“To be or not to be/That is the question.”

The Spouse asked an interesting question this morning:

“Why is it that many women feel they have the right to have an abortion with (or without) her male partner’s consent, but biological fathers are required by law to provide 18 years of child support with or without his consent? There should be a pro-choice movement for both sides of this situation.”

What do you think?

About these ads

“I love it when a plan comes together”

Komen blinked first:

“We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not. Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.”

We’ll just all wink eye and ignore the pegging that our bullshit detectors get when this statement is read. Of course it done for political reasons. There are strong anti-choice forces within the Komen Foundation, and they were given control of the foundation by Karen Handel, Komen’s new VP for Public Policy. Handel has a long anti-choice history, and she turned the Komen Foundation into a tool for wingnuts to further their political agenda.

Handel and her lackeys were playing politics with breast cancer. That’s despicable.

And of course you all know who’s to blame for shaming Komen into doing the morally correct thing.

You are.

You who organized yourselves online.
You who contacted Komen corporate sponsors and voiced your outrage.
You who donated money for breast cancer screenings directly to Planned Parenthood. (I take back half of all the bad things I’ve ever thought about Michael Bloomberg.)
You who called and wrote Komen and raised hell with them about their political blunderings.

You made that plan come together. Take a bow.

“Yes, I wrote that.” “Well, I didn’t write it, but it’s okay.” “I didn’t write that, and I’ve never heard of it.” “No, I didn’t write that one, either.”

What is it with Ron Paul?

First he published a series of newsletters in the ’80s and ’90s that contained racist, homophobic, and wild-eyed conspiracy spew.

Then he sorta denied that he’d written the inflammatory material but tried to defend it.

Now he denies that he even knew the hate material even existed, and has walked out of media interviews for what he terms “badgering” about the issue. This, despite his inability or lack of interest in who would say such things under his signature.

And then he claimed that there were “only” a few bad sentences in the material.

These are big red flags, folks.

(If you want to see excerpts from those newsletters in hourly snippets, look here.)

In the latest segment of this Who-the-Hell-Is-Steering-the-Paul-Boat saga, his Twitter account tweeted Jon Huntsman last night and mocked Huntsman’s campaign in Iowa:

“@jonhuntsman we found your one Iowa voter, he’s in Linn precint (sic) 5 you might want to call him and say thanks…”

Now Paul claims he didn’t write the jibe.

Just who the hell is managing your campaign and social outlets, Mr. Paul? It’s obvious that you do not have your hands on the wheel, and who wants a chief executive who doesn’t manage well?

“I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.”

These words of Franklin Roosevelt are from his 1937 inaugural address. At the time our country was struggling to recover from the worst world-wide economic depression in history, and it was Roosevelt’s firm economic hand that was slowly guiding us to a recovery:

It has often been said that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved capitalism from itself. What that means is that FDR took office at the lowest depths of the Great Depression, when it was clear that rampant uncontrolled capitalism had not only failed to benefit the more than one-third of Americans were ill-housed, ill-clothed, and ill-fed, but had also collapsed on itself due to the uncontrolled excesses that unregulated free markets had created. But rather than scrapping the system, FDR went about fixing it by establishing the regulations that capitalism needs to function effectively, the policies needed to give people confidence in the system, and the programs needed to ensure that a larger and larger proportion of Americans would benefit from the system.

I have been a free-market advocate for a good deal of my adult life, but the last few years have demonstrated to me an important aspect of capitalism that is currently missing from our world:

Transparency and accountability are essential to a healthy capitalism.

And right now, they’re missing.

The “problems” that corporate business has with government regulation are self-generated. If businesses ran openly, with complete transparency and personal accountability in place, most government-mandated regulation would be unnecessary.

However, as the financial industry illustrated quite clearly in 1929 and in 2008, regulation is necessary because that industry failed to regulate itself and failed to act in a moral manner. Further, the banks in particular refused to see what their less scrupulous financial competitors were doing, and did it themselves.

