End of the Year – End of a Format

Mjollnir gets a new look with the Piano Black format.

As some of you have no doubt noticed by now, the look of Edited by Mjollnir has changed since last week. Gone from the header is the authentic, yet disturbing, little troll. In his place is the mythical hammer from which this blog borrows its name.cropped-norse-troll-004.jpg

The change came about as a result of WordPress dropping the MistyLook theme. I could have continued to use the ML format in legacy form, but the obsolete program would not have been supported by WordPress changes. WP offered a new theme, Misty Lake, that was similar in design, but not identical, so I decided to seize the opportunity to perform a complete overhaul. In addition to the cool, black background and revamped header, I also introduced new widgets to the sidebar, such as the calendar of posts and blog community short list. I hope you enjoy the new, improved Mjollnir.

I had originally planned on posting a short piece about the passing of 2012, but this year, there seems to be an excessively large number of retrospectives in cyberspace. I mean, one can only revisit the Presidential election and Mayan Apocalypse just so many times before Rip Van Winkle knocks on the door. Instead, I’ll just highlight one of the more interesting stats from my blog for the year 2012; the top ten countries ranked by number of visits to Edited by Mjollnir.

The top two, as might be expected, are the U.S. and Canada. Number three is Australia, no real surprise. After that, the list becomes a bit more eclectic. Indonesia comes in at four, followed by Brazil, Germany, Spain, India and the U.K. The tenth spot is actually shared by three nations, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Poland. It should be noted that China’s hits are actually subdivided into three locations: Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. If the PRC’s three flags were bundled and counted as one, they would slip into the nine spot.

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Christmas Blog Card 2012

Merry Christmas everyone.


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Thank you to everyone that stopped by this year. I hope the holidays bring whatever joy you seek and whatever repairs you require. Merry Christmas to all.

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VOTE

Today isn’t your first chance, but it is your last of 2012, to vote for President (as well as many other offices and issues).

Vote. People have died for this privilege. Vote. It’s as simple as that.

VOTE

The 4th of July – Another Excuse to Use My SP-810UZ

Happy Birthday America from the banks of the Spokane River.

Like many Americans, we spent the nation’s 236th birthday taking in some rays, some potato salad and a whole bunch of fireworks. Just try to blow out these candles.

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Chelsea Qualifies the Hard Way

Congratulation Blues – 2012 UEFA Champions League Champs

If you are a club in the English Premier League, there are only two ways to qualify for the prestigious Champions League competition, finish in the top four of the EPL or hold the cup. After finishing sixth, the Blues had only one avenue left, win it all. Tonight they succeed in doing just that. And as cup holders, they will be returning next year. 

Just a short month ago things looked fairly bleak at Stamford Bridge. Their coach had been sacked, they had lost any chance of a league title and were just barely still in contention for one of the qualifying positions. Their worst season in a decade was about to produce zero hardware and a bounty of doubts about the team’s direction. Yet, after an improbable romp through London, Barcelona and Bavaria, Chelsea are now holders of both the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup.

You are the premier European Club of 2012. Congratulations Blues!

Ohio issue 2 could be a preview for 2012

The battle to repeal senate bill 5 could be a harbinger of the coming presidential election.

Update: Since this post was published, senate bill five was overwhelmingly repealed.

When John Kasich, Republican governor of Ohio, signed S.B. 5 into law earlier this year, it was a decided victory for the Tea Party. But, similar to Wisconsin, the outcry against the law, which eliminates most collective bargaining rights (including strikes) for public employees, met a loud and active response. But unlike Wisconsin, where the focus was on recalling those who voted for the offending bill, Ohioans took a different approach. They started a petition that resulted in getting issue 2 , the repeal of the union-attacking S.B. 5, on next Tuesday’s ballot.

Governor Kasich could see a referendum bid ending badly for his administration. As soon as it became clear the issue would make the ballot, he called for negotiations. But smelling political blood, the opposition rebuked him. The latest Quinnipiac polls show they were correct in doing so. The law is being crushed 57% to 32%.

The ramifications for next year’s general election are manifold. Big money has arrived, unions on one side and groups like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks on the other. Ohio is traditionally huge in deciding Presidential elections, and if these poll numbers hold, it appears the Republicans have work to do before next November. Issue 2 is also the first place where the Occupy Wall Street movement could have a political effect. Although reluctant to back any one candidate or piece of legislation, OWS (through Occupy Columbus) is backing repeal of the law. It is interesting that the group allows speakers at their events to have the podium, no matter whether they are for or against it.

Unions represent infrastructure for the political left. If they take a hit in Ohio, you can expect Republican governors across the country to follow suit. But if the polls are to be believed, such overreach could backfire and feed the flames of the OWS movement.  Learn more here.

Raise Your Hand And Repeat After Me …

Live, in the Iowa debate, all the Republican presidential hopefuls took the “no tax increases” oath.

[Update: The day after the Iowa straw poll, Tim Pawlenty dropped out. Rick Perry jumped in, and yes, in the September 7th debate he joined his ultra-conservative counterparts by raising his hand and taking the oath. Ross Perot has yet to be sighted.]

The moderator repeated the question, upping the stakes, asking if they would take a ten-to-one deal. Not one of them would. For clarity, he even asked them to raise their hands if they would refuse such a deal. They all raised their hands like good little Grover Norquist marionettes.

To me, this was the most revealing part of the debate. It means even if a bill offering 5 trillion dollars in cuts linked to only 500 billion (about half of what would be raised by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire) in new revenues came to their desk, they wouldn’t sign it. Such rigid ideology is not what this country needs and it’s not what the public is looking for. A majority of Americans favor higher taxes on the upper crust as part of a balanced approach to deficit reduction. None of the candidates on stage wanted to acknowledge that, not even Romney, who used just such a balanced approach to help balance the budget in Massachusetts.

Last week’s Standard and Poors announcement specifically listed the Republicans’ unwillingness to budge on revenues as a major reason for the downgrade. It appears none of the candidates even read the report. Or they don’t understand it. They continue to push the policies, lower taxes for the richest Americans and de-regulation, which led us here in the first place. They seem more interested in keeping their pledges to the kingmakers on “K” Street than fixing the problems on main street.

Hopefully, when Rick Perry enters the fray this weekend, he’ll bring Ross Perot and some pie charts along with him.