Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Grain of Salt

My blog friend Nunya over at politckybitch raises some interesting questions about current events regarding swine flu in her post entitled "Color me cynical on the whole swine flu thing". Would maintream media employ sensationalism to distract from other issues, like the torture memos? Hmm...

Time on Wheels

Not too long ago, GM decided to stop production of the Oldsmobile line. Now, they are discontinuing Pontiac as well. This is sad to me. Classic Americana fading into history like an old photograph. I never thought I'd live so long.

It's not like I was unaware of such things. When I was most into cars, during my teens (16yo in 1976), I knew about brands that were real high flyers at one time that no longer existed, like DeSoto, Studebaker, Packard, and Willys, to name a few. But in those days, American autmomakers appeared strong, if knocked for loop by the energy crisis of the time. But the writing was on the wall. Anyone who is about my age would probably agree that new cars in the 70's were cheap, ugly crap. That's why we car buffs looked to the past for quality. It's probably also the first step in the sharp decline of the American market. Small efficient foreign cars took over, and American manufacturers struggled to produce poor imitations of those. Later, during the mass-consumption-consumerist-culture-me-me-me-gimme-gimme-gimme-more-more-more culture ushered in by Reagan & the Yuppies, big American junk became popular again, and the US automakers returned to producing the wrong product for the wrong reasons. In the meantime, I became a VW enthusiast in the mid- to late-eighties.

Now they pay the piper in so many ways. Oldsmobile and Pontiac, producers of such memorable machines as the Olds Rocket 88 & 442, and the historic Pontiac GTO, have gone to join the Studebaker Hawk and its brethren in automotive Valhalla. In the wake of peak oil, we look to hybrids and alternative fueled vehicles to carry us into the future. I just wish I wasn't so damn sentimental.

Update: I should add this: I had a great aunt who died in 1998 or so. As far as I know, she never lost her mental faculties. She was born around 1900 and was a nurse during WWI. Imagine witnessing almost the entire 20th century pass, and being aware the whole time! Incidentally - she chain smoked right up to the end. Go figure. Also: I inherited her favorite rocking chair, which she inherited from her father.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tales from the Opinion Page Battleground

Recently, I donned my armor and engaged in battle on my local paper's opinion-page comment forum. The letter-to-the-editor in question was asserting that America was "founded on Christian principles". No, I am not broadcasting through time from the 13th century. Where I live there are people who think that way.

So anyway, as I researched my comments in order to rhetorically eviscerate my opponents, I found some rather funny rules that we are to follow if we are indeed a Christian nation. So, I thought I would pass these along to you, my loyal readers (and the occasional lost soul who accidentally googled wildly and ended up here - HaHaHaHaHa!)

  • Don't let cattle graze with other kinds of cattle.
  • Don't have a variety of crops on the same field.
  • Don't wear clothes made of more than one fabric.
  • Don't cut your hair nor shave.
  • Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed.
  • If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die.
  • If a man sleeps with his father's wife... both him and his father's wife is to be put to death.
  • If a man sleeps with his wife and her mother they are all to be burnt to death.
  • If a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and animal must be killed.
  • If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be "cut off from their people" .
  • Psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death.
  • If a priest's daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake.
  • People who have flat noses, or is blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God.
  • Anyone who dreams or prophesizes anything that is against God, or anyone who tries to turn you from God, is to be put to death.
  • If anyone, even your own family suggests worshipping another God, kill them.
  • If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of it's inhabitants... even the animals.
  • Kill anyone with a different religion.
That last one explains a lot, doesn't it? The next time some rightie-tightie says we're living in a Christian nation... remind them that they'd better toe the line. I mean, that one about unfaithful husbands and wives being put to death would spell certain doom for the republican party!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Interesting stuff from the Interwebs

The following was a comment to an article on MSN: "...studies show 1/3 of death row is innocent, 90 percent of criminal cases are plea bargained and 96 percent of police officers admit to perjury. They actually have a name for it TESTILIE..."

96 percent of police officers admit to perjury!? Yikes! I haven't researched that claim, but if it's true, that's a pretty sad statement about the "first responder" heroes everyone praised in 2001. If it is true, I think the producers of Law and Order should take note!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

How Easy Is It To Go Vegan?

