The Watering Hole, 8/20/14: Do you know how fast you’re going?

A short while back, astrophysicist and Cosmos star Neil deGrasse Tyson was pulled over by a State Trooper while on his way to a speaking engagement. The Trooper obviously didn’t recognize the famous scientist.

We here at The Zoo obtained the audio from the Trooper’s dash camera shortly before it was taken off-line. Here, then, is the exchange between an astrophysicist and a State Trooper on the subject of speeding.

Trooper: Do you know how fast you were going?

NdGT: Relative to what?

Trooper: Relative to…..Einstein.

NdGT: Ah, well, yes. It’s fascinating you should day that. You see, Einstein was a mathematician, but his theories revolutionized the study of physics and astrophysics. Using his theories on relativity and time and motion we are finally able to answer that question.

Trooper: What question?

NdGT: How fast was I going. That is what you asked, right?

Trooper: Right.

NdGT: Ok. Now, to give you some grasp of how fast I was going, you’ve got to imagine we’re on one of those Octopus rides in a carnival. You know, the ride where there are several arms extending outward from a central hub. The hub spins around, and the end of the arms go round and round the hub. But that’s not all. At the end of each arm there are seats that spin round and round, so at times you’re hurling through space heading right towards the hub, and a moment later you’re being flung out and away from the hub. And at the point where you’re nearest the hub, you feel like you’re not moving at all.

Trooper: Huh?

NdGT: Stay with me, here. Now, the hub is our Sun, and the Earth is at the end of one of those arms, moving around the Sun at 66,000 miles per hour. But that’s not all, because the Earth spins around on its axis, like the seats on the carnival ride. In this case, a person on the equator would be spinning through space at about 1,000 miles per hour. But we have two problems. First, we’re approaching noon. That means we’re heading closest to that center hub, or, in this case, the Sun. That also means that, relative to the sun, we appear to be slowing down. And we’re also not at the equator. You see, the farther north or south you go from the equator, the slower you’re moving through space as the Earth continues to spin on its axis. For example, did you know that if you were standing exactly on the North Pole, you wouldn’t be moving at all, as far as the spin on the earth’s axis?

Trooper: I wouldn’t?

NdGT: Exactly! You’d be standing still. Well, not totally still. Although you wouldn’t feel like you’re moving, you would be doing a slow 360 degree spin. It would take you 24 hours just to be facing the same direction you were when you started. But even that’s a misperception. Because you would always be facing South, relative to the Earth, but relative to the Sun, or an astronaut in space, you’d be spinning in place. Are you with me so far?

Trooper: So far. We’re at the North Pole, right?

NdGT: No, we’re in Alabama. But that’s not all.

Trooper: It isn’t.

NdGT: No! and that’s the beauty of it all! You see, while we’re spinning round and round on our axis at 1,000 miles per hour, and spinning round and round the Sun at 66,000 miles per hour, the sun is whirling through space as it goes around and around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy at 483,000 miles per hour!

Trooper: No way!

NdGT: Way! and that’s not all! Our galaxy is moving away from the center of the Universe, the site of the Big Bang, at an amazing 1.3 million miles per hour! So, to answer your question, all I have to do is add 1.3 million, plus 438,000, plus 66,000, plus 1,000, adjusted down for latitude to approximately 800, plus 55 and the answer is…1,849,805 miles per hour, give or take.

Trooper: You don’t say. I had you clocked at 55. Wait, where’d the 55 come from?

NdGT: Oh, that’s the speed I had set on my cruise control.

OPEN THREAD TIME
RELATIVELY SPEAKING

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 18th, 2014: Sick Day

Featured

I am so sick of everything that I’m just going to throw up a few thoughts and see who’s coming down with the same thing.

I can’t even find the words to describe how sick I am of “Christians” (who, if Christ were real, would have been disowned by him) who are doing their damnedest to take over this country, whining about ‘religious persecution.’ The same zealous whackjobs go crazy fearmongering about ‘teh gay agenda’, when their own ‘Christian-nation/one-nation-under-their god’ agenda is infinitely more far-reaching. An excerpt from Right Wing Watch:

“Christian-nation activist David Lane is engaged in a multi-year, multi-state project to get conservative evangelical pastors more involved in electing right-wing candidates, and he is intent on making sure that the GOP nominates a 2016 presidential candidate to the Religious Right’s liking.”

When pastors of any religious stripe start getting “involved in electing right-wing candidates”, their church’s tax-exempt status should be revoked, period. They’ve been on thin ice for years, let them operate on just tithing and other donations from their parishioners.

I’ve been sick forever, it seems, of the sheer stupidity of the vast majority of Americans, but the last few years the ignorance has reached new heights? depths? From the now-common mundane ignorance of people who cannot speak or write proper English, to the simplistic denials of the worldwide disaster of global climate change, too many Americans are smugly proud of their lack of knowledge. When ‘leaders’ in government happily announce “I’m no scientist” when talking about human female biology/birth control, or climate change, or evolution, the premise of the movie “Idiocracy” doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched anymore. Just add some holy-rollers/snake oil salesmen to Idiocracy so it’s a tad more realistic.

I’m sick of the police and other law enforcement entities playing into the teabagger/libertarians’ narrative with the militarization of police forces across the country. There are groups out there who are insanely itching to get into a firefight with the “gummint” and consider ANY law enforcement to be the “gummint.” Cops, you are NOT helping when you treat civilians as an enemy – I’m looking at YOU, FERGUSON.

And I am sick to death of the blatant outright racism that has been revived by the election of President Barack Obama. But not just the racism itself, it’s the acceptance, even embracing, of racism that makes me so sick. I don’t know if President Obama anticipated just how much racist backlash would result from his election – I know I certainly didn’t. Just take one or two examples regarding the insanity that is happening in Ferguson, Missouri:

Ever-clueless Representative Steven King:

“”This idea of no racial profiling,” King said, “I’ve seen the video. It looks to me like you don’t need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that.”

“I just reject race-based politics, identity politics” King concluded. “I think we’re all God’s children. We all should be held to the same standards and the same level of behavior.”

and,

Tea-Partier radio-show host Jesse Lee Peterson:

““I’ve said from day one that Michael Brown is a thug,” Peterson explained before asserting that he must be a criminal by nothing[sic] “the fact that he was running from the cops, period, because good folks do not run from police officers, they follow their instructions.”

He added, “I just think that it’s a shame that, in America today, that criminals are given the benefit of the doubt – especially black criminals because white criminals are not – but black criminals are given the benefit of the doubt and the police officers are the suspects. I don’t know what has happened to my country.”

According to Wikipedia, “On September 21, 2005, Peterson penned a column for WorldNetDaily, in which he suggested the majority of the African-American people stranded in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina were “welfare-pampered”, “lazy” and “immoral” and “Peterson has also thanked “God and white people” for slavery—adding that if it weren’t for the slave trade, blacks might have never made it to the United States—and described traveling on slave ships as akin to “being on a crowded airplane” That is one ‘brother’ who really hates his own race. How can he possibly think that way?

I can’t help but think that, had Hillary Clinton won the Democratic Primary and the Presidency in 2008, we would not be seeing all of this out-in-the-open, ‘can-you-top-this’ undisguised racism. I blame President Obama for a lot of things, but I can’t honestly blame him for being elected and thereby opening the floodgates of racial prejudice.

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

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 16, 2014: Alabama and the Ten Commandments – Again

Featured

Tim Guffey, a commissioner in Jackson County, Alabama, who can best be remembered from me mentioning his name three seconds ago, has proposed doing what got current Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore removed from his office about a decade ago. For reasons defying both logic and common sense, Alabamans not only let the highest judicial officer in their state be elected by the people, they proved this was a bad idea by re-electing Roy Moore as their Chief Justice. Roy Moore got himself in trouble when he installed a monument to the religious aspects of the Ten Commandments on the public property housing the court house and refused to remove it when a federal judge ordered him to do so. Now a county commissioner wants to do the same thing, except he claims the Ten Commandments are a “historical document” and that without them, there would have been no Declaration of Independence or U.S. Constitution (the real historical documents beside which he wants to place the religious one.) Here’s the primary flaw in that argument: There’s absolutely no historical evidence that the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments is remotely true. So it can’t be an historical document.

