Saturday, March 31, 2012

General Motors, the world’s largest carmaker, has confirmed that it is pulling funding from the Heartland Institute, an ultra-conservative thinktank known for its scepticism about climate change.
The decision by the GM Foundation to halt its support for Heartland after 20 years underlines the new image the carmaker is seeking to project as part of its social responsibility programme. In the past GM has itself been associated with efforts to discredit climate change science, but in recent years it has been investing heavily in green technologies and cars including the electric/petrol hybrid, the Chevy Volt....
The first indication that the Detroit-headquartered car giant was going to make a clean break with the thank-tank was given by GM’s chief executive Dan Akerson in a speech he made in San Francisco earlier this month. He told Climate One that he believed that global warming was real, said that he had only just learnt of the funding to Heartland by the GM Foundation and promised to “take another look at it when I get back to Detroit”.
 With a strong lineup of fuel efficient cars and an improving corporate image with the environmentally conscious  consumers GM is poised to increase sales and market share across the USA and in California in particular.   Severing ties with a Heartland Institute was a good stroke of business.

Here is a recent post I wrote about Heartland Institute.  Who knows, it may have even helped build the buzz that eventually reached the attention of the GM Board.  I'm sure Diane Bast from Heartland regrets sending me the smart-ALEC e-mail reply.  ha.

Pathteacher:  Heartland Institute. More lobbyists with tax exempt status


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Surveillance Video of Zimmerman shows no sign of struggle

This is just a screenshot.. the video is at the linked article

Yikes.  This story is only going to become more volatile across the USA now that this video is out there.  ABC News has surveillance video of George Zimmerman handcuffed at the police precinct in Sanford Florida the night he shot Trayvon Martin in an alleged act of self defense.  There are no obvious or apparent signs of a struggle, no busted nose, no cuts on his neck, no blood on his clothes, no grass stains, nada.

Up to this point the police have disputed neither the self-defense alibi nor the account of the physical struggle between Zimmerman and Martin.  But this video goes beyond just disputing Zimmerman's story, it makes the police appear to be complicit in the cover up of what actually happened that night.

Surveillance video shows George Zimmerman on the night he killed Trayvon Martin

News reports that cited anonymous police sources said Zimmerman told police that Trayvon decked the neighborhood watch volunteer and slammed his head on the concrete.
Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner has told television networks that the neighborhood watch volunteer’s nose was broken and he was left with a gash on the back of his head that would have required stitches had he gone to the doctor in time.
But there are no visible bruises on his face or cuts on the back of his shaved head in the video, and his shirt doesn’t appear to have blood on it in the front or back. There does not appear to be any grass on his jacket, as indicated in the police report.
The video was authenticated by the city of Sanford public information office. Although it’s unclear what time it was taken, it was likely taken after Zimmerman was administered first aid at the shooting scene.
For reference, here is a link to the Florida Statutes and Constitution page regarding the "Stand Your Ground" Law.    Chapter 776 JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

and here is the part in 776.013 that applies to this case.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

My opinion is that the Sanford Police should have arrested George Zimmerman right there on the grounds that there was no evidence that Zimmerman had needed deadly force in response to whatever scuffle  occurred between him and Martin. The precedent set in this case would mean that any fight or altercation (not involving law enforcement personnel of course, they are protected) could legally result in people pulling out their guns and shooting to kill.  After all, anyone who is in a fight can reasonably say they felt threatened with great bodily harm.  This goes beyond Wild West vigilantism.  At least back then the Sheriff deputized the vigilantes and gave them badges.

This law was very poorly written and it will have to be modified with a Zimmerman clause to clarify that you can't start a fight and then kill the other person in self defense when they fight back.  But then, the wording in the law was free, provided by NRA model legislation and you get what you pay for. 

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Richard Nixon proposes National Health Care in 1971

Perhaps you didn't know that way back in February 1971 US President Richard Nixon who eventually resigned in 1974 in the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal proposed a sweeping new National Health Care program to Congress.   And when you read his speech now where he makes his case, he sounds prophetic and dare I say even genius.  Everything he said is still true, other than the statistics he cites which have only grown worse.

