The Watering Hole, Monday, February 17th, 2014: Pick an Issue?

I’m sure that I’m not the only one among us Critters and Zoosters who received this email survey from Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) asking, “What should Congress focus on in 2014?”

Which issue matters most to you in 2014?

__Keeping Our Promise to Seniors by Protecting Social Security & Medicare

__Strengthening Our Manufacturing Economy

__Raising the Minimum Wage

__Protecting Women’s Health and Freedom

__Tax Reform That Rewards Hard Work

__Working to Lower Healthcare Costs

__Supporting Small Business Startups

__Investing in Innovation, Science, Research and Technology

Other:

I went with “Other”, more or less:

While most of the above are important issues in my view (“Protecting Women’s Health and Freedom” and “Investing in Innovation, Science, Research and Technology” in particular), I believe that the single most important issue that impacts the future of this country is EDUCATION. We need children who are taught critical thinking, in order to have the ‘Innovation, Science, Research and Technology’ in which to invest. Stressing the basics in: reading (especially reading comprehension); spelling (because words are spelt the way they are for good reason); vocabulary (because words mean what they mean due to their evolution through history); math skills; and the basics in the sciences and technologies, are all paramount. Investing in the future means investing in schools, teachers, and (most importantly) young citizens’ minds.

Really, with all of the problems that our country faces, there are so many important issues to be addressed that it’s impossible to say which is MOST important. And some issues which I would have thought were important are not even on the list, i.e, gun control, environmental issues (climate change, fossil fuel pollution of several sorts, etc.), our failing infrastructure…(sigh) I could go on, but you get the idea.

How would you respond to Senator Baldwin’s survey?

This is our daily open thread–you can answer the survey if you wish, or talk about whatever you want!

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 6th, 2013: Dark to Light

As a cat would present a disemboweled small animal, I present some steaming stool I stepped in on a few recent gun threads.

For some reason, a thread about a planned march on Washington by people armed with loaded weaponry was sidetracked by accusations of treason.

“TREASON is SWEARING TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND the CONSTITUTION of the United States of AMERICA and then doing EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO DESTROY IT! Treason is sending people to Benghazi THEN WATCHING AND FAILING TO SEND NECESSARY ASSISTANCE while they are massacred! Treason is getting your own Border Patrol agents KILLED by GUNS YOU DELIVERED TO THE MEXICAN CARTELS through a failed attempt to create a gun control problem! Treason is when the Media is BOUGHT BY ONE MAN TO PUSH AN AGENDA WHICH RUNS AGAINST THE AMERICAN BEST INTEREST! This nation is close to tearing itself apart- Because too many people bought the snake oil salesman’s LIES WHOLESALE. And refuse to SEE the TRUTH when shown to them in a clear and brilliant light. WAKE UP PEOPLE_ IT IS NOT ABOUT THE GUNS- IT IS ABOUT THE CONTROL!”

– and -

“The treason is in the White House. Obama is who should be arrested. Revolution is coming in a few short years and much liberal blood will be shed.”

["Good luck storming the castle, boys!"]

I don’t know what the beginning of this comment is all about, but it turns “birther” pretty quickly, with a final steep drop into “Nazi Germany”:

“That’s exactly how the government is going to pull this off, by brainwashing weak people into thinking that anyone with a gun is a terrorist! You all are being lied to! Get off your lazy American butts and do some research into what’s really going on in Washington! Hello, mainstream media is controlled by the government! They are not going to tell you what they are really doing and they know that we are lazy and brainwashed and will believe whatever they tell you! If anyone can tell me why a President would not be able to present the people of his country with a legitimate copy of his birth certificate, I would feel differently. Oh, wait, are they not talking about that on mainstream news?! Hello America! And why is Obama running our economy into the dirt??? He wants to collapse our economy so we are dependent on the government and then they will have us all “eating out of their hands”. Remember Nazi Germany! That is right where America is headed!”

And another genius who never read the first half of the Second Amendment, and who slept through the entire Bush Administration:

“Cowards in the Senate? YOU MEAN THE ONES WHO ABIDED THEIR OATH TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? This is NOT cowardice- THIS IS WHAT EVERY ONE OF THEM SHOULD HAVE DONE! We will have NO DICTATORS HERE!”

Although these delusional spewings were bad enough, I found this gobsmackingly-insane blithering out of the mouth of Linda Riddle, the grandmother of the 5-year-old boy and 2-year-old sister who he shot dead, to be the most offensive of all:

“Riddle said she is devastated, but comforted knowing that her granddaughter is in a better place. “It was God’s will. It was her time to go, I guess,” she told WLEX. “I just know she’s in heaven right now and I know she’s in good hands with the Lord.”

[emphasis mine]

WTF?! “It was God’s will.”? “It was her time to go” at age 2? It was God’s will that made Caroline’s 5-year-old brother and his birthday rifle God’s instrument for her death? It was God’s will that made their mother “step…outside of her home just for a few minutes, but it was long enough for her 5-year-old son to accidentally shoot and kill his 2-year-old sister.” God’s will? I call it “god swill”!

The CNN article (linked above) notes that the “…family kept the Crickett rifle in what they considered to be a safe spot”, but, according to a NY Daily News article, “Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said the family had not realized a shell was left inside the gun, which was kept in a corner of the house.” [emphasis mine]

Yeah, that sounds like a real safety-conscious family. Isn’t the first rule of gun safety ‘ALWAYS ACT AS IF A GUN IS LOADED’? It also seems obvious that, since the mother had “stepped outside of her home for just a few minutes”, the boy was playing with his gun INSIDE THE HOUSE! Can someone please explain to me how, despite what appears to be a clusterfuck of criminal negligence, this tragic shooting “has been ruled an accident” according to Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory.

In the CNN article, County Coroner White says, “It’s just one of those crazy accidents.” NO, sir, no it is not.

Enough darkness for now, here’s some cuteness to lighten up this Monday morning.
dog chick bunniesbunnyineggshellgossip time squirrel

This is your Open Thread. Please feel free to speak your mind.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

Sunday Roast: Do we deserve to kill?


Earlier this week, The Rachel Maddow Show played a portion of the above TED Talk by Bryan Stevenson.  The Maddow Blog introduces Mr Stevenson:

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and part of his Big Idea is about kids in prison, and the country that keeps them there until they die (that’s us).  America is the only country in the world with kids serving life in prison without parole (LWOP) sentences for crimes they committed as children.  And that, Stevenson says, changes our identity as a country.  It changes us.

Rachel’s interview so moved me, that I had to hear him speak more fully, hence the above TED Talk, which was provided on Rachel’s blog.  Please watch the whole video, you won’t be sorry.

Part of this country’s identity is that we have the fifth highest rate of incarceration in the world, behind such countries as China and Iran, and the incarceration rate is abnormally high in this country among people of color.  We lock up children as young as 13 years old for life, for things they did before their brains are finished developing.  And please, to anyone reading this who thinks that because my bleeding liberal heart doesn’t believe in locking children up for life, then that means I believe no punishment should be given at all — get a friggin’ grip on reality, okay?

In this country, we are “treated better if we’re rich and guilty, than if we’re poor and innocent.”  He who can hire the best lawyer (or team thereof) has the best chances of getting that “not guilty” verdict, or at least a lighter sentence.  Wealth shapes outcome, that’s true, but it could also be said that social class and the color of one’s skin shapes outcome as well.

But we don’t like to think about those kinds of things in this country.  Hey, if it’s not happening to me or my family, why should I care?  America, love it or leave it!  We’re number one!!  American exceptionalism rules!!

Except when it doesn’t.  As long as there is inequality, suffering, discrimination, poverty, and hate in this country, none of us are free — let alone exceptional.

We are, above all, human.  Our humanity is the only thing we bring into the world, and our humanity (or the shreds thereof) are all we take out of this world.  Our humanity is all we have and all we are, and if we want to find a solution to the terrible social ills afflicting this country and the world, we should start there.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss amongst yourselves.

The Watering Hole: February 11 – The Crisis

Brother Bear

Part 2 of 3: About 6 months later, we were back up from Florida again and took GD to her second movie, “Brother Bear”, being sure to bring her “booster”. We bought the popcorn and she watched the movie while eating prodigious amounts of popcorn and sipping coke from a paper cup. She did not even notice the tragic events that were part of that movie. She absorbed it as a spiritual message.

After returning to her house and the adults were talking about the violence that had seemed to have entered many animated movies (He parents took a bye on the actual movie.)

Her mother brought up the fact that seeming violence was part of the movies she had seen as a young girl.

She next uttered a sentence (“After all, Nemo’s mother had been killed at the start of that movie.”). That created a chilling response from this 2 ½ year-old pitcher -

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.
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Good News: Sometimes, the System Works

California has adopted an Alert System to aggressively post information about suspects vehicles when a child is kidnapped. That system was put to use today when an 8 year-old girl was kidnapped in Fresno. Signs on the freeways alerted drivers to the description of the suspect vehicle, and TV stations included it in their broadcasts. Today, it paid off:

An 8-year-old girl who was abducted by a stranger while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect’s vehicle and cut it off, police said. … Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver recognized the red pickup truck from media reports that showed surveillance video of the kidnapper’s vehicle.

So, Kudos to the driver, Victor Perez, for taking action. He may well have saved the girl’s life.

Onward, Christian Soldiers

There are those who fear our government is indoctrinating our school children to worship President Obama. They quickly point to the evils of indoctrination under Hitler, Stalin, and Kim Jong Il. Fear the Madrassa; love the Jesus Camp:

Perhaps this is the way all American school children should be taught regarding how to feel towards the President of the United States: