This is what President Obama had to say about the “fiscal cliff”.
This is what President Obama had to say about the “fiscal cliff”.
Many news organizations, including Reuters, have reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to a hospital following the discovery of a small blood clot stemming from the concussion she suffered earlier this month.
Many in the right wing media have been trying to say, sometimes in a roundabout way and sometimes directly, that she was faking her concussion to get out of testifying about what happened in the Sept 11 attack on the Benghazi Consulate. Of course, there is no basis whatsoever for these accusations, but when did the truth ever stop the right wing from saying anything? Fox News hasn’t been shy about questioning the veracity of Secretary Clinton’s claims or the seriousness of her injury. While she was following doctor’s orders and getting bed rest (a smart thing to do after a concussion, especially when you were sick when you got it), some Fox News people have wondered aloud (and on camera) why she still couldn’t testify as scheduled on Benghazi. (I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing the brain damage prevalent at Fox News was not the result of concussions, but simply a prerequisite for being hired to work there as an on-air “talent.”)
Bill O’Reilly dismissively said, “If She Was In The NFL I Wouldn’t Let Her Play, But I Think She Can Make A Phone Call.” And former unconfirmed G. W. Bush UN Ambassador John “I Am The Walrus Mustache” Bolton even pushed a story about how diplomats lie to get out of meetings they don’t wish to attend.
Fox News contributor John Bolton told host Greta van Susteren that when foreign service officers “don’t want to go to a meeting or conference or event,” they have “a diplomatic illness. And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.”
And Fox’s Laura Ingraham mocked Sec. Clinton’s condition saying, “We Are Now Calling This The Immaculate Concussion.” It’s actually pretty ignorant of them to say, “No one knows where she is.” Of course people knew – she was at home, as previously reported, where her doctor’s told her to stay. O’Reilly even said where she was later in the segment.
It’s time for Fox News to start apologizing for accusing the Secretary of State of faking her concussion so she wouldn’t have to testify regarding the Benghazi attack. And they’re not the only ones. Soon-to-be former Congressman Allen West said that she was trying to get out of testifying with a bout of the “Benghazi Flu.” To her credit, Fox’s Greta van Susteren has pushed back on these accusations saying, “I don’t agree with any of my (Fox News) colleagues or anyone else who is a tad bit sarcastic on our air about Secretary Clinton’s health.”
Given his well-documented obsession with Hillary Clinton, we can only imagine what Rush Limbaugh has said on the subject. We have to because none of us here can stomach listening to that blowhard.
Surely their apologies are imminent. Yeah, just as surely as I’ll be sworn in next month to replace Secretary Clinton.
This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Hillary’s concussion, Rush’s obsessions, O’Reilly’s brain damage, or any other topic you wish. And from all of us at The Zoo, please enjoy your New Year’s Eve celebrations safely and responsibly.
I have been thinking a lot about what stuck in my mind from last year and, of course, there are numerous occasions that are memorable. In my own life and in politics. Not all good memories, but that was 2012 for me. Not all good. Let’s stick to politics.
Here the best line in politics of 2012. Hint: A door painted on a rock…
And there was in my humble opinion the worst:
The only way is to take away the guns from the bad guys. Period!
So, what are you thinking? There are some really great quotes out there you are welcome to post the best, funniest, most thoughtful, most thought provoking and most uplifting lines that come to your mind. I think we might as well end this year on hope. Heaven knows we can all use it.
To All Critters and Regulars and the Occasional Lurker. I wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year. Let’s get 2012 behind us, we have been spared another Republican President, yes it affects us over here as well. But there is still a lot of work to do on both sides of the Atlantic. I wish us all the best for it.
I happen to be a fan of FactCheck.org. They are a non-partisan site dedicated to checking facts in political discussions and reporting the results no matter who it helps or hurts. For example, many of us on the Left have pointed out that the reason Social Security should be off the table during debt ceiling and budget talks is because it is not contributing a penny to the federal deficit. FactCheck looked into that and you know what? It turns out that is not entirely true. And with the problem getting a little worse each year (the payroll tax “holiday” isn’t helping the long term prospects of Social Security, even if it is putting about twenty bucks or so a week in your pocket today), it was wrong of Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) to repeat the claim last month. So while I may not like what I hear from them sometimes, being the good Liberal that I am, I let facts change my mind. So I no longer say Social Security is not contributing to the deficit or debt, because right now it is.
One of the things FactCheck does (and does well) is check the facts in all those viral e-mails you get, usually accusing President Obama of doing something unprecedented, or illegal, or, I don’t know, black. There usually isn’t a lot of truth in those e-mails. Yes, Barack Obama is the President of the United States, but that’s usually where the truth ends in those e-mails. In their year-end summary, FactCheck.org reviewed many of the viral e-mails of the past year that didn’t pass, shall we say, the smell test.
Whether it’s the truth about how much of our national debt can be blamed solely on Obama (both sides have been wrong on this one), did Obama give stimulus money to Chinese contractors to build bridges in the U.S. (no, he didn’t), does Mitt Romney’s son Tagg (he’s the tall, thin, dark-haired one) own voting machines in Ohio (no, he doesn’t), or did the IRS pay billions in tax refunds to workers who are in the U.S. illegally (okay, that one turned out to be true), Fact Check.org digs in and uncovers the truth.
For those interested in the truth (which makes being right easier), I recommend FactCheck.org. If you know of any fact-checking sites with as much or more reliability, I’d like to hear what they are. Because, being the good Liberal that I am, I like Facts. You should, too. Life can be so much easier to deal with when viewed through the prism of Truth, as opposed to that of Ideology.
This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss FactCheck.org, some other fact-checking websites, or any other subject you wish. It’s a free country. And that’s a fact. At least I hope it still is.
It is a political blog, so why not usher in 2013 with a democratic anthem? The best to all of you in the New Year. Peace.
From a recent article by Joe Hagan in New York Magazine, some very revealing observations, each and all laced with direct quotes of/by his “shipmates,” the combination of which seems to perfectly define the American
wingnut conservative (… umm … movement? Yeah, OK, that works). So, from the ‘bowels ‘ (sotospeak) of the GOP via a post-election-get-away-from-it-all Caribbean cruise here it is, Hagan’s ‘observer’ commentary of his encounters as recorded onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch registry) Caribbean cruise ship, cruise beginning Nov. 16 2012 in Ft. Lauderdale FL:
Who sent Obama here to destroy America? a fifty-something woman asked.
Minorities came out like crazy. White people didn’t get to the polls. There are far more African–Americans voting than they expected. said Kevin Hassett, a former economic adviser to Mitt Romney
So what do we do with our money? asked a tall, extremely tanned blonde named Kay, from Old Greenwich, Connecticut, of Hassett, who replied:
Okay, if Europe is what you want, go to Poland. Go to Krakow, buy a house for $50,000, and it’s going to be like Paris in a few years.
And Hagan continues: “As we drained the Pinot Noir, Hassett gave his audience the insider’s view of the Romney campaign, describing how its election-monitoring software crashed on November 6 and Obama was probably behind it, because those guys are so evil.
The table grumbled in assent.
The thing we have to understand is, these are people who don’t have any morals, said Hassett. They’ll do anything. I’m one of their No. 1 targets. I mean, they really want me bad. I was in the middle of the fight against the propaganda, and I have stories like you wouldn’t believe. These people are so evil. They’re basically Fascists. It’s unbelievable.
So: “They’re basically Fascists.” Yeah, ok, right. Reminds me of that old adage in which the Pot accused the Black of being a Kettle, or something close to that.
In any case, Hagan’s saga continues. Scary! And yes, it’s lengthy, too, but for those who are trying to comprehend the (incomprehensible?) undercurrent of today’s American
conservative wingnut Republican ‘movement,’ it’s well worth the time. I mean hey, with wingnut luminaries such as Ralph Reed, Jonah Goldberg, John Yoo, Cal Thomas, Rich Lowry, et al. in attendance … I mean, what more could anyone ever ask?? [Well, yeah, ok, but “Fire one, fire two, fire three” went out of style in the Caribbean when, in the early forties? Still, yes, as Charles de Gualle quite likely would have said on more than one occasion, Je comprends] (sotospeak).
Back to the task at hand, one more enticing tidbit; Hagan writes:
As [Cal] Thomas downed the rest of his drink, Duane [a retired surgeon from California] said the only way out of the current quagmire is a revolution, citing the famous Thomas Jefferson line about watering the tree of liberty with blood from time to time.
What kind of revolution did he have in mind?
Duane’s eyes crinkled into a big smile. You ever heard of guns?
His wife sat up: How do you like the veal?
It’s awful, Duane growled, poking at it. I can’t hardly chew it.
And so it went. I offer kudos to Joe Hagan for having SURVIVED a week with that cluster of idiots, and offer further kudos to him for finding the means to somehow ENDURE the stupidity!
Hagan quotes National Review’s Jonah Goldberg’s summation of these recent electoral events:
This is a more downbeat bunch this year. We lost in 2008, but it was almost boisterous and fun. This, a little less so. People were dyspeptic.
Their conception of what the country is about, they really were sure the country would reject Barack Obama. I do think it hits them hard. The fear I have, why this election stung, I think, Obama has successfully de-ratified some of the Reagan revolution in a way that Clinton never could and didn’t even try to. That’s what freaks people out, that feeling in their gut, either Obama has changed the country, or the country has sufficiently changed that they don’t have a problem with Obama. That’s what eats at people.
As my cousin has long (always, actually) been wont to say, “Republicans forever, Democrats never!” My new response: Obama has changed the country! Yay! Finally! De-ratify! Yes! Yeehaw!‘”
Weird world, this one. Why is that? Anyone got the explanation?
This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind?
As I said in a previous thread, many of us here at The Zoo have, sadly, suffered the loss of loved ones this year. Those personal losses will never make any of the lists of famous or otherwise notable people who died this year, regardless of how important or life-altering our own losses have been to us.
However, 2012 has been a year during which many people have been lost who have also affected our lives, whether in minor ways or more deeply. Actors and other entertainers and celebrities – Charles Durning, Jack Klugman, Phyllis Diller, Richard Dawson, Marvin Hamlisch, Ravi Shankar, Gore Vidal, Ray Bradbury, to name a few – have been part of our lives as well, and their passing brings back many memories. Several people who had more significant impact on our nation as well as individually have also quit this mortal coil, such as Helen Gurley Brown, Rodney King, George McGovern, Arlen Spector, astronauts Sally Ride and Neil Armstrong. Ranker.com provides a list of 90+ such individuals in various fields. (Note: a couple of the people on this list are duplicated.)
Cracked.com has also compiled a list of “Where Aren’t They Now? 13 Overlooked Deaths of 2012” and, while one or two are listed at the link above, most are not, and are not necessarily household names. But many things that we take for granted today are, at least in some part, due to the contributions of these lesser-known individuals.
One name that is not on either list is the actor William Windom, who was one of my favorite actors since I was a child. Is there anyone else that you can think of who is missing from both lists?
This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind?
It seemed, this year, that a new insanity gripped the United States: The Newtown mass murder of little children, followed by reports that others were planning similar crimes. Then the NRA out there stumping for arming every man, woman & child in the country.
Insanity grips the “Holy Land” as well: Brinksmanship of the most deadly kind. And, again, children are dying. For what? ‘Tis this insanity that inspired the following poem, written several years ago:
When dreams are swept away,
And the jagged edges of crystal time
Have etched their painful memories in the hourglass;
When angry seas crash
Upon the upturned fist of the shore,
And the clay breathed no more;
When blinding Truth and Reality collide
Into time’s crystal,
And the sounding of the bell,
The deep sounding of the bell,
Prophesying the virtues of the sand,
(The sounding of the bell,
The sweet sounding of the bell)
Tolling for the dust;
Then tears shall fall,
For the Counter of the sand.
THIS IS THE OPEN THREAD OF THE DAY. PEACE BE WITH YOU.
Photo by Zooey
Merry Christmas, everyone. This is a picture from the train park in Lewiston, Idaho. Every year, lots of volunteers get together and wrap up the whole park in colorful lights — it gets better every year. This park was a great favorite of my parents, and they’d make at least a couple special trips into town to enjoy it — 45 miles!
Anyhoo, I spent a little time waking around the park this evening, and it was absolutely lovely.
I like this version of Jingle Bells. It makes me want to get up and dance.
May your holiday celebration be happy.
This is our Open Thread. Speak Up!
Here at The Zoo as well, many of our own community have suffered the loss of a loved one this year. Sadly, our number has now increased with Zooey’s loss of her father.
I hope that each of us, Critters, Zoosters, and all who have been touched by sorrow this year, finds some measure of Peace this Christmas; whether in the company of relatives and loved ones, or in the sympathy and great affection of our extended family.
At last the Winter’s Rest has called,
Th’ deepened slumber undisturbed,
A life now left, and now recalled.
With Joys and Sorrows memories spill,
Flow tears of grief, loss, love, uncurbed,
Where life once vibrant now is still.
In Winter’s Deep he lays to sleep,
Our hearts cry out to heav’n above
And pray, Dear Lord, his soul to keep.
Now raise a glass to loved ones gone.
And drink to life, to health, to love,
And friends that help us to live on.
On this day in history, December 23, 1954, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was released.
I loved this movie when I was a kid, but I enjoyed Jules Verne’s book even more. During the giant squid attack scene, I remember thinking that on the interior shots, it looked like the squid was waving. Well, I was only about ten when I read the book and then saw the movie. 😀
I was also crazy for that old show in the 60s, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
This is our daily open thread — What was your favorite childhood movie?
In the aftermath of one of the most horrific mass shootings in our nation’s long history of mass shootings (see partial list of recent mass shootings here), David Keene, President of the National Rifle Association (NRA) the began an announcement to the press “for the purposes of beginning our discussion of the topic that’s been on the mind of American parents across this country, and that is, what do we do about the tragedies of the sort that struck in Newtown, Connecticut — to avoid such events in the future?” He then introduced Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who proceeded to lie.
Wayne said, “Out of respect for the families and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment.” Except if that were true, he would not have been making those comments, because the facts are not yet known and won’t be for some time. But after promising on Tuesday that the NRA would have a “meaningful contribution,” their solution to prevent more mass shootings in schools was – yes, you guessed it – more guns in schools. Really, Wayne? Do you honestly think that if we put armed security guards in every school, that fewer children would die from guns? Maybe you really do believe that, because among many stupid things you said was this gem, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This is the mind set we must face if we are to do anything about the prevalence of guns in our society. A mind set that believes that the only thing wrong with the guns in our society is that there just aren’t enough of them, not that there are too many in the hands of people who have no business holding one let alone owning it. A mind set that thinks guns provide a level of safety their absence can’t match, despite the clear evidence that guns provide a level of danger their presence can’t eliminate. A mind set that believes you have every right in the world to kill someone for no other reason than that you believe, some how, some way, that he posed some kind of danger, possibly imaginary, to you or someone in your care.
They will try to make this about anything but guns. They will try to make it about mental health. They will try to make this about public health. They will try to make this about school safety. They will try to make this about ANYTHING but guns. But there is one, and only one, thing that all mass shootings have had in common – guns. People have committed mass murder without using guns, but those incidents are few and far between, and they certainly aren’t happening at the rate of about one per month, as is true with mass killings using guns. But until we talk about the issue, we won;t come to any meaningful solutions. And since the discussion will revolve around the Second Amendment, the very first question we should ask and answer is a simple one: What year is it right now? Because it isn’t 1791, and we don’t rely on out militias for law enforcement, only law assistance. And since militias were the clearly obvious reason for allowing people to own guns, shouldn’t we discuss them, too? The “right to keep and bear arms” is not without context, and a discussion on how to reduce the number of mass shootings in our society must address that context.
This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss guns or any other topic you wish.
Eschewing the obvious song, although I’m sure someone else will post it.And when I did settle on Cat Stevens, there was another obvious choice but I elected to begin on a cheerful note. Someday, somewhere, maybe I’ll be able to see Yusuf in concert although it may need to be in the UK.
Have a great Solstice!
Today’s southern Arizona – i.e. all the land below the Gila River, about 1/3 of the state – was, a few hundred years ago, under the governance of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and parcel to a large territorial Province referred to as the Pimeria Alta, i.e. the Upper Land of the Pimas. The area was thus named because the indigenous peoples, the Sobaipuri, were principally of Pima and closely related O’odham (Papago) ethnicity, themselves each and all presumed to be descendants of the vanished Salado/Hohokam culture which had left behind, on the Sonoran Desert, the huge footprint of a highly advanced civilization, one which had endured for more than a thousand years prior to its mysterious disappearance a century or two before the arrival of the Spaniards.
In the late 1600’s the Spanish began the task of Christianizing the Sobaipuri, and assigned the responsibility primarily to Jesuit Fr. Eusebio Kino who established missions at Tumacacori, Guevavi, and Bac, all Sobaipuri place names — “towns” — alongside the north-flowing Santa Cruz River. The missions were eventually brought under the protection of Spanish military garrisons stationed at the Presidios of Tubac (near Guevavi and Tumacacori) and Tucson (near Bac).
Today, (visibly) little remains at Guevavi other than a few mounds of crumbled adobe wall. At Tumacacori, however, the ruins of a large church still stand, protected and maintained as part of Tumacacori National Historic Park. It’s approximately 17 miles north of the international border at Nogales, a hundred or so meters west of the Rio Santa Cruz, and within easy view of traffic on US Interstate 19. Some fifty miles to the north, again near the banks of the Rio Santa Cruz but on O’odham land stands the crown jewel of Pimeria Alta missions, ‘The White Dove of the Desert’, the Mission San Xavier del Bac. It remains an active church, and as ‘the finest example of Spanish colonial architecture anywhere in the US’ is also a National Historic Landmark under constant care, preservation, and restoration.
Those old missions are, to me at least, captivating places. The embedded history is of course fascinating, but even more fascinating is the ‘message’ each sends, subliminally, to I suspect most any visitor who is innately curious enough to take a look at the physical consequences of historical events and then ponder the new reality that resulted. In the case of the Pimeria Alta, the embedded Sobaipuri culture was forever changed, not often for the better, following the ‘invasion’ from the south of an alien people who spoke a ‘foreign’ language and were physically quite different in appearance (and I suppose some might suggest that with no Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio, and/or Jan Brewer equivalents to stand in their way, the Sobaipuri paid the ultimate price . . . but that’s another story for another time).
For my part, I began regular visits to both Tumacacori and San Xavier in the mid-seventies, not long after my then ‘permanent’ relocation to Arizona. Following are a pair of photo-poetic essay “messages,” one on each church. The photos date back to around 1976; the most recent were taken on my last visit in October, 1999. The words? Same span of time plus a decade, I suppose. Ideas seldom seem to gel all at once. Don’t know why that is, but if I ever figure it out will surely advise.
“Who knows but he will sit down solitary amid silent ruins,
and weep a people inurned and their greatness changed into
an empty name.” (Constantine De Volney)
ELEGY ON A RUIN
Reflections on Mission San José de Tumacácori,
Established in 1691 by Jesuit Fr. Eusebio Kino of New Spain
in Pimeria Alta, on the banks of the Rio Santa Cruz
near Tubac, Arizona, in today’s
Tumacácori National Historic Park
A ruin rests on hallowed ground
In somber reverie;
‘Tis but a shell, an empty church
Beyond the church, a graveyard lies;
Its walls enclose the dead
Departed souls, known but to God,
For whom no tears are shed.
“These Temples grew as grows the grass.
Art could aspire, but not surpass.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
of THE SAINTS
Reflections on Mission San Xavier del Bac,
Established in 1692 by Jesuit Fr. Eusebio Kino of New Spain
in Pimeria Alta on the banks of the Rio Santa Cruz,
on today’s Tohono O’odham Lands near Tucson, Arizona
They stand in stoic, frozen – Silent – pose,
The Saints of San Francisco Xavier,
San Xavier, of Bac.
Niches of adobe’s sculpted clay
and Paints of earthen pigment
decorate their resting space;
Raiments borne of color
and of homespun cloth –
adorn the Votive silence
One strains to hear the voice of God –
Encouragement of Saint –
Yet hears but prayerful murmur,
or creak of genuflect,
Or folding of the hands,
or splash of tears
Before the altars, circumspect,
Within the view of Saints,
Within domain of man’s devise —
Within the grasp of Silence.
To ill define domain of man —
His quest of Power and of Wealth,
of conquering and punishment —
As gift of God Himself
Suggests that man perceives his worth
Than gods, or saints
Or even wolves;
He sees himself as dominant,
As gifted, born in image of his God!
–and in his mind–
Angelic voices sing in praise!
Of his mightiness!
There sings no chorus –
In the stillness of the twilight
of the final dawn,
The winds of the four corners
held their breath.
The ocean sighed against the shore,
and no more.
In the silence of the twilight
of the final dawn,
The last tear fell,
And a single ripple throughout
The still ocean spread.
‘Till every shore
felt its touch.
NSFW, especially if you work with humorless and/or uptight people. 🙂
George Takei has a bit of fun with his trademark “Oh Myy,” while reading selected passages of Fifty Shades of Grey.
This is our daily open thread — Remember kids, it’s okay to be Takei!
Yesterday afternoon, everyone at our company gathered ’round our traditionally-decorated Christmas tree to hear Jon, one of our bosses, give his Christmas speech, and to receive our Secret Santa gifts. Jon usually appoints one or two of the newest employees to play ‘Santa’ and hand out the gifts.
“Traditionally-decorated”, at our company (PediFix, Inc., a footcare products manufacturer), “…does not mean what you think it means…” In our case, it means an evolving and unique mix: classic glass and sparkle-encrusted ornaments compete for attention – and room – with decorations made of footcare products (a bunion guard with two ‘toe combs’ makes a great reindeer/moose!); a wide variety of trade show giveaways (lots of stress-ball-type items in the shapes of: a foot, a neon-pink brain, a computer, etc.); my collection of Audubon birds; several Beanie Babies(tm), including reindeer, a camel, and a rat; other odds and ends of toys and knick-knacks from some of our desks; and, of course, the flamingo. One Christmas, the tree was crowned by a rubber chicken, but the flamingo has reigned supreme ever since.
In the photos here, the flamingo is wearing a hand-colored cardboard bow-tie, a prop from a company party where, for some reason that I forget, we all wore these cartoonish ties. This year the flamingo sports a long strand of oversized pearls, and has a small fake bird attached to its neck via a green velvet bow-tie – much more stylish.
This year’s Christmas speech was not simply a variation on those of previous years. But I’m trying to keep this light, so that’s for another post…
This is our daily open thread — how do you decorate your Christmas tree?