Thursday, June 30, 2016

David Petraeus Still Moving Up in My Esteem

First, he comes out as a voice of reason on guns. Searching for that, I came across another post where he expressed less than unabashed fealty toward the the state of Israel. It's hard to believe the Right was gaga over the idea of running him for president at one time. Here's his latest bit of sacrilege

The Democrats' report states that the cause of the attacks "remains unclear to this day," quoting testimony by David Petraeus, in which the former CIA director says, "To be candid with you, I am not sure that the amount of scrutiny spent on this has been in the least bit worth it."

“The Benghazi report is still critically important to the true believers on the Republican side, who, no matter what, will believe that Hillary Clinton didn’t do everything she might have done” to save American lives, says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

As for sane people:

But for most voters, Benghazi is old news, and a complicated story that has been highly politicized by Clinton’s opponents.

On the eve of the hearing, 3 in 4 Americans believed the select Benghazi panel was politically motivated, according to a CNN/ORC poll

Enough Benghazi, lets move on the e-mails. Yeeha!

A Post About Michelle Obama

Since I'm tired of the election and it's still a distant 4 months away, I was so happy to see this story. And I hope you are, too.

The Obama women are on the road again, this time in North Africa and Spain. Michelle, Sasha, and Malia are in North Africa for a six-day tour to highlight education, especially for girls, as the United States Agency for International Development commits $27 million to President and Ms. Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative.

I suppose this would have been bigger news if the president had been along or if they could get Trump to trash the effort. Have great hopes for a future Michelle Obama presidency. 

Liberal Media Says Trump Support is Dropping

No, really, I am linking to the "liberal media."

As the hard-fought general election gets underway, Trump’s political standing is on dangerous ground. Fifty-six percent of the public at large say the celebrity business mogul stands against their beliefs, while 64 percent say he does not have the necessary credentials to be president. Fifty-six percent feel strongly that he is unqualified.

Nearly one-third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump is unqualified for office, and 18 percent say he does not represent their beliefs, exposing fissures in the GOP base.

Underscoring these doubts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused when pressed Sunday to say whether he thought Trump was qualified.

Seventeen days until the Republican convention, minus 4 for the holiday weekend equals less than two weeks until that bloodletting. Mike Ditka will not be speaking, unless you get your news from the Free Beacon. Soon we should know whether John Miller will be the running mate.

I might suggest someone from ISIS could fill that speaking slot that opened up when Iron Mike dropped out.

In some quarters of the dark internet, where supporters of the Islamic State and other extremist groups linger, the presumptive GOP nominee has emerged a rallying point of sorts. To them, he is the “perfect enemy,” as one Islamic State defector told a researcher interviewed by TPM, and they are using his posturing to advance their own agenda, according to another analyst. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

This Election Season Cannot Possibly Get Better

But, I can still hope. Thank you, Josh Marshall.

Yesterday, Caitlin MacNeal reported that Donald Trump had been bombarding MPs from the United Kingdom with fundraising emails asking for money to fund his campaign against "Crooked Hillary." Then last night I reported that Trump and his sons have been upping the ante and sending emails to every member of the parliament of Iceland also asking for money.

I got dibs on the word "spampaign." Portmanteaus are so cool.

UPDATE: I'm so glad Josh Marshall is following this. I've yet to see it reported elsewhere.

Two watchdog groups, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, said they will file Wednesday a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that the Donald Trump campaign has broken federal law by sending fundraising emails to foreign elected officials.

The old saw is that ignorance, of the law or otherwise, is not an excuse. We'll see. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Two from Josh Marshall, just for fun. I read the title was hoping someone had already asked. That's for future fun!

At some point in the not distant future, some reporter - probably a not altogether pleasant one - will ask Trump: "How does it feel to be losing so badly? Just on a personal level? Does it hurt? Do regret getting into this?" It won't be pretty because Trump's ego is fragile. From there I suspect you'll see it cropping up in campaign attacks from every direction.

And as Marshall points out, he's not only losing, he's got two women making scathing attacks on his ego. 

For all the ups and downs, look at this chart to see the basic stability of the presidential race.

Infringing Second Amendment Rights of Spousal Abusers

Oh Heavens! And 6-2 at that.

"We treat no other constitutional right so cavalierly," said Justice Thomas in his dissent. "In construing the statute before us expansively so that causing a single minor reckless injury or offensive touching can lead someone to lose his right to bear arms forever, the court continues to relegate the Second Amendment to a second-class right." 

Lucky the US Congress doesn't treat it as a second-class right. Hard to believe that even in death, Scalia still has his hand far enough up Thomas' ass to work his mouth.

Should've gone to Chas. Pierce's first. Better late than never.

"Non-consensual touching" is nice, I think. Sonny Liston once engaged in that professionally, I believe.

Letter From Aaron

Dear Kevin,

I’d like to introduce you to Mike Derrick.  If you haven’t met him yet, he’s running for Congress here in NY-21… something I know a thing or two about.

Mike grew up and went to school in Peru, NY – a few exits up the Northway from us in Elizabethtown.  After graduating from West Point in 1985, he spent 28 years in the U.S. Army, serving as a combat infantry officer, senior commander, West Point professor, and diplomat. During that time, he left the active Army for five years to become a stay-at-home-dad of four children while his wife, Kathy, finished her Army career. Mike has lived in three foreign countries, ten U.S. states, and now has returned home to the North Country to serve again.

I’ve gotten to know Mike Derrick over the last year. We have talked at length about our shared hopes for the country and for this place we call home.  We have hiked in the wilderness together and agreed about the ways that protecting our environment will help grow and nurture our local economies; we have talked about our parents and our children and lamented the ways that the American dream has become more out of reach for so many; and we have commiserated about the process of our politics.

As I see Mike’s name get dragged into the kind of name-calling and mischaracterizations we’ve become accustomed to in today’s campaigns, I reflect again about the culture and strategies that lie behind all this. Everywhere, it seems, the politics of divisiveness holds sway.

Mike’s character couldn't stand in bolder contrast. He is a man of integrity and sound competence. His approach is thoughtful, inclusive and cognizant of history.  When Mike speaks about foreign policy, and the decisions we’ve made to put American lives at risk, he does so with direct knowledge of the consequences of our choices. And when he speaks about our home in the North Country, he does so with the kind of passion that comes from a lifelong connection.

Carolyn, Eloise, and I have spent time at his home with his family and he has visited us in E’town. We know his sister and her family in nearby Keene, and have met his mother, who lives in Saranac Lake.  I call him my friend, and I couldn’t be happier to see him running for this seat.

That’s why I’m endorsing Mike.  In this difficult year of hard choices, I cannot think of a better candidate who embodies what we need in a proven public servant.  

Please take a few minutes to visit his website.  Learn more about his background and his vision for the North Country.  He’s been tirelessly traveling this district, so next time he’s in your area, meet him and get to know him.  Join his campaign, lend your voice, and support him however you can. 

Thank you,


Aaron G Woolf
Elizabethtown NY

Yes, I'm aware that I'm not the only one who received it.

Susan Spieth may have as well

Scottish Trump Putdowns in Scottish

Monday, June 27, 2016

Just Because

Why I Love Pope Frank

Mostly for making right wing heads explode, but for this, too.

In the year since Pope Francis released his encyclical, Laudato Si, imploring his followers and fellow believers to care for the earth and its creatures, observers say more and more Roman Catholics are beginning to view climate change as a moral issue in which caring for the earth and caring for the poor intersect.

Environmentalism among Catholics wasn’t absent before, but now it’s running higher than in years.   

And I want to link to this brochure, the Eco-Parish Guide, since the link in the article did not work.

“Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem,” he said.

“Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change.”

So Glad This is Over

That's right, Hillary has been absolved of any wrongdoing in the Benghazi attack.

Hillary Clinton never personally denied any requests from diplomats for additional security at the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, according to Democrats on a select House panel who absolved the former secretary of state and the U.S. military of wrongdoing in the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 attacks.

Wait! According to Democrats? Augh!

In a report Monday pre-empting the Republicans, the panel's five Democrats said after a two-year investigation that the military could not have done anything differently that night to save the lives of four Americans killed in Libya. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens died in one of the two assaults at the diplomatic facility and CIA annex.

The show must go on.

"The dishonest Democrats on this committee falsely claimed everything had been 'asked and answered.' If that's changed, they should come clean and admit it. If not, everyone can ignore their rehashed, partisan talking points defending their endorsed candidate for president," Wolking said, referring to Clinton.

Dear God, what has not been 'asked and answered'?

Oh, it's not over.

Prediction: The GOP's 2020 Benghazi report will be even more stinging.

Solar Info From the AG

Just wanted to link to this brochure from the attorney general. I've been considering solar, but I don't use that much energy in the first place. My house is very small and has new energy efficient doors and windows and a new efficient gas furnace. Maybe someday I'll actually find out if it makes sense for me.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Not Just Eileen Boone Doing the Right Thing

Kudos to the Senators from Maine, too.

Collins and the junior senator from Maine, independent Angus King, who also co-sponsored the legislation, practice a pragmatism that caused a Democratic colleague to ask Sen. King: “Is there something in the water in Maine that gives people common sense?”

No, that's probably not it. I wish it was though. We could use a shipment here in the upstate NY region. 

This is classic Senator Collins, working her colleagues with calm persuasion, facts, and analysis, looking for common ground on one of the country’s most contentious issues. She is, say senators on both sides, a highly respected bridge-builder at a time when Washington is at a defining moment on divisive gun politics.

Take a look at her record, Elise. 

The NRA graded her at C+ in 2012. Similarly, the anti-tax group Club for Growth gave her a 37 percent lifetime score in 2013 – the lowest of any Republican senator. Yet in 2014, she soared to reelection for a fourth term, her constituents rewarding a conscientious legislator who last year cast her 6,000th consecutive vote.

With anti-endorsements like that, she's a Republican I might actually vote for. Maybe the only one in the country. 

Collins vows to keep working on this issue. “I never give up,” she said after coming off the Senate floor. The shortfall shows a Congress in need of more people like Collins, often described as one of the last Republican moderates on the Hill, says former Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, a storied bridge-builder himself.

“I hope [she’s] not a dying breed,” says the senator, who lost in the primaries to a tea party candidate in 2012.

I hope not, as well. I'm afraid that along with the dodo, the Northeast liberal Republican will fade into extinction or transform into independents a la James Jeffords. 

Today in Corporations Doing Good

Unbesmirching the image of corporations as evil, soulless behemoths is Eileen Howard Boone. How dare she?

The social responsibility part of corporate leadership started as a side job and blossomed into an entire career.

So, it pays the rent. Jokes aside, I just wanted to link to the story. I remember when CVS mad the decision to remove tobacco from their stores. Applauded it then and now. It was nice to see this article on the woman responsible. 

Earlier this year, the pharmacy chain launched “Be the First,” a $50 million joint venture with a number of other organizations aimed at driving down rates of smoking and tobacco use. The initiative follows the company’s decision to remove tobacco products from its shelves in 2014. 

Thanks Ms. Boone and CVS for doing the right thing despite the costs. Could you talk to the folks in Congress?

Still, shareholders took some convincing. “$2 billion isn’t something where you go, ‘Whew, OK,’ ” Howard Boone says, pitching her voice up and out in a vocal shrug. “But it helped pave the way with better alliances with our partners and providers.”

And it lent CVS more credibility as a health-care company. “It’s a business function,” she continues. “We’re trying to support our long-term growth, and when we’re doing it in a socially responsible way, it really benefits the company and stakeholders.”

