It’s a Cray, Cray World

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It is a crazy, crazy world and I believe the reason for my deep frying corn fritters to bring to our community gathering. The invitation or flyer called the event a cocktail party for neighbors, and please bring an appetizer for the sharing table, your own chair, and BYOB. I wanted an appetizer that would hold up under Florida’s afternoon sun. The event was from 3 to 5PM.

Corn fritters were a staple in my childhood household and one I occasionally prepared for my family, more like a pancake drizzled with maple syrup and served with breakfast sausage and applesauce.

It is a crazy, crazy world. I was in search of some sanity after reading; the House passed a 700-page bill to make registering to vote easier. How can it be easier if it is 700 pages long? My brain stuck on the word easier started to spin, however I continued reading. An amendment requiring states to make it possible for 16 and 17 year olds to preregister for federal elections passed and has me befuddled, and evidently, there was an attempt to lower the voting age to 16 years of age that did not pass.

That is when I decided on corn fritters, and rather than search on line for a recipe  grabbed my well used Lafayette Cook Book and easily found a simple recipe submitted by Joan Smith. The cookbook, “a nostalgic look at Lafayette, New Jersey, through recipes, pictures, and stories was a fundraiser for their Preservation Foundation in 1989.  

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I followed the recipe, frying them and sprinkling with confectioner sugar, thinking.

It is a crazy, crazy world. Almost all Members of the House (407) voted to condemn religious, racial bigotry and hatred rather than remove Rep. Omar from her committee assignments implying that only 23 House Members believe we can say whatever we want, regardless of who is offended in America.

The spread of food at the party was colorful and delicious;  toothpicks filled with tortellini, olives and cherry tomatoes, taco pie, red and green jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, Swedish meatballs, and lasagna, made by lining muffin tins with the noodles, the filling inside, and of course, pigs in a blanket.

We had a good time and leaving grabbed my plate with three remaining  corn fritters.  

It is a crazy, crazy world. This morning a photograph of President Trump signing a Bible was featured in our local newspaper, an article discussing mixed opinions about his nonchalance as well as the fact that other presidents have signed Bibles, accompanied the photo. I wonder, who is manipulating who? Or is it whom?

What the heck, it is a cray, cray world and I will just eat the last of the corn fritters.

. . . . just saying

 

F is for Flummoxed Filibuster

  The Alphabet Series –  New Thoughts on Words

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Things looked good for Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, this week when he announced he would filibuster the confirmation vote of John Brennan as Director of the CIA, the old- fashioned way, by talking and said, “I will speak until I can no longer speak.”

Evidently, the old-fashion filibuster has lost popularity and there is a non-talking version making a filibuster like phone sex. You do not need to moan, and staying on the phone is optional. Rand Paul could declare a filibuster and kept his mouth shut. Then, sixty votes would be necessary to break the gridlock and clear the floor for vote.

Visions of Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” came to mind, and a general impression of Paul as a man of consciousness prevailed.

Rand Paul, the son of Ron Paul, said he did not oppose the confirmation, but this was an opportunity to make a point and find out for sure if the President’s policy on international use of drones includes shooting American citizens on United States soil. Attorney General Eric Holder’s letter did not eliminate the possibility.

Paul said in a statement, “The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront to the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,”

Not everyone agreed and in the morning, people were flummoxed, you know confused bewildered and baffled when Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham criticized Rand Paul calling the filibuster “a political stunt that cheapens the serious discussion about US policy to the realm of the ridiculous.”

Paul held his ground, would not admit to shooting himself in the foot, and considered Eric Holder’s letter of clarification released later in the day, a surrender.

You can agree with Paul, the government’s drone policy needs discussion.

Is that all this was about? Because it was a flummoxed filibuster.

…. just saying

The Best Bad Plan

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In Greek Mythology, Argo is the name of the ship the Argonauts sail to retrieve the Golden Fleece, and prove Jason worthy to reclaim his father’s throne.  In Ben Affleck’s new hit film, Argo is the title of a fake science fiction movie, or the best bad idea the CIA can conjure up to rescue six American Embassy staffers out of Tehran. It is a real nail biter, even though you know the ending, and peppered with great acting by John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Bryan Cranston.

I love this type of movie where limited dialogue and stoic facial expression mysteriously communicate an emotional message. Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist, will be an Oscar nominee even if his six-pack (viewed in one shirtless scene) is makeup made.

In November of 1979, Jimmy Carter was President and my children age four and two. I watched Laura and Luke’s wedding on General Hospital, not the evening news, and militants storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The movie credits the United States giving safe haven to the ex-Shah of Iran for medical treatment, for erupting Iran citizens to a frenzy. They break down the embassy door and take fifty-two American hostages. In the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador.

Tony Mendez’s job is to get them out of the country.

The initial plan is to give them all bicycles and they will pedal to the border. Tony points out the border is 300 miles away and the road unpaved. The bicycle plan is not only the worst bad solution, it’s stupid. The tires would wear out.

He has a better bad plan; a scheme that surrounds a fake movie, Argo. He attempts to convince superiors this is the best bad plan, arguing others are: horrible, terrible, dreadful, none are good, some are god –awful, miserable, and the worst; the travel by bike. The Argo movie plan is crappy, and no good, but the best.

The best bad plan concept precipitates thought about life, politics and politicians.

According to the government, in this situation there were no good solutions, just the best of the bad.

Tell that to the six Americans who left Iran, safely.

Argo is four star movie.                                      ….just saying

Electoral College for Kindergartners

Jeff Parker

Capital_Building

I live in Florida, a swing State, and evidently a swing County, Flagler. The News Journal, our local paper, recently reported an Associated Press pre-election analysis that points fingers at 106 communities in nine states. Bullseye, voters living in Flagler County got real influence.

Remember the Chad uproar of the 2000 Bush/Gore election, the nation held hostage for a month, while volunteers inspected ballot tickets.

Nominee
George W. Bush Al Gore
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Texas Tennessee
Running mate Dick Cheney Joe Lieberman
Electoral vote 271 266
States carried 30 20 + DC
Popular vote 50,456,002 50,999,897
Percentage 47.9% 48.4%

Bush won 271 electoral votes, Gore 266, because of the twenty-five(2000 census) votes in question. Gore lost the election by 4 electoral votes. The chads spiced up the questionable  recount vote. Gore would have won 291 to Bush 246, so we know the significance  of Florida swinging.

Thirty states went to Bush; Gore, twenty; plus, the District of Columbia. However, Gore won the popular vote by five tenths of one percent, 50,999,897 to Bush, 50,456,002.

Does this make sense? Not to me either.

I went online to refresh my knowledge of the Electoral College, and by the way, there is no campus.

Each state is allocated a number of electoral votes equal to the number of members it has in the U.S. Congress.

The most recent Huffington Post   a “snapshot of where the presidential race stands based on hundreds of state-wide and national opinion polls, filtered through a poll tracking model and updated throughout the day.” On October 29th the polls  indicated the electoral vote distribution below:

Barack ObamaBarack Obama  277

(217 Strong Obama + 60 Leans Obama)

Mitt RomneyMitt Romney 206

(15 Leans Romney + 191Strong)

The graph shows five tossup states; Colorado 9 , New Hampshire 4, Virginia 13, North Carolina 15 and Florida 29, a total of seventy electoral votes. Polls have confidence Obama will win New Hampshire, Colorado and Virginia, and that Romney will win North Carolina.  In Florida the polls are split 48% to 48% with a 10% greater confidence Romney will win.
It takes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to change the electoral college and popularity does not count.
The way Florida swings needs watching.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            …just saying

Am I Politically Stupid?

Capital_Building

 Aging & Attitude

“Hardball” with Chris Matthews is on the television as I join Mr. Wonderful on the couch to snuggle.  The urgent tone in Matthew’s voice compels me to listen. A heated discussion about Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as a VP running mate is taking place, analyst predict Ryan’s budget cuts will intensify the political fight over Medicare.

By commercial time I feel stupid, have difficulty following the ping-pong conversation and question what I can follow, as not making sense.

What fight over Medicare? Every republican in the House and Senate, including Paul Ryan signed into law Obama’s cuts to Medicare Providers (insurance companies, hospitals, nursing homes and drug companies).

Oops, right the 2012 budget was never passed on July 31st, a continuing resolution was approved.

“Oh wait, wait, don’t tell me,” Romney says he will not sign the bill into effect if elected.

After the break I turn up the volume and lean in to concentrate.

Chris Matthews introduces Ezra Klein,a political columnist for the Washington Post, and David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief of New York Times, to clarify the politics of scaring people especial baby boomers.

Matthew insists Leonhardt delineate Obama, Romney and Ryan on Medicare for viewers.

Delineate sounds dangerous and I am nervous but Leonhardt delivers the difference clearly, with a smile. It is simple without all the political double talk.

  • Obama keeps a single payer government system with cuts to provider management and an emphasis on quality care in the future.
  • Paul Ryan voted yes for all of Obama’s cuts (“only because Obama did first”) but in ten years wants to move to a voucher system, aka, premium support e.g. a check sent to Mr/Ms Senior Citizen to shop around for a provider.
  • Romney wants the voucher system in ten years, but not the cuts in the 2013 Budget/ resolution deal, he will veto when brought to a vote in March 2013 if elected. (Republicans are foxy.)

Ezra Klein confirms the points and reiterates that Obama makes modest changes, the voucher plan is radical; and all three politicians predict the same path of growth in Medicare but look for savings in very different ways for the entitlement program.

The term entitlement blurs my mind and triggers thoughts of stupidity.  I know I’m entitled to Social Security and Medicare benefits because for the past fifty years I and my employer have contributed to the fund. We had a deal; give Uncle Sam part of your pay weekly and the money will be returned for retirement and medical coverage.

Why do I feel caught with my hand in the cookie jar?

Wait, wait don’t tell me, I’ll get my money back but what is left will not cover the costs of Medicare so  cuts are mandatory.

Let me get my pea size brain around this with an analogy I can relate to.

I put aside $100 to buy a dress, when I go to buy the dress it costs $115. There is  only $55 in the kitty because my sister Judy borrowed money to buy designer shoes, consequently, the dress costs too much. If Judy returns the designer shoes the dress becomes affordable.

Wait, wait don’t tell me, Judy has already worn the shoes so I have to shop around for a much cheaper dress (something under $55); what retires, now fifty-five will do in ten years according to a voucher plan.

Am I stupid or are people fifty-five and younger being thrown under a bus?                                                                                                     …just asking