The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 28th, 2015: Planned Parenthood Under Attack


Planned Parenthood is always under some kind of attack, whether by the religious-right forced-birthers protesting outside PP offices, or by the Republican-led legislature’s ginned-up witch hunts about fetal tissue, or by the many states’ impositions of prohibitively strict restrictions on both clinics and patients. This time, however, the attack was physical, violent, and deadly.

"Sneak Preview" of cover of Denver Post for Saturday, 11/28/15 (from Twitter)

“Sneak Preview” of cover of Denver Post for Saturday, 11/28/15 (from Twitter)

It’s nearly 3:30am Eastern Time as I’m typing this, and right now the most up-to-date information seems to be from the Denver Post. They’ve assembled a timeline of the more than five-hour shooting/standoff here. A third Denver Post article paints a more vivid picture of the unfolding situation, including this tidbit that I haven’t seen anywhere else:

“At roughly 12:15, the gunman went inside Planned Parenthood and began firing out the windows at propane tanks placed around the clinic’s parking lot, an officer told dispatch over his radio.”

Now, other articles mentioned that the police were sorting through several items that the suspect had brought with him, including mention of ‘a propane tank.’ Nothing about more than one tank, or that any were “placed around the clinic’s parking lot” – but that could explain why most articles say the shooting started outside the Planned Parenthood offices, in the parking lot. Supposedly [it was reported somewhere, I forget where] the suspect had been shooting at cars passing by, possibly if any of the drivers noticed what he was doing. But I’m just speculating here, which I shouldn’t be doing. That, apparently, is the job of the TV ‘news’ media. We turned on the TV after we initially read about the shooting as it was happening, but turned it off again after hearing some of the inane questions and ‘we-don’t-want-to-speculate-but-we-have-to’ bumbling.

Of course there will be much more information available by the time I wake up later this morning–hell, probably even by the time I finish writing this. So I’m definitely not going to speculate about the shooting suspect’s motive(s), or his religion, or his political persuasion; when the information comes out, I’m sure there will be much ranting to follow. I just need to get this one little rant off my chest before I finally go to bed:

Back in September, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger had spoken about the now-debunked videos purportedly showing PP “harvesting” fetal tissue for fun and profit:

“I mean it’s Nazi Germany,” he told Rockford radio station WROK recently. “You think of the doctors in the concentration camps experimenting on their victims. It’s kind of reminiscent of that.”

The fact that the ‘smoking-gun’ videos were proven to be fraudulent didn’t deter Kinzinger from throwing them up again, with amazingly tone-deaf, brain-dead timing. From one of the ThinkProgress articles covering the shooting:

“While the shooter was active inside the Planned Parenthood clinic, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) went on live TV and blasted the organization. “We saw these barbaric videos, and that was something that many of us have a legitimate concern about,” Kinzinger said.”

Yes. He said that while the shooting spree was in progress; while police officers were being shot at; while at least 100 people were huddling in fear, not just in the Planned Parenthood offices, but in nearby shops and buildings; while a shooter terrorized the area. And he said it as if having “a legitimate concern about” Planned Parenthood could somehow be a “legitimate” cause or reason or excuse for shooting and killing innocent people.

This is our daily Open Thread–have at it.

The Watering Hole; Friday November 27 2015; Happy “Holidays”

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
(Thomas Gray, from Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard)

The Holiday Season has officially begun, and here, in all its glory, is the season’s formal (2015) Colorado debut on Thanksgiving Eve — the view (from my front door) of . . .

Nov 25 Sunset 2091

. . . The Sky Over the Front Range’s 13,000 ft. Greenhorn Peak.

It’s sad that humans don’t have the soul of Mother Nature. If we did, maybe we could all avoid the nonsensical ‘Holiday’ blather, including all that (alleged) ‘War on Christmas’ gibberish, and maybe even the ‘shop till you drop!’ and ‘spend spend spend!’ urgings with which the mass media firebombs us for close to forty days and forty nights — each and every year — right about this time.

Still, it only took the other night’s singular event — when the sky literally exploded in full color on the eve before Thanksgiving — to remind me of days long gone, even to suggest it might be worth maybe a moment’s peek at old photo files . . . ?  In years past, you see, we made it an annual point to spend as many days and nights as possible —  especially during the “Holiday Season” — away from the city and every bit as “Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife” as we could manage. Following are a handful of ‘sky’ photos from some of those years, each and all of which offer that hoped-for PROOF that Nature can NEVER be as boring as is human’s recurrent ‘celebratory’ world.

Nov 2001, Weavers Needle from McDowells

— Sunrise over Arizona’s Superstition Mountains; Nov. 2001 —

Nov 2001 Desert Sunrise

— Sonoran Desert Sunrise; Nov. 2002 —


— Four Peaks and the Mazatzals from Phoenix Mtn. Preserve; Nov. 2003 —

Dec 2005 desert sunrise

— Sonoran Desert Sunrise; Dec. 2005 —

Nov 2006 White Tanks sunset

— Sunset, White Tank Mountains, Arizona; Dec. 2006 —


— Gathering storm, Sierra Mojada, Colorado; New Years Day, 2009 —

So that’s how Nature celebrates the Holidays in each of two dramatically different corners of the American West. Might I assume she does much the same everywhere else as well? I’m guessing . . . ummmm . . . yes? :)

There still (sadly) remains, however, that ‘other’ side of the coin, the human side, the ‘Holiday Season’ side that has, over the centuries, evolved to accommodate huge numbers of zealots who (a) give thanks to their (Christian) God for the blessings that result from their (always bountiful?) harvests, and (b) demand celebration of the birth of their (Christian) God’s  (alleged) son. One might think, therefore, that their included ‘Holydays’ would be a time of tolerance, of kindness, of understanding, even a time of love. Instead, what’s come to pass is a month’s worth of commercialism, blended with various levels of accusatory hate- and fear-mongering against ‘outliers’ everywhere. So while some sceptics might find their ‘Holiday Season’ tirades entertaining (see, e.g., ‘Oppression Of America’s Churches’ Reminiscent Of Nazi Germany), I’ve decided to make MY choice be something more like this (once again) view from my front door:


— Greenhorn Peak, December 2008 —

No fear, no hate, no oppression, no Christers, no Nazis, only the Great ‘Out There.’ My OUR world, the one that reminds — always — that

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
(Thomas Gray)

Meanwhile, Happy Holidays!


The Watering Hole; Thursday November 26 2015; Thanks (for) Giving

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November to be a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” ‘Thanksgiving’ was first celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 after their successful ‘first harvest’ in the New World; the celebration lasted for three days back then. Those concepts have pretty much dissipated over the last several decades, however, to the point where these days Thanksgiving — still the fourth Thursday in November — means a day off, a turkey dinner, and the start of the so-called ‘Holiday Season’  and its ‘shop till you drop’ commercial mentality.

This year, another factor has entered the room and, thanks to its high volume political campaign (Republican, of course) rhetoric, has infected the holiday with an almost surreal contagion of unadulterated and largely irrational fear — a fear of terrorism; of ISIL; of Islam; of Muslims everywhere; and most prominently, the fear of Syrian refugees, especially those trying to obtain sanctuary in America: TERRORISTS!!

So in response, virtually every Republican governor along with one Democratic governor have publicly proclaimed their state as being OFF LIMITS! to all Syrian refugees who are of course most likely NOT innocent people, but are Muslim extremists or radical Islamists who are out to kill Americans! And they’re all part of Obama’s sinister plot to bring on Shariah Law . . . etc.

Fear. Hopefully it can be made to lead to hatred, then to more fear, maybe help a Republican get elected as President next year so we can Save America!!

Thanksgiving.  “Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” — for protecting us from those evil evil terrorists?

There is another side to that coin, however. Imagine it: NO fear, NO hatred, simply the goal, the desire, to help those who truly need help, to provide those refugee families with a safe and secure — and comfortable — surround; the surround which most Americans consider their birthright. And most impressively, some are offering to help even in spite of their own governor’s completely irrational position. Here, below, the perfect example — a letter from Michael Moore to (Michigan) Governor Snyder: ‘I myself am going to defy your ban’:

Dear Gov. Snyder:

I just wanted to let you know that, contrary to your declaration of denying Syrian refugees a home in our state of Michigan, I myself am going to defy your ban and will offer MY home in Traverse City, Michigan, to those very Syrian refugees you’ve decided to keep out. I will contact the State Department to let them know I am happy to provide a safe haven to any Syrian refugee couple approved by the Obama administration’s vetting procedures in which I have full faith and trust.

