Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013

The 2013 Apple Holiday Commercial has gone viral, as well it should. This moving tribute to the importance and value of friends and family is virtually impossible to watch without tearing up.  I'm pretty sure Apple has managed to capture the real meaning of Christmas... and all holidays for all religions. 


This moving version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is by the incredibly talented Cat Power and is available on iTunes.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Seething in a Cauldron of Hate

Christmas Day was an interesting time for those of us reading in the political corners of the blogs, Facebook and Twitter.  As most of you know I follow an equal number of Conservatives and Progressives/Liberals on Twitter and in my reading of blogs.  I work hard to do this as I feel it's important to get both points of view.

While my observations are merely anecdotal and not scientific, they startled me greatly.  Progressives and Liberals posted Tweets filled with hate and vitriol all day Christmas.  It was sad and disturbing to see and read.  Regularly posted were hate filled condemnations of Republicans,the Tea Party and, especially mocking or outright condemning Christians.

Meanwhile the conservatives all were posting greetings of love, cheer, blessings and Holiday Joy! Conservative posts contained pictures of family and friends, Christmas Trees and Holiday anecdotes.

I don;t understand the hate.  Seriously, I don't know why so many Liberals are consumed in hate.  It just can't be healthy.

The hate is so all encompassing, it prevents even remotely logical thought.  It becomes an obsession.  Witness this terribly sad example of hate filled insanity from Joy Reid on MSNBC.  She hates Sarah Palin so much she felt obligated to file an astonishing piece of complete nonsense about Palin's anti-biblical worship of.... Christmas Trees!  As you watch this short clip notice Sarah Palin was talking about Family Love.  Shere never once mentions Christmas Trees.  That didn't stop Reid.


I know Reid hoped to illustrate some flaw in Sarah Palin, perhaps Biblical hypocrisy, but she sailed way off the mark into sea waters of stunning stupidity. Only sheer hatred can take you this far off course.

Compare Palin's Chirstmas Greeting with Michelle Obama's wonderful White House tour of the many Christmas Trees found throughout the Obama Home and Nation's Capitol.  You'll notice immediately how Sarah Palin's message and Michelle Obam's message are virtually IDENTICAL!! Yet Joy Reid's hate and vitriol are reserved only for Sarah Palin.


It is interesting to note that no Christmas Tree was ever displayed in the White House until 1856 when President Franklin Pierce, a Democrat from New Hampshire, installed the very first White House Christmas Tree. The move was incredibly unpopular. There was even talk of impeachment for President Pierce for allowing a pagan German tradition into the White House.

It is the ultimate irony that Joy Reid is condemning Palin for following a tradition started by a open minded Democrat President.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Anecdotal Evidence


So far, my experience with The Affordable Care Act provides me with ZERO confidence that any part of it will ever produce anything other than chaos. I am hereby renaming the plan ObamaScare, because frankly it frightens the hell out of me. Friends tell me stories about premiums rising 1000%, A friend called the Alabama Insurance Department and the spokesperson there said the average Alabamian may see a 300% increase in premiums. That is IF ANYONE EVER GETS TO COMPLETE THE PROCESS! I spent a couple hours filling out the online application. The section before the identity verification kept losing my information each time I logged off, even after repeated saves. Each time I logged back in I had to re-enter the same information. This game I repeated SIX TIMES at about 30 minutes each. I FINALLY got to the end of the section and I was ready to embark on the ID verification process and present the submitted application tfor verification.

But wait, after I submitted the information for the ID verification process I got an error saying that my ID could not be verified online. I needed to call the Healthcare Marketplace. Where is this cool sounding marketplace? Near the Wharf in SanFran? Or maybe PepperPlace in B'ham? Nope it's nowheresville. I place the call. After waiting on hold a short while I heard, "Hello this is the hellfiredamgeplace whatdjks;aieh kdsljf". Assuming that the inaudible mumbling I just heard actually confirmed I had called the correct place, I proceeded with, "Yes, hello, I am trying to fill out my application at (I really wanted to say I'm battling ObamaScare Gallactica!) and I got to the part where I need to verify my identity and I got an error saying to call this number."

She says "OK." Silence. . . more silence. . . not a word. Me: "Hello, is anyone there?' She: "yes." Then more silence, but this time I can hear someone in the background whispering, "Ask him mumble mumble blah blah." More silence (even the mysterious whispers have stopped). Then, like someone jumping out of a closet in front of an unsuspecting kid feeling this way through a dark hallway, "SIR, WHAT CAN I HELP YOU WITH?" Well by now I'm thinking, you can get me one of those portable de-fib units they have at public spaces - and set that phaser to stun 'cause you just gave me a heart attack! I recomposed myself and essentially repeat the same, "the web site told me to call you" blurb. Then I added is this the right number?" She assures me it is and that some other people have had trouble in that spot." BINGO, SCORE WE HAVE A WINNER, she knows what I'm talking about! Smooth sailing ahead! I wait with great anticipation for forthcoming wisdom; an action plan to set this thing into motion!

