The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 31st, 2015: Dogs and Cats

First, the dogs: From rantpets.com, “25 Uncommon Dog Breeds You Didn’t Know About” (I did know about some of them, as I’m sure many of you do.)

I love some of the (often minimal) breed descriptions:

Number 23, the Berger Picard: “French Shepherds, which date back to 800 AD, are a very rare breed.” [But their bloodline is continued into the 25th century, minus most of the hair, of course.]

Number 11, the Jade Terrier: “The Jade Terrier appeared between the two world wars.” [What, did it come through the Wardrobe from Narnia?]

Number 8, the Mudi: “About 100 years ago in Hungary, a spontaneous breed surfaced called the Mudi dog.” [A “spontaneous” breed? Another Narnian?]

Number 2, the Finnish Spitz: “This adorable breed was originally bred to hunt game like bears and squirrels.” [BEARS and squirrels? BEARS?!]

Number 1, the Otterhound: “These dogs are said to be [the] most intelligent carnivorous mammals in all of Europe.” [I’d have to agree that otterhounds are probably smarter than most human “carnivorous mammals.”]

Otterhounds (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Otterhounds (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Now, the cats: With tomorrow’s Super Bowl in mind, here’s “20 Things Your Cat is Thinking While You’re Watching the Super Bowl”, also from rantpets.com. Not as funny as I had hoped, but some cute cat photos make it worthwhile. And for those who won’t watch football, there’s always Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl for tomorrow’s entertainment.

This is our daily Open Thread, brought to you from the frozen tundra of New York. Brrrr!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 24th, 2015: “I Like Ike”

Two score, fourteen years and one week ago, on January 17th, 1961, President Dwight David Eisenhower gave his farewell address to the nation. Although made famous by Ike’s coinage of the term “military-industrial complex”, his speech also contains commentary that, IMHO, is just as relevant today about other issues, and helps to demonstrate just how far today’s Republicans have strayed from reason and responsibility. The over-religious tone of several of Ike’s comments is off-putting for many of us, but those sections reflect how Republicans have twisted the ‘in god we trust’ idea into the unrecognizable form we see today. While lengthy, here is the entire speech:

“My Fellow Americans:

Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.II

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.III

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology-global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle-with liberty at stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small,there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research-these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we which to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs-balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage-balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between action of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.IV

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peace time, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.V

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war-as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years-I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

So-in this my last good night to you as your President-I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find somethings worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I-my fellow citizens-need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation’s great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing inspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”

This is today’s Open Thread. Have at it!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 17th, 2015: Gud F*cking Gramer

Although, ages ago, in his “Ask The Grammar Guy” piece, Wayne had expertly covered these common grammar mistakes that make us cringe when we see them, here’s a pithy and profane way to remember the rules:

Fucking Grammar

Fucking Grammar

I realize that all of us here are well familiar with these rules, and are exceptional and eloquent writers who never make those mistakes (and we’re humble, too), so here’s a (very large:  300+ photos) photo gallery of “The Stunning Creatures of the White Sea.” The gallery was put together by Camille Mann and Edicio Martinez, and (as usual), is brought to you courtesy of the Weather Channel. Here’s just one of the unusual creatures:

 Coryphella verrucosa

Coryphella verrucosa

Enjoy!

This is our daily Open Thread, so talk about, you know, whatever…

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 12th, 2015: Just WOW

After visiting one of the following sites yesterday, I WAS planning to write about that effing bitch “Judge” Jeanine Pirro; unfortunately, I have a wicked toothache after root canal the other day, so I’ll get to her another time.

In the meanwhile, have a look at this strange, hard-to-tell-if-they’re-serious website [Cats, I know you stopped there yesterday, but I thought I should share it with everyone] called Beforeitsnews.com. Some of their ‘Top 50′ Stories include “Aliens Caught Creating PORTAL STARGATE…“, “Don’t Believe in Nephilim? You Will After This…,” and, of course, several articles exposing the Paris Charlie Hebdo killings as “fake” and a “false flag operation.”

