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

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Houston Buffalo Pool?

Houston used to be a place for big ideas. Now all we can muster are these little tinker-toy trains while we build more and more and more freeways.

A swimming hole for Houston get closer to reality

Could Houston have its own version of Barton Springs -- an enormous, beautiful swimming hole, right in the city, where people from every walk of life go to cool off?

That entrancing idea was floated last month here in Gray Matters, in Andrea White's Good Ideacolumn. Developer Monte Large and graphic designer Evan O'Neil had turned a coffee-shop flash of inspiration into a website -- -- and were dreaming big. On a tract of at least ten acres in central Houston, they proposed creating a manmade swimming hole, one that would use plants and natural processes to filter bayou water until it was not only safe for swimming but crystal-clear. They cited similar projects in Australia and Minneapolis. And they guessed that they'd need, oh, $6 million to $10 million for its construction.

Now Sherwood Design Engineers has signed on to do, pro bono, "Phase 1" feasibility studies -- basic calculations of what it would take to make the dream real. That's a big boost: Sherwood, an international firm with offices in San Francisco, New York and Houston, is known for its eco-sensitivity. High-profile projects include New York's Hudson Yards.

On a video, Sherwood engineer Tom Bacus declares that a cutting-edge, large-scale eco-project is perfect for this place: "Houston is a city that loves innovation. Houston is a city that embraces new ideas." (Bacus, presumably, would know: His resume includes work on Google's campus in San Francisco.)

"And the project is absolutely possible," the engineer continues. "We've got examples in many kinds of climates with many kinds of plant palettes of how you can use plants and natural systems and natural ecology to clean up water and make it safe to swim in."

Oh, and that video? It's part of a $30,000 Kickstarter campaign to cover the next phase of planning. (Donor goodies include a beach ball, logo sunglasses and a "Slip'n'Slide" party in April.) On the agenda, the website explains, is creating a nonprofit group and a business plan "so that the city, donors and taxpayers do not have to pay for this once it is on the ground." Once that basic structure is in place, heavy-duty fundraising can begin.

"It's exciting!" says eco-mattress entrepreneur Jeff Kaplan, the third member of the Houston Needs a Swimming Hole team. "It could change the way Houston sees the bayous. It'd bring humongous health benefits. And it'd be totally cool."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

$9 Billion Witness

Just in case you missed it ...  

I think that we still have some unfinished business with the banks in this country. Remember those guys that almost destroyed the economy (and the world?) back in 2008?

The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare
by Matt Taibbi
She tried to stay quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore. 

"It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street," she says. "I thought, 'I can't sit by any longer.'" 

Fleischmann is a tall, thin, quick-witted securities lawyer in her late thirties, with long blond hair, pale-blue eyes and an infectious sense of humor that has survived some very tough times. She's had to struggle to find work despite some striking skills and qualifications, a common symptom of a not-so-common condition called being a whistle-blower.

Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported - more on that later) to keep the public from hearing.

Back in 2006, as a deal manager at the gigantic bank, Fleischmann first witnessed, then tried to stop, what she describes as "massive criminal securities fraud" in the bank's mortgage operations.

Thanks to a confidentiality agreement, she's kept her mouth shut since then. "My closest family and friends don't know what I've been living with," she says. "Even my brother will only find out for the first time when he sees this interview." 

Read the rest here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

scooters circa 1962

I love my Buddy 125cc scooter!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

federal program succeeds!

Here's a news item that appeared in the middle of November, and just as the author, Steve Benen, predicted, that has been no follow-up about the real outcome. 

The GOP and the media already pounded Obama on this renewable energy loan program, and they will NEVER admit they were wrong. After all, Obama!!

That's not a bad outcome.
by Steve Benen

A couple of years ago, Republicans got very excited about an obscure federal project. The Department of Energy had a loan program intended to give a boost to companies focused on renewables, and one company in particular ended up getting all kinds of attention: Solyndra.

The right’s efforts to turn this into a “scandal” never really made any sense. The Department of Energy invested in America’s burgeoning clean-energy sector, and while some of the companies that received loans thrived, some didn’t. Solyndra was in the latter category.

