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RIP Muhammad Ali, Dead at age 74.

By the time you read this, you probably may know that Muhammad Ali just died from complications from Parkinson’s Disease in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of our greatest sports legends has left this mortal world of ours. Besides being a champion in his sport, he was a champion in his own right as a principled human being. He was the real deal, whom very few could be compared to.

Muhammad Ali

While some would say that some of his political actions, like refusing to serve in Vietnam, should overshadow his many accomplishments. I’m not one of those. Over the decades, Ali has proven to be a champ for human rights and peace just as much as he was in the ring.  Many of his former “political” enemies have long since changed their hearts and minds. He has gone on to be an ambassador for Peace. He has been generous with both his fortune and time. Even as he was struggling with Parkinson’s, he managed to give his best. We were all amazed when he showed up at the Olympics in 1996, and also for all the other deeds.

Muhammad Ali was a true sportsman. He had many opportunities early in his career to sell out, but didn’t.  At the height of his career he walked away out of principle. And principle was the thing that best defined him the most. But he was also the ultimate showman, the man knew how to play the crowd, in a way he was a champion marketer that way as he was in the ring.

But after all the fights, when the last bell had rung, Ali was still there for his fans. He was there to try and build bridges. He wanted a more peaceful better world for his children and the children of his fans and even those that weren’t his fans. One has to wonder if we will ever see a man like him again.

Rest in Peace and Assalamu alaikum (Peace be upon you) Muhammad Ali.

Shades of Nuremburg?

“What’s wrong with slavery?”
“If you are here without our permission, and we have given you two months to leave, and you’re still here, and we find that you’re still here after we we’ve given you the deadline to leave, then you become property of the State of Iowa, and we have a job for you. And we start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do.”

~ Jan Mickelson, a conservative Iowa radio host


You know, between this and stripping Americans of their citizenship, people like this have me wondering just how they are to be taken seriously. But indeed, they need to be because nonsense like this was actually implemented decades ago across the Atlantic in Central Europe. Forgive the touch to Godwin’s Law, but what this “conservative” is proposing is along the lines of the Nuremberg Laws by the Third Reich. This would involve expanding the power of the State, don’t kid yourself, that’s exactly what would happen. You would need a police state to effectively implement their mad plans.

Yes, I get it, their parents broke the law, they are technically “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants” or “undocumented immigrants” or whatever fucking term you want to use. They had “anchor babies,” but the US Constitution still holds supreme, these babies are Americans. Many of them have grown up and identified as Americans, as is their birthright! Are you going to tell me that an American, who just happened to be one of these babies decades ago, but has now served in our Armed Forces is now not an American? Bollocks on that.

Does our republic have a right to protect its borders? Sure, but please don’t act like none of you have your hands clean either. Get off your high horse if you think you are equally innocent. How many of you have continued patronized a restaurant that has employed these type of immigrants? How many of you have continued to shop at the stores that have had the lowest price in green goods? We’ve all taken advantage of the below-market priced labor. How many of you have purchased a newly-built home in the past 20 years? Now, they have children, who are Americans. Get over it. Birthright citizenship is very American (not to mention common in most of the Americas).

These individuals like this Mikelson character, proposing American versions of the Reich laws, are not who you think they are. They are incubators of a police state. When you think “illegal immigrants” you think Mexican, but news flash, they aren’t the majority of such types any longer. Here in Chicago, a good chunk are Polish or Eastern European. But here is the real dangerous part, once you remove birthright citizenship, then who is to say who is a “real American”? You think you are safe because you are say you are “white”? Don’t kid yourself, look at history. These so-called patriots are really hyper-statist wolves in masks. Strip a man of his citizenship, then his assets, once again look at history.

What if Sandra Bland died from a seizure and police negligence?

When I was very young, 10 or so, I was once again in the hospital (Lutheran General to be exact) for..well crap I forget now, what having so many surgeries in my life. Anyhow, I was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) recovering and well the next day I would’ve been in a normal room. Across from me was another boy, I think he was 5 at the time. I remember he had epilepsy, his mom and mine talked to each other (both were of Hispanic origin I recall). Unfortunately, that night, the boy went into an epileptic seizure, the nurses did what they could, but the kid died within moments.

