Saturday, August 31, 2013


Sorry for the absence. My computer is having fits and I have "stuff " going on in my life. Lots of good stuff to come. Congressman Pete Olson's town hall next week to name one. I love me a town hall.
It brings out the crazies.
And they vote.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just Say No to Big Macs on Thursday

Tomorrow, Thursday August 29th,is a national day of protest of the minimum wage - also known as starvation wages - and will even be celebrated in Texas as thousands of fast food workers develop simultaneous cases of influenza.
Minimum wage workers are demanding a national raise in the minimum wage from the present $7.25 per hour to $15.
And the time has come. The time is right.
Case in point: McDonald's, the iconic fast food chain that employs hundreds of thousands of minimum wage workers through its franchises showed a net profit of $6.81 billion in 2012. That's NET profit. And that is an 11% rise over the previous year.
Astounding when you consider that we are just recovering from a colossal economic meltdown. Well, if you believe this article, the meltdown is feeding into the profit increase. Economically strapped families are still eating out, but spending more money on Big Macs than T-bones. Profits are up at McDonalds because times are hard.
So they can afford to slide a few more bucks over to their franchisees so they in turn can pay their employees a living wage, can't they?
As has occurred in the past, every time talk of raising the minimum wage is bandied about, businessmen are tearing their clothes decrying the loss of jobs and shuttering of businesses that will surely result should a new minimum wage go into effect.
But as I indicated above, the time is right. The time is right because this time, using proper economic modeling that factor out trends that were already there, economists now see that contrary to popular belief, raising the minimum wage does no such thing. We have all sorts of data now for every minimum wage hikes in history, and guess what: all that stuff that businessmen are warning us about has never happened.
From an article in Bloomberg News from April of last year:
"[A] wave of new economic research is disproving those arguments about job losses and youth employment. Previous studies tended not to control for regional economic trends that were already affecting employment levels, such as a manufacturing-dependent state that was shedding jobs. The new research looks at micro-level employment patterns for a more accurate employment picture. The studies find minimum-wage increases even provide an economic boost, albeit a small one, as strapped workers immediately spend their raises."
I like how this quote parallels the McDonalds story how their profits go up in an economic downturn because one could argue that McDonalds faces reduced profits when it pays its employees a living wage, so people can go back to having T-bone steaks.
If I were McDonalds, I would be considering some menu changes when the minimum wage does go up, as it inevitably will. They might have to consider selling better/higher quality nutritious food instead of chicken feet and pig snouts.
Heck. Maybe even I might spend a few bucks at a McDonalds again.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rightwing Radio Host Fakes an Assassination of a Black Congressman

Laura Ingraham, an amazingly evil woman, just doctored an audio file to make it seem like someone fired a single bullet at a US congressman as he was delivering a speech.
The congressman? Congressman John Lewis. The issue? Immigration and "those people."
Racism sells. Racism sells. And so does a faked assassination of a prominent public servant.
I went to You Tube to hear it and had to sit through it for over 4 minutes listening to Laura Ingraham's shockingly bad voice - she makes Ann Coulter's voice sound pleasant - before it arrived at the part where she infamously edits in the sound of a gun going off in the middle of Congressman Lewis's speech that he gave at the Lincoln Memorial this past weekend. It cuts off the congressman in mid-sentence, and is followed by a brief "OK" and then dead air for a few seconds.
And then she drones on for another 4 minutes.
So I did you all a favor and edited the clip down to less than a minute so you can hear just the outrageously evil part that Ingraham must now own for the rest of her life.

Monday, August 26, 2013

He Healed the Sick, Why Don't They Agree With That Concept?

