Sunday, April 19, 2015

Headlines Du Jour ► Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hello, Headline Hunters! Today's birthday belongs to Dr. Frank-N-Furter, aka Tim Curry. Here are some of the other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
Here is today's Headlines Du Jour:











Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Headlines Du Jour ► Thursday, April 16, 2015

Welcome back! While the Not Now Silly Newsroom's PC tower was being repaired, Headlines Du Jour was off the air. However, we're back, Headliners, better than ever, and ready to aggregate!

Today's birthday belongs to Spike Milligan, Comedy genius. He knew a few things about the Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:











Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Three Stooges In The GOP Clown Car

The Freedom Tower in Miami
All pics copyright Headly Westerfield, 2016
Senator Marco Rubio made it official: He's running for POTUS! Rubio is the third Senator in the GOP clown car, after Rand "Ayn" Paul called "Shotgun!" knowing full well the vehicle was already under Ted Cruz control.

Rubio made his public announcement at the Freedom Tower (not to be confused with NYC's Freedom Tower), which has great significance in Miami's Cuban community. It's known as the "Ellis Island of the south" because it was used to process the tens of thousands of Cubanos who fled Castro's regime.

However, as much as this "son of a bartender, son of a maid" played the grassroots populist at his Miami launch, Rubio may have tipped his hand towards his true constituency: the Fat Cats, who bankroll candidates hoping for some of that quid pro quo down the line. Before announcing to the general public, Bloomberg tells us:
In a private breakfast Monday morning with about 100 donors at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, he played up the yesterday-versus-today contrast.

That theme serves another, more immediate purpose: It allows him to tacitly build a case against his mentor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, without mentioning him by name. Bush's father and brother spent 12 years in the White House, and he is expected to announce his own bid in the coming weeks. Bush, 62, has been criss-crossing the country since December, trying to build an early war chest of $100 million or more.
That Rubio has challenged his former-mentor, Jeb "Forget About My Brother and Father" Bush, has created a schism in parts of Florida's Latino community, which has always been fond of the former Florida governor. However, Rubio's biggest problem might be in 'Merka's wider Latin community. People remember how he first backed a path to normalization for undocumented immigrants and, when that didn't play well in the polls, reversed course. Now it appears he's in favour of creating a 2nd class of citizenship for the undocumented, which would last 10 years.

See an entire gallery of Not Now Silly images
from the Marco Rubio Campaign Kick-Off.

In Marco Rubio enters fray despite sliding clout among Latinos, the Boston Herald notes:
Poll numbers suggest Rubio’s recent retreat from his previous support of comprehensive immigration reform is hurting him among Latinos. A member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that drafted a comprehensive immigration reform package in 2013 that passed the Senate but stalled in the House, Rubio later backed away from his support of the measure, embracing a more conservative stance that focused on border security.

A recent poll by political opinion firm Latino Decisions stated that policy shift hurt Rubio with likely Latino voters nationwide, only 31 percent of whom have a favorable view of the senator compared to 36 percent who have an unfavorable view.

In key Latino-influence states, the numbers are more dire: In his home state of Florida, his unfavorable rating stands at 42 percent compared to a 39 percent favorability rating. In California, only 25 percent of Latinos rated him favorably, compared to 39 percent who gave him poor marks.
As if to underscore that opposition, 50-60 vocal "Dreamers" came out to protest Rubio's announcement. They quickly became the focus of the media because there was very little else going on in the 85 degree heat.

Rubio, the youngest candidate in the race, is trying to sell himself as a game-changer; a new candidate for the new century. However, the century will be celebrating its Sweet Sixteen by the time of the next national election. As my PoliticusUSA colleague Jason Easley writes in Marco Rubio Faceplants Into 2016 By Not Seeming To Know That The 21st Century Already Started
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told ABC News that he is thinks he can be the candidate to lead America into the 21st Century. The problem is that the 21st Century began 15 years ago.

During an interview with ABC News, Rubio said, “I think this country’s at a generational moment where it needs to decide not what party it wants in charge but what kind of country are we going to want to be moving forward. I think the 21st century can be the American century, and I believe that I can lead this country in that direction. I can help lead it there from the Senate. I can lead it there as president.”
TIME Magazine tells us how Rubio intends to thread the needle of what is predicted to be a crowded GOP field:
[...] Rubio’s path to the party’s nomination relies on running a lean, upbeat campaign that blooms late, advisers say. At this stage, being a lot of voters’ second choice can be a first-rate strategy. The campaign hopes the base never warms to Bush, its romance with Walker proves fleeting and the social-conservative vote is divvied up between the various candidates vying for it. Then Rubio’s lean campaign operation will expand rapidly, and he can capitalize on his personal magnetism through the platform provided by the presidential debates. Rubio aides point to the roller-coaster GOP primary in 2012 as evidence that strategy can work.

