Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Message From The Greatest Generation

This is priceless, and my deepest gratitude to our dear friend Sweet Polly for sharing:

Obama Losing Latino Support In Florida

It was so disheartening to read in today's paper that  many in Florida's Cuban-American community are throwing their support behind Mitt Romney.

Do they not understand that the majority of "them" are part of the 47% that Romney cares nothing about? Have they not noticed Romney's dismissive attitude toward the Latin-American people in this county? Can they all be as stupid as the Latino woman in Miami who said she would not support Obama in this election because she had "heard" that he cut $716 billion from Medicare?

What that woman heard was the misleading claim from Romney's anal orifice (or FOX News - either way) that President Obama cut $716 billion out of the Medicare program for current beneficiaries.

She is oblivious to the fact that the president’s healthcare law does reduce future spending on Medicare, but those savings are obtained by reducing federal payments to insurance companies, hospitals and other providers, and do not affect benefits for people in the Medicare program.

Hospitals and other providers agreed to these cuts in exchange for the Affordable Care Act’s plan to reduce the number of uninsured patients they currently care for.

Too many in Florida say they are switching allegiance from Obama to Romney because, even though Obama is making progress, he isn't moving fast enough. I am certain that these are the same people who gave George Bush eight years, that is eight long years, to totally FUBAR this country. And, Obama isn't moving fast enough? Maybe these people should ask the Republican dominated Congress why this country's economic progress is moving at a snail's pace.

Romney says he is all about jobs and the economy. His latest ad states "Mitt Romney's Plan: Putting Jobs First." During the debates Romney stated that the very first thing he will do if he becomes president is to abolish Obamacare. That sounds like a number one priority to me. How many number one priorities does this douche bag have? If all priorities are number one, then none are number one and I don't believe that Romney has any idea of what to do if he wins the White House. The Koch brothers who are buying the election will explain to Romney what they want done, of that I am certain.

I agree that jobs and the economy are vitally import to this country, but the job of President of the United States is multifaceted, and Romney is lacking more than a facet or two. When our friends in Miami go to the polls in a few days, I hope they will remember these words, "I am Mitt Romney and apruebo granos, sándwiches cubanos y pollas de burro." At least, I think that is what he said. Oh well, it doesn't matter. What Romney says today is not the same thing he will say tomorrow.

Let's be realistic and honest about Romney. He is a liar and will say anything to get elected, because he really, really, really wants to be president.

Don't vote against your own best interests just because you hate Obama for being an African-American. That is a piss-poor reason for voting for Romney.

And, race is the primary reason. I have yet to be convinced otherwise.

Fran's Story - NO On 6

A Florida woman named Fran recounts the tragedy she experienced involving her pregnancy, and how Amendment 6 could impact women like her if passed.

NO On 6: Stop Political Interference

Vote NO on Amendment 6 is a statewide coalition committed to keeping Florida politicians from interfering in a woman’s personal health care decisions. It is not for politicians to decide what should or should not be covered by someone’s health plan, or for them to take coverage away from people who already have it today. We all deserve access to health insurance plans that cover critical care we can count on, not coverage chosen for us by meddling politicians.

Amendment 6 forces politics where it doesn't belong – period. Women, not politicians, should make personal medical decisions in consultation with their doctors, family, and faith.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hymn For Her - NOT

The Oracle loves Hymn For Her, and this is the latest from Lucy and Wayne:

Abbey Roadkill
Did you know that Big Ben is NOT the name of the famous London clock?
Jolly Ho from good ole England where we've been spotted nestling in bars hugging pints, frolicking in beautiful gardens and whistling a happy tune in foggy, rainy, grey London town. We have been in the UK for over 5 weeks now making new friends and fans, lying in streets (we did NOT get hit by that double decker bus, thanks to PC, our tour manager. He takes his job very seriously). Tomorrow morning we will board a train that takes us through a tunnel and over to Germany, Austria and Switzerland where we will tour for 3 weeks. Then we will return to the UK for a week of shows before flying back to the USA. For all our shows, click our TOUR PAGE, and check in often for updates.

Tonight we finished a music video for the song, NOT. It was filmed late this summer in Maine. We thought it was good timing with Halloween and Mischief night and all. Don't watch if you are afraid of ghosts. This will be the last video for our album, 'Lucy & Wayne and THE amAIRican STREAM'. Our next release is due out this Spring 2013. This video is dedicated to our dog Pokey, who went off to fly in the clouds this summer. We miss him immensely, but he travels now as our spirit dog and stays right by our hearts as he did when he was alive. 

In God's Name

Just in case you missed it, the Tampa Bay Times this past Sunday began a series of reports on unlicensed religious children's homes entitled, In God's Name.

Whether you claim to be a Christian or not, this report should turn the stomach of every person who considers themselves to be a human being, because what the religious leaders of these homes are doing is beyond the pale of humanity, as Jules Verne wrote in From the Earth to the Moon, by crossing the limits imposed by the Creator on his earthly creatures.

Once you have read the Times report, if you haven't already vomited in disgust, consider this: The Florida Religious Freedom amendment to the State Constitution, number 8 on the ballot, will allow these homes to compete for your tax dollars.

Is this where you want your money to go:

The Times reported that "Florida became a magnet for unlicensed religious homes in the mid 1980s, when a small group of preachers teamed up with a powerful Florida legislator and a lobbyist to successfully press for a law that exempted them from state control."

Now, the homes answer to FACCCA instead of state regulators.

What, then, is FACCCA? 

