Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Long Season Over

Well, the Seattle Mariners finished 67 wins and 95 losses, the 6th losing season in the last 8 years, and all but one with over 90 losses. And Ichiro didn't get 200 hits for the first time in his 11-year US major league career. The team played hard and well but they were simply overmatched most of the time, even with Felix Hernandez pitching.

And while it's nice to say there's always next year, and Eric Wedge did a good job as manager considering all the young players the team had, it's clear the problem is more upstairs. Not their heads but the head of the Mariners, namely the General Manager and the President, but most the former who orchestrates the trades, acquistions (players) and contracts.

He's clearly not up to the job because he keeps buying older players who fail to perform for the team, but then do far better with other teams, eg. Eric Bedard, Shone Figgins, Casey Kotchman, etal. And building from prospects and minor league players, the so-called "from within the organization" only goes so far as we saw this year. And to give the GM a new 3-year contract, it's a, "What are they thinking?", except to keep putting less than a top winning team on the field for the next three years.

Ever since the record setting team of 2001 who won 116 games, losing only 46 and winning at least 20 games every month but one, they have only had two winning seasons and both times finished second in the National League West. We have hope and a future, but then it all went south as they say and we've been going that direction since then. Thats shows it's not the players so much as who puts the team together to get top players who don't perform to their career level.

But that's all games gone by and all we have now is next spring when the 2012 season starts. I'll still be there but this time, like all the fans, we want a pennant and nothing less. And we don't want a GM who short-sells the time on quality players, young or old. Many young players did well, but you can't build on that alone, look at the 2001 team roster to see it.

For now it's just hope and speculation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don't Be Fooled On 1183

The proponents of initiative I-1183 are trying to convince you this initiative is good for everyone in Washington, especially residents and consumers. It's a sham, pure and simple. While they argue the opponents are funded by the wholesale distributors who would be cut out if I-1183 passes, it's biggest funder and proponent is Costco. Yes the big retail store chain.

They're backing this to sell cheap liquor to everyone and dump the cost of enforcing the drunk driving laws on the State and local city and county governments. Us the taxpayers will foot the bill for the flood of cheap liquor. They're backing it to cut out wholesalers who will lose the business and the small stores who can not compete with the big box stores.

And against what they say, it won't prevent convenience stores with or without a gas station to sell hard liquor if they meet the requirements, such as in areas where there is not easy access to store which would otherwise sell liquor, meaning most rural areas where buyers can still get liquor at state operated stores.

Do you really want hard liquor to be as easily accessible everywhere and at any time of day or night around the state? That's what I-1183 would do, and then push the enforcement on the state and local governments promising they'll increase staff to handle the work. Really? In a time of state budget crisis, can we expect the state and local government to hire more law enforcement officers?

Do you really want Costco to dominate and control the sale of liquor in the state? That's what I-1183 will do, change the state to private corporations to control, to simply create monopolies on liquor? Yes, the state is now the monoply but at least it's ou4 monoply, profitable for the people, employs people, and is managed to prevent sales outside store hours.

Costco and corporations will not add any employees under this initiative and put a number of state and contract employees out of work in a time of a recession. Those people won't get their jobs back or jobs at Costco. Who speaks for them? Who speaks for the wholesalers and all their employees who will lose to big box distributors?

Initiative 1183 is the typical corporate giveaway at taxpayers expense and pushes the cost of the consequences to the taxpayers. That's not something we need for all of us. We rejected this same measure two years ago. The legislature tried to sneak it through last year and failed in the face of the publicity. And now we have to face it again.

It's time to send them a strike three NO!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gotta Have One

Saw this in passing. It's not only cute but a gotta have item. Except it's only sold in Hong Kong and Mainland China and the companies listed in search engines don't have a good reputation to give them any money, let alone a credit card number. Even eBay only has the same companies for the lamp. It's not an expensive lamp, all plastic and runs on AA batteries.

Oh well, maybe someday it will show up in the US or elsewhere to actually buy one. Yes, even old folks like cheap cute things.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dear Rachael Maddow

Dear Ms. Maddow,

Listening to your show on MSNBC, it's interesting how excited you are about the end of DADT, and for good reason, both for the military which has never shown the policy worked but actually hurt, and for personal reasons as a lesbian. It's a step forward, as a veteran myself, who has never had a problem with gays or lesbian in the military or in life. It's about respecting people and human beings.

But you have never mentioned DADT never addressed transpeople (transgender people meaning those with GID or live as the other gender 24/7) and the repeal doesn't protect them now. They are still banned fron enlisting. They are still banned from coming out, where they will face discharge if they do. They will still never get all the medical care they need.

Did you do a story when transgender organizations got the President to issue an executive order about transpeople, abolishing discrimination in government service against transpeople and recommending a repeal of discrimination by health insurance companies in the FEHB against medical care for transpeople. It was a significant step for transpeople, you overlooked.

History has shown you and the whole LGB community have forgotten and will continue to forget transpeople and the transgender community when it's expedient. And where will you be and what will you say to get transpeople free in to be out in the military and get the medical care they need for their transition. We're not talking a lot of people, but enough. Is a voice too much to ask?

You did an excellent, albeit with some misinformation, 2 minute segment when Amanda Simpson, an out post-transition women, was appointed by President Obama to a top position in the Department of Commerce. But how many segments have you done for transpeople since in comparison with segments about gay and lesbians? Granted there won't be a lot but why not a few more on important issues effecting them?

Will you? Or will you speak up only when the far right raise an issue against a very public issue about transpeople. I'm not arguing against, I actually appreciate, your segments on transpeople, but the transpeople need your help too. Or will you as most LGB people and organizations, including the HRC and Representative Barney Franks, forget transpeople because it interfers with their agenda and goals?

Two recent changes of note could have easily be covered on your show. The Veterans Administration changed their policy on the treatment of transgender people, including adding some of the care associated with transitions. The Office of Personnel Management, from the President's decision, announced rights and protections for transgender employees as well as a recommnedation to remove the exclusion for transition care under the Federal Employees Health Benefit plan for 2012

While the former went into effect, the latter won't be known until the health insurers release their plans this December for the coming year. For those whose need the transition care, it's a milestone which could help them for the major costs associated with a transition, especially the final surgery to get the marker on their birth certificate changed.

Those are two advancements, long fought and greatfully appreciated by the transgender community, came with only modest support of the LGBT community. It wasn't a LGB issue, so they weren't there, but the trangender community knew this would happen and succeded without them.

That's the history of transpeople, being told to help LGBT issues but only when the issue involves LGB ones, leaving T-only issues to transpeople and transgender organizations. And while you have a good record there, you don't have a great one when you I see all the segments on gays and lesbians and their issues.

So, what will you do now with DADT and the military for transgender people?

Respectfully yours, Scott.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Really Republicans?

Listening to House Speaker Boehner today, I have ask you, do you really think that cutting corprorate tax rates to its lowest in history, cutting taxes on the wealthy, cutting regulations, cutting government spending, cutting, cutting and more cutting is the answer to jobs? Really?

We had 8 years of Bush with all those tax cuts, and we lost jobs, millions over his 8-year administration. We had 8 years of Bush cutting regulations and we lost jobs. We had 8 years of increasing the cost and size of government, yes increase, and we still lost jobs. And now President Obama is at best adding jobs and at worst not losing them.

So what's the difference? President Bush increased the national debt more than any president and passed on a 2009 deficit which added even more (remember the first year of any new president is the previous president budget the new president can't change). And we're worried about Obama deficits?

Reagan and Bush increased the debt every year of their administrations. Presidents Carter and Clinton had near-balanced budgets and even suprpluses some years, the surpluses Reagan and Bush blew and ran a deficit spending increasing the national debt. And you think the Republicans are better at balancing budgets and creating jobs?

Really? Where's the proof? Not the rhetoric. Not the political hype. Not the lies told by politicians. None of that. Only proof. And where is the proof?

Think about it. Do the Republicans tell the truth? The ran the 2010 election campaigns on jobs. Speaker Boehner promised the first order of the House was jobs. Well, we're in the third quarter of his first year of tenure as speaker and there have been no jobs bills from the House. Not even one in the committees.

When Boehner said the was "job creating bills" was his top priority, Ok, where have you been? You only argued against the President and Democrat's bills. You haven't offered any bill of your own, any of the Republican majority, and any of anyone's in the House. None. Where are your bills Mr. Boehner?

Do you really want to elect the Republicans to run the House? Do you really want to elect a President like Perry, Romney, etal who keep saying the same thing as Boehner, only worse? Do you really want to gamble with your and our future on promises they can't specify beyond hype and rhetoric, or just criticism of President Obama?

