Saturday, August 31, 2013

I'm a Lliberal Because....

And, just to be fair...

I'd like to point out that the deficit and debt went up in Reagen, Bush1, Bush2.  So, part of what is said here, is not accurate.  Please search that out, if you doubt me.

   I am curious.  I don't travel much.  I've not been out of Michigan in years.  Very much should, but separate conversation.    My question to those of you around the world:  what is your minimum wage?  Is that picture about the big mac accurate?  What do you feel minimum wage should be?  
  Please feel free to comment as much as you like.  I really am interested in others thoughts on this.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wolf Hunt predicated on Lies, Irresponsibility, Fraud

This topic has become quite polarizing in Michigan.  On the one side are those who believe that life, nature, goes on much as it should if left alone to do so; that there is a hierarchy of predator and prey that maintains a balance necessary to healthy ecosystems.  These folks are sometimes criticized for living a fantasy where bobcats, coyotes, cougar and wolves romp and play in the forest never hurting anyone.  
  On the other side are those who either seek to profit from the hunt of wolves or hope to no longer lose money, at least.  These folks often see the wolf and all such wildlife and infringing on man's rightful place in the world in often dangerous ways.
  If you follow the link, you can read the original article and the comments.  Those comments seem to say a great deal about the commenter and may give you greater insight.... 

My take?  Well, as you all know, I am an animal lover.  I believe life is precious, and that nature has a balance that needs to be maintained as much as we are able.  No, I don't go about hugging trees, bobcats, bears or wolves... I said I love wild life, not that I'm stupid.  And, as one who is not a complete moron, I've noticed that the greatest predator in most areas is a Buick.  Occasionally, an Oldsmobile.   I see the Raccoon population, the Opossum population, the mouse - yes, the field mouse population climbing.  But, those critters that work to keep such down - predators like the wolf, the bobcat, the coyote are being decimated by those who believe that letting their Pomeranian run about unsupervised - which, let's face it, is an animal that just screams "Eat Me" to anything with teeth - near and in the woods should have no downside.    Well, I am of the opinion that since I am the only one who lives in my house, I should not need to lock my doors.  And, I believe that since I am the only one who drives my truck that I should be able to leave the doors open there as well.  And, since I'm a safe driver, I should be able to drive 130 mph any time I want.  And, ..... being a realist requires we follow common sense and live amongst other people, and in this case critters.
  If a rancher doesn't care for his animals in such a way to detract predators.... be they virus, environmental, parasitic, poachers, or in this case wolves, then s/he is nothing like a true farmer, rancher, husbandman. Just like I can't react with "S.O.B. stole my cd's (yes, I still have cd's) - I believe I should kill all people who I think may have been involved", ..... well, ..... a person simply can't declare all wolves open for termination simply because they don't use care or common sense.  Husbanding a crop or a herd is not simply throwing them in a field and ignoring them... just like having a kid, a car, a dog, cat, gerbil, etc., does not mean that you get to ignore it when inconvenient.  Husbanding means caring and nurturing despite the odds, the difficulties, and accomplishing a great quality product.  I am saddened that the concept seems so foreign.

Foes say upcoming wolf hunt is based on one neglectful farmer's claims

Opponents of a wolf hunt set to begin in November say one farmer's poor livestock management led to the planned kill.

Nancy Warren is the  Great Lakes regional director of the National Wolf Watcher Coalition. She lives in Ewen in the Upper Peninsula.  That's about 10 miles from a farm where a large number of livestock kills were reported between 2010 and 2013. She wanted to find out why this particular farm was experiencing such a big problem with wolves.

Warren had to file a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR said no tally of wolf attacks was available for the region and denied her request.
So Warren filed an appeal, and in July she got the information she wanted.
Warren learned that cattle farmer John Koski reported 96 head of livestock were killed by wolves over a three-year period. She says that's 80 percent of the total of 120 livestock  reported killed in the  region during that time period.

"When you take out the Koski farm, there was very little depredation total," Warren says.
There were 11 farms on which wolf problems  were reported. Most had only one incident, Warren says, and a couple farmers reported a few incidents, but "they're minuscule when you look at the whole picture."
Warren says DNR investigators found Koski does not live at the farm and  did not provide proper care or water for his cattle  and didn't remove dead animals.   That, she says, could explain why wolves and other predators would frequent his property.
"So there is no human involvement, and I believe that contributes to depredation because wolves have a natural fear of people," Warren says.
The DNR reports also found that Koski has killed bears, bobcats and coyotes on his farm, which he is permitted to do if they are a threat to his livestock.
Warren says documents she received show the state provided Koski with three "guard" donkeys, which will bray loudly and chase away predators.
The reports show photographs of two donkeys found dead, covered in snow, one  in a partially collapsed outbuilding and a second in a trailer. Investigators removed a third donkey because it was in poor condition.
The report also says "a pile of cattle" was found in an open machine shed.
The state also provided Koski with fencing so he could keep his cattle closer together, and to restrict cows from giving birth in areas in which they would be more vulnerable.
Warren says investigators found the fencing was never used and was no longer at Koski's farm."
"We are not looking at the core problem," Warren says. "It's difficult to reduce wolf populations when you have a producer who's not being receptive to lethal and non-lethal control."
She adds that Koski was paid for the livestock lost to wolves.
"He received a substantial amount of all the money paid within the unit," Warren says. "The total amount paid between 2010 and 2013 was $40,000. Koski received almost $33,000 of that."
The reimbursement for livestock lost to wolves comes from the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Warren says, who adds that the group Defenders of Wildlife sent a second check to Koski to make up for any difference in market value, depending on when the livestock were killed.
Nineteen wolves will be allowed to be harvested this year in Wolf Management Unit B, where Koski's farm is located; another 24 wolves could be killed in two other regions.
"What I think is happening, instead of looking at the facts, the decision was made there will be a hunt, and now they're trying to rationalize and come up with reasons for it," Warren says.
The state plans to sell 1,200 wolf-hunting licenses at $100 apiece on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Sept. 28. Non residents will pay $500 for a license.
Last winter, more than 250,000 Michigan residents signed petitions to put a ban on wolf hunting on the November 2014 ballot. But state lawmakers passed a second law circumventing the petition, which opened the door for this fall's hunt.
Now opponents are mounting another petition drive to stop the hunt, but organizers say it's unlikely they will be able to collect enough signatures in time to stop the wolf harvest.

There are fewer than 700 wolves in the Upper Peninsula. Michigan downlisted gray wolves from endangered to threatened status in 2002.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Former Cop Advocates for Legalizing Drugs

Hello All;

  This really isn't something I know all that much about, so found this very interesting.  I would imagine his numbers fairly accurate, so have no real argument against his claims.  Watch the vid and let me know what you think.  Frankly, I found myself agreeing with the man.
  I would like to point out a lesson Miles taught me:  Who Profits.  If something seems to be completely backwards and doesn't work, yet there is a push for it, seeing Who Profits will tell you why.  hugs.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Weekend Trip

Hello All;

  I just wanted to share with you some pics of my weekend trip to see my parents.  They live on a small inland lake.  It looks bigger in the pictures than it is, rules are nothing more than an electric trolling motor, if that gives you a hint about size.  We went for a ride on the pontoon boat - Gracie's first ride on a boat.  She was a bit anxious but seemed to enjoy it.  I really hope to inherit this place and retire here in some 30 years or so.  Very peaceful.  I love it!

 The house is up on a hill.  This is standing on the back deck looking down at the lake.
 Still on the deck, just looking a bit left...  That's Mom and Dad's pontoon boat on the left.
 Reverse angle from those above.... Gracie wondering what is taking me so long.  
 Family of Canada Geese.  Dang things poop all over the place!
Riding in the pontoon boat.  What a nice day it was!
Gracie's first ride!  Reverse angle of the above pic.  I was half expecting her to jump in after the geese or turtles or something.  But, we arrived back home dry.
Hello Friends, Neighbors, NSA auditors - how bored you must be - and other friendly psychotics.... ;)
  I noticed this on a surf, thought it interesting.  The belief in God is not hand in hand with giving disrespect and abuse to His creations, but it sure seems that way sometimes.  I do believe in God, I do believe that He is real - in some fashion I'll likely never understand, and that's ok.  I believe He doesn't need me to cast judgement.  He's a big boy, and can handle His own business.  I believe that all He really needs from me is to love what He loves, to respect Him enough to care for His creations, and to be as good a person as I can manage.  And, if in the end, I find that there is no God, there is no Heaven, then if I have made a "heaven" about me, I've lead a good life, I've helped all I could and made no-one feel less than important, then it's been a good life.  On the other hand, if I am judgemental, mean, etc.... would I want to follow a God that finds such pleasing?

