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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hasan Minaj

Hasan Minaj did a great job at the White House Correspondents Dinner, which the petty #45 decided to skip so he could instead bask in the adoration of his ... supporters. And then go golfing.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

feathered fallout

Apparently this happens now and then on South Padre Island. An unexpected cool front comes in from the north, and birds of all types who are migrating from the south literally fall out of the sky to rest.

Feathered Fallout
by Dina Arevalo, Editor of the Port Isabel-South Padre Island Press

We had a bit of a cold front pass through the area this past weekend. Now, for you and I, the temperature drop was fairly mild. It wasn’t even worth grabbing a sweater, but the drop in humidity sure did feel nice. 

And though the slight dip in the mercury may have meant little to us, it meant a lot to various species of songbirds that had been traveling northwards from their winter homes in Central and South America. When the air got colder and the winds flipped and began to blow from the north, it was just too much for these little guys to keep going. 

Seeing the green spaces around South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista must have looked like an oasis mirage in the desert for these exhausted birds who suddenly found themselves flying directly into a headwind. By the dozens they began practically falling out of the sky to take shelter from the strong winds, rest a while and hopefully find some nourishment before continuing on their way. 

It’s not the first time an event like this has happened. These birds travel for hundreds, even thousands of miles, during their annual migration. Usually, they make the trip with the wind at their backs, but when a weather system moves in and causes the wind to change direction, causing the birds to momentarily suspend their travels, it’s called a fallout. 

painted bunting
The last really good one I can remember was around 2013. I remember heading down to the South Padre Island Convention Centre and seeing my very first painted bunting. With its rainbow color scheme, it quickly became one of my favorite species. This weekend’s fallout wasn’t as big as that one, but it sure didn’t disappoint, either. 

Just as I did back then, I made my way down to the Convention Centre, this time after work. I was a little worried that going so late in the day meant I’d miss most of the action since I knew the birds would be settling down to roost near sunset. But, when I finally got to the north end of the Island, the driveway by the Whaling Wall was chock full of cars — a definite sign that other birders were still around. 

I found a parking spot and made my way to the little gazebo that overlooks a small waterfall where birds often bathe. Sure enough, there was a crowd all around. Folks holding cameras, binoculars and high powered scopes stood around, chins upturned, their focus on the trees and shrubs that make up the garden. Everywhere was the sound of birdsong. I wasn’t too late. 

Not even a minute after I got there I heard someone calling my name. Turns out it was one the rangers from our very own Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Marion Mason. She and some volunteers from the refuge had come to behold the spectacle, as well. 

lazuli bunting

Up near the Whaling Wall a flock of indigo buntings and a pair of painted buntings stood pecking at some birdseed someone had scattered along the ground. A lazuli bunting, uncommon in Texas, had been seen flitting in and out among them, Mason told me. The little bird was far from its normal migratory route and news of its presence had attracted lots of local birders trying to add a unique find to their “life lists.” 

I stood around hoping he’d peek back out again, but I must’ve missed him by just minutes. Nonetheless, I enjoyed seeing the indigo and painted buntings, some tanagers, a black and white warbler, Altamira orioles, and one of my very favorite birds, a hooded warbler.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

found on Facebook

This guy says it pretty well, from a rant I noticed on Facebook. 



Even as a U.S. military veteran who served my country honorably, and as much as I could use the money, you could NOT pay me any amount of money to vote for ANY Republican. 

Republicans have proven they are nothing but white-collared thieves, akin to wolves in sheeps' clothing, who will always put Party before country (despite collusion with a foreign enemy), send somebody else's kids to manufactured war, destroy the environment solely for profit, kill healthcare for millions, destroy public education, deny Climate Change/Global Warming, manipulate the voting system in their favor, give billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest, keep women subservient, treat LGBTQ+ citizens as "abominations" and immigrants as "terrorists," steal Supreme Court appointments, who will ignore their obvious racist, misogynistic, and white supremacist ways - and after all is said and done, continue to blame the Democrats for THEIR vast hypocrisy, and outright failings as "leaders" and privileged human beings. 

These people are NOT patriots, nor authentic Jesus-type Christians, for true patriotism and Christianity look, and act, much differently. They do not care about the vast majority of American lives. Their policies, and actions, absolutely demonstrate this. Dropping missiles and bombs on other countries, and killing innocent civilians, will make America LESS safe as a result. It will only further embolden an enemy who cares nothing about his own life, yet so much more about 'teaching America a lesson.' Further, many Republicans have absolutely no problem with the likely probability that there are Russian assets, and Koch Brother allies, infiltrating the United States government, so long as they can continue to blame Obama, Hillary, and the "Snowflake Libtards." 

Yet, I know of NO Democrat who has actively tried to destroy our government, its positive and needed programs affecting millions, or otherwise makes every attempt to severely limit the effectiveness of government agencies, or boldly obstruct the will of the majority of voters as the Republican Party has done during President Obama's tenure, and continues to do in many ways today. Democrats, while hardly perfect, have shown a propensity to help Americans in innumerable ways, and not hurt them. Those who say the Democrats are "equal to, or worse" than the Republicans are not paying attention to history, for many who say this have likely directly benefitted from Democratically-installed policies since the time of FDR (that's our 32nd POTUS for those who don't know). 

Another thing: Republicans are hell-bent to punish many Americans for their actions in the bedroom and the bathroom (think same sex and transgender). They want to inflict their version of "Christian" Sharia Law upon the populace through SCOTUS appointments which benefit their way of thinking; by "religious liberty" laws which allow for outright discrimination of people they hate (as Jesus apparently did); and via policies which outright shame children for accepting free or reduced lunches at school, or a single mom who needs government help to survive tough times. These people often claim that Liberals "don't work" real jobs, but regularly suck from the teat of government, and yet, statistics authentically show that not only do Liberals actually work, more than one job for many, they also receive less help from the government than their Republican counterparts who hate them so. Their hypocrisy is off the charts in so many ways. But I guess I'm just spewing "fake news" and "alternative facts." ­čśĽ 

I challenge anybody to show otherwise. The ideology and actions of the Republican Party clearly demonstrate they are enemies of peace and positive progress, health and safety, and generations to come will pay dearly if the Republican Party is not stopped by good, decent, compassionate, and intelligent people everywhere. ­čśí 

#Resist 
#KeepFighting 
#DoNotNormalizeThisPOTUS 
#GoodOverEvil 
#VOTE


Monday, April 24, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Buy American

Talk about sad. The United States president harping on and on about "buying American" and "hiring American" is another piece of red meat for the base, astonishing in its short-sightedness and impossibility. 

It could be that #45's voters simply wanted an "alpha male" who would grunt and crash everything. And they don't care what he does or says.

And they got it.

Trump's 'buy American' edict is unbearably dumb

You are reading this, we can safely assume, on a device built somewhere in China, with various components sourced from all over the world – lithium and copper from Chile, silicon from Brazil, circuit boards from Taiwan, transistors, resistors, diodes, LEDs, capacitors from China, on and on across dozens of countries, suppliers, economic landscapes. Maybe your device was “designed” in Cupertino, but its guts, and its manufacture, are about as “American” as Trump is articulate.
Your morning coffee? Guatemalan, of course. Or Colombian, Indonesian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Vietnamese or maybe a mix of locales, delivered to your local hipster roaster via assorted multinational distributors and global shipping agencies, served in cups made of American wood pulp but printed with Indian ink and stamped out on machines made in Spain and served by a barista whose dad was Chinese and mom was a Brit and who has traditional Japanese tattoos covering her arms, inked by a Russian dude using needles he had custom-built in Germany.
Of course you already know? Nearly everything you buy, touch, interact with, type on, lust over, have sex with or desperately consume in the modern techno-cultural miasma these days is somehow globally interconnected and interlinked, sourced and traced and labored over in an enormous foreign factory in a town you’ve probably never heard of.
Just another dumb, regressive
idea no one really wanted
But it’s also, sadly, nothing new. Just another blathering commandment dumped on what is fast becoming a mountain of reeking edicts Trump has spit forth, from walling off Mexico to banning the Islamic faith, bombing “the s—” out of ISIS to declaring the EPA irrelevant because it won’t let excess coal particulate murder your children.It all makes Old Man Trump’s recent executive order demanding everyone buy American, hire American, eat and drink and kill American not merely as dumb as your redneck uncle bitching about how they don’t make chainsaws like they used to, but also impossible, laughable, dangerous, hurtful and ignorant and obnoxious in increasingly exhaustive turns.
That angry grandpa raging at the TV in the middle of the night, shaking his head at all the terrorist immigrants and conniving bitches? That’s our president. His base still loves him. Because, much like him, they simply do not care. Or read.
Which means they are not at all troubled by the fact that the president of the United States cannot handle the slightest complex idea, system, philosophy; he likes his intelligence briefs written up in crayon on a single, easy-to-read page, he gets his basic information from the least legitimate major news network on the planet, one that specifically tailors its content to monosyllabic 5th-graders.
The president, as he himself is wont to remind us, does not like “lots of words.” He does not care for books, art, science, culture, spirituality, introspection, nature, history, music, design, style, beauty, mathematics, geology, philosophy, biology, humanism, oceanography, journalism, zoology, contemplation, existentialism. His thought patterns appear to resemble a tiny orange fist stabbing angrily at clouds. He is just reaction, grunt and scowl and frown, smashing his nine iron into the lawn like a big orange gorilla of dumb. He is avoided. He is openly shunned. No one wants a photo. No one wishes to be anywhere near him.
Problem is, much like high fructose corn syrup or nuclear fallout, all that excess dumb has gotta go somewhere. And sure enough, Trump’s illiterate, pro-America gibberish could screw over all sorts of American businesses and industries – if it weren’t completely nonsensical and meaningless. As the CATO Institute sighed:
Cordoning off the estimated $1.7 trillion U.S. government procurement market to U.S. suppliers would mean higher price tags, fewer projects funded, and fewer people hired. In today’s globalized economy, where supply chains are transnational and direct investment crosses borders, finding products that meet the U.S.-made definition is no easy task, as many consist of components made in multiple countries. And by precluding foreign suppliers from bidding, any short-term increases in U.S. economic activity and jobs likely would be offset by lost export sales – and the jobs that go with them – on account of copycat protectionism abroad. …

(Do you enjoy the sighing, eye-rolling hint of pathos whenever any well-respected institution like CATO, NASA, the U.N., et al is forced to respond to one of Trump’s idiotic edicts with a serious analysis these days? They have no choice, of course; he’s the president, and what he mutters carries real, often dire ramifications. But every one of these responses reads like a wary adult explaining to a not-very-bright child why his idea for sending a giant robot dragon to blow up Mars probably, you know, won’t work).
“Make America great again!” screamed the demented old billionaire, stabbing his finger at the giant, Chinese-made TV as the vacuous, brightly colored Fox pundits guffawed and squiggled, just before tweeting something incoherent about bombs and then dozing off, alone and wheezing, dreaming of, well, absolutely nothing at all.

Original.

Friday, April 21, 2017

kudos, Iceland!

OK, this story is not entirely "new" but it escaped my attention when it was first released, and about all I can say is "it's about time!!" I think I have to put Iceland on my bucket list.


Iceland Declares Christianity A Public Health Hazard

The island country of Iceland has officially 
declared Christianity a public health hazard. 
The law proclaiming the radical idea was 
signed recently by *Prime Minister 
Sigur├░ur Ingi J├│hannsson in the spirit of 
“protecting the elderly from scams, our 
children from nightmares, and the 
general population from chicanery.”

As strong as the law’s language is, 
it does 
not restrict the free exercise of religion 
by any citizen or visitor.

A coalition of Lutherans, Catholics, 
and other Christian sects have formed 
an organization to combat the image 
that they contribute to the erosion of 
psychological well-being.

“Yes, certain rogues have used 
Christianity to fleece the old and give 
hellish nightmares to the young,” 
explained Reverend Andrew Canard. 

“However, faith requires the 
acknowledgment of not knowing and 
we can all agree simplistic and often 
contradictory answers found in the 
Bible are the answers to not knowing.”

The new law urges Icelandic society to, 
“pick up a book” and to “engage fellow 
human beings in the spirit of compassion 
regardless of creed.” It also calls for 
research to determine the best path to 
promote Humanist values around the world.

