(Descending into) March Madness – Week One Gnus

Let’s start with some bad news, hopefully I’ll come up with some good news later.

First, to get it out of the way, the first Manafort sentence – WTF was the judge in the VA Manafort trial thinking, 47 MONTHS? “…an otherwise blameless life…”? This is the guy whose lobbying firm partners were Roger “Nixon Tattoo” Stone and Lee “Evil Incarnate” Atwater, the slimiest trio of political operatives in several decades. Not to mention all of his foreign entanglements with vicious dictators. “Blameless?!” And poor, poor Manafort, so “humiliated and shamed” during the court proceedings. Not “humbled and ashamed”, of course. No, he was “humiliated and shamed” because he had to be seen, even if just in court drawings, in jumpsuit and chains with graying hair, instead of his usual natty expensive suits and jet-black coif. Oh, and there’s the gout, can’t forget the gout- that’s what the wheelchair is for, to remind everyone. Funny how that gout hit him once he was jailed, because in all of the videos we see of Manafort going into and out of courtrooms, he seemed to be walking just fine.

That nominal sentence is a goddamn outrage. A slap on the wrist for an unremorseful lifelong thug, and (another) slap in the face to justice in these United States. I’d go on a good rant, but I’m concerned about my blood pressure. And sanity. 😦

Moving on…

For some reason which I don’t currently remember, I’ve been getting these ‘breaking news’ emails from “Christian Headlines”. Regardless…I got one this afternoon and the title of the article is pretty frightening: “Judge Lets Father Represent Aborted Baby in Wrongful-Death Suit.” Yeah, here we go down an extremely slippery slope, deliberately greased by religious fanatics and misogynistic politicians. This “personhood” nonsense is unconstitutional and dangerous.

According to the article by Michael Foust:

“An Alabama judge has let a wrongful death lawsuit proceed in which a father is suing an abortion clinic on behalf of his aborted unborn child…The lawsuit references a constitutional amendment passed by Alabama voters last year stating “it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.”

“The case in Alabama is chilling because it represents the real-life consequences of anti-choice ‘personhood’ policies, which, by design, seek to demote the fundamental rights of women, and are a stepping stone in the anti-choice movement’s ultimate goal of criminalizing abortion and punishing women,” Kimmell [Adrienne Kimmell, V.P of NARAL Pro-Choice America] said. “To see it playing out in this case in Alabama should serve as a grave warning sign.”

(But the good news from Christian Headlines is that you can have “free devotions from Dr. Charles Stanley sent right to your door!” Okay, I was a Roman Catholic, so I have no idea what that means.)

Next…

We all remember what a mendacious git Judge Andrew Napolitano has been in the past. So he continues to surprise me in his appearances on Fox by his relative frankness regarding trump’s myriad legal troubles and appearance of guilt. I wish that Napolitano would apprise his Fox viewers of his opinion as published in yesterday’s Washington Times. Yes, sorry it’s the WT, but it’s actually worth the read. And while I take issue with a few things, i.e., his reference to trump’s “tormenters”; and his interpretation of the Republican-destroyed rule that “politics ends where the water’s edge begins” (that doesn’t mean that the House can’t hold hearings while trump is out “negotiating” with a murderous dictator), Napolitano did clarify some things about which I, at least, had been curious. Just one excerpt:

“Can a lawyer testify against his own client? What has become of the attorney-client privilege? These are sound questions that were not asked last week because of something called the crime-fraud exception. Normally, all communications between a client and his lawyer are privileged from revelation. The exception comes when the lawyer can demonstrate that he and the client were together engaged in criminal or fraudulent acts.”

You’ll have to read the rest, for some reason I can’t copy-and-paste from the Washington Times article.

Let’s get to some cheerier stuff…

Like the penguins in this snippet on Twitter – play it with the sound on, and watch all the way ’til the end. Enjoy!

Also, too…

April the Giraffe is due to give birth any moment, and you can watch her here.** April may have calved by the time I post this, but in that case the morning might bring us a little cutie like this:

UPDATE:  March 13th, 12:26am ET, still no baby giraffe.  I’ve heard that April was more than a month late with her last calf, so…watch this space!

**UPDATE!:  Baby BOY giraffe born approximately 12:42pm ET on Saturday, March 16th.  5′-11″ (taller than our own Zookeeper!) and 139 lbs.  Baby to be named in some sort of contest in the near future.  In the meantime, you can watch mom April and the little guy (with dad Oliver in the far pen) live, almost 24/7, here (The link is a new one, the one above has been taken down for archiving.)

Lastly…

Doesn’t everyone need a hug?

This is our Open Thread – batten down the hatches, ’cause we’re in for some rough political weather!

The Most Punchable Faces of 2017…and probably 2018, too.

wyeo1j1

I know, I know, I went for one of the easiest punchable faces with the middle Trump Weirdling — I want to punch him for his bizarrely patterned shirt and shiny textured tie, alone — but I thought we might need one of the more obviously punchable faces for starters.

So, while you’re thinking — seething, fuming, clenching your jaw and/or frothing at the mouth — about the most punchable faces of 2017, see if you can come up with one that’s not so obvious.  Someone who makes us think, “Yeah, that guy!!”  But feel free to post the obvious punchable faces too, because shits and giggles!

2016 — You were a crap year, and you know it.

2017 — You were truly fucked up, and we’re more disappointed/disgusted/discouraged than we thought we’d be right now.

2018 — Two things:  1) Please, I’m begging you, have mercy.  2) Do not take the phrase, “Can things get any worse?” as a fucking CHALLENGE!

Have fun all y’all, and have a safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

Music Night: Non-Traditional Holiday Songs

Our friend, Gary Herstein, suggested holiday “songs that don’t make you want to put out your ears with an ice pick,” which I think is a perfectly reasonable request.

Be warned!  If anyone posts that stupid grandma/reindeer song, I will find a way to hurt you.  🙂

Having gotten that off my chest, have fun all y’all!

Music Night: We are the 99%

This country is resembling a clusterfuck every single damn day:

“Wall Street’s doing great!!”  Yay, we rich people are still doing well.

“ObamaCare, MediCaid, MediCare, Section 8, food stamps, heat assistance, etc., are socialist programs and the most horrible things that ever happened on the planet!”  Seriously, I worked hard for my trust fund/inheritance, and only took a piddly million dollar loan from my dad once or twice.  You losers need to get jobs.

I could go on, but you get the picture.  WHAT. ABOUT. US?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 4th, 2017: Look Back and Laugh…and Sigh

We need to take a break from the horror that America has become under a dark, grim authoritarian regime that’s less than two months old, and look back at what – in now-stark contrast – were the halcyon days of Barack Obama, The Laughing President.

President Obama was always at ease with himself, so he was also (almost) always at ease with foreign leaders, celebrities, his fellow Democrats, former Presidents from both sides of the aisle, even the Pope, for heaven’s sake; and even, FFS, the PRESS, that “Enemy of the American People”:

Notice that German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't mind President Obama touching her.

Notice that German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t mind President Obama touching her.

Jon Steward and President Obama share a pose and a smile

Jon Stewart and President Obama share a pose and a smile

President Obama has a good laugh with David Letterman

President Obama heartily laughing with David Letterman

V.P. Joe Biden and President Obama acting casually.

V.P. Joe Biden and President Obama perform synchronized laughing.