What evidence exists, outside the religious texts within which they were included, that the events described about Moses and how he came to be in possession of these tablets are true? None! It’s just a story. If you want to believe it literally happened that way, do you also believe that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish and survived inside it for three days only to be spit out onto dry land to live and complain some more? Of course, you have to start with a belief in a god to believe such a story could possibly be true (apart from the lines God had in the story), just as you would have to have a belief in a god to believe that Moses watched the Finger of God write the Ten Commandments into stone slabs on the mountain wall, or however it happened in Cecile B. DeMille’s movies the Bible. Which means it’s impossible to think of the Ten Commandments in something other than a religious context. Speaking seriously (I know my readers), have you actually read the Ten Commandments? Do you know what the very first one roughly translated into English (how convenient) reads? “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shall have no other gods before me.” Would you seriously argue that whatever else it says, it can have anything other than a religious context?

And while it may have influenced some of our nation’s Founders (BTW, Snopes does a great job of destroying some Conservative Christian beliefs as the myths they are about quotes from the Founding Fathers, and of our government buildings. Oh, and John Adams did say, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.”), that does not justify giving it such a place of prominence on the public property of the citizens of a secular nation, which we are. Benjamin Franklin was well-known for being a womanizer, which was used to great advantage in gaining support for our nation in its early history. Should we be putting monuments to his libido on public property? Of course not. It doesn’t matter what influenced these men personally, because it wouldn’t work for everybody. And when as a public servant you try to claim that a religious story should be treated equally with historical fact by the taxpayers, you cross a serious line against which Thomas Jefferson, one of your heroes, warned should never be done. Religious fundamentalism, whether it’s in the Middle East or Jackson County, Alabama, is never a good thing for a people who value freedom.

This is our daily open thread. Discuss whatever you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, August 13, 2014: forty-two.

(Warning – mature language)

The rise in religious fanaticism around the globe has taken its toll on the Almighty. So much so that God has gone into psychotherapy, according to Harvey (not his real name), a rare medium who claims to have listened in on a session:

THERAPIST: So, tell me, Lord, vat ist der problem?

GOD: Well, it all began when I created the universe.

THERAPIST: Go on….

GOD: Well, I didn’t really create. I just spoke, and shit happened.

THERAPIST: Vat do you mean, “shit happened”?

GOD: You know, light and dark, earth, sky, water, sun and moon, stars and shit.

THERAPIST: So dat vas a bad thing?

GOD: Hell no. I looked around, and it was all good.

THERAPIST: Unt den vat happened?

GOD: Well, then I got to creating plants and fish and birds and animals. I wrapped everything up late Saturday when I created man. I took Sunday off, because, well, after creating everything in the Universe, I was plumb wore out.

THERAPIST: Sounds like you had a busy week.

GOD: Yeah, it was a hell of a week, especially for my first week on the job. And I think I might have fucked up a bit.

Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 11th, 2014: Caption Contests!

When I saw the first photo on TP last week, I thought “That just begs for a caption contest.” The photo is of Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel, and is credited to McDaniel for Senate. McDaniel allegedly hired a pastor to hold a press conference and state that he (the pastor) had been paid by Thad Cochran’s campaign to get black Democrats to vote in their Republican Senate primary:

MS State Senator Chris McDaniel

MS State Senator Chris McDaniel

Next, from an article by Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, in which Cavuto surprisingly says:

“…cross them once, go off-script with them once, pose one different question or surprise confrontation just once – and they go nuts, and I mean really nuts. It’s actually disturbing.”

Chris Christie and Rand Paul have a lot going for themselves. They’re political originals in almost all respects, save their uncanny lack of self-awareness. It just seems odd for gentlemen who demand respect, they have a devil of a time “showing” respect. Their rage is as consuming as it risks being self-immolating. No slight is too small, no diss too dizzy, no criticism too silly, that each doesn’t get silly, and childish, and boorish in kind. Not kind. Not right. Not big. Not…presidential.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie


Rand Paul with wings and sword

Rand Paul with wings and sword

And another two-fer, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul:

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul

Here’s a fun shot of ‘Russian Strongman’ Vladimir Putin:

Vladimir Putin and unknown woman

Vladimir Putin and unknown woman

What is Tucker Carlson dreaming about when he fell asleep on Fox & Fiends Friends?:

Tucker Carlson goes nappy-byes.

Tucker Carlson goes nappy-byes.

Last, here’s a shot of Lindsey Graham (fundraising at a place called River Rat Brewery.) Lindsey, on Fox News yesterday, sounded the alarm about terrorists attacking the U.S. He then swooned, clutching his pearls, saying “Someone fetch me mah smelling salts!”

Lindsey Graham drinking and fundraising

Lindsey Graham drinking and fundraising

And just for fun (if you aren’t having any yet), here’s a gif that I ran across while choosing a photo for Lindsey Graham:

What's Lindsey Graham thinking about now?

What’s Lindsey Graham thinking about now?

Enjoy!

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

Sunday Roast: Slacker Sunday

L1040724

Sand dunes, Florence, Oregon

L1050581

Ocean through the evergreens, near Yachats, Oregon

Photos by Zooey

Here’s the thing:  I love the coast; it’s so beautiful and calming.  But I really dislike sand.

The top photo is the dunes of Florence, OR, and LOTS of people flock there to drive their four-wheel things in the sand.  Apparently, it’s supposed to be fun, but I don’t see the point.  Besides, it’s loose sand!  You can’t walk on it, and it gets into EVERYTHING.  Ugh!

Give me a rocky beach with hard wet sand any day of the week.  Walking without staggering, no sand in my shoes….nice.  :)

This is our daily open thread, and that was my daily grumpfest.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 9, 2014: It Was Forty Years Ago Today

It was forty years ago today, August 9, 1974, that President Richard M. Nixon bid farewell to his staff. At noon that day, Vice President Gerald R. Ford, appointed to the Vice Presidency upon Spiro Agnew’s resignation over corruption and tax evasion activities (they weren’t just allegations; he took a bribe in his VP office from a Maryland contractor) took the oath of office to become our nation’s first un-elected president (the next being George W. Bush). Fun Fact: Dick Cavett noted that the letters in Spiro Agnew’s name can be rearranged to spell “Grow A Penis”.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Richard Nixon, other people named Milhous, un-elected office holders, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

The Traveler and the Woman at the Gate

a modern parable
by

briseadhnafaireIsistag

A young woman approached the gate of a wondrous new city. “Where do I begin” she thought “to learn everything this place has to teach me?” She walked past the gate, looking with wide eyes at the shops and stores and people.

“I want to learn.” she would say to passersby. “Where did you go to learn? Where should I start?”

“Begin with what interests you” one would say.

“Start by walking in the woods” said another.

“Read” “Perform a cleaning ritual” “look for what interests you the most” the suggestions were endless, leaving her more bewildered than ever. She sat at the city gate, wondering if she should go to the library, visit the elders or walk in the woods. She wanted to learn everything about everything, but what should be her first steps?

A Traveler in a hooded green cloak approached. The young woman looked up at him as he pulled his cloak back, revealing dark hair against the cobalt sky. High above, an eagle circled.

“Are you going in, or out?” the Traveler asked.

“I don’t know” replied the young woman.

“Then you are going no where.” the Traveler observed. The young woman sighed.

“Mind if I join you?” The Traveler sat next to the young woman. “This really is a marvelous city. There’s lots of things to do, to see, to learn.”

“I know” sighed the young woman “there’s so much, and I want to learn it all….I just don’t know where to begin.”

The eagle cried overhead.

The Traveler stood, and helped the young woman up. He walked slowly in a circle. Returning to the young woman, he spoke. “No doubt many have told you how to begin.” She nodded.

“The path is different for each” the Traveler continued. “One seeks knowledge from books, another from nature, another from doing. Each path is right for each of them.”

“But what is right for me?” her blue-green eyes implored.

“Ah…that’s the thing no one can tell you. Tell me, have you ever become your breath?” There was a twinkle in the Traveler’s eyes.

“What does that mean?”

“It means” he replied “whatever you think it means.”

She paused, in thought. The Traveler reached out with his left hand and moved his palm slowly downward past her forehead, and her eyes closed. The young woman began to breathe, slowly, inhaling….exhaling…….relaxing. The eagle cried again.

She stood there, at the city gate, for several moments. Breathing. She thought about becoming her breath until the only sound she could hear was the sound of her breath as she inhaled….exhaled…breathed in…breathed out…..until gently, ever so gently, she was filled with the understanding…what becoming her breath meant to her….and why her path would be hers, and hers alone.

“The way you choose, will be the right way for you.” she heard the Traveler’s voice as if coming from a dream. She struggled to open her eyes and as she did, she was momentarily blinded by the bright sunlight. She thought she saw the Traveler for a moment, golden in the midmorning sun, but as her eyes became used to the light once more, he faded from her vision.

She looked at the city inside the gate, and the woods outside the gate. “Whichever way I choose, will be the right way for me” she thought as she stepped forward, her heart beating with excited anticipation to learn all this new world had to offer.

© 2012 Briseadh na Faire

OPEN THREAD TIME,
CHOOSE YOUR PATH

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 4th, 2014: Peculiar Podiatric Political “Humor”

At our office, the content of our ‘Sales’ emailbox is usually comprised of orders, queries, requests for catalogs, etc. Occasionally we still get offers for misspelled Cialis, Viagra, etc., as well as the internet version of the letter from a Nigerian prince. Once in a while, for reasons beyond my comprehension, we get anti-government rants from a group called (I believe) The American Land Rights Association. But last week we got a very unusual (and pretty weird) political email. Here it is in its entirety:

From: Martin Marks [mailto:drfootsie@cox.net]
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:01 AM
To: drfootsie@drfootsie.org
Subject: PODIATRY to POLITICAL CARTOONING

Hi: PLEASE SHARE

Taxed Enough Already
Tired of CORRUPTION
ABOLISH IRS

We AIM to PLEASE ……….

GRID LOCK – gov’t waste

If you like your ……..

ILL Eagle - The  Barak Stops Here 01

While none of these made any sense or fell into the category of “humor” such as we understand it, the editor of the Virginia News Source (which touts itself as “Tidewater Virginia’s ONLY source of reality based news. We are professional muckrakers, politically incorrect, and equal opportunity offenders”) absolutely loves them. Here’s an excerpt (I recreated the misspellings, etc.) from the editor’s July 25th blurb about Dr. Footsie:

“I love ‘whack jobs and I connected with him and stuck up a a great relationship nstantly. My kind of person. Of sound mind. Off-beat humorous.

Dr. Footsie has enough of a whacky outlook, and the creative, artistic ability to articulate the wrongs of the world in a delightfully humorous way. That’s not to say that his cartoons aren’t biting. They are. They are effective. In one upcoming cartoon, he depicts Obama in a cartoon entitled “a black eye on America”, combining all that wrong about Obama’s failed presidency. Subtle meanings are hidden throughout his work.”

Well, they certainly fit in with the crap on the Virginia News Source website. They are NOT, however, either “delightful”, nor “subtle”, nor “humorous”, at least in MY opinion. Don’t quit your day job, “Dr. Footsie.”

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

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 2, 2014: Lazy Day

I admit it. I got nothing. I’m so worn out from fighting the powerful forces of the right wing who want to promote selfishness as a virtue to protect their ill-gotten gains, that I just want to relax and be lazy today. Have fun.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss laziness, the days of the week, powerful forces of the right wing who want to promote selfishness as a virtue to protect their ill-gotten gains, or any other topic you wish. I’m going back to bed.

The Watering Hole; Friday August 1, 2014; 1. Rain & Bows; 2. Teh Stupid

It’s been wet here of late. Wetter than it’s been during any July for a long, long time. Seems kind of odd for Colorado to be dripping and soaking wet even as much of the rest of the West is suffering through a protracted multi-year drought — might that be a consequence of (obviously non-existent) human-caused Climate Change? Whatever the undercurrent science, however, a most fortunate rainy-day payback is the fact that our local lake, our water supplying reservoir, is currently brim full and overflowing (for the third time this month) when typically, by mid to late summer, it’s at least four or five feet down.

Just a few days ago, we enjoyed a brief but welcome respite from the rain patterns when, late in the afternoon the clouds to the west broke and allowed the sunlight to stream through before the sun sank behind the front range. The result was a rather stunning pair of rainbows which I managed to capture from our back stoop before they disappeared.

Rainbows

Rainbows

One question: note how the colors in the top RB are in reverse order from those in the brighter bottom one. I’m fifty years away from science classes and I honestly have no idea as to why the reversal. Anyone got some enlightenment to share?

BTW, I was originally planning on heading over to that tree at first opportunity and collect the pot of gold that surely must be there, cleverly concealed, but between the rains and all the pickups on the highway I didn’t get there. Yet. Maybe next week.

Another virtue of all the summer rain is that it keeps the meadows green and nutritious — for a glistening horse grazing thereupon who is clearly about as happy as happy can get.

Horse 245Meanwhile and back in the political world, here are a couple of the week’s reigning examples of Teh Stupid in action. Read at your own risk.

Vote Cancelled On Border Crisis Bill; GOP Tells Obama To Act Alone

(Just a guess, but I suspect that if/when Obama acts alone, that’ll become further grounds for impeachment)

NRA Lobbyist Compares Gun Safety Law To Nazi Germany

(Yet another gun nut screwball who has absolutely no knowledge of anything at all other than his own irrational hatred)

School Blogger Fired Because ‘Homophonia’

(Well, it happened in Provo Utah where Teh Stupid is apparently endemic, so no big surprise. But still . . .)

Ok, that’s enough.

OPEN THREAD

 

Watering Hole: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 – Rant from CT

I have a friend who is a retired professional writer and she posts “rants” on Facebook.  With her permission, I am posting her most recent rant.

I love the way some people make up definitions of words to suit their own purposes.

Yesterday in the Reading Eagle a woman carrying on about the current focus of Tea hatred, the children coming across the border, said the word refugee means someone fleeing from a state of war. So these kids aren’t “refugees.”

I got out the ol’ Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which defined “refugee” as someone fleeing from a country because of danger or persecution. No mention of war as a prerequisite.

The woman went on to lecture that kids in our own country need help. After all, the economy is bad and so on and so forth.

When I read that, I started thinking about kids in our own country, too. Just probably not the same kids she was thinking about.

I was thinking about kids I saw standing in the middle of a godforsaken snow-covered desert on a Navajo reservation many years ago. Torn clothes, little food, missionaries and government workers living in beautiful houses, grand pianos in their living rooms. Those kids need help too. They always have. Ever since we invaded their country and took everything they had, they’ve needed help. Ever since we took their uranium to power our addiction to electronics, they needed help. Ever since we won their land from them, fair and square, first by poisoning them with smallpox and booze and then by taking any arable land they had left by murdering those who tried to stop us, they needed help.

But those weren’t the kids this woman was talking about. And it occurred to me that’s why these haters are so afraid–because all hate stems from fear.

Oh, these good Christian folks might fear the wrath of God. But I’ll tell you what.

They fear Karma even more.

This is our Open Thread.  Time to Speak Up!

Sunday Roast: San Francisco

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.