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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Friday, February 28, 2014

Business Insider: Brett Logiurato- Anderson Cooper on Arizona Anti-Gay Bill: How Freedom of Religion Doesn't Empower People to Discriminate


Source: Business Insider-
Source: Business Insider: Brett Logiurato- Anderson Cooper on Arizona Anti-Gay Bill

Jennifer Rubin, in her Washington Post column today, said that there's nothing in the Bible that says Christians should deny gays service because of their homosexuality. The more of her I read, the more she sounds like an actual conservative, like George Will or Charles Krauthammer, not someone who just calls herself a conservative.  This closes the case, as far as I'm concernd, because this has never been about freedom of religion.  It's been about finding an excuse for discrimination based on sexuality after excuses for discrimination based on race, ethnicity and gender have failed.

Discriminating against gays is the far-right's last shot of pushing what they see as their moral agenda and  turning America back to the 1950s. They failed to justify discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and women and people of religious minorities.  Their one last gasp at discrimination against people whom they consider "other" is now aimed at gays who want to marry.  It is failing horribly for them so they have now moved to denying gays service in the public domain simply because they are gay.

No one is saying that Christians or Muslims or people of any other religion can't view homosexuality as a sin but where that stops is how people treat each other and how they act. You can call someone a fag or sinner or anything else you want short of murderer or rapist but you can't physically attack or deny people service because of their sexuality and for no other reason than that. Again this is not about Freedom of Religion but trying to create a freedom to discriminate.

The Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin

In the end, it was politically, economically and morally impossible for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to countenance a state law allowing businesses to discriminate against gays because of anti-gay bias as long as they presented their objection as rooted in religious faith. (What part of the Bible requires a restaurant owner to deny a gay couple a table?
The Young Turks: Cenk Uygur- Anderson Cooper Humiliates Anti-Gay Republican














BIO: Vegas and the Mob- The Feds Crackdown of Organized Labor





If todays so-called Progressives only knew how tough Bobby Kennedy was on corruption in organized labor as Attorney General of the United States, then I don't believe he would as popular with organized labor and the far-left community as he is today.  RFK was one of the toughest and, perhaps, the most effective Attorney General we've ever had.

Attorney General Kennedy and his brother Jack, the President of the United States, when they took office in 1961, saw organized crime as one of the biggest threats to national security and the Rule of Law in America. Their Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, didn't even acknowledge organized crime  as a problem in America.  The brothers launched a campaign that was so effective that it put corrupt union bosses like Jimmy Hoffa in prison.

I believe that the real legacy of Robert Kennedy is the bringing down of organized crime and the reduction of its impact on the United States.  This, along with his very effective work in the civil right movement was the early product of what would've been a brilliant career in public service had the man not of been assassinated in 1968.


Heritage Foundation: The Foundry: Amy Payne: Tax Reform Ideas: Three Ways to Make April 15 Less Painful: How We Should Reform The Tax Code


Heritage Foundation: The Foundry: Amy Payne: Tax Reform Ideas: Three Ways to Make April 15 Less Painful

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I believe America needs both a short-term and a long-term tax reform plan not only because of our current partisan makeup in power but also because of our long-term economic outlook. The short-term plan is based on what can be passed now, which would improve our economy and give us a functioning and understandable tax code that anyone could understand that promotes economic and job growth. But long term, we are going to need something much better than that, which is even simpler and does a better job of promoting both economic and job growth as well as help us pay down our debt and deficit.

Short term, as far as a good plan that has any shot in hell of passing in this Congress or the next Congress, we need to simplify the code, and that means getting rid of a lot of wasteful tax deductions and credits, especially as they relate to businesses. We need to lower our corporate and business taxes on all investments and profits made inside the United States, so a 25 percent corporate tax rate sounds good to me, as long as you eliminate all corporate welfare, including agricultural welfare.

The home mortgage deduction needs to be reformed but not eliminated for all single or primary homes where people either live or work full-time up to, let's say, $1 million and index that for inflation. But for all homes worth more than the HMD this would no longer apply and all vacation homes would no longer be eligible for the HMD, but someone with a home for work and for living could get the HMD for both places, just as long as they together are both worth under a million dollars, so we could stop the HMD for people who do not need it.

I could go along with keeping the top income tax rate where it is, or even lower, just as long as the wealthy are taxed on all of their income including capital gains so you no longer see people like Mitt Romney, who is worth over $200 million, only paying 15 percent in taxes. We should increase the cap on Social Security to, let's say, $500,000 or $1 million so a 6 percent payroll tax applies to everyone equally, and lower taxes on the middle class as well as eliminating wasteful loopholes like deducting State and local sales taxes.

So that would be my short-term tax reform plan, but long term I would scrap the income tax and replace it with a Progressive National Consumption Tax so we are taxing people based on what they take out of society and no longer tax people based on what they produce for society because if we really want to create long-term economic and job growth, we need to stop taxing people for producing and instead tax people for taking.

I call this the Progressive National Income Tax (PNIT) for a good reason, because it would still be progressive. We would have lower taxes on things that people need to live well, like food, health care, and so forth, rent for middle class and low-income apartments, and middle income housing, to use as examples, but tax luxuries or entertainment higher, such as luxury cars, ballgames, yachts, vacations, movies, as examples. We need to encourage people not to stop doing what they are doing but to be smarter with their money.

The PNIT again would be progressive because low-income workers would still get their Earned Income Tax Credit simply by reporting their income to the IRS every year and would have to be truthful and accurate about that. But even before they get their EITC and pay taxes, they spend so little because they make so little and generally spend most of their money on what they need that they would have a very low tax rate.






Kieran Monroe-BIO: Jayne Mansfield Documentary



Source: Jayne Mansfield- 
Source: Kieran Monroe-BIO: Jayne Mansfield Documentary

To put it simply, Jayne Mansfield was the ultimate hot baby-face goddess who never grew up, and in all of her 34 years, I'm not sure she ever looked old enough to even drive. That is how I see her, as someone who never quite became an adult woman emotionally, and I believe she was never very happy even though she basically had it all and was a very good entertainer. She had a very quick comedic wit and the ability to sing and act as well.

