Friday, September 21, 2012

Disdain For Workers...

By Paul Krugman September 20, 2012 By now everyone knows how Mitt Romney, speaking to donors in Boca Raton, washed his hands of almost half the country — the 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes — declaring, “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” By now, also, many people are aware that the great bulk of the 47 percent are hardly moochers; most are working families who pay payroll taxes, and elderly or disabled Americans make up a majority of the rest. But here’s the question: Should we imagine that Mr. Romney and his party would think better of the 47 percent on learning that the great majority of them actually are or were hard workers, who very much have taken personal responsibility for their lives? And the answer is no. For the fact is that the modern Republican Party just doesn’t have much respect for people who work for other people, no matter how faithfully and well they do their jobs. All the party’s affection is reserved for “job creators,” a k a employers and investors. Leading figures in the party find it hard even to pretend to have any regard for ordinary working families — who, it goes without saying, make up the vast majority of Americans. Am I exaggerating? Consider the Twitter message sent out by Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader, on Labor Day — a holiday that specifically celebrates America’s workers. Here’s what it said, in its entirety: “Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success.” Yes, on a day set aside to honor workers, all Mr. Cantor could bring himself to do was praise their bosses. Lest you think that this was just a personal slip, consider Mr. Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. What did he have to say about American workers? Actually, nothing: the words “worker” or “workers” never passed his lips. This was in strong contrast to President Obama’s convention speech a week later, which put a lot of emphasis on workers — especially, of course, but not only, workers who benefited from the auto bailout. And when Mr. Romney waxed rhapsodic about the opportunities America offered to immigrants, he declared that they came in pursuit of “freedom to build a business.” What about those who came here not to found businesses, but simply to make an honest living? Not worth mentioning. Needless to say, the G.O.P.’s disdain for workers goes deeper than rhetoric. It’s deeply embedded in the party’s policy priorities. Mr. Romney’s remarks spoke to a widespread belief on the right that taxes on working Americans are, if anything, too low. Indeed, The Wall Street Journal famously described low-income workers whose wages fall below the income-tax threshold as “lucky duckies.” What really needs cutting, the right believes, are taxes on corporate profits, capital gains, dividends, and very high salaries — that is, taxes that fall on investors and executives, not ordinary workers. This despite the fact that people who derive their income from investments, not wages — people like, say, Willard Mitt Romney — already pay remarkably little in taxes. Where does this disdain for workers come from? Some of it, obviously, reflects the influence of money in politics: big-money donors, like the ones Mr. Romney was speaking to when he went off on half the nation, don’t live paycheck to paycheck. But it also reflects the extent to which the G.O.P. has been taken over by an Ayn Rand-type vision of society, in which a handful of heroic businessmen are responsible for all economic good, while the rest of us are just along for the ride. In the eyes of those who share this vision, the wealthy deserve special treatment, and not just in the form of low taxes. They must also receive respect, indeed deference, at all times. That’s why even the slightest hint from the president that the rich might not be all that — that, say, some bankers may have behaved badly, or that even “job creators” depend on government-built infrastructure — elicits frantic cries that Mr. Obama is a socialist. Now, such sentiments aren’t new; “Atlas Shrugged” was, after all, published in 1957. In the past, however, even Republican politicians who privately shared the elite’s contempt for the masses knew enough to keep it to themselves and managed to fake some appreciation for ordinary workers. At this point, however, the party’s contempt for the working class is apparently too complete, too pervasive to hide. The point is that what people are now calling the Boca Moment wasn’t some trivial gaffe. It was a window into the true attitudes of what has become a party of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy, a party that considers the rest of us unworthy of even a pretense of respect. Wrap...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mitt and the Bad Things...

September 19, 2012 Our topic for today is: When Bad Things Happen to Mitt Romney by Gail Collins. Really, it’s been the worst run of disasters this side of the Mayan calendar. The Republicans’ woes started last Friday, when Ann and Mitt filmed a TV interview in which they entertained the kind of personal questions that most candidates learned to avoid after Bill Clinton did that boxers-versus-briefs thing. Asked what he wears to bed, Mitt said: “I think the best answer is: as little as possible.” Euww. Then, over the weekend, Romney aides began spilling their guts about how other staffers had screwed up the Republicans’ bounce-free convention. In an attempt to change the conversation, the campaign announced that it had just realized the nation wants Romney to say what he’d actually do as president. Voters “are eager to hear more details about policies to turn our economy around,” said an adviser, Ed Gillespie. In search of just such specificity, the scoop-hungry Christian Broadcasting Network asked Paul Ryan if he would continue refusing to identify exactly what tax loopholes the Romney administration would close in order to turn our economy around. “Yes,” said Ryan, who then veered into a disquisition about something that once happened to Tip O’Neill. You may be wondering whatever became of Ryan, who was such a big sensation when Romney first picked him as a running mate. Since Tampa, he seems to have fallen off the face of the earth, resurfacing every now and then to put up another ad for re-election to his House seat in Wisconsin. It’s not all that unusual for a vice-presidential candidate to go low-profile. And it is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors! Next, Mother Jones published that video of the fund-raiser in Boca Raton in which Romney said that 47 percent of the country is composed of moochers who want to confiscate the earnings of hard-working stockbrokers and spend it on caviar and dialysis treatments. “So my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney decreed, undoubtedly more in sorrow than in anger. Then, Republican Senate candidates in tight races began distancing themselves from the top of the ticket. Ann Romney suggested Mitt was “taken out of context,” in what was undoubtedly meant as a helpful comment. “All of us make mistakes,” said President Obama, in what probably wasn’t. “Obviously inarticulate,” decreed Paul Ryan, popping up from a gopher hole somewhere in Nevada. The fund-raiser, a $50,000-a-pop sit-down dinner, was hosted by Marc Leder, a financier who The New York Post reported as having a “wild party” last summer in the Hamptons “where guests cavorted nude in the pool” while “scantily dressed Russians danced on platforms.” You cannot blame Romney for that. If presidential candidates had to avoid all multimillionaires who held parties with naked guests and Russians on platforms, there would be no money for misleading TV commercials. The video was a reminder of how ghastly this business of running for president can be. The guests seemed more interested in the breadbasket than the candidate. Romney was blathering away in the manner of somebody trying to stay awake during the 12th hour of a cross-country drive. On Tuesday, moving to tamp down criticism that he was a conversational disaster area, Romney told Fox’s Neil Cavuto: “Well, we were, of course, talking about a campaign and how he’s going to get close to half the votes. I’m going to get half the vote, approximately. I hope — I want to get 50.1 percent or more.” With that out of the way, Romney explained that his real point had not been to criticize people who don’t pay income taxes, but merely to point out that he wanted them to make more money. “I think people would like to be paying taxes,” added the quarter-billionaire whose own eagerness to be part of the solution is a matter of public record. How did he let things slip out of control? Maybe the answer lies back with that Ann-and-Mitt interview, which was on “Live With Kelly and Michael.” Asked about his preferences when it came to heroines of low-end reality TV shows, the future presidential candidate enthusiastically announced: “I’m kind of a Snooki fan. Look how tiny she’s gotten. She’s lost weight and she’s energetic. I mean, just her sparkplug personality is kind of fun.” It could be worse. He could have announced that he enjoys spending his free hours watching “Hoarders” marathons. But, still, it’s weird that Mitt Romney appears to think a lot about Snooki. Is it possible that while he’s being dragged around from one fund-raiser to the next, he spends his spare time watching “Jersey Shore” reruns in the limo? That would explain so much. Wrap...

