Quote of the Day

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dining In Tampa: Boca Kitchen Bar Market

As a treat, for me being so awesome I suppose, the Belle of Ballast Point said, "I am taking you out to dinner Tuesday night." I am always up for anything that gets me out of the kitchen so I asked, "Where to?" "None of your business," she replied. "It will be a surprise."

And I was surprised as she pulled in to a parking lot that once housed a gas station on Platt Street. The building was also home to another restaurant at one time, but now was reincarnated as Boca Kitchen Bar Market. We drove up to the valet parking stand and left our chariot in the capable hands of the young gentleman who opened our doors and offered a hand to my bride as she exited the vehicle.

We had made reservations through the restaurant and were promptly seated. Our most charming server for the evening, Devin, presented us with menus, ice water, and inquired of our preferences for an adult beverage.

Boca has some seriously eclectic choices in beer from domestic to craft brews in cans and bottles, such as PBR on the domestic side and Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils on the craft side. We were both leaning towards wine for our libation of the evening and Devin had a couple of excellent recommendations. Wine may be ordered by the bottle or the glass and  four glasses equals the bottle price.

One of the reasons the love of my life chose Boca was because of my affinity for raw oysters on the half shell, and Boca has them. Be still my thumping gizzard! Three varieties were being offered that evening: two from the upper East Coast, and the third was a Gulf Coast oyster. Unfortunately, some hawg dawg had just polished off the last of the Gulf Coast oysters so I could only avail myself of the two from up north.

Truth be told, I am an oyster snob. Having grown up around the oyster capital of Florida I know how to shuck'em and serve them. This is a talent rarely found in restaurants south of the Panhandle. Devin assured me that they had a master shucker and I would not be disappointed. He was right!

I ordered a couple dozen of each and they were all perfectly shucked and presented. These oysters were salty and delicious, and came with two dipping sauces. I eschewed both. The oysters required nothing to enhance their flavor.

Devin had suggested a Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc to accompany my mollusk choices and this was a perfect pairing. The chilled white with the briny oysters was as a match made in heaven.

While I was slurping down my oysters, my bride was enjoying a small plate of Baked Feta with crispy phylo, pickled chow chow, and micro greens. I was offered a taste and we both agreed that this was a winner. With the feta she sipped on a glass of Westside Troublemaker, a red California blend. This was another excellent Devin recommendation.

For our entrees, we chose the Braised Short Ribs with potato, bacon hash, with buratta stuffed tomato gratin for her, and the Oak Grilled Rib eye Flank Steak with cippolini onion, plum tomato, baby portobello with truffle, and Parmesan pomme frites for me.

My bride's choice was superb! The short ribs just melted in la boca, and who doesn't love anything with bacon. This dish paired very well with the Westside Troublemaker.

I had to question Devin on my dinner choice. A rib eye and flank are two entirely different cuts of beef. I was advised that a ribeye flank is commonly referred to as the cap of the rib eye -- the heavily marbled muscle running around the outside of a center-cut rib eye steak. That sounded good to me, so I requested mine be cooked to a medium rare.

The presentation of the rib eye flank was spectacular as the meat was served hanging from a metal rack positioned just above the pomme frites. This allowed the au jus from the steak to enhance the flavor of the fries. The server who brought this dish removed the steak from the metal rack so that I didn't have to go all gaucho and carve a chunk churrascaria style.

The flavor of the rib eye flank was perfect. The chewy strands of connective tissue that ran through the meat made masticating difficult to impossible. A manager approached and inquired of our meal and I advised him of the toughness. He said that he would have the kitchen cook up "a better cut of rib eye flank".

Better?

I wondered why I didn't get that to begin with, but I only said not to bother. I was actually rather full what with the oysters, my pomme frites, and sampling from the plates of my dining partner.

I got the replacement steak anyway, and it was still tasty due to the seasonings, but it was overcooked and tough as a flank steak - probably because it was a flank steak. There was no way that piece of shoe leather came from anywhere near a rib eye. After a couple of bites I gave up. I was getting too tired to chew at this point anyway. It was a nice gesture, though, but a complete misrepresentation of the cut of meat.

Dinner for two with the oysters, more than a few glasses of wine, our entrees, and a well deserved gratuity for Devin came to a tad less than $250.00.

Would we return to Boca?

Maybe.

Actually, not! Since they can't tell the difference between a rib eye cap and a flank steak, I'll take my $250 and go elsewhere next time.

Boca on Urbanspoon

The New World Order Explained

If you bother to open and run the attached video you will hear a voice from the grave coming back to explain in excruciating detail the New World Order that exists in America today.

If you are a Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Boehner, Koch brother, tea bagger, Glenn Becker, whats-his-name fat bastard in Palm Beach, inhabitant of The Villages, Wall Street banker or broker, or Giant Corporation this video is about you.

Sit back and enjoy, because this is your America.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Florida Finger For Obama

As I mentioned earlier in the Oracle, Attorney General Pam Bondi has joined six other attorneys general to "defend Americans’ religious freedom" in a lawsuit filed against a federal government mandate that requires religious employers to offer health insurance coverage that includes contraceptives, abortifacients, sterilization, and related services, in contravention of their religious beliefs.

Said Bondi, "Government has no business forcing religious institutions and individuals to violate their sincerely held beliefs. This lawsuit is about protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience, our most basic freedoms as Americans."

To that the Oracle responds with, "Mierda del toro!" Or to put it in Florida Cracker English, "Bullshit!" Florida has no business joining this lawsuit and Bondi is doing nothing more than wasting taxpayer dollars to make a political statement.

Here is a little information on the COMPLAINT (lawsuit). This action was brought in the State of Nebraska. The United States District Court, District of Nebraska has subject matter jurisdiction.

It was determined that venue is proper in this district because no real property is involved, and Plaintiffs State of Nebraska, Sister Mary Catherine, CK, Stacy Molai, Catholic Social Services, Pius X High School, and The Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America are located in Nebraska.

The State of Nebraska claims it has standing in this matter because it is a sovereign state and protector of the individual freedom, public health, and welfare of its citizens and residents, and the above mentioned Plaintiffs are citizens or entities located in Nebraska.

The State of Florida, by and through Pam Bondi, Attorney General of Florida, claims it has standing simply because it is a sovereign state in the United States of America. That's just peachy, but was there a plethora of Floridians pounding on Bondi's door demanding that she sue someone over this contraceptive kerfuffle? Or did she wake up one morning and think to herself, "I bet that prick with ears in the Goobernator's mansion would get all woodie if I pissed away more tax dollars AND gave President Obama another Florida finger."

The Nebraska Plaintiffs are claiming that the inclusion in their health insurance plans of contraceptive coverage is in violation of their religious beliefs. To date, their insurance plans have excluded wording that violates their religious beliefs, and a one year moratorium has been put into place that prevents the wording from changing, but in the COMPLAINT the Plaintiffs have essentially stated that they don't trust the government to keep it's word.

The Plaintiffs have stated that if their insurance plans include the mention of contraceptives that they will be forced to drop the plan even though their individual lack of insurance will be life threatening to some. That is admirable I suppose; the willingness to die while standing up for your beliefs. Personally, while I think that the possibility of death because of the wording in an insurance plan is a little radical, I will leave it up to the District Court in Nebraska to hash this out.

