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In an unprecedented announcement President Obama today announced from the White House that he was leaving the Democratic Party and joining the Republican Party. President Obama said:

“Since the major health care policies, economic policies, and defense policies are all based on prior Republican policies, I am following the next logical course and am announcing that I am breaking my ties to the Democrat Party and am joining the Republican Party. The Affordable Care Act, called by some Obamacare, was based on plans developed initially by the Republican-led Heritage Foundation and successfully implemented by Republican Governor of Massachusetts, and now fellow Republican, Mitt Romney. My economic policies are based on bailing out and protecting big business, as initiated during the Great Recession, with government loans and lenient tax policies. My defense policy is a continuation of the policy of providing extensive military support, equipment, and advisors and troops to the Middle East as well as maintaining a determined and robust military posture with our bombing campaign. These were all policies developed and supported by Republicans, particularly in the previous administration, which I have supported and continue to support. In fact to further demonstrate my solidarity with the Republican Party I am also announcing that I have now become a life-time member of the National Rifle Association.”
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 07:26 AM PDT

A Fable of Madeline and Richard

by dewtx

Madeline and Richard were walking arm in arm at sunset along their favorite beach. As they looked longingly into each other's eyes they stopped, and Richard went down onto his knee.

"Oh Madeline," said Richard, "there's something I've wanted to say to you for a long time."

"Oh yes Richard", replied Madeline expectantly, "I've been wanting so long to hear it."

Richard took a deep breath, looked up at Madeline, and reached into his pocket and handed Madeline a fifty.

............

Richard picked himself up off the sand, the red imprint of Madeline's hand still stinging on his cheek, a crumpled fifty at his feet.

"Oh Madeline," Richard shouted as he saw Madeline in the distance walking briskly away. "Didn't you know that the Supreme Court said that money is speech!"

"Oh Madeline, please come back to me and I'll speak another twenty."

------------

Moral: Love may be blind, but it sure isn't deaf. Love knows the difference between speech and money—even if the Supreme Court doesn't.

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In today's Houston Chronicle there is an article with the above title about how Texas Gov. Rick Perry had signed a bill closing the state's high risk health insurance pool effective Jan. 1, 2014. So current policy holders from the high risk pool have been informed that if they want health insurance after Jan. 1 they will need to sign up for a new policy before Dec. 15 from the federal Healthcare.gov ACA health insurance exchange.

On the surface this seems like a good idea. Those in the state's high risk pool are those who could not get health insurance from any company in the state usually because of pre-existing conditions or having health care costs that have passed the caps of their previous policies. This was one of the reasons the ACA exchanges were established: to be able to help people find reasonably priced health insurance for those even with pre-existing conditions that will also no longer have lifetime caps. So this seems like a win-win: The State of Texas no longer has to fund and operate the high risk pool, and high risk Texans who could only get expensive health insurance from the state's high risk pool can now easily obtain more affordable policies on the exchanges without fear of rejection or caps. But since this is Texas, there is an undercurrent of deep irony and hypocrisy running throughout this situation. This irony/hypocrisy is discussed below the fold.

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On today's free Houston Chronicle web site there is an article entitled: "Governor: Latest Perry 'oops' moment belongs to wife Anita" (also here at Bloomberg). The gist of the article (which you can read for yourself) is this:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry today owned up to an “oops” moment that wasn’t even his.

His wife, Anita, misspoke when she told a journalist that abortion is a woman’s right, Perry, 63, a Republican who opposes terminating pregnancies, told a crowd in Smithville, New Jersey.

“From time to time we’ll stick the wrong word in the wrong place, and you pounce upon it,” Perry told reporters at a campaign event for U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, a 57-year-old Republican from Bogota.

and
Anita Perry made her remark Sept. 28 during an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival at the University of Texas in Austin, according to the newspaper.

“That could be a woman’s right, just like it’s a man’s right if he wants to have some kind of procedure,” Perry was quoted as telling editor-in-chief Evan Smith.

Think that's it--end of story--full stop? Hardly! To hear the rest of the story follow me below the orange croissant.
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I woke up this morning with the lyrics to this song floating around in my head. So I had to write them down quickly before I forgot them (which I tend to do). The song and lyrics are called: “I ain’t doin’ no goosesteppin’ (For you, Senator Cruz)”. I’ve tightened the lyrics up a little bit, but they’re mostly what came to me in my early morning dream. I imagined the melody to be a country-western type tune with a twangy steel guitar, but I can’t remember now how the exact melody went (which doesn’t matter since I can’t write music anyway).

So head below the orange doohickey to read my latest bit of dream verse. I hope you all enjoy it and laugh as much as my wife did when I first read it to her. A laugh is better than a cry much of the time anyway, especially now.