Happy Cows Come From California, a current advertising slogan says. If you really want to make a cow happy, tell it "Moo moo moo moo", which roughly translates into "I have decided not to kill you, Ms. Cow."

I don't mind telling you, I am less and less inclined to eat meat. I know humans are omnivorous and nature is full of carnivores, but the longer I live the more disgusted I am at the thought of eating it. But I love cheese and other dairy products, even knowing that "Most cow's milk has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins (up to 200 times the safe levels), up to 52 powerful antibiotics (perhaps 53, with LS-50), blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses" Oh, yum.

I kind of prefer leather shoes over man-made products, too, but I still hate the thought of eating animals.

It's hard to give up killing to make our lives a little better. Still, what are we giving up besides meat (and mad cow disease) when we spare our bovine friends from the slaughterhouse? Dig this staggering list of products made from cattle:

  • antibodies (immunoglobins)
  • beef insulin
  • bovine collagen - used as injections to fill in scars
  • bovine fibrinolysin (brand name- Elase) ointment for necrotic tissue
  • bovine super oxide - dismutase cream (Orgotein) - cosmetic skin cream to prevent tissue aging.
  • bovine thrombin (brand name- Thrombinar) clotting agent for blood culture medium - diagnosis
  • fetal bovine serum - tissue cultures
  • Hyaluronidase - efficient drug use
  • PTH - control tetany
  • pegademase - bovine derivative (brand name- Adagen) - for patients who are immune-compromised...helps prevent white blood cells from breaking down.
  • pill capsules - GELATIN
  • whole serum - vaccine manufacturing

  • estrogen
  • progesterone - a reproductive hormone

  • pepsin - aid in protein digestion
  • rennet - aid in milk digestion

  • bovine thyroid (Thyrar) a thyroid replacement
  • TSH - thyroid diagnosis
  • thyroid extract - hypothrodism
  • thyroid hormones
  • myxedema
  • cretinism

  • cortisone - for arthritis, skin allergies, anti-inflammatory medicine
  • epinephrine - aid in raising blood pressure, heart disorders, and allergies

  • heparin - anti-coagulant, prevents gangrene
  • liver extract - treatment of anemia
  • intrinsic factor - pernicious anemia
  • Vitamin B12 - prevention of B-complex deficiencies

  • heparin - anti-coagulant, prevents gangrene

  • plasma protein
  • blood albumin - RH factor typing
  • Fraction I - hemophilia
  • Fraction V - kills viruses
  • iron for anemia
  • thrombin - blood coagulant
  • protein extracts
  • diagnostic microbiology

  • heart valves for human transplant

  • medical sutures - surgery

  • bone marrow - blood disorders
  • bone meal - calcium and phosphorous source
  • mineral source in supplements
  • collagen and bone for plastic surgery
  • soft cartilage - plastic surgery
  • xiphisternal cartilage (breastbone) plastic surgery

  • chymotrypsin - contact surgery
  • diastase - aid in starch digestion
  • glucagon - treat hypoglycemia
  • insulin - diabetes mellitus
  • pancreatin - aid digestion
  • trypsin - for burns, wounds, and infection - promotes healing - aid in protein
  • digestion and in cleaning wounds

  • ACTH - arthritis, allergies, rheumatic fever, skin and eye inflammations
  • pressor hormone - regulates blood pressure
  • prolactin - promotes lactation
  • vasopressin - controls intestinal and renal functions

  • cholesterol - hormone products

  • nitroglycerine
  • antibodies (immunoglobins)
  • beef insulin
  • bovine collagen - used as injections to fill in scars
  • bovine fibrinolysin (Elase - brand name) ointment for use on necrotic tissue
  • bovine super oxide - dismutase cream (Orgotein) - cosmetic skin cream to prevent tissue aging
  • bovine thrombin (Thrombinar - brand name) clotting agent for blood
  • culture medium - diagnosis
  • fetal bovine serum - tissue cultures
  • Hyaluronidase - efficient drug use
  • PTH - control tetany
  • pegademase - bovine derivative (Adagen - brand name) -- for patients who are immuno-compromised - helps prevent white blood cells from breaking down.
  • pill capsules - GELATIN
  • whole serum - vaccine manufacturing


  • a huge variety of fresh, frozen, and pre-cooked meats
  • and prepared and processed meat products

