April 29, 2009

The Honest Scrap Award
I just received the Honest Scrap award from Libhom whom I consider a fellow scrapper. Thanx, Libhom **blush**.

Here’s the description of the award:
"This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant." [thus the blush]

"Scrap means left over, fragments, discarded material. Many times truth and honesty are discarded material, considered fragments and left over. People like us need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will."

“Many times truth and honesty are discarded material.” Ain’t THAT the truth?
xxx
See the Rules below— Here, I’ll just follow them:
1] Oh, gee, what can I say? I sure like to think my blog pushes honesty. So, yeah, I’m really, really proud to have received this thang.

2] Did this already. Thanx again, Libhom.

3] Uhhhhh—SEVEN? That’s a lot of blogs! In no particular order, here are the blogs I've passed the award to.

a] Ramona’s Voices— Ramona describes herself as the eternal optimist. Certainly a skill to cultivate in these times. Even so, she’s not shy when it comes to taking on the ghastly economic situation we’re in, the Second Amendment, Rush Limbaugh, and on and on.

b] An Average American Patriot. Jim and I have known each other for a long time. We converse about weekly.
Jim pulls no punches when it comes to holding our government accountable. And it doesn’t matter who’s steering the ship. He’s every bit as p-o’d about the lack of prosecutions as he is about the torture. Take a look.

c] A Little Reality— KnightErrant describes his blog as “A search for reality (or at least a little fun) in politics and life.” He may be surprised at this nod as I’ve been lurking on his blog for a while but haven’t checked in with any comments lately.
Honesty is KnightErrant’s middle name. KnightHonestErrant. Kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

d] Pissed On Politics by Polishifter lays it all out on the table. He comes across strongly and he comes across angry. He takes on everything from the Republicans’ Small Tent Strategy to Swine Flu to Terrorism to Torture. Coming away from his blog you’ll have no doubts as to where Poli stands on the issues.

e] Another I’ve lurked on [and will have to come out of the shadows in order to tell Ed that I’ve awarded him] is Left in Missouri.
He talks of “being blue in a sea of red.” Having lived in Missouri and now, living in Florida, I very well understand how he feels.
Much of what he reports on is the state legislature. A nice change from the majority of us who concentrate on the federal level. Missourians, take note.

For my final two, I’m going to depart from the norm—at least for my list:

f] Polaris, a blog written by a couple of channels of a post-earth entity called Polaris and who know another entity I study called Michael. Matthew and I communicate on Polaris and on my blog, All that Is.

g] And finally, Morning Martini. Pissed off Patricia who posts Mondays through Thursdays [ Fred the Cat, posts on Fridays] tackles everything from her disgust with the Bush administration and torture to her ongoing saga regarding the newest member of her family—a little yorkshire terrier.
She also takes us on tours of Florida’s beaches to watch the hatching of the sea turtles and their race for the sea. An eclectic and thoroughly enjoyable blog.

That’s seven! **whew!**

OK, now I’m supposed to tell you ten honest things about myself. This could be as hard as awarding 7 blogs:

1] I was born in the first 10 minutes of the baby boom. Well, not quite. Maybe the 2nd 10 minutes. Anyhow, I’m 61 and a half years old.

2] As a result of [1], I’m really, really tired of the Blame the Boomers movement that’s been going on for at least the last 40 years.

3] My first computer was virtually free. I paid only for the hard-drive.
When I asked my friend who built that computer what size hd to buy she told me, “Get a half-gig—that’s all you’ll ever need.” **giggle!**
Since then I’ve become the original puter potato.
Oh, and a few weeks ago when Molly died, I bought a new hd—ahem—160 gigs. Not to mention the 3 external hd’s. So much for the half gig.

4] Rachel Maddow is my very, very favorite talk show host.

5] There’s a beast sleeping in my computer room right now. His name is Jake. Someone dumped him in my retirement community about 6 months ago and he worked his wiles on me. I was just a helpless bystander. So now a litter box is a major part of my life.

6] I LOVE Stephen Colbert and I don’t care WHAT the conservatives say—yes, he’s doing satire.

7] I’m such a hermit that I fire up my truck once per month to go to my free-health clinic. And, once or twice per month, I take my golf cart to the grocery store and to PetSmart about a block away. Other than that, I’m a stay-at-home.

8] Because of [7] I’m not too worried [for myself] about swine flu.

