About Me

My photo

I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Too Aggressive Or Just Plain Criminal?

I usually agree with The Economist but after reading this article I just had to say something.

They seem to think the recent "scandal" at Wells Fargo is aggressive selling, or unethical. That is not how I see it now, or at the time I first heard of their actions. It is not a scandal. It is a crime.

They were opening accounts without customers' permission. Think about that! I have to have a power of attorney to open an account in my elderly relatives' names. You have to have permission to look at my medical records. But a bank can just open an account without my permission and all it constitutes is scandalous or unethical behavior?

Someone tell me why this is not a crime. If someone took out a loan in my name, is that not a crime? Additionally, with all the problems we have with identity theft, would Wells Fargo be liable if one of these customers data was taken? After all, if you don't know you have an account, how do you protect it? 

Friday, September 9, 2016

The NRA and its Congressional stooges should be tried as accessories after the fact!

The NRA (and their brainwashed subjects) go on and on about how we don't need NEW gun laws, we need the ones we have to WORK.
Well, the NRA has made sure the ones we have DON'T by "helping" our elected officials.
One Congressman, Rep Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), in 2003 introduced a series of riders to federal spending bills. These amendments prohibit the ATF from publicly releasing detailed gun trace data and limit its ability to share this data with other law enforcement agencies.
Tiahrt said "I wanted to make sure I was fulfilling the needs of my friends who are firearms dealers." NRA officials, he added "were helpful in making sure I had my bases covered."
Think about that! He wanted to help out the gun SELLERS!! Not victims of gun crimes. And the NRA kindly helped him out.
What does this mean? Well, in the Mother Jones article I read, it means:
- because a registry is outlawed, all the documents are scanned and must be stored as static images that cannot be searched digitally!
- because gun manufacturers and dealers were sued because their guns were recovered at crime scenes, the Tiarhrt Amendments were passed, now the ATF is only allowed to provide a specific trace information when a local law enforcement asks for it, and only that particular jurisdiction!
- the ATF can't tell reporters which brands are the most commonly trafficked or used in violent crimes.
- the ATF is forbidden from requiring gun dealers to conduct inventory checks, something it had proposed after an audit revealed that nearly half the dealers it reviewed couldn't account for all their weapons
Think about that. The ATF has to hand-read each registry form. What if your loved one was killed or disabled by gun violence? Would you be comfortable about these facts? And, what if before the gun was identified and led to an arrest, others were killed? Well, in my point of view, that makes everyone who voted for these Amendments and the NRA accessories after the fact!!!
But, no, because it's guns we have to turn away. If you serve too much alcohol to someone and they kill someone while driving drunk, the bartender and bar are deemed culpable.
And meanwhile the NRA controls our Congressmen. They even make sure that the ATF has no permanent director and is underfunded.
I am appalled that my member of Congress makes sure his first re-election ad features him with a gun. He has been bought and paid for, as have many of his fellow Congressmen.
What can we do? Call our Congressmen (and women)! Insist that the laws we have are unfettered by riders. (If they want to limit things, make them introduce a single bill.) When your Congressperson is up for election, review their voting record closely.
Also, work to reform the Senate confirmation process. Ensure that one or two Senators cannot hold up confirmations. Require a vote!
This is YOUR government. VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

Good morning!

On this day:

1980 The oldest known goldfish in Great Britain, Frederica, died at the age of 40.

1976 Died: Fritz Lang, Austrian-American director, producer, and screenwriter, most famous for films that include the groundbreaking Metropolis and M, that he had made before he moved to the United States.

1973 Died: Jean-Pierre Melville, French actor, director, producer, and screenwriter, a prominent person of the French Resistance during World War II. Produced in 2008 documentary Code Name Melville reveals the importance of Jean-Pierre Melville's personal experience in the French Resistance.

1963 Eric Clapton leaves the ‘Roosters’ to form the band ‘Casey Jones and the Engineers.’

1939 Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd wrote a letter to President of the USA Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon.

1934 Died: Paul von Hindenburg, German field marshal and politician, the 2nd President of Germany. After his death presidency in Germany was abolished and Adolf Hitler became Führer of the state.

1932 Born: Peter O'Toole, British-Irish actor of stage and film. He rose to fame playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (the role brought him an Academy Award nomination). He is also known for roles in films Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Lion in Winter, Becket, The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year.

1923 Died: Warren G. Harding, American journalist and politician, 29th President of the United States, who served in office from March, 1921 till his death. His presidency featured many scandals, earning him bottom-tier ranking from historians.

1922 Died: Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-Canadian engineer, inventor and innovator. His best known invention is telephone, that he patented in 1876.

1921 Died: Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor. He sang to great acclaim in major opera houses of Europe and the USA. From 1902 to 1920 he made 290 commercially released recordings, that are still available today as digital downloads.

1905 Born: Myrna Loy, American actress and singer. She rose to fame after playing the role of Nora Charles in The Thin Man (1934). Although she's never been nominated for a competitive Academy Award, she received an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of her extraordinary qualities in screen and off.

1887 Rowell Hodge patented barbed wire. The beginning of the end of open range in the Old West.

1870 The world's first underground tube railway, Tower Subway, opened in London. The tunnel was closed in 1898 and todays it's used for water mains.

1861 The first U.S. national income tax is passed to aid the Union war effort.

1834 Born: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, French sculptor, best known for designing the Statue of Liberty, that is situated in New York.

1610 Henry Hudson sailed present-day Hudson Bay, thinking he had made it through the Northwest Passage and reached the Pacific Ocean.

Food Observances

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

An ice cream sandwich is a type of frozen dessert which consists of a layer of ice cream sandwiched between two cookies or slices of cake. The idea of sandwiching ice cream between cookies is not new, but the first packaged ice cream sandwiches were produced in the United States in the 1920s. The modern version of this treat has been around since the 1940s.

Some facts about ice cream sandwiches:

  • The 30-44 age group buys the most ice cream sandwiches.
  • The average number of ice cream sandwiches eaten per second nationally is 48.
  • The ice cream sandwich ranks as the second best-selling ice cream novelty in America.
  • If all the ice cream sandwiches made last year were placed end to end, they would circle Earth 3 1/2 times.
  • The eastern seaboard consumes almost 50 percent of all ice cream sandwiches.

  • The original ice cream sandwich sold for a penny in 1900 from a pushcart in the Bowery neighborhood of New York.  The vendor, who was never identified in the article printed in papers across the nation, sandwiched the ice cream between milk biscuits. Soon, pushcarts popped up around the city and country during the summer months selling the portable treats.

    The modern version of the ice cream sandwich was invented by Jerry Newberg in 1945 when he was selling ice cream at Forbes Field.   There are pictures from the early 1900s, “On the beach, Atlantic City”, that show Ice Cream Sandwiches were popular and sold for 1 cent each.

    Ice cream sandwiches are known around the world by a variety of names including the Monaco Bar, Giant Sandwich, Maxibon, Cream Between, Vanilla Slice and many more.

    United States and Canadian Observances

    National Night Out in the USA

    National Night Out is a special event that is held in the USA every year on the first Tuesday in August. This event was started in 1984 in order to make communities safer.

    The event was started by the National Association of Town Watch in 1984. The first event took place on August 7, 1984 with 2.5 million members from 400 communities in 23 states participating. Nowadays all states of the USA participate in this event on the first Tuesday in August. Only two states, Florida and Texas, are allowed to move the event to the first Tuesday in October to avoid hot weather.

    National Coloring Book Day is recognized annually on August 2.  Coloring and coloring books have always been popular with children, but over the years adults have gotten more and more involved with coloring.  Adult coloring is now a huge trend and many are finding that it is not only fun but also a great way to reduce stress.  Founded in 1941, Dover Publications led the way, releasing their first coloring book for adults, Antique Automobiles Coloring Book, in 1970. Dover now publishes Creative Haven®, a popular line of coloring books specially designed for adult colorists.

    Find a coloring party near you or participate online.  Spend some time coloring with your friends, children or grandchildren or by yourself. Enjoy the creativity of making a picture come to life. Download the official National Coloring Book Day 2016 color page

    Latin American Observances

    Our Lady of the Angels Day in Costa Rica

    Our Lady of the Angels Day is a public holiday in Costa Rica celebrated on August 2. It is the feast day of Virgen de los Angeles (the Virgin of the Angels or Our Lady of the Angels), the patron saint of Costa Rica.

    The Caribbean

    Carnival Tuesday is one of the public holiday in Antigua and Barbuda. This is the second day of the traditional Carnival and, as well as August Monday, it's one of the most important holidays on the islands.

    Celebration of the Carnival is dedicated to anniversary of abolition of slavery in 1833, that is known as Emancipation Day. All former British colonies celebrate this day, but in some places this holiday was moved to mark the beginning of an annual carnival. In 1957 the Carnival replaced the Old Time Christmas Festival in Antigua and Barbuda in order to inspire tourism on the islands. However, the Carnival possesses numerous elements of the Christmas Festival.

    European Observances

    August 2 is a major public and religious holiday in the Republic of Macedonia. It is known as Republic Day or Ilinden (the feast of Saint Elija). The holiday commemorates two important events in the country's history.

    Two major events in the history of modern Republic of Macedonia took place on this date. In 1903, the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization organized the Ilinden Uprising against the Ottoman Empire. In 1944, the first plenary session of the Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia was held. It proclaimed a Macedonian nation-state.

    Russia and Former Soviet Republics

    On August 2, some former Soviet Republics celebrate Day of Airborne Forces. Such a date was chosen to commemorate the first parachute jump of the Soviet Airborne Troops that took place on August 2, 1930 in the Moscow Military District.

    Day of Azerbaijani Cinema is celebrated in August 2. This holiday was established by President Heydar Aliyev in 2000. The date of August 2 was chosen to commemorate the first public film screening in Azerbaijan that took place in 1898.

    Azerbaijan was one of the first countries involved in cinematography. The first ever motion picture footage was demonstrated in 1895 in Paris by the Lumière brothers. Three years later, Russian entrepreneur of French origin Alexandre Michon began to film documentaries in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

    On August 2, 1898, Michon exhibited his documentaries in Baku. They included “The Oil Gush in Balakhan” and “The Folk Dance of Caucasus”. This day is considered to be the birthday of Azerbaijani cinema.

    August is Here!

    I used to include holidays on some of my discussion threads on Goodreads, but I have had some complaints. So I think I will start a feature here. 

    Please add comments if you have any. 

    Since it has just recently turned into August, here are some things about August. 

    Some songs featuring August in the title:

    Van Morrison -- A Cold Wind in August

    Freddy Cannon -- June, July and August

    Robin Gibb -- August October

    Julie London - Time for August

    Counting Crows -- August & Everything After

    August Birthstone. Three birthstones are available for August birthdays: peridot, sardonyx, and spinel. Peridot. Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.

    Peridot olivine with minor pyroxene, on vesicular basalt

    Peridots - finished gems

    Raw sardonyx

    Finished sardonyx

    Raw and finished spinel

    The August birth flowers are the gladiolus and the poppy. 

    The gladiolus, or ‘sword lily,’ represents remembrance, calm, integrity, and infatuation.
    Gladiolus indicates that the heart is being “pierced with love.” 

    Gladiolus butterfly & primilus mixed

    Some tips on growing:
    • Plant gladiolus bulbs in the spring once danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed.
    • Gladioli like well-drained, light soil and full sun.
    • Put a 2– to 4–inch layer of mulch around your gladioli to keep your soil moist and help prevent weeds.
    • If you get less than 1 inch of rain a week, water your plants regularly throughout the summer. Otherwise, water them moderately when in growth to keep the soil moist.
    A red poppy signifies pleasure; a white poppy is given for consolation; and, a yellow poppy wishes wealth and success.

    Some tips on growing poppies:

    • Sow outdoors in the fall or winter. Most poppies require a period of stratification, or a period of exposure to cold, before they will germinate.
    • Your poppy will always need full sunlight and well-drained soil.

    Some August Monthly Observances:

    Admit You're Happy Month
    Family Fun Month
    Happiness Happens Month
    National Catfish Month
    National Crayon Collection Month
    National Eye Exam Month
    National Golf Month
    National Peach Month
    National Picnic Month
    National Water Quality Month
    Romance Awareness Month
    Water Quality Month 

      Monday, January 25, 2016

      The Truth is Out There and It's Never Been More Wonderful!!

      So, Mulder and Scully came back last night! Woo-hoo!!! I was so excited last night I actually think my pulse went up.

      However, I think my local station didn't think I could handle the truth as they cut away to Modern Family (ack!) at 8 pm PST. Why did they think putting it on directly after the football game was a good idea. I could understand if it had been aired on right after the game. But how many people watch the game after it's over? You know, all that garbage with the Fox Sports guys and the confetti and everything? Don't most football fans turn off the TV once the final second is over and we know who won? Yes, Carolina fans may have... but still...