Richard Nixon: Special Message to the Congress Proposing a National Health Strategy, February 18, 1971

"It is health which is real wealth," said Gandhi, "and not pieces of gold and silver." That statement applies not only to the lives of men but also to the life of nations. And nations, like men, are judged in the end by the things they hold most valuable.
Not only is health more important than economic wealth, it is also its foundation. It has been estimated, for example, that ten percent of our country's economic growth in the past half century has come because a declining death rate has produced an expanded labor force.
Our entire society, then, has a direct stake in the health of every member. In carrying out its responsibilities in this field, a nation serves its own best interests, even as it demonstrates the breadth of its spirit and the depth of its compassion.
Yet we cannot truly carry out these responsibilities unless the ultimate focus of our concern is the personal health of the individual human being. We dare not get so caught up in our systems and our strategies that we lose sight of his needs or compromise his interests. We can build an effective National Health Strategy only if we remember the central truth that the only way to serve our people well is to better serve each person.
Nineteen months ago I said that America's medical system faced a "massive crisis." Since that statement was made, that crisis has deepened. All of us must now join together in a common effort to meet this crisis--each doing his own part to mobilize more effectively the enormous potential of our health care system.
This points out just how far the right has lurched the last few decades.  The GOP two-time elected President from 41 years ago would be considered a radical left-wing. liberal, socialist, by the standards of today's John Birch Society controlled GOP.

Monday, March 26, 2012

ALEC's brochure for private membership

OK, so look through this brochure for private membership to ALEC and guess if it is either: 
a) A group that provides access to legislators for purposes of influencing legislation as its primary objective. 
b) A group for which lobbying and attempting to affect legislation can not be a primary objective.  

click on the pictures to enlarge view ..

If you guessed b) you win the prize..  Look closely at this part..

Behold the budget hawks in the GOP / Tea Party.  They get the American taxpayers to help subsidize their politics by finagling 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for their right wing lobbying organizations.  And ALEC goes way beyond just lobbying for legislation.  They write the wording used in the legislation and then turn it over to their conservative members in the legislatures so they can be officially entered as Bills.  This is outsourced democracy.  The whole thing stinks to high heaven and there is no good argument why this organization or others like it deserve the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status which is a taxpayer subsidy.  Their entire mission is lobbying.  They have made a farce out of the 501(c)(3) law and blatantly disregard the IRS guidelines.

Here is an excerpt from the IRS site  Exemption Requirements - Section 501(c)(3) Organizations

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.
I would love to hear the ALEC lawyer weasel word a detour around the simple explanation from the IRS that excludes action organizations from having a tax-exempt status. The IRS should eliminate their 501(c)(3) status AND make it a point to go after back taxes from people who fraudulently claimed ALEC private membership fees as a charitable contribution.  When you get something tangible in return, its not a donation.  

Oh, and I checked at the IRS site, and yes ALEC is still has a legitimate tax-exempt status.  Here is the screenshot.. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Supreme Court to hear arguments on health care legislation

The US Supreme Court will soon be hearing oral arguments regarding the Constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, derisively referred to as "Obamacare".
  CNN: Justices to tackle epic debate over constitutionality of health care reform
Despite its complexity, the high court has narrowed its focus to just four key issues:
One: Constitutionality of the individual mandate (also known as the "minimum coverage" requirement), the key funding provision.
Two: Whether the individual mandate is a "tax," thereby limiting authority of the courts to immediately decide the mandate question.
Three: Whether other parts of the law can survive if the mandate is struck down.
Four: Federal vs. state conflict over expansion of the cooperative Medicaid program.
Well, here is my take.  The Government already mandates that health care facilities may not simply turn away people who are in urgent need of medical care even if they can not afford the services.  The statistic cited in the linked article says that in 2008, $43 billion of uncompensated health care services were provided for millions of uninsured patients.  These costs end up being paid by those who do have health insurance, through higher premiums. The $43 billion has to come from somewhere right?

Are the people who are opposed to the Government mandate for health insurance really prepared to say that health care facilities should turn away the uninsured who can't pay? That is the other side of the same coin. You can't refuse to buy insurance and then expect everyone else to cover your bills if you can't cover them.  Why, that would be socialism,  like we have now.  If people want the right to remain uninsured, then they have to pay for everything out of pocket or arrange credit, or they're out of luck regardless of medical condition. So if you bust up your knee but can't cover surgery you'll just have to learn how to walk with a stoop.  And if pops needs triple bypass surgery, but didn't but the insurance and has no way to pay, then too flipping bad. The business manager said you're credit score is too low and you're gonna die. Talk about death panels.

The way it is, the ones who still have health insurance end up paying for the medical services for the uninsured through higher premiums. Because this is the main driver of increasing health care costs and union job compensation packages, it is disingenuous for conservatives to point at the specter of rising costs for union employees while clamoring to not have to pay into the health care system while relying on the health care safety net the Government mandates.

That said, it isn't enough for the government to simply mandate expanded health care services upon the nation without a plan to provide the services for the millions of new patients. If we just add to the demand for health care without adding to the supply, then it will create either rising costs and/or shortages.   If the government aims to make health care more available, then it needs to promote policies that serve to expand the number of service providers.

This could be done by using more physician assistants and information technology to help make preliminary diagnosis to free up the time of physicians for more useful purposes.  There needs to be more community health centers to provide basic medical services instead of relying on hospital emergency rooms to treat advanced cases of ailments that would have been easy to treat in early stages.  There needs to be financial incentives that promote healthier life styles, diets, safe driving, vaccinations, personal habits, that work to keep medical costs lower.

There needs to be tort reform to increase the accessibility of medical services and to discourage waste via defensive medicine, which can drive extraneous medical testing just in case a lawsuit is ever filed after an operation fails. In cases where the doctor's office also operates an in-house medical  lab that performs the tests the doctor orders, where is the motivation to reduce unnecessary costs?  There needs to be thousands of small incremental improvements and waste reduction efforts in all phases of the medical industry if we want to have high quality, accessible, affordable health care for all.

So while the Supreme Court ponders the Constitutional issues, it would be reasonable if the Legislature and the President worked toward policies that take into account basic economics about supply and demand curves as they relate to health care services.   If we increase demand, we need to increase supply or else prices will rise and in the end, this will only make health care services less available, not more.

Friday, March 23, 2012

St. Thomas Aquinas and Rick Santorum couldn't disagree more.

Thomas of Aquino aka St. Thomas Aquinas lived way back about 750 years ago in the 13th century. He was perhaps the most influential philosopher in the history of the Catholic Church and is still considered the model teacher for those studying the priesthood. He has serious cred in the HRCC.

The self-labelled Christian politicians on the scene today should be so wise on the subject of faith and reason as St. Thomas Aquinas was so many centuries ago. This following sentence sums up his philosophy about the relationship between faith and reason. Timely because it applies perfectly to the current political fight between evolution and creationism.
Supernatural revelation (faith) and natural revelation (reason) are complementary rather than contradictory in nature, for they pertain to the same unity: truth. 

Natural revelation is something that any human would know regardless of their faith.  Everyone has access to natural revelation, its called science.  Supernatural revelation is the faith that the believers in Jesus and the Gospels possess, granted by the Spirit.   Aquinas said the two must coexist.  So then as science changes over time, the faith might have to also change over time lest the two become other than complementary and St. Thomas Aquinas be wrong and the Catholic Church be wrong for supporting this philosophy for centuries.

Even with 750 more years of mankind's accumulated knowledge at 4G speed on his i-Phone, Santorum is less enlightened on this topic than a man who lived before printing presses were invented.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rick Santorum = idiot

Behold the arrogant ignorance of the dumbest person to have ever run for President.  Rick Santorum is so dumb, he makes Mitt Romney look like a freakin genius. 

