Good Saturday to you Widdershins. I won’t even ask about how the weather is in your various areas because I know it’s going to be…varied. I know the Pacific coast is getting hammered by storms and even though large parts of the West Coast have been in drought, you hardly need the rain all at one time. Further, as that storm makes it way across the country I do believe I saw that other parts of the country are going to go into the ice box again. Our weather has been mild the last few days but we will get another cold snap too, later in the week. Spring cannot get here soon enough. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the odd or funny things I’ve come across lately on the web. Nothing heavy today, no politics involved.
Final weekend of Mardi Gras,
have you greased your poles yet?
The Royal Sonesta is a very nice hotel on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It is also a very expensive hotel to stay in. During the final weekend into Fat Tuesday the Royal Sonesta gets even more expensive because there are three and four night minimums for Mardi Gras at very inflated prices. The most expensive of these rooms are the ones that have balconies that overlook Bourbon Street and the craziness that goes on there Mardi Gras weekend. Here’s a pic of part of the balconies:
Because the Royal Sonesta doesn’t want the drunken riff-raff on Bourbon Street to climb up on the balconies of their very expensive rooms paid for by others, they have a tradition of The Greasing of the Poles. The hotel has been doing this for forty-four years now and it has become quite the show and recently a contest. This year, apparently they had some burlesque dancers performing the greasing duties as you see here:
You can go to the link above and see a gallery of photos take at the event. It is all in good fun and in keeping with the levity of the Mardi Gras. (sigh) Perhaps if I win the lottery, one day I too will be able to afford one of those balcony rooms for Mardi Gras.
Glow in the dark reindeer?
Oh those clever Finns! It seems they were having issues with Finlandiers (?) running into reindeer at night on the roads in Lapland. Anne Ollila of the Finnish Reindeer Herder’s Association says they tried using reflectors (where did they put them?) and reflective tape but the reindeer would just rub those things off. So, they got the bright idea (groan) painting fluorescent dyes on their antlers to see if it stays on and how the reindeer react to it. You can see a picture of it here. If it works and stays on, then more power to them for stopping the reindeer deaths.
Okay, new rule: No kerfuffling with the livestock
This one is just beyond me. I have never understood, nor do I want to, the idea of canoodling with the farm animals! But apparently it was great fun for these two!
A farmer in Herkimer County, N.Y. couldn’t figure out why his cows seemed more anxious than usual.
When they weren’t producing as much milk as usual, he set up a surveillance camera.
What he saw shocked him: two men were rolling in the hay with his livestock, CNYCentral.com reported.
…Michael Jones, 35, and Reid Fontaine, 31, were arrested for misdemeanor sexual misconduct, UticaOD.com reported.
Authorities said Fontaine attempted to have sex with several cows while Jones filmed the encounters, according to Syracuse.com.
The two were released on an appearance ticket.
The HuffPo piece went on to say that a “2011 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men who have had sex with animals were twice as likely to develop penile cancer as those who stick with their own kind.” You see boys, you’re mamma told you if you did certain stuff it would rot off. She was right.
“Dead Man Walking”
Okay I’m still shuddering and getting the willies over this. I mean, stories have been written about something similar and I have had disturbing dreams about the possibility of it happening.
Mr. Walter Williams was pronounced dead when his pulse stopped. He “died” on a Wednesday evening. It appears that he is an elderly gentleman. It was then that the normal routine of a person’s passing went into motion. A funeral home was called and they came to pick up the body of Mr. Williams and take it to their place of business. The next day, Thursday, at the funeral home the employees were getting ready to embalm Mr. Williams when they found him trying to kick through the body bag he had been placed in!
Williams started to move right as the funeral workers were getting ready to embalm him. He was rushed to the hospital and is now in good condition. The coroner said Williams’ pacemaker may have stopped working and then re-started, which could explain his pulse stopping. [Yeeah...uh-huh]
Said Mr. Williams’ nephew:
“It’s a miracle,” (Eddie) Hester said in an interview. “I don’t know how long he’s gonna be here, but right now he’s here, and the whole family is glad.” [And so is ole Walter I'll bet!]
You know, in some parts of the country (Mississippi perhaps?) it is not a requirement that the county coroner be a physician. I think I would want to change that lack of a requirement. Just sayin’.
Some youtube clips
This Boeing 767 was coming in for a landing at the airport in Birmingham England and ran into cross winds. The plane is really swaying and when it touches down it literally bounced off the runway. I’m willing to bet the interior of this plane needed a major cleaning after everyone got off of it.
This is too cute: a herd of goats having the time of their lives jumping up and balancing on a piece of steel which is apparently secured to the ground.
I loved this one. Elaine Stritch, never known to hold her tongue, drops the F bomb on the Today show.
This one is titled the worlds fastest pancake maker, but it looks more like crepes than our idea of pancakes. Anyway, he’s fast and he does seem to love his job!
Okay Widdershins, let me know below how your day is going.
Good afternoon Widdershins. I hope you are pleasantly wiling away your Friday lost in the thoughts of a glorious weekend.
Before I impart the next paragraph, I want you to go outside and run a six-minute mile or something like that because the following words need to be read with a certain breathless abandon. A breathlessness that comes with great anticipation and an endorphin inspired giddiness. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Welcome back. Now that you have achieved the required breathlessness:
Tyranny! Imperial Presidency! Lawlessness! Arrogance! Conceit! Magisterial power! Effectively having a monarch! Constitutional tipping point! Trampling freedom! President is not king! Uber-presidency! Alarming!
The genesis of these accusations were the grievous executive orders of: (1) The President delaying portions of Obamacare which Congress has voted almost fifty times to repeal; and (2) The President’s refusal to deport the American-born children of undocumented aliens.
This litany of indictments was leveled this week during a hearing before Darrel Issa’s Committee on Feces Throwing and Other Primate Practices. The subject du jour was the advisability of House Republicans suing the President for his abusive issuance of the aforementioned executive orders. (An amusing aside, it just so happened the primary witness encouraging the Republicans to sue unfortunately had just penned an article for the conservative rag Daily Caller concluding, “Congress can’t possibly sue the President.”)
For those thinking about the moral equivalency of what the Democrats were doing while Dubya was President, in all fairness, they too considered suing the President. You see during Dubya’s presidency, the Democrats were worried about such things as torture, Guantanamo Bay, military tribunals, lack of military equipment, baseless intelligence claims, fighting two wars on the cheap, and warrantless wiretapping. To counter those concerns, the Republicans proudly proclaimed, “Democrats were criminalizing differences of political opinion.”
The only logical connection I can draw from the two situations would be if the Obama undeported children were in the throes of the “terrible twos” and if so, maybe torture might indeed be appropriate.
What is significant and illustrative about this situation: When will Democrats ever learn they aren’t playing by some “Marcus of Queensbury-Miss Francis’ Playschool-Where’s Waldo” set of rules? Time and again Democrats sit idly by while outrageous, often scurrilous, misrepresentations of both fact and impact are used against them with impunity. I have a “not so prescient” bulletin for Democrats of whatever stripe or ilk:
It is going to happen again.
For instance, remember when Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers talked about “Bette in Spokane” and her insurance travails during the response to the State of the Union. Reporters tracked down the real “Bette in Spokane” and came to find Obamacare not only saved Bette money, it provided her with far superior coverage.
Or if you are in Louisiana or any number of other Senate-contested states, you have probably seen ads being run by the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity. These ads don’t even go to the trouble of trying to look for real Americans, they just use paid actors reading a script about the horrors of Obamacare. Americans for Prosperity claim these fictitious testimonials are “emblematic” — not real mind you, but emblematic of their interpretation of what the law could possibly do.
To tie this Obamacare campaign package in a nice bundle, enter Eric Cantor touting an alternative to Obamacare. In both 2010 and 2012, there was no replacement in “repeal and replace” — so in order to counter that argument Cantor is floating an alternative. What Cantor doesn’t mention is that this alternative will cut about 1 million middle-class taxpayers from employer sponsored health plans, push upwards of a million people into Medicaid, increase the number of uninsured by 500,000, and increase the deficit by $83 Billion. Who cares? It is a political slogan to round out the campaign.
Or take the defense cuts proposed this week by Secretary Hagel now that the Bush Wars are coming to a close. The Republicans sprang like a meth-addled cobra. What they conveniently neglected to say was the administration was in fact rescuing the military from the Republican sequestration cuts with a proposed funding increase.
