The Watering Hole: August 31 — Ummm, so this happened…


This cringe-worthy performance was an embarrassment at best, and appallingly pathetic at worst.  I have no idea what the Romney campaign was thinking when they allowed this to go over the prime time airwaves.  Wowzers.

This is our daily open thread — What do you think?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, August 30th, 2012: GOP Elephant Lies

On Tuesday night, Fudgie the Whale New Jersey Governor Chris Christie heaved himself onto the stage at the Republican National Convention, and proceeded to spew more lies than I could count. I don’t have the time to go through all of them, so I’m providing the transcript here, while focusing on the lines and lies that truly pissed me off. I’ll keep my own comments brief:

“Dad grew up in poverty. After returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s. With that job and the G.I. bill he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree.”
Really? The G.I. Bill, a highly-successful Government program?

“The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected…”
Sure, dictators, tyrants and bullies can be respected (read “feared”) without being loved.

“Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say “yes,” rather than to say no when “no” is what’s required…It’s been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues. And we’ve stood silently by and let them get away with it.” Which ‘leaders’ is Christie blathering about? And who has “stood silently by and let” who “get away with” what? Republicans have certainly been vocal enough against President Obama since before Day 1, as well as being extremely vocal when saying “no”, because “no” is all that the Republicans require to “make President Obama a one-term President.”

“But tonight, I say enough.”
Okay, Christie’s emphasis was on “enough”, but I felt that he had already said more than enough. And at this point in his spewch, I was ready to “say enough”, too.

“I say, together, let’s make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.” Speaking up for yourselves, instead of simply calling President Obama every dog-whistle name and label you could think of?

“We are beginning to do what is right and what is necessary to make our country great again.” So, you admit that never really did “what is right” before now?

“We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America.” I can’t wait to see Christie call Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, the Tea Party contingent, the Republican Governors, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Rmoney on the carpet…oh…d’oh!

“Tonight, we choose respect over love.” I think “love” already rejected you, and one doesn’t “choose” respect, one earns it.

“We are not afraid. We are taking our country back.” Damn, after years of telling us to “be afraid”, now the Republicans aren’t afraid anymore?! And, for the umpteenth time, FROM WHOM OR WHAT ARE YOU TAKING OUR COUNTRY BACK?

“I know this simple truth and I’m not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America.” Simple-minded, maybe, at least simple enough not to remember that their “ideas” are pretty much the same as BushCo’s “ideas”, which, in the real world, failed America: cut taxes, eliminate regulations on big corporations, drill anywhere and everywhere, and start another war.

Now for the really big lies. My comments would be superfluous:

“Let’s be clear with the American people tonight. Here’s what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats:

They believe that the American people don’t want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government.”

They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them.”

They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren. So they prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the cynical purpose of winning the next election.”

Their plan: whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power.”

“We believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what’s best for our nation’s future – demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.”

They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense.”

They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children.”

They believe in teacher’s unions. We believe in teachers.

“We believe that if we tell the people the truth they will act bigger than the pettiness of Washington, D.C.”

“We believe it’s possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles.”

“It’s the power of our ideas, not of our rhetoric, that attracts people to our Party.”

“We win when we make it about what needs to be done; we lose when we play along with their game of scaring and dividing.”

“For make no mistake, the problems are too big to let the American people lose – the slowest economic recovery in decades, a spiraling out of control deficit, an education system that’s failing to compete in the world.”

“It doesn’t matter how we got here. There is enough blame to go around”

“Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world’s greatest health care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor.”

“It’s time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House.”

“There is doubt and fear for our future in every corner of our country. These feelings are real.”

“There’s only one thing missing now. Leadership. It takes leadership that you don’t get from reading a poll. You see, Mr. President – real leaders don’t follow polls. Real leaders change polls. That’s what we need to do now.”

“A second American Century where our military is strong, our values are sure, our work ethic is unmatched and our Constitution remains a model for anyone in the world struggling for liberty.”

