Saturday, November 22, 2008

Slinky Co-Founder-Betty James- passed away yesterday at 90


I just posted the Slinky story (below) 48 hours ago, and then I read in the LA TIMES today that she passed away! The timing of the blog seems kinda eerie to me. For more CLICK HERE.

 I bet you didn't know that the inventor of the popular children's toy (Richard T. James) the Slinky - had a meltdown and left his wife to join a religious cult in Bolivia. He died in 1974. The old adage - behind ever great man there is a woman - never applied more than to his wife Betty. She took over the company and made it a continuing success story. In 2002, the Slinky was named the official state Toy of Pennsylvania, and Betty James was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

I wonder if all states have official toys?


Anybody have any idea what California's might be?


Obama and the Blues Brothers to team up for Block Party Celebration

Obama's economic plan aims to create 2.5 million jobs

President-elect Barrack Obama is pushing for a bigger stimulus package to combat what he calls, "A crisis of historical proportions." He's come up with a two-year plan instead of the original one-year proposal and expects lawmakers to back him.

The Los Angeles Times has a good article on the subject this morning. Click here to read more about it.



















Friday, November 21, 2008

We need more nuclear power plants to get benefits like this!

Imagine That: Cheney indicted in Texas court for being a bad boy


Sure shot Cheney, along with former U.S Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, were both indicted in a Texas court recently, for engaging in organized criminal activity and neglecting federal prisoners. Willacy County DA Juan Angel Guerra, brought the charges against the two men and also accused Cheney of conflict of interest because of the substantial holdings in the Vanguard Group which invests in private prisons, and using his influence over the county's federal immigration detention center.

Cheney isn't too worried about it and is busy helping a crony raise funds in another state. Don't you just love this guy?

FOOD AS ART - Chef and Produce Artist J. Zhang's Sculptures

Go fetch Broccoli boy...                                         Carrot Parrots in Love!
 Taro Root mice look nice...         Golden Beet Butterflies on Watermelon flower
(Photos from I don't know what it is this morning, but I sure have had food on my mind. Maybe I ought to eat something before these blogs get any weirder!

SPAM is big seller this season - Genetically modified food on the way out

People are getting tired of eating genetically modified food. Multi-flavored Trix Chicks and eyes of corn are on the way out this holiday.
SPAM TREES (below) are springing up in households across the nation as this old favorite gets renewed life during our current depression. CNN reported today that sales are "going through the roof" as Americans seek to save money on food items. Some stores are even offering free bar-b-que grills (bottom right)to entice customers to shop at their stores.   (Photos from                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Another bloody night in Sinaloe, Mexico sees cops ambushed

FAMILY MEMBERS of one of the slain state policemen console each other after seeing the pockmarked pickup the officers had been riding in. Ten people were killed in 24 hours in Sinaloe which has become the hub of violence since the federal government launched a crackdown against drug gangs. American visitors to Mexico are being warned that the country is in turmoil and to be cautious while there.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


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What do Eric Holder and Bill Clinton have in common? Try fugitive financier Mark Rich who they pardoned!

President-elect Barrack Obama has nominated former Clinton deputy attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr. But getting Holder confirmed may not be so easy because he's going to face some tough questioning over his role in pardoning Marc Rich who fled the country owing $48 million in back taxes.


The Republican party says Holder has a "long history of controversial pardons." Critics say that Holder okayed the Rich pardon hoping that former White House counsel, Jack Quinn, would help him get a job as Attorney General in a future Al Gore presidency. Gore was vice-president at the time.

Clinton's Library and Foundation are also causing worries for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton who is said to be a candidate for the next Attorney General position. The former president has agreed to disclose all of the donors to his foundation, and to vet his future speeches and overseas activities.

It's interesting watching the past haunt both of these men. What does Holder's involvement with Rich tell us? For one thing, he's not above making backdoor deals to further his career. Three months ago I wrote a column in the Times-Standard about presidential libraries and foundations. I talked about Clinton's setup that's earning him mega millions, and has the stench of corruption attached to it.

If you ask me, neither Hillary Clinton or Eric Holder deserve to get the positions they're up for. If Obama want's to get away from "business as usual" in Washington then he'd be wise to reconsider both of these people. I admit that I was surprised when the word came out he was considering Holder and Hillary for posts in his new administration.

People have high hopes for Obama. They expect change. Their tired of the same "good ol boys" running the government. Their tired of political scandals and secrets. Ties and lies from the past don't fade away, this just come back to roost and to reestablish themselves if allowed too.

As It Stands, we'll have to hope that these picks fail to bear fruit, and that Obama gets rid of whoever suggested Holden and Hillary.

Thousands gather for stuffing of giant Rockefeller Center Turkey


NEW YORK - Children happily slip and slide across the ceremonial turkey fat on the ice rink, as 20,000 people gather in Rockefeller Center to celebrate the annual event. The 70 foot-long turkey was raised in Crawford Texas by Lame Chimp President Bush who presented the bird to the city after he failed to find a big enough oven on the ranch!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wendy benefited from the school's alternate learning class...

Third Grade teachers are amazed at how well little Wendy Wooter did in the new alternative learning class for children with focusing issues.
Perhaps the only setback was that Wendy's hair got really kinky, but her mother says it's easier to take care of now.
The next thing teachers plan on working with Wendy on is her "princess and the pea" syndrome! (Photo from

Victims of May Day March, City of LA, reach tentative settlement


Hundreds of people were injured by overzealous cops in an immigration march held at MacArthur Park last May Day.

The court has has ruled against the elite Metro Division of the LAPD, saying they were wrong for the aggressive crowd control techniques they employed to break up the march. Rumors are that a settlement of $10 million is in the making. Click Here to read the entire story in today's LA Times.

All of the pirates are not on the high seas these days...

England's pudgiest pets compete in slimming contest

Veterinary nurse Jennie Keen is shown holding Tink, a 13-year-old cat that weighs a world record weight of 96 pounds! 

A charitable organization is sponsoring a pet slimming competition to bring awareness to people about how many overweight pets there are in Great Britain. Statistics show that 30 percent of the country's dogs are overweight, or obese. No figures were given for cats, but a glance at Tink makes me think pussy cats have a problem there too!

So far, there are seven dogs signed up, and one cat - Tink. My parents have always reared huge cats, but nothing that compares to old Tink! You gotta wonder if he can even walk.

I'm sure that here in America we have much the same problems with our pets, as we pamper them to death! Giving dogs and cats human food seems like a nice thing to do, but when your pet gets too big too walk, you'll regret it.

Keep your pet on a strict diet and they will live longer. And don't forget to see that they get plenty of exercise! 

Consumer prices drop to lowest in 61 years by one percent in October

The biggest dip in consumer prices since 1947 is causing concern with some, and is a relief for others. The price of

of gasoline is just one indicator, as it's dropped in price for 62 straight days now.

Analysts predicted a drop of half of one percent. The price of clothing, airfare, and other goods have all been affected by the economy.

It wasn't that long ago we were paying nearly five dollars a gallon. Experts seem to think this is a bad thing. They point out that assets, such as cars, are being devalued by the trend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Much Longer Can Fans Continue to Pay for Tickets to See Live Professional Sporting Events?


         Leisure activities will always find a niche, even when the economy is bad. My parents talked about going to weekend matinees even during the Great Depression. People somehow found the money to go to the movies and escape from the drudgeries of that terrible depression.
       Other leisure activities like sports did encourage fans to part with their hard-earned pennies in arenas and ballparks across the nation. But attending a baseball game, or basketball game, or a game of football, didn’t cost all that much then.
         During those early days you didn’t see players becoming wealthy. Most players had “day jobs” to pay the bills. There were some who did extremely well, like the legendary Babe Ruth, but most didn’t retire on what they made while playing.
          Today, if a person is a professional playing in the NBA, NFL, or for the major leagues in Baseball, they need an accountant to handle the big paychecks coming their way. Contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars are scattered throughout all professional sports.
          The foundation for every sport has been, and will be, the fans who buy the tickets, hotdogs, popcorn, and assorted memorabilia associated with a team or player that is popular. Without them arenas would close, ball parks would be empty, and stadiums silent.
           But even the most loyal fan must be challenged right now to attend events, or buy goodies, with the state of our sinking economy. I’ve already noticed that there are a lot of empty bleachers at professional basketball games that I watch on television.
          I went to a NBA basketball ticket purchasing site, and found some interesting figures when it comes to what fans across the country pay to see their home teams play. If you plan on attending a New York Knicks game live, the tickets range from $27 to $3,209 each!
          California has several basketball teams and the price difference to attend a Lakers game - where tickets range from $32 to $2,675 each - is dramatically different if you go to a LA Clippers game which is played in the same place as the Lakers games - Staples Center. Tickets range from a reasonable $11 to an even more reasonable $535 for the best seats in the house when it’s a Clipper home game.
          If you want even lower ticket prices, and still want to see a California team, then the Golden State Warriors Oracle Arena is the place to go with ticket prices ranging from just $7 to $402 each to see the player’s sweat up close.
          After comparing team prices, it appears that if you want a real bargain then go to Ford Center in Oklahoma and see the Thunder for as low as $6 per ticket, and as high as $214 a ticket.Getting seats is no problem when attending most NBA games right now, as attendance has already shown signs of dropping off from last season.
         Only the big market teams, like the Lakers, Celtics, or the Knicks, are still filling arenas with fans ready to spend their dearly-earned ducats. I suspect that as the season goes on, even these teams will start to feel the crunch.
            It’s all just a matter of economics. A $2,675 ticket for a Laker home game, or pay the mortgage? Pay $535 to watch the Clippers get clobbered up close, or the car payment? When people are cutting back on Christmas shopping and holiday activities, can tickets for live sporting events be far behind?
            As It Stands, entertainment in various forms is threatened by the economy, but sports team owners are gambling that die-hard fans will keep the games going.

An incident occurred while Bush was giving Obama a tour of the Rose Garden recently that the press is trying to keep hush hush...

Sports Memorabilia Collector turns his Hobby into a Museum


(ABOVE - HONUS WAGNER CARD WORTH $2.8 MILLION! Gary Cypres (ABOVE) has been collecting football, basketball, and baseball memorabilia for twenty years. He also has 18th-Century tennis rackets, arcade, and board games, among other interesting things.

Cypres plans to open the new LA Sports Museum on Nov.28th. There's a charge, but fans will probably flock there as it's been called the best sports memorabilia collection in the country, by industry experts. I have a high school buddy who lives in Redding, who I thought had the most impressive private collection of Dodger memorabilia around.

 Cypres has an extensive collection of Dodger stuff worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A bit out of my buddy's league, but he doesn't seem to mind as he was the one who told me about this new museum!

The LA Times has a good article on the fabulous collection. Click here to read more.

After 400 lawsuits Judge says disabled man can't sue anyone anymore!

Meet Jarek Molski (below). Is he a crusader or an extortionist? The recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is letting


a federal judge's ruling barring the disabled man from filing any further litigation after filing more than 400 suits in less than two years! The 38 year-old Woodland Hills man used the Americans With Disability Act like an ax and went after any retails business he entered. He sued restaurants, bowling alleys, wineries, and any other businesses he entered. Fear of adverse judgements compelled many to settle out of court, earning him thousands of dollars.

Here in Humboldt County we have our own lawsuit extortionist, but he's not even disabled! Locals are very aware of this man who is a lawyer with a bad reputation. Perhaps some day, the courts will stop his little game like they did for Molski. We can only hope.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Heard that Bush and Cheney Were Starting To Mellow Out: But this?

Dubya and Cheney are caught red-handed sampling a government grow in an undisclosed location. Cheney, who has been practically invisible in recent months is preparing to launch a new line of Texas Grown Medical Marijuana for Ex-Feds. Duyba's ranch in the Lone Star State is going to be the location for their new green industry.

Rumors are that Dubya's been passing around the product of his first crop to friends and family. Cheney, who has been tending the crops in recent months, has been telling friends that Dubya's Red Hair Sinsemilla is the kind!

Democrats set to overturn any last minute regulations by Bush

      Plans to push through new environmental regulations favorable to big business in the waning days of the Bush Administration began as early as last May. That’s when White House Chief of Staff, Joshua Bolton, urged agency heads to finalize energy and environmental regulations before November 1st.

      However, it turns out there is an answer to sneaky tricks like this. The White House planners forgot one small detail, a little known law called the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA).

        This law states that any regulation finalized within 60 days of congressional adjournment - Oct. 3, in this case - is considered be legally finalized on Jan.15. The new Congress has sixty days to review it and can reverse it with a joint resolution, according to Politico, a national online magazine.

        Just think what this means. Any regulation finalized in the last half-year of the Bush administration can be wiped out with a simple party-line vote in the Democrat-controlled Congress. I’m amazed that the Republicans didn’t remember this law, as they originally introduced it.

        The CRA was used in 2001 to overturn a Clinton administration rule that set new requirements for ergonomic spaces. The Bush administration apparently did forget it as they make their last attempts to pander to the big corporations that put Bush in office.

       A senior aide on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), acknowledged that CRA is an option that the committee is exploring.

       The committee has two targets. One is a rule to allow federal agencies to determine whether their policies threaten endangered species, without requiring the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

        The other is a regulation opening land in the West to oil shale development and mountaintop removal. A White House spokesman, Carlton Carroll, recently told the press,  “We are not rushing regulations through at the last minute. We are simply continuing our responsibility of governing until the end of the president’s term.”

         There’s no doubt in my mind that most Americans consider this administration’s energy and environment policies toxic, and this attempt to sneak through some final putrid policies is typical of the administration’s entire eight years.

          Even though the CRA can’t be filibustered, legislative lifting is generally more difficult than executive action. “There’s a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we’ll see the president do that,” said John Podesta, a member of Obama’s transition team, to Fox News Sunday.

           Jerry Brito, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an expert on “midnight (or last minute) regulations,” told the press that he would advise Obama to package all of the regulations into one bundle that could be voted up or down.

           Brito reasoned that the new president could “limit special pleading” by lumping the pet projects together. There’s no doubt the environmental lobby would be happy with this move. Sierra Club’s lobbyist, Dave Hamilton, told “Politico” in a recent interview, that his organization supports any attempt to derail the Bush rules.

         Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy at OMB Watch, a liberal regulatory watchdog group, said “If these rules are overturned, the benefits for the environment are potentially significant.”

          “If Obama is able to overturn a sizeable number of Bush’s midnight regulations, he would be the first president in recent memory to succeed at such an effort,” Brito said.

          Clinton managed to repeal 9 percent of President George H.W. Bush’s regulations and amend 48 percent of them. The rest remained in place. President George W. Bush managed to repeal only 3 percent of Clinton’s regulations and amend 15 percent, according to Brito.

           Karen Harbert, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, told the press, “Congress has an historic opportunity to adopt a bipartisan practical energy policy that would strengthen the security of the United States and its citizens.”

          As It Stands, anything that overturns any Bush policy or regulation gives me hope for this country’s future.

The wild winds relent but So Cal is still burning in three areas

Southern California firefighters are getting a break from the 70 mph winds that have tormented them for four days. Over 800 homes have been destroyed. About 20,000 people have had to evacuate their homes. Some are getting a chance to return home today to see if their homes are still standing. The Los Angeles Times examines the devastation.  

Among the counties affected is San Bernardino, where my sister lives. She hasn't had to evacuate yet but has been watching the fires down below her. Her house is in the foothills. For the full story Click Here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Civil marriage vs Civil Unions: Some Differences

To clear up what some are saying about civil unions and civil marriage, here are some of the really important differences. This whole issue has become our civil rights issue of the new millennium and all myths regarding it need to be exposed.

Portability - Marriages are respected state to state for all purposes, but questions remain about how civil unions will be treated in other states. They need to be recognized nationally.

Ending a Civil Union - If you are married, you can get divorced in any state in which you are a resident. But if states continue to disrespect civil unions, there is no other way to end the relationship other than by establishing residency in Vermont and filing for a divorce there.

Federal Benefits - According to a 1997 GAO report, civil marriage brings with it 1,049 legal protections and responsibilities from the federal government, including the right to take leave from work to care for a family member, the right to sponsor a spouse for immigration purposes, and Social Security survivor benefits that can make the difference between old age in poverty and old age in security. Civil Unions bring none of these critical legal protections.

Taxes & Public Benefits for the Family - Because the federal government does not respect Civil unions, a couple with a civil union will be in a kind of limbo with regard to government functions performed by both state and federal governments, such as taxation, pension protections, provision of insurance for families, and means-tested programs like Medicaid. Even when states try to provide legal protections, they may be foreclosed from doing so in joint federal/state programs.

Filling out forms -Every day, we fill out forms that ask us whether we are married or single. People joined with Civil Unions should be able to identify themselves as a single family unit, but misrepresenting oneself on official documents can be considered fraud and carries potential serious criminal penalties.

Separate & Unequal - Second-Class Status - Even if there were no substantive differences in the way the law treated marriages and civil unions, the fact that a civil union remains a separate status just for gay people represents real and powerful inequality.

We've been down this road before
in this country and should not kid ourselves that this is an issue of equality for all Americans. We've come a long way, but will never achieve total equality until the institution of marriage applies to EVERYONE with No exceptions.

As an old hippie that believes in love and peace, I would feel so much better about this country if gays and lesbians were given equal marriage rights with the rest of the population.

There are differences between a civil union & marriage

It seems to me there are a lot of ignorant people out there who think that marriage and civil unions are basically the same thing. They're not! A civil union deprives couples hundreds of things that a marriage gets. I think everyone should read This Link to understand just how unfair the law is right now.

Will Republican Meltdown Open the Doors for 3rd Party Growth?

There's no doubt that the Republican brand has been tarnished and it's party is in disarray. What does the future hold for the GOP. Is the elephant going to be a symbol of the past? What does the disintegration of the Republican Party mean to the rest of the minority parties? In todays Times-Standard, AS IT STANDS takes a look at these questions and urges equal media access to the rest of the political parties in this country. CLICK HERE to read today's column.

GOP Governors Unite in Fight to Stop Unions in their States

Six Republican Governors have gathered to warn their residents against the evils of unionization which they claim would threaten their jobs...