Thursday, August 16, 2012

Last Call

Just trust Mitt.  You don't need to worry your pretty little head about the details.

Mitt Romney said he has never paid less than a 13 percent tax rate in the past 10 years during a press availability in South Carolina Thursday. Romney said that he thought the fascination with his taxes was small-minded compared with the the bigger issues of the campaign. He said he recently went back and looked at his taxes and verified that it was never under 13 percent.

Members of the press who said "OK, prove it!":


Have a good night.

Joe The Dumber

When in doubt as a Republican running for office like Joe (not Joe) the Plumber (not a plumber either), just generate publicity by saying we should shoot brown people.

Congressional candidate Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher called for building a fence and to "start shooting" as part of the solution to illegal immigration at a political event over the weekend in Arizona.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, known as "Joe the Plumber," is the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in the 9th Congressional District.

He spoke Friday night at a fund-raiser in Prescott, Ariz., for Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein.

"For years I've said, 'Put a damn fence on that border going to Mexico and start shooting … ' That's how I feel. I'm not going to hide it just because I'm running for office. I want the borders protected, and I'm very adamant about that," Mr. Wurzelbacher said.

The comment was made in the course of a 14-minute off-the-cuff speech that touched on the importance of conservatives voting for representatives who share their views at the local level.

It was reported by He said too many conservatives are afraid to speak their minds.

First of all, why is this dipstick in Arizona?  You're running in Marcy Kaptur's district, numbskull.  In OHIO.  You can at least pretend like the House seat you're running for is something more important to your constituents than making yourself famous for so you can land that cushy lobbyist job later on.

Second, "shoot all the brown people" may work in Arizona.  Ohio?  Not so much.

Kaptur failing to win here would be malfeasance.  This guy is an embarrassment to the state and country.

Of course, that means he'd fit right in with the rest of the GOP.

A Hero Of Many Galaxies

One of my favorite authors and comics writers, Harry Harrison, passed on Wednesday at the age of 87.  The Comics Reporter has a rundown of his work:

In the 1960s, Harrison began the novel series through which he is probably best remembered. The Stainless Steel Rat books focused on the thief/smuggler Slippery Jim DiGriz, the Deathworld books on culture and environmental clashes on the backdrop of a difficult-to-colonize planet, the Bill The Galactic Hero book offered up direct parodies of bad science fiction. Like many of the most popular and well-liked genre authors of the 20th Century, Harrison's work was generally smart but offered multiple entrance points for readers of various ages. They are frequently cited by current writers and fans of science fiction and fantasy as influential books from early on in their discovery of that kind of writing.

His 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! was the basis for the 1973 science fiction movie Soylent Green, and contains potent elements of social criticism only a few of which made it into the film version. It was dedicated to Harrison's then-young children, which gives poignancy to the novel's strong foreboding nature. In the 1970s, Harrison and the author Brian Aldiss worked as anthology series co-editors and were among the leaders in that corner of publishing in terms of collecting valuable material from decades past.

Like several authors of his generation, Harrison used the relative freedom of being a writer (no doubt in close conjunction that living costs be kept relatively low in an uncertain profession) to live in various places around the world. He would reside at various times in Denmark, England, Ireland, Italy and Mexico. For a time he taught a science fiction course at San Diego State University and organized similar courses in university summer programs. He continued his involvement in various fan- and professional-driven science fiction organization and was a presence at a lot of the early conventions.

Three 12-episode adaptation of Stainless Steel Rat stories appeared in 2000 AD in the late '70s to early '80s. "The Stainless Steel Rat" ran in #s 140-151 (1979/80), "The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World" ran in #s 166-177 (1980) and "The Stainless Steel Rat For President" appeared in #s 393-404 (1984/85). Some of this material appeared in 1985 from Eagle Comics under its own cover.

In 2009, Harrison won the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He was involved in advocacy for Esperanto; the language appears in some of his novels. He won a Nebula Award for Best Script and was nominated for multiple Locus Awards.

A last major piece of writing was released two years ago -- another Stainless Steel Rat book -- and Harrison claimed to be working on a secret project.

I grew up with Slippery Jim's exploits across the stars as a kid and discovered Bill the Space Trooper (who keeps getting parts from people he's not too fond of) in high school, and from there branched out into space, cyberpunk and military sci-fi writers like Heinlein, John Scalzi, Simon Green, David Weber, and William Gibson, but it was Harry Harrison's Vietnam "war is hell" metaphors that really made the genre interesting, thought-provoking and darkly funny to a young, snarky Zandar.   Even through Stainless Steel Rat's adventures are 50 years old, they remained as relevant to the world now as they did then and are definitely worth the read.  He's the first atheist hero I can recall reading about, too.

I hope Harrison's project sees the light of day.  Make that happen, universe.

Thanking A Vet - Doing It Right

Dennis Hall is dying.  The 63-year-old veteran has terminal cancer, and one of his final wishes is to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.  It is a simple request, but one the man is unable to afford.

His family held a garage sale and a bake sale as well, hoping to raise enough money to help him accomplish his goals.  Local news broadcast the story, and the total donations reached thousands of dollars.  Enough to send him on his trip, with the remainder to help with his medical bills.  His daughter will go with him to the memorial, where he can pay his respects to those who fought beside him, and those who fell.

It warms the heart to see people rally to show appreciation for those who risked their lives for us.  Perhaps our government will be inspired to do more of the same.

Don't Stand For It

Sitting has become such a part of our lifestyle that we don't even notice it.  Television turned one generation into couch potatoes, computers another, video games a triple threat.  By now we have mostly forgotten what it was like to live in a world without easy transportation or delivery to our living rooms.

Healthwise, it is starting to take a toll on people.

Government statistics suggest that almost half of us report sitting more than six hours a day; 65% say they spend more than two hours a day watching TV.
But it's taking a toll on health. A recent study showed that if people spent less than three hours a day sitting, it would add two years to the average U.S. life expectancy. And research has linked sitting too much to increased risks of diabetes and death from cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Endocrinologist James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., talks about sitting disease and how to get out of the chair and move more. Levine did some of the original research on the topic and is still investigating it — from a treadmill at his desk.

The article explains how we can and should start utilizing standing workspaces.  Employers are catching on, and as we start to take baby steps back towards active lifestyles, this is the easiest place for us to work in some extra movement.  I get up every hour and walk a "lap" at my job, which stops my restless legs and increases my productivity.  Walking has always been helpful when my mind is stuck on something, I always stroll my neighborhood when a story is nagging at me, so it makes perfect sense it could breathe new life into boring desk jobs.

Depending on the type of work, we can get so busy we neglect our bodies.  I work 14 hours days regularly, but during none of those tasks do I have to be standing.  I write for two hours a day at least, and move nothing but my fingertips.  My greatest exercise is the occasional forehead slap.

The expense isn't that great if we just start building them that way now, and when inevitable remodels come around.  Standing or flexible workstations are important in a world where you can kill yourself doing what you're expected to do.

Felix Felicitas

King Felix Hernandez earned his moniker for the Seattle Mariners as he retired 27 in a row for a perfect game on an idle Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field.

The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner has long talked of his desire to achieve pitching perfection. He finally accomplished it against the Rays, striking out the side twice and finishing with 12 strikeouts.

It was the third perfect game in baseball this season -- a first -- joining gems by Chicago's Philip Humber against the Mariners in April and San Francisco's Matt Cain versus Houston in June.

 More than half of all perfectos -- 12 -- have come in the last 25 seasons.This also was the sixth no-hitter in the majors this season, three of them at Safeco Field. Humber threw his gem in Seattle, then six Mariners pitchers combined to hold the Los Angeles Dodgers hitless at the park on June 8. Prior to Wednesday, no team has ever had a combined no-hitter and a complete game no-hitter in the same season.

For the Rays, it was an all-too-familiar feeling. This was the third time in four seasons they had a perfect game pitched against them, following efforts by Dallas Braden in 2010 and Mark Buehrle in 2009. They've been no-hit four times over the past four seasons.

The lesson here is clear:  Every MLB game can be one for the record books, and if the Rays come to town, you should go, just in case you want to cross something off your bucket list.  Congrats to Felix and the Mariners, certainly.

Somebody ought to do some charts on the number of perfect games thrown during the Obama administration, just saying.

Priscilla, Queen Bitch Of The Desert

GOP Gov. Jan Brewer has decided that no, Arizona really doesn't have to follow executive orders issued by this President because he's a Kenyan Muslim anyway, so screw him and DON'T TREAD ON ME.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) has signed an executive order that attempts to thwart President Obama’s directive extending temporary work permits to more than a million undocumented immigrants. The Obama administration’s policy — which would grant two-year work authorizations to undocumented youth between 15 and 30 years of age who have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least five years — was announced in June and went into effect on Wednesday.

 Brewer’s order directs “state agencies to deny driver’s licenses and other public benefits to young illegal immigrants who obtain work authorizations” and “directs state agencies to start emergency rulemaking processes as necessary to implement her order.

At this point I honestly expect Brewer to issue a diktat that states Arizona is no longer subject to federal laws and regulations anymore, and that President Sweet Sweetback is welcome to come to bring his boys down and try and do something about it.

As I recall, South Carolina did something similar about 150 years ago.  Let's see where this goes, Jan.


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