Aurora’s "Joker" was no joke–Time for Gun Control

I am angry and sad (mostly angry) that crazy people have easy access to guns and ammunition.  I am angry that every time incidents such as the Colorado one happen, we have to hear the Republican nonsense of how guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  At least 12 people were killed and 58 wounded when a gunman, calling himself “Joker”, opened in a packed movie theater at Aurora, Colorado during the screening of Batman-the Dark Knight Rises. WE NEED GUN CONTROL.


This morning I was watching ABC’s George Stephanopolous show about the Colorado shootings and there was this lunatic woman from The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, go on and on about US being beset with mental health problems (no kidding!).  The entire show she was blabbering about the need to fix crazy people but till that happened we’ll help put guns in their hands!! I could see Joe Klein of Time magazine wince every time she opened her mouth.


Guns are dangerous. Even Dick Cheney couldn’t help his gun from accidentally exploding into his friends face.  We have the right to bear arms to defend the country, not to kill everyone in it.

Why can’t gun sales be recorded? How does that infringe on our freedom to bear arms? 

James Holmes, the Colorado shooter, had in the car an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a .40 caliber Glock handgun, said Chief Dan Oates of the Aurora police, and all three were believed to have been used inside the theater. Another Glock .40 caliber handgun was recovered inside the theater. Chief Oates said that “many, many” rounds were fired, but that there was no count so far.  In the last 60 days Mr. Holmes had purchased four guns at local gun shops, Chief Oates said. And through the Internet, he bought more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition: more than 3,000 rounds for the assault rifle, 3,000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition for the two Glocks, and 300 rounds for the 12-gauge shotgun. The guns were all bought legally, a federal law enforcement official said. Mr. Holmes also purchased online multiple magazines for the assault rifle, including one 100-round drum magazine.  “With that drum magazine, he could have gotten off 50, 60 rounds, even if it was semiautomatic, within one minute,”Chief Oates said.

Why not have sellers report sales of such mass quantities of ammunition, and weapons to the police?   Why can’t sales be restricted? We are not talking about  humongous dual-pack cereal boxes or a packet of 25 pairs of socks from Sam’s Club. These are instruments of death.  Why are they so cheap?  We tax cigarettes to save lives, but on the way out of  7-Eleven we kill folks with bullets bought at street corners for a dime.

The opponents of gun control, to wit, Sen. John McCain(R-AZ), cite the example of Norway, where Anders Behring Breivik managed to kill 68 people inspite of the strict gun control laws there. Killers find a way, McCain thinks.  They certainly do. Where did this man get his ammunition from?  IT WAS MAIL ORDERED FROM THE USA!!

Isn’t it time that we accepted responsibility and also took note of the fact that these violent incidents are on the rise?  I am not talking just about mass killings but the gun related violence on the streets of Philadelphia, Camden and New York City.  More people are gunned down on the streets everyday than even the number of victims in the Aurora, Colorado shooting. These deaths are just as tragic.  Higher gun ownership rates are related to higher gun deaths.

Republicans like John McCain must feed on a daily dose of stupid bread if he thinks he must respect the privacy of would-be killers or use the Second Amendment to protect their rights.  “Look, I think that the strongest second amendment rights people would be glad to have a conversation. But to somehow leap to the conclusion that this was somehow caused by the fact that we don’t have more gun control legislation I don’t think has been proved. ” He needs more proof of the necessity of gun control? How can it proved when there is no gun control?  Let us have gun control and gather this empirical evidence   He can’t seriously think that America’s founding fathers wanted us to bear arms to kill our friends and neighbors. Tchah! This is not happening to someone else, these are our families who are affected.

When asked if it would  have helped if someone in the audience were equipped with a hand gun, the Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey replied that more guns would have resulted in more deaths. He said he dealt with gun crimes every single day and the only way to solve these problems is through gun control. 


New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg criticized President Obama and the Republican candidate Mitt Romney for not being more vocal about tighter restrictions on gun owners. “Leadership is leading from the front, not doing a survey, finding out what the people want and then doing it. What do they stand for, and why aren’t they standing up?”, Bloomberg asked.


New Jersey’s senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who keeps getting re-elected despite his doddering years, has vowed to fulfill his promise to serve his people and plans on reintroducing a gun control bill. Lautenberg, one of the most vocal gun control advocates in the Senate, introduced a bill to limit high-capacity magazines following the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  The shooter in that instance fired his gun more than 30 times without having to reload.  The bill went nowhere.  Let us hope he has better luck this time. 


Each time these incidents happen, we hear of heroes who protect their friends, spouses, children and use their bodies to shield bullets.  Let us not give them an opportunity to be dead heroes.  We want them alive.

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"You Are Not Special" Commencement Speech

David McCullough Jr.,  English teacher at Wellesley High School, Boston gave a rather unusual commencement speech this year. “You are not special”, he told the graduating students shaking them out of their complacency. He urged them to think beyond themselves, their achievements, accolades and trophies.  His speech was everything I always said to my children.  Here is all of it: (bostonherald.com, June 7, 2012)

Dr. Wong, Dr. Keough, Mrs. Novogroski, Ms. Curran, members of the board of education, family and friends of the graduates, ladies and gentlemen of the Wellesley High School class of 2012, for the privilege of speaking to you this afternoon, I am honored and grateful. Thank you.

So here we are… commencement… life’s great forward-looking ceremony. (And don’t say, “What about weddings?” Weddings are one-sided and insufficiently effective. Weddings are bride-centric pageantry. Other than conceding to a list of unreasonable demands, the groom just stands there. No stately, hey-everybody-look-at-me procession. No being given away. No identity-changing pronouncement. And can you imagine a television show dedicated to watching guys try on tuxedos? Their fathers sitting there misty-eyed with joy and disbelief, their brothers lurking in the corner muttering with envy. Left to men, weddings would be, after limits-testing procrastination, spontaneous, almost inadvertent… during halftime… on the way to the refrigerator. And then there’s the frequency of failure: statistics tell us half of you will get divorced. A winning percentage like that’ll get you last place in the American League East. The Baltimore Orioles do better than weddings.)

But this ceremony… commencement… a commencement works every time. From this day forward… truly… in sickness and in health, through financial fiascos, through midlife crises and passably attractive sales reps at trade shows in Cincinnati, through diminishing tolerance for annoyingness, through every difference, irreconcilable and otherwise, you will stay forever graduated from high school, you and your diploma as one, ‘til death do you part.

No, commencement is life’s great ceremonial beginning, with its own attendant and highly appropriate symbolism. Fitting, for example, for this auspicious rite of passage, is where we find ourselves this afternoon, the venue. Normally, I avoid cliches like the plague, wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole, but here we are on a literal level playing field. That matters. That says something. And your ceremonial costume… shapeless, uniform, one-size-fits-all. Whether male or female, tall or short, scholar or slacker, spray-tanned prom queen or intergalactic X-Box assassin, each of you is dressed, you’ll notice, exactly the same. And your diploma… but for your name, exactly the same.

All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.

You are not special. You are not exceptional.

Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special.

Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…

But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not.

The empirical evidence is everywhere, numbers even an English teacher can’t ignore. Newton, Natick, Nee… I am allowed to say Needham, yes? …that has to be two thousand high school graduates right there, give or take, and that’s just the neighborhood Ns. Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools. That’s 37,000 valedictorians… 37,000 class presidents… 92,000 harmonizing altos… 340,000 swaggering jocks… 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs. But why limit ourselves to high school? After all, you’re leaving it. So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you. Imagine standing somewhere over there on Washington Street on Marathon Monday and watching sixty-eight hundred yous go running by. And consider for a moment the bigger picture: your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the center of its solar system, your solar system is not the center of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the center of the universe. In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it. Neither can Donald Trump… which someone should tell him… although that hair is quite a phenomenon.

“But, Dave,” you cry, “Walt Whitman tells me I’m my own version of perfection! Epictetus tells me I have the spark of Zeus!” And I don’t disagree. So that makes 6.8 billion examples of perfection, 6.8 billion sparks of Zeus. You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless. In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one another–which springs, I think, from our fear of our own insignificance, a subset of our dread of mortality — we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement. We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole. No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it… Now it’s “So what does this get me?” As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans. It’s an epidemic — and in its way, not even dear old Wellesley High is immune… one of the best of the 37,000 nationwide, Wellesley High School… where good is no longer good enough, where a B is the new C, and the midlevel curriculum is called Advanced College Placement. And I hope you caught me when I said “one of the best.” I said “one of the best” so we can feel better about ourselves, so we can bask in a little easy distinction, however vague and unverifiable, and count ourselves among the elite, whoever they might be, and enjoy a perceived leg up on the perceived competition. But the phrase defies logic. By definition there can be only one best. You’re it or you’re not.

If you’ve learned anything in your years here I hope it’s that education should be for, rather than material advantage, the exhilaration of learning. You’ve learned, too, I hope, as Sophocles assured us, that wisdom is the chief element of happiness. (Second is ice cream… just an fyi) I also hope you’ve learned enough to recognize how little you know… how little you know now… at the moment… for today is just the beginning. It’s where you go from here that matters.

As you commence, then, and before you scatter to the winds, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance. Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in any more than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about, lest you too find yourself on the wrong side of a Baltimore Orioles comparison. Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction. Be worthy of your advantages. And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect. Read as a nourishing staple of life. Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it. Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer; and as surely as there are commencements there are cessations, and you’ll be in no condition to enjoy the ceremony attendant to that eventuality no matter how delightful the afternoon.

The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you’re a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer. You’ll note the founding fathers took pains to secure your inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–quite an active verb, “pursuit”–which leaves, I should think, little time for lying around watching parrots rollerskate on Youtube. The first President Roosevelt, the old rough rider, advocated the strenuous life. Mr. Thoreau wanted to drive life into a corner, to live deep and suck out all the marrow. The poet Mary Oliver tells us to row, row into the swirl and roil. Locally, someone… I forget who… from time to time encourages young scholars to carpe the heck out of the diem. The point is the same: get busy, have at it. Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you. Get up, get out, explore, find it yourself, and grab hold with both hands. (Now, before you dash off and get your YOLO tattoo, let me point out the illogic of that trendy little expression–because you can and should live not merely once, but every day of your life. Rather than You Only Live Once, it should be You Live Only Once… but because YLOO doesn’t have the same ring, we shrug and decide it doesn’t matter.)

None of this day-seizing, though, this YLOOing, should be interpreted as license for self-indulgence. Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things. Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly. Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion–and those who will follow them. And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.

Because everyone is.

Congratulations. Good luck. Make for yourselves, please, for your sake and for ours, extraordinary lives.

Shooting The Messenger — Story of Jessica Barba

Jessica Barba, a high school freshman at Longwood High School, Middle Island, N.Y., was suspended for trying to raise awareness of a major issue–bullying in schools.  She produced a six-minute video on bullying for a high  school assignment, featuring a fictitious character (Hailey Bennet) as the victim, who ultimately commits suicide.  She also created a fake Facebook page in Hailey Bennet’s name and posted an update that said, “I wanna be dead”.  A concerned parent reported the page to the police. The school, ignoring all the notices on the page that it was mere fiction, suspended Barba for a period of five days for causing disruption.

Photo credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara
Barba right

Bullying has become a problem of such proportions because schools often tend to look the other way. At the beginning of every school year, school authorities convene assemblies to announce a no tolerance policy towards bullying.  Children are encouraged to report bullying to the counselors and teachers; however, either due to the volume of complaints or lack of trained personnel, the complaints get swept under the rug. With two children who have been through the public school system, I am aware of the horrors of the lunchtime school cafeteria and those unsupervised corners of the playground or the school corridors.  I know of parents who had to remove their children from such environment and pay exorbitant fees to private schools to keep them safer and happier and not just to give them a better education. 


Children that are bullied suffer loss of self-esteem, depression and anxiety and the trauma stays with them their entire lives. Schools have to nurture children and give them a carefree childhood instead of becoming a nightmare as they are apt to do nowadays. And there are none so blind as those who will not see; school officials must adopt stricter measures in combating this problem. “Bullying is 100 percent preventable,” Barba says.The schools certainly should not punish somebody who is creating that awareness.  I think Jessica Barba is a heroine. 


UPDATE: The school reinstated Jessica Barba today.  It also promised to remove  the suspension off her transcript. Hopefully, it will now encourage free speech on this subject and allow dialogue and independent thought to address the issue.  For some more information on anti-bullying and proactive behavioral management, click here.

A Winning Entry in a Short Story Contest: THE LONE WOLF by Renuka Vishwanathan

Renuka Vishwanathan is my classmate from high school and a very talented author.  Here is one of her pieces.


The site Tumbhi.com where her story appeared, will not allow me to copy and paste.  So I am providing the link.  


http://tumbhi.com/artifactDetails.html?actionFlag=getArtifactDetails&artifactId=16657

What Is He Thinking? Or Is He? Mitt Romney on Women’s Health

Women’s health care has become a hot subject of political debate.  It seems that Republicans are not just taking a moral high ground here wagging their finger at some supposed promiscuity, but they are threatening to eliminate every safety net available to women.  Romney shows his concern for the middle class tax payers claiming they should not be burdened with more taxes…but here’s a solution.  The rich could be taxed.  Affordable health care, I would presume, would be popular with citizens? In any case– a poor, unwed, single mother is a bigger burden on the taxpayer.  The taxpayer not only feeds her but her uncared-for children as well, for their lifetime. 
Romney in a speech at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois launched his “off with their heads” tirade against Planned Parenthood (PP)  and Obamacare. Dressed casually in denims and rolled up sleeves, obviously to represent the common working man and disguise his millionaire status, he very grandly directed women to go elsewhere for their health care–“Well they can go wherever they’d like to go. This is a free society.” Just not PP it seems.  Free society?  Apparently not. 
What’s more, Romney wants to free the nation from debt by making its people go broke.





In the local community college where I work, young women and not so young women struggle with their student loans and the high cost of healthcare. Their part-time jobs do not provide them enough income to buy healthcare.  PP is very important to them. Republicans have to deal with problems realistically–if women get pregnant, usually there is a man behind it. Why are women being specially targeted? Republicans have become little Oliver Cromwells.  They are even squeamish about sex education.

The Tennessee Senate  passed SB 3310, a bill to update the state’s abstinence-based sex education curriculum to define holding hands and kissing as “gateway sexual activities.” Just one senator voted against the legislation; 28 voted in favor. Since the bill specifically bans teachers from “demonstrating gateway sexual activity”, educators would be prohibited from even demonstrating what hand-holding is.                                      (thinkprogress.org)

Maybe they should support the gay marriage cause, no contraceptives or abortions needed. 
Who is to reason with people who believe all women are Jezebels, guns don’t kill people or that when you fall and hurt yourself, the ground came up and attacked you.



Rabindranath Tagore’s "Ekla Chalo Re"

A song by Rabindranath Tagore that inspires us to reach unafraid into the depths of our souls and find inner strength.  This song was the best feature of the film “Kahaani”(Hindi, 2012)

In Bengali
Jodi Tor Dak Soone Keu Na AsseTobe
Ekla Chalo re!
Ekla Chalo! Ekla Chalo! Ekla Chalo re!

Jodi Keu Katha Na Kai
Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Sabai Thake Mukh Firae Sabai Kare Bhay
Tabe Paran Khule
O Tui Mukh Fute Tor Maner Katha
Ekla Balo re!

Jodi Sabai Phire Jai
Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Gahan Pathe Jabar Kale Keu Feere Na Chay
Tobe Pather Kanta

O Tui Rakta Makha Charan Tale
Ekla Dalo re!

Jodi Alo Na Dhare
Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Jharr Badale Andhar Rate Duar Deay Ghare
Tobe Bajranale
Apaan Buker Panjar Jaliey Nieye
Ekla Jalo re!

 

English Translation:
If they answer not to thy call,
walk alone!
Walk alone! Walk Alone! Walk Alone!

If they are afraid and cower mutely
facing the wall,
O thou of evil luck,
open thy mind and
speak out alone!

If they turn away,
and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou of evil luck,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track
travel alone!

If they do not hold up the light
when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou of evil luck,
with the thunder flame of pain
ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone!

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Supreme Court

Actually, it was a scary thing.  Back in November of 2011, three Justices of the Supreme Court attended a fundraiser dinner sponsored by the Federalist Society, a self-styled association of conservative and libertarian lawyers, that is trying to overturn President Obama’s health care law (Affordable Care Act).  They were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas  and Justice Samuel Alito.  Makes one wonder how impartial the Supreme Court justices are.  Bob Edgar writes, “This kind of activity by members of our highest court undercuts any claim of impartiality in the health care litigation by the justices involved. Worse yet, it clearly violates the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, a set of ethical standards the Supreme Court helps enforce on lower federal courts but has refused to impose on itself. The Code warns judges to abstain from speaking or serving as the guest of honor at any fundraising event.” (Huffington Post, 11/14/11)

The Nine Justices of the Supreme Court

As to issues concerning legislation, Supreme Court Justices tend to vote along partisan lines, in favor of the President who appointed them.  After all, we’ve been through this before in the 2000 elections, when recounting in Bush vs. Gore was stopped by the Supreme Court by a partisan vote.  In the case of Obama Care, all eyes are on Justice Kennedy who will cast the “deciding vote”, which means the battle has ended before it began. Where is the blindfold that these Justices are supposed to wear? What steps must we take to preserve the system of checks and balances.  First of all,  I think Supreme Court justices should have a term of service.  They seem to sit like glaciers on our legal system for billions of years.  Next, they should not be political appointees but rather, elected by a legal board comprising representatives from all the states.  Knowing Congressmen and Senators and hobnobbing with them should be considered a disqualification–the judges should don a judicial “purdah”.


Hopefully, the Supreme Court justices will make a decision that promises vision and changes the way people think about health care. A consistent 5-4 split is not justice, it is a mockery of it.  Remember that Brown vs. Board of Education returned a unanimous verdict.  “Today Brown is a nearly universal icon of social progress, while Roe remains an object of great controversy. But, for better or for worse, both cases represented efforts to change the everyday reality of American life. With Brown, the justices were tearing down barriers to racial equality; with Roe, the justices were eliminating laws that prevented access to abortion.”(Cohn, The New Republic, 3/29/2012)
This bipartisan politics is only obstructing the growth of revolutionary ideas. America needs to change the way it conducts business.


Flush the Rush

Sandra Fluke testimony

Even conservative women must have wrinkled their nose in disgust at Rush Limbaugh’s harsh, inappropriate and perverse invective against 
Ms. Sandra Fluke on March 1, 2012. Sandra Fluke is a law student at Georgetown University. She spoke to an unofficial hearing called by the Democratic party about her college’s lack of health insurance coverage for contraceptive pills. Not only did Limbaugh reveal his ignorance of the uses of the birth control pill, he revealed his ignorance of health insurance system and to top it all, he let the entire country know that he has a sick yearning to see sex videos.  (Maybe Dharun Ravi could help here).  Although Limbaugh apologized for the words he used–he had called Ms. Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’–he maintains that contraceptives should not be covered under health insurance.  Maybe he prefers to pay welfare for women and children and their food stamps instead.  He is so busy condemning women for not taking responsibility for their actions and indulging in sexual promiscuity, he is so busy talking, that he is not putting on his “listening ears” as Judge Judy would say, and recognize that taking contraceptives is a way of assuming responsibility.  Besides, birth control is not the only use for the pill… 

Likes to be a voyeur

34  sponsors of his radio show decided the words he used mattered more than his views and withdrew support.

No one was more horrified than musician Peter Gabriel  whose song “Sledgehammer’ was playing during Limbaugh’s rant. Peter was appalled to learn that his music was linked to Rush Limbaugh’s extraordinary attack on Sandra Fluke. It is obvious from anyone that knows Peter’s work that he would never approve such a use. He has asked his representatives to make sure his music is withdrawn and especially from these unfair aggressive and ignorant comments.”


I wonder if he thinks when ‘slutty’ women prostitute themselves for sex, they share intimacy with parrots instead of men like him.  He has been married four times, he can’t think babies are brought by storks.  Men don’t need to be accountable?  I have an idea.  Maybe the women can save money (and the country too), conducting their lives Lorena Bobbitt style.


No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show,” Carbonite CEO David Friend said in a statement. “We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”


President Obama called Ms. Fluke personally and said Fluke’s parents should be proud of her.


Stinky Limbaugh-ger!!

Billboard House

Mendoza at the Hostetler home

A Buena Park (Calfornia) home has donned a neon green and orange painted exterior as an advertisement for the marketing firm Brainiacs from Mars. In return, the firm pays the mortgage for the house as long as the Hostetlers, the owners, are willing to sport the advertisement.  

Full front view

Romeo Mendoza, CEO of Brainiacs from Mars, has had to remove the 9 foot long company sign from the top of the garage along with the Facebook and YouTube signs immediately after the photo shoots because they violated city zoning regulations.  Mendoza thinks the colors alone will serve the purpose. He hopes to paint a 1000 more, if the idea gains popularity. Right now he is advertising his own company.  Brainiac From Mars  screened 40,000 applications to choose this particular house.
Brainiacs from Mars Facebook page is filled with pictures of houses posted by hopeful homeowners. Says Debra Carter, “I’m going to dream of yellow, green, and orange. Visualizing my home in these colors every day since I put in my application and keeping my fingers and toes crossed. I am open to any shade of any color any time!”

Companies will now speak to us in colors.   Remember, orange and green is for Brainiacs from Mars. Each company will represent a color and in time will test our memory. Who’d have ever thought that advertising would keep Alzheimer’s away…The idea may catch on.  I like how it helps people keep their homes but I certainly wouldn’t want to live on a street that looks like Munchkin land,

Munchkin Land

 

Las Vegas

or Las Vegas at night time all the twenty-four hours long.

    

“The World is too much with us”, complained the poet Wordsworth in the 19th century.  We can feel its intrusion now more than ever into our private lives. The situation may be unavoidable but what’s next?  Advertising in our textbooks? Or is that already here?

Go JC Penney!! Go to JC Penney

Ellen DeGeneres

I’ve always shopped at JC Penney: I like their merchandise and I like their prices.  Now, after they firmly supported Ellen DeGeneres as their spokeswoman, I am proud to be shopping there.  A conservative group called “One Million Moms” objected to Ellen DeGeneres because she is gay. They claimed that hiring her would promote “immoral” values.  If you look on their site, they are objecting to Macy’s “two groom” advertisement as well.  I hope they can find other places to shop. OMM  is confusing “traditional values” with bigotry and prejudice.  They would learn a lot more from the organization called Million Moms Challenge which raises awareness to promote healthy mothers and children all over the world.  Unfortunately, the worthy Million Moms Challenge organization got a lot of hate mail from confused Ellen fans.

On “CBS This Morning,” Thursday (Feb 2, 2012), JCPenney chief executive officer, Ron Johnson, said the company “shares the same values” as DeGeneres and that the decision to have her as a spokesperson was a “no-brainer.”

 And what does Ellen say about this? “They[OMM] wanted to get me fired, and I’m proud and happy to say that JCPenney stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson. Which is great news for me because I also need some new crew socks. I’m really going to clean up with this discount.”