Saturday, August 1, 2015

What might have been!


Some people say there's no difference worth mentioning between Republican and Democratic politicians.  They're equally bad. 

These are usually people who don't like tension or confrontation or dealing with ambivalence.  It's much more convenient to dream up a false-equivalency between the two major parties.  It relieves them of any responsibility if the wrong group gains power.

There is a difference, however.  What is that difference, ah, I have it now.  It's the intelligent look on the face of the cow.  Oh, wait, that's another story my dad used to tell about girls chewing gum.  He was not a feminist. 

But consider this:  Almost every single piece of progressive legislation - legislation which provided assistance to the people of this country over the past 50 years - has been enacted by members of the Democratic Party!  Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, business regulations to keep the bankers honest, FDA regulations to keep your medicines safe, environmental regulations to save your national forest and parks and keep our water safe to drink and our air safe to breathe.  Regulations to keep our food safe to eat.  Legislation to protect and improve our public schools.  Laws protecting the right of workers to unionize and bargain for fair treatment and pay.  Laws protecting the right to vote.  And much more.

This is the truth:  The Republican Party has fought every single one of these legislative efforts and every one of these regulatory actions!  If the Republican Party had had it's way, there would be no Social Security, no Medicare, no Medicaid, no welfare for single moms and dad, no protection for workers, no health care for anyone (except themselves), and today it is the Republican Party that is trying to destroy our public schools, privatize our prisons, deregulate just about everything, and chainsawing the right to vote for millions of our citizens.  And significantly, it's the Republicans who have fought tooth and nail any attempt to deal with what is most likely the most serious challenge we have ever faced as a nation and as a world - that of climate change and global warming!


The presidency is where the difference between a Democratic president and a Republican president becomes most clear, even when a Democratic president, such as Barack Obama faces intense hatred and hostility.

Think of what might have been if the duly elected president of the United States had been allowed to take office in 2000Al Gore won the popular vote!  But Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his cronies were able to game the system to such an extent that the matter went to the U.S. Supreme Court which handed the presidency to the loser, his brother, George W. Bush.  And what a loser he was.

If Al Gore had taken his rightful place in the Oval Office, we would not have gone to war with Iraq.  The billions of dollars wasted in that effort would have been put to much better use.  The thousands of our service men and women killed for no reason whatsoever, would still be here serving their country.  The many thousands maimed and forever damaged by that war might well be providing many much-needed services and enjoying life with families and children.  And the hundreds of thousands (some say millions) of Iraqis who lost their lives would still be alive to love and be loved.  We would have given no cause for offense in the Middle East which led to the rise of various terrorist groups.  And torture would not have become national policy!

If Al Gore had been president, the budget surplus left by President Clinton would likely still be intact.  There would have been no recession which has caused so much heartache for so many millions of Americans.  We would have reined in the vast illegal Wall Street conspiracies which devastated our economy.  And one of the most important issues - that of climate change - would have been faced and actions taken to mitigate the damage which is already upon us by rising seas.

Finally, if Al Gore had been president, we would not have a Supreme Court controlled by unrepentant oligarchs [appointed by George W. Bush] who bow, not to the Constitution, but to the rich and the powerful.  The rich and the powerful would not be able to buy elections as they do today.  It is reported that the Koch Brothers alone, through their various phony organizations, plan to spend over $800 million to get "their man" in the White House!  That would not have been possible if Al Gore had been president.


Jimmy Carter is, I think, basically a good man, although he has made some outrageous statements relative to Israel for which I think he should be ashamed and somehow do penance.  Israel is not now, nor has it ever been, an apartheid state.  He knows better!

But having said that, I must say that his latest word on the current situation in our nation is worth listening to and heeding.  Carter says outright we are no longer a democracy!  The average person in this country has no influence whatsoever.  We are run by the rich and the powerful.  We have become an oligarchy in which the very wealthy have gained control of our government on most every level.

Any further pretense of being a democratic country is futile.

Which makes this next election so damn important.  Just take a look at the 17 bozos riding in the Republican clown car.  There isn't one of them who should get anywhere near the Oval Office.  Not one of them is remotely qualified to be the president of the United States.

Hell, most of them aren't qualified to run a McDonalds!


Christian Apologetics: Hitler can't help you.

Chuck Norris vs. HIllary Clinton


Chuck Norris, that erstwhile action hero of movies and teevee, is a born-again Christian.  Maybe that's why he's full of hate and lies.

Mr. Norris is claiming that Hillary Clinton will win the election because she somehow will manage to engage in massive voter fraud.

That would be funny if it wasn't so sad.  And as they say, sometimes what a person complains about it exactly what that person is involved in doing.  When we talk about voter fraud, we think not of the Democratic Party.  We think of the Republican Party, which started a smear campaign claiming that voter fraud is an epidemic in this country and therefore we need stricter laws to keep the frauds from voting.

What they meant is that there were certain demographics that were voting for the Democrats.  So they invented voter fraud and passed a series of voter ID laws which were not meant to stop voter fraud but rather to stop certain people from voting:  Blacks and other minorities; the young and the old; all of which tend to vote Democratic.

Now, Norris probably knows all this which makes him not only a liar but a hypocrite and proves his religiosity is fraudulent and hell is just around the corner!


Friday, July 31, 2015

What's Happening - July 31?

If you haven't been to Disney World in Orlando for a few years, be prepared for sticker shock.

An adult ticket to just the Magic Kingdom for one day is now $105.  A child's ticked is $99.

It's a little cheaper at Epcot:  $97.  Yikes!


AOL does such a good job.  Not!  Here are the "local" news events according to AOL for my central Florida city:

The world's most dangerous countries for travelers:  Nigeria comes in first.  That's not surprising.  Colombia is way up there because of terrorism, crime and violence, although it is said to be improving and has lots of cheerleaders.  Other dangerous countries include Yemen, Pakistan, Venezuela and Brazil.

Stay home and watch TV.


Two gangs in the Los Angeles area are said to have started a contest.  The first gang to kill 100 people wins.  What the hell is going on here?  Civilization is not improving, we're going backwards, fast!

I can't help but wonder what part our movies and TV shows play in the killings (many of which are random) we read about every day.  I'm appalled when I see ads for movie after movie that features killing and violence and the same goes for TV shows.

In all these cases, the value of human life is pictured as nil.  Nothing.  That's got to have an impact on people - especially the young and those whose minds are already messed up.

Amorality is another issue often featured in TV sitcoms, "The Middle," and "Fresh Off the Boat,"and "The Goldbergs."  In each case the female lead has no morals, but will do just about anything to get her way.  That's not funny, that's sad.  It tells our kids that ethical behavior is of no consequence.


Police in Manhattan captured a 2-foot alligator wandering the city streets.  How it got there is anyone's guess.  Alligators can't live that far north.  Maybe it got tired of Florida and hitchhiked to New York.  Maybe it decided to retire in that great city.  Sounds good to me.  Florida has welcomed a lot of New York "animals," so we're glad to return the favor!


Some scientists in the UK are warning of a solar explosion event which would be catastrophic here on earth, disrupting satellite systems, bringing down airplanes, etc.  And we are woefully unprepared for such an event.

The thing is though, that the likelihood of this solar explosion hitting the earth is very small.  Back in 1859, something like that happened; it was called the Carrington Event.

There's a 1% chance of that happening again.  Do you think this might be more of a media event than anything else?


The other day, we mentioned the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil, the famous African lion.  There has been a tremendous backlash against the hapless dentist who did what some people think macho men are supposed to do - kill hapless animals.

There have been protests and he's had to shut down his practice.  Now PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has weighed in on the controversy.  This is from WRAP:

"Hunting is a coward's pastime," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement Wednesday. "If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged."

Whew.  Talk about an eye for an eye.  While I'm all for the ethical treatment of animals, I'm having a hard time distinguishing between Palmer's action and Newkirk's suggestion.  Perhaps she was using hyperbole to get across a point.  If not, then she's lost her case on moral grounds!


The City of Los Angeles has just outlawed the sale of high capacity gun magazines.  Yea!  Maybe we still have a few adults in leadership positions in this country who don't confuse their manhood with a gun.


A message for our hypocritical "pro-life" politicians:

"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

--Sister Joan Chittister
Benedictine Nun, Author, Speaker

h/t to Daily Kos


Saw a story yesterday about a group that put together a list of the 35 "best" sandwich shops in the U.S.  How the hell could they know that?  There must be a million sandwich shops or more across the country.

Well, they pulled names of places they already knew, invited some experts to give their opinions, divided the country up, disregarded chain shops, and voila! they came up with their 35 "best."

What a crock.  Their selections may be great sandwich shops, but don't try to claim they're the best in the entire country.  I've also found that food experts and I don't often agree.  Gourmet be gone!  Furthermore, sandwich shops can change from day to day.  One day their Philly Cheesesteaks may be phenomenal.  They next day you couldn't sell them in Miami!


From GrindTV: 

A massive Burmese python large enough to ingest deer and alligators was captured by a permitted python researcher in the Everglades National Park in Florida recently, CBS Miami reported Tuesday.

The python, found along a tram road at Shark Valley on July 9, measured a whooping 18 feet, 3 inches and was only five inches shy of the largest snake ever captured in Florida. An 18-foot, 8-inch Burmese Python was caught in Miami-Dade in 2013.

Read more at here.
Yikes!  Shark Valley is a national park about 20 miles west of Miami.  My wife and I have often ridden our bikes on that tram road - a 15 mile loop out into the Everglades and back.  One day we counted 150 alligators either in the road or on the side of the road or in the canal next to the road.  We've seen a number of deer also.
But we have never seen a Burmese python of any size.



 





















Thursday, July 30, 2015

If teachers were as important as sports' heroes

What's Happening - July 30


Berlin.  Funeral home.  Refrigeration room.  Screaming.  Woman, 92, who was declared dead in a nursing home, is alive and terrified.  A doctor declared her dead.  She was transported to the funeral home.  Can you imagine?  This is one of my nightmares.  I'm going to be declared dead although I'm not.  I wake up just as they're going to throw me into the furnace.  Aargh!


The British Army is waging war against rape amongst its service men and women.  The headline I saw called it a "controversial" campaign.  What?  The British Army shows pictures of people who were raped.  The British Army says consent is always necessary.  What the hell is controversial about that?  Maybe some think officers have the right to take any enlisted person they wish.  They are considered "superior," after all!


Have you seen these ghastly TV commercials about the dangers of smoking?  They show men and women with all sorts of horrible disfigurements; it's enough to make one gag.  I know smoking is one of the major causes of cancer, but it's unlikely that people will be so frightened by these commercials they will voluntarily quit.  You can't scare someone into heaven or out of hell.  The churches have been trying that for a couple of thousand years.  Hell, not even the clergy or Vatican officials let the fear of hell stop them from a variety of activities which have been labeled as mortal sins.


Here's some rich irony for you.  As everyone is aware, many, if not most of the Republicans in Congress either don't believe in climate change - specifically global warming - or they claim it's not caused by human activity so nothing can be done, or they do believe in it but refuse to act to stop it because their rich benefactors would be unhappy with them.

The irony is in a recent study which shows that Washington, D.C., is sinking and will be in grave danger in the future as the seas continue to rise!  Isn't that funny?  Maybe that's the "Poof" I mentioned yesterday?  I'm not sure of the timeline to doomsday, but as we have learned the scientists have been consistently wrong about how fast global warming is creating problems.  So, I'd recommend that every Congressperson have a kayak ready just in case they're caught having a late night in the office with an intern or other some such and need a way out of town.


Local news for my central Florida city from AOL:


Mark Rubio is really a scumbag.  His history is enough to make a decent person cringe.  I'm talking about his lies about how and when and why his family came to the U.S. from Cuba.

