3/26/13

Backyard Buddies

24 shots of Finches and Redwings in Swink, March 2013:

Backyard Buddies


3/22/13

Redlining

August 20, 2012:

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus,” Obama said. “That would change my equation. . . . We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.”

Then we have this:

Analysts believe it's possible people in the video were deliberately exposed to a "caustic" agent such as chlorine. But that would not be the same as using a chemical weapons as defined by international treaties, such as a nerve or blister agent.

"Something went down, but it was short of a chemical weapon," a senior State Department official told CNN. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity for the same reason as the other two officials.

Nice dance around by those 'analysts' and the 'senior State Department official.'

Here is the definition of 'chemical weapons' as we find it in Article II of the Chemical Weapons Convention:

1. "Chemical Weapons" means the following, together or separately:
(a) Toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited under this Convention, as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes;
(b) Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in subparagraph (a), which would be released as a result of the employment of such munitions and devices;
(c) Any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions and devices specified in subparagraph (b).

Deliberately exposing people to a 'caustic' agent, such as chlorine, by definition is the employment of a 'chemical weapon.' There is no requirement that it be 'weaponized' in a high tech delivery system; there is no requirement that the toxic chemical be specifically designed to be used as a 'weapon' and there is no specific definition of chemicals, materials, or delivery systems.

Obama drew his 'red line' in the sand, and now he's hedging, badly,

By the way, there are 188 signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The United States is one of them. To what other 'international treaties' was the 'U.S. military official directly familiar with the preliminary analysis' referring?

3/19/13

Enemies

I am apparently an 'enemy of the state.' Or at least of Diane Feinstein and her accomplices in the US Congress.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed because if [it] was in the package, it would take 60 votes to get it out. You know, the enemies on this are very powerful. I've known that all my life," she said.

All of We the People who oppose Feinstein and her cronies on this are ... 'enemies?'

And here I thought I was simply a citizen, a Veteran of a Foreign War, one who has served and protected, one who has taken not once, but several times, an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

Silly me.

I'm an 'enemy.' But clearly, not a very powerful one.

Obama is Satan ... spelled backwards!

Well, not really.

But History Channel has this series going on now, 'The Bible.'

Satan has made his appearance in the series, as one might suspect he eventually would.

No sooner than that happened, than the Chalk-Dust-Sniffer-in-Chief, Glen Beck, and a good many others, pulled a 7th-grade type 'OMG!"

They think the fellow who plays Satan looks like Obama:



I suppose that if one is already predisposed to consider The One to be a Satanic influence, the connection might be easy to make.

History Channel and the show's producers deny this, of course.

So I wonder why Beck didn't pick up on the similarity when Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni played Hassan in the most recent remake of 'The Four Feathers?'

Of course, 'The Four Feathers' may be too intellectually challenging for the likes of Beck and his hangers-on ... but Ouazanni did play Leah's husband in the rather bad remake of  'The Ten Commandments,' over which you might expect every fundie biblical literalist to be swooning, and no one noticed this glaringly obvious, almost beyond belief, prophetic (I think it might be mentioned in Revelation) similarity then.

Well ... given the Republicans soul-searching report released yesterday, we can only wonder when the RNC is going to nominate Beck as the chairperson. That would go a long way toward helping them maintain the connection with their 'core constituency' while they 'reach out' to women, API's, African-Americans, and gays, and 'others.'  No mention of Muslim-Americans there.

I would say the Republicans have their work cut out for them. It's going to be hard to convince those groups that the party cares about them, when they have some fundamentalist candidate going on about how the gays are all going to rot in hell forever, being the abominations they are, and how all those Muslim-Americans are really, like, you know ... probably terrorists or something.


3/16/13

NRA Beats Major Gun Proposals?

That's the title of this article on FoxNews' main website page this morning.

It's good to know that the NRA is still good for something besides inviting America's whackiest loons from the farthest right side of the political spectrum to hold 'rallies' at their confabulations.