9] A friend introduced me to an awesome free online game here. I played it 7 times while I waited for a 2nd game—a prequel, here. And, I’m not a huge computer game person.

10] I’m a 5th level old Sagittarius born in the year of the boar. No, NOT BOOR! BOAR—as in pig. OK, don't start.

Rules and Regulations
These are the rules and the instructions for the 'chosen ones’:

1.You must brag about the award. Check.

2.You must include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on you and link back to the blogger. Check.

3.You must choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or you may improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Surprise someone! Check.

4.Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Or think of it this way--show the seven random victims' names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog Award. Check.
Well, there's no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

5.List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on with the instructions! Check.

OK-- all done!

April 27, 2009

• Faith breeds certainty

A drinker may engage in risky behaviour when his awareness of danger is limited by the effects of alcohol. Now comes a study which shows that drinkers are not alone. Religious believers have been found to have less anxiety than nonbelievers about making errors or facing the unknown. (The reason for this “calming effect” was not examined, though presumably it comes from the reassuring feeling of having a Powerful Friend.)
xxx
Well, this certainly explains a lot about the previous president, doesn't it? Especially when the effects of both alcohol and religion are taken into account—not to mention cocaine. I assume there is a cumulative effect?
[Follow the title link to read the full article.]

April 21, 2009

Our Wiley President

Rachel made my day, tonight.
She led off her show with an update about the torture and Obama’s statements that he would not prosecute the CIA operatives who “were just following orders.” Does that ring a bell? Remember Nuremberg?
But I digress.
Rachel actually brought us some good news.
Obama may SAY he doesn’t intend to go after the CIA agents. Rahm Emmanuel may go on This Week With George Stephanopoulos and say the White House has no plans to pursue the people who wrote the memos or the people who told the lawyers to find them some legal loopholes so they could play schoolyard bully with people who were tied up and tied down and couldn’t fight back.
Obama and Emmanuel can say whatever they want to say and they can say it till they turn blue. It makes no nevermind. It’s not their decision to make.

**sssshhhhhhhhh!** Don’t tell Obama, but it’s the Department of Justice that determines what laws were broken and who to prosecute and who not to prosecute.
xxx
So, do you want my take on all of this? Well, want it or not, you’re gonna get it. =)
1] Obama, unlike his predecessor, is a very smart man.
2] I’ll bet money he knows all about the separation of powers within our government. I betcha he knows full well he doesn’t get to decide what crimes were committed and what will be done about them.
3] I’ll also bet he knows politics well enough to know that nothing will get the supervisor of any department running up a full head of steam faster than somebody else daring to tread on his turf.
4] AND I’ll bet that this is one hell of a sticky wicket for Obama.
He was just about 11 years old when the news was All Watergate All The Time—so he probably didn’t pay a lot of attention while it was going on. But, I’m sure it was dissected in every civics and American history class he took in high school and college.
And he certainly knows that every Democratic President has had hell to pay ever since. Nixon/Watergate was the reason why Ken Starr spent 6 years and $40 million investigating Bill Clinton and finally had to settle for impeaching him for sleeping around. But he HAD to prove the old Republican talking point that, “Everybody does it.”

So, try this on for size:
Obama wants to prosecute. But he can’t SAY he wants to prosecute or he will bring down all kinds of hell on his head and the heads of every Democratic president who follows him for at least the next 40 years.

In fact, if he makes a point of saying he DOESN’T want to prosecute, he might get the Republicans to back off the constant attempts to find dirt in the backgrounds of every Democrat they come in contact with. [fwiw, Clinton wasn’t the first. They tried with Carter. They hounded Tom Eagleton off Mondale’s ticket. And, during his presidential campaign, they hunted for something, anything, on Gore. Not to mention the 'birth certificate' insanity that still haunts Obama himself—although he's smart enough to just ignore it.] It’s enough to convince any viable candidates that they can find lots better stuff to do with their time.

So, Obama, being the smart guy he is, just might have found a way out of the waters that were rising above his head:
By taking prosecution off the table, he steps on the Justice Department’s toes. And Eric Holder rises to the bait saying that HE hasn’t taken prosecution off the table by any means, thankyouverymuch.
Obama is forced to back down and apologize to Holder and his department. [He hasn’t done it yet, but—given the stink Holder is making—I’ll bet he does soon.]
Now, he’s on record as being against the prosecutions. He, and all the Dem presidents of the next half century, are off the hook.
And the prosecutions are more likely to move forward than they were before Obama stepped on Holder’s toes.
xxx
OK, yes, I’m reaching just a bit, here.
I WANT this nefarious scenario to be true. I want an excuse to vote for Obama four years from now.
Still, given the convoluted state of Washington, it COULD be true, couldn’t it?

April 17, 2009

Now We Know
It’s official. We now know what the torturers did in our name. I, for one, can’t live with what I know. I just can’t.

I’m not sure where to go from here with this post. What can I say?

People were deprived of sleep.

People were slapped.

People had their heads banged into walls.

People were manacled in body-cramping positions for hours on end.

People had their faces “walled”. I’m not sure what “walling” is—but I can guess.

People were locked in boxes filled with insects.

People were deprived of food. Physicians were on tap to advise the torturers about how few calories people could be given for extended periods before they starved to death.

People were kept in very cold conditions. If they covered themselves with their prayer rugs, the rugs were taken away. The justification? They were being ‘uncooperative’.

Waterboarding was justified by saying that we didn’t mean to harm people. We proved it by having a doctor in attendance while it was going on. Scratch that. We had medical personnel available.
What does ‘medical personnel’ mean?
What does ‘available’ mean?
And why does that matter?

If you watched Rachel last night you were treated to a demonstration of just what waterboarding is.
I wanted to turn away. I forced myself to watch. After all, this was done in my name. It was done to ‘make me safe.’

I don't feel safe.
xxx
And, yesterday, Obama said, "We must move forward."

What he is really saying is this:
We must not prosecute the people who did this in our names.
We must set a precedent so that any future president or CIA director can, without fear, disappear anyone s/he wishes to take off the street. Any president can lock people up indefinitely without access to counsel. Any president can dispense with Habeas Corpus whenever it becomes inconvenient to uphold. Any future president can order the torture of human beings without fear of prosecution.
Any president [including this one] can choose not to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States' if it is inconvenient to do so.
Any president can simply refuse to honor his oath of office as it benefits him personally or politically.

So, I ask you: Do you feel safe?
Today, I sent an email to President Obama. I hope enough of these are sent so as to catch the attention of his staff and they get brought to his attention.

Since a groundswell of small donations got him into office—I hope a groundswell of angry voices will wake him up to the disastrous mistake he is making.
xxx
The defense, 'I was just following orders' didn't work in Nuremberg. Why should it be allowed here?
And, what about holding accountable the people who gave the orders? And the people who drafted the memos giving the people who authorized torture the justification for their orders?

If the President refuses to take action against torture-- thereby giving precedent to the presidents who follow him --I will find it necessary to donate as much money as I can to any Democrat who challenges him in his next primary. I will campaign for him or her, as well.

If Mr. Obama secures the nomination, I will be compelled to vote for a Republican president for the first time in my life.
After all, if Mr. Obama does not appoint a special prosecutor and throw his full weight behind this matter---- what is the difference?

April 16, 2009

Here Comes the Sun
Hey, folks
Please check out the solar power widget on my sidebar.

It will take you to a site that will allow you to determine whether solar power will work for you.

Ferinstance—I live in Florida, so it's a no-brainer. Of course solar will work for me.
But, at the website, I was able to find out what government incentives are available [with Federal and State funding, my price for standard solar panels drops from $35,000 to $13,000].

The calculator also projects the inflation of energy costs in the future and tells you, assuming you take out a loan to pay for the system, when your system will begin turning a profit either by simply saving you energy or through a sell-back system.

And, check this out!
A new solar film is due out soon. The company producing it is called Konarka Energy. The film weighs considerably less than solar panels and can be installed on virtually any roof. It's far cheaper than silicon panels, too.

Put all those facts together and
—well—it's another no-brainer.
I don't think Florida has a sell-back program yet
—but, when it does, I'll be ready!

I'll keep you posted
when the film becomes available and I start shopping around for it.

April 10, 2009

Blog Against Theocracy Swarm

In medieval times, during the Renaissance, and right on up to the present, the Church and science have clashed repeatedly. Here are some of the highlights of their squabbles:

Science: the earth revolves around the sun.

Church: the universe revolv
es around the earth.

Science: the earth is billions of years old. Citie
s with written records have existed for about 5000 years.
Church: the earth is approximately 5000 years old.

Science: there is such a thing as a vacuum—and it can be demonstrated.
Church: a vacuum is, by definition, a place where nothing exists. So God and His angels couldn’t exist there—so there is no such thing.

Science: there are tiny particles we can't see.

Church: the only things smaller than the unaided eye can see are cherubim.


Science: electricity exists.

Church: no it doesn't.

Science: lightning is electricity and we can protect ourselves from it by use of a lightning rod.
Church: it is heretical
to protect ourselves from God's wrath.

Science: life moves from the simple to the complex and has been developing for billions of years.
Church: the earth and everything on it was created in 6 days and nothing has changed since then.

Science: complex organisms have existed for millions upon millions of years. Dinosaurs ruled the earth 65 million years ago.

Church: if dinosaurs existed, they coexisted with humans and missed the boat when the great flood came. God made it LOOK as if they existed long before humans.
[It’s easier, I gue
ss, to believe that God would lie to us than to believe in evolution.]
xxx

During the Medieval and Renaissance times, the Church enforced its views by torturing and killing those who dissentedso science was arrested for hundreds of years.

There is evidence that many of the women who were burned as witches were acting as midwives and physicks. The Church viewed aiding childbirth as heretical because God decreed that women were to suffer for Eve's sin.
Likewise, to heal people of disease was to interfere with God's plan [punishment of the sick person for some evil s/he had committed.]
There were exceptions, of course. The clergy and the wealthy were allowed to seek medical care -- but even the accepted doctors [males] were limited in what they were allowed to do. Dissecting human bodies was heretical—so medicine remained a matter of superstition and dogma for centuries when that needn't have been the case.
*_*_*

Today, new battles are being waged:
The abortion battle still rages. Many people [who are, for all their rhetoric, still the minority] are not content simply to make the personal choice not to seek an abortion for themselves. They want to deny that choice to others.
The related issue of contraception simmers. "No you can't" is the watchword when it comes to choosing whether or not to bring a child into the world.

The people who wish to deny the rest of us our own choices bang the Bible to hammer home their points.

And they would halt medicine today by stopping stem cell research. They prefer to throw away thousands of blastocysts daily rather than use them to lessen human suffering. They propagandize that the blastocysts would be created simply to be destroyed when the facts put the lie to their claim.
That doesn't stop t
hem, however, they just keep pushing the lie in order to confuse the people who either don't know how to look up the information for themselves—or don't care to.

There are people who would still attempt to stop others from recognizing evolution.
No matter how much evidence supports it, people who follow certain dogmas refuse to recognize it for themselves and seek to keep the rest of us from accepting it for ourselves.
The US may have elected another president with a very different viewpoint, but the belief that evolution is heresy continues among great numbers of people. And they still want to censor it—to force those of us who agree with the theory to denounce it.
We have only to glance at the Middle Ages to find a parallel.


Another we've all heard of is the one about global warming. The information that was being disseminated [and censored] by the recent stand-in for the Church, the Bush administration, was that global warming didn’t exist or, if it did, we had nothing to do with it.
Evidence, however, shows that Greenland’s ice sheets, the Arctic and the Antarctic are shrinking every day. Science has come to the realization that we are approaching a tipping point beyond which we will no longer be able to stop the warming trend we have set in motion.
There are at least two scenarios as to what will happen next.
One is that the earth will continue to warm until all life on earth is threatenedincluding us. Another is that the earth could move into a human-made Ice Age and all life on earth would be threatened—including us.
Both predict an increase in the numbers of and ferocity of storms and droughts around the planet.
[Please note Katrina and the massive increase of the number and the fury of tornadoes—and the fact that the Saharan Desert has been growing for the last two decades, at least. And Florida, where one used to be able to set one's clock by the summer rainstorms is in its sixth year of water rationing due to drought.]

I [among many ot
hers whose blogs I read] noted for eight years that Bush’s short-sighted policies would probably not trigger the end of the US right away. They could, however, help set off the end of the world as we know it—and begin the backward march of civilization.

It seems some of those predictions are coming true. With the world's finances in such disarray, how can we afford to give science the money it needs to continue the research that might halt global warming? Or bring us cures from the stem cells Obama has, once more, allowed scientists to study? Or search for asteroids that may be on a collision course with Earth?


