Conlibe: Political Blog for TRUTH in Politics.

Liberal Opinion Blog. Boston, Massachusetts. Political Democrat, Independent. Debunk Republican Lies, Misinformation

Archive for Sports

Ashley Graham: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017

Ashley, Ashley, Ashley… Hot damn, girrrrrrrrrrllllll! Roar…

ashley-g

I’m female and not even interested in women…but oh Ashley!

Umm-umm-umm! I forgot what I was going to Google…and just HAD to post those!

ashley-graham

Curves!  Thank God!!!  NOW I CAN eat…and America can: “Make Food Great Again!”… 

Thank you Sports Illustrated 2017…for recognizing that Goddesses have curves!

Charlie BAKER 2.0

Charlie BakerRepublican Charlie Baker is looking for an APP that will make him MORE palatable as Governor of Massachusetts this time around.

Baker who ran in 2010 against incumbent/current governor and President Obama pal Deval Patrick (Democrat) in 2010, is planning Baker 2-point-0…the upgrade!

I wonder if Curt Schilling will campaign for Charlie Baker this time around…or whether Baker will consider Schilling, again, as his running mate?

In case you’ve forgotten, Curt Schilling is the former Boston Red Sox pitcher (baseball) who:

  • Is King – was King? of bloody socks (at least, here in Boston).
  • Championed Republican Baker against current governor Patrick, who took office in 2007: “I’ll vote for him (Baker) because he’s someone that has always appealed to me as being out for the greater good above all else. This state is in dire need of exactly that right now…”
  • Later wanted the state (Massachusetts, under Governor Deval Patrick) to give him, Schilling, millions in loan guarantees/state subsidies for his Gaming startup company, 38 Studios.
  • When Patrick said no (what did Schilling expect? You campaigned for his rival – and Microsoft you are not!)

Curt Schilling

  • Schilling threw a tantrum. He flounced over to Rhode Island where Schilling got the $75 million in loan guarantees he wanted – then in 2012 defaulted on a million-dollar payment and declared bankruptcy, leaving RI holding the bag. RI is suing!

Yes – that Curt Schilling.

So what role is HE likely to play in Charlie Baker’s second run for governor, Baker 2.0? I say 38 NADAs!

Because back then, when Schilling was campaigning for those government hand-outs from Massachusetts and Patrick turned him down…

Said Baker:

“Over the course of the past four years, Massachusetts has lost a lot of businesses…we can’t blame that on businesses that make decisions to do what makes the most sense for their employees.”

38bailout

Rick Gorka, a spokesman for the Baker campaign, called Schilling’s departure:

An example of a “toxic business climate’’ created by Democratic incumbent Governor Deval Patrick. 

So given the debacle that Schilling’s 38 Studios turned out to be, how will Baker justify his campaign getting it so wrong…???

How does Baker parlay that into a bid for faith in his ability to make SOUND business decisions for the Bay State?

For surely IF Baker (thank God) had been governor – HE would have given his buddy/campaign torch bearer the tax-payer dollars Schilling was asking for – and TODAY, it would be Massachusetts TAX PAYERS left holding that bankrupt bag!

According to news reports, angry RI lawmakers were left asking:

Why Rhode Island backed an untested company helmed by a wealthy former athlete when the state grapples with an 11.2 percent jobless rate and chronic budget deficits.

chafee

Chafee

Incidentally the very SAME day that Baker announced that he’s running for governor (09/4/13)…the governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee announced  HE will NOT run for another term.

Chafee refused to give Schilling’s 38 Studios yet MORE subsidies to bail the company, (as Schilling was demanding). Chafee called the 38 Studios deal:  a very, very challenging investment by the state.

So what does that say about Charlie Baker?

Because if HE had been governor of Massachusetts, WE would be looking at the 38 Studios debacle and drumming him out of town!

38 Studios created such a MESS  for/in RI, that I can’t figure it out.

  • The state issued $75-million in bonds backed by RI taxpayers. Not just any bonds, moral obligation bonds that they apparently can’t default on, maybe. RI owes the bond holders $110 million!
  • The state is suing 14 people involved with the 38 Studios deal, including Curt Schilling.
  • Erosion of confidence in the RI Economic Development Corporation – every deal is now suspect!
RI

Welcome 38 Studios! What a mess THAT turned out to be…Charlie Baker.

Now here comes Baker 2.0!  More like “Oh NO! Not again?!”

This is ONE time you do NOT upgrade…

Reminder (taken from an online news article about 38 Studios):

  • “In April, the Boston Business Journal reported that new court filings alleged 38 Studios knew it was in dire straits before it moved from Massachusetts to the Ocean State. According to documents filed in Rhode Island Superior Court, Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. attorney Max Wistow said there was “crushing evidence” that shows that Schilling and others at the company covered up financial information”.

Rhode Island was left to find a multi-year plan to start paying down the debt.

MA

Goodbye 38 Studios. Didn’t come back – and neither should Charlie Baker!

  • In 1989, RI issued about $23 million in bonds for the office building housing 38 Studios…and the state retirement system compounded the error by buying the 38 Studio bonds.

When the building’s owners filed for bankruptcy, RI ended up owing it’s OWN pension system.

Oh what a tangled mess we missed – when governor Patrick, Schilling dissed!

 Photos: Google Images

The Alex Rodriguez Situation…

We are such hypocrites here in Boston (a city that I love and owe my living and allegiance to)!

arod

Alex Rodriguez: Don’t turn him into anything other than a well-paid athlete who hits a ball!

For a presumed hot bed of Liberalism, you’d think we’d be less head-in-the-sand) in thinking that poor Alex Rodriguez is the ONLY guy among the hundreds of Major League baseball (MLB) athletes who takes or has ever taken steroids.

Oh yes: Crucify A-Rod so you can feel better about the aging athletes whom YOU like (and I like too) who suddenly have a SECOND LIFE in baseball.

If it makes YOU (my fellow) Boston Red Sox fans feel better – go ahead and dump the inner unease you feel at the exploits of your bat-slinging heroes on A-rod. (I had tickets to the Saturday game: 8/17.)

I don’t get the outrage over athletes using steroids – except that :

a) It give them a distinct advantage over other athletes who do not take steroids or some other form of doping (assuming there are any)!

b) It’s a form of cheating

c) Steroids are a banned substance.

Aside from that – it’s THEIR bodies they are choosing to abuse…and they know better. Athletes are not sounding outraged. You hear just one or two athletes denouncing steroid use/doping. The majority are silent. Why?

teamusa

Speak UP about steroid use in sports…

Why are athletes around the nation NOT coming out publicly to denounce the use of steroids? How many since the A-Rod story broke over the past week are decrying doping?

Yet we, the ones who like to hear that “crack” of home runs — display a cacophony of MORAL outrage when OTHER teams athletes are caught in steroids scandals…BUT STAY SILENT OR MAKE EXCUSES WHEN THE FINGERS POINT TO OUR OWN!

We really, really believe that NOBODY on any of our major teams: Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins are doing any bad things at all. No steroids, no gambling, no spousal abuse, no drinking, no cheating. NADA. Just little angels! Only the other guys have clay feet…and let us drum them out of town…

Even if we were to see signs that look like something may not be adding up – we add up anyway and get a number that does not make sense – yet we force it to make sense…because hey, it’s OUR guys.

bruins celtics pats soxrev

Now I am NOT saying that our athletes are taking steroids – or not taking steroids. I don’t have any proof either way – and if you do, come forth…

What I’m saying is that it’s folly to believe that all our teams are squeaky clean…and condemn everybody else for being dirty. We’ve had athletes who left our teams and then suddenly we start hearing their names being linked with steroids. Naturally, that started after they left our teams.

Seems to be some unknown, X-factor associated with playing in Boston that keeps everybody clean – until they leave the city!

fenway

Fenway Park, Boston

As for that hit on A-Rod. What are we glorifying that for?

Do we understand that this is just a game? That Alex Rodriguez may be arrogant (but so was George Bush) and a womanizer (like some of our presidents whom we love) and taking steroids (it’s HIS body) and playing for the opposing team – but he’s never done anything to us personally?

Yet we revel in his downfall, glory that someone hit him with a ball (that hurts) and wish him ill…

This is not the kind of sportsmanship Boston should be known for. We should not do it…

Is it OK for a Yankees pitcher to do the same thing? If I was the Yankees, I’d NOT retaliate. I’d show Boston that: with all your universities and history/culture – I’m rising above your level.

dempster

Don’t support you on this one, Ryan Dempster

arodhit

Sox/Yankees Fenway game (8/18/2013) featuring Demster’s infamous “hit” on A-Rod.

But I guess they will likely hit someone too – ’cause that is what sports has boiled down to these days, like everything else: a divide.

I enjoy rivalries, but I enjoy friendly rivalries. Republicans and Democrats tearing apart, Yankees and Red Sox tearing apart. What next?

Fellas – it’s a game…

If A-rod is a jerk – he’s NOT the only athlete in the big leagues who is a jerk. You are there to play against him, not to friend him on Facebook. You pitch, he bats. End of story. You are not the judge/jury of his life…neither has anyone appointed you to be!

The media loves to push this violence and bad behavior – it’s all on TV today. ..and one Lead in went like this: “our reporter (person’s name) was there for all the fun

williamsThis is fun?

One day when the ball will be aimed at you, I hope it will be fun too…

And thank you Jack Williams (CBS local WBZ-TV) for saying he thinks it was “stupid” to hit A-rod. Bravo!

It was Beyond Stupid…

Best line goes to Yankees manager, Joe Girardi:

“Lives have changed by getting hit by pitches…you can’t just start taking pot shots because you disagree with the way the system is set up…whether I agree with everything that’s going on, you do not throw at people and you don’t take the law into your own hands. You don’t do that. We’re going to skip the judicial system?”

Yep – for others,  but NOT for us. We’re still not guilty after the court says we are. Others? Guilty BEFORE the court or tribunal/whatever says they are…

Like that OTHER “Mission Accomplished” NEVER!

Today, the Romney/Ryan version of Former President George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” that never was!!! Set against the back-drop of another flag-draped US. Battleship, this time the U.S.S. Wisconsin! I wonder if they thought of the symbolism of FAILURE!!! WHO chose it? Well, duhhh!

Romney, Ryan have their own version of: “Mission Accomplished!”

Paul Ryan, the U.S. Representative from Wisconsin that Mitt Romney chose as his running mate is conservative dahling and hero! OF COURSE HE IS – HE WANTS TO CUT FOOD-STAMPS!

Yes, that’s Tea party darling Paul Ryan…and am I glad that Romney chose him, because:

If you are unemployed
If you are on welfare
If you get food stamps
If you depend on affordable childcare
If you depend on affordable housing
If your Health Coverage comes from Medicare
If you are a senior depending on Medicaid
If you are POOR
Then Paul Ryan is NOT for you!!!

Ryan Budget: “The Path to Prosperity.”

Paul Ryan wants to balance the budget AND THAT IS EXCELLENT! No argument there. We should ALL want to balance the budget. The point is: HOW DO WE DO THAT?

Let’s look at the U.S. government’s $3.8 Trillion FEDERAL budget for 2011. That budget, submitted to the 111th Congress by President Obama, was passed on April 15, 2011.

Remember that whole nail-biting process when Republicans refused to approve the budget and we were heading to a government shutdown…until the two parties reached a deal just hours before the deadline?

Let’s look at some areas of the 2011 Budget and see which black hole is sucking the MOST of YOUR tax dollars. According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities:

BLACK HOLE #1 THAT’S SUCKING OUR TAX DOLLARS: Defense and international security assistance:

In 2011, 20 percent of the budget, or $718 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. The bulk of the spending in this category reflects the underlying costs of the Department of Defense and other security-related activities. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, funding for which totaled $159 billion in 2011.

F-22 Raptors. Unused fighter jets are 143-million-dollar White Elephants…

  • Do you feel safer now with ALL that money spent on defense?
  •  Do you feel safer now after the $159 billion spent in 2011 supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan?
  • Do you feel safer now with ALL that money spent on a defense that is based on missiles and bombs that were effective during the cold war, BUT AS WE SEE IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN – are no longer effective against suicide bombers?
  • Do you feel safer now with ALL that money spent on those NEW F-15 bombers that cost 143-million-dollars but are sitting on the tarmac while air force pilots refuse to fly them?

(See my May 03/2012 Post -> Pentagon’s 143-million-dollar White Elephants: https://conlibe.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/pentagons-143-million-dollar-white-elephants/)

Ryan tax plan will embrace Bush-era Tax Cuts for very rich…while cutting food-stamps and unemployment benefits for poor, middle-class.

DOES PAUL RYAN want to at all CUT some of the notorious waste at the Pentagon? OF COURSE NOT. Paul Ryan wants to cut Food-stamps for poor people.

BLACK HOLE #2 THAT’S SUCKING OUR TAX DOLLARS: Social Security. Another 20 percent of the budget, or $731 billion, paid for Social Security, which provided retirement benefits averaging $1,229 per month to 35.6 million retired workers in December 2011.

Social Security also provided benefits to 2.9 million spouses and children of retired workers, 6.3 million surviving children and spouses of deceased workers, and 10.6 million disabled workers and their eligible dependents in December 2011.

Should Social Security be overhauled? YES, yes! yes!!! Does the Paul Ryan Budget propose a plan to overhaul Social Security WHEN BOTH PARTIES KNOW IT MUST BE DONE? Nobody wants to touch Social Security!

Ryan budget cuts medicaid/medicare

BLACK HOLE #3 THAT’S SUCKING OUR TAX DOLLARS: Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP: Three health insurance programs – Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – together accounted for 21 percent of the budget in 2011, or $769 billion. Nearly two-thirds of this amount, or $486 billion, went to Medicare, which provides health coverage to around 48 million people who are over the age of 65 or have disabilities.

The remainder of this category funds Medicaid and CHIP, which in a typical month in 2011 provided health care or long-term care to about 60 million low-income children, parents, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Both Medicaid and CHIP require matching payments from the states.

The Congressional Budget Office, says PAUL RYAN’s “Path to Prosperity” will convert the current Medicare program to a system under which beneficiaries would be entitled to premium support payments to help them purchase private health insurance. Those payments would grow over time with overall consumer prices. The change would apply to people turning 65 beginning in 2022; beneficiaries who turn 65 before then would remain in the traditional Medicare program, with the option of converting to the new system.

2011 Budget Pie

Convert the matching payments that the federal government makes to states for Medicaid costs under current law into block grants of fixed dollar amounts beginning in 2013. Those amounts would grow over time with overall consumer prices and the population.

Repeal the key provisions of the major 2010 health care legislation that deal with insurance coverage and certain other provisions..

BLACK HOLE #4 THAT’S SUCKING OUR TAX DOLLARS: Safety net programs: About 13 percent of the federal budget in 2011, or $466 billion, went to support programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship. Spending on safety programs declined in both nominal and real terms between 2010 and 2011 as the economy continued to improve and initiatives funded by the 2009 Recovery Act began to expire.

These programs include: the refundable portion of the earned-income and child tax credits, which assist low- and moderate-income working families through the tax code; programs that provide cash payments to eligible individuals or households, including Supplemental Security Income for the elderly or disabled poor and unemployment insurance; various forms of in-kind assistance for low-income families and individuals, including food stamps, school meals, low-income housing assistance, child-care assistance, and assistance in meeting home energy bills; and various other programs such as those that aid abused and neglected children.

Ryan budget: Cut children’s health care, repeal Obamacare, LURE kids to land of NO Healthcare…

Such programs keep millions of people out of poverty each year. A Center analysis shows that government safety net programs kept some 25 million people out of poverty in 2010. Without any government income assistance, either from safety net programs or other income supports like Social Security, the poverty rate would have been nearly double in 2010 (28.6 rather than 15.5 percent).

◊◊◊

HERE’S WHAT THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (CBO) HAS TO SAY ABOUT PAUL RYAN’S BUDGET: THE PATH TO PROSPERITY.” 

In response to a request from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, CBO has conducted a long-term analysis of a proposal to substantially change federal payments under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, eliminate the subsidies to be provided through new insurance exchanges under last years major health care legislation, leave Social Security as it would be under current law, and set paths for all other federal spending (excluding interest) and federal tax revenues at specified growth rates or percentages of gross domestic product (GDP).

Ryan budget DOUBLES spending on health care…for Seniors!

Long-Term Effects of the Proposal

Under the proposal, most elderly people who would be entitled to premium support payments would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system. For a typical 65-year-old with average health spending enrolled in a plan with benefits similar to those currently provided by Medicare, CBO estimated the beneficiarys spending on premiums and out-of-pocket expenditures as a share of a benchmark amount: what total health care spending would be if a private insurer covered the beneficiary. By 2030, the beneficiarys share would be 68 percent of that benchmark under the proposal, 25 percent under the extended-baseline scenario, and 30 percent under the alternative fiscal scenario.

Federal payments for Medicaid under the proposal would be substantially smaller than currently projected amounts. States would have additional flexibility to design and manage their Medicaid programs, and they might achieve greater efficiencies in the delivery of care than under current law. Even with additional flexibility, however, the large projected reduction in payments would probably require states to decrease payments to Medicaid providers, reduce eligibility for Medicaid, provide less extensive coverage to beneficiaries, or pay more themselves than would be the case under current law.

Path to Prosperity for WHOM?

Key Considerations

Under the proposal CBO analyzed, debt would eventually shrink relative to the size of the economy but the gradually increasing number of Medicare beneficiaries participating in the new premium support program would bear a much larger share of their health care costs than they would under the current program; payments to physicians and other providers for services provided under the traditional Medicare program would be restrained (as under the two scenarios); states would have to pay substantially more for their Medicaid programs or tightly constrain spending for those programs; and spending as a share of GDP for federal programs other than Social Security and the major health care programs would be reduced far below historical levels. It is unclear whether and how future lawmakers would address the pressures resulting from the long-term scenarios or the proposal.

When Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan as his running mate, he called Paul Ryan the: “intellectual leader of the Republican party”

Ryan said: “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government” and said this was what made America great…

According to Ryan: He and Romney are not planning to: “replace our founding principles – we will reapply them” That is CODE for what? Gay Rights roll backs, Abortion Rights roll backs, Affirmative Action roll-backs?

Be careful what you vote for – you’ll have to live with it for a long. long time!

Horsing a round – with Rafalca Romney!

Are you planning to stay home, like a typical working mom -> (the Romney’s definition: busy working at home caring for the kids) to watch dressage at the 2012 London Olympics?

I shall be ROOTING for the Romney’s show horse, Rafalca, in the competition – Team and Individual – Grand Prix Special on Tuesday, 08/07/2012. 

Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, cheers her Dressage Horse at London 2012 Olympics.

There’s Individual Dressage:

  • Grand Prix – August 02-03, (Rafalca placed #30)
  • Grand Prix Special – Tuesday, August 07
  • Grand Prix Freestyle – Thursday, August 09.

