Saturday, March 8, 2014

No More Dinner Invitations To the White House for Turkey

Good Day World!

It wasn’t that long ago when we thought Turkey was a friendly country. We even thought they liked us. Our politicians held the little country up as a role model for the Middle East. 

But to the surprise of the United States, they think we’re part of a conspiracy to overthrow their government. They’ve been talking trash more often recently so President Obama has taken them off the guest list in Washington, DC.

Via The Christian Science Monitor:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) handled antigovernment protests last spring and their resorting to anti-Western conspiracy theories, blaming everyone from business newspapers and bankers to Jews and Americans.”

I have to admit I’ve not been following our government’s relations with Turkey that closely and it got me to wondering what else I might not know about the country. So I took the following test:

Test your knowledge about the history and politics of Turkey

How did you do? Hopefully, better than I did!

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Friday, March 7, 2014

GOP record stuck playing same old tune again: attack Obamacare

Good Day World!

Have you seen the movie “Groundhog Day?”

Bill Murray played a great part as a man who wakes up every day and experiences the same routine. Kind of an eternal life (or damnation depending on how you look at it).

The Republican Party is stuck on a hamster wheel over ObamaCare with no end in sight.

That’s because the GOP-led House of Representatives voted on (and passed) their 50th effort to repeal, defund, or dismantle the health-care law Wednesday. Amazing isn’t it? The worst part is they’ll probably continue to try and dismantle our health care system forever if someone doesn’t make them face reality.

It’s like watching Alice fall down the rabbit hole but not reaching bottom. How can these clowns go to bed at night knowing that people voted for them to help advance this country? And, to serve the people?

The morons are so stuck tilting at windmills – a law is a law, get over it for God’s sake – that they’re willing to waste time and money on behalf of special interests and draconian ideologies – and not worry about the people that voted them into office.

It’s no wonder that the House of Representatives has become a playground for politicians playing up to special interests and idiot ideologies…voters just haven’t woke up yet, aren’t paying attention, or they just don’t give a damn anymore!

Time for me to walk on down the road… 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Financial whores or worse? American Company Distributes Russian Propaganda

Good Day World!

Have you ever heard of the US Public Relations firm Ketchum?

Maybe you should have. The Putin government exerts most of its behind-the-scenes influence in America though this company which received $1.5 million in the most recent six-month reporting period for its work on behalf of Russia.

What does Ketchum do for all that money? Mostly distribute press releases, according to official documents. But according to a document filed in November, Ketchum is also involved in "preparing, disseminating or causing the dissemination" of the website, a URL that redirects to

Breaking News: An anchor with the U.S. network RT — or "Russia Today" — dramatically quit on the air Wednesday afternoon, saying the Kremlin-funded outlet "whitewashes" the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why doesn’t Senator John McCain – who is spoiling for a war with Russia – spend more time here at home looking into this obvious Russian influence in this country? That would be a better use of his time, which he currently likes to waste by attacking President Obama for every foreign decision he makes.

Ketchum also has a separate contract, paying more than $3 million between June 1 and Nov. 30, to represent the interests of Gazprom Export, the natural gas exporting subsidiary of the Russian energy giant Gazprom, which is itself controlled by the Russian government.

If you ask me, Ketchum is a company without a trace of patriotism, using greed-driven tactics that promote our enemies in the Kremlin. Talk about toadies. Don’t those guys have a sense of morals or respect for the country that allows them to serve a foreign power with impunity?

Do you want to sell out America? See the folks at Ketchum; for a price they’ll get you Putin’s autograph and a beginners guide to communism.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Find Out About the Vietnam Veterans Who Still Haven’t ‘Come Home’

Good Day World!

 That time of the year is coming for me again.

Unwanted memories of my time in Vietnam and Cambodia materialize like ghosts to haunt me. Unbidden vignettes of violence slip into my nights and my nerves are live wires writhing during the day. 

 Most people think about spring –still weeks away – with fond memories and feelings of joy. For me – in 1970 - it meant crossing into a foreign country that wasn’t at war in pursuit of an elusive enemy whose secret headquarters we discovered and destroyed.

To Americans back at home however, it looked like we were invading another country – like we were expanding the already unpopular war. I saw the worst war had to offer that April and May. I lost my best friend in an ambush. I lived, he didn’t. I saw too many men die in those terrible weeks.

I saw enemy bodies stacked like cordwood with rats, their bloody whiskers a mockery of sanity, slithering over the mangled corpses.

I have PTSD from my experiences overseas. The VA recognized this a long time ago.

But not all my brothers who also served over there have been given the same consideration. Find out why, when you read this article about the Vietnam veterans who still haven’t “Come Home.”

 PTSD Before It Had a Name: Vietnam Vets Sue DOD

“Five Vietnam veterans who claim they became afflicted with combat-related anxiety –- decades before PTSD became a common term –- assert in a new, class-action lawsuit that the Pentagon should upgrade the less-than-honorable discharges they and “tens of thousands” of other troops received during that era.

The lawsuit, which includes a three retired Marines and a second Army veteran, seeks the milltary's record corrections boards to “implement consistent, medically appropriate standards” under which discharge upgrades can be considered for PTSD-afflicted Vietnam veterans, said Thomas Brown, a law-student intern with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School. The suit was filed by Yale Law School.”

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Reflection on Stupid People, or ‘Stupid is as stupid does’

Good Day World!

Regardless of the way some of us act, no one is perfect. That's where stupidity comes in. Because we know we're not perfect we often try to cover up our mistakes, or even the mistakes of others.

That's stupid because everyone knows their time to screw up will come. It's as inevitable as taxes and death. I won't even attempt to number the stupid mistakes I've made in my life. I sometimes talk about my stupidest failures and joke about them, hoping to get a smile or laugh that could help take away the sting.

James F. Welles, Ph.D, the author of "Understanding Stupidity: an Analysis of the Unnatural Selection of Beliefs and Behavior in Institutions and Organization," wrote that not all failures are stupid.

It seems in a behaviorist's universe, there is no such thing as stupidity. Behavior, Welles asserts, "is simply (or complexly) caused, and the corruption of the learning process and limitations on a living system's ability to adapt are inherent in the process of life."

An understanding of how stupidity affects us could make us better people. We call self-deception stupid because we ignore facts that could help or hurt us. For example, say you're a politician arguing there's no such thing as "Global Warming" and you find new relevant information that proves otherwise.

What do you do? Change your position to reflect the truth or ignore it to further a political agenda? If you do the latter, you are stupid, greedy, or you have a broken moral compass.

Facts enlighten us and result in clear thinking. Accepting facts is acknowledging the truth. To turn away from facts is stupid. But not everyone is interested in the truth.

Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a series of studies in 2005 and 2006 and found that misinformed people, particularly political partisans who were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, rarely changed their minds.

You want to hear something even more scary? People often become even more strongly set in their beliefs when confronted with facts. It was clear to the researchers facts do not cure misinformation. In a real twist, they found that facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist and lead researcher on the Michigan study said, "The general idea is that it's threatening to admit you're wrong." In my book, that qualifies as stupid and vain. Most Americans lack even a basic understanding of how our country works.

A bold assertion, but Princeton University's Larry M. Bartels argues, "the political ignorance of the American voter is one of the best documented data in political science."

Combine that information with the fact that misinformed people often have the strongest opinions, and you have the ingredients for being stupid and proud of it.

James Kuklinski of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign refers to this kind of response to reality as the "I know I'm right" syndrome, and considers it a "potentially formidable problem" in a democratic system.

It implies that stupid people resist correcting their beliefs. I believe people with good self-esteem are more able to accept it when they're wrong about something.

People who are insecure or feel threatened can't move on when confronted with facts. Researchers have found these people are less likely to listen to dissenting opinions, and they are more easily controlled.

If you have the time, check out "Stupidity: Exploring the Nature of Stupidity in Western Society -- and our Perception of It," a documentary film made in 2003, and directed by Albert Nerenberg.

Finally, we have institutional stupidity where we let lawmakers lead us into stupid wars that drain our economy. The cruel thing about all of this is the poor people who suffer through one stupid failure after another as our politicians continue to raise the bar in being stupid.

As It Stands, as Forrest Gump so aptly put it, "Stupid is as stupid does."

-By Dave Stancliff

(This column originally ran in The Times-Standard on August 1st, 2010.)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Reflections on Mannequins, Puppet Rulers, and Revolutions

 Good Day World!

 If you’ve been following what’s happening in the Ukraine you know the country is on the brink of a revolution.

A puppet-ruler for Russia has fled the country, and now Putin and pals are preparing to take military action against the people of the country who don’t want to be a Russian satellite like they were during the Cold War.

The world is full of ironies to savor, if we’ll but take the time. I think the progress of mannequins in society is often reflective of the culture. for example: 

 Russia and Ukraine have the creepiest mannequins which is only to be expected, I suppose, since many department stores there are often left abandoned for years (not to mention whole post-communist-era industrial towns) - and those mannequins that are still in service are not normally renewed for many decades.

Time and decay step in to do their inevitable part, putting the "final touches" on many superb examples of Communist kitsch.

Finally, here’s a history of mannequins and how they’ve evolved:

A mannequin is an articulated doll used by artists, tailors, dressmakers, window dressers and others to display or fit clothing.

Traditional Mannequins have evolved, and now have many new uses never dreamed of before.

 This board I created explores the use of mannequins in the past and today’s high tech mannequins.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What’s your Sunday routine, or do you even have one?

                                     Good Day World!

My Sunday routine is reminiscent of the other six days of the week:

I get out of bed and stumble into the kitchen hoping my wife already put a pot of coffee on. If not, I somehow manage to make it even though my head and eyes are still fuzzy and I can’t form whole words yet.

We all have our ideas on how Sunday should be spent. If you’re religious, you go to church on Sunday to worship God. If it’s your only day of the week off, you may religiously try not to do a damn thing other than kick back and relax!

Then there’s people like me who treat the day the same way I treat the other six; with respect. By that I mean I try to get the most out of the day – every day. No one day is more special than the other. When you realize there’s no guarantee of a tomorrow…it makes sense.

Taking a positive outlook with you throughout your day is one of the stepping stones to happiness. One of these days I’ll mention another one. Meanwhile, what are your thoughts on the subject?

While you’re thinking about it could you pass me the coffee pot?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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...