Sunday, September 16, 2012


KILL THE DEATH PENALTY by Keith Taylor Don't hold your breath but it is possible Californians will finally join several other progressive, freethinking states and repeal one of the dumbest laws in the nation? The local ACLU and a few other outfits have placed a referendum on the November ballot which will not only save us more than $150 million per year, it will allow us to hold up our heads with the dignity of acting rationally. If the referendum flies, we will have done away with the California death penalty -- a no-brainer in a world dominated by religious fervor. The referendum will not turn killers loose, but it will make them spend their lives in prison rather than just sit around death row while waiting interminably to be executed. The measure sounds good even the conservatives could get on board. They talk of saving money and here is their chance. Capital punishment costs billions of dollars over the years, even if it is almost never carried out. That ought to be a enough to get the attention even of a tea partier. Or maybe not . Californians showed their sympathies back in 1977 just as soon as the Supreme court decided strapping a person in a chair and poisining him (sometimes her) wasn't cruel and inhuman after all. The state considered, at least by its own citizens, the most progressive in the country recalled three members of the state Supreme Court in 1986, including the chief justice, Rose Bird, for overturning the decisions of jurors and halting their executions. Ironically the California "supremes" were following the mandate of the Federal Supreme Court which ruled courts could not dismiss jurors who did not believe in the death penalty. But the nuances of the law didn't matter. Our message to the world was pure Tea Party Rhetoric: we don't want no wimps thwarting our right to kill people. If it's any consolation, Texans, especially their governor, look even more irrational. Governor Rick Perry broke George Bush's personal record for killing people and is proceeding apace. Perry had already stated that executions don't bother him a bit. Perhaps he's becoming inured to killing. He holds the modern record for it at 236, and his most loyal followers love him for it. Such is politics in America today. Bill Clinton once left a campaign to hurry home to Arkansas so he could ensure the execution of a fellow with an IQ so low he didn't understand he was sentenced to die. As they marched him off to the execution chamber he saved the dessert from his last meal for later. Our much maligned uber liberal politician took a short cut through civilized behavior on his way to high office. But some see the light. Thirteen men on death row in Illinois were found to be innocent, no thanks to the government which sent them there. No, these guys were exonerated by members of a college journalism class. Then, Governor Ryan, a conservative no less, halted all pending executions. Ryan followed with a push for Illinois to join the states who don't have it as an option. Despite the stark evidence that innocent people can be sentenced to death, his legislature refused to enact a law prohibiting it. Death penalty tells us: "According to a survy of the former and present presidents of the country's top academic criminological societies, 88% of these experts rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder." I shudder at this frenzy to kill people. My biggest objection is not limited to what it does to those executed. It is what it does to otherwise ordinary citizens. When he was Texas governor, George W. Bush mocked convicted killer Karla Faye Tucker because she pled for mercy. Then he invoked the name of God in allowing the execution to be carried out. Bush and God were a fearsome combination when it came to carrying out the more stringent edicts of the good book. On December 13th 2005, the deposed mayor of San diego got in his licks at Tookie Williams's execution at San Quinton. Roger Hedgecock who had been arguing in favor of the execution, read a parady of The Night Before Chistmas." The goulish parady ended with Tookie squealed like a pig when they gave him the needle. Even killers are people. Their deaths should not be mocked. California should join the seventeen states which have abolished the death penalty. It's time Americans grow up and stop celebrating the things which deamean us. //Keith Taylor is a retired navy officer living in Chula Vista. He can be reached at Wrap...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Rick Anderson... Rick's blog is well worth reading. He's a former Maryland State Trooper and after that, worked with the Fed. Air Marshalls. Might have been the guy sitting next to you on that plane flight, but you'd never have known it. :))) He's also a novelist. Heaven knows he has plenty to write about...and time to kill since he's now retired and lives in Florida. At least he says he's retired. Wrap...

Friday, September 07, 2012

Drones in USA...Above Us...

Secrecy News Blog: DRONES IN DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS, AND MORE FROM CRS "The prospect of drone use inside the United States raises far-reaching issues concerning the extent of government surveillance authority, the value of privacy in the digital age, and the role of Congress in reconciling these issues," says a new report on the subject from the Congressional Research Service. "This report assesses the use of drones under the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness. A reviewing court's determination of the reasonableness of drone surveillance would likely be informed by location of the search, the sophistication of the technology used, and society's conception of privacy in an age of rapid technological advancement." "While individuals can expect substantial protections against warrantless government intrusions into their homes, the Fourth Amendment offers less robust restrictions upon government surveillance occurring in public places and perhaps even less in areas immediately outside the home, such as in driveways or backyards. Concomitantly, as technology advances, the contours of what is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment may adjust as people's expectations of privacy evolve." The new report reviews the relevant Fourth Amendment landscape, the current status of drone technology and applications, and pending legislation on the subject. A copy was obtained by Secrecy News. See Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses, September 6, 2012. Other noteworthy new CRS reports that Congress has declined to make publicly available include the following. The "Fiscal Cliff": Macroeconomic Consequences of Tax Increases and Spending Cuts, September 5, 2012 The War Powers Resolution: After Thirty-Eight Years, September 5, 2012 Stafford Act Declarations 1953-2011: Trends and Analyses, and Implications for Congress, August 31, 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius: Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate, September 3, 2012 Search and Seizure Cases in the October 2012 Term of the Supreme Court, September 4, 2012 _______________________________________________ Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists. The Secrecy News Blog is at:

Monday, September 03, 2012

This and That...

Some things just torque me. Like obituaries in newspapers. Someone in your family passes away, so you decide to write a short obituary...and then you check to see what the paper charges to print them. Holy shit! A bloomin' fortune! So many folks resort, as I did, to just a couple of lines...Name, birth & death date. That's about it. Perhaps they learned from Romney's Bain Capitol outfit. Wrap...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


ME AND THE MICK BY KEITH TAYLOR To the surprise of nobody, Mickey Mantle made it to the majors before I did. I hated him for that! When I was twenty-one and he twenty, The Mick was in "the show," and I was still trying to look nonchalant while hoping to be chosen as a right fielder in any pickup softball game. Now, an octogenarian, my chances of making it to the bigs are waning. Of course my rancor against the kid from Commerce was woefully misplaced. He, as they say, had the tools of greatness. My greatest athletic achievement was finishing a marathon the same day it started. I was reminded of all this when I read The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy. It was easy to hate Mantle. He was a Yankee, and Cub fans always hated Yankees, even those of us who lived in Indiana. Ivan Kern, the sage of my hometown of Sevastopol, allowed as to how, " If the Babe had called his shot, Charlie Root (Cub's pitcher) would'a knocked him on his fat ass." You had to believe Ivan. He remembered Tinkers to Evers to Chance. But, except for Cub fans, The Mick was a hero, albeit a tarnished one. Despite his angelic looks he was a very bad boy. Leavy's story is a starkly honest one, and certainly a discomfort to many of Mantle's teammates, friends, and, probably, Leavy herself. Take the story most often repeated in reviews of her book. When The Mick was in his fifties and working for a New Jersey casino, Leavy was trying to interview him one evening. He was, of course, dead drunk, but, of course, still on the make. While she was asking questions he decided to feel her up. His hand crept up the inside of her thighs. She wrote "I suppose I could look on the bright side: at least he passed out before he hit the jackpot." For years it was de rigueur in sports writing to protect athletes. Their foibles or even outrageous acts were ignored. A famous, possibly apocryphal, story dates back to the Babe himself. Lore has it that on a road trip, Ruth came running pell-mell and stark naked through the railroad car. He was closely pursued by a naked woman wielding a knife. One reporter turned to another and announced, "There goes another story we won't cover." And of course it was Mantle who broke the spell of discreet silence. He, along with many of his usual cohorts were at Manhattan's Copacabana night club when a fight broke out between the baseballers and some bowlers. It isn't clear who started it but it was a donnybrook. This time, luck wasn't on the side of the baseball guys. The press was there, but they weren't sports reporters. When the likes of Dorothy Kilgallen or Ed Sullivan got hold of a juicy tidbit the cat leaped out of the bag. I was a lifelong baseball fan, and had to appreciate his tremendous ability. On April 17, 1953 The Mick belted one out of Griffith Stadium in Washington. As it left the park, it nearly took the mustache off Mr. Boh in on the Bohemian Beer sign in left field. A publicist for the Yanks, Arthur Patterson, knew publicity, if not veracity. He tracked the ball down. It was in the custody of a kid. Patterson paid a dime, or maybe ten dollars, for the ball. He found where it landed and measured the distance It was 565 feet from home plate, or something like that. From this sprang the term "tape measure home run." Leavy spent twenty pages writing about it, every word interesting. Leavy can write. This lifelong baseball fan hit the jackpot in 1961. The Navy sent me to Brooklyn to be part of a pre-commissioning crew for a new communications ship being outfitted in the Navy Yard. It was subway ride from Flushing Avenue to the Taj Mahal of baseball up in the Bronx. Best of all, in those days before Steinbrenner, the Yanks admitted servicemen free. The season-long race between Mantle and Maris to break the Bambino's 60 home run mark was the stuff of high drama. Watching history up close was a heady experience, and I was watching someone I could relate to as a friend. But number seven didn't hit the sixty-first homer. He teammate, number nine, did. Mantle's body failed him again and he sat out the last of the season and most of the series. As The Mick suffered, a zillion of us fans followed his travails. On August 13, 1995 he died. By this time I had graduated from embellishing press releases to freelance writing. I belonged to a "read and critique" group. I decided to write a eulogy to my old friend and see if someone wanted to publish it. I had no idea it would happen, but when I read it to the group I started crying. Hell, I blubbered so much one of the women the group offered to finish reading it for me. As my old friend might have said, I felt like a fucking fool. Wrap...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Protection of Intelligence

From Secrecy News: DNI DIRECTIVE SEEKS TO TIGHTEN PROTECTION OF INTELLIGENCE Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper issued a directive earlier this month to improve the protection of intelligence information and to help prevent unauthorized disclosures. The newly revised Intelligence Community Directive 700 requires a new degree of collaboration between counterintelligence and security activities. While counterintelligence (CI) was scarcely mentioned in the previous version of the policy on protecting intelligence in 2007, it is now being elevated to a central role and integrated with security. "Together, CI and security provide greater protection for national intelligence than either function operating alone," the new directive states. In order to combat the insider threat of unauthorized disclosures, the directive prescribes that "all personnel with access to national intelligence... shall be continually evaluated and monitored...." But since there are more than a million government employees and contractors holding Top Secret clearances who are potentially eligible for access to intelligence information, it seems unlikely that any significant fraction of them can literally be "continually monitored." Still, that is now formally the objective. A copy of the June 7, 2012 directive on "Protection of National Intelligence" was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under the Freedom of Information Act. The new directive has been under development for at least several months. It was not specifically devised as a response to the latest controversy over leaks of classified information. It serves as a reminder that the implementation of revised policies to address unauthorized disclosures of classified information (including congressional action just last year to establish an "insider threat detection program") is ongoing, possibly obviating the need for new legislation. The Secrecy News Blog is at:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

From Amber to Anastasia: Looking at 50 Shades of Grey by Keith Taylor A recent erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey is about a woman named Anastasia Steele. It is another in the long list of what has come to be known as "bodice rippers." I remember Forever Amber, a salacious, shocking book published in 1944. That novel added to the uncertainties brought on by my puberty. Hitherto my biggest worry had been what Mom would think if a wet dream stained my shorts. My hormones were running wild and so was my imagination. Amber, the title character, was a young lass in 17th century England. I considered her lucky because she lost her virginity at age 16 while I, two years younger, saw no prospects of ever getting laid. Amber's life. as told by Kathleen Winsor, took her through late puberty and into her middle years by having one torrid adventure after the other. As a kid who learned "the facts of life" by listening to older boys and watching the animals, I was amazed a girl could do it so many times. As a Hoosier in a state where women weren't even supposed to cuss, I was further amazed a woman would write such stuff. Erotic writing didn't make the author popular in prim, Protestant northern Indiana. A visiting counselor, steeped in the religious mores of the heartland, visited our school and gave the assembly a lecture about the "questions we were afraid to ask." We were even allowed to submit questions anonymously and drop them into a box. The counselor would answer them publicly in the afternoon session. I was disappointed he didn't answer mine: "Are miss Tidmarsh's tits real?" We did learn that all school boys who had sex caught terrible venereal diseases, and all girls who did would never be respected thereafter. His notion of sex and respect was reflected by his comment about Kathleen Winsor. "She is just one of six (at that point) women who married Artie Shaw, the famous bandleader. I wondered how that was a problem but didn't ask. He'd already ignored by question about Miss Tidmarsh's boobs. Forever Amber, banned in fourteen states, was a godsend, and it was easy reading. The guy who stole it from a bookstore underlined all the good parts. I liked the orgasms best. Amber had lots of them. Winsor lived a long and disaster-free life. She left this world unscarred in 2004. She was also a trail blazer. A long list of bodice rippers, so-named because of the graphic illustrations on the covers, followed. Each tried to catch and hold in thrall a bit more of our baser instincts. Still, all were circumspect in their language. Common cuss words had yet to work their way into the vernacular of bodice rippers. Then, in 1951, along came James Jones with From Here to Maternity. Sergeant Warden uttered the ultimate obscene word when he went for a moonlight swim with his commanding officer's wife. Then he fucked her in the surf. Now, some sixty-seven years later, here's another author with yet another ripper. This time more than a bodice is ripped. This book features domination and clothes get torn -- all except Anastasia's panties. Sometimes he puts them in his pocket and he keeps them while they visit his mother. As with Winsor, whose first book was a huge best seller, Ms E. L. James hit the jackpot with her first. It was shocking enough to draw some haughty "tsk tsk" reviews, along with many positive ones. James' book sold ten million worldwide with two more coming up in the trilogy: -- . Fifty Shades Freed and Fifty Shades Darker. Anastasia was lucky to survive with her skin intact. Her playing field was moved from the boudoirs of auld England to the Red Room of Pain in a mansion in Seattle, USA! Otherwise, the resolute (perhaps depraved) reader of 50 Shades of Grey is offered a salacious book chronicling the dominance of a modern naïf dominated and tortured by an extremely wealthy young man. She loves hell out of it, perhaps because she had no idea that sex didn't require getting her pubes whacked with a whip. The author didn't say so but, Anastasia might have loved hell out of it because Christian lavished all sorts of expensive gifts on her, including an Audi. The naif described in "50 Shades" is an anomaly in today's America. As a beautiful university graduate she is not only still a virgin, she even never even dated. So far as the reader can tell, her closest association with sex is her favorite book Tess of the d'urbervilles. Tess was not a red hot mama herself. Unlike earlier erotic books Anbastasia does use the hitherto opprobrious word. She uttered the word "fuck" more times than I've done it.; A series of two-person orgies starts when the heroine interviews Christian Grey, super magnate of an undisclosed business conglomeration in the Emerald City for her college newspaper. The interview is special because Grey donated a million or so dollars to Washington State University, Vancouver. Their first sexual encounter followed about a day or so after the interview. It is special because it is about the only "vanilla" sex -- plain old screwing without punishment administered by whips, shackles, belts, even Christinan's open hand. Ana escaped the blandishments of pain because she was still a virgin. It wasn't a handicap to her appreciation for the act though. As did Amber sixty-eight years earlier she had a wowser orgasm the first time. Between erotic encounters she describes Grey's steely, often hooded, eyes and his clothing. She loves to describe his extensive wardrobe. Written the first person we don't learn as much about Ana's clothing except that he buys lots of them and that her panties always come off slowly by Christian's hands except when she first visits his mother. Then she puts them in Christian's pocket. Among her ten million readers, some surely weren't impressed by this new treatment of erotica. I'm one of them. Wrap....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Government Listening to You....

From Secrecy News: LOOPHOLE IN LAW MAY ALLOW WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE OF AMERICANS Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are divided over whether there is a loophole in current law which would permit government agencies to monitor the communications of American citizens without any kind of warrant or other judicial authorization. The dispute was presented but not resolved in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) Sunsets Extension Act, which would renew the provisions of the FISA Amendments Act through June 2017. "We have concluded... that section 702 [of the Act] currently contains a loophole that could be used to circumvent traditional warrant protections and search for the communications of a potentially large number of American citizens," wrote Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall. But Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Committee chair, denied the existence of a loophole. Based on the assurances of the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Community, she said that the Section 702 provisions "do not provide a means to circumvent the general requirement to obtain a court order before targeting a U.S. person under FISA." It is unclear from the public record which of these conflicting positions is more likely to be correct. Senators Wyden and Udall offered an amendment to explicitly prohibit searches of U.S. persons' communications that are incidentally gathered in the course of FISA surveillance of foreign persons abroad unless there is a warrant or other authorization permitting surveillance of that specific person, but their amendment was voted down in Committee by 13-2. "We have sought repeatedly to gain an understanding of how many Americans have had their phone calls or emails collected and reviewed under this statute, but we have not been able to obtain even a rough estimate of this number," Sens. Wyden and Udall wrote. An Inspector General review is now underway to determine whether it is feasible to estimate the number, Sen. Feinstein noted. See FAA Sunsets Extension Act of 2012, Senate Report 112-174, June 7, 2012. The first three semi-annual reports on compliance with the procedures of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act were recently released in redacted form by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Those reports generally found no evidence of "any intentional or willful attempts to violate or circumvent the requirements of the Act." On the other hand, "certain types of compliance incidents continue to occur, indicating the need for continued focus on measures to address underlying causes, including the potential need for additional measures." _______________________________________________ Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists. The Secrecy News Blog is at: Wrap...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kill the Death Penalty

KILL THE DEATH PENALTY by Keith Taylor Don't hold your breath but it is possible Californians will finally repeal one of the dumbest laws in the nation? The ACLU and other so-called do-gooder outfits have placed a referendum on the November ballot which will not only save us more than $150 million per year, it will allow us to hold up our heads with the dignity of acting rationally. In the forthcoming election, voters will decide if we will do away with the death penalty -- a no-brainer if ever there was one. The initiative would replace execution with life imprisonment. It sounds good, perhaps so good even the conservatives could get on board. Capital punishment costs billions of dollars over the years, even if it is almost never carried out. That ought to be a enough to get the attention of a tea partier! Or maybe not . Californians showed their sympathies back in 1977 just as soon as the Supreme court decided the death penalty wasn't cruel and inhuman after all. Then, in 1986, we recalled three members of the state Supreme Court, including the chief justice, Rose Bird, for overturning the decisions of jurors. Ironically the California "supremes" were following the mandate of the Federal Supreme Court which ruled courts could not dismiss jurors who did not believe in the death penalty. Our message to the world was we don't want no wimps thwarting our right to kill people. If it's any consolution, Texans look even more irrational. Governor Rick Perry broke George Bush's personal record for killing people and is proceeding apace. Perry had already stated that executions don't bother him a bit. Perhaps he's becoming inured to killing. He holds the modern record for it at 236, and his most loyal followers love him for it. Such is politics in America today. Bill Clinton once left a campaign to hurry home to Arkansas so he could ensure the execution of a fellow with an IQ so low he didn't understand he was sentenced to die. As they marched him off to the execution chamber he saved the dessert from his last meal for later. Our much maligned uber liberal politician known as a moderate took a short cut through civilized behavior on his way to high office. But some see the light. Thirteen men on death row in Illinois were found to be innocent, no thanks to the government who sent them there. No, these guys were exonerated by members of a college journalism class. Then Governor Ryan, a conservative no less, halted all pending executions. Ryan then pushed for Illinois to join the states who don't have it as an option. Despite the stark evidence that innocent people can be sentenced to death, his legislature refused to enact such a law. Death penalty tells us: According to a survy of the former and present presidents of the country's top academic criminological societies, 88% of these experts rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. I shudder at this frenzy to kill people. My biggest objection is not limited to what it does to those executed. It is what it does to otherwise ordinary citizens. When he was Texas governor, George W. Bush mocked Karla Faye Tucker because she pled for mercy. Then he invoked the name of God in allowing the execution to be carried out. Bush and God were a fearsome combination when it came to carrying out the more stringent passages of the good book. On December 13th 2005, the deposed mayor of San diego, later a talk show host, now a columnist, got in his licks at Tookie Williams's execution at San Quinton. Roger Hedgecock who had been arguing in favor of the killing, read a parady of The Night Before Chistmas." The goulish parady ended with Tookie squealed like a pig when they gave him the needle. Even killers are people. Their deaths should not be mocked. California should join the seventeen states which have abolished the death penalty. It's time Americans grow up and stop celebrating the things which deamean us. //Keith Taylor is a retired navy officer living in Chula Vista. He can be reached at

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

San Diego is in SHOCK....

Jr Seau is dead. Shot in the chest. Newly divorced. His restaurant closed immediately. Was it suicide? They think so, but nobody knows. City is in mourning. Their favorite Charger. Just awful. Wrap...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Intel and the Media....

From Secrecy News...


As is often remarked, the number of individuals charged with Espionage Act violations by the Obama Administration for disclosing information to the media without authorization is unprecedented and exceeds all previous cases in all prior Administrations combined. But why is that?

There are several possible explanations. One answer is that the sources of unauthorized disclosures are easier than ever to identify. The actual disclosure transaction, as well as the source-reporter relationship behind it, often leaves an electronic footprint (especially email and telephone records) that official investigators are increasingly adept at exploiting. Another explanation is that the voluminous and sometimes reckless disclosures published by WikiLeaks triggered a predictable intensification of efforts to track and punish leakers, along with the broader tightening of information security that seems to be the most enduring legacy of the WikiLeaks episode.

But yet another factor that is usually overlooked is that Congress has pressured the Administration to vigorously pursue leaks. Congressional leaders want leak prosecutions, and they want a lot of them.

At her May 17, 2011 confirmation hearing to be head of the Justice Department's National Security Division (NSD), Lisa O. Monaco noted the role of the Senate Intelligence Committee in pushing the issue. "This Committee has... pressed the [Justice] Department and the intelligence community... to ensure that unauthorized disclosures are prosecuted and pursued, either by criminal means or the use of administrative sanctions," she said.

After Ms. Monaco described each of the multiple pending leak prosecutions that were pending at that time, she was nevertheless asked (in pre-hearing questions) "Are there any steps that the Department could take to increase the number of individuals who are prosecuted for making unauthorized disclosures of classified information to members of the news media?"

Ms. Monaco told the Intelligence Committee that "the NSD has been working closely with the Intelligence Community to expedite and improve the handling of such cases." She pledged to the Committee that it would be "my priority to continue the aggressive pursuit of these cases." And so it has been.

The record of Ms. Monaco's 2011 confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee was published last month and is available here.


Monday, April 16, 2012

On Classified Info...

From Secrecy News... CLASSIFIED INFO IN CRIMINAL TRIALS, AND MORE FROM CRS Former CIA officer John C. Kiriakou is to be arraigned today on charges of leaking classified information to the press in violation of the Espionage Act and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act -- charges that he denies. See The Case of An Accused Leaker: Politics or Justice? by Carrie Johnson, National Public Radio, April 13. A newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service discusses Protecting Classified Information and the Rights of Criminal Defendants: The Classified Information Procedures Act, April 2, 2012. Another newly updated CRS report finds that federal agencies spent $750.4 million last year to pay for "advertising services." But though non-trivial, it seems that this amount was less than was spent for such purposes in any previous year since 2003. The term advertising is not strictly defined in budget documents, and may include various forms of public relations, public service notices, and the like. "Government advertising can be controversial if it conflicts with citizens' views about the proper role of government," the CRS report stated. "Yet some government advertising is accepted as a normal part of government information activities." Federal advertising expenditures have actually decreased over the past two years and haven't been lower since 2003. The highest level of advertising expenditures in the past decade occurred in 2004, the CRS report found. See Advertising by the Federal Government: An Overview, April 6, 2012. Some other updated CRS reports that have not been made publicly available by Congress include these: Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents, April 11, 2012 Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress, April 11, 2012 The Lord's Resistance Army: The U.S. Response, April 11, 2012 Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy, April 11, 2012 Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance, April 10, 2012 _______________________________________________ Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Defending the Position....



Keith Taylor

Pendleton Marine Sgt. Gary Stein doesn't like our president. That's not unusual in today's military. Had our country voted the way our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines did; McCain would be doing the worrying about Iran and its bomb today. I, on the other hand, think Obama is just what the country needs.

Despite our differences -- age, politics, branch of service -- Sgt. Stein and I have something in common. We both take strong, often unpopular, stands on things we think important. Then we defend our position with the tenacity of a bulldog.

For more than two decades I did that as a freelance columnist for Navy Times. After a Navy career spanning nearly twenty-three years as an enlisted man and junior officer. I loved having the opportunity to finally be able tell the world how things ought to be done.

Some didn't wait for retirement, but managed to stay circumspect enough the military didn't respond. Ward Reeves, was the pseudonym for a Navy senior chief who also contributed articles for the Times. Reeves was a firebrand who, when he felt it necessary, excoriated the president, the CNO, and almost everybody who attended the infamous 1991 "Tail Hook" convention in Las Vegas. He was breaking the rules but had the sense to be incognito.

The senior chief and I shared so many sentiments that when I went to the annual reunion of the Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association, one of my old shipmates accused me of being Ward Reeves.

On his retirement, our columns ran side by side. His column was his swan song, a poignant piece telling of his love for the Navy. Mine bore the headline "I'm not Ward Reeves, but I wish I were." I never met the man for whom I was confused, and I consider that my loss. I haven't heard from him in years, but I betcha he's raising hell.

But ya gotta be circumspect. A few years after that, an active duty Marine Corps major, a mustang writing under his own name, took off on President Clinton and earned himself a letter of reprimand. I'm guessing he never made lieutenant colonel.

Writing is a heady experience, but if you're not careful it can be trouble, a ton of it. The military has a hard and fast rule that publicly criticizing those above oneself in the chain of command is forbidden. Sgt Stein would not have called his commanding officer a jackass.

But he considered the president fair game. He started a Facebook page entitled Armed Forces Tea Party. Like those tea party folks we saw on TV wearing tea bags from their hats and carrying signs urging the defeat of Obama, he pulled no punches. Twenty-six thousand, the equivalent of several regiments, joined him. Soon his messages started flying around the world at the speed of light.

A picture on the site depicted the president as a jackass. Another screamed PRESIDENT LIES! Mention was made of refusing to follow the president's orders. It was later amended to read lawful orders. Invectives flew, and Stein's Facebook pages give the impression of a united group marching in opposition to the president and his policies.

Most those who identified themselves were members of the armed forces. The equivalent of three regiments waiting for a barracks lawyer to determine the nuance of lawful before attacking, might be considered a clear and present danger.

The sergeant has started something huge, and the repercussions can be enormous. Then there's that thing about unit cohesion and discipline. That's practically gospel talk to the Marines, especially those who have to decide Stein's fate.

Meanwhile he sergeant isn't backing off. Nor is the corps. Stein has been read his rights. His CO has recommended he be given a discharge.

He's still at it, defying the Corps and the President.

I asked an Internet friend and retired Navy captain what she thought about all this. She wrote: "I agree with the actions the Marine Corps is taking. It is time for him to become Mr. Stein if he wants to be known for his political views."

Or, maybe Representative Stein? He lives in and is stationed in California's 49th district now representated by Darrell Issa. It is considered one of the most politically conservative and anti Obama districts in the country. The day after the sergeant was given his rights and urged to stop, he was invited to give a talk to a meeting of Tea Party members in Bonsall, also within the 49th.

With all the support Stein is getting from the tea party folks, he might decide to go into politics. But, even in north San Diego county, it's a long shot and I hope Sgt. Stein doesn't take it. The corps needs people with spunk, but not if it directly confronts the Commander in Chief. I too believe in unit cohesion.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Black and White"...squad cars...

This book, "Black and White", is one terrific read! Written by Wes Albers, a Sgt/Detective in San Diego from the point of view of a San Diego street cop, John Hatch, I cannot say a bad word about it. I was fascinated from beginning to end.

If ever you've wondered what being a policeman, driving around San Diego on his/her beat is like, you'll soon find out in "Black and White". Wes has been there and, believe me, he hasn't forgotten a damned thing.

I cannot tell you the added respect I have for those guys. More, I cannot tell you how much I would not want to be doing their job. Don't hesitate to grab this book the first time you get a chance. Or order from Amazon. No matter where you get it, GET IT!


Obituaries and Santorum...

Right on the top, a couple of things to say: Rick Santorum does NOT have "blue collar roots". Check him out.

And secondly, here's a shocker. At least it was to us. Our eldest daughter passed away from a 2nd brain tumor that attached to her brainstem two years ago. So next thing was to write an obit and post it in the newspapers.

Holy Toledo! If ever you want a shock, just look up the prices the papers charge to do that! I do believe those obituaries earn a huge income..maybe that matches the subscription readers pay for delivery.

Add to that, my 2nd son also died a month after our daughter. His older brother, who did his obituary, spent $10,000 on the obit and burial.

So check the price your newspaper charges and start saving your money.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Books On the Way....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly...


Former Politico writer Karin Tanabe's THE CAPITOLIST, in which a 20-something journalist leaves a cushy NYC magazine job for DC's hottest (and most cut-throat) political rag, where she uncovers a juicy scandal involving a senator that could make or break her career, to Sarah Cantin at Atria, in a nice deal, by Bridget Wagner at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency (World).

