Thursday, April 22, 2010

Big Place

Seemed like Texas was over-represented in this group so it was heartening to come across this reminder today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Barbara O'Brien, of The Mahablog sent this to me in an email and asked if I would post this on my blog. Here 'tis:
Health Care Reform: The Morning After

Many politicians and pundits warned us that the health care reform (HCR) legislation that just became law will destroy America. Government bureaucrats will take over health care decisions, we were told. The old and infirm would be hauled away by death panels. Everything about the way we receive our medical care will change, and change drastically, they said.

Medicare recipients have been frightened by stories that their benefits will be cut. Middle-age people are worried they will lose their jobs when the law’s dreaded regulations, or taxes, or maybe regulations with taxes, would destroy their employers’ businesses.

The truth is, very little will change for most people. If you were insured by employee benefits before HCR, you will be insured by exactly the same policy in exactly the same way after HCR. You will have access to the same doctors on the same terms. “Government bureaucrats” will no more be involved in your health care than they were before.

And the same is true of Medicare, which of course is a government program, although many of the people who opposed the HCR bill don’t seem to know that.

Here are the “cataclysmic” changes to health care that are now in effect, or which will go into effect within the next six months for people who are already in group insurance plans:

• The law says you can’t lose your insurance coverage because you get sick. Before, in many states, if you were stricken with a severe illness such as mesothelioma cancer that would be expensive to treat, your insurer could use just about any excuse to cancel your coverage. That is over.

• HCR has ended lifetime limits on coverage. As long as you are receiving medical care, your insurer pays the bills.

• Your children can be covered on your existing policy until they are 26 years old.

• In six months, insurers cannot refuse to insure people under the age of 19 because of “pre-existing conditions.” This provision will go into effect for everyone in 2014.

And if you are on Medicare, you will be asked to struggle with the following:

• You get a free annual checkup.

• The co-pays and deductibles on many preventive care services are eliminated.

• If you are in the Medicare D “doughnut hole,” you will get a $250 rebate check in a few weeks. The hole itself will be closed gradually and will be gone by 2020.

But what about all those terrible regulations and taxes that are about to drive businesses out of business? Um, there really isn’t much to report. Oh, wait, here’s one — a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps will go into effect July 1. That’s about it.

However, beginning this year a tax credit will be available for some small businesses to help provide insurance coverage for employees.

Soon the politicians and pundits will start trying to frighten you about the provisions that will go into effect after this year. I assure you they are about as scary as the provisions that go into effect this year, but I will discuss them in a follow-up post.

— Barbara O’Brien

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


You should keep TexasFred in mind as you read this essential post by Sara at Ornicus. It is describing him to a big ol' Texas "T".

Stop treating it like a joke

I sure wish Democrats would start showing some spine, and start really making arguments for progressive causes. Instead we get mealy-mouthed BS about "bipartisanship". Given the state of our economy and the horrific and ever-growing violence along the Mexican border, it's way past time for this subject to get the serious consideration and respect that it is due.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring in Central Texas

Thanks to Vic for the picture!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Honky Tonkin'

FDL brings us this pleasant news, which triggers some happy associations for me. Texas is dotted throughout the state with hundreds of country dance halls that harken back as far as the 20's and 30's, (Texas Monthly magazine did a good feature article on the subject a few years back) several of which are a comfortable Saturday night's drive from my house. Some of those are famous and still book major bands (Floore's Country Store, Luchenbach, Gruene Hall), some more obscure (Kendalia, Kreutzberg, Quihi - which is pictured at the top of that TM article), some have fallen quiet, but many are still hoppin' on Saturday nights with kids from 2 to 92 kicking up sawdust to live country, rock, and blues music. It's definitely one of the best aspects of life in Texas. Anyway, I used to play Hank Williams in the car when my kids were little and we would sing along at the top of our voices. This one, which always evokes images of those wonderful country dance halls, is one of many of my favorites:

I don't care who thinks we're silly,
You be Daffy and I'll be Dilly,
We'll order up two bowls of chili!
Settin' the woods on fire!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday morning Roy Rogers

No, not THAT Roy Rogers! This one:

I had forgotten about this guy until this morning when my son brought this video to my attention. Sandy said, You should post this on your blog, and by golly, he's right.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I believe the Catholic Church is going to hell faster than you can say "Hail Mary" and the world will be a better place when it no longer exists.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

East Texas

Ay ay ay ay ay, caramba! We do grow 'em crazy down here in the Lone Star State.

You know, Texas is a big place, and more than one observer has pointed out that the 5 regions of Texas are as different from one another as, uh, well, as can be! But I will have to say that there really is a special brand of crazy over there in East Texas. Whew. Anyone want to bet that this nutcase and our pal, TexasFred are related? You be the judge:


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Woo Hoo! Rant-O-The-Day-Hour(?)

From my email:
I am angry.
I'm tired of pundits and know-nothing media gasbags. I'm tired of snarky "inside politics" programming. I am sick of the bigotry and hatred of "birthers" and faux patriotic cranks and their GOP puppet masters. And I'm really pissed at the Democratic Party that confuses having a plate of limp noodles with having a spine.
I'm going to vomit if I hear the word "bipartisanship" one more time.
It was "bipartisanship" that gave us this activist conservative Supreme Court. A Supreme Court that says money is free speech and corporations are persons except when real people try to hold them accountable for their greed and poisonous ways.
"Bipartisanship" gave us the Patriot Act and FISA and illegal wiretaps and two wars and "free speech zones" and "no fly" lists. God bless bipartisan America.
I get nauseated every time the Senate explains how it takes a super majority to do anything for the American people. Tell you what Senate Bozos, if it takes 60 votes to pass legislation then it should take 60% of the popular vote to get you elected.
When some Tea Party crank says, "I want my country back," I respond, "No madam, you want your country backward."
When a deficit-mongering politician says, "How do we pay for this?" Why not ask, "What did you Republicans do with the surplus we Democrats left you?"
When a compassionate conservative says, "Healthcare reform is socialism," why not answer, "No, sir it is the moral and American way to care for people."
Yes, I can hear it now: "You are naïve and simplistic. These are complicated matters and require sophisticated solutions. Democrats are a big tent and strive for balance. But Republicans block our path at every turn. We are thinking and considering new ways to work in harmony with everyone."
Bite me.
The only thing you get with "harmony" is a Barbershop Quartet.
Democrats stop being Republican Lite. Stop whining about that mean GOP and their nasty messaging. Grow a pair, get a message, get a bumper sticker and hang it out there. Get some strong vivid talking points.
G-O-P = Greed Over People.
Greed Kills - jobs, people and the economy.
Terrorism is Viagra for Republicans: The more fear - the more excited they get.
When a soldier dies for America, who dares ask if they were gay or straight?
Don't act so shocked, Democratic Party. Have you looked around lately?
You're losing the young vote that showed up to elect Obama. You're losing those old enough to remember real Democrats. Why? Because you don't talk to them any more than you talk to me. You talk at me. You talk around me. You talk down to me. You talk about me. You don't talk with me. And you don't inspire and you don't champion and without that you are nothing more than an arbitrator of compromise and abdication.
You are facing a bully. Deal with it!
Republicans want the country backwards. They champion superstition over science because it entrenches ignorance and bigotry and captures the easily frightened.
Republicans treat the Constitution the way they treat the Bible, with selective interpretation and selective application to others while exempting themselves from judgment and accountability.
Republicans preach the gospel of fear because fear is darkness and darkness covers their theft of civil liberties and Constitutional principles.
For thirty years the Republican Party has claimed the mantle of law and order but now quake in dread of the American judicial system when putting terrorists on trial. How criminal is that?
Torture is illegal. Period. John Wayne and Jack Bauer were not our Founding Fathers - only in the make-believe world of Republican drugstore-patriots.
DADT needs to be repealed. Now. It is unconscionable, immoral, and disgusting.
Empathy, compassion and equality are not pejoratives. They are American values proven again and again throughout our history.
Republicans believe that bake-sales and cookies for chemotherapy best determine the value of life and healthcare because life is a pre-existing condition and the "free market" should not have to take on such a high risk - after all, no one gets out alive, so why should the corporation be left holding the bag? Unless of course the price is right.
Republicans believe that government should keep its hands off healthcare but should put its hands inside a woman's body.
Republicans believe in small government - small enough to hold the "right" people and small enough to be owned and operated by the "right" people. And who are the "right" people? Them. Not you.
Democratic Party, DNC, DLCC, DSCC or whatever your acronym - I have only one question for you: Really?
You can't win against these guys? You can't get your message out against these guys? You can't give America leadership against these guys?
We, the undersigned, agree with the words of author John Cory, and want it to be known that we demand that the Democratic Party act on, and in the spirit of, the mandate provided by our endorsements herein.
There's a petition at the website
Be well, stay sane

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another gift from the Bush administration

Make yourself read the whole thing, but look at this little nugget tucked into the middle of this very long article (emphasis mine):
In September 2005, former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—who'd just become the pope—asked the justice department of the Bush administration to grant him immunity from prosecution in sex-abuse cases in the United States. Ratzinger, the onetime head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was accused of "conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian" in Texas, according to the Associated Press. Ratzinger had "written in Latin to bishops around the world, explaining that 'grave' crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors would be handled by his congregation. The proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were subject to 'pontifical secret,'" Ratzinger's letter said. The Bush administration granted Ratzinger the immunity.

In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to more than 500 victims of clerical sex abuse.
Poor Ratzo. So persecuted.

Creating new terrorists who want to kill us

That seems to be what we are best at.

Spring Dress

Always fun to discover the heretofore unknown talents of our visitors. Check out the original design and handmade dress created by Mrs. Capmconnundrum and modelled for us at Saturday's picnic:

And thanks to Julie for the pictures!

Monday, April 5, 2010



Just a few weeks since the start of the operation here, the Taliban have “reseized control and the momentum in a lot of ways” in northern Marja, Maj. James Coffman, civil affairs leader for the Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, said in an interview in late March. “We have to change tactics to get the locals back on our side.

Post Easter

Am happy to report that I'm feeling much better after a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, beginning with the Mostly Native Plant Sale at the Cibolo Nature Center and a delightful gathering of Freethinkers for a picnic at capmconnundrum's place in the country on Saturday.

But it was Sunday that was truly restorative. I had both my sons, ages 23 and 17, at home and had planned to serve brunch, thinking that they might spend the afternoon playing golf with their dad. But, lo! Dad turned out to be otherwise occupied, and I got to have them all to myself all day long, and what a treat that was!

I really went all out. I dyed eggs and hid them, along with cascarones (confetti-filled dyed eggs), and jelly-bean-filled plastic eggs. I fixed Easter baskets for both boys filled with bubble-making toys and other assorted odds and ends including the obligatory chocolate Easter bunny. We ate lunch and played cards and ping-pong, watched a movie and just generally hung out and had a great time.

The highlight of all was probably when my younger son, Sandy, shared a memory he had of an earlier Easter: He was, at the time, still hanging on to the concept of the Easter bunny, but Dad had given up trying too hard, and this year Mom was sick and Dad, being saddled with the task of Easter egg hiding, told the boys, "The Easter bunny is sick this year so all the eggs are in the living room" (yeah, they were usually hidden in the house and in the yard). This caused Sandy to ponder, "Mom is sick, the Easter bunny is sick.....OMG!! THE EASTER BUNNY MADE MOM SICK!!" Another childhood trauma navigated.

Easter menu for those interested: Ham-potato-onion gratin, roasted asparagus, fruit salad, mimosas and flan. The flan recipe was given to me by my friend, Sharla, who got it from Fonda San Miguel in Austin and it goes like this:

Pour 1/2 cup granulated sugar into a 9" metal cake pan and heat directly over medium heat until the sugar melts and turns medium brown. Remove and set aside to cool.

In a blender, combine:

1 15-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup slivered almonds (I sometimes use pecans)

Buzz for about 15 seconds, then pour into the pan over the caramelized sugar. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and set into a larger pan filled with water that comes up about halfway up the side of the cake pan. Bake at 350 for about 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool thoroughly (best overnight) then invert onto a plate so that the caramel flows over the top.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Spring Everyone!

Once again, I apologize for the light posting. There's a lot going on, what with the Pope meltdown and all, but my heart just hasn't been in it lately. I'll bounce back, never fear. But, in keeping with the season, I couldn't resist this, which is just awesome.

Friday, April 2, 2010

RIP Jerald terHorst

Or perhaps we should RIP the concept of equality under the rule of law for which he so honorably stood.