The Watering Hole, Monday, September 30th, 2013: “UBUNTU”

I know that Wayne posted this on yesterday’s Sunday Roast, but it bears another look – especially in light of the myriad inhumane arguments, diatribes, and lies rising to a cacophonic crescendo over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Just look at so many of the self-serving and ignorant comments on Think Progress’s various threads about the ACA. It’s getting to the point where I think I’d rather live in a more simple society where greed and selfishness are not idealized.

These children put the childish “adults” running/ruining our country to shame. It seems that those who supposedly revere our founding fathers have forgotten one of the earliest ideals of this once-great country, as depicted in the Great Seal of the United States:
Great Seal of the United States

“E Pluribus Unum”: “Out of many, one.”

“Ubuntu”: “I am because we are.” Even those children understand the basic concept of what a workable society should be, and are living it. Why the fuck can’t we?

This is our daily open thread. I’m totally disgusted – how about you?

Sunday Roast: McDonald Creek


Photo by Zach Meier

I was going to call this post “Babbling Brook,” because the water is so low, but since this water actually has a name, I thought I should call it McDonald Creek…because that’s what it’s called.

This is the creek that feeds into Lake McDonald, the largest lake in Glacier National Park.  The water is so clean and crisp, and doesn’t my baby take a great picture of it with my awesome camera?  🙂

This is our daily open thread, and yeah, I totally admit it — I got nothin’ today, so chat among yourselves.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 28, 2013: There Are No Death Panels In The ACA

Yesterday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (who was actually born Cow Blitzer) tormented his viewers by hosting retiring Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann for a discussion on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare” by its supporters and “the end of Civilization as we know it” by its detractors. During the conversation (it wasn’t really an “interview” because she pretty much evaded answering just about every single question Blitzer put to her), Bachmann brought up the myth that the ACA has “death panels” in it. And while she also brought up a great number of other lies (I only noticed Blitzer pushing back on one of them, to which she said she would send him the proof; yeah, right), I want to focus on just the one about the death panels. They don’t exist.

Many people Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Friday September 27 2013; Sangre de Cristo

It’s been a busy week, thanks to a visit by out-of-state family members: sister and her youngest son (turned 52 while here), neither of whom I’d seen for more than ten years. During their visit they of course wanted to ‘see’ some of the Rocky Mountains, so on Wednesday we headed west. We crossed the Front Range Sierra Mojadas, then drove to roughly the center point of the unnamed valley which separates the Front Range from the next range in. There we stopped in the little town of Westcliff to take in one of the most stunning mountain views anywhere on the planet: the Sangre de Cristo Range. The range is made up of a number of 14000 ft jagged peaks, and stretches linearly, south to north, practically from horizon to horizon. Have never run across a photo or photos which give full credit to the magnificence of the Sangre mountainscape — not sure it’s even possible to capture. So, the following photos can only lend an impression to the mind’s eye of but one of the consequences of the Laramide Orogeny, the uplift that formed the Rocky Mountains some 80 million years ago (give or take a few million years).

Below are four photos. The first three, if combined into a single panorama, still represent only some of what one sees while standing in one spot and gazing from north to south. Takes about a 90 degree head turn to take it all in. The fourth photo zooms in on just one of the peaks; if it has a name I have no idea what it might be, but it’s probably close to 14000 ft at its crest.

OK, enough bloviation. Enjoy the view!



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI only wish the camera had the ability to capture the moment; it didn’t, of course, but with luck at least the concept of reality’s unadulterated AWE is somewhere embedded!


The Watering Hole, Thursday September 26 2013; Those “Deadly Sins” — Alladem

Eugene Robinson sums it all up:

Obamacare’s real danger for the GOP is that it will succeed

. . . Other rich countries provide truly universal care through single-payer systems of various kinds. Obama chose instead to model the Affordable Care Act after a program implemented on the state level by the Republican governor who became Obama’s opponent in the 2012 presidential election. Yes, before Obamacare there was Romneycare, a private-sector, free-market solution designed to be in accord with the GOP’s most hallowed principles.

But in the years between Mitt Romney’s tenure in Massachusetts and his presidential run, the Republican Party lost its way, or perhaps its mind. . . .

For the radical far right, making health care more widely available through the existing network of insurers, most of them for-profit companies, is a giant leap toward godless socialism. . . .

Republicans scream that Obamacare is sure to fail. But what they really fear is that it will succeed.

That’s the reason for all the desperation.

It is no longer within my capability to fully comprehend that which motivates Republicans and Wingnuts — not by any means other than to recall, yet one more time, Dante’s Seven Deadly Sins, each of which does, indeed, seem to most precisely sum up both history’s and today’s darkside (i.e. far right wing) political “ethic.” Those ‘Magnificent Seven’ are, in no particular order: Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Envy, Wrath, and Pride. Maximize each and all, and bingo, Tea Party defined with but a single exception, one that Dante and early Christendumb somehow missed (but which Nazi Germany well-understood, as do today’s American Tea Partiers): HATRED, particularly RACIAL Hatred. I suppose too, while were at it, we might as well also add Deadly Sin number nine (which both Tea Partiers and murderers each and all seem to adore): Guns.

Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Envy, WrathPride, RACIAL Hatred, and Guns.  America thus (and very sadly) defined.


The Watering Hole, Wednesday, September 25, 2013. Now What?

Now what?!? Some headlines & news stories that ended up on the cutting room floor:

Syria wants to give up its chemical weapons, but Halliburton has a strict “No Returns” policy.

Putin will ease up on Russia’s anti-gay policy during the Olympics, if all male athletes agree to forego wearing shirts.

The Napa California Hot Air Balloon Contest sported a hot air balloon that looked like Rush Limbaugh. No one could tell the difference.

Now that Gay marriages are legal, Gay divorces are on the upswing.

With recreational marijuana now legal in some states, pot sales hit new highs.

Koch-BlockBusters deal falls through.

Netpics picks hit flix.

Ted Cruz picks up endorsement from Sarah Palin, goes down in polls.

Congress shut down for two weeks last summer. No one noticed the difference.

Republicans want to shut down the government if they don’t get their way. Oh, wait. That’s not news.


Watering Hole: September 24, 2013 – Salmon – UPDATED

Chinook at the fish ladder, Seattle, WA

I took this picture with my cell phone at the fish ladder in Seattle, WA back in the middle of July.  The Coho Chinook (King) salmon had just begun their migration from the ocean to the stream.  This is quite the challenge as these very large fish make their way from the ocean, through Puget Sound, up the fish ladders into Lake Washington and then into the feeder streams.  Some of these fish will spawn and die while others will make their way back to the sea.

It was amazing to see these large fish swimming outside the fish ladder and then taking turns climbing these ladders.  They lined up like cars waiting to pay at a toll booth.

Coho in Stream

That’s all I got.

UPDATE:  Chinook/King spawning.Lx382   Chinook or King Salmon

My apologies for the mix up.  I am going to blame the error on Lyme Disease which can mess with one’s mind  😦


This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 23rd, 2013: Ignorance is…Ignorant

I wasn’t planning to go to the pharmacy counter at our local A&P grocery store the other day, but I needed some Mucinex and, because somehow weird people might make meth out of it, I had to take a card from the shelf hook and bring it to the pharmacist. Despite standing more than the required 4 feet away – for privacy purposes (4 feet = ‘cone of silence’?) – I caught quite a bit of the conversation between a customer and the pharmacist. The beginning of their discussion was about a delay in getting the man’s medication, so the pharmacist offered to give him several pills to tide him over. The man was grumpy about the whole thing, but eventually accepted the pills, and I thought “finally, my turn.” No such luck.

Their conversation then turned to ‘Obamacare’ and, although they lowered their voices a tad, the bits that I overheard were the usual drivel: “it’s just another step toward socialized medicine”, “it’s insane”, “nobody knows what’s in the law”, “socialized medicine is the WORST!” (those last two were from the pharmacist herself), and so on. While I endured about five minutes of waiting for their fear-fest to end, I debated about interrupting to try to inform them; however, since I, along with Wayne and his mother, are regulars at this store, I didn’t really want to start a fight. By this time I had already been joined by another customer waiting outside the cone of silence–luckily it was one of the nice women from my vet’s office, so I turned to her and muttered “I’m going to slap them both soon.”

