Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Thursday, April 30, 2015

"A riot is the language of the unheard." --MLK

The Reverend Martin Luther King's words explain the protests and unrest in Baltimore:

1. “Why is equality so assiduously avoided? Why does white America delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains? The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice for the Negro. They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity.” — Where Do We Go From Here, 1967

 2. “I contend that the cry of "Black Power" is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.— 60 Minutes Interview, 1966

3. "But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?...It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity." — “The Other America,” 1968

 4. “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” — “Revolution of Values,” 1967 

 5. “Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard word and sacrifice. The fact is that Capitalism was build on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, both here and abroad.” 

 6. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” —“Beyond Vietnam,” 1967


These are uncomfortable, inconvenient truths that many people refuse to face and deliberately ignore.  Just go read the extreme rightwing blogs where their self-satisfied conversations place blame on black citizens alone--claiming that black parents just don't care about their families or themselves.  This is the way white people who have no clue about their own white privilege deal with these complex problems.

Here's a particularly ignorant, ill-thought-out explanation for the troubles in Baltimore found on an rightwing extremist's blog:

"I know, personal responsibility is swearing to a liberal but it just might work. Why were there so many youth's at the start of the riots, why are their neighborhoods so blighted, why do they not have better schools . Because the parents don't care. They must follow hilldabeast idea of it takes a village.not a parent. If it is because they are repressed, why do they have to loot and burn. For the majority it is about free stuff."

Most of the folks who share their opinions on that blog all patted themselves on their virtual backs for that brilliant insight into what causes unrest and violence in these particular neighborhoods:  Libtards, hilldabeast, free stuff, and parents who don't care!

There it is, my friends.  Your modern right winger's deep thoughts on America's racial problems. 

Jack Handey envies the shallow nincompoopery of it all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Your Modern GOP

So, from the hysterical people who claim Mr. Obama and the Libruls are destroying the country, who know without a doubt that Mr. Obama and the Libruls are turning the country into a Fascist/Communist/Marxist/Socialist/Muslim dystopian nightmare, we present their idea of what a free, liberty-loving America should look like.

These people run the state of Kansas.   And we all know what happened to Kansas when it decided Sam Brownback and his ideas would deliver them to freedom and prosperity.

Here's one of those freedom-loving ideas, brought to you by your modern GOP:

Kansas could put teachers in prison for assigning books prosecutors don’t like

A bill approved by the Kansas Senate on Wednesday would enable prosecutors to bring charges against teachers and school administrators for assigning or distributing materials judged harmful to students, the Kansas City Star reports. 

The bill, proposed by conservative state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee), deletes a provision in current state law that exempts schoolteachers and officials from such prosecutions. 

Senators passed the bill 26 to 14. After introducing the bill earlier this month, Pilcher-Cook told the Topeka Capital-Journal that she did so in response to a poster displayed at a Shawnee Mission middle school in 2013. The poster posed the question, “How do people express their sexual feelings?” and listed such examples as oral sex, kissing, intercourse, and talking. 

Media outlets pounced on the controversy after some parents complained, and though the poster was part of a broader sex education curriculum that emphasized abstinence, the school suspended use of the material. Pilcher-Cook and other supporters of her measure also say that it’s necessary to prevent the distribution of pornography in schools — a problem that has not hitherto arisen. 

The Star reports that earlier this week, state Rep. Joseph Scapa (R-Wichita) cited as pornographic a book by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.

I wasn't able to determine if this stupid piece of legislation became a law in Kansas.  I wouldn't be surprised if it did.  Because those fascist-hating, freedom loving people in Kansas know all about freedom--who should have it and who shouldn't.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Power Line Pundit, Hinderaker, Pwnd!

TPM Interview: Rightwing Blogger Explains How He Got Punked By Phony Harry Reid Rumor

John Hinderaker, the man behind the rightwing blog Power Line, woke up to a nasty surprise on Sunday morning. 

 In the pages of the Las Vegas Sun, a man named Larry Pfeifer announced that he had successfully duped a conservative blogger into running a story that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's recent injuries to his eyes and face were the result of a dustup with his own family. 

 Hinderaker would have recognized Pfeifer's name; he had published Pfeifer's account on Power Line only a few weeks earlier. Initially sporting the alias "Easton Elliott," Pfeifer had approached Hinderaker claiming that he witnessed Reid's brother, Larry, talk about pummeling a family member while sharing at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. (Eventually, Pfeifer told Hinderaker his real name.) 

 Hinderaker published the story on Power Line on April 3. Before long, the fake story was blasted over the airwaves by Rush Limbaugh and picked up by Breitbart News and WND. (WND's headline: "Was Harry Reid really pummeled by a relative?") Hinderaker even brought “Easton Elliott” on as a guest when he filled in as host on Laura Ingraham's show on April 9.

Did any of these bloggers and pundits bother to check on the veracity of the story?  
Here's how the crazies on the right get their news.  They find some rumor on the internet from their crazy uncle's email, or someone who will feed them a rumor, and the suckers run with it.  Why bother to check if it's true or not when the story fits their Obama/Reid/Pelosi/Hillary-hating narrative?

They were had, and they deserve to be mocked to the moon and back. This is ample evidence of their total lack of interest in truth or checking for facts.  As long as the rumor slams a Democrat, it's true for them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Brilliantly funny.

This performance seems to have hit a nerve with the cray-crays on the extreme right. Their panties are all in a bunch because the president said "Bucket!"  

Would Ronald Reagan have EVER said such a thing?  No.  He was a really nice guy who said the Civil Rights Act was an insult to the south.  Reagan would never have said "BUCKET!"  because he was such a righteous gentleman.

Also this:

"The Reagan administration invited senior South African security officials to the United States, violating a U.N. arms embargo, and the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have imposed economic sanctions on Pretoria. Reagan also had Mandela placed on the U.S. international terrorist list, where the anti-apartheid leader remained until 2008." 

See, Ronald Reagan was a gentleman who would never say "BUCKET!"

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Science Blog


So you think you're smarter than an octopus?

Octopus dexterity is a thing of awe. One veterinarian saw an octopus undo its own surgical sutures. Divers off the Pacific Northwest Coast have seen male octopuses stand on undersea rocks in the cold salt water, stretching two arms out before them like antennae, apparently searching for that perfect female. Cephalopods – squid, octopus, cuttlefish and nautiluses – have been around for millions of years. The word "cephalopod" means "head-foot."

Some scientists believe that we humans separated from cephalopods, evolutionarily speaking, perhaps more than 700 million years ago. That’s hundreds of millions of years before the Cambrian Explosion, when so many life forms radiated throughout our planet’s oceans. Given that long divergence, we should be very different species. And we are. In some ways.

Cephalopods are invertebrates, animals without skeletons. They usually have eight arms, some have a couple tentacles too. These appendages attach not to the main body; instead, they encircle the animal’s mouth like some kind of living beard. Many cephalopods can change the color of their skin almost instantaneously. Some, like the fabulous cuttlefish, look like flashing neon lights. These guys are weird.

 And yet – they are a lot like us, in some very basic ways. For one thing, we both have similar brain cells. For almost 100 years, scientists have used the giant axon of a little squid, Loligo pealeii, to study how our own brains work.

In most animals, the neuron is the cell that’s the central processor of the world outside the body. The neuron has a main body and an axon, a long thin living tube that extends from the main body somewhat like a thread or a wire. Our own axons are gossamer-like, delicate and easily damaged. It’s difficult for researchers to work with them. But the little squid’s axons may be as thick as a pencil lead. They are visible to the naked eye and are easily handled.

By studying how the squid axon works, scientists have learned quite a bit about how ours function. They hope to apply some of what they’ve learned to finding cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Disturbing Octopus Facts and Their Eventual Global Conquest

Planet of the Apes? 

It’s an OCTOPUS UPRISING we need to worry about: 

Intelligent eight-tentacled animals could evolve to become even smarter Octopuses are highly intelligent, more so than any other invertebrates 

They can be trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns In some studies, they have been shown to practice observational learning 

Scientists says they may one day build structures other than simple shelters 

Deep Intellect

MEASURING THE MINDS OF OTHER creatures is a perplexing problem.

One yardstick scientists use is brain size, since humans have big brains. But size doesn’t always match smarts. As is well known in electronics, anything can be miniaturized. 

Small brain size was the evidence once used to argue that birds were stupid — before some birds were proven intelligent enough to compose music, invent dance steps, ask questions, and do math. Octopuses have the largest brains of any invertebrate. Athena’s is the size of a walnut — as big as the brain of the famous African gray parrot, Alex, who learned to use more than one hundred spoken words meaningfully. That’s proportionally bigger than the brains of most of the largest dinosaurs. Another measure of intelligence: you can count neurons. 

The common octopus has about 130 million of them in its brain. A human has 100 billion. But this is where things get weird. Three-fifths of an octopus’s neurons are not in the brain; they’re in its arms. “It is as if each arm has a mind of its own,” says Peter Godfrey-Smith, a diver, professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and an admirer of octopuses. 

For example, researchers who cut off an octopus’s arm (which the octopus can regrow) discovered that not only does the arm crawl away on its own, but if the arm meets a food item, it seizes it — and tries to pass it to where the mouth would be if the arm were still connected to its body. “Meeting an octopus,” writes Godfrey-Smith, “is like meeting an intelligent alien.” 

Their intelligence sometimes even involves changing colors and shapes. One video online shows a mimic octopus alternately morphing into a flatfish, several sea snakes, and a lionfish by changing color, altering the texture of its skin, and shifting the position of its body. Another video shows an octopus materializing from a clump of algae. Its skin exactly matches the algae from which it seems to bloom — until it swims away.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

The GOBP: The Grand Old BENGHAZI! Party.

"We have to stop being the Stupid Party." -- Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Benghazi Coverup Allegations Rejected in Bipartisan House Probe

(Bloomberg) --" A two-year investigation by Republican and Democratic members of the House intelligence committee rejects allegations that the Obama administration intentionally misled the public about the deadly attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

 Repudiating what it called “the swirl of rumors and unsupported allegations” over the Benghazi assault, the lawmakers said in a report released yesterday that there was never a “stand-down” order blocking rescue efforts and that White House officials weren’t to blame for an inaccurate initial account of the events on Sept. 11, 2012.

 The committee’s report doesn’t name former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a prospective Democratic presidential candidate in 2016."

GOP panel on Benghazi finds no Obama administration wrongdoing

Seventh GOP Benghazi Investigation Finds No Criminality Or Malfeasance – Eighth Inquiry Is Underway

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Afraid of Sharia Law? Take a look at what's happening in our own US Congress

Republicans again appeal to theocracy

Michigan Republican Tim Walberg was a Christian minister before winning election to Congress in 2010 — and he hasn’t entirely changed jobs.

 In a rare Tuesday-night committee meeting at which House Republicans advanced a bill curtailing reproductive rights, Walberg took the even rarer step of lecturing his colleagues on Scripture.

“It is clearly taught by Jesus the Christ himself,” Walberg preached to members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, “for those of us who believe in him — and I understand and I accept the fact that there are those who don’t — but he said render unto Caesar what’s Caesar’s and God what’s God’s, and I think that’s an important consideration for us on this committee tonight.” 

 Claiming Jesus in a political dispute is inflammatory, particularly when you accuse your opponents, as Walberg did, of “a continued attack on religion.” 

The appeal to theocracy Tuesday night was even more incendiary because it was used to justify a bid to strike down a new District of Columbia law protecting women from workplace discrimination if they receive fertility treatments, use birth control or have abortions. 

 Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) took issue with Walberg. “I studied for the Roman Catholic ministry,” he responded. “But I certainly don’t think that it is my job to propound the dogma of my church as a member of Congress.” 

 Replied Pastor Walberg: “While I will not wear my religion on my sleeve, I will not hide my faith.” 


These Dominionists, (Ted Cruz and his pastor father who's anointed Ted as "King," for example) continue to sob about how they're being persecuted here in the U.S. Meanwhile, a U.S. Congressman uses his Dominionist beliefs to justify discrimination in U.S. law and sees nothing wrong with imposing one religious belief over all others.

There isn't one mention of Jesus Christ or God or any deity in the U.S. Constitution. Our laws are not based on anyone's holy book.  The same people who continue to soil their undies over their fears of Sharia law being imposed (by Obama, of course) see nothing wrong with using Christian beliefs as a basis for laws in our secular country.  They are the dominant religion (for now), so they must be right.  Right?

Here's more information on Rep. Walberg, a certifiable nutter:

Meet Tim Walberg: 

A Birther Goes to Washington Tim Walberg, who is returning to the House next year after representing Michigan's 7th district for one term from 2007-2009, brags that he "was a Tea Partier before there was a Tea Party." Indeed, Walberg enthusiastically embraces the most extreme aspects of the Tea Party—from corporate pandering and vowing to cut social safety-net programs to far-right views on social issues and a predilection for conspiracy theories. 

 Walberg is perhaps most famous for his unabashed embrace of "birther" theories. Asked by a radio show caller if he thinks President Obama is an American citizen or a Muslim, Walberg responded: "You know, I don't know, I really don't know. [] We don't have enough information about this President. He was never given a job interview that was complete. "But that's not the issue now. [] He is President. Right now, we need to make sure that he doesn't remain as President. Whether he's American, a Muslim, a Christian, you name it." 

 While other candidates have tried to tiptoe away from their own birther claims, Walberg later doubled down, saying that he would "take [Obama] at his word that he's an American citizen"…and then suggested that Congress impeach Obama in order to obtain a copy of his birth certificate.


Walberg's Religious Right credentials are also stellar. 

He opposes abortion rights, including in cases of rape or incest

As a member of the House, he cosponsored two bills that, according to NARAL, "would end all legal abortion, most common forms of birth control, stem cell research, and in vitro fertilization". 

He voted against a bill that would have provided for stem cell research. 

 In 2008, Walberg was the only member of the House education committee to vote "no" on extending funding for the Head Start program. 

He objected to a provision in the bill that prohibited Head Start preschools from discriminating based on religion, warning that a Christian parochial school might have to hire a Muslim or "a Wiccan from a coven in Ann Arbor."

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, the lawmakers allow a Bible story to be taught as science. 

 Is this another sign of Christian persecution???? 

 Dismissing Darwin:   Records show teachers and school board members conspiring to teach creationism in public school science class.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Here's Some Stupid For Tuesday


Rick Santorum: Obama Established A Secular Theocracy 

Rick Santorum appeared on Tony Perkins’s “Washington Watch” radio show yesterday to discuss national security threats from ISIS and Iran, but Perkins eventually moved the discussion to the “domestic threats” to the country: namely, gay marriage. Perkins thanked Santorum for working with the Family Research Council on creating a short film about the dangers of marriage equality, which will be shown in participating churches on the Sunday before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges. Santorum told Perkins that, for the first time ever in U.S. history, religious liberty is under assault from a new secular theocratic system.

Definition of secular:
sec·u·lar ˈsekyələr/Submit adjective 1. denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis. "secular buildings" synonyms: nonreligious, areligious, lay, temporal, worldly, earthly, profane; formallaic "secular music" 

Definition of theocracy:

the·oc·ra·cy:   noun a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.

Epic Stupid, even for Santorum.

A secular theocracy?  Is that sort of like totalitarian liberty?  This sort of fevered rhetoric that makes no sense drives the Dominionists' agenda, which is to turn this secular country into a theocracy, run by idiots like Santorum.

Bachmann: Rapture Imminent Thanks To Gay Marriage & Obama 

In an interview with End Times broadcaster Jan Markell that was aired this weekend, former Rep. Michele Bachmann said that people should “not despair but rejoice” that the world has reached the “midnight hour” and that “we in our lifetimes potentially could see Jesus Christ returning to earth and the Rapture of the church.” The former Republican congresswoman from Minnesota said that President Obama’s policies, including support for marriage equality and nuclear negotiations with Iran, are to blame for the world’s imminent demise. “We need to realize how close this clock is to getting towards the midnight hour,” Bachmann said. “Barack Obama is intent, it is his number one goal, to ensure that Iran has a nuclear weapon.” 

She's no longer in Congress, thank Darwin.  But she still captures the imagination of the bottom-feeders who cling to her End Times babbling.  

 Huckabee: Wait To Join Military Until Obama Leaves Office 

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed in an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday that the Obama administration has “an open hostility toward the Christian faith,” and urged prospective military recruits to wait until the end of President Obama’s term to enlist.

If you have no ideas, no vision, no shame, like Huckabee, you can always appeal to the worst in people and hope they follow you down a path which, in this case, will lead to his induction into the Tea Party Clown Hall of Fame.

Ted Cruz Asks Pastors To Preach And Pray Against Gay Marriage Ahead Of SCOTUS Arguments - 

There you go again, Teddy!  If your fellow Christians aren't praying away the gay, they're praying against the gay.  That's a real winning position for people who aren't paying attention to where America is on this issue.  And America isn't with you or your anti-gay minions.

Keep in mind that the people mentioned in this "Stupid For Tuesday" post all belong to the political party that wants to win the White House in 2016 so that they will have complete control of all three branches of government.  If you will notice, not one of these people have proposed anything or even talked about an issue that is not religion-based.  


Hump Day Quiz: What Is A Secular Theocracy?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Run, Kate, Run!

Good luck to my niece, Kate, on her 5th Boston Marathon!

Run, Kate, Run!

Kate at the 18 mile mark.  Her daughter giving mom a squeeze to finish the race.

Caroline Rotich Is The Women's Winner Of The 2015 Boston Marathon

 Lelisa Desisa Is The Men's Winner Of The 2015 Boston Marathon

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Science Blog

"Higgs boson walks into a church, and the priest says, 'I'm sorry we don't allow Higgs bosons to come to churches.' And [the Higgs] says, 'But without me, you can't have mass.'" 

Mother of Higgs boson found in superconductors

A weird theoretical cousin of the Higgs boson, one that inspired the decades-long hunt for the elusive particle, has been properly observed for the first time. The discovery bookends one of the most exciting eras in modern physics. 

 The Higgs field, which gives rise to its namesake boson, is credited with giving other particles mass by slowing their movement through the vacuum of space. First proposed in the 1960s, the particle finally appeared at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, in 2012, and some of the theorists behind it received the 2013 Nobel prize in physics. 

 But the idea was actually borrowed from the behaviour of photons in superconductors, metals that, when cooled to very low temperatures, allow electrons to move without resistance. Near zero degrees kelvin, vibrations are set up in the superconducting material that slow down pairs of photons travelling through, making light act as though it has a mass.

SPACEThe Higgs Boson May Disintegrate into Dark Matter

Friday, April 17, 2015

Western Conservative Summit disinvites GOP gay group

From the Denver Post:

Western Conservative Summit disinvites GOP gay group

The increasingly influential Western Conservative Summit has disinvited a gay Republican group to attend its event this summer — a message that sends exactly the wrong message, members of the Log Cabin Republicans say.

 The Colorado Log Cabin Republicans had paid a $250 fee to be able to set up a table at the event, but then received a message from John Andrews, head of the Centennial Institute, which is affiliated with Colorado Christian University and sponsors the summit.

 “You and your members are very welcome to get tickets and attend, but we can’t officially have the organization as a partner, exhibitor, or advertiser,” Andrews said.


“It is a pretty common issue we face. They’ll take our money, but want us in the closet,” said Michael Carr of Denver, a former state Senate candidate and secretary of the state chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. “This is the most important time for us to be reaching out to all types of groups and people, all types of Republicans, all types of conservatives. 

Young people especially want to see a robust political debate and this dis-invitation is the exact opposite of that. Being perceived as anti-gay turns young people off even more than it does the general public.” Andrews told the gay group that the Log Cabin Republicans’ “worldview and policy agenda are fundamentally at odds with what Colorado Christian University stands for, so it’s just not a fit. I’m sorry it has to be that way.”

See those Western Conservatives with deeply held religious beliefs will take the gay moNAY but don't actually want the gays who are attached to it.  Now that's sticking to one's god-belief, innit?

Damon Linker of The Week explains these culture war issues and their impact on presidential politics:

More than ever, presidential politics is about something other than politics. It's about culture, identity, signaling, and symbolism. 

In a country of 318 million people, in which there is no shared religious conviction, no shared ethnicity, and increasingly no common culture or moral consensus about marriage and sex, and in which the burden of what is typically a nation's greatest act of collective endeavor and sacrifice (war) has been offloaded to a tiny segment of the population that voluntarily bears the burden largely out of public sight and mind — in such a centerless country, with a media culture that fixates on image, style, and symbolism, a single nationwide quadrennial election in which every adult citizen can participate has taken on existential overtones. 

More than affirming his or her ideology or policy proposals, we want to be able to look at a presidential candidate and say: "That's me. That's who I am. That's how I see America." 

Democrats are used to making this kind of point about Republicans. With their swaggering gait, ostentatious denials of evolution and climate change, and gratuitous references to God, guns, grits, and gravy, GOP presidential candidates do nothing to conceal their cultural signaling. Unless it involves race. In that case, Democrats point out, Republicans will speak in subtly camouflaged terms about wanting to "take our country back" from the likes of "Barack Hussein Obama." 

What Republicans mean when they talk this way is that they want a president who looks like them, which means white. (Many Democrats assume that this unedifying display of prejudice will be repeated in gendered terms should Hillary Clinton become the first female president in 2016.)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"If she's elected..." by Charlie Pierce

Charlie Pierce:

Charlie Pierce, reality-checking Hillary Clinton:

Because I am always here to help, I will now present a list of what we already know about a potential Rodham Clinton's presidency.

If she is elected, she unequivocally will accept the science of anthropogenic climate change and treat it as a crisis. This cannot be said of any of the Republican candidates, real or potential. 

If she is elected, she unequivocally will support marriage equality, and oppose discrimination against our fellow citizens based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This cannot be said of any of the Republican candidates, real or potential. 

If she is elected, she will not destroy the Affordable Care Act, an article of faith among all the Republican candidates, real or potential. 

If she is elected, and despite her closeness to certain Wall Street interests, she will not destroy the Dodd-Frank reforms, another article of faith among all the Republican candidates, real or potential. 

If she is elected, the DREAMers will get to stay in the country.

If she is elected, she will not sign a bill to eliminate the estate tax. (More on this one later)

If she is elected, Janice Rogers Brown will stay right where she is in the judicial food chain.

To get elected, she does not have to wink at state's rights, up to and including incidents of armed resistance.

To get elected, she does not have to equivocate on the science behind the theory of evolution as does any Republican candidate who seeks the votes of Republicans in Iowa.

To get elected, she does not have to peddle the snake oil of supply-side economics, nor does she have to peddle scare stories about the oncoming caliphate, nor does she have to create bogeymen about jackboots coming to steal your guns.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Republicans favor Israel's best interests over America's, new poll finds.

From Digby:

Republicans by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 say the U.S. should support Israel even when its stances diverge with American interests, a new Bloomberg Politics poll finds. 

Democrats, by roughly the same ratio, say the opposite is true and that the U.S. must pursue its own interests over Israel's.

Think about that.  

Republicans believe in supporting a foreign country over the best interests of America.  

Israel First!

We all understand that Israel is our best friend in the M.E., and the U.S. is committed to supporting them against their enemies who wish them harm.

But for Republicans to swear allegiance to a foreign country (which I believe this poll demonstrates) over one's country's best interests is something I never thought I'd see in my life. 

The Democrats believe America's best interests come first, as true patriots should, and yet the Republicans believe they are the only party that loves America.

This poll tells us something very, very different.

Monday, April 13, 2015

"A peculiar, but unmistakable phenomenon..."

The New York Times's Sunday editorial expresses what reasonable people have known all along: The GOP's "...peculiar, but unmistakable phenomenon:  As Barack Obama's presidency heads into its twilight, the rage of the Republican establishment toward him is growing louder, angrier, and more destructive."

As an example of this destructive rage, the Times points out that even before Mr. Obama was inaugurated, the loud mouthed jackals of the GOP proclaimed to the media that they hoped he would fail.  The reigning bigots of the GOP allowed questions about Mr. Obama's citizenship and his religion to be taken seriously to the point where even members of Congress joined in on the attacks.  The most recent example (the ones in the past are too numerous to list here) is that of the 47 US Senators who signed a letter to the leaders of Iran, warning them that whatever negotiations they and President Obama agreed on, the next president could overturn. Treachery of the worst sort.  The Times wondered how the GOP would have reacted to Congressional Democrats authoring such a letter to the Kremlin while Mr. Gorbachev and President Reagan were negotiating a nuclear arms agreement.  It would have been unthinkable, and yet the current GOP Congress (most of whom never even read the letter) had no regrets taking part in their treachery.

Mitch McConnell just recently told foreign governments to "ignore the carbon-emissions goal Mr. Obama was trying to set by international agreement.  Because climate-change deniers in Congress and in some states oppose the efforts, setting those goals is pointless, Mr. McConnell pronounced last month."

The Times continues:  "If this insurrection is driven by something other than a blend of ideological extremism and personal animosity, it's not clear what that might be.  But it is ugly, it deepens a mistrust of government, and it harms the office of the president, not just Mr. Obama."

The TPer GOP's maniacal hatred of this president and his wife is about more than policy differences (remember, the ACA was based on a REPUBLICAN idea), it's about something deeper, darker, more shameful, and destructive than mere ideological differences.  History will not be kind to the GOP and how they've behaved during Mr. Obama's presidency.

The good news is that overall, the Obama presidency will be seen as a success, and the TGOPers will be seen as utterly insane in their uncontrolled rage and hatred of Mr. and Mrs. Obama.

A different perspective:

Paul Krugman:

"...Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn't deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. 

His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it's working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it's much more effective than you'd think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy. 

 I'll go through those achievements shortly. First, however, let's take a moment to talk about the current wave of Obama-bashing. All Obama-bashing can be divided into three types. One, a constant of his time in office, is the onslaught from the right, which has never stopped portraying him as an Islamic atheist Marxist Kenyan. Nothing has changed on that front, and nothing will. 

And this not so satirical satire from Andy Borowitz:

Republicans Promise Smooth Transition of Hate from Obama to Clinton 

WASHINGTON - Republicans today promised that there will be a "seamless transition of hatred" if President Obama is succeeded in office by Hillary Clinton. "Like many Americans, we will be saddened to see our lawsuits, investigations, and general harassment directed towards President Obama come to an end," said House Speaker John Boehner. 

"But we want to reassure everyone that we are very much up to the challenge of transferring our hatred to a President Clinton." Boehner promised the American people that the tormenting of the new Democratic President would begin on her first day in office. "The fact that we began this process while she was still Secretary of State will really enable us to hit the ground running," he said.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Night Comics

Sunday Science Blog

Here is the "Picasso Bug:"

When I first looked at the images, I thought they had been photo shopped.  Look at those designs and colors.  But they're not photo shopped; this is nature in all its glory.

Habitat: from South Africa, Ethiopia to Cameroon 

Apparently Picasso used other materials besides canvas to do his work: this is a Picasso Bug which is a species of Shield-backed Bug (Sphaerocoris annulus) and its ornate exterior looks as if it had been painted by the master artist himself. 

 According to the tumblr blog rhamphotheca, “These beautifully patterned true bugs (order Hemiptera, family Scutelleridae) are found throughout much of sub-saharan and northeastern Africa. They feed on the nectar and internal juices of a wide variety of plants with their sucking and piercing proboscis (straw like mouth part). Eggs are deposited on the under sides of leaves. The young nymphs spend most of their time in flowers feeding, and they take a little under 2 months to molt and grow into adults (when they will become more generalized feeders).”

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kevin Callahan's "Red Fantasy" performed by Artyom Dervoed at Boston's Guitarfest, June 2011

Callahan: The Red Fantasy from Brian Dixon on Vimeo.

Russian guitarist, Artyom Dervoed, performs my nephew, Kevin Callahan's, "The Red Fantasy," June, 2011.

I attended the performance here in Boston during the annual Guitarfest and was happy to meet Artyom.


Friday, April 10, 2015

On the Walter Scott shooting by Officer Slager...

and why changing the subject to "black on black" crime is bogus:

From VOX:

There are many layers of logical and moral reasoning that explain why focusing on black-on-black crime in response to criticism of law enforcement's treatment of black Americans misses the point. As Vox's Lauren Williams has pointed out, this starts with the term "black-on-black" itself: 

 One of the primary problems with this argument is that "race-on-race" crime is not a phenomenon unique to black Americans. (Jamelle Bouie debunked this myth in the Daily Beast, and my colleague Matt Yglesias recently exposed the scourge of white-on-white murder.) 

 Plus, she explained, the underlying sentiment that "nobody pays attention when black people kill each other" is simply not based in reality: 

 But even though the term "black-on-black" crime is misleading, this much is true: a disproportionate number of murder victims are black. African Americans make up about 13 percent of the US population and 50 percent of homicide victims, according to the FBI's (imperfect) data. But not only is it unoriginal and transparent to trumpet these stats whenever tough questions about systemic racism arise, it's also untrue that so-called violence in black communities is being ignored. 

 In fact, the reason everyone knows so much about black-on-black crime in, say, Chicago is that it gets tons of national attention. 

 But guess what does often get ignored by a large segment of the population? Every piece of the puzzle that goes along with crime in black communities — deep-seated, institutionalized discrimination and racism that affects every single area of life, and provides the backdrop for the violence that does occur in predominantly black, low-income places like Chicago's South Side neighborhood:

The effects of this systemic racism show up in almost every meaningful aspect of American life. Black and Latino children are more likely to attend schools that are segregated by both race and income. White families are about six times more wealthy than black families. [As of August 2014] just43.5 percent of black Americans own homes, about 20 percentage points below the national rate. The African-American poverty rate is 27.2 percent, while the white poverty rate is 9.7 percent. In July, national unemployment was at 6.2 percent, but for black people, it was 11.4 percent. 

 Focusing on black-on-black crime distracts from the current news (the murder case against Slanger, in this instance) that is worthy of discussion and analysis. Worse, it randomly zooms in on one phenomenon — that sometimes black people kill people who are also black — while ignoring the issues that go hand in hand with it. And that's a lot to ignore. As Ta-Nehesi Coates wrote at the Atlantic in 2014, "The policy of America has been, for most of its history, white supremacy. The high rates of violence in black neighborhoods do not exist outside of these facts — they evidence them." 

So people who are put off by discussions of the latest instance of a police officer killing an unarmed black man, and how it reflects the way systemic racism works in America, are more than entitled to their stance. But they'll really need to find a more convincing way to change the subject.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Via Infidel753: 150 years ago today...

On this day 150 years ago, General Lee surrendered to General Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, effectively ending the greatest and bloodiest act of treason in American history.

Please go HERE and read Infidel753's post, "Treason and Truth," that provides detail on why the secessionist states left the Union. And yes, his post confirms that it was about slavery.

Here's the introductory paragraph:

"On this day 150 years ago, General Lee surrendered to General Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, effectively ending the greatest and bloodiest act of treason in American history. At a time when Confederate nostalgia is widespread on the right wing (just observe how common the display of the Confederate battle flag is in some areas -- it is even part of the state flag of Mississippi), and Confederate history and motives for secession are regularly whitewashed by people who should know better, it's worth remembering what the Confederacy was actually about, and what the Civil War was actually about. In their own words..."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tom Cotton: Just drop a few bombs on Iran and that will solve the Middle East problems.

Cotton's favorite song:  "Bomb, bomb, bomb...bomb, bomb Iran!"

Sen. Tom Cotton[head] (R-BSC) Thinks a great way to negotiate with Iran is to threaten them with bombing, unless they give into our demands, and dropping a few bombs on Iran would be a great way to deal with Middle East problems. This is the right wing's newest hero.  A guy who thinks it would be fabulous for America and our military to enter into another Middle East war with a country far better equipped to retaliate throughout the region than Saddam Hussein's Iraq was.  

Reckless is too mild a term to describe this cotton-headed war hawk.

Eliminating Iran's nuclear facilities with U.S. missile strikes would take a matter of days, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a radio interview Tuesday.

 "Even if military action were required -- and we certainly should have kept the credible threat of military force on the table throughout which always improves diplomacy -- the president is trying to make you think it would be 150,000 heavy mechanized troops on the ground in the Middle East again as we saw in Iraq.

That's simply not the case," Cotton told Tony Perkins on the Family Research Council's Washington Watch program, according to CNN.


The obvious follow-up question, however, is: What happens after the bombing ceases? Cotton, a defense hawk who gained prominence by authoring a controversial letter in protest of nuclear negotiations with Iran, didn't get into that answer Tuesday.

But several high-ranking U.S. military officials have already made the consequences of bombing clear. "The United States would obviously be blamed and we could possibly be the target of retaliation from Iran, striking our ships, striking our military bases," former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in 2011, adding that "severe economic consequences ... could impact a very fragile economy in Europe and a fragile economy here in the United States."  --HuffPost

Why would a man who knows the horror of war want to see the United States dragged into another morass?   Follow the money.  Cotton can be bought:

Cotton Received More Than $1 Million From Israel Lobby 

Neocon meteor Sen. Cotton is funded by Abrams, Adelson and Kristol and loves war a little too much -

"...neoconservatives reached out and groomed Tom Cotton when they saw him coming down the pike. The Harvard College and Harvard Law grad spent just one term in the Congress before challenging and defeating Mark Pryor last fall. And he got tons of money then from the Israel lobby. - 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Remember how the TeaPublicans made fun of Elizabeth Warren...

for claiming Native American heritage?

Guess who claimed Hispanic heritage on a voter registration form?

John Ellis Bush, otherwise known JEB!

So will the rabid TeaPublicans start calling JEB!  Juan Bush?  Because even to this day, those nincompoops, whose only purpose in life is to attack and demean Liberals, refer to Senator Warren as "Pocahontas Warren."

I wonder when they'll start to refer to JEB! as Juan "El Mundo"  Bush?

My Nonna used to caution her grandchildren with this old Italian saying:

"Chi sputa in su, lo sputo gli torno sul viso."*

*Don't spit into the wind, it'll come back and hit you in the face.

The GOPTeafParty has saliva all over themselves.

Jeb Identified Himself as ‘Hispanic’ 
 Source: TDB/NYT

 "Jeb Bush identified himself as Hispanic on a 2009 voter-registration form in Florida, according to a copy of the document obtained by The New York Times.

Needless to say, neither Bush nor his parents are Hispanic. Bush’s wife, Columba, was born in Mexico.

A spokesperson for Bush, who is gearing up for a likely presidential bid, offered no explanation for the characterization."

Jeb Bush Hispanic? Likely 2016 Presidential Candidate Says So On Voter Registration Form

So far we have a Canadian born son of an American mother and Cuban father, Ted Cruz, hoping to win the GOP nomination for the presidency.   Remember how the TeaPublicans kept the birther nuts going?  But are curiously silent (except for a GOP clown who wears a red squirrel on his head) about Teddy and his Cuban heritage--a heritage, BTW, that included the fact that Rafael Cruz, his daddy, initially fought with Fidel Castro, the Commie!

Remember how the TeaPublicans constantly referred to President Barack Obama as "Barry," because that was a name he used when he was a young man?  How often do we think the Tea-Pee-ers will refer to another contender for the GOP nomination, Governor Bobby Jindal, as Piyush?  How about never?  

The TeaPublicans are drenched in spit.

Friday, April 3, 2015


I'm not an expert on the Middle East, especially not on Iran.  I'll leave the analyses of this peace proposal up to those who are.  But I do know that these negotiations have been one of the prime goals of President Obama's presidency, and now we have to sit back and see what sort of damage the opposing party will do.  We already witnessed their unprecedented back-stabbing, and what I see as traitorous, behavior with their pusillanimous letter to Iran's leaders.  Luckily, Iran ignored the miscreants and went forward with the negotiations.

Most of the pundits, pols, and bloggers who bellowed the loudest about these peace negotiations are the same folks who believe in the Prince of Peace who said in his famous Sermon on the Mount:

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God."

Let's see how they tell the rest of us that what President Obama did is evil.

From the HuffPost:

"[President] Obama...embarked on high-stakes negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, resulting in Thursday's improbable agreement to reduce, control and monitor Iran's nuclear program. Coming on the heels of major deals with two other longtime U.S. adversaries, China and Cuba, Obama is steadily building a diplomatic legacy to match his campaign rhetoric. 

On a Thursday call with reporters, senior administration officials underscored how much of a priority Obama has made a diplomatic solution on Iran. "There's no foreign policy issue he has spent more time on," said one official. "I'd say over the course of his presidency, other than the war in Afghanistan and terrorism, Iran is an issue that he's spent more time on than any other issue. The first negotiation that he had on this started in 2009, so he's very familiar with the Iranian nuclear program and all the different elements."

New York Times:
By opening a dialogue between Iran and America, the negotiations have begun to ease more than 30 years of enmity. Over the long run, an agreement could make the Middle East safer and offer a path for Iran, the leading Shiite country, to rejoin the international community. [...] 

Talking to adversaries — as President Ronald Reagan did in nuclear weapons negotiations with the Soviets and President Richard Nixon did in his opening to China — is something American leaders have long pursued as a matter of practical necessity and prudence. Yet in today’s poisonous political climate, Mr. Obama’s critics have gone to extraordinary lengths to undercut him and any deal. Their belligerent behavior is completely out of step with the American public, which overwhelmingly favors a negotiated solution with Iran, unquestionably the best approach.

LA Times:

 In welcoming it, Obama said he accepted that Congress could play a useful "oversight role" but warned that "if Congress kills this deal not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it's the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy. International unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen." We hope those words will be pondered by those members of Congress who have reflexively opposed any possible deal and who may be tempted to sabotage the negotiations. They should also take seriously another point made by the president: that the alternative to a diplomatic agreement is that "we can bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, thereby starting another war in the Middle East and setting back Iran's program by a few years." The details of a final agreement matter, but so does the alternative.


 To all of the critics, the details — short of a capitulation that's incompatible with the concept of negotiation — don't matter. They prefer the aggressive confrontation of Iran's ambitions across the region, with deep U.S. involvement and a high risk of war. Given Iran's behavior, it is not an easy choice. But removing Iran's nuclear threat would be no small thing, and as diplomacy goes, the deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and counterparts from France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China appears at this early stage to be a significant success.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tom Cotton Tells US Gays: Be Thankful You're Not Being Hanged, Cuz That's What They Do To Homos in Iran!

Tom Cotton (You know, the guy who went behind the US president's back and cozied up to a foreign government to tell them not to trust America -- that Tom Cotton.)  Well he seems to be obsessed with all things Iranian, and not just a little bit envious over how they treat their gays:

"But I also think it's important that we have a sense of perspective about our priorities. In Iran, they hang you for the crime of being gay."

So, you gay homo-Americans!  Quit yer complaining about not being treated equally under the law!  If you lived in Iran or any other Muslim country, you'd be dead!


I wonder, Tommy, how those Muslim countries treat people who sneak behind their leaders' backs to give aid and comfort to foreign countries negotiating with them? Hmmmm.

I think Tommy would be missing a head, wouldn't he.

From the Daily Kos:

"Cotton is impatient and angry that he's being asked to talk about something as unimportant as equality in America when the only issue he thinks anyone should be talking about, ever, at all, is how we can start a war with Iran. And his way to work the conversation back around to where he thinks it should be is to say, roughly, "shut up and be grateful we're not executing you." Classy, classy guy."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


And the winnah for today, April 1, is:

Let's hear it for the free press. And public shaming.