"Might've been the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one"-Capt. Mal Reynolds. To learn more about me and the blog, read here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hysteria Week!

How about some live "Love Bites" for Hysteria Week?

The DADT Report

The DADT report is out, you can read it in full here.

John McCain and Elaine Donnelly have already shown the argument that's coming. That even though they claim to respect the military leadership and when the report said DADT should be repealed,that now they'll attack the report itself. We saw that coming.

John McCain now has 2 choices. He can either be a man of his word (remember the "Straight Talk Express?") or he can keep being nothing but an ever-increasingly irrelevant bigot. So John, which will it be? Which legacy do you want to leave? Which person do you want your grand children and great-grandchildren to hear about?

Elaine Donnelly is the head of this "Center for Military Readiness" and claims that letting gays serve is the same as letting women and men bunk together. I have news for her.

#1- She's never served. My great-uncle Bill served in 3 wars as a medic in the MASH units. World War II,Korea and Vietnam. He had no problem with gays being in the military. Who's argument should carry more weight?

#2- There are already gays in the military and those that have been drummed out, some of them have been decorated, and saved lives. Some are translators that we desperately need. Of course, Elaine Donnelly apparently hates the US and is fine with our military being handicapped in it's abilities.

#3- I had a good friend in the Air Force and the most surprising thing to him about serving wasn't the work. It was the amount of extra-marital affairs going on. Not gay ones either. These were men sleeping with their buddy's wife or with someone they meet overseas. So obviously just having heterosexuals in the military isn't working out all that great for marriages anyway, is it?

#4- Elaine Donnelly, with as much disrespect as I can muster towards someone I don't know, you are a bigot.

Email me mnorton1972@gmail
Twitter @Colierrannd

Hysteria Week!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hysteria Week!

And my last post today, another cut from my favorite album ever.

Michael Vick, Wikileaks and The US Gov't.

Yesterday I exchanged tweets with a Michael Vick supporter. In case you don't know, I love dogs. I have had several and every single one of them taught me that dogs do nothing in the world but offer love. So as you might imagine I'm not really a Michael Vick fan. I believe what he did wasn't just despicable. It wasn't just criminal. I believe what he did was indicative of his mental state.

In society today we worship athletes as heroes. Kids pick up on that. Regardless of what parents may say about not making them heroes in kids' eyes, if we're honest about it we fail on that point. How could kids not think athletes should be admired? We pay them millions more than even soldiers who we claim to idolize and thank. We pay them more than firemen who come to help us at our worst moments. If we are going to allow any guy to be paid so he can afford a mansion, but not police or firemen, what signal is that sending. When's the last time you saw a poster of a doctor for sale at Wal-Mart?

So when Vick got caught for electrocuting dogs among other atrocities he was fired and sent to prison for less than 2 years, not even close to the maximum. During his sentencing, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said to Vick, "I'm not convinced you've fully accepted responsibility,".

It's my belief that the sense of entitlement that Michael Vick had is what led him to do what he did. He thought he would get away with it. He figured, as most in America do, that because he was an athlete he could go to prison and come out and get another job in the NFL getting paid millions. He believed that when he got back to playing people would idolize him again. They'd praise his performance and forget about what he did. Good thing that didn't happen, huh? Oh wait...it did! What did Michael Vick apologize for then? Answer in a paragraph or two, let me bring in the other topic.

Wikileaks has been on a roll lately, releasing hundreds of thousands of documents classified by the US government. So far, it doesn't seem to have hurt the Obama administration. It certainly can't be judged yet how much damage this paperwork has caused or the danger it puts Americans in. But nevermind that, Obama,Clinton and the rest are having hissy fits even though so far what's been reported of the papers is just embarrassing with the one exception of the Yemen strikes being outed.

Remember Valerie Plame? When caught no one was prosecuted except Scooter Libby. It became a big "oops" and that was it. But now there is all this vitriol towards Wikileaks from the leaders in our US Government. Why? I think I know. I think it's the same reason Michael Vick apologized . I think it's the same a kid apologizes when he's caught stealing a cookie. The same reason a teenage boy blushes when someone accidentally stumbles upon him having fun in a way Christine O'Donnell would not approve of.

They're sorry got caught.

How do I know? You find out if some one's really sorry if they change their behavior, right? If they lose something, if they pay a price and change their behavior. There's a reason that people convicted of bank robbery don't get hired to work at a bank. There's a reason you aren't going to hire Michael Vick to be your dogsitter.

But Michael Vick did get to keep his job ultimately and make millions (can you name anyone else who's not an athlete who got to do that after a felony conviction?). I suspect Michael Vick also does other things we don't know about and he's happy he's not gotten caught.

Obama, for all his posturing has continued Bush's policies and we know that especially now that the Wikileaks papers have come out. He hasn't changed his behavior. And yes, teenage boys recover from their embarrassment and keep on making Christine O'Donnell nervous.

When you hear them pine away for the leaks to stop and won't someone think about the soldiers?....just remember who puts the soldiers there. Just remember that when you're punished for stealing a cookie it wasn't the cookie or the getting caught that got you into trouble. It was you. You chose to electrocute animals or use Predator Drones to kill people. It was you who chose to call allies names. My mom always said not to do anything you would be ashamed of getting caught for.

They are mad and apologetic because they got caught.

Email me at mnorton1972@gmail.com
or follow me on Twitter @colierrannd

Hysteria Week!

We begin with my favorite song on the album because...it's my blog. Tap your feet, get a big shit-eating grin on your face and sing along. This, is Run Riot!

Hysteria was designed to be an album where every song could be a potential hit single and the boys pretty much achieved it in reality. This song pretty much proves it. 13 songs, 7 singles and millions of fans. Welcome to Hysteria Week!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2 Questions Everybody Should Ask Pres. Obama

# 1-If you could, would you have Julian Assange and the people at wikileaks arrested and charged with distributing classified information and documents?

#2- Will you be arresting Karl Rove today?

Hysteria Week!

This week, instead of doing a "Musical Guest" I'm gonna spotlight my favorite album of all time, Def Leppard's Hysteria. So, if you know of any covers of songs off the album OR different versions not well know, let me know about them! Put them in the comments, or on Twitter with hashtag #HysteriaWeek or on my Facebook page facebook.com/Colierrannd

This is gonna be fun.

Follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd

Email me at mnorton1972@gmail.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Bruce

Bruce Lee would've been 70 years old today.

"Be water my friend."-Bruce Lee

Constitution Saturday! Article II

Still continuing with the education of and for the liberal movement, here's Article II of the U.S. Constitution. Read it. Learn it. Love it. Live it. This is where Democracy begins and ultimately it's where it would end. Education is the key to moving forward.

Article. II.

Section. 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President [Modified by Amendment XII].

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected [Modified by Amendment XXV].

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section. 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section. 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Musical Guest:Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam

Wrapping up Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam week with my favorite of their songs so far, "Tear Down The Walls". One of the things I love about this guy's playing is he phrases things in ways that I'm not sure I've ever heard before or would have thought of. This song is just a barnstorming ride through a tornado. I don't know how else to put it.

The other thing, and I've mentioned it before, is Davy's wisdom to pick a backing band that is equal or better than he is. It's one thing to be a terrifyingly good guitarist and it's one thing to be a stupifyingly good bandleader but the real genius of any great is their willingness to be shown up. Because if you're not willing to have great people on stage with you, even to the point of possibly looking bad by comparison, how do you get better? And how do you give your fans what the absolute best you have the ability to bring them?

Look at, for example, Eric Clapton. Clearly he's God but I've seen video of him get up on stage with B.B. King and almost do nothing but play rhythm guitar (partially because B.B. doesn't play rhythm himself). We all know Clapton can clearly hold his own but you can also quite clearly see that Clapton is learning and admiring. I think that's a bit of what goes on with Knowles and his band in this clip.


And don't forget to follow Davy on Twitter @davyknowles and check out davyknowles.com

Email me at mnorton1972 or follow me on Twitter @colierrannd

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Musical Guest:Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam

This is a different Back Door Slam you'll notice but the fire is still there. Awesome. The tune is called "Come Home"

Don't forget to follow Davy on Twitter @davyknowles .super nice guy and incredibly talented to boot.

Follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What The TSA Could Learn From My Time With Blockbuster

My first job was video store clerk. Seen the movie "Clerks"? That was me. The tagline, "Just because they serve you doesn't mean they like you" is truer than you ever want to know. Anyhow, my first job as a video store clerk was for my mom at the store she managed, Picture Show Video in Pearland,TX. Then I moved onto another store and then to Blockbuster. You might ask why I kept taking video store clerking jobs in the 90's with the good economy and I'll tell you it was because I LOVED it. It was awesome. My favorite part, outside the movies themselves, was the customers.

See, whereas most of my co-workers hated customers, I loved them. I would learn their likes and dislikes and about their families. I'd learn if they had small kids or were single. I'd learn all about them. When they would come in I could recommend movies to them really well. I took pride in my customer service. In fact I was so good at this that when I moved from one video store to the next in that small town I actually took customers with me, even without mentioning it to the customers. I would show up working and over the next week or so customers would be a the new place opening accounts because I was there. I'm not kidding.

Eventually though Blockbuster came to Pearland and it became harder and harder for other stores to exist. No matter how loyal my customers were it seemed the allure of Blockbuster was too much. It was a horrible thing in retrospect. People allowed their love of shiny new things to get in the way of supporting locally owned businesses but that's a post for another time.

