Archive for November, 2011

Mission Accomplished! Supercommittee fails as advertised.

It look like the Supercommittee cannot agree on anything.  From Reuters

“(Reuters) – After more than two months of talks, the congressional deficit-reduction committee looked set to concede failure, unable to bridge deep partisan differences over taxes and spending going into the 2012 elections.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers cast doubt on any possibility of agreement in appearances on Sunday talk shows. Without some unexpected breakthrough, aides said, the 12-member bipartisan “super committee” will admit defeat on Monday.

Some of the panel members appeared to be stepping up blame as the clock ticked toward an imminent deadline. They must vote on any deal by Wednesday but Monday is the deadline to have legislation written and presented to the entire committee.

“Nobody wants to give up hope. Reality is, to some extent, starting to overtake hope,” Representative Jeb Hensarling, the panel’s Republican co-chairman, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

President Barack Obama, a Democrat seeking re-election in November 2012, has avoided direct involvement in the talks after making his recommendations in September”

I knew this Supercommittee was doomed to failure.  Doomed to failure because there is a such ideological difference between the parties.

Both parties served the corporations, but one party like to use taxes more to raise revenue.  One party is more committed to nominally protecting the social welfare of the country.

One party is so scared of Grover Norquist that it freezes at any chance of compromise.   I cannot believe Republicans are so scared of Grover Norquist.  Its like Grover Norquist is going to blast you with lighting bolts for raising taxes.

I guess Grover Norquist got what he want is that no tax increase.  However, the Republicans are going to have to face an emergency next year because the Bush tax cuts go away and bingo, the government gets a surge of revenue in.

In fact, Congress does not have to do anything.  All they do is let the $1.2 trillion dollar in automatic  cuts became  effective and let the Bush tax cuts on everybody expire, and this deficit issue is resolved in a far better way than if the Supercommittee took action.

November 21, 2011 at 2:26 am Leave a comment

Alternative Mental Solutions

I read today about alternatives to mental health hospitals. Here is an one potential alternative

“What if instead of psychiatric hospitals, we created spirit-healing camps?

Not long ago I wrote a post proposing that Mental Health Day be renamed Spiritual Health Day. In that essay I explained how it seems to me that spiritual malady would be a more accurate and less damaging label than mental illness. With that in mind, I submit we should work to create crisis centers that nurture the soul.

Whenever people felt crushed by unrelenting sorrow, or burned with too much energy for normal life, or heard persecuting voices, or felt like God’s chosen child, they would be offered escape to a pleasant retreat in the countryside. Once onsite, they could work in an organic garden, or staff the stables, or help build a new lodge. They could ride horses, paddle in canoes, and play frisbee on the lawn.

They could come and go when they pleased. They would learn about the brain, and about psychiatric problems, but they would also hear how mental conditions have been positively viewed by other cultures. They could attend meditation sessions, practice a spiritual tradition if they chose, and they could make art of all kinds. Groups would play music and sing in the evenings. There would be no television, and no computers, but lots of books and endless craft supplies.

The tenants could choose whether to stay in dormitory-style lodges or camp alone in the wild. They would be encouraged to keep regular hours, to exercise, and to participate, but they would never be coerced. And each day a bus would arrive to bring in newcomers and let those who wanted to depart go home.”

It sounds like a dreamworld. A utopia where that we wish for those traumatized. People that deal crushing memories of wars and other trauma would be able to properly heal from their wounds and scars of the post.

Here are some more thoughts on this issues

“Or consider that when people feel powerfully moved at weddings we don’t hand out Ativan; we encourage the full expression of Bliss.

When emotion occurs in a group setting it becomes a shared and sacred event. Even tragedies like earthquakes and terrorist attacks bring this quality to light. Look at the rituals and monuments built around 9/11.

So why can’t we use the same tactic to deal with the isolated breakdowns and breakthroughs that occur sporadically every day in every culture? Why not emphasize the power of these experiences rather than their pathology? Why not offer the suffering a setting where they can be safe while they rattle their mental cages and seek a path toward peace?

Mental turmoil can be used as the base metal for an alchemical transformation of spirit. Agony can turn to insight with the right support. Maybe what I’m suggesting isn’t the best answer, but to me it sounds better than Bedlam.”

It could a model for a better health in this country and we should perhaps take a look at the model of mental


November 15, 2011 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Jobs Opened But No Has The Skills

According to KTVB, there is are job openings, but you have to have right technical skills. From KTVB,

“BOISE — With nearly 68,000 Idahoans looking for jobs, you wouldn’t think companies would have to go searching for workers. However, that’s exactly what’s happening throughout the Treasure Valley. Certain jobs are available, but they aren’t getting filled.

For example, Western States Equipment has about 50 jobs open, mostly in their service departments. The company sells and services heavy equipment throughout the Northwest from their headquarters in Meridian.

“We have the best equipment and we want the best, world-class technicians to service our equipment,” said Cameron Pickett, employment coordinator for Western States Equipment.

Pickett said the open positions are not due to a lack of interest. He said he receives 50 applications on any given day, but most applicants don’t have the skills and training needed.

“For us, when we’ve got all these positions open, we’re looking at these applications coming in, most of them don’t meet what we’re looking for,” said Pickett.

Pickett said Western States Equipment needs heavy equipment technicians who can do more than just turn wrenches. Technicians must possess technical computer skills because the industry has become more technical.

“For a lot of kids in high school, they think if you didn’t get good grades, you could go turn wrenches,” Pickett said. “And that’s just not the case anymore. “We’re needing those higher-level students that have the specific skill set to work in this industry. The high school and the college programs that are producing these students for us, they aren’t able to meet the standards that we have for the current industry today.”

If we extend this problem to the universe of private corporations, we would conclude that there are some jobs where there is a lack of workers have critical skills. Yet, when we look at the market, we see such a huge slack of workers without work.

If such a mismatch did exist, then we would need to have a massive retraining of people. Instead of massive economic stimulus, you would need to focus on building skillset and provide apprenticeship to people who are new on the jobs.

Right now, we have a greater problem of too many people trying to chase too few jobs. Massive retraining is not going to find everybody a job, it will only provide a few people with a job. Without an apprenticeship program, you are not going to expect for everybody to have the proper applicational training.

This is exactly why we need a program like the CCC or WPA again because retraining is not going to find everybody a job. A combination of CCC or WPA with job training and apprenticeship program would go a long away to reduce unemployment and maybe knock it down by 2-3 percent if a long-term strategy was develop.

But Congress cannot their act on deficit reduction which shows that any kind of hope on this issue is dead on arrival.

November 14, 2011 at 5:27 am Leave a comment

Burning Man Tickets

According to Reno Gazette Journal, it appears that Burning Man is trying a different way to sell tickets this year. Instead of selling the tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis, Burning Man is selling tickets on tickets on a lottery basis. The lottery system is designed to prevent the rush of people trying to buy tickets on the first.

I remember my friends tell me stories about the servers crash and trying to again and again to get that sacred discount. Personally, I waited every year until the last minute to get my tickets. I always made a Burning Man as a last-minute travel decision.

For stragglers like me, we care more about the total amount of tickets sold. By 2016, the playa will get real large with 70,000 people. I believe that 70,000 people will want come to the event. However, I think there is some rule for slack with a 70,000 people and so you will be buy tickets at the minute.

For right now, you have to purchase your tickets early. If I would be making a tdecision to attend, I will make a decision attend prior to July 2012. After July 2012, the tickets will sell out and everyone want to go.

Another factor that will speed up the sale of Burning Man 2012. I think for some burners who hold to a New Age belief that they will Burning Man 2012 is the last Burning Man prior to the Great Mayan catacylsm where everything will be destroyed or we will enter into a new age of human enlightenment

I believe that the Burn 2012 will have more of spiritual tone than Burns in the past. I think people will be more spiritually oriented and for me, it is a good thing especially if my concept of a higher power developed on Eastern philosophy.

With the year being 2012, I predict that Burning Man will once sell out again and there will no tickets in August. It is just inevitable that this event is going to happen. And that means you do not wait until the last minute to purchase your tickets.


November 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

O.C. teen gets life in prison for murder committed when he was 14

The LA Times states

“A Santa Ana teenager was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in prison for a fatal shooting he committed when he was 14.

Andrew Cervantes, now 15, was tried as adult and will begin his sentence at the California Youth Authority before being transferred at age 18 to state prison.

Prosecutors said Cervantes shot Manuel Orozco, 17, on June 22, 2010, after a gang-related confrontation in Santa Ana.

Cervantes and his friend, Jose Baldemar Moreno, 15, rode their bikes by Orozco, a rival gang member, who was sitting in a parked car. One of the defendants made a hand gesture toward Orozco, who got out of the car and called out to the younger men. An argument erupted, and Cervantes pulled out a gun and shot Orozco in the chest.

Orozco died at the scene, two doors down from his home. Cervantes fled to Stockton, where he was later arrested.

In September, a jury found Cervantes guilty of second-degree murder and street terrorism.

Moreno, who was also prosecuted as an adult, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to three years in custody”

The reality is that the sentence should not to be fourty to life. The person’s age is too you to mitigate a 40 year to life sentence. WIth a state sentencing commission, the sentence will be moved to especially mitigated second-degree murder and the sentence would be eight years. Part of the sentence is an insane provision in the California places a 25 to life sentence for a use of gun.

There are state with provisions that give you life without parole for just committing second-degree murder (South Dakota and Louisana), but I never heard of a state making the enhancement for the crime results in a longer sentence than the base sentence.

In reality, the enhancement should not have applied and the ability to use a life sentence should be nullified due to the age of the defendant. He should have received a 15-year sentence (more like eight years) and that would have been proper justice. In British and Canadian systems, he would have still could have to gotten a life sentence, but would have to do 10-12 years minimum term. There are laws in those countries that have internal controls to prevent excessive sentencing by judges for crimes committed when somebody 16 and under

Not allowing the kid being tried as a adult would be travesty of justice, but also it is travesty to justice to give a 40 to life sentence for a person that is only 14 years old when they commit the crime. There is a middle ground that provides equitable sentencing and also ensures that the person receives a term of years in the state prison.

November 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment


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