Saturday, October 31, 2009

Comment of the day at Charisma Magazine

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
It is clear by the comments prior to mine the lack of knowledge that prevails within Chritendom today-it is clear that neither one of you really understnad the spiritual warfare that we face on a daily basis-and especially during these satanic high holy days! Apparently only Kim Daniels the author of the article has provided the truth to the level of warfare we face in the simply things that surround Halloween even at church events. The same goes for Christmas, New Years DAy, Valentines Day, and Easter-all originiated from the pagans/occult!

I pray that this article will open the eyes of those with a teachable spirit! Blessings!
The interesting thing is that the writer of this note is largely correct in their comment about the timing of those holidays. Christmas does appear to have been coopted from midwinter festivals of pre-christian religions. The timing of Easter, however, is based on the timing of Passover. Whether Passover was a cooption of spring festivals I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on. There is some evidence that Valentine's day was swiped from the festival of Lupercalia. As for New Year's Day, well that is something that is celebrated by nearly every culture that has any seasonal festivals (not all at the same time of course) and to try to conflate it with the others is just stupid.

Now, the conclusion that they draw, namely that Christians are somehow in danger of becoming paganized if they celebrate these holidays completely missed the point. It was Christians that used the holidays to make the religion more palatable to early non-believers and to draw them into the church. It takes a lot of work to get the facts mostly correct and then draw completely the wrong conclusion.

Problem Bank List

Calculated Risk: Unofficial Problem Bank List Grows to 500
The Unofficial Problem Bank List crossed a major threshold this week as 500 institutions are now listed.

The list grew by a net 18 institutions this week and nearly $44 billion in assets were added. Most of the increase comes is a result of the FDIC finally releasing its actions for September 2009. It will take another month to get their actions for October 2009.

Friday's Bank Failures

Calculated Risk: Bank Failures 107 through 115: Nine Failed Banks in Arizona, California, Illinois and Texas
The nine banks involved in today's transaction are: Bank USA, National Association, Phoenix, Arizona; California National Bank, Los Angeles, California; San Diego National Bank, San Diego, California; Pacific National Bank, San Francisco, California; Park National Bank, Chicago, Illinois; Community Bank of Lemont, Lemont, Illinois; North Houston Bank, Houston, Texas; Madisonville State Bank, Madisonville, Texas; and Citizens National Bank, Teague, Texas. As of September 30, 2009, the banks had combined assets of $19.4 billion and deposits of $15.4 billion.

Another Edition Of the jokes writing themselves

South Carolina Republican Caught With 18 Yr. Old Stripper, Sex Toys and Viagra In Cemetery | Video Cafe
Get this -- a police report obtained by the "Associated Press" is saying that Corning was questioned by an officer after speeding away from a cemetery with a stripper in his car, and with a bag of sex toys. And with some Viagra, Corning, I should tell you, is 66 years old. According to the police: the stripper, 18 years old. She works, by the way, at an establishment known as the Platinum Gentleman's Club.

According to the report, Assistant Attorney General Corning and the 18-year-old stripper gave conflicting accounts as to exactly what they were doing on Corning's lunch hour? In a cemetery? It states that Corning carried the sex toys, just in case.

Neither Corning nor the stripper was charged with anything. But after word reached his boss, Corning was stripped -- pardon the pun -- of the job he'd had since 2000. I mean assistant attorney general, stripper, sex toys, Viagra, cemetery, don't look good. South Carolina -- again?

more taser madness

Maybe someday we'll even reach a point where courts will acknowledge that cops aren't allowed to kill anyone for any reason but self-defense and that electro-torturing people into compliance is excessive force. It's hard to believe it isn't obvious that allowing police to commonly and reflexively use this level of pain, no matter how transient, is an authoritarian method worthy of the worst dystopian nightmare, but since huge numbers of people in this country seem to think the screams and terror they cause are really, really funny I guess you can't really blame the cops for assuming it's perfectly acceptable. The killings though, that might just be a step too far even for the jokesters. Maybe.

