Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ghost Images

Like Fox Mulder on the X-Files, I want to believe. Unfortunately, the evidence is very weak.

Most of the photographic evidence is obviously fake or just as obviously optical illusions. One of the easy keys to a fake is that the real things in the photo are blurry too.
For example, this photo taken in a cemetery outside Chicago in 1991 is considered one of the best ghost photos around. However the very real stone slab the ghost is sitting on is as ethereal as the ghost. Granted, ghosts rarely show up under studio lighting for a photo shoot. Most modern images are taken in the dark using infrared light. Still, if you are going to modify a photo using computers or an air brush, it is easier if the image is already muddy.

The illusion called matrixing where people see faces where none exist is responsible for people seeing Jesus on a burned fish stick, a monkey-faced monument on Mars, and dead sailors in roiling sea foam.

Even very believable photos can turn out to be fake. A photo taken of the Wem Town Hall in Shropshire, England as it was burning in a fire showed a ghostly little girl standing by a railing.
She's not centered in the frame (unseen spirits appearing in the middle of a photo is another dead, so to speak, giveaway of a fake) and she looks spectrally genuine. But research shows it was only an elaborate hoax.

But I still want to believe. I'm not sure of the deep psychological reasons for wanting to believe in ghosts because it's not like I plan to hang around after death whispering in people's ears at midnight. Or worse, have Zach Bagins taunting my afterlife, that would truly be hell.

Don't get me started on UFOs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thoughts on Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was a monster yet she was totally consumed, eaten alive if you will, by the Nor'easter that mated with her. When a monster eats a monster you know the shit will be deep.

This was not a "Storm of the Century" event. It was the storm of the millennium. Not in the recorded history of the Atlantic coast has there been a storm like this and records go back almost 400 years.

The flooding in lower Manhattan exceeds the worst in history, which was recorded 201 years ago.

The chances are between the sea level rising and global climate change we'll see a repeat performance within the next 20 years.

What do you want to bet that Donald Trump will demand no-interest federal loans and bailouts to repair his Atlantic City casino?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gateways to Hell

I was surprised to discover that there is a gateway to hell in Stull, Kansas. Although that would explain all of Kansas history from Quantrill's Raiders to Sam Brownback.

According to legend (or maybe the bible or Quran) there are seven (or six) portals to hell located on Earth. According to the internet the planet is pockmarked with dozens of entrances to the devil's domain with an inordinate number in the US alone. Excluding Stull, here are my seven choices.

New Jersey Sewer
It may or may not have something to do with Chris Christie's enormous bowels but the story is that a storm drain in Passasic County, NJ is a portal to hell. Apparently there is an entire catacomb of rooms and tunnels where satanic rituals are commonly performed.

York, PA
This is sort of a seventh son of the seventh son kind of gateway. On the site of an abandoned insane asylum there are seven gates, all but one are only visible at night. If you pass through all seven in the proper order you will be transported to hell. But be careful, the land is private property and if you don't get to hell you may end up in jail for trespassing.

I love this one. In the 1980's Soviet scientists drilled 14.4 kilometers into the earth and broke through to hell itself. They could hear the cries and moans of the condemned souls emanating from the hole. Christian fundamentalists have been spreading this story enthusiastically.

Danakil, Ethiopia
In the African Great Rift Valley the earth is literally being torn apart as two geologic plates move apart. The Danakil Desert is a hellish place of volcanoes, sulfur vents, and extreme temperatures. Hell is quite the tourist attraction.

Xibalba, Belize
The Mayans declared these caverns were the entrance to the underworld. There is no known evil attached to these caverns except, of course, for the whole Mayan human sacrifice thing.

Lake Avernus, Italy
The Romans thought the same as the Mayans only their entrance to Hades was via a crater lake. This is by far the most beautiful portal to hell you'll find.

Darvaza, Turkmenistan
Whoopsie! Forty-one years ago Soviet (them again) engineers drilling for natural gas hit a huge pocket. The roof collapsed threatening the nearby villagers with death by poisonous gas fumes. Someone got the bright idea to set the open crater on fire and burn off the gas. They figured it might take a couple of days and they could resume drilling. The fire is still burning. It makes sense that the petroleum extraction business would open up a gateway to hell what with all their signed contracts with Satan.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Texas Threatens Foreign Poll Watchers

It used to be Americans considered their country a shining beacon of democracy. We loved to show off our free and fair elections. Now, Republicans generally and Texas Republicans specifically are sent into spasms of terror at the thought of some foreigner watching us vote.

The Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe is sending people to observe next month's election. It's something I would expect to be greeted with a hearty "Welcome, y'all, come on down!" The Texas Attorney General has threatened to arrest any foreigners watching the vote in his state. Even though the poll watchers have been granted diplomatic immunity.

It's like he's trying to hide something. Oh wait, he is. A Texas law requiring people "show their papers" before being allowed to vote was overturned by a federal court. Yet the Tea Party is planning to aggressively harass Hispanic voters. It's the kind of anti-American activity that Texas Republican would prefer to practice in private.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Romney, Rape and Women

Like most radical Republicans, Mitt Romney's view of women is biblically defined. They are vessels, mere containers for the seed of men. They are also temptresses, the ultimate evil corrupting righteous men.

giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel ~ 1 Peter 3:7

Do you know that you [women] are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree; you are the first deserters of the divine law; you are she who persuades him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert-that is death-even the Son of God had to die. ~ St. Tertullian

As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence. ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

If they [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that's why they are there. ~ Martin Luther

Make dads the godly leaders with the women in submission, raising kids for the glory of God. ~ Randall Terry, Operation Rescue
But we should not forget that Mormons have had, from the founding of their religion, a unique view of women. 

Sisters, do you wish to make yourselves happy? Then what is your duty? It is for you to bear children. ~ Brigham Young

I think no more of taking a wife than I do of buying a cow. ~ Heber Kimball, one of the original apostles of the Mormon church, he had 43 wives.

I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands. ~ Brigham Young on the concept of "blood atonement" for sins. He had 55 wives.

To radical Republicans, a pregnant woman is merely a jar containing the gift of a man's sperm. Whether or not the sperm was placed there by violence is immaterial. The woman of no more concern than a glass beaker.

As for rape? The sin is for a woman to survive rape. Death is the only proof a woman has that she didn't "ask for it."

It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle. ~ Spencer W. Kimball, President of the Mormon Church until 1985.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Five Creepiest Places on Earth

There are a lot of scary places on this planet, such as the mind of Michelle Bachmann. Here are some bad places.

Helltown, OH
Officially, the community of Boston Mills was bought up by the federal government in the 1970's to be made part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Property was taken by eminent domain and people kicked out. The speed in which this happened and the fact that now, forty years later, derelict buildings still remain has led people to speculate the rapid evacuation of the township was due to a chemical spill or demonic activity. Ghostly apparitions are common, especially of children.

Stull, KS
The story is that when Pope John Paul II was touring the United States he gave specific instruction that his plane not fly over eastern Kansas. The cemetery in Stull is said to be a Gateway to Hell. (That would actually explain a lot about Kansas.) It is said that the Devil himself walks the streets of Stull on the vernal equinox. The ruins of the old church, pictured above, stood unmolested for eighty years because residents were afraid to touch a brick of the cursed building.

Aokigahara Forest, Japan
Located at the base of Mount Fuji, this forest is eerily quiet because of an absence of wildlife. It is also eerie because if you hike its trails you will likely come across a dead body dangling from the trees. Aokigahara is a suicide forest. People enter the forest and kill themselves. Hundreds have committed suicide, dozens every year. And because of the thickness of the forest bodies may hang from the trees for weeks and months before authorities get around to cutting them down.

Poveglia, Italy
During the Dark Ages living victims of the Black Plague were exiled to this island in the Venetian lagoon where they would die retched deaths. Later an insane asylum was built on the island. There have been a couple of attempts by rich Italians to build villas in the island, both were abandoned because of violent and terrifying supernatural events. The island is now off-limits to visitors, Venetian fishermen even refuse to bring their boats near this island of death.

Prypiat, Ukraine
Not a ghost town but a ghost city. One moment 50,000 people lived here, the next moment they were all gone because of Chernobyl. The buildings still stand as does the amusement park, but everything is abandoned. Tour buses now visit the city but people are forbidden to live there.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Romney and Iran Stupidity

The WTF moment of the final debate came in two parts. On the stage Mitt Romney said the World Court should indicting the Iran president for "incitement to genocide." Then in the spin room a Romney aide suggest that a UN arrest of the Iran president would naturally follow.

"Incitement to genocide" is a real crime in international law. The first time it was used was against Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher at the Nuremburg war crimes trials. He was executed. Hutu propagandists were convicted following the Rwanda genocide of the Tutsi. Israelis have been urging an Iranian indictment for incitement to genocide for six years now. 

Anyone can suggest a nation's president should be indicted for war crimes. I even proposed George W. Bush be indicted for violating the Geneva Convention on torture. Arresting a nation's president is something else. To arrest Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would require invading Iran and overthrowing its government. It requires war.

The only countries in the world interested in war with Iran are the Republican half of the United States and Israel. And Israel only wants a war with Iran if the United States does all the actual fighting and dying.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Final Battle

The 2012 Presidential election will be decided by Barack Obama's vaunted "get out the vote" organization versus the Republican Party's equally formidable "voter suppression" campaign.

For Romney
Florida has led the world in finding the ways and means to prevent citizens from casting votes since Jeb Bush was governor. Ohio's Secretary of State Jon Husted has done everything legal, and much that is illegal, to make the ballot inaccessible in Democratic counties. Both states will fall to Romney.

For Obama
Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Colorado all have weak or non-existent programs to prevent citizens from voting. Obama should take all of these.

So it is all down to Virginia. Republicans in the state are certainly trying to block or intimidate Democrats away from the voting booth. Whether they succeed will decide the fate of the nation.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Great Sports Week

  • The Yankees got swept by the Detroit Tigers. Any year that happens is automatically a great year.
  • A-Rod, who for years been an overpaid, overrated, over juiced pseudo superstar, has finally been discovered as all that and a choke artist to boot.
  • To get rid of him the Yanks are going to have to pay some pathetic team (probably Florida) $100 million just to take his sorry ass. And to rub the salt in deep, the Yanks will have to give A-Rod a couple mil to wave his "no trade" contract clause.
  • This Sunday is the San Diego Chargers bye week. Meaning there is a better than even chance the Chargers won't blow a huge lead to lose in the fourth quarter.
  • NHL stars are playing entertaining hockey in Europe even though NHL owners were convinced by a Republican strategist to "go Galt," lock out the players, and destroy the sport.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Romney: Putting Profits Above Death

One of the visceral vibes you get from Mitt Romney is that he values proceeds over people, net profits over life and death.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Cohn has done the kind of research beyond me on how Mitt and Bain Capital managed a successful effort to terminate the health benefits of scores of cancer patients and how Mitt turned their suffering into low tax lucre for Mitt and his investors.
This is the purest possible definition of Vampire Capitalism - literally sucking the breath out of people for fun and profit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Traitors in the War on Women

If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine. ~ Anne Coulter

Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. ~ Janis Lane, Central Mississippi Tea Party President
You kind of expect Republican men to hold this opinion. Lord knows many do. But seeing these women is like looking at a Jewish Nazi or a black man advocating slavery.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Jesus Rifles

The manufacturer of the gunsights for the Army's M-4 rifles likes to stamp biblical quotes on the sights. This has led the guns to be commonly known in Afghanistan as "Jesus Rifles."

Imagine you are a Muslim hired onto the Afghan security forces, you're cleaning your gun one evening when you notice your rifle, given to you by the United States Army has been blessed by Jesus. Would you be more or less willing to turn that gun on the American soldiers that made you a blasphemer?

Echos of the Sepoy Rebellion
In the 1850s, the British in what is now India and Pakistan introduced the Enfield rifle.  To load the rifle soldiers had to open cartridge packages greased with pig lard by biting them. Muslim and Hindu soldiers made blasphemers by their British commanders mutinied. Thousands were slaughtered in the ensuing war.

Oh, the picture above. It's a British firing squad executing prisoners by strapping them to cannons.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Random Observations

Ryan's Water Fetish
There are many causes of severe dry mouth from diabetes to hypothyroidism. But Ryan's obsessive water consumption during the Veep debate was due to high anxiety. Paul Ryan was scared spitless being on that stage.

