Dave Stancliff 2008-12-28 blogarama.com

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Economic Recovery Plan: Obama urges congress to move fast

President-elect Barack Obama urged congressional leaders today to move quickly on an economic recovery plan, even as some Republicans are saying they want more time to review the details.

Obama said Congress should pass an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan designed to create 3 million jobs. The Democratic president-elect hasn't announced a final price tag on it, but aides said the cost could be as high as $775 billion.

Friday, January 2, 2009

There's always an eye-in-the-sky watching you...

Some people call the Eye Google. It's satellite shows every niche and cranny on the planet.

Now consider how easy it is for the government, under the auspices of the Patriot Act, to watch your every move with the thousands of satellites available to it.

It's George Orwell's greatest fear. He wrote about Big Brother as a warning to society. It didn't make any difference under the Bush regime which has methodically stripped us of our Constitutional rights.

Will the Eye still be as intrusive when Obama takes office? I wonder. What do you think?

More Meandering On Millie My Pug...

This is not my Millie. She's blog-shy (actually she thinks someone will dog-nab her!). This is a reasonable likeness of her, and I wanted to put some art in this post to get you to stop and read it. Talk about brazen eh?

We just got back from our daily walk, between soft showers that have been cleansing the land. We stopped to say hi! to the donkeys and miniature ponies who were also enjoying the outbreak of sunlight and frisking around. I know for sure what happened to a cluster of fake cranberries that disappeared yesterday. Poop patrol revealed funny white round pellets that I'm sure were once cranberry-colored.

For a small dog she sure sets a brutal pace. After a mile, I have to slow her down before I collapse! We've got an interesting little route that is uphill one way and down the other. I'm hoping to shed some of the pounds I put on during the holidays. We may have to add some more distance to our current route for awhile.

If you already have a pug then I don't have to tell you what a great friend they are. Thinking about getting a dog? Pug's have a lot of good qualities and are awful cute if you dress them up. Millie is not one for flash so I don't bother her with silly costumes, but I admit to making her wear a yellow and purple Laker collar in honor of my favorite basketball team.

Millie is my constant companion, but the minute my wife comes home she drops me like a bad date! She loves Shirley and makes sure to get a lot of snuggle time in with her. Peace is a snug pug!

What do you tell your children about why we're in Iraq?

Arnold Went To Dubya Last Year Seeking a La La Land Bailout

There's been no word on what Lame Chimp president Bush promised Arnie.

 California's financial future is in question and Arnie needs to work with state legislators-as opposed to his current terminator political tactics.

My guess is Dubya showed Arnie some love, but it was fleeting!

 

Hollywood Faces Tough Times In This Battered Economy

During the Great Depression people still poured into movie houses for escape and the industry thrived.

But during our current Great Depression, Hollywood is struggling and facing layoffs

Part of the reason is that people can now be entertained in their home with movie videos that are a lot cheaper than going to movie theaters.

Storm clouds gather before this year's Oscars ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The entertainment industry is facing its worst economic outlook in decades.

Photo by Bryan Chan / LA Times

Thursday, January 1, 2009

DAY ONE BLOG: Here's Hoping That 2009 Will Be Fine

So here we are dear reader.

Another year to pick apart in monthly stages, as the drama of a new presidency presents us with changes. Each day is to be dissected and reflected upon in blog fashion. Indirect, and direct opinions, about the world we live in can be expected from me. I see each day in a sweeping search of online blogs, newspapers, magazines, and conversations with people.

Some readers last year wondered if I was a Christian. One reader even wondered what my platform AS IT STANDS is built upon? Of course that's both a symbolic and theological question. In simpler terms the reader wondered if I believed in God and is my blog God-based?

For some reason I didn't anticipate questions about my religion when I started this blog in July 2008. But in the last six months I've had a fair amount of people responding to my newspaper column and this blog, wondering what my beliefs are? One reader wrote a letter-to-the editor about my Christmas column in the Times-Standard. That reader gently chastised me for not pointing out that it's a Christian holiday honoring Jesus Christ's birth.

In retrospect, I know why I didn't come out and just say that. During my years as a newspaper editor I wrote many Christmas columns. The one's where I made it clear what Christmas was all about always resulted in a negative backlash. Now as a Christian, I should expect that and even be glad because I'm doing the right thing.