The Elephant in the Room: Challenging science dogma

Given this uncertainty, I think most Americans find the experts' cocksureness unsettling. Despite the bravado and billions of dollars in media hype supporting the climate alarmists, only 37 percent of respondents agreed that man is causing global warming in a recent Rasmussen poll.
Why? Well, maybe because Americans don't like being told what to believe. Maybe because we have learned to be skeptical of "scientific" claims, particularly those at war with our common sense - like the Darwinists' telling us for decades that we are just a slightly higher form of life than a bacterium that is here purely by chance, or the Environmental Protection Agency's informing us last week that man-made carbon dioxide - a gas that humans exhale and plants need to live, a gas that represents less than 0.1 percent of the atmosphere - is a dangerous pollutant threatening to overheat the world.
This essay is a checklist of climate denier nonsense all meant to ease the cognitive disonance of greedy people who don't feel comfortable openly admitting that they really don't give a crap about future generations of humans who will inherit this world from us.  Rick Santorum is leading the charge of the dim brigade.

Faith is meant to fill the gaps in knowledge and facts, not to supercede them.  When faith requires you to attack science and reason, the faith becomes a joke.

Is it any wonder that the GOP is on the attack regarding public education.  It's easier to dupe the undereducated.          

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Conserve-atism, a greener world with greener wallets

As gasoline hits $4.00 per gallon amidst threats of even higher spikes if military actions are taken against Iran, we need a strategy to drive gasoline prices lower to preserve the economic recovery that is building. The problem is, as the recovery builds, people drive more miles and use more gasoline and the increased demand for a limited resource always increases the price. Higher consumption also means more traffic on the roads which means more stop-and-go driving which drives consumption even higher.  Yikes.  

Gasoline is essentially a speed governor on economic growth. The extra money consumers spend on gasoline can't be spent on other things like having dinner out, going to a concert, taking a vacation, or paying the bills for that matter. Because we need to import oil the dollars leave our economy and become part of the massive trade deficit.

The workings of the market that set the price at the pump are a story in itself, but clearly market forces still hold some sway, so there are two basic strategies for reducing the price of oil and gasoline. One is to increase the supply, the other is to reduce the demand.

The right wing universally craves to increase the supply. "Drill baby drill" is the mantra from Mitt to Palin. True, if we flood the market with more oil, it will help hold prices down even while demand increases from economic growth.   However to justify that strategy, they paint themselves into a corner regarding climate science and are forced to espouse ridiculous anti-science views to avoid openly admitting their greed and disregard for future generations including their own children.

At the other end of the political spectrum, there is a prevailing notion to increase gasoline taxes to coerce people and businesses to consume less fuel in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but that is a regressive tax that hits the lowest income consumers the hardest and would do serious harm to the economy as prices for nearly every product would increase while disposable incomes fell. We need a robust, healthy economy to provide the source of capital for the long term investment in renewable energy sources and we can't get there by dragging the economy down.

These two failing strategies point to the basis for one that will work and one the Government already has the power and people to make happen. I call it Conserve-atism, reducing waste in fuel consumption to build a glut in the supply to crash the price.  Most all of the existing government initiatives to improve fuel economy have involved modifications to vehicle design. Wikipedia: Fuel Economy in Automobiles. That will work, but it is dreadfully slow.  Why not increase the mileage of every car and truck already on the road by reducing how many times they need to stop and start every day?  Or just eliminate the driving altogether if we can?  

We need to be ingenious and creative to find 1,000 ways to reduce waste.  Here are just a few ideas for improving traffic flow and eliminating churn.
1) Highway project lane closures. How can we get three lanes of traffic to merge into a single lane without creating a mile-long backup. This is easy. At the point where traffic needs to merge into a single lane to accommodate a highway road construction project, a temporary three-lane red light system should be installed. Two lanes of traffic wait while the third lane proceeds into the single downstream open lane. Then the lights change and a different lane proceeds for a minute or so. No more jockeying for position and road rage at the merge point. The goal is to improve the flow of traffic so everyone wastes less gas and time.

