Sunday Roast: San Francisco

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I grew up just across the San Francisco bay, in a town called Alameda.  My dad was in the Navy, and he managed to allow us to live in one place for about seven years, by alternating being stationed on the base at Alameda and being stationed on the USS Coral Sea.  At that time, it was the longest time I’d lived anywhere in my life!

Watching this video, it made me remember how much I loved the Bay Area.  So much history, beautiful scenery, and amazing weather.  I remember watching from across the bay as half of the Transamerica Pyramid was built — the top half, obviously.  :)

I left Alameda in 1989 — having moved back there as a married woman with one child, and another on the way — moving to Salem, Oregon just a few months before the Loma Prieta earthquake.  The only reason I had the TV on that afternoon was because of the World Series game between the A’s and the Giants.  Even though I’m not a baseball fan, I had to watch this particular series!

I walked out to the living room to see how they could possibly have such a quiet lead-in to the first game.  That’s when I saw raw footage of the Cypress freeway collapsed in on itself, and just stood there in shock.  I’d driven out of the Bay Area just a few months before, on the lower deck of that freeway, and I knew what that road was like at rush hour — packed.  The Portland news guy was narrating the raw footage, and I was going absolutely batshit, because he just didn’t understand that the Cypress was a double-decked structure.  A lot of people died on that freeway the day of the earthquake, but a mere fraction of the number that would have died, if not for the historic World Series starting that afternoon.

I haven’t been back there in over 25 years, but I’d love to visit San Francisco and the East Bay again.  I’d drive around the narrow streets of my old hometown, even though the base has been closed for many years, and the military housing I lived in is gone.  I noticed that the Myth Busters are making use of the old runways and my high school pool, so that’s pretty awesome.  Then I’d drive across the bridges, down Lombard Street, catch a cable car to China Town (if they’re still running), visit Coit Tower, where the ladies of the Officer’s Wives Club — led my my mom — hung a giant yellow ribbon, to welcome home my dad’s ship after the war, and I’d walk around Fisherman’s Wharf.  From what I could see on the video, it looks like they’ve spiffed up the piers and wharf area quite a bit.  Weird.  I liked it as it was.

Well, enjoy the video.  It brought back a lot of memories for me, as you can tell.

This is our daily open thread — What places do you miss?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 26, 2014: This Week In Crazy Right Wing Libertarian Talk

Cindy Lake wants to be a commissioner in District G of Clark County, NV. And she wants to because…it’s YOUR money. Good one, Cindy Lake. A more compelling argument I’ve yet to hear. Especially from you. Cindy Lake believes she has earned an important endorsement, that of Dr. Ron Paul.

​”Cindy Lake has worked for years as a citizen to fight for limited government and more personal liberties. She has also been a great supporter of mine. I am proud to endorse Cindy Lake for the Clark County Commission in District G.”

Vote for Cindy Lake because she supports me, way over here in Texas. Now who could argue with that? Besides me? Look, Ron Paul is a Conservative Libertarian, while I’m a Liberal Libertarian. We’re as different as Milton Friedman and Mohandas K. Gandhi. Ron Paul often has the right final opinions, but often for the wrong reasons. He rightly opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not because they were based on lies and misinformation, but because he opposes using the military anywhere else in the world. He opposes giving foreign aide to Israel (which usually takes the form of loans that are forgiven, so they can buy military weapons to kill innocent children; don’t get me started on what’s going on in Gaza, because this post is about insanity in America), but that’s because he opposes foreign aid to everybody. He’s sometimes right, but for the wrong reasons. So having him endorse you is not necessarily as good a thing as you might think.

But does that alone earn her a spot in This Week In Crazy Right Wing Libertarian Talk? No, of course not. It’s her stance on fluoride and chemtrails that does. Cindy Lake says on her website that she will “work to lower water rates and improve water quality.” What she doesn’t say is what that means. She is one of those folks who believes that the fluoridation of our water is a huge government conspiracy to…you know, I’m not quite sure what the motivation would be to poison all of us systematically, but that’s what they claim the government is doing.

Don’t let the scaremongers scare you. There’s good reason to doubt them, and little reason to believe them. Just because you won’t accept evidence that your crazy theory is false doesn’t mean you’re right. And the whole nonsense with chemtrails is a good illustration of that. The problem with trying to argue against the Great Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory is that it’s about a secret government plot, so naturally there would be no proof that they’re doing it. Which makes it perfect fodder for a conspiracy theorist like Cindy Lake. But chemtrails are nothing more than ordinary condensation trails, not unlike the cloud of breath you exhale on a cold day. I ridicule the idea that the federal government is spraying chemicals on us from these high-flying planes because what would be the point of doing that? From so high up, there’s no way they can be sure that the people being targeted are the ones getting sprayed. The wind could easily push anything being sprayed twenty miles away and poison, or whatever they were trying to do, the wrong population of people. It’s an extremely unreliable way of conducting any kind of experiment. And the idea that it still might be happening because it’s theoretically possible that they could do this makes for a ludicrous proof. Just because nobody can prove it’s not happening doesn’t constitute proof that it is happening. And falling back on the “government is hiding all the evidence”-excuse does not mean you have a persuasive argument, either. There’s a very perfectly rational explanation for why there’s no proof that the government is spraying us from 30,000 feet – it isn’t really happening. And the worst thing any Democracy can do is elect people who believe this nonsense to public office. They should be getting treated by the government, not put in it.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about chemtrails, fluoridation, your precious bodily fluids, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole; Thursday July 24 2014; Soliloquy

Dictionary.com defines soliloquy as an utterance or discourse by a person who is talking to himself or herself or is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present. I guess I have a quibble with the word “person” in the sense that there are a lot of other voices ‘out there’ in the natural world that are a whole lot more worth a listen than is your average ‘person’! William Cullen Bryant, in his poem Thanatopsis, put it quite well when he wrote,

“To him who, in the love of Nature, holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language …”

Lord Byron wrote of his enlightening “interviews” with nature:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods –
There is a rapture on the lonely shore –
There is society where none intrudes –
By the deep sea and music in its roar –
I love not man the less but nature more –
From those our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before –
To mingle with the universe and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot conceal.

Edmund Burke apparently agreed and, in the process, pretty much summed the issue’s essence with poetic brevity:

“Never, no never, did nature say one thing and wisdom say another.”

I couldn’t agree more, especially these days where the list of chattering fools is endless and never-ending, where “wisdom” has become a condition that’s largely alien to the human species. So each day of late, beginning at first light, my goal has been “To mingle with the universe and feel / What I can ne’er express, yet cannot conceal.” The photos below are ‘messages’ received in just the last week; since a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, I’ll let the natural world do all most of the ‘talking.’

Foggy Sunrise

Sunrise on a Foggy Morning

Sunflower, backlit

Sunflower, backlit

Water bird; Cormorant?

Water bird; Cormorant?

Reflections

Reflections

Garden Geranium

Garden Geranium

Those five photos represent, of course, only a tiny handful of the Voices ‘out there’ — voices that speak their soliloquy to each and all who dare listen. Unfortunately, the vast majority of human passers-by appear to be stone deaf to anything other than their own typical conversational dregs even as they’re blind to the beauties that surround them. And far too often, they’re also destructive as well, and clearly unaware of Henry David Thoreau’s thesis that “Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.”

Case in point — a roadside thistle in full bloom, duly knocked over and trampled by person or persons unknown.

Thistle photo pair

Why? “Cuz them’s noxious weeds.” 

 To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
William Wordsworth
from Lines Written in Early Spring

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 23, 2104: BREAKING GNUS: OBAMA CAVES AGAIN!

Tweeter calls in another Zoo Exclusive

Tweeter calls in another Zoo Exclusive

Ok, we get it. Republicans voted some 50+ times to undo ObamaCare. Major Corporations insisted Obama give them extra time to implement ObamaCare and he caved to their wishes. Now, Republicans, led by none other than Mr. Orange Himself, John Boehner, are suing Obama for caving in to their constituents.

And – shock – Obama caves once more! We here at The Zoo learned that President Obama and John Boehner have stipulated to an agreement that will be filed in Court shortly, and fully enforceable, whereby Obama will rescind his granting of additional time for Big Businesses to fully enforce ObamaCare.

Ironically, this means that Boehner’s suit will succeed, and the Republican donors who asked for more time to implement ObamaCare will lose, and have to incur costs for implementing ObamaCare right before the 2014 elections.

D’OH PEN
THREAD

The Watering Hole, Tuesday July 22, 2014 – Special Report

The first person I ever knew who had AIDS was a professor of Special Education at Temple University. He died a few months after being assigned to the facility where I was working. He was too weak to teach in the classroom anymore.This was in 1981, when the epidemic was just being discovered. Here we are, 33 years later and perhaps we have now found a cure. Fingers crossed.

Health: Temple University Researchers Successfully Eliminate HIV Virus In Human Cells

Open thread.

 

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 21st, 2014: Floriduh vs Kitties

I was going to write about yesterday’s ThinkProgress thread about a fundraiser for Florida Governor Rick Scott. The story combines just about everything we liberals abhor: wealthy private-prison CEO; $10,000/plate fundraiser; private-prison abuses and fraud; immigrant detention; privatization of prison system healthcare (under Rick Scott?!); and so on, with big money and greed being the leitmotif. But it just got me too angry, so here’s some photos of some of our past furry friends. If I’ve posted a lot of these before, please humor me.

Stubby Plant

Stubby Plant

Tippy with Velveteen Rabbit

Tippy with Velveteen Rabbit

Lissa Grooms Her Ears (Amelia in lower left, photo of 20-something Wayne in upper right)

Lissa Grooms Her Ears (Amelia in lower left, photo of 20-something Wayne in upper right)

Earnest squeezes behind Pip

Earnest squeezes behind Pip

Becca prepares to leap.

Becca prepares to leap.

Nog (N.O.G. = Not Orange Guy)

Nog (N.O.G. = Not Orange Guy)

Belz and Lissa play while Splatter watches.

Belz and Lissa play while Splatter watches.

Preston, Jack and Souphlee

Preston, Jack and Souphlee

There, at least I feel better…

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 19, 2014: The Men Without A Country

There are people in this country (both men and women) who have gone completely off the deep end. No, I’m not talking about the state of Florida (though if there is a God, the people of Florida who voted for Rick Scott to be Governor will have some explaining to do), but of something called the Sovereign Citizens Movement. It has no organized structure and no leader. There are people, well known to other sovereign citizens, who go around the country training people in how to become one. They vary in some of the specific beliefs, but in general they feel the United States government, and just about any level of government, is not legitimate. Some of them believe…well, I think it might sound better coming from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Domestic Terrorism Operations Unit:

Sovereign citizens believe the government is operating outside of its jurisdiction and generally do not recognize federal, state, or local laws, policies, or governmental regulations. They subscribe to a number of conspiracy theories, including a prevalent theory which states the United States Government (USG) became bankrupt and began using citizens as collateral in trade agreements with foreign governments. They believe secret bank accounts exist at the United States (US) Department of the Treasury. These accounts can be accessed using Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Universal Commercial Code (UCC), and fraudulent financial documents. Sovereign citizens are known to travel the country conducting training seminars on debt elimination schemes. The seminars focus on obtaining funds from a secret “Strawman” account using legitimate IRS forms, UCC forms, and fraudulent financial documents. Sovereign citizens believe once the documentation is filed, they gain access to their “Strawman” account with the Treasury Department.

Like I said, completely off the deep end. A search of the FBI website for “sovereign citizens” yields 122 results. A search on the Southern Poverty Law Center website yields “over 2,500 results.” These are not people to be ignored. The SPLC has this to say about them and the origins of their movement:

The ideas of the “sovereign citizens” movement originate in the ideology of the Posse Comitatus, an anti-Semitic group that raged through the Midwest in the late 1970s and 1980s. Sovereign citizens claim that they are not subject to most taxes, are not citizens of the United States (but instead are “non-resident aliens”), cannot be tried for crimes in which there is no complaining victim (zoning and professional licensing violations, for instance), and are only subject to “common law courts,” a sort of people’s tribunal with no lawyers. Most refuse to obtain Social Security cards, register their vehicles, carry driver’s licenses or use zip codes; many refer to UCC-107, a part of the Uniform Commercial Code, to justify their bizarre claims; and some use weird forms of punctuation between their middle and last names in all kinds of documents. Sovereign citizens also often distinguish between so-called “14th Amendment citizens,” who are subject to federal and state governments, and themselves, who are also known as “organic citizens” — an ideology that causes adherents to claim that black people, who only became legal citizens when the 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War, have far fewer rights than whites. Some of the more famous adherents of sovereign citizens ideology include Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and members of the Montana Freemen.

Just how crazy are they? Get a load of this.

The sovereigns all say it started sometime during the Civil War (or its aftermath) or maybe after events in 1933 when President Roosevelt wisely took our nation off the gold standard. They’re not sure when, but they say the government that was set up by the Founding Fathers, which operated under a system of Common Law, was replaced by a secret government operating under Admiralty Law, the law of the sea and international commerce. They believe that under common law, they are free men. But under admiralty law, they are slaves and that secret government forces have a vested interest in keeping things this way. They claim that all judges are aware of this set-up, and have been deliberately denying the sovereign citizens’ legal motions, which often include placing liens on property owned by judges and government officials. But don’t worry, we haven’t gotten to the crazy part yet.

When our nation was taken off the gold standard and our money was backed by the “full faith and credit” of the United States, this meant to the sovereigns that its citizens were pledged as collateral, and that our future earnings were sold to foreign investors thus, in essence, making slaves of us all. The sale happens when you are born and your birth certificate is issued and your Social Security Number obtained. The government uses the birth certificate to set up a corporate trust in the newborn’s name (a secret Treasury account), and this account is funded with anywhere form $600,000 to $20,000,000. (Again, no clear agreement about the amount.) Setting up the account is what splits the baby’s rights between its flesh-and-blood body and its corporate shell account.

