Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dana Adobe /Dave Stamey Concert

Restoring and re-plastering the old adobe

What Captain Dana would have seen while standing in his living room.

What Captain Dana would have seen from his back (front?) porch.

What Captain Dana would have seen standing in his back (front?) yard looking back towards the house. 

What Captain Dana would have driven to town in.

The ghost in the air above the pepper tree is that of the Old Vaquero who once rode for Captain Dana.  And in the foreground,  new adobe bricks for the ongoing restoration. 

Stamey fans at the fund-raising concert.

Dave Stamey

 If you're not familiar with Dave's music, go to You Tube and watch a few of his videos: "The Old Vaquero," "Wheels," and "Come Ride With Me."  Lovely. And next year, if Dave's performing at the annual fund raiser for the adobe, come on out and see how much has been done to save this amazing bit of Old California.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Archibald McDog, Almost Happy At Last

The stitches on Archie's latest surgery aren't quite ready to come out, but Archie's graduated from the large clear plastic Cone of Shame to the black, soft, smaller Cone of Shame, which is a bit easier to navigate with.

  So outside he went for some flower sniffing and an invitation to some boom 'n zoom from Zuri. 

A few more days and he'll be out of the cone and back to his old tricks.
Hooray for Archie.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch . . . A Much Awaited Press Release . . .

July 29, 2011
Santa Barbara, California 
  Please Contact Marshall Ochylski at 441--4466  for Additional Information

After a day-long hearing, Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Robein Riblet approved the Los Osos Community Services District Bankruptcy Plan.
In order to get the Plan approved the District was required to present the court with a Plan that demonstrated that it had made its "best efforts" to maximize the return to its creditors. The Court ruled that the District had achieved that goal and approved the Plan.
In his testimony to the Court, Marshall Ochylski, President of the Los Osos Community Services District’s Board of Directors, explained the District’s efforts to come up with a Plan to meet that legal test. Marshall explained that the District took its obligations very seriously and had done everything within its powers to maximize the return to its creditors.
The Plan approved by the court resolves all the lawsuits and claims arising from the District's former wastewater project, and puts an end to over six years of District involvement in numerous legal proceedings. As President Ochylski stated, "The resolution of these lawsuits and claims gives the District a fresh start and allows it to focus on providing essential services to its residents such as water, fire protection and drainage."
Under the Plan, the District will pay in full over time the holders of the bonds issued in connection with the former wastewater project as well as loans the District has taken out to pay for improvements to the District's water system and other District property. The District will also pay the contractors and other creditors with approved claims arising from the former wastewater project between 35% and 40% of their claims. The District will not have to pay anything to the Regional Water Quality Control Board for fines it assessed against the District or to claims by the State Water Resources Control Board for loans it made to the District to build the former wastewater project.
President Ochylski, who has acted as the representative of the District in the bankruptcy proceedings since his election to the Board in 2008, expressed his appreciation to all those who had worked with the District to bring this bankruptcy to a successful conclusion. "Through hard work and persistence, the District was able to get its Plan approved and continue to moving forward to provide the services its residents deserve without the distraction of the bankruptcy."
# # #

Friday, July 29, 2011

Nope, Republicans Reeeely, Reeeeely Aren't Fit To Govern, Nope, Nope, Nossir.

Poor John Boehner.  Stuck herding crazed extremist Republican/TeaParty right wing batshit crazy feral cats.  Crazed extremist Repbulican/TeaParty right wing batshit crazy feral cats funded by AstroTurf groups financed by folks like the Koch Brothers and voted into office by addled, misinformed and frightened voters who have been unhinged by 9/11,  by the horror! the horror! of having a black president (OMG), and with their final mental meltdown arriving with the bursting of the economic Wall Street bubble. Unhinged!  So unhinged, old grampy, grumpy John McCaine went on the floor of the Senate to crankily point out that the Tea Party mentality was now residing in "Lord of the Rings" fantasy land.  Which is perfectly illustrated by Presidential candidate, MoonBeam Michelle Bachman, blandly declaring that defaulting is no big deal, nothing will happen, don't worry, it's all a liberal lie, thereby proving that she is unfit to govern whatever office she's running for. 