However, Bondi's decision to join this lawsuit, wasting money Florida doesn't have in the process, is nothing more than a political maneuver. Florida should just sit this one out and wait for the Nebraska court to render a decision.

Does Bondi have nothing better to do? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mitt Romney The Artiste

Gone Viral On The Internet

During a live radio debate on 28 May 2010, the future President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, urged conservative American radio host Michael Graham to "be proud to be a decent American rather than being just a wanker whipping up fear."

I love that quote! It may be almost two years old, but it is still applicable to the Republican party of 2012 and their "Christian" conservative teabag supporters who hate everything of which they don't personally approve.

Be a proud, decent American - not a wanker whipping up fear!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hershey Squirt* Of The Week: Pam Bondi

The following text is courtesy of Progress Florida:                   

Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi has made her threat a reality. The State of Florida, led by Bondi, has joined a lawsuit to abolish the new requirement that health insurance companies provide coverage for birth control.

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Davie) was spot on when she recently wrote: "Contraception is an important part of women's preventive health care. It not only prevents unwanted pregnancies, but also allows couples to limit family size, increase the interval between pregnancies, and reduces infant, child and maternal deaths in women whom, either because of age or health, should not become pregnant."

It’s unconscionable that Pam Bondi is playing politics with women’s health. As the Florida taxpayers funding this lawsuit, we say to Pam Bondi "Not in our name, not on our dime!"

Julie Hauserman with Progress Florida recently wrote, "Women's health shouldn't be a political football, but that's exactly how Gov. Rick Scott, extremists in the Florida Legislature, and now our Attorney General Pam Bondi are treating it. Bondi is actually threatening to sue over expanded birth control coverage established by the Obama Administration.

Pam Bondi is the only woman threatening to stand with eleven other extremist attorneys general in suing the Obama Administration over their rule requiring the coverage of birth control and contraception in employers' health plans. It's unconscionable that Florida taxpayer dollars would be used to fund Bondi's lawsuit to restrict access to birth control.

Rather than focusing on creating jobs, many Republican leaders are focusing on how to limit women's access to affordable health care.An incredible number of anti-choice, anti-women bills have been filed in the Legislature since Gov. Scott took office. Standing alongside our allies in the fight for reproductive freedom, Progress Florida has aggressively fought against these attacks, and won't let up now.

Pam Bondi's shameless attacks are only the tip of the iceberg. As we enter the final weeks of the legislative session, more extremist anti-choice bills are flying through legislative committees."


Click HERE if you would like to contribute a few shekels to help Progress Florida fight off this Bondi attack.
_________________________________

* The SOG City Hershey Squirt Award is given to those who so richly deserve our disdain and ridicule for monumentally stupid or hurtful plans, ideologies, or proposals. 
 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Birth Control Hearings

An attempt to right a wrong in Washington:


The Oracle has nothing to add. The women have spoken...and, they spoke well.

The Two Term Fund



The Republicans do not have a platform - they have a vendetta!


In less than 24 hours, Mitt Romney will speak at a Tea Party event hosted by Charles and David Koch -- the oil-industry billionaires who've committed to spend $200 million just to tear down the President.

But the Kochs don't really care about Romney.

They want to use their extreme wealth to replace President Obama with anyone on the extreme right -- someone who protects the oil industry's interests at everyone else's expense.

So, before Romney greets the Kochs tomorrow, let's send a strong message: Millions of Americans are standing behind President Obama and want to protect the progress we've made. More than 65,000 people have already pitched in to our Two-Term Fund.

Will you chip in to the Two-Term Fund as Romney courts these two men obsessed with making Obama a one-term president?

At a private retreat in September, Charles Koch told a crowd of conservative millionaires that the 2012 election was the "mother of all wars," and encouraged them to give more than a million dollars apiece.

Then he said: "We are absolutely going to do our utmost to invest this money wisely and get the best possible payoff for you in the future of our country."

It's unclear what "payoff" Koch is referring to exactly, but given the brothers' penchant for making millions by jacking up prices at the pump, bankrolling Tea Party extremism, and spreading lies about climate change science, we can reasonably expect the worst.

If Romney's going to embrace the idea that two billionaires should be able to buy a presidential election to reap the rewards for their friends later, we have to fight back our own way.

It's time to re-open the Two-Term Fund.

Chip in today:

https://donate.barackobama.com/The-Two-Term-Fund


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Last Song About Satan

And, Santorum spaketh unto the faithful, “This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war at all. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies, Satan (aka: Obama), would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country: the United States of America.”

The man of the Holy Froth went on to say that he is going to “stay on message” and continue to talk about jobs, security, raping women's rights, and “taking on forces around this world who want to do harm to America.” He then burst out in song...





Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Manhattan Dolce Bar & Bistro


now open
As Chef de Cuisine, Plongeur, and Marmiton in our SOG City kitchen I am always on the look-out for excuses to get out of the kitchen. Just the other day as I was pondering pulling out the pots and pans in preparation for our evening repast I received an email demanding my presence at a new South Tampa dining spot.

We are always thrilled to discover exciting new places to dine and whistle wet, especially if they are in or near SOG City. The Manhattan Dolce Bar & Bistro is just a tad north of Gandy on the corner of Manhattan and El Prado.

I called ahead and made reservations for my bride and myself for 6 o'clock yesterday evening. That probably wasn't necessary since the crowds are fairly light that early, but I was starved and she was in need of a medicinal beverage after a hard day on the job.

We walked through the spacious outdoor seating area into a modern, stylish bar and dining room. We were promptly seated at a booth, presented with menus, and our drink orders taken.

Picture Block
Photos from Manhattan Dolce Bar & Bistro web site
The Manhattan has a well stocked full bar from which we ordered a Classic Martini for me and a glass of a tasty Cab for her.

The menu selections are primarily tapas and are perfect for sharing - all except for the delicious Sambuca Mussels that I kept all to myself. Actually, I would have shared but the Belle of Ballast Point is not an aficionado of shellfish. The small plates that we did share included the tantalizing Filet Mignon Carpaccio, the Chef's pork, lamb, and beef Meatballs, and the slow braised Short Rib Tacos.

All of the small plates were yummy and filling, and if our tummies were bigger we would have ordered more since there were several other Tastes of the Land and Tastes of the Sea that tantalized our taste buds. Also on the menu were salads, fruit and cheese plates, and desserts.

While were were dining, the entertainment of the evening began setting up. With the first notes strummed on the two guitars we were hooked. The acoustic and electric guitars blended perfectly as we enjoyed some terrific folk rock from the duo Buxton.

The Manhattan regularly features live entertainment as well as a deejay. One of our favorite Tampa entertainers, Lisa Casalino, will be appearing over the next several months. Wowzer! Super smooth jazz in a stylish setting in South Tampa. Who could want for more?

Our food and a few more adult beverages than I care to admit came to a very reasonable $143.77 that included a well deserved 20% gratuity.

The SOG City Oracle wishes The Manhattan Dolce Bar & Bistro a long and successful life.

