Utterly Meaningless

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Filed on July 17, 2015 at 4:09 pm under by dcobranchi

Here’s the letter the FFRF sent to the Parkersburg, West Virginia City Council concerning illegal prayers at the City Council meetings.

LTTE

Filed on July 12, 2015 at 2:29 pm under by dcobranchi

Why is it so difficult for many Americans to understand that although they have freedom of religion the government does not?

I live in Elizabeth, but I want to tell everyone how much I appreciate Mayor Colombo. He is standing up for 99 percent of the people in the United States who are tired of one percent telling us how to live our lives. Who is the Freedom From Religion Foundation? They are a few people who have some money. They think they can push the rest of the country around anytime they want.

If the people in Parkersburg, Ripley and Wood County stand up against them and fight them in court, they will not have enough money to go to court. We all need to say enough is enough. I plan to take a check to Parkersburg for the legal defense fund against unfair lawsuits, and I challenge everyone else who reads this to do the same.

It’s time to stand up for our right to believe in a power higher than the Freedom From Religion Fund. May God bless the United States of America.

Rev. Charles Leisure

Elizabeth

We want to wholeheartedly support Mayor Colombo, Councilman Rockhold, and council members for their comments and convictions in the article on July 7 about the removal of prayer from the council meetings. While we are supportive of the right to participate in public prayer, it seems to us that the current situation is the best opportunity for those who don’t hold Christian values or belief in prayer. Elliot was quoted in the article as stating that the current arrangement “requires residents ‘to either make a public show of their nonbelief or show deference to a religious sentiment that they do not believe in.” It seems to me that if someone held strong convictions that they would seize the opportunity to display that belief rather than cower, defer, or rely on an outsider to voice his nonbelief.

If you look at great nations throughout history, you will see that most followed a cycle from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage to liberty to abundance to selfishness to complacency to apathy to moral decay to dependence and a return to bondage. It is easy to line up America’s history with this cycle. What one generation fought for, another is willingly surrendering.

We live in a religious country. Rubbing shoulders every day with those who practice religions such as Christianity, Islam, etc. We are all guilty of worshiping our own gods of power, materialism, etc. We are indeed a very religious melting pot.

There was another culture who displayed this religious fervor. Not wanting to overlook anyone, offend anyone, or ignore anyone unintentionally, they erected a monument to an “unknown god” to cover all bases. If the Apostle Paul were here today, we believe he, the self-proclaimed chief of all sinners, would repeat his words verbatim.

Most of history’s great nations fell from powers from within, not from outside attacks. It rests on the shoulders of those who believe to stand firm and turn the hearts of the children back to their Father. This starts with individuals, then spreads to our families, to churches, through neighborhoods, across cities, permeating states, and directing this country to a place of power and faith.

Thank you Mayor and council members. We pray you continue to hold fast to your beliefs and that you are joined by a multitude of like-minded people as we strive to protect and champion our freedoms and faith.

The Leadership of the First Baptist Church of Williamstown

One would think that pastors and such folk would understand that if they can impose their religion on others, it’s not out of the question that someday they may be the ones imposed upon. The Danbury Baptists understood this more than 200 years ago.

HOME DEPOT vs. LOWES

Filed on at 10:40 am under by dcobranchi

I went out on a mission to find a rather specialized machine screen this weekend. Neither Home Depot nor Lowes had it. Really no surprise, there. But the shopping experience was decidedly different. The first stop was Home Depot. The greeter asked me if I needed any help finding my item and directed me to Aisle 12. An employee there spotted me trying to find the screw and spent a good 5 minutes looking through the various bins and bags trying to find the exact size.

At Lowes I wandered directly over to the hardware aisle and stood staring at all of their offerings. There were two employees standing about 5 feet away from me discussing how often they got falling down drunk. Seriously, that was the topic of the day. Not once did either even ask me if I needed any help.

I shop at Home Depot about 100x as often as I do at Lowes.

THEY DON’T HAVE A PRAYER

Filed on July 7, 2015 at 6:49 am under by dcobranchi

The FFRF knows what they’re doing. Saying the Lord’s Prayer before a City Council meeting is blatantly illegal. I seriously doubt the SCOTUS meant that reciting exclusively Christian prayers was okay as long as the gavel hadn’t quite fallen. Under the CC’s interpretation, it seems like they think they could offer communion as long as the gavel was still 1 mm above the block of wood.

UNSOLICITED ENDORSEMENT

Filed on June 27, 2015 at 2:26 pm under by dcobranchi

I just had a hair cut/massage at SportClips. Very nice. Scalp massage & neck rub. The store just opened this week, so they were running some specials. I have no idea what the full works would have cost, but it would have been worth it.

WHY I UNSUBSCRIBED FROM THE DSCC’S MAILING LIST

Filed on June 23, 2015 at 12:54 pm under by dcobranchi

Because the corporatist (alleged) Democrats carried Fast Track across the finish line. DO NOT BOTHER TO EVER ASK ME FOR ANOTHER DOLLAR!!!

HOW ‘BOUT A SOCIALIST ATHEIST?

Filed on June 22, 2015 at 4:48 pm under by dcobranchi

Atheists are no longer the least trusted group in America, according to a new Gallup poll. That distinction falls to “socialists” (however you define that term).

Capture

Guess I’ll never be prez.

WILL THINGS EVER CHANGE?

Filed on June 21, 2015 at 9:30 am under by dcobranchi

And so this afternoon in a real sense they have something to say to each of us in their death. They have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained-glass windows. They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism… They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream.

Although it could have been written yesterday, it was actually MLK, Jr., more than 50 years ago.

ONCE IS A BLUE MOON

Filed on June 20, 2015 at 2:18 pm under by dcobranchi

We have a tropical thunderstorm in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

IF THEY WON’T TAKE IT DOWN…

Filed on at 10:50 am under by dcobranchi

Burn it up!

IAATM*

Filed on June 15, 2015 at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

CNN today asks, “Are pastors manipulating you into giving?”

Yes. Thus endeth another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions. Ramen!

*Anybody still remember that acronym?

DEAR ROB CORNELIUS

Filed on June 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm under by dcobranchi

Pound sand!

Signed,

Daryl Cobranchi
Wood County Democratic Executive Committee member AND Parkersburg city resident

That is the approach the Wood County Republican Executive Committee took last year when then-Councilman John Kelly resigned his seat after being elected to the House. County GOP Chairman Rob Cornelius and Sharon Smith, the only committee members who lived in the city, submitted the list to Newell, who appointed Councilman Aaron Read.

“The attorneys with the state party advised us to do it that way,” Cornelius said Wednesday. “There is no way the intent of the law is for somebody in Boaz to” choose the nominees for mayor.

“The Dems are doing it wrong,” he said.

I seriously considered quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator.”

I AM APPARENTLY A DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST

Filed on May 27, 2015 at 10:28 am under by dcobranchi

Here’s Bernie Sanders’ campaign in a nutshell:

In his campaign “launch” yesterday, Sen. Bernie Sanders presented one of the most succinct, easy-to-summarize policy agendas we’ve seen from a presidential candidate in a long time. More progressive taxes. Breaking up the big banks. A constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. A carbon tax. A single-payer health care system. Expanding Social Security. Universal pre-k. Free college tuition. A trillion-dollar infrastructure program. A $15 an hour minimum wage. And a reversal of international economic policies that promote/allow job exports.

I can’t find a single item I disagree with. I’d add, though, card check.

13 YEARS AND 4 DAYS

Filed on May 13, 2015 at 5:29 pm under by dcobranchi

I missed my anniversary again,

TODAY’S DOODLE

Filed on at 5:46 am under by dcobranchi

Capture

MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU

Filed on May 4, 2015 at 7:55 am under by dcobranchi

It’s the geekiest day of the year.

OBSERVATIONS

Filed on April 24, 2015 at 1:46 am under by dcobranchi

Riding bicycles here for transportation is at least as common as in China. Kids, especially, ride here in town. I have not seen a school bus yet, but every morning between 7:10 and 7:30 the bike paths are full of kids all heading to school.

Walking to work is great exercise, but having to walk past several bakeries with fresh bread scents wafting out into the street is a terrible temptation.

The breads here are phenomenal. Just ridiculously good. My favorite are rolls with pumpkin seeds on the outside. But, really, everything I’ve tried is very good.

AND YET ANOTHER VIEW

Filed on April 23, 2015 at 6:08 am under by dcobranchi

IMAG0357

This is from the restaurant where we had supper last night. That’s the Rhein River near Bonn. Upstream is to the left. The mountain off to the left is the Dragon’s Rock and that tower off to the right is DHL’s HQ.

HAPPY 4/20!