She wasn't a dumb blonde, but someone with real talent. She was immature and never quite grew up or appreciate what she had, but if she had lived a normal, she would probably have won many awards with her comedic wit and versatility and ability to entertain people in multiple ways, but she never understood and was not able to appreciate any of that.

I haven't seen many Jayne Mansfield movies but Who Will Spoil Rock Hunter with the great comedic actor Tony Randall is the perfect example of a movie where you get to see all her talent, where she could purposely play the role of the dumb sexy blonde, which is how she wanted to be portrayed, when behind the scenes she was as smart and cunning as anyone and knew how to get what she wanted when she wanted it.

In Who Will Spoil Rock Hunter, Tony Randall plays a struggling advertising executive who needs a big client to make a lot of money for his company. And that is where the Jayne Mansfield character comes in as an incredible Hollywood bombshell who needs what Rock Hunter can give her, which is credibility and good publicity on Madison Avenue and to be taken seriously. And she and Rock make for good partners in that film.




The Economist: Editorial Board: Inequality in America: How to be a True Progressive


The Economist: Editorial Board: Inequality in America: How to be a True Progressive

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I've mentioned before that I do not qualify as a Progressive, at least from today's popular definition of it, someone who believes in using government to make society better and fairer with new government social programs that are generally run by the Federal Government, but I'm not sure that a lot of today's Progressives qualify as Progressive either with their constant assaults on corporate America and private enterprise and private power along with being so anti-military and law enforcement and not only in favor of the welfare state but also the nanny state, believing that Americans have too much freedom in how they manage their personal lives, with new prohibitionist ideas as they relate to what people eat, drink, smoke, as well as who and how we communicate with each other.

And these are just some of reasons why I call myself a Liberal.  I am a Liberal, at least as far as it is classically defined, but I don't like being associated with big government statists right and left, and today's so-called Progressives are really left-wing statists but not very liberal or progressive and not so much interested in progress.  True Progressives believe in moving forward and using government to make that happen as much as they are interested in growing the size and scope of the central state.

But I do view myself as a Progressive in the sense that I believe in progress and moving forward and even using government to help bring that about. But where I would differ with real Progressives, FDR or LBJ Progressive Democrats, is that I don't believe the Federal Government has all of the answers and therefore shouldn't have all the power.  As a true Liberal, I want to see that power go to the people who need it.  The income gap, as I prefer to call income inequality, is the perfect place to start.

I agree we need a new approach in how we deal with the income gap and having hundreds of programs that are really about subsidizing people in poverty, whether they are working or not, to meet their needs. This is not so much empowering them to meet their needs, which is not the right approach (this is where I agree with The Economist) but scrapping the minimum wage and replacing it with an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit is not the way to go, and this is where I agree with Progressive economist Jared Bernstein on who is an actual Progressive Democrat.

What would happen if this new conservative idea about the EITC were to ever happen is that you would end up transferring money from hard-working middle class Americans and, in a lot of cases, Americans who are just barely middle class, to the wealthy and to employers, because now they wouldn't have to pay the minimum wage and would be able to pay their low-skilled workers wages that are much lower, because these low-skilled workers would get that money back and perhaps more money from middle class tax payers instead of their employers in the form of an expanded EITC.

And this is where both the Earned Income Tax Credit and increasing the minimum wage are both critical and both needed because they would both increase wages for people at the bottom and increase their purchasing power. This is for people who spend all of their money, which drives economic and job growth, because they have no other choice because of how little money they make, but it also encourages people to work and not go on welfare or stay on welfare because they would know they could get more money working than not working.

But this alone doesn't solve the income gap because we need to not only be targeting Americans at the bottom when it comes to the income gap but also people in the struggling middle, who can see the bottom of the economic scale from where they sit, which is why unemployment insurance should be expanded to include back-to-work centers or programs that will help them pay their bills as they receive assistance to help find a good job through education and job training and assistance. Welfare insurance puts people to work and provides educational and job training assistance for workers who collect any form of public assistance.

A mid-term election, especially the one that will affect the last 2 years of the Obama Administration, is not the right time for President Obama to take on his far-left flank with all these new work and education-over-dependency ideas, because he needs these voters behind him and congressional Democrats as they run for reelection and for the House and Senate in 2014, but these are things he could propose in his budget this year, and put on the agenda for the next Congress, whoever is in power, or even if it is divided again.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mox News: Video: CNN's OutFront: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Vetos Religious Freedom Bill



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It looks like Barry Goldwater's visions of freedom and keeping big government out of people's lives and are still alive in Arizona.  The state is moving away from its presumptive status as a Bible Belt state of the West.   Conservative libertarian values, which are fundamentally in conflict with evangelical christian tenets, are still alive in Arizona.  Senators Barry Goldwater, John McCain and Jeff Flake  worked very hard to prevent his vile, homophobic bill from becoming law.


Justin Sluss: The Seven Year Itch- The Piano Scene in the Apartment

Source: Justin Sluss- Marilyn Monroe & Tom Ewell-
Source: Justin Sluss: The Seven Year Itch- Chopsticks

Everything Marilyn Monroe did was adorable and I love this scene from The Seven Year Itch because it stars a married man whose wife and son are away for the summer at a lake in upstate New York. So this successful New York advertising man has this big apartment to himself for the whole summer in New York and if you don't think New York summers are hot enough, well first spend some time in Washington and Maryland.  For this guy, played by Tom Ewell, summer gets even hotter when Marilyn Monroe's character moves into his building. This is a great innocent scene with two people spending quality time with each other. He has this hot babe all to himself and he plays the innocent. They eat potato chips with wine together and play the piano and just talk to each other as friends. He could have started an affair with her. The end is history.



Renee Townsend: Lifetime's Intimate Portrait of Grace Kelly



The Amazing Grace Kelly, whom I call Grace Kelly, not just because of her first name, but because she was amazing in so many ways was a woman who didn't just look like royalty but was royalty, even though she grew up in Philadelphia. She not only looked like a princess but was the Princess of Monaco until she died in the early 1980s. But before that, she was a hell of an actress who made her mark mostly in the 1950s.

What most impresses me about Grace is her versatility as an actress.  She could play both dead serious and pretty funny in the same movie and was perfect for movies that weren't pure comedies or dramas. I believe that is one of the things that the great director Alfred Hitchcock saw in her when he hired her for films like Rear Window, playing the girlfriend of photographer Jimmy Stewart, who was confined to an apartment with a broken leg. She solved a murder case by spying from his apartment. This is not believable but the movie is very well done.

Another one of my favorite movies starring Grace would be another Hitchcock movie, To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant, which takes place on the French Mediterranean, in which she plays the daughter of a very wealthy woman. Vacationing in France with a lot of expensive jewelry at the high point of a cat burglar's activities, she suspects that Cary Grant, the retired cat burglar, stole her mother's and others' jewelry, but in the end falls in love with him nonetheless.

With Grace Kelly, you are talking about a sexy actress who always looked like she never completely grew up, similar to Marilyn Monroe or Barbara Eden. But she was a real lady and a great actress who again had the versatility and timing that few actresses ever acquired.   She was similar to Elizabeth Taylor or Lauren Bacall, which is what made her unique.  She is still missed today.



ZHGB-TV: Barbara Eden Documentary- Baby Jeannie of Hollywood


Source: ZHGB-TV-
Source: ZHGB-TV: Barbara Eden Documentary

There is much more to Barbara Eden than her hot baby-face looks but it is really difficult for me to get past that and her role as Jeanie on the NBC hit 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeanie. I have, I believe, three seasons of it on DVD, even though it went off the air about 5 years, before I was even born, but when I think of Barbara, or Barbie as I call her, I still remember that baby face she still has today as she now approaches the age of 80 years.

When it comes to sexy women and not just little baby cuties who look like little girls their whole lives, but sexy developed women who still have baby faces, Barbara Eden may be the cutest woman to ever come out of Hollywood.  If you combine that with great, quick comedic wit and timing and the ability to be adorable and funny at the same time while still knowing what the hell she is doing, you are talking about a great entertainer, with fans always coming back for more.

What comes to mind about Barbara Eden as well as her movies like Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter with Tony Randall and Jane Mansfield, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea with Walter Pidgeon, Five Weeks in a Ballon, and other movies that I believe led to I Dream of Jeanie in the mid-1960s is that people appreciated her looks and her great comedic wit and timing.


Sophia Loren Betty Boo: Biography of Sophia Loren- The Italian Goddess


Source: Sophia Loren Betty Boo-
Source: Sophia Loren Betty Boo: Biography Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren is perhaps the best looking Italian woman, American or native Italian, that Italy has ever produced, even though I'm more obviously more familiar with Italian-American women than native Italian women. I would put Sophia up against any other ethnic Italian woman who has ever lived and any other woman period who has ever lived as far as physical beauty and appearance go. A perfect example of that is her role in Grumpier Old Men from 1995 when she is 60 years old and still a goddess, turning on older and younger men at this point.

But as the corny saying goes, it doesn't stop there, because, like Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe, and other goddesses who've worked in the entertainment business, she was a very talented entertainer who could act and sing and make anyone laugh and go toe to toe with great comic actors like Cary Grant when it came to wit and wisecracks, as in the movie Houseboat. She is an actress with great comedic timing and stage presence in addition to her physical beauty and stage command.

Another thing I love about Sophia is how real she was, coming from nothing and raised by people other than her parents in Rome, Lazio, Italy in the 1930s at the height of the fascist Benito Mussolini regime. She made something great of herself with incredibly hard work, especially after we saw the Sophia that the rest of the world is so familiar with, this tall, curvy hot baby-face goddess with the great Italian voice.


Marilyn Monroe Official: Video: Rare Marilyn Monroe: The Mexican Vest at Santa Monica Beach From 1962



No one has looked as good or better than Marilyn Monroe at the beach.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Crooks and Liars: Opinion: Richard RJ Eskow: Is the "Era of Austerity" Really Over?: The Purpose of a Government Budget


Crooks and Liars: Opinion: Richard RJ Eskow: The Next Obama Budget: Is the "Era of Austerity" Really Over

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A governmental budget, whatever the level of government, is the official blueprint of the administration's priorities, and at the Federal level, in addition to the administration's budget, you also have congressional budgets, with the majority party in both the House and Senate laying out their official budgetary priorities for that year as well. So this gives the party or parties in power an official opportunity to lay out what they want to see funded and completed for the next fiscal year.

So that is what President Obama and his administration will have the opportunity to do in the next few weeks. We are already seeing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, with his proposed defense budget in the next coming year, proposing defense cuts, but in areas of the budget that we can afford to cut, perhaps Afghanistan and Iraq, since we'll no longer be occupying those countries, but also in the Cold War budget and weapon systems.

Because of the Republican House of Representatives and President Obama's low approval rating somewhere in the low forties, there might be a better shot at seeing a July blizzard in Miami, Florida, than President Obama getting his budget through Congress this year, because he would need the Republican House along with the Democratic Senate to approve it. But since it is an election year, the President will have the opportunity to lay out in his budget where he and the Democratic Party stand, especially as it relates to the economy.

The term political budget might sound, I don't know, dirty to clean up when it comes to government and politics. But that is exactly what President Obama should be proposing; this is where we Democrats stand and we are prepared to rebuild this country with a new national infrastructure and manufacturing plan and we will bring good American jobs back home. We are creating new jobs in the country as well and we are going to have a national energy policy by investing in all of America's natural resources. And we will encourage businesses, foreign and domestic, to invest in America with lower taxes and elimination of costly loopholes.

President Obama's 2015 budget should be both a governing blueprint and a political message. This is what Democrats will do if you, the American voters, only give us the power to do these things and put Republicans, especially the House Republican leadership on the spot and give them something to respond to and let the American voters decide which plan they prefer.


