August 2011 archive

What’s Hampering Jobless Veterans

With veterans’ unemployment rising, President Barack Obama is scheduled on Friday in a visit Washington’s Navy Yard to announce initiatives to prepare vets for civilian jobs.

Those boomers born during WWII and in the few years directly after may or may not remember their childhood years, I do. What your parents, coming out of the military, no higher education needed to fight our wars, or moms coming out of the factories, quickly taught the jobs needed to work in by those who for many reasons couldn’t serve in the military. You grew up into that working world that had quickly grown a prosperous middle class, and with usually small but regular raises and improved benefits and safety you were prospering better then your parents. That all started changing some thirty to forty years ago to growth at the top and wall street investing while the worker stopped sharing in the labors instead given easy, but costly, credit to make them think they were doing better then the generations previous.

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Hate Crime sentencing? Not so much.

Teonna Monae Brown, 19, pleaded guilty today in a Baltimore court to one count of first degree assault and one count of a hate crime in the April 18 attack on Chrissy Lee Polis, 22.

“Circular Firing Squad”–MWUHH??

Cross-posted at

@ Tom:

I am just astounded at your continuous support for Obama, in light of the non-stop daily evidence of his fealty and service to the enemies of the country.  A good example of this trend is your mantra of “circular firing squad”:  Somehow we mustn’t “primary” Obama, or even speak against him, because doing so just attacks “one of our own”.

Hows that Libertarian Love Thing Working Out?

A few months back this site was awash in pro-libertarian sentiment, but since the Paul boys have been a big part of the successful “Attack on America’s Poor and Middle  Act, Pt 1,” we’ve heard crickets about them.

Ron Paul (who voted for the original and totally crazy house bill) has criticized this act, because it didn’t hurt the poor enough:

According to the non-partisan CATO Institute, this bill merely commits Congress to spending less than it otherwise would

(yes, sure Ronny, CATO is non-partison)

Well, in fairness, he did criticize the “Super Congress”.

But, um…  why?

The rich might get taxed a little bit:

This guarantees that Members will face tremendous pressure to vote for whatever comes out of this commission- even if it includes tax increases.

Sen. Paul and Rep. Paul were both signatories to the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge on the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling pledge required its signatories to pressure lawmakers to cut federal spending, cap federal spending and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution as preconditions to a “yes” vote on the debt ceiling.

So, the ‘libertarians’ want to amend the constitution? Nice.

Meanwhile, Rand has been babbling about

runaway entitlement spending


Really, bucko?

When exactly did the ever falling bit of money the richest country in the world spends on the same people whose money it actually is in the first place become “runaway” ?

Who exactly pays for Social Security anyway? You congress perps?

The rich people you want to ‘liberate’?


maximum wage base for social security tax is $106,800

Meaning that for every millionaire or billionaire, the max they pay is based on  $106,800.

Workers pay either 6.2%, or 12.4% if self employed.  For employers, this 6.2% is basically tax deductible, so in many cases, they don’t pay it either.


This is the end of the book. The end of the book is here at the beginning because the Universe loves you and doesn’t want to make you have to cheat by flipping to the back of the book. The beginning of the book will come right after the end. At least it always has, so far, so….Enjoy!

Gray and purple stone peeking out from beneath the snows of the high cast ring of craggy peaks, one at each of the cardinal points, higher than the rest.  But the whole, forming a jagged protective wall, a stone circle of both physical and energetic protection around a mystical valley.  Cloud shrouded, hidden, impenetrable, accessible only to those who know, only to those who have been given the secret knowledge and who are led directly there.  From the outside all the casual traveler sees are craggy peaks, jagged peaks, formidable and impenetrable peaks. A nearly impossible climb, with no visible reward to make the gargantuan effort worthwhile. There are easier passages for the unambitious traveler, and higher more glorious peaks to conquer for those interested in that sort of thing.

From whichever direction the uninspired and uninvited traveler approaches, there are easy passes to the left and right, if one is merely looking to pass through. There are more hoary challenging glorious peaks in easy view, if one is looking for conquest.

But for those invited, for those who are called, for those compelled, then from whichever direction the traveler approaches, a single, short challenging passage appears. Not easy by any means, but not quite impossible either. Requiring faith to even start, requiring determination and endurance to continue, requiring will to overcome the obstacles, and requiring discrimination and a fine perception to follow the nearly invisible track. Initially, when the challenges and obstacles of the first passage have been finally negotiated there is no readily apparent way to proceed. Some turn back, others look more carefully and patiently at the terrain around them, and then seemingly by magic, a new way forward appears.

Perhaps a rock falls, or the wind blows the limbs of the tiny scrub tree aside. Perhaps a mouse or rabbit appears, or a bird flying by distracts the eye, and when it alights again on the featureless rock before it, a foothold is there. Or perhaps one simply catches their breath after the climb and that new stillness reveals to the eye a new way forward.

The process repeats. A difficult path requiring will and determination to negotiate, leading to a seemingly unconquerable obstacle, until with patience and perspective, a new previously Unseen Way emerges. Leading the traveler forward, up the mountain. Passage after passage, lesson after lesson as one rises steadily upwards, staggering along the way and cutting a stout staff, the air grows colder and so you learn to warm yourself from the fire within. The tiny hidden spring reveals itself just when one is thirsty, and upward you go.

Until one day there is a blank stone wall at the base of a sheer cliff. Everything you have worked so hard to learn is brought to bear, all the tricks are tried, all the solutions applied….and still, nothing. You sit. You wait. the eagle flies by and does not reveal the way, the mouse comes to visit, this time revealing nothing. The clouds part and far below you see the smoke from a chimney and you can fell the fire calling you down the mountain. A tiny light in a tiny window of a toy hut so far below beckons you to share the warmth and laughter within. Still no new Way appears, and one hunkers down in wet furs to wait for the light of the sun, hoping for illumination.

But even in the full light of day all you see is the same blank rock before you. Ah! Perhaps blankness then is the answer, Sitting before the wall fighting hard not to allow the mind to peak, for hours, mind blank, and finally all the fight is gone, Blankness is achieved, and with it peace. And with the peace, with all struggle gone, the spirit begins to wander, and in the unattached wandering of the spirit, so unlike the wandering of the mind, the journey is relived. The entire journey of this life, from the first memories of childhood on, one sees that everything, every moment has been a lesson, just as the journey up the mountain is, a learning, a growing, a preparation. Not isolated, none of it isolated, all tied together, a sequence, a lesson plan. All leading up to this moment. All this failures and disappointments part of the plane it seems, in fact these seem to have been your greatest teachers, looking back from here, high high up on the mountain. Every disappointment leading to a new part of the path, every failure turning eventually into the most important and shining realizations.

Finally it is realized that there is no failure. That there are no wrongs that have been done to you or wrongs that you have done. It meshes together into a form of brilliance, a diamond path leading through the landscape, through the circumstance, through the phenomenon. Every cursed pitfall and tear inducing obstacle placed exactly so, coming exactly then, every perceived slap in the face turning the head on its axis exactly enough to reveal the next route of shining jewels that finally led you….here.

And so, this is not a failure either. This is as all the rest. For there is no there to go to, no end to the journey, no final destination on the journey. As all the sages told you, it is the journey that matters, because it is the journey that brings you piece. It is the striving that lets you rest, it is the searching that teaches you that you are always in the perfect place, it is the waiting that teaches you how to wait, and it is learning to wait that teaches you that there is nothing to wait for.

The stories all said so, the Wise Men all told you so…..just as they told you that telling you so could not make you see it as so, that you had to find this truth for yourself. You once again feel your breath. You feel the breeze on your face and you feel the muscles of your face start to form a smile. Eyes slowly open and each branch of the scrub tree before you is a perfect map of each branch of the truth of your journey. The birds call is the song of your journey. The earth and sky the canvass upon which your journey is painted, no more and no less.

Smile and stretch, gather up your furs and bags and staff for the long journey down…but now you can see the diamond path up which you rose, so earnestly…and a laugh rises in your throat unbidden as you turn and see that the path leads straight into and straight under the blank rock wall….and with a shrug, you follow it and there is no longer blank rock wall, but a dark and eerie passage before you. Another one. You do not see the end, but then you never do. You do see the feathery apprehensions that are always there at the beginning of the passage, but now they hang like sleeping bats from the dark ceiling. The hounds of fear that are usually snarling and barking at you from the darkens of the passage to the unknown now lay curled up snoring, and the far distant black nothingness that lies before you is no longer a screen upon which the animated movies of your imagination once ran in an endless loop.

Now you see only the diamond path of Dharma, and as you see it it begins to glow, lighting your way forward into the deepest of darknesses. You follow, striding in one step two steps three and crash your head into the stone. But when the stars clear you see that it is only the passage turning, and as you turn with it you see sky. Bluer sky. It draws you forward and you see more purple rock, but this rock glows with inner light. You come to the opening and are blinded not by light, but by radiant life.

The diamond path now leads down a narrow ledge, wrapping around the inside of the perfect bowl of purple rock, leading down, down.  As you look out over the vista, it seems obscured as if by a fine mist or fog.  And only when you have taken a few steps down the ledge and your eyes have adjusted, can you see it’s not water vapor that is obscuring your view, but light vapor.  A cloud of light resides at the center of the bowl, far beneath you.  As you walk carefully down the path, being cautious, holding on to the wall, not so much because of the great height, but because your senses are stunned, you are outside of any reality that you have consciously known before.  Your hand n the wall feels the pulsing warm purpleness of the rock, unlike the rock you have known before.  The path beneath you seems to shape itself to your feet, unlike any path you have known before.  As your senses adjust, you look down and see the scree beneath the bowl, and the scree shines with a billion bits of mica.

