What I’m Drinking Tonight

Gosh, I’m not sure why I picked this wine up

colcrestmerlcab

The Columbia Crest Merlot/Cabernet Blend. I’m usually not a big fan of Washington State wines; I’ve nothing against them, really, but I just don’t drink them enough.

But boy is this a thick, unctuous yummy wine. If you like full bodied syrupy wine, this is your baby for $8. *warning* If such wines make you think “cough medicine” then this is not for you. I happen to like wines like this, but my Bride likes them not so much.

Which, sadly, means more for me.

Seriously, for $8 this is trés yum.

Apparently, The Hope N Change Housing Market…

…is gonna need a snorkel


“…But the loans that are defaulting now are due to job losses. And when you have no income, there is simply no modification for which you are qualified.”

Sometimes George Will Makes Me Cry

In a GOOD way. How can you not howl at an opening line like this:

In August our ubiquitous president became the nation’s elevator music, always out and about, heard but not really listened to, like audible wallpaper.

Oh, man. That’s deLISHous. The whole thing’s full of them.

Thanks to Ace for the chortle de jour.

LA Fires

They’re about to over run Mt. Wilson

MOUNT WILSON – Firefighters will attempt to keep a strike force of fire engines on Mount Wilson, where critical communications facilities are in jeopardy of being overrun, a fire official said.

“Our original plan was to pull all firefighters off of it now,” said Mark Savage of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “Right now, a strike team of engines is seeing if they can find a safe place to shelter up there. We are concerned that it will be overrun and we think it will burn, but we are not sure if the communication facilities will be overrun.”

By late afternoon, a huge plume of smoke rose from the western side of the peak, and the fire was creating winds pushing it to the east up the peak.

“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when,” Savage said earlier.

Dozens of TV technicians are normally are stationed at Mount Wilson to keep 22 Los Angeles TV stations operating, along with about 25 fm radio stations and vital police and fire radio dispatch equipment functioning.

Here’s the latest picture from the webcam there this morning as of 3:47 LA time

towercam1

(h/t to Insta)

So See “Julie and Julia” For SURE, BUT…!!!!

Make equally as SURE you have somewhere LOVELY to eat afterward, like major dad and I did. (“BUTTER” gets mentioned quite a bit, in accolades as thick and delicious as…well…butter. The salivary glands have a mind of their own, n’est pas?)

And don’t let your male significant other tell you, “chick flick”. It ain’t.

It’s a FOOD flick, pure and simple ~ “Babette’s Feast” without the suffering, if you will, and one of the finest ensemble casts you will EVER have the pleasure to view in action.

I’m starving.

And I LOVE my husband.

Parking Lot Wisdom

…commissary style.

Talk About “Night School”

I wonder if they offer need-based financial assistance

About 40 men somberly entered a classroom on a recent Saturday morning. About half of them wore shiny wedding bands.

All had tried to buy a prostitute’s services and were caught by police. It was their first offense, and a county court referred them to a one-day program called the John School. It’s a program run by volunteers and city officials in conjunction with Magdalene House, a nonprofit that works to get prostitutes off the streets.

Die You Miserable Cur!

Die quickly!

…DANNY BARELY A TROPICAL STORM…
…MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 40 MPH…65 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS…BUT THESE WINDS ARE CONFINED TO THE NORTHEAST OF THE CENTER. THERE IS SMALL OPPORTUNITY FOR SLIGHT RESTRENGTHENING TODAY.

A Moment This Afternoon

Someone near and dear just sent this sad email to Kcruella:

We just got the Army Staff Sgt. from Bridgewater who was killed in Afghanistan.

I wanted to know who he was. I thought we all should know who he was, because he could have been any of ours.
And because he was ALL of ours.

Army Staff Sgt. Andrew T. Lobosco, 29, a Somerville, N.J. native, was killed Saturday, Aug. 22, during combat in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Lobosco died in the town of Yakhchal from wounds he suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit, according to a DOD press release.

…Nancy Kopin, a neighbor and friend of the family, said Bonnie spoke of her son often and described him as a “wonderful” and “happy-go-lucky guy.”

…Andrew Lobosco was not currently in a relationship, Kopin said, but had previously said he wanted to get married and have children because he was the last man in his family to carry on the Lobosco name.

He was a Green Beret, who wore a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart among his decorations. And they’re going to bury him Wednesday at 10 a.m.

I would be standing by the roadside if I could. I’ll stand silently at home since I can’t. And probably cry a little more, because I just do.

Bless his brave, brave, red, white and blue heart. A soldier’s heart.

And I hope ~ somewhere in their breaking hearts ~ his family knows how much we thank them for their boy.

We just do.

How To Make Friends And Influence People

The Democratic Way

WASHINGTON (AP) – A key House liberal suggested Thursday that party moderates who’ve pushed for changes in health care legislation are “brain dead” and out for insurance company campaign donations.

Moderate Blue Dog Democrats “just want to cause trouble,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who heads the health subcommittee on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

“They’re for the most part, I hate to say, brain dead, but they’re just looking to raise money from insurance companies and promote a right-wing agenda that is not really very useful in this whole process,” Stark told reporters on a conference call.

Democrats being co-opted into the VRWC.

Rove you magnificent bastard.

Jeeeeezzzzz

(Sure glad Bingley’s Rep. Holt had them fill out question cards and everything. One wants to avoid a “Crouching Bingley, Hidden Flagon” situation at all costs.)

“Because We Won”

God, I’ve got a headache. I just got back from the Townhall Meeting with Rush Holt, and as promised I’ve started drinking. A lot. I need to. And maybe you will too if these things go through.

The meeting was scheduled to start at 7pm, so like a good anal-retentive type I got there at 4:30…and I was about the 20th person on line.

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Which was cool because it meant that I was lined up in the shade…and I got to see all the interesting folks as they were arriving

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pretty soon there was a decent sized crowd, and I have to say everyone was in a pretty good mood

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While I didn’t see any bussed in type folks, one thing that was pretty obvious was that you could instantly tell where someone stood on the plan simply by looking at their sign. You didn’t have to read the sign, no, just look at it, because without exception if the sign was hand-written, then the message was anti-Obamacare; if the message was printed then it was pro-Obamacare. Like I said, basically with out exception. Make of that what you will.

Part of the fun were all the fringe groups that were there. My old favorites the LaRouche nutjobs were making the rounds, handing out their informational tracts

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(the back page of which very helpfully features a picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache)

and some folks were handing out stuff touting just how wonderful our Single Payer future would be. Oh joy. There was also Mike Halfacre, currently Mayor of Fair Haven, who plans to run against Holt next Fall working the crowd, and everyone was in a reasonably good mood.

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Like I said, I got their fairly early, and it was a good thing I did, because soon the police came out and said that they would only allow the first 238 people on line into the meeting. There were certainly more folks than that there; how many is hard for me to say, as the line stretched around out of sight around the building (you can see some outside shots here; looks like there were lots of folks who didn’t get in). As we filed in we were asked to sign in and given cards that we could write questions on. Some folks grumbled but I have to say I had no problem with this, as it would prevent to some extent the rambling shouted questions. It also allowed Rush to say that he was going to give people who lived in the 12th District priority in questioning him, which seemed reasonable to me.

One aspect that was poorly organized was the limiting of the crowd. I have no problem with them only allowing in as many people as could sit in the stands, but that process only took 15 minutes, so by 6:15 we were all there and seated…and Rush wasn’t showing up until 7, which gave far too much time for arguments and shouting matches to develop in the growing-restless crowd. And they did. It was frankly very poor planning on their part.

Finally Rush came in and sat down whilst Bishop Riley of the NJ Lutheran Synod was the warm-up act. Not a brilliant idea, as he quickly set off a chorus of boos and catcalls by by decrying how horrible it was that “the first question people are asked in the emergency room is what is your insurance company.” Even he sensed that maybe he wasn’t helping things so he quickly sat down and Rush got up and gave a boilerplate introductory spiel about how he’s there to assist us in any way he can, etc, contact him for this or that (in fact when we went to DC a few years ago his office was very helpful in getting us a tour of Congress), all those little constituent service things that a Representative should say and be good at, and in fact Holt is good at those things.

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One thing he’s not good at is public speaking. He comes across as an academic policy wonk, which is not surprising because that’s exactly what he is. And in this environment and debate that works very much against him, because he really seems…out of touch with how business and life for the average person works. Again, as the only jobs he’s ever held have been either academic or governmental, this is not a surprise.

He started off with a general statement explaining why this health care reform was being done and what it contained (I’ll try not to bore you with too many details from my scribbled notes). His basic premise is that for the “majority of Americans the system is broken” and what he wants is to “impose elevated national standards” on insurance companies and eliminate things like lifetime caps on coverage and co-pays and to “require insurance companies to spend 85% of the premiums they receive on health care.”

He feels that people are not well served by their insurance companies now and he believes that we will be better served by the government forcing companies to “compete in an insurance store” (This seemed to be his answer to all of our problems; he said it so often that it got to be a running joke in the group of folks I happened to be sitting with) where consumers can choose amongst different options, with one of those options being a government run plan that would be a paragon of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The idea never occurred to him that the government “forcing” companies to compete is like them “forcing” us to be friends, and that a system where the Government is one of the “competitors” is no competitive system at all: how can you possibly compete against the referee? Invariably the government will be the only player left.

The crowd was grumbling on and off through out all of this (and I would say the crowd seemed to me split probably 60/40 against the plan) but a lot of us had a good laugh when he said that “Medicare is successful and Medicare is solvent.”

His basic theme is that this bill will be funded by all these savings that will be realized by effectively putting everyone on Medicare.

Much like all those jobs that have been “created or saved” by the stimulus package (when one discounts the rising unemployment, of course).

Once he started going through the questions on the cards the crowd noise, especially from a few individuals who were just outright constantly obnoxious, started getting louder, and he got a little more ruffled and off came his jacket.

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His answers were fairly consistent, and always contained one or more of the following: “Medicare savings will pay for it”, “insurance store”, or, my personal favorite, “maybe”, which was the answer always given when the question was the type that you or I would answer “yes” or “no” to, although at one point he did say “it remains to be seen how much savings there will be.” My guess is the savings will be somewhere between “zero” and “none”, but your mileage may vary.

One of the best joke lines of the night was when he answered a question about Medicare fraud by saying that it really doesn’t exist because “people are required to report Medicare fraud” and since “very little fraud is reported” the problem is a “very small percentage.” I guess since very few people turn themselves in to the police for using their cell phones or texting while driving that indicates that those things don’t go on, either. Head, sand.

He’s proud that he “worked on Cap and Trade extensively, and felt it didn’t go far enough” and that it was a “mystery” to him why the Republicans weren’t “at the table to make the Health Bill better.” Things got a little testy when he made a comment about “some of the noisemakers in the crowd” to which they replied “we’re CONSTITUENTS!”

He was asked “why are we moving so fast” to which he replied that “the country won’t recover if we are saddled with these health care costs; time is of the essence; it’s not happening fast enough.” Not having a PhD in physics I am unable to grasp the concept of how spending trillions and creating a massive new bureaucracy “unsaddles” those costs, obviously. But since he seems to think that this will cost “only 1 trillion”, which I guess is chump change by his standards, then it’s all good.

There was a rather revealing moment in a subsequent question along these lines, which asked “why are you forcing this plan on us?” and the response from the more vocal supporters of the plan was “because we won the election!” which I thought was a particularly nice gesture from the “building bridges and community” crowd.

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Afterwards most folks wandered out, some stopped to wiggle betwixt the police to have a word or two with him. No one’s mind was changed, blood pressures were elevated, but I will give him credit for at least facing his constituents.

Well, I Didn’t Get Arrested

But I did get one hell of a headache which this third glass of wine is only starting to assuage, so I’m going to bed and will post a recap of the Holt Townhall meeting in the morning.

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Jimmy F****** Carter Just Now on NewsHour

“He more than made up for it…”

“He” being Ted Kennedy. “It” being…take a wild guess.

