"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Monday, August 03, 2015

It's a Polyglot World


The woman then launches into a tirade, linking bilingualism to the Nazis and the Russians.

“You want the Russians over here telling you what to do? You want the Nazis telling you what to do?” she excitedly asks, as Baez tells her, “That’s what you’re doing to my mom. You’re telling her what to do. She speaks English. She’s not perfect, but she speaks English.”

“We want English in the United States,” the woman replies. “We have freedom of speech, you’re the proof of it. We want that freedom.”

Following Baez once again telling her she can’t tell his mother what to do, the woman replies, “Yes. We want English. We don’t want the Nazis back. We don’t want fascists back. We don’t want Castro back.”

OK -- so this woman is obviously ignorant, and maybe not too bright: Fox News demographic, for sure.

On the other side of the equation, one of the games I play with myself when riding the bus is to figure out what languages I'm hearing. Russian and Spanish are easy; I can generally spot Hindi and Arabic, but the various African languages throw me, and I'm never quite sure whether it's Vietnamese, Korean, or some variety of Chinese on the East Asian front.

But that's what makes it fun.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

It's Nice to Know

That at least a few members of Congress have their heads screwed on straight:

Via Digby.

Have You Noticed?

The presidential election is in November, 2016. It's August, 2015. 85% of news coverage is election related, mostly about the Republican contenders trying to make themselves out to be bigger asses than Donald Trump. (Although you have to admire The Hairpiece for taking over the discourse the way he did. Poor Ted Cruz, left out in the cold like that.)

And our "independent press" is just eating it up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Today in Disgusting People (Update)

I've tended to give Pat Robertson a pass on a lot of things, on the assumption that he's just a nasty man who's gone senile and needs to be kept in the attic or something, as is normally the case in his culture. However, there is always the possibility that he's just as cynically manipulative as the rest of his cronies among the rabidly right-wing "Christians," as this story seems to underscore:

Robertson, who, like Kariuki, believes that LGBT rights will lead to divine wrath against America, said that “those Africans have got it right.”

“One wishes that the president of the United States would listen to some of his fellow Africans, cousins, to what they have to say because they speak truth and they speak wisdom,” he added.

Aside from the fact that Robertson wouldn't recognize truth or wisdom if they were parading naked in front of him, I suppose it's no surprise that he would be praising Africans for clinging desperately to the worst aspects of the colonial period, especially the most pernicious forms of Christianity. As for whether he's senile or cynical, well, just look at that statement: a nice little capsule version of the "Christian" right's racism and homophobia, delivered by your grandfather.

There's even video. I recommend viewing it on an empty stomach.

Update:Make this guy First Runner Up.

I have to confess, I just don't get big game hunting. I subscribe to the idea that if you kill it, you gotta eat it -- unless it bites you first.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Recovering from a mild case of bronchitis, slowly, but steadily. Hence my absence for the past few days.

Not to mention that it was around 90 yesterday and is expected to reach 95 today. With about 90% humidity. Not helping my breathing at all.

Thought about going to the movies (no air conditioning here -- I didn't really need it last year, and never got around to installing it), then thought about what two or three hours in nice cold dry air would do to my lungs.

Looks like another day in the park, sitting in the shade and reading.

However, on the bright side, this:

In today's ruling, the EEOC states that "allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex. We further conclude that allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex."

Who knew?

Monday, July 13, 2015


I've been sort of following the news from Greece, but not in any great depth. If you'll recall, the European central banking authority and the IMF imposed, or attempted to impose, austerity measures on those countries that got caught in the Bush Economic Disaster of 2008. Iceland, wisely, told them to take a hike, Ireland and Spain somehow survived it, but the Greek government tried to follow the dictates of the Powers That Be -- and got kicked out of office.

Paul Krugman has a terrific column on the latest wrinkle in the Greek situation and how it's likely to affect the European Union:

Suppose you consider Tsipras an incompetent twerp. Suppose you dearly want to see Syriza out of power. Suppose, even, that you welcome the prospect of pushing those annoying Greeks out of the euro.

Even if all of that is true, this Eurogroup list of demands is madness. The trending hashtag ThisIsACoup is exactly right. This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief. It is, presumably, meant to be an offer Greece can’t accept; but even so, it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for.

Can anything pull Europe back from the brink? Word is that Mario Draghi is trying to reintroduce some sanity, that Hollande is finally showing a bit of the pushback against German morality-play economics that he so signally failed to supply in the past. But much of the damage has already been done. Who will ever trust Germany’s good intentions after this?

Key phrase: "morality play economics." That perfectly describes the economic theories of the right. There's an element of punishment in conservative economics, but it's not directed at those who actually caused the problem -- if that were the case, a lot of bank executives in this country would be in jail right now.

And the whole austerity idea is crap, even though it probably makes sense to those who aren't thinking very deeply: if you're incurring massive debt, you should cut spending. That might work with a household budget, but to think it's going to work with a national economy is lunacy: as we learned here in 2009-2010, and as the British learned, the last thing you want to do when your economy is tanking is take money out. National economies just don't work that way.

And the Greek situation stands a very good chance of bringing the whole Eurozone toppling down, according to Krugman -- who has committed the politically unpardonable sin of so far being right, all the way down the line.

Via Digby, who has this to say:

Margaret Thatcher is laughing in hell. Along with some other memorable historical figures.

This just appeared in my mailbox from The Guardian:

The government in Athens and its creditors have reached a deal that will shore up Greece’s place in the eurozone after marathon overnight talks.

After 31 hours of acrimonious discussions spread over one tense weekend, a breakthrough came early on Monday morning. Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, announced that the 19 leaders of the eurozone had unanimously reached agreement.

He said they were “all ready to go” on a new programme for Greece under the eurozone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, adding that Athens had signed up to “serious reforms”. . . .

In order to get these desperately needed funds, the radical left government of Alexis Tispras had to submit to draconian economic reforms that the Greek people had rejected in a referendum barely a week before.

This is not going to be pretty.

Well, It's Finally Happening

The notorious Jade Helm 15, Obama's nefarious plot to take over a group of southern and western states, begins this week. Of course, the conspiracy theories are off the charts.

The "unconventional warfare" exercise is scheduled to begin Wednesday and run until Sept. 15. Training is planned for certain areas of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. California, Colorado and Nevada had originally been listed as areas where the training was to take place but have since been left out.

Conspiracy theory websites and InfoWars' Alex Jones suggested that the operation could be a cover for the implementation of martial law. One site even alleged that troops were converting shuttered Wal-Mart stores into covert military bases. But the paranoia surrounding "Jade Helm 15" really became headline news in May, after enough concerned Texans convinced Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to take action to protect their civil liberties. Abbott requested that the State Guard monitor the training exercise, asserting that the move was only meant to facilitate communication between the military and residents of the Lone Star state.

It's hard to pick a favorite, although, of course, the "Christians" have to get their plug in:

Right Wing Watch recently flagged a segment from an outlet called TruNews Christian radio in which host Rick Wiles said he believed that the government would go as far as deploying an "EMP" attack -- an electromagnetic pulse generated by the detonation of a nuclear weapon in orbit -- against states that resist the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

I don't quite know how to break it to Mr. Wiles (who, according to all reports, is really out there), but you can't direct an electromagnetic pulse from an atomic weapon against specific targets.

The prize, however, goes to this commenter at an article in the Houston Chronicle about Tropical Storm Allison, which someone quoted in the comments to the Jade Helm article:

Its no secret that the military can control the weather. Its called the HAARP project and its operated out of secret military bases. There is one in alaska that no one is permitted to go to. They use giant ionizing columns to change the ionosphere that then influence cloud formation, the jet stream and hurricanes.

There is no doubt obama is using this to punish Texas for standing up to him. Governor Perry was an honest leader who stood up to Obama. But Obama being the person he is, used secret army tech such as Brain Controling Microwave to derail the governors presidency bid. What else could be the explanation to how he lost memory when he was on the tv debates. I expect this to happen again this time.

There is no doubt that since Obama Texas has been on the receiving end of so many weather problems. First the hurricanes, then the tornadoes, then the drought, now flooding. Its a cover up for more governement control and take over of second amendment rights and our guns.

I am very suspicious about floods

Not directed at Jade Helm, but you get a good idea of the mindset. It's worth reading the whole article, just for a summary of how nutso the reaction to a routine military training exercise has been. The scary part is not only do these people exist -- they always have, under some rock or other -- but now they have access to the Internet and the airwaves. And of course, there are politicians who will milk it for all it's worth.

And after Jade Helm is over, we're still going to be stuck with Texas.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Quote du Jour

You get to guess who it's from:

What this century needs is a good plague to revive the old values.

Today in Disgusting People:

That would be Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of one of those megachurches in Texas, who thinks that Real Christians™ should follow the teachings of the Real Jesus™ and turn over illegal immigrants to the authorities:

Jeffress said that he would not check the immigration status of every person who came to First Baptist Church in Texas, “but we’re also not going to harbor illegal immigrants who are criminals like some of these churches are doing.”

“Look, a lot of these liberal churches that harbor illegal immigrants who are criminals say they are following the example of Jesus, the only problem is they are following the Jesus of their imagination rather than the Jesus of the Bible,” he insisted.

Strange. I remember the Jesus of the Bible saying things like:

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

It gets worse:

“The real Jesus of the Bible said ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,’ that is obey the government,” Jeffress continued, adding that the “real Jesus” cared more about American citizens who were victims of violent crimes committed by immigrants.

Right -- Jesus really cared about American citizens -- which, as a group, didn't exist at that point. And as I recall, Jesus was talking about paying taxes. What sort of taxes do you suppose Jeffress and his church pay?

Although, since Jeffress insists that Jesus wasn't some wimpy guy, perhaps he might do well to remember something else that Jesus said:

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

From Matthew 25, verses 31-46, NIV.

Jeffress really is a disgusting little man, who obviously has no understanding of what morality is about.

Remember That Pizza Joint in Indiana?

The one that announced it would not cater same-sex weddings, even though 1) no one had asked them to, and 2) who in the hell would serve pizza at their wedding banquet?

Someone came up with the perfect response:


Coming Soon

Well, OK, eventually: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, due for release on March 25, 2016.

It's inevitable that I'll see it.

Actually, I just looked at the cast list at IMDb (linked above) -- I'll definitely see it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Not To Confuse Anyone With Facts, Or Anything

Remember Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon bakers who have vaulted to "Christian martyr" status after the state found them in violation of Oregon's anti-discrimination law? They've been fined $135,000, which the usual suspects are taking as evidence of persecution for failing to "participate" in a same-sex wedding by not selling the couple a cake.

Well, that's not really the reason they were fined:

However, the ruling shows the bakery owners had made Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer the victims of persecution and makes clear the payment was compensation for damages and not a fine or civil penalty, reported the blog Love, Joy and Feminism.

The ruling shows the Kleins “brought the case to the media’s attention and kept it there by repeatedly appearing in public to make statements deriding” the couple who filed the complaint.

“It was foreseeable that this attention would negatively impact (the Bowman-Cryers), making (the Kleins) liable for any resultant emotional suffering experienced by (them),” the agency found.

Not only that, as the blog explains, the bakery owners shared the couple’s personal contact information – which led to death threats that nearly caused them to lose custody of their foster children.

Read the post at Love, Joy and Feminism. It's pretty arresting. And here's the agency's order.

It just seems to me that if you're going to play the "Christian martyr," you should avoid persecuting others.