Mr. Duffle: Wynton Marsalis Septet, Happy Birthday



Source: Mr. Duffle-
Source: Mr Duffle: Wynton Marsalis Septet, Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday Big Daddy, who is now, well I won't give that out in public, but still my Big Daddy no matter how long he lives and I expect a lot more birthdays to come, or I might kill him myself, ha, ha.


67 Stats: Video: Jerry Jones vs. Jimmy Johnson: The Story of Jerry's Cowboys



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As good as the Dallas Cowboys were in the 1990s with their three Super Bowl championships, three NFL championships, four conference finals appearances, and five NFC East titles and a lot of playoff victories, they could've been so much better had Jerry Jones gotten out of Jimmy Johnson's way and let him run the Cowboys' football operations department concerned with who was on the team and so forth and let Jerry worry about what Jerry is good at, which is managing the finances.

Jerry Jones had and still has the title of General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys even though he is also the owner of the franchise. But everyone in and around the NFL, and the fans as well, knew who was calling the football personal shots in Dallas, which was Jimmy because Jimmy was making the personal decisions, which was part of his job and in his contract. Jerry handled the contract negotiations of players that Jimmy wanted to sign and bring back but the Cowboys of the 1990s were built by Jimmy Johnson.

Jerry Jones wasn't an NFL man before purchasing the Cowboys in 1989.   He was someone who learned very fast on the job, but Jimmy Johnson was his man to run the team and they had been childhood friends in Arkansas. Jerry knew Jimmy's college football career very well at Miami Florida and in Oklahoma and had the guy he wanted all along, but he couldn't handle Jimmy getting the credit for building the Cowboys and returning them to power in the 1990s.  That is why they broke up.

In 1989 Jimmy Johnson inherited a 3-13 Cowboys team from 1988 with a huge deficit when it came to talent, especially young talent and young veteran talent, with most of their star players making their mark in the 1970s and early 1980s. Jimmy saw this right away and decided that the best way to rebuild the Cowboys was to get worse before getting better and releasing or trading or asking veteran Cowboys to retire to make room for college draft picks and young talented free agents.

The Cowboys went from 1-15 in 1989 to 13-3 by 1992, winning back-to-back Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993 and doing it all through the draft and signing young talented free agents and trading for those players. That is how Jimmy Johnson rebuilt the Cowboys and he deserves most of the credit for this.  Had Jerry Jones' big fat ego not gotten in the way, Jimmy would be in Dallas probably 10 to 15 years and we are talking about perhaps the greatest NFL dynasty in history.


Stella Starlight: Video: BIO's Biography Program on Raquel Welch


When I think of Raquel Welch, I think of a red-headed gorgeous baby-face goddess, at least at first sight, and she's all of that and I'm sure a lot more physically, but that is not the whole picture, as she says herself in this video. She's had a great career spanning over 50 years as a model, an actress, and a singer, as well as a dancer and now an author, and I'm not sure many people realize that because it is so hard to get pass her goddess-like physical appearance.

Raquel Welch now is not only better looking than most women young enough to be her daughter but even those young enough to be her granddaughter. She is now 73 years old and will be 74 this September, but you would never know that or even guess if you saw her for the first time today.  Again, that is not the whole picture when you talk about her movies, like Myra Breckinridge (based on Gore Vidal's book) or The Last of Sheila, with an all-star cast that included Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, James Mason, and Richard Benjamin, or Mother Jugs and Speed from 1976.

In the 1960s, when Raquel became a star similar to Marilyn Monroe, she was hired because of her incredible physical appearance, but by the 1970s she was getting very good parts with real substance, like The Last of Sheila, Mother Jugs and Speed, The Kansas City Bomber, and others, and embarking on a singing career. More people were beginning to see that she was more than just a goddess but a great entertainer as well.


Nevada Kubrick: The Candidate 1972- The Jarman-McKay Debate


Source: Nevada Kubrick-
Source: Nevada Kubrick: The Candidate 1972- The Jarman-McKay Debate

Even with Bill McKay's wishy-washy answer to the first question in this debate, this is still my favorite scene in a great movie about the classic underdog Bill McKay, played by Robert Redford against classic establishment incumbent Crocker Jarman, played by Don Porter. One candidate, Bill McKay, except for school busing and abortion, two critical issues where he essentially dodged the questions, says what he thinks. The incumbent, Crocker Jarman, gave classic sound-bite answers allowing no insight into his philosophy.



Thomas G: Video: ABC News 1968 RNC Coverage Debate: The GOP Platform, Gore Vidal vs. William Buckley



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By 1968 the Republican Party was definitely moving right ideologically, with Barry Gooldwater and Ronald Reagan having enormous influence in bringing to the GOP what would be called conservative libertarians today. And Richard Nixon with his 1968 presidential campaign did a lot to bring in what is now called the Religious right, but the GOP still had a solid progressive faction led by Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York and others whom the GOP leadership had to take seriously.


Thomas G-ABC News 1968 RNC Coverage: Debate, Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley





The ultimate debate, when it comes to wit, humor, and intelligence was between Gore Vidal and Bill Buckley. You don't need a moderator in a debate like this and there really wasn't one, with Howard Smith letting Vidal and Buckley basically just go at it because the two men could carry the conversation by themselves and knew where to go and what they wanted to say. They also both listened to each other and knew how to respond to their opponent's legitimate points in an intelligent way.

It would be nice to see more debates like this, with two people literally just going at it and no one asking questions but just giving them topics to talk about.  They already knew what to say because they knew what they thought. That should go without saying, but a lot of politicians and candidates either don't know what they think or do not know how to express it in a way that doesn't hurt them politically, so they are afraid to say what they think.








The Federalist: Opinion- David Harsanyi- "Rand Paul is Right, Social Conservatives Should Embrace Libertarianism": Why Conservatives Shouldn't be at Odds with Libertarians


The Federalist: Opinion- David Harsanyi- Rand Paul is Right, Social Conservatives Should Embrace Libertarianism

I don't want to sound overly technical here but it all depends on what you mean by a social conservative. If you are talking about conservative, which means to conserve, then from a political standpoint that means being in favor of conserving social freedom, which is the ability of people to manage their own own lives without big government interfering. If this is what a social conservative is, then great, I give you Rand Paul, and conservatives and libertarians should be able to work well together.

