Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birther control

Colbert had one of the crazy birthers on his show this week, it was one of the main mouthpieces and leaders in the movement, Orly Taitz (Russian-born lawyer, dentist and real estate agent).

People are really confused about natural-born USA citizenship, and who has it. In fairness, sometimes it does take a court to decide, but, in fact, there are some clear rules. Taitz is simply wrong in what she claims is required. She (mistakenly) claims that in order to be a natural-born citizen of the USA, both of your parents must be citizens of the USA, so it doesn't even matter if he was born in the USA because his father was not a US citizen (he was a British subject).

FALSE claim. It does matter.

Obama was born in a state in the United States. That's the fulfillment right there. Children born to foreigners on our soil are natural-born US citizens by birth unless the parents are foreign ambassadors or consuls (there are a few exceptions), and Obama's mother was a US citizen. It does not matter that his father was not, and wouldn't have mattered if his mother was not. [source]

Obama held dual citizenship by birth until he turned 21, this is according to The British Nationality Act of 1948 and the Kenyan Constitution (Kenya became independent from Britain in 1963). He was American/British until Kenya gained independence from Britain. Kenya does NOT permit dual citizenship for adults, and to become a citizen of Kenya one would have to have renounced US citizenship and pledged an oath of allegience to Kenya at the age of 21. This did not happen. [source: FactCheck]

The wiki link does have some interesting historical examples of Presidential candidates and their citizenship issues. There's Chester A. Arthur (as Colbert mentions), Barry Goldwater (who was born in Arizona before it became a state), and the one whose eligibility really IS iffy: John McCain.

Like most people, I thought that a military installation counted as American soil. Not so. He is a citizen because his parents were citizens, but since he was not born on American soil it is still in dispute as to whether he is a "natural-born" citizen or some other kind. Here's an excerpt, you will have to visit the page for more info.
The former unincorporated territory Panama Canal Zone and its military facilities were not regarded as United States territory.[39] In March 2008 McCain was held eligible for Presidency in an opinion paper by former Solicitor General Ted Olson and Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe. In April 2008 the U.S. Senate approved a non-binding resolution recognizing McCain's status as a natural born citizen. In September 2008 U.S. District Judge William Alsup stated obiter in his ruling that it is "highly probable" that McCain is a natural born citizen, although he acknowledged the possibility that the applicable laws had been enacted after the fact and applied only retroactively. These views have been criticized by Gabriel J. Chin, Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, who argues that McCain was at birth a citizen of Panama and was only retroactively declared a born citizen under 8 U.S.C. § 1403, because at the time of his birth and with regard to the Canal Zone the Supreme Court's Insular Cases overruled the Naturalization Act of 1795, which would otherwise have declared McCain a U.S. citizen immediately at birth. Although the US Foreign Affairs Manual states that children born in the Panama Canal Zone at one point only became U.S. nationals, it also states in general that "it has never been determined definitively by a court whether a person who acquired U.S. citizenship by birth abroad to U.S. citizens is a natural born citizen […]". In Rogers v. Bellei the Supreme Court only ruled that "children born abroad of Americans are not citizens within the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment", and didn't elaborate on the natural born status.

Obama's citizenship is not in dispute. The government has decided to trust the certification and paperwork from the State of Hawaii vs. the (real or fabricated) third-party (rightwing media) hearsay about the statement of Obama's Kenyan grandmother. McCain's citizenship really might have needed to be decided by the Supreme Court to get a binding ruling. (not saying that wouldn't happen, just saying there's a real controversy)

The FactCheck article also says that a Hawaiian source said that the Certification of Live Birth is really all they issue. I'd like to see some documentation on that just to put this to rest.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pardon the dust

Another attempt to upgrade to Blogger Layouts. Might be looking plain around here, bizarre or even butt-ugly. Wait awhile and it will probably change.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Health Care Rally in Austin

Went to the big health care rally on Saturday. [newspaper coverage here] It was organized by Texas Democratic organizations and featured State Sen. Kirk Watson, our beloved US Rep. Lloyd Doggett (one of the most liberal members of Congress), new Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and others. Pictured above in the cowboy hat is one of the top organizers for Texans For Obama. They held it at the AFL/CIO building (so were fortunately in the A/C during these persistent +100° temps) Doggett made a late entrance to a filled room, so he got thunderous applause.