Anyhow, so I worked for Blockbuster for about a year and I have to say it was the second worst job I ever had. Why? Blockbuster continuously called for removing yourself away from the customer. When I was in my first meeting with the District Manager he told us "Customers are cattle. Get them in, get them something rented and get them out!". No customer service here! No siree! This would eventually bite Blockbuster in it's collective ass because once Netflix came along, it had nothing to discern itself in the marketplace from Netflix. After all, if human interaction was not a priority and it was just to get movies into customers' hands in exchange for money, then Netflix did it better and more efficiently. It also cost Blockbuster money in the short term.

A note first, in case you haven't been in a Blockbuster in a long time. Employees are told never to leave the counter except to put movies back on the shelf or go to the bathroom. They are told to always say "Welcome To Blockbuster!" the moment a customer comes in but that's about the most interaction with a customer Blockbuster wanted it's employees to have until we were taking your money Also, I don't know if you remember but all Blockbusters were/are designed the same. They have the checkout by the door and clear across the store at the very back is the New Release wall.

A few months after joining Blockbuster word came that Blockbuster stores in the Houston area were being hit by shoplifters. These two particular shoplifters had a particular MO. We know there were two, because one drove the getaway car but no one ever saw them. The other one people saw because he was pretty suspicious to begin with. They did it like so.

Driver stays in car while Bagman goes in to the Blockbuster with a duffel bag(thus his name, Bagman. I'm clever!). Bagman walks in, gets his robotic "Welcome to Blockbuster!" and goes straight to the New Release wall. He hangs there for a moment to be sure no one is looking and then he starts throwing putting movies in his bag and when it's full he runs out the door.

When this started happening one of the very first questions was "What does Bagman look like?" and NO ONE knew. No one could give a description. True story. When the District Manager(DM) visited the store I worked at in the days following this bit of news I asked him why no one knew what this guy looked like, though I could guess. And the DM looked at me strangely like I had just suggested we all play naked ping-pong in the parking lot. He didn't have an answer. I immediately did.

"I can tell you how to stop them and it won't cost you anything." I said, probably more smugly than I should.

"How's that?" the DM, at least 5 years younger than I asked snarkly.

"Well, has anyone talked to him? It's simple. Let clerks walk the floor. Talk to people. Customers. The only reason the thieves are getting away with this is because no one talks to them."

"No. That's too dangerous. He could have a gun!" said DM, alarmed someone might interfere with the delicate balance of keeping customer and clerk separated I suppose.

"He doesn't have a gun."

"You don't know that."

"Yes I do." I said, "If you have a gun and there is only you and two clerks in the store, are you going to grab movies or money? You go for the cash register if you have a gun. These guys are counting on the lack of customer interaction that's encouraged here to do half their job for them. Get out there walk the floor and they move on. They're looking for easy prey." Of course they followed my advice immediately and the crooks were apprehended two days later. Except they didn't and it took another two weeks to catch the Bagman by accident.

The argument against what I'm suggesting here is normally that our airport system is so much bigger than say, the Israelis, that it makes this impossible but we need jobs in this country and frankly it takes no special talent to talk to people. Ask them their name and what job they have. Ask them if they're going to visit family for the holidays. It takes all of a few seconds. All you have to do is hire and train the people to do it.

The TSA currently gets lots of flack for pat-downs and porno-scanners but the truth is that not only is it an invasion of privacy it's not working. It doesn't protect against most terrorist plots and is costing BILLIONS of dollars. Why not put a few thousand people to work asking questions? An example scenario:

You're in line at the airport. A friendly TSA agent comes up and says "Hi, I've just gotta ask a few routine questions, ok? May I see your driver's license or I.D. card?" While you're handing it to him he asks "Where are you going today?" and you answer as he looks at the card and back at you. "What kind of work do you do?" and as you answer he looks at you and at the passengers in line around you two. He hands your card back after taking notes "Have a great flight" and moves on to the person behind you and starts the process over.

Now, you're not a terrorist or anything and thus the TSA agent sees nothing suspicious about you. You move on. The next person doesn't either but the person 4 people down from you has started shifting on his feet and acting a tad more nervous than he should be. The TSA agent notices and then also when he gets to him notices the agitated guy has some problems making eye contact and such. He's then politely asked to step into this other area where he is questioned further and possibly even frisked.

Now in that scenario 3 people only got held up for a total of maybe 30 seconds each and moved on and a very real potential threat was caught. Easy, right? Well maybe not a silver bullet but it's got to be better than what we're doing now. Now we're allowing the Bagmen to get all the movies they want because we won't engage.

And let's be honest if the guy has a bomb on him already he's much more likely to blow himself up there in line anyway. It does the same thing and is easier. If you have a gun you go for the cash register, remember?

Email me mnorton1972@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd

Have a Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it. There will be a musical post and maybe a comment or two tomorrow.