Just a few days before this, I took advantage of one of the ACA’s rules that had already taken effect: I had my annual physical. No co-pay for the visit; no co-pay for the bloodwork; no co-pay for the colonoscopy that my doctor told me to get; no co-pay for the mammogram that I need to schedule. In addition, several months ago Wayne and I both received checks from United Healthcare because they did not comply with the 20/80 rule about how the insurance companies spend our/our employers’ premiums.

It just pisses me off that neither the angry customer or the pharmacist, in the course of their conversation, ever thought to admit that one of them should actually look into what the law is about. I would have thought that the pharmacy, since it will likely be affected by some of the new rules that go into effect on October 1st, would have studied up on Obamacare, or what New York State is doing to implement the newest regulations. Unfortunately, these two are amongst the millions of people who would rather bitch and moan about what they don’t know instead of trying to find answers. Anyone with a computer can do a search for information, starting with the White House’s website itself.

Ignorance is not bliss…it is a decision to remain uninformed.

This is our Open Thread. What would you like to talk about?

Sunday Roast: Lake McDonald


Photo by Zach Meier

Early morning on Lake McDonald in Glacier Park.  It was sooooo quiet.

I’m glad we went to Glacier this last week, because certain areas in the park are closed a couple of weeks early because of bear activity.  We saw an adolescent Black Bear in the road, but he was a smart bear, and ran back into the woods as soon as he saw us.

Happy first day of Fall!!!

This is our daily open thread — Chat among yourselves.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 21, 2013: Pru Too Big, Too

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, a US Treasury Dept agency created with the passage of Dodd-Frank, has designated insurance giant Prudential Financial as “too big too fail,” a move that forces the third non-banking institution so designated to undergo additional oversight and stress testing to avoid the kind of financial crisis we endured before. The Pru joins American International Group (better known as AIG) and General Electric Capital Corporation (better known as GE Capital) as non-banks to earn the distinction, and it’s one they don’t want. The FSOC “determined that material financial distress at this company — if it were to occur — could pose a threat to US financial stability,” but they stressed that there were no signs of trouble at the moment. The Prudential said in a statement that it is “reviewing the rationale for the determination and our options.” The rationale, I’m sure, has to do with the fact that Prudential has over a trillion dollars in assets worldwide. If they were to engage in extremely risky behavior they could bring about global financial ruin. They should be scrutinized more closely.

Better yet, they should be broken up into smaller companies that can’t be bring down the entire global financial markets should they fail. “Too big to fail” is the same as “too big to exist.” No person and no corporation (they are not the same thing) should ever be so big and financially powerful that they could bring down the world economy should they stumble. That is not a sound financial footing. I’m neither an economist nor a person educated in the field of Economics, but I can promise you this: No economy can work if the money within it doesn’t circulate. If all the money is in the hands of too few people, then it stands to reason there isn’t enough leftover for everyone else to use. Hoarding more money than you’ll ever need to use in your lifetime is not just selfish, it’s actually harmful to everyone else. In order for society to function, people need to have money to spend to get the things done that they need done. For example, I’ve got a gutter that needs to be repaired. Money’s a little tight right now so I can’t get it done. If I could, the gutter repair company would not only fix my broken gutter (which could save me money down the road form damages caused by the broken gutter), but they could take the money I pay them and use it not only to pay their workers, but also to pay for the materials they used to fix my gutter. Their workers, in turn, would take their paychecks and go to the store to buy groceries, and the companies from which they bought their supplies to fix my gutter would use their money in a similar way. And the money would move from one business to the next, into the hands of the workers, who in turn would circulate the money around getting the things done that they need done. None of us are getting rich off the one or two transactions we have with that money, but we’re all getting what we need. That doesn’t happen when rich people sit on money they don’t need. (And, no, their investment into more stocks does not help the economy nearly as much.) What good is having more than you need? How do you benefit from excessive selfishness? And why do we treat the philosophy of Selfishness as something positive?

