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I just finished reading a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, not having known all that much about him before, and what really struck me about him is this:  I will bet you that he could sit in a room with a self-identified Tea Partier and a self-identified Socialist, and after a short time, he'd have them arm in arm, ready to get out there and make their country a better place together.   The biography I read was written by someone considerably more conservative than me, but in the end, the conclusion we both reached was that we really liked and admired this guy.

He had a way of taking the valid points that each side has and making the other side see the worth in them.  And I think he made the two sides realize that they weren't as different as they thought.

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Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:18 PM PDT

Voter fraud is a serious problem!

by skralyx

Dick Polman inspired me today.  He challenged us all to consider the significant odds of voter fraud.  Republicans are bent on fixing this awful problem, of course, which means they must also be bent on fixing other problems that are about as common.  Right?  

I thought I'd look at the odds of some different things happening.  Let's see how voter fraud stacks up!

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Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:01 AM PDT

Best and worst state flags

by skralyx

Today at breakfast I got the placemat with all the state flags on it.  First of all, I felt that was an improvement over Elmo's shapes and colors.  But it's also interesting to see them all side by side.  You realize that there are some really good state flag designs, and there are also some dogs in there.  You can check them all out at 50states.com or just try 'state flags' at Google images.

I'll give you my best and worst below the wispy orange thing, and I'd like to hear your opinions, too.

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Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM PST

What do we mean, 'gay'?

by skralyx

All this anti-gay legislation popping up in Arizona, Uganda, and even Washington is troubling for its permission of discrimination, of course, but I'm also troubled by another facet that I haven't seen discussed much.  When we talk about anti-gay legislation, what do we mean by 'gay'?

You see, if a government were to say specifically that it is all right to discriminate against 'gay' people, or 'homosexual' people, what exactly do they mean by that, and who gets to make the determination?  If I don't consider myself to be 'gay', but a business owner does, can that business owner refuse to grant services to me on that basis?  Whose call is it?  

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A couple of things have just happened in the fight for marriage equality that are very remarkable.

One of these was Hillary Clinton's video announcement that she supports gay marriage, and the other was Amazon's Kindle ad that debuted not long ago featuring a reference to same-sex marriage in a positive light.

I think it is difficult to understate just how important these events are.

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Two as-yet-unidentified Union sailors were buried today with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.  This may very well have been the last Civil War burial.  I could not find any mention of this here today, so I felt it was important for them to be acknowledged, however poorly I might do that.

It really is amazing what a long shadow the Civil War cast.  It was just last month that Mississippi, the last state to do so, finally officially ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which these servicemen helped bring into being.  It reads, simply:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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I don't care where
I don't care how
Willard M. Romney, will you please go now!

You didn't reach 2-7-0
So the time has come to go, Go, GO!

We don't care what you have to say
You've clearly overstayed your stay
Obama won, but not with 'gifts'
Go ride your automobile lifts

I don't care where
I don't care how
Willard M. Romney, will you please go now!

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Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 08:08 PM PDT

Have a great interview!

by skralyx

I know a lot of you are looking for jobs right now.  Whether you already have a job or not, I know it's tough, and I know it can be scary.  I've been interviewing people for many years, and I'm still doing it now, quite a bit.  I've seen people do very well in their interviews and I've seen others blow it.  I don't want you to be one of the ones that blow it, so I thought I would write down some of the simple things you can do (or not do) to give yourself the best chance to get the job, while these things are fresh in my mind.

Let me say that I'm writing this from the perspective of a hiring manager, so I can't give you tips on where to post your résumé, or what connections to make.  Here's what I do: HR emails me stacks of résumés that have passed their screening procedures, and I sift through them, recommend whom to bring in, do interviews, and make recommendations on whom to hire.

Follow me below the Kos clef to see what I'm looking for...

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Rachel Maddow once had a segment on her show called "Talk Me Down", where she'd bring on some expert to try to dissuade her from a doomsday perception of some sort.  Tonight I have my own version of this kind of segment….

There appears to be an odd loophole in the Constitution.  Considering the 14th Amendment, it seems that a State could select a small subset of its population and deny it the right to vote, suffering no penalty as long as that subset does not fall into a few specific classes.  I only chose Muslims in Oklahoma as an example because of that state's recent picklebrained attempt to pass a measure banning Sharia law from being used in its courts.  But we could fill in other classes: gays, people over 6-foot-8, people named Albert, yak herders, whatever you want.

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The media are currently awash  with stories about how Mitt Romney is going to give a ‘big’ or ‘major’ health-care speech tomorrow.  Now, how is it that a non-officeholder who has no power to implement any sort of legislation whatsoever (just like me!) gets to give a ‘big’ speech?  Why is it ‘big’?  This is TOTALLY unfair.

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AUGUSTA, ME -- Gov. Paul LePage of Maine came out today in favor of a measure that would replace all adult firefighters throughout the state with children 7 years of age or younger.  The bill is expected to come up for a vote in the Maine Senate early next week, with strong support from Republicans.

The Maine governor has previously stated that he favors scaling back Maine's child-labor laws and that he believes that curtailing the collective bargaining rights of state workers is paramount to closing Maine's budget shortfall.  

"As I've said before, a little work never hurt anybody," Gov. LePage said.

"And let's face it, kids love to dress up in those firefighter uniforms.  The thing is, these kids don't even know what collective bargaining is.  Go ahead, ask any of 'em.  They won't even miss it.  These kids will work for peanuts.  What could possibly go wrong?  The naysayers can all line up and kiss my ass.  This is win-win governance for the State of Maine."

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Fri Apr 15, 2011 at 06:30 AM PDT

More luxuries for the rich!

by skralyx

Well, thank goodness for this!  The very rich are dipping their toes in the luxury pond with a little more fervor!

Spending by rich Americans on luxury goods is set to grow by $26.6 billion in 2011, with the number of affluent families planning to spend more almost doubling in the past three years, a poll found on Friday.
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