Screenwriter Kathy Ebel cuts a wide comic swatch with FAST & SLOPPY, the story of a deeply flawed but unsinkable young woman whose misguided attempts at finding love and security in 1990s New York City include sleeping with her best friend's father, to Adrienne Brodeur at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, at auction, by Betsy Lerner at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (NA).

International bestseller Karin Slaughter's next untitled book, to Jennifer Hershey and Libby McGuire for Delacorte Press, for publication in Summer 2013, by Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates (NA).

UK journalist Philip Robinson's USS ALCATRAZ, pitched in the Tom Clancy, "24," Day of the Jackal mold, the first in a trilogy, about a retrofitted nuclear submarine that has been turned into a secret US government prison, with no possibility of escape; the layers of corruption behind the prison ship go all the way to the top, to Andrew Bartlett at Thomas & Mercer, in a three-book deal, by Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider (world).

Helene Gremillon's THE CONFIDANT, about a woman in 1975 Paris who begins to receive, among sympathy cards from her mother's death, weekly letters from an unknown correspondent that recount the tale of two impossible loves and four broken destinies between 1939 and 1943 -- a story that has a direct bearing upon her own life, with Alison Anderson translating, to Julie Miesionczek at Penguin, for publication in Fall 2012, by Rebecca Byers at Plon-Perrin-Presses de la Renaissance (NA).
Australian and New Zealand rights to Penny Hueston at Text, by Rebecca Byers; to Jane Aitken at Gallic Books, by Sarah Lutyens at Lutyens & Rubinstein.

CEO of the Special Olympics Tim Shriver's book about the athletes who "have taught me more about how to live this life than anyone," presenting "really important lessons for a time and an age when people are really looking and seeking ways to find more fulfillment, more purpose, more peace ... in their lives," to Sarah Crichton at Sarah Crichton Books, by Rafe Sagalyn at The Sagalyn Agency (world).

KILLING LINCOLN authors Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's KILLING KENNEDY: The End of Camelot, the second book in O'Reilly's presidential history series, promising "a dramatic work of history and a dynamic way to relive the presidency of John F. Kennedy's White House, the horrific assassination and the crucial hours that followed," again to Steve Rubin at Holt, with Gillian Blake editing, for publication in October 2012, plus LINCOLN'S LAST DAYS, an illustrated condensation of KILLING LINCOLN for readers ten and up, to Holt Children's, for publication in August 2012, by Eric Simonoff at William Morris Endeavor.

David Browne's EYES OF THE WORLD: The Lives and Times of the Grateful Dead, a sprawling musical and cultural chronicle of the biggest, most dominant cult band in rock history, to Ben Schafer at Da Capo, for publication in Fall 2015, by Erin Hosier at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (World).

Fortune Magazine journalist Carol Loomis' untitled book about Warren Buffett, drawing on her more than 40-year friendship with America's most successful investor, in which she collects and adds new commentary to six decades of articles in Fortune, to Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio, at auction, by Tracy Brown at Tracy Brown Literary Agency (world).

NYT bestselling author of GOD, NO! and larger half of magic act Penn & Teller, Penn Jillette's EVERY DAY IS AN ATHEIST HOLIDAY, a new collection of spiritual rants and humorous ravings, spanning the hidden horrors of Christmas carols, family celebrations, Fourth of July, Halloween and beyond, to Sarah Hochman at Blue Rider Press, for publication in November 2012, by Agency for the Performing Arts (World).

Amanda Knox's "full and unflinching account of the events that led to her arrest in Perugia and her struggles with the complexities of the Italian judicial system," drawing on journals she kept during her imprisonment, and promising "never before-told details surrounding her case" and how she "coped with the most challenging time of her young life," with a collaborator to be named later, to Jonathan Burnham at Harper, with Claire Wachtel editing, at auction, for publication in 2013, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

Shulem Deen's SHAYGETZ, the revealing account of a Skverer Hasid, subject to the most cloistered and patriarchal of all ultra-orthodox Jewish sects, who, in trying to find a more satisfying sense of intellectual girding for the extreme faith he's devoted his life to, makes instead one discovery after another that in the end send him fleeing from the constraints of that world -- which eventually causes him to lose touch with the five beloved children he and his wife had between their meeting at the age of 18 and their divorce at 26, to Katie Dublinski at Graywolf, in a pre-empt, in a nice deal, by Rob McQuilkin at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin (World).

Former journalist who now works in digital strategy and data analysis Amy Webb's DATA, A LOVE STORY, a humorous and instructive memoir about how Webb "gamed" the world of online dating and used her skills to figure out what sort of man she really wanted to date, then crunched the numbers to figure out how to successfully attract just the right one, including her eventual husband, to Jill Schwartzman at Dutton, at auction, by Erin Malone and Suzanne Gluck at William Morris Endeavor (NA).

Journalist Alexandra Heminsley's RUNNING LIKE A GIRL, an inspirational and practical memoir encouraging women who have never considered themselves athletes, and who may have always loathed running, to tie up their sneakers and discover its pleasures, pitched as aimed at the readers of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT as well as the readers of BORN TO RUN, to Alexis Gargagliano at Scribner and Alison Clark at Simon & Schuster Canada, at auction, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, on behalf of Sarah Ballard at United Agents; to Jocasta Hamilton at Hutchinson in the U.K., at auction.

Ray Walker with Rachel Holtzman's THE ROAD TO BURGUNDY, the story of his long, hard journey to realize his dream, chucking his California office job in favor of winemaking in Burgundy, starting with no money, no vineyard, no grapes, and no French, starting with a wife, a new baby, and more determination than anyone in his new village had ever seen before; the learning curve for the Walker family was steep, but from that hardly-promising start, he became the first non-Frenchman ever to make the hallowed grand cru Le Chambertin, and founded Maison Ilan, a wine that sold out its very first vintage, to Lucia Watson at Gotham, for publication in Summer 2013, by Sharon Bowers at Miller Bowers Griffin.

Fast Company, Slate, NPR, and NYT contributor Farhad Manjoo's MASTERS OF OUR UNIVERSE, an account of the war among today's major tech companies, primarily focused on Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon, as they expand beyond their traditional services and move aggressively into each other's territory, battling for dominance of our lives, to Jofie Ferrari-Adler at Simon & Schuster, at auction, by Larry Weissman at Larry Weissman Literary (NA).

Rights to Mike Jones at Simon & Schuster UK, at auction, by Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton (UK); Intrinseca, in a pre-empt, by Joao Paulo Riff at Riff Agency, in Brazil; and China Citic, in a pre-empt, by Sophia Yang at The Grayhawk Agency (Simplified Chinese).


Friday, February 24, 2012

Jabberwocky Story......................

Explaining the HAW HAW people


Keith Taylor


You have to figure the guy who made up the ridiculous story knew it was jabberwocky but, that didn't matter. Considering his target audience, jabberwocky was just what was needed. Clear thinking is not an option for those who choose deliberate ignorance.

The story, "showed" how the president and vice president thought the term cattle guards (metal rails laid across fence openings to keep cows from roaming) referred to people whose job needed government protection.

It was summed up with

Passed on to you without further comment...
Now you do the same.

The story was created out of whole cloth of course. Inane stories created to be forwarded by nincompoops generally are, but that didn't matter. The piece of bullshit cast a poor light on the president and vice president, and that's enough to get the HAW HAW crowd going.

They are the ones who chortled, scratched their private parts at every utterance by LIMBAWWWWW. Otherwise they showed their ignorance by supporting and twice electing a doofus draft dodger. We ended up with a president who displayed his own deliberate ignorance by giggling as he pushed buttons to blow away people who represented no danger to ourselves.

In the minds of the HAW HAW people, Doofus earned their respect because he ceded the responsibility to God for his actions. I suspect the HAW HAWs felt "some people just need killing."

Now, in another election cycle, the attack in thinking continues by the time tested method of making utterly stupid claims about people who show intelligence.

The credulous will always be heard, but this is more than being heard. It's insidious because each vote from one who believes in bullshit is as effective as a vote from a person who chooses to think.

The HAW HAWS who vote, and most will, glom onto urban legends because "they might jes be true."

And Doofus himself has several worthy successors waiting in the wings. Each, of course, claims authority from god himself. All claim patriotism. One said he had an adulterous relationship with a woman because he was patriotic. Later, upon marrying his third wife, he became a Catholic, the church most strongly against birth control. Now he is against most of the laws he once voted for.

Another knows God wants him to help overpopulate a world now numbering seven billion and rising. He has fathered nine kids, one who he miscarried and who's lifeless fetus he showed to the others. He wants everybody else to exhibit their devotion to the have lots of them no matter what. He routinely confuses birth control with abortion and solves his dilemma by deeming all sex evil, except, one supposes, for the nine times he did it.

The third candidate vying for the job of commander in chief does have a bit of sense, but he started losing ground because of something to do with his underwear. Immediately his claims became more extreme right wing. He is now disavowing the state government health care program he was lauded for, and for which he once bragged about.

Tis a topsy turvy, run amok campaign we're looking at here, unless you are a HAW HAW then "its just what God wants."

I shudder to think turning over the country to a claque of fools who see god and his work in everything, ignore the science which give us graphic proof of climate change, and disparage people who think.

I worry for my country.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On Santorum...

The following is from a very intelligent guy who has been a Maryland State Trooper and a Federal Air Marshall:

"I was discussing Santorum with two psychiatrists about his bringing his dead child home so his "other children can see they had a brother," and they unequivcably said he has a severe mental problem. I mean, they went off on him . . . not in a mean way, but in an eye-rolling, hands raised to the heavens, "this guy is sick" way. Both men have practised for decades, and I know them to be genuinely compassionate, and that was the thrust of their appraisal of Santorum . . . they truly feel he needs help.

And on a purely subjective note, it's been my experience that anyone who feels such a need to control other people's sex lives can only mean that while they might have procreative sex once in a while, they've truly missed the whole point of sex . . . it's friggin' fun! It can be playful, lustful, romantic . . . even naughty. But good cooking is that way, too."

Needless to say, I absolutely agree. So keep in mind that 3 States just voted for Santorum over Romney. And now comes Michigan. Are the people there any smarter? I certainly hope so.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Ah...Nothing Like Sex Ed.....

From Keith Taylor...



Keith Taylor

More than three-quarters of a century ago I got my elementary and high school education at tiny Beaver Dam school in northern Indiana. We were taught the ABC’s and the four R’s, reading, riting, arithmetic, and religion; but virtually nothing about sex.

That we learned the way God intended—from the older kids. What we didn’t learn from them we learned from direct observation. Our little, provincial school did nothing to prepare us for intimate contact with members of the opposite sex.

The teachers had absolutely no concept of how to handle the question. Take Mrs. Babcock. She was a frumpy, lumpy old lady with ill-fitting, clacking false teeth. Certainly no cuss words ever passed by them. I wonder how Mrs. Babcock would have handled sex education? It’s impossible to imagine her putting a condom on a banana—or on anything else for that matter.

As a matter of fact, the mere possession of a condom once caused trouble for my eldest brother, Arden. He was almost kicked out of school in his senior year simply because he put one of the things in a classmate’s book. Arden figured it would merely embarrass the young lady and that would be the end of it, but the girl didn’t know what it was. When she asked the teacher, there was hell to pay.

Mr. Silvus was our agriculture teacher. He did touch on the subject of sex, if not condoms. His lessons were limited to sex among animals, not people. The gestation periods of animals were important to ag students, and that, unfortunately, meant the teacher had to mention sex. He taught that us a mouse had a gestation period of 20 days, a pig 113, a horse 337, and an elephant 645.

The whole class snickered when Mr. Silva told us that cows and women both take nine months from conception to birth That’s one bit of information I never forgot and never found a use for.

Other than the snippets of sex we learned in agriculture, we were sheltered from the dreadful subject both by our parents and by our teachers. Mom, for example, loved to tell of how Arden got into trouble, but she sure hemmed and hawed when she tried to explain just what it was he put into the girl’s textbook.

Thus we were on our own. Ideas on the subject, many folklore, were passed from older kids to the younger ones. The same guys who taught us to put our jock straps on backwards were responsible for our sex education. What we didn’t learn from the older guys, we learned on the farms. Each barnyard was a laboratory with a new lesson to be learned practically every week or so.

Elmer’s super rat-killing dog, Skippy, provided Max and me with a few interesting lessons on sex. Skippy, unlike my own dog Jake, had two perfectly good testicles. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite understand how to use them. When he wasn’t catching rats, sleeping, or otherwise carrying out dog duties, he would try to mate with Uncle Elmer’s leg or one of the cats. Elmer didn’t like that one bit, but the cat thought it was swell.

She and skip even worked out a system. The cat would get on the first step of the stairs to the hayloft, curl her tail above her back and wait for ecstasy. It didn’t quite happen. Skip would stand astraddle her and punch big holes in the air, sort of like one of the hoochie coochie dancers at the Warsaw fair. They never connected, but we admired their efforts.

Skippy’s one big stab at romance ended not with a climax, but with an anticlimax. A female dog once ventured to Elmer’s place and fell victim to ol’ Skip’s charm. They did that sniffing and dancing around in circles that dogs do. Then Skip got her cornered and they went at it, Max and I cheering them on all the while.

I swear dogs have the ability to disassociate themselves from the what they are doing at that time. Even during the most exciting part both participants manage to do little more than pant and gawk at something across the barnyard as if they’re utterly disinterested in the act of procreation.

In the end, however, Skippy and his lady friend suffered the indignity of being unable to complete the act. They got stuck together! It looked as if they were indeed joined until death would do them part. I figured if they’d paid more attention to what they were doing it would have worked out better. But, somehow, they managed to twist themselves into something that looked like one of those a grotesque paintings on the walls of the pyramids. There they were, standing rear to rear—one facing east, one west. Still, the look on their faces was one of pure innocence as if they didn’t even know they were hooked together.

If our dog had been able to talk I would have asked him some questions:

“Hey Skippy what you doing?”

“Oh nothing, just standing here.:”

“What about that other dog, the female?”

“What other dog?”

Aunt Thel settled the whole thing by throwing a bucket of water on them. That put an end to Skippy’s only romance. She also gave Max and me a dirty look as if we had something to do with it.

If dogs are blasé, chickens make up for it. You just won’t believe how they do it. For a long time I thought they were fighting. I’m not sure the chickens even understood it very much themselves. At least they got more excited over the whole thing than most animals. It’s a good thing the chicken sex act doesn’t last long; the hen would be too tired to lay eggs.

Cows got pretty worked up over sex also. We had a bull I dubbed Ferdinand, old lucky Ferdinand. Elmer had lots of cows and he was the only guy in the bunch. That bull only did three things, eat, sleep and service the cows. He was so good at the last that he ate and slept the rest of the time. That may not have been enough for the cows though, quite often one of the cows would try to mount another. Maybe Elmer should have got an assistant for Ferdinand.

Pigs didn’t hurry so much. Perhaps for that reason they seemed to enjoy it most of all, especially Nonuts. Although his life was lived in mud and destined for the slaughter house, fortune turned its face to Nonuts for a brief moment. As I learned in agriculture, male piglets should be castrated within a couple weeks of their birth (I doubt that anybody consulted the pigs on that). Unfortunately Elmer didn’t always go by what Mr. Silva said. One year he put off the task until the pigs got so big we could hardly handle them. To complicate things further, the pigs didn’t cooperate with their mutilation one bit. Those fellows had grown so much it took both Max and I to hold each one down.

One frisky fellow kicked so hard he got loose and ran away with a little bit of cord still intact. That little bit of cord allowed the lucky pig to have a world of fun with all the young female pigs--about a hundred of them. He hopped on one after the other, all the time his pig smile spread from ear to pointed ear. Yes, pigs do smile at times like that. Other than the titillation nothing happened. Max and I were fascinated by his performance. Nonuts had a vasectomy years before the procedure was tried on humans. Elmer, was a pioneer. So was Nonuts I suppose.

When it was time for the pigs to go off to market, our favorite pig was underweight, almost emaciated. Still, he didn’t seem to want to stay behind. All his girl friends were going and he had to stay with his harem. He gladly climbed on board the train to make his scheduled appointment with the grim reaper in Chicago. I wondered if Nonuts still had a smile on his snout when he met his fate.

Sex didn’t seem to interest sheep much at all, not even the lack of it. Old Bill the Buck acted like he didn’t even want to do it. When he got started, he would just give it a couple of jabs and quit. The ewes always walked away from the act looking kinda disappointed. I remember once when ol’ Bent Julian was shearing the sheep. Bent used a pair of sharp, hand-held shears—no newfangled electric clippers for ol’ Bent. When he got to Big Bill, Elmer made what he thought was a passing comment: “I ought to get that fellow fixed.”

“You want it done?” Asked Bent.

“Well yeah,.”

Without another word, Bent snipped the bottom of the scrotum, down came Bill’s balls, another snip and Bill was no longer a buck. Alliteration aside, it was a sobering sight.

“Jesus!” said Elmer.

“Jesus!” I repeated. Once in a while cussing was appropriate. This seemed like one of those times. I was on the edge of puberty, and the act I’d just witnessed bothered hell out of me. Not for Big Bill though; his eyes got a little bigger for just a moment. Otherwise he didn’t act as if anything out of the ordinary had happened.

That didn’t seem right somehow, but I couldn’t ask anybody about it, not even Mr. Silva and certainly not Miss Babcock.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Navy SEALs. Never Seals. UGH!

I'm horrified that this error occurs in professional writing:

It is NEVER Navy Seals.

Their proper name is...Navy SEALS!!! That's SEAL in capitol letters. And that is because SEAL is an acronym.

SEAL stands for: SEa...Air...Land. SEAL.

They can and do attack from SEa, Air, or Land...SEAL. Thus their name.

And they don't like being called damned bit.


Keep Your Eyes Off & Mouth Shut....

From Secrecy News....


A new book-length study of leaks of classified information published by the Defense Intelligence Agency's National Intelligence University contends that "the tension between maintaining national security secrets and the public's right to know cannot be 'solved', but can be better understood and more intelligently managed."

"Who Watches the Watchmen?" by Gary Ross explores the phenomenon of leaks from multiple angles, including their history, their prevalence and their consequences. Most interestingly, he considers the diverse motivations of leakers and of the reporters who solicit, receive and publish their disclosures. Some of these he finds defensible, and others not.

In the end, he advises that government officials should engage members of the media in a constructive dialog in order to avert the worst consequences of leaks.

"Proactively engaging with the media to examine the costs and benefits associated with unauthorized disclosures represents the greatest potential for reducing the perceived harm to national security," Mr. Ross writes.