The Manhattan Dolce Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon

Manhattan Bar and Bistro on Foodio54

Evil Exposed

On my way from the SOG City Oracle office to the kitchen for another cup of coffee this morning, I was shocked, shocked I tell you - horrified even -  to discover on the kitchen counter irrefutable evidence that my loving bride has provided monetary aid to a radical organization that "supports abortion and promotes homosexuality".

The horror!

I would not have even suspected such a sin if it were not for the tireless efforts of an Indiana Republican, House Representative Bob Morris. Thank god the country has people like him to expose the evil that runs rampant in this God-fearing country of ours.

Rep. Morris of Ft. Wayne said he will not support a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts because he believes it is a "radicalized organization" that supports abortion and promotes homosexuality.

In a letter sent to fellow House Republicans, Morris said he did some research on the Internet and found allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, allow transgender females to join and encourage sex. Of course, everyone with half a brain, like Morris, knows for a fact that if you see it on the Internet, then it's like it came from the mouth of God His-self.

"After talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing," Morris wrote in his letter, which also accused the group of promoting homosexual lifestyles.


You know what the Oracle finds disturbing? The mere fact that ball-busting idiots like Morris ever got elected to public office in the first place as opposed to being locked up in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. The bile that spews from the mouths of Republicans all across this country is down right criminal. It's one thing to attack women's rights, but to go after little girls?

The one thing we here in Florida can be thankful for is this time it wasn't one of our Republican goobers who revealed to the world that we elected stupid to public office. We did, of course, but we get a pass on this one.

Is it just me or does Morris remind you of anyone in the movie Full Metal Jacket?


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Republican Attack On Florida Health Care

Ronald A. Hytoff, President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital, sent the following email to TGH employees. Since the actions of the Republican controlled Florida legislature affect not only Tampa General employees, but thousands of Tampa Bay residents, I am publishing that email in The SOG City Oracle.

"We are quickly running out of time to have our voices heard in Tallahassee. The House and Senate have released proposed budgets that are not as bad as the $77 million hit proposed by the governor. However, we still would lose about $14 million under the House budget proposal and almost $29 million under the Senate plan. These cuts would be devastating to our ability to maintain the level of care we are now providing – remember, we lost nearly $20 million during last year’s session and are feeling the impact. We need to let legislators know that health care in Florida and TGH cannot afford these cuts.

The FHA has developed sample emails that you can send very easily. Or you can write your own email. The important messages are that these cuts will impact everyone who needs the hospital, not just Medicaid patients. Any more cuts could result in longer wait times in the ER and delays in obtaining medical procedures. Staffing levels may have to be reduced throughout the hospital.

Everyone needs to get involved to maintain the vibrancy of our hospital!

To make your voice heard, click on this link Heal Florida Health Care Web


Don’t forget your family and friends, they can help all of us by participating."



Monday, February 20, 2012

Republunacy: Monday Edition

Ohio GOP (Goobers on Parade) voters said recently they were coming to Santorum's side because his everyman style and Christian faith reminded them of themselves. Now that's some scary sh...er, stuff! It's bad enough that we have Santorum, but to think there are more like him is really unsettling.

"He's basically down-to-earth," said Janice Thomas, 56, of Pickerington, Ohio. This is a real mind boggler. Santorum, along with the rest of the Republican primary circus clowns, seem hell-bent on wiping out women's rights, and here is one who supports the Republican vision for women - Barefoot and Pregnant. Thomas is retar...uh, retired, so I am assuming a pregnancy is not in her future. That, in itself, is probably reason to cheer - one less human to be raised as an idiot.

And, speaking of Earth - the latest anal droppings from the mouth of Santorum suggest that Obama's "world view" elevated the Earth above man and accused the president of politicizing the global warming debate with unproven science "to centralize power and to give more power to the government."

"I was talking about the radical environmentalist," Santorum blathered. "That's what I was talking about - energy: this idea that man is here to serve the Earth, as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the Earth. And I think that is a phony ideal." That is a radical statement coming from the mouth of a fool. I am referring to you Santorum.

Consider this - Man needs the Earth a hell of a lot more than the Earth needs man. The Earth existed long before man, and will be here, in one shape or another, long after we are gone. This globe that we live on is our home, and just like the house we live in that provides shelter from the storm, if we don't provide periodic maintenance we are likely to find ourselves living in the wet and cold, or not living at all.

It would be so refreshing if Santorum and his like-minded brethren would pull their heads out of their anal orifices and at least entertain the possibility that the proverbial roof on our home could come crashing down on top of us, because we humans are proving that we are not "good stewards of the Earth". Just because your roof isn't leaking today doesn't mean you won't be knee deep in water when the storms blow through tomorrow.
_________________________

I began this piece by mentioning some scary stuff. Allow me to wrap up with some more scary stuff.

My bride and I were sitting out on the patio in the back yard, sipping a bubbly brew, and pondering the imponderable - specifically signs of intelligent life in the Republican party. We tossed around the topic of the Republican attacks on women's rights. This is an issue that really pisses off the Belle of Ballast Point, because she is a woman and she cherishes her rights.

A couple of questions that popped into our collective minds were:
  • "Do these so-called Christian conservative Republican misogynists not realize that they are really pissing off a lot more women than just my bride?" 
  • "Don't these clowns know that a bunch of pissed off women might not vote for them this November?"
We looked at each other in horror, "Oh my god, the 19th Amendment!"

I wouldn't scoff if I were you. This is not beyond the realm of possibility. Many of the aforementioned Bible thumping Republicans have already said that replacing the U.S. Constitution with their interpretation of someone's bible might be a peachy idea. Regardless of whose bible is chosen, it is my understanding that women are afforded no rights in anyone's bible and are expected to remain subservient to the male of the species.

If the Republicans could get rid of the 19th Amendment they wouldn't have to be concerned whether the women of this country were pissed off or not. It's a simple case of mind over matter. And to paraphrase, "the Republicans don't mind, and the women don't matter."

As someone said recently, we need to relieve these lunatics from all political duties and functions this November so that they are free to seek the mental health treatment they so desperately need.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Grand Ayatollah of the Holy Froth

The Commissioner for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Mutawwa'în) here in the United States, The Grand Ayatollah of the Holy Froth, Santorum, recently stated that Obama's agenda is "not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."

"He is imposing his values on the Christian church. He can categorize those values anyway he wants. I'm not going to," Santorum told reporters.

And, whose values is Santorum trying to impose on the American people? 

Santorum and the rest of the Republican primary circus clowns of late have truly been hammering away at Obama for being anti-Christian, while they purport themselves to be the epitome of Jesus Christ re-incarnate. While Santorum, for now, is the lead Biblical douche bag, all of the front runners have sworn that once in office they will return this country to the God fearing nation that they envision it to be.

Hallelujah! I can't f**king wait.

In the meantime, I think it would be a peachy idea for all of these bozos to actually read the job description for the office they are coveting:
  • The Constitution assigns the president two roles: chief executive of the federal government and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. 
  • As Commander in Chief, the president has the authority to send troops into combat, and is the only one who can decide whether to use nuclear weapons.
  • As chief executive, he enforces laws, treaties, and court rulings; develops federal policies; prepares the national budget; and appoints federal officials. He also approves or vetoes acts of Congress and grants pardons.
You may read the entirety of Article II of the U.S. Constitution by clicking HERE.