From Wayne LaPierre:

"They can call me crazy and whatever else they want, but NRA's nearly 5 million members and America's 100 million gun owners will not back down — not now, not ever." 

"Call me crazy?"

Wayne. Dude. You bring it on yourself.

You and the NRA are not going to win this fight over the long term until you realize that not everyone who owns a gun, and who believes that the Second really ain't about duck-hunting, does not have to be a chalk-sniffing, flag-waving, self-styled all-American 'super-patriot' in the sense of the far right.

I even know some Democrats who - despite the recent nuttiness on the part of the Colorado Democrats - are against the recent affronts to our rights as free citizens.

Some of them are even in Congress.

3/14/13

Mary Lee checks in

After her two-day 'run silent, run deep' routine, Mary Lee is frisking about on the surface, with five pings this morning as she cruises back and forth in short sprints. She has made her way well south of Bermuda, about 600 miles SSW, more or less. She is 550 miles east of Vero Beach, FL, out in the open Atlantic, over water that is 13,000 - 14,000 feet deep.

Update: as of the morning of 03.15.2013, Mary Lee has crossed over the Hatteras Abyss, which has depths in excess of 19,000 feet. She is angling toward the west northwest, approaching Blake Ridge and the Blake Plateau.

OCEARCH Tracker

3/13/13

The NRA

I recently rejoined the NRA.

Yep. I did.

I have been a member of the NRA off and on for decades, mostly on, occasionally off.

I click them off when they start sounding like far right loons. Really far right loons. Some of you might be asking, "When do they not?" Actually, most of the time they don't. That's what drove Gunowners of America away from the NRA; GOA is the outfit that thinks the NRA is too weak on the Second, catering to hunters and 'sportsmen' rather than focusing on the Second Amendment.

So I figured with Obama in the Oval, and the Democrats running the show closer to home, it was time to rejoin.

And no sooner than I did, I got an invitation from Glen Beck to 'join him' for an NRA confabulation in Houston.

Yep. The looniest of the far right loons is in the sack with Wayne LaPierre and the NRA.

So I guess I'm 'off' again. No wonder people think those of us who oppose gun control and gun ownership restrictions are complete whackjobs. How could they not, with the likes of Glen 'Chalk Dust' Beck ranting away?

NRA Convention: Glen Beck? Again?

Update: Sent this one off to the NRA this morning (03.14.2013):

I recently rejoined the NRA. But then I received that thing from Glen Beck. You gotta be kidding me. I can stomach Ollie North; he did serve the nation well until he became a bit player in that bad rewrite of Seven Days in May or whatever that bag of sleaze was with Iran-Contra, and wiped his ass with the Constitution ... but Glen Beck?

If that's the best you can do, please cancel my membership immediately. You can keep the change.

Recalling Giron



Gessler gives GOP a primer on recalling Giron

What Gessler should be doing is giving the GOP a primer on how to win a basic election.

You'll all no doubt recall (no snickers, please) that Giron was appointed in August 2010 to fill in when Abel Tapia left to take the head dog position with the Colorado Lottery.

Giron had little to no political experience when she then ran against Vera Ortegon in November 2010. That experience was limited to serving as an aide to Ken Salazar and Michael Bennet, and of course, whatever she picked up through osmosis through being the spouse of Pueblo councilman Steve Nawrocki.

Ortegon had been a Pueblo councilperson for 4 years, and had served on the water board for 11.

Yet Giron still whacked Ortegon by 4500 votes.

2010 was the year the Republicans presented such winners for our consideration as Ken Buck, ship-jumpin'  Tom "Ol' 1Y" Tancredo, and Dan Maes. And of course, we cannot forget the wonderful experience we had with the brilliant leadership of the Otero Republicans, which leadership seems not to have changed one whit for the better. Perhaps the Pueblo Republicans have their wits somewhat more about them, though I ain't holdin' my breath.

We can only hope that if the Republicans try a recall, they present a candidate that doesn't sound like a raving lunatic of a right wing fundamentalist who thinks God is literally on his side, serving up fresh cups of Tea to the righteous.

We can only hope, but we ain't bettin' a nickel, much less the paycheck.

The Republicans' Chernobyl 

Our favorite theologian ...

... Dr. Thomas Jay Oord, has a pretty good series going over on his blog:


 A New Doctrine of Initial Creation - 1

 An Evil World and a God Who Controls Others? - A New Doctrine of Creation 2

Understandable but Not Convincing Reasons to Affirm Creatio Ex Nihilo

What's the bag limit?

Senator Diane Feinstein, (D-CA) recently observed:

“We have federal regulations and state laws that prohibit hunting ducks with more than three rounds, and yet it’s legal to hunt humans with 15-round, 30-round, even 150-round magazines”

Yep. She said that during a Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting, on March 7.

Does that mean that James Holmes is being unfairly prosecuted? Did he simply exceed his bag limit? Was he 'hunting' out of season? Perhaps he had a 'does only' tag? 



John Morse: Ignore them

John Morse is president of the Colorado Senate. Here is the now famous - or infamous, depending on your point of view - excerpt from his interview with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC:



Morse is apparently channeling Abe Lincoln these days, but we gotta say, Morse has a very skewed perception of Lincoln and public opinion. He should read up on the relationship between Lincoln, Horace Greeley, and the New York Tribune. Then there is this little tidbit:

. As President, according to journalist Noah Brooks, "Lincoln found time to read the newspapers, or, as he sometimes expressed it, 'to skirmish' with them. From their ephemeral pages he rescued many a choice bit of verse, which he carried with him until he was quite familiar with it." Historian Gabor Boritt noted that "a chief means of his listening was the press as digested by his assistants, and it was through the press that he could shape public opinion."

which is excerpted from Michael Burlingame, Lincoln Observed: Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks, February 19, 1865, p. 139 and Noah Brooks, Washington, D.C. in Lincoln's Time: A Memoir of the Civil War Era by the Newspaperman Who Knew Lincoln Best, p. 261.

Basically, don't bother with listening to opinion, either in the fishwrappers or from your constituents, because they're wrong and have nothing worth listening to. It's OK to do that, Morse thinks, because he wrongly thinks Lincoln didn't read newspapers. But he did read newspapers, and he had his staff read newspapers and summarize the information for him, and he used the newspapers to form public opinion. If you're going to channel Lincoln, Senator Morse, at least flip to the correct channel, please. Or is this just another example of how stupid you think we all are?

This is the guy who led the charge to ram through HB1224 and the other so-called 'gun control' measures that Morse and his accomplices in the General Assembly recently passed.

HB 1224 is the bill limiting magazine capacity. Morse and his cronies started out with wanting to ban magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds (they call them 'bullets', but let's not be pedantic about it) of ammunition. No one seems to know how or why they determined that 10 rounds was the cutoff point between an acceptable capacity and one that posed an unreasonable - and apparently 'unreasoned', given Morse's view that we who oppose him are whackjobs - threat to Colorado's communities.

That reasoning turned out to be flexible, because they upped the offensiveness capacity to 15 rounds in the final bill.

The basic magazine capacity for an M16/AR15, at least in my day, was 20 rounds. What we used to do was stick a piece of plywood between two magazines and tape them together, either side-by-side or inverted. The plywood provided a spacer to allow for the magazine well, but we had a 40 round capacity then. Some of the more inventive among us did it with three mags, but I found that a bit unwieldy. But all that's another story.

So they've managed to reduce the capacity from 20 rounds to 15 on the basic magazine, whilst banning new acquisition (Morse is graciously allowing we whackjobs to keep the mags we already have) of anything with higher capacity.

So now we tape 15 rounders together to make 30 rounders. Or are electrical tape and plywood going to be illegal, too?

'Law enforcement' can still obtain high cap mags. But in Colorado, most of the podunk PD's and SO's require their officers to purchase their own weapons and equipment. If a police officer buys a 30 round magazine for 'official use' for his personally-owned AR15 ... when he quits or retires, can he keep it? It would be, after all, the officer's personal property. Morse and his cronies apparently haven't thought of that.

But the real thing here is the flexibility of Morse's high morals and righteous indignation. That's explicit in Joe Salazar's "Magpull Amendment," the one where the Democrats amended HB 1224 to allow Magpul to continue to manufacture high capacity magazines up yonder in Erie, Colorado, so long as they didn't sell them to Colorado's non-military and non-LE whackjobs. It's OK to sell these engines of destruction outside of the state, because, apparently, Morse and his cronies don't care if said engines of destruction rain down death and mayhem on non-Coloradans, so long as they get the tax revenues from Magpul.

Of course, the whole thing about 'engines of destruction' or whatever Morse et al want to call them is utter nonsense in any case; it's all emotional pukery with no basis in reasoned thought.

And who is /are the whackjobs here?

3/12/13

An American Pope

There seems to be some excitement brewing about the possibility of an American Pope:

An American Pope? Cardinal Dolan may charm himself into the Vatican

There's more to the story, that 'more' all of a sudden being swept under the carpet as the possibility of Dolan making the jump inflames more and more imaginations:

An American Pope

As you can see, though a cheerful glad-hander, Dolan has managed to infuriate a substantial number of American Catholics.

Whether that is enough to cause them all to pull a Giron and exhibit some of that 'fluid morality' our Colorado Democrats possess in such great amount in order to see Dolan seated upon the Cathedra Romana remains to be seen.

On the other hand ... we have ...

The Cappuccino Priest

John Morse, Angela Giron, and 'threats'

As we all know by now, John Morse and Angela Giron are vapor-locking over what they call 'threats' from Ray Stafford of the Pueblo Chieftain toward Giron, for her position on the gun control bills recently passed by the General Assembly.

The state's Democrat lawmakers understand threats very well, as they are very good at making them.

When Colorado sheriffs had the temerity to question our brilliant political leadership, they were threatened by that leadership, in no uncertain terms.

Excerpted from El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa's commentary, "An injustice against our citizens":

To add insult to injury, the following Wednesday, I received an email containing the following language from a member of County Sheriffs Of Colorado: “…I have been advised by a reliable source at the Capitol that the Dems are seriously not pleased with the CSOC positions on the gun bills, and given the potential for a real salary bill to be introduced as you shall see from a follow-up email from” (an unnamed sheriff), “support of SB197 would put us in a more favorable light for salary bill support from the Dems. I do not believe we would be sacrificing our principles or positions on the other gun bills by supporting SB197.” “...Please let us know what you think on this proposal ASAP as I need to get a letter from us to the Senate Dems before the close of business today.” As I see it, senate Dems have made it known, “sheriffs, obey or no pay for you.” The first word that comes to my mind is extortion. Again, I’m disheartened that the pay of sheriffs is threatened to gain compliance with the majority party leadership. Local elected officials’ pay is set by the legislature as stated in Colorado Law. The previous governor’s process brought the need for a pay increase before the legislature and that legislature is attempting to buy compliance. I have great admiration for my fellow sheriffs; they are true professionals with high morals and principles. Having served with many of them for years, I can say they are men of honor with a passion to serve and do what’s right. I will not speak for them, but I personally will not concede to these threats, stand by while coercive acts such as this go without mention, nor will I compromise my values and beliefs for a justified pay raise based on studies performed by a bi-partisan commission formed by the democrat leadership. To be clear, this salary recommendation would have no affect on me, as I am term limited. Setting salaries is the responsibility of the legislature. This authority should not be used as a tool of coercion, but unfortunately it appears to have become such a device and there is nothing to suggest otherwise." 

