Right of Passage

Have you ever wondered exactly what is up with “birthers,” “deathers,” and “tenther” types?

Our bloggy friend, Medjhiesco (aka Hoodathunk), whose blog is called Story Time, has ranted on the very possible source of the above-mentioned loons folks…

Yes, the wrong spelling but with malice aforethought.  While there are many rites of passage in many societies, all designed to signal the passage from childhood to adulthood, most are symbolic gestures to remind the participant it is time to put away the toys and move on to become a responsible, productive member of society.  This generally includes such things as

accepting responsibilities, performing actions that are not just for personal gratification and realizing the individual is not the center of the universe.  But there is more to it.  It is one of trick questions that inevitably bite one in the keister.  One has the right of passage, you can grow up and stop being a self-centered, spoiled child except with that right also comes the duty of growing up.

This is where the US is having some serious difficulties.  Most of the rest of the industrialized world has realized that cooperation and respect for others is the only way people can live together and flourish as a society.  And it is working pretty well for them.  Sadly, the US is still held in the thrall of a group of dangerous children.  Children, in that they retain the juvenile idea that the world revolves around them and that they have every right to having their every wish granted and immediately.  They have their little clique, their in crowd, and the rest of society exists just to serve their pleasure.  Our society has been slowly permeated with their beliefs, twisting the basic generosity of spirit and humanitarian ideals our country was founded on and which had served us very well for two hundred years until the idea of individual rights has become the mantra of the greedy and the frightened.

This isn’t surprising.  Children live with many more fears than adults because they lack the experience that enables them to deal with scary things.  The deregulated capitalistic types live in constant terror.  The idea that the accrual of money and power saves them only demonstrates their fear.  It is obsessive/compulsive behavior; something most would call a mental illness.  Since they can buy approval, they have foisted it off on the American public as a good thing, a goal to reach.  They don’t understand the adult concepts of compassion and responsibility to anything beyond their own self so they push their propaganda that these things are weakness.  They are like the Lost Boys and Peter Pan, caught in their fantasy only they have found they can pass their fears and childishness to others.

It is time for America to grow up.  It is time for us to realize this isn’t a kid game.  Just as the young couple who, in their youthful passion, make a new life, we are at a crossroads.  We can stay irresponsible children, ignore the magnitude of what we face and abandon our responsibility for our actions or we can stand up and do the right thing.  For too long the ‘love child’ has suffered because the parents were too frightened to do what was needed.  It is time to put down the Ipods and jet skis, time to quit hiding behind the juvenile idea that a society can exist without the participation of every member who is capable.  And that it is up to those who can to help those who can’t find some way to add what they can.

There is no mention in the Constitution of the Right of Passage because it didn’t have to be there.  That one is too basic and one that is too personal.  Society either grows or it stagnates and dies.  We get to choose.

The Watering Hole: August 31 – The Iriquois Confederacy

On this date in 1142 AD, the Iriquois Confederacy was founded in what is now Upstate New York Their flag is depicted below.

By the time Europeans (Illegal aliens?) dropped in on their territory, this confederation had existed for nearly half a millennium. Its charter was created about halfway between the Battle of Hastings and  the Magna Carta.

No longer an Endangered Species…

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Steve Sack
, Minneapolis Star-Tribune


Torture, once an endangered species on the brink of extinction, has made a resurgence in recent years, finding fertile breeding grounds in black sites around the globe and hidden in plain sight by the simple technique of renaming torture as “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  Once universally abhorred by civilized nations, torture has gained widespread acceptance, primarily amongst Evangelical Christians as they seek to eradicate all non-believers from the planet.

Now unfettered by the rule of law, torture will continue to grow and thrive through the foreseeable future.

Why Evangelical Christians are Their Own Worst Enemy

Evangelical Christians are seeking to re-define this country as a Christian Nation. The goal of “The Family” is nothing short of creating a Christian Theocracy in their image.

Forty-seven years ago, Justice Black wrote these wise words reviewing the history of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment:

When the power, prestige and financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, the indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion is plain. But the purposes underlying the Establishment Clause go much further than that. Its first and most immediate purpose rested on the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion. The history of governmentally established religion, both in England and in this country, showed that whenever government had allied itself with one particular form of religion, the inevitable result had been that it had incurred the hatred, disrespect and even contempt of those who held contrary beliefs. That same history showed that many people had lost their respect for any religion that had relied upon the support of government to spread its faith. The Establishment Clause thus stands as an expression of principle on the part of the Founders of our Constitution that religion is too personal, too sacred, too holy, to permit its “unhallowed perversion” by a civil magistrate. Another purpose of the Establishment Clause rested upon an awareness of the historical fact that governmentally established religions and religious persecutions go hand in hand. (Engle v. Vitale (1962) 370 U.S. 421)

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Give Us Single Payer

In the current health care reform discussions, the one option that would have solved everything that’s wrong with our health care system was taken off the table virtually from the beginning – Single Payer. Ill-informed people from all over the country have been flocking to their local town hall discussions with their Congressmen and Senators to tell them, for reasons no sane person can explain, that they don’t want a government-run, Single Payer health care system, but whatever you do, don’t touch their Medicare because they love it (oblivious to the fact that Medicare is a government-run, Single payer health care system.) Fueling the opposition to any kind of meaningful health care reform is the health insurance industry. They are fighting for what they think is their right to make money off your medical problems. It’s not like they make the medications and medical equipment you sometimes need; they are nothing more than an intermediary between you and your doctor’s billing office. Yet, if they have their way, you will have to pay 35% of your medical bills, even if you are paying them for insurance coverage. Are they barely making any money? Hardly, as they seem to have hundreds of millions of dollars to pay the people who sit on their executive boards. Then there’s they way they fix the system to cheat you out of money. You know how they always say they’ll pay 80% of “reasonable and customary charges”? Well, there’s two companies that are in the business of determining what would be considered “reasonable and customary.” And one insurance giant, United Health Care, owns them both. So, if they decide that a reasonable and customary charge for an x-ray is $100, they’ll only cover $80 of it, even if the actual charge is $150. You pick up the $70 difference. One simple change would save $350 billion a year – standardize the forms used, which is what would happen with Single Payer. It really is the best way to go.

In the meantime, enjoy this song parody of Bon Jovi’s “Living On a Prayer.”

Give Us Single Payer
Original words and music “Living on a Prayer” by Jon Bon Jovi,
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2009

Once upon a time not so long ago:

Tommy loves his work as a doc.
Patients have all griped,
Insurance is not enough.
It’s tough.

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Saturday night in the cesspool: Food edition

The KFC Double Down Sandwich

The KFC "Double Down" Sandwich

Image via foodgeekery.com

KFC is doing test markets in Rhode Island and Nebraska of their newest item, the Double Down sandwich.

This little number consists of bacon, two kinds of cheese, and sauce, between two pieces of fried chicken breast.

I kid you not…

What do all y’all think of this latest creation?  The chimps are bringing around free beer this evening.  Enjoy!

HT:  Huffington Post

Watering Hole: August 29 – Cog Railways

On this date in 1868, the first cog railway in the world was opened on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. While the maximum grade in this effort was only about 50 degrees, subsequent technology made ascents of 85 degrees possible. Beyond that, you had an elevator.  I went up one in Austria at 65 degrees with my three sons – my spouse chickened out, much to the derision of her issue.

Update: I rescind  the basis of this thread. The basis was qualified by too many ifs, plus variations of the technology existed before – but this was the first steam-powered cog and ratchet railway to be placed in service for the sole purpose of climbing a mountain.