My Street Band Made the New York Times, Marching for Science


Woohoo.

Here we are, the Jamaica Plain Honk Band (subsumed for the day by the Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians, otherwise known as BABAM). That figure on the right , sort of behind and to the side of the tuba player?  The guy whose head is out of the picture, but you can see the blue raincoat? Yeah, that’s me. Promise. And that’s E, our young brass player, leading the charge. 25MARCH34-superJumbo

Another Old News Clipping: How We Are Just Not Getting Afghanistan


While we hate to serve as mere aggregators, one of our editors came across this article from 2012, courtesy of The Daily Beast.

I Reenlisted to Return to Afghanistan, Only to Find Myself in Kuwait.

I wanted to do the right thing, to go back to the winding-down war to bring the rest of the guys back home.

by Jonathan Raab

The soldier who wrote the article–five years ago–reenlisted so he could help with the “winding-down” of the war. He was sent to Kuwait instead, and we don’t need to point out that the war shows no sign of winding down.

soldier

In the Aftermath of 9/11


While going through all the detritus that I’ve dragged from house to house (I didn’t have time to sort, but that’s a divorce story), I found a few pages from this Boston Globe from December 28, 2001.

Rudy Giuliani makes an ass of himself (again).

The Mayor Who Spent His Life Preparing His Rictus Grin uses his farewell address to slam Boston, reminding us that although he may have been able to fake leadership for a few short months, he’s still a delusional deviant at heart. mayor gross

 

The ‘Shoe Bomber’ had recently put himself in the news.

Yup, Richard Reid, the man who failed to blow up a plane yet has still managed to inconvenience billions of travelers–and continues to do so–first appeared around this time. Has 16 years of removing shoes at airport security flown by so fast?

 

There was this incisive cartoon regarding the Taliban and St. Reagan.

The truth actually a bit more complicated. There is a photo of Reagan with mujahideen in the White House, and it often accompanied by the claim that those men are Taliban. Snopes says this is false, that the Taliban did not exist at the time. While they weren’t Taliban at the time, Afghans who would later fight the US were indeed armed by Reagan. Reagan had no problems giving arms to groups with sketchy histories and could hardly be considered reliable allies. For more on how we often embrace reprobates, you can readIMG_0454

this editorial from the the late, great Molly Ivins with the haunting title How We Could Still Lose in Afghanistan.IMG_0452

 And a page full of ads for knickers. . .from Filene’s! (now located in the Mall of Heaven, right next to Marshall Field’s). IMG_0453

Shavuah Tov. Impeach Drumpf.


Back to the workaday world.

Just a few links about our ever-crumbling separation of Church and State. And I do mean Church, because it ain’t gonna be synagogues, mosques, or temples.

This from the Washington Post on repealing of the ‘Johnson Amendment, ‘ which would allow tax-exempt houses of worship to become mouthpieces for politicians.

 

And this from New York Magazine on the devout Christian physician

14-willie-parker.w710.h473.2x
Dr. Willie Parker, AP photo.

who travels the South performing abortions for women who need them, which he feels is a moral obligation.

Parable of the Leaf Blower: No wonder we’re fucked.


The weak thinking that people apply to just about everything shows how little we’ve advanced, and why we won’t probably won’t get out of our current morass. I’d point out the inanities of the arguments, but, really,  it’s not worth anyone’s time.

From Facebook, a  “N. Neighbors” page, devoted to the residents’ concerns in a certain area.

Citizen 1:

OK, it’s the first really nice day in a long time, and I can’t sit outside because of the leaf blowers. There bad for noise pollution, bad for the environment, and the put allergens back into the air. Yes, I KNOW it’s easier than raking, but given how long I hear those things buzzing, they can’t be saving much time.

Citizen 2:  I was thinking the same thing this morning as I watched a few guys blowing dirt, leaves and debris off the sidewalk into the street and up into the air. To me – this does nothing but move the mess around unless you sweep it up and dispose off it properly.

Citizen 1:  The guys next door have been at it for an hour. No dust protection, no sound protection.

Citizen 2:  <dead link to MA state site on leaf blowers>

BLOG.MASS.GOV

Citizen 1:

Leaf Blower’s Emissions Dirtier than High-Performance Pick-Up Truck’s, Says Edmunds’ InsideLine.com

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — December 6, 2011 — A consumer-grade leaf blower emits more pollutants than a 6,200-pound 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, according to tests conducted by Edmunds’ InsideLine.com, the premier online resource for automotive enthusiasts.

Mr. Non Sequitur:  Gee, I’d be happy to be home by 4 o’clock listening to anything, on a work day!

Citizen 1:  Not if you worked from home.

Mr. Non Sequitur:  I would love to work from home. But since I do physical labor, I can’t!

Citizen FU Oh, get a life. Leaf blowers will be here forever, and they are FAR, FAR, FAR FASTER than raking leaves. I use one for 3-4 straight weekends in the fall, my neighbors do likewise, and more power to them. But, gee, I am just oh so sure that they are (goes on to blame “Odumbdumb” for “believing” in climate change,  says how he would have banned leaf blowers had he stayed in office. He follows up with the usual invective against “snowflakes.”)

Leaf_Blower_mouth-560x397

Citizen 1:  Oh, you’re a climatologist? Cool! Where did you get your degree?

Mr. Non Sequitur:  OMG Tony, everything isn’t Obama’s fault.
But snowflakes need to relax too.

Neighboress:  Glad, Tony, that you are a member of the entitled crowd. Are you sure you are old enough to operate a leaf blower or is it the toy version

Neighboress:  Definition of snowflake for those who feel the need to make this political.
snowflake, a supposedly derogatory term used by people who need to carry a gun to buy a sandwich

Mr. Non Sequitur:  Don’t carry a gun, but don’t want to dictate to others not to. Just trying to stay middle of the road and see both sides.

Neighboress:  Well said, Stephen. No wonder Washington cannot work together….we, the people, cannot even find a middle road.

Mr. Non Sequitur:  Without getting run over in it!

Neighboress:  😞

 

Neighboress:  For what it is worth, life is too short to not enjoy every day. Sounds are part of every season.

Yet another neighbor: The constant sound of leaf blowers drives me nuts!!!

Mr. Dismissive #firstworld problems.

Citizen 1:  Responses that are just name calling (and possibly baloney)? Don’t get me started.

Confused:  You got to be kidding me!

Citizen 3:  Happy Spring!

Mr. Non Sequitur:

< picture of fountain in Mr. NS’s yard>

Neighboress:  You turn that way up and have some fish jumping and you might drown out all other noise

 ‘Nother Neighboress: Leaf blowers aren’t faster unless you’ve got a giant one. They’re simply less labor. I spend less time raking than my neighbors do with their blowers. I agree the noise is irritating.

 

Mr. “I love my tool”:  I am a proud owner of a very large backpack blower and I can say they are unquestionably MUCH faster than raking or any other method. If anyone disagrees, feel free to come to my yard in the fall and try taking the entire thing with piles of leaves in less than 5 hours. As where I get the entire thing done in 45 min with the blower. I have woods behind my yard and blow them to the back.

Yes it’s loud and yes it’s a gas engine, but time is money and I’d much rather spend that time with my family or doing other things than raking leaves all fall.

Citizen 1:  You may use it for 45 min, but in a given neighborhood, it’s entirely possible that they are running for nearly the entire day.

Mr. “I love my tool”:  Haven’t experienced that yet. On any given house, a landscaping crew spends approx 15-20 Mon and moves on. This time of the yeah when you get spring cleanups and the fall where you get the same are the exceptions but otherwise during the summer they …See More

 ‘Nother Neighboress:   If your time were really that valuable you could pay someone else to blow them for you. 😃

Mr. “I love my tool”:  Saving 45 min to have someone else do it (and paying them) vs. Saving HOURS by using the machine… …slightly different.

‘Nother Neighboress:   I rake our yard in a couple of hours. Plus I enjoy it. I’m never going to strap a gas powered device to my back.

Mr. “I love my tool”:  That’s great. It’s your choice. My yard could not be raked and either dumped or bagged in a couple of hours when the leaves are down.

Ms. Reductio:  Do you people cut your grass with a pair of scissors too? Come on.

Citizen 1:  No, but a rake doesn’t move one leaf at a time, either.

Mr. “I love my tool”:  The argument that a rake isn’t that much slower than a quality leaf blower is never going to hold water with anyone who has a good amount of leaves in their yard.

 

 

Mr. “I love my tool”:  Everyone Crusades against leaf blowers but no one says everyone should use reel lawnmowers instead of gas powered ones.

Citizen 1:  OK, they are still noisy, polluting, and dust/allergen dispersing, which is the main argument.

‘Nother Neighboress:   I think there should be mufflers on them just like cars.

Mr. Non Sequitur:  Actually, they do have mufflers. It’s more of the sound of the fan that you hear.