Why do Christians hate the ACA (Affordable Care Act) - also known as Obamacare? I just cannot figure it out. Unless I am uninformed in these matters, Jesus healed the sick. He took great stock in working His miracles on mortals. They were His calling card, if you will. Proof positive that He was the one and only Savior of the World.
Back when Jesus walked the earth, healthcare didn't exist. He was the only existing embodiment of healthcare. No, He didn't heal everyone, but He never denied healthcare to anyone either (well, once maybe - but he was tired that day).
Quite unlike the evangelical Christians. There are Christian leaders everywhere who actively oppose Obamacare, and in so doing, are actively working to deny healthcare to 32 million Americans whose lives would quickly improve with full implementation of ACA.
We are verged on full implementation of ACA, and the anti-healthcare rhetoric is ratcheting up to a level of frenzy unsurpassed in recent history. Now I can understand politicians being opposed. Their hands are securely in the pockets of the health insurance company lobbyists and Big Pharma. Their opposition is understandable. What I don't get is why are the evangelical preachers getting in on the action? It's maddening because people listen to their pastors and believe everything they say because they are saying it.
And it is such an anti-Christian position.
Would Jesus oppose Obamacare? In truth, I doubt He would want to say anything about it because it is all about "rendering unto Caesar." But here is what the Holy Bible says about healthcare:
3 John 1:2: "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul."
James 5:14-15: "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."
Psalm 103:2-3: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases."
Acts 19: 11-12: "And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them."
Jeremiah 33:6: "Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security."
Sounds like providing healthcare to 32 million people who would not ordinarily be able to have it is something good.
Sounds like these pastors all need to shut up and get out of the way. The modern-day miracle of Obamacare may quite possibly be one of His works.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Oh My, What a Great Idea!

What could possibly go wrong?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

On Immigration (and Voter Suppression)

The antics of Ted Cruz, are again in the news. This time it’s how he is addressing his citizenship status. As it turns out citizenship status is quite a study and it led me to some very unlikely places.
To review, all of this emerged out of a question to birther-of-the-first-order Donald Trump over whether Ted Cruz could legally be president. Trump garnered some fame, or should I say infamy, over his repeated demands to see President Obama’s long form birth certificate because he couldn’t possibly be president because he was black Kenyan having a Kenyan father and being born in Kenya.
Given that Ted Cruz was born in Canada, Trump was asked whether this disqualified him from ever being president and Trump answered that he was “perhaps not eligible” to be president.
And all of this attention is because Donald Trump is the world authority over who can, and who cannot be President of the United States I suppose.
But rather than just laughing it off, as we should do every time Donald Trump opens his mouth, it caused people to talk and Ted Cruz produced his Canadian birth certificate, but rightly claimed his American citizenship because his mother was an American.
Then Canada spoke up. Canadian law says that anyone born inside their national boundaries automatically becomes a natural born citizen of Canada. And because Canada and the United States both recognize dual citizenship, Ted Cruz is legally a dual citizen of both Canada and America.
Now does that status eliminate Cruz from eligibility according to the Constitution?
In truth, the Constitution says nothing about dual citizenship, maybe because the concept would have been foreign to the Founders (pun intended). But the meaning is clear – the Founders did not want someone with allegiance to another country to be President, and having someone with dual citizenship in the office of the President is problematic.
So because Ted Cruz is most definitely running for President in 2016, he announced last week that he would be renouncing his Canadian citizenship, making it all copasetic.
Interesting stuff. The original statute governing all of this is the Naturalization Law of 1790. Only this law deals with exactly what a “natural born citizen” is. The definition is, naturally, a white person born within the boundaries of the US (oops, sorry Mr. President) but also included children born abroad of American citizens to also be citizens.
But my research took a strange turn as I found that this law was superseded by subsequent laws that tweeked and adjusted things, most notably the Naturalization Law of 1798. This law extended the time period that an immigrant would have to reside in-country before becoming a citizen, extending it from  the original 2 year waiting period to 14 years.
Why do that?
Voter suppression.
It turns out that most of the people who would vote for Republican Party candidates, Thomas Jefferson being the most prominent at the time, and not for Federalist candidates were newly naturalized immigrants – former citizens of Ireland and France. What better way to keep them from voting for Jefferson than to prevent them from becoming citizens?
Voter Suppression!!!
But it didn’t work. Eventually Jefferson’s party took power anyway.
Then as now, voter suppression only serves the party whose adherents are suppressed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Playing a Game of Texas Holder