I have read the Constitution and nowhere can I find anything that says the President of the United States has any say in the religious beliefs of any American. It is not the president's job to dictate a person's religious preference, or lack of. It is not the president's job to peer into a person's bedroom and tell its occupants what they can and cannot do according to his interpretation of the Holy Book of Parables.

It would really be refreshing if these Republican presidential wanna-bes just stuck with the real issues a president must face, and not keep harping on others that are none of their goddamn business.

GOP: The Misogynist Party

Here is an interesting little tidbit I found on The Daily KOS that bears repeating:

The  list of misogynist bills introduced by Republicans in the past two weeks showing what they want for women.

1) Rape. Republicans are actually trying to redefine rape to exclude drugging a women and raping her, or getting her drunk and raping her. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't - the language is still out there.

2) More Rape. A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other crimes, like robbery, would remain "victims." Apparently in Georgia if a women is raped, she isn’t really – she is just an annoying accuser. Which means the rapist is not really a criminal.

3) Murder. In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder anyone who injures or threatens a fetus, including a doctor who provides abortion care and the mother. He denies it has anything to do with abortion so I guess it is aimed at making it OK for a husband or boyfriend to kill his partner if he thinks she might injure the fetus - like in a car accident, or he just doesn’t like her anymore.

4) Starvation. Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids. But payments to corporations to not grow food to keep prices up is still in the budget.

5) Death. In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life (so she and fetus die).

6) Ignorance and slavery. Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working. They should be slaves to their husbands instead [see John Lennon, Woman Is The Nigger Of The World].

7) More ignorance. At the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8) Poverty and starvation. Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9) Sickness. Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10) Barefoot and pregnant. And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program for humans.  Dan Burton, who supports eliminating funds for family planning has introduced a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. Horses have more value to him than America’s women?

Republicans ran on a platform of jobs and small government. But for America’s women and children their agenda is rape, murder, poverty, starvation, ignorance, pregnancy and slavery. Just what has this got to do with jobs and small government? If we don’t get these people out of office and into therapy soon America’s women will all be slaves or dead.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Get It On With The Joy Of Cooking

A more perfect America in music, pictures, and spirit - back in the days when women were wild and free to...be.


Happy Saturday, y'all!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Santorum Surge Is Spreading

Unlike Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, the Oracle has made no vows to refrain from equating Rick Santorum to santorum, a frothy...never mind. We shall not go there.

On the plus side, the grand state of Florida did get another mention on The Daily Show - another Chamber of Commerce moment:


The Timely Demise Of BCGs

Are you ready for the Oracle's Friday prediction? Well, ready or not, here it comes:

The birth control issue that will now get the GOP (Goobers On Parade) to sporting a big collective woodie is the military's decision to do away with the oh-so-effective BCGs - birth control glasses.

From the Navy Times, "Military recruits who wear glasses no longer will have to endure the embarrassment of sporting BCGs — those beloved standard-issue specs, technically called S9s, which are universally known as “Birth Control Glasses” because they’re supposedly so unattractive."

"Supposedly so unattractive," my ass!

From first hand experience I know that those glasses are unattractive...but, effective. I had to wear them during Army basic training, and I can attest to the fact I never got close to impregnating anyone during those eight weeks.

Sand Hill, Ft. Benning 1969
I discount the fact that since there were no less-than-coyote-ugly women of child-bearing age anywhere near Company D, 4th Battalion, 1st Training Brigade that this in any way was a factor in my forced celibacy.

It was simply those birth control glasses. Golly gosh, but were they ever effective! I wore them once while on leave and not once did I come close to getting laid - until I took the damn things off.

Off - laid. On - celibate. That was just a fact of life.

For the life of me I don't understand why we haven't already heard from The Holy Man of the Froth, Santorum, or Rep. Darrel Issa, R-California Douche Bag, and his all-male panel of sanctimonious jerk-offs.

They and their Christian conservative supporters should be jumping for joy and dancing in the streets. The military is doing their job for them by getting rid of this most effective method of birth control that was being paid for with our tax dollars. The holy men of the Catholic Church also have to be orgasmic knowing that this birth control device will no longer be seen on the faces of some of their flock at Mass.

New Glasses
The FNGs
Truth be told, after taking a gander at the new issue military glasses, I'm not sure they are much of an improvement. But, that's just me. Maybe the Buddy Holly look is coming back in vogue.

They are still an improvement over the gray frames that the military used for a time, or these red hued beauties...




The Oracle shall conclude today's rant with this:

Birth control - we don't need no damn birth control. This country doesn't have near enough poor, starving, jobless, homeless people wandering around wondering why the hell the Republicans are in a lather over birth control and attacking women's rights when there are so many more pressing issues that need to be addressed.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Truth About Pro-Life Conservatives

They just don't like women! 

The Oracle suggested as much just the other day, but a far more eloquent voice from the past reaffirmed my opinion. George, the stage is yours.


Click HERE for the entire Carlin monologue.
                                                                                 
                                                     

Protect Women's Health

From the CREDO Action Team:

Subject: Access to birth control under attack in Congress.

In the face of immense public pressure from anti-woman extremists like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, President Obama listened to women's rights advocates and made an historic advancement for women's health with new regulations that require insurance coverage for birth control with no co-pays for women.

However, the radical anti-contraception advocates are now turning to Congress in an attempt to restrict women's access to this vitally important health care.

Tea party Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would override President Obama's decision, and allow any employer, regardless of religious affiliation, to deny access to no-cost birth control to their employees. And some Democrats may cave on this important issue, especially if Republicans attach an anti-birth control provision or amendment onto an unrelated, "must pass" bill.

And your representatives in Congress need to hear that you oppose this radical legislation.
_______________________________

What simply boggles my Oracle mind is the notion of those without a vagina thinking that they have a right to tell those with a vagina what they can do with their vagina.

I told my representatives in Congress: Don't vote for any bill that includes an anti-birth control amendment or provision. And you should too. You can sign the petition and get more information by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why Do Republicans Hate Women?

I would really like to know the answer to that question.

We have a few gay friends - they don't hate women. They are not particularly attracted to them, but they don't hate them, so what is it with the Republicans?

Over the weekend, House Weeper Boehner doubled down on his commitment to undoing Obama's decision to require insurance companies to cover birth control - now he wants any employer to be able to deny any preventive care at all, including mammograms. Calls are flooding into Congress from right-wing opponents of birth control to support Boehner's position.

Do these people not understand that they are advocating a very powerful method of birth control, to wit: if you never get laid again, then you aren't getting anyone pregnant. I can assure you that if I were a woman I sure as hell wouldn't be putting out to any of these misogynist sons-of-bitches.

Boehner still made the Republican position clear: More than any other issue facing Congress, Republican leaders are committed to making women's lives harder.

