Watering Hole: October 1, 2013 – There’s No Stopping It

That’s right.  There is no stopping children’s attraction to ‘Super Heroes’.  This may be part of a child’s developmental integration of what is considered to be “right” and what is considered to be “wrong” behavior.

Let’s face the facts.  The ‘Super Heroes’ are male with the exception of ‘Wonder Woman’.  When my girls were very young, we would watch ‘Wonder Woman’ on TV and we would cheer when ‘Wonder Woman’ would set things right.

Television producers would like to bring back ‘Wonder Woman’ but are having a difficult time finding the right script.  Linda Carter gives her perspective on this and I think she is spot on.

“I think they try to just make her a female version of a male superhero, and that’s not what she is,” Carter said. “She is an Amazon Princess and she’s got really strong sisterhood values … Maybe they need a female writer who gets it. I’ve often tried not to say that, but I think it’s the truth. It’s like, ‘Hellooooo guys, get a female that understands what that’s all about.’ You look at any society that suppresses women, and it’s violent. Look around the world. … There’s a humanity that they’re missing. There’s got to be a sweetness, a kindness, a goodness in the character. The rest takes care of itself.”

Enough said.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

Watering Hole: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – The Big Ass Mountain

I don’t have much to say today except this, imagine a National Park under the control of a Libertarian/Tea Party/John Birch Society controlled government.

Here’s some photos from the “Big Ass Mountain” in Washington.

“Big Ass Mountain” as seen from Paradise.

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Fields of wild flowers located at the Big Ass Mountain.

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Big Ass Mountain glacial flow that is decreasing every year.

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Streams flowing from the Big Ass Mountain.

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And a  Big Ass Mountain Hoary Marmot (chewing on a piece of chipboard).  This fell off my SIL’s coffee cup and as he reached down to pick it up, this little critter quickly grabbed it and began to eat it.  There was no arguing with the marmot.

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My guess is that our national parks would be sold to the highest bidder(s) and the oil and gas industry would start their “drill, baby, drill” work.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

EXTRA:  Libertarians would love this idea.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, August 7, 2013: WELCOME TO AMERICA

Welcome, immigrants, to the land of the free, the land of opportunity. The land where all are equal before the law.

NOT!

The more I know about the United States, the less I like about the country of my birth.

You want opportunity? You got it – if you’re already rich. If not, we’ll saddle you with student loans that you can never get rid of in bankruptcy – even if, once you graduate, the only job you can find is flippin’ burgers.

Land of the free? Nope. Everything comes with a price. Freedom of choice? sure, if you’re independently wealthy. If not, you’ll soon find out what “at will employment” means. You want to vote? Ok, if you’re white, and register republican.  Want to go out at night? Better be white. Ok, in some neighborhoods, that might not be wise, either.

Equal under the law? I guess you’d buy into that if you’re too rich to jail. But now there’s reports of women given full cavity searches on the side of the roadway for — traffic violations.

We seem to be dominated by misogynist, racist, selfish God-fearing white males with guns.

The Left is giving Obama a pass on things they would have raised holey hell about when Bush was President. Drone strikes; ordering the execution of American citizens without a trial; evesdropping on all of our phone communications, all of our emails. Sure, Obama’s better than what the Republicans ran against him, but what does that say about our choices? We have none. It’s orchestrated by the rich and powerful, for the rich and powerful.

Sad thing is, they’re succeeding in pitting the rest of us against each other.

History says this country has already started to collapse. But we’re like sitting in the front car of a rollercoaster…we’ve gone over the top and have started to head downhill. When the rest of the cars crest the top, we’re gonna pick up speed real fast. It’s a ride I don’t look forward to.

rant off. your turn.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 3, 2013: Americans Will Believe Anything

Americans will believe anything. Don’t believe me?

A friend and co-worker of ours likes to give us things off his despair.com desk calendar. The entry from a couple of months ago was called

I want to believe…

48 % of Americans believe in ghosts. (Source: CBS News [NOTE: CBS apparently does not know what "majority" means.])

41% of Americans believe in ESP. (Source: Gallup. [NOTE: Their numbers don't seem to confirm CBS's numbers on ghosts.])

36% of Americans believe that space aliens have visited Earth. (Source: Kelton Research.)

20% of Americans believe that the sun revolves around the Earth. (Source: Pew Research. [NOTE: Okay, it was Gallup, and they said it was only 18%.)

Add to that the crazy responses you get from Public Policy Polling (which conducts their polls through automated telephone polls), and when you learn that:

6% of voters believe Osama bin Laden is still alive

7% of voters believe the moon landing was faked

13% of voters believe President Obama is the anti-Christ (another 13% say they’re “not sure”)

…it’s not hard to believe after all.

So, yeah, Americans will believe anything. I believe I’ll have another drink.

This is our daily open thread. Talk about whatever you believe.

Sunday Roast: April 7, 2013 – Spring?

It feels at least like 84 years since I’ve last seen spring. We are still having patches of snow and there is more sleet in the forecast. For Heaven’s sake it is April. In former years my roses were already budding at this time. Small wonder everybody is tired and cranky all the time.

And now I read it is, again, man-made. The jet stream is too far south for a while now, so cold and wet weather prevails where I am. The effects of climate change.

This is an Open Thread. How are you today?

Sunday Roast: January 6, 2013 – Permanent Campaigning

Will permanent campaigning remain to be the future of Politics? I seems so.