By contrast, "Maintaining the status quo or attempting to legislate a solution both have proven to be ineffective methods for resolving the dilemma. True change can only occur if the Executive Branch is willing to invest the time and resources necessary to implement an approach focused on engagement with the media."

This is a congenial conclusion, which implies that punitive new legislation can be avoided and that remaining differences between reporters and government officials can be fruitfully discussed.

But it arguably misapprehends the harsh new policy landscape in the wake of the WikiLeaks episode (which is also discussed in the book). The status quo has been transformed in response to WikiLeaks in two ways that are unfavorable to leakers, justified or unjustified.

First, the threat of unauthorized disclosures has been elevated in the view of government officials to one of "the most menacing foreign intelligence threats in the next two to three years." In January 31 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, DNI James R. Clapper said that unauthorized disclosures of classified information had "caused significant damage to US interests." Further, he said, "We assess that trusted insiders using their access for malicious intent represent one of today's primary threats to US classified networks." "Engagement with the media" will not be the main response to such threats.

And second, WikiLeaks, which targeted legitimate and illegitimate secrets with equal vigor, has inspired and accelerated the development of new forensic tools and methods to identify the sources of unauthorized disclosures. Internal surveillance of classified networks is set to grow, with new mechanisms for tracking and auditing online activity by government employees. Whatever else might be true, the status quo of a few years ago has been left behind.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

And the World Rolls On...

Three times a day, I read and recommend blog posts from a group with 400 plus bloggers, but most of that group doesn't post or seldom post. About 30, plus or minus, do. Fascinating group. Males and females from all over the nation. Some are in DC or damned close to it, so they definitely know what's going on there. Dem political blogs. The Pro Blog Research Center. Ralph, the guy who began it, lives in New Jersey. From there, the posts fly over the internet to near San Francisco where Lana puts them in order and posts them to me. I read and recommend the 11AMs, 3PMs, and 7PMs. Lana puts them up every four hours, 24 hours a day. is the URL if anyone would like to take a look.

I find them fascinating. If something is going on, one or more of them will have it and say plainly what they think about it. The Fire Dog Lake group posts something daily, for instance. And there are two former Marines...Alternate Brain...who just tickle me. And even an actor who talks about what he's doing.

I expect they'll have something to say about Santorum finally winning a state's votes tonight.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Special Ops ....

From Secrecy News...


Over the past decade, the number of U.S. special operations forces (SOF) personnel has nearly doubled, while budgets for special operations have nearly tripled, and overseas deployments have quadrupled, according to a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

"Special Operations Forces are elite military units with special training and equipment that can infiltrate into hostile territory through land, sea, or air to conduct a variety of operations, many of them classified," the CRS report explains. "SOF personnel undergo rigorous selection and lengthy specialized training. The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) oversees the training, doctrine, and equipping of all U.S. SOF units."

Following an overview of the structure of U.S. special operations forces, the CRS report discusses the implications for special operations of recent legislation including the 2012 defense authorization act. See U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress, January 11, 2012.

A copy of the new U.S. Special Operations Command Fact Book 2012, prepared by USSOCOM Public Affairs, is available here.

Other noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following:

Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process, February 1, 2012

The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, January 31, 2011

Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues, January 12, 2012


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Man Made.....

This was written in 2000. The references to events of that time may be anachronistic



Keith Taylor

Modern science has shown us an unbelievably immense universe. It’s so overwhelming we can merely guess at it’s origins or its future. How much easier it is to make up an answer, declare it to be true, and refuse to question that declaration.

I postulate that’s why man made god, thousands of gods as a matter of fact. All were powerful; most were omnipotent. All were wise; most were omniscient. All were much better than humans; most were perfect.

Then after each god was created he was recreated. Like an auto or a home appliance, a new, improved version of the omnipotent, omniscient, perfect god has been trotted out about every year or so. The illogical idea that such a god would even need to change is shunted aside by the explanation that he gave us new revelations or that man had discerned a new understanding of an immutable truth. Some of the new revelations are a sharp departure from the earlier understanding, but god is mysterious. That solves that.

An old story has it that a preacher underlines certain parts of his sermon. The argument for those parts is so weak the preacher needs to shout to cover up the weakness. How similar that is to the evangelical idea that we all must share, or at least claim we share, the prevailing religious beliefs.

That zeal leads Americans to place symbols of god on our mountain tops, often in defiance of the law. They acknowledge him on our currency, our buildings, our most important patriotic statements, and the end zone after a touchdown.

Belief in god, no matter how credulous, is not merely acceptable, it’s required for those who want to enjoy the benefits of mainstream America. Many, perhaps most, civic or fraternal organizations require a positive affirmation of him for membership. Most importantly it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe in something. You can even make up your own god.

One organization that demands a belief is the Boy Scouts of America. They took a case to the California Supreme Court to exclude two aspiring Eagle Scouts. The naive young men thought the BSA really meant that part about being honest. Thus, they refused to acknowledge a belief they didn’t have.

It needn’t have been a problem. Neither the scouts nor any other organization will admit it officially, but every doubter has been told that all a person has to do is say he believes. The aspiring Eagle Scouts could have made up a god and it would have worked just fine for the BSA--if not for their own sense of honor.

Alcoholics, who often see things that aren’t there, are encouraged by Alcoholics Anonymous to fight their delusions except when it comes to a god. Seen or unseen, he must be used to help them battle something they are told they are otherwise helpless to fight. If an alcoholic doesn’t have a god he can make one up on the spot. Nobody would question it. AA even uses a euphemism, “higher power,” to make it easy.

What about those who lead our country? They all have a god, or say they do. You’ll not find an admitted atheist among the 435 members of the house, 100 members of the senate, or nine members of the Supreme Court. Of course some don’t appear very religious. Given the eager acceptance of even an ill defined god, it’s easy to make one up. Rep. Sam Rayburn, long time house majority leader from Texas, could have been thinking of religion when he said “To get along, go along.”

And the big guys themselves, how about them? Just this past year, both of our presidential candidates wooed the electorate with repeated expressions of their own piety. Al Gore claimed to follow the faddish mantra of today’s pious youth with “What Would Jesus Do?” The nice thing about a religious mantra is that unlike his purported statement that he had created the Internet, WWJD wasn’t questioned. When ya proclaim a belief in god you need prove nothing! That makes it easy to get along and go along.

Did Al Gore make up his own god? Nobody asked the fellow who is sometimes called one of the most scientifically astute politicians of our time. It would have seemed such a natural question too.

Turned out though that Gore, and possibly Jesus, didn’t do well in the election. He either came in second or close enough so that they gave it to the other guy. For some reason he didn’t ask Jesus to share responsibility for his defeat. God is blameless no matter what. He was made that way.

George Bush, the other guy, goes even further. He conquered alcohol, temptation, and possibly some drugs he won’t mention, all with the help of god. He never misses an opportunity to tell us of his devotion to the god (or son of god, representative of god, lamb of god: take your pick) he once called a great philosopher.

Bush once checked with the guru of his predecessors, Billy Graham, on whether Jews could go to heaven. Graham decided he couldn’t answer for god--this after a lifetime’s preaching that the only way to salvation was through Christ. We can not only invent god, we can reinvent him in a moment of political correctness. At least we can if we have the stature of a religious guru of presidents.

In any case our new president’s popularity will not suffer because of his faith in the almighty. Faith is expected throughout the land, demanded in some places. Bush’s springboard to the highest office in the land was the governor’s mansion in Texas, the state whose constitution opens with: “Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God, the people of the state of Texas do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

After acknowledging his existence in the preamble, the document insists its employees and officers do the same. Article I Sec 4 says, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust in this State; nor shall anyone be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being” (emphasis mine).

In Texas, the state that holds with rugged individualism, ya can believe in anything folks, but it darn tooting better be something. If ya don’t have a god you’d better make one up or forget about any job with the state. Texas doesn’t fool around with no varmint atheists.

Nor is the Lone Star State alone. An aspiring office holder or public servant also must acknowledge a belief in god in North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Maryland and, Tennessee.

Of course that flies in the face of the establishment clause of the US Constitution but it’s right there in the Constitutions of those states. Furthermore it’s tacitly required in the other forty-three. If you don’t believe it, run for office in your own local state and describe yourself as a dreaded nonbeliever. On the other hand one can just say he believes in something and folks won’t fuss a bit. What would be the outcry if those constitutions excluded any one religion?

One who wants to make up his own religions has all sorts of examples to choose from. According to Michael Shermer in his book How We Believe, some ten thousand religions, each with its own idea of god, have been recorded since the dawn of history. In addition many other ad hoc gods have been created then discarded as soon as a problem was solved, or when it just went away.

The histories of all cultures are replete with references to God. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia were the among the first to give us a written record of their history. They had many gods. One was Ninkasi, a goddess of brewing. Her name meant “you who fill my mouth so full.” I like Ninkasi even though she was a minor goddess. If I were to make up my own god or goddess it would be one like her.

Surely she and the other Sumerian gods and goddesses were made up. Otherwise, where did they go? The nature of a god is to be eternal.

Some of the gods of other early civilizations weren’t as benign as my favorite, Ninkasi. Take the Aztec god with the wowser name of Xiuhtecutli. He was the god of fire. They appeased him by placing sacrificial victims on burning coals, after their hearts were cut out. The once immortal Xiuhtecutli is gone now, replaced by the one true god of the European conquerors. The European’s true god in turn was replaced by other true gods of folks who believed differently.

The god we Americans of today are faced with is the god of the Bible. The Bible is considered his holy word. It is often quoted, albeit selectively, to prove this point or that point. Some of the parts do seem a bit difficult to comprehend in light of today’s knowledge of the universe. For example Genesis 1:6 17, 7:11, 8:2 tells of a firmament that can be opened or closed to allow rain to drop on us. It must have been easy to imagine a god who simply made it that way. Those parts of the Bible aren’t quoted very often nowadays.

Neither is Matthew 19:12 which seems to laud eunuchs as being especially worthy of heaven. That would include those “which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” Christians with strong libidos hardly ever mention Matthew 19:12. I suspect most avoid thinking about it.

Not that thinking is all that important. Without a lick of proof, folks can simply pick and choose whatever suits their purposes. Take the Southern Baptists. The Baptist religion routinely splits along the lines of politics, geography, and race since it, itself, split from the Congregationalists around the middle of the 18th century.

The biggest rift came in 1845. Southerners wanted sanction for slavery. Northerners did not. The Southern Baptists emerged and used their version of god to justify one man’s owning another man. Because their own made-up god approved, the Southern Baptists didn’t have to offer a lick of proof to justify slavery.

Certainly proof is in short supply in another church, the one that not only uses the Bible, but gave us a whole new scripture. According to Trouble Enough, a history of Joseph Smith and the early Mormon Church, Smith claimed The Book of Mormon was given to him by divine revelation. He used a couple magic peepholes and, alone, read golden plates to a friend who recorded them. Then on June 14, 1828 the friend lost the first 114 pages.

Surely this could not be a problem. With divine revelation those lost pages could simply be recorded again. But what if the original turned up again and it didn’t agree with the second reading? Neither an immutable god nor his special messengers should be capable of making a mistake. Still all wasn’t lost on the imaginative Smith. He simply translated the new, improved version with the caveat : “. . . and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God by altering the words . . . ”

Who could doubt that? There is every bit as much evidence for satan as there is for god. Otherwise the Mormon Church has been a microcosm we can study for the ever changing ideas of god. Some of the main characters of the Book of Mormon, the tribe of Lamanites were said to be so sinful and warlike that god gave them red skin. That bit of lore disappeared in the face of 20th century political correctness. The idea that blacks were not worthy of the highest level of sainthood also disappeared due to political correctness and possibly because BYU needed some faster running backs. Polygamy disappeared in order for Utah to become a state.

Such disingenuous ideas haven’t hurt the church a whit. It is one of the strongest and richest religions in the world. It’s also one of the most politically active. Not long ago the Arizona Republic reported that not one single law in Utah had passed if the church disapproved. Furthermore Mormonism is growing faster than almost any other. You can believe in anything as long as you believe in something, and as long as you control the surroundings.

Similar contradictions can be found in every religion. Some four hundred years ago the Catholic Church threatened Galileo with the rack for his heretical ideas. Recently the church that claims to be the sole earthly authority for god decided those ideas weren’t heretical after all. They now recognize that the earth isn’t the center of the universe. Even more recently they accepted evolution. Sometimes it’s hard to defend an immutable god.

Man made god. That is obvious. All of recorded history, including two thousand years of Christianity, has given us countless conflicting wild stories of him. There is not a bit of proof for any one. Such a belief was understandable when man couldn’t see beyond the range of his naked eye. We ought to know better today. It is important we challenge the credulous ideas that have allowed mankind to justify slavery, wars, inquisitions, cruelty, and ignorance.

Richard Dawkins said it best with “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”

//Keith Taylor is a retired Navy officer and general trouble maker in Chula Vista, Ca He can be reached at


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Switch Vote? It Ain't Easy...

As some of you know, I decided to vote for Repub Jon Huntsman for Prez awhile ago. Haven't changed my mind. So after breakfast at Acapulco this morning, off I went to find out what I needed to do to do that.

I've always been a registered Dem. Did I need to change my registration to Repub to vote for Huntsman?

Went off to find out. It took awhile, but finally found this huge building on Ruffin Rd..the Voters' Registration place. Yes. I'll have to change my registration to Repub to vote for Huntsman. There's no other way.

So got this big form to fill out to do that. It must arrive back there 15 days before voting day.

This business really torques me. After voting, I'll wait awhile and then have to change my registration back to Dem. Wonder whose big idea that make it hard as possible to vote for whoever you want to without going thru actually changing your registration. Guess they really don't want a change. Gonna be something for folks who think they'll just be able to go vote for whomever they please on voting day and then find out they can't.


Monday, January 09, 2012

It's Seaport Village...

I go walkin' down at Seaport Village every Mon, Wed, Fri. From the parking lot, I stroll thru the village to the boardwalk. I'm heading toward the sidewalk that leads out on N. Embarcadero Island in San Diego's harbor. On the way, I stop to chat with the guy who stacks rocks. Balances them atop one another, using their pointed ends. He's just amazing. Talk about steady hands. I couldn't do that with a gun at my head...and I doubt many of the other folks who have stopped to watch could either.

Walk a bit further and stop to chat with Jerry, the artist. He immediately tells me who he's drawn so far that day. When it's very quiet, he'll get up and stand on some of the rocks along the water and chant, or blow his flute. I think it's a flute anyway. May be another name for it. Who knows?

After Jerry, I hang a right and start the trip out on the island. The sidewalk used to be bordered with thick bushes, but they cut them all down, so now the view of the harbor is unimpeded. Can look across the water to the North Island Naval Base, and until yesterday, the big nuclear aircraft carrier, #76, the Ronald Reagan, was anchored over there. They'd planned to sail out and head for Washington State a couple of evenings ago, but heavy fog moved in and so the ship stayed put until yesterday morn or the morn before. I forget which. Seems strange to look over and see no ship there.

In any case, once I get back to Seaport's boardwalk, I turn left and stroll down the boardwalk until a right turn brings me to the Seaport Deli. Take the brick sidewalk around it's side, mount 3 steps and into the deli for a sandwich and coffee. Then back out that same back door to the table against the wall in the corner. There's half a tree there where up on a branch sits Big Bird. And he really is. A black crowned heron about the size of a big fat chicken. Sits on a branch and casts a dead level look straight out at the harbor. Meanest look I've ever seen on a bird. He has a long, very sharp black beak and round black eyes that are about as cold as I've ever seen anywhere. He is some bird. And arrogant as can be.

So there at the corner table I sit and watch the folks in the food court...the plaza...just below the porch and on the other side of the sidewalk and hedge. On the far side of the plaza is a stage and behind the stage is the carousel. Ringing the plaza are other little food shops and the fudge factory...which is almost NEVER empty. Huge big tree in the center of the plaza and surrounded with at least a dozen round concrete tables with curved, backless benches around them.

When the plaza is full of people, it's quite a sight. They come from countries all over the world, speaking all kinds of languages, wearing everything from strapless dresses to jeans to name it, the men, women and kids are wearing it. So funny...most of the San Diegans, if the breeze over the harbor is even a little chilly, are bundled up...while all those other folks are stripped down.

And so I head for home at about 4PM. Back to peace and quiet. Seaport is quite a place.


Thursday, January 05, 2012

National Intel Cut Jobs....

From Secrecy News...


In a portent of spending cuts that are still to come, the number of employees at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) dropped significantly over the past year.

Interestingly, one of the first visible signs of the reduction in the workforce was a decline in the level of ODNI classification activity, which dropped by 17.3% from the year before.

"The decrease in total [classification] decisions was largely driven by a 12.9% decrease in population size from last year," wrote ODNI Information Management chief John F. Hackett in a November 7, 2011 report to the Information Security Oversight Office. A copy was obtained by Secrecy News under the Freedom of Information Act.

A spokesman for ODNI public affairs said he could not immediately comment on the report, which may reflect a drop in staff as well as contractor personnel, both of which are authorized to generate classified information at ODNI.

A former ODNI official told Secrecy News that "hundreds" of ODNI jobs had been eliminated. He said that the size of the ODNI workforce was on the order of 2000 people, and that the loss of hundreds of positions was consistent with the reported 12.9% "decrease in population size."


Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy 2012,,,I Hope...

Been so immersed in the political goings-on that when I did decide to post, found out that absence had caused me not to be able to write a damned word on this blog. Have just now been able to access it for the first time since Keith had me post his article.

Major problem getting back on here was in discovering a password from the past. Of course I'd completely forgotten what it was. Taken two days to find it, and I still don't know what it was. Doin' good, huh? But accidents happen and so, at last, I can access this blog. Sheesh! Talk about a complicated procedure to do that tho.

Never mind. We're off and running in 2012. Should be a hell of a year, what with all those Repubs running. Problem is, I'm mad as hell at Obama. Let it be known far and wide that I flat do not approve of the military being able to grab a U.S.A. someone and disappear them with the total absence of normal legal proceedings. That's a criminal act from my perspective. Obama is becoming a dictator if he already isn't one in fact.

Gonna change my registration to Independent. So far as the Repubs are concerned, the only honest and decent one that I can see is Jon Huntsman, who is really working hard in New Hampshire to be at least noticed by the voters. Guess he figured campaigning in Iowa was a lost cause going in.

So we'll wait to see the Iowa results. Until then...