Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

.

.
cartoon via Dem.Underground

Thursday, February 28, 2013

This is What the Gobshites* Are Saying



Bob Woodward, Demonstrable Liar


UPDATE BELOW:


*GOBSHITES:  h/t Charlie Pierce


Bob Woodward went on CNN last night and claimed the White House "threatened" him for his reporting on who was responsible for the sequester mess.

Below are the emails in question that had CNN and other cable news outlets' knickers in a bunch.  Plus, these emails show what a dissembler Bob Woodward is, since in the reply email to Sperling, he accepts an apology and says absolutely nothing about being bullied or warned or threatened in any way whatsoever.  Anyone with half a brain can see what Sperling meant when he wrote "...as a friend I think you will regret staking out that claim..."  Clearly Sperling means that Woodward will regret the MISTAKE of writing something that is NOT TRUE.

Woodward is kind of a large worm, and the cable news outlets that reported this non-issue without actually, y'know, READING the context of the emails, are beneath contempt.  But that's the world we live in today.  A supposedly respected journalist and writer went crying to a cable news station over something that didn't happen.  And here's the proof:


via daily kos:

Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the president:


Bob: I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. 

But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. 


The full email is here. 

Woodward's response:

Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob 


daily kos:  "So not only was Sperling's email heavier on the apology than on the threats (more specifically, there was an apology, but not a threat), Woodward clearly interpreted it as such. Indeed, he said he "welcomed it." 

But then he went running to other media outlets to claim he was the target of a White House political attack. 

The first of those outlets, Politico, failed to report the "as a friend" portion of Sperling's email, nor did they mention Woodward's cheerful reply. 

CNN was breathlessly intrigued as well. The net result was that there was a political hit job going on: but it was Woodward who was leading it. 

Oh, and you know what else? Woodward was wrong. 


UPDATE:

‎"Any reporter or spokesperson sees more hostile language on a near-daily basis and doesn’t bat an eyelash. “If this is it, I think many reporters — and I covered the White House for four years — received emails like this,” said Bret Baier of Fox News, a network that has been one of Woodward’s strongest defenders in recent days. “I’m not sure that characterizing it as a threat — I think Bob Woodward has a little bit of explaining to do about that characterization.” 

 “I get emails like this almost every hour, whether it’s from the White House or the Hill,” said NBC’s Chuck Todd. 

 The important question becomes this: If Woodward, who has generated best-seller after best-seller over many decades based heavily on anonymous sources, can’t accurately convey a conversation with an email trail, should we trust the anonymous sources in the rest of his reporting?"


Then comes this tweet from the dimwit, Dana Perino, who, when she was press secretary to GWB, admitted in a press conference that she had never heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Where do they get these people?

 Dana Perino:  "Somewhere in Moscow tonight, Vladimir Putin saw that Bob Woodward was sent a threatening message from the White House...and he smiled. — @DanaPerino via Twitter for iPhone "

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More State Rankings in Health, Education, and Well-Being


This post continues with more research on states that rank the highest and lowest in health, education, a sense of well-being, and success for their citizens.  Again, the pattern shows that, overall, the states that embrace traditionally liberal politics and policies have the healthiest, better educated, and happiest citizens. 



From Health.com


On its own, where you live isn't enough to make you depressed. Personal circumstances and genes also play an important role in mental health, so an area that feels like a downer to one person may be home sweet home to another. 

That said, mental distress is unusually and persistently common in some states, whether due to economic troubles, lack of access to health care, or other factors. 

Using data from federal health agencies, Health.com has identified the 10 states with the highest rates of depression, psychological distress, and other indicators of poor mental health. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Arkansas

Indiana

Kentucky

Michigan

Mississippi

Missouri

Nevada

Oklahoma

Tennessee

West Virginia


Ten states that consume too much fast food:

Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, West Virginia.



The healthiest states, and the unhealthiest states:

"An alarming proportion of Americans are living with chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, and many are also struggling with unhealthy factors—ranging from poverty to air pollution—in their communities. 

The likelihood of experiencing these and other problems varies widely depending on where you live, however. The latest state-by-state health rankings, published by a group of nonprofit, business, and professional organizations, reveal some familiar trends: 

The healthiest states in the nation tend to be found in the Northeast, while the least healthy are clustered in the Deep South and Appalachia. Vermont was again named the healthiest state—a spot it has occupied for six straight years, thanks in part to its low rates of infectious disease, high rates of insurance coverage, and ample supply of primary care physicians. 