Take the upcoming fight about the debt ceiling. President Obama has said his piece and stressed he won’t give in again.

“While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” he said late Tuesday night. “Let me repeat: We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred. If Congress refused to give the U.S. the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic – far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff. People remember, back in 2011, the last time this course of action was threatened, our entire recovery was put at risk. Consumer confidence plunged. Business investment plunged. Growth dropped. We can’t go down that path again.”

But on the other hand Republicans don’t seem eager to take this for granted:

 

On Thursday, the Speaker, John Boehner, humiliatingly sidelined in the fiscal-cliff talks after he lost control of his unruly House membership, was re-elected to his post for the 113th Congress by just six votes, after a dozen arch-conservative Tea Partiers defected. Less than 24 hours later, Mr Boehner promised House Republicans he would use the debt ceiling to force Mr Obama to cut spending.

A recipe for the next disastrous showdown? Or, maybe not? Lately we have seen some active campaigning when it comes to several issues. In the matter of the debt ceiling we may have the most colorful and ingenious one. #mintthecoin that’s a gem. Although I am highly nervous about that one, here’s why.

The fancy of a $1 trillion platinum coin is so tantalising in part because it puts a monetary option in play. The larger attraction, though, is that it does so in a way that honours democracy by sticking to the letter of democratic legislation, yet also flirts with the heady unilateral decisiveness of fascism.

There was and is a very active campaign for the protection of social programs, as soon as the rumors were flying Medicare and and the Social Security COLA were on the table. There is active campaigning going on from both sides pro and contra when it comes to gun control. And there was a rather active but unsuccessful campaign from the very right to unseat Speaker Boehner. 

The powerful had done their lobbying for ages and activism played a very important part in American politics for a long while, so why is this different from what we had before?Politicians and activists understand, that in a media environment where nothing remains unseen or unheard of and twitter and facebook can get a message viral within seconds, political life is a constant campaign and you’re not campaigning only for office anymore, but rather for every bill and measure you are supporting. So, the campaigning goes on, after elections is before elections, no time to go back to some serious policy making.

Who uses the media best will get proclaimed the winner, even if in the process the people they are supposed to work for, loses. Politics has become about winning and losing in a constant campaign. Policies will be determined by Gallup Daily, Rasmussen, tv ratings or Nate Silver. (The latter would be a blessing though, because then we would at least have the unbiased majority decision on policy.)

All that’s missing is a full onslaught of tv ads, or do I only think so because I can’t get US television? If the media don’t pick up their responsibility in this this won’t change any time soon. But will they? Do I have to mention that this is a billion $$$ market, well worth to extend beyond it’s two and four year cycle for the National Elections? So no, I don’t think they will.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD, HAVE A GOOD SUNDAY AND JOIN THE DISCUSSION!

The Watering Hole, Friday, December 28, 2012: “Blues Cruise”

From a recent article by Joe Hagan in New York Magazine, some very revealing observations, each and all laced with direct quotes of/by his “shipmates,” the combination of which seems to perfectly define the American wingnut conservative (… umm … movement? Yeah, OK, that works). So, from the ‘bowels ‘ (sotospeak) of the GOP via a post-election-get-away-from-it-all Caribbean cruise here it is, Hagan’s ‘observer’ commentary of his encounters as recorded onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch registry) Caribbean cruise ship, cruise beginning Nov. 16 2012 in Ft. Lauderdale FL:

Who sent Obama here to destroy America?  a fifty-something woman asked.

Minorities came out like crazy. White people didn’t get to the polls. There are far more African–Americans voting than they expected. said Kevin Hassett, a former economic adviser to Mitt Romney

So what do we do with our money?  asked a tall, extremely tanned blonde named Kay, from Old Greenwich, Connecticut, of Hassett, who replied:

Okay, if Europe is what you want, go to Poland. Go to Krakow, buy a house for $50,000, and it’s going to be like Paris in a few years.

And Hagan continues: “As we drained the Pinot Noir,  Hassett gave his audience the insider’s view of the Romney campaign, describing how its election-monitoring software crashed on November 6 and Obama was probably behind it, because those guys are so evil.

The table grumbled in assent.

The thing we have to understand is, these are people who don’t have any morals, said Hassett. They’ll do anything. I’m one of their No. 1 targets. I mean, they really want me bad. I was in the middle of the fight against the propaganda, and I have stories like you wouldn’t believe. These people are so evil. They’re basically Fascists. It’s unbelievable.

So: “They’re basically Fascists.” Yeah, ok, right. Reminds me of that old adage in which the Pot accused the Black of  being a Kettle, or something close to that.

In any case, Hagan’s saga continues. Scary! And yes, it’s lengthy, too, but for those who are trying to comprehend the (incomprehensible?) undercurrent of today’s American conservative wingnut Republican ‘movement,’ it’s well worth the time. I mean hey, with wingnut luminaries such as Ralph Reed, Jonah Goldberg, John Yoo, Cal Thomas, Rich Lowry, et al. in attendance … I mean, what more could anyone ever ask?? [Well, yeah, ok, but "Fire one, fire two, fire three" went out of style in the Caribbean when, in the early forties? Still, yes, as Charles de Gualle quite likely would have said on more than one occasion, Je comprends] (sotospeak).

Back to the task at hand, one more enticing tidbit; Hagan writes:

As [Cal] Thomas downed the rest of his drink, Duane [a retired surgeon from California] said the only way out of the current quagmire is a revolution, citing the famous Thomas Jefferson line about watering the tree of liberty with blood from time to time.

What kind of revolution did he have in mind?

Duane’s eyes crinkled into a big smile. You ever heard of guns?

His wife sat up: How do you like the veal?

It’s awful, Duane growled, poking at it. I can’t hardly chew it.

And so it went. I offer kudos to Joe Hagan for having SURVIVED a week with that cluster of idiots, and offer further kudos to him for finding the means to somehow ENDURE the stupidity!

Hagan quotes National Review’s Jonah Goldberg’s summation of these recent electoral events:

This is a more downbeat bunch this year. We lost in 2008, but it was almost boisterous and fun. This, a little less so. People were dyspeptic.

Their conception of what the country is about, they really were sure the country would reject Barack Obama. I do think it hits them hard. The fear I have, why this election stung, I think, Obama has successfully ­de-ratified some of the Reagan revolution in a way that Clinton never could and didn’t even try to. That’s what freaks people out, that feeling in their gut, either Obama has changed the country, or the country has sufficiently changed that they don’t have a problem with Obama. That’s what eats at people.

As my cousin has long (always, actually) been wont to say, “Republicans forever, Democrats never!” My new response: Obama has changed the country! Yay! Finally! De-ratify! Yes! Yeehaw!‘”

Weird world, this one. Why is that? Anyone got the explanation?

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

The Watering Hole: Saturday, December 15, 2012 – What Is Right To Work Legislation?

Without unions there would be no middle class. I want you to remember that as we discuss just what is “right to work” legislation. Don’t let the name fool you. It does NOT mean that you have a right to any particular job, or that you can sue your employer just for being fired (whether you deserved it or not). What it really refers to is your right to work at a place without being forced to join a union. Before going into more detail about the concept, here’s a brief (less than 2 minutes) video on the history of unions. For a timeline of major events in union history, see here.

The year 1947 saw one of the most significant changes to union and labor law. Prior to that year, if you wanted to work at a place where the employees belonged to a union, you could be required to join that union and pay dues to it. (And that union could spend those dues on many things with which you may not have agreed.) There were exceptions, such as certain federal jobs (ironically), but closed shops were not unusual. You had to join the union and pay its dues to work there, and if you were no longer in the union (for whatever reason) you could be fired. In the 1947, the very pro-business 80th Congress, when both Houses were controlled by the Republican Party, passed the Labor Management Relations Act (nicknamed the Taft-Hartley Act) over President Harry Truman’s veto. For a “Do Nothing Congress”, they sure did a doozy with that one. They were a very anti-union Congress, and we should be grateful they didn’t pass more legislation.

You often hear that unionized places force people to join the union, but that’s not true (thanks to the Taft-Hartley Act.) State right to work laws force all unionized shops to become “open shops,” meaning employees cannot be forced to join a union. They also have the right to enjoy all the benefits that union workers enjoy. The union might fight for better working conditions for you and your fellow employees (it isn’t always about more pay), but whether or not you join the union you can, by law, enjoy whatever benefits the union wins. If they want, non-union workers can ask the union for help in dealing with their employer, and while they don’t have to pay union dues, they do have to compensate the union for acting on their behalf. But other than that, you can work at any non-federal place that has a union without being forced to join the union.

Now, you’re going to hear a lot of Republicans (like Michigan Governor Rick Snyder) say that right to work laws benefit workers and lead to more pay. Don’t believe it for a second. As union membership declines, so does middle class income. Without unions there would be no middle class.

As of this writing, the following 23 states have some form of right to work laws: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan(!), Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming. The latest addition to that list is Michigan. Nobody campaigned on busting unions in Michigan, even the governor. Why not? Because if they did, they would have lost control of the state government. (You can also thank some heavily gerrymandered districts for that. More people voted for Democrats than for Republicans, but because of gerrymandered districts, more Republicans were sent to the next Congress than Democrats.)

Ask any union member about right to work laws and they’ll tell you they should be called “Right to Work For Less” laws, because that is the ultimate effect of those laws. When workers enjoy the right to bargain collectively, everybody benefits, including the business owners. Again, it isn’t just about fair pay though that is often at issue, it’s about all working conditions. Unions, by fighting for higher standards for workers, businesses, families, the environment, and public health and safety, have helped to build the middle class and make sure the economy works for everyone. Are you eligible for overtime pay for working more than 40 hours? You can thank unions for that. Do you get paid sick days? Thank unions again. Is your work place safe? It probably wouldn’t be without unions.

Interestingly enough, both sides see this as a “Freedom of Assembly” issue. The pro-union side sees it as the right to assemble with those with whom you do want to assemble, and the anti-union side sees it as the right to not have to assemble with those with whom you don’t want to assemble. In other words, the pro-union side sees it as the freedom of assembly, and the anti-union side sees it as the freedom from assembly.

Without unions, if you weren’t a member of the very, very wealthy elite (and if you’re reading this blog, you probably aren’t, but I thank you for being here), then you would be among the very poor. It would just be the very few rich and the very many poor. If Republicans had their way, there would be no unions at all. The only way to stop them is to vote them out of office. But that will be difficult because they’ve done their best to rig the elections so that fewer people can vote who would vote against them. It is a strategy without honor, but so is the Republican Party. While the year 2020 is a long way off, it will be a very, very, very important year for elections. That is the year the next census is conducted, and as a result of that census, voting districts will be redrawn. If Republicans manage to win more seats around the country (and I’m not just talking about Congress, I’m talking about state legislatures, too), they will put the final nails in the coffin of Democracy. They will rig any and all elections so that they can never be voted out of power. We cannot let that happen, and we don’t have to wait until then. Start voting them out of office now. Make sure you are registered to vote and VOTE! And whatever you do, do not vote for Republicans. They lie. All the time.

[This post originally appeared on Pick Wayne's Brain and has been slightly modified.]

Watering Hole: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 – No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal

I went to a rally on Saturday.  It was held in front of the local office of Representative Jim Gerlach (R).  He represents the Pennsylvania 6th Congressional District.  Of course, neither Jim nor his staff were there as they don’t work on weekends.  The Republicans in Congress want us to work until we are 70 years old before we can collect our Social Security retirement money.  On the other hand, they only want to work 1/3 of the year and still collect full pay and full benefits.

Rep. Jim Gerlach was re-elected in November and that is because he tells his constituents that he is a “moderate”.  That’s bullsh*t.  He is a placeholder for Republican votes and he votes as he is told to vote by the House Speaker, John Boehner.  Gerlach voted to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid yet the local press was silent about his vote.  His opponent didn’t have much money and he had a large territory to cover to get name recognition.  The media area is the greater Philadelphia area which makes it expensive to advertise.  Rep. Jim Gerlach refused to debate his opponent because he didn’t want anyone to know anything about his opponent, Manan Trivedi.  As for town hall meetings, they are held via the telephone because Gerlach does not want to be confronted by unhappy constituents.  Yeah, I’ll say it.  Rep. Jim Gerlach is a coward.

Enough of my rambling.  Here is a picture of the poster that I was holding.  H/T to Outstandinginthefield for the wording and thank you to everyone else for your good ideas.  I will hold onto those for possible use at another time.

http://i336.photobucket.com/albums/n347/paforchange/DontBeaGrinch.jpg

Live in your strength!

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!  Be heard!  Contact your House Representative!

(this is cross posted at Pennsylvania for Change)

The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 17, 2012: Go Away, Mitt

It seems many in the Republican Party are not too happy with their most recent presidential nominee. A report in yesterday’s Washington Post, titled “Romney Sinks Quickly in Republicans’ Esteem,” quotes many prominent Republicans denouncing Governor Romney’s recently recorded comments to supporters in which he blamed his loss, in part, on President Obama’s “gifts” to his constituents. The comments were, of course, highly offensive, especially considering Romney was trying to win by promising “gifts” to what he viewed as his own constituency (such as tax breaks for people in his income class, people who make their money through unearned income and who pay a lower tax rate on that income than the people who work for them.)

Romney’s remarks, coupled with his “47%” comments, portray a man clearly out of touch with the average American. (Thousands of Americans have sent their own sons and daughters to compete in Olympic Games, but how many have sent their own horses?) By all accounts, he was actually shocked that he lost the election. This is only possible because of a failure on his part to recognize his lack of connection to average voters, and because of a character defect which made him believe the hundreds of lies he told throughout the campaign. But the one thing he never blamed was the fact that his message was rejected by a majority of American voters. You lost, Willard, fair and square.

The president campaigned on building up the middle class in part by asking those in the upper income brackets to pay a little more, and you campaigned on promising those in the upper income brackets that they would pay less at the expense of those in the middle class. The rich are not, no matter what any Republican tells you, “job creators.” It’s the rest of us in the lower incomes who create jobs. Why does an employer hire someone, anyway? Usually, it’s because business has picked up so much that the employer’s current staff can’t service the company’s customers. It’s not just for the sake of hiring someone, or as an excuse to spend some of his personal wealth. When you give lower income people a tax break (such as on their payroll tax), it puts extra money in their pockets that they can spend to meet their day-to-day living expenses. When middle income people have extra money in their pockets, they buy themselves things that they really need, like food, clothing, and shelter. That extra spending is what drives the economy. But when wealthy people get a tax break, the extra money is just that – extra money. They don’t need it to survive, and they don’t spend it. They put it trust funds or overseas tax havens, or they pass it on to their children and grandchildren. But Mitt Romney doesn’t understand this. And I doubt he ever will. Which is why he should just STFU and go away. The American people have had enough of his lies, and we’re not interested in anything he has to say.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Mitt Romney’s social cluelessness, or anything else that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole – Saturday Aug 11, 2012 – Bearer of False Witness

Conservative evangelist David Barton, who likes to go around the country telling people he’s an historian, suffered a major setback this week when Thomas Nelson, the Christian publisher of his book, “The Jefferson Lies,” pulled the book from publication because it contained too many lies. And who could blame him them? Readers at the History News Network voted the book the “least credible history book in print.” But try not to weep too much for this Right-Wing Nut Job. He will publish the book under his own publishing company, Wall Builders, and is already selling the book at a discount.

What happened was that two conservative Christian professors, Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter, did some fact-checking and found that many of Barton’s claims about Jefferson simply didn’t hold up to objective scrutiny and published their findings in a book called “Getting Jefferson Right.” According to the Amazon website page for the book, some of the questions they answer include:

-Was Jefferson unable to free his slaves under Virginia law?

-Did Jefferson sign his presidential documents, “In the year of our Lord Christ?”

-Did Jefferson and other Founders finance a Bible in 1798 to get the Word of God to America’s Families?

-Did Jefferson found the Virginia Bible Society?

-Was Jefferson an orthodox Christian, who only rarely expressed questions about orthodox Christian doctrine?

-Did Jefferson edit the Gospels of the New Testament to remove sections he disagreed with?

-Did Jefferson found the University of Virginia to be the first transdenominational Christian college?

If you’ve ever watched David Barton being interviewed in a non-friendly setting (by which I mean some place other than Fox News Channel or Newt Gingrich’s bedroom), like The Daily Show, you can almost immediately see him employ his deflective tactics to weasel his way through the conversation. One of this favorite techniques is to re-define words in the middle of the discussion to “prove” that you don’t understand history as well as he does. He also likes to throw out obscure, difficult-to-disprove factoids, as evidence of his claims. And, as with many on the right, he likes to use the Straw Man argument, such as when he claimed that people everywhere call Jefferson an atheist, as evidenced by a billboard that went up somewhere, when most of us who know the truth know that’s not true. Jefferson really did believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, he just didn’t buy into all the divine miracles attributed to the man.

But Barton also likes to divert the conversation to what he believes are examples of Christians being denied their First Amendment right to practice their religion. He cites Pastor Mark Holick of Kansas, saying he was arrested just for trying to pass out Bibles to anyone who walked by. That’s not exactly what happened, or why he was arrested. He was arrested because he was blocking the entrance to a mosque while trying to get Muslims to take his Bibles. When a police officer told him to move up the sidewalk, he refused. This is but one example of the deception David Barton uses to sell his conservative Christian agenda. He so desperately wants to believe that the United States of America is NOT a secular nation (at least, according to the definition of “secular” that he claims the courts use) and that it is, in fact, a Christian nation (again, according to the definition of “Christian nation” that he likes to use.)

I recommend trying to sit through all the parts of the Daily Show interview, including the multi-part extended interview, with the Bearer of False Witness known as David Barton. I know it can be difficult to listen to this weasel in action, but I strongly urge you to refrain from giving into your desire to punch his smarmy little face with something big and heavy, like a bowling ball. Or you can do something else today because it’s Saturday! Yea!

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, August 8, 2012: Hump Day! Now What!

This post is being written as NASA gives its first press conference following the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars.

At this point, this author will look into his crystal ball and report the following stories now, ahead of them happening in real time, to be revealed later, when they have already occured.

Republicans were quick to give George Bush full credit for the Curiosity landing. This program began 8 years ago, when Bush was President, therefore He gets full credit for its success.

Republicans were also quick to blame Obama for Curiosity’s failure. Two days have gone by, and Curiosity failed to find proof of life on Mars. Christian leaders across the evangelical spectrum blamed Obama for seeking out new life forms, when God only created life on Earth. “Life on Mars goes against the Bible.” one editorial proclaimed.

But this Mars landing has created a bit of a rift within the extremes of the Right Wing. On the one hand, many consider this to be part of a plot to bring Communism to the United States. Mars is the Red Planet, and by going to Mars, Obama has aligned himself with the Red Menace, i.e. communism.

But others take a different view. Mars is Red, just as Conservative States are Red. Bush, in sending this Rover to Mars has staked out a new frontier for conservatives in our solar system. These forward-looking conservatives look to the day when Mars’ electoral votes secure a permanent conservative majority in the solar system forever. However, it did not escape their notice that all of the NASA scientists were wearing blue…

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced bills to eliminate funding for the Curiosity program. We need jobs here in the United States, not on Mars. People working in goverment jobs such as NASA aren’t working in real jobs. One alternative bill seeks to privatize NASA, with Halliburton purportedly backing the effort.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD, WE GO BOLDLY WHERE NO BLOG HAS GONE BEFORE, TO REPORT THE NEWS BEFORE IT HAPPENS, AFTER IT HAPPENS

The Watering Hole, Thursday, 8/2/2012: AMORALITY

I couldn’t quite decide which characteristic (for lack of a better word, as it implies “character”) of Mitt Romney’s is the most offensive; but taken together, I finally realized that they all add up to (or boil down to) one word:

AMORAL

When the word ‘amoral’ came to me, I turned to bing(TM) and asked for ‘signs of amoral behavior’ – most of the sites that came up referred to “Antisocial Personality Disorder.” Wiki provided the outline of behavior traits which point to a diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder:

“Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is described by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV-TR), as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by “…a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.”

It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:
– Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
– Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
– Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
– Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
– Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
– Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.”

I think that we can safely and honestly say that “at least 3″ of those traits are displayed by Mitt Romney. Next…

“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV-TR), defines antisocial personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:
A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:
– failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts
that are grounds for arrest;
– deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
– impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
– irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
– reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
– consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
– lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another”

Okay, I’m pretty sure that ‘three or more’ on this list are applicable; with probably some ‘partials’ among the others.

Now, I had already been speculating that a person who exhibited these traits, who did not have the kind of background and wealth of a Mitt Romney, would likely turn to a life of crime. The next bit confirms this indirectly:

“Psychopathy and sociopathy:
“Although there are behavioral similarities, ASPD and psychopathy are not synonymous. A diagnosis of ASPD using the DSM criteria is based on behavioral patterns, whereas psychopathy measurements also include more indirect personality characteristics. The diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder covers two to three times as many prisoners as are rated as psychopaths.

That’s right, PRISONERS.

One final thought: Try reviewing the above, substituting George W. Bush instead for Mitt Romney. It’s pretty obvious that, despite his slick exterior and veneer of sophistication, Mitt Romney is essentially George W. Bush without the accent.

This is our daily open thread — talk amongst yourselves!

The WHATering Hole: Wednesday, July 18, 2012: Ding, Dang, Dung

I didn’t quit when I said I quit, but after I quit I decided I quit, so I quit, effective the day I said I quit but didn’t really quit until I quit later.

Bain.
Mitt’s gain,
Our pain,
again and again.

Bain.
Mitt’s bane.
Mitt quit Bain,
again and again.

Mitt didn’t quit
So he’s havin’ a fit,
of the truth there’s not a grain
when he talks about Bain,
What a pain,
What a drain
On the brain,
This Bain.
Mitt’s bane.

So Mitt,
just quit
with your lies
to disguise
‘cuz we realize
you despise
anyone who’s not like you,
not white,
not rich,
not a man.

Bain.
Mitt’s bane;
tried to reign,
Time to drain
Mitt’s campaign.

OPEN THREAD.
RAP ON.

The Watering Hole Saturday, July 7, 2012 – A Day in the Lives of Two Joes

What follows began as a post on my original blog. That version was posted Oct 27, 2007. I kept much of the original, but I admit I did not test every link left in there from the original. Oh, and at the time, California was battling wildfires believed to be the result of arson. Today, my heart goes out to the people of Colorado, who are battling their own destructive wildfires. Amazing how little of that I had to change to ‘update” it.

Someone sent me the great piece below, called “A Day in the Life of Joe Republican.” I thought it was a great example of the hypocrisy that many conservatives live when they denounce things they rely on every day of their lives as being liberal. Here is that piece first, and then we’ll continue from there. I have no idea to whom I should give credit for the first part, as it was one of those things sent through the tubes of the Internets. As to the follow-up response to it that I’ll discuss afterwards, I’ll do the guy a favor and not mention his name (since I don’t know it) on the off-chance that this was supposed to be satire, or humorously-intended. It just seems too much like how a conservative would “re-invent” Joe Republican, that I didn’t think it was facetious. So, in case it was serious, I decided to counter it.

“A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN”

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal Continue reading

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, July 4, 2012: Independence Day

Let the Fireworks begin.

They hate us for our freedoms. “They” being anyone who isn’t white, male, and wealthy. Looking back through the lens of time, “white, male and wealthy” described our founding fathers. They were ticked because the monopolies granted by the British Crown hurt their businesses and their opportunities to be even wealthier. Unable to get King George to back off and let the colonies have a bigger share of the economic pie, they convinced the working class that it was time to go to war. They did, and they won. With the help of the French, and we have never forgiven the French for that.

Initially, it was thought that only white males who owned property should be allowed to vote, as they had a greater stake in the new country than those not “propertied.” But these white, male businessmen were also students of the Enlightenment, and felt that the masses could be trusted to vote, provided they were educated. But…just in case the masses got it wrong, there’s the Electoral College.

The power to indoctrinate through public education was considered so dangerous that education would be left to the States, instead of the federal government. Interestingly, in the early days it was those white, wealthy males, who wanted an educated populace. The average farmer saw little use for education – for their children to be exposed to thoughts and ideas beyond the comprehension of their parents – and, while the kids were at school, they weren’t around to help on the farm. Our summer vacations are a hold-over from those agrarian times.

Now where are we? Our freedoms are under attack now from within. White, wealthy men are re-asserting their dominance. Womens’ rights, including the right to their own uterus, are under attack. Public education is under attack. Taking care of our senior citizens and the poorest amongst us is under attack. Why? A new brand of selfishness, cloaked in Jesus Christ and the American Flag has arisen.

This great experiment of a democratic republic, born those many years ago, is rotting from voter apathy and ruling class greed and manipulation.

We’ve long been a country of checks and balances. Most recently, this gave us the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, and Citizens United and ObamaCare. In other words, in spite of all the rhetoric, in spite of all the attempts to disenfranchise all who do not vote the way white, wealthy males would have them vote, in spite of all the scandals and abuses of power, we still move, slowly, painfully, but progressively, towards social equity.

It is this movement to social equity that has withstood the test of time – as if it is some inherent part of our DNA – a check and a balance to greed and selfishness. Yes, the heirarchical structure is still here, and has, and will be, a part of the human condition. Yes, we still have to fight the same battles to achieve equality. In the 60′s, it was the right for people of different color to get married. Now, its the right for people of the same gender to get married. We move forward. And this forward movement cannot be stopped. Not in the long run.

That, then, is the true meaning of Independence Day.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Thursday, June 28th, 2012: Decisions, Decisions

On this, the day on which the Supreme Court is supposed to announce their decision regarding the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), I offer first a few articles from Wednesday’s Washington Post:

In the first article, John Boehner issues a typical lugubrious pronoucement, and Eric Cantor chimes in, too:

“We’ve made it pretty clear and I’ll make it clear one more time: If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Wednesday morning. “‘Obamacare’ is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) added that the health law “was a mistake. We would like to see the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, not bureaucrats here in Washington.”
[Yes, the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, like whether they should get that needed prescription, or buy food. Patients, not bureaucrats, can make their own decisions unless the patient is a pregnant woman.]

“As we know, this bill has also presented big problems for our employers,” Cantor added. “Small businessmen and women are having a difficult time keeping the lights on, much less hiring new people. ‘Obamacare’ just makes it more difficult because it makes it more expensive for these business people to create jobs.”

[Then what was keeping those business people from creating jobs in the Bush years, before "Obamacare"?]

As I commented on an excellent article at our local online newspaper, the Southeast-Brewster Patch, “And does Speaker Boehner not see that the two are connected? Does he have any explanation as to WHY healthcare costs continue to rise? Do the Republicans who want to repeal the PPACA – and yes, some say “repeal and replace” – have any concrete solutions to the rising healthcare costs?”

Perhaps some of my questions were answered by this paragraph in the same WP article:

“Beyond their general comments, neither Boehner nor Cantor provided specifics on their path forward, waiting until the court rules before spelling out any further plans. But Republican aides have said in recent weeks that the House is unlikely to vote on any significant health-care-related legislation before the November elections — other than efforts to repeal the entire law if the high court doesn’t — preferring instead to keep focused on more overt attempts to boost job creation, strip away federal regulations and renew various tax cuts.”

[De-regulation, and tax cuts for the corporations - yeah, how'd that work out for Bush? Sigh]

I’ll leave you with two more articles from WP, one infuriating, one informative.

Possibly by the time you finish reading this post, the SCROTUS/SCREWEDUS (thanks, RUC) will have announced their decision. Hopefully, we won’t have to see a repeat of this:

Justice Antonin Scalia

UPDATE: The SCOTUS has decided that the Individual Mandate is Constitutional, read the text of the decision here.

This is our daily open thread — have at it!

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

The Watering Hole, Thursday, June 14th, 2012: GOD WARS

The topic of Monday’s post was the the appearance that a local Baptist pastor had an active political agenda.

Now it’s the Catholics‘ turn.

I received this through an email from Catholics United:

Dear Jane,
I have been an active member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Washington, D.C., for more than 31 years. My faith is my bedrock; my parish is my home.That is why I am worried and deeply saddened to see partisan politics increasingly creeping into our faith community. A few months ago, I attended a meeting at our church when a fellow parishioner publicly expressed outrage that there were cars in the church parking lot that had “Obama bumper stickers.” The intensity of his tone and the fact that I had such a decal made me so uncomfortable that I left the meeting.

In this highly charged election season, the political attacks will only intensify. The “Fortnight for Freedom”* being organized by the Bishops because of their disagreements with the Obama administration should not be brought into our sacred space. They are asking pastors to preach about “religious liberty” and to distribute political statements inside our bulletins. ["...The Fortnight for Freedom campaign runs from June 21 to July 4. It features a variety of events designed to appeal to Catholics of all ages, from a Twitter campaign to a music festival at a winery to traditional Masses to the distribution of 10,000 car magnets promoting religious freedom. Two Kansas bishops have organized rallies in front of government buildings in Topeka and Wichita. Other dioceses are sponsoring conferences and public prayer. Bishops are also encouraging Catholics to pray briefly for religious liberty each day at 3 p.m. in a campaign they dub "A Minute to Win It!"]

But there’s hope. A group of parishioners at my church recently spoke to our pastor about our concerns and he is listening. Click here to find out what we’re doing.

We wrote our pastor a letter and asked him to reconsider our parish’s participation in the “Fortnight for Freedom”. We met with him and expressed our concern that this type of political activity was inappropriate and would cause divisiveness in our community. Our parish had always been a welcoming place where people of all different opinions joined together in worship, heard the Gospel message of Christ and found a source of spiritual strength. We are grateful that our pastor listened and feel that he has taken our concerns seriously.
As the mother of five, and the grandmother of nine, I worry whether these future generations will see the Church as a place that proclaims the expansive message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a place where they will find the abundance of God that will inspire them to go out and serve others in God’s name.
Faithfully,

Eileen Zogby
Parishioner
Blessed Sacrament Parish
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB, “or NAMBLA”) are still getting their knickers in a twist about the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement; actually, they’re getting even more twisted. Not content with lobbying Congress, they are now marshalling their armies of pedophiles priests and their parishioners across the land. The more liberal (and Christian) folks at Catholics United believe that the bishops are wrong. But the USCCB is digging in its collective heels, just like the GOP, unless they get everything they want from The President of The United States of America.

What, the USCCB should compromise with the President of the United States of America?! “HELL, NO!”

Tax-Exempt Status?! FUCK, NO!

This is our daily open thread — comment on anything you want!

Oh, and Happy Flag Day.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, May 31st, 2012: Mitt Romney, Tabula Rasa

Lately, when I think about Mitt Romney and his multitude of verifiable flip-flops and evasions, and his campaign focus on his Bain Capital “business experience” as being his best qualification for becoming the President of the United States of America, the phrase “Tabula Rasa” keeps popping into my mind. So I decided to investigate why the phrase seemed appropriate when referring to Candidate Romney.

According to Wikipedia:

“Tabula rasa is the epistemological[1] theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. Generally proponents of the tabula rasa thesis favour the “nurture” side of the nature versus nurture debate, when it comes to aspects of one’s personality, social and emotional behaviour, and intelligence. The term in Latin equates to the English “blank slate” (or more accurately, “erased slate”) (which refers to writing on a slate sheet in chalk) but comes from the Roman tabula or wax tablet, used for notes, which was blanked by heating the wax and then smoothing it to give a tabula rasa.”[emphasis mine]

This certainly explained a good bit about why, when I think of Mitt Romney, I can’t help thinking “tabula rasa.” Mr. Romney does exhibit behavior consistent with one who wants to wipe out the ‘notes’ on the wax tablet of his career as Governor of Massachusetts, during which he not only signed into law healthcare reform similar to President Obama’s “Affordable Care Act”, but also failed to deliver the promised job growth in the state; the job growth promise that he based on his “private business career” at Bain Capital. Instead, Romney took Massachusetts down to 47th place in the nation in terms of job growth. It also explains why the number of jobs that he claimed to have created at Bain went from an unverifiable 100,000 down to 10,000; and why Romney has now gone back to claiming 100,000 again.

In addition, the “Tabula Rasa” theory would explain Romney’s lack of character, empathy, and any sort of insight into the world in which the vast majority of U.S. citizens live.

[1]“Epistemology: (from Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistēmē), meaning “knowledge, understanding”, and λόγος (logos), meaning “study of”) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions:

What is knowledge?
How is knowledge acquired?
To what extent is it possible for a given subject or entity to be known?

“Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification…Statements of “belief” sometimes mean the speaker has faith that something would prove to be useful or successful in some sense—perhaps the speaker might “believe in” his or her favorite football team. This is not the kind of belief usually addressed within epistemology. The kind dealt with is when “to believe something” simply means any cognitive content held as true in spite of the absence of proof or even evidence. For example, to believe that the sky is blue is to think that the proposition “The sky is blue” is true even if the sky is visibly red.”[emphasis mine]

And this seems to be the pattern of not just Mitt Romney, but of most Republicans. They have no compunction about firmly stating “facts” that are so completely and patently false, one wonders just what “red-sky” world they think they’re living in. For my part, I WISH that all Republicans were living on some distant planet under a red sky, rather than fouling our own beautiful and fragile blue-sky planet.

This is our daily open thread — share your thoughts!

The Watering Hole – Saturday May 26th – We Don’t Need Grover Norquist

One of the most powerful people in this country isn’t an elected official, has never been an elected official, and will never be an elected official. It shouldn’t be surprising that he’s never been a public servant because he knows nothing about what’s in the best interest of the People, and only operates to serve himself and his rich friends. His one claim to fame is based on an idea that he had when he was twelve years old. His name is Grover Norquist and if you haven’t heard of him by now, well, you haven’t been to our blog before, that’s for sure.

In addition to a pledge he requires Republicans to sign promising not to raise tax rates, and not to close tax loopholes without a matching reduction in spending, Norquist has a fairly simplistic idea of what he’s looking for in a candidate for President of the United States.

All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.

. As David Frum put it, “His requirement for president?

Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.

Now, Norquist is always quick to point out that his pledge isn’t to him, personally, but to the American people. The thing is, he’s the only one trying to enforce it. We never asked Norquist to make candidates sign a pledge conceived by a twelve-year-old. Norquist appointed himself head of Americans for Tax Reform; he wasn’t elected to the position. And yet it’s because of him that our country faced a debt crisis for so long that it resulted in our nation’s credit-rating being downgraded.

We don’t need people like Grover Norquist in this country. We need people who don’t think like twelve-years-olds.

And here’s a tweet I sent him last night. His figures are, as usual, wrong.

Later, when someone tweeted that the pledge was losing its power in Washington, Grover tried to say that his pledge was gaining strength. If you actually read the article (the link in the tweet works), you’ll find that HE was the one saying that the pledge is strengthening.

I love getting snarky with Grover. Especially when he fights back. I wish he would again. He did before, and if he responds to me, I’ll add his reply to this post.

This is our daily open thread — feel free to discuss this topic, or whatever’s on your mind!

The Watering Hole, So Happy It’s Thursday, April 12, 2012: Corporate Personhood, Part Too

In yesterday’s Open Thread, The Zoo revealed Mitt “Corporations are People” Romney’s plan for a Corporate Personhood Bill. Since breaking that story, more insider information has come to light.

Obama’s DoJ, not to be outdone, has arrested World News Corporation for its role in the email hacking scandal. A top official in the DoJ, who refused to be identified for the purposes of this story explained. “The headquarters building of World News Corporation is under house arrest. We have encircled the building with what is essentially a large ankle bracelet, so we will know where the building is at all time. The Corporation was allowed its one phone call. After that, we cut all communications.”

People inside the Person were allowed to gather thier belongings and leave. A spokesman for the Corporation said the move by the DoJ was patently unfair and illegal. “To cut off all contact with the outside world is cruel and unusual punishment. It’s tantamount to solitary confinement while under house arrest. Sure, it is still outside, getting fresh air and sunshine, but it’s a News Corporation. Being cut off from communications is like the death penalty, but there’s been no trial, no conviction.”

When asked about what the DoJ plans to do with the Corporate headquarters should the Corporation be convicted, the DoJ spokesperson said that the Department is looking into building a new prison, one specially designed to incarcerate Corporations, where the headquarters building will be relocated to serve out its term.

OPEN THREAD, TOO

PART TWO.