While I haven’t been to this next website, The Enigma Channel, an email that I received – for whatever reason, unknown to me – made me curious. Apparently the EnigmaTV.com’s site is trying to be the clearinghouse for all weird conspiracy theories, UFO sightings, cults, and other even odder subjects. Unfortunately, one has to subscribe to the website, so here’s some excerpts from a few of their touted stories/”documentaries.” This first one is titled “SEX MAGICK SECRETS OF ALEISTER CROWLEY“:

“Our OCCULT documentaries take you deeper into the realms of secret societies than ever before. We cover subjects which no other broadcaster has the courage to show…
Various forms of SEX YOGA are being taught worldwide – some are true in origin to where yoga developed on the Indian sub-continent, but other forms of SEX MAGICK have perversed the original teachings. Our new series entitled CULTS investigates the weird and strange teachings of various covens and lodges…

One example is “Within Black Tantra we find the Bons and Drukpas of the “Red Cap,” terrible and perverse black magicians. These malignant people have disgusting procedures in order to reabsorb the semen through the urethra after having miserably spilled it. The outcome is fatal because the semen, after having been spilled, is charged with satanic atoms, which upon re-entering the body acquire the power to awaken the Kundalini negatively. It then descends to the atomic infernos of the human being and becomes the Tail of Satan…”

From “THE MASONIC ARCH SECRETS“:

“The ‘ARCH’ of masonry, as Chris Everard explains, is symbolic of the ‘arc’ of electricity which flowed from the anode and cathode of the ARK OF THE COVENANT. According to the freemasonic histories, the ARK OF THE COVENANT was at first deposited in the most sacred place of the tabernacle and afterward placed by King Solomon in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Temple.
The Ark of the Covenant was lost upon the destruction of the first Temple by the Chaldean sorcerers who are today’s ‘jewish’ people], and there is an ancient replica at Axum in Ethiopia. The Ark was meant to be carried to Babylon [ancient Iraq] among the other sacred utensils which became the spoil of the conquerors…”

And from “THE ARK OF THE COVENANT“:

“Our cameras venture to Axum in Ethiopia where we film the amazing subterranean churches and the ARK OF THE COVENANT…
The Talmudists say that there were several things which were the “glory” of the first Temple of SOLOMON – which was the original hiding place of the ARK OF THE COVENANT. But the Ark was only one of several mysterious artefacts which we investigate on THE ENIGMA CHANNEL…

1. The Ark of the Covenant [which contain Leyden Jars which stored static electricity]

2. The Shikinah (or Divine Presence) [this is a female aspect of the Godhead who jews ‘make love to’ by swinging their hips at the Wailing Wall] and…

3. The Urim and Thummim (‘the holy fire upon the altar’ which resembled some ‘dice’ and feature prominently in the legends of the Mormons).”

The Enigma Channel email finished with the following:
enigma channel
Um, I don’t think I want to subscribe.

This is our daily Open Thread – have fun!

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 5th, 2015: Unholy Alliances

Last week when Pope Francis announced his itinerary for his crusade against man-made climate change, the Joe (“You lie!”) Wilson of ‘evangelical’ deniers, one Calvin Beisner, rudely stated that “The Pope should back off”:

““The pope should back off,” said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative evangelical Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

According to People for the American Way:

“Beisner is a CFACT [Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow] board member and an “adjunct fellow” of the Acton Institute, which is primarily funded by groups like ExxonMobil, the Scaife foundations and the Koch brothers. Beisner is also an adviser to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which is financed by the oil-backed Earthart Foundation, the Koch brothers, and ExxonMobil.
In fact, Beisner is not a scientist and has no scientific credentials. Despite claiming to be an authority on energy and environmental issues, he received his Ph.D. in Scottish History.

In 2009, Beisner’s Cornwall Alliance cosponsored a climate change denial conference led by the Heartland Institute, a pro-corporate group funded by Exxon Mobil, the Koch Family Foundations, and the Scaife foundations. Other organizations funded by energy corporations that cosponsored the conference include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity.”

The “About” section on the Cornwall Alliance’s website states:

Our Identity
A coalition of theologians, pastors, ministry leaders, scientists, economists, policy experts, and committed laymen, the Cornwall Alliance is an evangelical voice promoting environmental stewardship and economic development built on Biblical principles.

I doubt very much if, as Beisner claims, Cornwall Alliance’s “position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US”, as some of their ‘affirmations’ and ‘denials’ are, to put it lightly, a bit twisted. An excerpt from one of their “Landmark Documents” titled “The Biblical Perspective of Environmental Stewardship : Subduing and Ruling the Earth to the Glory of God and the Benefit of our Neighbors“:

9. We affirm that by God’s design Earth and its physical and biological systems are robust, resilient, and self-correcting.

We deny that they are fragile.

20. We affirm that human multiplication and filling of the Earth are intrinsically good (Genesis 1:28) and that, in principle, children, lots of them, are a blessing from God to their faithful parents and the rest of the Earth (Psalm 127; 128).

We deny that the Earth is overpopulated; that “overpopulation” is even a meaningful term, since it cannot be defined by demographic quantities such as population density, population growth rate, or age distribution; and that godly dominion over the Earth requires population control or “family planning” to limit fertility.

21. We affirm that when the Bible speaks of God’s judgment on human societies because they have “polluted the land,” the “pollution” in mind is consistently not chemical or biological but moral—the pollution of idolatry, adultery, murder, oppression of the weak, and other violations of the moral law of God expressed in the Ten Commandments (Psalm 106:38; Jeremiah 3:1–10; 16:18).

We deny that Biblical prophets’ concerns about the pollution of any land focus significantly on chemical emissions from agriculture or industry, although prudent study of the risks those pose to human and ecosystem health is a worthy task and can lead to proper efforts to balance risks and benefits.

22. We affirm that cost/benefit analysis (Luke 14:28) is a proper and critically important aspect of godly dominion over the Earth (Proverbs 14:4).

We deny that cost/benefit analysis is unprincipled pragmatism or indicates a lack of faith in God.

The Cornwall Alliance seems to be especially partial to one of the worst of the real-life polluters, the coal industry. In one of their articles, “Europe Flees Economy-Destroying Green Initiatives While Obama Presses On”, after bashing Germany (“Germany, like all who subscribe to the environmentalists’ viewpoint, has put being “green” over the good of its people. They have forgotten God’s created order…”), they turn on President Obama:

“President Obama continues pushing the United States toward the brink by forging ahead with plans to fight the global warming that hasn’t happened in at least the last 17 years, using measures that will cost $trillions by mid-century but will cause no significant reduction in global temperature by the end of the century.

One of President Obama’s means to force the environmentalist agenda on Americans is The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its war on coal destroyed between 13,000 and 17,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2012 alonedue to announced coal plant closures. Fast forward to 2014 and the EPA has announced a regulation that would effectively kill the coal industry. Any new coal power plant built, whether to replace or add to existing plants, must meet an emissions standard that is impossible with current technology.

Then of course there is the stonewalling of the Keystone XL Pipeline extension. This pipeline that President Obama claimed would only “create about 50 permanent jobs,” has been estimated by his own State Department to create 42,000 jobs.”

Although that “42,000 jobs” figure has been debunked time and time again, yet another Republican on Meet the Press yesterday morning got away with using it without being slapped down by the useless Chuck Todd. TransCanada itself estimates “that the pipeline would create no more than 2,500 to 4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years.” The Keystone XL Pipeline website uses the figure of 9,000 U.S. jobs.   On the other hand, the KXL website also says:

“Keystone XL Pipeline will be the safest and most advanced oil pipeline operation in North America. It will not only bring essential infrastructure to North American oil producers, but it will also provide jobs, long-term energy independence and an economic boost to Americans.”

Yeah, right – and I have a really nice bridge for sale, too…

This is our daily open thread, so discuss whatever you’d like.

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 29th, 2014: Butts and Moons

2014 in medicine(?):

What did we get stuck in our butts last year? Deadspin has the answer. (Hint: Among other things, a shot glass.)
shot glass

2014 in science:

The Weather Channel provides their ‘Top 50 Science and Environment Photos‘ for 2014, which included four blood moons.

Lunar Eclipse April 2014 - photo by Astrophotographer Joel O'Bryan

Lunar Eclipse April 2014 – photo by Astrophotographer Joel O’Bryan

This is our daily open thread–go ahead, have at it!

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 22nd, 2014: Make Me Smile

Since I’m sick of the current population of humans, in my next life I’d rather come back as a dolphin or porpoise. Even though humans may still top the food chain, I’d like to have a bigger brain and be able to swim the oceans with few natural enemies. It’s no wonder they seem to be smiling all of the time (yes, I realize they can’t help it), I would, too. At least dolphins and porpoises make us useless humans smile, we can’t help it, either. And it seems that they have the same affect on other animals as well.
dolphin-and-baby
dogs and dolphin
dolphin and seal
dolphin face

Hope these pics made you smile, too. Everyone needs it on a Monday.

This is our daily Open Thread–what makes you smile these days?