‘Nother Neighboress:   Something that muffles the fan noise then. I meant a noise reduction device that makes them quieter.

Citizen 1:  Clearly, I’m not an outlier. There are plenty who think like I do. But I love the idea, “It’s my property. I’m gonna do whatever I want,” being posted on a site that uses the name “neighbors.” Why don’t they just change the name to “People who live in N.     but don’t really give a sh!t about what other people think.”

Mr. “I love my tool”:  Wow Citizen 1. Because people don’t agree with you, they don’t give a $it?

Unless you cut your grass with a reel mower, you drive an electric car, you walk or bike to work, recycle EVERY single piece of plastic, glass, cardboard, etc, only use items such as cups, plates, etc that are made from recycled material, use rain barrels to minimize water wastage, I’d hold out before dishing out the judgements.

Citizen 1:  Done with this. I was deluded to think to think that there might be a middle ground.

‘Nother Neighboress:   What middle ground are you looking for exactly? I’m not a fan of the noise either, but I feel like my neighbors get to do what they want as long as they’re not out there unreasonably early or late.

 

Stolen Valor, Gross Capitalism Version: “Our Business Supports the Troops”


more than youI went to rent a car. Because I’m  in the Reserves, I look for military discounts. I don’t feel entitled to them. I volunteered, I get paid for showing up for training, and best of all, I get TSA Pre-Check! so if no one offers me a discount, no big deal.

I would never think that a business that doesn’t give a military discount is against the troops. But conversely, I don’t think that just because a business says that they “support the troops” that it’s actually true.   The phrase “I support the troops” has become an essentially meaningless trope, a sort of verbal lapel-pin (made in China by underpaid workers!) and proof of nothing real, except perhaps the desire to fit in with the ‘right’ folk and show that one adheres to the accepted orthodoxy.

But I get it. I understand the reflexive need for Americans to say they support the troops. Someone else–less then 1% of the families in the US have any skin in the game–is doing all the heavy lifting, and enormous amount of guilt can be assuaged and responsibility shirked merely by uttering the mantra, “I support the troops.”

We all know, of course, that except for those who actually do something —help their neighbors who have a deployed family member, or volunteer in VA hospitals, offer a discount, or engage their elected officials in meaningful discussion (fat chance), etc.– that no one’s really supporting the troops in any significant way. Not that they have to: no one has to support the troops. It is a volunteer army. Morevoer, in a country with a strong First Amendment like ours, it’s anyone’s right to say,  Hey, I’m not supporting people who take part in a system whose basic function seems not to be defending ourselves, but pushing an American agenda on other parts of the world, and is willing to have our own children and the children of others die as a consequence. That doesn’t bother me. Hypocrisy does. It makes sense that if you don’t support war, you wouldn’t support the military-industrial complex. (It’s more complicated than that, but that’s not today’s discussion).

But my point–remember that I did start out this post with one–is that if you say that you support the troops, get off your fucking ass and support the troops. (NB: A discount does validate the claim.)

So when I click on Enterprise’s link to it’s we-love-the-military page, enterprise rent-a-car

and then click on the link to get my “military promo code”, please don’t have it be the same fucking price as I would have gotten anyway.

It’s dishonest.

Epilogue: I called up Enterprise Customer Service, and I told them–politely–what I said here. I didn’t ask for any discount, upgrade, or special service. I just said that if they say they have a military promo then they should actually have a military promo.

When I went to get my rental, I got the ridiculously low weekend rate, which normally would have been useless, except they gave me unlimited miles, making the rental the best deal I’ve had in a long time.

I’m glad they did right by me. They should now do the same for everyone else.

The Wall Won’t Be Built


That’s a prediction, but if I were a betting man, I’d definitely bet against.

Mexico’s not paying.

The residents near the border don’t support it.

The Pussy Grabber is losing popularity, therefore power and clout.

Caveat: If he builds a wall like the Stonehenge replica in Spinal Tap, it doesn’t count.

 

Viscerally, I’m Glad We Bombed Syria, BUT…


you do realize that without boots on the ground we are not going to save the innocents caught in the crossfire of warring bad guys? Is there a follow up to this? Do we even have a Syria policy?

Prediction: We will not have an informed and constructive debate about how we use our military. We don’t have informed and constructive debates about anything any more. Look at the morally challenged maroons who now control all branches of government, and the cause is obvious. Lasciate ogni speranza, boys, we’re headed on a bad trip.

Remember, it’s official Urinate on Mitch McConnell Day!

A Picture Worth Reprinting.

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