The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 30, 2013: Small Business Saturday®

Today, Saturday, November 30, is what is now known as Small Business Saturday®. From the website Snagajob, “The annual event was established by American Express in 2010 in an effort to recognize the small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.” Since then it has grown in popularity gaining Congressional and even Presidential recognition. More than a marketing campaign to get people to go out and charge things on their American Express cards, Small Business Saturday® has become a way of making a statement against the big box stores, whose names shall remain nameless, but whose worker mistreatment, trade deficit contribution, and shamelessly profit-driven operation, have helped contribute to the loss of the small business, owned by your neighbors.

Government assistance to employees of the big box stores, the ones in which you were implored to go spend your money on “Black Friday”, is much higher than the national average. You are, whether you want to or not, subsidizing the workforce of some highly profitable corporations. So instead of helping the already profitable corporations, why not help out the small businesses in your local communities? They’re your neighbors and, sometimes, your friends, too. And if you’re like me and don’t have a car that gets the greatest of gas mileage, you can save money, too. My local book store, The Book Cove, is within walking distance (if I was that ambitious), but only about a mile into the village. By comparison, the nearest Barnes & Noble, would cost me at least two gallons of gas to get there and back. Around here, gas goes for more than $3.50 per gallon, so if I have to pay even $6.50 more for a book from my local book store, it’s worth it. And it helps keep them in business. Whenever I want to order a book I don’t go online to do it, I go to The Book Cove. They’ve never failed to get me a book I wanted. I’m sure your local book store can be just as helpful.

Small Business Saturday® is a great idea, and one I encourage everyone to support. Your friends and neighbors will be glad you did.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Small Business Saturday®, the big box stores who want to ruin this nation, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole; Friday November 29 2013; SALIGIA et GOP

“SALIGIA” is an acronym.  “GOP” is also an acronym. Beyond that, there’s really only one basic difference between them which is, in a nutshell, that SALIGIA is a Latin acronym and GOP is English-based. A closer look reveals the rather remarkable similarity — centuries disparate, but still definitive.

S*A*L*I*G*I*A  (aka The Seven Deadly Sins):

S: Superbia  (Pride): Love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor.

A: Avaritia (Greed):  Disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain, for example through bribery. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed.

L: Luxuria (Lust):  Desire for sexual or sociological excesses, compulsions and/or transgressions; a passionate or overmastering desire or craving, e.g. a lust for power.

I: Invidia (Envy): Love of one’s own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs.

G: Gula (Gluttony):   The over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste; “extravagant” indulgence.

I: Ira (Wrath):  Uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger which can manifest as vehement denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self-denial, impatience with the procedure of law, and the desire to seek revenge outside of the workings of the justice system (such as engaging in vigilantism) and generally wishing to do evil or harm to others. The transgressions borne of vengeance are among the most serious, including murder, assault, and in extreme cases, genocide.

A: Acedia (Sloth):  Apathy and inactivity in the practice of virtue; depression, and joylessness; a sin of laziness or indifference, of an unwillingness to act, an unwillingness to care; indolence.

Within the last fifty or so years, ‘SALIGIA’ has been simplified. The Seven Deadly Sins are still there, of course, but today we express them in a bit more compressed fashion. In today’s America Amurka the new (anglicized) acronym contains only three letters; letters which do still, nevertheless, reflect each and all of the ancient ‘SALIGIA.’ To wit:

G*O*P  (aka The Seven Deadly Sins, compressed, American-style):

G: Greed (see “Avaritia,” above) — “Disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain, for example through bribery. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed.

O: Opression (see “Lust-Envy-Gluttony-Wrath-Sloth” above)

P: Pride  (see “Superbia,” above) — “Love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor.”

So there you have it: the terminal definition of numerous and historic concepts each and all designed to control human thought and action. The Deadly Sin thesis (presumably) originates in the Bible, and thereinafter constantly re-emerges to embrace human cultures and societies one after the other, including (for example and to name but a few deadly sin-based power structures): Feudalism; (Nazi) Fascism; (Soviet) Communism; plus of course today’s (American) Capitalism. Each and all of such human tyrannies have been eternally (and formally) dedicated to one fundamental SALIGIA-based atrocity: the elevation of the wealthy and powerful, always by way of the enduring impairment and subjugation of the common man.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum.


The Watering Hole; Thursday November 28 2013; Thanksgiving

It snowed here the other day. Snowed a lot. A foot, maybe more. So of course I grabbed a camera and headed out to see what I could see. First, the view from a block up the road, looking west toward the Front Range (looks like a B/W photo, save for the single splash of blue in the sky):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI invited everyone in the next three photos over for Thanksgiving dinner. No takers, so I guess it’s turkey again this year.


On another far more melancholy and forever sad note, today — November 28 2013 — marks year number 43 since my childhood friend, David Cruz Juaregui from Flagstaff AZ, was killed when his helicopter crashed in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. It was on Saturday November 28, 1970, two days beyond Thanksgiving — a long time ago in a world far, far away. His name is on The Wall; one of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their all for . . . ?

R.I.P., David.

