Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tanks For The Shame

(Cartoon by Jack Ohman published 8/19/14 in the Sacramento Bee and featured at McClatchy DC.)

(Cartoon by Kevin Siers published 8/15/14 in the Charlotte Observer and featured at McClatchy DC.)

I've slipped back into that bad habit of watching the news on television and reading the news on line.  Unfortunately, the news has been more than a little distressing.  The big stories right now are the crazy Islamic terrorists who are into beheading folks who aren't sufficiently Islamic for them and (closer to home) the news out of Ferguson, Missouri of a police shooting of a young black man who turned out to be unarmed.  It was another case of "Walking While Black."

The latter story really depressed me.  Here we are in the 21st Century and this nation just can't get past its racism.  What makes it even worse is that the police are armed to the teeth with military grade weapons.  The excuse is that the "bad guys" have them, so the police should too.  Or something.  The victim in Missouri was shot six times by the automatic weapon the officer was carrying.

Why do police departments have to have tanks, or armed drones, or even the kind of automatic weapons that can fire off six rounds in quick succession.  Wouldn't one shot by a trained officer be enough to bring "the bad guy" down?  Are our police lousy marksmen?  What?

Wouldn't wearing protective body armor be a better choice if a military arsenal is involved?

I know: too many questions from a loony old broad.  It's just that I'd hoped to see some good kind of changes before I died.  I guess I'm asking for too much.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Cuckoo's Nest: Ain't Dead Yet

So, as I was recently reminded, it's been a while since I've posted something, or even been on line to chat with folks.  Well, I have good excuses, chief of which is that I don't have a reliable on-line system.  One of the other residents has been kind enough to ride on his account, but the signal doesn't always drift down this far.

Still, as noted above, I ain't dead yet.

I had my 68th birthday ten days ago, which kind of surprised me.  I wasn't all that sure I'd be around to celebrate.  I guess whatever's on the other side of this world just isn't ready to cope with yet another weird old broad.

Things haven't changed much, at least my prognosis hasn't.  Oddly enough, I've found some peace in the whole process of living and dying, thanks to this bit of wisdom:

"Listen to your life
See it for the fathomless mystery that it is
In the boredom and pain of it no less than in excitement and gladness.
Touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it
Because in the last analysis, all moments are key moments
And life itself is grace."

(F. Buechner)

That's good enough for me.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

They're Everywhere!

(Cartoon by Jim Morin, published 7/1/14 in the Miami Herald and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge and then please return.)
President Obama has caved in once again.  Rather than lean on Congress to get a reasonable and humane immigration bill passed, he's decided to increase the budget for detention centers.  Wouldn't want those pesky aliens mixing in with the real people, eh?

From McClatchy DC:

President Barack Obama asked Congress on Tuesday for $3.7 billion to help cope with the influx of unaccompanied children illegally crossing the southern border.

The money will pay for additional border patrol agents, more beds at detention centers, an increase in prosecution of smuggling networks and a media campaign to discourage parents from sending their children on what the White House calls a “dangerous journey.”

The administration described its approach as an aggressive and cost effective response across the federal government that will allow the United States to try to prevent and more quickly process the

 cases.  [Emphasis added] 

Now, I can sort of (kind of) understand the concern being expressed by President Obama with this latest influx of "border runners."  They are mostly young kids, being shipped by their parents, often without any family members to accompany them, only hopes and prayers for their children's future.  I share the concern, as I'm certain most people do, that this is no way to provide for those kids' future. 

And , as one of my fellow residents here at the Cuckoo's Nest pointed out, there is more going on here than those kids' future.  He thinks that it's a diversionary move by the drug cartels in Central America and Mexico.  While the US Border Patrol is busy dealing with these bus loads of children, they aren't paying attention to the smugglers both above and below ground. He may be right.

Even so, surely there is a better way to handle the issue.  For one thing, the US government could put some pressure on Mexican and Central American governments to do their parts in clamping down on the drug cartels and their growers. 

Another thing the US government could do is change our ridiculous drug laws, the way many states are beginning to do.  Legalize marijuana and tax it the way alcohol and tobacco are taxed. That would be a good start and might ease not only smuggling problems but also our prison crowding.  As to other drugs, well, I haven't completely made up my mind, but it seems to me that adults should be allowed to pick their poison.

At any rate, I would love to see a more sensible border policy.  Maybe even during my life time.  Know what I mean?

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Sunday, July 06, 2014

Sunday Funnies: A 2-fer

Cartoon by Kevin Siers, published 7/2/14 in the Charlotte Observer and featured at McClatchy DC.

Cartoon by Jack Ohman, published 7/4/14 in the Sacramento Bee and also featured at McClatchy DC.

As always, click on images to enlarge.


Saturday, July 05, 2014

Bonus Critter Blogging

Photograph by Steve Winter and published in National Geographic.  Click on link to learn more about the horrid poaching of these animals in Borneo.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

The beer was warm, the burgers cold, and a Bic lighter is NOT a sparkler.  Some party.

I Am Just Saying

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

PennsylvaniaRobert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton