“Can We Send You A Sticker?”

David Plouffe wrote to me asking me if they could send me a bumper sticker. I’ll blockquote what he said with my response in between.

“Can we send you a sticker?”!

Let’s review your reasoning as to why I would want a bumper sticker that says “Democrats Change That Matters”:

“In the last two years, it’s been supporters like you who’ve redefined what it means to be a Democrat.”

Well, hardly. Apparently what it means to be a Democrat is: – to completely forget that we, the people, elected President Obama and the Democratic Majority to enact progressive legislation; – to roll over for the Republican Minority at the least sign of opposition; – to cave to big-money special interests; and – to continue as many of the previous administration’s illegal wrongdoings as possible.

There’s a renewed commitment toward organizing — which you helped instill with the campaign in 2008. That’s why Democrats have launched the most ambitious voter-turnout effort we’ve ever seen for an election like the one this fall. There’s a renewed commitment toward taking on the special interests and opposing their agenda — a promise you’ve helped us keep time and time again. And even though we don’t take money from lobbyists or corporate PACs, we’re still raising more money than the Republicans, month after month. With this renewed focus, the Democrats have introduced a new website filled with innovations to better connect supporters with candidates, state parties, and each other — and a new look to match that message.

– toward organizing voter turnout and taking on the special interests? How can you renew a commitment that you never really had? And you’re showing this supposed commitment by…”introduc[ing] a new website“?!

With just weeks to go in a critical election season, we want to help show that moving this country forward is a commitment shared by Americans across the states. So we’re giving away thousands of free stickers to help people show their support. Can we send you one? It’s what you helped build that laid the groundwork for this new commitment for our party. And together, we’ve spent the last year and a half building a new foundation for our country. Everything Democrats have accomplished — from reforming a broken health care system to reining in the Wall Street banks that were out of control — has been because of you. It’s something to be proud of. And I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to put that pride on display

The U.S. healthcare system won’t really be reformed until the health of American citizens is no longer considered as a commodity, and the out-of-control Wall Street banks are starting up their same old tricks. In this critical election season, Democrats need to loudly and publicly point out the blatant lies and hypocrisy of their opponents They need to loudly and publicly point out the ignorance and idiocy of the Tea Partiers’ so-called platform, and to loudly and publicly point out the real power and the huge money behind them. Democrats need to fight! Maybe then I’ll answer your question, “Can we send you a sticker?” in the affirmative. Even though I’m not a registered Democrat, I’d be proud of those accomplishments.

The Watering Hole: September 30 –Autumn in New York

These stately trees stand along the eastern side of NYS Route 22 here in Pawling, at the base of a hill crowned by the Trinity Pawling School. (For baseball fans, Trinity Pawling is Mo Vaughn’s alma mater.) The campus overlooks a convoluted area of Pawling with swamp and low hills, close to the Appalachian Trail, near which Wayne and I reside. Our own little piece of Pawling rises between a small pond and a swampy stream leading into The Great Swamp to the west. The Great Swamp…sounds like it should be on a map of Middle-Earth, doesn’t it?

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: September 29, 2010 – Hump Day

Hump Day

Wednesday is sometimes referred to as “hump day” in American English slang. The workweek is a conceived as a hill with midweek representing the highest point.

Then again, the Movie “Watermelon Man” gave a different meaning to this day of the week!

(@16:25 in)

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

Migration…. second world America.

Not quite Third World America, but definitely heading down that road. Not an unusual solution to the housing crisis in these parts, there are many dry dusty establishments in the neighborhood with a water faucet, 110 volt AC outlet, and a sewage hookup. If you can afford the $200.00 a month rent. Shade will cost you more. Forget about any appliance that requires 220 volts. Hopefully propane won’t go up too much, and we have a warm winter.

Third World America is at the next exit.

Oh… wait… it’s this exit.

He’s sitting in the shadow of the WalMart sign about a hundred yards directly behind me.

