Thu 28 May 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, The KidsComments Off
Our Miss Lily had double cataract surgery a little over a month ago. The operation, performed by Dr. Ruth Marrion at the Essex County Veterinary Referral Hospital in North Andover, MA, was a complete success! Lily has had two post-op checkups, and everything was, in the doctors words, “Perfect!” She has to complete one more post-op checkup at the end of June and if all goes as well as it has so far, she will be all set for the rest of her life!
Whew…the results and that news were a load off our minds as Lily had only functional vision with her severe cataracts. Being only 8 years old, we couldn’t imagine her having to live with her poor vision for the rest of her life. It was unfair to her…the cataracts were caused by our necessary use of cortical steriods on her when she was younger because she had and still has severe skin allergies.
She now gets a monthly allergy shot and she eats a special diet, but the damage was done. So, as a result, she has had her surgery and received two replacement lenses to replace her cataract-clouded natural lenses. She’s still getting her post-op eye drops three times a day, but the change in her has been nothing short of remarkable.
She can see again! (Hooray!!) And based on our observations of her behavior, she can see quite clearly and acutely. This is a very good thing indeed.
Isn’t she lovely with her two bright eyes???
Thu 21 May 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, PoliticsComments Off
The Federal government has, over the years, taken on the role as the self-appointed keeper of its citizens. Our elected representatives, politicians all, seem to feel that they know what is best for their citizens. And they have empowered the government with manifold laws to keep us “safe” and furthermore keep us in our place.
But do they REALLY know what is good for us? Do they always act in our best interests? Do we really need to be put in our place(s)?
As it stands, we now have laws in place that limit or control almost every aspect of our lives. There are not very many activities that one can engage in that are not regulated or restricted (or prohibited) by the government. The reasons for all this regulation and prohibition are varied, but they usually arise from the misguided “best interest” argument from a well-meaning legislator. And the well-meaning usually arises from the observation of the exception and not the rule. For example, a guy in Chicago shoots his eye out with a nail gun — this happens ONCE and only to this one guy. Then, suddenly we have sweeping and onerous nail gun regulations affecting all American citizens based on the concern of a small group of legislators who were angered or repulsed by the initial accident.
Our rights have been eroded and our liberties truncated by knee-jerk politicians who see themselves in a paternal role for us hapless citizens. Now some things they get right, but many, if not most, they get horribly wrong. And when things go horribly wrong, we citizens suffer the consequences.
So, legislators and do-gooders, PLEASE leave us the hell alone. For the most part we’re capable of taking care of ourselves and making the right decisions. For those that are not capable, well, that’s too bad. We all shouldn’t be expected to bear the burden of someone else’s stupidity or inanity — we can’t be expected to be our brother’s keeper to such a great extent.
We all stocked up on laws and regulations. You’re not leaving us much elbow room to get on with our daily lives. In the end, it’s not the government’s country, it is ours — the citizens. Try to remember that seminal fact the next time you get the urge to dictate our behavior or limit our liberty.
Because after a while, you are no longer are the benevolent Uncle Sam…you are Big Brother!
Sat 16 May 2009
I was thinking about the high drama and hysteria put forth upon the general public by the global warmers. Due to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by human-based activities and the presumed accompanying global temperature increase, mankind has been determined to be a global climate villain. The reduction or elimination of so-called anthropogenic global warming has become a rallying cry for the global warming set. In fact, some, like former Vice President Al Gore, have made a substantial living from their global warming alarmism.
I’ve always been skeptical regarding man’s supposed influence on the climate. I find a troubling penchant for forcing results to fit the theory by climate scientists and researchers. As someone with a scientific and engineering background, I find it dismaying that so many supposed scientists rely on untrustworthy or ill-understood computer models. I also find troubling and possibly inaccurate the methods and techniques that are employed to measure historical levels of atmospheric CO2. Finally, I find it antithetical to science and scientific method that so many climatologists and scientists have climbed aboard the bandwagon and fastened their seat belts and have accepted as dogma the whole climate change/global warming theory. In fact, many of these trained-to-be-skeptical scientists have embraced this theory lock, stock and barrel. Scientists who should be skeptical and constantly testing the theory, trying to poke holes in it for science’s sake.
So, as a result of the attendant 24/7 media blitz set upon us by concerned yet ignorant media types, we’ve got scientific and now political communities galvanized in their opinions and who want to “fix” this alleged problem. And the way they want to fix the problem is to reduce human contributions of CO2 from our industrial activities. So now we have a worldwide push for alternative and renewable energy, for clean emissions and for draconian government-mandated cap-and-trade emissions regulations. All these, we are told, will reduce atmospheric CO2 below the danger level and ultimately save the Earth and its inhabitants.
