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Tuesday, May 26th

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Editorial

It's Only Common Sense

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It's been widely reported that Wall Street bankers won a guarantee of bailouts from Obama's budget. It's true that they did get the 'Push Out Rule' eliminated from the Dodd - Frank Act so that they can continue to use depositors' money to back risky financial instruments. It was junk like derivatives based on collateralized home loans that crashed the banks in 2008. But, this doesn't guarantee the banks themselves will be bailed out, only that the FDIC will pay out the insurance on deposit accounts up to the legal limit.

 

There were six other provisions attached to the House Bill that would have gutted Dodd - Frank, but thanks to Senator Elizabeth Warren those were all killed. So if the Wall Street banks crash again the FDIC will be able to take a meat ax to them the way they do to smaller banks. That won't keep crooked bankers from sucking billions from them between now and then, but there is such a thing as 'Claw Back' to recover ill gotten gains when this happens. It just depends on who is in charge at the time, President Warren for example could be such a person.

 

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Year-Ender Benders and Synapse Slips

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So, here we are, just about to be slammed up alongside The Big Day, and I haven't a clue what to get you for the advertised Consumption Festival, for the co-opted Pagan Fest, for the sparkly Celebration of Lights, now that we've turned the corner on the darkest day of the year...

If only we could have already turned the corner on the darkest year in some years, too.

Of course, I suppose we should have all been braced for some fine holiday jeer, once Dick Cheney remorselessly rode back into town, sharing with us his trust-less leer and his lopsided sneer, riding in his throne of delusion, high atop a fetid holiday float constructed of bile and manure, throwing out razor-bladed candies for the kiddies, and certificates of replacement freedoms to be made good some day, drawn up on the backs of harrowing sets of torture photos and memos.

Yes, you had better watch out:  Dickey Cheney's coming to town -- just to remind us all, apparently, that all our humanist, or even religious, objections of having bobsledded our way to fast-track international lawlessness are crap.

You just can't get that kind of cheery, holiday eloquence anymore.

I still cannot believe that this man, and his hand puppet, were handed the top office by SCOTUS on an invisible, unknowable whim -- and that a good part of the nation signed up a second time, even after seeing what Part One of the Horror Show was all about.

I really wasn't going to revisit those endless horrors -- it's just a reflex to Cheney's sense of good will that prods me into this aghast holiday recoil, this sense of shock of American actions, this clear sense of squandered good will from the nations of the Earth after 9-11, and how we managed to convert it right away into terror and fear and destruction we visited on others, right away.

So much of what we have done as a nation is a shame, given what we could have done for our own, and for the world;  and so much of what we have actually done as a nation, for our own and the world, has visited on us yet more shame.

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Digging Deeper into the Cosmic Stuffing

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Atheists, agnostics, and religionists can all agree on at least one thing at Thanksgiving: The staggering, blinding, on-target brilliance of the phrase "mixed blessings."

We mere mortals can only stand in awe, slack-jawed and agape, at the stunning mind that spotted that shared genetic trend-line, and first put that blunt, apt description into play.

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(This is as good a time as any to remind myself that my screenplay -- there are now nine people in the country, by actual count, who are not working on a screenplay -- Slackjawed & Agape would be a fine name for a law firm of hapless lawerly bunglers -- or maybe a pair of washed-up private detectives who drive around in a souped-up muscle car, exploring catch phrases, cornering escaped grammarians, arresting suspicious syntax...

... except that a lot of people would think that I meant the other agape -- the outbursts of spontaneous, altruistic love... the love of a deity for its people... the meal that early Christians shared in brotherly love...  Well, there's nothing like Thanksgiving to shake that whole concept loose for another year.)

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Greetings From Planet VeeGah

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It’s been over a month since we watched Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret and turned ourselves into veganistas. And It’s been … um … interesting.

On the culinary front it’s been a pretty easy ride. Y’see, right after we watched the movie we didn’t march into the kitchen, swing wide the doors to the refrigerator and freezer, and toss all our meat, dairy, and eggs into the garbage. That’d be crazy. We spent money on that stuff!

