Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Lysette Anthony!

Without a Clue, the Whole Movie!

Photo Legend:

1. Ms Anthony
2. Lysette
3. Lysette again in another picture
4. "Krull"
5. In "Without a Clue"
6. With lecher Michael Caine in "Without a Clue"
7. As Angelique Bouchard in "Dark Shadows"
8. With Woody and Sydney Pollack in "Husbands and Wives"
9. With Leslie Nielsen in "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" A Mel Brooks Joint
10. "Beneath Loch Ness"
11. Lysette Again!

   It is my great pleasure to give a big happy birthday shout out for one of my favorite actresses, British beauty Lysette Anthony!
   Born Lysette Chodzko at a very early age in Fulham, London, which is in England, and is interestingly linked with debauchery and corruption, as it at one time served as a sort of "Las Vegas retreat" for the wealthy of London,. Sounds like my kind of town.
   Lysette comes from an acting family and is the only daughter of actors Michael Chodźko and Bernadette Milnes. Michael apparently changed his last name to Anthony at some point.
   She began her career when she was ten years old acting in parent's theater company. After starring in the play Pinocchio, mom and dad were so appalled at her precocious nature that they sent her to a convent school in Torquay, Devon, 215.6 driving miles from London.
  By age 14, she became the youngest member of the National Youth Theatre.
   When she was 16 Lysette was discovered by photographer David Bailey, and heralded as the "Face of the Eighties," probably due to her being so pretty and all... for a girl.
   From modeling she pursued a full time acting career, working on stage, screen, and television regularly ever since.
   Like myself she speaks fluent French and Dutch as well as English.
   She made her TV series debut in the long-running English drama "Crossroads," becoming a household name in England as an actress.
   Ms Anthony began in the American market in 1982, with small parts in the CBS television films "Ivanhoe," and "Oliver Twist," as Oliver’s mum. She moved on to films a year later by playing the supporting role of Kathy Chalmers in the comedy/thriller "Night Train to Murder," and got a co-starring role in the sci fi/fantasy "Krull," as Princess Lyssa in 1983.
   Lysette continued her television work with "Princess Daisy," and a recurring role on "Three Up, Two Down." She also occasionally made films such as "Étincelle, L" and the British comedy "Without a Clue," in 1988, which also starred Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley, after working with Caine in the TV movie "Jack the Ripper," that same year.
   That was when I first became aware of Lysette. "Without a Clue," is actually one of my favorite comedies. An interesting take on the Sherlock Holmes stories.
   As a matter of fact I wish I were watching it right now, and highly recommend it.
   Like many Mexicans, Lysette moved to the United States in 1990 to look for work. She posed nude for Playboy magazine in an attempt to shake off her "English Rose" typecast and make her more appealing to the Hollywood casting directors. She played one of my favorite witches, Angelique, in an NBC remake of the television soap opera "Dark Shadows," a role the lovely Eva Green took up recently in Tim Burton's film version with Johnny Depp.
   She made her Hollywood movie debut when director Blake Edwards had her play the supporting role of Liz in the comedy "Switch," in 1991, with the lovely Ellen Barkin.
   That year Lysette married Dutch actor Luc Leestermaker. They divorced in 1995.
   Ms Anthony gained critical acclaim after appearing in Woody Allen's drama " Husbands and Wives," the next year. She played aerobics instructor Sam, girlfriend to Sydney Pollack, a portion  of which can be seen in the first clip above. The film also starred Judy Davis, Liam Neeson and then Allen girlfriend, Mia Farrow.
   "Husbands and Wives," made Lysette very popular and a lot of producers wanted to work with her. She worked with Colin Firth, Ian Holm (Bilbo) and Nicole Williamson in the controversial,  black murder mystery/comedy "The Hour of the Pig," in 1993. She had starring roles in two television films "The Hard Truth," and "Target of Suspicion," and the very next year, she was cast in four different films, including "Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde," with Sean Young, and with Leslie Nielsen, in Mel Brook's "Dracula: Dead and Loving It." 
   In 1999 she married American producer/writer/director David F Price until they divorced in March of 2003, then five months later began a relationship with British film composer Simon Boswell, with whom she has one son, Jimi, born in 2004. In 2008 he was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, and recovered after an operation a year later.
   Lysette continues to work, well... everywhere. Some of my favorite film and TV performances being; "Tale of the Mummy," "Misbegotten," and "Beneath Loch Ness," with Patrick Bergen. Just this year she appeared in one of my all time favorite films as Jilly, in "Strippers vs Werewolves," and "The Telemachy,"  inspired by Homer's Odyssey. You may have heard of it.
   Lysette now also raises funds to study and help cure juvenile arthritis.
   And all of us here at Joyce's Take wish her and her family continued good health and fortune, and a very happy birthday!
   Happy Birthday Lysette!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How Elections Work: Romney and Obama

Elected... Alice

   Republican Presidential candidate Mitt (Mitt) Romney, and his running mate for Vice President, Paul Ryan, don't seem to understand how elections work.
   In past elections, especially those for the highest office in the land, candidates have traditionally put forth their policies, and how they intend to achieve their goals in some detail, before the election... not after.
   That's usually the way it goes. But Mitt and Paul want to do away with all of that. Do away with all of those burdensome details on how they intend lower tax rates for everyone by $500 billion a year, increase defense spending by 4%, repeal cost savings through the Affordable Health Care Act by repealing the Act itself, and balance the federal budget.
   How specifically are you going to do that Mitt? Magic?
   Something like that, yeah.
   "Well, that's something Congress and I will have to work out together," he told Scott Pelley on "60 Minutes," Sunday night.
   Pelley: "You’re asking the American people to hire you as president of the United States. They'd like to hear some specifics."
   Romney: "Well, I can tell them specifically what my policy looks like. I will not raise taxes on middle income folks. I will not lower the share of taxes paid by high-income individuals. And I will make sure that we bring down rates, we limit deductions and exemptions so we keep the progressivity in the code and we encourage growth in jobs."
   Pelley: "The devil’s in the details, though. What are we talking about — mortgage deduction, the charitable deduction?"
   Romney: "The devil’s in the details; the angel is in the policy, which is creating more jobs."
   Pelley: "You have heard the criticism, I’m sure, that your campaign can be vague about some things, and I wonder if this isn’t precisely one of those things."
   Romney: "It’s very much consistent with my experience as a governor. Which is if you want to work together with people across the aisle, you lay out your principles and your policy, you work together with them but you don’t hand them a complete document and say take it or leave it. Leadership is not a take it or leave it thing; there’s too much of that in Washington."
   So what is Romney saying in plain English rather than political gibberish?
   "I'm going to tell the electorate what they want to hear without providing any specifics on how I'm going to do what they want, so you're just going to have to trust me. And once elected I'm going to do whatever I want because then it will be too late for anyone to do anything about it."
   Mitt wants to leave the American people out of the decision making process by dismissing the possibility of an informed vote. 
   "Trust me and believe everything I tell you even if it doesn't make any sense, and the numbers don't add up right now. Believe what I tell you and not the arithmetic. After you elect me to the presidency, when I've got the job for four years I'll some how change the laws of physics and make the math add up, and  keep the BS promises I made before you elected me, except I really won't be able to because the math doesn't add up, and I'll wind up screwing the middle class, just like I said I wouldn't do, while giving more tax breaks to my wealthy buddies and corporations, which you should have known I was going to do because the math didn't add up to begin with, you dumb morons."  
   That's what Mitt's saying.
   He's even saying he's not going to provide any specifics to Congress when trying to pass legislation to advance his "policies." I wonder how that works.
   His running mate, of course,  isn't any better.
   When asked why he wasn't providing any details about his and Romney's economic plans, such as how they would deal with medicare and social security, Ryan said, "Because we want to get it done."
   That's all very well and good, but how about if people don't want it done to them?!
   That's what the voting process is all about. The more information available the better the voters are equipped to make an informed decision.
   Apparently the Romney campaign believes the American people don't need that kind of info.
   If I'm running for office I can tell you anything. I'm going to provide full employment. I'm going to get the Israelis and Palestinians to hug each other and make up. I'm going to guarantee Iran doesn't become a nuclear power. I'm going to end poverty in the United States. I'm going to see to it that all Americans become rich. I'm going to end war. I'm going to fix social security and medicare. I'm going to stop illegal immigration. I'm going to give every American a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage, and a strawberry lollipop.
   That sounds great Rick. I'm sure gonna give you my vote. Err, how again exactly are you going to accomplish all of these things.
   Oh you don't have to worry about that. We'll work out the details once I'm elected. Trust me.
   Just trust me. Trust me, trust me, trust me.
   Mitt's asked voters to trust him in the past, like when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts and said he'd been filing tax returns as a resident, and he hadn't. He was caught red handed. And he's lied again, and again during this campaign. Still he asks us to just trust him.
   "I've paid all of my taxes," he says. Just trust him, because he won't give out his tax returns.
   Mr Romney doesn't mind asking quite a lot.
   Granted, electing someone to office is a hit or miss proposition inherently, and depends a great deal on trusting the personal integrity of the individual candidate to carry out promises made during their campaign. Not many live up to that standard. I can't think of any who live up to that standard.
    The Republican House campaigned on creating jobs, but have done nothing in that regard after winning the election, preferring to wage a war against The Affordable Health Care Act and women's health.
   Scott Walker did not campaign in Wisconsin on destroying labor unions, but that's what he's tried to do since gaining office.
   Obama sure hasn't kept all of his campaign promises (PolitiFact rates him thusly: Promises kept 192 or 38%, Compromise 73 or 14%, promises broken 84 or 17%, stalled 47 or 9%, in the works 110 or 22%, not yet rated 2 or 0%), and to a large degree he is to blame for that.
   Yet again, to a large degree  he is not responsible. The President has faced an unprecedented degree of Republican obstructionism never before seen by a Democratic or Republican President.
   So how does the electorate make an informed decision given the fact that it is a certainty (considering how things in Washington work) that candidates will not keep all of the promises made by them during their campaigns, and that once elected candidates are essentially free to do whatever they want.
   The electorate is forced to become fortune tellers, to predict how candidates will act once they are elected. Fortunately we do have at our disposal some clues, like personal characteristics of said candidates, such as integrity. And we have history. To a degree we can tell what a person will do in the future by what they have done in the past.
   Also, do the candidates offer specifics or vague generalities?
   We've just been exploring that very question in regards to Mr. Romney. He offers little specifics, while the President's policies are already in effect and on record. In other words, you know exactly what your getting with Mr. Obama (to a large degree. In all fairness the Obama Administration has been vague regarding what it would do toward Social Security reform if he were reelected. The possibility of the President using a lower inflation indicator toward recipient's cost of living increases exists as a bargaining chip for a deal with Republicans over automatic budget cuts scheduled for 2013. America's Senator, Bernie Sanders is working hard to prevent this from happening).
   Is the candidate for the most part truthful? Do they use lies and distortions to advance their campaign? Let's see:
   You decide.   
   Do the candidates policies conform to the voters values and do they work in the real world? 
   Interesting points. Here's what Romney said Sunday night in regards to health care:
   "Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we — if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and — and die. We — we pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care," Romney said. "And different states have different ways of providing for that care."
   Pelley pointed out, "That's the most expensive way to do it."
   "Diff — different, again, different states have different ways of doing that. Some — some provide that care through clinics. Some provide the care through emergency rooms. In my state, we found a solution that worked for my state," Romney explained. "But I wouldn’t take what we did in Massachusetts and say to Texas, 'You’ve got to take the Massachusetts model.'"
   Let me get this straight, Mr. Romney wants to repeal Obamacare which provides health insurance for Americans previously not covered, and turn over national health care concerns back to the states (i.e. insurance companies) and guarantee free health care to all via emergency rooms, for which tax payers get the bill, while advocating Romneycare in Massachusetts, that mandated  every resident of Massachusetts obtain a state-government-regulated minimum level of health care insurance coverage and which provided free health care insurance for residents earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level, at the same time stating his Massachusetts plan isn't for everyone.
   The good people at Raw Story sent me this article yesterday morning. Here's the link:
   They're always sending things like this. Here are a few observations made by other readers:

   You can't go to the ER to get CHEMOTHERAPY, Mitt..
   You can't go to the ER to get RADIATION THERAPY, Mitt..
   You can't go to the ER to get PRE-NATAL CARE, Mitt..
   You can't go to the ER to get NUTRITIONAL ASSISTANCE, Mitt..
   You can't go to the ER to get PREVENTATIVE CARE, Mitt..
   You can't go to the ER to get DENTAL CARE, Mitt..
   You can't go to the ER to get EYEGLASSES OR VISION TESTS, Mitt..
   You can't go to the ER to get DIABETES TREATMENTS, Mitt..
   What the FUCK is this depraved excuse for a human being doing running for President
? -Sandy Berman