To paraphrase Aaron Sorkin, the Republican Party has been so busy trying to keep their jobs that they forgot to do their jobs. The Tea Party faction (a project of the Koch Brothers and their ilk) has got the semi-normal members of the party so frightened of losing their jobs that they cave in out of fear of being primaried out of Congress. The result is forty-one pathetic attempts to defund Obamacare. I keep hearing them say how Obamacare is “destroying” the country, yet I never once gear exactly how this is happening. No one ever truthfully explains how the law is harming our nation. What I do hear is example after example of how conservative business owners are trying to get around Obamacare by cutting employees’ hours so they won’t have so many full-time workers who are eligible for health insurance. In other words, because some people will be selfish, everyone has to suffer. Instead of denouncing the greedy business owners, conservatives have held them up as examples of what could go wrong with healthcare reform. “Obamacare is bad because greedy, selfish people like me can take advantage of it and my workers.” Maybe the law needs to be strengthened, not repealed.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about Prudential, the Koch Brothers, your greedy, selfish Republican relatives or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Friday September 20 2013; Wingnut Idiocy

Ok, here’s the thing. I do NOT spend any time at all wandering around and about the Wingnut Idiosphere, and I’m not going to start doing so now, no matter what. Period. That said, I have to acknowledge (and maybe thank??) Daily Kos for the following exploration of that wingnut IDIOCY that’s come to define today’s . . .  today’s . . . what’s the word? GOP? Nah. Tea Party? Nah. American Fascist Movement? . . . Hmmm. Ok. Maybe. Javohl?


(oops, ummm . . . etc.) . . .

Well, whatever. Onward. Oh, and hang onto your hats if you dare to follow this link (and READ it, even!) courtesy of an Amurkan “patriot” named Harry Binswanger . . . ummm . . . Harry Bin Swanger?? . . . hmm. Puzzling. Oh well, anyway, Bin Swanger is clearly an Aynian Randian Thingian, and he makes “it” real clear right up front when he states his thesis:

It’s time to gore another collectivist sacred cow. This time it’s the popular idea that the successful are obliged to “give back to the community.” That oft-heard claim assumes that the wealth of high-earners is taken away from “the community.” And beneath that lies the perverted Marxist notion that wealth is accumulated by “exploiting” people, not by creating value–as if Henry Ford was not necessary for Fords to roll off the (non-existent) assembly lines and Steve Jobs was not necessary for iPhones and iPads to spring into existence.

Let’s begin by stripping away the collectivism. “The community” never gave anyone anything. The “community,” the “society,” the “nation” is just a number of interacting individuals, not a mystical entity floating in a cloud above them. And when some individual person–a parent, a teacher, a customer–”gives” something to someone else, it is not an act of charity, but a trade for value received in return.

[etc. . . . ]

Carry on, read ALL the crap Bin Swanger has, ummm, ‘written’ and then, if you have the stomach for it, feel free to discuss it all here . . . in this


Butt — in the process, don’t miss this l’il tidbit courtesy of Bin Swanger:

. . . a modest proposal. Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Yes, it’s too little. And the real issue is not financial, but moral. So to augment the tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Right. Please forgive and excuse, but I have to run off now. I feel the desperate need to burp, sneeze, and fart — all at the same time. Maybe also barf. So . . . I may not — never not — return. Meanwhile, remember always the Wingnuttistanian voice of . . . ummm . . . eternal (?) wisdom:

An end must be put to the inhuman practice of draining the productive to subsidize the unproductive. An end must be put to the primordial notion that one’s life belongs to the tribe, to “the community,” and that the superlative wealth-creators must do penance for the sin of creating value.

And Ayn Rand is just the lady who can do it.

Yeah. Like that. Meanwhile, I’m outta here.

The Watering Hole, Thursday September 19, 2013; “My Life Had Stood A Loaded Gun”

Current events, gun related, bring to mind something written by Emily Dickinson a bit more than 150 years ago. Poem 754 in Thomas H.Johnson’s chronology, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (Little, Brown and Co.) reads as follows:

My Life had stood — a Loaded Gun —
In Corners — till a Day
The Owner passed — identified —
And carried Me away —

And now We roam in Sovereign Woods —
And now We hunt the Doe —
And every time I speak for Him —
The Mountains straight reply —

And do I smile, such cordial light
Upon the Valley glow —
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let its pleasure through —

And when at Night — Our good Day done —
I guard My Master’s Head —
‘Tis better than the Eider-Duck’s
Deep Pillow — to have shared —

To foe of His — I’m deadly foe —
None stir the second time —
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye —
Or an emphatic Thumb —                           

Though I than He — may longer live
He longer must — than I —
For I have but the power to kill,
Without — the power to die —

To me, she speaks from the viewpoint of the gun itself and, in so doing, pretty much defines America today, this day, more than 150 years down the road . . . a nation, obsessed by guns, wherein the operative slogan is simple to express: For I have but the power to kill, / Without — the power to die —

Is that, really, what we’ve become? A quick look around — Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, DC Navy Yard, to name but a handful of our most recent atrocities — suggests that yes, we, as a nation,  have indeed FAILED, miserably, and demonstrated for all to see that yes,WE have but the power to kill, Without — the power to die.

Or, stated another way: “History? We don’t know. We’ll all be dead.” (George W. Bush, 2003)




The Watering Hole, Wednesday, September 18, 2013: Ho–Hum–

Well, another mass shooting is in the news. Ho–hum—

Time to go out and buy more guns, because, you know, if 3,000 members of the Naval armed forces cannot stop one guy before he kills a dozen people, you have to buy more guns to protect yourself and your family, because, you know, Obama’s gonna take your guns away.

Except he isn’t.

"Walker" Mole, The Zoo's underground reporter.

“Walker” Mole, The Zoo’s underground reporter.

According to sources deep within the Obama Administration, the President is considering an entirely different tact. Instead of calling for registration of gun owners, the President will be asking for all citizens who do not presently own a gun to register their non-ownership status with the Federal Government.

“Non-ownership of guns has never presented a 2nd Amendment problem” a source revealed, on condition of anonymity. “The President’s idea is beautiful in its simplicity. All non-gun owners will register their non-gun ownership with the federal government. Then, if we get a call about gun violence, they won’t have to worry about a SWAT Team taking them out by mistake. Anyone who doesn’t register as a non-gun owner will be presumed to be armed and dangerous, and will be treated accordingly.”

Early reports from the NRA seem to indicate the Association is in an absolute quandry over how to respond to the inherent double-negative in the President’s proposed program. Although instinctively the NRA opposes everything Obama proposes, no one clear voice of opposition to a non-gun-owner registration has emerged, except for that of Sarah Palin, “I think that those Americans who don’t want to own a gun to protect their freedoms should be free to not own a gun free from governmental interference and regulation and every true American who owns a gun should be free to own a gun without having to not register as a non-gun-owner in order to protect the basic liberty that is, to not delcare what someone does’t have.”


Watering Hole: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 – Rain, again?

Colorado has been pounded with rain, rain, and more rain which is causing massive flooding.  Many residents have lost their homes and cars.  Another major casualty of these floods is the oil and gas industry.

The Denver Post had this to say:

As Front Range floodwaters continued to drain into the swelling South Platte River Saturday, authorities scrambled to evacuate stranded residents from homes and deal with a broken oil and gas industry pipeline.

Fracking water that leaks into the environment causes contamination with cancer causing chemicals which cannot be easily removed.

Oil and gas industry crews have been monitoring wells drilled into the flood plain east of Greeley in Weld County.

One pipeline has broken and is leaking, Weld County Emergency Manager Roy Rudisill. Other industry pipelines are sagging as saturated sediment erodes around the expanding river.

Industry crews “are shutting in the lines, shutting in the wells,” Rudisill said.

In a statement, Gary Wockner, of Clean Water Action, said “Fracking and operating oil and gas facilities in floodplains is extremely risky. Flood waters can topple facilities and spread oil, gas, and cancer-causing fracking chemicals across vast landscapes making contamination and clean-up efforts exponentially worse and more complicated.”

Here are a few pictures from the Boulder area.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 16th, 2013: Monday Medley

As you are all aware, I love going to The Weather Channel online — not just to find out the local forecast, but for their unusual variety of photo galleries and and links to other interesting and frequently educational stories and news.