She says, "Umm, just a minute" and puts me on hold. Tick tock, tick tock. Another blanket of silence has covered this corpse of a customer service call. And this has officially, at this very second, shredded my hope of ever seeing my family alive again. Oh, sorry, It just felt that way. She returns again, this time at a normal volume level and the mumbling is understandable. But it's not exactly professional, or semi-professional or even business casual. It's an insulting combination of slang phrases and one word sentences that has no place in an private office conversation, much less in a customer service center. Things like "do wut," uh-huh, gonna, naw, nuttin', ain't and more. Aside from the slacker talk, the bottom line is the system wouldn't work for me, nobody could fix it, tell me why or what's wrong or anything. Oh, except I needed to write down my name, address, telephone number, and MAIL it with a copy of my driver's license, social security card, a lock of my hair, a DNA swab, a urine sample, fingerprints, a retinal scan, a psychological evaluation and my Facebook password. I asked her if she could just get a copy of the stuff she's needin' from the NSA, because they've been following me for years. Silence. Me: "I'm just kidding, I'll send the stuff, gimme the address. " She does and proceeds to tell me it would take 3 to 8 weeks to get verified. I'm no math whiz but I know there is not 8 weeks left in the year. "Ma'am, if it takes 8 weeks, what am I supposed to do for health insurance in the meantime. She: "I dunno" I hang up, resolved to find a real solution.

Today a friend tells me the new web site actually works. But she also says that I better get back in there quick because she had to start over. I login tonight and the application resumes on STEP NUMBER ONE. All the information I have entered again and again is gone. Along with it is a popup message saying that I need to remove, delete and destroy the old application and start all over again. Lucky number seven, right? Well tonight, I aint' doin' nuttin' like 'at. Gonna chill away from ObamaScare and dream of a better time.

Scott Schablow is a long time friend. He is the Director of Digital Marketing & Social Media for The Hip Brand Group in Birmingham, Alabama. This essay originally appeared on Scott's Facebook page and is reprinted here with his permission. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Religion and Science

Liberals tend to mistrust organized religions, especially rigid and structured sects that demand great conformity among its practitioners.  That mistrust turns to outright rebellion if that religion tries to force conversion and dictate the practices of those who do not believe.

This mistrust is not without merit as throughout history religions and cults have abused their power to convert or even enslave their opponents.  It the religion demands total acceptance of doctrine without question it can become a tool to force absolute compliance and demand contributions of money, resources and time from believers and non-believers alike.  In the end, organized religion is often all about money and power, rather than faith and belief.

Because science thrives on inquiry, experimentation, observation and questioning of pre-conceived ideas, scientists are often at the forefront in conflict with religion.  Religion tends to brook no questions, tolerate no denial, permit no experimentation and, all too often, forbids even observation of nature.

One of the greatest scientists in history, Galileo Galilei, was ensnared in the conflict between religion and his own scientific inquiry, observation and development of theories that explained the facts he observed.

In 1633 Galileo was arrested, tried during the Inquisition, forced to renounce his findings and theories and was imprisoned only to be released and forced to live under house arrest until his death. He was forbidden to discuss this theories unless he labeled them as "fiction."

Most people know the biography I've outlined above.  What you might not know is the Galileo was often wrong in his theories! Factually, provably, stunningly wrong!  For example, in his zeal to prove the earth revolved around the sun, he predicted the movement of the tides based on his theories.  He was wrong, horribly wrong [ as a side note, tides are influenced by the gravitational pull of the moon, not the sun ]. Galileo's theories about the movement of the tides were pure bunk!  This absolute failure was used as "proof" that he was a heretic during his trial.

Further, because his theory about the tides was wrong the Jesuit's used his failure to infer that his entire idea that the earth revolving around the sun was also wrong. Since he was imprisoned and forbidden to research and forbidden to write, he could not vindicate himself.

Of course, Galileo was, in fact, correct about the earth and the sun.  He was also correct about, quite literally, hundreds of other theories and ideas. The Catholic Church realized, almost immediately the error of its conflict with science and has spent the better part of the last 300 years forgiving and eventually pardoning Galileo.

Today we have a new, powerful and money hungry religion, it's the religion of Global Warming and human influenced damaging climate change.  Like the Catholic Church of the 17th century, the Church of Global Warming demands absolute and unquestioning adherence to the per-prescribed set of doctrines and beliefs.  Global warming zealots permit no questioning of the holy scriptures and will not tolerate for even a moment any observation of facts that does not fit into the rigid belief system.

Their mantra is "This is Settled Science," or "97% of Scientists Agree." Neither statement is remotely true. What is true is the "Popes of Global Warming" are making millions of dollars off the paranoia their doctrine creates.

Unfortunately, the current facts on the ground fly in the face of the organized acolytes.  We are, in reality,in the early stages of a global cooling cycle that will likely last another 50 years.  Ice is rapidly reforming in the Arctic, and the Antarctic is the coldest its ever been in recorded history.  Every projection so far issued by Global Warming scientists has failed to predict the current cooling.  Predictions of extreme storms has also failed as were are now in the eighth year of the quietest period for hurricanes and tornadoes since 1900.

This is not to say, that Global Warming isn't happening.  It is to say, like Galileo's theory of the tides, the early attempts to prove the theory are stunningly wrong. Eventually, scientist will determine the truth if......  if the religion of Global Warming allows real scientists to investigate further without condemnation or restraint.

Therein lies the problem. Today the zealotry of the Global Warming establishment seeks to have skeptics fired, lose research grants, face public ridicule and be driven into the modern equivalent of house arrest.

The recent revelation of facts has denied the Global Warming Priests of virtually all their arguments supporting Global Warming. Like the Church, when the facts no longer match the scripture, they fall back onto the threat of Hell and eternal damnation. Those who don't believe are heretics, possessed by the devil.

Witness this little piece of religious horror from Greenpeace. This isn't science, it's a quest for money, power and believers: