Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – PA’s Voter ID law stands, for now

Poll workers are appreciated. But they need to know how to do the job asked of them if this isn’t all to be a sham. -microsoft clip art

In Pennsylvania, the GOP/TP “suddenly” became alarmed by all of the voter fraud.  They can’t show that it happens in any numbers above fractions of a percent, but oh, they did need to change the laws.  Funny how it wasn’t a problem for them UNTIL a Democrat who happened to not be “white” won the presidency. This Voter ID law is still in effect, a preliminary injunction being denied by Judge Simpson. 

Now, I vote and I find it is my duty.  I have already shown my ID at during the primaries.  However, what I noted, that though the poll workers are doing their best, they have no way to determine if I was whom I said I was. They looked at my ID.  It was several years, and at least 30 pounds ago (yay, South Beach Diet).  I’m guessing that they looked at the expiration date too.  So?  Nothing says that can’t be changed.  I can also pretty much accurately guess that few of these people have ever seen a US passport or have any idea what colleges are in Pennsylvania or anywhere.  

I was curious, just what training do they get for this ever-so important new law.  Well, per the Department of State website:  the training videos still up on it have that they have to ask for ID, and a power bill, bank statements,  voter registration card, etc are still perfectly fine as ID.  Am I being too harsh on the DOS for not updating its website?  I don’t think so, since it’s the only thing I’ve found so far on how poll workers are trained and this video is at best from: Modified Date: 11/23/2009 01:21 PM  I update a website as part of my job.  If I can do it, so can they, especially for such an important matter.  There are *no* excuses that are acceptable.  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – PA’s Voter ID law stands, for now”

A Night Out – Otto’s Pub and Brewery

Last week we ventured up to State College, PA, home of Penn State University.  Husband had a job interview up there and I acted as pilot so he could spend sometime relaxing before getting grilled about various kinds of IT craziness.

As usual, we looked for somewhere to get food and a beer up there since we rarely get up in that area.  We found Otto’s Pub and Brewery, a microbrewery based restaurant just out on North Atherton Street (and yes, as a fan of Firefly, and most especially the episode “Shindig”, I snicker every time I say Atherton).

Alas, I did not have my camera with me to take pictures of the place and the food.  The building is very new, with an addition currently being added onto it.  The décor is basic industrial brewpub with the HVAC innards displayed.  What makes this place interesting is the banners and signs displaying the logos of Pennsylvania breweries long past.  Very nice touch and I’m sure probably helps cut down on the crowd noise.  I can imagine this place really hopping when there is a game in town.

The staff was very friendly and we were immediately seated at a nice booth.  A bar occupies the center of the main room, in an “L” shape with a plentitude of taps (they also have cocktails and other beers in addition to their own).  A good sized flat screen TV showed the Olympics.  For our first beers, I got the Apricot Wheat and husband got the Hefeweizen.  The Apricot Wheat had a strong scent of the stone fruit but not sweet.  Definitely one of the best I’ve had of this type.  The hefeweizen was good but not exceptional.  If you like the type, you’ll like this. 

We both ordered sandwiches but everything on the menu looks tasty. Otto’s is very committed to local sourcing, which in PA, gets you a lot of variety.  I got a daily special, a jalepeno burger, which looked to have both jalepenos and green chilis.  It also had thick cut bacon (which I could easily bite through!)  and a smoked cheddar.  The burger was one of the rare ones that was actually juicy and cooked through with no pink squishiness in the center. I will happily eat steak tartar and carapaccio, but when I want a burger I want it with some good browning on the outside.  We cook our burgers at home out of 73/27 burger which has enough fat in it to keep it juicy and have it well grilled.  I got the hand cut fries with it.  

Husband got the beef on wick, a riff on the western NY “beef on weck”,  ultra thinly sliced smoked beef brisket on a bun topped with caraway and coarse salt, horseradish sauce, and a bit of au jus on the side.  Always curious on how one is supposed to wedge a fat bun into a little ramekin, but after taking a bite, you can get a corner in.   He got the sweet potato fries, one of the best versions of those I’ve seen, cut in the rippled shape so there are lots of crispy edges.  They did resemble caterpillars though, very scrumptious caterpillars. 🙂   Husband also got a second beer, their Spruce Creek Lager, which has a very nice hoppy floral hit but little bitterness. 

I would have liked to have tried more of their beers but here’s to my husband getting hired and me having all the time I want to sample.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – War on Religion

 The culture wars have been revived yet again by the Romney campaign. Unable to get people to stop asking him for his tax records, and pointing out he has no economic plan other than Bush policies taking to extremes, Romney has returned to the usual attempts to create wedge issues between Americans, right out of the McCarthyism playbook. Conservatives want to be the sole arbiters on : Who has the right “values”?  Who are “true Americans” or “true Christians”, etc and how do we tell? Who “deserves” the rights guaranteed in the United States Constitution?  

And thus, despite their own claims of a war on religion being waged by President Obama and some bogeyman “libbuls”, we have them waging a war of religion themselves on those believers who don’t agree with their particular religion and sect.  What of those who have completely different religions?  Do these other religions have a the same rights as the religious “right” claims they have? 

Perhaps more importantly, from the viewpoint within the US, what of those Christian believers who do agree with allowing gay marriage, who do support the separation of church and state? Who think that government is a good way (if not perfect) to help the “least among you”?  These are their values as much Christian as those who would claim that their god hates such things.  Would their religious beliefs be just as protected as the radical right wants theirs to be?  Or would they be considered not “Christian” enough to qualify for those protections? As it stands, it certainly seems not. Romney, and those who support him, however reluctantly, only want their beliefs and their religion to be what everyone must follow. As Freud said succinctly: “A religion, even if it calls itself the religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it.”Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 192 

Let’s consider what a “war on religion” would be in reality.  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – War on Religion”

From the Kitchen – Chocolate Toffee Chip Cookies

Everyone needs a tasty snack now and then.  Especially when blogging about political and religious idiocy which seems far far too common anymore. I’m not much of a sweets person but I do like Toll House style cookies with their salt quotient. Yep, I’m bit of a salt monster.

My husband came up with this recipe. I don’t particularly remember why. It could have been the ingredients we had, or me whining that there are too many chocolate chips in most Toll House style cookies.  I like chocolate but I love the cookie part even more.

But not raw. Uck.

Continue reading “From the Kitchen – Chocolate Toffee Chip Cookies”

What the Boss Likes – New Frontiers

Curiosity has landed!  And another step on the “new frontier” has been taken. WOOT!

Justice League of America

We’re also still taking steps on the new frontier that John Kennedy spoke of back in July 1960.  Why is this on my mind? I watched “Justice League: New Frontier” yesterday.  It starts with the paranoia of the 50s and ends with Kennedy’s speech as the Justice League celebrates their victory, diversity over extinction. I’m not a big DC fan but this one’s pretty good.  Wonder Woman is quite the Amazon in this one and I’m always a WW fan.

It’s been more than half a century, 52 years, since that speech that started the space race in earnest, which mentioned that people still hated and feared Roman Catholics.  It was a speech that confirmed that the best of the United States was its Constitution, when it supported the rights of all, approving of no religion or group over any others.  The mere existence of this speech shows just how fragile the United States was and still is.  It takes people, not corporations, not dependence on the supernatural, to keep these principles. Despite Kennedy’s religious references. It’s still a great speech and I like it.  Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – New Frontiers”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Bombastic nonsense, Pennsylvania style

Seems that some Pennsylvania legislators can’t help themselves when it comes to being hateful idiots.  The latest in bombastic lying comes from US Representative Mike Kelly, representing all or parts of Armstrong, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Venango and WarrenCounties (contact him here )   These are in the central western to northwestern part of the state.  This would be part of the “t” that makes Pennsylvania into Pennsyltucky, all of the worst parts of the south in a state north of the Mason Dixon Line.  I grew up in that area and didn’t even  have a chance to talk to someone who wasn’t as white as me until I went to college.  Oh and even Christians still don’t like each other up there, with Catholics and Protestants of various types still convinced that the others are sure to go to hell.

Mr. Kelly has taken it upon himself to declare that women getting health care is akin to the death and destruction at Pearl Harbor and at the WTC on 9/11.  Yep, both  sneak attack where people drowned, were machine gunned, were burned to death, who chose to jump from hundreds of feet up not to burn to death, were no worse than me getting the Pill because I choose to control my own health care and Rep. Kelly not getting his way.  Here are his words verbatim:

“I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that’s Pearl Harbor day.  The other is September 11th, and that’s the day of the terrorist attack. I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.” – Rep. Mike Kelly, press conference August 1, 2012

It’s a pity that Mr. Kelly would denigrate such suffering and sorrow by claiming that since he doesn’t get the chance to force his religion on me, he can claim that the world is ending just as badly for him.  What a puerile, cowardly twit.  Hawaii’s Senator Inouye has issued a good statement denouncing such pathetic words.

Mr. Kelly, no one who doesn’t want contraception has to have it.  Religious entities don’t have to provide it at all.  And employers who want to deny it to their employees and aren’t religious institutions?  Well, dear Mr. Kelly, should they be allowed to refuse their employees from getting blood transfusions when in a car accident if they don’t believe in those like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Scientists?  Should they be able to say “No immunizations for children” if they delusionally believe the lies the anti-vaxxers tell?  Should they say that there should be no cancer coverage at all if they believe that prayer alone should be used?  Can a Scientologist refuse psychotherapy or medicine that controls manic depression to someone suffering from that too?  I’m guessing not.  You’re the same as Rep. Valarie Hodges, the Louisiana state rep who was too willfully ignorant and lazy to know that the bill she voted for to allow religious schools to get state funding would also allow other religions to do the same. Oh my goodness, my religion isn’t the only one? 

You see, Mr. Kelly, ignorant theocrats like you (who do suck on the public teat for some very good health insurance) want to pretend that your beliefs are something special.  They aren’t.  You can’t show your beliefs to be any more sacrosanct or true than the next religion.  You can’t even show that other Christians who are just as good as you, but disagree on what this god “really wants” e.g. those who support a woman’s right to have the health care she wants, are less correct than you with your own version of a god that hates women and their freedom to control their own lives.  Funny how you don’t give a damn about “religious freedom” for anyone but yourself.   You want to convince yourself that you are so very “right” and some supernatural thing is on your “side”. What a special strong man you are, Mr. Kelly, having an invisible friend who is “better” than everyone elses! 

Well, no.  You’re just one more person who wants to control those whom he is afraid of.  You are so pitiful that you think that since you can’t have your way, that the United States is NOT built on your narrow ignorant version of one religion, you should be just as honored as those who suffered and died because other people thought that no one should enjoy the rights and freedoms we enjoy in the United States.

No, Mr. Kelly, you and those like you are no better than the Japanese imperialists that attacked wanting everything under their or Nazi Germany’s rule. You and those like you are no better than the other theocrats who took over those planes on 9/11 who want to control everyone with their religion.  Those desperate to impose their religion on others, be it worshipping an Emperor, a mad man, or a god, are so very very alike and this is why the United States was founded with true religious freedom, not your wish: “freedom only for me”.