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NAKED REDHEAD & Ridiculous Rant

Posted in erotic, fashion, fetish, FLICKR, lingerie, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, pinup, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2013 by cliffmichaels

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I read somewhere there’s fairly solid evidence there are actually brain differences between conservatives and liberals. I believe it. Forgive my obvious bias, but it seems to me conservatives have – at least now – a harder time connecting to reality. Not that we liberals don’t have a difficult time seeing past our preconceived notions as well. It’s a matter of degree and not in kind.

Still, for the most part liberals accept science as a guide to reality. The evidence for climate change and evolution is overwhelming. Many, if not most, conservatives are immune to scientific persuasion (unless, of course, they think some particular discovery supports their mindset) and claim both “theories” are merely products of left wing pseudo science created to deprive us of our freedoms.  Its all a conspiracy, don’t you know…

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This is a detour, but I wonder how people – conservatives, in this case –  can believe in a conspiracy that would require thousands  of evildoers to act in concert. Try to figure out just how such a massive deceit would work. It wouldn’t; it would be impossible to coordinate without leaving a massive paper trail, not to mention scores of  defectors who would expose the fraud. Of course, our more rational conservative  brothers would claim scientists are led astray by groupthink. Why such an overwhelming number of climate scientists believe in man made climate change, however, is never explained (or why the overwhelming majority of biologists, geneticists, geologists, etc., etc. accept evolution as a solid scientific answer to why animal and plant life – and we – are the way we are). Is it just coincidence? Each scientist one morning decided to believe in climate change despite the obviousness (conservatives say) of it being wrong. It always amazes me climate change deniers will take some obvious fact – there’s a glacier in South America that grew in size – and argue climate change therefore i wrong. As if scientists didn’t know about it, or willfully refused to believe it.

Years ago I was in Atlantic City and did a bit of gambling. I had a sudden brainstorm and came up with a surefire way to win at roulette. My idea was to double any red or black bet I lost but pocket my winnings. Say I bet ten dollars on each spin on black. If I win I put the sawbuck in my pocket, then bet another ten. Should I lose I next bet twenty. If I lose again I bet forty… My losing streak will end when I win and I’ll break even over the losing streak once I win. If I win my next bet I once more pocket my winnings.

Can’t lose! I’ll be rich!

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Well, no. I knew my theory had to be wrong. Surely someone – shortly after the invention of roulette – would have thought of my plan and bankrupted the casino and ended roulette as we know it. I was right. There is something called the law of large numbers which would eventually destroy me. Sooner or later I’d hit a long losing streak that would be impossible for me to survive. Suppose, for instance, I lost thirteen bets in a row with a starting bet of twenty dollars. On the fourteenth bet I’d have to wager $82,000 to break even. Run the losing streak to twenty-five and my break even bet must be approximately $168,000,000. I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally carry that kind of cash around.

Sure the odds of a twenty-five bet losing streak is quite low – but sooner or later a losing streak will come along that bankrupts you. Even a string of ten losses – betting ten bucks initially – will require an eleventh bet of more than ten thousand dollars (make the streak  eleven and now you need more than twenty grand to just break even – twelve requires forty).

This digression seems to me to have some relevance to the way conservatives think. When faced with something the want to disbelieve they latch onto some simple set of facts – true or false – they  claim proves the provocative theory false. It was warmer in the past. It’s just sunspots. Glaciers in Asia are actually growing. Carbon dating is wrong. The human eye is too complex to have been the product of  natural selection. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Manmade global warming is overwhelmingly supported by scientific evidence and enjoys the support of a very high majority of climatologists and other scientists. More and more the theory is refined and alarming evidence continues to rolls in. The same is true of the theory of evolution. No major scientific study has proven Darwin’s original insights wrong. Tens of thousands of discoveries in the fields of biology, paleontology, genetics, geology, molecular biology, physics,  and countless  other scientific disciplines have been consistent with the theory.

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Conservatives, for the most part, are able to ignore the avalanche of evidence underpinning both scientific theories. They offer simplistic rebuttals: the planet was warmer in the past, the human eye is too complex to have evolved by random chance. Glaciers in Asia are getting bigger, carbon dating is wrong.

You can’t argue with them. Studies show the more educated a conservative is the more she believes the scientific consensus in climatology and biology is wrong. A little learning is a dangerous thing. The educated right winger more easily embraces the pseudosciences of  denial.