All I can say is, when you try to serve segments of the public you pay a price. Everyone's not a Christian. So as an editor, I always attempted to appeal to the general public. Call me a coward. But after enough battering on a yearly basis over the same subject of Christmas, I opted to stand on the fence last year. So someone called me out on my beliefs. Sigh. There's no such thing as a middle ground for some people.

Does this make me a bad Christian? Am I a hypocrite for not preaching God's word in my columns and blogs? I don't think so. I never set out to convert anyone. God did not give me that calling. He did bless me with the ability to write, and I try to be humble about this gift. Sometimes my pride shows and I'm guilty of patting myself on the back. I guess I'm just human after all.

My mission for this year is to entertain readers and present subjects of interest, including opinion pieces, to stimulate readers to  respond. The more comments the merrier. I'm hoping to make you laugh and to make you ponder subjects you might not have thought about before. I want to share local, national, and world events with the reader on a daily basis. So that's it. Is this a New Year's resolution? Heck no.

AS IT STANDS, this is just my mission in life!

 

Robot To Lead Off 2009 Rose Parade

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

POEMS FOR WHEN THE CLOCK STRIKES MIDNIGHT

 

It's a New Year
It's a new year
Let's give a cheer
Pour us some wine
And maybe some beer
Get all your friends
Party till the day ends
Then the ball will drop
And the balloons will pop
It will be 2009
Give me a high five
Another year passes
Through life's glasses
Happy New Year  

                                          

New Years are a Chance for a Beginning
New years are a chance for a beginning
Even when there hasn't been an end.
Wheels turn in an interminable bend,
Yet, marked in one spot, seem to wobble spinning.
Each year we hope to do a little better
Although we know that really nothing's changed.
Reason thinks that everything's arranged,
So we must dream if we would fate unfetter.

Comic Books: Which Ones will Be Breakout stars in 2009?

The New Year is wide open with comics firing on all cylinders in the upper echelons of superhero comics to the vibrant field of modern comics. But who rests at the top? Who are the biggest and brightest – who are the ones who pose to make 2009 a breakout year for themselves? From characters to comics to creators, and even to the wider spectrum of television and movies – who will be the breakout stars?

Click here to read Chris Arrant's take on things for Superheros in the New Year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY BLOGGER BUDDIES & READERS!

I have wisely chosen not to make a New Year's resolution. I've never managed to stick with one, and there's no reason to think I will this year.

I wouldn't say 2008 was great because the economy tanked so badly. I'd like to say 2009 will be fine, but our depression is probably going to get worse before it gets better. Having said that, I still think that we all have the choice to be happy or sad, regardless of the economy, and world events.

I'm not suggesting a Pollyanna outlook on life, but I believe that we do have some control as to how our days go. It's harder to think positive, than it is to think negatively, according to experts.

The answer is, you have to force yourself to think of something positive, but in time it will come easy as you train your brain! Happy New Year's To You!

Time To Say Bye Bye Bush, We Certainly Won't Miss You!

Dubya will go down in history...as the worst president this country ever had! Take a moment to check out His Chimpness in photos that were taken during his disastrous days in office.  

 

 

photos source - king-mag.com

Blagojevich stuns everyone by making senate appointment!

Gov. Rod Blagojevich stunned everyone yesterday by appointing Roland Burris (right) to the vacant senate seat left by president-elect Barrack Obama.

It's apparent that Blago is as brazen as they come, as he defiantly made the appointment despite the legal problems that will probably kick him out of office. It was just a month ago since Blago was taped trying to sell the senate seat to the highest bidder! To add to this growing circus, former Black Panther-turned-Daley-machine-functionary, Bobby Rush decided to throw a race card out there by suggesting that anyone who tries to stop Burris from taking the senate seat is a racist!

Give me a friggin break! Rush threw out words like "hanging and lynching" a black appointee when he made his appeal for Burris to take the senate seat without opposition. Well, guess again Rush. This isn't about race, it's about a corrupt governor trying to make an appointment before his indictment comes through in another week.

How could anybody be expected to not be concerned with any appointment that Blago makes? The guy's a corrupt politician and that's all there is to it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gambled Thrived During Great Depression, But That's Not True for Our Current Depression!

      By Dave Stancliff
    My father lived through the Great Depression and over the years he’s told me interesting stories about those tough times. One was that gambling stayed popular, either in spite of or because of, financial desperation.
      “People gambled and went to the movies,” Dad assured me. As far as I can tell people are still going to the movies during our current depression (screw the term recession). It seems all bets are off for the gambling industry in America today.
        As more people lose their jobs, the revenues for state lotteries and casinos are dropping. That old notion that gambling is recession proof is being challenged. People don’t feel “lady luck” will be any nicer to them gambling than what she showed them at the workplace.
        For an industry that doesn’t create wealth but simply transfers it-mostly from the poor to the already rich-the future is not rosy. Their shaky stocks don’t translate to buying lottery tickets. State governments are scrambling to make up for an average 2 percent dip in lottery revenues in the third quarter compared with last year.
       Companies that run casinos saw their stock prices drop by more than 60 percent in 2008, while on the Las Vegas Strip, gambling revenues have fallen nearly 10 percent. Nevada faces a sobering moment about the risk of risk. Not only is its gaming industry suffering, but the state has the highest rate of home foreclosures.
       To me it appears the gambling mentality extended to buying homes, on the assumption that prices would always go up. That belief-nationwide- is now as dubious as the pull of a slot machine.
        It’s the state lotteries that are particularly pernicious because elected officals, supposedly the guardians of public morality, prey on the most vulnerable to supplement their budgets. Experts say that about 1 in 5 people play the lottery regularly. They are the wrong people however. Those who spend the most on tickets earn less than $12,400 a year, parting with about 9 percent of their income!
       There’s some states, like New York, who want to expand their gambling to make up for budget shortfalls. “Get rich” marketing has become more aggressive, trying to hook young people in. I’ve heard that there are some tickets that are infused with smells like chocolate. I guess the buyer can eat them after their numbers don’t deliver them to financial security.
       As It Stands, gambling will never be the answer to people’s problems, it will only compound them.

'Kissing the way into the New Year' on Most Viewed List Today

Thanks to the Times-Standard readers for putting my last column of 2008 on the Most Viewed online list with a Number One rating.

If you haven't had the opportunity to read this column yet, click here. 

Who do you plan to kiss the New Year into with?

 

 

Man shot in movie theater by crazed gunman who wanted silence!

         A South Philadelphia man enraged because a father and son were talking during a Christmas showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took care of the situation when he pulled a .380-caliber gun and shot the father, police said.

James Joseph Cialella Jr., 29 (right), is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and weapons violations for allegedly shooting a guy who talked through a movie!

Talk about an attitude. This guy just sat back down to watch the movie after shooting the dad. I have a feeling this guy has a lot of bad days and should be locked up somewhere safely. At the moment he is locked up and being charged for his actions.

It's getting so that you have to be careful anywhere you go, because people with guns are everywhere. There's good gun owners, and there's bad one's, like this clown who was packing in a movie house.

Price of gasoline going up in California while it goes down nationwide

I really get sick and tired of all the bullshit excuses why Californians have to pay higher gasoline rates than the rest of the nation.

Here in Humboldt County we generally have the highest gasoline prices in California, giving us a dubious reputation.

The Los Angeles Times today takes a detailed look at the whole situation. Click here to read the reasons why we get screwed in California.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Confessions of a Hybrid Writer: I Just Want To Have Fun

   

By Dave Stancliff
I’ve come to the conclusion
that I’m a hybrid between a traditional journalist and blogger.
The traditional part of me, the one that was a newspaper editor and publisher, is concerned about the fate of newspapers.
The blogger part of me says that it doesn’t matter if you lose the dead wood if you can still communicate with people. Reaching out to readers, after all, has always been the point of journalism.
The perception of bloggers being a bunch of nerds and nuts has long given way to legitimacy that called for them to be represented during the recent presidential election. Both parties made sure to save press room for the blogger community.
In the last seven months I’ve started a blog and moved my opinion column from the

Eureka Reporter to The Time-Standard. In both cases I’ve been astounded (and gratified) at the readership for my column.