Not Holding my breath

Firedoglake » Attention Bush Apologists: Reagan Greeted Fallen Americans at an Air Force Base, Idiots
Reagan not only had the nerve to be photographed with the dead. He announced it in a radio address.

In a few hours I’ll undertake one of the saddest journeys of my Presidency. I’ll be going to Andrews Air Force Base to meet one of our Air Force planes bringing home 16 Americans who died this week in the terrorist attack on the United States Embassy in Beirut.

Looking forward to the drooling Bushbots criticizing Reagan for “turning the funeral into a spectacle with the press and other jackals yapping around the periphery.“

Remarkably stupid

More of that Police Accountability : Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Cop drives drunk, kills two people and leaves the scene of the accident. His fellow officers, beset with compassion for the victims, organize a fundraiser. For the cop who did it.

David Broder

Firedoglake » MATLOCK!!!
Forget whatever short-comings there are of an “opt-out” and the Senate’s bill, and there are many, to boldly assert it is bad because it uses an invalid, unworkable, and untried concept for health care policy is either the product of result-driven stupidity or a plain-old lie. Broder, you don’t like Harry Reid, laughably for all the wrong reasons, it does not excuse sloppy falsehoods.
Imagine that, David Broder being intellectually dishonest.

I am not a big fan of opt-out but Broder is just being a moron about this.

Stupid even by Beck's Standards

Beck says Net Neutrality would 'destroy the free market that created the Internet'. Oh really? | Crooks and Liars
Beck: Anyway, you may remember, FreePress is the group pushing for Net Neutrality, which would take the Internet out of the private hands of private business and into the hands of the government. It would create a level playing field. It would help diversity. It would destroy the free market that created the Internet.
I would refer Beck and his followers to the Computer History Museum

Who is health care reform supposed to serve?

The Democrats have to make a decision: do they believe their job is to reform the health care system to the benefit of the American people or protect the health care industry? To my way of thinking the reform bills are already healthcare industrial complex protection plans, within which the public option is only a possible way to keep the door open for further reform. It's very small potatoes as it is and slightly embarrassing to have to be fighting for at all. To pretend that this complicated mishmash without even that is the best they can do with a huge majority and a President who ran on the issue should be more than slightly embarrassing to them.

By the way, the CBO now says that the public plan premiums will end up being more expensive, but they don't tell you why: they assume that the private plans will find ways to evade the intention of the law and deny coverage to sick people. And why not? They are for-profit entities who are required to maximize their shareholder value however they can. They've literally got to make a buck. Essentially, the CBO has baked into their numbers the idea that you can't trust the health industry to cover everyone because they make money by taking your payments and not paying claims.

xkcd: Climbing

Mirror image John Galt?

Firedoglake » I Know Who Isn’t John Galt…
Conservatives are absolutely right that creative, independent, extraordinary people are at war against a corrupt political and economic system – they’re just dead wrong about which side they’re on.


Hawthorne Valley Farm SAUERKRAUT
Made from New York State organic string beans, well water, fresh organic garlic, dried organic dill, and organic pickling spices. Great for snacking, right out of the jar! Made with string beans, Dilly Beans taste like kosher pickles. As with all of our lacto-fermented vegetables, there is no vinegar added—the mouth-watering sourness comes from the process of making them!
Roadtrip anyone?

On Vaccination As Public Health Issue

Pandemic of Fear - The Daily Beast
People like to say that vaccination decisions are always a matter of individual rights. I am sorry, but I have to disagree. Public health is public. Since April, more than a million Americans have been infected with H1N1 flu. Ten thousand have been hospitalized, utilizing resources we all need to share. More than a thousand have died, including more than 75 children. When you don’t vaccinate your child and send him to school, he is more likely to get sick; he is also more likely to infect others—including those who may have diseases that weaken their immune systems. For kids like that, this flu is particularly lethal.