And hope all the rest of ‘us’ who still are hanging on have a fine Thanksgiving. Including the geese pictured above. 😉


The Watering Hole: Wednesday, November 27, 2013: Is it time to repeal the 13th Amendment?

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. (Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified 1865)

Now, over a hundred years later, perhaps it is time to ask, “is it time to repeal the 13th Amendment?”

From a purely corporate, profit-driven motive, the answer must be a resounding “NO”!

Here’s why:

The Average Cost of Living in the U.S. is $20,194 per person per year according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour; a person working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, makes $15,080.00.

Minimum wage is less than the cost of living.

Now, perhaps, one can understand why Republicans are seeking to eliminate the minumum wage: it’s cheaper than owning slaves.


The Watering Hole, Monday, November 25, 2013: Monday Mix, FB Edition

Every once in a while I give in and check my Facebook notifications/updates/whatever. Here’s some odds and ends that I felt worth sharing:

A friend who used to work with us posted the first photo, from a Facebook site called Earth Porn. The second photo is from the same site. Check out the site, they have some awesome photos.
alaskan sunset Winter Sunset – Alaska (USA) photo by Ron Perkins

Japanese Maple Tree, Oregon, USA Photo by Peter Lik

Japanese Maple Tree, Oregon, USA Photo by Peter Lik

On the humorous side, our old friend Jim Wolf (Jim Wolf359 from TP) posted this:
How to Cook A Turkey (from Pampered Chef)

How to Cook A Turkey (from Pampered Chef)

Last, I’m proposing a Caption Contest for this shot of Richard Nixon, which was posted by an FB friend who I met at TP. The links that were provided didn’t seem to have anything to do with the actual photograph, so I have been trying to source it, but I can’t find it anywhere.


This is our daily open thread–got any captions, thoughts, rants, etc.?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 23, 2013: Does Freedom of Religion Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

An interesting vote is going to take place next year in Oregon. A group called “Oregon United For Marriage” is close to collecting enough signatures for a ballot initiative making marriage equality the law of the land there. This past week they announced they were about 1,200 signatures short of the number needed, and Nike announced they were donating $280,000 to help them collect more, in case any of the signatures are ruled invalid. They aren’t the only ones collecting signatures. The group Oregon Family Council, conservative Christians (an oxymoron, as there is nothing conservative about Christ’s teachings), filed a ballot initiative to “guarantee the right of people and businesses to refrain from participating in or supporting ceremonies for same-sex civil unions, domestic partnerships or marriages, if those violate their religious beliefs.” Actually, the proposal specifically says “deeply held religious beliefs.” And that leads to an important question. Does the freedom of religion equal the freedom to discriminate?

The First Amendment (the one that comes before the one about guns) begins, Continue reading

Music Night, November 22, 2013 – 50 years later

I had something all prepped up to play by the Dixie Chicks when I realized what a knucklehead I was. It’s 50 years today after the Kennedy assassination and one song came immediately to mind. I had completely forgotten that it was recorded by Dion (once of Dion & The Belmonts) and found it serendipitous that a YouTube video memorialized Dion on the Smother Brothers Comedy Hour.

The Watering Hole; Friday November 22, 1963 Plus Fifty Years

35th President of the United States
b. May 29 1917, Brookline MA
d. November 22 1963, Dallas TX

Bill Mauldin's November 1963 Post-Assassination Tribute to JFK

Bill Mauldin’s November 1963 Post-Assassination Tribute to JFK

I’ll admit it: I find it difficult to watch the fury of JFK assassination-focused “news” reports and reflections on this, the fiftieth anniversary of that horrific event — a coup d’etat, in the words of former New Orleans DA Jim Garrison. I’ve also found it equally difficult to read the nonsense most portray as fact. Oswald did it, dontcha know. He was a commie. He acted alone. Conspiracy? Coup? Crazy talk. Here’s good example of the nonsense, courtesy of CNN’s Larry Sabato:

“After Oswald’s first bullet missed the car entirely, the so-called ‘magic bullet’ that struck JFK in the back was perfectly aligned to do substantial damage to Connally’s body. And the final bullet that hit JFK in the head came from up and behind him, not the front. There is a reasonable physiological explanation for the actions of the president’s body in the car once his skull was blown apart.” (underline added)

Sabato repeated a pair of myths that are intrinsic to the assassination coverup when he mentioned the “magic bullet” and the thesis that the fatal head shot came from above and behind — both, as will be shown below, verifiable nonsense.

On the brighter side, however, I’ve found that even within the never ending melange of faux-journalism it’s still occasionally possible to stumble upon a different voice, a reasoned voice that speaks of fact and does not simply regurgitate the old misleading and biased opinions. It was just a week ago, in fact, that I happened to run across an article by Mark Groubert on Crooks and Liars entitled Book Reviews: ‘Destiny Betrayed’ and ‘Reclaiming Parkland’. Groubert’s review of Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case (Second Edition) by James DiEugenio captured my attention to the point where I immediately ordered a copy; it arrived a day or two ago and as of right now I’ve only been able to give it a cursory skim, but so far so good. That same C&L page also offered a link to DiEugenio’s web site, one named Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination. Once there I explored a link to one of DiEugenio’s refutations of what he considers to be errant opinion in re the Kennedy assassination. In it, he wrote his summation:

The idea that JFK was killed as a result of a high level plot is not a theory. It is a provable fact. End of story. It was the Warren Commission that was one giant theory. And it was made up for political expediency by men who were well versed in subterfuge i.e. Allen Dulles, John McCloy, Gerald Ford and J. Edgar Hoover. And when one examines today what these men did, it seems even worse now than it did then.”

On November 19, another article by DiEugenio was posted on Consortium entitled Where New JFK Evidence Points. It is here that DiEugenio points out that

“many influential people – from officials involved in the original investigation defending their judgments to a later generation of authors burnishing their reputations for probity – have fought fiercely to defend the Oswald-acted-alone narrative. They have done so despite nagging evidentiary problems, such as the “magic bullet theory,” which attributed the multiple wounds to Kennedy’s neck and Texas Gov. John Connally’s chest, wrist and thigh to a single bullet found almost unscathed on a gurney at Parkland Hospital, and those troubling images from the Zapruder film showing Kennedy’s head being knocked backward by the fatal shot, although Oswald was behind him at the Texas Bookstore Depository.”

In re the so-called “magic bullet” DiEugenio writes, in a segment titled “The Autopsy Mystery”

“one of the myths circulated by the Warren Commission was that they did not have the actual autopsy exhibits . . . a pretense exposed by the declassification of the Commission’s Jan. 21, 1964 executive session hearing. In that transcript, Commissioner John McCloy asked Chief Counsel Lee Rankin if they had the raw materials of the autopsy, and Rankin replied that they did.

“In a transcript from the next session on Jan. 27, Rankin talked about actually seeing an autopsy picture and wondering how the bullet could exit Kennedy’s throat from an entrance point that low in the back. Rankin’s puzzlement about the back wound segues neatly into one piece of information that the ARRB [Assassination Records Review Board] did manage to get into the mainstream U.S. media, namely that Commissioner Gerald Ford changed the draft of the Warren Report to move the location of this back wound that so puzzled Rankin up into Kennedy’s neck.” (underline added)

So much for the “magic bullet” theory. One can only wonder why Gerald Ford wasn’t severely reprimanded by the Warren Commission for tampering with the evidence. Or maybe, since Ford’s modification of the entry wound made it at least possible to blame the shot on Oswald the Commission went along?

Finally, there’s the fatal head shot. DiEugenio notes that further ‘nagging evidenciary problems’ are

“those troubling images from the Zapruder film showing Kennedy’s head being knocked backward by the fatal shot, although Oswald was behind him at the Texas Bookstore Depository.”


Below is another photograph, a Polaroid snapped by civilian bystander Mary Ann Moorman at the exact moment of the fatal head shot. Moorman was on the opposite side of the road from Abraham Zapruder when the limousine passed her, so in the background is the ‘grassy knoll’. The Texas School Book Depository is to the rear of the car, to her right; the bullet entered Kennedy’s right forehead, then blew out the back of his head. As Moorman notes, “I saw his hair jump. But it wasn’t just his hair, it was part of his head.”

JFK fatal shot, Polaroid by Mary Ann MoormanSo: Why the steady dismissal of the obvious in favor of a thesis that fails on multiple fronts?

Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty (1917-2001) — Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President John F. Kennedy — spoke of large numbers of incriminating inconsistencies including “FBI skullduggery” in his book JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy. He noted that J. Edgar Hoover, in a memorandum dated November 29, 1963 wrote of a discussion he’d had on that date with President Lyndon Johnson. Included was this:

“The President . . . indicated our conclusions are:

1. He [Oswald] is the one who did it;
2. After the President was hit, Governor Connally was hit;
3. The President would have been hit three times except for the fact that Governor Connally turned after the first shot and was hit by the second. . . .”

Prouty notes that the content of that memorandum, written just one week following the assassination, essentially “throws out the validity of the Warren Report” He adds that “ample evidence proves beyond the slightest doubt that neither the Warren Report nor even this Hoover memorandum was correct. The stories are equally invalid. Both were contrived.”

Prouty also points out that he was in Christchurch New Zealand on the day that Kennedy was shot. He notes that on New Zealand time, “the Kennedy assassination took place at seven-thirty on the morning of Saturday, November 23, 1963.” The news of the assassination soon appeared in an Extra edition of the Christchurch Star which hit the newstands before noon on the 23rd. Prouty notes that

“almost one-quarter of that front page in Christchurch was taken up with detailed news items about Lee Harvey Oswald. [The article also included] an excellent photograph of Oswald in a business suit and tie . . . on page 3. This odd photograph appeared in no other files.

“At the time this edition of the Star went to press, the police of Dallas had just taken a young man into custody and had charged him with the death of . . . J.D. Tippit. They had not accused Oswald of the murder of the President and did not charge him with that crime until early the next morning. . . .

“By what process could the wire services have acquired, collated, evaluated, written, and then transmitted all that material about an unknown young man . . . even before the police had charged him? . . .

“There can be but one answer: those in charge of the murder had prepared the patsy and all of that intimate information beforehand.”

Yet to this day the popular attitude persists that the Warren Report was accurate, that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole shooter, and there was no conspiracy, no subterfuge of any kind involved. So now, fifty years have passed and the truth is still buried. Somewhere. Will it ever become known exactly who was really behind the assassination, who carried it out, and WHY? I’m not prepared to hold my breath in anticipation, but one can always hope, I guess.

Frame 320 of the Zapruder film, approximately 1/3 of a second after the fatal shot entered JFK's forehead.

Frame 320 of the Zapruder film, approximately 1/3 of a second after the fatal shot entered JFK’s forehead.


The Watering Hole; Thursday November 21 2013; “An Issue With God”

I have to admit I had a good laugh at Glenn Beck’s freakout the other day over Obama’s recitation of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Obama was apparently asked to recite Lincoln’s original draft, aka the “Nicolay Version,” which did not contain the words “under God” — and predictably the right wing pundits went nuts. Glenn Beck predictably shouted that Obama intentionally left the phrase out because, in Beck’s words, “The man has an issue with God,” and “he is changing our history, he is changing our traditions.”

Ah, well, if only it were true. Imposition of religious belief by one faction on or via the nation’s government is a travesty of huge proportion, and those who do so demand are, indeed, the ones engaged in the apparent never-ending process of “changing our history, . . . changing our traditions.” And yes, it’s a widespread truism that a great many Americans (myself among them) do indeed have “an issue with God,” and would really appreciate it if believers would simply agree to practice their beliefs to their hearts’ content — in their homes, their churches — and graciously allow the rest of us the privilege of practicing that which WE care to believe with similar freedom, all with no dogmatic imposition — via any official permission or authority — of any theological premise on the citizenry entire. Period.

In any case, Beck’s freakout based on his vapid thesis that Obama has “an issue with God,” reminded me of something I wrote many years ago, a poem which essentially defined MY “issue with God” in the context of efforts by so many to impose their narrow view on the expansive view of so many. So. Just for today, I dedicate the following to Glenn Beck and all other right wing nutcases who can’t comprende any potential reality that lies elsewhere than in the (scant!) gray matter implicit between the ears of the insufferably narrow minded! Hi Glenn!


A Discourse
Dedicated to Creationists everywhere
And their adversaries


A godman and a skeptic met
To promulgate their views,
With godman’s premise, Genesis,
And skeptic’s, more the muse.

“God made the heavens and the Earth!”
The passioned godman says,
“And, furthermore, He did all this,
In only seven days!”

“But whence came God?” the skeptic asked,
With some temerity,
The godman said, “Don’t question that,
For such is blasphemy! “

The skeptic glowered for a time,
Then asked, “How old’s the Earth?”
“Six thousand years!” the godman said,
“Including day of birth!

“With firmaments united, then,
The Earth was paradise,
Where beasts and fields, and finally men,
Enjoyed all without vice!

“And God made Adam first, then Eve,
Who were, as you shall see,
Progenitors of all mankind,
Of all humanity!

“For from their loins came many sons,
Who married, then produced,
Our father’s father’s ancestors,
As, biblically, deduced!

“Thus, all the Earth is born of God!
And man’s the child of Eve!
So, lie thee down in prostrate form
And hail the Lord! Believe!”

Then godman smiled, smug, and secure
His theses were correct,
For Genesis came straight from God,
In veritas, direct.

“Oh, I believe,” the skeptic said,
“Though not the way you think,
From what I’ve heard, the Universe
Arrived in just a wink.

“A coalescing, then a flash,
And galaxies were cleaved
From ether, dust, and energy,
If science be believed.

“Five billion years, or ten, or twelve
Had passed, when life arrived,
And finally men, though not like us,
From lower forms derived.

“And, furthermore, a question, sir,
About the sons of Eve,
Whence came the daughters, for her sons,
Mankind, therefrom, conceived?”

The godman cringed and raised his hand
Toward heaven, in disgust,
“If those are your beliefs, my friend,
You’ll burn in hell, please trust.

“For God, I know, has no rapport
With those who pray to see
The wisdom He withholds from men
For all eternity.”

“Your last remark makes little sense,”
Said skeptic, feigning dread,
“If you are asking we believe
God deems our brains be dead.

“For, if somewhere in endless space
A Creator exists
Who gave us minds to seek out truth,
Then why should we resist?”

The godman’s face showed beads of sweat,
He offered no reply,
He simply stared toward heaven’ s void
As wispy clouds rolled by.

May heathen burn, the godman prayed,
They’re evil, stubborn men,
And Lord, as why you sent them here?
Well, that’s beyond my ken.

Perhaps to try me, for a time,
Before I’m laid to rest?
Convert some souls to heaven’s song?
Yes, likely that’s my test.

But sure it is now’s not the time
To use the Holy See
As evidence, Your true intent,
Thy Word’s inerrancy.

Then godman turned toward skeptic, sad,
This man, his nemesis,
Would not accept such grand design,
God’ s apotheosis.

“We’ll meet again, my wayward friend,
By then, perhaps, you’ll learn,
That only through the Word of God,
In hell’s fire, you won’t burn!”