Damn Republicans ruined my Acme(TM) Mass-Projection Particle Meter! Of course, my Acme(TM) Wireless Lie-Detector blew up at the sound of Governor Ultrasound’s voice Monday night. 😦

This is our Open Thread. Have at it!

Secret Plot to Give Birth to Anchor Babies Abroad Unveiled!

“Walker”, The Zoo’s deep underground investigative reporter.

The Zoo is proud to announce its association with “Walker” (not his real name), our deep underground investigative reporter, tasked with digging out stories no one else can find.

In this, Walker’s first report, he details a disturbing new plot concocted by foreigners to take over America’s government.

Anchor Babies.

Currently, Anchor Babies are babies born in the United States by non-citizen mothers. But with the adoption of the Republican “Anti Abortion” Platform Plank the U.S. of A. moves a step closer to allowing its government to be taken over by foreigners.

Republicans are covertly moving to ensconse in the U.S. Constitution the “Personhood” amendment, defining a fertilized egg as a person, with all the rights and responsibilities of full U.S. Citizenship. And that’s where the foreign plot comes in: vacationers. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas. She has her fling, conceives, then takes that U.S. citizen abroad to be born and raised with foreign values, but with the full rights of U.S. citizenship – including the right to vote in our elections!

No longer will U.S. elections be a fight between Blue States and Red States, but between Eurpoean, Russian, African, and Asian Americans born and raised under foreign flags, oweing their allegiance and upbringing to foreign leaders and ideologies.

So, while the Republican Party publically denounces the United Nations, they are secretly working with the U.N. and travel agents world-wide to give foreigners more and more influence over America’s electoral system.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, August 29, 2012, Obama Conspires with Mother Nature


Tweeter, once again, brings a news scoop noone else dare report. Sources deep within the Republican Party are privately blaming Obama for hurricane Issac. Obama, they say, conspired with Mother Nature to have the hurricane appear and strike New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of the attack of hurricane Katrina. This, they say, is all part of a left-wing conspiracy to take attention away from the Republican Convention and focus instead on one of Past-President Bush’s greatest embarassments.

It is well known, one source said, that Mother Nature has a left-leaning bias and a soft spot for environmentalists and tree-huggers. So it’s natural that Mother Nature and Obama are conspiring together against conservatives. Meanwhile, some delegates, emboldened by the fact that the hurricane didn’t strike Tampa, have gone on record opposing disaster relief for New Orleans. “Let them eat cake” one reveler said, recalling that that was exactly what Bush did in this same situation seven years ago.


This is what the death of democracy looks like.


During the 13 months beginning July 1 the year before elections in 2004 and 2008, registered Democrats increased by an average of 209,425 voters.

From 2011 to this year, that number was 11,365.

Over that same time, the number of registered Republicans increased by 128,039, topping the average of 103,555 during the past two presidential cycles.

All Americans should be sickened by this graph, no matter what your political leanings.  If you’re not sickened, then you have forgotten what it means to be an American, and should be ashamed of yourself.

August 28th: “You’re The Birthday Boy or Girl”

In our Sechny/Schneider world of Simpsons-speak, it is traditional for family members to sing a birthday song (sung by a defective animatronic kangaroo) from a particular Simpsons episode: “You’re the birthday, you’re the birthday, you’re the birthday boy or girl!”

Today should have been our nephew Adam’s 27th birthday.

I remember some parts of the day(s) he was born. Wayne’s poor sister Judy was in labor for about 36 hours. At the time, I was still working for the horse insurance company, which had merged with a general insurance agency in Huntington, Long Island. I can easily flash back to the feeling/image of sitting in my office cubicle late at night on August 27th, keeping in sporadic contact with my brother Bobby while catching up on work. At about 10:00 that night I gave up and went back to my apartment. No word during the night.

