Friday, November 28, 2014

Merry Whatever

Okay, it's the day after Thanksgiving. It's now time to turn our attention to Christmas. Of course, given the times we live in, we must be inclusive, and take care to avoid offending anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas.

Thank goodness we can now buy a politically correct Christmas sweater.
Over the years, political correctness has seeped into many areas of every day life.

Christmas time in particular is a period where every effort is made to include even those of non-Christian faiths in the festive cheer.

So ... it was only a matter of time before someone invented the 'Multicultural Christmas Jumper.'
(The) multicoloured offering features several different signs of faith including; Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Sikh, a form of scientific atheism, Chinese philosophy and also the peace sign.
And to help guide you through those awkward social encounters when you wish someone a happy (insert holiday here) and they are offended, here's a guide that I wish everyone would take to heart.


(Click to embiggen)

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone, regardless of his or her religious/spiritual leanings, would look beyond the words and into the heart of someone who offers them a Christmas/Hanukkah etc. greeting?

That's the true spirit of the (insert holiday here) season.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

My traditional Thanksgiving Day post:

From all of us here at Bergheim Follies,

 best wishes to you and yours for a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.




May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize.
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Warm-Up

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Here's a little humor to help ease the stress in advance.











Hope you have a great Thanksgiving ... and please remember to give thanks for those who are away from their loved ones during the holiday season...


My One And Only Post On Ferguson (Hopefully)

I am thoroughly disgusted by the events in Ferguson. A tragic shooting ... a rush to judgment ... one-sided reporting ... a populace that refuses to accept the facts ... a government that kow-tows to rioters and looters ... It all leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

In my opinion, here's the money quote from the Ferguson fiasco.
"Before the results of the private autopsy were released, witnesses on social media, during interviews with the media, and even during questioning by law enforcement claimed that they saw Officer Wilson stand over Michael Brown and fire many rounds into his back.

"Others claimed that Officer Wilson shot Mr. Brown in the back as Mr. Brown was running away.

"However, once the autopsy findings were released showing that Michael Brown had not sustained any wound to the back of his body, no additional witnesses made such a claim and several witnesses adjusted their stories in subsequent statements. Some even admitted that they did not witness the event at all, but merely repeated what they heard," the prosecuting attorney said. (emphasis added)
So are those who lied to the police being held accountable? Are those who are burning, looting, and rioting being held accountable?

Of course not.

Because to do so would be racist...









Peaceful protestors seeking justice for gentle giant Michael Brown.






Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Getting A Head Start

I'll have a post tomorrow afternoon to help you cope with pre-Thanksgiving stress. In the meantime, here's an adaptation of something I posted last year.

Anything you can do now to minimize what you have to do on Turkey Day is a plus. One of my favorite tricks is Do-Ahead Gravy. Not only is it one less thing to do on the big day, it also provides the fixings for an additional stress-free meal. And OMG, does it make some fantabulous gravy!

Do-Ahead Thanksgiving Gravy

Ingredients

2-3 pounds chicken or turkey wings
1 red onion, sliced and quartered
2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
2  carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces (bonus points if you can score carrots with the long green tops)
4 cups turkey or chicken broth (see note below)
4 cups water
3 large fresh sage leaves
2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup flour or cornstarch
Meat juices from roast wings

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large shallow roasting pan (or cookie sheet), place wings, onion, celery, and carrots. Roast 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until wings turn a deep golden brown. I like to lightly sprinkle the wings with Cajun seasoning to help them attain that golden brown color.

2.  When wings are done, transfer along with cooked vegetables from roasting pan to a large stockpot. Add broth, 4 cups water, and sage leaves. Set aside.

3.  Place roasting pan on top of cooktop or stove burners. Add wine to roasting pan and heat to a low boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, about 10 minutes or until wine is reduced to 1/2 cup. Transfer wine mixture to stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, about an hour or so. Have a drink of the leftover wine to fortify yourself.

4.  Strain liquid in saucepot into another pot. Set aside wings, but discard vegetables. Let broth sit while you shred meat from wings.

5.  Skim fat from broth. Amount of broth should be around four cups. If broth is significantly less than 4 cups, add flavored liquid (chicken broth, white wine, sherry, beer, etc.) to bring volume to 4 cups. If broth is significantly more than 4 cups, return to saucepot and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until volume equals 4 cups. Have another drink of wine.

6.  Heat broth to boiling. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix flour (or cornstarch) with 1/2 cup water until blended. Whisk flour/cornstarch mixture into boiling broth. Boil for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously as it thickens. Remove from heat.

7.  Let gravy cool, then transfer into a container with tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 1 month. Finish off the wine while the gravy is cooling.

8.  Complete gravy after roasting turkey: Add strained and skimmed pan juices from roast turkey to gravy. If you need more gravy, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream or milk, chicken broth, wine, etc. Heat and serve.

Notes:

I like to make homemade turkey broth from the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving. Basically just toss the leftover bones into a large stockpot, throw in some veggies and seasonings, cover with a mixture of water, wine, sherry, chicken broth, or what-have-you, and simmer for a few hours. If you'd like more detailed directions let me know.

I then freeze the resulting broth until next year. I use it as the stock to make the Do-Ahead Gravy.

I also use the broth as the base for turkey soup. Simply add the shredded meat from the wings you used for the gravy, plus your grain or pasta of choice (barley, couscous, farro, orzo, wild rice, egg noodles, etc.). Simmer for 30 minutes or so. You can also add whatever else you like in your soup. For example, I usually saute some mushrooms and garlic, and put them in the pot. I also like to top off the soup with chopped green onions. But it's up to you. Be creative.

Oh yeah - don't forget to open another bottle of wine...

One More Thing To Worry About

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Most of us are familiar with this nursery rhyme, which illustrates the logical progression from small actions or inactions to larger consequences.

Here's a modern example.
In February, a drum of radioactive waste exploded at U.S.'s only underground nuclear waste repository. The Santa Fe New Mexican has released a bombshell report on the comedy of errors, which seems to have all started with a typo specifying the wrong type of kitty litter...

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico is now shut down, awaiting a $500 million recovery plan that could take years. WIPP is made of up salt caverns, which are supposed to safely entomb barrels of radioactive waste for thousands of years. The barrels contain gloves, equipment, and other waste products contaminated by nuclear weapons research, and they're often packed with kitty litter to absorb extra liquids before being sealed, hopefully for eons.

Waste Drum 68660, the one that burst, was packed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) ... the LANL and its contractors made a number of missteps, including using an organic wheat-based kitty litter instead of a clay-base inorganic kitty litter. Thanks to that switcheroo, the drum ultimately contained the ingredients of a bomb. On February, the drum blasted open. Temperatures rose to 1600 F in WIPP's underground cavern, and 20 workers were exposed to low levels of radiation.

Officials tell the New Mexican the exact conditions of the explosion have not been recreated in a lab. But the organic kitty litter has been under suspicion because it can release heat as it decomposes. Waste Drum 68660 also contained nitrate salts, trace metals from a glove, and acid neutralizer to deal with its high acidity, which altogether provided the other components needed for an explosion.

LANL has never explained why it switched to organic kitty litter, though emails obtained by the New Mexican suggest it originated with a dumb typo in a LANL policy manual that had gone unnoticed by higher ups for over a year:
The revision, approved by LANL, took effect Aug. 1, 2012....explicitly directed waste packagers at the lab to "ENSURE an organic absorbent (kitty litter) is added to the waste" when packaging drums of nitrate salt.

"Does it seem strange that the procedure was revised to specifically require organic kitty litter to process nitrate salt drums?" [David] Freeman, Nuclear Waste Partnership's chief nuclear engineer at WIPP, asked a colleague in a May 28 email.

Freeman went on to echo some of the possible reasons for the change bandied about in earlier emails, such as the off-putting dust or perfumed scents characteristic of clay litter. But his colleague, Mark Pearcy, a member of the team that reviews waste to ensure it is acceptable to be stored at WIPP, offered a surprising explanation.

"General consensus is that the 'organic' designation was a typo that wasn't caught," (David Freeman, Nuclear Waste Partnership's chief nuclear engineer at WIPP) wrote, implying that the directions should have called for inorganic litter.
Since September 2012, in fact, the LANL packed up to 5,565 barrels of radioactive waste with organic kitty litter but mislabeled it as inorganic kitty litter—16 of these barrels are also highly acidic and contain nitrate salts like the one that burst. It took an explosion before anyone noticed the mistake.

In addition to being horrifying on its own, the February explosion raises serious question about the safety of nuclear waste storage, especially when you consider how "comically simplistic," to use the New Mexican's words, the explosion's origins seems to be. There are many more worrying details in the New Mexican story, including how LANL took other shortcuts in packing the drum and failed to inform WIPP. It certainly doesn't inspire confidence in our nation's handling of radioactive waste.
Exploding barrels of nuclear waste because someone failed to type the letters "i-n" ... the literary equivalent of a horeshoe nail.

It also makes you wonder about the editing, review, and approval process. And raises a questions about why the manual was changed in the first place. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

There is a companion story to this one that makes for interesting, and at times disturbing, reading.  Some excerpts:
... In 1983, a small fee of just a tenth of a penny per kilowatt-hour began appearing on electricity bills in America. The money was meant for Yucca Mountain, a wrinkle of land on the edge of the Nevada Test Site that was being turned into a massive tomb for the atomic age. Here, waste from nuclear power plants and weapons would be stored for at least 10,000 years until radioactivity faded to safe levels. Governments could fail and civilizations could fall, but Yucca Mountain was supposed to remain.

In 2014, after the Department of Energy had amassed $30 billion for the nuclear waste disposal fund, it quietly stopped collecting the fee. It stopped because a court told it to, because the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository did not exist. Five miles of tunnels—out of the intended 40—had already been carved into the rock, but there was no radioactive waste stored there. After blowing past its planned opening date of January 31, 1998 by an embarrassing margin, the Obama administration in 2010 abandoned the languishing plans to build Yucca Mountain. Three-and-a-half years later, a court ruled the federal government couldn't keep collecting fees for a site it had no intention of building.
(Previous post on that topic here.)

The story goes on to discuss the problem of storing nuclear waste for incredibly long periods of time - up to 10,000 years. One proposal was the development of "ray cats, creatures bred to change color in the presence of radiation—like walking, purring, yarn-chasing Geiger counters."

That may seem like a fanciful and humorous solution. But the problem is serious.
The Hanford Nuclear Reservation (Hanford, Washington) produced nearly all of the plutonium that went into the U.S.'s nuclear arsenal during the Cold War. Then, it was decommissioned. Now, it is the site of the largest environmental cleanup project in the country.

Fifty-six million gallons of radioactive waste sit in 177 steel tanks buried underground. The waste ranges from soupy to sludgy, and it has the unfortunate habit of leaking out of the aging tanks into the groundwater.

This wasn't the plan, of course. The idea was to build a vitrification plant on site, where radioactive waste could be mixed with molten glass and poured into steel columns—making the impermeable nuclear coffins that would then be entombed in Yucca Mountain. But the cleanup at Hanford has been horribly mismanaged. The vitrification plant, due to open in 2011, is still half complete. Of course, even if we manage to safely solidify and seal the radioactive waste at Hanford, we still don't have anywhere to put it.

Meanwhile, the radioactive waste keeps leaking.
There are no "ray cats" at Hanford. But there are the usual critters and plants. If exposed to the leaking radioactive material, they become "biological radiological vectors."
Rabbits, badgers, and gophers that somehow ingest leaked radioactive material can spread their radioactive poop across thousands of acres. The radioactive creatures have to be hunted down, and their poop safely cleaned up by people in suits. Even tiny termites and ants can unearth radioactive material.

And then there are tumbleweeds, whose taproots can reach 20 feet down to suck up buried radioactive waste. In the winter, those taproots wither, and it's off the tumbleweeds go, tumbling miles away with the wind. In 2010, Hanford had to chase down 30 radioactive weeds.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I'd have to be concerned about radioactive poop and tumbleweeds that glow in the dark.

Just one more thing to worry about...

Monday, November 24, 2014

FOD 2014.11.24

What is it with this guy? Does he feel the need to piss off every last one of our friends and allies?

Obama Disses Another Ally
Lost in the shuffle of Obama’s immigration diktat and his sham of a farce of a travesty of a climate agreement with China was his speech about climate change in Canberra, Australia, where Obama went out of his way to insult Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.  Apparently our embassy personnel in Canberra advised Obama against this course, but naturally Obama knows better.

Barack  Obama defied the ­advice of his embassy in Canberra to deliver a stinging attack on the Abbott government’s climate policies in Brisbane last weekend.
The US embassy, under the leadership of ambassador John Berry, advised the President, through his senior staff, not to couch his climate change comments in a way that would be seen as disobliging to the Abbott government, sources have revealed. . .

It is normal practice when the US President makes an overseas visit that the ambassador in the country he is visiting is consulted about the contents of major speeches. It is unusual, though not unprecedented, for an embassy’s advice to be ignored.

The Obama speech in Brisbane was added to the President’s program at the last minute. During his extensive talks with Tony Abbott in Beijing at APEC, Mr Obama did not make any mention of a desire to make a speech, or of any of the contentious climate change content of the speech.

Despite repeated Australian requests, White House officials refused to provide a text of the speech to their Australian hosts in advance, and did not provide a summary of what would be contained in the speech.

Mr Obama’s repeated references to the climate change debate in Australia, his accusation that Australia was an inefficient user of energy and his repeated references to the Great Barrier Reef, which has figured heavily in the climate change debate, have led observers to conclude that the speech was a deliberate swipe at the Abbott government.

Historians of the US-Australia relationship are unable to nominate a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech for the host government.

Sources in Washington said the Brisbane speech was a sign of deep divisions within the Obama administration over how to deal with Australia, and over Asian policy generally. . .

Since the Abbott government was elected last September, there has been a group within the Obama administration that wants to take a tougher public line against Canberra on differences over climate change, in particular the decision to abolish the carbon tax.
Washington sources say the figure who ultimately adjudicated on this internal debate was Mr Obama, who recognised that Mr Abbott had been elected with a clear mandate to abolish the tax. . .
We all know how much attention barry pays to election results.
Mr Obama has previously had a warm personal relationship with Mr Abbott. The President has been a frequent telephone caller to Mr Abbott, almost always with a request for Australian support for a US policy or initiative, from troops for the Middle East, US trade initiatives in Asia, or important regional diplomatic matters, especially those involving security. On every occasion the US President has asked for help, the Australian Prime Minister has provided it.
I doubt that will continue now.

What an insult to a steadfast ally. But that's typical obama. Other people exist for him to use. Anyone who disagrees with him ends up under the bus.

What an asshole...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Funnies 2014.11.23

This is Thanksgiving Week.


Thanksgiving is a traditional American Holiday where families all over the United States sit for dinner at the same time.

Halftime.


Q:  How many cooks does it take to stuff a turkey?

A:  Only one, but you REALLY have to squeeze to get him in.


“You can tell you ate too much for Thanksgiving when you have to let your bathrobe out.”

  -- Jay Leno


Thanksgiving Math
Corn + Turkey = Cob-ble, Cob-ble

Burglar + Turkey = Rob-ble, Rob-ble

Drunk + Turkey = Wob-ble, Wob-ble

Peter Pan + Pumpkins = Peter Pie Pan

Thanksgiving Dinner + Office Message = Turkey with all the Faxings







Even at Thanksgiving, when we are supposed to be grateful for the blessings that make this the Greatest Country on Earth, we are subjected to politically-oriented commentary.

Feminism:


Liberals:


Conservatives:


Whatever your political leanings, I hope you and yours relax and have a great holiday week...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Presidential Partying, Then And Now

Serious commentary will resume next week. Today let's relax and enjoy some stories about our presidents back when men were men, instead of a lying two-faced weasel of dubious masculinity.

The following excerpts are from the book Vignettes from Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking (Excerpts from here.)

Monroe was into a truly lethal punch
While he was visiting Savannah in 1819, James Monroe apparently tried Chatham Artillery Punch, which he described at the time as “suave and deceitful”. If by “deceitful”, he meant “secretly housing enough liquor to knock out an ogre”, well, he was right. The recipe calls for 1.5 gallons of scuppernong wine, a 1/2 gallon of rum, 1.5 quarts of rye whiskey, 1 quart of brandy, 1 quart of gin, a 1/2 pint of Bénédictine liqueur, and a case of Champagne. (Plus some tea and fruit.) Clearly, that Chatham Artillery knew how to party.
(Note: at Blownstar 2013 someone who shall remain nameless mixed a batch of Chatham Artillery Punch. 'Lethal' is an understatement.)

Jackson’s inauguration party was a real rager
When the people’s president Andrew Jackson was sworn into office, an estimated crowd of 10,000 to 30,000 swarmed his carriage on the way to the White House (or, as it was called then, the Executive Mansion). And they were not exactly Washington aristocrats. Scruffy and “vulgar” supporters invaded the place, messing up fancy chairs, breaking china, and dipping generously into the spiked punch bowl. In fact, the president’s staff had to place buckets of punch and wine outside to get them to go home — people were soon climbing out of windows to get to that hard stuff, stumbling and screaming, “Huzzah!” all the way out.
I've been to a few parties like that. 'Scruffy and vulgar' is another understatement when describing the guests attendees. Although given the recent levels of Secret Service security around the White House, it wouldn't surprise me to see a repeat if someone like Ted Cruz gets elected in 2016.

Harrison and McKinley kept barrels of Dewar’s

Andrew Carnegie, better known as that billionaire whose name is on 1/5 of all institutions in America, was known for sending shipments of Scotch to people he liked. Mark Twain was one enthusiastic recipient, and pretty soon so were Presidents Harrison and McKinley. Carnegie sent them both barrels of Dewar’s, giving the presidential liquor cabinet a major boost and the distillery some prime publicity.
That's my kind of presidential cabinet.

Teddy Roosevelt got into a barroom brawl with a cowboy
Although TR seems like the kind of guy who drank bourbon for breakfast, the mountain man was by all accounts a moderate drinker. But that didn’t stop him from getting into good old-fashioned bar fights, particularly with heckling cowboys. While Roosevelt was visiting a saloon out West, an inebriated rancher started calling him four-eyes and demanding he buy everyone drinks. Teddy stood up calmly, gave the armed dude three swift hits, and then returned to his seat once he was sure the guy was KO’d.
That's my kind of president. I'd love to see TR go up against Putin. I know who my money would be on.

Eisenhower made his own bathtub gin

While Ike was stationed at Fort Meade with another military legend, George Patton, the men found creative ways to get around that pesky Prohibition. Patton made some home-brews that may or may not have exploded, while the future prez mixed grain alcohol in a bathtub into bootleg gin. (He also allegedly punched a hole in the wall of a local cafe on a boozy night right after his West Point graduation, but Ike insists his critics exaggerated that tale.)
Wow ... who woulda thunk that Dwight Eisenhower had a wild side?

Kennedy’s Air Force One crew fed dogs martinis
Well, it was really just the one dog, and it was his brother Bobby’s hyperactive black lab. The flight staff was concerned the eager pup would trample important documents and/or interrupt JFK’s plays for the lady attendants, so they gave the little guy a martini. He soon drifted off to sleep, dreaming of cocktails garnished with Milk-Bones.
We had a Lab that developed a taste for beer. If you set a bottle of beer on the ground she would come by and 'accidentally' knock it over and then lap up the spilled beer. Thankfully she never developed a taste for the hard stuff.

Nixon nearly burned the White House down with Chinese liquor
When Tricky Dick made his famous trip to China, he was introduced to maotai, some potent local booze that typically runs about 110 proof. To demonstrate how loaded the stuff was, Chinese Premier Chou En-lai struck a match over a cup of the liquor to prove it could catch fire. And according to Dr. Henry Kissinger, Nixon recreated this demo for his daughter upon his return… with less success. The saucer containing the maotai broke, lighting the entire table on fire and nearly causing a full-on case of arson.
Too bad for him the Watergate tapes weren't on that table.

And too bad for us that we're stuck with a SCOAMF in the Oval Office whose biggest claim to partying fame is 'Intercepted.'
When a joint was being passed around, (obama) would routinely barge in, shout "Intercepted!" and take an out-of-turn hit.

Future POTUS (circled). Note the inscription on the cake.

More on barry and the Choom Gang:
President Obama’s high school pot dealer who he thanked in his yearbook for the 'good times' was beaten to death by his lover after a series of fights over flatulence and drugs...

Raymond Boyer, known as 'Gay Ray' to Obama and his marijuana smoking 'Choom Gang', was bludgeoned to death with a hammer seven years after he sold the future president and his friends drugs.

His lover Andrew Devere, a male prostitute, gave police a laundry list of reasons for the killing, including that Boyer, a surfer and unemployed chef, constantly put him down, made him beg for drugs and had a habit of breaking wind in his face.

obama and Gay Ray

2016 can't get here soon enough...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2014.11.21

Reaction to obama's executive action on illegal immigration...

School Drill Update

I realize obama's immigration speech will be the number one topic of discussion today. To provide a little variety for those weary of the controversy, here's an update on an earlier story regarding an active shooter drill at a public school that went a little too far.

Here's a brief flashback to the original story:
Students, teachers and parents were taken by surprise after an “active shooter drill” brought the Winter Haven middle school into lockdown as armed police officers burst into classrooms with their weapons drawn.

Students at Jewett Middle Academy said they were terrified when police officers burst in the doors for a planned active shooter drill ... Seventh-grader Lauren Marionneaux told WTVT-TV that when the officers burst into her class with an AR-15, she was in fear for her life.
Here's the update:
The principal of a Florida middle school was suspended Tuesday after approving an unannounced safety drill last week that put armed police officers in classrooms with guns drawn, sending the school into lockdown mode. Terrified students texted parents, fearing for their lives.

The drill, organized by Jacquelyn Moore, principal of Jewett Middle Academy Magnet, and the Winter Haven Police Department, has garnered national attention. It showed “a lack of good judgment,” Kathryn LeRoy, superintendent of Polk County Schools, admitted at a school board meeting on Tuesday...
"a lack of good judgment" - no argument there. But I also have to question the judgment of school and police administrators that fostered an environment where their underlings thought this was a good idea. Note that the suspended principal and the participating LEOs didn't break any rules.
... district rules for lockdowns have been amended. In the future, officers will not carry weapons during lockdown drills, administrators will notify students and parents at the start of a drill to let them know it is only a drill, and staff members will oversee phones and school entrances to let people know that lockdown is a drill.

Moore’s decision to carry out this drill is emblematic of a growing problem in school administrations, says Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services in Cleveland, Ohio. “I have long been an advocate of schools diversifying their drills, but over the last two years — since Sandy Hook — I have seen more and more cases that have gone over the top and crossed the line of reasonableness,” he tells Yahoo Parenting. He has no doubt that Moore was acting with good intentions, but still, he adds, “too many administrators are thinking emotionally rather than cognitively. While we all want safety for our students, we need to look at what we’re doing to be sure it isn’t hurting more than helping.”
“too many administrators are thinking emotionally rather than cognitively" - and too many administrators are avoiding responsibility and accountability for the actions of their employees.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where Are The Feminists? Pregnant War Hero Version

The democrat party strikes another blow in its war for on women.

Democrats deny pregnant disabled war veteran her vote
Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who is expecting a baby in December, is being denied a request to vote by proxy in the House Democratic Caucus leadership and committee member elections next week—even though her doctor advises she can't travel to Washington in the late stages of her pregnancy.

The Iraq War veteran, who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down in 2004, made the request in a letter to fellow Democrats. Her letter was read during a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting on Thursday. But objections were raised, and the request was denied, with opponents including Democratic Steering and Police Committee cochair Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth
Imagine if republicans denied a pregnant woman her vote - and a disabled combat veteran, to boot. It would be the lead story on every network news program. Papers across the country would have blaring headlines.
"Republicans refuse to allow woman to vote because she's pregnant!"

But since this is the democrat party, not a word has been heard about it in the mainstream media. The silence is deafening. The hypocrisy is staggering - but not surprising.

Pelosi et al. explain that they are merely following hiding behind their rules.
Proxy voting is not allowed in the Democratic Caucus, according to its rules.
The real reason is, of course, political.
But other Democratic aides, speaking on the condition they not be identified, said they believe the decision to block Duckworth, 46, from doing so is related more to the tight intra-party race for the party's top seat next session on the Energy and Commerce Committee. The seat is being vacated by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman.

... Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, who is backed by Pelosi for the Energy Committee ranking member's seat, and Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, who is backed by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, are battling to convince a majority of House Democrats to vote for them.

Duckworth is among those who have thrown her support behind Pallone—against Pelosi's choice of Eshoo.
Rules are rules. No exceptions allowed.

Unless you're a lame duck democrat president who will ignore existing laws to offer amnesty to illegal aliens...
“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”
     – Senator Barack Obama, March 31, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where Are The Feminists?

Feminists make a big deal out of (perceived) unequal treatment of women vis-à-vis men. I certainly won't deny that such inequality may exist. But I will suggest that most western feminists have a misplaced emphasis on what occurs in the U.S. or Europe, while conveniently ignoring what goes on in the Middle East. In support of that position, I offer the case of Rengin Yusuf.

I sincerely hope you will appreciate and honor the supreme sacrifice made by Rengin Yusuf. As you will see, she overcame many obstacles, not the least of which was being a woman, to fight on the side of the angels against an evil, vile, and despicable foe.

The Mother Who Fought ISIS to the Death
(Rengin Yusuf was) in her 30s. She was a mother ... she served in a women’s regiment in the fight against the radical Islamists of ISIS ... They asked me not to call them “women Peshmergas” because, they said, there is no such thing. A Peshmerga is a Peshmerga, or, in Kurdish, “someone who confronts death.”

The regiment’s youngest woman, Rengin Yusuf was strikingly attractive, with long black hair and a furtive smile. Our conversation didn’t extend beyond what was expected of us. I was the foreign correspondent; she, the Peshmerga. She and the others had been ordered to speak to me to demonstrate that the Kurdish “army” is free of sexism.

As I write these lines, it has been a month since Rengin Yusuf died ... I recalled our meeting vividly: The women telling me that theirs is a combat unit. Me nodding, but privately incredulous—wondering if these mild-mannered, middle-aged mothers really get sent to the front.

Only in the wake of Rengin Yusuf’s death did I confirm that Kurdish women are not only fighting but are also among the bravest Peshmergas. There is a silent revolution under way in Iraq replete with fallen female heroes, who, besides defending their homeland, sought to prove something to men—with deeds not words, without “feminist” slogans.

From a combat perspective the male and female units are no different. Each is the same small-arms-equipped force with intrepid soldiers. Sexism is ingrained across much of the Middle East, of course, and we foreign correspondents have unwittingly reinforced it by reporting on women soldiers as if they are different. But they go into battle, and die, just like the men.

As for Rengin Yusuf’s death, this is what I learned: On Oct. 4 she participated in a Kurdish-led offensive to recapture the city of Daquq, near Kirkuk. Yusuf acted as a sniper as the Peshmergas pursued ISIS troops, who while retreating showed mercy neither to people nor animals. She was shot. Several AK-47 machine-gun rounds passed through her body; she wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest.

Her fellow Peshmergas carried her, wounded, over the sand dunes to a hospital. But the doctors couldn’t save her. She died in great pain on Oct. 11.

Rengin Yusuf was a woman. A Peshmerga. A warrior. She left behind two little daughters.
Where are the feminists now? How many are protesting the unequal treatment of women by muslims? How many are honoring the heroism and sacrifice of women like Rengin Yusuf?

How many will help take care of and raise her two orphaned daughters...?

God Bless Rengin Yusuf and her fellow warriors.