Just out today is news that the Department of Justice has filed suit against the state of Texas over its Voter ID law. The law enacted that requires a voter to show a photo ID in order to vote in Texas.
The one passed by a Republican supermajority so that it can remain a supermajority even when the state has a majority of Democrats living inside its borders.
“We will not allow the Supreme Court's recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights. We will keep fighting aggressively to prevent voter disenfranchisement. ... This represents the department's latest action to protect voting rights, but it will not be our last.”
Greg Abbott, Texas’ AG is all over this like a duck on a June Bug.
“Voter IDs have nothing to do with race, and they are free to anyone who needs one.”
And that would be right. Abbott has already admitted that Voter ID has nothing to do with race. It has to do with being a minority while simultaneously being a Democrat. It’s OK to be African-American or Hispanic and vote. That’s OK. It’s being the Democrat that Abbot has a problem with.
Surprisingly honest? No, this is Greg Abbott we are talking about. Gall is what this man is made of.
Racial Discrimination = Bad.     Rigged Elections = Good.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Are Republicans Gearing Up for Another 1964?

One would think so.
Continuing with the same theme as yesterday’s blog where a discussion of the 13 Republican Party activists in Maine have quit the party for its tax and spending ways took place, we now see, in this article, all of the other similar actions in the Republican Party that – taken together – indicate things are going to go very poorly for them in 2016, if not 2014:
  • Ted Cruz, darling of the tea party movement is going to renounce his Canadian citizenship. Clearly he is running for president in 2016.
  • Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander wrote an op-ed defending himself against tea party attacks.

  • Radio ads are being run against Republican Senators Richard Burr and Lindsey Graham criticizing them for being soft on Obama.

  •  A major party official in the Iowa Republican Party resigned, saying  “I find it increasingly difficult to defend issues and statements made by Party leaders” .
What this is telling us, along with the fact that neither John McCain not Mitt Romney could move the ball against Barack Obama, is that conservatives are going rogue on their establishment and will in all probability nominate another Barry Goldwater to run for president in 2016. What they do in 2014 is anyone’s guess but I would expect some more loses even after the election-rigging gerrymandering that took place after the 2010 debacle.
Conservatives, as opined in yesterday’s blog, would rather be right than be in power.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lucky 13 Republicans Leave Maine GOP

Isn’t it nice when Republicans eschew power for policy? Isn’t it just the living end when rightwing GOPers decide that their party is too liberal and resign from their various posts in the state party structure?
Well that happened in Maine yesterday as 13 Republican Party officials, including one former US Senate candidate tendered their resignations, opting out of the party that had been their ideological home. Giving it all up, I suppose, so that they can be Libertarians.
So they can be right.
I wish them well and I certainly hope that more and more GOPers tell the Republican Party to go and shove it and then vote a straight Libertarian ticket in their elections.
So they can be right.
But not to win, of course. Being right and winning are apparently mutually exclusive when you are a far right conservative.
Just the way I like it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

OK...OK... I Give Up.

I give up.
Cheap shots at the governor of the state that I have to live in for the present abound on the internets. And I have avoided putting them up on the blog because a cheap shot is a cheap shot.
But man do I feel cheap today. Today I went back to work and have had the intelligence literally sucked out of my head today at Day One of a 4-Day Edumcating Extravaganza.
So here, for your enlightenment is Rick Perry at his level best. Now Rick Perry, to my knowledge, has not spent a millisecond in front of a classroom trying to teach a millibyte of information, but it would appear to me that, like what the intelligent bugs do on the planet Klendathu, all sapient thought has been sucked out of his brain.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Please Proceed Governor...

Remember that? Remember back last year during the 2nd presidential debate how Mitt Romney stepped into a big pile of dog poop over Benghazi but only after being invited to do so by President Obama in his "Please proceed, Governor" remark.
That moment, by the way, is fondly recalled in the Daily Kos right here.
Why I bring it up is just this: if Obamacare is the most certain thing on Earth to fail, why are we not hearing this, or some facsimile of this from Republicans and TEApublicans? Why not?
Just last Friday the RNC made no bones about their fear regarding the Clinton juggernaut that is about to crush their hopes of retaking the White House when they voted both CNN and NBC off of their "primary island." They are preparing, 2 years in advance, for an onslaught. But I have to wonder what the worry is if Obamacare is going to be the disaster that the GOPers say it is going to be?
If what they all say is true, Obamacare should be the presidency handed to the Republicans on a silver platter. It should ruin Democratic chances at holding the White House because it will kill jobs, people and the insurance industry.
But no.
Instead of sitting back smugly with a "please proceed, Mr. President" the do-nothing Republicans in congress are now threatening to shut down the government so Obamacare won't be funded when it comes time to open up the exchanges on October 1st. Not all of them, mind you, just the crazies who don't know or don't care what the last government shutdown did to their party at the polls.
And the reason is, you know, is that these people all know that after all the lies and obfuscation settles and Obamacare becomes America's newest love affair after Social Security and Medicare, this will seal the fate of Republicanism for a generation.
So in a way, all of these threats make sense. The Republicans are getting desperate. Desperate to try again a stunt that dealt them out of power for four more years. They must be looking at the numbers and are saying to each other 'what's wrong with 4 years in the face of losing elections for the next 24?'
Please proceed, Republicans.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Memepalooza

I just love the memes that appear on my facebook page's news feed. Some of them are true on their face. I am posting some of those today just for the fun of it.

Hut Kemerdekaan RI 2013

Selemat siang.
Today is the Republic of Indonesia's 68th anniversary of independence from...well...Holland, Spain, Portugal, Japan, and God knows who else.
I spent some time there. Notably I was there during the uprising that saw the end of Suharto's bloody rule.
I liken Indonesia to the model society that the 1 percenters aspire to in this country. A society much like the one depicted in the recently released film "Elysium" where most people live in abject poverty on a polluted desecrated world, and the 1% live above it all in absolute luxury.
So America has a lot to live up to if it wants to attain the glory that is Indonesia today.

RNC: Bullet Meets Foot

Probably the most bizarre political event in a long time took place yesterday as Reince Priebus and his Republican National Committee, in an off-year meet-up in Boston (home of the first tea party), voted unanimously not to partner with either CNN or NBC in staging its presidential primary debates in the next go around in 2015-2016.
They give as their reasoning that each of these organizations are developing special programs on their assumed opponent in 2016, Hillary Clinton. In doing so, they claim, these news organizations are exposing their liberally-biased souls for all to see.
Very bizarre behavior on so many levels. I shall expand and enlarge on 4 of these levels.
Level 1: Hillary Clinton has not yet indicated that she will be running in the next set of presidential primaries, and so obviously, nor has Hillary Clinton been nominated by her party to be its presidential candidate. Yet in this vote the RNC has all but admitted that not only all of this is true, but that they are also scared crapless about the prospect.
Level 2: This is an admission that Republicans are almost insatiable addicts of presidential primary debates. Last time they had an astounding 20 primary debates hosted by just about anyone that wanted to host one. Like any habit, too much of it is a bad thing. In this case America got to see Republicans acting very poorly on the national stage. And like drug addicts they can't control themselves, so in trying to reform themselves, they are forcing a cutback on themselves by eliminating supply. No CNN or NBC reads to me like a prescription for methadone.
Level 3: Republicans have stated as one of their goals to reach out to Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority in the country. So saying no to CNN and NBC is also saying no to Hispanic stations Telemundo and CNN en Español, leaving Univision as their only Spanish language outlet. And isn't that pretty much like putting all your huevos in one basket?
Level 4: Liberals love this vote

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Good Beginning...

So you know, if you've been reading this blog, how much I hate the 2nd Amendment. You know, the one that gun nuts from all quarters use to justify ownership of implements of mass destruction? It has been my contention that the 2nd Amendment is the only conditional article in the Bill of Rights. Conditional to the extent that having a well-regulated militia is necessary for the security of the nation, and that being the case, we should not interfere with the individual right to own firearms.
So we can defend the nation against invaders.
Like Nicaraguans.
And so we can issue corrections to our government should it become tyrannical.
Well in either case, what is required to repel a Nicaraguan invasion force, or overthrow a tyrannical government is serious armament. Serious, serious armament.
AR-15s are bush league. We need 50 cals. We need fully automatic machine guns.
We need mortars and anti-tank rockets.
We need the weaponry that any freedom fighter or defender would need against an invading army, or against our own.
Either that or the 2nd Amendment isn't worth the paper it is written on.
So imagine my surprise today to learn that New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie is apparently like-minded. When his state legislature passed a bill to outlaw the sale of 50 caliber sniper rifles to its citizens Chris Christie vetoed it in a blow for full 2nd Amendment rights.
If GI Joe (or GI Jane) can fire armor-piercing 50 caliber ammo at me and my comrades who are fighting them in the streets from behind barricades made of cars, baby buggies and shopping carts then it is my constitutional right to have equivalent ammo.
Chris Christie sees that.
Now all I need is my laser-guided TOW anti-tank missile system, my howitzer, and my Claymore mines. Chris Christie, are you ready to go to bat for me to get those things for me as well?
Oh, and don't forget the tactical nuke. Need one of those, too.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Steve Stockman's Latest

Steve Stockman is an ultra-rightwing Republican congressman from Texas. As such he is in good company with other Texas congressmen (Louie Gohmert, Joe Barton and Lamar Smith for example) who have all been touched by the same spirit of insanity that makes them all say and do some really goofy things.
But what separates Stockman from his crazed brethren is the flavor of his actions: they ring of extreme, even virulent spite.
Where does spite come from? It isn't an evolutionary advantage from what I have found out because spite harms both the spiteful person and the one affected by spite. It is a lose-lose form of behavior. Another thing I have learned is that when one is spiteful, it is usually "all in." Spite is not dealt out in half measures but in ways to have as harmful of an effect as possible.
And Stockman is all of that.
Our first encounter with Stockman's spiteful behavior was last year at the President's State of the Union address where Stockman invited Ted Nugent to be his guest to sit in the gallery to hear the speech. Nugent was famous, just then, for his remark that if President Obama was re-elected he would "either be dead or in jail by this time next year." This was the one person in the nation who should not have been in the same room with the President, so out of spite, Stockman invited Nugent to do just that.
Our second encounter with Stockman's "uberspite" is his incredibly over-the-top offering of an assault rifle that could be won in a free drawing - the very same make and model assault rifle that was used to turn 20 children and 6 of their teachers into Swiss cheese the previous year. He even performed the drawing on July 4th for good measure to make sure that we all have the Sandy Hook massacre ground into our collective faces on America's birthday.
Our birthday.
And to continue in this vein, yesterday Stockman invited the racist Missouri rodeo clown mentioned here to come to Texas to perform. The person who portrayed President Obama as being a target for a charging bull has been banned from all rodeo performances in Missouri, but Stockman graciously threw out the welcome mat for this miscreant because "Texans value free speech."
Even when that free speech is racist to its core.
Well, I have to give it to Stockman on that one. The people who elected him and the audience that he is playing to in each and every one of his viciously spiteful stunts are probably very appreciative of Stockman and his hate-speech. Spitefulness, racism, and hatred are core elements of the TEA Party platform after all. And I am getting the idea that the new TX-36, which Stockman represents, was carved out specifically as a TEA bagger-safe district.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pete Olson Bags a Unicorn

For his inane attempts at scientific logic, my congressman, Pete Olson, has rated a "Unicorn Trophy," by "Organizing for Action."
Congressman Pete Olson, no student of science from what I can see, denies that climate change is occurring, and uses as the basis of his denial the astounding fact that not all scientists agree, and when someone does bad science or poorly executes a scientific study it is necessarily suppressed by the scientific community through review process.
From OFA, quoting Pete Olson from the House floor:
"The emails that emerge from the University of East Anglia call into question the accuracy of the IPCC data." 
Now what emails does Pete Olson refer to? If you view the first 3 minutes of this clip you see Pete Olson on the House floor with a damning bit of evidence, that scientists disagree and when someone does something really stupid they don't get their papers included in a report.
Now how naïve is that?
For every ounce of good scientific knowledge in the world we have a pound of "junk science." For every solid scientific study there are three poorly drafted ones. In science we have a review process. We have editors.
Said Pete Olson in the clip:
"There is evidence that researchers suppress science and data that do not conform to their preferred outcome."
Oh the humanity. Science is suppressed?
Umm, yeah Pete. Happens a lot.
Here is his evidence - quoting the East Anglia emails:
"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what peer-review literature is."
Now Pete doesn't go on to indicate what "these papers" were about, so what he is saying is that when scientific papers are subjected to peer review they are sometimes suppressed and editors go to great lengths to do that. Nowhere do we get to see how these papers did not conform to their preferred outcome. That is all inferred by Pete.
Pete, in short, is out of his depth. He needs to stick to driving jets. Scientific methods and review are not his strong suit.
So for denying climate change, and using specious reasoning as a point of attack, Pete Olson rates a Unicorn. May he wear it in good health.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dewhurst One-Ups Patrick

