In My Orbit…

10 07 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As the Beatle’s song says, “I read the news today–Oh, boy!” The usual assortment of the good, the bad, the ugly, and even the downright entertaining!

The Kids Are Not Alright

According to an analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan group YoungInvincibles, Youth Joblessness will drone on, and prospects of a future upswing look bleak. The bad news, from Yahoo! News:

“The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds now stands at 16.5 percent, more than double the rate for the population at large (8.2 percent). For Latino youth, the rate is 20.5 percent, and for African-American youth, 30.2 percent. Fewer than half of all young Americans hold any kind of job at all, says the report.

These numbers, while daunting, fail to take include young people who have given up looking for work and dropped out of the labor force altogether.”

Youth Joblessness: No End in Sight.

All I can say is, welcome to real world, youngins. When you vote for tropes like Hope and Change, you pretty much get neither. My wish is that you choose better this go-round, but I won’t hold my breath.

Colored People

Apparently Governor Mitt Romney plans to speak to the NAACP on Wednesday. I ask myself, Why? But, that’s a blog post for another day.

President Barack Obama cannot break away from his busy fundraising and campaigning schedule to speak to the organization who got out the vote for him in 2008. So who is he sending?… Vice President Joe Biden. That’s a comedy sketch ready to be written.

A bunch of white progressive liberals decided to make the joke on Romney by dubbing him “too white for Blacks to like.” Riddle me this? What do a bunch of entitled media-elite white men know about what is “too white” for Black people? Did they quiz their Black friends? Hire a Black media consultant? Put Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock on retainer? And if they did this, why not give the brotha (or sista) some credit?

And they call conservatives and the Tea Party racist? SMH.

Still shaking my head over the Morgan Freeman NPR interview. According to Morgan, Obama is not our first Black President. I’ve been saying that since he was elected in 2008, so big whoop. However, the fact that the President can’t get ahead with his agenda is not his fault–it’s Republican obstructionism. Can we get some cheese with that whine?

The first two years of his Presidential term he had a full Democratic House and Senate, pushed through the Porkulus package that was supposed to keep unemployment below 8 percent #FAIL!, and got Obamacare Obamatax passed. So can we also color Morgan confused?

I have loved Morgan Freeman on screen since The Electric Company, but like most celebs, when it comes to politics, he is off his nut.

Obla de Obla da Life Goes On…

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our old friends, the Occupy Movement. There was a National Gathering mounted for 4th of July weekend, appropriately dubbed “The Occupy National Gathering” or #NatGat for the Twitterverse.

Occupy just refuses to go gently into that good night, and apparently the event went over like a lead balloon. The skinny from Breitbart’s Big Government site:

“The turnout was awful. The Guardian said about 500 people showed up for the National Gathering. There’s no real excuse for that since the event has been promoted for months. Philadelphia was actually a great choice for a location and not just for symbolic reasons; it’s an easy train ride from a number of cities that had significant Occupy presences, including New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston. Even bringing a small percentage of the Occupiers in those cities should have culled a far higher number.

If the attendance was pathetic, the fundraising was downright humiliating.  The Occupy National Gathering put up a fundraising page with the modest goal of $15,000. […]

“Total raised for Occupy National Gathering according to their website : $600. Not a typo. Six. Hundred. Dollars.  There are church bake sales in small towns that bring in more ducats than that. “

In Occupy’s defense, there was record heat in the East Coast that weekend. On second thought, when there are good barbecues and fireworks going on, why waste your time on an essentially defunct movement? Missing you already, Occupy, missing you already.

Now we move from the entertaining, to the ridiculous.

Sitting Doing Nothing

The Wall Street Journal is being its usual helpful self by reporting that Sitting for more than 3 hours a day can cut your Life Expectancy. If this were true, I should really be dead by now!

Yet another medical study (published in BMJ Open, an online medical journal) that someone spent millions of dollars to mount. The amount of people who are unemployed and underemployed, and you couldn’t spend the money on something more… productive? And how many hours did these researchers spend sitting to research and write this drivel?