In the meantime, my parents were on a two-week European tour. The insurance agency where I worked also included a travel agency (the whole company was owned and operated by three generations of the Gundermann family, and one of the daughters ran the travel agency), through which my parents had arranged their tour.

So the next day, when word finally came from Bobby that Judy had, at last given birth to Adam Mark Sechny, Teri Gundermann and I scrambled to get a telegram (hard to believe, nowadays) to my parents. Teri had their itinerary, but, for some reason which I no longer remember, the itinerary had been changed, so Teri had to contact the tour company to find out which country (Italy, it turned out) and city (I’ve forgotten) they were in. My parents were at dinner with their tour group when the telegram was delivered to the head of the tour. Everyone there got to hear the news as the tour guide, after asking my parents to join him as he stood at the front of the dining room, read the telegram aloud, “Mildred and Stephen Sechny, you are now the grandparents of a 10-lb, 12-1/2-ounce grandson, Adam Mark Sechny!” …and there was much rejoicing…

Adam with Grandpa Sechny

Adam with Grandma Sechny and sister Emily

“Beautiful Family”


Stone cold Paul Ryan

HT:  Huffington Post

Yes indeed, Paul Ryan, rape is one “method of conception,” isn’t it?  Wow. Way to totally dismiss the terror and violence of having one’s body violated by another, you soul-less bastard.  Rape is an event that changes who you are forever.  Just look at his face as he’s speaking; he doesn’t even seem to realize that what he’s saying is so disgusting.

As if the trauma, fear, injuries, and horror at losing personal autonomy during the rape are not enough, then, if the woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape, Paul Ryan and his fellow pro-forced birthers will happily extend the torture for another nine months — at least.

But we shouldn’t really be all that surprised that Paul Ryan could say something so abhorrent.  He’s a lifelong Ayn Rand devotee (when it suits him), so basically, as long as he’s not the one being raped, he doesn’t care.  That’s your problem, honey.  Although I really doubt he gives a flying flip if a woman has an abortion or not, Ryan parts company with Ayn Rand when it comes to pregnancy as a result of that rape, because it suits him to pander to the rabid forced birth crowd.

This is what I find so disturbing about Paul Ryan — he doesn’t care about this country or the people, he cares about what Paul Ryan wants.

Haven’t we had about enough of that kind of political candidate?

Watering Hole: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 – On The Road

Nonewhere and I are on a road trip from the east coast to the west coast.  Today, we are spending some time in Bend, OR.  For the first time in 7 days, I heard a variety birds chirping outside and I am loving it.  There were no bird songs in South Dakota or Montana.  The only birds that I heard in Washington were crows and a few blackcap chick-a-dees.  On Thursday, we will be back on the road again and heading back home.

This is our Open Thread.  Please do Speak Up and share what’s on your mind today.

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 27th, 2012: Monday Mitt Medley

Mitt Headspin

Today’s offerings are almost completely about Mitt Rmoney, via recent pieces on and

Here’s a few excerpts from the first FP article, titled “PIPE DREAMS – Why Mitt Romney can’t free America from Middle East oil.”, authored by Michael Levi:

“Republicans have frequently criticized Obama for his admittedly hodgepodge energy strategy, a charge repeated in the new plan. The Romney plan solves that problem by substituting a narrow fossil-fuel production strategy for a genuinely comprehensive plan. Much in that fossil-fuel strategy is reasonable. Romney would shift more power to the states by allowing them to approve drilling on their lands and near their coasts without federal intervention. He would streamline environmental reviews, in part through clear deadlines, and in part by handing more control to the states.

“If that were accompanied by more federal capacity to process permit applications — something that Romney has decidedly not promised to do — the result could be a win-win for business and the environment.”

That’s a HUGEIf…”, especially if it’s something that Rmoney “has decidedly NOT promised to do.”

“The plan is also mum on the other grave energy challenge the country faces: climate change. Reasonable people can differ on how much emphasis to place on climate change in U.S. energy policy, but it isn’t reasonable to ignore it entirely. The Romney plan does not mention climate at all. To be certain, surging production of natural gas can help curb U.S. emissions, but it will come nowhere close to delivering the reductions the country needs alone. Romney likes to quip that people “do not call [climate change] America warming, they call it global warming,” his way of saying that climate change can’t be confronted unilaterally.”

Yet Dubya Bush, supported by the Republicans, refused to sign the Kyoto Protocols, which would ‘confront’ climate change ‘globally.’ Rmoney’s “quip” is yet another example of how warped his sense of humor, his character and his logic are.

The article continues…

“There are many good reasons to embrace rising U.S. oil and gas production and to reform the way government regulates their development.”

If ‘reforming regulation’ involves eliminating regulations, then NO, there are no good reasons.

…and finishes with,

“The Romney strategy for fossil-fuel development has some reasonable proposals on both fronts. But when it comes to comprehensively exploiting energy opportunities and confronting energy-related risks, the strategy falls woefully short.”

Michael Levi’s article links to “The Romney Plan For a Stronger Middle Class: Energy Independence“, which sounds like a non-sequitur to me. But the “Executive Summary” seems even more ludicrous, i.e.:

“An affordable, reliable supply of energy is crucial to America’s economic future.
I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies Canada and Mexico to achieve energy independence on this continent. If I am elected president, that vision will become a reality by the end of my second term.” -Mitt Romney

Of course, Rmoney’s basic premise on which he builds some of his so-called “Energy Policy” is a lie:

“In the midst of the energy revolution taking place on state and privately-held lands across America, oil and gas production on federal lands somehow plummeted last year. This was no accident. President Obama has intentionally sought to shut down oil, gas, and coal production in pursuit of his own alternative energy agenda.”

In addition, Rmoney’s “Energy Policy” is extremely vague, with many of the ‘power points’ in some sections appearing to contradict other points within the same section. And quite a bit of the policy appears to be based on studies by Citigroup (“Citi GPS: Global Perspectives & Solutions, “Energy 2020: North America, The New Middle East?” Citigroup, 3/20/12”), investment company Raymond James (Raymond James U.S. Research, “Yes, Mr. President, We Believe We Can Drill Our Way Out of This Problem,” Raymond James, 4/2/12), and the Manhattan Institute (Mark P. Mills, “Unleashing The North American Energy Colossus: Hydrocarbons Can Fuel Growth And Prosperity,” Manhattan Institute, 7/9/12.)

On ThinkProgress, several recent articles demonstrated Mitt’s cluelessness and lack of ability to hear or comprehend what comes out of his own mouth. In this one, Mitt insanely states that “I am very proud of what we did [Romneycare in Massachusetts – which included an ‘individual mandate] and the fact that we helped women and men and children in our state… And then with regard to contraceptives, of course Republicans, myself in particular, recognize that women have a right to use contraceptives.” Huh? Since when, and for how much longer?

Then Rmoney gives a shout-out to the Birthers, telling an audience in Michigan, “Nobody has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that I was born and raised.” Apparently Mitt can’t understand how much this one comment legitimatizes the Birther ignorati, especially in conjunction with the fact that seven (count ’em, SEVEN) Birther conspiracy advocates will be speaking at the RNC in Tampa.

While these are just a few examples of what’s been going on with Rmoney’s campaign, there’s sure to be a whole lot more interesting goings-on during the Republican National Convention, which may or may not start today. Should be fun!

This is our daily open thread — got anything to say about anything?

Sunday Roast: Count von Count

Jerry Nelson died on Friday.  Who the heck is Jerry Nelson, you might ask.  He was the voice of Count von Count on Sesame Street for over 40 years!

I think Jerry Nelson must have had a great sense of humor, in order to do puppetry for most of his life, so I posted this un-necessarily censored video of the County singing about how much he loves to…er, count.  🙂

Rest in Peace, Mr Nelson.  The Count was one of my favorite characters!

HT:  Zoo Sr

This is our daily open thread — I love to @$#*%!

The Watering Hole – Saturday, August 25, 2012 – Keep the Kids Out of This

Bill Nye, the Science Guy (@TheScienceGuy), has a video out called “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.” It was put out for This week’s hat tip goes to LGF.:

Denial of evolution is unique to the United States. I mean, we’re the world’s most advanced technological—I mean, you could say Japan—but generally, the United States is where most of the innovations still happens. People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.

Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place.

As my old professor, Carl Sagan, said, “When you’re in love you want to tell the world.” So, once in a while I get people that really—or that claim—they don’t believe in evolution. And my response generally is “Well, why not? Really, why not?” Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they’re at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.

And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.

It’s just really hard a thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.

Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler [via LGF]

It wasn’t a belief in Creationism that gave this nation a reputation for being the best and richest country, that expanded it through the Industrial Revolution, that built the Interstate Highway System, that had twelve of its citizens walk on the surface of the Moon or that landed a nuclear-powered probe on the surface of Mars and broadcast pictures and other data back. It was a belief in Science that did all that, and without it, we would be no better off than those that live in deeply religious Third World countries.

If you have a child that really wants to study Science and Math, encourage him or her to do so. It’s not just our nation that needs more scientists, it’s the world. We are all in this together. The world’s climate problems are not going to be solved in such a way that we in the United States live and everyone else fends for themselves. Global problems require global solutions and global participation.

One of the biggest dangers to our country lies in our political system. We are a two-major-party country, and one of the two major parties simply does not believe in Science. Nor have they bothered to educate themselves on the subject and insist on just flat-out denying the inescapable conclusions of the men and women who have actually studied these things whenever they don’t like the results, as if Scientific Consensus meant whatever the uneducated-in-Science people thought was true. That’s not how Science works. A Scientific Consensus is the conclusion arrived at by Scientists, not the public. And not the Republican Party.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.]

Music Night – The Best of the Blues

Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Yardbirds, Led Zepplin, Savoy Brown, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, Grateful Dead,, The Boxtops, The Blues Brothers, Paul Butterfield, Leslie West, Tom Jones, Fleetwood Mac, The Who, Ten Years After, Canned Heat, Cream, John Hammond, Mose Allison, Bill Haley, Sting, Johnnie Rivers, The Band, Spencer Davis Group, The Everly Brothers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Elvis Presley, George Thorogood, ZZ Top, The Doors, Marianne Faithful, Styx, Humble Pie, Aerosmith, The Righteous Brothers, Asylum Street Spankers, Mungo Jerry, The Animals, The Kinks, Van Morrison, Manfred Mann, The New York Dolls, Dave Van Ronk, Jeff Beck Group, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, the Allman Brothers, Steve Miller, Captain Beefheart, Eric Burdon, Elvis Costello, Derek and the Dominos, Johnny Winter, Ten Years After, Steve Miller, Charley Musselwhite, Dion Dimucci, Phish, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Weir:

These are some of the more familiar white musicians who have recorded one of the most prolific and the most influential blues artists of all times- Willie Dixon.

The list of blues musicians who have recorded his songs are among the Who’s Who of the blues:

Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor, Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Rush, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Witherspoon, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Little Milton, Little Walter, Etta James, Louisiana Red, Magic Sam, James Cotton, Jimmie Reed, Luther Allison, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Mama Thornton, Junior Wells, Willie Mabon, Lowell Fulson, and (the great) Elmore James.

A former boxer and conscientious objector in WWII, Willie’s stand up bass backed many of the greatest assemblages of blues musicians found in Chicago at the zenith of the genre. For those not familiar with the blues, it was not all moping around and crying.

Blues Night at The Zoo. The party starts now.

Here’s Willie doing a song he did not write, but popularized by Muddy Waters.

The Watering Hole: August 24 — Photo Friday

Photo by Zooey

Another picture from my Glacier Park trip, taken from a wide spot on the Going To The Sun Road.

Just imagine the sheer size and weight of the glaciers that carved out this valley and the sides of those mountains.  Absolutely amazing.

This is our daily open thread — TGIF!!

The Watering Hole, Thursday, August 23rd, 2012: Roe v. Wade, “Personhood” Laws, and Colonial Times

What I started out researching for today’s thread, and what follows, bear little relation to each other. I had wanted to explore the history of Presidential nominees whose campaigns included promises to repeal Roe v. Wade, and any resulting attempts at legislation. That effort met with little success (though there was plenty of other fascinating information, too much for me to do more than a cursory scan), but luckily I got distracted by this bright shiny object: Footnote Number 6 on Wikipedia’s Roe vs Wade page:

Wilson, James, “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals” (1790–1792): “In the contemplation of law, life begins when the infant is first able to stir in the womb.” Also see Blackstone, William. Commentaries (1765): “Life … begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother’s womb.”

So, am I wrong in interpreting those quotes as: before the American Revolution, and continuing after the establishment of the United States of America, life in a woman’s womb did not legally begin until the fetus starts moving?

WebMD says, “You should feel your baby’s first movements, called “quickening,” between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel your baby move until closer to 25 weeks. By the second pregnancy, some women start to feel movements as early as 13 weeks.”

Even if one uses the figure of 13 weeks, or let’s say even 12 weeks, it appears that it was settled law, way back during the era of our Founding Fathers, that an embryo was not legally a living human being until three months into the pregnancy. Hmmm…if this was the generally accepted definition of ‘when “life” begins’ back in the 18th century, how can the Teapublicans in Congress reconcile this with their (false) claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, and should therefore be ruled by the Bible? How can they justify – or even implement – “Personhood” legislation? And just which exactly is the United States citizen, the woman or the not-legally-“life” zygote or embryo? Which comes first in the hearts of those Teapublicans, their Oath to their country, or their Old Testament god?

Footnote Number 6 led me to more fascinating reading in James Wilson’s “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals.” Here’s some excerpts:

“The opinion has been very general, that, in order to obtain the blessings of a good government, a sacrifice must be made of a part of our natural liberty. I am much inclined to believe, that, upon examination, this opinion will prove to be fallacious. It will, I think, be found, that wise and good government — I speak, at present, of no other — instead of contracting, enlarges as well as secures the exercise of the natural liberty of man: and what I say of his natural liberty, I mean to extend, and wish to be understood, through all this argument, as extended, to all his other natural rights.”

“…what [my description of] natural liberty is:
“Nature has implanted in man the desire of his own happiness; she has inspired him with many tender affections towards others, especially in the near relations of life; she has endowed him with intellectual and with active powers; she has furnished him with a natural impulse to exercise his powers for his own happiness, and the happiness of those for whom he entertains such tender affections. If all this be true, the undeniable consequence is, that he has a right to exert those powers for the accomplishment of those purposes, in such a manner, and upon such objects, as his inclination and judgment shall direct; provided he does no injury to others; and provided some publick interests do not demand his labours. This right is natural liberty.”

If this description of natural liberty is a just one, it will teach us, that selfishness and injury are as little countenanced by the law of nature as by the law of man. Positive penalties, indeed, may, by human laws, be annexed to both. But these penalties are a restraint only upon injustice and overweening self-love, not upon the exercise of natural liberty.

“Let the constitution of the United States…be examined from the beginning to the end. No right is conferred, no obligation is laid on any, which is not laid or conferred on every, citizen of the commonwealth or Union — I think I may defy the world to produce a single exception to the truth of this remark. Now…the original equality of mankind consists in an equality of their duties and rights.

Duties and rights” – note that he puts “Duties” first. An idea which the Teapublicans either have deliberately abandoned, or are too ignorant or oblivious to understand. Or perhaps both. (sigh)

This is our daily open thread — got something to say about something?