Guns Abroad, Today Germany

The German gunman who took hostages in a theater was "disturbed." Undoubtedly. That's a prerequisite for such an action, I suppose. He did not have an "Islamist motive." That's reassuring.

What really interested me was the German approach to gun policy. The NRA does not have a strong foothold there from all appearances.

In Germany, anyone younger than 25 has to pass a psychiatric exam before he or she is allowed to apply for a gun license. After that, applicants must wait a year, pass tests, and explain why they want a firearm. Once the license is approved, gun owners must be included in a national registry. 

Since 2009, the year a young man who had dropped out of high school fatally shot 15 people and himself, gun owners may be required to take psychiatric tests if they display erratic behavior. Police can also make home visits to be sure owners' weapons are properly stored, although owners do not need to divulge where the keys are, according to the LA Times. 

Yes, I can just see that all passing in Congress

Tough gun control laws in Germany that were rigorously tightened after two ghastly school shootings in 2002 and 2009 have helped cut the number of firearm killings in half to about 50 a year, according to experts.

Germany, where gun ownership had already been treated as a privilege rather than an inherent right, made it even harder to own a firearm.

And they sing praises to Odin that they have no second amendment. 

The Scots Have Such a Way With the English (or is it Scottish) Language

If it's not Scottish it's crap and if it's Trump it's crap. Ummm, weaselheaded fucknugget or do you prefer witless fucking cocksplat?

Thanks, Shaw.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Can You Believe It's Not True?

Here's a story from yesterday's Daily News.

The buy one/give one program, dubbed “Share the Safety,” promised to donate guns to “statistically under-armed Americans — from homosexuals to the elderly.”

The incredibly elaborate website for the campaign includes links to the NRA and Smith & Wesson websites alongside pictures of smiling people armed with handguns, and others draped in the American flag.

The site encourages visitors to “buy a gun, give a gun to an American in an at-risk neighborhood.”

Here's the link to the spoof site. It looks incredibly real. And with the NRA, why would you not think that it wasn't?

Quote OTD is from Rep. Rick Nolan from Minnesota, courtesy of Charles Pierce

"I represent rural communities in northeastern Minnesota. Everybody in my neighborhood has shotguns and deer rifles—including me. I'm proud to strongly support the Second Amendment. But the fact is, when you're out duck hunting, you can only have three shells in your gun. Why? To protect ducks! That's right—we put limits on guns to protect ducks. So why can't we do the same for our elementary schoolchildren? For our friends and neighbors in places of worship? For our families who want to catch a Friday night movie? For our LGBTQ community who just want to go out for some fun and dancing and a night of revelry on a Saturday night? Surely they deserve the same concern and safety that we afford to ducks." 

Meanwhile, here's my congresswoman, Elise Stefanik, on the whole thing. She finds the protest distasteful. 

In response to a Post-Star inquiry about the sit-in, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, said Thursday, “I am a legislator, not a protester.”

The full statement, which was emailed to The Post-Star by Stefanik spokesman Tom Flanagin and attributed to the congresswoman, further emphasized her focus on “commonsense results” to address both terrorism and gun violence.

“I ran against Washington dysfunction and will continue working on behalf of my constituents to find commonsense solutions through the legislative process,” she said.

She called the Orlando shooting that spurred the Democrats’ sit-in “a tragedy and a terrible reminder that the threat of terrorism on our homeland remains very real.”

“As a strong Second Amendment advocate, I believe there are legislative solutions we can agree on that protect civil liberties and constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, and keep guns out of the hands of terrorists,” she said.

When in doubt always bring up terrorism and commonsense results. What commonsense results have come out of the House?

At one point overnight, the two sides nearly came to blows after Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, approached the Democrats and yelled, “Radical Islam!”

 At least she's not Louis Gohmert.

Stefanik also said she will continue to work to “reform our nation’s mental health system, which is why I am a cosponsor of the bipartisan Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.”

I'm sure the Gohmert family will appreciate that. 

Couple of Good Cartoons From Steve Sack

I went looking for this one because I saw it in the Post Star.


This one was nice, as well. 


Thank you, Mr. Sack. As always, please don't sue me. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Accidental Vigilantes

I can understand that John Cramsey is emotionally upset over the death of his daughter to heroin. Ths story is still a little off, though.

She added that she believes the trio accidentally brought along the arsenal found in the truck in their haste to help. 

What did they accidentally bring?

holland tunnel guns, holland tunnel weapons

Police said they seized a shotgun, an AR-15 style rifle and handguns, along with goggles, tactical gear, ammunition and knives, according to NBC New York. An ammo-box labelled “Shoot your local heroin dealer” and a bag with the label “firearms instructor” were also in the vehicle, photos released by the Port Authority show. Other tactical gear had the word “police” written on it. One of the gun magazines seized had the word “’merica” on it and another said “United We Stand.”

They also found 2,000 rounds of ammunition, Port Authority police said.

Now, they were on their way to "rescue" a girl in a heroin den. And:

Police additionally found a marijuana pipe in the car and three prescription drug pills.

I suppose that's all just medicinal, though. Here is Lyn Baker, a partner in Enough is Enough.

Lyn Baker, the co-founder of the Enough Is Enough group, told the New York Daily News she and Cramsey help get people into treatment for addiction.

“He’d be the spotlight person,” she told the Daily News. “He’s very charismatic, always has the right words to say. I would be the one to do placement.”

Baker explained on Facebook that she usually handled the behind the scenes work, while Cramsey carried out the rescues.

She told The Daily Beast she is just a housewife trying to help people with addictions, and a lawyer friend told her she is also likely to face investigation.

Baker told The Daily Beast she noticed Cramsey hadn’t been sleeping and his missions became more extreme.

“About a week ago, he started posting very cryptic posts,” she said. “He felt like he was superman, like he could go and save these people. And I had told him I was stepping away from the group.” 

She's stepping away from the group? Yes, that's probably a good idea. He sounds like someone I would not want to see armed, for his own safety and that of others. For good measure, he has the government interfering with his business, a shooting range. Yes, all of that is surprising.

During a sampling period on Nov. 13, OSHA said safety officers observing and instructing clients in the range area were exposed to continuous noise at 326 percent of the permissible daily noise exposure.

In addition, OSHA said, range safety officers were exposed on average to 0.69 milligrams of inorganic lead per cubic meter of air, which is almost 14 times the OSHA permissible exposure limit of 0.05 milligrams per cubic meter of air.

For these alleged hazards, OSHA said it placed Higher Ground Tactical in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations by willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations. 

He needs therapy and not of the shooting kind. This is not going to end well.

Hat's off to this family, though.

Family members set to inherit a stockpile of guns and ammunition, worth millions of dollars, plan to destroy the weapons "to send a message," their attorney Daniel Brookman told ABC News today.

"They want these instruments of death to be destroyed," Brookman said. "They don’t want these weapons out on the street."

Yes, get rid of them before someone accidentally brings them across state borders.

Latest Pretend Healthcare Plan From GOP

I want to thank Paul Waldman for reading it so I don't have to.

Ryan would eliminate the individual and employer mandates; shut down the insurance exchanges; cancel the ACA's expansion of Medicaid and then cut the program and convert it to block grants so that states could kick people off; move Medicare to a "premium support" model, which essentially means privatizing it and cutting it back; eliminate the ACA's subsidies for low- and middle-income people, which would be replaced by a refundable tax-credit; promote health savings accounts and "mini-med" plans that cover virtually nothing; cap the tax exclusion for employer plans, which he presents as a friendlier alternative to the ACA's "Cadillac tax" but which in effect is pretty much the same thing; and limit the amount victims of medical malpractice can sue for, along with a few other things.

One important note: Despite what Ryan says, the plan doesn't actually maintain the prohibition on denials of coverage for preexisting conditions, which may be the single most popular element of the ACA. It does so only if you maintain continuous coverage, beginning with a special one-time open enrollment.

That doesn't sound so good. I'm glad President Trump will give us "something terrific."

Trump himself couldn't care less about the details of health-care policy — he'd probably sign whatever Congress put in front of him.


Charles Pierce read it, too.

Abject cowardice in keeping the most popular features of the Affordable Care Act while destroying the funding mechanism for them?

That probably sums it up well. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Samantha Bee Says "Fuck the Guns"

So does Stephen Colbert. Can we elect more comedians? Al Franken could use the company of sane humans. 

Crazy Letter Wednesday

This'll be a nice easy post. First, copy and paste the rantings of Andrew Dicroce.

Radicalized Islamic terrorists attack! Why don't you try those words on Ken or just like the rest of the pathetic pandering progressive lame stream media and low life politicians all you can do is blame law-abiding Americans. I don't shrug like you, I get mad at the fact that how many of these terrorists’ attacks on our soil do we have to tolerate before people like you wake up! Oh yeah it's easy to blame the gun and of course propose another wasted law that would have done nothing to stop this attack. 

Once again we get your left wing propaganda sources that are full of …. ; here is one for Yeah Ken that is a site that backs up their claims with actual facts, something that is sorely missing from your diatribes.

Hey Mr. Credible news source, why don't you own up or admit to using for one of your gun control diatribes? What's the matter Ken no guts to own up to it?

One thing all your propaganda can't seem to explain away is the fact that as more Americans own guns, including the evil AR-15, somehow crime has gone down, now how can that be! It's a shame you and your ilk are more upset with law-abiding Americans than with terrorists! 

And since I've already honed my response:

Mr. Dicroce's recent letter has driven me to write. I just wish I could match his peerless rhetoric. Mr. Tingley must still be smarting from the stern dressing down he received. Ouch!
Just to comment on the subject he broaches, I'd like to bring folks attention to a recent initiative. A group of veterans that includes Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal have formed the Veterans Coalition for Common Sense. Their aim is to push for sensible gun policies and to reduce firearm suicides. They're a welcome entry, since we've just seen that the Senate cannot even do the least thing possible. That is, preventing those on the no-fly list from obtaining weapons.
I'd urge the Derrick campaign to take a look at this effort. Congresswoman Stefanik has opposed stronger background checks and recently cashed a check from the NRA. Some checks are good ones. All I know of Mr. Funiciello's views is from a February 2014 interview. In that, he stated “we need guns to defend ourselves against tyranny." I prefer we work to strengthen democracy. You're our only hope, Mike. Let's show everyone that the Democratic Party is the one that aligns with common sense. Mr. Dicroce is not going to cast his vote for you.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Taters Got Left Out

Just in the interest of completing yesterday's post, I've got a picture of the potato beds. It's nice because the early spuds are starting to flower now. Potatoes have such beautiful flowers it would be almost worth growing them just for that purpose.

Those are two 4' by 8' beds with late potatoes in the one in the background. Outside the fence on the right is tansy which grows into a nice hedge and attracts beneficial insects. In the background on the left is a flamingo willow that I really love. It has leaves with a pinkish cast and sways beautifully in the breeze. It also attracts a number of beneficials when it flowers in the Spring. The tiny wasps go crazy on it. 

And not to totally ignore politics, here's Josh Marshall:

Trump's promises of vast riches got the GOP into a bind relying on him to fund a general election on his own. But that was all a lie. He's broke or near broke. And the GOP is now facing mid-summer with a campaign that is broke, has no fundraising apparatus, no candidate with big bucks and no field operation. He's done the GOP worse than the most screwed over creditor he ever sharked.

Couldn't happen to a nicer more deserving party. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Making the Bed

Not really into politics today. Responded to a few pro-gun folks at the PS site. Heart's not in it, though. Built a new raised bed in my lawn over the weekend. It's a long process because I don't want to spring for the amount of soil necessary to fill a 4' x 8' by 10 inches deep bed. This is my method and it has evolved a bit or I'm just getting better.

I start by wetting newspaper and putting down a nice thick layer for a weedblock. It saves taking the paper to the recycle, too. Ink is soy-based now so hopefully not too lethal to Mother Earth. I put some saved branches from the brush-pile on top of the paper. I could put them by the road for the village to take, but why let them go to waste. The birds will miss them in the brush-pile, though. It's kind of a variant on hugelkultur.  

And yes, I still have a shit-ton of leaves saved from last fall itching to be put to use. They go on top of the branches. There are lots of earthworms and other small critters amongst them to turn leaves and branches into soil. 

Fortunately, I had a few bags of topsoil laying around to top it. It has been planted with crimson clover now and watered and mulched with a little chopped straw. 

This is a bed I built earlier in the Spring. I guess that would be, in the Spring, since we've moved past the solstice now. It has clover and a small assortment of weeds growing in it. In a bit, I'll throw another layer of leaves on it and then either mulch it good or another cover crop. These two will be ready for planting at least by next Spring. I'll make one more this Summer. That'll give me six of them in the yard. Also have two at the community garden. I believe I'll give up one of those next year. It's not far away, but father than the backyard. 

Two cukes stretching for the trellis. Looking forward to pickles. Hoping to naturally ferment them for all that pro-biotic goodness. 

This is a planted bed with three broccoli, three tomato, three Thai pepper, one Swiss chard and snap peas growing up the trellis at the far end. Snap peas are wonderful. No shelling required. Swiss chard magically grows back after every harvest. Looking forward to everything else. 

This was posted at the Fort Edward Community Garden FB page. Really love the picture. I'll get there someday.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lone Wolf Candidate

Here's the funniest thing you'll read this week. What I've been saying for awhile is that Trump has no one else to sing his praises (I know, but pretend he has some). Hillary has a couple of presidents and vice-presidents and so on.

Trump has struggled to win over much of his party's establishment and lacks that kind of a bench behind his message. Many top Republicans, including Romney and past Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, do not plan to attend the party convention in July. Others refuse to answer questions about their nominee, largely leaving Trump to defend himself.

"Donald Trump has people hiding under rocks hoping he doesn't know where they are," said New York Rep. Steve Israel, former chairman of the House Democrats' campaign arm.

Yes, they're acting like the Jehovah's are at the door. Apologies to Jehovah Witnesses, pretend I said Mormons. 

Donald Trump's unconventional campaign is about to feel the heat of political organization.

Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies have invested at least $41 million in commercials in crucial states such as Ohio, Florida and Nevada over the next six weeks, a series of summer broadsides against her Republican opponent. Those messages will be echoed by hundreds of Clinton workers in those same states and amplified by President Barack Obama and other top Democrats.

Trump has made few preparations for contending with that sort of well-oiled political machine. His campaign has no advertising plans and is just now hiring employees in important states. Republican leaders are far from in agreement on how best to talk to voters about the polarizing billionaire, or if they will at all. And Trump is running out of time: Early voting starts in Iowa in just 3 1/2 months.

Twenty-eight days until the convention. Trump may actually get a negative bump.

Josh Marshall has additional humorous reading.

The Trump campaign estimates that it currently has a nationwide field staff of 30 people. 30. This in a country with 50 states.

I'm starting to understand how he went bankrupt 4 times. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Quote of the Day: Duncan Hunter

Courtesy of Josh Marshall. Here's, Duncan Hunter, the co-chair of Donald Trump’s U.S. House Leadership Committee:

“I am not a surrogate, I am a congressman. I can't speak for anybody else but me.”

And let's award Congressman Hunter the Silver for this:

"Everybody's asking me to explain all these things that he said, some of these things, I don't know what Donald Trump is thinking. ... I don't know where Donald Trump is coming from."

Well, if you don't, who does?

Always the Wrong Place at the Right Time

I'm impressed that someone cold make something humorous out of a mass murder. Hat tip to LG805 at the PS comment threads. Here's Kristy Lopez-Bernal at Funny or Die.

Hello! Good Guy With A Gun here! I’m that responsible, gun-loving guy you hear about after every mass shooting. You know, the nice guy who would never kill anyone for bad or accidental reasons and would only fire his gun at a person in order to protect others. The everyman who, if we put tougher gun controls in place, wouldn’t be able to stop all these mass shootings we keep having. That’s me! 

Obviously, it goes on from there.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Quote of the Day: Josh Marshall

I try not to write about Trump-related stuff so much. Don't want to step on Shaw's toes. Josh Marshall has a nice post up today saying that Trump is not even running a campaign. Living in a deeply blue state allows me the luxury of not paying a lot of attention to the presidential race and more to the race for district Rep. Anyway.

It would be like sitting in the stands watching a football game. But one team isn't even taking the field because the quarterback is on the sidelines knifing his coaches and teammates. Trump issues daily attacks on GOP insiders as corrupt pansies; they attack him as an unstable racist. You almost feel sorry for the Dems: where's their angle in on the 2016 campaign?

It's such a spectacle. The daily particulars are so mesmerizing that you have to step back to see that Trump isn't even running a campaign.

Thirty-one days til the convention. Won't that be fun!

Bonus quotes from the Trumpster himself, courtesy of Marshall.

"If Hillary gets in, you will have a Supreme Court that will destroy our country as we know it, just remember that. It will destroy. We will have Venezuela," Trump said. "You see what's happening in Venezuela? We're getting fairly close to that anyway. But we will have Venezuela," "We will have something you won't even recognize."

Venezuela, I tells ya!


These are elderberries still in the flower stage. Recently took a class from co-op extension on canning. I'm looking forward to elderberry jam. The bush is still kind of small and I have several even smaller ones. Never forget the best time to plant was 5 or 10 years ago. Second best is now.

That's a penstemon in the foreground. 

Taking on Tyrants

Regular readers (OK that's a joke) will know how enamored I am of the notion that gun ownership is essential to protect hearth and home from a tyrant who might arise in our great land. I've yet to see how or why this did not work out in the instance of stopping the tyrannical spread of Obamacare. In any case, Eugene Robinson, a Hometown Fave, has a recent column with a snippet saying it better than I ever could.

No hunter needs an AR-15 to bring down a deer. None of us needs such a weapon to defend our families against intruders. And for those who believe assault rifles offer protection against a hypothetical tyrannical government — or who perhaps consider the present government tyrannical — I have sobering news: If and when the black helicopters come, they will be accompanied by tanks.

And don't forget, you local folks, the town of Queensbury has an MWRP a motherfuckin' MWRP!

"Lackluster Placeholder Candidate"

I've overlooked posting a link to this short piece by Maury Thompson who does yeoman's work for the Post Star. Kudos, Maury!

The Washington Post has identified the 21st Congressional District as one of the top five House races to watch as indication of chances of Democrats re-taking the majority in November.

And surprise! That brought out a troll in the form of Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello. 

The strangest part of the Washington Post story is their complete failure to even mention my name or candidacy. Talk about shoddy and biased corporate journalism!

No, the strange thing is that the PS feels the need to mention MF every time they have a mention of Stefanik or Derrick. Why do they have to include the name of a candidate running in the anyone can compete Green Party? 

They also failed to mention that, due to enrollments, and the Democratic candidate being a lifelong Republican and Independent who is just switch-hitting for this race, the Democrats really do not stand a chance in this race. That can be based on voter enrollments alone but for them to run a male blue dog in this district without a Doug Hoffman to help him get elected IN A BERNIE YEAR seems almost insane and naive a gesture, at best. 

I addressed some of this in my comment. I did neglect to ask where the Bernie Year falls on the Chinese calendar. I'm a rooster myself. 

Who is running the Democratic Party in upstate NY and do they know anything about politics or demographics at all? If so, then why in the name of all that is holy are they not running a progressive female who is actually a known resident of CD21? SMH

My comment and my bad. This wasn't the post with "lackluster placeholder candidate." 

Even though Mike Derrick, per your prognostication, has no chance, I hope you won't mind if he runs against you and the congresswoman. What does due to enrollments mean? The district seems pretty Democrat-leaning as far as presidential races go.

As far as the year of Bernie goes, I believe it ended at the California primary and the ultimate outsider Hillary Clinton is on her way to the WH.

Do you stand a chance in the race?

Needless to say, he didn't come back and explain the demographics of how he has any chance in the race. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Somewhat Hopeful News on the Gunfront

Saw this article on CSM this morning.

Just two days before the Orlando shooting, a prestigious group of US military veterans launched a coalition to urge elected leaders “to do more to prevent gun tragedies.”

The group, called Veterans Coalition for Common Sense, includes on its advisory committee Petraeus, as well as Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of US forces in Afghanistan and longtime head of US Joint Special Operations Forces (the command responsible for Delta Force and the Navy SEALS), and Adm. Eric Olson, the first Navy SEAL ever to be promoted to a four-star rank.

Don't skip the quiz! We must be well-informed gungrabbers. I got a disappointing 80%. The average was 71%, though.

Here's the money-quote. 

“The NRA can decry most other groups, that they’re hippies or soft on crime” – but not veterans, VanDiver says. What’s more, many NRA leaders like to claim a kinship with the US military. “The last time I checked, [NRA leader] Wayne La Pierre didn’t go to war with us.”

Really? But he seems so manly standing up there holding his manhood gun. The Guardian has an article as well. 

“This is a group of leaders who support the second amendment and who believe in the rights of responsible people, law-abiding people, to own guns,” said Mark Prentice, communications director of Americans for Responsible Solutions, the parent group of the initiative.

Retired Nasa astronaut and navy veteran Capt Mark Kelly pioneered the initiative as co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. His wife, congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founded the advocacy group, which seeks to improve gun control laws, while respecting constitutionally protected rights.

Prentice said that veterans are the nation’s experts on firearms because of their military training and experience in combat. “But we also believe that we should be doing everything we can to keep guns out of the wrong hands and help address gun suicides as well,” Prentice said.

Approximately 22 veterans commit suicide each day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The department’s data also shows that nearly two-thirds of veteran suicides were carried out with guns.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Is Your Congressman in Bed with the NRA?

Mine is. That's the link to Will Doolittle's column. Here's the Washington Post link. Congratulations, Shaw, you got a perfect zero. Not so much in NY.

  • 1.   Rep. Tom Reed (R)$10,950
  • 2.   Rep. Richard Hanna (R)$10,450
  • 3.   Rep. Lee Zeldin (R)$7,450
  • 4.   Rep. Elise Stefanik (R)$4,000
  • 5.   Rep. Chris Collins (R)$4,000
  • 6.   Rep. John Katko (R)$3,500
Well, you've got less blood on your hands than Tom Reed anyway, Elise. 

What'd I Say?

Thanks for that link, Will. It's nice to see that Congresswoman Stefanik has officially turned US gun policy over to the NRA. As I've commented in letters to the editor, "we don't allow cigarette manufacturers to control tobacco research and education." I read Matt Funiciello's opinion on gun legislation in February 2014. That lost him any chance at ever receiving my vote. My hope is that Mike Derrick will be one sane voice on this issue. Blessings on Hillary for her stand as well.

Just in case my comment doesn't go up. Thanks Reppie!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Differing in Number Only

I haven't read a lot about the horrible shooting in Florida. It differs from every other shooting only in the incredible number of deaths inflicted. I'll wait for things to clear a bit and read after some of the facts have been ascertained. Charles Pierce:

The FBI also revealed Sunday afternoon that it had interviewed Mateen twice since 2013. After the FBI had delivered this news, an ATF official on the scene then explained why Mateen was still able to go into some gun store in Florida and buy a handgun and an AR-15 even though the FBI had talked to him twice in the past three years about his possible connection with alleged terrorists. The ATF's answer, which I am admittedly paraphrasing here, is that this is America, and that's how that goes.

So it goes.

I second your emotion, Erik. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Reading is Still Fundamental

Unless you make your own reality as Greens do. I linked to this story at the PS previously but I want to highlight a few comments. So here's commenter rdc:

Elise Stefanik doesn't need his help.

Mike Derrick could use an endorsement, though.

It's kind of a short comment so maybe it could be open to interpretation. Mine is that rdc is saying that Matt Funiciello is helping Elise Stefanik to win re-election by being in the race. Note that he doesn't say anything to MF about dropping out. Here's a line from the PS op-ed:

And while we are not yet ready to endorse any candidate for Congress, Funiciello is not a fringe candidate.

It sounds to me like that's what rdc is referring to in his second sentence. In any case, here's MF's response to rdc. 

She will have no help from me. Please try to find out why your "Democratic" candidate is even running in this race before you try to guilt me into endorsing him. That will NEVER happen. I cannot and will not ever endorse war, economic inequality, mass incarceration, domestic spying and corporate welfare among so many other things Democrats do that are reprehensible and illegal and immoral. Please ask your party to stop wasting our time running lackluster placeholder candidates in our CD.

And this is where I question either MF's sanity or my own. How many things are wrong with just this short comment?

She will have no help from me.

That's a defensible statement. He may or may not be helping ES by being in the race. It goes rapidly downhill after that.

Please try to find out why your "Democratic" candidate is even running in this race before you try to guilt me into endorsing him. 

Not sure why Democratic is in scare quotes. Mike Derrick was formerly a Republican. I believe in redemption, maybe Matt doesn't. But, is the guy trying to guilt him into endorsing MD? I don't see it. Maybe that explains how he can believe an airplane didn't hit the Pentagon. 

That will NEVER happen.

Please don't shout. I'm in the library.

I cannot and will not ever endorse war, economic inequality, mass incarceration, domestic spying and corporate welfare among so many other things Democrats do that are reprehensible and illegal and immoral. 

I hadn't heard of any Democrat actually endorsing those things. I am glad that Matthew Pureheart does not endorse them, though. NEVER.

Please ask your party to stop wasting our time running lackluster placeholder candidates in our CD.

But what I really wanted to point out was this particular assholishness. Matt, the Democratic Party has as much right to run a candidate for election as the Green PseudoParty. And really? The name-calling again? Almost forgot my comment. It's the cherry on top of the post.

rdc will have to answer for himself, but I believe it was the Post Star's endorsement he was referring to, not yours. I could be wrong.

I believe it's up to the voters in the district to decide whether Mike Derrick is a " lackluster placeholder candidate." In the meantime, speaking for those of us in the blue jerseys, I hope you don't mind if we field a candidate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Quote of the Day: Children of Trump Fundraisers

Yes, children of Trump fundraisers. It sounds like an organization that would be sending me letters asking for donations.

Last month, in launching the Trump Victory joint fundraising committee, the RNC unveiled a list of nearly two dozen vice chairs and trustees who were tasked with helping raise money. Many of those involved, though, say they’ve since turned downright morose about their role. Some have been confronted with complaints from family members – “How could you?” one reported their children asking 

Apparently, Donald doesn't need the money anyway. So, those GOP fatcats should just quit and spend their time mending family relations. Family values, folks, family values. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Maybe They'll Cancel If It Rains Until Then

As I write this it is 40 days and 40 nights until the Republican Convention 2016. In case you haven't read the end of the Book. Spoiler Alert: there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Quotes of the Day: Charles Pierce and Bob Corker

Yes, it's a duet. The QOTD thing was getting a little long in the tooth and needed some spice.

 This brilliant bit of booking gave us this indelible moment in television history.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it realistic to expect Mexico to pay for that wall?

CORKER: Well, again, I don't want to get into a debate about the nuances of that. I mean it's a statement that he has made. I thought this interview was going to be more about the foreign policy arena. I think he has a tremendous opportunity there.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, our relations with Mexico is foreign policy.


Nothing gets by a gen-yoo-wine Yewnited States Senator, I'll tell you that.

Oh yes, the Clinton Guy Shocked by Blowjobs provided background vocals. 

I suppose you could make a case that our side of the wall is domestic policy.

OTOH, Senator Corker does recognize there may be some tweaking required of the Trump campaign.

Donald Trump has two to three weeks to fix his campaign or lose so much Republican support that it would doom his run for the presidency, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told Yahoo News on Tuesday.

“He’s obviously stepped in it. He’s made statements that are inappropriate,” Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, said in a telephone interview. 

That's statements about Judge Curiel. I realize some clarification may be required. 

Sen. Bob Corker leaves Trump Tower last month after meeting with Donald Trump. (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Gray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It's not your style;
You'll look so good that you'll be glad
Ya' decide to smile!
Pick out a pleasant outlook,
Stick out that noble chin;
Wipe off that "full of doubt" look,
Slap on a happy grin!
And spread sunshine all over the place,
Just put on a happy face!
Put on a happy face
Put on a happy face
And if you're feeling cross and bickerish
Don't sit and whine
Think of banana splits and licorice
And you'll feel fine
I knew a girl so gloomy
She'd never laugh or sing
She wouldn't listen to me
Now she's a mean old thing
So spread sunshine all over the place
Just put on a happy face
So, put on a happy face

Hillary: "Fuck The Guns"

No, she didn't really say it. Too Trumpian. Close enough for me, though.

“Hillary Clinton passes [our] test with flying colors,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, in a statement, “pushing back against the NRA’s extreme ‘guns for everyone, everywhere’ agenda, and ushering in a new political calculus that saving lives from gun violence is a winning issue.” 

No, that wasn't it. That was John Feinblatt, president of Everytown Says Fuck The Guns Everytown for Gun Safety. Here's Hillary saying Fuck The Guns:

“The gun lobby may be the most powerful lobby in Washington, but I believe that the American people are more powerful still,” said Clinton in a statement responding to Everytown’s endorsement. “We are stronger together. We will not be intimidated. We will not back down.”

I believe there was also a quote from her about shoving Wayne LaPierre up Trump's fat, orange ass, too. Couldn't find it in the article, tho. Feel free to use it, Hill. You too, Mike Derrick. 

What's the label? Yeah, you know. 

Indeed, it is a bold position to take, as Democrats have sometimes shied away from promoting gun control with too much vigor on the campaign trail, worried that the NRA machine will lumber into action and persuade gun rights advocates to make their voice heard at the ballot box.

Oh, Nuts With Guns felt left out. Fuck them, too.

In total seriousness, here's President Obama discussing the issue of gun control as it should be addressed and not the way yahoos like myself.

“First of all, the notion that I or Hillary or Democrats or whoever you want to choose are hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns is just not true,” Obama said. “And I don’t care how many times the NRA says it.”


“So, sir, I just have to say, respectfully, that there is a way for us to have common sense gun laws,” Obama said. “… but the only way we’re going to do that is if we don’t have a situation in which anything that is proposed is viewed as some tyrannical destruction of the Second Amendment.”

We can have nice things. Elect Democrats. 

Newt Just Dropped in the Veepstakes

Can you believe spellcheck doesn't like the word veepstakes? Also patting myself on the back for not going with Et Tu, Newt. Anyway. Et Tu, Newt.

Donald Trump says he was surprised that Newt Gingrich hammered him for noting the Mexican ancestry of the American judge overseeing lawsuits against Trump University.

Trump tells Fox News Channel on Monday that the former House speaker's criticism was "inappropriate." Trump says he's only defending himself against relentless questions about Trump University by questioning the impartiality of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Trump says most customers were satisfied with the school.

Gingrich is one of several prominent Republicans urging Trump to lay off Curiel and unify the GOP.

Palin is back in contention. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Happy Sunday

John Stossel has Hillary at almost 70%. That's gotta be good for the Republicans.

And here's Nate.

Funiciello Non-Endorsement in Sunday PS

I'm certainly glad that this piece was not an endorsement. It couldn't have come much closer.

Matt Funiciello is an outsider, but he’s no Donald Trump. He presents an alternative vision for the country based on advocacy for the working class, reduction in military adventurism and promotion of green energy that is both radical and thoughtful.

We do not share Funiciello’s moral certainty about what the country is doing wrong and what should be changed. But there is an impressive sincerity and consistency to his agenda.

It comes about as close to an endorsement as you can without being one. My comment is below. Haven't made it yet. My comment comes as close to a letter to the editor as you can without being one. Something I started doing early in my letters to the editor was to not send it the day I wrote it. That is maybe an important rule to follow here. 

Matt Funiciello is an outsider, but he’s no Donald Trump.

In the first interview I read with him he called Barack Obama and Bill Owens corporate puppets. Ad hominem attacks seem to be common to both. Not that I really mind, but I've been deemed a faux liberal by the candidate. I've been called worse online, tho. Conspiracism is something the two seem to have in common as well. I can appreciate that there are unanswered questions about 9/11. Someone making the claim that the Pentagon was not hit by a plane does not advance that. I'd say it hurts the effort to get at answers to legitimate questions.

Trump's appeal is to the working class, as well. The largest portion of his base is those without college educations. And on a good day, he calls for less military adventurism.

You say Funiciello deserves to be listened to. Obviously, I do (do you?). So much so that he accused me of being "a wee bit obsessed." If you run for office, I'd think you would expect your words to be scrutinized. In any case, my obsession is with politics. If he wasn't running for office, I couldn't care less.

I know you're supposed to say the nice things first, but I'll end on a high note. I appreciate his concern for the environment. I'm likely greener than the average bear. I appreciate his concern over the number of bases we have worldwide. I've read Chalmers Johnson, too. The fact that I agree with him on any number of issues doesn't mean he deserves my vote. His debate style is fallacious and I question the rationality of his thinking. Yes, I realize that's true of the majority of the House. There's only one who represents my district, tho.

I look forward to the debates and seeing Mike Derrick question him on these issues and others. If Derrick loses maybe I'll run against him next time around. I've been living in the district for 59 years. Longevity is worth big bonus points, right?

Live Green Vote Blue Oval Bumper Decal

Gonna pass on that comment. Here's the one I did leave. Gotta do the patented Repsac What'd I Say because some have been dying in moderation lately.

Nice reply, Rob. I'm not as pessimistic as you are about Derrick's chances. Not optimistic either. Dems vote in larger numbers in election years giving Mike a little boost there. Stefanik has the albatross of Trump hanging around her neck. That's only going to get worse from the looks. Ryan endorses him (altho he didn't use the word in his editorial), the following day he has to criticize Trump for getting on a judge over his ethnicity. As for Funiciello, he was a novelty last time around. He's a perennial candidate now. If the campaigns haven't listened to the stuff he said on his radio show, they certainly should. I can recommend a few. I'm not sure the PS has listened to them despite their admonition that Funiciello " deserves to be listened to.

Of course, lots of people take Trump seriously. That seems to be a shrinking contingent, tho. Most Democratic voters would favor closing a lot of bases around the world. We've read Chalmers Johnson, too. Most Democratic voters are in support of environmental legislation. I can't speak for all of them, but I resent it every time Funiciello says there is no difference between Dems and Reps. He told me in a thread once that he supports HR 676 Single Payer Healthcare Bill. It was sponsored by a Democrat and co-sponsored by another 88 Democrats. Zero Republicans. That looks like a difference to me. And it looks like a reason to elect Democrats.

I liked Aaron Woolf, but I'm hoping that Mike Derrick will be a bit more assertive. So far, I believe he's going to be.