No Time For Blogging, Voltaire Says it Better Anyway

voltaireThose who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. (Voltaire)

Thank you, Voltaire, for expressing my feelings about politics, human rights, and war. My time is entirely devoured by work and my obligations as a mom and a caregiver. My husband gave me a gift certificate for a two-hour massage for Christmas. It expires at the end of March, so I have selfishly decided to redeem it this weekend, despite my desire to shed at least ten pounds before allowing a stranger to run her hands over my flesh. I’m barely okay with my husband viewing what childbirth has wreaked upon my poor, abused frame and he is the reason for its state! An option available is the “ashiatsu” massage, in which she uses her feet to relieve pain and tension. On her site she has a picture of herself administering this treatment to a client. The client has a “sumo” covering that is basically a rolled-up towel covering her asscrack. I will probably pass on that treatment. I am the type that gives herself a pedicure BEFORE going to get a pedicure. And if I had the privilege of having a maid, I would clean before she came over. Anyone else have these stupid quirks? And I realize this has nothing to do with Voltaire, but now you have a view into the mind of a woman who likes to ponder the riddles of life and the foibles of men, but must function as a domestic slave in the real world while dealing with personal insecurities. But a little luxury awaits me on Sunday…

BUSTEd can             Surely she will have seen and kneaded far worse!

The Sequester, Manatee Wrangling, and Boobies…

Best quote of the day from Charles Blow of The New York Times:

“…dumb, stupid and inane have become the three pillars of government now that strong-willed, dimwitted hard-liners who see compromise as a dirty word have infiltrated the halls of Congress.”

Ain’t it the freaking truth? Right now, the GOP is in self-destruct mode, fighting for the right to RIDE ENDANGERED MANATEES in Florida and striking a blow against NIPPLES in North Carolina. Who gives a shit about fiscal sanity when there are bare titties around?

READThe Sequester – A Game of Chicken – NYTimes.com.

SEEAl Madrigal of The Daily Show investigate “America’s most nonsensical, slow-thinking minorities.”

WITNESS: The scourge of toplessness that has plagued one scenic NC town.

IGNORE: Millions of poor, hungry, disabled, and uninsured Americans.

What’s It Like to Wake Up From a Tea Party Binge? Just Ask Florida!

READ THE ARTICLE!! What’s It Like to Wake Up From a Tea Party Binge? Just Ask Florida! | Mother Jones.

I fear that long after the Tea Party is over, we will be dealing with the after effects of drinking so much tea. 

Obama is in my Hometown Today

People are lining up all along the interstates and byways trying to catch a glimpse of the CIC. He is stopping by Twelve Bones, a local barbecue rib joint for I believe the third time in four total visits to Asheville. Some residents hope he decides to settle here after he leaves office.

Not everyone is happy to see him.  The local Tea Party, PETA, and a host of other left and right-leaning groups protested near the entrance of the Linamar Corporation plant where he gave his speech. Representative Patrick McHenry, who represents my district, had this to say about the President’s visit:

“Once again, President Obama is flying down to North Carolina to push his economic agenda. The last time he touted his economy in NC, he visited Freightliner in Mount Holly. Six months later, they announced over one thousand layoffs. No matter how many times he says otherwise, President Obama’s policies are hurting small and large businesses in North Carolina. His barrage of tax hikes and new regulations is stifling economic growth, not encouraging it.”

Predictable fare from the Party of No. During his speech at the plant, he reiterated themes from his State of the Union Address last night. He advocates for a living wage that would ensure that no one working a full time job will live in poverty. He calls for bringing industry back from overseas and educating a workforce that will fill those new job positions.

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The North Carolina that Obama is visiting is not the same state he saw in 2011. Republican-led gerrymandering has led to a super-majority in both the state House and Senate, as well as a new Republican governor. A recent study determined NC to be the second-most gerrymandered state in the Union! The effects of this new power structure in the state is evident: The GOP is determined to reject additional federal funds for expanded Medicaid, a move that will leave nearly a half million people uninsured and place an already struggling social safety net in crisis. Fracking permits are set to be issued before the environmental implications are reviewed and property owners across the state may have no say in whether or not drilling occurs on their own land. This “conservative” legislature has brought to the forefront the very meaning of individual rights and personal autonomy as is set forth in the Constitution.

I stayed home for this visit, but back when he was campaigning, I was privileged to witness him speak to a crowd of many thousands. It was his usual stump speech, but though I had heard a variation of it a few times, I was still struck by his empathy, his poise, and his charismatic presence. Yes, it did feel like he was “The One.” The one who could finally make headway on affordable healthcare and put in place some protections against predatory lending. The one who might consider the plight of the working poor and the middle class as he deliberated his policies and direction.

Many of his promises have so far been unfulfilled. Guantanamo Bay is still open, though the President did at least TRY to shut it down. The Patriot Act and the NDAA threaten our civil liberties, in my opinion.  I am disappointed that those who condoned and authorized POWs to be tortured were never brought to justice, likewise the corporate raiders who caused the financial crisis. I think that too many innocents are dying from drone attacks.

The president is not perfect, but I have a sense that he is a good man, and a thoughtful man. I am encouraged that he is not backing down on gun control reform. I am glad that he has come out in favor of marriage equality.  He is a pragmatist, who perhaps doesn’t get things done as quickly as some of us might like. But we are not in his shoes, up against a vociferous opposition hellbent on destoying any proposal he puts forth, without consideration for those of us who will be hurt by this obstructionism. I am glad he has four more years to set this country on the path to recovery and prosperity.

Still Bringing the Science Crazy in NC via Scientific American Blog Network

Blog post from Scientific American:

So you thought the nuttiest thing we did in North Carolina this week was appoint a director of child development and early education who was against … um, early education.

What’s wrong with you: have you never heard of North Carolina before? This is the NEW North Carolina, with a new governor and bulletproof majorities in both houses of the legislature: Carolinians are calling it “The Reign of Error.” The anti-education educator quickly resigned (the anti-education stance appears to have been only the beginning of the crazy; she wondered on Twitter, for example, whether the 2011 earthquake in Japan may have been caused by ultrasonic waves from North Korea or Japan), but relax: our anti-science scientists are on the case.

Our legislators of course most famously made their bones trying to force scientists not to model sea-level rise, though they regained the spotlight only last month, appointing a leader of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) who believes that oil may be a renewable resource and that the science on global warming is unresolved.

Which brings us right back to global warming. Acting as scientific adviser to the group that led the charge against measuring sea level was one John Droz, who has an MA in solid state science and crusades against things like the belief in climate change and wind energy.

Continue Reading: Still Bringing the Science Crazy in NC | Plugged In, Scientific American Blog Network.

 

10 Reasons Why You Need To Carry A Concealed Gun To Church

Read this and follow List of X!

List of X

This week, Arkansas state legislature passed a law allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms into churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worships.  Though, since it’s Arkansas, this list can easily be shortened to just “churches”.  Here are 10 reasons why the law allows people to bring a concealed gun to church in Arkansas.

1)  After seeing so many recent articles about gun violence, God just doesn’t feel safe anymore.

2)  Legislators are reacting to multiple disturbing reports of worshipers who had been accosted in church by people demanding they hand over their money and place it on a plate.

3)  The altar boys have to defend themselves from the Catholic priests.

4)  This law is just a first step to passing legislation that would finally allow Americans to carry concealed weapons into Heaven.

5)  What if people in church are attacked by Satan during prayer? Well, sure, it hasn’t…

View original post 127 more words

RALEIGH: NC Senate Republicans vote to block Medicaid expansion, exchanges | State Politics | NewsObserver.com

RALEIGH — Despite last-minute objections from Gov. Pat McCrory, the Republican-led state Senate pushed through legislation Monday evening that will prevent nearly 650,000 residents from getting health insurance and block the state from establishing a health care exchange.

The GOP supermajority used the 31-17 vote to send a message to the federal government that it wants no part of the health care law signed by President Barack Obama, even as other states led by Republicans are accepting the money.

Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the measure tells Washington, “if you want to do it, do it the way you want to do it and leave us out of the equation.”

Hours before the vote, McCrory’s administration expressed caution about moving too swiftly, given the unknown financial ramifications. The Republican governor is worried that the legislation may threaten money for the current system that tracks the state’s Medicaid patients, according to a letter his administration sent to Senate leaders.

“We believe additional time is necessary to evaluate the serious financial ramifications of Senate Bill 4 to North Carolina taxpayers,” wrote Fred Steen, the governor’s chief lobbyist.

via RALEIGH: NC Senate Republicans vote to block Medicaid expansion, exchanges | State Politics | NewsObserver.com.

This is what I was afraid of when NC voters decided to put a bunch of ideologues and Tea Partiers into the state legislature. Over a half-million NC residents are expected to take advantage of expanded Medicaid coverage.

A recent non-partisan study determined that the expansion would save the state money and save jobs that were threatened by recent budget cuts. The Federal government would cover the costs of the expansion 100 percent for the first three years, then 90 percent thereafter. The expansion would decrease the great burden hospitals bear by treating the uninsured in emergency rooms. 

Despite the inescapable logic of math and the highly desirable outcome of better healthcare for more people, the GOP-dominated legislature prefers to play politics with people’s lives. The monies that NC turns down will go to other states that are accepting the help, including Republican-led states. So far, the red states Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Michigan and Ohio haved joined wag-of-the finger extremist Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona in accepting billions of dollars in new revenue to bolster their Medicaid funding.

NC, in my lifetime, has been one of the more moderate states in the south, Jesse Helms notwithstanding. But in the last couple of years, Amendment One and this current POS bill have shown that NC is heading into a different, more intolerant, more backward direction. Let’s hope Pat McCrory can figure out how to steer this motley crew of fools.

Trayvon Martin’s birthday now just another court date

Trayvon Martin would have turned 18 Tuesday.

Instead, lawyers for George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering the teen, and prosecutors are back in court to discuss evidence and pushing back a scheduled June 10 trial date.

Meanwhile, Trayvon’s family and local leaders have planned community healing and memorial events this week in honor of the teen whose shooting death last year sparked national debates about race, gun laws, and the meaning of self-defense.

via Trayvon Martin’s birthday now just another court date.

I just read an article about a man who gunned down his neighbors, a couple with four children, over dog poop. There have been countless similar stories of senseless violence since Trayvon Martin was killed almost a year ago.

I started this blog just after I heard about Martin’s murder and the fact that his killer walked free until public outcry forced the creaking cogs of the justice system to start turning. We have to PAY ATTENTION and SPEAK OUT, even if it’s just on a little blog. One day, when my little ones are more independent and I am not so needed by my family, I plan to do more than just write about stuff. I want to act, march, petition, shout from the steps of the Capitol building. Until then, I will use the powerful platform of the Internet, which has done revolutionary things. 

Who knows what the outcome of the Zimmerman trial will be? I hope lots of jail time for someone who was at best a coward and a fool-at worst, a cold-blooded murderer. No matter what happens to Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin will live on. He has become the catalyst for a national discussion on Stand Your Ground laws. He represents a promising life cut short by senseless violence. Not every situation is best handled with a gun-or any type of weapon. The oh-so-American tendency to swagger, bluster, and challenge is magnified when a gun is at the hip. If Zimmerman had not been armed, would he have heeded the advice of the dispatcher to NOT follow Martin? 

Martin should have stepped back into his father’s living room, Skittles and Arizona Tea in hand and asked “what’s the score?” He should have had the opportunity to be a teenager. He will never graduate from high school, make mistakes, fall in love. Rather than celebrating his eighteenth birthday, he is in the ground because of Stand Your Ground. Rather than baking him a cake, his mother is grieving his loss. And this story of loss echoes throughout the country, from Sandy Hook to Aurora, Colorado. The nameless thousands who have died because we can’t have a rational discussion about this violent epidemic deserve our attention. This emphasis on our RIGHT to carry a gun is overshadowing our right to LIFE.  

 

‘Water bears’ are first animal to survive space vacuum – space – 08 September 2008 – New Scientist

Tiny invertebrates called ‘water bears’ can survive in the vacuum of space, a European Space Agency experiment has shown. They are the first animals known to be able to survive the harsh combination of low pressure and intense radiation found in space.

Water bears, also known as tardigrades, are known for their virtual indestructibility on Earth. The creatures can survive intense pressures, huge doses of radiation, and years of being dried out.

To further test their hardiness, Ingemar Jönsson of Sweden’s Kristianstad University and colleagues launched two species of dried-up tardigrades from Kazakhstan in September 2007 aboard ESA’s FOTON-M3 mission, which carried a variety of experimental payloads.

After 10 days of exposure to space, the satellite returned to Earth. The tardigrades were retrieved and rehydrated to test how they reacted to the airless conditions in space, as well as ultraviolet radiation from the Sun and charged particles from space called cosmic rays.

CONTINUE READING ‘Water bears’ are first animal to survive space vacuum – space – 08 September 2008 – New Scientist.