Pity Prize
The poor European Union, struggling to hold itself together through multiple economic crises and suicidal austerity packages, got what amounts to pity sex from Norway. Norway won't marry the EU but she will give him the Nobel Peace Prize because she feels sorry for him.

Mr. Not-October
I love Alex Rodriguez, in a sarcastic way. He has three MVPs, 647 home runs, and a salary that would choke Mitt Romney's horse. But when October begins A-Rod begins gagging like a mouse trying to swallow a watermelon. In the pantheon of New York Yankee heroes A-Rod ranks below Bobby Richardson and Bucky Dent.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Polls: Random Noise

Everybody, at one time or another, has freaked out over the polls. Needlessly. That doesn't mean that Obama did himself any favors by trying to take a nap during the presidential debate nor Romney by dissing half the country.
  • It does mean that opinion polls also register a willingness to talk. Only 9% of people contacted by pollsters actually respond. Ninety-one percent just hang up. It doesn't take much movement in the hang up numbers because of momentary disappointment or enthusiasm to influence the polling results. 
  • The best polls have a margin of error plus or minus 3% meaning a poll number of 47% is really anywhere between 44 and 50 percent.
  • Order of questions makes a big difference in results. If they ask "who won the debate?" first it will influence how some people answer "who are you voting for?"
But the biggest reason the polls are random noise is that most of the states don't matter. Romney has a huge lead in the Confederacy and the Grange states. Obama has a similar massive lead on the left and right coasts. Those leads could be by ten, twenty, even thirty points and it doesn't make a difference. What matters are those in between states - the Great Lakes, southern Rockies, and Florida.

And I have to believe those poor people are being drowned in campaign calls and polling calls. I'd be shocked if the hang up rate in Ohio is under 95%. Each pollster is dialing 20,000 Buckeye phones just to get enough responses to make up a polling result. And there are over a dozen pollsters in the field harassing Ohioans.

Bottom line. It is a close election where Get Out the Vote and Voter Suppression programs will make the difference.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Fundamentalist Science

With the rise of Mitt it's probably a good idea to prepare for the New Science that will dominate our schools. We all know about Creationism, but there is so much more.

Speed of Light Is Slowing
Fundies believe the universe is six to ten thousand years old. This creates a problem explaining how the light from stars billions of light-years away is visible. One explanation is that the speed of light is slowing down at a rate of 38 km per second per year. I haven't worked out all the profound practical and philosophical ramifications of this. For example, at some point the speed of light will drop below the speed of sound and everybody will look like there in a poorly dubbed kung fu movie.

The Moon Is a Light Bulb
Bill Nye, the Science Guy, ran afoul of this in Texas when he idly mentions that the moon reflects sunlight and got booed. In Texas they believe the Bible when it says that God created the moon as a light in the night sky. The Bible doesn't explain the phases of the moon but I'm guessing it has a dimmer switch.

Set Theory Is Satanic
One of the things fundamentalists pledge is to rid math lessons of set theory. It's not, as you might think, the use of heathen (Greek) symbols or that fact that it makes common sense. Apparently, religious folk object that in set theory you can conceive of multiple infinities. God is the only infinity and imagining infinities of numbers is sacrilegious.

Pink Sky
According to creation science, when the Earth was formed it had a crystalline canopy of hydrogen and water surrounding it. According to this science it never rained on the antediluvian Earth, there were no such thing as rainbows, and the sky was perpetually pink. This canopy was the source of all the water for Noah's Flood.

Dinosaurs and Man
Basically, the Flintstones was a science documentary. The only way to reconcile the existence of dinosaur fossils with a 6,000 year-old Earth is to assume dinosaurs and humans coexisted. A concurrent theory is that dinosaurs were also fire breathing dragons. Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs like pets. Jesus too.

But we shouldn't be too dismissive of these fundamentalists because it is absolutely true that real scientists have taken a picture of the Eye of God.
Although, oddly, creationists utterly refuse to claim this as proof.

Monday, October 08, 2012

American Police State Stories

I doubt the old elementary school lesson, "the policeman is your friend," was ever true, but it certainly isn't nowadays.

