Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flu Prevention Methods

H1N1 Swine Flu Prevention Methods

With the constant fear of H1N1 symptoms, the following measures can be practiced by one and all.

Tamiflu does not kill but prevents H1N1 from further proliferation until the virus limits itself in about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle). H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only infects the upper respiratory tract and proliferates (only) there. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps – not fully highlighted in most official communications – can be practices (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of fact (unless you want to east, bathe).

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to #3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti or “Nasal Cleanse” from Walgreens for $12. Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities are very good, but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population. I recommend the neti pot from Walgreens as it comes with the salt packages. Using warm water will really help your head stay washed out.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets make sure that it also has Zinc/bioflavinoids to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate, or do any harm.

All these are simple methods of prevention, within the means of most households, and certainly much less painful than waiting in long queues outside public hospitals.

Glenn Beck is nuts

Principled opposition is just fine, but what the FOX POX is up to is something else entirely.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Morford: How To Talk...

I choose option 3. Now, if everyone else would just play along...

How to talk to complete idiots
Three basic options. Choose wisely, lest you go totally insane
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, September 25, 2009

There are three basic ways to talk to complete idiots.

The first is to assail them with facts, truths, scientific data, the commonsensical obviousness of it all. You do this in the very reasonable expectation that it will nudge them away from the ledge of their more ridiculous and paranoid misconceptions because, well, they're facts, after all, and who can dispute those?

Why, idiots can, that's who. It is exactly this sort of logical, levelheaded appeal to reason and mental acuity that's doomed to fail, simply because in the idiotosphere, facts are lies and truth is always dubious, whereas hysteria and alarmism resulting in mysterious undercarriage rashes are the only things to be relied upon.

Examples? Endless. You may, for instance, attempt to explain evolution to an extreme fundamentalist Christian. You may offer up carbon dating, the fossil record, glaciers, any one of 10,000 irrefutable proofs. You may even dare to talk about the Bible as the clever, completely manufactured, man-made piece of heavily politicized, massively edited, literary myth-making it so very much is, using all sorts of sound academic evidence and historical record.

You are, of course, insane beyond belief to try this, but sometimes you just can't help it. To the educated mind, it seems inconceivable that millions of people will choose rabid ignorance and childish fantasy over, say, a
polar bear. Permafrost. Rocks. Nag Hammadi. But they will, and they do. Faced with this mountain of factual obviousness, the bewildered fundamentalist will merely leap back as if you just jabbed him with a flaming homosexual cattle prod, and then fall into a swoon about how neat it is that angels can fly.

But it's not just the fundamentalists. This Rule of Idiocy also explains why, when you show certain jumpy, conservative Americans the irrefutable facts about, say, skyrocketing health care costs that are draining their bank accounts, and then show how Obama's rather modest overhaul is meant to save members of all ages and genders and party affiliations a significant amount of money while providing basic insurance for their family, they, too, will scream and kick like a child made to eat a single bite of broccoli.

Remember, facts do not matter. The actual Obama plan itself does not matter. Fear of change, fear of the "Other," fear of the scary black socialist president, fear that yet another important shift is taking place that they cannot understand and which therefore makes them thrash around like a trapped animal? This is all that matters.

This is why, even when you whip out, say, a fresh article by the goodly old Washington Post -- not exactly a bastion of lopsided liberalthink -- one that breaks down the
rather brutal truth about the real cost of health care in this country, it will likely be hurled back in your face as an obvious piece of liberal propaganda. Go ahead, try it. Or better yet, don't.

Option two is to try to speak their language, dumb yourself down, engage on the idiot's level as you try to figure out how their minds work -- or more accurately, don't work -- so you can better empathize and find a shred of common ground and maybe, just maybe, inch the human experiment forward.

This is, as you already sense, a dangerous trap, pure intellectual quicksand. It almost never works, and just makes you feel gross and slimy. Nevertheless, plenty of shrewd political strategists believe that the best way for Obama and the Dems to get their message across regarding everything from health care reform to new environmental regulation, would be to steal a page from the Glenn Beck/Karl Rove/sociopath's playbook, and start getting stupid.

It's all about the bogus catchphrases, the sound bites, the emotional punches-to-the-gut. Death panels! Rationing! Fetus farms! Puppy shredders! Commie medicine! Gay apocalypse! Forced vaccinations! Exposed nipples during prime-time! Let one of these inane, completely wrong but oh-so-haunting verbal ticks bite into the below-average American brainstem, and watch your cause bleed all over the headlines.

The big snag here is that the Dems, unlike the Republican Party, aren't really beholden to a radical, mal-educated base of fundamentalist crazies to keep them afloat. Truly, the political success of the liberal agenda does not depend on the irrational, Bible-crazed "value voter" who's terrified of gays, believes astronomy is a hoax and thinks Jesus spoke perfect English and really liked giving hugs.

In other words, there really is little point in the liberals adopting this strategy, save for the fact that the major media eats it up and it might serve to counterbalance some of the more ridiculous conservative catchphrases. What's more, it could also give the whiny, bickering Dems something slightly cohesive to rally around -- because the truth is, the Democratic Party isn't all that bright, either.

And now we come to option three, easily the finest and most successful approach of all. Alas, it also remains the most difficult to pull off. No one is exactly sure why.

The absolute best way to speak to complete idiots is, of course, not to speak to them at all.

That is, you work around them, ignore them completely, disregard the rants and the spittle and the misspelled protest signs and the fervent prayers for apocalypse on Fox News. Complete refusal to take the fringe nutballs even the slightest bit seriously is the only way to make true progress.

This also happens to be the invaluable advice of one Frank Schaeffer, noted author and a former fundamentalist nutball himself, who made a simply superb appearance on Rachel Maddow's show recently, wherein he offered up one of the
most articulate, fantastic takedowns of the fundamentalist idiot's mindset in recent history. It's a must-watch. Do it. Do it now.

Now, you may argue that, while Schaeffer may be dead right and also rather deserving of being quoted far and wide, it's also true that calling people stupid is no way to advance the debate, and is itself rather childish and stupid. And you'd be absolutely right.

But you'd also be missing the point. When you ignore the idiots completely, you are not calling them anything at all. You are not trying to advance any sort of argument, because there is no debate taking place. You are simply bypassing the giant
pothole of ignorance entirely.

You are not kowtowing to the least educated of your voting bloc, like the GOP is so desparetely fond of doing. You are not trying to give the idiotosphere equal weight in the discussion. As Schaeffer says, "You cannot reorganize village life to suit the village idiot." By employing option three, you are doing the only humane thing left to do: you are letting the idiotosphere eat itself alive.
Do it for the children, won't you?
Original is here.


Paul Mooney's stand-up at The Improv was a bit of a letdown. A disappointment. Part of the problem is that he is rather soft-spoken in the first place. And if that's not enough, for some reason, last night, he would not bring the mic closer to his mouth when he was onstage. Now and then, he'd pull it closer and made it easier to understand, but not often enough. I wanted to yell at him to "Hold the mic closer you ... performer ... you!" But I didn't. I should have. It might have given him something to focus on.

As it was, I thought his bit was too short on current events. A lot of ragging on Hollywood, but no mention of the recent FOX/Glenn Beck/Teabaggers BS, guns at Town Halls, etc? Very little on Obama. Apparently, Paul still wants to kill every white person on earth. Just joking! And he resorted to some really old jokes towards the end of his bit, which I found odd. It's like, he's tired ... he ain't got it anymore. He's 68 years old. Maybe he's just gotten "too old." I can sympathize with that. Between what I could barely hear and not understand very well, his set was disappointing.

He did honor his pledge to not use the word "nigger" anymore, but he has seriously fallen off the wagon on his pledge to also not use the "bitch" word.

The white comic on before Mooney, can't remember his name (no big deal) was even less intelligible than Mooney was. Had a mountain hick sorta thang goin' on, amidst stringy hair, breathy mumbles and long pauses. This guy has a long way to go before he's "polished" bein' a hick. He turned me off when he started making fun of beatin' on wimmin. He looks the type. I'm a little surprised he didn't make any lynching jokes.

And the first act, the host, a tall, skinny black guy with another unmemorable name, got into some rather frenetic black-speak I had a hard time following also. How else to describe it? I am out of touch with a lot of the current dialect, or hip speech, or youth speech, or black speech; whatever it is, it is mostly unintelligible to me. And that's OK. I'm just an old white guy. I mumble a lot too.

Haha ... I felt pretty old last night. Can't hear, don't get the lingo, not a racist or a redneck ... I wish I had it all on DVR so that I could have paused and rewound the parts I couldn't understand live. No such luck.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Paul Mooney

I'm actually getting out of the house tonight to go see comic Paul Mooney at The Improv! Paul, born in 1941, has quite the resume.

According to the Wiki...
Paul Mooney wrote some of Richard Pryor's routines for his appearance on Saturday Night Live, co-wrote his material for the Live on the Sunset Strip, Bicentennial Nigger, and Is It Something I Said albums, and Pryor's film Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling. As the head writer for The Richard Pryor Show, he gave many young stand-up comics, such as Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Marsha Warfield, John Witherspoon, and Tim Reid, their first break into show business.

Mooney also wrote for Redd Foxx's Sanford and Son, Good Times, acted in several cult classics including Which Way Is Up?, Bustin' Loose, Hollywood Shuffle, and portrayed singer/songwriter Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story.

He was the head writer for the first year of Fox's In Living Color, creating the character Homey D. Clown, played by Damon Wayans. Mooney later went on to play Wayans' father in the Spike Lee film Bamboozledas the comedian Junebug.

One of his more recent and memorable bits was on the Jim Chappelle show as

Negrodamus - a black prophet and fortune teller. In the sketch, people (mostly white) ask him various questions such as "Negrodamus, why do white people love Wayne Brady so much?" to which he replies "White people love Wayne Brady because he makes...Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X."

Hey, whassup with the crazy formatting?

Friday, September 25, 2009

With Democrats like these...

So here we have rather large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and yet, we still can't count on getting much done, what with all the "Blue Dog" House members and the conservative Democratic Senators. All the Republicans can do it block block block, but they don't really need to, because the Democrats can't get it together anyway.

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has this to say about the ongoing struggle to pass health care insurance reform,
"We have got to show the American people that we can overcome the power of the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. That's what its all about."
My prediction: the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry are going to win, if they haven't already. Not a difficult prediction, considering the sad cast of characters that pass for Democrats these days, like the two below. How did I get to be a member of this party?

Wok on Wheels

Ah! Wonderful Chinese food! Fast delivery! $2 delivery charge?! It's a BARGAIN! Voted #1 in San Antonio!


Food of the greatest inventions of mankind! Ever!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fridrik Karlsson

In this mad dashing hustle-and-bustle, full-volume, thousand-channel, no-time-to-think world in which we live, I have discovered a veritable musical oasis of serenity and peacefulness. His name is Fridrik Karlsson, an Iceland native, and he has about 20 different musical collections out. The "video" below is but a tiny sample. Check out his website here.

Peace, and enjoy!

WARNING: May be too mellow for high-strung individuals.

Ok, have another....this is "Chillout Heaven."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Divine Interventions

Are you adventurous? You simply must visit this site. Careful, though! Blasphemy will ensue!

A haiku, please, before you go.

Jackhammer Jesus
Pounding me hard all night long
"He is coming soon"

Where Empires Go To Die

Naturally, the military wants more troops for Afghanistan. Have they ever advocated a REDUCTION in troop levels? We need to get OUT of Afghanistan before we lose hundreds more troops and spend tens of billions of dollars that we didn't have in the first place. One way or another, the military is going to LOSE in Afghanistan. Will it be NOW or LATER? Even our top military guy says that "resources will not win this war."

Someone recently said that Afghanistan is where empires go to die. Looking at history, it's hard to dispute that. We in the U.S. are a staggering, tottering, decaying empire, overextended and deep in debt. We need to pull out of Afghanistan AND many of the over 700 military bases we have scattered across this planet and COME HOME. We have MANY needs to focus on at home.

For Afghanistan and Pakistan and al-Queda, we should leave a small force behind to train the local police and military AND to infiltrate al-Queda and gradually disrupt their operations. We should have handled al-Queda from the beginning as a police and intelligence operation. This is how most countries seem to most successfully battle their terrorist pests. Shortly after 9/11, our country was in shock and outraged, and a military strike against SOMEONE was inevitable. One might think that cooler heads would have prevailed by now and a constant pouring of troops and money into Afghanistan is not going to do the job. Wake up America. Come home, America.

Report: More troops needed for Afghan war success
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The situation in Afghanistan is growing worse, and without more boots on the ground the U.S. risks failure in a war it's been waging since September 2001, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan says in a confidential report.

Resources will not win this war, but under-resourcing could lose it,” Gen. Stanley McChrystal wrote in a five-page Commander's Summary. His 66-page report, sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Aug. 30, is now under review by President Barack Obama.

Details of McChrystal's assessment were first reported late Sunday by The Washington Post. The newspaper posted a link to the report on its Web site, with some operational details withheld at the request of the Pentagon.

“Although considerable effort and sacrifice have resulted in some progress, many indicators suggest the overall effort is deteriorating,” McChrystal said of the war's progress.

While asserting that more troops are needed, McChrystal also pointed out an “urgent need” to significantly revise strategy. The U.S. needs to interact better with the Afghan people, McChrystal said, and better organize its efforts with NATO allies.

“We run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing tactical wins that cause civilian casualties or unnecessary collateral damage. The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves,” he wrote.

In his blunt assessment of the tenacious Taliban insurgency, McChrystal warned that unless the U.S. and its allies gain the initiative and reverse the momentum of the militants within the next year the U.S. “risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”

The rest of the story is here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Steal These Jokes

The Week's Best Late-Night Jokes

Late-Night Political Jokes "According to some reports coming out of Washington today, President Obama said Kanye West is a 'jackass.' Not since 'yes, we can' has Obama found a slogan so many Americans can get behind." --Conan O'Brien

"Kayne West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. And after he did that, after he was done interrupting her, MTV threw him out of the building. So it's official. MTV has a lower tolerance for bad behavior than the United States Congress." --Conan O'Brien

"In Connecticut -- this is weird -- one of the Republican candidates running for Congress is the former CEO of the WWE wrestling organization, which could be good. Congressmen will be less likely to scream out, 'You lie!' if they could get hit with a folding chair." --Conan O'Brien

"According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a secret panel meets every week in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to go through applications for state vanity license plates to reject any that are considered sleazy or offensive. They wouldn't want anyone with a crude saying on their license plate driving through the town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania." --Jay Leno

"Wait, have you heard about this? Oh, I love this. They have new House rules saying members of Congress cannot call the President a liar. They cannot call him a hypocrite. They cannot say he is dishonest. Today, President Bush said, 'Hey, where were these rules when I was President?'" --Jay Leno

"Joe Wilson is now the only United States congressman to be formally rebuked for speaking out while the President was giving an address. That could explain his Secret Service codename, 'Kanye.'" --Jimmy Fallon

"This Kanye West/Taylor Swift thing will not go away. Even former President Bush spoke out about it today. He said, 'Kanye West doesn't care about white people.'" --Jay Leno

"Yesterday in New York City, President Obama gave a tough speech to the Wall Street Executives. See, Wall Street is considered a safe place for Obama. You see, on Wall Street, if someone yells out 'you lie,' you could be talking to anybody." --Jay Leno

"Kanye was pretty hurt when he heard the President called him a 'jackass.' But then Joe Biden said, 'Ah, you get used to it.'" --Jimmy Fallon

"Yet another family values Republican has been caught in a sex scandal. I love this story: This time, California Assemblyman Mike Duvall (the guy is married) was caught on tape bragging having sex with two different lobbyists. A politician having sex with two lobbyists. Now, I'm not a mathematician, but I believe that's a total of 3 whores, right?" --Jay Leno

"Oh, hey, and the University of Wyoming will open the new Dick Cheney Center for International Students. And really, who loves foreigners more than Dick Cheney?" --Jay Leno

"And in honor of gay marriage now being legal in the state of Vermont, Ben & Jerry's is now selling 'Hubby Hubby' ice cream. You know, if you want to name an ice cream after gay marriage, why not just call it 'Ben & Jerry's?'" --Jay Leno

"Osama bin Laden has released a new audio recording slamming the President, America, Israel and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then at the end, when he's really worked up, he yells, 'And Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!'" --Conan O'Brien

"There's that big scandal with A-PORN, I mean ACORN. Have you heard about this? They're an organization that gets government money to help poor people. Well, now they're in a lot of trouble. It seems these two filmmakers went to ACORN's office posing as a pimp and prostitute, saying they wanted to buy a house and run it as a brothel. And ACORN workers gave them advice on how to get away with prostitution, and how to avoid paying taxes. See, here's my question, if they want to get away with prostitution and not paying taxes, go to Congress, these are the professionals." --Jay Leno

Chia Obama

Somehow I missed this one back when...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We Can't Afford Health Care?

We choose not to. This country is a selfish, sick, decaying giant who'd better turn this ship around and soon.

We Can't Afford Health Care? You Lie!
Wednesday 16 September 2009
by: Tom H. Hastings, t r u t h o u t Perspective

While $1 trillion is being spent on war, unemployment continues to rise and people continue to lose their health care.

We see the spectacle of the US Congress unable to manage decent health care reform that will actually enable the American citizenry to join the rest of the industrialized world in having health care for all. The problems, it is clear, come from those who are lying.

Death panels? That's true - we already have them. Insurance companies deny care to Americans, who then die as a result. It happens every day, Sarah Palin - but ascribing that to the Obama plan is untrue. In fact, those corporate death panels would be outlawed.

Find the language in Obama's bill that says that illegal aliens are covered or admit it's a canard - God forbid we should help some migrant worker who is stricken by illness or accident while laboring in service to Americans. South Carolina's Joe Wilson is just the Tourette tip of a dissembling iceberg.

We can't afford the plan? That is a whopper. It's all choice.

If every child in America doesn't have health care, but we own more than 6,000 nuclear weapons, more than half of them on board a fleet of 18 extremely expensive Trident submarines ready to fight the Soviets (Hey! Where'd they go?), isn't it time to ask some fundamental questions? One is: Why spend $16.5 billion just on the Department of Energy nuclear weapons budget for FY 2010 with 50 million uninsured citizens? Does US Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) speak for us all when he calls health care a privilege (and presumably threatening life on Earth is a human right for the US military)?

When our working poor are so often without either the money to pay for health insurance or the high costs of health care for ailing family members, and yet we somehow manage to justify spending in excess of $915 billion on the so-called War on Terror, shouldn't we engage in some national discussion about priorities?

$1 trillion for war while unemployment pushes ten percent in more and more states is unconscionable. Unemployment means a loss of health care for a high percentage of those who lose jobs and more foreclosures on the American dream of home ownership every month. Historically, it naturally correlates with increases in crime. The US is the last of the so-called developed countries to fail to insure the unemployed and underemployed, and we have the highest crime rates. So many thousands of us are shot each year that we more than qualify to be considered at war inside our own borders. Much of that carnage relates to social problems like unemployment, lack of health care and simple hopelessness.

Does it not seem that when the US can afford and not question nearly 1,000 military bases on other people's sovereign soil - 287 of them in Germany alone - that we can afford to create jobs? Rather than have our young people learning how to hurt others in the military, we could end economic conscription, lower the crime rate, drastically reduce the numbers of uninsured, reverse the home foreclosure numbers and enhance our nation's productivity by offering minimum wage jobs to anyone willing to work. Those jobs would include housing in some cases, health care benefits in all cases and on-the-job training and supplementary education for those needing it. Closing foreign military bases until these programs were paid for would be a giant leap for the US back toward the health of our workforce, our economy, our educational system and our very citizenry.

No one is talking about this? True. So, it's time to start.

Original article is

Eternal mystery

Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Birthday To You

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday Dear most wonderful person ever!
Happy Birthday to you!

You know who you are!

Happy Birthday To You
Uploaded by PeteRock. -

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Late-Night Jokes

Can't resist. Humor seems to be about the best response to some of the rightards out there. Goodness knows they don't respond well to reason. And we can't just go out and mow them all down, even though they'd probably like to do that to us.

The Week's Best Late-Night Jokes

Late-Night Political Jokes "I am not getting on Congressman Wilson's case for disagreeing with the president...Every congressman has a vote, he should use it, but not in the middle of a speech to the joint session of Congress. That's not what you do. It's not the Jerry Springer Show. You can't stand up in the middle of Congress and say 'Oh no you did not!' What the hell is wrong with you? He said his emotions got the better of him. Sometimes I want to have sex with a hooker, but I don't!" --Craig Ferguson

"When Wilson yelled 'you lie' at the president, I don't think he handled it very well. The president should go out and hone his material in some comedy clubs and deal with hecklers. Obama should have said, 'Hey buddy, do I come to your state and knock the wiener out of your governor's mistress?'" --Craig Ferguson (Watch Ferguson's hilarious monologue slamming Wilson)

"One of President Obama's advisers called Joe Wilson a 'pimple on the ass of progress.' Then the adviser stressed that removing a pimple from the ass of progress would be covered by Obama's health care plan." --Conan O'Brien

"What's so ironic is that the health care plan that Joe Wilson so angrily opposes would get him the prozac he so desperately needs." --Bill Maher

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Right-wing demagogues

It's incendiary idiots like these that are responsible for thousands of people gathering in D.C. this weekend. Inciting fear. Preying on ignorance. Or maybe they're "praying" on ignorance. "Free speech" can be an ugly, embarrassing thing. When will the first shots be fired?

Top 10 Ridiculous Quotes by Health Care Reform Opponents

By Daniel Kurtzman,

GOP Wingnuts
As anyone following the hysterical "debate" over health care reform knows, President Obama and his fellow socialists are trying to create death panels in order to pull the plug on grandma and kill off other undesirables, just like Hitler did in Nazi Germany. Or so the wingnuts would have us believe.

Because we like to chronicle and catalog political insanity, here are the 10 most patently ridiculous quotes about health care reform from the likes of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Michele Bachmann.

1. "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." —Sarah Palin, in a message posted on Facebook about Obama's health care reform plan, (Source)

2. "Obama's got a health care logo that's right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook … Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate." —Rush Limbaugh, Aug. 6, 2009 (Source)

3. "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless." —a July 31 editorial in Investor's Business Daily warning about end-of-life counseling in health care reform. Hawking, in fact, lives in England and has been treated by their National Health Service, which, by his own account, saved his life (Source)

4. "What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes." –Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), on what is needed to defeat health care reform, Aug. 31, 2009 (Source)

5. "You have three people in the White House that are in love with eugenics or whatever it is you would call it today. … Please dear God, read history. Please dear God read the truth of what these people have said in their own words, and ask yourself this one question: Do you trust these people enough to give them control over who lives and who dies? Because that's what health care is when you have no other choice but to go to the state." —Glenn Beck, comparing health care reform to Nazi eugenics (Source)

6. "Congress would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner." —Betsy McCaughey, former New York lieutenant governor and originator of the "death panel" lie, July 16, 2009 (Source)

7. There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life. And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear. ... We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma." —Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Aug. 12, 1009 (Source)

8. "We're gonna have a government rationing body that tells women with breast cancer, 'You're dead.' It's a death sentence." —FOX News Channel's Sean Hannity, June 19, 2009 (Source)

9. "That's why people need to continue to go to the town halls, continue to melt the phone lines of their liberal members of Congress, and let them know, under no certain circumstances will I give the government control over my body and my health care decisions." —Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a pro-lifer who completely missed the irony of using the same slogan as the pro-choice movement (Source)

10. "Exercise freaks ... are the ones putting stress on the health care system." —Rush Limbaugh, June 12, 2009 (Source)

Jake Shimabukuro

Wow. What a talent. Jake Shimabukuro. I gotta get this guy booked.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mark Fiore

Hey! Where's this guy been hiding out?!

Go here to see his latest.

Republican Gomorrah

Sounds like Max Blumenthal's new book Republican Gomorrah, should be required reading, especially for those (rare) Republicans who are wondering what the hell is happening to their party?

At Last Dobson Is Done In By the Truth
By Frank Schaeffer

For me reading Max Blumenthal's Republican Gomorrah--Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party, (Nation Books) is like looking into a mirror. That might be because Blumenthal extensively interviewed me and drew rather heavily on my book Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back as a reference for his in-depth exposé of what has gone so very wrong with the Republican Party. He's on my turf so I happen to know he's telling the truth as its not been told before. But there's more.

Republican Gomorrah is the first book that actually "gets" what's happened to the Republican Party and in turn what the Republicans have done to our country. The usual Democratic Party and/or progressive "take" on the Republican Party is that it's been taken over by a far right lunatic fringe of hate and hypocrisy, combining as it does, sexual and other scandals with moralistic finger wagging. But Blumenthal explains a far deeper pathology: it isn't so much religion as the psychosis and sadomasochism of the losers now called "Republicans" that dr ives the party. And the "Christianity" that shapes so much "conservative" thinking now is anything but Christian. It's a series of deranged personality cults.

The Religious Right/Republicans have perfected the method of capturing people in personal crisis and turning them into far right evangelical/far right foot soldiers. This explains a great deal that otherwise, to outsiders, seems almost inexplicable--the why and wherefore of "Deathers" "Birthers" et al. Blumanthal brilliantly sums up this pathology as:

"...a culture of personal crisis lurking behind the histrionics and expressions
of social resentment. This culture is the mortar that bonds leaders and
followers together."

Tracing the thinking of the fathers of the Republican Party, including my dad, the late Francis Schaeffer, who I teamed up with when I was a young man to help launch the Protestant wing of the "pro-life" movement, along with other such as Rousas John Rushdoony and the philanthropist Howard Ahmanson -- who used to donate generously to my far right work -- Blumenthal explains where the current Republican Party came from. He also details who it's foundational thinkers were, and just why it's still so dangerous. (A threat proved again this summer as the gun-toting fringe derailed the health care reform debate.)

He has their number. For one thing this book -- at last! -- will forever put James Dobson where he belongs: onto the top of the list of the American n ational rogue's gallery of mean-spirited, even sadistic, cranks.

Blumenthal first came to my attention when he was doing his in-depth reporting on Sarah Palin. He was a guest on a TV program I was on too. There was something accomplished and in depth about the quality of his reporting on religion that I hadn't seen from other progressive sources. I've been following his work since. Blumenthal understands the philosophy, psychology and religion of Religious Right figures like Palin, Dobson, Robertson et al in a way that no other reporter (with the exception of the always amazingly perceptive Jeff Sharlet author of The Family) does.

Now, having read Blumenthal's book I know why he seems to really understand the nuances of far right religion. No one else has ever investigated this subject with as much insight into the psychological sickness that is the basis of the Religious right's power to delude other people who are also needy and unstable.
In another time and place the despicable (and sometimes tragic figures) Blumenthal describes would be the leaders of, or the participants in, local lynch mobs, or the followers of the Ku Klux Klan. But today figures such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson, (the late) Jerry Falwell, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin have led a resentment-driven second American revolution, not just against Democrats and progressives but against the United States of America itself. And this group of outsiders (in every sense of that word ) now control one of our major political parties.

As I explained to Blumanthal when he interviewed me, one of the reasons I left the far right movement in the 1980s was because I perceived it becoming the bedrock of anti-Americanism. The worst things got the better we right wing activists liked it. We loved crisis. We manufactured crisis! Crisis (public or personal) would force the country to embrace our radical solution: a radical turn to Old Testament law that would put homosexuals to death, see adulterers stoned at the city gates and so forth.

There were exceptions to the hard edge, my late father Francis Schaeffer was one. And Blumenthal (in his chapter on Dad and I) describes how my father was a compassionate man who opened his ministry to all before something "snapped" after the Roe v. Wade decision when he became a leader in the pro-life movement.

But with a few exceptions (like my late father) most of the people described in Blumenthal's book have no "other side" to them. They are the sick bedrock of what, at any moment, may become a full-blown American fascism. (Sharlet has done great work on showing how these Religious Right folks have also invaded the US Military, especially the chaplaincy ranks.)

My one -- very slight -- criticism of Republican Gomorrah is that Blumenthal neglected to do something that would have bolstered his arguments and given them deeper credibility: introduce a bit of paradox and nuance into his book. He could have made a better case for the left by frankly looking at some of the extremism on the left that has played into the hands of the cynics who control the Religious Right: for instance the the way Roe v. Wade was (in the view of many liberal pro-choice advocates) a tactical mistake preempting what was already happening in states including California and New York, in terms of legalizing abortion, and thereby galvanizing the culture war as we know it. And in the same vein perhaps when it comes to the current ethics of abortion and porn Blumenthal's case would be stronger if he had pointed out that there are many progressives, who have serious moral qualms on these issues as well.

That said, Blumentha's case against the Religious Right is breathtakingly damning. What these folks want -- to destroy our pluralistic democracy and replace it with theocracy -- appears so far-fetched to most Americans that unfortunately their agenda is not taken seriously. The great service Blumenthal performs is to not only enlighten those who didn't grow up in the movement (as I did, sad to say) but to offer a genuine warning as to the seriousness of what these people will unleash if not stopped, then stopped again and again--because they are here to stay. And they just happen to control the republican Party!

Why should Blumenthal's book to be taken seriously? Take it from this former "insider" he knows what he's talking about. His thesis is less about politics than about the deviant psychology that people like Dobson have cashed in on by feeding delusion, victimhood and failure as a means through which to build a political movement. What Blumenthal reveals is the heart of the most dysfunctional and truly dangerous -- not to mention armed -- darkest reaches of our country.

What should we "do"? Read the book! Then fight like hell to keep Republicans out of power come what may. And maybe (note to progressives!) be a little less critical of President Obama and a little more grateful that he's in the White House!

Once in a while a book comes along about which one can say: If you love our country read this! Republican Gomorrah is one such book. One other thing: if you know any sane Republicans that would like to save what's left of their party beg them to read this book. If you have to beg them in the name of Jesus!

Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and the forthcoming Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don' t Like Religion (Or Atheism)

Frank's blog is here.

Max Blumenthal was featured on a recent Democracy Now! program which you can find here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Time to plant

For every season, turn turn turn.

The daily temperatures may not really show it yet, but it's getting a bit cooler. Any week now we'll be under 90 degrees for the high! Ooo! Ooo!

Who hasn't put an avocado seed into water and watched it sprout roots? Amazingly, the wife, being brought up in deep South Texas and having avocado trees in her back yard (which produced humongous avocadoes!) had put many an avocado seed into water to watch it sprout.

The amazing part is that she had never seen the leaves spr
out from the top. She gave up every time before the leaves began to sprout. Odd. This time around, we had two avocado seeds in water. When one had a long root, and no leaves up top yet, we planted it in soil in a container on the roof.

This picture was taken today, and it's doing quite nicely.

The second seed is still in water, and we are waiting for the leaves to sprout up top before planting it. We can see them inside the seed, almost coming out, so we will be planting it soon. It's kind of a gardening experiment. Which one will do better? The one planted before the leaves sprouted, or the one planted AFTER the leaves sprouted?

Hey, you get your thrills where you can.

We finally bit the bullet today and pulled up several pots with unproductive plants. After washing them out with detergent and scrubbing them clean, we re-planted several things.

These pictures are how the mature plants are supposed to look...

Here's the "Little Gem" lettuce, a smallish head lettuce....we're planting from seed, using Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. Haven't had a lot of success with Baker Creek so far...

Here's the "Dark Lollo Rosa" lettuce. It's also a Baker Creek seed.

The third type of lettuce we planted today is "Sunset," also from Baker Creek...yes, that's two types of red lettuce.

We're taking our first shot at growing broccoli. Another selection from Baker Creek "Waltham 29." What? Did you forget what broccoli looks like? Well, here....

In one pot, we put four different kinds of Swiss Chard: Bright Lights (Park Seed) and Canary Yellow, Flamingo Pink, and Oriole Orange, all from Baker Creek. That should be a colorful pot.

Our first attempt at endive, called "De Louviers" also from Baker Creek....

Another pot mixed with winter purslane (first-Gourmet Seed) and a Burpee Seed (second) "mesclun mix." Both of these have produced well for us in the past.

For right now, all the new pots sorta look like this....this is just some of them, bunched....

We planted three Baker Creek tomato plants back on 5/31/09, and to date, all three have produced a lot of foliage and flowers, but a grand total of only one teeny tiny tomato. Looks like another case of incomplete pollination. Where have all the bees gone?!

So we broke down and bought two tomato seedlings recently at Houston Garden Center.

First is a Brandywine...

and the other is a Bradley.

In another couple of weeks, we'll put in some more lettuce, kale, pak choi, green beans, peas, and spinach. Maybe. Depends on many things...

Until then, check out the gorgeous asters we picked up recently....

Happy Gardening, though the world be crashing down around our hearts.