Or take the immigration proposal by the House Republicans. It is a plan in name only with a grand total of nineteen supporters out of 232 Republican House members.
The list goes on and on. The Democrats are once again bringing a slingshot to a thermonuclear fight. They are again asleep at the electoral switch.
Remember the “death tax”? To date there has been not one example of a modern-day family farm being sold to meet taxes. Remember the “death panels”? They never existed. But both concepts are now ear-worms of modern political legend — both suicidally toxic because they were left unanswered.
It’s going to happen again. If congressional Democrats continue to play this “Where’s Waldo” game for the rest of 2014, I know one thing for sure — he won’t be in Congress.
This is an open thread.
Good Thursday, Widdershins.
First, allow me as a Florida resident to thank the state of Arizona for distracting the entire nation from whatever-the-hell- it -is than we have done lately. I find myself basking in the roseate glow of another state being roasted over the open fire of public opinion. It’s really quite refreshing.
While AZ richly deserves the ire of the masses for the unfortunate piece of legislation that would permit businesses of all stripes to deny services to the LGBT community, they are hardly alone in this endeavor. Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Idaho. Tennessee, Oklahoma, Utah, Missouri, Ohio, and Oregon are all in various stages of crafting eerily similar legislation as we speak. Somehow, Arizona appears to be carrying the load on this particular fiasco.
No one appears to be entirely certain about the source of all of this ill will. There have been some instances, especially in the wedding industry, of vendors denying services to members of the LGBT community on the basis of religious scruples. If such legislation stands, it will effectively immunize the vendors from suit. Even more unclear is the timing – almost all of these bills hit the various legislatures within a brief period of time, kind of like the rolling cavalcade of crap that sprang from ALEC after 2010, but this really does not appear to be an ALEC maneuver. This appears to be more of a Tony Perkins type of event. Oddly, no one in the more ostentatious Christian Movement appears to be claiming credit for the bills at this time.
The Republican Regulars are horrified, and well they might be. Delta, Dell, Southwestern, American Express, the NBA, WNBA, Verizon, Marriott, Intel, Yelp and a host of other businesses are unhappy about this maneuver. The NFL is reserving judgement, but the scheduled Super Bowl may well be in jeopardy. All of these things could easily cost the state billions should this bill become law. Both Senators McCain and Flake are urging Governor Brewer to veto the legislation. Three state legislators now claim that they did not really understand the (two page) bill when they voted for it, and are demanding a Mulligan. The Guv says that she needs time to really study the (two page) bill prior to making a decision.
Basically, this seems to be the usual Repub legislative maneuver of tossing a bone to the Evangelical community in order to curry favor for the forthcoming election so that they might ensure their ongoing power. Unfortunately for them, the party appears to have clean forgotten that they are owned and operated by corporate America, and corporate America is as intolerant of financial loss as the Evangelicals are of the LGBT community. What’s a poor legislator to do???
As far as the Evangelicals of my acquaintance go, they are horrified at the march of progress, and even more horrified at their inability to put a stop to all of this change. Therefore, their only open avenue is to “protect” themselves by claiming religious freedom, which would thus serve to insulate from “them”, from adverse public opinion, as well as from potential litigation. We already permit pharmacists to decline to dispense Plan B, and Catholic institutions to opt-out of contraceptive coverage by punting to the insurer. I understand how the Evangelical community now believes that any and all of their personal boogeymen might be tamed by claiming religious freedom, as it has worked so well in the matter of contraception. What they fail to comprehend is that their religious liberty ends where another’s liberties begin, and that their right to practice their religion does not include the prerogative to force others to practice it with them. No statute forces them to provide a service, but there will be no legal cover for bigotry.
This is an open thread.
UPDATE” Governor vetoes AZ bill just as I finish writing. (Of course.) Now, we wait and see what happens next. I have a feeling that we are not yet out of the woods here, although I would dearly love to be proven wrong.
Oh my dear Widdershins, I never thought that my little twerp of a governor would merit another post from me, but that’s what I get for underestimating lil Booby. I don’t know if it was the proximity to the White house and Oval Office, knowing he’ll never be anything other than a guest there or if he had a sudden case of demonic possession, but all I can say is Bobby behaved badly, to say the least.