2) Timing the stop lights. How can we keep traffic flowing through town. This is easy as well. Simply take into account the entire grid of roads and decide which is the master intersection and then decide the duration for the green, yellow, and red lights there. Then use the data available on Mapquest or Google Maps to find the distance to adjacent intersections as well as the speed limits to calculate forward or backward in time  when the stop lights before and after the master intersection need to be green, yellow and red. The goal is that vehicles travelling at the proper speed will drive through one green light after another without having to stop.  This is a great idea for a software application, devising the overall plan to time the stop lights for an entire city to make traffic flow.  Each time a vehicle has to stop at a red light it wastes a teaspoon of gasoline accelerating back up to speed. Multiply that by a hundreds of millions of vehicles waiting at red lights every day.

3) Reduce US Mail motor route delivery to three days per week. I am not advocating this to cut jobs, rather to cut fuel consumption.  Nothing that comes in the mail is so critical that the post office needs to deliver it six days per week, especially for motor routes that have to stop and start at every mailbox. If delivery is urgent, there are plenty of private overnight couriers, otherwise, your mail will arrive every other day. The US Mail operates 189,000 vehicles. link.  Maintaining half that fleet would save a lot of money as well.

4) Reduce school weeks to 4 days per week. Many school districts operate dozens if not hundreds of buses to pick students up and them drive them home Monday through Friday. If schools with large transportation costs were to alter their schedules for Monday through Thursday classes and have Friday off every week it would reduce fuel costs 20%.

Those ideas are just a start for the Conserve-ative agenda. Others would promote car-pooling and 4 ten-hour day work weeks. or they might promote product delivery by rail trains to reduce the need for trucking. Others would discourage drive-through fast food and banking. There are thousands of ways government entities can support waste reduction activities just by having a plan going in. When we reduce waste it will create a glut in the supply which will bring down the price perhaps drastically so. When that happens consumers should share the savings between lower prices and higher taxes to fund renewable energy sources that will reduce consumption even further.

We can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the price of oil at the same time.  What's not to love?   I wonder how long until a major politician from either party sees the logic and adopts a conserve-ative agenda to lead the Nation into the future.  Hopefully soon seeing as this strategy will actually work. 

Friday Night Foo Fighters

I can not get enough of the Wasting Light CD by Foo Fighters.  I have listened to it on the way to and from work pretty much every day for a few weeks now..  I drive 36 miles each way so its enough time to get in just about the whole disc every time I get in the car.   This is an incredible album, solid from beginning to end.  For people my age who grew up listening to what is now referred to as classsic rock, this album that will restore your soul for rock and roll.. or something like that..

Here is song 2.  Rope. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reuters/Ipsos poll: Obama's approval rating at 50%.

Obama's approval rating up to 50 percent: Reuters/Ipsos poll

The poll, taken March 8-11 on the heels of reports that 227,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in February, indicates that Obama's rating has risen by 2 percentage points during the past month. The percentage of Americans who disapprove of the Democratic president was 48 percent, down from 49 percent in February.
Some other polls have shown a recent dip in Obama's approval rating, and linked that to rising gasoline prices.
But for most Americans, other economic trends during the past month have been relatively positive. Obama appears to be benefiting from that, and perhaps from a bitter Republican presidential campaign that at times has focused on divisive social issues such as abortion.

If Obama's approval rating is 50%, that means there are just about as many who people like what he is doing as there people who don't like what he is doing.   So this is a good time to show how the country voted in the last Presidential election in 2008.  Not quite a landslide, but a blowout to be sure. 

I am not aware if any of the States are likely to change color in the next presidential election. but it doesn't look good right now for whoever emerges from the months long food fight that the GOP primaries have become.  If by some chance there is a brokered GOP convention and an all out war breaks out in the aisles between rival tribes, then the GOP's scant chance of winning will be brokered even further.

And McCain was a war hero centrist candidate with a smoking hot Sarah Palin sidekick.  If the GOP throws a Romney/Santorum ticket out there, it could get real ugly for the GOP.      

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wyoming tribe gets Federal Permit to kill bald eagles for religious ceremonies.

