Monthly Archives: December 2013

An Index to Blog Posts on the Brissioni Blog in 2013

index2

This is the view from the cheap seats.

January, 2013

 

Wishbone 1/1/13 politics, childish games, wishbones *Playing Chess and Celebrating 1/2/13 celebration, dysfunction, fiscal cliff, taxes *Social Security: “Bro” v Mom 1/3/13 budget cuts, deficit, social security *Done Celebrating 1/4/13 dispensation, grover norquist, small government v large government, the election express *Restoring Trust 1/7/13 bargaining, jilting the President, republican rhetoric *

Ground Control to Major Tom 1/8/13 asteroid, 2012DA14, asteroid hunter * A Herculean Task/Tax Reform 1/10/13 size of the tax code, tax code reform * Paradoxes 1/11/13 Syrian refugees * An Inaugural Gift 1/15/13 debt ceiling, the people’s President * Pretzel Economics 1/16/13 entitlements * Taking a Scientific Approach to Mass Shootings 1/17/13 gun control, gun violence, mental illness, the NRA, video games * Solving Mass Shootings Not Easy 1/18/13 America taboos, gun control, mental illness

MLK and BHO – OMG 1/21/13 dreams, inauguration of President Obama for second term* Knock On Wood: The Second Term Curse 1/22/13 political folk tales, self-fulfilling prophecy * Snow Days 1/23/13 jigsaw puzzles, snow days, Winter * The Benghazi Investigation 1/24/13 Hillary Clinton, testifying about Benghazi * Curiosity and Terraforming Mars 1/25/13 Curiosity, terraforming Mars, water on Mars *

An Endless Republican Loop 1/28/13 the debt the deficit, the demise of the GOP, The Economy * More Siri 1/29/13 digital personal assistants, Siri, technology * Hillary Clinton – What Next 1/30/13 being Secretary of State, Hillary’s first day off, saying thanks

 

February, 2013

 

On the Edge of an Innovation 2/1/13 innovation, Peter Diamandis, WSJ, X Prize Foundation * Tactics to Deny Obama Appointments 2/4/13 filibuster, legacy, obstructionism, pandering to financial sector, recess appointments * Beauty/Winter Break – Gardens 2/5/13 beauty, gardens * Abandoning the High Road 2/6/13 America’s self-image, rule of law, rules of war, terrorism and war * Avert the Sequester Cuts 2/7/13 planned cuts in lieu of automatic cuts, sequestration * Racing the Apocalypse 2/8/13 end of the world, new age, post-apocalyptic visions

Duck Dynasty 2/9/13 Duck Dynasty, Friday night TV * High on Life – The Grammies 2/11/13 hippies, music, musicians, The 2013 Grammys * Conjecture about the State of the Union Address 2/12/13 partisan politics, President’s tactics, Republican rhetoric * Reaction – State of the Union Address 2/13/13  education, jobs, Republicans, stimulate the economy, you lost * It’s Asteroid Day 2/15/13 asteroid 2012DA14, Siberian meteorites

Legacy 2/19/13 Congressional legacy * Worse and Worse in Washington 2/21/13 gridlock, Ted Cruz, unpleasantness * Countdown – Eight Days to Sequester 2/22/13 effects of sequestration, sequestration, stonewalling, tax reform * It’s the Middle Class v The Wealthy, Still 2/25/13 cuts v. cuts and revenues, middle class v wealthy, Obama v Republicans, sequestration * Silly Advertising Nonsense v Semiotics 2/26/13 advertising * Behind the Scenes – Changing America 2/27/13 GOP, separation of church and state, stealth tactics, under the radar * Trayvon Martin – One Year Later 2/28/13 delayed justice, murder or justifiable homicide, stand your ground

 

March, 2013

 

Am I Gaga for Obama? 3/1/13 Congressional legacy, decline and fall of the Republican Party, first African-American President *Heist: Who Stole the American Dream 3/5/13 cornering wealth, movie, politics, skewed laws * Bottom-dweller Syndrome 3/6/13 complaisancy, out-of-kilter economics * Brainwashed 3/7/13 brainwashed, Standing up to the wealthy, The GOP

Spring Ahead 3/9/13 spring * Bucking the Oil Industry: Part I 3/11/13 clean technology vs fossil fuels * Bucking the Oil Industry – Part II 3/12/13 clean technology vs fossil fuels * Bucking the Health Care Insurance Industry 3/13/13 no health care insurance, or combo health care insurance, private, public *

No Means No in Politics also 3/18/13 social safety net, tax reform, the media and the Republicans * Iraq War – Ten Years Ago – Some Thoughts 3/20/13 Iraq War, Patriot Acts, remembering * Economically Stuck 3/21/13 label propaganda, socialism v capitalism, the American safety net * A Spring Do-Over 3/22/13 spring, spring activities

Trying to Bring the Message Home 3/25/13 dueling budgets, growth, innovation, not austerity * Besides the Economy 3/26/13 the 2013 Congress and the American agenda * Playing – Music 3/27/13 albums, music from the 60’s * Beauty Break – Flowers 3/28/13 estate gardens, floral paintings, using color to counteract winter gloom * Still Manipulating the National Agenda 3/29/13 local and state activities, looking left, Republicans still moving to the right * Yikes! Will It Be War? 3/30/13 motives for aggression, North Korea, options to aggression

 

April, 2013

 

The Economy of Wishful Thinking 4/1/13 American economy doomed, David A Stockman, economic reform, supply-side v Keynesian economics * “Cannoodling” with Communists 4/2/13 altruism, capitalist-communist partnership, globalization, greed, slave labor * How About those Pipelines? 4/3/13 fresh water supplies, oil pipelines, oil spills, tar sands and oil shales, TransCanada oil pipeline * My Jane Austen Moment 4/6/13 fantasy, Jane Austen * Obstructing Justice 4/8/13 Federal Judges, Obama appointments to court held up in Congress

Guns and Twinkies 4/9/13 gun control * Saying Good-bye to Geneva 4/10/13 rules of war * Fair Elections 4/11/13 corporations are not people, empowered voters * Odd Jobs 4/13/13 getting ahead, making ends meet, supplemental income * A Modern Tale – Oligarchy v Democracy 4/17/13 Industrial Age, Information Age, oligarchy, small government, Space Age *

Betrayed, Depressed, Broken-Hearted 4/18/13 a really bad Congress, gun control * Gut Wrenching 4/20/13 apprehension of Boston terrorists, bombings at Boston Marathon, diversity * Hater Week – Pandora’s Box 4/22/13 exploring reasons for anti-American sentiment * Hater Week – Culture Shock 4/23/13 religious zeal, the evolutionary curve of devoutness

Hater Week – Women’s Rights 4/24/13 education for women, equality, oppression of women, women and Islam, women are human beings * Hater Week – Zombies v the American People 4/26/13 2014 election, 2016 election, Congressional place holders, obstructionism * Electric Slide 4/27/13 dance, unsolvable dilemmas * Into the Fray, the Red Line 4/29/13 hawks, manipulation, Syria

 

May, 2013

 

Please Stop Smoking! 5/1/13 stop smoking ads * Schools – On the Wrong Track  5/2/13 Common Core, creativity, new educational models, standardized testing * Why We Elected Obama 5/3/13 Democrats v Republicans, protecting sanity * A Very Unusual Terrorist 5/6/13 Dshokar Tsarnaev, understanding terrorists * Three Horrific Disasters: One Unlearned Lesson 5/7/13 tragedy, unregulated capitalism, worker’s safety

Robbing Us Blind 5/8/13 corruption in government * Wasted 5/9/13 need for solutions, wasted potential, young people * Benghazi: Murder or Spin 5/10/13 fake outrage, false accusations, Republicans v Democrats * My Bad Week 5/13/13 Benghazi talking points, impeachment, IRS GOP v Dems * Post Terrorism Police Etiquette 5/14/13 don’t talk back, safety v liberty, stern police personnel

Wham, Pow, Kaboom 5/15/13 happy Republicans, what about Americans * Who’s a Patriot? 5/21/13 501 (C) (4)’s, election tactics, IRS, patriots, tea party

A Beast Made of Air  5/22/13 extreme weather, the Moore Oklahoma tornado * Whistle-Blowers v. Leakers  5/23/13 leaker, Obama, the DOJ investigations of certain reporters, whistle-blower * Changing Liberty 5/24/13 immigration legislation, immigration philosophies, immigration Policy * Who’s Going to Jail? 5/25/13  501 (C) (4)’s, image of President, IRS * My Spirea Plants, 2013 5/27/13 Memorial Day, renaissance spirea

My Profile Picture 5/28/13 artist Jack White, my profile picture * Congressional Panels Are Unprofessional 5/29/13 Congressional investigation panels, Joe McCarthy, the IRS investigation * The Nanny State – Still? 5/30/13 makers and takers, small government, the issue that won’t go away, the nanny state * Behind the Curtain: Exposing Oz 5/31/13 circumventing the Constitution, trashing the Constitution, Republicans, undoing America *

 

June, 2013

 

A Flower “Bed” 6/1/13 garden accessories, garden puns, gardening * Exposing Oz, Continued 6/3/13 Federal Judges, Republicans v Democrats, weakening the Constitution * Crazy Barbies  6/4/13 Barbie, invoking sisterhood, Michele Bachmann, revoking sisterhood, Sarah Palin * Darwin for Humans 6/5/13 dehumanizing America, knockout game, random murder * IRS, No IRS, the ACA and the flat tax – sexy 6/6/13 end the IRS, flat tax, the 2014 election, the ACA, The GOP, the IRS * The Shed Saga 6/7/13 Lowe’s, replacing my shed

The Trial of George Zimmerman 6/10/13 George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, trial of George Zimmerman * We Just Want to Have Fun 6/11/13 getting Americans to pay attention to government * Is She Still Talking About the Constitution 6/12/13 saving the Constitution, the role of the American people in government * The IRS and the ACA – OMG  6/13/13 Affordable Care Act, jobs, obstructionism, the IRS *  Snooping on America 6/14/13 changing the security target, intelligence gathering versus privacy, safety versus privacy, jobs, NSA

US Involvement in Syria 6/19/13 suckers for a good revolution, Syria, Syrian refugees, US involvement in Syria * Bottled Genies and Time Machines 6/20/13 GOP, stop the war on women, women voters * Takers – For My Sister 6/21/13 disability, takers, welfare * Toad Vomit  6/22/13  GOP junk science, GOP rape nonsense  *  The Sweet Spot  6/24/13 sweetness  *  The Sweet Spot 2  6/25/13  toddlers

The Sweet Spot 3 – Senator Wendy Davis  6/25/13  anti-abortion laws, Texas war on women, Wendy Davis  *  The Sweet Spot 5 – Bravery, Compassion and the White Album  6/28/13  the Beatles White Album, US citizens, US soldiers  *  The Sweet Spot 6 – Chocolate Pound Cake  6/29/13 recipes

 

July, 2013

 

The GOP War on Higher Education  7/1/13  college loan rates, colleges and liberal brainwashing, colleges and voter suppression  *  The Last Week of June  7/2/13  human rights, one step forward, one week of human rights loses and gains, two steps back  *  CEO Pay and the Revolution  7/3/13  gap between CEO pay and worker pay, guns, humor or not, revolution *   Giving Egypt Space  7/5/13  spontaneous demonstration, Tahrir Square, who will lead Egypt, wishing Egypt well

More on the Space/Time Continuum (sort of)  7/6/13 2040 Asteroid, asteroid, Siberian meteorites  *  The George Zimmerman Trial  7/8/13  George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, trial of George Zimmerman  * Closing Ranks – The George Zimmerman Trial  7/9/13  police closing ranks, trial of George Zimmerman  *  We Don’t Want No Immigration  7/10/13  border security, immigration, path to citizenship or amnesty

Change Senate Filibuster Rules Now  7/13/13  2014 election, an un-American agenda, filibuster, obstructionism  *  Technically Justice/Still A Travesty  7/15/13  George Zimmerman, self defense, Trayvon Martin  *  The Paradox of our Second Amendment Rights  7/16/13  fear of facism, guns, paramilitary police tactics  *  The Racial Divide in America  7/17/13  being fair, color-blindness, equality, the racial divide  * The Royal Baby and Me  7/18/13  birthdays, royal baby

Cliches and Analogies/Hope and Change  7/23/13  hope and change, Obama’s “failures”, racism, Republican obstructionism, the South rises  *  Have We Dipped Our Brush in Too Many Pots  7/24/13  an agenda and a shadow agenda, deliberate obfuscation, too many issues  *  The War of the Worlds  7/25/13  Future America, The Economy, the Middle Class

The Shed Saga, Part 2  7/30/13  replacing my shed  *  My 1000th Blog Post – My Sister Wrote a Book  7/31/13  1000th blog post, book

 

August, 2013

 

Rand Paul – No Mitch McDeere Here  8/1/13  Rand Paul, the politics of meanness  *  USPS Comes Under Small Government Axe  8/2/13  cluster mailboxes, stop cutting public employment, USPS  *  An Andy Warhol Exhibit in Utica, NY  8/3/13  Andy Warhol, art exhibit, Munson Proctor Museum, Williams Proctor House

Is This What You Really Really Want  8/5/13  austerity, social safety net, the deficit, the national debt  * Detroit and Dominos  8/6/13  abandoning pension promises, bankrupt cities, Detroit, other American cities  *  “In the Day” and Now/”Black Power”  8/7/13  Black Power, more African American representation in the media, the African American perspective, then and now  *  The Nostalgia Train – Vietnam  8/9/13 letters from Vietnam, life, nostalgia, snafus

No Viable Republicans  8/12/13  GOP extremists, GOP unelectable  *  This is the Droid You’re Looking For  8/13/13  beginning of the future, new thing  *  Disrespect at Home Translates to Disrespect Abroad/Egypt  8/15/13  Congressional disrespect for President, foreign relations, strategy for Egypt

Redistribution of Wealth My Eye  8/19/13  re-redistribution of wealth, redistribution of wealth, the great corporate migration, what America lost  *  Off to the Races  8/20/13  2014 election, 2016 election, news commentators  *  Republicans Winning at State Level  8/21/13  2014 election, 2016 election, electoral votes of Republican states, states with Republican governors and legislators  *  Ted Cruz/ Cartoonish or Sinister  8/22/13  Political Purity, Ted Cruz  *  The Way, Way Back and other coming of age movies – Movie  8/23/13  coming of age, movies, Fruitvale Station, Moonrise Kingdom, The Way, Way Back

What Would It Take for Us to Rise Up?  8/26/13  political activism, political inertia  *  Thanks for Playing Bill O’Reilly, Sorry You Are Not a Winner  8/28/13  Bill O’Reilly, nuclear family, solving dysfunctional social behavior  *  Who Should the President Listen To?  8/29/13  a red line, Syria, US involvement in Syria  *  What is it with men?/Syria  8/30/13  creative approbation, drawing red lines, Syria

 

September, 2013

 

Labor Day, 2013: Reflections on American Workers   9/2/13  Labor Day, the value of workers, Unions, unions and politics, workers  *  A Quick Escape  9/3/13  beauty, Nature, nostalgia, weeping willows  *  Is Representative Democracy Dying in America?  9/4/13  representative democracy, actual democracy, too many voices  * Going Bigger, Much Bigger  9/5/13  climate change, cutting energy use, energy programs, the environment  *  Shopping for a “Smart” Phone  9/6/13  smart phones

Who’s the Bad Guy, Obama or Assad?  9/9/13  isolationism, talking with weapons, the tone of the Syrian debate  *  Can Democrats Win the House in 2014?  9/10/13  the 2014 election   *  Behind the Pay Wall  9/11/13  pay walls  *  Basically A Rant  9/12/13  2014 election, foreign relations, Grover Norquist, Koch brothers, Obama, obstructionism, Republicans, Syria, tea party

Is a Crazy Man Defending Guns in America?  9/18/13  gun control, megalomania, the NRA, Wayne La Pierre  *  American Government Now a Spectator Sport  9/19/13  addicted to suspense, media ratings, political coup, purse strings, the ACA, the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling  *  Judging Internet Posts:  Quantity vs. Quality  9/20/13  blogging, internet marketing, “tricks” or strategies, quantity vs. quality, search results

Trivializing Freedom  9/24/13  abusing freedom, Freedom, thoughts about Freedom  *  The Republican Lies About the ACA (Obamacare)   9/25/13  Affordable Health Care Act, Obamacare, Republican opposition to the ACA  *  Surprises of Globalization  9/27/13  culture shock, global economy, globalization, peace, terrorism, tolerance  *  GOP – Strident and Shrill Equals Desperate   9/30/13  politics not health care, the ACA

 

October, 2013

 

Hastert Rule/Filibuster Below 60 – The Obstructionist’s Toolbox  10/1/13  filibuster, Hastert Rule, Republican obstructionism, which party created Hastert Rule and 60 Vote Rule  *  Touching Base With Social Security  10/2/13  saving Social Security  *  Culling the Herd – Limited Government  10/3/13  entitlements, Federalism, limited government, political coup, Social Darwinism by Creationists, social safety net  *  Cooties  10/5/13  cootie shots, health care, Republicans

Mutiny Aboard the Ship of State  10/7/13  minority rules?, the purse strings and law  *  Stonewalling While Our Oceans Die  10/9/13  avoiding real problems, deniers, obstructionism v. the environoment, the environment  *  GOP – Do You Have the Stomach for This?   10/10/13  better steel your heart against misery  *  Why Can’t We Stop the GOP?  10/12/13  avoiding civil war, avoiding default, opening government, reasonable demands for the GOP, we want regular order

Great Debt Ceiling Analogies and Expert Opinions  10/14/13  2013 shutdown/default impasse, debt ceiling 2013, government shutdown 2013, Political analogies of the Fall  *  A Note to Egypt  10/16/13  a note to Egypt, government in Egypt and America, pictures from Egypt, tourism in Egypt  *  No Stateliness in Our State  10/18/13  a grim nation, black ties and satins, state dinners or social dances

Bouncing Back  10/21/13  bop bags, Dems still not winning, Republicans uncowed, still considering the Republican agenda  *  Gravity – A 3D Movie  10/22/13  movie  *  Out to Pasture  10/22/13  2014 election, negating the influence of the tea party, tea party  *  More Gravity  10/24/13  2312 living in an airless place, alone in space, Gravity, implications for human exploration of space

Responses to the Anti-ACA Obsessed  10/28/13  stop talking about the ACA, the ACA, the ACA web site, the NSA needs our attention  *  The NSA – Living Without Privacy  10/29/13  angry allies, closing in on Big Brother, involuntarily living in full view, privacy, the NSA  *  More Tools from the Obstructionists Toolbox  10/30/13  delay and distract, designing a new legislature, stop obstructing, we want regular order

 

November, 2013

 

Obama is Just Like Fidel Castro  11/1/13  individual mandate, keeping your insurance policy, Obama and Fidel, paranoid immigrants, who’s unconstitutional  *  Responsive Reading with Refrain  11/4/13  cutting the safety net, it’s our money, privatizing the safety net, Republican cuts to safety net, social safety net  *  A Beauty Break – Good-Bye to Fall  11/5/13  beauty, deciduous trees, Fall   *  What Does This Off-Year Election Mean  11/6/13  still divided, the 2013 elections, the fever has not broken, the last hurrah of white men, the pundits  *  A Quick Look at Common Core   11/7/13 changing views, Common Core, Pearson, review of the literature  *  The Social Safety Net Guilt Trip Debunked  11/8/13  social safety net, what we spend on corporations, what we spend on the social safety net

Veteran’s Day, 2013 – My Thoughts, My Thanks  11/11/13  books about Rome and Roman soldiers, drones, modern warfare, prosthetics, recognizing veterans, the Roman soldier  *  I Trust Obama More Than I  Trust Insurance Companies  11/12/13  health care, private insurers, the ACA, who lied Obama or insurance companies  *  Where is the Male Support for Roe v. Wade?   11/13/13  freedom v religion, male support for women’s reproductive rights, misogyny, Roe v. Wade and men, Rush Limbaugh  *  Coastal Woes  11/15/13  coastal grief is becoming common, how to protect our coastlines and our budgets and our people, the Philippines, what conclusions from storm surges

The End of Democracy – the Koch Brothers  11/19/13  Democracy, Koch brothers, money, money and politics, politics, unofficial official organizations  *  Ceasefire in Washington is Temporary  11/20/13  choosing which America, Obama, obstructionism, Republicans, youth vote  *  Reprint of Senator Kennedy and Me  11/22/13

I’m Very Disappointed with Dan Maffei  11/25/13  Dan Maffei  *  Join Me in My Boycott  11/26/13  boycott Hobby Lobby, boycott McDonald’s, boycott Walmart  *  Thankfulness and John Lennon  11/27/13  John Lennon, peace, saying thanks

December, 2013

No Scientific Evidence Favors Social Darwinism  12/2/13  fiction, historical perspective, Social Darwinism, social safety net  *  Is the Media Trying to Kill the ACA?  12/3/13  media rooting for ACA to fail, the ACA, the media  *  The Budget Committee, December, 2013  12/4/13  2013 budget committee, getting anxious about the budget, the 2014 election, the budget  *  The Pill and the Family  12/5/13  birth control pill, nuclear family, reactionary beliefs, Republicans  *  My Mom and Publisher’s Clearing House  12/6/13  exploiting the psychology of winning, mom’s legacy, Publisher’s Clearing House, scamming  *

Unsolicited Advice Week – Go To School  12/9/13  school, the last positive free thing, the value of schooling  *  Raising the Minimum Wage is the Right Thing to Do – Unsolicited Advice Week  12/11/13  minimum wage, redistribution v repayment, service economy, tax codes and “subsidies”  *  Beds in the Senate – Unsolicited Advice Week  12/12/13  beds in the Senate, national disaster or nuttiness

The Role of Rachel Maddow in the Media and Politics  12/16/13  meticulous reporting, nit-picking in a good way, Rachel Maddow  *  Gifts for Gamers, 2013  12/17/13  best video games of 2013, coffee table books, channeling The Daily Beast, new gaming systems, video games  *  Spend Money to Make Money 12/20/13  end austerity, middle class is deluded, reverse the attack on the middle class and the poor, spend money to make money

One Tool of Obstruction Down, One to Go  12/23/13  can’t reboot the House the way we rebooted the Senate, Hastert Rule, unwritten rules  *  Computers on a Bus  12/24/13  action oriented schools, broadening horizons, computers on a bus, interdisciplinary curricula, nature and computers, schools, summer programs for students  *  The Other West Coast Boy  12/26/13  David Hockney’s Bigger Exhibition, west coast boys

By Nancy Brisson

Not all of these post are available on this site; to have access to all posts go to http://thebrissioniblog.blogspot.com/

 

An Index to Blog Posts on The Brissioni Blog in 2013 (Except Book Posts)

 
 
This is the view from the cheap seats.

January, 2013

 

Wishbone1/1/13 politics, childish games, wishbones *Playing Chess and Celebrating 1/2/13 celebration, dysfunction, fiscal cliff, taxes *Social Security: “Bro” v Mom 1/3/13 budget cuts, deficit, social security *Done Celebrating 1/4/13 dispensation, grover norquist, small government v large government, the election express *Restoring Trust 1/7/13 bargaining, jilting the President, republican rhetoric *

Ground Control to Major Tom 1/8/13 asteroid, 2012DA14, asteroid hunter * A Herculean Task/Tax Reform1/10/13 size of the tax code, tax code reform * Paradoxes 1/11/13 Syrian refugees * An Inaugural Gift 1/15/13 debt ceiling, the people’s President * Pretzel Economics 1/16/13 entitlements * Taking a Scientific Approach to Mass Shootings 1/17/13 gun control, gun violence, mental illness, the NRA, video games * Solving Mass Shootings Not Easy 1/18/13 America taboos, gun control, mental illness

MLK and BHO – OMG 1/21/13 dreams, inauguration of President Obama for second term* Knock On Wood: The Second Term Curse 1/22/13 political folk tales, self-fulfilling prophecy * Snow Days1/23/13 jigsaw puzzles, snow days, Winter * The Benghazi Investigation 1/24/13 Hillary Clinton, testifying about Benghazi * Curiosity and Terraforming Mars 1/25/13 Curiosity, terraforming Mars, water on Mars *

An Endless Republican Loop 1/28/13 the debt the deficit, the demise of the GOP, The Economy * More Siri 1/29/13 digital personal assistants, Siri, technology * Hillary Clinton – What Next 1/30/13 being Secretary of State, Hillary’s first day off, saying thanks

 

February, 2013

 

On the Edge of an Innovation 2/1/13 innovation, Peter Diamandis, WSJ, X Prize Foundation * Tactics to Deny Obama Appointments 2/4/13 filibuster, legacy, obstructionism, pandering to financial sector, recess appointments * Beauty/Winter Break – Gardens 2/5/13 beauty, gardens * Abandoning the High Road 2/6/13 America’s self-image, rule of law, rules of war, terrorism and war * Avert the Sequester Cuts 2/7/13 planned cuts in lieu of automatic cuts, sequestration * Racing the Apocalypse 2/8/13 end of the world, new age, post-apocalyptic visions

Duck Dynasty 2/9/13 Duck Dynasty, Friday night TV * High on Life – The Grammies 2/11/13 hippies, music, musicians, The 2013 Grammys * Conjecture about the State of the Union Address 2/12/13 partisan politics, President’s tactics, Republican rhetoric * Reaction – State of the Union Address 2/13/13  education, jobs, Republicans, stimulate the economy, you lost * It’s Asteroid Day2/15/13 asteroid 2012DA14, Siberian meteorites

Legacy2/19/13 Congressional legacy * Worse and Worse in Washington 2/21/13 gridlock, Ted Cruz, unpleasantness * Countdown – Eight Days to Sequester2/22/13 effects of sequestration, sequestration, stonewalling, tax reform * It’s the Middle Class v The Wealthy, Still2/25/13 cuts v. cuts and revenues, middle class v wealthy, Obama v Republicans, sequestration * Silly Advertising Nonsense v Semiotics 2/26/13 advertising * Behind the Scenes – Changing America 2/27/13 GOP, separation of church and state, stealth tactics, under the radar * Trayvon Martin – One Year Later 2/28/13 delayed justice, murder or justifiable homicide, stand your ground

 

March, 2013

 

Am I Gaga for Obama? 3/1/13 Congressional legacy, decline and fall of the Republican Party, first African-American President *Heist: Who Stole the American Dream3/5/13 cornering wealth, movie, politics, skewed laws * Bottom-dweller Syndrome 3/6/13 complaisancy, out-of-kilter economics * Brainwashed 3/7/13 brainwashed, Standing up to the wealthy, The GOP

Spring Ahead 3/9/13 spring * Bucking the Oil Industry: Part I 3/11/13 clean technology vs fossil fuels * Bucking the Oil Industry – Part II 3/12/13 clean technology vs fossil fuels * Bucking the Health Care Insurance Industry 3/13/13 no health care insurance, or combo health care insurance, private, public *

No Means No in Politics also 3/18/13 social safety net, tax reform, the media and the Republicans * Iraq War – Ten Years Ago – Some Thoughts 3/20/13 Iraq War, Patriot Acts, remembering * Economically Stuck3/21/13 label propaganda, socialism v capitalism, the American safety net * A Spring Do-Over 3/22/13 spring, spring activities

Trying to Bring the Message Home 3/25/13 dueling budgets, growth, innovation, not austerity * Besides the Economy 3/26/13 the 2013 Congress and the American agenda * Playing – Music 3/27/13 albums, music from the 60’s * Beauty Break – Flowers3/28/13 estate gardens, floral paintings, using color to counteract winter gloom * Still Manipulating the National Agenda 3/29/13 local and state activities, looking left, Republicans still moving to the right * Yikes! Will It Be War? 3/30/13 motives for aggression, North Korea, options to aggression

 

April, 2013

 

The Economy of Wishful Thinking 4/1/13 American economy doomed, David A Stockman, economic reform, supply-side v Keynesian economics * “Cannoodling” with Communists 4/2/13 altruism, capitalist-communist partnership, globalization, greed, slave labor * How About those Pipelines? 4/3/13 fresh water supplies, oil pipelines, oil spills, tar sands and oil shales, TransCanada oil pipeline * My Jane Austen Moment 4/6/13 fantasy, Jane Austen * Obstructing Justice 4/8/13 Federal Judges, Obama appointments to court held up in Congress

Guns and Twinkies 4/9/13 gun control * Saying Good-bye to Geneva 4/10/13 rules of war * Fair Elections 4/11/13 corporations are not people, empowered voters * Odd Jobs 4/13/13 getting ahead, making ends meet, supplemental income * A Modern Tale – Oligarchy v Democracy 4/17/13 Industrial Age, Information Age, oligarchy, small government, Space Age *

Betrayed, Depressed, Broken-Hearted 4/18/13 a really bad Congress, gun control * Gut Wrenching 4/20/13 apprehension of Boston terrorists, bombings at Boston Marathon, diversity * Hater Week – Pandora’s Box 4/22/13 exploring reasons for anti-American sentiment * Hater Week – Culture Shock 4/23/13 religious zeal, the evolutionary curve of devoutness

Hater Week – Women’s Rights 4/24/13 education for women, equality, oppression of women, women and Islam, women are human beings * Hater Week – Zombies v the American People4/26/13 2014 election, 2016 election, Congressional place holders, obstructionism * Electric Slide4/27/13 dance, unsolvable dilemmas * Into the Fray, the Red Line 4/29/13 hawks, manipulation, Syria

 

May, 2013

 

Please Stop Smoking! 5/1/13 stop smoking ads * Schools – On the Wrong Track  5/2/13 Common Core, creativity, new educational models, standardized testing * Why We Elected Obama 5/3/13 Democrats v Republicans, protecting sanity * A Very Unusual Terrorist 5/6/13 Dshokar Tsarnaev, understanding terrorists * Three Horrific Disasters: One Unlearned Lesson 5/7/13 tragedy, unregulated capitalism, worker’s safety

Robbing Us Blind 5/8/13 corruption in government * Wasted 5/9/13 need for solutions, wasted potential, young people * Benghazi: Murder or Spin 5/10/13 fake outrage, false accusations, Republicans v Democrats * My Bad Week 5/13/13 Benghazi talking points, impeachment, IRS GOP v Dems * Post Terrorism Police Etiquette 5/14/13 don’t talk back, safety v liberty, stern police personnel

Wham, Pow, Kaboom 5/15/13 happy Republicans, what about Americans * Who’s a Patriot? 5/21/13 501 (C) (4)’s, election tactics, IRS, patriots, tea party

A Beast Made of Air  5/22/13 extreme weather, the Moore Oklahoma tornado * Whistle-Blowers v. Leakers  5/23/13 leaker, Obama, the DOJ investigations of certain reporters, whistle-blower * Changing Liberty 5/24/13 immigration legislation, immigration philosophies, immigration Policy * Who’s Going to Jail? 5/25/13  501 (C) (4)’s, image of President, IRS * My Spirea Plants, 2013 5/27/13 Memorial Day, renaissance spirea

My Profile Picture 5/28/13 artist Jack White, my profile picture * Congressional Panels Are Unprofessional 5/29/13 Congressional investigation panels, Joe McCarthy, the IRS investigation * The Nanny State – Still? 5/30/13 makers and takers, small government, the issue that won’t go away, the nanny state * Behind the Curtain: Exposing Oz 5/31/13 circumventing the Constitution, trashing the Constitution, Republicans, undoing America *

 

June, 2013

 

A Flower “Bed” 6/1/13 garden accessories, garden puns, gardening * Exposing Oz, Continued6/3/13 Federal Judges, Republicans v Democrats, weakening the Constitution * Crazy Barbies  6/4/13 Barbie, invoking sisterhood, Michele Bachmann, revoking sisterhood, Sarah Palin * Darwin for Humans 6/5/13 dehumanizing America, knockout game, random murder * IRS, No IRS, the ACA and the flat tax – sexy 6/6/13 end the IRS, flat tax, the 2014 election, the ACA, The GOP, the IRS * The Shed Saga6/7/13 Lowe’s, replacing my shed

The Trial of George Zimmerman 6/10/13 George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, trial of George Zimmerman * We Just Want to Have Fun 6/11/13 getting Americans to pay attention to government * Is She Still Talking About the Constitution 6/12/13 saving the Constitution, the role of the American people in government * The IRS and the ACA – OMG  6/13/13 Affordable Care Act, jobs, obstructionism, the IRS *  Snooping on America 6/14/13 changing the security target, intelligence gathering versus privacy, safety versus privacy, jobs, NSA

US Involvement in Syria 6/19/13 suckers for a good revolution, Syria, Syrian refugees, US involvement in Syria * Bottled Genies and Time Machines 6/20/13 GOP, stop the war on women, women voters * Takers – For My Sister 6/21/13 disability, takers, welfare * Toad Vomit  6/22/13  GOP junk science, GOP rape nonsense  *  The Sweet Spot  6/24/13 sweetness  *  The Sweet Spot 2  6/25/13  toddlers

The Sweet Spot 3 – Senator Wendy Davis  6/25/13  anti-abortion laws, Texas war on women, Wendy Davis  *  The Sweet Spot 5 – Bravery, Compassion and the White Album  6/28/13  the Beatles White Album, US citizens, US soldiers  *  The Sweet Spot 6 – Chocolate Pound Cake  6/29/13 recipes

 

July, 2013

 

The GOP War on Higher Education  7/1/13  college loan rates, colleges and liberal brainwashing, colleges and voter suppression  *  The Last Week of June  7/2/13  human rights, one step forward, one week of human rights loses and gains, two steps back  *  CEO Pay and the Revolution  7/3/13  gap between CEO pay and worker pay, guns, humor or not, revolution *   Giving Egypt Space  7/5/13  spontaneous demonstration, Tahrir Square, who will lead Egypt, wishing Egypt well

More on the Space/Time Continuum (sort of)  7/6/13 2040 Asteroid, asteroid, Siberian meteorites  *  The George Zimmerman Trial  7/8/13  George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, trial of George Zimmerman  * Closing Ranks – The George Zimmerman Trial  7/9/13  police closing ranks, trial of George Zimmerman  *  We Don’t Want No Immigration  7/10/13  border security, immigration, path to citizenship or amnesty 

Change Senate Filibuster Rules Now  7/13/13  2014 election, an un-American agenda, filibuster, obstructionism  *  Technically Justice/Still A Travesty  7/15/13  George Zimmerman, self defense, Trayvon Martin  *  The Paradox of our Second Amendment Rights  7/16/13  fear of facism, guns, paramilitary police tactics  *  The Racial Divide in America  7/17/13  being fair, color-blindness, equality, the racial divide  * The Royal Baby and Me  7/18/13  birthdays, royal baby

Cliches and Analogies/Hope and Change  7/23/13  hope and change, Obama’s “failures”, racism, Republican obstructionism, the South rises  *  Have We Dipped Our Brush in Too Many Pots  7/24/13  an agenda and a shadow agenda, deliberate obfuscation, too many issues  *  The War of the Worlds  7/25/13  Future America, The Economy, the Middle Class

The Shed Saga, Part 2  7/30/13  replacing my shed  *  My 1000th Blog Post – My Sister Wrote a Book  7/31/13  1000th blog post, book

 

August, 2013

 

Rand Paul – No Mitch McDeere Here  8/1/13  Rand Paul, the politics of meanness  *  USPS Comes Under Small Government Axe  8/2/13  cluster mailboxes, stop cutting public employment, USPS  *  An Andy Warhol Exhibit in Utica, NY  8/3/13  Andy Warhol, art exhibit, Munson Proctor Museum, Williams Proctor House

Is This What You Really Really Want  8/5/13  austerity, social safety net, the deficit, the national debt  * Detroit and Dominos  8/6/13  abandoning pension promises, bankrupt cities, Detroit, other American cities  *  “In the Day” and Now/”Black Power”  8/7/13  Black Power, more African American representation in the media, the African American perspective, then and now  *  The Nostalgia Train – Vietnam  8/9/13 letters from Vietnam, life, nostalgia, snafus 

No Viable Republicans  8/12/13  GOP extremists, GOP unelectable  *  This is the Droid You’re Looking For  8/13/13  beginning of the future, new thing  *  Disrespect at Home Translates to Disrespect Abroad/Egypt  8/15/13  Congressional disrespect for President, foreign relations, strategy for Egypt 

Redistribution of Wealth My Eye  8/19/13  re-redistribution of wealth, redistribution of wealth, the great corporate migration, what America lost  *  Off to the Races  8/20/13  2014 election, 2016 election, news commentators  *  Republicans Winning at State Level  8/21/13  2014 election, 2016 election, electoral votes of Republican states, states with Republican governors and legislators  *  Ted Cruz/ Cartoonish or Sinister  8/22/13  Political Purity, Ted Cruz  *  The Way, Way Back and other coming of age movies – Movie  8/23/13  coming of age, movies, Fruitvale Station, Moonrise Kingdom, The Way, Way Back

What Would It Take for Us to Rise Up?  8/26/13  political activism, political inertia  *  Thanks for Playing Bill O’Reilly, Sorry You Are Not a Winner  8/28/13  Bill O’Reilly, nuclear family, solving dysfunctional social behavior  *  Who Should the President Listen To?  8/29/13  a red line, Syria, US involvement in Syria  *  What is it with men?/Syria  8/30/13  creative approbation, drawing red lines, Syria

 

September, 2013

 

Labor Day, 2013: Reflections on American Workers   9/2/13  Labor Day, the value of workers, Unions, unions and politics, workers  *  A Quick Escape  9/3/13  beauty, Nature, nostalgia, weeping willows  *  Is Representative Democracy Dying in America?  9/4/13  representative democracy, actual democracy, too many voices  * Going Bigger, Much Bigger  9/5/13  climate change, cutting energy use, energy programs, the environment  *  Shopping for a “Smart” Phone  9/6/13  smart phones

Who’s the Bad Guy, Obama or Assad?  9/9/13  isolationism, talking with weapons, the tone of the Syrian debate  *  Can Democrats Win the House in 2014?  9/10/13  the 2014 election   *  Behind the Pay Wall  9/11/13  pay walls  *  Basically A Rant  9/12/13  2014 election, foreign relations, Grover Norquist, Koch brothers, Obama, obstructionism, Republicans, Syria, tea party

Is a Crazy Man Defending Guns in America?  9/18/13  gun control, megalomania, the NRA, Wayne La Pierre  *  American Government Now a Spectator Sport  9/19/13  addicted to suspense, media ratings, political coup, purse strings, the ACA, the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling  *  Judging Internet Posts:  Quantity vs. Quality  9/20/13  blogging, internet marketing, “tricks” or strategies, quantity vs. quality, search results  