Your action is not only disgraceful, it is, as you know, unconstitutional (only the President has the legal right to decide things like this).

What you’ve done is anti-American. This is not who we are supposed to be. We are, for better and for worse, a nation of descendants of three groups: slaves from Africa who were brought here in chains and then forced to provide trillions of dollars of free labor to build this country; native peoples who were mostly exterminated by white Christians through acts of mass genocide; and immigrants from EVERYWHERE around the globe. In Michigan we are fortunate to count amongst us tens of thousands of Arab and Muslim Americans.

I’m disappointed in you, Governor Snyder, for your heartless and un-Christian actions, and for joining in with at least 25 other governors (all but one a Republican) who’ve decided to block legal Syrian refugees from coming into their states. Fortunately I’m an American and not a Republican.

Governor, count me out of whatever you think it means to be a Michigander. I look forward to welcoming Syrians to my home and I wholeheartedly encourage other Americans to do the same.

Michael Moore

P.S. By the way, my 700-sq. ft. apartment in northern Michigan is a little small, but it’s got cable, wi-fi and a new dishwasher! Also, no haters live on my floor! Stop by any time for a hot chocolate this winter.

Finally. A genuine reason to celebrate Thanksgiving in 2015. I will, however, change the word — slightly — in honor of Michael Moore and all like him.

Thanks for Giving!

Imagine it, if you dare. A world free of fear and hate, a world filled instead with caring and generosity for all people, especially for those less fortunate, those struggling for the simple joy of leading a peaceful life. It can happen, apparently.

Just never ask a Republican to help make it possible because, as Rep. Steve King points out, Muslim immigrants are ‘incompatible’ with Americanism


The Watering Hole, Monday, November 23rd, 2015: NatGeo, Take Me Away!

I can’t deal with “Ugly Americans” [of course, “Ugly Americans” = “Republican Presidential Candidates and their Fans/Supporters”] anymore; we keep thinking, “How can these guys sink so low?”, then, the next hour or day or week, one or two or several of them come out with such outrageous shit that we really need a new word to define what circle of hell lies beyond “outrageous” or “horrific” or “despicable” or “abhorrent” or “inhuman” – sorry, I need more words!

And I’ve had it up to HERE with the holidays being turned into meaningless “shop-’til-you-drop” commercialism [how about if “Black Friday” could be turned into “Black Lives Matter Friday” – hell, make every day of the entire Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday shopping season a day of protests]. So I’m going with some beautiful photos from National Geographic to start the week.

Here’s some pretty birds, from “A Flight of Birds”, a section of NatGeo’s Photo Ark, including a photo capturing the iridescent plumage of the Purple Glossy Starling, such as seen below,
and a more close-up shot of the Javan Rhinoceros Hornbill, like the one seen below:
javan rhinoceros Hornbill

And if you prefer a larger gallery for leisurely viewing, here’s more from NatGeo’s 2015 Photo Contest. The “Week 10” group includes a brooding sunset photo of Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland – here’s a chilly winter shot of the falls, just to start the calming process:

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy the views or rant away – or you can do both!

Sunday Roast: Adele…again

Yeah, I know!  I just did an Adele post a couple weeks ago!  But it’s different now, because her new album, 25, is out.  This means the whole world is a different place now, which calls for another Adele post.

Too over the top…?  Whatever, dude!  At least I didn’t pull a cringe-worthy Wasilla Grifter stunt.  Ugh.

This is our daily open thread — I missed music night, so post your tunes!

The Watering Hole; Friday November 20 2015; American Darkness

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me . . .

The Paris terrorist attacks of a week ago — Friday, November 13, 2015 — have served to again expose one of this country’s most deep-seated and extremely dark undercurrents: her penchant to accept hate and fear rather than intelligent analysis and action. As Obama has just recently pointed out, “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if its based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.” 

Here are just a small handful of current examples of that ‘descent into fear and panic‘ which has suddenly (?) come to drive the opinions of so many:

A Complete Guide To How The GOP Candidates Reacted To Syrian Refugees After The Paris Attacks

Tony Perkins: Refugee Resettlement Shows Obama & Liberals ‘Hate America’

Congress takes up Syrian refugee fight, starts slide toward shutdown

“There is not one voice of sanity among Republicans as they try to one-up each other in the xenophobia game.”

Paris Terror: Why ISIS Needs The ‘Useful Idiots’ Who Demonize Muslims

“Sadly the Republican candidates for president, and too many in their party, will seek to use this crisis as a partisan weapon against President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender. They will charge the Obama administration with “weakness” even as American warplanes fly thousands of sorties against ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria. Such political attacks sound ridiculous to anyone familiar with the recent history of the Mideast. As a product of Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS rose directly from the ill-conceived invasion and occupation of that unfortunate country – and the fact that Clinton mistakenly voted to give George W. Bush the conditional authority to wage that war in no way makes her (or Obama) responsible for its botched execution.

“The social chaos, religious strife, and massive bloodshed resulting from the US invasion created fertile ground for a new terrorist movement. And as Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick explains in Black Flags, his authoritative new history of the rise of ISIS, the Bush administration elevated its founder, a minor Jordanian gangster named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, into an international terrorist celebrity with its bogus claim that he represented a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.”

And last but by no means least — and speaking of “Useful Idiots”

Trump crosses the Nazi line: Maybe Muslims should wear special ID badges

Gee, Herr Donald. What could possibly go wrong?

Star of David

It obviously doesn’t take a lot to bring America’s Dark Side to the forefront. I wonder why that is? Are we as a nation so uniformly burdened that irrational fear and hate are the only available option? Or maybe the burden is limited to just one segment of vociferous folks? A relatively low percentage? I recently saw somewhere — can’t name the source, unfortunately — the results of a current poll which asked, concerning the fate of Syrian refugees, whether the idea of allowing them entrance to the United States as refugees is supportable or not. I don’t remember the  precise result, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 55% said NO, no Syrian refugees, period. The percentage that said YES, do it, was somewhere above thirty but less than forty percent. The poll also noted that those who identified themselves as ‘Republican’ were far more likely to say NO! than were all others.

And with that view in mind, here are the results from another similar poll on a similar issue, a poll that was taken almost 76 years ago, in January of 1939:

Note that only slightly more said NO back then than now. I’m guessing those two surveys may well support what seems to be the obvious conclusion that in America, the percentage of people who are driven/defined by fear, hate, and greed doesn’t change much from century to century. Makes me think that perhaps the concept of “darkness” more clearly defines we the people than does the oft-quoted “gleaming city on the hill” meme (or however it goes).

So. With apologies to Emma Lazarus, I’m forced by the circumstances detailed above to slightly modify the last line in her famous and epic poem, ‘The New Colossus,’ to make it a bit more accurate:

 I lift douse my lamp beside the golden door

American Darkness thus defined.



The Watering Hole; Thursday November 19 2015; A Thru Z of the G.O.P.

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

Sounds like a request from the RNC, doesn’t it? I mean, the G.O.P. really does need it, after all — the means To see oursels as ithers see us! — especially in view of their collective reactions to the recent Paris mass murders for which they have so far blamed everyone BUT the underlying cuplrit, best described as the subterranean politic that’s most ably portrayed, this day, by those images they each see every morning in their respective mirrors.

So here’s my contribution, the A thru Z of the way that at least one “ither” (moi) sees them all, the entire of the G.O.P., its presidential Clown Car occupants in particular:

America’s Bullish Contentiousness Demands
Expressions of Fear, Greed, Hatred, and
Irrationality, each Justified via
Knowledge” of Luciferian and Messianic Nonsense,
Organized and Politicized
Quixotically by Republican Sociopathologists, via 
Tendentious Undercurrents of Vicarious and
Wistful Xenophobia.



The G.O.P.’s post-Paris Expressions of Fear, Greed, Hatred, and Irrationality remind me of another era and an event depicted therein — one which well defines what should be sanity’s reaction to what *they* see as *their* subliminally ‘Germanic’ but nonetheless Star Spangled (Conservative) Vaterland,’ including its Tendentious Undercurrents of Vicarious and Wistful Xenophobia:

Vive la France!

For some odd reason, both current and past events also bring to mind yet another Burns’ verse, one in which he perfectly describes today’s G.O.P. reaction to almost anything that happens anywhere on earth or beyond. This from “To a Mouse”:

But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!”

Amen and Yea Verily.