The Times-Standard ran the results for their Online readership for 2008 recently. My column - “Judge Says Feds Violated 10th Amendment by Subverting state Marijuana Laws” - was #1 in their Top Ten.(see column on right under Times-Standard for link.)
My other column to crack that Top Ten was - “America in Crisis: Are We Preparing For Martial Law?” - came in 5th on the list.(See column on right under Times-Standard for link)
Both went viral to get there. That means over a million readers viewed each column. I’m humbled by the interest shown.
I’m also amused at Times-Standard editor James Faulk, who wrote the short article about the newspaper’s Top Ten online stories for 2008. He asked in the article, “What does this list mean? Nothing.” he assured the reader.
Well gee...doesn’t it count for something if over a million people view your article? What other yardstick can an editor use in this cyber age for such accuracy in tracking readership? Those little hits, every time someone views the article, add up to money in online advertising.                                                                                                                                
So it seems to me the list has some value. I guess it depends on how you look at it. My overall goal to attract readers to my newspaper column appears to be doing alright, and my overall goal to have fun with my blog has been achieved.
It hasn’t been a year yet since I started the blog, but it is turning out to be a blast! I’ve decided not to advertise on my blog, which eliminates any concerns for content. I can continue to say what I damn well please this way!
Reader feedback really gets me reeved up! I just love that interaction. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad a long time ago (1981 was my first editorship with a newspaper - the Desert Trail in 29 Palms, California).
I had plenty of up close and personal visitors for years In the old days, reader feedback often went beyond a letter-to-the-editor and often meant a visit to my office when I use to work full time. They weren’t always pleasant visits, but I managed to remain professional and not let them irritate me.
Now my critics are online and it’s easier to maintain a calm response with that  barrier.                                                                                   

As It Stands, my guess is that there are more “hybrids” out there going through the transition from traditional to the new cyber age of communicating.      

What would the Mona Lisa look like painted by other artists?

  

  Matt Groening                                   Pablo Picasso 

Andy Warhol

Manga Style Art                              Roy Lichtenstein

All Art by Aviary

  

How to compound a catastrophe, or Murphy's Law wins!

  

You think the above is the end of this situation, don't you? Not even. It's only the start of what must have been a long day for several tow-truck drivers. Click here and watch how the whole story pans out in photos. You'll be amazed at the resulting havoc which reportedly took place in Ireland somewhere.

Israeli airstrikes continue to bombard Hamas in Gaza

 

Hatem Omar, Associated Press

A Palestinian family flees the Rafah refugee camp after an Israeli strike. The Palestinian death toll rose to 303 with an estimated 900 injured as raids continued. Some Gazans reportedly tried to break through the border to Egypt, but were repelled by Egyptian forces.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

As It Stands Column is #1 & #5 in Online Top Stories in T-S

By James Faulk/Times-Standard     

For most of this year, I was the Web editor here at the old Times-Standard, toiling away on making sure that this newspaper did its best to bring all of its brilliant content to the Internet.

It was a nice job in a cozy office with Jeff Soderberg, the technical guru of all things interactive at the T-S.

But since early November or so, I have switched jobs, becoming the city editor and leaving my digital roots behind. But even with that transition, I can't help but be interested when the top 10 list of online stories for 2008 was circulated in the office.

First, here goes the list for 2008:

1. Judge says Feds violated 10th Amendment by subverting state marijuana laws (See column to the right under Times-Standard for a link)

2. Feds launch massive pot sting (with video)

3. SoCal's atheist billboard taken down

4. UPDATED: Major sting targets commercial grow op (with video)

5. America in Crisis: Are we preparing for martial law?

(See column to the right under Times-Standard for a link)

6. No longer a Long shot?: Raiders' Davis may land his prized possession after all

7. Rodoni dies in 101 crash

8. Seized pot worth $25M to $60M

9. Arcata man falls to his death

10. Driver sought: Suspected drag race on 299 results in fatal crash

So what does this reveal about the Web? I argue, absolutely nothing! What we have here is a collection of random stories, some of which went viral. Those that went viral, for whatever reason and because of this or that blogger, got the most hits.

The Web is such a strange, interesting place, the likes of which have never been seen before in human history. It's such a dynamic place that it's hardly possible to predict what will be the top 10 stories of the year ahead of time, or even what type.

It depends so much on what gets noticed, and what gets forwarded, that developing a plan of action to produce such results is self-defeating.

I would argue that only the Rodoni story, and one or two others, were made popular by primarily local views, and the only ones driven by our paper's traditional news audience. The rest is directly the result of a viral spread.

What does that teach us for driving traffic at the T-S Web site? Beats me, but it sure is fun to watch.

Today's As It Stands: Here We Go Kissing in the New Year

(editor's note: The Times-Standard didn't update their Opinion section in the Online version 12/28. So here it is.)

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 12/28/2008 01:31:06 AM PST

Have you ever been to a New Year's party where, at the stroke of midnight, everyone started kissing? Who hasn't? It's an old tradition and also a superstition.

In Biblical times the act of kissing or touching ones lips to those of another, or to another person's cheek was a token of affection or respect.

Kissing was common not only between male and female relatives (Genesis 29:11; 31:28), but also between male relatives. (Genesis 27:26, 27; 45:15; Exodus 18:7; 2 Samuel 14:33) It was likewise a gesture of affection between close friends. (1 Samuel 20:41, 42; 2 Samuel 19:39) Kissing might accompany a blessing. (Genesis 31:55)

Historians credit the Romans (are we surprised?) with starting the tradition of kissing and merrymaking on New Year's Eve. They called it the Festival of Saturnalia. Later on, the English and the Germans would celebrate the coming of the new year by kissing the first person they met when the bells chimed twelve.

Europeans have celebrated with masked balls on New Year's Eve for hundreds of years. Tradition says the mask symbolizes evil spirits from the old year and the kiss (after taking off the mask) is an act of purification.

I've always viewed this superstition/tradition with anticipation. What better way to start the new year than with a kiss? Beats a kick, as they say. My first kiss of the year, for the past 34 years, has been for my wife, Shirley.

Before marriage, I went to some pretty odd New Years Eve parties. The saddest one was in 1970, just days before I left for Vietnam. A lot of people kissed me that night, probably thinking they wouldn't see me again.

My buddy and I threw a New Year's Eve costume party three years later, when I was a civilian again, and someone showed up in a frog costume. I think (this was long time ago and it was a good party) he went around telling the women he was really a handsome prince and a kiss would release him from his warty exterior.

To kiss the one dearest to us, at any time, is sublime. On New Year's Eve, it takes on meaning from that last moment of the old year, and gives the promise of a good year ahead. It says you both believe the best is yet to come.

Because Jan. 1st is the first day of the year, people have historically connected what they do on that day with their fate throughout the rest of the year.

Don't attend a New Years party without a date, if you don't want to end up watching everyone else pucker up. Then again, booze doesn't disinfect mouths, and in a room full of strangers you're probably better off kissing the dog when the clock strikes twelve.

If you find yourself at a New Year's party where you have no wish to kiss anyone in the room, there are tactics to it. For example, have something physical in, or over, your mouth. An inhaler, toothpick, or even a surgical mask, will do the job.

Another ploy worth considering is to excuse yourself a few minutes before midnight to take a “head-clearing” walk. You can return after the kissing has stopped. Sometimes retreat is the better part of valor.

This kissing thing at New Year's can be serious stuff. Michael Christian, who wrote “The Art of Kissing” under the pen name William Cane, said the zeal of New Year's Eve can lead to mixed messages and lingering awkwardness. In other words, be careful how you kiss your neighbor's wife when she wanders under the mistletoe.

A recent survey for an American mouthwash manufacturer found that 6 percent of people greeting the New Year at midnight plan to kiss their pets. I find it odd that this statistic isn't higher. There's a lot of animal lovers out there.

I plan to greet the New Year by kissing my wife first, and then my pug. After all, there is a pecking order in our house.

As It Stands, I'd like to wish all my readers a safe and Happy New Year!

Image from http://www.allposters.co.uk

Bush's Legacy: He Leaves us a World that Hates Americans!

Click here to read how America's image has been badly tarnished during his eight years in office.

Find out why the world doesn't like us nowadays. This article in today's Chicago Tribune lays out the whole mess.

Robert Graham, LA sculptor, dies at 90

    

photos by Bob Chamberlin/LA Times

Robert Graham was known for his major civic monuments across the nation. Most of his work can be found in the LA area, however, as the artist lived in Venice. His legacy is visible all over LA. The largest, and most prominent public work that he did is in LA. Called the "Great Bronze Doors", it is a huge entryway topped by an angel, and was made for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, in 2002.