   Sure, Mitt. Health care through emergency rooms is just fine. Except it is the most expensive health care on the planet. And passes all its costs on to others. And it is the most inefficient form of health care when it comes to health planning and prevention because it waits until there is an emergency. But clearly it meets your standards, Mitt. Your standards for those whom you have written off, that is. Because you're rich and above it all. -Ritorna Vincitor

   Well said! And here I thought he was such a brilliant businessman. We just HAD to elect him because of his business acumen. Since when is it good business to pay as much as you possibly can for inferior products/services? -Nick_1

   This post is not intended to give any kind of comprehensive comparison between the two candidates now running for President.
   That's your job dear readers. It's your duty as American citizens to become experts on the candidates and the issues our country currently faces, and to make an informed judgment on who and what to vote for come November 6th; not to vote because your spouse is voting that way, or your parents are voting that way, or because of where you live, or because your church has told you to vote a certain way, or because all of your friends are voting a certain way, or because Fox so-called News, or Rush Limbaugh, or MSNBC, or CNN, or The View suggests a certain way to vote.
   It's your job to independently search out the facts as best you can and make up your own mind.
   All I've done in this post is hint at some guidelines to consider, and pretty much let the cat out of the bag as to who I'm going to vote for. Please don't tell anyone.
   The candidate I'm voting for is not perfect. No one is perfect. But considering the alternative choice, I feel very good about who it is I am voting for, and if he wins, the future of this country.

Paul Krugman: Romney as the Optimism Fairy... Everything's Going to be Just Fine... If I Win

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meivelyn Noemi Cacao Mendoza & Children International

Children International in Columbia

In The Philippines

In Honduras

In, er... with Miss Universe 2010

   Meivelyn Noemi Cacao Mendoza is a little six year old girl who lives in Guayaquil, Ecuador (Ecuador is represented on the map in the second picture above by the little shaded area. The third picture is of the city Guayaquil) The first picture above is of Meivelyn around two years ago, the seventh picture is of her one year ago, and the last was taken recently. I now sponsor Meivelyn through Children International.
   I am told she is 3 feet and 7 inches tall, weighing a whopping 42 pounds. She has brown eyes and hair. She attends school and her favorite subject is art, accordingly she likes to draw. The fourth picture above is an example.* Meivelyn speaks Spanish. Many people in Ecuador do.
   Her dad's name is Jose, and her mom's Cecilia. Jose works in construction while mom stays at home. They make approximately $240.00 a month American, just about the same amount one person would make on General Relief here in Los Angeles (plus food stamps).
   Meivelyn has a little brother, Johan Jose, who is two years younger.
   Meivelyn and her family live in a one multi use room home made out of split cane with a corrugated roof with a wooden floor. Just like me.
   She sleeps each night on a wooden bed, and she is bright, beautiful and happy, and has one of the most wonderful smiles I've every seen.
   This is what lovely Erin said about her when I showed her the first picture above: "She is the cutest little thing I have ever seen!" This is high praise from a person who doesn't like to be around kids.
   Many of my other friends said things very similar.
   Meivelyn lives in Ecuador as I've mentioned, which is, as Kurt Vonnegut pointed out in his novel "Galapagos," the only country in the world named after a map coordinate, specifically the equator. The word Ecuador actually means equator in Spanish. You see that horizontal line running through Ecuador in the map above... that's the equator. The equator separates the northern and southern hemispheres of the planet Earth.
   I've crossed the equator exactly four times in my life. I hope to do so again sometime.
   The first was when I was in the navy headed toward the Philippines on a ship. Being the happy go lucky folks that navel personnel are they had a big ceremony on board my ship just as we crossed. The fifth picture above is of just such a ceremony on board a U.S. Navel vessel. I would have been one of those in the pool. The ceremony also involved getting my face rubbed on the big fat belly of a Chief Petty Officer which was lavishly smeared with axle grease.
   Sounds like fun, doesn't it?!
   The sixth picture above is of the Chimborazo volcano as seen from Guayaquil, 87 miles to the northeast. It hasn't erupted for about 1,500 years and is believed to be extinct.
   llamas live nearby.
   If you are afraid of the dinosaurs that live at the center of the Earth, then standing at the very top of Chimborazo is the farthest you can get from them, without getting on a plane, hang glider, or helicopter. Although Chimborazo is not the tallest mountain on the Earth's surface as far as being above sea level is concerned (that would be Mt. Everest), because the Earth spins around it bulges in the middle, right where the equator is, making the summit of the Chimborazo volcano the farthest point from the center of our planet.   
   Ecuador is famous for owning the Galápagos Islands, which lie about 525 nautical miles west of the mainland, and where the English naturalist, Charles Darwin, found much evidence for his theory of Evolution, which is one of the greatest scientific discoveries ever. He found many different species of animals there and wondered how they came to be in such an isolated place. No one had wanted the islands before Ecuador annexed them in 1832, although the Spanish, English, and a whole bunch of whalers had visited them many times. The whalers liked to go there so they could steal the fat from Galápagos tortoises. The eighth picture above is of two Galápagos tortoises who wanted to keep their fat and are happy about it.
   The ninth picture above is a reminder of why it's not good to go swimming in the ocean around Ecuador.
   They use U.S. dollars in Ecuador, which is very convenient when Americans come to visit the Galápagos tortoises.
   Because Ecuador lies on the equator the daylight and nighttime periods are always about 12 hours long throughout the entire year, and sunrise and sunset arrive every day at 6:00AM and 6:00PM respectively.
   They like guinea pigs in Ecuador, which they call cuy. The tenth picture above is of a cute little guinea pig. The eleventh picture is of a guinea pig after Ecuadorians get a hold of it.
   Eeemmm, crispy!
   Miss Earth of 2011, Olga Mercedes Álava Vargas, is from Guayaquil (twelfth picture above). Isn't she pretty!
   And there is a park in Guayaquil called Parque Seminario that you can go and feed mango oranges to iguanas, like in the thirteenth picture above. That iguana looks hungry!
   There are several organizations that offer sponsorship services for children in the U.S. and other countries, like World Vision International, ChildFund, and Save the Children, among many others, and some of these organizations work in different ways (some provide services to the child's community rather than the individual child for instance).
   Before choosing any charity organization I would suggest checking them out on the Internet Machine at charity review sites, such as CharityWatch:
   to make sure they are legitimate and how they allocate their funds, like how much money is used for sponsorship services vs the organization's administrative expenses.
   I have a long relationship with Children International, having sponsored two kids previously. I trust them and I've never been disappointed.
   I sponsor Meivelyn for $25.00 a month. That money is placed into a pool with a certain amount of funds sent to the Children International field office where she receives services according their particular budget. There the money is allocated to the children and their families.
   I'll let Children International speak for itself:
   "As a nonprofit humanitarian organization, we strive to help children around the world overcome the burdens of poverty to become healthy, educated, self-sustaining and contributing members of society.
   This goal is achieved primarily through child sponsorship, which unites children in need with individual sponsors who wish to address the children's immediate and basic needs, and gives them the tools and opportunities necessary for success.
   In addition to sponsorship, we work to further improve the living conditions of children and families who live in poverty. Through projects such as latrine building, clean-water initiatives and income-generation programs, we help families live healthier and happier lives.
   We continue to provide safe, sturdy homes for impoverished families who suffer in substandard housing. Through our housing program, we've built hundreds of new homes for victims of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and fires; and thousands of homes have been repaired and upgraded with sturdy roofs and concrete floors."
   In addition Children International provides:
    "Emergency Food as Needed
    Medical and Dental Care
    Educational Support
    Family Assistance
    Clothes, Shoes and More!"
   Special gifts can be made by sponsors that go directly to the sponsored child.
   Critics (there's always critics)  have argued that child sponsorship could alienate the relatively privileged sponsored children from other kids and may perpetuate harmful stereotypes about third-world citizens being helpless. They also claim that child sponsorship causes cultural confusion and unrealistic aspirations on the part of the recipient, and that child sponsorship is expensive to administer.
   To these critics I say "Poo poo."
   If Americans can withstand income inequality to the degree that we do without getting all hostile I suggest other cultures can as well, and I have a hard time believing children will begrudge other children new shoes. Also, I can't worry about the perpetuation of stereotypes. They'll exist no mater what we do. And I do not see cultural confusion and unrealistic aspirations on the part of the child a major problem if the charity does it's job well and does not promote these aspirations. Just the opposite actually. I would hope that the sponsors and charities encourage the children to grow and learn and achieve to the maximum of their abilities, and no more.
   As far as cost, the charities themselves (monitored by organizations like CharityWatch) will provide information concerning the cost of their operations.
   And to these critics I ask, what is your alternative? Do nothing? That doesn't seem very helpful.
   One criticism I've received in the past by so-called America first assholes is that we should take care of our own children before anyone else's.
   To them I also say "Poo poo."
   By virtue of being born, or simply living in the United States kids are better off than 95% of children who live anywhere else. Kids here have access to free public education, programs for the poor, food assistance, medical care, etc., that are not available to most children in third world countries. (Besides, Children International offers sponsorship for children in the United States)
   I'm an American, yes, and proud of it, and so very thankful to have been born here. But I am also a citizen of this planet, and I have compassion for all of us, not just a small portion. I'm thankful that by being an American, even though I am poor myself, I'm in a position to help others who need it, and by providing this assistance I may make a difference in the life of that pretty little girl in the pictures above.
   And by doing this it helps me to feel a little better about myself, decreasing the severity of my self-loathing temporarily.

   As a sponsor I get a new picture of Meivelyn each year, so I get to see her grow up. I also get two letters from her annually.
   Sponsors can write to their sponsored children as well. Here's my first letter to her:

Hola Meivelyn Noemi Cacao Mendoza!

I hope you and your family are well and doing fine.

My name is Rick Joyce and it is my pleasure to be your sponsor through Children International.
I live in a city called Los Angeles, which is in the state of California, which is one of the states that makes up the United States of America, which is to the northwest of where you live in Ecuador. As a matter of fact we live about 5676 kilometers apart with a two hour time difference, which means that when it's twelve o'clock noon time where you live, it's ten in the morning where I live.
I'm exactly your age plus fifty years, which means I'm real old. Like you I like art and listening to music, so we have very much in common. But I'm sure you draw better than I do, because I'm not very good at that kind of art. Instead I write words out on the Internet each day, which keeps me pretty busy.
I like your pictures very much and have shown them to all of my friends and they all say you are a very pretty little girl with a lovely smile. It is my hope for you that you get the best education available which is very, very important, and to keep healthy. I will continue to help as best as I can for as long as you need, and I wish you and your family the very best!


   I hope, dear readers, you consider becoming sponsors yourselves, and maybe help just a little bit, some of the children of this world of ours.

*(just kidding. That drawing is by some guy named Picasso)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Animal Payback