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Although "The Lost Art of Finding Our Way" would be a great title for a wonderful piece of fiction by the likes of Annie Proulx or Michael Ondaatje, this is a brand new nonfiction book by Harvard Physics Professor John Edward Huth. John Huth teaches a popular freshman course at Harvard called "Primitive Navigation" where he teaches students to understand and appreciate the environment around them outside of their digital GPS-enabled bubble, and how to find your way in the natural world using your knowledge and observations of the natural world. The word Primitive in "Primitive Navigation" should probably be in quotation marks, because many of the navigation techniques discussed by Dr. Huth are anything but primitive, like the famous Polynesian explorers who sailed their outrigger canoes from Tahiti to Hawaii using only the stars and sun, winds and ocean currents to navigate the enormous Pacific distances from one small group of islands to another.

To continue with my review of this fascinating new book, follow me below the orange croissant.

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Heiligenschein (or "Holy Light") is an everyday optical effect that anyone can see best on a sunny morning (or evening) on dew-covered grass. Simply turn so you're looking directly at the shadow of your head on the dewy grass (that's called the "anti-solar point", i.e., the point that is directly opposite the sun along the line formed by the sun and your head, particularly your eyes) and if you look closely at the shadow of your head you will see a solid circle of white light around it, like a halo. That's heiligenschein. Here's an example of it:

An example of heiligenschein (or
Heiligenschein (or "holy light") surrounding the shadow of the photographer's head on a dewy morning.
Now heiligenschein is related to the optical effects of halos and glories, although a technical difference is that halos and glories are rings of light usually with bands of colors, and heiligenschein is a solid circle of white light. Importantly heiligenschein can only be seen by a person observing their own shadow. You cannot see the heiligenschein on another person's shadow, nor they yours (unless they are very close to your head, like peeking closely over your shoulder)—heiligenschein can only be seen at each person's own anti-solar point (which is unique to each person). Now follow me below the orange fleur-de-lis for a little bit more about this interesting everyday optical effect, and the metaphor I'll make later with it about the hubris of the mighty.
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The latest issue (November 2012) of Scientific American has an excellent and very timely article by Shawn Lawrence Otto called "America's Science Problem" in the print version, and renamed as "Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy" in the online version.

Mr. Otto's article cogently discusses the the origins of the science denial movement in the United States beginning a century ago with Democrat William Jennings Bryan (of Scopes Monkey Trial fame) who ran a fundamentalist campaign against the theory of evolution. It then goes on to discuss anti-science's persistent endurance up to today including both those Democrats who believe vaccines cause autism, and those Republicans who deny anthropogenic climate change, evolutionary biology, the meaning of the fossil record over geologic time, and big bang cosmology as well as fundamentalist concerns over control of a woman's reproductive rights and an anti-regulatory zeal against environmental protections.

It is a very good article worthy of Scientific American that is accessible to any level of reader. If you are not a Scientific American subscriber or don't have the print version already, please click the above link to read this article in full (and if you are so inclined, please consider becoming a Scientific American subscriber).

Below the orange what-not, I list the standard maximum three paragraphs from the article particularly emphasizing the conclusions of the article.

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Here's a little ditty, much of which came to me in a dream this morning, celebrating last night's evisceration of Mitt Romney by President Obama, especially Obama's final gut-wrenching totally cool move against Mitt (with an affirmation by Candy Crowley).

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On the front page of today's Houston Chronicle is a story about a Republican precinct chair in Fort Bend County, Texas, Bruce Fleming, who has voted twice in elections in both Texas and Pennsylvania (as well as his wife).

This same Bruce Fleming also has a connection with True the Vote, the Tea Party-based organization trying to expose voter fraud! In this case however, it is Republican voter fraud that has been exposed. In the words of Rick Perry: Oops! By the way this is also a second-degree felony in Texas.

Now mentioned in the last paragraph of the Chronicle article is Don Bankston who is a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee and who is going to file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General, the U.S. Justice Department, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania officials. Now this same Don Bankston is "Bubba", the husband of the famous Texas blogger "Juanita Jean". And she can do more justice to this story than I ever could, so please read her story here: "Excuse Me While I Rub This In". She also has a follow-up story here: "Lookie Who Has Lawyered-Up".

So please give Juanita Jean a look. She can write about this story better than I ever could and I don't mind spreading the plaudits around especially if it concerns Juanita Jean and The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc. If you haven't read her before, she's an absolute blast in the Molly Ivins tradition! I also did a search and didn't find any previous diaries about Bill Fleming and this particular case of Republican voter fraud. If any exists, contact me or add a comment and I'll delete or modify this diary. Enjoy!

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Hooray for President Obama! In today's mail I received a check as a rebate from BlueCross BlueShield of Texas because BCBSTX did not meet the 80% Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) required by the SCOTUS-affirmed Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! If others are as happy as I am (and I've been an Obama supporter from the git-go) with this timely, explicit, and significant monetary benefit of the ACA, President Obama will be adding or solidifying many more supporters to his cause because of this particular feature of Obamacare. This is a BFD folks!

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Upon waking from a blissful Sunday sleep, I was struck with the realization that Mitt Romney is just like the main characters of "The Wizard of Oz" all rolled into one. Follow me below the fold for a divertissement of why Mitt Romney is like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard of Oz, and the Wicked Witch of the West.

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