Friday, February 12, 2016

Richard Dawkins Has Small Stroke

Management for the 74-year-old author of The God Delusion said he had suffered a “minor stroke” in the UK last Saturday but had already returned home from hospital.

The health scare has caused him to postpone his tour, his management said in a message passed on to ticket holders on Friday.

“On Saturday night Richard suffered a minor stroke, however he is expected in time to make a full or near full recovery,” the statement said. “He is already at home recuperating.
I'm not praying for him.

Charles Darwin Was Born On February 12, 1809

Charles Darwin:

Charles Robert Darwin, February 12, 1809 – April, 19 1882) was an English naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.

Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s, the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.

Bitching About Taxes

One day recently Jamie Dimon looked around his house and found some spare change, so he decided to buy some stock.

Shares of JPMorgan (JPM) are jumping in early trading after CEO Jamie Dimon bought $26.6 million worth of the bank’s stock. The purchase, disclosed in a company filing, added 500,000 shares of JPMorgan Chase to Jamie Dimon’s portfolio.
It's nice that Jamie Dimon is showing faith in his own company. That's a positive thing, isn't it? It also must be nice to have $26.6M to invest.

The only reason I'm using Jamie Dimon as an example here is because his stock purchase is current news. He is convenient.

Members of the Republican Party love to complain about taxes. They also love to complain about poor people. If you are poor and you don't have $26.6M to invest it is your fault for not working hard enough. They also hate the minimum wage and are always against raising it. Does any of this sound familiar?

Let's play with numbers while thinking about Republican bitching.

Consider the fact that one could invest $2,660,000.00 in a New York Municipal Bond Fund or ETF. Before I go on I want to emphasize that I'm talking about $2.66M, which is considerably less than the amount that Jamie Dimon invested. For the bitching one per centers this really is spare change.

New York Municipal Bond ETF's currently yield about 2.58%. Doing the math, we find that this investment will yield $68,628.00 a year in interest. That translates into $1319.77 a week, and $32.99 an hour for a 40 hour time period.

But wait, there's more! If you live in New York State this money is completely tax free!

But wait, there's even more! Someone who makes this investment does not have to lift a finger to make $68,628.00 a year!

But wait, there's even more! Someone who makes this investment and doesn't need to live off of this money can let it compound. Do you think that rich CEO's and other one-percenters need to live off their investments while they are currently earning multi-million dollar salaries?

But wait, yes, there's even more! Are you feeling sorry for some one-percenter who has maxed out his 401(k), his IRA's, and every other tax shelter he and his army of financial advisors can think of? Don't feel sorry, municipal bonds will rescue them.

But wait, there is still even more! Municipal bonds help with things like:
Municipal bonds are securities that are issued for the purpose of financing the infrastructure needs of the issuing municipality. The financed infrastructure needs vary greatly but can include schools, streets and highways, bridges, hospitals, public housing, sewer, water systems, power utilities, and various public projects.
Municipal bonds can pay for all those things that everyone likes, but no one, especially Republicans, want to pay for.

Let's examine some Republican bitching.

Here are two quotes from Rush Limbaugh on taxes:
Government is not capable of caring. Government gets things done through coercion. They fine, they penalize, they tax, they confiscate, they jail, they bully to get what they want.
As far as I'm concerned, the people who aren't paying taxes don't get to run around claiming that they built everything, that they built the roads and that they built the bridges and so forth.
One way that local governments can get things done is by issuing municipal bonds. This involves no coercion, fines, penalties, tax, confiscation, jailing, or bullying. Municipal bond investors may be paying other taxes, but in terms of their municipal bond investment they are "the people who aren't paying taxes", and yet they actually can claim "that they built everything, that they built the roads and that they built the bridges and so forth."

Let Bernie Sanders tax the rich, they can handle it.

Acadia National Park

A century ago, a group of residents banded together to gift some of their backyard to the federal government for protection, making Acadia the first national park created entirely from private land donations. Summer resident John D. Rockefeller Jr. gifted 10,000 acres to Acadia, and funded the construction of a network of car-less carriage roads.
Amazing things can happen when we work together.

Ray Manzarek Was Born On February 12, 1939

Ray Manzarek:
Raymond Daniel Manczarek Jr. (February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013) better known as Ray Manzarek, was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author, best known as a founding member and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973. Manzarek was notable for performing on a bass keyboard during many live shows and some recordings, taking on a role usually filled by a bass guitar player. He was a co-founding member of Nite City from 1977 to 1978, and of Manzarek–Krieger from 2001 until his death in 2013.

Johnny Cash Was Not Born On February 12

Lorne Greene Was Born On February 12, 1915

I suggest turning on the closed-captioning and reading along for a more enjoyable experience.

