Vote, Not That It Matters

Thomas PaineHere’s why I won’t really care all that much if the GOP does take over the Senate and/or Congress.

The message from Washington’s Republican elite is no longer that government is the problem, but that Democrats in charge of government are the problem. That might work in 2014, but it’s not going to carry the day in the next presidential election. Republicans cannot make the case that government is the problem when they covet the power of controlling it to the extent they do.

They don’t represent me and haven’t for a very long time.

They don’t represent you, either. They represent themselves.

Our two party system is most like a class of unruly bullies engaged in an exchange of spit-wads between the two parties and at the expense of everybody else. In his 1776 pamphlet Common Sense Thomas Paine made a point that resonates today- that a ‘representative government ceases to be representative if the ELECTED

“form to themselves an interest separate from the ELECTORS,

I believe this is what we have in both parties- they have more in common with each other than with us. Their interests are actually more allied with each other than with the voters.

Thomas Paine also said   that in order to prevent this from happening:

prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as the ELECTED might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the ELECTORS in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other…”


Our ELECTED have long since formed an interest to themselves separate from the ELECTORS, namely, getting reelected and solidifying their own power and perks. Even the nice ones.

That’s another reason I’m in favor of term limits.

We have senators who may well have once been decent people, but they’ve been in power for 40 years. That’s too long. Their constituents aren’t reelecting them, they keep reelecting familiarity and the facade the politicians’ handlers want them to see. They are reelecting the status quo as political staff and campaign managers and other beneficiaries see it.

We have representatives who think it’s ridiculous to read the bills. They don’t even write them. They outsource them and they aren’t even embarrassed about that anymore.  They say they don’t have to know the details of the legislation they are passing, they are relying on the scientists or some other special interest group composed of unelected officials.

Instead of ‘representative government,’ we may have a shadow government run by senate staff and handlers.

And in our current two party system, the leadership of the two parties have more common with each other than they do with most citizens.

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Birdwatching is Racist?

bird on a wireAccording to the National Geographic, yes. And according to this urban birdwatcher, no. Not only no, but:

This message emasculates African Americans.

Black professionals and white liberals are speaking this way about the very people who marched from Selma, who risked violent assault in the freedom rides, who broke Montgomery’s bus segregation through a boycott. Yes, these very same people need white liberals to help them to watch birds.

I first moved to Paterson over twenty years ago. I witnessed immigrants of every hue taking advantage of every opportunity America offers and moving up and out. African Americans have been told that white racism prevents them from climbing the ladder of success. They must wait for white liberals to bring them jobs, clean, safe streets, and, now, birdwatching. I don’t want African Americans to keep waiting. I want them to grab every opportunity they can, including a pair of binoculars.

The paternalism of the left reminds me nearly on a daily basis of the paternalism of the antebellum arguments in favor of slavery.

Updated to add this case in point- Michelle Obama tells black voters not to worry about what candidates said or did, just vote the straight Democrat ticket and then go have some fried chicken.

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The IRS Scandal Continues

From an article 18 months ago loosely assuring us that Obama’s IRS scandal won’t rise to this level comes this reminder that the articles of impeachment against Nixon included his use of the IRS as a weapon to target his political enemies:

From Article II of the Articles of Impeachment adopted by the House Judiciary Committee (emphasis added):

He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

Nixon was also infamously known for the missing 18 minutes of audiotape.  Obama’s IRS is missing two years worth of emails from multiple employees- oddly, employees who are targeted for Congressional investigation.  It’s like an epidemic or something.

Even the emails the IRS has, it stubbornly refuses to release, for the reasons you might expect:

….new letters obtained by The Daily Caller’s Patrick Howley indicate some level of cooperation between the IRS and Democratic members of Congress in the lopsided scrutiny of conservative nonprofits.

“The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not want to publicly release 2012 correspondences exchanged between the IRS and Jeanne Shaheen at her personal Washington office: the agency delayed releasing the information to a major conservative super PAC multiple times, even threatening to see the super PAC in court, according to emails,” Howley wrote in what appears to be a bombshell story published late Monday evening, hours before the polls open here in a brutal election battle between Shaheen and former Sen. Scott Brown.

The letters that Howley obtained seem to indicate that Shaheen personally worked alongside the IRS’s Lerner to target conservative groups. The IRS’s then-chief counsel William J. Wilkins, who Howley notes had frequently visited President the White House and was “described by insiders as ‘The President’s Man at the IRS,’” wrote a personal “hand-stamped memo” addressed to “Senator Shaheen” on “official Department of the Treasury letterhead on April 25, 2012.”


The IRS knows who brings them the bacon: President Obama Requests 10.5% Budget Increase for IRS, Despite IRS’s Failure to Perform Basic Budget Planning

We can play the “if this were a Republican President” game and we all know how it would go, but it’s pointless, because it’s not a Republic President, it’s not a neutral agency, and we don’t have a journalistically minded press, we have lapdogs who view their roles as spokespeople for and protectors of this President and the Democrats in general.

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The Seeds that Jack Found, An Autumn Tale

pumpkin seedsThese are the seeds that Jack found.

vintage garden coloring page


This is the earth that enfolded the seeds that Jack found.

umbrella b and 2 coloring sheet This is the rain that fell on the earth that enfolded the seeds that Jack found.


This is the sunshine that helped the rain that fell on the earth that enfolded the seeds that Jack found.

pumpkin vine drawing

This is the vine that grew ‘neath the sunshine that helped the rain that fell on the earth that enfolded the seeds that Jack found.


This is the squash that came from the vine that grew ‘neath the sunshine that helped the rain that fell on the earth that enfolded the seeds that Jack found.

vintage mother boy in kitchen coloring page
This is the mother who took the squash that came from the vine that grew  ‘neath the sunshine that helped the rain that fell on the earth that enfolded the seeds that Jack  found.

vintage pie baking

These are the pies that were made by the mother who took the squash that came from the vine that grew neath the sunshine that helped the rain that fell on the earth that enfolded the seeds that Jack found.

Jack horner

And this is Jack.

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Voter Fraud

Nelson Mandela voter IDCan we talk about voter fraud now? There is absolutely nothing racist about requiring photo ID to vote.  It’s a common sense protection of legally cast votes.

Last week O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Action organization took its first deep-dive into North Carolina election politics, filming Democratic campaign workers saying they would help illegal immigrants vote for incumbent Senator Kay Hagan. 

This time he strolled into polling places in Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro to see how easy it would be to vote fraudulently in the name of another person. He was offered twenty ballots at a variety of polling places before a pair of officials finally challenged him.

‘They wanted to protect the system,’ O’Keefe says in the video, released exclusively to MailOnline. ‘They had to break the rules to do it.’

‘Of all of the undercover investigations I’ve conducted, this was by far the easiest,’he said Monday. 

‘They were willing to pass out fraudulently obtained ballots like it was Halloween candy.’ 

Read more:



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Thanksgiving Coloring Page

thanksgiving girl feeding turkey vintage

One of the best ways to work on the motor skills needed for improved handwriting is tracing. You could have your child trace this picture.
Color it.
Mount to cardstock and cut into two to four pieces for a puzzle
Use for Thanksgiving decorations

Use for place cards at the table

Here’s another one best suited for tracing and then coloring:

vintage boy turkey


You can also adjust the sizes on any of these, print or trace them on tissue paper and use in this candle craft


vintage boy turkey tiny square turkey small turkey large thanksgiving girl feeding turkey vintage small thanksgiving girl feeding turkey vintage large

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A Few Free Kindle Books

Thoughts on Art and Life

Blurb: About the Author
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci : (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and “his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote”. Marco Rosci states that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.

Reader Review: Who isn’t impressed with the life and accomplishments of the great Leonardo Davinci?? This book is filled with his words, which is enough by itself to make the work interesting. His knowledge of so many things was very impressive, especially considering the time he lived. There was so much ignorance in that time, but Leonardo required more evidence than most before he bought into what anyone was “selling”. He was much more than a great fine artist, and some of the multi-dimensional talent that he had can be gleaned from the pages in this book. Sometimes tedious, but often compelling and stimulating, it is a book worth reading.

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Self Help; with illustrations of Conduct and Perseverance

Extract: The Government of a nation itself is usually found to be but the reflex of the individuals composing it. The Government that is ahead of the people will inevitably be dragged down to their level, as the Government that is behind them will in the long run be dragged up. In the order of nature, the collective character of a nation will as surely find its befitting results in its law and government, as water finds its own level. The noble people will be nobly ruled, and the ignorant and corrupt ignobly. Indeed all experience serves to prove that the worth and strength of a State depend far less upon the form of its institutions than upon the character of its men. For the nation is only an aggregate of individual conditions, and civilization itself is but a question of the personal improvement of the men, women, and children of whom society is composed.

National progress is the sum of individual industry, energy, and uprightness, as national decay is of individual idleness, selfishness, and vice. What we are accustomed to decry as great social evils, will, for the most part, be found to be but the outgrowth of man’s own perverted life; and though we may endeavour to cut them down and extirpate them by means of Law, they will only spring up again with fresh luxuriance in some other form, unless the conditions of personal life and character are radically improved. If this view be correct, then it follows that the highest patriotism and philanthropy consist, not so much in altering laws and modifying institutions, as in helping and stimulating men to elevate and improve themselves by their own free and independent individual action.

It may be of comparatively little consequence how a man is governed from without, whilst everything depends upon how he governs himself from within. The greatest slave is not he who is ruled by a despot, great though that evil be, but he who is the thrall of his own moral ignorance, selfishness, and vice. Nations who are thus enslaved at heart cannot be freed by any mere changes of masters or of institutions; and so long as the fatal delusion prevails, that liberty solely depends upon and consists in government, so long will such changes, no matter at what cost they may be effected, have as little practical and lasting result as the shifting of the figures in a phantasmagoria. The solid foundations of liberty must rest upon individual character; which is also the only sure guarantee for social security and national progress. John Stuart Mill truly observes that “even despotism does not produce its worst effects so long as individuality exists under it; and whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it be called.”

books black and white

The Sea-Gull
, by Chekhov

Extract: MASHA and MEDVIEDENKO come in from the left, returning from a walk.

MEDVIEDENKO. Why do you always wear mourning?

MASHA. I dress in black to match my life. I am unhappy.

MEDVIEDENKO. Why should you be unhappy? [Thinking it over] I don’t understand it. You are healthy, and though your father is not rich, he has a good competency. My life is far harder than yours. I only have twenty-three roubles a month to live on, but I don’t wear mourning. [They sit down].

MASHA. Happiness does not depend on riches; poor men are often happy.

MEDVIEDENKO. In theory, yes, but not in reality. Take my case, for instance; my mother, my two sisters, my little brother and I must all live somehow on my salary of twenty-three roubles a month. We have to eat and drink, I take it. You wouldn’t have us go without tea and sugar, would you? Or tobacco? Answer me that, if you can.

MASHA. [Looking in the direction of the stage] The play will soon begin.

MEDVIEDENKO. Yes, Nina Zarietchnaya is going to act in Treplieff’s play. They love one another, and their two souls will unite to-night in the effort to interpret the same idea by different means. There is no ground on which your soul and mine can meet. I love you. Too restless and sad to stay at home, I tramp here every day, six miles and back, to be met only by your indifference. I am poor, my family is large, you can have no inducement to marry a man who cannot even find sufficient food for his own mouth.

MASHA. It is not that. [She takes snuff] I am touched by your affection, but I cannot return it, that is all. [She offers him the snuff-box] Will you take some?

MEDVIEDENKO. No, thank you. [A pause.]

MASHA. The air is sultry; a storm is brewing for to-night. You do nothing but moralise or else talk about money. To you, poverty is the greatest misfortune that can befall a man, but I think it is a thousand times easier to go begging in rags than to—You wouldn’t understand that, though.

See also Uncle Vanya, by the same author.

books black and white

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

I’ve mentioned this before and no doubt will again. It’s one of the most helpful, thought provoking little books I have ever read on making the most of your time.

books black and white

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The play by Shakespeare. One of my favorite things we’ve done as a homeschooling family is reading the plays in character. I don’t think we ever necessarily finished one (except Julius Caesar, but it still brought new understanding of and appreciation for the plays.

See also: As You Like It

books black and white

The Introvert’s Guide to Entrepreneurship: How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur as an Introvert

book narrow

These are all affiliate links.

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Sourdough Focaccia

I’m going a little hogwild with the sourdough around here, in case you hadn’t noticed.   I’ll probably pursue the topic like a maniac for another few weeks and then drop it and move on to some other new interest.  That’s how I obsess.

2014-11-02 12.50.32Scroll down for the recipe I ended up using.  I had to make up my own.