So it seems that if a citizen exercises the provisions of the state Constitution in Article II Section 24, that citizen is now 'making threats.' That part of the Constitution reads:

Right to Assemble and Petition

The people have the right peaceably to assemble for the common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, by petition or remonstrance.

What we are seeing from the sheriffs, Ray Stafford, and we hoi polloi is 'remonstrance.' The Dems better get used to it, because it's just beginning.

Yet the Democrats of the Colorado Senate are resorting to extortion to bring our county sheriffs to heel.

This is 'leadership?'

When do we open the Colorado Gulag?

If the Colorado Republican Party weren't in such a state of disorganized incompetence, we wouldn't be having this stuff rammed down our throats. There would be some balance of power.

Giron v. Magpul

Actually, it's the Colorado Democrats against Magpul  and  those of us who own and like owning firearms - which almost certainly includes some Democrats among the unwashed masses, but Giron is the one who has the focus, since she turned out to be the swing vote in the Senate on HB1224.

Her vote on the magazine capacity limit should come as no surprise to southeastern Colorado, where Giron is fast gaining a reputation for being both anti-jobs and anti-southeastern Colorado. Her vapid reasoning for killing SB63 put the capstone on that. We can only hope that it is also the tombstone for a flash-in-the-pan political career.

Two days before her vote on the magazine capacity bill, Giron fled the scene. She was nowhere to be found as constituents showed up for her regularly scheduled town meeting over in Pueblo. Perhaps she was too busy scratching the ears of the governor's pooch.

Meanwhile, Giron and Senate President John Morse are having semi-hysterical hissy fits over Giron being 'threatened' by Ray Stafford, the general manager of the Pueblo Chieftain.

Giron and Morse reacted in the same manner as does our beloved president, when he feels that the press has not been properly worshipful.

Disagreement with people like Giron, Morse, and Obama constitutes an 'attack.' Or a 'threat.'

I suppose that by the standards of Giron and Morse, this blogpost constitutes a 'threat.'

Meanwhile, the hypocrisy of Giron and her accomplices in the General Assembly is beyond reason: Rep Joe Salazar, a Democrat from Thornton, was the mastermind behind what I've taken to calling 'the Magpul Amendment' to the House bill. When Magpul threatened to pull out of Colorado if the bill passed, taking all those jobs to Texas or some other state, the Democrats seem to have realized they had stepped into the poop. So Salazar introduced the amendment wherein Magpul could have continued to manufacture the magazines and sell them out-of-state, just not here in Colorado.

So much for that high moral sense that Giron and her cronies make so much noise over. They think the magazines are evil incarnate, contributing to insane levels of violence in our communities ... but it's OK to keep jobs in the state and collect taxes from the manufacturer and the employees, so long as the Evil Things are sold to people in other communities. Screw them, in other words.

Is it really about community safety? Apparently only to a point. Well, we know now that Giron has a price, don't we? If she and her Democrat pals really believe that high-cap magazines are such threats to public safety, they are willing to sell out - as we see in the Magpull Amendment - and the hell with people in other states. So much for high moral standards. Our state Democrats are practicing political prostitution in its crassest form.

On the other hand, we here at BloggerCentral can only wonder when, given the strange morality evident in the thought processes of Giron, Morse, and Salazar, they will come up with a new jobs creation scheme - "The Gulag Bill."  Yep. We have some empty prisons here in Colorado. Following the thinking of Colorado's Democrats, anyone who disagrees with them is either threatening them - or is just crazy - so let's use those empty prisons as a sort of Colorado Gulag to house us all. Think of the jobs that will create! And it worked so well for the Soviets!

Is Giron really the best Pueblo can offer the state as a legislator? Really?



3/7/13

The Great Food Fight: Local vs. Global

Point Loma Nazarene University's alumni magazine, 'Viewpoint', has several good articles on 'glocalization' in the Spring 2013 issue.

One of them is 'The Great Food Fight: Local vs. Global.' The author is Sharon Ayala.

An opening excerpt:

Some people say an avocado from the farmer’s market in your neighborhood is better for the palate, the conscience, and the planet than the one from a large chain grocery store. You should feel virtuous when you buy locally grown food, they suggest. Localism has been called everything from a trend to a moral obligation, even a fear tactic. With strong arguments from advocates on both sides, it’s difficult to know where to place your food allegiance.

The article asks ... what exactly is local?

That's a good question, especially considering recent dustups in the ... for want of a better word ... local communties over buying locally grown food.

Did you know that our benevolent and most gracious federal government has more or less defined it?

From the article:

In 2008, when Congress passed H.R.2419, an amendment to the “Consolidated and Rural Development Act,” they grouped “locally” and “regionally” together:

“(I) the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product; or 

(II) the State in which the product is produced.”

But what is more interesting, is that author Sharon Ayala then discusses the economics and other aspects of a globalized food market, but there's too much detail to start copying and pasting here.

Go read the article. It's quite well-written.

3/6/13

Senator Angela Giron and Senate Bill 63


Senate Bill 63 would have added to the definition of "recycled energy" ... the energy that is produced by a generation unit with a nameplate capacity of not more than 15 megawatts that combusts gas generated from synthetic gas derived from waste.

This is nothing new. We kicked it around back in early 2011, when HB1001 was a hot item. As you can see, this was something that could have really kicked up the jobs here in The Smile Hi.

But Senator Angela Giron and her accomplices on the State, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee killed it; it isn't even going to be allowed out of committee.

Then, over on her blog, Giron presented some of the most childishly inadequate 'reasoning' as to why she voted against SB 63. Clearly, the people of Senate District 3 were not expecting any adult leadership when they elected Giron.

So I sent this email to Giron, asking her to give me the benefit of her thinking in voting against Senate Bill 63.

+++

Good day to you, Senator Giron,

I'm curious as to why you voted against Senate Bill 63. I have read your blogpost on this:

• Good leadership requires a long-term vision – changing the definition of our RES for one project is short-sighted when we consider the 17,000 jobs that our new energy economy has already brought to Colorado. Yes, 17,000!
• Protect Pueblo – I would never risk the recovery happening right here in Pueblo, at Vestas. This bill represented a threat to a market that our future and the future of our children depends on.
• Environmental Conservation- the burning of waste material, such as landfill trash, is highly suspect as a renewable energy and a case was not made for awarding renewable energy credits to a resource derived from the additional burning of fossil fuels.


but I must confess to having some difficulty in understanding your thinking. Please explain to me what changing the definition of RES as delineated in SB63 has to do with 17,000 jobs 'our new energy economy' has already brought to Colorado. Is changing the definition somehow a threat to those jobs? If so, would you explain to me in what way that is? Will the inclusion of a new source of energy drive existing industry from the state? And, will you share with me the source of your figure of 17,000 jobs?

Can you explain to me how SB63 presented a threat to Pueblo? Would so many people flee the city and county of Pueblo seeking employment further east that Pueblo's economy would be crippled? How did you determine the level of this threat, much less its existence?

How would the burning of this waste material present a threat to the environment? Would it be open-air burning? Would there be insufficient filtering and scrubbing by this process? How did you determine this would be a threat to the environment, more so than Comanche 3 belching gases into the air of Pueblo County?

And lastly, perhaps you would share with me the reason for an energy bill being presented in the State, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee rather than the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy committee.

The more cynical among us might think that we're seeing a bit of political vindictiveness from your office, given the fact that Otero County tends to vote Republican. I am sure that is not the case, and eagerly await your response.

Thank you.

+++

'Show Some Love' is the title of Giron's blogpost on the matter. 'Show Some Love?'

Giron should be ashamed to show her face anywhere east of the Pueblo County line, much less ask the people of southeastern Colorado - and our elected representatives - to 'show her some love.'

Update: As of noon 03.07.2013, Giron has not responded to my request for clarification of her thinking.