Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

.

.
.

.

I think that was the most disgraceful collection of degenerates and idiots that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Donald J. Trump dined alone. –S.Kenawe, with apologies to JFK.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nah, we don't have a race problem in this country.







African-American man stopped by Michigan cop for walking with his hands in his pockets




African-American man, out for a walk on a cold Michigan day, was stopped by police after a caller reported that he looked suspicious because he had his hands in his pockets. 

Brandon B. Waxx McKean posted video on his Facebook page showing his encounter with a police officer who briefly detained him on Thanksgiving day while he was out for a stroll. 

In the video the officer can be seen radioing in, asking dispatch to close out a contact file, before explaining to McKean that he was stopped because he was “making people nervous.”




Mark Strand, April 11, 1934 -- November 29, 2014





U.S. Poet Laureate, Mark Strand

One of America's best.  And we have so many great American poets.  I've read his work all my life, and I have so many favorites.  But for this season of the year, I chose these two, because he tells us what we do not have the courage to tell ourselves:


Lines For Winter

Tell yourself 
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air 
that you will go on 
walking, hearing 
the same tune no matter where 
you find yourself— 
inside the dome of dark 
or under the cracking white 
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow. 
Tonight as it gets cold 
tell yourself what you know 
which is nothing 
but the tune your bones play 
as you keep going. And you will be able 
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars. 
And if it happens that you cannot 
go on or turn back 
and you find yourself 
where you will be at the end, 
tell yourself 
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs 
that you love what you are.



The End

Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end, 
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like 
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end, 
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back. 

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat, 
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down 
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead. 
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky 

Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus 
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight, 
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing 
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.




"The small fire of winter stars"

Saturday, November 29, 2014

On another matter...





Will someone, anyone, please give these people an intervention.







Republican staffer says Obama daughters are disrespectful and dress like bar sluts



They are so drunk and so overdosed on hatred that they can't even watch a silly turkey pardoning without attacking and viciously slandering President Obama's daughters.

The moron who took to social media to insult and defame Sasha and Malia, had second thoughts after decent, normal people told her to take her disgusting opinions and put them in a dark place where her soul dwells.  After she let loose her inner most racism, she said a prayer, and all is forgiven.  

Ahhhhhh.   Men.


I have no comment








Friday, November 28, 2014

On This "Black Friday" Evening...



look at this photo and think about its meaning.






Charlie Pierce:


"Somehow, this says a great deal about the state of things in this country, and about the country's ultimate priorities. How you react to it says a great deal about the state of the union, too."

Comments:


William Smith:   "I've thought for some time that Wal-Mart is a perfect metaphor for what our economy has become: an instrument that extracts value from its employees, suppliers, trading partners and host communities for the benefit of an already very privileged few. That's how you end up with employees on food stamps, abandoned and decaying town centers and a brand-new art museum in Bumfuck, Arkansas.'

Pat Healy · "Unless that is a: soldier preventing the store from opening on Thanksgiving so that Walmart employees can spend the evening enjoying the company of their families, my reaction is 'Stick a fork in us, we're done.' "

Racially Provocative Cartoon Makes Fun of Latinos



Mean-spirited cartoon of brown people spoiling white people's Thanksgiving:







This past Friday (11/21/2014), The Indianapolis Star published the cartoon seen at left, which depicted a family of apparently Latino immigrants, led by a mustachioed man, climbing in the window of a white family's home to join in their Thanksgiving dinner. The white father is telling his family, "Thanks to the president's immigration order, we'll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving."


 After readers alerted them to the drawing's racist overtones, cartoonist Gary Varvel and the Star rectified the situation by... publishing a tweaked version of the cartoon in which the Latino man's mustache had been removed.

Problem solved? Not quite. In addition to the racially charged imagery of brown people climbing over a wall into some white people's home -- as well as the look of dismay on the blond daughter, which seems to gesture toward the age-old racist trope that people of color are a menace to white girls --

Vox points out that Varvel's cartoon appears to forget the actual history behind Thanksgiving itself:

 Remember, the classic Thanksgiving story is about Pilgrims -- a.k.a. immigrants -- who showed up on American shores uninvited, and in precarious economic circumstances. Thanksgiving is a celebration of the fact that the native-born Americans who lived in the area welcomed these newcomers, shared their food with them, and helped them make the transition to their new home.


"This action is not a comment on the issue of illegal immigration or a statement about Gary's right to express his opinions strongly," Taylor wrote. "We encourage and support diverse opinion. But the depictions in this case were inappropriate; his point could have been expressed in other ways." 


Taylor also wrote that "Gary did not intend to be racially insensitive in his attempt to express his strong views about President Barack Obama's decision to temporarily prevent the deportation of millions of immigrants living and working illegally in the United States." Nonetheless, Taylor wrote, "we erred in publishing" the cartoon.




Writing for New York Magazine, Caroline Bankoff wrote, "Thanksgiving, which celebrates the generosity this country's original inhabitants showed to the undocumented immigrants who landed on their shores in 1620. Unfortunately, the connection was lost on Gary Varvel, an Indianapolis Star cartoonist who doesn't seem to like the idea of sharing anything with people who do not look like him."


So Gary Varvel did not intend to be racially insensitive by drawing a stupid, racially charged cartoon that makes Latinos look like interlopers on white people's Thanksgiving? Varvel is apparently unaware of our American history and the fact that Native Americans, people of color, helped undocumented Pilgrims survive and make it through that first horrendous winter of 1620-21.  But people like Varvel are too eager to turn us against each other.  Nice going Gary.  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. And don't forget to thank your god for the Native Americans, who helped the Pilgrims survive.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The First Thanksgiving in the Plimouth Colony




The First Thanksgiving Was In The Autumn Of 1621.







Each year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans gather for a day of feasting, football and family. While today’s Thanksgiving celebrations would likely be unrecognizable to attendees of the original 1621 harvest meal, it continues to be a day for Americans to come together around the table—albeit with some updates to pilgrim’s menu. 

President Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863, announced that Thanksgiving Day would come on the 4th Thursday of November every year and would be a federal holiday. 



RELATIONS WITH NATIVE AMERICANS 

The native inhabitants of the region around Plimouth Colony were the various tribes of the Wampanoag people, who had lived there for some 10,000 years before the Europeans arrived. Soon after the Pilgrims built their settlement, they came into contact with Tisquantum, or Squanto, an English-speaking Native American. Squanto was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe (from present-day Massachusetts and Rhode Island) who had been seized by the explorer John Smith’s men in 1614-15. Meant for slavery, he somehow managed to escape to England, and returned to his native land to find most of his tribe had died of plague. In addition to interpreting and mediating between the colonial leaders and Native American chiefs (including Massasoit, chief of the Pokanoket), Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, which became an important crop, as well as where to fish and hunt beaver. 

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims famously shared a harvest feast with the Pokanokets; the meal is now considered the basis for the Thanksgiving holiday. While no records exist of the exact bill of fare, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow, one of the governing leaders on the Mayflower, noted in his journal that the colony’s governor, William Bradford, sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the three-day event. Wild—but not domestic—turkey was indeed plentiful in the region and a common food source for both English settlers and Native Americans. But it is just as likely that the fowling party returned with other birds we know the colonists regularly consumed, such as ducks, geese and swans. Instead of bread-based stuffing, herbs, onions or nuts might have been added to the birds for extra flavor. Wilson noted in his journal that the feast lasted three days with 90 Wampanoag and 53 settlers. The Wampanoag brought five deer for the feast. Although there is no surviving menu from this thanksgiving we know that most of the food was brought by the Wampanoag including various waterfowl, the deer, and corn. It’s likely that the feast was held outdoors as there was no house large enough to hold all these people. 

Although migrating waterfowl and turkey were plentiful at this time of year, there’s no record that turkey was on the table. There probably were no cranberries, no sweet potatoes, and no pumpkin pie, although there was squash of some kind. One of the dishes they may have eaten was sobaheg, a Wampanoag stew of corn, roots, beans, squash and various meats, perhaps a precursor to succotash. 


FRUITS AND VEGETABLES 

The original succotash is a descendant of a local Native American meal based on a corn soup made with beans, unripe corn, and various meats, especially bear or fish. Over time it has evolved into a kind of boiled dinner with corned beef, chicken, salt pork, white Cape Cod turnips, potato, hulled corn and boiled beans with some salt pork. Originally, the beans used were actually dried peas, but over time lima beans have become popular. 

The word succotash derives from Narragansett, a branch of the Algonquin language, the word being msiquatash. Native American Succotash The 1621 Thanksgiving celebration marked the Pilgrims’ first autumn harvest, so it is likely that the colonists feasted on the bounty they had reaped with the help of their Native American neighbors. Local vegetables that likely appeared on the table include onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots and perhaps peas. Corn, which records show was plentiful at the first harvest, might also have been served, but not in the way most people enjoy it now. In those days, the corn would have been removed from the cob and turned into cornmeal, which was then boiled and pounded into a thick corn mush or porridge that was occasionally sweetened with molasses.





With Thanksgiving just around the corner, perhaps it's time to rediscover Indian pudding, a dish which, even in its native New England, has over the years become increasingly scarce. That's too bad, because an argument easily can be made that Indian pudding, not at all glamorous and in fact downright dowdy, was the first American comfort food. No wonder the early settlers are said to have eaten it three times a day. Like all comfort foods, Indian pudding is a simple concoction. Essentially it is nothing more than cornmeal boiled with milk, sweetened with molasses or maple syrup and cooked until thick. In other words, it's basically mush. Despite its name, Indian pudding didn't actually originate with the Native Americans, though it's a variation of similar Indian porridges called variously nasaump, rockahominy, supawn or sagamite. 

 Fruits indigenous to the region included blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and, of course cranberries, which Native Americans ate and used as a natural dye. The Pilgrims might have been familiar with cranberries by the first Thanksgiving, but they wouldn’t have made sauces and relishes with the tart orbs. That’s because the sacks of sugar that traveled across the Atlantic on the Mayflower were nearly or fully depleted by November 1621. Cooks didn’t begin boiling cranberries with sugar and using the mixture as an accompaniment for meats until about 50 years later. 



 FISH AND SHELLFISH 

Culinary historians believe that much of the Thanksgiving meal consisted of seafood, which is often absent from today’s menus. Mussels in particular were abundant in New England and could be easily harvested because they clung to rocks along the shoreline. The colonists occasionally served mussels with curds, a dairy product with a similar consistency to cottage cheese. Lobster, bass, clams and oysters might also have been part of the feast.



THERE WAS NO PUMPKIN PIE AT THE FIRST THANKSGIVING 

Both the Pilgrims and members of the Wampanoag tribe ate pumpkins and other squashes indigenous to New England—possibly even during the harvest festival—but the fledgling colony lacked the butter and wheat flour necessary for making pie crust. Moreover, settlers hadn’t yet constructed an oven for baking. According to some accounts, early English settlers in North America improvised by hollowing out pumpkins, filling the shells with milk, honey and spices to make a custard, then roasting the gourds whole in hot ashes. The colonists did not have butter and wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts. Meat and more meat was served without potatoes, that is. White potatoes, originating in South America, and sweet potatoes, from the Caribbean, had yet to infiltrate North America. Also, there would have been no cranberry sauce. It would be another 50 years before an Englishman wrote about boiling cranberries and sugar into a “Sauce to eat with. . . .Meat.” Says Wall: “If there was beer, there were only a couple of gallons for 150 people for three days.” To wash it all down the English and Wampanoag drank water. 

 SOURCES: Smithsonian website, also, http://www.history.com/topics/pilgrims

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WILL YOU SPATCHCOCK THIS THANKSGIVING?



If not, why not?

I'm all for saving time in the kitchen, and this method started by New York Times food editor Mark Bittman, is an incredible time-saver.  Plus, it frees up room in the oven so that I can roast the veggies and other accompaniments to the Thanksgiving feast.

Make this a Thanksgiving tradition, and spatchcock your turkey this year:



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Charlie Pierce on the Michael Brown Grand Jury Decision




UPDATE BELOW


"There is something gone badly wrong in the way police are taught to look at civilians these days. This is the logic of an occupying power being employed on American citizens. Ever since 9/11, when we all began to be told that we were going to have to bend a little bit, and then a little bit more, to authority or else we'd all die, the police in this country have been militarized in their tactics and in their equipment, which is bad enough, but in their attitudes and their mentality, which is far, far worse. Suspicion has bled into weaponized paranoia, especially in the case of black and brown people, especially in the case of young men who are black or brown, but this is not About Race because nothing ever is About Race. Even the potential of a threat requires a deadly response, Dick Cheney's one-percent idea brought to American cities and towns until Salt Lake City, of all places, winds up with cops who are deadlier on the streets than drug dealers. This is how you wind up with Darren Wilson. This is how you wind up with Michael Brown, dead in the middle of the road. This is how Darren Wilson walks, tonight, for the killing of Michael Brown. This is how you end up with an American horror story."





UPDATE:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE National Bar Association November 24, 2014 communications@nationalbar.org 

THE NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION RESPONDS TO THE GRAND JURY’S DECISION NOT TO INDICT POLICE OFFICER DARREN WILSON IN THE SHOOTING DEATH OF MICHAEL BROWN 

 WASHINGTON, DC – The National Bar Association is questioning how the Grand Jury, considering the evidence before them, could reach the conclusion that Darren Wilson should not be indicted and tried for the shooting death of Michael Brown. National Bar Association President Pamela J. Meanes expresses her sincere disappointment with the outcome of the Grand Jury’s decision but has made it abundantly clear that the National Bar Association stands firm and will be calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue federal charges against officer Darren Wilson. “We will not rest until Michael Brown and his family has justice” states Pamela Meanes, President of the National Bar Association. 

President Meanes is requesting that the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri not allow this decision to cause an unnecessary uproar in the community that could lead to arrests, injuries or even deaths of innocent people. “I am asking for everyone to remain as calm as possible and to join in solidarity as we continue to support the family of Michael Brown and put our legal plan into full effect” says President Meanes “I feel the magnitude of the grand jury’s ruling as Ferguson, Missouri is only minutes from where I reside”, adds President Meanes. 

Over the last couple of months, the National Bar Association has hosted Town Hall meetings informing attendees of their Fourth Amendment (Search & Seizure) constitutional rights, whether it is legal to record police activity, and how citizens should behave/respond if and when they interface with police officers. “The death of Michael Brown was the last straw and the catalyst for addressing issues of inequality and racial bias in policing, the justice system, and violence against members of minority communities,” states Pamela Meanes. 

 The family of Michael Brown requested that District Attorney McCullough step aside and allow a special prosecutor be assigned to the investigation to give the community confidence that the grand jury would conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the tragic shooting death of 18 year old Michael Brown. The grand jury’s decision confirms the fear that many expressed months ago — that a fair and impartial investigation would not happen. 


“The National Bar Association is adamant about our desire for transformative justice. While we are disappointed with the grand jury’s ruling, we are promoting peace on every street corner around the world. The only way to foster systemic change is to organize, educate, and mobilize. We are imploring everyone to fight against the injustice in Ferguson, Missouri and throughout the United States by banding together and working within the confines of the law,” states President Meanes. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

President Obama's Remarkable Success in Energy and Climate Issues




While the extremist Pee-Tardies are swallowing their tongues in a rage over the GOP House Select Committee's report on BENGHAZI!, this news is making the rounds.

If a Republican president presided over this much success in achieving energy independence, they would have built a living memorial, a living pantheon, to him or her.  But because a Democratic president has presided over this accomplishment, all the conservative media, pundits, and bloggers can do is bellow:

BENGHAZI!  BENGHAZI!   BENGHAZI!



However.  Fact are stubborn things, and this speaks for itself:





"That’s quite some record for a president widely panned as “hating” the oil industry. Energy independence for the US – with huge dividends not only in lower oil prices but also in greater freedom of action in pivoting away from the Middle East – is within reach – a goal, like universal health insurance – that presidents have aimed for for decades. Has this made tackling climate change even harder? Not if you look at another part of the Obama years – the rise and rise of renewables, fostered in part by subsidies."  --Andrew Sullivan



Today, the NYT lays out the remarkable new renewable energy environment at hand:

The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas. Utility executives say the trend has accelerated this year, with several companies signing contracts, known as power purchase agreements, for solar or wind at prices below that of natural gas, especially in the Great Plains and Southwest, where wind and sunlight are abundant. Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire, but recent analyses show that even without those subsidies, alternative energies can often compete with traditional sources. 


"So we have a big boom in shale and a simultaneous collapse in the expense of renewable fuels. We have far greater energy independence and the beginnings of a renewable energy revolution. On top of this, we have strict new fuel emissions standards, much tougher carbon emission standards and a pact with the Chinese to curtail carbon over the next few decades. What, one wonders, will historians make of this record? I suspect a lot more than today’s pundits, don’t you?"--Andrew Sullivan





Will Mr. Obama get ANY credit for this? Don't count on it. The Pee-Tardies would rather eat shattered glass and drink vinegar than acknowledge a win for this president.

This Is The Way BENGHAZI! Ends...






Just did a little surfing around the intertoobz to see if the extremists on the right who banged the drum loudly and incessantly about BENGHAZI! for the last 2 years are posting anything about the GOP's own House committee's report that concludes, for the gazillionth time, that there was no cover-up, no stand-down order, no intelligence failure, IOW, no there there, but a terrible tragedy that took the lives of our ambassador and three other people.  A tragedy yes, but try as they have for these past 2 years, the TeaPublicans could not dredge up any deliberate wrong-doing and cover-up by the Obama Administration, and that has enraged them to the point of spittle-flecking all over themselves.

Andrew Sullivan has this to say about the whole sorry debacle on the part of the TeaPublicans:


THIS IS THE WAY BENGHAZI ENDS...


"At the Dish, we tried long and hard to find something in the Benghazi story that could really stand the test of moderate scrutiny … and failed. I even jumped the gun and impugned the honesty of Ben Rhodes at one point in trying to be as skeptical of administration assurances as any journalistic outfit should be. But after a while, we decided to ignore the issue unless something striking or new came up. In retrospect, that was the right call.

When you think of the staggering amount of time and resources devoted to chasing down this rabbit-hole, you have to wonder what is really fueling the GOP. I don’t think it’s a positive agenda to tackle some of our obviously pressing problems: eleven million undocumented immigrants, climate change, Iran’s nuclear potential, Jihadism in Iraq, soaring inequality. I think it’s rabid hatred of a president who does not share their priorities and a desperation to find some kind of quick and easy way of consigning him to a treasonous asterisk. They’ve failed on both counts."


Sullivan on Sen. Grahams' outburst on the GOP House committee's report:



Graham:  “I think the report is full of crap.” 

His only basis for saying that is that the report relied on the testimony of Obama administration officials – even though it also sought testimony from a bunch of Republican conspiracy theorists, even though it was packed with Republican ideologues, even though it had enormous reach and subpoena power.


So no, we won't find any self-reflection on their mob-shouting behavior or any reporting on the GOP's House select committee from the people who hammered away at this non-scandal that they so desperately wanted.  

We'll still read their ravingly mad outbursts, accusing President Obama or Secretary Clinton of something, something, anything, to keep this non-issue alive for their depraved pleasure.   And we understand why.  Their outrage isn't about the deaths of the four Americans, their outrage is about Mr. Obama and the fact that he's our American president.


G.O.P. Benghazi Panel Bolsters Administration


 Republican House Panel Finds 'No Intelligence Failure' Before Benghazi Attack


Republicans Finally Admit There Is No Benghazi Scandal

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ahem







View of Boston from the Cambridge side of the Charles River









(Forbes's ranking included Boston, Cambridge and Newton.)



Interesting:  Nine out of the ten smartest cities are in traditionally liberal blue states.






Great game Patriots!

 Detroit Lions  - 9          New England Patriots - 34

Sunday Science Blog




"Published on Nov 7, 2014 The surface of the sun from October 14th to 30th, 2014, showing sunspot AR 2192, the largest sunspot of the last two solar cycles (22 years). 

During this time sunspot AR 2191 produced six X-class and four M-class solar flares. The animation shows the sun in the ultraviolet 304 ångström wavelength, and plays at a rate of 52.5 minutes per second. 

It is composed of more than 17,000 images, 72 GB of data produced by the solar dynamics observatory (http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/) + (http://www.helioviewer.org/).

This animation has be rendered in 4K, and resized to the Youtube maximum resolution of 3840×2160. The animation has been rotated 180 degrees so that south is "up". The audio is the 'heartbeat' of the sun, processed from SOHO HMI data by Alexander G. Kosovichev. 

Image data courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams."Image processing and animation by James Tyrwhitt-Drake." --YouTube






Saturday, November 22, 2014

TO THE RABID BENGHAZI HYSTERICS: YOU WERE ALL WRONG!






The Republican led House committee investigating the Benghazi tragedy for the last two years has found there was:


NO COVER-UP


NO CONSPIRACY

NO STAND DOWN ORDER


NO MISSTEPS


NO INTELLIGENCE FAILURE.



The hard-right bloggers, pundits, and squash-headed commentators @FAUX NOOZ will now all admit that they participated in a cirque l'ignorance in service to smearing not only then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but the entire Obama Administration. 

Right.  

When compact balls of ice have a chance of being formed in Hell.



The reports linked to below vindicate the Obama Administration and show us all that the crowd that screamed BENGHAZI! for the last 2 1/2 years was all about lies and political slander and never the truth.



House panel finds no intelligence failure in Benghazi attacks

The seventh Benghazi investigation is out, finds there was no intelligence failure



 No stand down order or military missteps in Benghazi attack, GOP-controlled intel panel finds


House Intelligence Committee's Benghazi Report Torches Conspiracy Theories


Go read Charlie Pierce's take-down of the crazy wingnut conspiracy fevers.

 




GOPers and Benghazi


Now we await the right wing bloggers and others to admit that they pursued this whole unhappy debacle only for political purposes and to smear Secretary Clinton and President Obama.

Waiting...waiting...waiting...


Friday, November 21, 2014

HERE'S SOME STUPID FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER



Here's some STUPID for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:


BREAKFAST:




Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leader in the anti-immigrant movement, said during his Sunday radio program that it’s possible that a Hispanic majority in the U.S. could conduct an “ethnic cleansing.” 

 Kobach made his remarks in response to a caller who asked, “What happens, if you know your history, when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race?”


LUNCH:


“By ignoring the will of the American people, President Obama has cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left," Boehner said in a statement on Thursday.


To:   John Boehner                         From:  American people


Re:   Will of the American people

We overwhelmingly supported and asked for background checks and minimum wage increase legislation.  You ignored us.  Are you, therefore, lawless?  Does the "will of the American people" only count when your party says it does?

We call bullpuckey on your silly tantrum.





DINNER:


House Republicans just passed a bill forbidding scientists from advising the EPA on their own research 

The "reform" measure makes room for industry-funded experts on the EPA's advisory board


"Speaking on the House floor Tuesday, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., summed up what was going on: “I get it, you don’t like science,” he told bill sponsor Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah. “And you don’t like science that interferes with the interests of your corporate clients. But we need science to protect public health and the environment.” 

 The House, alas, is staying the course, voting this week on two other bills aimed at impeding the EPA, including one that prevents the agency from relying on what it calls “secret science” in crafting its regulations — but which in reality, opponents argue, would effectively block the EPA from adopting any new rules to protect public health. The trio, wrote Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, in an editorial for the Hill, represents “the culmination of one of the most anti-science and anti-health campaigns I’ve witnessed in my 22 years as a member of Congress.” The White House has threatened to veto all three." 



And here's some dessert to go with the STUPID for lunch and dinner:




Soon-To-Be Nevada Speaker Said Democrats Are The “Master” Of The “Simple Minded Darkies” 

"One of the results of the GOP ‘wave’ during the recent midterm elections was that a number of state legislatures flipped over to Republican majorities.


[skip]


[Ira Hansen, Nevada's new conservative Speaker of the House] "...wrote that blacks are not grateful enough to white people for ending slavery. “The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.” Of course, Hansen didn’t limit his bigotry to blacks during his column’s history. Hispanics and Latinos were targeted quite a bit as Hansen constantly complained about gang violence and laid the blame on the Latino community. He also claimed, without any evidence, that an increase in Hispanics at a high school was causing more tuberculosis cases in the area. As far as women, Hansen blamed the “women’s liberation movement” on society’s ills." 


This is how the TeaPublicans reach out to women and minorities -- by insulting them.






Watch this space for more STUPID for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

h/t Charles Pierce

Thursday, November 20, 2014

President Obama's Deferred Action Program




Cartoon found via Jobsanger






President Obama:


"Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character," [President Obama] said. "What I’m describing is accountability – a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up."


Talking Points Memo:






The cornerstone of Obama's executive action is a new "deferred action" program to authorize undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents temporarily live and work in the country, as long as they've resided here for at least 5 years and can show that their child was born before the date of Obama's announcement. 

This huge action covers more than 4 million people. Separately, Obama will expand his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which currently covers people born after 1981 who came to the country before June 15, 2007 — the expanded program will scrap the age cap and move the cutoff date to January 1, 2010. 

It's expected to cover some 270,000 new so-called DREAMers. Despite intense lobbying by immigrant-rights groups, the action will not cover parents of DREAMers, or DACA beneficiaries. A senior administration official said that after an exhaustive review of the White House's legal options, "we made a determination that the law essentially did not support that. ... By executive action he can only do so much."



All You Need To Know About Obama's Executive Action To Legalize 5 Million


 The TeaPublican Party reacts:



We didn't do squat on immigration and Obummer did!!!!!!!!!!



Charlie Pierce:


"There will be time in the coming days to talk about the politics, and the process, and about what is very likely to be a staggering overreaction by the president's political opponents. But, for now, when I saw the video of the people who were most directly affected by the president's actions, the people with a glimmer of hope in their eyes, the people waving the little flags a little more vigorously, I knew that the president had the moral and historical high ground on this issue. I saw my grandmother among them, come to America and a job folding sheets for the swells, first in Boston and then in Worcester. The heart of the experience is the same. The hope is the same. And the rest is all for later."

"Emperor" Obama Will Legally Act On Immigration




Emperor Obama double-dog dares the TeaPublicans to Impeach Him While Legally Acting on Immigration



"Emperor Obama" prepares to legally grant amnesty because the GOP House never brought the Senate-passed immigration bill up for a vote, thereby, avoiding acting like a legislative body with responsibility to solve this very large problem.

John Boehner, a/k/a Sir John of Orange, has called President Obama "Emperor Obama" for acting like a grown-up and facing the immigration problem.  

Call him "Emperor" all you like, Sir John, but the facts are that Mr. Obama will be acting well within the law, as the following conservative Constitutional lawyers and experts agree.

Stamping your little feet and calling the president names is so last October.  

You won!  Doncha know?

For a guy who glows orange all the time, you're not very bright.



But...but...the lowest non-mandate turnout of voters since 1942 said NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal characterized Obama’s intransigence as a childish “temper tantrum.” But, if Obama’s cool demeanor qualifies as a tantrum, what do we make of a drama queen like Speaker Boehner who has angrily pledged to fight Obama “tooth and nail.” Boehner grimly warns that the president will ruin any chance of getting immigration legislation if he doesn’t back down. This is a gutsy performance from the man who could have gotten a truly bipartisan, Senate-passed immigration bill through the House and to the president’s desk at any moment in the last couple of years simply by allowing a vote – a vote that never happened because Boehner did not want to risk a riot among the anti-immigrant radicals in his caucus. --David Horsey, LATimes









The Roberts Court Has Already Said That Obama Has The Power To Issue His Immigration Order


[Justice]"...Kennedy’s opinion in Arizona does more than strike down several provisions of a state law, however. It also includes language highlighting the “broad discretion” the executive branch enjoys in matters relating to immigration: 

Congress has specified which aliens may be removed from the United States and the procedures for doing so. Aliens may be removed if they were inadmissible at the time of entry, have been convicted of certain crimes, or meet other criteria set by federal law. Removal is a civil, not criminal, matter. A principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials. Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all. If removal proceedings commence, aliens may seek asylum and other discretionary relief allowing them to remain in the country or at least to leave without formal removal.




Legal Panel At Federalist Society Begrudgingly Accepts Obama's Immigration Powers

"...by and large, the panelists agreed the president has wide legal latitude to prioritize and shape deportation laws, as regrettable for Republicans or the long-term balance of powers that may be. “I think the roots of prosecutorial discretion are extremely deep,” said Christopher Schroeder, the Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Public Policy Studies at Duke Law School. 

“The practice is long and robust. The case law is robust. Let me put it this way: Suppose some president came to me and asked me in the office of legal counsel, ‘Is it okay for me to go ahead and defer the deportation proceedings of childhood arrival?’ Under the present state of the law, I think that would be an easy opinion to write. Yes.” Schroeder was speaking specifically about the deferred action program that Obama already has put into place -- the one affecting so-called Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. as children. 

But later, Schroeder expanded his legal reasoning. “I don’t know where in the Constitution there is a rule that if the president’s enactment affects too many people, he’s violating the Constitution,” Schroeder said. “There is a difference between executing the law and making the law. But in the world in which we operate, that distinction is a lot more problematic than you would think. 

If the Congress has enacted a statute that grants discretionary authority for the administrative agency or the president to fill in the gaps, to write the regulations that actually make the statute operative, those regulations to all intents and purposes make the law. 

 “I agree this can make us very uncomfortable. I just don’t see the argument for unconstitutionality at this juncture,” Schroeder added.


And looky here at what fell out of the Clown Car:






Texas Ted Cruz has a plan to use the budget to “stand strong and united against the president unilaterally and illegally trying to extend amnesty to millions who came here illegally (like his father Raphael Cruz).” 


What Cruz and the rest of the Republican xenophobes are saying, in stark terms, is that Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George W. Bush (all Republican presidents) violated the U.S. Constitution and illegally took executive action on immigration. Or in Cruz’s terms, were acting like monarchs that was perfectly legal and constitutional because they were white. 

 In Cruz’s mind, the Republican wave in the midterm elections was solely a referendum on the President’s expected executive actions on immigration policy. Cruz is wrong, of course, because clearly 62% of all Americans support action on immigration including 4 out of 5 Republican voters.

Oy vey!

Ted Cruz Goes There By Accusing Obama of Being An Angry and Defiant Black Man





But wait!  The GOP DOES have a plan after all! 

 G.O.P. Unveils Immigration Plan: “We Must Make America Somewhere No One Wants to Live”  BY ANDY BOROWITZ

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In Praise of the Octopus

An amazingly intelligent and indomitable creature, the octopus not only has three hearts, but also multiple brains. That's three hearts and many brains more than dumbass bi-peds who denigrate this noble cephalopod. 

The more the ignorant attack him, the higher in our esteem he becomes. 









"A Hawaiian creation myth cites the octopus as being the lone survivor of the destruction of an ancient universe that came before ours. The view of these creatures as a form of alien life is understandable. 

Octopuses, to my experience, have always belonged to a special category of earth life whose very nature begs the question: “how is this a real thing that exists on this planet?” Their outrageous, amply appendaged flesh-bag appearance is only the beginning of the many astounding features of the species, many of which continually draw the interest of the scientific community. 

One example: the octopus seems to, beyond having multiple hearts (three, in total), also possess multiple brains. In humans, when we want a physical action to be performed, signals are sent out to the peripheral nervous system from the brain, meaning that our brain is always in contact with our outer nerve cells, commanding them to carry out specific actions. If the brain’s connection with the nerves in the PNS is severed, there can be no movement. In contrast, each arm of an octopus has its own bundle of nerves that operates independently of the primary brain. An octopus has only to tell one of its arms to perform an action and the arm will see the task through to completion without the octopus having to give another thought towards it. 

Scientists have proven this phenomenon by cutting off nerve circulation between octopus arms and brains. Solitary limbs have been observed to still react to stimulation. If you thought that was the only wonder that octopus arms had to offer, think again: research is showing that in order to control all of its appendages, the octopus commands these limbs in much the same way as a skeletal creature would; that is, that the arms of the octopus are able to function as if they consisted of bones and joints, giving the creature optimum motor control when hunting, etc. The arms, which consist entirely of muscle tissue, are able to function jointly as a flexible or rigid appendage, depending on the circumstance. 

Another feature of the octopus that is instantly adaptable to changing circumstances is color. The octopus has often been referred to as “the chameleon of the sea”, which seems unfairly biased towards the chameleon, considering that the octopus is so much better at blending in with its surroundings. Specialized skin cells called chromatophores allow the octopus to release pigments that are so subtle and specific that the organism can mimic color as well as texture, making it virtually impossible to detect against its surroundings. 

These adaptations, not to mention an uncanny intelligence and tendencies toward distinctive personalities, are indicative of the remarkable nature of octopuses, not only in comparison with their fellow invertebrates but with the entire animal kingdom. 

Oh, and did I mention that they can fit into and through almost anything, and open locks? They can do that too."


As has been amply demonstrated, this distinguished cephalopod can outsmart humans, especially the tea drinking kind.




O octopus, octopus, you win our respect 
Not just for your body, supple and flecked 
For camouflage and esthetic beauty, 
But for teaching those who are snooty 
What’s true and what’s beautiful: 
Your brilliance is quite indisputable.
                                                 --S.K.





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Poisoning The Well?





The GOP is in control of both legislative branches of the federal government and many state governorships.  So far, this is how they and their media mouthpieces reacted to that awesome responsibility:



"Republicans have a mandate to stop Barack Obama and were not elected to govern.” --Rush Limbaugh, leading mouthpiece of the GOP

Fox News host Megyn Kelly fantasized that Obama would “offend” Republicans into impeaching him; 


Phyllis Schlafly argued the first priority should be blocking all Obama’s judicial nominees. 


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) pledged once more to repeal Obamacare. 


The dyspeptic Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will use his chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee to demand more “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria, harsher sanctions to undermine negotiations with Iran and more macho posturing over Ukraine. 


Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) will use his likely chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee to deny the existence of catastrophic climate change even while allocating billions for cleanup in the wake of floods, droughts and storms to come.


Iowa’s newest Senator-elect, Republican Joni Ernst...was forced to answer a reporter’s questions over her claims that she made at a campaign stop, saying President Obama wasn’t “leading” on Ebola, and was “hands-off.” 


Raw Story reports Charles Pierce from Esquire asked Ernst, “What should he have done about Ebola? One person has Ebola.” 


“Okay, you’re the press, you’re giving your opinion,” Ernst told him. --Washington Post


So the smallest group of American voters since 1942 voted for exactly the same sort of do-nothing obstructionists that have plagued our country for the last six years, the only difference with this new group is that some of them now threaten to impeach President Obama if he actually governs. How's that for threats and giggles?






"Nice country you got here. It'd be a shame if anything happened to it and you if you try to govern it." --Tony TeaPublican




ON IMMIGRATION


Right wing politicians and pundits are threatening to impeach President Obama for acting on immigration.

Should we retroactively impeach Presidents Reagan and Bush I?


"...previous instances in which vast numbers of illegal immigrants were granted deferred relief, pending legislative gridlock or delay, by presidential discretion:

 As Congress was debating the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, it weighed and opted not to provide a legalization pathway for the immediate relatives of aliens who met the requirements of IRCA unless they too met those requirements.

As IRCA’s legalization programs were being implemented, the cases of unauthorized spouses and children who were not eligible to adjust with their family came to the fore. In 1987, Attorney General Edward Meese authorized the INS district directors to defer deportation proceedings where “compelling or humanitarian factors existed.”

Legislation addressing this population was introduced throughout the 1980s, but not enacted. In 1990, INS Commissioner Gene McNary issued a new “Family Fairness” policy for family members of aliens legalized through IRCA, dropping the where “compelling or humanitarian factors existed” requirement. At the time, McNary stated that an estimated 1.5 million unauthorized aliens would benefit from the policy. The new policy also allowed the unauthorized spouses and children to apply for employment authorizations.

 So both Reagan and the first Bush did exactly what Obama is proposing, as the AP has also reported, and their measures involved 1.5 million people. More to the point, the deferrals were for family members whose deportations would split parents from children.


More here:


When Reagan and GHW Bush took bold executive action on immigration





Oh, and about that "poisoning the well" meme? The Miami Herald laughs at it: 

 "Given the repeated failure of this Congress and preceding ones to deal with immigration reform, the only questions now are when and how far President Obama will go in using his discretionary authority to fix the problem on his own. We hope it’s soon and that he does everything he can within the law to provide a strong measure of relief to immigrant communities in Florida and throughout the nation. 

They’ve waited patiently and for too long for the president to act. [...] Mr. Boehner and other Republicans have not been shy about threatening the president if he decides to go ahead, saying any relaxation of immigration rules would “poison the atmosphere” in Washington. Really? At this stage — after years of demonizing the president, blocking his agenda, voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act some 50 times, and so on — now they’re saying No More Mr. Nice Guy?










Monday, November 17, 2014

Understanding the threat of a confederate insurgency by Nancy LeTourneau of Horizons



Nancy LeTourneau over at Horizons has written an insightful post about something I've talked and thought about for a long time, but had not tackled in a post.

She posted the video below that explains how the modern GOP is slowly and surely dragging our country back to a modern version of Jim Crow:  James Crow, Esq., in order to suppress voting by minorities. 








That's just one point.

Read the whole post:



Understanding the threat of a confederate insurgency


The basic right wing message we've heard for the last six years has been to challenge this President's legitimacy. We've seen that in everything from the birther movement and charges that he's somehow "un-American" to criticisms of Barack Obama that have never been leveled against a United States President (i.e., how much golf he plays, the fact that he takes vacations and that he signs executive orders). 

Call me naive, but I don't believe that all white Republicans buy into this insurgency. But their leadership has used this message of illegitimacy to undermine President Obama and convinced too many people that he is somehow a threat to the country. To the extent that they (and the media) have bought into the lies, they have given credence to a movement that is dangerous to our democracy.

 I am reminded once again of something Derrick Jensen wrote in his book The Culture of Make Believe. 

From the perspective of those who are entitled, the problems begin when those they despise do not go along with—and have the power and wherewithal to not go along with—the perceived entitlement...

Several times I have commented that hatred felt long and deeply enough no longer feels like hatred, but more like tradition, economics, religion, what have you. It is when those traditions are challenged, when the entitlement is threatened, when the masks of religion, economics, and so on are pulled away that hate transforms from its more seemingly sophisticated, "normal," chronic state—where those exploited are looked down upon, or despised—to a more acute and obvious manifestation. Hate becomes more perceptible when it is no longer normalized.

 Another way to say all of this is that if the rhetoric of superiority works to maintain the entitlement, hatred and direct physical force remains underground. But when that rhetoric begins to fail, force and hatred waits in the wings, ready to explode. Change to our "social order" is coming, whether we like it or not. The traditions, economics, religion that mask our entitlement are being stripped away and the hate is becoming more perceptible. As a result, the confederate insurgency is threatening to explode. 

 Black people are noticing. But too many white people are in denial about what's really going on (including a lot of Democrats/liberals). We need to wake the f*ck up!!! I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to support President Obama's policies. But what I am saying is that we all need to recognize the threat posed by this confederate insurgency...and take on the task of ushering in a third reconstruction.


NOTE:  I'm ready for the usual suspects to come to this blog and repeat the usual talking point that those confederates were DEMOCRATS.  Yes, that was the name of the party they belonged to, but they were first and foremost CONSERVATIVES.  

President Lincoln was a LIBERAL Republican.  His Secretary of State, William Seward, and his Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, didn't think Lincoln was LIBERAL ENOUGH in support of abolition  as were they, and as was the LIBERAL position on slavery in that era.  In America at that time, the Republicans had a more PROGRESSIVE position on the question of slavery than did the southern CONSERVATIVE Democrats.   The southern Democrats wanted to CONSERVE/PRESERVE the institution of slavery.  The LIBERALS in the newly formed Republican Party were, for the most part, anti-slavery (although the Democrat/Republican parties were not a solid bloc of liberals and conservatives)  . The new Republican Party had northern conservatives in it and the southern Democratic Party had liberals in it as well.

Most people who use Democrat/Republican labels in discussions on this particular era in our history fail in understanding this.  As a liberal, I would have been a Lincoln Republican and would have fought against the conservative Democrats who wanted to preserve slavery.

Keep in mind that after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, the traditionally Democratic southerners left the Democratic Party, and the Old Confederacy has been a solid conservative Republican voting bloc since then.  


More reading on the subject here:

Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Science Sunday Blog









On Nov. 12, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lander made history. 

The lander successfully made it to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Scientists confirmed the landing at a little bit after 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).



This photo shopped image gives you an idea as to the size of Comet 67P:






More on this historic achievement HERE.


And here:

Philae Spacecraft to Drill into Comet As Battery Life Dwindles

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Obama's Unexpectedly Good Week




The Democrats got whupped on November 4.  But soon after that, Mr. Obama made some impressive moves:

Nominated Loretta Lynch as the first African-American Attorney General

A climate change deal with China

Supported net neutrality

Said he would use his executive authority to prevent the deportation of countless undocumented immigrants


Here's John Cassidy of The New Yorker explaining why we shouldn't write off President Obama because of what happened on November 4.  He's still the POTUS, and there's still a lot he can accomplish.




NOVEMBER 13, 2014 
Obama’s Unexpectedly Good Week



Once upon a time—about six years ago, to be precise—Obama was a feted celebrity in Washington, too. These days, it’s not quite like that, of course, and the President, once he gets home, will be frequently and painfully reminded of what has changed. But perhaps it’s a bit early to write him off.

In the American system, Presidents don’t have very much power to act unilaterally—on the domestic side, anyway. But, as long as they are in office, practically everything that happens revolves around them, and that gives them the opportunity to shape events, if not dictate them. During his first week of living in reduced circumstances after the midterms, Obama showed that he is capable of exceeding expectations, and he isn’t done yet.

Sometime in the next month, he is expected to invoke his executive authority to prevent the deportation of countless undocumented immigrants. The Republicans won’t like that policy any more than they like net neutrality or tackling climate change, but it looks set to become the law of the land. 

It’s too early for Democrats to cast off their mourning garb, crack open the bubbly, and toast their embattled President. But he’s already earned a few more pieces of gum.


You should go HERE and read Green Eagle's analysis
on the November 4 election.  HINT:  it isn't the "mandate" the loonies think it is.  Those maps showing all that red territory isn't reality.  Read Green Eagle to understand why.  Then have a good chuckle every time you read or hear a Bagger brag about November 4 and the "mandate."  







"This is the wrong way to govern," Boehner told reporters Thursday. 


He needs to govern like we Republicans in the House do and Republicans in the Senate will, by obstructing President Obama, doing NOTHING, and then complaining that nothing gets done.