Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It just gets worse...

You know, I thought that Poland might be a nice, safe place for Romney to visit.

He got to visit the Polish PM, get endorsed by Lech Walesa, the former UNION BOSS who was instrumental in wresting Polish Independence from the Communist military dictatorship, and got to lay a wreath at the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  All nice, safe, wonderful photo ops for a guy that desperately needed something to show that he isn't a complete idiot on foreign affairs.

Until one of his staff told reporters to kiss his ass.

Really?  When you guys have been busy keeping the press away from your boss on a trip where he desperately needs good press, you're going to alienate the press?  I guess when the boss is an idiot, that kinda sets an example, doesn't it?

Oh, and I really like that picture of Romney cosying up to a foreign trade union boss.  Even if he was a past President and national hero, the man was, for years, a union boss!

I thought unions were persona non grata to Republicans.  I guess not when they shake his hand.

Monday, July 30, 2012

For once the English language doesn't have the words.

Ok, I've always been a guy that's always had something to say about just about any subject that pops up.  Ask my family & others who have known me.  I just don't shut up.

Hey, I blog, don't I?

But occasionally, there arises a news story that defies the English language.  I know that sounds trite, but this time, well, see for yourself:

In Largo, Florida, a man, Ronald Brown, employed by a Christian TV network, has been arrested in a plot to kill and eat a child from his Sunday school class.

Ok, take a deep breath, stop, and go back to re-read that sentence.

The main theme here: a plot to kill and eat a child.  Yes, you read that right.  No, it wasn't an article from The Onion, or any look-alike site.

The Tampa Bay Times has an incredible account on this developing story.

Now, please, let's not go off half cocked.   Neither I, nor any other atheist blogger I know, is going to suggest that his religion had anything to do with his fantasy plot.  People like that are just sick.  Truly, really, actually mentally ill.  Either that, or the human race is more screwed up than I have ever dreamed.

I cannot possibly discern the words that are sufficient to describe the sickness, the utter barbarity of the kind of thinking that had to go into this plot and the things this man and his friend had in store for one particular young boy.  Words, for once, escape me.  Even the thesaurus on my Mac is insufficient for the task.

There is, however, a further bit of madness to this story.  As the above noted, Ronald is employed by the Christian Television Network.  As of this writing, that network has refused any comment, and their scheduling still shows the puppet show he aired to be scheduled for future shows.

I know, we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but you'd think a statement perhaps suspending the shows until more information becomes available would be appropriate.

Apparently not.

Come on, folks, he plotted to kill children, and if that's not enough, then understand, (no matter how twisted and sick this is) he also plotted to eat this child for Easter!

Now, I know mental illness is an excuse if one is unable to tell right from wrong.  But for the management of that network to refuse to react as just about any other sane individual would is not excused by mental illness.

So, can we drop the idea that Christians are at some higher moral plane than other mortals?  Just this once?  Not because of Ronald, but because of the morons at the Network...

We'll draw our conclusions about Ronald when we have more information.

Now, as for those of you who live in the Tampa Bay Area, here are some organizations he was affiliated with:

Brown had ties to a wide array of children's programs in the Tampa Bay area. In addition to the Gulf Coast Church, officials for the Tampa Bay Rays, the Pinellas County School District, the Christian Television Network, the city of Largo and Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, among others, all said he had been hired or volunteered as a performer, instructor or mentor.

If you know anyone with kids who may have been associated with those organizations, they need to be aware of this and look at where or if their kids may have come in contact with this predator - he had child porn and may have molested kids at some time in the past.

Flip flopping like a fish, or another day in the Romney campaign!

You just knew it had to happen.   It had to.  Call it karma, fate, or just sheer stupidity, but it just had to happen.

Mitt flipped again.

No, not his lid, but his position.  He actually praised the Israeli health care system!  You know, that socialistic, evil, single payer health care system that the Israelis pay a mere 8% of GDP for?

After being FOR the Massachusetts health care bill (which he signed), then AGAINST the ACA (which Obama signed), now he's FOR the Israeli system!

He said, "Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent. .. You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more.”

Seriously?  Yeah, seriously, the benefits of this system are nothing short of huge. Israel has the fourth longest life expectancy on the planet and ranks favorably in every category one could check. Maybe the next time Mitt Romney is trying to hide his own venture into healthcare from voters, or dissing the ACA as socialism and a prelude to the end of America, some smart reporter can ask him if he thinks the Israelis are socialists, or if their healthcare plan will bring the tiny nation down in flames.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is this really a children's' story?

