Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Comes to a End

As we prepare to usher in 2015, here is hoping your 2014 was more interesting than your 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

I also hope that you found someone new who would carry you, and have become that person to someone else as well.

As I continue to encouraged; think about all you have done this past year and what you might have have done differently. This is not to live in regret, but as a guide for the coming year. With the year ending, so does your chance of living it to the fullest. The lucky among us will have the full coming year to try again. Stop putting off what you really want to do, because you never know when not being able to do it will stop being a voluntary choice and just becomes your new reality.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obama's New Cuba Policy

He appears to just be grasping at potential legacy issues now. Would be nice if he actually got some concessions from the Cuban regime, but we can't let that get in the way of a good photo-op/moment.

"Some good, some bad.

Loosened travel restrictions

A dozen different licenses allow Americans to travel to Cuba, and requirements for getting them will be relaxed....

Authorized travelers will also be able to use their U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba, something not previously allowed. That could make it much easier for people to go to Cuba.

Bringing back goods


Under the new rules, authorized visitors will be allowed to bring back $400 worth of goods -- including $100 worth of alcohol and tobacco products combined. In the past, it has been illegal to bring back any of Cuba’s famed cigars and rum.


Sending money

It will be easier for people in the U.S. to send money to Cuba under the changes....

Billions already are sent annually by Cubans living in the United States....

Human rights

Republicans are ripping the deal for doing little to improve human rights in Cuba. The White House appears to have dropped its opposition to a Cuban presence at the 2015 summit of the Americas in Panama, but says has that Cuban civil society “must be allowed” to participate.
Below, Marco Rubio tears Obama as the worst negotiator in the modern era, noting that Obama got "nothing" out of this deal -- no structural undertakings towards freedom on Cuba's behalf -- except freeing 53 political prisoners. (Who could be re-imprisoned in a week.)

Premiere of The Interview Canceled

And thus, the first real attack by a foreign country (North Korea), against a US Company (Sony), ends with the defeat of the US Company. The Real question now is what the US Government is going to do about this, less it become a common occurrence

"Either this is the worst case of cultural imperialism in recent memory, or the most innovative PR campaign in history. The premiere of the new Sony Pictures comedy The Interview has been canceled after terrorist threats from the hacker group that took credit for the theft of massive amounts of data from Sony Entertainment. It threatened a 9/11-style response on any theater that dared to show the Seth Rogen-James Franco film, and the Landmark Sunshine Theater in New York backed away as a result:

A spokesperson for Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema has confirmed that Thursday’s premiere of Sony’s Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy “The Interview” has been canceled in the wake of the ominous message sent by Sony hackers on Tuesday morning. The message threatened a 9/11-style attack on theaters showing the film.
Rogen and Franco are taking a lower profile, although it may be mutual:

The duo attended last week’s Los Angeles premiere, which was a low-key affair at which interviews were not allowed. Earlier Tuesday, they canceled media appearances including a Buzzfeed Brews conversation, Rogen’s Thursday appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and an interview with both of them on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Wednesday.
Sony still plans on moving forward with The Interview, but won’t hold theater owners to their contractual obligations to show it:

The scaling back of publicity came as the Carmike Cinema chain announced that it would not be screening the film, due to open in the US on Christmas Day. Shares in Carmike, as well as the country’s three other biggest cinema chains — AMC, Regal and Cinemark and Carmike — all fell after news of the threat broke.

An announcement by Sony on Tuesday said the decision whether to pull screenings lay in the hands of picturehouse owners, but added that the studio hoped to proceed with the planned nationwide rollout of the film.

Variety quotes Tom Stephenson, the CEO of Look Cinemas, saying: “If they play it, we’ll show it. Sony has a right to make the movie, we have a right to play it and censorship in general is a bad thing.”

But there is said to be growing unease among both cinema chains and rival studios that the threats may cause audiences to stay away from cinemas over one of the key weekends in the calendar.
Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security took the unusual step of announcing that they have no evidence of a terror plot in place against movie theaters, but that they would be on heightened alert to watch for signs of such:

2014 Midterm Officially Over

And the GOP officially have a larger majority then they have enjoyed in close to a century.

"With McSally’s victory, the 2014 midterm elections have officially concluded. At the start of the 114th Congress, Republicans will enjoy their largest majority in the House of Representatives since prior to the Great Depression and the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt with 247 members. The last time the GOP enjoyed that large of a majority was the 71st Congress in 1929 and 1930.

n the Senate, the GOP will be in an almost equally unparalleled position of power.

“Republicans will control 54 out of 100 seats,” The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake noted. “That’s tied for their fourth-highest number of seats since that same 1929-30 Congress, but the larger three were majorities of 55 seats — i.e. only one more seat.”

Combined with the GOP’s dominance at the state legislative level (Republicans control 56 percent of seats in the legislatures, the highest number since 1920), and the party’s control of 31 of 50 gubernatorial mansions, the Republican Party will be in the strongest position it has seen since prior to the popularization of Democratic progressivism.

“The last time the GOP clearly had more power than today was in the early 1920s, when it controlled more than 70 percent of governorships, 69 percent of the House and more than 60 percent of Senate seats,” Blake observed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Paint me a Symbol

I am not a much of a poet, but I figured I would give it a try.

Paint Me A Symbol

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Justice,
So I painted a Judge handing down a ruling.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Freedom,
So I painted a Pilot flying high in the sky.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Courage,
So I painted a Firefighter running into a burning building.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Bravery,
So I painted a Police Officer putting their life on the line.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Sacrifice,
So I painted a Soldier holding the line under enemy fire.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Prosperity,
So I painted a Couple throwing a party for their many friends.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Liberty,
So I painted a Protester holding a sign.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Wisdom,
So I painted a Scholar pouring over a book.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Determination,
So I painted a Mountain Climber nearing the peak.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Sincerity,
So I painted a firm Handshake.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Ingenuity,
So I painted an Inventor tinkering away in their shop.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Imagination,
So I painted an Artist in front of a blank canvas.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Success,
So I painted a Decathlon winner.

A man once asked me to paint him a symbol of Compassion,
So I painted a Doctor tending to a patient.

A man then asked me to combine all these themes in a unifying symbol,
I put the paint down and stood up to look him square in the eye,
Its already done I said as I handed the man a small American Flag,
He thought for a second then with a nod he took Old Glory and walked away.

Say what you will about our leaders, current troubles, or past indiscretions, but no country in the history of man has done more to promote freedom, justice, and prosperity throughout the world then the United States of America. We have been a force for good unlike the world had ever seen. The flag represents all that is right with this country; it is truly an embodiment of all the positive attributes listed and many more.
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