Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cathy McMorris Rodgers Working Hardly

This morning an article popped into my news feed. I was about how often many members of the House of Representatives miss hearings held by the committees they are members of. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, apparently has one of the worst attendance records.

I thought I'd see for myself. The Government Printing Office has the 2013-2014 hearings here. By their own admission they don't have all the hearings. They only have the hearings that are released to them by the committees. But I think what they do have tells a pretty good story.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce on which Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers sits held 87 hearings between Feb 5, 2013 and Feb 27, 2014. Cathy McMorris Rodgers attended two of those meetings. Two.

The committee held 180 hearings between Jan 26, 2011 and Dec 13, 2012. Cathy McMorris Rodgers attended 46 of them and missed out on 134.

So since January of 2011, Cathy McMorris Rodgers attended at least 48 hearings and did not attend at least 219.

That reminds me of the time when she was the chair of the House Select Committee on Earmark Reform. Not only did her committee not meet their goal of providing reforms for earmarks, her committee didn't even meet.

From the article:

Her spokesman said her duties as chairman of the House Republican Conference include leadership meetings that conflicted with most energy and commerce hearings, and that family situations kept her away from others. 

But another member of the House GOP leadership, Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., attended 79 percent of his hearings and said the work informed his role as chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee.

Well, there's one difference. As evidenced by her inability to speak with any depth on any topic at her town hall meetings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers does care to be informed.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Art In Spokane

 Don't judge a book by its cover. 
There's some pretty cool stuff happening this Friday night right here.

 An artsy photo.

 Would you believe Skull Church is a for reals Jesus thing?
A culturally connected Gospel message.
In other words, performance art.

 Railroad overpass art work.

Sidewalk art work.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ben Carson Visits Spokane

In today's Spokesman Review we have an article about Ben Carson speaking at a fundraiser for the Life Services ministry last night.

Rising conservative star Ben Carson did not apologize for avoiding political correctness at an event in Spokane on Friday night.
Annette Miller, executive director of Life Services, said the decision to book Carson as a speaker was not political, but reflected the shared values he has with the organization.

So what are some of his views?

First, he conflated same-sex marriage with pedophilia and bestiality. Of course, later on he said he was taken out of context and misunderstood.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition.”

And there's this nugget that indicates his lack of understanding of, or more likely his religious beliefs blinding him from recognizing, how evolution works.

"I don’t believe in evolution .... I simply don’t have enough faith to believe that something as complex as our ability to rationalize, think, and plan, and have a moral sense of what’s right and wrong, just appeared.”

I'm sure the following goes over well with his fellow conservatives.

"The entire concept of for profits for the insurance companies makes absolutely no sense. 'I deny that you need care and I will make more money.' This is totally ridiculous. The first thing we need to do is get rid of for-profit insurance companies. We have a lack of policies and we need to make the government responsible for catastrophic health care."

In 1992 Carson wrote "The most natural question is, who will pay for catastrophic health care? The answer: The government-run catastrophic health care fund. Such a fund would be supported by a mandatory contribution of 10 to 15 percent of the profits of each health insurance company, including managed care operations."

Another tidbit from the article.

Miller said the message of Carson’s latest book – that members of different political parties should listen to and be civil with one another – mirrors the message of the ministry. 

“We end up stifling thoughts, ideas and progress when we’re in a gridlock,” Miller said. “Particularly from a political perspective, that’s true in our country.”

And in the same article we have this example of Carson's ability to listen, be civil, and express a thought that isn't stifling.

No mention of a run for the presidency was made Friday, but Carson did criticize Obama for a statement the president made in 2009 that America is not a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation. Carson has made that criticism multiple times in recent weeks, including at an event in Texas, and he continued to make the point in Spokane on Friday. 

“He doesn’t get to decide that,” Carson said of Obama’s statement, to lengthy applause and cheering. “We get to decide that.”

Yep, I'm feeling the love.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Train Comin'

On my ride home from work a train was coming to the crossing on Freya by Market. The bells rang, the red lights flashed, and the barriers came down. Then the train stopped. After a minutes the barriers went back up. I was hoping to get some shots as the train went by but I had to settle for this one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

No Take Backs

Remember back in 2009 when President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? It was for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the award on October 9, 2009, citing Obama's promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and a "new climate" in international relations fostered by Obama, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world.

Thorbjørn Jagland, chairman of the committee, said "We have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year. And we are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do," noting that he hoped the award would assist Obama's foreign policy efforts. Involvement in which can now be proven as early as March 2009. Jagland said the committee was influenced by a speech Obama gave about Islam in Cairo in June 2009, the president's efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and climate change, and Obama's support for using established international bodies such as the United Nations to pursue foreign policy goals.

Today we have this:

"I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL [ISIS] terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said. "Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time. The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief. We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate."

And this:

A sprawling new plant here(Kansas City, MO) in a former soybean field makes the mechanical guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last month, modernizes the aging weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines. 

It is part of a nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price tag, over the next three decades, at up to a trillion dollars.

Bike Lane Blocker

At some undetermined point in time earlier this year the city changed the reporting procedures for vehicles parked in a bike lane. Instead of emailing a photo of the offending vehicle to the police department, resulting in a sternly worded letter to the registered vehicle owner, you call the parking enforcement hot line at 232-8836. Press 1 for neighborhood or disabled parking complaint. Then leave a message describing the location, vehicle description and license, and the offense. Presumably a parking enforcement officer races out to the scene, writes a citation, and generates revenue for the city. Probably true for the disabled parking violations since those run $250.