So here we are: a nation unhinged, angry, bellowing like a blind bull, but still held hostage by elected crazed extremists -- economic terrorists if you will -- funded by corporate interests, a country self-destroyed by fake Republican "trickle-down" economics, fake "job creation myths," our wealth gutted out by outsourcing multinationals, the massive profits moved up into fewer and fewer hands -- America the Oligarchic, from sea to shining sea.  All supported and voted into being by the American people, the most astonishing suicide pact the world has seen.  An immolative auto de fe set alight when the twin towers fell.

Yee, haw!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nope, Republicans Aren't Fit To Rule

And it isn’t just the looney-tune Tea Partiers. Nope. Even the old guard has drunk the Grover Norquist Kool-Aid. Which is funny, but telling.

When addicts want to pretend that they’re going to sober up, the first thing they do is swear an oath that, Tes, indeedy, they won’t touch Demon Rum ever again, promise, promise, promise! They’ll even sign The Pledge. Then, because their word is worthless since they have absolutely no control over themselves, they lock up the booze or pills, then put the key in a big carton of water and put it in the freezer so that in a few hours, when they just gotta have that drink or that pill, they’ll have to get out an ice pick and hack away at the block of ice. They think that’ll keep them from their drug of choice.

That’s what Republicans are now reduced to – having already signed Grover Norquist’s No Tax Pledge, now they’re pushing a Balanced Budget Amendment (the equivalent of that block of ice) since they’re simply incapable of governing, incapable of making the basic decisions our elected representatives are asked to make: raise revenue, then spend revenue for the public good. That process takes self control, and a certain level of pragmatic toughness and the flexibility to say no at certain times, yes at certain times and sometimes to say yes and no at the same time, as in Yes to that amount, No to that amount. But Republicans aren’t capable of doing that. Like any addict, they went on an 8 year binge and put two wars, a drug entitlement program and tax breaks for the wealthy (their “base”) on the national credit card (aided and abetted by their fellow Drunk Democrats) and now it’s time to pay the bill, they refuse. Instead, they’re busy proposing to sell the house and children and are now desperately trying to get an amendment to the constitution (which will take years, if ever) instead of simply doing their job – pass a compromised debt bill that gave them nearly everything they asked for.

But they walked away. They can’t help it. They’re not in control of themselves and are now desperately looking for something – A pledge! A Law! A Constitutional Amendment!-- that will remove all responsibility for their actions from themselves and locate it in some external control.

And if the country defaults and the economy goes to hell? Not important.

Nope. Unfit to rule.

On the other hand, I must admit to a certain sense of gleeful anticipation of a default – the vast majority of people who voted these Tea Partiers and Norquistians into office are not The Super Wealthy – they’re mostly (scared, angry) working folk, (the same ones the past 8 years of wealth transfer upline has hit the hardest), the less well-to-do, the elderly, the very people who will be hardest hit by any economic chaos that will ensue. It’s their Medicare that will be slammed, their 401-k’s that will diminish, their car-loan that will cost more, their local federally funded programs that will bite them most heavily.

While the shocked cries of, “Hey, I wanted Big Government drowned in the bathtub, but that didn’t mean MY benefits!!” will be music to my ears, there will, sadly, be a whole lot of silent people trapped in a world of hurt and that won’t be music of any kind.

But then, that’s what happens when you elect addicts. Their lack of self control causes no end of chaos and pain for those around them. It’s the nature of the disease. And if the voters keep enabling them, well, then they’ll get the sad consequences as well.

From the Fury of Norse Boys Who Feel Small and Sexually Inadequate, God Deliver Us

It was the penis, of course. It usually is, finally, ultimately, the penis and a little boy worried about his, worried that his little playmates would call him a sissy, a little boy longing for his distant father, a young man upset and angry that his divorced mother was “feminizing” him, worried that his “liberal” countrymen were soft (feminized) panty-waists. Secretly worried that he might be gay, or might be considered less than a manly-man. So he mooned over and dreamed of the most homo-erotic male-bonding fantasy of all: The Knights Templar.

