positive feelings toward Obama than Romney. Obama’s job approval with them is 48% approve, 41% disapprove. What’s more, Obama’s fav/unfav with them is 46%/29%, vs. Romney’s upside down 22%-49%. Bottom line: Our pollsters see more of an opportunity for Obama among these voters and more of an uphill climb for Romney.
How does Romney get past those numbers?
Discuss

This morning on "Meet the Press" David Gregory pressed Netanyahu directly and repeatedly to respond to Republican charges that President Obama has "thrown Israel under the bus."

Netanyahu danced around the question and refused to get in the middle of American politics, but it was clear from his non-answer that he was neither willing to accuse the president or to excuse the president.  He knows the president is likely to be reelected, and is not willing to burn bridges, but clearly he would like for the president - any president - to give Israel the green light of unconditional support for bombing Iran. But he knows it is not in the longterm interests of Israel to throw President Obama under the political bus at this critical time.

Mitt Romney and his Republican surrogates have no such qualms, and their willingness to undermine the President of the United States in time of crisis is inexcusable.  At one time this would have been widely condemned as disloyalty, and I personally will call it that right now - disloyalty not just to the president, but to the United States. It's telling when Benjamin Netanyahu expresses more loyalty to the United States than a major U.S. political party and it's nominee for president.

Mitt Romney is not president.  Barack Obama is president.  No matter what Mitt Romney thinks Obama should be doing, Romney can do nothing until January 20 at the earliest. Therefore, as a loyal American he and the Republicans should be deferring to the president's leadership in a time of national and international crisis.

If he would do something differently, that's fine, tell us, but be specific, and suggest a course of action to the president.  Bomb Iran right now?  Fine, say it, Mitt.  Get it off your chest.  And what the hell do you want to do about the radicals in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere who are attacking Americans and American institutions?

Don't talk to me about "apologies" and "projecting a tough image" when you are talking about the people who killed over 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001 and have been doing their damnedest ever since to kill more Americans.  Are you @#$%% kidding me?  

If you can't differentiate between dealing with radical extremists and nascent democratic governments, then you are not qualified to criticize a president who can and has walked that perilous tightrope with considerable success.

So, Mitt, if you have some specific suggestions for YOUR president, let's hear them.  Now. Tell us exactly what you would have the president do RIGHT NOW.

Otherwise, Mitt, with you're strutting dangerously close to the red line of aiding and abetting our enemies.  So, put up constructive suggestions, Mitt, or shut your disloyal pie-hole.

Discuss

Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:54 AM PDT

Healthcare Tidbits 1900s to 2000s

by ZedMont

Just a few highlights (one from each decade) from this PBS TIMELINE of American healthcare through the decades.  Many more interesting details in the timeline itself.

1900s

Doctors are no longer expected to provide free services to all hospital patients.
1910s
Opposition from physicians and other interest groups, and the entry of the US into the war in 1917 undermine reform effort.
1920s
Reformers now emphasize the cost of medical care instead of wages lost to sickness - the relatively higher cost of medical care is a new and dramatic development, especially for the middle class.
1930s
Against the advice of insurance professionals, Blue Cross begins offering private coverage for hospital care in dozens of states.
1940s
President Truman offers national health program plan, proposing a single system that would include all of American society.

Truman's plan is denounced by the American Medical Association (AMA) , and is called a Communist plot by a House subcommittee.

1950s
At the start of the decade, national health care expenditures are 4.5 percent of the Gross National Product (As opposed to 17.9% in 2010*).
1960s
"Compulsory Health Insurance" advocates are no longer optimistic'.
1970s
President Nixon's plan for national health insurance rejected by liberals & labor unions, but his "War on Cancer" centralizes research at the NIH.
1980s
Corporations begin to integrate the hospital system (previously a decentralized structure), enter many other healthcare-related businesses, and consolidate control. Overall, there is a shift toward privatization and corporatization of healthcare.
1990s
Federal health care reform legislation fails again to pass in the U.S. Congress.
2000s
Changing demographics of the workplace lead many to believe the employer-based system of insurance can't last.
*Parenthetical remark added by diarist.

These are just a smattering of interesting details about how we got from where we were to where we are.  As you can see, footdragging in the medical and insurance professions is a time-honored tradition.  We have come a long way.  Unfortunately, in many respects our travel was in a circle.

One thing that puzzled me was the rejection of Nixon's plan by liberals and labor unions.  This cleared it up for me:

Ted Kennedy often said his biggest political mistake was turning down a health care deal with Richard Nixon, and Kennedy's old lament had Democrats yesterday thinking again about compromise on reform.

Kennedy said he turned down the universal health coverage plan offered by the Republican President in the early 1970s because it wasn't everything he wanted it to be. He later realized it was a missed opportunity to make major progress toward his goal.

President Obama was determined not to live with the same regrets.  Just imagine, if Nixon's plan had passed, it would have been seen as a monument to bipartisanship by the Republicans of the 1970s.

Now, a Democratic president has reconsidered and finally agreed with Nixon (and Romney), just in time to be labeled as an anti-American communist destroyer of America by the monstrous mutation the Republican Party has become.  Oh, and pssst, don't say it out loud for God's sake, but... he's black!!

Regardless of how this whole thing turns out, I will be eternally grateful that we learned at least something from our mistakes and that we have someone like President Obama who is willing to have the most foul vitriol heaped upon him in order to begin the slow turn of the U.S. healthcare Titanic away from certain disaster.

Strongly recommend reading the entire timeline.  Excerpts don't do it justice.

Poll

To sum up the history of health care in the United States:

0%0 votes
30%4 votes
15%2 votes
0%0 votes
7%1 votes
38%5 votes
7%1 votes

| 13 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Oh, Mitty boy, the voters are a-calling
From swing states east and west and even south
The summer’s gone, and with it all excuses
Tis you, not I whose taxes must come out.

So give them up while autumn is upon us
Or keep them hid, it’s all the same to me
Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh, Mitty boy, oh, Mitty boy, I loathe you so.

And if you stall, and all your polls are falling
If I’m still here, as surely I will be
You’d best come clean as did your dear old daddy
And show your cards, your money where it’s been.

And I’ll be here, your faithful honey badger
To prod you on should arrogance prevail
You'll keen and whine and point your fickle finger
But Mitty boy, it’s either way a fail.

Discuss
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