So what’s their evidence for such a bizarre belief system? Well, if by “evidence” you mean “proof; something plain or clear to the sight or understanding,” they have none. What they have is another bizarre theory – the name on your birth certificate. Notice in this sample birth certificate that the name is spelled out in all capital letters. The sovereigns say this is the name of the shell corporation (or “straw man”; yes, the Sovereign Citizens Movement is based on a straw man argument), while your name spelled with normal upper and lower case letters is your “real name.” Any legal documents that refer to you in all capital letters (such as your birth certificate, driver’s license, marriage certificate, car registration, criminal court records, cable and utility bills, and even correspondence from the IRS rejecting your sovereign citizen claims) are actually referring to your corporate shell identity, and not your sovereign self. Through a process called “redemption” you can free yourself sovereign self from your corporate shell and gain access to those millions of dollars the government has in your corporate account. Though no one has ever successfully done this, they believe the secret lies in coming up with just the right words in your legal documents.

While sovereign citizens do not typically resort to actual, physical violence or gunfire, they do employ what they call “paper terrorism.” They file false liens against the property of government officials and nonsensical court documents that accomplish nothing but waste taxpayer dollars having to process them. For example, when one sovereign citizen was asked to enter a guilty or not guilty plea, she responded, “I accept for value in returning for value for settlement in closure of this accounting.” (If I were the judge, I would take that as “guilty.”) After the husband was involved in a car crash, a Florida couple (who claim to be members of the Moorish Science Temple) was under investigation for filing false liens and other documents under false names. And a Michigan man is claiming that his rights do not come from the Constitution but from the Creator, and that the search warrant bearing his name in all capital letters did not refer to him. He was a convicted felon, so he wasn’t allowed to have the guns they found stashed throughout his house. At least, according to our laws, but not according to his.

Claiming to be a sovereign citizen by itself does not make one incompetent to stand trial. I’ll let the legal experts explain it:

Most psychologists and researchers believe that a sovereign citizen is not incompetent to stand trial simply by virtue of being a sovereign citizen. Although sovereign citizens’ beliefs appear to be delusional, they typically are not considered delusions sufficient for the diagnosis required for incompetence. Delusional disorder, the mental illness with which a sovereign citizen would most likely be diagnosed, requires that the belief be a non-bizarre delusion. The types of delusions that qualify for the diagnosis are personally held and could possibly happen in real life, and generally relate to the person’s perception of life events. Common examples of qualifying delusions include believing that someone is conspiring against you, or that people are talking about you. However, widely held and culturally sanctioned beliefs that might be considered delusional in other cultures, but are recognized in one’s own culture, often do not qualify for a diagnosis of delusional disorder. For example, many commonly held religious beliefs may sound delusional to some people. Although they may sound delusional, they are culturally non-native beliefs shared by many individuals and therefore not delusions. Because sovereign citizen beliefs are shared by up to, and maybe exceeding, 300,000 people, the psychologists and researchers who have studied the subject conclude that the sovereign citizen’s odd, seemingly delusional beliefs have been sanctioned and accepted by too many to be considered delusions.

To summarize, because so many people believe this nonsense, it’s not, for legal purposes, considered delusional. Just like Religion. So if not believing yourself subject to the laws of the country in which you’re standing, whose protection you’re currently enjoying, and whose public services you are using daily, is not considered delusional because the laws only apply to your corporate shell entity, which was set up by the government after you were born, as evidenced by the capital letters used to spell your “name”, then what is?

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss sovereign citizens, delusions in general, or anything else you wish.

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 14th, 2014: It’s SCHNEIDER-MAN!

Nope, not Wayne…it’s New York State’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman.

A.G. Schneiderman is the root’n-est, toot’n-est, doggone shoot’n-est Attorney General around these parts. And while he has been focusing mainly on Wall Street transgressions, Schneiderman was forced to issue a press release last week after the McCullen decision, in which the Supremes struck down the 35-foot buffer zone around Massachusetts’ women’s health clinics.

Apparently protesters at a Planned Parenthood in Rochester, New York, were a mite confused about that ruling, believing that the Supreme Court decision struck down ALL buffer zones. According to an article by Michael Virtanen of The Republic:

“The letter followed a protest last week outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Rochester, where one demonstrator crossed a faded line on the sidewalk believing the Supreme Court decision applied everywhere, said Mary Jost. She is director of the Focus Pregnancy Help Center nearby and a longtime anti-abortion protester. Police were called, an officer talked with the woman and said she had to move back. That also prompted Rochester police to query the attorney general’s office and Jost to consult her own lawyer, who advised staying beyond the line that was subsequently painted bright orange, she said.

“We might take it to court in time,” Jost said.”

Yeah, sure, let us know how that works out for you.

A.G. Schneiderman’s press release (seen here in its entirety) said in part:

“I am committed to protecting the right of every patient in New York to full and safe access to reproductive health care services. We will not allow activists to use a narrowly targeted Supreme Court decision as an opportunity to create confusion about the critical protections here in New York. Not only do New York State’s clinic protection laws remain completely in place, I am committed to working with our partners in law enforcement to ensure they are fully enforced.”

Schneiderman, who was endorsed by Planned Parenthood for the post of Attorney General, insisted that the 15-foot buffer zone is still in effect in all 22 counties where it had been established in 2005. The Republic article also states that “He [A.G. Schneiderman] has also sent out investigators to ensure clinic access…”

Way to go, Schneiderman!

Just for fun, here’s President Obama turning down an offer that, I confess, I would not have refused.

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?

Sunday Roast: Supermoon? Settle, people.

My boyfriend…er, personal astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, is frustrated with the “Super Moon” talk.

The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle,” DeGrasse Tyson said at the time. “Sometimes it’s closer, sometimes it’s farther away. Every month, there is a moment when it is closest. Occasionally, that moment when it is closest coincidences with a full moon. People are calling that a super moon, but there’s super half moons. Every month one of those phases is the closest. I don’t hear people saying like ‘super crescent, super half moon.’”

And…

There is something called a super moon,” Tyson responded. “I don’t know who first called it a super moon. I don’t know, but if you have a 16 inch pizza, would you call that a super pizza compared with a 15 inch pizza?”

Well, I would — if it were really good pizza!!  But I digress…

“Supermoons” are not rare, but for some reason, they’re a thing right now, and I guess they’ll continue to be so, until we find out spaghetti & meatballs are a great hair conditioner, or another movie star gets embarrassing plastic surgery, or the President persists in trying to do his job.