In protest, I decided to find Couch Potato; Weird Al Yankovic’s parody of Eminem’s Lose Yourself. BMJ Open can bite my sometimes sedentary, shapely Yoga ass.

Short People Got No Reason to Live

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the diminutive crusader (at 5 ft 6 inches) against salt, trans-fat, and now Big Gulp sodas is mounting a contest to stir development of 275- to 300- square-foot micro apartments. [Pause here for uproarious laughter]

“The ministudios will be just big enough for a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping and dining areas — but Bloomberg said tenants shouldn’t plan on doing much entertaining.”

Mayor Bloomberg launches contest to stir development of  tiny 300 square-foot apartment for singles.

So, what’s the point? Or are we trying to create a new generation of clown car?

The article also points out that, “Bloomberg’s 12,500-square-foot upper East Side townhouse is about 40 times as big as the micro units.” Bet he won’t be moving into one of those units, despite being the perfect size for them.

One more reason that I am thankful to live in Los Angeles. Smilin’ Tony may be the 11 percent Mayor of Los Angeles, but I’ll take a do-nothing over a meddler any day.

 





In My Orbit…

9 05 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So The Girl has been vacating and marinating under the Central Coast skies, joining hubby in his geek pursuit of Military Radio collection, and visiting with his family. All-in-all, a nice little respite, where I got more sleep than I have in several months now–so it’s all good.

Time Passages

Now it’s back to life’s realities, and one of those is dealing with death. A few weeks back for In My Orbit, I paid tribute to Jack Gilbert and my cousin Ricky. Jack Gilbert’s memorial service is this Saturday, and it will be fitting to be part of a more public tribute to such a good man.

When you get to my age, you start marking time by these passages, and two more have made me reflective: Maurice Sendak, and Digby Wolfe.

Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen, and Outside Over There, died yesterday at the age of 83.  I loved Sendak’s work–it spoke to me as an introspective, bookish child, and the illustrations inspired me as a young artist. My first college major was commercial art with an emphasis in illustration; but I found I was much better at painting with words.

His books, along with Florence Parry Heide and Edward Gorey’s The Shrinking of Treehorn, and Julian Scheer’s Rain Makes Applesauce were part of the formative alchemy of who The Girl is today. Had I had children, I would have read his books to them too, passing on these shaping works to another generation.

I had the privilege of taking a class with Digby Wolfe in his last year of teaching at the University of Southern California, and went on to do one semester of focused study under his tutelage.

Digby Wolfe was one of the creators of Laugh-In, and his wit was just as sharp and fun 30-years in, as it was when he wrote the show in the 60s. He also had a depth of insight about character, and writer motivations which helped to make me more conscious and more directed in my own writing. Digby died of lung cancer on May 2, at the age of 82.

It was interesting that as a successful Renaissance man (he was an actor and singer as well) he spent the balance of his life as an academic, albeit a non-traditional one. He taught in the Watts Writer’s Workshop, then at USC, before he left Los Angeles for the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque.  The obit in the Los Angeles Times said it best:

“‘He wasn’t an academic in any traditional sense,” Jim Linnell, dean of fine arts, said with a laugh. “He was a provocateur and a satirist. Having Digby in an academic program kept things lively, challenging and constantly pushing the boundaries of getting work done.'”

As a writer, I was blessed to have that support and influence, even for a brief time.

Chain of Fools

So I was fortunate to miss the Occupy LA/Immigrant Rights protest on May Day. While this local counterpart managed to remain low-key (what a shock), their brother organizations in Seattle and Cleveland did not fare so well. Downtown Seattle saw millions of dollars in commercial and personal property damage, and 25 arrests. But Cleveland takes the cake.

Five OWS Cleveland protestors plotted, then attempted, to blow up the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, 15-miles outside of downtown Cleveland. The smooth criminals rigged explosives that they thought were packed with C-4 at the base of the bridge, and tried to detonate them using a text-message code.

Of course, when you announce such an intention to a G-Man, you are bound to fail. Apparently an undercover FBI agent had infiltrated their pack and managed to thwart the plot by supplying phony explosives, and then calling in the posse. Good times!

OWS Cleveland’s official word is that they do recall these guys at their events, but they do not support bombing bridges. One of the suspects actually signed the lease to property where the OWS Cleveland protestors camp; so I think guilt by association can be proven here. What surprises me is the light press this continues to receive.

Now, had this been a right-wing group, or people who claimed to be a part of the Tea Party? It would be the Trayvon Martin news cycle all over again.

Rich Lowry calls it like he sees it, in an opinion piece in the New York Post; give it a read, if only to get the other viewpoint on these protests and the type of people it attracts.

Clowns to the Left of Me

From my house, that’s the direction toward Downtown L.A., where our idiot City Council wages war against sanity, commerce, and anyone finding or keeping a job in Los Angeles.

Their latest campaign involves banning single use plastic bags in an attempt to supposedly reduce litter. The law of unintended consequences comes into play here. According to the Los Angeles Times, Crown Poly, one major manufacturer of plastic bags, estimates they may have to lay off 20 to 130 employees because of this action. With unemployment numbers in Los Angeles city in the 10-11 percent range, you would think they would take pause at this action. But “think” and “Los Angeles City Council” are often mutually exclusive.

One of the useful idiots, Councilman Paul Koretz, compared the company to makers of horse-drawn carriages who were phased out with the introduction of the automobile.

“‘I’m the last one to allow for layoffs in L.A. city, and I fight them hard,’ he said. ‘But I’ve never stood and said that if a job doesn’t make sense anymore, that we’ve got to keep that job.'”

Who says it doesn’t make sense? The majority of these bags are made from recycled material–heck, some of the grocery stores have recycle kiosks for unused bags, along with other things recyclable.  How many people are employed in this enterprise? I know a few, and their jobs are on the chopping block too.

I’m all for environmental awareness, but like what they did in the San Joaquin Valley to save a Delta smelt, this smacks of foolishness that will further cripple the city and the State.





In My Orbit: Happy 2012!

2 01 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy New Year! The Girl found December sweeping her off her feet, with some wonderful Holiday parties, a lot of singing, and a lot of Yoga. Before I knew it, it was January 2, 2012, and time for the 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade.

This is something to which I pay little attention. The floats are lovely and all, and I can appreciate the work and dedication each one takes. But parades and pageantry have never been my thing. I’m also very thankful I don’t live in Pasadena’s immediate vicinity–those poor residents have to deal with blocked streets and the hoopla that surrounds such an undertaking for weeks (sometimes months) before the event actually happens. If I did live there, I’d probably go on vacation for the entire month of December; but, I digress….

The 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade caught my attention this year because our old friends of #OWS will be presenting a float at the end of the festivities. From Friday’s Los Angeles Times:

“Occupy protesters are busy finishing their float that will run at the end of the Rose Parade: a 70-by-40-foot octopus made of recycled plastic bags.”

Can you say, “Media whores”? Seriously, a parade that spends and takes in millions, if not billions of dollars, is more a reflection of corporate greed than a hedge fund–no matter how noble, altruistic,  and community-oriented its veneer. Yet, the flailing Occupy “activists” are jumping on the train, even choosing to play nice for the cameras:

“The group says the protest will be ‘G-rated’ and will stick to nonviolence in expressing Occupy’s messages against income inequality and corporate power.”

Whatever. I’m sure it will go over like a lead balloon, right in sync with the whole movement. The Pasadena-Star News decided to do a profile on the Occupy Rose Parade leader’s questionable past.  This past includes petty theft, having his law license suspended, andconnections to the 9/11 Truther movement.

So much for gaining more credibility with the general public. I sincerely hope that the year 2012 will see Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots fade to black.





In My Orbit…

4 11 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

So #OWS has moved from absurd and fraudulent, to dangerous. Pundit & Pundette and Michelle Malkin give a good rundown on the violence in both Seattle and Oakland. Will New York and Los Angeles be the next shoe to drop? Just what we need, another Los Angeles uprising to completely decimate our already falling revenues.

