Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Little Bit Me



The Monkees were just * a bit * before my time, but I sure caught up with them on the re-runs after school when I was a kid. Neil Diamond's "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" was one of my favorites, and it is also the song that got Don Kirshner fired. Read the story here.

Been sad all day about Davy Jones. Rest in peace.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Golden Gate

gg6294


Been very busy with work and settling into a new life when I'm not at work, so here's a picture of the Golden Gate to tide you over for now. Eventually, I hope to get in a rhythm where I can work on the photos and post more often (have to get back on broadband soon), but most of my energy is being directed other places - so very little writing, if any, will be posted here.

One for the road though - a must read op-ed in the New York Times on the auto industry and Mitt Romney. Just do it.

When the companies begged the federal government to save them from financial catastrophe, President George W. Bush and later President Obama ignored strong Republican objections, saving a signature American industry and the whole country from an even deeper crash.

Four years later, there are 1.45 million people who are working as a direct result of the $80 billion bailout, according to the nonpartisan Center for Automotive Research, both at the carmakers and associated businesses downstream in the economy. Michigan’s unemployment level is at its lowest level in three years. G.M. is again the world’s biggest automaker, and both companies are reporting substantial profits.

And yet Mitt Romney, along with the other Republican presidential candidates, has spent the days before the Michigan primary denouncing the bailout that has rescued his native state.

It gets better from there.

You would think that I would have been excited to see Michigan receive so much national attention, and on a certain level, I am, but on another level, this has been like chewing on tinfoil for someone who lived and breathed every second of that very scary and dangerous time.

To hear Romney and Santorum talk about how they would have sent Michigan into the deepest economic depression it has ever known (because I believe a total collapse of the industry would have been worse for the state than the Great Depression) is like having presidential candidates come around to repeatedly spit in your face. I am completely and thoroughly disgusted with it, and I hope the citizens of Michigan remember this November just who it was that stood up for the industry and our well-being.

It wasn't Rick Snyder. It wasn't Mitt Romney. It certainly wasn't Rick Santorum.

His name is President Barack Obama. Along with the votes of Democratic members of Congress and the work of Michigan politicians such as Governor Granholm, added with the major sacrifices made by workers at all three domestic automakers and their suppliers, Michigan is once again climbing the ladder of economic recovery. The Republicans would have seen to its demise, and no amount of facts, reason or compassion for their fellow Americans seems to sway their opinion. That's not leadership; it's the actions of a three-year old throwing a stubborn temper tantrum because they didn't get their way, and it shouldn't be enabled or rewarded in any shape or form.

All I can say is - remember. And vote accordingly.

That's all for now.

Thursday, February 23, 2012



Nothing to add to this one... except maybe "I told you so".

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Trib Dali

tribcid8953

The Tribune Tower, if you were really messed up.

I'm guessing this shot has been done to death, but I couldn't resist.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Mitt Romney, November 2008:

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

ABC News, February 2012.

"Since the depths of the recession, we've seen manufacturing stabilize and start to come back," said Robert Dye, chief economist for Comerica Bank. "What we've seen in the auto industry lately has been good news for the state."

In fact, it's been very good news: Tax revenues have jumped so dramatically that Michigan now enjoys a $457 million budget surplus.

The auto industry is driving the nascent recovery in Michigan, where manufacturing accounts for more than 20 percent of the state's economy. Indeed, U.S. car sales are revving up at the fastest rate in nearly four years, rising 11 percent in January over a year ago. The state's unemployment rate, while still higher than the national average,has dropped from 12.6 percent, in March 2009, to 9.3 percent in December.

The recovery actually started back in the fall of 2009, but I digress. Moving on...

GM, February 16, 2012:

General Motors made a record $7.6 billion in 2011, driven by a $7.2 billion profit in North America that ensures its highest profit sharing payments of $7,000 each to its UAW workers.

Overall, GM’s 2011 profit rose from last year’s $4.7 billion and broke the previous record annual profit of $6.7 billion in 1997.

