Category Archives: Politics

Water, ummmmmmm

Am I the only one who thinks that this waterfall might just be a metaphor for the way the world is going right now?

Back-asswards if you ask me.  Which of course you didn’t.

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When Porno Would be a Public Service

When he was a young man, Ted Cruz, aspired to “make ‘tit’ films” and sought “World Domination, you know rule everything.”  Today he is a top contender for the GOP Presidential nomination.

Quick!  Will somebody please get this guy a job in porno so we can get him out of politics?

 

(My thanks to Father Kane of The Last of the Millennials where I first saw this gem.)

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It isn’t often that this happens to me.

If there is a way for me to lose large amounts of money through no fault of my own, it will happen.  Those bucks are history.  Or, more likely, my money is in somebody else’s pocket.

Damn.

But when the Volkswagen scandal hit the news this past fall, I will honestly say I breathed a sigh of relief.

You see, we’d been looking to replace my car for well over a year at that point, and a Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen was in the running.  (We wouldn’t have gone for a diesel though.  Even though I had no inkling of the cheating, I figured sooner or later any diesel was going to smell like my neighbor’s Mercedes Diesel which not only stinks to high heaven, but increases the particulate content of the atmosphere 10-fold every time he fires the damn thing up.)

Volkswagen clean diesel

Wikimedia photo.

When we read about the cheating, Volkswagen immediately came off the list. So did Audi and Porsche, which were only on the “Wish” list anyway.

Why would we want to buy a car from a company that intentionally cheated its customers and damaged the environment?

I felt bad for the folks who’d bought any Volkswagens, though, because surely the value of their cars plummeted, diesel or gas-powered. A car is a huge investment for most of us; this hurts big time.

I knew there would be lawsuits out the wahzoo brought by people who had been defrauded.  There are times when lawsuits are absolutely justified.  This is one of them.

Enter the GOP.

GOP We don't discriminate

Photo credit:  All Things Democrat

Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a bill that will screw folks who bought Volkswagens.  It will take away the ability of them to file a class action law suit.  And of course, class action is the only way that individuals have a prayer of getting any money back for their losses.

H.R. 1927, the hilariously titled “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act,” was introduced by Neanderthal congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-I’m sure you’re shocked-VA) — and the House is expected to vote on it this week.

The bill states that it will do the following,

This bill amends the federal judicial code to prohibit federal courts from certifying any proposed class seeking monetary relief for personal injury or economic loss unless the party seeking to maintain such a class action affirmatively demonstrates that each proposed class member suffered an injury of the same type and scope as the injury of the named class representatives. (Emphasis added)

In short, that means that every single Volkswagen owner must have identical factors in order for a Class Action suit to be allowed to go forward.  That means that, in order to join a class action lawsuit, each and every Volkswagen purchaser must have:

  • Purchased the exact same vehicle
  • Paid the same amount for their vehicle
  • Driven the same amount of mileage
  • Etc. etc. etc.

The entire purpose of the bill is to prevent Class Action law suits.  [For those unaware of what this means, a class action law suit is when a group of normal people who have been injured band together and sue a large entity for redress.  Class action lawsuits are the only way a group of normal consumers can maybe, possibly, get some measure of restitution.  How we can keep from being screwed.

Earlier today, I wrote to my congresswoman, asking her to vote against this bill. Because while it impacts the folks who bought Volkswagens, it will be used to prevent class action law suits from the time it is enacted onwards.  And sooner or later, it will impact all of us.

If you would like to write your Congressman or woman, and tell them to vote against this bill, here is the link to find your Rep:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/.

Thank you to my bloggin’ buddy, Mark, at Lean Left for reminding me of this story and inspiring me to write about it.

 

 

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Guns: A “Right” or an “Addiction”?

Who do I think I’m kidding.  You already know, without anything to back it up, which side of the title question I come out on.

About a month ago, I came across an editorial in an online medical journal that has been on my mind ever since.

Is American Gun Ownership a Form of Addiction?

In it, George D. Lundberg, MD, persuasively argued that maybe the vehemence of gun owners protecting their so-called “right to bear arms” isn’t so much an intellectual argument as one fueled by addiction.  And I think that Dr. Lundberg may be on to something.
He first listed the nine symptoms of substance addiction:
  • Availability of the agent for experimentation;
  • Initial use producing pleasure followed by subsequent pleasant episodes of use and positive secondary reinforcement;
  • Psychological dependence or habituation;
  • Tolerance, with need to use more to get the same effect;
  • Chemical physical dependence;
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the agent is taken away;
  • Drug-seeking behavior;
  • Continued use even when obvious harm has been experienced; and
  • Rationalization and denial.

Then, Dr. Lundberg states that, like addictions to gambling and sex, with an addiction to guns, there is no physical/chemical addiction.  But the other symptoms?  Check, check, check.  Check-mate.

Here, in fact, is Dr. Lundberg’s gun addiction checklist:
  • Availability? Check;
  • Positive reinforcement? Check;
  • Habituation? Check;
  • Tolerance? Big check. Once someone becomes a gun owner, adding guns is usual; one is not enough. The average American gun-owning household includes 8.1 firearms, up from 4.1 in 1994. The NRA goes bonkers about any suggestion of limits;
  • Chemical dependence? No;
  • Withdrawal? I have not personally seen a convulsion in a gun-owning doctor when confronted with the possibility of losing his or her guns, but pretty damn close. I mean….;
  • Weapon-seeking behavior? Check;
  • Continued use despite harmful results? Check; and
  • Rationalization and denial? Check.

I think that Dr. Lundberg is on to something.

I think the issue of gun addiction deserves some attention today, as President Obama unveils the measures he can take towards sane gun control laws because Congress won’t.

Obama and gun control

President Obama hugged Mark Barden, whose son was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, before announcing his executive action on gun control in the East Room of the White House.  Photo Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Thanks, Mr. President.  Because 90% of Americans believe in stronger gun laws.  And because 100% of us remember this:

Sandy Hook Elementary

Sandy Hook Elementary School, 2012.  Wikimedia Image

The Medscape article, with the video of Dr. Lundberg delivering his editorial, is free, but by subscription.

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By Any Other Name

Sometimes,  as I fulfill my contractual duty to the WordPress community to write about all the news that is, well, news-y, I find myself unable to keep up with the fast pace of the current most blog-worthy items.

For example, today I wanted to write about the Bundy Boys while I sipped my coffee at breakfast.  I wanted to rant about bozos with bazookas, but alas, I had to go to work.  I could not rant.

You’ve heard about the Bundy Boys, haven’t you?  Ammon and Ryan (Ammon???? WTF?)  Two sons of Cliven Bundy have taken over federal land (a bird sanctuary, because we all know that those folks pack heat(ed hand and foot warmers) to protest what they claim is unfair guv’ment action.

Here is the low down from the Washington Post:

A group of armed anti-government activists remained encamped at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon on Sunday evening, vowing to occupy the outpost for years to protest the federal government’s treatment of a pair of local ranchers set to report to prison Monday.

The occupation of a portion of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, about 30 miles southeast of Burns, Ore., began a day earlier, after a small group of men broke off from a much larger march and rally held on Saturday evening

The armed occupation is being led by Ammon Bundy, an Idaho rancher whose father, Cliven Bundy, led an armed standoff with federal agents in Nevada in 2014 and who has described his supporters as “militia men.”

Oregon birds 1

If you continue trying to send these convicted arsonists to jail, I will hold my breath until I turn blue.  Oh, yeah, I AM blue.  My bad.  (Google Image)

 

On the way to work, I formulated perfect sentences expressing my disdain for folks who claim to be patriots but who work against the government.  Petulant ammosexuals.  Boys with more guns than either brains or balls.  And if you’ve been paying attention, you might recall that I’m not big on guns.  Or dopes. Or armed-fucking-rebellion.

Well, today, the delay in my blog drafting reaped rewards.  Huge rewards.

Because at lunch time, because the interwebs are/is alive with ideas on just what to call the Bundy Boys.  As described in a Huffington Post article, folks are rising to the challenge of just exactly to what to call the boys.

Here are the current contenders:

#Y’All Qaeda

#VanillaISIS:

#YokelHaram

#al-Shabubba, and say the group is waging #YeeHawd

I thought we might help.  You see, originally I had planned to insert a poll RIGHT HERE to see which name y’all prefer, but in the newest new Word Press format, there appears no way to insert a poll.*

Oh and the two men who inspired this anti-guv’ment protest?  They were convicted of arson on Federal land and they served some time in prison.  Recently a federal judge determined that they had been improperly sentenced, and that there was additional time to be served.

But my favorite tweet?

Every successful revolution starts with takeover of closed visitor center with gift shop.

These two guys oppose the Bundy Boys, and turned themselves in today.  They didn’t condone the Bundy Boys take over of the bird sanctuary-with gift shop.

In fact, it seems that self-proclaimed “patriots” — “militia men” are fallin’ all over themselves to distance themselves from the Bundy Boys.

I can’t imagine why.  Can you?

***

* When the Bundy Boys are done with this here protest, I’m gonna call them up.  Then they can take over Word Press and we can call it:

#stop-all the damn changes-Word-Press-or-I’ll-shoot

***

This story just keeps on giving.  Just after I posted, I read this post, by I Tried Being Tasteful.

You really can’t make this shit up.

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Hillary’s Chicken

Yesterday, I braved the grocery store to come up with an edible antidote to 2015.

I found myself pacing the aisles of the local Giant Foods, and well, I heard voices.  Or a voice.

If I were a Republican, I would have assumed it was God.

Jesus Meme

But as it was, I realized I was talking to myself.  Chanting.  And naturally I listened.  I’m not crazy, you know.

The Voice, my voice, told me what to do.  What to get.  How to do it.  And I saw that it would be good.

You see, I remembered a long-ago gift from my niece that actually held the secret antidote to 2015.  Only I had forgotten about it.

Congressional Cookbook

The Congressional Club Cook Book, Copyright 1987, The Congressional Club, Washington, DC

Yup.  Who woulda thunk that an antidote would be in a cookbook!  But this one is special.  You see, it was published in 1987, when the folks in government still believed that the government has an important role in the country.  When the government is, essentially, how we all contribute to improving our society.  Educating our kids, making workplaces safer, the air and the water and the land cleaner.  Yeah, I know it was published at the end of the Reagan years, but that cancer hadn’t yet metastasized.

Here’s the antidote to 2015:

Hillary’s Chicken.

Hillalry's Chicken

Congressional Club Cook Book, 1987, at page 266

As you can see from years of cooking smears, this is a well-used recipe.  It is simple and delicious. And I’m going to make it for New Years’ Day — and often between now and November.

Because while this woman eats chicken.  She is NOT a chicken.

Hillary Clinton at Bengazi hearings -- LA Times Photo

Hillary Clinton, Testifying for 11 hours at the Bengazi show trial.  Photo Image, LA Times

And the GOP?  I see little evidence that the GOP clowns are anything but chicken, can you?

Air Force

Google Image

 

Happy New Year!

 

***

 

It’s a little hard to read the instructions from this picture —

Combine all sauce ingredients, mixing until well blended.  Wipe each piece of chicken dry and coat well with sauce.  Place chicken,skin side up, in shallow baking pan.Tuck edges under, forming a compact shape, about 1-1/2 inches thick.  Roast in preheated oven at 450 degrees, basting occasionally with pan drippings.  Bake until opaque nearly to center, about 14-18 minutes, depending on thickness.  Remove to warm plates.  Spoon pan juices over chicken and sprinkle with parsley.  Makes 4 servings.  May be frozen.

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Give Peace A Chance – Bomb Agrabah

It was one of the most embarrassing things about working at the World Health Organization for an American like me.  My knowledge of geography really wasn’t all that hot.

I was pretty good at Europe.  I knew that Italy is shaped like a boot, and Switzerland, where I was living, looked like a delicious croissant.  Russia and China?  No problem.  South Africa and Chile — those were easy — they’re at the bottom (and I had been to Chile, so I knew that it was south).

It didn’t help that several countries changed names at the precise moment when I was trying to find them on the map.  Yeah, I’m talking to you Burma/Myanmar. 

But I’m a pretty quick study.  My knowledge of geography grew daily as I had to figure out where the hell everybody was when they went away without me.  Today I can proudly say that I, an American citizen, am no longer geographically challenged.  I’m so good, I can even find Malawi on a map.

Malawi

It’s right there at 4:00.  Google Image.

So I will admit feeling a wee bit sanctimonious when I learned that the GOP wants to bomb every Arab city including Agrabah.  Because I know where it can be found.

GOP voters support bombing Agrabah!

Those stupid Republicans!  They don’t even know where Agrabah is!  They don’t remember their, umm, history.  I know that it’s the town from The Arabian Knights.  Agrabah, the city of magic is the stuff of fiction, and folk lore and Disney movies.

 

Agrabah is where Aladin and Jasmin lived.  The city they flew over on the magic carpet.  Oh and the Genie.  He was there too.

My bloggin’ buddy, Bruce Thiesen wrote an interesting piece about the GOP, that made me think that bombing Agrabah isn’t such a bad idea.

I figure, by focusing all our military efforts on Agrabah, we can rewrite Middle Eastern politics and history.

  • We can shoot fictitious people instead of real flesh and blood ones!
  • We can carpet bomb the hell out of a magic city instead of ones with bricks and mortar and things like hospitals and schools.
  • We can demonstrate to the world that we are willing to use the most terrible of weapons if anybody tries anything on us, but without hurting a fly.  Or a flying carpet.

Bombing the shit out of Agrabah will satisfy the blood lust of the Right Wing without hurting any real people.  The GOP will be happy, the Military-Industrial Complex will get their $$$$$ and nobody gets hurt (well, except the taxpayers). It’s a win-win-win.  Lots of wins.

This is how we give peace a chance.

I’m expecting the Nobel Peace Prize for this baby.

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