Here’s how I came up with the version I used:

I had a lot of starter and I wanted to use some. But I wanted a recipe that combined a lot of the ingredients, particularly the flour and starter, 12 hours in advance. I didn’t want a recipe that had me combine starter and flour and then baking the bread in within a couple of hours. I wasn’t ready for a loaf of bread- I wanted another muffin recipe, or some kind of quick bread, but not too close to the two recipes I already tried this week.  I also wanted a recipe that would use a generous amount of my starter- certainly no less than one cup, and preferably more.  As I looked, I found myself leaning more and more toward a focaccia. Granny Tea had brought a sourdough loaf of bread over for dinner a few days previous, and the FYG had sliced hers, spread it with butter and then put green olives on top. That sounded delicious to me, and I thought it would go well on a focaccia.

I couldn’t find precisely what I wanted, so I looked through my older cookbooks.

2014-11-02 14.37.25I saw a way to get what I wanted in some directions in this cookbook. It’s Home bakebook of natural breads & goodies, only mine is a hardback and was published in 1972.

There are several recipes here I’ll be trying over the next week or two.  But what really excited me is the directions for converting a yeast recipe to a sourdough recipe:

“For one large loaf of sourdough bread:

1. Omit the yeast.

2. Omit 1 3/4 cups liquids (liquids include not only water, milk, and juices, but eggs, which account for about 1/4 cup per large egg)

3. Add 2 cups of sourdough starter.

4. Reduce the amount of flour by about 1 cup

the ingredients are then mixed together by the basic method of preparing sourdough sponge.


To convert a recipe for two loaves of bread, double the directions, omit 3 1/2 cups of liquids, add four cups of starter, and reduce the amount of flour by two cups.


In recipes where the essence of the bread comes from a liquid ingredient such as a puree or eggs, lowering the fluid content by reducing the amounts of these ingredients may drastically alter the original flavor.  In these instances, eliminate the milk or water, then reduce the amount of starter used.  Oils should not be removed the recipe.  For an omission of every 1/4 cup of liquid, reduce the amount of starter used by 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons. ”


I turned to The Frugal Gourmet Whole Family Cookbook: Recipes and Reflections for Contemporary Living. I love the Frugal Gourmet cookbooks, by the way, and have several in my cookbook shelf.

(The original recipe also appears in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece, and Rome)

What I did wasn’t a whole lot like the original recipe, but I couldn’t have made it without the original.

Sourdough Focaccia Bread with Garlic and Green Olives

Here’s what I did:

I combined:
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 1/2 cups sourdough starter
5 cups of flour, a combination of Kamut and pastry wheat, both freshly ground
1 teaspoon himalayan pink salt.

I mixed this well. I added a splash or two more of olive oil and then a few tablespoons of water (maybe 2 or 3) because the dough seemed to be on the dry side.
I stirred it with a wooden spoon until it was all mixed and made a soft, somewhat sticky dough. Then I covered the bowl with a towel and went to bed.

The next morning, I put on disposable kitchen gloves, splashed a bit more olive oil onto the dough, drizzled about 3 or 4 tablespoons of molasses over it and about 1/3 cup of minced garlic. I mixed and kneaded this with my hands (in gloves) until there were no more streaks of molasses and it was all mixed in.

2014-11-02 09.10.24Then I divided the dough in two halves and used my hands (still in the gloves) and patted the dough out onto two large stoneware pans.

I sprinkled it lightly with some celtic sea salt, put sliced green olives all over the top and pressed down on them. I didn’t measure. I probably did too many. Subtlety isn’t my strength.

2014-11-02 09.18.35

I put some diced dried tomatoes and minced onion on top as well, again pressing them down a bit into the dough.

Then I put them in my warm oven to rise for about an hour. The oven was warm because when i first got to the kitchen I turned the oven on to its lowest setting, 170, for about five minutes and then turned it off again.

2014-11-02 12.20.27

My kitchen was pretty cold last night and this morning- my sourdough dough was cold to the touch when I began working with it this morning. I’m not sure the second rise was strictly necessary.

I baked it at 375 for about 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Some dough fell off the edge of the pan in one or two places, which is why I think I should not have had the second rising.

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In this picture I have a small piece with the top and a large piece showing the underside- see all those air bubbles?  This stuff is really light and tender.

2014-11-02 12.52.59

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Clue That He’d Outgrown the Jungle Wallpaper

I took this picture a couple years ago.
weapons and jungle wallpaper border

He got permission to remove the jungle wallpaper border shortly afterward.

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Thanksgiving Silhouettes to Cut Out

thanksgiving silhouettes grandma child cat vintage cutting practice

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