  • butter
  • casein (proteins)
  • cheese and cheese products
  • cream
  • food ethanol
  • ice cream and ice cream mixes
  • lactose (carbohydrates)
  • milk powder
  • sherbet
  • whey (proteins)
  • fats (lipids)
  • yogurt

  • chewing gum
  • lard
  • oleo margarine
  • oleo shortening
  • oleostearin
  • pharmaceuticals
  • rennet for cheese (sheep)
  • rennet for cheese (sheep)
  • shortening

  • blood sausage
  • bone meal
  • cake mixes
  • deep-fry batters
  • egg substitute
  • gravy mixes
  • imitation seafood
  • pasta
  • whipped toppings and coffee whiteners

  • whitener in refined sugar

  • gelatin capsules
  • gelatin deserts
  • ice cream, malts and shakes
  • marshmallow
  • potted meats

  • sausage casings

  • sausage casings
  • gelatin
  • candies and confectionery
  • flavorings
  • foods
  • gelatin desserts
  • ice cream
  • marshmallows
  • mayonnaise
  • yogurt


  • adhesives
  • animal feed
  • buttons
  • carriers for human medicine
  • cosmetics
  • glue
  • pharmaceuticals
  • sizing
  • specialty plastics
  • veterinary medicines

  • adhesives
  • bone marrow
  • bone meal
  • fabric printing and dyeing
  • leather-treating agents
  • livestock feed
  • minerals
  • plaster retardant
  • plywood adhesive
  • diagnostic microbiology
  • from colloidal proteins - glue for automobile bodies
  • protein source in feeds
  • sticking agent
  • textile sizing

  • bone charcoal
  • pencils
  • high grade steel
  • bone handles
  • bone jewelry
  • mineral source in feed
  • fertilizer
  • dried bones
  • buttons
  • bone china
  • glass
  • porcelain enamel
  • water filters
  • whitener in refined sugar

  • adhesives
  • bandage strips
  • collagen cold cream
  • cellophane wrap and tape
  • crochet needles
  • dice
  • dog biscuits
  • emery boards and cloth
  • fertilizer
  • glycerine
  • laminated wood products
  • neatsfoot oil
  • photographic film
  • plywood and paneling
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • wallpaper and wallpaper paste
  • syringes

  • anti-aging cream
  • cholesterol

  • PRODUCTS FROM FATS AND FATTY ACIDS (edible and inedible)
  • animal foods
  • biodegradable detergents
  • biodiesel
  • cellophane
  • cement
  • ceramics
  • chalk
  • chemicals
  • cosmetics
  • crayons
  • creams and lotions (sheep)
  • deodorants
  • detergents
  • explosives
  • fertilizer
  • fiber softeners
  • floor wax
  • glycerin
  • glycerol
  • antifreeze
  • herbicides
  • horse and livestock feeds
  • industrial oils and lubricants
  • insecticides
  • insulation
  • linoleum
  • livestock feed
  • lubricants
  • makeup
  • matches
  • medicines
  • mink oil
  • nitroglycerine
  • oil polishes
  • ointment bases
  • oleostearin
  • paints
  • paraffin
  • perfumes
  • pet foods
  • pharmaceuticals
  • plasticizers
  • plastics
  • printing rollers
  • protein hair conditioner
  • protein hair shampoo
  • putty
  • rubber products
  • shaving cream
  • shoe cream
  • soaps
  • solvents
  • stearic acid (sheep)
  • tallow for tanning
  • textiles
  • tires
  • water proofing agents
  • weed killers

  • ornaments

  • air filters
  • artist's paint brush
  • felt and rug padding
  • insulation material
  • non-wovens
  • plastering material
  • textiles
  • upholstering material

  • belts
  • collagen-based adhesives (from trimmings)
  • bandages
  • emery boards
  • glues -for papermaking, bookbinding, cabinetmaking
  • sheetrock
  • wallpaper
  • drum head (sheep)
  • pharmaceuticals
  • photographic materials
  • leather sporting goods
  • leather wearing apparel
  • luggage
  • pigskin garments, gloves, and shoes
  • porcine burn dressings for burn victims
  • shoes and boots
  • upholstery
  • wallets

  • chessmen
  • combs
  • buttons
  • fertilizer
  • horn handles
  • imitation ivory
  • inedible bone meal
  • livestock feeds
  • ornaments
  • piano keys
  • plant food

  • instrument strings
  • sausage casings
  • tennis racquet strings

  • fertilizer - used in gardens, lawns and farm cropland
  • nitrogen
  • potash
  • phosphorus
  • minor minerals

  • airplane lubricants and runway foam
  • car polishes and waxes
  • hydraulic brake fluid
  • Stearic acid - helps rubber in tires hold shape under steady surface
  • friction
  • steel ball bearings containing bone charcoal
  • textiles for car upholstery
  • various machine oils and viscous fluids

  • asphalt binder
  • carpet
  • clothing
  • cosmetics
  • fabrics
  • felt
  • insulation
  • lanolin
  • medical ointments
  • paint and plaster binder
  • pelt products
  • rouge base
  • rug pads
  • upholstery
  • woolen goods
  • worsted fabric
  • yarns

If you made it this far, it's a good time to point out that there are some mighty good uses for soy and hemp.

Idea #1 on How to Fix California's Economy

Okay, in the spirit of Constantly Amazingness, I have figured out a way to fix California's shattered economy. You're chuckling already? Well, this could be the one that wins the biscuit. All it requires is some of the same civic-minded progressive volunteerism that "Hollywood Liberals" are known for.

Here's the deal, truthseekers:

Of the things for which California is reknowned, at the top of the list, thereabouts, is: The Film Industry. And if there's one thing the Studios know how to do, it's make money. I mean, it's an American stereotype, isn't it? Rich producers, directors, actors & actresses, and all manner of industry insiders. Even talentless human mannequins who chatter with celebs of all levels make more in 5 minutes than I'll probably earn over my entire lifetime.

So, with that in mind, here's my idea: California already has all the infrastructure in place, as well as most of the industry talent, so: I think that the state should go into the movie business.

Now, just for clarification, I am not talking about tourism documentaries here. I am talking about full-blown world-class movie making, with all the production value of a seasonal blockbuster. Picture this: Directors, performers, etc., volunteer their time to contribute to the production of a film that is designed to generate profit. Again, I am talking real-deal cinematography here. Imagine some of the greats who are financially able to contribute and would be happy to do it: civic-minded directors like Rob Reiner come to mind, or Ron Howard, (Scorcese would do it... for NY), and countless others from, as I said, all areas of the entertainment industry. Tim Robbins & Susan Sarandon. Barbara Streisand. Janene Garofolo!

Eventually, after a hit or two, volunteerism would not be necessary, as the state-run studio would be self-sustaining and profit-generating. It could establish its own competitive television network, with all profits going into state coffers.

The scenario I imagine is a serious enterprise, not a publicity stunt. What kind of money are we talking about? Well, here are a few profitable movies and their numbers:

Titanic $717,700,000.00
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King $470,513,663.00
Jurassic Park $397,050,000.00
Shrek 2 $388,060,852.00
Star Wars $387,950,000.00
ET: The Extra-Terrestrial $385,955,277.00
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest $382,185,666.00
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers $369,142,189.00
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone $362,278,946.00
Star Wars: Phantom Menace $347,144,149.00
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets $339,493,940.00
Finding Nemo $339,457,489.00
Independence Day $333,484,628.00
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring $324,841,547.00
Lost World: Jurassic Park $318,343,340.00
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith $309,235,289.00
Lion King, The $304,777,781.00
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $296,106,518.00
Sixth Sense, The $291,250,838.00
Forrest Gump $284,700,000.00

And that's just a few movies. If I am not mistaken, there is even bigger money in television and DVD releases.

California's budget deficit is something like $40 billion. It has all the tools at hand to start is own entertainment empire; one that would reap profits at hundreds of millions of dollars a pop. That's one way to make a dent in a deficit.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Darwin would have been so proud


Thousands of dolphins block Somali pirates
Thousands of dolphins blocked the suspected Somali pirate ships when they were trying to attack Chinese merchant ships passing the Gulf of Aden, the China Radio International reported on Monday.

Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs
"I believe I speak for the entire human race when I say, 'Holy fuck,'" said Oceanographic Institute director Dr. James Aoki, noting that the dolphin has a cranial capacity 40 percent greater than that of humans. "That's it for us monkeys."

Hmmm... :)

Tip o' the hat to Nancy

10 Repubican Lies for Tax Day

10 Repubican Lies for Tax Day
1. President Obama will raise taxes on small businesses.
2. The estate tax devastates small businesses and family farms.
3. 40% of Americans pay no taxes.
4. Tax cuts always increase revenue.
5. The GOP is the party of fiscal discipline.
6. Ronald Reagan was the greatest tax cutter of all time.
7. FDR caused the Great Depression, or at least made it worse.
8. Obama's cap-and-trade plan will cost each American family $3,100 a year.
9. Obama's tax proposals will undermine charitable giving.
10. The rich pay too much in taxes already.
All lies. Click on the link for more about each one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Shock: What if there was more to the story than the mainstream media spoon-feeds us?

My old friend Mike of the North offers food for that in this entry at his blog Screams from the Wilderness. He reminds us that there is always more to the story.

Of course, we don't condone bloodthirsty violence. But desperate times drive people to desperate measures, and quite frankly, Somalia has seen deperate times so long that Hell probably appears as a distant cloud on the horizon.

Sam Kinison once joked that starving people in Ethiopia should GO WHERE THE FOOD IS!! (his screaming, not mine). Evidently it's not so easy. Some try to make a go of it and bloom where they're planted. I don't condone violence, and the story's resolution certainly is an example of "live by the sword, die by the sword." But is is also important to remember that evil is not always done for it's own sake; there is usually a complex dynamic of different influences at work; social, economic, environmantal; that result in the news of the day.

It's ironic. When you see a picture of a starving, impoverished Somalian, you might think that, among other things, they have to live a simple life. But the harder things get, the more it seems that life is not so simple after all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Oestre, part II

No one will ever believe me, but I swear this is true:

When I was about 14 or 15 years old, I had a summer job at a lumber yard/feed store in Arizona. One of the areas where I stacked lumber bordered forest (eastern/central AZ ponderosa pine forest, like this:

One day, while stacking lumber, I saw, through the brush, a jacktabbit as big as a full-grown german shepard.

No one believed me then, and no one believes me now. But I grew up in that area, and I was used to judging size according to the surrounding visual references, to I don't think I was mistaken. I saw a jackrabbit the size of a large dog. I'm not sayin' it was the Easter Bunny, but it was what we called, at that time, one fuckin' huge-ass jackrabbit!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Oestre, Pagans!

Well, it's time once again for my fifth annual Oestre post, pagans! Let's run naked through the forest and dance around oak trees like our druidic forebears!

Weird Easter traditions from around the world
Surely the strangest Easter custom takes places in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, where there is a tradition of spanking or whipping women on Easter Monday. Males throw water at females and spank them with handmade whips made of willow and decorated with ribbons at the end. The spanking is supposed to be symbolic and according to legend, females should be spanked in order to keep their health and beauty during the next year.

In Finland, children dress up and go begging in the streets with sooty faces, carrying broomsticks.

In Spain, a traditional “death dance” is performed which involves a parade down the streets of the medieval town. Everyone involved is dressed in costumes and the procession ends with frightening skeletons carrying boxes of ashes.

In Germany the tradition is to create an Easter fire out of used Christmas trees from the winter. The fire is seen as a symbol of the victory for the beautiful and sunny spring over the cold days of winter.
And now, on to my traditional reprints of oestre posts from years past :) That's what tradition is all about, right?

Easter's Pagan Origins
Many, perhaps most, Pagan religions in the Mediterranean area had a major seasonal day of religious celebration at or following the Spring Equinox. Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a fictional consort who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. He was Attis, who was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during the period March 22 to 25. "About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill...Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection."

Wherever Christian worship of Jesus and Pagan worship of Attis were active in the same geographical area in ancient times, Christians "used to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation."

Many religious historians believe that the death and resurrection legends were first associated with Attis, many centuries before the birth of Jesus. They were simply grafted onto stories of Jesus' life in order to make Christian theology more acceptable to Pagans. Others suggest that many of the events in Jesus' life that were recorded in the gospels were lifted from the life of Krishna, the second person of the Hindu Trinity. Ancient Christians had an alternative explanation; they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of Christ in order to confuse humanity. Modern-day Christians generally regard the Attis legend as being a Pagan myth of little value. They regard Jesus' death and resurrection account as being true, and unrelated to the earlier tradition.

