Sunday, July 31, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Manfred Stader 
Location - Germany
Format: - 3D - Chalk

Image: Courtesy of Manfred Stader.

Watch Your Step

Backroom Backbone Challenge


Where to begin? Or, should I write, when will it end?

Of course I'm continuing to rattle on over the continuing rattlings-on over the U.S. debt ceiling situation. Beyond the concern over Social Security, Medicare, and other "entitlements" at risk in the hostage-taking of most things sacred to people who think as I think on these issues, what disturbs me is how the debt ceiling has been used to whittle-away at the governing party's supposed "power" in so-called "negotiations."

Nay-No-You-Don't-Machinations, is more like it.

But wait! Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Minority Leader, has told ABC News that a deal is looking better by the second. He would know. He appears to be running the show now. With the Democrats leaning forward until their heads look as large as Lawrence O'Donnell's head does on a TV screen from his "Lean Forward" MSNBC desk, it would appear that everyone will end up with a headache when the fat lady finally chokes out her last song.

Despite the Tea Part-ier's in Congress' best attempts to send the USA into a sacrificial volcano of default UNLESS THEY GET WHAT THEY WANT and damn everyone else, they too will have to bite a few big ones if McConnell and the man formerly known as the President of the United States, Mr. what's-his-name-again, agree on yet another bill for Congress to kick around for yet another day.

As of this moment, Congress is in recess until tomorrow.

Take your time, Menz and Wimenz of Power. Enjoy your Sunday afternoon. Let the nation swing about in the dense eastern humidity by the shards of what's left of their hair before coming to the 12th hour agreement to avoid sending grandma and veteran's and soldiers, among others, into a financial meltdown on Wednesday, the day they are usually paid for the month.

And, by all means, do make sure to create that Super Congress so that more ideologues can ram bills through Congress without intervention. That's how Democracy works best, doncha' know! Give power to a few. Screw the people. That fine little bit of language in whatever Obama ends up signing is not Un-American at all, is it! But, let's ensure that the U.S. doesn't move further toward Socialism by providing Universal Heath Care to the citizens, or help Social Security and Medicare thrive. No. That is way too kind and decent. Too "Socialistic."

A refresher on the power to be given to a Super Congress: They Are Doing What?

I wish Obama would use the 14th Amendment to get past all of this madness. As former President Bill Clinton said, "I wouldn't hesitate to do it ... and let the courts sort it out."

That's where I'm at in this debate...or whatever it is called. After all, that little line everyone is hoping will be the ace President Obama will use to shut everyone down could not be more clear:


The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.


Sadly, we have a president who doesn't like to play hard ball. He is a gentleman to a default. His "poker face" may be good for hiding missions to kill Osama bin Laden, but his negotiating skills are weak.


Where is Lyndon Baines Johnson when we need him? That man would break your arm while kissing you on the forehead to get a deal done in Washington. Where did we get Medicare, anyway? From his administration. Where did we get the Civil Rights Act? During his presidency. 


Rather than Obama looking over the padded shoulders of Ronald Reagan's presidency for answers, I suggest a quick tune-up and review of the Johnson era (putting Vietnam aside).


But then again, Obama wouldn't sit on a toilet while talking to reporters and aides, now would he?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Banksy
Location - London

What's Your Name

Anon-oh-Mess


While America holds its breath in a near asphyxiation mode for Washed-In-Tea to solve their differences over the manufactured debt ceiling crisis, let’s turn our attention to another issue worthy of a flog or two: Online anonymity vs. being “You.”

Have you ever been an "Anonymous" poster on the Interwebs? Posted opinions, put-downs, kind words – anything at all by not using your real name or a known "username" which would identify you as "you" in a "real" way? Well, if you have been among the millions of posters on message boards/comment sections, it is likely you have used a different name than your own.

Unless you have been very brave or reckless with an email address and username, or, simply don't care that your online name is your real name just cuz', you may want to pay attention to the not-so-subtle lurch toward the obstruction of your secret online life. 

Google + demands your real name if you want to be part of their new social network. Or else. If you make a mistake in your profile, you'll be shut down/suspended for days - indefinitely. You may have signed-in as your real name but something about it didn't meet their criteria and suddenly you are shut out of not just Google + but any and all Google-attached accounts you may have until someone eventually decides whether or not you are truly who you say you are.

It's a tad intrusive, I gather, to regain one's account access when the Big Cyber Hand of Google pulls a pinch on you. Oh yeah. People who have had their accounts suspended based on a Google deemed “suspicious” name, have had to provide proof that their names are actually their real names by sending Google an image of their Driver's License, along with plying the Google-Gods with real life friends who intervene on one's behalf in droves to attest to the validity that you are, indeed, YOU!

The scenarios I've been reading are akin to what one would expect from a sequel to George Orwell's oft-cited "Nineteen Eighty-Four" with the emergence of the Big Brother character, now known as your Bank, local and federal agencies, and anyone with online access to public records flaunting your personal information to place on sale to potential employers, mates, and lost loves, or those who want to know where you live and how much you make, and, in conjunction with Google Map, the precise location of your home via satellite.

Brrrrrr. Kinda creepy, that.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - n/a
Location - Manhattan, NY
Title: Flowing Pixels

Ecstasy

The Uncomfortable State of Dependence


Despite flogging appearances, other topics beyond the pissing contest in Washington DC have my attention right now. There is no way in which I can ignore one of them, which is the subject of dependence on others, on technology, and so on, for one’s well-being.

One example of the gnarly issue of dependence met me in the kitchen this morning when I was told by the owner of the home in which I share that the wireless network in the house was down due to a corrupted “airport card” and therefore an internet connection would not be available to me unless I directly plugged into the router – of which there is only one in the house.

Before I had a chance to knock the morning haze out of my head, I was also informed that I would need to wait until later in the day before I could have access to the plug. The person in possession of the router would be home longer than usual today and had to be online to finish a current project. Ouch!

As I work from home , it hasn’t been necessary for me to have an airport card, and because I’ve been on a home wireless network for over a year with few glitches for internet access, it didn’t seem necessary to create a separate account for myself. The cost is shared. A benefit to all. Sort of. But not really, I now realize with chagrin: I am dependent on the functionality of another persons’ wireless connectivity device, something I didn’t fully grasp until today. (Duh, the techies out there might say.)

For now, I’m offline…anxiously awaiting the opportunity to feed my apparent internet dependence/addiction and also post on this blog before I become a danger to others.

I know, poor baby, some of you may smirk in sarcasm (no, I’m not paranoid at all – hah!). At least I have a home to live in. A computer that can handle a broadband connection. My health. Kind of, although the stress of environmental disruptions in the neighborhood over the past 7 years has been above the norm between a steady increase in home construction and renovations, street repairs with rumbling bulldozers shaking homes with their bulldozing ways to scrape the top layer of concrete to accommodate the new top layer of pavement; an emotionally disturbed barking dog echoing shrill, desperate barks and howls for extended periods lasting up to 10 non-stop hours for almost a full year creating both noise and such emotional distress to humans that several neighbors, including myself, were eventually forced to sue the owners when they refused to comply in a timely manner with our initial civilized, patient pleas to provide solace for their supposedly beloved pet along with respect for their neighbors (which finally led to their decision to sell their home in a huff of self-righteous indignation).

Oh yeah. It’s been fun up here in the seldom peaceful part of what had once been the serene Hollywood Hills. Scream!

Back to the overall point of the post: I know that I’m far from the only person who is dependent on technology to feel connected to a daily routine of information and communication. And, despite the greatest efforts to have an independent life, there are people in our lives on whom we depend who serve an important function – a husband/wife/partner, parent, employee or employer…and on it can go. When these anchors are unavailable to us, we’re suddenly faced with a daunting realization that the clich├ęd rug has been pulled out from under our feet. At this point, we either fall on our arses or quickly, nimbly, work with gravity to regain balance.

Today, with yet another loud message from what I deem to be coming from “the Universe” that I need to take better care of myself lest I lose whatever independence I have left, I’ve decided to follow a wise philosophical viewpoint to curb a meltdown: “When fisherman cannot go out to sea, they stay on shore and repair their nets.”

Think about that for a moment.

I intend to fix a few of my own nets this morning after I complete this post. Who knows? I may actually accomplish something that has nothing to do with a computer or a reliance on another person or thing.

Amazing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - TRANS
Format - Marker

Image via: thechive.com

Nowhere To Run

Buzz-Kill


OMG! It's another buzz saw day in the neighborhood! The old Oak tree that fell on my next door neighbors' home must have been larger than I remember. How many times have the wood-cutters cut the big ole' tree with their buzzy-whee's?


I've attempted to write a decent post for hours. Not happening. No concentration.

I don't blog from coffee shops or other stops along my way, and I am not leaving the house today.

The best I can do is write these lines and tell you I'll be back another time.

Later!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Kurt Wenner
Format - 3D - Chalk

Crystalline

Lords of the Lies

The Flogging Whip is in a tizzy. Where to aim its icy strips of pain? Should it snarl into politics again? Slap another Menz of Power for unwanted sexual advances (Rep. David Wu, D-Oregon), or flail a certain male celebrity for constantly looking like an unwashed survivor of the end of the world, even when not in character for a film on the subject? (Ahem.)

Considering that quite a few Congressional websites appeared to crash * following President Obama’s little televised speech last evening in which he suggested viewers contact their representatives to express their opinion on the debt ceiling fracas, the Whip will slink in a political direction.  

From a U.S.-based perspective, it’s very clear how disgusted the populace is with the so-called “leaders” in Washington DC, aka Washed-In-Tea, whether one is a Democrat or Republican.  How many Op-Ed’s, blog posts, pundit chokes, comedic jokes, can any of us take on this appalling debt ceiling blame-game?

Most of us are completely wrung-out, strung-out, or numbed-out on the subject. And we still have one week to go before the government may or may not shut down. One week.

Other than lighting comedian’s fires to rise to the invasion of the “Can’t-or-Bay-No’s” in Congress, no one else is really laughing.

Am I taking all of this nonsense too seriously? No.

Don’t I know by now that politics is a dirty business; that not even absolute power but any form of power in the “wrong” hands will ultimately corrupt absolutely? Yes.

Do I believe the government will default on August 2? No.

Then why am I continuing to angst-out about the inevitable conclusion?

Because, in America, where many of us were promised a dream that did and has and will, for some, come true, it is still a painful experience to grow up only to learn that Mommy and Daddy are getting a divorce; they no longer love each other and are in bed with other partners who are influencing them to send us off to a different school, neighborhood, state; that both are willing to use us as pawns in their sick little games simply because they don’t respect each other, and that one of them hates the other enough to kick us where it hurts.

So, as a young country compared to others, the current implosion of our government’s hubris is forcing us to grow up and face the reality that all is not what we were led to believe. We are experiencing the classic “growing pains” of youth. And growing pains are precisely that: pains.

What should kids do when they finally realize that their parents aren’t acting like responsible caretakers? Run away? To where? Another household with less drama but a language not quite their own? Or stage a kid’s revolution where parents are no longer in charge? Wouldn’t such an action end up to be another version of Lord of the Flies? But then, aren't the "adults" behaving in the same fashion as the children in William Golding's classic novel?

Without a form of leadership, no tribe on earth has thrived or survived through difficult times.

The natives are, indeed, getting restless over here.

Congressional Websites Down

Monday, July 25, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Nunca
Location - Brazil
Format - Variety: Spray Paint/Misc.

Just A Dream

Noises Off

I'm All Askew

Good afternoon/evening - or whatever it is for you today. Due to a new software change on my trusty laptop and a tendency to geek-out over little technical tweaks, I was up until the morning birds began pecking at my window to remind me it was sunrise and I better get some sleep if I expected to do anything at all productive today.

And so I sit at the computer with a foggy brain, tired eyes and a desire to slide back into bed to ensure I get my full 8 hours of lucid dreaming taken care of.

I have a very rich dream life, doncha know! And lucid dreaming is so much fun because you can be doing the strangest things in the most ridiculous or beautiful places knowing that it is, alas, just a dream. It really helps when you're having one of those "OMG I'm nude!" nightmares as you find yourself standing on a stage with the spotlight focused on whatever body part you least appreciate of your Mother Nature-made costume.

Or when someone is trying to kill you. Then, knowing it's just a dream, you laugh at their efforts to send you to your celestial home and skip merrily away from whatever or whomever it may be, knowing all is fine and, in time, you'll awake to the real nightmare that is your waking life. Well, for some, that is.

Actually, my day hasn't been horrible at all. No waking hell on earth - until a few minutes ago.

Apparently the next-door neighbors' large oak tree that recently fell into their home, causing quite a bit of damage, has not yet been buzz-sawed into enough pieces to haul away to the lumber yards and be done with it. So now I have another day of the sound of eww-yick-my-ears! for this season's life soundtrack. And no way can I go back to sleep.

I think it's time to drown-out those nasty sounds with a tune, don't you?

And so I bid a temporary adieu.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Street Art of the Day


Artist - Shepard Fairey
Location - London
Format - Stencil

Kanoun Oloi

Think Links

Today is an overview of several key stories of the moment seen from both my eyes and the typing fingers and minds of others:

A little whisper leaking (it would seem) out of Washington DC via The Huffington Post (exclusively - thus far), is further evidence of the erosion of the U.S. government in a way that should sound domestic terror alert warnings to American citizens of both parties.

What is it? The creation of a group ("Super Congress") who would be given the power to slip legislation through the tedious gridlocks and do so without accountability. In other words, handing power to a new powerful few from each political party to do what they will and damn what anyone else wants. Is such an idea not another slap in the face to the American people?

When I read the following article last night I had to blink, rethink, go back to read again in order to absorb the meaning of what is supposedly in consideration by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid. The creation of a "Super Congress" is the most un-American idea I have heard thus far. Not to ignore that it is absolutely crazy.


Other blogs are also quoting the article, and thus far the "Super Congress" discussion has not made it to mainstream or cable prime-time. Perhaps it is yet another scare tactic from both parties headed by Reid and McConnell to kick their colleagues into shape. Something tells me it isn't so. This is not the first time such an idea has floated through the back rooms of Congress.


The following is slanted to the Left/Liberal point of view. However, Republicans should be as concerned as I am for future legislation they will inevitably deem crucial.

Hold onto your coffee cup: Super Congress

Anyone have a Xanax?

While grappling with power plays, the next article is fascinating regarding what a president can do in times of crisis such as what the U.S. is now facing on the continuing stalemate over the debt ceiling non-negotiations. I highly recommend this read, as it provides a nifty historical perspective: Presidential Power

Regarding the tragedy in Norway with the Oslo bombing and the Norwegian Labor Party summer camp shooting spree on Friday (reported death toll as of this writing is 92), my intention was to write a post concerning the horrific event and the impact on a peaceful culture, as well as the perception of that particular country as one of the last safe havens in the civilized world. But, Howard Fineman wrote an editorial for The Huffington Post in yesterday's edition that expresses my views to a cliche'd "T." Anything I would write would almost be considered plagiarism as his feelings are identical to mine. Safe No More

Concerning the death of singer Amy Winehouse, a testy debate is breaking out on message boards between those who believe she had a "disease" with alcoholism and drug addiction, and those who are blaming her for taking a drink and using any drug in the first place - denying that addiction is a "disease."

Although an autopsy has yet to be performed to confirm everyone's belief that she died of an alcohol and drug overdose, it would be mind-boggling to discover otherwise considering her history with addiction and her last singing performance in Serbia where she was unable to remember the lyrics to her songs and belt out an on-key anything, and, as you may already know, stumbled off the stage and eventually cancelled her "comeback" tour.

Within the last 24 hours, numerous writers are citing the deaths of other music icons of the same age (27). Jimi. Janis. Jim. Kurt. And others. Their untimely deaths are stealing the show due to the similarities. In light of all that has been written, I found the following ditty which brings up valid points on the way in which the public perceives the death of public figures and how lopsided our thinking could be: Think Again

I hope you find at least one, if not more, of the links interesting. I certainly do.

Image Credit: Mercator Media 2011.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Dan Kitchener
Location - Bristol
Format - Spray/Regular Paint
On Canvas at Bristol UPPFEST 2011 for Urban/Street/Graffiti Art

Tears Dry On Their Own

The Ditching Hour

It has been a busy personal week for this flogger. I'd love to share a variety of thoughts with the regular readers of this blog, but if I did so, it would be less-than authentic to dash off surface observations on the current issues of the world. You would sense my struggle to be entertaining, or to provide a different perspective on a variety of headline "events" - and what fun would that be? And to what end?

A mere blathering of jumbled thoughts and a rush to publish would be the result.

And so, today, as with yesterday, I step aside on the writing side of things, but will return as always when the grey cells sing.

Chow!