Trivializing Freedom  9/24/13  abusing freedom, Freedom, thoughts about Freedom  *  The Republican Lies About the ACA (Obamacare)   9/25/13  Affordable Health Care Act, Obamacare, Republican opposition to the ACA  *  Surprises of Globalization  9/27/13  culture shock, global economy, globalization, peace, terrorism, tolerance  *  GOP – Strident and Shrill Equals Desperate   9/30/13  politics not health care, the ACA

 

October, 2013

 

Hastert Rule/Filibuster Below 60 – The Obstructionist’s Toolbox  10/1/13  filibuster, Hastert Rule, Republican obstructionism, which party created Hastert Rule and 60 Vote Rule  *  Touching Base With Social Security  10/2/13  saving Social Security  *  Culling the Herd – Limited Government  10/3/13  entitlements, Federalism, limited government, political coup, Social Darwinism by Creationists, social safety net  *  Cooties  10/5/13  cootie shots, health care, Republicans

Mutiny Aboard the Ship of State  10/7/13  minority rules?, the purse strings and law  *  Stonewalling While Our Oceans Die  10/9/13  avoiding real problems, deniers, obstructionism v. the environoment, the environment  *  GOP – Do You Have the Stomach for This?   10/10/13  better steel your heart against misery  *  Why Can’t We Stop the GOP?  10/12/13  avoiding civil war, avoiding default, opening government, reasonable demands for the GOP, we want regular order

Great Debt Ceiling Analogies and Expert Opinions  10/14/13  2013 shutdown/default impasse, debt ceiling 2013, government shutdown 2013, Political analogies of the Fall  *  A Note to Egypt  10/16/13  a note to Egypt, government in Egypt and America, pictures from Egypt, tourism in Egypt  *  No Stateliness in Our State  10/18/13  a grim nation, black ties and satins, state dinners or social dances

Bouncing Back  10/21/13  bop bags, Dems still not winning, Republicans uncowed, still considering the Republican agenda  *  Gravity – A 3D Movie  10/22/13  movie  *  Out to Pasture  10/22/13  2014 election, negating the influence of the tea party, tea party  *  More Gravity  10/24/13  2312 living in an airless place, alone in space, Gravity, implications for human exploration of space

Responses to the Anti-ACA Obsessed  10/28/13  stop talking about the ACA, the ACA, the ACA web site, the NSA needs our attention  *  The NSA – Living Without Privacy  10/29/13  angry allies, closing in on Big Brother, involuntarily living in full view, privacy, the NSA  *  More Tools from the Obstructionists Toolbox  10/30/13  delay and distract, designing a new legislature, stop obstructing, we want regular order

 

November, 2013

 

Obama is Just Like Fidel Castro  11/1/13  individual mandate, keeping your insurance policy, Obama and Fidel, paranoid immigrants, who’s unconstitutional  *  Responsive Reading with Refrain  11/4/13  cutting the safety net, it’s our money, privatizing the safety net, Republican cuts to safety net, social safety net  *  A Beauty Break – Good-Bye to Fall  11/5/13  beauty, deciduous trees, Fall   *  What Does This Off-Year Election Mean  11/6/13  still divided, the 2013 elections, the fever has not broken, the last hurrah of white men, the pundits  *  A Quick Look at Common Core   11/7/13 changing views, Common Core, Pearson, review of the literature  *  The Social Safety Net Guilt Trip Debunked  11/8/13  social safety net, what we spend on corporations, what we spend on the social safety net

Veteran’s Day, 2013 – My Thoughts, My Thanks  11/11/13  books about Rome and Roman soldiers, drones, modern warfare, prosthetics, recognizing veterans, the Roman soldier  *  I Trust Obama More Than I  Trust Insurance Companies  11/12/13  health care, private insurers, the ACA, who lied Obama or insurance companies  *  Where is the Male Support for Roe v. Wade?   11/13/13  freedom v religion, male support for women’s reproductive rights, misogyny, Roe v. Wade and men, Rush Limbaugh  *  Coastal Woes  11/15/13  coastal grief is becoming common, how to protect our coastlines and our budgets and our people, the Philippines, what conclusions from storm surges

The End of Democracy – the Koch Brothers  11/19/13  Democracy, Koch brothers, money, money and politics, politics, unofficial official organizations  *  Ceasefire in Washington is Temporary  11/20/13  choosing which America, Obama, obstructionism, Republicans, youth vote  *  Reprint of Senator Kennedy and Me  11/22/13

I’m Very Disappointed with Dan Maffei  11/25/13  Dan Maffei  *  Join Me in My Boycott  11/26/13  boycott Hobby Lobby, boycott McDonald’s, boycott Walmart  *  Thankfulness and John Lennon  11/27/13  John Lennon, peace, saying thanks 


December, 2013

No Scientific Evidence Favors Social Darwinism  12/2/13  fiction, historical perspective, Social Darwinism, social safety net  *  Is the Media Trying to Kill the ACA?  12/3/13  media rooting for ACA to fail, the ACA, the media  *  The Budget Committee, December, 2013  12/4/13  2013 budget committee, getting anxious about the budget, the 2014 election, the budget  *  The Pill and the Family  12/5/13  birth control pill, nuclear family, reactionary beliefs, Republicans  *  My Mom and Publisher’s Clearing House  12/6/13  exploiting the psychology of winning, mom’s legacy, Publisher’s Clearing House, scamming  * 

Unsolicited Advice Week – Go To School  12/9/13  school, the last positive free thing, the value of schooling  *  Raising the Minimum Wage is the Right Thing to Do – Unsolicited Advice Week  12/11/13  minimum wage, redistribution v repayment, service economy, tax codes and “subsidies”  *  Beds in the Senate – Unsolicited Advice Week  12/12/13  beds in the Senate, national disaster or nuttiness

The Role of Rachel Maddow in the Media and Politics  12/16/13  meticulous reporting, nit-picking in a good way, Rachel Maddow  *  Gifts for Gamers, 2013  12/17/13  best video games of 2013, coffee table books, channeling The Daily Beast, new gaming systems, video games  *  Spend Money to Make Money 12/20/13  end austerity, middle class is deluded, reverse the attack on the middle class and the poor, spend money to make money  

One Tool of Obstruction Down, One to Go  12/23/13  can’t reboot the House the way we rebooted the Senate, Hastert Rule, unwritten rules  *  Computers on a Bus  12/24/13  action oriented schools, broadening horizons, computers on a bus, interdisciplinary curricula, nature and computers, schools, summer programs for students  *  The Other West Coast Boy  12/26/13  David Hockney’s Bigger Exhibition, west coast boys

Some of these posts are also available at www.brissioni.com



By Nancy Brisson



 

Where’d You Go Bernadette?:A Novel – Book

Whered You Go, Bernadette

 

Bernadette Fox is the woman from the title of Maria Semple’s book Where’d You Go Bernadette? and she is what the Victorians would have called “a unique”, “an original”.  She is also a woman who, even in these enlightened times, is probably more talented than most of us. Bernadette disappears not once, but twice. The first time she disappears from her public life. The second time she disappears from her private life.

Even when Bernadette is an agoraphobic serial complainer in Seattle, it is clear that Bernadette Fox is anything but ordinary. Her daughter, Bee, (short for Balakrishna, it’s a long story) tells us her story through her own narrative and through a huge file of documents (letters, emails, articles) that come into her possession after her mom physically disappears from Seattle.

Bernadette had another life besides her life as Bee’s mom. She was an architect of extraordinary vision. She hated waste of any kind and she built two homes that used only materials that were available locally and everyone who experienced those two homes was entranced by them. The first building was on the east coast in the Beeber Bifocal Factory. The second she built from scratch, the Twenty Mile House, on an empty lot in LA. After she built it, before she and Bee’s father, Elgie Branch, could live in it, something happened which I can’t tell you about. However, Bernadette did win a $500,000 MacArthur Grant for her accomplishments.

Bernadette runs away from LA after this. She agrees to go to Seattle with her husband who will be a great success over the next twenty years at Microsoft, creating, and wandering the hallways in his socks. Bernadette buys an old building, a building that would normally pique her creative appetites. But Bernadette is trying to have a family and is experiencing great difficulty with this. Even the one child she manages to carry successfully, Bee, is born premature and “blue” with hypoplastic heart syndrome which we know she survived because she is our storyteller.

