Baby Rabbits Replacing Lawn Mower

Given the drought that is plaguing much of southern Wisconsin there is very little reason to even think about lawn mowing.  The grass is either brown, or growing so slowly there is no reason to cut it, and harm it in these conditions.

Thankfully for the grass that remains green and growing there is a natural ‘lawn mower’ that takes care of our concerns.

Over the past couple weeks James and I have been watching the ‘little sticks of butter’–baby rabbits–frolicing about on the lawn as they eat grass.  They are continually eating, but remain so tiny–and irresistibly cute.  Where the young rabbits have boundary issues we spray some chemical fence that alerts them to eat the grass–and not the rose leaves.

A number of days back we witnessed the mother–apparently making some sound discernible only to the young ones hiding under day lilies and hostas– that it was feeding time.  From several directions a slew of ‘butter sticks’ came running and squeezed under the mother–one even hanging upside down–for meal time.

It was a sight I had never before witnessed.

Though I grew up in the country I have been closer to Mother Nature–and it more close to me–while living in the city.

Today one of the youngsters and mom were out-and-about for Sunday brunch.

Viewing Chief Justice Roberts Health Care Law Ruling In Larger Picture Frame

I am very heartened to read and hear over the past days many pundits and reporters viewing the written court ruling by Chief Justice John Roberts pertaining to the health care law in the same larger context I did on the morning the decision was handed down.  Granted, the pundits do it more artfully than I did.  There is no doubt, however, for a need to see Roberts’ decision in a larger picture frame.

I wrote in part the following.

Chief Roberts’ actions are mighty important not only to the political process that the ruling falls down upon, but also to the judicial branch that often gets tarred with unfair slurs. Unity on the bench is important, and I yearn for more blending of the two sides when opinions are handed down. I sincerely applaud Roberts’ role in this case.

The Chief Justice also demonstrated that when someone is African-American, and a Democratic president is not enough reason to attempt to frame every policy as evil or part of a communist plot. As absurd as that may seem to some, in the current political landscape created by the Tea Party, it is a statement that needs to be heard.

What Roberts so powerfully wrote is an important reminder in this time of fractious government that just because an issue gets exaggerated attention under the hot lights from Fox News does not mean it is unconstitutional. Framing the health care debate in pure legal reasoning, and elevating it above the shouts and anger hopefully will be seen as a turning point in our nation on this matter.

Time had this perspective in this week’s edition.

Back in 2007 he  (Roberts) spoke to Jeff Rosen of G.W. Law School and The Republican and The Atlantic and this is what he told Jeff back then. “In deciding to resist the politicization of the judiciary Roberts acknowledged he set himself another daunting task, but he said he views is as also a special opportunity, especially in our intensely polarized age. ‘Politics are closely divided,’ he observed, ‘The same with the Congress. There ought to be some sense of stability. If the government is not going to polarize completely it is a high priority to keep any kind of partisan divide out of the judiciary as well.'”

It’s hard to believe, but generations of Americans considered compromise an admirable quality. Schoolteachers taught their students about the Great Compromise that produced the Constitution and the Missouri Compromise that — for a time — held it together. Now the word connotes something bad. A leaky gasket has been “compromised,” and cheating spouses are caught in “compromising” positions. What Roberts managed to do with Obamacare vindicated the virtue of compromise in an era of Occupiers, Tea Partyers and litmus-testing special interests.

He didn’t seek some nonexistent middle ground halfway between irreconcilable poles. He didn’t listen to one side saying no and the other saying yes and write an opinion saying maybe, or blend black and white to make gray. He found a means of giving both sides just enough of what they wanted that he was able to avert a crisis. In the superheated conflict mill that is American politics these days, it’s good to have someone in a position of authority willing to try.

Agreeing With Gov. Jindal: Newspapers Are Good For Democracy

Newspapers have alway played a role in my life.  From the days of childhood when a daily arrived in our home via the mail, to the paper I bought every day on the way to the radio station in Door County, to the ones that are thrown each morning on our front stoop.  I no longer would start my day without the paper than I would radio for the latest news.

Newspapers play an integral role in our democracy, having the space to devote to the large stories and investigations that provide more accountability from our government.   Though I take chiding from some on this blog for my appreciation and understanding for such an ‘old-fashioned’  mode of being informed, I want to bring to everyone’s attention that I am not alone in my thinking.

DAVID GREGORY:

Finally, in your state the Times Picayune Newspaper, newspapers under siege across the country, talking about going down and publishing only three days a week. There’s a big draft effort to reverse that. Where do you stand? 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

Look, personally as a citizen I think it’s a sad day to have this newspaper go to three days a week instead of seven days a week. I know they’re going to enhance their digital content. I’ve got a lot of friends there that work at the paper. I don’t always agree with the paper and I shouldn’t always agree with the paper.

I think it’s important for democracy. We’ve got robust news gathering organizations. I think the daily newspaper, the printed newspaper, plays an important role in holding government accountable, uniting our people. I think that they played such a critical role after Katrina, bringing news to people even when their presses were flooded.

I’m saddened by this development. Even though I don’t agree with their editorial positions and their reporting, I am still saddened by the fact that we’re going to have a great American city without a major daily newspaper. I don’t think that’s a good development for democracy.

Democratic Agenda For Nation

Crisp and clear language from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the Democratic agenda for the next term in Congress, and the second term of President Obama’s White House.

But we have an agenda; it’s as simple as ABC. American made, make it in America, not to be protectionist but to be self-reliant. We want to sell on the global market as well as buy. Build American infrastructure of America; it’s taken so long for us to get a transportation bill, and we should be doing so much more to address the infrastructure concerns, whether it’s broadband or bridges. C, do so in a community way, where we know the role that education and public safety and all play about fairness, in our tax code and the rest. The sense of community and shared responsibility in our country. And I add to the ABC’s of that, a dare, a dare to reduce the role of money in campaigns, because you cannot separate the policy from the politics. Walter Reuther said it, he said, “The breadbox and the ballot box are connected,” and they are. And so we are daring with disclose – I am Nancy Pelosi, and I support this ad — they should disclose, too. Amend the Constitution to overturn Citizen’s United. Reform the system to reduce the role of money and elect reformers of either party or any party to do so.

How Does Mitt Romney Spend A Vacation Week? Finding Out Who Can Hammer Most Nails Into Board In Two Minutes

Some of this is enough to make one barf.

“This weekend, Mitt Romney is starting his annual summer vacation on [Lake Winnipesaukee]… The Romneys, 30 in all these days, [follow] a … regimen of sports and games known as the ‘Romney Olympics.’ The Romney Olympics have long included a mini-triathlon of biking, swimming and running that pits Mitt and his five sons and their wives against one another. But after Mitt once nearly finished last, behind a daughter-in-law who had given birth to her second child a couple of months earlier, the ultra-competitive and self-described unathletic patriarch expanded the games to give himself a better shot. Now they also compete to see who can hang onto a pole the longest, who can throw a football the farthest and who can hammer the most nails into a board in two minutes – not exactly the kind of events they’ll be giving out gold medals for in London this month.

I wonder if he wears his Mormon underwear for all the events?

“By day, the Romneys kayak and water ski – one sport at which Mitt excels – play tennis and basketball, stage a ‘home-run derby’ and horse around on a slip-and-slide. Most of the grandchildren (there are now 18) put on a talent show on a stage that Papa, as they call Mitt, constructed in the backyard. And he helps them roast s’mores over a campfire and leads them on treasure hunts. He grills chicken and salmon and teaches the kids how to drive his lawn tractor. At night, the adults gather for family meetings, with each evening focused on a frank and full discussion of a different son’s career moves and parenting worries. Each member of the family picks a daily chore from a ‘chore wheel,’ so as to share cleaning tasks evenly.

“And … everyone poses on the lawn for a portrait for that year’s Romney family Christmas card. The grandchildren coordinate outfits; last summer, the girls wore matching orange and yellow polka-dotted dresses and the boys, blue checkered shirts. … Romney’s 13-acre estate features a six-bedroom house, a horse stable with guest apartments above it, a $630,000 boat house, tennis and volleyball courts and a shoreline stretching 768 feet … Romney and his wife, Ann, purchased the home in 1997 for $2.5 million and later bought adjoining land. This year, records show, the estate was assessed at $8 million.”

Health Care Law Gaining Public Support

There is no mystery, given the unrelenting negative narrative the Republicans have used over the past two years, as to why the American public has questions concerning the role the health care law will play in the nation.

But as more people find out about the various components that will positively impact their health care decisions and costs it becomes more clear why the law is worthy of  support.  As more of the law takes effect,  more and more support will be registered for the signature piece of President Obama’s first term.

That is what makes Republicans nervous.

The GOP wants to kill the law prior to the point that the public can fully appreciate the benefits that it provides.

There is however evidence that is surfacing in the past days that there is growing support for the law.

Voter support for President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul rose after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it but most people still oppose the law, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Sunday.

The online survey showed increased backing from Republicans and, crucially, the political independents whose support will be essential to winning the November 6 presidential election.

Thirty-eight percent of independents support the healthcare overhaul in the poll conducted after the court ruled Thursday the law was constitutional. That was up from 27 percent from a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken days before the justices’ ruling.

Among all registered voters, support for the law rose to 48 percent, from 43 percent before the court decision.

Republicans Against Critical Thinking In Schools, Place Item In State Party Platform

Hat Tip to James.

No one can contradict the argument that Republicans are truly anti-intellectual.  At all levels of government Republicans prove over and over they are both anti-science and anti-education.  They seem to rejoice in elevating the most ludicrous people onto pedestals, and voting for the lowest common denominators time and again.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson thinks climate change is due to sun spots, and Sarah Palin cannot understand why no one believes she can see Russia from her backyard.

The bulk of the Republican Party are made up of dolts.   If there is any group that needs education it would be the GOP.

Yet it is the Republicans who continually work to undermine better educated children in this nation.

In Texas the conservatives have placed their lack of mental gravitas into the Republican Party platform.

It’s official: The Republican Party of Texasopposes critical thinking. That’s right, drones, and it’s part of their official platform.

One of our eagle-eyed readers emailed us to point out this unbelievable passage in the RPT 2012 platform, as adopted at their recent statewide conference.

“Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

What this really means is that the GOP is doubling down on learn-by-rote fact recitation – of the kind spearheaded by the worst of the pro-testing advocates, and locally by IDEA Public Schools, which has committed to the anti-analytical direct learning model (aka “press button A, B or C.”)