Life in the RiverHouse

Went to pick up the pork shanks (or pork knuckle as the Germans insist) and pork bellies (going to make 4 different kinds of Scriba Meatsbacon) from the butcher. Pulled up outside of the shop and saw a sign that said “NY Strip $ 4.99 per lb.” I knew that they sold NY Strip for $14.99 per pound which is way outside of our budget since one of us gave up his job as an IT Exec and joined the lucrative profession of “Professional Photographer”. So, I assumed that the space after the dollar sign was where the “1” blew off in our wind storm last night.

As I was looking over the shanks and bellies, Becky the Butcher asked if there was anything else I needed. I said “No, unless you want to sell me some Strips for the $4.99 per pound out there on your sign?” She said “How thick and how many pounds?”.

I love living in the country. And Seal-A-Meal.

Commentary on the Mad Hatter’s Latest Tea Party

I’ve been following a fairly unbelievable conversation on Facebook complaining that the volunteers fighting Ebola need to shut up and be grateful that we gave them the chance to fight Ebola? (Honestly, I had a real hard time figuring out what the basis was for this conversation). They were compared to the 101st Airborne and their oath of duty and…I don’t know. Let me say a few more things than you really want to hear about all of that.

There is a major difference between the military and volunteers. Volunteers aren’t “idiots“. They decided to risk there lives for little or no compensation to help others during a health crisis. Disdain and demand for ill treatment of those that are trying to save lives fits well with the current “me first” culture but it is still wrong.

Cowardice and illogical fear of this disease should not replace common courtesy nor the requirement to be grateful (or, at a minimum, humane) to those that are helping people while we bravely sit at our keyboards and opine about how the people that actually are helping should feel or be treated. We imagine farfetched scenarios under which Ebola could affect us and find friends to whine with about how brave we are while we cower on the Barcalounger with a Coors Light firmly in hand, stuffing chicken wings into our maw and explain what the young men on the television are doing wrong. We discuss how much danger we are in while watching the NFL on CBS and in between howling at the TV about the latest injustice the referees are perpetrating on “your” team and making plans to watch Lucy Liu in “Elementary”.

We are strong believers in our expertise in things we have no expertise in. And disbelievers in experts who differ with our opinion only because they know what they are talking about. Welcome to the Tea Party’s America.

Meanwhile, this nurse who they insist should “just shut up” and stop being an “idiot” and a “crybaby” has been wiping up the blood and snot and piss and shit of dying people. Dying.

She has watched children die while we curse the Gods because 0.00000126984% of Americans have been infected with the Ebola virus which must mean that it is coming for us next. Lurking around the corner like some slavering beast refusing to recognize our exceptionalism no matter how many times we point it out.

This is narcissism on an epic scale and embarrassment at this is what causes us to pretend we are in some sort of danger when we know that we aren’t. How do I know we know we aren’t? Because no one is that stupid. Absolutely no one.

A woman (with no symptoms which means she’s not contagious even if she was infected no matter what Drudge, WorldNetDaily, Fox, Breitbart and the Daily Caller are telling you in between their adverts for Topless Machine Gun Thursdays at the local gun range) who treated Ebola victims travels to the state you live in. What does that mean for you? Absolutely nothing. How about if you are introduced to her and shake her hand. What then? Still nothing. What if you berate her soundly and then collect her tears to make ironic salty caramel treats which you later binge eat? Nope. Nada.  You know it, I know it, everyone with a functioning brainstem knows it. No pity points for you. No moral high ground that lets you judge these good samaritans. Nothing.

As with so many hypocritical and horrible acts, many of the perpetrators claim Christianity as their faith. Well, I don’t recall the part about scorning the Good Samaritan for breaking the rules of the day to assist the man by the side of the road. Maybe the Lord just forgot that part of the parable. Maybe we are supposed to heap scorn and disdain on folks that help others. Maybe they are “idiots” and “crybabies“. Maybe they should “just shut up“. Maybe He wanted us to figure that out ourselves.

There is one thing you are right about. Someone in this needs to shut up. And it’s not the nurse.

They’re Not Even Trying To Hide It Anymore

What? Where’s the uproar from those of you who were so incensed by the single Black man with a stick in Philadelphia? That was intimidation but armed, racist thugs are OK with you people? Seems like it is the same reaction you had when the Secret Service failed to protect the President properly: Silence.

Right-Wing Militia Announces Racist – And Illegal – Voter Suppression Action In Wisconsin

Just for your information: this is how the race card is played. No Sharpton. No Jackson. Just good old fashioned racists supporting the Republican Party and responding to the dog whistle of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Voting Rights Act provisions. ”

Keep ’em from voting, boys. Everything will be just all right.


(Hat tip to Kimberly Otis)

I Agree With You But I Won’t Sign Your Petition.

As you might imagine, I receive lots of email solicitations. Some are from liberals, some from conservatives, some from radicals, some from Christians, some from Muslims, some from Atheists, etc. That is what happens when you join all kinds of different groups. Yesterday, I received one from Faithful America  asking me to join a petition against St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Billings, Montana for its treatment of a gay couple in the congregation. I’ve included the letter in this post so that there is no question about what they were asking and what I, politely, declined.

The Catholic Church is against marriage equality for homosexuals. You can’t be married to a person of the same sex and be Catholic. Those are the rules. Whether or not I (non-denominational Christian) agree or disagree with them is immaterial. I’m not Catholic and never will be. My signing this petition would be my trying to impose my religion’s beliefs on another religion and that would be as wrong as their constant attempts to impose their religion’s beliefs on me. In other words, I can’t really comment on this without being the sort of hypocrite I rail against. So I won’t.

The legal state of marriage is a result of a contract entered into by two people. Is there a religious component? Sometimes but that is entirely up to the two people. It is not a question for society to answer. The only thing that matters to our society is the civil component. Denying anyone the benefits associated with marriage as a result of religious bias is wrong. Your religion might believe that marriage equality for homosexuals is wrong. Mine believes it’s right. Why does your religion get to decide who can enter into a civil contract while at the same time denying my religion its freedom to make that same decision? Is it because your religion is the preferred religion by those in power? Has your religion been established as the “de-facto” state religion? Didn’t I read something about that not being a good thing somewhere?

I AM NOT A CATHOLIC. My agreement or disagreement with elements of the Catholic faith are immaterial. My voicing those disagreements in the form of a petition seems a bit pompous to me. Let me also be clear that religion is the single category in which I have these feelings. I don’t get to tell you what your god says. I might believe you are wrong about what God says but only you can decide what your god says. I hope you’ll do me the same courtesy.

Dear Faithful America member,

The new priest had only been at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Billings, Montana for four days when he discovered that a gay couple in the congregation had married last year.

He gave them an ultimatum: Either divorce and renounce their marriage, he told Paul Huff and Tom Wotjowick, or the two lifelong Catholics would be banned from church ministries and from receiving communion.

Paul and Tom have been in a committed relationship for 30 years. Devoted Catholics, they play music at service and sing in the choir, and they never publicized their marriage. Already, as many as 40 of their fellow congregants have spoken out or quit attending mass in protest.

So far the local bishop is backing the parish priest, even though he acknowledges that Paul and Tom are “good people.” We need to show him that there’s a growing national outcry of Christians who are appalled at how Tom and Paul are being treated.

Tell Montana Bishop: Don’t ban married gay couple from receiving communion.


— Michael

Michael Dunn – Murderer

Michael Dunn

Michael Dunn was found guilty of 1st Degree Murder. Rightfully so, in my opinion. Perhaps, we can stop looking at the State of Florida as one big lunatic monolith. Perhaps, now, we can address those pockets of lunacy that have created Mr. Dunn and Mr. Zimmerman. Some time spent addressing laws that sometimes allow murderers to go free, is probably called for. Let us not forget to rejoice that a jury of Americans heard a case and came to a realistic verdict. That is something that is too rare these days.

Obama’s Scandal

This is disgraceful and an actual scandal that lies at the feet of President Obama. This madness must stop. Of course it won’t. Not with the incoming Republican Majority and a brand new shiny boogie man to feed the never satisfied maw of the Military Industrial Complex. That maw chews up honor, integrity, ethics along with the skin, guts and blood of the young people we send. All in the name of…what? There was a time that I knew but that is rapidly fading away. President Bush had many faults but the worse was the macho crap that had us grabbing the tar baby that is the Middle East. Now, Mr. Obama has his own firm grasp on it. And, like Mr. Bush, his flailing about trying to get unstuck does serious damage to international and domestic law. Torture happens in his (and our) name. New definitions are created to help some feel better about this torture. Under Mr. Bush it was “enhanced interrogation”. Mr. Obama has is “long-term non-religious fasting”. And just what does that look like? What do you mean by that?

force feeding

Welcome to the big leagues, Mr. President. You’re committing a war crime.

Read Andrew Sullivan’s longer handling of this subject here.

Money Politics in the USA

I just received an email from CREDO SuperPAC. They are very concerned that I may not have heard that the Koch Brothers are trying to steal an election in North Carolina. There’s all kinds of horrible things these Koch Brothers are doing and CREDO kochbrothersSuperPAC needs my (financial) help to stop them.

CREDO SuperPAC organizers and volunteers are combating the Kochs’ efforts to suppress the vote by literally going door-to-door to make sure Koch-targeted voters know how to cast ballots that count on Election Day.

They then make sure that I know a bit about the Republican running for Senate in North Carolina

When we tell voters that Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis defunded his state’s public schools, closed women’s health clinics and lifted the ban on fracking, they are fired up to go vote against him.

But, search as I might, I can’t find one word about the Democrat. Not even a name. Nothing to tell me why I would spend money to put this person in the Senate. Just how horrible Thom Tillis is/was/always will be.

I think that I’m supposed to faint at the mere mention of the Koch Brothers so that CREDO SuperPAC can rifle through the loose change in my pockets while I’m out. How about a little something on who deserves my vote? I already know who doesn’t. You want to get people out to vote? Give them something to vote for. Not against.

That is the lesson of Barack Obama. Two elections that he won because more people wanted to vote for him than those who wanted to vote against. The Republicans ignored that lesson. I wonder if the Democrats will do the same?

Unintended Consequences from Intentional Mischief

Sometimes political nonsense is deadly. This is one of those times. And, with the coming shift from a Democratic-controlled to Republican-controlled Senate and the Republican Leaderships vow to shut down the government in order to force a default by the US, we are in for a tough two years. I think it will lengthen Hillary Clinton’s coattails in 2016 and may even lead to Democratic control of both the Executive and Legislative Branches. Barring an unforeseen calamity, Republicans will continue to control the Judicial Branch through the first 4 years of Ms. Clinton’s presidency but, if she is re-elected, that will shift as she replaces Ginsburg, Stevens and Scalia. If the Lord graces me with 10 more years, they should be interesting times, indeed.

“Land of the Free. Home of the Brave.” Not so fast…

Ebola is not a danger to the US. If you want to get worked up about something, go get a flu shot. It is infinitely more dangerous to you and other Americans. More Americans will be killed by cows than Ebola by a factor of approximately 20. If you really want to be afraid of something, you should probably look at your dog. He/she is more dangerous than Ebola by a factor of about 30. Don’t get me started about suburban swimming pools, bees and deer. Not to mention handguns. Here’s a few facts about Ebola that you NEED to know.

  • Ebola can only be spread through bodily fluids.
    • Blood, semen, urine, vomit, feces, or other bodily fluids of an infected person must come into contact with someone else’s mucus membranes in order for the virus to spread.
  • And it’s not just any infected person—it’s asymptomatic infected person.
    • People can only catch ebola from someone actually exhibiting symptoms. Those include vomiting, diarrhea, and, in some cases, hemorrhaging of mucus membranes, such as nose, nail beds and eyes. So stay out of contact with the blood, semen, urine, vomit, feces, or other bodily fluids of people that are vomiting, diarrhetic or hemorrhaging from mucus membranes and you’ll be just fine. If that is too hard for you to do…
  • People survive Ebola.
    • In fact, this outbreak has a 57% mortality rate—much lower than that oft-cited 90%.
  • Nearly every hospital in the US is equipped to treat Ebola patients and keep them in isolation.

There are things to be frightened of in this world. An exceedingly difficult to transmit tropical disease within the American health care system, is not one of them. Of course, you could continue in a blind panic if it makes you feel better. Just don’t pretend it makes any sense.

Clean Your Room. Not Our History.

This simple sculpture at the bottom of the ocean raises several questions. It is a memorial to those who were thrown overboard during the Middle Passage. Some call for our history to be scrubbed of all references that slavery was a “bad thing”. They want us to pretend that we never interred the Japanese or wiped out the Native American population. They say we must do this so that our children are protected from finding out anything bad about America. They say this would be a “good thing”. It won’t. America is a great country that has done horrific things. Pretending we didn’t do them only increases the chance that we might do them again in the future. That is not a chance we should take. No matter how much better it makes some of us feel. It is a violation of everything America claims to stand for.