Musical Guest:Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam

Sorry no post yesterday. Working on one for today. Meanwhile, enjoy Davy and the boys. This is "Coming Up For Air"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Musical Guest:Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam

This is a song called "Riverbed". I picked this performance so you could get a look at one awesome rhythm section. One of the best I've heard recently.

Follow me on Twitter @colierrannd
Email me mnorton1972@gmail.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thom Hartman: We Need A Progressive Movement

Wow, not like I haven't been saying this for months on this blog and at blogdog. But Thom Hartmann has some very good thoughts on the country and how we can fix it. He says we need a progressive movement and I agree 100%.

Find it blogged at The Political Carnival here.

My only problem, as I pointed out in the comments, is that the argument assumes Barack Obama will be more progressive in his second term. It also assumes he'd nominate progressives for the Supreme Court. He hasn't done either of these, while he's had a majority in Congress. What makes Thom,who I respect a great deal, think Obama will change? The fear of a Republican president is not be a good enough reason to support a Republican-lite candidate. Obama has lost any good will and trust I have for him as a leader. He'd have to do something very substantial to get that back before I'd support him over a real liberal.

New Jersey Lawmakers Introduce “Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act,”

A law at trying to help prevent another horrible incident like we had recently. Write your congressperson and support this.

From the article you can find here:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) today introduced the “Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act,” legislation that would require colleges and universities to have anti-harassment policies in place. The bills introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, would also provide funding for schools to establish or expand programs to prevent harassment of students.

Musical Guest:Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam

Man is it a Monday! Trying to wake up. Feeling very acoustic (ok I feel acoustic everyday but I don't have an electric yet shut up that's not what we're talking about) and so....I present to you a really fantastic acoustic piece by Davy Knowles who's a brilliant newish guitar hero. He's young but he really knows how to put a piece together. Later on in the week as we get into his electric stuff with his band you'll hear what an awesome soloist he is. BTW, also one of the nicest people on Twitter so follow him @davyknowles


Email me mnorton1972@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter @colierrannd

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Constitution Saturday! Preamble & Article I


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article I - The Legislative Branch Note

Section 1 - The Legislature

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2 - The House

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

(Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.) The actualEnumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3 - The Senate

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; (and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 2.)

No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section 4 - Elections, Meetings

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall (be on the first Monday in December,) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 20th Amendment, section 2.) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section 5 - Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6 - Compensation

(The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheses were modified by the 27th Amendment.) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section 7 - Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfareof the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9 - Limits on Congress

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

(No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.)

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it'sinspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Announcing Constitution Saturday!

Late tonight/early tomorrow morning I will be posting the preamble and first article of the US Constitution. It seems to me that with all the loony-bin, wing-nutjobs that ran for office this past election and the ones that managed to win, we could use more education in this country, not less. I'm doing it on Saturday mornings so my readers can read it over the weekend and if they feel like it, discuss it with their friends and family.

So make sure you're back here early tomorrow for the first part. I'll be posting an article a week, every Saturday until we're done. Hopefully we'll all learn something.

Email me mnorton1972@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd

A Thanks To Richard Trumka

I was browsing the "It Gets Better" videos on YouTube and I was kinda surprised to see Alex Karras had done one. Then I looked at the title and noticed it was friend to the worker, Richard Trumka! I've often admired Richard's stand for the American worker. Actually that's not true. I've heard him speak about making life better for ALL workers everywhere.

My dad and my Grandpa were both Union guys. When the responsibility he had to his family and their financial well being had him choose to become part of management, I can remember Mom and Dad actually having discussions about whether it was the right thing to do or not. Whether Dad could live with himself moving to the "other side". He eventually did become a part of management and it afforded us a roof over our heads and not a single night where we didn't eat. We may not have had the luxuries others had, but we had the basics and that was good. Dad never forgot his Union roots though. In fact, I can recall us going to the grocery store one week and Dad seeing the picketing check out clerks and he immediately turned out of the parking lot and went to the store down the road.

Dad eventually was forced out, I believe because the Union at the Lyondell/Citgo (now BP) plant in Pasadena TX had been weakened so much that it made it easier to fire him at 50 before he could start drawing a decent pension.

The other part to this is my brother who's gay and I, who is disabled. I have had Cerebral Palsy all my life and when I was younger I was picked on for walking funny and, when my legs gave out, for being in a wheelchair. My brother Byron was picked on for "being gay" even though he wasn't out. I can remember how the bullies ruined his hopes of being a male cheerleader.

So I wanted to post Richard Trumka's "It Gets Better" video. A guy like him, standing up for the little guy, says a lot. Not just to gays but the rest of us as well. And as we go on into our weekends I hope you all will watch it. Give a hug to your friends and family who might be a bit odd or different and enjoy their company while they're here. Let them know they're loved and you support them.

Finally, thanks Richard. My Dad is gone, but I think he'd really love knowing the Union guys are still standing up for the people who need it.

Email me mnorton1972@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd

Palmdale- "Say Isn't So"

So our last Palmdale vid of the week is a cover of a song on one of my favorite albums ever, The Outfield's "Play Deep". The song is called "Say It Isn't So". The Outfield may make it to being our musical guest at some point.

Before the video let me remind you again to go visit palmdale.com and hear more of their awesome rock!

Follow Kay on Twitter @KayHanley and Linus @linusdotson plus @wearepalmdale

Don't forget their EPs "Get Wasted" and "How To Be Mean" are both available now at iTunes and Amazon and where ever you might wanna find them.

Big thanks to Kay and Linus for not suing me for posting their vids. I really love these guys so please go support them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Glenn Beck Attacks IAVA But We've Got Their Back

Oh boy folks. I am gonna have to calm down and do a proper post and link and stuff but am I pissed at this. According to ThinkProgress.org after a caller to Glenn Beck's show talked about finding out that Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is financed by MoveOn.org (It's not, that's a falsehood) Beck reacted:

Beck was incensed, claiming that Soros, MoveOn, the SEIU and the communists are organizing “under the guise of labor unions or something as innocuous as sounding as, you know, the Iraqi and Afghanistan Veterans Foundation [sic]. But it is Soros and uh, communist and uh, radical money.” They are “duping people in as much as they can,” Beck said. Media Matters has the segment:

Beck was incensed, claiming that Soros, MoveOn, the SEIU and the communists are organizing “under the guise of labor unions or something as innocuous as sounding as, you know, the Iraqi and Afghanistan Veterans Foundation [sic]. But it is Soros and uh, communist and uh, radical money.” They are “duping people in as much as they can,” Beck said. Media Matters has the segment:

Sooooo here's my answer to Mr. Beck. As a big "F You!" to you Mr. Beck, you loon, I suggest everyone and I mean EVERYONE who reads this to go to IAVA.ORG and donate. And spread the word. Let's show Mr. Beck that not only is he a stark raving mad lunatic but that we have these veterans' backs, even if he can't control his ignorance and idiocy in attacking good people.

I also recommend StopBeck.com as a means to let Beck know how you feel. But more important, help out those who have fought for us when we get to stay home on our computers or safe in our cozy basic cable studios.

What Makes Don Watkins An Idiot

In this case, I'm going to use Don Watson as sort of metaphor but to be clear, he's still an idiot in any case. I'm sure Jon Stewart will flame me for saying it.

Recently this video was posted to YouTube and posted to blogdog by James.

This got me to thinking about a not-so-recent theme from Republicans and "conservatives". I was thinking about the tax cuts being debated, possibly a cave-in by the White House (if the pattern holds true) to give the wealthiest among us a tax cut and Sharron Angle raging against kids with Autism and how the answer to "what happens to the poor,disabled and retired?" seems to always be "charity".

Charity. It's a nice word but how realistic is it to expect the millions who require Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid to eat,to receive such charity? Put another way, how realistic is it to expect the rest of us to CHOOSE (to use Don Watkin's words) to help those in need on a day-to-day basis?

Do an experiment. Type in "Who gives more to charity rich or poor" and watch what happens. Almost every webpage that comes up sites numerous studies where the poor give more than the rich. The Rich might give more dollars-wise but the number of rich who give to charity is smaller than those who are poor. This is partly due to there being less rich than poor but also significantly the percentage of rich who give to charity is smaller than the percentage of poor.

Now, take a moment and think about why Communism failed. Think for a moment on the root of all evils. Think for a moment the true motivation among the worst of society. I'd bet you come back to one single word as I did. Greed. And regardless of what Gordon Gecko thinks, greed is not good.

We know for a fact that the rich take their tax cuts and money and offshore it. They look for ways to get out of paying taxes in the first place and then spend money finding ways to get more tax cuts. We know that (as Thom Hartmann shows above) the poor and middle class pay a larger percentage of their money in taxes than the rich. We know that people have died in the streets from being poor.

I receive Social Security, being disabled. I have a friend who does too. We have not received a cost-of-living increase in 3 years.Last year the U.S. Congress gave itself a $4700 cost-of-living increase (see this webpage here). President Obama's Catfood Commission is calling for cutting cost-of-living increases for me and my friend. Where's the cut of Congress' cost-of-living increase?

What makes Don Watkins an idiot,aside from possibly being dropped on his head as an infant? He's a greedy. He doesn't realize that at some point he,or someone he cares about, may eventually be in my situation. Greed makes him an idiot.

Two Parts of Palmdale

I thought today I'd show you a bit of what Kay and Linus have done outside of Palmdale in case you're interested in seeking it out. First up is Linus of Hollywood playing bass and working with his friend (and personal guitar hero of mine) Paul Gilbert(vocals and guitar). The Drummer is Marcos Minneman. All 3 are just superb.

Linus tells me that when they toured behind this album, "Spaceship One", Paul bought them all space suits like they wear here to perform in. He said the ones Paul bought were much cooler, as in less hot to wear.