And guess what, folks? This is exactly what the Occupy movement is demanding! Not “gimme money!”, or “eat the rich!”, or “burn it down!” All that Occupy wants is for there to be a level playing ground for getting ahead in this world. As the 1970’s PSA used to say about blacks, “All they want is the best job they’re qualified for, the best house they can afford, and the best education they can swing for their kids.”

Sanity breaks out in Congress

“This country does in fact have a serious deficit problem. But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars — unpaid for. It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country. It was cause by a recession as a result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of this deficit, I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. That’s wrong.” — Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Yet one more reason why growing your own is always better

Honey is beginning to…

Rather, I should say “honey” is beginning to show up on your grocery shelf that most likely isn’t real honey.

Years ago the Chinese government began a program of heavy subsidy to its honey producers. The result was that a tremendous amount of extremely cheap honey was being dumped into the U.S. market. The honey producers lobby took two steps: they asked the federal government to put a steep tariff on Chinese honey (so that U.S. producers wouldn’t be run out of business), and they began having Chinese honey tested for content and purity.

Investigators discovered that most Chinese honey was heavily laced with antibiotics (some of them illegal in the U.S.), and that what was often labelled “honey” was actually the result of feeding the bees high-fructose corn syrup instead of letting the bees forage for wildflowers and cultivated plants.

And now another discovery has been made: a lot of Chinese honey (and honey from unknown origins and packed by U.S. companies) now contains no pollen.

The official excuse is that American tastes demand crystalline-clear product, and the lack of pollen is the result of a high-pressure filtering process. The more likely reason is that such honey comes from bees that never see a flower in their six-week-long lives, and whose origin now cannot be determined.

Some interesting discoveries were made by Vaughan Bryant, a melissopalynologist from Texas A&M University:

  • 76% of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, The stores include TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop, and King Soopers.
  • 100% of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.
  • 77% of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target, and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.
  • 100% of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s, and KFC had no pollen.
  • Every sample bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

Honey without pollen cannot be traced to its origin, and in truth it cannot be confirmed as to whether such material came from bees feeding on plants or bees feeding from buckets of high-fructose corn syrup. You can’t even prove it is honey at all.

The lesson here is that just like any other pursuit of quality food, whether it be honey or meat or produce or whatever, it is always best to buy local, from someone you trust.

As Michael Pollan has said, “Cheap food is an illusion. The real cost of the food is paid somewhere.”

“He that doeth evil hateth the light…” of Google

Google makes an effort to be transparent about its interactions concerning governmental requests for content removal from various countries. Since Google owns YouTube, the remove request reports include requests for content removal of YouTube videos.

Here’s a screenshot of removal requests from the United States in the first half of this year (click to enbiggen):

Care to take any bets as to the locales that requested YouTube video removals? Occupy New York City? Occupy Oakland?

Inquiring minds would love to know.

“No poor person ever gave me a job!”

This came from a discussion forum in Democratic Underground:


Title: “No poor person ever gave me a job”

“That statement is one that the ‘right-wing’ always throws out when confronted with the failure of ‘trickle-down’ tax-cuts for the wealthy. My sister-in-law, who has had her brain turned to mush from inhaling too many fumes from Limbaugh’s waste-hole, threw this at me the other day. I responded; ‘and a poor person has never fired me and then drained my pension plan’.

“It shut her up and it caused me to try to come up with some more arguments to counter the ‘No poor person ever gave me a job’ crap.

  • No poor person ever charged me a $5 fee for the pleasure of holding my money.
  • No poor person ever denied me medical care because I had a pre-existing condition.
  • No poor person ever foreclosed on my house.
  • No poor person ever shipped my neighbor’s job overseas.
  • No poor person ever tripled my interest rate because I missed one payment.
  • No rich person ever ‘gave’ me a job either…I got it because my labor had value.

“And like Elizabeth Warren said: ‘no rich person got rich without the society and infrastructure we all helped to build’.”

