Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Celebration

My cousin Leslie celebrated her birthday today which also happened to be the day of a royal wedding. Did you get up at oh-dark-thirty to watch it?

Leslie asked that the women attending her birthday party wear a bridesmaid dress and the men wear their favorite wedding tie. Kathy, my sister Barb and I conspired to create a throne for Leslie. Gold paint, purple fabric, red trim, tons of fake jewels, an adjustable pink crown and a hot glue gun was all it took.

A posh time was had by all.

The birthday princess and her Queen Mum.

Sometimes it hard to tell the difference between the royals and the ladies-in-waiting.

Accompanied by my beautiful wife of nearly 31 years, I have finally reached my goal of becoming the least interesting man in the world. Kudos to Stephanie for bedazzling my tie.

Photo Shoot Shot

I happened across this scene during lunch today and couldn't resist taking a shot.

It's That Time Of Year Again

I picked up our Bloomsday packets during lunch.

For some reason they had a bunch of these for sale at the trade show. Can't imagine what anyone would need them for since Sunday is a specially designated day.

I understand that something like sixty percent of Bloomsday participants are women. It really says something when the only place that had long lines to pick up race packets is in the 49+ female group. Way to go, ladies.

Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

There's a road near my home where a number of people have been driving off into the dirt and splashing through the water that collects in a depression. Increased use has increased the size of the depression. Topped off by a rain/hail storm yesterday evening, the collected water extended an invitation for more splash fun than you can imagine.

I think a stalled engine and a flooded cab was probably more than the driver imagined.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sanity Is Restored

Spokane makes the news again with the DEA raiding several medical marijuana dispensaries. While I'm waiting for all the details to wash out I am heartened by the fact that qualifying patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses are now safe from the scourge of the killer weed that was being dispensed in Spokane for these many months.

In the meantime, U.S. citizens are free to enjoy the lethal and legal drug known as alcohol.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interesting Presentation On Education

By Sir Ken Robinson.

Bike Helmets In The County

There's an article about the county considering adopting a bike helmet law in today's Review.

Commissioners plan to draft an ordinance and schedule a public hearing after receiving more information from the Spokane Regional Health District and the city of Spokane, which adopted a helmet law in 2004.

Among other things, commissioners want to know how well city officials believe their ordinance has worked and whether they would recommend any changes.

I'm a bit ambivalent towards a bike helmet law. I ride a lot and I rarely go without a helmet, but that's because I ride a lot and I try to go at a good speed. I feel a need for wearing a helmet.

On the other hand I see lots of people riding around town without a helmet and I've yet to see the city helmet law enforced on anyone. The police have far more important crimes to deal with so even an emphasis effort, like they have for errant pedestrians downtown once a year, would highlight it for a moment and then it would pass. (As a pedestrian I cross against red lights downtown all the time but only if there's no traffic.) I'm aware of several instances where people riding at night without a helmet have been stopped and "checked out" by the police using the helmet law as the reason for the stop. Once nothing was found the individuals were let off with a warning.

Do we need a law that law enforcement generally doesn't have time to enforce? While head injuries can be serious, is passing a law intended to prevent those injuries going to make a difference if the law is rarely enforced?

May I suggest adding cycling to the driver's license regimen and having cycling classes at elementary schools instead?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Protect Your Children And Your Country

It appears that Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers feels strongly about preserving

Following continued attacks by anti-hunting groups to ban traditional ammunition (ammunition containing lead-core components) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5) became an original co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1558) to clarify the longstanding exemption of ammunition and ammunition components under the act.

We already have unleaded gas and lead-free paint. If traditional ammunition is not preserved, imagine the deleterious effects this could have. It could lead to perverse ways of killing, ways that go against nature. Children will be taught--probably in public schools--that such unnatural methods of killing are normal. Children could be placed in households completely intolerant of traditional ammunition. States would no longer protect traditional ammunition and the use of nontraditional ammunition could even spread to other countries.

Thank goodness we have someone in Congress who possesses the moral backbone to stand up for traditional ammunition.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TSA Mind Games

So I'm at the Spokane International Airport again and I'm waiting in line to go through the magnetometer when the agent in front of the radioactive backscatter porn scanner waves me over.

Me: "I'd like to opt out."

Agent: "Sir you cannot opt out (dramatic pause) because I haven't asked you yet. Please step over here."

I step over.

Agent: "Sir, would you like to opt out of this procedure?"

Me: "Yes."

