Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass div



Bela Fleck & Tony Trischka -  Banjos; Edgar Meyer - Bass; Sam Bush - Mandolin; Doc Watson & Pat Flynn - Guitars.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bad Behavior Div (politician subsection)

Will these people never stop providing grist for the mill ????

Seems the "law and order" candidate for a state office in Alabama hasn't yet figured out that you first get elected and then, you steal.

Louie Gohmert doesn't like the parking situation in the GWTP, so he berates the Park service cops that ticketed him, pulls rank (I'm a Congressman and I'll have your job) and stalks off to a "meeting on the Hill"  Hey Louie, the Capitol building is at the opposite end of the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial. That's one hell of a walk buddy. (and shame on the cop for letting this bully walk away from it).

State legislator in Nevada is expelled for being "dangerous" and promptly gets arrested in California. Seems they wouldn't allow him to purchase a handgun in Nevada  - -  some system of gun control must be working, or maybe it's just because the guy is a Democrat.

Old Don Young lets slip the term "wetback" ......... what's next when recalling your upbringing Don ??

Here's a Letter to the Editor of the Casper Star Tribune posted on their website .......... the writer is fairly neutral as to his political leaning, and you can read what you want into his words, but his heart is in the right place no matter which side of the aisle you're on. Kinda sums it up, eh ?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Evolution Div

Today, I was on the way back from the Endodontics' office (had a root-canal on Monday and lost the temp filling) and I heard Chris Hayes being interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR. He discussed things that have affected his politics over the past decade:

"My disposition as a human being is kind of a go-along-to-get-along person. I tend to trust authority. I tend to think people in charge broadly know what they're doing, don't lie to you, aren't going to start wars for no reason, and, you know, watching Iraq happen and then watching the financial crisis happen and then Katrina in the middle of that, you know, you turn around and you think, 'Wait a second: No one is on top of anything. Who the heck is in charge here? These people who say that they know what they're doing don't know what they're doing. I'm not going to trust them the next time they tell me they know what they're doing.' It's a radically unmooring feeling to recognize that people that you just figured kind of had it under control don't have it under control and might be totally incompetent or completely corrupt or totally self-dealing."

Earlier today I read a post by Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station from 2011 ....... seems we've traveled a fairly similar road over the past few years. (though I've got a few years on him).
I grew up in a very "conservative," Republican household. My parents were charter members (I think) of the John Birch Society, I grew up in Arizona and revered Barry Goldwater (I still do in many ways) and my Mom has despaired as of late for having participated in raising a "Liberal."
I spent over was twenty years in the Air Force and worked (very hard and successfully) for a private company for fifteen years until I managed to catch cancer and was let go.
I came to adopt certain principles over my lifetime: hard work, loyalty, tolerance and a belief that in our country everyone had a chance to get ahead. Sadly, I've seen that my values aren't reflected in today's society.
We value "the deal" more than the product; "capital" over labor; credential over competence; and appearance over substance.
It's a shame .......
To quote Jim's last two sentences:

"One day I looked up and realized that I was on the other side. 
And you know what? I’m just fine with that."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Geograp[hy Div (warmer climes subsection)

It's freezing here in the vicinity of the GWTP, so an old Bear's thoughts search for warmth ........

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

The Infamous Stringdusters tear one up   - -  Black Rock

Andy Hall (Dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book (upright bass) Jesse Cobb (mandolin).

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sponsored by ...... div

There is a petition to have members of Congress wear advertising logos of the corporations that contribute to the campaigns (oh yeah, sign it). Might as well get a little exposure for buying their vote helping them get elected, eh ??

(h/t  Thaves   -  Frank & Ernest)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Seasonal Celebration Div (WTF subsection)

The other nite I was watching the teevee and saw an ad for Toys'R'Us advertising toys for Easter.
Huh ?? I thought Easter was the celebration of the execution of a seditious Hebrew carpenter  renewal of life and the promise of spiritual redemption. It's bad enough that the legend of the birth of baby Jesus has been turned into enormous retail orgy; now, we are turning the observance of the arrival of spring into a cross between the recognition of the Winter Solstice and Halloween !!!
Though the birthdate of the historical Jesus is subject to doubt, the place of his death in the astronomical calendar can be reasonably ascertained through the Jewish calendar and the celebration of Passover (though the calendrical date is subject to debate).
I know, I know, the Gospels say, and scripture says and Sister Mary Rebecca has he ruler ready if there's any questioning of the legitimacy of the whole fairy tale story. But do we need to indulge in yet another spectacle of toys, gifts and candy ???
If you puke after watching the video, I won't mind.
Time to send a message to the various temples of Mammon.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Geography Div ( corruption and failure sub-section)

One of my very good service buddies retired to Michigan - -  the real Michigan, west of The Soo on Da Yup !!
He's since had to relocate to Ann Arbor, so gets a more frequent exposure to the doings in nearby Detroit.
And boy oh boy have they been havin' fun !!!
First, there's the former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick being convicted of corruption. My friend had met him a few years back and described him as a "thug."
Now, the city is on the verge of bankruptcy and an emergency manager has been appointed to help with the turn-around. Let's hope he's successful.
Update, 11AM   --  Apparently, the residents of Detroit aren't happy with the appointment. Ah democracy.
Anyway, here's this week's map:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Today, Everyone is Irish ....... Div

A quiet, romantic Irish ballad (heh) ...... Happy St.Patrick's Day

PS  - -  Drive Safely, I'll be out there.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass div

Saro Jane - by Country Gazette (sometime between 1983 and 1988)

Alan Munde - Banjo; Gene Wooten  - Dobro; Roland White Jr - Mandolin; Mike Anderson - Bass

Friday, March 15, 2013

Banking Div (trust us subsection)

Seems that the folks at JP Morgan Chase  all look like Sgt Schultz. You'd think that the money they get/got paid their understanding of the rules would be better ......oh well.

There will be no solution until Congress and the regulators are out of the banks' pockets.
We'll never stop good, ole fashionerd greed, but the best quock solution to the problem was proposed by Barry Ritholtz in the Washington Post last year. Here's the meat of the solution (based on a time-machine glance of a letter from the Chairman of the FDIC in the near future to the bankers :

"Therefore, as chairman of the FDIC, with the full support of my board of directors, we have decided upon the changes in the regulations covering federal deposit insurance:
1. Effectively immediately, we have increased the FDIC deposit insurance for any U.S. bank that engages in ANY trading of derivatives or underwriting securities or other investment banking activities by threefold. This threefold fee increase goes into effect immediately. It applies whether these trades are hedges for proprietary trades or are made on behalf of clients.
2. Effective in 90 days, we are LOWERING the maximum insured deposit liability to $100,000 per account for derivative trading firms. Effective in 180 days, the insured maximum insured deposit liability will drop to $50,000 per account.
3. Effective one year from today, on May 23, 2016, we will no longer offer deposit insurance for any firm that engages in derivative trading or securities underwriting or that engages in investment banking.
4. Any bank with fewer than 1,000 depositors or less than $1 billion in assets may apply for a discretionary waiver of these rules.
We have been forced to make these changes because of the very real risks that your leveraged derivative trading has created. One or more of you may suffer an enormous loss, and that poses a risk to the DIF. Our governing statute requires the FDIC to act in such circumstances.
It is not our position to tell you what sort of non-depository banking activities you may engage in. Those are business choices you and your firm are free to make. However, it is our position not to engage in foolish insurance underwriting. We have elected to be more conservative in our risk management as well as the underwriting assumptions we make. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the kinds of risks that your firms have been undertaking.
This action should delight many of you. In the recent speeches of several bank CEOs, many of you have longed for a return to the days of less regulation and a truer free market. Once you no longer qualify for our insurance due to your other businesses, you will be freed up from all of the onerous bank reviews and regulations that are part and parcel of FDIC insurance.
As a bonus, without the intervention of government guarantees, those of you who continue to have depositors will finally be able to compete in a free and open market. Without FDIC insurance, your depositors will be making their decisions based on your reputation and their assessment of the safety and security of your operations — and not Uncle Sam’s willingness to continually bail you out.
You have the FDIC’s best wishes for success in the future — just not our insurance."
Perhaps someone down in the GWTP will have the cojones to do something  - -  this would be a good start.

Shipwreck ... div (brand death subsection)

During all my years in the travel industry, Carnival was always considered the "low-end" of the mass-market cruise lines. I personally never sailed with them, but considered all client reports and criticisms when recommending a particular ship. Based on performance and the latest news, I don't think anyone could convince me to recommend them, let alone go up the gangplank.
I don't know what the future holds for the company, but despite the refunds and offers of future freebies, I see nothing but a death spiral of Carnival.
Hopefully, one of the successful lines WON'T buy them to be used as a loss-leader.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Geography .... div

Since California and NewYork have had their say ............


Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass div (Old + New subsection)

Wheel Hoss  -  an old Bill Monroe number done by a combination of Hot Rize and the Punch Brothers (in, of all places, the BB King club, New York City).

Hot Rize :Pete Wernick - banjo, Tim O'Brien -fiddle, Nick Foster - bass, Bryan Sutton - guitar    
 Punch Brothers:Chris Eldridge - guitar, Noam Pikelny - banjo, Gabe Witcher - fiddle, Chris Thile - mandolin


Went out for my walk around the neighborhood lake this morning. Hard to believe that last Wednesday was supposed to be the "Great Snowstorm of 2013  (so far anyhow)." Temp was about 60 and lots of pretty girls out in tight leggings exercising. Ah !!! an old bear can have some pleasures, eh ??
Watched a boy cardinal chase a girl cardinal for over a minute, but they never stayed still long enough to snap a picture (guess photo immortality wasn't on their minds). Did however come upon a lone flower resplendent in its spring regalia. Not sure just what it is  - -  one of the guys i paddle with is a botanist, he could probably name it; I tend to identify flowers by color - red flower, yellow flower, blue flower, etc. The daffs (I recognize those) are up, but not in bloom yet  - - maybe three days or so.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Random Hits Div (Snowquestration subsection)

Snowing here in the environs of the GWTP, so had a nice read of the WaPo along with the coffee.

Yesterday, one couldn't go five minutes without listening to the varied and sundry predictions of how bad the storm would be. I'm sure that the local supermarkets were stripped of their bread, milk and toilet paper, which are the usual purchases. I cannot for the life of me (having lived on the Northern Plains for twelve years) figure out the mentality in this region for a snowstorm. It isn't like you are going to be isolated for weeks (and what nutritional value toilet paper holds continues to escape me).

Let's see  - -  the one thing hardly heard yesterday was about the continuing fiscal dilemma facing our ever-knowledgeable Congress. The visible TSA lines at the airports seemed to be small and moving. Perhaps it's because now you can carry a knife or a hockey stick through security (I'm not sure how well the hockey stick will fit into the overhead bin, but who cares  --  freedom WOOHOO !!). I'm not sure that this will make the lines move any faster, but can't help but wonder why folks still have to remove their shoes???? Seems to me that if there's one thing that slows down the "security" lines is the shoe fetish.

Former Congressman Bob Ney had some things (not nice) to say about Speaker Boehner in his new tell-all book. Seems that the Speaker hasn't progressed too far from the days when he passes out tobacco lobby bribes campaign checks out to members on the House floor years ago. At least he has his priorities straight.

The President doesn't seem to know how much Capitol janitors are paid.  Semms to me that considering the shitty people they have to clean up after, they don't get enough. Maybe if they were furloughed and the congresscritters had to carry out their own trash and scrub their toilets they might get the message.

Another Bush is making presidential noises. It's important to remember that he once was regarded as "the smart one." I'm not sure that the country is ready to vote for another one.

The NRA is encountering a little resistance from, of all places, the gun industry. I personally think that 100% background checks are a good idea. Yeah, I've heard all the negatives, but a little enforcement against those trying to skirt the system would go a long way. Perhaps the sponsorship of a
NASCAR race by the NRA (hopefully, Buckshot Jones will emerge from retirement to participate) will be able to overcome the backlash.

So much for the snowy days entertainment.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass div

Back Where I Started - The Bluegrass Album Band:
Tony Rice - Guitar and lead vocal; Jerry Douglas - Dobro; Doyle Lawson - Mandolin;
J.D. Crowe - Banjo; Bobby Hicks Fiddle and Mark Shatz - Bass