Monday, October 31, 2011

We All Need A Living Will

Everyone should have a living will. My dear friend and former law professor at HCC suggested this living will might just be better than the one we covered in the Wills, Trusts and Probate class some of us slept through. Feel free to copy and substitute your name - I mean type in your name not "your name".

Maxine Living Will.jpg (40392 bytes)

I,   MAXINE,  being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by
artificial means.  Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead
politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it, or lawyers
and doctors interested in simply running up the bills.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following:

Glass of wine
Chocolate Martini
Cold Beer
Chicken fried steak
Cream Gravy
Mexican Food
French Fries
Chocolate Ice Cream
Cup of Tea

It should be presumed that I won't ever get better.  When such a determination is reached, I
hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the
tubes and call it a day.

hat-image002.gif (9745 bytes)

Save the earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Anti-Choicers In Florida

From Progress Florida: "The assault on women and their health care decisions is about to reach new heights in Florida. Extreme right wing activists are attempting to put a constitutional amendment on Florida’s 2012 ballot that would give a fertilized egg the legal rights of a living person.

Such a radical amendment would unleash a Pandora’s Box of cruel and unnecessary consequences for all of Florida’s families. It would outlaw all abortions, even in the horrific cases of rape and incest. It could also outlaw commonly used forms of birth control, including The Pill and emergency contraception."

I can certainly envision this proposed amendment to be one of many radical amendments to the Florida Constitution. We already have given pigs Constitutional status, so why not a fertilized egg? The radical extremists could even carry this anti-choice issue further into the realm of the insane.

Let's give sperm and the unfertilized egg legal status, too. That would definitely give the government and their right wing extremist supporters complete control over our reproductive rights. This new amendment could make it illegal not to use sperm and the egg for procreation. This would ensure our species overpopulates an already overcrowded planet. This law, of course, would render masturbation and nocturnal emissions illegal activities since sperm would not be utilized for its lawful purpose.

Hey, don't laugh! The gates to the asylums have been flung open and the loonies are on the loose. There was a discussion on TV the other day about a similar law being considered in Mississippi. The question about an unfertilized egg was brought up in the context of its legal status.

One last thought: On the possibility of outlawing various forms of contraception, Progress Florida neglected to mention tube-tying and vasectomies. Talk about opening Pandora's box! Untie those tubes ladies, and guys, glue the vas deferens back together. Fornicating for fun is verboten!

My position on the abortion issue is this: If you don't have a box, then you have no standing on the issue. So, to the male extremists who are pushing this agenda, go take your pud and pound it somewhere else and leave the Florida Constitution and a woman's uterus alone.

And to the women, if these ass-holes don't start minding their own business then take your business off the table. Shut down the vagina until these right wing activists shut their pie holes.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

In A Perfect World...

A headline in today's St. Pete Times:

Hotels told to cut rate for GOP

It seems that the Goobers On Parade are trying to renege on a contract they signed guaranteeing hotel rates for their Goober Smooching Fest to be held in Tampa in 2012.

In a perfect world, the headline in tomorrow's paper would read:

Hoteliers to GOP - Go Fuck Yourselves

I mean, turn around is fair play, isn't it? That certainly is what the Republicans have been telling the American middle class, the poor, and the elderly. 

On an unrelated note: Congratulations to the Florida Netroots Best Local Blog Winner: Ybor City Stogie.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Bill Of Rights In A Cloud

We haven't created a word cloud in awhile, so here is one courtesy of Wordle:

I chose the Bill of Rights since both it and the U.S. Constitution seem to be lost in the cloud of delusions by the Republican Presidential contenders, many of whom appear to have never availed themselves of either document.

The Oracle did not consider the Tea Baggers since their heads do not appear to be lost in the clouds, but rather lodged firmly elsewhere.
Happy Friday, y'all.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Religious Freedom: An Oxymoron In Florida

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical." ~ Thomas Jefferson 1779

At a hearing today in Leon Circuit Court in Tallahassee it will be decided whether Amendment 7 — dubiously titled "Religious Freedom" — should remain on the November 2012 ballot.

The position of the Oracle: It Shouldn't!

Amendment 7 will compel all Floridians, regardless of their religious beliefs, to contribute money - their tax dollars - to religious organizations. That includes all religious organizations - Christian, Islamic, right wing, left wing, that whacko in Gainesville who threatened to burn the Koran setting off an international incident.

What, exactly, does Amendment 7 do?

Here is what the existing text of Section 3: Religious Freedom will look like if Amendment 7 is approved:

"There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace, or safety. No individual or entity may be discriminated against or barred from receiving funding on the basis of religious identity or belief. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution." (Strikethrough text will be removed)

Without that language in the Florida Constitution, Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center could grab some of our tax dollars to perpetuate his lunacy. That possibility apparently sat well with the Florida Legislature. In order to qualify for the November 2012 ballot the proposed amendment required approval by a minimum of 60% in the both the House and the Senate. On April 27, 2011 the House voted 81-35 on HJR 1471. The Senate gave final approval to refer the measure to the statewide ballot on May 6 following a 26-10 vote.

One of the biggest problems with Amendment 7 remaining on the ballot is the wording. The amendment is written in such a way that many Floridians might be misled into voting away their religious liberty. Truth be told, Florida voters are notorious for casting their votes without having a clue (see Scott - crook who bought Florida). Titling Amendment 7 as "Religious Freedom" almost guarantees approval by the 60% who have no idea they will be funding the Florida chapter of the Westboro Baptist Church or the Knights of the Holy See.

In a perfect world the Leon Circuit Court will remove Amendment 7 from the ballot. If they don't, we can only hope that Florida voters will acquaint themselves with the issues before casting their ballots. I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, though.


Remembering the S/V Fantome

To celebrate the birthday of my lovely bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, in May of 1998 we flew from Tampa down to Caracas, Venezuela to meet the Windjammer sailing vessel Fantome. Once on board we set sail with the traditional playing of Amazing Grace on the ship's speakers.

This was the start of a relocation cruise that took us from Bonnaire, to Aruba, then on to Port Antonio, Jamaica before we disembarked in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. The Fantome continued her journey to Belize and the Bay Islands of Honduras for a fateful summer season.

Our friend Sandy and the Belle of Ballast Point as we head off on a shore adventure.

Captain March (front row, second from the left) and his crew.
The 282-foot, four-masted schooner S/V Fantome, with 31 crewmen aboard (non-essential crew were put ashore in Belize), disappeared off the coast of Honduras on October 27. Its last assumed position was overrun by Hurricane Mitch, the fifth-fiercest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded.

BrotherGuy posted the following on YouTube:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Warning To 21st Century America

Franklin Delano Roosevelt; (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.

The year was 1936 and FDR looked into the future to issue this warning to present day America:

I know that we are fast approaching All Hallows Day, the season of ghosts and goblins, but that YouTube video was down right spooky.

Seventy five years ago FDR warned the country about Republican hypocrisy. Now it's as if he has returned from the dead to remind us that the Republicans haven't changed and they still are not to be trusted.

Can anyone say "Twilight Zone"?

The Rickpublicans

I read a news article in this morning's paper about a new website called Rickpublicans, so I pulled it up to see what all the fuss was about. Actually, it's the Republicans who are doing the fussing. They are offended by Rickpublicans which tells me right up front that this website has accomplished something positive.

When you click on the link above you will see that a Rickpublican is: [rick-puhb-li-kuh´n] a noun -
1. Proper name for Florida Republicans wrought with greed and corruption who are hell-bent on selling out to the corporations and special interests while leaving Florida’s middle class families out-to-dry.

Personally, I can't understand what the Republicans are so upset about. That seems like perfectly descriptive name with a very proper definition.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

America's Voice: What The Occupy Wall Street People Are Trying To Do!

My blogging friend, John Lambert, posted this on his blog America's Voice. I have never linked to anything before, but this is one of the best opinion pieces I have read in awhile. Click on the headline to read John's words.

La Pomme D'Amour

There is way too much fear and loathing going on in our nation and the world. Actually, any fear and loathing is too much, but the Oracle is going to take the day off from politics, damn Republicans, war, damn Republicans, idiots in the Florida Legislature, damn Republicans - whoops, I think I created a redundancy there. Oh, well.

La Pomme D'Amour (The Love Apple), the name the French adoringly gave the tomato in the 16th century has been making the news a bit lately, and that's where I will direct my attention today.

People have picketed local Publix stores over the low pay and poor working conditions of the farm laborers who pick the fruit for which Publix charges an arm and a leg.  Stories about women who gave birth to severely deformed children after being exposed to pesticides and chemicals in the tomato fields have been making the rounds, too.

For all of the hardships endured by the farm laborers and their families, not to mention the super high prices being charged for those love apples, what are we consumers getting for our money? Not much more than a hard, tasteless red ball. The reasons for this are fairly simple. The commercial growers pick the fruit before it has a chance to ripen naturally - while it is still green and hard. Also, cold can degrade tomato flavor, so tomatoes should be stored on your kitchen counter, where the temperatures are above 50° F (10° C), instead of in your refrigerator's crisper.

As far as cold storage is concerned, by the time you buy the tomato, it probably is too late. I was shopping at Publix the other day as the produce department was shelving a new batch of "vine ripe" tomatoes. Those tomatoes were already refrigerator cold. There was a double whammy of lost flavor - picking while green and refrigerating. This isn't even including all of the chemicals used to force the color change from green to red. If you were wondering why store-bought tomatoes and those served in most restaurants are so tasteless - well, now you know.

Just before sitting down at the keyboard I went out to the Oracle's garden and picked the first three of the fall crop of home grown tomatoes. For a couple of months now Publix can do as they please with their baseball-hard red globes. We will be enjoying our sweet, juicy, home-grown tomatoes along with our sincere apologies to the migrant farm workers we are putting out of work. I don't feel too bad about this as Rick the Prick Scott, the Florida goobernator, has 700,000 jobs waiting for them. Most any day now.

Is there a point to my ramblings here? No, not really. I think I am just gloating over being able to save some money on the family grocery bill while enjoying tasty home grown veggies. There is one thing of which I am jealous - those commercial growers about ten miles from here across the bay. They grow their tomatoes in the ground.

I unwillingly grow nematodes in the soil here in SOG City. Nematodes, for the uninformed, are those little wormy sons-a-bitches that attack and destroy (among other crops) tomato vines. To avoid the problem, I grow our tomatoes in pots with sterilized potting soil.

Which brings to mind - if you'd like to try a home grown tomato of your own: fill a three or so gallon pot with soil, plant a tomato seedling from the garden store, place the pot in a sunny location, sit in a comfy chair with a brewski in hand, and watch it grow. In no time at all your new drinking buddy should be pooping love apples.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Monday And I've Got Nothin', So...

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night 

Bob Hill and his new wife Betty were vacationing in it happens, near Transylvania. They were driving in a rental car along a rather deserted highway. It was late and raining very hard. Bob could barely see the road in front of the car. Suddenly, the car skids out of control! Bob attempts to control the car, but to no avail! The car swerves and smashes into a tree.

Moments later, Bob shakes his head to clear the fog. Dazed, he looks over at the passenger seat and sees his wife unconscious, with her head bleeding! Despite the rain and unfamiliar countryside, Bob knows he has to get her medical assistance.