There are some encouraging signs from members of both parties in Congress. Last week pro-choice Republicans began to challenge their leadership's attacks on the mandate. And just this week Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins publicly endorsed Obama's decision. (Editor's update 2/16/12 - Snowe and Collins reportedly are now waffling on this endorsement)

But the right-wing attacks are not stopping. On Monday, Congressman Jeff Miller (R-a Florida douche bag) even went so far as to suggest that Obama's birth control decision could cause veterans to become homeless.

I will have to ruminate on that one for awhile since I am a veteran.

Well, all right, I have ruminated. Miller is a douche bag and should not mix Vicodin and Wild Turkey. I could think of nothing that would link birth control and me becoming homeless beyond the delusional ramblings of a f**king idiot.

Moving on. 

And on Sunday, a Reverend in San Francisco compared the church's opposition to Obama's rule their "Rosa Parks moment," while vowing to keep up the fight against it. There is another comparison that eludes me. Is Obama making those self-righteous servants of God sit in the back of the bus? Now that's not right, I don't care who you are. 

I am going to contact Obama and tell him that these bastards should be able to plop their sorry asses where ever they choose. And that, dear readers, is my Rosa Parks moment.

Understatement Of The Day

Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, accused the media of influencing S.B. 1560 and fostering a perception of corruption among legislators. A perception of corruption? He must be joking!

The recent actions of Senator JD Alexander and his ethically challenged attack on USF, the House Ethics Committee announcement that they will continue investigating Nation Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) Finance Vice-Chairman Vern Buchanan, not to mention Senate President Mike Haridopolis and his plot to fast-track the greased up prison privatization package through the senate do not foster a perception of corruption among Florida legislators - they scream CORRUPTION!

The senate bill sponsored by John Thrasher, a Jacksonville Republican senator, was meant to root out financial conflicts of interest, but was described by some as "... ineffective and a smokescreen for more important ethics problems."

I am of the opinion that the quickest way to root out corruption in Florida politics is for all Republicans, and some Democrats, in the Florida legislature, along with the CEO of Florida, Rick Scott, to officially and posthaste resign from office.

There, problem solved - and, you are welcome.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Days, He's Back!

Oh, how I have missed him. For the past week I have only had the newspaper and the TV to keep me up to speed on current events, and neither one "tells it like it is". Nowhere did I see anything about the holy sausage fest.


To The Belle Of Ballast Point

Mitt Romney Sound Bite

Finally, something from the mouth of a Republican presidential contender that truly defines the GOP Plan for America.


The Oracle now endorses Romney for President of the United States...

of Ubekibekistanstan, or anywhere but here!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Anatomy Of An Abortion

After you finish reading the following article, PLEASE copy it and send to every presidential candidate, congressman, state politician, religious leader, and anyone else you can think of who is anti-abortion. If they are truly pro-life they will thank you.

Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter:

I was in clinic when I heard the overhead STAT page to the emergency room.

As I sprinted down the stairs, I ran through the possible scenarios. I wasn’t on call, so the day to day gynecologic emergencies weren’t my purview. I hadn’t operated on anyone in the past few weeks, so unlikely to be one of my own patients with a complication.

Logically there was only one conclusion.

A nurse was holding the staff entrance to the ER open. From the look on her face I surmised this was to save the minute or two it would take to punch in the numbers on the lock and inquire at the desk for patient’s whereabouts.

“Down there,” she pointed.

On the gurney lay a young woman the color of white marble. The red pool between her legs, ominously free of clots, offered a silent explanation.

“She arrived a few minutes ago. Not even a note.” My resident was breathless with anger, adrenaline, and panic.

I had an idea who she went to. The same one the others did. The same one many more would visit. A doctor, but considering what I had seen he could’t have any formal gynecology training. The only thing he offered that the well-trained [providers] didn’t was a cut-rate price. If you don’t know to ask, well, a doctor is a doctor. That’s assuming you are empowered enough to have such a discussion. I was also pretty sure his office didn’t offer interpreters.

I needed equipment not available in an emergency room. I looked at the emergency room attending. “Call the OR and tell them we need a room. Now.” And then I turned to my resident. I was going to tell him to physically make sure a room, any room, was ready when we arrived, but he had already sprinted towards the stairs. He knew.

We didn’t wait for an orderly. A terrified medical student and I raced down the hallway with the gurney. The amorphous red pool dripped onto the floor as we rounded the corner to the elevators.

The double doors that led to the operating rooms swung open. “The urology room. They’re between cases,” my resident shouted.

I saw an anesthesiologist out of the corner of my eye. “You. Now!” Most emergencies can wait a few minutes to check in at the front desk and for the anesthesiologist and nursing staff to take stock of the situation. This was not one of them.

The urologist, whose room I appropriated, blustered and sputtered in behind me. “What the fuck are you doing barging in, I’ve got another case…” but as we moved my patient over to the operating table and he saw the blood, he stopped. He grabbed a tray of instruments and opened. “I’ll be your scrub.”

The anesthesiologist was pissed. Not really mad, more riled up than anything. No one likes to be blind sided, no matter how well intentioned. And he probably thought I was over reacting. That is until he put in another intravenous.

“Fuck.” What looked like blood tinged water flashed back.

And now they all understood what I knew the second I laid eyes on this patient. Abortions that go horribly wrong bleed out. Quickly.

The room filled with surgeons, nurses, and students eager to help. To do something. Anything.

I opened the vagina and by feel clamped through the holes on either side of the uterus where I knew from experience I would find the uterine arteries, the likely site of the puncture. I didn’t know which side, and at that point it didn’t matter. I just needed to stop the blood flow. It took less than a minute. She would have bled to death if I had opened her belly.

As the bleeding had stopped, it was up to the anesthesiologist to fix the hematologic tempest. A vascular system so traumatized by sheer blood loss that it had run haywire and lost the ability to clot. Disseminated intravascular coagulation. This is how many young women die when an abortion goes wrong.

My hands started to shake. Everything from leaving my clinic to this point had been one crescendoing adrenaline-fueled reflex. Now that there was nothing physically for me to do the energy had to go somewhere.

I looked around. A forest of IV poles, laden with blood instead of fruit. Everyone not directly helping was running back and forth to the pharmacy or blood bank. A nurse and another surgeon started to clean the floor. We were all bonded by this nameless woman whose life we were desperately trying to save. And we were bearing witness, because we knew if she died it was unlikely anyone would read about her in the paper. It was unlikely her family would protest. A myriad of potential reasons. Shame of the abortion. Distrust of government. Fear of immigration officials.

The urologist, a grizzled older man with whom I had nothing in common except a medical degree and this patient, rested his hand on my shoulder. It was a kind, fatherly gesture. The weight was comforting.

“You done good.” He said. And then he added, “Those bastards.”

I knew he was referring not just to the physician who did this procedure, but to everyone in society who had contributed to a disadvantaged woman finding herself in such a desperate situation.
_____________________________________

I have to assume this is a real case (it didn't show up on Snopes.com). Dr. Gunter is a nationally and internationally renowned obstetrician/gynecologist.



Living Or Dying...

Proof that Florida's gun laws and particularly the Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) law are precursors to mayhem:

Pastor's daughter struck as gun accidently goes off in Pinellas church

Another headline could read: Young girl shot in head by a ballbusting idiot with a gun and a CWP. 

Hannah Kelley, the 20 year old daughter of the church pastor was shot in the head as a fool with a gun was showing off to another parishioner. The sheriff's department stated that this appeared to be a tragic accident. 

Accident my ass, this is a case of criminal negligence and Moises Zambrana, the gun owner, needs to face criminal charges. 

Criminal negligence - (law) recklessly acting without reasonable caution and putting another person at risk of injury or death (or failing to do something with the same consequences). This is a crime, not an accident.

A couple of points:
  • What was Zambrana doing with a gun in church anyway?
  • Zambrana has a CWP which, according to Florida law, requires the holder to have a least a modicum of firearms training - like firearm safety.
  • Zambrana is a licensed security guard. WTF???
  • After pulling his piece on church grounds, Zambrana removed the clip from his pistol FORGETTING that there was still a round in the tube.
  • A young girl's life hangs in the balance. Editor's update: Hannah Kelley is DEAD!
This was no accident, and it points out the fallacies in Florida's gun laws and the CWP process. To get a CWP the gunslinger-to-be must attend a state certified training course. Assuming Zambrana attended one of these courses it would seem that the state needs to audit and either re-certify these courses or pull the plug on them. I have seen hand lettered signs posted on telephone poles advertising CWP courses. Those give me pause.

I didn't have to go through one of those courses. My certification came from prior training in the military - MBR's, assault weapons, revolvers, and auto-load pistols. The number one priority in all of those training programs was safety. Number two was knowing your weapon. My only civilian training was in firearms law - the legal responsibilities of a pistol packer.

That being said, it is my opinion that the gun laws in this country are antiquated and are throwbacks to the wild west of the last several centuries. The 2nd Amendment does not mean everyone should be allowed to pack heat, only "A well regulated Militia", not a bunch of right-wing lunatics. Which brings to mind, they are the reason I got a CWP - self defense from the crazies. 

It is my hope that Hannah Kelley makes a full recovery. 

Moises Zambrana needs to be held accountable for his criminally negligent actions. 


Florida Health Care: Good News And Bad News

So, which one do you want first? What the heck, I feel perky today, so let's start with the good news.

While Florida Goobernator Scott, R-prick with ears, has rejected millions of federal dollars from the health care reform act in his attempt to insult, discredit, embarrass, figuratively bitch-slap (you pick one) the president, "Florida state agencies, universities, hospitals, public clinics — even faith-based private groups such as Tallahassee-based Live the Life Ministries — received $119 million in funds from the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and 2011 for everything from clinic expansion to abstinence lectures."

That's one hundred nineteen million dollars in spite of Rick Scott!

Now for the bad news:

Scott still intends to move ahead with the plan to ask Florida voters to approve a constitutional amendment declaring key provisions of the health care reform act to be illegal, and he wants to cut about $2 billion in public funding to hospitals that care for the poor.

Tampa General Hospital (TGH) is looking at a $70 million budget cut. Surprisingly enough some of Scott's fellow Republicans say they don't like his plan, since the hospitals — which took a beating last year — will face another Scott bitch-slap.

An insider at TGH told us that one of their doctors had gone to Tallahassee last week to implore the Republican dominated legislature to not cut these funds - that vital health services would be eliminated, and there will have to be cuts to both the admin and nursing staff. The doctor returned to Tampa and stated that his words fell on deaf ears - the cuts in all likelihood will be approved.

Just for fun, let me create a little scenario for you that may put this issue in a real world context. Let's suppose that you are one of those Tea Bagger Republicans so blindly opposed to Obamacare. You've got a job and you have health insurance when WHAM! Out of the blue you lose both the job and insurance through no fault of your own.

As if your life couldn't get any worse, your wife finds out that you have been diddling the pastor's wife down at the Church of the Holier Than Thou, and she wangs you upside the head with a cast iron frying pan breaking your jaw.

Remembering that you have no insurance and with your lower jaw swinging in the breeze, you head on down to Tampa General because you know they have to treat you.  Wait a minute there Bunky! Did you forget the $70 million that was cut from the TGH budget?

Not to worry, thinks you. St. Joseph is a private hospital - they have plenty of money and they will have to see you. And, you are right - they will see you and confirm what you already knew - you have a broken jaw, but without money or insurance St. Joseph will advise you to seek out a doctor - somewhere, just not here - who will treat you. Before Scott's budget cuts, you could have gone to TGH - still can, but is anyone still there?

If you think this is a far fetched scenario, drop by TGH and ask a nurse. Our family has one nurse and one admin person at TGH, and we hear that same story repeated constantly.

Rick Scott and the Republican dominated legislature are the Black Death to Florida health care.

Pre-VD Love Song

Oh, for cryin' out loud, I'm not talking about an STD. I'm talking about the Cupid love fest that starts tomorrow.

Yes, Valentine's Day is on the way.

Here is something to get you in the mood. I mean, come on, this is HOT! Slurp down a couple dozen oysters on the half shell and you should be able to make it through the night.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Violence Against Women Act Of 1994

Here is news about the latest Republican assault upon women's rights from The Daily KOS:

"Republicans have decided it isn't enough to try and defund Planned Parenthood and to prevent birth control from being covered by health insurance plans. Now they are attempting to weaken laws against domestic violence and sexual assault.

The Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1994, providing billions to enhance investigation and prosecution of violent crimes perpetrated against women. It was most recently reauthorized in 2005 by unanimous consent in the Senate.

It's up for reauthorization again, but this time it received zero Republican votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Why? Because Republicans want to throw out provisions in the bill protecting victims who are LGBT or undocumented, slash funding for enforcement, and eliminate entirely "the Justice Department office devoted to administering the law and coordinating the nation’s response to domestic violence and sexual assaults."

I'm sure it's all just a coincidence Republicans are going to the mat to weaken laws against domestic violence and sexual assault, to end funding for breast cancer screenings, and to keep health insurance plans from covering birth control. No war on women happening here."


48 Is Way Too Young

My original post featured the beautiful Dolly Parton song, "I Will Always Love You." Every tribute to Whitney Houston that I have seen since her untimely passing has included that song. Her rendition was probably the premier interpretation of that song, but it wasn't all that Ms. Houston was about.

Tar Sands Wolf Kills

Tell the Canadian government: Stop your tar sands wolf kills!

It just gets worse and worse.

To make up for the fact that rapid tar sands oil mining is threatening caribou herds by destroying vast swaths of rainforest habitat in Alberta, the Canadian government has called for strychnine poisoning and aerial shooting of thousands of wolves in areas of tar sands mining.

Tell Prime Minister Harper: Stop Canada's planned wolf killings!

If Alberta Canada's tar sands oil fields are fully developed, an area of boreal rainforest the size of Florida will be eviscerated, leaving in its wake only giant ponds of toxic wastewater.

It's obvious why this would pose a massive threat to all wildlife species who reside there, including birds, caribou and the iconic spirit bear.

But instead of preserving the habitat caribou need for their survival, the Canadian government's answer is to blaze ahead with tar sands oil extraction, and kill thousands of wolves who would naturally prey on the caribou. The Ministry of the Environment's plan calls for aerial shooting, and poisoning with bait laced with strychnine -- a particularly painful type of poison.

Tell Prime Minister Harper: Stop your planned wolf killings! Preserve wolf and caribou habitat, and stop the irresponsible development of tar sands oil which threatens all of us.

This plan to kill wolves is a misguided, cruel response that does nothing to alleviate the greater problem: Tar sands development is a huge threat to wildlife, local communities, and all of our futures.

But despite the clear negative consequences, the Canadian government continues working to rapidly expand tar sands production and sales, including with the Keystone XL Pipeline to export tar sands oil all over the world.

Understandably, this has begun to earn Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and many in the country's government, a negative reputation, to which they are becoming increasingly sensitive.

The Ministry of the Environment has not yet moved forward with this planned wolf kill. And with enough public pressure, we can get them to abandon the plan, and build the case for Canada to stop their devastating race to expand tar sands oil fields.

Click and sign the petition

The petition reads:

"Canada's plan to kill wolves in response to habitat devastation from tar sands oil mining is cruel and misguided. Abandon this plan, preserve crucial wildlife habitat, and stop the rapid expansion of tar sands mining that threatens us all."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Saturday Morning Cartoon

My love of classical music started with Woodie Woodpecker and Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wall Street Crooks: The Rest Of The Story

We could also title this as BOHICA America!

Take action!
CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
A Bad Deal
Wall Street banks fraudulently and illegally foreclose on your house. You get $2,000. The bank gets let off the hook. We'd call that a bad deal.
And yet yesterday, at the urging of the White House, federal regulators along with 49 state attorneys general announced a settlement deal for mortgage servicer abuse that does essentially that. It lets banks off the hook for widespread foreclosure fraud.
Press releases have trumpeted a $26 billion deal which may sound like a lot, but it's a paltry sum when you break down the numbers.
With an average mortgage of $180,000, and loan instruments executed illegally, a family that lost their home will get a check for just over 1% of the value of the mortgage. That is not a victory. The amount of money this deal makes available to help homeowners is an order of magnitude too small and incommensurate with the harm done by the banks.
The estimated $10-$20 billion in the deal for principal reduction would reduce only about 2% of the $700 billion in equity destroyed during the financial crisis. And the banks themselves will only pay $5 billion out of their own pocket. By far the lion's share of the cost will be borne by investors and taxpayers, who had no part in the robo-signing scandal. 
No doubt the deal is far better than the deal that was offered months ago. And this most certainly is a result of activism from members of CREDO and many of our allies in the progressive movement who worked with progressive attorneys general like New York's Eric Schneiderman, California's Kamala Harris, Delaware's Beau Biden, Massachusetts' Martha Coakley and Nevada's Catherine Cortez Masto to fight a bad deal.
But the final deal, while better, still can't be characterized as a good deal or even as a good first step towards real accountability for Wall Street banks.
The reported $26 billion settlement will not come close to inflicting any real pain on the banks all of which have already reserved the full amounts required from them under the deal. As Robert Reich said, the "$26 billion settlement with banks over mortgage fraud is far short of what they should pay and distressed home owners deserve."
One in five Americans with mortgages owe the banks more than their homes are worth, and these home owners are underwater by an average of $50,000 each. This is a collective negative equity of nearly $700 billion.
Consider the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street paid for by U.S. taxpayers5 and the more than $1.2 trillion in loans6 provided by the Federal Reserve to Wall Street banks. Or another way to put the deal in perspective is to compare it to the tobacco industry settlement in 1998 — the largest previous multi-state agreement. That deal was worth $350 billion in today's dollars — more than ten times the size of the mortgage deal.
And that's not even all that's wrong with this deal. The federal government's track record for enforcing settlement terms with Wall Street banks is abysmal. Furthermore, even if the banks follow the terms of the deal, it's quite possible than when all is said and done, not only will the banks have suffered no pain, they may actually come out having profited from their illegal schemes to rip off homeowners. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the largest mortgage banks saved $20 billion by taking illegal shortcuts — an amount far greater than the $5 billion out of pocket they will be required to pay in this deal.
All of which adds up to a scenario in which this settlement does literally nothing to deter the banks from engaging in the same fraudulent behavior in the future.
Senator Dick Durbin famously said the Wall Street banks own the politicians in Washington, DC. Today, this could not be more clearly true as we closely examine the deal that the Obama administration cut with Wall Street and pressured state attorneys general to sign.
There has yet to be a full investigation of the robo-signing scandal despite what Reuters called "copious evidence" of "widespread forgery, perjury, obstruction of justice, and illegal foreclosures...." 
By establishing settlement terms before there has been any meaningful investigation, the deal whitewashes the widespread lawlessness of the banks and virtually ensures that no bankers will be held criminally responsible for their part in the robo-signing scandal and foreclosure fraud.
Though the exact terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, we understand that it will not cut off other important avenues to hold the banks accountable. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is co-chairing a federal task force that if fully resourced and left to operate unhindered by the White House could achieve hundreds of billions in reduced principal for underwater homeowners and criminal indictments for bankers who broke the law and helped drive our economy off a cliff. And other state attorneys general can continue investigating Wall Street's role in causing the housing crisis to ensure that the banks that caused the crisis are held accountable for their wrongdoing.
This is the biggest case of fraud in our history. Homeowners deserve justice for crimes committed against them by Wall Street banks that in many cases literally stole their homes from underneath them. Unfortunately, yesterday's settlement doesn't even provide anything close to a down payment on justice.
As the election season heats up, we must be insistent about real accountability for Wall Street crooks. Pressure from activists like us will be even more important in the days to come if we are to achieve any real measure of accountability for Wall Street bankers who profited from their crimes and left the 99% to pay to the price for their reckless disregard.
Becky Bond, Political Director 

A Friday Treat - Dock Green Silverhawk

My bride and I met while we were both employed by GTE of Florida. One of our coworkers on Toll 3 was Dock Green. We have a lot of fond memories of the years we worked together.

The last I heard Dock was still with the company that is now Verizon, but there is more to Dock than just being a telephone man. Besides being a martial arts master, Dock is also a musician. And, let me add that Dock is a heck of a nice guy.

The Oracle is proud to present The Lakota Flute.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Shall Now Rain On Your Parade

In the paper and on the tube this morning was a story to gladden the hearts of all people who travel by air, to wit:

The TSA plans to offer quicker airport screening to some passengers. 

The key word here is SOME.

Who are the "some" you may ask?

From the TSA Pre✓™ website:

Certain frequent flyers from Delta and American Airlines and certain members of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP's) Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS, who are U.S. citizens, are eligible to participate in this program, which could qualify them for expedited screening at select checkpoints with the following airlines:

American Airlines – Dallas/Fort Worth International Las Vegas’ McCarran International, Los Angeles International, Miami International and Minneapolis-St. Paul International airports

Delta Air Lines – Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Las Vegas’ McCarran and Minneapolis-St. Paul International airports

Tampa International Airport (TIA) will not be added to the program until sometime later this year.

So, what does all of that mean to you? First off, members of the two frequent flyer airlines must be invited to participate. If you haven't received your invitation, then American and Delta didn't feel that you met their criteria.

If you didn't get an invitation or you are not a member of these two frequent flyer programs does this mean you are SOL (that doesn't mean sun in Spanish - well, actually it does, but that isn't what I meant)? Moving on, moving on. The quick answer is, "No, you are not SOL." The long, drawn out answer may be found below.

Working in conjunction with the TSA pre-screen program is Global Entry (see link above). Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports. TIA, by the way, isn't one of the airports.

If you go to the Global Entry website you will find an application. Once you have completed that application and paid the non-refundable fee of $100 you can then sit back and cool your jets whilst your application undergoes a rigorous background screening.

Once it has been determined that you might not be a scumbag terrorist, you will be invited to set up an interview at a location that is totally inconvenient if you live here in the Tampa area. During that in-person interview a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will ask you questions, take your photo, and collect biometric information. Biometric information does not mean collecting bodily fluids and tissue samples (I don't think so, anyway). I think it just means they are going to fingerprint you. You will also be required to present your passport and one other form of ID.

If you get through that entire process unscathed, you will receive a special card that you can scan in at various airports (not TIA) and maybe skip customs.

So far so good, right? And, we are almost through.

Once you have attained non-terrorist status and are a current member of CBP’s Global Entry (or NEXUS, or SENTRI) you eligible to participate in the TSA Pre✓™ concept if you are flying on a participating airline at a participating airport:

Atlanta: T-South Checkpoint (Delta only)
Dallas: Terminal C, Checkpoint C30 (American only)
Detroit: Checkpoint 2 on the ticketing level (Delta only)
Las Vegas: D Gates First Class Checkpoint (American and Delta)
Los Angeles: TSA Pre✓™ screening lane (American only)
Miami: D2 Checkpoint (American only)
Minneapolis: Lindbergh Terminal, Checkpoint 4 (American and Delta)

Nothing to it! Piece of cake! Right?

That dear readers is what the papers and the TV didn't tell you, and you are welcome. 

The Tea Party Cream Of The Crap

Joe Walsh. Steve King. Sean Duffy. Frank Guinta. Chip Cravaack. Allen West.

Even in the most extreme Congress in history, these six stand out.

They've all voted to let women die, to gut the Clean Air Act and to destroy Medicare.

But that's just the beginning of the bigoted, sexist, anti-science, hypocritical, corrupt and downright crazy things that have been said and done by these clowns.

  • You'd think, as an elected member of Congress, you wouldn't scream at your constituents for blaming the banks for our financial crisis. But Illinois' Joe Walsh sure did.
  • You'd think you wouldn't openly praise shamed Senator Joe McCarthy or his shameful "un-American activities committee." Meet Iowa's Steve King.
  • You'd think you wouldn't say publicly that "Goebbels would be proud of the Democratic propaganda machine" or that anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker was "a threat to the gene pool." But Allen West is so crazy he thinks that's ok.
  • Wisconsin's Sean Duffy is a former reality TV star who has co-sponsored every anti-choice bill in Congress, and admires Gov. Walker's attacks on Wisconsin workers.
  • New Hampshire's Frank Guinta campaigned on overturning Roe V. Wade, and is also called one of the most corrupt members of Congress.
  • And Minnesota's Chip Cravaack is so hypocritical, he didn't just run away from his Tea Party support when he got to Congress, he ran away from Minnesota — and moved his family to New Hampshire.
It's crazy. These people are representing the American people in Congress. That is unacceptable.
_______________________________

And yet, they didn't get in to Congress through osmosis. Somebody voted them into office. 

I wonder who?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Holy "Santorum" Crap

Tuesday night, Man of the Froth, Rick Santorum (R-Douchebag) scored "stunning" upset wins in the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses, and in Missouri's nonbinding beauty pageant.

If that doesn't elicit a collective "Holy Crap!" all across America I can only assume the country has been infected with a serious dose of Headuptheassitis. Seriously, there is such a thing and one of the symptoms is having the cranial globe lodged so far up the anal orifice that cognitive thought is fatally impaired.

I mean, have the fine folks in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri not been paying attention to the froth emanating from this bozo - especially, the women. Santorum wants to send those of the female persuasion, and those who maybe aren't sure, back to the dark ages of America - back before women had any semblance of rights.

Yeah boy, those four F days were some of the good old days in America. Come on guys, you remember the junior high locker room cheer - Find'em, Feel'em, Fuck'em, and Fergit'em! And, what the hell if you get'em pregnant - that was just their tough luck. Or to paraphrase Santorum, "If you get impregnated by a rapist, consider the resulting little bundle of joy a gift from God."

Should you be an underage and/or unemployed female who gets knocked up for whatever reason, don't worry your little head because Santorum will be there for you...er, uh...hold on a minute, there's a FLASH coming in on the Oracle BullShit-O-Meter. 

I stand corrected: It appears that Santorum's position, should he assume the position of Ayatollah of America, is that you are F**ked - literally and figuratively. Santorum, as overseer of this country's morals, is not going to subsidize your immoral decision to be raped.
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Before deciding to devote my life to heavy drinking and Oracle writing, I delivered corporate training classes to some really fine folks in Colorado and Minnesota, and I don't remember coming across any who were this irrational. I can't say anything one way or the other about Missouri except for the line from the Eastwood movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales, "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining."

Well, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, I think somebody has rained on you.


Florida: Mired In The Muck

I see that Florida's Carpetbagger-in-Chief Scott, the high speed rail killer, has appointed a staunch anti-rail campaigner to serve on Hillsborough County's transit agency. Scott made Josh Burgin, 35, of Plant City, one of his two appointments to the board of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit this past Monday.

How nice, how very nice for Hillsborough County.

Realistically, Hillsborough County and the state of Florida need to move away from the 20th century mentality on transportation options, and this guy is most likely going to be a wart on the ass of progress.

Before I go on, let me admit right up front that I am one of those who voted against the penny sales tax for light rail in Hillsborough County. I did this not because I oppose light rail, but because I was not willing to see my tax dollars supporting someone's pipe dream, and that's all this was - a pipe dream. We were asked to finance a project now that would be defined later. That was asinine!

If there was a concrete plan, I still might not have voted for it.

You might ask,"Why not?" For one thing I don't feel that all options were even considered, or if they were we were not made aware of them. Light rail sharing the roadway with normal vehicular traffic does not have a very good safety record in addition to being disruptive to existing traffic.

When any discussion of light rail or high speed rail comes up for debate I have never heard the word "monorail" being uttered. After watching a documentary on The Travel Channel sometime ago, I have to wonder why not. A monorail system appears to be a viable means of mass transit - it's less disruptive, is cost effective, ecologically sound, and some systems can even be relocated in an urban environment if traffic demands change. Once rail is in place - it's pretty much there to stay.

Major urban centers around the world have unclogged roadways, and reduced vehicle produced pollutants by building a monorail system. The longest monorail is in China. The oldest is in Germany. Las Vegas has a dandy one as does Disney World.

Why must Florida remain mired in the "Cracker Country" of the past? Oh yeah, Rick Scott.


Public transportation in Wuppertal, Germany in 1901. The hanging monorail is still in service today.

Seabreeze
Photographer unknown
Here in Florida around the same time period:










How do we move around Florida in the 21st century?

Photographer unknown