Wiccans and other modern-day Neopagans continue to celebrate the Spring Equinox as one of their 8 yearly Sabbats (holy days of celebration). Near the Mediterranean, this is a time of sprouting of the summer's crop; farther north, it is the time for seeding. Their rituals at the Spring Equinox are related primarily to the fertility of the crops and to the balance of the day and night times. Where Wiccans can safely celebrate the Sabbat out of doors without threat of religious persecution, they often incorporate a bonfire into their rituals, jumping over the dying embers is believed to assure fertility of people and crops.
More about Easter
In Norway, in addition to skiing in the mountains and painting eggs for decorating, it is tradition to solve murders at Easter. All the major television channels show crime and detective stories (such as Poirot), magazines print stories where the readers can try to figure out who did it, and many new books are published. Even the milk cartons change to have murder stories on their sides. Another tradition is Yahtzee games.

In the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, a tradition of whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, males whip females with a special handmade whip... [consisting] of eight, twelve or even twenty-four withies (willow rods) and is usually from half a meter to two meters long and decorated with coloured ribbons at the end. It must be mentioned that while whipping can be painful, the purpose is not to cause suffering. Rather, the purpose is for males to exhibit their attraction to females; unvisited females can even feel offended. The whipped female gives a coloured egg to the male as a sign of her thanks and forgiveness. A legend says that females should be whipped in order to keep their health and fertility during whole next year. In some regions the females can get revenge in the afternoon when they can pour a bucket of cold water on any male.
Call it Easter, Spring Solstice, Fertility, Jesus, Rabbits, or whatever... even the celebration of the marketing of hideous crap.

Finally, a constantly amazing blog post is nothing without my obligatory political section [link]
George Washington:
"The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine."

Adolph Hitler:
"The national government... will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality.”
So, happy easter, everyone... another ancient pagan ritual celebrating the natural order of things. Seasons change. New life appears, and old things pass away. Constantly Amazing, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rambling Thoughts…

  1. Here's one that you don't hear everyday: I don't think we should have states. I think we should just be one big country. I mean, we live under three governments already: local, county, and federal. Why not just live under one government instead? PS: I already know why it was set up that way, I'm just sayin' it was not the best choice.

  2. I think health care and education should be freely available to everybody. What is the point of humans forming societies, anyway? It's because a group of people can each contribute to the group in different ways that benefit the group as a whole. And certain things are fundamental to the survival and progress of the group. These are the very basic necessities of life: Shelter, clean water, basic nutrition, basic healthcare, and yes, education. I think a society that provides these basic necessities to its members eliminates a lot of problems before they start.

    Now, I already know the conservative response: "There's no such thing as free healthcare or education, someone has to pay for it." Really? When we dial 911, does the operater ask us for a credit card number? When you need a cop or a fireman, do they require you to show them your protection plan ID card? No, that sounds absurd. Instead, we take it for granted that we will share the cost of such services and all benefit from them. Wouldn't our society be great if we could count on getting treated for pneumonia as surely as we can count on the other "free" services we all enjoy in the industrialized world?

  3. I don't support giving billions or trillions of $ to crooked brokers/bank owners/etc. I was a Kucinich supporter, and he said that the bailout(s), the first of which came in Fall 2008, was obscene. At a gut level, I agree. I am no economist, but if those bailed-out businesses didn't get that money, and went bankrupt, what would happen? How bad could it be? Maybe some of them should have just gone under. In a free market economy, that's what would happen, anyway. Bonus Rant: Any wingnuts who claim the bailout has anything to do with liberalism has forgotten that the bankers, wall street brokers, CEOs, etc., are hardcore rightwing conservative Republicans all; still surviving off the corporate welfare blessings of their St. Ronnie.

  4. Speaking of saints, what the hell is it with the wingnuts' insistence on referring to Obama as the Messiah? Liberals never say it. I think they say it to enrage the religious right, to give them the impression Obama supporters are worshipping false idols. The religious right have always been the Repukes' patsies, anyway.

  5. I have heard a lot of rightwing talking heads use the words "socialist" and "socialism" lately. Personally, I doubt if most of them know what socialism even is. Or liberalism, or even conservatism, for that matter.

  6. If I read one more time that "Liberals hate Rush because he is right", my head will explode. I want to reply: "Is that why you hate Jon Stewart? Because he is right?" (forgive me for comparing the two).