The Watering Hole, Tuesday November 11, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Evolution

Ok, it is only a theory, and it has many holes in it, but if they start filling the holes with observable fact, does it become less of a theory and more of a science? Or is it just easier to say DOG made it in six days and shut down all this funding to pointy-headed intellectuals?

From the oceans to the land and then back to the ocean: One more piece of evidence on how species evolved

 

Evidence that a sophisticated God fine tunes creation through evolution?

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 3rd, 2014: Strange Laws

I’m too nervous about the elections tomorrow, so I’m going to avoid politics.

I found the following odd state/town laws here at brainjet.com:

Alabama: Bear wrestling matches are outlawed.
Alaska: It’s legal to shoot bears in Alaska, but it’s not legal to wake a bear up for the purpose of taking its picture.
Arizona: Writing in toilet stalls is illegal ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO WORK IN MINES.
Arkansas: In Arkansas, pinball games are prohibited by the law from giving more than 25 free games to a high scorer.
California has a law that forbids a frog that dies in a frog race from being eaten.
Colorado: In Aspen, CO, snowball fights are illegal.
Connecticut: In Connecticut, a bushel of potatoes must, by law, weigh 150 pounds.
Delaware: It’s illegal to sell the (literal) hair of a dog.
Florida: For female hot dog stand workers in Broward County, it’s illegal to wear a g-string.
Georgia: In Georgia, moving a trout from one lake to another is prohibited by law.
Hawaii: In Hawaii, using imitation milk in a milkshake without warning is illegal.
Idaho: Idaho prohibits sale of eggs from another state without warning, and anyone who uses flour that’s not enriched with vitamins can face 30 days in jail.
Illinois: “Happy Hours” are prohibited.
Indiana: It’s illegal to sell cold beer in Indiana in a grocery store. If you want to get a chilled brew, you’ll have to make a trip to the liquor store.
Iowa: It’s illegal to surf while drunk in Iowa. This is actually a good policy, but it’s ridiculous in the landlocked state of Iowa.
Kansas: Apparently it’s possible to modify the weather in Kansas, but it’s illegal to do so without the proper permit.
Kentucky: All Kentucky lawyers must swear an oath to refrain from dueling.
Louisiana: In Louisiana, it’s against the law to insult players at a sporting event.
Maine: It’s illegal to place green crabs next to soft-shell crabs.
Maryland: It’s a crime in Maryland to possess more than 3 turtles at one time.
Massachusetts: Gift certificates are required to be valid for at least 7 years.
Michigan: It’s illegal to use foul language in front of a woman.
Minnesota: It’s illegal to go hunting with a ferret.
Mississippi: It’s illegal to take an animal that’s been hit by a railroad car.
Missouri: It’s illegal to pretend to be blind to make money.
Montana: It’s against the law for a water sprinkler to get a passerby wet.
Nebraska: In the city of Ogallala, it’s illegal to disturb public dirt.
Nevada: Nevada has respect for the dead. In the state, it’s prohibited to use bad language in front of a dead person.
New Hampshire: Prohibits seaweed harvesting at night.
New Jersey: In Haddon Township, flirting with somebody against their will is punishable by law.
New Mexico: It’s illegal to get on a ski lift while drunk.
New York: It’s illegal to walk in public with an ice cream cone in your pocket on Sundays.
North Carolina: It’s illegal to serve food to pigs that hasn’t been thoroughly cooked.
North Dakota: Kangaroo boxing is a crime.
Ohio: It’s illegal to disrobe in front of a man’s portrait.
Oklahoma: It’s illegal to break INTO a prison.
Oregon: It’s against the law to own more than 2 undeployed airbags.
Pennsylvania: A Pennsylvania fortune-teller cannot charge money to try to shorten someone’s life.
Rhode Island: Wrapping fresh fish in a newspaper is against the law.
South Carolina: Fishing with dynamite is illegal.
South Dakota: Shooting an animal from an airplane is against the law.
Tennessee: Roller skaters must proceed in a single file line to be in accordance with the state law.
Texas: Taking more than 3 sips of beer at a time while standing is illegal.
Utah: The state has banned the “look, no hands” trick by law, stating that bicyclists must keep one hand on the handlebar at all times.
Vermont: In the city of Middlebury, having more than one person on a skateboard at a time is illegal.
Virginia: It’s illegal to release more than 50 balloons per hour.
Washington: In Bremerton, it’s illegal to throw garbage into anyone else’s trash can.
West Virginia: An unmarried couple living together in the state can be sent to jail.
Wisconsin: On highways in Wisconsin, livestock always has the right of way.
Wyoming: Opening a gate and not closing it is against the law.

