The Watering Hole, Thursday, December 15th: Newt Gingrich + Citizens United = $$$$

While researching bizarre quotes/items about Newt Gingrich for the last few days, I ran across a reference to “Newt Gingrich to Star in Citizens United Movie about ‘American Exceptionalism’…”, which caused me to do a double-take. Newt Gingrich and that ‘Citizens United”?

Am I the last person in the world to know that Newt and Callista Gingrich have been ‘starring‘ in some of Citizens United productions, which claim to be “documentaries”, such as “We Have the Power“, and were working on a new “documentary” earlier this year? The “Cast” list for “We Have the Power” certainly has some familiar conservative names on it, and the “Credits” list shows the Executive Producers as: Newt Gingrich, Callista Gingrich, Lawrence Kadish and David N. Bossie. Lawrence Kadish provided (see this Alternet article from 2002**) some of the financial backing for Frank Gaffney’s CSP. David N. Bossie is the President and Chairman of the Board of Citizens United.
(**Check out the names/agencies interconnected in the article–keep in mind that this is from 2002.)

I did not know any of this – where have I been?

Small wonder, though, as Newt has been quoted in the past, when discussing campaign finance reform, as stating “The problem isn’t too little money in political campaigns, but not enough.” Then there’s this one: “The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.” The combined implication of ‘a congressman is above such temptations’ and ‘anyone who thinks otherwise is a socialist’ is so very Newt-y. Gingrich has always been about selling ideas, and, unfortunately, there have always been buyers.

Right now, some lawmakers are working to overturn the SCOTUS “Citizens United” decision; for instance, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-VT, is proposing a constitutional amendment. However, we need faster action if the flood of money sweeping away our democracy is to be dammed.

This is our open thread — so talk about this or anything else that comes to mind.

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200 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Thursday, December 15th: Newt Gingrich + Citizens United = $$$$

  1. I’ve often wondered why Newt stayed low profile for so long after being Speaker of the House.
    I think he was hoping that the trainwreck of baggage that follows him would be cleaned up or maybe people would forget his past.
    The guy has some wild ideas about where he wants to crash and burn and how the country is to be set aflame with his trainwreck.

    • Newt may have been as surprised as I was that the state of the republican party would decline to the point where he could ever be seen as a viable candidate.
      My husband does not follow politics as closely as I do. We watched the debate last week and he must have asked me five times “This is real?”.

  2. I don’t want to go through worrying about this government shutdown nonsense again. I guess I should be thankful I’m not worrying about unemployment insurance being cut off but still, this is getting tiresome. We are supporting three households and can’t miss a paycheck.

  3. You’d think this would be bigger news, Particularly since the GOP said this would be one of the many reasons that would be the end of our nation as we know it:

    The Iraq War is officially over.

    That’s 800-billion we’ll never get back. And of course the loss in human terms goes beyond any dollar amount.

    • I want my pallets of cash back.
      Callous of me, I know.
      That nation is still largely without stable electricity, border defense and stable government.
      Those things they’ll have to figure out on their own.
      How long till a Shiite strongman takes over?
      I’ll give it less than a year.

      Thanks, Dick and George, a pair of asshats to draw to.

      P.S. ~ Haven’t heard a peep about ‘peace dividend’???

    • Bush budgeted $20 million for an “end of the war” party. Wonder what happened to that money.

      We send our kids off to war, young, heathy and vibrant. They come back disillusioned, shattered. Their fallen comrades creamated and tossed into landfill, treated like so much discarded refuse. A “hero’s” welcome.

      Thank you very much for your service. You’re not needed now. We’ve chosen not to pay for the therapy you need to deal with the horrors still playing in your head. Go out and find a job.

      The country you left 10 years ago is not the country you’re returning to. It’s broke. Bush told us to fight the war on terror by going shopping. The banks pitched in, selling us on the notion that we could live like kings by borrowing against our homes, and we did. Now the banks own our homes. You’re coming home just in time to pay the piper.

      But there’s no work to do. Unless you want to fill in for the Mexicans who used to pick our crops. We’ve driven them off, and, so far, no one wants to do what they did for what we were paying them.

      And the freedoms you were fighting for? Well, Congress is about to pass a bill that will let the President arrest US citizens and put them in jail indefinitely, on the accusation they are a terrorist. So you better not speak out against the Government. If you do….well, just watch some youtube videos on the Occupy Wall Street movement. The one about your fellow comrade, a vet from Iraq and Afghanistan, who got his skull cracked from a tear-gas canister, should enlighten you about how our government is responding to non-violent protestors.

      The war in Iraq is over. The war in the United States is just beginning. Welcome home.

      • An excellent and very truthful comment Briseadh!

        Yes the war is just beginning here in American. Wasn’t it Lindsey Graham, Carl Levin or John McCain who recently stated that America is a battlefield?

        A battlefield? Who are these enemy combatants that are so feared in our country? Is it Muslim terrorists or sympathizers or is it the protesters from OWS or Wisconsin? Are those who stand up to our corporate overlords the new enemy, the new threat to the United States of America?

        Why the sudden urgency to pass NDAA? I thought the threat of terrorism has died down with the death of Bin Laden and others? No, it is obvious that we the people, the 99% are the threat to our corporate and financial overlords. So in order for them to control us and crush any dissent or truth, they have their bought and paid for puppets in DC push a bill disguised as the guise of security, to protect of from terrorism, when in reality the bills intended purpose will be to protect Wall Street, the banks, our elected corporate whores and the 1%. NDAA just isn’t a coincidence. Hopefully our President will veto it….or will his veto be a part of the trade off to get the payroll tax holiday bill passed???????

    • It was a lot more than $800B – more like $1 or $2 TR.

      I noted that none of the invited Iraqis showed up to the flag lowering today….

  4. And in other shameful breaking news, the Democrats have backed off their demand for the 1% income tax surcharge…From the AP wire…

    Democrats Abandoning Millionaire Surtax Proposal

    And, of course the Orange Boner isn’t going to compromise anyway…

    Republicans minimized the importance of the Democratic retreat on taxing high-income people.

    “I don’t think it’s much of a concession,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “It never had any chance of passing the Senate, let alone the House.”

    • Wow, that’s a shocker! Didn’t see it coming. We are being played by both parties. It’s almost like they follow a script. One party does just enough to keep the average person happy, the other party shows who they are beholden to, in the end they are both beholden to the same master. Of course that surcharge would have affected many of those in congress also….so again, I’m not surprised, after all we are talking about the spineless democratic party here.

  5. As for Iraq…We have destroyed that country and have allowed multinational corporations to swoop in and take over their economy. The only things being built are infrastructure for corporations to amass more profits and screw the Iraqi people, they have democracy now.

  6. QOTD:

    “Mr. McCain was captured in Vietnam and they kept him not just in prison, but in a pit for several years. Anyone (in his place) would go nuts.” — Vladimir Putin

  7. Three articles from C&L last evening, three iceberg tips:

    GOP Pushes Dems To Accept Medicare Cuts For Current Retirees

    The Bipartisan Political Alliance That Will Turn The Fight Over Medicare On Its Head

    Dems Consider Dropping Demands As Republicans Risk A Shutdown

    It appears to me what’s happening here is that the Dems are showing themselves to be, once again, willing to cave on fundamental political issues … to give in to Republican intransigence and their unwillingness to act in service of anyone other than the rich and powerful. It’s the gut of an all too familiar historical scene — a nation in which all that counts to a particular political faction is acquisition and maintenance of absolute power, where NOTHING, including above all honesty and honorable intent, is allowed to get in the way of the obtaining the true goal. It’s a situation where the party that still maintains at least vestiges of honest and honorable intent willingly lays down in front of the oncoming train as it sacrifices its own people-oriented ideology in favor of the evil and darkness that drives the other side … all in the name of ‘compromise’ and ‘bipartisan intent’.

    Concession to tyranny by the well-intended is not, historically speaking, an aberration; concession is, instead, the typical surviving remnant of honorable intent offered in the hope that if we concede on this small issue, then the opposition will be happy and will rejoin “our” effort to serve all the people rather than just a tiny faction thereof, that all will soon be well once again, that the mistake we know we’re about to make will be correctable once common sense reenters the governance equation.

    Correction is seldom possible, however, because concession today simply fuels the demand for even more concession tomorrow. And so it goes. Meanwhile, the voice of the dark side remains steady as it appeals to the sympathy of the masses, of the people who are informed more by emotion and by fantasy that by hard reality. Arguments issue forth from would-be leaders, arguments which appeal to emotion and NOT to reason. Some good examples, some interesting and timely political quotes, read as follows:

    “An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.”

    “All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent of those towards whom it intends to direct itself.”

    “The mercy of the Lord slowly returns to us again. And in this hour we sink to our knees and beseech our almighty God that he may bless us, that He may give us the strength to carry on the struggle for the freedom, the future, the honor, and the peace of our people. So help us God.”

    “If we pursue this way, if we are decent, industrious, and honest, if we so loyally and truly fulfill our duty, then it is my conviction that in the future as in the past the Lord God will always help us.”

    “Never in these long years have we offered any other prayer but this: Lord, grant to our people peace at home, and grant and preserve to them peace from the foreign foe!”

    “The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”

    “An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.”

    “It makes no difference whatever whether they laugh at us or revile us, whether they represent us as clowns or criminals; the main thing is that they mention us, that they concern themselves with us again and again, and that we gradually in the eyes of the workers themselves appear to be the only power that anyone reckons with at the moment. …”

    One speaker? Multiple speakers? Selected Republican debate quotes? Add two more, same source:

    “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.”

    “What luck for rulers, that men do not think.”

    Yep, one speaker: Adolf Hitler. Not Newt, not Mitt, not Rick or Rick, not Michele, not Ron or Herman. Nope. Adolf. Tools of fascist power accession laid out for all but the blind to see, including fear, appeal to religious faith, to bogus “morality”, all with greed as the driving undercurrent. Today’s America defined.

    As someone recently noted, “You can’t spell the words ‘Greedy One Percent’ without the letters G-O-P.” More’s the pity that so many are too blinded by political bullshit to perceive and ‘see’ that destructive undercurrent reality, much less do anything about it other than to lie down on the tracks and hope for the best.

  8. Can we stop pretending that Huntsman is one of the reasonable ones now? We’re ending one war and another and must fill that void. Without permanent warfare, the GOP feels lost.

    And Gingrich favors a land invasion of Iran. He painted a chain of events in which an Israeli prime minister asked an American president for help with a conventional military invasion of Iran so that Israel would not have to use its nuclear arsenal to defend itself. Gingrich implied that he would go along. “What I won’t do is allow Israel to be threatened with another Holocaust,” he said. “This is a not-very-far-down-the-road decision.”

    • Don’t you have to actually be attacked before you can claim you’re defending yourself, or at least have credible evidence that an attack is imminent?

    • If Gingrich was a real historian or had even cracked a book he didn’t “write”, he might get a glimpse of why that is such a stupid goddamn idea. Based on the size and topography alone it’s moronic, never mind the political and social ramifications of an invasion.

      Maybe someone should also let him know that the majority population and political center of Iraq is Shiite. Arab, yes, and not Persian, but they’re very unlikely to sit still for that.

    • Screw’em. Let Israel use a nuke on Tehran. The sad fact is there are going to be a shitpot full of people who are going to end up dead before the world recognizes that we either rein in religious/oligarchic tyranny or the world will go up in flames. The US/Israel combine is no less dangerous than the rise of the Axis Powers in the late 30’s. The goals are the same only this time it is the other Semites who are going to suffer the most before the world wakes up.

  9. I saw a note on FB just this morning that linked to a science article. Researchers have shown that people with a lot of body hair are more sensitive to the presence of crawling parasites and vermin.

    I guess this means Neuter’s followers are all hairless …

  10. The United States taxpayer is being ripped off by the military and they are wasting taxpayer money (no shit?)

    • My old man worked for a military airframe corp. and the adage there was:

      Any airplane developed for everybody won’t do anything for anybody.

      • Like all generalities, there are exceptions. the Bristol F2-b and Halberstadt Cl-2 of WW1 were about the best multi-role aircraft of their day. The P-40 (which was a decent fighter once tactics caught up with technology), P-38, P-47, P-51, DeHaviland Mosquito, Spitfire, Hurricane, Fw-190 and Ju-88 all filled many roles in WW2. The F-86 in Korea was, on paper, outclassed by the Mig-15 but better training, tactics, guns, and gun sights gave them a 15-1 kill ratio. And then the F-4 Phantom in Vietnam and various Israeli conflicts. Heck! The F-16 and F-15 of today were designed as pure air to air fighters and have taken on multiple roles as they matured. The F/A-18, of course, was designed as a multi-role platform.

        The old saying comes closest to the whole truth if one were to say that attack aircraft, like the F-35, are at a disadvantage in air to air combat but even that line is blurred by tactics, training, and avionics.

        Two additional examples from WW2 are the Brewster Buffalo and the Bell P-39. Both were relatively heavy, low altitude, designs that faced disaster when we used them as high altitude interceptors against the lightweight Japanese planes. However, we sold a bunch of Buffaloes to Finland and they racked up a 19-1 kill ratio against the Soviets. Somewhat later we passed a whole bunch of P-39s to the Soviets (Ain’t high level diplomacy during wartime a goofy thing?) and, by virtue of staying at low altitude, they were able to take on the “superior” German fighters with great success. In fact, the much maligned P-39 scored more kills than any American built plane once the Russians learned how to use its strengths.

    • That’s just a bit misleading. I was on track to become a naval aviator before my vision went to Hell following a head injury and I’ve ravenously consumed every bit of data on military aircraft past, present, and future. While I switched to chemical engineering, my first two years of college I majored in aeronautics. I have much more knowledge about aircraft than the average lay person.

      The F-35 (JSF) is, admittedly, currently overweight and underpowered but it’s not yet in full production so it’s an unknown quantity. But that’s not the problem with this report. The flaw in the reasoning is that the Sukhoi is not stealthy and is optimized for VR (visual range) maneuvering combat against fighter sized targets. It’s only role is air to air combat. The JSF (joint strike fighter) is, as the name implies, more of a bomber than a fighter. It’s, secondary, air to air role is optimized for BVR (beyond visual range) air combat. Due to it’s stealth it is designed to hit targets without ever being picked up by the sensors or eyeballs of the enemy. For instance, assuming it reaches its design goals, all it would have to do to thwart the Sukhoi is attack at night. Even during the day it is designed to be able to launch missiles way before the Sukois, or ground radar for that matter, even detects them.

      Another advantage of the Russian planes is that they already have a workable “visual cuing system” for VR combat while we don’t. Simply stated, the Russian planes can launch a missile at any aircraft they can see so they have a huge advantage in VR combat. Again, the F-35 is not optimized for this kind of combat but is designed to avoid it.

      As for the problems with the F-35; remember that “extra engine” that everyone was shouting about a few months back? Well, it’s lighter and more powerful than the current engine and would, assuming it works as planned, cure many of the faults with the F-35. The Pentagon and Congress are hoping that development of the current engine will catch up but this is a case where more money spent now might well save money, and lives, later. There are other issues but, as stated, the F-35 is still very much in its infancy and there will be several generations of problems and fixes yet to come.

      The thing that concerns me is that we have put all our eggs in one basket and, because we wore out our current air fleet chasing alleged terrorists half a world away, the F-35 is the only platform that can fill the gap created when we have to ground our old planes. Any engineer breaks into a cold sweat when forced to rely on a single unknown quantity.

      (NOTE: One also has to consider that the simulators used in the war game are based on the few non classified parameters the military is willing to share. There are only a few people who really know the current, much less predicted, performance parameters of the F-35.)

      • Okay, here’s one for you.
        Can you please get any and every detail pertaining to a TG-8 glider?

        • Funny you should mention that. Back when I lived in San Diego, most of my R/C flying was gliders (tortured syntax but I’ll stick with it). Torrey Pines is, arguably, one of the best slope soaring sites in the country. On the days that had especially strong, steady, winds and the best lift conditions: we would turn our powered planes into gliders by simply removing the props and landing gears. since I had a lovely J-3 Cub at the time; I turned it into a pseudo “TG-8″. It actually turned out to be better than some of the sailplanes I built and, because it had ailerons, was more aerobatic than most. It even performed well in light lift conditions and I would fly it a few times during most outings. The Cub is the single plane that I’ve experienced where the models and the full scale versions had virtually identical performance.

          The TG-8 was, of course, a training glider derived from the Piper J-3 Cub. The Cub was, arguably, the first hugely successful private aircraft. Born of the Great Depression it was cheap, strong, light, and very easy to fly. It was also a fair sailplane when the engine quit. So? During WW2 a number of Cubs were converted to gliders in order to train pilots on a plane that was proven to be mostly free of vices without tying up combat gliders in the training circuit. It did, however, suffer from adverse yaw effects because it didn’t have differential ailerons and required judicious use of rudder for a smooth turn but it could be flown around with a simple “bank and yank” technique without danger.

          I would have to look up the particulars since my recent preferences have moved away from the Cub but, as I recall, it had a wingspan of around 35 feet, weighed just over a 1,000 pounds, used various engines from 40-75 horsepower, would redline under 120 mph, and stalled at around 40 mph depending on whether either of the occupants was fat. It was of mixed wood and steel tube construction and covered in fabric. Without checking; i would guess that the best glide speed for a TG-8 would be around 55mph and I think that they may have added flaps to steepen the glide slope but i won’t swear to that. The engine was replaced with ballast and it was operated with both wheels and skids for landing.

          Dad took his pilot training in Cubs and my first airplane ride was also in a Cub. All told, I probably have about 20 hours steering a Cub around myself though my first solo was in an Aeronca Champ. It was a little faster and heavier and had a sharper stall but it was still easier than driving some cars and trucks I’ve driven. Still, the most thrilling ride I’ve ever had in a light aircraft was in a. flap-equipped, Super Cub that the owner had modified with a 200hp engine salvaged from a crashed Cessna. With a 10mph headwind it took off in about 50 feet and would land in under 100 feet. With a 20 mph wind it would take off in it’s own length, hover, and land in about 50 feet.

          Enough?

  11. If anyone should take an interest in a comedy show:

    Tonight’s clown-fest from Sioux City, IA is a Faux event.

  12. From a friend of mine who lives near Manchester, a bit of Brit goofyness:

    Why we like the British

    True Reports from British life ………!!!

    BRITISH NEWSPAPERS

    Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, ‘We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It’s possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house.’

    (The Daily Telegraph)

    Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami in her underwear. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing her Italian boyfriend.

    (The Manchester Evening News)

    Belfast police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because they cannot issue a description. It’s a Special Branch vehicle and they don’t want the public to know what it looks like.

    (The Guardian)

    A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast guard spokesman commented, ‘This sort of thing is all too common’.

    (The Times)

    At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coast guard and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn’t have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff.

    ( Aberdeen Evening Express)

    Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue , Boscombe, delighted the audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled –

    ‘He’d always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out ‘Heil Hitler.”

    ( Bournemouth Evening Echo)

  13. What the hell happened to Ron Wyden — he has collaborated with Paul Ryan to chip away at Medicare.

    • Heritage Foundation: “some people described as poor live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs”.
      Don’t worry, those fellow americans are fine. Why some of them have big TVs!

      • These dolts don’t understand, or don’t want to know, that the people with nice homes, cars, and teevees, used to be in the middle class, and have fallen out of it. That’s nothing to be proud of.

        5th did a post a while back about some idiot complaining that the “alleged poor” couldn’t really be all that bad off, because they have appliances. Well, every rental I’ve ever had had a refrigerator, range, heat, and sometimes even AC. Sure, the poor live with those things, but they don’t friggin’ OWN them.

        • They’re also not likely to be able to afford medical care even if they sell every darned thing they own.

        • I think that most localities require basic necessities in a rental unit. I’m sure that the Goopers would love to end that. All in the name of “freedom”, of course.

          • Sort of off topic but, I’ve made sure that every place I live in is H. A. compliant.
            Having spent a very brief stint in a wheelchair gave me a new perspective on something as basic as going to the bathroom.

            • I got a lesson on that when my Mom was in a wheelchair at the end of her life.

              There’s a huge difference between compliance with the law, and actual accommodation.

  14. Earlier today my neighbor and I made another mouse delivery 100 miles west of here. We passed an accident where an ambulance was present. Several minutes later the ambulance came up behind us and Pete pulled over and stopped. When the ambulance passed us it was straddling the center line but then got back in the land. As we started off we observed a cooler fall of the rear bumper. Pete stopped and I retrieved the cooler. When we looked inside we found a human toe!

  15. From TPM:

    4:10 PM ∞ t witter
    Perry: I’m The Biggest Outsider
    On Fox News, Perry is asked how he can describe himself as an outsider given that he’s the governor of one of the largest states in country. Perry relies:

    “I’m an outsider from DC, you kidding? There’s not anyone on that stage who’s more of an outsider than I am.

    technically he is the one, physically, living furthest away from DC.

      • I’m starting to miss KochCain. When he was still in the race it was easy to pick the one who was the most clueless about how government works but now that particular playing field has been leveled.

    • Batscat Bachmann has probably spent less time in D.C over the last year than any of the other clowns. Someone joked that the last time she was in town for a vote, back in October i think, her staff demanded to see her ID.

      • Her handlers must be keeping her under wraps before tonight’s entertainment – she’s been very quiet the last few days.

        • Can you imagine being one of her handlers? Arguing with the voices in her head and the imaginary people who walk up her and tell her weird stuff must be frustrating as Hell. Personally? i would end up punching her. Since I am rather proud of my record of not punching anyone since I was 14 I’m glad that there’s very little chance that I’ll ever have to share an elevator with her.

      • Snrff. Too bad none of her opponents asked her to list the number of successful bills she’d sponsored. Or even the unsuccessful bills, especially since nothing of hers has gone anywhere.

    • He couldn’t say this until Herman left. I mean, there’s a man that’s never held any public office, ever. But Romney has never served in DC either, and he’s spent less time in the governor’s mansion than Perry.

  16. In line with today’s news that half of Americans are poor, at or below the poverty level, this is an interesting phenomenon, Slab City.
    One of the residents mentioned in the article lives there because he and his family could not afford to live in an RV park…
    I’m living at an RV park, my first experience with such. The rent is about half of what I would have to pay for an apartment. I can live simply, albeit not always comfortable. Numerous other residents here are also either unemployed or poor.
    Having some interesting encounters with the neighbors as well. There is quite a variety…

    • I’ve never done a “proper” RV park but I’ve spent a few summers bouncing between campsites. Alas, I’ve always ended up finding a job and having to find a place with shower facilities so I figure that, if I’m paying rent anyway, I might as well move indoors. Still, I always sleep best when a few feet from a babbling brook. And if there’s a better breakfast than a brook trout that’s still twitching when it hits the pan? I’ve yet to find it.

      • This one’s not too bad, it has showers. Not as nice as the first one I tried to get into, my not having a full fledged RV. I had to find a place a little less restrictive. I’m a few feet away from a couple of loggers who slam their trailer door about 20 times in the process of heading off for work in the morning, but other than that it’s pretty quiet. ;)

        • I’m good at tuning out most noise but clomping feet and slamming doors, or drawers, wind me up like a piano string.

          My favorite campsite ever is a little piece of land, about ten feet from a blue-ribbon trout stream, with a fire pit, an outhouse, and a hand pump. It was ceded to the state by its late owner and there’s no charge to stay there. One merely needs to stop by the local ranger station and get a little sticker for the car window to establish pecking rights. it’s been a few years but there was even a raccoon who would bring her kits in while I would cook supper. They were very well-behaved and, aside from sitting up on their haunches and begging in a very adorable way, didn’t make a nuisance of themselves. They also cleaned out my pans to the point where all I needed to do was rinse out the raccoon spit. I got to watch five consecutive broods grow up. She’s probably passed on by now but I hope one of her daughters, and cooperative campers, have continued the tradition.

            • Exactly. I lived below a large woman who, as it turned out, had no consideration of others. I didn’t mind her clomping around and i could put up with her, perpetually jumping, grand kids. What got to me was her slamming every drawer in the apartment about 500 times every Sunday morning while getting ready for church. I put up with it a couple months and then came up with a cunning plan.

              I invited her to a BBQ and, after a couple glasses of wine, I meekly presented her with a package of felt/rubber bumpers for her drawers. I explained that, since I was usually up till at least three in the morning with the band, the slamming drawers really got to me. She walked out in a huff and never spoke to me again so i moved two weeks later. I don’t usually walk away from a fight over something so silly but i probably would have ended up strangling her so i cut my losses.

            • What a bitch!!

              When we were first married, my ex and I lived in Navy housing. The units were four to a building, two on top and two on the bottom. We lived upstairs. My ex walked liked he weighed 4 tons, and it was worse with his work shoes on. My neighbor upstairs came over and asked, quite reasonably, if he could go down the stairs on our end of the building and then across to the parking lot. I said that would be fine.

              When I mentioned it to him that evening, you would have thought I’d just asked him to cut off his left testicle. It ended up in a fight, with me telling him being considerate of our neighbors was reasonable, and him declaring that having to walk an extra few feet each morning was being inconsiderate of him. He ended up doing as the neighbor had requested, but he never spoke to them or looked in their direction again.

              That was a red flag I should have seen!

    • You have fish in the tub? On those rare occasions that Ralph needs washing, I take him to the DIY dogwash. He doesn’t like it there either but there are restraints and it’s at a much better height for me.

            • A-Jay goes in the tub all the time as long as there’s no water in it. Leaves paw prints in the white tub. Giving either of them a bath is worth two hours on a treadmill. I end up wetter then them at home or at the Doggie Wash.

          • My dogs go swimming! And sometimes they get a hose bath in the backyard. We used to bath them in the tub but it’s just not worth the aggravation to the dogs or clean up afterwards. Took them to a DIY dogwash once and that place was an accident waiting to happen. I’m sure there are better ones.

            • That’s what I mean, dyker. Trying to put my dog in a tub requires an NFL lineman. Put him on his lead and turn the hose loose and he is a happy boy.

  17. I had one of those dog encounters last week that made my day:
    As I was landing the kayak, back at the boat launch; I noticed a couple with their dog nearby.
    Keeping an eye on the dog, I disembarked and was hauling the boat up when the dog saw me, and charged, barking madly. It received a kung fu flurry of double ended kayak paddle in it’s face, yelped and spun back to it’s owners. The guy said, in a defensive tone “It’s really a nice dog, you know…”
    I cheerfully responded “Oh, I know, they’re all nice dogs!” He replied, “Well?”
    I said, grinning “Well, I’m sure it’s never ever attacked anyone else before, and never ever bitten anyone, but it’s an aggressive animal, you’re at a public park, and it’s not on a leash like the sign behind you says it needs to be.”
    His wife from inside the car said, “C’mon honey let’s go.” They quickly left.
    The mutt was lucky I had my nice wooden paddle instead of the carbon fiber one, or it would be missing some whiskers and have a few loose teeth.

    • I love trained dogs and hate the untrained ones. And I have little patience with untrained dog owners as well. Alas, few dogs are well trained and most of their owners don’t realize that they MUST assume the role of the Alpha if they don’t want a worthless varmint unleashed on the unsuspecting world.

      • This one was running wildly back and forth, going in the water after any nearby duck it saw, and clearly out of control, which is why I kept an eye on it.

    • I’m surprised the guy didn’t threaten to punch your face. A dog that aggressive gets that way for a reason and the reason is invariably the jerk who owns it.

      Dogs can bite because they’re frightened, or because they’re protective of a human that is frightened, but charging like that has no excuse.

      I was, well, I was drunk in an English pub. As we were leaving I stopped to meet a couple and their little yap dog. I leaned over the dog to be palsy-walsy (dogs love me) and, being drunk, failed to notice that the dog was becoming unglued and that I was looming over him. He jumped up and bit me on the forehead. I don’t blame the dog or the people, just the dumb drunk Yank.

      • I pulled the camera out of the front of my coat as I was speaking, perhaps that’s part of why the guy didn’t press the issue. :)
        And it’s happened before, there’s something about a tall person in a black wetsuit with a funny looking stick in his hand that can easily set an untrained canine off.

        • Mook has problems with uniforms. UPS, FEDEX, Mail Carrier, doesn’t matter. When he was younger the Mail people filed a complaint and Animal Control sent a very nice young lady over. Mook was not happy. He was in eat the uniform mode. I asked her if, as a favor, she could stop back after hours in civvies. She thought it weird but did.

          Mook became her bestest buddy. We came to the conclusion that he felt he had to protect the house from uniformed people. I am still not sure what that triggers in him but I know I also have a tendency to become more defensive in similar situations.

          • I’ve met a few mail carriers that use mace on dogs like a cop after an OWS protester. The nicer ones just seem to kick any dog that comes within range.

    • I can barely keep my dogs, especially Riley the Golden Retriever from jumping up on people to say hello with a leash on. Who lets uncontrollable dogs run without a leash. If he’d run at you he’d run at a car. Stupid people.

    • My wife and I were so paranoid of this happening with our dogs. You just never know what goes on inside the head of a dog. Even nice dogs like ours. The key is to have your dog(s) visit offleash parks when they are young. Our oldest did actually bite a human once – it was entirely the humans fault and he knew it. He was a dog trainer – no shit! – and an ex-cop. Cleo never liked him the first time they met. The second time the guy cornered her and she proceeded to fight. She has never come close to that again – but you sure as hell know it’s possible.

    • Reichwhiners love “zero tolerance” policies but they don’t see the need when it comes to owning/carrying guns. And that can only be effectively enforced when we go after the dealers. There’s an extremely disturbing story out of New York that most Reichwhiners will never hear. Any sane person reading this story would conclude that, at the very least, all gun sales should be processed face to face by a federally licensed dealer who faces extreme penalties for selling deadly weapons to disqualified buyers.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-14/new-york-city-probe-of-internet-gun-sales-finds-62-will-break-the-law.html

    • If anyone knew who he was perhaps carrying the weapon due to “threats” would be plausible. (doubtful)

      Meckler allegedly told authorities he carries the pistol “because he gets threats.”

      Meckler is being charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

      • Indeed. I think that anyone who sees a need to carry a gun in public is probably unable to appreciate the responsibility of carrying a deadly weapon around. I think the clinical term is “paranoid”. Lister, from Red Dwarf, would call him “a total smeg-head; despised by all”. He’s a frightened little worm.

    • If there is a human being in the US who doesn’t know that carrying a gun into an airport that isn’t cased as baggage is an incredibly stupid thing to do, they might be a tea bagger.

  18. Romney’s poverty experience:

    The Telegraph has looked into Romney’s claims that he subsisted as a missionary in France, taking dumps in holes and using showers from hoses. His fellow missionaries remember a different experience:

    “The Republican presidential hopeful spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion … It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants – a Spanish chef and a houseboy. Although he spent time in other French cities, for most of 1968, Mr Romney lived in the Mission Home, a 19th century neoclassical building in the French capital’s chic 16th arrondissement. “It was a house built by and for rich people,” said Richard Anderson, the son of the mission president at the time of Mr Romney’s stay. “I would describe it as a palace”.

    Check out the Telegraph’s photo of the elegant palace. Romney says he didn’t think it had a refrigerator. Maybe the chef didn’t let him in the kitchen. As for the outdoor shitting, a fellow missionary notes:
    “All of the missionary rooms had something like a bath or a shower attached to it. The home had several”. Maybe Romney is referring to trips in other cities, although most of his time was spent living in the palace. But when told of Romney’s story:

    Jean Caussé, a 72-year-old Mormon who met Mr Romney in Bordeaux, said he “would be astonished” if that had been the case. “I never knew missionaries who had to do that,” he said. “I don’t see why he would have lived in conditions like that for two years when it was far from the general case”.

    Why would Romney go out on a limb like that – when it could easily be disproven by anyone looking into it? Maybe this has something to do with it:

    “Tearful as he described the house, Mr Anderson, 70, of Kaysville, Utah, said Romney aides had asked him not to speak publicly about their time together there.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/8959440/US-election-2012-Mitt-Romneys-life-as-a-poor-Mormon-missionary-in-France-questioned.html

    • “Romney aides had asked him not to speak publicly about their time together there.”
      Thuggery.

    • As Romney is an adherent to a religion based on the delusional fabrications of a 19th century con man, I suppose making up stories would come natural.

      • I’ve never subscribed to a religion but I’ve studied many. Mormonism might be the silliest of the bunch with the possible exception of Scientology and snake handling.

    • Lest we forget, this missionary work was to avoid the Vietnam draft in the US. Grey Poupon or Napalm, such a tough choice.

      • One must ‘serve the lord’///

        Mittens wants us to think he’s middle-class just an ‘average joe’.. Romney is a phony from the word go. His smirky/fake “smile” is creepy.

        • Mittens is the only one of the bunch who frightens me in the slightest. Although, I would feel better if the “librul media” was willing to point out the 395,668,374,569,045 closets full of skeletons in Newt’s life. I grow more uneasy with each day that said “librul media” continues to treat him as an honored elder statesman.

    • I was in France and Spain in 1970. Perhaps Mittens is simply confused — American-style throne toilets were uncommon, especially in rural areas, and the toilets were often a hole in the floor with a designated place to squat comfortably. The luxurious holes had little steps that kept your feet off the floor. Showers could use the same drainage but provide a place to stand under the spray — no curtain, no door, no tub.

      Squatting is actually the best way to poop, especially if you don’t have to balance on the top of a throne.

    • “Johnny came marching home” today. The “librul media” doesn’t care and the Reichwhiners are calling it a defeat.

      I hate to say it but, perhaps, the best result for everyone is if the good people of Iraq rise up and slaughter the mercenaries we’ve left there. I would be all for their prompt return if i was assured that they would be disarmed down to a strip search but history shows us that private armies are nearly as deadly as smallpox. We simply can’t allow them to return home with their arsenals intact.

    • Er if the troops are all home, why is it that the US embassy in Iraq has 15,000 staff….?

      How many Blackwater/Xe/Halliburtin or whatever janitors does it take?

    • I think we all know the field. Dumb, Dumber, Crazy, Crazier, Sleazy, Sleazier, and Batshit. Then there’s Newt who is, arguably, the single most corrupt person to ever be a front runner in a presidential race. I think we could all benefit from stepping back from the cesspit and letting this debate play out without notice. There will be plenty of amusing and outrageous soundbites whizzing around tomorrow.

  19. How phony and pointless is the NOM Marriage Pledge? A serial adulterer and thrice-married man running for President just signed it in Iowa.

    • It doesn’t bother him in the least. Committing adultery as he was admonishing and impeaching Clinton for the same.

      I detest Neut -

    • The scary part is that the fundies will probably embrace him now. And they never gave a rat’s ass about his professional corruption. All that they care is that he’s not black, he’s not a Democrat, and he’s not Mittens. Personally, I couldn’t care less who he screws or screws over in his private life but he was forced to resign in disgrace, by his own party, the last time he had a position of power. If Satan were real he would be laughing his ass off about now.

  20. Mittens – the President does live in the real world.
    You are projecting… and are an asshole.

  21. I’m not really watching, it’s just on while I eat and check my emails.

    But the little noise that they’re using to signal ‘time’s up’ sounds like I’m having a hearing test.

  22. How can Gingrich can defend this corporate cronyism and financial whoring? Then he’s telling the crowd that there are great examples of government-run enterprises around the country.

    • Santorum thinks that the Shiite regime in Iran is equivalent to al Qaeda. Then he argues that they actually want to destroy their entire country as an act of collective martyrdom. He’s nuts. The crowd ate it up.

  23. Aw shit!!!

    My female “Scooter Blenny” died. She seemed fine when I fed them at 6:30 but I just noticed her lying there dead. I suspect, since she was heavily pregnant, that she ruptured her belly but it’s hard to be sure because the other fish were feasting on her eggs and there’s very little info on pregnant “Scooter Blennies”. It’s possible that they killed her but it’s not likely because “Scooters” are covered with mildly toxic slime that prevents predation and my other fish aren’t much bigger then she is or particularly carnivorous. Although, fresh eggs can cause a feeding frenzy. Sigh…

    Now I have to figure out what to do for a replacement. It’s hard to find “Scooters” big enough to compete with my full-grown male. I could, however, trade him in for something completely different. I’ve been trying to get a stable mated pair of “Scooters” for about six years and always run into some disaster. I suppose it’s possible that I’ve been cursed by some of the fish I caught before I started raising them.

    I might look into trading the male and my big, bad, clownfish (Just like Nemo but she thinks she’s a grouper or a shark) for a pair of new clownfish. I try to limit my selections to tank raised fish or species that are very abundant so that limits my choices. I don’t even like to patronize stores that carry threatened fish from threatened habitats.

    Anyway. I just had to vent. Thanks for your patience, everyone.

      • I’m pretty bummed. But? Fish are easy to replace within certain parameters. Still; I think it’s time to find a different project. I have four damsel fish, which have been raised in captivity, and another couple fish I could trade in. I’ll give it another year, or so, and then go back to a freshwater aquarium where the parameters are easier to control. I could even realize one of my dreams and establish a breeding population of native fish I collect with my own hands. There are always new opportunities that one can pull out of past failures.

    • Sorry to read that, pete. You may need to do a paper on pregnant
      “Scooter Blenny”. Isn’t this the second or third in recent history to succumb before giving birth?

      …clownfish (…she thinks she’s a grouper or a shark)

      This made me smile –

      • Yeah. Before, during, or after; they seem to pass on. I had great hopes for this one because she actually expressed her eggs twice without apparent ill effects and, because the last male passed as well, she was a good size match with the new one. The other fish seem to ignore them all. I guess that there’s a reason why people with far more resources than myself have given up on breeding “Scooters”.

        I think that the only possible option would be to eliminate all the other fish and hope for the best but, as much as I love the “Scooters”, that would make for a pretty boring tank. I’ll just have to take a step back and consider the options but I’m leaning towards trading the male and some cash for a male mandarin fish, a close relative of the “Scooter”, that I won’t try to mate because they go for around $25.00 a head. It’s easy to experiment with an abundant $8.00 fish but I’ve grown a bit tired of failed experiments.

        Then I had to see this picture. Tempted. Tempted I am. I also have about an extra $30.00 a month coming due to the raise in Social Security (Yay?). I already bought a new computer, a flight simulator game, a new pair of long underwear, and a new frying pan so I’m looking for another “luxury” purchase anyway.

        Aren’t these the most wonderful fish you’ve ever seen?

        http://www.coral.org/node/2584

          • “Pretty” doesn’t really do them justice. They are also called “psychedelic fish”. The Mandarin is one of the crown jewels of saltwater aquariums. At $25.00 a pop I don’t think i would try and add the stress of breeding but I’m fairly sure that i could keep a bachelor thriving for a good while.

          • It is, still, just a common fish. I’m almost over the depression, in part due to all you fine people, and I just have to look at the event as nature does. I have a new niche in my tank and there are lots of ways I can fill it. I could try and breed a different fish or just go with providing a home for a more spectacular fish.

            I feel like “Hedly Lamar” (Harvey Korman in Blazing Saddles). My mind is awash with possibilities!

          • The whole thing is magnificent.

            The following picture is a male “Scooter Blenny” in it’s mating display. The are not quite as bright but no less spectacular. despite my losses, I have been able to enjoy countless hours from their company. I still have a very healthy specimen. He and his late mate also fed from my hand.

      • Oh yeah. I’m glad I made you smile. My clownfish actually tries to drive my hand away while I am fussing around in the aquarium. She’s a vicious little beast and, if she had proper teeth, my right arm would be down to the bone by now. Thankfully, her “attacks” are about as painful as brushing against a dandelion. The weird part is that she is the only fish that wasn’t after the eggs from my late “Scooter”.

        There’s your typical bully. Given an opportunity to unleash all her predatory instincts; she decided to go and hide in her favorite hole while the little fish went cannibal.

    • He said a lot of things I agreed with and a lot of things I disagreed with. He had a valid reason for all of them. I hope that the end of his pain was, as he believed, the end of all sensation. If not? Maybe we’ll share a bar in Hell some day. Given the chance i might even sing a song for him.

  24. i ran out of replies, Jane. both the scooter Blenny and the mandarin fish top out at about 3 1/2 to four inches. The Mandarin is a little fatter than the “Scooter”.

  25. (in my best Elvis) Thank you, thank you very much.

    I’m scanning a couple of photos to send as a gesture to my aunt, who’s unhappy that I’ve only called her once since mum died. She doesn’t ‘do’ email, so I have to send email them to the office to print, since I don’t have a printer. So, sorry if I’m in and out, I just have a few more to do, then I;m off to bed.

    I’ll catch up with everyone tomorrow, er, later. Goodnight!

  26. I don’t wish to invade Wayne’s preserve but I think that, between us all, we should come up with a parody, of the Jim Croce song, called “The Day the Asshole Died”. Chris Hitchens was an asshole but that may have been his best quality.

    G’night, good people. You have helped me through a difficult evening that took me bye surprise.

    G’night and goodbye, Chris. I hope you didn’t hear me say that. if you heard me? That will really suck for all of us sane people.

  27. Aren’t critters wonderful? My cat, Tigger, figured out that I’m feeling down and spent the last couple hours loving me up. She doesn’t normally indulge in petting for more than a few minutes at a stretch. Frankly, she’s being a pest. Is it possible that we humans ever thrived without our pets? I tend to think that one of humanity’s greatest gifts is our ability to cooperate with other creatures and, by extension, the rest of Mother Earth.

    • Couldn’t agree more!

      Tigger is an intelligent cat and knows her companion was needing feline therapy!

      • Actually, Tigger isn’t terribly intelligent but she is empathic.She’s one of the joys in my life. Her mother, Polly, was smarter but more aloof.. Polly would even turn on the lights when I was away. I thought that I was going insane because I KNEW that i had turned off the light in my hallway when i went out but it would be on when i came home. This went on for a year or so. Then, one night when I was drunk, I happened to catch her jumping up to flip the switch. I might have still thought i was a bit crazy but she performed her little trick while a friend was visiting. That damned cat would turn on the lights when she wanted to! she would also let herself out through the screen door but I had other cats who managed that trick.

    • Pete, I don’t really know much about fish, but I used the Google and yours are really beautiful creatures. I am sorry you lost one. I know a little about cats and they never fail to amaze me. I am glad you have Tigger. {{{hugs}}}

      • Thank you, Ev. Fish, in addition to being beautiful, are better pets than most people realize. These tiny creatures have personality, moods, and intelligence. One of the weird things is that they change their behavior based on the weather despite the fact that their environment doesn’t change in any way. They KNOW that there’s a low pressure system for instance. They can also tell the difference between my approaching the tank and someone else admiring them.

        The marine fish seem to be more intelligent, in general, but I still miss an old freshwater fish, an “emerald goby”, as much as any pet who has passed on. He would actually stick his head out of the water, spit water out of the tank, and beg to be hand-fed when i got home from work, That was his undoing. He finally spent so much time with his heard out of the water that he got an infected sore on his snout.

        We can learn so much from the least of creatures. Even reptiles ( I have also kept snakes and lizards as pets), and invertebrates can be interactive pets. if you, or anyone else, ever wants to start up an aquarium i would be happy to pass along the knowledge I’ve picked up over the last 40 years. When I have trouble coping with the trials of life; I turn on some favorite music and play with the fish.

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