The Watering Hole: Wednesday, April 30, 2014: What’s up, Doc?

The Right to Work Amendment, a proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

1. Congress shall make no law respecting a person’s right to work.
2. Congress shall make no law respecting an employer’s right to employ any person.

This is the Repbulican plan for achieving full employment in this country, so why don’t they put it forward in the form of a Constitutional Amendment? They will receive millions of votes in favor of such an amendment. And, as the Supreme Court said, there’s no more discrimination in America. So, why not? The Founding Fathers wanted to keep the government’s hands out of their business. Why not go back to laissez faire?

Thoughts?

OPEN THREAD
at least until we lose net neutrality

The Watering Hole: April 29, 2014 — Dorena Covered Bridge

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Photo by Zooey

My son and I took a tour of the covered bridges around Cottage Grove, Oregon.  This covered bridge is the Dorena Bridge:

Constructed in 1949 and restored in 1996, this bridge was built after the construction of Dorena Dam on the Row River…

It’s a popular wedding site, which is easy to understand!

This is our daily open thread — Get on with it!

The Watering Hole, Monday, April 28th, 2014: Bird-Brained

This past week has seen a lot of very odd behavior from some bird-brained bipeds.

First, the human bird-brains, starting with the ongoing and ever-weirder racist stylings of Cliven Bundy. Bundy’s ‘open-beak-insert-claw’ babblings caused even die-hard libertarian Rand Paul, as well as Fox’s knee-jerk-anti-government-reactionary (emphasis on jerk) Sean Hannity, to sidle away from Bundy. Paul’s statement, “His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him,” seemed a bit weak compared with his fellow Republican Senator Dean Heller’s. From Think Progress: “…[Heller’s]spokesman told the New York Times the senator “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.” Much more genuine-sounding, more human, right?

Again with the racism: L.A. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling‘s blatantly racist – and audiotaped — admonishment to his girlfriend after she posted a photo on Instagram of herself with basketball legend Magic Johnson has been the talk of national news outlets and sports programs alike. Not surprising, since one of Sterling’s quotes from said audiotape is “don’t bring black people to my games

Next, bird-brained Bill O’Reilly still seems to be unaware of his own ignorant inner racist: On Friday, in reaction to Time Magazine’s decision to feature singer Beyoncé on the cover for their “most influential people” edition, O’Reilly aired his delusion that Beyoncé is in charge raising America’s young black girls. In Bill-O’s mind, she’s doing a piss-poor job of it, what with the sexual song lyrics and the “revealing clothing” that she wears in her music videos — into which I presume Bill-O did a LOT of research, checking for ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ and the like.

O’REILLY:

“She knows — this woman knows — that young girls are getting pregnant in the African American community…Now it’s about 70 percent out of wedlock. She knows and doesn’t seem to care…She should be smart enough to know that what’s she doing now is harming some children…”

Sorry, Bill, but Beyoncé isn’t harming anyone; look in your mirror, you’re the one doing harm to the whole country.

Okay, enough of the human bird-brains, now let’s enjoy some feathered ones…

Several times last week, outside our office, I noticed various birds engaged in springtime mating behavior. The male birds were chasing females either in fast-paced displays of aerodynamics and maneuverability, or in a more slow-motion – and more amusing – “chase” within a tree, with the male hopping from branch to branch after the female. While the birds that I observed were entertaining, the mating behavior of blue jays, chickadees, English sparrows, and our other local birds pales in comparison to these guys:

Japanese Red-Crowned Cranes

Japanese Red-Crowned Cranes


Great Egret aka Great White Heron

Great Egret aka Great White Heron


Great Frigatebird

Great Frigatebird


Male Peacock

Male Peacock


Royal Terns

Royal Terns

Yes, that was much more enjoyable!

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

Sunday Roast: What if…

What if hate hadn’t killed the best of us?

What if fear hadn’t made us hateful?

What if ignorance hadn’t made us fearful?

What if poverty, hunger, and a lack of education hadn’t left so many of us ignorant?

What if greed hadn’t left so many of us hungry, uneducated, and in poverty?

What if wanting too much hadn’t made us greedy?

What if forgetting what was “enough” hadn’t made us want more than our share?

What if we all had enough?

This is our daily open thread — What is enough?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 26, 2014: The Binary Bundy

It started with a story about grazing fees and ended up being a story about racism, as often happens with stories in America these days. Nevada cattle rancher Ted Cloven Cliven Bundy became the darling of right-wing media when federal agents seized his cattle for Bundy’s refusal to pay more than a million dollars in grazing fees and penalties. Supporters claimed it was an overreach of federal authority, despite the fact that courts have upheld the government’s actions at every step. Things were gearing up to finally have a national discussion on the role of government in our lives (a key and overlooked component in the disagreement between Liberals and Conservatives), when Bundy opened his mouth and talked about something other than property rights.

via Media Matters

After initially denying he ever mentioned picking cotton, Bundy made things worse for himself by trying to invoke the names of Rosa Parks and the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr., in defending his use of the term “Negroes.

via CNN

The clip above ends with Bundy claiming he’s not prejudiced, after screwing up completely what Prejudice is by saying “we’re talking about not being able to exercise what we think and our feelings.” No, Mr. Bundy, when we talk about prejudice we’re talking about exactly that – pre-judging – and all of us, myself included, are guilty of it to one degree or another. All of us look at other people and based often on nothing more than what we see, we make value judgments about them. And the primary thing we want to determine first and foremost is, “Is this person a threat to me?” That’s natural survival instinct and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what goes on in the mind after the determination that it’s safe to walk past that person that gets people in trouble. Prejudice isn’t about exercising what we think or feel, it’s about what we think or feel, and how we came to have those thoughts or feelings. When you see a family of black people sitting on their front porch, as a family, and immediately assume that they’re on government subsidy, you are being prejudiced. And not in a good way. Because you have no rational basis for believing what you’re thinking. I assume that when you talk about “exercising” those thoughts or feelings, it means acting on them in some way. Since your thoughts or feelings were not derived from some rational line of thought, but derived instead from your erroneous prejudices, I can’t allow you to act on them without consequence. That’s not denying you your freedom, that’s protecting innocent people from your ignorance. And his prejudice didn’t end there. He went on to say, “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.” Really, Bundy? Is that how you view black people? They’re either in jail or picking cotton?

What concerns me is the tendency for conservative-minded people like Bundy to engage in either/or binary-type thinking. If you’re a young black man, you’re either in jail or in a cotton field. Nothing else. No other options available. Either you’re a totally free individual or you’re dependent on the government for help. I love that one because most of our American way of life is only possible because of government activities, not least of which is police, fire, and military services keeping us safe and free to pursue our individual happiness. So I don’t understand this obsession with Freedom being a complete and total severance of any government authority over you. You might think that’s what the “free” part of a Free Society is, but it isn’t what the “society” part is about. Your Constitutional right to freedom is not absolute. It is limited to what Society says it is. And Government is the vehicle Society uses to ensure it remains Free. So we are all, to one extent or another, dependent on government. To pretend otherwise is to live in a dream world.

Clive Davis Cliven Bundy lives in a dream world. He thinks you’re either totally right or totally wrong, with no middle ground to be even partly right. He thinks he’s right so the government is totally wrong. Never mind that the arbiters of who’s right and who’s wrong have decided that the Government is totally right and Bundy is totally wrong. He’s just decided that the federal government is illegitimate and has no authority over him or his property. In this sense, he must be referring to the cattle as property because the land in this discussion is federal property, which he feels he has every right to use free of charge. Its owners (you and me) disagree. Who do you think is right?

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Ted Nugent Ted Bundy Cliven Bundy or anything else you want.

Music Night, April 25, 2014

About the time this posts on Friday, I will be wandering through the airport in Atlanta looking for food and a drink, ready for a week of, um, eating and drinking. And a baseball game. In my honor I’m posting a video from an Atlanta garage rock band.  I’ll probably forget to notice that it is 6:00 pm and the Music Night post is up.

The Watering Hole; Friday April 25 2014; A Win for Biological Diversity

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
an’ foolish notion
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
an’ ev’n devotion!
(Robert Burns from “To a Louse”)

Yesterday, I received this uplifting note from the Center for Biological Diversity (an environmental-and-wildlife-activist organization HQ’d in Tucson, Arizona):

Public Opposition Helps Defeat Arizona Wolf-kill Bills — Thank You

Mexican gray wolf After an outpouring of public opposition from Center  activists and others, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer this  week vetoed two anti-wolf bills, including one that  would have allowed ranchers to kill endangered  Mexican gray wolves on federal land, contrary to  federal law.

Thank you to all who answered our call to action against these bills, especially those who flooded Brewer’s office with phone calls this week.

There are just 37 Mexican gray wolves in the Arizona wild. This struggling population desperately needs protection to survive — and some state lawmakers are intent on making sure it doesn’t get that protection. We’re happy to see Brewer veto these disastrous bills, but we also know that wolf-haters in Arizona remain a potent force. We won’t relax our vigilance.

Read more about the Center’s long battle to save Mexican gray wolves from extinction.

Much as I detest AZ Governor Jan Brewer’s politics, I do give her credit for occasionally making the right and proper decision. I also maintain the hope, no matter how faint, that SOMEONE, or some agency, will act NOW to stymie the idiots in the state of Idaho (and elsewhere, of course) and thus prevent the entire wild wolf population there (and anywhere else, for that matter) from being completely wiped out . . . by idiots.

I know, I know, common sense is an alien notion amongst both idiots and wingnuts (assuming there’s any difference), but still, we of un-shriveled mind can dare to hope, right?

In that vein, remember the words spoken by Mitt Romney in advance of the 2012 elections? “Corporations are people, my friend,” he said in all seriousness. Gives me an idea: if corporations which are in no way definable as “people” can be legally designated as people, then why not also so-designate wolves, polar bears, eagles, dolphins, whales, coyotes, owls, puma, tortoises, butterflies . . . etc., et al., as “people”? Why can’t we insist the SCOTUS also legally grant wildlife all the protections that both idiots and corporations now enjoy?

Time for a vote. Choose A or B (in order of presentation below) as either “people” or “non-people” — I’ll forward your votes to the SCOTUS (If I can find their email somewhere).

Bundy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh, and in the process of deciding said issue, maybe the Scotussians could also agree to define wingnuts as non-people, and then let the chips fall where they may? Now THAT would be a definite job-creator, one that prolly even the NRA might support!

I know. My bad (on rare occasion). Oh well. Clearly some critters deserve protection, some don’t. It’s so simple.

OPEN THREAD