Those of us who grew up christian are familiar with the story of Noah's Ark.  40 days and 40 nights of rain, the flood, the Ark, animals being brought in two by two, etc.

Americans are often familiar with Bill Cosby's rendition of it, too:  Zooba, zooba, "Noah!"  "Huh?  Who's that?" ... "It's The Lord, Noah!" ... "Right!"

Lotsa laughs, wasn't it?

I remember thinking at some point about the fact that this meant that we would all be descendants of Noah, and how that made it awfully funny that so many people resulted from so few in such a short period of time, but then remembered that the Genesis story resulted from just two, so my child's brain just shrugged it off.

But, my adult brain eventually got all tangled up in it, especially once I got edu-ma-cated and realized that there has never been any evidence of a world-wide flood, so that little story just got relegated to the "fiction" column.

And I just kind of forgot about it for a while.

Then Chris Hallquist over at Freethought Blogs wrote a piece on it today on his blog, The Uncredible Hallq, entitled, Yeah, the Bible is not for children, and then it hit me:

This is a story about genocide!  Not just any old story about genocide, but a story about MASS genocide!  This is the fabrication of a story of a god who was so angry at humanity's not obeying HIS rules that he was willing to kill 99.99% of all life on this planet to reset things back to a more manageable number that he could apparently control.

Kinda sad, dontcha think, that the god of creation couldn't control more than a handful of people?  And that he had to kill so much vibrant life and destroy so much habitat for a redo?  Of course, another uncertain part is, what happened to the folks' souls who he killed?  Heaven, hell? Limbo?  

Oh, wait, I forgot, the Pope decided that limbo isn't there anymore... or maybe never was...

All of a sudden, this story isn't so funny any more.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

More Pictures! Some past Favs

Just to post a few of my favorite Pics.  Starting out in D.C., at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum:
(click to embiggen)

The two most feared weapons mankind has ever made, side by side.  Just twenty-five years ago, you'd have been shot in either the US or the USSR for standing this close to either of these, camera or no.

Sea gull over the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC

Jefferson Monument, Washington, DC

Cherry Trees along the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC

Washington Monument, Washington, DC

Tidal Basin, Washington, DC

Another shot of the Washington Monument, Washington, DC

Jefferson Monument from another angle

I think the Germans call this a Stein Pils.  It's poisonous.


Portland, Oregon

Spider in Tampa, Florida

Spoonbill in Tampa, Florida

Some kind of Egret in Tampa, Florida

Epcot Center, Disney World, Florida

Chick-fil-A and the First Amendment argument

There is a huge debate going on right now in this country over Chick-fil-A's announcement about their stance on gay marriage.  Supporters of gay marriage have criticized the company for their stance and the right wing has gone bonkers over the left's daring to open their mouths about it.  Two cities are openly trying to stop the company from expanding into their areas, and the blogosphere is going nuts.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from the right is, "How dare the left criticize Chick-fil-A?  That's just inappropriate!  The company has a first amendment right to believe what they want!"

One of the biggest complaints I hear on the left is, "How dare Chick-fil-A be this way?  That's just so wrong!  I'm never eating there again!"

Both attitudes are wrong.

First of all, the right is right - Chick-fil-A does have a right to believe what they want, and they can say whatever they wish about those beliefs.  Yes, the first amendment applies to companies, too.  Anyone who thinks they don't is just wrong.

Now that I've got that out of the way, let's deal with some lesser mentioned issues.

First, if anyone wants to boycott this company (or any other) based on that company's stated beliefs, they've a perfect right to do so, and nobody else has a right to tell them they don't.  You can criticize them for doing so, but you can't tell them they're wrong.  That position is an action taken based on an opinion, and people have a right to do that.

But much of the right's criticism of the left is based on a misunderstanding of where many on the left are coming from.  They aren't just boycotting Chick-fil-A for their stance, they're doing it because Chick-fil-A donates a ton of money to what many on the left feel are hate groups opposing gay marriage.

Again, that's a legitimate position to take, and it isn't unreasonable to choose to take your money and spend it at a company which is more aligned with your own beliefs.

If the right wingers want to then patronize Chick-fil-A to show their support, well then, go right ahead, that is as much their right as it is for the left to do the opposite.