Solitary Confinement
Daniel Chong was the classic innocent by-stander swept up in a drug raid. The DEA put him on ice to soften him up for interrogation. They kept him locked in a holding cell without food or water for five days. He was reduced to drinking his own urine and tried to commit suicide. It was working, he would have signed any confession placed before him. The only thing keeping this from being a righteous bust was some bleeding heart custodian who listened to Daniel's desperate pleads and reported it. No one involved was punished and the DEA has not apologized.

Two Extra Years, and Counting
Daniel Larsen (never name a kid "Daniel," cops hate that name) was sent to prison for 27 years for a crime he never committed. A decade later, in 2010, a federal judge overturned his conviction and ordered Daniel set free. But the California Department of Corrections strongly believes in maintaining a balanced prison population of both the guilty and innocent. They have steadfastly ignored the judge's order and refused to release him.

In Arkansas, Chavis Carter was under arrest for pot possession in the back seat of a patrol car, his hands cuffed behind his back. The cops content that Chavis then committed suicide by shooting himself in the right temple. The official story is the police missed a gun in his possession after searching him twice. Police claim that Chavis then managed to contort himself in a way worthy of Cirque de Soleil and killed himself over a simple pot bust. The other option is that a white cop decided to murder himself some black kid because you can get away with that kind of shit in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Righteous Overkilling
In Mesquite, Texas a cop was involved in fender bender accident. The officer leapt from his patrol car and emptied his gun into the driver of the other car. The officer then reloaded and continued firing. All totaled the officer put 41 bullets into the unarmed driver. After discovering a witness had filmed the shooting the police confiscated the camera and deleted the footage.

Wheelchair Terrorist
Also in Texas, police shot and killed a crippled man in a wheelchair for the crime of waving a ballpoint pen in a threatening manner. White cop, black victim. Just saying.

Medical Emergency
In White Plains, New York police responding to a medical emergency broke down the door, tasered the 68 year-old resident and because that wasn't enough fun, the police then shot him dead. A subsequent police report called the shooting "totally justified" but did recommend police start propaganda partnerships with local media to explain away any future police killings of elderly men.

While American police officers may rank better than crazed psychopaths and Colombian drug cartels on the list of people you never want to meet, they are not much better. Stay safe.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

My Crush on Belle Baker

It seems I have developed a crush, which is sad enough for someone my age. But what is pathetic is the object of my affection died over a half century ago.
This is my favorite picture of Belle Baker, it is a candid moment, probably from a fan magazine. (Proof that paparazzi were around in 1915.). I discovered Belle several months ago by accident while listing to WGBH's streaming broadcast of The Jazz Decades. Since then I have acquired just about everything digital that remains of her work, some fifty songs.

Belle was born in 1895 in the slums of the Lower East Side of New York, the daughter of poor Jewish refugees from the pogroms of Czarist Russia. She began singing on the street and in music halls at the age of 11 and was a star on the vaudeville circuit at the age of 17.

Her contemporaries in vaudeville were names you may have heard of - Jack Benny, George Burns, and Fanny Brice. In her time she headlined over all of them. Belle's first hit was an Irving Berlin (you'll see that name again) ditty titled "Cohen Owes Me $97." Belle's version is lost to history. Fortunately, modern performer Janet Klein has done the skit so we can get a feeling for how Belle sounded.
The earliest recording I have of Belle is a 1919 song that tells of the title character in Puchini's opera Madame Butterfly. In this version she doesn't stay a demure tragedy. She learns to shimmy and "shake her Japan knees" to "keep her sailor boy from going out to sea." Instead of being "as shy as she can be" she "learned to kiss and hug and squeeze and how - Wow, wow." Instead of committing suicide over her lost love, Butterfly ends us with "a dandy voice, two Fords and one Rolls Royce."

One bio describes Belle as "one of the original Red Hot Mommas." Her existing body of work suggest Belle was not of the Mae West or Sophie Tucker, "a hard man is good to find" school. Belle's specialty was "torch songs," romantic tunes about suffering for love. Belle was a small woman, just a tad over five feet tall, but she had a powerful voice, befitting someone who became a star before microphones. She had a natural talent to use inflection to infuse strong emotions into her songs. Her signature song is "My Yiddishe Momme," which I don't like so much because it is too weepy. A better example, and my current favorite, is "There Must Be Somebody Else" by Irving Berlin.