Here they were,
all most of the guvs with a nice gathering of both Democrat and Republican governors meeting with Obama and as some folks said, it was a good, bi-partisan get-together . The guvs met with the President and Obama took the opportunity to ask them for their help with some of his initiatives that aren’t going anywhere in the House. The President “pressed in particular for states to act on their own to raise the minimum wage and expand access to early childhood education, two initiatives that have gained little traction in Congress since Obama first introduced them last year.”.
“Even when there’s little appetite in Congress to move on some of these priories, on the state level you guys are governed by practical considerations,” Obama told the governors during remarks in the State Dining Room. “You want to do right by your people.”
Now we’ve probably all seen the clip so no need to embed it here but lil Booby just couldn’t put on his company manners for the Prez.
Jindal said, Obama “seems to be waving the white flag of surrender” on the economy by focusing on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, up from $7.25. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that,” Jindal said.
Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie began mumbling, some said, and oh how I wish there had been a mic on him to pick it up! But thank goodness the Dem. guv from Connecticut, Dan Malloy, got up to the microphone saying “Wait a second, until a few moments ago we were going down a pretty cooperative road. So let me just say that we don’t all agree that moving Canadian oil through the United States is necessarily the best thing for the United States economy.”. Malloy also said “What the heck was a reference to white flag when it comes to people making $404 a week?”. “I mean, that’s the most insane statement I’ve ever heard.” For those of you like me, who may be math-fuzzy, the $404 is the $10.10/hr rate for a 40 hour week.
Danny Vinik of The New Republic, tore into some of lil Booby’s off-the-cuff remarks, and basically left them in shreds.
As Vinik says, Obama was talking about raising the minimum wage but nowhere has there been any documented evidence that the Obama economy is a minimum wage economy. Vinik wondered if perhaps lil Booby got that confused with another Republic mantra about a part-time economy. That one’s not true either. Vinik said:
I left a message with his press office asking for further clarification, but have not heard back yet. If Jindal meant to argue that more and more workers are earning the minimum wage under Obama, he’s wrong.
And then Mr. Vinik gave us a handy-dandy chart to look at:
Yep, sure looks like those numbers are going down to me! So then Vinik wondered if lil Booby meant to say
“more and more workers are earning the minimum wage under Obama”. But again, nope:
Booby’s comment about “minimum wage economies” had Vinik respond with this:
And the Louisiana governor should know what a “minimum wage economy” looks like. After all, his state has the fourth highest percentage of minimum wage workers.
Then as Steve Benen pointed out on the Maddow Blog, lil Booby wants Obama to issue executive orders to “approve the Keystone XL pipeline, approve more drilling, scuttle environmental safeguards, weaken labor agreements, and change federal education policy, all without Congress lifting a finger.”. Well, the Congress has been a “do-nothing” Congress and as Prolix has pointed out, they don’t spend a great deal of time in session. And those Republicans are awfully inconsistent when it comes to these E.O. things:
it’s just fascinating for conservative Republicans to argue that (a) Obama’s use of executive orders is a tyrannical and unconstitutional abuse of the separation of powers; and (b) Obama should use more executive orders to advance a Republican policy agenda, which wouldn’t be problematic at all.What’s more, these conservatives are now making both arguments at the same time, wholly unconcerned by the contradiction. It’s almost as if the concerns about the “lawless” White House aren’t grounded in any coherent principles at all.
Oh lil Booby, you did show everyone one thing: You are definitely not ready for prime time.
A wonderful Tuesday to all Widdershinners everywhere.
Wearing a hoodie in the rain seemed perfectly normal to Trayvon Martin, but it was a fear-inducing violation of the sovereignty of George Zimmerman’s reign in his “gated community.”
Putting electrified fences along the border is effective in managing animals on Iowa farms so it ought to work with immigrants.
Voting ought to be hard for those who are different.
Same sex marriage will devalue opposite sex marriage.
Women are taking men’s jobs.
The last day a good immigrant came to America was on the day Ellis Island closed.
Each of these are results or rallying cries of those seeing the world as a “zero sum game.” A game in which the total of all the gains and all the losses are zero — never more, never less.
To make sense, a zero sum game is premised upon a pleasingly satisfied world as it exists at that very instant. Zero sum games are premised upon the proposition that time never progresses. It is also premised upon the belief that there are a finite amount of rights, a finite amount of resources, a finite amount of fairness, a finite amount of love, a finite amount of understanding, and a finite amount of everything good and dear to humankind.
Take for instance immigration — the height of zero sum thinking. “If there are more immigrants working, they must be taking the jobs of Americans,” the thinking goes. Nothing could be farther from the truth, immigration increases the size of economy and thereby increases the number of jobs. I cringe every time I hear some dogooder say in defense of immigration, “There are some jobs Americans just won’t do.“ In other words, let’s allow immigration to the point of work Americans are too lazy to do — backhandedly endorsing the zero sum game of Americans not wanting those jobs anyway.
Or in voting rights cases — if people might vote differently, then it must be more difficult for them to vote. If you take such logic to its ultimate conclusion, why have two parties? In fact, why have voting at all? Why not have a super-computer in the bowels of the NSA churning out the optimal decisions for maintaining the fallacy of the status quo?
I’ve been hearing “zero sum game” more and more lately as pundits try and explain how a polarized electorate sees the world. Each time I hear someone say “zero sum game,” what I hear is, “Too bad time must continue to tick away. Why can’t time stop? Why must things change? Why can’t people just be satisfied with the way things are? Why can’t people be satisfied with less?”
Time doesn’t stop. Rights, just like dreams, are not finite — by their very nature they are elastic. Complexity leads to interdependency and interdependency leads to a painfully slow education of “we all do better when we all do better.” Bill Clinton often talks in terms of, “instead of winning and losing, the complexity of the modern world will force us to find solutions of win/win.”
I hope we will someday see a world where we will understand a win coming at the expense of another’s loss is diminishing to everyone. It will be the same world that understands war is bad, peace is good, tolerance is superior to hate, and parceling out need is merely delaying the inevitable.
This is an open thread.
Morning, Widdershins! MadamaB here. Due to my renewed and extensive travel schedule in a location where my Internet access can be as dodgy as Prolix’s, I am now switching to Mondays.
As you may have read, Chatblu wrote yesterday about the amazing, televised Ukrainian revolution. Except for the riot police who used live ammunition on protesters (a mere bagatelle!), leading to over 100 deaths, the whole thing was fairly peaceful, especially for a group of people who are pitting themselves against Pooty-Poot.
What happens next for the Ukraine? One of the first things the new government did was free one of the leaders of the Orange Revolution, Yulia Tymoshenko, from prison. The pro-Russian government had put her in jail in 2011, claiming that she abused her office as Prime Minister. These charges were disputed by her supporters and many Western nations.
Tymoshenko, suffering from a back injury, was rolled onstage in a pink wheelchair. She gave an emotional, forceful speech, honoring the 82 Ukrainians killed in street fighting and by riot police since Tuesday.
The opposition leader, who still has her trademark blond braid, said that Ukraine would not be truly free until “everyone bears a responsibility for what they have done,” a clear reference to the president and his ousted interior minister, who controlled the riot police forces that used live ammunition against protesters. “If we don’t prosecute, we should be ashamed.”
She told the crowd, “You changed everything — not the politicians, not the diplomats, you changed the world,” and called the ousted government “a cancer.”
At the moment, a new set of elections is being planned for May 25th, 2014, and Tymoshenko is expected to run for President.
So far so good. But what will Putin do?
8Good Sunday, Widdershins.
I officially stand in awe of the Ukrainian people. They decided that they had taken quite enough. They took matters into their own hands. They took it to the streets. Police who fought them joined them. Their legislature backed them. Their President resigned. The Prime Minister is out of jail, and a new election has been scheduled. Well done, Ukrainian brothers and sisters. Right on.
In homage to this well-done political action, I offer today’s playlist as well as numerous kudos. Please join me by posting not only your favorite protest song, but also your thoughts on this or any other subject that might strike your fancy.
(1) Get Up, Stand Up – Bob Marley
(2) Simple Song of Freedom – Bobby Darin
(3) Power to the People – Curtis Mayfield
(4) Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
(5) Subterranean Homesick Blues – Bob Dylan