Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BORA: Barack Obama Rex Americanae*

Script for a trailer for the new blockbuster, "Obama Rex"  (spoken in a deep, sinister voice):

The coronation is over. The curtain has risen. With Rahm Emanuel as his Iago, the Moor has taken the reins. See the conniving Shylock, his hands in everybody's pockets, played by Timothy Geithner. Hear Polonius, played by Joe Biden, utter the famous "to thine own self be true, and thou canst still be false to any man." Thrill to the sight of Lady Macbeth (Michelle Obama)  after the infernal-obama-rescue-dog  pees in the Lincoln bedroom, as she exclaims: "Out, damned Spot. Out I Say!" Tremble as the three witches(Nancy, Hillary, and Bill), their ambitions thwarted, brew their scheme to bring about his demise. Will the crafty Iago and the unwitting Obama out-maneuver the three,  or will THEY prevail?   Limited engagement opens January 20, 2009.

But, seriously, I heard the new president say that economic collapse was  a "collective" failure.
So, it follows that  we will to have a "collective" response.  Collective--that is something like a commune, is it not?   When he talks about a more mature tone in Washington,   what he means is that Republicans and Conservatives better be mature.   What about the 1.4 million clods on the Washington mall who booed the outgoing President Bush?  They are Obama's constituents; will he implore them to be mature?   

Finally, a word about the cute, charming, Rev. Joseph Lowery.   Did I hear him Wright?
Did he say, "the brown man will stay around;  the red man will get ahead, man;  and the white man will do right?" So,   white people do not do right? Strange thing to say, considering that, according to the new President, all of us, black, white, red, etc., are supposed to get along now.   Strange thing to say, considering that the first black president was elected because of the votes of white people.   Mr President, I have one word for you:  Maturity.

*cf. INRI:   Iesus Nazareni, Rex Iudaiorum

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Princess Caroline's Career

Today, AOL news reported that “[Caroline]Kennedy, a lawyer and author, has spent much of her career maintaining the family legacy and working on civic efforts in New York, such as fundraising for public schools. She has written several books, including ‘The Right to Privacy,’ and ‘The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.’ “

One thing is for sure: the blogosphere and talk-radio are going to love her. She is a treasure-trove of material. Just look at all the neat stuff in these two sentences.

“…maintaining the family legacy…” What exactly does that mean? Marrying money?
Bootlegging? Getting a ghost-writer to write your book? Getting drunk and seducing young men? Getting drunk, seducing a young man, driving to a deserted beach in the middle of the night? Getting drunk and blubbering er, uh, er uh, er uh….? Getting drunk and committing rape or murder? Paying off people such as lawmakers and DAs? Wire-tapping civil rights leaders? Using her family name to advance her career? Earning approximately $0.0 of her personal wealth? Has any one else ever had the career of maintaining the family legacy? When I was a kid, no one ever told me that was a career option. Does maintaining the family legacy prepare one for the U.S. Senate? Come to think of it, it does.

“…fundraising for public schools…” Does that mean she is a property tax collector? In New York, her home state, public schools are funded by property taxes. In New York City, the cost per student is $14,119.00, the highest in the nation. Do they really need Caroline Kennedy to raise more funds? If she raises a lot of money for the schools, will they lower NYC property taxes ?

“…’The Right to Privacy’ “ I guess this book is a treatise on the Constitutional basis for the right to privacy. She had a co-author--surprise, surprise--named Ellen Alderman. The first chapter is about a case involving a strip search. There’s that family legacy again.

“…’The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.’ “ It must have been tough Xeroxing all those poems and sending them to her agent.

She does have one very positive and true qualification for being the junior senator from
New York: she is not Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Friday, January 9, 2009

$1.2 Trillion by any other name...

On January 7, Forbes reported the following:

"According to a report released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the U.S. federal deficit will reach $1.2 trillion in 2009."

How do YOU spell 1.2 trillion?

(a) 1,200,000,000,000
(b) One Trillion Two Hundred Billion
(c) One Point Two Trillion
(d) 10001011101100101100100101110000000000000 - binary
(e) 1176592E000 - hexadecimal
(f ) FB9T0LXC - base 36
(g) Roman numerals? They do not go that high.
(h) I tried scientific notation, but the blog service does not do superscripts.

Another way of looking at it that may be easier to understand for tree huggers, the mathematically challenged, and members of Congress, is to consider how much forest it would take to have 1.2 trillion leaves.
According to Wisconsin County Forests, "It depends on the tree's species and age, but a mature, healthy tree can have 200,000 leaves."

1,200,000,000,000/200,000 = 6,000,000 trees. That is, 6 million trees would contain approximately 1.2 trillion leaves.

And, according to Wilderness and Waterslides:

"...on average, a typical hectare of this Adirondack forest has 638 trees of various sizes. "

Now, a hectare is about 2.5 acres, so an Adirondack acre would have about 255 trees. 6,000,000/255 = 23,529 acres of forest would have about 1.2 trillion leaves.

Imagine if all of those leaves were dollar bills! Anybody wanna go for a hike?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Letter from Washington

I received a Happy New Year newsletter from my Congressman(pictured above with his defunct rock band, Orleans),  John Hall, (D-NY),. I have reproduced the entire newsletter below, with my highlights (yellow) and commentary (blue).  Please feel free to add your own.  Have fun!

Dear Friends,



As we wrap up the old year, we have no shortage of challenges ahead in the new one. Topping the list is the economy, which provides us with our hardest problems and our greatest opportunities for positive change. My goals for the 19th District, and for the nation, are to create jobs and prevent home foreclosures, to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and where possible incorporate green technologies, to continue improving the care of our returning veterans, and work toward a more cooperative foreign policy based on building up our diplomatic strengths.


Dear John:

The efforts of Congressmen like you to “fix” the economy are puny at best, and, in the long run, will make things worse.  To the simple minded, it sounds good:  spend a lot of money to make jobs to put all those unemployed Americans back to work.   Problem is, you have to take money from working Americans to do it.  The net infusion of capital into the economy is Zero, Zilch, Zip, Nada, the big Goose Egg.  That is, unless you want to borrow a trillion dollars to do it.   And this idea comes from the same people who railed against President Bush for increasing the annual deficit.


These things are all related. Experts tell us that renewable energy creates three to five times as many jobs as would be created by the same dollars invested in traditional power sources. And the energy they produce costs 3 to 5 times as muchSeveral solar panel manufacturers are exploring the Hudson Valley as a site for new manufacturing plants. But they will not  actually locate in the Hudson Valley because the taxes and regulations are too onerous.City Halls, schools, big box stores, post offices and homeowners are asking about solar or geothermal energy, which are available now and could be funded in part by President-elect Obama's recovery plan.  I.e., funded by you and me.   Watch your wallets.




Also fitting within the outline of that plan is traditional infrastructure, like the roads, bridges, and rail lines we use every day to get to work or school.Thirteen bridges in the 19th District are on the deficient list compiled by the federal government after the Minnesota bridge collapse last year. Fixing them will make us safer and create jobs that cannot be outsourced.


Dear John:

How can this be?  New York collects billions of dollars every year in bridge and highway tolls.   Where does it all go?  Why are all the collected tolls not enough to maintain our roads and bridges?  




The new Secretary of the Veterans Administration (VA), General Shinseki, is a principled leader who himself wears two Purple Hearts,  ( sorry, not impressed;   John  Kerry wears four! ) someone capable of taking on the well-meaning but problematic bureaucracy at the VA.  As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, I look forward to working with him and his staff to oversee the changes Congress passed last year in the veterans’ claims process, the implementation of education benefits under the new GI Bill, and a broad, generous program to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. All of these goals will be much more achievable if we stop spending $10 billion per month in Iraq and start using that money to fix problems here at home.


Dear John:

Do you read the papers?   Under the leadership of President Bush, we are already drawing down the troops.   The Iraqis control the Green Zone. Christmas is an official holiday in Iraq.  But if you had had your way, we would have pulled out several years ago, and left chaos behind; or, we would not have gone in at all, and left in power the murderer, thief (of UN oil-for-food money),  abuser of women, thumber-of-nose at UN resolutions,  and enemy of Israel Saddam Hussein.


Oh, by the way, did you hear what Senator Obama said?  He is going to re-deploy the Iraqi troops to Afghanistan. So you can kiss the $10 billion per month savings good-bye.  




Our military has done everything we have asked of them, and their families have borne a heavy burden. Although Afghanistan still needs more attention, we should wind down our presence in Iraq and try a surge of diplomacy to defuse the tensions between India and Pakistan. Our traditional and new allies all have a stake in stability in the Middle East and the subcontinent, and should commit resources to help us attain that. One emerging example of such multinational cooperation is the fleet of different navies helping to fight piracy off the Somali coast.  Please re-write;  it makes no sense.  Here at home, many families will be facing a different threat: job losses, rising health care costs, shrinking investments, declining property values and increasing taxes. We should vow a new vigilance against the greed that let billions of dollars be pocketed by individuals while regulators looked the other way.  Greed?  Oh, you must be talking about Congress, ever greedy for campaign contributions from their democrat cronies at Fannie, Freddie, Citigroup (i.e.,Clintonista Robert Rubin). We need relief for homeowners faced with foreclosure due to predatory lending and for all taxpayers struggling with high taxes at a time of shrinking incomes.  So tell me, John, how much of the $700 billion in bailout money already approved has actually gone to“homeowners faced with foreclosure?  I know a family faced with foreclosure, and here is how much bailout money they have gotten:   Zero, Zip, Zilch, Nada, the Big Goose Egg.




We need to decide if we want certain key industries to remain in our country, like steel, aircraft and automobile manufacturing, and take steps to preserve them.  You wanna preserve these industries?  Here’s a hint:  leave them alone.   And we must not forget the oil prices of last summer and be lulled into another decade or more of dependence on foreign sources of energy. Drill, baby, Drill! We, the country who put a man on the moon, should lead the way into a clean, renewable, home-grown energy revolution.  ANWR, off-shore,  oil shale, clean coal, NUCLEAR (like the French), and then  Windmills Along the Hudson. Our prosperity, sovereignty, and national security depend on it.


Dear John:

Our sovereignty depends on securing our borders, and abiding by the Constitution, which limits, limits, limits the power of Congress.


I look forward to working with President-elect Obama, the new Congress, and you, to achieve these goals in the coming years.


Dear John:

You wanna work with me?   Then take seriously my humble opinions, and keep your grubby little paws out of my pockets.





John Hall


Member of Congress






Citizen  of the United States of America