Lorne Greene:
"Voice of Doom" redirects here. For other uses, see Voice of Doom (disambiguation).

Lyon Himan Green, OC (February 12, 1915 – September 11, 1987), better known by the stage name Lorne Greene, was a Canadian actor and musician.
His television roles include Ben Cartwright on the western Bonanza, and Commander Adama in the science fiction television series Battlestar Galactica and Galactica 1980. He also worked on the Canadian television nature documentary series Lorne Greene's New Wilderness, and in television commercials.
Folks, we really need a big wall between the United States and Canada. These foreigners have been stealing our jobs from real 'Muricans for years. How can Donald Trump make America great again with only one wall?

I often wonder what exactly Trump means by "Make America Great Again". It is the "again" part that I wonder about, since what it means is that Trump thinks America was great at some point in the past. When was this? Was it before a black man was president? Or was it when the main character of the number one television show that defines America for so many was played by a foreigner? Or was it before there were numerous Trump bankruptcies?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rush Limbaugh Gets It All Wrong

But if you just stick with the simple organizational purpose and structure of communism, there's no denying what the Democrat Party is.  Liberalism, socialism, what have you.  Centralized government, command-and-control economy, usurpation of individual liberty and freedom.  It's the objective.  What people have trouble getting their arms around is the purpose.  You talk to average, ordinary, low-information voters and you try to convince them of all this, the first question they have is: "Why do people want to do that?" 

"Well, they want to control you!"

"Well, why? What's worth that? Why would anybody want to control me?"

It's hard for people who are not communists to relate to the communist dream.  It's hard for people who aren't to understand why anybody would want to be.  'Cause there's nothing good about it, so why would anybody want it?  The only people for whom it's good are the rank-and-file elites who lead it, who run it.  And, for them, it's simply a way to organize the legal theft of a nation's wealth, pure and simple.

And in order to get away with the thievery of the nation's wealth, you will have to have massive, total control. Punitive control. You have to make people docile, you have to make people complacent, you have to do it certain ways (unusually fear) to make them go along with being stolen from.  The worst thing for you as a communist leader is a bunch of people who don't want it to stand up and oppose you.  That's when you have to go grab the guns.
To a person that understands the English language most words have different meanings. Red is not blue, left is not right, and so on. There are synonyms and they can basically be interchanged. Red is crimson, but it is still not blue. Left is portside, but it is still not right.

Limbaugh really is a big fat idiot if he thinks that the words he uses to describe Democrats are synonyms. The words fascist, liberal, Democrat, socialism, and communist do not mean the same thing. They are not interchangeable. For someone who utters so many words a day, Limbaugh could at least use them properly, he really needs to consult a dictionary.

Let's look at the word "liberal". Here are the synonyms that lists:
enlightened, flexible, humanistic, lenient, permissive, radical, reformist, tolerant, avant-garde, broad, catholic, free, general, humanitarian, latitudinarian, left, libertarian, rational, understanding, advanced, broad-minded, high-minded, indulgent, intelligent, interested, loose, magnanimous, reasonable, receiving, receptive, unbiased, unbigoted, unconventional, unorthodox, unprejudiced
There is nothing about "Centralized government, command-and-control economy, usurpation of individual liberty and freedom". There is nothing about "punitive control". What is wrong with being a liberal? Liberals are not prejudiced, they are reasonable, receptive, rational, tolerant. When did these become bad things?

Here are the antonyms for the word "liberal":
intolerant, limited, narrow, specific, conservative, economical, greedy, lacking, mean, narrow-minded, poor, thrifty, ungenerous, wanting
Some of those words describe Limbaugh quite well. He is intolerant, limited, narrow, conservative, lacking, mean, narrow-minded, ungenerous, and wanting. In other words he is not a liberal.

The antonyms for communist are:
capitalist, fascist, conservative
Limbaugh does not know what he is talking about.

If only the liberals could silence him...

But then they wouldn't be liberals anymore. Then they actually would be fascists.

Just for fun let's look up synonyms for "bullshit":
bull, crap, bunk, drivel, gibberish, guff, hogwash, nonsense, rubbish, baloney, bosh, bunkum,  flim-flam, hokum, hooey, malarkey, moonshine, phooey, poppycock
There is one word listed as an antonym for "bullshit":

Ted Nugent Brags About His Guitar Playing

Minimal exposure to my killer Detroit guitar playing would immediately reveal why I was voted the No. 1 Guitarist Alltime in Michigan a few years back. No cracker can play like that!
His name is nowhere to be found on Rolling Stone magazines list of 100 Greatest Guitarists. I think that Ted has taken a journey to the center of his mind and never returned.

