Saturday, September 27, 2008

You Will Put This In Your Favorites, I Just Know It

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

I Am Seeing Red; Gravy That Is

This recipe comes from Judy Walker's Times Picayune Blog:

I added grilled eggplant to the sauce and served it over polenta with mascarpone cheese and topped with a chunk of codfish:

PIP26's Italian tomato gravy

¼ cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

3 or 4 large cloves garlic, chopped

¼ to ½ green pepper, chopped

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste (preferably Progresso)

Oregano and basil to taste

1 or 2 tablespoons sugar

1 (16-ounce) can Progresso whole Italian Plum tomatoes with puree and basil* slightly chopped

Wine (optional)

Salt, pepper and parsley

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Fry onions, garlic and green pepper until soft; do not let garlic burn or it will taste bitter. Add tomato paste, oregano, basil and sugar; fry until slightly brown, being sure not to burn the paste, or the gravy will taste bitter.

Add plum tomatoes to the skillet. Mix together and let simmer a couple of minutes to evaporate some of the water in the tomatoes. Transfer this mixture to a large saucepan. Fill the empty tomato and tomato paste cans each twice with water, and add to the sauce. Add a splash of wine if you want. Add salt, pepper and parsley to taste.

Cover the saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until thick or the consistency that you prefer.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Brush With Fame

My former next door neighbor, Matt Weissinger, is now a star. A video game creator/promoter, he was on the CBS Morning Show this week with his new game, DeBlob. (Don't worry, the commercial will only last about 15 seconds.)

Here he is in NYC:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hilarious History

This from Ben Smith's blog today on


Joe Biden's denunciation of his own campaign's ad to Katie Couric got so much attention last night that another odd note in the interview slipped by.

He was speaking about the role of the White House in a financial crisis.

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed," Biden told Couric. "He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'"

As Reason's Jesse Walker footnotes it: "And if you owned an experimental TV set in 1929, you would have seen him. And you would have said to yourself, 'Who is that guy? What happened to President Hoover?'"

This from Biden's Wikipedia entry:
Biden attended the Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware where he was athletically, not academically, oriented...

Apparently he did not pay attention in history class but I can't believe the nuns would have let him get away with that in those days. But that Jesse Walker come back is hysterically funny!

Friday, September 19, 2008

What's Another Trillion Among Friends?

Now this headline:

Paulson plan could cost $1 trillion

Trust me, this is a conservative estimate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Big Reason to Vote for McCain/Palin

There is one major reason that you want a Republican in the White House. It has nothing to do with experience, gender, race, values, age, or any of the hotly debated catch all topics we so constantly are focused on. It really doesn't matter much who that person is even. It has to do with balance.

The greatest stroke of genius our founding fathers came up with was this concept of the checks and balances. The whole system of a bicameral legislature along side two other branches of government, the executive and the judiciary, were designed to encourage exhaustive debate to result in a compromise that should net a sound, long lasting decision. This keeps small factions from taking too much power and running the show. And, more brilliantly, it reins in the so called tyranny of the majority, a concept that recognized, long before the advent of TV, how herd-like people are in their willingness to follow a pretty face, even when it is not such a good idea for their own long-term interest.

This balancing act resulted in the structure of the house and the senate and even the electoral college and defined the role of the judiciary and the executive.

Evolution has no doubt had an impact and the two party system probably holds much greater sway than any of the founder's may have anticipated. But lucky for us it provides an easy way to ensure our own check as voters is preserved.

I have heard many people say that this Presidential election is a contest between the lesser of two evils. We should think about what that means when the Congress is run by the Dems. Even with that scenario Bush played them like a pro and got his way, but not until after the Dems dissected each and every thing he was about. Imagine a DC with no biology lovers. It won't be long before they are eating their young without ever looking inside.

I for one think we need to put as many obstacles in the way of these people as we can. If that means making them fight one another harder to get stuff done that is a good thing. The founders never intended for the federal government to be a bunch of baby sitters. Instead they need to be baby sat. As individuals we need to retain our power. So split the parties-they need a mom and a dad. It is our only chance at getting this baby to walk upright.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

I have written under this headline before but in the interim I have been gathering more data to pass along to you. This is scary stuff so I suggest you have a strong cocktail nearby.

These bailouts you keep hearing about? Who is doing the bailing? We are--the taxpayers of the United States. But what are we doing the bailing with? Hot air, that's what.

Here is how it goes:

As of January (let me stress that this is 9 months ago and a lot has happened since then) our national debt was $59 trillion. Do you know how many zeros are in that?


After the nine.

How do I know this big number? Because David Walker said so (and no, I am not talking about Cap'n Dave). David Walker just came off of 15 years as the chief accountant of the Government Accounting Office-he was the comptroller general. He worked during Clinton and Bush at trying to inject some sanity into the whole accounting thing; he is now on the outside and still trying to get some attention.

I'll bet you thought you heard on the news that the deficit is a mere $468 billion? What gives? That number does not include the Social Security/Medicare obligations currently on the books along with some other big stuff. That is just the current cash deficit.

It seems like every time we get into a position where the numbers start saying bad things, the government reworks how the numbers are calculated. Keven Phillips wrote a terse little ditty on just this subject in the May issue of Harper's Magazine entitled "Numbers Racket-Why the Economy is Worse than We Know."

Well let's consider these basic numbers to see just how many strings there are on our racket. There are roughly 300 million people in the US give or take 10 million or so illegal immigrants. Each household would have to come up with $400,000 to pay off just the Social Security/Medicare debt, Walker says. How much did you pay for your house? Does that put it in perspective?

Walker has done is a nice little video that helps you understand just how big these numbers are.
Check it out at

Some of the facts included there are:

A billion seconds ago it was 1959. A billion minutes ago Rome had not yet fallen. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

But we are talking trillion, remember-a couple more zeros that mean a lot:

1. (US; modern British & Australian, short scale) A million million: 1 followed by twelve zeros. See Wiktionary.

Meanwhile, we are being ravaged by natural disasters and our infrastructure is crumbling. Oh, and we are in a couple of wars also, lest one forget. Lord knows where they count that stuff.

So you see, we were broke before this bail out nonsense even started. Now we have piled on another couple hundred billion; I guess when you are this far gone what's the big deal?

Something needs to happen fast but this problem is so vast and so complex no one really has a grip on it-aside from David Walker and few guys at the University of Maryland, who seemed to be all over the air today. Oddly, I think they all agree on the issues; as has been pointed out that is a rarity-agreement.

When we were the greatest power on earth we had no debt. Now our debt is being relished by countries with money, like China. They buy up our assets and we end up owing them the farm.

Something basic is going to have to change in our economy. As Wilbur Scott, the very wealthy bankrupt-company-turn-around artist said this week on NPR, an economy is not built on "flipping burgers, trading stocks and suing each other."

Will taxing do it? Just to pay what we already owe on Medicare/Social Security would require cutting the benefits in half and jacking up the payroll taxes and income taxes to twice what they are now and cut purchasing by the federal government altogether and then some.

Which is not even doable.

At all.

For one thing in addition to the income tax and payroll taxes we each pay to the federal government with every paycheck we also pay all of these other taxes at various levels of government, most of which have been invented since the 1930's:

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges& nbsp;Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
The contents may vary, check your local listings.

On top of that, here in Arizona where they can't balance budgets from year to year either, the legislature is raiding funds that are not even derived from taxes in order to meet their expenses.

This from the an article in the Western Farm Press in June:
"The Arizona legislature this spring took more than $550,000 in agricultural funds to help offset a $1.2 billion budget shortfall. Included in that total was $161,400 debited from three agricultural councils funded by grower assessments for commodity research and other programs." These are not even taxes! I heard today that the farmers have filed suit to try and get it back. Sorry, Wilbur, but sometimes suing each other is the only option left.

So as you can see, the pork barrel is not bottomless as our Congress would have us think. And those projects are not just in this country. One of Joe Biden's recent proposals is to expand the Violence Against Women Act to make the International VAWA so we can send money to other countries to teach the men not to punch the women! Quite frankly, I'd like to punch Joe Biden, and all the rest of the greedy people on Wall Street, in Washington, the State capitols and the City councils and everywhere else that got us into this just so they could get elected or rake in cash from not creating anything and trading in commodities lighter than air. It is all about greed and all about me and all about mine and all about now.

Alot has been bandied about lately as to the need for experience to do these government jobs. Well if this is what experience gets you, no thanks. Which brings up another monetary thing that really bothers me; there is never enough money for the goverment programs invented by these politicians in order to get reelected but there is always plenty of money to campaign on. Where does it come from?

The most horrifying part:

If it weren't for these "bail outs" no one would even be mentioning this issue. This is one crisis we can't watch happen and think we are going to clean up afterward. There will be no afterward. Where do you think the United States goes for its bailout?

As I said, the revolution will not be televised.


Just in case you think I am overstating things, right after I wrote this I saw on the news that the Fed (Ben Bernanke and the people who run the US Bank known as the Federal Reserve, an independent body that oversees the money flow in the US and sets the interest rates that banks pay to borrow)is INVITING China to come on over and make some big investments. I am not kidding.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Couple of Interesting Takes on the Palin Phenomenon

I must say, if I were a lesbian I would be in love with Camille Paglia.

Here is here latest installment which is a must read for a dead on analysis of the Palin attraction:

And here is another interest angle from one of Melanie's current college professors:

More Reasons Why We Should Not Read Anonymous Blogs

My husband was blogging from the Republican National Convention. One of the desired features that favors blogging over strictly writing news stories is the ability to immediately receive comments. I am all in favor of dialogue, for hashing things out from more than one side is what brings about reasoned decision making-hence the basis for the adversarial legal system. But to make that truly work the comments must be credible. That cannot be the case if the commenter is not willing to disclose his/her identity.

As a result you get posts like this one which appeared on the bottom of one of Doug's blogs entitled "The media moment: Palin's speech unleashed delegate fury at the press":

"You republicans are total @$$holes, and I'd love to see every last one of you hideous wastes of flesh wiped out in a nuclear disaster. That'd truly do my heart good."

There are so many levels of commentary one could make back but this person is clearly in need of some medical help. But we don't know who it is so we are at a loss to come to his rescue. I ask you, what is the point?

Apparently someone saw fit to remove this comment so don't go to the blog to look for it. But here is the link anyway:

Ironically, though, they left all the comments about this comment so you can check those out if you are so inclined. Some of those commenters actually included a picture. Now that is gutsy!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Good One

Michael Phelps baby picture