Somehow, it'll all come out in the wash.  If Chick-fil-A wants to take the hit for taking an unpopular stance on something, they've got a right to do that.  It may not be a terribly smart thing to do, or it may turn out to be very smart, given all the free publicity they've managed to garner for themselves!

You just can't manage to pay for that much air time - ask Apple, they do it all the time!

I am similarly middle of the road on the two cities - Chicago and Boston - who are trying to keep the company from expanding there.

Cities have the right to approve or deny building and business permits for companies that want to do business in their jurisdictions.  It's how you manage your city and control what is there and where they are building what kinds of businesses.  Cities are government, true, and as governments, they cannot pre-censor speech.

But denying a company a permit based on speech is definitely unConstitutional.  I can't deny that.  On the other hand, citizens have a right to determine what kind of businesses set up in their cities.  If they lobby their government officials hard enough, those officials would be pretty dumb to  allow access to a business their constituents are dead set against.  Which puts them between a rock and a hard place.

On the other hand, a business would be particularly brain-dead by trying to set up in a town where they aren't wanted - you aren't likely to make much money there.

My money is on Chick-fil-A winning any lawsuits based on refusals in either city, though.  In my book, the Constitution trumps a majority opinion based on pure belief.

That's a protection for all of us, even if we don't like the other guy's opinions.  Especially if we don't like the other guy's opinions!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hey! One of the countries of my ancestors is doing the right thing!

Here I thought the New World was supposed to be ahead of the Old World on social issues, equality and such, but I guess I was wrong!

Scotland, from whence one of my ancestral families, the McEwens hailed, has announced that they are going to introduce a bill to make gay marriage legal!  Man, what a development!  I'd always seen Scotland as being kind of stuffy, conservative and stiff-necked.  (Well, besides being great distillers of  the nectar of the gods, Scotch!  ...and great fighters, and, well, I guess you can't be right about everything, can you?)

I am really stoked about that one!  Take that, bigots!

Alternet - shame on you!