Shoot this girl's parents please

Dutch court rules against girl's solo sailing trip -
(CNN) -- A Dutch court Friday ruled against letting a 14-year-old girl sail solo around the world, saying she is not experienced enough to make the trip on her own.

Laura Dekker would be allowed to travel from July 1 of next year if she fulfills certain requirements the court established for her to sail.

In August, Dutch authorities placed Dekker under state care for two months, following her parents' refusal to prevent her from undertaking the potentially dangerous voyage.
If my 14 year old daughter wanted to try to sail solo around the world I would like to think that I would have the backbone to say no. This isn't about letting someone make their own mistakes, it is about stopping your child from doing something so fucking stupid that they have a reasonable chance of not surviving.


The Last Days of the GOP - Page 1 - The Daily Beast
The most melodramatic turn in the fairy tale of “conservative financial expert” Doug Hoffman rising up on the shoulders of Republican celebrities such as Fred Thompson, Steve Forbes, and Dick Armey to contest the special election in the 23rd New York Congressional district against the regular Republican incumbent is that this is not a simple story about winning on Tuesday. No, this is a story about the sneaky takeover of the shabby GOP remnant by the most arrogant creatures in American politics, the Club for Growth and their fair-weather companions, the hungry Republican zombies.
Sadly, No. But a man can dream.

This really could be messy

The Hajj and H1N1: Pilgrimage During a Pandemic -- Politics Daily
By some estimates, the hajj is the single largest, annual gathering in the world; the pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca attracts between 2 and 3 million visitors from all over the globe. But this year, officials are worried about several strains of H1N1.

In a study published in the journal Science on Thursday, researchers warned that measures would need to be taken to prevent outbreaks of H1N1 both during the hajj, which takes place Nov. 25-30 this year, and after, as travelers return to their home countries.
I had forgotten completely about this. Terrible timing and hopefully it will be OK.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I hope not, but I fear this might be the case

America's Next Unwinnable War - Page 1 - The Daily Beast
America’s unwise, unwarranted, and sadly unwinnable war in Afghanistan—hastily initiated and then abandoned for Iraq by President Barack Obama’s ideologically blinded predecessor and dumped into Obama’s lap in the worst possible way—is beginning increasingly to smell like the 1964-68 war in South Vietnam that swallowed up the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.

It all sounds familiar. A powerless leader (whether Vietnam’s Diem or Afghanistan’s Karzai) with a corrupt family and little support in the countryside, who refuses to undertake the reforms (land, tax, electoral, and administrative) that the U.S. president tries to press upon him, therefore endangering the regime’s stability against the guerrilla extremists (once communists, now Taliban). Repeatedly changing U.S. commanders and initiating open-ended increases in U.S. forces, without a clearly definable goal, does not help. A military strategy of “clear and hold” usually lasts about a day.
By some ways of counting, we have already been at war in Afghanistan as long as in Vietnam

Things That Will Not End Well: Part 3422

Source: Afghan election talks break down -
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his election opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, have broken down, a Western source close to the Afghan leadership told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

According to the source, Abdullah will likely announce this weekend that he will boycott the runoff presidential election slated for November 7, a runoff that had been scheduled after intense diplomatic arm twisting by the United States.


Navy ship accidentally fires on Polish port -
Washington (CNN) -- A crew member aboard a U.S. Navy ship accidentally fired a machine gun into the Polish port city of Gdynia on Wednesday while cleaning the weapon, Navy officials said Friday
Someone with more experience than myself with automatic weapons can correct me on this but wouldn't the first thing that you would do when cleaning your weapon is make sure there it is empty?

Roadmap for America's Future

Rep Paul Ryan's Website
This website is best viewed using Microsoft Internet Explorer and 800x600 resolution or higher
How to annoy about half of the viewing audience in one easy lesson.

