The Fall Back Position

Featured

Tonight Daylight Savings Time ends. For now. We move to the Fall Back position. If you live in a part of the United States that, oh, what’s the right word, “celebrates”? “participates”? “recognizes”? maybe it’s “observes”, Daylight Savings Time, you should set your clocks back one hour before going to bed. If you don’t, you may end up attending Sunday Morning Worship Services an hour ahead of everybody you know from your usual service. Who knows? Maybe it’s worth a try. And on the bright side, you’ll be back in time to watch “Up with Steve Kornacki”, who should be good and awake what with having an extra hour to sleep. And if you live in a part of the United States that does not observe DST (as the cool kids call it), life will be unchanged for you. Congratulations, the Chinese envy you.

But why do we do this? What’s the point? Well, the idea was, in not so many words, to save daylight. (You can read about the history of Daylight Savings Time to varying degrees here, here, and here.) It was believed by its proponents in recent years to save about 10,000 barrels of oil per day. The thinking is that as we shift our daily activities by an hour, businesses will use less energy. Not everyone agrees. But we do it, and our reward is to get an extra hour of sleep once a year, in exchange for our sacrifice of one hour’s sleep once a year.

Funny story. When I was in the Air Force in 1987, I was stationed at Ramstein AB, West Germany. In September of that year, I took a month’s leave to attend a friend’s wedding and to see my then-girlfriend, Jane. My leave ended after the first weekend of October, so I was here in the United States when Europe took their Fall Back position. I returned to West Germany afterwards, so I was in Europe when folks in the United States took their Fall Back position on the last weekend in October. So I missed the chance to get my extra hour of sleep that year. And while I understand why, intellectually, it’s wrong, I have always felt that for the last 27 years, the Universe has owed me an extra hour of sleep. :)

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Daylight Savings Time, an extra hour of sleep, ten thousand barrels of oil per day, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

Why do we learn history?

So we can learn from the mistakes of the past.

But which history will teach us that? The history I learned in grammer school was contradicted by the history I learned in high school, and when I got to college, it was like everything I learned was a lie.

‘Tis true. The history they teach in school is little more than a fantasy with some real names, dates and places thrown in to make it sound real. But grownups feel that young children should be protected from the harsh realities of what really happened. I mean, imagine how upset you would have been to learn that we wiped out tens of thousands of Indians by giving them small-pox infected blankets.

Yeah, I guess you’re right. I mean, I would have thought we killed Pochohantas. But what about something more recent?

Like what?

Like Black Tuesday. The Stock Market crash. The causes of the Great Depression. Now we’re told it was organized labor and high taxes on the job creators that tanked the global economy back then.

Ok, son, it’s time you learned how history works. There’s history, what really happened, and there’s history, what the people in power want you to believe happened.

How do we know the difference?

Do something most people are unwilling to do: Research. Read. Go to original sources. The ruling class learned something 85 years ago. They learned that they needed even more power over the government. And they, slowly but surely, got it. So, this time, when they crashed the economy, they made sure they were well taken care of. They learned from history, and took steps to avoid losing their fortunes this time around. The common man, the masses content to accept the history the ruling class taught them, did not learn, and paid the price this time, too.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, October 27th, 2014: Mutants are Cool

I don’t normally click on any of those groups of six ads that seem to be unavoidable on most websites, but when I saw the following photo, I just HAD to:

Horse or Zebra?

Horse or Zebra?


The website, brainjet.com, didn’t answer the caption’s question, but I’d say it’s a zebra with a cool-looking color mutation…which, of course, was the title of the slideshow: “13 Naturally Color-Mutated Animals.” While there were some that I might call into question (for instance, the quality of the “pink elephant” photo was too poor), many were beautiful and marvelous. Go ahead and check them out, here are some of my favorites:
Brown Striped Zebra (Zebra Erythrism)

Brown Striped Zebra (Zebra Erythrism)


The first two were for Zooey. The next one is for Pachy:
Pink Dragonfly

Pink Dragonfly


This next photo was called a “Piebald Deer”, which is erroneous: “Piebald” (at least in horse terminology) describes a white coat with random irregular black patches; “Skewbald” describes a white coat with random irregular brown patches. So the deer in this pic is actually a skewbald, not a piebald:
piebald deer
This one’s for me, since my ‘toon representation in our header is the majestic tiger (thank you, Paul!):
Four Shades of Tiger

Four Shades of Tiger


And just a few more that were cool:
Half-white Peacock

Half-white Peacock


Pink Grasshopper (sounds like a drink!)

Pink Grasshopper (sounds like a drink!)

Enjoy the rest of the slide show. I did!

This is our daily open thread – feel free to discuss whatever you want.

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, Saturday, October 25, 2014: Five Republicans I Fear Might Win

Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch (a project of People For the American Way dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement), here are five Republicans I fear might win on Election Day (which is just one week from this coming Tuesday.) What’s even more frightening than the mere fact that they won their party’s nomination is that they may end up being members of a Republican-controlled House and Senate. And that would be horrific for anybody in this country who isn’t a white, male billionaire which, last time I checked, was just about all of us.

The five names you don’t want to hear announced as winners on Election Night (or however many days it takes to count up every vote against them) are Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Jody Hice, Glenn Grothman, and Zach Dasher. The first two wish to become US Senators (in our government!) and the other three wish to become US Representatives (representing the interests of the very, very rich in the People’s House.) Ernst wants to replace retiring Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Tillis wants to unseat first term North Carolina Senator Kay Hagen. Over in the House, Hice wants to replace the out-going non-believer in Science (and member of the House Science Committee) Dr. Paul Broun (who once called Evolution and the Big Bang Theory “lies straight from the pit of Hell“); Grothman wants to replace retiring Wisconsin Rep Tom Petri (who won’t endorse Grothman because, as he told a reporter, “Why would I endorse a person who has said that if in two years people said he was ‘just like Petri’ he would be insulted?”); and Dasher wants to bank on his family name (which isn’t his; he’s related to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame) to replace the freshman Republican Vince McAllister.

I encourage you to read about each of these five candidates at the link above. Believe me, if you have any sense of decency as a human being, if you have any concern whatsoever about the extremist Tea Party people taking over our government so they can do the bidding of their wealthy benefactors, or if you have an IQ in the three-digit range, you will not want any of these five people to win a week from Tuesday. If they have the right view on anything, I can promise you it’s probably for the wrong reasons. And talk about extremism. Among them, in various combinations, they support: nullification of federal laws they don’t like, personhood amendments, Christian nationalism, anti-abortion laws, and the arming of school teachers. And I just picked one thing out of each of their platforms. They support many, many more extremist positions. I will be very unhappy if any one of them wins, and I will be downright depressed if any of them win and the Republicans take control of all of Congress because any of them might become the head of a Congressional committee. You should be, too.

This is our daily open thread. feel free to discuss Republican extremism or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole; Friday October 24 2014; On the Other Hand . . .

The other day I accidentally ran across this pair of tidbits that represent . . . not sure how to say this . . . that represent either (a) the pinnacles of American stupidity or (b) the bottom of the bottomless pit of American idiocy? (Word choice is open for discussion).

First off, this gem:

Author says South should form new nation without gays and Hispanics called ‘Reagan’

Conservative columnist and former aide to President Ronald Reagan called on southern states to secede and form an ultraconservative new nation named after his old boss. Douglas MacKinnon, a former speechwriter for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, appeared Tuesday on The Janet Mefford Show to promote his new book, “The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country … Now.”

He told the religious conservative host that southern states – starting with Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina – should leave the United States so they can implement a right-wing Christian system of government.

MacKinnon envisions other states joining, but he hopes to leave out Texas because “there have been a number of incursions into Texas and other places from some of the folks in Mexico.”

“A growing number of our leaders seem determined to erase our borders,” he wrote in a recent syndicated column promoting his book, “do away with the rule-of-law, expand the nanny state into a theology, bankrupt or punish American companies in the name of fighting climate change, do away with the 2nd Amendment, censor or demonize the history of western civilization and replace it with multiculturalism, give every kid a trophy and turn them into wimps, continue to support the completely unfunded public-employee pensions which are destroying the financial solvency of cities, counties, and states across our nation, add billions every day to our $17 trillion in debt, destroy our health-care system to substitute socialized medicine, vilify fossil fuels, and attack all faith in God with a particular and unhinged bias against the Christian faith.”

[. . .]

He said the new country should be called Reagan, at least until voters there could decide on a permanent name.

MacKinnon did not specifically address . . . whether slavery would be legal in the new secessionist government, nor did he describe the status of black people living in Reagan.

But he made clear that LGBT people would be second-class citizens – or worse – saying that advances in their rights as citizens was a major factor in his call to break up the United States. [Etc.]

What a great idea! What could possibly go wrong?

Next up, a message massage from Louie Gohmert, one that presumably defines the fate of the part of the country that chooses not to become part of the nation called ‘Reagan.’

Gohmert: Gay Massage Will Make Our Soldiers Vulnerable To Terrorism

“I’ve had people say, ‘Hey, you know, there’s nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.’ Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it’s a different kind of fighting, it’s a different kind of war and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you’re not going to last very long. It’s guerrilla fighting.

“You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and if that’s what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did … as people have said, ‘Louie, you have got to understand, you don’t even know your history.’ Oh yes I do. I know exactly. It’s not a good idea.”

I was going to add a snarky comment right here, but I can’t remember what it was. I guess I’ve been dumb-founded, or something.

Oh well, on the other hand there’s another world out there. In fact, I’m thinking of seceding from this one and moving on to that better place — ‘Out There.’ Like for example (trying to sound secessionist):

Colorado Front Range, Indian Summer

Colorado Front Range, Indian Summer

And finally, a massage message from some ‘out there’ residents:

Geese at Beckwith 621

There. ‘Nuff said. No need for more words.

OPEN THREAD