Saturday, October 30, 2010

Go With ‘As It Stands’ to a Haunted House This Halloween

What happened one Halloween in 1959 when one of my schoolmates disappeared inside an old haunted house in an unfamiliar neighborhood?

His screams were chilling and the Witching Hour pressed near…

The answer lies in Sunday’s Times-Standard OP ED Section, and in this blog.



Thousands attend Colbert, Stewart rally in Washington

I would have liked to attend this rally to restore SANITY and FEAR! What a hoot. Imagine being out there with that diverse crowd that loathes the Washington establishment and the mainstream media. People of all colors and screeds have gathered to show their disgust with both.

Friday, October 29, 2010

USA boosts airport security because of bomb scare: ‘Dry run for terror attack?’

Image: A forensic officer removes a package from a UPS container at East Midlands Airport in England.

This just in from Reuters & other News services:
Feds boosting airport security in wake of terror scare

Al Qaeda behind airport scares, U.S. says; security tightened; Yemen investigating

FedEx spokesman: Suspicious package that originated in Yemen confiscated in Dubai
White House confirms 2 suspicious devices found on U.S.-bound cargo planes originated from Yemen

CNN: Suspicious packages on cargo flights intended for Chicago synagogues

East Midlands airport, Britain's largest air freight terminal, remains sealed off -
U.S. official to CNN: Don't know if this was trial of security system or bomb attempt

Package on cargo plane in U.K. made from converted ink toner cartridge had white powder, wires sticking out - Sky News

Guest Opinion: Michael Moore on voting and protecting progress


There she was, thrown to the pavement by a Republican in a checkered shirt. Another Republican thrusts his foot in between her legs and presses down with all his weight to pin her to the curb. Then a Republican leader comes over and viciously stomps on her head with his foot. You hear her glasses crunch under the pressure. Holding her head down with his foot, he applies more force so she can't move. Her skull and brain are now suffering a concussion.

The young woman's name is Lauren Valle, but she is really all of us. For come this Tuesday, the right wing -- and the wealthy who back them -- plan to take their collective boot and bring it down hard on not just the head of Barack Obama but on the heads of everyone they simply don't like.

Teachers union? The boot!

Muslim-looking people? The boot!

Thinking of retiring soon? The boot!

Living in a house you can no longer afford? The boot!

Doing a bit better with your minimum wage? The boot!

Stem cell research, the bullet train, reversing global warming? Ha! The boot for all of you!

What? You like your kids being covered by your health plan 'til they're 26? The boot for them and the boot for you!

In love with someone of your own gender? A double boot up the ass for every single one of you sick SOBs!

Hoping there's a few jobs left here in the U.S. when you graduate? How 'bout just a nice boot to your head instead?

And most importantly, the last boot is saved for the black man who probably wasn't born here, definitely isn't a Christian and possibly might be the Antichrist sent here to oversee the destruction of our very way of life. A boot to your head, Obama-devil!

Yes, one big boot is poised to stomp out whatever hopey-changey thing we might have had two years ago and secure this country in the hands of the oligarchs and the culture police.

And if they win on Tuesday, they plan to show no mercy. They will not speak of bipartisanship or olive branches or tolerate any filibuster threats. They will come in and do the job with a mandate they'll perceive the electorate will have given them. They will not fart around for two years like the Democrats did. They will not "search for compromise" or "find middle ground." They will not meet you halfway on the playing field. They know that touchdowns aren't scored at the 50-yard line. Unlike our guys, they're not stupid or spineless.

Make no mistake about it, my friends. A perfect storm has gathered of racists, homophobes, corporatists and born agains and they are on fire. Two years of a black man who secretly holds socialist beliefs being the boss of them is more than they can stomach. They've been sick to death since the night of 11/04/08 and they are ready to purge. They won't need a rope and tree this time to effect the change they seek (why bother when a nice shoe on another's skull will do just fine, thank you).

They simply need to get their base to the polls (done), convince enough people Obama is responsible for the fact they don't have a job or a secure home (done), and then hope enough of us Obama-voters are so frustrated, disappointed and downright mad at the Dems (done) that we'll either stay home Tuesday or, if we vote, we won't be carpooling with 10 others to the polls.

Done? Or not?

These Republicans mean business. Their boots are all shined and ready. But they've got one huge problem:

The majority of Americans don't agree with them.

The majority want the troops home. The majority want true universal health coverage. The majority want the thievery on Wall Street to be stopped. The majority believe that global warming is happening, that social security shouldn't be privatized and that unions are a good thing.

Too bad the majority party has done precious little to bring about the change for which the majority voted. Yes, change takes time. But try telling that to someone who hasn't worked in two years. Or who hears the knock of the foreclosure sheriff at the door. The booted-up minority knows how to make hay in a situation like this. All they need is us, the disappointed, dismayed, disgusted us.

