The Watering Hole, Monday, January 18th, 2016: ICYMI

Some updates on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge situation from the weekend:

Yesterday, DailyKos had this story about Child Protective Services removing Robert “LaVoy” Finicum’s fourfoster children from his Arizona ‘ranch.’  I love the [literal] money quote:

“That was my main source of income,” Finicum said. “My ranch, well, the cows just cover the costs of the ranch. If this means rice and beans for the next few years, so be it. We’re going to stay the course.”

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting:

“That represents an enormous loss of income for the Finicums. According to a 2010 tax filing, Catholic Charities paid the family $115,343 to foster children in 2009…

Since then, Catholic Charities has increased payments for foster care significantly, but it does not itemize the dollar amount the Finicums were paid in subsequent years.”

On Saturday, January 16th, a few members of the Center for Biological Diversity tried to protest the occupation of the refuge.  From Raw Story:

“We’re here to speak up for public land, which belongs to the public,” the group’s executive director, Kierán Suckling, said. “These people are trying to take the land away.”

Pete Santilli, part of the occupying group, picked up a bullhorn and started shouting over him, calling the conservationists “communist,” “fascist,” and saying, “You’re under arrest for bull****ting.”

Ah, yes, Pete Santilli.  At first I had him confused with Rick Santilli, the idiot whose ranting on CNBC more or less started the Tea Party plague.  However, this Pete Santilli seems to be cut from much the same cloth.  Pete is the one who, on his radio show back in 2013, spouted the following regarding then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

“I want to shoot her right in the vagina and I don’t want her to die right away,” he said. “I want her to feel the pain and I want to look her in the eyes and I want to say, on behalf of all Americans that you’ve killed, on behalf of the Navy SEALS, the families of Navy SEAL Team Six who were involved in the fake hunt down of this Obama, Obama bin Laden thing, that whole fake scenario, because these Navy SEALS know the truth, they killed them all.”

Santilli continued: “On behalf of all of those people, I’m supporting our troops by saying we need to try, convict, and shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina.”

According to his bio, “Pete Santilli is a Former U.S. Marine, Consumer Advocate, Former Coca-Cola Executive, Corporate Whistleblower, Radio Talk Show Host. Pete Santilli is a professional hell raiser…”

Santilli also led a protest outside the FBI’s temporary setup at the Burns Airport on Saturday.  However, it appears that Santilli is merely a supporter of the occupiers:

“Asked about the demonstration outside the FBI’s headquarters, [Robert] Finicum said Santilli is an “independent journalist” and is not part of the group occupying the Refuge.”

On the agenda for today, according to The Oregonian, is a ‘lecture’ by KrisAnne Hall, who is described as “a Florida attorney and radio talk show host” (although she reportedly no longer holds a license to practice as an attorney in Florida.)  Ms Hall is planning to ‘sovereign-splain’ the supposed legality of the Bundy-led occupation of the wildlife refuge:

“Her assistant said she will cover two topics: sovereignty of the state and the constitutional limits of the federal government’s control.

Hall is an outspoken critic of the federal government who supports privatization of federal lands.

“The people are not acting lawlessly,” Hall said in [a] video. “It is the federal government that is acting lawlessly.”

For a tutorial on the warped version of the legal belief system that these deluded people are trying to establish, see this post on Friday’s ThinkProgress.

And for continuing updated coverage, The Oregonian puts up a daily “what you need to know” article along with related articles.

This is our daily Open Thread – feel free to talk about anything you like.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 28th, 2015: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Just a quick glance at some of the stories on Right Wing Watch is enough to make it clear that, while there is a lot of craziness going on around the globe, the no-longer-United States of America is now forging ahead in an effort to be Number 1 in the category of Insanity.

Rand Paul calls for “Tent Revivals” in “Rand Paul Suggests Gay Marriage Is The Result of a ‘Moral Crisis’ in America”, by Brian Tashman:

“We need a revival in the country,” Paul said. “We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, ‘reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform.’”

Also by Brian Tashman, in “Ted Cruz: Conservative Christians have Ceded Power** to Non-Believers”, Cruz tells interviewer David Brody of the “Christian” Broadcasting Network that “he hopes and prays that God put him in the position he is in today.” In addition:

“Brody also hailed Cruz’s father, far-right activist Rafael Cruz, for his political views that he says have “rubbed off on Cruz.””

**”Ceded Power”? What “power”? The only “power” that ANY religious person/group should have in America is the same power that any citizen of this country has, as enumerated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

And you’ve got to love this one: “Glenn Beck Is Now Locked In A Fight To The Death Against The GOP Establishment.” While I’m sure that, like me, you all would disagree with the reasons why Beck is going after both Grover Norquist and Karl Rove (Beck thinks that Norquist is part of a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, then attacked Rove for defending Norquist), you have to agree with parts of his argument with Karl Rove:

“You guys have the spine of a worm, the ethics of whores, and the integrity of pirates. My apologies to worms, whores and pirates.”


“Can you not smell what you are shoveling anymore?”

One last thing, from Raw Story An article by Alternet’s Alex Henderson, titled “Here Are 9 Things Many Americans Just Don’t Understand–Compared To The Rest of The World” illustrates why ‘travel is so broadening.’ Number 3 is particularly relevant:

3. American Exceptionalism Is Absolute Nonsense in 2015

No matter how severe the U.S.’ decline becomes, neocons and the Tea Party continue to espouse their belief in “American exceptionalism.” But in many respects, the U.S. of 2015 is far from exceptional. The U.S. is not exceptional when it comes to civil liberties (no country in the world incarcerates, per capita, more of its people than the U.S.) or healthcare (WHO ranks the U.S. #37 in terms of healthcare). Nor is the U.S. a leader in terms of life expectancy: according to the WHO, overall life expectancy in the U.S. in 2013 was 79 compared to 83 in Switzerland and Japan, 82 in Spain, France, Italy, Sweden and Canada and 81 in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Austria and Finland.”

In my opinion, in 2015 the U.S. of A. ranks #1 only in the number and power of its Religious Right-Wing Nut Jobs.

This is our daily Open Thread – have at it!

Watering Hole: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 – Inauguration 2009

I was there.  I saw it happen.  I was part of the crowd.  There were tears; tears of joy, tears of relief, and tears of love.  It was hard to believe that it had finally happened.

It all began when I was given two blue tickets to the inauguration of Barack Obama.  I shared these tickets with a friend whose mother owned a townhouse in Alexandria, VA.  She offered us a place to stay so that it would be easy to get into D.C. to witness this monumental event.

We started out on that historic morning by taking a taxi that was suppose to take us into D.C.  The taxi driver believed that he couldn’t cross any of the bridges to get into the city so he dropped us off at the train station in Alexandria.  Every train that stopped at the station was packed and it was impossible to get onto the train.  Since the trains traveling in the opposite direction were almost empty, we decided that we would take one of those trains and do the loop.  It would mean an extra 15 minutes but at least we were on a train.  At the end of the line, the train filled up with people that had arrived on buses from all across the nation.  The good people that stood near us on the train were from Minnesota.  It took them two and a half days of traveling to get to D.C.

When we finally arrived in D.C., we went to the area outside the entrance for the blue ticket holders.  There were hundreds of people gathered there and we became part of the crowd.  At 9:30, the gates were opened so that people could get in.  Needless to say, the crowd moved very slowly.  It was 11:35 when we finally reached the cattle chute and we were pushed in by the crowd and told to go to the scanners.  There was little time for scanning or searching our bags so security waved us through and told us to hurry.

When we got closer to the Capitol, we saw thousands and thousands of people gathered on the lawns, on the sidewalks and on the streets looking in the direction of the Capitol steps.  There had to be at least one million people crowded together looking towards Barack Obama.  From where I was standing, the President appeared to be about six inches tall. I perused the area and saw the “jumbotrons”.  These were the biggest screens that I have ever seen and they were everywhere.

Barack Obama was sworn into office and after he gave his address, the crowd went wild.  Everyone was hugging each other.  Standing next to me was a black woman who was about my age (I’m a white, young senior).  Tears were rolling down her face.  They were streaming down my cheeks, too.  We looked at each other, smiled, and then hugged each other.

This is where the real story takes place.  This stranger and myself lived through the challenge of opposing segregation during the ’60’s.  We witnessed blacks being beaten, and repelled with water from fire hoses.  We saw blacks being spit on as they walked into previously ‘whites only’ schools.  We heard the slurs and the name calling.  People died fighting for equal rights.

As a white person, I won’t pretend to know what it feels like to be a black person living in a society that dislikes you just because of the color of your skin.  I can only imagine how painful it must feel to see people cross to the other side of the street when they see you walking down the sidewalk or how hurtful it must feel when someone refuses to shake your hand or to sit next to you.  When Barack Obama became President Barack Obama, I thought that our nation had finally matured and would become integrated.  Was I in for a surprise.

Racism didn’t depart after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  It only went into hiding.    A black man holding one of the most powerful positions in the world has brought the racists to the forefront.  This is a good thing as we now know who they are.  We are seeing faces and we have the power to stand up to them as we must speak the truth and confront them, always.

The inauguration of President Barack Obama was an exciting event.  As I was leaving the Capitol grounds and standing on the curb waiting to cross the street, two black SUV’s with the license plate number “2” on it, passed by.  We all booed because we knew that Dick Cheney was in one of those SUV’s.

Next Tuesday, we will have reason to celebrate again.  This time I will be watching the events of the day from my home.

This is our Open Thread.  That is my story.  It was long.  Now it’s time for me to let you Speak Up! Continue reading

Watering Hole: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 – New Year’s Day Traditions

The new year has several traditions in southeastern Pennsylvania and one of these is the Mummer’s Parade down Broad Street in Philadelphia.  The parade begins in South Philadelphia and moves up Broad Street to City Hall.  It is a fun filled event with many spectators lining the street.

There is a history to the mummers which dates all the way back to ancient Rome where  laborers marched all day wearing masks in celebration of the Festival of Saturnalia.

Mummers tradition dates back to 400 BC and the Roman Festival of Saturnalias where Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day of satire and gift exchange.  This included Celtic variations of “trick-or-treat” and Druidic noise-making to drive away demons for the new year.  Reports of rowdy groups “parading” on New Years day in Philadelphia date back before the revolution.  Prizes were offered by merchants in the late 1800’s.  January 1, 1901 was the first “official” parade offered about $1,725 in prize money from the city.

The Mummers parade is a celebration of the New Year but is serious business in Philadelphia.  Clubs work on the costumes and practice all year for their one day in the sun (…wind, rain or snow).  There are many lively discussions over the scoring by the judges and adherence to the complicated set of rules the marchers must follow when being judged.  String Bands are judged on their musical presentation as well as the costumes.  Seeing and hearing a String Band performing live in the parade is a one-of-a-kind experience.

I present to you lots of men in kilts.  May this put a smile on someone special’s face  🙂

To bring in good luck for the new year, we Pennsylvanians enjoy our pork, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes.  Everyone has their own recipe for this meal.  I cook a pork loin in the crock pot along with the sauerkraut.  The seasonings that I prefer are nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and clove.  These spices sweeten the sauerkraut.  As for the mashed potatoes, my most recent recipe includes horseradish added to this dish.

As Pete the Cat would say, “Because it’s all good.”

Happy New Year!  May the new year be a good year.

This is our Open Thread. What are your traditions?  Speak Up!

Watering Hole: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 – Jingle Bells

There are so many holidays to celebrate at this time of the year.  There is HanukkahWinter SolsticeFestivus, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.  These are all joyful holidays so pick one.

I like this version of Jingle Bells.  It makes me want to get up and dance.

Ten things you might not know about Christmas from Purple Priestess at DailyKos.

May your holiday celebration be happy.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

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.

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)

Watering Hole: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 – She Lives Here…

…and so does her sister.  This young doe and her sister are always hanging out on the property.  I haven’t seen the mother around for awhile so mom may be a goner.  My guess is that these two young does were born on the property because they seem right at home here.  I can slam the cars doors, open the windows, shout at them and all I get is big ears pointed in my direction.

This was as close as I could get with my phone camera because I didn’t want to spook her.  I had just gotten out of the car when I saw her standing there.  She didn’t budge and she let me take her picture.

I was able to get this photo of the sisters the next day.

Hurry up and take that picture.

This is our Open Thread.  What’s new with you?  Speak Up!

Watering Hole: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 – Babies Know Who To Trust

Babies seem to have a sense of who is real and who is a phony.  They know who they can trust.  Just look at these photos.  Babies are happy with Obama and they cry when they are with Romney.

Last night was the debate on foreign policy.  Who do you trust with handling the US foreign policy?

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

Watering Hole: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 – The Town Hall Debacle

Tonight is the second in the 2012 Presidential debates and the format will be the town hall.  Which Romney will show up?  That’s a good question.  There is speculation that Romney will try to show that he “feels our pain” by telling stories of woe from the people that he met somewhere in his life.  Obama needs to share his stories of how people are better off during his presidency.  The President’s message should remain positive and he should speak truth to Romney lies.  President Obama needs to knock Romney off of his game.  This will be challenging because Romney is well practiced at changing the game just to close the deal.

If you have the time to read the many falsehoods spoken by Romney, here is a link to “Romney tells 533 lies in 30 weeks”.  With this many compulsive untruths being told by one person, could this person (Romney) be a pathological liar?

H/T to DailyKos for putting together Romney debating Romney.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!  And if you have a favorite “Romney Lie”, let’s hear it.

Watering Hole: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 – Buzz

Two years ago, hornets built a nest in one of our spruce trees.  After a few weeks, the nest was destroyed by something either rain or a critter.  Last year, the hornets built a nest on the lower branch of a tree.  It was a sturdy nest which withstood a hurricane and an early, heavy, wet snowfall.  By February, the nest was destroyed.  We had a dry winter so I don’t know what caused the destruction of the nest.  This year, the little buggers tried something different.  They made their nest on the underside of the electric panel that is attached to the telephone pole.  They are resourceful.  It is a well designed nest.  They even managed to incorporate one of the wires into their home.  I find their design and building skills to be fascinating.  They don’t frighten me because as long as I don’t mess with their nest, they just buzz right past me without stopping to bother me.

My guess is that a raccoon got into their other nests.  Getting into this nest could be a shocking experience.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up on any topic that you choose.

(Until after the election, my political posts will be a separate post from the Tuesday Open Thread so keep an eye out for additional postings.  It can happen any day and at any time.  Other Critters will also be doing additional political posts.)

Watering Hole: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 – Good to be back home

Happy to say that nonewhere and cats are back home again.  We had a few “Gong Show” moments on our trip and now we are safely at home with our cats.  Even though the kitties were getting loving care from others while we were gone, they seem to not be able to get enough of us now that we have returned home.

We loved Oregon.  It is America’s best kept secret and when our house sells, we will be moving there.  Until then, gee, it is good to be back home, again.

Some observations:

  • Saw one Romney sign on a person’s lawn in Sammamish, WA.
  • Saw several Ron Paul lawn signs in Wyoming, Idaho and Iowa.
  • Saw only ONE Romney bumper sticker and that was in PA.
  • Saw several Obama “2012” bumper stickers throughout Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

I was surprised by the absence of Romney lawn signs and bumper stickers.

This is our Open Thread.  Feel free to Speak Up!  There is plenty to talk about.

Watering Hole: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 – On The Road

Nonewhere and I are on a road trip from the east coast to the west coast.  Today, we are spending some time in Bend, OR.  For the first time in 7 days, I heard a variety birds chirping outside and I am loving it.  There were no bird songs in South Dakota or Montana.  The only birds that I heard in Washington were crows and a few blackcap chick-a-dees.  On Thursday, we will be back on the road again and heading back home.

This is our Open Thread.  Please do Speak Up and share what’s on your mind today.

The Watering Hole: May 5th – Saturdays

I like Saturdays. I can sleep late if I choose, or get up and watch “Up With Chris Hayes” and, if I don’t feel like staying up to watch “The Melissa Harris-Perry Show”, I can go back to sleep.  Yeah, I’m a veg.

This particular Saturday marks the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, where beautiful, aristocratic Thoroughbreds “Run for the Roses”, as beautiful, aristocratic horse owners in big hats, sipping champagne and mint juleps, look on. Meanwhile, many of the stablehands who made those Thoroughbreds look so beautiful are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, along with millions of Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, other Mexican immigrants, and, frankly millions of Americans who simply like an excuse to get drunk.

How do you like to enjoy your Saturdays?

This is our daily open thread — Happy Saturday!!

Watering Hole – Monday, June 13, 2011 – While the Gotcha and Gossipy Media

Was focused on Weiner’s weiner, an important terrorist trial began in Chicago, IL.  David Coleman Headley, a confessed American terrorist and Pakistani spy, was testifying in the trial of Tahawwur Rana.  Headley is the star witness against Rana, his childhood friend.

Besides admitting to being one of the masterminds of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Headley also worked for the DEA.  So instead of facing the death penalty, Headley is spilling the beans.  Then again, Headley is a known manipulator and liar so the outcome of this trial will be dependent upon whether the jury believes Headley or not.

Here’s some interesting links to this story.  From The Daily Beast.  And from an interview on Here and Now on PRI.

UPDATE:  Since I originally created this post (Thursday afternoon), the trial of Rana Tahawwur has concluded.  Rana was found guilty on two charges and he was found not guilty for the Mumbai charge.  Seems like the jury didn’t believe Headley’s testimony.

This is our Open Thread.  Here’s your chance to Speak Up!  Gotcha and Gossip accepted.

Watering Hole: December 13, 2010 – They Are Coming For It All

I spoke with a woman that ran for Congress three times against Joe Pitts.  Yes, it is the same Pitts from the Stupak/Pitts amendment to the health care reform bill.  Her name is Lois Herr and I have met her on many occasions.  She said that this time she became more acquainted with Washington money and the huge amount of money that is required to get elected on the national scene.  Unfortunately for Americans, Lois Herr did not unseat Joe “creationist” Pitts.  She will not be running for Congress again.  Instead, she will be writing a book about the influence of big money on our elections.

According to this article at the Los Angeles Times, the fund raising has already begun.

George Carlin, may he rest in peace, said it all.

This is our open thread.  It’s your turn to Speak Up!

Watering Hole: December 6, 2010 – Say It Ain’t So, Kitty

First, they came for my retirement 401K/IRA.  Then, they devalued my investment properties.  Now, they want to dismantle the only thing between me and living on the streets.  They want my Social Security.

Instead of focusing on a commission to create jobs which would increase tax revenues and increase demands for goods, Obama decided that it was better to go along with the Tea Party’s and Club for Growth wishes reducing Government spending so he opted for a Deficit Commission instead.

So how does the recommendations from the Deficit Commission (Cat Food Commission) effect seniors?  Here’s how…

The plan calls for eliminating most popular tax breaks, while preserving smaller breaks for mortgage interest on primary residences, charitable contributions and employer-paid health insurance. While broadening the tax base, it would lower individual and corporate tax rates from a maximum of 35% to no more than 29%.

It includes higher Medicare copayments and reduced Social Security benefits for many future retirees, as well as an increase in the retirement age from 67, where it’s headed in 2027, to 69 by 2075. Both defense and domestic spending would be slashed, and new rules put in place to lock in those reductions.

Really?  They want you to work until you drop dead on the job.  If you do manage to survive,  there could be a boost for the cat food industry.

Fortunately for Americans, the recommendations did not receive the 14 votes that were needed to move these recommendations to Congress for a vote.  Some members of the commission had this to say:

… co-chair Erskine Bowles (transcribed more or less verbatim). Saying that the the threat of these deficit is “real”, he said: “The solutions will be painful, and there is not easy way out but at the end of this journey America will be a better place.”

The bi-partisan insanity was represented by Senate Budget Chair Kent Conrad: “Other than the terrorist threat to America, this is the greatest threat to America.”

That’s a bit frightening.  In my opinion, high unemployment with few available jobs is a greater threat to America.

This is our Open Thread.  Feel free to Speak Up!

(All politics are local)

Continue reading

Watering Hole: November November 29, 2010 – Consumerism and Stuff

This year’s season of consumerism began on Black Friday, November 26.  The message is that the more me consume, the happier we will be.  Not so.  Sure, we were shopping for other people on Black Friday, but what does it say about our society when stores open at midnight and people stay up all night and wait in line for other stores that open at 4:00 am?

So this is where we are heading.

Continue reading