I didn't know that anyone with a braincell still designed pages for one browser anymore.

Jeffrey Miron on healthcare reform

Public option: Treatment worse than the disease -
The other possible objection to the cash transfer approach holds that, if left unregulated, private health insurers would deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Thus, some people might get no health insurance at all.

This outcome is unlikely, however, assuming health insurance is unregulated. In that case, insurers would set higher premiums for the unhealthy, but they would cover anyone willing to pay a sufficiently high price. Thus, the question is whether society should compensate those who face higher prices because of their health status?

The answer is no. Advocates for such compensation would suggest that it is basic fairness for society to insure people against the bad luck of being born with lousy genes. Many differences in health status, however, arise from behavior: heart disease from overeating, lung cancer from smoking, and cirrhosis from drinking, to name a few. If society compensates everyone for differences in their health status, it is often rewarding unhealthy behavior, perhaps even encouraging it.
Words fail me.

Joe Lieberman is one of my senators

From Hadassah Lieberman's Wikipedia bio
Hadassah has also worked for the lobbying company, APCO Associates, that had many pharmaceutical and healthcare corporations among its clients, as well as four major drug companies such as Pfizer. In March 2005, Hadassah was hired by Hill & Knowlton as "senior counselor" in the firm's "health care and pharmaceuticals practice." Hadassah's close relationship with pharmaceutical and healthcare corporations while her husband introduced legislation benefiting these exact companies has raised questions about improprieties and conflict of interest.
Amount of money donated to Joe Lieberman by Pfizer, Purdue Pharma and Aetna roughly $300,000

From the Hartford Courant today

"I feel relevant,'' Lieberman said in a conference call with a handful of Connecticut reporters this afternoon.

He is also a disingenuous, attention whoring douchebag.

Not that I have an opinion on it of course.

I must be feeling a little better if Holy Joe is starting to piss me off again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On Me - Part 1 of ?

Probably sharing too much with this but ...

As y'all might know, I have a nasty little illness called Bipolar Affective Disorder. I am not bipolar, I have a disease, there is a big difference. It does not define me and I had it long before it became a trendy way to excuse assholic behaviour.

And this is the place where you can feel free to stop reading if you don't want to hear the details of my life...


In the last few weeks it appears that I have been going through a bit of a manic/hypomanic phase and then about 10-11 days ago the bottom started to fall out. I managed to keep it together for a couple more days but that was all I could do. The problem with being manic is that you don't think you are sick. You think that you are doing great as a matter of fact, that is the particularly nasty thing about it.

As my mood started to fall I first thought I was just coming down with the flu, it is that season after all. So I continued to work through it. A week ago that strategy failed completely and I have been basically lying on the couch since then. My blackberry has been off 99% of the time, I have not been writing anything or been actively online (and y'all know that isn't like me) except for two brief stints last weekend, saturday night when i was briefly cheered by my usual sunday night activity of posting youtube stuff on Facebook. The other brief period was when I spent about an hour or so reading through some of the blog/news feeds that I get and queuing up a bunch of stuff to post every half hour to hour or so over the next day and a bit. Both of those activities were attempts to make me feel better. Unfortunately it didn't really work and by Sunday I felt worse.

I have been to see my psychiatrist (let's not talk about high deductible, network based health insurance plans) a couple times in the last week and I will be seeing him again on Thursday. We know what caused it (no, I am not going to share that part), we know how to fix it and it appears to be starting to turn around.

I am pretty sure that I will be back at work on friday, if I still have a job to go back to (I can't yet bring myself to read the emails from my boss). I feel like I have let a lot of people down over the last month or so both personally and professionally and I have a lot of work to do to gain back their faith in me. Hopefully I will be able to do that.

