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Showing posts from December, 2012

Doctor, Conspirator?

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His name really was Mudd.

Today is the 179th birthday of the most vilified doctor this side of Mike Myers' Dr. Evil.

Samuel Mudd was born on December 20, 1833. Before his 32nd birthday, he was a convicted felon.

With the rebirth of Abraham Lincoln in our social consciousness (they even made a movie where Abe isn't a vampire hunter), now is a good time to remember Dr. Mudd, who was convicted along with several others for conspiring to kill the president in 1865.

Justice moved a lot quicker in those days, for good and for bad. The president was assassinated on April 14, 1865 (he died in the wee hours of the 15th). Less than a month later, Mudd and his co-defendants were on trial. By the end of June, Mudd was convicted along with the others.

It was Mudd's prior acquaintance with assassin John Wilkes Booth that planted the seeds of conspiracy.

Mudd first met Booth, history says, in November 1864 in a church in Bryantown, MD. Booth used a guise of a real estate hunt as an excus…

Let's Get Serious

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It's another of the talking points pushed by the gun camp, symbolically accompanied by the throwing up of hands in the air.

"If you ban guns, only criminals will have guns."

First, I am not in favor of banning guns. I fully believe in the Second Amendment to the degree that folks should have the right to protect their castles---even if deadly force is required.

I do, however, believe that reasonable, responsible gun owners can darn well protect themselves---and their homes and their families---with weapons that aren't designed to mow dozens of people down in minutes.

But here's the thing. These mass shootings that are being committed nowadays aren't being committed by criminals. In fact, many times the perpetrator has no previous criminal record. Not even a parking ticket.

Like Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old monster who shot up Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

Lanza had no criminal record.

Neither did the shooter in the recent mall incident in Oregon. Same …

Undercooked Rice

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Susan Rice tried to take one for the team, but she put it behind the eight-ball instead.

Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, today yanked herself out of the running (that she presumably was in) to be the replacement for the retiring Hillary Clinton as President Obama's next Secretary of State.

In a letter to the president, Rice wrote, in part, "the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive, and costly -- to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country."

The road to Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. And Rice just paved another one with her premature bailing on the president.

If you believe the conspiracy theories---and this one seems to have some merit---the GOP assault on Rice's competence to be SOS, which was odd in of itself for its "jumping the gun" nature, is part of a scheme to bring Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to the fore as Clinton's succ…

Deli Advertising

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The sandwich board is making a comeback.

I'm not talking about literal sandwiches here, like the kind you eat.

I'm talking the term often used for the signs those poor folks are holding or wearing these days, hawking a variety of retail outlets, from cell phone stores to oil change places.

The sandwich board was so named because of its original incarnation, which was usually two pieces of wood, connected with rope or twine, which the wearer would sling over his shoulders, advertising on the front and back, creating a sort of human "sandwich."

The sandwich boards started showing up in earnest in the late-1920s and early-1930s, which were, not coincidentally, the days of the Great Depression. But in those days, often the human sandwich was promoting himself, not any company.

The sandwich board is back, but in a more streamlined fashion. It used to be that the only businesses in recent years who commissioned people to stand on the curb and wave people in, holding a sign…

From Zero to 60---In His Grave

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One of the greatest ironies these days is that if you're off to Lansing via car, chances are you just might have to travel on the Reuther Freeway, aka I-696, for a portion of that trip.

That would be the Reuther, as named after Michigan labor pioneer Walter P. Reuther. The same Reuther who is spinning in his grave right about now with great centrifugal force.

If only Ford Motor Company had acquiesced to organized labor back in the late-1930s as quickly as the Michigan Legislature ramrodded the first stage of the so-called "right to work" bill through session yesterday.

Reuther, eventual head of the UAW, paid for his union organizing efforts physically, at the famous Battle of the Overpass at the River Rouge plant, in 1937, when he and Richard Frankensteen were beaten severely by henchmen hired by Ford. The auto company was unhappy about Reuther and his fellow organizers handing out pro-union leaflets along the overpass.

So what would Reuther, and other labor organizers a…

Shameless Plug: Basketball Bones

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It's HERE and ready to ship in time for Christmas!

Basketball Bones, the little basketball game that could, the one invented in my basement in the summer of 2008, is now available IN PRINT with dice, cards, charts, the whole shot! Check it out at the PT Games online store! Thanks again to Tim Plum for helping me realize this dream!! Complete game with 4 sample teams just $32, postage paid. 2011-12 season card set (over 500 players rated) just $55. Great Christmas gift! Ages 12 and up!

More on the game:

The basketball game is tied with less than 30 seconds to play. Just about everyone in the building expects the superstar scorer from the visiting team to get the ball in his hands to take the potential game-winning shot.  Everyone is standing—fans and players alike. Chants of “DEE-FENSE…DEE-FENSE” rock the arena.The clock ticks down. But the superstar doesn’t get the basketball. His teammates are unable to get it to him, thanks to great ball denial by the home team. The fans ar…

Cult Politics

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I have this crazy, mixed up thought that the politicians we elect are supposed to represent those of us who elected them.

Yet there is one man who has a Svengali-like hold on the Republican wing of Congress, a hold that I'm not sure is disturbing, annoying, reprehensible or all of the above.

His name is Grover Norquist, and apparently Grover's interests and marching orders trump those of the electorate when it comes to the GOP members of Congress.

Norquist, back in 1985, started Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), apparently at the behest of President Ronald Reagan. Norquist has never held political office, nor has ever run for so much as city councilman. Yet he has somehow managed to convince dozens of Congressmen (and women) to be his lapdogs.

Norquist is the originator of The Pledge, which holds to the fire the feet of every member of Congress (and Senate) who has taken it. It's a pledge to never raise taxes, under any circumstances.

From Norquist's Wiki page: Prior to …