In context, its failure wasn’t evidence of much. As Michael Grunwald reported a while back, “That’s capitalism. That’s lending. That’s life. As one Obama aide told me: Some students who get Pell grants are going to end up drunks on the street.” It’s not as if those failures discredit the entire Pell grant program.

But for Republicans and much of the media, the fact that one of the loan recipients failed helped prove an ideological point: the Obama administration made poor choices, and when the government picks “winners and losers,” the results are invariably poor for American investors.

We now know that the Republican arguments had it backwards. Bloomberg News reported yesterday:

The U.S. government expects to earn $5 billion to $6 billion from the renewable-energy loan program that funded flops including Solyndra LLC, supporting President Barack Obama’s decision to back low-carbon technologies. 
The Department of Energy has disbursed about half of $32.4 billion allocated to spur innovation, and the expected return will be detailed in a report due to be released as soon as tomorrow, according to an official who helped put together the data. 
The results contradict the widely held view that the U.S. has wasted taxpayer money funding failures including Solyndra, which closed its doors in 2011 after receiving $528 million in government backing.

This is no small revelation. Much of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign was based on the assumption that the Department of Energy’s loan program was a spectacular failure. Even now, Republicans continue to point to this program as obvious proof of why it’s a mistake for Washington to invest in the clean-energy sector at all.

But Obama’s program didn’t fail at all – the loans not only bolstered the renewable-energy industry, it secured a handsome profit for you, me, and every other American taxpayer.

Michael Morosi, an analyst at Jetstream Capital LLC, which invests in renewable energy, told Bloomberg News, “People make a big deal about Solyndra and everything, but there’s a lot of VC capital that got torched right alongside the DOE capital. A positive return over 20 years in cleantech? That’s not a bad outcome.”

Quite right. In fact, it suggests Republicans had it exactly backwards – the Obama administration was extremely effective in making these investments.

The Bloomberg News piece went on to quote Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who said that while the loan program may be well intended, “what we have seen is incredible mismanagement…. When you look at what’s happened with solar, some of the battery companies, you see that most of these companies are bankrupt and are no longer in existence, and the taxpayer is left holding the bag.”

What I don’t understand is why Blackburn says things that are the opposite of reality (Steve, she's GOP, and blonde). Most of these companies aren’t bankrupt – that’s the point. 

Taxpayers aren’t left holding the bag; they’re left holding an extra $5 billion. It’s not an example of mismanagement; it’s an example of extremely capable and competent management.

Blackburn, by the way, is the vice chair of the House Energy Committee’s oversight panel. The fact that she’s this confused about the basics of a story she’s investigated isn’t a good sign.

As for the Beltway media, which largely played along with Republican complaints, this is a terrific test case. For every news story about Solyndra in 2012, will there be a comparable story in 2014 about the loan program’s return on investment? 

For every pundit who said the DOE loan program was a boondoggle, will there now be an acknowledgement that Obama’s policy worked quite well?

Those last two questions are just hilarious, aren't they? This is the media and GOP we're talking about. They NEVER make mistakes, and they NEVER apologize.  Nothing is going to convince them that anything the Democrats have done is any good.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

gross misconduct

They do things a little differently in Ferguson, Missouri, including how they conduct Grand Juries. 

I think the Justice Department needs to step in on this one. Their investigation has not concluded.

Lawrence O'Donnell has discovered something interesting about the Grand Jury.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Triumph of the Wrong

Today's GOP is an example of the worst that politics can bring: deception raised to a fine art, in order to hoodwink the voters. And it worked. The inmates are running the asylum and it's not going to be pretty.

This one from Paul Krugman appeared shortly after the November elections.

Triumph of the Wrong
by Paul Krugman

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet midterms to men of understanding. Or as I put it on the eve of another Republican Party sweep, politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as Republicans did on Tuesday.

I’ll talk in a bit about some of the reasons that may have happened. But it’s important, first, to point out that the midterm results are no reason to think better of the Republican position on major issues. I suspect that some pundits will shade their analysis to reflect the new balance of power — for example, by once again pretending that Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposals are good-faith attempts to put America’s fiscal house in order, rather than exercises in deception and double-talk. But Republican policy proposals deserve more critical scrutiny, not less, now that the party has more ability to impose its agenda.

So now is a good time to remember just how wrong the new rulers of Congress have been about, well, everything.

First, there’s economic policy. According to conservative dogma, which denounces any regulation of the sacred pursuit of profit, the financial crisis of 2008 — brought on by runaway financial institutions — shouldn’t have been possible. But Republicans chose not to rethink their views even slightly. They invented an imaginary history in which the government was somehow responsible for the irresponsibility of private lenders, while fighting any and all policies that might limit the damage. In 2009, when an ailing economy desperately needed aid, John Boehner, soon to become the speaker of the House, declared: “It’s time for government to tighten their belts.”

So here we are, with years of experience to examine, and the lessons of that experience couldn’t be clearer. Predictions that deficit spending would lead to soaring interest rates, that easy money would lead to runaway inflation and debase the dollar, have been wrong again and again. Governments that did what Mr. Boehner urged, slashing spending in the face of depressed economies, have presided over Depression-level economic slumps. And the attempts of Republican governors to prove that cutting taxes on the wealthy is a magic growth elixir have failed with flying colors.

In short, the story of conservative economics these past six years and more has been one of intellectual debacle — made worse by the striking inability of many on the right to admit error under any circumstances.


But if Republicans have been so completely wrong about everything, why did voters give them such a big victory?

Part of the answer is that leading Republicans managed to mask their true positions. Perhaps most notably, Senator Mitch McConnell, the incoming majority leader, managed to convey the completely false impression that Kentucky could retain its impressive gains in health coverage even if Obamacare were repealed.

But the biggest secret of the Republican triumph surely lies in the discovery that obstructionism bordering on sabotage is a winning political strategy. From Day 1 of the Obama administration, Mr. McConnell and his colleagues have done everything they could to undermine effective policy, in particular blocking every effort to do the obvious thing — boost infrastructure spending — in a time of low interest rates and high unemployment.

This was, it turned out, bad for America but good for Republicans. Most voters don’t know much about policy details, nor do they understand the legislative process. So all they saw was that the man in the White House wasn’t delivering prosperity — and they punished his party.

Will things change now that the G.O.P. can’t so easily evade responsibility? I guess we’ll find out.

The rest is here.

And it certainly didn't help the Democrats to get out the vote seeing all those Democrats running from Obama; some were even vying with their Republican opponents to prove who disliked Obama more. Yeah, that'll really turn out your base.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cyanide and Happiness

A really odd "comic" strip that I have been enjoying lately called "Cyanide and Happiness" can be found here.

Here's a sample:

Yes, they also have a Facebook page.

And of course they have a You Tube channel.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Benghazi debunked


This is the fifth or sixth investigation of the events surrounding Benghazi, and EVERY ONE of them has found no wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration.

But will this cause the GOP to quit harping and LYING about Benghazi? Of course not. The GOP thrives on hate and fear, and the Benghazi events play perfectly into their modus operandi. The GOP's supporters are too stupid and racist to see past the ends of their noses, so this insanity will continue.

This particular investigation was conducted by the House Intelligence Committee (an oxymoron I will let slide for now), but seeing as how Ms. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) has already pronounced the report as "crap" I'm sure there will be more, and subsequent investigations will find nothing, but that won't stop the GOP from using Bengowzi (as some particularly stupid Republicans pronounce it) as a cudgel with which to whack Obama.

Ain't politics fun?

A short snip from this one.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

Oh well. Next Benghazi investigation in the new 2015 Congress coming up!

Friday, November 21, 2014


This is kinda funny.  About four months ago, I discovered dried white mulberries, which apparently had been consumed in Turkey for centuries. It was a new product to me and I found them really delicious.

In the short span of time since I had discovered them, Randalls grocery store started stocking them. The first time I saw a space for them on the shelves, they were sold out, but I found some the next time I went to the store.

These things are really awesome. You should try some, but be warned they are pretty expensive.  Sometimes you can find them in bulk on Amazon for much less.

Not only are they delicious, but they are good for you!

White mulberry is an herb. The powdered leaves are most commonly used for medicine. The fruit can be used for food, either raw or cooked.

White mulberry is often tried in order to help treat diabetes. It is also tried for treating high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, the common cold and its symptoms, muscle and joint pain such as from arthritisconstipationdizziness, ringing in the ears,hair loss, and premature graying.

White mulberry is native to China and is the food of silkworms. It was introduced into the United States in colonial times, during an attempt to establish a silk industry. The wood is very flexible and durable and has been used to make tennis rackets, hockey sticks, furniture, and boats.

How does it work?

There are some chemicals in white mulberry that work in a similar way to some medicines used for type 2 diabetes. They slow the breakdown of sugars in the gut so that they are absorbed more slowly into the blood. This helps the body keep blood sugar levels in the desirable range.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Alice Waters

I didn't realize it - but should have expected it - but Alice Waters has a sequel out of her popular 2007 book The Art of Simple Food. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes to cook and prepare food. Even I can follow it!

A very not surprising title of the new book is: The Art of Simple Food II.  

I got the wife the first book several years ago and she loves it. Even more, she refers to it often. 

Ah, the "shopping season" is upon us, so said one excited radio announcer somewhere deep in the piney woods of East Texas. The "shopping season" is a pretty accurate name for it, actually.

Hmm, what should I get the wife for this "shopping season?"

Who is Alice Waters? Go here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Guide to a Happy Life

Been on the road a bit lately and ran across this on my travels.

A Guide to a Happy Life
No one will ever get out of this world alive. Resolve therefore to maintain a reasonable sense of values.
Take care of yourself. Good health is everyone’s major source of wealth. Without it, happiness is almost impossible.
Resolve to be cheerful and helpful. People will repay you in kind.
Avoid angry, abrasive persons. They are generally vengeful.
Avoid zealots. They are generally humorless.
Resolve to listen more and to talk less. No one ever learns anything by talking. 
Be chary of giving advice. Wise men don’t need it and fools won’t heed it.
Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged,  sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.
Do not equate money with success. There are many successful money makers who are miserable failures as human beings. What counts most about success is how a person achieves it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Granny's first time

Here is a video of three grandmothers in Washington smoking pot for the first time. It is wonderful.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Practically every U.S. Senate pre-election poll showed a tight, neck-and-neck race, but when all the "results" came in, the GOP thumped most Democrats by comfortable, sometimes double-digit margins. Interesting, huh? Not to Democrats, apparently. The lack of Democratic spine continues unabated.

The Secret Lists that Swiped the Senate

Statistics guru Nate Silver simply can’t understand why every single legitimate poll indicated that Democrats should have gotten 4% more votes in the midterm elections than appeared in the final count.

The answer, Nate, is “Crosscheck.”

watch Greg Palast's special report for Al Jazeera broadcast by Democracy Now!

No question, Republicans trounced Democrats in the Midterm elections.  But, if not for the boost of this voter-roll purge system used in 23 Republican-controlled states, the GOP could not have taken the US Senate.

It took the Palast investigations team six months to get our hands on the raw files, fighting against every official trick to keep them hidden.

Here’s what we found.

Interstate Crosscheck is a computer system that officials claim can identify anyone who commits the crime of voting twice in the same election in two different states.  While the current list of seven million “suspects” did not yield a single conviction for double voting, Crosscheck did provide the grounds for removing the registrations of tens of thousands of voters in battleground states.

The purge proved decisive in North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas and elsewhere.  Without Crosscheck, the GOP could not have taken control of the US Senate.  [Read my original investigative report.]
Nate Silver might want to punch these numbers into his laptop:

  • In North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis upset incumbent Senator Kay Hagan by just 48,511 votes.  North Carolina’s Crosscheck purge list targeted a stunning 589,393 voters.
  • In Colorado, Cory Gardner, the Republican, defeated Mark Udall by just 49,729 votes.  Colorado’s Crosscheck “potential double voter” list totals 300,842.
The Crosscheck purge list also swamped GOP Senate margins in Alaska and Georgia and likely provided the victory margins for GOP gubernatorial victories in Kansas and Massachusetts.

No, states do not purge every name on the lists.  Typical is Virginia which proudly purged 64,581 “duplicates” from its voter rolls in 2013, equal to about 19% of its Crosscheck list.  Other states refuse to provide numbers, but their scrub methods are the same, or even more aggressive, than Virginia’s.

We can conservatively calculate that the purge of 19% of the Crosscheck lists accounted for at least three GOP Senate victories – and thereby, control of the Senate.

If the Crosscheck lists truly identified fraudulent double voters, then we’d have to concede that the election results are legit.  But the ugly truth is, the lists are nothing more than racially-loaded lists of common names.

And that’s why GOP Secretaries of State, a gaggle of Katherine Harrises, hid the lists until we cracked through the official wall of denial and concealment. These election chieftains refused our demands for the lists on the grounds that these millions of voters are all suspects in a criminal investigation and so must remain confidential.

Eventually (and legally), we were able to get our hands on 2.1 million of the 6.9 million names—and had them analyzed by the same list experts who advise eBay and American Express.

What we found is simply a giant list of common names—a lot of voters named Michael Jackson, David Lee and Juan Rodriguez.  The racial smell of it was apparent and awful.  As the US Census tells us, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are 67% more likely to share a common name as a white American.  In other words, the lists heavily targeted “blue” Americans, Democratic leaning voters.

While state officials claimed that the criminal double voters were matched by social security number and other key identifiers, we discovered that, in fact, they only matched first and last name.  Nearly two million of the pairs of names lacked middle name matches.  Example:  James Elmer Barnes Jr. who voted in Georgia is supposed to be the same person as James Cross Barnes III of Virginia.

Republican officials have gone to great lengths to cover Crosscheck’s operations.  Voters purged are not told they are accused of voting twice.  The procedure, created by Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is to send a postcard to each “duplicate” voter requiring them to re-verify their registration.  A large percentage are never delivered—Americans, especially renters and lower-income Americans, move often—or cards are tossed away confused for junk mail.

Brad Friedman, the investigative reporter with encyclopedic knowledge of elections shenanigans, was also bemused by Nate Silver’s confusion over the missing Democratic four percent.  He cites the Crosscheck purges we discovered and adds in all the other tried and true methods of bending the vote, from Photo ID restrictions to missing voter registrations and a deliberate shortage of paper ballots in minority precincts.  In Georgia alone, 56,000 registration forms collected by a coalition of minority voting rights groups were simply not added to the voter rolls.

The Tool to Take 2016
The purge of those snared in the Crosscheck dragnet has only just begun. The process of actually removing names from the voter rolls is subtle and slow, involving several steps over many months.

Some states mark their voters on the Crosscheck list as “inactive”— which means that, if they failed to vote in this midterm election, they will be blocked from voting in 2016.  As a result, Crosscheck will take an even bigger bite out of the 2016 voter rolls.

This bodes ill for the upcoming Presidential contest when, once again, Ohio is expected to be decisive. Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, John Husted, has embraced Crosscheck.

We enlisted Columbus State University professor Robert Fitrakis, an expert in voting law to canvas county voting officials.  He found these local elections officials concerned that the Republican Secretary of State is pushing counties to scrub voter rolls of “duplicates” within 30 days of receiving the names from the Secretary’s office.  This gives counties little time and no resources to verify if an accused voter has, in fact, voted in a second state.

Secretary of State Husted has refused to give us the list of the 469,201 names on Ohio’s Crosscheck list—but we’ve obtained thousands anyway.  We found that Ohio’s lists have the same glaring mismatches as we saw in the Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia lists.

We have now launched an investigation to uncover the names of all the voters Ohio plans to scrub from the registration rolls by 2016.  The answer may well determine who will choose our next president: the voters or Crosscheck.

Is anyone paying attention?  Anyone?  Besides the Republicans, that is. Original is here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Week in Stupid

This is a new feature (I think) that I discovered recently and I hope lasts a long time. It reminds me of the old, now-passed "Conservative Idiots of the Week," a feature that used to run on Democratic Underground for quite a long time. 

The Week in Stupid could go a lot further, however. Non-political people can be stupid too. And yes, sometimes Democrats pull some stupid shit. Lately the Dems have been almost as stupid as the GOP.  

Stupid has had a pretty good week — Sarah Palin is downright giddy since the election and Mitch McConnell may have even smiled when he took the Senate Majority leader position. The stupid is truly upon us.

Top Ten total failures of the week:

10. President Obama chews gum at Chinese banquet: The Chinese call him an ‘idler’ and ‘careless rapper’, and the right wing media runs with it. Obama is a long-time user of nicorette gum, but the people of China are used to their heavily polished leadership observing strict etiquette at formal banquets. He should at least get points for putting on the Star Trek uniform! We rated the right wing media outrage as ‘totally stupid.’

9. Arizona’s Proposition 122 was approved this week: Booo! If you’re not familiar with AZ Prop 122, it’s a “Sovereign State” law which grants them the right to reject central government laws and grants the state the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional. It passed with 51.4 percent ‘Yes’ vote on November 9, after provisional ballots were tallied. It will result in a legal nightmare as they battle the EPA, immigration reform and gay marriage. Remember, the Arizona State Legislaturepassed an anti-gay bill earlier this year, although former Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed it. Way to go AZ! One of the stupidest laws passed during the midterm election.

8. Kim Kardashian’s Nude Photo Shoot: That’s a greasy booty alright! The internet response almost made it worth it. I’ll let Tina Fey explain why Kim’s butt is groan worthy:

Kim Kardashian
Tina Fey breaks the internet with her Kim Kardashian quote from three years ago. Elite Daily
7. Cop Shoots Himself and Another Officer: The two are okay, so we can laugh a little. The accident occurred after one of the officer’s service weapon discharged while cleaning it, striking him and another officer being standing nearby. The two are expected to make a full recovery making them very lucky. Hey guys, I think the gun is supposed to be unloaded while you clean it?
6. Social Services takes the wrong child: While a little girl waited in her school’s front office for her mother to pick her up for her doctor’s appointment, a social worker was called to the school to pick up another little girl. The social worker assumed the girl in the front office was the girl she was called to take. The kicker is, the administrators let the woman take the little girl with no contact info.
The mother said:
"My daughter was terrified. What if she didn’t make it home? What if you didn't find her to have her brought back to school?"
The school could only apologize for their terrible mistake. D’oh!
5. The GOPs reaction to US-China agreement on carbon emissions: For the environmentally conscious, this means we can expect the GOP majority in Congress to stomp laws and regulations related to reducing carbon emissions in the near future. Big loss for Earth when the GOP swept the election.
4. The House passes XL Keystone Pipeline Construction Bill: Lawmakers massively overstate how many jobs will be permanently created to get the bill passed. They estimated 40,000 new jobs would be created but misrepresented the figure with the fact that once built the pipeline will only need about 9,000 people to maintain it. Which just isn’t fantastic enough to continue tearing Earth up to feed our exorbitant need for fossil fuels. Sigh.
3. Sarah Palin wishes Billy Graham Happy Birthday: Palin issues a rambling, slurred, name-dropping word salad birthday wish to the evangelical dinosaur, Billy Graham, who celebrated his 96th birthday this week. Sarah has been on cloud nine lately taking jabs at liberals over the midterm election results on her facebook page. Sarah always has a place on our stupid chart.
2.  Time wants to ban the word ‘Feminist': Other words up for banishment in Time’s fourth annual word banishment poll are “bae” and “Om nom nom nom.” Yeah. I guess women who identify with their gender’s struggles for equality is worthy of total banishment? I don’t even…
From Time‘s website:
feminist: You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.

The number one spot for being an abject failure this week goes to…

1. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas: Cameron released his new movie Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas as he single-handedly battles the evil liberal atheists who for some reason want to take the “Christ” out of “Christmas,” leaving poor  Christians with only ‘Mas to celebrate. Just kidding, I haven’t seen it. Yet. Kirk has been on a downward media spiral this week when he said Pagans stole Christmas from Christians. Which is the stupidest thing we’ve ever heard.

A bit more here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Demon-Haunted World

Just finished a wonderful book by Carl Sagan called, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark." It was published in 1995, the year before Carl passed away from pneumonia at the "young" age of 62.

If you are a fan of science, I highly recommend this book. If you are deep under the religious spell, it would probably do you no good, and you would probably not want to read it anyway.

Books like this, to me, are a total delight to read. He covers all sorts of demons and paranormal events, from witches to crop circles to UFO's while highlighting scientific heroes throughout history, some well-known and some not-so-well known, from Einstein to Benjamin Franklin to James Clerk Maxwell to Edward Teller to Linus Pauling and beyond.

I quote from the final pages of the book:

Education on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you don't have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen - or indeed a citizen of any nation, the more so to the degree that such rights remain unprotected. If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hand of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us. In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.