Friday, December 21, 2012

News From the UK

I find the UK news sources to have all sorts of fascinating stories and news every day.

Here are some of interest:

This could be a very exciting cancer breakthrough: Trojan horse therapy completely eliminates cancer in mice

It might have been made by a different company however
French actor Gerard Depardieu moved to Belgium because of France's ridiculously high tax rate

Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu, 1 Oct 12
Oh! You have my tax bill! Merci!
If your IQ is around 60, you are a carrot

You are nothing more than a root vegetable
Actress Sharon Stone on surviving a brain hemorrhage (who knew?)

Stone is set: Sharon is back in starring roles
Because it's Sharon Stone
Apple Store employees gone wild

Destroyed: An alleged former Apple store employee sent in this photograph of a smashed iPad, allegedly taken after the device was intentionally smashed for fun
Don't worry sir, it's under warranty
How to prevent a sexual assault without using chili powder (you can't make this stuff up!!)
Chilli powder
Makes a great rape deterrent
A list of Christmas songs drivers love to hate

Dec 2012: 10 most irritating festive songs: Slade
Wouldn't everything by this band be something to hate?
25 tips to help you live to 100

Woman with Birthday Cake
It was all the twice a week thing that did it for me!

Botched stem cell facelift has woman growing bones in her eyes

Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman "race". In tuxedos.

Too cool for school: Russell was looking very laid back as he sported some sunglasses
Er, you might wanna train a bit Russ

Where can you buy a classic three bird roast in London? Well, the answer is right here!

Just like a turkducken

Thursday, December 20, 2012

You are an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?

What a surprise, more and more celebrities continue to make complete jackasses out of themselves in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy:

Really? One can only hope??? There's some twisted logic.
Apparently Joyce Carol Oates and Marg Helgenberger (who makes her living doing violent movies and TV shows) feel that more violence, especially to NRA members will enlighten them about gun control.

Marg Helgenberger
This movie is


But that's ok, because it's make believe.

Joyce Carol Oates - writer of boring novels
So boring in fact there's a song called Joyce Carol Oates Is A Boring Old Biddy

"You are an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?"

Then we have CNN's Piers Morgan, who apparently fancies himself as the moral compass of the free world did himself no favors by resorting to calling a guest on his show an idiot. While interviewing the executive director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt, Morgan couldn't hold his tongue.

Pratt: (Through Morgan shouting incoherently) Your murder rate is lower than ours, that is true. Your violent crime rate is higher than ours as is the violent crime rate in Australia. America is not the wild west that you are depicting. We only have the problem in our cities and unhappily in our schools, where people like you have been able to have laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves. I honestly don't understand why you would rather have people be victims of a crime than be able to defend themselves. It's incomprehensible.

Morgan: You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?

Pratt: It seems to me that you are morally obtuse.

Correction, Mr. Pratt, Morgan is the incredibly stupid man here, but you were obviously trying to keep the discussion civil. Morgan chose to get on his high horse and act like a jackass.

This is the problem: if you say you are in favor of private citizens owning guns, then in the eyes of people like Morgan you support killing children. There is no rational discussion, no give and take, you are a potential killer who can come unglued at any moment.

Through his blather and indignation Morgan completely missed this the point that Pratt was trying to make.

This little bit of information published in Morgan's home country The Daily Mirror reinforces the point Pratt was trying to make. In an article titled The most violent country in Europe: Britain is also worse than South Africa and U.S.  published July 2, 2009, the chart below illustrated how the UK ranks number one with the highest number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

league of shame

And to top it all off, Morgan showed more class with this witty Tweet:

Please try to understand the point that people like Larry Pratt and responsible gun owners are imploring people like Oates, Helgenberger, and Morgan just cannot seem to comprehend:

It is not guns, it is people

Even if you take away all firearms do they really believe that violent crimes are going to disappear? This is what Pratt was trying to say to Morgan, the violent crime rate in the UK is higher than anywhere else in the world.

What happened at Sandy Hook and in Aurora Colorado are incomprehensible, but please don't ever kid yourself for one minute that the persons who committed these heinous acts would have not either done them or killed less because guns can kill many on the spot. 

The maniac in Colorado rigged his apartment with explosives. What makes anyone think someone as twisted as him wouldn't have blown up the theater if he didn't have access to guns?

And to put a finer point on it, what would have stopped him from obtaining the firearms he wanted illegally if he was so bent on doing what he ultimately did?

The answer: NOTHING.

You can call us idiots and morons but you are not helping your case when you cannot present your views professionally. Piers Morgan is a phony of the highest order.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sandy Hook - The Most Obvious Question

The shootings in Sandy Hook Connecticut are a national nightmare.

The unimaginable horror of 6 and 7 year old children and school teachers being gunned down while in school is something we never, ever hope to experience again.

My first reaction to anything such as this is to always wait until we get the facts before we start talking about prevention.

Our only hope is to understand how and why this happened and hopefully we can find a solution to prevent events like this from happening again.

The first place to look for many is guns and weapons. Many feel they are easily obtained and are the root cause of all of these acts of violence.

In any case of violence, it is the person not the means that is the problem.

People drive drunk every day and cause deaths and damage yet we do not hear an outcry for banning cars. Alcohol is part of the issue in that equation and look what happened with prohibition in the 1920's.

What makes anyone think banning firearms will fare any better? I would bet that even more firearms would be in the hands of those who wouldn't be able to get them legally under our present laws. The underground market for firearms and weaponry would explode and include arms that are not available legally. Remove the laws and what you will have is unfettered access to whatever someone could afford.

