Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Night Music Club XXXIII

OK, here's another song by The Whiskey Sisters. I previously referenced them back in June here.

Ray Benson ("Asleep At The Wheel") hosted the band on his show The Texas Music Scene.

Also, I heard the band just scored a prime gig, they're going to open for Willie Nelson on New Year's Eve at the legendary Austin City Limits. The show is totally sold out, of course. I wish I could be there for that one!

Here's the happiest boy in Austin with Barbara Nesbitt and Teal Collins after the show when I was in town last month and got to see them at their usual Thursday happy hour gig at The Continental Club. I like this band and hope they put out another album of their original music soon. You can buy their debut album The Whiskey Sisters.

I really like the way they used split and multiple screen video in this one. Hats off to Ray and his production team. The Whiskey Sisters perform "Good Girl Down":

Friday, December 13, 2013

How to beat the NSA at their own game

It's really simple. This is just between us, OK?

By using the NSA's super-computers and their huge algorithms that scan phone conversations and emails/texts for certain "buzz words" against them, all people need to do is the following:

Determine a date that would be "Mess with the NSA Day". April 1st would be appropriate, don't you think?

Then, on that day everyone agrees to pepper all of their emails and phone conversations with words like "bombing" "terrorism" "embassy" "airport" "hijack" etc. All day long.

If everyone does this at the same time, the computers at NSA headquarters would be hugely overloaded and probably pop a circuit breaker or two.

We'd all have a huge laugh, I'm sure.

And then, of course, the police would soon kick in my front door and I'd be whisked off to a "readjustment centre" for some kind of "corrective treatment".

Ah...let's just all forget about this.

And remember, we agreed to keep this just between us.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Did Comet ISON survive?

As of 10:30PM ET tonight Nov. 29th, it looks like "something" remains of the comet. But the news is a bit disjointed and contradictory, so we'll probably have to wait another 12-24 hours before we hear if the comet has been destroyed by its close pass by the Sun, or if it will give us a few days of viewing as it swings closer to Earth.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wallops Island launch

Great time lapse shot of the launch of the Minotaur I rocket carrying the DOD's Operationally Responsive Space-3 mission successfully launched at 8:15 p.m. EST, Nov. 19, from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0B at Wallops Island, VA.

Joyce and I watched it from Silver Sands in Milford, CT and we picked it up less than a minute after launch. We observed a staging event between the 2nd and 3rd stage, and then the 3rd stage shutdown in advance of the coasting period before the stage 4 ignition. The flame was reddish-orange, and left a faintly visible smoke track for most of the flight that we saw.

Photo by Lon Seidman via Facebook.

Senate passes the "nuclear option"

Or, as George W. Bush was fond of saying, "nu-ku-lar" option.

(This guy graduated from Yale? Jeez, they'll let any moron with a senator for a dad granddaddy get a diploma!)

Anyway, today history was made when the Senate, exasperated at the Republicans filibustering every single judicial appointment, passed with a simple majority vote to remove the filibuster from being invoked in the cases of judicial and executive nominees.

They way I understand it, the filibuster is still available for other issues.

What I want to know is, why didn't they do this back in 2009, and why didn't they make it comprehensive to all the areas of Senate debate? We'd have gotten single payer healthcare, immigration reform, a more realistic stimulus package, and possibly some movement on climate change.

Instead, we have a terrible compromise for healthcare, no immigration reform, a stimulus that probably was 30% effective at best, and more carbon going into the atmosphere than ever!

This would have been useful four years ago.

Now, it's just a distraction, and a worry should the Republicans ever regain a majority in the Senate.

Because if that happens...I don't even want to think about it!

Friday, November 01, 2013

CT Post endorses Blake for Mayor

Here in Milford we are pleased to see the Connecticut Post endorse Milford Mayor Ben
Blake for another 2-year term:
Milford has a tendency to hold onto its mayors. For a span of 30 years starting in 1981, only three people held the position -- Alberta Jagoe, Fred Lisman and James Richetelli. A changing of the guard at the top of Milford politics is a big deal.

So it was two years ago when Benjamin Blake took office, and it looks like Milford again has someone suited to a long term in the position, should he so choose. Blake has been a steady hand at the helm for the past two years and earns the Connecticut Post's endorsement for a second two-year term.

It hasn't been an easy two years. But no mayor can control the weather, and Hurricane Sandy brought havoc up and down the East Coast. With a longer shoreline than any other community in the state, Milford took a serious hit.

Where a mayor can help is the aftermath. And few public officials are better versed than Blake in the maze of agencies and acronyms that can provide some assistance to people whose homes suffered serious damage. His familiarity with the intricacies of governing is a boon for city residents.

Milford has challenges like any community, but it also has amenities that are the envy of its neighbors. Blake has moved to shore up an already well-functioning city government, opening up new revenue streams for City Hall and keeping costs under control.

His opponent, Republican Peter Spalthoff, is an intriguing candidate in his own right, with a long record of distinguished service in the public and private sector. In general, though, his criticisms of Blake are more stylistic than substantive, and city residents have not been presented with a sufficient rationale to change leadership.

Blake has a solid record, and deserves another two-year term.

Sunday, October 06, 2013


Welp, here we are in Day 6 (Oct. 6th) of the government shutdown engineered by Tea Party-led House Republicans. Here's what we know so far:

The Republicans are at a complete loss on what they want out of this:
"We're not going to be disrespected," Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told The Washington Examiner. "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."

The GOP is going to endure huge losses during the Senate mid-terms next year if this shutdown continues (The Washington Post):
Party veterans say they are increasingly concerned that a prolonged standoff in Washington could damage their prospects for winning back the Senate in 2014.

“You can see that in the different reaction of Senate Republicans” compared with their House counterparts, a prominent GOP pollster said.

Like several other Republican strategists interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to publicly disparage his party’s prospects or those of his clients.

GOP senators — with a few notable exceptions, including and led by Ted Cruz (Tex.) — have been far more skeptical about the political wisdom of the shutdown engineered by House Republicans.

The Republicans are getting increasingly desperate with their message, to the point of stealing Democratic ideas (The Hill):
Republicans are seeking to paint Democrats as the "party of no" to help dig themselves out of a hole on the government shutdown.

The Democrats have finally grown some balls when dealing with the GOP (Huff Post):

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) had some choice words for Republicans on Thursday, hurling an expletive to describe the government shutdown stalemate.

In an interview with Slate, McDermott said the GOP "can't figure out how to admit" that they've lost the battle on Obamacare.

"Why would House Democrats give away what the Supreme Court and the 2012 electorate didn’t?," McDermott said. 'You can’t say, OK, you get half of Obamacare—this isn’t a Solomonic decision. So we sit here until they figure out they f*ck*n’ lost.

And lastly, there ain't enough crocodile tears the the world for this lady (The Raw Story):
North Carolina’s U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmer (R) stirred outrage on Thursday when she said in a TV interview that unlike some members of the Republican caucus in Washington, she will not be foregoing her paycheck during the GOP-led shutdown of the federal government. According to Talking Points Memo, Ellmer said that she needs her $170,000 annual salary too much to donate it.

“I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line,” Ellmers said to Raleigh’s WTVD Channel 11. “I understand that there may be some other members who are deferring their paychecks, and I think that’s admirable. I’m not in that position.”

Face it lost! The ACA is here to stay, and all your obstructionism ain't going to change a goddamned thing!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kathleen Chalfant interview

During a break in a night shoot at Trumbull’s Twin Brooks Park, I sat in the driver’s seat of a huge limousine next to the amazing Kathleen Chalfant, and we talked about the movie "Isn’t It Delicious?".

(As an aside, the limousine was a prop was used in the film; the actors all agreed to work under a SAG Ultra-low Budget agreement, meaning they were only receiving a pittance to act in the movie, and they all voluntarily gave up all the usual "star" perks like limos and personal trailers. Kathleen and the rest of the cast are involved in this movie purely as a labor of love.)

CT Bob: Hello Kathleen. Tell me, what drew you to do this movie?

Kathleen Chalfant: Well, I’ve known Michael Kelly (the Director) since 2002, when I met him and Suzanne (the film’s producer and Michael’s wife) at the very first meeting of Theaters Against War (, and at that meeting the idea of the Lysistrata Project came up. The idea was that you would do productions of Lysistrata all over the world. A year later Michael had decided to make a documentary about it (“Operation Lysistrata”) and I was involved with it.

We have been friends since, and about a year ago he sent me the script for this movie. I was involved in a play at Yale and didn’t read it right away, but Michael and Suzanne came to see the play and Suzanne asked me if I’d read it, so I went home that night and read the script and wrote back and said I really, really, really liked it!

CTB: What is it about the character (“Joan”) you’re playing that you like?

KC: Joan is a wonderful character, because she’s one of those impossible people that you come to love by the end of the movie and who learns something by the end of the movie. She has a real journey throughout the movie but she’s also fierce and funny and very smart and impossible, and she’s kind of a dream character to play. I can’t imagine in my life that I’ll ever get a better part to play than Joan, so I’d be a fool not to do it. It’s a great opportunity.

(Kathleen with Keir Dullea)

CTB: How is the cast to work with on this film?

KC: It’s a wonderful cast! Keir Dullea, Mia Dillon, Alice Ripley who just won a Tony (2009) for what you have to say was a towering performance in “Next To Normal”, and the younger actors are really, really good, who I didn’t know before. Jonah (Young), Nick (Stevenson), Ally (Mingione) are all really, really good young actors! The cast for this movie is extraordinary at this level.

And the other thing that Michael has done is to use people who are non-professional actors but they’re playing the things they do in life. Often that doesn’t work very well, but in this movie it’s worked extraordinarily well. Today for instance we just shot a scene with Phil (Hines), who is a member of the Trumbull (CT) Police Department, and he was a swell policeman on camera as well.

(L-R Nick Stevenson, Alice Ripley, Keir Dullea, Kathleen Chalfant, Jonah Young)

CTB: What do you think of the way Michael is putting together this film, with it’s certain look and certain feel for such a ridiculously small budget?

KC: Well, it’s astounding what Michael and the producers have managed to beg and borrow because this is a movie with a budget of around $200,000, and we shot scenes on a fifty-one foot sailboat, tonight we’re doing a crane shot, we have the same model camera that shot “The King’s Speech”, we have a spectacular Art Department that consists of one indefatigable person named Chris Hancock, who has managed to transform raw rental space into a million dollar apartment in New York City. And we have amazing cars; a top-of-the-line Mercedes and a Ferrari, along with a vintage MG and an amazing aquamarine Jeep, and we’re sitting right now in a huge stretch limo with a psychedelic roof (laughter), and it’s going to look good.

It’s also going to look good because we have the wonderful Axel Fischer (Director of Photography) joining us from Germany, and also a crew of camera, lighting and sound whom are for a large part products of the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program. And they’re 22 years old! (laughter) But they’re really good at it.

And I have to say there are a few other things, such as the make-up and wardrobe departments, which are departments that people often don’t pay enough attention to in the making of the movie but it is their work as much as anybody else’s that ends up on the screen. And in this movie continuity has been a huge issue because we haven’t shot in anything like in script order; we shoot based on the locations we can get, and they’ve done an astounding job.

CTB: So what’s next for Kathleen Chalfant after this movie wraps?

KC: Well, my very next project is a play with the World Performance Project at Yale called “Mesopotamia” about Gertrude Bell, who was an English Arabist in the teens and 20s and a friend of Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill. The play is written by Robert Myers who is a playwright and also a teacher at the American University in Beirut, where my husband and I went to lecture last Thanksgiving. And then in the spring I’m going to do another movie.

CTB: Thank you so much Kathleen, and let me just say that it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you on this picture.

KC: Thanks Bob!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Isn't It Delicious" at the Bethel Cinema 9/18

Come over to the Bethel Cinema on September 18th at 7:00PM for the big Connecticut premiere of the home-grown feature film "Isn't It Delicious".

Filmed entirely in Connecticut (with the exception of a single looong day in Manhattan) and crewed by many graduates from the CT Film Industry Program, the story explores the often hilarious and heartbreaking efforts of a family matriarch who finds she has little time left to make things right with her many dysfunctional relationships.

The cast features Kathleen Chalfant and Keir Dullea as the parents of adult children Alice Ripley, Nick Stevenson, and Jonah Young, and features notables such as Mia Dillon, Robert Lupone, Malachy McCourt, and Jay Patterson.

A question & answer session will follow the showing, and we expect to see some of the actors in attendance.

Tickets are available HERE for the measly price of $10 each! Get them quick because this screening will definitely sell out fast!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Jim Himes's views on Syria 9/06/13

Here is the response I received from Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) regarding the Syrian situation:

Perhaps the most difficult decision a Member of Congress must make is the decision to go to war. I would like to share with you my preliminary thoughts on the proposed attack on Syria and provide you with the opportunity to convey your thoughts before Congress votes next week.

It is clear that many of you are appalled by the atrocity in the suburbs of Damascus, but have profound misgivings about any intervention in Syria. For my part, I am assessing the circumstances surrounding the sectarian violence in Syria and the consequences of the United States launching a strike.

This weekend, I flew to DC to attend a classified briefing with intelligence officials on last months’ chemical weapons attack in Syria. There is little doubt in my mind that Assad undertook this attack, but the case is not absolute. Considering what we went through ten years ago with bad intelligence, I want to see more.

I am troubled by the relative lack of international support for the President’s proposed attack. In contrast to the intervention in Libya, the proposed US strike does not enjoy the support of the UN, of NATO, or of the Arab League. An alliance comprised of Sunni Gulf monarchies with questionable human rights records, and France, the former colonial power in Lebanon and Syria, and only a handful of other countries - mostly without significant military resources of their own - seems insufficient to me.

Most importantly, it is very unclear what would follow a strike. The Syrian civil war is complex and unpredictable, with meaningful risk of regional expansion, including into Israel. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I can say with some authority that a strike and ensuing chaos opens the possibility of chemical weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah or al-Qaeda affiliated rebel groups. Hezbollah or Iran could respond to a strike with an attack on Israel, Turkey or Jordan. If we are to get involved, we must be very clear on the specific objectives and possible consequences of any military action we may pursue.

The President has forcefully articulated the potential loss of international credibility should we not respond to the use of chemical weapons. Whatever you think of the remarks the President made on red lines, he made them, and I am concerned about what the leadership of Iran may think when a US red line is not enforced. I worry Iran may be emboldened to accelerate its development of a military nuclear capability and that Assad might use chemical weapons again if unchallenged.

As I continue to review the evidence, prospects, and possible outcomes, I want to hear your opinion. There are no easy answers in this deeply serious situation. I look forward to receiving your thoughts.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Chris Murphy's vote on Syria

Sen. Chris Murphy is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he discusses here why he voted against the Syria resolution.

The resolution was passed anyway, by a vote of 10-7, and it will be discussed in the full Senate. But Sen. Murphy addressed issues that seems to be ignored by the President and the rush to action by leading members of Congress.

Bravo to Sen. Murphy for being a leader and a voice of reason in this increasingly tense situation. There ARE ways our nation can be more helpful in the region besides attacking Syria and attempting to topple a government that someone decided needs to go.

UPDATE: Chris appeared on Rachel Maddow earlier today.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday, August 31, 2013

MoveOn town hall on Syria 8/30

Yesterday held a town hall style online meeting to discuss President Obama's rhetoric about needing to attack Syria in retaliation to alleged chemical attacks on their citizens.

It appears that the U.S. is on the fast track to war. We may see some Congressional discussion before the President acts independently to attack if we're lucky. Congress is back in session on Sept. 9th (and I hope they all had a lovely and relaxing vacation...jesus, how many days off do these guys get?) and I sincerely hope our representatives pressure the President to think carefully and logically before committing our troops to another expensive and (let's be real) dangerous war.

The talk begins about 3 minutes in, so skip forward to when the introductions begin.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Night Music Club XXXII

This installment of the Sunday Night Music Club features The Whiskey Sisters performing a soulful rendition of their song "I Take It Back".

When I was in Austin for work early last month, a friend told me to check out this band, who usually plays a happy hour gig every Thursday at the legendary Austin music venue Continental Club.

I was completely awed by the exuberance and showmanship this band displayed, which makes sense because they won the SXSW "Best New Band" award. They are definitely headed to greatness, as exhibited in their album, which I purchased after returning home.

Here's a video of The Whiskey Sisters performing earlier this month at the High Sierra Music Festival.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Profile in courage

Texas senator Wendy Davis stands up for women's rights during a 13-hour filibuster to defeat a draconian measure to limit access to abortion. Governor Rick Perry finally admitted at 3AM that the bill did not pass.

As far as I know, not a single news network carried the live feed of the dramatic conclusion of this event. Thankfully, several sources put up live streaming on the internet. Anyone who doesn't think network news is a joke might want to rethink their opinions.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More on the "Connecticut Film Grant Program"

It's not a real thing yet, it's just what it should be called.

The extinct Connecticut film tax credit was a great idea but poorly executed. I'll use the following example to prove my point:

The film "Righteous Kill" (2008) was shot partially in Connecticut. In fact, the interior bar scenes of that film were shot at the Star bar, about a mile from my home. I visited the set, but didn't get to see some of the stellar cast that included Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino.

I'm not sure if they employed a single person from Connecticut in their crew, and the craft services company was based in New York even though there were many local caterers who would have jumped at the chance to work for a major picture. The film, which was a significant box office flop, received over $12,000,000 from Connecticut.

Yes. Over 12 million dollars!

Now, here's the way that amount of money could have been much better spent:

Create a program that provides 50% of the budget of an indie film shot exclusively in Connecticut, with at least half the employees being local crew. And all the associated services like equipment rental and support services must be given to Connecticut businesses with the right of first refusal. If there's something we can't do, then you can hire someone from out of state.

Limit the budgets under this program to say $200,000 or less per film. When the production manages to raise half their projected budget, the state kicks in with the other half.

So, if someone writes the 2013 equivalent of "Slacker" (1991) or "Clerks" (1994) with a budget of say $90,000, they need to show proof that they raised $45K already, and have agreements with local industry-trained workers (say, probably FITP grads would fill the bill!), and sign a contract to hire Connecticut services and rentals for their picture, ONLY then would the state kick in the other half, $45K in this example, and production will begin.

This works because it takes the money the state would otherwise give to huge out-of-state corporations and gives it to indie filmmakers who will then, by agreement, dump the money DIRECTLY BACK INTO OUR LOCAL ECONOMY!

The $12,000,000 spent on that flop could easily fund anywhere up to 75 or 100 local indie films, especially considering that some incredible films have been produced for well under $80,000. And with the state encouraging local cinemas to show these films, Connecticut has the potential to create a living, thriving, eclectic indie film culture and help our state become a force in the indie world that could rival places like Seattle and Austin.

And this thriving film industry would be a tremendous incentive to keep our college grads here IN Connecticut, where they can add to the economy rather than expatriating to those places that have a more agreeable creative climate. Think how much business it would bring to Connecticut if we could create a festival that would rival South By Southwest?

How can we get a legislator to voice this idea in the capitol? Do any of you folks still read this blog? Please let me know your thoughts.

The day the movies died

July 1st is the day our wonderful state government has decided to kill the tax credit for film making here in the Nutmeg state.

While there were obvious problems with the program, it appears that rather than attempt to fix those problems, they lost interest and pulled the plug entirely for film projects.

This is what happened, via the Hartford Courant.

Nobody asked me of course, but here's a list of things they could have done to better govern this situation:

1. Address the issue of out-of-state film productions coming here and shooting for 30-60 days with many out-of-state employees, by making it a requirement that they hire at least half their crew from the many graduates of the Film Industry Training Program. And purchase/rent their hardware from in-state businesses

2. Cap the tax credit to something reasonable, like a one-for-each three dollars they spend credit only if they can trace that has gone towards Connecticut businesses and salaries. It doesn't help our state if Steven Spielberg shoots a big budget film here but brings crew like craft services in from Manhattan.

3. Keep the FITP going! It really is a pittance in budgetary terms, but it created interest and skills in a very important demographic to the state: the recent college grads. Connecticut is suffering from a massive brain drain among those interested in film, simply because we don't provide any incentive for them to stay here and explore their art.

4. Create a grant program for small and fully in-state produced films. I can't begin to describe how much it would help Connecticut's indie film community if the state offered grants for people to create and finish films! It would create jobs, keep talent in the state, and generate publicity for Connecticut. How about making it easier for folks to make features with a budget of $50,000 by providing them a grant of 1/3 to 1/2 of their budget? The promise of funds would help them raise money, and by default it would establish an indie film economy. And it would put Connecticut taxpayers to work!

5. How about appointing an official liaison to the indie film community? The reason FITP was unceremoniously snuffed this year is because Governor Malloy combined the department responsible for the program with the Department of Labor. Putting the FITP funds under their control pretty much made it a fait accompli to its demise. They wanted the money for their own programs.

Programs like paying for people to stay OUT OF WORK. Maybe if we knew who the fuck to talk to with suggestions, could we have gotten better legislation?

6. How about holding some public meetings about the program when working people can actually attend? I'd love to be up at the Capitol on a Wednesday afternoon, but sadly I have to earn a living because Connecticut doesn't encourage the indie film community. It would be awesome to have "town hall" style events in the evening when more supporters would be available.

Anyway, the premature death of FITP makes me sad. It seemed so unnecessary and perfunctory. So fucking bureaucratic.

And the repeal of the tax credit for film hurts too. I wish they even gave it a chance for someone to change it into something that would actually work for Connecticut-based indie film.

They should have fucking asked US.

A smart legislator would have suggested that.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

National vote plan making headway

In an Op-Ed on CT News Junkie, Andrea Levien discusses how there is a plan to make every voter's ballot count in presidential elections.

Simply put, the new system eliminates the Electoral College, and simply makes each citizen's vote count. The final number of popular votes decide the election.

For years I assumed the Electoral system was set up somewhere in the fine print of the Constitution, and would require an exhaustive campaign to convince 3/4 of the states (not to mention 2/3 of both houses of Congress) to amend the law.

But it turns out the Constitution allows states a lot of discretion when it comes to setting up their way of voting for the President.
Luckily, Connecticut lawmakers can pass a law that will make Connecticut voters as relevant in presidential elections as voters in Ohio and Florida. The National Poplar Vote plan is an interstate compact that states join by passing state legislation, committing to having all of their electoral votes be cast by the electors supporting the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The compact is only triggered once it has been adopted in states representing a majority of Electoral College votes (270), thereby guaranteeing that the White House to the winner of the national popular vote – and thereby, making every vote in every state matter.
So far the law has been approved in states totaling 49% of the 270 votes, so it is already nearly halfway there.

The idea of eliminating "swing states", "battleground states", the massive amounts of money that pour into New Hampshire every four years while Connecticut gets almost nothing, and the fact that we don't have to count on the fucked up system they have in Florida that prevents them even 12 years after the disastrous 2000 election from counting their votes properly, well, it makes me happy.

And the added benefit is that MORE citizens will vote in states that are predominately red or blue, because their votes WILL matter equally with everyone else's.

The details of the plan are at

Read the entire article over at CT News Junkie, and let me know your thoughts on this plan.

UPDATE: Jason Paul has an opposing Op-ed over at CTNJ worthy of consideration in this matter. Particularly in the case of Florida, who can't seem to get their shit together to count their votes in a timely and accurate fashion. A national vote recount could be an epic nightmare of year 2000 proportions.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Train crash video

This video was recorded by some kids who were skateboarding nearby the wreck. I found the commentary amusing. Not at all annoying.

Can anyone on the video tell me if the train crashed? I think I missed that bit.

Friday, April 19, 2013

41 Senators will always fuck things up

I'm still shocked and amazed that the Senate voted against the compromise bill to expand background checks for gun purchasing. Basically the message here is "fuck you, America; we know better than 90% of you!"

This bill was such a minor approach to the gun problem that everyone pretty much figured it would sail through the Senate almost unopposed. But 46 total asshole senators decided that their opinion on background checks is more important than simple common sense. Including four Democrats who deserve to be defeated in their next election: Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Four Republicans courageously went against their party and voted their conscience: Susan Collins, R-Maine, Mark Kirk, R-Ill., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania. And of course, our fine Connecticut senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, voted for the bill. Kudos to them and everyone who voted in favor of the bill.

But the decision came down to fear. This is an example of how powerful the NRA lobby is. They can make senators so fearful of getting defeated in their next election that they'll completely go against what their constituents want.

The NRA is a toxic organization that wants to put weapons in every person's hand, regardless of their mental stability or criminal history. They the biggest impediment to ensuring our safety, and they are clearly concerned ONLY with the interests of gun manufacturers.

A majority isn't enough to get a bill passed in the Senate these days. All it takes is 41 assholes to fuck everything up.

And they had 46, with the significant help of those cowardly Democrats.

This is a Tweet I made shortly after the vote. I think it will change some minds if implemented:
Here's what to do: Every senator should be forced to view police photos of the Newtown massacre before the next vote on gun safety laws.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention And Children's Safety

So, I'm pleased to say this is a good thing.

Full disclosure: I'm a licensed handgun owner. I possess a valid Connecticut State permit to carry handguns (although I never do, unless I'm going to a shooting range or a gun shop) and I enjoy the protections that the Second Amendment provides for me. I enjoy going to a range occasionally and putting holes in a paper target. This is one way that I have fun.

I don't see this new law changing that right in any way.

The State Senate today voted on and approved a bill that will ban certain types of guns and magazines, and control ammunition purchasing.

From the Hartford Courant:

Approval of the bill came at 6:38 p.m. by a 26-10 vote – with two of 22 Democrats and eight of 14 Republicans opposed. The measure was sent to the House, where approval was expected early Thursday. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he will sign the bipartisan bill once both legislative chambers approve it.

"This is a new and historic model for the country on an issue that has typically been the most controversial and divisive. We in Connecticut are breaking new ground today," Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said near the end of the six-hour debate.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, whose district includes Newtown, said that since the mass killings, "I've been working, as have others … to see what we can do to heal that community — if we can do anything. What we can do to make Connecticut safer? … I'm proud that we've done that."

To hear these words out loud reflects what most of the state's citizens think is a move forward. Our leaders are breaking new ground in the effort to bring some sense to what our forefathers intended when they created our nation.

The State House will likely vote on this bill tomorrow (Thursday) and Governor Malloy has promised to sign it.

When this happens, our state will lead the nation in finally bringing some sanity to the debate about which kind of weapons are allowed to be owned legally. Keeping in mind that the 2nd Amendment was created during a time when there were absolutely NO repeating weapons, and a school massacre by a lone gunman would have necessitated a period of 30 to 60 seconds between each shot when the shooter had to pause to reload his black powder gun.

I wonder how many of those children would be alive today had the Newtown killer not had automatic weapons and 30-shot clips available during his rampage.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Night Music Club XXXI


(...fucken Romans, with their stupid non-decimal numbering system...)

Yes, it's time for yet another Sunday Night Music Club installment. This week, it's The Church and their 1988 song "Under the Milky Way".

This song has long been sort of in the background of my consciousness, ever since it received fairly substantial airplay in the late 80s/early 90s. The melody and lyrics evokes in me images of everyday life unfolding under a canopy of nighttime stars. It's one of those songs that just seems to flow seamlessly from beginning to end, and all too soon is over.

The Wikipedia page for this song describes how the haunting instrumental break that sounds much like bagpipes is actually "composed with an EBow on a Fender Jazzmaster, and recorded on a Synclavier..."

Huh. Interesting. The shit you can learn on the internet, right?

Anyway, my fondness for the song grew exponentially when it was used to great effect in the 2001 film "Donnie Darko", which is firmly in my Top 100 list of favorite films.

Someday I'll actually have to put together that list. It'll be a fun project for a theoretical time when I have nothing else pressing for a week or so.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Is is wrong that I find this amusing?

(click to enlarge, if you want)

I am a big Bill Clinton fan.

Sure, there's a few things he did that I'm not crazy about...

Like repealing Glass–Steagall, which precipitated the gigantic economic upheaval we've been forced to deal with for the last half decade...

Yeah, that kinda sucked.

But still, Clinton was the original rock-star president, and I prefer to think of him as a larger than life action hero sort of guy.

So some creatively insane wacko came up with this pitch-perfect tribute to Big Dog, my favorite past president! Even arch-conservative Stephen Colbert would be pleased by this.

...and you can even buy prints, too!

(I love the alligator with the nuke button strapped to it!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rubio 2016 not likely

I don't know if the HTML strikeout command will translate on the title bar, but I'll chance it.

A lot of people will say that Marco Rubio's sweaty, nervous, thirsty performance during last night's State of the Union Rebuttal may damage his 2016 Presidential aspirations.

But that wasn't the worst thing he did this week.

Earlier, Rubio was one of 22 Republican senators who voted AGAINST reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. It seems that the GOP still hasn't learned anything from their devastating losses in 2012, and they stubbornly insist on continuing their "War On Women".

Here's a clue GOP: Refusing to protect women from violence is NOT the way to endear yourself to half of the voting population. Or even most of the other half of sane, fair, and compassionate male voters.

My guess is that halfway through his rebuttal, Rubio suddenly realized that millions of women were probably watching his performance.

No wonder he was so nervous!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Blizzard's over

Uh, yeah. And I wasn't even close with my predictions.

That's the National Weather Service amount. I guess we got lucky being this close to the water, which helped feed more moisture into Charlotte/Nemo/whatever it's called.

At least the snow blower held out until after we carved a path to the street. Then the drive belt broke! I've ordered a replacement from Sears, but it'll be about 10 days before it gets here.

Plus, we helped our neighbors next door and across the street. Good deeds seldom go unpunished, but we do them anyway.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Blizzard's here

But it's nighttime, so I can't take any pictures. We already had about 10" so far (11PMish), and they're still threatening us with 24-30".

But that's the weather forecasters, and we all know how hysterical they can be. We'll see how much we get.

Probably 24-30".

In the meantime...

...a baby penguin getting tickled!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Blizzard coming?

It's only 12 or so hours away.

We'll see if anyone is smiling this time tomorrow night!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



(Some shit I found on Amazon today. LOLZ!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Hillary Clinton?

Sure, why not?

I sincerely hope the GOP continues to put up the same caliber of candidates as they did last year. Keep holding them Tea Party rallies, boys...they really show the nation just how extreme your party has become!

And don't forget, there's still lots of good ol' conservative reasons to continue your "War on Women"! It worked out so well the last time.

The only way the Republicans can possibly win in four years is if they become more like (get ready) the DEMOCRATS!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Time for the GOPers to tear off all those lame bumper stickers. Four more years!

Hee hee hee!

(I took this photo three days ago)

Friday, January 04, 2013

Congrats to our newest senator

Welcome to the Senate, Chris Murphy!

Thursday, January 03, 2013


Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) officially retired from the Senate today.

Well, that sure took long enough!

I'm so freakin' happy to see Chris Murphy step up to take over the seat. Now I feel that we'll have an elected official who will honestly serve the citizens of our state, and who will make decisions about national policy that doesn't reflect the will of powerful lobbyists and foreign governments.

Were things just a little different back in 2006, today we'd be celebrating the start of Ned Lamont's second term as our senior senator. Lamont accomplished something that was thought impossible back then; beating a long time incumbent in his own party's primary and driving him from the Democratic party.

Of course, history conspired with state Republicans to keep Lieberman on for a fourth term. The GOP turned out in droves to vote for a man they saw as a true ally and friend of their causes. How else do you explain that Republican candidate Al Schlesinger only received 10% of the popular vote, when just six years earlier a future convicted child molester got about a third of the popular vote?

I actually voted for Giordano in 2000, only because I was so fucking pissed at Lieberman for selfishly running for VP and Senate simultaneously. Which, if Gore had won and all things remained equal, would have given the Republicans control of the 50-50 Senate because Gov. Roland had the authority to appoint a Republican to Lieberman's vacant seat. Lieberman was hedging his bet, and that's part of the reason he flipped so quickly on the contested 2000 election. He was holding onto national office while positioning for a 2004 bid himself.

My errant vote at the time was because I didn't know that you could choose to simply not vote for one or more offices when you pull the levers (remember those?). So in protest, though I voted for Gore-Lieberman for President and VP, I also dumbly cast a Republican vote for a guy who currently is serving hard prison time for child rape.

I'm not especially proud of that fact.

Lieberman's legacy will include supporting some important legislation, especially earlier in his career. But something happened to him that caused him to become one of the biggest war hawks in the Senate.

Not to mention that he was also a chicken hawk, due to his excessive use of draft deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam. Lieberman didn't want to get his boots muddy in the jungles of Southeast Asia, but boy he certainly had no problem sending tens of thousands of American soldiers to fight and die in a war that was largely caused by Bush/Cheney's lies, which Lieberman enthusiastically supported.

In the 2004 presidential primaries, who doesn't remember Lieberman's classic loser speech, where he triumphantly claimed that he strode to a big finish "in a three-way tie for third place!" He then dove headfirst down the polls and soon dropped out.

Then, of course, came the famous "kiss" at Bush's 2005 State of the Union address. That kiss came to represent everything he stands for. He followed that up with a kiss to Rep. Chris Shays during the 2008 McCain appearance at Sacred Heart University. Lieberman was the most active supporter of John McCain in the senate, and I'm sure it devastated him when McCain chose that cretin from Alaska to be his running mate instead of faithful ol' Joe. Boy, it made me happy when I heard that announcement!

So now we come to the end of the political line for Joe Lieberman. I'm only slightly curious about where he'll land after this. I assume he'll do some kind of lobbying. But I can't really invest any effort into researching it, because I honestly don't care what he does, as long as he no longer stains the senate with his presence.

Yes, we'll no longer have Joe Lieberman to kick around any more.

I'd say I'm gonna miss the guy, but I don't want to lie. I'm glad he's gone.

Thinking back on 2006, I really want to thank all the bloggers and people I've worked with. The nature of blogging has changed considerably since then, with the advent of social networking, which was unheard of in the day. I was very lucky to hang out with a bunch of smart, funny, and immensely talented people. It was an amazing and hugely rewarding time for me.

And here's a final "thank you" to Ned Lamont, who courageously opened a national conversation that needed to be addressed. And with it, he helped change the face of the political landscape that continues to this day.