Attention Central Jerseyans

UPDATE and BUMP: Oooo, they let Bingley inside!!!!! He’s 2nd row, center, BUT they made everyone write their questions on cards ahead of time. As Bingster says, “it does lessen the theatrics somewhat”. Oh, well ~ report to follow. In the meantime, here’s a shot he took while waiting in line:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For those of you who live in the 12th District our Representative Rush Holt will be holding a town meeting in Middletown:

On Wednesday, August 26 at 7 p.m. Rep. Rush Holt will host a town hall meeting in Middletown. The meeting will be held at the Middletown Arts Center, which is located at 36 Church Street. The public meeting is an opportunity to talk with Rep. Holt about issues facing New Jersey and the nation, including the economy, jobs, health care reform, hometown security, energy, education, and Social Security.

Please come prepared to ask tough questions in a respectful manner; we’ll drink afterwards.

Oh, and if any of you have some spare AstroTurf, my lawn has got some serious bare patches.

*bumped*

Update: Welcome InstaPunditers!

Looks like someone else is planning to be there

Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre announced today that he will be hosting an “Open to All Townhall” meeting on Wednesday August 26th at 5:30 pm at the Middletown Arts Center to discuss the controversial healthcare reforms being debated throughout the country. Congressman Rush Holt is scheduled to hold a townhall meeting the same evening at 7:00 pm inside the Arts Center. Mayor Halfacre’s forum will be held outside the Arts Center, before the Holt gathering, weather permitting.

Maybe we can call it “Holt’s Halfacre”…

I’m really going to have to try and get there early.

Oh Danny Boy

Great, just what we need to blow into town.

Are There Any Numbers They Get Right?

The Greatest Smartest Team Evah has yet to get a single of their economic prognostications correct: unemployment numbers, costs, deficits, whatever. Every one has been “revised” with the blame placed, naturally, upon Bush.

And now Insta links to an article that says that the deficit which was just late Friday revised upwards from $7 trillion to $9 trillion might in fact be more along the lines of at least $14 trillion.

And the scary thing, well, perhaps it’s better to phrase that as another scary thing because there are frankly so many scary things coming out of Washington these days, is that there is at least another $5 trillion in debt and liabilities out there that everyone is conveniently forgetting to mention: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Remember them? They were placed “off budget” in September.

I wonder if my Bride will let me place my wine purchases “off budget?”

Man’s Inhumanity To Man

Rachel Lucas visits the unspeakable horror that is Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Read it and weep. Weep for the souls tortured and lost there. Weep for a world eager to gloss over the evil that a government can do to its own people.

Kennedy’s Dead

Thanks to Prussian Tiger for the heads up in the previous comments. First link here.

Looks like the people of Mass will get to vote on his replacement.

It Wasn’t Me

That’s all I’m saying

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) — Police in Stratford say they’ve charged a man with burglary and disorderly conduct after he allegedly wandered into a neighbor’s home, stripped off his clothes and fell asleep in a 6-year-old’s bed.

Twenty-six-year-old Teddy Brisseaux was arrested early Sunday after a child in a house a block from Brisseaux’s woke his parents to tell them a man was asleep in his bed [Connecticut Post]. When officers arrived, the residents were screaming for help from a second-floor window.

Officers say Brisseaux’s clothes, which smelled of urine and alcohol, had been dropped on the floor. They say Brisseaux admitted drinking at a New Haven club but denied he was in the wrong house.

That’s why I only drink at home.

Via Crusader

…an ode to white liberals.

…Oh, and thanks for encouraging schools to accept black kids speaking Ebonics rather than English. It would be racist to expect us simple minded colored folks to learn to speak English correctly.

A Glimpse Into The Future Efficiencies Of ObamaCare

One of the selling points that the Administration is using to force this Health Care Disaster upon us is how wonderful and efficient things will be with the Government running things. The Government: you know, all those people who are so much smarter than you, people who despite not having any semblance of ‘real world’ experience none-the-less know exactly how you should be running every facet of your life, and they are quite willing to use the full coercive power of the law to make you do it their way, which, after all, is of course the correct way and thus in your best interest. Oh, and in those extremely rare instances where things don’t quite turn out exactly the way our Bureaucratic Betters have planned, well, obviously that’s due to some Right Wing Extremists and not at all possibly the fault of aforementioned Bureaucrats. Of course not.

So, let’s dip our toe into the perilous world of actually seeing how this Government thing performs what it claims it can do better than any other. After all, wouldn’t it be great to have a somewhat smaller test available of how the Government’s theory, so before we pile on trillions of dollars of debt we could see how things go under the Governments watch?

I don’t know, say something like the Department of Veterans Affairs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – At least 1,200 veterans across the country have been mistakenly told by the Veterans Administration that they suffer from a fatal neurological disease.

One of the leaders of a Gulf War veterans group says panicked veterans from Alabama, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming have contacted the group about the error.

Denise Nichols, the vice president of the National Gulf War Resource Center, says the VA is blaming a coding error for the mistake.

Letters dated Aug. 12 were intended to notify veterans who have Lou Gehrig’s disease of disability benefits available to them.

A ‘coding error’. How telling is that in a government program? This is but another in a long string of horrific, mind-numbing bureaucratic bungles at the VA, with of course no ‘calls answered’, no oversight, and no accountability.

Can anyone honestly say that a government that continually screws a program this size up will somehow magically be able to run a program covering over 300 million people?

Oh Gag Me With A Spoon

Since this is from the Washington Post, I can’t tell if they are serious in this barf-inducing profile or not; but I fear they actually admire this creature and what she represents

The chairman beams.

So many people just dying to see him, the business guys, the pols, the lobbyists — lots and lots of lobbyists. They circle Charlie Rangel — birthday boy, Democrat and, of course, House Ways and Means chairman — circles like rings on a tree planted in the party room here at Tavern on the Green. Simple math: the more powerful the pol, the more rings on the tree. This is a very thick tree.

Not a problem, though, for Heather Podesta.

“It’s like doing the tango!” she says, all smiles yet all business.

The lobbyist tango: She glides right in her red D&G heels and her periwinkle stockings, cutting through the outer rings with a smile here, a kiss-kiss there, a “Great to see you!” or two. Some guy yells out: “The most beautiful woman in the world!” She doesn’t blush, and she doesn’t linger. She wriggles left, gets blocked, reverses direction, gets blocked again, reverses direction again. She’s in.

“Great party!” Podesta tells the chairman.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” Rangel gushes back.

The chairman pecks the lobbyist’s cheek, and they’re done. Thirty seconds of face time. Mission accomplished.

“Doesn’t get any better than that,” Podesta says, amused by the surreal nature of the ritual she has mastered. “A kiss from the chairman.”

Yes, here’s how the Change You Can Believe In plays out in the fetid swamp on the Potomac.

Fixed

…After complaining on a Friday radio show that he is the victim of an “orchestrated” campaign to push him out of office, [NY Gov.] Paterson told a blogger that some people are uncomfortable with too many black people INCOMPETENT IDIOTS in power.

Part of what I feel is that one very successful minority is permissible, but [W]hen you see too many success stories INCOMPETENT IDIOTS IN OFFICE, then some people get nervous,” Paterson told political blogger Gerson Borrero over the weekend

If only idiots were in the minority any more, sigh.
White, black, green, orange, purple, whatever hue ~ idiots have us surrounded.

.

Before I Forget: Credit Where Credit Is Due

Dear Gaia,

Thank you for the humidity-free, pleasant temped weekend ~ complete with crystal blue skies and constant cool breezes ~ that major dad and I just spent in your most flavorful of all cities. Both tourists and denizons alike were marveling,

THIS is New Orleans in mid-August?!?!?!”

I would also like to thank you for the 60.5° in Bangla-cola we woke up to this morning, along with the temperate, humidity-free nature of the afternoon. It is allowing me to have every window abierto en la Casa De Major Dad, the puppies breathing deeply of outside air and woofing at EVERY (FREAKIN’!!!!) thing that goes by, my self-cleaning oven esta en fuego doing just that and NO one is retching from the fumes. Glorious.

Your overheated lustiness is treating us well and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Gracias, Tierra Madre!
ths, BooBoo, Ozzie and Beau

UPDATE: Apparently others are tickled with the way warming’s turning out.

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