This is NOT a witch hunt

Pro-reason activists hail the recent events 
as a victory against superstition. Some local 
Catholics are calling the measure a “witch 
hunt.”

“A witch hunt is where a mob attacks the 
weakest members of society and prosecutes 
them typically via a sham trial. The mob 
then executes the poor soul. The last time 
I checked, the Catholic Church were the 
undisputed champions of the world in such 
games for centuries,” stated an anonymous 
citizen.

American Republican Presidential hopefuls 
are calling the events transpiring in Iceland 
“dangerous” and wonder if such a brazen 
act of divine disobedience may mean that 
the country is not fit to be in NATO.

Both Democratic candidates are afraid to 
point out that the predominantly Muslim 
country of Turkey is, well, a predominantly 
Muslim country because they would be 
branded as “egg-heads.”



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Trump is an idiot

It's rather scary to think that the general well-being of the United States of America is in #45's hands. Idiocracy is here, folks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Roscoe Wind Farm

On our recent travels, we happened upon the 781.5-MW Roscoe Wind Farm in central Texas. It's an awesome sight: wind turbines everywhere, east, west, north, south, as far as the eye can see.


When it was built in 2009, it was then the largest wind farm in the world. Now it ranks around 19th. It is an exciting and awesome sight to see these graceful machines spinning and making clean energy.

On a clear night, we can see the relatively-tiny, 93-MW San Roman wind farm lights blinking in the distance on the mainland from here on South Padre Island. It's glorious and gratifying. 


World's largest onshore wind farms
Wind farmCurrent
capacity
(MW)
CountryNotes
Gansu Wind Farm6,800China[1][8][9][10][11]
Zhang Jiakou3,000China[8]
Urat Zhongqi, Bayannur City2,100China[8]
Hami Wind Farm2,000China[8]
Damao Qi, Baotou City1,600China[8]
Alta (Oak Creek-Mojave)1,320United States[12]
Jaisalmer Wind Park1,064India[13]
Hongshagang, Town, Minqin County1,000China[8]
Kailu, Tongliao1,000China[8]
Chengde1,000China[8]
Buffalo Gap Wind Farm523.3United States[14][15]
Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm662.5United States[14][15]
Dabancheng Wind Farm500China[16]
Fântânele-Cogealac Wind Farm600Romania[17]
Fowler Ridge Wind Farm599.8United States[18]
Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center735.5United States[14][15]
Meadow Lake Wind Farm500United States[18]
Panther Creek Wind Farm458United States[15]
Roscoe Wind Farm781.5United States[19]
Shepherds Flat Wind Farm845United States
Sweetwater Wind Farm585.3United States[14]
Whitelee Wind Farm539Scotland, U.K

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

reason

Had to borrow this from a fellow atheist online. Sometimes you have to go back to the basics. Liberals need to do this now and then, especially when confronted by a freak like Trump.


Reason

Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of 
things, applying logic, establishing and verifying facts
and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and 
beliefs based on new or existing information. It is closely 
associated with such characteristically human activities 
and is normally considered to be a definitive 
characteristic of human nature. Reason, or an aspect of 
it, is sometimes referred to as rationality.

Reasoning is associated with thinkingcognition, and 
intellect. Reasoning may be subdivided into forms of 
logical reasoning (forms associated with the strict sense): 
reasoning; and other modes of reasoning considered 
more informal, such as intuitive reasoning and verbal 
reasoning. Along these lines, a distinction is often 
drawn between discursive reason, reason proper, 
and intuitive reason, in which the reasoning process—
however valid—tends toward the personal and the 
opaque. Although in many social and political settings 
logical and intuitive modes of reason may clash, in 
others contexts, intuition and formal reason are seen 
as complementary, rather than adversarial as, for 
example, in mathematics, where intuition is often a 
necessary building block in the creative process of 
achieving the hardest form of reason, a formal proof
Reason, like habit or intuition, is one of the ways by 
which thinking comes from one idea to a related idea. 
For example, it is the means by which rational beings 
understand themselves to think about cause and 
effecttruth and falsehood, and what is good or bad
It is also closely identified with the ability to self-
consciously change beliefsattitudestraditions, and 
institutions, and therefore with the capacity for freedom