Really people, stop upsetting my boyfriend.  Yeah that’s right, I said it.  ;)

This is our daily open thread — Get some star-gazing done this summer!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 12, 2014: Bill Me Later

Conservative Republicans in Congress are at it again. And by “it,” I mean making a mockery of Logic, Science, Common Sense, and Reality. For the life of me, I cannot understand why voters continue to send Republicans to Congress, especially Republicans who spend their entire time in Washington trying to destroy the very government in which they work. Cases in point: Senator Ted Cruz (R-La La Land), who wants to sell off public lands, and Representative Sam Graves (R-Fantasyland), who wants to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ted Cruz is one of those conservatives who does not believe in the concept of publicly owned property. From the Think Progress article:

Federal lands make up one-fifth of the nation’s landmass and over 50 percent of the land Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. Under Cruz’s proposal, these states, which are home to some of the country’s most beloved national parks, forests, wildlife areas and iconic natural resources, would be forced to either pass the costs of managing these lands along to state taxpayers or, more likely, give them away or sell them off for mining, drilling, and logging.

And that worries me, because most of those states are run by Conservatives, and Conservatives believe in exploiting the land for its resources regardless of how much destruction they do to our habitat. I just don’t see too many of today’s Conservatives being very good Conservationists, especially the Conservative Christian ones. They believe the Bible gives them the right to take what they want from the land. (Remember, Ann Coulter said, “God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.'”) Conservatives, selfish people by nature, despise anything resembling “Collectivism.” So they don’t seem to understand the concept that our government is us, it is “We the People.” We are not ruled by nobility who believe in the Divine Right of Kings. We rule ourselves, by choosing who we want to have in our governments of all levels. Granted, we don’t always make good choices (Republican voters, I’m looking in your direction; we didn’t put Ted Cruz in office), and we often don’t have the greatest of choices. In fact, for most of us, if we do have a choice it’s usually between Evil and Not-So-Evil, or Shitty and Not-So-Shitty. Bad as they are, they’re OUR choices. And when we don’t like what they’re doing, we have the means (not nearly exercised enough) of voting them out of their phony-baloney jobs. And the best part of our system of government, is that in all the years we’ve been governing ourselves, we’ve always had a peaceful transfer of power from one president, or governor, or mayor, to the next. True, there have been many presidents, governors, and mayors who were assassinated, but their assassins did not take over that person’s governing responsibilities. We’ve had no military coups. You don’t usually have that kind of government where monarchies are involved. And part of the reason for that is the very concept of The Commons, the parts of the country that belong to everybody, not just a few people, or a single person. And because public land belongs to all of those, we have to protect it from those who would rape it for its natural resources, just to make a little money for themselves.

Which is why we need an Environmental Protection Agency with the authority to punish those who destroy public lands. Otherwise, what’s the point of having public lands in the first place, if there’s no one to protect them from destruction? But Graves thinks the EPA goes too far in exercising its authority, and so he has introduced the “Stop the EPA Act.” I think Sam needs to hire a proofreader, because the very end of his appeal calls for doing the exact opposite of the bill’s name.

The EPA is putting the squeeze on small businesses and middle class Missourians. Higher costs, longer delays, tighter budgets, and bigger headaches are on the way unless the EPA is not stopped.

Sam, I think you meant “unless the EPA is stopped,” or “if the EPA is not stopped.” By saying “unless the EPA is not stopped,” you’re saying all those inconveniences will happen unless the EPA is allowed to do its job. A rant of his against the EPA said, “Our region benefits greatly from coal-generated electricity, the cheapest and most readily available form of American energy.” Not true. It’s the most profitable, maybe, but it’s not the cheapest and it’s not the most readily available. Solar power is, and it’s free, delivered to your planet daily from the Sun. But the Capitalists don’t like it because the source is infinite (for our lifetimes), and they can’t follow the normal rules of supply and demand to set a high enough price. But once they figure out a way to control it, they’ll drop coal in a heartbeat and sell us sunlight, at a premium. (“Get it while it lasts, the Sun could go supernova any day!” No, it won’t, but they’ll try to sell you on the idea that it’s somehow in limited supply. I think they’re waiting until there’s no shred of Truth in Advertising laws left.) I think Sam’s biggest problem is that he doesn’t like the idea that the Congress gave this agency the authority to set the rules by which we protect our environment. He thinks the States should be allowed to regulate their own lands, even though the impact of their decisions could easily have adverse effects on neighboring states (and often does; New York State has to deal with the ramifications of all those smoke stacks in the Midwest pumping crap into the atmosphere. If there weren’t federal authority to regulate such emissions, New York would be at the mercy of everyone west of us.) Besides, if you enjoy drinking clean water and breathing clean air, you can thank the EPA for that. I know I do.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Ted Cruz, Sam Graves, that more intelligent than either of them mold spore growing behind your refrigerator, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 9, 2014: Hobby Lobby Ruling Triggers Massive Health Insurance Cancellations

A little more than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled business owners do not have to provide health insurance that conflicts with their deeply held religeous beliefs, the health insurance industry reports massive cancellations of employer-sponsored health plans.

Coincidently, the church of Christian Scientists,  which preaches the deeply held religious belief in faith healing, is seeing a massive influx of new members.

OPEN THREAD

GOT ANY DEEPLY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEFS YOU WOULD LIKE TO RELY ON TO OVERTURN THE LAW?

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 7th, 2014: Crazy Talk

Thanks to commenter BruinKid at Daily Kos for these two libertarian wingnuts’ words:

First, a quote from Libertarian Kevin Gutzman, who is currently a “neighbor” of ours living in Danbury, Connecticut (In the olden days when Wayne and I were growing up in Brewster, New York, Danbury was considered a ‘local’ call, and we didn’t have to dial the 203- area code.) It’s kind of scary that he is a professor of history at Western Connecticut State College, or as we have always called it, “WestConn.” (My sister attended for 3-1/2 years.)

“As Americans celebrate the Fourth today, remember this: the statists are the intellectual descendants of those who did not celebrate the Fourth in the 1790s, celebrating Washington’s birthday instead:

“In the Founders’ day, the 4th of July was a partisan holiday. It was celebrated in the 1790s and 1800s by Jeffersonian Republicans desirous of showing their devotion to Jeffersonian, rather than Hamiltonian, political philosophy. If you were a Federalist in the 1790s, you likely would celebrate Washington’s Birthday instead of the 4th of July. If you believed in the inherent power of the Executive in formulating foreign policy, in the power of Congress to charter a bank despite the absence of express constitutional authorization to do so, and in the power of the federal government to punish people who criticized the president or Congress, you would not celebrate the 4th. The 4th was the holiday of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, those great states’-rights blasts at federal lawlessness. It was the anti-Hamilton, anti-Washington, anti-nationalist holiday.”

Next, from Jeffrey A. Tucker, who, according to Wikipedia, describes himself as “a dedicated anarchist” (he may also have been involved in the racist newsletters that got Ron Paul in some trouble):

“Now that 4th of July celebrations are over, let’s take the Declaration of Independence seriously and abolish the United States. It’s a cobbled together empire based on nothing but 19th century political ambitions. The results have been a menace to the world and certainly a menace to its own people. If the U.S. devolved to hundreds or thousands of small countries, or even became the great 21st century experiment in P2P legal institutions with no overarching geographically contiguous legal structure, that would even be better. The nation state is an anachronism, and the largest surviving case in point really should set the example, in the spirit of the principles that gave it birth, and be the first to go.”

Last, according to Salon’s July 1st article by Elias Isquitch, Governor Paul LePage of Maine has apparently been “pallin’ around with terrorists.” Author Mike Tipping, who covers local politics in Maine, has a book out about Governor LePage’s several meetings with a group called “Sovereign Citizens”, who are purportedly allied with the “Constitutional Coalition”, who are on the FBI terrorist watch list. LePage’s staff have verified that the meetings did occur. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

“Among the things reportedly discussed at these meetings was whether or not to seek violent retribution against key political opponents. A Coalition member named Jack McCarthy described the meeting on a radio program hosted by a small group of sovereign citizens calling themselves the Aroostook Watchmen:

“We also discussed this there, that as far as I know, the penalty for high treason has not changed in 100 years. And, I did not say it, but the governor said it. I never – I never opened my mouth and said the word. The governor looked at us and looked at his buddy and said they are talking about hanging them.”

LePage has vehemently denied that he ever discussed executing anyone, let alone his Democratic opponents, with the group, and a spokesperson characterized the meetings as a benign effort by the governor to listen to people across the political spectrum…

The topics of these meetings evidently revolved around classic antigovernment “Patriot” movement conspiracy theories, including the belief that American dollars are phony “fiat” money and that the Federal Reserve is a hoax. One of the meetings was dominated by discussion, led by noted conspiracy theorist Michael Coffman, revolving around the notion that the United Nations is out to seize Americans’ private property rights and impose a New World Order environmentalist regime.”

From the “Constitutional Coalition” website:

“Our Constitution established specific powers of the federal government, powers that are limited and enumerated. The founders believed that the government exists to perform only those services that the people cannot provide for themselves, such as the national defense. Local and state government powers were also to be limited and enumerated with the people self governing in all other areas.

The founders held that only a moral people – a nation of godly people with common spiritual and social values – were capable of self government.”

Here, to take the bad taste out of your mouths, just watch any one of these “comedy vs anti-science videos” that “show how humor can make a difference.” (Which I found as part of “more related stories” after the Paul LePage story, right next to one described as “Comedy can’t change the world: why Russell Brand is dead wrong about politics and humor…” – heh) Or, you can celebrate the fact that Pink Floyd is coming out with a new ‘album’ in the fall. Yay!

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 5, 2014: The Fault in Our Bartons

David Barton is at it again. In a span of about two minutes, the professional liar recently made several false claims, including that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is an “Atheist Mormon.” [From the audio clip on RWW's site:]

He has actually proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would re-write the First Amendment to take away original protections and limit the protections in the First Amendment.

Actually, Senator Reid didn’t propose the amendment, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall did. And campaign finance reform was not on the minds of the authors of the First Amendment, nor was it written to protect the flow of unlimited amounts of money in the federal campaign process. Senator Udall’s amendment would protect citizens from that flow.

What it also tells me is, and he’s apparently a Mormon guy, that’s fine. He is probably an atheist Mormon, Mormon in name only and the reason I say that is that so many Mormon folks are so conservative on the Constitution and such great defenders.

There is no “apparently” about it, Harry Reid IS a Mormon. (How do you like that little dismissal of Mormons – “that’s fine.”) And while it is true that Mormons as a group have the highest percentage of self-identified Conservatives and the lowest percentage of self-identified Liberals, it is not correct to call Liberals Mormons “in name only” just because they aren’t Conservative. It would be like saying soon-to-be unemployed VA Representative Eric Cantor is a Jew in name only because he’s Conservative. And it’s thoroughly hypocritical to have such a mendacious snake oil salesman who proclaims to be a Christian question someone else’s devotion to his faith. But the Gish Galloping continued.

And so, when you look at what he’s doing, the Bill of Rights is laid out in the Declaration of Independence, you start with the first belief that there’s a Creator, the second belief that the Creator gives us certain inalienable rights, the third belief in the Declaration is that government exists to protect those inalienable rights.

Where to begin? First of all, the Bill of Rights (which usually refers to the first ten Amendments to the US Constitution) is not “laid out in the Declaration of Independence.” While there are certainly references to grievances later addressed by the Bill of Rights (which was not written by the same body of people who wrote the Constitution), they are not all individually and specifically addressed. They’re pretty much ignored completely in the Articles of Confederation, written less than eighteen months after the Declaration. If the Bill of Rights were such an important part of the Declaration (as Barton implies), then why were they not mentioned at all in the Articles of Confederation, the framework for the first United States of America? As for the sequence of beliefs laid out in the Declaration, Barton is twisting things to support his erroneous agenda that the United States was founded as a Christian Nation. The first belief isn’t that “there’s a Creator” but that all men are created equal. It’s an important distinction because it’s true that all men are born equal whether or not you believe in a God. (I don’t believe in a God, but I do believe we are all born equal and that no one is born “better” than anyone else.) In fact, this line was specifically written as a refutation of the then-widely held belief by monarchs in the Divine Right of Kings. It was a message to King George III that just because he was born into a family of nobility did not mean he was better than anyone else, or that he was born with rights others did not have. It does say that government exists to secure these rights, but he leaves out an important distinction: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed.” There is no dependence on God for our rights. Humans guarantee our rights with the support of other humans.

So eleven years later when the Founding Fathers did the Bill of Rights they said, hey, these are those rights that we were talking about that the government is not allowed to touch because these come from the Creator and government exists to protect rights from the Creator.

The “Founding fathers” did not “do” the Bill of Rights, the First Congress (a body of men elected after ratification of the US Constitution, which had no Bill of Rights when it was ratified) did. They were introduced by James Madison (one of the primary authors of the Constitution), but he didn’t think they were necessary, and that his primary motivation for introducing the original twelve amendments was so that they could tell their constituents who wanted them that they tried. In his introduction of the Bill of Rights, Madison made no mention of God or a Creator, nor did he reference the Declaration of Independence, nor any “God-given rights.”

So that’s why we’ve never messed with the Bill of Rights because they were always off limits to government because they came from God directly to man, they did not go through government to get here.

Actually, if you read Madison’s comments, he mentions that several States already had a Bill of Rights, and that the ones he proposed were similar to the ones in the States. It’s important to Barton that he maintain the fiction that our rights came only from God and not from an agreement among humans that people should be treated better than they have been.

If you don’t have the belief that you will answer to God for what you do, you will sell your country, you will sell your kids’ future, you will sell everything going on and that’s where we’re getting. And so it’s not just a belief in God, it’s the belief that you answer to God and you believe that, and see that’s where Harry Reid is not. You know, he may believe in God, he probably says he does; I don’t think he has any cognizance of having to answer to God for what he does.

Actually, Davey, Harry Reid doesn’t have to answer to God for what he does in Congress. He only has to answer to the people of the state of Nevada. And they continue to send him back to Congress despite the right wing crazies the Republicans run against him.

If the David Bartons of the world have any fault, it’s that they so badly want the United States to become a Theocracy that they’ll ignore the Ninth Commandment not to bear false witness (lie) about the intent of the people who threw off the shackles of oppression to declare the colonies free and independent states. And it’s up to the rest of us to stop them from succeeding. And that is best done by voting.

This is our daily open thread. Have at it.

The Watering Hole; Friday July 4 2014; The First Days of Summer . . .

Today’s the Fourth of July. Independence Day. It’s supposedly a holiday, but I’m not among the celebrants. Not any more. Not since the conservative movement, SCOTUS obviously included, began its never-ending assault on the “independence” of all but the rich, the powerful, and the corporations. Celebrating “Independence Day” these days is kinda like . . . kinda like it would be to celebrate Christmas if there were no Santa . . . ??

Hmmm. I will think on that one.

Onward. Summer is now about two weeks old, give or take an hour or two. On the Solstice the sunrise here was at 0537 MDT; this morning it’s scheduled to have first peeked over the horizon at 0542, so the creep toward winter is already five minutes underway.

Anyway, my way of celebrating the fourth day of July this year is to offer a quick look back at roughly the first few days of summer — the last few days in June — here at the foot of the Front Range of the Rockies. Beats fireworks!

First, an 11,000 ft. Front Range Peak. The patches of white stuff are the last remnants of winter’s snowpack:

Roundtop 011 mod

Next, the first “rose” of summer, a thistle blossom:

Thistle flower 009 mod

Early morning reflections of the Front Range atop our local Lake Beckwith:

Beckwith 034 mod

An aging gosling, almost grown into his adult Canadian Goose feathers:

Aging gosling 031 mod

Now to the backyard. First, a visitor:

Bullsnake 114

Scary scary, yeah? :shock: Here’s another look:

Bullsnake 116

DANGER DANGER? Nah, just a gopher snake waiting to do his thing:

Bullsnake 113

Meanwhile, Shadow the cat sent Mr.G(opher) packing, then returned to her grassy guardpost unfazed:

Shadow 093

So. How does allathat relate to, say, the news of the day in re the Fourth of July? Iraq? Syria? Our do-nothing Congress? Our grossly corrupted Supreme Court? The McDaniel/Cochran idiot “war” in Mississippi? Corporate and billionaire political privilege? Etc. etc. etc.??

Easy. Everything “Out There” is unbelievably SUPERIOR! to EVERYTHING that’s parcel to the mostly demented human agenda.

Thus it is demonstrated; thus it is written. (see above)

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, July 2, 2014: BREAKING GNUS: Boehner v. Obama leaked!

Walker, The Zoo's underground investigative journalist.

Walker, The Zoo’s underground investigative journalist.

Walker, the Zoo’s underground investigative journalist, recently dug up an interesting paper, tossed into the garbage along with several empty cans of spray-on tan. While the paper does not indicate who authored it, it does appear to be a draft of pleadings in the much publicized Boehner lawsuit he plans to file against President Obama:

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Boehner v. Obama

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

PARTIES:

  1. Plaintiff JOHN BOEHNER is a natural person with unnaturally orange skin. Orange is not the new black. BOEHNER is the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  2. Defendant BARACK OBAMA is a natural person, born in Kenya and the illegitimate President of the United States.

JURISDICTION

  1. Article III of the United States Constitution grants the United States Supreme Court original jurisdiction over all cases in which a public minister is a party. Since OBAMA claims to be the President of the United States, he is a Public Minister for Article III purposes.

CAUSE OF ACTION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

  1. OBAMA is not doing everything I and the Republican Majority in the House wants him to do.
  2. OBAMA continues to enforce and implement OBAMACARE.
  3. BENGHAZI.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

Wherefore, Plaintiff prays this court:

  1. Order OBAMA to do everything I want him to do;
  2. Issue an injunction to block the implementation of OBAMACARE; and
  3. Order an investigation of BENGHAZI.

Respectfully,

John A. Boehner,

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Second in the Line of Succession to the Presidency
Savior of the People
Holder of the Sacred Trust

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 30th, 2014: Jesus must be screaming

Thank you, frugalchariot, for the link that you posted on Saturday’s thread, leading me to a treasure trove of jaw-dropping info about Colorado’s latest entry in ‘Teh Crazy Game': Gordon J. Klingenschmitt

Teh Crazy is strong in Gordon J. Klingenschmitt

Teh Crazy is strong in Gordon J. Klingenschmitt

Klingenschmitt is the surprise Republican primary winner for state representative in Colorado’s 15th District. The story in frugal’s link to Crooks and Liars includes an excerpt from RightWingWatch on Klingenschmitt that is loaded with links and will curl your hair. As karoli at C&L says in the article:

“This is why there should be a Great Wall between church and state that is impenetrable. This guy is a nut. He makes Rafael Cruz look sane. And he’s now a Republican candidate for state office in Colorado.”

According to the Denver Post, Colorado Republicans don’t want to claim Klingenschmitt as one of their own:

“Klingenschmitt’s rhetoric and beliefs have raised alarm with members of the Republican Party, who worry that his views might cause problems for conservatives.”

“Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Republican Party. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and dishonest,” said Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.”

Klingenschmitt, a former Navy Chaplain who was court-martialed in 2006 – not for “praying in Jesus’ name” as he tells it – for disobeying a lawful order. It is against military rules to wear one’s uniform at a political event, but Klingenschmitt wore his Navy Chaplain uniform to a protest in March of 2006 – next to former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore – outside the White House. He soon launched a new career with a radio show called “The Pray in Jesus Name Project.” Again from the Denver Post:

“[Klingenschmitt's] outspoken religious beliefs have crossed into the realm of popular politics, including homosexuality and Obama.

“Father in heaven, we pray against the domestic enemies of the Constitution — against this demon of tyranny who is using the White House,” Klingenschmitt said of the president in an episode of his show…”

According to The Public Record, Klingenschmitt has been playing the martyr ever since his court-martial, “boasting to his right-wing extremist followers that he demanded his own court martial because his superior officers prohibited him from praying in the name of Jesus.”

“Further undercutting Klingenschmitt’s claim that he sacrificed his naval career in the name of Jesus is an e-mail Vice Adm. Harvey sent to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen urging him to approve Klingenschmitt’s “involuntary release” from the Navy due to Klingenschmitt’s “lack of career potential.”

Klingenschmitt’s former supervisor in the Navy had lots to say about him as well. Still from The Public Record article (which you HAVE to read, it’s an eye-opener):

“As reported by AU, Norm Holcomb, a retired Navy chaplain who was Klingenschmitt’s boss, sent an e-mail in March 2007 to Kentucky state officials after he discovered the House of Representatives passed a resolution lauding the disgraced Navy chaplain for “service to God, country and the Commonwealth of Kentucky” and invited him to lead a prayer session.”

[excerpt from Holcomb's email]

“We have been relatively quiet regarding our ex-chaplain’s untruthfulness and lack of honor because we are embarrassed that one of our own could display such behavior in the name of our Lord. We wanted to spare all concerned the embarrassment associated with his dishonesty. However, it now seems that it would be wrong for those of us who know the truth to remain silent. I served with him and supervised him (as best as it was possible to supervise a person who refused to submit to lawful authority) and I know about his daily dishonesty and ‘spin’ of the truth.”

Okay, so the Navy felt that Klingenschmitt lacked “career potential”, his own former supervisor states that Klingenschmitt was “untruthful” and now he’s running for public office? Coloradans, beware!

Next…

Scalia sez 'Go fuck yourselves'

Scalia, as always, sez ‘Screw you, I’m here ’til I die.’

Last week, the Supremes voted unanimously to strike down Massachusetts’ “Buffer Zone” law, which restricts anti-abortion protesters from coming within 35 feet of a women’s health clinic. According to a ThinkProgress thread from June 27th:

“The buffer zone law was struck down in a narrow ruling that suggested there are different ways to curb anti-choice harassment without restricting speech on public sidewalks…it’s still illegal to obstruct women’s access to a health clinic, thanks to a federal law that was passed in response to clinic blockades in the 1980s and early 1990s.”

Naturally, Antonin Scalia took issue with some points in Chief Roberts’ opinion, and had to get his own two cents in, according to an article from aol.com:

“In a separate opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized Roberts’ opinion as carrying forward “this court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents.”

Scalia said state and local governments around the country would continue to be able to “restrict antiabortion speech without fear of rigorous constitutional review.”

The buffer-zone case began when Boston-area grandmother Eleanor McCullen and other abortion opponents sued over the limits on their activities at Planned Parenthood health centers in Boston, Springfield and Worcester. At the latter two sites, the protesters say they have little chance of reaching patients arriving by car because they must stay 35 feet not from the clinic entrances but from the driveway to those buildings’ parking lots. Patients enter the building through the parking lots, which are private property.”

[emphasis mine]

Eleanor McCullen, Nosy Parker

Eleanor McCullen, Nosy Parker

So, just because Ms. McCullen wanted to get close enough to her intended harassment victims so that they could hear her better, she sued? Yes, she and her ilk have the 1st Amendment right to free speech, but that shouldn’t mean that a total stranger should be forced to listen to her. And if she couldn’t shout loud enough from across the street, tough darts!

What makes the Supreme’s decision so much harder to swallow is the hypocrisy: the entire Supreme Court plaza is a legislated buffer zone. As Susan Milligan says in this piece from U.S. News and World Report:

“But at what point does the free speech become a barrier to a woman seeking to exercise another right, one upheld by the courts, to have an abortion? The idea that the individuals preaching against abortion on the street are merely “counseling” women is the utmost insult…[t]he idea that a complete stranger presumes to know better – and assumes that the woman in question is some kind of mindless fool who couldn’t possibly know what she is doing – is beyond arrogant.”

Every time a Christian lies in Jesus’ name, Jesus screams.

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 28, 2014: Crazy, Crazy World

Is it just me, or does anyone else think the level of Crazy has gone up exponentially in recent years? Conservatives, who for decades bitched because their message wasn’t being given equal play in the news media, operate under the false notion that all viewpoints are equally valid, even though the word “valid” means something has validity, which means it’s based on the truth, which we all know is not true of many Conservative beliefs (hence, one of the primary reasons their views were not being presented in the news media.) Consequently, we no longer have any deep level discussions about the fundamental precepts of our beliefs. We all agree that the world is a dangerous place, but where Liberals feel it can be made better, Conservatives believe it will always be dangerous and, therefore, we have to look out for ourselves first. And therein lies the problem. Our views on how the problems of the world, the things that make it dangerous, should be dealt with all stem from these fundamental beliefs, which are not compatible. Liberals have a philosophy based on altruism while Conservatives have a philosophy based on selfishness. So where Liberals try to advocate for policies that benefit the world in general, Conservatives tend to advocate for the things that benefit themselves (or their loved ones.) Yet we always presume that both sides in any political debate have valid viewpoints about what to do. Clearly this is insane. The ironic thing to me is that one of the reasons I think the world continues to be dangerous for everybody is because of Conservatives and their “Screw everybody else, I come first”-mentality. Fewer conservatives in charge would equate to less danger. And FTR, religious fundamentalism is largely a Conservative viewpoint.

So should I be surprised when the loser in a recent Oklahoma Republican primary contest to be the nominee to be US Representative claimed that his opponent was ineligible to run for office (an office he has held for several terms) and that he should get his opponents votes in that primary? Aside from the fact that that’s not how it works (the votes might be nullified but they wouldn’t just be given to the opponent), his reason for claiming his opponent was ineligible was that he wasn’t human. Timothy Ray Murray claims that current US Representative Frank Lucas is actually dead, and that the entity you see claiming to be Rep Lucas is actually a robot, sent to replace the Congressman, who was hanged on a stage in the Ukraine more than a decade ago (by the World Court, no less, which is more properly known as the International Court of Justice, and which usually operates out of the Netherlands.) I suppose I should be reassured by his promise to voters that he would never own a look-alike robot. (Murray ran as a Democrat two years ago, but I don’t think he’s Liberal. Another reason why one shouldn’t assume ideology identifies party affiliation.)

I suppose also that we should be grateful that Pete Santilli isn’t running for elected office. Santilli is a conservative radio host who in the past called for a rally to shut down Washington, DC (didn’t happen; low turnout), and for the members of both the Obama and Bush families to be killed, and for Hillary Clinton to be shot in the vagina because of Benghazi (didn’t happen either; Secret Service investigated). Now he wants to shut down the border crossing just south of San Diego because of all those Central American children who tried to enter the US illegally (Obama made them do it) and because of a marine imprisoned in Mexico for accidentally crossing the border with guns. He wants people to put a copy of the Constitution in their left breast pocket and drive down to the border and shut the crossing down because “We run this freaking place!” The funny thing is if he were to take that copy of the Constitution out of his left breast pocket and read it, he would find that we don’t really run this place, we elect people to run it for us. And when we don’t like the job they’re doing, we don’t kill them, we vote them out of office. I don’t think this rally is going to be all that successful, either.

Then there’s John Wallace, Vice President of the New York Oath Keepers, who is calling for law enforcement officers to disobey orders and to fight “socialist tyranny.” Their primary complaint seems to be New York’s SAFE Act, a law passed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, that toughened gun laws. Anti-government types, who crap their pants daily in fear of the government coming to take away their guns (even the unregistered ones), don’t like laws limiting the number of bullets one can have in a gun. If they’re law-abiding citizens, what’s their problem? This idea that the primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to serve as a check on our own government, with the implied threat that if we don’t like what they’re doing, we’ll violently overthrow them, needs to be squashed once and for all. The authors of the Amendment never claimed this was its main purpose, just that it was a possibly beneficial consequence of having an armed citizenry. I’m sure most of these folks never heard of the Whiskey Rebellion, or know that President George Washington used the authority of the Second Amendment to form a militia to shut down the rebellion. But they’re convinced that our government is “communist”, and that President Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority with almost every action he takes.

These people are crazy. They have little or no connection to Reality. They live in a world of their own creation inside their minds, and they demand that we believe them and that we take the actions they claim are the only way to save this nation. They need psychiatric help, not an audience.

The Watering Hole; Friday June 27 2014; Can STUPID be Summarized?

The 2014 primary elections in Colorado were this last Tuesday. The Democrat ballot had a dozen or so “contests” on it, but each ‘contest’ had only one contestant. Interesting, I thought, that there were no real choices to make other than whether or not to take the time to read the names and either leave them blank or mark them with an ‘X’. That was NOT the case on the Republican side of the swamp, however. There, there were numerous choices for each contest — not all that surprising in this era where the ‘baggers are working their fingers to the bone to rid the world of anyone who might be considered “mainstream.” Problem is, though, that more often than not (and in GOP primaries across the country, not just here in Colorado), the closest the favorite/winner ever gets to ‘mainstream’ is that he’s not quite as nuts or demented as the ones beneath him in the final count.

Anyway, the GOP “winners” (my way of spelling ‘losers’) here, i.e. the dudes who will be on the ticket in November running against Democrats who are generally bright, progressive, and competent, are reviewed and duly summarized in just the title of a Think Progress article: Climate Change Deniers Prevail In Colorado GOP PrimariesI could probably rant for several pages on the surreal and unbelievable stupidity and shallowness of the GOP’s candidate slate here, in Colorado. But I won’t, because I’m pretty sure that there’s probably no more collective GOP stupidity here than in any other state, so there’d be nothing new in any rant I might come up with. I do admit, however, that I was surprised that Climate Change Denial was so prominent a GOP feature this year. And frankly, I’ve seen virtually zero evidence that the issue has much variance from state to state amongst Republican candidates. In fact, I have to wonder: just how uniform — across the country — is Republican stupidity? Can anyone point to a GOP candidate anywhere that is NOT a climate change denier? And on so many other issues, is the candidate philosophy uniform across the board, or at least nearly so? Are they, each and all, uniformly against, to name but the few that quickly come to mind:

Climate Science
Renewable Energy
Public Education
Workers’ Rights/Labor Unions
Social Security
Medicare
ACA/Medicaid
Abortion
Contraception
Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes
Immigration Reform
Gun Control (any or all issues therein)
Environmental Protection (EPA)
Raising Minimum Wage
Food Stamps
Tax Reform

If they’re generally against all of that (and more, I’m sure), what are they uniformly FOR? I can only come up with three:

Impeaching Obama
War (most anywhere)
Enriching their Corporate and Wall Street Benefactors

I know I’m missing a whole bunch of issues on the ‘against’ side, maybe even one or two on the ‘for’ side. What’s missing? Contributions welcome!

OPEN THREAD

 

 

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 25, 2014: I’m Baaaack!

Hello folks,

I see you all enjoyed my little contests while I was on vacation. Now for something completely different, or, idle musings of a demented and sacareligious mind….

Fundamental christians believe a person is created at conception.

They also believe in the resurection of the body – that is, we will all be resurrected in our physical form after everyone is raised from the dead on Judgment day.

Well, that means that there are going to be millions of fertilized eggs, persons lost by miscarriages, resurrected outside the womb.

ooooooow….

That’s gonna smell after a couple of days…..

OPEN THREAD

GOT ANYTHING TO ADD?

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 23rd, 2014: NY State’s Medical Marihuana Bill

Yes, in the original legislation, S4406-D, marijuana is spelt “marihuana,” so I’ll go with that.

It appears that what Governor Cuomo will agree to sign is not the same as the original bill. S4406-D includes language regarding “smokable marihuana”, such as:

“1 (B) MEDICAL MARIHUANA MAY NOT BE SMOKED IN ANY PLACE WHERE TOBACCO MAY
2 NOT BE SMOKED UNDER ARTICLE THIRTEEN-E OF THIS CHAPTER, REGARDLESS OF
3 THE FORM OF MEDICAL MARIHUANA STATED IN THE PATIENT’S CERTIFICATION;”

The legislation listed a wide variety of illnesses** for which a patient could be treated with medical marihuana. The patient could receive an amount up to (and possibly more than, if prescribed by the patient’s medical practicioner) two (2) ounces every thirty days. The final bill (which I can’t find posted yet, but I’ll update this when I do) may limit the qualifying illnesses

From the Long Beach, NY, Patch:

The bill does not allow for smokable marijuana, “which is important,” according to Cuomo. Sponsors of the bill favored smokeable varieties but Cuomo thought it would contribute to development of a gateway drug, according to the Wall Street Journal report.

Excerpt from the WSJ:

It would permit only doctors to prescribe marijuana, in forms including oil-based and vapor, to individuals with any of about a half-dozen conditions**, including cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

But it wouldn’t legalize smokable forms of the drug, making the effort much narrower in scope than many other medical-marijuana laws around the country. And it would allow the governor, upon recommendation by the state police superintendent or health commissioner, to suspend the program at any time.

The plan would make New York the 23rd state to legalize at least some forms of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and the second—in addition to Minnesota—to do so while also banning smokable forms.

Mr. Cuomo had said he wanted to curb marijuana’s potential to become a “gateway” drug, a worry shared by some Republicans—including the GOP leader in the Senate, Dean Skelos—whose votes were critical to the legislation’s success.

Stop right there, Governor Cuomo. Obviously you haven’t studied the issue enough if you believe it is a “gateway drug.” Particularly when you consider what the average age and condition of most of the “certified patients” will likely be, I doubt if any of them will be looking for a higher high. I would have to think that many of them have been treated with a variety of painkillers over the course of their illness, very strong and often addictive painkillers. So why would “smokable” marihuana be more “gateway”-ish than edible marihuana?

Let’s get back to the permitted illnesses, aka “serious conditions”, now down to “about a half-dozen.” **Here’s the list from the original legislation:

12 7. “SERIOUS CONDITION” MEANS A SEVERE DEBILITATING OR LIFE-THREATENING CONDITION, INCLUDING:
CANCER, POSITIVE STATUS FOR HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS OR ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME,
AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS, ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY, TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY,
DYSTONIA, PARKINSON’S DISEASE, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, DAMAGE TO THE NERVOUS TISSUE OF THE SPINAL
CORD WITH OBJECTIVE NEUROLOGICAL INDICATION OF INTRACTABLE SPASTICITY, EPILEPSY, WASTING SYNDROME,
CROHN’S DISEASE, POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, NEUROPATHY, RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, AND HUNTINGTON’S
DISEASE, OR A CONDITION ASSOCIATED WITH OR A COMPLICATION OF SUCH A CONDITION OR ITS TREATMENT,
OR ANY OTHER CONDITION THAT IS ADDED BY THE COMMISSIONER.

So now, most of those conditions cannot legally be treated with medical marijuana? That’s a shame for all of those patients who may have had their hopes up of being covered under this bill.

I’ll post the wording of the new bill as soon as I get it. In the meantime, here’s a couple of websites that I ran across that you may find interesting.

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?