Cactus Campaign Quote of the Day

Who knew when I started posting political quotes that I would be able to post a political quote about cactus! Certainly I never imagined such a thing was possible. But here it is, a quote comparing a presidential candidate to a cactus:

The stately saguaro cactus is a fitting symbol of the southwestern desert state of Arizona, found on license plates and front lawns and state flora registries, cutting a pitchfork profile both defiant of and shaped by the elements around it. It is also a good symbol for the Arizona senator who hopes to lead the nation, Republican presidential candidate John McCain. He, too, is sometimes considered prickly…

I guess it makes sense since McCain is from Arizona and all.

Prediction of the Day

50-47 Obama, with 325 Electoral votes. You heard it here first. I should be a pundit. 

Presidential Campaign Quote of the Day

The post-mortems have already started.

(T)he big mistake was picking the Disasta from Alaska.

I think it’s too soon. Everyone should vote in 15 days, and then we can settle on the reasons McCain lost.

And here, have a cactus:

Opuntia basilaris

It’s a little fuzzy. This shot was actually taken 6 years ago with a film camera and digitally scanned! Yes, kids, they used to have something called “film”.

Campaign Photo of the Day

From Reuters

US Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage after shaking hands with Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, October 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008

My apologies. This photo is not indicative of anything, doesn’t represent my personal opinions or the opinions of anyone else on this blog, and certainly has no relevance to the election at hand. But it’s hilarious! That McCain is such a scamp.

NY Times' Lord of the Rings Quote of the Day

Gail Collins:
Remember how we used to joke about John McCain looking like an old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn? It’s only in retrospect that we can see that the keep-off-the-grass period was the McCain campaign’s golden era. Now, he’s beginning to act like one of those movie characters who steals the wrong ring and turns into a troll.

Here’s a cactus picture for you:

It’s the Button Cactus! Epithelantha micromeris.

Indeed it is cute as a button.

Campaign Suspension Quote of the Day

From my Senator:

Now, how about a cactus?

Here’s a good one from Joshua Tree National Park:

Suszan Standing Next to the Cholla Cactus
A cholla cactus stuck to my elbow while I was taking pictures. Removing it from my skin was a painful process because each thorn consists of microscopic, jagged edges that tore my flesh.

That’s an Opuntia bigelovii, aka Teddy Bear Cholla, or Jumping Cholla. Photo borrowed from Joshua at

Spam Clogging up the Internets

I just got this crazy spam. I’m posting it here as a warning to others: Do not attempt this! 

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

Financial Meltdown Quote of the Day

I try to use these quotes as a way to add a little politics to the site without writing political posts. So now should be the time for presidential candidate quotes. But events overtake, and I really like the way this is phrased. It’s not really a quote, more like a subordinate clause:

…Wall Street’s blind faith in its own ability to transubstantiate subprime mortgages into AAA-rated, investment-grade paper…

Now that’s an image to hold onto. (Billmon)

And here’s an image for your patience:

It’s a closeup of an Opuntia subulata c.v. monstrose. A wonderful example of how a small virus can take a giant tree cholla and turn it into a densely packed apartment-block of branches no taller than 3ft.

Financial Meltdown Quote of the Day

This is the best short explanation of the financial crisis that I’ve seen yet.

Banks made a bunch of stupid loans which aren’t being repaid. A bunch of people made highly leveraged investments in securities backed by those loans. A bunch of other people sold insurance on those securities and related debt. (Atrios)

Big Cactus News in Berkeley

Evelyn Ave.

Opuntia ficus-indica. A giant and edible prickly pear. Scrape the spines off the pads and saute and you have a delicious fried green vegetable. On the other hand, the fruit are sweet and tasty and make for a great desert topping or a jam.

But the big news today is in the financial sector where Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy while holding

$613 billion of debt

That is an amazing amount of debt. Outstanding. Holy crap.

Anyway, here’s another shot of the prickly pear. Read More…

Politics in the Garden

I first started gardening and learning about plants when I lived in Alaska. The summers are short but the sunlight is strong. After Breakup (i.e. spring, when the ice breaks and winter disappears in a sudden rush of water, to be replaced within weeks by summer) people would rush out to the garden centers and plant their flowers and vegetables.

I lived in Anchorage, home to more than half the state. Nearby, about 45 minutes away, is the town of Wasilla. I’ve driven through Wasilla many times, stopping at the strip mall on the highway for lunch while on the way to somewhere else. Well, the town isn’t quite just that, but you get the idea. It’s small.

And now the former mayor of Wasilla is the vice-presidential candidate for the Republican Party.

I understand that this is to try to get some of the Hillary voters to vote for McCain. But I’m really mystified. I can’t imagine a less qualified person to be a heartbeat away from POTUS.

