7/24/16

Feelin' the Bern ...

(CNN)The head of the Democratic National Committee will not speak at the party's convention next week, a decision reached by party officials Saturday after emails surfaced that raised questions about the committee's impartiality during the Democratic primary.
Seriously? There were questions about the DNC's impartiality? Say it ain't so, Joe!
I'll bet Bernie's feelin' The Bern pretty good right about now.
Meawhile, the Colorado Republican Party has been having some 'issues' with that impartiality thing. It seems that in addition to posting her Obama chimp meme, Delta county GOP chairperson (former chairperson) Linda Sorenson was less than impartial in the GOP primary, pretty much tramping all over the party's rules. And on the local front, our own Judy Reyher, chairperson of the Otero Repubs, could easily have been mistaken for Kimmi Lewis' campaign manager.
It all reminds me of the closing lines of Animal Farm:
"The creatures outside [said creatures being We the People] looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again [said critters being our 'political leaders' of all parties]; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

7/13/16

Time for a change


"The platform demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”
It also encourages the teaching of the Bible in public schools because, the amendment said, a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.”"
I'll go for that when hell freezes over. Much of their platform involves the Republican party - and the government - sticking its nose into our most personal affairs, in the most intrusive ways. That is a dog that absolutely does not hunt.
If a school wants to offer a course in comparative religion, or a course in the Bible as literature, that's one thing. What the Republicans want is something else entirely; teaching the Bible in the context they want is best left to parents, at home. What the Republicans want is no better than what ISIS wants, perhaps - for the moment - with a little less bloodshed. If those people have ever read the First Amendment, it's clear to me that they do not understand it.
The Republican National Convention will be interesting to watch, as they take another huge step toward political self-immolation.
Here in Colorado, the Republicans hit a low back in 2010 with the Dan Maes/Tom "Ol' 1Y" Tancredo/Ken "Buck-pedalin'" Buck fiascoes. The best they can do these days, especially at the local machine level, is put up Obama chimp memes
and go on rants about blacks ... and they are still on the 'Obama is a Muslim' kick.
Time for a change. We need a political party whose platform is 'justice for all.' Neither party is capable of that, especially the Republicans.

GOP war-fighting strategy

There was that thing over Ted "I'm a Christian" Cruz's call to 'carpet bomb' ISIS. While that gave all the flag-waving super-patriots red, white, and blue stiffies, it is a stupid thing to think and a stupider thing to say.
Aside from the fact that it goes completely against the laws of warfare - which, by the way, are rooted in those Judeo-Christian 'ethics' and 'values' the 'Christian' Right and the Republicans are so fond of throwing in everyone's faces - it's tactically and strategically unsound. It just doesn't do all that much good.
Sean MacFarland has a pretty good handle on that.
We've done that carpet bombing thing in the past. The Air Force still thinks they won WWII with it. Most recently, and arguably most disastrously, we did it in Cambodia. We started it with Operation MENU and continued it with Operation FREEDOM DEAL. While MENU did not lead to any confirmed civilian casualties/displacement, it is difficult to accept that unrestricted B-52 strikes in the MENU target areas didn't cause some of that. OTOH, FREEDOM DEAL was a civilian bloodbath.
I was there, from the last part of MENU through FREEDOM DEAL, until the last bomb was dropped on 15 August 1973. Most of those bombs were dropped through COMBAT SKYSPOT sites, which were the same radar systems, and the same people, as manned the so-called 'bomb plot' in the Smile Hi.
These 'carpet bombings' accomplished little, other than the destruction of Cambodia and the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocents.
Between MENU and FREEDOM DEAL, the United States dropped 540,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia, most of it on the most populated parts of the country. By comparison, we dropped 180,000 tons on Japan during WWII.
The same thing went on in Laos, in the same manner.

Making more enemies than we kill

But it made the flag-waving super-patriots happy. Cruz' political predecessors walked around with political boners, Proud To Be RealAmericans, as did the flag-wavin' super-patriots in communities across America.
Yeah. Let's hop on the Cruzian bandwagon and do some of that 'carpet bombing.'
And Trump? He's no better: "When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families ...".
I wonder what his 'Christian' Evangelist advisory board has to say about slaughtering civilians. non-combatants.
Oh ... yeah. "Well ... they do it!"
We can only hope they are right with Jesus, though with thinking like that, it's hard to see how they could be.

Compromise

Heard in a local coffee shop: "Simply being in the same room as a Clinton is a moral, ethical, and legal compromise."
Clearly, the coffee shop wasn't the Barista.

From the FBI to the TSA in fifteen minutes

Then we had the Attorney General of the United States, carrying on like a member of the Clinton Crime Syndicate.


As for her henchman Comey ... he should be feeling particularly shitty, having in a mere fifteen minutes reduced the reputation of the FBI to that of the DEA or ATF ... or TSA.


7/8/16

Making America Great Again

I keep hearing how Trump is going to 'make America great again.' But when I ask for some specifics as to what that means, I can't seem to get a coherent answer.

So I'm going to drop back and punt. Let's assume that 'making America great again' means taking the country back to a time when 'we as a nation feared God.'