(Thanks to The Spouse for the tip.)

“Detentions are looking very possible.”

From: Speaker of the House Principal John Boerner
To: Representative Sophomore Michele Bachmann
Re: Your excessive class absenteeism

Michele, we really need to do something about how often you are missing classes.

At the time you announced that you were running for class president, you were only  attending 2 of your 5 daily classes. I understand that you had notes from your parents excusing your absences, but 40% attendance is missing far too many classes. You and I have had several talks about this, and you keep promising me you’ll get better about this.

However, since your candidacy announcement it has gotten worse. You did not show up to class a single time in the entire month of September. Also, you have done very little, if any, of your homework.

This is inexcusable, and no way for a potential class president to behave.

Here’s the deal. You start showing up and doing your job (attending classes and getting your homework in and on time), and I’ll forgive your past transgressions and allow you to run for office. The other candidates (Mitt, Ricky, and Herman) are managing their workload and social life much more responsibly, and quite frankly they are showing the maturity necessary to handle the office of class president far better than you.

Come to my office at your first opportunity; we need to talk.

Principal John

“Some things’ll scare you so bad you hurt yourself.”

John Henry Faulk

Molly Ivins, one of the foremost liberal journalists of our times, had a wonderfully Texan way of expressing herself. She had a deep, abiding friendship with Texas radio star and First Amendment champion John Henry Faulk. Here’s a story Ivins tells about Faulk and his buddy “Boots” Cooper:

The next time you hear or read some screed from a religious fundie, a political fundie, or (worst) religious and political fundie, and they

  • spew their racist venom at our president
  • babble their homophobic terror at gays and gay marriage
  • gibber inanely at their inability to comprehend that the world changes constantly
  • harangue about their incontrovertible dependence upon faith in a “higher being”

Remember that all you’re hearing is their fear. They’re afraid–afraid of the unknown, afraid of new people and new concepts. They’re afraid that what they hold dear might be wrong, or immoral, or harmful.

They may be decent people on the inside, but fear keeps that decency at bay. It keeps them looking for enemies, and keeps them seeking for answers that they in turn want to force upon others.

All those people can do is be afraid.

Don’t you be one of them.

Fresh from Morality Central…

The Intercom rang. “What is it, Michael?”

“Uh, Sir, I…uh, think we may have a situation here.”

God heaved a sigh. “Okay, my calendar’s clear for the next split millenium. C’mon in.”

There was a knock at the Door, and a winged angel quietly stepped in. A piece of Paper was clutched in his hand.

“What is it this time, Michael? Frothy Mix step in it again?”

“No, Sir. It’s worse. Crazy Eyes didn’t vet her staffers very well. Again.”

God gestured at the Paper. “Let’s see it.”


It seemed that Peter Waldron wasn’t the nice, well-organized campaign staffer that Michele Bachmann hired him to be. Waldron spent February 2006 in jail in Uganda under arrest for terorism. He was caught with possession of assault rifles and ammunition, with intent to distribute. The local police thought he might have been planning to help local militias hunt down and capture Joseph Kony, a warlord with a $1.7 million bounty on his head. Others suspected the timing of the arms importation, just before the first free elections in Uganda in 20 years. Waldron was released and deported after pressure was applied to the Ugandan government from the Bush Administration.

Others thought Waldron was trying to set up his own political powerbase with the idea of turning Uganda into a “Christian nation”. Waldon is good friends with Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan evangelist who has been spearheading the move to make homosexuality a crime in Uganda (and in some cases a capital crime).

Waldron is now a high-level Michele Bachmann staffer, reportedly working in the faith-based support campaigns in Iowa and South Carolina. He…


“Oh, for Son’s Sake!” God slapped the Paper down on His Desk. “Where do these idiots find these idiots??!”

Michael shuffled uncomfortably.