Conservatives like to talk about the dangers of big government, and if you are a conservative, at least in the American sense, then you are opposed to big government interference in our economic and personal lives. If you are worried about government interference and you want to conserve your freedom, meaning to limit the size of government, then you should not be in favor of a Federal marriage amendment because you believe marriage is a State issue, to use one example. Why? Because conservatives are also Federalists, who believe in States' rights and local control.

But if we are talking about religious conservatives and how they relate to libertarians, then we are talking about a whole new ballgame because what is conservative politically is not always conservative religiously. Yes, if you are a conservative, political or religious, you believe in conserving life, and I know of some religious conservatives who are opposed to the death penalty as well as abortion, for example.

But with issues like marriage, privacy, pornography, women's place in the world, if you are a religious conservative, you are interested in conserving how society as it was previously and seriously putting limits on these areas to preserve our moral health. However, if you are a political conservative you probably believe this is not the business of government, especially the Federal government, to oversee what free adults do in the privacy of their own homes.

The Republican Party at its best going forward, if it wants to remain a major party, will be conservative libertarian with the potential for growth because it then would be able to compete with the Democratic Party throughout the country and probably continue to have a strong base in the South, with religious conservatives who will have nowhere else to go and with young people who are managing and running businesses including their own and do not want big government interfering in their economic or personal lives.  With a coalition like this, the GOP would do very well in the future.

There should be no friction between conservatives and libertarians because they tend to believe in the same things although differ when it comes to national security and foreign policy. However, the real friction will continue to be between libertarians and the Christian right, who for obvious reasons will never get along very well because libertarians see government at all levels as too big and the Religious right sees government as too small as it relates to our personal lives.


Casino: Bio's Bill Kurtis Las Vegas and the Mob- The Mafia Presence






Las Vegas and Southern Nevada in general became a personal State for the Italian and Jewish mafias, an area they developed and owned by means of legitimate investments in Vegas that served as a cover for their criminal activities, turning Vegas into a bank they could use to fund their criminal operations but also to buy the politicians and public officials needed to keep law enforcement off their backs.

Then you add the crooked elements of organized labor in the 1940s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and perhaps even longer than that with Jimmy Hoffa, Sr., and company, which had all the resources they needed not only to stay in business but also to keep the politicians and public officials at bay and to send the message through their henchmen and hit men that messing with them would have a heavy price in terms of lives lost or ruined.

Las Vegas is the ultimate story of starting from scratch and building a major city with all the investments, businesses, and land as well as people to maintain these operations. The American mafia, Italian and Jewish for the most part, had a huge role in this along with the people they brought with them. As in government and organized labor, it took really clean, powerful people unconcerned about whether the mafia would destroy them to bring down these characters.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Profiles in History: Video: Marilyn Monroe's Subway Dress From The Seven Year Itch



One of the most famous scenes in Hollywood history happened in one of the most conservative times in American history, the 1950s, when women weren't expected to show off their physical beauty and were looked down upon when they did. In this scene, the goddess of Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe, showed millions of people around the world part of what she had to work with from a physical standpoint and a big reason why she was so popular.


Movie Clips: Vertigo 1958- Judy Jumps


Source: Movie Clips-Jimmy Stewart-
Source: Movie Clips: Vertigo 1958- Judy Jumps

The movie Vertigo had several sad scenes.  Madeline, played by Kim Novak, supposedly dies  and Scotty, played by Jimmy Stewart, who was in love with Madeline,  is committed to a mental hospital because of his reaction to her death.  But Judy, also played by Kim Novak, a goddess of a women dies for real.  She is my favorite character in the movie because with all the supposed freedom in the world,  she was so vulnerable.


VOA News: Video: Luis Ramirez: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Plans Biggest Army Cuts Since World War II



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Secretary Hagel's proposed cuts in the defense budget address activities that the United States can no longer afford and no longer needs to be doing. This is not about making the United States weaker when it comes to national security and not being able to successfully deal with any threat in the world whether it is North Korea or international terrorism or being able to deal with humanitarian crisies that come up when authoritarian states murder and brutalize their own people.


Retro Trailer Spot: The Candidate 1972- A Campaigner Takes on The Establishment



I love the movie The Candidate for several reasons.  Perhaps the main one is that it has given me an idea for a book about an anti-establishment liberal candidate or perhaps a John McCain Conservative Republican. They face each other in the general election with the anti-establishment candidate  beating the establishment, talking point, sound-bite, candidate who always plays it safe in hopes of offending the fewest.

The Candidate is a movie about a little guy running against  big time politicians and the big time political establishment in the Democratic Party. He's Bill MacKay, played by Robert Redford, running against his own party and against Mr. Establishment,  U.S. Senator Crocker Jarman played by Don Porter. McKay's campaign manager played by Peter Boyle is part of that Democratic establishment but wants to run an outsiders campaign without allowing the outsider MacKay to get too far out in left field. You see these two men fighting  against each other in the campaign.

The outsider Bill MacKay runs his campaign based  on his beliefs.  He gives voters a  good idea of who he is and speaks his mind.  He probably doesn't use a speechwriter for the whole campaign.  His opponent, three-term incumbent U.S. Senator Crocker Jarman just tries to be likable expressing traditional America values, speaking mostly to older voters.  He says you should reelect me because I stand up for America etc.



Movie Clips: Vertigo 1958- Judy Become Madeleine


Source: Movie Clips- Kim Novak-
Source: Movie Clips: Vertigo 1958- Judy Becomes Madeleine

Scotty played by Jimmy Stewart falls in love with Madeleine played by Kim Novak who also happens to be the wife of a client of Scotty's who is a private detective conducting and investigation of Madeleine for Madeleine's husband. Madeleine apparently dies but not really and Scotty finds a women who looks a lot like Madeleine only she has red hair instead of blonde and he becomes obsessed with Judy the red head because she reminds her so much of Madeleine but Judy and Madeleine are the same women.