Now I will testify that I’m no expert on Epilepsy. But the fact is that people can die from seizures, not always, but it is within the realm of possibilities.‪ ‎Sandra Bland‬ was an epileptic, she stated so when she was first thrown to the ground by that cop, we all saw in that video. What I’m wondering, that I haven’t seen mentioned in the news, is if Sandra Bland had an epileptic seizure while in that jail cell? And due to negligence by the police, she died from that seizure (either hitting her head or what have you, akin to that boy in the PICU). Could it be possible, that the treatment she received initially by the police officer helped set things in motion? I don’t know, I would love someone who is more educated on Epilepsy to answer that. But what if Bland died from a seizure, the cops figured this out and had an “o shit” moment? Best to make it a suicide to cover up their negligence perhaps? We won’t know, and I will admit that at this point this is pure conjecture. But something, at least to me, isn’t adding up about all this.

A POW is coming home, ’nuff said!

Look, there’s no question that the 5 Taliban that were released most likely be redeployed to attack in Afghanistan. We’re told that we don’t negotiate with terrorists only other nation-states we have gone to war with, which I suspect isn’t entirely true. The Taliban maybe terrorists, but we haven’t been in a conventional war since our reaction to 9/11. And of course now we are hearing that this POW should have an asterisk to his name because he may have gone AWOL or sent some critical emails to his parents about American policy, as if to say “you swapped 5 really bad guys for this guy?”

The folks complaining about this simply highlights that no matter what President Obama does it will always be wrong. Going back to even W’s administration, there was repeated attempts to get Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl freed. We even lost 5 men trying to rescue him. If they had executed him and sent the video out on it, the same people today complaining about the swap would be decrying that the President did not do anything to free him. And instead of showing Bergdahl’s parents (his father growing a beard until his son was released) with smiles on their face all over the news because their son is finally coming home, Fox News would have them weeping on one of their shows asking why nothing was done or being goaded to say how Obama failed here.

Regardless of whether he was or was not a deserter. Regardless that 5 enemy combatants were swapped, which by the way countries all over the world like Israel have done for decades. The fact is this….one of our own, a POW, is coming back home. Let us hope we can bring the rest home as well. Whatever opinion you may have about President Obama, one of our own is coming home!

Something about U Brits.

(Pic: AP Images)

Whichever branch of the English language you are brought up with, you have to admit parts of it are an inconsistent mess. There are words that are spelled broadly the same but pronounced entirely differently—cough, bough, borough, through, brought—words that are spelled entirely differently but pronounced the same—write, right, two, too, to—and words that do the same job and have only slightly different spellings—obfuscate, obfusticate.

And of course, as with most things that are old and full of character, there’s a lot of beauty in that mess, but also a lot of room for people to argue over which aspect of the mess best exemplifies the true spirit of this living, breathing, evolving thing we all use every day.

via Why Did America Drop The ‘U’ In British Spellings? | Anglophenia | BBC America.


Language, to paraphrase George Orwell, is a powerful thing. I always wondered why we Americans had a different spelling for “flavor” instead of “flavour.” To be honest, some of the British ‘U-versions’ always seemed nicer. As for Ax, I’ve seen the one ending in ‘e’ just as much over here.

Also, why do we say “Zee” for Z instead of “Zed”? Don’t tell me it had to do with that damn song we were taught in Kindergarten!  Actually, if you look at those ancient English tomes, say from Shakespeare’s days, the English language was radically different back then. The spelling for words they use over there in those days had vowels in places that today both the British and we Yanks would find odd. Noah Webster produced his dictionary 200 years ago. So what will the English language in the “Anglo world” be like 200 years from now?

Price controls hit Venezuela…this will not end well!

Law Limiting Costs, Prices and Profits Comes into Force in Venezuela



economic war

Price Controls

Mérida, 24th January 2013 ( – A law limiting costs, prices and profit margins across the Venezuelan economy came into effect yesterday.

The law is designed to prevent over-pricing, speculation and other abuses against consumer rights which have been occurring in the South American country.

It was drawn up by President Nicolas Maduro after problems with Venezuela’s currency control system and what officials argue is an “economic war” being waged by anti-government business sectors have created economic imbalances for consumers such as high inflation and shortages in some basic products.

via Law Limiting Costs, Prices and Profits Comes into Force in Venezuela |

This….will not end well.

