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I just sent $538 to the American Red Cross and I’d like to tell you why. This past week has been filled with right-wing nutbar attacks against a man named Nate Silver. For the three people left who have not yet heard of Nate, go here or here. In simple terms, Nate is a rock star at, among other things, something called “polling aggregation” wherein he has created a method, using statistical modeling, which has proven to be so astonishingly accurate that Time Magazine named Nate one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People. Oh, and as I understand it from people who have met him, he is also just a really “nice guy” by which I take to mean he likes rabbits. This is, of course, beside the point but I thought I would mention it.

Lately, Nate has been under fire because the same people who brought you creationism in textbooks (finally defeated, in Texas, in July of 2011) and a complete denial of climate change* are now taking aim at math.

Where have I heard this story before? Let me think…. Perhaps a blueberry on the half shell well help me to recall? (hint.) Thump! (blueberry arrives) That’s better. Oh, Yes!

During the late eighth to the thirteenth centuries the nations of Islam lead the world in scientific development. For every sixteenth or seventeenth century European scientific great, there was an earlier Arabic polymath who contributed in extraordinary ways to science as a whole. The fields of algebra, geometry and trigonometry either began or were greatly expanded by Arabic genius. Quadratic equations became a part of the mathematical language. Advances in human biology, medicine and pharmacology were so long lasting that books written during this time were still in use in Europe hundreds of years later, as were the designs of astonishingly accurate astrolabes and water clocks. Cartography and sociology grew closer as Arab scientists began to understand the earth in terms of the people who populated it. Modern astronomy still owes the Arabs a great debt. Perhaps most important of all, the baseline for the scientific method was drawn featuring empirical and quantitative approaches to scientific inquiry. The Arabs were at their zenith as a society.

And then they weren’t. The loss of leadership in scientific innovation is described well by Arabs themselves. Senator Adnan Badran, who holds a PhD in molecular biology from an American university and has been both the Prime Minister of Jordan and a longtime Senator said, “Science needs stability, democracy, freedom of expression. You must have an environment that’s conducive to free thinking, to inquiry. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to release the mind’s potential. It’s a very bleak story, a very disappointing story, about the state of science and technology in the Arab region.” Speaking of the past richness of Arabic scientific discoveries he goes on,

We were open. Islam was open, a strong belief with dialogue. It was tolerant, mixing with other civilizations. Then we shifted to being dogmatic. Once you’re dogmatic, you are boxed in.

Gamal Soltan, a political scientist in Egypt says of many modern Islamist scientists,

They’re sure about everything, about how the universe was created, who created it, and they just need to control nature rather than interpret it, but the driving force behind any scientific pursuit is that the truth is still out there.

Remind you of anything?

Science is under assault in this country. From Congressional de-funding of basic research, to the shuttering of Fermilab’s Tevatron Particle Accelerator, to the, now lifted, ban on the use of embryos in stem-cell testing, to the cult of global warming denialism, we are turning our backs on science. We are allowing what happened to the Arab world to happen to us and we are doing it with our eyes wide open. If you want to know how it is that Europe, China and India may well be eating our lunch in just a few years, it starts with all of them being clear that the world is more than 6000 years old and that math is not evil-on-a-stick. Right now, the US is still in contention when young scientists are deciding where to work but it is already an ongoing subject of discussion, in scientific circles, that due to the dogmatic influence of the political right on scientific education, funding, legal support and, most importantly, thought, the United States is on the verge of a scientific brain-drain, something which we will share with Arab nations.

Ankle Biters

I’ll admit it, there was a time when I, myself, was an ankle biter. I grew out of that. Now I box ankles which is, of course, much classier. Still, I think I continue to have some insight into ankle biting in general but for why this matters let’s get back to Nate.

When FiveThirtyEight, Nate’s blog, makes a prediction about the election and says that President Obama has more than an eighty percent chance of winning the election, he is not saying that the President will win. He’s saying, sure, go to that family picnic but you might want to consider taking an umbrella because there is a chance of rain. More importantly, FiveThirtyEight is making no comment what-so-ever on the qualitative value of this outcome. For all we know, Nate is voting for Governor Romney. Nate is doing what it is that scientists do. He is following the data and applying a model he designed which has a past record of success. After the election, he will have a LOT more data because he will be able to verify the accuracy of his predictions and that verification data then becomes part of the larger data set.

Meanwhile, Nate’s ankles are in danger because hedgehogs are out to get him. (If you don’t understand the reference, it’s a thing. It’s called, “reading.” The book is The Signal and the Noise. Read it. Learn something new.) Personally, I wouldn’t put it past one of Nate’s hedgehogs. I mean, some of my best friends are hedgehogs but have you ever really spent an afternoon with one? As Nate describes them, hedgehogs go on and on, for hours, on one subject and they take that same prism and apply it to the whole rest of the world. They are a declarative lot and, despite their name, they rarely hedge. Hedgehogs are all about having everything tied up in one little orderly theory. Just like the over-worn cadre of talking heads brought in both by cable and network television to pontificate on anything and everything, hedgehogs don’t like a mess. They want it all to be black and white simple** and they have to be right. If you knew hedgehogs like I know hedgehogs, you would know Nate is right about this. Clearly, he has spent a lot of time with the prickly little guys.

Like most of those who work in empirical fields, Nate would probably say that scientists are, what he calls, “foxes.” Personally, I find the term a bit off-putting but there it is. Certainly, Nate is himself a fox. According to Nate, foxes understand that when they look out their window and there are no clouds, it still might be good to have an umbrella in the car if the chance of rain is around twenty percent. Foxes see that messy isn’t wrong. In fact, they know that attributing qualitative values to quantitative results is an entirely separate process. Foxes are tolerant of uncertainty and complexity. Foxes aren’t afraid of math as the language of probability.

The science of prediction is fickle and those who are successful in the field require a certain degree of humility just as does all science. Science cannot progress without both the acknowledgement of success and the recognition of failure. The comments made about Nate lately have varied from quite vicious to so outlandish as to be funny (Please, someone tell me that Nate had the good humor to dress up for Halloween as Harry Potter or Gandalf.) But listen up folks, if Mitt Romney wins, Nate Silver said that possibility was among the outcomes. THAT is how probability works.

The value in reading the polling aggregation and blog at FiveThirtyEight is in preparedness. If you are a member of the Romney campaign machine, Nate’s giving you data that is not skewed in the same way as your internal polls and has a better track record for accuracy. Use it as you will. Your choice. Attacking Nate only makes you look small and mean. Shooting the messenger doesn’t change the message. If you really do feel the need to give NRA members someone to shoot, give them Donald Trump and Jack Welch ‘cuz those guys sure haven’t been doing you any favors.

Smack Down

Still, the larger topic is the ongoing attack on science. One need look no farther than Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Egypt to recognize that relegating science to the mercy of dogma is a bad idea. For too long scientists have hidden under their own rocks while other scientific fields were being blasted and de-funded. Science, and everyone who believes in the value of empirical knowledge can and must start to speak out together – loudly. Nate Silver is the whipping boy of the moment and maybe he likes that sort of thing (wink) but he is only representative of a much larger problem.

As the so-called Fiscal Cliff approaches, you can bet that the neck of science is already on the GOP chopping block. Hurricane Sandy was predicted by scientists at the National Hurricane Center doing work that could not be more efficiently done at the State level or by the private sector. The job they did allowed millions of people to prepare for disaster. That’s what funding science buys you.

In Nate’s case, FiveThirtyEight is predicting that there is a less than 20% chance that It will rain next Tuesday. Governor Romney will, most likely lose the election dramatically, especially in the Electoral College. Personally, I’m planning a picnic. I also donated $538 to the American Red Cross.

* Dear Governor Christie, How do you like me now? Signed – Global Warming
** Actually, the hedgehogs of which I speak specifically want it to be white, male simple but that’s for another blog post.

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Now that retired General Colin Powell endorsed President Barak Obama the pressure on me has increased to issue my formal endorsement so here it is: I, Arliss Bunny, am endorsing President Barack Obama for a second term and I ask all those of you who were participating in the #ArlissForPresident meme to join me in supporting the President. In studying both the President’s past success in saving the economy and in evaluating his plan for the future, I believe his is the only logic-based, real world approach available to voters at this time. I am also a big supporter of ObamaCare as I feel that health care for my staff is essential to seeing to it that my needs can be amply met on a daily basis. Though there are many other reasons, several of which have been detailed in my previous blog posts, I have to admit that one of the biggest reasons I am supporting the President is because, unlike Governor Romney, he never said this:

I’m not a big-game hunter. I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then.•

VARMINT!!!  RODENT AND RABBIT HUNTER!!!!!

There simply are not enough thumps in the world to describe how insulted I, and I feel I can safely say, every Rabbit American remain about this remark. There was never a hint of an apology. Of course, all this comes from a man who tied his dog to the roof (in a carrier, but still…) for a long family trip so one must consider the source.

On the other paw, the spokesman for the Obama campaign, Ben LaBolt, clarified the President’s position and contributed to this episode by adding,

The president’s record makes clear the he supports and respects the Second Amendment. Mitt Romney is going to have difficulty explaining why he quadrupled fees on gun owners in Massachusetts, then lied about being a lifelong hunter in an act of shameless pandering. That varmint won’t hunt.

Okay, no one really thought that I would be endorsing the Governor. Rabbits really are liberals. We are vegans and when was the last time you met a vegan conservative? Ohhhh, that’s right,  he was that guy sitting next to the lesbian, black, Republican at the last $50,000 per plate fundraiser you attended. It’s simple folks. The Republican Party gets the gun crazies and the Democrats get the vegans. That’s how it is here in the real world.

The problem is, liberals have been pissed, really pissed, for a while now and as a liberal Rabbit American I think there was some question about my being motivated enough to vote in a way that makes my vote count – and by that I mean not for the Green Party. I want you to know that I am voting for the President not just because he is the lesser of two evils, which he most certainly is despite the great rhetoric to the contrary, I’m voting for him because in almost all areas which matter to me he has moved the country in a positive direction. Yes, that doesn’t mean I’m not pissed about the southern leg of the KeystoneXL pipeline or the re-letting of leases on federal lands and it really doesn’t mean I think he has gone far enough on LGBTQ issues but I do know that he stopped the northern leg of Keystone at the border, funding for green tech is way up, DADT is a thing of the past and DOMA is on its way out. Banking regulation is making a comeback and consumer protection already has. Holding fast to end the War on Women, the War on Workers and the War on Voting has occupied departments of his administration on an almost daily basis. For all that, he deserves your vote and another four years. I am proud that, as liberals, we feel unconstrained by our Party and free to call the President out on his litterbox habits but when the election is this close remember that Ross Perot and Ralph Nader have already cost our country enough and we must consider that a lesson learned. Governor Romney is a var-Mitt (and you can quote me on that.)

Congressman Joe Donnelly IS a varmint but I’m endorsing him too. It’s killing me to say this. Voting Donnelly is definitely a “hold your nose and vote” situation for Indiana liberals. While Donnelly does support abortion exceptions, he still believes that he, and a whole lot of other men in Washington, DC, whom you have never met either, should get to control the bodies of women. He also thinks that the parts of the Bible condoning slavery don’t count but the parts he thinks allow for legalized bigotry against the LGBT community are just fine.

Blue Dog

He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition but ObamaCare and the massive fiscal savings it affords are a touchy subject because freedom. He does, however, support Obamacare/ADA as long as you don’t really call it that. Fortunately, Donnelly does accept that climate change is real and, additionally, he is pushing for a massive overhaul of the Mineral Management Service (which dropped the ball so badly in oversight of off-shore drilling rigs in the gulf). Unfortunately, along with that Joe supports drilling off the continental shelf. He is a significant supporter for renewable technologies, however, and understands that we can’t drill our way to the future. Sadly, he opposes all forms of immigration amnesty and I assume this includes the Dream Act though that is not specified on his website. Unions support Joe because he supports them and Joe is backing the President’s plan to bring the troops in Afghanistan home by 2014.

Here’s the thing – anyone who thinks oppressing others is fine is not fine with me. Rabbits have had enough of that and it continues to be a daily struggle for so many of my kind. (Unlike some religious communities of color, I don’t forget that we are not any of us free until all of us are free.) Still, the world is an imperfect place and Richard Mourdock is at the “Gift from God” Rape level of evil. Joe is the best that is available to us now and the race is VERY close. Additionally, picking up the Indiana seat in the Senate would be a huge win for the Democratic Party and, in most cases, work in our best interests.

Which brings me to my final point, liberals are stupid. The Tea Party mapped out a way to take over the country and we sat by and snickered. What were we thinking!?! The way they mobilized was smart. The way they spelled their signs was not. Still, the jokes on us. We know how to mobilize. We’ve done it before. In spite of the 2010 wave, Indiana remains a purple state under its film of GOP induced fear and bigotry. In all less-than-blue states we would not win immediately but running a few genuinely strong candidates in key districts around the state begins a process of education. Sitting quietly by and letting the Blue Dogs run the show gets us where we are now.