But my question is: “Why are we going to focus just on the human contribution to atmospheric CO2?” It’s not like humans and their activities are the only sources of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, as it happens, is a combustion and respiration byproduct from almost all life-based activities on our planet. The breathing of living creatures, volcanic activity, fires, chemical reactions, and normal organic decomposition all contribute CO2 into our environment and eventually into the atmosphere. So why the pre-occupation with just the CO2 that comes from human sources? Why are anthropogenic CO2 emissions considered hazardous by the EPA?
We live with quite a few fellow humans who believe to their DNA that we are somehow unnatural and that everything we do is unnatural and conspires to destroy the pristine Earth. Our presence on the Earth is the largest threat to the health and welfare of the Earth, or so the über enviro-Nazis would have us believe.
However others, myself included, strongly disagree!
We are just as natural and just as justified in our place in the Earth’s ecosystem as the lowliest single-celled creature or the primates almost as evolved as our race. We are natural and wholesome creatures worthy of our existence and our activities, whatever they may be.
If this is so, then why the single-minded focus on reducing or eliminating the CO2 emissions from human activities? Why must we be forced to make a Hobson’s choice between our present standard of living and living in a carbon-reduced world that might have all the trappings of the Paleozoic era?
The answer is that we don’t! We don’t if we were to stop the preoccupation with anthropogenic C02 emissions and instead focus on reducing those from “other” sources. How come we haven’t thought about this already as a society? How come we humans must be expected to transform our lifestyles to accommodate the scientific tipping of windmills by certain climate scientists and politicians with suspect motivations? Why must our government, and those in the rest of the world, be in the business of mandating these emissions and modifying free-will behaviors?
Truth be told, none of those measures have to exist. I believe we are concentrating on anthropogenic and only anthropogenic because our government(s) know that they can push around their citizens to get the behaviors and the results that they desire. They are in effect taking the easy way out — even though the “easy way” will exact a high toll on all us humans on our Earth. This concept of environmental reconciliation certainly takes our responsibility for the stewardship of our planet to a new and beyond-absurd level.
If the concept of global warming/climate change was demonstrated to beyond a reasonable doubt by a panel of scientists who are not intimately connected with the research already done and the “evidence” already collected, I could buy into reducing CO2 emissions. But I would demand that before we take the “blame thyself” philosophy regarding climate change that we explore reducing any and all other sources of CO2 emissions on Earth. If we believe that historical CO2 atmospheric concentrations hovered at the 280ppm level before human industrial activities, and that today the concentration level hovers at the 375ppm level, then were talking about a 55ppm difference, or a 20% increase in the level of this gas.
Rather than penalizing every human on Earth to reduce this 55ppm, we should try by all means possible to reduce the emissions elsewhere. This is a topic of conversation that has never been fully considered or discussed. We do not know in fact that any reduction of “other” CO2 emissions is possible, feasible or cheaper to accomplish than restricting the use of fossil fuels and restricting the activities of humans. Until this discussion takes place, I propose that we have not done our homework regarding this matter. Certainly the tailpipe of my car or the chimney on my roof aren’t the only guilty parties in this drama. But because they are man-made sources of CO2 emissions, they are expected to bear the brunt of the proposed remediation.
This is wrongheaded problem solving on so many levels because it immediately discounts and subordinates the needs and desires of “unnatural” humans in favor of those of the remainder of the “natural” world. And it is a philosophy and policy that I cannot support as both a global warming skeptic and as a human being.
Fri 15 May 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, PoliticsComments Off
I know that many rail at the recent official resolution by the GOP branding the party formerly known as Democratic as the “Democrat Socialist Party.” Pundits and analysts decry that the GOP has bigger fish to fry than to worry about such pitifully trivial matters. After all, what good could possibly come to the GOP from this exercise (at least in the minds of those critical to the action) of the rearrangement of the deck chairs on the capsized USS GOP.
But let’s take a look at this in a more objective light. Ever since the inauguration of Obama and the frenzy of spending and goody giving by the Democrat party love-in in Washington DC, the Dems have tried to brand the Republicans (and probably with a good measure of success given the enthusiastically complicit media) as the “Party of NO!” The almost unanimous rejection of TARPs and stimuli and intergalactic-sized budgets by Republicans means that there must be something wrong with them. After all, why are they being so obstreperous and wasting this good crisis? There’s a crisis, dammit, principles be damned. Understand that few Democrats with a brain stem are wasting the present financial crisis to featherbed their political futures and implement their socialist Utopia.
It’s almost like being the strict adult at an eat all you can cake-and-ice cream party run by kids for kids. The kids are going to love the kids running the show — for kids, gluttony coupled with a lack of self-control will always rule the day. Besides, what kid with an appetite wants that strict adult doling out the ice cream and cake? But, in the final analysis, someone has got to be the adult in this situation or else there will be lots of belly ache-sickened kids after the party is over.
Absurd as the comparison may be, we live with a lot of fellow citizens who expect the all you can eat cake-and-ice cream party provided to them by the federal government. Over the past 50 or so years the average citizen has been conditioned to expect entitlements and freebies from the government as their birthright. Who wants those stern old conservative Republicans calling the shots when we can have the tera-level, free spending Democrats and their zany financial antics?
How can the Republicans compete in this arena of “ideas?” Particularly when the ideas that are bantered about appeal to the basest of human emotions. Simply put, they can’t! Otherwise they’d be some ersatz version of “Democrats lite.” In the end, someone has to have principles and be the adult(s). Even though their actions and policies may cause consternation and may chagrin the general populace, the Republicans need to stick to their conservative principles. Those principles may not be popular or universally accepted by those citizens who are inured to the mommy government, as cultivated by the Democrats. But absolute adherence to Constitutional guidelines isn’t always popular, but is mandatory if we are to remain a nation of laws in the strictest sense. Otherwise, we will sink (and probably have already sunk) to the level of making things as we go along. Hey, don’t you know that those quaint 18th-century geezers left us squishy “guidelines” rather than legal constraints? Maybe you believe this if you forget about a little something that those same geezers left us called the CONSTITUTION.
And if you doubt for one second that the platform of the Democratic party and the plans that they are implementing at breakneck speed aren’t socialism in almost it’s purest form, then we need to refresh our memories with its definition — I don’t usually trust Wikipedia, but they have a splendid and right on the mark definition that may be found HERE. If you read the definitions carefully and then not recognize that many, if not most, of the Obama administration’s policies and actions so far are indeed socialist, then you are being either outright dishonest or intellectually disingenuous. “Spreading the wealth around,” government control of banks and car companies, and government-sponsored health care are all socialist constructs being implemented within the capitalist framework of our country.
So when the critics of the GOP rent their garments in fury over their re-branding exercise, they do so with hypercritical partisan intentions. And they do so with callous disregard of truth in advertising. The Democrats have transmogrified into socialists in policy and action, and it’s about time that they were called out for that fact. The Democrats are socialists. Sure, the GOP probably has better things to do than worry about “definitionism.” However they are indeed righteous in their re-branding action. And certainly they could claim that Obama and the Democrats have better things to do to really help the average American than conducting a politics-driven spending spree that could ultimately bankrupt our children’s future.
If these same critics see folly or misguided action in the GOP re-branding of the overtly self-rebranded Democrats, then they simply refuse to see the 900 pound socialist gorilla lurking in the room.
Wed 13 May 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under Finance
, The EconomyComments Off
Why is the Dow Jones Industrial Average sitting above the 8300 level today? It can be summed up in two words made popular by Alan Greenspan back in 1996 — irrational exuberance.
The DJIA sank to sub-7000 levels a little over two months ago, and there hasn’t been any rationale for the rise to almost the 9000 level recently. The very structure of our economy and our debt has been damaged and in need of major repair. And the tinkering done by Obama and his co-conspirators in the Congress has only made a tottering economy only worse. Passing half-assed legislation and saying the economy is getting better might be self-ingratiating for Obama, but it is nonetheless wishful thinking on his part at its best.
Right now the Dow is being propped up above the 8300 level by pure, unadulterated greed…investors in search of a glimmer of profit. Any good news is greatly amplified and suddenly spawns a 150 point DJIA rise. However, in one breath Obama wants to make our financial system less dependent upon the Dow, but in the next one he touts how the Dow is rising over his latest hair-brained scheme and that the “Good Ship USA Economy” is paddling furiously out of troubled waters.
Well, I think that the “good” news is finally over, and the irrational exuberance has finally run its course. With the Democrat-controlled Congress dangerously tinkering with health care and now (probably) are going to mandate compensation in the financial industry, we are in precarious times indeed. I think even the mooniest of moonbats see that there is only so far that the government can go before it has reached too far. And in a little over 100 days of his presidency, we’ve marked that point under the “leadership” of Obama.
The dopes in Washington think they can legislate good times. But they don’t realize that every single penny that they spend comes from us, the private citizen taxpayer, or from business, unless they just print it from blank paper? Businesses are in business to make money and to turn the largest profits possible for their stockholders in the case of public corporations or for their owners in the case of private ventures. I think Obama and his minions have stumbled upon the very best way to tamp down free enterprise, initiative and commerce with their TARPs and stimuli…and their budgets. And I think that big business, particularly the multinationals are just starting to realize this fact. Don’t be surprised to see historically American corporations take up roots and move to a venue that promises to be more tax friendly than Obama and the commissars in DC are crafting the US to be.
I still predict Dow 5500 and a national unemployment rate of 10.5% before this is over…and that might coincide with the end of Obama’s one and only term as president. I beg you to remember that the current set of Democrat Congressional fools had the crying towels out constantly for the “burdensome” and destructive deficits that Bush supposedly ran up, which I remind you were less than a third of those already put in place by the newbie President Obama. So, to our collective dismay, they aided and abetted the Bush administration in the first place…and have now facilitated and perpetrated the greatest transfer of wealth ever in the history of mankind. Two wrongs, it appears, do make a right…if only in Washington, DC!
I firmly believe that Obama and his cohort may have grievously and perhaps permanently damaged our country’s economy and its ability to recover from this spending-spree madness. Time will tell, but it’s like skipping through the graveyard in the mean time. There is only so much wealth out there, and the dishonest and disingenuous Democrats have used their crises well to burden our system with utter nonsense in terms of social programs and give-aways.
I don’t think that Americans can or will stand to pay for or bear this nonsense much longer. And, unfortunately, with all that has transpired on the legislative front, it might just be out of their hands to do anything about it.
Wed 6 May 2009
The recent pandemic scare with the swine flu (H1N1) virus has presented the US an opportunity with a teaching moment. But what could we possibly learn from this lurking pathogen?
For starters, it is a tremendous wake-up call to all citizens that we have borders and control our population egress for a list of rational and critical purposes. First and foremost, the control of our borders helps to control the spread of illnesses like H1N1 into our general population. That this virus emanated from Mexico is in itself a wake-up call. There isn’t a soul in the US that doesn’t know or have an opinion regarding the illegal alien problem in our country. And we all understand that the lion’s share of the aliens who sneak onto our soil originate in Mexico. All of us, of all political persuasions and sympathies towards these interlopers, should see the irony in the Mexico-illegal alien-H1N1 connection. This connection is precisely why we scrutinize those individuals who would like to either visit or emigrate to our country. We, the people, want to make sure we’re not releasing an agent of our own demise into our midst. You know, one bad apple and such.
But the Obama administration has taken a more PC attitude towards H1N1 and the Mexico connection. In their own inspired way they apparently feel that if we want to be players on the world stage, we’ve got to be willing to lose a few citizens here-and-there so that we don’t alienate (no pun intended) our neighbor to the south, or God forbid, the UN and Europe. And we certainly don’t want to rankle the powerful Hispanic political appratus in the US by suggesting that perhaps, maybe, sick illegal Mexicans could carry H1N1 into our country unbeknownst to immigration officials and the populace at large. My God, what a racist notion that is!
It’s now time to sup deeply of the euphemism food pantry: It looks like we collectively bit the bullet, dodged a fastball…got luckier than hell regarding the destructive capabilities of H1N1 to our people. It seems to be far milder and less virulent strain of influenza than was initially feared.
But, and there is always a but…if our leaders and representatives in Washington were sincere in their fealty to their Constitutional duties and responsibilities, then they would have most certainly realized the ticking time bomb that exists regarding public health and safety that unchecked illegal immigration poses to our country. And this threat exists if the means of entry is from the south or from the north…or by air or by sea.
We have immigration laws for a reason, and H1N1 has demonstrated one very good and compelling reason why. If the folks in Washington don’t learn from this obvious warning and get on the ball, and fast, then the consequences may be far too dire to simply demand an explanation from the negligent parties. We would be more than justified to demand swift legal action and appropriate legal punishment for those who neglected their sworn Constitutional duties. The souls of the many Americans who could possibly die as a result of the immigration law negligence would scream for this justice!
The crisis isn’t fully over…H1N1 cases are still popping up all over our nation and there has been at least one fatality…however it appears that we were extremely lucky this time around with this virus…however the next time we may not be so fortunate…
Mon 4 May 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, PoliticsComments Off
The actions of the media, press and so-called journalists are becoming more embarrassing day-by-day. They certainly haven’t distinguished themselves with their über-partisan, über-biased coverage of the Bush administration, the recent presidential campaign, and the first 100 days of the Obama administration. That they refer to themselves as “journalists” is a travesty, and false advertising to boot!
Almost all of the present crop of reporters and “journalists” have transmogrified into “opinionizers.” They merely don’t report the news story, they embellish and color the story with their perceptions and biases. In the case of the Associated Press (AP), a more clearer case of this opinionizing couldn’t be found. In crafting news stories and tidbits, I believe the news writers have been given free rein editorial comment. For me, I feel it necessary to decode each AP news story for the hidden meaning or the subliminal message intended. And many times no decoding is necessary! I can’t believe that the editors at the AP let some of the drivel that is proffered off as news clear their desks without major alterations and editing. This (alleged independent) major news organization has in many cases dropped their objectivity to loudly cheer-lead for the candidate, apparently their candidate, now (their) president, Obama. You would be hard pressed to find and identify a critical news story regarding an action, program or proclamation by our new President. He is being treated with adoration and kid gloves, and the AP exemplifies this treatment that Obama enjoys with the press at large. And let’s just say that no one is fooled by the declarations of some honeymoon period of mostly positive press coverage.
Contrast the treatment of Obama with the slash-and-burn denigration of former-President George W. Bush. Every news story regarding the man was tinged with skepticism, criticality and derision. In the eyes and opinion of the mainstream media and “journalists,” if Bush wasn’t demonstrating his incompetence then he was ripping the Constitution to shreds or he was outright lying to the American people. As much as Obama is the media’s “perfect man,” Bush was the antithesis of that viewpoint and he was viewed as an electorate anomaly and a highly flawed individual. In most instances where he was questioned at news conferences and during interviews, the questioner or interviewer took an adversarial tone. Bush was the enemy, and no prisoners would be taken with the ensuing conversation.
Now contrast this to the fawning, adoring tone taken by “journalists” and news reporters when they question or interview their hero President Obama. The use of superlatives and compliments to describe Obama stretches the media’s credibility. In fact, most coverage of the current president borders on heroic paeans or odes of worship.
My questions are: What has become of objective news reporting? Where does the American public go for unvarnished, unbiased political news coverage? For as much as Fox News is derided by their competition, at least there is one place that will provide warts-and-all coverage of politics and political news. Contrast Fox with the odious and in-the-bag of the DNC cable network MSNBC or the Obama-centric CNN — or the three broadcast network news reporting organizations and you will detect a pro-Obama, pro-Democrat reportage. And insofar as I know, all the folks who allege to report the news to the listener identify themselves as “journalists.” Perhaps they should study and re-learn their supposed pledges of journalistic ethics.
Things get even worse when you plow into the printed news media. Journalism has been replaced with a fantasy land of biased opinions and selective reporting. The editorial pages read like screeds faxed directly from the DNC. And what can you say about the cutting, witty and insipid repartee that is employed at every turn of phrase when former President Bush is centered in their crosshairs? It no wonder, save very few exceptions, that print media and newspapers in particular are tanking. The lofty thinkers in their oak-paneled offices would have you believe that the new media, the Internet, is to blame for the morass that engulfs print media.
But I’m here to tell you that the blame rests solely with the intellectual dishonesty of the owners and the editorial boards. Sleep with dogs and you’ll get fleas. Adopt a high-falutin, holier-than-thou liberal mindset, and readers and advertisers alike will quickly ignore and eschew your sanctimony.
I will tell you how you can fix this problem: Begin by hiring yourself some REAL journalists. Not a bunch of ill-educated morons who are all-too-happy to jump into the liberal echo chamber and regurgitate abject nonsense to the at-large populace. Find yourself some open-minded editors and editorial staffs who will at least make an attempt to report all sides of an issue. I remind you that right as I type this, the Boston Globe is about to “save” itself by ingesting a cyanide pill — it will cut deeply into its staff to placate the likes of über-liberal publisher Pinch Sulzberger at its parent, the New York Times. Liberals are apparently liberal only with other people’s money — Pinch may have been born at night but not last night.
Next, it’s just not enough any more to despise Bush and hack him (and his administration) to shreds in each issue. The last time I checked, Bush isn’t president any more. pointing our his alleged failings isn;t news any more. People like to real NEWS. Not some liberal, pseudo, group think. People will actually PAY to read ACTUAL news!
Finally, try to give the appearance of objectivity. You can have your little temples and totems to your Lord Obama in your offices and cubicles. You can pay him homage with inane praise and lofty rhetoric in private correspondences amongst yourselves. But when it comes to making money through news reporting — the thing that provides you your paychecks — you might want to consider the wishes of the NEWS-hungry citizenry out there and put your beliefs and proclivities aside…and try to tell us the facts…just the facts. And throwing in a smattering of real, objective news reportage and journalism wouldn’t hurt either.