The Watering Hole: September 28 – Me and my Segway

Jimi Heselden, the owner of Segway drove one off a cliff and into a river. He did not survive. Not wanting to make light of this tragedy, it still brings to mind this video clip of a former president on a similar device:

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

Watering Hole – September 27, 2010 – This Spuds For You

McDonalds has made the french fry famous.  Just look at how perfectly all those slices of potato snuggle up to each other with the ends projecting over the top of a red box.  It’s so pretty you might not want to eat them, so as not to disturb the neat little gathering of potato slices.  If only the  appearance was the reason not to eat these fries and any other non-organic potato.  The potato that gives these fries the perfect length is the Russet Burbank and is mostly grown in Idaho.  In order to produce enough potatoes, the fields must be heavily sprayed, several times throughout the season, with pesticides.  As a matter of fact, one of the pesticides is so deadly that the farmers will not go into the field for any reason for at least 5 days after the spraying.

Michael Pollan wrote about commercial potato growers in his book The Botany of Desire.  Mr. Pollan visited three commerical potato growers in Idaho.  Two of the growers used conventional methods which require synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides.  The third farmer used organic methods to grow a variety of potatoes whereas the farmers using the conventional methods, only grew the Russet Burbank.

I told you that so that I can tell you this.  The one farmer that used conventional methods to raise his potatoes also had his own family garden.  He does NOT eat the commercial potatoes.  Instead he only eats the potatoes from his family garden that are not sprayed with pesticides.

This is all a bit scary to me. If the farmer won’t eat these potatoes, then why should we?

You can read a little bit about the history of the potato here.  BTW, the potato may be the ultimate comfort food.

This is our Open Thread.  What do you think?  Speak Up!

Migration… just passing thru.

So begins a photographic chronicle of the seasonal influx of migrants into the Lower Rio Grande Valley. This particular conveyance belonged to a rather entertaining pair of snowbirds I observed in the restaurant next door to mine own humble winter quarters.

It being rather uncouth to photograph them as they dined, I will attempt to paint a verbal picture.

The gentleman was classic California nouveau riche, silver hair, narrow frameless specs, earth tones, sleek black socks and loafers, conservative in every other degree. His only condescension to hippiedom was a diamond stud earring. He looked to be about sixty.

His companion was a lithe young Asian woman of exquisite poise and carriage. Immaculately attired in perfect Southwest regalia; from her cowboy boots rose tight jeans to an outrageous turquoise and silver buckle, from there it was up and over a silk blouse to the feather tipped ends of her braids.

As her companion disappeared around the corner to the washroom, the young woman gave a slow measured survey of the room around her, returning her gaze to me just long enough to feel my heart skip a beat.

The old geezers trip to the washroom obviously began to drag on, as the lovely woman  sat silhouetted against the sunset and began to fidget.

I shifted my chair, focused on my pizza and drank my beer.

Upon her companions return, the apprentice dragon lady leaped from her chair and  fawned all over him as they discussed the bill and which credit card they should use this time. Studiously ignoring their noisy exit, I craned my neck to see which vehicle was next to leave the parking lot. As I guessed, it was the ornately tricked out Hindi camper-mobile, on it’s way to who knows where, but certainly not someplace uncomfortably cold. Most likely the Holiday Inn.

Well, that’s migration a la First World America. Third World is on the next street over.

“Pledge to America” Episode Four

Thus far we’ve seen the language of the “neo-Christians,” also known as “Evangelical Christians” or “Social Conservatives.” This author has, and will continue to refer to them as “pseudo-christians.” Wrapped in language of faith and values, honoring the Constitution and restoring the founding fathers’ intent, pseudo-christians drop not too subtle hints at armed insurrection if they do not get their way. The following “pledges” indicate how this country should be run – their way.
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Sunday Roast: The Story of Doctor Who

Time to bore you with my Doctor Who obsession — again.  🙂  I found this 2003 documentary, and I thought you might enjoy the old cheese factor of the earlier shows, as well as interesting details about regeneration and the evolution of the various bad guys.


Part 1 of 6 (each about 10 minutes long)

Part 2

Part 3

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“Pledge to America” the third installment

In this installment, the author will examine the prefacing pledges.

With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.

This paragraph takes as its premise that this country has lost its connection with its highest aspirations, etc. The paragraph is laced with religious key-words of the pseudo-Christian movement: “permanent truths,” “keeping faith,” and “values.”

We must examine the rest of the “Pledge” to see if it defines “the permanent truths of our founding,” the “values our nation was founded on,” the “principles we stand for,” and the “priorities of our people.”
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Music Night. Happy Birthday, Gerry.

You probably have to be of a certain age to really appreciate Gerry and the Pacemakers, but even the young uns should be able to hear how beautiful Gerry Marsden’s voice was, in these classics from the early 60s. Listening to them now, what really jumps out at me is the Scouse in Gerry’s voice–the sound of working class Liverpool. It’s beautiful stuff, really, especially for us old people. More clips below the fold, but remember it’s MUSIC NIGHT!

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“Pledge to America” continued

This continues my earlier discussion of the Republican “Pledge to America” below.

Rising joblessness, crushing debt, and a polarizing political environment are fraying the bonds among our people and blurring our sense of national purpose.

This is an accurate representation, but ignores the fact that Republican policies and politics brought this about. Remember, the Bush Administration pushed the idea of an “ownership society” and created the environment where those who could marginally qualify for a homeloan to end up in a house they couldn’t afford. That increased demand for housing, which increased housing prices and led to the eventual collapse of the housing market, as those folks lured in by teaser rates for the first few years could not afford the sudden increase in payments, and then found they could not refinance nor sell for what they paid for thier house.

The Bush tax cuts, combined with two off-budget wars, exploded the national debt.

And, in spite of President Obama’s oft-repeated attempts at bipartisanship, Republicans remain firmly entrenched in opposing everything this Administration wants to do.

Like free peoples of the past, our citizens refuse to accommodate a government that believes it can replace the will of the people with its own. The American people are speaking out, demanding that we realign our country’s compass with its founding principles and apply those principles to solve our common problems for the common good.

When polls indicated the majority of Americans did not agree with what the Bush Administration was doing, Bush and Cheney ignored the polls. The American people wanted universal health care, or at the very least, the single-payer option. We got neither because Republicans blocked both, replacing the will of the people with their own self interests.

Roughly twenty percent of the American people are speaking out, and threatening secession and armed insurrection if they don’t get their way.

The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated.

Yet Republicans filibuster every proposal, block crucial appointments and seek to shut down the government if they regain a majority in the House.

In short, Republicans created the very problems they now propose to solve.

To be continued.

The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily that of The Zoo. Your comments, as always, are welcome.

The Watering Hole: September 24th – Lemonade from Lemons

Some times when you create a problem, it can be redefined to create a profit. Here is a case in point:

Above, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, is a remnant of Renaissance architecture and poor rendition. The tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction. The maximum tilt, before realignment was performed from 1990 through 2001 was 5.5 °. Its tilt was the basis of rabid tourism for the city of Pisa (Lemonade from lemons).

This was partially “corrected” to a tilt of about 4 °. Why was the tower not rendered to a perfect vertical? Think about it – Pisa would have been left with a lemon.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

“Pledge to America”

The GOP will release its new “Pledge to America” today in a bid to capture the votes of a majority of Americans this November. CBS news managed to receive a final draft of the “Pledge” before its release.

This 48-page document purports to put forth “a new governing agenda built on: The Priorities of Our Nation, the Principles we Stand For; and America’s Founding Values.”

But does it?
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Watering Hole – September 23, 2010 – All things being equal

Today marks the fall equinox.  The sun passes the equator and heads south for the winter. The day and night are divided equally.  In ancient times, this was celebrated as Mabon, a time to celebrate the harvest.

As an added treat this year, we will have a full moon in the constellation Aries.  This full moon occuring at or near the autumnal equinox is known as the harvest moon. It hangs low in the sky longer than in the summer months, and gave its light to farmers in days gone by, allowing them to stay in the fields longer to bring in the crops. Next month’s full moon is called “hunter’s moon” from ancient times.

Ancient cultures around the world built remarkable structures to mark the summer and winter solstices as well as the equinoxes. This, presumably, aided the early agrarian societies by identifying the optimal times for planting and harvesting, which would have been crucial to their survival and growth.

Stonehenge, British Isles, circa 3000 b.c.


This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

(photograph copyright 2010 Briseadh na Faire, used by permission)