The Widdershins

CREDIT: Timothy A. Clary via Getty Images, 9-21-14

Good Monday, Widdershins! We had quite an exciting weekend in Noo Yawk, as over 300,000 people took to the streets to highlight the most important issue of our modern world: Climate Change.

Early reports from event organizers are hailing the turnout as the largest climate march in history, far bigger than the Forward on Climate rally held in Washington, D.C., last year. High-profile environmentalists including Bill McKibben, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva marched alongside policymakers such as Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore were also there, and more than 550 buses carried in people from around the country.

The rally comes at an opportune time as 120 world leaders, including President Barack Obama, are expected to convene Tuesday at the United Nations in New York to discuss ways to tackle the growing threat of carbon pollution.

The White House has pledged to “show the world that the U.S. is leading on climate change, and to call on other leaders to step up to the plate,” John Podesta, who serves as a counselor to the president, told reporters on Thursday. However, a recent study found that the world spewed more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year than ever before, primarily driven by China, India and the United States. And the top leaders of China and India announced earlier this month that they won’t be attending Tuesday’s summit.

We talk about so many things here at TW, but I think we all understand, at some level, that climate change outweighs them all. After all, if our Mother Earth becomes unlivable, then we will be forced to concentrate on how to survive, not being able to focus on things like equal rights for women and LGBT, an end to war, or any other cause dear to our hearts.

I think one of the many disappointments supporters of Barack Obama have suffered, if they are honest with themselves, is his complete lack of commitment to weaning the United States off of its dependence on fossil fuels, natural gas and minerals. Instead, he adopted the Republican meme of “ending our dependence on foreign oil.” Clearly this course of action has only accelerated global warming, although it was first heralded as somehow different from his predecessor’s.

The initiatives signalled the new president’s first attempt to honour campaign promises to join the international fight against global warming and reduce US dependence on energy sources from restive regions of the world.

Mr Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider whether to grant California a waiver to regulate car exhaust emissions blamed for contributing to global warming.

Former President George W Bush’s administration had blocked efforts by California and a dozen other states to impose their own limits on carbon dioxide gas emissions.

Mr Obama also ordered the transportation department to produce guidelines to ensure US vehicles reach average fuel efficiency of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

Ugh! I read this, and am disgusted all over again by how incredibly corrupt and venal Obama is. Remember that when he put this policy forward, both the House and Senate were controlled by Democrats, AND he had an 80% approval rating. He could have done anything he wanted, and anyone of any moral character would have taken this opportunity to become the President who started turning climate change around. Instead, apparently, what he wanted was to give a big wet kiss to his oil and gas buddies. Mwah, boys! Go buy yourselves a Caribbean island! We’ll just turn up the AC when we start to sweat!

At this point Obama and Kerry are busily distracting us with more war, more terrah terrah terrah. But in reality, wars and terrorism are closely linked to our dependence on oil, and the eeeeevil foreign policies we have executed for the past 60-odd years because of it. Had Obama even had the courage of Jimmy Carter, who put solar panels on the White House and had a well-thought-out plan to switch us to alternative energy (click the link to read his speech in 1977 – you will be amazed), we could have been so much farther along by now, almost six years after his inauguration. Instead, we are still marching in the streets while Obama ponders the wisdom of the Keystone XL Pipeline. STILL!

I certainly hope that by the time 2017 rolls around, we will be inaugurating a President who truly understands the urgency of this issue, and puts it at the center of U.S. environmental policy. If this happens, it will, in great part, due to the men and women who have put their feet on the street, time and again, to make sure we don’t lose sight of this goal. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

This is an open thread.

Good weekend, Widdershins.  Thanks to all who suffered through the Scottish Referendum with me yesterday.  The good fight was fought, though the battle not won.  The best thing to do is to honor International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is truly fitting, as many young Scottish men eluded the crown by taking to the high seas.

So, avast ye swabs!  Hoist the mizzen mast, lower the boom and prepare to set sail through an ocean of pirate related songs.  Feel free to choose songs with jewel and gold oriented themes, plunder of any sort, and just plain sailing.

An’ should ye wish to talk like a pirate, here’s some hints for this open thread.  Arrr!

(1) A Pirate Looks at Forty – Jimmy Buffet

(2) Fifteen Men On A Dead Man’s Chest – Trad. Sea Chanty

(3) Le Chant du Pirate – Edith Piaf

(4) Pirate Song – Ray Stevens

(5) He’s a Pirate (Disney theme) – Taylor Davis



The problem with Scotland… Is that it’s full of Scots! - King Edward I, from Braveheart.

Greetings, Widdershins.  An’ hous aw wi ye?  (How’s everything with you?)  Today, Scots of 16 years and over will go to the polls and cast a vote on the question of independence.  This is more important than you know, on so many levels, so try to bear with me as we work our way through the bonnie wee dustup that is the Scottish-English alliance.

Scotland is historically divided into the highlands, and the lowlands.   The Highlands are above Glasgow, historically Celtic in nature, and the prototypical Scottish clans such as Dunbar, MacAllister, Gunn, Campbell, Southerland and MacKay are from this area. The Highlands make up roughly 60% of Scotland.  The Lowlands are located at the border with England, and are home to some of the other British lap dogs clans such as MacDowell and MacDuff. Your clan is your family – nuclear, in-laws, and old friends form the familial (and frequently numerous) septs  of the great clans. Please understand that this is a vast oversimplification, but it is a starting point for those unfamiliar with our culture

The Scots were and are stout warriors.  England and Scotland battled for at least four centuries, with the Scots generally getting the worst of it.   During numerous occupations, England forbade the wearing of the tartan, wearing kilts (yes, some might say that was doing us a favor but we just don’t see it that way), and declared our pipes to be an instrument of war.  Then in 1707, an alliance was forged.  All my life I heard that our country was wrested from us by the bloody Limies,but it seems like there was a 2-1 vote in favor of it, and so we became part of Britannia.  The early part of the 19th century brought great change to the lowland area, while the highlands remained less developed and more traditional in process and custom. So her young men did what many young men do when they cannot find a job – they joined the military.

Later in the 19th century, Queen Victoria fell in love with the Highlands.  Balmoral castle was built, and she became such a sucker for tartan that she commissioned one in her own name,  Also at that time, she decided to better utilize the land, so had people thrown from their crofts (homes), hustled aboard coffin ships with only the clothes on their backs, and sailed off to the Americas.  The crofts and contents were then burned to the ground so that animals might graze on the land  for enhanced profits to the Crown.  Nope, no resentment……..even though that’s how most of my paternal ancestors arrived…… resentment whatsoever…… was a long time ago………..

Skipping ahead 100+ years, Scotland now has its own Parliament created in 1999, some say courtesy of the “Braveheart Effect”, but its powers are limited.  Think of it as more of a state legislature, but less powerful.  Over the years, Scotland has veered left while England (courtesy of the “Margaret Thatcher Effect”) has lurched right.  The Scots are most unhappy with the cuts to education and healthcare, as universities in Scotland are free and National Health Care is considerably enhanced.  They are not at all pleased by the fact that they are suffering from cuts made by a Tory Parliament in London. while their overwhelmingly (all but one) Labour Parliament cannot undo them. The “Aye” Scots want a Scottish Parliament to make the decisions that are in the interest of the Scottish people.  The “Naw” Scots are concerned about the economic impact that will follow independence – banks swear that they will move their offices to England, celebrities are begging them to stay, the Queen wished that they “think carefully” prior to the vote. And lord knows, we cannot under any circumstances discomfit the banking industry – perhaps that’s why so many famous people have joined the “Naws”.  ( I doubt sincerely that any of the 1%-ers exhorted us to not bail out our banks.)  The problem is that in Scotland, as it is here, any number of canny folks have noted that the current policies are not doing them a bit of good while others have done quite handsomely.  I have to believe that J.K. Rowling and Sir Paul have not suffered under the current system any more than Jamie Dimon has here.  The Scots have had many years to watch our “recovery” process and have thereby arrived at their own conclusions.

To be fair, both the current President and Bill Clinton have also begged the Scots to stay put.  I fully believe that they are motivated by the effects both immediate and long-term that secession will have on a prime ally.  The English are beside themselves for any number of good reasons.  The Scots are by and large vehemently anti-nuclear, and I’m pretty certain they will want England to clear the nukes off the River Clyde area.  I’m also pretty certain that England won’t want the nukes on their side of the border, either, so brace yourselves, Wales and Northern Ireland:  Incoming!  The military is another factor, as there are all sorts of Scottish Regiments contained within the British army.  Their sheer numbers, strength of reputation as fighting units, and battle honors will be nearly impossible to replace.  Further, Scotland is pro-EU (since the 14th century, Scotland and France have been allies), while England is considering an exit.  And then there is all of that lovely. lovely oil in the North Sea………

The amusing thing is that Prime Minister Cameron set this election up with only the two choices, yet now wants the Scots to vote no with the promise of more autonomy, which was the third option that he personally nixed and refused to allow on the ballot.  Apparently Cameron felt that faced with a up or down choice, Scotland would overwhelmingly vote to stay with GB and all would be well.  Some of his offers such as more self-determination and input into taxation are attractive, but Cameron’s biggest problem will be to convince the Scots both of his sincerity and drive to follow through.  History has given the Scots a bit of a jaundiced approach to the British bearing gifts.  HBO’s John Oliver compared the relationship to trying to salvage a dead marriage,  The video is hilarious, and well worth your time to watch.

I would not be surprised either way with this vote,  and I would even tell you that I think that a vote to stay with England might be temporary at best.  Further, the decision to remain with GB but receive additional autonomy over Scotland’s taxation and welfare will most certainly resonate with other member of Great Britain.  However, should the vote be to secede, it might well touch off the Catalans, the Basques, the French Canadians, the Northern Irish, the Kurds, and others to numerous to mention who feel that they are governed by people who really do not care what they think.  Just imagine what that could start – the Arab Spring may have been a dress rehearsal.

This is an open thread.  Cheerio the nou. (‘Bye for now.)

autumn leaves-scenes

Good Wednesday to you Widdershins!  While Fall is not quite in the air here in the South, promises have been made by the Wx Gawds that we will receive a dose of it by this weekend with some lows possibly in the high 50s at night and thankfully, the humidity going down.  It’s the little things we can be thankful for, no?

To be completely honest to y’all I have no idea what to write about for this post.  Is it because nothing is going on in the world or in the U.S.? Oh hell no, not at all.  We might be going to war against ISIS or is it ISIL?  The name seems to change from speaker to speaker.  We might decide to arm some rebels that are supposed to be against Syria’s Assad which makes them good rebels I guess but I’m not sure if that will enable them to help fight ISIS(L) or only Assad and his troops.  We’re not putting “boots on the ground” indicating no insertion of U.S. troops into this mess, but what about the pilots that are flying planes over the ISIS-L?  Are they not flying into a combat situation with the chance of being shot down and definitely not over “friendly” territory?  Of course they are.  When the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified at a Senate hearing today he certainly implied that yes boots on the ground could become necessary.

America’s top general opened the door Tuesday to deploying U.S. ground troops in Iraq against rampaging ISIS extremists — a step President Obama has repeatedly ruled out.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee he would recommend such a deployment if the President’s new strategy of expanding air strikes against the jihadists was not successful.

A White House spokesman said a short time later that the President “will not” order U.S. forces to return to a “combat role.”

“If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President,” Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee, using another name for ISIS, also known as the Islamic State.

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But enough of that.  I’m just mad that good ole morning schmoe called Hillary basically a prick tease for the way she’s been going around the country on the book tour and has now just gone to Tom Harkin’s “Steak Fry” in Iowa, yet will not announce just yet whether she is running for the Presidency or not.  Here the schmoe below going off on his rant and then at about the 6:38 mark in the clip, dear sweet “Meeka” tells the control room guys to have a reporter go threw her raw footage and basically scrub Hillary out of it.  There are times I really want to slap “Meeka”, well for just being “Meeka”.