      But, I digress. I haven't felt this excited about a TV program since... well, since May 19, 2002. (And I didn't even really like the last few seasons of the X-Files. The first 4 were the best.)

      But, now they're back! Full disclosure I am an unrepentant 'Shipper! So, of course, I am looking out for  all the interpersonal stuff you can get between Mulder and Scully.

      So the bits I did get to watch were great last night. It's not only seeing them again. It's hearing that great banter. I missed their arguments where neither one gives an inch. And Skinner! CSM! (Though I'm not sure about the smarmy Fox News guy.) Too bad Krycek couldn't come back, it's been a long time since I saw Mulder beat the crap out of a guy.

      The bits they dropped. Mulder talking about "for better or worse". And what kind of depression was it that made them break up? Were they actually married? Are they still? After all, Scully's a Catholic.

      But that's the joy of the X-Files. We never get all the answers. When they were on before I would have people at work ask me all these questions. I had to laugh. If you want all the questions answered, you were watching the wrong show.

      So, I am just excited about this. Can you tell? My heart is speeding up just thinking about the X-Files. Even if it is a short redux. Just having stories this good and characters this wonderful is such a change from all the dreck you normally get on tv. Hopefully my heart will stand up to it!

      Saturday, January 9, 2016

      Angry White People With Guns

      I noticed I haven't written in over a month. So I thought I'd write a short note. Happy 2016! I have many wishes for 2016 but I don't think we'll get it. I'd hope for a less angry, less violent, and more tolerant America.

      Many people say the American Dream is dead. Maybe that's true. But maybe the problem is Americans with the values of America are dead.

      Look at the anger out there. But it's also the hypocrisy. When women, black people, gays, etc, express their anger they are met with intolerance. Yet, now we have a group of white people taking over a bird refuge in a rural eastern Oregon county -- a group of armed people -- met with no resistance. They spout the tired diatribe against an overreaching federal government.

      They have a lot of sympathy from the Fox News crowd. But I ask you to do a little thought experiment. What if they weren't angry white ranchers with guns?

      What if they were angry black  people with guns? We live in a society where police (or civilians even) can shoot and kill teenage black boys (not quite men) for appearing to be carrying guns. Where school police can violently pin a teenage black girl to the ground for refusing to put away her cell phone. Where the mentally ill are shot and killed for throwing rocks.

      Yet, these men go around open carrying weapons and no one bats an eyelash? As near as I can figure there are several differences.

      One. Race, of course. We are not post racial. Maybe we are nearing post racial. Or maybe we are in the death throes of racial. It is dying hard. And it is fighting back.

      Two. Federal vs local law enforcement reaction. Perhaps it is because the federal government feels keenly this sense that it is hated. That it is distrusted. Maybe they remember what happened after Waco and Ruby Ridge, after Elian, et al, and they want to tread lightly.

      Whatever, these people that go on about an imperial or fascist Obama administration need to look at this. If it really were, wouldn't more people be "disappeared" as happened in many Latin American dictatorships? Or "purged" as in Stalinist Russia? Oh, and how about that "they're going to take our guns away?" crap? I'm still waiting... I've been waiting since the Clinton Administration. All that has happened is more crazy white people are stockpiling more guns than most Army posts have.

      Three. This is the rural West as opposed to the inner city. People are used to seeing people with guns out here. Also, you run across a lot of really crazy people out here in the wilderness. They only get crazier in Alaska, I think. Sometimes I think we need to have a special state or territory for these people. Where they can be allowed to roam and make their own rules and, well, let evolution take its course. Keep them away from polite society.

      Recently the Mormon Church had to distance themselves from these people. Why? Well, Cliven Bundy must be Mormon for one. His son's name is Ammon. If he's not Mormon, he read the Book. Second, Mormons have always had a strong anti-government, self-reliance, libertarian streak. (I mean if the federal government hounded you out of your homes and killed your President and Prophet? What would you think?)

      Mormons like to say they respect the laws of the land. The leadership of the Church has to say that. And I think most Mormons do. The professional class of the Church. But the others are still living in the 18th Century.

      Does anyone read my blog? Does anyone have any thoughts? Comment! Let me know you're out there.