In Bizarro Republican World, naturally that leads to this: The governor of Michigan, February 16th, 2012.

"Snyder: Mitt Romney is the best choice"

Mitt Romney is not a career politician. He stands alone among the candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, with his extensive experience in business, having spent two decades helping to start companies and turn around failing ones. Most important, he has a credible plan for jumpstarting the economy and putting it on the path of sustained growth.

What Mitt Romney did in his "extensive experience in business" was to borrow money, drive companies into bankruptcy, lay off the workers, and sell off the parts at enormous profit for investors.

That's what he would have done with GM, and that's what he will do for America.

Now, the governor of the state that has enjoyed the most success from President Obama and the Democrats' rescue of the auto industry has just embraced the guy who would have seen to Michigan's "creative destruction".

You get what you vote for. Best to remember that this fall.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Year of the Dragon 2012



Pictures from Chinatown and the Chinese New Year's Parade, San Francisco. Towards the end it was full dark out - want to re-work those someday now that I have a computer desk to sit at, it's just a matter of finding the time.

Until then, enjoy. It was quite the show.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

For Mom



RIP Whitney. Thank you for sharing your beautiful voice.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

This...



... is why I came to California.

This. Right here.

Now, let's get out there and send some Republicans packing...


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Ride Captain Ride

gg5666

"We're callin' everyone to ride along to another shore
We can laugh our lives away and be free once more"


Thank You Chrysler



Nice.

"Detroit's showing us it can be done" - thanks to President Obama and the Democrats who stood up and fought for the industry. Never forget that.

This commercial didn't strike me like last year's simply because I knew it was coming. But it's a goodie - the ad team working with Chrysler are geniuses.

Offensive On So Many Levels

... you can't begin to count them all. Pete Hoekstra really jumps the shark in this Michigan-based Super Bowl ad tonight, and I sure hope that both the people and the press call him out on it.

You've got your Asian stereotypes in visuals, music, and the way the language is spoken in the script, you've got Pete basically calling Stabenow a "john" that is spending our money for fun overseas (there's a reason why they used a young beautiful Asian woman - think about it. Hey, GI.), but most of all, you've got the stunning, blatant hypocrisy coming from a Michigan Republican Party that screamed every time Democrats mentioned outsourcing in '10 as "xenophobic" and "job killing", complaining that the Ds were scaring away business.

Well, how many Asian firms will see that ad, and then want to come and invest in Michigan now? Or buy the products we want to export?

Are you kidding me with this?

Unbelievable.

The AP starts out on the right foot here. (and BTW, it was filmed in California - Michigan jobs? Hello?) Pete's campaign is calling this "satirical" - which makes it even worse. Racist stereotypes done as a "joke" are considered serious campaign material for the United States Senate?

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Republican Party. And just think, it's only February.

Update: Politico has more nonsense from the Hoekstra campaign, saying the broken English is "reflection of China’s increasingly competitive education system".

O... M... G... dig faster, Pete.

Later, even more nonsense: The uproar has started, even from the right, and Hoekstra offers this:

"Democrats talk about race when they can't defend their records," Ciaramitaro said. "The U.S. economy is losing jobs to China because of Stabenow's reckless spending policies. China is reaping the reward."

What? What does that mean, exactly? How does that relate to anything in the real world?

Should every American just stop buying everything because a lot of products are being made in China? Do the Republicans realize that when people or the government spends money, jobs are created from that, right here in America? Thought that was what "free market" meant, a market where people buy goods and services. Do the Republicans realize that spending by the Chinese government to subsidize their manufacturing is the very thing that is creating these jobs in China?

Why do the Republicans hate jobs? Why do they want America to take a back seat to the rest of the world in manufacturing?

This is insanity. "Government spending" has nothing to do with trade issues, and they know it. They are putting buzz words together, hoping they will stick, but this time they've gone right over the edge of reality - and to top it off they are being racist as hell when they do it, too.

Saturdays in Oakland

occupy6529
January 28th, 2012, from the streets of Oakland.


Update on the week after:

The local media backlash after last Saturday's mass arrests and acts of vandalism was scathing, and they painted the Occupy movement in an extremely bad light. Message of inequality? No, this has turned into a message about a war with the police, the roots of which go back decades in these parts. The media tallied up the cost to the city, they tallied up the 911 calls that the OPD couldn't answer right away because they were dealing with the Occupy people (this story in the NYT about a suicide at the Port of Oakland that wasn't attended to for 12 hours was a particularly chilling example), and, lost in all the drama are the questions about the way this was handled by authorities - which is disturbing on many levels.

Charges that at first ranged from "unlawful assembly", which strikes me as unconstitutional (is there such a thing?) turned into "failure to disperse" - and I can tell you first hand that there were NO cops around when that crowd left Ogawa and marched to the places they were "kettled". I even tweeted it because I found it odd at the time. They could have stopped them from taking the street in the first place; instead they swarmed in tactical manner that circled and trapped protesters on the way, and then they threw tear gas and flash-bangs at them. It's no wonder people would panic and turn hostile.

I would testify to this in court - I never, at any time, heard an order to "disperse". Not at Ogawa, not on the brief time I followed the street march down Broadway/Telegraph, not at the park on 19th, where protesters broke down the fence and escaped the kettle. The police were swift and silent, and the discipline at how they moved tells me that this was the plan all along - arrest as many as you can, doesn't matter what an individual is doing at the time. It was the act of a police force stretched thin, budget cuts and the recession taking its toll on the resources of the city, and someone in upper management has decided to deal with the citizens as if they were an invading army rather than members of the community expressing an opinion.

All that being said, there were acts of vandalism along the way on that night, but that was a minority of people that was moving with the crowd. There is a militant element that has taken up the banner of "Occupy" in their name, and now the things they are doing are labeled as "Occupy" - and that is where a leaderless movement falls apart. Various stories have seen this peaceful/non-peaceful debate come to the forefront now, and last night, the people who marched against the police told "peaceful" protesters to stay away - they mean to go to war with the cops. You've been warned.

So they did. About 70 of them. Sounds like the cops were ready this time, but then again, they didn't have thousands of people they needed to kettle.

Question now is: Will Occupy move to either reign in or denounce these acts that are being done in its name? Do they want Occupy to be about economic inequality and the excess of the 1%, or do they want the message to become about a war against the authorities? In a way, the defiance against the police does stem from inequality, but, you are going to lose the effectiveness of the ultimate message if the public thinks you're a bunch of young radical troublemakers who want to destroy property and spit on the flag. And then you've lost the war.

Not sure where this goes from here. Most people are not going to want to be involved with the violent element (myself included), and the numbers that show up for these things will continue to drop. But, if the national movement picks up in the spring when warmer weather comes, it could grow again in Oakland as well - and we do this dance all over again.

What is happening in Oakland goes a lot deeper than Occupy. The troubles that plague the city started well before it was wrapped in the Occupy name. I like this area, problems and all, and I hope that they resolve to work and heal the community in a peaceful and constructive manner. There is a lot of good here, and it would be a shame to see this wonderful place continue to be featured to the nation in such a way.

Update: The AP article on last night emphasizes the peaceful protesters, mentions nothing about the flag or the statements in the local media I mentioned above. Interesting.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

When Denial Falls Away



Maybe it takes getting personally hurt by these jackals before the people who call themselves "conservative" wake up to what the Republicans are really all about these days. Bob Lutz discovered this the hard way when the Masters of Deception finally hit his baby in an attempt to create some more manufactured outrage, ala Solyandra, over the Volt. It seems that Rush and the propaganda machine at FOX caught the attention of Lutz when they started in on their usual bash-any-Obama-success-story with flat-out lies standard spiel, and Bob wasn't too happy with that. Check out the Forbes article where Lutz lays out the facts on the Volt and then proceeds to start a fire of his own:

But who the hell cares about facts when you’re in O’Reilly’s self-described “No Spin Zone?” (The fine print might as well read, “We said ‘no spin,’ not ‘no deliberate misstatement of facts.’ ”) What on Earth is wrong with the conservative media movement that it feels it’s OK to spread false information, OK to damage the reputation of perhaps the finest piece of mechanical technology our country has produced since the space shuttle, OK to hurt an iconic American company that is roaring back to global pre-eminence, OK to hurt American employment in Hamtramck, Mich., as long as it damages the Obama administration’s reputation?

While as a conservative Republican I may well share the goal, I deplore the means employed to attain it. The conservative cause damages itself, destroys its credibility through the expedient spreading of untruths. The public will figure it out.

Um, Bob? They do this with everything. Every issue facing the public. They lie. All the time. The majority of the public has pretty much figured this out, but as long as your corporate buddies keep feeding this 24/7 media machine and the attack dogs in Congress with cash, the lies will continue. And if you want to get really upset, just check out the Congressional hearings:

GM's Akerson stood up for the Volt, saying that the fire that's caused so much commotion only happened "after putting the battery through lab conditions that no driver would experience in the real world," according to his prepared remarks. Strickland said NHTSA "pulled no punches" in the Volt fire investigation – which recently ended after finding the Volt to be a safe car – but Issa was having none of it. He told Strickland: "I hear you, I don't believe you."

You can find the official Congressional website about the hearing (which includes a video of the entire session) here. The subcommittee's staff report, "Government Motors: A Preliminary Report on the Effects of Bailouts and Politics on the Obama Administration's Ability to Protect American Consumers" is available as a PDF. Be careful when reading it, though, as it starts by subtly misleading the reader.

Subtly? What was subtle about that title? The political agenda is very apparent right from the start, and your taxpayer dollars are paying for it, too. And guess what folks, it worked. Volt sales fell in January, and now GM has to scramble to mitigate the damage of the lies of the GOP. Let's hope it doesn't cost anyone on the line or in the battery factories their job.

GM abandoned this month its sales target of 45,000 Volts in the United States for 2012, saying instead it would match "supply to demand."

It should be obvious from the political campaign this year - the Republicans don't care about the truth. The Republicans don't care about American ingenuity. The Republicans don't care about American jobs. The Republicans certainly don't care about you if you are in the way of their ultimate goal of taking back power.

Why in God's name would anyone vote for that?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Shame on You



This one goes out to all those that would lie to others just to serve their own personal agenda... yeah, I'm lookin' at you, Mittens.

Jobs numbers!!!

Heh.

Felt me the need for some Amy Ray this morning.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Sierra

donner4679


Donner Pass. Amazingly beautiful, and this is just the rest area. The real Donner Pass is actually a few miles from this spot, you can read about it here. Apparently I got very lucky with the weather.

A little bit further down the road, I looked out the window and over the side, and it looked foggy. Thick and wide, it covered the view. Thought it odd. It's only when I started to descend from 7,240 ft. down a twisting, turning, very steep road, ears popping a few times, that I realized I was looking at the top of the clouds up there. It was an overcast day at the bottom of the mountain.

I know I'm jumping out of sequence, have a few more of Wyoming and Utah I will get to eventually. It's been suggested that I write about the whole trip; maybe I'll do that before it gets lost to time that will start to erase the memory.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Sympathy for the Devil



She is the monster they created....

Looks really good. Check it out.

Later: Maybe you're wondering why I posted that - well, it moved me. First of all, I love Julianne Moore. She's always good, and it looks like she's going to be really good as Sarah. And no, I hadn't read the Slate write-up when I posted the comment above, but nice to see my instincts are still intact.

Roach has called the story “almost Shakespearean” and compared it to Greek tragedy, but the literary predecessor this trailer brings to mind is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. By the end of the trailer, the McCain campaign has created a monster, and they know they’ve lost control.

This incredible wave of sympathy struck me, and I'm not quite sure where it came from. All at once I understood just what happened to this woman. Don't get me wrong, I consider Palin to be nothing more than a grifter at this point, but damn - you probably would be too had you been put in that position.

Remove your bias, and think about it.