And just to show you what a wonderful singer Belle was, here is Annette Hanshaw's far weaker interpretation, also from the 1920's.

Belle tried to make the transition from vaudeville to Broadway. In 1926 she signed on to star in a Rodgers and Hart musical, Betsy. Unfortunately, this was by far their worst collaboration. Belle realized that and in desperation called her friend, Irving Berlin. In one night, he wrote a song for Belle to sneak into the opening night performance. That song, Blue Skies, was a hit, such a hit the audience demanded Belle do 28 encores before they allowed the play to continue. But even Blue Skies couldn't save this Rodgers and Hart turdfest which closed after 39 performances. It is my bitter disappointment that there does not appear to be any surviving recordings of Belle Baker singing "Blue Skies."

Belle also tried movies. After her vaudeville friend Al Jolson succeeded with the "Jazz Singer" Belle tried her own version. Belle starred in a musical melodrama titled "Song of Love" in 1929. While musical melodramas worked on the New York stage, they flopped in films. Busby Berkeley extravaganzas with scantily clad showgirls were far more popular. Also, Belle was middle-aged by then and audiences wanted younger woman singers like Jeanette MacDonald or Ginger Rogers. After Song of Love, Belle only made two brief singing appearances in films. None of Belle's films have been transferred to digital media.

The love of Belle's life, her off-stage collaborator and husband, Morrie Abrahams, died suddenly in 1931. She gave up full time performing to raise their 11 year-old son. While Belle did work on radio periodically and recorded several songs, she mostly retired from the stage. Her star was eclipsed by others. In 1954 on an episode of "This Is Your Life" fellow vaudevillian Eddie Cantor described Belle Baker as "Dinah Shore, Patti Page, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland all rolled into one." Belle died in 1957. Her son had a successful career in Hollywood writing for television.

Belle's powerful voice and emotional verve made her singing of "torch songs" memorable. Take Everything But You, from Song of Love, is an excellent example of how she can infuse a ton feeling into every note. But the pride of my Belle Baker collection are a half-dozen ethnic ditties. More skits than songs, in these Belle dons the Yiddish accent of her heritage and has fun. Spend 89 cents and listen to Ginsberg of Scotland Yard for a good laugh. I can imagine her on a New York vaudeville stage wowing the crowd.

Which is my problem. I do imagine her and I've fallen in love with that imagination. If I were alive back then I'd be the kind of Johnnie hanging out by the stagedoor trying to get a glimpse of the wonderful Belle Baker. I'd probably stalk her too, poor dear.

If you've made it to the end of this you may be in love with that dear little shayner maidel (Yiddish: pretty woman) too. What's left of her quarter century entertainment career can be found for free on the web. Or you can buy CDs from Vintage Recordings.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Fourth Quarter

President Obama decided to channel the third quarter San Diego Chargers and let his opponent back in the game by taking Sominex during halftime. C'est la vie.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Debate and Other Nonsense

The Debate
I won't be watching. I've already made up my mind so the only reason to watch is, like watching NASCAR, to see someone crash and burn. And, like NASCAR, I can catch that moment on YouTube tomorrow without watching them drive around in circles for two hours. Besides, I can miss the stupid questions that make me want to take a sledgehammer to my TV.

National Hockey League owners are whining about having lost $100 million during the current labor dispute. Except this is a lockout. NHL owners are solely responsible for the fact they aren't playing games and selling tickets. As for the fans, Russia's KHL league is planning on televising games in the US this year.

Polling Headlines
I read a story this morning that President Obama's lead in Florida has "narrowed" by one percent in the polls. Most polls have a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. A one point "swing" is just random noise.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Penn Judge No Solomon

Some judges take the wrong message from the story of Solomon and the baby. They think that wisdom means every ruling has to give something to each side. Judge Robert Simpson of Pennsylvania is one such fool.

He ruled today that Keystone State poll watchers can still demand citizens "show their papers" before voting. However, if voters don't have their IDs with them they can still vote without hindrance.

So registered voters will be able to vote without having to carry some additional piece of paper. That's fine. But the ruling also gives thugs to right to harass and intimidate the poor, minorities, and elderly into showing a piece of paper they don't need. That's stupid boarding on evil.