Filed on April 20, 2015 at 3:13 am under by dcobranchi

I was in a Turkish kebab market/restaurant last night. The young guy in front of me in line bought only a pack of rolling papers. After he left, the owner of the shop kind of rolled his eyes and said simply, “Weed.” He went on to mention that it’s only an hour drive to the Netherlands from here. I’m an old fart and don’t do that (any longer), but it brought back some happy memories of my mis-spent youth.

THE LANGOLIERS

Filed on April 18, 2015 at 5:20 pm under by dcobranchi

My favorite US airport is looking a lot like a (WARNING! REDUNDANCY ALERT AHEAD!) bad, made-for-TV Stephen King movie.
PIT Concourse B
This is the semi-abandoned Concourse B. Concourse A is even more desolate.

WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD

Filed on April 13, 2015 at 6:18 pm under by dcobranchi

This column by the former editor of my local fishwrap is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long while. The far right wingnut actually “thinks” that Kasich may have “an excellent shot at the nomination.” I’ll go out on a limb. Not only will Kasich not be the GOP nominee, he will not make it out of Iowa.

I’ve read Myer’s columns for 3+ years now. The only thing he has ever gotten correct is his email address.

One might think it would be self-evident that a national debt amounting to nearly $60,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States is the most critical challenge facing Americans.

And addressing the problem by finding someone with experience in cutting government spending rather than padding it also ought to be the obvious move.

But Ohio Gov. John Kasich is having to work hard to persuade American voters of those two things.

Kasich is running for president, though many people don’t know it. Only a few insightful observers mention him, much less give him a chance at winning. That may be a big strength.

Real Clear Politics, which monitors public opinion polls, has Kasich dead last in a potential field of 12 candidates for the Republican nomination for president. RCP checked results of six recent polls in which Kasich was the choice of just 1.3 percent of respondents. The leaders were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at 16.8, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, at 16.2.

But Kasich has advantages over some GOP hopefuls. For one thing, he’s not a member of Congress. He’s an “outsider” like Bush and Walker.

And Kasich, who sought the Republican nomination once before (George W. Bush beat him), has some experience in a national campaign. Some observers already have predicted Walker will fail because he lacks experience on a national stage.

Voters in two very important election states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, can view Kasich as a favorite son (he grew up in McKee’s Rocks, Pa.).

It will be difficult for Kasich’s opponents to jam a silver spoon in his mouth, as they are certain to do with Bush. Kasich, the son of a mailman, can claim as hardscrabble a youth as any candidate.

For Kasich to pick up steam, several things need to happen. First, the GOP front-runners need to stumble. Walker already has, a bit, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt him. It’s highly unlikely Bush will self-inflict any wounds.

Second, more people in the national news media need to start talking seriously about Kasich. There’s some hope of that happening.

Third, deep-pockets donors need to start stepping up to the plate for Kasich.

But the most critical factor is whether Americans can be persuaded to worry about deficit spending. Clearly, they don’t now and haven’t for some time. They keep re-electing members of Congress who vote for bigger government.

Most people seem worried more about Islamic terrorists than the national debt. Indeed, the beheaders are a concern – but the chance of getting caught in a terrorist attack is miniscule. Everyone suffers from the $18.2 trillion debt. Kasich’s burden is making them understand that.

If he can, he has an excellent shot at the nomination – because he has a record of getting fiscal results. While in the House of Representatives, he was chairman of the Budget Committee. There, he got much of the credit for crafting a balanced federal budget in 1997. Nowadays, if Washington holds the annual deficit to half a trillion dollars, everyone declares victory.

When he became governor, Ohio faced an $8 billion two-year budget gap. Working with legislators, Kasich erased it. Ohio’s economy is growing, in part because of tax relief championed by the governor.

Some conservatives say Kasich’s chance at the GOP nomination is hurt by his action in expanding the Medicaid program in Ohio, through Obamacare. Do those folks not understand how absolutely critical it is that the 2016 Republican nominee have “compassionate conservative” credentials?

Kasich already has tested the waters on his strategy, through a six-week tour of about a dozen states in which he advocated a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. To judge by the poll numbers, the trip did him little good.

But national public opinion doesn’t win primary elections in key states. My guess is that if Kasich can stay in it long enough to take his case personally to voters in places such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina on the eves of their straw polls and primaries, he’s going to surprise a lot of people.

