Dave Stancliff 2014-09-14 blogarama.com

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What is Congress taking a break from? The clowns hardly worked!

                                    Good Day World!

The 113th Congress is shaping up to be the worst bunch of partisan clowns the American public has ever elected.

That’s really saying something. 

This Congress has done even less work in the pre-election doldrums than it did in the last two election cycles.

In that time, the House held 515 roll call votes. In 2012 – a presidential election year – it held 603 votes before the fall break. And in the midterm cycle in 2010, the House mustered 565 votes.

So far this year…wait for it… Congress has passed just 163 bills into law!

I should point out out that the 112th Congress had the dishonor of being the worst until now. The 113th is making history by being even worse. How special.

HOW BAD WERE OUR LAWMAKERS THIS YEAR?

The U.S. House has been in session for roll call votes a total of 92 days in 2014 – or 35% of the year up until now. They had "pro forma" sessions – where they blow off hot air and don’t tackle any legislative business - for an additional 25 days.

The Senate’s been working slightly less, holding roll call votes on just 87 days this year, with an additional 30 days of "pro forma' sessions, when most lawmakers aren't in Washington.

HOW DOES THAT COMPARE TO A 40 HOUR WORK WEEK MOST PEOPLE HAVE?

Those Americans working a typical 5-day work week, with public holidays, would have been clocking in for a total of somewhere around 181 days during that time. How about that?

WHY THE BREAK NOW?

Because our elected clowns in Congress always takes a hefty break from legislating to go about campaigning at this time of year. It’s a ritual.

They’re more interested in staying in office than passing any meaningful legislation.

Members up for re-election take this time to court their constituents. Talk about a scam. Our inept lawmakers need nearly two months off every year so they can take measures to stay in office forever!

You’ll probably hardly even notice when they come slinking back on November 12th.

They’ll argue for a couple of weeks then it’s the holidays! Is it any wonder why most Americans today think Congress is full of pathetic self-serving weasels?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Court of Public Opinion is a Harsh Taskmaster

Good Day World!

Where does it end?

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is accused of injuring his 4-year-old son by spanking him with a wooden switch.

He has taken responsibility for the incident, insisting he meant no harm to the child.

But that doesn’t matter in the court of public opinion. Right or wrong, many parents spank their children – even in this day and age – when they think they deserve it.

If every parent in the land was held up to the same standard as Adrian Peterson what do you think that would look like? For starters every one of them would lose their job – if they were even accused. A trial isn’t necessary for some folks.

The court of public opinion is a harsh taskmaster with little understanding for individual cases. Did Peterson mean to scar his son? I doubt it. He made a mistake. It isn’t like he’s a monster beyond redemption.

Now, he’s losing his career and endorsements -  Nike Suspends Contract With Vikings' Adrian Peterson. All the good work he’s ever done is forgotten.

All of the years he worked so hard to be a running-back in the NFL are washed away in the torrent of hate-speak spewing from social media and the mainstream media.

It’s like watching a feeding frenzy. A dozen other NFL players are on the radar for similar domestic abuse accusations. Should every one of them lose their jobs? Why stop there? Lets take every sport – baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, etc., and set the same standard as the NFL is suddenly adhering to:

Get accused – right or wrong – of domestic abuse/child beating – and those athlete’s careers are toast. One time. No re-winds.

It doesn’t matter if they just made a mistake and lost their temper once. That’s all it takes in today’s atmosphere of political correctness gone berserk.

Let me be clear; I’m not condoning domestic abuse/child beating. It’s a very real problem suffered by families across America. Violence at home is wrong. Period.

All I’m saying is each case should be judged upon it’s merits. If someone is a good father, but makes the mistake of over-disciplining his child once, he shouldn’t become a societal outcast.

judging-others[1]

If he’s a SOB that’s repeatedly hurt his children, then I can see severely penalizing the person.

The Adrian Peterson case is rebooting national debate on the bounds of child discipline, with recrimination coming fast and fierce from the NFL, sponsors and the legal system.

But it's also raising an unsettling question: If physical punishment from a parent is so damaging, why do so many who are disciplined that way grow up to endorse it?

Many adults echo the sentiments of Peterson, who said he disciplined his child the way he was — and it worked on him. "I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man," Peterson said in a statement about his indictment.

Let me ask you:

Do you know Adrian Peterson? Do you know what kind of man he is? Or, are you reading and listening to sound bytes vilifying him without explanation?

The same question goes for the other NFL players accused of domestic abuse.

Simply put, it’s easy to be judge and jury in the court of public opinion. But is it really fair?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, September 18, 2014

‘To be, or not to be’ Scotland voting for Independence today

“The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!”
Robert Burns- To a Mouse.

Good Day World!

Today is the big day for more than 4.2 million registered voters (97% of the adult population) in Scotland. A lot of planning has gone on to reach this point.

Independence versus remaining part of the United Kingdom is on the table. Britain's government agreed to recognize the referendum, gambling that the Scots wouldn’t break up the union.

Oops! That might not have been a good idea.

With polls suggesting that a Scottish split from the rest of Britain is a real possibility, lawmakers including Prime Minister David Cameron are making urgent appeals to save Britain its biggest constitutional upheaval since the Wars of Independence that led to the creation of the United States.

Here’s some backround on the historic referendum:

BRIEF HISTORY 

Scotland was an independent country until 1707, when the Act of Union with England led to the creation of Great Britain and, ultimately, the United Kingdom -- which also includes Northern Ireland.

WHY DOES THE US WANT SCOTLAND TO STAY IN THE UK?

One really big reason: The US is nervous about the future of the joint U.S. and U.K. nuclear deterrent system.

Scotland is home to 58 U.S. Trident II D-5 missiles leased from Washington by the British government, but Scotland’s government wants to ban nuclear weapons on moral grounds within four years of gaining independence.

If Scotland becomes an independent country that could force London to relocate the weapons to alternative bases in England or return the weapons to the U.S., costing billions of dollars and leaving NATO without a European nuclear deterrent precisely at a time of heightened security concern.

WHAT’S THE ARGUMENT FOR INDEPENDENCE?

The ‘Yes’ campaign is led by First Minister Alex Salmond, whose Scottish National Party has governed since 2007.

It says Scots should have total control of their own affairs and that revenue from Scotland’s offshore oil fields would sustain the country’s economy.

Support for independence was boosted by the election in 2010 of a Conservative British government, angering voters in Scotland where the Conservative party remains deeply unpopular.

THE CASE FOR STAYING UNITED

The ‘No’ campaign says and independent Scotland would be weaker on the world stage and would have to raise taxes to pay for the replication of institutions and services currently shared with England, such as defense forces and state pensions. Many cross-border businesses have warned that they might withdraw from Scotland in the event of independence, threatening jobs.

WHAT WOULD AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND LOOK LIKE?

Scotland’s 5.3 million citizens represent about eight percent of the total U.K. population and would create a new country bigger than Ireland (4.5 million) but smaller than Denmark (5.5 million). (Snippets from NBC News)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

One may ride a free horse to death.” Old Scottish Proverb

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pop Culture Satanism: Worshippers Want To Educate the Public

Good Day World!

About a week ago I ran a post about Satanism being practiced in America.

Since then, I’ve gotten some interesting feedback that spurred me to post more on the subject today. 

I’ve been accused of being “narrow-minded” (among other things) on the subject of Satanism. I think I’m a pretty open-minded type of guy, and as a journalist I’ve always sought neutrality on every news subject I covered.

Some readers felt I was mocking their religion (Satanism). Not so. I have to admit it’s not my cup of tea, but I’m not going on any witch hunts soon. Speaking for the Boomer Generation, the Devil is a downer in our books!

Despite my feelings about Satanism, I’m sharing another article that gives some insight into the upcoming Black Mass to be held in Oklahoma (September 21st). Like nearly everything these days, political correctness has a way of repudiating the beliefs I grew up with.

Nevertheless, it’s what happening in our country today and deserves a look:

NO SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL: WHY PEOPLE FEAR SATANISM

“A public ceremony of Satanists planned in Oklahoma City this month has prompted protests, a lawsuit from the Catholic Church, talk of a "black mass," and even the airing of laws against bloodletting. 

Such public images of fear are not uncommon when it comes to Satanist groups, though they may not be justified.

The ceremony for the Oklahoma City Satanists is slated for Sept. 21 in the city's civic center and requires a ticket for admission. Officials from the city could not legally bar the group, as doing so would violate their First Amendment rights.

Officials did warn, however, that all laws must be followed, including fire codes and those involving public nudity; a spokeswoman for the parks and recreation department noted:

"No bloodletting of any kind will be allowed." (Though bloodletting and animal sacrifice are popularly associated with Satanism, they have historically been part of many religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.) (Tales of the Top 10 Craziest Cults)

The event has been described in the news media as a "black mass," which, as James Lewis notes in his book "Satanism Today: An Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore, and Popular Culture" (ABC-CLIO, 2001), "refers to a blasphemous parody of a conventional [Catholic] Mass that was traditionally thought to be the central rite of Satanism."

This ritual was typically said to involve perverse orgies, a torrent of various bodily fluids, obscene gestures and even "a black candle made from the fat of unbaptized babies," Lewis wrote.

The satanic group, Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, is using the event to make a point about freedom of religion and to educate people about their beliefs, according to news reports. "One of the dictates of the church is not only to educate the members but to educate the public and to debunk the Hollywood-projected image of our beliefs," one of the group's co-founders, Adam Daniels, told ABC News.

The popular image of Satanists as sinister and bloodthirsty is largely a sensationalized fictional Hollywood creation. (Witches & Wiccans: 6 Common Misconceptions)

Religious leaders in Oklahoma are upset that the Satanists are mocking Christianity and indeed they're right; much of the modern occult movement can be seen as a reaction to, and rejection of, mainstream religions and especially Catholicism.

But it's also a political statement: Where one religion has been allowed a place in public spaces such as civic centers, parks and courthouses, other, lesser-known religious organizations such as satanic churches have requested and received similar privileges.

It's not clear what exactly the "black mass" will involve, though the ceremony will include a woman in lingerie, blasphemous costumes, profanity, an unconsecrated host, and end with a mock exorcism, suggests the ABC News report.

The proceedings will likely be heavy on theater and spectacle; the shock value of Satanists holding a ritual in Oklahoma City is worth the price of admission for many.” (read the entire story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The 6 Most Likely Democratic Candidates to Run for President in 2016

Good Day World!

When President Obama’s second term ends there’s going to be a huge vacuum in the Democratic Party.

The question today: “ Who is going to fill that vacuum?”

Can you think of anyone other than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden? Don’t feel bad if you can’t. Most Americans would be hard-pressed to come up with other possibilities.

I suspect the Democratic lineup of presidential candidates for 2016 are going to look a lot like the clowns the Republicans featured on the last go-around.

In other words, a circus. If there’s any consolation for liberals it’s the likelihood that the Republicans will be fielding yet another new round of clowns. There is a slight possibility that one of the last group of GOP clowns, Mitt Romney, may try to join the upcoming presidential candidate circus.

Hillary has been playing coy about her White House ambitions. If I were a betting man, I’d say she’s going to run for the presidency.The First Lady-turned US Senator-turned-Secretary of State is the most frequently mentioned possible candidate.

Age may be an issue for her, however. Hillary will be 69 years old in 2016. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he won in 1980.

“Say it ain’t so” the gaffe-prone, Joe Biden, has hinted at running in 2016. Vice-Presidents are typically shoe-ins for their party’s next nomination should they seek it.

Again, age may be an issue for Joe; he’ll be 74 in 2016. While he did not fare well in the 2008 nominating contest, he was selected as Obama’s running-mate allegedly for his foreign policy “expertise.”

I’d say his chances are pretty slim. The GOP would probably love to see him as their opponent which would automatically have the effect of making their new crop of clowns more viable.

Have you ever heard of Cory Booker?

Like Obama, Booker was raised in a mostly well-to-do family, attended the best schools and universities, graduated from law school, and immediately became involved in politics.

He is much more experienced than Obama was in the sense that at least he was a mayor of a city.

The downside…most Americans would say “Who is this guy?” His national profile is knee-high to an ant.

Then we have the ‘polarizerAndrew Cuomo. You either love or hate this guy.

Andrew is the most experienced of the potential field. He served as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Bill Clinton and as New York Attorney General before being elected Governor of New York.

His executive experience in New York and political pedigree would typically be enough to make him a frontrunner for a presidential nomination.

I believe he’s too controversial to go very far. That doesn’t mean I don’t think he’ll give it a shot – he certainly has the money to kick-start a campaign.

Another possible longshot candidate from a big city with a high profile is

Antonio Villaraigosa. If you don’t live in California however, the chances you’ve heard his name are pretty slim.

Antonio gets extra points for having one of the longest political resumes of the potential 2016 Democratic field.

He has been mayor of Los Angeles since 2005. If he runs for president, he would be a clear dark horse.

The last possibility would be Julian Castro.

His experience as mayor of San Antonio, Texas, since 2009 is encouraging. If anybody stood a chance to mimic Barack Obama’s political path it would be Julian.

He’s young, and has a reputation for being a gifted orator, a good statesman,and a charismatic person. Most Americans probably haven’t even heard of him, unless they’re from Texas.

He may be a regional star, but is only a dim light on the national scene. But as Obama proved, anything is possible.

After rambling around the internet, this group is the best I could come up with. If you can think of another possible candidate, please don’t hesitate to share!

Time for me to walk on down the road..

Monday, September 15, 2014

Afghanistan, Iraq Wars: US Leaving a Legacy of Chaos

                                  Good Day World!

It doesn’t take a prophet to see Afghanistan is descending into chaos when American and NATO troops leave the country at the end of this year. The situation will probably look very similar to what’s happening in Iraq right now.

After over a decade of lost lives and billions of dollars the country will probably default back to the Taliban. The signs are already apparent: 

"Afghanistan is on the brink of descending back into chaos and civil war,” Afghan lawmaker Nisar Haress told NBC News. “The situation is getting worse every passing day."

The outcome of the April election was seen as a make-or-break moment for Afghanistan’s future, with billions of dollars of funds tied to the success of a free and fair election.

The U.S. had high hopes for the vote, deeming it a critical test not just of Afghanistan’s ability to ensure a stable transition but also to measure the impact a decade of Western intervention had had on the country.” (source)

To say the whole electoral process collapsed in April is an understatement. The two presidential candidates are acting like greedy little babies. Their actions are taking the country to the brink of a breakdown:

“The United Nations threatened on Saturday to cut aid to Afghanistan if its staff are harassed, responding to tensions surrounding its participation in a drawn-out and bitter investigation into fraud in the still-unresolved presidential election.

The warning came a day after dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Kabul headquarters of the world body and accused it of aiding vote-rigging. It was another sign of heightened anxiety in the run-up to the release of final election results over the next week.

Analysts and officials are fearful the political impasse could embolden the Taliban to stage more brazen attacks – and to seize the opportunity to present themselves as a viable alternative to out-of-touch and paralyzed politicians.” (source)

The Taliban are gaining confidence,according to The International Crisis Group. "Ongoing withdrawals of international soldiers have generally coincided with a deterioration of Kabul's reach in outlying districts," an ICG report said in May.

You want to know the kicker? The US Reconstruction of Afghanistan Is The Most Expensive in US History.

“Washington's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said the U.S. has provided more than $104 billion to rebuild Afghanistan -- more money than the United States has spent on reconstruction for any one country in history.” (source)

All of the above is bad enough, but what are we going to do when Afghanistan becomes the Taliban’s playground again?

I look at what’s happening in Iraq and have a sinking feeling that Afghanistan is going the same route by next year.

One thing is for sure, billions of taxpayer dollars have been thrown down the drain in pursuit of global ambitions.

Have either of these wars accomplished anything? I certainly don’t think so. All I can do however, is to watch and wonder when we’ll ever learn our lesson – invading countries in the name of freedom is a horrible waste of lives and money!

Time for me to walk on down the road… 

 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

200th Anniversary: The Surprising Origins of the Star-Spangled Banner

Good Day World!

Happy anniversary Star Spangled Banner!

Did you know the melody is from an old song about drinking and sex?

Today is the anniversary of the bombarding of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812’s “Battle of Baltimore” on Sept. 13 to Sept. 14, 1814.

I thought it would be fun to look at the history of the song, The Star-Spangled Banner, that came about after that historic battle.

I strongly suspect most readers will be surprised at the origins of our National Anthem:

“At dawn, Francis Scott Key was able to see the U.S. flag waving over the fort, as he noted in his opening lines.

Key was on a British ship, part of a U.S. delegation to negotiate a prisoner release. He was kept on board to prevent the American forces from being tipped off about the forthcoming bombing by the British.

He was allowed to return to Baltimore on Sept. 14 and was so inspired by the U.S. pluckiness that he wrote a poem, "Defence of Fort M'Henry," which he published on Sept. 20, 1814.

Key wrote his poem to fit the beat and melody of British composer John Stafford Smith's "To Anacreon in Heaven" -- a popular tune Key had used for an earlier hymn to America’s military might, "When the Warrior Returns," which celebrated U.S. heroes of the First Barbary War.

Neither Key's early hymn nor the Barbary War is widely taught in American schools anymore (except for the reference in the Marines’ Hymn: “To the shores of Tripoli”).

Most elementary school classes note that the music for "The Star-Spangled Banner" came from a British drinking song. But in his well-received book, historian Marc Ferris, author of “Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America's National Anthem” (John Hopkins University Press, August 2014) gives a more sophisticated reading.

“The words of ‘To Anacreon in Heaven,’ the song that Francis Scott Key borrowed for the melody of 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' is a sly 1700’s paean to drinking and sex. Though understated, the line 'I’ll instruct you, like me to entwine; The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s vine' is unambiguous,” he wrote.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" continued to gain in popularity over the decades and was backed by John Philip Sousa, who knew a thing or two about rousing music. It was officially made the national anthem in 1931 by President Hoover. (Condensed version. Full story found at LA Times Nation Now)

Time for me to walk on down the road…