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November 2014
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A Baked Potato Salad

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Baked Potato Salad
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Good Eats
A potato salad made from chilled baked potatoes
  • Cold Baked Potato Salad
  • 3 large baked potatoes, cooled, peeled and cubed
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I use the precooked kind)
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 green onions, sliced and then chopped (green part only)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 dash celery salt or 1 dash seasoning salt
  • 1 dash garlic powder
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (optional)
  1. Gently stir together all the ingredients in a large bowl using a large spoon, reserving a little cheddar, green onion and bacon for garnish.
  2. Transfer to a serving dish.
  3. Top with reserved shredded cheddar, green onion slices and bacon crumbles for a beautiful presentation.


Now, that’s the way I found this recipe, and it looks OK as is, but I can’t ever leave well enough alone. So. . .

How about some dill or mustard (prepared) or mustard powder mixed with the mayo and sour cream? And why not chop and add some bread and butter pickles, too? Frankly, a little chopped celery would be nice, I think.

Just consider this recipe as I did when I saw it: a base recipe to vary to taste for your own use. Heck, I’d marinate the cubed potatoes overnight in a vinaigrette. Several research papers suggest that would increase resistant starch levels in the potatoes and be beneficial in moderating post-prandial blood sugar levels. Besides, if a tasty apple cider vinegar or even tastier balsamic vinegar were used (of course balsamic vinegar would affect the color of the potatoes), it’d be even tastier.

Haven’t tried the recipe (or my suggested variants) yet, but I am sure to do so soon. I’ll report back with “supplicants'” responses. *heh*

Here’s another one, similar but perhaps tastier from the get-go:

5 lbs potatoes, cooked and cubed (about 9-10 medium potatoes)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sour cream
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 -1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt (or to taste, or use white salt)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 -5 green onions, chopped
1 small onion, finely
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, finely cubed (or coarsley shredded)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (or to taste)
2 cups finely chopped cooked ham (or use cooked chopped chicken or turkey) (optional)

1 TO SERVE HOT AS A CASSEROLE; grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (or use a casserole dish that will hold the mixture).
2 Set oven to 350 degrees F.
3 In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, sour cream and melted butter, garlic powder, seasoned salt and black pepper until well combined.
4 Mix in green onion and yellow onion.
5 Add in the cooked cubed potatoes, cubed cheese and ham (if using) mix with a large spatula until well combined.
6 Transfer/spread the mixture to prepared casserole dish.
7 At this point you may cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours until ready to bake.
8 Bake 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
9 Remove from oven and sprinkle the grated cheddar on top; return to oven and bake 5-8 minutes more or until the cheese has melted.
10 TO SERVE AS A COLD POTATO SALAD; make as stated in steps 3-5 reducing the melted butter to 2 tablespoons.
11 Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or more before serving.



Some Non-Random Musings on the Current Scene

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N.B.: I frankly DGARA about foreign affairs, except where developments might have a local effect because of “feddle gummint” stupidities or deliberately malicious intent (toward citizens) in policies. So, by “current scene” you can expect me to comment on what was once quaintly known as “the home front,” for the most part.

Today’s topic: Censorship, “feddle gummint” skulduggery, Sharyl Atkkisson, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and a possibly appropriate citizens’ response.

By now, anyone with at least one firing neuron who’s not been living under a rock knows that our dear “gummint” placed spying software on Sharyl Atkkisson’s computers. Anyone in denial about the runaway skulduggery in effect in nearly every agency of the “feddle gummint” is either delusional or a part of (or expects to benefit from) the underhanded, nefarious, unscrupulous behavior that seems to now be the norm for “feddle gummint bureaucraps.” Heck, even the WaPo is “viewing with alarm” the appallingly stupid, criminal “feddle gummint” spying on a journalist.

If the feds can do it to her, they can do it to you. “Evidence” of “computer crimes” on ANYONE’S computers is now subject to The Sharyl Atkkisson Caveat: if the feds can plant things on her computer, who’s to say they didn’t plant stuff anywhere else they wanted to?

From now on, any claims by the “feddle gummint” to have found “evidence”–of ANYTHING–on a citizen’s computer should be loudly and raucously mocked.

Citizen response? So far, just the usual “view with alarm” stuff like the WaPo article. Sound and fury, etc. What would be appropriate, I think would be for a “vigilance committee” of patriotic hacker citizens to engage in a “Manhatten Project”-style effort to crack open every government computer system possible and flood the net with everything they want to hide from us. Snowden? He should be so far back he wouldn’t even be visible in the rear view mirror. Of course, it could happen that _some_ secrets could be minimally detrimental to national security, but I seriously doubt there are many such. Most “national security” secrets are more than likely just bureaucratic turf building/protecting.

Sadly, I do not have the skills necessary to make a contribution to the effort, and nor do I any longer have an audience/readership to influence toward that effort, since my work to remake this blog into nothing more than exercise space for “the voices in my head” has borne fruit. *heh*

In further mind-boggling abuses of rights supposedly protected under the First Amendment, while a student who is a Sikh has rightly received a pass on carrying a knife (“ceremonial dagger”) in pubschool, for religious reasons, Christian students who carry or read their Bibles, share their faith with other students or who are seen or heard praying or even just expressing opinions informed by their faith are continually oppressed. (Sure, schools pretty regularly lose in lawsuits over this, but the push against Christians practicing their religion in a pubschool setting is regularly, improperly, assaulted).

And cognitive dissonance never sets in with the left, because. . . it requires cognition? *sigh*

Reality-Based Fantasy, or Lies, Damned Lies and Politics

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One of the things that most disturbs me about politics nowadays is the consistent brutality politicians and Hivemind Podpeople (but I repeat myself; Mass MEdia Hivemind Podpeople are just political operatives with bylines *sigh*) perpetrate upon language and reason by means of corrupting terms. For example, there are very (very) few “conservatives” who espouse anything even remotely resembling conservative values or policies, and there are even fewer “liberals” who have any even remote connection to liberal values or policies. (Democrats who continually try to poison democracy by vitiating voting integrity commit vile calumny of democracy by claiming “democratic” principles, for example.)

My mind was “tainted” as a lad when both my extended family of pastors and theologians and historians, and my readings of Aquinas, Mill, and many others led me to think that calling things by honest terms is really the only way to approach finding true things, and that finding that which is true is a Very Good Thing.

Nowadays, in politics, The Hivemind (in all its forms), in the groves of Academia Fruitcake Bakeries, etc., lies in the form of words used to cloak their opposites are the norm.

Consider a fair definition of “speech codes” often in effect on so-called “liberal” campuses, nowadays,

“. . .a “speech code” [is] any university regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large. Any policy—such as a harassment policy, a protest and demonstration policy, or an IT acceptable use policy—can be a speech code if it prohibits protected speech or expression.

“Many speech codes impermissibly prohibit speech on the basis of content and/or viewpoint. An example of this type of policy would be a ban on “offensive language” or “disparaging remarks.” Other speech codes are content-neutral but excessively regulate the time, place, and manner of speech. A policy of this type might limit protests and demonstrations to one or two “free speech zones” on campus and/or require students to obtain permission in advance in order to demonstrate on campus.”

As against such statements as these from the prototypical classic liberal, John Stuart Mill:

“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. . .

“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
~ John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

Mill, in his essay, “On Liberty” expands on the very principles the Founders sought to carve into the law of the land. Interestingly, Edmund Burke, the prototypical English conservative recognized that the Founders were expressing their understanding of the rights of individuals within the framework of conservative values. (“Conciliation with the Colonies,” March, 1775)

GENUINE liberalism and GENUINE conservatism BOTH hold free speech to be a cardinal liberty, due protection by the state. So-called “liberals” nowadays most certainly do not (though they lie and say they do), and many so-called “conservatives” today are not much better.

One can simply list fundamental individual rights and go down the list checking off those that so-called “liberals” genuinely demonstrate support for or that so-called “conservatives” genuinely attempt to protect and find little in the way of liberal efforts to support expression of individual rights or conservative efforts to protect existing expression of individual rights. What one is more likely to find is both camps saying they are doing so while really simply trampling individual rights in the process of creating privileged classes.

I really tire of these lying scum. One suspects such behavior would only be amenable t amelioration by means of citizens’ vigilance committees bringing back tar and feathers. Like that’s gonna happen. . . *sigh*

Try This at Home. No, Really.

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This is another in my collection of “not quite right” non-recipes. Make of it what you will.

Had no hoisin sauce, and nor did I have all the ingredients to whip up a batch, so I decided to wing it and approximate something in the neighborhood of a hoisin sauce. . . sort of.

What I did:


  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (because I had only a smidgin’ of soy sauce on hand)–This is the single most significant departure.
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (‘cos I had no soy paste or black bean paste on hand and didn’t want to hassle with cooking some black beans, making paste, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (cos I’m out of honey and my molasses is reserved for other things)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • One garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder (I don’t usually use onion powder, but it works for this)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (right: out of sesame oil)
  • About 2 tablespoons of Melinda’s Jalapeño Ketchup (better than just a few drops of hot sauce, IMO)
  • About “8 grinds” of black pepper
  • 5 prunes. Just because.