From their website: The Florida Association of Christian Child Care Agencies Inc., is a volunteer peer accrediting association of Christian children’s ministries. It was created in 1982 as a 501-C3 not-for-profit organization.

Its purpose is to provide accreditation for residential faith-based children and foster care programs, which choose to register with FACCCA in lieu of becoming state licensed. This religious exemption from licensing was created in 1984 by Florida Statute 409.176.

This Florida Statute requires exempt ministries to annually furnish information to the state on the number served, personnel qualifications and training, as well as proof of compliance with the published minimum standards of FACCCA.

As printed in the Times, "[...] unlicensed religious homes can abuse children and go on operating for years. Almost 30 years ago, Florida legislators passed a law eliminating state oversight of children's homes that claim government rules hamper their religious practices.

Today, virtually anyone can claim a list of religious ideals, take in children and subject them to punishment and isolation that verge on torture — so long as they quote chapter and verse to justify it."

I have no idea of what kind of Bible they are reading, but justify it they do. With the passage of Amendment 8 we will be helping finance these hell homes. 

Read the Times report before you vote.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Your First Time

I saw this video the other day on MSNBC and thought it was cute - and, true.

I decided to post it here on the Oracle because it apparently pissed off the holier-than-thou hypocritical Christian conservative teabilly Republicans. That, in itself, makes this video worthwhile.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Morning Sunshine On Gandy

Editor's update: I was truly disappointed to discover that the Sunshine Cafe had closed. I am not a breakfast person, but I did enjoy a breakfast at the Sunshine. The food was good, in a typical American breakfast kind of way, and the servers were friendly and efficient. It is always a sad day when a local business closes.

Rare is the day when the Belle of Ballast Point and I get up early on a Saturday or a Sunday morning to go anywhere. This Saturday was special! Early voting in Florida started today so we rousted ourselves from a soft, warm, cozy...zzzzzzzzz...snork...I'm awake...bed to exercise our Constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

We performed our civic duty and were done by 7:30. It was then my bride spake, "You do know you are taking me to breakfast, don't you?" Well, hell yeah, I'm no dummy - I can take a hint - I knew that. So off we went to the Sunshine Cafe. The Oracle is always pleased to welcome a new restaurant to SOG City, even though breakfast is not my most favorite meal of the day.

The Sunshine Cafe is located on the south side of Gandy, so technically it is in SOG City. The cafe is situated in the building that formerly housed a Papa John's and a Blockbuster. The dining area is clean and bright, and the staff is most attentive without being overbearing. If a server from another table was refilling someone's coffee cup, ours got a refill too.

The menu was novel in the sense that while there were the expected breakfast choices there were a number of offerings with a decidedly Greek influence. The same was true of the luncheon choices with Greek specialties like pork or chicken souvlaki, spanikopita, a gyro plate, as well as Philly steaks, hoagies, and salads. The only thing missing for me was a glass of cold retsina. Alcohol isn't served.

We were there for breakfast, so my bride ordered two eggs with the home fries and a side of pancakes. I didn't take a picture of the pancakes because I figured if you've seen one flapjack then you pretty much know what they look like.

Ever the adventurous diner, I chose the Greek omelet with tomatoes, onion, and feta cheese, plus a side of home fries.

Both breakfast selections were good. They were filling. The service was excellent, and the prices were reasonable. We got out of there for about $14 plus a three dollar tip.

I just can't get too excited about American breakfasts, but there was certainly nothing wrong with anything we ordered. If you are a breakfast person, I do not feel that you will be disappointed by the Sunshine Cafe.

Lunch sounded a lot more exciting to me. Now, if there was a glass of retsina to go with that Combo Plate, we'd be good to go.

Sunshine Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 26, 2012

Babies: IVF, Can't! Rape, Must!

I really hesitate relying too often on The Daily Show for content, but doggone it, where else can we find a public figure who is not afraid to "tell it like it is?"

Jon Stewart hammered the Republicans last night on their positions on women and rape. This is an important issue, not only for women, but for all sane Americans.

If these Republican teabilly dickweeds gain control of our government there is no telling who or what they will attack next.

They will make the Afghan Taliban look like a bunch of Hari Krishnas.

These people must be stopped - no, no, not the Hari Krishnas - I mean Romney the Flip Flopper and his fellow misogynists.

Early voting begins in Tampa tomorrow. The Belle of Ballast Point and I will be there first thing in the morning to do our part.

(As usual, short commercial at the beginning)

Women According To Mitt Part II

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Are these are the kind of people we want running the country?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

GOP Rape Advisory Chart

This GOP Rape Advisory Chart will help sort out all of the confusion about the wide variety of rape "flavors" that today's Republican Party seems so hell-bent on bringing to light - and, just in the nick of time. I was getting kinda confused with all of the rape choices available to the women of this once great nation.

Senate Republicans Betrayed Veterans

Forty Republican members of the United States Senate have decided that denying President Obama a victory was more important than spending $1 billion to create jobs for veterans.

The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012 would have spent $1 billion over five years to put veterans to work tending to federal lands, and in the nation’s police and fire departments. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) based her plan on FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), but Republicans opposed the bill because they said there is no proof that it would work.

These forty Republicans also had the temerity to kill the bill because it was unfunded. That is "unfunded" like the two unfunded wars started by the Republicans under George W. Bush. It appears to be just fine to send our young men and women off to unfunded wars, but now that our soldiers are coming home...well, the Republicans can't spare the funds.

In addition to just finding jobs, another problem facing our returning veterans is being able to transition their military skills to similar jobs in the civilian sector, and neither the military nor responsible government agencies are doing anything to help our veterans to land these jobs. 

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show had an interview on his program last night that unveils the problem. What you will see in the video is not laughable - it is serious, and sadly, I have not seen these issues addressed anywhere else. This is the extended version not seen by television viewers. If you care at all about our veterans, you will devote eleven minutes of your time to watch and listen.

(There is an unavoidable, but short, commercial at the beginning)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Gift From God

No part of rape is "a gift from God."

A Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate has claimed that raped women should be forced to carry their rapist's baby to term because their pregnancy - a result of rape - is a "gift from God."

Richard Mourdock is a Tea Party Republican who defeated incumbent Republican Senator Richard Lugar in a surprise upset in Indiana's primary election for U.S. Senate. He is currently in a dead heat with the Democratic challenger - the latest polls are within the margin of error.

Mourdock's exact words, in the debate with his Democratic opponent, were: I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.

Maybe it's just me being cranky in my old age, but I think that God, in all of her wisdom, should intend to give this misogynist ass-hole a long term gift that he will never forget. And, how the hell do butt-plugs like Mourdock and Todd Akin get elected anyway? Is this what Christian conservative women believe or want for themselves. Is this the kind of human garbage America wants to see in Congress?

Apparently so, because Mourdock got a glowing endorsement from another Republican political aspirant (i.e. douche bag): Mitt the Twit got his shorts in a wad over that video endorsement, so it was removed. But make no mistake, it was a Romney endorsement.

An Apology Is In Order

Don't get all wild and crazy on me. I am not apologizing for calling Romney a lying douche bag. He still is - both.

For the one or two folks who read the Oracle, you might remember a picture I posted last week.

This is Fuzzy, one of the two feral kittens that are now our masters. In the original post I referred to Fuzzy as "princess".

We, honest to gosh, thought she was a princess. As fate would have it, she is not a princess. He may be a queen, but a princess he isn't.

Now I understand why HE would hiss at me in the morning when I stepped outside to fill their breakfast bowls. He knew what he was and didn't appreciate being called a girl. He is, though, the girliest boy cat we have ever come across.

So, to Fuzzy, we are truly sorry for our error. We beg forgiveness, and regardless of your orientation, we love you.

There might be a few other little things we might want to beg forgiveness for - the boys - all four of them. They have turned up missing!

Yes, friends and neighbors, we did what so many of the less than conscientious cat people in SOG City have not bothered to do. We availed ourselves of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay TNVR program.

"TNVR (Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Return) is the method of humanely trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies and then returning them to their colony to live out their lives.

TNVR also involves a colony caretaker
[that seems to be us] who provides food, adequate shelter and monitors the cats’ health.

TNVR has been shown to be the least costly as well as the most efficient and humane way of stabilizing feral cat populations.

In December 2011, Hillsborough County Commissioners passed a resolution recognizing Trap-Neuter-Return to better control community cat populations."

The whole process was traumatic as all get out - for us, and maybe Skinny and Fuzzy, too. It might have been worse for us. The kittens appeared to have had some serious drugs. I mean the good shit! I wanted some too, but the Humane people drew the line on that request.

Better living through chemistry, I always say.

All right then, let's move on.

Following the Humane Society instructions, I drove to their Armenia Avenue location this past Friday. In an alley way behind Church's Chicken is the feral cat reception station. It is here that I picked up two traps, leaving a $65 per trap refundable security deposit (on credit card). You may pick up traps between 4 and 6 Friday and Saturday afternoon.

We fed our fuzzy darlings normally on Friday and Saturday, but set out smaller breakfast portions on Sunday morning. If your ferals are really wild, you may want to withhold food for a longer period of time. Ours sit at the patio doors and bitch if they don't get served at the normal time.

Sunday, during Bucs half time, we set the traps at opposite sides of the patio. Each had a small can of really stinky, but hard to resist Publix Gourmet Cat Food. At game's end we checked the traps and to our great surprise and joy, we had a cat in each trap. We were afraid that they would both go in the same trap and that is a no-no. The Society will ONLY accept one cat per trap. It is up to you to separate them. Why? Because, it's policy!

As soon as we discovered our caged fuzzies, we called the feral cat number to let them know we would be coming in on Monday - morning - early. Even with a 7 o'clock arrival there was a line of vehicles waiting to drop of their little furry treasures. When it came my turn, an assistant took the cages from the back of my truck, I handed over my pre-filled out paperwork, and was told to come back at five that afternoon.

When you return - do not go to the drop off door! You go around to the front entrance and stand in line with your money - $15 per animal - credit cards are accepted. Once the fees have been paid, your critter, or in our case critters, will be brought to you.

Skinny must have been snipped first because he was wide awake and really in a pissy mood. Fuzzy was in the zone and could care less - about anything. As I mentioned, they give these guys the good stuff. This is also when we were informed that we would be taking home two boys, not a boy and a girl.

We put the cages next to each other on the patio. The Society says not to release them until they are completely down from their high. Skinny was definitely down and was more than slightly perturbed - he was pissed and wanted out - NOW. We opened his cage and he was gone. Fuzzy was still just groovin' on the day - mellow as jello.

Since there had been no food served for over twenty four hours I decided to give Fuzzy a plate of that Publix Gourmet Cat Food thinking that he might have a mighty case of the munchies. He did!

After licking that plate pretty clean, Fuzzy looked as though he might be ready to leave the cage. That was a mistake on our part. He stepped out without a problem, but after a few steps we realized his front legs were having difficulty coordinating with his hind legs. I couldn't help but think the little cat dude looked as though he had dropped a couple of Quaaludes - not that I would have any knowledge about 'ludes and such.

It was too late to get Fuzzy back in the cage, so off he wobbled to join up with his brother. I'm thinking we should have kept Fuzzy boxed up for another two or three hours.

My bride and I sat out on the patio that evening with a couple of adult beverages speculating if we would ever see the two kittens again. Had we been fired? We got our answer the next morning. There was a kitty knock on the sliding glass doors with two pissed off little people wondering where the hell is breakfast.

I took the cages back to the Society that morning and got my deposit back. That evening, all seemed to be back to normal. Skinny was a bit hesitant at first, but after a couple of treats, he quit mumbling to himself about the hired help.

When my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, got home from work she asked about the boys. I cautioned her not to mention "the boys" around the boys. That may still be a touchy subject.

They must be around here somewheres.
This whole adventure was a bit traumatic, but we did the right thing. Someone in our neighborhood dumped their feral cat problem on us - thanks a heap. Our feral cats will not exacerbate the problem for our neighbors.

And, they are welcome!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Etch A Sketch Man On Higher Education

For-profit colleges collected $32 billion from the federal government in the 2010-11 academic year, but three of those schools will now be cut off from that money. Data from the Department of Education shows 15 for-profit colleges are getting too much of their revenue from federal student aid sources and failing to meet the 90/10 rule. 

The federal 90/10 rule puts a 90 percent cap on for-profit institutions of how much of their revenue can come from government sources, like Pell Grants and federal student loans. The idea is to prevent these institutions from making a large profit off of tax dollars, and keep them from preying on low income students who would be eligible for Pell Grants.

The University of Phoenix collected the largest amount of federal money, with more than $5 billion coming from government student aid. DeVry University, Ashford University, Kaplan University and ITT Technical Institute each collected around $1 billion through federal aid dollars.

Many of these For-Profit institutions of higher earning (no, that is not a misprint) recruit students who should never have been recruited - they were never college material. It matters not, the colleges get the money, the students drop out, and the colleges keep those tax payer dollars.

Why yes, I can think of billions of reasons not to elect Romney.

The First Lady Debate

Forget about the Mitt and Barrack debates, what about the First Lady Debate between Michelle Obama and Ann Romney? That was some debate! You did watch it, didn't you? Of course you did. After all, you are a patriotic American Republican who stays up to date on all current events as reported by the Fake News Network, FOX.

For the rest of us who might have missed that debate:

Admittedly, we are not sure of the political leanings of these idiots, but these people are likely to go to the polls and vote on November 6. Does this not scare the crap out of you? It should!

Monday, October 22, 2012

International Monitors To Oversee November Election

Here is a news story that should turn the stomachs of all Americans:

Republican attempts to reduce voter turnout in minority neighborhoods are so widespread that, at the request of American civil rights groups, international monitors will oversee our elections:

United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week.[...]

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It's part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries.

Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week to raise their fears about what they say are systematic efforts to suppress minority voters likely to vote for President Obama.

Where possible, OSCE teams will be on the ground on Election Day, and they won't just be watching the actual voting.

“They [will] observe the overall election process, not just the ballot casting,” said Giovanna Maiola, spokeswoman for OSCE. “They are focusing on a number of areas on the state level, including the legal system, election administration, the campaign, the campaign financing [and] new voting technologies used in the different states.”

I could see United Nations intervention in, say, Cuban elections - but here in the United States? This is obscene - undoubtedly necessary - but obscene none the less.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Romney's Plan On Defense Spending

Mitt Romney has stated repeatedly that he will raise defense spending.

Is this a good idea?

Don't bother asking Romney or the big corporations he is in bed with, and don't ask the weenies on Capitol Hill who are too afraid of sounding "un-American." Take eight minutes and forty four seconds out of your busy day to watch this political boondoggle, and then decide for yourself.

One area where President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney clearly disagree is defense spending. The president wants less, Romney wants more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Romney Is A Ball-busting Idiot

I doubt that comes as a news flash to most thinking people in this country, but at Tuesday night's debate Romney spewed from the bowels of his mind that automatic weapons are illegal in this great 2nd Amendment nation of ours.

Mitt needs to stop by the Ted Nugent ranch for a quick lesson - like the little kid in the following video.

Ted Nugent could arm the Syrian rebels with all of the automatic firepower he has in his possession. Is it legal? Hell yes! If you've got the money and the ATF can't prove you are a whacko terrorist you can buy all the licenses you need to arm yourself to the teeth.

Romney needs to get out into the real world a little more often. Life seems to be different in the ivory tower.

Mitt's Bitches

Did you see the part in the debate last night where Mitt Romney refused to endorse equal pay protections but said that women needed to get home early to cook dinner?

Or the part where he blamed single mothers for gun violence?

Or when he said there weren't enough qualified women to serve in his cabinet so he had to have his staff go out and create a "binder full of women?" (A story that actually isn't even true.)

Or when he lied about birth control--when the truth is that he thinks employers should be able to take contraception coverage away from women?

And, did you see the poll numbers that show Romney gaining support among women voters in...wait for it comes...FLORIDA!???

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National Feral Cat Day

Oh my gosh, it was yesterday and I missed it! My only excuse is that I had no idea there was such a thing as National Feral Cat Day, yet here we sit in the paradise that is SOG City with our very own feral cats.

I'd like to say we went out and got a couple especially to celebrate their special day, but that would be an untruth. The truth is that back in June we noticed a feral mom cat with four tiny little kittens frolicking next door and sometimes in our yard.