You travel onward down the path, in no hurry.  A sense of eagerness mixed with a sense of peace mixed with a sense of awe mixed with that same edge of the unknown, the path leads down to the scree and at the place where the path meets the scree field you suddenly are forced to sit, instinctively adopting your meditation position..  It is too much, too many feelings, too many bright sights, too much sound though you can’t even identify the sound.  All the senses overwhelmed with the valley stretched out below you, a perfection previously impossible.  You sit and cry and wait for yourself to catch up to you.

Below you, the glinting scree gradually turns to loam, the loam to wild tundra, the tundra to tall waving grasses.  The swollen heads of wheat and barley and rye wave in the gentle breezes.

scree giving way to treeless loam and tundra, tundra giving way to green, green grass.  The hills are alive in a way no longer possible in the outside world.

The bacteria in the fertile soil is the most hearty, the best bacteria.  The small bugs that feed on it are the best bugs.  The larger bugs that feed on them are the pinnacle of bugs.  The holiest bugs, the most sacred bugs that are then in turn eaten by the sacred birds.  The green, green grass going down, down the slopes, slopes curved in the most pleasing and beautiful shapes imaginable, down to the high grass, the fields and fields of uncultivated grains, the grains turning sacred sunlight and holy water into the pure food.  Pure food fed by the water of the pure peaks streaming down in tiny rivulets combining into burbling streams, combining into running rivulets, combining into rushing cascades and cataracts, all feeding down, down, into the bowl, till they collect in the placid reflecting unknowable depths of The Central Lake.  Grass covered yurts, naturally disguised caves, sod roofed long-houses, dot the shores and upper slopes, peopled by those waiting just one more lifetime to make the pilgrimage to the jewel encrusted island at the center of it all, it’s ruby, sapphire, diamond, citrine studded shores rising from the glacial waters of the sacred lake in a gentle slope.  No striving uphill here, no obstacles, no ravines to traverse, no crevasses into which to fall.  The serene and gentle slope covered all that is considered wealth by the world, yet here it is no more than pretty colored gravel, giving way to the greenest of grasses.

A Funny Web Post:

Here it is:

Women’s ass size study: There is a new study about women and how they feel about their asses, the results were pretty interesting. 30% of women think their ass is too fat, 10% of women think their ass is too skinny, the remaining 60% say they don’t care, they love him, he is a good man, and wouldn’t trade him for the world… If you’re laughing, re-post this somewhere and make someone else laugh

Here’s hoping that everybody will get afew laughs from it.  

No more tomorrows for the Euro

    Unlike the deficit ceiling standoff in Washington, Europe is experiencing a real financial crisis, and today it began to get out of control.

 The European money markets have begun to seize up as pressure mounts on the Italian and Spanish banking systems, tracking the pattern seen during the build-up towards the financial crisis in 2008.

   “Europe’s money markets are undoubtedly starting to freeze up,” said Marc Ostwald from Monument Securites.

   “It’s not as dramatic as pre-Lehman but it is alarming and shows the pervasive degree of fear in the markets. People are again refusing to lend except on a secured basis.”

 Italian banks have been hit especially hard, with almost daily suspensions of their stock trading due to selling pressure. But today things went to a different level.

 Italian bank’s main stock market collapses, causing the suspension

 They called it a “technical problem” that just happened to coincide with a collapse in Italian bank stocks.

your helping hand is needed

Predicting the Weather

Meteorology is a science.

  • If the rock is wet, it’s raining.
  • If the rock is swinging, the wind is blowing.
  • If the rock casts a shadow, the sun is shining.
  • If the rock does not cast a shadow and is not wet, the sky is cloudy.
  • If the rock is not visible, it is foggy.
  • If the rock is white, it is snowing.
  • If the rock is coated with ice, there is a frost.
  • If the ice is thick, it’s a heavy frost.
  • If the rock is bouncing, there is an earthquake.
  • If the rock is under water, there is a flood.
  • If the rock is warm, it is sunny.
  • If the rock is missing, there was a tornado.

Economics?  No so much.

Jobless Claims Remain Elevated

By LUCA DI LEO And JEFF BATER, The Wall Street Journal

AUGUST 4, 2011, 8:34 A.M. ET

New claims for unemployment insurance fell by just 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 400,000 in the week ended July 30, the Labor Department said Thursday. That followed a 21,000 decline the previous week, which was revised from an originally reported 24,000 drop.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast claims would rise by 7,000 in the latest week.

Fears are growing that a new recession may follow the severe downturn of 2008 and 2009. Three former top officials at the Federal Reserve put the odds between 20% and 40% in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. A Labor Department report out Friday is expected to show the unemployment rate remained at 9.2% last month, more than two years after the recession ended.

Thursday’s report showed the number of continuing unemployment benefit claims — those drawn by workers for more than a week — rose by 10,000 to 3,730,000 in the week ended July 23.

U.S. consumers cut spending in June at the fastest pace in nearly two years, raising concerns that the economy is stalling largely because of underlying weakness following the financial crisis and not just temporary factors seen in recent months, such as higher prices for food and gas.

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