. . .in food processor until smooth. Pretty good. Not “real” hoisin sauce, but it’s usable as a substitute, IMO, so. . . I used it in a crockpot five-spice pork recipe. (Yeh, there were more ingredients in the recipe I needed this for, like a 2.5lb pork roast, a couple of teaspoons of five-spice, some apple cider, the soy sauce I had on hand, a large onion, quartered and pieced out, and some carrots and potatoes dumped on top of the whole thing. Woulda included some celery stalks, but I forgot I had ‘em. *shrugs* At least I left the kitchen sink out.)

he only thing I’d do differently would be to change the order of loading in the veggies. Carrots on bottom, onions and then potatoes. That way, the potatoes wouldn’t soak up quite as much of the liquids/seasonings. Other than that, 12 hours on low produced a really, really delicious pork (shredded for “sammiches”–it just fell apart) and the potatoes, onions and carrots were very tasty.

If You Can’t Hack It. . .

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. . .then it may not be worth having.

I tend to hack most stuff I buy, mostly in very simple ways allowing [whatever] to suit my uses better than OEM standards. (BTW, that’s one reason I dislike Apple products. Less amenable to modification to suit individual users.)

That 46″ LED TV with the WiFi antenna waving in the air off to one side? I have a use for that.

That microwave oven “Ramen bowl” designed to cook a standard rectangular ramen noodle serving? Hole drilled in a corner in order to hang it from my pot rack (which, itself, is hacked–not hanging in the way it was designed to hang but MUCH more securely). Oh, and that package of ramen noodles? Minor hack: bits of meat and veggies added make it a more complete snack. Added spices make i more delish.

New mower? Hacked the handle to make it more comfy for me to use.

Maybe you’ve seen Jerkstoppers™ for notebook computers and other devices. Unnecessary. Hacked my own. Easy-peasy.

Vacuum sweeper? Hacked the wand to allow attaching more, different attachments (from a previous vacuum sweeper).

The trapezoidal box a new bathroom sink came in? It’s now a bathroom clothes hamper (spray paint and 10″-wide band of thick, adhesive-backed aluminum foil added for appearance and strength).

Now, I don’t usually hack extremely simple, well-functioning tools like knives, but I have made knives by hacking old tools, pieces of iron or steel I had laying around, whatever. And sheaths for such things? Why not convert old leather goods to new uses? OK, BTDT.

I even hack books and music to make both better for my uses. Books: my own hardcopies are strewn with notes and corrections that editors should have caught (flyleaf is good for indexing the notes).

Music: I can always write a new arrangement of a piece I find unsatisfying in its original form, or, write new music for old lyrics, as I did when I found CRANHAM unsuitable to the last verse of Rossetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” (poor metric* and content match, IMO, as good as the tune is for the other verses). Unfortunately, the tune I wrote that mates well with the last verse is unsuitable for the rest of the verses. But since the last verse is the whole point of the piece, I can live with that for my own uses.

I disliked our plain, double-paned front picture window, just sitting there as a *blah* focal point of a bay window, so. . . hacked it with some pinstriping tape and translucent glass paint, so that now it appears to be a multi-lighted, multi-colored stained glass window.

The sides of our nice new (well, even after a year it still feels new :-) ) aren’t the brushed stainless steel of the front, but a “pebbled” enamel gray. One side shows, so. . . while it’s attractive enough, two neodymium magnets in one corner make a great catch for keys; a nice, brushed aluminum-framed cork board is helpful for current info that should be available to anyone in the house. (the neodymium magnets are the killer hack for that fridge side, though–used ALL the time, and better than the hooks we’d used in a different location before)

(“Kitchen hacks” probably outnumber most of the other hacks put together, music hacks excepted.)

I suppose I just look at things and wonder, “How could this be better?” There is usually at least one way any product can be improved, usually several.

Feeding the Baby Trolls

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Every now and then, a baby troll will drop in here at this place. Always, always, always, these baby trolls are illiterate, woefully uninformed/misinformed/disinformed (and proud of it!) morons who refuse to use facts and reason, and who litter their verbal vomit with misused words, incomprehensible punctuation and grammar that would gag a maggot (demonstrating again a lack of ability to engage in logical thought, for syntax is the linchpin of logic in language).

In the past, these trolls have been primarily either Loony Left Moonbats or Muslims, but the sheer volume of baby trolls on the interwebs now that any illiterate moron with a credit card can obtain some sort of Internet capable device beggars the imagination, and so even here, at this modest lil place where I can just let “the voices in my head” run around and play, using casual speech, combined with verifiable fact and sensible opinion, baby trolls do occasionally come calling.

And what do I do?

I feed them (and in doing so perform a public service, but more on that later). And how do I feed them? Well, if they are simply illiterate morons who are proud of their ignorance and proud of their woefully uninformed/misinformed/disinformed, I may just tweak them for a while, though I will almost ALWAYS enjoin them to do their homework, somewhere down the line, and I’ll usually even give them hints to aid them in their homework.

But, alas! That will not do for baby trolls. Most are offended when anyone notes the profound stupidity of their comments, and so immediately start the slide to the Godwin Fallacy. No, really! it’s inevitable. [Edit: it is especially hilarious when Leftists and Muslims do this. They never see the irony.]

So, as long as it amuses me, I will continue with these baby trolls, allowing their almost “spamtardish” comments and responding with vicious, cruel, heartless deconstruction of their stupid comments, and even lading invective and vulgarity in response to such things as veiled death threats and the like. (Come to my house and try that, putzes. No, really. We do have a Second Amendment for good reason, you know. Just ask the Supreme Court about Heller. *heh*)

As to “performing a public service,” well, first, it’s like my tactic for dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormon “Missionaries”. I usually try to consume as much of their time and resources (I ALWAYS ask for any “literature” they may have), in order to limit their time and resources available to spend elsewhere. I also spend time arguing with them, and supporting my arguments with facts from their own precepts that are easily refuted from sources they (falsely) claim to respect. [Edit: I also used to go visit them at their places of abode and spend time expounding views antithetical to their heresies. Tit for tat, as it were. *heh*]

The differences in tactics between dealing w/JWs and MMs as opposed to baby trolls? JWs and MMs are usually much, much more intelligent and literate than baby trolls on the interwebs, and have yet to resort to ad hominem attacks (such as the Godwin Fallacy) and threats, and those stupid behaviors are reason enough to lade invective on baby trolls. It amuses me, and it calms and soothes my mind to do so, and, from the evidence of their commentary, it reduces them to foaming at the mouth, for all the world appearing to be on the verge of stroking out. Thus, egging baby trolls on and encouraging them to vent their spleen in ever greater degree, gives me hope that they are thereby shortening their own lives.

So there: my modest public service vis-à-vis Internet trolls. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. That it’s also amusing, relaxing and just downright fun is just a bonus.

Not News to Anyone Who’s Been Paying Attention. . .

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. . . and who has more active brain cells than a rotten rutabaga.

Republicans More Informed Than Democrats, According to Pew Research


Each year, Pew conducts its “What Do Americans Know” survey, which tests respondents on a series of questions. This year, the topics included the federal minimum wage, the territory occupied by ISIS, the Ukraine, Common Core educational proposals, fracking, where the Ebola virus is centered, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the U.S. poverty rate, where Shiite Muslims outnumber Sunnis, who chairs the Federal Reserve, where the federal government spends most and the U.S. unemployment rate. Unsurprisingly, older adults demonstrated greater knowledge than their younger counterparts, as did better-educated respondents.

But buried at the bottom of the survey report lies the subject heading “Partisan Differences in Knowledge,” which itemizes each question and the percentage of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who answered each one correctly.

On 10 out of 12 questions, Republican respondents “outperformed” the two other classes of respondents, Dims and Independents. By 2% and 5% respectively, Dims outperformed Reps only on where the ebola outbreak began and the federal poverty rate. That’s it.

The best part of the poll? Pew describes Reps outperforming Dims 10 to 2 as performance that is merely “somewhat better” than Dims. That’s Pew for ya: always willing to carry water for the Left.

Health Benefits of Beer

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[N.B. For sanity's sake, do avoid the mass-produced stuff better poured back into the horse it came out of.]

“Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health.”–Thomas Jefferson

The Health Benefits (just google the phrases I have bolded for more than just one link to the info):

1.) Light-to-moderate beer drinking may lower stroke risk by as much as 20%.

2.) The polyphenols in red wine that have so much good press about their antioxidant effect reducing free radicals and reducing the risk of heart attacks? Beer has simmilar amounts of polyphenols and 2-3 servings a day can lower risk of coronary artery disease by 30-40%.

3.) Homocysteine has been shown to have strong links to heart disease, and Vitamin B6–great for controlling homocysteine levels–is abundant in beer. Beer drinkers show healthier homocysteine blood levels than wine or liquor drinkers.

4.) Moderate beer drinking has a stress-reducing effect (whereas almost everyone can envision the stress-inducing effects of heavy beer drinking–*heh*).

5. A glass of beer is a great soporific. :-) Beer is not the perfect sleep aid, but is beneficial to some. In moderation.

6.) Beer helps promote blood vessel dilation (many side benefits–especially for us old guys) and urination.

7.) A main ingredient in beer is a prostate cancer antagonist (!). (So, between hops’ xanthohumol and beer’s famous ability to promote urination, a wonderful benefit to guys as we age ;-)).

8.) A Finnish study indicates that beer seems to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.

9.) Those clever Japanese have discovered that beta-pseudouridine found in beer actually helps reduce chromosonal damage from radiation exposure! (Maybe I can dispense with my lead cup and tinfoil hat, ya think? :-))

10.) Beer contains anti-inflammatory agents (from the hops). Nice for my joints–and maybe yours, too, eh?

The alcohol in beer–generally less than in many other alcoholic beverages–is also beneficial in several ways, including

11.) Lowering HDL levels

12.) In mice at least, alcohol spurs the growth of new brain cells. (I’m not a mouse, but the research indicates that moderate beer drinking may actually help me as much as coffee does! :-))

13.) Moderates insulin levels.

There are more, of course, but it seems the folk wisdom of yore reflected in the Jefferson quote above has much more basis in fact than 99% of Mass Media Podpeople or politicians’ *spit* statements.

Calling All Screenwriters!

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A movie just waiting to be written and produced, based on King Putz’s administration: “Feebs: We’re the government; we’re here to help (ourselves)”


A Chillingly Reasonable Conspiracy Theory

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A comment at The Belmont Club post, “Ebola in America,” is chilling in the manner it parses federal “incompetence.” Or maybe federal “incompetence” really is, à la John Ringo’s “The Last Centurion”–genuine institutional and political stupidity. You decide.

Ebola In America

From the comments to the post linked above:

“1) Responding to epidemics/pandemics is NOT something that has never come up before. The very fact that we are here, with our pre-Ebola life expectancies, is based on the ability of medical science to respond to disease outbreaks.

“2) The standard first response, backed by millennia of successful experience, is isolation of the infected community/individuals with quarantine for those who are suspected and at risk.

“3) The deliberate, considered, and premeditated response of Federal agencies across the board has been to bring as many disease vectors into this country as they possibly can, to forcibly prevent them from being medically screened, to scatter them throughout the country, and to actively impede state and local health authorities from responding to any disease outbreaks triggered.

“We now have Ebola being spread by government actions within our borders. We now have previously eradicated TB being spread by government action within our borders, except now drug resistant. We now have an epidemic enterovirus all over the country attacking children, now killing them, and mutating into a form of polio which we had eradicated within our borders. We now have Dengue Fever spreading within this country, which has not been here in any volume for a century.

“And all of it spread in the last couple of years with the help of all agencies of the Federal government.

“This is a level of ‘incompetence’ that cannot be blamed on one or two individuals. It crosses several Cabinet level departments with them working together for a common result. Which we are seeing now. That level of “incompetence” is in fact planning and premeditation. The odds of multiple departments committing reinforcing acts to bring this result by pure chance are beyond credibility. Especially, since not one of them are responding to the breaking reality with changed behavior.

“The proper domestic response to the initial outbreak would have been stopping all direct flights between the US and the affected countries, blocking entry of anyone who has been in those countries until they can prove that they have been outside those countries for 30 days, the cancellation of student and tourist visas for people from those countries, and [oh, yes] securing our borders so that anyone who comes in is screened for health and legal status. Noting that 15% of the illegal invaders who cross our deliberately-erased-by-the-Federal-government are NOT from Mexico, Central, or South America. And that from January-August this year 71 nationals from the Ebola infected countries were caught at the former border. And that we only catch a small percentage of those crossing.

“I would also note that we have done the travel restrictions relatively recently for H1N1 flu. This is not breaking new ground. It is deliberate avoidance of proper epidemiological procedure.

“Prediction: sometime soon, the Federal government will institute movement and quarantine controls inside the country for US citizens only. The national borders will remain wide open. Foreigners, legal or invaders, will be allowed to move as they please. And all anti-discrimination laws will be firmly enforced.

“I have expressed doubts about a real election in November. This reinforces those doubts.

“And it would not be a bad thing for those that can to prepare for a period of self-imposed isolation, and self-defense, during it.”–Subotai Bahadur

It sure seems to be a good fit for King Putz’s consistent implementation of Cloward-Pivens, doesn’t it?

In closing, competing aphorisms:

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”–Ian Flemming


“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”–attributed to Napoleon

So, which is it? Or, is it essentially both: stupid malice?

Update: While considering the above, add this into your ponderings:

Immigration Expert: Obama Admin Responsible for Letting Ebola Patient into U.S.

Perhaps we should quarantine all US Ebola patients in the WH–along with the “foist” family