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Monday, March 09, 2015

What could be more American

There is a fabulous segment of the speech President Obama gave at the 50th Anniversary of the march over the Edmund Pettis Bridge that I think, finally, nearly perfectly captures our progressive ideal of patriotism.
It resonates with me and I suspect it will with you.  While I don't think it will make even a tiny dent in the viewpoint of those who have no ear for reality and honesty, I think in the long run this will go down as one of the most important phrases in our discourse.
If you haven't seen this yet, here it is:

“[W]hat could be more American than what happened in this place? What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people – unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many, coming together to shape their country’s course?
“What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this, what greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?”
So while they claim to be more patriotic with their bigger flags and bullying bravado, we will continue to move ahead.  They always have seemingly won the present but the march of progress has nonetheless move progressively forward, sometimes faster than other times but still forward.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maine Speed Limit

Alright, who's fucking bright idea was it to raise Maine's highway speed limit to 70mph?  Probably some genius(s) working at DOT or more likely State Reps looking to make a name for themselves.  Why wasn't 65mph fast enough along the vast majority of Maine's highways? 
I drove home tonight along I-95 between Augusta and Pittsfield northbound and it felt like there were twice as many cars on the rode as usual.  Why?  Because all of the fraidy-cats who used to drive a little over 65 are now driving a little over 70, just like the more aggressive of us.  So now we're all driving the same separation.   Plus, those same newly-speedy folks are the same ones who never had any speed control in the first place.  They never bothered me much because I was going at least 5mph faster than them and would get away from them.  Not anymore.  I could drive nearly anywhere in Maine on the highway with my cruise set to 72 and never have to touch the brakes, going faster than 3/4 of the cars on the road and the other 1/4 going around my speed or faster.
Add on top of this that the aforementioned geniuses decided that 70mph is a whole, whopping 5mph too fast for the megacities that are Augusta and Waterville.  So all these speed demons who passed me while I was going 72 I passed again, still going 72, going through Waterville because they slowed down to 65.  It was a big accordion out there today.
To make matters worse, the State Troopers were out.  So now we're all wondering if the mystical safe zone of 5-7mph over the speed limit still holds true now that the speed is posted at 70.  There was one Trooper in the cut-out where you often see them near Sidney and the new-speedies slowed down to 65 (THE POSTED SPEED LIMIT IS 70, YOU IDIOTS!) but then when they saw another just a half mile up the road having pulled over someone, down to 60mph they went!  Good grief, I almost came undone.
As I said, I've always managed to be left alone going 72 anywhere in Maine that was posted 65 and very rarely saw anyone else get pulled over unless they were approaching 80 or faster.  So what was wrong with that?  Why can't you leave well enough alone?  The same people who could fuck up the proverbial wet dream.

Friday, September 27, 2013

When he's right, he's right...

And he is quite often.

Quoth Robert Reich

When I worked in Washington for the first time in 1967 as an intern for Senator Robert Kennedy, the leadership of the Republican Party included responsible adults capable of governing the nation. Fast forward 46 years and there's no real Republican leadership (Boehner and McConnell are the opposite of leaders). There's not even a national Republican Party: The GOP is a hollow shell infested with right-wing nihilists like Ted Cruz and Eric Cantor, conservative fanatics like Paul Ryan and Mike Lee, and a Star Wars barroom of cranks and crackpots, mostly bankrolled by a few billionaires and cheer-leaded by wackos on Fox News and yell radio. No responsible adult is in charge, and yet the rest of us are being held hostage to their playground antics.
A little more than a year from now the nation will have an opportunity to vote many of these people out of office. We must do everything in our power to do so.

The bolding is by me for emphasis.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Healthcare hypocrisy

You say it would be socialism, communism and not capitalism to change our healthcare system.  Then why is it that what we have IS socialism and not truly driven by fair market forces?

This clip is so good I had to share it everywhere.  Learn!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The blank check

When you join the armed forces (remember, it's a volunteer force.  I'd have some a tiny bit of sympathy if these assholes were drafted) and sign that blank check, you're no longer entitled to a public opinion.

Read this article, the latest regarding active duty troops taking to Twitter and Facebook, hiding their faces and protesting that they didn't join to do whatever.  I didn't join and spend eight years on active duty to have my name sullied by things like the Iran/Contra Affair and $25 toilet seats (and I could go on and on about my 8 years that dovetailed the reign of the sainted Ronald Reagen) but I did what I was told because that is exactly what I swore to do when I joined.  If you disagree, then show your face and get your less-than-honorable discharge, which is the honorable thing to do if your signature on that blank check is worthless.

