Tuesday, 28 May 2013

THE DOLE/SPECTER CONNECTION

Ken Berwitz

Here's a fascinating bit of trivia I just found out about.

Did you know that Bob Dole, the 6-term Republican senator from Kansas and 1996 Presidential candidate, and Arlen Specter, the 5-term Republican Senator from Pennsylvania (who started as a Democrat, switched to Republican, and then switched back to Democrat in his last term).....

....both attended, and graduated the same high school? 

That's right.  Bob Dole grew up in Russell, Kansas and graduated from Russell High School in 1941.  Specter was born in Wichita, Kansas, but grew up in Russell where he graduated from Russell High School in 1947.

I have no idea what any of this means.  Maybe you can come  up with something.  But you have to admit it makes for a helluva good trivia question.


A HEADS-UP FOR THE GUN CONTROL PEOPLE

Ken Berwitz

This one is for the people who have convinced themselves that more and more gun control laws is going to prevent deranged lunatics from committing mass murders.

Excerpted from an article at CBS News-Portland (Oregon):

An Oregon teenager intended to blow up his school in a plot "forged and inspired by the model of the Columbine shootings" and he will be charged with attempted aggravated murder, a prosecutor said late Saturday.

Grant Acord, 17, will be charged as an adult and also faces six counts of manufacturing and possessing a destructive device after investigators found six bombs in a secret compartment in his bedroom, said Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson.

He said Acord had written plans, a checklists and a specific timeline for the attack. The bombs investigators found included pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, a Drano bomb and a napalm bomb, Haroldson said.

"In any case that you have a young person that in essence plans to take a video game approach to killing people at school, you have to take a close look at the mental health issues," he said. "And the process will certainly provide for that once he's represented by counsel."

"I can't say enough about how lucky we are that there was an intervention," the district attorney said. "When I look at the evidence in the case, I shudder to think of what could have happened here."

Let me ask you a question:  if Grant Acord had not been found out beforehand - if he had successfully planted, then detonated those bombs - how many dead students and teachers do you suppose there would have been?  How many survivors would have been disfigured by the napalm?

Once you think about the extent of carnage which Acord would have visited on his high school, think about this:  there is not one mention of guns in the article.  Why?  Because guns were not going to be used.  In the absence of guns, this potential mass murderer simply used another technique.

The fact that many people do not want to face, is that bombs do not create, plant and detonate themselves - any more than guns jump up and start shooting by themselves.  As in the case of Columbine - and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc......it is the person, not the weapon, which causes it to happen. 

And the fact that Grant Acord is accused of ignoring the law by creating and intending to detonate bombs, is no different than the fact that gun laws were ignored by Columbine's dylan klebold and eric harris, Sandy hook's adam lanza and Aurora's james holmes

Laws are irrelevant to people who ignore laws.  Therefore passing more laws, whether they relate to bomb-making or gun usage - is irrelevant to the people who make bombs and use guns illegally. 

My one area of disagreement with what is said in this article is District Attorney Haroldson's comment that when someone takes "a video game approach to killing people at school, you have to take a close look at the mental health issues". 

My disagreement is not with what Mr. Haroldson said, which, of course, is true.  My disagrement is with what he left out

When someone, regardless of age, takes a video game approach to killing people at school, or anywhere else, you don't just take a close look at mental health issues.  You take a close look at video games.  A very close look at the games which turn killing human beings into nothing more than a sporting event, with the biggest win to the most prolific killer.

Until we start getting serious about what causes the Grant Acords of the world to see killing in this way - i.e. the games that are sold, with no social conscience or sense of responsibility whatsoever, by the so-called "entertainment" industry - we are not getting serious about preventing it from happening again.  I don't know how to say this more plainly.

Zeke ..... ..... Consult the experts --- those with day-in-and-day-out experience --- what do the murdering terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan use ? ... Why, hidden bombs, of course. .... Despite having more weapons for sale than Walmart has socks, the killing method of choice is bombs. ... Hidden bombs (either inside a car or inside a martyr's shirt) .... .... ... Guns can't match the body count .... (05/28/13)

free` Ken, the video game market is over a billion dollars a year, you will have to do more than find a plain way of saying it, to compete with that lobbying arm. (05/28/13)


TRAYVON TRAVESTY?

Ken Berwitz

All competitive events have referees, who are expected to be fair and impartial.

A legal trial is a competitive event, with the referee referred to as a judge. 

As in all competitive events, reasonable people hope that the judge will perform fairly and impartially.  But if the referee performs in a way which suggests he/she is rooting for one side over the other, it is a pretty good bet that side is going to win.

I am not accusing Judge Debra Nelson, who has been assigned the George Zimmerman trial, of performing unfairly or in a partial manner.  But her initial rulings have certainly gotten my attention.

Excerpted from Tracy Connor, James Novograd and Tom Winter's article for NBC News:

A Florida judge ruled Tuesday that George Zimmerman's defense team cannot mention Trayvon Martins suspension from school, prior marijuana use, text messages or past fighting during opening statements at next month's trial.

Judge Debra Nelson said that during the trial she will consider motions to admit details as evidence on a case-by-case basis, outside the presence of jurors who will decide if Zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin.

Over the course of two hours, Nelson granted numerous motions by prosecutors, who argued that details of the slain teen's past are not be relevant to the Feb. 26, 2012, confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin and should not be discussed before the jury.

Does it make sense to withhold all information about the kind of person Trayvon Martin was from a jury which has to make a judgment that bears on the kind of person Trayvon Martin was?  (It doesn't make sense to this legal layman, but maybe it would to a trial lawyer).

On the other hand, Judge Nelson's ruling, so far, is only that Trayvon Martin's sordid recent history is excluded from the opening statements - but that it may be admitted during the course of the trial. . 

Remember:  although we have heard several eye-witness accounts of what transpired between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012, there are no videos of the fight between them.  Jurors, therefore, will, to a great extent, have to make a judgment based on what they think about each person. 

Simply stated, therefore, the better Trayvon Martin comes across, the more George Zimmerman would want this information withheld.  Conversely, the worse Martin comes across, the more Zimmerman would want the jurors to know all about it.  Since Trayvon Martin's recent history was, to say the least, not exemplary, Judge Nelson's ruling is a boon for the George Zimmerman's prosecutors and a setback for his defense.

That said, as of now I reserve judgment on how the trial is being handled.  But to repeat what I have said in the past:  may this trial be conducted with scrupulous fairness and impartiality, uninfluenced by the radicals and/or activists who demand Zimmerman be convicted without benefit of either attribute.

Throwing Geoge Zimmerman to the wolves out of fear over possible reprisals if he is found innocent, is not justice.  It is a kangaroo court.  Let's not allow that to happen.


WHEN THE WATER BOILS, DOES IT PLAY "DEUTSCHLAND UBER ALLES"?

Ken Berwitz

One of the funnier episodes of "Cheers" (and there was a lot of competition, because that was a very funny show), involved Cliff Clavin finding a potato that, to him, looked like Richard Nixon.

Well, now I kid you not - we have a kettle that looks like adolf hitler. 

It seems that J. C. Penney is selling some new kind of kettle, which it is promoting on a big billboard, located along the very busy Interstate 405 in Southern California.   That, in and of itself, is no big deal.  Except take a good look at the kettle - which is shown below both in clear, and squinty-eye, form:

 

Customers have complained that billboard for the JC Penny kettle on the 405 Interstate looks like Hitler

 

So?  Are you getting a sudden urge to raise your right hand and start goose-stepping?

I ask this question because a good number of the folks in sunny CA are complaining that the kettle looks a lot like der fuhrer himself. 

Personally, I think it just looks like a kettle.  But that's me.  If I were the folks at J.C. Penney I probably would strongly be considering the prospect of either a new kettle picture on the billboard, or a different featured item - before things boil over, that is.

Ok, enough of this silly non-political stuff.  Now back to politics - which is usually a lot more likely to be silly than any billboard.


THE DOLE/SPECTER CONNECTION

Ken Berwitz

Here's a fascinating bit of trivia I just found out about.

Did you know that Bob Dole, the 6-term Republican senator from Kansas and 1996 Presidential candidate, and Arlen Specter, the 5-term Republican Senator from Pennsylvania (who started as a Democrat, switched to Republican, and then switched back to Democrat in his last term).....

....both attended, and graduated the same high school? 

That's right.  Bob Dole grew up in Russell, Kansas and graduated from Russell High School in 1941.  Specter was born in Wichita, Kansas, but grew up in Russell where he graduated from Russell High School in 1947.

I have no idea what any of this means.  Maybe you can come  up with something.  But you have to admit it makes for a helluva good trivia question.


A TEST OF MY FINGER SIZE Ken Berwitz


This is a test.

I am typing, as best I can, on a combination cover and keyboard made to be used with an ipad mini;  i.e. you open the cover and the keyboard is on the other side.  

I find that, although I am making a lot of mistakes/having to go back and correct my typos, it is working better than I thought it would.

Ok, I'll assume that, over time, I will get used to the size of the keyboard enough to make fewer mistakes (truth be told, it is already starting to happen) and will learn how to use the various functions, like cut and paste, etc.  That will make it usable for times when neither a desktop nor laptop is available.

Test over.  

Keyboard stays.

free` Ken, does the ipad-mini have apps like the regular ipad? if so look for one called Dragon dictation [it's free]. You speak and it types for you. (05/28/13)

Ken Berwitz You can bet I'll be looking for it. Thanks!!!! (05/28/13)


MARK ROSENTHAL: A PAIDBOY PICTORIAL

Ken Berwitz

I am about to show you a pictorial I pulled from Rich Calder's article in today's New York Post.

But if you're expecting cheesecake, forget about it.  If there were any, the subject of the pictorial would probably have snarfed it down in about ten seconds flat (make that ten seconds round).

The pictures are of Mark Rosenthal, the obviously hard-working head of local 983 (no, it was not named after any attribute of Mr. Rosenthal's), New York's largest blue-collar nunicipal employee's union.

According to the article, Mr. Rosenthal's gruelling schedule involves showing up at 2PM, eating a copious meal, then sleeping until about 4PM, and leaving "to beat the traffic".  

Now, on the assumption that you are chafing at the bit to see them, here are four views of Mark Rosenthal in what apparently is his natural habitat, which were taken over the past year or so.  Enjoy!

 

Recent

April 2, 2013

March 27, 2012

May 16. 2012 .

For this herculean effort, Mr. Rosenthal's salary is $156,000 a year.  I'm sure the members of his union, whose dues pay that salary - and, I suspect, a hefty bunch of perks on top of it - are appropriately thrilled about what they are getting for their hard-earned money.

As regular readers of this blog know, I am a strong supporter of the union concept.  I believe that unions are an imperative, because they act as pretty much the only leverage a working man or woman has versus corporations which, in the absence of such unions, would have a clear path with which to screw them.

But let's never forget that the screwing can go both ways.   And if this story accurately portrays Mark Rosenthal, it would be hard to find a more obvious example.


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