In a rare and potentially landmark decision, a Wyoming Indian tribe has received federal approval to kill two bald eagles for religious ceremonies, the Associated Press reports.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe had sued the government last year, arguing its members' religious freedom was being violated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's refusal to issue a "take" permit.
Federal law prohibits killing a bald eagle, the national bird. Eagle feathers and body parts are kept in a federal repository for tribal religious ceremonies.
The agency issued the permit Friday, allowing the tribe to kill two bald eagles off the Wind River Indian Reservation.

I have a real problem with this.  The 1st amendment says  " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..   That means that there are no separate laws for people based on their religion.  No one gets special privileges regarding laws because of their religion right? Well, here is the law ..

§ 668a. Taking and using of the bald and golden eagle for scientific, exhibition, and religious purposes

Whenever, after investigation, the Secretary of the Interior shall determine that it is compatible with the preservation of the bald eagle or the golden eagle to permit the taking, possession, and transportation of specimens thereof for the scientific or exhibition purposes of public museums, scientific societies, and zoological parks, or for the religious purposes of Indian tribes, or that it is necessary to permit the taking of such eagles for the protection of wildlife or of agricultural or other interests in any particular locality, he may authorize the taking of such eagles pursuant to regulations which he is hereby authorized to prescribe: ... 

Provided further, That bald eagles may not be taken for any purpose unless, prior to such taking, a permit to do so is procured from the Secretary of the Interior 
File:Ken Salazar official DOI portrait.jpg
Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, the guy who grants eagle killing permits
Well I'm not a lawyer, but when the words in the law provide an exclusion for particular religions that says clear and loud that the law respects an establishment of religion.   So I think the whole law stinks.

But if it is the law then I would like to know if the Secretary of the Interior was involved in the procurement of this permit.  The law is clear to identify the Secretary as the one who must grant the permit.  I wonder if Ken Salazar actually granted the permit himself.  If not, I wonder to whom authority was subjugated.

The story of killing bald eagles goes back to another Wyoming Native American who shot and killed a bald eagle and then claimed a religious defense when the Dept of Justice was prosecuting him.  And the judge agreed. Arapaho man makes appeal on eagle killing charge
Friday the eagle killer who got off

Late last year, U.S. District Judge William F. Downes agreed, dismissing the criminal charge against Friday.
“Although the government professes respect and accommodation of the religious practices of Native Americans, its actions show callous indifference to such practices,” Downes wrote in his ruling. “It is clear to this court that the government has no intention of accommodating the religious beliefs of Native Americans except on its own terms and in its own good time.”

That's a load of crap.   There is nothing in the Constitution that says the Government shall accommodate any particular religious practice for anyone including Native Americans.   and this nugget..

John T. Carlson, an assistant federal public defender representing Friday, argued the Fish and Wildlife Service kept the existence of permits quiet and instead tried to point Indians toward a federal repository in Denver that stores the remains of eagles killed by power lines or other causes.
Requiring Native Americans to secure permits to kill eagles infringes on their religious freedom, Carlson said.
“No other religion has a permit system denying it access to its sacred objects,” Carlson said.
How exactly did the Fish and Wildlife Service keep a public Federal law secret from the tribe's legal staff ? The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) has been the intersection where the law and the freedom of religion have been crashing for decades.   And the reason other religions don't need a permit to obtain their sacred objects is that it isn't a Federal crime to obtain them otherwise.  Here is the key point in this article about the evolution of the law that protects the American National Symbol.    Detailed Discussion of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
 Interestingly, it is not the enforcement of the statute nor the stringent penalties associated with it that have created the most controversy for the courts. Rather, it is the limitation of the use of eagle parts to Native Americans and the concomitant constitutional challenges that target the BGEPA. 
I think the reason that this part of the law has been so controversial is that it was unconstitutional from the start.  The original law should not have been amended in 1962 to provide exclusions to kill bald eagles for religious purposes, that was the camel's nose under the wigwam.   The law should neither respect nor purposely disrespect any religion or their sacred objects.  However if a particular sacred object is illegal for some people it can't be legal for other people based on their religion.  That is the entire freaking point of the 1st Amendment. The words are as clear as a crack in the ice you are walking on.

