T   P   O
The Patient Ox (aka Hénock Gugsa)

G r e e t i n g s !

** TPO **
A personal blog with diverse topicality and multiple interests!

On the menu ... politics, music, poetry, and other good stuff.
There is humor, but there is blunt seriousness here as well!

Parfois, on parle français ici aussi. Je suis un francophile .... Bienvenue à tous!

* Your comments and evaluations are appreciated ! *

Friday, November 30, 2012

An Inconvenient Truth for Republicans - by David Horsey

[Right wingers careen into craziness to explain Obama's victory]
by David Horsey,
Political commentator, Los Angeles Times
November 12, 2012

President Obama’s reelection has caused right-wingers to become completely unhinged. They are purple-faced and apoplectic, convinced that an ignorant horde of government-dependent social leeches has destroyed traditional America and banished God from the country.

The craziest comments came from certifiably loony celebrities. Gun-crazy rocker Ted Nugent tweeted that “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav [sic] a president to destroy America,” and  former Saturday Night Live goofball Victoria Jackson let loose a series of tweets, saying in part, “Thanks a lot, Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me… In the Good vs. Evil battle, today Evil won.”

Egomaniacal rich guy Donald Trump simply called for a revolution.

Various tea party leaders, who thought they had already launched a pretty good revolution, could not fathom the election results. Cincinnati Tea Party President George Brunemann said, "The easy two-word answer for what happened Tuesday is: America died."

On Fox News, political has-been Sarah Palin, sporting a big Loretta Lynn hairdo, looked positively baffled, wondering why the American people would willingly abandon the Constitution. Bill O’Reilly had an answer for her: “People feel they are entitled to things.” And those “people,” O’Reilly made clear, are not "traditional" Americans or members of the “white establishment;” rather, they have skin that is brown.

Ann Coulter echoed the view of numerous conservative pundits: “If Mitt Romney cannot win in this economy, then the tipping point has been reached. We have more takers than makers and it’s over.”

All of this doomsday blather hearkens back to Romney’s infamous characterization of 47% of Americans as “victims” who only want to be coddled by government. As it was when Romney said it, this portrait of America is not only demonstrably false, it is a scurrilous slander with a racist tinge.

The most numerous voters dependent on government to keep them economically afloat are retirees who receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. This was the cohort that went most heavily for Romney. The people who put Obama over the top in the electoral vote, on the other hand, were autoworkers in Ohio; not exactly a dependent bunch.

They were also young people who do not grow faint at the thought of gays getting married or women using birth control. They were middle-class white Americans – as many as voted for Bill Clinton, by the way – who think it is unfair that all the economic benefits in this country flow to the richest 1%.

And, of course, they were blacks and Latinos who voted for Obama in overwhelming numbers. When Ted Nugent emotes about pimps, whores and welfare brats, we all know who he has in mind – and it isn’t the white establishment living off corporate welfare.

Right-wingers will not let go of their own misleading mythology. They have a constricted vision of who the “real Americans” are and who they are not. Until election night, they still believed that people like themselves constituted a majority in this country. Now that they are faced with the truth of their own diminishing numbers, they are rejiggering reality. Incapable of accepting that the millions of people who voted for Obama are overwhelmingly hardworking, family-loving, patriotic Americans, they have to imagine them as the “takers” that Ayn Rand warned them were coming.

This is a necessary self-deception. Otherwise, conservative crazies would have to face an inconvenient truth: On election day, a majority of real Americans rejected them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Equal Time - by The Iceman of Merriam Park

 Subject: Equal time
The Iceman of Merriam Park *

Al B's story of his father, a Republican, suggesting they take Al B's vote for a Democrat to the town dump [BB, 5/8/2012] reminded me of a sorority sister of my niece, who, being from Texas but unable to return for the Thanksgiving dinner with her family, was invited to our family's festivities.

During the dinner, she suggested she was a 'good Republican.' It was too easy, but the obvious rejoinder was: 'Oh, you vote for Democrats.'

Needless to say, the turkey, a fitting symbol of Republicans and Democrats, was enjoyed by all.
* Bulletin Board, Pioneer Press (May, 2012)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

[Regarding] "Three Blind Mice" - Billy Collins

Billy Collins

I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice"
Billy Collins (1941-)

And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
and I think of the poor mother
brooding over her sightless young triplets.

Or was it a common accident, all three caught
in a searing explosion, a firework perhaps?
If not,
if each came to his or her blindness separately,

how did they ever manage to find one another?
Would it not be difficult for a blind mouse
to locate even one fellow mouse with vision
let alone two other blind ones?

And how, in their tiny darkness,
could they possibly have run after a farmer's wife
or anyone else's wife for that matter?
Not to mention why.

Just so she could cut off their tails
with a carving knife, is the cynic's answer,
but the thought of them without eyes
and now without tails to trail through the moist grass

or slip around the corner of a baseboard
has the cynic who always lounges within me
up off his couch and at the window
trying to hide the rising softness that he feels.

By now I am on to dicing an onion
which might account for the wet stinging
in my own eyes, though Freddie Hubbard's
mournful trumpet on "Blue Moon,"

which happens to be the next cut,
cannot be said to be making matters any better.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mitt Romney's Adieu - by SCHMOYOHO

The 2012 Concession Song of Mittens *

* TPO says: "All is well that ends well." 
Today, on Thanksgiving Day ...
Thank God for that !!!

P.S. - I wonder ... do they eat turkey in Turkey?!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lying, Stealing, and Killing - by Hénock Gugsa

Lying -> Stealing -> Killing
( LSK )
by Hénock Gugsa

This morning, I woke up with a nagging thought on what could be at the root of the world’s problems.  In my humble opinion, it is the deadly combination of lying, stealing, and killing that has taken over practically all aspects of our lives from birth to death. But, going even deeper, we find that the real foundation (the ‘bud’) of all our troubles is LYING !

We all remember from our high-school geometry lessons that a three-sided polygon is known as a triangle.  Further, we learned that there are six types of triangles … equilateral, acute, obtuse, scalene, isosceles, and right-angle.


But, the polygon of interest to our discussion here is the equilateral triangle - a triangle with all three sides equal and the internal angles are also equal.  For reasons that will soon become clear or obvious, I have labeled the sides of the  triangle as: L (for lying),  S (for stealing), and K (for killing).


Amazingly, the root cause of all our social and societal ailments has simple beginnings …  little untruths in early childhood. 

Lying is not innate, but rather an acquired (learned) habit.  It can be squelched early on thru good parenting and tutelage, or it can be overlooked, forgiven and excused.  This is the time when correct choices should be made by adults in a society.  They should take their responsibility seriously ... to guide and to keep the youth on the right path.  Furthermore, children's education should include serious  discussion and understanding of morality.

Walk a few paces from “lying”, and you shall find yourself in the “stealing” zone.  Here is where denial, the ultimate form of lying, comes into play.  One lies about the small things as well as the big.  Worst of all, one does not only lie to others, but one lies to the self as well … constantly and convincingly!  It is a hopeless and heartrendingly sad state because it  is also seriously injurious to the victims.  The level of lying here is where the liar is  self-empowered to excuse thefts and other forms of personal violations (fraud and abuse of trust).  No distinction is made between right and wrong.  Here, the big time players are the thieves, the rapists, the con-artists, the investment bankers, the sleazy lawyers, the corrupt politicians, et al.  It is a given - There is no nobility in the deeds of these sociopathic liars and thieves.  I would also contend that these robbers don’t always steal out of necessity or need.  Rather, it seems that some of the motivation may just be self-driven moral depravity.


The final stage in this chain of moral decrepitude is the big-time crime arena of “killing”.  We are now at the point of no return where the acts of lying and stealing have to be justified with some perverse and final act, namely “killing” (or murder if you wish).  All types of arguments are given to excuse the act of “killing”, including strangely enough self-defense.  At no time anywhere do we hear anyone say:  The cause of the killing was greed and denial (stealing) of the victims’ basic Civil Rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness!

On a larger scale, of-course, we see nations behave as individuals do.  A country may go to war (organized mass "killing”) using the justification of national defense, or the elimination of national security threats both at home and abroad.  In war, naturally, the first casualty is TRUTH.  Lying pundits and propagandists thrive and flourish in this period.  To be sure, the real reason(s) for war may never be clear-cut or well-defined.  But the beneficiaries are not necessarily hidden to us.  We have all heard of large military-industrial complexes in general terms and of Halliburton in particular.

In Ethiopia, a tale is told of a mother who could see no wrong in her one and  only son. She had always excused his little fibs.  When he grew to adolescence, his fibs had grown to lies; but his mother still overlooked his wrong ways.  As he grew to manhood, his lies grew even bigger … he was not only lying to others, he was now also lying to himself.  Thus, he was excusing all wrong-doings with his lies and self-deceptions.  Finally, he reached the point where his stealing and robbing turned to killing.  He was apprehended for a murder he had committed; and he was sentenced to death.  On the day of his execution at the gallows, he looked down at the crowd below and saw his mother there crying her her heart out.  In that moment of critical finality and clarity, he began to sob as he spoke the following words to her: “Oh, dear mother.  Are those tears really for me now?  But where were you when I was a little boy and I was telling those little fibs?  Where were you when I got older and told big lies?  And where were you when I started to steal?  Why did you never stop me even once? Why didn't you punish me?  Alas, it is too late now, mother! Your tears now are way too late!”

It seems self-evident to me that things do not happen without a reason.  There is always a cause … and that cause has a beginning in a time past ….  A progression (or sequence of developments) leads to the morphing of states.  Thus what started out as small fibs (white lies) gradually grow to big time lying, and stealing, ... and ultimately to killing!

We need to be alert and attentive to our surroundings.  We need to be responsible parents, and citizens.  

We need to recognize and condemn MENDACITY when we encounter it!

We need to, as Barney Fife would say, nip this thing in the bud!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Great Scott, Billy! - by TPO

Billy Connolly in "Gulliver's Travels"
Thoughts from the Greatest Living Scottish Thinker
-- Billy Connolly (1942 -) --

- If women are so perfect at multitasking, how come they can't have a headache and sex at the same time?

- I don't know why I should have to learn Algebra... I'm never likely to go there.

- If Jesus was a Jew, how come he has a Mexican first name?

- It seems to me that Islam and Christianity and Judaism all have the same god, and he's telling them all different things.

- I think my securities far outweigh my insecurities. I am not nearly as afraid of myself and my imagination as I used to be.

- What always staggers me is that when people blow their noses, they always look into their hankies to see what came out. What do they expect to find?

- Who discovered we could get milk from cows, and what did he THINK he was doing at the time?

- 53 f---ing virgins! The very thought of 53 f---ing virgins, it's a nightmare! It's not a f---ing present, it's not a prize- it's a punishment! Give me 2 fire-breathing whores any day of the week. I'm a slut man!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sull'Aria (from: "Le Nozze di Figaro") - W A Mozart

Sull'Aria (a short duet from "The Marriage of Figaro" by W A Mozart)
with Karita Mattila and Marie McLaughlin
Video Slide by Henock Gugsa

Romney Is Still Dead Wrong! - by TPO

The Romney debacle continues .... His latest analysis for why he lost the election:  Barack Obama was promising (and even giving) gifts to voters! 

The following is a collection of rebuttals, from a variety of sources, to his outrageous claims  ....

ABC News dissects Romney's Analysis of His Election Loss
abcnews.go.com (11/15/12)
"What the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote, and that strategy worked," Romney said, according to audio of the call obtained by ABC News.
"He gave them a big gift on immigration with the DREAM Act amnesty program, which was obviously very, very popular with Hispanic voters, and then number two was Obamacare," Romney said.

ABC News says ...

1. "Free Stuff"
While Romney portrayed Latinos as a group that's very receptive to "free stuff," the community actually places a strong emphasis on hard work and entrepreneurship.
According to a Pew Hispanic Center study, a higher percentage of Latinos believe that hard work can get them ahead when compared to the general public.

2. Obamacare
The Affordable Care Act is expected to have a disproportionate impact on the Latino community, but that's because proportionately it has a larger number of uninsured people than the general population. Three in ten Latinos last year lacked health insurance, according to Census data, almost three times the rate of non-Hispanic whites. 
The law expands access to healthcare through the individual mandate, which requires that a vast majority of Americans purchase their own health insurance or pay a fine. Subsidies and tax credits are available for people who cannot find affordable private insurance (mostly those who live near or below the federal poverty line). These provisions would not necessarily make health insurance free. That means poor individuals and families would still be responsible for paying some healthcare expenses themselves, but would also receive financial assistance from the government. So it's not exactly a gift, as Romney suggested.

3. Immigration
Romney said on the call, "Obama gave them a big gift on immigration with the DREAM Act amnesty program, which was obviously very, very popular with Hispanic voters."
Obama failed to address comprehensive immigration reform during his first term, but he did enact the deferred action program in June 2011 that granted temporary relief to certain young undocumented immigrants.
But Romney's stances on the subject also appeared to fuel his poor performance among Hispanics. Romney opposed the deferred action program, arguing that the president's action would make it more difficult to enact a legislative solution for undocumented youth. The Republican candidate also said he would end the
program and also adopted tough positions on immigration enforcement, such as "self-deportation."

Washington Post Readers' Comments
Can Romney or one of his supporters explain why the wealthy and educated Jewish and Asian-American demographics also went for Obama by over 70%?

Yes Obama gave all students that qualify a chance to go to college and Sanitarian said not all students deserve a chance to go to college {JUST THE ELITE}. Romney said no more grants {BORROW FROM YOUR PARENTS} No clue about the 98%. All repubs wanted to stop college students from voting as very few vote repub due to their policies. Yes Obama gave and Romney wanted to take away. HE LOST GET OVER IT.

I voted for Obama and am now waiting for my gift. I hope it will be a new Ipad. Will it come in the mail?

Romney DID promise "goodies" to his base -- lower tax rates, no corporate business taxes, no taxes on investment income, no taxes on income earned overseas. Them's some pretty expensive goodies.

News Flash Mitt –A large percentage of Americans are African Americans, Latinos and young people, and if you add in women, we are obviously way more than half of us. Soooo… Obama was targeting Americans. How outrageous!
Non-government check receiving, not young, white female Obama voter here. I didn’t vote for a gift. Keep insulting us and your successor won’t do any better than you did. And FYI -there are trailer parks full of people who get government checks and voted for you. You might not realize they exist since they probably were not able to send you a check.

"A sense of entitlement"
Pioneer Press
Posted:   11/15/2012

Terry G., Vadnais Heights , MN :
I voted for President Obama, and the writer of "A 'handout' economy" (Nov. 11) is correct -- I have an entitlement mentality. My personal "moral decay" includes teaching children how to play band instruments for the past 34 years.
I also spent 21 years as a volunteer on my local fire department and served as an EMT and CPR instructor for our medical services. Before that, I spent 10 years volunteering with the National Ski Patrol at Afton Alps. My "moral decay" also includes teaching merit badges to Boy Scouts for four years, heading up the confirmation program at my church for four years and serving as its president, as well. In 1971, I volunteered for the draft and served in the U.S. Army for two years. So yes, I have a strong sense of entitlement. I am entitled to vote for whomever I please.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Relevance or Obsolescence? - by TPO

It is the day after.  The Republican party is in a state of shock and disarray.  The 2012 election results were like cold slaps of reality on the false assumptions and conclusions of a vanished status quo ante. Unfortunately, the party's apparatchiks are now only interested in blame games and doubling down on their obsolete ideology. They do not comprehend the seismic philosophical and attitudinal changes of the citizenry toward government.  True, some thinkers are calling for reforms, but they are largely of the cosmetic kind. 

One conservative, however, is standing up and making an appeal for realism, for truth, and for reasonableness.  That person is David Brooks, a political analyst, commentator, and syndicated opinion-piece columnist for The New York Times.  The following is a recent article by Mr. Brooks that should be treasured by everybody ....

The Party of Work
The New York Times, Opinion
Published: November 8, 2012

The American colonies were first settled by Protestant dissenters. These were people who refused to submit to the established religious authorities. They sought personal relationships with God. They moved to the frontier when life got too confining. They created an American creed, built, as the sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset put it, around liberty, individualism, equal opportunity, populism and laissez-faire.

This creed shaped America and evolved with the decades. Starting in the mid-20th century, there was a Southern and Western version of it, formed by ranching Republicans like Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Their version drew on the traditional tenets: ordinary people are capable of greatness; individuals have the power to shape their destinies; they should be given maximum freedom to do so.

This is not an Ayn Randian, radically individualistic belief system. Republicans in this mold place tremendous importance on churches, charities and families — on the sort of pastoral work Mitt Romney does and the sort of community groups Representative Paul Ryan celebrated in a speech at Cleveland State University last month.

But this worldview is innately suspicious of government. Its adherents generally believe in the equation that more government equals less individual and civic vitality. Growing beyond proper limits, government saps initiative, sucks resources, breeds a sense of entitlement and imposes a stifling uniformity on the diverse webs of local activity.

During the 2012 campaign, Republicans kept circling back to the spot where government expansion threatens personal initiative: you didn’t build that; makers versus takers; the supposed dependency of the 47 percent. Again and again, Republicans argued that the vital essence of the country is threatened by overweening government.

These economic values played well in places with a lot of Protestant dissenters and their cultural heirs. They struck chords with people whose imaginations are inspired by the frontier experience.

But, each year, there are more Americans whose cultural roots lie elsewhere. Each year, there are more people from different cultures, with different attitudes toward authority, different attitudes about individualism, different ideas about what makes people enterprising.

More important, people in these groups are facing problems not captured by the fundamental Republican equation: more government = less vitality.

The Pew Research Center does excellent research on Asian-American and Hispanic values. Two findings jump out. First, people in these groups have an awesome commitment to work. By most measures, members of these groups value industriousness more than whites.

Second, they are also tremendously appreciative of government. In survey after survey, they embrace the idea that some government programs can incite hard work, not undermine it; enhance opportunity, not crush it.

Moreover, when they look at the things that undermine the work ethic and threaten their chances to succeed, it’s often not government. It’s a modern economy in which you can work more productively, but your wages still don’t rise. It’s a bloated financial sector that just sent the world into turmoil. It’s a university system that is indispensable but unaffordable. It’s chaotic neighborhoods that can’t be cured by withdrawing government programs.

For these people, the Republican equation is irrelevant. When they hear Romney talk abstractly about Big Government vs. Small Government, they think: He doesn’t get me or people like me.

Let’s just look at one segment, Asian-Americans. Many of these people are leading the lives Republicans celebrate. They are, disproportionately, entrepreneurial, industrious and family-oriented. Yet, on Tuesday, Asian-Americans rejected the Republican Party by 3 to 1. They don’t relate to the Republican equation that more government = less work.

Over all, Republicans have lost the popular vote in five out of the six post-cold-war elections because large parts of the country have moved on. The basic Republican framing no longer resonates.

Some Republicans argue that they can win over these rising groups with a better immigration policy. That’s necessary but insufficient. The real problem is economic values.

If I were given a few minutes with the Republican billionaires, I’d say: spend less money on marketing and more on product development. Spend less on “super PACs” and more on research. Find people who can shift the debate away from the abstract frameworks — like Big Government vs. Small Government. Find people who can go out with notebooks and study specific, grounded everyday problems: what exactly does it take these days to rise? What exactly happens to the ambitious kid in Akron at each stage of life in this new economy? What are the best ways to rouse ambition and open fields of opportunity?

Don’t get hung up on whether the federal government is 20 percent or 22 percent of G.D.P. Let Democrats be the party of security, defending the 20th-century welfare state. Be the party that celebrates work and inflames enterprise. Use any tool, public or private, to help people transform their lives.

David Brooks

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rambunctious Readers of Slate Magazine - by TPO

Some rowdy readers' comments on ...
" CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns Over Extramarital Affair. "
by Josh Voorhes,
(posted 11/09/2012) 
David Petraeus


Well, since the trusty old "hiking the Appalachian Trail" excuse has already been burned (thanks a lot, Sanford), there was really no other choice but to come clean.

One of the more colorful euphemisms for doing the deed.

It takes months to hike the Appalachian trail.

If you're doing it right?

If you're doing it wrong it only takes a few minutes.

Does the Trail really want to be hiked, though? I suppose it's important to come clean.

Gregg White:
Hm. Razor blades on the trail. Be careful, everybody.

Hot wax, too.

Gregg White:
Safer and a little erotic to some.

If it doesn't want to be hiked, perhaps the trespass is "legitimate." If so, then there's nothing to worry about. The trail will take care of itself.

Petraeus is a very ugly man. Which means that if he's having an affair at his age, it's all about the power. The same is true for Spitzer, who is also a very ugly man. The problem is not the sex, it's the abuse of power.

Gregg White:

And your problem is judging people as "ugly."

He could give Prince Charles a run for his money.

Mitbert Strangejoy:
If he was having an affair at a different age, would it be all high-fives or something? I'm missing the age angle.

As an ugly man I...

Look on the bright side. As an ugly man, apparently you've got power.

Pardon me while I go oppress the downtrodden for a while. They seem to expect it.

Wade Wilson:
I'm bein' repressed!

If only.

You aren't "ugly," Silenced. You're a beautiful human being. Especially when you aren't oppressing the downtrodden.

Gregg White:
I believe that he would fall on his sword for America. Has he?

You'd have to ask his paramour.

Gregg White:
What if there is not one?

You'd have to ask his horse.

I blame the hook-up culture. Where's Marcotte?

All the NH Congressionals and the Governor are wimmins! It's the Apocalypse!

That's a good angle. Petraeus is being punished for being sex positive.

Heck, where's Barrow?

Huffing Aqua Net and reading soulful essays on hookingupsmart.com?

I blame gay marriage.

Also single women.

And don't forget to blame Santa Claus.

Back off of Santa Claus, Christmas is only a few weeks away.  Besides, if any fictional character is at fault, it is Big Bird.

You gonna stuff Big Bird for the big high school football celebration, or are you going Tofurkey?

"When I tried tofurkey, ye rejected me!"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life Experiences of Dr. Abraham Verghese - by TPO

Dr. Abraham Verghese

Life Experiences of Dr. Abraham Verghese (1955 - )
by TPO
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- Born and raised in Ethiopia.
- Parents were transplanted teachers from India.
- Practicing physician and professor of medicine in the U.S. 
- Here he talks* about his book: "Cutting for Stone" ....

* Conversation between Verghese and Talking Volumes host Kerri Miller at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn., on Oct. 10, 2012.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Caring and Winning ! - by TPO

"We take care of our own!"
Bruce Springsteen (1949 -)
Bruce Springsteen and Barack ObamaBruce Springsteen

We take care of our own
Bruce Springsteen

I've been knockin' on the door that holds the throne
I've been lookin' for the map that leads me home
I've been stumblin' on good hearts turned to stone
The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone
We take care of our own

We take care of our own
Wherever this flag's flown
We take care of our own

From Chicago to New Orleans
From the muscle to the bone
From the shotgun shack to the Superdome
We yelled "help" but the cavalry stayed home
There ain't no-one hearing the bugle blown
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag's flown
We take care of our own

Where the eyes, the eyes with the will to see
Where the hearts, that run over with mercy
Where's the love that has not forsaken me
Where's the work that set my hands, my soul free
Where's the spirit that'll reign, reign over me
Where's the promise, from sea to shining sea
Where's the promise, from sea to shining sea
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown

We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag's flown
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag's flown
We take care of our own