The Christian proselytizers have shut one door after another that could have moved us forward.
As we are discovering
—perhaps too late—humans are not too skilled at standing still. We seem to be able to progress or regress—but not remain static.
And what do many of the obstructionists trot out to back up their assertions that global warming doesn't exist, that we should ignore possible cures, that we should abandon science? The Bible, of course.

Meanwhile, how many of these same people accept medical help when giving birth? How many vaccinate their children? How many of them go to doctors, hospitals, take medication? These are all things that, at one time, the Church viewed as heresy.
Those who would use the Bible to restrict progress are hypocrites of the highest order.

Because our forefathers had studied history and knew what came of combining Church and State, they foresaw the situation we are in now. They did their best to protect us from it. But, today, as the Constitution is losing its strength, the Church is encroaching further and further into government.
As with the matter of global warming, we may be too late to stop the slide.

April 9, 2009

oops

Hey, everyone.
Just want to let you know that my computer crashed and burned two nights ago.
After spending 14 hours on it yesterday [and replacing more components than I can count] I'm back among the living in blogsville -- though I'm still on life support. **beep beep beep**


Luckily, my post for the blog-swarm was already completed, so it will be up tomorrow.
After that, though, I'm likely to be out of circulation for a while till I get all my data imported into my virtually new computer.

The cloud does have a silver lining-- although I spent WAY too much money, I can't believe how fast this baby is!

Anyhow, I'll see you soon -- as soon as I get my head above the level of my desk.

April 7, 2009



Warren still has a huge following outside of his mega-church. The policies he supports still increase the spread of HIV in Africa.
He still hates the Constitution, especially the part about the separation of church and state. And he still advocates a State that includes only fundamentalist Christians who want to prohibit all religions except their own, want to install nativity scenes on all courthouse lawns and want to outlaw 12% of the population -- no matter what their religion may be.
xxx
BTW-- congratulations Vermont Congress! I never knew how lovely the word, "Override" sounded.
Oh, and WAY TO GO, IOWA!
And, DC recognizes all marriages, no matter whose they may be, in ALL states. Seems like a beautiful place to honeymoon, huh?

April 4, 2009

Spain Has Named Names

Spain is indicting 6 men from the Bush administration for war crimes. Like torture, for instance.
[Kind of a reverse Spanish Inquisition, if you will. YOU torture—WE put you on trial. Cool!]

Here are the Inquisition Six:
Former Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales
Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, David Addington
Former Undersecretary of Defense, Douglas Feith
Pentagon General Counsel, William Haynes
Justice Dept lawyer, John Yu
Justice Dept official and current Federal Judge (and ain’t that a kick in the head?), Jay Bybee
xxx
Meanwhile, back in this country, Dawn Johnsen has been nominated for the post of the head of the Office of Legal Counsel.
This is the same Dawn Johnsen who wrote a piece for Slate in which she asked, “Where is the outrage? . . . . We must regain our ability to feel outrage whenever our government acts lawlessly.”
[I guess she hadn’t read my blog or all the blogs I follow every day— to which the only adjective I can apply is —outrage.]

Still, even if she should get out more and maybe increase her reading, she’s apparently an ok kind of person. She sees her job as reversing all the policies followed by the former Office of Legal Counsel.

So, guess who is working like hell to block her confirmation to her new post?

OK. No guess necessary. You know who’s blocking her. I just hope the Rethugs are as effective in her case as they were in blocking the stimulus package.

SIC EM, DAWN!
xxx
Also, meanwhile, it looks like Obama would like the BushCo legal problems to just go away. He’s not appointing a Special Prosecutor to begin the investigation into the previous administration’s lawbreaking.
Even though a lawyer [whose name I forget, sorry] wrote an op-ed recently announcing the profoundly UNsurprising conclusion that Bush’s presidency met all the qualifications of a dictatorship.
Duh.
Another guy who doesn’t get out into blogsville much, I guess. How many times have I—and have you—come to that conclusion? Huh? How many?

Well, since our president doesn’t have the gonads to go after the former administration for its crimes, I’m glad Baltasar Garz√≥n, at least, is doing something.

Of course, the chances of anything coming of the— whatever the Spanish word for ‘indictments’ is —are virtually nil so long as the people involved don’t go out of the country.
And, as we all know, Bush went to Canada last month. But, so far, he’s not on the list— so maybe that doesn’t count.

btw—there has, I think, been a hint that not all names have been named yet and more indictments will be forthcoming. Gee, I hope so.
xxx
You can find more on this at yglesias.