On Alternet, in a new section called “Belief”, James Rohrer has penned a piece that just begs for an answer.  In it, he criticizes humanists’ tendency these days to criticize moderates in an article entitled, “Are Progressives Harming the Cause by Attacking Organized Religion and People of Faith?”
By itself, it is a decent question to ask, and one that has been brought up more than once in various forums I’ve been involved in, including a discussion group I host monthly in my home.  But his article is so filled with common misconceptions about humanists and atheists and some even more common defenses of religion that it simply  has to be answered, and the various problems dealt with.
His opening comparison of himself and his brother as unstereotypical examples of their respective belief systems is all well and good, so far as it goes.  No generalization is worth a damn, including this one, of course, or so it was once said.  They can be useful in some limited ways, but, yes, point taken.
But one of the ways it IS useful is in seeing how a particular group of people mostly think.  Mostly.  And given that understanding, one can, and people do, use those generalizations to have a conversation about those ways of thinking.
Which is what we are having.
First, his title talks about “humanists”, but then, in the article, he uses the terms “humanist” and “progressives”, as if he has a problem with the word “atheist”.  This is dishonest, because he is talking about atheists.  By and large, we are the ones doing the attacking of religion and people of faith.  Humanism is just one of the many belief systems that atheists sometimes embrace, and as he notes about his own brother, not all of them do.  Not all, as he notes, are progressives, either - which is not necessarily synonymous with humanism.  Close, but no banana!
The next problem is this:
“Lately the progressive blogosphere has been filled with pieces by humanists who apparently take for granted that religious faith is unhealthy for individuals and society…”
“Just as “liberal” and “socialist” are code words for “un-American radicals” in the weird world of Fox News, sometimes it seems that “religion” and (especially) “Christian” are code words for “twisted sociopaths” or “patriarchal fascists” in the otherwise generally saner world of progressive journalism.”
No.  We don’t “take it for granted”.   We have, lovingly and at great length, proven how religion is harmful, with well over two thousand years of evidence written in their own sacred book!  Not to mention the entirety of Western European history.
I suppose I should grateful that someone is finally granting the world of the blogosphere the status of Journalism, but no, most blogs I’ve read do not use those words as “code words”.  We do at times call theists those epithets, yes, because many of them exhibit the symptoms of those conditions, but seldom do we make such a generalization.  Commenters sometimes do, but not the bloggers I read.  (Well, ok, maybe PZ Myers fits his description here, but, hey, the world is a big place, and infinity is a long time, I suppose someone had to fit…)
Now this:
“It is simply false that all (or even most) people of sincere faith—including those who are conservative in their religious commitments—are intrinsically irrational, anti-social, patriarchal, racist, or closed to meaningful dialogue.”
No, it isn’t (well, granted that “all” thing - maybe).  If you think, in this modern time, with as much as we know about science and the universe, that a man  2,000 years ago was tortured to death, buried and was subsequently revived and sent to some supernatural place - and people today can say a few magic words over wine and unleavened bread, whereupon it turns into his blood and body (ok, this part isn't "all"), then you are being irrational.  These are early Iron Age beliefs, born from Bronze Age superstitions, cobbled together by unknown authors for unknown purposes, and we know too much about the way the natural universe works to take any of it seriously.  (So, in that sense, “all” is correct.)
The problem with people today believing this bunk is that the book from which they get it is rife with Bronze Age values - including slavery, genocide, rape, infanticide, misogyny and feudal authoritarianism, much of which is, believe it or not, actually defended by some of the worst of the right wing religious leaders! (patriarchal, racist)   And that is not to mention the hatred of gays that is still being used by much of the religious community to struggle against equal marriage rights in conversations which deny a growing consensus in this society (anti-social) in ways that refuse to even admit their opponents might have a point. (closed to meaningful dialog.)
I am sorry, but any religion which causes a significant percentage of the American people to continue to support such ancient and now discarded values is a danger to this country, and the supposedly progressive mainline churches that support that religion by continuing to tout that book as sacred are giving those extremists the excuse to continue. (See my earlier posts about cherry-picking.)  Additionally, his contention that Christianity is going to be around in the future is not very credible either.  Especially the mainline progressive denominations are losing members at a rapid rate, and overall, christianity isn’t keeping up with the rise in US population.  That rate of decline is rapid enough that by 2050, fewer than 15% of the US population will call themselves by that description.  The fact is that even today, Christianity is not a majority in this country,  It is loud, but its political clout is due to two hundred plus years of organizing and collecting money, not to sheer numbers.
Which is why his statement:
“There is no conceivable progressive future—for America or the globe –that does not embrace people of diverse religious faiths.”
makes no sense.  Certainly, religion in other countries, especially the third world poor ones, will continue on that path for a while.  But as American history shows, a better education results in a lower incidence of religiosity.  Religion will not, if technology and science continue to progress in the future, be around forever.
More and more Americans now are describing themselves as secular, as not religious.  That doesn’t mean they are atheists, no.  But it certainly takes them out of the realm of the religious and puts them into a category where they will increasingly use science and reasoned argument to help drive the political conversation in this country.  The secular movement is growing at an increasing rate.  Soon, the numbers and, more importantly, the money, will be available to affect that conversation.  Already, we outnumber the members of the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other minor religions, all rolled up together!  We just aren’t organized.  But we are getting there, which is why the media is paying a growing amount of attention to us.
A number of people in the atheist movement have continued to say that our movement is too militant, just as this fellow does.  But, I think, even more are fighting that impression, with the point that since our audience is a widely diverse one, so should be the approaches we take.  We should tailor the message to the audience.
If Rohrer’s students are shocked by what they read on Alternet, then they should get out more and stop watching so much Fox News.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I shouldn't rejoice, but I do.

My mother, bless her heart, tried to teach me better.  She tried to teach me never to be happy at the misfortunes of another.  I've tried, FSM knows I've tried.

But there comes a time when the actions of that other, and everything he represents, are so despicable, so very evil, that I just can't prevent myself from cracking a smile when I hear that a Catholic official, a Monsignor, charged with aiding and abetting the child molestation activities of a priest under his supervision, has been sentenced to serve actual, real time in prison!

Now, I'm not going to pretend to be happy at the length of time.  It should be longer, much longer.  Because of this man, at least one priest continued his activities for years, exposing multiple victims to the kind of depredation no child should endure.  There may have been more, but I suppose we should be satisfied with the one we got, given the way the justice system works.

Monsignor William Lynn was his name, and may it live in infamy for the rest of his life.  May he hang his head in shame, not only for the terrible things he allowed another man to do to innocent children, but for the way he continued the evil activities his church has visited upon the innocent for, literally, centuries, for the manner in which he not only condoned those activities, but for the way in which he participated in them and perpetuated them.

Do not try to come here and explain away his "sins" by telling me this was the action of one man, or that his activities were not condoned by his superiors.  They were - they were not only condoned by those superiors, but were mandated by them, in writing, in the latin those superiors have used for centuries to hide their crimes and their perfidy from prying eyes.  Mandated, in fact, by the very man who sits in Rome in his spotless white robes, pretending to know the mind of his sky fairy god and calls himself Pope, and pretends to be a moral example and counselor for the world's Catholic faithful.

These actions were the policy - the written policy - of the Catholic hierarchy, by choice, to avoid scandal from touching the church rather than protecting the innocents who depended on them for protection.  Protection which was never extended or provided.

I am sorry if my words offend, or if they anger.

But your offense and anger should be directed towards those who molest children, and toward those who enable that molestation by hiding and covering that molestation from the eyes of the world.  Not toward those who would expose that coverup, or those like me, who would spread the news.

Today, another man is on trial, who is accused of molesting children, for decades, at Penn State, under cover of his employment as an athletic official at that school.

May this conviction and sentencing be a warning to those at Penn State who enabled Sandusky's activities by failing to stop him, whose guilt is separated from Monsignor William Lynn's (and that of his superiors) only by dint of scale.

May it be a warning to those who supervise other people who have access to children, those who have the power to stop these kinds of crimes from happening, or who can stop further crimes by reporting them to the proper authorities.

Be warned - society will no longer just nod and wink at your perfidy, at your crimes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fourteen possible illegal aliens die in truck crash.

In the south of the State of Texas, a truck packed with up to 28 people ran off the road into the woods, crashing into trees, throwing people off the truck and killing 14 of them.

Police say that more than likely, they were illegals, as the truck had just crossed over from Mexico.

(Huh?  Since when did ICE let a truck packed with 28 illegals enter the US?)

Well, I guess they could have picked them up at the side of the road inside the US, but if coyotes had already gotten them past the border guard, why then pick them up?  This is probably more complicated then it seems at first.

If ever there was a poster picture for changing immigration law, this is it.  When people are desperate enough to not only risk their lives crossing the border through desert in the high summer in Texas, and then are willing to pack 28 people deep into a pickup truck that isn't designed to carry more then three people safely, there is a reason why.

All it takes is a guest worker program.  Specify that workers entering under this program are not allowed to apply for citizenship unless they return to their home country for six months or longer and apply for entry under the regular immigration program, if that is your big worry.  Hell, you can even lobby for a Constitutional amendment to not allow their kids to be American citizens if you are worried about that, too.  Even better, create another program as well, for Mexicans willing to live in Mexico and work across the border in Texas border towns.  Then you've got few worries about anchor babies, anyway.

But damn it, change the stupid law!  We can argue till the cows come home about the rules and regulations to govern such a program, but dang it, this kind of thing should shout out that it is needed, and needed badly.

Another thing the Republicans are wrong about.

Thoughts on Penn State

I am sure a lot of folks are mad about the harsh penalties dealt to Penn State over Joe Paterno (and Penn State officials') ignoring and covering up the child abuse activities of the "beloved" Sandusky.


They are lucky they didn't get tossed out of the NCAA completely.  If I'd been in charge over there, I'd have kicked them out and dusted off my hands before going back to work.

Why?  Because Joe Paterno & Co. broke the law.  They knew about the activities of a child molester, did nothing about it and continued to allow the man access to more children.  I hope every surviving mother trucker over there gets charged with contributing to Sandusky's molestations of children and get tossed into the slammer in the cell right next door.

They deserve it.  The only thing that differentiates this from the Catholic Church scandal is that the church has been at it for far longer and with far more abusers.  In other words, it's a matter of scale.  The principles are exactly the same, the actions were the same, so the results...wait, you mean we don't have any similar way to sanction the RCC?

Life sucks, big time.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Gun Nuts Strike Again.

Let me first set the record straight.  I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment and also think that the SCOTUS was correct about individual ownership of firearms.

That said, what happened in Aurora, Colorado early this morning was a horrible thing, and has to be the furthest thing from any of the Founders' minds when they penned that Amendment.

The thing about this conundrum is that yes, the Founders did indeed intend to allow Americans to own firearms, and I think the right wingers are right that the purpose was to allow us to be able to resist an oppressive government.  After all, they'd just finished doing just that, and it had to be fresh on their minds, as many of them were strong opponents of strong central governments.  These facts are well documented.


