Watering Hole: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 – Mandela

This a man that I greatly admire.  He was brave while he was imprisoned and even braver after he was elected President.  Nelson knew that in order for South Africa to move forward, it could not dwell in its past sins and atrocities.

President Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday on July 18th and he was hospitalized for a lung infection back in June.  Even though he is showing improvement, his situation remains critical.

Just like everyone else, no leader is perfect.  What is important is the legacy that their leadership gives to us.  Here’s to you, Mandiba.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

Anatomy of a coat hanger abortion

This is what the anti-choice crowd is creating for women all over this country. Laws against abortion do not stop abortion; they guarantee unsafe abortions.

Dr. Jen Gunter

The coat hanger isn’t sterile. It isn’t even clean.

If the woman, or girl, is alone she thrusts it blindly upwards into the vagina. She’s hoping it will get into her uterus and do something. She may or may not know that to get into the uterus the coat hanger has to navigate the small opening in the cervix called the os.

A coat hanger is technically narrow enough to get through a pregnant cervical os, but the end is sharp not tapered so it can lacerate and perforate. Getting any instrument through the cervix safely also requires visualization and knowledge of the correct amount of force.

If she’s lucky enough to get the coat hanger through her cervix it could easily sail right through the back or side walls of the uterus. The uterine wall is soft and easily perforated with the wrong instrument or unskilled hands. If…

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The Watering Hole, Monday, July 29th, 2013: Saint Ronnie? I Don’t Think So!

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I have always had great admiration for President James Earl Carter. I confess that I did not start voting until 1988, after I married Wayne (so Clinton was “my first.”) But my parents were pretty staunch Democrats who voted for Carter, and in those times we actually did sit down to watch the evening news every night, and I watched the Sunday political shows with my dad each weekend – which, of course, usually ended with me taking a nap. So I was not completely ignorant of political machinations, especially with dad filling me in on the background issues.

President Carter’s administration covered some troubled times, but he always spoke to the nation in a unique combination of down-home-folksy Sheriff Andy and subtly eloquent professor. That he is still, and always will be, derided by Republicans as one of the worst Presidents in history, just proves how little the Republicans respect intellect and integrity.

President Jimmy (as I like to call him) differentiated himself from too many other former Presidents by, after leaving office, continuing for decades to serve his planet, his country, and humanity in general. Jimmy and Rosalynn remain wonderful examples of “public service” at its most noble.

Here’s a selection of interviews, articles, and videos, all from the last year or two, which include President Carter’s views on America’s dysfunctional democracy and the effect of Edward Snowdon’s NSA leaks; his speech at the Carter Center’s “Mobilizing Faith for Women” conference on June 23, 2013; and an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan from January 2012 on a wide range of topics, but mostly about the Middle East.

And saving the best for last, here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of President Carter’s appearance on The Daily Show, April 9th, 2013.

In my opinion, no other President has acted so Presidential after leaving office as has President Jimmy Carter. The right-wing can criticize and ridicule him all they want, but Jimmy deserves beatification to sainthood much more than their much-vaunted but historically inaccurate Saint Ronnie.

jimmy and rosalynn

This is our Open Thread. What’s your opinion about President Jimmy Carter? Or on anything else, for that matter.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 27, 2013: The Acerebralists™ Are Still Among Us


I own a great book (thank you, Jane) called “The Superior Person’s Book of Words”, by Peter Bowler (1985). It’s very funny and has definitions (or explanations) of a bunch of great and, almost always, actual words that describe things perfectly. Not quite Ambrose Bierce, but chosen to effect an air of superiority when the occasion calls for it. Words like

CONTRADISTINCTION n. Why say “in contrast with” when you can say “in contradistinction to”?

There’s another great entry for

EREPTION n. Snatching away. Do not confuse with EREPTATION (creeping forth). Snuggling up to your beloved at the drive-in, you say, “I sense an ereption coming on,” and suddenly snatch the M&Ms from her lap. If it transpires that she has put the M&Ms somewhere else, you will be compelled to perform an ereptation.

The whole book is like that. It’s great. On the back cover can be found this:

ACEREBRAL a.Without a brain. A word for which there would at first sight appear to be no use, since no entity to which there would be any point in applying the term could in fact possess this attribute. (There would be no point in speaking of an acerebral windowsill.) However, recent researches into the central nervous system of the wire-haired terrier have conclusively demonstrated the need for such a word.

I then (technically improperly, I think) applied a suffix to indicate a person who practices or is concerned with something (“-ist”), and came up with

ACEREBRALIST n. A person who tries to think without having the capacity to do so. (i.e. A person without a brain who insists on trying to use it.)

You’ll probably derive your own variations on the theme, but it’s one of those words that you either get it and know to whom it applies or you don’t, and probably never will. Remember, you heard it from me first. Don’t go trying to steal it, Colbert!

[The above was part of a post first published more than six years ago on my original blog.]

Fast forward six years later and a word with what seemed like limited application then is almost indispensable in describing large segments of our society today. What other word best describes the faithful and believing viewers of Fox News Channel? I’ve written about Fox News in my song parodies (here, here, here, and especially here), and yet despite my efforts people still watch that network to get their news. And the sad part is that the Acerebralists™ in America (their target audience) believe every lie they’re told. Whether it’s about Benghazi or polls based on the lies about Benghazi, misinformation about the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down one section of the Voting Rights Act (not all of it), or denying that racism is still a major problem in this country, Fox News knows their audience lacks the brain power to think for themselves (or do their own internet research). If it weren’t for brainless people, Fox News Channel wouldn’t have enough viewers to stay on the air. (BTW, all of the examples I linked to were just from the past few days on Fox News Channel. The rest of the year is no better.)

But cable TV news is not the only place dependent on Acerebralists™ to make a living. Right-wing talk radio not only counts on them for their audiences, they even employ some Acerebralists™ as on-air hosts. I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. Those guys aren’t stupid, they’re just plain evil in all sorts of ways. I’m talking about people like Bryan Fischer, who once regaled his audience with tales of his bravely fighting off demons, who thinks Liz Cheney isn’t anti-gay enough to be a US Senator, and who thinks it’s your patriotic duty (as Americans) to worship God. You can read about soem of the others at Right Wing Watch (A Project of People For the American Way).

And maybe all of that wouldn’t be so bad, wouldn’t be so detrimental to the country, if there weren’t any Acerebralists™ in Congress. Unfortunately for us as a nation, there are. On just the anti-immigration front, there’s Rep Michele Bachmann, who predicted that if any kind of immigration reform legislation passes, the Republicans will lose the House of Representatives because President Obama “will wave his magic wand” and declare that all immigrants have the right to vote (he can’t and won’t); Rep Louie Gohmert, who thinks that not only are black people “embracing” the Republican Party, but that “Hispanic voters will do likewise once they understand that the GOP wants them to learn to speak English and assimilate so that they don’t have to work as ditch diggers.”; and Rep Steve King (IA), who thinks that most of the undocumented immigrants are “130-pound” drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes.” [Not to be confused with Rep Peter King (NY), the famous terrorist supporter.] Acerebralists™ can truly feel they have one of their own (or, in this case, at least three) representing them in our Congress.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss the Acerebralists™ in your life, the ones who watch Fox News Channel, or even the ones in Congress, or anything else you wish to discuss. I only ask that you use your brain, which I know you have because you’re here at The Zoo right now.

The Watering Hole, Friday July 26, 2013; That Other World . . . ‘Out There’

Heard a “joke” the other day, courtesy of a charter member of the Front Range’s assemblage of Wingnuttistanians. It went like this:

“Did you know that under Obamacare, the price of aspirin is going to skyrocket because of an unbelievable tax on the stuff?”

“No, hadn’t heard that. Why a huge tax on aspirin?”

“Simple. Because it’s white, and it works.”

My intent for the last week has been to make this post a statement on the racism that’s currently contaminating a substantial portion of this country’s population. I’ve plowed through article after article, post after post, on various related topics including the aftermath of the Zimmerman “trial,”  more Scalia nonsense, the ignition of the voter suppression firestorm currently raging across North Carolina, Texas, and Florida all thanks to the “contributions” to voter suppression by the US “Supreme” (yeah, right) Court, and last but not least, an article entitled The Racist Roots Of The GOP War On Obama.

Wading through each and all of those swamps caused me to feel unclean, so I said hell with it, I’ll wait awhile on the matter, wait for the crud to wash off (assuming that’s even possible). So instead of dealing with right wing disease and grime, I decided instead to focus on that other world: that world “out there” where honor stands tall, where intent is never driven by greed or lust, that world inhabited by Critters . . . where humans appear only as occasional (and mostly uninvited) guests.

Dug through some of my old photo archives accumulated over the last few years and selected the following examples of innate ascendency of spirit. No need to caption or identify most of the participants, their identity is probably fairly obvious. With maybe one exception (I’ll save it for last).

Meanwhile, hope you enjoy the voyage, the momentary sojourn in that ‘other world,’ that sprawling paradise in which WINGNUTTISTANIANS can only ever be unwelcome intruders.

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Beetle at Butterfly Cienega

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Tucson Dove

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere. As John Keats once noted, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty; that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” Indeed, indeed. And examined through a slightly different prism:

How sad that eyes so seldom see
Earth’s beauties, which abound,
For beauty known turns wisdom free
In measures that astound.

And if ‘tis fact that beauty be
As truth, except in name,
What, then, is served but perfidy
When bird or beast is slain?

Yet minds of men seem safely free
Of senses which perceive;
Not truth nor beauty do they see –
For them must wisdom grieve.

Oh, and one last shot, added only to show that in Nature, even the most icy and cold-hearted SOB out there anywhere — though it may seem to at least superficially resemble the soul of any given Wingnuttistanian — the final truth is that, as opposed to wingnuts, its beauty is embedded, and persists.

Keats was, of course, right.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd no, that is NOT the physical manifestation of a wingnut’s nonexistent soul. It’s a Colorado icicle. Truth. 😀

Open Thread. All Critters Welcome.