God stared out His Office Window for a moment. “First it was Huckabee and his ‘coming back to God’. Then it was Perry trying to summon My Presence at that rally of pinheaded religionists in Texas. Now it’s Bachmann. What the hell has happened to My Faithful?”

Michael cleared his throat. “Uh, Sir, what about releasing a plague or something…”

“No, no. Aren’t the American people suffering enough as it is? Besides, that would just make martyrs out of those morons.”

God heaved a sigh. “I’d do the Burning Bush thing on Perry’s head, but that ugly animal hide on his head would just go up like a torch.” Pause. “I’m just going to let things ride, I think. Bachmann will try to weasel out of this, as usual, and I’m not inclined to save her ass.”

Michael started to leave, but just then his cell rang. He picked up, listened for a moment, turned back to God who was still staring out the Window, and murmured, “Uh, sir, Christine O’Donnell just walked out of an interview on CNN, and she’s on the horn…”

Without looking up God interrupted, “Her I’ll burn! She’s a witch, anyway.”

“Eat our veggies–they’re good for you”

Proper morality includes the drive to care for the ones you love to the very best of your abilities, and to work to fulfill the goals that your drive dictates.

One good example: growing your own vegetables.

Aside from the physical beauty and healthy green of a garden:

Purple broccoli from our garden

…there is a bountiful harvest of food bursting with freshness and flavor, and not bursting with pesticides, herbicides, preservative waxes, over-fertilized soil, fungicides, artificial color, irradiation, and using genetically modified stock whose nutritive values are greatly reduced for sake of color or shelf life or resistance to weeds (in other words, a sacrifice of food value for monetary gain).

This came from our garden just today. Clockwise from left--broccoli of various colors, zucchini, thyme (hiding behind the broccoli leaves), beets, garlic, a couple of kinds of cucumber

You can do this, too. The internet is full of good sources of information on how-tos, suggestions for garden designs, and how to prepare the food you grow.

But you have to take that first step–you have to do it.

(For all this, I most humbly thank The Spouse®. With a little help from me and the Four Horsemen, she makes all this happen. And baby, we haven’t even gotten to the tomatoes, which will start ripening in about two weeks.)

Fair and balanced, my rosy-red a$$

Anyone catch the media analysis portion of Fox News Watch lately? Have you noticed that there is one major-league story about the media that Fox News Watch doesn’t blather on about? At all? Not even on the on-screen news ticker?

The Fox News pundits sure talk around the issue:

CAL THOMAS: Anybody want to bring up the subject we’re not talking about today for the — for the [online] streamers?

JAMES PINKERTON: Sure. Go ahead, Cal!

THOMAS: No, go ahead, Jim.


THOMAS: I’m not going to touch it.

JUDY MILLER (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): With a ten foot [inaudible].

Hint: Rubert Murdoch owns Fox News. (Oh, and stay tuned. The News Corp. scandal is about to spread onto our own hallowed shores soon.)

Sure. “Fair and balanced.”


It’s time to play “Pick Those Tomatoes”!

Let’s play our game! Here’s the situation:

American unemployment is at 40%+. The few jobs out there pay far less than a living wage. We have the 21st-century equivalent of hundreds of thousands of Okies wandering from town to town looking for work.

On the flip side, Canada is rich. Global warming (which doesn’t exist, according to some) has changed Canada’s climate so that it has become the breadbasket of a world that is increasingly water- and food-poor. Jobs are plentiful and wages are far above anything available in America. Canada has become one of the major economic powers in the world. However, Canada has a restrictive immigration policy that minimizes the number of foreigners that can apply for residency and citizenship.

You’re the head of a household in St. Paul, Minnesota, and you haven’t worked in over a year. You’ve lost your house and most of your possessions, you and your extended family are living in a shelter, and your kids are eating one meal a day. You know about those jobs in Canada, and a group of people you know are planning to sneak across the border to Manitoba to pick crops for cash. Doing the same would give you the opportunity to send money home so that your children could eat and go to school wearing shoes.

What do you do?

Indeed, what do you do?