Ted Nugent Is Off The Rails, Take His Guns Away

As a large, in charge, Motown black man my bad-self, who honed my Sonic Baptizm, soul-cleansing soulmusic on the greasy rhythm and blues of the musical funk and roll gods James Brown and Chuck Berry et al., and who learned and then perfected the fine art of American defiance from my hero Rosa Parks, I continue to celebrate nonstop all things good and black.
The Democratic Party has preyed on black brothers and sisters for too long. What they have done to black America is arguably a crime against humanity. They have essentially killed the dream of the promised land that brother Martin Luther King spoke about, yet the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus and others still support the Democratic Party. Simply amazing.

Black power begins with recognizing who our real enemies are and who are friends are. The Democratic Party is nothing more than a pack of wolves festooned in shiny, white sheepskin. The Democratic Party has conned us into voting for them for decades, and in every instance, our votes for them have been against our own economic self-interest.
Is Ted Nugent saying that he has been conned into voting for the Democratic Party for decades? Does Ted Nugent thinks he is a black man, and that Obama is white?

According to Ted, if Martin Luther King were able to come back from the dead, he would look around, see a black president and say: "Damn it, they killed my dream."

A Second Amendment Thought For The Day

The Second Amendment can legally be repealed.

Longtime NRA Board Member Ted Nugent

I never knew that Ted Nugent has been an NRA board member since 1995! This alone is proof that the NRA is insane.

The Washington Post has published "Ted Nugent digs in amid anti-Semitic accusations — and calls for his NRA ouster" which leads me to think that Ted Nugent wants Ted Nugent removed from the board of the NRA. I don't think that is the reality of the situation.

Gun owners are pressuring the National Rifle Association to boot longtime board member Ted Nugent from the organization’s leadership ranks after the rock star’s social media outburst that depicted prominent American Jews as the men and women “really behind gun control.”

Nugent, an outspoken Second Amendment advocate, posted a photo on Facebook earlier this week calling Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), “Jew York City Mayor Mikey Bloomberg,” former senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, among many others, “punks” who would “deny us the basic human right to self defense and to keep and bear arms while many of them have paid hired armed security.”
Amid the backlash, Nugent on Wednesday reposted his 2010 tribute to Aaron Zelman, who founded Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

“My hero, my American BloodBrother and an American Warrior legend, the great Aaron Zelman perfectly represented all free men who refuse to be controlled by others or denied our God given right to keep and bear arms,” he wrote at the time. “We stand repulsed by the ugly soullessness of unarmed helplessness."
Nugent should be submitted to a mental competence test. I'm guessing that it would reveal that he should not be allowed to own any type of weapon at all.

"Our God given right to keep and bear arms" is a mighty strange statement. Ted Nugent thinks that God wrote the 2nd Amendment. The man is clearly nuts.

The Concept Of Sharing

The Republican label of "redistributing wealth" is used in a negative way to criticize the Democrats. The notion that the wealth is being stolen is usually part of the equation. Why not use the word "share"? We are all in this together, why not share the wealth? Isn't that the moral thing to do?

“People sometimes think, and the media picks up on this: Well, Washington’s very bitter, very dysfunctional, and the reason is Democrats and Republicans can’t get along,” Sanders told the assembled students. “That is not the issue at all.”

“It’s not a question of personalities,” he continued. “It is a question of philosophy. Some of my colleagues believe that we should cut, or end, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. That government should not be involved in those areas. That, essentially, as a nation, we are out there on our own. Others believe that as American citizens that we are entitled to rights.”
“But there is a more important question,” he continued, “and that is that the Congress must begin to do the work that the American middle class and working families want them to do, rather than just do the bidding of wealthy campaign contributors.”
“I’m running for president because I think it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.”

By establishment politics, he means the practice of electing representatives to the White House or Congress who, no matter how personally talented they are, become overwhelmed by the strength of existing, wealthy special interests. In other words, a political system that expects change to occur from the top down. By establishment economics, he means a consensus that relies too much on outsourcing economic prerogatives to the private sector without maximizing the strength of the federal government to arrive at a more just distribution of wealth.
Sanders’ theory implies that once the masses have banded together to overpower the political prowess of billionaires, corporate interests, and “establishment economics,” what they will demand is a series of leftist reforms like single-payer health care, free public higher education, a federally mandated living wage, breaking up the too-big-to-fail banks, and a shift away from a hydrocarbon-based energy system.
We need to break the pipes of "trickle down" and create a big pool that we can all swim in.

Bernie Sanders Explains Why He’s Different From Trump

Hate Speech And Hillary Clinton

Opinion: All the terrible things Hillary Clinton has done — in one big list:
I have a confession to make: I can’t keep up.

Am I supposed to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton because she’s too left-wing, or too right-wing? Because she’s too feminist, or not feminist enough? Because she’s too clever a politician, or too clumsy?

Am I supposed to be mad that she gave speeches to rich bankers, or that she charged them too much money?

I’m up here in New Hampshire watching her talk to a group of supporters, and I realized that I have been following this woman’s career for more than half my life. No, not just my adult life: the whole shebang. She came onto the national scene when I was a young man.

And for all that time, there has been a deafening chorus of critics telling me that she’s just the most wicked, evil, Machiavellian, nefarious individual in American history. She has “the soul of an East German border guard,” in the words of that nice Grover Norquist. She’s a “bitch,” in the words of that nice Newt Gingrich. She’s a “dragon lady.” She’s “Elena Ceaușescu.” She’s “the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock.”

Long before “Benghazi” and her email server, there was “Whitewater” and “the Rose Law Firm” and “Vince Foster.” For those of us following her, we were promised scandal after scandal after scandal. And if no actual evidence ever turned up, well, that just proved how deviously clever she was.
Hillary Clinton must have borrowed some teflon from Bill long ago. The continuous heaping of hate directed toward Hillary Clinton must be one of those Republican "time-loop" things.

It's no wonder that so many Republicans are religious, they can listen to the same nonsense over and over again, and believe in it without any evidence.

Sérgio Mendes Was Born On February 11, 1941

Sérgio Mendes:
Sérgio Santos Mendes (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsɛʁʒju ˈsɐ̃tuʒ ˈmẽdʒiʃ]; born February 11, 1941) is a Brazilian musician. He has over 55 releases, and plays bossa nova heavily crossed with jazz and funk. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2012 as co-writer of the song "Real In Rio" from the animated film Rio.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Roomba Cats

Quote Of Note - Jerry Coyne

"I don’t care if a religious person accepts science and practices their own private faith. The problem is that this acceptance of faith — which means belief without substantial evidence — as a useful means to ascertain truth has invidious social consequences. In my country, it’s opposition to abortion, it’s opposition to gay marriage. Creationism is the least of our worries. It’s this enabling of faith, this untoward respect for belief without evidence, that has caused so much mischief. If religious people just kept to themselves, just went to church, respected the findings of science and a) didn’t teach it to their kids (which I think is a form of child mistreatment) and b) didn’t try to take their religious beliefs into the public sphere and make them law for everybody else, than I wouldn’t care so much. But that’s not the way it is." - Jerry Coyne

Roland Hanna Was Born On February 10, 1932

Roland Hanna:
Roland Pembroke Hanna (February 10, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan – November 13, 2002 in Hackensack, New Jersey) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and teacher.
Hanna studied classical piano from the age of 11, but was strongly interested in jazz, having been introduced to it by his friend, pianist Tommy Flanagan. This interest increased after his time in military service, 1950–52. He studied briefly at the Eastman School of Music in 1953 and then enrolled at the Juilliard School when he moved to New York two years later.[2] He worked with several big names in the 1950s, including Benny Goodman and Charles Mingus, and graduated in 1960. Between 1963 and 1966 Hanna led his own trio, then from 1966 to 1974 he was a regular member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. Hanna also toured the Soviet Union with this orchestra in 1972. During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dead Bodies On Tour

Rolling Stones jokes tempt me, but I will try to be strong.

This is the Catholic version of respect for the dead. To me, it seems like an incentive to be a really bad Catholic.

Carnie sideshow: the bizarre Catholic tradition that won’t die out:
Once upon a time there was a roaring trade in Christian relics: bits of bones and chopped up mummified body parts and scraps of clothing of purported saints did the rounds in Europe. Many were sold for enormous amounts of money, some became treasured property of local royal families, many became the focus of lucrative pilgrimages for religious centers that housed these relics. Almost all of the relics were endowed with dubious miraculous powers ranging from healing ailments to more spiritual rewards. Certainly, the financial rewards for hosting the body parts was substantial and demand for them was always at a premium. As Andrew Butterfield notes in his New Republic article What Remains:
Such was the desire for the miracle-working bodies of saints that occasionally guards had to watch over mortally ill holy men and women to prevent the unauthorized dismemberment of their corpses as soon as they died.
You’d probably think, well, that was fine for the Late Medieval era. That was then, but Christianity has moved on. People are far more educated these days. Even the most fundamentalist Christians are far removed from the grisly superstitions of the past. Right?

Well, no. The Church after much careful consideration and introspection has decided to straddle rank superstitious hocus pokery and modern rationality at the same time. In a masterful display of the seemingly impossible, they have decided to have their cake and eat it at the same time. As a result the exhumed corpse of Padre Pio (he of the verified-by-Church-Investigators-but-not-scientists stigmata fame) is leaving his home village of San Giovanni Rotondo going on a tour around Italy. He isn’t the first dead body on tour, and he probably (depressingly) won’t be the last.
I cannot understand why the religious choose to fill their attic with so much nonsense.