Patently genuine laugh between Hillary Clinton and President Obama

Patently genuine laugh between Hillary Clinton and President Obama

Hillary's losing it, but Obama is happy to provide support

Hillary’s losing it, but Obama provides support

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton having a good time

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton having a good time

"THERE ARE FOUR PRESIDENTS [laughing]!"

“THERE ARE FOUR PRESIDENTS [laughing]!”

The President and The Pope

The President and The Pope

President Barack Obama's mic drop at his final Nerd Prom

President Barack Obama’s mic drop at his final Nerd Prom

But the ease and warmth that he obviously shared with so many others pales in comparison with the almost-visible aura of the unmistakable ease, warmth, humor, respect and love that he shares with his wife Michelle:

Barack and Michelle, side by side, as a loving couple should be...

Barack and Michelle, side by side, as a loving couple should be…

Date night out?

Date night out?

Now THAT'S "Class!"

Now THAT’S “Class!”

I won’t sully this brief remembrance of better times with the name(s) or photo(s) of the current fake occupier of our White House. I hope that, as I did, you couldn’t help but smile in response to President Barack Obama’s infectious grin.

[…sigh…]

This is our Open Thread, a bit late – enjoy!

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, February 15th, 2017: First Hypocrisy, Now Treachery

It’s been well known for a long time that the GOP is the party of hypocrisy–hence the acronym IOKIYAR. Now, with all of the trump cabal’s innumerable Russian connections, it appears that the GOP is also the party of treachery.

Despite the fact that several U.S. Intelligence agencies have already been investigating key trump personnel, none of the pertinent House and Senate committees want to do a damn thing about it, with the minor exception of Kellyanne Conway’s “free commercial” for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. No, instead, GOP leaders are either silent on the subject, or say that we should just “move on” now that Flynn has resigned. Apparently they do NOT give a damn that trump knew all about Flynn’s conversations with Russian contacts, in particular the call that Flynn made, on the day that Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interfering with our elections, to let Russia know that president trump would lift those sanctions.

Would ANY Democrat, even one not running for the Presidency, get away with something like this? FFS, the GOP held, what, seven or eight hearings on Benghazi, and went fucking nuts over Hillary Clinton’s emails, none of which in any way, shape or form, endangered the security of the United States. Yet the fact that trump has surrounded himself with people who have, in many cases, had longtime relationships with Russian officials doesn’t seem to worry our ever-so-patriotic Republican majority “leaders.” “Move along, nothing to see here, looky-loos” and “but what about Hillary and her emails” are the typical responses from the GOP.

Well, FUCK YOU, GOP, fuck you hard with something sharp. You are all useless pieces of shit, and I hope that not only does trump go down in flames, I hope he drags you all to hell with him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, just for laughs, here’s an article from the Christian Post that I know you’ll find amusing. I mean, just the title alone is hysterical: “God Delivered US from ‘Spirit of Witchcraft Through Trump”. Here’s an excerpt:

Appearing on “The Jim Bakker Show” on Tuesday, Christian thought leader Lance Wallnau spoke about President Donald Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington that followed, saying God used Trump to deliver “the nation from the spirit of witchcraft in the Oval Office.”

“What I believe is happening is there was a deliverance of the nation from the spirit of witchcraft in the Oval Office,” said Wallnau, an evangelical business strategist and leader of the Lance Learning Group consulting firm in Dallas.

“The spirit of witchcraft was in the Oval Office, it was about to intensify to a higher level demon principality, and God came along with a wrecking ball, shocked everyone, the church cried out for mercy and bam—God knocked that spirit out, and what you’re looking at is the manifestation of an enraged demon through the populace,” he added.

“This is biblical,” Wallnau, author of God’s Chaos Candidate, added. “Many of the disruptions we are gonna see are going to be the evidence that we are seeing the awakening already began.”

Wallnau, who holds an M.A. from South Western Theological Seminary in Texas, predicted before the election that Trump was the “prophesied president.” He earlier explained that he came to this conclusion after attending a widely-publicized meeting between Donald Trump and evangelical leaders at the Trump Tower last year.

Giving an address at the 3rd Christian Inaugural Gala hosted by Women for a Great America at the Washington Hilton along with prominent Christian speakers and authors last month, Wallnau claimed that when he returned home to Dallas following the meeting with Trump, the Lord put the biblical passage of Isaiah 45 on his heart and told him that “the 45th president is Isaiah 45.”

[He actually had to use Google to confirm that trump would be the 45th president – and these evangelicals are demanding the right to preach politics from the pulpit?]

This is our Open Thread – have at it!

The Watering Hole; Th/Fr December 1 and 2, 2016; “Thou, Whoever Art Above . . .”

I’ll admit it. I’m DISGUSTED!

I know I’m not alone in this, but I can say with heavy duty authority that in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential (s)election, my disgust has peaked at levels I’ve never known before, levels that, until November 9, I would have never guessed attainable, much less even possible. But it happened. Somehow, the most narcissistic, egomaniacal, misogynistic, xenophobic, bigoted, racist, fascistic and ego-driven presidential candidate in American history has been (s)elected (at least via Electoral College terms), and will become POTUS on January 20, 2017.

My initial reaction was to rant (which I did), then attempt to listen to those voices of ‘moderation,’ those voices that try to convince us “radicals” that hey, this is America where the voice of “the people” — not of the tyrant — is heard, is determinative of the nation’s (and the world’s) future. Those voices of moderation are, of course, nonsensical in that they ignore the obvious consequences that invariably occur when the entire government of a nation is turned over to what is, effectively, a far right wing politic, a Fascist majority. And sadly, that is precisely what ‘we the people’ did on November 8, 2016; we “elected” a Fascist president, and left in place right wing majorities in both the Senate and the House along with a vacancy on the Supreme Court which will now be filled by an extreme right wing appointee, thus granting control  of the entire of our federal government to the American Fascist Movement.

That should be the point that causes any salient mind to rant and rave for hours on end about electoral national destruction, but then again, to the “salient” mind, what would be the point? As Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar noted, “The die is cast.” Besides, it does one no good at all to imagine being down in the pit, surrounded only by idiots, white supremacists, Republicans, Fascists  — assuming there’s a difference. There are, after all, other places — peaceful and quiet places, places brimming with ‘salient’ life forms — places that are far better, that inspire rather than denigrate one’s imagination.

Here’s an example: a six line poem by longtime colleague and friend T.R. Nissle, words which he penned some 40 years ago in response to a few photos I managed to ‘snap’ during my frequent and solitary sojourns “out there” on some then relatively undisturbed corners of the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona. Six lines with six photos (the top three ‘inspired’ the poem), together offer a refreshing look at the living world — though not expressly through human eyes.

THE PRAYER OF THE CACTUS

ca-1972-cave-creek-wasjh-praying-saguaro

▲Thou, whoever art above, hear me die –▲

ca-1973-white-tanks-old-sentry

▲Hear my silent, lonely prayer –▲

ca-1975-mcdowells-saguaro-backlit-350pxl

▲For tongueless creatures everywhere;▲

003s▲We neither savage, jest, nor boast of soul –▲

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA▲But flower unmaliciously –▲

2004-january-sunrise-ove-salt-river-valley-022f▲Disjoin us from Humanity.▲

Those six photos are of the Sonoran Desert’s most unique life form, the Giant Saguaro Cactus, in various stages of both life and death. Curiously enough, the Saguaro’s longtime scientific name Cereus giganteus (Britton & Rose) was, in recent years, changed to Carnegiea gigantea in honor of renowned wealthy industrialist-become-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who, in his last years prior to his death in 1919, donated (as 2015 share of GDP) some $78.6 Billion (approx. 90% of his accumulated wealth) to charities, foundations, and universities. I suppose it could simply be my naivete, but I seriously doubt that any of today’s billionaires will ever wind up with a signature cactus named after them. Trumpissonia gigantea? Probably not.