This is our daily open thread – talk about whatever you want.

Sunday Roast: Brown Pelicans

L1060132

L1060136

Photos by Zooey

My oldest boy wanted to see Brown Pelicans, so we went to the Devil’s Punch Bowl and saw some damn pelicans.  Bam.

What did you do with your first Saturday in November?

This is our daily open thread — You know what to do.

Sunday Roast: 15 things atheists are tired of hearing

I’ve heard every single one of these obnoxious questions/observations — most of them from certain family members.

Being an admitted atheist is a fairly recent development in my life — the last 10 years, or so — mostly because religion, for many years of my life, was simply a non-thing.  I just didn’t care either way.  *shrug*

My family attended church and Sunday school when I was a child; it was just something we did.  I tried to believe in God and Jesus, but even as a young child, I just couldn’t make myself believe it.  I mean, come on, the whole concept was just so unlikely.

One Sunday, while I was enjoying the most interesting part of church — juice and cookies afterwards — I heard an older man was talking about the joy of feeling the presence of Jesus in every part of his daily life, and I remember thinking that he looked kind of dazed and sounded so child-like.  It felt really uncomfortable, since I was about 10 years old at the time.

Religion has begun to worm its way into our everyday lives, whether we want it or not, and it’s just not okay.  In fact, it’s destructive to the secular world, as well as to religion.  It’s not the American way, and openly saying that I am an atheist (feminist/Liberal/Socialist, etc) is a way of saying “NO, this has gone too far.  Get a fucking grip, people.”

This is our daily open thread — Discuss this topic or whatever.

The Watering Hole: Tuesday October 14, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

The Global ‘Americanization’ of Diet

I remember many years ago watching television about subjects and events that occurred in foreign countries. When they scanned the places features, particularly cities, the ubiquitous Cocoa Cola stood out in stark contrast to the shop signs in native languages. Coke was, and has been, the leader in exporting poor nutritional content to the outreaching arms of the huddled masses.

U.S. food aid programs soon followed suit with foodstuffs that were processed for long shelf life. Then the food industry got in to the act. Here and abroad, highly processed food has become the norm in country after country. A study by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found obesity rates and obesity related diseases increased dramatically since 1980.

” The study found that the proportion of overweight and obese people increased in every country in the world between 1980 and 2013, and that nutrition-related diseases, including diabetes and pancreatic cancer, are also increasing.”

The disturbing news? Not one country bucked the trend. Nutrient deficient food is now the norm across the globe.

Open thread – discuss.

 

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, October 1, 2014: Ferguson Police Ordered to Shoot Unarmed White People

In the face of lingering, and growing racial tensions in Ferguson over the police shooting of an unarmed African-American, a new and highly unusual edict has come down from the chief of police: Shoot Unarmed White People. The order reveals the hope that by killing unarmed white people, the Ferguson police department will no longer be seen as racists.

It suggests targeting senior citizens pulled over for traffic citations, any white teen wearing a hoodie, and young mothers with children. Targeting these demographics, the memo continued, should result in tremendous public outcry, overshadowing recent events where people of color in Ferguson and elsewhere in this great country were gunned down without apparent provocation. The police chief’s order also reminded officers to yell out a commmand, such as “Stop or I’ll shoot” at least a split second before, not after, opening fire. This, the memo said, would provide the necessary legal cover to defeat any lawsuits.

The memo concluded with P.S. DO NOT LEAK THIS MEMO TO THE PRESS.

OPEN AND SHUT THREAD

Sunday Roast: Until we could

Poem by Richard Blanco

I knew it then, in that room where we found for the first time our eyes, and everything— even the din and smoke of the city around us— disappeared, leaving us alone as if we stood the last two in the world left capable of love, or as if two mirrors face-to-face with no end to the light our eyes could bend into infinity.

I knew since I knew you—but we couldn’t…

I caught the sunlight pining through the shears, traveling millions of dark miles simply to graze your skin as I did that first dawn I studied you sleeping beside me: Yes, I counted your eyelashes, read your dreams like butterflies flitting underneath your eyelids, ready to flutter into the room. Yes, I praised you like a majestic creature my god forgot to create, till that morning of you suddenly tamed in my arms, first for me to see, name you mine. Yes to the rise and fall of your body breathing, your every exhale a breath I took in as my own wanting to keep even the air between us as one.

Yes to all of you. Yes I knew, but still we couldn’t…

I taught you how to dance Salsa by looking into my Caribbean eyes, you learned to speak in my tongue, while teaching me how to catch a snowflake in my palms and love the grey clouds of your grey hometown. Our years began collecting in glossy photos time-lining our lives across shelves and walls glancing back at us: Us embracing in some sunset, more captivated by each other than the sky brushed plum and rose. Us claiming some mountain that didn’t matter as much our climbing it, together. Us leaning against columns of ruins as ancient as our love was new, or leaning into our dreams at a table flickering candlelight in our full-mooned eyes.

I knew me as much as us, and yet we couldn’t….

Though I forgave your blue eyes turning green each time you lied, but kept believing you, though we learned to say good morning after long nights of silence in the same bed, though every door slam taught me to hold on by letting us go, and saying you’re right became as true as saying I’m right, till there was nothing a long walk couldn’t resolve: holding hands and hope under the street lights lustering like a string of pearls guiding us home, or a stroll along the beach with our dog, the sea washed out by our smiles, our laughter roaring louder than the waves, though we understood our love was the same as our parents, though we dared to tell them so, and they understood.

Though we knew, we couldn’t—no one could.

When the fiery kick lines and fires were set for us by our founding mother-fathers at Stonewall, we first spoke defiance. When we paraded glitter, leather, and rainbows made human, our word became pride down every city street, saying: Just let us be. But that wasn’t enough. Parades became rallies—bold words on signs and mouths until a man claimed freedom as another word for marriage and he said: Let us in, we said: love is love, proclaimed it into all eyes that would listen at every door that would open, until noes and maybes turned into yeses, town by town, city by city, state by state, understanding us and the woman who dared say enough until the gravel struck into law what we always knew:

Love is the right to say: I do and I do and I do…

and I do want us to see every tulip we’ve planted come up spring after spring, a hundred more years of dinners cooked over a shared glass of wine, and a thousand more movies in bed. I do until our eyes become voices speaking without speaking, until like a cloud meshed into a cloud, there’s no more you, me—our names useless. I do want you to be the last face I see—your breath my last breath,

I do, I do and will and will for those who still can’t vow it yet, but know love’s exact reason as much as they know how a sail keeps the wind without breaking, or how roots dig a way into the earth, or how the stars open their eyes to the night, or how a vine becomes one with the wall it loves, or how, when I hold you, you are rain in my hands.

Stunning.

If I’d loved like this, I wouldn’t have done my part in the destruction of the “sanctity of marriage.”  Although, I guess it’s okay to inflict all manner of destruction on the institution of marriage, as long as you’re in a marriage with someone of the opposite sex — which is really idiotic, if you think about it.

This is our daily open threadMarriage equality now!