Conza 88: Video: Murray Rothbard on Neoconservatives



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Except for Jack Kemp, who definitely wasn't a Neoconservative but a Barry Goldwater/Ronald Reagan get big government out of my wallet and bedroom classical Conservative, Murray Rothbard pretty much nails what Neoconservatives are when he called them statists and I would add right-wing statists, in fact, borderline fascists.

Neoconservatives basically represent the neo-right in America.  They say economic freedom is a good thing generally but that low-income people should benefit from it as well.  They are not completely against the safety net. When it comes to things like education and job training and encouraging business's to invest in low-income areas, they are somewhat progressive.

But when it comes to foreign policy they believe America is the sole superpower and should always remain that way at any cost.  They tend to judge military power by the size of the national security budget.  They ignore the the details of capabilities and threats and cannot articulate any specific objectives of military action.  They see America's number one job in the world as the military  promotion of a very general notion of democracy even in places where the people have no experience of it and no knowledge of how to participate in it..

The American religious-right believes that the country has been going downhill morally since the 1960s and that we have too much personal freedom.  They believe that it is time for government to intervene in personal behavior even inside of the home.

When I think of Neoconservatives, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum come to mind pretty quickly.  Representative Bachmann would like to see a much smaller government when it comes to economic policy than Senator Santorum who is a true Neo-Con, across the board.  

 The Heritage Foundation is perhaps the lead organization in Neoconservative thinking.


Monday, February 24, 2014

PBS: Video: NewsHour: Shields and Brooks on Ukraine, Trade Policy & the Minimum Wage



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As far as Ukraine goes, I think Mark Shields had the best line when he said that all we can do is hope for the best there. And that means some peaceful agreement that calls for real elections, with the opposition having a real shot at winning, not stealing or having the elections stolen from them, but actually winning the elections with the ruling party, with the current Ukrainian administration accepting the results of the elections, and that means stepping down from power if they lose or continue to govern if they win.

As far as free trade goes, something I tend to favor, especially as someone who lives in a country of 310 million people that is part of a world of six billion people, we simply can't afford to close our borders. Our companies and economy, including workers, would be denied billions of dollars every year for not trading with other countries that can afford to buy our products.  I think even organized labor now understands that we must trade with other countries.

The real question is how you trade with other countries and have trade agreements that give your products the same access in foreign markets as foreign countries have in this country. Do you encourage companies, foreign and domestic, to invest in America or take those jobs overseas? So of course I want free trade, but we also need to stop encouraging companies to send good American jobs overseas in order for trade to work for America.

The Book Archive-C-SPAN: BookNotes- Strom Thurmond Biography From 1993: The Politics of Southern Change





The best thing I can say about Senator Strom Thurmond, as someone who is not a fan, is that he was a reformed segregationist who reformed his views and rhetoric as the predominant views changed, even in South Carolina, especially as African-Americans became more prominent there. Or perhaps he changed his views because he believed he made mistakes in the past, but he changed his views to the point that he could be reelected in South Carolina overwhelmingly, including winning over African-American voters.

Senator Thurmond is one of the last of the Dixiecrats, those who would be considered perhaps far-right Republicans today in the South. But up until 1970 or so, Dixiecrats were a major part of the Democratic coalition of people who were Federalists, up to the point that they believed that States could deny people access because of race and had the right to run segregated institutions, and State's rights, as they saw it, outweighed constitutional and individual rights.



AP: Video: Democratic Governors Push for Minimum Wage Hike



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I'm all in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; actually I would even go up to 12.00 dollars an hour over a 5-year period and even index the minimum wage for inflation so it keeps up with cost of living increases, just as long as it comes with a 30-percent tax break for small employers and nonprofit employers, who are responsible to their employees and customers but simply can't afford big increases to their payrolls. If you increased the minimum wage this way, you would get some Republican votes for it as well and get it passed in more places.


Rebuild The Dream-CNN: Crossfire- Debating The Minimum Wage



Source: Rebuild The Dream- Economist Stephen Moore-
Source: Rebuild The Dream-CNN: Crossfire- Debating The Minimum Wage

You would think people who call themselves Conservatives (and I say that because it is debatable whether these people are conservatives), you would think these so-called Conservatives who are opposed to public assistance, or even the minimum wage would be in favor of raising it modestly. Because it would mean these workers would have more income to pay their own bills and as a result need less in public assistance. If you're opposed to Welfare in general, then that means corporate welfare as well. Which is welfare (or subsidies) that go to business's and even individuals, simply for just being successful. To oil companies simply for drilling oil in America. Which would be just one example. Or allowing a rich individual to right off their losses when their business goes into the ground. But another example of corporate welfare would be public assistance. That is financial assistance for low-income workers who are simply not paid enough money by their employers to allow for them to live independently and live in freedom. That allows for business's to pass on the cost of their employees to taxpayers. Business's pay their low-income workers very little and as a result their cost of doing business goes on to the back of hard-working middle class Americans. Which is another form of welfare.




Thom Hartmann: Video: Mike Papantonio: Our Looming Judicial Crisis



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At risk of sounding completely inside the beltway and like a congressional junky who knows too much about U.S. Senate rules, Senate Democrats should consider a new rule and even do it with a 51-vote majority necessary and make it permanent:   If you don't show up to vote, you lose your vote and the committee, in this case the Judiciary Committee, will move on without you and vote on these nominees.

Five years ago I would never have guessed that Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, would be so irresponsible an obstructionist that he would go to such lengths to stop President Obama from getting his appointments through the Senate as to tell his members of the Judiciary Committee not to show up to vote because that is the only way to stop the President from getting his appointments through.  That is assuming Senator Grassley is behind this immature strategy; I simply don't know that yet.


CBS Sports: NFL 1979-NFL Today-Week-Halftime Highlights, September 30, 1979






I take away from this video a few things. The Tampa Buccaneers were not only a playoff contender in 1979 but made the NFC Playoffs by winning the NFC Central, and this was a club that lost its first 17 games in franchise history from 1976 to 1977. The New Orleans Saints were an actual playoff contender in 1979 as well even though they had 12 straight non-winning seasons before 1979 and never even had a winning season before in franchise history, but they came up a little short in 1979, finishing at 8-8.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reason: Opinion: Cathy Young: The Far-Left Still Harbors a Soft Spot For Communism


Reason: Opinion: Cathy Young: The Far-Left Still Harbors a Soft Spot For Communism

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I'm not trying to claim that the mainstream far left in America, if there is such a thing, are Communists. But what I am going to imply and frankly just state is that the far left in America for whatever the reasons, and we can speculate why, has a hard time saying that big government dictatorial totalitarian statist philosophies are not only just wrong but also have done a lot of damage throughout the world, whether it was the Communist Republics of the Twentieth Century or the theocratic and military states of this century.  Americans on the far left have a hard time saying those regimes deserve to criticized.

Far left magazines like Salon or The Nation or The AlterNet, when topics come up focusing on the awful damage that these authoritarian states have done, whether it is the Communist Republic of Korea or the Communist Republic of China, which I call that it, or the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Communist Republic of Cuba just 100 miles south of Miami, Florida, or Hugo Chavez's Venezuela do not acknowledge the obvious and say that those regimes are disreputable and should be shunned.  They instead point to the damage the West, especially America, has done even though it is a liberal democracy.

The far left is the "blame the America first crowd," because we are the military and foreign policy and economic superpower, even if China passes us with a larger economy. We'll still dwarf them when it comes to standard of living and per capita income, probably for the rest of this century. They like to put America down because of these things but also because we are not a socialist republic or a social democracy.  We are not Scandinavia and we allow all sorts of debate, speech, opposition, and points of view instead of closing off opposition speech as in Venezuela.

There was a post in Salon about a month or so ago that is on this blog arguing in favor of nationalizing the news in America because of the success of FOX News. The far-left radio talk show host Thom Hartmann, again about a month ago, which is also on this blog, was arguing in favor of abolishing the Right to Self Defense, the Second Amendment. That is where the far left in America is and they are not Progressives, but people who believe there is just too much private and individual power and that government needs to take much of that away.  They are now sounding like Communists and the Left's version of the Christian Right than they sound like Democrats.


NFL Films: Video: ESPN: NFL 1972-This Week in Pro Football-Week 10



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How good would the New England Patriots have been in the 1970s had they just been able to protect the great talented quarterback Jim Plunkett, who had all the tools in the world to be a great quarterback but never had a good offensive line or running game while in Boston and was always under pressure, having to get himself back up with all of the punishment he took for the Patriots. If he had had a solid offense around him, he probably would not have ended up a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Raiders.

NFL J Plunkett NE card-bj


Townhall: Opinion: Daniel J. Mitchell: "Is America Doomed to Become a Failed European-Style Welfare State?": How Public Sectors Effect Economic Growth


Townhall: Opinion: Daniel J. Mitchell: Is America Doomed to Become a Failed European-Style Welfare State?

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One thing I tend to agree on with Progressive economists on is that there isn't any magic number to attach to how big the public sector has to be or how small it has to be that is the signal that government is too big and must be trimmed down. Before the Great Recession, America was doing very well economically for about 25 years, with a few slow-downs in between and periods of high unemployment, with our public sector to Gross Domestic Product ratio somewhere around 20 percent. The European Union as a whole did well economically also, especially Germany, with its public sector to GDP ratio around 45 percent during the same time period. And Scandinavia, among  the biggest governments in the developed world during the same period, grew well at around 65 to 70 percent.

When it comes to economic growth and the public sector, it is all about what you need government to do. What do people need to do for themselves and what do government and the people need when it comes to resources to be able to do for themselves so the society as a whole can prosper?With Scandinavia being rich in natural resources and land and with its socialist culture, it can afford expansive welfare states that come with higher taxes because it also has very small populations.

This situation is similar to Canada's but if you actually looked at the Canadian federal budget, the size of its government is not that much different fromAmerica's, the difference being that it has a much smaller national security budget and spends a lot more on public social insurance programs and on infrastructure.  Canada also has a great deal of land and is energy independent.  It also has a small population considering the vast physical size of the country.

America is different because we are rich in land and in natural resources but for whatever reason, we are still importing a hell of a lot of oil and gas when we are capable of producing all of the natural resources in the world, including oil and gas, and even though we are a country of 310 million people, we have thousands of square miles of land with very few people, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah. And we could easily produce all of the energy we need for ourselves if we just got around to doing it

My point is that a Scandinavian welfare state, considering the size of our population and the fact that we are still importing a hell of a lot of energy and have a large deficit when it comes to infrastructure, would not be the right economic model for us with those factors alone.  Since that is not the right economic model for us, it doesn't mean it can't work in other countries and has worked in other countries, but not all countries are the same and they have different needs and populations.

It's all about what government needs to do and what you need people to do for themselves and what businesses need to be productive and profitable. Once you get those factors figured out, then you get to how big the national government should be and how much it should tax to finance those operations that is consistent with strong economic and job growth, where most of the country has well-paid jobs and can pay its bills without government overtaxing it.






RT: Video: The Big Picture: Thom Hartmann: "Time for White Americans to Wake the Hell Up"



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What Thom Hartmann doesn't mention that is some of the stereotypes of the African-American community get positive play in the hip-hop community, a community that obviously has huge influence over the African-American community when it comes to music, movies, lifestyle, clothing, and I could go on but I'll spare you. But also it has to do with what hip-hoppers like to call Thug Life or Gangsta Life, and young African-American men especially see this and decide that this is how they want to be and to be seen and tend to be successful at achieving that.

Mr. Hartmann is not making any news here because, of course, people are people and just a small percentage of people of all races, not just Caucasians, see people as members of groups that should be avoided. We should all just be treated as individuals and not members of groups, which is one of my core values as a liberal. But no one race in America has a monopoly when it comes to racism and having racist views and no one race in America has a monopoly when it comes to the effects of being looked at stereotypically.

The far left doesn't seem to understand that no one race in America has a monopoly when it comes to stereotyping one race of people. I mean, if you want to use the cab driver analogy when it comes to African-American men, with Black men, let's say not being able to get a cab because of their skin color, well guess what, not all cab drivers, in case you are not that experienced with cabs, are Caucasian and a lot of them are South Asian or Native African, such as Ethiopian, or Middle Eastern, and African-American, who are turned down for cabs by people of various races.

And it's not just one race of people who are guilty of stereotyping and it is not just racial minorities who are victims of racial stereotyping. Caucasians get stereotyped, especially if they are from the South or rural America, as being bigots across the board by people not from their culture and lifestyle. Or they get stereotyped as Ivy League or rich and they are stereotyped by people from the media and even from their own race.

Latino is not a race, but Latino men and women in this group are stereotyped as illegal immigrants and people on welfare are stereotyped as as car thieves. And not just by Caucasians and Asians, Orientals especially are stereotyped as being brilliant or intellectual and not being American, who can't speak English, and again not just by Caucasians. So racial profiling and racism are all around us, practiced by all sorts of Americans and are something in America that the far left needs to understand if they are truly interested in racial equality.  Stereotyping by perceived good qualities may be just as negative as stereotyping by perceived bad qualities.


The Onion: Open Relationship Gives Couple Freedom To Emotionally Drain Other People




Source: The Onion-
Source: The Onion: Open Relationship Gives Couple Freedom To Emotionally Drain Other People

Sure, why take your frustrations out on your spouse when you can take them out on your mistress. Instead, you could just say, "Honey, look, I don't want to argue this with you," and go meet your mistress and have it out with her instead and then if there's anything you didn't cover with her, your wife will be there at home for you to finish off your critical arguments about whose turn it was to wash the dishes or pick up the kids from school or pay the monthly porno bill. Marriage is just to valuable of an institution to waste badgering your own spouse. Especially when you have so many women who are free (and need money) and you just meet them instead and take out your frustrations on them. And leave the important discussions about who should pick up Johnny and Sally from their soccer practice. Who should cook dinner, who should answer the phone and really go at each other on such life and death important issues like that. And leave the real arguments about who is spending too much money on the credit card with your mistress. And go off on her about spending so much money on fur coats, jewelry, weekend getaways, etc.

The New Republic: Opinion: Sean Mcelwee: "Republicans Focus on Mobility Over Inequality Has a Major Flaw": How Social Mobility Lead to Income Equality


The New Republic: Opinion: Sean Mcelwee: Republicans Focus on Mobility Has a Major Flaw

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Economic mobility is the ability of people to move up in the economic system, to see their income increase, allowing them to live in freedom without the government benefits that Sean Mcelwee talks about in his column in The New Republic today.  They can pay for those things themselves and decide where they get those services because they have the resources and the options to choose how to get the services that they need to live well.

I agree that it is a good thing that Republicans, especially House Republicans and a few Senate Republicans, are talking about social mobility and are finally putting some serious proposals on the table as they relate to the Earned Income Tax Credit. Even though I wouldn't say this is the cure-all to solving the income gap problem, a term I prefer over income inequality, I wouldn't just throw out everything they are talking about and put it in the garbage either.

When you talk about the income gap and, more broadly, poverty in America, you must first decide whether you believe in social mobility, because you can't be in favor of creating more public benefits and telling people in poverty that the taxpayers will take care of them and on the other hand believe in social mobility and empowering people to be able to take care of themselves so they can move up the economic ladder on their own. That means providing education, job training, and work experience so people at the bottom can acquire the skills needed to become socially mobile.

For people to become socially mobile, they need additional skills to get themselves another good job, perhaps in a different field. They need job training and education, and people on welfare who aren't working and have paper-thin resumes, if that, also need job experience, even at a entry level job, so they can gain the experience they need to move up in that field.

If you are not interested in social mobility and would like to see a grand welfare state where government provides most of the benefits for people, especially on the lower end of the economic ladder, then you aren't talking about social mobility and the ability of people to move up on their own without public assistance. You are talking about an expansive welfare state social democracy, which is very different.


Stella Starlight: Video: BIO's Ann Margret Biography



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To put it simply Ann Margret is one of the best looking sexy babes of all time.  I don't know if that has to do with her Swedish-Nordic ethnicity or the smooth skin Scandinavians are known for, or because she had great parents or has just taken great care of herself over the years, but that is exactly what she is, one of the hottest babes who ever lived, in the same class as Raquel Welch, Gena Rowlands, Barbara Eden, Sophia Loren, and others.

And what I mean by that is not just the babyface looks and the great body but how long she's remained a sexy babe.  In the movie Grumpy Old Men from 1993, she's 52 and still turning men on. Yes, that is a movie, but it is also reality in the sense that she still had that in her fifties. And you throw in the fact that she's able to combine those looks and body with her singing and acting and who wouldn't watch or listen to her?.

There are not many entertainers who deserve the term "the total package," meaning someone who is very good at everything, but it applies to Ann Margret because that is exactly what she is, someone who is physically a goddess but also a great professional talent, a great singer, dancer and very good actress as well. She also knows how to use her incredible sex appeal to enhance her films without looking like a slut.


RT: Video: The Big Picture: John Farrell: What is Energy Decentralization?



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This sounds very interesting, because instead of talking about nationalizing energy or State or local governments turning energy companies into government-owned agencies, John Farrell is saying the opposite.  Instead of creating a new government or public or private monopoly, he's talking about ways to empower individuals and private groups to provide their own energy rather than use the energy provided by a public or private monopoly.

I've been thinking about this for about 7 years now I guess, as a native Marylander and still a Maryland resident who lives halfway between Maine and Florida, meaning we can get both Arctic weather in the winter and Caribbean hot and humid weather in the summer, which means northeasterly blizzards in the winter and long heat waves in the summer with no rain.  When we finally get rain, it comes as a violent storm that wipes out much of our power.

The State of Maryland has one private utility company, Pepco, which is responsible for all of the electricity for the State, meaning it has no competition and no incentive to be efficient. It provides lousy service to say the least, and on several occasions in the last few years, as in the July 2012 heat wave, we were out of power for about a week in a 100-degree heat wave because Pepco was unprepared to handle power outages for a State of 6 million people all by itself.