Blog Archives

Some words about this blog and me…

I often get e-mail from folks out there in the web world who want to know about Under The LobsterScope and why I keep it going and put a major part of each day into it. It is for that reason that I’ve decided to say a few things that will clarify my relationship with UTL and, perhaps, encourage you to get involved as a commentor.

I started this blog through another editing site, Blogspot, during the 2004 presidential election year. I did several thousand entries over five years or so and then something happened. For some reason, someone got into my blog at Blogspot and did some fairly confusing stuff leaving it impossible for me to post on. I cancelled my relationship with Blogspot and over 4000 posts ago I started UTL up again through WordPress where it remains today.

While I was interested in electoral politics (originally in Maryland before my wife and I moved to West Virginia), my biggest interest at the time – and even now, a little – was in theatre directing. I got to do a couple of musicals and some plays at local community theatres and spent a lot of time attending theatre events (one of the reasons we moved to the Shepherdstown, WV, area was to be closer to the Contemporary American Theater Festival which we attend every year.

I also have a great interest in the visual arts… Elly’s background is as a painter and visual artist. That means heading off to galleries locally, in DC and other places. Add to the visual stuff an interest in music and poetry and dance. The arts in general are very important parts of my life.

As to politics, during the past couple of years beginning with the election of Barack Obama, I have become more and more an active Democrat and have felt it is my obligation, since this is a published item read by thousands of people a week, to expose the really awful things Republicans and extreme conservatives are trying to pull off.

Several of you have also noted that I often expose dangerous things being done by religious organizations. As you probably know I am a non-believer… an atheist, a humanist… and cannot understand how people with developed intellectual capacity can believe this stuff. I have no problem exposing things that might make readers see what I see. I am, however, as opposed to pushing my atheism on others as I am of them pushing their religious beliefs on me.

Now that my current age and health keeps me in the house most of the days of the week, I have much time to read other web sites, magazines and other publications, many of which I quote or comment on in the blog. On an average day I do at least 5 posts.

I have established some regular features in this blog that I hope you enjoy. Cartoon(s) of the Week is the one people think of first when I talk about regular features. I have been interested in editorial cartoons for many years. During the current election I have regularly been posting poll results which I see by the search term roundups many of you are looking for. And, of course, there is my regular posting of celebrity obituaries.

If there is any kind of post I do that you would like to see become a regular feature, just let me know and it’s likely to happen.

– Bill

 

Advertisements

New Antietam Museum Room to open on Friday.

 

Antietam National Battlefield announces the opening of a new museum exhibit room in the park visitor center. A ribbon cutting will take place on Friday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m.

The new exhibits highlight the impact of the battle on the nation that occurred 150 years ago… and the families that lived on the battlefield. The exhibit includes wartifacts and photographs of veterans returning for reunions and the creation of the park by the U.S. War Department.

According to Park Superintendent Susan Trail:

Sharpsburg was a farming community for one hundred years before the battle was fought. Now we are able to tell a broader story through the artifacts and images of those who lived here. We are extremely pleased to have our new exhibit opening just in time for the 150th Commemoration.”

Some of the artifacts that highlight the new exhibit include a gold watch owned by the Mumma family whose farm was destroyed in the battle; furniture from the Roulette farm; a hand carved headstone that marked a soldiers grave just after the battle; and numerous reunion medals and ribbons.

For more information call 301-432-5124.

 

Quotes of the Decade – and who says there’s no war on women?

O’Malley

“Nothing says jobs like transvaginal probes.”

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, referring to the controversial legislation backed by VA Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell, a Republican, would require some women to undergo the invasive procedure before having an abortion. I wonder what he would require of men seeking prostate surgery? Oh… that’s right… nothing.

Something is wrong with Alphainventions.com…

…and I can’t get in to post my blog updates. I have been trying to get hold of Cheru with no luck.

If you rely on Alphainventions to get info on my newest posts, let me recommend you try Kadency or BlogSurfer where I also post updates.

 

UPDATE

As of 6PM this evening, Alphainventions.com is active again after 48 hours of being offline for reasons I can’t begin to fathom. Welcome back, Cheru.

Looks like Romney has sewn it up…

Having won in Wisconsin, Maryland and DC last night, Romney is being held up by all the pundits as the sure to be Republican Presidential nominee… even though he only has about half of the delegates for the convention.

Santorum is not a close second and would have needed Wisconsin to keep the possibility that he’d take the nomination at the convention. As for Gingrich and Paul, we have to wonder why they waste people’s money running.

We can expect Romney in the remaining primaries to ignore his competitors and focus on attacking the President.

The full scale Presidential campaign is about to have an early start.

Just got back from a Solar Project lecture at Town Hall

Than Hitt starts it off...

Sustainable Shepherdstown had David Brosch of University Park Solar LLC from Maryland to discuss how that organization created an investor solar project, got some state laws changed, and got small investors involved in solar energy.

This is the project that Than Hitt spoke about on my radio show last Saturday, and the show and a Sustainable Shepherdstown mailing brought in about 30 people (would have been more if the Chronicle had run the release, but it didn’t.)

David Brosch

The concept of setting up a (small) profit-making LLC to get groups of people involved with solar power for multiple locations with a 20 year profit of about 7% (money deducted from the electric bill). It has been successfully started in Maryland and could be done in West Virginia.

This was a good start and everyone left Town Hall interested to take it further.

Another program on Civics and Social Education

While driving to Martinsburg today I was listening to the Midday Show on Maryland Public Radio and the discussion was on Civics and how it is taught in schools. Essentially the same topic Elly and I went to hear Richard Dreyfus speak about the other night.

This program focused more on the teaching of Social Studies in grade and high schools and how it is rapidly disappearing as we turn our education programs into nothing but verbal and math tests do to the badly named “No Child Left Behind Act” that Bush left us with.

Among the statistics covered today, from a very large National survey of students:

• 30% do not know the three branches of our government

• no children questioned knew the number of Supreme Court Judges

• a large percentage said Iraq caused the fall of the twin towers.

There are indications that kids don’t read newspapers… don’t watch the news… and even if they did, they have no backup knowledge to interpret it. The odds of them become active voters is very low (they also come from families with a 30% or so national rating of being voters).

Some school boards are trying to solve this problem with tying social information with English reading. Other programs to reinstate Social Studies in schools have some state support in places. Since this was Maryland Public Radio, they focused on Maryland’s state competition in civics and social studies which some school districts participate in (one school in Howard County achieving the highest score in the country based on all state tests.)

A caller to the show, a Turkish born man who had become an American Citizen, spoke of the hundred questions his group had to know the answers to (only a random half dozen were given on the test, but not knowing which half dozen made him learn the whole list). Needless to say, many of these would not be in the knowledge banks of many contemporary school children… or their parents.

When we start getting upset with the Corporate take-over of much of our governing bodies, or worry about Candidates who confuse religious belief with politics or don’t know much about American History, we probably can blame ourselves for becoming less and less civil. Our political parties do not create politicians that discuss their points of view and compromise to benefit the whole population (as they did from George Washington’s government right up to Ronald Reagan’s when everything started fracturing from right to left)… they are not grounded in civility, but in total winning no matter what the cost.

If this doesn’t change, we can look forward to a very dim future and very little to hold our Nation together.

Who would have thought that Hagerstown would jump into the 21st Century?

From yesterday’s Herald-Mail:

Solar-generating facility to be built near prisons

HAGERSTOWN — The largest solar-generating facility in Maryland, capable of powering more than 2,000 homes at peak output, is scheduled to open next year on 250 acres of state-owned land near the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown and the Maryland Correctional Training Center. Maryland Solar LLC of Annapolis announced plans Friday to build the $70 million, 20-megawatt solar facility — a plant that company officials said will be one of the largest on the East Coast and will double the state’s current solar-generation capacity.


Maryland Solar is in discussions with the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services about the possibility using prerelease inmates to perform routine maintenance such as landscaping and panel cleaning, a company news release said.

This is sure something exciting on a near-local level. Now if just-over-the-border West Virginia could look at this solution instead of coal or natural gas hydrofracking, I’d be even more excited.

You couldn’t have asked for a nicer day…

… for the opening of Morgan’s Grove Market. The sun was out, it wasn’t too warm , and people showed up to fill the parking lot.

Elly and I went for a little more than the first hour… bought some vegetables, talked to people and had a great time.

And everyone seemed so happy! This is going to be a regular Saturday morning thing until the late Fall…and we have to hand it to Peter Corum who organized the whole thing and really pulled it off.

Can’t wait until next week… it’s going to be fun.


Following our visit to Morgan’s Grove Market, we drove over to Boonsboro Maryland for their Green fest, primarily because Elly wanted to buy two more composting bins for our gardening.

We walked around the park, spoke to some of Elly’s colleagues from HCC and came back home to feed the dogs and have lunch.

Nice day all around. Hope yours was, too.

For Your Sunday Morning Pleasure – What Republicans Think of Women

Representative Dan Burton (Republican-Indiana)

Dan Burton says No Contraception for Women...but let's have contraception for Wild Horses. You figure it out!

This from MoveOn.org:

Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP War on Women

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t.

2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”

3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

5) In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8 ) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9) Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10) And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up).
Doesn’t that make your day?… and you women who voted Republican: How do you feel about it now?

From Alan Colmes: Freshman GOP Rep Who Ran Against Health Care Annoyed He Can’t Get Government Health Care Right Away

clipped from www.alan.com
Andy Harris, a Republican anesthesiologist from Maryland, defeated Rep. Frank Kratovil by running against health care reform. But when Harris showed up for orientation, he made a big deal about having to wait a month for his government-subsidized health care to kick in.

“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.

“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

blog it
Don’t you find this really amazing… oh well, what’s good enough for me isn’t good enough for you…

What if we are condemned to sickness and death by unadulterated Capitalism?

I spent the weekend attending films at the American Conservation Film Festival and volunteering with Elly on the food area they called The Green Room (I deep-fried the dumplings and falafel that Elly put together and she was on the Saturday management team.) On the whole, given the twelve-or-so films I got to see over four days, I came out of the experience with a great deal of depression. I was especially upset, after seeing what I thought was a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking called Toxic Soup, that I was living in West Virginia that, along with Pennsylvania, Maryland and Kentucky, was one of the most polluted and dangerous states.

Once you realize the pollution in air and water from coal mining, chemical manufacturing, oil drilling and the group of major industries that relate to these, you realize that it is virtually uncleanable. And you watch the rise of sick children, adults with advanced emphesyma or inoperable brain tumors, people whose drinking water contains C8 and other poisons… and governments and courts that side with industry and ignore the suffering of working citizens. You can find out about the content (and upcoming scheduling around the country) of Toxic Soup by going to their web site, http://toxicsoupmovie.com, but let me warn you that you will feel depressed and unable to change what is happening to the world and yourself.

The biggest problem I came away from this (and a couple of other films) with was a view of Capitalism as seen by the Republicans who wiped the House and added to their Senate numbers in the last election: if you take away the regulations which we were just trying to put back, the guys who make all the money (and tons of it) don’t give a good goddamn about the rest of us. And they aren’t likely to.

I know we are about to have House Committees which will work against Global Warming… one way of doing this is to avoid regulating the corporations that are pumping crud into the sky and poisons into the water, and spend most of their time trying to keep Obama from getting reelected (you’ve heard Mitch McConnell, right?). For two years there will be little we can do, except expose the crap in blogs like this one (I don’t think the corporate-controlled networks will broadcast anything that will tell the truth to the middle and lower classes.) And then the next election will find politicians supported by these corporations who will ignore it all as well.

So what will you do?

If you are in Baltimore on September 19th…

Frank Zappa statue to be dedicated on Sunday, September 19 at the Southeast Anchor Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library located at 3601 Eastern Avenue. Community support is developing for a concert on the installation day… maybe Dweezil and Company will be there.

The sculpture is a gift to the city of Baltimore orchestrated by three guys from Lithuania: Saulius Paukstys, Saulius Pilinkus and Arturas Baublys. It is a replica of the bust of Frank Zappa installed in Vilnius (pictured here), created by artist Konstantinas Bogdanas. The gift and location were approved by the Baltimore City Public Art Commission and sanctioned by the family.

Legendary musician and composer Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore in 1940 and passed away in 1993, at home in Los Angeles. He is internationally recognized as one of the most innovative composers and musicians of the 20th century with a career spanning more than 30 years.

Of interesting note: The date itself is especially significant as September 19th is the anniversary of Zappa‚s 1985 testimony on Capitol Hill in favor of free expression by Recording Artists at the Senate hearing instigated by certain congressional wives (members of the PMRC) concerning record labeling. Frank Zappa‚s widow Gail commented on the remarkable coincidence:

“Frank’s legacy rests in his uncompromising defense of the First Amendment and his uncompromising pursuit of excellence clearly demonstrated in the standards he set in all areas of Music and the arts and sciences associated with it.”

I’m starting a new blog for Vegans who live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia…

… and nearby places.

It will be called Panhandle Vegan and it’s address is http://panhandlevegan.blogspot.com. If you go there now, you won’t find much except a brief description of what’s coming in the weeks ahead. However, if you are a Vegan, say, who will be coming to the CATF (Contemporary American Theater Festival) in Shepherdstown in July, this will help you find the best places to eat before or after the show.

I’m starting it, of course, because Elly and I have a difficult time eating out with friends and so we started keeping records of the best menu items around. This, I hope, will make other people’s lives easier.

– Bill