In his never-ending effort not to “politicize” the  “fight” against adoption of CSCOPE lesson plans in Texas, David Dewhurst has joined in on the “Battle of Llano ISD” in the TEA Party’s assault on the public domain lesson plan system, a system that I have indicated that I do not use in a previous posting, but one that has offers ready-to-use lessons, and more importantly, correct ready-to-use lessons in other core areas.
In other words, the politicization of lesson plans developed by the State of Texas for use in the State of Texas by Texas teachers for Texas schoolchildren, to further the political careers of David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick. And with the help of the TEA Party, which can plant people with posters at any venue, CSCOPE is being challenged wherever a TEA Party organization can be whipped into a frenzy.
But David Dewhurst has just one-upped Dan Patrick. CSCOPE is small potatoes. CSCOPE was written by teams of Regional specialists in Texas. Trying to draw a direct line between CSCOPE lessons and advocates of atheistic communism is a huge undertaking. Especially when one envisions the archetypal authoress of a typical CSCOPE lesson plan: a blue-haired retiree in a pearl necklace supplementing her TRS income with extra income - bones thrown to her by Texas Regional Education Center bosses.
Dewhurst has joined with a group that has widened the anti-CSCOPE protest to include not only CSCOPE, but also the true enemy of education in Texas: Common Core.
Common Core is a set of instructional plans written by those working for President Obama. Common Core is therefore the REAL ENEMY. So David Dewhurst has joined a protest that has effectively rewritten the protest from one against CSCOPE to one against” CSCOPE/Common Core.”
From the Texas Observer, quoting a local anti-CSCOPE/Common Core spokeswoman
“If we allow our public schools to be taken over by the Common Core/CSCOPE philosophy of education they will fail. Charter Public and Private schools will no doubt fill in the gap. The challenge is these schools are run by appointed boards and they are beholden to who provides the grant money. Local elected school boards will be no more. The gift of earning that vote by a local school board giving freedom and control to parents and teachers in the community will be no more. Our American System will be effectively dismantled from the ground up. School Choice then becomes no choice.

“Today Dewhurst thanked Linahan and other anti-CSCOPE activists for their efforts, and said the restraining order against Llano ISD is evidence that ”the active participation of citizens” remains critical to our democracy.”
Nice, huh? A win-win for the TEA Party. If Obama gets his Common Core agenda in Texas, Texas schools will fail and it will be up to private schools to “fill in the gap.”
Oh yeah, did I mention that the TEA Party agenda includes the defunding of all public education?
Well I have news for these people. National standards have been a part of Texas education since 1990. In 1990 the American Association for the Advancement of Science produced a national science curriculum. Now there is no agency to distribute this curriculum. Education is a state function. But the AAAS curriculum is part of every state curriculum nonetheless. But only because it was the only thing out there, and why reinvent the wheel?
A national education curriculum is already with us, and has been with us for over 30 years.
Reinvent that.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Doesn’t This Surprise Me?

In Missouri, which at times is in a photo finish for last in the area of having an “enlightened population” with that of the state of Texas, there was a rodeo the other night. One of the rodeo clowns decided it would be funny to don a full-head plastic mask of President Obama – or so they claimed it was – and, along with the rodeo announcers, mocked the President of the United States in front of like-minded yahoos.
Except for the “yahoo” who submitted this video of the racist performance.