And brooded about the 1683 Siege of Vienna, and followed anti-Muslim blogs (including many American right-wing “Christian” hate blogs) whose bread and butter consisted of drumming up fear of the dreaded Other and urging manly-men to come to the defense of Europe once again – Manly Christian Crusade! Manly Knights Templar! Swords and the Clash of Civilization! Exactly what a little boy angry at Mummy and fearful that his penis was inadequate would be drawn to.

So he got a gun. And made bombs. And dreamed of being a hero. A Christian Crusading Knight. Big penis. Big manly muscles. Big in all ways. A savior of Europe. A Viking Scourge. The Hammer of God. That’d show Mummy.

Then he fired off his big bomb then went to a summer camp and killed children. When captured by authorities (so much for being a Viking no-quarter-asked hero heading for Valhalla), his defense attorney declared that it’s likely that he’s “insane.” But “insanity” isn’t what his pathetic, egotistical manifesto reveals. What it ultimately all came back to was this: A little boy worried about his penis.

That’s what it always comes down to: Small frightened, confused, wounded children. And the price society ultimately pays for those untreated wounds is always ferocious.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Your Sunday Dave Stamey Video

Instead of a poem or recipe, here's a great way to start the day off.  Go to and order your tickets for Dave's concert, a  fundraising concert for the Dana Adobe in Nipomo on Saturday, July 30 to help with the ongoing restoration project of the adobe. You can order tickets on the website ($20) or buy them the day of the concert for $25.  The gates open at 2:30 pm, concert at 4 pm. BBQ and munchies available for sale.  Bring your own chair and sit out under the trees to hear an amazing singer/songwriter.

Then go directly to and type in "Dave Stamey" and scroll down and click on the photo/montage videos of "Come Ride With Me," or "The Vaquero Song" (written about the Dana rancho) or "Wheels,"  or "Montana," or "Campfire Waltz," or the "Bandit Joaquin." and start the day off with some beautiful songs and pictures.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oh, Why Does Everything Have To Happen To Meeee?

Awww, poor Archibald McDog, the "lumpy" dog, had another slow-growing cancerous lump removed, this time from a very tender part of his anatomy -- let's just say a mohel could of been called instead of Dr. Truax.  But it snipped off quickly and he was up and running around just as quickly.  But, with Archie, the real problem is with his fussing with and pulling stitches out so this time the vet's office got me a reeeeeely BIG Cone of Shame collar , which I think will do the trick.

Of course, the problem with reeeeeely Big Cones of Shame is they're hard to navigate while wearing them and so far he's already knocked over an end table, spilled a bowl of water and got himself stuck behind the car in the garage.  But he's a smart cookie and will soon figure out the rules. Poor baby.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Murdoch's 'umble Pie

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for July 22, 2011

Lay down with dawgs, git up with fleas

It does no good to point with bony fingers and say, “Shame! Shame!” The toffs sniffed in distain, but the rest of England loved their sleazy tabloids and fed the beast daily. They devoured their Peep and Sneak scandal sheets that ridiculed and exposed the ruling class and boot-licking politicians while always featuring a big breasted tootsie tucked in for sheer titillation.

And it does no good to only point with bony fingers at the unwashed and unbooted tabloid-buying public. The pols and police were in bed with Murdoch as well – Bobbies bribed to betray their profession, politicians, first seduced with promises of his newspapers’ support, then later blackmailed and cowed into silence when they discovered the old man now owned them, lock stock and barrel. Ya gotta dance with them what brung ya.

And Americans can’t draw their skirts aside and claim purity either. Murdoch’s M.O. was a known quantity when he came to town and started buying up whole media empires. It does no good now to point with wagging fingers and say, “We’re shocked – SHOCKED! – to find that Fox News – which gets a license to use the public airways by pretending to be a “news” channel – is really little more than the media arm of the Republican Party.” Or that we’re dismayed by what has become of the once mighty and respected Wall Street Journal. Or demand that the FCC should have invoked the “good character” clause before giving Murdoch free use of the very lucrative public air ways. The FCC? Pluzzeee. Dawgs, fleas. Git one, git the other.