As a card-carrying political junkie, I’ve been watching with bemusement the whole alleged Herman Cain scandal. Is it a scandal when the actual charges and the women remain “anonymous”? It’s been five days in, and not much more has been revealed. The whole refusal to speak (except through her lawyer) on the part of the accuser is still a non-starter. Seriously, the mainstream media avoided the real scandal (with real evidence) that was John Edwards and Rielle Hunter until the National Enquirer broke the story. You know your industry is in trouble when a rag like the Enquirer becomes the bastion of breaking news and hard-hitting journalism.

As far as I’m concerned, this Politico hit piece is one more nail in the coffin of traditional media and its failing relevance. Not only are they not driving the narrative, they are sitting in the dust on the side of the road.

Unfortunately, the Republican-leaning media is no better, already washing their hands and writing post-mortems on Herman Cain’s candidacy. Jennifer Rubin is first out the box with Cain’s political demise: the end of a charming outsider. Aside from the headline, she says nothing complimentary about the man, basically telling him, “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?”

“Now, Cain could stay in the race, I suppose, and turn each debate and appearance into a three-ring circus. He could risk losing all the goodwill and future book sales he’s earned up to now. He could continue to inflict humiliation on his family and his supporters, making a great number of his defenders look like dopes. But a smart business guy in control of himself and in command of the situation would realize the jig is up and any future public career depends on the disappearance/atonement/revival pattern that has characterized so many careers (including his current opponent Newt Gingrich.) A decent and disciplined man would not put his political party through this ordeal.”

The not-so-strange thing is, the actual voting public could not care less. A recent Post-ABC Poll show most Republicans dismissing the allegations.

Only time with tell, but from the mad fundraising numbers and the polls, it doesn’t look like we can count Herman Cain out just yet.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Bishop Harry Jackson poses an interesting comparison/contrast if Cain became the Republican nominee:

“An Obama vs. Cain contest couldn’t be cast as a referendum on a black man’s qualification to hold the highest office in the land. Instead it would be a choice between two black men who see everything—from the role of government in a free society, to the very definitions of life and family—almost completely differently.”

The Churches of Cain and Obama

Wow. I’d welcome an actual contest that reflected different perspectives on the Black American experience as opposed to the ramblings of the media-certified talking heads of Smiley, Dyson, and Sharpton.





Illustrating Absurdity: #OWS Redux

27 10 2011
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net

You keep giving me absurd news copy, I’ll keep writing posts!

Under the This is Rich category, The OWS kitchen staff is getting fed up with homeless and ex-con freeloaders who are eating their food… Say what?!

“The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a ‘counter’ revolution yesterday — because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.” (emphasis mine).

How thoughtful! Today’s definition of Irony: “Protesting that the wealth needs to be shared while withholding your own.”  Occupy Wall Street Kitchen Slow-down Targets Squatters.

Occupy Portland is upset because it’s lost $20,000 in donations via PayPal:

“Organizers of Occupy Portland say they fear as much as $20,000 donated to the group through a PayPal account has disappeared.

They also say the group’s finance committee has hijacked the demonstration’s Internet domain name and filed for incorporation against the wishes of the group’s decision-making body.

The demonstrator who filed the papers with the state said Wednesday she did so to protect the protest, and she has received death threats as a result.”

Death threats? That’s beyond the pale, but then, so is this supposed movement. Occupy Portland fears it has lost $20,000 in donations.

Finally, in the Too Stupid to Run a Mile category, the idiot Mayor of Los Angeles has come to the conclusion that Occupy Los Angeles “cannot continue indefinitely.” Occupy LA: Occupy LA “Cannot Continue Indefinitely,” Villaraigosa says.

Yah think? With the violence and law enforcement push back in Oakland, Atlanta, and other cities, Villaraigosa sees the handwriting on the wall: All this bad press will ruin the PR for my December trade mission to Asia!

Just like him–when the going gets tough, the tough get out of town.

 

 

 





Illustrating Absurdity: The Occupy Wall Street Expanded Edition

20 10 2011
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net

As our own village idiot, Mayor Villiaragosa, passed out 100 ponchos to rain-soaked protestors last week, and City Councilmember Richard Alarcon rides this wave of unrest by pimping his “responsible banking” ordinance, it’s clear that the OccupyLA movement has been fully embraced by our supposed city leaders.  You know, the ones that are tasked with balancing our budget shortfall and and bringing back jobs and industry to Los Angeles. How’s that working for them? We already know how it’s working for us.

Well, the lovefest may be coming to a screeching halt: Los Angeles is broke, and complying with the rabble’s demands of cracking down on banks could cost at least $58 million. A pull quote on the potential “damage” of sticking it to the Man:

“Last week, lawmakers asked city analysts to continue developing a plan to use the city’s financial heft to punish misbehaving financial institutions. On Tuesday, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana issued a dire warning: Such a move could cost the city at least $58 million.

“Severing agreements with major lenders could trigger sizable termination fees and lead to higher interest rates, Santana said. That could in turn complicate financing for an array of city initiatives, from replacing deteriorating sewers to rebuilding part of the Convention Center to make way for an NFL football stadium, he said.”

Official’s embrace of OccupyLA loosens a bit over fiscal issue.

Hell, just tell Angeleans about the kabosh on NFL football in L.A. and I betcha the sports fans would pour into the streets and kick the occupiers out!

And the Kabuki theater is now being peddled to children as education. This just in from the Los Angeles Times.

“The fifth- through eighth-grade students from Sequoyah, a private school in Pasadena, munched on their lunches while protesters engaged them in discourse about how democracy works.”

Students visit OccupyLA for a lesson in democracy.

And this gem came from one of the teachers who organized the field trip:

“‘My goal as a teacher, regardless of my own personal beliefs, is to expose the students to as many viewpoints as possible,’ Barkataki said as she watched her students explore the Occupy L.A. encampment. ‘We’re here to get first-hand experience.'”

I thought influencing with viewpoints was the role of the parent, and the teacher’s job was to teach them the Three Rs? I wonder how much any of these children are learning about the the Revolutionary War and the United States Constitution? Johnny don’t know much about history, but he sure knows how to protest!

LA Weekly at its snarky best, keeps it real. Their commentary on the first of the OccupyLA protests:

“The turnout was less than rousing:

The blog LA Activist says about 70 protesters showed up Saturday outside City Hall. And if you’re in L.A., class warfare is really about Trader Joe’s vs. Whole Foods (we kid).”

They may kid, but I do not. That statement is exactly on the money. It’s very hard to take a movement seriously that offers “Yoga with Raquel” at their medical tent as part of “wellness”.

As far as I’m concerned, the supposed 99 percenters of OccupyLA would be more effective if they marched due west and parked their protest at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building. LADWP holds every Angelean hostage with their rate increases to support massive CEO salary and lactation classes for employees.

Apparently Steven Crowder is finding the same “lack of seriousness” in the Occupy Dallas bunch, who were on, wait for this… lunch break! when he arrived to interview them. He had great fun talking to some 9/11 Truthers and LaRouchites, then makes an effort to comprehend what is truly incomprehensible:

And from the New York Zuccotti Park crowd, this self-described 99 percenter has been outed as part of the 1 percent. It seems Edward T. Hall III is a  Columbia graduate student and a trust fund baby –so I’m sure he doesn’t carry any student loan debt. Wish I could say the same.

Mr. Hall appears to be starving… for attention. Language alert here:

The pushback over all this silliness gets little to no attention from the L.A. Times or any other mainstream media outlet. But thankfully, it does exist.

Tumblr has a great blog, We Are The 53%, for all of us who actually pay taxes so the supposed 99 percent can whine, protest, clog streets, and stink up parks and city property.

And Heather Mac Donald pulls no punches in her City Journal article,  “Get A Job“:

“There are times when mass protest carries an undeniable dignity and grows out of an unbearable necessity; the civil rights marches and sit-ins in the 1950s South were one of those moments. But our culture’s glamorization of protest—most celebrated when the message is a leftist one—scants the unsung virtues of showing up and doing your job.”

What a concept. One that is lost in the rush to legitimize this illegitimate movement.

 

 








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