And then there's Kay Hanley. I'll make this short to avoid excessive gushing. You've heard Kay with Letters To Cleo and on the Josie & The Pussycats soundtrack. She did the theme to "My Friends Tigger & Pooh" among other things. The song she performs here is called "Galapagos" and it's from her first full solo cd "Cherry Marmalade" from 2002. Accompanied by USA Mike, aka Michael Eisenstein, who's also the lucky devil who is her husband and a great guitarist in his own right.

Be here tomorrow as we wrap up a first week and musical guest Palmdale.

Email me mnorton1972@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter @colierrannd

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm So Sorry Willow

I'd just like to say something directly to Willow Palin, if no one minds. Oh yea it's my blog.

Dear Willow,
I'm sure you try to be a decent person and let's face it, it can't be easy for you. Your mom is dragging you around the country so she can make millions in speaker's fees. Your dad is well, married to your mom. I can't imagine what that is like. I myself grew up in an abused household and I still can't imagine how bad you've got it.
So while it was shocking to read the hateful things you spewed on your Facebook page, I think I can understand why. No, no I don't think you've been abused but rather your actions are the unfortunate result of what is clearly bad parenting.

Obviously you were never taught, as I was, that saying hurtful things only hurts yourself. You might not have been taught that calling names changes no one's mind. You seem to only have been taught how to lash out, and for that, I am truly sorry.

While I am not your parent and I wasn't in a position to teach you these things, it's clear that my generation has failed yours. We've allowed slurs against gay people to go unchecked for too long. Now we're trying to combat it but unfortunately I think it's too late. And that brings me to my second apology to you Willow.

I have to apologize because where my generation dropped the ball, it's now up to yours to eradicate the hate and hurt that those words cause. You and your generation are going to have cut that language and attitude out of our society once and for all like the cancer it is. I wish I could take this burden from you but as I said, we've failed. For the sake of your children and the coming generations, I beg you, do not fail them.

Email me mnorton1972@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd

Palmdale-Secret Recipes

Instead of a song today I thought I'd share this behind-the-scenes video blog from our musical guest Palmdale as they film the video for "Here Comes The Summer"

I'm cribbing these videos from YouTube, check out the band's YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/wearepalmdale

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Pelosi As Leader Is A Bad Idea

From the New York Times article here ,published Nov. 8,2006.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a news conference."

A war without reason, which BushCo. clearly lied to get us into. Secret meetings with energy companies, no bid contracts to Haliburton and Blackwater. Torture and indefinite detention without hearing or access to lawyers for the accused. And yet Nancy Pelosi decides that George W. Bush shouldn't have been impeached? WTF is that?

We now know that those secret meetings with energy giants led to the Deep Water Horizon disaster, the BP explosion in Texas and probably the mining disaster in Virginia. And yet no investigation happened under the Dem leadership in the House. Darrel Issa might be an asshat(ok, not maybe about it, he's an actual asshat), but he at least is standing by his ideals.

Nancy Pelosi got a lot of bills passed no doubt. She's an effective parliamentarian but she was more pushing conservative ideas and frankly, easy votes. Healthcare Reform was nice and the House passed it with a public option but I'm not convinced she pushed it through as a leader so much as she figured she could get the votes she wanted for it and knew the Senate would kill it.

The biggest problem with Nancy Pelosi as leader is almost the same problem we have with Harry Reid. Fear. They're afraid of what the other guy might do. We've seen it again and again where the House members don't want to vote because the Senate might vote differently. In fact we heard so last night on Olbermann and Ezra Klein is saying "I don't understand why they're caving on the (tax cuts)" but then informs Keith that the House wants the Senate to vote first. Of course the Republicans will look at Harry Reid angrily and threaten not to send him a Christmas card or something and mention the word "filibuster" and Reid will cave per usual.

But Democratic Party members have, for months now, made the case that Pelosi is a strong leader. In fact, they either say or imply, a stronger leader than Reid. Yet watch this clip of Nancy Pelosi appearing on Countdown with Keith Olbermann in October. The reason she's not a good leader begins at the 10:20 mark and it's quite stunning.

"We could have taken the vote and we would have won. But knowing the distortion that the Republicans would have applied to that, I said 'They're gonna be political,we're not giving it' ".

It's funny because I always thought that you do what is right, you stand by your beliefs and you let the other guy do what he's gonna do. She was afraid of what the GOP would do at some point in the campaign and thus she punted on what she says she believes in. The GOP don't do that. And could someone remind me who will control the House in January?

Far too long the Democratic Party leaders have been more afraid of the Republican Party than their own constituents. Pelosi no doubt will be the Majority Leader come January but I have to tell you, if we really want to move the country back to the left, back to being progressive who, ya know, make progress....we're gonna need new Dem leadership or another party. While this post might just seem like useless whining, we must remind ourselves daily that fear is what is going to ruin this country and who acted or didn't act out of fear.

Email me at mnorton1972@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd

Copyright 2010 Michael J. Norton

Palmdale-"Happiness Has A Half-Life"

Continuing Palmdale as our first musical guest, here's "Happiness Has A Half-Life" from "Get Wasted".

Don't forget to check them out at wearepalmdale.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Musical Guest: Palmdale

Palmdale is a duo of two of my favorite tweeps and musicians. Kay Hanley, singer for Letters To Cleo,singing voice for Josie in the "Josie and the Pussycats" movie and my favorite voice ever. Linus of Hollywood is a multi-instrumentalist and producer of, among others Bowling for Soup. He also co-wrote a favorite song of mine,"I Am Satan" with on of my favorite guitarists Paul Gilbert.

This song, "Here Comes The Summer" was from their first EP, "Get Wasted". They have a new EP out "How To Be Mean". Both are available at iTunes and Amazon and other places.

Follow them on Twitter @KayHanley and @linusdotson check out their site wearepalmdale.com where you can hear more of their fantastic music. Send them lots of love.

Follow me @Colierrannd and email me at mnorton1972@gmail.com

Welcome, I'm Michael.

We have a ton of them already,why another politics blog? Well, mainly this is sort of about me. I'm a writer. I've always been a writer. I'm a guitarist as well. These two things have been in my bloodstream for as long as I can remember. I can't remember ever really being anything else.

I hadn't, however, ever thought of writing in a serious way on politics and non-fiction things until last month. James over at Blogdog asked me to come write for him there. I found that I really enjoy writing on this. I enjoy making myself heard but better yet, I enjoy hearing the feedback. I enjoy hearing how wrong I am from one person and how right I am by another. I really enjoyed hearing from one reader that they had never thought of a certain topic the way I had presented it. Man, if that's not cool...

So why yet another political blog? Because I feel like I have something to say and that maybe I might bring a different perspective to some people. I have a philosophy that it's "just your/my opinion". When I say that, I mean it more than just that your opinion or mine is just one in millions. But also that it IS your opinion and it IS my opinion and both are valid and should be expressed.

I also would like to start a movement of Liberalism in this country.A movement of smart, curious, regular folk who believe like I do. Maybe a third or fourth political party, maybe not. But something to take on the entrenched system and make it better for all. I believe the only way to start this is to educate oneself which is what I'm attempting to do. We need people to stand up for liberal beliefs. Someone for example to push the Democratic party back to the left maybe. Sort of an intelligent left-wing version of the Tea Parties. Except without all the hate.

If you'd like to read the first of my posts to kick start the movement that I posted very shortly after election day 2010, go here.

So a few things you might want to know about me. I'm 38. My name is Michael J. Norton but you can call me Michael or Mike or even Col (a name I sometimes use online, I'll tell you that story sometime). Mr. Norton is my Grandpa, so let's knock that off before it starts. I live in Houston,TX presently but will soon be moving as the people I'm living with have been patient and more than helpful but really one can only ask so much of a friend for so long.Most likely I will be moving to the Hurricane Magnet known as Florida.

I'm single, no kids. I have an older brother who's gay and proud. I'm straight and proud too. I'm a Liberal. Capital "L". In fact, I may be more liberal than anyone you're likely to know in real life away from the internet. I believe in Medicare for All, single-payer universal health insurance that is paid for by tax dollars. Heck I even came up with my own plan for it. Need to type that up.

I believe in marriage equality, ending DADT, ending so-called "reality" tv. I believe women and men are 100% the same in ability and intelligence.I believe knowledge and learning are the answer to the question of the purpose of our existence. Towards that end, you might check out this post of mine.

I'm a musicoholic. I can't seem to live without a guitar and a shelf full of books and graphic novels. I'm a complete comic/superhero geek. Anything else you're going to have to ask.

You can email me at mnorton1972@gmail.com and follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd


In 2004 I started studying Buddhism. You have to understand Buddhism is not a religion, not really. It's a practice whereby you work your way to a happier existence by compassion, giving and forgiving. It's the only dogma who's leader I have heard say that if science disproves it then you have to stop believing it. Seriously, in National Geographic. Can you imagine the Pope ever saying that? Me neither.

When my father heard I was studying Buddhism he said to my mom, as only he could, "What the hell does he want to learn that for?" Dad had a way with words. He wasn't alone though.

A very good friend of mine for a few years, Mason was a Christian. His whole family was. We often politely argued over things like gay marriage. Anyhow, Mason had a step-father who was a very honorable and nice guy. One day he and I started talking about things and he mentioned he had heard I was studying Buddhism. I naturally said yes. He asked me why? I told him how it had helped me with some issues in ways Christianity just couldn't. It had been a path I'd been on for a long long time anyway. His reaction surprised the heck outta me.

"You know better than that.You were raised a Christian.You know better than to dabble in things not real.It's very dangerous." He said, a stern look on his face.You would've thought I was contemplating killing puppies or raping farm animals or something.

Buddhism of course teaches that knowledge is all that's required to defend against fear. I personally how found this to be absolutely 100% true. It doesn't make fear totally go away but it helps when dealing with what you might need to deal with. So I asked this man I respected, "Maybe you just don't know enough about it. If you have questions I'd be happy to answer or find the answers to them for you.I can recommend many books too."

And that's when his face turned a white I've never seen before or since. He physically recoiled from me. It was as if I had just ripped off my mask to reveal myself some kind of demon. "NO! I have no interest in putting myself in danger like that!" To say I was weirded out would be the biggest understatement in the history of understatements. In fact it would such an understatement other understatements would elect it president.

What's my point? Well it's kind of explained by this exchange during the recent campaign:

Christine O'Donnell clearly thinks she's won. She's just obliterated any chance Chris Coons has of winning that race. Right? But where does that kind of egotism come from? In fact where does it come from that she's being presented with evidence that contradicts her view point and she STILL thinks she's right. Ladies and gents, I submit that my dad, my friend's step-father and Christine O'Donnell all come from the same place. Yes, ignorance but more than that. It's that they are incurious.

I had never heard the word "incurious" until Bob Woodward was stumping for one of his books about the Bush White House in the early '00s. I think it was the third one. People would ask him his biggest impression of George W. Bush. His answer almost everytime was "He's the most incurious man I've ever met." Why yes,yes he is.

I would argue that it's not his cronyism or greed that eventually had us invade a country with no reason and plunged this country into a recession we may not be truly out of until Miley Cyrus is eligible for Social Security (and the way things are going that could be longer than you think). It was his unwillingness to learn. His willingness to just take things as they are told to him. Remember Aug.2001? Bush was at his Crawford Ranch being told that the US was in immediate danger of an attack. His response? "Alright, you've covered your ass."

See, I'm not sure he actually wanted us to go to Iraq. What I think is more obvious is that he was scared not to. Cheney,Rumsfeld,Feith,Wolfowitz and others scared the be-jeebus out of him. We had to because the WTC attack was just the beginning. Who wouldn't invade if they thought that this was the best and only way to keep America safe? I'm not saying he wasn't told otherwise but I believe he ignored the other voices.

And now we have just seen an entire group of political candidates who are not only ignorant of facts, when faced with opposing evidence, they smile and think "You poor sucker. You believe that crap that the Marxists tell you." And they are proud of their ignorance. They believe the only books worth reading are the Bible and anything by Sarah Palin.

And they brag on it or, they don't want to admit it so they run away.Sharron Angle wasn't stupid. But she knew she wasn't able to withstand scrutiny. "We want media who are our friends." What did you really think that meant? And now,some of those same are in control of the House of Representatives.

Make fun of Rand Paul and "Aquabuddha" all you want, he alone could plunge the world into an economic depression by blocking a vote on raising the Debt Ceiling. Politicians aren't the only ones. Remember the protesters in Alaska who told Rachel Maddow they were against Eric Holder because he was "anti-gun, anti-second-amendment" but couldn't cite a single actual thing he'd done?

Growing up I had a friend named David who was raised by a single mother who was a Baptist. I have tons of stories I could tell about him and I growing up and her looneyness and maybe I will later. David and I lost track for many many years. So I decided last year to see if I could find him on MySpace. Sure enough there he was. Just as I was about to send him a message I noticed something really disturbing in his "Favorites" section. Where it asks you to list your favorite books he had written "I don't read. I don't like books."

Now I can tell you without any hesitation that I know good and well David can read and is not blind.Last time I spoke to him he had a job doing loan processing for a major home builder.So "I don't read. I don't like books" was not because of something that prevented him from reading.It was by choice. I find this a serious personality defect.A defect on order,in my opinion, with psychopathy.Seriously. People who tell me they don't like to read, I walk...errr..roll? away from them.

This is an extension of the post Wed. where I said we need to look around and know where we're coming from. With that I'm gonna recommend 3 items to get. In order for us to move the country forward, we need some basic education. So here we go:

A copy of the United States Constitution. In fact, here's the official government page on the Constitution. You can find not only facts there about it but read the actual document itself. You really need to. It's clear that not enough people in America have. If you don't think you should or need to, scroll back up and watch Christine O'Donnell again.

And two books. "U.S. History For Dummies" by Steve Weigand and "Congress For Dummies" by David Silverberg. You can find them at the usual spots.

Why the "For Dummies" books? Because everything has to start with basics.You don't learn to run until you learn to walk. You con't learn how to play Pagganini's 5th Caprice on guitar without learning "On Top Of Old Smokey" first. Basics people. Basics.

Email me! mnorton1972@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd