Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Presidents at Nationals' Park

I went to see the Nationals play the Yankees yesterday. It was the only preseason game here in DC. More about the game a little later but here are the Presidents. They are all decked out in new clothes for the new season. There's also a picture of the newest president, Taft, who will be officially introduced on opening day April 1. I'm going to that game too!

The Running Presidents. Looks like Abe is winning this one.

Teddy and Taft "talking" after the race.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Baseball Right Around the Corner

Baseball is just about to start. In fact when this is posted I will be at the last preseason game the Nationals play. It will be against the Yankees. What better way to honor the start of baseball then with Peanuts since baseball was such an important part of the strip.

The Republicans Try and Reinvent Themselves

Struggling Republican Party announces plan to rebuild itself

That was the headline in a Washington Post article a couple of weeks ago. The story was about a report put out the Republican National Committee titled Growth & Opportunity Project.

I read a little of it and it is a laugh riot. Here are a couple of things from the report:

We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare. We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years.
This is a joke right. The notion that Republicans are actually going to criticize corporations has to be a joke. This from the party that believes corporations can do no wrong. This from the party that wants to gut the regulations passed to rein in Wall Street. Allowing Wall Street to return to the thrilling days of yesteryear that got us in the financial mess in the first place.

Here’s another one:
For the GOP to appeal to younger voters, we do not have to agree on every issue, but we do need to make sure young people do not see the Party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view. Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.

If our Party is not welcoming and inclusive, young people and increasingly other voters will continue to tune us out. The Party should be proud of its conservative principles, but just because someone disagrees with us on 20 percent of the issues, that does not mean we cannot come together on the rest of the issues where we do agree.

Wow what a whopper this one is. The Republican Party is not inclusive at all. Unless you agree 110 percent with the right wing of the Republican Party you’re viewed as not being a Republican. Thus the reason for the rise of the tea party. The reason any “moderate” Republican is called a RINO (Republican in name only). The Republican Party is completely rigid. It denounces anyone and everyone that doesn’t agree with their far right “moral” agenda. This shows in the last election with candidates attacks on just about every minority group imaginable. See Romney’s 47% remark and the Republican obsession with rape as examples.

Those are just two of the examples in this report that made me laugh out loud.

But to show how completely unserious the Republicans are in changing the party is look no further than the press conference by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus had at the National Press Club a few days after the report was released. This from a column from Dana Milbank in the Post:
“We know that we have problems, we have identified them, and we’re implementing the solutions to fix them,” the chairman said.

But he dismissed the notion that these problems could be related to positions the GOP has taken. “To be clear, our principles are sound,” Priebus asserted, moving on to read a flurry of numbered recommendations: “Nine, work with state parties, sister committees. . . . Third, I want to hold hackathons in tech-savvy cities.”

And that is a problem in a nutshell. This is all style and no substance. What’s just as important was the reaction from the far right Republicans, which come to think of it is just every Republican these days. They have no interest in changing at all.

Here are a couple of reactions:
“Americans and those in the tea party movement don’t need an ‘autopsy’ report from RNC to know they failed to promote our principles, and lost because of it,” said Jenny Beth Martin, head of the Tea Party Patriots.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said that the RNC report draws the wrong lessons from 2012 and said Republicans should focus more on abortion and other divisive social issues.

“Social issues are keys to reaching certain minorities the GOP yearns to attract, as well as to motivate millions of voters who first gravitated to the party as Reagan Democrats,” she said in a statement.

In other words batten down the hatches full steam ahead.

If you want some hilarious late night reading you can find the report here.

If you want a good laugh read this report. The notion that this is some how going to lead to a change in the Republican Party is well laughable. It is all smoke and mirrors, style over substance. To be blunt it ain't changing a damn thing.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Charlie Gets a Drink

When Charlie can't drink directly from the tub, he dips one of his paws in the the water and then licks it off.

Happy Birthday Charlie!

Today is Charlie's birthday. He is two too just like Linus.

Here are some pictures of Charlie being Charlie!

Charlie loves the bath tub because he can get a drink from it.

Here he is getting a drink.

Taking a rest. I've been impressed that he hasn't fallen in yet.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Treat

After the fun snow storm yesterday and in the light of the fact winter does not seem to want to go away, I thought it time for a little Peanuts to help bring a smile. And what better way to bring a smile then to have Snoopy do a dance.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Snowy March Monday

Looks like the most snow DC is going to get this year is going to be this morning. I love snow but well it is March 25th and I'm ready for spring.

The view out of my bedroom window this morning.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

National Recording Registry

From an article from the Post:

The library announced 25 fresh additions to its National Recording Registry on Thursday, a growing collection of audio recordings recognized for their “cultural, artistic and historic importance” to be preserved for the ages.

In a statement, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, “Congress created the National Recording Registry to celebrate the richness and variety of our audio heritage and to underscore our responsibility for long-term preservation, to assure that legacy can be appreciated and studied for generations.”

This is a really interesting list to look through. It’s not only music but spoken word recordings as well. One is an entire day of a local radio station (WJSV) here in DC. You can listen to an an audio montage of the new selections. It’s a file you can download.

To see the entire list of the registry follow this link.

The list in organized chronologically. The first entry is from 1853!

One of my favorite entries should come as no surprise:

“A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Vince Guaraldi Trio. (1965)

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” introduced jazz to millions of listeners. The television soundtrack album includes expanded themes from the animated “Peanuts” special of the same name as well as jazz versions of both traditional and popular Christmas music, performed primarily by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. The original music is credited to pianist Guaraldi and television producer Lee Mendelson. Best remembered is the “Linus and Lucy” theme, originally composed by Guaraldi for an earlier “Peanuts” project, which remains beloved by fans of the popular television specials, those devoted to the daily newspaper comic strip, and music lovers alike. Selected for the 2011 registry.

It’s worth taking a look at what’s been preserved for posterity to listen to.

Friday, March 22, 2013

One Last Linus Birthday Post

Here are a couple of videos of Linus. The first one he is chasing shadows which he loves to do. The other he's chasing his tail. He loves to do that too. It makes me dizzy watching.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Linus

Some more pictures of the birthday cat.

Linus and the Shower

Linus and Charlie are both obsessed with water. They both get up on the kitchen counter and will drink water out of the sink if I've put dishes in there. If I take a bath they will drink out of the tub. Linus goes so far as jumping up on the tub's ledge when I take a shower.

Linus and the Shower, Part II

Here he's actually licking the water off the tiles.


Happy Birthday to Linus
Happy Birthday to Linus
Happy Birthday to Linus — a furry, cuddly, purring, cute, fluffy, wonderful kitty kat
Happy Birthday dear Linus
Happy Birthday you're two

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Pachyderm Parade

I went to the pachyderm parade last night.

From the Post:

The elephants are back in town. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is heading to the Verizon Center later this week for nine shows in four days, which means it’s time for the annual elephant walk in D.C.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen the parade. I thought it would be fun. It was supposed to kick off around 8. The route would take them past the Capitol. I thought that would make a great picture. I went home from work. I had dinner and then headed down to the Mall. I got my spot a little after 7:30. I figured they would be walking by around 8:20 or so. I thought there might be just enough light to make a really great picture. I also found out the elephants would be stopping there.

The only problem is the parade kicked off around 9. The wind had come up and it was cold. It was completely dark. There aren’t many street lights around where I was. So no great photo of the elephants in front of the Capitol. I think I got a couple of shots.

If I do this again hopefully the day will be warmer and I’ll find a spot with some nice street lights so the pictures come out a little better.

But it was a fun thing to see.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fight, Fight Who Wants to See a Fight

I have to say I’ve rarely seen a fight between two people. I’m not talking about people yelling at each other but an actual exchange of blows.

Well, in the past ten days, I’ve seen two. Maybe one and a half. The second one people tried to swing at each other but were held back.

The first one took place on my trip to New York. After the bus didn’t show up, I headed for Penn Station. I bought my ticket for the 3am train back to DC. I headed for the bathroom and that’s when I got the first inkling that something was going on. There was a man an a woman arguing over something. Really couldn’t hear what it was about but I could tell this was not a friendly discussion. As I was coming out of the bathroom, things began to heat up. The volume of the discussion got a great deal louder. Actually the woman was the one doing the yelling. Then all of a sudden she took a swing at the guy. Push came to shove and they both ended up on the floor.

The woman then starts yelling for the police. My thought was maybe you shouldn’t have taken the first swing at the guy. The police did respond. And there are a lot of police in Penn Station (maybe for just this reason). There was, however, no real sense of urgency in the police getting over to the fight. In fact one officer had a smile on his face as he jogged over to break up the fight.

And break it up they did. The two were separated. The man left and woman complained long and loudly about what went on.

The second fight happened on Saturday as I was walking up to the CVS. A bunch of women were well for awhile I wasn't exactly sure what they were doing. There was a great deal of yelling and screaming which you heard from a couple of blocks away. Once I got closer I heard what was being said. One was screaming you're going to go to jail for this. Over and over again. I wasn't exactly sure who this was being said to. But one woman was holding another one back. Even pushed her into the street.

Several people were on cell phones. I assume calling the police. I went on to CVS. By the time I got done there, the crowd had dispersed. The police also had showed up. They were talking to the only person left out of the group.

And that's been my recent experience with fist to cuffs.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paul Ryan’s “Budget”

I reminded of one of grandmother’s favorite phrases. It was I had to laugh. And that’s what I did laugh when I read about Paul Ryan’s “budget.” Because he cannot be anything other than a joke. A very cruel joke if it were ever to be implemented but a joke nonetheless.

This is the guy who thinks deep thoughts and is a great intellectual and thinker about what has to be done with the budget. One of his lead off items is the repeal of Obamacare. And this is likely to happen how exactly in the next four years. The House will repeal it. Then of course the Democrats in the Senate will vote with Republicans to repeal it. Then President Obama will sign that law and repeal Obamacare. Perhaps in the fantasy world of Paul Ryan that might happen. But in the real world. Let's see. Oh that’s right it’s not likely to happen at ALL. So from the get go this “budget” is a complete and total farce.

E.J. Dionne sums it up really well in a piece in the Washington Post:

Thanks to this plan, nobody can take the House Budget Committee chairman seriously anymore as a policy wonk or a true deficit hawk. His budget is the work of an ideologue. It’s a bargaining ploy that even Ryan concedes is merely “a vision.”

It is full of holes and magic asterisks, the biggest being his refusal to detail any of the middle-class tax deductions he would have to scrap to get to his 25 percent income tax rate. This would represent an astonishingly large cut from the current 39.6 percent rate for incomes of over $450,000 a year.

I read a little of it. In this document he expresses concern for people going to college and drowning in student loans. His idea to fix this is to cut student loan programs. So, yes, under his plan there would be fewer students with debt. Not from making college more affordable but because they couldn’t afford to go to college.

It also mentions health care that it costs too much. The solution to this problem repeal Obamacare and cut Medicaid. This would leave, as pointed out in Dionne’s column, an additional 40 million to 50 million poor or moderate-income Americans without health insurance, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

More from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his previous budget last year, I wrote that for most of the past half century, its extreme nature would have put it outside the bounds of mainstream discussion. It was, I wrote, ‘Robin Hood in reverse — on steroids,’ because it would have produced the largest redistribution of income from bottom to top in modern U.S. history. Ryan’s new budget is just as extreme. Its cuts in programs for low-income and vulnerable Americans appear as massive as in last year’s budget, and its tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans could be larger than in last year’s.”

Indeed I had to laugh that this was put forth as a "budget." It's time once and for all to show this man for what he is. He's not an great intellectual thinker. He doesn't think deeply about how to solve the problems of the deficit. He wants to re-make the federal government in the image of Ayn Rand. Something that the American showed in the last election they did not want. Otherwise Ryan would be vice-president now. But he isn't.

I think it is time to laugh. Time to laugh this guy right off the stage.

Mamma Mia

Yes, I saw the show again. I had a great seat. Row C just about dead center. So it felt like they were performing the show for me. They did something I thought rather cool on one side of the theater. I guess you would call it the back of the theater. There are pictures of the cast in character. Here's a look at it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mid-week Laughter

Time for a little laughter. After all the week is half over. Spring should be just around the corner. Here in DC the cherry blossoms will be out soon. Opening day is less than three weeks away. So time to smile and have a laugh. What better way they with Peanuts.