How it All Began

Skippy Gets Even

   Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.
   John Ndayambaje of the  Karisoke Research Center carefully combed the forest terrain for hidden snares left by poachers hunting, if you can call it that, for antelope and other animals. Bush-meat hunters set thousands of the things, which work by tying a noose to a branch or a bamboo stalk, then using the rope, they pull the branch downward, bending it. They then use a  stick or rock to hold the noose to the ground, keeping the branch tense. The noose is camouflaged with vegetation, and the trap is set. When an animal moves the stick or rock, the branch springs upward, closing the noose around the prey and trapping it until the hunters return.
   Ndayambaje spotted one on the ground near some brush a few feet away, but before he could move to disarm it he heard Vubu grunt loudly, the elder silverback mountain gorilla cautioned him to stay away.
   Suddenly two four year old gorillas, a male named Rwema and a female named Dukore, rushed out of the brush running toward the snare. Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.
   The two soon found another trap nearby and destroyed that one as well.
   Usually a moderately sized gorilla can free themselves from devices such as these, but a few days ago a younger gorilla had been caught in one of these snares and could not free itself and subsequently dislocated its shoulder and gangrene had set in after the ropes cut deep into it's leg. It died from it's injuries.
   "This is absolutely the first time that we've seen juveniles doing that ... I don't know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares," said Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund's Karisoke Research Center, located in the reserve where the event took place.
   "We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas ... so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that," Vecellio added.
   This was merely the beginning.
   Two weeks later three men reported to local police officials in Musanze the disappearance of five of the colleagues upon a... stroll, through the nearby national park.
   Of course the police knew the three were poachers who had a long history of harvesting within the boundaries of the park sanctuary. Once told they would not be prosecuted for any current malfeasance the men were all to eager to supply a truthful account of what happened.
   Once in the park the eight gentlemen separated in order to check the many traps they had previously set.  
   One of the men named Vedaste seemed genuinely frightened as he recounted his tale.
   "It was getting dark when we got there," he recounted. "I came up to one of our traps and it was sprung but with no animal inside. I found three more just like that, and called out to my friend Hamza what I had found. He shouted back that he had discovered five just as I had. I looked over at him just as he bent to examine a sixth trap, when I heard him yell out as he was suddenly whipped into the air feet first and into the trees. He screamed for a minute of two then fell silent. I was astonished and ran over to where he had been standing when I heard two of my other friends, Philbert and Ishimwe call out just as Hamza had, and then they to were silent. And then we heard it..."
   "Heard what?"
   "Laughing? Who was laughing?"
   "You don't understand. It wasn't human laughter. It sounded more like animals laughing... the, the monkeys, monkey laughs, the Berengei, the apes... they were laughing at us."
   "Could you see who was laughing at you?"
   "No, we could see nothing. But the forest was filled with their insane cries..."
   "What happened then?"
   "We ran! Ran until we could run no more. Just the three of us got out."
   Accordingly an expedition was sent to investigate. None of the missing men were found but upon examination of several of the snares left by the Bush hunters a second, stronger trap had been set buried beneath the one the hunters had set. When a good sized log was thrown on top of one of them it was instantly seized by a coil made of vines and projected out of sight into the forest canopy overhead.
   When police approached more of the traps a guttural sound was heard nearby and Vubu was seen in the bush starring at them, as in the picture above. The great ape waved one of its mighty fingers at the investigators and shook its head.
   The police took the hint and moved out.
   Reported incidents of poaching in the park have significantly decreased lately. Unfortunately disease and deforestation still remain the greatest threats to these magnificent creatures.
   Ever since 1879 when Thomas Edison accidentally discovered that dogs had been deceiving mankind for millenia by pretending to be dumb, and in doing so lived the easy life with humans happily looking after their every need (Mitt Romney's 47%, but in this case 100%), as documented by Kurt Vonnegut, humans have suspected something strange was going on with our animal cousins. In this report Edison's dog Sparky is tested with his latest invention, an intelligence analyzer, and measured higher than Edison himself. Found out, Sparky tells Tom to try a carbonized cotton thread as a filament in his light bulb in exchange for keeping his secret. Unfortunately for Sparky, other dogs had been listening at the door to Edison's lab, and he was torn apart upon exiting.
   With extinction rates climbing (some scientists estimate that up to half of presently existing species may become extinct by 2100) significantly due to human activity (habitat loss, climate change, etc.) it seems animals are getting fed up. 
   Within the last year 428 cases of fishermen being pulled out of their boats, or off of piers, into the water never to be seen again have been reported. It appears the crabs are fighting back as the Wizard and Time Bandit boats from the Discovery Channels "Deadliest Catch," are missing at sea, presumably sunk. Kangaroo hunters in the Australian outback armed with rifles were unpleasantly surprised when the aggrieved marsupials began shooting back! (2nd clip above) Hunters in the state of Virginia, and other parts of the country are being forced to wear flak jackets while practicing their "sport" as they have increasingly become the targets rather than the targetees while attempting to shoot game.
   "I don't know how they're gett'en em," Anslo Chipsky of Dumfries, VA, told American Hunter Magazine. "But my brother Jethro was taken out by a white-tailed buck carrying a Winchester Super X Pump. It's a battleground out there."
   Instances of birds attacking humans have been coming out of California since the 1960's. The entire town of Bodega Bay was inundated by hoards of ravens, seagulls, and red-billed woodpeckers in 1963. Several deaths were reported.
   Just last night a two hour documentary appeared on the Sci Fi Channel concerning the assault of camel spiders (Solifugae) upon human kind.
   Little bunnies have turned carnivorous, zebras are attacking, lions take the offensive, grey whales are luring sightseers in close only to devour them,  misfit humans have been documented to be in league with rampaging rodents sending them on missions of mass destruction. Foxes have given new meaning to the term "Fox hunting." Why even lovely case manager Erin and myself were set upon by ferocious, venom filled, web spinners until we displayed our ASPCA membership cards.
   Animals are making it perfectly clear, they're mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore!
   As a young man I've fished upon occasion, usually in the company of older men like my father who cherished the activity.
   I don't fish anymore.
   Just imagine being a fish, swimming along, minding your own business, maybe a little hungry and looking for a tasty morsel for lunch. Not too far away you see a worm floating along and you eat it only to be hooked through your jaw by a large metal spear and to be pulled out of your world, the only one you've ever known, and into the air where you begin to suffocate and die.
   I eat fish to this day and I suppose that fishing for the purpose of consumption is a fairly consistent rational for continuing the practice.
   I have never hunted. Going out into the wilderness to shoot animals that do not share your technological advantage (having a gun) doesn't seem like much of a sport to me. It seems rather cruel in fact, and decidedly unmanly. Still, I suppose man is just carrying on an ancient tradition carried down by our ancestors over many hundreds of thousands of years, who hunted out of necessity.
   But our ancestors didn't have guns.
   And if it is deemed an acceptable practice to go out and shoot and kill animals which for all intents and purposes are virtually defenseless, then we can't really complain very much whenever they decide to fight back.
   And you never know. One day the circumstances could change and our animal friends may get  the advantage, so be nice to your pets, your doggies, cats, and goldfish. They may put in a good word for you in the future.
   Don't hunt big game animals just to have your picture taken with their lifeless carcasses, or cut off their heads and mount them on your wall. Don't catch and release fish in our streams. It's a form of torture.
   Because the animals are watching and keeping track, probably when you least suspect it..
   Don't think that they aren't.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Skid Row Diary 6

Cyndi Lauper Vibes

Jul 19 Saturday Day 7

"Perhaps there should also be a category for people who confirm their prejudices by reading books on the past written by vividly opinionated, widely but superficially informed, rambling, fussy, robustly simple-minded, articulate amateurs." -Professor James R. Kincaid

   Bravo Professor Kincaid! Bravo. At long last someone speaks for us!
   In any case, I woke for Voyager, but soon fell asleep again. All I remember of it is that the ship had to power down for some reason, and I think that Borg children were involved.
   Borg children? Who knew there were such things?
   I certainly didn't.
   I really slept in late today, until 6:30 or so. At the point where I could no longer will myself back to sleep (always extremely frustrating for a depressive, as well as morning sunlight invading my parameter), I got up, showered, dressed, and went to breakfast.
   Scrambled eggs, potatoes, and ham pizza.
   Still no John Manzano. I probably won't see him until Monday night, if I do ever see him again. He may have flown the coop for all I know, and is now meeting up with his two sons who live in Vallejo with his brother.
   We shall see.
   I began writing, with Jethro Tull's "Rock Island," wafting through the air from my cheap CD player. I stopped at 8:00, to watch "Universe, the Infinite Frontier," on channel 50 (thank God for UHF, the poor man's cable). Quasars (quasi-stellar radio sources) were the main topic for the first 30 minute segment. I found out that 3C273 was the very first quasar discovered back in the 60s, and was differentiated from other stars due to it's huge distance (and receding from us at 15% of the speed of light) and it's great luminosity. I had not known that quasars had been observed shutting down  when they ran out of fuel, and that they were a normal and frequent part of galactic evolution just after the Big Bang, after things cooled down a tad.
   At 8:30 I left my room to discover the day room had opened and there was only one guy in there watching the British Open on T.V. I grabbed the Internet computer and checked my Email, and some other web sites, and I also learned the definition of the word "tendentious." All very well and good, but when I attempted to copy some files from one floppy disk to a backup, the word processor shut itself off. I tried several more times with the same results. Someone had been screwing with the machine's innards, that was for certain. The Internet Explorer icon wasn't even on the desktop anymore, forcing me to siphon it up from the program menu.
   Well nothing to be done about it at the moment. I certainly didn't know enough about computers to fix it. I switched to the brand new machine that had been installed just a few days ago and has "Word," but it required a password to begin operating which no one within shouting distance seemed to know.
   Great! Set up a computer for veterans to use, then disable it with an unknown password! Just perfect!
   Defeated, I returned to my room and watched the last "Universe" segment, this time concerning cosmic and stellar evolution.
   I love astronomy. I find it very settling. Some people can go through their whole lives without giving a thought to the fact they are all glued by gravity to a spinning ball of rock and dirt, which is circling a bigger burning ball of hydrogen and helium, which itself is circling the center of the Milky Way galaxy every 250,000 years, and that galaxy itself is moving through empty space in relation to other galaxies around it. I mean what's up with that?
   It all seems fairly strange and wonderful and lonely to me.
   A woman I knew said this when I mentioned my fascination with astronomy, "But that doesn't effect me. I don't see those things, and they don't matter as far as my life is concerned. As far as being able to eat, raise my kids and make a living, the planets and stars don't have any impact at all."
   Of course none of us would be here to not care about the universe around us if it were not for the universe around us, the atoms that make up our bodies having been cooked in the furnaces of super nova explosions billions of years ago.
   The universe... the cosmos, is my God. I find it comforting to be aware of it.
   Closer to home, think about just a few of the things that are going on around you, just dealing with electromagnetic forces in the very room you are reading this in. At this moment: "Try to imagine what the electric and magnetic fields look like at present in the space of this lecture room. First of all, there is a steady magnetic field; it comes from the currents in the interior of the earth - that is, the earth's steady magnetic field. Then there are some irregular, nearly static electric fields produced perhaps by electric charges generated by friction as various people move about in their chairs and rub their coat sleeves against the chair arms. Then there are other magnetic fields produced by oscillating currents in the electrical wiring - fields which vary at a frequency of 60 cycles per second, in synchronism with the generator at Boulder Dam. But more interesting are the electric and magnetic fields varying at much higher frequencies. For instance, as light travels from window to floor and wall to wall, there are little wiggles of the electric and magnetic fields moving along at 186,000 miles per second. Then there are also infrared waves travelling from the warm foreheads to the cold blackboard. And we have forgotten the ultraviolet light, the X-rays, and the radiowaves travelling through the room.
   Flying across the room are electromagnetic waves which carry music of a jazz band. There are waves modulated by a series of impulses representing pictures of events going on in other parts of the world, or of imaginary aspirins dissolving in imaginary stomachs. To demonstrate the reality of these waves it is only necessary to turn on electronic equipment that converts these waves into pictures and sounds.
   If we go into further detail to analyze even the smallest wiggles, there are tiny electromagnetic waves that have come into the room from enormous distances. There are now tiny oscillations of the electric field, whose crests are separated by a distance of one foot, that have come from millions of miles away, transmitted to the earth from the Mariner [2] space craft which has just passed Venus. Its signals carry summaries of information it has picked up about the planets (information obtained from electromagnetic waves that travelled from the planet to the space craft).
   There are very tiny wiggles of the electric and magnetic fields that are waves which originated billions of light years away - from galaxies in the remotest corners of the universe. That this is true has been found by 'filling the room with wires' - by building antennas as large as this room. Such radiowaves have been detected from places in space beyond the range of the greatest optical telescopes. Even they, the optical telescopes, are simply gatherers of electromagnetic waves. What we call the stars are only inferences, inferences drawn from the only physical reality we have yet gotten from them - from a careful study of the unendingly complex undulations of the electric and magnetic fields reaching us on earth.
   There is, of course, more: the fields produced by lightning miles away, the fields of the charged cosmic ray particles as they zip through the room, and more, and more. What a complicated thing is the electric field in the space around you!"
-Richard Feynman
   That is part of the fact of the universe around us.
   But I digress.
   I continued to write in my lonely room until almost noon. The last piece of music I heard on my cheap radio before leaving for lunch was "Hungarian Rhapsody 2," by Franz Liszt, and being quite catchy it played itself in my head again and again.
   The menu said hamburgers for lunch. We were given a bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and mustard, but the meat that was served in no way resembled hamburger. Not in this dimension at least. I'm not sure what it was, but it tasted good though.
   Since no one offered me a ride I walked toward City Hall, winding my way through Wall Street, past all of the specialty and trinket shops. Toy shops. Shops that only sold eyeglasses. It being Saturday, business was brisk. Mostly Hispanic shoppers about, as usual, some Asians, hardly any black people... one white guy (me).
   But not for long. I took up position at the 485/401 bus stop, right in front of the west entrance of the City Hall building (a phallic symbol if there ever was one) and waited patiently for the bus to arrive. I had a bus schedule so I knew exactly when the bus was going to arrive, in ten minutes.
   25 minutes later the bus had still not arrived. It was hot. I was sweating. So were the 15 or so other people waiting with me.
   I noticed that 1st Street, just down the block from me, was blocked off by little annoying orange cones. This is not unusual in the downtown area. Often streets are blocked off to be used for parades and demonstrations of various kinds, or movie filming. Homeless people picketing, etc. Still, buses should have been coming our way.
   I supposed the buses would detour to the south of us and pick us up coming from Spring Street, or from Main Street to our east. After all the sign at our bus stop had not been modified to alert us to any change in service, so our bus should come to pick us momentarily we all thought. The MTA wouldn't leave us standing here for no reason, would they?
   You bet your ass they would! I soon noticed quite a few buses making a left turn from Temple, to my north. Considering my 402 hadn't showed, I began to entertain the possibility that my bus had passed my stop altogether, leaving me and my fellow passengers high and dry.

