Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm Still Alive

I haven't had a chance to post pictures of the latest ice palace. However, if you go to the "search engine" on the blog and type in "ice palace" you will find out how the ice palace is built as well as many pictures of past ice palaces.

Or just click here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Monday, December 13, 2010

John Boehner's American Dream

So John Boehner was on 60 Minutes yesterday telling us how important it is to have a shot at the American Boehner had.
Stahl: On election night, what made you sad, what got to you that night?

Boehner: I was talking, trying to talk about the fact that I've been chasing the American Dream my whole career. There's some things that are very difficult to talk about. Family. Kids. I can't go to a school anymore. I used to go to a lot of schools. And you see all these little kids running around. Can't talk about it.

Stahl: Why?

Boehner: Making sure that these kids have a shot at the American Dream, like I did. It's important.

There are two things about this that would be worth exploring. First, what exactly is Boehners image of the American dream? Second, what exactly is Boehner doing, policy wise, that is going to help America's children realize the American dream?

Boehner has also expressed a desire to return to the good old years of the 50's and 60's. It would be interesting to hear what exactly he liked about those two decades. High tax rates? High union membership? A competitive middle class?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Is Trudeau Institute Leaving SL?

Below is a comment from a Trudeau Institute employee posted at this blog. It sounds accurate.

Anonymous said...
I am a current employee of Trudeau Institute. We are a small, independent, non-for-profit immunology research institute that is located in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York State, and currently employs approximately 130 individuals. We the employees of Trudeau Institute have always prided ourselves on our scientific mission to do basic research on infectious disease and immunity; not for monetary gain, but to make our discoveries publicly available to all in the form of peer-reviewed journal submissions. We are also quite proud of the unique character of our rustic, remote yet beautiful mountain town, and the particular history that our Institute shares with the village.

It appears that both things we cherish (our altruistic scientific mission and our eclectic setting) may soon change, as the Institute considers branching out into a more profit-driven direction (traditionally the territory of the Biotech industry) along with a move to the NCRC. Of course we've been told that nothing is certain, but such is always the case in scenarios like this. Recently there has been talk of "Strategic Planning" and a consulting group was hired to investigate the "health and vitality of our future." Publicly the officers deny that any decision has been made, and most employees are being kept in the dark. Meanwhile, many internal leaks from present and former high-ranking individuals have revealed that the Institute's financial situation is much worse than most realize, and it is highly unlikely that Trudeau Institute will remain in Saranac Lake. Thus, many believe that the consulting group was only hired to report what the real deciders want to hear, and to serve as a "non-biased" third party upon whom to place the blame. Rather than addressing staff concerns in a substantial way, everything is dismissed as rumor, and management cite confidentiality agreements as the reason that they can tell us no more. Most staff would be happy just to know if they will have jobs six months from now.

This all has created distrust and worry among the staff, who are losing confidence in the workplace that we always believed was more of a family than merely a job. Many employees are not thrilled about the prospect of relocating to a generic cookie-cutter work-complex Campus like the NCRC, where even the restaurants have science-themed names. Nor are many happy about our beloved Institute's scientific mission creeping ever closer to monetary motivations of Industry science.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Democrats Need Message Discipline

It's too bad Democrats don't have the message discipline that Republicans have. Does the average middle class working American really think the rich need more money at the expense of the middle class?

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Good Joke

I just found this all over the internet but had never seen it before. It's worth reposting.

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him,

“Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”

“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Tea Party Republican.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”

“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are — or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are , due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem.
You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What is the matter with you people?

Here is Frank Rich in today's NYT:
But logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success.

Sad but true. Populism is back and it is stronger than ever. The "elite" (usually the person who is using the term) are the bad guys and being dumb is "in". I really don't understand this line of thinking. When you get your car repaired you go to a mechanic with an excellent reputation - someone who really knows his stuff. People go to a dentist or a physician for health care problems. These are highly educated, highly trained people. You even choose your plumber and electrician based on their reputation for doing a job properly the first time.

But there seems to be something new in the air. Lacking ability, expertise, intellectual curiosity or at least making it seem that way, seems to be the new requirement for being a successful conservative politician. Just look at almost every TEA Party candidate that recently ran for office.

But here is what really scares me and should scare you too. As Rich points out, Palin is not the darling of the Republican party. They are probably more afraid of her than are Democrats.

Palin is the candidate of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and thus the wealthy. The rich got wealthier under the Bush administration and they want to get even wealthier under a Palin administration. Like Rich says, the populist's are angry at the educated "elite", not the wealthy (who are not seen as elitist).

I can only quote Elaine Benis from Seinfield. "What's the matter with all you people? Have you all gone mad?"

Monday, November 15, 2010

What if Obama was a Republican?

Andrew Sullivan makes a great point:

If a black Republican president had come in, helped turn around the banking and auto industries (at a small profit!), insured millions through the private sector while cutting Medicare, overseen a sharp decline in illegal immigration, ramped up the war in Afghanistan, reinstituted pay-as-you go in the Congress, set up a debt commission to offer hard choices for future debt reduction, and seen private sector job growth outstrip the public sector's in a slow but dogged recovery, somehow I don't think that Republican would be regarded as a socialist.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

TEA Party Hopes - #1

"Whatever Tuesday’s results, this much is certain: The Tea Party’s hopes for actually effecting change in Washington will start being dashed the morning after"
Frank Rich

Remember the conservative opposition to "earmarks" during election season? Not surprisingly, a ban of congressional earmarks is no longer on the table.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where the TEA Party Wants to Take Us

I'm not a big Harold Meyerson fan but his column in today's Wash. Post is spot on! Meyerson correctly points out that TEA Party members are really confused. They are opposed to income redistribution, but somehow think all the income is being redistributed to those of lower incomes.

Meyerson sets them straight:
The Tea Partyers are right to be wary of income redistribution, but if they had even the slightest openness to empiricism, they'd see that the redistribution of the past 30 years has all been upward -- radically upward.

We are far from moving towards socialism says Meyerson. In fact, he points out we've been on the road to "hyper-capitalism" over the last three decades. Income to the middle class has been pretty much flat-lined for the last 30 years, while income of the rich has soared.

So do the TEA partiers want to take us back to the 50's, 60's and 70's? Not so much. They are opposed to social security, medicare, and the minimum wage. They seem to want to take us back to the pre-FDR days.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Left and Right - Wing Nuts

It's obvious, at least to me, that we have a left wing fringe as well as a right wing fringe. But it seems that the right wing "fringe" isn't actually a fringe. It's far more mainstream than the left wing fringe.

There is lot's of evidence for this difference. How much mainstream media attention do members of Code Pink and 911 truthers get? Who is the liberal equivalent of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh? Keith Olbermann? Please, Olbermann doesn't hold a candle next to Beck and Limbaugh.

Who on the liberal left is the equivalent of Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, or Joe Miller? Maybe there is someone, but I haven't seen them interviewed on the talk shows.

Kevin Drum has an interesting post comparing left wing crazies with right wing crazies.
(1) Conservatives go nuts faster. It took a couple of years for anti-Bush sentiment to really get up to speed. Both Clinton and Obama got the full treatment within weeks of taking office. (2) Conservatives go nuts in greater numbers. Two-thirds of Republicans think Obama is a socialist and upwards of half aren't sure he was born in America. Nobody ever bothered polling Democrats on whether they thought Bush was a fascist or a raging alcoholic, but I think it's safe to say the numbers would have been way, way less than half. (3) Conservatives go nuts at higher levels. There are lots of big-time conservatives — members of Congress, radio and TV talkers, think tankers — who are every bit as hard edged as the most hard edged tea partier. But how many big-time Democrats thought Bush had stolen Ohio? Or that banks should have been nationalized following the financial collapse? (4) Conservatives go nuts in the media. During the Clinton era, it was talk radio and Drudge and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. These days it's Fox News (and talk radio and Drudge and the Wall Street Journal editorial page). Liberals just don't have anything even close. Our nutballs are mostly relegated to C-list blogs and a few low-wattage radio stations.
Basically, it seems to come down to the fact that Republicans don't think Democrats have the right to govern no matter how many people vote for them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is Glenn Beck a Christian?

As an atheist, I don't give a damn if Glenn Beck is a Christian or not. But I stumbled across this organization - Mormanism Research Ministry. This is a Christian "missionary" organization that is out to "save" (convert) Mormans to Christianity.

The above link takes you to a page that has a few questions Beck should answer concerning his Morman beliefs and how they stack up against conservative Christian beliefs.

Here are just a couple of the questions:
•You have asked professing Christians to join you in asking God to restore our land, yet your church officially declares that all professing Christians outside of the LDS Church are part of a "great apostasy." McConkie even went so far as to say the "church of the devil" (1 Nephi 14:10) included "modern Christianity in all its parts" (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, pp.54-55). Do you believe God hears the prayers of alleged apostates, especially those who are quite content to attend what your church calls the "church of the devil?"
I really like this one!
•While I applaud your efforts to expose socialism as an evil system, are you not aware that Joseph Smith not only instituted socialism via his "Law of Consecration" and "United Order," he claimed God ordained it (See D&C 104)? If you lived during the time of Joseph Smith, do you think you would have been as vocal about this socialistic system as you are about modern socialism?

What's Happening to White America?

How can we explain what is happening to political discourse in the USA today? Why have a sizeable minority of white, middle class male voters gone completely batshit crazy? I've been wondering about that for awhile. When did the craziness set in? Steven Thrasher says:
About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel.
I think that is partially true. The proof? President Obama is not a citizen; President Obama is a Muslim; President Obama is a Nazi, fascist, communist (I wish they would choose one); President Obama hates white people; President Obama is the anti-Christ.

Thrasher goes on:
For the first time in their lives, baby boomers are hard up against it economically, and white boy is becoming outnumbered and it's got his bowels chilled with fear.
Thrasher points out that we have brown Mexicans to be afraid of in the West and brown Muslims to be afraid of in the East.

Of course the TEA partiers are going to deny all this. They are an independent, completely grass roots organization with no leadership. The facts say otherwise. Both Freedomworks and the Koch brothers have their fingers buried deep into this so-called grass roots organization.

Kevin Drum has a different take on the TEA Party phenomenon.
....too many observers mistakenly react to the tea party as if it's brand new, an organic and spontaneous response to something unique in the current political climate. But it's not. It's not a response to the recession or to health care reform or to some kind of spectacular new liberal overreach. It's what happens whenever a Democrat takes over the White House.
Drum makes an argument using the "American Liberty League" formed to fight FDR's reforms and the "John Birch Society" popular during JFK's short presidency.

Lastly, we have TEA Party darling Glenn Beck. Noted Constitutional expert, historian, and conservative Christian preacher. Beck is great at convincing his listener about conspiracies using the same techniques used in the 1950's by the likes of McCarthy. I particularly love the conspiracy on "fasces", Woodrow Wilson (who else?) and fascism. Too bad for Beck, but I beat him to that one five years ago.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Donald Duck and Glenn Beck???

GOP Presidential Candidates

What do all potential GOP Presidential candidates have in common (except for the Mittster)? Not a trick question - they all have the same employer - FOX News.

David Frum, GOP political analyst says
“Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox”

Friday, October 01, 2010

What You Paid For - Now Choose Your Significant Cuts

Now that we know what we pay for, it should be easy to determine what should be cut from the Federal Budget.