Videos in this playlist copyright Headly Westerfield, 2016 - Feel free to repost with credit

Now that Rubio has thrown his hat into the Clown Car, the Oppo Knives will come out for him, both from the Democratic side and those in his own party. Maybe we'll finally get to the bottom of Rubio's credit card SNAFU when he was in the Florida legislature. Fox "News" reported (almost exactly 5 years ago) that opponent Charlie Crist accused him of some jiggery-pokery on the GOP dime. From GOP Credit Scandal Threatens to Halt Rubio's Momentum in Primary:
Rubio, a former state House speaker, had a party card for nearly four years and admits using it for some personal expense, but he says he personally paid American Express for non-party charges.

The controversy comes at an inopportune time for Rubio who has a substantial lead against Crist in the polls and on Thursday picked up his latest high-profile endorsement, from former Vice President Dick Cheney.

On Wednesday, Rubio sent a $2,417 check to the state party as reimbursement for six flights that he said were inadvertently double-billed to the party and to state taxpayers, The Miami Herald reported.
That pesky problem went away after Rubio reimbursed the party for some personal expenses that, had he not been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, might very well have sailed through Florida's GOP Petty Cash Accountancy. No doubt this will come up again in the next 18 months.

No matter what happens, we're going to be in for a bumpy ride. With as many as 6 more potential GOP candidates against Hillary Clinton, these folks are going to have to move to the Right to appeal to the rabid primary voters. When the party finally anoints a standard bearer, they will have to, in the words of that famous song:
It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
Put your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!
Let's do the Time Warp again!
To get your election toes'a'tapping:

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Passover/Easter Pastoral Letter

Are you aware that there are people who do not
know that The Last Supper was Passover seder?
Dear Pastor Kenny:

I guess I’m just a big coward when it comes to some things. I’ve had your phone number for a number of months now, but every time I start to dial (an antiquated term, but you’re as antiquated as I am so I know you’ll understand), I don’t finish. I was so thrilled to have found you, only to get cold feet when it counts.

While you responded to my 1st Pastoral Letterand in a very public way—my 2nd, Winter Solstice, Pagan Pastoral Letter went unanswered, as far as I know. I only accidentally stumbled upon your first reply and was surprised to hear, in the posted audio version, my name mentioned from the pulpit of a church. As you know, God and I are not on speaking terms.

In my 2nd Pastoral Letter, it wasn’t really my intention to challenge your religious beliefs. That’s just the way it worked out. Sometimes when the words flow, I just let them, and that’s where it led me.

Actually, “challenge” is the exact wrong word. I should have said, “It wasn’t really my intention to shake your religious beliefs,” because you’ve held them for so long. I recognize how I was being challenging. However, if a few questions from an old friend were to shake your beliefs, they wouldn’t have been very deeply held in the first place. Right?

Since then we’ve had another solstice, the Vernal Equinox. As I did the last solstice, I went to the Tequesta Drum Circle. This time I stayed on the periphery of the crowd, wandering around, banging 2 pieces of wood together when I felt motivated, but watching the people far more closely than I did the last time. All were seeking spirituality, some more desperately than others. That night I was seeking a story for the Not Now Silly Newsroom. I know there’s a drumming piece to be written, but it hasn’t found me yet.

I’m still seeking spirituality, but I didn’t bother to look for it that night. Yet, I couldn’t help but think of you. You’ve become connected with drum circles in my mind: the day I found you I went to a drum circle. I was so thrilled to learn of your support for the LGBT communities that I made a small announcement to that small group about it.

At the Spring Solstice drum circle I thought of you again, but this time I was in an instant community of several hundred people that would not be there on the morrow. The trigger for thinking of you was that several of the people I was spending time with that night were card-carrying members of the LGBT community, some of whom heard that original announcement. There also were many couples in that crowd whose sexuality was apparent. Men with men. Women with women.

If I'm going to continue to drag you into
this, the least I can do is plug your book.

Other Chapters of
A Pastoral Letter

► Part One - Finding An Old Friend
► Pastor Kenny's reply: The Gospel of John,
Chapter One: They Came in Twos

► Part Two: A Pagan Pastoral Letter
I thought about you and the distance you’ve come. Then I realized I don’t really know how far you’ve come. What did you feel about The Gay before you came out in favour of them at your church? Did you hate them? Did you pity them? Did you shun them?

Maybe the answer can be found in your book, A Letter To My Congregation, which I really need to read one of these days. However, I can see how far you’ve come since writing the book, from your old church to a new church, for starters.

This week ‘Merkin society demonstrated how far it still has to go.

As you may know, opposition to LGBT folk is greatest in the evangelical communities. Indiana looked as if it was being administered by evangelicals when it enacted a law allowing legal discrimination based on religious beliefs. While the backlash and controversy centered on how pizza makers could refuse to cater a Gay Wedding—like that’s ever gonna happen—there were other, far worse, unintended consequences of such a terrible law. It would have allowed doctors to refuse to treat the child of a Lesbian couple, as just one example of thousands that could be spun out to make my point.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence never knew what hit him. The backlash was so swift and vociferous, that Pence has been tap-dancing a series of lies ever since. Claiming the law was not intended to discriminate against LGBT folk, which was his biggest lie, Indiana was forced to back down and rewrite itt. Even better: the governor of Arkansas refused to sign into law a similar bill. He must have been watching the news.

I began writing this on Good Friday after sundown, which was also the beginning of Passover; the first time the holidays coincided in quite awhile. This was sheer coincidence on my part. Passover means no more to me than Easter, or any other day of the week. It was simply time to write another Pastoral Letter, as I expressed on the facebookery earlier in the week.

Now it’s Easter Sunday and, in between, I visited Coconut Grove, a place that began as an interesting research project 6 years ago and has since become my passion. Most of my morning was spent in the oldest Black cemetery in Miami, the Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery. At one time this was the only place where Black folk could be buried. I went as a journalist to record the community turning out to Honour the Ancestors, by painting the graves and cleaning up the graveyard.

Being there, witnessing this, reminded me that at one time in this country religion was used to discriminate against The Black, the same way some are now using religion—the religion of Jesus Christ—to discriminate against The Gay.

I don’t know if I ever told you why I left my religion behind. Got another minute, Ken?

In a lovely bit of synchronicity,
  Rastafarians appropriated so much
Jewish iconography for its symbols.
As a young Jewish boy growing up I got the normalized indoctrination: God’s chosen people, 4000 years of oppression, the Holocaust, the Jewish Homeland, Never Again, "Next year in Jerusalem," the whole schmear. Then right around my Bar Mitzvah, give or take, a light bulb went on. All around me, in my extended family, I heard racism against Black folk openly expressed.

You’d think that of all people to understand how ugly racial discrimination is, it would be Jews. That’s pretty much when I turned my back on the Old Testament God, and all Gods for that matter. If there was a God he wouldn't let his children treat some of his other children that way. He'd give them a Time Out, like a flood or something. She's done it before, if you believe the press releases.

TO BE FAIR: I was naive and unsophisticated about the Civil Rights Movement back then. We were not yet teenagers while it was happening all around us. I later learned how many Jews were on the Freedom Rides and Marches. My bad.

I read an interesting article and listened to the audio this morning on the NPR site. When Corporations Take The Lead On Social Change tells of how Coca-Cola led the way to change the social/racial dynamic of Atlanta, a city steeped in The Old South.
Wal-Mart, Apple, Angie's List, NASCAR — some of the biggest names in business this week pushed back against "religious freedom" laws [] in Indiana and Arkansas. They said the laws could open the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians and were bad for their business.

Such corporate intervention is not new.

Back in 1964, social conservatives in Atlanta refused to support an integrated dinner honoring Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr. But then Coca-Cola put its giant corporate foot down, and changed Atlanta's history. 
Isn’t it a shame that there are not more followers of Jesus leading the fight for LGBT equality?

And, it’s a crack like that that makes me wonder if you even want to communicate with me, Pastor Kenny. You stopped after our first exchange of Pastoral Letters, but I don’t know whether it’s because you were busy starting a new LGBT-friendly church, or pissed at my second Pastoral Letter.

Yet, I’m still seeking spirituality. In my first Pastoral Letter I told you how I occasionally look for it on Gilchrist when I’m visiting Detroit. Whenever I am back on Gilchrist, and many times in between, I recall a place I felt warm, and happy, and peaceful, and calm, and protected, and – dare I say it? – spiritual.

In your backyard, right at the back fence, were some huge bushes that were overgrown. There was a small opening under the branches. I recall climbing through this hole to sit under this bush for hours on end. The branches grew up and over, creating a bower big enough for young boys to imagine anything. The ground was packed flat and it smelled of Mother Earth. In the dead of summer it was always degrees cooler under that bush and it was easy to forget there was even a world beyond that curtain of green.

Sadly, I don’t even know what kind of bush it was. Maybe you do.

There was something so pastoral, peaceful, and memorable, about sitting under this bush, that I transferred it to the front yard of Zachary’s house in the fictional Farce Au Pain, which take place on Gilchrist and mirrors the houses we lived in in real life. I have Zachary and Adrian using this bush to spy on Gilchrist when no one could see them, which makes me realize—as I write this sentence—that I often do that as a journalist: embed myself in a group (behind a bush?) to see how they act when they don’t know a writer is watching. 

Maybe that’s why I am still looking for that bush. Do you know where it is, Ken?

Well, that’s it for now, Pastor Kenny. I’ll write another Pastoral Letter on the next solstice, or big holiday, or whenever I like, if it comes to that. If you do want to talk, reach out to me (to use a phrase that’s become a hoary cliché). I would welcome that.

Your childhood friend,

Monday, March 30, 2015

Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By!

An unretouched pic of the inside of my PC tower after
3 years of constant use. Slathering bacon grease
on these gears will get them running smoothly again.
NOTICE: The Not Now Silly Newsroom will be off the air while technicians work behind the scenes to improve your NNS experience.

I've been putting this off for so long, because it's such a monumental chore, but I am about to wipe this hard drive and reinstall a clean operating system. I can't imagine this will take more than a few days, but just in case it takes a little longer, you've been warned.

Here's the dealie: My PC tower is in serious need of a clean install of the operating system. It's 3 years old and, in that time, has become very slow because: Windoze.

Not just slow. Firefox crashes several times a day, occasionally taking unsaved work with it. At other times the computer just freezes. It just sits there mocking me while I stare back at it. When that happens I have only 2 choices: I can reboot, or I can wait it out. Rebooting is usually the wisest choice because there's no guarantee that waiting it out will work. Yet waiting it out works often enough that I still try it occasionally, only to marinate in my frustration when the wait turns out to be unsuccessful and I end up rebooting anyway.

Regardless of the recovery process when it freezes, all that time staring at the screen -- or waiting for a reboot to finish -- is wasted time, unproductive time, time I could be writing, surfing, researching, or just screwing around. I'm tired of it. It's time to clean this computer up.

This is my IT Tech posing with my current set-up.
The large wheel is used to avoid a hard drive crash.
Therefore, I am currently in the process of migrating all the data on this computer to a portable hard drive, where I already store all of my music: 29,520 tracks of listening pleasure.

One of the first things I did was transfer over 17,638 pics, which represents every picture I've taken with my phone since I got it in October of 2012.

Then I started transferring documents, such as articles I've written, half-finished articles I hope to finish, and half-finished articles I have no hope of ever finishing. Also among these documents are also dozens of PDFs I've saved. Then there are all the documents whistle blowers have sent me, not to mention text files of raw research for future Not Now Silly articles.

All this stuff, along with other sundries I want to save, are scattered all over my hard drive -- from the desktop to directories I created on the fly when I needed a place to store crap and didn't want to spend any time thinking about where.

This process would have been far simpler had I accepted all the Microsoft presets, as opposed to putting things just where I like them. But, I like them where I like them. When the tower is souped up, I'll probably put them right back where they were before I moved them. I never learn.

At the same time I am also configuring a brand new laptop computer I purchased so that I have something to use while the tower is being refurbished. It's a Toshiba Satellite.

True story: I asked the guy at the store if that means it connected to a satellite. He looked at me as if I wear wearing a STUPID sign and said, v e r y  s l o w l y, "No. That's just the brand name." But, he agreed with me that that would have been cool, especially at that price.

The new laptop is a new exercise in frustration. It uses Windows 8.1 (my tower is Windows 7), so there's another learning curve. Just to make matters worse is that I am terrible with a touchpad. I keep moving the cursor into areas of the screen where weird 8.1 crap flies out of one of the 4 quadrants. There are some that I have been unable to duplicate.

However, the biggest frustration in this entire process is that this laptop is just jam-packed with bloatware I'll never use. I am getting rid of as much of it as possible, but it seems to grow like Topsy. It actually pisses me off that one can't buy a computer with just an operating system installed, without all that other crap. Let me decide what crap I want to load onto my computer, thank you very much.

If you don't hear from me in a week, send Kevin Flynn in to find me.

The Not Now Silly Newsroom begins radio silence.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Headlines Du Jour ► Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hiya, Headliners. Today's birthday belongs to Python & Rutle, Eric Idle. Here are some of the other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
Today's yesteryear segment was larger than usual, as is today's Headlines Du Jour. So, let's get to it...finally:













Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.