I also doubt that the Founders imagined anything like automatic weapons, machine guns, tanks, anti-aircraft missiles (or the aircraft they are designed to destroy) or any of the other weapons of mass destruction we have at our disposal today.  I'd like to think that they'd have rethought that amendment had they known.

But they did give us the wherewithal to amend that Amendment, in recognition that times change, people change and technology marches on.

And I think it is time to rethink the Second Amendment.  I don't pretend to know how, but something must be done.

And no, I don't think it was because our country is any less religious than in the past!

French Toast


2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar or honey
1/4 Cup milk or half and half
Cinnamon Sugar

Cooking Instructions

Take beaten eggs, add salt, sugar or honey, and milk. Pour into shallow dish. Cover the surface with Cinnamon sugar and place a slice of bread into the batter. Cover the top of the bread with more Cinnamon sugar, then turn it over, making sure the bread is completely covered by batter, even the sides.

Place the battered bread into a skillet in which you have at least 3/4 inch of hot oil (I use canola) and cook until medium to dark brown and crisp. Remove and blot onto paper towels to remove excess oil. Repeat for the remaining slices of bread.

Serve with butter and some form of syrup, jam or jelly or perhaps a compote.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

George Zimmerman, pious idiot

George Zimmerman, the wing nut who is accused of killing Travon Martin, has done it again.

Yesterday, he was interviewed by Hannity, and boy howdy, did he step in it as far as I'm concerned.  Not only did he not express any remorse for killing the 17 year old, but he isn't sorry he got out of his truck, and he's not sorry he was packing heat.

But he does think that what happened that day was "god's will".  (Personally, I think that statement is god swill, but then, who am I, right?)

This why his lawyers should be disbarred, or should at least quit over having an out of control client.  No person accused of a felony should ever be allowed anywhere near a camera before the trial, otherwise, they'll say stupid things that would hang them if they answered that way in court.  That's because those stupid things will hang him in court, because the subpoena for that footage is on the DA's desk right now awaiting his signature so it can be served on Hannity's network.

To top it off, he managed to just royally piss off Barbara Walters, by refusing to do an interview with her, after his lawyers promised her an interview if she flew down to Florida with a camera team.  Apparently, he set some condition (which Barbara refused to name) which her network has a policy of refusing to meet, so he refused to do her interview.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Then again, he did get out of that truck, against the dispatcher's advice, didn't he?

Hot? You ain't seen nuthin!

On the night of July 11-12, the LOW temperature set a record high in Death Valley. It was the highest overnight low at - get this - 107 degrees! And that was after a day where temps topped out at 128 degrees!

I'm going to have a nice, iced soda now, thankyouverymuch!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Republican War on Women

It has come to my attention that some people still can't understand what the war on women is all about.

Let me show you!

The ACLU has a page with links to stories about it.

Think Progress has a story that explains the term and why it is being used.

Stopthewaronwomen.com has a web site devoted to the subject.

The Daily Kos has an entire page of even more links to stories about it.

The blog XX Factor at Slate Mag has a really good piece today about the insanity of Republicans' continuing this insane nonsense of pushing anti-contraception policies that have been shown to be hugely unpopular time and time again.

Now, I am sure that some anonymous commenter will make the observation - perfectly correct - that all of these links are to sites which are of a leftward persuasion in the political spectrum.

That's because everybody on the right is either too scared to say anything or just flat agrees with the insanity.

Why is it insane?  Because 98% of American women have used contraceptives at some point in their lives.  Because if you don't like abortion, contraceptives should be at the top of the list of things you'd like to see American women using!  Because every legislative initiative put forward by Republicans this year have been to either restrict women's rights medically, force unwanted medical procedures on them at their own cost or to limit, restrict or outright eliminate benefits for women and children (at least once the kids are out of momma's womb)!

Do I really have to go on?  Coming from a Party whose main value is individual freedom from overwhelming government intrusion, all of this is simply insane.  It gets even more insane when one notices that none of these have ever been successful at other times and have in fact proven to be quite unpopular.  Come on, even Mississippi voted down that stupid amendment to declare life to be protected at conception.

Just how much proof do you need that you're backing a losing horse?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Just some thoughts.

Rambling thoughts.

This election season is depressing.  How is it that so many people, middle class to working class, can be so mislead by a small, wealthy clique whose only wish is to accumulate as much of those people's money as possible?  I mean, come on, these people can't be stupid, right?  They hold jobs, they function in society on a daily basis, they've learned to read, write and do arithmetic, or at least they should have.

So why can't they see through the antics of the Republican leadership?  Why can't they see the harm the Republican leadership's policies will do to their own retirements?  How can they defend and solicit the election of men who openly and blatantly push policies that would push UP the taxes for the middle and working classes while lowering their own taxes?


Why is it that the right wing keeps calling Obama a socialist?  Given the narrow right/centrist band of the political conversation in this country, the right wing couldn't see a real socialist with a 5 meter telescope!


Have you ever read anything by David Barton, author of the new and aptly-named book The Jefferson Lies?  The man is a religious apologist who writes supposedly "historical" books purporting to prove that America was founded as a theocracy.  The man is an absolute fool.

Go read Ed Brayton, author of the blog "Dispatches from the Culture Wars", who has written another post slapping Barton upside the head - again.  Go read it, it's good for a few laughs - Barton's stuff, that is.  Ed's is good.


Please, Mitt - PLEASE!  Please pick somebody like that moron in Florida!  (Oh, which one?  Take your pick!)  I could use some laughs this year...


Hear a good one in a comment on FreeThought Blogs today:  "Don't read the lower half of the Internet." - referring to the comment sections on YouTube!


"Ok, so I danced like no one was watching.  My court date is pending..."


If Romney is so proud of what he accomplished at Bain Capital, why doesn't he defend the practices and admit his company engaged in them?


In that same vein, why is it that right wingers so often try to hide the things they want to do behind misleading titles and in the midst of unrelated bills?  Why did they run in 2010 on the mantra "jobs, jobs, jobs" and then turn around and start a war on women's health, abortion and gays?


"If a man talks of his honor, make him pay cash."  Robert Heinlein.

"Never appeal to a man's better nature - he may not have one.  Instead, appeal to his self interest, you'll have more leverage."  Also Robert Heinlein


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Right Wing Smear Machine Strikes Again!

The right wing is passing this photo around Facebook:

My answer to the poster was this:

You didn't get to hear what he was talking about. The right wing smear machine just copied what they WANTED you to hear. What he said just before that was that business is successful in America, not ONLY because of individual hard work, but because the infrastructure, the roads, the air traffic control system, the safe environment that allows business to operate safely without political instability, wasn't built by the small business owner. It was built by Americans who banded together, built a government to ensure that those things are there for the GENERAL WELFARE. 
Remember that phrase from the Declaration of Independence? This is what that means, and THAT is what Obama was talking about.  
It's what the right wing smear machine doesn't want you to know. I know it because I heard that part of the speech. You didn't because the right wing smear machine cut it off so you wouldn't. 
Maybe if you stopped listening to Fox News, you'd be better informed.

The right wing is getting desperate when they've got to lie.  Of course, they've been lying like this for quite a while, so their desperation isn't new.  It's just getting worse.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recipe! Savory Corn Creme Brulee

Savory Corn Creme Brulee

Added by Donna @ apron strings on September 14, 2011 in SidesVegetables
Prep Time 
Cook Time 
Servings 6Difficulty Intermediate


  • 3 ears Corn
  • 2 cups Cream
  • 3 whole Large Eggs
  • 2 whole Large Egg Yolks
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 dash Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cut kernels off cobs. Heat cream to a boil, add kernels and then turn off heat and let corn steep for 10 minutes. Blend in a blender until corn is pureed. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Discard pulp remaining in strainer.
Whisk eggs and yolks and then add a little of the cream mixture at a time, tempering the eggs. Stir in pepper sauce.
Pour mixture into 6 buttered one-cup ramekins.
Bake for 30 minutes, until set in centers. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
Sprinkle cheese on the tops in a thin layer. Using a kitchen torch or broiler, toast the cheese on tops until golden brown.

Notes (from me):

Use fresh corn, much better flavor.
Needs more spicy flavor - not enough in the recipe.
Also, it came out almost sweet - needs a more salty zing to counteract that.  Maybe mix the cheese in the recipe then put a butter/bread crumb mix on top?

Maybe spray ramekins for easier removal?  (Cools too slow without being removed.)

Let me know what you think!