Weekend reads and open thread

November 22, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Good afternoon:

The waiting continues as we are being told that the grand jury did not reach a decision yesterday regarding whether they should indict Darren Wilson.

I won’t bother to speculate about what is going on because I have already decided that the process is illegitimate.

Meanwhile, most of you have been following Shaun King’s fine work analyzing the Michael Brown shooting. Here is his latest, Video: Police lied. Mike Brown was killed 148 feet away from Darren Wilson’s SUV.

FYI: Here is an excerpt from a book by George Lakoff titled, The Strict Father Is at the Core of Conservative Ideology and Values.

For a pleasant change of pace, check out this article by Paul Bibeau titled, Should We Defund The Pentagon And Give That Money To Canadian Musicians?

Best wishes to all,

Fred and Crane

Open Thread Discussion: 8/27/2014

August 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good morning:

We have pressing errands to run today and will be in and out.

I have three sobering articles for you all to read to begin the discussion.

The first article is from Mother Jones by Mark Follman. The title: Michael Brown’s Mom Laid Flowers Where He Was Shot—and Police Crushed Them.

The second article is from the New York Times written by Campbell Robertson and Joseph Goldstein. The title: In Aftermath of Missouri Protests, Skepticism About the Prospects for Change

The third article is from Firedoglake written by Massacio. The title is: Studies Confirm Huge Wealth Loss of Middle Class.

See you in the thread.


Tuesday Evening Open Discussion: Comparison of Wafer to Pistorius

July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Good evening:

Welcome to the Tuesday Evening Open Discussion where off topic is on topic.

A jury of 12 with two alternates has been selected in the #TheodoreWafer porch-shooting case. Two black females, two black males, one Arab male, two minority females, three white females and four white males. Don’t know anything else about them because jury selection was not televised or live streamed.

I am frustrated by the decision not to broadcast jury selection because that is where most trials are won or lost.

Opening statements will commence at 10 9 am EDT tomorrow. They will be livestreamed as will the rest of the trial.

Many people have compared this case to the Zimmerman case, but I believe it more closely resembles the #OscarPistorius case because the defendants in both cases are claiming self-defense after shooting through locked doors at people whom they say they believed to be an intruder (OP) or potential intruder (TW).

What do you think?

Anything else on your mind?

This is our 1149th post.

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Monday Evening Open Discussion

July 21, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Good evening:

Welcome to the Monday Evening Open Discussion where off topic is on topic.

Jury selection started today in the Renisha McBride porch-shooting case with the judge conducting voir dire, instead of the attorneys.

Terrible idea.

No live television or live-stream coverage.

Terrible idea.

Jury selection resumes tomorrow at 9 am EDT.

The twitter feed is #TheodoreWafer

The burglaries, death threats and hacker attacks of last week appear to have stopped since Crane contacted the FBI. Unfortunately, Crane’s computer took a hit and had to go to the hospital.

We should sell tee shirts that say, Start a Blog Get Murdered

What’s on your mind?

This is our 1147th post.

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Sunday Afternoon Open Thread Discussion

July 13, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Good afternoon:

Welcome to Sunday afternoon.

To get you started, here’s Steve Kimock and Friends playing Shotgun House at Sweetwater.

Got some music you would like to share?

Saturday Evening Open Thread

July 12, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Good evening:

I am very upset about the continuing slaughter of Palestinian women and children in Gaza. More than 150 people are dead and now Israel is warning people who live in the north Gaza Strip to leave because they apparently intend to reduce it to rubble.

There isn’t anywhere for them to go.

This is not self-defense.

This is genocide and it has to stop.

Israel’s response far exceeds the amount of force that is reasonably necessary to defend itself.

I realize Hamas continues to fire missiles blindly into Israel, but with only one exception, they have not caused any injuries.


Obviously no one in the ME gives a damn about what I think. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to add my voice to the growing scream of protest.

The pool is open. Let us know what you think.

Friday Evening Poolside BBQ and Beer Fest

July 11, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Gather round and welcome to the first Friday Evening Poolside BBQ and Beer fest where off topic is on topic. You will want to save this since it will be famous someday and at least 1 million people will say they attended. Make a comment and you will have proof you were here.

