Tuesday, March 03, 2015

With schools closed for a week due to heavy snowfall Ohio teachers volunteer to bring food to underprivileged students who will go hungry without it.

Courtesy of Cincinnati.com:  

On Thursday night, when it became clear that Newport Independent Schools would be closed for a fifth day, Principal Kyle Niederman went into a bit of a panic. 

In a school district where 90 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, he knew the snow days meant many of his Newport Intermediate students would have gone all week without having had a nutritious meal, or maybe even any meal at all. A fifth day off would mean that some might also go hungry all weekend. 

Niederman fired off an email to his teachers and staff, and on Friday morning nearly two dozen of them showed up at the school to trek across the city in the snow and biting cold, volunteering their time to knock on doors and deliver food to make sure their students were fed. 

They delivered 66 Power Packs, bags of nutritious, nonperishable items provided by the Freestore Foodbank and normally distributed to a school's neediest students on Friday afternoons. 

"We were concerned about our students and wanted to make sure we helped them the best we could," Niederman said. "They'll have food this weekend, and hopefully they'll have a good weekend."

Remember THESE are the people that Governor Scott Walker, and the Republican party, puts at the top of their enemies list.

I have known, and worked with, a lot of teachers in my time and I would say that the vast majority of them would not hesitate to do this as well.

They constantly come in to school when they are supposed to be off, buy supplies with their own money, tutor children after school for no compensation just to help them be successful, and fill in for busy parents when children are in crisis.

I am not a religious person but if I had it in my power to grant sainthood, I know dozens of teachers who would be at the top of my list.

Todd Palin finishes the Iron Dog in the middle of the pack.

"I don't care if you think it 's gross, people are watching."
Courtesy of the Iron Dog Groupie's Facebook page:  

Congratulations to all the teams in this year's brutal Iron Dog! It's the world's longest and toughest snowmachine race – 2200 miles across Alaska – and Todd's been competing in it for 22 years. I made it home in time to join family and friends at the finish line in Fairbanks after having been at the CPAC convention in D.C. the day before where I had the honor of highlighting the United States Military and our veterans. 

The Iron Dog trail was rugged; it sure tested the mettle of these athletes and the metal of their equipment in bone crunching conditions. Todd's Team #11 raced in honor of our vets who endure far worse in the name of securing our freedom. Again this year their cowlings proudly displayed the logo that reminds us of America's loyalty to Chris Kyle and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, knowing this can raise awareness and funds for this worthy cause to help wounded warriors.

You know it figures that the family of a woman famous for lying, would use this opportunity to pimp for an organization named after another well known liar. Don'tcha think?

Wow good thing Willow went to hair school. Hey, where's Bristol? Oh yeah, I forgot.
 By the way, not that I want to give Tod Palin too much credit, but more than half of the Iron Dog teams scratched this year and were unable to finish, so the mere fact that he managed to reach the finish line is no small feat.

Of course considering the conditions, it would have seemed smarter to me that they simply cancel the race this year. But hey, what do I know?

Pat Robertson says that God can free you from your slavery to vegetables. Yeah, I don't get it either.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

“God gave you and me as human beings authority, he gave us dominion over everything on this Earth,” the TV preacher explained on Monday’s 700 Club. “Over all the animals, all the snakes, all the birds, all the plants, all the vegetables.” 

“Cocaine is the product of a vegetable, alcohol is the product of a vegetable, marijuana is a vegetable,” he continued. “And yet, people are enslaved to vegetables. And you were made in the image of God. God made you in his image to reign and rule with him. He gave you incredible authority.” 

“Why would you become a slave to a vegetable? Why? Why would you do it.? 

Robertson said that he had “seen a lot of stuff” in his lifetime so he understood that people had a lot of problems, “but God Almighty can deliver you from the bondage of your addiction.” 

“Your slavery to vegetables, he can set you free,” he insisted.

As Raw Story points out cannabis is a herb, however his argument broke down essentially the minute he thought of it.

Speaking just for myself I would like Pat Robertson to know that even without God I am certainly NOT a slave to any vegetable.

I'm a slave to bacon. 

Morning quote.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Last Week with John Oliver. "America’s crumbling infrastructure: It’s not a sexy problem, but it is a scary one."

John Oliver's HBO show is fast becoming must see TV for political junkies, and people who are simply interested in seeing news presented in a factually responsible with a sides dish of humor.

This is video is a little mover 21 minutes long, but I swear to you it is a well spent 21 minutes.

Franklin Graham seems pretty okay with ISIS killing people in the Middle East. And his fans? Well his fans are downright ecstatic.

Courtesy of The Friendly Atheist:  

Franklin’s statement reverberated throughout Christian media. Thousands of ecstatic replies on Graham’s Facebook page reveal that many Christians are thrilled by the drama brought by ISIS. Below you see them celebrating the apocalypse they believe ISIS is bringing them. The consistency of a few popular themes is striking; I’ve left in just some of the endless repetition to show the odd uniformity in rhetoric. Hundreds simply say “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!”

The Friendly Atheist has posted an incredible number of responses to Graham from his Facebook page, that simply put at chilling to read.

Here are but a few:

Amen, we know the day would come and it’s here!!! 

Amen!!! Praise God…thru Christ we have the victory! Our brothers, the Coptic Christians that were beheaded for their faith in Jesus, are now in the arms of Jesus in Heaven! 

Amen, the second coming of Jesus is near. All Christians rejoice. 

Yes, Rev. Graham, they are trying to accelerate the Apocalypse… although we know how the story ends… Amen. 

Have been to Israel, have seen the valley in which this final battle will take place , true not vacant , beautiful fertile fields as far as the eyes can see… Awesome just awesome…. 

With each event that happens my mind thinks how close we are to the coming of the Lord… and hearing the trumpet sound, that its time to go home. 

ISIS just doesn’t know they they are laying out the red carpet for my Jesus. 

Amen and these are truly exciting times, to know that soon we shall behold his glory. 

You are so right. We are staring the end times in the face. Very exciting!

WTF is wrong with these people?

I know that Fundamentalist Christians like to differentiate themselves from Muslims fundamentalists,  but I have to say that I am having a harder and harder time telling any difference.

And before all of you Christian apologists start yelling at me that Christians are not beheading people, you might want to keep in mind that that is not always true, and that the urge to behead your enemies is greatly reduced when you can simply drop bombs on them from a distance.

Point of fact is that at their core both ISIS and Evangelical Christians are two sides of the same apocalyptic cult, which believes the death of thousands of innocent people will usher in the appearance of Isa/Jesus bringing peace and Islamic/Christian dominance to the world.

So WHY would true Christian believers condemn the actions of ISIS when they are working toward the same outcome?

Newly revealed footage, of Bill O'Reilly's actual news report from Buenos Aires, proves that he fabricated his experiences during the anti-government protests after the fact.

Courtesy of Mother Jones:  

To justify his claim that he was in a "war zone" and a "combat situation" in Buenos Aires, O'Reilly has pointed to his coverage of a violent protest that erupted after the Argentines surrendered. He has said that a bloodbath occurred, with Argentine troops firing live ammunition into the crowd, mowing down demonstrators, and killing "many." He also has claimed that during the protest a soldier pointed an M-16 at him, and that he heroically rescued his cameraman as O'Reilly and his crew were being chased by soldiers. 

His own real-time coverage of the protest makes no mention of a massacre or threats to him and his crew. 

What's notable about O'Reilly's report is what's not in it. He does not refer to Argentine soldiers gunning down civilians or mention any deaths. He says nothing about soldiers chasing him and his crew. And there's no reference to a CBS cameraman being injured. (A reporter who witnesses soldiers shooting protesters and killing many civilians would presumably be compelled to report on those horrors.) His report depicts exactly what other journalists and eyewitnesses have said took place: a violent demonstration in which tear gas and rubber bullets were deployed. In this 1982 report, O'Reilly called the demonstration a "disturbance." But in later years—on his Fox News show, in his writings, and at speaking engagements—he has claimed that the event was a bloody melee that amounted to "combat" in a "war zone." 

Discussing his coverage of the protest for CBS on Fox News last week, O'Reilly declared, "In my reporting, I told it exactly the way it was." He appears to be correct regarding his real-time reporting of that event. And that's his problem. His own report from 1982 shows his later—much more intense—descriptions of the event were exaggerated. With this footage, O'Reilly the reporter proves O'Reilly the pundit wrong.

Hang on, I'm making a mental note to tune in to "The factor" later on today, because you just know Billo is going to be seething.

I have to admit that I have not had as much fun with a breaking news story since Sarah Palin's bizarre resignation speech.

Wonkette's Fartknocker report has Sarah Palin calling for an increased arms race with Russia and China.

Click meth mouth to launch video
Here is the babble straight from the media whore's mouth:

"Ever get the feeling that no one's listening? (Why do I think she gets that feeling ALL of the time?) For years the Pentagon has been issuing the same warning. China is building better missiles, aircraft, and submarines that will allow them to launch surprise attacks on targets that are potentially far from its borders. Recently the Pentagon senior weapons developer, Frank Kendall, he told Congress the same thing. He said, and I quote, 'We're at risk and the situation is getting worse.' He then explained that he became, quote, 'Alarmed.' Oh goodness, 'alarmed' is not a good word coming from the mouth of a Pentagon official, Additionally China has developed electronic warfare capabilities, and anti-satellite weapons designed to undermine our nation.  So what have we been doing while China quietly, but aggressively, has been building up its military forces? (Have you heard of drones?) Well the Obama administration has responded to this kinda like it has all other threats, with impotence. (Oooh, a knock on Obama's sexuality. How Sarah Palin of her.) In his first term as President Obama cut 478 billion dollars in our defense spending. And another six billion in cuts coming in the future. Many Americans don't know that our troops, they often go into battle supported by decades old airplane, and tank designs, and using weapons that date back, well even before the Reagan administration. (And yet they still manage to win virtually every military encounter. Imagine that.) Um sometimes we're not well equipped, and yet we're cutting back? Against these threats on the globe that are ramping it up? America is the most advanced nation in the world. There's no excuse for standing aside and watching any other country erode our military superiority and build weapons that can match, or exceed our own. No America has to lead, because if we don't someone else will and we may not like the road that they lead us down.

As Wonkette points out these antiquated weapons designs that Palin is bitching about are still state of the art by comparison. and more than sufficient:

Those “airplane and tank designs” include the F-15, an aircraft that entered service in 1976 and has literally never lost a dogfight. They include the B-52, which entered service six full years before Ronald Reagan warned America of the dangers of socialized medicine, and which is currently in line for a major upgrade to its internal weapons bay thanks to a decision made by Barack Obama’s Pentagon. They include the M-1 Abrams, which remains the most ass-kickin’ main battle tank on the planet despite entering service while John Lennon was still alive. 

As Pfc. Track Palin might be able to explain to his mother, current war plans in East Asia don’t call for a lot of tank battles, mostly because the Pacific Ocean is still a thing that exists. Watch the full video, and note how Palin fails to mention that China’s only aircraft carrier is a 25-year-old Soviet tub designated for training. 

I am not precisely sure where Palin is getting her military spending numbers, however it should be noted that we are currently outspending China on our military by almost triple:

The U.S. spent $664.3 billion on defense in 2012 but will spend about $574.9 billion in 2014, while China spent $139.2 billion in 2013 and will spend $148 billion in 2014, the New York Times reported on Feb. 3. 

It should also be mentioned that our current arsenal would give ANY country, including China, serious heart palpitations if they were to consider an attack. And that is not even including our nuclear capabilities.

No the President is clearly making the right decision is dramatically cutting back our military spending, and we as a country made the right decision in keeping Little Annie Warmonger as far away from the White House as possible.

The conservative attack on intellectualism is both deeply ingrained and purposeful.

Courtesy of Salon:  

Deep on page 546 of his 1,839-page budget, Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker tucked in a crucial idea. He proposed to strip a principle from the mission statement of the University of Wisconsin, a school that attracts students from all over the nation and from 131 foreign countries. From the core philosophy that has driven the university since the turn of the last century Walker wanted to hack out the words: “Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.” Rather than serving the people of the state by developing intellectual, cultural and humane sensitivities, expertise, and “a sense of purpose,” Walker prefers that the state university simply “meet the state’s workforce needs.” In the face of scathing criticism, the governor backtracked and, despite a trail of emails that led to his office, tried to claim the new language was a “drafting error.” 

But Walker’s attempt to replace the search for truth with workforce training was no error. Since the earliest days of Movement Conservatism in the 1950s, its leaders have understood that the movement’s success depends on destroying Americans’ faith in the academic search for truth. For two generations, Movement Conservatives have subverted American politics, with increasing success, by explicitly rejecting the principle of open debate based in reasoned argument. They have refused to engage with facts and instead simply demonized anyone who disagrees with their ideology. This is an astonishing position. It is an attack on the Enlightenment principles that gave rise to Western civilization. 

Make no mistake: the attack is deliberate.

The article goes on to lay out exactly how the conservatives of the 1950's bought into the ideas of William F, Buckley who wanted to replace the progressive thinking of our founding fathers, with a kind of blind obedience to the concepts of capitalism wrapped in Christianity to keep the people malleable.

For liberals it reads like an incredibly frightening Stephen King novel focused on a terrifying creature that attacks the brain and renders people unable to differentiate between facts and faith, and yet all it takes is the memory of the last few decades to recognize the truth.

Here is how the article sums up:

By the time of the George W. Bush administration, Movement Conservatives had constructed a post-modern political world where reality mattered far less than the popular story of Conservatives standing firm against the “Liberal agenda” of godlessness and communism. As a member of the Bush administration famously noted to journalist Ron Suskind, “the reality-based” view of the world was obsolete. It was no longer viable to believe that people could find solutions to societal problems by studying reality. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” this senior advisor to the president told Suskind. “We are an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” 

Buckley’s intellectual stand had won. Facts and argument had given way to an ideology premised on Christianity and the idea of economic individualism. As Movement Conservatives took over the Republican Party, that ideology worked its way deep into our political system. It has given us, for example, a senator claiming words he spoke on the Senate floor were “not intended to be a factual statement.” It has given us “dynamic scoring,” a rule changing the way the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the economic impact of tax cuts, to reinforce the idea that cuts fuel economic growth despite the visibly disastrous effects of recent tax cuts on states such as Kansas. And it has given us attempts in Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina and Colorado to discard the A.P. U.S. History framework and dictate that students learn instead the Movement Conservatives’ skewed version of the nation’s history. Politicians have always spun information to advance their own policies. The practice infuriates partisans but it reflects the Enlightenment idea of progress through reasoned argument. Movement Conservatives’ insistence on their own version of reality, in defiance of facts, is something different altogether. 

When Governor Walker replaced “the search for truth” with “meet the state’s workforce needs” in the charge to the University of Wisconsin, he did not make an error. He was articulating the principle that has driven Movement Conservatives since their earliest days: Facts and arguments can only lead Americans toward a government that regulates business and supports working Americans, and they must be squelched. The search for truth must be replaced by an ideology that preserves Christianity and big-business individualism. Religion and freedom for mega-business, Movement Conservatives insist, is what America is all about.

It is not hyperbole in my opinion to firmly state that the Republicans in this country are engaged in a form of not so subtle treason, in which they attack truth for refusing to bend to their will and systematically try to keep the population ignorant enough to convince to support policies that damaging to our economy, to our environment, and to our future.

They must be stopped and they must be stopped now.

Second quote of the morning.

Courtesy of The Boston Globe: 

As Boston is crushed under more than eight feet of snow, with the city’s all-time record just a few frigid inches away, the people of Anchorage 3,372 miles away can also unequivocally say, “We’ve never seen a winter quite like this.” 

As of Friday, less than an inch had fallen here in February. The joke on the streets is that the two cities have swapped winters. 

“You give us your snow, and we’ll give you the Palins,” said Nina Walker, the manager of a downtown gift shop called Once in a Blue Moose.

That pretty much sums up the opinion of the Palins by the vast majority of my fellow Alaskans. 

Hell speaking for myself I would gladly trade them for just one snowflake, and still think I came out ahead on the deal.  

Quote of the morning.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Warren: 

"If Scott Walker sees 100,000 teachers & firefighters as his enemies, maybe it's time we take a closer look at his friends.”

Excellent, excellent observation.

By the way Warren is hands down my daughter's favorite politician, and she wants her to run with Hillary so bad she can hardly stand it.