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, August 22, 2012: Conspiracy Theory Unveiled!


Today’s Open Thread is brought to you by guestblogger and friend of The Zoo, SpiritKat.

The GOP is all agog at Romney’s choice for vice president. The way they are fawning over him and touting his policies and stances, one would think that Paul Ryan was the Presidential candidate instead of Romney. This sudden leap of enthusiasm baffled me. After all, the Vice-President is really not much more than a figurehead, so what’s the big deal? But then I was struck by a thought: perhaps Romney’s slip of the tongue was not such a slip at all…

Without knowing it, Romney may well have been channeling a secret plot of the GOP. It has been clear from the start that Romney is not exactly the GOP’s ideal pick for President. His religion, his etch-a-sketch waffling on issues, and most especially his failure to lean far enough to the right have not exactly endeared him to the either the GOP or prospective voters. The only thing Romney has really had going for him is his wealth. Of course, the choices of acceptable candidates were pretty slim, judging by the debates, so I suspect Romney really got the pick purely by default.

Then there are gas prices. Have you noticed that the closer Romney got to being the top front runner, the more gas prices went down? Now that Romney has chosen the GOP’s golden boy, we’ve suddenly had a fire in a California refinery and gas prices are once again on the rise. Coincidence? Or do I smell snake oil burning?

So, let’s get back to Romney’s slip of the tongue. Perhaps the GOP can have its cake and eat it, too? Let us suppose that the Romney/Ryan ticket succeeds in winning the election (most likely by buying the election or by a die-bold–or is that the same thing?). Now, suppose President-elect Romney is assassinated on the eve of his inauguration (which, of course, would be blamed on terrorists, so the fear factor is up and running again). Voila! The GOP’s golden boy steps in and is sworn in as the President of the United States. Yes, now the GOP’s excitement over that slip of the tongue makes a whole lot more sense.


Watering Hole: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 – It’s A Matter of Perspective

The other week, we had dinner in a Lebanese restaurant.  On the wall next to the booth that my husband and I shared, were various photographs of Lebanon.  The owner must have seen us staring at these pictures as he came over to our table and began telling us about the various locations.  Some of the writings on the photos looked like French words.  We were informed that French is the official language of Lebanon.

The owner, I’ll refer to him as Jake (not his real name), was in a social mood as he stayed by our table and continued to talk to us as we were waiting for our food to arrive.  Jake began by telling us the story of the Lebanese civil war.  He was a leader in the “Christian Army” as opposed to the “Muslim Army”.

I’m going to cut to the chase.  There was one story that he told us that we found particularly interesting.  Jake told us that when the conflict first started, the US did NOT support the Christian Lebanese.  Here’s Jake’s version (paraphrased) that is not told in our history books.

Henry Kissinger had a plan for Lebanon which was to remove the Christians and replace them with the Palestinians from Israel.  Jake told us that the Lebanese Christians were offered “millions” of dollars for them to move out of Lebanon and to move to Canada.  The “Christians” were not going to have any of that so they sought help and received help from Israel and the civil war continued.

Support for Jake’s story is difficult to find and it certainly is not the story that was on the evening news in the United States. Whether Jake’s story is true or not is just a matter of perspective.

If you have the time, here is an interesting article in Slate that discusses the civil war in Lebanon and what was happening in Iraq in 2006.

This is our Open Thread.  What’s your perspective about anything?  Speak Up!

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 20th, 2012: New York, The New Battleground State?

It’s always been pretty much a given that New York State’s electoral votes in a Presidential election go to the Democratic candidate. While most of the state is Republican-leaning, the heavily-populated centers of New York City and Albany tip the electoral scales in favor of Democrats. And despite the recent redistricting, which lost the state two of its electoral votes, its 29 votes should still be reliably blue. Okay, while not an actual guarantee, New York should still be able to be counted on for President Obama in the upcoming Presidential election. Regardless, I don’t expect to see either Presidential candidate, or their surrogates, doing any campaigning in New York.

On the other hand, some of the Congressional races within the state are now, frighteningly, likely to remain in the grasp of the Republicans. Our own district, now redistricted as The Fightin’ Eighteenth (as Stephen Colbert would say), went from Democrat John Hall to Tea Party Republican Nan Hayworth in the 2010 Tea Party tempest. According to

“In 2010, no state was stung by the Republican sweep of the House more than New York. Before the election, New York had three Republican representatives. After the dust settled, Republicans increased their numbers in the New York delegation nearly three-fold — eight of New York’s 29 seats were Republican.”

Those eight Congressional seats are now in play again, and, as Salon puts it:

“For Republicans, simply retaining the gains of two years ago would be a major win, both in the state and nationally. And they’re confident that they’ll even pick up new seats. “They’re more likely to pick up two than lose two at this time,” said New York Republican consultant Susan Del Percio.”

However, the website, paints an even more dire picture in New York. The site references the New York Times race ratings, which indicate that 10 New York congressional districts could go Republican: “the 1st, 11th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th and 27th districts.”

If Republicans retain their current eight Congressional seats, that would be bad enough news for us and for President Obama. If they gain any more seats on top of those eight, it bodes even worse for all of us. And if you combine such a scenario with the fact that so many Republican-governed states are doing their utmost to suppress Democratic votes, well…do I need to draw a map?

This is our daily open thread — got any good news?

Sunday Roast: Dark Road to the White House

The New York Times, by Charles M. Blow

Shady money, voter suppression, shifting positions, murky details and widespread apathy.

If there is a road map for a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan win in November, that’s it. Distasteful all.

Thank goodness Romney/Ryan (R/R) has all that money backing them up, huh?  Otherwise the voter suppression and murky details might cause them a problem.  Oh wait, R/R are counting on the listed items to get them elected in November.  It’s all good.

Charles M. Blow, beside being a gorgeous man, is absolutely brilliant.  In his article, he talks about the various lies, equivocations, flip flops, secrecy, and abject hypocrisy of the Romney/ Ryan ticket.

America, this is the Republican ticket. Although most smart political observers currently have Romney losing the Electoral College, Romney, following this repulsive road map, is virtually tied with Obama in national polls of likely voters.

“Virtually tied” with President Obama in the polls.  Un-friggin-believable.  Why is R/R in a virtual tie with Obama/Biden?


Yep, you read that correctly.  Voter apathy is a HUGE problem in this country — even now, with so much as stake.

As USA Today reported, the 90 million people who are unlikely to vote in November prefer Obama over Romney by 2 to 1, and “they could turn a too-close-to-call race into a landslide for President Obama — but by definition they probably won’t.”

I want to know who these people are.  I want to know what — exactly — is going on in their pathetically tiny pea brains.  I want an explanation as to WHY they just can’t be arsed to get themselves into a voting booth.  I want them to tell me, and then I want to put a big red “D” for DODDERING DUNDERHEADED DUMBASS in the middle of their foreheads, as a sign to the rest of us that these people are dangerous to the well-being of this country and her people.  I want to know all of these things, and then I want them to shut the fuck up, because not being involved enough with the country that made it possible to have such fascinating lives that they can’t exercise their civic duty by getting into a voting booth is something that pisses me off.

It pisses me off so much that I’m going to call them what they are:  FREE-LOADERS.  They live in this country, enjoy our freedoms, our clean air and water, and take advantage of the commons we all contribute to via our time, effort, and tax dollars, but they just don’t care enough to bother finding out about the people they’re voting for, or about how it all happens until they wake up and realize something has, or is about to, affect them and families in some manner.  This is how teabaggers are born.

If this underhanded dirty dealing by the Republican ticket doesn’t jolt some of these unlikely voters into likely ones, I don’t know what will.

Nor I, Charles, nor I.

Read Charles Blow’s whole article here.

This is our daily open thread — Do you know any of these people?