“I doubt it, sir,” the skeptic said,
“For you’ve confirmed my choice,
That words beyond the biblical
Can speak with reasoned voice.

“And, too, you see, I have no need
To live in metaphor,
I’d rather seek, expand my mind,
Maintain an open door.

“To blindly mimic premises
Is not what God has deemed;
It seems more likely He mandates
That light, from dark, be gleaned,

“And so, my friend, while I suggest
That your beliefs you keep,
Accept your God views men as lambs,
Though not, I think, as sheep.”

Then skeptic turned and walked away,
Face bent as if to smile,
Safe Genesis was put to bed,
If but for just awhile.



Obama was asked to read the very first draft of the speech which did not include – See more at:
Obama was asked to read the very first draft of the speech which did not include – See more at:
Obama was asked to read the very first draft of the speech which did not include – See more at:

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, November 20, 2013: Pro Life Tax Deduction

This one slipped by the Mainstream Media. Beginning 1/1/2014, every one will have to fill out a new W-2 form for their employer. It will be identical to your old one, except that there will be a box where you can indicate whether you are Pro Life. Those that do, will have an additional 1% withheld on their taxable income. The money raised will go to fund orphanages and other services related to unwanted children. But no where on the W-2 form will it indicate that by checking the box, your taxes will go up.

That’s because poll after poll has indicated that those who are the most vocal Pro-Lifers are also the most adamantly opposed to any taxes. But this hidden tax has wide bipartisan support. Those on the left see it as necessary to support the increased population of unwanted children born as a result of stringent anti-abortion laws. Studies show unwanted children leads to higher governmental costs in the form of truancy from school, counseling and crime. Those on the right see this as a way of decreasing the deficit without raising taxes, since the increased withholding is not really a tax; it’s just that people won’t get that increased withheld money back when they get their tax refunds. And it will show up on their paycheck as a “Pro Life Deduction” instead of a tax, which will enhance its popularity among the Pro-Life crowd.


Watering Hole: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 – Yellow Ribbon Support

Last week, we celebrated Veteran’s Day which is a national holiday.  But how much real support does this Congress give to our veterans?

Did you know…

  • 1/3 of the homeless population are veterans?
  • 1 million veterans rely on food stamps?

Yet, Congress is fine with cutting food stamps to our veterans along with the cuts that affect seniors and the 49% of children that rely on this program.  The House bill reduces the SNAP program (food stamps) by $40 billions dollars.  In the Senate, their bill reduces the SNAP program by $5 billions dollars.  Senators Warren and Gildebrand, introduced a bill that would reduce the insurance guarantee for crop failures by 2%.  The money saved by this change would cover the $5 billions dollars therefore no cuts to SNAP would be needed.  Of course, this idea died before any Senators had a chance to vote.

In a nation this wealthy, there is no reason for any American to go without food.  The Republicans in Congress have turned their backs on the most vulnerable Americans and that includes our veterans.

Congressional Republicans, have you no shame?

This is our Open Thread.  What are your thoughts?  Speak Up!

Here’s a link to an article in the New York Times.

Here’s a link to an NPR program regarding SNAP.

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 18th, 2013: Profit Contest to Photo Contest

Even though most of the people who need Obamacare have not yet taken advantage of it, other interests are poised to board the Obamacare money train. The Wall Street Journal’s Howard Gold is encouraging investment in the health care industry. A few snippets:

“This diverse sector, which includes red-hot biotechnology, Big Pharma, medical device makers, hospitals, health insurers, and other services, is profiting from structural shifts far beyond the changes brought in by the Affordable Care Act…In fact, health care stocks may have entered a new secular bull market, which is why you should take some profits on cyclicals and other market-sensitive stocks and reinvest the money into this group.”

“We’re clearly in a favorable environment,” said Andy Acker, manager of Janus Global Life Sciences fund since 2007. “I think this is a question of when this gets resolved, not if,” Acker said. “Millions of people will sign up for health care.”

In an earlier (March 2013) article from conservative, entitled “How Companies are Cashing in on Obamacare”, author Michael Kling wrote:

“Although its critics say Obamacare will increase business costs, some companies are cashing in on the healthcare reform law…CNNMoney reviewed six companies that might reap huge benefits from Obamacare.

Take, for instance, Health Recovery Solutions, a New York City-based start-up that helps hospitals avoid Medicare penalties for readmitting patients. To decrease preventable return visits by Medicare patients, Obamacare levies high cuts to Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that have a certain percentage of these return visits.

Health Recovery Solutions furnishes tablets full of educational videos and information patients can use to care for themselves. Using the tablet, patients send information, such as medications they are taking, to the hospital care team for review.

Eligible, another start-up, takes care of the complex wiring insurers need to quickly answer customer questions about coverage and eligibility, one of the many Obamacare requirements.

GoHealth offers an online tool that enables people to compare health care insurance plans. Consumers can use the platform to enroll in plans or just compare plans before contacting an insurance broker.

QuantiaMD offers a website where doctors can offer presentations, hold private discussions with each other and hold virtual consultations. Pharmaceutical and insurance companies and hospitals sponsor the content on the site.

Obamacare limits the proportion of premium revenue insurers can spend on salaries, overhead and marketing. That’s where Connecture comes in. The Brookfield, Wisc., company provides software that helps insurance companies cut costs through automation. It also helps states with technology needed to create insurance exchanges, another Obamacare requirement.

Another company getting involved with the state exchanges is hCentive, which has built a platform the exchanges can use.

Many of the companies saw their sales jump after the elections. Healthcare companies were not sure Obamacare would be enacted, and state officials were not sure they would still be required to create exchanges by this October…“Many states were waiting to decide to set up their own exchanges — they kept thinking maybe this wouldn’t happen,” Sanjay Singh, an hCentive partner, told CNNMoney.

“they kept thinking maybe this wouldn’t happen” No, they kept HOPING this wouldn’t happen. Because despite their hatred of all things Obama-related, despite all of the conservative hyperbole about “job-killing”, “bankrupting businesses”, “the end of freedom as we know it”, “it’s socialist Obama’s anti-capitalism agenda”, etc., ad nauseum; and despite the 40+ failed efforts by Congressional Republicans to kill Obamacare, every single one of those nay-sayers HAD to realize, deep down, that Obamacare is a boon to the private, capitalistic, for-profit healthcare “industry.” (spit!)

Okay, since you were all good enough to put up with the above drivel, here’s your justly-deserved palate-cleanser…

It’s that time of year again: the National Geographic Photo Contest is open, but only ’til the end of November. I know quite a few of our Critters and Zoosters who should submit a few entries! Here’s last year’s “Nature” category winner, photographed by Ashley Vincent:
Here’s two ways to view some or all of the current entries: The Atlantic picked 39 of the photos, and you can just scroll through them. Note that you can also switch from 1024 pixels to 1280 (I chose 1280.) Or you can go directly to the National Geographic 2013 Photo Contest webpage, where there are links to the photos entered to date, as well as links to 2012 winners and other photo galleries. Here’s one of the 2013 entries, by Sam Morris:

Photo Copyright Sam Morris, 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest entry

Photo Copyright Sam Morris, 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest entry

This is our daily open thread, what do you have to say today?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 16, 2013: Taylor Swift and The Gettysburg Address

From the website “Learn the Address“:

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, documentarian Ken Burns, along with numerous partners, has launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech.The collection of recordings housed on this site will continue to grow as more and more people are inspired by the power of history and take the challenge to LEARN THE ADDRESS.

The site features this mashup of all five living presidents and a slew of politicians and celebrities, including Taylor Swift, who ABC considered the most important of the celebs to be featured in the video. (Each recorded his or her own.)

At the site you are invited and encouraged to share your own Gettysburg Address reading. You can upload a YouTube video of yourself, then give them a link to it. If accepted, they’ll post it at their site along with the presidents, politicians, and celebrities already featured there. Here is the complete Gettysburg Address, which takes about two minutes to read Continue reading

Music Night: Sexy

Gummitch was reading my mail last week when he posted the Traveling Wilburys (a musical tree with lots of great roots) so I am, with some trepidation, going to respond to popular demand (at least on the testosterone side of the critters) and post sexy. Female and male performers, though I struggled on the male side, I must admit. Have at it Zoosters.

The Watering Hole; Friday November 15 2013; Canis latrans

Just the other day I received something special, courtesy of my longtime friend and wildlife photographer, Denny Green. The only comments necessary are his own words:I was lucky to be at the right place on Sunday to see this beautiful coyote calling to his friends . . . Quite a stimulating experience.”


Coyote 1Coyote 2Coyote 3Photos © Denny Green, Tempe AZ

Why do so many humans so often hate, detest, and fear such creatures? What is wrong with them? With us?


The Watering Hole; Thursday November 14 2013; My Next Book!

About a month ago, it struck me that early November of next year — 2014 — would be the perfect time for a new book to hit the shelves, with luck on the tenth anniversary of the second presidential election stolen by George W. Bush. So, here’s my plan: a book entitled “The Complete Wit and Wisdom of George W. Bush!” I’ve contacted a Publisher who loves the idea and says, “The two page pamphlet should retail for about a dollar.” So, here we go! Following are a handful of excerpts to give you an idea of what’s in the works.


[W]hen the nobility see that they are unable to resist the people, they unite in exalting one of their number and creating him prince, so as to be able to carry out their own designs under the shadow of his authority.”
~Machiavelli, The Prince, ch. IX

Chapter I

Note: The following quotes each and all belong to George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States of America from January 20 2001 through January 20 2009. The quotations are not listed in any particular order, but are dated whenever possible.

“God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen… I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.”

“It’s clearly a budget, it’s got a lot of numbers in it.”

“I can do more than one thing at one time! That’s what — I hope you — by the time I’m finished president, I hope you’ll realize that the government can do more than one thing at one time, and individuals in the government can … And so if I’m focusing on the hurricane, I’ve got the capacity to focus on foreign policy, and vice versa. But I thank you for asking that question.”  ~September 2005

“God told me to strike at al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.”  ~June, 2003 (As spoken to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during their first meeting)

“I know some people are trying to unwind No Child Left Behind, and I know some states don’t like it.  But I’ll tell you something. If you’re teaching children to read and write, you ought to measure it.” . . .  “Congresses have made promises it cannot keep…” ~April 28, 2005

“There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring ’em on.  We’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.”  ~July, 2003 (commenting on the apparent increase in Iraqi “insurgency”)

“I am the commander, see. I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they need to say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.”  ~As Quoted by Bob Woodward, Washington Post, author.

“We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great nation.”

“I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe—I believe what I believe is right.”

“In terms of, umm — you know, the — the detainees, we’ve had thousands of people detained. We’ve investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on, on the word of, uhh — and the allegations — by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble — that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is. And, uhh, you know — yes, sir.”   ~May 31, 2005 (Rose Garden Press Conference)

“If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”  ~December 18, 2000

“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” ~May 24, 2005

“Listen, the other day I was asked about the National Intelligence Estimate, which is a National Intelligence Estimate.” ~September 23, 2004

“There’s a lot of people in the world who don’t believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren’t necessarily — are a different color than white can self-govern.” ~April 30, 2004

“In order to keep the peace, there must be truth in the words of the president.” ~May 4, 2004

“. . . I truly believe that now that the war has changed, now that we’re a battlefield, this man [Saddam Hussein] poses a graver threat than anybody could possibly have imagined. Other countries, of course, bear the same risk. But there’s no doubt his hatred is mainly directed at us. There’s no doubt he can’t stand us. After all, this is a guy who tried to kill my dad at one time.”  ~September 26, 2002

“Fuck Saddam, we’re taking him out.  ~March 2002 (Spoken to three U.S. Senators)

“We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks.” ~September 18, 2003  

“The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.”   ~June 17, 2004 (Response to the 9-11 Commission’s report)

“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” ~From a speech to Old Order Amish farmers in Lancaster County, PA

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people — and neither do we.”  ~August 5, 2004

“The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the — the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice.”  ~October 27, 2003

“See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.”  ~October 3, 2003

“I think we agree, the past is over.”  ~May 10, 2000

“Those of us who spent time in the agricultural sector and in the heartland, we understand how unfair the death penalty is.”  ~February 28, 2001

“I don’t think we need to be subliminable about the differences between our views…”  ~September 12, 2000

“I was raised in the West. The west of Texas. It’s pretty close to California. In more ways than Washington, D.C., is close to California.”  ~April 8, 2000 (As quoted in the Los Angeles Times)

“I’m the master of low expectations.”  ~June 4, 2003

“When I take action, I’m not going to fire a 2 million dollar missile at a 10 dollar empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.” ~September 24, 2001 (Quoted in Newsweek)

“In my sentences I go where no man has gone before.”

“One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.”

“Now, we talked to Joan Hanover. She and her husband, George, were visiting with us. They are near retirement – retiring – in the process of retiring, meaning they’re very smart, active, capable people who are retirement age and are retiring.” ~February 12, 2003.

“My pan plays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt.”  ~February 27, 2001 (Spoken in budget address to Congress)

“You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”
~February 21, 2001

“I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well.”  ~January 29, 2001

“They misunderestimated me.”  ~Comment on the 2000 presidential campaign

“I want to thank my friend, Sen. Bill Frist, for joining us today. . . . He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl,  just like me.”  ~May 27, 2004

“I’m honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein.”  ~May 25, 2004

“This is historic times.”  ~April 20, 2004

“See, one of the interesting things in the Oval Office—I love to bring people into the Oval Office—right around the corner from here—and say, this is where I office….”  ~January 29, 2004

“Then you wake up at the high school level and find out that the illiteracy level of our children are appalling.”  ~January 23, 2004

“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN’s aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”  ~September 6, 2004

“We support the election process, we support democracy, but that doesn’t mean we have to support governments that get elected as a result of democracy.”   ~March 29, 2006

“I hear the voices. And I read the front page. And I know the speculation. But I’m the decider and I decide what is best.”   ~April 18, 2006

“I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true. One, I believe there’s an Almighty.”   ~April 24, 2006

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones I have to concentrate on.”

 “History? We don’t know. We’ll all be dead.”   ~2003.

Yah, OK, so some ideas aren’t as great as they might have seemed on the front end. Oh well.


The Watering Hole, Wednesday, 11/13/13: Stopping Bad Guys With Guns.

The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Recently someone (a good guy?) fired off some celebratory shots at a birthday party in a house crowded with teenagers. Someone else (another good guy) took it upon himself to open fire in response. Result: 2 dead and more than a dozen injured. By a good guy with a gun.

With so many guns per capita in the U.S. you’d think good guy vigilanteism would stop most of the mass killings. But, no. A survey of mass murders over the years reveals a surprising number of “bad guys with guns” kill themselves.

Two good guys with guns kill each other. oops.

2013: A bad guy with a gun opens fire at a Naval Yard, kills a dozen people before he is killed.

2012: Sandy Hook Elementary; 27 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2012: Aurora, Colorado; 12 killed; gunman dressed in head-to-toe protective gear is taken into custody.

2011: Seal Beach, California; 8 killed; gunman wearing body armor is arrested without incident trying to leave the scene.

