Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Jacintha Saldanha

8 December, 2012

Perhaps you have heard about Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse at the London hospital who answered the telephone call from the Aussie DJ’s looking to have a bit of a laugh at the British Royal Family’s (BRF) expense. Saldanha put the call through to the nurse in charge who then prattled on about Kate’s condition to the DJs unimpeded by any suspicion of “humor” in the making.

Now Saldanha is dead of an apparent suicide. The woman must have been terrified. She was the first line of defense between the BRF and the ravenous world-wide media. Were I in her shoes, my thoughts would have been something like this: How could I have been so stupid? Why did I believe the caller was the Queen? Now I’ve gone and done it. I will probably lose my job. I have disgraced myself and my family by not carrying out the simplest of tasks. I will be an international laughing-stock. There is no hope for my future. I will never work again. Cameras will hound me for weeks, and then my permanent status as a pariah will be cemented forever. Might as well end it now…

Forgive me for conjecturing about the thoughts of an apparent suicide, but I find Saldanha’s alleged act the logical conclusion of a rational person who couldn’t bear her mistake.

Let’s play the blame game, shall we? Royal Family, I know you’re trying to be like us, but you deserve a severe dressing down on this one. When one of you (Kate) ends up in an institution inhabited and run by us mortals, here’s a suggestion: Lady-in-waiting (with staff), 21st century style. Think Valerie Jarrett (Obama’s left-hand woman).

Kate is in hospital. A phone call comes in regarding Kate? All inquiries about Kate go directly to the royal staff on duty no matter what. Ah, so simple, isn’t it? Oh BRF, how do you not have protocol for how to handle one of your own being amongst Muggles?

Am I missing something? Was such a protocol in place at the hospital? Was Saldanha’s mistake not handing the telephone off to the royal staff on duty? In my cursory glance at today’s news, I see the BRF apparently treated the initial debacle with a “Ho, Ho, Ho” and nothing more. Saldanha was, no doubt, waiting for the next, and certainly less sanguine, royal utterance.

Now that Saldanha is dead, the least the BRF could do would be to arrange for her body to be flown to India.

Many of us will pray for the repose of the soul of Jacintha Saldanha, and for her grieving family, friends and co-workers. I urge the Royals to take responsibility for their own lack of management in what should have been a routine hospital stay. BRF, Jacintha Saldanha thought of herself as one in your service. She believed her error was irreversible, and she fell on her sword in service of you and your unborn child. She deserves your highest respect and honor.

20 July, 2012

Jessica Ghawi, who wrote under the name Jessica Redfield, was a victim of the shooting in Aurora, CO on July 20. She survived an earlier shooting incident at the Eaton Center in Toronto in early June. Her blog post about that event is above.

A Run On of Thoughts

I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.

What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life. I was on a mission to eat sushi that day, and when I’m on a mission, nothing will deter me. When I arrived at the Eaton Center mall, I walked down to the food court and spotted a sushi restaurant. Instead of walking in, sitting…

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Occupy the Rose Parade

11 January, 2012

I was fortunate enough to receive a couple of seats to the Rose Parade this year. If you watched the parade on TV and saw the opening musical number, I was sitting near the performers who popped up and belted out their lines. I noticed them before the show started and they had that far away look in their eyes like Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate. Perhaps that what the specter of appearing national television does to one’s psyche.

People seemed to have a problem with the concept of Occupy the Rose Parade, but the intent was not to disrupt the parade. Why not take advantage of an opportunity when the streets are blocked off and people are watching to express one’s opinion? After all, those Jesus people do the same thing every year.

The music is courtesy of the Rose Parade—it’s the “good bye, we’ll see you next year” music. Of course, seeing the Constitution roll by with “Sentimental Journey” playing…well, the irony was not lost on yours truly.  Oops…the song is Moonlight Serenade.  Thanks, PetreaMr. Earl mentioned it was Moonlight Serenade on Facebook too.  In any case, as you can hear in the video, the music was terrifically loud…

The music was more upbeat by the time the Octopus rolled by (anyone know the name of the tune)?

Amanda Knox Article Roundup

3 October, 2011

I’m posting this prior to the jury’s decision (3 October 2011). The tabloids have had a field day with this one over the last four years. Here are three articles that I thought were informative:

The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox by Nathaniel Rich

Could Amanda Knox Have an Autism Spectrum Disorder? by Maia Szalavitz

Why There Will Always Be Three Amanda Knoxes by Nina Burleigh

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Altadena Hiker ponders the accusations against the accused Knox on her blog over here.

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Let’s face it…Wordpress blog postings with pictures look awesome on the iPad.  Ergo, here is an image from the car wash.

photo by Timothy Down

Nut Jobs for 9/11 Truth

11 September, 2011

A friendly sage told me that she was going to ignore all the 9/11 ten-year anniversary hoopla.

Oh, that I had heeded her advice.  But then I read “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult.”  I can’t find any substantial point in this article, written by Mike Lofgren, that I disagree with.  Lofgren writes (speaking about Republicans):

For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document. This is not to say that there is not some theoretical limit to the size or intrusiveness of government; I would be the first to say there are such limits, both fiscal and Constitutional. But most Republican officeholders seem strangely uninterested in the effective repeal of Fourth Amendment protections by the Patriot Act, the weakening of habeas corpus and self-incrimination protections in the public hysteria following 9/11 or the unpalatable fact that the United States has the largest incarcerated population of any country on earth.

Of the many things that have changed since 9/11, it’s that bit about the Fourth Amendment and the Patriot Act that I find particularly disconcerting.  Consider this story about over-zealous law enforcement at Mall of America (over here).  God help you if you’re not white and accidentally leave your cell phone behind.

Et voilà—I started reading 911Truth.org.

It’s commonly accepted that ‘conspiracy theorists’ are basically nut jobs who want to find the meaning of major events in unrelated facts, who want to make a case for a grand unified explanation when in reality no such big plan/big picture could actually exist.  According to Timothy Melley, author of Empire of Conspiracy, “Conspiracy theory, paranoia, and anxiety about human agency…are all part of the paradox in which a supposedly individualist culture conserves its individualism by continually imagining it to be in imminent peril.”  In other words, conspiracy theorists are paranoid…though even Melley admits that “…they are difficult to dismiss as paranoid in the clinical sense of pathologically deluded.”  But never mind that—in modern media and general public opinion, they are.

Call me a nut job, but there are cogent reasons why people I doubt the government’s version of the events of 9/11.  Pointing out inconsistencies doesn’t make you a fringe lunatic or unpatriotic.

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, who could hardly be confused with a rabble of untreated psychiatric patients, have a new video out about World Trade Center  Building 7.  Considering that this building wasn’t hit by a plane, it is rather remarkable that it collapsed at all.

Yes, Ed Asner’s tone may be over the top, the music may be a bit much.  But science is compelling stuff.

C’mere C’mere C’mere

4 July, 2011

In an effort to break away from my recent obsession with Words With Friends (here), I thought I would start this holiday morning by reading the New York Times Magazine.  I started with the July 3rd issue’s letters to the editor.  They were all about Sarah Palin and the June 19, 2011 article in which Bill Keller writes about Palin, trying to divine the factors that contribute to her disdain for the media.

Of course it was not possible for me to stick one toe into the Palin pond without ending up face down and about to drown in the inch of water that is the Palin saga.  I haven’t paid attention to Palin for the past couple of years, but The Sarahscapades still give me cat scratch fever.  The statement below got me reading about her again (full article here):

Palin’s disdain goes beyond the bitterness of a public figure who has been burned by the press…Perhaps one key to Palin’s dislike of the news media is a streak of intellectual insecurity, or a trace of impostor syndrome.  Her best defense against being found shallow is a strong offense.

Another factor, I think, is that the humiliations she has endured in the media have been unusually invasive—including, at the lowest point, speculation that Palin’s youngest son, Trig, was actually born to her daughter, Bristol, and borrowed as a campaign prop. 

If we’re pointing fingers, Sarah Palin’s Lies (at palindeception.com) and  Palin’s Deceptions (at palindeception.blogspot.com)  have done a good job of trying to ferret out what happened.  (Shout out to Palingates over here as well.)  There are probably others.  Again, I quit paying attention to Palin shortly after the 2008 election and carried on not caring when she quit being Governor to pursue a career in reality television.

Until today.  I won’t drag you point by point through what I’ve read today.  Let’s just fast forward to Bristol Palin’s appearance on Good Morning America, June 27, 2011.  You can see it here.  BP is on the publicity circuit to publicize her new book, Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far.

In the interview, Bristol is forthright: She is a single mother with a son to support.  This is why she appeared on Dancing With the Stars, and she says as much.  (Presumably it is also why she wrote the book.)  Bristol will star in her own reality show later this year.

Two comments:

1. Minute 2:00 — A photo is shown of Bristol holding both Tripp and Trig.  For those of us in the ‘Bristol is probably Trig’s mom’ camp, this was gasp-worthy.  Certainly someone is making intentional decisions about the photos that will be seen during the interview.  Bare minimum, if you are trying to fuel the rumor machine about Trig’s parentage, this was the photo to keep it going.  (The Scout noted that Trig bears a resemblance to Levi Johnston.  You make the call.)

2. Minute 4:45  — Robin Roberts mentions that Bristol writes in her book that she was “thrown under the campaign bus” — with little help from the McCain team.  Bristol confirms this.

Let’s have a quick look at Sarah Palin’s Lies:

Make no mistake here. What the McCain campaign did was nothing short of genius. Faced with some very reasonable questions about the circumstances surrounding Sarah Palin’s giving birth in April of 2008, they managed to diffuse the entire controversy without ever releasing a single piece of information about Sarah Palin or the birth.  Instead, the story was re-framed to be about a seventeen-year-old girl, and then, immediately became off-limits because, conveniently, families and children of candidates are off-limits. That they were able to get away with this switcheroo is astonishing.  It seems to occur to almost no one that it was the McCain campaign that threw Bristol “under the bus” to begin with. (emphasis mine)

Back to the interview, minute 4:45.  There’s the same “under the bus” language.  Language that apparently made it into  the book.

Kudos to those who prepared the GMA interview questions for doing their homework.  Duly noted.

Sarah Palin has a loose, difficult relationship with facts, whether they are the facts of her own family history or the facts of America’s history.  Bill Keller pointed out that Sarah wants our attention.  Well, count me in, because once again she got my attention.  I will have to choose another reprieve for myself after today.

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Trash-or-Truth Talkin’ Super Bonus: Todd Palin’s paramour says she gave Sarah Palin a massage in early 2008 (here! over here!).  Paramour’s surname is Tripp.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

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A photo of the Firth of Forth on this fourth…

Too Much, Not Enough

7 March, 2011

You’d think that with the 24 hours news cycle and blah blah blah, we’d be hearing more about the nice folks in Wisconsin who are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.  My local papers seem to have a lot more about Libya than Madison.

Here’s where to go for info: The Daily Page (dot com).

Here’s a nice encapsulation of the hubbub from Salon:

Union leaders have agreed to pay more for their benefits, which equates to an 8 percent pay cut, as Walker has proposed as long as they can retain their bargaining rights. Walker has refused to compromise, although he said last week that he was negotiating some changes with Democrats.

For those of you like me who never thought the American public would break away from the couch and the remote control to do something like this, well, this is pretty cool stuff.  Here’s a link to Huff Po’s The Best Wisconsin Protest Signs.

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Happy Spring, everyone.

Impeach Jay Bybee

8 October, 2010

Who is Jay Bybee?  He’s a federal judge (life appointment) on the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.  Yes, that very same Ninth Circuit that hears cases in Pasadena (among many other places).

Who is Jay Bybee?  He is the guy who signed off on the so-called “torture memos” while he was at the Office of Legal Counsel.  He was John Yoo’s supervisor.

Who is Jay Bybee?  He is the guy who defends the content of the torture memos, which controvert the Geneva Conventions.   From the New York Times, April 2009, ““The central question for lawyers was a narrow one; locate, under the statutory definition, the thin line between harsh treatment of a high-ranking Al Qaeda terrorist that is not torture and harsh treatment that is.  I believed at the time, and continue to believe today, that the conclusions were legally correct.”

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Let’s Pay People What They Are Worth

19 May, 2010

That’s my solution to whatever problem you might be having with the help right now.

Station Fire from Mount Wilson Cam

7 September, 2009

Thanks to the Militant Angeleno for the heads up via Facebook. Here are a couple photos of the Station Fire from 7 September 2009 snatched from the Mount Wilson cam.

towercam7sept09

2:51 am

towercam7Sept09v2

3:13 am

Did you notice that little flare up in the lower right? I hope it’s minding its own business.