Department Of Yet Another Silver Lining
The Democratic convention’s pandemic-mindful/physical distancing states’ roll call (in its entirety, here ) – how delightful was that? The usual political party convention roll call, with the delegates dressed basically the same (we can wear three colors – can you guess what they are?) and wearing those ridiculous straw boater hats, some of which look to be made of styrofoam….it’s beyond boring.
Moiself sez let’s do it this way from now on, pandemic or not. We got a brief glimpse into the states’ – and US territories’ – terrain as well as character,  with a few surprises, too. Rhode Island calamari – that’s even a thing? Who knew?
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Department Of Which Is The More Accurate Adjective?
What the radio podcast host said:
” (name)…is a board-licensed professional counselor.”
What moiself heard;
“(name) …is a bored, licensed professional counselor.”
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Department Of If Given My Druthers, I’d Like To
Leave The Civics Lesson To Someone Else
What, BTW, are druthers? In the various idiomatic expressions which use the word, it does seem to be a positive thing. Do I have to wait to be given them, by someone else, or can I get or earn them on my own? 
If it were in my power, I would give all of you your druthers. Wouldn’t it be great if druthers turned out to be something like this:
Once again, I digress.
Moiself is thrilled with Joe Biden’s choice of a running mate. During the Democratic debates, a California friend (MM) and I were exchanging ideas/compliments about the various candidates. In MM’s opinion Sen. Harris, besides being experienced and intelligent and a razor-sharp questioner during Senate hearings, was also not the kind to put up with crap or betrayal – “She’ll put a shiv in you,” MM wrote admiringly. We both agreed that was a talent sorely needed when dealing with the petty viciousness and mendacity of the Republican congress. 
One of the many, many other things I like about Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris is that I don’t know a thing about her religious/spiritual and/or worldview beliefs. And I’d like to keep it that way.
Except of course, the Republicans will not stand for that. Even the (secretly) religion-free among them must grovel to the altar of right-wing Jayyy-suuuus lovers. #45 figured this out when he was laughing all the way to the bank (or golf course), passing church after church along the way, metaphorically thumbing his nose at them even as he was snickering about how easy it was to bamboozle the congregants.
The Republicans will look for every opportunity, during the election and debates,  to play their piety cards and jab Biden and Harris about their beliefs. Biden has already fallen into that trap –of talking about his own faith rather than telling those who ask that it’s none of their business as the USA is not a theocracy, and let’s get back to the issues….
Thus, I humbly offer my advice to Ms. Harris – the advice she didn’t solicit from me  but which I hope she takes:
Don’t fall for Pence’s religious rhetoric claptrap, and make him sorry if he even asks. I know you’re capable of going all prosecutorial on his ass…even though that tactic, if you employed it, would make your advisors reach for the smelling salts as the white evangelicals would clutch their pearls and gasp in horror at The Angry Black Bitch Atheist (whether you are or are not the fourth, you’d definitely be pegged as the first three). So, yes, I understand how you must go for discretion.
I also hope you don’t mumble platitudes about respecting everyone’s faith journey (although I understand there will be pressure to do so). When – not *if,* as religion will definitely be an issue – the subject of a paticular candidate’s religious beliefs are brought up, don’t ignore it. Instead, candidly and assertively steer away from the subject, every time it happens, and every time reminding us of why you are doing so:
We are electing presidents and vice presidents here,
not popes and pastors and vicars and decans – or rabbis, imams or mullahs, Zen masters or Lamas, pujaris or gurus….
American citizens hold a diversity of religious opinions. The candidates elected will be the President and Vice President for all the people, including the growing percentage of atheists, agnostics, humanists, Freethinkers Brights – aka, to pollsters and scientists, as the “Nones,” as in, we Americans who are religion-free and/or claim no religious affiliation.
Polls and studies reveal that 23 to 26 % of the US population – approaching one out of every four people – claim “none” for their religion, despite facing open hostility and discrimination from religious believers (and incurring a political liability as well, if they run for office). And scientists note that these 23-26% figures are conservative estimates.
“…psychologists…contend that there may be far more atheists than pollsters report because “social pressures favoring religiosity, coupled with stigma against religious disbelief…, might cause people who privately disbelieve in (god[s]) to nonetheless self-present as believers, even in anonymous questionnaires.”
To work around this problem of self-reported data, the psychologists employed what is called an unmatched count technique, which has been previously validated for estimating the size of other underreported cohorts…. (Using a) Bayesian probability estimation to compare their results with similar Gallup and Pew polls of 2,000 American adults each…they estimated, with 93 percent certainty, that somewhere between 17 and 35 percent of Americans are atheists, with a “most credible indirect estimate” of 26 percent.
(“The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is rising,”
Scientific American, 4-1-18 )
As a former prosecutor you, Senator Harris, are aware of the average person’s cognitive capacities, so I’ll trust you to condense those statistics into something debate-attention-span appropriate.
After doing so, please give a brief reminder – more like a civics lesson, considering how many Americans know next to nothing about the history of our country’s secular roots – that the USA was the first country to have a totally god-free constitution. “God” – anyone’s god – is not mentioned in the US Constitution (nor is Jesus, nor Christianity), not even once. Religion is only mentioned twice, and then in exclusionary terms: in the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”), and in Article VI, which declares that “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
And do this – remind folks of the facts – Every. Time.
There will be some ignoramuses (most likely your debate opponent), even among otherwise seemingly articulate members of the press, who will confuse the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution, and will quote the former:
“But wait, what about the part where it says,
‘”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights’….”
Here is, yet again, another opportunity for education. Remind the populace of the difference between the two: The Declaration of Independence (an “apology” and call to arms for the American revolution); and the Constitution of the United States (the new nation’s governing document).
You may also want to be prepared for when some idiot sputters about how his dollar bills say, “In God We Trust”…which he probably doesn’t know was not added to our currency until 1957, during the Commie/Red Scare era:
…and then he may continue on as how the Pledge of Allegiance contains the phrase, “Under God”…except that until relatively recently, it didn’t:
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy… (who) had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country. In its original form it read:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands,
one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today.
Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration.
(“The Pledge of Allegiance,” Historic Documents, usdocuments.org)
You will likely also encounter shade from the historical yahoos who will crow about how the USA was formed as a “Christian nation.” Not only does Constitution make no such claims, we have the confirmation to the opposite, declared and signed by the very founding fathers of our country and the framers of the constitution, in the 1797 Treaty of Tripoly – which was sent to the Senate (by President John Adams). The entire treaty was read aloud on the Senate floor (including the (in)famous words in Article 11; copies were printed for every Senator; the treaty was ratified by a unanimous vote of all 23 Senators. They knew what they were doing:
Treaty of Tripoli, article 11
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” 
All this history should be enough. Of course, it won’t be.
So, please, get the message across…in your own astute, succinct way. Perhaps, a more prime time-palatable version of the following?
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Department Of Fun With Nature’s Wacky Reproductive Scenarios
“Some sharks give live birth from two uteruses — and that’s not the weirdest part.”
Dateline: earlier this week, listening to a Curiosity Daily podcast. CD is one of my favorite podcasts. As per their website:
The award-winning Curiosity Daily podcast will help you get smarter about the world around you — every day.
In less than 10 minutes, you’ll get a unique mix of research-based life hacks, the latest science and technology news, and more.
I’m not sure how much smarter CD has helped moiself to get, but I’m certainly entertained, and armed with interesting trivia facts, by each episode.
A recent segment on sharks which have dual uteri caught my eye (ear?). The takeaway: many shark species have multiple uteri and give birth to live baby sharks, which hatch from eggs in the uteri. Before being expelled, the baby sharks which hatch first swim between the uteri, and eat the eggs of their un-hatched siblings, so they can grow faster. In one species, multiple free-swimming baby sharks hatch at the same time and fight to the death inside their shark mom’s uterus.
For some petty reason, I enjoy the idea of anti-choicers – most of whom hold a conservative religious dogma which says that their god creates and directs all life (so guess who’s responsible for this preborn carnage?) – cringing at these facts…even though sibling predation – “siblicide” – is not unknown in other animals (e.g. the newly hatched chicks of some bird species will attack and eat their smaller siblings, or push them or any unhatched eggs out of the nest).
As with every CD episode, at the end of this one the two hosts recapped what they’d learned. The male host, whose wife is pregnant, said that he’s been feeling his wife’s belly when the fetus kicks her, and now he’s thinking how “…that is really mild, compared to what sharks do.” He then declared, “I’m glad I didn’t marry a shark.”
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Pun For The Day
Presidential candidate Scissors was forced to withdraw from the race
after failing to find anyone who would run with him.
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May you support politicians in remembering and upholding our country’s secular foundation/roots;
May you have yet another reason to detest that insipid “Baby Sharks” song;
May someone surprise you with the gift of druthers;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 But California should have had a surfer boy standing between those two women.
 I could Google this, I know, but sometimes, it’s just more fun to wonder.
 Then added that, as much as he admired President Obama, “that was a talent Obama lacked.” (moiself ageed).
 Are we even going to have debates, this year?
 Or, maybe she *did* and her email got caught in the spam folder.
 At the time of the Treat, Mediterranean Sea traffic was largely controlled by pirates from the North African Muslim states of the Barbary Coast. Many European seafaring countries paid a tribute to the Barbary Sultans in exchange for safe passage through the Mediterranean. After the American Revolution, the US was no longer covered by British tribute treaties. The U.S. decided to form tribute treaties with the Barbary States, and given the history of The Crusades, assure the sultans that the US was not going to use the excuse of Christianity vs. Islam to go to war with them.