Over the next week or two we would see mom and three kittens. Not too much later we found another kitten dead in the front yard. We were now down to a mom with two kittens. The situation seriously deteriorated when we realized there was no more mom.

We decided to try feeding the two remaining kittens by placing a tin of cat food near a fence opening at the side of our house. We could keep an eye out for the little buggers from the TV room window. It was a relief to see that they were able to eat real food, and were doing just that.

The kittens wouldn't allow us anywhere near them and would only show themselves when they were sure we were gone.

That was then, and now five months later, Skinny and Fuzzy still don't like us, but they now tolerate us being on "their" patio. We are allowed to sit in their rocking chairs and on their lounge chairs - occasionally.

At one time we would only see these two during breakfast and dinner - theirs, not ours. Now they seem to lounge around the backyard most all the time. I went out around noon yesterday and disturbed Fuzzy, and then found myself apologizing.

My bride and I know our places.

Skinny is the runt of the litter and is a boy. He has always acted like a boy, but now we can see two signs of boyhood. Looking at our two ferals it is hard to believe they are siblings. Fuzzy is, well fuzzy, with a tail the envy of cats everywhere. We are pretty sure Fuzzy is female, but she is so fuzzy we can't be real sure. She acts like a female. I won't elaborate on that because the Belle of Ballast Point reads the Oracle, and I don't want to be apologizing to her, too.

Fuzzy tends to be moody and somewhat stand-offish. Skinny, on the other hand, is at a point where we can feed him special treats out of hand. He now expects - nay, demands special treats, and since we are but the hired help...

I dare you to wiggle that toe again.

More treats - NOW!

'bout time!

The Princess
So, happy belated National Feral Cat Day to Skinny and Fuzzy.

We shan't mention our next planned milestone - caging our fuzzy friends for a trip to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Shhhhhh!

Because of some irresponsible shithead in the neighborhood Skinny and Fuzzy are feral. We don't intend to perpetuate the problem.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Kinda Liked Mitt, Until I Lost My Job

When Mary Jo Kerr found out that a company that Mitt Romney is profiting from is sending her job to China—and that Mitt isn’t doing anything about it—she realized that maybe she shouldn’t take him at his word.

Mitt says he's going to be "tough on China" as president, but the Sensata workers know that he can do that right now—and save their good American jobs with just one phone call.

Romney's Tax Plan

"Last Thursday, Stephen Colbert had brilliant segment of Formidable Opponent, where he debated himself about Mitt Romney's positions. And in it, there was one key question he asked which lays to waste Romney's entire tax proposal."

"Amazing. Stephen just laid it all out. If Romney's simply going to close enough loopholes that the wealthy still pay the same amount, what's the point of doing all this anyway? Ask your conservative friends for their responses, and see what happens!"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Six Tenths Of One Percent

For your Saturday reading enjoyment, here is an interesting piece from Public Citizen about a couple of the oligarchs who stand to profit from a Romney - Ryan win:

“It all started when I was a little boy. One day, my father gave me an apple. I soon sold it for five dollars and bought two apples and sold them for ten. Then I bought four apples and sold them for twenty. Well, this went on day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, until my father died and left me three hundred million dollars!” – The New Yorker, 2010

That’s how David Koch — of the infamous billionaire Koch Brothers — joked about his success in a 2003 speech to fellow alumni of the exclusive boarding school he attended as a youth.

And now David and his brother Charles are spending some $400 million trying to engineer elections so that we end up with a government that would gut vital regulations, deny climate science, cut corporate taxes and let Wall Street run wild.

At the current median annual household income, it would take 7,991 years to make that much money.

But here’s the thing:

For Charles and David Koch — who are tied at fourth on Forbes’ latest list of the richest Americans — $400 million is only about six-tenths of one percent of their combined net worth of $62 billion.

And they stand to gain untold billions more if they are successful in their schemes to deform government.

Let me throw one more statistic at you: Six-tenths of one percent of the median household wealth in America is about $477.

If you were an aspiring oligarch, wouldn’t you gladly devote six-tenths of one percent of your wealth to establish a permanent over-class of gazillionaires to lord over We the Peasants forevermore?

That’s what the Koch Brothers and their ilk are doing. For the equivalent of what it might cost you or me to buy a new smartphone.

Elect Romney - Ryan and you will get what the Koch brothers are paying for - an oligarchy.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: Whether you are a Democrat, Republican,  Independent, Tea Bagger, Conservative (Christian or otherwise) the oligarchs don't give a rat's ass about you.

Friday, October 12, 2012


At the end of last night's vice presidential debate when Paul Ryan was asked by the moderator what he, as a man, would give the country that no one else could, his immediate answer was "honesty." This after spending the previous hour and a half telling lie after bald-faced lie!

People for the American Way - PFAW.ORG - provided some content for this post. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

America Needs Elizabeth Warren In The Senate

From Daily KOS:

During last night's U.S. Senate debate in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren had some amazing comments about Republican Scott Brown's so-called support for women:

EW: So [Scott Brown has] gone to Washington and he's had some good votes. But he's had exactly one chance to vote for equal pay for equal work, and he voted no. He had exactly one chance to vote for insurance coverage for birth control and other preventive services for women. He voted no. And he had exactly one chance to vote for a pro-choice woman -- from Massachusetts -- to the United States Supreme Court, and he voted no. Those are bad votes for women.

The women of Massachusetts need a senator they can count on not some of the time, but all of the time. I want to go to Washington to be there for all of our daughters and all of our granddaughters.

This one really matters. There is a LOT at stake here.

Moderator: You have another twenty seconds if you wish.

EW: No, No, I think that says it all. I am a mother of a daughter and a grandmother of granddaughters and this is about their future. And I want to be blunt. We should not be fighting about equal pay for equal work and access to birth control in 2012. These issues were resolved years ago until the Republicans brought them back.

We need this amazing woman to be the next United States senator from Massachusetts. This lady is a class act.

The Elusive Perfect Oyster

While enjoying a really tasty dinner at Timpano Chophouse a few months ago our server and I got into a discussion about one of my favorite foods, oysters on the half shell. He suggested that I might find the perfect oyster at Oystercatchers Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt, 2900 Bayport Drive.

The Fates, having the subtle but awesome power of deciding a man's destiny, decided that my bride and I journey to a place hidden amongst a natural landscape on the shores of Old Tampa Bay. When I say hidden, I am not just a-whistlin' Dixie. Oystercatchers is situated at the end of a long winding road behind the Grand Hyatt. But fret not, because Oystercatchers is worth the scenic drive.

A personable young man greeted us as we drove up and took charge of parking our chariot. The valet parking is free, which is a nice perk.

We were greeted at the door and were given our choice of tables since it was early and the crowds had not yet arrived. We chose a spot with a large window overlooking the bay that provided a view of the glorious sunset.

What you might mistake for miniature helicopters in the photo are actually dragonflies flitting about and devouring less desirable insect creatures.

We began our evening with cocktails, a sangria for my delightful dining partner, and a mojito for me.

(You may click on any photo to enlarge)

As we soaked in the vista as well as our adult beverages, we leisurely looked over the menu.

Oystercatchers had several different oyster varieties available that evening and even though they are $3 a pop I couldn't help but to order a dozen of these tasty mollusks on the half shell.

Of the choices that evening, the Wianno were my favorites - a deep cupped oyster with a sweet and briny flavor from the clear, cold waters of Cape Cod.

They were so good, I splurged and ordered three more, and Bob, our server, tossed in an extra from Apalachicola. Growing up not too far from Apalach I feel kind of guilty by saying the wiannos were far superior.

While the oysters were tasty enough, a number of them were mangled and drained of their salty liquor. When a fresh oyster is masterfully shucked, a small pool of clear liquid will remain with the oyster in the bottom half shell. Sipping this liquid immediately before or after eating the oyster will naturally compliment its meat.

Several of those oysters brought to our table should never have been served - they should have been discarded. 

With a name like Oystercatchers I would expect a much more professional presentation.

On a positive note, we fared better with the rest of our selections, starting with a bottle of Albariño Paco y Lola, a white wine from Galicia, Spain. This is a young wine that goes extraordinarily well with many appetizers, Cajun fare, poultry, shellfish and grilled fish. 

It paired well with my bride's appetizer of Tuna Tataki atop a mound of shelled edamame and our other dinner choices.

Having been born and raised in a landlocked state, the Belle of Ballast Point was not introduced to really good seafood until she moved to Florida. She is slowly discovering that seafood, properly prepared, can be a real treat for the senses.

This wood grilled Gulf Snapper was one of those magic moments in gastronomy. The accompanying Mango-Cilantro Coulis just put the dish over the top.

The faint aroma from the wood fired grill that filters through the restaurant just demanded that I order the Seafood Mixed Grill prepared over that wood fire. The mixed grill comes with fingerling potatoes and a sauce rouille.

The grilled grouper, salmon, scallop, and shrimp were shear perfection. The same cannot be said for the half Florida lobster tail. The meat did not remove cleanly from the shell - bits of meat stayed behind, firmly attached to the interior of the shell. That is a sign of old age or over cooking.

My bride topped off her evening with a dessert of chocolate - the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup - crisp phyllo cup with caramelized bananas on the side. 

Her dessert was indeed a tasty treat, but I was too stuffed to eat another bite, preferring instead to sip an espresso.

In addition to a full bar, Oystercatchers also features cigars on the menu that one might purchase and smoke while sitting outside next to the fire pits.

Oystercatchers tacks on an 18% service charge to the bill. We added another 2% or so to bring the gratuity up to what we would normally tip for superior service. Our total for the evening came to a bit under $290.

Yes, it is pricey, but the food, for that kind of money, should have been sheer perfection. It wasn't.

The scenery is terrific, but inedible.

There are better venues for seafood. Unfortunately, they aren't in the Tampa area.

Oystercatchers on Urbanspoon

Oystercatchers At The Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay on Foodio54

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Déjà Vu: Campaign For Re-election

"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."

It is a shame that those powerful words cannot be attributed to President Obama. For one thing, the forces of selfishness and of lust for power have not met their match, and even with another fours years I doubt that those forces will meet their master.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered the remarks quoted above during a campaign speech in Madison Square Garden October 31, 1936. Roosevelt was re-elected to a second term as President of the United States. America needs to give President Obama an additional four years if for no other reason than the alternative will be a candidate and a party that has based their entire platform on a foundation of lies. Obama has a proven record of accomplishment - think saving GM, and not saving bin Laden.

Romney and the GOP have proven over and over that they will do and say anything to unseat Obama and hand over the United States to their mega-rich puppet masters. We need to ask ourselves, what is to become of America with a pack of liars and oligarchs controlling the country?

When I wrote the words proven over and over I am not being hyperbolic. We need only to go back  seventy six years to get a first taste of Republican hypocrisy today:

That speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his reelection campaign in 1936 sounds like a perfect sarcastic description of the political gamble being played with common people's lives that is still going on today.

President Obama could benefit by emulating President Roosevelt's re-election campaign.

"When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sashimi Over To Hula Bay

One of our favorite go-to places for lunch after a strenuous five mile hike through the paradise that is SOG City (south of Gandy) is the Hula Bay Club at 5210 West Tyson Avenue in Tampa. Whether we sit inside or outdoors on the deck, the views of Tampa Bay are spectacular.

It's also amusing to watch the pleasure boat traffic as the boaters queue up at the adjacent marina. I say amusing because we were once like them - owners of a boat - and observing the action on the water we are reminded of our two most happy boating moments: the day we bought the boat, and the even happier day we sold it.

On our return visit this past Saturday we chose to dine in air conditioned comfort at a booth in front of a large picture window. Michele brought us menus and took our drink orders - a couple of medicinal beers, please Michele. We took a pounding on our 90 gazillion degree hike today.

Colored pencil drawing - JLR
As the Hula web sites says, "...through our colorful bar and grill, our eclectic menu and the coolest servers and bartenders this side of the Bay ... we know there's nothing better than experiencing good food with good company at a place you can truly sit back and relax." We took their advice, sat back and relaxed.

In addition to a raw bar, Hula Bay features salads, sandwiches, great burgers, chicken, steak and seafood entrées. What really tempted my taste buds on this visit were the choices on the sushi sashimi menu.

For a food venue that doesn't exclusively serve these oriental delicacies, Hula Bay does a doggone fine job of preparation and presentation of both their sushi and sashimi dishes. On this visit, I chose three items from the nigiri list: the Ahi Tuna, Escolar (a rich white meat tuna), and the Tobikko Caviar served in cups made from hollowed out zucchini. As a side, I went with the Wakame Seaweed Salad.

When Michele presented my order I was almost reluctant to touch it - after-all, one doesn't mess with a work of art, does one?

Ultimately, hunger got the better of me, so I ate this masterpiece. And, I am glad, so there!

My dainty dining partner, the Belle of Ballast Point, chose another artfully prepared dish, the Hawaiian Citrus Salad - crisp greens with baby arugula, candied walnuts and roasted sunflower kernels, citrus and berry selections, and savory blue cheese with Hula's Hawaiian honey citrus dressing.

Said my bride, "It tastes as good as it looks, and it looks really good!"

In addition to good food, and a full bar, the Hula Bay Club showcases live music on a regular basis.

We keep returning primarily for the food, the drinks, and the ambiance but we have enjoyed the offerings of some highly talented musicians.

The Hula Bay reminds us of one of our other favorite places in south Tampa, the Green Iguana on Westshore (but without the waterfront view). Not surprising that they are sister restaurants.

Hula Bay Club Waterfront Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Hula Bay Club on Foodio54

Oh, pooh, I almost forgot - this wasn't a freebie. We paid for it all, and no one seemed to have a clue as to who we were. We are not paid reviewers, so there!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rushbo Is A Douche, But Censorship Is Worse

I found the following email in my in-box a few minutes ago, and thought I would share it with my Oracle readers:

Dear MoveOn member,

Radio shows that spew hate, bigotry, and misogyny are truly un-American. They should not be advertised or broadcast on Armed Forces Radio.

By broadcasting shows like Rush Limbaugh on Armed Forces Radio, there is an implied "stamp of approval" for the content, which is the wrong message to send to impressionable young minds. Our young soldiers should not be exposed to that vileness.

That's why I created a petition on to Congress and President Barack Obama urging them to take Rush Limbaugh off of Armed Forces Radio.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.


–Matt O'Keefe

A couple of things (well, several):
  • I think the Fat Bastard of Palm Beach, Rush Limbaugh, is as sorry an excuse for a human that this Earth has ever seen.
  • The 1st Amendment to our Constitution guarantees this piece of garbage the right to spew his brain droppings far and wide - even over Armed Forces Radio.
  • To present fair and balanced content AFR should continue to broadcast material that reflects centrist as well as liberal and conservative view points.
  • The "stamp of approval" can be implied both ways, so which message is the right message for the individual listener?
  • If it is wrong for our young soldiers to be exposed to "vileness", then why are we sending them off to fight in these vile wars?
  • And lastly, if these "impressionable young minds" are incapable of discerning the right or wrong of a message, should we really be putting guns in their hands? 
I normally support positions and petitions - but, not this time. To censor because you do not believe in the message lowers us to the same level as the Christian conservative, tea bagger, scum suckers in the Republican party.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Quiver With Each Octave

For the unfortunate few who are not familiar with Annie Haslan and Renaissance, this is a five quiver experience.

Today's pitiful batch of 'pop' singers only wish they had a range such as this.

From 1977, Carpet of the Sun.

Happy Friday, y'all!

The First Debate: Bottom Line

Obama sucked, and Romney lied his ass off. Now, let's move forward.

On a happier note:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Has Anyone Found A Missing Set Of Brass Balls?

Last night at the debate, President Obama handed in a real puss-wad performance. We weren't able to take more than a hour of Obama's disengagement. How very, very disappointing!

We are still going to vote for Obama - there is no alternative. Romney is a flip-flopping clusterfuck who cannot be trusted at three in the morning or any other time. But, is there anyone with balls enough to take Romney to task - for real?

Someone, anyone, please step forward.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sizzlin' In The Kitchen

The older I get it seems the more jaded I become. Things that excited me during my unbridled  days of yore are now somewhat platitudinous. Now, in my halcyon days, I still thrill at two entities: my life with my bride, the Belle of Ballast point, and food - glorious food. Thankfully, the Belle is equally enamored with food; the eating of, but not the cooking of food.

As consequence the task of chef de cuisine has become mine. That is not a bad thing since I learned long ago that food is too valuable to be left in the hands of a woman. Besides, they have bigger fish to fry, so to speak. They need to be going out into the lands to fix the things that need to be fixed. Personally, I don't think the male of the human species has been doing a really good job.

While the Belle is going out to "set things a-right" I have assumed the manly man task of chefing. To stay current on proper food preparation and presentation I tune into the Food and Cooking channels to hone my culinary skills.

Giada DeLaurentis and her...uh, culinary attributes certainly captured my attention, and the same can be said for Laura Calder and her magnificent...uh, talents with French food at home. I tried to enjoy Sandra Lee's bountiful presentations, but she comes off like her audience is a bunch of third graders. She reminds me of Mrs. Tuggle, my third grade teacher,  who also was quite impressive.

I am beginning to think my train has jumped the tracks, so allow me to compose myself.

Alright, I am better now.

I have recently discovered an amazing Cooking Channel personality who just knocks my socks off. Nadia G is not only a bitchin' kitchen talent, but she is so funny and so versatile on many different levels. She cooks, she sings, she is a fashonista, and is starting her own home improvement show.

I am a fan!

To learn more about Nadia G click HERE.

Monday, October 1, 2012

StarShip Dining Adventure

It has been several years since the last time we volunteered for duty aboard the yacht StarShip, but as part of a birthday celebration for our daughter Michele, the Belle of Ballast Point booked passage. Our orders for this cruise were to eat, drink, and make merry - so we did!

Our StarShip adventure actually began in Ybor City where we had booked rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn figuring that after an evening of high jinx on the high seas the room would be less costly than a DUI. This really worked out quite well for us since the Hilton had completely and totally hosed up the reservations that we made a couple of months in advance.

We complained at the front desk and were told, "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" - and we were stuck with way less than agreed upon accommodations. Well alrighty then said we as we slid their green 100% satisfaction guarantee card back across the counter. Our rooms became gratis and life once again was good. Let's drink!

After a few adult beverages, our party headed out to the trolley stop at Centro Ybor.

I thought it somewhat ironic that in the heart of this trendy tourist district, on the opposite side of the street from the trolley stop, we were presented with this less than spectacular Kodak moment:

We purchased out tickets from the vending machines on the platform, and in due time our trolley appeared and we lumbered off to our final destination at Garrison Channel.

According to their web site:

"Yacht StarShip, America's First 3-diamond rated Dining Yacht by AAA , ranks in the top 28% of all restaurants.

Our exquisite dining cruises offer private seating, tableside service, spectacular views and dancing under the stars."

The StarShip Dining Troopers await the boarding call.
Once on board and seated, our drink orders were taken - "Grog for everyone Matey, says I." Actually, since we had started with beer in Ybor we felt it in our best interests to stay with beer so as to avoid the possibility of a sea cruise by rail (if you know what I mean).

We did get a briefing from the Captain, but thankfully no life boat drill, as we perused the bill of fare.

The menu, as seen here (click to enlarge), is representative of what you may be offered on your cruise adventure.

To me, the menu appeared rather limited. There was nothing here that really stood out, but I had to remind myself that food is just a part of the StarShip experience.

Speaking of which, the StarShip Dinner Cruise tickets include a 2.5-hour cruise, 3 course meal (choice of soup/salad, choice of entree, choice of dessert), and entertainment.

An $8 per person gratuity is added to your guest check on-board which represents 18% of the dining cruise ticket. Our individual ticket cost was $68.95. 

Beverages, and appetizers may be purchased on-board and an 18% gratuity will be assessed to your guest check for those purchases. 

The dinner dress code is resort to dressy casual attire.

For starters, both the Belle and I ordered salads - the uninspired Traditional Caesar with shaved Parmesan for me...

... and the much livelier House Salad for her with mixed greens, pumpkin seeds, blue cheese, and an apple vinaigrette dressing.

For her entrée my bride chose the Chicken Arugula which she described as very tasty, and is included in the ticket price.

The menu states that this chicken breast is stuffed with arugula, roasted sweet peppers, and Jack cheese, then topped with a creamy leek sauce and served on a bed of yellow rice with a side of green beans.

I had a hard time trying to locate the arugula, but it could be I just didn't look closely enough.

Anyway, she was happy with her choice and that was the most important thing.

The only entrée choice that shivered me timbers was the 8 ounce black Angus tenderloin filet served atop Yukon gold mashed potatoes with a side of broccolini.

The steak, with a demi glase sauce, was prepared to a perfect medium rare and was a very tender cut of meat - not the very best steak I have ever had, but not bad either.

With an additional charge of $11.95 though, it was a little on the pricey side.

Desserts are included in the ticket price and I had the lemon tart that went overboard on the pucker factor. My bride had the bread pudding which she said "wasn't bad."

After dinner we went up on the open air top deck to enjoy the city lights and the tunes being spun by the DJ.

We had a few more beers, danced a dance or two as the boat pulled in to port. We settled our check and headed back to the trolley and the trip to the hotel.

The StarShip doesn't make for a cheap date, and if you break the experience down into individual parts - food, beverages, cruise -  you could probably find reasons to complain about something.

On the other hand, looking at the whole of the adventure, it provided us with a most enjoyable evening.

Yacht StarShip on Urbanspoon 

Yacht StarShip on Foodio54