Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Random Thoughts for Jan the 25th, 2011

Goofy Goings-on in Chi Town!

Ah Chicago! Don’t you just love the place? A melting pot of political haberdashery where almost anyone can get elected to an y office as long as they are Democrats that is. Up until this time I thought our buddy Blago would forever hold the crown for exercising stupidity in politics, but I might be wrong.


Rahm Emanuel, for the last three months has thrown everything but the kitchen sink into his bid to become Chicago’s new Mayor. He even gained the endorsement of such legends as Bill Clinton while saturating the airwaves with all sorts of clever campaign advertisements. Now with the polls showing him to be a shoo-in, there has been found a fly in his suppository ointment.

Seems an appellate court has ruled him ineligible to run as he failed to meet residency requirements to run for office. What a total bummer Rahm. Now, the other three mayoral candidates are in a mad scramble to capture all those votes that would have gone to him. Rod Blagojevich would be so proud to find out he’s not the only idiot around. Looks to me like Chico will be the main man now.


Speaking of Blagojevich!

Now with the mayor campaign thing in his rear view mirror, perhaps Rahm will have more time to respond to the warrant for him to appear as a person of interest at the upcoming trail of Rod Blagojevich.


Yes, this perennial circus of a trail will kick back into gear starting on April the 20th. Defense lawyers have said that Emanuel would be of interest to them because they believe he would testify that nothing nefarious took place in his conversations with Blagojevich or his staff in late 2008. Emanuel is not accused of wrongdoing at this point.


What is for sure will be some great file footage for the media outlets as once again Blago, and his oh so perfect hair, will grace TV screens across America. I can also hardly wait as the prosecution attempts to rekindle those fires of outrage in a jury that will (more than likely) care less. Talk about old news! While the trail goes on, I’m sure Blago will show up looking like a movie star every morning, shaking hands and smiling at the cameras as an adoring public follows his every word.


For every day the trail goes on, Americans will also get repeated reminders by the Republicans that he is a dyed in the wool Democrat. Talk about collateral damage!


At any rate, this event will give America some comic relief at a time when it can really use it. Someone please let me know if Fitzgerald will be making another appearance! That man is a true glutton for punishment!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Random Thoughts for January 22, 2011

 Have ya all got enough Chinese junk yet?

OK, all you out-of-work, lazy, capitalist pigs. Here’s the bottom line. All that ‘made in China’ junk we've been purchasing since the sixties has put our country into hock to the tune of over a trillion dollars. A grateful China is growing by leaps and bounds as a result. American jobs, however, are disappearing faster that a twelve inch pizza delivered by mistake to a Weight Watcher’s convention. So, from now on, when you get the desire to by more junk, please make it American-made junk.

A man crossing a busy LA street was struck twice by different vehicles, then a woman who stopped to try and helped was hit by a third vehicle. The driver who did stop and try to help was, in turn, beaten and robbed by a mob. Yeah, LA, the perfect vacation destination. Click on the title above for the full story.

Keith Olbermann to leave MSNBC!

After eight years, and under circumstances that are unclear, Keith Olbermann has stepped down. Olbermann, 51, who has the highest-rated evening anchor on MSNBC, came to an agreement with NBC's corporate management late this week to settle his contract and step down, says The New York Times. Olbermann signed a four-year contract extension in 2008 for an estimated $30 million.

Now, all those liberals will have only Rachael Maddow to watch. Or, will she be next?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Have you run out of stuff to worry about yet?

Well, that’s why people like me are here for ya. While there are many daunting challenges facing our country these days, things could be worst.

Take Yellowstone Lake, for instance. What appears to be a beautiful centerpiece to the natural splendor that is part of Yellowstone Park nestled in the northwest corner of the state of Wyoming, hides a dark secret. While very tranquil on the surface, it underneath lurks a huge caldera just five miles below. A monster, that should it get out could possibly spell the end of the United States and even perhaps life as we know it on planet earth. And now that monster maybe stirring.Watch this documentary video!

Ever since 2004, geologists have been carefully monitoring the 24 by 45 mile caldera located under and around the lake. Using data collected on the ground and from satellites, scientists say the Mallard Lake Dome, west of Yellowstone Lake's West Thumb, has risen 4 centimeters a year since the middle of 2004. Meanwhile, the Sour Creek Dome north of Fishing Bridge has risen about 6 centimeters a year.
That the surface over the caldera moves up is not that unusual. Portions of the caldera have risen more than 3 feet between 1923 and 1984 and then dropped nearly 8 inches from 1985 to 1995. Measurements in 1995 and 1996 showed the caldera rising again before starting to fall in 1997. The latest upward motion has been unusual for its speed. According to researcher and geologist Bob Smith, “"It's like inflating a balloon, but the balloon is capped,"

Only recently, since towards the end of 2008 has the rise begun to slow. My question is whether this is due to the magma levels lowering or because the dome overhead is reaching critical mass. I ask myself this question, “How much force is required to move a piece of the earth that is 34 miles by 45 miles in circumference and over fives miles thick? What begs that question is what would happen if that energy were to be released all at once?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Random thoughts for January 20th 2011.

Onward goes Obama and his mess on Capitol Hill

It’s getting so I can’t watch even a few minutes of coverage on the television before feeling somewhat ill. Here we go with the never ending Health Bill saga. More time spent (wasted) on an outrageous boondoggle that has become the poster child of this administrations disastrous persona so far. With twenty-eight states now lodging lawsuits against the bill and a House that recently voted for repeal, Socialist elitists still proudly stand in the way of common sense and at terrible cost for the rest of us.

Historians may well point a finger at congressmen like Harry Reid as icons who helped lead America down the path to financial destruction. People like Harry Reid along with a president that doesn’t have the sense of a High School business major. Businesses and countries strive for profit, not bone crushing debt! Every single time Obama along with his left wing Democrats have tried to fix something that wasn’t broke, the end result has been disastrous. Every time!

Now with the patient in a deep coma, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear talk of yet another stimulus package or new regulations. There’s always more cronies out there to pay off isn’t there Obama? We Americans have been left holding a bag of crap while these snobs are resting easy and sipping mint juleps. But, I’ll make a bet, that when the real job of rebuilding the Republic happens in 2012, you won’t be able to find hide nor hair of these folks.

Was the recent rise of our energy costs preplanned by the Administration?

What better way to introduce a revived Cap and Trade program than to make existing energy so expensive that what used to look absurd is now looking not all that bad. And, oh by the way, let’s just skip the congress all together this time and let the DOE mandate new alternative energy measures in the form of new regulations. Those pesky ignorant old citizens won’t catch on, will they?

China’s recent visit! Can we all speak Mandarin yet?

I would be will to make a bet that Chinese President Hu Jintao has a really hard time not laughing in the face of our president during a recent visit. For a country that is so totally dependent on the US, he looked way taller than Obama did during his visit. I’ll bet it was all Obama could do not to bow down to the floor in front of a man who might be our future employer and boss.

Tell a lie often enough... and lose your ratings! Opps!

According to an article by Gloria Borger, a CNN senior political analyst, the American public is "growing tired of Palin". Oh? That was news to me. Actually, fact is Sarah is one of the few public figures that the media can't seem to get enough of these days. Especially, if you count the sheer volume of attacks on her character by the far left. So, Gloria, I have to ask you where are you getting your numbers from? A Weggie Board perhaps?

Here's a fact for you, Gloria. CNN's credibility rating and market share are in a joint nose dive from shore to shining shore. Can you say kaput? Anyone who lies to the public with half truths and distortions of the truth, no matter how frequently they do it, just won't cut the mustard among us cows anymore.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Critique: Banquet Meatloaf Meal

Holy mashed pertatters! Just a day after I published a critique on Banquet’s Salisbury Steak Meal (wherein I compared it to meatloaf), now I have an actual meatloaf meal with which to make a side by side comparison. Bless my lucky stars.

This meal has the same two sides as the Salisbury Steak Meal. And, yes, the Salisbury has grill marks! A dollop of mashed potatoes and a smattering of corn. Not enough to really me fill, but enough to tantalize.  Now, let’s take a look at the nitty-gritty. Shall we? Let’s see what we get for eighty-eight cents (now a buck in late 2011 and still a buck in Dec 2014)!

First the directions for preparing. In this meal, you are instructed to remove the plastic film from over the potatoes which is just like the Salisbury Steak (hereafter referred to SS). As with the SS, I was instructed to nuke it on high for three minutes. Stir the potatoes. Check. And then nuke it for about two minutes more. Pretty much the protocol for the Salisbury. Wait! Is it possible that the meatloaf meal and the Salisbury steak are one and the same? Let’s look at the nutritional analysis. Maybe there’s some difference there!

OK, let me see. The calories in this meal is at 280 as compared to 290 for the steak. Calories from fat were 150 for the Salisbury and 120 for this meal. Cholesterol is 10 mg higher with the meatloaf at 40mg. But, there’s 100 mg less salt. So, all-in-all, these two guys are pretty much the same deal.

Now, as to taste. After nuking the tray for the required time, I slathered on a little butter, salt and pepper for added gustatory enjoyment and chowed down. In a nutshell, not really all that bad. The meatloaf tasted like meatloaf (abet a thin meatloaf). It could have also been the Salisbury steak for all I could tell. The corn was excellent and the mashed potatoes tasted even better after I spooned some gravy over them. Made me wonder what was in that stuff? But, for a Saturday night, while watching a really bad movie on the Sci Fi Channel, this deal was OK. Score = 8!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Critique: Banquet Salisbury Steak Meal!

It’s been a while since I reviewed a Banquet TV dinner! (I was eating wholesome food, but ran out of money). So, I thought I'd add their Salisbury Steak meal to my growing collection of dinner critiques. Of the ones I’ve tested thus far, this one ranks up there close to the top (of the current heap). As a side note, that little red dot toward the bottom of the box will inform you that it was 'US inspected by the Department of Agriculture'. For such small print (good for testing ones eyesight) that little mark is destined to become responsible for escalating food prices as a result of the passage of the Food Modernization Act last year. Just another benefit of your ever expanding nanny government. Here's a side bet. I'll wager this seventy seven cent meal will cost over $1.25 by fall. [Update: By fall 2011 it has gone to a buck! And by the fall of 2012 it was still at a buck!]

The Contents

To the best of my knowledge a 'Salisbury steak' is really nothing more than a fancy term for plain old meatloaf. In this package, you get one ‘steak’ soaked in gravy along with a modest amount of mashed potatoes and corn for about eighty-eight cents. (just a few months ago, these were .77 cents each).

The picture on the package is actually pretty accurate to some extent. Some of the meals I’ve tried do not look anything like what’s on the cover of the box. The taste also lived up to my expectations. Meatloaf, gravy and mashed potatoes are comfort foods aren’t they? The corn, well, it’s just corn and tasted as such.

Nutritional content

As to the nutrition (or lack thereof), this meal comes in at 290 calories of which 150 of those are from fat. You also get a not so very healthy slug of cholesterol (30 mg) and about half a persons daily limit of salt (1100 mg), so please don’t make this an everyday meal deal. Having said that, the overall taste is pretty good, so I'd give this one a 7 on a scale of ten.

Note: Banquet foods are made by ConAgra Foods, a company out of Omaha Nebraska so at least you are eating something that's still made in the good old US of A.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Measures needed to require state businesses to stay put!

In a very close 60 to 57 vote, the state legislature in Illinois voted to pass a major tax hike that is sure to cause concern among the citizens and owners of small businesses that reside in the sate. The legislation would raise about $6.8 billion a year for the state's beleaguered budget by raising the individual income tax rate temporarily to 5 percent from 3 percent and the corporate tax rate to 7 percent from 4.8 percent. Revenue from the tax hikes would enable Illinois to sell about $12.2 billion of bonds to pay off a huge bill backlog and make a $3.7 billion pension fund payment for fiscal 2011.

That will not, however, sit very well with small businesses already operating close to the red. Many will likely be forced to pass these hikes on to consumers who are also paying more in state taxes. The end result may not be pretty. State Senator Kirk Dillard was heard to remark that “no state ever taxed its way into prosperity”. I guess we’re about to find out.

Now the concern, among some in this state and in other strapped locales like California, is that anyone who can pack up and leave may do so. That fear may well spur lawmakers to pass laws requiring a business to ‘stay put and suffer with the rest’. The states could call such a measure a ‘Personal Business Mandate II’ or PBM2 and model it after the original ‘Personal Healthcare Mandate’ that requires individuals to buy health insurance as a requirement of citizenship. (A law, which is also being challenged by a number of states, is touted by many as unconstitutional).

My answer to all this constitution stuff is “who cares”? That old rage needs to be replaced anyway by something more up-to-date and the current administration is more than capable to do the job. In the words of one man on the Hill, "People are sheep and sheep were made to shear."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dr. Keith: Tragedy of Mental Illness

[Reprint] The story of alleged gunman Jared Loughner’s murderous rampage, which took the lives of six innocent victims and critically wounded Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s, will ultimately prove to be a story about how severe mental illness—including that linked to violence—routinely goes untreated.

By all accounts, Loughner was psychiatrically ill long before he shot anyone. He was described by a high school classmate as a drug user and loner whose thoughts made little sense. Ultimately, he dropped out. He apparently tried to complete a high school equivalency while enrolled in the Aztec Middle Community College, a program offered by Pima Community College that caters to those who have no high school diploma. He couldn’t finish up there, either. In fact, police were reportedly called to campus five separate times because Loughner was behaving erratically. A teacher has been quoted as saying that he worried frequently whether Loughner had a gun. Students say he was prone to nonsensical outbursts. He was sent home with the instructions that he not return until it could be proven that he was not a danger to himself or others.

I have no idea whether what should have happened at that point (or much earlier) actually did happen. If he seemed to be a danger to himself or others, Loughner should have been admitted to a locked psychiatric unit. There, a firm diagnosis of his condition should have been arrived at, and appropriate treatment rendered. This would likely have included psychotherapy and medication.

Only once Loughner seemed to be a threat to no one should he have been eligible for discharge, and then it may well have made sense that he be monitored in a cohesive outpatient psychiatry setting in which participating in counseling and/or taking medications was mandatory, with failure to do so resulting in another hospitalization. If that had occurred (which I doubt) it is hard to imagine how Loughner’s case manager (who would have been appointed by the relevant department of mental health) would have missed his Internet ravings about how illiteracy, government conspiracy, “the rarest bird on earth, with no feathers,” and his “shot . . .” being “ready for aim,” would have escaped notice.

No, I would bet almost none of that happened, despite repeated and consistent evidence that would suggest Loughner may have been psychotic and having violent thoughts connected to his mental disorder. If that sounds a lot like the story of Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute shooter who killed 32 people, that’s because it is.

While polarized political parties may not be the best way to govern, I believe they will turn out to have absolutely nothing to do with Loughner turning into a killer. His murderousness will have nothing to do with the availability of firearms. His violence will be understood as a result of a severe, untreated or under-treated mental illness -- the kind that afflicts millions of young people in this country.

As a forensic psychiatrist who also has run community mental health centers, hospitals and clinics, I can tell you for sure, without any question, that the mental health care delivery system in this country is shoddy and shattered and without any hope at present of dealing effectively with sick individuals like Jared Loughner. There are slim resources and no strategy, whatsoever.

That’s the very, very worrisome story behind this tragedy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A tale of two monkeys and an insane debt ceiling.

I think by now, most Americans have come to the realization that we have somehow, someway painted ourselves into a horrible fiscal corner. The real news, however, is why that should be such a surprise. Both parties on Capitol Hill have been extremely skilled at doing just that for decades. Problem is in 2011, we are all just about out of space.

In short order, this government will need to raise the debt ceiling for the tenth time in ten years. Like some mad family member who’s addicted to credit cards and keeps asking the card company to raise their credit limits, the America people have quietly tolerated this insane conduct for too long. We could have run this great country like a well run corporation and showed a profit. Instead, we’ve treated her like a cheap whore which very shortly won’t even be worth a quick jump.

Now, the fruit of all this waste is beginning to come home in a big way to the American worker. Just ask California residents about the proposed 59% hike in health insurance (the third since October). How about the cost of gasoline or groceries? Did anyone notice the country's infrastructure is crumbling? Do you really think this is all going to end well?

Now is the time for every American to get involved. Not to save the Republic, but to salvage it. Tell your representatives in Congress to say no to raising the Debt Ceiling. Tell them that from now on credit will be mighty hard to get. Tell your state representatives to help organize and repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment. Tell them that you intend to vote the Democratic Party out of existence along with anyone else who thinks that running a country into the ground is the way things should be.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Like rats running from a burning ship, some states may opt out of the Union.

At an anti-tax rally held at the Austin City Hall back in April 15th, 2009, Governor Rick Perry mentioned that Texas had a right to secede from the United States. He said that Washington officials have moved away from limited government and is burdening American citizens with debt and taxes. He proclaimed that the economy of his state was fairly strong in light of the economic mess in other states and in the federal budget. Rick Perry suggested that seceding from the union could be a benefit to Texas in the long run.

That was then and now is now. While still just a whisper among some state legislatures, there seems to be more talk now among Representatives as to the legality and procedures required for a state to excuse itself from the growing mess in Washington.

Personally, I would like to see 49 of the states all take a step backward and leave Washington in their rear view mirror. The new country thus formed could re-adopt the Constitution minus the infected, puss-filled sore that is Capitol Hill. We could call the new collective, The ‘New’ United States with a requirement that all Democrats relocate to Washington. Hey you guys, be sure and say hi to Nancy for me.

Now that’s thinking outside the box!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Help ban the abbreviation handicapped! I mean totally!

Having survived Valspeak, I now find myself assaulted anew in the 21st Century! Whether you call them abbreviations or Chat Acronyms, I think they are being misused. Especially with those of you out there with a limited vocabulary. LOL. See! I just used one there. Annoying wasn’t it? LOL means ‘laughing out loud’ and for some e-mailers, texters and twitterites out there, that is about the extent of their ability to communicate. Here’s a real world example of a text message I have received:

Hey! Thanks for letting me share LOL. Thanks for being so kind. LOL! I just shot my neighbor. LOL”!

This note could better be written as:

Hey! TFLMS for getting back. TKU4UK. LOL! I just helped my neighbor into the next world. FOMCL

See! Much better! Actually, there exists a whole list of these abrevs, but who cares? I mean IGWS that IHA and maybe there’s nothing wrong with the English language just the way it is. Like IIABDFI!

Note: I’ve sent our esteemed president a note asking him to instruct the FCC to prohibit the general use of abbreviations unless the person has passed a state administered test showing proficiency in said. (Sort of like a drivers test, but for the internet if you get my drift). Fail the test and you will have your texting ability severely limited by (who else) the FCC!  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Strange occurances. 1000 Blackbirds fall from sky in Arkansas!

I've been thinking about doing a blog that focuses on strange events like the one that occurred in Arkansas recently. Here is one about blackbirds:

"About 1,000 black birds fell from the sky over Beebe on Friday night, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said in a news release Saturday.

Around 11:30 p.m., the commission began receiving phone calls about the birds, most of which were dead and fell over a 1-mile span, the release said.

Wildlife officer Robby King collected about 65 dead birds that will be sent to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis.
Officers flew over the area and determined no birds had fallen outside that part of the city, the release said.

Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said in the release that the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail.

Or the birds could have died from stress if disturbed from their roost by fireworks celebrating the New Year.

Beebe has hired the commission to dispose of the birds." Maybe they will bake them in a pie?