But his religious history is interesting, too.  As I recall, he was originally a Catholic, then jumped over to the Mormons, then a Baptist, and now I believe he's back in the Catholic fold.

You may recall Pope Francis saying something to the effect that Catholics should let up on the abortion, contraception crap and worry about feeding the hungry, taking care of the sick, visiting people in prison; you know things Jesus talked about.

Not Rubio.  He conflated the dentist lion killer with Planned Parenthood.  He tweeted:  "Look at all this outrage over a dead lion, but where is all the outrage over the planned parenthood dead babies."

Now, it has been shown clearly that that Planned Parenthood sting video was doctored and not legitimate.  It has been shown clearly that Planned Parenthood does not profit from fetuses but these fetuses are used, and have been used for years, for scientific purposes.

I'm guessing Rubio knows all that, too.  But he will do anything or say anything to get elected.  Maybe scumbag is too nice a word?


Just when you think you heard it all, another Republican decides to run for president.  The former guv of Virginia, Jim Gilmore, wants to reside in the Oval Office.  Why would he do that?  Who knows?  The guy is 65 years old.  It's time to retire.  If he's bored, go play golf, or swim the Atlantic, or climb Mt. Rushmore and weep about lost opportunities.

That's makes 17 nogoodniks running as fast as they can to catch the Repugnican nomination!


According to The Huffington Post, there have been 132 "pro-Confederate" flag rallies since nine black churchgoers were gunned down in Charleston, SC, on June 17.  Another 29 are currently being planned.

Which dumbass Supreme Court judge said race was no longer a problem in the US?


This also from The Huffington Post:  "Athletes competing in next year's Summer Olympics here [Rio de Janeiro] will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games..."

I'd recommend the athletes watch carefully the food they eat, also.  Maybe just drink beer.


Our final note:  If you tend to fart a lot in public, you might want to buy jeans from Shreddies, a United Kingdom company which has already sold fart-filling underwear.  Now they've got jeans and pajamas that will do the same thing.

Maybe we could get the Republican candidates to wear them:  most of what they say is indistinguishable from a really awful fart!

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    What's Happening on July 29?


    The Donald, appearing on Palin's MamaGrizzRadio, when asked if he had any ideas about a place in his administration for the dweeb from Wasilla, said if he was elected Prez he just might appoint Sarah Palin to some important office.  Don't laugh.  She could work at home keeping an eye on what's going on in Russia!


    You have to wonder what goes on in the minds of people who consistently vote Republican.  Compare the liberal, progressive state of Minnesota, under a Democratic governor, which is doing very well in almost every category, and is rated the number one state for business by CNBC, with the state of Wisconsin under the Republican Scott Walker, which has a tanking economy and is doing poorly in almost every category.

    The people who vote for these Republican clowns are like the person who has cancer and goes to the doctor saying "Give me more cancer!  Please!"


    Did you hear about the movement to put a woman on the $10 bill?  I guess this is a nod to the feministas, and that's a good thing.  But $10?  That's kind of an insult, don't you think?  Is that all a woman's worth, $10?  If we're serious about treating women as real people of value, let's move up to the $100 bill at least.  Or maybe back down to the $20.  And the reason is that $20 bills see a lot of action - more than $100 bills do - so if a woman's face was on the $20, more people would see it and probably want to make sure women get the same pay as men for equal work.


    The Republican Party is not only in disarray, but is disintegrating!  Good to see.  One example:  Rep. Mark Meadows, an ultra-conservative from North Carolina, has filed a resolution to "vacate the chair" held currently by Speaker of the House, John Boehner.  That's sort of like kicking your dad out of the house 'cause you disagree with him on how late you can stay out at night.  The resolution will probably not go anywhere but gives an idea how widespread right-wing nuttery is in our Congress.

    Hopefully, one of these days will see and hear a big "Poof!" and voila, the Congress will be emptied of Republicans and we can get back to some kind of normalcy.


    Have you ever seen a beer-guzzling Venezuelan?  If you get a chance anytime soon, grab it, as Venezuela may soon be faced with a shortage of beer.  There's some complicated economic reasons for this but it's quite serious as 400,000 jobs are involved.

    We have lots of beer in this country.  Maybe we could send them some?  We'd call it "foreign aid" and the government could write it off as a business transaction.


    This is from The Freethinker:

    EVANGELICAL pastor Valdeci Sobrino Picanto hit on a crafty way of getting blowjobs. He convinced his followers that his semen was “holy milk” and, according to one of his flock:
    He has convinced us that only God could come into our lives through our mouth and that’s why he would do what he did. Often, after worship, pastor Valdeci would take us to the where the funds were kept at the back of the Church and asked us to have oral sex with him until the Holy Spirit would come through ejaculation.
    Picanto said after his arrest that he intended sharing his sacred semen with fellow inmates.

    What a prick!


    Moving from low to high:  Gov. Christie, the grifter guv of New Jersey, vowed that when he becomes prez he will shut down all that Mary Juana stuff.

    From Mock, Paper, Scissors:

          “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” said Christie, a 2016 presidential candidate, during the town hall meeting in New Hampshire, according to Bloomberg. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”

    I don't think this is the best way to garner votes.  But maybe he smells something the rest of us don't smell.  He's from New Jersey, ya know. 


    Every once in awhile, I see a notice about "Candidly Nicole."  What the hell is that?  I checked it out.  It has to do with a Nicole Richie.  There are a series of videos where she talks, flirts, acts strange, funny, dumb...

    Who cares?  Why would something like this mess up our beautiful Internet?  

    Let me be very candid, Nicole:  Go get a job.  Get out of our faces.  Stop degrading the Internet.  If "Lost" comes back, please sign up.


    Lastly but not leastly the beastly John McCain has stuck his foot in it again.  He's called the agreement between the U.S. and Iran re nuclear weapons to be a "shopping spree."  What?  Poor John.  His head just ain't working too well anymore.  A shopping spree, Mr. McCain, is when you go to the mall and buy whatever the hell you want.  

    That doesn't sound very much like an agreement to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons, does it?

    Sad to say but I think you've gone from spry to spree.  Not a pretty picture! 

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    What's Happening?


    So what's with AOL these days?  You can be sure if the headline reads "The 10 Best New Cars" you'll get a long article about buying used cars.


    My "home town" is in north central Florida.  Here's a few items AOL provided as my "local" news:

         "Wisconsin Assembly approves Milwaukee Bucks arena deal
         "Orlando Predators defensive back took the long route to football
         "If USOC finds a new city, Boston debacle could be forgotten."


    Then there's this "news" item:  Seniors are looking for pot-friendly states in which to retire.  Really?  Like the most important factor for deciding where to retire for seniors is whether they can get legally high!  Sheesh!


    Did your hear that Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is very excited about Donald Trump's candidacy for the Oval Office?  Isn't it nice when billionaires cozy up to one another?  Trump, in turn, has said he likes Cuban's team.  I wonder if they get together for coffee just to reminisce about the many rungs on their respective ladders to success?


    The Arizona Cardinals just hired Jen Welter to be their coach - the first female coach in the NFL.  Can you imagine Ms. Welter running around the field during Cardinal training sessions, right in the middle of 300 pound behemoths?  What could go wrong?  And from what I've been reading in the media the past few years, some NFL players get their kicks beating up on women.  Be very careful, Ms. Welter!


    This was a big news item on AOL today.  Blake Shelton moved wife, Miranda's, "stuff" out to the front porch!  Holy Crap!  Are you as tired as I am of hearing about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's "He cheated, no she cheated" marriage problems?  Divorce already and shut up!


    Walter Palmer is a dentist from Minnesota.  He's also a killer.  He's killed big game all over the world.  It gives him a thrill.  And he does it legally with all the necessary permits and guides so everything is OK.  Not long ago he killed one of Africa's most famous lions, Cecil; with a bow and arrow.  Just for the hell of it.  Fun and games.  Hey, Walter, that lion was your cousin, you stupid jerk!


    Have you noticed that fruit is smaller this year?  I didn't think so.  But evidently that is the case, due in part to the ongoing drought in California.  Smaller fruit is sweeter, though, but that has not translated into bigger sales.  Evidently Americans like their fruit big, like their cars, houses, boobs and most everything else.  One good thing out of all this though, is there may be fewer fruitcakes given out next Xmas!


    Jon Stewart mocks Huck

    Sunday, July 26, 2015

    ODE TO YAHWEH (with 43alley)

    From the Sources - 3



    FTS 3

    We begin with a reminder for our fundamentalist Christian friends:  If you pick one verse from the Hebrew Bible and claim that whatever it says applies to us today, then you must give the same credence to all the other verses in the Hebrew Bible.

    The author of Leviticus, known to scholars as the Priestly writer, was very concerned with the minutia of daily life.  In the 11 chapter of the book of Leviticus, Moses and Aaron, after receiving the word from the Lord, specified to the people what they could eat and what they must abstain from eating.

    So far as "land animals: any animal that has true hoofs, with clefts through the hoofs, and that chews the cud--such you may eat.  The following, however, of those that either chew the cud or have true hoofs, you shall not eat:  the camel--although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you; the daman--although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you; the hare--although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you; and the swine--although it has true hoofs with the hoofs cleft through, it does not chew the cud: it is unclean for you.  You shall not eat of their flesh or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you."

    So far as sea creatures:  "you may eat of all that live in water: anything in water, whether in the seas or in the streams, that has fins and scales--these you may eat.  But anything in the seas or in the streams that has no fins or scales, among all the swarming things of the water and among all the other living creatures that are in the water--they are an abomination for you ... Everything in water that has no fins and scales shall be an abomination for you."

    The Priestly writer goes on and on describing all the "abominations" - creatures the Israelites cannot eat, including eagles, vultures, sea hawks, cormorants, pelicans, storks and herons of every kind.   Other abominations include the mole, the mouse, great lizards...lots of abominations! 

    The Lord God is holy and "you shall not make yourselves unclean through any swarming thing that moves upon the earth."

    [Note:  The quotations above are from The Jewish Study Bible - Tanakh Translation.]


    Summary:  Fundamentalist Christians argue that every word in the entire Bible is true and is valid and is from God and must be obeyed.  They obviously don't believe that as they certainly do not follow the dietary laws as spelled out in Leviticus 11

    They do like the word, "abomination," though, and use it frequently in regard to homosexuality, for as we shall see, the Lord thinks that not only is shrimp an abomination but so is same sex stuff.  What makes shrimp okay in the eyes of Christians and gayness not?  And if you're going to make homosexuals out to be "bad" guys (and gals) then you better do the same with shrimp eaters, and those who insist on bacon with their eggs!


    Let's now go back to the 5th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, written toward the end of the first century of the Christian Era by an unknown author.  The name, Matthew, was attached to the gospel, but no one knows who wrote it.

    In the 29th verse of the 5th chapter, Jesus is quoted as saying:  "If your right eye is your undoing, tear it out and fling it away; it is better for you to lose one part of your body than for the whole of it to be thrown into hell."  He also said to do the same with your right hand if that's giving you trouble.

    I know of nobody today who takes that literally.  Jesus, they argue (liberals and fundamentalists alike) was using hyperbole to get across a point.

    But then Jesus says "If a man divorces his wife for any cause other than unchastity he involves her in adultery; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

    Oh boy, the fundies and the Catholic hierarchs love that one.  How many people have been shunned or excommunicated because of adultery? 

    But why take this literally when you don't take the previous verses literally.  Jesus never says "I'm exaggerating for effect, you don't really have to pluck out your eye".  Maybe he was winking when talking about adultery and whoever wrote this book didn't see the wink?


    Matthew, chapter 6, has some delicious words directly from the Lord about hypocrisy which needs to be read and re-read and re-read by our pious politicians and pulpit pretenders and people who sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday.

    But that's for RTS 4.

    Texas Screws Some Texas Voters

    Texas is a proud state.  Ask most any Texan and they'll not hesitate to tell you how proud they are of their state and how lucky they are to live in Texas.

    Texans pride themselves on being fiercely independent and free.  Many of them, including most Texas politicos, say they don't need no guv'mint 'cause they can take care of themselves.  Yessiree, Bob!

    In fact, a former guv of Texas, by name of Pewy or Petry or Perry or somethin', once got so pissed at the U.S. Guv'mint for some reason he suggested maybe Texas ought to secede from the Union and start its own country.  When millions of non-Texans expressed the notion that was one hell of a good idea and would free up millions of dollars that Texas gets from the Federal Guv'mint which could be used by other, less independent states, Pewy or Petry or Perry, shut up pretty damn quick.

    Now, Texas may rank at the bottom of the barrel in just about every category you can name, but they're still proud as a longhorn steer on steroids!  Sure their job creation might look good on paper but it's mostly low-paying miserable jobs.  Educationally, Texas ranks way down low but they don't truck with that there evil evolution stuff and they teach that the Civil War was about "states' rights" and that Jefferson Davis was a true patriot - you know - the truth!

    And if'n you ain't a prosperous white person - well, Texas would rather y'all didn't vote.  That's 'cause the non-prosperous persons in Texas tend to vote for the minority party which happens to be the Democratic Party.  They've experienced the pain of living under  the Repugnicans.

    One of the things those good ol' boys in the state legislature have done is pass a voter ID law which very specifically targets minorities, the elderly, the infirm.  If you are one of the aforementioned and you want to vote, you're screwed!  Almost.

    This was to counter non-existent "voter fraud" they claimed.

    A funny thing happened a few days ago.  Jim Wright, a Democrat, and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, decided to go get hisself a voter ID card so that he could vote in the upcoming elections.

    Mr. Wright is 90 years old, but in pretty darn good shape.  So he went to the proper office and presented his ID cards in order to get his voter ID card.  He had a driver's license, but unfortunately it had expired.  I guess he doesn't drive much anymore.  He also had a Texas Christian University faculty ID, but for some reason that wasn't sufficient, either.

    So, Mr. Wright was turned away.  He said the folks who denied him a voter ID card were very nice, though, and he'll try to get the proper paperwork in order so that he can try again and maybe, just maybe, he can get it all taken care of before the elections.


    Now, let's say that you're an immigrant who isn't familiar with the language or with the ins and outs of bureaucracies, or maybe you're a minority working two or three low-income jobs to get enough to eat and you have very little time to spare and you go to the Voter ID place and they tell you that your identification is insufficient.  It is pretty reasonable to guess that you would not be treated with the same respect as the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, either.

    What do you do?

    Probably give it up as a bad idea and not vote.

    Which is precisely what the Texas legislature had in mind!  They politicians know you know the Repugnicans are out to screw you and that you would have voted Democratic!

    Is this a great country or what?  God's country!  Land of the free!  God bless America and God bless Texas!

    Aargh!

    h/t to Daily Kos

    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Racist Homophobe Buchanan to be on "Meet the Press"



    NBC has invited the homophobic racist, Pat Buchanan, to be a guest on "Meet the Press."

    Why?  A fan of Adolf Hitler is about as low as one can go.

    Chuck Todd is responsible.  And this is another example as to why Chuck Todd ought to be put out to pasture.  He's quite at home with bullshit.

    Fire Chuck Todd now.


    [Note:  Photo credit - mandroppings.blogspot.com]

    [h/t to Crooks & Liars] 

    Alan Grayson on Social Security and Medicare

    What follows is an email I received from Alan Grayson this morning.  I thought it was worth sharing and deeply wish that every senior in Florida could read it!  Especially those who are living on Social Security and Medicare but still somehow think those are bad things.



    By coincidence, the same day that Jeb Bush was caught saying that Medicare needs to be "phased out," I was on Fox News Radio with national host Alan Colmes, talking about Medicare and Social Security. Our discussion went quite differently, though. Listen to this specific blueprint for how to improve Medicare and Social Security:

    COLMES: I'm Alan Colmes. I'm always happy to welcome to our microphones Congressman Alan Grayson, representing Florida's 9th district in Congress, and now seeking the seat of Marco Rubio in the Senate. Mr. Grayson, thanks for coming on the program tonight.

    GRAYSON: Thanks for having me on. As one Alan to another, thank you very much. . . .

    COLMES: All right, let's talk about some serious issues here with Alan Grayson, who is seeking the Senate seat that is now controlled by Marco Rubio. What are your plans for Social Security and Medicare? Those are the things I know that are very important in your state of Florida and they're important nationally. It seems like those governors who expanded Medicaid coverage are the ones that are doing better by their constituency in terms of the ACA.

    GRAYSON: Well, it's very simple. Seniors deserve a raise. That's what it comes down to. Seniors have been cheated now for decades, because of the way we miscalculate these cost of living adjustments. They fall further and further behind every year. That has to change. We have to make up for some of the losses they have incurred just by remaining alive and living through these miscalculations, year after year and month after month. The [adjustments] should be calculated on the basis of what seniors are actually spending their money on and not on the basis of some skewed CPI thing that the government comes up with that has nothing to do with how seniors spend their money. Does it really matter how college tuition changes if you're a senior and you don't have a child in school and you're not in school? Does it really matter? Of course not. It's like the tree that falls in the forest and nobody hears it. Beyond that, Medicare also has to be expanded. We make a promise to seniors that we're going to take care of them and their health in their old age, and somehow we exclude their eyes, their ears, and their teeth.

    COLMES: Yeah.

    GRAYSON: That's never made any sense to me. It just doesn't make any sense. So I'm proposing three specific things in regard to seniors. First, expand Medicare to include eyes, ears, and teeth. Secondly, we expand the cost of living adjustment to be fair to them and to help to give them back some of what they've lost over the years. And third, we eliminate the double taxation of Social Security. You pay taxes on Social Security when you pay into the system, and then you pay taxes again when it pays out to you. And let me tell you something -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents, everyone's upset about that.

    COLMES: So does Social Security need to be saved? Is there a problem with it?

    GRAYSON: I have drafted a bill that makes Social Security solvent until the end of time.

    COLMES: Until the end of time?

    GRAYSON: Until the end of time, at least according to the people who actually evaluate these things on behalf of the government. It's very simple. We have to -- you've heard the term before - "scrap the cap." We scrap the cap, and make sure that everyone pays equal amounts of their income into the system. Not even a progressive amount, just an equal amount. We stop zeroing out people once they get to $125,000 of income each year. [That makes Social Security] solvent forever.

    COLMES: What about raising the [retirement] age?

    GRAYSON: My goodness, well what's the need for that? If we have a system that's solvent forever, why would we want to cheat seniors [that way]? People pay into the system for 40 years. Why would we want to change the rules?

    COLMES: Because people are living longer, you know. People are. Is 65 even a reasonable age at which people should retire at this point?

    GRAYSON: I would say so. I know plenty of seniors in Florida, and I will tell you that you reach a point when you simply can't work any longer. You can't work. You're too frail. Regardless of the fact that you're still alive, that doesn't mean that you can show up for work at 8 o'clock in the morning, and operate a pneumatic drill. There's plenty of work that seniors simply are [physically] unable to do. And, in fact, 1/3 of seniors get no income at all except for Social Security. So what are we going to do? Force those people to work until they die? . . . .

    COLMES: I appreciate your coming on the program. Obviously this will be a campaign we'll be watching, and I always appreciate your graciousness and goodwill to come on this show, Congressman Grayson, and I thank you for your time tonight.

    If you want someone who will be a champion not just for "preserving" Social Security and Medicare, but improving them, you've found one. Support our campaign today.

    Courage,

    Rep. Alan Grayson
    Candidate for the U.S. Senate

    From the Sources 2


    FTS 2 (From the Sources)

    The Israelites as described in the Hebrew book of Leviticus believed strongly that Yahweh desired, indeed demanded, sacrifice for the expiation of sins.  There are numerous rules for making such sacrifices in order to get back in the good graces of God.

    Here's an example, from Leviticus 5:

    If a person touches anything unclean, such as the dead body of an unclean animal, whether wild or domestic, or of an unclean reptile, or it he touches anything unclean in a man [not sure what that means] ... and it is concealed by him although he is aware of it , he shall incur guilt."

    "Unclean," in this passage, does not refer to physical dirt, but to a spiritual or ritual uncleanness.   In the Roman church today, it might reference something like missing Mass on Sunday morning, or dropping the Host out of your mouth.  In fundy Christian churches it could mean masturbation or failing to tithe.

    The point we're making is that in order to get back into harmony with Yahweh, the ancient Israelites had to offer a sacrifice, usually of a bull or goat or even two turtle doves or two young pigeons.  "[T]he priest shall make expiation for the sin the man has committed and it shall be forgiven him."

    Such a theology is best described as a sacrificial cult.


    In the book of Matthew - written a generation after Paul came on the scene, which means Paul never had access to it - Jesus is presented as one who insists on upholding the entire Law as laid down in the olden days.  But, he carries things much further!

    He does NOT say that he will become a human sacrifice which will save people from their sins if they just have "faith" in him.  

    He goes back to the Law and then way beyond.  Jesus is all about action, real action in the real world, not about ritual action in a temple.   One needs to change his life not his offering at an altar!

    From Matthew 5:21ff:  "You have learned that our forefathers were told, 'Do not commit murder; anyone who commits murder must be brought to judgement.'  But what I tell you is this:  Anyone who nurses anger against his brother must be brought to judgement.  If he abuses his brother he must answer for it to the court; if he sneers at him he will have to answer for it in the fires of hell. ...

    "If someone sues you, come to terms with him promptly while you are both on your way to court; otherwise he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the constable, and you will be put in jail. ...

    "You have learned that they were told, 'Do not commit adultery.'  But what I tell you is this:  If a man looks on a woman with a lustful eye, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ...

    "You have learned that they were told, 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.'  But what I tell you is this:  Do not set yourself against the man who wrongs you.  If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left.  If a man wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well.  If a man in authority makes you go one mile, go with him two. ...

    "You have learned that they were told, 'Love your neighbour, hate your enemy.'  But what I tell you is this:  Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors; only so can you be children of your heavenly Father, who makes the sun rise on good and bad alike, and sends the rain on the honest and the dishonest."


    Now, we're beginning to get an idea why Paul, the itinerant preacher, would not care much for what Jesus is reported to have done and said.  All of these passages blow Paul's theology out of the water.  The religion of Jesus had to do with acting in loving and responsible ways; going the extra mile; turning the other cheek.

    Those things are hard to do.  It's much easier to say "I accept Jesus into my heart," as the fundy's insist you must do to be saved; or to go to church and sing hymns of praise or to go to confession and admit you've sinned.

    You may remember the scene from "The Godfather," where a mafia family gathers in a church to witness a baptism of one of their own at the same time their orders to murder a rival are being carried out.

    Not that Paul was a murderer, but that is an explicit example of the difference between what Jesus taught and what Paul preached.


    Let's bring Jesus up-to-date.  How many self-described Christians these days follow his admonitions?  Christians in 2015, for the most part, totally ignore and thus deny what Jesus taught, betting all their chips on Paul's notion that one is saved by "faith." 

    One cannot expect that non-Christians follow the teachers of Jesus, but ask yourself if Ben Carson, a Seventh-Day Adventist and a pious man, or Rick Santorum, a strict Roman Catholic who thinks the Pope is walking the wrong road, or Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher who lies as a matter of course, etc., show any evidence they have read or heard of or remember or give a damn what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew.

    To claim to follow Jesus and then neglect to do so is, I believe, a powerful example of hypocrisy!

    Friday, July 24, 2015

    From the Sources



    Lots of people claim to believe the Bible.  Some even claim to have read it.   But most are ignorant of the different types of material in the Bible, when the various "books" were written, who wrote them, or what the Bible actually teaches.

    Everyone without exception, including those who read the Bible literally and believe the Bible contains no error of any kind and is God's unchanging word to the world, takes the bits and pieces from the Bible which suits them and ignores other bits and pieces which doesn't fit into their theology.

    "From the Sources" will be an occasional study in which we do little more than quote from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament; from the actual sources.

    You might be surprised.

    [Note:  Quotations are from The New English Bible]


    FTS 1

    Leviticus 3:12-17 - This section of Leviticus discusses how to deal with animals brought as sacrifices to the Lord.

    If a man brings a goat as an offering to be sacrificed to the Lord, the fat from the entrails, the two kidneys, and all the other fat must be burned as a pleasing odor to the Lord.

    v. 17 - “The priest shall burn this at the altar … All fat belongs to the Lord.  This is a rule for all time, from generation to generation wherever you live: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.”

    [Notice there’s no disclaimer about a later human sacrifice by a certain Jesus which would nullify this “rule for all time.”]

    So, you must obey if you care about pleasing God.


    Matthew 5:17ff - Jesus said, “Do not suppose [as St. Paul taught] that I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to complete.  I tell you this: so long as heaven and earth endure, not a letter, not a stroke, will disappear from the Law until all that must happen has happened.”

    That’s pretty clear.  Those who do not keep the entire law will, Jesus says, “have the lowest place in the kingdom of Heaven, whereas anyone who keeps the Law, and teaches others so, will stand high in the kingdom of Heaven."

    If you are a Christian, you must ask yourself if you’ve been keeping the Law.  And you cannot claim that Paul said his Christ superseded the Law and the Law was no longer in effect, because Paul, nothing more than an itinerant preacher, cannot nullify the teachings of Jesus, the Lord!


    We'll find another surprise as we go along.  Paul wrote several of the earliest books in the New Testament.  The Gospels were created a generation or more later.  Paul knows essentially nothing about Jesus' life and ministry and shows no interest in it.  Which is probably one reason there are so many contradictions between what Paul taught and what Jesus taught.  Of course, Paul never met Jesus and never knew him and the Gospels hadn't been written when he was wandering the Mediterranean  preaching about his "Christ," so he was at a disadvantage.

    Dinosaurs - Making a Comeback!



    In a potentially terrifying case of life imitating art, the renowned paleontologist who served as the inspiration for Jurassic Park protagonist Dr. Alan Grant is spearheading genetic research that could engineer dinosaurs back into existence within the next five to 10 years, he says. 

    While Dr. Jack Horner, who has consulted on all four Jurassic films, initially believed the key to recreating the prehistoric creatures lied in working with ancient DNA strands, further study about DNA degradation over time has since ruled out that possibility. 

    Instead, a group of scientists at Harvard and Yale have turned their eye to -- wait for it -- the modern-day chicken. “Of course, birds are dinosaurs," Horner told People magazine. "So we just need to fix them so they look a little more like a dinosaur."

    --The above is from Geoff Weiss, a writer at Entrepreneur.com.


    Well, I've got to pour a little water on this particular fire!  We don't need any more dinosaurs.  They supposedly went extinct eons ago.  What good would they be?

    Furthermore, if you've not been stranded on a desert island for the past 50 years, you know we have a political party that is comprised almost entirely of human dinosaurs.

    The halls of Congress are riddled with them.  Many state governors are parodies of them.  Dinosaur manure needs to be cleaned daily from our state legislatures!

    These dinosaurs are stubbornly stuck in the past, unwilling to see the light, incapable of intelligent discussion or legislation, and fervently worship an ancient god of sacrifice at the altar of mammon - money!

    To put it another way, they have, for the past 60-70 years, fought every progressive, humane, humanitarian, decent, worthwhile piece of legislation that has been proposed!  Fortunately, another party consisting primarily of non-dinosaurs, was able at times to pass laws that worked for the benefit of the common people in this country, and not the oligarchs.

    These contemporary dinosaurs, as you know, are called Republicans.  To get a sense of their spurious beliefs and their deadly ideas as to how to run the country, listen to any of the 16 wannabees running for president as they rise from the darkness and flay us with their threats.

    One example should suffice:  T'he dinosaur governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has just recently cut $200,000 of the state's budget which was supposed to go to the university system, and gave it to the owners of a Milwaukee sports team to build a stadium.

    Walker has said that if he's elected president, he will repeal Obamacare on his first day.  He can't do that, of course, but it plays well with the base still stuck in the tar sands.  He also said one of his first actions would be to nuke the deal with Iran.


    A final thought:  Perhaps dinosaurs recreated from chickens isn't such a bad idea.  They'd certainly have more common sense and discernment than the group of dinosaurs which currently defines the Repugnican Party!

    Sam Harris simply destroys Christianity

    Jesus: the cover-up

    RWW News: Robertson to Obama: Listen To 'Fellow Africans,' Ban Homosexau...


    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    A "Christian" Flag Flew Over An Alabama Police Station

    The town is Glencoe, Alabama.

    The city fathers thought it a good thing to fly, not just the U.S. flag and the Alabama state flag, but also the Christian flag over the town's police station.

    Well, yeah, there might be a few non-Christians in town, but who cares.  They have to understand this here's a Christian nation, and if they don't like it, they can move elsewhere!

    Except that is bullshit.  The U.S. is not a "Christian" nation and never was, in spite of the fact that a lot of so-called Christians live within its borders.

    Furthermore, the so-called "Christian" flag is a relatively recent invention.  It was first conceived on Long Island, New York, in 1897 and spread out from there.  Now, while many denominations use the flag, it really has very little meaning.   I'll bet that 99% of Christians could not even describe it correctly.

    Today, many churches have both the U.S. flag and the Christian flag placed usually in the front of the building or on the chancel/altar area.  I can understand the Christian flag but why the U.S. flag?  Their message is that God loves all people equally; that Jesus went to the cross so that ALL people all over the world could be saved through faith in him.  God's love is not limited to people in the United States.  That's the message they preach.

    Of course they don't believe that.  They just mouth the words.  We see that hypocrisy every day in every way in every community in this country.  And because they don't believe their own mission is precisely the reason they put the US flag in their churches; it's as if their lack of faith can be covered up by flying the country's flag.

    But the US flag has no place in a Christian church.  The only flag that should be flying in the chancel of a Christian church is the Christian flag and even that makes very little sense.

    I've always thought the Christian flag was kind of a joke.  Why do Christians need their own flag?  Are they marching to Pretoria, or to Jerusalem, or to Chicago?  Do they need a banner of their own to which they can pledge their allegiance.  Isn't their pledge of allegiance to their Christ enough?


    What happened in Glencoe, is that the atheist organization, Freedom from Religion, threatened to file suit arguing that the Christian flag does not belong on a city police station.  The town fathers caved rather quickly because, they said, they didn't have the money to defend themselves in a lawsuit.

    In that regard they were smart.  They doubtless realized they would lose.  The law is against them, the Constitution is against them.  And even if the good Christians of Glencoe came out in droves to protest this attack against their religion, their protests are to no avail.  Sorry, Charlie, but you can put the Christian flag in your homes, in your churches, in your vehicles, in your bathrooms, but it is not to wave over your city police station!

    And why do Christians do these stupid things?  Are they so unsure of their faith they have to fly a flag to prove they really believe?  Do they think God's gonna get 'em if they don't have the Christian flag flying over their police station?  Do they want to offend non-believers, the people they are supposed to be loving in order to win them for Jesus?

    None of it makes much sense to me.

    You can read more about the origins and development of the Christian flag here.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015

    Zach Johnson thanks Jesus for his Open victory

    I thought he was going to make it.  I really did.  He was humble, and polite and said all the things expected of the Open champ as he stood in front of the officials and the gallery at St. Andrews last Monday.

    It went down hill when he started thanking people.  And he thanked everybody.  He thanked his wife,  his caddie, all the folks at St. Andrews who worked so hard to pull off the tournament.  He thanked everyone who turned out to watch him win in a playoff and to all the people who ever had anything to do with golf since it was invented in Scotland.

    In other words, he went on and on and it was very nice.  But then as he wound down his remarks, he bowed his head meekly and said something to the effect that he wanted also to thank his Lord Jesus who gave him the strength to carry on to victory.


    Zach Johnson seems like a nice guy.  He certainly is a good golfer.  But he blew it for me when he pretended that God gave him the victory at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, a few years back and he blew it again with this paean to the legendary Jesus after his win at St. Andrews.

    Zach is a fundamentalist Christian and has been written up in the extreme Pentecostal Charisma magazine.  He has the right to believe anything he wants and I will defend his right to express his religious notions.  But, please, if the man really thinks there's some sort of deity, the god responsible for creating and running the universe, who gives a rat's ass as to who wins a golf tournament, even if it is the (British) Open, he's delusional.

    So, go ahead and keep playing golf, Zach, but please ask your Lord to keep you the hell away from political office!  We've got enough asshats in Congress and in other political offices who live under the delusion they have received the Word from their "god" to remake our country into some kind of fundamentalistic Christian theocracy!

    One final note:  There are a number of fundamentalist Christians on the PGA Tour.  I would think that if they agreed with Zach's notion that his Lord Jesus helped him win the tournament they'd be pretty pissed off.  Why didn't God help them win?  Is Zach so special?  Is he more pious than the rest of the Bible-thumpers?

    [Photo from http://www.thesandtrap.com]

    Quiz Show (Bible Contradictions)

    Flags and Treasonous Fathers

    The following is part of a longer essay which appeared on Daily Kos.  It was written by Joan Jacobsen who is a Civil War historian.


    Because of hurt feelings in the South, because of the “Lost Cause”-myth and because of the general American adulation of anything or anyone wearing a uniform … a cultural trait which honestly confounds and bewilders many non-Americans … the Confederate soldiers and leaders are considered heroes to this day. Great men who fought valiantly for a “Lost Cause”.

    But it is a lie.

    They were traitors to their nation. There is no other term that applies. I realize that they felt differently, and that for example Robert E. Lee felt saddened by the rebellion, while at the same time feeling that Virginia was his "country" and that he couldn't take up arms against it. But Virginia was not an independent country, nor was any other state. I find it difficult to believe that highly educated men like the Confederate leaders generally were, did not know the difference between a confederation of independent nations and a federation of states. The issue of "states rights" did not make each state an independent, autonomous nation. States rights simply gave each state a certain level of autonomy on some issues. Today, we'd call that kind of thing "home rule" and it is still in use in various parts of the world. It gives certain areas or territories, such as Greenland, which is formally a part of Denmark, the right to self-determination on certain internal affairs, although they are still subject to being overruled by the parliaments of the "mother country". The same thing went for the rebel states in 1861. They could make decisions on internal affairs, subject to being overruled by the federal government.

    This included the issue of slavery. While ostensibly an internal affair, a federal emancipation of the slaves would have overruled the legislation of the individual states.

    This was not only known to the state assemblies in the rebel states. It was precisely the reason why they seceded. Ergo, they acknowledged that states rights were superceded by federal legislation. It was never, as later Confederate apologists would have us believe, a matter of the federal government overreaching. The precise and exact reason why the rebel states seceded was because they knew they were subordinate to the federal government, and they wouldn't accept it.

    That makes their act of secession treason by definition.


    Please read the entire article here.