On a positive note, I was just talking to the first ex-Mrs Wolfe. She is still just about my best friend (yeah, imagine that). We were talking about how writing always seems to make me feel better and keeps me leveled out so I am going to start doing it more. So beware, there will likely be lots more bloggy goodness coming out starting in a week or two. Probably won't all be about politics like it usually has been and there might be some more stuff like this that makes people uncomfortable to read (sure as hell is uncomfortable to write) so the facebook feed from my blog (which this is if you are reading it on FB) might be getting turned off, I haven't decided yet. I am letting this one go to FB because I know that there are folks out there that do care (including my family .. yes I know that I suck at keeping in touch) and I don't want them worried about me.

People have often asked me if I worry about being this public with my illness and I always have the same reply. No, I don't. If my being open it helps one single person go get the help they need or makes them feel less ashamed about being sick or makes one of their family members give them a hug and tell them that they understand how hard it is for them because they know of this guy named Rob Wolfe that they saw on Facebook, or on Blogspot or on IRC (back in the day) then it is worth whatever small price I pay in lost privacy. I don't mind being pointed at as an example of how it is possible to live with a significant mental illness and be a more or less functional, taxpaying member of society even if from time to time there are bumps in the road.

Feedback is welcome, in public or private (whichever you prefer), although I likely won't be actively back online very much until the weekend and the blackberry/phone is still mostly turned off for another day or so (until after my next dr's visit) but my email address isn't a big secret and I will be checking it off and on.

Anyone that read all the way through, I don't know whether to say thanks or I'm sorry for wasting your time. I do know that I feel a little better for having written this down and quite frankly that is all that matters to me at the moment.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

That Jonze and Eggars were able to wring this much compelling narrative and fleshed out back stories from what was essentially a child’s picture book with minimal text and virtually no exposition, and execute it all with such inventive visual flair (lovely work from DP Lance Acord), is quite an amazing accomplishment. In a way, Jonze was the perfect director for this project. His two previous feature films (both collaborations with the iconoclastic Charlie Kaufman, known for writing densely complex, virtually un-filmable screenplays) were expert cinematic invocations of journeys into “inner space”. In Being John Malkovich, the protagonist literally finds a portal into another person’s psyche; Adaptation dived headlong into the consciousness of a blocked writer. With his new film, Jonze seems to have drilled a portal both into the mind of Maurice Sendak, and straight into the collective memory of childhood lost. And now, if you will excuse me, I’m going out to the back yard to play for a while. And may your wild rumpus never end.
Haven't seen this yet. Sounds like it might be worth a peek though.

On Small Dogs

Asia Times Online :: Asian news and current affairs
While I can tolerate normal-sized dogs, and even more "utility dogs" that actually help in various areas of human occupation such as agriculture and hunting, in general it must be said that I hate small dogs.

Almost as a rule, they are noisy, dirty, ill-tempered and perhaps worst of all, megalomaniacal. With an aggressive attitude far in excess of their physical attributes, small dogs basically represent the worst thing about the modern city center anywhere in the world.
Yes, I have 3 cats and the first ex-Mrs Wolfe has a dachshund but that has nothing to do with this story ... really!

via Naked Capitalism

Who knew that I was a multi-vehicle family

Pet dogs as bad for planet as driving 4x4s, book claims - Telegraph
It claims that the carbon footprint left by domesticated animals is out of proportion to the size of their paws.

A medium-sized dog has the same impact as a Toyota Land Cruiser driven 6,000 miles a year, while a cat is equivalent to a Volkswagen Golf.
Maybe my FB friend Alice was right about eating the kitties...

via Naked Capitalism

Nope, nothing to see here

A more pointed Material Loss Review was issued about another Georgia bank --Haven Trust of Duluth GA --back in August. That one cost the FDIC deposit insurance fund $207 million. Among the interesting items in the FDIC OIG's Material Loss Review for $576 million Haven are dubious multi-million dollar loans to the school age children of one of the bank's owners.
What? A bank owner looting the bank? Who could ever have known that would happen.

via Angry Bear