Another point, if the law allows some Native Americans the religious freedom to fire away at bald eagles, it can't very well deny others the right to do so.  Civil rights aren't doled out while supplies last.  But the Secretary of the Interior sure can't grant a permit to everyone who shows up at the office wanting to kill an eagle or the species would go extinct.  So how do they pick who gets one of the coveted permits to kill an eagle?

Maybe they could make it a contest at the casino.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rush Limbaugh, Uncle Scar from the Lyin King.

Seeing as Rush Limbaugh is the de facto leader of the GOP. the Tea Party, and the Religious Right I think it is useful to spread some of his nuggets of wisdom if for no other reason than to give everyone else a reason to laugh.  Rush demonstrates his NPD every day just by flapping his gums.    

What's the point in telling them you don't want their votes? In fact, folks, if I could be honest with you, it's the Obama administration which is telling groups of Americans they're not interested in their votes, and one group is white working families. They used to be called Reagan Democrats.
See Rush project racism onto everyone in order to let his adoring listeners feel more at peace with their own.  Hear him dream on about Reagan Democrats migrating to the GOP totally creating a trend from thin air.   Rush is just like Uncle Scar in The Lion King, a conniving egomaniac who is just a bit smarter than the moron hangers-on surrounding him.  The hyenas keep lapping up everything he says.   

Oh and from the link above.  Rush-assistic Personality Disorder  

A person with narcissistic personality disorder may:

  • React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
  • Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
  • Have excessive feelings of self-importance
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
  • Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
  • Need constant attention and admiration
  • Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
  • Have obsessive self-interest
  • Pursue mainly selfish goals

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rush gets cheap digs at the advertisers who left his show

Just a note to any potential advertisers who are interested in calling Premiere Radio Netwoks to fill in some of the newly available empty commercial time for Rush Limbaugh's syndicated radio show. Just know that if and when you ever decide to no longer sponsor his show, he'll trash you over the air for leaving.
RUSH: The left, folks -- the media -- are giddy that some advertisers have said they're leaving the program. And I'm sorry to see 'em go. They have profited handsomely from you. These advertisers who have split the scene have done very well due to their access to you, my audience, from this program. To offer their products and services to you through this venue is the best opportunity that they have ever had to advertise their wares. Now they've chosen to deny themselves that access, and that's a business decision, and it's theirs alone to make.

They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore... 
"... Advertising's a business decision. It's not a social one.  Only the leftists try to use extortion, pressure, threats to silence opposing voices. We don't do that. Never, ever, do any of us on our side of the aisle try to suppress the speech or the voices of those with whom we disagree, and we never will. So, as you've always done, you make your own business decisions about the products and services you buy.

A bit about Rush. He has all the symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder. Nothing he says or does can be wrong. If anything is ever perceived by others as being wrong, then it will be their fault for taking it the wrong way. If coerced he may apologize, but it will be an insincere tactical retreat intended only to placate critics, not to admit to any flaw or weakness. One can't be truly sorry for something without thinking that a mistake was made, but Rush is not capable of mistakes so any apology is a fake one. Rush will continue to surround himself with loyal subjects only and will lash out at any/all detractors. As that list grows so will his anger and resentment.  Any attempt at self-depricating humor or humility is just thinly disguised fishing for compliments and attempts to feed his super-sized ego.      

For perspective here are some samples of Rush Speak that got him into a hot water with the advertisers to his show.  The transcripts are still up at his website.. 

Now, the definition of a "misogynist" is a man who hates women almost as much as women hate women. That's what a misogynist is. Did you know that, Snerdley? A misogynist is a guy who hates women almost as much as women hate women, and I do not hate women. Why should gay people have to pay taxes to supply birth control for straight people, for the breeders? Why should they? Where's the social justice in that?
 That’s a thousand dollars a year of sex -- and, she wants us to pay for it." Now, what does that make her? She wants us to buy her sex. She wants us to pay for her sex, and she went to a congressional committee to close the sale.
It's the right place to do that. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
And what about these deadbeat boyfriends or random hookups that these babes are encountering here, having sex with nearly three times a day? While in law school.
RUSH: Folks, if you ask 'em -- if you ask 'em -- the Washington, DC, Department of Health will send you free condoms and lube. The DC Department of Health free condoms and lube if you just ask 'em for it! So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.

