AS IT STANDS My name is Dave Stancliff. This is my personal blog. I'm a retired newspaper editor/publisher; husband/father & Vietnam vet, Laker fan for 60 years. All opinions are mine unless otherwise noted.
By John Jalsevac
TORONTO, December 18, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Christmas shoppers were shocked this week to find men and women dressed up as Santa Claus on some of the busiest streets in Toronto, handing out condoms.
The publicity stunt was arranged by Durex, the condom manufacturer.
A press release from the company explained that costumed representatives, dressed as Santa Claus, would be handing out the condoms beginning on Tuesday, December 16.
“This holiday season, Durex(R) wants lovers to really feel the Love,” says the release. “Helping Canadians get in the mood to wrap their packages, Durex and Santa will start celebrating the holidays by handing out Love condoms this Tuesday, December 16, 2008 in downtown Toronto. Giving never felt so good!”
“It’s deeply saddening to me that at one of the most sacred times of the year, Durex would do such a thing,” said Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholic in response to the publicity stunt.
“Santa Claus is simply another name for St. Nicholas, a Catholic bishop and saint from the early Church known for generosity to the poor. He is also a symbol of the beauty and mystery of Christmas, particularly for children. To use the figure of Santa to promote an ideology of casual sex on busy public streets is offensive in the extreme.”
Dominic encouraged readers to contact Durex as well as the Toronto mayor and Toronto city councillors to complain.
The condom manufacturer is not the only organization that is hijacking Christmas to spread a message of casual sex. Planned Parenthood also recently made the news by offering gift certificates that can be redeemed for everything from contraceptives and sexually transmitted disease testing to abortions.
8:05 AM PST, December 20, 2008
Dock Ellis, who infamously claimed he pitched a no-hitter for Pittsburgh under the influence of LSD and later fiercely spoke out against drug and alcohol addiction, died Friday. He was 63.
His wife, Hjordis, said he died at the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Dock was one of my favorite pitchers in baseball. It's sad to see him die at such an early age due to liver disease.
Click Here to see more fine art posters at Enjoy Art. The site has a real nice collection to look at.
I just discovered this site and thinks it's only fair to warn the reader that fine art prints are sold here, but that's not the reason I recommend it.
It has some really cool posters to check out!
I don't know about you...
but I'm a lookie-loo!
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich made a statement to the media at his downtown Chicago office building a short time ago.
The embattled governor has kept his trap shut up till now, since his arrest last week on federal corruption charges.
Prosecutors say FBI wiretaps caught Blagojevich scheming to deal President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat for campaign cash or a plum job.
Blagojevich told reporters that he's innocent and would not step down and "would fight till his last breath." You gotta hand it to this creep, he isn't going quietly into the night!
The stage is set. The characters have taken their positions. Stay tuned...
AP file photo
I think she's a great pick. I use to live in La Puente (early sixties) and she's from there. However, there's a lot more reasons to think she's a really smart choice. Click here for her story in the Daily-News Latino.
I was born on November 7th, 1950, so regretfully, I don't remember this little bit of trivia. But it was sure fun seeing it and comparing it to what children get today for Christmas. What a difference between generations! No wonder we're often world's apart from this new generation. Lo tech versus high tech. Simple versus complex. Inexpensive versus very expensive. I suppose I'm not the only baby boomer out there that feels nostalgic this Christmas. Peace.
As winter whiteouts spread across the country there are some people who are less than delighted with a visit from Old Jack Frost!
President Bush announced he was bailing out the Big Three this morning.
He said he did it to avoid them going into bankruptcy which would weaken the economy.
He called this move a "stop-gap"measure. Note that Congress wouldn't take this step before going into recess.
I think this bail-out was the wrong thing to do. In typical Bush fashion, he sidestepped Congress to get his own way.
I have a nephew who lives near Las Vegas.
He works in the city however.
I've been there many times myself, and in every season, but have never seen snow there. Don't tell me there's no global warming!
AP News Photos
About 10 km east of Québec City, near Montmorency Falls and within the grounds of the Duchesnay winter resort, the first ice hotel in North America is erected each January.
Its 22 beds were sold out when it first opened in 2000. In its last iteration it had 85 beds, all made of ice but lined with deer furs and covered with mattresses and arctic sleeping bags.
Only the bathrooms are heated, in a separate insulated structure.
The hotel is usually made (the architecture and size may vary from season to season) with 4,750 tons of sculpted ice, forming arches over rooms with 16 foot (5 m) and larger and higher spaces for two art galleries (filled with ice sculptures of course) a bar, a movie theater, and a chapel where weddings are celebrated.
The walls are more than 4 feet (1.2 m) thick on average. All of the furniture is made of ice. In addition to using ice glasses as in the Kiruna ice hotel, the bar (and room service) also serves cold cuts on ice plates.
Photos from Damn Funny Pictures
President-elect Barack Obama introduces Mary Schapiro as his designate for Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman during a news conference in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008.
With them is Gary Gensler, the President-elect's designate for Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman and Daniel Tarullo, right, for a Federal Reserve seat.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Cars are deserted and left to rust in every country all over the world. Most people wouldn't see them as very photogenic, but take a look below and see what a little ingenuity with lighting can achieve! These vehicles are from all over the USA, you can see some more abandoned vehicle pictures here.
Former President Bill Clinton's foundation has raised tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments that his wife will engage as the next secretary of state.
The former president's foundation is releasing a list of its donors Thursday under an agreement that cleared the way for President-elect Barack Obama to nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.
Saudi Arabia gave more than $10 million to the foundation, which pays for Clinton's presidential library and his charitable work around the world.
Other foreign government givers include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Italy and Jamaica. Indian interests are represented.
The huge donor list is packed with international business leaders and billionaires.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: Barack Obama | Italy | Hillary Rodham Clinton | Norway | Kuwait | Jamaica | Qatar | Oman | Brunei | Clinton Foundation
By Dave Stancliff
I don’t know about you, but I am getting mixed signals from the Obama camp about lobbyists.
During the presidential campaign “lobbyists” was a dirty word, and Obama took every opportunity to accuse Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of being in bed with them.
One year ago, Barack Obama told the Chicago Tribune, “I’m running to tell the lobbyists in Washington, D.C., that the day of setting the agenda is over. They have not funded my campaign.”
The problem with this quote is that it’s not true. Anyone who wants to see how much the Obama campaign got from lobbyists can easily Google numerous watchdog and government sites. This is public record, so we’ll move on to an article published in The New York Times on Nov 23rd.
The Times produced a list of 38 people who were working on Obama’s transition team who have accepted jobs in the White House and are either former lobbyists or have close ties to lobbyists.
I won’t list them all here for lack of space. For starters, there’s John Podesta, recently named to head the transition team. Podesta lobbied for The Center for American Progress until 2006, and is currently the CEO of that organization, on leave to work with Obama.
Mark Gitenstein, named as an advisory board member, lobbied for Merrill Lynch, KPMG, and Ernst & Young until this fall. Tom Donilon, member of the State Department review team, lobbied for Fannie Mae in 2005.
Michael Strautmanis, senior staff member, lobbied for the American Association of Justice, a trial lawyers group, until 2005. Sally Katzen, agency review member, lobbied for Amgen until 2007. Cassandra Butts, senior staff member, lobbied for 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East until just recently.
You get the idea. Lobbyists are popping out of the woodwork and its payoff time. I admit to a sense of disillusionment as Obama packed his staff with them. Some experts say lobbyists are here to stay and it’s just the price of doing business.
Lobbying is protected under the First Amendment that says we may petition the government for a “redress of grievances.” It appears that lobbying is a necessary evil. It’s also absurdly out-of-control.
According to Congressional historians, lawmakers rarely became lobbyists until the early 1980s. Lobbyists jobs were considered tainted and unworthy of once-elected officials. It was beneath their dignity.
That all changed with the increased demand for lobbyists, huge salaries, a greater turnover in Congress, and a change in the control of the House (during Clinton’s term) when the Republican Party held a majority for the first time since 1954.
Congressional historians pointed out that the Democratic Party was plagued by a series of scandals. Since a 2000 Congressional report, the number of registered lobbyists has grown to 34,750.
Lobbyists can be seen as good or bad depending on who they represent. What the Constitution failed to cover is how can every American exercise that right when understanding how Congress operates can baffle anyone from a CEO to Joe the Plumber?
Lobbying and political corruption often go hand-in-hand when done on behalf of corporations that make huge contributions to political parties. Obama has come up with a list of new rules that some analysts say could benefit non profits.
* Lobbyists cannot contribute financially to the transition.
* Lobbyists cannot lobby while they work with the transition.
* If someone has lobbied in the last 12 months, they cannot work in the fields of policy in which they lobbied.
* If someone becomes a lobbyist after working with the transition, they are prohibited from lobbying the administration for 12 months on matters on which they worked.
* Finally, a ban on gifts to reduce the influence of special interests.
I clearly remember Obama’s pledge to change the way Washington works and to curb the influence of lobbyists. It sounded good. These new rules don’t strike me as reducing the influence of professional lobbyists. It’s going to be business as usual.
As It Stands, I find it hypocritical, and sad, that our form of “transparent” democracy is so dependent upon this corrupt practice.
'He will not be the next president,' Leland Freeborn warns those who will listen. He and his followers expect nuclear explosions this Christmas season.
The Parawan Prophet, aka Leland Freeborn, use to be a Mormon but broke from the Church.
He, and his followers, are preparing for the worst, which they expect will take the form of a nuclear holocaust caused by the Russians attacking our country.
Freeborn has his own survivalist web site to spread the bad news.
Peter H. King, of the Los Angeles Times, interviewed this self-proclaimed prophet. Click here to read the whole story.
Governor orders the new Legislature in to work on its first day of the session to deal with California's dire finances. The state could run out of cash by February or March.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the new Legislature in to work on its first day, declaring a fiscal emergency Monday in response to the state's deteriorating finances and urging lawmakers to "get off of their rigid ideologies."
But even as Schwarzenegger warned that California could run out of cash within two months, there was little indication that the Capitol's partisan gridlock has waned enough to allow for an easy resolution to the state's $28-billion budget gap.
Tomorrow, my AS IT STANDS blog edition examines some of the appointments president-elect Obama has made since putting his team together.
I can't help wondering about how evil Obama said "lobbyists" were during the election.
See this blog Wednesday, December 17th.
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A serial killer who died more than a decade ago is the person who decapitated the 6-year-old son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh in 1981, Florida police said Tuesday.
The announcement brought to a close a case that has vexed the Walsh family for more than two decades, launched the television show about the nation's most notorious criminals and inspired changes in how authorities search for missing children.
"Who could take a 6-year-old and murder and decapitate him? Who?" John Walsh said at Tuesday's news conference. "We needed to know. We needed to know. And today we know. The not knowing has been a torture, but that journey's over."
The suspect, Ottis Toole, had twice confessed to the killing, but later recanted. He claimed responsibility for hundreds of murders, but police determined most of the confessions were lies. Toole's niece told the boy's father, John Walsh, her uncle confessed on his deathbed in prison that he killed Adam.
The Walshes long ago derided the investigation as botched, and John Walsh has said he believed Toole killed his son. Still, he praised the Hollywood police department for closing the case, and said it was not a day to place blame.
Ron Mueck is a hyperrealist sculptor who was born in Australia in 1958 and now lives in Great Britain.
In his early career he was as a model maker and puppeteer for children's television and films, notably the film Labyrinth.
He now sculptures many hyper realistic works with silicone, acrylic and fibre glass.
Mueck's sculptures faithfully reproduce the minute detail of the human body, but play with scale to produce disconcertingly jarring visual images.
Welcome to the world of Ditty & Bernie. Aunt Nettie, the oldest internet guru tells it like it is (and was). Take a tour - click on these links - Museum of Depressionist Art, The Glady's Dwindlebimmers Ralston Gallery of the Unidentifiable, and Redbone Fables and other Cautionary Tales.
"The Fraternity Party Gets Out of Hand"
Triptych ~ detail of right panel, "The Botched Beer Raid." Pieter Boggle.
"ASSHURBACKAWARTS" C1850 BCE -Nilotic/Nubian? Originally thought of as a female fertility figure, it is now known that this statuette is composed of two separate pieces with different provenance, skillfully combined at some point after 1200 BCE.
The upper portion, with its diminutive breasts and dolorous expression, is believed to be a "brit'ny," purchased at temples by young maidens in the hope that divine intervention would make them more appealing to the opposite sex.
The lower portion is not, as originally believed, the erotically enlarged thighs and hips of a temple prostitute, but the buttocks of another statue entirely, perhaps representing either bountifulness or a diet heavy in carbohydrates.
Scholars have been polarized by this image, some believing it to be an androgynous cult figure, others seeing it as a some kind of a practical joke. )
"Woman Wearing Chastity uit"
Angelo Bronzenoze c. 1545
Another Bronzenoze from our collection. According to the story the husband of the Lady Constance Du Pre, the subject of this portrait, was an extremely jealous man. Whenever he had to leave town for any length of time he assured himself of his spouse's fidelity by locking her into this ingenious extension of the notorious chastity belt. Only one key was made, which the Duke Umberto kept upon his person at all times.
There came a time when the Duke was called to war by the King. Realizing that he would be gone for many years, and would perhaps never return, he took pity on his wife and entrusted the key to the chastity suit to Cardinal Wooley, a saintly man of the cloth, with the instructions that if he were not to return after seven years, the Lady Constance should be released from her bondage.
With that the Duke heaved a heavy sigh and rode off at the head of his troops. He had not gone 500 yards before the good Cardinal, his vestments disheveled, galloped up upon his palfrey to say that the Duke, in his haste, had given him the wrong key.
Bronzenoze used the same breastplate shown here on one of his later Madonnas.
Coming soon. Be prepared for the biggest election theatre of the absurd in history as a dozen Republicans vie for being the next president o...