Take it from me, rabbits know a lot about fear. We are prey animals, after all. Our motto is, “Everyone eats rabbits. Rabbits don’t eat anyone.” So you know how we have survived? You know what has made us strong? We breed. We make sure there are always a lot more of us than there are of them. Sadly, liberals aren’t really big breeders but we can be big educators and information can be powerful. We can learn to shape and craft a message that appeals on an emotional level instead of just an intellectual one. We can learn that the next election started yesterday. We can learn that even running and losing is important if it serves the greater goal. And we can fight.

My name is Arliss Bunny. I am a liberal Rabbit American and I approved this message.

•Governor Romney said this on April 7 2007. Don’t think the other Republican Presidential candidates didn’t merrily roast him for it, just, apparently, not enough.

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You have heard the jokes. Most of them are pretty much the same. They all include one of the fly-over states in the Midwest, one or more idiot rednecks and a cow. The premise is that the aforementioned idiots sneak up on a cow while it is standing, asleep, and tip it over. Which is even more stupid than it sounds because it isn’t true. It isn’t that it can’t be done. It’s not against the laws of physics after all, it’s just that it is highly unlikely in no small part because cows sleep lying down. Oh, and wide awake cows don’t take lightly to the idea of being tipped over. They are, in fact, pretty dead set against it…and they weigh in the neighborhood of a thousand pounds and have hooves. Your opposable thumbs and big brain aren’t all that useful when you are way out in a pasture somewhere with a truly pissed off cow. Just as a side note, rabbits consider watching cow tipping attempts to be the highlight of local entertainment. Tickets are sold. Popcorn is consumed.

Which brings me to the subject of my thoughts for the day. Will there ever come a tipping point for the hard swing to the right taken by the modern Republican Party? There has been a lot of talk and, conservatively, a bizillion blog posts (the highlight of which was mine, of course) on the subject of the inexhaustible efforts by various GOP candidates and holders of office to promote lies. I’m not talking about areas in which the GOP and the Democrats disagree. That is expected, necessary, even important. I would worry if we were all Kum-by-yah all the time. My concern is with actual lies. Lies which exist in direct opposition to facts which are not only proven but which have direct observable verification available for all to see. Is there a point at which the GOP will finally admit that the emperor has no clothes?

I am not worried about the lies as they have impacted the 2012 election. Frankly, I think that ship has already sailed. That cow has been tipped for approximately 48% of Americans. What worries me is all the ways these lies are seeping into so many other aspects of society. Teachers in many states are being required to teach both evolution and creationism. On one hand candidates speak about their love for teachers and the importance of seeing to it that the US return to leadership in math and science so that we will remain competitive and at the same time those teachers are being required to teach actual lies to students. Teachers are required to dishonor the name of science as a matter of curriculum. This isn’t the policy of a nation of leaders. It is an example of Republicans tipping cows at the cost of our student’s education.

Did you notice that during the recent Presidential debates, the subject of climate change never came up? This isn’t because it isn’t one of the most critical threats facing our planet today. It is because moderators (and President Obama) didn’t want to get into yet another round of fact vs. absolute denial of fact. It would have been a waste of precious network time and the short attention span of most Americans. So this threat, which may well be the very end of our society, remains a game of cow tipping for anyone who wants to hold office from the GOP. No amount of showing them facts or photos or the results from scientific missions sponsored by everyone from NASA to the Chinese will satisfy the GOP. The emperor has clothes no matter how much of his junk is just hanging out there for all to see. It would be funny except that it’s not. It’s really not.

It even applies to simple things. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bill Maher as mad as he was this past week when he was directly quoting President Obama’s speech made the day following the attack in Libya. The GOP spinner just sat right there and kept denying that the word terror meant terror. This takes me right back to the audacity of President Clinton when he was trying to assert that it all depended upon the definition of the word “is.” NO IT DOESN’T. It didn’t then and it doesn’t now. President Obama stood in the rose garden of the White House on the day after four Americans were killed and spoke in grave and dark tones about the events of the previous day. No one on the planet without a political agenda doubted that Obama was considering all his options. God only knows what he was actually ordering behind closed doors. This is the President who has steadfastly maintained a terrorist kill list, approved drone strikes and, essentially, authorized an invasion of Pakistan in order to chase down those who pose a direct threat to the United States. Messing around with Barak Obama’s country has proven to be a terminal condition to more terrorists than we will ever know. But guess what, I was wrong before. More than God knows what President Obama has decided to do about Libya. I suspect that as I dictate this there are Deltas and SEALS training to do the will of this President. Which brings me back to the Bill Maher show. This Romney apologist was arguing that the President of the United States was implying in some way that the attack in Libya was not serious. I would argue that the day after an attack is not the time to be parsing the sentence construction of the President unless, of course, he is reading a children’s book to a class of kids and he wants to finish up before bothering to get involved.

Basing policy and action on lies is not just dangerous, it is catastrophic. Lies are why we invaded Iraq. It’s why the southern leg of a pipeline which will carry tar sands bitumen from Canada to US refineries and then on to ships in the Gulf, where the oil will set sail for China, is currently eating its way through expropriated ranch and farm land in Texas and Oklahoma. It’s why people who have been legitimately registered to vote for years will be denied their Constitutionally-given right to vote this November. And it is perhaps most notably one of the biggest conributors to why our economy crashed.

Because facts are facts.

  • Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and our intelligence services knew that.
  • The Keystone XL Pipeline will not appreciably increase the energy independence of the United States.
  • Voter fraud accounts for less than .00007% of votes cast.
  • The regulation of the banking industry which was put in place after the Great Depression, known as Glass-Steagall, did prevent another depression in the intervening years and removing it did not account for ground-true economic growth.

And it’s getting worse. Just 35% of self-identified conservatives report that they have a “great deal of trust in science” according to a study done in 2010 and a paper reporting on it in the April 2012 issue of the American Sociological Review. These are the people who have made The Creation Museum one of the largest tourist draws in the state of Kentucky which, as I may have mentioned before, features dioramas of humans riding dinosaurs. In other words, these are the people who view The Flintstones as a documentary.

So at what point does too far become so far that even those who wanted to go There start to notice that There isn’t all it’s cracked up be? Democrats live in hope that just by presenting facts over and over and by those facts being proven again and again in the real world that eventually Republicans will join the reality parade. But that’s wrong because fear doesn’t work that way, greed doesn’t work that way and the lust for power doesn’t work that way. The GOP has too much invested in its mythos – and by invested I mean billions of dollars. Driving emotion over reason has proven to be an insanely successful tactic even though it is, well, umm…insane.

Which has started me wondering, at the beginning of all this I think that GOP puppet masters knew they were pitching a fable but lately they have really started to sound like even they believe their own crazy. It’s one thing for Karl Rove or the Koch brothers to convince the masses that cows sleep standing up but when I see them confidently striding out across the pasture toward a cow, it gives me more than pause, it gives me a cold chill. The thing about reality is that at some point she will make them her bitch and when she does a pissed off cow will be the least of our worries.

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By now most of you have heard the joke about Romnesia and the punch line about it being a pre-existing condition which is, thankfully, covered by ObamaCare. (If you haven’t, go here to listen to the President of the United States tell it better than this rabbit ever could.) I also like the notion of Ryan-itus as an FTD (Fox Transmitted Disease.) As jokes go, these things make me giggle which I don’t do often and surely haven’t done much during the extremities of this election cycle. Last week, however, I broke my long silence and now I’m on a roll. It’s all because of that second debate. [If I have to be honest, I slept through the first debate and, apparently, I wasn’t the only one…Mr. President.]

I thought the second debate was much more interesting, especially since both candidates showed up, but what has been even more compelling to me are the videos of Governor Romney debating himself as seen here and here. All of which serves to bring me to my point, Romney is speaking in tongues. All the Romney reversals, “misunderstandings” and outright lies are so frequent that they can’t really be accidental, can they? I think they have to be strategic. They are locking the doors of the room, dumping snakes on the floor and then speaking in tongues…and somewhere between 44.8 and 48 percent of the electorate is buying it.

Bring on the lies!

Bring on the snakes!

Surely, I am a believer and I will be spared.

Except, of course, that snakes don’t work that way and eventually poison spreads.

Speaking In Tongues

 Romney’s Economic Plan – The economic plan which Governor Romney still refuses to detail can not possibly work. It can’t. That is a fact proven by every single outside, independent organization which has reviewed it. (The only organization to review it and find it workable is owned, in part, by high ranking GOP operatives.)

Romney’s Jobs Plan – though he seems to give a different number every day and I hear that he and Paul Ryan have even been known to give different numbers on the same day, the Governor is promising to add as many as 23 million jobs, with his imaginary jobs plan, while he is the President. Ummm…no. Times three. No. No. No. The plan isn’t his.” The number isn’t 23 million. The time span given in the plan is ten years.

Romney on Women – No matter what you thought you heard during the debates, Romney opposes abortion of all kinds in all cases and has said he would be “delighted” to sign a law and/or appoint Supreme Court judges who say just that. No matter what you thought you heard at the debate, Romney supports the Blunt amendment, which would make it lawful for any and all employers to refuse to include contraceptive coverage in any company sponsored health plan. And all of this is before I even mention “binders full of women” a subject upon which I have a whole blog entry here.

Romney on Medicare – First of all, the President did not take $716 billion dollars away from Medicare thereby weakening it. The money was moved around from one line item to another in an effort to strengthen Medicare. This bureaucratic change extended the life of Medicare for eight more years. Anything else you might hear from the Governor on that subject is likely a lie and is patently disproven here. Second, the Governor really does believe in eliminating Medicare and replacing it with vouchers. Here is the thing that will always be true, Medicare and government-based systems may not be perfect but they are not in health care to make money. They are invested only in providing care. Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield is rewarded every time they deny care for a customer. It is money they do not have to spend. The Governor wants more of that. He wants you on your back with an insurance company’s fangs on your throat. Listen to a rabbit when I say, “don’t do it! Don’t go into the light!”

Romney on China – Then there is the new story about the Governor and his ownership in the company Sensata that is right in the middle of shipping jobs to China. It isn’t the first time Romney companies have done so and it won’t be the last. Oh, he can tell you his investments are in a “blind trust” but know this, he can see through that blindfold just fine. One of the things I would like to know in Monday’s foreign policy debate:

If Bain Capital was to bring back every job they had sent or caused to be sent to China back to the US, how many jobs would that be?

I’m just guessing but mightn’t those jobs be enough to reverse the negative jobs numbers in Wisconsin or Nevada, two of only six states with jobs numbers which are down from over a year ago? Governor, I suspect that when you speak of taking a tough line with China, you mean something entirely different than what the rest of us mean. You mean things like how many kilowatt hours of grid time will your factories be allotted. Or, how do you keep Chinese factories you don’t own from reverse engineering the products of Chinese factories you do own. In the story of the Garden of Eden, the serpent talks Eve into taking a bite of an apple. When the Governor speaks of China, he does so with a forked tongue and we all know where that leads.

Romney on the World – The Governor thinks he is tough. He certainly likes to talk tough. Americans eat that up after all. We love the image of being the biggest and baddest country in the world. We think it suits us. Well, guess what. News Flash. Twitterstorm. The world has changed. National entities are not the only actors on the international stage and they are only an increasingly small percentage of the conversation. The Governor’s tough talk could severely damage our relationship with allies (see the news coverage of his trip to the UK for reference) and it could easily tip us into war with both Iran and Syria. (Regarding Syria see here and here.) What it will not do is make us any safer. What does make us safer is being perceived as going in the same general direction as the majority of those engaging in the conversation worldwide. Governor, in case no one told you, the thing most likely to change the balance of power in the world today is the cell phone. Brace yourself…and learn to use Twitter.

GOP Facts are Fungible

The GOP has struck upon the manna of “facts as fungible commodities” and they have been worshiping at that alter since the infamous “Contract With On America.” Yes, the Contract was able to hypnotize the electorate but it also was the beginning of the rise of the economic policies which ultimately lead to the W’s Great Economic Collapse. Democrats, meanwhile, have steadfastly, and to our past electoral detriment, continued to rely upon facts, logic, luck and the intellectual stick up our proverbial butts. [Note: none of those three things alone are the way to win an election, guys.]

My Thoughts on 2012 Election Cycle Take-Aways

• Lies (aka Romnesia) will be progressively harder to sell and impossible to maintain as fact checking becomes both common and instant…by everyone. (But this is one of my current favorites.) While the GOP has still been successful, to an extent, in 2012, try it again in 2016 and see where it gets you.

• There are and always will be people who are too afraid of change to be willing to accept any truth which encompasses said change. These people are the GOP base from here on out. The GOP is no longer the party of fiscal conservatism, it is the party of fear.

• Demographics do not favor the GOP – not with women, minorities or the young, none of whom are interested in being in binders any more…ever.

• Technology and social media do not favor the GOP either in the US or around the world…and neither does science (but that last part is another blog post isn’t it.)

• Democrats have to remember to show up and fight – not just our President, all of us.

• OH – and when you are a Mormon, Republican and the Salt Lake Tribune endorses the other guy because you haven’t been truthful enough, well that’s just… … … …. I’m sorry, I can’t seem to stop laughing.

To those of you who follow me, this has not been my usual humorous posting. I apologize. As you can tell, I am especially disapproving these days. Besides, I’m allowing others to carry the awesome burden of humor for me and I have to say that Mr. Eastwood has done a fine job. Thank you, sir, and have a seat.

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Okay. I’ve been quiet. I’ve been good. But then, last night, Mitt Romney and his “…binders full of women…” put me over the edge. WOMEN IN BINDERS!!! Really! And this is coming from someone who has eaten a few binders in her time. (Don’t gasp, it’s a rabbit thing.) Now, my issue is not the great humor to be derived from this statement. (See “Women In Binders” on Facebook for some pretty hilarious drill down on this.)  My issue is that it is profoundly, massively, wholly and completely condescending and paternalistic. He treated all females and, frankly, all of us period, like we are dumb bunnies. (Again, this is an area in which I have some expertise because, trust me, I’ve known some dumb bunnies in my time.)

Still, before I get into my thoughts on the scope of this comment, I want to address the facts around it which is to say that, as with oh-so-many other things that come out of Flip-Flop-Romney’s mouth, it isn’t true. Allow me to repeat. It never happened. An initiative existed in Massachusetts, started by the MassGAP organization, prior to the election of Governor Romney, to increase the number of women in leadership positions at the State level. When Governor Romney took office, he inherited this program. Period. End of story. He didn’t initiate it. He didn’t notice that he was surrounded only by wealthy white men (see the post-debate photos for an example of this behavior). He just lived with something which was already in place and which, he perceived, came out of some binder he was shown at some point in time. I know this won’t come as a shock to any of you, not even to Republicans who can remember as far back as the Republican debates, Mitt lied. Again. I mean really, people, this man makes Nixon and Johnson look like friggin’ Boy Scouts. And all of that comes before the part of this that really gets my dewlap*. (*Look it up. It’s your word for the day.)

Let’s take these things in no particular order:

1. Mitt didn’t have enough women in his organization in the first place and when it was pointed out to him he had to resort to a BINDER for assistance.

2.  Once again, Mitt did not answer the question. Obama was over there saying “Lilly Leadbetter Act” and Mitt had a story about a binder!

3. And AGAIN we have Mitt (or his boy-child Ryan) telling a story about a small, individual situation that absolutely does not address the question at hand, instead of answering the question itself. Women don’t deserve fair pay but they do get a binder. Auto workers don’t deserve to have their jobs saved but there was this one family who lost their son in an auto accident and Mittens was really generous to them. [General note to anyone who EVER debates Joe Biden in the future: don’t go after Joe with an auto accident story. His will trump yours every single time. Every…single…time….]

4.  Did you notice Mitt when he answered the woman who asked the tax question. He slowed down, used small words and spoke as if he was speaking to a third grader? Now maybe his treating her like she was an idiot was fine with you. He is used to dealing with  Tea Party audiences, after all, but it sure as H…e…double carrots bothered me. Here is my take on things. Anyone bothering to watch the debate instead of the ballgame passed third grade and is deserving of respect. Oh – and he didn’t answer that question either but don’t worry, you can get the detail on that here.

5. Unlike Obama, Romney sees no relationship between the issues of fair pay, health care, right to choice, the elimination of tax deductions for child care – and women. For Romney, these are all separate things. He never speaks of them in any kind of holistic or integrated way. Despite the efforts of Ms. Crowley to intervene, Obama gets that all of these things are of-a-piece. Obama isn’t changing topics when he speaks of choice in a discussion of fair pay. He is talking about empowering women all the way around. Not so much with Romney. “Knock! Knock!” “Ummm…yes?” “This is a CLUE! You thought your approval numbers among likely women votes were low before! Here, catch.” *crash* *clatter* *muffled rolling sound* “Nope. Missed again.”

Look, it isn’t just that “binders full of women” is insulting. It isn’t just that Mitt is so dense that he can’t imagine why it would be such a fracking paternalistic thing to say. It’s that he doesn’t get it at all. Not any of it. Mitt’s understanding of women, taught to him at the knee of his father and in services each Sunday for his entire life, is that a woman is someone who requires a man to reach back and call her name in order to be welcomed into heaven. [Personally, I’m hoping that Hillary remembers this attitude when she is approving the list for drone strikes during her Presidency.] Mitt thinks of women in binders and uses small words because that is how little he thinks of women. Period. I suggest that on November 6th, all females unite to show Mittens just how little we think of him. Thump!

November 6th – brought to you by the letters F and U, the number 47 and Office Depot. Go get ‘im, girlz.

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Image

STRONG…or Not

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a rabbit but you don’t need to sit in a litterbox everyday to know that something is wrong with our country when bigots can serve openly in political office but our kids can’t openly be taught science and history without exaggerated myth impinging upon their curriculum. As President I’ll end the blasphemous war to distort religion and I’ll fight fear-based attacks by “religious” fanatics against the religious diversity and freedom of thought guaranteed by our Constitution. FREEDOM of religion and, in fact, just plain freedom, made America strong. It can make her strong again. I’m a rabbit and I approved this message.

And Another Thing…

Faith isn’t like “Twilight.” It isn’t Team Jesus vs. Team Muhammud vs. Team It’s None of Your Business. Faith isn’t about being seen sitting in church and it isn’t about slapping a fish on the back of your car. The back of your car is where you should be slapping truly excellent bumper stickers like these from Bunny Whipped but I digress.

faith |fāθ| noun

1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something

2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

• a system of religious belief

• a strongly held belief or theory

Faith is…well…FAITH. It’s the faith to believe there is room for other beliefs, that a God big enough to create what YOU already think he created is big enough to have created much, much more – like the laws of nature, science and other ways of thinking and believing. Faith is the security to know that God is big and that is alright. Faith is even the security to believe that if the person next to you doesn’t believe in God she is either right or wrong but it does not have any bearing what-so-ever on your faith.

Faith is also the ability to understand that faith is not diminished, or under siege, or in any way weakened by the beliefs of others. This is why the founding fathers of the United States made, as a cornerstone of our nation, freedom of religion. Yes, Christianity was the faith of some of the founders but they very purposefully left Christianity out of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Both they and the Supreme Court have been pretty specific on this point so I won’t be droll. Had the founders specified Christianity as the state religion than we would be in the very same boat as Saudi Arabia or, frankly, any communist country. Specifying what religion people will or will not worship is the exact opposite of the intentons of ALL of our founding fathers. It is one of the very few things they all agreed upon. What they gave us was FREEDOM of religion and if you can’t understand why it’s the “freedom” part and not the “religion” part of that which sets this nation apart, than I have this lovely hutch for you right out back.

Another thing about faith is that faith is often, very often, confused with force. Instead of feeling secure enough in their faith to practice it in their hearts and homes, some people, using  _____________ as their excuse, (and here you can fill in the blank with the name of almost any major religion) believe that forcing others to openly bow, with their hands over their hearts and “under God,” to the professed religion of the majority makes faith stronger. NEWS FLASH:  God doesn’t need your vote. God is God (or not – for all you atheist bunnies out there) no matter what and forcing others to bow and recite words they do not believe or backing children of different faiths into a corner so that they feel less-than for not agreeing with the dominant religion, evidences not faith in God but the exact opposite. If you think you need to force someone, anyone, then you are testifying that your beliefs are not strong enough without that other person and that your God needs both you and them in order to be God. You need to know that the Great Bunny is there no matter what any of the rest of you believe. I am at peace with that. I have faith.

And One Last Thing…

On this, the eve of Christmas Eve, I’ve been thinking about innkeepers. As the story goes, Mary and Joseph returned to Bethlehem, for the census of Joseph’s family, having, foolishly, not made prior reservations. Since the rest of the line of David was there as well, there was, as they say, “no room at the inn.” Increasingly worried about the impending birth, Joseph and Mary went from inn to inn and every single time they were turned away. Even two thousand years later we think about those innkeepers and we shake our heads but here is what we forget. One man, and I guarantee you it was a man given the place of women at that time in history, said “yes.” He wasn’t an innkeeper and all he had available was a stable, but one man said, “yes.”

Who was that guy? History has denied him his rightful place but one has to wonder, given the general population of Bethlehem at the time, was he a Palestinian? He wasn’t a Muslim, because Islam was still hundreds of years into the future, and he could have been a Jew, but Bethlehem was a diverse place and he easily could have been any of several other faiths which were popular at the time. Was the man who put a roof over the Lord of all Christians on the night of the birth of our faith, was he a Palestinian? We don’t know. No one does. Still, he was a man of goodness, a man of kindness, a man who did all he could at a time when no one else stepped up. So, does it matter? Does who or what he worshipped matter? This was a man who changed history with his heart and, no matter his faith, he deserves the thanks of all Christians. He even deserves the thanks of doves and sheep and fatted calves and, this is just conjecture, but quite possibly more than a few rabbits, because Christianity put an end to so much of that sacrificing of members of the animal kingdom on alters (see “Leviticus” for more detail on this). Christianity changed a lot of things – including adherence to the many laws and rituals imposed in “Leviticus”. (Make a note, Rick Perry.)

It is my hope on this eve of the Eve that Christians find a way for faith to open their hearts in the same way that man, of unknown faith, opened his stable. It is my hope that on the Holy Night and on every night we are each secure in the faith that we are each secure in the hands of God and that no human force, or law, or religion can change that.

Merry Christmas.

Yours in the Great Bunny – Arliss

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Yes, I have been off-line for over two months. It wasn’t planned this way but I won’t put up with any more whining. Human-up, people!  I feel confident that those of you who have been on a hunger strike, in a desperate effort to get me to blog again, will recover. Most of you needed to lose some weight anyway. To those who might not survive despite the IVs which were ultimately forced upon you, I would thank you for your sacrifice if I didn’t think you were such idiots. Anyway, I have very little time right now since I am setting up housekeeping in a new area this week. I will just hit the highlights.

1. I had surgery on my mouth again and, as usual, it was awful. For the surgery I had to wake up at 4AM and ride in my carrier for three hours until we got to the specialist. He teaches at OSU and is supposed to be one of the best in the country for such things. He seemed nice enough and thought the world of me. While I was lucky that I did not have to stay overnight, another three hours in the carrier when I was still in a post-surgical haze made for a very long day. I’m being carted back to the doctor again next week for yet another follow-up. How is it that humans can’t get the surgeries and the irritating medicine to work right the first time and then have the gall to make their failings into my problem. Regardless, I am eating well and have allowed nothing to come between me and my evening carrot.

2. Mia, the elder-bun who had been living next to me since I was exiled to the Middle of Nowhere, passed away. She and I had become friends through the fence so I was sad to see her go. I ate very little salad that night and was quiet for a few days. This, however, was nothing in comparison to the grief felt by Clover, Mia’s bonded friend bunny. I know just how he felt since I have lost a dear bonded friend as well. Mia was once ill and was away for a few months. Clover greeted her joyously when she returned. Sometimes I think he is still waiting for her to come back. It’s something in the way he looks when he goes to sit in the place where he used to snuggle with her the most. I will always be grateful to Mia for the help she gave me with my thumping. Since working with her I learned to optimize my thump and am able to express my disapproval just that much more clearly. (Being clear with humans is helpful since they are so very dim.)

3. After an appropriate mourning period and, perhaps, in response to our shared experience, Clover and I have, just recently, officially bonded. I sent out the announcement today on Twitter. It’s a mixed bonding. He’s uppy-eared and Annoying while I am a lop and Disapproving. Still, we have been able to forge a path together because he worships me and I approve of being worshipped. With regard to bonding gifts, we have registered at Busy Bunny and Kroger’s (in the produce section.)

4. As for politics, the elections have occurred since I last posted and to say that you American humans are hopeless does not even begin to convey the situation. That you manage to elect people who value myth above science** and who actively, even boldly, put the greed of corporate entities above your own welfare is inexplicable. I actually have quite a lot to say on this subject but not the time to dictate it today. Suffice to say, THUMP! *ear shake* *glare* THUMP!

[**Myth is fine but it’s MYTH. When you can prove it to me, we’ll talk. Otherwise, it’s just a bedtime story you can use and twist to your own devices. I know this is harsh but I’m especially thumped-off right now.]

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While you may be thinking that John “Cheeto” Boehner has nothing more to worry about these days than how he will be redecorating the Speaker’s office to get the Pelosi out of the carpet, let me to assure you, he has MUCH bigger problems. Allow me to explain. Remember earlier this week when you were at the grocery store to purchase a large cart full of wonderful produce to bring home to the bunnies in your life…or something close to that. While you were there a young human started to scream and cry. It didn’t matter the context because it is always the same thing, a single child brews up a tantrum which translates to, “I’m furious because you aren’t paying ALL of your attention to me, Me, ME!” To that child, the world revolves around them and whatever toy or treat they have fixated on at that moment. That child is ruining the shopping experience for everyone else in the store because none of those other people matter. Other people are not a part of that child’s microscopically small, warped universe. Now multiply that child by, say…the Tea Party and you have an idea of ol’ Cheet’s problem. John Boehner has been a bad parent and now he will have to live with the consequences.

I know what you are going to say, “The Tea Party is a grass-roots, populist uprising and in buying it a lollipop, Cheeto is just bowing to the will of the people.” Here’s what a little knowledge of grass (I believe I can be considered a specialist in that field.) and fact-checking* will get you.  As a, granted, self-avowed grass specialist, I know that populist grass is a mess and it isn’t funded by the Koch brothers. The Tea Party, on the other paw, has been heavily funded by major Republican think tanks, activists and donors. It was only made to look amateur by all the nutbars who came along for the ride. Watergate’s Deep Throat had it right all those years ago when he said, “follow the money.” Ol’ Cheeto and his buddies were just pushing the Tea Party around in his shopping cart thinking, “Wow! This is spectacular. TP, here, is giving all these Democrats a whopping headache,” but Cheet failed to notice, there were other people in the store too, namely, Republicans.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. The Democrats are going to lose this next election precisely because they exemplify that which can be found on oh-so-many grassy lawns, a

hot mess |hät mes|
a derogatory term describing a situation, behavior, appearance, etc. that is disastrously bad. Think “faux pas” but times ten. Possible origin is literal (think, steaming dogpile).
“She got up on stage and tried to sing Beyonce’s “Dangerously In Love” but her performance was a hot mess.” – the Urban Dictionary

Cheeto’s problem with the election is that he will actually lose some seats which could well have been won by a sane Republican in the general election because the sane Republican was soundly thumped in the primary. This, of course, is a relief to Harry “Closed the Gap” Reid and Chris “Double-digit Lead” Coons but not-so-much for ol’ Cheeto.

Still, it’s really the post-election nightmare that is keeping Cheeto awake at night. (Well, that and the bright orange glow in the room.) Just this week the Republican Party published their “Pledge to America” which featured, appropriately, their version of America…a whole bunch of white people. Literally. I challenge you to find a photo in the published document that shows otherwise. Of course, they could also have called this the “Dead in the Water Pledge” because the combination of trying to add more than $4 trillion dollars to the deficit and all of the actions which will be over-ridden by a simple veto means that, frankly, NONE of the Pledge will ever see the light of day. However, it will give the Democrats terrific campaign fodder both for this election-cycle (“Everyone repeat after me,  ‘trillion’?!?”) and for the next (the “2012 Do-Nothing Congress”.) The Pledge avoids making any of the genuinely hard decisions it takes to govern a nation. It’s cowboys and red meat and a whole lot of white folks – in other words, it’s a Texas Bbq – and, people, you’ve already been there. Which, is the point the Democrats are FINALLY using to gain a little traction.

Additionally, the Tea Party and its extreme backers will be successful in pushing the Republicans farther to the right than the majority of the Republican Party wants to go. Even the neo-cons (some of which are known to still have brains because just last week a mouse with a neo-con brain was spotted in Delaware) have to know this somewhere down in the heart of their polls and focus groups. I mean, it’s all very well and good for them to allow their Tea Party offspring to be a devolved, eternally angry pile of tantrum but once you are in charge, then you have to govern and the next thing you know, the Tea Party infants will be putting a Hitler-mustache on you. Cheeto is especially worried about this because, you know, orange with a black moustache will either make him look like a die-hard, Who-Dey, Bengals fan or a year-round celebration of Halloween, neither of which will make his party more attractive to voters in 2012.

Oh – and then there’s the government shut-down being threatened by the Tea Party two-year olds and their buddies. Just recently, in an interview, the still wildly popular President Clinton was noting, with glee, how well that worked for the Republican Party in 1995. Don’t think for a minute that ol’ Cheet missed that point.

The last thing that keeps Cheeto from joyfully sucking the juices out of the marrow of the bones of the children from whom he wants to strip health care is the knowledge that moving farther to the right in order to attempt to mollify the never-to-be-satisfied Tea Party is the sure knowledge that the farther he goes the harder he makes it for rational Republican Presidential hopefuls, like Indiana’s Governor, Mitch Daniels, to get elected. The Democrats may be barely as organized as a pile of poop on a nice green lawn but, when energized, there are still more of them and the fastest way to energize the Democrats in 2012 is to live with two years of Tea Party insanity between now and then. Cheeto may seem like a delicious snack and all the rage right now but he isn’t an idiot and I promise you, being awakened several times a night by a screaming kid during the next two years isn’t going to be any fun for him or for us.

Cheeto Boehner

*[Note: if you are from the neo-con media or work for any of the major news outlets, all of which are owned by conservative corporations, “fact-checking” is that suspiciously foreign thing the actual liberal media has been doing for years. For further information go here.]

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So, during the late summer of 2010 a group of kids were sitting around and one of them said, “Let’s put on a show!” Everyone thought is was a great idea so they cleared out the garage, set up some chairs and off they went…except not…. What really happened is that given the vicious political climate in the late summer of 2010, a group of funny people decided to work together to encourage Stephen Colbert, of “The Colbert Report,” to hold a rally called “Restoring Truthiness.” After about 30,000 other people joined in the effort, they put out a call for correspondents to interview “people and rodents” from across the country about their thoughts on truthiness. Well, as we all know, bunnies are NOT rodents

Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world. There are seven different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbits (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species), and the Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species on Amami Ōshima, Japan). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha. – Wikipedia

but Arliss, being an intrepid sort of bunny, responded to the call with the courage and gusto befitting a Disapproving Rabbit and was selected as the National Rabbit Truthiness Correspondent. For more on “Restoring Truthiness” visit their website. For more on Arliss read other blog posts further down this page.

Arliss is a bun of VERY strong opinions but she doesn’t mind if your bun has equally strong opinions. Arliss is pro-strong-willed buns. In her role as a correspondent, Arliss has been asked to make a YouTube video in which she interviews other rabbits on their views on truthiness. This is how it will work. Arliss will have her film crew film her as a series of cartoon-style talk bubbles are held up behind her which translate her questions into English so that humans can understand them. The questions are listed farther below. Participating buns will have their staff film them with answers to one or all of the questions held up in clearly written talk bubbles. Like so:

Bunny with Talk Bubble

Bunny with talk bubble.

