September 20, 2013

This doesn't happen every day...

...but I'm with Bill O'Reilly on Republican efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act. There's more here about how the efforts might backfire. And E.J. Dionne makes a great point here as well: the real fear on the right isn't the failure of  "Obamacare"--the real fear is that it will succeed.

THE OTHER BAD THING about the last two days is the vote in the US House to cut food stamp benefits. Here's a look at what the program means to WV.

CRAZY? Paul Krugman here wonders about the sanity of certain factions.


A RINGING ENDORSEMENT for establishing a Future Fund in WV appeared in today's Huntington Herald-Dispatch.


September 19, 2013

Kant believe it

It's been a few days since I was struck by a news item from Russia, but I'm finally getting down to blogging about it. It seems that two young men there struck up a conversation about the philosophy of Immanuel Kant that degenerated first into a fist fight and then into gun shots.

News reports did not specifically identify which aspect of the 18th century philosopher's work set off the quarrel.

I have a pet theory. It would be supremely ironic if the argument turned out to be over which of Kant's two main formulations of the ethical categorical imperative was best. Maybe it went down something like this:

Person 1: I believe that one should "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction."
Person 2: That's bull***t. One should "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end."
Person 1: I got your end right here, you Bozo...
And so it goes. At least nobody was killed. All I can say is it's a good thing they weren't arguing about Nietzsche.

OVER COMING AN OBSESSION. How about that Pope, anyway?

SPEAKING OF WHOM, Francis would consider cutting food stamp benefits for poor Americans to be supremely tacky. Some friends of mine in WV made some noise about that yesterday.


September 17, 2013

Love and death

Many Goat Rope readers from West Virginia are doubtless familiar with my friend the Rev. Jim Lewis, a "retired" Episcopal priest and tireless fighter for justice. And if you know Jim, you also knew Judy, his beloved wife with whom he shared a strong connection for 59 years.

With absolutely no disrespect intended to Jim, Judy was the toughest one. Judy recently passed after a decades-long battle with cancer.

Jim regularly publishes his "Notes from Under the Fig Tree," which I have frequently linked here. The latest edition is a very moving tribute to Judy.

Whether you knew her or know Jim or not, it's a very moving meditation on love, marriage, death and all those things. It moved me and I'm not easily movable. You can read it here.

It reminded me of some lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet 116:

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickles' compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
  If this be error and upon me proved,
  I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

That's all for today.

September 16, 2013

I'm in so much trouble

Over the years,the Spousal Unit and I have had a disagreement or too. No, really. One of these is about guinea hens. I think they're so ugly they're cute. She thinks they are loud, messy and obnoxious.

But last night when a friend emailed saying he had some baby guineas and asked if I wanted any, I replied with a profanity-laced affirmative. I was mostly kidding. He was serious. Before I really thought it through I was on my way to my buddy's farm.

I wound up coming home with 11 babies who are now residing in a box in the house with a heat lamp shining above.

They are kind of cute at this point but they are already LOUD. The only consolation is that one guinea peeping is almost as loud as all of them peeping together so there's really not much difference, really, between having three or four and having eleven. That's my story anyway.

They do seem to quiet down a bit when I sing "Mule Skinner Blues" to them, but that's not something once can do 24/7

So while guineas are in the house, El Cabrero is in the doghouse.

YOU ALREADY KNEW THIS: austerity is a bad idea.

IN THE CROSSHAIRS. House Republicans are targeting food stamps (aka SNAP). Here's the lowdown.

ALSO A TARGET, of course, is the Affordable Care Act. Here's some interesting public opinion research on that topic.

WANT TO REDUCE PRISON ADMISSIONS? Try reducing the dropout rate.

CAT YOGA. You knew they did it. Here are some outstanding examples.

FINANCIAL ADVICE on a 4x6 index card.


September 15, 2013

The great paw paw hunt

This weekend, the Spousal Unit and I, along with some friends, went to the Paw Paw Festival in Albany, Ohio. Paw paws are a native American fruit tree that grows all over the eastern United States and thrives in Appalachia. I vaguely remember having a paw paw tree at the house I grew up in but forgot what it looked like.
After the trip, the Spousal Unit was all fired up to go find some trees near our farm. We were drawing a blank until Edith, above, left her duck toy behind on a walk.
We headed back to find it and--behold--where the duck toy was left there was a paw paw tree, fruit and all. Was Edith trying to tell us something? OK, probably not. Still, it was a cool coincidence.
Then we saw another.
And another. In fact, once you see one, you start seeing them all over the place.
We even had a nice stand or two in the goat pasture. I guess you can learn something every day.

I'm thinking paw paw ice cream...

FUNDING THE FUTURE. Here's more coverage about an idea that's gaining momentum in West Virginia.

HEALTHY KIDS. West Virginia is making some progress in child nutrition and is trying to do the same with more physical activity. Here are some more suggestions.