   I waited a bit more, watching a pretty Chinese girl of about 20 years of age run across Spring Street in front of a 71 bus which missed hitting her by just a couple of feet. I decided to walk up to the next bus stop north of me, in front of the Federal Courthouse, and wait there.
   A 94 came, on its way to Sylmar where my mother used to live, and the pretty Chinese girl rushed out of a crowd of people waiting for other buses, and jumped on board.
   I wished her well.
   Sure enough, about fifteen minutes later a 485 turned left off of Temple and stopped where I was standing. It wasn't the good old 401, but it would do.
   If it was up to the MTA I'd be waiting for the rest of my natural lifetime for that 401 at the other bus stop, or at least until they opened up Spring again.
   I continued to read from the Goethe book while headed to Pasadena. The story of Werther, so far, is a tale of unrequited love written in the first person as a letter to a third person. I was a little too familiar with that subject which made reading the book a little uncomfortable.
   Eventually I was unceremoniously dumped at the corner of Lake and Colorado again. I walked to the independent theater just east of that intersection to check out the movie times for the Christopher Guest film, "A Mighty Wind."
   It was 2:00, so I had time to kill if I wanted to see that movie, which I did. However I hadn't come to Pasadena to see that film. I came to get some books.
   I caught one of the local Arts buses into Old Town, just west of Fair Oaks, to the Barnes and Noble bookstore. I spent about an hour there and picked up copies of Stephen King's "The Stand," and "Everything's Eventual," Arthur C Clark and Gentry Lee's "Rama Revealed," Dean Koontz's "Twilight Eyes," and "Tick Tock," "Nolo's Guide to California Law," "Nolo's Criminal Law Handbook," and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Spanish." Oh yes, and "The Way of Zen," by Allan Watts.
   Leaving the store I walked across Colorado to Moby Disk, a discount music store. I spent another hour there looking through their Previously Owned CD collection. I almost jumped out of my boots when I found a copy of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," for $6.99. I quickly purchased the small round plastic disk and got out of the store before they could change their minds about selling it to me.
   Cyndi is one of my favorite female vocalists and has been ever since her debut album "She's So Unusual,"  appeared. She's an amazing performer with tremendous range with exquisite interpretive instincts... and her voice is pretty good too. Her first and second albums  are masterpieces in my humble opinion, and "True Colors," was her second album. I was very happy to have her back in my personal collection so I could fondle it anytime I wanted (every time I relapse It seems my  address changes for some reason, and I lose all of my possessions).
   And to top it all off, Cyndi's very cute.
   And I actually liked "Vibes."
   I caught a bus back to the theater showing "A Mighty Wind," starring the irrepressible Parker Posey. Admission was a reasonable $4.00. Popcorn and a soda cost me $7.25.
   Written by Guest and Eugene Levy, there aren't enough good things I can say about this film. Smart, funny, bold, all that stuff. It pokes a little fun at folk songs and singers, while honoring them at the same time, similar with what Rob Reiner and some of the cast members of "A Mighty Wind" did with Rock music years ago in  the "This Is Spinal Tap," film. I left the theater laughing, thinking my $4.00 was well spent, and mildly nauseous from the over priced popcorn.
   I got on the 485 out of Pasadena and was back at the Weingart by 7:15. I immediately listened to my "True Colors" CD while practicing some cool yoga maneuvers and exercises.
   I have to admit I got a little misty listening to Cyndi singing the title song. I took the lyrics a bit too personally, and she sings it so well.
   I listened to a few songs a couple of times. I'm quite familiar with the album. When I finally finished I switched the TV on to a 8:00 broadcast of the film "Predator," starring Arnold Schwarzhisname. Based on a true story I'm told, it's one of my favorite Arnie movies, along with "Total Recall." And the antagonist's brother went on to star in a sequel with Danny Glover and Gary Busey, in "Predator II," another fine film. I believe there is yet another predator film in the works, teaming up with Ridley Scott's "Alien."
   I read for a while after the heavily edited for TV movie. I read from J.J. Luna's "How to be Invisible," and soon got drowsy and went to sleep.
   I dreamt I was with Cyndi L, standing in front of City Hall, waiting forever for the 401. Cyndi was dressed in the newspaper dress and faded blue blouse she wore for the picture on the back of the "True Colors," album. I was dressed just like her, but with no make up, orange hair, or blue lipstick. My hair was green and I was using yellow lipstick.
   We waited and waited, but the bus never came. Finally, I broke out my 12 string banjo and we started singing folk songs together. We harmonized well, and it went something like this:

As I travel down the back roads, of this home I love so much,
Every carpenter and cowboy, every lame many on a crutch..
They’re all talking about a feeling, or a taste that’s in the air,
They’re all talking about this mighty wind, that’s blowing everywhere,

Oh a mighty winds a blowin’, it’s kickin’ up the sand,
It’s blowin’ out a message to every woman, child and man
Yes a mighty winds a blowin’, cross the land and cross the sea,
It’s blowin’ peace and freedom, it’s blowin’ equality.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rachel Gets Pissed: The Veterans Jobs Bill

   I'm in trouble.
   I attended a SRHT event at noon yesterday that celebrated resident's participation in various groups that the trust facilitates, when out of the blue my lovely yoga teacher, Beth Dian Prandini, walked up to me and said, "Where ya been?"
   I haven't been going to yoga class for a while. I do yoga for 15 minutes every morning at 4:30AM exactly, but I hadn't been going to class. I tell myself it's simply because I've been too busy, and that I need to buy some new yoga clothes, which is true, but I never seem to get around to buying them.
   "I've been busy and I need new yoga clothes," I told her lamely.
   She said she liked my mustache. I told her thank you. Then she said she liked my ear ring. "I've turned pirate," I told her.
   She told me it was nice to see me again, then walked off into the crowd.
   Now I have to go to yoga class on Tuesday, or she'll put some kind of yoga curse on me or something.
   That's her picture just above. Isn't she pretty?
   A little too old for me though... and she's married... damn it.
   Here's a link to Beth's web-site in case you need some great yogaing, and all kinds of important information to stay healthy and content.
   If you hire Beth tell her you heard about her from me so she won't be mad at me any more.
   I really am busy you know. Wednesday night I was busy watching The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, where I saw her get real mad. Boy, was she pissed, as you can tell from the first picture above.
   Actually that picture wasn't from Wednesday night's show. It looks like it was from some appearance she was making on some talk program, but it was the closest picture I could find on the entire Internet Machine that somewhat resembled what it would look like if she were to be really mad at something.
   She never really gets mad at anything though, or at least she doesn't show it, like I do, or Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, or Gov Jennifer Granholm who really gets unhinged at times. No Rachel's usually all smiley all of the time, she's so sweet.
   She'll eviscerate you if you're an offending conservative, but in a sweet way.
   Why was Rachel so angry? Glad you asked. I'll tell you.
   When I was in the navy I learned how to drive small boats. They call the driver of small boats a coxswain, which means "boat servant."
   I used to work on and drive what is called the captain's gig, which is a motorized boat that the Captain of the ship uses when he needs a boat to take him somewhere. We also used that boat to direct waves of other boats onto a beach during amphibious landings. In other words I would drive the captain's gig in front of and leading a horizontal colum of landing craft toward the beach. At just the right time I would make a sharp right or left turn and get out of the way of the incoming landing craft, and skedaddle out of there ASAP.
   I also drove some of those landing craft. Yeah! I know (or knew) how to drive a boat onto a beach, lower the forward ramp to let all of the soldiers in the boat out so they can get shot at, raise the ramp, and back up, turn around and get the hell out of there before the next wave of landing craft got there.
   It was fun as long as no one was shooting at you.
   A lot of military service personnel are trained in various jobs and specialties that do not translate very well back in the civilian world. In my own case I suppose I could have tried to find work somewhere operating a small boat, but those kind of jobs are already more than likely being filled by people who have been doing that in the civilian world for years and years. The job market for a coxswain is more than likely very small, so accordingly I entered an entirely different field for which I had to be trained, in my case as a veterinary helper. I did that for a few years until I got a better job in the customer service industry for which I worked for many years, talking to people over the phone.
   Or take John Rambo for instance. Like many in the military he was specifically trained to search for and kill other people, and... well that's about it. He knows a lot about weapons, explosives, bobby traps, hand to hand combat, camouflage, on and on.
   There's not a huge market for lethal killers back here in the states as a civilian. Maybe in Mexico there's a market currently working for a drug cartel, but in that type of work the job security is notoriously poor. And there's no dental.
   Rambo couldn't find any work and became... disgruntled. Our vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are having the same problem. Their unemployment rate is anywhere from 10.9 to 11 to 12% depending on where you get your info from and at what time. Still it is significantly higher than the national average of 8.1.
   720,000 veterans are unemployed across the nation, including 220,000 veterans who have served since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to  Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, sponsor of the Veterans Jobs Corps initiative, which President Obama first proposed during his last State of the Union speech in February. The initiative involves a partnership with the Veterans Administration and the Interior Department, directing $1 billion that would put up to  20,000 veterans (depending on the number of applicants) to work over the next five years rebuilding trails, roads and levees on public lands, and at the same time, contribute to the struggling economy. This is a stimulus package that helps vets, the economy, and the nation's infrastructure. Sounds great right? It certainly sounds good to me.  As a matter of fact the Democrats in the Senate wanted bipartisan support while drafting the bill and asked the Republicans to help.
   Rachel introduced four of them to the nation on her show Wednesday night. Senators John Boozman, Mike Johanns, Richard Burr and Pat Toomey (pictures above, in order of mention), all helped draft the Veterans Jobs Corps initiative.
   What disturbed Rachel was that these four Senators, when it came time to advance the bill through the Senate, voted against it, and in so doing so the initiative was filibustered (58 to 40, 60 votes needed to advance) and sent back to committee, and will not be taken up again, if at all, until next year, after the new Congress is seated.
   Why did this happen? Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma led the fight against it, saying the $1 billion price tag violated Senate procedures, that there was already 6 veteran jobs programs, and "If in fact we want to help veterans get jobs, there are lots of ways to do it," Coburn said on the floor before the vote. "We need to make sure the job training programs we have are working, and they're not."
   Supporters of the bill pointed out that the initiative paid for itself through increased revenue, which negated Coburn's point about cost. Considering the number of veterans that are still  unemployed, Coburn's objection to a seventh veteran's job program seems strange. What is he objecting to, too much help?!
   Even if the initiative were not paid for, do we really want to object to helping veterans return to society, a society that we asked them to leave in order to serve our country?
   Republicans love to allocate money for war. The last three wars were started by Republicans. They like to funnel money to defense contractors as well, and it's just so much easier to do that if the country is at war.
   In order to fight these wars we ask our children to serve in the armed forces. As a country we are supposed to provide whatever it takes to give our men and women who fight for us the best equipment and facilities to keep them safe considering the circumstances. But we haven't been doing that. Concerns about personnel armor arose in Iraq. Shoddy work by defense contractors caused soldiers to be electrocuted when they took showers. Armed Personnel Vehicles didn't have enough armor.
   And when our soldiers come home we are supposed to care for them if the need it. That is the commitment that we as a nation have made to these men and women.
   Republicans however are not motivated to do that because it costs money... money that does not go directly to defense contractors.
   But the real reason that they filibustered this Job Corp initiative is simply because it was President Obama who requested its passage. Because it was President Obama who proposed it back in February, and that we are very close to the November election right now and the Republicans will not do anything to make the President appear successful... at anything! Because Sen Mitch McConnell's top political priority is to deny the President a second term.
   No wonder she's pissed off.
   I am too.
   The entire country should be.