Mike Myer can be reached at mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

STILL JETLAGGED

Filed on at 1:57 am under by dcobranchi

It’s almost 2 a.m. and I’m wide awake. I’ll probably finally get back on schedule around Friday, just in time for my next trip to Europe.

QOTD

Filed on at 1:05 am under by dcobranchi

Week. Month. Year. Decade. Millenium. Eternity.

“This fascination that we have with handguns — not just in the city but in this country — has to stop. This is a senseless loss of life,” the police chief said.

A 1-year-old was shot and killed by a 3-year-old. And this is so commonplace these days, that it hardly makes the news. I wish there were a Hell to consign Wayne LaPierre and the rest of the NRA leadership to. Some combination of Dante’s 7th – 9th circles would seem to be appropriate.

A BUMPER STICKER I WANT TO SEE

Filed on April 12, 2015 at 10:32 am under by dcobranchi

I am an FDR Democrat!

DAMN HIPPY COMMUNIST

Filed on at 7:55 am under by dcobranchi

I could back any Democrat who has the guts to really lead the nation to a better life for all:

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security…

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

That was FDR 71 years ago. I think we possibly made good on the farmer bit. The rest of them? Not so much.

Mother Jones has more.

ANOTHER ROOM, ANOTHER VIEW

Filed on April 5, 2015 at 12:15 am under by dcobranchi

Another country.

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HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY!

Filed on April 3, 2015 at 10:40 pm under by dcobranchi

April 4th is Children’s Day here in Hong Kong.

A ROOM WITH A VIEW

Filed on at 12:31 am under by dcobranchi

From the 27th floor of the Holiday Inn Downtown, Shenzhen, China.

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THE LEAST BUSINESS-FRIENDLY TOWN IN THE U.S.

Filed on March 22, 2015 at 11:39 am under by dcobranchi

Just noticed this in the North Hills, WV town ordinances:

BUSINESSES WITHIN THE TOWN
* NO PLACES OF BUSINESS OR TRADE CAN BE CONSTRUCTED OR PERMITTED IN THE TOWN. THE SNACK BAR AT THE NORTH HILLS SWIM AND RACQUET CLUB IS EXEMPTED.

Don’t even think of opening that lemonade stand, kids.

MUST READ OF THE DAY

Filed on at 8:24 am under by dcobranchi

CNN(!) has a long form piece up on one man’s deconversion story. I wouldn’t have gone the godless church route, but it seems to work for the group in the Research Triangle.

HAPPY PI MINUTE!

Filed on March 14, 2015 at 9:26 am under by dcobranchi

In a real time warp kind of way, I wrote this post six years ago today and post-dated it to auto-publish right now. Pretty geeky, I know.

WINTER’S OVER!!!

Filed on March 8, 2015 at 8:01 am under by dcobranchi

Accuweather is predicting the following hi/low temps for the week:

48/32
53/37
53/44
58/35
59/40
54/44
56/38

QOTD

Filed on February 8, 2015 at 10:15 am under by dcobranchi

[R]efusing to vaccinate your children is not “personal choice” but public irresponsibility. You no more have the right to risk others by failing to vaccinate than you do by sending your child to school with a hunting knife. Vaccination isn’t a private choice but a civic obligation. — Nicholas Kristof

HOW IN THE HELL…

Filed on February 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm under by dcobranchi

Did our country get so screwed up that we allowed vaccinations to become politicized!?

THREE STRIKES AND IT’S OUT!

Filed on January 31, 2015 at 3:40 pm under by dcobranchi

Swiffer WetJet is a piece of junk. We’ve had three now that broke off at the handle. It seems that whatever plastic they use is just too weak, too thin, and too brittle to do the job. This latest one lasted 13 months.

I will not be purchasing a 4th one and will be Freecycling the remaining Swiffer consumables I have on hand.

LIFE IN FAYETTEVILLE

Filed on January 9, 2015 at 3:48 pm under by dcobranchi

Yes, I don’t live there any longer (Thank FSM!) but this story is just oh so typical:

A woman in Fayetteville, N.C. allegedly shot her husband in the chest when he came home to surprise her with breakfast Friday morning, television station WTVD reported.

Police said Tiffany Segule, 27, shot her husband, Zia Segule, 28, after he returned home to surprise her and set off their home’s alarm system, the station reported.

She had returned to bed after her husband left for work and thought there was an intruder, according to police. She fired a shot through her bedroom door, authorities told the TV station.

Everybody is armed to the teeth, down there.

-3 °F IS COLD!

Filed on January 8, 2015 at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

Layers, folks. Dress in layers.

HOW NOT TO HIRE

Filed on January 4, 2015 at 1:24 pm under by dcobranchi

Kraton (NYSE:KRA) in Belpre, OH had a help wanted sticker on my newspaper this morning. Curious, I looked at their website and found this on the “Apply” page:

There will be a $25 per applicant testing fee (due the day of the application) to defray some of the costs associated with testing all applicants. Cash or check will be accepted.

They charge everyone $25 to put in an application in order to “defray” the costs of their recruiting? Really? Are they so strapped for cash that they cannot afford to pay for their own testing? Whoever in HR thought that was a good idea ought to be shown the door.

FRIDAY CAT(S) BLOGGING

Filed on January 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm under by dcobranchi

Here’s a pic of two of the three cats doing what they do best (and most often).

#LeelahAlcorn

Filed on December 31, 2014 at 3:23 pm under by dcobranchi

This is the saddest and most maddening tale I’ve read in a very long time. A transgender teen was rejected by her parents and forced into isolation. She killed herself this week.

And her mother still calls her “Josh.”

BARGAIN ESPRESSO

Filed on December 6, 2014 at 6:15 am under by dcobranchi

Coffee

I’ve been an espresso drinker for decades, now. Two doubles (doppio) before I leave the house every morning. I’ve always ground my own beans (coffee geek) but lately I’ve been drinking Cafe Bustelo. It’s a really strong, Cuban style, pre-ground. It’s very, very good and super cheap at Sam’s Club. $11.68 for 2.5 lbs.

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/coffee-bustello-36oz/prod13710585.ip

It works equally well in a pump machine or a stove-top machinetta.

IT’S SNOWING!

Filed on November 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm under by dcobranchi

Happy Turkey Day.

We had Moroccan food. Yum!

PEEPER’S SNOW

Filed on November 7, 2014 at 11:04 am under by dcobranchi

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This was the view along US Hwy 23 coming through Kentucky on 2 Nov 2014.

HARD CIDER v. 2.0 UPDATE

Filed on October 27, 2014 at 5:41 am under by dcobranchi

The yeast are really doing their thing now. The cider appears almost as if it’s on a slow simmer. I’ve seen red wine in what the winemaker called the “cold boil” state. That is, so much CO2 was being produced it really looked like the grape juice/new wine was boiling. My cider is getting close to that state.

DIAL M FOR MOROCCO

Filed on at 5:33 am under by dcobranchi

Here at Casa Cobranchi we have a somewhat unusual annual Thanksgiving tradition. It may even be unique. Nobody here really enjoys the whole turkey/ham/cranberry sauce gig, so we mix things up a bit each year. We choose a country each year somewhat randomly by rolling a 26 sided die. Whatever letter “wins” we pick a country that begins with that letter and Lydia fixes dishes only from that country. In the past few years we’ve rolled an I” twice (India & Italy), an “F” (France), and last year it was an “H” (Hungary). Yesterday we rolled an “M” and chose Morroco. Runner up was Mexico, but Taco Bell for Thanksgiving didn’t sound very exciting. :-)

HARD CIDER, v 2.0

Filed on October 25, 2014 at 2:32 pm under by dcobranchi

The first batch is almost gone, so I’ve started a second batch. This time, I started with 1 gallon of Musselman’s apple cider to which I added 1 pound of dark brown sugar. Pitched with a full packet of Red Star Champagne yeast. If I did the calculations correctly and if the yeast converts all of the sugar, I should end up with a brew around 10.8% ABV.

It’s only been four hours and already the brew is bubbling away nicely.

YUM!

Filed on October 21, 2014 at 5:49 pm under by dcobranchi

The apfelwein is done. When I checked the jug today, it had cleared up nicely. I just had a glass. Cold and back-sweetened with a bit of Stevia. It has just a hint of carbonation and a nice alcohol bite.

This first batch was only 1/2 gallon. I’ll start a gallon batch tomorrow.

MIXED METAPHOR OF THE DAY

Filed on October 17, 2014 at 7:32 am under by dcobranchi

On being over-exposed to the stock market:

“If you’re a couple of years away from retirement, you’re really rolling the dice at the Roulette table,” said Erik Laurence, vice president of marketing and business development at FeeX.

If I were an investor with FeeX, I think I might be somewhat encouraged that the VP there apparently has never seen the inside of a casino.