The Watering Hole: Tuesday March 27 – Spring

Zurich is not a bad place to be in spring. We have sunshine since last week and are promised more of the same for the next. Never mind it’s too warm for the season and much too dry as well. But I’m not complaining.

This is our open thread. Feel free to talk about anything but the weather and the weather, too.


99 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: Tuesday March 27 – Spring

  1. Zurich does appear to be a beautiful city. I wonder if many of the buildings really are as old as they look (architecture-wise) or have they been built in the style of the older buildings? Unseasonably warm weather does have its drawbacks, too. Plants and trees bloom too soon, and animals that feed on them have to alter their migratory patterns to stay with them. For all intents and purposes, we had no winter in the Northeast USA this year. The rare snowfall we did have during the actual winter months didn’t even add up to the amount of wet heavy snow that caused so much destruction we got the first weekend of last October. “For the climes they are a-changin’.”

    • Many of the buildings are older than they look. The Swiss take good care of their buildings.

  2. I spent a weekend in Zurich a few years ago. That’s when I discovered Criollo chocolate by Spruengeli (sp?). Best chocolate in the world.

  3. My one run through Switzerland was as an impoverished student almost 30 years ago …. we didn’t make it to the big cities and found our budget didn’t match up to expectations. decamped to Bermin after a day or so (may have passed through Zurich in the middle of the night).

    Definitely another odd year, perhaps due to La Nina again – snow pack fell heavy and very very late into March. There was no snow for winter camp in Feb and now the snow is thick on the slopes. And after almost two weeks of cold heavy rain, Friday was almost an instantaneous spring day…and again on Sunday.

    • Awww, who wouldn’t want to pay $50 bucks a pop for a photo op with a politician who divorced his first wife while she was in the hospital with cancer, so he could marry his mistress?

      Who wouldn’t want to pay for the privilege of being seen as best buds with the politician who dumped his second wife after she was diagnosed with MS, because she wouldn’t let him have extra-marital affairs?

      Come on, folks, this is a family values politician! Who wouldn’t want to be associated with this man?

  4. I think I have this right: basically today’s Supreme Court arguments are going to come down to if you believe there is a difference between forcing someone to buy health insurance or broccoli.

  5. I’ve been digging more and more into the changing situation regarding oil and gasoline pricing in the US, the Keystone XL pipeline and the state of US and regional refineries.

    Strange as this may sound, even though the US has not built a new refinery since Alliance, LA over 30 years ago, the US is now *exporting* that right exporting a record amount of gasoline and diesel to South America and Europe mostly. Guess why – the price is right. Its really simple – US demand is down, local supply is up coming out of Dakotas, Montana and Canada. The ‘market’ is rebalancing theses new factors.

    In fact US refineries and some other refineries in the Caribbean are shutting down because they can’t make money.

    Take a look at this:

    Price yesterday at my pump $4.13

    • Has anyone seen the Exxon Mobil ad on MSNBC’s Ed Show, Rachel, Rev. Al, etc.? It has that “engineer” named Artis Brown, something like that, spelling out all the virtues of the Kerl project and the Keystone pipeline. He spouts four lies in thirty seconds (as I remember them — I try not to watch anymore):

      1. Keystone will stabilize America’s oil supply
      2. It will create “up to” a half-million new jobs
      3. “Hundreds of thousands of families” will benefit
      4. It’s just what the American economy needs right now.

      That last one might be true, if only the first three had any validity at all. But they don’t, last I heard anyway.

      MSNBC disappoints me by running shit like that. Suggests their only corporate interest is in making money. Imagine that.

      • Yeah, those ads go on “mute” immediately.

        The only saving grace is that the viewers of Rachel et al are the most likely to dismiss such ads.

      • Just think of the amount of jobs each spill will create, too.

        Clean up crews.
        Repair crews.
        Teams and teams of lawyers as various corporations blame each other…

      • 1. Stabilize the oil supply? Not really. It only adds about 750,000 BPD of crap oil out of Canada – but hey it will all end up on the Gulf where most will be refined and shipped out of the US. Artis Brown gets a Pinochio nose for that one
        2. “Up to” – that’s correct between 0 and 500,000 new jobs. Transcanada – the *builders* of the piepline say only 20,000 but hey, he’s close – so yes he’s factually correct, but no he’s not really. Check the deatil on that CBS report – the US Chamber of Fascism says it will create 250,000 new jobs – they get Terry’s Pants-on-fire rating.
        3. Pants-on-fire rating from Terry. Keystone will benefit *2* Americans for the most part – David and Charles Koch. I can expand on this if necessary.
        4. Er – what? Depends what problem you are trying to solve – the Koch’s may not be rich enough and if you equate their bank balance with what America needs right now… then I suppose you are correct.

        • 2. Is even better – Transcanada says that only “hundreds” of permanent US jobs would result from the pipeline after built….. *”hundreds”*….

  6. Good news: nation with GDP one tenth of ours, with Defense budget one fourteenth size of ours, is our number one geopolitical foe!

    In response to Obama’s “hot mic” comments, Romney called Russia, in one of his dumb-ass “Double Gitmo!” moments, “without question our number one geopolitical foe.” The more Romney speaks on foreign policy, the more lightweight and knee-jerk he sounds.

    • Interesting comment down in the discussion from Victoria Sethunya …

      “When I was recruited into Mormonism in Southern Africa, I was told and it was taught that all proclamations of those called of God in Mormonism were in fact, God’s word. Over 20 thousand miles away in Utah, before during Romney’s presidential campaigns, Mormonism makes an apology for its racist doctrine and claims racism was not doctrine to start. They say it was policy and yet you find The Book of Mormon peppered with racist verses from God! “

      Questions you’ll never hear asked of Mitt Romney:

      If the Book of Mormon is 100% word *and* yet contains passages of racism wrt black people – does God hate black people, or is the Book of Mormon *not* then 100% delviered form God?

      • And: Gov Romney, you were a ‘priest’ or whatever it is you cultists call yoursevles in 1978, before the policy of institutional racism in the Mormon Church was changed by a ‘revelation’. Do you think a tacit supporter of apartheid policies is suitable to be President of the United States?

  7. QOTD:

    “This was a train wreck for the Obama administration. This law looks like it’s going to be struck down. All of the predictions including mine that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong. The only conservative justice who looked like he might uphold the law was Chief Justice Roberts who asked hard questions of both sides, all four liberal justices tried as hard as they could to make the arguments in favor of the law, but they were — they did not meet with their success with their colleagues,” – Jeffrey Toobin, on today’s developments.

    • We’ll see. The repiggies will be crying horribly if Obamacare is struck down — the only thing they’ll have left to run on is lady bits.

    • My hope, pure optimism, is that the SC will repeal it and thereby force the single payer issue back onto the front legislative page.

      Only uncivilized nitwits (like a majority of Amurkans appear to be) deny their people adequate health care. If we as a nation ever dare to hope for the advent of civility, three things have to happen:

      1. Universal Health Care for all comers,
      2. A three-fourths (at least) reduction in military spending/nonsense, and
      3. Huge investments in education spending and results.

      My thesis is that within two decades of the above happening, the US could finally call itself “civilized” for the first time in its entire history.

      I shall not start holding my breath in anticipation till perhaps tomorrow, however.

    • Bmm, bummer. The first step in how many (?) years to get everybody health insurance and the powers that are have already stacked the SC so no law that doesn’t directly profit the rich will ever be upheld. The whole fabric of society is at stake here. Is the US still a functioning democracy or not? I am appalled.

      • Also, Jeffrey Toobin isn’t predicting anything but worries about a court radical enough to decide Citizens United:

        “In weighing how the contemporary Supreme Court behaves, thereโ€™s a relevant precedent here. In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court not only rejected a major piece of legislation but created a constitutional standard that makes any meaningful campaign-finance legislation next to impossible to pass. The question is whether they will do the same with health-care reform.”

        Show me someone, outside a libertarian ideologue, who chooses to forgo insurance because they would rather pay tens of thousands (or more) out of pocket or because they are certain they’ll never get injured or get cancer. I think this is an effort by Libertarians and Conservatives to use the courts to open the door to making all forms of federal subsidies and safety nets unenforceable.

        • Oh … the problem with libertarianism is, well…it doesn’t work in the real world. Ideologically, what they call freedom actually becomes anarchy in the real world. Their perfect world would be a place where there is no government, no laws, everyone fends for themselves, and everybody carries a gun at all times. In other words …


      • The US is not a functioning democracy, and has not been for some time.

        It is a dis-functioning democracy.

    • Meanwhile, in the backwoods of Virginia a farmer is hoping that she can maybe somehow get health insurance if her husband wishes to retire before he’s 71.

    • Medvedev responded Tuesday to Romney, saying that “we are in 2012 and not the mid-1970s.”

      Baby-boy Mittens has been admonished!

    • Eh. Boehner only criticized Rmoney’s remarks because Obama is overseas, not because he thought the remarks wrong or inappropriate. If the President had made his flexibility remark while he was in the Oval Office, Boehner wouldn’t have peeped — except to join in the hysterical commentary.

  8. I have a question. If the SCOTUS strikes down ACA, then will it be struck down as a whole, or just the mandate part? I rather like the fact that my son is still covered under our insurance since he isn’t working right now. And will the insurance companies re-install pre-existing conditions?

    • No way of answering that until the decision comes out.

      It would be odd if it came out 5-4 with Roberts siding with the liberals…

    • If the police had done their job, this would not be played out in the media like it is – this tragedy is going to be unprosecutable if it ever makes it to court.

      • If it goes to trial in Florida, surely they can find a jury of Zimmerman’s peers – paranoid white racists….

    • Even if the record is true, it’s also true that black youths in school are more dogged by hyper-vigilant teachers and school officials.

      The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter. The ONLY thing matters is what happened that deadly night.

    • See, here’s the thing. There’s been, across all of Amurkan history, only one good way to handle ni**er kids: kill ’em. I mean, just dream of how much better off we’d be if a Zimmerman equivalent had been around to take out the f**king Kenyan Muslim ni**er that claims to have been born in Hawaii.

      /snark. To some, perhaps, but to many, abject truth. How sad.

      • Well, yeah, but they used to hang them. I suppose the prevalence of guns today just makes things more efficient. They don’t even need a gang of rednecks or a pickup truck.


    • To be fair, Senator Snowe was the one to cross over the aisle to break the filibuster and allow a full vote on the Senate floor. But that’s about all she did.

        • I’m not sure of that. I was actually in the Senate chamber two years ago when there was a failed vote on the filibuster. Did Snowe know then that she was retiring?

      • True. But on how many occasions? Bipartisanship works both ways. She can’t criticize someone else for not doing enough, if she herself didn’t do enough.

        • All too true, but nevertheless, the Republicans haven’t exactly rewarded those that were willing to work with this President.

    • Snowe said that if she had to grade the President on his willingness to work with Republicans, he would “be close to failing on that point.”

      What a crock. To Repubs “working with Republicans” means bending over and taking it without lube. Anything short of that is a failure to compromise. And there were a number of times over the last few years when it seemed like Obama was willing to do that just to move the ball downfield a little (to totally screw up an analogy).

      Fuck you, Snowe. No wonder he didn’t bother to meet with you. And is that really what she’s whining about? He dissed her? The egos on these people…

  9. Hi, gang. I’ve been enjoying the unprecedented warm weather and working off my winter weight. The geese have nested (A full two weeks earlier than last year!) but I haven’t found the nest site for my “pets” from last year. I know they are close because I heard honking this morning but, since the underbrush has all sprouted leaves, it will be a chore to find nests. I’ve got lots of pictures but haven’t sat down and gone through them yet. There’s a pair of house sparrows that have been hanging around the disused robin’s nest on my deck so, even if I don’t find the geese, I should have baby pictures.

    Well? Time to get back on the bike.

      • I’m afraid it’s not much fun. I’ve always been active but I detest exercise for the sake of exercise. It makes me self-conscious and causes my mind to race to better things I could be doing with my time. Plus, I have to negotiate about a mile on a narrow street to get to the nearest bike path and I’ve never trusted people who drive unless I’m surrounded by steel. I was only half joking when I told my doctor that, by the time I’ve taken enough anti-anxiety medication(beer) to stop worrying about the traffic, I can’t keep the damned bike upright!

        I don’t mind walking though so I’ve just stopped stocking the larder so I have to walk to the store every day. By going the long way around the golf course it becomes about a 2.5 mile round trip. Then there’s the trips to the park to fly my plane and wandering around the local swamps and ponds looking for good photographic subjects.

        On the plus side: one of the park workers has been watching me fly on his lunch breaks and seems interested in getting an RC plane of his own. I keep forgetting to ask him if there’s a place I could lock my bike so I can walk to the park then ride around the bike paths. I could live with the worry about some kids wrecking it or cutting my lock but I don’t want to leave it anywhere the city would remove it.

      • Indeed it is. They even mowed the lawn today. Last year they didn’t mow until mid April. But, I’m not worried. FAUX”News” has asserted that the earth is cooling for the last ten years and it’s not a whole lot warmer than during the last ice age. And we all know that they wouldn’t lie(spit!).

  10. Found on the NOAA facebook page: Puffer fish cuteness!!!

    Whatโ€™s long and slender one moment and round and spiked the next? To inflate and deflate its body shape at will, the Northern puffer fish swallows water or air, and forces it into its stomach. If disturbed at the water’s surface, it will sometimes inflate and bob upside down, then deflate and resume swimming normally. The puffer also makes a defensive noise, described by some scholars as “long bursts of croaking erk-erks.”

  11. Good comments today folks, thanks. Helpful to get caught up on the world.
    I’m at the fringe of my world, 10 miles yet to home. No service out there, I’ve stopped on the mesa to plug in, tune on and communicate.

    Beyond the stricture and the myths of Mormonism, my direct observation is that it seems to be more of a socio/economic structure here in it’s heartland. They are at the top of the business heap, and I know people who join the church because it helps their employment prospects and social status.

  12. Federal court rejects ‘Joe the Plumber’ suit – Yahoo! News

    He claims his First Amendment and privacy rights were violated by three Ohio Job and Family Services officials who were Obama supporters and who searched databases for information about him soon after the discussion. The department’s director and another official resigned and the third official was ousted in the aftermath of the searches.

    “Our conclusion is supported by the fact that Wurzelbacher was not deterred or chilled in the exercise of his First Amendment rights as a result of defendants’ wrongful conduct,” wrote Judge Richard A. Griffin, a George W. Bush appointee. The court said Wurzelbacher failed to show “a sufficient adverse action.”

    It was the old rightie excuse “you did something I didn’t like, so therefore you must have infringed upon my rights.” I like the court’s conclusion that he still continued to freely exercise his right to free speech after the incident.

    And I thought the righties concluded that there is no right to privacy in the constitution. That’s what they claim when talking about Roe v Wade.

  13. Inspired casting, on several levels…

    Precious director Lee Daniels has tapped Jane Fonda to play Nancy Reagan in the upcoming film The Butler.

    Based on the story of a long-serving White House employee whose career stretched from Truman through the Reagan years, The Butler will be directed by Daniels from a script by Game Change screenwriter Danny Strong. Forest Whitaker is reportedly on board to play the leading role, and Liam Neeson and John Cusack are rumored to be under consideration for the parts of LBJ and Richard Nixon.

  14. Following a tweet about JoeMyGod, I came across Christwire, which is apparently a website run by the same people who used to leave those weird little Tijuana Jeebus Revival comics on bus benches and the like. My first instinct was that this was parody of the highest order, but these creatures appear to be serious.

    One of the more informative articles is “Top 6 Ways to Spot a Satanic Witch”, although that could have been labeled “Goths are Ebbil.” However, there is a cautionary element:


    Another major topic of sin at Christwire that we like our readers to be aware of, are the evils of the feline. For centuries people have known that cats are typically familiars for witches. Familiars are demon spirits that take cat form and give witches mystical powers like not drowning when being dunked while bound into water. Todayโ€™s cat craze of lolcats and other feline silliness is indicative of the sins of these far reaching witches.

    Oh noes!

    There is an illustration of a very sexy redheaded witch.

    • My gravatar is a picture of my beloved familiar practicing her most evil art. If I set a jacket down anywhere in the house she will be curled up on it within ten minutes. HAIL SATAN!!!

    • ” My first instinct was that this was parody of the highest order, but these creatures appear to be serious.”

      Trust your first instinct, gummitch..

      Christwire is a satirical website that publishes blog style articles that highlight supposed excesses of American Christian conservatives along with obscure weather reportage, new vernacular, intense focus on various communities, and numerous parenting and lifestyle tips.[1][2][3][4] [5]

  15. DUMBEST comment I saw on the internets today:

    “Was Mitt Romney’s car elevator purchased with financial help from Tony Rezko? No? Then shut up.”

    • Yeah, that just never stops being funny. Except that Mormons hold so much damn power, especially in the West.

      I can’t decide if Mormon lunacy is more loony than Scientology, or vice versa.

      • We can laugh at them but Prop 8, Mitt Romney and all kinds of other reasons to suspect that this lot of bent on something other than ‘rendering unto Caesar’. Mormonism is a Dominionist cult.

        The baptism of the dead is a symptom of how like all major religions/cults, they pity/despise/discount anyone else’s belief.

        OK, now I’m going to laugh at them:

        They asked Dennis Kucinich if he’d ever seen a UFO, how about asking Mitt Romney if he thinks God is a spaceman from a planet far, far away?

    • I read most of the Book of Mormon, as a lark, and was left with a very clear impression. Anyone who honestly Believes any of it is insane. That’s a big reason why I can’t decide whether Mittens is the most sane or most insane of the GOP candidates. I have a sneaking suspicion that he doesn’t Believe a word of it but that would just be more proof that he’s dishonest to the point of suffering from a severe psychosis.

      • I should probably add that, if Mittens is like most so-called Christians, he has no idea what the Book of Mormon actually says.

  16. zxbe, your striking photo of the naked tree in the fog brought to mind *this.

    That is meant as a compliment. Being able to see our insides via contrast dye is fascinating. Letting us see what works or needs work (surgery).

    *(it’s a cerebral angiography)

    • Thanks ebb. I actually thought of the tree photos as “black lightning” at first, because I noticed the similarity between the trees and lightning. And, as you point out, that same pattern repeats in nature in our own vascular system. There’s magic to this pattern.

      Here are the photos ebb and I are discussing if anyone is interested. ๐Ÿ™‚

      the zxbe collection: Foggy Trees

  17. Gingrich scales back his presidential campaign

    LOS ANGELES (AP) โ€” Newt Gingrich is dramatically curtailing his campaign schedule, laying off about a third of his staff and dismissing his campaign manager as he focuses on a last-ditch effort to win the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention.

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