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

Monday, March 31, 2014


Our Chandler strawberry plant produced an intensively sweet and firm strawberry.  That's right.  One.  And on our Moving Day, it's nature's gift.

Sent from my HTC phone.


Our Chandler strawberry plant has started producing again.  This is one of those plants that survive regardless of the amount of benign neglect we dish out.

We move tomorrow, so the plant gave us the sweetest going-away gift: a single, firm, amazingly sweet strawberry.

Yes, just one so far.  And it doesn't look like much, but if you have ever eaten homegrown strawberries you know what I'm talking about.

Sent from my HTC phone.

Moving lunch

Our move got delayed by one day but we're cool with it.  Had an unexpected pork chop grilling, with our homegrown carrots on the deck on this glorious day.

What's in that salad?

Grilled pork, grilled carrots, leaf lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and squirts of lime juice.  Awesome spur-of-the-moment lunch.  With a dab of Fischer-Wieser Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce.
Life is good.

Sent from my HTC phone.

Moving day

Great weather for a move.  Our luck is holding.  So far.

Sent from my HTC phone.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Last harvest

I planted two types of carrots a few months ago.  At the time, we had not yet decided to sell the house and move.

In early January, we decided to put the house on the market.  We move out April 1 and the carrots are PERFECTLY TIMED!! Another random chance event turning out quite well.

And they are really delicious.  So, our last harvest from our garden in the sky.  It's been really great, but now it's time to move on, and make a ton of money in the process.Yum!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Old-Time Whistle

OK, so Paul Krugman and Nate Silver don't need to be feuding.  Going head-to-head in politics and economics, I'll go with Paul.  If you want accurate polling data, go with Nate.  Polls change a lot over time. What is valid one week may not be valid next month.  Not so with economics.  Each person has their strengths. 

But, regardless of the feud, I think we can all agree that Paul Ryan is a dick.

That Old-Time Whistle
by Paul Krugman

There are many negative things you can say about Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and the G.O.P.’s de facto intellectual leader. But you have to admit that he’s a very articulate guy, an expert at sounding as if he knows what he’s talking about.

So it’s comical, in a way, to see Mr. Ryan trying to explain away some recent remarks in which he attributed persistent poverty to a “culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working.” He was, he says, simply being “inarticulate.” How could anyone suggest that it was a racial dog-whistle? Why, he even cited the work of serious scholars — people like Charles Murray, most famous for arguing that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Oh, wait.

Just to be clear, there’s no evidence that Mr. Ryan is personally a racist, and his dog-whistle may not even have been deliberate. But it doesn’t matter. He said what he said because that’s the kind of thing conservatives say to each other all the time. And why do they say such things? Because American conservatism is still, after all these years, largely driven by claims that liberals are taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People.

Indeed, race is the Rosetta Stone that makes sense of many otherwise incomprehensible aspects of U.S. politics.

We are told, for example, that conservatives are against big government and high spending. Yet even as Republican governors and state legislatures block the expansion of Medicaid, the G.O.P. angrily denounces modest cost-saving measures for Medicare. How can this contradiction be explained? Well, what do many Medicaid recipients look like — and I’m talking about the color of their skin, not the content of their character — and how does that compare with the typical Medicare beneficiary? Mystery solved.

Or we’re told that conservatives, the Tea Party in particular, oppose handouts because they believe in personal responsibility, in a society in which people must bear the consequences of their actions. Yet it’s hard to find angry Tea Party denunciations of huge Wall Street bailouts, of huge bonuses paid to executives who were saved from disaster by government backing and guarantees. Instead, all the movement’s passion, starting with Rick Santelli’s famous rant on CNBC, has been directed against any hint of financial relief for low-income borrowers. And what is it about these borrowers that makes them such targets of ire? You know the answer.

One odd consequence of our still-racialized politics is that conservatives are still, in effect, mobilizing against the bums on welfare even though both the bums and the welfare are long gone or never existed. Mr. Santelli’s fury was directed against mortgage relief that never actually happened. Right-wingers rage against tales of food stamp abuse that almost always turn out to be false or at least greatly exaggerated. And Mr. Ryan’s black-men-don’t-want-to-work theory of poverty is decades out of date.

In the 1970s it was still possible to claim in good faith that there was plenty of opportunity in America, and that poverty persisted only because of cultural breakdown among African-Americans. Back then, after all, blue-collar jobs still paid well, and unemployment was low. The reality was that opportunity was much more limited than affluent Americans imagined; as the sociologist William Julius Wilson has documented, the flight of industry from urban centers meant that minority workers literally couldn’t get to those good jobs, and the supposed cultural causes of poverty were actually effects of that lack of opportunity. Still, you could understand why many observers failed to see this.

But over the past 40 years good jobs for ordinary workers have disappeared, not just from inner cities but everywhere: adjusted for inflation, wages have fallen for 60 percent of working American men. And as economic opportunity has shriveled for half the population, many behaviors that used to be held up as demonstrations of black cultural breakdown — the breakdown of marriage, drug abuse, and so on — have spread among working-class whites too.

These awkward facts have not, however, penetrated the world of conservative ideology. Earlier this month the House Budget Committee, under Mr. Ryan’s direction, released a 205-page report on the alleged failure of the War on Poverty. What does the report have to say about the impact of falling real wages? It never mentions the subject at all.

And since conservatives can’t bring themselves to acknowledge the reality of what’s happening to opportunity in America, they’re left with nothing but that old-time dog whistle. Mr. Ryan wasn’t being inarticulate — he said what he said because it’s all that he’s got.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

trained ape?

Been so busy lately I haven't taken the time to do much on the blog.  But this one seemed appropriate and current.

OK, and this one too.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

teacher is stupid

Seriously, one has to wonder how some people get to the level of "teacher."

This woman might be fine teaching in a religious school, but not a public school.  This kind of shit doesn't happen in a vacuum.  She had to have the support of some equally fucked-up people along the way.

No, Buddhism Is Not “Stupid,” Judge Tells Louisiana Teacher

The parents of a sixth grade student in Louisiana whose teacher made fun of him because he is Buddhist have won their lawsuit against the school district.

In the past, Rita Roark had told her students that the universe was created by God about 6,000 years ago and informed them that both the Big Bang theory and evolution are false. She told her students that, “If evolution was real, it would still be happening: Apes would be turning into humans today.”
This level of ignorance makes me wonder if this woman is actually a credentialed teacher.
One test she gave to students asked: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The correct answer was “Lord,” but one child, known simply as “C.C.,” wrote in something else.
When informed that C.C. was a Buddhist and therefore didn’t believe in God, Roark allegedly responded, “you’re stupid if you don’t believe in God.”
When Scott and Sharon Lane, C.C.’s parents, confronted Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb about the incidents, she allegedly told them “this is the Bible belt” and that they “shouldn’t be offended” to “see God here.” Ebarb advised that C.C. should either change his faith or be transferred to another district school where “there are more Asians.”
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana filed a federal lawsuit in January against Negreet High School in Sabine Parish on behalf of the Lanes and their son.
Thankfully, Judge Elizabeth Foote of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana sided with C.C. and his parents, citing that both Roark’s behavior and the school’s decision to defend it clearly violated “the Free Exercise and Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”
Judge Foote wrote that “[t]he District and School Board are permanently enjoined from permitting School Officials at any school within the School District to promote their personal religious beliefs to students in class or during or in conjunction with a School Event.” Furthermore, “School Officials shall not denigrate any particular faith, or lack thereof, or single out any student for disfavor or criticism because of his or her particular faith or religious belief, or lack thereof.”
Too bad that Rita Roark did not lose her job over this incident. Clearly, some people who call themselves teachers should not be allowed anywhere near young people.
As a teacher with many years of experience, I am ashamed but also angry when I read of fellow teachers behaving in such a narrow-minded and cruel way. Teaching should be about helping kids fulfill themselves, not about putting them down and making them feel bad.
As Heather L. Weaver, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, put it: “The treatment this child and his family have endured is not only disgraceful, it’s unconstitutional.”
“Public schools should be welcoming places for students of all backgrounds,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “No child should be harassed and made to feel like an outsider in his own classroom, and students should not have to endure school officials constantly imposing their religious beliefs on them while they are trying to learn.”
In case you’re wondering how a public school, funded by tax dollars can be pushing one religion, you should know that this situation is not unusual in Louisiana. Last year, the state decided to fix its failing public education system by offering parents vouchers to nearby private schools instead. Many of these schools are private religious institutions, meaning that other non-Christian students may find themselves having to sit through classes that criticize homosexuality and evolution, classes that are funded by tax dollars.
Perhaps Louisiana should take a look at schools in Ireland: a major change to the primary curriculum will occur in September 2014. Beginning at age 4, children will receive instruction in atheism, agnosticism and humanism as part of their ethics and belief systems alongside studies of other religions. The courses will be offered as part of the curriculum in non-denominational schools and will also be available online and via apps for those who attend other schools.
Meanwhile, Rita Roark will keep spouting her creationist beliefs as the truth. Too bad for those poor sixth graders, who may take quite some time to discover they have been lied to.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bartcop Tribute 1

In the earliest days of Bartcop, before Terry Coppage called his website "" he published an email to a listserv that he called, "Rush Limbaugh - Lying Nazi Whore".

It was a good start.

In the coming days, I will re-print excerpts from these early emails up to Bartcop's death from leukemia on March 5, 2014, at age 60.  (You can click the title to take you to the actual issue/volume).

I wasn't on the very first listserv that Terry published to, but I somehow found him in 1998, during the ludicrous Clinton impeachment by those self-righteous hypocritical windbags in the GOP. But I get ahead of myself.

The (Bill) Clinton campaign was driven into delirium at the thought of a Clinton-(Pat) Bukkanan showdown in November (1996).

Said Clinton, "I might be a skirt-chasing, draft-dodging, dope-smoking KGB agent, but I could expose myself on live TV and still beat a cop-beating, black-hating, immigrant-denying, Nixonian draft-dodger with Nazi leanings."

Don't get too hung up on the fact that Issue #2 was published the day BEFORE Issue #1.   Those early days of the internet were very confusing!

2/24/96 - Issue #2
The AP reports today that a student engineer was in control of a freight train that ran out of control and crashed, killing him and another crew member near Red Cliff, Colorado. Investigators say the train was out of control due to serious human error, specifically the failure to apply the brakes in time.  "Analysis of the train's computer records show the air-brakes were applied too late to save it," said Larry Kaufman, spokesman for Southern Pacific. Kaufman said the engineer that made the error was a trainee, Wayne Reagan.
Wait a minute. I'm getting some serious Deja Vu.  Reagan.....out of control.....serious errors...... train wreck....death.....destruction.....
 All that's missing is the $4,000,000,000,000.00 debt.
The GOP claims to have a "big tent," open to all. If this is true, why can't they just stop the hate and have a "big country?"
 The right-wing says America should only have ONE language.  If this is true, shouldn't Phil Gramm learn English so we can understand what the hell he's saying? 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pitt on Bartcop

I remember William Rivers Pitt from the early days of Bartcop.  Terry Coppage, aka Bartcop, had influence on the blogosphere far beyond what he knew.  Terry's site helped spawn some of today's most prolific lefty bloggers.  For that, I will be forever grateful.  The entire country owes Terry a debt of gratitude.

A modem - a smart mouth - and the Truth!

William Rivers Pitt | In Memory of Bartcop: Seedcorn, Pioneer, Patriot

The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.
- Thomas Carlyle
If there was any single event that pushed me into chronicling politics in America - in combination with the Reagan years, the Bush Sr. coda, the 1994 midterm election calamity, and the rise and fall of Newt Gingrich - it was the impeachment of President Clinton. Beyond the gaudy opportunism of it all, the hatred for the sake of hatred practiced by the Republicans in an all-too-eerie preamble of the last few years, was the absolute and utter collapse of any semblance of journalistic integrity on the part of the "mainstream" news. Smoke had been pouring from the engines of big-time journalism for years at that point, but it was the Clinton impeachment that finally crashed the plane into the mountain. The wreckage has been there ever since, rusting in the sun.
And so, sixteen years ago, I took to my keyboard and wrote what I thought and gave it away to anyone who might be interested in publishing it. Very few were, but there was one guy who decided to put me out there, and for me, that's where all of this began. His name was Terrence Coppage, he lived in Tulsa, and his website was
Back then, our correspondence was about the impeachment, the ultimate failure of same, the odious antics of Rush Limbaugh, bad journalism in general, the 2000 presidential election, and the general state of derangement evident within the GOP. Looking back, it almost seems quaint...until the evening of December 12, 2000, when the Supreme Court handed the White House to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and unleashed 2,922 days of mayhem at home, mass murder abroad, and brazen theft all around.
It is difficult now to describe the sense of full-spectrum horror many of us dealt with in the aftermath of that despicable ruling. The entire "mainstream" news establishment - print and broadcast alike - bent their combined will towards convincing the country that "this is an orderly transition of orderly transition of power...all is well..." when a whole lot of us knew down to our bones that it was anything but...and then 9/11 happened, and then Iraq happened, and everyone who wouldn't or couldn't swallow the line of nonsense being peddled came to feel perfectly insane.
It is no understatement to say that Terrence Coppage and salvaged my sanity, and the sanity of many others. David Allen, co-founder of the forum Democratic Underground, said it best: "Back in the days when there was no 'liberal blogosphere' or 'netroots'; there were only 'anti-Bush websites.' Before DU there was Buzzflash, Smirking Chimp, and BartCop. That was pretty much the entire liberal presence on the internet." Those sites, along with Media Whores Online and later DU, were a lush oasis in a desert of bad information and blind hyper-patriotism.
But in truth, it all began with in 1996. Terrence Coppage raged every day against the lies being peddled by the Right, against the lapdog media that empowered and protected them, and by publishing comments, articles and emails from regular everyday folks, he gave us a voice we would not otherwise have had. Terrence Coppage helped teach us to think clearly during those dark days when clarity was hard to come by. A fairly impressive list of now-known bloggers and commentators - Digby and Atrios leap immediately to mind - earned their stripes through Bartcop, especially after Salon's Tabletalk started charging for participation. He was the seedcorn, a true pioneer, and even though he probably pissed off every segment of his readership at one time or another by way of his brashly-stated opinions, there is not a single voice within the online Left community that does not owe him a debt.
Coppage was, in his way, the Charlie Parker of liberal bloggers. Every saxophone player who has followed Parker is blowing notes Bird had already blown better. So it is with Bartcop; he was playing those changes before the rest of us had our pants on.
On Friday, I learned that Terrence Coppage passed away. My participation at had slacked off considerably - thanks in no small part to the exposure he provided me, I joined Truthout in January of 2002, an association that has become all-encompassing in the intervening years - but news of his passing hit me in the heart. He never became famous, and never sought fame. He put his shoulder to the pile for 18 years, and moved it. I am, because he was, period. End of file.
Terrence Coppage's final words remain on "Since you're reading this, I'm either gone or I'm too sick to get to my computer...Thanks for the life you gave me."
No, Bart: thank you. May your Chicano Anejo never run dry, and may your Truth Hammer ring on and on. Take your rest, old friend. You've done enough, and more besides. We've got it from here.
This article is a Truthout original.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Irish Amnesia

Timothy Egan hangs Paul Ryan out to dry.  

You pretty much have to be a racist hater to vote for Republicans these days.  Or a wealthy person who would rather pay no taxes at all.  Or a stone cold ignoramus. Unfortunately, there are still far too many racist haters and ignorant people in America.

Ryan has no shame.  The GOP has no heart.    But they both have a lot of wealthy backers.

Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia

by Timothy Egan

IN advance of St. Patrick’s Day, I went time traveling, back to the 1840s and Ireland’s great famine. On one side of the Irish Sea was Victorian England, flush with the pomp and prosperity of the world’s mightiest empire. On the other side were skeletal people, dying en masse, the hollow-bellied children scrounging for nettles and blackberries.

A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a “culture of dependency”? Certainly England’s man in charge of easing the famine, Sir Charles Trevelyan, thought so. “Dependence on charity,” he declared, “is not to be made an agreeable mode of life.”

And there I ran into Paul Ryan. His great-great-grandfather had fled to America. But the Republican congressman was very much in evidence, wagging his finger at the famished. His oft-stated “culture of dependency” is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock. But it was also England’s excuse for lethal negligence.

There is no comparison, of course, between the de facto genocide that resulted from British policy, and conservative criticism of modern American poverty programs.

But you can’t help noticing the deep historic irony that finds a Tea Party favorite and descendant of famine Irish using the same language that English Tories used to justify indifference to an epic tragedy.

The Irish historian John Kelly, who wrote a book on the great famine, was the first to pick up on these echoes of the past during the 2012 presidential campaign. “Ryan’s high-profile economic philosophy,” he wrote then, “is the very same one that hurt, not helped, his forebears during the famine — and hurt them badly.”

What was a tired and untrue trope back then is a tired and untrue trope now. What was a distortion of human nature back then is a distortion now. And what was a misread of history then is a misread now.

Ryan boasts of the Gaelic half of his ancestry, on his father’s side. “I come from Irish peasants who came over during the potato famine,” he said last year during a forum on immigration.

BUT with a head still stuffed with college-boy mush from Ayn Rand, he apparently never did any reading about the times that prompted his ancestors to sail away from the suffering sod. Centuries of British rule that attempted to strip the Irish of their language, their religion and their land had produced a wretched peasant class, subsisting on potatoes. When blight wiped out the potatoes, at least a million Irish died — one in eight people.

“The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine,” wrote the fiery essayist John Mitchel, whose words bought him a ticket to the penal colony of Tasmania.

What infuriated Mitchel was that the Irish were starving to death at the very time that rich stores of grain and fat livestock owned by absentee landlords were being shipped out of the country. The food was produced by Irish hands on Irish lands but would not go into Irish mouths, for fear that such “charity” would upset the free market, and make people lazy.

Ryan’s running mate in 2012, Mitt Romney, made the Tory case with his infamous remark that 47 percent of Americans are moochers, “dependent upon government.” Part of that dependence, he said, extended to people “who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” Food — the gall!

You can’t make these kinds of heartless remarks unless you think the poor deserve their fate — that they have a character flaw, born of public assistance. And there hovers another awful haunt of Irish history. In 2012, Ryan said that the network of programs for the American poor made people not want to work.

On Wednesday, he went further, using the language of racial coding. This, after he told a story of a boy who didn’t want his free school lunch because it left him with “a full stomach and an empty soul.” The story was garbage — almost completely untrue.

“We have this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” In other words, these people are bred poor and lazy.

Where have I heard that before? Ah, yes — 19th-century England. The Irish national character, Trevelyan confided to a fellow aristocrat, was “defective.” The hungry millions were “a selfish, perverse, and turbulent” people, said the man in charge of relieving their plight.

You never hear Ryan make character judgments about generations of wealthy who live off their inheritance, or farmers who get paid not to grow anything. Nor, for that matter, does he target plutocrats like Romney who might be lulled into not taking risks because they pay an absurdly low tax rate simply by moving money around. Dependency is all one-way.

“The whole British argument in the famine was that the poor are poor because of a character defect,” said Christine Kinealy, a professor of Irish studies and director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University. “It’s a dangerous, meanspirited and tired argument.”

And it wasn’t true. The typical desperation scene of the famine was the furthest thing from a day in the hammock. Here’s what one Quaker relief agent, William Bennett, found in a visit to County Mayo in 1847:

“We entered a cabin. Stretched in one dark corner, scarcely visible from the smoke and rags that covered them, were three children huddled together, lying there because they were too weak to rise, pale and ghastly ... perfectly emaciated, eyes sunk, voice gone, and evidently in the last stage of actual starvation.”

For his role in the famine, Trevelyan was knighted. The Irish remember him differently. At Quinnipiac’s Great Hunger Museum hangs a picture of this English gentleman with a dedication: “For crimes against humanity, never brought to justice.”

Irish Alzheimer’s, goes the joke, is to forget everything but the grudges — in the case of the great famine, for good reason. What Alexis de Tocqueville called “the terrifying exactitude of memory” is burned into Ireland’s soil. But more than forgetting, Paul Ryan never learned.

Monday, March 17, 2014

weed for PTSD

This is HUGE!!

Thanks, Obama!!

Federal Government Signs Off On Study Using Marijuana To Treat Veterans' PTSD

The federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.
The Department of Health and Human Services' decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug's medical uses.
The proposal from the University of Arizona was long ago cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but researchers had been unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency's Mississippi research farm is the only federally-sanctioned source of the drug.
In a letter last week, HHS cleared the purchase of medical marijuana by the studies' chief financial backer, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which supports medical research and legalization of marijuana and other drugs.
"MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we've been granted permission to purchase marijuana from NIDA," the Boston-based group said in a statement. The federal government has never before approved medical research involving smoked or vaporized marijuana, according to MAPS.
A spokesman for the group said organizers have called off a protest over the stalled study that was planned for later this year.
While more than 1 million Americans currently take medical marijuana — usually for chronic pain — rigorous medical research into the drug's effects has been limited, in part due to federal restrictions.
Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the federal government's Controlled Substance Act. That means the drug is considered a high-risk for abuse with no accepted medical applications.
In the past NIDA has focused its research on the risks of drug abuse and addiction, turning away researchers interested in studying the potential benefits of illegal substances.
Even with the latest green light from the Health and Human Services department, MAPS and the University of Arizona Professor Suzanne Sisley must still get approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration, though they expect that clearance to come more quickly.
Sisley's study will measure the effects of five different potencies of smoked or vaporized marijuana in treating symptoms of PTSD in 50 veterans.
The Veterans Administration estimates between 11 and 20 percent of soldiers who served in the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars have PTSD, which can cause anxiety, flashbacks, depression and sleep deprivation. About 7.7 million American adults are estimated to have the disorder.
Physicians have long speculated that marijuana could be used to calm parts of the brain linked to overstimulation and anxiety, though little formal research has been conducted.
The American Medical Association has called for a change in marijuana's classification to make it easier for research to be conducted. The current classification prevents physicians from even prescribing it in states where medical use is permitted. Instead, they can only recommend it to patients who can then buy it through a government-approved dispensary in most states.
Parents of children with epilepsy have petitioned lawmakers in several states to grant access to a strain of medical marijuana known as "Charlotte's Web," which contains low amounts of the drug's active ingredient, THC. Available in liquid form in Colorado, the strain is believed to be effective in controlling seizures in children, though the Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association have said more research needs to be done.
Tear down the wall!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

lose the panties!

I didn't realize that the Holy Spirit entered women between their legs!  The Lord works in mysterious ways!!

“A local pastor has ordered all women who attend service at Lord’s Propeller Redemption Church to refrain from wearing undergarments while attending so that they can more easily receive the spirit of Jesus Christ.

The Kenyan Daily Post is reporting that a pastor identified only as “Reverend Njohi” claimed bras and underwear are not godly. Additionally, the paper says Njohi wants women who attend service at the church to be “free,” and that there would be consequences for those who do not comply.
According to the UK Metro, most women did, in fact, show up at the church, located in the eastern suburb of Dandora, the following Sunday without any undergarments on under their clothing.”
* The Young Turks hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian break it down.

Maher on Noah

Go, Bill, go!  Don't let the Bible-thumping autocrats muzzle you!

Friday, March 14, 2014

almost died

Have you ever had one of those days where you just narrowly escaped death?  Who hasn't?  Show of hands?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014, was that kind of day for me.

I was almost killed by a red-light-running, speeding Metro bus driver as I prepared to cross a street downtown in the still-dark hours of 7:00am.  

Waiting on the curb at Smith and Walker until the WALK sign lit up, I raised my leg to step into the street to cross Smith, but something stopped me.  A loud whooshing sound to my left, and then inches from my face, with bus passengers expressions frozen in the rapidly passing, illuminated windows.  The wind almost knocked me backward.

If I had made that step into the street a split-second earlier, I would have been flattened by a 20-ton bus traveling 30 mph.  If I had survived, which is unlikely, I would have been mangled beyond recognition, surely for the rest of my life.

After the bus flew past me, I looked to my left at the two guys that were also waiting to cross the street with me.  Both of their mouths were open wide in shock and horror, their eyes staring at me.  They realized they had almost witnessed a killing just a few feet from them.  

I crossed the street, a little dazed.  When I reached the other side I made a mental note of the bus number and the time of day.  The bus driver had to stop at the very next light at McKinney because the light was red, and all the lanes were full of cars.  The driver almost killed me running the light at Walker, all in a hurry, just to stop at the next street, McKinney.

As I entered my building, I felt a little dizzy and started to shake.

not this time, reaper!
I had an elevator all to myself, and as I made my way upstairs to my office, I replayed the scene over and over in my mind and I could feel my heart racing.  I had narrowly escaped becoming a statistic.  And that was the same intersection where a co-worker was flattened and killed by another Metro bus four years earlier.

I reached my desk and sat down.  No one else was in the office yet, and I sat in the quiet and began to sob.  

Some people might thank the Lord for saving their lives, for keeping them from stepping into the street.  Those kind of people really piss me off.  Like their life is so much more important to God than anyone else's.  As an atheist, I certainly won't do that.  I realize that life is a beautiful random swirling mix of bullshit, love, light, and chaos.  In most cases, you survive because you're lucky.  Or you're smart.  But not because some fucking God decided in a split second to save your smelly ass.

Experiences like this can drive some people mad when they gaze into the abyss and glimpse the randomness of life.  Some who come close to death but survive gain a newfound appreciation for life and living.  Some just shrug their shoulders and move on.

Today on the news I heard of one guy getting shot and killed over an argument over a parking space.  Over. A. Fucking. Parking. Space.  I guess God wasn't paying attention at the time.  Perhaps she had better things to do.

Be careful out there.  The life you save may be your own.  But realize that no matter how careful you may be, the asteroid may still strike, annihilating all life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Or just you.


Oh, and a P.S.  I reported the incident on Metro's website.  Two days later, no response, no acknowledgement, no apology, no nothing from Metro.  Just another day in the city.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jimmy and Bruce

I know I am often late to the party.  I thought it was fashionable to be late?!

I'd seen snips of this but not the whole thing.  Thanks to my Mountain Sister for the heads-up.

Jimmy Fallon is a hoot.  The guy can do some pretty awesome imitations.


MCG 2.0

The Midtown Community Garden is being systematically dismantled.  

Yesterday, they removed most of the fencing around the lot.  Most of the 4' x 20' plots have been stripped of their productive plants.  The picnic benches are gone.  The canopy is gone. And yesterday a gigantic sign announcing a new housing development by Urban Living went up on the corner.  It's so disgusting I didn't want to post a picture.

All this and today our listing for our home went up on the Houston Area Realtors website.  The pictures show a fully-fenced garden across the street, but when potential buyers show up they will see ... destruction. Not an ideal situation for us to sell into.

The good news for the current members of the Midtown Community Garden is that the media storm the sale generated last week, on every local TV station and in the Houston Chronicle, caught the attention of several good samaritans.

There are three standing offers on the table for fresh land in the area to move the garden onto. The members have decided to accept one offer, and so the garden will be moving about 5 blocks to the northwest, right across the street from Lankford's Grocery, home of one of the oldest restaurants in Houston and arguably the best hamburgers in town.

The landowner for that space is moving the fence over there, piece by piece.  Soon we will see the rise of the Midtown Community Garden 2.0.  Grow on!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

water from the air

No, not rain.

That's a strange combination: a desert underneath air saturated with humidity.  Probably not the case in the desert southwest of the U.S.  Or the Sahara?  

I also wonder if this process would upset the ecological balance, such as it is, in some way.

I found it here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

between two ferns

Knowing how knee-jerk the Republicans are about anything Obama, they have to be apoplectic about this interview.  I mean, while Ukraine BURNS!  Suck it, GOP.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I'm using Comcast for my internet.  While the speeds with Comcast are good and often very fast (the report below says my speed is faster than 88% of the US), the cost is high.  I sure wish Google Fiber would come to Houston.  The internet is becoming so ubiquitous to life that to pay a lot of money for it just doesn't seem right any more.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

RIP Bartcop

One of the greatest of the early liberal bloggers, Bartcop, has passed away in Oklahoma.  

Bartcop had a way of cutting right through the media bullshit to the truth.  He was clever, unflinchingly liberal and spawned a generation of liberal bloggers.  Atrios, Digby, Avedon and many others cut their teeth in the Bartcop Forum, then went forward to claim their places in the blogo-pantheon.

I patterned my own blog after Bartcop's site.  

The tributes to Bartcop are rolling in.  It really makes me sad to think there will be no more Bartcop "fixes" to be had.  

RIP, Bartcop.  Your influence is much stronger than you knew.

Here's a note from Marc Perkel, the current operator of the Church of Reality.

History of how BartCop Started
By Marc Perkel
It was about 18 years ago in 1996 when one day someone forwarded an email from an email publication that Terry was writing called "Rush Limbaugh Lying Nazi Whore - Issue #45.
It was so funny I was rolling on the floor trying to breathe.It was during the 1996 presidential election and poor Bob Dole was trying to eak out a win over the Big Dog. This part was the part that put me on the floor.
I have a satellite dish. I caught some audio of Dole after the show. The caterer brought some food in. "Bob Dole wants a diet Coke," he said. "Bob Dole wants a Hot Dog!"
Someone, maybe a kid serving the food, asked Dole if he wanted mustard on his Hot Dog.
Bob Dole said: "Well, I feel that's it's my view that mustard is certainly one of the options we're looking at. We're looking at a number of options, actually. There's lot of condiments... ketchup, for instance. Some like it, some don't....
That's not up to the federal government to decide. Those decisions are best made locally ...the states. Some people talk about relish, relish... is...
Cheese! Lot of cheese lovers in America..... Perhaps we'll go with mustard, but we haven't made a final determination on that, haven't decided... It might come down to a situation where we have some ketchup and some mustard...we'll know soon..."
Mrs. Dole interrupted and said:
"Bob Dole has always supported mustard on Hot Dogs. Bob Dole has been, and continues to be pro-mustard. Mustard has a friend in Bob Dole."
I had just put up a web server and was looking for interesting things to publish. So I tracked down the author and called him on the phone. He was somewhat surprised that I found him but I explained that I wanted to take his collection and make web pages out of it. He didn't even know what a web page was at first but he agreed. For the first few years he would just email his list and I would add the page every time I got one of his emails. Eventually he learned just enough to barely put together a web page and started doing it himself. 
Bart was one of the first and most successful liberal bloggers. Back then Bart and I were big fish in a small pond. We inspired many other liberal web sites that became far more successful an influential. We became small fish in a big pond. But Bart stayed with it for 18 years swinging the hammer of truth. People who were born the year Bart started are now old enough to vote. He created a community and lots of people know each other through him. I believe he changed history in significant ways that will some day be discovered by supercomputers in the future. But for now we will all miss him.
  Back to

Democratic Underground's Skinner had something to contribute too:

Message from Democratic Underground

Back in the days when there was no "liberal blogosphere" or "netroots"; there were only "anti-Bush websites".
Before DU there was Buzzflash, Smirking Chimp, and BartCop.
That was pretty much the entire liberal presence on the internet.
Bart gave DU a prominent link on his homepage, and sent us lots of traffic.
I think it is arguable that he did more for DU than anyone else on the Internet.

Thank you, Bart. RIP.

A link to Bartcop is here.  You can read through many of his back issues.  It's internet gold.

Ok, George, he stopped.  But your sorry ass still belongs in jail!