But soon … there went the last of the butter … hello, Earth Balance Buttery Spread. Not bad at all. After the last egg had been scrambled, I found a recipe for a great breakfast hash made from mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, garlic, fried potatoes and tofu. Yeah … tofu. I have been making fun of tofu for years. But when it works … it works.

Since I do the cooking around here the challenge was to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner just as satisfying as before.  Food isn’t just fuel … it has to be fun too. All our good intentions would slide right out into the street and get hit by a bus if the food doesn’t taste good. So far the transition from animal based meals to vegetarian to vegan has been fairly smooth.

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Aping Nuclear Wisdom with Monkey Business

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The fun thing about humanity is that there's always something brand new to deliver ground-breaking terrors right to your front door.  Sometimes it's a concept that rocks the boat or quakes the bedrock beneath us,  Other times it's left to inventions, products, and gizmos to break the ground out from under us, pitching us into our self-made quagmires and quicksand.

As a bonus, we comfort ourselves by reassuring our consciences that there's never any direct charge for free delivery of such nightmares and broad-daylight terrors.  Some part of us knows the delivery price is always worked into the cost, and then, we hope somebody else pays the cost -- and also pays the price.

These are the kinds of soil-yourself situations that come along when we decide to become suddenly, stupidly schizophrenic, and believe in the power of magical thinking, misplaced optimism, and a kindly, benevolent, self-correcting Fate Fairy. However, to keep ourselves from really panicking, Nature provides us instincts -- to kick in and silence our nagging sense that nobody's minding the Ye Olde Species Store & Sanity Shoppe.

And nobody is.  There's jobs for all kinds of stuff, including keeping track of passing, near-Earth objects in space that might whack into us... jobs tracking the more than half-million pieces of space junk whizzing around in orbit...  jobs tracking the search for extraterrestrial life -- but no jobs called Species Watcher, or Humanity Survival Insurer, or People in Charge of Making Sure We Don't Off Ourselves.

When it comes to not blowing ourselves into star dust, we have to rely on -- and here's a letdown -- ourselves.  And, Hoping For The Best is not a comforting nuclear policy to maintain -- unless you have access to ample stores of drugs and alcohol, and an underground bunker stocked with crates of canned chili and room freshner.

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It May Even Rain Later On This Year

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As predictions go, here's an easy one:  I predict things will get factually bumpy where politicians are concerned.  I also predict you'll detect today's Mystery Guest on Spot the Weasel, the game show that offers fabulous conundrums the longer you play!

Are you ready?  From the time tunnel of 2009, Clue Number One:  "Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term."  In case there was any confusion about the issue, there was additional clarification right away:  "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Is that Slope of Truth Morsels not slippery enough?  No guesses yet?  Here's another helping, from just this week:  "Just because we have a two-party system doesn't mean we have to be in perpetual conflict."  This was said at the same time along with an admission that representatives were sent to Washington "to fight all the time." Puzzled?  Here's one more clarifier:  "Gridlock in Washington can be ended."

Tick, tick, tick.... BUZZZZ.  Have you Spotted the Weasel yet?

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Popping My Cork in Celebration

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Funny-peculiar (not funny-ha-ha) how often we humans get what we most fear.

Well, it's official, not that there was much doubt:  A majority of the nation's voters are freewheeling into full-blown psychosis, handing off a fixing of the Senate to those who broke it in the first place, to those who moved heaven and earth to sit on their hands and do precisely nothing for years on end, save work on their skills with barricades, stalls, quashes, and stone-walling.

The pieces of our political system, the Senate-sized ones, be assured, will be pummeled and smashed into finer and finer bits -- the political version of road-gang prisoners making small rocks out of the big ones.

There is no analogy I know of that completes the full conveyance of political imagery and what-nextedness, which would be the quasi-governmental quarrying of taking those first rocks and chipping them into flagstones, then grinding those into gravel, and then pulverizing them into sand, and then blasting the sand into talcum powder, and then disintegrating the powder further, in order to negate them for any purposes of human usefulness, and morph the powder into subatomic particles.

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