Today’s crop includes:

updates on the Voyager 1 probe (and be sure to scroll down for links to space photos from NASA’s Spitzer telescope, and photos of a newborn star from a Chilean telescope.)

– Photos of recent tornadoes, including (but not limited to) several photos taken last week from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

– Photos of lightning storms – check out two in particular that I liked, one called “Lightning Under the Stars” and one called “Fire In The Sky.”

– Photo gallery of the “10 Longest Bridges In the U.S.

– Photo gallery of “12 Spectacular Castles of the World

The Bojnice Castle in Bojnice, Slovakia

The Bojnice Castle in Bojnice, Slovakia

This is our Open Thread. Enjoy the views!

Sunday Roast: Just another Sunday


Cape Perpetua

Photo by Zooey

When you think of Oregon, this is what you think of, right?  Well, it’s true.  The entire state looks just like this, and that’s why I need to live there.

Nah, I’m just full of crap, as per usual (but not about the ‘living there’ part).  😉

Oregon has all sorts of geography types:  Oregon Coast (my fav), Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley, Cascade Range, Klamath Mountains, Columbia Plateau, Oregon Outback, and Blue Mountains (which are visible from my area).  All of them beautiful in their own ways, of course.

Another favorite place is the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, in the middle of the state.  Beautiful lakes and evergreens, right next to volcanic flows on the surface, located between the high desert and the Cascade Range.  The juxtaposition is a little startling!

Anyhoo, I’m off to Glacier National Park today, with my youngest in tow.  Another gorgeous place in our beautiful country!!

This is our daily open thread — You know what to do.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 14, 2013: The Myth of the 21st Century Catholic

This past Sunday, Raylan Alleman of Fix the Family, wrote a column entitled 6 Reasons (+2) to NOT Send Your Daughter to College. The Editor’s note explaining the title tells you all you need to know about why I’m proud of my secular public education: Editor’s note: The original post was “6 reasons” and 2 were added since (#6 and #8) just in case 6 weren’t enough. [I did not edit that in any way.] The entire post is supposed to be a rational argument for why women should not go to college. It is anything but.

Before I begin telling you about their 6 (+2) reasons and what’s wrong with them, who are Raylan Alleman and Fix the Family? According to their website, they’re Catholics, and they think you can be happily married and Catholic, too. They believe that there is a serious problem in that the Catholic moral teaching on marriage and family, as rock-solid and beautiful as it is, has not reached the faithful. [Here’s a suggestion: Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Friday September 13 2013; “Why Do We Never Get An Answer . . . About Hate And Death And War”

Today is Friday. The thirteenth. Explains a lot, most of which isn’t all that pleasant to spend time recalling. Oh well.

Long day, the twelfth. Yesterday. So this post will be brief.

Anyone else remember the Moody Blues? Here’s one of their “ancient” lyrics, written circa 1970 when I was . . . ummm . . . age 28 ?? (holy shit!)

Today I have to wonder just what it was, way back then, that enabled anyone to write a lyric that so perfectly defines THIS DAY, some 43 (??) years down the road? Check it out: here’s a sort-of transcription of the lyric, followed by the encore performance of same by an “aging” Moody Blues at London’s Royal Albert Hall a mere decade or two ago.

The Moody Blues
A Question of Balance
(Justin Hayward, 1970)

Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door
With a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war?
‘Cause when we stop and look around us
There is nothing that we need
In a world of persecution that is burning in its greed.

Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door
Because the truth is hard to swallow
That’s what the war of love is for

It’s not the way that you say it
When you do those things to me
It’s more the way that you mean it
When you tell me what will be
And when you stop and think about it
You won’t believe it’s true
That all the love you’ve been giving
Has all been meant for you

I’m looking for someone to change my life
I’m looking for a miracle in my life
And if you could see what it’s done to me
To lose the love I knew
Could safely lead me through

Between the silence of the mountains
And the crashing of the sea
There lies a land I once lived in
And she’s waiting there for me
But in the grey of the morning
My mind becomes confused
Between the dead and the sleeping
And the road that I must choose

I’m looking for someone to change my life
I’m looking for a miracle in my life
And if you could see what it’s done to me
To lose the love I knew
Could safely lead me to
The land that I once knew
To learn as we grow old
The secrets of your soul
It’s not the way that you say it when you do those things to me
It’s more the way you really mean it when you tell me what will be

Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door

” . . . ‘Cause when we stop and look around us
There is nothing that we need
In a world of persecution that is burning in its greed . . . “

Some things never change, I guess. How sad.

“Why Do We Never Get An Answer . . .
About Hate And Death And War?”

The Watering Hole, Thursday September 12 2013; Good News? Really? Where?

Ok, so here’s the thing: I’ve spent several hours over the last few days in search of some good news emanating from the political world. My results to date: Nada. Zip. Zero. Nothing. I frankly can’t remember a time — ever — that’s remained as devoid of even the barest shred of a promising development as have the last what, weeks? Months? Years? Decades? But that, of course, is my point-of-view. There was, yesterday, here in Colorado’s RWNJ community, lots of joy and happiness once the results of a pair of state senate recall elections in which two Democrats who worked earnestly on behalf of the state’s recently enacted gun laws . . . background checks now mandated, also assault rifle magazine size limited . . . were recalled in a special election. Both lost, thanks in no small part to heavy duty NRA investments of both time and cash; thus today, wingnuts across the state will continue floating on cloud nine, convinced that the tide is finally turning, that pretty soon Americans will once again be FREE to own and carry as many mass murder devices as they wish. Just like the Founders intended!

Why is owning the means of mass murder such a joy-inducer to Wingnuts, even as birth control pills are deemed so horrible that they should be banned? What, the fertilized egg is a “Person” but a young black fellow wearing a hoodie and sipping his ice tea is not? Twenty elementary school children were only murdered because their teachers weren’t heavily armed?

What kind of a nutcase country has this one become? And WHY??

Beats me. Anyone?



In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court upheld the nations most onerous voter restriction laws. Dubbed the “Freedom and United Citizens Kinship Young-Old-Undocumented Act” the Ohio law requires everyone to re-register to vote by showing not only photo ID, but certified birth certificates of themselves, their parents and grandparents. The following requirements will go into effect July 1, 2014:

People who lack the proper photo ID may obtain one, free of charge, at their local DMV. They must produce a certified copy of their birth certificate to obtain the legally required ID.

People who lack certified copies of their birth certificates may obtain them, free of charge, by applying in person the county clerk’s office in the county where they were born. The must provide the county clerk with a valid Photo ID described above.

The Ohio Republican Central Committee has spent millions ahead of the effective date of this legislation providing those currently registered as Republicans with certified copies of the required birth certificates and photo IDs.

The law also denies residence status to college students living away from their parents home, and renters.

“The Constitution does not expressly grant the right to vote.” Scalia’s opinion began. The opinion noted that the “implied ‘right to vote'” could not be restricted based on race, color or condition of servitude (XV Amendment), sex (XIX Amendment), nor conditioned upon any poll tax or other tax (XXIV).

Scalia emphasized the importance of the language of the 24th Amendment and the fact that it applied only to voting for the President, Vice-President, Senators and Representatives, suggesting strongly that a poll tax for state and local elected officials would pass Constitutional muster.

The decision then went on to state that by providing the required documentation free of charge, the Ohio law was not a poll tax or other tax, no matter how onerous the condition. And residency requirements are not prohibited by the Constitution.

Within hours of the Supreme Court decision, States with Republican-held legislatures moved immediately to enact their versions of the Ohio law, adding poll taxes for State and Local elections.

The decision, Fit v. Shan, ___ USC ___ can be found HERE*.


*not an endorsement.

Watering Hole: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 – Don’t Do It

Last week, I felt conflicted as to how the US should respond to the gassing of citizens in Syria by the Assad government.  I have since reached an opinion regarding the use of targeted missile strikes by the United States.  Mr. President, don’t do it.

Assad has already killed many Syrians using conventional weapons and air strikes won’t prevent him from killing more Syrians in the future.  Children are always collateral damage in a war regardless of the weapons of choice.

The use of chemical and biological weapons were outlawed after World War I at the Geneva Convention.  The Chemical Weapons Convention, which further bans chemical weapons and requires the destruction of these weapons, clearly specifies:

  • Prohibition,
  • Declaration Requirements,
  • Destruction Requirements,
  • On-site Activity,
  • Trade,
  • And Penalties for non-compliance.

You can read more at the Arms Control website.

Since it is clear that using chemical or biological weapons is greatly frowned upon, I am left wondering, “Where is the outrage by the rest of the world’s nations?”  Why isn’t Assad being charged as a war criminal by the Hague?  European nations are timid in their response.  Could this silence be because of the war crimes committed by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld when no nation spoke up?  Is Putin siding with Assad because he would do the same to Russians that oppose him?  Just asking.

I question why Assad used chemical weapons.  He knows that President Obama claimed their use was the red line and yet Assad used them.  Does he want the US to get involved?  Were these chemical weapons the lure on the line?  There are still too many questions that have not been answered.

Americans are tired of war.  If our government is struggling to handle the current case load of our veterans, it certainly can’t afford to add to that work load.  We are struggling to recover from a huge deficit by using “sequestration”.  Many home bound citizens are missing meals because of cuts to Meals on Wheels and children that could greatly benefit from early education are being denied admission to Head Start.  This is just some of the impact of the budgetary cuts made by Congress but yet, we are suppose to believe that the US can afford to pay for missiles.  A single Tomahawk cruise missile costs approximately $1.5 million and Hellfire rockets cost about $115,000.00 each.  These prices do not include the cost of transportation or the tools need to launch the weapons.

I am hopeful that the House will say “no” to President Obama’s request for military strikes in Syria.

In the meantime, you might want to dust off your yellow ribbons.

This diary at Daily Kos presents an interesting perspective.

This is the Open Thread.  Speak Up!

NB:  This post was created on Saturday, Sept. 7 and does not reflect any updates that may have occurred since then.

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 9, 2013: The Bible Is Not Science

David Rives, of David Rives Ministries, was a guest on a program called “Creation Today” just this past Friday, and he made the claim that The Big Bang Theory about the creation of the Universe is “bad science” because it contradicts The Bible. This is literally, of course, complete nonsense. You cannot presuppose that the Bible is 100% accurate simply because it declares itself to be, and then argue that anything that contradicts the Bible cannot possibly be accurate. There is no reason or sense to the claims of the Bible where the creation of the Universe is concerned. Take the stars. Rives, who claims to be an astronomer, also claims that all the stars we see in the Universe were created at once. And how does he know this? Because the Bible says so. It says they were all created on the fourth day. Therefore, any science that says otherwise is “bad science.” You’ve seen the pictures of the Eagle Nebula, the one that includes the famous Gaseous Pillars. Scientists (real ones) say that what you are seeing are new stars being formed. David Rives says that can’t be possible because it contradicts the Bible’s assertion that all the stars were created on one day. He says what you’re really seeing is clouds moving and revealing a star that was there all along. Go ahead, watch him say it.

Rives confront the question anyone would ask someone who claims the Earth is but six thousand years old, “How do you explain the stars being millions of light years away if the Universe is only six thousand years old?” Rives gives half an explanation for why this is. He claims that gravity affects time, therefore light moves at different speeds as it’s affected by the varying Force of Gravity throughout the Universe. Now, I would stop him right there and call “Bullshit!” And it’s not because his science is necessarily wrong or incomplete, since velocity also affects time for an object, but because he’s talking about Gravity, a concept that did not exist in the Bible. And you can’t study Astronomy if you don’t know anything about Gravity. But the Bible does not say anything about Gravity, so Gravity must be “bad science.”

You can’t make the claim that all of Science is wrong if it contradicts YOUR personal axioms. You can’t claim that no empirical proof of your axiom is possible because any result that contradicts the Bible must inherently be wrong. There are many places where the Bible contradicts itself, so it can’t possibly be taken as the unquestioned truth. Nor can any “logical proof” be derived from it that isn’t flawed because of its internal inconsistencies. Which means it cannot possibly be the truth. I wish they would learn that.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Religion, Science, Religion v. Science, or anything else you wish to discuss.