Well, what did I say? I said, "If we're paying for this, it makes these women sluts, prostitutes." And what else could it be? If we are buying it..

 So who was out of line? Rush for saying these things or his ex-advertisers for taking offense at them?

Pathteacher crosses the 10,000 page views mark..

Yeah I know a lot of sites have 10,000 visitors before first coffee break every day, so that Pathteacher reached 10,000 Page views in 15 months over the course of 210 posts is no occasion to become Horatio the Hornblower like its a big deal or something. But anytime the page view clicker reaches another order of magnitude you have to mark it some way.    So I want to say I appreciate people from around the world stopping by and reading one or more of the posts and recommending the articles for others to read.  Please feel free to leave comments if you like.  I look forward to hearing from more of you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The authorities that exist have been established by God.

From the New Testament, Romans 13:1-7. 
Submission to Governing Authorities
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Foo Fighters, Bridges Burning..

I am a bit late to the party, getting into the album Wasting Light by Foo Fighters.  It came out a year or so ago and I had heard a few tunes here or there but thanks to my son Steven the CD is in the changer in the car now and I find myself practically turning into Garth from Wayne's World when this song is blasting out.  Bridges Burning.  This was a live performance on the Letterman Show last April.  I love the Beatles mood.  These same instruments were used 50 years ago, but none of the bands back then could play like this. 

To my old fart friends ha! who think the rock monster bands from the 60's & 70's were rock and roll at its high point, I say reconsider.   Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters are as great a rock band that has ever been.  Its evolution. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rush Limbaugh jumps off the ledge..

Rush Limbaugh has been painting himself into a corner for years now and his work is finally done.  His fat ass is stuck between the tub and the toilet in the upstairs bathroom with paint still dripping from his roller and nowhere left to go.   Shackled to his own words like a muskrat's leg to a steel trap in Ted Nugent's backyard.  He's done like a hot dog on the rollers at the 7-11 at 3 am.  He's stinking up the place like fish in the microwave.  It couldn't happen to a more deserving jerk.

I think this could mark the beginning of the end for his nationally syndicated show.  When the point of Rush's show is to help the radio station sell ads in this Obama economy why would they pay a premium for an insulting narcissistic jerk to spew out stupid shit that chases off advertisers.   Heck, they could get lots of people to do that for free.  Rush, you ignorant slur.

Good luck in your next job. Not.   Hopefully this marks the beginning of the end of Rush and his nationally syndicated political attacktivism.  Oh he'll probably find work down at the scratchy end of the AM dial with Alex Jones and Don Black.

None of his foes could make Rush Limbaugh look any worse than he can do quite well just by explaining himself.  Keep on trucking Rush.   

In wake of latest controversy, Quicken Loans pulls ads from Rush Limbaugh's radio show

 Rush Limbaugh Advertisers Pull Commercials In Wake Of Sandra Fluke 'Slut' Firestorm

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Andrew Breitbart dead at 43.

Political blogger Andrew Breitbart died earlier today near his home in California. 

Andrew Breitbart: 'They couldn't revive him,' father-in-law says 

Andrew Breitbart, the 43-year-old conservative writer who died Thursday morning, was found collapsed on the sidewalk near his Westwood home while taking a nighttime walk, his father-in-law told The Times.
Breitbart was found about 12:30 or 1 a.m.

I didn't have much respect for his tactics. He was more passionate about his politics than the truth.  Whatever. That was his right.  I didn't care enough to hate him, but I'm not going to shed a tear either. I'm guessing he wouldn't want anyone's sympathy.

Maybe there is a lesson for all of us regardless of political persuasion. Don't sit at the computer day and night. Take care of yourself. Move more, eat well, stay in shape, and don't be consumed with anger. Try to build more bridges and fewer walls. Try to make more friends and fewer enemies.

Life is short.  Play nice.