Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Check Out The Fussy Librarian

If you're interested in finding out about books from small, independent presses and self-published authors, check out 
The Fussy Librarian.  Sign up and they'll send you a daily e-mail with books in genres that interest you.  They screen the books they promote, so the odds are you'll find some worthwhile and inexpensive reads.  They're nice people, too!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Countdown to the Shutdown - 89 days
          112 Days to Default

Hey, rather than focus on lunacy, let’s celebrate something this country has done right. Our National Parks are a remarkable resource and worth every penny of tax that goes to maintaining them. So go visit one while the government’s still open. And for those of you who believe they’d be better managed by State governments or private enterprise, do a little reading and you’ll realize the Federal government stepped in because States and private enterprise were in the process of turning this continent into a moonscape before conservationists (hey, that word’s from the same root as conservative!) persuaded the Feds to intervene. If you get the chance, do something nice for a Park Ranger, too. They don’t get paid a lot and have recently taken abuse from the likes of Congressmen Neugebauer and Issa. Let me add, there’s a very good novel available on Amazon with a Forest Ranger as a central character. It’s called The Killer Trees. (Shameless of me, I know.) Or if you prefer another news item about the lunatic fringe, check the link below...

Fox's Hannity Fabricates News courtesy

Friday, October 18, 2013

Countdown to the next Shutdown - 90 days
    113 Days to Default

Well, time to sit back, breathe easy and wait for the next crisis. It’s during these less stressful times of Congressional inaction and finger-pointing that we can take a few moments to laugh at lunacy that doesn’t imminently threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs or the world economy. Like Karl Rove writing in the Wall Street Journal that the President deliberately tricked House Redumblicans into shutting down the government as part of some Machiavellian scheme to make them look bad. But if you think Karl lives in a fantasy world (don’t forget he was certain Ohio was going for Romney after all the networks had called it for Obama), check out Mick Mulvaney claiming he opposed the compromise legislation because it included funding for the Lord’s Resistance Army. Yes, Mick, you nailed it; the U.S. is sponsoring Joseph Kony’s child soldiers. Oh, wait, that provision was to support U.S. troops assisting in the effort to hunt down Kony. Well, we can’t expect a Congressman to read AND understand legislation, can we? Links below...

Karl Rove's Lunacy via USA Today

Mulvaney Accuses US of Funding LRA courtesy Huffington Post

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 17:  Hostages Released, No Arrests Made

Okay, it’s official. Our government has “kicked the can down the road” to the tune of about three months. Oh, the next debt default is scheduled for about three weeks after that. And they’ve promised to negotiate a real budget deal before December 13. Why am I not confident? Could it be because the orchestrators of this latest debacle all voted against the compromise? Maybe I have my doubts because Paul Ryan, who heads the House Budget Committee and is supposed to play a leading role on the negotiating committee, also voted against the bill. Notice that even Boehner said he was supporting the bill because he didn’t want to use the “tactic” of debt-default. That’s why they’ve scheduled an extra week between the next shutdown and default, I guess. So get ready to repeat all this in mid-January, maybe with a few blizzards thrown in for good measure. Of course, the President and several Senators have promised they won’t let this happen again. “Trust us.” Sure. Everybody will be reasonable from now on. “Honest!” As Richard Paladin (see all those links to my books off to your right) says, “...when someone feels the need to say ‘honest’ to convince you of their sincerity, they’re usually thinking of screwing you royally.” Oh, and to see an example of this new bipartisan spirit of compromise in action, see link below...

Texas Lt. Gov. calls for impeachment courtesy

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 16:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

Apparently there is much excitement today that some Senators are close to a deal to reopen the government and temporarily raise the debt ceiling. Wait, isn’t that how I began yesterday’s post? Oh, right, then came, “Hang on!  The House Republicans want to come up with something. Let’s give them a chance to work out a new proposal.” And what they produced was another meeting of House Republicans where they all pointed fingers at each other and agreed they can’t agree on anything. There are reports that Ted Cruz met late Monday with 20 of the most nihilistic House members and no doubt helped them hatch this latest idiocy. The truth is, these people want a default. In their fantasy, stated explicitly the other day by Sarah Palin on her Facebook page, “Defaulting on our national debt is an impeachable offense, and any attempt by President Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit without Congress is also an impeachable offense.” So, see, by doing nothing, Sarah believes Congress will create a dilemma whereby the President can be impeached irrespective of his choice of action. (If any House Republicans happen to be reading this, I apologize for the use of large, complex words.) Of course, this is lunacy, because the President won’t default on the debt, the U.S. Government will default, courtesy a bunch of morons in Congress. I will admit, though, that such logic is only true in this universe; I’m not sure how these things work in the parallel dimension occupied by Palin, Cruz, and their delusional anarchist chums. But it’s worth noting that on Planet Palin, putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work and risking a worldwide recession are justifiable in the game of “gotcha” with the President. Anyway, today’s link should give you an idea what to expect from them next...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 15:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

Apparently there is much excitement today that some Senators are close to a deal to reopen the government and temporarily raise the debt ceiling. Most of the discussion seems to be over the issue of just how many days or weeks they can “kick the can down the road.” Since the original suggestion a few days ago to slide the next crisis into the midst of the holiday period generated much understandable criticism, our brilliant legislators are now talking about a reprieve until...wait for it...mid January 2014. This, they claim, will give them a “breathing space” to negotiate a real budget. As if the last two years plus wasn’t enough time to accomplish something, anything. Of course, any Senate plan may be DOA in the House if the lunatic fringe prevent Boner from allowing a vote. But, let’s face it, it’s kinda cute to see our Congresspersons pretending to do something. Sorta like watching children act like “grown-ups.” Anyway, rather than post a link to one of the numerous “much ado about nothing” write-ups in the press, I’ve decided to direct readers to something educational and, in its own way, relevant.

Nine Mind-Bending Facts About Black Holes from

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 14:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

In yesterday’s post, I wondered just who those 1 in 10 are who think Congress is doing a good job.  Well, a couple-thousand of them showed up on the Mall yesterday for something they called a “Million Vet March on the Memorials.”  Unsurprising that their math skills are wanting.  Ted Cruz was there, as was Sarah Palin.  And some clown from a wacko group called “Freedom Watch” called on the President to “put the Quran down” and “come out with his hands up.”  More proof that many of these Tea Partiers are delusional and potentially violent.  What they see when they look at the world is...well, I’m betting it looks a lot like the old pulp magazine cover above.  Nice to see a U.S. Senator there pandering to them as well.  And, yes, if the government ever reopens, then some dedicated federal employees will be able to clean up the mess they left at the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and in front of the White House.

Wackos on the Mall courtesy CNN

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 13:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

Amazing that this lunacy has continued for so long.  At least the House Republicans have finally stopped the “piecemeal” approach to reopening the government.  Now they’re just doing nothing.  I liked the “piecemeal” approach because it sounded so much like, “We’re releasing one of the hostages as a show of good faith to convince the authorities that we’ll let the rest go if they give us what we’re demanding.”  Too bad this isn’t simply a hostage stand-off with criminals surrounded in a bank. Then we could just give the loonies in Congress an airplane to flee the country and be rid of them.  Oh, and speaking of Congress, with something like only 11 percent of the population saying they think Congress is doing a good job, you have to wonder:  who are these people who think Congress is doing a good job?  Below is a link to a satire on The Onion that actually hits the mark.

Explanation of who supports Congress from The Onion

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

News reports say the House Republicans basically held a “pep rally” today vowing to “stick together” and “hold strong” against any plan that does not cave in to their demands.  So much for negotiation.  But it’s Saturday, so let’s take a break from following the idiocy.  Here’s a link to a Huffington Post article about John Stewart’s interview with Malala Yousafzai, someone who has actually demonstrated real courage.  Stewart says he wants to adopt her.  Can we get her to take over as Speaker of the House instead?

Stewart interview with Malala courtesy Huffington Post

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 11:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

News outlets are reporting a slight glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  Seems the GOP is responding to polls suggesting they are now less popular than broccoli by lowering their demands to a “fig leaf” so they “have something to show their constituents for the shutdown.”  So they’ve threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of us so they can get a “fig leaf?”  Well, here’s a reminder; Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves because they were ashamed.  So, harkening back to the beginning of this mess and the loutish Mr. Neugebauer, Republicans, you should be ashamed.

