Washington and Jerusalem: Forces Beyond their Control (La Stampa, Italy)
Aug01

Washington and Jerusalem: Forces Beyond their Control (La Stampa, Italy)

Why are there so many seemingly intractable conflicts in the world today, and what’s behind the unprecedented deterioration of U.S.-Israeli relations? For Italy’s La Stampa, columnist Gianni Riotta writes that it isn’t Barack Obama’s fault that the American people don’t want to police the world, or that a world without two diametrically-opposed poles lacks the leadership it needs. The best Italian...

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Motorcycle Riding ‘Angels of Help’
Jul31

Motorcycle Riding ‘Angels of Help’

Next time you see, and hear, a bunch of burley guys, sporting black leather jackets blazoned with all kinds of intriguing patches, roaring down your quiet street on their Harley- Davidson “hogs,” don’t be nervous. These fearsome looking men could be on their way to perform some work for their community, on their way to help out a person in need. That was exactly the case when, on a recent hot and muggy Saturday in...

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Fast food looks like a zero sum game
Jul31

Fast food looks like a zero sum game

graphic via...

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Balls
Jul31

Balls

I can speak only about home territory, the state of Texas. But there may be a variation on the theme in every state of the union. One can only hope. Here in the Lone Star State, the first thing you say about the new doggy or kitty your neighbor has adopted, after the “so cute!” comments is, “Has s/he been spayed/neutered?” A local vet here has a sign up reading “Balls! Who needs ‘em!” Towns...

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Americans Are Still In Debt
Jul30

Americans Are Still In Debt

Even years after the great recession 35 percent of Americans are still deep in debt.http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nhregister/obituary.aspx?pid=171867717 According to a new report by the Urban Institute, more than 35 percent of Americans owe non-mortgage debt that’s been turned over to a collection agency—including anything from credit card balances to student loans to medical bills and parking tickets. If that sounds especially...

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Israel’s Ground Offensive in Gaza – Final Update
Jul29

Israel’s Ground Offensive in Gaza – Final Update

Note to readers: The news — the daily carnage — coming out of this godforsaken part of the world has become too depressing, too wretched. I will no longer be “updating” such a tragedy. Readers can pick up any newspaper, open up any web page, tune in to any broadcast or cable station to get the abominable facts for themselves. No middle man, no interpretation, no ‘opinionating,’ no coloring of the...

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Digital Photography
Jul27

Digital Photography

As you may have noticed I have grown tired of politics and current events and have been doing posts of a more personal and philosophical nature.  I may be 68 but I tend to embrace new technology but one exception may be digital photography and the death of film.  I have been a photographer for nearly 50 years.  One of my early mentors was the late great Ansel Adams.  In addition to his great composition skills he was also a great...

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Gaza and MH17: France Pays the Price for its Moribund Diplomacy (Le Figaro, France)
Jul27

Gaza and MH17: France Pays the Price for its Moribund Diplomacy (Le Figaro, France)

France is not only home to the largest Muslim and Jewish populations in Europe, but with the Kremlin in the global doghouse over MH17 and Ukraine, Paris is in the process of selling Russia two massive Mistral warships for $1.6 billion. For Le Figaro, columnist Pierre Rousselin writes that with pro-Palestinian protests erupting across the country, and allies losing patience with the French for selling such powerful weapons to Russia,...

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VIDEO: Snowden and Elsberg at the HOPE X Summit (Hope X, New York)
Jul25

VIDEO: Snowden and Elsberg at the HOPE X Summit (Hope X, New York)

This is an extraordinary video of an exchange between Edward Snowden and the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Elsberg. The encounter took place on Monday at the HOPE X Hacker’s summit in New York City. Snowden recieves a hero’s welcome with long ovations and unmitigated praise from Elsberg, who says Snowden’s emergence gave him ‘hope’ for the first time in many years. To Snowden’s critics,...

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The Cost Of Global Warming
Jul25

The Cost Of Global Warming

Here in Oregon and Washington a week ago last Sunday we had several high base thunderstorms move through.  For those of you who might not be familiar with the term “high base” thunderstorm they produce plenty of lightning but little or no rain.   The result was a number of wild fires in both states burning thousands of acres and many structures.  The cost of wild fires has been steadily increasing. The cost of America’s...

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Why Many People In The Middle Now Identify With The Left
Jul25

Why Many People In The Middle Now Identify With The Left

While the country has become more liberal in some ways, the Republican Party has moved to the extreme right, and the Democratic Party has filled in the vacuum in the middle by also moving to the right on many issues. As a consequence, many people who previously considered themselves in the middle are finding that the current views of the left are closer to their views. Thomas Ricks, who wrote Fiasco, and excellent look at the Iraq...

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Moving Left
Jul24

Moving Left

It use to be common knowledge that as you got older you became more conservative.  At 68 I am at the leading edge of the baby boomers.  I became politically active during the Vietnam war- I was an Eisenhower/Rockefeller Republican back then.  During the Nixon years I changed my registration to Independent.  Although I didn’t like Jimmy Carter I didn’t vote for  Ronald Reagan.  His supply side economics has proved to be a...

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Working Less
Jul23

Working Less

People can be critical of France and Germany’s   reduced work weeks and lower retirement ages but they really don’t know why they did it.  They did it to reduce unemployment – when people work fewer hours and retire earlier more people are working.  We have reached a point where there are more people who need jobs than there are available jobs.  Some of this is because of outsourcing but also because of automation...

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Fox News: Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation ‘Endangers Religious Liberty’ (Updated)
Jul22

Fox News: Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation ‘Endangers Religious Liberty’ (Updated)

Read an Opinion by the New York Times Editorial Board following the post. On Monday, President Obama signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Executive Order amends Executive Order 11246, issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories in the existing Executive Order...

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Where People Live
Jul21

Where People Live

This is interesting, half of all Americans live in 146 of 3,000 counties in the US. Using Census data, we’ve figured out that half of the United States population is clustered in just the 146 biggest counties out of over 3000. Here’s the map, with said counties shaded in. Below the map is the list of all the counties, so you can see if you live in one of them. This may explain much of the political polarization in the US...

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Putin’s Hard Hat of Indifference
Jul20

Putin’s Hard Hat of Indifference

Balloon Payment For The Sochi Olympics Invade Now For Best Financing Terms The View From The Virgin Islands By John McCarthy TMV Columnist Remember when the worst thing we had to fear from Vladimir Putin was another garish bare-chested, bareback photo opportunity? There had come a time in the career of President Putin when he was even taking flack from Pussy Riot band members and seemed destined for irrelevance. Not any more. The...

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The Mass Migration of Children Mexican Authorities ‘Missed’ (El Universal and Excelsior, Mexico)
Jul17

The Mass Migration of Children Mexican Authorities ‘Missed’ (El Universal and Excelsior, Mexico)

Today we have three columns on the immigration crises from Mexican newspapers El Universal and Excelsior, and from La Prensa of Honduras. All three reflect frustration with the handling of the crisis by the governments in Mexico and Central America, and notably, none expresses any real consternation with the United States. First, as the flow of child migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S. border continues to build, this...

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Passing Gas to the Consumer
Jul12

Passing Gas to the Consumer

by Walter Brasch Gas prices at the pump during the July 4th extended weekend were the highest they have been in six years. This, of course, has little to do with supply-and-demand economics. It has everything to do with supply-and-gouge profits. Over the past decade, the five largest oil companies have earned more than $1 trillion in profits. Last year, the Big Five—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell—earned about $93...

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Steven Spielberg is a ‘disgusting’ dinosaur hunter, Internet says
Jul12

Steven Spielberg is a ‘disgusting’ dinosaur hunter, Internet says

Steven Spielberg is a ‘disgusting’ dinosaur hunter, Internet...

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Immigrants and the Cootie Offense
Jul11

Immigrants and the Cootie Offense

Immigrants and the Cootie Offense By Tina Dupuy In September of 2011, a franchise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, set up camp on the steps of Los Angeles’ iconic City Hall. The encampment was lauded by celebrities like Bill Maher and Tom Morello and embraced by politicians like Congresswoman Maxine Waters and then City Council President, Eric Garcetti. Garcetti, who’d later become mayor of Los Angeles, was quoted by...

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