Rounding out the top five were Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. (View the complete list.) 


At the other end of the scale, Mississippi and Louisiana tied for last place. Both states have been among the bottom three since these rankings were first compiled, in 1990. Factors contributing to their perennial low ranking include high rates of obesity and diabetes and a large proportion of children living in poverty."

The Ten Best Educated States:


  1. Massachusetts
  2. Maryland
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Vermont
  6. New Jersey
  7. Virginia
  8. New Hampshire
  9. New York
  10. Minnesota


  1. West Virginia
  2. Mississippi
  3. Arkansas
  4. Kentucky
  5. Louisiana
  6. Alabama
  7. Nevada
  8. Indiana
  9. Tennessee
  10. Oklahoma

Monday, February 25, 2013

Massachusetts vs. Louisiana

It is difficult NOT to make this a conservative vs. liberal policy comparison in this two-state illustration.  

I live in Massachusetts and have heard my state vilified by conservatives [most of whom don't know what they're talking about when it comes to Massachusetts and its successes] but these statistics tell a very, very interesting story, and it's not flattering to the conservative ideology, which appears to be one that fails its constituents:




David Gregory on Meet the Press:


"Here are some statistics, state to state, Massachusetts to Louisiana that reflect more services less taxes and the different results. 


  • Massachusetts has a bigger population.  
  • The high school graduation rate is much higher in Massachusetts. 
  • The median income is about $20,000 higher. 
  • The percentage of population without healthcare insurance much higher in Louisiana. 
  • The percentage of the population on food stamps much higher in Louisiana. 


So, do results break along some of the ideological and philosophical lines concerning taxes and the amount of government services?"

See the video HERE.

"Meet the Press's David Gregory makes it a question even though the above-mentioned facts prove liberal policies that are humane and balanced intrinsically effect a better educated and a more prosperous populace. 

Conversely, the touted Republican policies that have had free rein in Louisiana, a state blessed with an abundance of oil and other hydrocarbons, the Mississippi River, agriculture, and a large segment of the petrochemical industry, continue to lag in all metrics that matter to the middle class. 

This is not an isolated comparison of one state to another. The ten poorest states in our country are Red States. Moreover, Red States are mostly welfare states as they receive more from the federal government than they pay in. 

That the media does not cover this fact is a disservice to the entire American population. If America knew what policies worked throughout the nation it would be impossible for the GOP to continue to hold middle class policies hostage to a failed ideology."  h/t daily kos


Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Tea Party: Fighting for Your Right...

to ride manatees! 

You gotta fight for your right to ride manatees!

(O crikey!  You can't make this sort of squirrelly stuff up!)

Manatee riders, unite!  The Tea Party has your---um I mean the manatees'---back?






But wait!  There's more:    Lunacy in America:Parents Sue School For Making Children ‘Religious Guinea Pigs’ — By Teaching Them Yoga 


Oklahoma Wants To Ban Birth Control Pill Because It ‘Poisons’ Women



 

YOUR MODERN REPUBLICAN PARTY


From Right Wing Watch:

Gun Activists Warn Obama is Raising a Private Black Army to Massacre White Americans

"Gun Owners of America president Larry Pratt appeared Tuesday on the Talk to Solomon Show alongside conservative blogger Greg W. Howard, of Twittergate fame, for another chance to spew anti-Obama conspiracy theories.

Pratt predicted that President Obama may begin confiscating guns in order to provoke a violent response to justify further oppression, which host Stan Solomon feared would lead to the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people."








The paranoid speaker, Larry Pratt, does qualify his paranoia:  What he claims, he says, is not based on fact, it's his OPINION.  But his insane opinion is treated as though it were a reasonable supposition. 

The second speaker, Stan Solomon, adds to the lunacy by piling onto Pratt's fantasy. Claiming that Mr. Obama is not an American, he then falls off the sanity cliff by telling his audience that President Obama is going to take away people's guns and raise a black army to kill all the white gun owners.

I don't know who listens to these goofballs, but the fact that they have an audience at all is disturbing.  And that their listeners believe their paranoid nincompoopery is deeply depressing.

This is the country we live in:  Millions of Americans listen to this psychopathy every day, broadcast by people who belong to Gun Owners of America, the N.R.A., Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and others, and without critically thinking through the swill, they swallow it whole.  

Then they vote.






Friday, February 22, 2013

Get thee to a nunnery.

Democratic state senator of Colorado, Paul Steadman, will not take "religious freedom" as an excuse to discriminate against gay and lesbian citizens.

He tells those people who wish to practice their bigotry to "get thee to a nunnery."

Hmmmm.  In Shakespeare's time that meant both a convent AND a brothel.   






Thursday, February 21, 2013

Breitbartian Idiocy of Epic Proportions

The story's been around for a few days.  Some rightwing blogs/internet outlets reported that former Senator Chuck Hagel, and now President Obama's Secretary of Defense nominee, contributed to an organization called "Friends of Hamas."

How many fools reported this?  And who are these easily duped ninnies?  Here's a partial list--we'll call it an "A" ["A" as in, well you can guess] list:

Biggest A:  Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com

From Newsworks:

"According to the three-paragraph story, "Senate sources" told Breitbart News "exclusively" that Hagel had received foreign funding from "a group purportedly called 'Friends of Hamas.'" Based on what his "sources" had told him, writer Ben Shapiro called a White House spokesman for comment. Shapiro wrote that the spokesman hung up on him. Shapiro apparently decided that being blown off by the White House was sufficient confirmation. He tweeted a link to his Twitter followers. And then, the deluge. The right-wing website Powerline copied and pasted Shapiro's dispatch, and topped it with the headline TIME TO STICK A FORK IN HAGEL. The National Review's Andrew McCarthy linked to the Powerline item, quoted Powerline quoting Shapiro, and topped his own post with the headline IS HAGEL TOAST? "


Lesser As:  Hugh Hewitt, Rand Paul, Lou Dobbs, and the cementheads over at RedState.

The rumor about Senator Hagel's connection with "Friends of Hamas" is entirely made up, but that didn't stop the wingnutters from jumping on the false information and spreading it throughout their outlets.  Because in their deranged eagerness to derail President Obama's nominee for SoD, they'd believe what anyone said, even if it came from a talking unicorn.  

Here's what actually happened, as reported by Dan Friedman of the New York Daily News--Friedman commented with a joke about possible organizations from which Hagel may have received speaking fees.  Without carefully reading the story and seeing the obvious nonsense in it, the nutters enthusiastically believed the joke with all their Obama-detesting hearts and eagerly spread it to all their mickey-mouse third-rate outlets. So soaked are these toadies in their hatred for anything attached to President Obama, that they report first and check for facts later--wait, obviously they didn't check anything, since the story spread, like effluvium from an overflowing septic tank, throughout wingnuttia.  

From Dan Friedman:


"Here’s what happened: When rumors swirled that Hagel received speaking fees from controversial organizations, I attempted to check them out. 

On Feb. 6, I called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill with a question: Did Hagel’s Senate critics know of controversial groups that he had addressed? Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. 

So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”? 

The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. 

No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them."


From the Reid Report:

"...no such group exists. But right wingers, and the McCarthyite Senators they’ve gone and elected, and their silly “news” cable channel, and their talk radio guys, and their blogs, just need, NEED, NEEEEED, to hate Barack Obama and everyone around him so desperately, they’ll believe damned near everything."


And so the nutters believed what the unicorn said.  These are the folks other rightwing bloggers turn to for facts and reporting:  Idiots of truly epic proportions who heard a rumor and never bothered to do the work of finding out if it were, y'know, TRUE!

More from The Reid Report:

"And therein lies the problem with the right. 

They start at the end, rather than the beginning — so filled with the desire to believe the worst, that they’ll just as easily believe the stupidest. 

They did it with election “projections” and “unskewed polls” that had them convinced that a) everybody, HATES Barack Obama and b) Mitt Romney would MOP THE FLOOR WITH HIM in last year’s presidential election. Oops. 

And now it’s happening with Hagel. And this, my friends, is the “new media” the right is relying on to get them back in the game."






More here:


Smearing Hagel: The conservative "media" in action

"Friends of Hamas": The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn't Actually Exist


How An Over-The-Top Joke Became A Republican Talking Point Against Chuck Hagel

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WHY ISN'T THERE A "WHITE HISTORY" MONTH!

I hear or read that whenever I acknowledge February's Black History Month and post something about African-American history, or even something on racism.  And, just as dependably as the sun rises every morning, someone complains about it.  And that's because there are folks out there who just don't get it, or worse, are uncomfortable with acknowledging history based on race because, as I've heard them complain, "Why isn't there a white history month?!


This guy will help those people who refuse to "get it" or are just, well, uncomfortable with our history:










More on this subject below:


 Daily effects of white privilege, by Peggy MacIntosh



Little Rock Crisis, 1957


Twenty-eight common racist attitudes and behaviors that indicate a detour or wrong turn into white guilt, denial, or defensiveness, by Debra Leigh


RACIALICIOUS

Dave Miller's blog, The Mission, covers the subject of Teapublican racism HERE.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The South: The distillation point for all the fugitive extremisms of our time.




Garry Wills has written a thoughtful, heartfelt essay on the present-day South and its affinity for Teapublicanism. A southerner himself, Wills delves into the underlying reasons beneath the South's stubborn refusal to embrace change and give up its extremism.

The essay is so good I've posted it in its entirety here:


"George Packer’s recent New Yorker comments on the South made me sort out my own complicated feelings about the region. Both sides of my family are from the South: my mother’s from Georgia, my father’s from Virginia. Though my parents left Atlanta soon after I was born there, we often visited southern relatives in Atlanta, Louisville, and Birmingham. I preferred those who had stayed in the South to those who moved north. My Irish grandmother in Atlanta was a warm-hearted Catholic, while my English grandmother in Chicago was a pinched Christian Scientist always correcting her family. But even apart from the contrast in grandmothers, I always liked the South, though my northern accent made me an outsider there as a child (the family “Yankee”). 

One reason I like the South is that I am conservative by temperament—multa tenens antiqua, as Ennius put it, “tenacious of antiquity.” A sense of the past helps explain why America’s southern writers were to the rest of America, in the twentieth century, what Irish writers were to England. The English had Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Sean O’Casey, Bernard Shaw, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. We (whose relevant region is larger) had Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Richard Wright, Eudora Welty, Ralph Ellison, Robert Penn Warren, Truman Capote, Harper Lee, John Crowe Ransom, Erskine Caldwell, Andrew Lytle, and Carson McCullers. 

The South escaped one of the worst character traits of America, its sappy optimism, its weakness of positive thinking. The North puffed confidently into the future, Panglossian about progress, always bound to win. But the South had lost. It knew there was an America that could be defeated. That made it capable of facing tragedy, as many in America were not. This improved its literature, but impoverished other things. Yet poverty did not make the South helpless. In fact, straitened circumstances made it readier to grab what it could get. In its long bargain with the Democratic party, for instance, it not only fended off attacks on its Jim Crow remnant of the Old Confederacy, but gamed the big government system through canny old codgers in Washington—the chairmen of the major congressional committees, who sluiced needed assistance to the South during the Great Depression. 

Under the tattered robes of Miss Havisham were hidden the preying hands of the Artful Dodger. Southerners were not really trapped in the past, since they were always scheming to get out of the trap. They were defeated but not dumb. With dreams of an agrarian society, they might denounce the industrial north, but they got the funds to bring electricity to large parts of the South from the government’s Tennessee Valley Authority. They wanted and got government-funded port facilities, oil subsidies in Louisiana, highways and airports and military bases. 

But the current South is willing to cut off its own nose to show contempt for the government. Governor Rick Scott of Florida turned down more than $2 billion in federal funds for a high-speed rail system in Florida that would have created jobs and millions of dollars in revenues, just to show he was independent of the hated federal government. In this mood, his forebears would have turned down TVA. People across the South are going even farther than Scott, begging to secede again from the Union. Packer notes that the tea is cooling in parties across the rest of the nation, but seems to be fermenting to a more toxic brew in the South. No one needs better health care more than the South, but it fights it off so long as Obama is offering it, its governors turning down funds for Medicaid. This is a region that rejects sex education, though its rate of teenage pregnancies is double and in places triple that of New England. It fights federal help with education, preferring to inoculate its children against science by denying evolution. 

No part of the country will suffer the effects of global warming earlier or with more devastation than the South, yet its politicians resist measures to curb carbon emissions and deny the very existence of climate change—sending it to the dungeon with evolution and biblical errancy. One doesn’t need much imagination to see the South with lowered or swollen waters in its rivers and ports, raging kudzu, swarming mosquitos, and record-breaking high temperatures, still telling itself that global-warming talk is just a liberal conspiracy. But it just digs deeper in denial. The South has decided to be defeated and dumb. 

Humans should always cling to what is good about their heritage, but that depends on being able to separate what is good from what is bad. It is noble to oppose mindless change, so long as that does not commit you to rejecting change itself. The South defeats its own cause when it cannot discriminate between the good and the evil in its past, or pretends that the latter does not linger on into the present: Some in the South deny that the legacy of slavery exists at all in our time. The best South, exemplified by the writers listed above, never lost sight of that fact. Where are the writers of that stature today in the Tea Party South? I was made aware of the odd mix of gain and loss when I went back to Atlanta to see my beloved grandmother. She told me not to hold change between my lips while groping for a pocket to put it in—“That might have been in a nigger’s mouth.” Once, when she took me to Mass, she walked out of the church when a black priest came out to celebrate. I wondered why, since she would sit and eat with a black woman who helped her with housework. “It is the dignity—I would not let him take the Lord in his hands.” 

Tradition dies hard, hardest among those who cannot admit to the toll it has taken on them. That is why the worst aspects of the South are resurfacing under Obama’s presidency. It is the dignity. That a black should have not merely rights but prominence, authority, and even awe—that is what many Southerners cannot stomach. They would let him ride on the bus, or get into Ivy League schools. But he must be kept from the altar; he cannot perform the secular equivalent of taking the Lord in his hands. 

It is the dignity. This is the thing that makes the South the distillation point for all the fugitive extremisms of our time, the heart of Say-No Republicanism, the home of lost causes and nostalgic lunacy. It is as if the whole continent were tipped upward, so that the scattered crazinesses might slide down to the bottom. The South has often been defeated. Now it is defeating itself. "

 January 21, 2013, 3:26 p.m.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

SUNDAY POETRY


PICASSO AND ME

On the wall hang my three breasts,
blue arms, blue flowers, some green
weeps from my two noses. In the studio, 
I 'm cold, my flesh crawls along
the floor and penetrates the canvas. 
He touches all my parts and parts 
of me are painted in a geometric scheme.
My gilt, bronzed head aches; 
it must have been the wine we drank
last night. (Those five cubed women had 
a little too much, too.) He promised 
more than paintings and wire constructions, 
and I believed his art for art's sake.
Now I stand corrected before his canvas
while he reaches for some red and makes 
me fight a dog. I no longer care 
how he uses me. I'm just a working girl
trying to keep her job.

                                         --S.K.





Thursday, February 14, 2013

African Slavery in America by Thomas Paine


February is Black History Month.




Here's an essay by Thomas Paine published in March 1775 in the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser.  Paine was a founding member of the first anti-slavery society in America, which was formed in Philadelphia in April of 1775.

To Americans:

That some desperate wretches should be willing to steal and enslave men by violence and murder for gain, is rather lamentable than strange. But that many civilized, nay, Christianized people should approve, and be concerned in the savage practice, is surprising; and still persist, though it has been so often proved contrary to the light of nature, to every principle of Justice and Humanity, and even good policy, by a succession of eminent men, and several late publications.

 Our Traders in MEN (an unnatural commodity!) must know the wickedness of the SLAVE-TRADE, if they attend to reasoning, or the dictates of their own hearts: and such as shun and stiffle all these, wilfully sacrifice Conscience, and the character of integrity to that golden idol.

 The Managers the Trade themselves, and others testify, that many of these African nations inhabit fertile countries, are industrious farmers, enjoy plenty, and lived quietly, averse to war, before the Europeans debauched them with liquors, and bribing them against one another; and that these inoffensive people are brought into slavery, by stealing them, tempting Kings to sell subjects, which they can have no right to do, and hiring one tribe to war against another, in order to catch prisoners. By such wicked and inhuman ways the English are said to enslave towards one hundred thousand yearly; of which thirty thousand are supposed to die by barbarous treatment in the first year; besides all that are slain in the unnatural ways excited to take them. So much innocent blood have the managers and supporters of this inhuman trade to answer for to the common Lord of all!


Many of these were not prisoners of war, and redeemed from savage conquerors, as some plead; and they who were such prisoners, the English, who promote the war for that very end, are the guilty authors of their being so; and if they were redeemed, as is alleged, they would owe nothing to the redeemer but what he paid for them. 

They show as little reason as conscience who put the matter by with saying — "Men, in some cases, are lawfully made slaves, and why may not these?" So men, in some cases, are lawfully put to death, deprived of their goods, without their consent; may any man, therefore, be treated so, without any conviction of desert? Nor is this plea mended by adding — "They are set forth to us as slaves, and we buy them without farther inquiry, let the sellers see to it." Such man may as well join with a known band of robbers, buy their ill-got goods, and help on the trade; ignorance is no more pleadable in one case than the other; the sellers plainly own how they obtain them. But none can lawfully buy without evidence that they are not concurring with Men-Stealers; and as the true owner has a right to reclaim his goods that were stolen, and sold; so the slave, who is proper owner of his freedom, has a right to reclaim it, however often sold. 

 Most shocking of all is alleging the sacred scriptures to favour this wicked practice. One would have thought none but infidel cavillers would endeavour to make them appear contrary to the plain dictates of natural light, and the conscience, in a matter of common Justice and Humanity; which they cannot be. Such worthy men, as referred to before, judged otherways; Mr. Baxter declared, the Slave-Traders should be called Devils, rather than Christians; and that it is a heinous crime to buy them. But some say, "the practice was permitted to the Jews." To which may be replied, 

1. The example of the Jews, in many things, may not be imitated by us; they had not only orders to cut off several nations altogether, but if they were obliged to war with others, and conquered them, to cut off every male; they were suffered to use polygamy and divorces, and other things utterly unlawful to us under clearer light. 

 2. The plea is, in a great measure, false; they had no permission to catch and enslave people who never injured them. 

 3. Such arguments ill become us, since the time of reformation came, under Gospel light. All distinctions of nations and privileges of one above others, are ceased; Christians are taught to account all men their neighbours; and love their neighbours as themselves; and do to all men as they would be done by; to do good to all men; and Man-stealing is ranked with enormous crimes. Is the barbarous enslaving our inoffensive neighbours, and treating them like wild beasts subdued by force, reconcilable with the Divine precepts! Is this doing to them as we would desire they should do to us? If they could carry off and enslave some thousands of us, would we think it just? — One would almost wish they could for once; it might convince more than reason, or the Bible.

MORE HERE

h/t 3 Quarks Daily

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

GOP Answers PBO's SOTU

LOL!




Invisible Obama @InvisibleObama The most impressive feat was Marco Rubio turning water into whine. #GOPresponse 3:54 AM - 13 Feb 13

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The GOP Embraces Wang Dang Sweet Poontang Crackpot



Oh they didn't.

Yes they did...

invite a crazy guy, who threatened President Obama's life, as an honored guest to attend the State of the Union address.

But...but didn't Bobby Jindal say something just recently about how the GOP should stop being "the stupid party?"


"Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) has announced that he would be bringing musician and conservative loudmouth Ted Nugent to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

 “I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama,” Stockman said on his congressional website on Monday. 

Traditionally, State of the Union attendees are given the opportunity to invite distinguished guests or prominent constituents to sit in during the President’s remarks. And while past honorees include war heroes and selfless public servants, Stockman has instead invited someone who has threatened the President and Democratic officials: 

Nugent called President Obama a criminal and denounced his “vile, evil America-hating administration” which is “wiping its ass with the Constitution.” 

Taking it a step further, he said that “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” 

Following his remarks last April at a National Rifle Association annual convention, the Secret Service brought in Nugent for questioning."


Oh brilliant, GOPers.  Way to go in keeping teh stupid alive  in your maniacal, out-of-touch par-tay.  We laugh at you, and we...we...in your general direction.  

Ted Nugent-- you mean the guy who pooped his pants and didn't wash for days so that he'd get a 4F designation during the Vietnam draft.  That's "patriot" Nugent, the pant--soiling coward not man enough to fight for his country, but brave enough to threaten the life of the president and get a visit from the Secret Service.  That takes raisinets--shooting your mouth off about wanting to kill the president of the United States instead of shooting your gun off serving your country.  Ted Nugent:  a perfect example of sackless machismo.


Here's Nugent in his own words.  



Nugent: Obama Supporters Are "Subhuman Varmint[s]." 

Nugent: "Piece Of Shit" Obama Should "Suck On My Machine Gun."  


Nugent: Real Americans Are "Working Hard, Playing Hard, White Motherfucking Shit Kickers Who Are Independent." 

Nugent: "What's A Feminist? Some Fat Pig Who Doesn't Get It Often Enough?" 

Nugent: Sarah Brady, Janet Reno Are "Dirty Whore[s]." 