She’s been Governor of the smallest state in the union for less than 2 years, and won that election largely because of Frank Murkowski’s scandals. And now she’s in the middle of a scandal herself, having admitted to using her position to get back at her brother-in-law.

The McCain campaign claims one of her qualifications is her support for drilling in ANWR, but all Alaska politicians, including Dem Senate candidate Mark Begich, support drilling in ANWR.

Honestly, I can’t imagine. What was he thinking?

Pat Buchanan

Biggest political gamble I believe just about in American political history…that is not hyberbole. I can think of no choice of VP that approaches this.

Heat in the East Bay Precipitates Blog Ramble

A little extra watering wouldn’t hurt now that we’re coming into the hottest and driest part of the Northern California year.

Drink lot’s of water yourself, close the blinds and open the windows rather than turning on air conditioners, and an afternoon nap sounds good too. I’m tired, but Obama is coming on in a few minutes and the C-Span feed doesn’t have any of those ridiculous talking heads that are on all the other channels. I saw David Brooks immediately following Al Gore’s speech and nearly gouged my eyes out. Oh the pain is strong in that one. That should be my quote of the day.

I tried a new drink this evening. I don’t know the name, but it was Gin, Lillet and Bitters, shaken not stirred. Very delicious. It must be the heat.

Tomorrow we get a new Zebra label printer to replace the new one that is deeply broken, but Zebra wanted me to ship them the brand new broken printer for them to repair and send back in a month or two instead. Hah! I demanded my money back so instead they are overnighting another new one to arrive tomorrow. If it doesn’t arrive tomorrow, I think I will be done with them.

And don’t get me started on our new POS system.

Bigfoot Quote of the Day

The hoax was discovered after an “expedited melting process,” Kulls wrote. “A break appeared up near the feet area … as the team and I began examining this area near the feet, I observed the foot which looked unnatural, reached in and confirmed it was a rubber foot.”


Presidential Candidate Quote of the Day

“The greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.” Barack Obama in Berlin

It’s nice to be reminded that part of what it means to be an American is about inspiring the rest of the world to want to be more free, more open, more democratic.

We Get Quoted in a Real Newspaper

Partner and occasional co-blogger Hap got mentioned in a Houston, Texas newspaper. Here’s the full quote:

In 2005, I wrote a similar column about a cactus in an oak tree. We saw it in Fredericksburg, Texas. Back then, I spoke with Hap Hollibaugh of Cactus Jungle in Berkeley, Calif., and he said most likely the prickly pear was “simply an advantageous grower.” Seeds sometimes germinate in odd places if they find enough nutrients.

Democratic Senator Quote of the Day

…There is only one issue here. Only one: the law issue.

Does the president serve the law, or does the law serve the president? Each insult to our Constitution comes from the same source; each springs from the same mindset; and if we attack this contempt for the law at any point, we will wound it at all points.

That is why I’m here today: Retroactive immunity is on the table today; but also at issue is the entire ideology that justifies it, the same ideology that defends torture and executive lawlessness. Immunity is a disgrace in itself, but it is far worse in what it represents. It tells us that some believe in the courts only so long as their verdict goes their way. That some only believe in the rule of law, so long as exceptions are made at their desire. It puts secrecy above sunshine and fiat above law.

Did the telecoms break the law? That, I don’t know.

But pass immunity…and we will never know. A handful of favored corporations will remain unchallenged. Their arguments will never be heard in a court of law. The truth behind this unprecedented domestic spying will never see light. And the cases will be closed forever.

“Law” is a word we barely hear from the supporters of immunity. They offer neither a deliberation about America’s difficult choices in the age of terrorism, nor a shared attempt to set for our times the excruciating balance between security and liberty. They merely promise a false debate on a false choice: security or liberty, but never, ever both….

Chris Dodd (D, CT) full video and text here.

Darwinmania! Quote of the Day

Olivia Judson in the New York Times alerts us to this wonderful quote from the head of the Linnean Society the same year that Darwin first spoke of Natural Selection before the Linnean Society.

“The year which has passed has not, indeed, been marked by any of those striking discoveries which at once revolutionize, so to speak, the department of science on which they bear.”

Such is life. The next year The Origin of Species was published and he must have been slightly embarrassed at his mistake.

On the other hand, that was the same year as the discovery of cactus in the new world, so it was embarrassing all around. (Of course, I may be wrong about the date a little bit, and I may end up being a little embarrassed about that myself. Only time will tell.)

Constitutional Quote of the Day

I heard once that the Nuremberg Trials proved that just because your government told you to do something was no defense. At least that’s what the Americans said when they convicted the Germans. Apparently we have a new standard in the United States.

When the Government tells you to do something, I think you all recognize, uh, that that is something that you need to do.

That was Senator Kit Bond this morning on NPR. Good to know – All power to the State and it’s representatives in government and especially to the police, I mean the state, I mean the police… the state… the police… state….

March 2023

US Constitution


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