Friday, September 19, 2014

GASUP Video - Spokane Bicycle Club

I had fun making this with Garry Kehr and Paul Brunton.

GASUP - Spokane Bicycle Club from hank greer on Vimeo.

A Not Unusual Sight In An Unusual Location

Normally you don't see someone's worldly possessions loaded up on shopping carts right outside Nordstroms at River Park Square Mall.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another Reason To Rue The State Of The Media Today

Last year, the US Air Force required their oath of enlistment to include the words "so help me God" regardless of the airman's religious affiliation or lack thereof, based on their interpretation of United State Code 10. why did that start last year? I have no idea. It was always optional during the time I was in from 1975-1998.

Recently an airman crossed out those words and refused to say them. Consequently, the Air Force told him he could not reenlist unless he included those words. Legal representation was obtained, the issue was sent up the channel, and everyone wondered why the US Air Force, alone among the military services, was violating the US Constitution by requiring airmen to swear their oath before "God", presumably the Christian god. Today the Air Force corrected their policy.

KXLY News decided to report this by posting this on their Facebook page:
"SOUND OFF!" they say.

As I just showed in the paragraphs above, a couple of rudimentary searches would find the facts in this case. But rather than inform the public, KXLY sensationalizes instead. What a waste.

Missing Out

I am not in line for the new iPhone 6.


I've mastered getting to 2048. Here's my first success at reaching 4096.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cathy McMorris Says Nothing At All--Again

Our esteemed congresswoman posted yet another waste of YouTube space on her Facebook page today. For one minute and thirty-eight seconds, like a political Play-Doh Fun Factory but without the fun, she squeezes vague and ambiguous language through gritted teeth. This video is so generic it could be in response to a tornado touching down in Tacoma just as easily as the ever-decreasing deficit. The video has been on her Facebook page all day and this evening I bumped the viewed count from 12 to 13. An empty message playing to an empty auditorium.

New Breakfast Stop

I heard a new bakery opened up in my old West Central neighborhood so I swung by during this morning's commute to check it out. I arrived at 6:50 am and they don't open until 7:00. The owner, Mika Maloney, saw me pull up  and she came straight to the door, flipped the closed sign to open, and invited me in. I bought a vanilla bean scone and a coconut peach bran muffin to go. They were delicious.

This was a store back in 1967 and it was only two blocks away from my house. I used to spend my hard earned nickels on SIR candy bars. The building has been vacant for many years. Now it's home to the Batch Bakeshop.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

First Annual Porchfest

Kathy and I headed to my old neighborhood, West Central, and attended some of Porchfest today. It's a pretty cool idea, putting musicians and poets out on the porch, so to speak, and promoting community. I wish we could have seen more but Kathy was starving after running 19 miles this morning so we broke away to get dinner. We also stopped by the Greenstone office to see about arranging living quarters in Kendall Yards.

This young lady, Naomi Harris, is only 14 years old. I have never heard such incredible sounds coaxed from an accordion before. She is nothing short of amazing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First GASUP Video

This is the first of several short videos I have planned for the GASUP page. Hopefully they get better each time. Regardless, it's fun.

GASUP-Pedals2People from hank greer on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Seeing Is Believing

Yesterday's sports news and the Interwebs were burning hot with titillation as the video showing Ray Price one-punching his wife into a loss of consciousness played on an infinite loop. Condemnation rightfully rained down and the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens took harsher actions claiming that seeing what Price did for the first time made all the difference.

And yet all all this time they knew what he did.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Spokefest 2014

Kathy and I have attended all seven Spokefests now so I guess that makes us perennials. Yesterday's weather was great and Spokefest had a record turnout of 2200 people. I took about a thousand pictures during the ride. One thing I observed was that the way I was dressed seemed to make people more amenable to having their picture taken while I walked around at the start and at a food stop.

Our friends and neighbors, Bob and Donna, did Spokefest with us last year on big box store mountain bikes. This year they rode the road bikes they bought last spring. They said the difference was phenomenal, which is to be expected. Also joining me and Kathy were my sister Barb, and our friend, Lucy. The day was beautiful, the ride was great, and we capped it off with food and beer at Madeleine's.

You can check out the boatload of photos I took on Facebook.

 Sporting my cyclocross bike and matching racing kit.

Kathy, Barb, and Lucy.

Bob, Donna, Kathy, Lucy, and Barb.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vegas Trip

As a sort of celebration for sending our our third and final child off to college and becoming empty nesters, Kathy and I went to Las Vegas with some friends. 
 The view from the High Roller, purportedly the world's tallest observation wheel.

 Coming off the High Roller we stumbled upon a bike ride.

 These are custom bikes from four different states.

 The yellow isn't bright enough for me.

 Cool pedals and chain ring.

 We saw Le Rêve.

 Cirque de Soleil shows...

 ...are always awesome.

 Blooming flowers at the end.

 We also saw Penn and Teller. Here's Kathy in the box before the show.

There was something familiar about the bass player in the jazz ensemble that played for an hour before the show started. Yep, Penn Jillette plays the bass among other instruments. Of course, the show was chock full of excellent how-do-they-do-that moments. After the show Kathy wanted to hurry to the bathroom before it got crowded. But we were delayed because the stars of the show hang out in the hallway outside the theater so for a meet and greet afterwards. How cool is that? Since we had rushed out so quickly we were one of the first to chat with them. I found Penn and Teller to be very gracious and appreciative of their audience. 

World's worst selfie with a celebrity.