But thank Gawd for Jon Stewart.  Dear Jon was able to take down the schmoe and properly slice and dice him.  Good for Jon.  Morning schmoe goes off on these rants on a somewhat regular basis and I’m wondering if the weekend just extended itself too long, or if he’s just got a whale of a hangover that day or something.  Anyway, Jon was able to catch schmoe in almost the same exact “prima donna” mode that he says Hillary’s in and I loved it!

Okay folks that’s all I’ve got today.  Just short and sweet.  It’s a completely open thing so talk about whatever you wish in the comment section below.

Following up on MB’s evocative thought experiment from yesterday, why don’t we workshop Adrian Peterson’s statement about the allegations of child abuse? First, the statement: Adrian Peterson

“I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son.”

“I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen,” he wrote. “I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day.”

An old adage comes to mind: A camel is a horse designed by a committee. Statements, like Peterson’s, are committee assignments. There’s the manager, the agent, the attorney, the publicist, the media consultant, the financial manager, and maybe a family member or two all weighing in on what needs to be said and in what order.

Let’s dissect the first paragraph. First apologies to the Vikings, Minnesota, and his teammates and then he claims a certain victimhood where the world is judging his “parenting skills,” all before he mentions the word “son.”

His next sentence is the sickening excuse so often used, “I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined.” An accurate decoding of this sentence, “I beat my child the way I was beaten.” From there, he again turns to the victimhood of feeling hurt since the injury he caused with not “intentional.” He sums up with saying his goal is to teach his son right from wrong. I’d offer a good first lesson might be that hurting someone is wrong.

A miniscule number of child abusers set out to be child abusers. It isn’t a vocational choice high on the selection charts. The vast majority of child abusers are fulfilling the circle of the abuse they have suffered. Peterson wrote that he worked with a psychologist to discuss alternative methods of child discipline — I would strongly suggest further work or a more assertive psychologist.

Beyond the tarnishing of the “Peterson brand,” the tone deaf, rudderless leadership of the Minnesota Vikings has an even bigger battle to wage since reinstating Peterson to play next Sunday. Radisson immediately suspended their partnership with the team.  I expect others will follow since no publicity conscious company wants to become an asterisk in the growing Goodell mess.  And for someone who “never wanted to be a distraction” this boneheaded reinstatement guarantees Peterson will most certainly be an enormous distraction.

Adrian Peterson has a wonderful reputation of doing the right things on the field and when people are looking. The true measure of a person is what you do when people aren’t looking. Here’s a sample of the latter captured four days after the “discipline the way I was disciplined.”

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AP 1








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This is an open thread.

A murderer and an abuser walk into a locker room…

Many activists in the field of domestic violence feel that the qualifier “domestic” is one thing that helps enable its persistence. If we were just to call it “violence” when one partner physically assaults the other, would we see these heinous acts as more serious, more criminal?

What if the two didn’t know each other? Would the subtext of “She was asking for it” still be there?

Think about it. What if you saw that infamous Ray Rice video on your local news station, and it was presented this way:

“This horrifying video of a man beating a woman unconscious in an elevator was sent to the police and released to Eyewitness News in the hopes of identifying the criminal. Please call 311 if you have any information about who this person is.”

After that story, wouldn’t you be hoping to next see that man in handcuffs, doing the perp walk, instead of, say, at a high school football game in New Rochelle?

Ray Rice made his first public appearance with his family Saturday since being released by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended from the NFL. Rice, along with his wife Janay and daughter Rayven, returned to his hometown of New Rochelle, New York to watch his old high school team play. Rice’s middle school in New Rochelle removed Rice’s framed jersey from the gymnasium, which drew a mixed reaction from students.

See, right there. Removing the jersey “drew a mixed reaction from students.” The man beat the sh*t out of his wife! The very LEAST he deserves is to have his f*cking jersey removed from the middle school he attended! And sorry, no, the idea that Ray Rice hit his wife like this only once, is about as credible as the idea that Chatblu and Fredster will stop watching college football and take up the harp instead. (Sorry guys, couldn’t resist. :-))

Oh, but it gets worse. MUCH worse.