Many years ago I got to become friends with a young man from Caracas at one of my father’s BBQs. This was about a year before Chavez became President. He came from a well to do family who was in tool and die making. Anyways, he worked in retail before coming here and I learned a thing or two about how it is down there. Essentially, you had over the decades something akin to how our health insurance companies operated here, were a select few manage to consolidate and get the state to give its blessing. The state allowed and aided a select few to dominate at the expense of a real free market in retail. forward to today and you have the end result of state meddling/crony capitalism with a cabal of business interests. One hand helping the other. But instead of breaking up these retail combines and allowing the formation of a real free market for retail, we get something worse. Very rare does command economies and their price control schemes work out well. The fundamental forces of Supply & Demand ultimately will win out in one form or another. Incentives will be shifted, shortages will begin, oh the list goes on and on. We have seen this time and time again, be it here in the US or Cuba or the USSR or wherever, it almost always fails.

This, unfortunately for the average Venezuelan, in the end…will not end well.


My heart goes out to those surviving seniors and the families of the victims of the great tragedy in L’Isle-Verte, Quebec. What a horrible way to go. I think of my 88 year old father and others in my family of similar ages when I see the story of L’Isle-Verte. For the uninitiated here in the US, there was a major fire in an old folks home where virtually every one, except for a small few, had perished. Between the blazing fire that quickly spread to the death-inducing freezing hitting North America, that had almost little to no chance. Once again, my heart goes out to those who survived and the families of the victims.

A 20 Year-Old Got Appendicitis and This Was His Hospital Bill

A 20 year-old man came down with appendicitis in October of this year. He posted the bill on Reddit and it has gone viral. The US Health Care system is a topic of much debate, not only in the US but around the world. A lot of countries get ‘free’ health care, so needless to say, this has stirred up a lot of conversation.

via A 20 Year-Old Got Appendicitis and This Was His Hospital Bill.

As someone who is chronically ill and disabled, I’ve seen this situation more than once. Luckily I have Medicare, but that doesn’t mean my doctors won’t over charge. My mother suffered a heart attack back in 2007, and add to that unfortunate event was the fact that she was without insurance because her previous one had lapsed and we were desperately looking for one until she too could go on Medicare. Suffice it to say, even with a portion of the bill forgiven, it wasn’t enough and my parents were financially wiped out. My father, now 88, lost nearly 7 decades of savings in one fell swoop.

We like to rag on the insurance companies, and don’t get me wrong, they are in my eyes co-conspirators in the draining of this nation’s wealth. But we also have to look at the medical establishment. Yes, doctors and medical practices do face a lot of costs, especially malpractice insurance and other similar liabilities. But much, from what I’ve been told even by them, of the costs is peer-inflated. Basically, because X raised their prices, so must Y and thus one sees a chain reaction.

Besides doctors, you have hospitals and medical suppliers also charging crazy amounts. I get it, if you make a medical widget or a pill, you need to see a return on investment. But having owned stock in some medical supplier companies, and really you all should just download those freely available annual and quarterly reports these folks put out, they freely admit charging 10-to-100X the cost of something. Many pharma companies flagship products are based on research the public has already invested in.


The Cons and Libertarians like to talk about how we need a free market in medicine. That if the government “got out of the way,” we would see lower prices through competition. This is a major fallacy for one simple reason: the medical establishment does not believe in competition. The AMA alone controls the supply of doctors in the United States, and they are akin to an old medieval guild. In order to have a market one needs to have price transparency. You can easily find out the price on a grocery shelf for all products, and we can price compare many goods against other stores. There is no such price transparency in medicine. Hospitals only post some pricing and more often than not that information is hard to get. And of course, one cannot price shop while having a heart attack.

Maybe we do need a collapse of the medical system to rebuild it. We obviously do not have any political means of enforcing any real competition among medical providers. And we sure as heck do not have any political means of establishing something like the UK’s National Health Service, let alone Single-Payer.

Cherry picking Bible Quotes for positive intolerance


The Social Cons aren’t the only ones who can cherry pick Bible verses. Though mine aren’t for establishing oppression against gays or others. This isn’t an attempt at preaching any religion, just pointing out that if you’re going to use the Bible for creating intolerance, then why not intolerance against affliction and injustice?

“If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.” ~ Deuteronomy 15:7

“But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him?” ~ 1 John 3:17