This is going to make things better? I seriously doubt it.

Note: The person who killed these people (as well as any others who have committed these acts) will not be mentioned by name in this space. He will be referred to as CT  - Connecticut

Now that we are starting to get information about the background of CT, maybe we can now begin to understand how this happened.

And of course, the biggest question like any other senseless act of violence, is why.

The first and most important question out of all is this:

If CT was unstable, and his mother was increasingly having difficulties with him, how did he get access to her weapons and ammunition?

We are now learning that CT's mother was a "prepper". For those of you who aren't familiar with what and who preppers are, they are simply those who believe that there will be chaos and collapse at some point in the near future and a preparing for the worst. Like anything, being prepared for the worst is not the craziest notion.

She stockpiled food and water because she believed that the world is headed for an economic collapse which would lead to anarchy. She also stockpiled weapons and ammunition.

From what I've read, she was also an avid gun collector/enthusiast and taught both of her sons to shoot. Again, nothing wrong with that, there are plenty of responsible gun owners and enthusiasts who have learned from their parents and teach their kids.

Any responsible gun owner knows that you cannot, not should not, let children have access to weapons and ammunition. Especially a child (though technically an adult as he was 20) with issues as it appears that CT has been described to have had.

Some accounts in the news have quoted friends of CT's mother saying she was losing him. I've seen people in the news quoted as saying she was a responsible gun owner who was very careful with her firearms. If this was the case, and we need to know how CT got his hands on those guns and all that ammunition.

The following excerpts are from a blog called The Anarchist Soccer Mom. This woman also has a child who has exhibited behavior that is potentially dangerous.

There is no more powerful testimony about this issue than someone who lives with a child that has the potential to commit acts of violence beyond what most children exhibit.
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to.
I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me.
Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.
At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.
I am sharing this story because I am XXXXX's mother. I am XXXXX's and XXXXX's mother. I am XXXXX's mother. I am XXXXX's mother. I am XXXXX's other. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
 No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.
 Please, do yourself a favor and read the entire story here.

Here is a CNN interview with Liza Long, the author of the blog above.

We cannot conceive of these acts because we do not process thoughts as the people who commit these acts do.  We cannot understand these acts of violence and our initial reaction is to somehow stop these any way we can. Restricting the rights of law abiding citizens is not how we accomplish that goal.

Understanding what makes this happen is the key.

When incidents like this occur, the first thing most people say is that "the world is getting worse".

That's not the case, "the world" has always been a dangerous place anywhere you go. There has actually been no increase in mass shootings. More here.

Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.
Chances of being killed in a mass shooting, he says, are probably no greater than being struck by lightning.
Still, he understands the public perception — and extensive media coverage — when mass shootings occur in places like malls and schools. “There is this feeling that could have been me. It makes it so much more frightening.”

In closing, rest in peace those whose lives were cut short by another who we simply cannot understand how or why he decided to do what he did. Here's hoping someday soon we can recognize the warning signs and avert these tragedies.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Roundup

Killer Turkeys On The Loose
The oh so politically correct town of Brookline MA has been terrorized with aggressive turkeys attacking residents. They can't figure out what to do with them.

They actually created a graph showing how many calls the Brookline Police have received this year:

Must be more vegetarians living there this November

Hey Brookline, here's a solution:
Oneida Heavy Gauge Commercial Carbon Steel Roasting Pan with Rack
Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
6 to 8 pounds3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds6 to 6-1/2 hours
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
6 to 8 pounds2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds5-1/2 to 6 hours

WWII London Blitz Interactive Website
Amazing website that shows where and how many bombs were dropped on London by the Nazis from October 7, 1940 to June 6 1942. Amazing and sobering.

Not So Funny Now
The poor woman who was fooled by a DJ pretending to be Queen Elizabeth calling the hospital where her pregnant granddaughter in law, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has committed suicide.

You Don't Deliver The Goods, I'm Calling The Cops
This guy felt he was shorted by 10 minutes by a prostitute, so he called the cops. So they arrested him.

Nevada Senator Dirty Harry Reid compares the Republican Party to the New York Jets.

Nice Headbutt
Former New England Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel forgot he doesn't play any longer.

Alan Sepinwall is the MAN
If you watch any series on TV and don't know who Alan Sepinwall is, let me do you a huge favor and introduce you. I found him when I was watching The Sopranos when he was writing for the Newark Star-Ledger. (The newspaper you see Tony Soprano get in his driveway) Since then, Alan has his own website on Hitfix called What's Alan Watching? His weekly reviews of Boardwalk Empire are must reading as they were for the Sopranos.

The Sopranos Pine Barrens episode.

Anyway, Sepinwall has written a book and though I don't follow many of the shows he writes about, this excerpt from the book about the Sopranos deals with the Russian gangster and his take (as well as series creator David Chase) on the controversial ending. Great stuff as always!

My take on the Sopranos ending:

Since the show was mainly viewed through the prism of Tony Soprano's perspective, the abrupt ending was to me like one of those pay binoculars that you see at tourist sites. The quarter ran out and that was it.

And finally, today marks the 71st Anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Betty McIntosh wrote first hand about the attack but her article was never published because editors felt it was too graphic. 71 years later you can read what she witnessed.

Here is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech from December 8, 1941 in its entirety.

RIP to all the souls who were lost that day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crazy stuff from around the world (in case you missed it)

Whoops, we bulldozed the building. Sorry.

Oh, you meant to clean up the mansion

Star Wars geeks are building a life size Millennium Falcon

RIP to the world's oldest and tallest women (no they weren't the same person)

The world's tallest woman - Yao Defen
Yes, she was big

Detroit City Councilwoman wants her payback

The guys at Gas Monkey Garage have been getting over on the American Chopper guys

Then they did this video which is hilarious

Any article that leads with "French men are not as fertile as they used to be" can lead to so many jokes.

Yeah, but you're shooting BLANKS mon ami

Aaaaand Finally
Super Fraud raises 42 MILLION dollars to run for the US Senate and runs a deficit

Yep, she's gonna clean up Washington and work for the middle class

Even after raising a whopping $42 million for her Senate race this year - more than any other congressional candidate in the country – the senator-elect from Massachusetts told her supporters that her campaign does not have enough cash to pay its bills.

In an e-mail, the Harvard Law professor - considered one of the nation’s preeminent scholars of American debt - asked for donations to help her wash away the red ink.

Warren did not say how much debt she needs to pay down, but blamed the shortfall in part on the thousands of volunteers who flocked to her campaign, saying “that meant even more last-minute coffee and pizza.”
“One of the results of our embarrassment of riches was, well I’ll come out and say it - we ended up with a little bit of debt,” Warren wrote. “Everyone, we need a little more money to pay off our final bills. Can you help one more time?

Bet all those millionaires and billionaires are quaking in their boots.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bob Costas Makes An Amazing Assumption

In the wake of Saturday's murder-suicide by National Football League Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jevon Belcher, self-righteous, self-important, Hall of Fame asshat Bob Costas descended from the heavens to pontificate and enlighten us unwashed with his oh so sorely needed commentary.

Costas took to the air at halftime during NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast to give his opinion to a nation holding its collective breath awaiting his judgement on the situation.

Quoting Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, Costas made what is probably the most ludicrous statement that anyone can make about this tragedy:

"If Jevon Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

Here's what Whitlock wrote in his column:

How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?
Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead.
In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.
 If Costas and Whitlock really believe that Mr. Belcher and Ms. Perkins would still be alive if Belcher did not have a gun, then there is no hope for these two or anyone else who shares that belief.

Whatever it was that drove a 25 year old professional athlete to kill his 22 year old girlfriend, the mother of his 3 month old child, was not going to be avoided had he not had access to a gun.

For both Whitlock and Costas to make this ludicrous assumption that this wouldn't have happened if Belcher didn't have a gun, is incredibly irresponsible.

Whitlock and Costas are both national pundits who have a platform to air their opinions. All well and good until what is an opinion becomes a statement of fact, then that is beyond reason. Especially given these reckless statements they've both made are based on flimsy assumptions playing on emotions and political leanings.

OJ Simpson or whoever you want to believe killed Nicole Brown Simpson  and Ronald Goldman in 1994, used a knife.

If someone wants to kill someone whether it's premeditated or in the heat of the moment, they will find the means.

Blaming access to a firearm is simply a copout. It's so easy to pontificate about guns and the number of murders committed every year.

Whether you're pro or anti gun, you cannot make a statement that someone would still be alive if they only didn't have a gun.

They've tried to ban guns in Chicago and that doesn't seem to be working out too well.

Here is a list of gun homicides by nation as it relates to gun ownership throughout the world. Interestingly, the United States has the highest ownership rate, but is ranked 28th in firearm murder rate.

The same day, an employee of the NFL's Cleveland Browns also committed suicide at the team's headquarters. Isn't it ironic that this is not getting the attention that the shooting has. For one, nobody else was killed (which is a good thing), the other is that this person was a club employee, not a professional athlete.

Eric Eucker, the Browns groundskeeper will soon be forgotten and likely never mentioned when Jevon Belcher's name is brought up. How ironic that both men committed suicide on the same day at their respective team's headquarters.

What's so different about them other than the fact that one is a highly skilled, highly paid professional athlete?

Eucker hung himself.

Funny how Costas and Whitlock had nothing to say about this incident.

Imagine if Eric Eucker didn't have access to any rope or whatever he used to hang himself...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Random Observations and Such

Now That Was Intense TV

Don't know how many people watch HBO's Boardwalk Empire, but I have to say that last nights episode, Two Imposters was 50 minutes of the most intense drama I've ever watched. They never letup on the gas pedal from start to finish. Brilliant!
Image: Boardwalk Empire 3.11
Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson
Things have gotten so bad for the woefully mismanaged New York Jets that even Fireman Ed has bailed.

Fireman Ed
Gee, we'll really miss those J-E-T-S chants.
Is Ed Anzalone a self important oaf or is he finally facing the reality that the New York Jets are a poor second fiddle to the New York Giants? The Giants, in contrast are a well run organization with a terrific coach in Tom Coughlin.  Rex Ryan has proven to be a buffoon along with the rest of the team. Any organization reflects from the top down. Jets owner Woody Johnson is a clown and the Jets are a joke.

RIP Alexandra "Sasha" McHale

Terrible news about former Boston Celtics forward and current Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale about the loss of his daughter Alexandra "Sasha" McHale at age 23. Condolences to Mr. McHale and his family.

Casablanca is 70 Years Old Today

The classic motion picture, Casablanca debuted 70 years ago today. One of my all time favorites.

Humphrey Bogart did not say "Play it again Sam" as is often misquoted. It was "If she can stand it I can. Play it." 

He did, however say, "Here's looking at you, kid." Twice.

And finally, my favorite line from the movie: "I was misinformed."

As my dad used to say all the time, "They don't make 'em like they used to."

Friday, November 9, 2012

In Memory of Kelly Harrison

I've setup this page for people to post their memories of Kelly. Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and memories below. Please let me know if you have any pictures you'd like posted.

Kelly Harrison, August 21, 1989 - November 4, 2012
Kelly was a great friend to all of my children, especially our son Chris. Our daughters Amanda and Lizzy were friends with her growing up. Kelly spent a lot of time around our family and also got to know our youngest daughter, Melissa.

Kelly was in our home many, many times and she was a part of our family for many years.

The group of friends that all of our children have grown up with and become friends along they way are truly an exceptional bunch of young women and men. We are so proud of all of you and seeing how you've all grown makes us glad to know each and every one of you. You've all been to our home and are always welcome as you know.

For some of you, this is the first loss of your generation and we are deeply saddened for all of you. We all remember Kelly as a warm, friendly girl who was always fun to be around.

We all will miss her.

I'd love to hear your stories and celebrate her life with you.

To all of the friends of Chris, Liz, Mandy and Melissa, please know that you are all such a big part of our lives and we love you all.

To Paul and Carol Harrison, we are deeply sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. And to Michael Harrison, the loss of your sister.Words cannot express how heartbroken we are.

All of our love,

Mike and Moe

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Meet Your New Junior Senator, America!

Hello everyone!

The good people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts proudly present Elizabeth Warren, Senator Elect!!!

MA Governor Deval Patrick - Official Elizabeth Warren Spokesperson - Pull the string  Governor

From the Boston Herald

A jittery U.S. senator-elect Elizabeth Warren gave one-sentence answers, ducked questions and even passed one on to Gov. Deval Patrick in an awkward first press conference since the election.
Warren spoke for a total of less than four minutes during the 11-minute press conference — the rest was taken up by Patrick and reporters’ questions.
After being asked her first question — how she’d protect defense spending — Warren was silent as she turned to Patrick.
“Defense spending is you,” Patrick prodded Warren.
“Oh, that’s mine,” Warren replied.
After Warren fielded the question, Patrick stepped in to answer the follow-up.
“Let me start,” said Patrick, shielding Warren from having to answer.
When she did respond, the answers were often brief.
How does she feel about the high female voter turnout and the election of women in New Hampshire?
“I’m glad,” she said.
Is it surprising?
“I’m glad that the women turned out to vote, it meant a lot,” said Warren.
Asked what impact more women in the Senate would have, Warren punted.
“You want to try answering that?” she said, turning to Patrick, who stepped in again.
Warren wasn’t much more forthcoming when asked about her guiding principles on the fiscal cliff.
“Right now I think the parties are involved in negotiations,” said Warren.
Does she plan to hire women and minorities on her Senate staff?
“Of course,” she said.
What committee assignment would she like?
“I will continue to talk with the leader about it,” said Warren.
But what committee would she like?
“I will continue to talk with the leader,” Warren repeated.
Warren seemed to finally hit her stride the fifth time she was asked about women.
“Let’s get serious here,” said Warren. “This is 2012, and we’re talking about 20 percent of the United States Senate is female. That’s not an overwhelming number. ... We’re on the right trajectory, but there’s still a lot to do.”
Warren also said Sen. John Kerry would make “an extraordinary Secretary of State.”
Earlier, Warren power-walked past press photographers as she got off a State House elevator and went into Patrick’s office, blowing a potential photo op. The press conference also started about 40 minutes late.

From the People's Paper, The Boston Globe!!

After a press conference in which she brushed aside several questions with terse answers Thursday, Elizabeth Warren gave an explanation for her reticence. Speaking to a handful of reporters after the press conference, she said she must be more discreet now that she is making the transition from candidate to senator-elect.
“Listen, all I can say is I was a lot more discreet as a candidate than I was in real life,” she said after meeting with Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo at the State House.
Turning to a press aide, she said: “Can I say that? Maybe it’s indiscreet to talk about discretion.”

Warren made the comments after her first official post-election news conference, a joint event with Governor Deval Patrick, with whom she met for more than an hour.
Warren declined to say which committees she would prefer to serve on in the Senate. After the conference, she said she was still speaking with majority leader Harry Reid about her assignments, but added that she would like to focus on those related to the middle class issues on which she campaigned.
Warren also declined to elaborate on how lawmakers should deal with the oncoming “fiscal cliff,” a year-end deadline to avoid tax increases and large spending cuts in a variety of areas including the military. She said the issue remains under negotiation in the current Congress.
Even when asked about the influx of women into state and federal offices following Tuesday’s election, Warren initially declined to offer her views, deferring to Patrick.
But in a follow-up question, she was more expansive.
“Let’s get serious here. This is 2012, and we’re talking about 20 percent of the United States Senate female. That’s not an overwhelming number,” she said. “The fact that in this campaign and in this Congress, there were debates about equal pay for equal work, over insurance for birth control, tells us that there’s still a lot of work.”
The governor said Warren won her seat because she approached the campaign with conviction, something he hopes Warren brings to the Senate. But Patrick, who made a long and sometimes difficult transition from inspirational candidate to pragmatic governor during his first term, said that does not have to mean a refusal to compromise.
“Guns blazing isn’t the same thing as conviction,” Patrick said in response to a reporter’s question. “Conviction is a set of beliefs, a core set of values from which you make decisions. And that doesn’t that every decision is going to go your way, or that you’re not going to have to make compromise.”

We have 6 years of this to look forward to America. You can thank the good people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for this gift that is sure to keep on giving!!

I don't know if Warren plans on bringing Governor Patrick with her to all her press conferences in the Senate though. It's beginning to look like a ventriloquist act.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Only In Massachusetts. Unfortunately.

Well the people have spoken and here in Massachusetts, they have spoken and proven, once again, that blind loyalty to a political party is alive and well.

Massachusetts elected proven fraud and liar Elizabeth Warren to the United States Senate, John Tierney, whose wife and brothers in law have been convicted of felonies and money laundering, and Joseph Kennedy III who I think is really 14 years old and has about as much real world experience as a 6 year old to Congress.

But he's a Kennedy which means you can actually leave someone to die and spend 40 years in the Senate.

They threw out incumbent Senator Scott Brown who really represented the Senate's few moderates willing to compromise and replaced him with a hard left wing socialist who is hell bent on destroying capitalism.

But the big travesty in all of this is the media.

It was proven beyond any doubt that Warren used at best, an anecdotal fairy tale of Cherokee ancestry to advance her career.

We all know that Mass is the bluest of blue states. What people may not not know is there is a significant amount of blue collar Democrats that can sway an election to someone like Scott Brown quite easily. I had hoped that this would be the case because Warren, aside from her lies about her ancestry, had high unfavorability rankings in polling and that Brown could sway enough voters to his side.

But not in Massachusetts.

Twila Barnes challenged Warren's bogus claims and systematically dismantled her falsehoods piece by piece. Twila proved beyond any doubt that Warren has no Cherokee ancestry.

Yet Warren ducked the question, her minions dismissed Mrs. Barnes as a crackpot, a paid Republican operative and then even took the stance "If Elizabeth Warren says she's Cherokee, then she is".

This is disgraceful and harmful to Native Americans of ALL tribes, not just Cherokee.

And 90% of the Boston the media ignored the story. If it wasn't for Fox 25 Sharman Sacchetti, WRKO's Howie Carr, former RKO hosts Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee and WTTK's Michael Graham, this would not have had any weight in the campaign.

But liberals do not listen to Howie Carr, Michael Graham, Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee. They don't watch Fox 25 Boston because it is Fox.

Twila Barnes promises that this has not ended because Warren has been elected to the Senate.
Mrs. Barnes is not going to let Warren off the hook.

Warren needs to come clean and apologize to the Cherokee people for stealing their identity to advance her career.

I don't ever expect Warren to apologize for this heinous act at the expense of those who deserve better.

I am not going to apologize for being a conservative.

Shame on you Massachusetts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A New Type Of Discrimination In Japan

Taking a quick break from politics with election tomorrow...

I ran across this article on the BBC News website about the obsession with blood types in Japan.

What starts out as similarity to horoscopes degenerates into people making important decisions based on blood types. I don't know of too many corporations who base decisions on hiring and production based on a person's blood type. But in Japan, the land of the over top obsessions, they do.

We all know that some people do base their relationship decisions when it comes to mating on birth signs. Lots of Americans strongly believe in astrology and make daily decisions based on horoscopes or what position the planets align.

But Japan's blood type fixation has caused some to be discriminated against.

Some outtakes from the article:

  • Here, a person's blood type is popularly believed to determine temperament and personality. "What's your blood type?" is often a key question in everything from matchmaking to job applications.
  • According to popular belief in Japan, type As are sensitive perfectionists and good team players, but over-anxious. Type Os are curious and generous but stubborn. ABs are arty but mysterious and unpredictable, and type Bs are cheerful but eccentric, individualistic and selfish.
  • Morning television shows, newspapers and magazines often publish blood type horoscopes and discuss relationship compatibility. 
  • A whole industry of customised products has also sprung up, with soft drinks, chewing gum, bath salts and even condoms catering for different blood groups on sale. It was only in 1901 that the ABO blood group system was discovered by the Austrian scientist Karl Landsteiner. His Nobel prize-winning work made it possible to identify the different blood groups, paving the way for transfusions to be carried out safely. Theorists of eugenics later hijacked his research during the inter-war years, with the Nazis using his work to further their ideas of racial supremacy. It was also adopted by Japan's militarist government in the 1930s to train better soldiers, and during World War II, the Imperial Army is reported to have formed battle groups according to blood type.
  • The study of blood types in Japan gained mass appeal with the publication of a book in the 1970s by Masahiko Nomi, who had no medical background. More recently, his son Toshitaka went on to promote it further through a series of popular books - he also runs the Institute of Blood Type Humanics. He says his aim is not to judge or stereotype people, but simply to make the best of someone's talents and improve human relationships.
  • It sometimes manifests itself as prejudice and discrimination, and it seems this is so common, the Japanese now have a term for it - bura-hara, meaning blood-type harassment. There are reports of discrimination against type B and AB groups leading to children being bullied, the ending of happy relationships, and loss of job opportunities.

A minister quits

Ryu Matsumoto
In July 2011, Minister for Reconstruction Ryu Matsumoto resigned after being criticised for making insensitive remarks. He blamed his blood type.
"I would like to offer my apologies for offending the people in the disaster-hit areas. I thought I was emotionally close to the disaster victims, but I lacked sufficient words and my comments were too harsh.
"My blood's type B, which means I can be irritable and impetuous, and my intentions don't always come across.
"My wife called me earlier to point that out. I think I need to reflect about that."

In summary, a book written by a man with no medical background gave birth to a cultural phenomenon that gave way to an entire nation basing many important decisions on a thesis similar to astrology.

Go figure...

You can read the entire article here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Twila Barnes Interview

I had the opportunity to interview Twila Barnes, a Cherokee genealogist who has become the 'eye of the storm' in the Massachusetts Senate race.

Harvard University professor Elizabeth Warren is the Democratic nominee from Oklahoma who claims she is part Cherokee which has cause a firestorm (I say not enough of one) because it appears she used her purported minority status to gain employment at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Barnes has painstakingly researched Ms. Warren's ancestry back 188 years and has been unable to produce any evidence that any members of Warren's ancestry are Cherokee.

I have plenty of material in this blog that has covered this controversy:

For those of you who are first time readers of this blog, I am a Massachusetts resident and a Senator Scott Brown supporter. I fully support Ms. Barnes and her fellow contributor's efforts to expose Warren. I hope this helps to defeat her in November and re elect Senator Scott Brown who deserves to be reelected on his merits alone. 

However, the larger issue in play here is the treatment of Native Americans by not only the federal government, but also by the general public at large, or mainstream America. The issues Native Americans face have been neglected for far too long and it's time for America to wake up, recognize and address Native America and Native Americans. 

We like to think of ourselves as a nation of inclusion and tolerance. Truth of the matter is that we have made great strides, witness the fact that a man of African American descent is currently President of The United States. However, the ancestors of the indigenous cultures that were settled here long before our European ancestors continue to suffer indignities, outright bigotry and racism. 

This can no longer be tolerated.

This interview is about Native Americans and what they face day to day and why when someone like Elizabeth Warren makes claims to have Native American ancestry without proof has serious repercussions.

Ms. Barnes was gracious enough to go back and forth for a couple of days answering the questions I sent her.

Here is the interview in its entirety:

Medicine For The Dead: Apart from the controversy surrounding Elizabeth Warren’s claim to be Cherokee, what do you feel are the most important issues Native Americans face today?

Twila Barnes: Poverty due to lack of jobs in areas where large groups of American Indians tend to live; violence against Native women where the rates are extremely high when compared to other racial classifications; suicide, especially among male Native teens (this is epidemic in some areas); and health care because for many, it isn't IF you get diabetes, but WHEN you get it.

MFTD: Let’s breakdown these issues; Starting with poverty due to lack of jobs. Understanding that many Native Americans live on reservations that are government sanctioned, what is being offered as far as education and training? In your opinion, is separation (being on reservations) an issue or is separation necessary because of prejudice?

TB: I can't speak for other nations since I focus on my own, but in Cherokee Nation, they have casinos and such that people could work at, but a lot are so rural and poor, they don't have transportation to get to the locations where the casinos are. And contrary to common belief, not all Indians get per cap checks. For Cherokees, only the Eastern band pays per caps. The other two federally recognized tribes keep the money to be used "in common" or basically for the good of the tribe as a whole. 

The separation isn't what I would say is necessary, but instead, by choice. It isn't based on economics as much as it is based on the desire to live on the land where our ancestors have lived for a long time and to remain in the community of others from our Indian nations. Removing from where our ancestors were, or our tribal lands, in order to survive, IMHO, falls into the area of assimilation which has been detrimental to our tribal customs, traditions and languages. Though for Cherokees, there are good educational opportunities, there is, many times, no job to have with that education unless one decides to leave the Cherokee Nation and many don't want to do that.

MFTD: Can you explain what a ‘per cap check’ is?

TB: Per cap = per capita The Eastern Band of Cherokees pays each individual in their tribe a part of the casino profits this way. It just means each person in the tribe gets a distribution of the income, I believe.

MFTD: The issues of separation and assimilation creates a quandary within themselves for sure. Aside from casino revenues which we've seen go through ups and downs locally here in Connecticut, what would you say are the challenges for Native Americans to balance separation and assimilation while trying to maintain and preserve traditions and heritage?

TB: I don't think there is a balance. If one leaves, they are giving up something and it is usually the cultural and traditional things. For Cherokees, there are some, but very few, satellite communities/groups established by the Cherokee Nation. At large Cherokees (those who live outside the Cherokee Nation boundaries/service area) can join them to stay in touch and to meet other at large Cherokees. But, these groups aren't everywhere. I think for many, no matter what their reason for leaving, or their parents leaving, the desire to "go home" is always there.

MFTD: That may speak to the larger issue that I’d like to focus on later, namely prejudice Native Americans face outside the confines of tribal lands. Let’s go back to one of the earlier points you raised, what can you say about violence against NA women? What do you feel are the root causes?

TB: I imagine the violence against Native women comes in along with the other factors that cause stress in a home, like lack of money to pay bills, alcoholism, depression. I think people overlook the fact it takes many generations to overcome oppression and that generational trauma of things that happened in the past doesn't just go away with the passing of the generation that experienced it. 

I have a friend who is very knowledgeable in the subject of violence against Native women from Canada. She might be better to answer the question, but I know often times, if a Native woman in the northern US or Canada goes missing, the authorities rarely spend time looking for them. I think that is based in prejudice. 

MFTD: Then this is a great time to touch on the main issue, oppression. Let’s start with the historical perspective. What did you learn growing up about the history of your ancestors and what they faced?

TB: Wow. How much time do you have? lol Oppression isn't really historical to me. I feel it everyday, considering I am the first generation of my family born into a non-Cherokee speaking household. The reason for that? My mother was sent away to Indian school and lost most of her Cherokee language there. And of all the things my mother has lost, the loss of her language seems to be the one that bothers her the most.

As for the other part of oppression, I don't even remember learning it or hearing about it for the first time because it has always been there. As a young child, even before I went to school, my mom told me about the Trail of Tears and the suffering. She doesn't remember hearing about it for the first time either, just that she did. I have always heard about the poverty that was widespread in the Cherokee Nation in the 1920s through the 1950s. Many had no choice but to send their children to Indian schools because it was either that or allow their children to starve. I'm sure it was a difficult choice for parents and I know the children did the best they could. My mother said when her parents came to visit, she and her sisters promised each other when their parents left, no matter how sad they were, they would not cry because they knew if they did, it would make their parents cry and they didn't want to make their parents sad.

But that poverty forced families into assimilation. They made a choice to give up the traditions of their ancestors to keep those children alive. It was a matter of survival. And it was during those times many families stopped teaching their children to speak Cherokee. Parents didn't want their children to be whipped or punished while at schools so if the child didn't know the language, they couldn't speak it and therefore get punished.

And, no matter what Elizabeth Warren says about never asking for documentation, i.e. "what child does", it is something we learn about, to a degree, from the time we are very very young. I know I was young, maybe about 4 or 5, and my mother telling me it was important that I always remembered Grandma Nancy's name, that I had to remember Nancy Fisher, because she was on the roll, and that we should always go through her. I heard it over and over as a young child after that. "Remember Grandma Nancy's name....Nancy Fisher. She is on the roll." I had no idea what roll or even what being on the roll meant and I didn't even know who Grandma Nancy was (she died before I was born) but just that it was important and I needed to remember it, so I did.

Later I learned the roll was the Dawes Roll and that I had 9 other ancestors on it as well, but as a child, I was still taught about that roll and the importance, even though I didn't understand all the specifics like I do now. Indian children are taught about things like rolls because it is something we have to know. The reason EW wasn't taught that or given "documentation" of sorts, is because she wasn't Indian.

MFTD: Very powerful. And your point about parents teaching young children about ancestry well before they are old enough to completely understand is well taken. My grandparents were from Sicily and my great grandfather lived with them and us in the same house and he spoke no English. They also made sure we understood about our ancestry. Do you feel there is currently a movement to restore those traditions and the language at least among the Cherokee?

TB: You get it because you have experienced something similar. It sounds like your family has held on to that heritage that helps you have a sense of your own identity. 

There is a movement to restore what has been lost, but we didn't lose it overnight and we won't get it back overnight. It will take a lot more effort, I'm afraid. They have the immersion school to help revitalize the language, but more effort is needed. Our elders are passing faster than we can learn and if we don't do something to preserve their knowledge, it is going to be lost forever.

MFTD: That’s true and I could see how difficult it would be if say, my family wanted to preserve all the old customs and teach us all to speak Italian and assimilate into the culture. The big difference is that even if you grew up in an ethnic neighborhood, preserving Native American traditions and language is markedly different from preserving a European culture in another country. How would you begin to address these issues? Where do you start?

TB: We would have to start with the language. We can't lose that. One thing about our language is there are a lot of fakes learning it now so it is easier to fool people into believing they are authentic when they aren't. Just a few generations ago, one could speak Cherokee to another as a "test", of sorts, to see if one was really Cherokee. Not anymore. Most Cherokees don't speak Cherokee, but there are some fakes who do. Today the only way to tell a real Cherokee from a fake one is the documentation.

MFTD: The issue of fakes and new agers passing themselves off as ‘experts’ in Native American spiritualism and healing has come under recent scrutiny.  How are these pretenders and so-called ‘wannabes’ affecting the perceptions of mainstream America with regard to real Native Americans? Are they doing more harm than good?

TB: Any time a person pretends to be something they aren't, I think they do more harm than good. It doesn't matter if they are a fake military hero or a fake Holocaust survivor or a fake Indian. Their appropriating the experiences of other people is wrong. And it is a way of trying to revise history. That is unacceptable. 

Not so long ago, the man that had the sweat lodge killed people by pretending he knew what he was doing. I don't think he said he was an Indian, but he still tried to use something from Indian culture and killed people. I think it is important the public understand these fakes and pretenders are all over the place and they can be dangerous and harmful.

MFTD: This brings us around to the inevitable question about Elizabeth Warren. You’ve been quoted many times as saying that her claims are harmful to Cherokees. Can you please elaborate on how Warren’s claims are harmful?

TB: This is a really emotional topic for me because it is so sad. Before I went on the trip to Boston, a friend of mine who is Cherokee but grew up in South Dakota on a reservation there, said he has heard of three native youth from there who had committed suicide that week. People take their own lives when they feel there is no hope left. These were young people, our future, and they saw no hope. It is hard to tell them things are changing when white women like Elizabeth Warren get slots at Harvard intended for minorities or real people of color and a lot of people don't even care. I think that is one of the most serious ways what she did or is doing causes harm, but there are others. 

There are only 3 federally recognized Cherokee tribes in the US, but there are over 200 fake tribes trying to pass themselves off as legitimate. People just like Elizabeth Warren who have no proof at all, think they have the right to claim whatever they want, so when they can't join a real tribe, they find other individuals like themselves and form fake tribes that sometimes get state recognized (even though in the Constitution it says Indian tribes are to be dealt with by the US federal government.) and then compete with real tribes for federal money intended for real Indians.

There is a video I can send you a link to that goes into this in more detail.

The "Lost Cherokees" from Arkansas ran a scam where they charged parents something like $60 a head to "enroll" their children in the "tribe" and then these parents changed the race of the children on school records and the schools were helped to apply for grants for Indian children, with the Lost Cherokees getting 5% of the grant money. This all got discovered and was a big deal, but it shows one thing these tribes do. Later, there was a dispute and one leader, Dub Maxwell*, and his wife left that group and started another one, the Ozark Cherokee. They actually tried the scam again! Didn't work the second time. But, I did the genealogy of Dub's wife, Janice, and showed she isn't Cherokee but just an ancestor stealer. She saw my research and STILL claims to be Cherokee and is down there in southern Missouri trying to run more scams.

MFTDWe (meaning mainstream Americans) are barely aware of these issues and that’s why I wanted to go down this road with these questions. I think it is really important to expose why this is so dangerous. While some think that being trendy, hip or they are being spiritual they do not understand the repercussions they may cause by their actions. Understanding that the political aspect of this campaign may well be working against you, do you feel that by taking the stance you have by exposing Elizabeth Warren’s claims this will help to educate mainstream America?

TB: We hope it will. It is hard for us because we are not political therefore, don't have all the funds backing us that Warren and Brown have. Everything we do is done by scraping the barrel to get funds. It doesn't help that the Cherokee Nation just disbanded its task force that used to work in these things. 

Too many people see us as Brown operatives when that isn't true. We don't know either candidate. If he were claiming to be Cherokee, we would be the same way toward him. The reason we wanted to meet with him was because, as a current senator, he now has insight into this issue, and we wanted to explain the things I mentioned above about fake tribes, etc...We hoped to go into more detail with him about these issues the general public is not aware of in the hope, eventually we can get federal laws changed to tighten up the federal definition of Indian. He is just one man and would not be able to do that alone, but just making him aware of these things would go a long way toward our end goal, we believe.

MFTD:  I think these are the first steps toward creating that awareness. And I believe that if Senator Brown is reelected, he will look closely at these issues and hopefully help to make some changes for the better. We're getting close to the end (I promise!!) What did you learn from your trip to Boston earlier this summer?

TB: I thing we all learned that the people of Boston are not as cold and unfeeling as we were made to believe by the remarks of Warren and the Governor. There were people who recognized us from the news reports and they voiced their support. People will claim we are being "paid." But people were very kind and they do care about this issue. I think the more liberal media is making a mistake by not reporting it fairly because they are making it look like a "coverup" and the American public is not stupid. They see it. They know all we want is the truth and not to be represented by someone who is not really one of us. They also seem to believe that EW benefited from her claims and think that is wrong.

MFTD:  Let’s take a look at pop culture, I’m a huge fan of westerns, what would you say are accurate and inaccurate portrayals of Native Americans in movies and TV?

TB: Oh wow! Most are inaccurate. I think the most accurate portrayals are done when Native filmmakers make movies about Natives. One of the best things I have seen done on this subject is the documentary, "Reel Injun". It is on Netflix. I recommend it for further exploration on this. 
Reel Injun Trailer

MFTD:  If you wrote a book or movie about 1800’s America, what would it be about?

TB: If I wrote a book, it wouldn't be about America, per se, but instead, about my own family, ancestors, and the Cherokees who were part of their communities. There are so many stories about them that are waiting to be told.

MFTD: Based on what I've read on your blog, Thoughts From Polly's Granddaughter, I'm sure it would be a great book! 

MFTD: Final question: Now that the election is close, what would you like to say to the voters of Massachusetts?

TB: Good question! I would tell them I have faith in them because they have a history of electing people who stand up for Cherokee rights and sovereignty. Daniel Webster, former Representative and Senator from MA, gave an passionate speech in support of the Cherokee Nation and their right to remain in their homeland. Edward Everett, former Representative, Senator, Governor and Secretary of State from MA, spoke out strongly against the Indian Removal act that eventually led to the Trail of Tears.
The people of MA also sent two memorial letters to Congress, one from the people of the state of MA and one from the city of Boston, in an effort to stand up for Cherokee rights and keep them from having to remove on the Trail of Tears.
In the past, when it has come to doing the right thing by the Cherokees, the people of MA always have. I believe they will do it again.

MFTD:  Well, let's hope the voters of Massachusetts do the right thing in 2012 and send Warren packing. Thank you for your time and effort. Many of us up here in Mass appreciate all the work you've put in.

* Dub Maxwell's claim for Lost Cherokee of Arkansas being certified was denied by the State Of Arkansas December 21, 2005

Final Thoughts

I would like to point out that Mrs. Barnes has put up with a lot of harassment and threats due to her efforts with this issue. She has stood strong and steadfast throughout all the noise and clamor because she knows her work is true and will fight to keep Cherokee and Native American identity pure. 

Native Americans are the lost people here in America. We all know the history of "how the West was won" and the price that was paid by Native Americans, yet not too many people give much thought to how and what Native Americans face today. As you can see by Mrs. Barnes answers, we have a long way to go to deal with these issues.

Electing Elizabeth Warren will do nothing but further damage any progress.

Elizabeth Warren stealing their identity is criminal and should not be tolerated by any American citizen.


Shrinking Native American Lands from 1784 to 1895

Cherokees Demand Truth From Elizabeth Warren

Federally Recognized Cherokee Tribes 

CDC Native Diabetes Wellness Program

NY Times: For Native American Women, Scourge of Rape, Rare Justice

Suicide Among American Indians/Alaska Natives

Native American Heritage

American Indians By The Numbers

Wikipedia: Reservation Poverty

The Dawes Act of 1887

USA Today: Author Found Guilty In Sweat Lodge Deaths

What is a real Indian Nation? What is a fake tribe?


“I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group, something that might happen with people who are like I am,” “Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it, and so I stopped checking it off.” - Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren refused to meet with Native Americans, the ones whose identity she stole to advance her career. She even refused to meet with another group at this year's Democratic National Convention.

Please, think before you vote.