Nugent On Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton: "You Probably Can't Use The Term 'Toxic Cunt' In Your Magazine, But That's What She Is." 


And before anyone mentions in the comments "Yeah, but Bill Maher! He called Sarah Palin a bad name too!"  Yes, we know. But tell us, which Democratic US Congressional Representative  invited him as an honored guest to any State of the Union address. Answer: None. 

That's the difference between the two parties. One has its outspoken potty-mouthed clowns, but the Democrats know they're just comedians. The GOP elevates their crazy-ass, wang dang sweet poontang loons as heroes and representatives of what the party is about, to be admired and promoted in all their crackpot splendor.     

Seriously, GOP.  You need to listen to Bobby.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The First Time in Six Centuries



From the NYTimes:


"Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who took office in 2005 following the death of his predecessor, said on Monday that he will resign on Feb. 28, the first pope to do so in six centuries."

"After examining his conscience “before God,” he said in a statement that reverberated around the world on the Internet and on social media, “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise” of his position as head of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics. A profoundly conservative figure whose papacy was overshadowed by clerical abuse scandals, Benedict, 85, was elected by fellow cardinals in 2005 after the death of John Paul II. "


"When he took office, Pope Benedict’s well-known stands included the assertion that Catholicism is “true” and other religions are “deficient”; that the modern, secular world, especially in Europe, is spiritually weak; and that Catholicism is in competition with Islam. He had also strongly opposed homosexuality, the ordination of female priests and stem cell research."




 
Many popes over the centuries have died in office.  It is puzzling why this one is resigning over poor health or even imminent death. That is quite unusual, and raises questions about scandal, something the Vatican is no stranger to.

The Daily Beast reported last summer:

Vatileaks Scandal Exposes Secrets Of Pope’s Empire 
Jul 9, 2012 1:00 AM EDT 
A series of leaks have exposed chaos at the heart of the Pope’s empire.


For centuries one of the tightest organizations in the world, with a code of honor to rival that of the Sicilian Mafia, it has been turned inside out in the past six months. A gusher of highly confidential letters to the pope and his closest associates, many of them originally in code, has poured into the Italian media and into a book, Sua Santità by Gianluigi Nuzzi, which became an instant bestseller. 

The leaks are just one in a string of scandals to rock the Vatican this year—the latest, in early June, involved the ouster of the head of the Vatican bank, who possessed documents that apparently showed the Church circumventing European money-laundering regulations. To combat the spate of bad publicity, the Vatican has gone as far as hiring a former Fox News reporter, who happens to be an Opus Dei numerary, to be one of its official PR flacks. But whether the pope and the Vatican establishment can recover their credibility is now a matter of serious doubt.

From the NYTimes:

"Benedict’s tenure was caught up in growing sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church that crept ever closer to the Vatican itself. In 2010, as outrage built over clerical abuses, some secular and liberal Catholic voices called for his resignation, their demands fueled by reports that laid part of the blame at his doorstep, citing his response both as a bishop long ago in Germany and as a cardinal heading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles such cases. 

In one disclosure, news emerged that in 1985, when Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he signed a letter putting off efforts to defrock a convicted child-molesting priest. He cited the priest’s relative youth but also the good of the church." 



At this point, we can only speculate as to why this pope, the first in six centuries, has decided to abdicate the papacy rather than do as other popes have done in past centuries--pass away in office. Or perhaps the pope is just pooped.




Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Day After Nemo, Boston, Mass.





Paul Revere statue, The Prado, North End, Boston




Fun on a snow pile, Hanover St., Boston


Hanover Street, Boston.  No cars.  People enjoying the day after.


Nemo through the window.




Seen at Christopher Columbus Park, North End Boston, Feb. 8, 2013. I say, Neigh, neigh!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Not Finding, But Awaiting Nemo...











My street in Boston, 4 PM.  Not threatening looking at all...yet.





Hanover Street, Boston, 7:30 PM, 02/08/2013






My street in Boston, 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM







My street in Boston, 11:30 PM

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

There's an old saying...






 "No good deed goes unpunished."

Nine days ago, I brought my elderly neighbor, who has no family nearby, to the hospital.  She was having trouble breathing and was in distress [she has emphysema}.  I was in the emergency room until 4 AM the next morning.  The hospital admitted her, and I went home.  The next afternoon, I visited her and was told she would be hospitalized for a few more days until they stabilized her breathing.  (She's home and doing well now.)

Two days after taking my neighbor to the hospital, I came down with the flu.  Yes, the one that choked up emergency rooms and scared the beejeebus out of everyone.  The worst place to be during flu season is a hospital.  I obviously picked up the virus there, since no one I've been in contact with over the past month has had the flu.

I've been blogging from a sick bed since last Wednesday, and I'm still weak and cotton-headed.  The doctor told me this thing hangs on for 7 to 10 days.

Anyway, that's why blogging has been light.  And why I haven't got anything new to post today.  I'm tired and damn sick of being sick.  I'd much rather be out and and about, doing my regular routine.  But this malady has humbled me and the idea of my being a healthy and hardy individual.

Stay well.  And keep washing your hands.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York...


King Richard III's skeleton found under a parking lot in Leicester, England.







What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by. 
Richard loves Richard; that is, I and I. 
Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am. 
Then fly! What, from myself? Great reason why: 
Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself? 
Alack, I love myself. Wherefore? For any good 
That I myself have done unto myself? O, no! 
Alas, I rather hate myself 
For hateful deeds committed by myself. 
I am a villain. Yet I lie. I am not. 
Fool, of thyself speak well. Fool, do not flatter: 
My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 
And every tongue brings in a several tale, 
And every tale condemns me for a villain. 
Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree; 
Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree; 
All several sins, all used in each degree, 
Throng to the bar, crying all, “Guilty! guilty!” 
I shall despair. There is no creature loves me, 
And if I die no soul will pity me. 
And wherefore should they, since that I myself 
Find in myself no pity to myself?” ― William Shakespeare, Richard III

Sunday, February 3, 2013

SUNDAYS WITH BERTRAND RUSSELL







“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.





 “There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.”Bertrand Russell, Human Society in Ethics and Politics

Friday, February 1, 2013

GOP Anti-Science State Legislators Are At It Again!







In their never-ending battle to insert religion into science class, various GOP state legislators  apparently believe the most pressing problem their constituents face is not getting enough religion in their lives, so they're trying, by stealth, to slip it into public school science classes.  Not content with the freedom to instruct their children in their religious beliefs in their homes and places of worships, these anti-Constitution GOPers believe that introducing this bound-to-fail legislation will somehow win the day, and no one will notice that it is unlawful.  A perfect definition of idiocy--doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.





"Fresh legislation has been put forward in Colorado, Missouri and Montana. In Oklahoma, there are two bills before the state legislature that include potentially creationist language. And Arizona as well, is encouraging the teaching of religion in science classes.

A watchdog group, the National Center for Science Education, said that the proposed laws were framed around the concept of “academic freedom”. It argues that religious motives are disguised by the language of encouraging more open debate in school classrooms. However, the areas of the curriculum highlighted in the bills tend to center on the teaching of evolution or other areas of science that clash with traditionally religious interpretations of the world.


Montana Rep. Clayton Fiscus, R-Billings, said evolution isn’t settled science and called it a “monumental leap” to believe it is true. His bill would allow teachers – if they want – to address perceived weaknesses in evolution studies in the classroom. “This is just a bill to instruct what we have presently in the science on the origins of life,” Fiscus said. “We should teach what we do know. We should also teach what we don’t know.”


To answer Rep. Fiscus, R-Billings:

Is evolution "just a theory?" 

 In detective novels, a "theory" is little more than an educated guess, often based on a few circumstantial facts. In science, the word "theory" means much more. A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world.

The theory of biological evolution is more than "just a theory." It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.

Is there "evidence against" contemporary evolutionary theory?

No. There are still many puzzles in biology about the particular pathways of the evolutionary process and how various species are related to one another. However, these puzzles neither invalidate nor challenge Darwin's basic theory of "descent with modification" nor the theory's present form that incorporates and is supported by the genetic sciences. Contemporary evolutionary theory provides the conceptual framework in which these puzzles can be addressed and points toward ways to solve them. 

Is there a growing body of scientists who doubt that evolution happened?

No. The consensus among scientists in many fields, and especially those who study the subject, is that contemporary evolutionary theory provides a robust, well-tested explanation for the history of life on earth and for the similarity within the diversity of existing organisms. Very few scientists doubt that evolution happened, although there is lively ongoing inquiry about the details of how it happened. Of the few scientists who criticize contemporary evolutionary theory, most do no research in the field, and so their opinions have little significance for scientists who do.


Why do these people waste their time and their states' monies in pursuing this idiocy?