Tuesday, August 31, 2010


free range (uncaged) large poultry operation
Minnesota is a 'fly-over' state, one which is active in producing the food supplies for the entire nation and beyond.  In this context, I contacted the office of one of our Minnesota senators, junior Senator Al Franken.  My response to that contact was extraordinarily prompt, and as has been my experience when contacting his office on other matters, his response was also substantive and to the point - not some 'blow-off' generic / one-size-fits-all reply.  I found the content of that response sufficiently interesting in view of the current egg-recall  and  related large number of illness, and the subsequent findings of sanitation-related problems with the mega-factory farming operation in our adjoining state of Iowa to be worth sharing here,

Monday, August 30, 2010

You Sir, are no Jack Kennedy

In the 1988 Presidential Election, Senator Lloyd Bentson of Texas debated then Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana. In one of the more famous lines, Bentson rebuked Quayle for likening himself to John F. (Jack) Kennedy. Quayle went on to be elected Vice President as George H. W. Bush's running mate. He also went on to ignominy as a result of being eviscerated weekly on a television show "Murphy Brown" by Candace Bergen, and also due to his many speaking faux pas' which seemed to belie a shallow, vapid man. Since then, the reply "and you Sir, are no Jack Kennedy" has been a political insider's retort to anyone who gets a little too full of him or herself.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doing Nothing, Simply Because We Can

There was a news story in the local paper a couple of days ago about "straw" gun buyers. In the story, police authorities note that perhaps 90% of gun crimes are committed with guns coming from straw buyers. The gun dealer in the article didn't appear to voice any objection to the laws requiring him to ensure that if he notes a gun will not be used by the buyer but instead by another party, that he not sell such a gun. He also noted that he hands any prospective buyer a federal registration form, something I believe came as an outgrowth of the Bradey law and used to document and confirm the identify of the buyer.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Face of Truth

This evening I met with a few of the people cheated by Trevor Cook. There is much more to say than simply these scant few words, and I hope to write more on the subject in the next few days, but I was left with a deep and abiding sorrow. Sorrow at the hurts they've received and sorrow that there is little I can do to help.

Each day in this world many people are born, many others die. There are tragedies in every town, regrets in every community, but one of the most profoundly moving things anyone can do is to take the time to become personally familiar with those who have suffered an injustice. The anguish is palpable in pain evident in the words and visible on the faces of those who've lost much, including unfortunately some of their faith in their fellow men. It was my distinct pleasure to meet and get to know these people and to put real faces, personal experience and real human emotion to what would otherwise have been yet another set of words on a page about a case of fraud resulting in human tragedies.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Sorry State

Recently three fundamentally important issues arose which speak to how dramatically the US electorate has fallen away from understanding their basic liberties. It is indeed a sorry state of affairs.

1. In Arizona, a law was passed which would allow police to request identification from anyone they come into contact with. The average American, by a margin of roughly 60-40, approves of such a law to combat illegal immigration.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pocket Protector?

There is a lot of truth in the aphorism, "Follow the Money".  It is an exercise which illuminates important aspects of relationships.  If the transfer of money is secretive, the nature of relationships is also obscured.

Cartoonist Ed Stein captured the truth of that in his usual insightful way; his work reminds us here at Penigma how true it is, as Confucius said, that a picture can be worth a thousand words.  Pocket Protector is important in tracking who is spending large amounts of money to influence political campaigns -- and to recognize who will owe political favors for receiving those large donations.

Thank you Ed, for creating Pocket Protector!  From Penigma, we wish you every success with your new comic strip "Fresh Squeezed", and encourage our readers to watch for it in their local papers.  Check out Ed Stein's blog from the link on our blog roll, to see more of his excellent work.

Ed Stein, "Pocket Protector", 8/3/2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The David Strom Series, Part I

This is an on-going story, one which DG and I (Pen) became aware of about a year ago.

DG and I have researched the conduct of the people involved in the Minnesota Affinity Scam/Ponzi Scheme organized by admitted criminal Trevor Cook. Our involvement/interest started with the civil case brought by a group of several dozen conservatives who listened to various radio programs throughout the country, promoting investment schemes using currency arbitrage.