Monday, November 30, 2015

Epic Levels of Hypocrisy

Read this statement:

  • The shooter in Colorado Springs, Robert Dear, was a far right, anti-abortion, anti-government, Christian terrorist, who clearly had been listening to the anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric being spewed by the Republican presidential candidates, Republican politicians and by the far right media.  Whether that rhetoric was the final straw that drove him to kill three remains to be seen, but it seems a definite possibility.

What did I just write?  Did I just condemn all Christians?  Considering I'm one myself, no.  Did I insist you can't be anti-abortion in America?  Of course not.  I just stated the facts of the shooting in Colorado Springs, and boy, does that make the political right furious.

This incident has been a land mine for the right.  The three people this terrorist killed were a police officer, an Iraqi war vet and a mother of two.  If they respond to this shooting with 'Police Lives Matter" or "Support the Troops,' two of their more common catch phrases, they might be seen as choosing police and veteran's lives over the extreme zealotry of militant anti-abortionist's, a group they DESPERATELY need support from in 2016.  If they appear, in any way, to support the attack on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, it not only proves the point the pro-choice people have been making (that all of the attacks on Planned Parenthood are originating from the extreme far right, and it doesn't matter if this gets violent), it also exposes their 'pro-life' pleas has hollow and empty.  This was the reason most major GOP'ers avoided commenting on this story for two days.  They don't know what to say about it.  They want to condemn the shooting, but how much condemnation can they administer before the anti-abortion extremists get upset?

This is the reason people like Ted Cruz are just making up a fake leftist, transgender background for the shooter; as a way to condemn him without condemning the shockingly large portion of their base who might not endorse shooting up a Planned Parenthood, but are not exactly against the shooting up of a Planned Parenthood.

There are those who think the use of the word terrorist is inappropriate.  The right has created a frenetic, crazed response to anything labeled terrorism, one that includes troops, police, government agencies and copious amounts of money. On the other hand, they've created a shrug your shoulders, what are you going to do, more guns would have stopped them, 'thoughts and prayers' response to Christian based terrorist attacks in the United States.  They are both terrorism, but the people screaming that what happened in Colorado Springs wasn't, exposes another lie of the right; for Republicans, terrorists are only from the Muslim faith, not any other faith.  That's not true.  These strikes are clearly terrorist in nature.  This was Christian terrorism.

But the wildest thing about the right's response to this terrorist strike in Colorado, is how they've convinced themselves 1) the left is blaming all Christians for this, and 2) the left is falsely using the term terrorism to scare people away from Christianity.  With these false victim narratives in hand, the politicians and talking heads run to the right leaning media and say, "how dare the left use this to condemn an entire religion.  These are the acts of a handful of deranged individuals.  It's unfair to label all Christianity as bad because of a few bad apples."

You can see where I'm going with this.

What was the response of the Republican Party put forward to Muslim refugees after a terrorist strike in Paris killed dozens?  Oh that's right.  Epic Levels of Hypocrisy achieved.  Level up!!!

Republicans, stop with you self inflicted victimization, stop with the pity party.  No one intelligent is using the word terrorism to condemn all Christians, but it was terrorism.  No one intelligent is saying all Christians are bad, but the right has got to learn that terrorism can come from all religions, including misguided Christians, and it needs to be condemned, period.  What the right really needs to do is to hear how they talk when it comes to Muslims and Christians.  This might avoid such obscene examples of conservative bi-polar logic being displayed.

And Christians - how about 2 Timothy 1:7 -

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind."

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Friday Link for 11/27/15

Cheers!  Not only a common phrase for this time of year, possibly the greatest sitcom ever.  The nuances of the Boston bar workers and their customers evolved into the beginning of Thursday night must see TV, and would often produce uproarious laughter from me and my parents.

The show was really the beginning of NBC's 'Must See TV' campaign, although it is a miracle the show survived it's first season.  It was one of the lowest rated shows its first year, but someone thought it was worth another go.  Eventually it would be the number one show on television.  I really think it was when the Sam/Diane storyline really got going, as well as the introduction of Woody and Frasier, which took the show to the next level.  In the end, it was great writing, great acting, and the appeal of the everyman bar, which drove it's ratings gold.

Having grown up in Rhode Island, the New England characters, much like Newhart, are spot on.  It was a welcome show for my family, as we had moved back to Minnesota by then.  Watching Cheers was a weekly reminder of why we loved Boston.

The show also has the greatest line ever in a sitcom.  Late in the shows run, after the bar had caught on fire, the stuffy manager of the restaurant upstairs comes down and surveys the damage.  After looking around he says, "oh good, you monkeys have discovered fire."  HA!

I'm a particular fan of this episode, the Thanksgiving episode from 1986.  This is a cast and a crew knowing they can push the boundaries, so having a full fledged food fight on the set was greenlit.  One last bit of turkey day delight for you to digest!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  With a little snow in the metro this morning, a reminder to drive safe this weekend.  Here's this year's menu lineup:

Appetizers - Shrimp and Irish cheese

Traditional stuffing with mushrooms and sausage
Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole
Butternut squash
Cranberry sauce
Pumpkin and Pecan pie

The menu is very similar to the menu from last year.  I like my cooking!  The turkey's in the oven and the only other thing that has to be made today is the stuffing.

My thankful list for 2015:  Bryan is not only one of the best producers I've ever worked with, he's also my friend.  I could not do this every morning without him.  At the station, Chad, Ian, Jayne, everyone else, all the part timers, and a big shoutout to Meng, who left the station on Tuesday after a wildly successful run.

The listeners are brilliant!  I love your calls, your tweets, your e-mails and your messages.  I could not roll out of bed at 4 AM on a consistent basis if not for the wonderful interactions I'm blessed to partake in every day.

Thank you also to great guests.  The regulars:  Ken Martin, Cory Zurowski, Susan Du, Jeff Stein, Dan Brooks, Cliff Schecter and the amazing Briana Bierschbach.  Of the interviews I've done, these were some of my favorite guests -  Ben Johnson, Mike McCabe, Larry Millett, Aaron Rupar, Jeremy Walker, Paul Thissen, Erin Murphy, Devin Henry, Derek Thompson, Tamatha Perlman, Courtney Yasmineh, Trace Beaulieu, Steve Werle, Bill Corbett, Matt Cassady, Rebecca Otto, Katie Pierson, Stew Thornley, Beth Dooley, Perry Bowers, Jack Rice, Terry John Zila, Randal Dietrich, Robbie Massie, Astronaut Abby, Scott Wolter, Sims from Doomtree, Robin Asbell, Giovanni Zelko, Fayette Hauser, Deanna White, Frank Coniff, Michael Brodkorb and Alan Miller.  There were also so many other politicians, musicians, artists and great authors I've had the absolute pleasure of talking with this last year.

Please support the sponsors of the station.  There are a lot of great businesses supporting the station, but I want to say a special thanks to The Park Tavern, Rudy Luther Toyota Scion, Great Clips, and The Minnesota Historical Society for sponsoring the Morning Grind.

Remember buy local Saturday!  It is very important for the business owners and your local community.  For many stores, it's the make or break day of the year.  BUY LOCAL!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving.  A moment of reflection for all of those forced to work today...

...and Thank you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Bubble

In regards to the GOP, this last week has been insane.  I never dreamed the party would go full Idaho compound, but it has.  What started as calls for stopping Syrian refugees, has lead to talk of Muslim interment camps, Muslims having to wear badges like the Jews in Nazi Germany, calls for full scale war, a return to torture even if it is just to hurt someone they don't like, anti-Jewish rhetoric, Christianity litmus tests, encouragement of public beatings for people the candidates disagree with, undisguised and disgusting racism, 9/11 lies, calls for the arrest and/or death of 32 million gay people...and a reminder, these people all BRAG about supposedly being Christian!!!

Tomorrow, many of these same people are going to sit down at a table, probably with camera crews, and claim they are patriotic Americans and God fearing Christians.  They're neither.

One might wonder what the Republican candidates are doing.  Eventually they'll need votes from independents, and moderates from both sides, to win a general election, but they seem to be going out of their way to ensure the Democrats have enough video footage of them acting like far right, tea party, nut-bag buffoons, to where they'll have zero chance at the Presidency.

I have a theory; we might've seen the Republicans jump the shark, going past a point of where the important part of running for President isn't winning, but rather creating millions of loyal followers who'll pay anything for a piece of the candidate.  These GOP candidates end up getting destroyed in the general election, but they're happy.  They never wanted the job in the first place, and now they can command millions of dollars in speaker and appearance fees for the next four years.  The majority of the GOP race seems to be only in it for themselves.

Thats fine, I guess, but to build their fan base, they've created a big problem.  What they do, with the aide of far right media, is create an unapologetic, extremist, racist, homophobic, intolerant, simpleton bubble, for which their followers can find solace and reflection away from the real world; a pro candidate safe zone.  In this bubble, America always wins every war, with zero casualties and no cost, the rest of the world worships us, minorities are quiet and know their place, gay people are still hiding in their houses, non-Christian religions are to be dominated, conservative economic policy has been successful, guns solve all problems, all Democrats have always been wrong, the world would somehow continue far better if they didn't ever have to pay taxes, and we're all living in a utopian paradise from the past, just like Little House on the Prairie or the Andy Griffith Show.  It's a Sims world, but the craziest thing is how they have made it real.  They just close their eyes, make sure all of their media is turned to the right wing lie machines and extremist's websites and chat rooms, and they're suddenly in dream land.

The bubble is full of people who are always victims.  It's part of the appeal; denial.  It's how they keep going.  Everything good that's happened to them, they made themselves, but everything bad, or even indifferent?  There's always someone they can find to blame for why they are not more successful.

To a point, I almost want to leave them to their own bidding, but there's a problem.  Every few days, someone comes flying out of the bubble, spinning out of control.  Their anger and hatred at "others" they feel have cost them all of their success in life boils over and they lash out at their perceived enemies.  With the ease and abundance of firearms in this country, the lethal payback they dish out for their made up wrongs has no end to the body count.

In my opinion, that's what happened in north Minneapolis on Monday night when three white people opened fire on African Americans, at the protest over the Jamar Clark shooting.  These three guys didn't live anywhere near that neighborhood.  They had no need to be there.  They came flying out of the bubble and decided it was time to strike back against the enemies who had wronged them; strangers.  They drove up there day after day, to taunt and troll the crowd, hoping they would attack them, giving them the justification for self defense.  On Monday, they opened fire, striking back at the people they deemed their tormentors, until they realized these people had nothing to do with their wrongs.  When they realized they had wounded five, they ran like cowards.  They went back, desperately searching for their safe bubble, but the bubble wasn't about to welcome them back.  The bubble only wants to throw rocks at the beehive.  It doesn't want to take any credit for the bees when they sting.  Three have been arrested.

Here's the real question:  were those three willing to open fire on African Americans prior to entering the bubble, or did they get converted to violence in the bubble?  Did the daily buffet of "you've been wronged, and THEY are the ones who did it" push them over the edge?  Were the screams of "those people are going to kill us all and take all of our money" and "won't anyone stop them" meet up with the "guns will always solve everything" drum beats?  Did the bubble create killers?

We have to pop the bubble.  We need to take all of these delusional freaks and make them look in the mirror and realize they're responsible for all the good and bad that happens in their lives.  If we don't, we're starting to get very close to the edge of paranoid destruction, and at that point, the bubble doesn't break.  Instead, it'll be used to determined the battle lines in the Cheney-esqe war of 'us verses them,' and frankly, there are too many of those unstable fools who are looking for any chance to start firing off rounds.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Stuffing the Media Turkeys

I laugh SO HARD at the notion there's anything but a far right political bias in our news media today.  I've documented multiple times how the news outlets of this country were bought up over the past 20 years, and a far right, pro-Republican mantra was installed, at the expense of fairness and journalistic integrity.  There are very few quality, neutral media outlets left.

The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press maintain a 'help Republicans/hurt Democrats' policy which shines through in their reporting and editorials (the PP is worse, but not by much).  The television stations in this town are a bit of a mixed bag, but it's not that they 'lean right' or 'lean left.'  They're either unapologetically far right, or just fluffy stories about puppy dogs and rainbows.  At the radio stations in town, many of them aren't political, but when they do lean political, it's almost always far to the right.

Nationally, the story is the same.  The vast majority of the nation's news, radio, television, newspaper and online networks are far right, with few exceptions.  Even the news at the top of the hour on most stations (including ours) is, at best, incompetent.  They either pander to the Kardashian crowd by over accentuating the entertainment news, or they adopt a 'negative coverage for the Dems, and positive coverage for the GOP' warble.

You see, even though a respectable journalist should easily be challenging both sides equally, the current standard is that the Democrats are constantly down played, always having a never ending litany of media determined questions that STILL need to be answered, while the most obvious of hypocrisy and conflicting statements from the Republicans are intentionally ignored.

Just from this last weekend:

David Vitter, the diaper wearing, prostitute visiting, Republican politician from Louisiana, finally lost.  In the race to replace Bobby Jindal as Louisiana's Governor, the Democrat, John Bel Edwards, soundly defeated Vitter.  As a matter of fact, the polls predicted it would be a Democratic win, as Edwards, rightly so, made Vitter's prostitute aided diaper use the main focus of his attack on Vitter's credibility.  What was the national narrative of this race?  "Massive Upset in Louisiana Governor's race!"  Wha...?

Donald Trump, the leader in the race to be the Republican nominee for President of the United States, meaning he likely will be one of the final two people applying for the job, tweeted out an anti-African American graphic this weekend.  The graphic, which a) is credited to a non-existent source, and b) is wildly inaccurate, falsely attributing almost all of the shootings in the United States to African Americans, is so racist it's hard to imagine a sane person actually pushing it forward as truth.  It's now been discovered the graphic comes from a Neo-Nazi group.  What's the national narrative of this revelation?  Nothing, but can you imagine what the national media would be doing right now if the front runner on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, posted the same graphic?  Oh my a Facebook fan said, Fox News would start their own second channel dedicated to the scandal alone.

The terrible attack in Paris has lead to disgusting anti-Syrian refugee rhetoric and legislation in the USA.  In how the media failed the public in this case, I could point to their ignoring how many of the Republican plans to deal with Syrian refugees mimic the standards put on people in the worst of times (segregation from the populace, 'no-Syrians allowed' statements by governors and Federal politicians, and religious litmus tests to determine who is, and who is not, Christian), but instead I'll focus on the media's failure to actually educate the population on the long and arduous process of becoming a refugee.  John Oliver, the comedian who hosts Last Week Tonight, was the first national talent (not a journalist!!!) to discuss the incredibly long, and complicated journey of applying to become a refugee, one that features numerous interviews, numerous background and health checks, and many months to complete.  No terrorist is coming through the US's refugee screening process.  Instead, as Oliver points out correctly, the terrorists entering the US would likely use the visa program, a program most Republicans haven't even mentioned in their fear mongering.  What's the media narrative?  Don't educate, just help fan the flames of ignorance.

Then there's the insanely anti-Christian talking points coming from the Republican party today.  I'm not the one bringing religion into this discussion.  That was the Republicans, who for thirty years, have wrapped everything they've said in their Bible.  They love putting forward how Christian they are.  This weekend we've had calls by the Republicans for a return to torture and war, both big no-nos in Christianity.  We've had calls for violence against protesters at GOP rallies, and repeated calls to deny food, medicine, shelter, clothes and aid to the neediest people in this country and the world, all of which goes directly against the teachings of Jesus Christ.  What's the national media narrative?  Silence.  Even though they proudly help Republicans portray their image as Christian to the core, not one journalist is questioning the same politicians on their Christian values when it comes to completely ignoring the teachings of Jesus.  Once again, I didn't bring religion into this; they did.

The media in this country has gotten laughable.  I think the only way it can be saved from the grasps of the far right spin machine is for them all to fail, which they inevitably will, and for journalism to start over from scratch, with a media more focused on local and regional news.  Until then, I'll be watching the comedians of this country, as they're the only ones 'reporting' the news fairly.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Art Lives Everywhere

If you haven't been out to the Mall of America and seen their new expansion, you might be caught off guard, like I was, at some of the very cool art on display.  Enjoy and experience yourself.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Friday Link for 11/20/15

With Thanksgiving upon us once again, I'm turning to the greatest chef to ever cover a moose with chocolate sauce...the Muppets Swedish Chef.

First up a delightful romp with The Swedish Chef verses Gordon Ramsay.  A quick side note, I loved the original British version of Kitchen Nightmares.  Gordon showed he really knew his stuff and really tried to help the restaurants.  It became more of an insult-fest in America, but considering how bone headed the restaurant owners were, I don't blame him:

Then it's the Thanksgiving theme, The Swedish Chef verses the turkey.  I think this is one of those Minneapolis city turkeys:

Even though it's past Halloween, let's go with the Swedish Chef and the pumpkin carving demonstration:

And, why not, the Swedish Chef and a little Chocolate Moose:

Bon Appetite everyone.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoy your Friday Link!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Terry Zila's Thanksgiving Recipes, 2015

Last Tuesday, Terry Zila joined me and we talked Thanksgiving.  Here are the recipes we talked about that morning!

Apple Cider Brine
1 fresh or thawed turkey
2 oranges, sliced
8 cups apple cider
2/3 cups kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
8 slices fresh ginger root
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons allspice berries, crushed
4 cups cold water

1.     Combine the cider, salt, sugar, ginger, onion, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and crushed allspice berries in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat, add the cold water, and cool to room temperature.
2.     Have ready a pot large enough to hold the turkey and the brine. Place a plastic oven bag inside another to create a double-thickness.  Rest in the bags in a pot or roasting pan to collect any possible leaks and to make moving the turkey easier. Wash the turkey inside and out and remove the giblets and neck and reserve for gravy or stuffing if desired.
3.     Place the turkey inside the double-thickness bag and stand it upright. Place orange slices in the main cavity. Cover the turkey completely with the brine.
4.     Cover or tightly close the bag and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Turn the turkey 3 or 4 times during the brining.

5.     Before roasting, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels before roasting.

Roast Turkey Breast with perfect poultry gravy
Serves 6
Special equipment: Roasting pan
                              : Roasting rack
                              : Turkey baster

For the turkey breast:
1 whole 4 ½ to 5 pound, bone-in, turkey breast
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the gravy:
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock

1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rinse the turkey breast well and pat dry with paper towels.
     Place a roasting rack in a roasting pan and set the turkey breast on the rack.
2.  In a large mixing cup, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, sage and thyme. At the top
     of the breast, slide your fingers back and forth underneath the skin to separate it from
     the entire breast to create a pocket. Be careful not to tear the skin.
3.  Pour half the mixture inside the pocket and pour the rest over the turkey. Season with
     salt and pepper and place the breast on the roasting rack skin side up.
4.  Roast the turkey breast, basting every 30 minutes, until the juices run clear and
     an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast reads 165°F,
     about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. Remove the turkey breast from the rack and allow the
     cooked turkey breast to rest while making the gravy.

To make the gravy:

1.  In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, mix the flour and ¾ cup of the chicken stock.
     Shake to completely dissolve the flour in the stock.
2.  Place the roasting pan with the juices on the stove over medium heat. Scrape and
     brown bits up from the bottom of the roasting and with a wooden spoon and
     bring to a simmer. Shake the flour/stock mixture again. Using a whisk, slowly
     add the flour mixture to the pan drippings, whisking constantly until the gravy
     is smooth and thickened. Add additional stock if needed to adjust the thickness
     of the gravy.

Classic Sage Stuffing
Makes 8 cups

1 ½ cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped white onion
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ tablespoons fresh sage
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 cups dry bread cubes
1 ½ cup low sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoon unsalted butter

1.   Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the celery and
      onion until tender but not browned. Add the fresh sage and salt and pepper to taste.
2.   Butter a 2 quart baking dish. Set aside.
3.   Place the bread cube in a large bowl and add the onion mixture and toss to mix.
      Slowly drizzle the chicken stock over the bread cubes, tossing occasionally to
      moisten the bread cubes evenly.
4.   Place stuffing in buttered baking dish and bake, covered, for 30 to40 minutes or until
      heated through. When the stuffing had reached and internal temperature of 160°F,
      remove from oven and uncover, then return stuffing to the oven to crisp the top,
      if desired.

Creamy Paprika Cauliflower with Wild Mushrooms
Serves 8
Special equipment: Enameled Cast Iron 2 quart baking dish


8 tablespoons unsalted butter separated into two-4 tablespoon portions
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

One-2 pound head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 inch long florets

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces fresh sliced wild mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup flour
2 to 3 tablespoons Agave syrup
3 tablespoons paprika (Not smoked paprika)
3 cup low sodium vegetable broth

1.   Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter baking dish with 4 tablespoons of the unsalted butter.
2.   In a 12-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over high heat. Add the
      breadcrumbs, thyme, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and sauté until
      breadcrumbs are golden and crisp. With a heat-proof silicon spatula, scrape the
      sautéed breadcrumbs into a small bowl and wipe out the skillet.
3.   Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the same skillet until the butter begins to brown.
      Add half of the cauliflower and sauté until well browned. Transfer the browned
      cauliflower to a bowl and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the second
      half of the cauliflower and sauté until browned. Return the first batch of cauliflower
      to the pan and add the broth. Cook cauliflower until tender-crisp, then remove from
      heat  and add 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
5.   In the same pan, heat the tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until
      all the moisture they release has evaporated. Remove from pan and set aside.
6.   Again in the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the flour and,
      stirring constantly, cook until the flour mixture is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
7.   Whisk in the Agave syrup and paprika.
8.   Slowly add the stock over medium heat and whisk until the mixture is smooth and
9.   Place the cauliflower and mushrooms in a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over the
      vegetables and toss gently to coat.
10. Spread the mixture into the buttered baking dish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs
      evenly over the top. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Pie Crust
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ cup shortening
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup whole milk

1. Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a
    metal blade.                       
2. Pulse in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
3. In a mixing cup, measure milk, add egg yolk and lemon juice and blend.
4. Pulse in the milk mixture into the flour/shortening mixture until a soft dough forms.
5. Turn onto a work surface and knead the mixture until smooth and uniform
    (about 30 seconds)

1. Place desired dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll dough into an 11-inch
    round, ⅛ inch thick.
2. Carefully peel off the top sheet of waxed paper, replace, turn dough over and carefully
    remove the second piece of waxed paper.
3. Slide a hand underneath the waxed paper and place the tart pan over the dough and
4. Repeat with the remaining dough for the top crust.

Beating the Drums; Hating the Needy

This morning, my conservative friends all of the sudden found their 2004 E-mails, the ones containing the memes they sent around back then, the ones saying, "vote Democrat to make the Terrorists happy," "You can't support the troops unless you vote Republican," and "if you support the Democrats, you might as well nuke an American city."  That was a good reminder of how such an incompetent boob like W. was able to win a second term; irrational fear being encouraged to burn.

Since the Paris attacks on Friday night, the GOP has been in full spin mode.  They've a bag of left over Halloween candy no one wants (the GOP Presidential field) and they're trying to convince America to not take a bite of the full size, popular candy bars they actually want (the Democratic candidates for President).  They know they can play upon the raw emotions of a country shocked by terrorist attacks, and push forward an inferior product as a viable option.  It worked for them before.

The right is trying to make the Paris attack/ISIS their international policy bellwether.  Since this attack happened, they've deftly played the public's lack of familiarity with the ISIS situation, and convinced many this is a personal failure of President Obama, insisting their candidates would have nuked something by now.  Their ignorance, and the willingness of a large portion of the population to go along with them, needs to be fought.

First, let's remind people how ISIS got started.  Through the insanely stupid decision to start an unjustified war with Iraq, in a pathetic attempt to get control of their oil reserves, the W. Bush administration went forward with a 'bomb first, plan later' approach, very similar to the post-Paris ones being proposed by many conservatives today.  In their reckless haste, they never had a plan to deal with Iraq, or their military, after the war.  They created a societal/political vacuum, alienated certain sub-groups of the Islamic faith in Iraq, and let the military leaders who had run Saddam's armies just go off and do their own thing.  The US military was under orders to withdraw all troops out of Iraq, signed by W. Bush prior to leaving office (remember the shoe throwing press conference?  That was the announcing of a full US military withdraw, something Bush's critics said he shouldn't do).  The US's military presence was soon gone, and no one else in the region wanted to deal with this new threat.  This was the beginning of ISIS, and it was well established when W. handed Obama the keys to the broken down, leaky clunker, insisting "it runs like new!"

Colin Powell - "You break it, you own it."

Today, ISIS has built up it's strength in Syria and Iraq, living in the shadows of the region's super powers, and their reluctance to do something that might help the others.  And there's no way to get them (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel and Turkey) to all work together.  Now that ISIS has evolved a new strategy (the infiltration of countries who are trying to stop them) and started attacking civilian populations, there's a renewed desire to get something done.  The problem is the size, strength and power of ISIS in the region.  Here's a link to a sobering realization of what it would take to beat them, as conveyed to Stephen Colbert by Colonel, and Medal of Honor recipient, Jack Jacobs:

The main point of his comments?  To take out ISIS today, we'd need hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground (250,000 in Syria alone) and at least a decade, if not two.  This opposed to what idiots say; "Bomb somethin'!!!" If you explain this to one of these 'nuke 'em all' types, and they're still gung-ho for war, give them the number for US Army recruiting, 1-888-550-ARMY, and ask them which of their family members will enlist to fight the war they have deemed so important.  It's always easy to volunteer other people's kids to go die for your causes.  Remember, sacrifice starts at home!

As far as the meme's being sent around on social media go, many of them feature a 'terrorist' in front of the wreckage from 9/11, with a message like "Vote Democrat: it makes terrorists happy!"  The fact they're using 9/11 imagry in an anti-Democrat campaign is rich.  If one of your friends or family members posts one of these memes, please feel free to copy and paste the following paragraph into their comments section:

  • Hey, great anti-Democrat post!  TOO FUNNY!!!  By the way, just a clarification:  one of the reasons 9/11 happened was the number of times the W. Bush administration ignored warnings about an upcoming attack by al-Qaida.  We now know, in the months leading up to 9/11, there were at least twenty warnings from senior level intelligence officials about an impending attack, all of which went ignored by the White House.  The senior intelligence community was screaming at the W. White House to pay attention to the warnings, but instead, the W. administration took the entire month of August off on vacation, insisting they had 'complete control of government.'  Afterwards, when the W. administration allowed the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks to get away in Tora Bora (thank goodness Obama got him!) the W. administration ended up creating the latest terrorist threat, ISIS, by invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and then mismanaging the post combat responsibilities horribly.  Just a clarification about terrorism... 

The ugliest aspect of Conservative America's response to the Paris attacks is the insistence we not help any Syrian refugees.  This is to be expected from simpletons.  They don't understand one of the main goals of ISIS' attack was to create fear and hatred for the refugees trying to escape the Assad/ISIS nightmare in their country.  The world turning it's back on the Syrian refugees would lead to more of them enlisting into ISIS.

I would be a fool if I didn't acknowledge the new ISIS strategy of infiltrating refugee groups to get terror cells into a country.  And considering the proliferation of guns and weapons in the US, we've made it easy for the terrorists when they get here.

But, I won't allow that as an excuse to bolt myself into the basement.  The vast majority of these people have left everything behind, have nothing but the clothes they're wearing, and have been through hell.  Call me crazy, but welcoming them in, after we've determined which individuals don't have a questionable past, and helping them get back on their feet, might just stop the endless creation of more new terrorists.  And, I won't have to beat my soul and consciousness with a shovel to stop me from caring.

By the way, if you do have a conservative friend with a religious slant posting anti-refugee posts on social media, here's a list of Biblical passages which tells them, if they are a good Christian, they need to help (Thanks Raw Story!):  Matthew 25:35-40, Luke 10:25-37, Hebrews 13:16, James 2:14-17, Proverbs 19:17, John 3:17, James 1:27 and, to finish off your argument, Philippians 2:4.

Many of these Biblical passages are also great for counterpointing Republicans who want to take away welfare, food stamps, health care and aid for the elderly and needy.  Feel free to use them at your own discretion.  Nothing makes Christian Conservatives angrier than pointing out how much of the Bible they intentionally ignore!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Screaming Silence

Last weekend, an extremist religious leader, Kevin Swanson, hosted a get together in Iowa, a get-together attended by three of the GOP candidates for President, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal.  This 'conference' had many different themes, but one that was undeniable, repeated in literature and speeches throughout the weekend, was the call to round up all the gay people in America and start executing them.  This crazy man, and his group, called for the killing of 32 MILLION PEOPLE, and religious Republicans in this country said nothing.

After the horrific attacks Friday night in Paris, the rhetoric from the far right was intense.  Everything from blaming President Obama, to insisting to never help any refugees, ever.  One call, echoed by the far right numerous times on social media, was the insistence we have to "kill all Muslims."  All of them, across the globe.  Numerous people are calling for the genocide of a religion, 2 BILLION PEOPLE, and Christian Republicans in America never condemned it.

This post isn't about crazy people.  Crazy people have existed as long as humans have existed.  No, this post is about the non-crazy religious right.  Where the heck are you?  No, "I'm against gay marriage, but executing millions is wrong."  No, "What happening in France was truly horrible, but Jesus would NEVER agree with the attempt to exterminate an entire religion; billions of people."  Nothing!  But Starbucks has a coffee cup which doesn't say "Christianity is #1" and you guys can't shut up!  When it comes to these calls for extreme violence, the religious right's silence is loud and screaming.

This is a country whose founding fathers specifically pursued the separation of church of state, and NEVER wanted a state religion, but the American religious right has been able to wrap this country in religion, forcing the recognition of Christianity into every aspect of American life.  But the religious right has a dirty little secret; an unwillingness to talk about the teachings of their religion beyond abortion and gay marriage.

It's been sad to watch as the people who claim to be the embodiment of Jesus on Earth cheer the pulling away of food from hungry people, health care from the sick, shelter from the exposed, and try to ignore the whole 'welcome strangers from strange lands' parts of the scriptures.  By the way, Matthew 25:35, Lazarus and the whole fishes and loaves stories are pretty clear on this.  As the rhetoric and actions of Christian extremists ramps up, the mainstream religious right's silence is becoming unforgivable.

The death penalty administered under torturous conditions, the torching of African-American churches in this country (an ACTUAL war on religion), the thirty thousand plus deaths due to gun violence every year in this country, the gleeful howls for WAR(!), gay executions, genocide of a religion are all ignored.  Not only are they tight lipped about these anti-Christian elements, many who claim piety are leading the calls for the more violent aspects of this broken logic (God loves nukes!).

As this spirals further out of control, we expose the religious right as the frauds they are.  They're not REALLY Christians, they're Republican Christians.  Their version of Christianity is filtered through a political mantra, a mantra which has become more and more driven by hatred and bigotry.  It's a crime watching the religious right conveniently forget their Christianity when the political leaders they worship command them to.  They willingly ignore base scripture, teachings and doctrine, to promote individual political ideals, casting aside their trumpeted devout reverence.

Religious right, let me help you out.  Jesus would never be for the death penalty, or for the gun culture this country has endured (remember live by the sword, die by the sword?).  Jesus wouldn't be quiet as his churches were being attacked, especially when those attacks are driven by unintelligent racial intolerance.  Jesus would NEVER cheerleader a war, EVER.  And if you think Jesus would be for the mass extermination of millions, or billions, of people, then you clearly have never read the book you claim to represent.  For the record, Jesus would not be for genocide.

I'm Catholic, and I'm raising my kids in the Catholic faith.  My kids are at church right now, taking extra religious classes.  I accept this concept; if I want religion to be in my kids lives, I don't expect them to learn it in a public school, as part of a sports team, plastered all over my city hall, or on the side of a coffee cup.  And I won't indiscriminately gloss over the majority of the Bible, just because my political party's platform goes against it.

I know a lot of people in the religious right claim to be 'pro-life,' but if you say nothing about people starving, the death penalty, the torching of churches, the horrific levels of guns and gun violence in this country, if you think war is the answer, or if you are mute when crazy people call for the execution of 32 million people for being gay, or the mass extermination of 2 Billion Muslims, don't blame me if I laugh at your insistence that life is sacred for you.  It's clearly not.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Friday Link for 11/13/15

A quick intro tonight as I have a roast in the oven.   That sounds goofy, but it's the truth.

Legolas from the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies was a bad, bad elf! I remember the first time I saw The Fellowship of the Rings and his takedown towards the end of the movie was darn entertaining.  There isn't a troll, orc or goblin he won't take down.

Leave it to the Auralnauts to turn his action sequences into a cheese early 90's video game.  The voice guy is perfect.  Enjoy on a Friday!

It's a link.  I can't figure out why it won't embed.  I'll revisit it later.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

Happy Veteran's Day, everyone!

Here's what I've been ranting about this week.  'Support the troops' was a fancy political slogan last decade, but it's time for us to start showing we really care.  Here are my suggestions:

First, my four point plan which can be instituted today.  1) By law, all soldiers and veterans can receive medical care, including mental health care, at ANY medical facility in the country.  The care will be provided to the troops for free, with laws preventing the medical organizations from gouging the tax payers.  2) All soldiers and veterans will receive free tuition at any public college or university in the country.  This wouldn't include room and board, but the military benefits they've already earned should be a able to help with those costs.  3) All soldiers and veterans are entitled to free job training and job placement after they return from their tour of duty.  4) All benefits promised to veterans, especially to those who were wounded in combat, or the family members who lost a loved one while serving, will not be hindered in any way.  They've earned those benefits; give them what they've earned.

These four initiatives would go a long way to fighting homelessness and suicides in the ranks of the veterans.  Please call your politicians, both Republican and Democrat, and demand these four laws get passed immediately.

I have two other requests which are very unlikely to ever get enforced.  First, a Constitutional Amendment which demands all post-combat veteran costs are accounted for, and set aside, PRIOR to any individual troops being sent into a foreign land for combat.  In the cases where we're surprise attacked, I'm sure we'd authorize those monies with little delay, so that isn't a good argument against a constitutional amendment.  We have way too much bravado prior to the conflict, and very little concern afterwards.

The other request would be for any politician, who votes or orders troops into harms way, to have a family member enlisted as a non-commissioned officer, in the infantry.  It's really easy to send other people's kids to a foreign land to die.  Many politicians need to understand the dynamics of what they're committing the troops, and their families, too.  Sacrifice begins at home.

I know the 2nd request will never get passed, but why not?  We need to add a level of reverence to these decisions.  It doesn't mean we won't ever go into combat again; it just means we're going to have people who make these decisions understand the sacrifice they so easily ask others to make.

When someone insists, "we have to send troops into _____!", give them the phone number of a military recruiter ( I always give them the number for the Army, 1-888-550-ARMY [2769]).  Tell them, "here you go!  Which one of your family members are YOU going to send to fight the war YOU think is so necessary?"

Please remember that Veteran's Day should be every day.  If you see an older person with a military logo on, ask if they served, and if they say yes, or if they say my spouse did, tell them 'thank you very much.'  It really is the very least we can do.

Now, let's work on doing better.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coming Clean About The Soap Factory

Last Wednesday, a friend who knew I'm a fan of the Twin Cities art community contacted me.  She asked if I knew what was going on at The Soap Factory, the self described "laboratory for artistic experimentation and innovation."  The Soap Factory was founded 26 years ago as a showcase for developing visual art; an incubator for emerging and mid-career artists.  In the past they supplied artist workspaces, and today they support artists by providing installation space, funding, and most importantly, the opportunity to display pieces in a non-traditional exhibition space, giving the artist the experience of working with a gallery, including staff, design, publication and promotion.  An institution like The Soap Factory is an important piece to any thriving, vibrant art community, and the Twin Cities is extremely fortunate to have it.

Early last week, in the wake of the closing of their incredibly popular Halloween project, The Haunted Basement, a Soap Factory senior staff member was let go, followed the next day by two board members resigning their position.  Wednesday, a few other developments brought out the red flags.  It was revealed there was no schedule in place for 2016, vendors were told there wouldn't be anything in 2016 due to construction, construction people close to The Soap Factory were not aware of, and the rest of the employees had been informed they were being moved to 'hourly as needed.'  Fans were scratching their heads about what exactly was going on, as was I.

This was a shock!  At the end of 2014, the Soap Factory was coming off a successful 25th Anniversary season, with a near sold out Haunted Basement (14,000 tickets sold at $20 a pop!!!), and successful shows highlighting some great artists.  The feeling was they'd set themselves up for another 25 years of success in the resurrected Riverside/Marcy Holmes neighborhood.

With many people starting to ask questions, The Soap Factory, on Friday, was quoted in an MPR story, admitting they were closing their doors.  They elaborated in longer pieces, which ran in Monday's Star Tribune and online at City Pages, that The Soap Factory had come up against financial problems, due to a rescinding of a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation, and recent renovations costing more than anticipated.  They're going to host their "Artists on the Verge" show next Spring, but that's it.  The board announced they'll have a pubic conversation about The Soap Factory's future on December 1st, at 6 PM in their gallery.

To be fair, suspending activity, or going dark for a time, is a relatively common thing for artists groups.  Funding is usually the main reason, but the better institutions always find a way to come back.  What concerns me, and many others about this break, is the 800 pound gorilla in the middle of the gallery; their location.  I've watched the last 10 years as unwanted warehouse space snuggled between downtown Minneapolis and the main campus of the University of Minnesota has been bought up, torn down and in it's place, high end luxury town homes, condos and apartments have risen up.  The demand for any land to develop in Riverside is on steroids.  A few years back, The Soap Factory used to air movies projected on vacant buildings, with spectators crowded into the empty dirt lots to watch.  Now, all of that is gone, and the Soap Factory remains as one of the few un-updated lots west of the Stone Arch Bridge.  The first thing that crossed my mind, as well as many others, was, "are they purposely shuttering the place so someone can scoop up the lot and build another high end residence?"

There has been some mismanagement from the board.

When Director Ben Heywood announced he was leaving in June, the board was lax in their information distribution.  They knew there were stipulations on the grant about having limited disruption in their leadership to maintain the funding, but the board seemed to have taken a blasé attitude, putting an interim title on Heywood's replacement and seeming to not start an aggressive search for a permanent replacement quickly, a position which many would've been interested in.

Two years ago, I trained as a volunteer with the Soap Factory.  I learned a lot about the place, including about the supposed ghost in the basement.  The place was a mess, in need of meaningful renovations, but the mentality of the staff seemed to be 'one step at a time.'  They knew they needed upgrades, but they never over extended themselves on construction projects.  The volunteer coordinator made the point of saying, "if we start too many projects at once, the costs will likely increase, and so we're careful to not over extend ourselves."

If this was their mentality two years ago, and today they're into cost overruns with repairs, what happened?  It's bad oversight to not see an avoidable problem, like rising renovation costs, coming down the line.

It also sounds like they'd gotten themselves into contracts with vendors which prohibited The Soap Factory from maximizing their potential with one time events.  Renting out a space like The Soap Factory can be quite lucrative, but having to turn away potential business seems to have really hurt their bottom line.

(An addition for Wednesday the 11th - I received an e-mail from The Soap Factory last night, in which they tout their schedule from 2015, admit they are going on hiatus for early 2016, but insist The Soap Factory is not going away.  They don't offer any other details, outside of asking for people to attend the December 1st meeting and to think of The Soap Factory for Give to the Max Day.  The fact they went to MPR on Friday, and five days later are just NOW sending out the e-mail to supporters and media is another example of horrible information distribution and bad management.  I'll also add, the feeble plea for a Give to the Max donation at the e-mail's end is misplaced and misguided.)

A few years back, I dealt with Unite Edina 273, a group led by a land developer in Edina, who wanted to peel off a section of the Hopkins School District in Edina, and place it within the Edina School District, thinking the school district's desirability would add to the profit margins of the properties.  When Hopkins schools turned them away, they tried to run phantom candidates for the Hopkins School Board in an attempt to control the district from within.  They failed.

I have some very real concerns The Soap Factory is being run out of existence so that a land developer can get their hands on the valuable property where their historic building rests.  Since they are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we deserve transparency, clarification and answers as tax payers.  We need to hear from the board that they're committed, with a goal to keep The Soap Factory open and operational.

I encourage everyone to go to The Soap Factory on December 1st, at 6 PM.  Demand that The Soap Factory lives.  It's so important to have stepping stones for emerging local artists.  We don't want our best and brightest new stars having to go to Chicago, New York or LA to have to display their pieces.

If art is supposed to make us feel, then losing The Soap Factory would be turning off one of our emotions.  We need more Soap Factory's, not less.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Quick Hits for 11/8/15

  • First off, can I ask a favor?  Will sports teams stop using the troops as props, promoting their leagues with soldiers, meanwhile taking cash to do so?  These leagues are primarily embracing the military for themselves, and the US government paid $6.8 million to get these leagues to 'honor' them.  The military shouldn't have to pay for military salutes, period.  And if you really did support the troops, instead of only showing them on the sidelines, cheering on a game in a foreign locale, or camo-ing out your jerseys, you'd be thanking them for the freedom they provide, freedom which allows your sports leagues to make obscene profits, by funding jobs programs, health care, and mental health treatment.  Instead of throwing a soldier, veteran and an American flag in front of your cameras to imply you care, show you care first, then let the soldiers and veterans come to you on their own.  A public appearance shouldn't be the sole purpose of the leagues intent, but rather the final step in a comprehensive plan to support the troops.
  • Ben Carson implied he has been more persecuted by the media than President Obama ever was...HAHAHAHAHA!  The saddest part, the amount of people who scream about birth certificates or his secret Muslim faith, immediately forgetting all the pressure they've applied to President Obama in the last 7 years, and nodding their heads in agreement.  Hey freaks, remember Jade Helm?!  The media's narrative has been driven by this far right screaming car wreck, and not since the early 1800's has a President been treated this poorly by the media (Jackson).  The fact the media is FINALLY confronting Ben Carson about his wild stories tells you how far a GOP candidate has to go for the media to start doing their job.  Could any Democrat come up with 1/10th the craziness as Carson and NOT have a congressional investigation called?  Remember what they did to Brian Williams?
  • Speaking of GOP candidates, Donald Trump's turn as host on Saturday Night Live was a train wreck.  It was horrible because of two mistakes, lessons conservative joke writers should've learned from the "Half Hour Comedy Hour" debacle Fox News aired a few years back.  Problem one - conservative comedy is insult driven, and considering the hatred the right has for all things left, it got ugly during that show.  The Rosie O'Donnell joke in the monologue and the skit where Trump was supposedly 'live tweeting' are prime examples of that.  Problem two - when you buy GOP talking points as fact, ignoring the truth, and THEN write the jokes, you end up making a confusing mess which is only about validating ignorance.  Let's go with the opening sketch.  Most people didn't watch the Democratic forum on Friday because the media in this country purposely ignored it until after the fact, when they then tried to argue "we ignored it because this was only for African American people."  SNL labeling the forum as unimportant, and then running with the 'black people' argument, ruined that skit before it got going.
  • Which brings up the laughable argument Conservatives today still are trying to make about a 'left leaning media.'  Not one media outlet outside of MSNBC even mentioned the Democratic candidates for President were all going to be in South Carolina on Friday; not one.  They were all covering Trump, Carson and the rest of the GOP field.  I actually wonder if the news outlets really felt the "it was for African Americans only" defense was a viable excuse, not warranting the immediate follow up question, "are you saying you purposely ignore news stories  geared toward African Amercian issues and discussion, ones that don't involve protests in the streets?"  That's a whole lot of sad.  For the record, the Democrats were talking about ALL the issues, not just ones important to African Americans.
  • Speaking of the South Carolina Forum - and THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT - Berne Sanders was SPOT on by calling out the GOP's obsession with trying to stop people, who they think will vote against them, from even having the right to vote.  The levels of voter suppression woven into the GOP platform is disgusting, and as anti-American as you can get.  Here's the link to the voting rights discussion:

  • One of the things I've started to look forward to is the Friday news dump; a release of news stories that need to be released, but because they will make someone look bad, or disprove a narrative being driven in this country, they release the news on a Friday afternoon, and hope no one pays attention.  On Friday, the story was dumped, after a full investigation by our intelligence agencies, Hillary Clinton DID NOT share classified information on her server.  The GOP is hoping you missed that one, as they have another 11 hour long hearing to call!
  • And last thing today, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was the victim of a vicious cheap shot by the St. Louis Rams which gave him concussion like symptoms.  Not only should the NFL suspend/fine St. Louis Ram Lamarcus Joyner for the obvious cheap hit, but two other groups need some scrutiny.  The NFL should review the officials from the game who allowed earlier roughing calls to go un-called, encouraging the Rams to see how far they could take their aggressive play.  Also, every network covering the game (NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN, the NFL Network) all eluded to the St. Louis Rams head coach and assistant coaches doing this Cobra Kai higher aggressive play, repeatedly, over the years.  Apparently, Rams Coach Jeff Fisher and his crew are known for targeting players for injuries.  If everyone who covers the league knows this, why hasn't the league addressed it?  You might want to get on that.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Friday Link for 11/6/15

We've had a few months of Stephen Colbert hosting the Late Show on CBS, and let me say for the record, everyone else in late night must be scared.

Let me remind you, I really like Fallon, Kimmel, John Oliver, Conan, Seth Meyers, James Corden, and Larry Wilmore, and Trevor Noah is doing a pretty good job of stepping into Jon Stewart's shoes (but he does need more time to try to grow into them better).  Late night has never been better in my lifetime, but Colbert is taking the rest of late night to town.

He doesn't mind getting political, or talking about the issues which most other late night shows avoid.  Other shows talk about the Kardashians, or what wacky news item they have.  Colbert talks police violence, international news and very publicly criticizes the Presidential candidates.  Other shows interview stars who have a new television show or a movie coming out, the cute kid with a funny pet, or the 100 year old grandma.  Colbert has big entertainers, but doesn't shy away from business leaders, journalists and authors.  Every morning, Colbert has at least four or five hilarious moments from the previous night.

He has taken a lot of the best parts of his old Comedy Central show and has molded it into Late Night, minus the bloviated far right caricature he created.  He has become the perfect replacement for Letterman.  He might not ever be the #1 show, but he'll give the other shows fits trying to keep up with him.

Two from the show so far.  First his take down of the CNBC debate:

Then there is this great bit with him and Daniel Craig from earlier this week.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Some Observations on the Grand 'Old' Party

1)  When Cliven Bundy, a notorious tax cheat, and man who just felt like established ranching rules of the western United States, like paying for the right to graze your cattle on Federal land, shouldn't have to apply to him anymore, when he welcomed in anti-government militias and pro-gun extremists to aim at law enforcement official's heads, threatening to blow apart their skulls, all while hiding behind women and children, partially to prevent the policing agents from being able to defend themselves and firing back, the Republicans of this country applauded, claiming you have to, as a God fearing American citizen, challenge law enforcement and the rules.

When an African-American high school girl, who had recently become an orphan, and was also recently placed in foster care, didn't want to leave her seat in a high school classroom, a law enforcement official, known by the students as 'Officer Slam,' a law enforcement official with a history of violent behavior, threw her over while she sat in her desk, grabbed her by the throat, dragged her across the classroom and eventually out of the room entirely.  When footage of Officer Slam's violent attack came to light, Republicans said she deserved it because when law enforcement, or a person in an authority position, tells you to do something, you're supposed to do it, no questions asked.

How is it even possible these two statements can come from the same individual and it not be blatantly racist?  It's not possible, unless you are mentally unstable.

2)  I kind of did like Fred Thompson.  I completely disagreed with his politics, and I felt his reverse mortgage commercials he had done lately were beneath him, but I thought his Law & Order tenure as conservative New York District Attorney Arthur Branch was one of the more complex and complicated stretches of that show.  He died on November 1st.  I wish his family all my best, and my prayers to him.

3)  The pro-gun nuts in this country always point to the Hitler when it comes to their efforts at historical recidivism, trying to prove guns would have changed history for the better.  The Jewish people having more guns wouldn't have stopped the Nazi's.  Most of Europe couldn't stop them.  If you want this fantasy to work, just fantasize Hitler never survived WWI and the Nazi's never came into existence.  As wonderful as that would be, a few thousand additional pistols would've been a mild speed bump for the Germans.  Trying to make it seem as if the Nazi's nefarious plans would've been stymied under such a simplistic scenario is historically foolish, and somewhat accusatory of the Jews, implying they could've stopped what happened to them.  I wish a few more guns could've been the difference maker; it wouldn't have been.

If pro-gun guy is looking at how more guns could've changed history, they don't need to go overseas.  If African-Americans after the Civil War would have had access to more firearms, they could've dramatically lessened  the reign of terror the KKK and southern whites inflicted on them.  There would've been less lynchings, torchings, rapes and murders.  That's just a reality.

I wonder why pro-gun guy doesn't want to re-write that historic time, with post-Civil War African American former slaves having more guns to defend themselves?

And finally, 4)  Don't fool yourself.  Donald Trump is methodically getting rid of any major hurdles to his garnering the Republican nomination for President.  He has pretty much taken out Jeb, and now is setting his sights on Rubio.  He wants to get to a point where it's him and Ben Carson going head to head, because he knows the majority of the GOP, after the undeniable racist undertones their party has welcomed, will never have a majority of their primary and caucus voters go for an African American over a white guy.