How the “torture justifiers” managed to trivialize 9/11

Dear CIA officials, former officials and conservative pundits,

Last night , I listened to a few of you blasting the CIA torture report that was released earlier, and upon reflection I have a few questions for you:

How stupid do you think we are?

On CBS, NBC, and ABC you kept repeating two justifications: 1) revenge for 9/11. and 2) to prevent future attacks, using the “ticking-time-bomb” analogy. I’d like to examine them, one by one:

The “Revenge for 9/11″ Justification: or, murder justifies torture, torture is justified by murder Continue reading

A billion dollars in Great Britain is worth a trillion dollars in the United States

A billion dollars in Great Britain is worth a trillion dollars in the United States

A billion dollars in the US is worth a trillion dollars in the UK | Roger ScimeNo, this isn’t about international conversion rates, arbitrage, alternative universes, or even alien abductions (I’m only kidding about these last two.) It’s all about the way the different countries count their chickens and eggs.

You see, in the US, $1 billion is equal to 1,000 x $1,000,000, while in Great Britain, it was equal to 1,000,000 (one million) x $1 million. Get it? It’s sort of like the way the Brits like to add “u”s to words that Americans spell with just “o”s like color  (American) vs. colour (British.) Continue reading

SEO Infographic 2013-14

SEO Infographic |

I put this SEO Infographic together for the company I work for to illustrate some of the relationships between SEO channels. The chart and the following explanations assume at least a moderate level of SEO knowledge and/or experience. Beginning at the top left, they are:  Continue reading

How to pronounce Scime

How to pronounce Scime

How to pronounce Scime.

I have a last name that is exceptionally difficult to pronounce, and a quick search of the Internet has shown me me that I am not alone. So, for every Scimé out there—and, especially for you kids who dread the first day of class, knowing what’s in store when attendance is called—this is how to pronounce Scime.

Play the song:

Read the lyrics:

“It’s Scimé”
by Roger Scimé

My friends, I’ve got a problem uncommoner than most:
A grammatical phenomenon that’s followed me from coast to coast.
The problem’s my last name: It’s unusual, you see.
It’s pronounced “shim-may” but it’s spelled S-C-I-M-E.

So, I get skime, skeem, shimmy, sheem, skimmy and skimay
Skymee and some others too indelicate to say.
But it’s SCIME, I say SCIME, please don’t pronounce it any other way
Pronounced SCIME, but it’s spelled S-C-I-M-E
Get over it, that’s how it’s spelled.
If you don’t like it, you can go to h**l!
‘Cause that’s that’s the only way to say SCIME

I went through life, full burdened, in pronunciatory hell,
Ridiculed by teachers too damned indolent to spell.
If I’d been named a Smith or Jones, how smooth life would have been.
But now that I’ve grown older, I embrace it with a grin,

When they say skime, skeem, shimmy, sheem, skimmy and skimay
Skymee and some others too indelicate to say.
But it’s SCIME, I say SCIME, please don’t pronounce it any other way
Pronounced SCIME, but it’s spelled S-C-I-M-E
There ain’t no “H”, there’s no “AY”
If you don’t like it, eat s**t and die.
Cause that’s that’s the only way to say SCIME

So, I hope this little tune has somewhat mitigated the awkwardness that sometimes accompanies introductions.

If any Scime (with or without the accent) has story about how their last name has helped or hindered their social or professional lives and would like to share, that’s what the “comment” field is for.


Reanna Scimé – a blast from the past

From 1980 until around 2001, I owned a home in Blue Diamond. Nev. I loved it there because it reminded me of some of the small towns in Upstate New York. While I was there, I earned a living as a professional musician on the Las Vegas Strip, got married and got divorced.

I also raised a beautiful daughter, Reanna Louise.

Blue Diamond being as small as it was only had a 2-room school house for elementary students, but many of the scdhool’s activities were community oriented, such as the annual X-Mas pagent, held in the Community Center—literally a quonset hut!

These videos were taken during the 1988 pageant, if I remember correctly, and feature (who else?) Reanna.

Today would have been my mother’s 95 birthday, and I post them in her memory.

Outrageous! Alabama made African-Americans pass this literacy test before allowing them to vote!(1965)

Voter SuppressionDuring the 2012 general election, much was made of Republican efforts to surpress the votes of minorities and the poor: Early voting periods designed to make it as difficult as possible for the working poor to register; too few voting machines in heavily democratic (read “minority”) districts; cumbersome ID requirements (even now a student ID from Arizona State University isn’t considered proof of Arizona residency—but a Concealed Carry Weapons permit is!

Attempts to supress the votes of one’s opponents is nothing new: In the Jim Crow South, such tactics were commonplace until passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 chopped the legs out from under these odious practices. Of course, the types of voting machines we have today, and early voting itself were several years away, but ol’ Massa had other ways of making sure that—in this case—African Americans—got nowhere near a voting booth.

One was by way of a “poll tax.” Yep, you had to pay to vote. And one guess as to who had the necessary stamps: the white middle-class-and-up-klan-hoodie-neatly-pressed-and-hanging-in-the-hall-closet (“hanging in the hall closet”—get the irony?)

Another way was the so-called “literacy test” those administered only to those African Americans brazen enough to imagine that the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution applied to them!

And this test was amazing! Here are a few of the questions I picked up from an NPR story regarding the 1965 Alabama Literacy Test. It was composed of 68 questions, and on had a total of 45 minutes to complete it. See how well you do:

17. Appropriation of money for the armed services can be only for a period limited to              
     _____ years.
39. If it were proposed to join Alabama and Mississippi to form one state, what groups    
     would have to vote approval in order for this to be done?
41. The Constitution limits the size of the District of Columbia to ____________

. . . and so on. and, lest we forget: not only were public schools in the South the epitome of unequal education, but not too many generations previously, African Americans slaves were actually forbidden to learn.

Where am I going with this, you might ask. Well, considering the gutting of the Voting Rights Act last week by the non-activist Roberts/Scalia Court, I thought I’d throw out a copy of the 1965 Alabama Literacy Test, and see how my educated friends would do.

So, here’s a link to the entire 1965 Alabama Literacy Test. It might be a hoot to some evening drag the questions out out like a game of “Trivial Pursuit” and try them out on some of your Conservative friends.

Heads of State: How Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on Canadian Maple Leafs over the years

crownThe unchanging British Monarch?

Collectors—or even mere admirers of Canadian Maple Leafs—know that while the reverse of Canada’s official bullion coin may change motifs over different mintages, their obverses are unchangeable: One portrait or another of the currently reigning monarch—since 1953, Queen Elizabeth II—resides on each coin’s obverse.

Canada, of couse, is not alone in this. Coins from Australia, New Zealand, and even the tiny Isle of Man share similar “heads.”

But, how has the Royal Canadian Mint handled the inevitable aging of the Queen over the years?

The Maple Leaf Changes with the timesGeorgeVI_185

With its usual careful attention to detail, the RCM has portrayed on its Maple Leafs, Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy as she appeared during four periods of her reign. It may interest some to note that her immediate predecessor (both as monarch and on official coinage) was Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, the subject of the film “The KIng’s Speech.”

Period the 1st (1953-1964)ElizabethII1953_185

From 1953 through 1964, the regal profile of a 27-year old Elizabeth graced each Maple’s obverse, surrounded by the Latin for “Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, the Queen.”


Period the 2nd (1965-1989)

In 1965 the portrait of a 27-year-old monarch was replaced by a more mature 39-year-old, and the surrounding inscription shortened to, “Elizabeth II D G Regina.” This representation continues.

Period the 3rd (1990-2002)

The year 1990 saw the emergence of a 64-year-old, regal dowager, serene and secure in her Majesty and confident in her legacy. The Queen’s portrait, designed by Canadian Dora De Pédery-Hunt’s graced Canada’s currency through 2002.

Period the 4th (2003-Present)

In 2003, another Canadian artist—Susanna Blunt—saw her depiction of a 77-year-old Queen Elizabeth II appear on the obverse of each Canadian coin and paper-currency issue, continuing to this day.

Unlike the United States, which seems to reinvent itself every century or so, the British are proud of—some might say “tied” to—their traditions. And that may be why—although the face of the monarch might change over the decades—their “faces” will always be of Heads of State.

And, as Product Director for (America’s Low-Cost Precious Metals Dealer™, I am proud to represent the Monarch—no matter her age or visage.

5 foolproof responses Obama can use to win the second debate!

Roger Scimé.com

Roger Scimé: Political Commentator

If you’re anything like me, watching the presidential debates can be frustrating, annoying, and . . . well, insert your own adverb here.

Why didn’t he say this? How could he have missed saying that?

Well, I decided I couldn’t take any more of this so, I decided to list some rather obvious responses to some of the assertions that have been made thus far, and which I am certain will be so again.

First Assertion:  President Obama is a failed president. He has reduced neither the deficit nor the unemployment rate. He promised so much and has delivered so little.

  • Republican leaders stated publically that they would do everything in their to ensure that no piece of the President’s legislation would ever pass—not in the interests of the country, or because of ideology, but to deny him a second term. With the exception of the President’s healthcare and stimulus bills, the GOP’s strategy has worked almost flawlessly thus far.

Second Assertion:  Mitt Romney is a compassionate and caring person, not the robotic über-technocrat he is sometimes portrayed as.

  • Gov. Romney may have demonstrated that he cares for individuals in whom he is invested personally or emotionally, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into caring for a nation’s citizens. A president must show compassion for all Americans—not just a chosen few. His “forty-seven percent” comment strongly indicated that only fifty-three percent of Americans will be entitled to his attention.
  • I’ll never forget when, during the administration of the first George Bush, he and Barbara were asked something along the lines of what they would do if their daughter told them she wanted to have an abortion. There response was that they would comfort, counsel, commiserate with, and console her—not treat her as a criminal. Why is it that people will make moral exception for those they know and/or love personally—but are unwilling to make exceptions for those they don’t.

Third Assertion: Look at the unemployment numbers. Under President Obama, more Americans—women especially—are out of work than ever before, and it’s all his fault.

  • Republicans claim that under Obama, unemployment has increased in this country, notwithstanding the numbers of people going back to work.  According to news reports, a disproportionate number of the job losses during the past four years, were in the public sector: teachers, social workers, and other civil servants—and overwhelmingly women, by the way. These new unemployed were, in fact, “furloughed” by Republican-controlled state legislatures.

Fourth Assertion:  Under this administration, the deficit has ballooned.

  • Sometime during the end of the previous administration—I believe it was during Bush’s second term—it was publicly acknowledged that the cost of the Iraq war had not been included in previous budgets, but had been part of a separate, secret one. The deficit that Obama inherited included those trillions.

Fifth Assertion:  With the economy still sluggish the country needs somebody at the helm who is businessman, who knows how to create jobs, and who understands small business. That man is Mitt Romney.

  • People continue to make this mistake; it’s called a false premise: The United States is nothing but a business; therefore, a businessman is in the best position to lead it. The United States is not a corporation and cannot be run like one. The president cannot fire members of Congress who disagree with or impede him, and he cannot govern by fiat. He must represent all Americans­—not just his own “shareholders,” those who agree with or support him.
  • Being a successful businessman does not automatically qualify somebody to be President. After all, Ross Perot had been a successful businessman before running for office, and George W. Bush’s résumé was even deeper: he had a Harvard MBA!
  • From all the available evidence, Mitt Romney has never even come close to understanding small businesses: After graduating from from Harvard, he went straight to Bain. He never created a job, never had to meet a payroll. Even George W. Bush (God help us!) had more experience in running a business than Gov. Romney. And we all saw how well that one worked out <Insert sarcasm font>.

Agree with me? Disagree? That’s what the little comment box at the end is for.


What if billionaires had to pay $500 million in taxes?


In 2008, while I was out canvassing registered voters for the Obama campaign, I’d occasionally run into a conservative Republican who disagreed with the suggestion that asking billionaires to pay taxes at a 50% rate was not immoral. “Nobody should have to pay that much in taxes. It just wasn’t fair.”And, at first blush, 50% does seem excessive. Until you look at what the numbers really mean, that is.

So, I’d let these folks (usually lower middle-class, and sinking fast), hold tight to their indignation, allowing it to fester and grow, until their outrage over the utter plight of the poor possessor of a billion or more dollars (Bill Gates, you may remember, was once worth an estimated $40 billion) had reached the point where a little pustule-popping was in order.

That’s when I’d ask them, in all innocence, if they thought that a million dollars was a lot of money. Once they agreed that it was, I’d up the ante a bit: “What about $10 million? Do you think you could live comfortably on that amount?” I could almost see them adding up the prices of private jets, European chalets, barrels of rare single-malts. Then, before they’d had a chance to answer, I’d hit them, in succession, with $25 million? $50 million? Even $100 million?  Could even a person with very expensive tastes manage to live on a measly $100 million dollars? Continue reading