Bigoted Christian Extremists Get Lost At Sea For Months After Leaving US In Protest Of Homosexuality

I’m laughing so hard. I might need a few mins to compose myself….
When the Gastonguay family sailed away from America in May, they believed they were leaving behind a government that supports taxes, abortion, and homosexuality. You see, they’re the kind of Christians who feel persecuted because the government won’t adhere to Biblical law that supposedly outlaws gays and bans a woman’s right to choose. They are also convinced that government controls the churches because being gay and choosing to have an abortion aren’t illegal. So they left the United States in protest and set course for the island of Kiribati, which is between Hawaii and Australia.
The family took “a leap of faith” and believed God would answer their prayers to take them to a land where they can practice their extreme and hateful religious beliefs. Well, God responded and it was epic.
The Gastonguay family swiftly got lost at sea and remained that way for 91 days. During that period of time, their vessel was battered again and again by squalls and storms. The only food they had left consisted of honey and juice.
A Canadian cargo ship spotted them and offered them some supplies. But the large ship bumped into the small boat, resulting in even more damage.
With their supplies running low, they were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel that spotted them.
The captain said, ‘Do you know where you’re at? You’re in the middle of nowhere,’” Gastonguay told the Associated Press.
Upon being rescued by the fishing boat, they were transferred to a Japanese cargo ship which arrived in Chile two weeks later. The US Embassy there then arranged for the family to be flown back home to Arizona, presumably on the government’s dime, which wouldn’t be possible without taxes. Taxes also pay the US Coast Guard, which gladly kept relatives informed of where the Gastonguays were and how they were doing. One thing that taxes do not pay for is abortion, all because of the Hyde Amendment which forbids federal tax dollars from being used to fund the procedure.
As for homosexuality and abortion, both are protected by the Constitution. The Constitution, which unlike the Bible is the true law of the land in America, protects the equal rights of all people, even a gay person’s right to get married and be treated fairly. It also protects women’s privacy and personal liberty, thus protecting the right to choose. Also, if the Gastonguays actually paid attention, they would know that churches aren’t controlled by the state due to the fact that there is a wall of separation between the two. Churches aren’t taxed either.
To be sure, the Gastonguay family had a long and eventful journey. But their story makes one wonder why more conservative Christians aren’t following their lead. Surely they would enjoy living in other nations such as Russia, where gays are outlawed. Or Somalia, where government is powerless and guns are everywhere. Or perhaps they’d be much happier in Iran, where women are oppressed and there is a state religion. Or maybe even North Korea, where the poor starve and massive military budgets are the norm.
See a pattern? All of these nations have values that run contrary to our constitutional ideals but fall in line with the ideals of the extremist conservatives of today. America would more than likely be much better off if conservatives sailed away like the Gastonguays to places where they can feel right at home oppressing people and forcing their beliefs on others. Then they can stop bitching about taxes, gays, and women’s rights, and the rest of us can get on with moving this country forward.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

An Ode to all my Favorite Teachers over the years... even those who help me to learn now.

Hello My Wonderful Friends;

  Sappy Saturday, I guess for me.  I feel good today, and perhaps that brings about these posts...

Last week as I was out in the yard working on something of little consequence but definitely not paying enough attention to Gracie, I heard an exclamation from the road and realized that she had gone running out to visit with someone walking by.  This is a quiet neighborhood, so lots of people walk these roads for exercise and wool gathering.  Gracie normally won't run out to visit, but something must have convinced her that it would be ok.  I, of course, disciplined her for it.  But, the older lady that was so surprised by 60 pounds of fuzzy faced goofiness was not put out.  I called Gracie back over so that she could get a scratch behind the ears and the nice lady and I talked for a few minutes.
  Come to find out, she was my pre-school teacher.  People, that was over 40-years ago!!  She said she always remembers the great ones.  I responded, "Yeah, and the ones that keep you shaking your head in wonder" as I mimed covering my forehead and shaking my head in disbelief.  She laughed and patted me on the shoulder and said, "Yes, those too".

  So, here is to the wonderful people like our friend Miles, who somehow pound into thick skulls like mine the concepts of math, composition, reading, history, philosophy, etc.  Oddly enough, some superheros don't wear capes. 

Please click on the link and see this great post.   Thanks.

Nakie pic of Gracie on her bed... sort of

Hi Friends;

  I gave Gracie a bath today.  She has been playing hard, and somehow that always includes rollling in the dirt and other wonderfully - to her - smelly things.  Something odd about a dog; they find something particularly nasty smelling and their first idea is to roll in it.  Not the wisest of animals, but very fun to have around.
  Gracie's collar was quite dirty, so it had to go through the washing with the towels.  So, for one of the rare times of her life, Gracie is nakie.  Doesn't seem to mind... maybe my Gracie is a naturist??
  Hugs all!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Inflation Calculator

Hello Everyone;

  I was searching for some understandings on my wages recently and found this interesting site.  It includes an inflation calculator.  Plug in the dollar amount and for what year, and it will calculate the equivilant to the year you desire.  Such as:  $5.00 in 1970 is equivelent to a bit over $30 now.   Here is the site:

  Want to see something interesting?  Plug in the difficult wage your Daddy always used to talk about when he started out and see what that equates to now.   For me, my father's so very difficult to handle starting wage is twice what I make.

  Bring tissues.... this will hurt.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Free Speech, not so free...

New Proposal Could Singlehandedly Cripple Free Speech Online

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU & Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:10pm
The Internet has evolved into a true marketplace for every idea – if you can think of it, you can find it on the web. That the online world has blossomed into this virtual town square teeming with diverse content is no accident. It is largely a creation of federal law – specifically, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1998. Section 230 is directly responsible for the free, messy, uncensored, and often brilliant culture of online speech. By prohibiting most state civil or criminal liability for something somebody else writes or posts, it created the single most important legal protection that exists for websites, bloggers, and other internet users. Under Section 230, a website can provide a platform for all speech without worrying that if one of its online users posts something stupid, critical, defamatory, or unlawful, the website itself can be held responsible.
What does this mean for the web as we know it? Almost everything. It means that Yelp can't be held legally responsible for a negative restaurant review written by one of its users. It means Craigslist doesn't have to screen every personal ad to make sure it isn't a cleverly-disguised prostitution pitch. It means that Reddit could, and did, offer its users a thread tracking the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers in real time without censoring users' reports from the BPD scanner. In short, Section 230 makes sure that any website that offers individuals a place to speak — comment threads, group forums, consumer reviews, political meet-ups, you name it — doesn't have to police its users to make sure every post is within the letter of state and federal law.
But last week a group of state attorneys general wrote a letter to Congress asking to change all that — and their misguided proposal threatens to undermine the legal regime that has allowed speech to flourish. The AGs have asked Congress to amend Section 230 so that websites can be liable based on accessory, accomplice, facilitation, or similar legal theories for users' violations of state criminal laws. If their proposal were to pass, it would mean that every website on the Internet could be subject to legal liability for violations of an unfathomable number of state laws. As Matt Zimmerman over at EFF points out, these include such infamous crimes as posting Netflix passwords online, andpublishing someone's else's defamatory speech (which is illegal under a number of state laws). No website owner in her right mind would offer an uncensored user forum knowing that the website could be investigated, shut down, or charged with a felony just for one user's speech. We've joined a letter in response to the proposal that was submitted to Congress yesterday.
History shows us that that the likely result – the dramatic chilling of online speech – isn't a theoretical slippery slope. Section 230 was actually passed in response to the dark early days of the Internet, when websites faced lawsuits over speech by their users. Section 230 wasn't passed in order to provide a legal haven for sites hosting illegal behavior, but rather in response to legal claims that sites that remove offensive or illegal user-generated content then become legally responsible for that content. The legislative history of Section 230 refers specifically to a New York state case — Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy — in which a Long Island investment banking firm successfully sued a bulletin board for hosting anonymous defamatory comments because it had exercised "editorial" control to remove "offensive" language. The case had the perverse effect of discouraging sites from regulating offensive (or illegal) content, and led directly to Section 230.
The AGs' proposal would turn the Internet as we know it upside-down. Without Section 230's safe harbor to ensure that websites aren't legally on the hook for content created by their users, websites would be responsible for policing every user-submitted word for possible criminal violations — which simply isn't feasible. Avoiding legal risk would require even the smallest blog to hire an army of lawyers to compare user content against the mosaic of all 50 states' ever-changing criminal laws. More realistically, websites would do one of two things. They would draft their compliance policies to censor user-generated speech to match the most restrictive state law, or they would simply not host user-generated content. It's certainly what their lawyers would advise them to do. If Section 230 is stripped of its protections, it wouldn't take long for the vibrant culture of free speech to disappear from the web. That would be nothing short of a national tragedy.
Section 230's safe harbor provisions have been positive for free speech, resulting in the spectacular diversity of content we now expect online. More than 220 years after the adoption of the First Amendment, the web has fulfilled our foundational promise of an uncensored marketplace of ideas where free speech truly flourishes. Keeping Section 230 intact will ensure that websites aren't punished for providing the soapbox.
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