That's not too far-fetched, given James Dobson's recent - albeit waffling - endorsement of Trump, calling him a 'baby Christian.' Trump has also rigged a panel of God's professionals, apparently to assist him in keeping God on his side.

It's also not too far-fetched given the reaction of that paragon of Evangelical Republican virtues Mike Huckabee's view on how things were when 'we as a nation feared God.' He made quite a show of it after declaring back in 2012 that the Newtown shooting was no surprise, as we have 'systematically removed God from our schools.'

That God dude must not be nearly as omnipotent as the Evangelicals seem to think he is, if 'we' can give him the boot from anywhere ... but let's not be asking Questions about what God's professionals tell us about God.

Nonetheless, some of the rowdier of the younger Evangelical set - in this case Rachel Held Evans -claimed that Huckabee's statement was ...

Bullshit

Huckabee responded in characteristically arrogant fashion, self-assured that he and God are on the same wavelength. Here is an excerpt that I find absolutely fascinating. It's where he lays out how Great America Was Back When We As A Nation Feared God:

I realize my viewpoint sounds out-dated and archaic, but when that world view was the foundation of our nation’s social contract, we got in trouble at school for talking in class, chewing gum, pulling a girl’s pigtails, or slouching in our school desks. We took guns to school, to be sure, but they were in the gun racks of our trucks and we used them to hunt before and after school. It never occurred to us to use them to murder our teachers and fellow students. So yes, I can stand the contempt and criticism of the left. I’ll gladly accept their scorn as they substitute creative language with a steady stream of profanity-laced tirades that I’m an idiot, a throwback to the past, and a person who should be forever silenced. But when we as a nation feared God, we didn’t fear that a 20 year old with a high powered rifle would gun down our children in their schoolrooms.

No, Huck, we didn't fear a 20 year old with a high-powered rifle in the schools. We had other distractions, back when We As a Nation Feared God:

Pulling pigtails?


Nathan Bedford Forest, a God-fearing man. Very much anti-pigtail pulling.


God-fearing men interacting socially in America, back when We As a Nation Feared God. We can only wonder if these fellows pulled the wrong pigtails.


This one is from Huck's Arkansas. Perhaps he pulled the pigtails a little too hard?


 God-fearing government officials explaining old-fashioned American Values to gathered citizens.


Another God-fearing government official, perhaps engaged in explaining God's Mysterious Ways to a fellow who didn't quite get it? Note the Moses-like rod in the hand of the God-fearing government official, who clearly oozes Christian spirit.



God-fearing Christian Americans. Pals of God-fearing Man Nathan Bedford Forest.

Chewing gum in class?


God-fearing Man enjoying the Blessings of a God-fearing Nation.


More God-fearing men - black veterans of WWI - enjoying the Blessings of the God-fearing Nation which they had served, presumably in a God-fearing manner.



















God-fearing government official explaining basic American values of truth and justice ("Your president is not a crook.").

Slouching at our school desks?


 John Chivington, God-fearing Methodist minister, and hero of Sand Creek, where he managed to slaughter a bunch of women and children who, being heathen Injuns, presumably were insufficiently God-fearing.


God-fearing corpses litter the field at Gettysburg, having been led into God's righteous battle by other God-fearing men, in defense of  "states' rights" - the God-given right of God-fearing men to own other men as slaves. Glory, glory, hallelujah!

 Talking in class

And no one had sex back then, outside the holy bonds of matrimony, We As a Nation Fearing God as we did and being too busy talking in class anyway. And of course, there was no child abuse, no child molestation, no domestic abuse, none of that back when Mike Huckabee was thinking about pulling those pigtails ... for We Were a God-fearing Nation:


I think I'll avoid Huckabee's God, and stick with my own. Fortunately, because of those 'liberal' courts and 'activist' judges, and because of people willing to tell the Christian Right to shove it, I do not have to accept the Republican version of God, even if Mike Huckabee wants to ram it down my throat at gunpoint:




Perhaps Job should be re-written. Huckabee could ghost-write for Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. And, since he has such a handle on God, perhaps he should do a nice revision of God's speech as well.

Or perhaps he and Donald could just write scripts for a remake of "Ozzie and Harriet." 

And keeping it all in perspective:



Update 02.10.2015: Fresh remembrances from Huckabee's 'back when we as a nation feared God':

History of lynchings in the South documents nearly 4,000 names

7/7/16

Dobson does a 'Buck-pedal'

Dobson does a "Buck-pedal".
Dobson's intense distaste for the Clintons is well-known and well-documented. It seems that Dobson - like Billy Graham back in October 2012 - was willing to sell his soul, or least a piece of it in order to lead his unwitting sheep to the Republican trough. He anointed Trump a 'baby Christian.' Now ... Evangelicals could vote for Trump with clear consciences, ignoring Trump's total lack of 'Christian' behavior in his treatment of others.
Unlike Billy Graham, however, Dobson seems to have suffered some murkiness in his own conscience, and has 'walked back' his previous gush over Trump the Christian.

Dobson walks back claim about Trump's born-again conversion


Here's one example of Trump the Christian.


As for Billy Graham ... Evangelicals have long held, often in scathingly un-Christian terms, that Mormons are ... a heretical cult. Not really Christians. Graham was one of the Evangelical leaders who preached that ... till he figured political expediency 'trumped' (sorry, couldn't help myself) religious conviction, and blessed Mitt Romney back in 2012.

Billy Graham's Romney endorsement backfires

Buried somewhere in all that evangelical handwringing is that John 13:34 thing. Buried under the self-serving bullshit of God's professionals.

7/6/16

The Comey Conspiracy

So ... the tinfoil hat crowd is slamming Comey as being part of The Conspiracy. I wonder if it has dawned on any of the geniuses that are foaming and frothing over The Comey Announcement ... that Comey is a) a Republican; b) a Bush appointee (USA) and a Bush appointee (Deputy AG, the #2 position in the Bush DoJ).
Interestingly, his senior thesis at William and Mary examined the belief/doctrinal relationship between Reinhard Niebuhr - a raving liberal - and Jerry Falwell - a raving 'Christian' Rightie, regarding public action.
But wait! There *is* fodder to feed the conspiracy theorists! Niebuhr developed a theological theory, a 'perspective,' back in the 1940's and 1950's ... "Christian Realism."
"Christian Realism is a philosophical perspective developed by the theologian and public intellectual Reinhold Niebuhr in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Niebuhr argued that the Kingdom of God cannot be realized on earth because of the innately corrupt tendencies of society. Due to the injustices that arise on earth, a person is therefore forced to compromise the ideal of the kingdom of heaven on earth. Niebuhr argued that human perfectibility was an illusion, highlighting the sinfulness of humanity at a time when the world was confronted by the horrors of experiences such World War II, the reigns of both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, and the Holocaust. The movement was in part a reaction to the Social Gospel movement. Numerous political figures have been influenced by Christian realism, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Madeleine Albright, and John McCain."
Aha! You see the connection!!!!!!!!! Obama ... Clinton ... Comey ... all influenced by Niebuhr!!!!!!!!
It's part of a New World Order thing, that transcends political party boundaries!
It's a scheme ... it's all a scheme ...

Hillary's credibility gap



"Yesterday was just the latest reminder that Clinton would probably be trailing in the polls if Republicans had nominated a stronger candidate. Donald Trump, rather than emphasize the damning revelations from Comey’s speech, instead chose to suggest that Clinton tried to “bribe” Attorney General Loretta Lynch and that the system is “rigged.”"
There ya go. The Republicans are just so dysfunctional, so disorganized, so ... whacked ... all they can do is present a clown like Trump, whose strongest suit is an appeal to the tinfoil hat crowd.
All of the more reasoned analyses - eliminating the whackos on the left and on the right (which sadly seems to be the majority of both parties these days) - we see that Comey's findings represent a fairly logical outcome. And a predictable one, but not for the whacko reasons the tinfoil hatters on either side are presenting.
Hillary is, all other things aside, not too shabby a lawyer. She is a lawyer, you know.
She did not lie to the FBI. She didn't.
She lied to the American people. Every analysis points to this. Lying to the American people is not a crime. It's simply what politicians do.
If Comey had recommended prosecution, both sides would have gone completely alpha sierra, rather than just mostly. The trial - and the lead up to the trial - would have been a complete Three Stooges/Keystone Cops political circle jerk ... especially given the likelihood of acquittal.
What Comey did was call a spade a spade - he said she is a liar; he said she is deceitful; he said she can't be trusted with high-level government documents/information. We all knew she is a liar, a cheat, and a security liability ... and now we have the Director of the FBI stating it right out in the open.
So if one votes for Hillary, one is voting for a liar, a cheat, and someone who can't be trusted with gummint secrets. Kind of like Richard Nixon, except for the secrets, or any of a number of other presidents and CongressCreatures, but let's not confuse the issue for the moment.
OTOH, we have ... Gary Johnson.

I wonder if it has dawned on any of the geniuses that are foaming and frothing over The Comey Announcement ... that Comey is a) a Republican; b) a Bush appointee (USA) and a Bush appointee (Deputy AG, the #2 position in the Bush DoJ). Interestingly, his senior thesis at William and Mary examined the belief/doctrinal relationship between Reinhard Niebuhr - a raving liberal - and Jerry Falwell - a raving 'Christian' Rightie, regarding public action.Whatever he is, Comey is no dummy, and is likely the smartest of this entire bunch.
I'm really looking forward to the Congressional hearings, and watching the scum from both sides posture and pander. In my view, both sides of this particular political fence are all lying, self-serving whores. The Obamanians and the Democrats have no redeeming social value; the Republicans are at least as bad, and at the moment, are even worse, as they are trying to paint themselves as something they are not and have never been - truthful, virtuous American patriots.
A syphilitic pox on them all.

7/2/16

Local Republican makes it to the big time

Our own Judy Reyher, chairperson of the Otero Republican machine, has been noticed by such as HuffPo:

"Republican's Facebook post refer to 'black population' as 'hatred-filled beings.'"

She has a ways to go to reach Linda Sorenson's level, though:

African-American addresses Republicans Whose Leader Compared Obama to Chimp

But Dolores Wilson didn't think Sorenson's leadership efforts were all that and a bag of chips:

Linda Sorenson is not the victim here

No matter. Reyher is doing what she does best, and that is represent the deeply-held views of her Otero Republican friends and neighbors.

She has been a good, solid representative of the state's Republican party views for quite some time:

Hitting a nerve


Update: From the front page of FauxNews:

Republican Colorado official steps down after posting Obama meme on Facebook

If that one doesn't work, go here.

The Colorado Republicans have apparently decided that ""There's no room for racism, intended or unintended, in society," [Suppes] said. "It's best for the party, best for the county, that she step down.""

Of course, the cynical among us might wonder ... if that is so, then why did it take the Colorado Republican Party so long to move on it. It's hardly anything new. Perhaps having it blasted all over the 'net by HuffPo and Faux might have something to do with it?

Another excerpt from the Faux story:

Party members said Sorenson also urged people to vote for U.S. Senate candidate Daryl Glenn, even though six Republicans were competing for the right to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in the June 28 Republican primaries. Glenn won the primary.

Under party rules, officials of state and local parties, including their leaders, are not allowed to endorse one primary candidate over another.

Our own Judy Reyher was unabashedly endorsing Kimmi Lewis, before the primary. So much so, we thought that Reyher might have been Lewis' campaign manager. How is it that she gets away with that? The fluid application of party rules is almost Hillaresque.

Timshel, and Cain's jawbone of an ass

We've been watching season 1 of Hell on Wheels.Episode 9 was pretty good. It was titled 'Timshel.'Now, if you have read 'East of Eden', you will recognize that. You'll remember the conversation about it, between Sam and Lee. It is described here as the best midrash on the matter, better even than those produced through the most exacting rabbinical argument - at least for we mere lay people.

The discussion is about Cain killing Abel, in Genesis, and the meaning of the word 'timshel.' It is, I think, one of the best arguments making the case for free will, and against predestination, as one will find.

During the fight scene at the river, which is linked from YouTube below, the music played is 'Timshel', by Mumford and Sons. You may have also heard it as 'As brothers we will stand.'

It's a brutal scene, where 'brother' is pitted against 'brother' in the figurative sense - one human against another ... and as Black Moon kills his brother Pawnee Killer near the end of the scene, in the literal sense.



 But what stimulated a bit of discussion was the part where Bohannon, out of ammunition and with no other weaponry to hand, grabs the jawbone of some animal and bloodily dispatches a Cheyenne Dog Soldier.

'Timshel', the segment from 'East of Eden', and the nature of the song by Mumford and Sons would indicate the analogy here is Cain's killing of Abel, and the choices made both in launching the fight, and the choice to stand to.

Timshel. "Thou mayest ..." which, as Steinbeck points out in his character Lee's explanation, offers the choice: "Thou mayest not...", leaving 'timshel' to be perhaps the most important word in the world."

As we were discussing it, I mentioned Cain killing Abel with the jawbone of an ass.

Leece took exception, remarking that the bible does not state how Cain killed Abel, and in any case, it was Samson who wielded the jawbone of an ass with considerable homicidal efficiency.

"But everyone knows he used the jawbone of an ass!" I argued.

"How? How does 'everyone' know that?" Leece asked.

"Well, it's in the bible!" I exclaimed.

And almost instantly realized that if she said it wasn't, I was almost certainly whistling a heathenishly ignorant Dixie.

She's right, of course. The bible makes no mention of how Cain killed Abel.

But biblical art; classical art; is full of examples of Cain killing Abel, and in many of those works of art, he is shown wielding the jawbone of an ass.

In Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol 35 1972  we find an article by A.A. Barb which takes note of these works of art and their depiction of the weapon as the jawbone of some animal, and which further states:

"...from at least the 9th century AD, Irish and Anglo-Saxon literary tradition maintained that the jawbone was that of an ass.

It has been established that both the literary tradition, and artistic representation of the jawbone as a weapon,originated in early medieval Hiberno-Saxon Insular art and spread thence to the continent, but so far there has been no satisfactory answer of where the idea for this curious weapon originated...".

Barb goes on to discuss what other forms of weaponry might have been used by Cain.

"It's interesting how culture can color our perceptions of what the bible says, even when it doesn't say anything," Leece remarked, as she polished off the last of her sopapilla.

Ain't it, though. Would that a fundamentalist or two were listening ... particular those of a political bent.

Speaking of choice of weaponry ... in the video, we see some fine representations of the Winchester Model of 1866.

We see no mention in Genesis of these, either.

Leece has posted on this with "How Cain Killed Abel" and "God is not logical".

3/24/16

"Cat Lives Matter!"

A few words of advice to the "Cat Lives Matter" crowd:
You don't want your cat disappearing, keep the little bastard from shitting and pissing in my garden. It ain't his private litter box.

8/31/15

And yet more Outrage!©™

The FoxHoles are going nuts, along with Ohio's congressional delegation and other elected 'leaders.'

This time, it's over the renaming of Mt Denali back to ... Mt Denali. Right now, it's also referred to as Mt McKinley.

McKinley was a president, and he was from Ohio. He was a middle-of-the-pack president - nothing to brag about, but nothing really to sneer at, either.

But here's the thing.

McKinley was an Ohioan. He was born there, raised there, and except for a very brief educational attempt in Pennsylvania, lived there most of his adult life.