And Team Dressage:

  • Grand Prix – August 02-03
  • Grand Prix Special – August 07, from 10:00AM.

If I’m correct, there are 3 Americans in Tuesday’s Individual/Team Dressage Grand Prix Special: RAFALCA ROMNEY ridden by Jan Ebeling at 10:45 London Time — CALECTO V ridden by Tina Konyot (11:25AM) — and RAVEL ridden by Steffen Peters (11:52). Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark – U.S. Team is fifth.

Equestrian/dressage, like sailing, is the SPORT OF KINGS. 

The Romney’s dressage horse stepping sideways? Mitt Romney does the same thing: artfully dodge questions by stepping sideways! That horse has been part of the Romney household, what do you expect it to do? Come now…

It’s OK to step sideways and avoid releasing your taxes…if you’re a horse, but if you’re not? Anyway…

Dressage is a French term that loosely translated means: Training. In dressage “movements” include terms like:

PIAFFE

A calm, composed, elevated trot in place.

As in: Mitt Romney’s entrance in the republican primaries can only be described as a piaffe….

PASSAGE

A very collected trot, in which the horse has great elevation of stride and seems to pause between putting down its feet.

eg: Newt Gingrich is trying to knock Romney out of these republican primaries but Romney’s passage seems assured!

Mitt Romney, wife Ann and Rafalca…

EXTENDED GAITS 

The horse lengthens its stride to the maximum length through great forward thrust and reach.

eg: Rick Santorum may be the Tea Party favorite but it will be difficult for him to match Romney’s extended gait due to Romney’s huge fundraising advantage.

FLYING CHANGES IN SEQUENCE

The horse changes leads at the canter every stride, two strides, or three strides.

As in shifting from conservative to moderate to extreme right. eg: Romney has made a flying change from his original position as governor of Massachusetts where he championed a UNIVERSAL Health Care Reform law with a MANDATE but is now bashing the federal health care mandate!

PIROUETTE

A 360 or 180 degree turn in place, usually performed at the canter.

As in suddenly changing positions on major issues like abortion, gay rights and immigration reform. eg: Romney made a brilliant pirouette at a recent campaign event when he appeared before Latino voters and said he favors a Republican version of the Dream Act!

HALF-PASS 

A movement where the horse goes on a diagonal, moving sideways and forward at the same time, while bent slightly in the direction of movement.

eg: Romney went forward today by releasing his taxes but side-stepped the issue of FULL disclosure by only releasing ONE year.

Dressage is well suited indeed to Mitt Romney, who, by the way, told NBC he does NOT even know when his wife’s horse is taking part in the competition. As a matter of face, I’m sure Romney is not sure IF the horse is even in London!!!

Depending on your income, it’s hard to say “dressage” with a straight face. Seriously. In Polo, they’re crashing into each other and people are falling off their horses. If somebody falls off a horse in dressage, that rider should be ashamed forever!

Dressage is one of those rich people’s sports that most of us will never play.

Tennis? Tennis courts everywhere. Grab a racket, heck grab a piece of plywood or cardboard and make a racket go hit a ball. You may never be Roger Federer but so what?

Even Skiing. Hitch a ride, hit a ski resort, offer to wash dishes in the kitchen…on your free time hit the slopes. Or just stare up at it longingly…

Sailing? Same. Offer to swab the decks for free…

Golf? Offer to caddy for free…

Polo? Offer to muck horse stalls for free riding lessons?

Dressage? No money? Nothing you can do unless you steal a horse, already have offered to muck stalls and gotten some free riding lessons somewhere, THEN find a trainer. Oh and you can’t bunk the horse in your apartment…and feeding it Chick fil-A is not a good idea either. If you’re planning to send your kids to dressage after school, can my son tag along? 

Here are some of the people who are taking part in the Equestrian competitions!

  • The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
  • Royalty from Britain
  • And Royalty from America – the Romneys!

I am prepared to spontaneously break into a rendition of “God Bless America for Rafalca. If Chick fil-A Appreciation Day can inspire patriotism then so can Rafalca! So what if he’s German! I did not call her an immigrant and she’s here legally.

Do you know what makes America Great? Dressage. NOT as you believed stimulus plans – waste of money. NOT Health Care Reform – equal waste of money. Building our Infrastructure? NO, No, no!!! The government should assemble a team of Dressage horses led by Rafalca and invite them to Washington to argue for:

  • $2-thousand-dollar annual premiums on health care for ALL horses (which is what the Romney’s spent on their horse’s health care for 2010). For PEOPLE, no!
  • Increasing the Child Tax Credit from the $1-thousand you can now claim per child – to $77-thousand (the amount the Romneys deducted for their horse in 2010)

So yes, I AM rooting for Rafalca…

Wait. Don’t give up on me! Whom do you want me to root for? What’s Rafalca ever done to YOU?

  • Rafalca did not say: “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.” Romney said that. His campaign later admitted that Romney’s father and Dr. King didn’t march on the same day…or even in the same city. But so what? Romney’s dad marched over there, Dr. King marched over here – conjugated it means: I march, you march – WE march, right?!
  • Rafalca did not say: “He (meaning President Obama) says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.” Romney said that! Er, Governor Romney, MORE firemen, police and teachers do help…aw, forget it!
  • Rafalca did not say: “I love this state, the trees are the right height!” Romney said that. Rafalca would have gone a step further and TOLD us WHAT the right height for trees are these days – NOT left us to guess!
  • Rafalca did say: “I’ll tell you what, ten-thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?” Nope, 
    Romney said THAT. Rafalca would have said “$77-thousand bucks? $77-thousand bet”.

Nope. Can’t blame Rafalca…even though he IS an elitist horse.

Rafalca

So Go Raffie! Don’t let your owners down now ’cause they need the prize money!!! (er, is there money?) Well they can always invest the gold (medal) in Switzerland. Please DON’T tell Rafalca WHERE  to keep its gold medal or ask to see bank vault receipts…

Rafalca, there is a nice bag of oats waiting for you at home. Forgive me if I offend a horse of your caliber by offering oats, but I have NO idea what top-class horses like you eat. Maybe oats are for nags? Maybe YOU eat GRAVIAR – a mixture of specially pulped grain and caviar that your own personal chef prepares for you!?

Why the heck not? YOU Rafalca are to dressage what Tiger Woods is to golf.  I’m watching, aren’t I? I watch golf too and still can’t explain a birdie!

 

London is the Lord of the Rings…!

Is there anything happening in the world apart from the Olympics…?

Some countries did not understand the opening ceremony – but I did. There was no cultural divide for me – maybe because I grew up in the British Commonwealth, I like history and I studied English literature.

This was an opening ceremony that was not based on pure flash – but some substance – and maybe we’re becoming a world of flash and bang that can no longer appreciate the subtleties of substance?! We’d actually have to think and reach back into history! What history? We know when Princess Diana died – is that not enough history for us?!

Olympics Opening Ceremony: London 2012

And isn’t it refreshing — to take a break from the divisive negativism of politics and watch the queen parachute from an airplane? (I know it was not her, OK.)

Did you see that? When I saw Daniel Craig striding into Buckingham Palace I asked my son, rhetorically of course: “Isn’t that Buckingham Palace?”  (How would HE know what Buckingham Palace looks like inside? It’s not as though he hangs out there…with his buddies Will and Bea.) Still, on one level, my brain is telling me of course it’s prearranged!

Buckingham Palace. Built in 1705. Official home of the British Monarch since Queen Victoria (1837).

Yet, with a place as inaccessible as Buckingham Palace (yes, I know they have tours) I was shocked to see Craig striding so casually, so arrogantly James Bond into the palace…then I saw the two dogs and I’m like – “Oh yes, those are definitely the Queen’s Corgis (not that I’d recognize a Corgi even if it came up and bit me on the you know…er, leg).

 

She knows you’re there, Mr. Bond…

So Mr. Bond finally meets Her Majesty after years in her loyal service! With that piece of acting I finally hand it to him – you ARE James Bond, Mr. Craig. When he glanced out of the helicopter, we are checking with him as he scans the area for spies and bad guys, (can you hold while I go look at that clip again?) Ooooh, Craig. So ruggedly handsome, those chiseled features. Sigh… 

Isn’t England be-yoo-ti-ful from the air?

By golly, I spent almost a year in London (I have family there) and I just looove London. Seeing it from the air, the landmarks, the Thames – wonderful. And the British countryside – (just all of Europe, really, except wild areas like the Alps) – look so cultivated, so polite, fields so neatly trimmed, everything so stiff upper lip, so under control not even the trees dare misbehave!

British countryside: Even vegetation won’t dare misbehave…

I think The Olympic Games are probably the best TOURISM exposure any country can get. It’s like a showcase for the world with the host country at its best.

I knew my old colonial master would not disappoint in terms of pageantry. That’s the city where every day there’s pageantry to change some guards, for heaven’s sake! Yea, yea…Britain exploited its colonies…and those beautiful buildings were built with our manpower and wealth, but many of us still cling to fond memories of singing, proudly: “God save the Queen” with it’s line “long to reign over us…” and other patriotic songs like: “Rule, Britannia! Rule the waves: Britons never will be slaves”. See the irony? Slaves and descendants of slaves singing that Britain, their colonial master: never, never, never will be slaves — like us, the singers!

Olympic Games Opening ceremony, London 2012: Industrial Revolution

Anyway, Britain has a soft spot in my heart, most of the time – until I dwell on Republicans (but that’s for after the Olympics!).

For now, in my Olympic stupor, I loooved the parts of the Opening Ceremony featuring the transition from the Agrarian society to the Industrial Revolution. I love reading about the early centuries, long before any of the modern conveniences we now take for granted were invented…back when castle floors were covered with rushes.

When the Normans conquered England in 1066 (Battle of Hastings) they solidified their customs like the Feudal System which William the Conqueror used to govern England. Did you know that William built the Tower of London – used French builders ’cause he did not trust the British?

Under the Feudal System (9-15th centuries) there were:

  • Lords – noblemen who held land
  • Vasssals – promised homage and fealty (including military service, Knights) to their Lords who allowed those Vasssals to work the land
  • Fiefs – the land. Became hereditary (to the eldest son) in the 11th and 12th centuries.

From the feudal system through the Middle Ages to the European Renaissance (14-17 centuries) to the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850) it is fascinating to read about the evolution of British society, from women being considered chattel with absolutely NO rights to the election of a British female Prime Minister.

Britain’s first female Prime Minister and longest serving: Margaret Thatcher; 1979-1990

Before women could inherit property, marriage was the retirement plan. Thus Elizabeth Bennet’s mother in Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) had to ensure her daughters married and married well enough to take care of her and other family members, especially daughters, after the death of the husband/father. The life of kids, especially poor kids, was dismal as we see in Charles Dickens portrayal of child labor (from personal experience) in Victorian England….

Most romance readers are familiar with the Regency era (between the Georgian and Victorian reigns) under Britain’s Prince Regent (later George IV), which romance writers love so much. About this time, the Upper Ten Thousand, the glamorous cream of British Aristocracy and affluence, the “Ton” started factoring LOVE as a prerequisite for marriage.

Prince Regent: future King George IV

Until then, marriage among Britain’s upper classes and the privileged was essentially a business arrangement between families and consenting and sometimes not so-consenting parties!  (The seedier sides of British society: extreme poverty of the lower classes, child labor, prostitution, etc were unacknowledged…yet the poor had more freedom to marry for love!)

I looked at the opening ceremony and saw shades of the England of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

The melting ore reminded me of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien and when those Olympic Rings were “forged” I thought: London is the Lord of the Rings…!

London IS the Lord of the Rings…

I shall be watching the games. I love Gymnastics (mostly the women) including Rhythmic, Track & Field, Swimming/Diving. Guess I will have to watch Dressage to see if the Romney’s horse wins! The one he claimed 77-thousand-dollars for as a tax deduction, I guess!

And weren’t those Chinese smart – waving two flags – the Chinese flag and the British flag. Nice Public Relations coup, China…

And thanks NBC – your footage is spectacular!!! What’s with that Comcast marriage – I’m NOT getting XFINITY – to heck with that!!!

More Republican Hypocrisy: Solindra and Schilling…

Does the name Solyndra – mean anything to you?

Solar panels

It’s the California Solar Company that got huge government subsidies (a 535 million-dollar loan guarantee) from Stimulus Funds in 2009. Solyndra went bankrupt in 2011 and laid off about 11-hundred employees.

President Obama praised the solar panel maker as a model of Green Energy and when it failed, “The Party of NO” started thumping their chests!

Republicans roared:

Florida Representative Cliff Stearns, head of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations for the Energy and Commerce committee said: “In an apparent rush to push stimulus dollars out the door, the Obama Administration wasted $535 million in taxpayer funds in guaranteeing a loan to a firm that has proven to be unviable in the global market.”*

Republican members of the committee churned out a subpoena to get documents from the Office of Management and Budget over the Department of Energy loan.

According to a Forbes article, only this week, Republicans tried to create another Solyndra-type furor over two other solar companies: Bright source Energy (apparently used insiders to get its loan guarantees) and First Solar (whose CEO cashed nearly half-a-million-dollars of his shares while taking public money).

Ohio Republican, Jim Jordan. OUTRAGED over solar companies mismanagement…

Republicans scheduled a hearing of a subcommittee of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform that oversees the stimulus program. Subcommittee chair, Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio opened the hearing with a withering attack on clean tech companies that seek government assistance.

Republicans DON’T like Clean Energy. The very same subsidies they decry for Solar companies they champion and embrace for big oil, gas and coal companies! Maybe solar companies don’t have deep enough pockets – or lobbyists – or PAC’s – who can fund GOP campaigns and travel?

Fast Forward to this week…

To Curt Schilling.

Name mean anything to you?

He’s a former ace pitcher for the Boston Red Sox who helped the team break its cursed losing streak…in 2004.

Schilling, whom many consider to be a jerk, developed near cult status in Boston. Until he moved from sports icon to political champion – and started campaigning for John McCain! Before you know it, people are speculating about “Curt Schilling for Senate” to fill Ted Kennedy’s vacant seat…

We escaped a Senator Schilling, thank goodness!

Curt Schilling: Pitcher, politician, entrepreneur….

Mr. Schilling started a Video Game company: 38 Studios in 2006. Being a Republican, and seeing that they’re ALL born holding a copy of NAFTA rules and regulations (they being natural businessmen) His 38-ness declared: I understand one thing, that’s big business, and big business is what we’ve allowed to take over in far too many places and in far too many areas that the people need to take back” and he proceeded to do that by establishing a small business.

Mr. Schilling then decided that he needed government subsidies – taxpayer subsidies (like those the department of Energy gave to Solyndra) for his company and decided to play a game of  “my ego or yours” with lawmakers.

President Obama…with best buddy, MA Governor Deval Patrick (Democrat)

In 2010, he threatened to move his 4-year-old company to neighboring Rhode Island. The Ocean State was offering Schilling’s company $75 million in loan guarantees. Schilling pledged to bring 450 new jobs to Rhode Island over the next three years. He of course preferred to STAY in liberal Massachusetts but would Massachusetts play ball?

Schilling loaded the bases, confident in his ability to throw a strike. Massachusetts lawmakers told him to: walk!

Have I mentioned that our governor Deval Patrick is a loyal Obama friend and colleague, who, like the president, is also from Chicago?

  • Did I say that Curt Schilling supported Republican Charlie Baker (against Deval Patrick) for governor in 2010?
  • And that Schilling contributed to Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin in their 2008 presidential bid against Obama?

Naturally none of that factored into any decisions…of course.

Greg Bialecki, Massachusetts secretary of housing and economic development, said: Schilling apparently hoped his discussions with Rhode Island officials would goad Massachusetts into making him a better offer. Although Bialecki said he had discussed possible tax breaks with Schilling earlier this year, in the end Massachusetts was unwilling to offer such a big incentive package to one company.

Schilling took off, went to Rhode Island…with the following conditions:

  • 38 Studios must pay $8 million in annual fees to the economic development agency over the 10-year life of the loan.
  • The company must create 450 new jobs in stages over three years
  • 38 Studios pays a penalty of $7,500 per year for each job it fails to create on schedule.
  • The company must pay Rhode Island an annual ‘guaranty fee’ each May.

In addition:

  • Loan comes from lending institutions, not the state, BUT Rhode Island taxpayers are stuck with the unpaid balance of the loan if 38 Studios fails.
  • The state gets first rights to all of the company’s collateral, including intellectual property rights to any 38 Studios games. (The company unveiled its much-anticipated first game: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in February.)
  • Rhode Island can use that to recover money if the company can’t repay the loans.

Rick Gorka, a spokesman for the campaign of Massachusetts Republican Charles D. Baker, said Schilling’s departure was an example of a “toxic business climate’’ created by Democratic incumbent Governor Deval Patrick. (No wonder Baker lost, with advice like that!)

Free from the weight of Mr. Schilling’s ego, Massachusetts bounced back. The latest unemployment figures (May 17) put the Bay State’s unemployment rate at 6.3 percent last month (April 2012).

And Schilling? Well, this week his company was unable to pay workers Thursday (May 17/2012) and the check for this year’s 1.25 million-dollar guaranty payment to Rhode Island, due this month, bounced.

Bureau of labor Statistics figures put Rhode Island’s unemployment rate in March 2012 at: 11.1 percent. Massachusetts was: 6.5 percent.

  • In 2009: Rhode Island’s unemployment rate (civilian non-institutional population) was at: 10.8 percent. In 2010 it was: 11.6 percent. Massachusetts was: 8.2 and 8.5 percent.

Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee. (Republican turned Independent in 2007)

Back then when Schilling decided to move his company to Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee – running for governor of Rhode Island as an independent – described Curt Schilling as: “I just remember his own teammates didn’t like him…they thought he was a bit of a salesman…”

Chafee said more, but I am first and foremost a Red Sox fan. Yes. Still!

So where are the Republicans?

Any calls for an investigation?

Any subpoena here to examine the agreement with a “firm that has proven to be unviable in the global market”?*

Solyndra’s loan is much bigger and worthy of investigation…

But Schilling?

Like he said back then: Any responsible entrepreneur exhausts every avenue of potential funding when running a start-up company; we’re no different.’’ He had a responsibility to his 180 employees to explore every option to make 38 Studios a success.

Listen up, Solyndra – when the Department of Energy dangled those millions in front of you, you did what? Exhausted an avenue of potential funding! Exhaust indeed…

In February 2011, Mr. Schilling said: “There can be no question our country is in the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I also think there can be no question that it falls on us, the individuals, to find a way out of our own personal crisis.”

Well now – find your way, Mr. Schilling – or maybe it’s easier to TALK, huh, especially when we have NO idea what the heck we’re talking about – as in the usual Republican style!

Background Boston Globe.

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