Agent: "Sir, why do you want to opt out?"

Me: "Because I can."

Agent: (pointing an official looking finger at me). "Sir, you are correct that you may opt out but you cannot fly (dramatic pause) until I brief you on the opt out procedures."

So he briefed me on the opt out procedures and I moved on over to the Group W bench and got all felt up again. The machine went "bing!" and I was cleared to go.

How appropriate to use dramatic pauses in security theater.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Must...Beat...The Russians

Our national pride can't let us stay behind the Russians in weapons exports now, can it? After we finish developing this weapon, we need to make sure everybody else buys them from us. Well, at least those nations who are friendly with us--for now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dad, How Do F##kin' Magnets Work?

Okay, hopefully the kids aren't phrasing the question in that manner.

The Insane Clown Posse asked that question last year in their song Miracles, "F##kin' magnets, how they work?"

And from that, courtesy of Maggie Koerth-Baker, we now have an explanation that I can almost understand.

In cats, couches—all the everyday things that aren't magnetic—the magnetic fields produced by electrons simply cancel each other out. For every electron that's spinning clockwise, there's another electron spinning counterclockwise. All electrons produce magnetic fields, even the ones in cats and couches. But cats and couches aren't magnetic because their electrons' magnetic fields interfere with one another and keep the overall magnetic force so weak as to be nonexistent.

Magnets are different.

Then she explains how. Check it out. If nothing else, it should give you more time before you get exasperated and change the subject.

"Hey, look at this lady bug."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mawwage Is What Bwings Us Togever

Last March, House Speaker Boehner convened the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in order to have the House defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Since the group consists of the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, the Majority Whip, the Minority Leader, and the Minority Whip it was easy to predict the Republican majority would carry the vote.

Former Solicitor Paul Clement, now with King & Spalding, has been reportedly been hired to defend DOMA. Speaker Boehner claims that in order to protect taxpayers from any cost, the money will come from the Department of Justice who would have born the cost anyway. No word yet on whether Speaker Boehner understands that funds diverted from DOJ come from us taxpayers.

The big question is: what does this mean for employees of King & Spalding? Not to worry. If Paul Clement prevails I'm sure King & Spalding will still continue to offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples in their employ.

How fortunate we are that Speaker Boehner and many other members of Congress want to protect marriage--all three for Newt Gingrich and all four for Rush Limbaugh. There's no telling how casual and nonchalant we would be about marriage today if we didn't hold it so dear.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Great Day For A Run

The sun shone and a refreshing cool wind blew today at the Spokane River Run. I've been on very few of the trails in Riverside State Park so I got a grand tour today. About 250 people signed up for the 25k. I figure I finished somewhere in the top 249.

Even though I'm trying to chill during my runs this year, I found I was comfortably keeping pace with a group running at just under a nine-minute mile. As hard as I tried to slow down, my mind just wouldn't let go of the psychology involved when you have people passing you. Fortunately the long climbs after mile three slapped some sense into me. There's something about walking up a hill that makes you realize you should conserve your energy. Okay, I should conserve my energy.

Beginning of the first climb after mile three.

A great view from the top. We dropped down to the river way off in the distance and looped back once we hit eight miles.

The path along the high ground.

Had to pick my footfalls carefully here, but I was happy to be on the downside.

The Vibram Bikilas held up well. (I saw one other runner wearing Vibrams.) Around mile four or so there was a lengthy piece on a basalt railroad bed that was uncomfortable. Even those wearing shoes didn't like it. I took a couple of sharp pokes in the arches. There was a great view from there but it was more important to see where your feet were landing.

I don't listen to music while running because an MP3 player is one less thing to carry. I find I get a song in my head that matches the pace I want to run. Today's song was Josh Ritter's The Curse (nice video BTW). The waltz-like beat, one-two-three-one-two-three, was just the ticket.

I ran into Evil Elf at the finish line. Congrats to him, his wife, and their son for garnering awards in their respective races. He was kind enough to take a photo of my ragged self. Blech! This is not a criticism of his photo taking ability. I mean, just look at what he had to work with. My ballooning shirt makes me look like I chowed down on all the snacks at the water stations.

Proof that I look best from a distance.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

About Three Spaces

Ready For The River Run

The Spokane River Run is tomorrow. The T-shirt was included in my race packet today so I guess I'm committed now. I wanted to do the 50k but I'm still not ready for the longer distances yet so it's the 25k for me tomorrow.

Stephanie wondered why they didn't put 1/2. Probably because 25/50 sounds longer. Get it? I thought that was very clever of Steph.

This is a timing chip that you're supposed to (sigh) connect to your laces.

Quiet Passing Of A Quiet Artist

Arriving home last night I learned that Bill Sanders had passed away back on March 12. I remember Bill was open and welcoming to a group of us from the Spokane Bicycle Club when we stopped by to see his sculptures last June.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Scenes Around Our Nation's Capital

Photos I took while walking about town.

Protesters standing outside the Supreme Court of the United States. They were pretty quiet.

There are plenty of Capital Bikeshare stations to rent bikes from and I saw quite a few people riding them.

A self-help homeless shelter.

This fellow, along with other like-minded protesters, have sat on this spot at the edge of LaFayette Square across from the White House since 1981. He says they can't leave the shelter because the police will remove it. They can't sleep there because they'll get arrested. So there's always someone sitting there awake. Although he was a little freaky looking with the facial tattoos, he intelligently explained what they were protesting which turned out to include oil and coal dependency and their environmental impacts.

Segways on parade.

Notice anything about this sign? That's right, solar cells. It's a clean green fear mongering machine.

Must Be Murder To Go To Church

Kenneth Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia, has offered up the legal opinion (PDF) that personal protection is a good enough reason for people to possess a weapon while in a place of worship.

Because you never know when one of your fellow churchgoers is going to say, "God told me to kill you."

Refinement Level Must Be This High To Enter

I'm staying at a pretty nice hotel in D.C. But before you start complaining about your tax dollars being wasted, rest assured I'm paying the government rate which is much, much less than this.

Just because they allow the occasional pedestrian room rate, that doesn't mean they allow pedestrian attire in the restaurant. Sandals are not allowed. So I sat at the bar and watched the NY Rangers play the Washington Capitals while enjoying a mouth-watering tenderloin steak, a linen napkin protecting my khaki shorts. The maitre d' sat next to me...because there wasn't anybody in the restaurant.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Need A Male Assist

I'm flying out this morning and while going through security at the Spokane airport I found myself in a metal enclosure with yellow footprints to stand in. The TSA agent asked me to turn and face the wall.

Me: "Is this a backscatter machine?"

Agent: "Yes, it is."

Me: "Do I have to go through it?"

Agent: "No, you don't. Please step back out and go around over there."

I walked around to a metal detector entrance and had to wait a few moments as an agent called for a "male assist". Another agent walked up and asked, "What do I have?"

"An opt out."

The agent, very polite and professional, walked me to another area, asked me if I could see my stuff and keep an eye on it going through the x-ray machine and then gave me the "TSA speech" as he called it, explaining exactly how he was going to pat me down. So much like this little girl I received a nearly thorough massage while dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. He went over my cheap Timex watch as if it was the most suspicious thing he'd ever seen.

Agent: "Are you one of those jogging guys?"

Me: "Yes."

Agent: "Do you use this watch to see how fast you're going?"

Me: "No, I use it to see what time it is."

While getting the full once over with everyone staring at me wasn't all that unpleasant, it wasn't necessary either. But then that's just me.

Just playing my part in the farce known as security theater.

*** Update

It appears the purpose for rubbing your body all over is to pick up any sign of explosives with their gloves. The agent used one of those detector wipes on his gloves and then had a machine "read" it. Hey, they have the machine that goes "BING!"

A Palin/Bachmann Rock Opera

Kudos to D.C. Douglas for this.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Soulless Pursuit

Former Senator Rick Santorum can't be conservative and religious enough in his pursuit of the presidency. Check out his remarks (from the Colorado Statesman) before a Colorado state Republican Party fund raiser.

He equates the Health Care Reform to an entitlement program designed to make us dependent upon the government and remove our freedom. Just say no.

“Think about how [Democratic leaders] view you,” he told the crowd of Republicans. “They view you no different than the drug dealer views the little kid in the school yard. They want to get you hooked, they want to get you dependent. They want to get you relying upon them for your wellbeing. And once they’ve satisfied you, giving them that drug, that narcotic, then you’ll be reliant on them and, by the way, you’ll also be less than what God created you to be.”

I think he means that God created a few of you to be wealthy and to continue gathering wealth until the many of you he created to be poor can't bear it any longer. Or something like that.

Santorum talked about statistical proof of American exceptionalism — arguing that life expectancy didn’t increase for thousands of years until America was founded, and then it doubled in 200 years — but kept returning to the importance of next year’s election.

