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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

favorite lunch

For about six months now, I've been having a new kind of lunch at least once a week, sometimes twice a week. I like it so much, I thought I'd share it.

I call it Yogurt + fruit. What's in it? Guess!

8 oz. yogurt (any type, I prefer Yoplait)
mulberries, dried
raisins (or grapes)
Hemp Hearts

Just mix it all together in a bowl and enjoy!  It's quick, easy, and cleans up easy too.  

I have been so lucky to live close to work for many years now, so I can just pop home, whip up the Yogurt + fruit (or a smoothie, or a sandwich), and I'm done.  I don't think I've ever seen anything like this in a restaurant or cafe.

If you are a diabetic, I would not suggest you try this.

And here's a pic of the latest bowl.  It may not look too pretty but it sure is good.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Krugman on Bush

For awhile now, Jeb Bush, the older brother of George W. Bush, has been known as the "smart" Bush.  Well, that bubble has now burst. It appears that the gene pool of the entire family has been drained.  There simply is no "smart" Bush.  They are all idiots!

Krugman does not mention one of Jeb's recent flubs, where Jeb proclaimed that soon, we won't need Obamacare, or healthcare at all, because all we will need will be an iWatch.  Uh, say what?  Damn, and we thought George was the real idiot.

Fraternity of Failure
by Paul Krugman

Jeb Bush wants to stop talking about past controversies. And you can see why. He has a lot to stop talking about. But let’s not honor his wish. You can learn a lot by studying recent history, and you can learn even more by watching how politicians respond to that history.

The big “Let’s move on” story of the past few days involved Mr. Bush’s response when asked in an interview whether, knowing what he knows now, he would have supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He answered that yes, he would. No W.M.D.? No stability after all the lives and money expended? No problem.

Then he tried to walk it back. He “interpreted the question wrong,” and isn’t interested in engaging “hypotheticals.” Anyway, “going back in time” is a “disservice” to those who served in the war.

Take a moment to savor the cowardice and vileness of that last remark. And, no, that’s not hyperbole. Mr. Bush is trying to hide behind the troops, pretending that any criticism of political leaders — especially, of course, his brother, the commander in chief — is an attack on the courage and patriotism of those who paid the price for their superiors’ mistakes. That’s sinking very low, and it tells us a lot more about the candidate’s character than any number of up-close-and-personal interviews.

Wait, there’s more: Incredibly, Mr. Bush resorted to the old passive-voice dodge, admitting only that “mistakes were made.” Indeed. By whom? Well, earlier this year Mr. Bush released a list of his chief advisers on foreign policy, and it was a who’s-who of mistake-makers, people who played essential roles in the Iraq disaster and other debacles.

Seriously, consider that list, which includes such luminaries as Paul Wolfowitz, who insisted that we would be welcomed as liberators and that the war would cost almost nothing, and Michael Chertoff, who as director of the Department of Homeland Security during Hurricane Katrina was unaware of the thousands of people stranded at the New Orleans convention center without food and water.

In Bushworld, in other words, playing a central role in catastrophic policy failure doesn’t disqualify you from future influence. If anything, a record of being disastrously wrong on national security issues seems to be a required credential.

Voters, even Republican primary voters, may not share that view, and the past few days have probably taken a toll on Mr. Bush’s presidential prospects. In a way, however, that’s unfair. Iraq is a special problem for the Bush family, which has a history both of never admitting mistakes and of sticking with loyal family retainers no matter how badly they perform. But refusal to learn from experience, combined with a version of political correctness in which you’re only acceptable if you have been wrong about crucial issues, is pervasive in the modern Republican Party.

Take my usual focus, economic policy. If you look at the list of economists who appear to have significant influence on Republican leaders, including the likely presidential candidates, you find that nearly all of them agreed, back during the “Bush boom,” that there was no housing bubble and the American economic future was bright; that nearly all of them predicted that the Federal Reserve’s efforts to fight the economic crisis that developed when that nonexistent bubble popped would lead to severe inflation; and that nearly all of them predicted that Obamacare, which went fully into effect in 2014, would be a huge job-killer.

Given how badly these predictions turned out — we had the biggest housing bust in history, inflation paranoia has been wrong for six years and counting, and 2014 delivered the best job growth since 1999 — you might think that there would be some room in the G.O.P. for economists who didn’t get everything wrong. But there isn’t. Having been completely wrong about the economy, like having been completely wrong about Iraq, seems to be a required credential.

What’s going on here? My best explanation is that we’re witnessing the effects of extreme tribalism. On the modern right, everything is a political litmus test. Anyone who tried to think through the pros and cons of the Iraq war was, by definition, an enemy of President George W. Bush and probably hated America; anyone who questioned whether the Federal Reserve was really debasing the currency was surely an enemy of capitalism and freedom.

It doesn’t matter that the skeptics have been proved right. Simply raising questions about the orthodoxies of the moment leads to excommunication, from which there is no coming back. So the only “experts” left standing are those who made all the approved mistakes. It’s kind of a fraternity of failure: men and women united by a shared history of getting everything wrong, and refusing to admit it. Will they get the chance to add more chapters to their reign of error?


Friday, May 29, 2015

Bill de Blasio

The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, is a refreshingly upfront liberal.  We don't see many of those these days now that the term has effectively been poisoned by the right and many in the media.

Recently, Bill went to Washington D.C. to present his, "Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality."

Naturally, all conservatives are calling the plan DOA and suicidal for anyone who supports it, but most of them worship an imaginary being in the sky that doesn't give a fuck about them, so....their judgement is a little "off."

Apparently, Bill is going to circulate this Agenda to every Democratic member of Congress for them to "sign on to" and if they don't, well, they're being poo-poo heads.

I notice that neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders have signed the pledge yet.  

The plan is very ambitious and would really improve the lives of millions of Americans.  But my cynical side rears its ugly head and doubts that the Agenda will be accepted.  After all, we have to spend billions - and probably over a trillion dollars - for lots of F-35 and F-16 fighter jets that we don't need and don't work that well anyway.  But, you know, the war machine must be fed, I guess.  

The American people can just tighten their belts and suck it.

From The Daily Kos:

Please Sign Onto the Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his nationwide 'Contract with America', which he is calling"The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality". Like Newt Gingrich's Contract With America, the Agenda will be circulated in Congress and among the 2016 presidential candidates to sign. The idea is that combating income inequality has become a national issue, and those who refuse to sign will risk being voted out of office and/or primaried.
PLEASE SIGN ON and tell all future Congresses that we will only vote for candidates who will fight income inequality, as well as the other initiatives on the Agenda.
1. Lift the Floor for Working People »
Raise the federal minimum wage, so that it reaches $15/hour, while indexing it to inflation.
Reform the National Labor Relations Act, to enhance workers’ right to organize and rebuild the middle class.
Pass comprehensive immigration reform to grow the economy and protect against exploitation of low-wage workers.
Oppose trade deals that hand more power to corporations at the expense of American jobs, workers’ rights, and the environment.
Invest in schools, not jails-- and give a second chance to those coming home from prison.
2. Support Working Families »
Pass national paid sick leave.
Pass national paid family leave.
Make Pre-K, after-school programs and childcare universal.
Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and protect and expand Social Security.
Allow students to refinance student loan debt to take advantage of lower interest rates, and support debt-free college.
3. Tax Fairness »
Close the carried interest loophole.
End tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
Implement the “Buffett Rule” so millionaires pay their fair share.
Close the CEO tax loophole that allows corporations to take advantage of “performance pay” write-offs.
Look great? Will you sign on, and help make sure every politician stays accountable to the Working Families' Progressive Agenda?
You will be joining thousands of progressive leaders and activists around thecountry, including:
Steve Adler
Mayor of Austin, TX
Eileen Appelbaum
Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Dean Baker
Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Ras Baraka
Mayor of Newark, NJ
Deepak Bhargava
Executive Director, Center for Community Change
Robert Borosage
Co-Director Campaign for America’s Future
Michael Brennan
Mayor of Portland, ME
Raven Brooks
Executive Director, Netroots Nation
Steve Buscemi
Yvette Clarke
U.S. Representative from New York
Larry Cohen
President, Communication Workers of America
John Conyers
U.S. Representative from Michigan
Robert Creamer
Author, Partner at Democracy Partners
Sheila Crowley
President and CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition
Alan Cumming
Bill de Blasio
Mayor of New York City
Mark Dayton
Governor of Minnesota
Howard Dean
Former Governor of Vermont & Founder, Democracy for America
Rosa DeLauro
U.S. Representative from Connecticut
Abigail E. Disney
María Elena Durazo
Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights and Diversity, UNITE HERE! & Former President Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
Keith Ellison
U.S. Representative from Minnesota
Chaka Fattah
U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania
Jeff Faux
Founder, Economic Policy Institute
Lily Eskelsen García
President, National Education Association
Leo Gerard
President, United Steelworkers
Danny Glover
Lisa Graves
Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch/
George Gresham
President, 1199SEIU
Raúl Grijalva
U.S. Representative from Arizona, Co-Chair Congressional Progressive Caucus
Sarita Gupta
Executive Director, Jobs with Justice
Tom Harkin
Former U.S. Senator from Iowa
Arshad Hasan
Executive Director, ProgressNow
Rick Hegdahl
Veteran Outreach Coordinator,
Wade Henderson
President and CEO, Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights
Mary Kay Henry
President, Service Employees International Union
Betsy Hodges
Mayor of Minneapolis, MN
Jeannette Huezo
Executive Director, United for a Fair Economy
Sheila Jackson Lee
U.S. Representative from Texas
Van Jones
Co-Founder and President, Rebuild the Dream
Barbara Lee
U.S. Representative from California
Gabriela Lemus
President, Progressive Congress
Dave Loebsack
U.S. Representative from Iowa
Rudy López
Executive Director, Interfaith Worker Justice
Mike Lux
Co-Founder and President, Progressive Strategies
Chirlane McCray
First Lady of New York City
Heather McGhee
Executive Director, DEMOS
Jim McGovern
U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
Jeff Merkley
U.S. Senator from Oregon
Lawrence Mishel
President, Economic Policy Institute
Janet Murguia
President and CEO, National Council of La Raza
Edward B. Murray
Mayor of Seattle, WA
Jerry Nadler
U.S. Congressman from New York
Cynthia Nixon
Karen Nussbaum
Executive Director, Working America
Atima Omara
President, Young Democrats of America
James Parrott
Deputy Director and Chief Economist, Fiscal Policy Institute
Mark Pocan
U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, and 1st Vice-Chair Congressional Progressive Caucus
Charles B. Rangel
U.S. Representative from New York
Robert Reich
Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at University of California at Berkeley & Former U.S. Secretary of Labor
Jean Ross
Co-President, National Nurses United
Mark Ruffalo
Actor, Director, Producer & Activist
Jeff Sachs
Economist & Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
Thomas A. Saenz
President of Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Bill Samuels
Chairman, EffectiveNY
Susan Sarandon
Actress, Activist
Lee Saunders
President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Libby Schaaf
Mayor of Oakland, CA
Jan Schakowsky
U.S. Representative from Illinois
Pedro Segarra
Mayor of Hartford, CT
José Serrano
U.S. Representative from New York
Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN
President, New York State Nurses Association
Reverend Al Sharpton
Founder and President of National Action Network
Hadar Susskind
Director, Bend the Arc Jewish Action
D. Taylor
President, UNITE HERE!
Linda Tirado
Author & Founder, Bootstrap Industries
Richard L. Trumka
President, AFL-CIO
Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editor, The Nation
Craig Varoga
President of Patriot Majority
Bonnie Watson Coleman
U.S. Representative from New Jersey
Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers
Michael Wessel
President, The Wessel Group
Nan Whaley
Mayor of Dayton, Ohio
Marjorie E. Wood
PhD, Senior Associate, Global Economy Project & Managing Editor,
Brad Woodhouse
President, Americans United for Change
Marian Wright Edelman
Founder and President, Children’s Defense Fund

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ateizm Dernegi

Being an atheist in many countries around the world is almost akin to a death sentence.  
So why come out as an atheist in a Muslim country?

We have things much easier in the United States, and I don't think we really appreciate that.

From Deutsche Welle

Uneasy neighbors in Turkey: atheism and Islam

Without a party-political agenda, the country's first official atheism league, Ateizm Dernegi, says that it wants to create a platform for like-minded people amid the AKP-driven climate of political Islam.
"Being an atheist in Turkey is not exactly a desirable label. We few are wearing it proudly and we refuse to be silenced by the fear and threats," Morgan Romano, vice-president of the association, said at the group's first public conference in Germany on Sunday.
"The term 'atheist' is used as a harsh insult - one of the harshest in the country. Furthermore, atheists are commonly and publicly discriminated against and are subjects of public and private hate speech in Yeni Turkiye all the time."
Morgan Romano says that atheists in Turkey suffer from persecution and discrimination
Romano repeatedly referred to present-day Turkey as 'yeni Turkiye' - the 'new Turkey', and its "booming Islamism growing at a rate unlike any other nation". Born and raised in the US, Romano described how she considered herself part of the old Turkey before the AKP's rise to power.
Legal recognition
The association is the first of its kind to be legally recognized in the Turkish republic, and also the only known atheist organization tolerated in any nation across the Muslim world. However, Romano stressed that the legal acceptance of Ateizm Dernegi did not grant her and her associates any genuine protection.
"Major companies discriminately prefer to hire covered women, while non-theists stand at a high risk to lose their jobs - and even their lives. Just ask our members how many of them have lost their jobs and whose lives have been threatened."
Romano and her colleagues hope to attract open-minded people and draw attention to their unique distinction in the world. The group's director, Zehra Pala tried to address the interests of the many Turks in exile attending the Cologne gathering, who questioned whether Islam still represented their values.
"Many Muslims approach me and ask things like, 'don't you feel lonely without having a God to turn to?' They even come up to me and take pictures with me when I wear our association's T-shirt in public, as if I'm the latest tourist site in Istanbul," Pala explained in Turkish.
Daily struggles
But despite attracting such attention Pela clarified that she continued to face many daily struggles, detailing how atheists in Turkey were considered terrorists and Satanists. She emphasized that the reputation of an atheist was that of people sacrificing cats at altars. She added that non-believers were just everyday people, adding that she kept two cats as pets herself, sending a round of laughter across the room.
Nevertheless Romano underlined that being involved in Ateizm Dernigi was a labor of love for her in more ways than one.
"I met my current husband through his family in the United States, and he invited me to move to Istanbul. It wasn't until I came to Turkey that I needed to give myself a label as an 'atheist.' Nobody would ask me what I believed when I was living in New York. And as a foreigner, I get the benefit of doubt whenever I don't fit in. I can't imagine how it must be for someone, who grew up in Turkey and identifies as atheist," Romano said about her experience living in Istanbul.
Zehra Pela also addressed Romano's sentiments about being Turkish and atheist:
"I asked a lot of questions as a toddler already, like 'if we are all descended from Adam and Eve, isn't every marriage incestuous?' And I continued to ask such questions throughout my life, and finally found my peace when I arrived at atheism. So to spite all the bigots, I'm completely at peace."
Whether or not that peace will be short-lived is something that Ateism Dernegi said it was trying to monitor for the upcoming elections.
Morgan Romano (l) and Zehra Pela (r) of the Turkish atheist association, Ateizm Dernegi, speak to Deutsche Welle in Cologne
Morgan Romano (l) and Zehra Pela (r) of the Turkish atheist association, Ateizm Dernegi, say they have received death threats for being non-believers

"If they leave us in peace, I see no reason why we shouldn't all be able to get along. But they don't leave us in peace. At the end of the day, we are glad we're still alive. In other Muslim countries we'd long be dead. But that doesn't mean we're grateful to live in Turkey as opposed to, say, Iran," Pela explained.
Slippery slope
Romano, meanwhile, says the situation is critical. "(In some places), it is punishable by death to be an atheist in Islam. It is punishable by death to leave the Islamic religion. This is what we are dealing with. In some ways, it's even more dangerous to be in Turkey because this country gives a false appearance to the world, and I don't think the rest of the world will realize this until it's too late."
"The policy is that when one is born in Turkey, one becomes Muslim legally - unless further action is taken at the time of birth. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. Due to this fact, 90 percent of the members of our Atheist organization are actually listed as 'Muslim' in government databases."
In fact, Turkey's ministry for religious affairs recently reported 99 percent of the country to be practicing Muslims because of this policy.
Whether the 1 percent that Ateizm Dernegi falls under is considered a statistical oversight or not, the association insisted before heading to its next public meeting in Berlin this Tuesday that it will prevail, taking its motto to heart: artik yalniz degiliz - "we are no longer alone."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


SETI stands for "Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence."  

What is the SETI project?

SETI stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. It is a project which started in 1959 to search for radio signals from intelligent life in space. The SETI project uses radio telescopes from around the world to scan the sky and look for special patterns in radio waves which could have been sent by another civilization in space. Radio telescopes are used because radio waves can travel very far in space without being absorbed by the thick clouds of gas and dust which lie in many regions of space. Also, radio telescopes can be used both day and night. We have been sending out our own radio waves into space for over sixty years. All of our radio and televison signals travel into space at the speed of light and may one day be detected by another civilization in space.

Science continues to push the frontiers of knowledge.  It's so gratifying to think that we humans are actively searching for life elsewhere in the cosmos.  If the preachers and bishops had their way, humans would not seek anything beyond the planet, hell, hardly anything beyond their own noses.  After all, everything we need is right there in the Bible (I gag even writing that sarcastic comment.)

When that time comes....when we discover once and for all that there is indeed intelligent life somewhere else in the universe, it will change the world.  Well, it will change a LOT of the world.

You just KNOW that the fundies, and the Muslims, will deny the discovery.  Then they will try to co-opt it to fit in with God's plan.  I mentioned it was gratifying before about humans seeking to discover life elsewhere.  It's perhaps equally appalling and very depressing to think that a certain number of humans will resist new knowledge with all they have.  Their entire lives are vested in ignorance, how can they just chuck it all?

Frankly, I don't care.  Religionistas will be tossed onto the scrapheap of history, where they belong, where they should have been tossed hundreds of years ago.  

Knowledge is a powerful thing.

So, a word from the President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SETI:

This is an incredibly exciting time for the SETI Institute. The number of verified planets outside of our solar systems grows rapidly, and includes several that may have liquid water on their surfaces. At the same time, we are learning that life can survive in amazing places, even in lakes sealed beneath the Antarctic ice. These and other recent developments virtually assure the existence, and ultimate verification, of life beyond Earth. Recently NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan agreed, predicting "I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years." The SETI Institute is at the forefront of many of these discoveries. As the only organization that addresses the full range of disciplines related to understanding and explaining the origin and nature of life in the universe, we search for answers to critical questions such as:
  • How did life begin on Earth?
  • Where/when/how did it overcome bottlenecks?
  • Does it exist elsewhere?
  • Are there other technological life forms?
  • Can we survive our own technological adolescence?
  • Is there a long future for life on Earth?

The answers to these and related questions are critical for informing some of the most important decisions mankind will make in the next 50 years.

Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult for basic research institutions like our Institute to rely on government funding in the United States. Increasingly, we are dependent on visionaries such as you to support our programs. When you invest in the SETI Institute, you join leaders such as Dave Packard, Paul Allen, Bill Hewlett, Gordon Moore, and Franklin Antonio, all of whom have been strong supporters. The Institute is approaching a critical point where we may need to curtail some of our programs, so we need your support now!

After nine years en route, the New Horizons spacecraft is nearing Pluto for the July 14 flyby. We have many ideas to enhance our public and student engagement based on the expertise of our scientists who are participating in this mission, but we lack the funding to execute on them. 

The Institute’s NASA Astrobiology Team uses innovative, autonomous rovers in the high lakes of the Andes to simulate landers that will float in Titan’s ethane lakes. This team strives to better understand planetary responses to rapid climate change.  We have multiple opportunities for independent studies by postdoctoral fellows using these data, but we must find funds to support them. 

The Allen Telescope Array is being upgraded with more sensitive radio receivers, capable at working at even higher frequencies, to improve the search for other technological civilizations. This improved sensitivity is like building more telescopes, making the search even more effective. But we must urgently find funding to support our scientists to make use of the array.

These opportunities are all here today, but we need your help to seize them. You can be a part of discovering life beyond Earth! Please go to to make your tax-deductible donation now!

Thanks for your help!