Glimmer of light courtesy CBS News

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 10: Federal Employees Held Hostage

Well, folks, it looks like the grand plan now is to push the debt-limit off for a few weeks so there’s no pressure to reopen the federal government.  So what else is new; our representatives have been throwing the federal workforce under the bus for years now.  Nice, too, that the plan is to postpone the next debt crisis until the day before Thanksgiving.  What better way to celebrate our day of thanks than by potentially defaulting on the national debt?  But at least the stock market seems pleased by this development.  Anyway, the House Speaker says he just wants to have a “conversation.”  Given the drivel that this would likely produce, I’ve decided to mark the occasion by posting another of my lame poems, “Conversation Piece.”  Go to the sidebar and take a look.

The new debt-limit plan courtesy CNN

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 9:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

Just when you think things can’t get worse, they do.  Apparently, start-up breweries waiting for permits from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau are in limbo due to the shutdown, according to the Associated Press.  This also affects applications for new products and labels from existing craft brewers.  Way to stifle innovation, guys.  But I doubt if members of Congress care.  They all probably just drink lite beer anyway.

No New Suds courtesy ABC News

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 8:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

The lunacy continues.  Rand Paul says it’s “irresponsible” for the President to talk about the government defaulting on the debt.  Whatever.  For me, the bigger questions are:  Do Kentucky voters support him because he looks like Stan Laurel?  And could somebody give the man a comb?

Rand Paul video courtesy Huffington Post

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 7:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

I'd vote for a dog trainer over these incompetents.
Robert Randles, furloughed electrician
Ft. Bragg, Fayetteville NC (courtesy L.A. Times)

I realize Mr. Randles was simply trying to express his contempt for Congresspersons, but he may have struck upon a great idea.  I’m married to a dog trainer, and I can tell you that they are sharp people who understand behavior and how to change it.  Of course, dogs may be easier to train than members of Congress--they’re certainly a lot smarter and more pleasant to be around--but I have seen my wife work a few miracles with some fairly dangerous curs.  So maybe the answer is to send a few dog trainers into Congress to perform a bit of behavioral modification.  Perhaps they should start with the “quiet” command.  A little less yapping by these louts would be a positive development.

Read the entire article at the L.A. Times

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 6:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

So, after several stressful days of posturing and finger-pointing, Congress has taken Sunday off.  Too bad so many of them spent the day on talk shows blaming each other for their collective incompetence.  But while Falco waits patiently for some interesting development, I’ve decided to post a truly odd poem that promises to bore to tears anyone who doesn’t like baseball.  Baseball fans will probably yawn, too.  But it’s over there to your right on the side-bar, if you’re interested.  And I, for one, think it’s rather appropriate for the times.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 5:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

It’s a big old goofy world.  John Prine

WTF?  So the only thing our legislative branches and the President can agree on is that us furloughed workers deserve to be paid for not working?  How does this make any sense?  Yes, the government has always done this after past shut-downs.  Note, that’s AFTER past shut-downs!  I understood freezing our pay for three years.  I didn’t like it, but I understood that it’s part of trying to get a handle on the deficit (not a significant step, but that’s a different issue).  But this now tells us it’s not about the money at all.  Maybe it’s really about making people hate federal workers more than they already do.  Prohibit us from working (yes, they tell us it’s against the law to work unless we’re declared “essential”) but promise to pay us anyway.  I guess the next rallying cry will be “take back that money you paid civil servants for not working!”  Given that any legislation that reopens the government, if we ever get such a resolution, will probably only be for a matter of weeks, this should make for more great political theater (comedy? farce?) as we approach the Christmas and New Years holidays.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

I’m non-essential.  What do I do that’s so unimportant?  Well, among other things, I try to make government workers aware that they need to be careful about technology that can be used to spy on us.  If they ever bring me back, maybe I should talk to Mitch McConnell and explain what it means when you’re “all wired up.”

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3:  Federal Employees Held Hostage

“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress.”    Mark Twain

So none of this is really new.  We’ve been governed by self-serving dolts for a long, long time, as the quotation from Mark Twain more than 100 years ago shows.  But when a congressional fathead like Neugebauer from Texas confronts a Park Ranger who, unlike him, isn’t getting paid right now, it’s just sad.