This guy has it right.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Trying to explain

In trying to explain (to a fellow atheist even) why I defend to some extent the tone used by another atheist in this article.  I explained as follows:  "I agree but on the other hand you could say that nothing we say and no matter how we say it will make us seem any more palatable to them. And though it shouldn't matter, I don't think we started the insults, etc. In large part I operate as you say because it's not my personality to be an asshole about people's beliefs (I try anyway) but I honestly feel like that's not a reciprocal action. They fucking hate us and as a result, it's very hard not to hate some of them in return."

But then I also feel this is even more clear:  On Facebook I have many, many friends and family of the Christian faith.  They do not hesitate or think twice about what their posts in support of their faith (and I'm talking strictly faith here, not politics or moral issues) may mean to those who disagree, whether in some ways it's even insulting to those who don't believe, nor do I frankly think they care.  On the other hand, we as atheists have to be very careful what we say and share, to the point where I very rarely share anything at all because to those who believe OUR VERY EXISTENCE is insulting to them.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Phew, that felt good to get off my chest

Thanks, Garrison Keillor

I think he covered just about everything except for the gun nuts.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Origins of Memorial Day

I honestly did not know about this and since I didn't, I've got to assume some don't know it either.  Why is that?  It's an incredibly moving thought to me what transpired here.  Just a three-minute clip.

Watch Memorial Day on PBS. See more from American Experience.

Monday, December 03, 2012

No, it's not just as easy

I see my conservative, gun-loving friends are up in arms about Bob Costas interrupting their fucking football to preach about gun violence.  Now, I haven't seen or heard one word of what Costas had to say -- and in general I'm of a mind that I don't want politics mixed with my sports or my rock concerts, etc -- but I will still applaud him for having the balls to try to interject some sanity into this situation, albeit likely falling on deaf ears.
What really burns my ass is the assertion that Belcher could have as easily killed his girlfriend and himself if he didn't have a gun.  Bullshit!  You can make a snap, rash, out-of-your-mind decision to kill someone and if you have a gun handy, you can execute that thought without a chance to take it back.  A bullet is much more sudden and deadly than your other options.  (and by the way, I'm not going to expound on the thought that guns don't kill people, just like nuclear weapons don't kill people -- leave that for another day)  With a gun, especially the semi-automatic favorites of today, you can kill someone with the second or third bullet fired less than a second after the time for it to sink in what you've done before it's too late.
If all you have at your disposal is a knife or your bare hands, for instance, it's a whole lot more personal and difficult to fully and completely carry out your momentary insane instinct to kill someone.  You have to thrust that knife into their body from a very close distance and likely will have to repeat the act of stabbing.  And strangling someone is even more up close and personal and time consuming.  All the time these options take is time you might come to your senses and stop; and then instead of remorsefully killing yourself for what you've done, your remorse might actually help you save that person's life, to say nothing of your own.
So just color me disappointed, but not the least bit surprised, that the people who most need to hear an opposing opinion on this matter heard nothing but a dog whistle warning about taking away their god-damn guns.  They're selfish and always will be...they'd rather have their guns that ever contemplate what a safer world it would be for everyone, not just them and their loved ones, if their were a whole lot less of them out there (even though I realize we're long beyond the point of return)
Just to prove the point (although some people are allergic to logic) I'll give you two scenarios:  Scenario one, two people are together and neither of them has a gun.  Scenario two, two people are together and at least one of them has a gun.  In which scenario is someone much more likely to die?  And if both people have guns, you're much more likely to die than you are safer.  And don't give me that shit about people being able to make mature decisions.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Very Proud

I know I've said some very disparaging things about the average American (and rightfully so) but my heart is filled with pride tonight that Americans refused to be denied their rights and went out and voted -- standing in long lines to do exercise the right that ALL AMERICANS have, to help determine the outcome of elections that will help determine their futures.  And I'm very proud also of the people who came to the aid of those who waited to vote by bring them food, water and warmth.
I'm obviously happy with the result of the Presidential election and think that result is very telling as well, and that the vast majority of the wingnuts in Senate races lost as well.  Maybe there's hope for us after all.
In the immortal words of George W. Bush, "I've earned some capital in this election and I plan to spend it."  The people have spoken.  If you're not going to help, get the fuck out of the way.  I think this election also proves that the people are still stronger than the vast amounts of money and influence of a few, something that I wasn't so sure of too long ago.
Finally, congratulations to Angus King, our new independent Senator from Maine.  Now we've elected three independents to very high office.  Good night, America.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


One of my best friends from high school is a self-described "lifelong Republican" and for the past eight years has been the State Representative in my hometown area, the one I was raised in, went to school in and moved back to almost two years ago.  There is a reason we were friends, at least from my perspective anyway, because Stacey Fitts was a genuinely good person of character.
At this point I'll stop blowing smoke up his ass and let his own deeds and words make the point.  The following is a recently-released commercial "starring" Stacey urging Mainers to vote yes on  Question 1 this fall.

I have actually not seen the commercial yet on television.  Where I learned about this was from Stacey sharing this editorial on Facebook that was written by Bill Nemitz in the Portland Press Herald entitled One Man's Turnaround Reflects a Sea Change.  It is a very well-written article and provides a great deal of background to this story.

This is not the first time he's publicly disagreed with his party and has continued to do so even now that Republicans control both Houses in Maine and the Governor's office.  He has sat on energy-related committees and has always formed his own opinions, some in disagreement with his own party, and has not been shy in publicly disagreeing with Governor LePage.  Recently he wrote the following op-ed in the Bangor Daily News chiding the Governor for making Maine's energy policy a political football.  I know when I read what Stacey has to say on these issues, I'm getting it fair, honest and straight, whether I agree or not.  I wouldn't expect anything less from the man I've called my friend for at least 40 years.  Hey buddy, if you read this, the next Fresca's on me.

I do need to add that this piece as it initially formed in my head was supposed to be a piece in support of Question 1 and legalizing gay marriage in Maine, as opposed to being back-slap for Stacey.  But since it has sorta turned into that, I want to thank him for his eight years of honest service to this community and the people of Maine, and to thank him for his support on this issue.  Make sure you vote in November no matter how you feel about these issues but make sure you have as much honest information as you can get.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Thank you, Senator Pressler

Thank you, Senator Pressler, a Republican, for so succinctly and eloquently and passionately saying what needs and should have been said for quite some time now.  Below is an excerpt from Senator Pressler's endorsement letter of President Obama:
As a combat veteran of two tours in Vietnam with twenty-two years of service as a Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate, I endorse President Barack Obama for a second term as our Commander-in-Chief. Candidates publicly praise our service members, veterans and their families, but President Obama supports them in word and deed, anywhere and every time.
 This is a rather long letter as far as letters go but it lays out so well why it's not even close when it comes to how much support the President has given the troops and the military, and how much the Republican Party has let them down, which is putting it kindly, and presents a stark contrast between the President and Mr. Romney.  This is something the average conservative has ignored for years, though admittedly so has the average Democrat.  If you haven't read this letter, you need to and you can do so here.  It'll be interesting to see whether this gets anywhere near the press coverage and conversation it deserves.
Brent, I assume living in South Dakota, you've seen this?

And I want to throw in a great quote (sort of, since I don't now remember it exactly) by Chris Matthews tonight, paraphrasing, "Why do conservatives believe that the way to get rich people to work harder is by giving them money but the best way to make poor people work harder is by making things more difficult." 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

It's not about team

Watching the first of the Presidential debates, at the same time seeing my Facebook wall plastered with status updates from my conservative friends along the lines of "Obviously Romney/Ryan are right," thus the President isn't, coming from people who would gladly take George Bush back today if it were possible, rooting for their team because it's their team.  No way on earth will you ever convince me that a single one of them has any idea what the President has done, what he will do and what he stands for.  They don't care because he's on the other team.
I guarantee you that if I put the President's positions in front of them but put a picture of a man, preferably white, with a Republican label on him, they'd lap it up.  How else can you explain them being for a guy, Romney, who stands for nothing except for everything when it's convenient depending upon who he's talking to at the moment?  They blame the President for the very things his predecessor, that Bush guy again, did, while they stood back and did nothing but applaud.  Many, many of the things the President has put forth and done were previously supported by Republicans, even originated with Republicans, before a Democrat decided to do some of them.
So I'll say again, if you switched the labels in front of these guys and somehow made them both unknown to conservatives, they'd pick the guy they don't want to pick.

POST DEBATE UPDATE:  First, let me say that I'm very disappointed in the President's performance tonight.  Not once did he really in some way, shape or form call Romney the liar that he is or take him to task for sounding like a Democrat tonight -- yet another reincarnation from the Supreme Flipflopper.  Now he's for things the President and liberals are for and I can still see my conservative friends lapping it up.  They truly are not paying attention.  Color me scared that this is even possible.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Hope On!

This Democratic convention thus far has had a few firebrand speaches thus far, though none better than this one by Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri.  Hope on!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Caption Contest

This photo of yours truly lugging off the remains of one side of my mother's old clothes line turned out even better than I thought it would when she suggested it.  (Side note:  First time she's ever used a smartphone)
So I thought I'd share it with all of you and let you post your caption suggestions in the comments to this blog.  You're allowed to have more than one suggestion if they're good ones.   Mine, of course, is "The burden of being an atheist."