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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

EOM meme dump

Time once again for the End-of-Month Meme Dump, for all those memes that didn't make it onto the blog for one reason or another. (click 'em if you can't read 'em)



























Wednesday, June 29, 2016

RE100


What is RE100? It means committing to 100% reneweable energy, and many businesses and cities across the world are leading the way. It's happening, people. Get on board while you can.

RE100

The world’s most influential companies, committed to 100% renewable power.
RE100 is a collaborative, global initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity, working to massively increase demand for - and delivery of - renewable energy.
The private sector accounts for around half of the world’s electricity consumption. Switching this demand to renewables will accelerate the transformation of the global energy market and aid the transition to a low carbon economy.
RE100 shares the compelling business case for renewables and showcases business action, while working with others to address barriers and develop transparent reporting mechanisms.
RE100 is brought to you by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, as part of the We Mean Business coalition.
Companies joining RE100 are encouraged to set a public goal to procure 100% of their electricity from renewable sources of energy by a specified year.
Since RE100 was launched at Climate Week NYC 2014, the campaign has continued to gather momentum and is now being rolled out in India and China in addition to Europe and the US.
Companies have joined from all over the world and from a wide range of industrial sectors - from telecommunications and IT to retail and food.

You can find a list of cities and companies across the US and the world that have committed to 100% renewable energy by going here




Tuesday, June 28, 2016

work for Willie?

Willie Nelson's line of cannabis products, called "Willie's Reserve" is supposed to hit the shelves (in CO) this summer.

Now hiring: Willie Nelson needs you to work for his weed company, starting salary of 
$65,000

You'll need at least two years of experience in the cannabis industry and a degree in chemistry to work for Willie Nelson's weed company. No seriously. You can apply here.

Nelson is hiring new employees for Willie's Reserve, "a trailblazing line of marijuana products that celebrate Willie's love of cannabis and the culture surrounding it," according to the company's website.

The company will be based in Colorado, according to Wide Open Country. The new business is Nelson's way of giving back to the "pot enthusiasts (that) flocked to his shows," according to the company's website.

Grown by independent farmers, Nelson will have an assortment of strains, cultivation methods and recipes and the company is planning to launch a full product line of flower, pre-roll, vape and edibles this summer. Everything sold will be hand-picked by Nelson. 

Read more: www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Now-hiring-Willie-Nelson-needs-you-to-work-for-8315047.php

Uh, right. That last line. Everything sold will be hand-picked by Nelson. Including every single bud? Willie ain't got time for that shit.

quality control

Monday, June 27, 2016

SCOTUS crushes TX

Finally, the verdict we have been waiting for. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down the absurdly restrictive rules that Texas had passed that effectively shut down the majority of clinics that perform abortions across Texas. 

This ruling also has implications for other states that have passed similar restrictions. 

These GOP-controlled states are so obvious. They just HATE that women are getting abortions and controlling their own bodies that they cloak these naked efforts at control as if they care about women's safety. THEY CARE ABOUT CONTROLLING WOMEN!

A HUGE victory for women, reason, and common sense. Thank goodness that fat slob Scalia is off the court. If not for the three women now on the SCOTUS, this Texas law would have survived.


Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Clinic Restrictions

Wednesday’s oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, probably the most important Supreme Court abortion case since 1992, centered around one key question: Does a Texas law that forces abortion clinics to meet stringent new standards—in the name of shielding “women’s health”—impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy? In other words, would the law make it difficult, or maybe even impossible, for many Texas women to exercise their right to abortion? And if so, can the state wave away this issue by insisting, without much evidence, that such draconian regulations are still necessary to protect women?

Seconds after Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller began to speak Wednesday morning, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg zeroed in on the “undue burden” question—quickly and mercilessly knocking Keller off balance and setting the tone for the rest of his nearly 40 minutes at the lectern. Ginsburg asked Keller how many women would live 100 miles or more from a clinic if the Texas law went into effect. About 25 percent, he responded—but that didn’t include the clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, just over the border from El Paso. The existence of this clinic featured heavily in the 5th Circuit’s decision to uphold the Texas statute; it asserted that the law did not impose on “undue burden” on abortion-seeking El Paso women, because they could simply cross state lines for the procedure.

“That’s odd that you point to the New Mexico facility,” Ginsburg said, in a clear and firm voice. New Mexico, after all, doesn’t force abortion clinics to meet the same standards that Texas would—standards which, Texas claims, are absolutely critical to protect women.

“So if your argument is right,” Ginsburg continued, “then New Mexico is not an available way out for Texas, because Texas says: To protect our women, we need these things. But send them off to New Mexico,” to clinics with more lenient standards, “and that’s perfectly all right."

“Well,” Ginsburg concluded, with just a hint of pique in her voice, “If that’s all right for the women in the El Paso area, why isn’t it right for the rest of the women in Texas?”  

This exchange was Keller’s first of the morning, and Ginsburg delivered a knockout punch. She very efficiently revealed the inconsistency at the heart of Texas’ argument. The state vows that its new standards—which include minimum sizes for hallways, doorways, and ventilation systems—are essential to protecting women’s health. But when confronted with the fact that these standards are so onerous and expensive that they will shutter many clinics, Texas shrugs and suggests women drive to another state without those ostensibly crucial standards. And in an impressive display of chutzpah, the state even relies on the continued existence of New Mexico’s clinics to defend the constitutionality of its own law.

Over the following excruciating 40 minutes, the liberals took turns brutally hammering Keller about the true justification and motivation for Texas’ law. (Why single out abortion when other procedures, like colonoscopies, pose an exponentially higher safety risk? Is there any proof that clinics were unsafe before the enactment of the new rules?) But Ginsburg’s early colloquy stuck out as the moment when Keller lost control of his narrative. The extraordinarily skilled advocate approached the lectern with Texas swagger, loudly exaggerating his drawl and smugly dismissing concerns that the law in question might disadvantage women. By the time he limped away, his voice was quiet, his tone was melancholy, and his Texas accent had all but disappeared. The Texas law may yet survive. But Ginsburg’s questioning amply demonstrated that it is, beneath the post hoc rationalizations, constitutionally indefensible. 


Wanna read the entire SCOTUS ruling? Click here.

I can relate

Sunday, June 26, 2016

art vandalized

It took less than a month, but vandals have already screwed up at least one of the newly-arted-up Lifeguard Towers on South Padre Island.

Why are people such dicks? The culprits are probably young kids, probably drunk young kids, but we will probably never know for sure. 

Lifeguard Towers Vandalized

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas

Less than a month ago, South Padre Island unveiled new artistic lifeguard towers. Today, the artists learned someone vandalized one of the towers. News Center 23's Derick Garcia spoke with the artist who helped beautify the towers and learned the damage is much more than just on the surface.
Christina Salazar, one of the artists says, "I feel really sad for whoever did this because you don't understand what we did."
A busted guitar, on a beautifully colored life guard tower dangles right behind Wanna Wanna's.
A vandal broke the guitar sometime this week. Christina Salazar, owns a boutique in Port Isabel.
She is also one of the artists who helped turn the lifeguard towers from a plain high chair into a work of art. Now, it's damaged and will need to be repaired.
Christina Salazar, "For me it was more than just a project it's something I've had on my mind since I was a kid.”
The beautification project took negotiating and artists from across the Rio Grande Valley. The artists, did the work for free with art supplies being donated by the South Padre Island Fire Department Beach Patrol. For Christina, the chairs are a labor of love. Salazar can't help take something like this personal and so do the other artists they're looking to press charges on whoever vandalized the tower.
But not everyone thinks the busted guitar is a bad look. Mark Standiford and Josh Wink of Jim's Beach Service say, "I think It's awesome what they did, It's a bummer they broke it but I still think it looks kind of cool just got some wear and tear. Adds a little character, I agree."
But for Christina Salazar, the "character takes away from the island's progress of becoming a more family friendly environment.
Salazar says, "I feel like this project did a lot not just for the kids but the locals the community the feedback we've got is incredible"
She hopes it doesn't turn the city away from more art projects.
Salazar says, "Everytime you damage one of these towers you're hurting them not me or the artists you're hurting the kids and you're hurting heart Beach and we don't understand why but the next time that you think about it just think about that"
If you know who damaged the lifeguard tower, South Padre Island PD wants to hear from you. On a lighter note, the artists have taken beautification photos. We'll share on our rgvproud Facebook page.
Original plus some video.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Rude on Brexit

So it appears that a lot of Britain's Leave voters were fed lies, deceits, and misinformation, basically using fear and ignorance to trick them into voting to Leave the European Union. How not unusual.

Sounds a lot like what is going on in America right now. Donald Trump is lying about anything and everything to fool the rubes into voting for him, and he's pulled the wool over quite a number of Republicans. Granted, that's not that hard to do, since they are such low-information voters. Or it could also be that the GOP voters have finally found a racist that isn't afraid to talk shit and they can relate. 

Similar to the Brits, facts do not seem to permeate Trump voters. Their minds are made up. Period. They actually think that "Trump is just like me" and that he cares about the poor slobs with poorly paid jobs. 

And as the economy and stock markets deteriorate under all this uncertainty, a lot of Britons seem to be having a touch of buyer's remorse.

In cases like this, I like to turn to the Rude Pundit.

While the vote yesterday in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union is a giant roach fuckball of awful consequences, many still to come, and while it represents a triumph of xenophobia and outright racism over the forces of reason and sanity, a sign of the apocalypse, and a demonstration that the Great Stupiding of the world is fully upon us (more on that next week), hey, we're human, so let's go into the weekend with a teacup half-full attitude.

1. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's hair will make President Donald Trump's epic combover look positively normal. 

2. A whole bunch of stiff upper lips are getting some much-needed exercise by quivering in fear and sadness.

3. Two words: Bargain corgis.

4. For Tony Blair alone: The smug satisfaction of knowing you are no longer the worst PM of the modern era.

5. For David Cameron alone: More time to stick your dick in a pig.

6. Pound notes will make good kindling when winter rolls around.

7. Much fewer annoying Spanish tourists in England. They'll all be heading to Scotland and Ireland.

8. Owners of curry houses in Birmingham won't have to worry about more competition coming in.

9. Young people in England now have the best reason to hate the elderly.

10. Good chance that, 28 days later, the country will be decimated by crazed zombies with a rage virus. So we get to see how that goes.

11. Maybe, just maybe, voters in the United States will think, "Huh. Voting for the crazy side might not be as fun as it sounds."


Friday, June 24, 2016

art goes on

Every now and then people do good stuff that can surprise and delight you. We could all use more of that in our lives.

Lifeguard towers brightened by local artists


By MARINA WISE 
Special to the PRESS 
The week before Memorial Day Weekend, eight artists were materializing the vision that they had held for quite some time—to leave an artistic stamp on the beaches of South Padre Island. To achieve this goal, they coated various lifeguard towers along the coast with unique paintings. 

Jim Pigg, who operates the Beach Rescue program, recruited a core nucleus of talented painters to fulfill the Mob. %each Rescue provided all the paint used. 

“Jim Pigg was looking any artists willing to do this project because he believed it would make a difference as we (the painters) all have believed,” said Christina Salazar, one of the artists involved and owner of Indigo Art & Apparel in Port Isabel. “He opened the door for all of the artists from the area and from a far.”

While working on their task, the painters took many of South Padre’s natural elements into account. One beach fundamental, though, held the most importance in the hearts and creativity of the artists.

“Our biggest inspiration was the ocean,” Salazar said. “Though we all knew that what we were doing was bigger than all of us.” 

All the while, the artists kept in mind the different kinds of people their work would impact. Using this as their motivation, they created masterpieces they thought would touch the hearts of a diverse array of beachgoers. 

“I think they will be excited to see more (paintings) every summer,” Salazar said. “People who don’t know about art will have a different outlook at art at the beach. I hope it inspires children who want to become artists.” 

Salazar does not want the Laguna Madre’s artistic influence to be capped with the completion of just the lifeguard towers, though. She is hopeful to see the area one day flooded with art. 

“I would love to see murals all over the Laguna Madre and South Padre Island area as well,” Salazar said. “Port Isabel needs more murals and definitely more art. I would love to see a music and art festival.” 

And she doesn’t stop there. “I think getting the kids involved would be the icing on the cake,” Salazar continued. “Trash cans with art and possibly sidewalk chalk art around the (Lighthouse) Square. I would love for Port Isabel to be known for its art and history.”

Only time will tell if Salazar’s other artistic dreams become reality, but for now, the public can enjoy these beautiful lifeguard towers. These towers have been transformed from utilitarian items to pieces of art. 

“These structures are not just lifeguard towers,” Salazar said. “They are part of each artist that made them. It’s) never been done here and it was time,” she said, referring to the artwork created on the towers. 

Original, and you can find more of the Lifeguard towers here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bernie says run

I am seriously thinking about it, but I think I need to retire first. I just don't think that maintaining a full-time job AND running for political office is a good combination. Fuck all those goddamned skeletons lurking in my closet. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

solar in Houston

Wouldn't you know, just when the wife and I are winding up our working career and are poised to blow this joint (e.g., get out of town), Houstonians are finally going to have the option of installing solar panels on their homes and paying only for the cost of the electricity generated. 

I wish this option had been around when we built our last home in Houston. We sold it two years ago so we could leave Houston easily when we retired.  

And of course now we are moving into an area that does not have this solar option.  Grrr. But we will have SpaceX as a neighbor.


SolarCity Expands Into Houston Area for First Time

SolarCity announced this week that it has now expanded into the Houston area for the first time, giving residents the chance to go solar for as little as $40 per month.
SolarCity, the United States’ leading solar energy provider, relaunched its solar program earlier this month into 14 states across the US, with plans to expand as soon as possible. The new solar loan program replaced the company’s MyPower product, which the company pulled earlier this year. Announced on Monday, SolarCity revealed that it is now making its solar services available to the Greater Houston area with purchase, loan, and lease options all available.
SolarCity, for as little as $40 per month, provides solar installations complete with the design, installation, financing, monitoring, and a performance guarantee — and qualifying customers can also walk away with a Nest Thermostat free of charge.
In addition, for Houston homeowners, SolarCity has partnered with local retail electricity provider M2P Energy to give residents, whose transmission service provider is CenterPoint Energy, access to full net metering benefits.
SolarCity installed 870 MW of solar in 2015, up 73% from its 2014 figures, solidifying its position as the leading solar installer in the US. However, SolarCity only offered installation guidance of 180 MW for its first quarter, which worried some investors, and only installed 214 MW of new solar in the quarter, which would have been OK, if it had not also lost $2.56 per share during the quarter.
Nevertheless, SolarCity continues to expand, and is expecting to hire between 50 and 100 local staff in Houston for sales, installation, and related fields.

Elon Musk - amazing guy

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

another FFRF win

The wife and I are Lifetime Members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), and we were quite happy to see FFRF score yet another legal victory when Brewster County (in West Texas, including Big Bend) agreed to remove their cross image decals from their police cars. The county also agreed to ban "political, religious, commercial or personal" phrases or signs on county-owned property, which to me means they will also remove the asinine "In God We Trust" messages from their official vehicles.


In God We Trust - is there any better indication that this nation is afraid to face reality?

In the story below, we see that Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson wanted the crosses for "God's protection over his Deputies." Does this idiot really think that the Devil is out to get his Deputies? It just blows me away that (relatively) educated people still seek God's protection. 

I think that the Deputies have quite enough protection already, in the form of WEAPONS. If they are afraid of regular citizens having weapons too, maybe they should work towards some gun control measures.

Depending upon God's protection is an sign of insanity and inability to cope with reality. What Dodson should be seeking is psychiatric counseling. If we're lucky, Pete Gallegos will reclaim the district this coming November from Republican Will Hurd.

Texas county agrees to remove crosses from police cars
By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A rural Texas county has reached a deal to remove cross image decals from their police cars and ban "political, religious, commercial or personal" phrases or signs on county-owned property, a group that challenged the county said on Monday.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a nationwide group that promotes the separation of church and state, and two of its members sued this year to remove the decals they said amounted to unconstitutional local government promotion of Christianity.
The Brewster County Clerk's office said its Commissioners' Court had agreed to the settlement.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, had stood behind the sheriff's department for displaying a cross with a horizontal thin blue line on their patrol vehicles. Abbott said the cross is part of U.S. historical practices.
"In addition to its religious significance, the cross has a long history in America and elsewhere as a symbol of service and sacrifice," Abbott wrote before the lawsuit. He added, in his opinion, the display does not violate U.S. constitutional provisions preventing the establishment of religion.
Abbott's office was not immediately available for comment.
At the end of last year, the Brewster County sheriff asked state officials if his deputies in the sprawling and sparsely populated west Texas county could keep the cross decals displayed on the rear windows of their patrol vehicles.
Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson wanted the crosses for "God's protection over his deputies," his office said in December.
FFRF said it reached the deal with the county a few days ago that included having the county pay it about $20,000 in legal and court fees. Dodson did not respond to a request to comment.
"This was totally avoidable. This was such an egregious and obvious violation," Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF, said in a phone interview.

Monday, June 20, 2016

EVOO

Have you heard the reports that estimate that from 75-80% of the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) sold in the United States is FAKE or adulterated with inferior oils? Yep, organized crime is even getting on the bandwagon because it's so easy to do.

Well, that ain't happenin' with the "Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club". Or, it better not, because this dude is charging some premium prices for the freshest EVOO on the planet, unless you live on a damn olive oil orchard.

I just got the latest shipment of three bottles. This batch is from Chile, where they are in harvest season right now. Four times a year, we get three bottles of the best-tasting, purest EVOO that can be had. And these are truly exceptional. They put anything you can get at the store to shame. I'm salivating just thinking about them now.

I may have to invite some friends over for dinner soon! Life is short, but long. Why settle for crap?

click the pic if you want to read the labels

Sunday, June 19, 2016

For What It's Worth

The Buffalo Springfield smash hit, "For What It's Worth" was penned with the Vietnam War as the backdrop.

That stupid war is thankfully over, but the song is still relevant. It was relevant during Bush's Reign of Error and it's relevant today with millions of guns all over the country. 

You could put video clips from today and match it with the song and it would still be powerful. I suppose that's a sign of a great tune: if it can remain relevant under so many different circumstances.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Calm

After those last two disturbing posts, I thought it was time to focus on the beautiful, the good, the calm. 

Calm.com is a great website. I like to put it on when I'm reading or meditating without even going through the free Mindfulness programs, but some of the programs are really good.  They have added quite a few new scenarios over the last several months and have some gorgeous scenery. 

Take a few minutes and give it a try.

In with the good

Out with the bad

I didn't create the website, but you're welcome.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Paul Manafort


Moving from one gross topic to another, you remember when Donald Trump named lobbyist Paul Manafort to his team back in April? At that time, I thought, how long until Manafort takes over the whole operation? Well, with the exit of Corey Lewandowski, it just happened. It only took a couple of months.

Paul Manafort is a sleazebag extraordinare. Think Roger Stone and Lee Atwater. He's as bad as they get, and he's perfect for Trump.

Knowledge is power. 

Manafort reveals a lot of his strategy in this story in the Huffington Post.

The Daily Beast took a good look at Manafort's work for the "Torturer's Lobby" here.

Some of Manafort's antics with Ferdinand Marcos are detailed in Politico here.

Better watch your back, Hillary. 

Roger Stone/Paul Manafort
brothers in sleaze

Thursday, June 16, 2016

poppin' videos

Sometimes the internet is full of really amazing and wonderful stuff. It's also full of gross shit. Forgive me for this one, but I stumbled across a collection of pimple popping videos. Say what? Oh yeah, of course. It's mesmerizingly gross. 

Crap like this makes me grateful that I am - by and large - a normal person. I think we've all popped a few blackheads now and then, but this.....OMG. These poor people!

Dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, a.k.a. Dr. Pimple Popper, just reached one million subscribers on her YouTube channel, and as a thank you to all her fans, she's put together a 20 minute video of some of her most disgusting (and yet deeply satisfying) extractions. The video is called "50 Shades of Dr. Pimple Popper," a reference to the rise of online "pimple porn." The video is 20 full minutes of nastiness shooting out of humans' bodies like silly string under the power of her expertly wielded extractor (which, by the way, you can purchase).

If you don't want to be grossed out, just pass this one up, but this is yet another view of the sometimes ugly face of humanity.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Moshe

Making the post about Orlando reminded me about our recent trip to Las Vegas and an interesting conversation we had with a taxi driver there.

Moshe is the spelling that I will use for his name. That's how he pronounced it, at least.

There were three of us in his cab: me, my wife and our youngest nephew. We had all come from a Carlos Santana concert and were all quite intoxicated and ready for anything.



We three piled into Moshe's cab and after telling him where we needed to go, he quickly asked us, "What do you think about Donald Trump?" in a very stilted accent.  

"He's an idiot! He's a total asshole! He's a racist, sexist scumbag!" we all blurted at about the same time.

Undaunted, Moshe proclaimed that he was going to vote for Donald Trump.

"What? Why? What is wrong with you?!"

Moshe went on to give us a brief life history: he is an Ethiopian Coptic Christian now working in Las Vegas driving taxis. He moved to this country several years ago with his wife and child. He left Ethiopia because the Muslims were systematically murdering the Coptic Christians, along with various other groups, even other Muslims. 

Even with this bad shit, he claimed that the countries in that region, especially Ethiopia, were so much smarter than the Western world. "We have been there for thousands of years!" The Western world doesn't know shit!" 

Really?

While he was certainly pissed off at the marauding Muslims who ran him out of his home country, Moshe was also appalled by all the rights this country gives to women.

Moshe's wife was apparently starting to like life in the US and got a job as a dealer in a casino. Suddenly, she was making more money than he was, and he didn't like that one bit. She started insisting that Moshe help take care of the children! After all, women raise the children, he said, while motioning from his chest (boobs?) in a "feeding the baby" gesture.

And now, Moshe's wife wanted a divorce! This one really sent Moshe into orbit. "50% of marriages end in divorce in this country!" he wailed. He was upset that women could get a divorce so easily in this country. 


Now, to me, a high divorce rate is not a problem. It shows that women are gaining more rights and exercising their own strength, maybe even correcting a mistake, but to Moshe this was an abomination.

He railed again against the total decadence of Western nations and the rights that we have given to gays. "They can even get married!" 

With all these rights for women, gays, and Muslims, Moshe said quite loudly, "Your Constitution is shit!!"

That comment really set me off. I don't normally have a "love it or leave it" attitude, but the United States Constitution is just about the best Constitution that any nation has yet developed, and I don't think I'm just being a jingoistic provincial. Unparalleled personal freedoms? Separation of powers? Separation of church and state? Sure, women or blacks didn't have many rights in the early days of this country, but those were eventually added by the Amendments to the Constitution.

By crapping on the Constitution, he was crapping on our Founding Fathers and the entire country. I suppressed my strong desire to yell, "Then get the hell out! Go home!"

But the ride was over before we could yell at him too much. One thing we did do was to remind him that we Americans were not going to chop his head off, and while we disagreed with his opinions, we recognized his right to have them. So we all shook his hand, wished him luck, tipped him anyway, and bid him farewell. 

Looking back, the anger and vehemence with which Moshe described life in America reminds me of the anger that seems to characterize the Orlando mass murderer. Moshe brought many of his "Old World" attitudes and prejudices with him to this country. This is understandable. I doubt if any immigrants instantly adopt all the mores and habits of their adopted country. It takes time to mesh the old with the new. And some people don't do a very good job of it.

But here we have an immigrant who hates Muslims, women and gays and wants to vote for Donald Trump.

He probably can't even vote yet. It can take years before immigrants become citizens and gain the right to vote. Wouldn't surprise me if Moshe showed up on Election Day and tried to vote anyway, because he thinks that Donald Trump is a genius.