The room was packed. Each speaker talked about the awful statistics we are faced with, the number of uninsured, the rising costs, the horror stories, the misperceptions out there (Doggett, for example, mentioned the elderly woman who told him how much she opposed government involvement in health care, then thanked him for helping her with a Medicare problem! People don't get it!) and above all, the need to do something.

There was a lot of vocal support in the room for single-payer, including our Mayor. Personally, I prefer that route, I'm a lefty and not a centrist, I do not want health care coverage to be related to employment status at all, but I realize that there is plainly not enough popular support for that radical a change in this country and it will not happen yet. Too many people are raking in the bucks... corporations and medical organizations, pharma, insurance, physicians. They are against change because it will affect their level of wealth, at least that's what they think. In reality, with costs rising like they are, it will end up having a negative impact on them too.

The (pro-reform) rally drew several times the number of people expected, and somebody called the Fire Marshall for overcrowding, (probably a tea bagger, but that's OK, you gotta stay safe) and we left after Watson, Doggett and Leffingwell spoke although there were more speakers to come.

Outside the building along the sides of the streets, there were gatherings of protesters. Most of the tea party group were on the other side of the street. They were chanting and yelling things like "It's not free!!" and "I don't want to pay for your health care!!" These are not just Republicans, they are also Libertarian types, and frankly they don't give a damn if the less fortunate people just die off. Of course, in this economy there are more and more people becoming "less fortunate" including some of their ranks. They won't know what hit 'em until it's too late (and they will blame the Democrats or think whatever Rush tells them to think).

As you see from the pics here, the pro-reform side were representing with signs too. Actually there were people from both sides populating both sides of the street, which I think is a bad idea. For one thing, people on both sides are passionate about this and there could be ugly confrontations, but the main reason is this:

You're driving by in your car and here are bunches of people yelling things and carrying signs. You're in motion so you see a sign, think "it's a tea party rally" and drive on. What you don't see is that most of the people there were on the opposite side of the issue. The ones outside, who are also yelling and carrying signs look very much like the tea people, so it looks to a drive-by like the tea party is much bigger than it really is. Also, most of us were on the inside of the building where the speakers were.

Just my 2¢

Some ugly stats mentioned in the rally and listed in this article about how Gov. Perry plans to fight reform all the way to a showdown:
-- Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the nation at 30% (California has 24%)
-- 1 in 5 children in Texas is without health insurance, highest ratio in the nation
-- 90% of uninsured children live in a household where at least one person is employed full time.
-- Over 40 million Americans do not have health insurance.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Party of Winkin', Twittin' and Todd

You know there's some chatter about Sarah Palin headin' up a brand new goin' rogue political Party, and every Party needs a name. Go on over to The Mudflats and Vote!! I contributed one of the offerings (no, not the one in the title) but can't even pick the best one, they are all so good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Something to grin about

Tim Burton fleshes out Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp, and Crispin Glover too (just in case it wasn't freaky enough already). March 5.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ceiling Kitteh has invisible haus, u gots 2 borned agen 2 see it

I'm usually in a cat health online group, the topic depending on which cat is the sickest. Right now I’m in a group concerning cats with asthma. Usually people will get called on the carpet for getting too far off-topic, like last week when someone suggested that “new age” remedies might be worth a try instead of using steroids, which caused such a hubbub that I thought the person was going to be kicked off the board. Oddly though, threads like these seem to sit well enough (please bear in mind these came from the board postings, I have removed names of {people} and {pets}, and have not corrected grammar or spelling):
I saw something today and it really bothered me and not being a person who has read the bible and I just lost my mom on Easter and am still crying everyday this made it worse. I saw a ad for books for sale on my book group one book was called "Why you don't See cats mentioned in the Bible" and other intresting facts. I better see my cats again. After losing my mom who always said "I hope I go before that damm cat" because he is like my child I couldn't stand not knowing we will be with our kittys again
As I have said before I can imagine me or {my husband} dying. I just can't imagine being without {my cat}. Your cats "Walk with God", That is something I truly believe as well as many others who have passed on. Love, {my cat} and {me}
I think the bible shouldn't be taken literally -- it was written decades, even scores of years after the events it records. Each religion takes the bible and, like a song on American Idol ... 'makes it their own', and I don't think God intended for it to be taken as a literal accounting. Besides, I believe God is pragmatic and no doubt, even if cats weren't mentioned in the bible, that he has a place for them in heaven, too. I would think that ALL innocent life is welcomed there.
My belief:
God took the time & love to create the precious little things so they don't just disappear when they stop breathing here. He shares them w/us for a short time, but we will have an eternity w/them at some point..........that's makes me happy! Somewhere in the Bible (think it's in I Corinthians) it talks about Jesus sharing with & putting in us His heart & feelings..............reasons to me that what I feel for my little fur balls is not insignificant or defined by time here. We all feel this something special for a reason (even if you don't believe God), & for me I know that it's God sharing a little piece of his heart w/me. So if I love {my cat} (& all my others that have crossed over) this much........WOW, I can only imagine how much they means to God. He makes a very special place for His little ones & I can't wait to hold all mine again!!!!
Just b/c it doesn't spell this out in the Bible........just remember that God is still speaking to us everyday (listen) & it does, very clearly, speak about the importance of animals.
I am beginning to read a book called Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates. It was written by a Baptist minister. Although I am not as fundamental in my Christian beliefs, he does present his research on passages of the Bible which indicate that there is a place in heaven for our animal friends. It's still in print, but you might want to see if its available at your local library. Hope this helps. God bless.

OK, I ranted on about this earlier this year, all the rational ideas you have to suppress in order to believe in the idea of being with animals in heaven... not to mention the all ones you had for dinner... and then there's the issue of your exes and other people you'd rather not see again... oh, never mind, here's the rant with a couple of really funny snagged cartoons: Welcome to Stepford. Anyway, it could get complicated...

As for the Bible and animals, mostly they are either put there to do your work, be your food, or become a blood sacrifice kill so the God can have the best cuts along with the blood... followed by the rest of it being your food.

To top this off on a fun note, the entire Bible is being translated into LOL-Speak!
Matthew 3: Teh baptizum of Jebus!

13 Den Jebus caem from Gallalee, to has baptizm from John
14 But John was all "Ur doin it rong, j00 needz to baptize me"
15 And Jebus answered sayin "STFU and baptize me n00b" and John did.
16 Wen he was baptized he gtfo of teh water and, ZOMG, teh ceilinz opened up and teh Spirit of Ceiling Cat caem down liek a duv and landeded on him17 And, ZOMFGWTF, a voice from heven sayed "Hai guise, dis my son, and I tink he teh leet"

Proverbs 20
If u sleeps all day in teh comfy cushun, u cans get no cheezburger.

All hail Ceiling Cat!!!

(T-shirt at top from The Onion.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We’ve always had really great luck selling (and buying) on craigslist. I’ve really never dealt with attempted fraud on there, although I know it’s rampant. As a “buy local” marketplace, it works very, very well – but when the buyers are not local it must be a free-for-all for scammers. Craigslist just cautions BUYER BEWARE/SELLER BEWARE and BUY LOCAL. It doesn’t have tools in place to help keep buyers and sellers safer like eBay does. I put this oil painting up for sale, something I painted in the 1970s, based on this old 1951 cigarette ad on the right with Joan Crawford. Got interested responses right off the bat, making me really happy, so I sent them my phone number. Nobody called, but I got these emails from the same people the next day:
Hello I really appreciate your response to my email.I want you to consider it sold, pls do withdraw the advert from craigslist to avoid disturbance from another buyer.I want you to know that i will be paying via bank certified check .I will like you to provide me with the following.information to facilitate the mailing of the check to you .

1.....Full name to write on the check
2.....Full Physical address to post the check (NOT P.O BOX)
3.....City, State and Zip Code
4.....Home & Cell Phone to contact you

*** Note that the payment will be shipped to your address via UPS NEXT DAY SERVICE and I will like you to know that you will not be responsible for shipping i will have my mover come over as soon as you have cashed the check** Thanks i can trust you on this so we can move forward from here. Regards

Thanks for getting back to me. I'm currently in UK and want to ship the item down here. There won't be any problem with the shipment 'cos my shipping broker will handle all necessary things,I will like to know the current condition and will appreciate it if you can send me some recent pictures Let me know.


Hi are you having any troubles?

I did some research using teh google. The first response is the same as one I saw someone reporting on a forum somewhere, discussing this type of scam - verbatim! Well, it seemed pretty much like a form letter. The second one is more chit-chatty, and I was tempted to pursue it maybe as long as the buyer would use Paypal. The wise MrB counseled against going to step 2 even with that one, mainly because it (like the first response) mentions a shipping broker/mover.

Now, apparently what happens is that the buyer sends a (fake) cashier's check - a very trusted form of exchange - but a couple of weeks later in this case, the bank wants you to make the check good. When the buyer offers to use PayPal, they send you a fake PayPal email receipt (at least in this case you can check your PayPal account to see if the money is there or if a transaction has happened, but apparently many people don't go that extra step of checking it), and if you click through the receipt and enter your login info, then you've been scammed that way.

The shipping broker fraud kicks in when the seller pays you x-amount over the cost of the item for shipping, then you pay the shipper that amount when they come and pick it up. Since they have paid you with bogus money and you have paid the shipping with real money, you've lost that money AND your item.

That third response I got was just weird. I'm not touching it. I edited my ad to say that I would only sell local for cash - but am about to pull the thing off there and go with eBay... maybe eBay sell local. I'd hate to package up a 3-ft oil painting. What a pain in the butt.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Uncle Walter

It was always comforting to hear his voice, not because the news was comforting, but because his reporting of it was not tainted by the biases of corporate sponsorships and their political agendas that spin the facts into a new animal. He was the voice of the news for us baby boomers. We learned about all the events through him -- VietNam, the assassinations... I think the most galvanizing bond is the one that formed throughout the reporting of JFK's assassination. We were moment-by-moment going through the experience, not just through him but with him.

His life should be celebrated. And that's the way it is.

[link with videos]

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wax dummies

Take a guess at who these wax figures are supposed to be?

That first one reminds me of a Seinfeldism (manhands!!).

View the rest of them, and get the answer to who these are at Buzz-feed.

Via Daily Dish

Monday, July 13, 2009

C is for Cult

When the Sanford scandal came up, and he mentioned the counseling he’d been going through, and it was revealed that his marriage counselor had accompanied him on a trip to NY where he had a liaison with his mistress (apparently approved by said counselor?) and I thought “Man! That’s the worst idea by a marriage counselor I’ve ever heard! He needs to fire that person.” Didn’t even think about his mention of C Street as the source of the counseling (it didn't ring a bell), and now with Ensign’s connection to the group it’s getting some press again. But it’s not really bad couples counseling that we need to worry about – it’s the mission, world view (such as reverence of dictators, even Hitler, as role models) and the sheer power of influence that this cult has been having over so many of our leaders.

This sinister secret society sometimes called "The Family" popped up in the news during the 2008 campaign, esp. when it came to certain finger-pointing candidates taking aim at Obama’s church when they, themselves, were associated with a very scary religious organization [my post from last year including relevant links] [a recent revisit of the topic at DailyKos]

I am not picking on Hillary here, it's not about her this time, it's about who is pushing the buttons. I’d really like to see a lot more light shed on The Family and the cult at C Street.

Watching Rachel again tonight, and there was a further development, some fallout after last week's coverage. Here's the clip:

(BTW, You can always stream recent MSNBC show segments by going to their website, and look for the pulldown menu that says "msnbc tv.")

Friday, July 10, 2009

Austin City Limits - Our First Time

The experience of Austin City Limits [ACL] (and it is necessary to clarify that I mean the 34-year running TV show on PBS, and not the more recent annual ACL festival) is shrouded in mystery. People don’t talk about it much, either before or afterward. I will break that unwritten rule to some degree here.

It has always been very difficult for most people to get in. If you are not “connected”, then you need to do your homework to try and be prepared for the ticket giveaways. There are several ways that it’s done – most commonly through the years (I believe) there would be an announcement on the radio telling you where to go get them, beginning NOW… and then if you weren’t at that spot at that time you would not get tickets. The rest of this story is that the show tapings are not given much press, so the average Joe music fan will not even know that it happened until the episode airs.

For a couple of years now (and only discovered very recently by me) there has been a blog bearing info on all things ACL-TV including ticket giveaways. They also feature online drawings for the tickets – which is how we got ours. These tickets are called “Space Available.” The venue capacity is 320, the Space Available people can go in after the invited guest-listers, and they give away a LOT more tickets that they will be able to seat so they make no promises about you getting in, even with a ticket. They distributed line numbers at 5PM, and let us go in at 7:40. If you were old enough, there was free beer waiting before entering the studio – which is as close to a sanctuary for modern music as you will find.

::: some would argue in favor of the Grand Ole Opry as the music show of longevity, but it has changed venues over its many years, and carved itself into a deep genre niche in the 1970s when they shunned almost all the “longhairs” [Opry wiki entry] while Austin embraced them, Willie Nelson's outlaw redneck/hippie combo changed American music, and the ACL studio stayed in the same place, meaning that you just might be seeing the same piano that Ray Charles played :::

ACL started out by featuring mostly Texas artists of all types, but has branched out over the years to feature music from all over the musical and geographical map, all either established or rising stars. Look at this amazing list!

We’ve been wanting to see a taping of ACL ever since we’ve lived here, and would have been happy to see nearly anyone, whether it was somebody really big, or even someone we weren’t that familiar with, but it was really special to be able to see one of our favorite Austin bands, the Band of Heathens, on their own turf with their peeps in the house, get to play on Austin City Limits.

Some notes on the experience.

Happily, the ticket line was outside but shaded from the beating-down 105° sun. I had been expecting to fry on the sidewalk.

(photo snagged off Maggie's Austin)

If you’ve seen the show, you know that the set looks like the stage is outside in a park with the Austin night skyline in the background. When we walked in, I couldn’t conceive of how they were going make that plain-looking room come alive, there was an extremely drab mural painted on the wall – then they switched it on, and voila! It all appeared like magic. It’s quite complicated and done with artful lighting. I only wish that the real Austin skyline wasn’t getting so complicated with all the new towering view clutter being built, but that’s another issue.

The sound in there was incredibly good, They never sounded better, or played better, or looked better (in the great lighting and with that backdrop) – it was really very exciting for the audience and the band too. We were in the front row dancing area (so, yeah, we will be on the teevee) and it was fun dancing (do I get carried away sometimes? Yes, I guess so, I just can’t be still. Some things just make me so happy so that nothing can blot it out, at least for the duration and sometimes the high will go for days depending on the intensity of the joy. That’s why I seek out those things.). I don’t know if it was my amazing sense of rhythm or what, but – much to my surprise – Colin Brooks threw me his tambourine – and the other big surprise is that I caught the sucker without missing a beat. I will never forget that. Nope. Never.

We won’t get to see the Heathens in Austin again until September for one show at Antone’s (new CD then maybe?). They are touring this country until then, touring Europe after that, then back home again in December. Check their schedule and go see them if you can. Meant to be seen live (or on Austin City Limits this November with Elvis Costello) (I will post a heads-up later).

[addendum 7/11] here's another posting from someone who went to this.

Tags: - - -

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Catblogging - Henry Humpday Report

Here's Henry doing something that many of us can relate to - sticking with the comfy shoes and avoiding the scale (really though, the only weight-watching done for him is making sure he doesn't lose).

Henry had a rough week last week. His appetite went away so he didn’t eat for nearly a whole day (after some vomiting). Also he had some litterbox problems (of the number two variety) and was obviously in some pain. He was having trouble walking (limping on all 4 paws) and very lethargic. He had to go the vet Wednesday, Thursday and Friday… got observed, x-rayed, sub-q fluids, tummy meds, hungry pills, a cortisone shot, other prodding and poking, and an increase in his prednisone home dose {head spinning just thinking of all of it}

We really thought it might be his time to go, he’s 17 years old, a little old man with arthritis and a lot of other issues. He’s already on pain meds, so when I took him in late Friday afternoon, I was really looking for advice on how to manage his increased pain – or maybe even to let him go if it was likely something serious. The vet was great, she stayed late rather than let us go to the ER, and set us up with a regimen of home care and good instructions for the weekend. (The vet's office is closed on Saturdays.) Turns out, the poor little guy apparently just had some bad indigestion. Who knows what causes that? He always eats the same exact food! But he is old, and that’s the answer right there. The parts just work as well as they used to. A lot of us can relate to that too. By Monday, he seemed to be back to his normal self, and now he's being a fussy eater but not starving himself.

So Sugar Pie Henry, our Bringer of the Sweet, is still with us, and we enjoy every minute we get to spend with him.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at M-Cats Club on Sunday - -

Monday, July 06, 2009

2 big hot malls and a grocery store

4th of July extended weekend roundup.

The Band of Heathens, “Here’s to You”
“Don't let the door hit you on your way out.” That sentiment from the song kind of sums up my feelings for Sarah Palin. Enjoying watching her wither under her own heat. This weekend also brought the return of the so-called tea parties, although their numbers have dwindled greatly. There were 2 of them in Austin; one starring the infamous (not really named) Joe the (never was a licensed) Plumber, and another tax-protest party the following day which starred Rick Perry and John Cornyn. Cornyn was booed at the rally, both before and after he spoke. If that doesn’t give you a chuckle, then his claim that he is not part of Washington should do the job. Even Perry was booed when he mentioned that he’s adding some toll roads (why he would mention that during a tea party is beyond me). So… I guess Joe the Plumber and Ron Paul are the only real heroes for that bunch. We stayed far, far away from all that ugliness. The heat itself is ugly enough (it’s been in the 104° range every day with hardly any relief), but we did get out a bit for music over the weekend, all freebies. Friday evening Del Castillo played at a sprawling mega-shopping complex. They played an absolutely great show, but I think I was worn out between the blistering heat and Henry the cat having some health issues (more on that later), so we watched most of it from an uncrowded distance. This complex includes over 125 stores, including Super-Target AND Wal-Mart, and sprawls out in such twisty turns of parking lots that the earlier time we went there, we nearly gave up in exasperation while looking for Specs (which is a BIG liquor store)!! They were having a free beer tasting event, and it would take something of that magnitude (or a free show by Del Castillo) to get me to ever visit it. Saturday evening, the 4th of July, we went to another mega-sprawl to see one of our favorite bands, The Band of Heathens. The video at top is from Saturday, and happened at the massive Hill Country Galleria out in Bee Cave TX (across from The Backyard). This is a 2-year-old high-end complex that is now threatening bankruptcy in the economic crisis. They actually have a fairly nice place for music (except that the stage is unsheltered from sun or rain), and when we were there 2 years ago for the Grand Opening to see the South Austin Jug Band, they had a little beverage stand for the concert-goers. Not so this time. People brought coolers, but there was nothing in the event ads about coolers so we came without. Not the best situation considering it was still over 100° at 8pm. There's a restaurant behind the little amphitheater but they didn’t allow you to leave with booze and I’m not willing to give up my good concert seats for mere beverages. I hiked around the place a bit, hoping to find a convenience store, but with no luck. It’s a holiday and you’re supposed to be having a party, damn you Galleria. Anyway, we survived with flying colors, The Band of Heathens (who are all set for a taping of the TV show Austin City Limits this week!!) played a great set. They had fireworks afterward, but by the looks of them, our neighbors back at the homestead had bigger ones in their backyard (now that’s pathetic), so we headed home to attempt to soothe down the panicky cats. Jax hates fireworks, and having spent his first 7 years as an alley cat, I imagine he has very good reasons to hate them. On Sunday we went over to Central Market at noon for MilkDrive and welcome them home from their first tour as this band. Their official CD release party is on Tuesday at Fiddler's Green music shop (7pm). I will be there (right after Sarah Jarosz has her official CD release party at Waterloo Records). So, big day of music on Tuesday, hopefully no vet visits for awhile... and if it rains it might even cool down to under 95-99°.