Another digression… You cannot convince a Indian shaman his rain dance doesn’t work. If he does the dance and it rains it proves, of course, his high steppin’ worked. If it doesn’t, and you say, “see, I told you it didn’t work!” he just smiles and assures you he just didn’t do the dance right. To the shaman his rain dance always works so long as h
e manages to gyrate in proper precision. How does he know he hoofed without fault? It rains, of course. See also superstition, random reinforcement and religion.

Sure, we lefties are not immune. We, too, see what we want to see all to often. We too easily favor public policies because their goals are, to us, noble and pure. We too easily forget government, particularly at the federal level, is horribly inefficient and subject to corruption and the rule of unintended consequences. Our guys are wonderful (he was set up – she seduced him – he didn’t really mean any harm…) Their guys are bastards (he set them up – he seduced her (him) – he meant to do real harm). We see our leaders virtues, we too often deny their faults. Obama’s embrace of most of Bush’s draconian security practices is too easily excused.

But we don’t do it as often. We are more willing to accept science even when it contradicts our beliefs. We are more willing to learn, to investigate facts that make us realize we have been wrong. As Andrew Sullivan quotes George Orwell: To see what’s in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, also comes to mind.

Anyway, that’s my opinion but I could be wrong…

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Gastropods!

Posted in art with tags , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2012 by cliffmichaels

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Memorial Day 2012

Posted in FLICKR, memoir, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by cliffmichaels

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I dodged the draft. Actually, the draft dodged me.

Was it 1968? I think so, but I could be off by a year one way or the other. Anyway, it was the year of the first draft lottery. My birthday came in at number 68. Bad, very bad. Visions of dying face down in a rice paddy rampaged through my head. Oh, no! Not me!! I was in college! Let that poor, most likely black, high school drop-out go and fight Nixon’s war; he probably needed the money and the free dental…

So I signed up for ROTC. I can still remember one of the questions on the test: would you rather shoot a gun or play the violin. True answer: play the violin; answer I chose: shoot that gun!! I passed the test! The crusty old sergeant told me all I had to do now was pass the physical. I did. Ah!! Now I’d be spared involuntary induction!! Even if the Vietnam war was still raging when I finished the program, at least I’d be an officer and would have a decent chance  of being stationed in Germany, Japan, or some other peaceful place.

Two days later I got the notice for my draft physical. Not yet understanding government bureaucracy, I naively inquired if, since I had already passed the ROTC physical, it was really necessary for me to take this new exam. It was, of course. Different bureaucracies altogether.

Short story: I flunked thanks to a very nice doctor. I’d tell you why I flunked but the reason was, and remains, too embarrassing. No rice paddies for me!  I was now free to continue happily protesting the war without having to worry I might actually end up fighting – and dying – in it.

Being the loyal, patriotic citizen I was and remain, I immediately dropped out of ROTC .

So much for my distinguished  military career.

Now, forty some years after my harrowing brush with the military industrial complex, our numerous wars are fought by professional soldiers we all pretend to honor. Sadly, we seldom, individually or as a nation, put our money where our mouths are when our Brave Men and Women come marching home. Thanks guys, here’s your first unemployment check and please don’t bother the VA with your possibly bogus claims of suffering from PTSD (but you may march in a nifty parade this weekend!)…

Just to show you what a hypocrite I am, I’ll tell you I think a professional military, politically speaking, is a bad idea. We may have the vote, but the army has the guns (not to mention thousand of tanks and black, death spewing helocopters). Polling suggests the military is much more conservator than the rest of us. There is also a growing strain of evangelical christianity among the troops. If, someday, the top brass and officer corps find our civilian leaders too liberal, or too godless, or too something else they don’t like, they can swiftly complete a coup.

My solution? A draft, of course.

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IGNORE THIS POST!

Posted in FLICKR, politics, religion, satire with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by cliffmichaels

My second cousin Wesley G. Worthliston, III, had his right wing blog Absolutely Right wiped out by a severe rat infestation at the server farm hosting his blog. Out of family loyalty I reluctantly allowed him to post to Visions. His site should be back and running late today…

Andrew Breitbart, RIP

First, I  suppose I should thank cousin Cliff for “allowing” me to post here on his dubious and disgusting blog. He left  out that my dad, the Big Two as he’s called in family circles, a big time hedge fund manager, had to exert considerable financial pressure to get Cliff to do the Right Thing. His omission of that fact is a typical example of liberal sneakiness…

In any event, here’s the Saturday morning roundup…

Scalia’s shocking revelation of the Obama Administration’s secret plot to force broccoli onto every American family’s dinner table has apparently stopped the plan in its green & gruesome  tracks. We must remain vigilant, however; there are credible rumors the government is thinking of mandating that arugula be added to nursing home lunchplates.

Should copies of the  koran carry warning labels?

Kudo’s to SCOTUS for allowing strip searches. The idea now needs to be expanded to applicants for food stamps and unemployment brenefits (at least to those socialist programs are eliminated). Oh, adding women seeking to kill their unborn kids to the mix wouldn’t be a bad idea either!

Has Rush sold out?

Romny’s support for a budget plan that only provides for a modest increase in defense  spending and relatively small decrease in job creators’ tax rates is just another outrageous example of his liberal Taxachusettes views. What we really need is a total elimination of taxes on the top two percent of the population until the Obama recession is clearly over (and then a gradual increase to  maximum tax rate of four or five percent with tax free capital gains). On defense spending, the need for a twenty percent plus percent increase is painfully obvious. Until our defense budget substantially exceeds the rest of the world’s nations’  military expenditures combined we aren’t truly safe.   How to pay for it?  Duh! Root out those socialist giveaways Social Security, Medicare,  and Medicaid!

 Should Iraq become an American territory like Guam?

Nuclear weapons could be the answer to the Iran question…  I suppose for appearance’s sake we should reserve the nukes at first. While I don’t personally agree, I grant the case for exempting Tehran as a target.

An Obama victory in November will be a sure sign of massive voter fraud. The plan to post militia members at “minorty” polling stations in blue states enjoys growing support. I oppose the effort to arm militia members with automatic weapons – small arms should be enough to discourage fraud (unless, of course, Obama’s so called “Justice” department attempts to intervene).

Is Osama really dead?

Thank God Obama failed in his attempt to exterminate innocent civilians in Virginia. Sending a F-18 crashing down onto a defenseless retirement village is merely another example of the muslim Kenyan born fascist’s war on older Americans. Don’t be fooled by the lap dog socialist press’s attempt to call the assault on the elderly an “accident”. Our valiant military is far to good to have one of its first line fighters crash in a residential area. Obama’s vile attack was only foiled by his utter incompetence.

Should labor unions be prosecuted as criminal conspiracies?

Finally, Monday, when hopefully my blog will be back, I’ll be posting two great articles: Should Income Taxes be Voluntary? and Don’t Impeach Obama, Deport Him!

Oh, and I want to make it very clear I am NOT responsible for any pornographic photos posted on this page!

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Nothing But The Facts…

Posted in FLICKR, history, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2012 by cliffmichaels

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Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is   entitled to his  own opinions, but not his own facts.” The more partisan one becomes the more the quote is forgotten. The partisan starts with a belief and then hunts for “facts” that support her position.

A majority of Republicans believe Obama has raised their income taxes. Of course the opposite is true. The sad part of this is that we are dealing with a simple fact. All one has to do is compare tax rates. It’s not a matter of interpretation. And, of course, the stimulus package was one third tax breaks and Social Security taxes have been reduced. Income tax rates are lower than they have been in decades. This is a simple fact – a matter of arithmetic.

We on the left can fall into the same trap. In the 1930’s, in the midst of the Great Depression,  the ideological allure of communism led many to blind themselves to the brutal truth of the nightmare in Russia and the crippling flaws of socialism. Today too many Democrats want to ignore Obama’s escalation of the suppression of civil rights in his continuation of the never ending War on Terror.

History is slippery business. The simple facts may be relatively easy. We invaded Iraq in 2003. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Over five thousand Americans died in the war. The last troops left in 2011.

The real facts are still hotly debated. The war was – or wasn’t – a legitimate response to September 11. The removal of Saddam Hussein was – or wasn’t – worth the cost in lives and treasure. The Bush administration followed the right – or wrong – strategy in its War of Terror. The messy, chaotic march of history often allows all sides to have their own facts. The Civil War ended over one hundred fifty years ago and what it was really all about is still contested even today. I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t still contentious arguments over the Peloponnesian War.

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USA! USA! USA!

Posted in history with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by cliffmichaels

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I’m a diehard Big Orange fan. I watch every Tennessee football, basketball, and women’s basketball game I can. When my teams win I feel great; when they lose I feel sad…

Now, I know big time college athletics is corrupt, a sacred cash cow with a thousand teats spewing money.  I know most of Tennessee’s football players hale from out of state, just mercenaries here only for the chance to get the big bucks in the NFL. I know its the same with basketball. “Show me the money!” My late (first) father-in-law put it best – he was a huge North Carolina fan – “they may be sons of bitches, but they’re our sons of bitches…”

Somehow, however, once the kickoff happens, or the opening tip, I willfully  forget what I know and avidly root for our brave boys in orange as they struggle against those villains in red, or blue, or gold. Go Big Orange! Go Big Orange!!

I have the same schizophrenic attitude about America. I was born and raised in the good old USA. I love our flag and our other national icons. I grew up cheering John Wayne in countless war and western flicks and reading sanitized history textbooks glorifying  our very checkered past (how amazing it now seems that native Americans were portrayed in popular culture as savages who attacked us without provacation). My country right or wrong! I was your typical flag waving, toy gun toting, jingoistic America kid…

Then I went up north to college and began to learn about a different America. The catalyst was the war – the Vietnam War. I learned our troops weren’t the wholesome samaritans sacrificing to save our brave Vietnamese allies as I had been led to believe…  I learned the Gulf of Tonkin incident – the justification for the massive escalation of the war – was a government lie. Later I learned about My Lai.

Then came Nixon and Watergate; we all learned our government was venal at the very highest levels. Now we know our national legislature is awash in corporate and insider cash that buys influence and more. Now we know our government still lies about the need to go to war. Now we know our nation has caused the death of tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now we know our national leaders have condoned and forgiven torture, sanctioned due process free detention and execution of American citizens.

A near majority of my fellow citizens applaud torture (when we are the torturers). Despite the lessons of Iraq, my fellow Americans want war with Iran and care next to nothing for the Palestinians. Our police beat protesters and spy on Muslims. An alarmingly large slice of America believes our President is an alien (in both senses of the word).

Around the world people are repulsed by our policies: the uncritical support for Israel, our bellicose support of tyrannical regimes, and our smug sense of entitlement on the world stage. But I still love America, its red, white and blue flag, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Star Spangled Banner, apple pie,  spacious skies, and amber waves of grain.

When we invaded Iraq I was aghast. I believed the war to be immoral and stupid – but when the war kicked off I started rooting for the troops all the same. How like a game it was! And our team was winning, really running up the score!

I rooted for our brave boys the same way I root for the Big Orange.

Mindlessly. 

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It Can’t Happen Here

Posted in erotic, FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, politics, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2012 by cliffmichaels

December, 2011. Obama reluctantly signs defense act allowing indefinite detention of Americans suspected of terrorist acts or affiliations, but he vows not to use those provisions of the bill.

January, 2013. Newly elected President Romney vows to detain anyone – including American citizens – if he feels it is necessary to protect the nation from grave harm.”An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, my friends” During 2013 over 90 people, all Muslims, including twelve American citizens, are secretly detained. Over the next three years the number of detainees rises to 529.

September, 2015. By a vote of 5 to 4 the Supreme Court, after a secret hearing (lawyers for detainees are not allowed to hear the government’s argumene to protect national security), upholds indefinite detention. Justice Thomas, writing for the majority, declares: “just as pornography does not enjoy First Amendment protection because of its threat to our nation’s moral culture, those who commit thee outrageous crimes threatening the very survival of our republic must also be outside the protective embrace of the Constitution…”

January,2016. At the urging of the President, and after the Republican Senate majority suspends the Democrats’ right to filibuster, Congress narrowly approves law allowing the extension of detention to Mafia dons and drug kingpins. “Organized crime, and particularly the drug trade, are just as much a threat to America as terrorism,” Romney declares, “if we are to vanquish these criminals we need the same tools as we have used so successfully in defeating world wide terror.” Within weeks of the bill becoming law just under six hundred persons are detained.

March, 2017. Learning the New York Times is about to report critically on the validity of thousands of detentions and expose the egregious conditions of confinement, President Rubio sends dozens of FBI agents on a midnight raid to seize the paper’s offices and printing presses. “Our national security policies are far too important, far too vital, for our great nation’s safety to allow their disclosure. We are at war. Anyone publishing this kind of story is surely giving aid and comfort to our enemies and must be stopped.” The Times seeks immediate Supreme Court review. A divided Court refuses to hear the case and the Times is silenced for almost five months. When the FBI finally withdraws the Grey Lady is forced to file bankruptcy and is purchased by Rupert Murdoch. Criminal charges against two editors and six reporters are dropped after an outcry by civil libertarians (Murdoch’s Times called them quislings).

January through July, 2018. Five states – Alabama, Missouri, Arizona, Texas and Arkansas, pass legislation providing for the indefinite detentions of anyone charged with child sexual abuse for a second time. By a vote of 4 to 3, the supreme court of Arkansas overturns the law. Within a week the heavily Republican legislature impeaches and convicts the four justices who voted to overturn the law and then passes the bill again. In Arizona the governor declares she will ignore any court action. Over the next three years seventeen more states adopt similar measures. Colorado goes further than most, including rapists, armed robbers and murderers in the law allowing detention. The state supreme court overturns the law as it applies to robbers but leaves the rest of the law intact.

July, 2019. Congress passes the “National Crime Early Prevention and Detention Act” granting the President power to indefinitely detain anyone he has reasonable suspicion to believe will commit a federal felony offense; the law does allow for military style tribunals to review a detainees status once a year. Within three months the number of detainees grows to more than six thousand; the government opens “security camps” to house those detained for national security reasons and detainees subject to criminal detention. Camp Securing Freedom is the first to open and receives its first hundred inmates on August 21, 2019; the First Lady attends the opening ceremony, which is carried live by all five Fox networks. An editorial in the New York Times lauds the “new efficiencies” in federal criminal laws and encourages their expansion. The act also reduces the number of federal district court judges by seventy percent.

October, 2020. In the face of another deep economic recession, President Rubio trails his Democratic challenger, Chelsea Clinton, by more than fifteen points in the polls. On Halloween, citing an imminent major terrorist attack, Rubio asks the Supreme Court to delay the election for six months. With only the lone liberal justice dissenting, the Court rules in favor of a three month delay. “Surely it would be the greatest folly to cripple the defense of our vital security interests by risking the loss of such an experienced commander in chief, and replacing him with a woman whose only experience of conflict was living with her notorious parents in the White House. Our enemies are standing at the gates. They are poised to brutally attack our sacred shores. … The people are entitled to vote and we do not vote today to stop their right to do so but merely to delay the election for the briefest time consistent with our national security needs.” At the end of January 2021, upon the assurance of the justice department the terror threat remains, the Court extends the extension for six more months. “To those who shrilly demand the Court require the President, like some errant schoolboy supplicant, to proffer us sufficient evidence and documentation of the continuing national crisis necessitating further delay, we only reply thusly: Constitutionally, the President is our leader both in peace and in war. He is, of course, bound to uphold the Constitution. He assures us his oath to do so requires his demand. We defer to his wisdom and are untroubled by our decision.”

December, 2020, through February 25, 2021. Thousand and then tens of thousands of “Election Now!” advocates, led by Chelsea Clinton and scores of other prominent national figures (including a handful of Republicans), descend of Washington and stage a massive protest. Thousands more arrive every day and by the second week of February more than a million people march through Washington and protests have spread to over fifty other cities; in New York alone, estimates put the crowd at more than a two and a half million. At first relatively peaceful, the protests turn violent when the Rubio administration sends federal troops to two dozen cities to “monitor the situation”. At the same time, in an effort to cripple the movement’s ability to mobilize, the President orders the seizure of the internet and the blocking of cell phone service in all of the effected cities.

Although almost a quarter of the troops refuse to participate, on February 25th the army uses massive and lethal force, including tanks, blackhawk helicopters, and cluster bombs, simultaneously in thirteen cities and the protestors are quickly dispersed; while the death toll is suppressed by the government, independent sources claim more than twenty-five thousand are either dead or wounded. Rubio orders detention of Clinton and other leaders of the movement. Thousands more are arrested; troops even search hospitals for wounded protestors.

March 1, 2021. Federal elections are suspended indefinitely. With no House members, and one third of Senate seats vacant, President Rubio declares it is now necessary for him to assume all government functions. Detainees now number more than 100,000. Ninety-four congressmen, all but one of them Democrats, along with hundreds of other prominent politicians, writers, academics and artists, are held in a special “VIP camp” just outside of Dallas.

July 4, 2023. With the return of economic good times, and with virtually all of his critics in detention, Rubio holds a “Presidential Referendum” asking citizens to approve his continuing tenure. Fifty-four percent of the voters approve (this figure is “corrected” to almost seventy percent by federal election monitors). New York, California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, the states with the highest “no” votes are placed under marshall law. Detention figures, now classified, reach 1.14 million. In an effort to reduce the now astronomic costs of detaining so many, the government privatizes the camps and allows inmates to be put to work (and sanctions the elimination of unnecessary services such as medical and dental care).

Here just for the smut?

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