Archive for November, 2007

Snark Cont.

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Lots of variations on a theme this afternoon…

“The whole country is praying…”

“Our thoughts and prayers are completely with you…”

“Everyone is praying it turns out safely…”

All this over a whacko with a possible bomb in New Hampshire.

When are these news anchors working these prayers into their time as they cover it wall-to-all?

Do Wolf or Katie, et al,  use the commercial breaks to pray?

I’m snarky this afternoon

Friday, November 30th, 2007

My other favorite quote from CNN this afternoon…an anchor from a New Hampshire TV station talking about the Hillary Clinton Campaign HQ bomb/hostage situation.

“We think he took for hostages and he has released three. So, if we are doing our math correctly, that should leave one more hostage.”

(Insert your own Sesame Street joke here.)

“Vun, we have vun hostage left!”

I’ve written about it before, I think, but everytime there is a bomb scare-type thing, it’s pretty serious stuff. I got to see and hear Harvey’s blow up in Lake Tahoe, only after most tourists had taken it so unseriously, there were shirts being sold by vendors on the street saying, “I Didn’t Have a Blast At Harvey’s.”


Friday, November 30th, 2007

Rep. John Murtha just now said that Iraqis need to support “debathification” if the military solutions are going to work.

My childish side chuckled.

When I was a small kid, I hated taking baths. Hated it. Wasted time was my inner thought. Why couldn’t I have known there was a word that combined the idea of not taking a bath with a vacation?

Is this just a Family Circle cartoon waiting to happen?

Like, “Jimmy, why are you playing in the mud on a Saturday night?”

“Oh, don’t worry, mommy, this is just my debathification!”

The Law that Binds the Clintons on Information

Friday, November 30th, 2007

I’m not going to get all technical on everyone, but Bill and Hillary Clinton are absolutely right that they have no control over what information gets released from the archive of the Clinton administration. This is the dumbest accusation, that they are withholding things on their own will, I’ve heard so far this fall.

Now, I’m a huge Bill Richardson fan in this race, but I can certainly live with Hillary Clinton as POTUS, but if I hear that she and her husband are “holding back” records one more time…

Here’s the deal in as simple speak as I can put it.

First, a Presidential Library is not like a County Library. It is a depository built with private money that houses the public documents of a POTUS which are owned by the government. It’s not like a normal local library where the government owns the bricks and mortar and all the stuff in side. It’s not like a private library in the same sense. It is a building and facility that houses a collection that belongs to the National Archives, not the former President.

With me?

Now, the 1978 law says that the moment a President of the United States leaves office, he must turn over all documents and artifacts about his presidency to the National Archives. Of course, when he gets the funds raised privately for his library, all the stuff will go there…but it still belongs to, and is controlled by, the National Archives. When he is President, he can decide anything he wants to do with any of the stuff, including and up to shredding things, and risking obstruction of justice charges. An active administration is completely in charge.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

Before a POTUS leaves office he can make six broad areas off limits to the Freedom of Information Act for 12 years after he leaves office. Everything else is fair game. But in either case, the former POTUS has no bull in the ring…he can’t do squat after 12 years for his six things, or for any of the rest the moment the next POTUS takes office. And the new POTUS can’t do squat either.

Hello, folks, that’s the law.

If Bill Clinton ordered all files about his wife released tomorrow, he would have zero, ZERO a legal leg to stand on, and I would bet the Justice Department and every other Bush administration-tool in D.C. would come unglued over the fact HE CAN’T DO THAT! Bush will have his six areas shutup until 2021, well after Jeb gets elected after Hillary might have already served two terms, let’s say.

The POTUS, when he makes the executive order about his discretionary areas to put under the 12-year chastity belt, doesn’t even have to tell you what the topics are he’s protecting. So Bush is going to probably lock up all the oil industry stuff as he raises money for his library, let’s say.

See where this goes…

It would be hard core scary for both Clinton and Bush if some things weren’t protected just a little longer than other things.

But…but…BUT…even then, it’s the National Archive that decides, not the former POTUS or the “library.”

Which brings me to the last point…

The National Archive is a very cool tool in our operating system of government. It’s got the key to no peeky. It decides when the principals are dead enough, or national security is safe enough, or if it’s no longer political enough (of course, I’m sure they have consultants in government, duh), but they kind of just sit on things and understand it’s not this generation of historians who may get the scoop, but the next, or the ones after that.

Look at the Nixon stuff that just came out this week if you happened to catch the small blurb in the news. Kissenger was worried about Israeli nuclear weapons in July 1969 and the President thought about appointing “Deep Throat” to the head of the whole FBI. Goodtimes…almost 40 years later! That’s two generations.

So the next time you hear the Clintons are hiding something or are not releasing all the info, get a little pissy about it and cite the the Presidential Records Act of 1978 and act a little smug about it.

Personally, I think it is one of my little favorite things in how the system works, and I wish the Clinton campaign would try and explain it in a James Carville no bullshit way, which they seem highly incapable of at the moment.

An era erodes around us…

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Some Nordstrom stores discontinue live piano players

Seattle Times business reporter


Enlarge this photo


Pianist Tom Manley played for shoppers at Nordstrom’s Bellevue Square store in 1998.

Say it ain’t so.

Some Nordstrom department stores are discontinuing their live piano notes in favor of commercially recorded music piped in over speakers.

Nordstrom’s store at Bellevue Square recently did away with its pianist, and the Alderwood mall store in Lynnwood will soon follow suit, said company spokeswoman Brooke White.

Apparently, some shoppers prefer popular tunes by the likes of Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys and Frank Sinatra to the jazz and Broadway standards that pianists have been performing in Nordstrom stores for 20 years.

“We know there’s a nostalgic value to the piano, and some customers love it. But some don’t. They just feel the piano is outdated,” White said. “It’s a difficult line to walk. We know we’re going to disappoint some people.”

The Bellevue Square store introduced live piano music in the early 1980s, and before long, pianists became a fixture in Nordstrom stores nationwide. As recently as five years ago, three-fourths of Nordstrom stores featured live pianists, compared with half of the company’s 101 stores today, White said.

The decline occurred as stores began playing commercially recorded music overhead, and “customers responded really well to it,” she said.

Nordstrom’s three newest stores, in the Detroit area, Denver and Natick, Mass., opened this year without pianists. And by next year, three of five Nordstrom stores in Oregon will go without live piano performances. White noted that most Nordstrom pianists in Washington state play for no more than five hours daily.

Still, doing away with live piano music is a store-by-store decision and not part of some directive by Seattle headquarters, she said. Nordstrom stores in downtown Seattle, Tukwila and Tacoma are keeping their pianists, for now.

That’s some consolation to Joel Baker, who played the piano at the Tukwila store from 1988 to 2003. He described it as one of the few daytime jobs for pianists that paid well — $15 an hour in his last year — and offered such benefits as a 401(k) and health insurance.

“Once in a while, a shopper would sit by the piano, or say they really liked a tune when I didn’t think anyone was listening,” said Baker, 40, who now performs at restaurants in Palm Springs, Calif. “I don’t think the shoppers were going in just to hear the music, but I do think the piano was one of the things that made Nordstrom unique.”

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

My daughter went to Times Square and came home with this

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007


An American Girl dressed just like her.


I miss the olden days when Times Square meant danger and intrigue. Now it’s Eisner-Rudy world.

And so it goes.

It depends if the body is facing at you or away from you

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

I’m sorry nurse, is it my left and your right or my right and your left?

Third wrong-sided brain surgery at R.I. hospital

Patient OK in 2 of the incidents; institution fined $50,000 after latest error


  Nov. 27: The Rhode Island hospital is fined after its third instance of a doctor performing brain surgery on the wrong-side of a patient’s head. WHDH’s Steve Cooper reports.

updated 3:46 p.m. PT, Tues., Nov. 27, 2007

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island Hospital was fined $50,000 and reprimanded by the state Department of Health Monday after its third instance this year of a doctor performing brain surgery in the wrong side of a patient’s head.

“We are extremely concerned about this continuing pattern,” Director of Health David R. Gifford said in a written statement. “While the hospital has made improvements in the operating room, they have not extended these changes to the rest of the hospital.”

The most recent case happened Friday when, according to the health department, the chief resident started brain surgery on the wrong side of an 82-year-old patient’s head. The patient was OK, the health department and hospital said.

In February, a different doctor performed neurosurgery on the wrong side of another patient’s head, said Andrea Bagnall-Degos, a health department spokeswoman. That patient was also OK, she said.

But in August, a patient died a few weeks after a third doctor performed brain surgery on the wrong side of his head. That surgery prompted the state to order the hospital to take a series of steps to ensure such a mistake would not happen again, including an independent review of its neurosurgery practices and better verification from doctors of surgery plans.

In a written statement, Rhode Island Hospital said it was working with the Department of Health to minimize the risk of medical errors.

“We are committed to continuing to evaluate and implement changes to our policies to help ensure these human errors are caught before they reach the patient,” the statement read.

The hospital said it was re-evaluating its training and policies, providing more oversight, giving nursing staff the power to ensure procedures are followed, and other steps.

In addition to the fine, the state ordered the hospital to develop a neurosurgery checklist that includes information about the location of the surgery and a patient’s medical history, and to put in place a plan to train staff on the new checklist.

The Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline and Board of Nursing is also investigating.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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The first snow…

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

…puts Kona on my mind. It’s so close to heading back there for a short trip for Christmas.


This was taken right from the point at the resort right next to the condo.


Big A enjoying the beach from pretty much out the door.


At the seahorse farm.

Fireworks Disney Style

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

I was sorting some photos from the year, and I thought these were kind of fun. Just using a point and shoot, I was trying to capture the Disney character as they were made by fireworks over the castle during a 50th Anniversary celebration.

The one below, out of about 50 attempts with a point and shoot, are about my best. There are lots that you can read like abstract art and see what they were in the split second they exploded, but in that split second the display had seen better days.

Guess who is below…


Yes, it’s what left of Donald Duck.

Below is my clearest and it’s not a Disney character but came during the finale of the Star Spangled Banner…not by accident, I’m sure. Nothing, even in a fireworks show, is by accident at Disney.

Our little earthquake…well, the dogs’ little earthquake

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

So the dogs suddenly started going nuts after going to bed.

I let them out, and they ran around for two minutes and when they were done peeing and inspecting everything, they came right back in to bed.

It seemed like odd behavior.

Until I turned on the news and heard that at almost the exact same time there had been a very deep, but hardly felt, earthquake about 50 miles away. Minor stuff, 4.0.

But these dogs just don’t act like that at that time of night unless they are hot and bothered by SOMETHING.

So I started looking at the earhtquake shake map, and even though it was small and deep, and we were relatively far away, by the reports, I suppose they could have felt it.