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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Eagle Ford shale

Fracking is NOT the answer to our energy problem.  It's another delay in our inevitable conversion to renewable energy, and it's a very dirty, resource-devouring delay.  It's almost as bad as the oil shale project in Canada.

Ever wonder why everyone is so secretive about what actual substances and chemicals are being used in tracking?

Friday, May 30, 2014

the House did what?

The Democrats better see the writing on the wall here and not stand in the way of medical marijuana and/or legalization.  The Republicans could actually win a lot of votes if they adopted weed as an issue.  I don't think they will, but one never knows.  

Most Republicans (172) voted against this amendment, yet it passed.  Most Dems voted in favor.  And the author sticks in an editorial comment like, "the soon to be Republican-controlled Senate".  This measure should pass the Senate and Obama should sign it, but the Republicans should get no credit whatsoever for it.

U.S. House Passes Amendment to End Federal Interference in Medical Marijuana Operations!

Late last night, the United States House of Representatives voted in favor of an appropriation amendment that would effectively end the federal government’s ability to raid dispensaries and arrest medical marijuana patients. If the amendment, which passed by a healthy 219-189 count, sees further approval from the Senate and then President Obama, the Department of Justice, and the Drug Enforcement Administration would be prevented “from using taxpayer funds to interfere in state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs.”
Unsurprisingly, the Democrat-backed bill–expected by experts to pass–saw a major party discrepancy. A mere 17 Democrats voted against the amendment, while 172 Republicans voted Nay:
In addition to aiding medical marijuana businesses and patients, the 2015 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill would also prevent federal authorities from investing funds and efforts against hemp cultivation. If the bill passes its next stages and goes into effect, the change in policy would signify a major blow to prohibition–and provide growers, patients, and activists with more security than they’ve ever had.

NORML Communications Director, Erik Altieri, reinforced this notion on behalf of NORML, stating “It would be hard to overstate the importance of tonight’s vote. Approval of this amendment is a resounding victory for basic compassion and common sense.”  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cosmos on weed

The religious right is throwing a hissyfit over Neil DeGrasse Tyson's remake of "Cosmos." Aw, the poor little peabrains.  No, wait, that's the wrong story here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

pot tourism

Fodor's has to keep up.

Pot Tourism: How to Buy Marijuana in Colorado

The lines to get into the recreational dispensaries have shortened, but still not completely disappeared, and all of the Mile High City jokes have been made. Even Stephen Colbert has addressed the topic at length onThe Colbert Report. But the question remains: What does Colorado's recent legalization of recreational marijuana mean for tourists? Here are eight tips for out-of-towners to keep in mind:


The expansion of pot shops around Colorado seems to be increasing by the day. When the new law allowing recreational sales took effect on Jan. 1, 2014, eager customers waited for hours in prolonged lines for entrance into 18 licensed storefronts. The number of recreational dispensaries in the Denver-metro area has now tripled since that time, with more than 30 new stores springing up around the city. In total, 160 licenses have been issued statewide as of this writing.


Locating these retailers, however, is easier said than done. There is no mention of them on the official websites of the Colorado Tourism Officeand Denver Visitor Bureau in their lists of attractions. Instead, visitors should use either or to find the nearest location; pick up a copy of Denver's alt-weekly newspaper Westwordfor the latest pot-related news; or simply ask a local, as word of mouth tends to be the prevailing form of spreading the news on a recently opened location.


There are myriad environments from store to store—from high-end boutiques to mom-and-pot shops—that cater to different customers. Before your trip to Colorado, it's worth doing some online research to find a preferred destination that suits your comfort level and shopping desires.


Once you've arrived at your desired retailer, which is usually accompanied by green signage that makes allusions to "care" and "wellness," it's time to select your product of choice. You'll find a wide array of with varying objectives and effects: smokeable indicas, sativas, and hybrid strains; hash oil; edibles; topical creams, and more.


The availability of recreational marijuana does come with several constraints and restrictions, of course. First and foremost, purchasers must be at least 21 years of age and are asked to provide identification before entrance. Next, based on ID alone, anyone with an out-of-state license is treated as a non-Coloradan, which limits the amount of marijuana that may be purchased. While Colorado residents may buy up to 1 ounce (a little more than 28 grams) at a time, visitors can take away only 7 grams, or the equivalent of a quarter-ounce.
Visitors can still purchase a wide range of products with this small amount. The dosage in each edible, for instance, is about 10–25 milligrams, so travelers can depart with an abundance of chocolates or mints. Lastly, all marijuana must leave the premises in an opaque, childproof container or bag, which is thrown in upon purchase or, in some cases, provided at minimal cost.


As for what you'll pay to take advantage of the Colorado's recreational law, a gram of marijuana on average runs between $10–$20, depending on what you buy. Topicals also vary in price, but $20 is the standard charge. While cash is always an accepted form of payment, most dispensaries around the state also accept credit cards.


Now that you've bought your weed legally, it's time to light up, right? Not so fast. Whether in edible or smokeable form, marijuana use is prohibited in any public space, including on streets, at parks, and spots like hotel balconies that are visible from public spaces. In addition, the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, banning smoking in restaurants, venues, and most bars, was amended to include marijuana. It comes with fines of up to $500 for violation. Consumption in motor vehicles or public transportation is also illegal.
The law, however, allows for use in private residences, and a recent public smoking statute provides that decks, garages, and patios are also permitted. Although a slew of concerts and comedy shows now advertise as being "4/20 friendly" and the security at the venue might turn a blind eye, it's still not technically legal by the letter of the law.
Private membership–based smoke clubs such as iBake Denver and luxury cannabis tours that offer smoking areas, like Colorado Green Tours, are alternatives, but remain in something of a legal gray area as legislation continues to be hashed out. Cannabis-friendly hotels are also popping up, but are few and far between at the moment. On the whole, such options are on the rise as the state continues to wrestle with the application of the law.


Per federal law, marijuana remains illegal recreationally in nearly every other state at this time, so you cannot take your legal Colorado purchase with you across state lines. The drug is also listed on the airport Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) list of prohibited items; as of January, Denver International Airport formalized its policy banning possession of pot on its premises, coming with it a $150 fine for a first offense, $500 for a second, and $999 for any thereafter. Unfortunately, what you buy in Colorado must stay in Colorado.
Kevin Fixler is a Denver-based writer who holds a master's from UC Berkeley. His work has appeared with Sports Illustrated, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the day we honor those men and women who have fought and died for our country in the multitude of wars we have experienced.  

My father is a veteran of World War II, although he joined towards the end of the war and didn't see any real fighting.  

I'm not going to get all sappy about Memorial Day.  If you are politically astute and aware, you know that only one of our current political parties really cares about taking care of our veterans.

Over the last few years, the Republicans have tried to cut budgets right and left.  They have publicly stated their #1 goal is to make President Obama fail.  And if the country gets hurt at the same time, they don't give a shit.

Funding for veterans programs is a good case in point.  When all of the tens and thousands of veterans started returning to America from Afghanistan and Iraq, after serving multiple tours and many suffering with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), what was the Republican response?  Cut the funding for the VA.

On the one hand, the GOP touts our military and our brave veterans.  On the other hand, they cut any funding they can, because at their core, they believe that government is not a solution; government is only a problem.  The only exception is building a bigger military machine.  Then, the Republicans want to double/triple the budget.  They cannot get enough of the war machine, but they don't give a shit about the actual veterans.

So when the Veterans Administration is struggling to provide care for our veterans, remember who wants to cut their funding, and who wants to actually help our veterans.  Don't fall for the GOP hype and hypocrisy.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Free Press

Free Press Summer Fest - there are a few bands I'd like to see, but it's going to be raining, and high humidity....perhaps they should call it the Free Press Sweat Fest!

Weekend events closing roads west of downtown

Events on the west side of downtown will force traffic detours starting Friday.
In preparation for the Free Press Summer Fest at Eleanor Tinsley Park, eastbound Allen Parkway closed at 10 a.m. Friday, festival organizers said. Westbound Allen Parkway will close at 7 p.m. Friday after the peak workday commuting period. Access to and from Interstate 45 to Allen Parkway also closes at 7 p.m. Friday.
All of the lanes will reopen at 3 a.m. Monday.
Sunday, the city's third Sunday Streets event will close Washington and Franklin between Studemont and Milam. The event is intended to allow people to roam the streets free of vehicle traffic.
Good fortune, however, isn't shining on either event, with heavy rainfall expected Saturday and scattered storms Sunday.
Festival goers stand a good chance of getting rained on this weekend.
Friday evening’s weather forecast calls for a 30-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, with a 20-percent chance after midnight, according to the National Weather Service.
On Saturday, the likelihood of showers and thunderstorms in the morning is 50 percent, increasing to 60 percent in the afternoon, the weather service said. Things look up a bit for Saturday night, when the weather service predicts just a 30-percent chance of rain, with overnight lows around 70 degrees.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

gone to pot

The possibilities are endless.  When are some other states going to follow suit?  Surely they can't let Colorado have all the fun.  

We are planning a visit to CO this coming August.  Any requests?

Friday, May 23, 2014

mosquito tornado

Uh, what?

If you were merrily strolling down the road one day and looked up from your daydream to notice something that looked scarily like a funnel cloud edging towards you, what would be your immediate reaction? Stop and stare to find out what it is or just leg it in the opposite direction? This is something that photographer Ana Scarpa was faced with recently as she visited Leziria Grande at Vila Franca de Xira in Portugal. 

It turns out that the cloud photographed above and below was not a tornado, but it was almost equally as horrifying. It was a huge, vertical swarm of insects. The photograph was taken at a distance of around a quarter of a mile, and Scarpa approximates that the swarm extended around 300 meters (1,000 foot) into the air.
“Earlier this year, I was finishing-up my photo shoot for the day, and I began to pack my things- when suddenly I saw in the sky [something] that I thought was a wind twister,” Scarpa told io9. “It was a very high funnel swinging to the left and to the right. I pointed my camera and began shooting before it hit me. But the funnel did not move toward me- and I thought it was so strange- so I got into my car and started to drive towards it, and that’s when I realized it was a mosquito twister.” According to Scarpa, the area is a breeding ground for mosquitoes because of numerous water branches that provide water for animals and harvests.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

solar freakin' roadways

It is true that we have the technology to clean up this planet.  What is still missing is the foresight and the political will to upset an apple cart or two.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

VA uproar

Here's another case of the GOP fabricating a scandal and then blaming it on Obama.

First, Bush and the GOP invade Afghanistan and Iraq, creating millions of new veterans, many of them serving multiple tours and coming home with PTSD.

Then, in Congress, with Obama in office, the GOP filibusters and denies any additional monies for the VA.  After all, it's illegal for a Republican to cooperate with Obama and the Democrats in any fashion whatsoever, right? The country can just go to hell while the GOP throws their tantrums.

So now we have a VA in crisis.  Most of it can be laid right at the doorstep of the GOP.  Yet, all the outrage gets directed at Obama and the VA. We have seen this script before.  The GOP is getting pretty good at deflecting any and all blame.  And with a stilted, entertainment-driven media (and FOX News), the American people rarely learn the truth.

and here's a note from Thom Hartmann:

Back in 2012, for example, GOP senators blocked a $1 billion jobs bill would have helped millions of unemployed veterans find work. And in that same year, Republican opposition also blocked a bill - the so-called Veterans’ Compensation Cost of Living Adjustment Act - that would have kept veterans’ benefits on par with rising expenses. 

The list goes on. Before that, GOP lawmakers killed the Wounded Veteran Job Security Act, the Veterans Retraining Act of 2009, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, the Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009, the Veterans Business Center Act of 2009, and the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009. 

Every single one of these these bills would have helped veterans and every single one was killed exclusively by Republican opposition. So don't be surprised if I take the GOP’s newfound obsession with veterans’ issues with a big grain of salt. But Republican hypocrisy when it comes to the VA is only part of the story. What we’re really seeing here with the calls for Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki to resign and the bashing of the VA as a whole is one of the best recent examples of what I call the “Republican Chaos Strategy.” 

Republicans know that the while most people know that Barack Obama is president and that he is a Democrat - the vast majority of Americans - 60 to 75 percent by some estimates - don’t know which party is in charge of the House of Representatives or who controls the Senate, or either. 

And, so, when something like the Phoenix VA hospital controversy comes along, Republicans know that they both can use it to trash the administration and, at the same time, confuse the American people about who’s really responsible for the problems plaguing the VA and our country. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

vertical forests

America used to be the leader in big ideas until the nay-saying anti-science nuts came on the scene.

Bosco Verticale Vertical Forest Nearing Completion in Milan, Italy

At first glance it looked too fantastical to be real, but now the completion date for the world’s first vertical forest is drawing near. Located in Milan, Bosco Verticale is Boeri Studio’s answer to the question of how to make cities greener while supporting an ever denser urban population. Since Inhabitat first reported on the project in 2011, it has captured the imagination of many across the globe, all eager to see how the benefits of downtown city living can be enhanced within a vertical forest environment. Inhabitat spoke to Boeri Studio this January for an update and some photos of the building’s progress. Keep reading to get the latest.

New photographs start to show the appearance of the finished residential tower blocks now that most of the scaffolding has been dismantled. Most of the 100 different species of trees and shrubs are in place, surrounding the external cladding. You can begin to imagine relaxing high up above the city amongst the dappled sunlight breaking through the leaves, breathing the fresh air, filtered by the forest microclimate, deep into your lungs. Completion is expected by late spring/early summer 2014 and an application for LEED Gold certification has been submitted.

On flat land, each building has the capacity to hold, in amount of trees, shrubs and ground cover plants, an area equal to 10.000 sqm of forest. This includes 480 large and medium size trees, 250 small size trees, 11,000 groundcover plants and 5,000 shrubs.  Greywater recycling will water the vegetation and integrated photovoltaic panels will provide power.

In terms of population, each tower supports the equivalent population of an area of single family dwellings of nearly 50,000 sqm. The smallest apartment is 65 sqm and includes a small woodland terrace. The largest apartment is around 450 sqm with a terrace of around 80 sqm.

The architects are looking forward to the next phase when the engineers, builders, masons, lawyers and electricians finish their work and residents begin new lives within the project. Every plant has been chosen by botanists to thrive in it’s particular orientation and microclimate within the structure. Moreover, a specialized maintenance company will keep the vertical forest in good health in the years to come. Dolce Vita Homes have worked in collaboration with Coima Image to design the interior specifications of the apartments. Residenze Porta Nuova have begun marketing the apartments and you can have a peek at the brochures already.

Metropolitan reforestation could become a buzz word as future developments utilize this innovative concept to simultaneously increase biodiversity and provide inspirational city dwellings.

Gosh, what would it be like to live in a country that actually took climate change seriously? America is infected and infested with anti-science, fanatically religious nutcases otherwise known as the GOP.  Sorry about that world!  We are having yet another resurgence of religion in this country.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dionne on Warren

I am so glad that someone like Elizabeth Warren has stepped forward to serve.  Democrats and liberals have been in sore need of someone who can convincingly elucidate what the fuck is going on, without the corporate blinders on.  No one has been able to shame conservatives enough to get them to behave.  Warren may just have that spark.  I think she'd be an awesome candidate for President.  I fear, however, that she'd be silenced like Kennedy was.

E.J. Dionne wrote a recent column about Warren.   I will also be checking out Warren's new book, A Fighting Chance.

No more liberal apologies as Elizabeth Warren takes the offensive
E.J. Dionne

Elizabeth Warren is cast as many things: a populist, a left-winger, the paladin against the bankers and the rich, the Democrats’ alternative to Hillary Clinton, the policy wonk with a heart.
The senior senator from Massachusetts is certainly a populist and her heart is with those foreclosed upon and exploited by shady financial practices. But she is not nearly as left-wing as many say — she can offer a strong defense of capitalism that’s usually overlooked. And here’s betting that she won’t run against Clinton.
What all the descriptions miss is Warren’s most important contribution to the progressive cause. She is, above all, a lawyer who knows how to make arguments. From the time she first came to public attention, Warren has been challenging conservative presumptions embedded so deeply in our discourse that we barely notice them. Where others equivocate, she fights back with common sense.
Since the Reagan era, Democrats have been so determined to show how pro-market and pro-business they are that they’ve shied away from pointing out that markets could not exist without government, that the well-off depend on the state to keep their wealth secure and that participants in the economy rely on government to keep the marketplace on the level and to temper the business cycle’s gyrations.
Warren doesn’t back away from any of these facts. In her new book, “A Fighting Chance,” she recalls the answer she gave to a voter during a living-room gathering in Andover, Mass., that quickly went viral. She was in the early days of her Senate campaign, in the fall of 2011, and had been asked about the deficit. Characteristically, she pushed the boundaries beyond a narrow fiscal discussion to explain how government helped create wealth.
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own,” she said. “Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” It was all part of “the underlying social contract,” she said, a phrase politicians don’t typically use.
Warren’s book tells her personal story in a folksy way and documents her major public battles, including her successful effort to establish a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But the book is most striking for the way in which her confident tone parallels Ronald Reagan’s upbeat proclamations on behalf of his own creed. Conservatives loved the Gipper for using straightforward and understandable arguments to make the case for less government. Warren turns the master’s method against the ideology he rhapsodized. Even former treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, who tangled with Warren, acknowledges in his new book “Stress Test” that she has “a gift for explanation.”
Warren tells of meeting with Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), a former FBI agent, to talk about the consumer agency. “After a bit,” she reports, “he cut me off so he could make one thing clear: He didn’t believe in government.”
That seemed strange coming from the graduate of a public university and a veteran of both the military and a government agency, though Warren didn’t press him then. “But someday I hoped to get a chance to ask him: Would you rather fly an airplane without the Federal Aviation Administration checking air traffic control? Would you rather swallow a pillwithout the Food and Drug Administration testing drug safety? Would you rather defend our nation without a military and fight our fires without our firefighters?”
How often are our anti-government warriors asked such basic questions?
But doesn’t being pro-government mean you’re anti-business? Well, no, Warren says, quite the opposite. “There’s nothing pro-business about crumbling roads and bridges or a power grid that can’t keep up,” she writes. “There’s nothing pro-business about cutting back on scientific research at a time when our businesses need innovation more than ever. There’s nothing pro-business about chopping education opportunities when workers need better training.”
Oh yes, and it really bugs her when people assert that “corporate” and “labor” are “somehow two sides of the same coin.” She asks: “Does anyone think that for every billionaire executive who can afford to write a check for $10 million to get his candidate elected to office, there is a union guy who can do the same? Give me a break.”
At the end of a long liberal era, Reagan electrified conservatives by telling them they didn’t have to apologize anymore for what they believed. Now, Warren insists, it’s the era of liberal apologies that’s over.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ron Reagan

Not Ronald, the ex-President with Alzheimer's for most of his second term.  Come to think of it, Republicans have literally been brain-dead since the '80's.  Reagan, Bush, Bush, and look at today's crop of freaks and goofballs.  Wow.  

Anyway, Ron Reagan, Ronnie's son, has a few words for you, and he's not afraid.

I'm a member and I really enjoy being a part of this activist organization.  Oh yeah, this ad is going to run during The Daily Show and Colbert in the near future.  Oh, the Christianistas & creationists will HOWL.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Houston Food Bank

I'll bet there are a lot of food insecure people in your area.  The economy is still tough for a lot of people.  If you are in good financial shape, be grateful, but don't forget to lend a hand once in a while to those who are less fortunate.

To that end, I volunteered with my wife's company Saturday for the morning shift at the Houston Food Bank.  This time, we were put in the "Food Prep" room.  Eight tables were each given a one-ton bag of rice and we divided that huge bag up into 2-pound bags, put 8 of those bags into boxes, then filled up a pallet with boxes.  

All in all, the table where we were working boxed up 100 boxes of rice.  At 2 lbs per box, that's 2,000 lbs - a lot of rice.  It's estimated that each bag provides three servings of rice, so, at 800 bags, we just bagged up 2400 servings of rice.  Then multiply that by another seven tables!!

It was hard work.  We were all quite sweaty afterwards, but it's for a very good cause. There were a hundred other things we could have been doing early Saturday morning, but this Saturday morning was devoted to community service.  

I'm sure there is a food bank in your area that could use some volunteer help!  Check it out. You probably have a lot already.  Give something back.

This is a shot of the one pallet that our table bagged up, and we're working on the next one.

Read about food insecurity.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

solar roads

This idea is eminently possible.  All it takes is some money and some forward-looking people.  In fact, we have all of the solutions we need to save the planet and feed every hungry person on it, but the "will" is what is really lacking.  And tons of money stacked up against progress of any kind.  

Just because progress is thwarted here and there is no reason to give up on anything.

Scott and Julie Bradshaw stand on a prototype for a Solar Roadway parking lot. The prototype is largely finished, aside from mounting holes, mastic between panels, and software for LED patterns that still need to be added
Finding a way to replace regular, concrete roads with ones that could better serve a sustainable world has long been Scott and Julie Brusaw’s dream. Lately, the couple has been working on that dream so much that — at least on Tuesday — they didn’t even sleep.
“All of the publicity is keeping us hopping,” Julie said by e-mail on Wednesday afternoon, after Scott had fallen asleep. “I have over 6,800 unanswered emails in my inbox right now. Not counting all of the thousands I have responded to of course!”
The e-mails are about the couple’s Solar Roadways project, which aims to replace traditional asphalt and concrete roadways with solar panels that are covered with four-square-foot glass hexagon panels. The glass panels are designed not only to withstand the heaviest of trucks, but are also textured, encouraging tires to grip the surface and water to run off. The solar panels underneath generate energy from the sun, which can not only power nearby communities, but also the electric vehicles that drive above them. The power could also fuel embedded heating elements that would melt ice and snow, essentially making plows obsolete. To top it off, the power also lights up yellow LED lights instead of painted-on road lines, making night time driving safer.

Artist’s rendition of a Solar Roadway in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho.

It’s a seemingly crazy idea, but according to the couple, it’s actually working. Boosted by two phases of funding they’ve received from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, they’ve built a parking lot that they say can withstand weight, generate electricity, and ultimately help fight climate change.
“It’s so exciting to have the parking lot now, to see and touch and walk on,” Julie said. “Finally, we’ve gone from concept to a tangible prototype.”
If every roadway in the country were replaced with Solar Roadways — a huge feat, admittedly — Julie and Scott estimate that enough solar energy could be generated to entirely substitute power generated from fossil fuels, and then some. Combined with the fact that the roads could charge electric vehicles (and thereby increase the viability of those vehicles) the couple estimates that the roads would, if installed everywhere, have the ability to cut American greenhouse gas production by 75 percent.
The couple also contends that the roadways would pay for themselves over time because of the fact that they generate power.
The Solar Roadways project has been in the works for quite some time, with Scott and Julie initially receiving a contract from the Federal Highway Administration in 2009. The results of that contract were favorable enough that they were awarded a follow-up contract in 2011 worth $750,000 to build the prototype parking lot in Idaho.
Now that the prototype is nearly finished (it still needs some mastic filling between the panels, and software for LED patterns), the couple’s hometown city of Sandpoint, Idaho is looking to be its first customer. If that happens, it would be the first solar-powered parking lot in the world. A far cry from an actual road, but a step, Julie said.
“We want to install a sufficient number of parking lots, sidewalks, driveways etc., that we feel ready before moving on to roads,” she said. “However, we have potential customers waiting from all over the country and all over the world, so we are hoping to move very quickly.If we meet our goal on Indiegogo, that will enable us to hire our initial team, and gear up for production.”
The couple has launched a $1 million Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the project. They’ve so far raised a little more than $143,000.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Have you ever seen a cat do this before?  Damn, are there cameras on every corner now?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nat'l Climate Assessment

Been hearing anything about the new climate report that the Obama administration has put together?  It's called the National Climate Assessment.

I finally found a link here.

A review of the main findings is here.

I think it was David Suzuki on the most-recent Bill Moyer's show that said that this NCA did not include anything on the recent ice sheet melting in Antarctica.  The report does include Antarctica, but those recent ice sheets could raise sea levels by at least one meter, and it could happen, anytime?  

There goes the beach house!  Maybe...

Monday, May 12, 2014

blatant liars

Something is rotten in Denmark.

Meaning: something has gone really wrong in Washington D.C. with our politics.  The GOP has decided to just lie and lie and lie, regardless of the truth, regardless of the facts.  We see it in the national GOP and we see it up close in Texas in the guise of Dan Patrick, currently in a run-off with the incumbent David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination for Texas Lieutenant Governor.

What can we do about one political party that just does not care about the truth, but lies blatantly to influence their uneducated and intellectually lazy base?

Paul Krugman sees it and wrote about it recently.

Inventing a Failure

by Paul Krugman, New York Times
Last week, House Republicans released a deliberately misleading report on the status of health reform, crudely rigging the numbers to sustain the illusion of failure in the face of unexpected success. Are you shocked?

You aren’t, but you should be. Mainstream politicians didn’t always try to advance their agenda through lies, damned lies and — in this case — bogus statistics. And the fact that this has become standard operating procedure for a major party bodes ill for America’s future.

About that report: The really big policy news of 2014, at least so far, is the spectacular recovery of the Affordable Care Act from its stumbling start, thanks to an extraordinary late surge that took enrollment beyond early projections. The age mix of enrollees has improved; insurance companies are broadly satisfied with the risk pool. Multiple independent surveys confirmt hat the percentage of Americans without health insurance has already declined substantially, and there’s every reason to believe that over the next two years the act will meet its overall goals, except in states that refuse to expand Medicaid.

This is a problem for Republicans, who have bet the ranch on the proposition that health reform is an unfixable failure. “Nobody can make Obamacare work,” declared Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, a couple of weeks ago (when it was already obvious that it was working pretty well). How can they respond to good news?

Well, they could graciously admit that they were wrong, and offer constructive suggestions about how to make the law work even better. Oh, sorry — I forgot that I wasn’t writing jokes for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

No, they have in fact continued to do what they’ve been doing ever since the news on Obamacare started turning positive: sling as much mud as possible at health reform, in the hope that some of it sticks. Premiums were soaring, they declared, when they have actually come in below projections. Millions of people were losing coverage, they insisted, when the great bulk of those whose policies were canceled simply replaced them with new policies. The Obama administration was cooking the books, they cried (projection, anyone?). And, of course, they keep peddling horror stories about people suffering terribly from Obamacare, not one of which has actually withstood scrutiny.

Now comes the latest claim — that many of the people who signed up for insurance aren’t actually paying their premiums. Obviously this claim is part of a continuing pattern. It also, however, involves a change in tactics. Previous attacks on Obamacare were pretty much fact-free; this time the claim was backed by an actual survey purporting to show that a third of enrollees hadn’t paid their first premium.

But the survey was rigged. (Are you surprised?) It asked insurers how many enrollees had paid their first premium; it ignored the fact that the first premium wasn’t even due for the millions of people who signed up for insurance after March 15.

And the fact that the survey was so transparently rigged is a smoking gun, proving that the attacks on Obamacare aren’t just bogus; they’re deliberately bogus. The staffers who set up that survey knew enough about the numbers to skew them, which meant that they have to have known that Obamacare is actually doing O.K.

So why are Republicans doing this? Sad to say, there’s method in their fraudulence.

First of all, it fires up the base. After this latest exercise in deception, we can be fairly sure that Republican leaders know perfectly well that Obamacare has failed to fail. But the party faithful don’t. Like anyone who writes about these issues, I get vast amounts of mail from people who know, just know, that insurance premiums are skyrocketing, that far more people have lost insurance because of Obummercare than have gained it, that all the horror stories are real, and that anyone who says otherwise is just a liberal shill.

Beyond that, the constant harping on alleged failure works as innuendo even if each individual claim collapses in the face of evidence. A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a majority of Americans know that more than eight million people enrolled in health exchanges; but it also found a majority of respondents believing that this was below expectations, and that the law was working badly.

So Republicans are spreading disinformation about health reform because it works, and because they can — there is no sign that they pay any political price when their accusations are proved false.

And that observation should scare you. What happens to the Congressional Budget Office if a party that has learned that lying about numbers works takes full control of Congress? What happens if it regains the White House, too? Nothing good, that’s for sure.

And then we have Dan Patrick in Texas...

Dan Patrick.  Does this man look trustworthy to you?

Texas GOP candidate: It’s a ‘myth’ that Planned Parenthood does ‘anything’ for women’s health

Dan Patrick, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Texas, argued this week that the reason Planned Parenthood clinics were being forced to close throughout the state was because they did not have “anything” to do with women’s health.
During a Republican runoff debate between Patrick and current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst on Wednesday, WFAA moderators pointed out that only about six abortion clinics were able to remain open after the legislature passed strict new laws last year.
Patrick noted that, as a state senator, he had worked with Dewhurst to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.
“This is a myth that Planned Parenthood has anything to do with women’s health,” he opined. “Why are they closing clinics if they’re making money on providing women’s health? They’re closing clinics because they make all their money taking the lives of babies.”
Patrick said that his goal was for Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, to be “gone.”
“One day, this nation is going to look back as this nation looks back on slavery from the 1800s and says, ‘What were they thinking then?’” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can do, and the more we can move the envelope to save more lives, you bet.”
“We’re born in the image of God, let’s not make any mistakes that these are babies,” the senator added.
In a statement obtained by Politicus USA, Texas Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Lisa Paul observed that thousands of Texas women had been provided with health services by Planned Parenthood.
“Texas women are appalled by Dan Patrick’s deplorable statements on women’s health care providers,” Paul said. “158,345 Texans received preventative health care at Planned Parenthood in 2013. Republicans still don’t get it: just trust Texas women. Republicans need to trust us to make our own choices, to consult with our families and our doctors. Dan Patrick doesn’t trust Texas women, so Texas women can’t trust Dan Patrick as Lt. Governor.”

The statement, "This is a myth that Planned Parenthood has anything to do with women's health" is manifestly false and has been disproven time and time again by anyone searching for the truth about the activities of Planned Parenthood in Texas.  PP provides not only preventive healthcare to Texas women and their infants - that the Republican-controlled State of Texas does not fund - it also provides assistance in helping women to conceive.

Does Dan Patrick really not know the truth about PP in Texas?  He claims he is a well-educated Texan, and he's running for the 2nd highest statewide office in the state.  If he really does not know the truth, he either does not want to know the truth or he is pretty damn ignorant.  

Much more likely is that Dan Patrick does know the truth about PP in Texas, but he chooses to lie about it to fire up his base of ignorant "good Christians" who insist on sticking their noses in other peoples business and punishing those who allegedly go against their Bible.  What happened to "get government off of our backs?"

Texas cannot afford to elect a scumbag like Dan Patrick.