He had nothing to do with Alaska.

Mt Denali is in Alaska. 'Denali' is an Alaskan native American name. Alaskans generally want the mountain renamed back to 'Denali.' In fact, they already have, insofar as the state is concerned.

The Ohioans should find a hill somewhere in Ohio, and name it "McKinley's Knob" or somesuch.

And then get on with the important issues of the day.

Outrage grows over Obama plans to rename Mt McKinley.

8/20/15

Walkin' it back ...

Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) pumped out a pretty good falsehood the other day, when he stood up in the Senate, and bristling with self-righteous Outrage!©™ stated:

"... If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."

That, of course, is nonsense, and it is easily discoverable as such:

Jon Kyl says abortion services are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does”

But the real corker came a bit later, when Kyl's office was swamped with challenges to that statement. Kyl 'walked it back,' a euphemism for 'the Senator's staff is trying to wash the stink off the senator's bullshit:"

The senator's remark "was not intended to be a factual statement but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions," Kyl's staff says in a statement.

"...was not intended to be a factual statement."

Huh.

How about this:

Senator Kyl cross-dresses like a Colfax Avenue hooker and likes to parade around in his bedroom in stiletto heels.

Oops! That's not meant to be a factual statement.

How's that sit, Senator?

How about "Nothing Senator John Kyl says is meant to be a factual statement."

Yeah. This is one of our political leaders who would shut down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding.

One of the other panderers to the Christian Right is The Donald, who has apparently succumbed to a rabid case of 'hop-on-the-bandwagonitis.'

Meanwhile, ISIS, the Iranians, and Vlad Putin are all laughing themselves silly at the farce that is our political leadership.

7/1/15

Twisting words

For some reason, The Hon. Doug Lamborn has been sending me his newsletters.

I don't know why; I'm not in his district. Attempts to unsub have proven fruitless.

In any case, here is his latest:

 Dear Friend, It has been a consequential week in the history of our nation. However, as a conservative who has battled Obamacare every step of the way and as a Christian, I am personally troubled by the recent Supreme Court rulings on healthcare and marriage. Yet again, the Supreme Court has twisted itself into a legal pretzel in order to uphold Obamacare. When words are no longer taken at face value by Justices, it is a disturbing omen for the future of judicial activism. We will continue to try to repeal and replace this disaster and fix the flaws that we can. However, it is patently obvious that, even with compelling Constitutional arguments to the contrary, the American people will have to wait for a Republican president to eliminate Obamacare from our lives. It was a stunning disappointment to me that the Court chose to utilize its power to disenfranchise millions of Americans with valid moral and cultural concerns via the marriage decision. By undertaking this staggering judicial overreach, the Court, in its very finite wisdom, decided to throw out thousands of years of tradition and societal structure. Decisions of this magnitude should absolutely be made on a state-by-state basis with local and individual citizen involvement. The decision was a slap in the face to all Americans who value this tradition of local government." Please let me know if you require any assistance with a federal government agency by contacting my local office at (719) 520-0055. I am honored to serve as your Representative in Washington.

We are in agreeance on one thing: The Robed Ones certainly did twist themselves into a pretzel with some of their logic - on Obamacare. Mr. Justice Scalia has hammered that one fairly well, so we'll leave commentary on that one to him.

But then, Doug gets into the gay marriage decision.

He notes that he is a 'Christian,' so I am assuming that his view on this will be more in line with that of the General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene, who cited Matthew rather than the venom of Leviticus. So far, however, very few 'Christians' have displayed that much understanding of Christ's teachings, behaving in a more Old Testament manner instead:


But here's the thing:

It was a stunning disappointment to me that the Court chose to utilize its power to disenfranchise millions of Americans with valid moral and cultural concerns via the marriage decision.

That's some interesting hyperbole. How have 'millions of Americans' been 'disenfranchised' by the Robed Ones?

Is my marriage to Leece no longer valid? Are hetero couples no longer allowed to apply for or receive marriage licenses from Sharon Sisenroy over at the court house? Will I no longer be allowed to shop at Hobby Lobby? Am I banned from Chik Fil A?

How have I been 'disenfranchised?'

Doug believes that 'Decisions of this magnitude should absolutely be made on a state-by-state basis with local and individual citizen involvement.'

And what if a state had decided to go gay? What if that state had been Colorado? Would Doug use the same arguments, that the decision somehow 'disenfranchised' millions of residents of the state?

I wouldn't pooh-pooh the idea of Colorado going gay on marriage. It wasn't that long ago that the idea of the state becoming a haven for the Cheech and Chong crowd was considered fairly far out, man. What then?

Doug's going to have to do better. But of course, since I don't live in his district, what I think doesn't matter.

Further of course - even if I did live in Doug's district, what I think wouldn't matter.


6/21/15

The Jawbone of an Ass - Timshel

We've been watching season 1 of Hell on Wheels. Episode 9 was pretty good. It was titled 'Timshel.'

Now, if you have read 'East of Eden', you will recognize that. You'll remember the conversation about it, between Sam and Lee. It is described as the best midrash on the matter, better even than those produced through the most exacting rabbinical argument - at least for we mere lay people.

The discussion is about Cain killing Abel, in Genesis, and the meaning of the word 'timshel.' It is, I think, one of the best arguments making the case for free will, and against predestination, as one will find.

During the fight scene at the river, which is linked from YouTube below, the music played is 'Timshel', by Mumford and Sons. You may have also heard it as 'As brothers we will stand.' It's a brutal scene, where 'brother' is pitted against 'brother' in the figurative sense - one human against another ... and as Black Moon kills his brother Pawnee Killer near the end of the scene, in the literal sense.



But what stimulated a bit of discussion was the part where Bohannon, out of ammunition and with no other weaponry to hand, grabs the jawbone of some animal and bloodily dispatches a Cheyenne Dog Soldier.

Choice. Free will. 'Timshel', the segment from 'East of Eden', and the nature of the song by Mumford and Sons would indicate the analogy here is Cain's killing of Abel, and the choices, the exercise of free will, made both in launching the fight, and the choice to stand to.

Timshel. "Thou mayest ..." which, as Steinbeck points out in his character Lee's explanation, offers the choice: "Thou mayest not..."leaving 'timshel' to be perhaps the most important word in the world."

As we were discussing it, I mentioned Cain killing Abel with the jawbone of an ass. Leece took exception, remarking that no one knows how Cain killed Abel, and in any case, it was Samson who wielded the jawbone of an ass with considerable homicidal efficiency. "But everyone knows he used the jawbone of an ass!" I argued. "How? How does 'everyone' know that?" Leece asked.

"Well, it's in the bible!" I exclaimed. And almost instantly realized that if she said it wasn't, I was almost certainly whistling a heathenishly ignorant Dixie.

She's right, of course. The bible makes no mention of how Cain killed Abel.

But biblical art; classical art; is full of examples of Cain killing Abel, and in many of those works of art, he is shown wielding the jawbone of an ass.

In Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol 35 1972, we find an article by A.A. Barb which takes note of these works of art and their depiction of the weapon as the jawbone of some animal, and which further states:"...from at least the 9th century AD, Irish and Anglo-Saxon literary tradition maintained that the jawbone was that of an ass. It has been established that both the literary tradition, and artistic representation of the jawbone as a weapon,originated in early medieval Hiberno-Saxon Insular art and spread thence to the continent, but so far there has been no satisfactory answer of where the idea for this curious weapon originated ...". Barb goes on to discuss what other forms of weaponry might have been used by Cain.

"It's interesting how culture can color our perceptions of what the bible says, even when it doesn't say anything," Leece remarked, as she polished off the last of her sopapilla.

Ain't it, though. Would that a fundamentalist or two were listening ... particular those of a political bent.

Speaking of choice of weaponry ... in the video, we see some fine representations of the Winchester Model of 1866. We see no mention in Genesis of these, either.

5/22/15

Huckabee, Josh Duggar, and Family Research Council

Update 08.20.2015: Josh Duggar outed in the Ashley Madison data dump

"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife," Duggar said in a statement Thursday.
____________________________________________

Josh Duggar has resigned from Family Research Council after his child molestation 'allegations' became known:

Duggar resigns from Family Research Council

Mike Huckabee, super-patriot and super-'Christian', is a great fan of Family Research Council, often citing them in his war on gays. That they are usually wrong doesn't faze Huckabee in the least. Meanwhile, he has come out in defense of Duggar:

"He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story."

Actually, Duggar and his family did not deal with it, and were not honest and open about it.

From this article on TLC dropping the show:

"The [police]report states that Jim Bob Duggar was first alerted by one of the alleged victims in March 2002."


March 2002.

Yet the police didn't investigate any of this until 2006, because:

"Jim Bob told police, when he was interviewed in 2006, that the Duggars sent their son to a Christian program at the advice of their church elders. However, later in the report Michelle Duggar states where their son was sent was "not really a training center," rather he was sent to stay with an acquaintance and do manual labor."


Jim Bob (dad) lied to the cops in the report, and was outed by Mom ... they never sent Duggar to a 'Christian training center' at all. They hid it. Did they do so with the advice of the 'church elders?' If so, then that church is complicit in covering up child molestation. If not, then Joe Bob is lying about that, too.  But wait! It gets even better, all this 'honesty' and 'openess:'

"Jim Bob told police he spoke with an Arkansas State Trooper in 2003 after another incident occurred. The trooper, who the police report states knew the Duggar family, explained to Josh what could happen if he continued this behavior."

We have a state trooper - law enforcement - with knowledge of this, and who did not report it, but 'as a friend' told Josh he should, like, you know ... stop feeling up his sisters when they were sleeping. But the cop, who had a duty to report, did not. The Arkansas State Trooper was complicit in all this 'openess' and 'honesty.'

Huckabee and these people could give lessons to Archbishop Robert Carlson.

Huckabee has a funny concept of 'openness' and 'honesty. He's willing to forgive anything ... unless you're gay, lesbian, or a Democrat.

He also has a strange view of "American values" as well, especially for a Man Who Would Be President. Here's his infamous 'hold 'em at gunpoint' video:



This was at the 'Rediscover God in America' confabulation a few years back. This part was edited out of the 'official' videos of the shindig.

Update 05.23.2015:

A timeline of the molestation allegations against Josh Duggar

The cop that 'explained' what could happen? He should have taken his own advice:

That officer, Joseph Truman Hutchens, is currently serving a 56-year prison sentence in an Arkansas Department of Correction facility for child pornography offenses.

And the fellow who handled the 'counselling'? At that 'Christian counselling center? That was Bob Gothard.

In 2014, Gothard resigned from the Institute in Basic Life Principles following allegations of sexual harassment, molestation and failing to report child abuse. A spokesman for the Institute couldn’t confirm or deny to the Democrat-Gazette whether a youth treatment program was in place at the building in 2003.

Huck certainly seems to have some strange bedfellows, and an even stranger view of what is 'honest' and 'open.'

5/19/15

High times at the Broadmoor for Colorado's school boards

The Colorado Association of School Boards has for several years held its annual bash at the Broadmoor.

At tax-payer expense. Yep. School board members from all over the state travel to the Broadmoor for a few days of being wined and dined by lobbyists, textbook salespersons, and purveyors of other vital school equipment. They stay at the Broadmoor on your dime and mine.

When's the last time you stayed at the Broadmoor?

It has been a scandal reported on by a number of newspapers, but the arrogance of CASB and school board members has been such that they just ignore the outrage.

Livin' large at the Broadmoor

Greeley/Evans District 6 board member Brett Reese objected to this gluttonous display of self-indulgence, but was pushed aside. He has since been vindicated:

Vindication: Mainstream media discovers Reese right about Broadmoor

From the article about the 2012 conference:

“One staff member charged $30 for a room service hamburger. Another charged $48.19 for a room service delivery of a plate of chicken and a glass of milk. Still another staff member submitted a room service bill for a single $30 mahi sandwich.” 

CASB also fed 19 staff members lunch with the bill totaling $1,217.69 or $64 per person and a few days later a breakfast meeting for 22 staff members cost another $1,439.54 which came to over $65 per person.

CASB president Ken Delay blew that off: "It's the going rate at the Broadmoor."

The report also noted that CASB also permits spouses and children to attend and the organization picks up the tab. So while school districts like ours are feeding us shit sandwiches, they are stuffing their faces on our dime up at the Broadmoor ... while attending such seminars as:

“The Game has Changed: What will it take to pass a bond and mill levy override in 2012?” 

“Changing the Constitution and other trivial matters” 

and “Unstuck and Maximizing Diversity.” 

Yep. They're trying to figure out ways of squeezing more tax revenue out of us. While shoving $30 dollar burgers down their maws.

They haven't quit. They had their Broadmoor junket this past December, as usual.

How 'bout that WiFi the building leadership teams want for our district?

How about that settlement with Carol Noll, after the geniuses on the school board played their power trip and ego games?

Today's oxymoron: "school board fiscal responsibility."


The East Otero R-1 School Board's shit sandwich

It would appear that the school board's machinations come at a pretty good price:


So "The Noll Problem" has been taken care of. I'm wondering how many services to students had to be cut to pay for this little folly. How many text books would that have purchased? What about that student WiFi setup the teaching staff proposed? You know, so they could do some of that '21st Century teaching' school board political types are fond of yakking about, but which in East Otero R-1 take second seat to witch hunts, power plays, and cheap shots.

And of course, it's coming out of the pockets of taxpayers in the district. What about the board members who behaved "inappropriately," according to Noll's response to the evaluations made by the board just before they broke into song, "I bin werkin' on the railroad ..."?

I found the allegation about a board member discussing 'personnel matters' with district employees at one of the basketball games particularly interesting, especially considering the info was to have been out of an executive session. I was surprised to hear it happened at a basketball game; I would have thought it more likely to have occurred at one of the Breakfast Club meetings over in the Copper Kitchen.

How many times have we heard this board use 'personnel matters' as part of the 'circle the wagons' reaction in order to stonewall public inquiry? Apparently the sanctity of the 'executive session' disappears like dust in the wind, when a board member wants to do a little character assassination or gossip-mongering

There's an FB page up now, take it or leave it as you will:

East Otero School Board Watch

 which seems to have as one of its authors a fellow named David Seaney.

Mr. Seaney has taken the board to task several times, at board meetings and on this FB page.

An anonymous person who has created an FB profile, "Joe Friday" seems to have taken it upon himself to launch a smear campaign against Seaney:




 It seems that Mr. Seaney was the district superintendent in question. The DUI is from December 2010. That's quite a dig into the past. I'm not sure what relevance it has to Mr. Seaney's questioning of school board activities, especially since he is clearly within his Constitutional rights - both state and Federal - to question and even 'remonstrate with' our elected officials.  More to the point in refuting this bit of miserable cowardice, the school board has had no problems  in the past with  hiring them what's a bit too fond of their booze. Have they since gotten religion? Or is this selectivity related to Who's Whose Buddy in The Smile Hi?

Why is it that I think this gutless, no-balls "Joe Friday" character might be one of our real flag-wavin' all-American "Christian" super-patriots? Perhaps because a whole lot of life experience has shown me time and again, that's how they roll? Perhaps because it's the "Christian" super-patriots who have little or nothing of Christ in them, and who are the first to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of "American values?"