What say you? Stay home and punish the weak-kneed, sell-out Democrats? Or spend every free moment you have between now and Tuesday trying to protect what little progress has been made so we can live to fight another day (even if it is with "allies" like a Democratic Party that will more than likely still not get the message of what they need to do -- and has, in fact, spent much of the past two years giving progressives the boot)? Perhaps our job, post-election, is to provide a gentle but swift boot in the bee-hind of the party whose mascot is an ass.

Right now, we've got 112 hours. Seems like enough.

Michael Moore

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce funnels foreign oil money into political campaigns to get rid of Democrats

Mother Jones reports:

“As we reported earlier, European companies are using political action committees to spend quite a bit on lawmakers who have blocked climate legislation in the Senate. But as Wonk Room reported over the weekend, foreign oil and gas interests have also directed quite a bit of cash to the US Chamber of Commerce, which is running a $75 million campaign focused on ousting congressional Democrats.”

Inquiry: BP, Halliburton knew well cement was 'unstable'

Image: Deepwater Horizon onĀ fire

None of the revelations in this following news story surprise me. I’ve said it before (column link below) 

“Deepwater Horizon disaster was no accident - it was a certainty”

BP and Transocean, another partner, 'misinterpreted or chose not to conduct' key tests, inquiry reveals


“BP and its cement contractor, Halliburton, knew weeks before the Deepwater Horizon explosion that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the new well was unstable but still completed the work, staff for the presidential commission investigating the accident said in a letter Thursday.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Worth A Try: Press Pound to Escape Political Robocall Lists

Press Pound to to Escape Political Robocall ListsThe National Do Not Call Registry doesn't cover political messages, and you've probably noticed that lately.

One reader suggests that pressing pound (#) during robocalls can get you off at least that caller's list, but an expanded button combo might work better.

The way I figure it, anything is worth trying to discourage those disruptive calls in the evening. Good luck, and let me know what happened.

FBI Sting Operation Nets Wannabe D.C.-Area Subway Bomber

Image: Metrorail station

So far, the FBI has been able to catch wannabe bombers (think Christmas Square bomber) and now this Ahmed jerk.

It’s just another reminder of the world we live in now. Regardless of the counties we conquer and occupy, we aren’t going to stop extreme Muslims from attacking us, or the rest of the Western world.

Jihad, a religious war, was declared prior to 9/11, and is being waged every day and moment throughout the world. The U.S. needs to back out of the counties it currently occupies with military forces, and to increase peaceful diplomatic efforts across the globe. We need to use economic means to achieve goals instead of using our military might to make everything right. We also need to put more money towards national security at home, and that’s only possible if we quit pumping billions of dollars into countries we occupy, and bring our troops home.

The argument that troops on the ground are needed to enforce our will worldwide doesn’t hold up under the technology we have available to us. Drones have proven to be effective. We control the skies and the sea with our technology. Mix economic sanctions in and you have (what should be) a model for 21st geo-politics.

As It Stands, meanwhile let’s hope the quality of wannabe Muslim terrorists attacking us doesn’t improve!

Justice Department says he thought he was working with al-Qaida

“A Pakistani-born U.S. citizen was arrested Wednesday on charges of planning bombings at Metrorail stations in the Washington, D.C., area after an FBI sting operation, the Justice Department announced. "Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, Va., was arrested today for attempting to assist others whom he believed to be members of al-Qaida," the department said in a statement.”

Honus Wagner: Nuns auctioning rare baseball card

102710 MLB Honus Wagner card IA

Sister Virginia Muller had never heard of shortstop Honus Wagner.

But she quickly learned the baseball great is a revered figure among collectors, and the most sought-after baseball card in history. And thanks to an unexpected donation, one of the century-old cards belongs to Muller and her order, the Baltimore-based School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The sisters are auctioning off the card, which despite its poor condition is expected to fetch between $150,000 and $200,000. The proceeds will go to their ministries in 35 countries around the world.

The card is part of the T206 series, produced between 1909 and 1911. About 60 Wagner cards are known to exist.

A near-mint-condition T206 Wagner card sold in 2007 for $2.8 million, the highest price ever for a baseball card. Muller remains aghast that the 1 1/4-inch-by-2 1/2-inch piece of cardboard could sell for even a fraction of that.


Technical Glitch disrupts Air Force nuke communications says spokesman

Brief equipment failure affected 50 missiles, but officials say weapons never 'totally out of the control' of crews

An equipment failure disrupted communication between 50 nuclear missiles and a launch control center over the weekend, although the Air Force never lost the ability to launch the missiles, officials said.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Vician said the break occurred early Saturday at Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and lasted less than one hour. The White House was briefed about the failure Tuesday morning.

Photo – Getty Image

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creator of TV cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle dies

Pioneering TV cartoon artist Alexander Anderson Jr., who created Rocky the flying squirrel and Bullwinkle the moose, has died at age 90.

Growing up, Rocky & Bullwinkle were my favorite TV cartoon characters. I still laugh at their antics which can be seen on TV re-runs.

image source

Basketball Season starts today: The Lakers are ready for a 3-peat

I’ve been a Laker fan since the sixties, and am converting all five of my grandchildren! Basketball is my favorite sport. I’ve had the opportunity to play with some really good teams during my playing days.

Most notably, the Cleveland, Ohio city team I played guard for in 1972, and the 101st MP team that I played small forward with in 1971 (we won the 5th Army Championship that year).

I played in men’s leagues up to 1991 until I sustained a back fracture rebounding. By then, I had broken both ankles, several fingers, both of my knee were in need of surgery, and I was overweight. Reluctantly, I retired from the sport I love. I tried playing briefly 1n 1993 but a back stabilization surgery ended that. 

image source

Monday, October 25, 2010

Artist Profile: Ray Villafane, America’s favorite pumpkin carver!

Image: Pumpkin carving with zipper


Great gourds! A whole new level of pumpkin carving

Artist Ray Villafane pushes limits whether he’s working with wax, sand or pumpkin meat


See Villafane Studios on FaceBook

America’s Worst Politician: The short, ugly career of Alan Grayson

“There are hundreds of plausible nominees for the title of America’s Second-Smarmiest Politician, but surely the top spot is un-contested.”


As It Stands “Scum of the Year” candidate, Grayson, has already earned the much coveted top spot on this blog.


“Americans of all political persuasions can come together in affirming one proposition: Public life would be improved by scrubbing Rep. Alan Grayson from it. This act of civic hygiene probably will be performed Nov. 2 by voters of Florida’s Eighth Congressional District. Polls indicate that a majority of them plan to deny Grayson, 52, a second term by electing his resonantly named opponent, Daniel Webster.”

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sometimes you can make a positive impact and see the results


By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 10/24/2010 01:17:30 AM PDT

We seldom know the impact, negative or positive, we have had on people when we lose touch with them.

I remember when I was in fourth grade, a month into the new semester, my homeroom teacher and principal met with my parents. I was sure I was in trouble.

Instead, as it turned out, my teacher recommended I move up a grade. My parents thought it was a dandy idea, and I was devastated at the thought! All my friends were in fourth grade, and I didn't want to leave them.

The difference between the grades meant separation during recess. Fourth graders and below played on one side of the field -- fifth and six graders on the other. It was an invisible wall that couldn't be breached without consequences.

In the chaos of my new surroundings I found an unlikely friend; my English teacher, Mr. Moore. I'm not sure why he took me under his wing, but he did and I'm forever grateful. He opened up the world of writing to a lonely kid with a chip on his shoulder. I had an imagination without borders and he showed me how to unleash it on paper.

 While other students dreaded his class, I looked forward to learning the proper use of the English language so I could become a famous author. I wanted to be the next Ernest Hemingway or Edgar Allen Poe. I wanted to make my mark in the world and the kind, silver-haired, slightly plump Mr. Moore made it possible.

I still haven't written the great American novel, or any novel for that matter, but I've been happily writing for newspapers for decades. I still think about him. Mr. Moore will never know how much he meant to me. I'm sure he's long gone now.

Someone from my past thought that until last August. Like Mark Twain's famous quote, my death was greatly exaggerated. One of my former reporters (from The Desert Trail newspaper) recently wrote a column for The Ventura Star (A Wall Worth Remembering -- Aug. 27) and practically eulogized me.

It turns out the author, Woody Woodburn (Pictured above with his family), tried to find me for years. We parted ways in the mid-1980s. He knew I was a Vietnam veteran who was dealing with issues he could never understand. He feared -- he later told me in an e-mail -- that I was dead when he couldn't find me in the mid-1990s.

In his column, he talked about what an inspiration I had been to him and what a good person he felt I was. I found out about this column when my name popped up under a “Google Alert” on Aug. 27. I was surprised, more like shocked, and humbled. I had no idea how much I had meant to him.

Since then, we have exchanged e-mails and photos. We plan to get together the next time my wife and I go down south to where Woody and his wife, Lisa, live. Woody worked as a sports writer for a several publications, including the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Ventura County Newspapers, and the Ventura County Star.

He even wrote a book titled, “The Pirate Collection: Columns on a Decade of Dominance,” about Ventura College basketball. Woody has become a fixture in the Ventura community since the 1989 season when he wrote a heartwarming column about VC star Lester Neal, who rose from the depths of the Chicago Southside to become the Western State Conference Player of the Year.

To give you an idea how good a sports writer he is, Woody's column about Louis Zamperini, a gifted runner who competed in the 1936 Olympics, was included in the Best American Sports Writing series in 2001. That's hitting the big time.

Quite an honor for the tall, skinny young man fresh out of college I hired so many years ago. Woody also co-wrote a book with Wayne Bryan titled, “Raising Your Child to be a Champion.” Currently he writes a lifestyle column for the Ventura Star, is a freelance writer and is shopping around for an agent for his next book.

As It Stands, it just goes to show that sometimes you can make a more positive impact on people than you think.

PHOTO – Woody is wearing the yellow t-shirt. On his left is daughter Dallas. On his right is his son Greg, and wife Lisa.

Here’s a link to Woody’s column with the Ventura County Star

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...