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Friday, April 3, 2015

Pod-where? Dunno.

Not a real good bookkeeper, I admit it. Never have been particularly good with numbers. Don't know much about geometry. (There's a song in this somewhere.)

Tubey and the stump in the courtyard.So what happened to the March podcast? Well, as you've guessed if you follow our various pointless postings in cyberspace, we have moved to a bi-monthly format, given the production demands of Ned Trek, particularly the musical episodes. We're currently producing five or six songs for what will ultimately be the June episode, and we should be recording the April episode in a week or so. So ... production is moving forward, but like Issa's snail climbing Mount Fuji, it is proceeding "slowly ... slowly."

My illustrious brother had a cold for a couple of weeks, like half of humanity up here in the great frozen north country. He spends a good deal of his day outdoors, feeding and entertaining all manner of wild critters. Not so different from being in the restaurant business, actually, and you know how demanding THAT can be. In any case, that pushed our production schedule back a couple of weeks ... enough time for Mitch Macaphee to flesh out our plan to start a Mars colony before the end of the decade. (Well, THAT certainly took a strange turn.)

That leaves us a brief opportunity to mark the return of Spring and all the traditional rites associated with it. Marvin (my personal robot assistant) has taken it upon himself to erect a maypole in the hammer mill courtyard. Sure, it's only five feet tall ... and yeah, he made it out of the remnants of a sawed-off telephone poll, but it's a good conversation piece, at least, and now the mansized tuber has some companionship out there as the warmer months arrive. Spring is busting out all over.

Cowboy Scat on YouTube: We posted another couple of songs to the YouTube playlist. For any of you who haven't heard the whole album, here's how to give it a listen.

The week that was (#47).

Big week in news, both domestically and internationally. As is my habit, I will comment briefly on a couple of items, run off at the mouth, and probably write way too much than is good for anyone. But what the hell - here goes.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The debate over the state versions of this legislation has focused on the opportunity for discrimination against LGBT patrons of businesses in the relevant states, and understandably so. Still, I can't help but feel the media outlets and activists are burying the lead on this issue. There appears to be some correlation between the people pushing this legislation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which provides model, usually conservative legislation to state representatives.

Whether or not ALEC is involved, these RFRA-like bills appear to build on the Hobby Lobby decision handed down by the Supreme Court last year. This is a broader effort to extend religious freedom protections to corporate "persons". You can guess the implications. Hobby Lobby can assert their religious reservations to including birth control in their employee health plan. If RFRA applies to corporate "persons", they can claim religious exemptions to all kinds of regulations, including health, safety, and environmental laws. Something to look out for.

Expect to hear from Mr. Cartoon Bomb this week.Iran Pact. A framework agreement on Iranian nuclear development was arrived at on Thursday. This will be the subject of a great deal of hand-wringing, even garment rending, and some full throated protests from the usual folks. There is a strong impetus in the United States towards war with Iran. It is not a popular option amongst the American people at large, but pundits and politicians appear to savor the idea. None of them would suffer in the event of a war, of course, so their clamoring comes at a very low potential cost.

Frankly, I am skeptical that we as a nation can even begin to abandon our animus towards Iran. A generation of politicians have built their careers on this obsession. Whatever shape the final agreement takes, Congress will be against lifting sanctions. (Of course, they would oppose it simply on the principle that Obama is in favor of it.) Even so, the agreement is deeply rooted in the assumption the America calls the shots, America enforces global order, and America can dictate terms, threaten, and attack at will.

My own feeling is that the whole nuclear question is just a flimsy excuse, portrayed as a crisis, to isolate Iran for the unforgivable crime of "stealing" their country back from us in 1979. If they don't have that issue, they'll find another.

luv u,

jp