And nobody can pretend that Murdoch’s troubles are simply sui generis. He is an unprincipled man who exemplifies better than most the rotting, celebrity-addicted, greed-addicted, wholly unprincipled popular culture he lives in. But he’s not alone. His cohorts on Wall Street, for example, are brother wolves. And all of them are given an unbridled license to hunt by the Pols in their pockets and by the very citizen-sheep who are on their dinner menu.

And it does no good to profess shock that things for Murdoch have come to this pretty pass. When you keep moving the Line of Outrage closer and closer to the edge, it should come as no surprise that one small misstep will finally send you over the cliff. Even in a sleazy culture addicted to daily outrage, apparently (miraculously?) there are still a few things that can spark some semblance of decency. And hacking the cell phone of a murdered child seems to be one of them.

And don’t waste your time thinking that somehow Murdoch’s fall will mean that things in the media world will change. Or think that the feel-good scenario of repentance and remorse will result in the public rousing themselves from their self-chosen cultural wallow of greed, corruption and lust to somehow become a better, wiser society. It won’t. Corporate media in America is no different than Murdoch media in England – its prime duty is to protect its business interests and enrich its stockholders by any means necessary, not to use its power and influence to accurately inform and educate a citizenry so they are better able to govern themselves.

So, even if Murdoch’s entire empire falls into ruin, nothing will change. His malign influence in the public square will continue for years. It’s become a familiar M.O. in Corporate Media America, where journalistic ethics are seen as a mook’s game in a pandering race to the bottom, which is where the real money is. As media columnist Tim Rutten noted, in England as in America, “Eager for the highly partisan Murdoch papers’ support and fearful of the retribution that seemed to follow anything the company’s editors or executives construed as opposition to NewsCorp’s interests, Britain’s Parliament and political establishment cowered while unprincipled journalists attenuated freedom of the press into grotesque malevolence and corrupt officials made public accountability a dead letter. It was mutually beneficial little arrangement for as long as it lasted, but like any relationship built on fear, it was bound to come apart – with a vengeance.”

So, put away the wagging bony fingers and try to avoid reveling in all this Murdochian schadenfreude. The sad truth is this: In a democracy, we get the media we deserve. That media shapes the information we receive, which then gives us the government we deserve. In short, we have met the enemy. It’s not Murdoch. It’s us.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Your Sunday Poem

This from Jane Hirshfield's collection of poems, "Given Sugar, Given Salt."  The book is available in paperback and is a wonderful read.

The Contract

The woman who gave me the rosebush
reminds me:
"Cut it back hard."

The stems resist.

Thorns and weedy twig-thickets
catch on jacket sleeve, on gloves.
Core-wood splinters green under the shears.

Impossible to believe
that so little left will lead to fragrance.

Still, my hands move quickly,
adding their signature branch by branch,
agreeing to loss.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Patient as Penelope, Ron Crawford Waits For Some Answers

Awww, Ron's having way too much fun.  Check out, "Awww, Shirley, We Were Just Getting To Know Each Other," at 

Ron's certainly right in his observation of how everything and everyone turns away from the Sewer Train Wreck, especially when someone asks an innocent question, like, "What happened here?" It's magic how suddenly, nobody knows anything, or documented facts become "opinions," and lies get overlooked, then everyone goes quiet. Amazing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Well, That Explains It

Finally, proof positive:  The Republicans are full of crap.

For years they’ve galloped around ringing those bells and shooting those guns and hollering about the deficits! The deficits! The deficits! They demanded government cuts, cut ‘er to the bone because the deficits were too high and we’re all gonna die in the streets like dawgs!

So, they go into negotiations with the Dems, demanding more and more cuts and the President keeps seeing them and raising them (including tossing Social Security and Medicare into the “cut” pile) until they had on the table four trillion in cuts versus one trillion in higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans, as well as closed tax loopholes that aren’t helping the economy and certainly aren’t “creating any jobs.”

And the Republicans walked away. Four to one. Four to one! And they walked, willing to let the country go into default in order to further their own political careers and to protect their wealthy clients (what George Bush called “my base”).

Of course, the American people put all these extremist Tea Partiers and Republicans into office so they could drive America off the financial cliff rather than remove a tax break on rich folks’ second, vacation homes. This in a country where a good many people’s first and only homes are under water and another good chunk of people don’t have any homes any more.

Conservative columnist David Brooks, in a recent NY Times column, said he is beginning to believe that Republicans are not fit to rule.

He’s right.

Speaking of Unfit

Dan DeVaul is once again facing jail time for running a “sober living” Sunny Acres facility for homeless people by housing them in buildings that aren’t up to code and that the County feels are unsafe. And they aren’t up to code because, at this point, bringing them up to code would cost about $25,000 for the various building fees required to begin work.

And who could waive the fees so getting the upgrades done so the people living there now wouldn’t have to return to living in the creek? The Planning Commission. And have they done so? Not to my knowledge.

So, DeVaul may go to the hoosegow and the judge will decide on August 5th whether the people now living there must vacate the place entirely and go live in the creek (which everyone agrees is MORE unsafe, unsanitary, and illegal than Sunny Acres, but there you are) and the situation goes once more into an unsolved mess.

True, true, for the years this mess has gone on, both De Vaul and the County repeatedly had a chance to ask themselves: Do you want to be right or do you want to get something done? And they repeatedly wanted to be right, so here we are again at Stupid.

Let’s hope the County Planning Commission waives the fees. Then, perhaps a separate Board can be formed that would be co-administered by the Board and whatever County bureau oversees homeless issues, and subject to full audits. (I add that caveat because I think this has been a sick game for De Vaul and before anyone sends him or Sunny Acres a dime, I’d want a serious check on those donations.) Then a campaign to raise building and fix ‘er up money could be started so Sunny Acres can continue offering the homeless a sober-living place that may help solve some of their problems.

But I won’t hold my breath. In the game of rights fighting, sick, homeless people just become pawns. So, I’m betting on the creek at this point.

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do.

The New York Times reports that Kody Brown, a polygamist from Utah (and who’s starring in the TV show, “Sister Wives,”) is planning on filing a lawsuit to challenge the polygamy law based on “the 2003 United States Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state sodomy laws as unconstitutional intrusions on the ‘intimate conduct’ of consenting adults. It will ask the federal courts to tell states that they cannot punish polygamists for their own “intimate conduct” so long as they are not breaking other laws, like those regarding child abuse, incest or seeking multiple marriage licenses. . . . Making polygamous unions illegal, they argue, violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, as well as the free exercise, establishment, free speech and freedom of association clauses of the First Amendment.”

Well, bring it on, I say. If you support gay marriage, then can polygamy be far behind? Or polyandry? (Having spent Sunday shoveling out the garage and cleaning out all the gutters, soaking wet and scampering up and down ladders, the thought of having several husbands with their long Honey-Do lists began to look positively lovely along about 3 p.m. let me tell you!)

Mr. Brown, his four wives and 16 children and stepchildren are in for a battle, but the question remains: Why not? Adults are fee to live together now in whatever grouping they want to, providing they don’t violate zoning laws (too many people under one roof) and men and women regularly make babies all willy-nilly and all minus a marriage certificate. And blended families and so-called “serial marriages” result in some pretty confusing hers/his/ours homes.

So why not legitimize the ad-hoc arrangement, thereby allowing baby daddies to legally sign on to their offspring and legally give wives the civil protections of “marriage/civil unions,” rather than continue the muddled mess we have now?

True, there are serious issues in the minority of isolated Mormon fundamentalist groups of illegal child marriages and the stultifying fundamentalist culture of keeping the women subservient, pregnant and uneducated and tossing the excess young boys out of the fold, but those issues can be found in other wacky religious cults and other weird fundamentalist religions groups, all of which are protected under the first amendment. Plus, those issues don’t seem to be what Mr. Brown and his TV family are dealing with – being all well educated, modern and wealthy. And likely those issues wouldn’t be what a larger group of polygamists would be dealing with.

So, I say, bring it on. Time to have that public discussion: Just what is “marriage” anyway, and just what connection should the state have in deciding how we create (and un-create) our “families?” If the state’s reason for getting involved is based on protection of the young and vulnerable and in seeing to administering a set of laws can deal with property issues and financial responsibilities and rights of inheritance & etc, then all of those issues surely would aid a polygamous household even more than a monogamous one.

It’s About Time

President Obama is now sending condolence letters to the families of members of the military who have committed suicide. Good on him. It’s about time. And may be a sign that finally – FINALLY – the military is beginning to understand just how lethal PTSD and acute stress reactions can be to soldiers. (Or anybody else for that matter.)

Stress and trauma are killers – literally. The toll they take on the physical body is as deadly as cancer or heart disease. This isn’t a matter of some “psychology,” it’s biological and totally beyond the control of the victims. Fight, flight, freeze are governed by the amygdala and operate without volition. And those biochemical actions constantly bathe the person in a bath of adrenaline and other chemicals that, if repeated and repeated, have serious physical consequences.

The term Wounded Warrior fits any soldier who has served in any capacity in any theatre of war, anywhere. And untreated PSTD is a combat wound as lethal as any other.

And I’m glad the President and the military are finally getting around to understanding that. Now I can only hope the military’s resources can be brought to bear on the problem. Great strides have been made in treating the horrible wounds our new wars are inflicting on our soldiers. Now we need great strides to be made in effectively treating the insidious and too-often ignored dangers of pre, ongoing and post-traumatic stress, because it’s a killer.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Your Sunday Recipe

Here's a rich, yummy salad from the Times that can serve as a side dish or add chopped walnuts or diced chicken and turn it into a main meal.  I've modified the recipe somewhat by adding golden raisins and instead of walnuts, you might try pistachio nuts.  And the spices can be adjusted for taste. I upped the ante on many of them since this should be a very tasty dish.  Serves 4 as a meal, more if a side salad.  Recipe adapted from "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Spicy Moroccan carrot salad. 

2 pounds carrots
1/4 c. olive oil (original recipe called for 1/3 c but I found that way too greasy. Adjust to your taste)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 serrano chile (seeded for less heat) (or just add cayenne pepper for bite)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, coarsley chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1-2 tb. lemon juice
1 tbl white wine vinegar
1 c. golden raisins
1 c walnuts or pistascho nuts
1/2 c. Greek yogurt, chilled

Peel carrots and cut into bite-size cylinders (if the carrot is skinny)  or slice carrot lenghways and cut into semi-circles about 1/2 inch thick.  Put in saucepan, cover with water, cook until al dente. (about 10 -12 min)  Strain into collander and set aside.

In large wok or frying pan, heat oil, saute onion and garlic until soft and slightly brown (about 12 min).  Remove from heat and add the cooked carrots, spices,  and stir  to coat. Allow to cool.  Before serving, add in the cilantro, green onions lemon juice, vinegar, raisins, nuts, etc. toss thoroughly.  Garnish with more cilantro.  Serve in bowls (if main dish) with a dollop of greek yogurt or pass the yogurt if using as a side dish.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Twilight's True Blood

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for July 8, 2011

The U.S. seems a country hell-bent on its own failure
                         Clive Crook, editor, The Atlantic

Heeeees Heeeeere . . .

Grover Norquist, the President of “Americans for Tax Reform,” has even surfaced on the front page of our little local newspaper. “Anti-tax diehard looms large in showdown,” says the headlines. The Tribune is several years too late. Grover had already infected Sam Blakeslee, our previously moderate, sensible, pragmatic, reasonable, compromising git-‘r-done, Republican State Assemblyman.

It was a creepy and horrifying thing to witness. In a cynical, politically expedient move to get the official blessing from the Republican Central Committee for his run for State Senator, Sam sidled up to offer Grover his neck while signing on to the No Taxes Ever Blood Oath. One bite and suddenly our sweet sane Sam was lost forever into Grover’s weird vampire world of extreme right-wing looniness. In place of his oath to support the constitution of the state of California, Sam was now bound in darkness to Grover and instead of voting for some reasonable tax increases to keep the state from imploding during our recent budget battles, Sam’s message was clear: California and all my constituents can fall into the sea for all I care. I am a Norquistian now.

True, Sam’s Norquistianism got him publicly lambasted, but it worked to get him elected to the State Senate and even though he then declared that he wouldn’t take any more blood oaths, heh-heh, it was too late. Grover’s bite was utterly transformative and permanent. So when the budget crunch came, Sam voted to cut the poor and sick and little school kids to the bone rather than agree to keep even a small tax on yacht sales. Constituents be damned. Unless they own yachts, that is.

And so it goes. Across the country Grover’s Twilight presence has Republicans enraptured and shoving forth their necks for his fatal bite, a wet-dream swoon over his vision of starving government to the point of being able to strangle it in a bathtub.

That and the fact that the True Blood rush also garners lots of guaranteed campaign boodle from corporations who never met a government regulation or a tax they would tolerate, ever, so a weakened government drowning in a bathtub and unable to stop or hinder their predation, is night music to their wolfish ears.

Which is why Washington is now heading for a debt ceiling/default crisis: It’s not enough that True Blood extremist Republicans in thrall to Grover are willing to see America default and thereby plunge the world into an economic disaster, they are now threatening the few moderate Republicans left in that august body into sitting by while the country falls into the sea. It’s all True Blood gore and creepy dripping teeth in the hallways of Congress now, and here come the werewolves!

Or maybe not. According to the AP story, a handful of sane Republicans are finally finding a spine and are pushing back. Says Senator Tom Coburn, (R, Okla,, a guy nobody could claim is anywhere near “moderate”), “ ‘You’ve got 34 Republicans that say they’re willing to end this, regardless of what Grover says. That’s 34 Republicans that say this is more important than a signed pledge’ to Norquists’ group.”

Adds Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, “It’s a disservice to our nation for someone to be allowed to set a standard which really could threaten our economy.”

Poor Durbin doesn’t understand. With extremist Norquistian Republicans and Norquistian wannabes, service to nation has nothing to do with it. That Blood Oath is political love at first bite – Unlimited Campaign Money from the Koch Brothers! Continued “carried interest” tax breaks for Republican peeps -- a handful of Wall Street Hedge Fund Bazillionaires! A Winning Bumper-sticker Campaign Slogan! Perpetual Employment on the Tax-payer-funded Government Teat! What’s not to love about that true blood bond?

All supported by the American voters who repeatedly put these infected guys into government precisely so they could drown it in a bathtub. Until the voters find out that their Medicare and their Social Security will be the first things to be found floating face down in that tub. But by then it’ll be too late to even grab the garlic.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Friend of mine from Junior high, of all places, is now living in Oklahoma, on a hill in the middle of nowhere surrounded by out-of-the-blue thunderstorms and lightning strikes, and tornadoes and now drought, while writing about living on a hill in the midst of lightening strikes and tornadoes for a great non-profit Web site that features a whole bevy of writers writing on a variety of issues on affordible housing, sustainability, issues of econcomic and legal/justice concerns, issues on media and arts, plus a link to comic Brit David Mitchell's Video Soap Box, this week's all too apt topic, "Lying Liars," among other things.

You can even sign up for email notice when they post their new updates.  So, pay 'em a visit at happy brousing.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Your Sunday Recipe

If you want a break from all the greasy hot dogs and hamburgers this July 4th weekend and want a quick, light meal, here's a great recipe from the L.A. TimesSpinach soup with nutmeg and cream.  It's a delicately flavored soup so in order not to overwhelm it, serve it with a lightly dressed salad and a whole grain bread and you're good to go. Have a Happy 4th.

16 oz young spinach leaves
2 tb buter
2 large shallots, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 c chicken stock (1 16 oz box)
2/3 c. cream (half &half, or milk) or creme fraiche if you have it
1/2 - 3/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt/pepper to taste, garnish with grated lemon zest before serving.
Makes 5 generous cups of soup.

Wash spinach, put in large pan over medium heat and cook until spinach wilts, about 2 min.  Drain into collander and squeeze out excess moisture.
Rinse out pan, add butter, saute shallots and garlic until soft (5 min).  Season generously with salt, pepper.  Add spinach and turn a few times to stir it all up. 
Add sock and turn heat up to high.  Bring to a simmer then remove from heat.  Don't overcook or it'll change color.  Coarsly puree the soup with an immersion blender.  (If you over puree the soup will be a bit thin, but it's still yummy.)  Add nutmeg, check seasoning, add cream., gently reheat.  Add lemon zest as a garnish before serving.