A Boy Named Messiah

In Tennessee, one unfortunate soul has just learned that there is a list of forbidden names that one cannot and must not name their offspring.  Jaleesa Martin was in a child custody/support dispute with the father of her child who was christened Messiah DeShawn Martin, over the child’s surname – Martin, that is. The father apparently desired his own name be used as his son’s last name – McCullough, that is.
The Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew (or Lu Ballew to those who know her) had other matters on her mind, and when asked to render judgment on which of the two surnames the child was to have, came in with another idea: Martin DeShawn McCullough.
Now, not to fault the judge, who was probably rendering a decision in the spirit of Solomon who decided that two women should share motherhood of a disputed baby by cutting it in two, but it did open up a can of worms on the right of a parent to decide what the given name of their child shall be. The magistrate’s decision to rechristen the boy Martin instead of Messiah has chilling consequences: if a parent isn’t allowed to name their own child, where does intervention by government stop?
I know of no law on the books that gives state governments the right to rename a child, even if the state considers the child’s name inappropriate. Oh, did I not mention the fact that the magistrate, upon giving her reasoning for the child’s new given name actually said that the name Messiah has “only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”
Forgot to mention that, I guess.
Now we live in a world where people name their children some unusual names, godawful names sometimes. Names that bespeak true evil like Damien, names that honor prophets like Muhammad (did you know that Muhammad was the most common given name on Earth?), and names that speak of people who don’t really exist, like Khaleesi, which means “Queen” in Dothraki, a language that doesn’t exist. We have all kinds of names.
But this is the first time I have ever heard of someone naming their child Messiah. Jesus, yes, Emmanuel, yes, but not Messiah (although I have a dim memory of someone once naming their child “God”). Messiah, in Greek, means anointed one. I have often heard of new executives being referred to as “anointed” or even “golden-haired boys.” But not Messiah. So this must have blown Lu Ballew’s mind.
But back to governmental authority.
It is a little bit of an overreach for government to mandate what a child’s name should be. If, as I intimated above, government is allowed to mandate a child’s name, what’s next? Demanding that a woman submit to a transvaginal sonogram? Determining whether a woman shall consume tools of birth control? Determine who should and who shouldn’t vote in an election based on their party affiliation?
We could all be going the way of Iceland, you know.
You know, Iceland, where people are named names like Bjork and Olafur. In Iceland they have a list of approved names and you can only have 3 given names. In Iceland you can be 15 years old before the government allows you to use the name your parents gave you, in the case of this story, young Blaer, which is Icelandic for “breeze” finally got her given name on a government-issued passport. Blaer is a perfectly appropriate Icelandic name, and is found on the list of those so-approved, but the name, quite unfortunately, is restricted to children of the male gender. So she was not allowed to use the name, and had to be called “Girl” for her entire young life.
In Iceland you see, it is perfectly within the law for the government to mandate a child’s name, and even there the law is seen as ridiculous. So if that is the case, how ridiculous is it that a magistrate in Tennessee should be able to decide unilaterally about the appropriateness of a child’s given name based on her religious creed?
The whole thing just creeps me out. What’s in a name anyway?
And I know that my son, Antichrist, would agree.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

No Muslim Parking

The owner of a strip mall in Spring, Texas is apparently responsible for posting very hateful signs on areas of ingress to his strip mall. The mall, containing both store chains and small business owners, is across the street from a mosque.
It being the end of Ramadan, Muslim mosque-goers have been going to mosque with more frequency than usual, and apparently making use of parking spaces available across the street.
So hateful computer-generated signs have appeared. Here is video from local news coverage
Did you hear that last sentence? The owner will be checking the property to “ensure that no more offending signs” appear at his strip mall (a surety if it was he, himself, as I suspect, posting the signs) but also warning that he will be calling a towing company to tow cars that “shouldn’t be in the lot.” This being the original intent of the hate signs – and what primarily points to the signs’ origin.
Now I know what the mosque-goers were technically a nuisance to shoppers, but here is the thing: would you ever expect a strip mall owner to post “No Christian Parking” signs outside his mall parking lot? ? I know for an absolute fact that Christians use shopping area parking when they attend church, yet have never seen or heard of these signs
 If in the remotest possibility, a mall owner did post signs protesting Christian parkers, how long would it be before the mall owner was called an atheist or a devil worshipper?

Friday, August 09, 2013

Friday Education Toon-Palooza

One full week gone by in August and we are that much closer to opening up the schools for another exercise in stamping out ignorance, Texas-style.
It's still hotter than blazes and the football practice fields are running full boar, the TEA has just released its accountability results for the new way - a true yawner now that the bar has been lowered a full notch and a half with the new STAAR results, and everyone is looking around for the money they need to fix education - found it - and bought a bunch of Portland Cement with it.
So it's time to celebrate the advent of a new school year, and what better way to do it than with a virtual riot of Texas education cartoons from the past and present.