September 2013


We had two big storms come through this weekend with lots of wind and rain.  The storms were actually remnants of typhoon Pabuk which had skirted Japan last week, and together they made for the rainiest September ever measured in Portland.  I’m happy to say that the damage was limited to a few toppled trees and some areas in the city which lost power.  In the Northwest, even record-breaking weather is relatively mild, unless you’re afraid of getting soggy.

Yep, weather events in this country continue to break all kinds of records.  I’m glad to hear that all this climate change stuff is complete nonsense and that I’m just imagining it all.  There has been a United Nations report issued which tells us that scientists are “extremely confident” man-made activity is causing the climate to warm up.  But after all, the United Nations is just a global conspiracy, and all those scientists have been bribed to be a part of it.

More than anything else, it’s a relief to know that Rush Limbaugh can “dispel” all the global warming evidence with his religious beliefs, as he said on his show.  Or…it would be a relief, if I knew exactly what Rush’s religious beliefs were.  I’m pretty sure the man worships the Golden Calf, so that’s not reassuring at all.  I suspect that Rush’s beliefs probably heat up the Earth even more.

Well, September isn’t quite over yet for a few hours, and here it sounds like it’s raining again.  Or am I imagining the rain?  What does reality have to do with it, anyway? 

 

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For once, there’s a gun controversy I don’t have strong opinions about.  I mean the Starbucks vs guns brouhaha, caused by the Starbucks CEO politely asking firearms owners to refrain from bringing their weapons into his coffeeshops, so that they don’t scare away the customers.

Thing is, I’m already terrified of Starbucks, because everything there is so overpriced.  On the rare occasion that I run in there to get a snack, it’s always a moment of hair-raising shock, guns or no guns.  I’ve been told that I’m being charged so much because I’m getting the Starbucks “experience”.  I don’t know what that means.  The Starbucks experience feels very generic, and there’s nothing there that I can’t buy somewhere else, either for less money or with more ambiance.

Now, if I walked into a Starbucks and saw a rally of Second Amendment supporters armed to the teeth, would that be frightening?  Well, sure.  But only slightly more frightening than how much I have to pay for one of those tiny packets of sliced fruit.

So, Starbucks Appreciation Days?  Starbucks boycotts?  Meh.  And if I want to splurge, I’ll stick to my Steven Smith Tea.

So now we have this dork to deal with in my local area.  A man (his name remains unknown, as he refuses to identify himself to the cops) who has decided to stand up for his Second Amendment rights by parading with his gun in front of elementary schools and middle schools.  Naturally, this causes people to call 911, parents are panicked, schools go into lockdown mode.

Fine, I get that you’re trying to make your point–you have the right to keep your guns and you don’t want anyone to take them away from you.  But this guy has to know that, especially after the horrific Newtown shooting, this kind of act is going to rile up emotion and fear, and I can’t help but think he must be getting some asshole satisfaction out of that.  Well, isn’t he oh so powerful.  A lot of the wanna-be militia types all seem the same–bunch of potbellied middle-aged warriors with an ego problem.

I wonder if there is anything that can be done to stop him, but there probably is no solution.  It’s legal for him to be on the sidewalk just outside the school.  You don’t really want to get into an argument with him, because he’s armed.  So I suppose for the time being he can continue proving to everyone that he’s got the biggest penis in the neighborhood.  Which I strongly suspect is not the case.

Part deux, in which Republicans continue to long for the advances of a strong, manly leader, so much so that they fall head over heels for an ex-KGB man.  Here I thought that they were supposed to be anti-Communist.  I should have known that they would always choose the Commie over the black guy in the White House.

I just wanted to take a moment to remind the conservatives who are waxing nostalgic over George W. Bush’s unwavering foreign policy (At least Bush went to the United Nations!  Wait…I thought conservatives hated the United Nations?) and who are expressing disdain over Obama’s perceived weakness–I would like to remind them that most of the world, including many Americans, is still recovering from the hangover caused by W’s “I’m the decider” leadership.  This is one of the things making the Syria situation so complicated.  When the British parliament voted against supporting American military involvement in the region, the fiery speeches given mostly came down to one question:  “Remember Iraq and Afghanistan?”  If anything, Obama was criticized for wanting to rush into action, not for uncertainty.  A survey of British voters shows that 59% of them are feeling cautious because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  And of course, surveys also show that the American public is very opposed to getting involved in Syria, deeply war-weary because of our two long military entanglements.  Not that it’s a bad thing if Americans have become a bit more skeptical about war.

The point is, it will take time for all of us to heal from W’s decisions…and in the meantime, the Republicans would like to see even more of the leadership style which got us in trouble in the first place.  I’m glad they’re not in charge of this situation, otherwise we might be fighting the entire world by now.  After all, anything less than that just wouldn’t be manly enough.

I’ve been hearing so much fearmongering about Common Core lately that I just had to go and check it out for myself.  Common Core is a set of new educational standards which has been adopted by most of the country at this time, and it has already been compared to the Hitler Youth and described as Marxist indoctrination.  As always, rumors of the Apocalypse are much exaggerated.

When I went to the Common Core page, I saw scary objectives for kids such as this one:  “Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.”  I looked in various sections, such as History and Science, to see if I could find any propaganda about climate change or sneaky suggestions to share your financial profits with the less fortunate.  But I found nothing except requirements for mastering specific technical and analytical skills in each grade.  For those of you who are petitioning against Common Core, if I have missed something, please let me know.

Perhaps this is the problem:  “Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.”  Many of the commentators who bash Common Core are not just religious, but of the fundamentalist religious bent, and I’ve found that fundamentalists dislike the idea of children being taught to dissect and challenge what they read–after all, one day they might challenge what they read in the Bible, and then what?

If people are this scared of something as simple as Common Core, I can’t imagine how they would have felt about my Dutch education, which included very open sex ed and a class on world religions, in which kids from different religious traditions were encouraged to describe their faith to their fellow students.  I think I’ve turned out just fine–and I can tell the fundies that I didn’t end up sexually promiscuous or an atheist–but they probably think I’m messed up anyway, so I won’t waste my time.

All day long, I’ve been listening to conservatives accusing Obama of looking weak over Syria.  He has been too indecisive, he has changed his mind…  If only he was a stronger leader, then they might be able to respect him.

Yeah, right.  What complete bullshit.  I can only imagine the hysterical outcry that would be happening right now if Obama had been a Bush-style, more decisive leader on this.  For instance, if he had not consulted Congress over Syria and had just gone in.  We would be hearing discussions all day long about Obama being a dictator and about FEMA camps.  How dare he not consult Congress!  He is trampling on the Constitution yet again!  It would be another one of those days when, if you’re a right-wing radio listener, you retreat to your basement to polish your guns.

One of the dilemmas this President has to deal with is that he cannot appear to be too strong.  He’s already considered a dictator for passing the moderate Republican health care plan.  I’m no fan of military involvement in Syria, but I suppose at least I can be grateful that the President hasn’t been too much of a “decider”.  There is only so much right-wing hysteria I can take.

Donald Rumsfeld was always good with the zingers, and now he’s back.  I just got done watching an interview with him on CNN.  Just as I was done picking my jaw up off the floor at the guy having the nerve to critique someone else’s *war-making decisions*, he made it drop again.  When the interviewer asked about the faulty intelligence leading to the Iraq war, Rumsfeld responded with “You know if intelligence were a fact, it would be called a fact, and not intelligence.”

Sounds like we’re back in “there are known knowns and unknown unknowns” territory.  Conservatives like to claim that they have the facts on their side, while liberals only have emotion.  Well, sure…easy to say that you have the facts on your side when you can interpret those facts so broadly and also include dubious “intelligence” in your arsenal.

 

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