Remarks And Asides

First the bad news:

If Higgs Boson Calculations Are Right, A Catastrophic ‘Bubble’ Could End Universe

Now the good news:

Earth will likely be long gone before any Higgs boson particles set off an apocalyptic assault on the universe. Physicists expect the sun to burn out in 4.5 billion years or so, and expand, likely engulfing Earth in the process.


at a couple of town hall meetings in Arizona on Tuesday, John McCain got in a scrap with know-nothings over immigration reform. These are the same ignorant folks McCain pandered to during his last election, so he damn well deserved it.

Here’s how the AP reported part of the pushback:

“There are 11 million people living here illegally,” [McCain] said. “We are not going to get enough buses to deport them.”

Some audience members shouted out their disapproval.

One man yelled that only guns would discourage undocumented immigration. Another man complained that undocumented immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said undocumented immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits.

McCain urged compassion. “We are a Judeo-Christian nation,” he said.

“A Judeo-Christian nation”? The senator apparently doesn’t understand Judeo-Christian compassion, at least the kind we see on display these days. From USA Today:

BEAUMONT, TEXAS — Pastor James McAbee believes the Scriptures can tame temptation and wash away sins.

But he’ll tell you that nothing repels true evil like a well-placed, loaded Glock .40-caliber pistol.

Speaking in strange tongues, the Assembly of God preacher said:

I preach peace. Having a firearm keeps the peace.

A piece keeps the peace? Amen, say all the followers of Jesus, the gun-toting Prince of Peace.


The Washington Post’s Wonkblog published an article titled, “Wal-Mart’s freaking out about the economy. Should the rest of us?” It began by citing comments from “a couple of internal e-mails from Wal-Mart executives panicking about the company’s worst sales start in seven years” :

Well, we just had one of those weeks here at Walmart U.S. Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?

Where’s their money? Heck, that’s an easy one. The Walton family finally has it all!

From the Forbes list of the 400 richest folks in America:

walton family wealth2

That’s a total of $115.5 billion. Those folks need to do a little more shopping at Wal-Mart!


f 2inally, there is the case of Dan Friedman, a reporter for the New York Daily News. He has come forward to admit it was he who, accidentally, started all those weird stories about yet-to-be-confirmed Chuck Hagel speaking to “Friends of Hamas”:

Here’s what happened: When rumors swirled that Hagel received speaking fees from controversial organizations, I attempted to check them out.

On Feb. 6, I called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill with a question: Did Hagel’s Senate critics know of controversial groups that he had addressed?

Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”?

The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them.

No one could take seriously the idea”? Huh? We’re talking about crazy people here. HuffPo describes what happened next:

The following day, an article appeared on the conservative website with the headline, “SECRET HAGEL DONOR?: WHITE HOUSE SPOX DUCKS QUESTION ON ‘FRIENDS OF HAMAS.'” Conservative pundits, including Mike Huckabee, and other websites also addressed the rumor. It even came up during a Fox Business segment with host Lou Dobbs.

The right-wing website RedState also got in on the action and someone commenting on that story explained exactly how wing-nut journalism works, when it comes to Barack Obama:

Any accusation against the President or anyone in anyway connected to his administration must be treated as a fact based truth until otherwise proven false.




  1. I think Senator McCain forgot about the compassion ratings of the Church (the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch trials, persecution of the Separatists, etc.) and the Hebrews (per capita, the most ruthlessly vindictive, racist group in history — at least according to their scriptures). C’mon John. Do a little homework, old man.


  2. Treeske

     /  February 20, 2013

    Junior League in France? LOL


  3. ansonburlingame

     /  February 21, 2013

    First there is spin and then more spin. Does anyone else get sick of it. I googled “friends of Hamas” and found the following quote:

    “The mainstream media have ignored the fact that at least one prominent supporter of Hamas has donated money to an organization associated with former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)–namely, the Atlantic Council, which receives support from the Hariri family of Lebanon, whose most prominent member, former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, publicly backs Hamas.

    Instead, they have attacked a story by Ben Shapiro citing Senate sources who said they had been told Hagel had received funds from a group “purportedly” calling itself “Friends of Hamas.” Shapiro reported that he had attempted to obtain confirmation or comment from a White House spokesperson, who hung up on him.

    Dan Friedman, the New York Daily News reporter who claimed today to be the original source for the accusation, has now admitted that the Feb. 7 story by Breitbart News’ Ben Shapiro, which merely reported the allegation, was accurate as written.”

    But who really cares??? Hagel will be confirmed next week as SECDEF. Now if you believe he in fact will be a GOOD SECDEF, then I would listen to your reasons why. In my view I don’t believe he will be “very good at all” in that role. He lacks the “gravitas” and experience in such matters and I have never read or heard of his significant contributions to such matters. But so what, the President nominated him, for whatever reasons and thus…….

    OK, the Walton family has too much money, right? I would now be interested in what you propose to take it away from them, legally. I also wonder how much federal and state tax revenues that wealth generates each year. As well, once you spread it around, how much additional federal revenue it will generate??? Give ALL of it to the bottom 50% of federal income tax payers and you may well not get ANY federal income tax revenues from such wealth!!! Each ONE of those lower 50 percenters would garner less than $2,000, ONCE from such a contribution!! Just do the math. (115 billion divided by 75 million)



  4. ansonburlingame

     /  February 22, 2013

    Now a day later,

    Go to

    According to the Huff Post, Hagel now has the votes to be confirmed. One GOPer (one that voted to filibuster earlier) said, “He is about as good as we can get”, and thus will vote to confirm, along with several other GOPers.

    Good for them, accepting political reality today.

    My only question for “you guys” is, however, is “as good as we can get” good enough for America today, a Defense Secretary confronting, daily, the threats of things like “Benghazi” all around the world, today?



    • Infinitely better than Rumsfeld, at least. Not a lemming, at least. Willing to call out indiscretions and atrocities (including Israel), at least.


    • From the February 22 Huff Post article:

      Fifteen Republicans senators wrote that Hagel lacks the bipartisan support and confidence to serve in the vital job of defense secretary.

      “The occupant of this critical office should be someone whose candidacy is neither controversial nor divisive,” wrote the senators – all opponents of Hagel. Leading the effort was Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the party’s No. 2, who is up for re-election next year.

      So, the GOP leadership wants someone who can appear before what is probably the most bitterly divided Congress since the Civil War – Tea Party, evangelicals, bleeding heart liberals and almost no moderates – and still be ” . . . neither controversial nor divisive.” Unfortunately, Abe Lincoln is not available.

      What should be the qualifications for a Secretary of Defense? Beats me – there doesn’t seem to be a generally agreed-on list for that, but just for giggles I checked Chuck’s Wiki bio and picked out some items for evaluation.

      He came from an ordinary middle-class family, the son of a WW II veteran, and grew up in Nebraska. (No Ivy-leaguer he, so that’s a black mark already.)

      He was an enlisted man and served in combat at the height of the fighting in the Vietnam war, receiving two Purple Hearts. (Too dumb to get a deferment, another black mark.)

      He got his BA degree in history on the GI bill, so no MBA for him. (Obviously neither business nor political material.)

      Has held a large variety of jobs: radio newscaster, talk show host, Congressional staffer, lobbyist, co-founder of a tel-com company, CEO of a major charity, CEO of the 1990 G7 Summit, president of an investment banking firm, and CEO of a manufacturing company. (Clearly this guy can’t make up his mind on one thing he wants to do, like, say, buying and owning a major-league baseball team for example.) And oh yes, he became the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska. (He has to be sneaky to fool people that much.)

      As Senator he:

      Voted for the Patriot Act; (actually, not good, but then there was 9/11)
      Voted for the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts; (again, 9/11)
      Voted against No Child Left Behind; (political guts if you ask me)
      Voted against Bush’s Medicare prescription drug bill; (so, he’s fiscally sane. How’s he going to fit in with the DOD crown with that kind of attitude?)
      Voted against McCain-Feingold. (I’m not studied up enough to comment on that.)

      While Hagel ended up voting for the Iraq war, he had his doubts, doubts that turned out to be well-founded, but he was duped along with most of the rest of the country, just like Colin Powell was, and to his credit was a proponent of getting us out of both that and the Afghanistan war. (Isn’t having a SecDef who doesn’t like war kind of an oxymoron?)

      Hagel co-sponsored immigration reform in 2006 and 2007. (How can this guy even call himself a Republican?)

      Yep, I get it. When Anson implies that Chuck Hagel is not the kind of guy who could handle another Benghazi, I think he’s probably right. Clearly what we need is a man who loves “the smell of napalm in the morning”, who would throw the damn budget out the window and station at least a battalion of troops at every American embassy and consulate in the world. You never know where the bastards are going to attack next.


  5. ansonburlingame

     /  February 22, 2013


    Don’t put words in my mouth. My only concern about Benghazi was what I saw as a dysfunctional NCA, one unable to handle a sudden crisis and save American lives.

    As for Rumsfeld, I agree with the “general’s” view above, as far as how he dealt with Iraq, post invasion. But at the time of his confirmation, there was no better man in America to confront the challenges in DOD, PRE, I say PRE 9/11. Rumsfeld was exactly the kind of experienced man that could have taken on the “generals” to start to pare down American defense structures based on Cold War views. Had that been his only challenge, well my guess, and only a guess, is he would have done a masterful job. But who knows today, given the reality of 9/11.

    As far as Presidential appointments go, I remain rather firm in letting any President appoint whomever he chooses, UNLESS, there is grievious background information suggesting criminal or moral transgressions. Of course a President will appoint men or women that support his views, on SCOTUS, DOD, State Department, etc. Let him do so is my call, by and large and then let America accept the consequences of such appointments, later on, good or bad.

    But believe you me, Jim, IF another Behghazi-like situation arises in the next four years, AND I sense a confused and “staggering” NCA, AND THEN I hear nothing but excuses for the failure to protect and defend Americans, anywhere, well you will hear me, loud and clear.

    I believe this country could “do better” with someone other than Hagel. But I and people like me lost the election last fall. Let the chips now fall where they may and we’ll see what happens later on.



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