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Statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

"The Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect. This ruling by a district court will work its way through the judicial process. We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court."

— Cody Craynor, spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

(Source:  KSL News.  Emphasis is mine.)

Really?!?

How is oppressing a portion of our society, making them second class citizens, treating them with respect?

Hypocritical, lying, bigoted, liar!

Discuss

Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:34 AM PST

Americans Be Damned!

by koseighty

Unemployment benefits are set to expire soon. Without those benefits, those families will stop spending. That, in turn, will cost us another 240,000 jobs. So of course the Republicans in the House will do nothing. They hate anything that keeps Americans working.

The president explained, “Just this week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that allowing benefits to expire will be a drag on our economic growth next year. A report by the Department of Labor and my Council of Economic Advisors estimated that it could cost businesses 240,000 jobs.”

The President's Jobs Bill, still filibustered by Republicans in the Senate, never brought up by the Republicans in the House. And yet Republicans have never offered a Jobs bill of their own (after running in 2010 on "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!").

No. The Republicans prefer Americans unemployed at least until they can win the White House. So what if a generation of young Americans never sees gainful employment? The important thing is the party, Americans be damned!

http://www.americanjobsact.com

/ end rant

Discuss

Today's Google Doodle honors (what would have been) the 107th birthday of Grace Hopper.

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A Ph.D. in mathematics, Grace Hopper left teaching at Vassar at the age of 37 to join the navy to help in the war effort for World War II.  The navy put her to work on the Mark I at Harvard, one of the world's first computers and she became one of the world's first programmers.  At the time programming was done by entering in the computer's native code -- pure numbers.

She developed one of the world's first "compilers" which translate human readable code into computer machine language.  That work would lead her to head up the development  of COBOL, for COmmon Business-Oriented Language.  (FORTRAN, for FORmula TRANslation, a mathematical programming language, was developed around the same time and the two vie for the title of "first computer compiler.")

COBOL is still used in the financial industry and you can buy Visual COBOL today for use with Microsoft's Visual Studio.

She retired a Rear Admiral at age 60 after which she went to work for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) another pioneer computer company.

She was a great mathematician and computer scientist who did amazing things in a "man's world."

Google bringing her to mind lead me to do a little nestalgia searching.  Which lead to an interview she did with David Letterman.

At about 2:35 she comments about joining the navy and makes the comment, "There was a time when everybody in this country all did one thing together."

"Good Old Days," indeed.

The whole interview is a fun watch.  Happy Birthday, Grace Hopper!

Discuss

Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 12:15 PM PST

“The Snows of Winter”

by koseighty

I present for your approval (with apologies to both Simon and Garfunkel):

“The Snows of Winter”
(sung to “The Sound of Silence”)

Hello Ice Melt, my old friend,
It’s time to scatter you again,
Because snowfall softly falling,
Left inches while I was sleeping.
And the barrier that was planted on my walk
Still remains.
Within the snows of winter.

In winter garb I stomp alone
Down covered walks of ice and snow,
‘Neath the halo of the street lamp,
I turn my collar to the cold and damp
When my drive was filled by a passing plow
That cleared my street
Of ice and snow of winter.

And in the morning light I saw
18 inches, maybe more.
Snow packed in my driveway,
Ice packed tight that won’t give way,
Ice and snow packed the end of my driveway!
I cursed the plow,
As I shovel the snows of winter.

And the children ran and played,
‘round the snowman they just made.
And the snow just kept falling,
On the drive I was shoveling
And the snow laughed, the laugh of an evil god
That held me bound
Deep below the snows of winter.

Poll

How do you handle the Snows of Winter

22%2 votes
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| 9 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 06:42 AM PDT

The War on Women, Endgame?

by koseighty

In "discussions" on abortion laws with right leaning friends and family, I've often said in the end strict abortion laws would make miscarriages illegal and the women who have them felons.  This observation generally gets me laughed at — surely doctors can tell the difference and law enforcement would have no reason to go after innocent women.  And I'm left being regarded as that liberal democrat who doesn't have a clue.

Before we proceed, consider the following from the March of Dimes (emphasis added):

Among women who know they are pregnant, about 10 to 15 out of 100 pregnancies (10 to 15 percent) end in miscarriage. As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage—we don’t know the exact number because many may happen before a woman knows she’s pregnant.
As many as half of all pregnancies in the United States may end in miscarriage.

With that in mind, follow me down the rabbit hole.

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Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 07:21 AM PDT

Shopping, Mothers, Kids and Bullies

by koseighty

Years ago, as my wife and I were grocery shopping, we saw a woman with two children in tow.

The children were arguing or fussing about something.  Not loudly enough to create a scene.  Just enough to be noticed by fellow shoppers.  Really, not that unusual at any store where parents have children who wish to be elsewhere doing anything else.

Then one of the kids hit the other.  The mother's response was immediate.  She slapped the oldest of the two across the face with a stern, "I told you: Don't hit!"

The irony, the hypocrisy, hit my wife and I as the slap had hit the child.  And, of course, was completely missed by the mother.

There are two things to notice here.  The first I'll mention may not be the first that comes to mind, but bears mentioning as it frames the second, more obvious observation.

Frist, one of the children crossed "the line" and the mother responded.  How often do we see parents set limits or parameters for their kids, only to watch them dither and vacillate when the child repeatedly crosses the line?

Second, how absurd to "teach" a child that physical violence is unacceptable through physical violence!  The lesson learned is not that violence is unacceptable, but that one needs to be bigger, stronger, and more powerful than the one you are striking.

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We (as a nation) excused our own actions in Iraq because "the world needed to be free of the horrors of a tyrannical dictator."  We willfully ignored the over 100,000 Iraqis who have died because of the instability we brought with our "justice."

Today, questions come to mind:

•  Who made us the mother of the middle east, that it is we who must step in and correct nations like errant children?

•  How will adding to the violence in the area solve the problem?

•  Have we learned from our past?  Are Iraq and Afghanistan better off now then they were after the departure of previous invaders?

•  What will it cost?  in lives?  in dollars?  in reputation and good will?

•  Who will pay those costs?

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I can only answer the last.  Not the 1 percent, who will actually make money on the deal.  Increased war spending always seems to make the wealthy more so.  The cost will be payed by the 99 percent in the lives of our children and grandchildren.  In taxes, and debt, and decreased social services at home.

We have truly entered an age of empire for America.  One in which we've gone from being a people to be admired, respected and emulated to being power to be feared.  No, repubs, they don't hate us for our freedom, they hate us because we have taken the Soviet Union's place as the world's bully.

Discuss

Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:07 PM PDT

Mom's Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

by koseighty

I just got back from a wonderful afternoon and evening at my parents'.

Standard 4th of July fare:  Homemade southern fried chicken and homemade potato salad and all the sides and snacks.  Family, neighbors, and good conversation with no where to be and no set time to be there.

Before dinner itself can be served, everybody has to take a turn cranking the ice cream.  It takes about an hour of cranking and adding ice and salt to get it set nice and firm.  When the strongest men can't crank it any more, it's ready -- to pack.  The inside beater is removed, the canister re-sealed, and lowered back into the salt water.  More ice and salt are piled on top.  Then a couple of blankets thrown over the lot to keep all that cold in.

Dinner is served, conversation continues, and about an hour and a half later, the ice cream is hard set inside its little ice fortress and ready to serve.

I was an adult before I found out that most people don't make ice cream the way my mother always has.  Her's is really a frozen custard.  Which gives it a creamy smoothness and extra richness that other recipes just can't match.

Today I found out that "My Mom's Recipe" was gotten from her Aunt Hazel.  The aunt that raised her, and my favorite "grandma."  (As a child, it never occurred to me to ask why my grandma's name was Aunt Hazel.  It was just her name.)  Where Aunt Hazel got it, no one remembers.  She had been making it long before taking my mom in back in the 40s.  Some woman's magazine?  A neighbor?  Aunt Hazel's mother or grandmother before her?  We don't know.

Anyway.  To keep this national treasure from disappearing from the face of the earth, I'm putting it out there in cyber space.

Mom’s Homemade Ice Cream
(frozen custard)
makes 1 gallon

Mix:
1/2 cup Sugar
4 Tbsp. Flour
Dab of Milk -- just enough to make a thick paste from the Sugar and Flour

Add:
4 Egg Yolks, beaten
2 cups Milk
dash of Salt

Boil until thick.  This is a custard.  That means stirring so the eggs don't cook at the bottom.  Bring it to a good solid boil and keep stirring as it thickens.  It thickens as you cook.  So don't stop early and think it will thicken as it cools.

My mom actually uses only 1 cup of Milk above, then adds the 2nd cup as the mixture is coming off the stove.  To help it cool faster.

Refrigerate this custard for 3 or 4 hours to get it completely down to refrigerator temperatures (40° F).

In a separate bowl, mix:
1-3/4 cups Sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Vanilla
1 qt. Half and Half or 1 pt. Heavy Cream

Refrigerate this mixture as well.

Just before making the ice cream, beat 4 Egg whites until stiff.

Put everything into the ice cream freezer -- custard, cream mixture, and egg whites.  They're just layered in the ice cream freezer -- no need to mix or fold them together, the ice cream beater will do that for you. Fill with Milk to the Full Line.

Now crank that puppy as describe in the ice cream freezer manual (and above).  It goes easier with people to trade off.  [Personal bias:  If you're not hand cranking, you're not making REAL homemade ice cream :-)]

Enjoy.

Happy 4th of July, all y'all!

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:18 PM PDT

From a Former Grammar Policeman

by koseighty

I must plead guilty.  And offer the court my most sincere commitment to repentance and recovery.

I won't go into what drives someone like me to become a Grammar Policeperson.  If I'm honest, it's a part of me I don't like to acknowledge, let alone examine.  (Wow, that's very shallow of me.  Why, yes, yes it is.  Perhaps Grammar Policism comes from that same shallow end of my intellect pool.  Policing grammar IS so much easier than focusing on content.)

Rather, I'd like to list of of the reasons that I have tried to (and mostly succeeded at) curb the urge to point out flaws.  As part of my recovery, I've even been known to let my own writing slide upon proofreading.

On to the reasons I've given up Grammar Policing for fun and profit:

Context, convention and circumstance are all.
~ Stephen Fry (see below)
1 - It's the ideas that are important.  The whole purpose of communicating is to communicate.  NOT to pass some test of rules.  As stated above, I realized that focusing on grammar was the shallow end of the pool and I fancy myself a deep end kinda guy.

2 - On the internet, you don't know if for the person you are berating English is a second, third, or forth language.  If I were to make a comment on a French site, it would be because I thought I had something to contribute to the conversation.  NOT because I hope someone will correct my French.  (Which, let's face it, could not get more appalling.)

3 - It's lonely being the Grammar Police.  Nobody respects you or realizes the critical job you are doing keeping the internet properly punctuated.

That's it really.  And, while the first days of recovery were difficult, the days since have been much more peaceful and datafull (rather than rulefull).

As fate would have it, Stephen Fry has said it better than I ever could.  (Part of me wants to say that it's the accent that makes him sound so smart.  But the more I learn of him, the fact is that he is much smarter than I as well as much more eloquent.)

Some highlights:

Sadly, desperately sadly, the only people who seem to bother with language in public today bother with it in quite the wrong way.

They write letters to broadcasters and newspapers in which they are rude and haughty about other people's usage and in which they show off their own superior "knowledge" of how language should be.

I hate that.

It hurts that Mr. Fry hates that part of me.  But, I too, have become uncomfortable with my former self.

Speaking of the Grammar Police, Mr. Fry asks:

Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound-sex of it?  Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm, and tickle those they talk to?

Do they?

I doubt it.

They're too farting busy sneering at a greengrocer's less than perfect use of the apostrophe.

They are no more guardians of language than the kennel club is the guardian of dogkind.
No.  No, the claim to be defending language for the sake of clarity almost never, ever holds water.
There is no right language or wrong language any more than there are right or wrong clothes.

Context, convention and circumstance are all.

Is there a 12-step program somewhere that can help others similarly afflicted?
Discuss

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Revolution Church pastor Jay Bakker serves rainbow bread Communion while friend Tony Jones serves wine during a service at Bryant Lake Bowl, a Minneapolis bar.
Too often we read of churches opposing marriage equality.  Revolution Church in Minneapolis baked up some rainbow communion bread to celebrate the passing of marriage equality by the Minnesota house.
Bakker said he's received plenty of backlash from conservative social media users after news about his rainbow communion bread spread online.

"They've missed out on the higher message of the Bible and who Jesus is and what he did," Bakker said in response to those negative comments. "They've become victims of tradition."

Revolution Church seems to be rather casual.  The New York church meets in a candy store.  The new Minneapolis church meets at Bryant Lake Bowl -- a theater megaplex with bowling alley and restaurant.
"A bar is neutral ground," Bakker said.
This diarist can totally see Christ holding services at a bar, multiplying the rainbow bread and wine for all to enjoy.

The story from Daily News can be found here.  Click the link for the recipe, you know you want to.

Discuss

So, here I am enjoying my lunch, catching up on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  My normal routine.

I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart the day after on Hulu.  Because that just works out best for me.  I can have Jon open in one window while I catch up on other news in another.

With Hulu, you get commercials.  Commercials you can't skip.  Usually the same three commercials you can't skip over and over again, every commercial break, every day you watch, for weeks on end.  Which, in a way, is kind of nice because it becomes very easy to tune them out.  

Well today a new commercial popped up.  Sadly I missed most of it before I realized what it was -- an ad for Liberty University Online!

It was the best middle of the show Moment of Zen ever.

Thank you Hulu.

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Anyway, the ad ended with the link to StartWithLibery.com ...

which redirects to http://www.libertyonlinedegrees.com

So if you're looking to get your degree, at home, in Rightwing Religious Nuttery -- Now's Your Chance!

;o)

Poll

Would you like to get your degree online from Liberty University?

18%4 votes
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| 22 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

A few weeks ago, kosack Boberto was wondering about creating an app to help identify products the purchase of which would indirectly fund ALEC.  The idea was to be able to scan a barcode on a product and be told if it was owned by one of the many companies that support ALEC.

You can see that diary here.

Today, I came across a very similar app.  It's more generic than the one proposed by Boberto.  You can create and join "campaigns" and scanning items will tell you if that product supports that campaign's criteria.

Of course, you can use the information as you will:  boycott the item, or buy it in support of the cause.

The current campaigns highlighted on the app's site are:

•    Avoid George Soros Investments
•    Boycott Nestlé Products
•    Local & Sustainable Food Initiative
•    Vegan and Cruelty-Free
•    Equality for LGBTQ
•    Avoid Koch Industries
•    Cut Funding Ties To ALEC
•    Demand GMO Labeling
•    Support Prop 37 Donors
•    Colbert Nation
•    Encourage Sandy Relief Contributors

I haven't look closely at the mechanics, but you can create new campaigns tailored to your needs.  I'm guessing you'd have to come up with a data source for products connected to your cause.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting way of spreading information about individuals' and groups' reach into our political process.

The app is free.  I don't know if it is ad supported, if you have to pay to join campaigns, or how they make their money.

The app is called "buycott".  It's available for iOs and Android devices.  And their website is here.

I have not used this app, and am NOT recommending it or criticizing it.  Just bringing to your attention.

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If you have experience with the app, its producers, or have any insights, please feel free to share.

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In case you've missed having him around, Newt wants you to know he's still alive and well and tackling the BIG QUESTIONS.

He's assembled a team of experts and they've "spent weeks" trying to figure something out and they're still stumped. (Kudos here, Newt, it takes a big man to admit when he and his team are still "really puzzled" after weeks of investigation.)

Newt is man enough to ask for your help and he's turned to the intertubes to get it. Don't let him down. Watch and submit your suggestions.

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