Bernadette could have languished in her anonymity forever, if not for the Galer School gnats at Bee’s school who are responsible, along with Bernadette, for a chain of events so bizarre and so entertaining that we suspect Bernadette will be awakened from her domestic sojourn and will somehow arrive back where she started; and that she will somehow figure out how to handle her domestic life and her artistic life at the same time.

A trip to Antarctica figures prominently in this tale, not your everyday family vacation, and Bernadette’s involvement with Manjoola Kapoor of the Delhi Virtual Assistants International also contributes its bit to this amazing tragic-comedy. If this sounds like a book for children, it isn’t. It is a book that deals with issues that every modern woman, at least every modern American woman will recognize and Bernadette’s riff will set off a whole jam session of thought about how these issues resonate in our lives. Perhaps men won’t read it, but they should. It was all over too quickly, I will tell you that.

 

Police by Jo Nesbo – Book

policebyjonesbo

Jo Nesbo (picture a backslash through the o), a Norwegian crime writer who won the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel is the creator of Harry Hole. Harry was a nuanced police detective famous for not always following the rules and he is no longer with the police; but, once a policeman, always a policeman. Harry, even when halfway around the world, somehow manages to end up being hauled back to get involved in serious Oslo crimes because he is so good at what he does and he always solves the mystery. This doesn’t mean that he never loses a colleague or a wife. Many a colleague bites the dust.

In Nesbo’s most recent novel, Police, published in 2013, someone is luring policemen to the scene of unsolved crimes on the anniversary of the date of the original crime and then killing them in the same horrible way the victims were killed. Most of these were sex crimes and the victims were women, but one case involved the death of a male victim and this kept throwing the detectives off the track.

There always has to be an antagonistic chief at the helm of the police. Usually this taskmaster is still known to be a good guy, but not always. This time, this new chief, Mikael Bellman, is a young man without honesty, integrity or the respect of the officers under his command, but so far his most underhanded activities are known only to his best friend, Truls Bernsten, who is someone the other officers avoid. Bellman spends all his time making sure that any positive results his officers achieve shed glory on him. He’s unpleasant and ambitious, but is he a killer? There are so many “sick tickets” in this story and one after another each becomes a suspect. It isn’t easy to tell who is just a “rotter” and who is a murderer.

Since the police chief can’t be trusted, a team of officers who have worked with Harry Hole to solve other cases begins to meet secretly in the “boiler room” where crimes have been solved before. We have Katrine Bratt, Gunnar Hagen, Stale Aune, Beate Lonn and Bjorn Holm. But where is Harry? He’s not supposed to be there, but his absence makes him a presence anyway.

If you don’t like your criminals evil and even your good guys sort of squishy around the edges, then you won’t like this particular Harry Hole story. It is not for the faint of heart. I could have wished for more Harry in this one, but Nesbo makes up for Harry’s late arrival in the end and no, I can’t reveal how he does that.

 

Note:

I get the impression that Harry Hole looks something like Jo Nesbo and although women have always loved crime books, this makes these particular crime books even more appealing.

jo nesbo

 

 

 

The Other West Coast Boy

David Hockney is one of the artist’s I have nicknamed the California boys or West Coast boys, although he is not from California at all. He is British. But he didn’t find that color palette he uses and that I love in England; those colors and those large flat spaces he paints are pure California. So are those famous “splash in the pool” paintings. And if the people he paints do not scream California, the spaces they inhabit do. David Hockney has a show right now at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. A Bigger Exhibition is the name of the show on view specifically at the de Young Museum and you can see it if you happen to live in or travel to the west coast before January 21st (not much time left). If you can’t get there you can go into the online gift shop and order the book that accompanies the exhibit (the paperback edition is $45).

I am borrowing some images from an unofficial David Hockney web site so that you can see what I am talking about. At the David Hockney site his work is arranged by decades and he has had a long and prolific career as a painter. Just seeing a painting from the 50’s before the California years and a painting from the 60’s presents you with that sunny shift in his palette. I live in a city that has a reputation as one of the cloudiest cities in the USA so I cannot help being drawn to the explosions of color (especially in the blue family) that these “west coast boys” David Hockney and Richard Diebenkorn use (see my blogspot posts “I Need Some Beauty – Diebenkorn from 5/13/12 and West Coast Boys from 2/1/11). (links at end of article).

The 50’s

davidhockney60's2

The 60’s

davidhockney60's

The 70″s

davidhockney70's

The 80’s

davidhockney80's

davidhockney80's2

The 90’s

davidhockney90's

The 00’s

davidhockney00's

Although David Hockney returns to England in this decade the color-lightened palette from his California day continues to brighten his English landscapes.

davidhockney00's2

 

http://thebrissioniblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-need-some-beauty-richard-diebenkorn.html

http://thebrissioniblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/west-coast-boys.html

 

 

Computers on a Bus

computers on a bus3

 

Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to offer a few of my ideas for communities or schools that might make schools a more integral part of our communities and take them away from the 19th century educational model that most schools still like to use. This first idea is something for summers; it is something that will help students keep learning throughout the summer months, prevent that summer erosion of skills, and that will keep students away from what might be less-than-pleasant summer neighborhoods.

The Adventures in Nature and Technology Summer Program starts with using school buses, going into communities that children often do not leave and tempting children, tweens and teens out into the countryside around the inner city. Offer up a pair of hiking boots, binoculars, a digital camera, and an electronic tablet or outfit the bus with some actual computer stations. Keep the group small. Use the parks; city, county and state to do some hiking and exploring, fact-finding and nature watching and then translate what is observed into activities that can be completed on the computers, activities that might study ways to benefit the parks, or the environment, or the wildlife/plants. On rainy days use the pavilions and covered spaces to give students time to read or to write about what they have observed. Use rainy days to explore indoor museums and IMAX presentations or to have seminars with guest presenters. Give school credits for the program if it proves successful. Get in some swimming time also perhaps. Summer days are long and quite a few activities could be included in programs like these. Stop on college campuses and let students tour the college and interact with college students who could help them with their computer skills or their computer projects.

I’m sure once educators and community groups start thinking about summer programs they can come up with variations on this that include things like the arts and music, all combined with computers so that students feel confident that they are experienced with computer research, even computer design and computer coding. They ought to also know what is in the guts of the computer, how it works, what each component inside a computer contributes to the overall act of computing. Students could be informed about how much funding is available for their summer program and they could use math and accounting skills to accomplish as much as possible that summer while staying within the financial resources available.  But, just remember that KISS rule; keep it simple stupid. Next we could use some ideas for the regular school year, ideas that will cross disciplines and allow students time to pursue goals that are more active than those which school usually involves. I know teachers dream up these ideas all the time, but I want my suggestions to be as concrete as possible. I’m still thinking. You think too.

computers on a bus2

 

 

computers on a bus

One Tool of Obstruction Down; One to Go

truck blockade3

Dennis Hastert says that there is no Hastert Rule and I think I finally get what he is saying. When you are the Speaker of the House it has been common to pre-count the number of votes in favor of a particular bill. We know Nancy Pelosi often talked about how many votes favored a piece of House business and in fact she was famous both for getting votes from both sides of the aisle and for accurately totaling votes before a bill was brought up on the floor for an up or down vote. But Dennis Hastert, when he was speaker, liked to know how many in his own party (he is a Republican) were in favor of a bill before it was brought to the floor of the House and he liked to know that enough Republicans favored a bill that they could pass it without help from across the aisle. This did not mean that he did not accept bipartisan support for bills; he just liked the idea that a majority of the majority favored making the bill a law.

The Hastert Rule is a rule of practice, not a rule of law. It is not written anywhere, nor has it ever been up for a vote. This is why we can’t skirt around the Hastert rule the way we can skirt around the option in the Senate that required 61 votes to avoid an automatic filibuster. The filibuster rule was a written rule and it could be overturned. You cannot overturn a rule that is just an informal way to conduct business. John Boehner and the current crop of Republicans in the House have seen fit to use the Hastert rule to obstruct the business of the House. Speaker Boehner will only bring a bill to the floor of the House for an up or down vote if it will pass with only Republican votes; if it is acceptable to a majority of the majority. Since Republican policy makers have dictated that no bills favored by any Democrats can reach the floor of the House, Boehner has used the Hastert rule to make it so.

Obama got the Affordable Care Act through the House because Democrats were the majority in the House when the bill came up for a vote and he was willing to allow it to pass with no Republican votes. It was passed by Democrats only. The Republicans, to this day, feel that this was an unconstitutional act, that it defied American tradition, and that it was wrong, wrong, wrong. It looks like Republicans decided to use the Hastert rule to exact vengeance on Obama and the Democrats and they have, I believe, exceeded that vengeance quota by a lot. They have disrespected so many Americans (like the families of Newtown) (families of illegal immigrants) in order to take revenge on Obama and they have hurt America, held back laws that might have mended the American psyche and even perhaps the America economy.

They have done all of this because the Democrats made them so angry that they just couldn’t help themselves. They have also done this because it suited their agenda. They have raged and insulted and they have damaged the institutions they took oaths to serve. The Republicans in Congress have acted like a pair of tractor trailer truck drivers, arrogant and selfish, who block both lanes of a two-lane highway on purpose and, while they ignore the traffic and the angry drivers stacked up behind them, enjoy acting like they haven’t a care in the world as they sign and smile to each other and consolidate their power and control. And they look forward to seeing how long they can keep this up (until the ambulance or the police arrive, and perhaps beyond).

So we cannot undo the Hastert rule. There is no “nuclear” option here. Only John Boehner can stop using the Hastert rule in the way that he has been using it and give up the vendetta, stand down the threat level, and take the American House of Representatives back to business as usual, back to letting bills come to the floor of the House for an up or down vote. The way our Congress works the blockade could still continue even with only one tractor trailer if you imagine that the truck is on a narrow mountain road with double solid lines and it is weaving back and forth.

Maybe America could use a few surprises. Maybe knowing the exact count before a bill comes up for a vote is not absolutely necessary although we have come to believe that it is. Perhaps we should not pre-count the vote at all. Just bring the bill up for an up or down vote. I know; sacrilege.

The only way around this particular tool from the obstructionist’s toolbox is to elect Democrats in 2014.  It looks like the only way to end the obstruction and get on with the American agenda is to downsize the Republicans in Congress instead of downsizing government.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

 

Spend Money to Make Money

spendtomake.

 

This is not a time to tighten the purse strings; it is a time to loosen them. We bailed out the guys at the top of the heap, although we weren’t feeling very sympathetic to their plight in that moment. Now it’s time to bail out the middle class. It’s time to give back and put a bit of cashola back into the public pot. It is not true that the only option is to cut entitlements or do nothing. We the people want tax reform and we want an end to austerity. The GOP can exercise some of its touted accounting expertise by keeping Democrats from being too impulsive, but they really need to retire that urge to vote down every spending program and let that debt ramp up a bit. It will ramp up at first, but the stimulation to the economy will eventually give us the boost we need to tackle the debt. Stripping the American economy to its bare bones will make it weaker. It needs a bit of muscle to survive.

The budget Congress just passed is only a good thing because Congress got it done. It does not end the austerity we have been hogtied by. Yet the media continues to press for cuts to entitlements. Why do people in the media insist that entitlements must be cut? They are not experts on economics; they are people who follow politics. I agree with those Progressives who everyone seems to sneer at who refuse to punish the victims, and who would rather go after the perpetrators. I agree with those who want to prop up entitlements, perhaps close loopholes that allow for cheating, and actually increase entitlements where needed. We’ve given austerity a good run; let’s lighten up that stranglehold on those purse strings and do a little carefully planned investment in the middle class and the poor.

We have been forced to follow the Republican budget “bible” since the recession began and it is really not doing the trick. There has not been any trickle down. There has not been even a mini-explosion of new investment from corporations. Research has almost come to a standstill. Our schools are so short staffed that they are dangerous and cannot spare a moment to do any professional development or curriculum brainstorming around the new Common Core guidelines which everyone is trying to implement. We have experienced the unprecedented passage of new laws at the state level which amount to union busting and it has not strengthened the employment picture or increased wages or improved job stability.  The attack on the unfortunate folks affected most severely by the recession has been never-ending and scary. Cutting 40 billion in food stamps will be a huge mistake and the negative effects of such a decision will be felt almost immediately; ditto as to the effects of ending expanded unemployment coverage.

Congress has been able to force the majority to accept the minority agenda because they do control the purse strings and they have been willing, at least twice, to take America to the edge of that fiscal cliff which we cannot afford to go over. They have used obstructionist strategies which have worked very well to allow Republicans to have their way with the American economy. With their 501 C-whatever groups they have planned and plotted a complex campaign of strategies that skirt the edges of legality and sometimes cross over into some very questionable territory.

Half of our beleaguered middle class sides with these money hoarders who would snatch away middle class pensions and their social security in a heartbeat if they could. These folks side with the wealthy because they buy the argument that the poor are parasites. They are proud that they are the middle class. They have worked hard. They want everyone to know that they are in no way parasites. And they were not, although they might have been if this set of economic factors had pertained when they were active in the work force.

It is astonishing that everyone admits how skewed our economic system has become and yet we seem to mildly accept the message that taxes on the wealthiest Americans cannot be increased at all, ever. We mildly accept this message in spite of the fact that we don’t have to. Democrats control the executive branch and one house of Congress. Democrats believe that the middle class is the engine of American prosperity. Just before the 2014 election would be a good time to take some of those stimulus programs the Democrats had in mind out of the attic, dust them off, and take them for a test drive. It is time to spend a bit to see if that will rev up this turgid economy and bring some hope back to the middle class that there is still room in America to grow and prosper.

By Nancy Brisson

This is the view from the cheap seats.

Books I Read in 2013

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Photo from Awesome People Reading on tumblr

 

I always like to go back and make myself a list of the books I have read in the past year. Some of these books came from the library and some were read on my Kindle or my Nook. A few books I could only get as audiobooks, and I like that format, but it ties me down more and my neighbors may be subjected to my taste in literature. So here is my list for 2013. I have written a book blog about each and every one of these books and I also published all my notes on each book on Goodreads.com as a review. You can find my “reviews” by searching for the title on my Blogspot blog. I started my WordPress blog too late in the year and so not all of these books appear there. This was a great year for books and I expect this year’s books will have to spill over into next year. I would rather be in the situation of having too many books to read than having to hunt for my next good book.

From the library:

Unusual Uses for Olive Oil by Alexander McCall Smith

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Racketeer by John Grisham

The Night Circus: A Novel by Erin Morgenstern

Both Flesh and Not: Essays by David Foster Wallace

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

The Black Box by Michael Connelly

The Age of Miracles: A Novel by Karen Walker

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

NW: A Novel by Zadie Smith

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young

The Elephant Keeper’s Children by Peter Hoeg

The Dinner: A Novel by Herman Koch

Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

Americanah: A Novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel by Jan-Philipp Sendker

The Dog Stars: A Novel by Peter Heller

The Art Forger: A Novel by Barbara A. Shapiro

The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel by Margot Livesey

Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James

A grown up kind of pretty by Joshilyn Jackson

Beautiful Ruins: A Novel by Jess Walter

Police by Jo Nesbo (currently reading)

 

Books I read on my Kindle or my Nook:

 

Death in Sight by Bonnie Burnatowski

Threat Vector by Tom Clancy

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Winter of the World by Ken Follett

The Cuckoo’s Calling by R. Galbraith

A Dance of Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story by DT Max

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

The Racketeer by John Grisham

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

 

By Nancy Brisson