RIP: Amy Winehouse and the victims of violence in Norway.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Nosbe Shaka
Location - France
Format - Paint

Tell Me No Lies

Social Insecurity Impurity

I'm not stopping my rants on the childish, more-than-absurd, GOP-based threat against the USA's "crisis" over the debt ceiling. I'll gladly admit that a few powers of the Sandbox Party have attempted to reason with their radical Tea Party crazed colleagues to avoid the many serious national and global ramifications of the U.S. going into default -- to no avail.

It's also a disgusting, pathetic bit of news to learn that House and Senate GOP members plan to take the weekend off from their government-paid-by-taxpayer/voter jobs just to further piss on the country in the name of insane dogmatism. The "time off" is a political ploy that effects the world! The more they delay finding a solution, the more dangerous the reality becomes of total fiscal dissolution.

However, there is an element involved in President Obama's threats that should be noted for those who have been anxious and deeply disturbed by the message he has sent regarding Social Security payments.

I suggest the following article for a very interesting view of the issue that appears to have been ignored by mainstream media and cable political pundits: Social Security False Threat *

So, what will it be, Mr. Geithner? The payments (or not) seem to be in your hands. Of course, you won't take the steps unless Obama allows you do so. And, I'm sure no matter how dire the entire standoff seems to be today, and may grow worse as the August 2 deadline grows closer, Obama, if no one else, will ensure the country will not default. Which means exercising the vague language in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

Former President Clinton announced yesterday that he would do so.

And if it gets to that point, I suggest Obama drop the idle threats; stop being a "nice guy" and grab his power by the balls. You know, those things that separate mice from men.

* The "Comments" are quite educational as well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What NOW?

I believe it's fair to mention that I recently discovered that a popular blog, The Daily What, had already created a "Street Art of the Day" segment in their Daily What's.

The site is featured as a link by other multidimensional (and Gossip) sites, but I only went there a few times for a specific story, never knowing what else lurked beneath their daily quirks.

Shock of quasi-shocks, while doing a Google search, this (TDFB) blog popped-up in relation to "Street Art." And so did The Daily What. 

Of course I clicked the link...and discovered that long before I thought I had been so savvy in adding a "Street Art of the Day" titled post, particularly because this is not a blog devoted solely to that newish art form, TDW had a daily post they began earlier than mine under the same title!

It is apparent that nothing is ever "new" in the Universe. Somehow, those of us who add "Daily" to our blogs/shows have a similar mindset when it involves current issues, politics, and art.

When I discovered the similarity, I placed a "Street Art for the Day" post -- once. It didn't feel the same. Just didn't "work" from my POV. So, I'm staying with my title, acknowledging, without any outside interference at all, that my idea in a generalized blog is not unique. Not in the least an "original thought."

I give credit to The Daily What without being asked to do so.

Ideas float around and some of us grab them at various times. After all, two of my biggest punch-lines have ended-up on Jay Leno and The Daily Show in the last two months within days of my postings. Same thoughts? Rip-off's? Who knows? Titles and some jokes are not open to copyright. Everyone has free reign of the title game.

The punch-line on Leno? Had I made it my own in a legal way, there could be cause for pause. Ironically, the comment happened at the same time various non-NBC or otherwise non-credited Leno-related writers were accusing the Leno staff of ripping-off their original craft-drafts.

I Actually Shrug. What's the point of forcing an "oink"?

That's it.

For now.

And to be a good sport, here's the link to: http://thedailywh.at/

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Tinta Crua
Location - Lisbon (Portugal)

In the Summertime

FYI's

 
I'm off and running throughout the City of Strange Angles today. No Angels in sight, to be so trite.

LA is full of odd angles on every front; thus, I dare to be so blunt.

It's a day off from writing words beyond what you're reading.

It is a day for work and much-needed healing.

(Per usual, check out the latest music video and Street Art for a moment of creative diversion.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - UBIK
Location - Dubai's Jam Jar/Cuvas Exhibit

Image via chinartree.com

Hell Breaks Loose

Hair, There, and Everywhere!

I’m watching Parliament query Rebekah Brooks. All I can think about is “Wow! That’s a lot of hair going on there!” She needs to be accompanied by an Irish Cocker Spaniel to complete the picture. And what a lovely duo would they would make, too! That’s all that Rebekah needs right now to soften her drowning image. A furry friend. She probably has one somewhere hiding-out by a phone line hoping to hear the woof’s of the Queen’s Corgis.

From what I understand, Rebekah Brooks has not been known to be warm and fuzzy, but then, one doesn’t get to the position of "Editor" of a newspaper of any ilk, then into the elevated position of CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News International empire, with a smile and a wink, eh?

Oh, what a crafty little thing she is! Just now she explained to her executioners, er, her questioners, that while she was editor of NOTW, many tragic stories were to be covered, one of which involved the 2000 murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne by a known sex offender, which Rebekah reminded the group NOTW had campaigned Parliament to enact what is now known as “Sarah’s Law.” *

(Meaning, well, you know, we were so very concerned about bringing accurate news and justice to the fore that we had to nudge all of you to do something about the at-the-time legal barriers to sex offender information, if you will. Ahem.)

Oh, all right, Rebekah! NOTW did something noble – once.

In the interim, there is this problem over hacking a murder victim’s voicemail, erasing messages to provide room for other callers’ messages to be heard just in case something juicy and new would be discovered to splash across the tabloid pages, never considering how the activity might give false hope to the victim’s family that she was still alive and checking her phone. Oh dear. That wasn’t a very decent idea now, was it?

But, Rebekah may not have known about this. By then she was no longer the editor and was sitting in her lofty CEO perch where, as written the other day, one is way too busy to pay attention to silly little details of what the underlings are doing. Perhaps once not involved exclusively with NOTW, details of what the run-amok journalists were doing to snag a story no longer sat at the top of her desk In-Box; however, between 2000 – 2003 Brooks was the Editor and not immune from knowledge of budgetary concerns.

According to numerous reports, NOTW monies paid to private investigators, Scotland Yard connections and such, could not have gone unnoticed in what is considered to be an almost hawk-like monitoring-of-expenses and general annual budget environment.

As the NOTW scandal is an “on-going investigation” I won’t ramble on about the guilt (or lack thereof) of one individual in this sorry mess beyond the side-eye jabs.

One life has been lost thus far in association with NOTW, although the cause of death of Sean Hoare, a former News of the World employee and the debacle’s initial “whistle-blower" has not yet been disclosed (murder/ suicide/coincidental “natural causes”? Cough.), the toll it is taking on all concerned is tangible.

Just ask Prime Minister David Cameron, now-former good pal of Rebekah Brooks, and former employer of former NOTW editor-now-arrested-along-with-the-rest, Andy Coulson.

My, my, my. What a cozy, claustrophobic web they weaved. 

Stay tuned….


*The point of the campaign was for the government to allow controlled access to the “Sex Offender’s Registry” so that parents with young children could know if a child sex-offender was living in their area. Sarah Payne's mother has claimed that had such a law been in effect in 2000 it could have saved her daughter's life.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Street Art for the Day

Artists - Marion Ruthardt and Gregor Vosika (of Germany)
Location - Russia
Format - 3d - Chalk and Paint

Stubborn

There Goes the Neighborhood

As Washington continues to dither on the debt ceiling, and the Tea Party is playing dress-up once again to show their “patriotism,” I have been reading articles and opinions from both sides of the debate. The problem I have with those who disagree with the likes of me when pointing a sharp finger back to the George W. administration as the reason why the US of A fell and continues to fall into a deeper money ditch, is that the amnesia, unrealistic, and cynical outlook of Conservatives blocks a true reality of the entire situation.

I can hear the sighing now. “Here she goes again – typical Liberal thinking.“ 

First, look at the below chart, which is based on numbers by the Congressional Budget Office. You will see where and when the federal budget has risen and fallen.


All right. That’s that. So what? you may ask. Obama has continued to raise the debt in monumental proportions. And that’s what is happening now, so get off the blaming Bush cycle already!

I ask, how can he (or anyone) who has been given not only a terrible burden of such magnitude fix the problem in conjunction with an opposing political party so deeply entrenched in partisanship that even governor’s of the opposition party’s brand are disgusted with their Washington counterparts’ inability to bend, negotiate in good faith; to be, shall I say – reasonable?

Imagine this: Your spouse/partner goes on a spending spree for 8 years with your joint checking and credit accounts. Some of the purchases are needed, others are simply drunken rampages egged-on by their friends (Wall Street). You know about some of the debts, and do what you can to reign in the spending. Through either a contract or moral obligation, you cannot leave that person, nor can you take away their access to the credit or bank account. If you try, they always find another way to get their hands on the money through whatever means they can devise – legal or otherwise.

And then they die. You are left with the responsibility for a debt larger than you expected. Not only that, they owe money to two very frightening thugs (Iraq and Afghanistan wars), and cutting ties with either may cost your life and threaten the lives of your extended family if you don’t continue to pay out.

The weight of the financial burden is so heavy that although you are strong, it feels as if you are carrying 50 lb. weights in both hands every day. You are unable to file for bankruptcy, as you do not qualify under the law, and your family is beginning to starve, a few need hospitalization, others require expensive medication. The situation is dire, and you have no other choice but to borrow more money just to keep your family from dying or going on a panicked killing-spree in a starvation-induced  hallucination.

You need support from others to take care of your family because you are working 12 hours a day on two jobs just to stay afloat. You turn to neighbors for aid with cooking, cleaning and other basic domestic needs so that your home doesn’t turn into a garbage pile. You offer a barter. You are willing to help them in whatever ways you can in exchange for their time, but your neighbors refuse. They don’t like you because you have different beliefs than they do, and suggest you sell your house, pray, and move into a smaller space despite the fact that you don’t have the credit rating to find a new home to rent or buy.

Your house/property has been neglected because you cannot afford the maintenance costs, and were you to sell, you would not come out on the strong end and would be in worse financial shape with all of the costs involved with moving, etc. Your family already is hurting from their own illnesses and have already begun to make drastic lifestyle sacrifices.

Your neighbors also tell you that they won’t help because they believe you are paying too much in medical insurance and groceries although you need both for your on-the-brink family to survive. And, were you to attempt to change insurance companies, you would be denied coverage because all of your family members have pre-existing conditions. If you change your current policy, you will incur deeper debt to handle a higher co-payment. It's a no-win.

Your neighbors continue to shun you. You just don’t get it, they sneer. You’re living way beyond your means, and you took out a huge loan recently that has added to your debt! They have forgotten, it seems, that your now-diseased partner/spouse once held block parties and showered the neighborhood with gifts every holiday and bailed them out when they needed help.

They liked that person because they shared the same belief system. What happened by that person to place you into the financial ditch is in the past. Why haven’t you pulled-it together yet? You are a total loser and we want you out of the neighborhood STAT. So what if your ill child is crying and needs a babysitter? Too bad your parent is in the hospital on life support and you are responsible for their care!

We won’t help you mow your lawn, paint the ugly fence, trim your trees or anything even though our property value is going down because your home is falling apart! You aren’t one of us and that’s the end of it, you schmuck!

You have made a few mistakes along the way. You aren’t perfect. You gave a few dollars from the loan to several family members who went to the casino instead of paying their bills – and they lost the money. That sort of thing. Nevertheless, you are trying to do what you feel is best as the head of an ailing household and all you are getting from the outside world are roadblocks to any progress. You are, in truth, running-in-place.

In desperation, you call a neighborhood meeting, imploring the residents to meet you half-way if they would only help. A few of them will, but only if you give up your car, knowing that where you work doesn’t provide public transportation. Another offers to fix one of the broken windows in your home, but only if you take one of your children out of school and send them to work.

And so it goes…….

If you’d like another way of viewing my point of view, check out the following article: The Debt Amnesia

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Street Art of the Day

































Artist - n/a
Location - Hong Kong
Format - 3D

I'm Free

Sunday Sundries

What a day it is! The ginger-curled head of Rupert Murdoch's former NOTW CEO Rebekah Brooks, is now lassoed in an arrest in jolly ole' England.

For shame, Rebekah! You have embarrassed Big Daddy Murdoch beyond the pale despite your denials of allowing the peons beneath your "I'm-not-at-all-innocent"-looking blue eyes to hack into private phone lines. Or that is what has been charged. She could be innocent, right?

It goes with the territory that in politics and media no one in top positions have any control whatsoever of the little people's actions because, of course, they are always the bad ones slithering behind their bosses' designer-clad backs to make Mommy or Daddy happy with their work. And Mommy and Daddy always wear blinders as they are too busy chatting on their phones and having serial meetings to even consider from where the source of information might come. Correct? Just ask Dick Cheney. Oh, but he didn't wear designer suits, did he? Just good ole' USA boxy suits?

Anyhow.....

Former NOTW employee heads are rolling like a guillotine-on-paper as the scandal continues to send its 10th assumed criminal into the arresting developments of illegal hacking and bribery of police officials for the basic purpose of gathering private information for the tabloid's stinky-inky pages to bellow the latest scoop.

The story is not yet at its peak. On Tuesday, Mr. Murdoch will crawl into Parliament for a classic tongue-lashing, among other things. Rebekah is also slated to appear. We shall see how it unfolds, won't we?

And, sigh, the "Carmageddon" promise of another full day of no traffic on the 10-mile stretch of the I-405 in Los Angeles has come to an inexplicable efficient end. The construction has been terribly well done. 17 hours ahead of schedule, in fact. I don't know whether to applaud or cry.

And then, the final edge to a day full of surprises brings us to the release of Demonic Bad Mother of the Decade, Casey Anthony, from three + years of a jail vacation from the Big Bad World she once found so warm and welcoming when she partied 'til the wee hours like a college kid on Spring Break! 

I could not write the release of Casey Anthony from her jail time better than this: Casey Anthony OMG

(Warning: not safe for those who don't appreciate a few colourful words here and there.)

Enjoy your day/afternoon/evening!
Image Source:http://blog.nielsen.com

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Roadsworth
Location - Canada

I Just Don't know What To Do...

LA On Ice

Something shocking is happening today. Half of Los Angeles will stay home, not take to the freeways and side-ways to run hither and yon like little ants on steroids. The reason for this is a national news event! 10 miles of the I-405 freeway on the West Side of the city has SHUT DOWN! The empty lanes are such an unusual sight that news crews from all over the world have sent reporters with cameras to capture the historic sight/site.

With awestruck voices, news anchors bolstered by in-field reporters breathlessly tell the tale of how the concrete stretch of the busiest freeway in the U.S. is devoid of cars and trucks and cycles and such. It is a sight no one has ever seen! An empty freeway in Los Angeles! Jaws are dropping! Tweeter’s are twittering how they are staying home! Imagine that!  Others prepared for this momentous event by buying all of their emergency rations in advance of what is now known as “Carmageddon” and are hunkering-down for the 53-hour cut-off.

The purpose for the stunning event, should you have been otherwise occupied with your own lives or gripped by the Murdoch scandal and hadn’t heard the details, is to demolish a small bridge overpass and widen the highway, adding a car pool lane, to accommodate the estimated 500,000 vehicles that bumpity-bump-bumper-to-bumper every day through this particular part of the freeway known as the Sepulveda Pass. Progress at last! Infrastructure (sort of) dollars at work! Jobs! Wow!

But, alas, progress comes with sacrifice: Inconvenience. Detours. Dire, ominous warnings from local officials to stay off the roads lest the surrounding streets and connecting freeways turn Los Angeles into a bigger than usual parking lot. No shopping sprees for some. No frivolous jaunts to the beach. No champagne brunches on Sunday. No Costco runs.

Can LA bear this catastrophic interruption? Will families be forced to spend time together? Oh, the horror!

Well, I must go now to watch the latest news updates on the construction. There is nothing more entertaining than to gaze at empty freeway lanes, busy bulldozers, and news reporters all aflutter.

After all, it becomes boring to star-gaze in the city of many not-so-bright-bulbs. We need a new diversion in our visual excursion's.

Image Source: www.hotterinhollywood.com, from Tokyo Nobody

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oh, Crap!


The earlier post of the day was an unedited draft published in error via an automatic time schedule. The final version now stands. If you read the mess, I hope you'll give it another chance. Such things happen when juggling too many projects at once.

Groan.

Street Art of the Day


Artist - Kurt Wenner
Format - 3D

People Are Crazy

Surly Words for the Turds

The Flogging Whip is all askew this week. Obviously, it is sensing the confusion thickening in the hot air hovering over Washington DC that is wafting across the remainder of the country, across the Pond, and other areas of the world where what happens in the American financial-political world eventually affects other nations. We are living in a global bubble – whether some people like it or not.

With both Obama and his GOP non-cohorts bashing each other over the debt ceiling issue, the “true colours” of their willingness to sacrifice so much by endless refusals to compromise (GOP) and the seeming threat of government-funded non-payments to millions (Obama) are being squeezed out into the open like an almost empty tube of toothpaste.

Neither “side” is playing fair at this point. I do believe, however, that President Obama has tried to deal with a foul GOP agenda that even those who oppose him must agree was and is a calculated partisan-based plan to ensure he will fail just because the Republicans want their power back. And that, my friends, no matter who is at the helm, is a despicable way to run a government.

Mitch McConnell doesn’t give a flying American flag about what the country needs. He and his buddies just want Obama out of the White House. He has said that in plain, clear English. Is that how to serve the people? With a closed mind from the start? I refuse to cave to any thinking that the GOP has honestly tried to be fair when it gets down to the root of the obstruction. To me, what the GOP has plotted is akin to treason. Yes, treason. Before Obama barely stepped into his new position as president, McConnell and friends were already sucking lemons and rubbing their greedy hands in preparation for constant negation to agree to level-headed, adult thought processes.

We voted these people into office – one side or another – to work for US. From my perspective, very few in Washington are representing US these days and I say they are the ones who should be first in the line of spending cuts – such as their salaries, rather than those who may not have a home or food on the table after August 2. Where is their sacrifice? Those in Congress feel entitled, I gather, to continue living a normal life because they are employed, which comes with a promise of being paid. Well, many in this country are also entitled to what had been promised to them – which is to be paid and receive Medicare for their health needs, just as Congress receives their own health care – which, ironically, is funded by the government.

I have to tell you that despite my strong political and social beliefs, I did not march on anything in the 60’s and 70’s. I don’t like crowds, have always used the stage or a professional platform in radio and writing to express my feelings and beliefs, and, if necessary, to inspire and motivate others to follow their dreams or speak out on whatever they believe requires a loud voice.

However, with what is now going on in this country, I am beginning to feel an ire-fire building within as I find myself visualizing being part of a crowd of All Americans swarming on Washington to protest the abject insanity of those who are leading this country into a dirty, murky ditch.

I know we may not all agree on some of the details. One area of agreement I do feel we share is a deep disgust with how most of the men and women taking our country’s money are kicking the rest of us in the gut with their immature folly. And it is within that basic agreement upon which such a protest would occur.

I’m pissed. And don’t tell me it’s all Obama’s fault. It is not. If that’s what you believe, then you are blind in one eye, if not both. We can come together under the umbrella of “Throw the bums out” of our chosen parties. Those who thought they had done so last fall are now seeing the devastating result of what extreme thinking can create in a political arena. There IS “Buyer’s remorse” seeping into the collective consciousness. Examples? Look around.

Moderation is always the key to everything healthy in life. The Tea Party is not moderate, and they are running the GOP show behind-the-scenes. Just witness Eric Cantor's antics of late. They own him. Obama is far more moderate than most Progressives ever knew. I have not seen extremism in his presidency. Nevertheless, if he’s calling the country’s bluff on what could happen on August 2, then I will say he is moving into an extreme position of his own. And that sort of power play is where I draw my line in the proverbial sand.

(Note: The unedited draft version was published in error earlier today.)


Picture via truthworks.org

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - n/a
Location - ?

Image via:

Beauty's Only Skin Deep

Thin Skins

Oy friggin vey! I’m growing tired of the media’s exploitation-obsession with celebrity women in bikini’s or less in almost every publication’s headlines of late.

Okay. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t tout “Kim Kardashian In a Bikini!” (horrors!) or fill-in-the-blank-faced-blank in a bikini, but it’s out there and is becoming redundant.

I’d feel and write/say the same sentiment were I to see “George Clooney Goes Shirtless” (again, fill-in-the-blank name) several times a week as a recurring headline. To me, it’s boring. Vapid. So what? Someone famous is half-clothed. As if that’s a new concept or view.

Yes, some of these people have fabulous bodies. A few (or more than a few) will pose quasi-nude on a magazine cover, too. Others will have nude or somewhat nude scenes in a film…without using a body double. Fans will salivate, others may virtually hate. Either way, it’s not what’s under the skin but what is the depth and texture of ripples and size of the nipples.

So, why is the so-called “everyone” to care about these pictures? Oh, that’s right. We are a sexualized race – even Osama bin Laden had a porn stash in his “compound.” You can hide a woman’s face with a veil, throw her in jail (or slap her around) if she takes it off in certain countries and cultures, but the underlying gist of both the in-your-face or don’t-show-your-face sexual fascination or assassination of women’s bodies is shockingly alive and unwell in 2011.

Why have I used the word “unwell”? Well, if people didn’t make such a big deal out of seeing parts of the body of either sex because from birth onward no stigma had been attached to unveiling the natural skin we all wear and who should or should not see this or that part without a blush or hush, then no one would care, thus repression wouldn’t rule our thinking or mental dinking (as it were).
 
What is my point beyond flogging the afore-mentioned increasingly obnoxious headlines? Once more, I return to religion as the primary culprit. (Again, I do believe in a Higher Power – just not The One of traditional history’s Babel Tower.)

The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis of the Christian bible’s Old Testament directly states that when those two little rebels began frolicking in the Garden of Eden after Eve (the woman, of course), fell into temptation by eating a forbidden fruit (!), they were suddenly, inexplicably “ashamed” of their genitalia.

What? Did something rise to the surface that hadn’t done so before? Cause for pause? And, if so, what was the problem with that if one is at least part animal, eh? Wasn’t the point of creating humans to “go forth and multiply”?

All right, then. Do tell me why the supposed former “innocents” would suddenly feel an immediate need to cover their “stuff” if someone/thing had not already planted the idea that looking upon one another in the most natural way was akin to bad garden manners? Isn’t the very concept of this part of the biblical story of how the human race began a bit strange if you think about it beyond literal terms?

Ah, you “see” where I have been heading of late: Religion. The root of all decency and inconsistency with regard to moral standards, values. And thus, therefore, evermore (and said the Raven, “Nevermore”) – the complexity of sorting-out what lies beneath the world’s defeat, yet without basic guidelines, from the varying religions of the world, would the human race be here – today – at all?

Therein lies the usual rub: what to keep and what to scrub?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Street Art of the Day

 
Artists - Steel and Norm AWR MSK
Location - Los Angeles

Heartless

Playing With Ire


I awoke this morning in a good mood, finally catching-up on much-needed sleep. The neighborhood was quiet for a change, peace prevailed. Until I remembered Prez Obama's speech from yesterday regarding the financial crisis the country faces and how he is willing to continue to allow the GOP to bring the country to a serious, critical mass by August 2 if no agreements can be made between a stubborn (being "kind" on the use of that word) GOP and Obama's stance on the situation.

If no deal can be made by what several economist's and former White House administration officials from days past deem to be an arbitrary date of August 2, Social Security and other extremely-important-to-millions funds won't be there. Nada. Nothing.

My mind, once in a happy place, has now scrambled into it's own debt ceiling debate as I know quite a few elderly and disabled people who rely soley on their monthly Social Security checks to live. Most have credit cards, but have been paying them off. What the lack of receiving their rightful monies for which they paid into while working will do is to cause more personal debt through living off credit, or for those without credit, a choice between running to others to assist with their bills or defaulting on their own loans and monthly expenses.

The current impasse, the continuing drama in which this clearly political game of playing with the well-being of those who simply cannot afford to lose what little they have, is more insidious than anything I have witnessed in my life. And although I, among many, have been frustrated with Obama's apparent weakness, I am now beyond words to describe my horror at how he has now chosen to show a spine.

And it is all a political game of bluff that is going on. Who will blink first? At this point, I don't care anymore. What will happen in the USA if funds are cut off -- if only for a month -- will create a chaotic envronment of rage and despair, which is always a deadly combination.

For those who have the patience, interest, and willingness to explore the varying opinions of a selected few regarding what is going down in Washington as of now, have at it here:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/07/11/debt-crisis-coverage-8-great-opinion-pieces-vertical.html

Meanwhile, I think I'll take a shower, and scrub those Washington Slime Balls out of my hair.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Street Art of the Day

Artist - Tracy Lee Stum
Format - 3D - Paint

Image via:

Nights In White Satin

Cuz' the Bible Tells Us So?


Let's begin the week on a completely thought-provoking note, shall we? Although it's not Sunday (or Saturday for the Jewish Sabbath), today we are going to church/temple -- sort of. Not for religious inspiration, but to examine the arguments surrounding the Bible and homosexuality -- particularly with regard to the issue of marriage.

Right off the top, know that I disagree 100% with those who swear on their Bibles that loving and having sexual relations with someone of the same sex is an "abomination." The God/Spiritual Being-Energy I believe exists is not going to shove anyone who LOVES in pure heart into a sweltering hell-hole. If so, then that is not a Being, an Energy, I can accept.


Conventional, traditional, marriage has never been a "sacred" religious-spiritual union/ritual in totality. I do believe in real love, and I do believe many marriages spring, sprout and shout from honest love and compatibility. Nevertheless, history presents endless examples of arranged, loveless marriages created for mutual financial, territorial, political gain. It is an abject folly to regard "marriage" as a pure covenant of love "under God" when anyone with a brain knows that it is (and has been) in every way a mixed bag of convenience for many. Or the need to legitimize an heir to maintain control over a country, empire and what-not.


For those who believe it is simply "wrong" to allow same-sex partners to stand before a judge, minister, rabbi, etc. to be "joined together" with the blessings of God or Allah or what-and-whomever is the primary voice of a religious path, then please back away and realize how often such a mockery of the religion-based stance behind marriage has taken place over the centuries - and to this day (witness Prince Albert of Monaco and his hostage bride as the latest high-profile example). 


I don't wish to fight with those who have a deep repulsion with the reality of homosexuality. I want to provide an honest balance on the subject by providing access to information on this very hot topic through the following links, ending with an interesting section of the Christian Bible concerning marriage in general that is ignored and/or overlooked.


Here is a slightly waffling, yet thought-provoking article on the subject of Marriage and the Church: 

Marriage via the Bible

Okay. That was interesting, wasn't it?

Next, let's tackle the constant bickering, differing age-old classic Leviticus battle. Why not look at what those who constantly, endlessly use TWO LINES (verses) of many a crazy-filled list of do's and don't OR ELSE are always ignoring when they bang the drum of the "sin" of homosexuality in general? C'mon. I know you can handle it! One more time....

The Infamous Quotes (Debated author - supposedly Moses via God)


Pleeeez all yee anti-gayers. Get real with your much-touted belief of every word in the Bible. If you're gonna use two short verses out of endless pages to slam, kill, deny and shrill at homosexuals, then ya' best get on the same page with the rest of those level-headed edicts, right? If not, then, pray tell, what the hell?


Finally, on the subject of marriage in general, the following is fascinating. The Apostle Paul decided that the Corinthians needed some wise guidance as they were out of control. I have high-lighted in bold the best parts for everyone's viewing (or eeewing) pleasure.


1 Corinthians 7: 1-16 

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.  But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.  Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  I say this as a concession, not as a command.  I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.  Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.  But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.  To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.  To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.  And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.  For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.  How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?


Okayyyyy. Divorce, but don't divorce. Marry if you can't keep your zipper zipped or your thong un-ripped. But, gee, if you are like me (sayeth he), you could be filled with contradicting versions of insanity.


Huh?


And this kind of nonsense is what is dividing the human race?


Honest to GOD, isn't it a disgrace?


EVERYONE is entitled to marry for whatever their reason may be. Just don't bring a biased, pious argument to the issue when the very same scriptures and cultural fixtures are less than heaven-sent. 


More on this subject in the future......