The bottom line remains: If humans would take a moment and agree to (1) abolish all war, (2) disallow greed,  hate, and irrational fear, (3) abandon their never-ending savage quest for power, and (4) agree to never again boast of soul — but flower unmaliciously, the world would fast become a livable place for all its creatures, big or small. Including even ourselves.

I remain filled with doubt, however; human history has yet to suggest that humans are uniformly capable of being earth-friendly in any context. More than two centuries ago, for example, William Wordsworth  noted that though . . .

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;–
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

To which I can only add, in MY voice to all of earth’s creatures everywhere:

Disjoin US from “Humanity.”

2005-mar-brittlebush-encelia-farinosa-022s-sharper

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Th/Fr Nov. 17/18 2016; ‘Oh Say — Can You See’?

“Now the face that I see in the mirror,
More and more is a stranger to me;
More and more I can see there’s a danger,
Of becoming what I never thought I’d be – “
(Lyric by John Denver)

******

▼Rising ‘Beaver’ Moon; Nov. 14 2016▼

2016-nov-14-rising-beaver-moon-2504cr

♬  Oh say, can you see, by the moon’s subtle light,

How PROFOUNDLY we’ve failed, since the twilight’s last gleaming . . . ♬

******

“If ever we put any other value above liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower (1960)

League Of The South Hails Trump, Wants ‘No Mercy’ Towards ‘Jews, Minorities And Anti-White Whites’: “You, by God’s grace, may have been given a short reprieve from this scenario. Redeem the time! As for me, I recommend that we get busy with Southern independence. We need our own country, and it must be run by us for our own interests. It must once again be White Man’s Land.”

In Donald Trump’s America, fear, violence and intimidation are taking over college campuses: Vandalism and slurs have surged on college campuses, from “Trump!” graffiti to pushing a Muslim student down a hill

Worst potential Trump pick of all? It might be anti-immigration guru Jeff Sessions as attorney general: The Alabama senator wants to shut down immigration and birthright citizenship — and tells “jokes” about the KKK

From 9/11 to 11/9: Is Donald Trump’s election collateral damage from the War on Terror?: How Trump exploited the War on Terror’s effects on our political culture, economy and national psyche

Why Recent Child Rape Case Against Trump Should Not Be Ignored: Victim Has A Witness (updated): Tiffany Doe herself says that she is in mortal fear of Mr. Trump to this day: “I am coming forward to swear to the truthfulness of the physical and sexual abuse that I personally witnessed of minor females at the hands of Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein . . . I swear to these facts under the penalty for perjury even though I fully understand that the life of myself and my family is now in grave danger”. (See also: www.huffingtonpost.com/…)

Trump adviser promises a return to `Drill, Baby, Drill’: An adviser to President-elect Donald Trump has now promised that the incoming administration will collect “hundreds of billions of dollars” in revenue by “opening up” federal lands and oceans to oil, gas, and coal development.

NASA: `Planetary warming does not care about the election’: A very warm October ensures 2016 will be the hottest year by far: The only way to stop this vicious cycle of ever-more dangerous threats is through a global effort to slash carbon pollution deeply and rapidly. Tragically, elections can and do affect whether major emitters like the United States will keep trying to solve the problem — or become a major reason we don’t.

“But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy
and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is
a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist
dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the
bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that
they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism
& exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”
~Hermann Goering (1893-1946)

Seattle Councilwoman Gets Threats After Call To Shut Down Trump’s Inauguration: ‘I will come and tattoo a swastika on your head and on that bitch’s head.’

Democratic Coalition Files FBI Election Complaint Against Stephen Bannon: Whoopsie! It looks like Brietbart head racist in charge and alt-Right champion may have skirted some pretty serious campaign finance laws while working to elect Cheeto Jesus Trump.

Steve Bannon To Help Trump Bring White Nationalism, Misogyny and Anti-Semitism To The White House

Donald Trump Taps Radical Conspiracy Theorist Frank Gaffney For Transition Team

Trump Reportedly Considering White House Post For Anti-Muslim Activist Who Called Joseph McCarthy ‘Spot On’: Trump is considering naming Center for Security Policy official Clare Lopez to a top national security post in his White House. . . . Responding to protests against Trump’s candidacy that turned violent this summer, Lopez linked the protests to a “witch’s brew” of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Black Lives Matter activists and a “conglomeration of anarchists, communists, socialists, progressivists, leftists of all sorts, Occupy, Bill Ayers types,” all seeking to bring down “the American political system.” She also warned of “a coordinated effort to involve Muslims into the electoral process,” an effort that she said was being “directed by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Jan Brewer: ‘Orchestrated’ Trump protesters are ‘just awful’ — and many owe allegiance to Mexico: “Obviously their allegiance isn’t to the United States, it was to Mexico,” she said, while also calling the protests “orchestrated” and “just awful.” “They’re not entitled to behave like that, I don’t believe. You know, people protest, it’s fine. A lot of them aren’t legal citizens and some of them are and they didn’t even vote and now they’re outraged. They could at least give him a chance.”

What luck for rulers, that men do not think.
~Adolph Hitler

Michele Bachmann: Trump’s Election Was ‘God Answering The Prayers Of His People’: “We saw the Lord answer so specifically that only the hand of God could do that,” she said. “Let’s pray and join and ask the Lord that godly believers would be put in these key sensitive positions. People that the Lord will use for blessing for the United States and for the world. This was the number one story of 2016: God answering the prayers of his people.”

Jim Bakker: Trump’s Election Is ‘The Greatest Miracle I Have Ever Seen’

Kenneth Copeland Now Has A Direct Line To Deliver Messages From God To President Trump: “I am totally convinced that if the Lord were to say something to me … that the president needs to hear,” he said, “I have no doubt that we could do it and do it quickly and have audience to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord’ and he wouldn’t just turn it over to an aide or something and just write it off. He would listen and it would mean something to him.”

Mike Huckabee Tells Far-Right Gathering That Trump Could Be One Of The Greatest Presidents Ever: He said that he trusted Trump to “put good people in the Supreme Court” and “put people in the State Department that might rid Foggy Bottom of the horrible pro-terrorist nonsense that has infiltrated that hideous agency.”

“The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense
founded on the Christian religion.”
~Treaty of Tripoli, signed on June 10, 1797,
by President John Adams.

2016-nov-15-setting-beaver-moon-2506

▲Setting ‘Beaver’ Moon; Nov. 15 2016▲

******

Who are we, really? Do we know?

“Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground
[than the foundation of the Ten Commandments]. It presented
us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased.
We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up
royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of
a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature,
and found them engraved on our hearts.”
~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Major John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

******

“The office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not
in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
~Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist #68

******

“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost
duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It
will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation
has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our
national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”
~Adolph Hitler; My New World Order, Proclamation to the
German Nation at Berlin, 1 February 1933

******

My response to the election
of Donald J. Trump
and
to the dishonor of ALL who
are responsible for his electoral “victory.”

NONE

None there are so blind as those
Who neither care nor dare to see;
And None there are so dunce as those
Who neither dare nor care to think –

But worse than those who dare not dare
To think, perchance to see,
Are those who never care to care,
But think each lie their leader speaks –

Bespeaks reality.

******

Finally, my interpretation of the rise of the (emerging) Trump Reich:
(to the tune of the Colonel Bogey March)

♬  Donald, has only got one ball
Putin, has two but they are small
Priebus has two, but Jeebus —
Herr Stephen Bannon has no balls at all!  ♬

bannon

******

‘We’ll have to leave it there.’

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 7th, 2016: “Trouble sleeping?”

With the most consequential election of my lifetime now just one day away, a scene from Star Trek: Next Generation’s “Best of Both Worlds” Part 1″ keeps returning to my mind. It takes place before the battle with the Borg, as Captain Picard paces through the Enterprise, and finds Guinan alone in Ten-Forward:

Guinan: “Trouble sleeping?”

Capt. Picard: “It’s something of a tradition, Guinan – Captain touring the ship before a battle.”

Guinan: “Hmm. Before a *hopeless* battle, if I remember the tradition correctly.”

Capt. Picard: “Not necessarily. Nelson toured the HMS Victory before Trafalgar.”

Guinan: “Yes, but Nelson never returned from Trafalgar, did he?”

Capt. Picard: “No, but the battle was won.”

Guinan: “Do you expect this battle to be won?”

Capt. Picard: “We may yet prevail. That’s a… a conceit. But… it’s a healthy one. I wonder if the Emperor Honorius watching the Visigoths coming over the seventh hill truly realized that the Roman Empire was about to fall. This is just another page in history, isn’t it? Will this be the end of *our* civilization? Turn the page.”

I wish that I had the calmness, almost equanimity, with which Captain Picard views the possibility of approaching doom and the likely takeover of the United Federation of Planets by a heartless, merciless “race.” I cannot view a similar fate for our country without a feeling of utter dread.

“We may yet prevail” as Picard says, if by “prevail” one means that Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the Presidency. If that happens, in my humble opinion, we the sane will have only one night, possibly, to feel the relief of dodging a bullet. As long-time students of politics and human nature, particularly ‘American’ human nature, we Critters and Zoosters and other reality-based folks are all too well aware that a final election result which denies Donald Trump the Presidency is just the beginning. There inevitably will be a barrage of ‘bullets’, figuratively at best, to continue to dodge. And it may well “be the end of *our* ‘civilization’.”

Guinan offers hope of a sort:

Guinan: “This isn’t the end.”

Capt. Picard: You say that with remarkable assuredness.”

Guinan: “With experience. When the Borg destroyed my world, my people were scattered throughout the universe. We survived – as will humanity survive. As long as there’s a handful of you to keep the spirit alive, you will prevail – even if it takes a millennium.”

And while Guinan could be right, that “[t]his isn’t the end”, I wish that *our* people were able to scatter throughout the universe. “Humanity” may survive, but will it still be recognizable as “human”?

This is our daily Open Thread–talk me down?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 29th, 2016: Lighten Up!

Let’s start the weekend with a few lighter political stories that shouldn’t raise anyone’s blood pressure.

President Obama is enjoying himself at the expense of several Republicans in “Barack Obama’s Sweet Revenge Tour” by Tim Murphy of Mother Jones. Here’s an example, regarding the Darrell Issa campaign mailer shown below:

issa_obama-mailerAccording to the Mother Jones article:

“At a fundraiser in La Jolla on Sunday, Obama trashed the California Republican for his mailer. “Issa’s primary contribution to the United States Congress has been to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollars on trumped-up investigations that have led nowhere,” he said. “This is now a guy who, because poll numbers are bad, has sent out brochures with my picture on them touting his cooperation on issues with me. Now that is the definition of chutzpah.”

Next, The Yale Record has the best non-endorsement-endorsement ever. An excerpt:

“…Because of unambiguous tax law, we do not encourage you to support the most qualified presidential candidate in modern American history…”

The brief piece ends with:

The Yale Record has no opinion whatsoever on Dr. Jill Stein.
—The Editorial Board of The Yale Record

Last, today’s Washington Post has some encouraging news about Trump’s chances in Pennsylvania. Even better, though, the article is accompanied by a photo of Trump talking with Rudy “n.v.9/11” Ghouliani Guiliani – I know, you’re thinking, “why is a photo of two of the most despicable men that NYC ever spawned BETTER than Trump slipping in PA?” – well, you’ll have to see it (it could be worse, at least Rudy’s facing away from the camera, more-or-less.) I commented to Wayne that, knowing Trump, he’d probably try to sue the photographer for taking an unflattering picture when Trump’s combover wasn’t ready for its close-up. Then, of course, Trump would likely accuse Secretary Clinton of hiring the photographer as part of a worldwide conspiracy to expose what lies underneath Trump’s “hair” – and what lies beneath is a large expanse of bare-naked Trump-scalp. “Sad.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is our daily Open Thread – relax, enjoy the weekend!

The Watering Hole; Friday October 21 2016; “It is not now as it hath been of yore”

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

Those are the opening five lines of the first stanza of William Wordsworth’s classic work of poetic art entitled “ODE ON INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY From Recollections of Early Childhood”  (comp. 1802-1804). What’s long fascinated me is the fact that even though ‘Intimations’ was written more than 200 years ago, its words still describe — with amazing precision — moments of emotional recognition that most any cognitive mind can find itself pondering even today.

In the summer of 2007, for example, we spent pretty much the entire month of July camped in Arizona’s Apache National Forest, on the edge of a forest meadow (Cienega) which was located some 30 miles from the nearest town, some 5-6 miles north of the edge of Arizona’s grand escarpment, the Mogollon Rim (elevation approx. 9000 ft.) and roughly 10-15 miles west of the New Mexico state line. The forest meadow was named Butterfly Cienega, and it lay in a lush and peaceful corner of a forest teaming with life.

The following series of photographs effectively portrays a tiny portion of the experience, and essentially acts as a bridge to another event that was to occur some four years down the road — May, June and July, 2011. The photos are presented in no particular order, but are interspersed with three additional excerpts from Wordsworth’s ‘Intimations’ Ode which together re-tell the story implied in the Ode’s nine-line first stanza, as quoted up top and in the four lines immediately below.  Continue reading

The Watering Hole: Saturday, October 15th, 2016: KITTENS!

I was going to title this “ALL-PUSSY EDITION”, but it might have attracted the wrong crowd. Heh.

Wayne and I have just added two kittens, sisters, to our family. No names yet, but it’s only been about ten days since we got them, and I’m observing their behavior/personality traits for clues as they settle in. They made themselves at home within the first day or two, and while Wayne and I find them highly entertaining and completely adorable, the rest of our kids are not so amused. The older four, Missy, Buster, Fitzgerald and Cecilia, are happy to have the bonus of Kitten Chow (and even though I started out feeding the little ones separately, in the other side of the house, the others quickly sniffed it out anyway), but otherwise avoid them at all costs. Squiggy, on the other hand…

Squiggy's a big (and heavy!) boy now.

Squiggy’s a big (and heavy!) boy now.

Squiggy, about two years old now, is a big boy and loves to play, especially “fetch”. We’ve always had lots of toys around for him, often stockpiled for when he goes after a thrown toy but comes back empty-mouthed, yet still asking for another throw. With the exception of the occasional spontaneous outburst of play on the part of our older ‘girls’, Squiggy has had most of the toys pretty much to himself. He has his “favorite” toys, his “okay-I’ll-play-with this-one-until-you-find-me-one-of-my-favorites” toys, and the “I’m-just-gonna-let-that-one-go-by-while-looking-bored” toys. Whatever he thought of them before, the two invaders now consider all of the toys to be theirs. Not even Squiggy’s favorites have been spared, and, although he seems simply fascinated by their antics at times, and sometimes joins in when the two girls are running full-tilt through the house, he is all-too-often bemused, bothered, befuddled and bewildered. We’re trying to make sure that he and the others get their previously-normal share of attention and loving, but, as I said, the older ones currently prefer to steer clear. We’ll all adjust eventually, they just don’t know that yet.

No more prologue is necessary, so here they are:

It's tempting to name her

It’s tempting to name her “Blaze”.

Her blaze has stripes.

Her blaze has stripes.

I only got one picture of this little girl's face, unfortunately. And obviously, I had to clean up the background to make it presentable in public.

I only got one picture of this little girl’s face, unfortunately. And obviously, I had to clean up the background to make it presentable in public.

Here's a nice back view of the lighter one's markings.

Here’s a nice back view of the lighter one’s markings.

“She likes to wash.”
That’s Wayne’s hand, for the record.

And one last one – Sorry, but I couldn’t help making this shot into a political meme:nastyorangemanwearingroadkillgrabswha3

This is our daily Open Thread – don’t forget to sprinkle some compliments in amongst your comments!

Also, too, any and all suggestions for names will be welcome.

The Watering Hole; Thursday October 13 2016; Politics? No Mas!

 

Politics. Enough is Enough! as someone once said. I can buy that. Boy, can I buy that.

I confess. I’m sick to death of politics. I wait with baited breath for this election season TO END! and for Donald Trump and all like him to wind up as floaters in the political sewage lagoon where they belong. Manifest Destiny, in a word (well, two words, actually, but what the hay).

So to hell with politics. To hell with Trump and all he “stands” for (i.e. himself, nothing else; it’s so simple, really). Why not a look around at something else, at things and scenes that are well worth a view, a view that has absolutely ZERO to do with today’s political mess that’s come to define this nation’s existence at this unfortunate point in time?

Great idea, seems to me, so following are some ‘snapshots’ of highlights gathered from days past (within the last forty years, give-or-take). Each and all still stand tall as depictions of what once was – ‘Out There’ – in a world devoid of politics and filled instead with LIFE — as each and every moment can easily become.

So relax, lay back, prepare for a non-political — relaxing (and peaceful, mostly) — soliloquy. Enjoy!

flower-004

▲Bird of Paradise; Kauai, 1978▲

▲Bald Eagle; Lake Beckwith, Colorado; 2009▲

ca-1975-mcdowells-saguaro-backlit-350pxl

▲Backlit Sonoran Desert Giant Saguaro; ca 1975▲

corals-anse-chastanet-st-lucia-sept-1983

▲Coral Reef; St. Lucia, Caribbean; 1983▲

ca-1980-cabo-san-lucas-seal

▲Seal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; ca 1980▲

▲Chipmunk, San Isabel N.F., Colorado; 2009▲

2014-june-29-bullsnake-116

▲EEK! Gopher Snake, Colorado; 2014▲

0716-indian-paintbrush-detail

▲Indian Paintbrush Wildflower, Arizona, ca 2002▲

cocoa-palms-lagoon-water-lillies

▲Water Lillies, Kauai; 1978▲

A world without politics; a world without Trump! Imagine it! The Peace! The Beauty!

▼EEEK!! TRUMP??▼

▲Pu’uhonua, Hawaii; 1978▲

Seriously, did King Kamehaha have to deal with his own version of Trump? Really? I see the dude does have small hands; and what about the face? The hair? They had to deal with the sum of all of THAT too? In ancient Polynesia? Way back then? I mean, really, that’s just plain bizarre!

*sigh*

Brings to mind this one. It’s not one of mine, but whomever it was that tripped the shutter captured the best summation of the entire of the Trump “movement” I’ve ever seen!

gop-training-film

▲Dump Trump!▲

Eww. Guess we’d better leave it there.

******

OPEN THREAD


 

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 10th, 2016: Still Carrying Holy Water

In case I haven’t written enough about Evangelical “Christian” website, The Christian Post, here’s another one.

I wanted to see what their reaction was to the Trump “pussy” scandal. Would this be the final straw? Of course not.

Trump 2005 Sex Talk Video Scandal: Evangelical, Republican Leaders Divided on Supporting GOP Presidential Nominee

By Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post Contributor
October 9, 2016|9:39 am
Varied responses from evangelical and Republican leaders are pouring in after a 2005 video surfaced showing Donald Trump bragging about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women. Some have withdrawn their support, others continue to back the GOP presidential nominee to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

“As a husband and father of three daughters, I find this behavior deeply offensive and degrading,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council Action, referring to the leaked video carrying Trump’s 2005 remarks while talking with Billy Bush, then host of “Access Hollywood.”

In the conversation with Bush, the real estate magnate discusses a failed attempt to seduce a woman. “I did try and [expletive] her. She was married,” Trump says. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” he adds. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” The video was published by The Washington Post on Friday.

Trump, who will participate in the second presidential debate with his Democratic rival Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis on Sunday, has said, “I was wrong, and I apologize.”

Perkins went on to say his support for Trump “was never based upon shared values rather it was built upon shared concerns,” including the Supreme Court, America’s security, and religious freedom. He said, “… We are left with a choice of voting for the one who will do the least damage to our freedoms.”

It’s not an ideal situation, Perkins added, but “I refuse to find sanctuary on the sidelines and allow the country and culture to deteriorate even further by continuing the policies of the last eight years.”

Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a member of Trump’s religious advisory board, also said he’s still with the Republican nominee.

“As a Christian, I believe that the Bible teaches, to quote a verse from the New Testament, that we’re to treat older women as our mothers and younger women as sisters in all purity,” Reed told NPR in an interview on Saturday, adding that Trump has apologized. “I think given the stakes in this election and those and other critical issues, I just don’t think an audiotape of an 11-year-old private conversation with an entertainment talk show host on a tour bus, for which the candidate has apologized profusely, is likely to rank high on the hierarchy of concerns of those faith-based voters.”

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer also said he continues to support the Trump-Pence ticket.

“The 10-year old tape of a private conversation in which Donald Trump uses grossly inappropriate language does not change the reality of the choice facing this country,” the chairman of the Campaign for Working Families said in a statement. “Hillary Clinton is committed to enacting policies that will erode religious liberty, promote abortion, make our country less safe, and leave our borders unprotected. She wants higher taxes and bigger government. She will continue the disastrous economic policies that are destroying America’s working class and middle class families. She is mired in corruption and has put U.S. secrets at risk.”

Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, responded to the video, saying, “As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump. … I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people.”

Pence abstained from a campaign event scheduled for Saturday in Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Politico reported.

The Washington Post’s National Political Reporter, Philip Rucker, said Gov. Pence is “inconsolable” since the leaked video surfaced. “A source close to Trump camp told me Pence and his team are ‘absolutely apoplectic,’ ‘melting down’ and ‘inconsolable,'” Rucker tweeted.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus condemned Trump’s remarks. “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” he said in a statement.

Former Republican Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina called for Trump to drop out of the presidential race.

“We must have a conservative in the White House to restore accountability, opportunity and security. For the sake of our Constitution and the rule of law, we must defeat Hillary Clinton,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Today I ask Donald Trump to step aside and for the RNC to replace him with Gov. Mike Pence.”

Trump has categorically said he won’t quit.

Arizona Republican John McCain said he can no longer back Trump. “I thought it important I respect the fact that Donald Trump won a majority of the delegates by the rules our party set. I thought I owed his supporters that deference,” McCain told Politico. “But Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.”

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz also announced withdrawal of his endorsement of Trump. “I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine,” he told Fox 13 News.

Former GOP candidate for president Jeb Bush said no apology will do. “As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women,” he wrote on Twitter. Similarly, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a former Republican presidential candidate, tweeted, “Make no mistake the comments were wrong and offensive. They are indefensible.”

However, while apologizing, Trump said, “This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today. … I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between words and actions. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”

Trump’s wife, Melania, pleaded with voters in a gracious response to her husband’s 2005 remarks, which she acknowledged were “unacceptable and offensive to me.”

“This does not represent the man that I know. He has the heart and mind of a leader,” she said in a statement. “I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world.”

The following piece of crap is the Trump “apology” which apparently cleans and disinfects Trump in those rabidly delusional minds:

“Here is my statement.
I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am.

I said it, it was wrong, and I apologize.

I’ve travelled the country talking about change for America. But my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country, and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down.
Let’s be honest. We’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we are facing today. We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were 8 years ago and Washington is broken.
Hillary Clinton, and her kind, have run our country into the ground.

I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between words and actions. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.

See you at the debate on Sunday.”

Okay, this might possibly have squeaked by as a technical “apology” had Trumped ended with “I said it, it was wrong, and I apologize.” Instead, he launched into a string of lies, i.e., “I’ve been humbled…” is a flat-out impossibility; followed by throwing his own feces at the Clintons in a kneejerk projection reaction.

Regardless…these Evangelical “Christians”, some are still fine and dandy with Donald Trump because he would appoint a new Supreme Court Justice who will abolish abortion entirely and make “Christianity” the law of the land. Well, more or less, but definitely the abortion part, because that’s the one and only thing that these ‘men of the cloth’ really, really hate. They’ll tolerate Trump’s lies, Trump’s now-proven lack of charity, Trump’s lack of love for his neighbor – well, not HIS neighbor, but other people’s neighbors – um, where was I? These religious zealots are blind to Trump’s ignorance of his own or any other ‘faith’, Trump’s cheating his employees, Trump’s violent rhetoric, Trump’s failure to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”, Trump’s attitude towards all women, Trump’s adultery, Trump’s coveting his neighbor’s wife, and Trump’s putting the false god of greed before the Evangelical Whatever-they-are’s “god”? Trump’s own recorded words admit to sexual abuse, along with what some bibles say is one of the big sins, ‘coveting his neighbor’s wife’; but still, these assholier-than-thou [thank you, Z] turn a blind eye to the utter depravity that is Donald Trump. All, ALL, just to stop abortion.

Anyone who calls him- or herself a “Christian”, yet supports Donald Trump, is morally bankrupt, has no soul, and has no claim on “family values” or “freedom” or “patriotism.” From this agnostic, you can all go fuck yourselves.

This is our daily Open Thread. Enjoy yourlves.

Sunday Roast: Trump Trouble & Debate Live-Blogging

The truly funny part about this video is that it was posted in July.  Randy Rainbow just had a feeling, I guess…but I don’t need to know the details.

Soooo, in a continuation of the Great Emasculation, Hillary Clinton and Donald “Tic Tac” Trump will appear at a town hall style forum in St Louis, MO (6 pm, PT), wherein inexplicably undecided voters will ask questions of the candidates.

Hillary will attempt to behave in a statesman-like manner, while barely containing her giggles and snorts in regard to the state of her opponent’s campaign; and Donald will flop and flail around like a potty-mouthed steelhead landed next to the fish ladder — you almost made it, little guy! — and will probably say something that will cause me to choke on my popcorn within the first 15 minutes.

Join us, whether you’re just hanging out in the comments section, or doing hard-hitting live commentary on the 2016 presidential race (somebody should, I guess), or just pointing and laughing your ass off like the rest of us.

EDIT:  Here’s one of the places you can watch the aforementioned clusterfuck:

This is our daily open thread — Drinking game = Death

The Watering Hole; Friday September 30 2016; Uncategorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense, and The Remedy

A darting fear — a pomp — a tear —
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
(Emily Dickinson)

******

I. UNCATEGORIZABLE WINGNUTTISTANIAN NONSENSE

This Just In:

David Barton Claims The Founding Fathers Used ‘The Exact Language Of The Bible’ To Write The Constitution

Barton . . . once again insisted that the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution by using the “exact language” of the Bible.

Barton was making the case that the Bible tells voters all they need to know about how to choose their elected leaders, repeating his falseclaim that 34 percent of the political documents from the founding era cited the Bible, which he claimed is why the Constitution is filled with direct quotations from the Bible.

“I can show you clause after clause in the Constitution where they used the exact language of the Bible in the Constitution,” he said. “It’s just that we’re so biblicaly illiterate today that we don’t recognize that in the Constitution.”

I’m no biblical expert, but Barton’s claim sounded interesting so I decided to take a quick look. First, the Preamble:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

No luck there, so I made up a list of words that I figured were genuinely biblical and then word-searched each one in my docx version of the Constitution, as amended. Here are the words I chose:

In the beginning
Genesis
God
Jesus
Virgin
Mary
Revelation
Solomon
David
Exodus
Job
Psalm
Thou shalt not kill

Got a hit on only two of them. David Brearley from New Jersey was one of many who signed the original 1787 document. Also, I got a whole pile of hits on the word Virgin, not in biblical style, but since the word “Virginia” appears regularly . . . well, you know [reminded me of that old college joke that went something like, “I dated a girl named Virginia. I called her Virgin for short, but not for long.” (sorry about that)]. None of the other words or phrases showed up anywhere in the Constitution, so I’m guessing maybe it’s fair to doubt either Barton’s premise or my own ability to pluck worthy stuff from the Bible. Time will tell, I guess.

Then there was this one:

Rick Joyner: Climate Change Is A Communist Plot

Joyner said that climate change goes all the way back to a purported 1930s-era Communist Party “plan for subduing America” through “reeducation” and subversion.

Part of the plan, he said, was to “co-opt” young people knowing that “the youth will always respond to environmental issues and we have to keep inventing crises so that we can be the ones who save the world or are the answer to saving the world over and over.”

I dunno, I’m clearly in a tee-tiny minority, but I still think climate change has something to do with CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption, but who am I to compete with a brainiac like Rick Joyner.

Then last but by no means least, this gem popped up:

Ken Ham: Christians Who Believe In Evolution Follow A ‘Pagan Religion’ & Invite God’s Judgment

Ken Ham, the head of the Creationist group Answers In Genesis and founder of the Creation Museum, joined conservative radio host Janet Mefferd last week to discuss a new book about evangelicals who have embraced the theory of evolution. These Christians, Ham said, are following a “pagan religion” and are therefore inviting the judgment of God. . . .

“I’m going to say it out very bluntly,” he said. “Look, millions of years in evolution is the pagan religion of this age to explain, to attempt to explain life without God. And when you compromise God’s word with millions of years and evolutionary ideas, you’re no different to the Israelites, who took the pagan religion of the age—or the Canaanites, or whatever—incorporated into their thinking. And look what happened. It destroyed them, and God judged them before it. We are no different, there’s nothing new under the sun.”

I think it was Solomon who said, “there’s nothing new under the sun,” but I looked, and that phrase isn’t in the Constitution either.

Solomon was wrong on that one, though, because each and every day and on every corner of the earth there’s ALWAYS something NEW under the sun! Life’s like that, you know. Unlike preachers, politicians, and radio talk-jocks. Nothing new there, same old same old.

II. THE REMEDY

If I had my choice between hanging around with Ken Ham, or Rick Joyner, or David Barton, or a desert sunrise, guess what my choice would be! Time to give equal space to all that “emptiness” 🙂 one sees under the rising sun and then decide if it’s possibly more interesting than the three dudes cited above. So here goes, as they say, “nothing.” Dude/Desert comparisons welcome; y’all be the judge!

▼1. September 2003 dawn, seen from the center of metro-Phoenix in the Phoenix Mtn. Preserve.▼

2003-sep-four-pks-sunrise-phxmp-008f

▼2. January 2004, view from White Tank Mountains regional park overlooking the entire of metro-Phoenix (downtown visible in center on the horizon)▼

2004-january-sunrise-ove-salt-river-valley-022f

▼3. March 2007 cloudy dawn from White Tanks Regional Park; first mountain is Camelback in the center of Phoenix, Superstition Mountains in the background.▼

2007-mar-dawn-over-camelback-superstitions-015f

So the landscapes in those split second views are apparently somewhere in the vicinity of fifty million years old, give or take ten or twenty million years. There are no signs anywhere of the passage of Noah’s Ark all those 5000 years ago (no sign of a flood either, at least not that I ever noticed). But it remains a virtual certainty that during all those millions of geologic years there’s been plenty of NEW stuff under that old sun! Regularly, too!

There. That feels a LOT better!

******

OPEN THREAD

 

 

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday September 29 2016; “Why Within so Thick a Wall . . .”

“Lord, to account who dares thee call,
Or e’er dispute thy pleasure?
Else why, within so thick a wall,
Enclose so poor a treasure?”
Robert Burns (1793)

I confess. I watched, against my better judgment, the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last Monday evening. Not sure why I did  that, but I did, and I’ve been suffering ever since. Because: Donald J. Trump. What a total disaster he is. What a phony. Loser. Disgusting slob. Narcissist. Megalomaniac. Xenophobe. Misogynist. Plus, he has really bad hair. And small hands. What has happened to the Republican Party? Why Trump? HOW Trump?

Made me reflect back on those better days of yore. Back when the GOP was led by strong-minded and really decent folks. People whose sole interest was the betterment of the entire world; whose efforts were invariably designed solely to elevate people no matter who or where they were, to elevate them to the level of even the ‘average’ American, to that level of educated intellect which we believe should define us all, including even our President!

And therein lies the current rub: Trump clearly does NOT have the decency, the kindness, the understanding, the tolerance, the INTELLECT! to which we as a people aspire and which we hope will —  someday soon — define us ALL!

So I decided to take a look back to a calmer time, to a more intellectual time, a time when the last truly “intellectual” Republican (“President”) was in charge and speaking in favor of an elevated nation, an elevated world. Way back in those glory days I personally collected a large pile of our then-President’s quotes, and I saved them in the hope that one day in the future, I might have the opportunity to use them to make a valid point.

And finally that day has arrived! Now is clearly the time to demonstrate to all functioning minds both at home and around the world that America need NOT sink into the realm of challenged intellect [currently defined by Republican candidate for POTUS, Donald J. Trump], and that it’s never too late to both look back at — AND — to look ahead toward better (post-Trump, obviously) ‘Republican’days! So here they are, a pile of Republican POTUS quotes from back in the days when the GOP was driven by intellect(?) and humanity (? ? really?) rather than by stupidity and greed. The quotes are in no particular order — some are dated, some not — but they do, at least and nevertheless, point to the drastic and dramatic differences twixt then and now.

Enjoy!! Continue reading

The Watering Hole; Friday September 23 2016; The Last “Bugs” of Summer

Fall has arrived, finally! There are flowering plants in full bloom, along with various little Arthropods on the wing, anxious to take full advantage of slowly waning sunlight and warmth — much to their collective delight, and to the everlasting benefit of the flowers. Life goes on, and if nature has her way, it will flourish.

Below, a small handful of photos from just the last few days of all that life-enhanncing activity.

2016-sep-bee-max-2442b

▲Not sure if this was Bee-1, Bee-17, Bee-29, or Bee-52, but here it comes! ▲

2016-sep-18-bee-in-max-2472

▲Bee refueling at “Hanger,” sotospeak▲

2016-sep-21-bug-max-sunflower-2482

▲Not sure the ID of this guy, only know he was close to a quarter-inch long▲

It’s also fall in the human world, of course, and in a leap year as well, which means there’s a national election coming up in somewhere around fifty days, an election which will choose our next President. Unfortunately, however, a high percentage of Americans no longer have the intelligence-driven capabilities of flowers and insects and have become known, instead, as Conservative Republicans. The problems of diminished intelligence are obvious everywhere, but can be, today, quite ably summarized by just a small handful of headlined links to more detailed analyses. For example, from the last few days of summer, 2016, these:

WorldNetDaily Explains Why It’s ‘Not Natural’ For A Woman To Run For President

Frank Amedia: God Has Called Trump To Tear Down Walls

Jim Bakker: Supporters Of The Constitution Are Mysteriously Dying

Tom DeLay: Obama Will ‘Go Down As The Worst President That Has Ever Served This Nation’

Rand Paul: Obama Should Have Moved Us ‘Beyond Race’ But Race Relations Have ‘Gotten Worse’

Louie Gohmert: US Killed Al-Awlaki To Cover Up ‘All The Different People He Worked With In The Administration’

Gary Bauer: Donald Trump Might Be The Last Chance Conservative Christians Have To Save America

There’s another human problem, one that’s exacerbated by diminished intelligence; it’s the fact that human activities, unlike those of flowers and insects, are changing the planet’s climate — not for the better, but for the worse — to the point where unless corrections are made quickly, the entire biosphere of the earth will change to the point where it will have a severe impact on virtually every life form including flowers, insects, coral reefs, even the life form that will be the last to notice, i.e. Conservative Republicans.

Dangerous Denial of Global Warming

An open letter just issued by 375 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and its foreign affiliates, including 30 Nobel laureates, warns that “rapid warming of the planet increases the risk of crossing climatic points of no return, possibly setting in motion large-scale ocean circulation changes, the loss of major ice sheets, and species extinctions. The climatic consequences of exceeding such thresholds are not confined to the next one or two electoral cycles. They have lifetimes of many thousands of years.”

They also took a direct swipe at Trump, saying “it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord. . . . Such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The consequences of opting out of the global community would be severe and long-lasting – for our planet’s climate and for the international credibility of the United States.”

Surveys show that Republican are twice as likely as last year to express doubts about the existence of global warming, According to University of Michigan researchers, one factor may be their presidential candidate’s oft-repeated insistence that global warming is “a total, and very expensive, hoax!”

Here is a closer look at the climate policies of the major Conservative Republican candidate for President:

Donald Trump isn’t backing down from his terrifying climate policy

“We need an America-First energy plan,” Trump said. “This means opening federal lands for oil and gas production; opening offshore areas; and revoking policies that are imposing unnecessary restrictions on innovative new exploration technologies.”

If elected president, Trump has pledged to revoke both the Clean Power Plan and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the cornerstones of Obama’s domestic climate agenda, and important signals to the international community of the United States’ commitment to climate action.

Trump has also promised to roll back the Waters of the United States Rule, which would extend drinking water protections for millions of Americans. Instead, he said that he would redirect the EPA to “refocus…on its core mission of ensuring clean air, and clean, safe drinking water for all Americans.”

IF human-caused climate change should become the engine fueling the earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction, the odds are very strong that most of what we know of flowers, of insects, of sea life, animal life, and plant life will disappear forever, and evolution will once again be challenged to bring life-on-earth back up to snuff by some point in the distant future. And with most life forms extincted because of Conservative Republicans, evolution will once again have to find a place from which to start its process. In the past, for example, one of the re-start life forms has apparently been the common cockroach from whose DNA has emerged the bulk of what some might call “higher life forms.” The problem is that there’s no guarantee that bugs, flowers, and other forms of intelligent life will re-emerge in that situation. It is fairly likely, however, that if life begins anew based on roach DNA, what we’ll end up with is a creature that more resembles today’s common roach than, say, either a bee or a flower. Something more like this would be a safer bet:

trumpthumb

▲The “First” Roach of Summer? Fall? Winter? Spring?▲

If that should happen again, well, I don’t wanna be here to see it, would prefer to remain extinct. Yuk. Life forms derived from roaches can be so deplorable.

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OPEN THREAD

Sunday Roast: 9/11, Fifteen Years On

wtc-wreckage-exterior_shell_of_south_tower

It’s been fifteen years since that terrible day, September 11, 2001.  Almost 3000 people died, over 6000 people were injured, and untold trauma to millions of people worldwide, who were glued to their televisions, radios, computers — trying to comprehend what it was we were seeing and hearing.  Anyone over 20 years of age probably holds vivid memories of the heinous events of the day, what they were doing, and the feelings of shock, horror, grief, fear, anger…I know I do.

A chance for unity in this country — and possibly worldwide — was squandered by a President with an agenda of his own, resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands of service members and innocent civilians in the countries he attacked in our name, and under false pretenses.  Lives that are being lost and ruined even today.

Could we ever have imagined on that horrendous day, fifteen years ago, that today, September 11, 2016, we would be enduring a hotly contested presidential election wherein the GOP nominee is a narcissistic, race baiting, hypocritical, misogynist, fear-mongering, Islam-hating, bigoted liar, with delusions of grandeur?  Who talks non-stop while saying precisely nothing, absolutely does not care about the damage he’s causing?  Personally, I am gobsmacked at the very thought.

If such a thing is possible, Osama bin Laden is smiling from his watery grave.

I’m sorry.

This is our daily open thread.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday, August 30th, 2016: “Invest in Beauty”

I was going to tell a dreary tale – about a disturbing conversation I had with a customer who, somewhere in the discussion of her foot problems, managed to bring up Trump and her buzzword-laden approval of him – for today’s post. Instead, thanks to two Zoosters’ comments from yesterday’s thread, here’s some cat stuff.

In yesterday’s comments, pete contributed the following:

“I have often thought that the world would be a better place if evolution had just stopped after cats; large and small. Sure. They are vicious predators with a complete absence of mercy but they are also graceful, intelligent, and have a fantastic sense of humor.”

Not much later, fatherbob posted a link to an article about a lost cat being found next to its “missing cat” poster. The same site had another article about professional photographer Robert Sijka’s photos of “Bearded Cats”, aka Maine Coons; the article includes a brief gallery of glorious creatures, and a link to more. You HAVE to check them out.  As the author of the article says:

“Maine Coons are the largest domesticated felines in the world, able to grow up to four feet in length. The breed is characterised by their gentle nature and their fabulous fur, which can easily be mistaken for a scruffy beard.
Basically, they’re kinda like a lynx, except that they won’t try to kill you.”

Of course, Maine Coons start out all tiny and innocent-looking, like these:
MaineCoonsPictures-1024-768-Origami-MCO-f2203-photos-Ni794815Maine_Coon_cat_licking_its_paw_044972_But they eventually turn into the fiercely beautiful, majestic, dignified, imperial creatures that all cats innately are, regardless of size or fur length.
MaineCoonSilverTabbyMaine-Coon-Cat-6-1024x680There, that’s better than some scary Trump supporter, right?

Last week I ran across a quote on a greeting card that I’m compelled to share:

“If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”

~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

This is our daily Open Thread. You know what to do.

The Watering Hole; Thursday August 11 2016; 2016 Election, Primaries thru Conventions; Images Worth Recalling

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.”
(William Blake, in ‘Auguries of Innocence’)

It’s been a long year already. In January there was the run-up to both the Democratic and Republican Presidential Primaries. The Dems featured a reasonable contest between Sanders and Clinton; the Republicans brought a clown car to the fest, filled with seventeen ___________ (use your word of choice). But in both cases — finally — the chatter was pretty much over and the real contest, complete with voters, was about to begin. The primaries (and caucuses) themselves began in early February and splashed down regularly until they finally were over in early June.

During those months, I’ll admit that I did indeed pay a certain amount of attention to the whole political melange that has come to define the bulk of this country’s electoral system. And every time I watched an episode or two or three on the telly, I typically became totally disgusted and wondered why the hell would anyone with a functioning mind waste their time doing that? Is it because such nonsense is the only thing remaining in this world that’s worth pursuing, worth pondering or thinking about?

Answer: Hell no! There’s another world out there, a world that’s NOT inhabited and driven by idiots! And it’s not far away — it’s ‘right over there’!

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Jan 23 2016 geese 2165

▲January: a pair of obviously bored Canadian Geese▲

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▲February: a Bald Eagle, clearly waiting for word from Iowa and New Hampshire▲

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Mar 19 2016 North peak-St Charles low snowfall 2206

▲March: Weird upside-down snowfall pulls attention away from primaries▲

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Spring 2016 setting full moon 2216

▲Late March: Setting full moon. No politics can compete. Thank all gods!▲

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2016 May 2 North Peak and St. Charles 2223

▲Late April: Rightside-up snowfall. What are primaries, again?▲

May 12 2016 Gosling 2279

▲May: Gosling; next generation’s arrived and doing well!▲

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May 9 2016 goose family 2259

▲May: Canadian (goose) family. All’s well.▲

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So where were we? We were talking about something . . . something human . . .

Oh, yes, now I remember. Politics. Boring. Yuk. Well anyway, so in early June, Clinton and Drumpf had become, thanks to fifty primaries/caucuses, their respective Party’s nominees for President of the United States, nominations that were confirmed at the respective Republican and Democratic National Conventions, held the last couple of weeks in July. Bang Zoom. Only around 100 days left till the election!

I remember reading that somewhere. One hundred days. Another eternity on the hoof. Where are the distractions when you need them, I wondered.

Then it happened!

2016 Aug 7 Butterfly 2407

▲Early August: Intruder in the Zinnia garden!▲

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2016 Aug 7 Butterfly 2408

2016 Aug 7 Butterfly 2413

I have no idea what the critter’s name might be, but I KNOW it’s not ‘Trump,’ not ‘Hillary.’ But one thing is certain: it’s far more interesting, far more colorful, far more gentle, far less intrusive than anything I’ve seen on the campaign trail or the telly in the last week year — or likely will see in the next 90 days, give or take! Instead, we’re left with . . . ewwww. (see below)

Trump 1

Make Amurkkka Great Again??

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I think I prefer Wordsworth:

Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

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OPEN THREAD