Hell, anyone can promise anything in a campaign. Even Obama promised a lot he hasn't started let alone done. I'm mad at him. We didn't need a mamoth healthcare bill. We needed jobs. We needed to get out of our wars. We needed to balance the budget without hurting Americans.

In a recession that's almost impossible. Well, actually impossible now and for a few years. And actually impossible for years if the Republicans keep the House. Really? Have you heard any one them talk about specific bills to create jobs? Other than cutting everything?

Remember the Republicans have only one agenda, defeat President Obama. And they'll trash this economy to blame it on him. When President Obama sent his jobs bill to the Congress, what did Boehner say and do? He said it won't happen and the answer lies in cutting. Yeah, cutting.

Anything to keep from bringing it up even in committee. He'll let it die before he does anything, so he can argue it's Obama's fault. Like how when you won't help? Or do you really want to help the wealthy and corporations? Just your friends?

And that's American? That's Patriotic? That's good for the country, the people? We know the truth. We're not that stupid, and you can bet we'll be vocal. You can look good, sound important but we know you're a fraud, you're just a tan in a suit, you're nothing more than wind.

To everyone else, is this what you call government? Is this what you want more of after 2012? Is he who you want in charge of the House? Think about it. Think about it before you say you won't vote for Obama. I don't like Obama, but I don't like the republicans far more because they're not doing anything to help this country, the people and the President.

Think about what will work to create jobs and then think who will do that, and not who will do nothing but whine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No on I-1183

This November Washington voters will be asked again to vote on an initiative to privatize the wholesale and retail liquor industry, and give companies and retail outlet the legal right to sell hard liquor throughout the state of Washington. I voted against the two initiatives last time, one sponsored by the wholesalers and one sponsored by retailers, namely Costco.

This initiative is an updated version of the Costco one last time, with some accomodation to the state which wasn't in the first one and was only narrowly defeated by voters. The retailers, again namely Costco, tried to get the legistlature to do what the voters wouldn't do but that also failed with the effort became public and the political fallout was too much for the legislators.

And now we have a bill Governor Gregoire signed which gives the state the option to contract liquor stores to private companies. This is a sneaky attempt to do the the voters said no, and the Governor had to step back to say it only gave the state the option and didn't mandate anything. She stepped on a voter sensitive issue and while she's a departing Governor next year, she may have thought it was a good thing but then backtracked.

Yet the bill is now law and who doesn't expect the state to quietly transfer the operation and management of some less viable or profitable liquor stores to private companies. We won't know or realize it until it's done and we find the store under private ownership (contract). Again, she found a backdoor way to get done what the voters said no.

In reality the state runs the liquor stores the most efficient way for the people. Maybe not the consumer but consider what the past initiatives and now this one would do to liquor in this state. It would essentially allow all retail outlets to sell hard liquor anywhere in the state for all the hours of their operation, including 24-hour gas station markets.

Let's not kid ourselves with the sales pitch for this initiative. It argues the money would be spent on law enforcement to fight illegal liquor sales and drunk drivers. Like we need more of this in our communities? And will the state actually spend the money for more law enforcement officers in a time of a recession when politicians are arguing for reducing the number of state employees?

And let's face the reality of what it would do to liquor. Yes, it would sell more as Costco would drive prices of liquor into the ground to sell more and try to drive the competition out of business. And their goal is to dominate the wholesale side to ship in directly from producers and companies, eliminating wholesalers along with other retailers. Cheaper wholesale means cheaper retail. And cheap liquor is good for the state and the people?

We know on the retail side it's unlkely they will drive competition out of business as those will add liquor to their sales inventory and sell what customers buy or find available. We also know, as they have said, that many remote or rural areas will actually lose the liquor stores as there are few, if any, retailers who will offer liquor, and they could easily raise prices to fit the demand, like customers have a choice.

While I can't drink alcohol, or very little (like a few times a year at most due to a genetic prediposition for Hemochromotosis) and I'm against drunkenness, especially drunk drivers (my brother was an functioning alcoholic and died of a heart attack at 48 from that and smoking 2 packs a day), I'm not against the social use of alcohol so long as it's not destructive to others or property.

Yeah, right as the man said taking another drink, "I know how to control my drinking, I do it all the time." Ok, it's the reality I live with. I choose not to drink these day but I also choose to socialize with friends who do. I used to drink a beer on Friday nights at the tavern. It's where some of the best conversation happen. Really. Ok, until we wake up Saturday morning with a hangover remembering nothing.

But I've wandered. I'm still against this initiative as I was against the last two. The state is the best choose to regulate, manage and sell hard liquor in this state. It works and still helps the state with revenue and jobs. The backers of this initiative have said it won't change the revenue side but it will change the jobs side. Do we really expect them to replace the state workers at retail outlets, or just add the work to existing employees?

So, I've already decided to vote no on I-1183.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Won't Watch

I don't plan to watch or listen to anything this weekend through early next week on or about 9/11. I've long had my fill and while I agree those who lost family, friends or co-workers have a right to mark the anniversary, the rest of us don't need to mark except as a major event in our life and then get on with life today.

What's the old saying we like to use when we're knocked down and hurt? Like, "Get over it." Yeah, melodramatic and over dramatic, but still fitting. The events of 9/11 knocked us down, so why do we keep wanting to dwell on the hurt and pain? Why do we still want to hate? Want to express our anger at people long since gone?

Al Qaeda is almost gone from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The global Al Qaeda network arose from Osama Bin Laden's network in other countries, so let's focus there than on the past. It's time we grew up to face our new realities instead of hating ghost of events past. The future is in front of us, not behind us.

I think the memorial at One World Trade Center is a good idea, we, like every society, build monuments to our past. That's not new, it's human, but people remember those lives lost out of respect, out of honor, out of love, and not out of hate, not out of anger, but out of a sense of our own and time's reality.

In short, it's time we got real and kept the focus on the future, looking back when it's fitting and proper, but not as a constant reminder preventing us from moving forward. I will. Do we really have a choice?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Republicans Hate Americans

Republicans hate America and Americans. Really? Yes, really, or why else are they refusing to introduce bills to create jobs or support the President's or Democratic bills to create jobs? They want this country to fail and they want all Americans to fail. Well almost all, the except are the wealthy and the corporations. They hate everyone who's poor, middle class, elderly, disabled, and so on down the list of why we're not rich or like them.

They have yet to introduce any bill which creates jobs, and you can bet if they did both the President and the Democrats would support it. So where are the bills Mr. Boehner? You can introduce them anytime you want, and in fact promised them in the election campaign in 2010. It's been most of a year now, so where are the bills and where are the jobs you promised?

It's because you don't want to create jobs and you want to make this President, our President since he's the President of the United States, look bad. You want to trash this economy to make the recession worse and turn into a depression, just to get a republican elected president. That's your goal, as you and Senator McConnell said, make this president a one-term president.

That's the truth and you can't escape it. You hate this President. You hate Americans. And you hate America. You're unpatriotic. You're even un-American. It's that simple. You are what you call everyone else who disagrees with you. You are simply talking to a mirror. We see it. We know it. And we won't accept it.

And before you decide to prove me wrong, simply answer the question, where are the jobs bills? You keep talking about them, talking about cutting taxes, regulations and government, you say will create jobs. So where are those bills? I haven't seen or heard any introduced in the House. And you are the Speaker of the House, right? You are responsible for bills in the House.

So where are those bills? You argue against President Obama. You argue against Democrats. But you haven't done anything else. Just words. No actions or results. Why is that? Or are you afraid to be proven wrong that your bills don't create jobs. You said the Bush tax cuts create jobs. Where are those jobs?

It's been 10 years of these tax cuts for the wealthy which supposedly creates jobs. Where are the jobs Mr. Boehner? We're still waiting after 10 years now, and we haven't seen any. You haven't spoken of any. You have only shown the facts the tax cuts haven't created jobs. So where are those jobs?

Americans are tired of your obstinance, tired of your political bullshit disguised as rhetoric, and tired of your arrogance. We want you to do your job and you haven't. You are responsible to introduce bills to create jobs. And you simply haven't. Nothing but hot air. Nothing but bullshit and trash talk.

And while you go about your business playing golf and pandering to your wealthy friends and for the corporations paying your bills, we're suffering. We're out of work. We're losing homes. We're losing money, our life savings to stay afloat, and for many, just survive. You don't care. You've never cared and it's obvious.

So we now see what you think of our President, this country and us. All you do his hate. That's not what a good American does and it's not good for America. You being the Speaker of the House should know and do better. You should know it's about all of us, about the helping all of us, including the President.

And did I ask the question? Where's the jobs Mr. Boehner? You know the ones you promised? Or are those jobs to be created in 2013? More promises for what? Are you that blind and stupid we don't see it and you for the truth? Do you hate us that much you don't care to be honest? Or have you lost any sense of honesty and respect? It sure looks like it.