Tuesday, Aug 30th

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Alex Baer

Pray for Change - R'amen!

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This space is usually filled, I know, with a torrent of disgust and effluvia based on the disgusting torrent of effluvia erupting daily in the U.S. and in the world at large.

However, today we will focus on something less than our usual 12-million-calorie bounty of an engorged, buffet-table cornucopia with strap-on bib.  We will instead take a light meal, and a little water.  And an electric hot pot, or some Sterno.  (Think Ramen.  More on that in a sec.)

The U.S. has announced it will end our little experiment in finance, sociology, psychology, and basic competence, with federal private prison operations.  The for-hire pens are not big money savers, they're more dangerous than those operated by the public sector, plus, the food stinks to the point of prisoners rebelling.

Cost-cutting, one presumes, is most easily accomplished by the reduction of guards (and their paychecks and benefits, if any), and by weaning prisoners off their high-end, fancy-schmancy, toast-and-hot-water meals.

It appears the ancient adage is true:  Things will change when it gets bad enough. And so it now has, on the outside, as we close down private-enterprise prisons.  It's changing on the inside, too, where prisoners have increasingly switched from tobacco products as a unit of prison currency, to packets of Ramen noodles instead -- because the food's better than they get, and it's needed to supplement both the small portions and lousy quality of the meals which do happen to come their way.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 17:10 Read more...

Home of the Knave, Brand of the Tweet

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It's taken us all longer that it should have to arrive at the obvious:  Trump was never running, Trump never wanted the job, and we've all been conned in a fashion no one ever thought possible.

It would be like learning the whole point of NASA's moon missions was to test out if the place really was made of cheese, and, if so, to keep it from the Russians, at least until we had global dairy prices locked down.

Only a green-cheese maniac would think of using the American presidential race as a con game and a self-promotion tour -- and so, a maniac did.  And has.  We've all been had.

Look at the wreckage, all the carnage, the shredded landscape -- and that's just around each of the new, daily-dozen of the dim-witted, ham-handed, face-palmed Trumping pronouncements.  Smoldering craters, everywhere.

Back at the beginning, what did we know, we electoral chumps?  We rode the primary Tilt-o-Whirl, like good little citizens, playing the Important Adult Business game, not realizing we were being played at the deepest possible levels.  We were playing Crazy Eights -- or Tipsy Twenty-Twos, whatever, based on your candidate count -- with the Berserk Chimp Gang, just as they wanted, sure.

Only thing was, the rest of the Chimp Gang was rifling through our cars in the parking lots, and our homes, and our bank accounts, while we were wondering why The Big Player was stalling.  (After all, even for Trump, how tough is it to answer the question, "Got any fours?")

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 19:05 Read more...

Scratching While Shooting the Magic 8-Ball

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In pool, having the cue ball leave the table -- jumping a bumper or plunging down a pocket-hole -- is a scratch.  Most people play as if it's not a big deal, that it's just the end of your turn.  You don't get to keep shooting.

However, in most forms of a game of 8-ball, if you scratch while shooting the 8, and pocket that 8-ball -- well, that's an instant loss.  Game over.

And that thought gives me no rest.  White American votes (for the most part) are the cue ball on this green-felt-topped, slate table-top game of politics, and The Trumpster is the 8-ball if ever there was one.

Come Voting Day:  Dump enough votes in the side slot while getting Trump in the Oval Pocket, and it's Game Over.

Easy as Trump playing pocket pool with the populace.

Yet, so simple, a child could figure it out:  Don't scratch while shooting the 8.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2016 18:22 Read more...

No Prisoners, No Apologies, No Rules

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No matter how many toys, gadgets, and gizmos we create, we're still batting zero in social evolution.  Mostly.  (We can talk about one exception, later on.)

Considering the number of apologies we've received from the banksters who nearly collapsed the world economy with their charlatan scams and bottomless greed.  My count still stands at Precisely None, in both the Forced and Unforced categories.

Same can be said for quickie payday loan companies and self-financed car lots who routinely gouge customers at 30% interest rates, or more.  Same can be said for the Martin Shreklis of the world, who believe a 4,000% or 5,000% price hike on a drug is good for everyone, including consumers.

Same goes for the then-new, Neo-Con con-artists who decided on decimating a cradle of civilization in search of nonexistent WMDs.  A million dead, more injured, a few trillion dollars more in debt to no good purpose -- I'm still naive enough to want some sort of basic apology for this, as a start, as a prelude to real change.

Last Updated on Sunday, 21 August 2016 19:59 Read more...

Working to Live It Up (and Down)

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There are still some things in life worse than working for a living.  That's not immediately clear, when the alarm clock has triggered its doomsday, crash-dive klaxon, just when, in your dream, you were headed toward a bulkhead in your pina-colada-submarine... while doing underwater calisthenics with bulked-up dolphins in swim caps.

Another of the things worse than working?  Staying up too late, watching Olympic athletes, and getting too little sleep, finding in the morning that someone has swapped out your brain with moldy linguini and damp sawdust.  This was probably when you dreamed about synchronized snowball fights, and got up in the night, groggy, and turned the A/C blizzard down from arctic eternity to moderately crunchy eyebrows.

Another worse thing?  Being a pre-percolated, overly-perky morning person -- way, way before the coffee starts -- and having to remember to tamp down all that natural energy.  (Or, remembering to try not to swat the other person, if you are the bleary-eyed sleepyhead in the house.  Then, there's the remembering-to-do-it-later part, after you're fully awake, when your reflexes are sharper, and your odds of making contact really go up.

We all work to live, of course, instead of living to work.

... except for the driven people on salaries, say, who are working 80-hour weeks hoping to help their companies turn tight financial corners, so that they might yet keep their jobs, and not be left unemployed, after they die, so as to still be able to still afford medical insurance and the outlandish medical bills, owing to a host of treatments and therapies triggered by the 80-hour weeks themselves.

(These may be the only people who, on their deathbeds, might actually have regrets about not putting in more hours at the office.  These may be the same people who buy Cosmic Jolt-Blast cola by the pallet, and have t-shirts which read, "I'll sleep when I'm dead.")

The work-to-live rule also does not apply to artists of any stripe, and to people who are in mad, desperate love with their jobs.  For you whackos, realize that you are not well-liked -- but, you should also know that you are sorely envied, almost as much as are lottery winners -- by the rest of us suckers and shlumps on the hamster wheel of life.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2016 21:29 Read more...

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