2010: Manchester, Connecticut; 8 killed; gunman commited suicide.

2010: Appomattox, Virginia; 8 killed; gunman surrenders to police the next morning.

2009: A bad guy with a gun kills 13 people at Ft. Hood. Lots of good guys with guns. Bad guy not shot, is sentenced to death. Hmmmm….the death penalty didn’t stop this guy.

2009: Binghamton, New York; 13 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2009: Alamaba; 10 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2009; Carthage, North Carolina; 8 killed; gunman convicted of second degree murder, sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison.

2007: Virginia Tech. 32 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2007: Omaha Nebraska; 8 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2005: Red Lake High School, Minnesota; 8 killed; gunman commits suicide.

1999: Columbine High School; 13 killed; gunmen commit suicide.

1999: Atlanta, Georgia; 12 killed; gunman commited suicide.

1993: San Francisco; 8 killed; gunman commits suicide.

1991: Killeen, Texas; 23 killed; gunman commits suicide.

1989: Louisville, Kentucky; 8 killed; gunman commtis suicide.

1984: San Ysidro, California, McDonnalds; 21 killed; Police sharpshooter kills gunman.

1984: Manley Hot Springs, Alaska; 8 killed; gunman is killed in a shootout with police.

1982: Miami Florida; 8 killed; gunman shot in the back by a witness who pursued him.

1982: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; 13 Killed; gunman committed to mental institution.

1973: New Orleans; 9 killed; police snipers kill gunman.

1966: University of Texas; 18 killed; police officers killed gunman.

So there we have it. Of the 20 deadliest shootings in U.S. history from 1965 to now, only once has a good guy with a gun taken out a bad guy with a gun (not counting the police, who are supposed to be the good guys with guns).

What’s the solution? Some throw up their hands in despair, there’s too many guns out there, there’s no way to stop it. Others point to Australia, that decided after one horrific incident that enough was enough, and had a massive gun riddance campaign. Others wrap themselves in the flag and flack jackets and openly brandish their firearms, threatening to use them if anyone dares impinge upon their “Second Amendment Rights.”

We’re coming up on the anniversary of Sandy Hook. Nothing has changed. Not enough kids have been slaughtered yet for Americans to say “enough is enough.”


The Watering Hole, Monday, November 11th, 2013: Amazing Space

8 New Photos from Chandra Observatory

8 New Photos from Chandra Observatory (photo composite courtesy of NASA)

A few weeks ago, NASA released eight new photographs taken by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, a telescope launched in 1999. According to information from the Chandra website:

“This collection of images represents the thousands of observations that are permanently stored and accessible to the world in the Chandra Data Archive (CDA). This sample showcases the wide range of objects that Chandra has observed during its over 14-year mission, including the remains of exploded stars, cosmic nurseries where stars are being born, and galaxies both similar to our Milky Way and those that are much different. In each of these images, the Chandra data are blue or purple and have been combined with those from other wavelengths.”

The Chandra “Photo Album” offers hundreds of other amazing views into space courtesy of the Chandra telescope. A website that I ran across has more technical information on Chandra’s X-Ray photography, as well as more photos from other space-traveling and land-based telescopes. Images such as these, along with the glorious wonders opened to our view by the Hubble telescope and other sources, give me a vestige of hope that there is, somewhere in all that vastness, at lease one race of intelligent beings who are living in harmony with each other and their planet. I’d hate to think that Terran humans are the pinnacle of Nature’s creations.

This is our daily open thread, say anything!

Sunday Roast: Veterans Day

Veterans Day, which is noted in other countries as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, marks the end of World War I.  More particularly, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.  On this day, we remember those who died while serving their various countries.

As I have done in past years, I’m posting the final episode of the Blackadder Goes Forth series, entitled Goodbyeee.

The final episode of this series, “Goodbyeee“, although true to the series’ usual comedy style through most of the preceding scenes, is known for featuring a purely dramatic and extraordinarily poignant final scene, where the main characters (except [the General] himself) are finally sent over the top. To the sound of a slow, minimal and downbeat piano version of the title theme, the four are seen in slow-motion, charging into the fog and smoke of no man’s land, with gunfire and explosions all around, before the scene fades into footage of a sunny poppy field and the sound of birdsong. The fate of the four is left ambiguous. Blackadder’s final line before the charge is also underpinned with an unusually reflective and poignant tone, offered after Baldrick claims to have one last cunning plan to save them from the impending doom:

Well, I’m afraid it’ll have to wait. Whatever it was, I’m sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman around here? …Good luck, everyone.

As fantastic as this final Blackadder series is, I usually cry my way through Goodbyeee. Our amazing advances in technology, rather than being put toward the advancement of mankind, was instead used for unbelievable destruction and obscenely wasted lives of tens of millions of people, both military and civilian, but succeeded only in serving as an incubator for World War II.

I think humans could learn to live together peacefully, but there is money to be made from mayhem and war, and as long as that’s true, there will always be war; and there will always trenches of one kind or another, filled with honorable men and women, who are viewed as a means to an end — stacks and stacks of money — and used as cannon fodder, and if they survive, dismissed as a burden on society.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss.