Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 thoughts

(Wow! This is the 3000th post on this blog!)

Today is the final day of 2012.

It's probably as good a time as any to get a bit introspective about the last 12 months.

Although it was a pretty good year for me, 2012 has been a tough year for a lot of people. The newspaper headlines spelled out the story of senseless shootings, of hundred-year storms, and of economic hardships.

I've been very lucky. I started a new job in January, and while it's not exactly what I want to be doing, I count myself as among the very fortunate in having a job that provides a decent wage and reasonable benefits. After being unemployed for nearly 18 months, my situation was becoming critical. I won't say that I got the job just in time, but it was definitely getting to the point of having to face some painful sacrifices. Fortunately, the new job has enabled me to postpone those sacrifices, hopefully indefinitely.

But many people still have it much worse than us, and we try not to forget that. There is much for everyone to do in the coming year, and we all will have to pitch in as best we can.

There are also many things to be thankful for. 2012 dealt a huge blow to America's most radical political party, the Tea Party-dominated GOP. We may finally be headed for a time when both parties will work honestly toward what is best for America. The current budget discussion is inexorably heading towards a compromise that for the last two years the Republicans have said they wouldn't even consider. Elections have consequences, and the results indicate this may be the year that the GOP finally backs away from the precipice of insanity and becomes a more reasonable party.

The new year will bring a sense of hope that has been absent for the last several years. 2013 is an opportunity for our leaders to achieve greatness. We can only hope that they have the smarts and the guts to make those decisions that will set our nation back on track.

We shall see. In any event, I wish you all a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Sweater

Who doesn't love that wonderful fake noir-gangster film "Angels With Filthy Souls" that was featured in the Christmas classic "Home Alone"?

Well, now you can own a bit of Christmas cheer when you buy this sweater with a memorable quote from the film!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A meaningful debate has finally started

The long-overdue national debate on gun control has begun. It took a tragedy of epic proportions to get it started, but now there is no denying that, as a nation, we'll finally get to confront this issue.

Given that, I was still surprised to see that former Republican congressman and MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough has completely changed his former pro-gun stance to supporting gun control.

Politically, this may be a move that more Republicans embrace. I'm not implying that's why Joe changed his views, but there is little doubt that if these kinds of horrific tragedies continue to occur, it will have a direct and negative impact on many pro-gun candidates' election chances. It may finally be time for them to stand up to the powerful gun lobby.

Here's Joe Scarborough's heartfelt explanation:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown memorial speech

In times like this, we look to our president for compassion and leadership.

President Obama's remarks tonight provided exactly the kind of comfort and compassion we needed to help us begin healing from this ordeal. I am very proud of our president.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday Night Music Club XXX


That's what XXX means in this context. Nothing tawdry.

They're simply Roman numerals.

Good. Now that I've cleared that up, this week's SNMC feature jazz legend and pioneer Dave Brubeck, who sadly passed just one day shy of his 92nd birthday last week.

I've seen Brubeck probably a half-dozen times over the years, in jazz festivals ranging from New Haven to Newport to Saratoga and elsewhere. And he was always a pleasure to hear and experience. His influence on music is indelible.

He will be missed, but his music will live on forever.

I was close on my popular vote prediction

Here's what I predicted on election morning in this blog post:
Obama-Biden 52.5%
Romney-Ryan 45.5%
Other 2.0%
And Obama-Biden will get 295 electoral votes.

The actual results were:

Obama-Biden 50.95%
Romney-Ryan 47.31%
Other 1.74%

So, I was over by 1.55% on Obama, and under by 1.81% on Romney, and nearly hit the Other demo by about 1/4%.

This is pretty good by most peoples standards.

Although, before I break out the Moet, I did completely blow the Electoral vote, since Obama got 332 votes compared to my squeaker prediction of 295. Obviously I didn't take into account the individual states, including those important battlegrounds that Obama won eight out of the nine. But I did at least call it right in the results.

And I did much better than Rasmussen and Gallup, who both called the popular vote for Romney. The RCP Average (Real Clear Politics) had Obama winning by a much closer margin, 48.8 to 48.1, only 0.7%.

So finally, I can breath a sigh of relief that I actually GOT ONE RIGHT!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Rep. Himes on the "Fiscal Cliff"

Stream of Conscience host John Hartwell interviewed Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) about the looming so-called "fiscal cliff" that will occur on Dec. 31st if a deal isn't struck before then.

This video should be required viewing for anyone who creates their views based solely on the brief snippets of information served by network news organizations. The world isn't going to end on New Year's Eve (unless it already ended on that Mayan calendar date) and people need to know that the term "fiscal cliff" is a complete misnomer.

BTW, anyone hear of any "End of the World" parties happening around the 21st? Seems like a good excuse to get crazy and drink exotic boozes from Central America!