Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Corbett still desperately looking for voter fraud, recruiting citizens to report on their neighbors

And when you don’t think that politicians in Pennsylvania could get any worse, they suprise you again. Now, we have a website, courtsey of Governor Corbett and Secretary Aichele, that encourages you to report your neighbors if you think that they are committing voter fraud.

Yes, since Corbett has been shown wrong repeatedly in his support of the passage of legislation based on nonsense claiming wide spread voter fraud in PA, he now wants Pennsylvania citizens to report on their neighbors if they *think* that someone is committing voter fraud. No evidence needed, only someone’s accusation. This then could supposedly be followed up by your local election board or district attorney; there is no guarantee that anything will be done. Again, we see the attempt to gin up fear and suspicion rather than fixing the real problems of Pennsylvania.

The text of the first page of the website is below. They do warn you that by merely being on this site, you have agreed to be monitored. I don’t suggest going out there: I did because I think it’s worth it to report on such things.  There is no need for capturing the isp information *if* they have a form for those who really are reporting. Why do they want to track everyone who comes to this website? It also makes little sense to limit this reporting to only registered voters.  What is the point in that?  The Department of State has no authority in enforcement, so why are they trying to make themselves the middleman in all of this?

I removed the reporting form in the center, only keeping the text.  It does make it clear that using this form is illegal if you are lying, but it does nothing in preventing the time and resources of the state from being wasted.

“Welcome to the Pennsylvania Department of State’s voter complaint site.

Fair and honest elections are the foundation of our republic, and everyone must take responsibility for helping to ensure the integrity of the process. With this in mind, we encourage voters who may be aware of election fraud or irregularities in Pennsylvania to report them.

This online election complaint form is provided for registered voters in Pennsylvania to submit a complaint to the voter’s county board of elections and/or district attorney. The site is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections in Pennsylvania. However, the Department of State has no authority to investigate or prosecute alleged election law violations.

Information submitted with this complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for possible use in future investigations and/or prosecutions.

 Notice: This website monitors and captures ISP information. By visiting this site, you consent to such monitoring.

You MUST be a Registered Voter: You must be registered to vote in Pennsylvania to file a complaint. Therefore, the name and address information provided below will be checked against Pennsylvania’s statewide voter registration database to verify your voter registration. To submit a complaint, make sure your name and address information is the same as that on your voter registration record.

The information submitted below, including your personal information and details of your complaint, will be forwarded to a county board of elections and/or the district attorney for the county in which the incident being described occurred. Therefore, you may be contacted in the future by the county board of elections and/or district attorney for more information regarding the complaint you submit today.

Note: Any information that is voluntarily submitted via our online databases is collected, utilized, and maintained by the Department for the express purpose of referring complaints to the appropriate county board of elections and/or the district attorney. The disclosure of information provided with the online complaint system is voluntary; however, failing to provide certain information may result in the complaint not being appropriately filed. The confidentiality of the complaint information you provide may be affected by state laws, and as such, we cannot guarantee that your complaint information will remain confidential.

If you choose to file a complaint using the online system, you do so voluntarily and acknowledge that all information will be disseminated to a county board of elections and/or district attorney, which may or may not take action on the complaint you reported. The Department does not have authority to conduct investigations into these matters and the Department does not participate in the decisions regarding which complaints may be investigated. Therefore, the Department cannot make any representations or guarantees either express or implied as to the action that may or may not be taken on any complaint filed with the online system.”

First we have the attempts to require one’s “papers” in order to vote. Now we have citizens being asked to watch each other.  Both are very effective techniques in controlling people.  I wonder what is next.  It seems that for all of the claims that President Obama is a fascist or a communist, it’s the theocrats in the Republican party that try to use those regimes’ toolbox.


Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “Mistakes” about which day to vote

Recently, there’s been a rash of the wrong information being put on voter documents that tell people when to vote.   The date “mistakenly” put on would *always* make people too late to vote.

Why is there never a time where the wrong date is days ahead of the actually voting day? 

If these mistakes are made by sheer chance, there should be just as many.  But, as far as I know, there are not.


What the Boss Likes – Obama’s comments on Ayn Rand, Rolling Stone interview

To preface this: I really despise Ayn Rand.  My first roommate in college, Oy.  I swear she only read Ayn Rand and listened to Jethro Tull and Yes.   She gave me Atlas Shrugged to read.  I shrugged back. Wheee, teen-age level selfishness, how “impressive”.  My husband had a copy of The Fountainhead, so I tried reading that too.  What a wannabee martyr who is sure that they and they alone have the only right way.  No wonder these books appeal to teens and neocons.  No wonder they appeal to religious conservatives too, of course ignoring the fact that Ms. Rand was an atheist.  😀

That’s why I liked Obama’s answer to what he thought Paul Ryan’s fascination with Ayn Rand would mean. Always nice to have someone confirm one’s opinions, eh?  🙂

I always forget that Rolling Stone can have some excellent interviews.  The rest of the interview is pretty good too. It shows that Obama has done many good things and more can be done.  Those of you who whine that enough wasn’t done, that you didn’t get completely your way?  The delusional demand for instant gratification and whining about it will make you disappointed for the rest of your life.   It’s time to get over screaming for your binkie. 

Thank you, Rolling Stone for making this available for free.

“Have you ever read Ayn Rand?

What do you think Paul Ryan’s obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?
Well, you’d have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a “you’re on your own” society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.

Of course, that’s not the Republican tradition. I made this point in the first debate. You look at Abraham Lincoln: He very much believed in self-sufficiency and self-reliance. He embodied it – that you work hard and you make it, that your efforts should take you as far as your dreams can take you. But he also understood that there’s some things we do better together. That we make investments in our infrastructure and railroads and canals and land-grant colleges and the National Academy of Sciences, because that provides us all with an opportunity to fulfill our potential, and we’ll all be better off as a consequence. He also had a sense of deep, profound empathy, a sense of the intrinsic worth of every individual, which led him to his opposition to slavery and ultimately to signing the Emancipation Proclamation. That view of life – as one in which we’re all connected, as opposed to all isolated and looking out only for ourselves – that’s a view that has made America great and allowed us to stitch together a sense of national identity out of all these different immigrant groups who have come here in waves throughout our history.”

Another good quote? 

“You know, kids have good instincts,” Obama offered. “They look at the other guy and say, ‘Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.'”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “Think of the children!” only when convenient

the usual hypocrisy – from “The Simpsons”

The supporters of “family values” strike again!  The latest hypocrisy here in Pennsylvania is perpetrated by Representatives of *both* parties, sadly enough.  Rep. RoseMarie Swanger(R), Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D), Rep. Mark Gillen(R), Rep. Keith Gillespie(R), Rep. Adam Harris(R), Rep.Mike Tobash(R), have all decided that women won’t get more help from welfare for an additional baby over a certain number *unless* she can prove the baby was from a rape.   The woman must report the rape and identify the rapist if possible.  There is a similar law being proposed in New Mexico, the one that originally had the phrase “forcible rape” in it.     

Of course, this bill, HB 2718,  is full of the usual ignorance that those who would try to control women usual have.  These legislators do not want to think about the instances where the woman may have reasons not to report a rape. She may be afraid of reprisals against her and her family.  These legislators definitely do not think about children or families. 

I am for giving women the ability to *not* have as many children as their bodies can stand, especially if the system is engineered to reward this to the detriment of both mother and the other children.   This can be done by giving low-income women access to affordable or free birth control  *and* making sure that sex education is taught to everyone both male and female.  

With these legislators, that’s not an option either, since they insist that giving a woman such a choice would somehow destroy the family and “Oh think of the children”.   Of course, as usual for the supposedly “pro-life” crowd, they are not interested in the lives of children or their well-being or families; they are only concerned with controlling and “punishing” women.  The hypocrisy here in HB 2718 is palpable. 

Email them and let them know how transparent they are.

Rep. RoseMarie Swanger: 
Rep. Thomas Caltagirone:
Rep. Mark Gillen:
Rep. Keith Gillespie:
Rep. Adam Harris:
Rep.Mike Tobash:

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – It’s about the social issues and it’s about theocracy

This time it’s about social issues.   

Many people say that the election is about the economy.   In my opinion it isn’t.  Not this time.  This time it’s about the social issues and about losing not only 50+ years of progress but a thousand years if radical conservatives get into power. 

The radical conservatives, the theocrats and those that want a return to company towns and unfettered actions by corporations, don’t only want to return to some imaginary version of the 1950s, they want to turn back the clock much further than that. They want a return to feudalism and fear of an unknown universe, where everyone has their castle and where women are property, sacrificed for power and killed if they have too much knowledge.  They want to roll back a thousand years of progress to a time where ignorance was the order of the day and superstition, religion and economics were used to control everyone and resources were held by force of arms for the use of a few.      

A thousand years.  It sounds like hyperbole or a strawman argument but consider this: 

Just recently, Richard Mourdock has said that rape is his god’s will and that’s why women need to be forced to complete pregnancies caused by rape.  “”I struggled with it myself for a long time, and I realized that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen,” 

What will be the next thing that his god “intended to happen” that Mr. Mourdock will force on others?  It’s when theists decide that they know what their god “really” wants and what this god “really does” that they become incredibly dangerous.  Will Mourdock decide that his god doesn’t want inter-racial marriages?  Doesn’t want interracial children? Doesn’t want women to dare endanger *any* pregnancy and strap her to a gurney to not move for 9 months?   Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – It’s about the social issues and it’s about theocracy”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Halloween or when the TrueChristians™ come out of the woodwork

When I was growing up, my favorite holiday was Halloween.  I liked Thanksgiving for the ability to eat as much starch (can you say stuffing, potatoes and homemade noodles all at once?) as I wanted without being scolded and I liked Christmas because I got prezzies, but both were generally miserable otherwise since I don’t like a house full of annoying relatives.  Being the plaid sheep of the family, it was no fun when these people made it their mission in life to get me to stop reading so much. Sigh….. 

The picking out of the costume was highly anticipated.  The first costume I can remember picking out is Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie, in the classic plastic jumpsuit and hard mask you could slash yourself open on.  This being in western PA in the early 70s it was often cold as hell on Halloween and this was worn *over* a snowsuit.  I can also remember wearing one of grandma’s dresses to be “gypsy” and mom’s wedding dress which I didn’t fit in even in 6th grade.  

I also had to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”  At first, it was for Snoopy and the Red Baron. As I got older I of course got the poke at religion with Linus’ wondering if he’s gotten his “pumpkin patch” sincere enough or not.    

Oh yes, I once wore black tights and a black leotard with a furry tail attached to the behind, and similar furry hood with ears to be a black cat.  That was worn to the church Halloween party that my parents were having for the youth group that the church had.  They had the basement of the church done up with scary rooms with a strobe light, etc.  We even did the “pass the gross feeling thing in the dark” game.   

With that attitude toward a holiday by a whole church of Christians, one wonders where the lunatics come from that are sure that Halloween is directly from Satan himself.  Unfortunately, some of those loons are family; my brother and sister-in-law don’t even let the kids go to their public school the day of the Halloween festivities.  You know, they could catch pumpkin cooties or something.  I’m sure it has something to do with SIL’s crazy pastor mother.  She’s the one who still thinks that the end times are a-comin’ and has bass in her pool for the “tribulation”.  

Here’s some recent rantings from one TrueChristiantm  who is sure that Halloween is evil and of course has to attack people different from her to get her point across.  Linda Harvey is quite a nasty person, being all for bullying as long as her religion is doing it.  You can see just how so here.  She does write for WorldNetDaily, that bastion of intentional lying and appalling willful ignorance.   Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Halloween or when the TrueChristians™ come out of the woodwork”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – PA Rep. Babette Josephs and the Pledge of Allegiance

1892 Pledge banner – no god needed

Not sure how I missed this story.  State Representative Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia) was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance in the state house.  She refused, saying “”Based on my First Amendment rights and based on the fact that I really think it’s a prayer, I don’t pray in public.”

Well, if she’s Christian, she has some good back up in that JC himself supposedly said that praying in public is questionable at best and to be avoided.   

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6

Many Christians forget this, and it’s practically endemic for many Christian politicians who really really want people to think they are the most pious people in the land.  If she’s an agnostic or atheist, she has every right not to have to pray to some magical entity that she doesn’t believe in.  Now, Rep. Josephs is retiring so she can risk a stand like this.  I wish she would have said the pledge and simply returned it to its pre-1954 Communist hysteria form. 

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Of course, our favorite clueless conservative, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, had this to say ” “I think it is shocking that any elected official would not pledge allegiance to the flag. It’s a person’s right to not say the pledge, but I don’t believe anybody should be in elected office that holds that position, and I think a majority of Americans wouldn’t elect somebody if they held that position.”  Ah, Daryl, you do so much to avoid the truth of a matter.  How about we have a history lesson?

The Pledge of Allegiance did not have the words “under God” in it originally.  I suspect you know this but golly isn’t willful ignorance useful when you have to get all indignant and lie?  It wasn’t in the Pledge through two world wars and the Korean War, and the US did perfectly fine without any prating to a magical deity.  It was added in 1954 by Congress in a fit of anti-Communism nonsense, as if putting God in the pledge would what?  Make those “godless commies” burst into flame when they recited it?   You know, Daryl,  people don’t do that.  I’ll tell you a secret, even us atheists say God and we can go into churches and nothing happens. 

Daryl, did you know that the Pledge was written by a Christian *socialist* named Francis Bellamy, a Baptist preacher?  Did you know that he was going to add “equality” and “fraternity” to the list of liberty and justice, but didn’t think the bigoted people of his time would accept that?  Did you know that it was the Catholics who really chimed into have the “under God” piece put in?  That alone would make it unacceptable to far too many protestant/evangelical Christians.  President Eisenhower made the ridiculous claim that adding this nonsense to the pledge gave us some magical “spiritual weapon”, which again, we didn’t need at all in WWI, WWII and the Korean War.  Would you like to tell the veterans of those wars that they were just “lucky”? 

Now, with all of this furor, there is one easy thing to do to end it.  Change the pledge back, so everyone can say it with no aspersions cast on their patriotism or their religion.  Then we can truly have no qualifiers for serving the United States based on one interpretation of one religion as Daryl wants to have.  I’m sure that Daryl would have a fit about The American’s Creed too (adopted by the US House of Reps), since he can’t prate about how great he and his religion is and lie about how awful everyone else simply *must* be. No Christian God defined by Daryl Metcalfe needed at all.

I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies. – William Tyler Page

What the Boss Likes – More Geology Pron

I’m mildly addicted to watching geology shows on cable tv. My husband calls it my geology pron and the poor dear has been subjected to more of it than any one should be who doesn’t share an unnatural love of rocks.  

If you share that malady, here are some very nice websites/blogs:

Photovolcanica  it has penguins too! 

Highly Allochthonous

The Accretionary Wedge

Marli Miller Photography – Geology photos



Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – TANSTAAFL, FDR and poltics today

Sometimes it’s rather disturbing to see just how accurate George Santayana was when he said “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – Reason in Common Sense. 

However, humans being humans, we run from extreme to extreme, always sure that it won’t be the same as before and the promises made *this time* will be kept.  We don’t remember the past, that extremes always have their faults and that fanatacism has yet to be shown a good thing. Another quote from Santayana, “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”

 On a recent episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart showed a clip of Franklin Delano Roosevelt giving a speech at the 1936 New York Democratic State Convention.  And it’s spooky on just how much it applies now.

And no, I am not trying to say that President Obama is another FDR, though people back then hated FDR as much as they hate him now.  Obama is *anything* but perfect. What I am saying is that Romney and Ryan are indeed those who are saying (of course depending on the day and audience):  
“Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.” – spoken with much sarcasm and laughter by FDR 

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  No matter what the “math” Ryan claims he has (and refuses to show), someone’s paying for the tax cuts and the military increases. Who is it?   I’m sure someone will point to social programs as being “free lunches” but are they?  We support the hungry and helpless, the sick, injured and poor.  We benefit from them improving their lot so they might contribute to society, the person on food stamps that is working poor doing jobs many of us would not like, the solider injured in war so they can work again or at least be compensated for their sacrifice (again doing a job that many do not like), etc.   Our social net is the definite example of how there *is* no such thing as a free lunch,  since we cannot expect a free lunch on the backs of those people.  Slavery and the discarding of people to whom we have a debt happily is not part of the American ideal, at least not the ideal that I know.

Here’s the whole speech lest anyone fuss about “context”:  It’s long.  FDR sure could talk.  The following are the parts I found most interesting.

“In the spring of 1933 we faced a crisis which was the ugly fruit of twelve years of neglect of the causes of economic and social unrest. It was a crisis made to order for all those who would overthrow our form of government. Do I need to recall to you the fear of those days—the reports of those who piled supplies in their basements, who laid plans to get their fortunes across the border, who got themselves hideaways in the country against the impending upheaval? Do I need to recall the law-abiding heads of peaceful families, who began to wonder, as they saw their children starve, how they would get the bread they saw in the bakery window? Do I need to recall the homeless boys who were traveling in bands through the countryside seeking work, seeking food —desperate because they could find neither? Do I need to recall the farmers who banded together with pitchforks to keep the sheriff from selling the farm home under foreclosure? Do I need to recall the powerful leaders of industry and banking who came to me in Washington in those early days of 1933 pleading to be saved?

Most people in the United States remember today the fact that starvation was averted, that homes and farms were saved, that banks were reopened, that crop prices rose, that industry revived, and that the dangerous forces subversive of our form of government were turned aside.

A few people- a few only—unwilling to remember, seem to have forgotten those days.

In the summer of 1933, a nice old gentleman wearing a silk hat fell off the end of a pier. He was unable to swim. A friend ran down the pier, dived overboard and pulled him out; but the silk hat floated off with the tide. After the old gentleman had been revived, he was effusive in his thanks. He praised his friend for saving his life. Today, three years later, the old gentleman is berating his friend because the silk hat was lost. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – TANSTAAFL, FDR and poltics today”

From the Kitchen – Murgh Korma

Ganesha, remover of obstacles, be praised!  We’ve done it!  Finally, we’ve made Indian food that tastes as good as what we get at restaurants.  And all thanks to the magazine, Saveur and its “150 Classic Recpies” issue.  I find that Saveur is one of the best cooking magazines out there.  And yep, still an atheist, but if you’re going to have gods, at least make them nifty elephant headed ones that help humanity and hold intellect and wisdom in high esteem. 

I have, well, an inordinate number of cookbooks.  It all started when my husband brought home The Joy of Cooking and I decided to become a good cook.  Unfortunately, none of my family are particularly good cooks. I have no nonna to run to for family recipes, no hidden delights in a recipe box.  What I grew up on was plain and basic. Paprika and oregano were a big deal back then!  

(By the way, get the older copies of The Joy of Cooking (often found in thrift stores).  If it has the turtle soup recipe in it, you’re good to go. That book will teach you everything you need to know, even how to butcher game…)

With a lot of work, and cookbooks, both my husband and I have become really great cooks. It’s surprising that we don’t both weigh 400 pounds.  But one of the few things we couldn’t get a good handle on was Indian food.  We both love curries but they never tasted quite like what we would get at the local restaurant (favorite local one: Aangan).  I have two Indian cookbooks which are good but still didn’t have that spark. 

Then comes the 150th issue of Saveur, that had Murgh Korma as one of the 150 classic recipes in it. We figured, what the heck, why not try this one?  We had nearly all of the ingredients from attempts at curry and other dishes.  The only things I had to pick up were the raw cashews and chiles.  And, we now have an Indian market about a mile away, I could even get papads for a snack.  The cilantro chutney for them is at the bottom.  Side note about papads, the Lijjat brand is a woman’s cooperative that has helped women in India.  It has a rather curious looking rabbit on the label. 🙂 

Curries can be labor intensive. But I had a weekend where we weren’t doing anything since my husband was recovering from a sinus infection.  From start to finish, this curry took me between 3 and 4 hours, and that included cutting up the meat starting with pieces that were bone-in and with skin, slicing the onions, making the pastes and cooking everything down.  I cooked the onions on a lower heat that the recipe seems to indicate so I never had to worry about it burning.  

I found the Saveur instructions for this recipe a little confusing and wrote them for myself a little differently.  I hope you find them useful. The Saveur recipe is good for getting the complete amounts of each ingredient to start off with; I’ve broken them out for each step. This is definitely a dish that is much easier if you use separate bowls for the ingredients since they go in at different times.  Read the recipe through before you start. You’ll be glad you did.  No photo since curries aren’t the most photogenic of foods. Continue reading “From the Kitchen – Murgh Korma”