Bob carefully picks his wife up and begins trudging down the road. After a short while, he sees a light. He heads towards the light, which is coming from a large, old house. He approaches the door and knocks.

A minute passes. A small, hunched man opens the door. Bob immediately blurts, "Hello, my name is Bob Hill, and this is my wife Betty. We've been in a terrible accident, and my wife has been seriously hurt. Can I please use your phone?"

"I'm sorry," replied the hunchback, "but we don't have a phone. My master is a doctor; come in, and I will get him!"

Bob brings his wife in.

An older man comes down the stairs. "I'm afraid my assistant may have misled you. I am not a medical doctor; I am a scientist. However, it is many miles to the nearest clinic, and I have had a basic medical training. I will see what I can do. Igor, bring them down to the laboratory."

With that, Igor picks up Betty and carries her downstairs, with Bob following closely. Igor places Betty on a table in the lab. Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own injuries, so Igor places Bob on an adjoining table.

After a brief examination, Igor's master looks worried. "Things are serious, Igor. Prepare a transfusion." Igor and his master work feverishly, but to no avail. Bob and Betty Hill are no more.

The Hills' deaths upset Igor's master greatly. Wearily, he climbs the steps to his conservatory, which houses his grand piano. For it is here that he has always found solace. He begins to play, and a stirring, almost haunting melody fills the house.

Meanwhile, Igor is still in the lab tidying up. His eyes catch movement, and he notices the fingers on Betty's hand twitch, keeping time to the haunting piano music. Stunned, he watches as Bob's arm begins to rise, marking the beat! He is further amazed as Betty and Bob both sit up straight!

Unable to contain himself, he dashes up the stairs to the conservatory.

He bursts in and shouts to his master:

"Master, Master! ... The Hill's are alive with the sound of music!"

Happy Monday y'all from a demented old man with time on his hands.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Striding Against Breast Cancer

The Oracle joined Team Telovations in the Saturday Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Tampa. According to news reports there were over 10,000 participants in the Tampa walk. The walk began and ended at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Lydia and April - Team Telovations

I inquired of these two charming ladies, "Who did your hair?" Without missing a beat, "Walmart!"

And, they are off!

I haven't a clue, but he is in the pink.
We made it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Compared To What

Compared To What was recorded in 1969 by pianist Les McCann and saxophonist Eddie Harris for their album, Swiss Movement, recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Crank up the dB's...this is a hell of a great jazz jam.

What's it about? It's about equality, dammit...

Compared To What?

I love the lie and lie the love
A-Hangin' on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin' up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what? C'mon baby!

Slaughterhouse is killin' hogs
Twisted children killin' frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin' logs
Tired old lady kissin' dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can't use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C'mon baby now!

The President, he's got his war
Folks don't know just what it's for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We're chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)

Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin' to duck the wrath of God
Preacher's fillin' us with fright
They all tryin' to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can't use it!)
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?

Where's that bee and where's that honey?
Where's my God and where's my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol' young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!

Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GOP Presidential Debates

The Oracle was distressed to learn today that the Goobers On Parade have so far only had eight presidential debates. Did you know there are still twelve more to go? Neither did I, but this realization begs the question, what more do these clowns have to talk about? Besides which, the field of idiots has pretty much been whittled down to just two contenders, Cain and Romney.

I have no intention of watching the continuing debates. The blathering of imbeciles lost its appeal after the first couple of minutes of the first debate, but as a service to Oracle readers who may have considered viewing the upcoming debates I will present a condensed version of all remaining episodes of this Republican circle jerk:

"Blah, blah, blah. Lop some boogie. Obama's a Socialist. 9-9-9. An upside down 6-6-6. Man! Duh. Obama's a poop-head. Blah, blah, blah. In Texas we... Lop some boogie. 9-9-9. Blah, blah, blah. Lop some boogie. Obama's an asshole. Blah, blah, blah. Obama sucks. Duh. Lop some boogie. Romney worships Satan. Blah, blah, blah. Drill. Duh. Repeal DADT. 9-9-9. A commie from Kenya. 9-9-9. WORD! Blah, blah, blah. Lop some boogie. Obama kills jobs. Duh. ...fry'em all. Blah, blah, blah. Pizza. Thank you."

There! Instead of wasting many hours of your life on the debates, you have wasted but 30 seconds or so on the condensed version and you have gained the same amount of insight. Now, go forth in 2012 and vote Democrat. Rid Congress of those who bow down at the altar of stupidity.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Obama: Hispanic Support Slipping

It is understandable that many people in this country are hurting and are scared over a faltering economy and a lack of jobs, but to be scared stupid is only going to make matters worse. A recent article in the St. Pete Times alluded to the slipping support Obama is feeling from within the Hispanic community, a major player in Florida during the 2008 election.

Manuel Santiago, a part-time pizza delivery driver stated, "I'm already at the point where I don't know if I can give him [Obama] more time." More time? Barring catastrophic circumstances, Obama will finish this term, so I have to assume that Santiago is referring to the 2012 elections. What then? Vote for a Republican? These are the very people who are holding our country back by refusing to do anything beyond destroying Obama.

If the Republican party gave a rat's ass about anything other than shooting Obama down in flames, they would be doing it already. The Republican party of old would be working for the betterment of all Americans. Remember the G.O.P. - the Government of the People? What happened to them? Apparently, they joined Elvis and "have left the building".

Another Hispanic voter uttered the epitome of stupid statements, "I am not going to vote at all." By not voting at all, this person intends to hand the presidency to The Party of No, as in "no idea what we are doing, so we will revert to the glory days of the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, and Rove dynasty". Give me a break! That is how we got into the mess Obama is trying to deal with today.

Edwin Soto Jr. of Tampa, an unemployed master's degree holder suggested that he is now looking to the Republicans for help [getting a job]. Lot's of luck on that Master Soto. For those keeping up with current events, there is a jobs bill floating around that Obama is trying to get passed. The President thinks that this bill would be beneficial to the country and her people. The Republicans could give a rat's ass.

If the Republicans cared at all about anything other than demonizing and obliterating Obama they would sign on to the jobs bill and give it a "test drive". To use an automobile analogy, drive it around the block to see whether it's a lemon or not. If it proves to be a clunker, then the Republicans have a real case against Obama and his policies. Of course, if it is not a lemon then all the Republicans would have done is helped America - and, that would never do!

So, to all Americans, I implore you not to be scared stupid. Obama didn't get us into this mess. Remember who did and ask yourselves, "Do I want to give the Republicans another chance to do it to us again?"

As King George the Bush so eloquently put it:

''You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.''

Saturday, October 15, 2011

American Jobs For Brazillions

The Oracle was blessed to receive an audio transcript that we were assured came from the office of GOP Presidential Wannabe Perry announcing his plan for creating jobs for one and a half brazillion people. Perry's office didn't know how many a brazillion is either, but said it sounded like a lot.

Unfortunately, the Oracle has no method of attaching the audio file, so we were forced to hand transcribe Perry's utterances, word for word as best as we could make them out:

The other Rick with a P, Perry has announced that, "...eff'n ah is elecked in November 2012 ah will sign a series of executive o'ders in th' fust 100 days of mah administrashun t'roll back federal regulashuns an' open up mo'e areas fo' oil an' gas splorashun."

Perry went on to say that he, "...doesn't give a tinker's dadburn as t'whether varmints haf clean air o' clean water, thet Commie-pinko Invironment Proteckshun Ajuncy trash haf gotta hoof it on account o' they is fuckin' up mah money makin' oil drillin' projecks."

"We is stan'in' atop th' next Amurican economic boom -- inergy," Perry said, "Cuss it all t' tarnation, th' quickess way t'give our economah a shot in th' arm is t'deploy Amurican inginuity t'tap Amurican inergy. But we kin only does thet eff'n invironmental bureaucrats is told t'stan' down, as enny fool kin plainly see."

The Texas Goobernator sprinkled his remarks with a harsh denunciation of Democratic President Barack Obama, who he said is responsible for "ackivist regulashuns" that have made it more difficult to extract energy resources. Perry took a swipe at Obama because the President has favored green technologies that are not producing as much green for the wealthy elite as the wealthy feel they have coming to them.

"An', God knows we all be hankerin' th' wealthy t'git ev'rythin' they haf a-comin' t'them, dawgone it. Do ah hear an Amen brothers an' sisters?"

"His inergy policies is driven by th' concerns of ackivists in his party, mah policies is driven by corncerns thet Amurican wawkers wifout jobs is doin' nothin' t'put mo'e money in mah pockets," Perry said, while cussing it all to tarnation.

The Obama re-election campaign reacted quickly.

"Governor Perry's energy policy isn't the way to win the future, it's straight out of the past - doubling down on finite resources with no plan to promote innovation or to transition the nation to a clean energy economy," said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.

A Blast From The Past

Three Brazilian Soldiers

Donald Rumsfeld is giving President Bush his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, Bush looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

Friday, October 14, 2011

Scott Lays Out His Agenda: Then And Now

In 2010, after buying the state of Florida, Rick the Prick Scott spoke to a group of Florida business leaders, who Scott needed to help him deliver on a promise of creating 700,000 new jobs in 7 years. I am going to highlight excerpts from that speech and compare the "then" and the "now".

Like my predecessors in the Governor’s Office, I consider the Council of 100 a unique resource for advice and support, and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you as I begin putting my plan for Florida into place. - Scott has consistently shown that he rejects the advice from any knowledgeable source, preferring to do it his way, regardless of the consequences. Teachers, prison workers, food stamp recipients, doctors - are plastering him with lawsuits.

We expect to be held accountable for what we do. - But, Scott and his team disavow accountability for any of their actions.

The State of Florida is like a lot of companies. It is meant to be bled dry for the benefit of the CEO and special interest group supporters?

In 1875, a man named William D. Kelly visited Florida and wrote about his visit. He asked Floridians what they did for a living, and he was told, "We sell atmosphere." Today, of course, we sell lots of things. - Such as a bill of goods to those Floridians who actually believed that Scott would deliver on his campaign promises.

I have a seven step plan to create 700,000 jobs in 7 years. - "The bottom line is, I could argue that I don't have to create any jobs." Scott made that statement yesterday on 540-AM Radio in Maitland. 

I was elected to create jobs and that I am focused on doing what it takes to create jobs. - "After days of back tracking on his 700,000 jobs pledge, Scott now claims he doesn't have to create any jobs at all," Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Brannon Jordan said.

Tallahassee is about to discover what it’s like to have a Governor who is totally FOCUSED on a goal. - Starting when? Scott certainly has lost his focus on the jobs creation promise.

We can certainly reduce the state workforce by 5% without affecting the quality of service delivered. - "I just have to make sure we don't lose jobs."

[W]e need to cut taxes. To reduce our property tax and eliminate the corporate tax. - Fewer business taxes, new toll roads [...] are among the goals Scott set Wednesday for his second year in office. What wasn't mentioned in this new Scott plan is that toll roads are a tax on millions of Floridians who use those roads daily to get to and from work.

Let’s get to work. - Jobs lost under Pink Slip Rick Scott: 331247 and counting.

Takin' It To The Streets

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it." ~ George Santayana.

And, so it is in America today.

For those who may have read about the French Revolution, you will recall a few of the reasons the French people took to the streets in protest:
  • Economic factors included hunger and malnutrition in the most destitute segments of the population, due to rising bread prices, and being admonished to "eat cake". Last year, 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty - the highest total since record keeping began more than half a century ago.
  • Another cause was the state's effective bankruptcy due to the enormous cost of previous wars, particularly the financial strain caused by French participation in the American Revolutionary War. Today in America we are financially burdened by the cost of two unfunded wars. In France, the social burdens caused by war included the huge war debt. 
  • France's inefficient and antiquated financial system was unable to manage the national debt, something which was both partially caused and exacerbated by the burden of an inadequate system of taxation. In today's America, Congress is unable or unwilling to manage the national debt. A full 67% of Americans favor a deal that includes taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, according to a poll released by Quinnipiac University. Like the French aristocracy, the Republican Party refuses to listen to the people demanding a more equitable system of taxation.
  • The royal court at Versailles was seen as being isolated from, and indifferent to, the hardships of the lower classes. King Louis XVI was an absolute monarch, but he was often indecisive and known to back down when faced with strong opposition. While he did reduce government expenditures, opponents in the Parliament successfully thwarted his attempts at enacting much needed reforms. If that doesn't sound familiar to you, then you have been living on another planet.
On July 14, 1789 the French people stormed the Bastille. On September 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street began. By October 9, 2011 similar demonstrations had been held or were ongoing in over 70 cities. The French aristocracy, like the Republican party and the Wall Street bankers, failed to take the protesters seriously - until heads began to roll.

The Republicans as well as the Democrats need to listen to the people - all of the people and not just the special interest groups. The Tea Baggers just need to sit down and shut up!

Today, we are seeing democracy in action with Americans "takin' it to the streets".

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Florida: PLEASE, Sit Down And Shut Up

For a number of years now, Florida has been striving to out-crazy California. I think the state's efforts can be classified as a raging success. Allow me to cite a few examples in no particular order.

Florida has allowed a liar and crook to buy the state - Chief Executive Orifice, Rick with a P, Scott.

One of Scott's first decisions was to reject billions of Federal dollars for high speed rail - dollars that other states were overjoyed to accept.

Throughout recorded Florida history beginning in the 1500's (near the start of Rick Perry's American Revolution), animals in the state could be used for, among other things, man's sexual gratification. Having failed to pass any meaningful legislation in recent years, the Florida Legislature decided at long last to make bestiality illegal, and can now claim they actually did something.

Pigs are especially blessed in our state. Not only do they benefit from the above mentioned law, but the Florida Legislature amended the state Constitution favoring the female of the species. This is the Pregnant Pig Amendment. I believe Florida is the only state to recognize pigs in the Constitution.

It's a foregone conclusion that anytime a Florida Republican, state or Federal, opens their mouth that something ridiculous will emanate from this cavern of inanity. As a consequence, it would be a monumental task to list all occurrences in a short space, but allow me to amaze you with the latest.

Senator Jim Norman (R-Tampa) recently introduced SB 1246 in the state Senate which makes it a felony of the first degree for anyone who takes pictures of a pig pen. Do you sense a trend developing here? By the way, murder and kidnapping fall into the same felonious category.

The Florida legislature recently passed House Bill 1355, the voter suppression bill, a solution in search of a problem. Florida House Bill 1355 would mean fewer state residents, especially the most vulnerable, would have their voices heard in local, state and national debates. So much for the 15th, 19th and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, 'cause them there Amendments don't say nothin' about pigs, and we'uns in Florida loves our pigs.

Here is the most recent reason why Florida should just sit down and shut up to avoid embarrassing itself any further:

After dining at a local Waffle House, Representative Brad Drake, a Republican (goes without saying) from the Panhandle town of Eucheeanna, filed legislation to introduce firing squads to Florida's death row. Said Drake, "I say let's end the [capital punishment] debate. We still have 'Old Sparky.' And if that doesn't suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45-caliber lead cocktail instead." Drake wasn't through yet, "There shouldn't be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me, we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it." (Note to self: Eschew eating at Waffle House, any of them)

Drake didn't mention anything about a trial, fair or otherwise, before feeding the accused to the fishes. If that carpetbagger prick with ears in Tallahassee ever questions why major corporations aren't flocking to Florida in droves, then he needs to look at the douche bags Florida has put in the Legislature.


Editor's note: I grew up in the Florida Panhandle and never heard of Eucheeanna. There is such a place, though, in Walton County. About this alternate reality village, Google responded with, "Eucheeanna, the first Scottish settlement in territorial Florida, was named in honor of the Euchee Indians. Tradition holds that the first slave child was born in the settlement."

Additional note to self: Eschew vacation in Eucheeanna.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Best Florida Blogs And On-line Activists

This is just a reminder that you have but ten more days to vote for your favorite Florida blogs and on-line activists on the left in Florida. All of the 2011 Florida Netroots Award nominees are Florida-based and they can’t be Republicans, Libertarians or Tea Party activists.

There are 26 categories. You can peruse them all and vote by clicking on the link below:

There are many very worthy bloggers and activists from which to choose. Two of the Oracle's favorite bloggers are The Ybor City Stogie in category 3, Best Local Blog, and Re/Creating Tampa in category 20, Best On-going Series.

You might also notice a couple of interesting choices in categories 1 and 15.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Violence In The Name Of Religion

Violence has returned to Egypt. According to a recent news report the Coptic Christians and the Muslims are having another go at each other. This is nothing new of course since history is awash with stories of violence and death in the name of one religion or another. It could be argued that Christianity is one of the worst.

When I read that news story from Egypt, John Lennon's (by the way, happy belated birthday) song Imagine came to mind.


Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

I found the following graphic on to be most telling. The text below the graphic is more than a bit disturbing since I do not advocate killing those that you disagree with. On the other hand, if those who practice the various religions are intent on doing themselves in then I agree - hurry up and get it over with so, as Lennon suggested, we can give peace a chance.

Let the chaos begin!

Please kill each other soon, so we can have our planet back.



I will close with Robert Pirsig's statement from Lila, "[W]hen one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion".


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Put On Your Pink Bra

Put On Your Pink Bra at 2011 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Hillsborough County, FL

Saturday, October 22, 2011

From the Making Strides website: "In 2010, more than 100,000 walkers across Florida joined the American Cancer Society in our fight against breast cancer. Together, we raised more than $6 million through Making Strides events - and we did it one donation at a time. More than a walk, the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a powerful and inspiring event that unites communities to celebrate people who have battled cancer, raise awareness about the steps we can take to help prevent the disease, and raise money to find cures and support programs and services for those facing the disease."

CLICK HERE for more information or to donate to this cause.

The SOG City Oracle recommends walker Lydia Rector and team Telovations. Copy and paste either (or both) into the DONATE box and you will be contributing in their name. They don't get the money - all dollars go to the American Cancer Society.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hershey Squirt Winners: The Pinellas County Four

The Oracle is bumfuzzled to be awarding the SOG City Oracle Hershey Squirt to four members of the Pinellas County Commission. The commissioners voted 4-3 on Thursday to end placing fluoride in the drinking water for around 700,000 people. The practice costs the county around $205,000 per year, but it is not about money. It is about making a Pinellas County patriots group stupid.

It is simply mind-boggling that the commission disregarded the testimony of doctors, dentists, and proven scientific evidence that fluoride added to our drinking water is not only safe, but beneficial. Who did these stewards of county government listen too? None other than the Pinellas County Chapter of Conspiracy Theory Tea Baggers, who by their own admission had become monumentally stupid through the consumption of vast quantities of fluoride.

One these conspiracy theorist yokels, one Tony Caso, blamed his stupidity on the desire of government globalists to keep our people stupid. He's alleged to have said that with a straight face.

That the Pinellas County Commission sided with Caso and his fellow Tea Bagger delusionists as opposed to educated and knowledgeable experts in the field has earned them this week's Hershey Squirt Award. We would have thought that the elected officials on the other side of the bay would be a little smarter. 

We would have thought, but maybe this proves Caso's assertion that fluoride makes people stupid. It matters not - the Pinellas Four still get the Hershey Squirt Award.

And may it serve them well.

Friday, October 7, 2011

2011 Florida Netroots Awards

From the Florida Progressive Coalition blog and The Ybor City Stogie blog came the announcement that voting is now open on the Florida Netroots Awards. I have taken the liberty of including the list of categories and a link for voting.

You will be voting for the best of the blogs and online activism on the left in Florida. All nominees have to be Florida-based and they can’t be Republicans, Libertarians or Tea Party activists.

I voted a little while ago and damn near spilled a perfectly good beer when I saw that The SOG City Oracle had been nominated in section 1 and Jon R. (it's really without the 'h'), the editor of the Oracle, in section 15. I am not suggesting you vote for me or the Oracle. I mention this only because I am so overwhelmed to even be listed among so many truly great contenders.

2011 Florida Netroots Awards Voting Now Open

Visit the link above to cast your vote. The original rules for the overall awards are here. The first round of voting begins now and goes through October 21. A run-off round will take place the week after that, if necessary. The winners will be announced Sunday, October 30, at the Florida Democratic Convention in Orlando and posted online shortly after that.

Here are the categories with a basic description and last year’s winners:

1. Best National Blog: Blogs written by Floridians that covers primarily national politics. (Last Year’s Winner: The Reid Report)

2. Best State Blog: Blogs about statewide politics in Florida. (Last Year’s Winner: FLA Politics)

3. Best Local Blog: Blogs about city/county/regional politics in the state of Florida. (Last Year’s Winner: Saint Petersblog)

4. Best Media Blog: Blogs written by professional journalists at Florida publications. (Last Year’s Winner: Politifact Florida)

5. Best Professional Blog: Blogs written by state or local political parties, candidates or party operatives in Florida. (Last Year’s Winner: Doug Tudor)

6. Best Party Website: Best Florida-wide website associated with a political party or political party unit (such as a caucus or coalition). (Last Year’s Winner: Democratic Veterans Caucus)

7. Best Candidate Website: Anyone running for statewide or local office in Florida can win this one. (Last Year’s Winner: Alan Grayson)

8. Best Local Party Website: This one is for Florida DECs, clubs or local chapters of statewide caucuses or coalitions. (Last Year’s Winner: Pinellas County)

9. Best Interest Group Website: Any Florida-based nonparty activist, charitable or grassroots group. (Last Year’s Winner: Hands Across the Sand)

10. Best Writer: Anyone whose writings is published at any of the above websites is eligible for this one. Winners should have one or more of the following qualities: good grammar and presentation, provides original reporting, has a good sense of humor, shows creativity, has a strong personal touch, or has an effect on the real world because of their writing (Last Year’s Winner: Dan Tilson)

11. Netroots Candidate of the Year: The Florida candidate at any level who has best incorporated the Netroots into her/his campaign and done the best job of treating Netroots activists as valid constituents and not just another group of people to exploit. (Last Year’s Winner: Alan Grayson)

12. Netroots Activist of the Year: The individual who has done the most to advance the goals and activities of the progressive Netroots in the state of Florida. (Last Year’s Winner: Mark Ferrulo)

13. Rookie Activist of the Year: The individual who has doe the most to advance the goals and activities of the progressive Netroots in the state of Florida who is relatively new to Netroots activism in the state. Anyone who has been previously nominated in ANY category or has more than three years Netroots-related experience in Florida is ineligible for this award (New category)

14. Netroots Organization of the Year: The organization that has done the most to advance the goals and activities of the progressive Netroots in the state of Florida. (Last Year’s Winner: Progressive Push)

15. Best New Blogger: This one should go to the best blogger who has been blogging about Florida politics for no more than a year and a half. (Last Year’s Winner: Dan Tilson)

16. Best Online Campaign: This is an award for the best use of the web and related technologies to achieve some kind of goal, such as fundraising, fighting legislation or other activism. (Last Year’s Winner: Spill Baby Spill)

17. Best Use of Twitter: Any Floridian who uses Twitter and whose posts incorporate the following qualities: good use of the language, original reporting, a good sense of humor, creativity, a strong personal touch and an effect on the real world because of their writing. (Last Year’s Winner: Peter Schorsch)

18. Best Overall Use of Social Media: The best use of the various social media sites (Twitter, Facebook and other similar sites) in accomplishing political goals. (Last Year’s Winner: Peter Schorsch)

19. Best Post: The best-written post since last year’s awards. (Last Year’s Winner: Daniel Tilson, Florida Progressive Coalition, “Florida Republican Party Rots From Top Down”)

20. Best Ongoing Series: The best regular feature that incorporates at least five posts since last year’s awards. (Last Year’s Winner: Peter Schorsch, Saint Petersblog 2.0, “Crist vs. Meek vs. Rubio,”)

21. Best Online Multimedia Post: The best progressive/liberal/Democratic online audio, radio or video production — this is for one-shots. (New Category)

22. Best Online Ongoing Multimedia Project: The best progressive/liberal/Democratic online audio, radio or video production — this is for ongoing series. (New Category)

23. Most Creative Work: This is for the progressive/liberal/Democratic online writing/music/art/multimedia that shows the most creativity and artistic merit. (New Category)

24. Florida Progressive Coalition Progressive Hall of Fame: FPC is sponsoring a virtual “Progressive Hall of Fame” that should be awarded as sort of a lifetime achievement award to a person or organization (amateur or professional) that has made a significant contribution towards making Florida a bluer, more progressive state. This award may have more than one recipient. (Previous Winners: 2010 — Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bob Graham, Mark Ferrulo, Steve Schale, Ray Seaman, 2009 — Dave Aronberg, Mitch Kates, Dan Gelber, Kenneth Quinnell, 2008 — Alison Berke Morano, Susan Smith, Joe Garcia)

25. Progressive Courage Award: Florida politician or political activist who has been a leader on a particular progressive issue in the last year, making a difference in the lives of Floridians. (Last Year’s Winner: Vicky Impoco)

This year, an additional category:

26. Best use of E-mail: We’re all inundated with e-mail from campaigns and organizations. This award goes to the liberal, progressive or Democratic organization or candidate that best uses their e-mail list. “Best” is obviously a subjective term, but we’re talking about a balance of an acceptable frequency of sending e-mails and quality of the e-mails sent.

A Real Love: Ruthie Foster

The Oracle is going to close out the week with an unbelievable reggae jam performed by one of the most talented blues, gospel, folk singers of our time.

If you have never enjoyed Ruthie on CD or live, your life is incomplete. To hear her hold a long note is just breathtaking - for all of us.

You can find this song on Ruthie's CD Stages.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Tribute To Wall Street Protesters

Crank up your speakers and sing along with the New American Revolution...

More from CREDO Action:

Not a single banker has gone to jail for crimes that led to the financial meltdown. But now over 1,000 protesters have been arrested in the inspiring Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City.

The occupation of Wall Street has inspired a nationwide movement in the spirit of Wisconsin.

But there has been a powerful backlash against peaceful protesters who are using both their right to public assembly and tactics of nonviolent civil disobedience to call attention to the fact that our government has bailed out the wealthiest Americans but has done little to help middle and working class Americans who have lost their jobs and had their homes foreclosed on.

The protest is building momentum with solidarity marches that CREDO members, progressive organizations and labor have joined. However the very existence of Occupy Wall Street could be endangered by strongarm NYPD tactics aimed at intimidating protesters and ending their three week stand against the big Wall Street banks.

Tell Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to respect the Occupy Wall Street protesters' constitutional right to peaceful assembly. Click the link below.

Dining Out: A Little Bleu At The Bistro

Update 12/17/2011 - I read in the paper the other day that Bistro Bleu is closing due to lack of interest. It is always sad to hear of a local business shutting down.

It has been awhile since the Oracle did a restaurant review. We do still dine out, but new food venues worthy of our taste buds cannot be found on every corner. We refuse to visit every hole-in-the-wall pizza joint and sandwich shop just to get review material, so we were pleased to get an opportunity to finally visit Bistro Bleu at 2402 South MacDill Avenue just north of SOG City.

Bistro Bleu is the reemergence of the NoHo Bistro that was located on North Armenia. As stated on their website: "Bistro Bleu brings its reputation as the former NoHo Bistro to South Tampa. We are proud to offer a unique menu, created by chefs and featuring local products, all paired with an ever growing wine list and craft beer selection."

The bistro offers outdoor seating - a couple of car lengths off of busy MacDill. On a cool evening after traffic has died down this might be a pleasant experience, but on our visit we chose to dine inside. The interior is clean and modern with original art work on the walls. We were promptly seated and presented with menus.

The wine list is modest with wine by the bottle or glass. Since we weren't sure of our dinner selections yet we chose a couple of glasses of a white Tamari from Argentina to start our evening. The Tamari was fruity, floral, spicy with an enjoyable finish and paired well with the Bistro Salad ordered by my dining partner and the Mussels and Frites that I chose.

The salad was described as excellent with applewood bacon, candied walnuts, apples, Vermont cheddar dressing. The Mussels and Frites were served in a bowl with a creamy, soupy sauce. The fries swimming in the sauce were very tasty. The mussels were just a tad under-done, but still very good. And filling!

For our entrees we chose the Housemade Gnocchi with applewood bacon, spinach, caramelized onions, gorgonzola sauce and topped with chicken; and the Steak & Frites with choice Angus ribeye, garlic oil frites, Sauce Diane, but instead of the garlic frites, I chose the wild-mushroom potato strata, and garlic sautéed spinach that is normally served with the flat-iron steak.

Both entrees were very well prepared, very pleasing to our taste buds, and very filling. We definitely did not leave hungry, and we had no room left for dessert. I might also mention that we were both so pleased with the Tamari that we stayed with it during our entire meal. A white wine may not have worked with the ribeye but for the Sauce Diane.

Since we had stuffed ourselves like the little piglets we are and had no room for dessert, we never saw the dessert menu. Our bill for the evening including several glasses of wine and a 20% gratuity came to $132.

It is a rather nit-picking point I suppose, but the chef, who sat at an adjacent table talking with another customer, totally ignored us as we got up to leave. We consider it to be a nice gesture whenever the chef comes over to inquire about our dining experience. To not even get the flip of a finger as we departed was a little disappointing.

Bistro Bleu on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Goobers On Parade In Florida

Liar, liar, pants on fire! It should come as no surprise to the few sane voters left in Florida that the state's Chief Executive Orifice Scott, R- rick with a P, is not only a crook, but also is severely truth challenged. Repeatedly during his campaign to buy Florida Scott promised he would create 700,000 new jobs on top of projected growth.

Scott is now telling a different story. He says he never said an "additional" 700,000. "I don't know who said that," Scott said. "I have no idea."

Romney's visit to The Villages of the Demented. Presidential wannabe Romney spoke before a crowd of Village idiots Tuesday. For the Oracle's out-of-state readers, The Villages is a containment pen in Central Florida created to keep delusional Republicans separate from the rest of the state.

Romney's central theme of the day: Bashing Obama. Now that comes as a real surprise. Give me a break! How many times do the Republicans need to call Obama a son-of-a-bitch before they announce to the country and the rest of the world what they intend to do for the betterment of all Americans?

Never mind, that was a rhetorical question.

Finally, A Tea Bagger Activist in Pinellas County. Here is the St. Pete Times' quote of the day from Tony Caso, a tea party activist at a Pinellas County Commission meeting where commissioners voted to stop fluorating water.

He postulated a theorem and proved it, all in the same sentence:

"The (fluoridation) is all apart of an agenda that's being pushed forth by the so-called globalists in our government and the world government to keep people stupid so they don't realize what's going on."

The Oracle's suggestion to Tony would be to cut back on his fluoride intake before he is deported to The Villages.

It might already be too late for Tony.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ESPN Yanks Hank

For quite some time I have considered Hank Williams, Jr. to be a knuckle-dragging buffoon, but his opening for Monday Night Football is the best I have heard. I even attached it to a recent Oracle post.

Had I been aware at the time of the Hankster's comparison of Obama to Hitler, Are You Ready For Some Football would never have been published by the Oracle. I would pull it now, but it isn't worth the effort. Besides which, I no longer feel guilty for dissing this schmuck back in 1965.

I shall elaborate.

I was working an on-air shift at a little country music radio station on Panama City Beach one afternoon when this tall 16 year old kid wanders in to the control room and introduces himself as Hank Williams, Jr. - the next great Hank Williams, even better than his dad. This kid really seemed to believe the hype put out by his mother, Audrey.

Many of us in the country music business were put off by that comparison as Hank Williams was regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time. I had already heard one of Junior's recordings and had made up my mind that he was no where near as talented as his father. Obviously, in later years he did establish himself as a force in country music after developing his own style.

Here at WSCM radio in 1965 was a kid who walked in unannounced expecting to receive all sorts of free promotion and publicity. He didn't get it on my radio show. We chatted a bit between commercials, but I didn't play his record and I didn't interview him on the air. After several minutes he got up, excused himself and left the studio.

For the longest time I felt that I might have treated his youthful arrogance too harshly. After Junior comparing Obama to Hitler all I can think of to say is, "Get the hell out of my studio."

Monday, October 3, 2011

SOG City Oracle On Facebook

Editor's Update: This little exercise in futility lasted a month. Facebook became more trouble than it was worth, so I dumped it ... and I am glad.

Well dear readers, I think I have done it. At the urging of my blog friend, Jeff Tone of The Liberal Curmudgeon, I have pulled the Oracle from the bowels of the dark ages into the 21st century. The SOG City Oracle now has a Facebook presence. It took several hours and more swearing than usually accompanies my computer activities, but I think it works the way it is supposed to work.

I am counting on feedback telling me I farkled this thing up royally while offering a host of suggestions on how to fix my screw-ups. I mean that sincerely.

My bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, said that a Facebook presence should make the Oracle more accessible. She may not always be right, but she is never wrong. So I are now a Facebooker!

I may have embellished a bit because Jeff never said bowels or dark ages. He has been nothing but supportive of the Oracle and for that I am truly grateful.

Are You Ready For Some Bucs Ball?

The Belle of Ballast Point is going to be wearing out the man-tool tonight!

Come on people get your minds out of the gutter. I am talking about the TV clicker. Both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Bucs are going to be opening some cans of whoop-ass tonight, but my Baby is really primed for some football!

Sing it Hank!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Joining Together For A Common Cause

Would you like to see what Congress could do if they put aside their partisan bickering and worked together to show the world how great we are, or at least, used to be?

Maureen Holland of the blog Whatever Works posted the following video recently that features the citizens of Grand Rapids, Michigan responding to a Newsweek article that slammed their city.

Thanks to Moe for posting this powerful video. The Oracle feels it is worth repeating.