This is a remarkable conclusion to make given that he's excluding all of the scientific advances that were made as we learned about bacteria, disease, viruses, etc. It's as logical as tying the increase in gross domestic production since 1945 to the invention of nuclear weapons.

It’s not enough to preach to committed Republicans and conservatives, Santorum said. “You all need to go out and build your own choir, all over this state, so when 2012 rolls around, you are ready to battle for America’s soul. That’s what’s at stake.”

He's probably pursuing America's soul because he doesn't have one.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One Danger Of Social Networking

Kevin Parker is one of the state legislators for the 6th district in which I reside. Just as I do with all the elected officials who represent me, I friended him on Facebook so I could read what he posted about.

Anyway, today I saw this on Facebook.

Say what? I wonder if this was an attempt to put up something to cause embarrassment. What kind of "friend" is Brian Wilson? This entry disappeared just minutes after I saw it but not before I snagged a screen shot. Apparently it was up for at least five hours.

Review your Facebook privacy settings. You don't have to be an elected official for this to happen.

It's True, I Saw It On The Internet

Donald Trump appears to desire the support of birthers, those who claim President Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen, while dipping his toe in the presidential candidate swimming pool. He has repeated a number of false statements about Obama not being born in Hawaii. (Our own Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers expressed doubt about Obama's citizenship a couple years ago, but has remained silent about it since.)

So what pushed Mr Trump off the edge of the boardroom table? I have no idea.

The interwebs possess a wealth of evidence such as this video that claims to expose a truth about President Obama. This so-called truth is that the photo of Obama with his grandparents is fake.

This is allegedly the actual picture.

This is allegedly the photoshopped image.


According to The Birthers web site:

We are the Birthers, we are those who are under attack by the Mainstream Media, the once bastions of truth, have become the purveyors of cheap words. They want to mock us by giving us a label to discredit and marginalize us.

No, the problem is that the media doesn't discredit these people enough whether they be politicians, business leaders, veterans, church leaders, etc.

And remember, you saw this here--on the Internet.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spokane Bikes

Bike to Work Week has morphed into Spokane Bikes and that's a good thing, the purpose being to promote cycling in general and not just riding to and from work.

Even though they've seen me bike commuting for over 10 years--and my boss for more than 20 years--most of the people I work with can't picture themselves riding to work. There's too much to disruption to their normal routine. And they think it's dangerous.

"Yes," I tell them, "being on the road is dangerous. Just look at the thousands of people who die every year in vehicle accidents."

A lot of those same people can see themselves riding on the Centennial Trail and maybe on residential streets, but remain generally fearful of traffic. For them cycling is a recreational activity, not a transportation alternative. That's a huge jump for them to make.

So how do we help them make that jump? Complete Streets is a great way. Designing our roadways to safely accommodate all users and not just motor vehicles would encourage more people to walk, ride, etc. Combine that with smart growth management and reclaiming urban sprawl and you've got some great livable communities. But I digress.

I don't know who said it first, but I'm a firm believer that the best way to make roads safer for bicycles is to get more bicycles on the road. So if we could get these occasional recreational riders to get out just a little more, and then a little more, maybe we'll get there, Spokane.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hail? No!

I couldn't find my cable so I'm a day late offloading the photos of our dippindots storm yesterday evening.

Build More Prisons

Two years ago the Obama administration followed through on a campaign promise to leave legally operating marijuana dispensaries alone.

Speaking with reporters, Mr. Holder provided few specifics but said the Justice Department’s enforcement policy would now be restricted to traffickers who falsely masqueraded as medical dispensaries and “use medical marijuana laws as a shield.”

In today's Spokesman Review we have an article--not online but in the print edition--that states the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington has warned all of the marijuana dispensaries that they will face prosecution if they don't shut down immediately. U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby is reported as saying, "The proliferation of marijuana stores, which are not authorized under state law, suggests that drug traffickers are attempting to avoid application of state law through the use of these stores. Drug traffickers cannot hide behind the law by simply claiming they are medical marijuana stores."

That statement, along with the blanket threat of prosecution, which includes the loss of property by the property owner, suggests that the simple existence of these medical marijuana dispensaries proves to the federal government that drug traffickers are behind them all.

The drug war is prohibitively expensive and lost. Someday Congress will realize that and decide on a better approach, but not for a long time since they're obviously not able to handle adult problems right now.

In the meantime, we just can't imprison enough people.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Comically Inept Spam Scam

I received this email with a subject line of "My Heart Choose You".

Dear friend

I am Mrs Cindy Buker and i have been surffering from ovarian cancer disease and the doctor says that i have just two days to leave. I am from (Mississippi) USA but based in Africa Burkina Faso since Nine years ago as a business woman dealing with gold exportation.

Now that i am about to end the race like this,without any family members and no child.I have 3 Million US DOLLARS in Coris Bank Burkina Faso which i instructed the bank to give St Andrews Missionary Home in Burkina Faso.But my mind is not at rest because i am writting this letter now through the help of my computer beside my sick bed.

I also have 4.5Million US Dollars at Ecobank here in Burkina Faso and i instructed the bank to transfer the money to the first foreigner that will apply to the bank after i have gone that they should release the fund to him/her,but you will assure me that you will take 50% of the money and give 50% to the orphanages home in your country for my heart to rest. You are to contact the bank through this email address (Russian web site address removed)

Mrs Cindy Buker

You read about this sort of stuff all the time, right? Someone with millions of dollars is near death and they shotgun an email to every man, woman and child in the world telling them that the first one who contacts their bank gets the money.

Yeah, that just happened.

Periodic Maintenance And The Medical Amateur

You know how you check tires on your car? Your looking at the tread wear, checking for damage--that sort of thing? As a barefoot runner I check the wear and tear on my feet. During last night's cursory exam I noticed a splinter. I probably picked it up from one of the bridges in Riverfront Park. This conversation took place:

Me (my aged eyes looking down my nose through the bottom of my bifocal lenses at my upturned sole) : "Hmm, I gotta splinter."

Kathy: "Well, get it out."

Me: "Why? It's not bothering me."

Steph (probably remembering her interest in surgery the last time this happened): "Let me have a look." And she proceeds to poke, prod, squeeze, scrape, JAB!

Me: "Now it's bothering me."

Steph (helpfully pointing along the bottom of my foot towards my toes): "It went in that direction."

Good of her to notice. I got myself a safety pin--why would they give it that name if it wasn't okay to use, right?--straightened it out, and began digging into the skin to remove the embedded sample of chemically treated wood that had now moved "in that direction". Thanks to my bifocal-enhanced lousy depth perception I managed to dig a sizable hole right next to the splinter. My eyes kept lying to me. "Almost there. So close. Just a little more. Don't give up yet, you almost got it." Steph got a bright LED flashlight to help me, but that just made the bottom of my foot look whiter.

Steph (in her most encouraging voice) : "Dad, you're next to it. You're not getting it. You're just digging hole."

Maybe feeling a little responsible or maybe looking for an opportunity to see just how interesting the medical field could be, she volunteered her assistance with a "Let me do it." I relinquished the pin to her all-too-eager hands and she started tunneling sideways from the hole I'd already made.

Steph: "Can you feel that?"

Me: "No."

Steph: "Okay, good, 'cause this is a really deep hole."

Then she grabbed the tweezers. Now the ends of eyebrow tweezers are not fine enough to grab an exposed splinter, let alone a splinter that's buried under really thick skin and kind of off to the side of the hole dug in the wrong location, but that wasn't going to stop Steph from trying. She gamely pinched away. I squirmed and complained.

Steph (in a commanding voice): "You need to hold still and be quiet. Okay? Just be quiet."

Well, I don't want to freak her out, now do I? The pin returns to explore some more when suddenly our good doctor jumps back saying, "Ewwwwwwwww. I made your toe twitch."

I was more concerned with getting the splinter out than I was with my icky involuntary reflexive reactions. (As an aside, it wasn't until later that I realized that while this was going on, my loving wife--a nurse for many years--never once volunteered to help. Hmmmmmm.)

After about ten more minutes alternating between the pin and tweezers and me quietly sitting still, Steph triumphantly extracts the tiny sliver.

Steph: "HA! In your face!"

I wonder if surgeons say that to their patients after an appendectomy.

The Path To Prosperity Bamboozlement

I got to reading Representative Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity 2012 (PDF) and noticed some disturbing projections in the charts.

These charts are from the Congressional Budget Office, which is a non-partisan organization, and I thought the numbers the charts. That's a very depressing outlook presented there. The red in the charts makes it more so. It's like he's pulling levers to make flames to instill us with fear and awe.

Then I noticed the small print "based on the CBO's alternative fiscal scenario". What the heck is that, I wondered. So I went looking. The CBO does a long term budget outlook report and here's the one from last June (PDF), updated in August.
You'll notice there are two budget scenarios in the outlook report. Plus, the scale in this chart is different than the one presented by Rep Ryan. The one he used is at the back of the outlook report. You! Scarecrow, color in the red and stay between the lines!

So what are the two budget scenarios? There's a note at the beginning of the report that states:

The figure on the cover shows federal debt held by the public under the Congressional Budget Office’s extended-baseline scenario (lower line) and alternative fiscal scenario (upper line). The extended-baseline scenario adheres closely to current law, following CBO’s 10-year base-line budget projections through 2020 (with adjustments for the aforementioned health care legislation) and then extending the baseline concept for the rest of the long-term projection period. The alternative fiscal scenario incorporates several changes to current law that are widely expected to occur or that would modify some provisions of law that might be difficult to sustain for a long period.

Essentially the alternative fiscal scenario is based on conjecture. There's more detail later on in the outlook report.

The budget outlook is much bleaker under the alternative fiscal scenario, which incorporates several changes to current law that are widely expected to occur or that would modify some provisions of law that might be difficult to sustain for a long period. In this scenario, CBO assumed that Medicare’s payment rates for physicians would gradually increase (which would not happen under current law) and that several policies enacted in the recent health care legislation that would restrain growth in health care spending would not continue in effect after 2020. In addition, under the alternative scenario, spending on activities other than the major mandatory health care programs, Social Security, and interest would fall below the average level of the past 40 years relative to GDP, though not as low as under the extended-baseline scenario. More important, CBO assumed for this scenario that most of the provisions of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended, that the reach of the alternative minimum tax would be kept close to its historical extent, and that over the longer run, tax law would evolve further so that revenues would remain at about 19 percent of GDP, near their historical average.

Rep Ryan is not only selective in choosing the worst case scenario, but also in the parts of the charts he uses. Careful examination of these charts provides an example. OMG, look at all that red. Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! The great and powerful Ryan has spoken. And when it's all over he'll leave us behind while he floats off in his balloon saying, "I can't come back, I don't know how it works! Good-bye, folks!"

*** Update
I just wanted to make clear that the alternative fiscal scenario includes extending the Bush tax cuts into the future, something the Republican party has pushed for and succeeded in doing, in part, last December. So a huge part of the road to ruin Ryan wants to save us from is of their own making.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What Little I Wrote

The Inlander held a 101-word fiction contest and one of my submissions, Nature (of the Beast), was printed so that was cool to have it included with a lot really great stories.

One of my workmates spotted my name on the story and emailed me asking if I wrote it. I replied that I did. They wrote back that they liked the story, at least, what little they read.

I thought "what little I read" was a really good play on the 101-word limit so I answered back, "What little you read. Ha! I get it. LOL."

To which I received the reply, "No, really. It looked really good and I wish they'd printed more of it."

The news that it was a 101-word contest was taken in good humor.

Taking Pride In Her Work

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers recently posted on her Facebook page how proud she was to receive the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As it happens, this singular award was presented to 238 other pro-business members of Congress. I checked the records on the Chamber of Commerce site and found that McMorris Rodgers has received this award for every session she's been in Congress.

So what does a member of Congress have to do get this award? I don't think it could be put any simpler than what the chamber states on the page where the members of Congress are listed. Here's how the Washington state representatives rated.

Here are the votes the chamber was concerned with. The items correspond, left to right, to the boxes in the above chart.

1. H.R. 5116 – The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (She voted No but they have her down as not recording a vote)
2. H.R. 4853– Middle Class Tax Act of 2010 (She voted Yes)
3. H.R. 6495 – Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act (She abstained, most likely because she had just given birth.)
4. H.R. 3534 – Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2010 (She voted No)
5. H.R. 4173 – Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – conference report (She voted No)
6. H.R. 5175 - Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act (She noted No)
7. H.R. 4872 – Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (second vote) (She voted No)
8. H.R. 4872 – Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Ditto on the No vote)
9. H.R. 3590 – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (She voted No)

The "+" and "-" symbols mean "correct" and "wrong" votes as per the chamber. Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers voted correctly 100% of the time in 2010 and is currently voting correctly 90% of the time.

She received this award for voting against health care reform, against prohibiting foreign influence in elections and against establishing additional disclosure requirements, against financial regulatory reform, against consolidating various federal management and leasing programs into one, for tax cuts, and against nanotechnology R&D.

And she is so proud.

Friday, April 1, 2011