Arliss will select bunny respondents for the final video based upon how much they bring the funny. Views of all kinds are hoppily accepted. Arliss will then have her production staff edit together various responses into a single video and submit the whole thing to “Restoring Truthiness.”

Arliss’ Questions:

1. What does truthiness mean to you, the Average American Rabbit?

2. Of the multitude of ways in which restoring truthiness will improve each and every moment of your life, which is the most important?

3. Is the direct connection between carrots and truthiness as obvious to you as it is to me?

4. Is the grass always truthier on the other side of the fence?

5. Do you view truthiness as THE umbrella under which the lop-eared and the uppie-eared can live together in perfect harmony?

6. Agree or Disagree:  the vicious, rabbit-eating eagle is an excellent symbol of truthiness.

7. Final Question, Agree or Disagree:  the best way for any future Presidential candidate to prove his or her commitment to truthiness would be to select a rabbit as a running mate.

When submitting video, please include the name of the human transcriber, an email address where this human can be reached and the city where the bunny lives. Obviously, we don’t really care where the human staff lives, Arliss is ALL about the bun.  😉   If anything typical of the city where the bunny lives can be included in the video, that would be especially great. Funny answers are what it is all about and Arliss brooks no fools. If your bun would like to participate or you have any questions, please feel free to contact Arliss at arlissbunny@earthlink.net. You can also follow her on Twitter at ArlissBunny or subscribe to her blog, right here at WordPress.

All for Truthiness and Truthiness for All!

Arliss out.

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Before the revolution, meaning before it became more common for bunnies to live indoors and receive the level of health care rightfully accorded to most house rabbits, we lived short and very often miserable lives at the hands of careless, or at the very least uneducated, humans. However, in the last twenty years or so, great inroads have been made. More and more buns are living to be happy, healthy elder buns – including me. I’m nearly eleven. (Mia, next door, is almost twelve and her bonded partner, Moesha, who passed earlier this year, was fourteen.) Of course, the virtues of this are immediately apparent:

1. we have a longer time to hatch and execute our plots to take over the world (or is that just me?);

2. we have the proximity necessary to wrap humans around our little paws and make them dance like marionettes (or, again, is that just me?); and

3. instead of working every day on just staying alive, we have the time to become technically savvy so that we can…. (opps! I may have said too much…. Bwhahaha!).

Anyway, at the heart of all of this is the improved diet and health care afforded the modern house bun. That being said, I have some thoughts on the American health care system. I know, it has been a big subject in the media this year and I am late to the debate but I have been busy with other projects (see list above) and it was not until I was reminded, just this week, of how much I disapprove of  the current health care system that I felt compelled to comment.

Let’s start with the location. How is it that in order to, supposedly, feel better, I must first be packed, unwillingly, into a carrier and transported nearly half way across the known universe in order to receive an appropriate level of care? What’s the deal?!?! The dog who lives here can literally WALK three blocks to get to a veterinarian. Obviously, the education for most veterinarians is grossly lacking and must be completely overhauled. I am clear on the fact that I am both exceptional and notable enough to rate a specialist but that doesn’t excuse the local vet from being absolutely useless (and a known bunny killer, having used the wrong antibiotic on an unfortunate local bun.) Human universities need to get it together and prepare ALL of their veterinary graduates with at the very least the BASICS of bunny care. What could POSSIBLY be more important? Thump!

Now let’s move on to the facilities. What’s the deal with bunnies having to share with predators? This past week I was placed on a scale wich very clearly smelled of both dog and cat. There were no members of those species immediately apparent in the room but they can be shifty, especially cats, and one can never be too careful. (Mia tells me that Moesha’s personal mantra was “everyone eats bunnies, bunnies don’t eat anyone.” This strikes me as defeatist but not unwise.) My response, since the scale was on the floor, was to make a run for it. I got about six hops away before my efforts were mitigated by my being snatched up into the air. Hurrumph! My point being, humans clearly insist upon human-only medical facilities and I think bunnies and other non-predatory species should band together and do the same. Also, would it be so hard to have a scale made of some non-slippy material? Seriously, people, you try to stand there with fur covering 100% of the bottom of your paws! Thump! Thump!

I do find that the doctors and staff at the specialists which have attended to me to be, in the norm, as respectful as possible given the abhorrent circumstances. My most recent visit involved meeting Dr. Rebecca Naas, of Cincinnati’s Glenway Animal Hospital, for the first time. Dr. Naas was kind enough to sit on the floor to examine me and I have to tell you, this is very much appreciated since those examination tables really give me the creeps, not to mention flashbacks to earlier, unspeakably horrible experiences. Dr. Naas gave me a thorough exam and carefully checked my eyes all without having to have me more than one hop up off the ground. She also spoke directly with me. (I absolutely HATE it when doctors talk about me and not to me – it’s SO insulting.) She and I agreed that while my cataracts are much worse, my eyes are both “quiet” with zero indications of infection either there or anywhere else. We discussed the inevitability of aging and I have accepted this as one unfortunate part of the process. She even offered to refer me to a veterinary ophthalmologist should I have any further concerns. I elected to attempt a second escape at that moment so I think I made it plain that I am just fine, thank you, and not in need of another ride in the crate or another doctor poking at me. In general, as far as doctors go, I liked her and would recommend her to other buns. (Mia, btw, tells me that she sees another doctor in that same practice, a Dr. Diana Dornbusch Cron, and absolutely raves about her – as if a veterinarian COULD actually “walk on water.”)

As for the cost of health care, frankly, not my problem directly it still is a matter worthy of disapproval.  I endured several procedures in an attempt to address awful recurring infections prior to having my front teeth extracted (I still have PTSD about that and don’t really wish to discuss it here), have had numerous well-checks and this most recent trip to have my eyes evaluated. My medical expenses, therefore, have been substantial. This, of course, is nothing in comparison to my personal value. It does, however,  speak to the level of commitment necessary from my humans. I have no problem with the jobs they need to work in order to support me in the manner which I so richly deserve and to which I have become accustomed but it is worth saying that the cost of health care is one of the reasons bunny servitude (formerly known as bunny ownership) must not, at present, be undertaken lightly. More importantly, it serves to highlight the urgent need for national health care insurance for all members of the fur-covered community. While it is true that Bo, President Obama’s dog, and I will never be close friends, I do think we share this as a core value. I am expecting Bo to work toward this as a personal goal for the balance of the Obama presidency. I will vote accordingly.

Well, I must hop. An episode of Pinky & the Brain is coming on. It’s my favorite show. I even take notes sometimes. I’m thinking it will save me from making some of the same mistakes as my plans progress for… … …nevermind….

Pinky & the Brain

Pinky & the Brain

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