Thursday, September 29, 2016

Better Times

Somewhat over forty years ago I met a young fellow at a party who had just come to this country from Poland, which was still behind the Iron Curtain at the time. I asked him what most impressed him about the United States and without hesitation he replied, “You don’t have to be afraid of the police.”

Of course, he was a white guy so he might feel the same way today. I’m a white guy, though, and I’m not sure I do. One of the cops who shot the man in El Cajon was facing two charges of domestic assault, and was still on duty and still carrying a firearm. That’s not a police department that engenders a feeling of public safety.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

And Another Lie

Another commercial urging a "no" vote, this one on Proposition 53 because it "gives the state control over local projects."

Oh, please. The proposition requires a popular vote before the state can issue general revenue bonds for amounts exceeding $2 billion. So, regarding the claim made in the commercial, the state does not issue bonds for local projects, local governments issue those bonds and this proposition affects only state issuance of bonds. In any case, how many local projects exceed $2 billion?

That doesn't mean I'm going to vote for this mess, but...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Just A Thought

Somebody is spending a huge amount of money to defeat Proposition 61. There are ads everywhere, every fifteen minutes on television, full page ads in the newspaper, and even major billboards all over town telling me I should vote "no" on Proposition 61.

All of this suggests to me that I should vote "yes" on it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Are You Listening, Spanos?

The LSU Tigers lost two of their first four games, and head coach Les Miles is fired along with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Now, if we could just get the owner of the San Diego Chargers on the same page.

The difference, of course, is that the LSU administration expects their football team to win games. Spanos makes money either way, and Mike McCoy's salary is pretty cheap, so Spanos doesn't really care one way or the other. It's kind of short sighted, though, because with the Chargers having a 1-2 record and in firmly last place in the AFC West division, that new stadium proposition vote is looking pretty shaky right now.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Campaign Style

If I am going to be asked by the establishment to disbelieve claims made about Clinton's email and charitable foundation, then I am going to choose to disbelieve similar claims made about Trump and his use of his charity funds as well.

We have deteriorated to campaigning like chimpanzees; whoever flings the most excrement wins.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Yesterday a middle aged woman in an Escalade was tailgating me as I drove on a residential street. I was driving a bit faster that I should have been actually, about 35mph, and she got so close to me at times that all I could see in my mirror was the grill of her car. I did what I always do in these circumstances, which is find a way to pull over and let her go by.

She blasted past me a high speed just as I noticed a speed limit sign, so I adjusted my speed to the required 30mph. We had been going up a slight hill, the crown of which was about three blocks ahead. When I topped the hill there was a motorcycle cop in the act of dismounting with a radar gun in his hand, parked in front of the Escalade which had just passed me.

I almost had a wreck because I was laughing so hard.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Oh Gack

Sixty Minutes did a piece last night that should have been titled "Do You Really Want Donald Trump's Finger On This Button?"

Choice little lines were included like, "So these are the President's rockets?" The "expert" replied that no, they are the nation's rocket, but that only the President can fire them. Dickweed repeated his line that they are, then, "the President's rockets."

Frankly, yes, I would rather have Trump's finger on that button than have Hillary Clinton's finger there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Yeah, That Makes Sense

Melvin Gordon was running behind a fullback in the first half Sunday and gaining 8-10 yards at a time, scoring two touchdowns. In the second half he ran only three times, all three as a single setback from a shotgun formation, and gained a total of five yards. Coach Mike McCoy told the media, when asked about it, that the change was due to "the flow of the game." What? The flow of the game is dictated by the plays called, not the other way around.

I told my trainer at the gym this morning that she needed to go easy on me because I was suffering from dehydration. She laughed and told me that I should have fully recovered in 90 minutes.

And So It Continues

Giving us information which, while it may not be entirely false, is misleading and distorts reality.

The New York Times blares in a headline that "Household Income Grew
5.2 Percent in 2015,"
which sounds like quite an accomplishment for our economy. Our local bird cage liner went even further, headlining the same article, "Americans Register Big Economic Gains."  Read the details, however, and we see that income for men grew by 1.5% while income for women grew by 2.5% in the same period.

There is one aspect of the latter that is actually good news, because it indicates progress toward gender pay equality, but if household income has grown by an amount so much greater than either component of that household it means that there are more workers per household than the prior year, and that is anything but good news, and it certainly isn't "big economic gains."

The same article says that "unemployment dropped to 5%," but doesn't remind us that the number does not represent 5% of the workforce, but rather is 5% of those who are participating in the workforce. That percentage is only 63% of those who are in the workforce, and is a historically low number which is not improving significantly.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Cheerleaders Are Back

I just read the sports section of our city's Sunday morning bird cage liner, which reminds me that the Chargers are playing in Kansas City today. I had not forgotten, of course, but...

The Las Vegas betting line is the Chiefs winning by six points. The San Diego sports writers are picking San Diego to win by a six to one margin. The one writer picking us to lose is doing so for the wrong reason; something about the new stadium, which is neither new or a stadium at this point. Needless to say, the six picking us to win are simply delusional.

Now the Chargers will probably win and make me look like an idiot, but I can deal with that. I've been looking like an idiot for much of my life.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Debunking the Debunker

Dean Baker writes a column called “Beat The Press,” in which he debunks articles written by other pundits and sets the records straight with what they would have said if they a) were not liars, b) did not have an agenda and/or c) were not stupid. He is not always polite about it and is frequently fun to read but, being an economist, he is fairly often full of shit himself.

Yesterday he set about correcting a column by David Brooks, which is usually fun, what with David Brooks being who he is, but he gets a little weird in the process. He cites a claim made by Brooks that, “the exchanges are disproportionately drawing lower-income people.” Actually, since the exchanges pick up a portion of the cost of insurance based on income, I believe that’s precisely what they are designed to do, but Dean Baker doesn’t go there.

Instead, he refutes Brooks by saying that, “Apparently Brooks did not realize that the ACA also requires that all insurers charge patients the same premium regardless of their health condition,” which is a masterpiece of non sequitur. He tries to strengthen what purports to be an argument by talking about health conditions a bit, and finishes that sick people now, “can get insurance at the same price as anyone else of the same age.”

“Non sequitur,” for those who don’t know, is Latin and loosely translates to, “What the hell does that have to do with what I just said?” Brooks is talking about people choosing the exchanges based on income and Baker “refutes” him by babbling about choosing the exchanges based on health condition.

In the comments it becomes somewhat more clear. Dean Baker was actually ignoring the Brooks comment about low income users of the exchanges and changing the subject to say, “Yeah, but Obamacare does some good things, too.” Typical economist, in that he can never admit that the other guy has made a valid point; when that happens he changes the subject.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Football ?

Not sure that what I watched this weekend was actually football. All of my teams not only lost, they humiliated themselves. Haven't heard any Les Miles firing rumors, but I would not settle for that anyway, preferring lynching. About the middle of the fourth quarter last night I swore off football altogether. Francois, forsooth. That's not only a first name, not a surname, it's a girl's first name. I think I'm over the swearing off thing now, though. I'm nothing if not resilient.

Monday, September 05, 2016


Media reporting is becoming increasingly detached from reality these days.

The New York Times carries a column by Paul Krugman in which he claims that the shortcomings of Donald Trump are being unreasonably downplayed by the media, while the travails of Hillary Clinton with respect to email servers and charitable foundations is being seriously and unfairly distorted into what amounts to falsehoods. I don’t know what planet he is living on, but it isn’t Earth.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post goes on at great length about a national security investigation into “a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions.” I think our own politicians have already beaten the Russians to the punch on that, but

The headline reads “U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections,” an accusation which is not made in the article. In fact, the statement is made within the article that, “The Kremlin’s intent may not be to sway the election in one direction or another, officials said, but to cause chaos and provide propaganda fodder to attack U.S. democracy-building policies around the world, particularly in the countries of the former Soviet Union,” which is pretty opaque, but does not seem to imply “swaying November elections.”

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Employment's "Sound Footing"

The consensus of reporting is that the 155,000 new jobs created last month means that “employment growth is still on a sound footing.” That number, however, is seasonally adjusted. The unadjusted number was a mere 33,000 new jobs. Even if you accept the rosier adjusted number, despite no explanation ever being given for why the adjustment is needed or how it is made, the 155,000 new jobs did not keep up with the 176,000 new people who entered the work force, so I find the “sound footing” hard to swallow.

Of those 176,000 new workers, 33,000 found new jobs, 20,000 joined the workforce as unemployed, while 122,000 were “seasonally adjusted” out of the statistics. Awesome.

Year-to-date numbers are even more depressing. Without the “seasonal adjustments,” which cannot possibly be needed in annual numbers, 275,000 fewer jobs have been created this year than were created in the same period of 2015, and 460,000 fewer jobs have been created this year than were created in the same period of 2014. To condense that a little bit, the economy is down by 275,000 jobs over last year, and by 460,000 jobs over the year before that. Sound footing?

The candidates are too busy pointing out each other’s personality flaws to have time to discuss anything like the job situation faced by working class men and women.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Food Blogging, Friday

I invented this recipe out of thin air and made it last night. Results, frankly, surprised me a bit. I don't usually hit it on the first try. My wife freaked out. It is very spicy, so you may want to use a little less Creole seasoning, but my wife said it was a home run the way it is.

Pasta Jambalaya

1 lg or 2 sm Chicken breast, skinned and deboned
8-12 shrimp, uncooked, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1 ea, spicy smoked sausage, diced fairly small
8-12 oz ham, diced fairly small
2 tsp Creole seasoning, plus more for blackening
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 can petite diced Tomatoes
½ cup white wine (Pinot Grigio)

Put tomatoes, wine and seasonings into a large stovetop pot and bring to a simmer. If you think the volume doesn’t justify the large pot, just trust me and use it anyway.

Brown the diced sausage and ham in a hot skillet and add it to the pot, mixing them in.

Now things get a little more tricky. Cut the chicken into pieces bigger than bite sized, but not very large. You can use the “chicken tenders” which are about the right size. Now dust those pieces very heavily with Creole seasoning. Don’t be bashful, use quite a lot. Put the seasoned chicken pieces into a little oil in a very hot skillet and brown them heavily. Get them very brown; maybe a little black. The skillet should be hot enough that it happens quite rapidly, and we aren’t concerned with cooking them through.

Once they are done on both sides, place them on top of the liquid in the pot. Just let them rest on top, don’t submerge them. Cover the pot and let it simmer very low for about one hour.

Now take your shrimp and do the same thing with them that you did with the chicken, only use less Creole seasoning and less time in the skillet. Just a few seconds on each side will do the trick. Put the shrimp on top just like you did with the chicken. Cover and let it continue to simmer until the shrimp are done; about 15-20 minutes.

Serve over pasta.