Here are some topics to get the conversation up and running until we get the keg tapped and the brats off the grill.

Let’s begin with health which has been in the news this week:

(1) Bad news about HIV. The Utah People’s Post is reporting:

Three years ago there was a huge breakthrough in the treatment of HIV for children born with the HIV virus. A young girl (18 months) infected with the virus was cured by an aggressive drug treatment and was virus-free. The medical news took the world by storm and the doctors involved with her treatment and therapy had hoped that this would be the beginning of a new treatment for those born with the HIV virus. Unfortunately it has been revealed today that the girl who is now 4 years old is again HIV positive.

The Mississippi girl had stopped taking her medicine after the doctors couldn’t find any trace of the HIV virus in her system. During a routine checkup it was discovered that the HIV was back, or more accurately put it was detectable. Also, she had a decreased white blood cell count and HIV antibodies; both of these are the tell-tale signs that HIV is present and replicating inside the human body.

The good news is that her doctors put her back on antiretroviral therapy which appears to be working without any side effects.

She was got the virus from her mother who did not know she was infected.

The research for a cure continues.

(2) Bad news about Ebola. Al Jazeera is reporting,

Ebola continues to spread in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, with a combined 44 new cases and 21 deaths between July 6 and 8, the World Health Organisation has said.

This brought the total in West Africa’s first outbreak of the deadly disease to 888 cases, including 539 deaths since February. It is the largest and deadliest so far, the UN agency said.

“The epidemic trend in Liberia and Sierra Leone remains precarious with high numbers of new cases and deaths being reported,” the WHO said on Friday.

The good news is that only one new case has been reported in Guinea where the outbreak began.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified how it spreads (via contact with blood and other bodily fluids, including sweat and diarrhoea) and the most common circumstances in which it spreads (traditional burial practices including washing a victim’s corpse, dense populations in and around the capitol cities of Guinea and Liberia, and regional trade across porous borders.

Since an infected person can be symptom free for 2-21 days before flu-like symptoms appear, he or she potentially could travel anywhere in the world before experiencing the onset of symptoms.

(3) In the oops-careful-with-that-box-Eugene category we have this report in USA Today,

Following a string of public-safety scares, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be shutting down two research labs, temporarily stopping all transfers of samples from high-level biosafety labs and strengthening its laboratory safety precautions, the CDC announced in a report Friday.

The new precautions came following an internal review of the CDC after three separate incidents of possible exposure to dangerous diseases at CDC labs and an FDA lab at the National Institutes of Health’s Bethesda, Md., campus, all disclosed in the past three months. The latest, reported for the first time on Friday, involved the cross-contamination of an animal flu strain with a highly dangerous strain of bird flu.

(4) With antibiotic use increasing around the world by 36% this year and antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria evolving faster than scientists can develop new vaccines to eradicate them, medical researchers turn their attention to our vanishing tropical rainforests for new cures. Here’s Crane-Station’s article from Wednesday with a great 21-minute video on why they are searching in the rainforests.

Water is fine. Come on in.


What’s on your mind tonight?

This is our 1130th post. If you appreciate what we do, please toss some money into the hat. We need it to keep the lights on.

Thank you,


Thursday Evening Open Thread Discussion

July 10, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hello again and welcome to the Thursday Evening Open Thread Discussion where off topic is on topic.

To get you started, I have two articles that I published earlier today and a few suggested topics.

(1) Senators Cory Booker and Rand Paul try to redeem lives lost to prisons

(2) Reject neoliberalism and resuscitate the fundamental right to human dignity

(3) Yesterday we found out that the ISIS forces have seized what was left of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons. Difficult to imagine a worse outcome than what has happened in and to Iraq since the Congress abdicated its constitutional responsibility to decide whether to go to war and authorized the President to make that decision for them. We all know how that turned out. President George W. Bush lied us into war.

No weapons of mass destruction, no connection to 9/11, al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden, over 1 million dead Iraqis, and a destabilized country in ruins on the verge of more death and destruction caused by a sectarian civil war between Sunni and Shia.

Remember Phil Donohue? He opposed the war and he was fired for speaking the truth.

Elias Isquith writing for Salon brings us up to date on Phil Donohue with this fascinating interview, including his reaction to seeing the people who lied us into war back on the mainstream media as experts commenting on what we are doing today in Iraq. Why, it’s almost as if they were never deceitful and wrong.

Were you in favor of or opposed to the war?

Do you think George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice and the rest of the neocons and torturers should be prosecuted as war criminals in the International Criminal Court for starting an aggressive war and torturing prisoners?

(4) Germany caught the United States spying on its internal affairs and has ordered the CIA Station Chief to leave Germany and the NSA has been caught spying on prominent American citizens by monitoring email accounts of five high-profile Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers.

Looks like our country has gone off the rails in the spy business. CIA and NSA are totally out of control and have to be stopped.

(5) Finally, this article in Think Progress gives us an idea of our government’s spending priorities that should bring out the torches and pitchforks.

Just days before its international debut at an airshow in the United Kingdom, the entire fleet of the Pentagon’s next generation fighter plane — known as the F-35 II Lightning, or the Joint Strike Fighter — has been grounded, highlighting just what a boondoggle the project has been. With the vast amounts spent so far on the aircraft, the United States could have worked wonders, including providing every homeless person in the U.S. a $600,000 home.

Do you think the candidates for president in either party will make war, spying and spending-priorities election issues or will they ignore them and urge us to go shopping? If they ignore them, what does that say about our system of government?

Can we fix it without a bloody revolution?

If you aren’t worried, there must be something wrong with you.

The pool is open and the water is fine.

Tell us what’s on your mind.

This is our 1127th post. If you appreciate what we do, please toss some money into the hat. We need it to keep the lights on.

Thank you,


Wednesday Evening Open Thread Discussion

July 9, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Good evening:

Welcome to the Wednesday Evening Open Thread Discussion where off topic is on topic.

We have three articles for you today:

(1) Bioprospecting in Panama

(2) Texas Republican Party Belongs on Mars

(3) Freedom Industries fined $11,000 for West Virginia chemical spill that poisoned drinking water for 300,000 people

Meanwhile, the insanity continues as Israel is on a roll killing innocent Palestinian women and children along with a few members of Hamas in retaliation for rockets fired into Israel.

Do you think Pistorius will be acquitted or convicted?

The pool is open.

What’s on your mind in these troubling and difficult times?

This is our 1124th post. If you appreciate what we do, please toss some money into the hat. We can use it.

Thank you,


Open Thread Tuesday Evening

July 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Good evening and welcome to Open Thread Tuesday Evening where off topic is on topic.

I have several topics to get y’all started, or start your own.

(1) Terrence McCoy of the Washington Post has an article today regarding the role of deforestation in the spread of Ebola.

(2) Boston.com has an article on the crazy election in Afghanistan where, despite a separation of 1 million votes, both candidates are claiming victory. Loser Abdullah Abdullah accuses his Pashtun opponent, Ashraf Ghani, of monumental ballot stuffing and apparently intends to form his own government. Looks like another civil war is brewing. Guess that means we will need more advisors just like in Iraq. Yikes.

(3) Discovery.com has an article today about the discovery of an Iron Age Temple (2,500 years old) in present day Kurdistan in NE Iraq.

(4) The New York Times Magazine has an interesting article about economics professor David Brat, who upended House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary in Virginia. He’s a believer that Christian virtue is all that is necessary to tame the lust for greed that is both the motive and the bane for capitalism. Brat calls it Hand of God economics. I call it bullshit.

(5) The defense rested today in the Pistorius case. What say you: guilty of murder, negligent homicide, or not guilty? Keep in mind that the two assessors can overrule Judge Masipa if they disagree with her decision. I wrote about it here.

(6) What do you think of the Republican civil war in Mississippi? Maybe, we’ll have to send in some military advisors there too.

The pool is open. No running on the deck or splashing the lifeguard.

This is our 1120th post. Please make a donation, if you like what we do.

Thank you,


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