New Rochelle [high school] head coach Lou DiRenzo said that the team stands behind Rice in a statement to the media at halftime.


“The New Rochelle football program is a very strong program, and once you’re a member of that program, you’re a member of that program for life. Ray is a part of our family and a part of this program, and that’s why I’m very happy that he’s here today. He made a mistake — and he made a very terrible mistake — but I know the character of the man, and he will rise from this. The mistake that he made will be erased by the good deeds that he will continue to do.”

If you saw that video presented in the way discussed above….would you say he “made a very terrible mistake?” Or would you want him locked up, and the key thrown into the Marianas Trench?

Read the rest of this entry »

What a week! The gut wrenching anniversary of 9/11 always does a number on my psyche. I’m not sure I have ever mentioned it, but within 36 hours of the original 9/11, a State Fair winning ribbon of shingles came for a nice, long 6 weeks visit to my temple shanty of a body.

The wrongheaded decisions in the aftermath of 9/11 caused the President this week, now thirteen years later, to reluctantly speak to the nation about terrorism. To everyone’s surprise, the terrorism he was talking about wasn’t in the NFL.

It seems the all too sad realities of domestic violence only become a national topic of conversation when there’s a video of the actual roundhouse punch. I guess we can delude ourselves into believing a woman being dragged out of an elevator like a lifeless sack of flour is the victim of a freak Muzak overdose — unless and until we see the actual haymaker delivered by her soon-to-be husband.

It’s been nice not having the Congress around for five weeks or so. As good Congress critters should, I’m sure they’ve been diligently studying social policy and science especially the Old Testament parts. For those whose expertise is in foreign policy, I’m sure they have been emailing a certain Nigerian Prince about his current financial liquidity problems.

With Congress coming back to D.C., I find myself wanting to escape to the movies, but good movies this summer have been as rare as hen’s teeth. The two biggest movies of the summer have been Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie about a gang of misfits thrown together sorta like the Tea Party caucus, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Mitch McConnell, the Early Years.

What has been somewhat amazing is that the end of life as we know it didn’t happen this summer. Remember, Obamacare was supposed to herald the end times — pestilence-ridden streets where insurance CEOs had to scrape by on meager eight-figure salaries. Then there was the southern invasion of what Rep. Steve King termed, an influx of cantaloupe-calved 8 and 9 year olds. Luckily, quick thinking Homeland Security professionals had plenty DVDs of Mitch McConnell, the Early Years to assuage these pint-sized invaders.

Putin was a problem this summer, but that is to be expected when you have a megalomaniac who would be denied a quarter pounder based upon shirt requirements. One positive this summer, Kim Jong Dumb’Un has been relatively quiet — I guess killing your uncle gives one pause to reflect.

There was bad news and then good news associated with the African outbreak of the Ebola virus. The bad news was there was an outbreak of the Ebola virus. The good news is there seems to be some new type of medication that might be able to help or at least it looks that way. The medicine is fabricated through the genetic altering of tobacco. I’m sure the tobacco companies are already test-marketing Joe Camel vs. the Mozambique Man.

So all in all, this summer has been one big “meh” — nothing great, nothing so disastrous that it didn’t have the potential for something positive. Sadly, we lost two “greats” this summer — Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. Having grown up with them, I feel as if I somehow knew them and so their passing seems to hurt more than other celebrities.

Last Tuesday I had the sentence in my E I E I, Oh… post, “Unfortunately, the innocence of childhood is not a chronic condition and likewise, the opportunity for twilight atonement is a fast-passing blur of missed fortunes.” I was kinda proud of that sentence until my lifelong best friend gently, as only as best friend can, told me, “That sentence sucks!”

What I was trying to say was this: It’s too bad maturity eats away at our innocence because there’s never enough time to right our inevitable wrongs. The key is what we do in between those two milestones.

So for your weekend viewing pleasure, I leave you with a couple of examples from the greats we lost this summer. One who never lost his child-like innocence and the other one, who never seemed to regret.

Have a great weekend.




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