"Joe Friday" tried a cheap shot at Seaney, but all he has done is demonstrate a shocking level of cowardly behavior, hiding behind an anonymous FaceBook post to try to do a bit of back-stabbing.

"Joe Friday" also demonstrates with that comment, "Since there were two additional board members that voted to approve the resignation if they will be recalled too." that he really isn't overly bright. The 'two additional board members', having been handed a shit sandwich by The Gang of Three, understood quite well that a) there was nothing they could do about the railroading of Noll; and b) that Noll has the district by the short and curlies, otherwise, why a 'settlement', so c) take the best deal for the district at this point, which is what they did. Those two board members are the only ones demonstrating any semblance of 'adult leadership' in this matter.

Press on, Mr. Seaney. I'm also curious as to the workings of the selection process for Mr. Lovato. Not that I think he doesn't have the talent and brains to be a good superintendent; it's clear that he does. But this isn't about Mr. Lovato; it's about The Gang of Three and their slippery ways of doing business, and their skills in running a deli. That shit sandwich thing, you see.

Can we have that on a nice rye with a snappy mustard, please? And can I have that as part of the school lunch program?

Tossed under the bus?


Reposted from the archives:

Apparently the school board is concerned over test scores.

La Junta's junior/senior high and the intermediate all have "D" scores from ColoradoSchoolsGrade:

La Junta Junior/Senior High School standings

while the US News and World Report school findings show that despite those abysmal scores the junior/senior high is 'near' the Colorado average.

US News and World Report School Standings

If East Otero is 'near the state average' with a 23% proficiency in math and a 64% proficiency in reading, then it's clear that the problems East Otero is facing are endemic to Colorado, and nationwide as well. If ColoradoSchoolGrades.com reports La Junta as an "F" in academic growth, and and "F" in math, and a "D" in reading, and a "D" in English, and La Junta is considered 'near the state average,' then it's fairly clear that the school superintendent is not our problem. The whole system is the problem, and not the least part of that system is our school board. It's pretty clear the entire state has a problem. 

Flushing the one administrator who has considerable public confidence is not going to fix anything.

How exactly is Carol supposed to single-handedly fix any of that, and what exactly is dumping her going to accomplish? 

She has also had to deal with inherited problems, the sorts of problems that over time become almost institutionalized. If that sounds too much like the Big O blaming Bush ... then consider that she has to deal with all the federal interference and 'oversight' that comes from pandering to the federal and state governments for all that free money for all those free programs. 

Then, Noll has to deal with state-wide inertia and the political and economic geniuses that drive our business, social, and cultural establishments.

Carol is, in our opinion (mine and Leece's) the best supe we've had in decades. We have always been able to talk to her without being made to feel like Untermenschen; too many of these 'educators' are so impressed with their own credentials they can hardly find time to talk to common swine like us. 

Whenever there were problems with the educational process for one of our granddkids, Carol answered the important questions and school administrators and staff took care of the problems. Sometimes, given the vacuous reactions from some of the staff, I suspect that some of the staff required Noll's boot up the ass(es), but that's just me.

There was no self-serving double-talk or vague promises or vaguer excuses.

East Otero has some serious 'issues.' There's no doubt about it. But then, so does the entire state.

As the SchoolGrades link above shows, Swink - the Princeton of the Plains - is doing pretty well in comparison, but look at the difference in low income stats for both schools. How's that translate into parental involvement, awareness, and understanding of the educational process? What leadership is the school board presenting to deal with that? What marching orders have they given, based on their plans and vision? Do they even have any plans or vision, or are they so impressed with their own importance that sort of thing is unnecessary?

How has Carol failed - and failed consistently, with a documented-over-a-period-of-time lack of responsiveness to the board's direction - sufficiently to justify getting rid of her? How has she failed in the critical areas of "... fulfilling the adopted school district objectives, fiscal management of the district, district planning responsibilities, and supervision and evaluation of district personnel?"

I've seen railroad jobs where an eval suddenly pops up that is totally out of sorts with everything that went before. It's easy to do that. It's much harder - impossible, in fact - to backfill counselling records that show a disregard for direction or a failure to correct following guidance. 

So if this eval is bad, I'd like to see that paper trail, that history. I'd like to see the last three evals. We aren't talking about canning a burger-flipping high schooler with a bad attitude here. We're talking about a long-serving professional with a demonstrated ability to get things done. Otherwise ... why was she hired as supe in the first place? And why has she been kept on all this time?

Those areas of her evaluation are to be open for public inspection, by state law. If she has not failed in those areas, then what is the basis for not renewing her contract? East Otero is just below ... a squeaker below ... the state average. East Otero's failings are not even close to being an isolated matter. Throwing Carol under the bus so as to make it look like they as a board - or at least those who voted against retaining Carol - are 'doing something' is a shame and a disgrace.

Considering this is Holy Week, the board's washing of hands is not only quite ironic, but gives considerable pause for thought as to just how much sway that Christ fellow has in our bucolic little 'Godly community' as it has been described by our school board. 

Our kids and grandkids have not been well served in this matter by the majority of the East Otero R-1 school board.