Thursday, June 13, 2019

For crap's sake say it ain't so, Joe


I have a lot of respect for Vice-President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. He's served this country for a long time with honor. By all reports he's a really kind guy.

But oh holy crap he needs to stop running for President.

Uuuuuuuuuuuggggghhhhhh.

Now listen, I will vote for a moldy ham sandwich over Trump, and my preference is Senator Elizabeth Warren who is smart, compassionate, and has actual ideas. That being said, if Biden is the candidate I'll vote for him. But geez, this kind of paternalistic, women-as-property bullshit needs to go away forever.

Democrats, can we please have a candidate who isn't 150 years old?


Sunday, June 09, 2019

First the Moon! No, first Mars! No, first McDonalds!


Please note that the date on these Tweets is about a month apart.

 Of course, an extra $1.6 billion wouldn't get a space dog to the Moon, but that's not the point here.


You may remember that "going back to the moon by 2024" was a big thing a few months ago when it was mandated by Trump and when Mike Pence became the Administration's space policy mouthpiece. So why did Trump send the NOT going to the Moon Tweet? Because FOX News had a story about it an hour earlier.

We'll also point out that the Moon is NOT a part of Mars. But then, you already knew that, because you're more than six years old.

Somehow that Tweet reminded me of this. (Please note that I think Calvin would make a far superior President to Trump and is FAR MORE articulate.)



Fun with Charts - June 2019


Here are some charts providing some hard data points on the Administration's performance.

Up first is a comparison of the S&P 500 Index over Obama and Trump's Presidencies. The stock market is a metric Trump has cited over and over as evidence of his genius. Check out here for comparable NASDAQ and Dow Jones charts.












Next up, a chart I've posted many times over the past few years. This is new jobs per month.





And finally, let's check out healthcare in America. Remember, more people uninsured means more people sick and dying, and higher costs for all.



In short, Thanks Obama! Screw you, Trump!

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

A Good Drive Home Interrupted after a Good Walk Interrupted


A year into the Obama Administration, I had a conversation with a relative who was outraged at President Obama's "unprecedented golf outings and vacation days". Of course it was bullshit back then (George Bush had taken far more) and it's even more now that we have the laziness that is Trump in the White House.

Anyway, last Sunday was evangelical "Pray for Trump" day. You might think, okay, that sounds like a good thing. Pray for him to grow a brain. Or develop a conscience. Or care about another human being. Or not kill us all. But no, evangelist Franklin Graham, who made the call to pray, stated that the reason to pray for Trump was:
“I don’t believe any president in the history of this nation has been attacked more than Donald Trump.”
Oy.

So they had this stupid pity-prayer day across America and during Trump's Sunday golf outing, someone in the Presidential convoy belatedly realized that they should probably attend a church service somewhere. Amazingly, there was a church right on the route back to the White House! Thanks Google Maps!


Yep, pretty convenient, huh?

So Trump stopped in for a whole 15 minutes, catching the pastor off-guard, stood smugly while he was prayed over, said nothing, and then left. How inspiring. Of course, the White House couldn't say that Trump was there to be prayed over, so they floated a bullshit story about how he was there to mourn the Virginia Beach shooting victims. Since no one actually mentioned the victims during the 15 minutes, I'm going to go with "Yeah, no" on believing that one.

Here's how the lazy schmuck appeared, complete with FUCKING GOLF CLEATS and golf cap. Yeah, that's a well-thought out plan, flawlessly executed, and not a quick con to fool the rubes into thinking he's one of them.




Anyway, the whole pathetic story is here, including that the pastor afterwards told the congregation in a letter, “My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders." And how did that work out for you?

In short, our "President" is a lying scumbag who openly mocks evangelicals with his morals and the transparency of his pandering, and they support him more than any group in America. Literally.

How principled, smart and moral they are.

Since you deserve it, here's how a real President shows dignity, class and empathy at a memorial service.



A SWAT Team and Pure Joy


This SNL sketch is from a couple of years ago. Hilarious, poignant and actually deep. One of my recent favorites.



Saturday, June 01, 2019

Two Tweets in America


About the onerous abortion restrictions that are designed specifically to get the illegitimate Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and then ban abortion.





And, really, how f'ing out of touch can you be? Pull your head out of your ass, woman!



But would you let him marry your daughter?


Trump on Kim Jong Un:

Great personality and very smart. Good combination.

He's got a great personality. He's a funny guy. He's very smart. He's a great negotiator. He loves his people, not that I'm surprised by that.

I like him. I get along with him great. We have a fantastic chemistry.

Well he is very talented.

I do trust him.

He wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters. We fell in love.



Reality on Kim Jong Un:
Blaming the officials for the failed summit, North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, the special envoy to the United States, and foreign ministry officials who carried out the working-level negotiations for the meeting in February, according to Reuters.
Kim Yong Chol, who was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's counterpart for the meeting, was sent to a labor camp. Shin Hye Yong, the interpreter for Kim Jong Un, was also sent to a camp for political prisoners for undermining the North Korean leader.  Link

Might be a little awkward at the next summit, no?

Of course not! What's a little execution or labor camp between two people in love?


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

DOE says "Hold my beer"


Do you remember the stupidity that was "Freedom Fries"?

Well, the Department of Energy does, and they thought it was awesome!

Note: The following is part of an ACTUAL DOE press release on natural gas.
“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy. Further, more exports of U.S. LNG to the world means more U.S. jobs and more domestic economic growth and cleaner air here at home and around the globe,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes, who highlighted the approval at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada. “There’s no doubt today’s announcement furthers this Administration’s commitment to promoting energy security and diversity worldwide.”
“Approval of additional LNG exports from Freeport LNG furthers this Administration’s commitment to promoting American energy, American jobs, and the American economy. Further, increased supplies of U.S. natural gas on the world market are critical to advancing clean energy and the energy security of our allies around the globe. With the U.S. in another year of record-setting natural gas production, I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg, who signed the export order and was also in attendance at the Clean Energy Ministerial.

See what they did there? Molecules of U.S. freedom no less!

I work at a federal agency and I draft regulations. If I were ever ordered to call something "Freedom whatever" in order to pretend to be patriotic, I would refuse. And then wash my hands. Probably go cry in a corner.

This is epically deserved by the Department of Energy:


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

This is the face of oppression


These are the Republicans who just outlawed abortion in Alabama.



Hmm. I wonder what they all have in common . . .


Monday, May 13, 2019

Kicking the hornet's nest


For decades, Republicans have been trying to kill Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. Now, with a stolen Supreme Court seat and two hard-right Trump nominees on the bench, they obviously feel like their time has come.

Here's my prediction.

If Republicans succeed in overturning Roe v. Wade, they won't know what hit them. They will raise such an army against them that Republicans will be swept from office everywhere in this country. They think they stand with the majority in opposition to abortion rights, but the actual majority will not stand for it and will vote their asses out of office so fast their heads will spin.

They may wish they had left the issue alone.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Universal Monsters #6: The Wolf Man


Of all the Universal Monster movies, I was most looking forward to The Wolf Man. I had seen bits and pieces of Dracula and the Frankenstein movies, but, like The Mummy, knew very little of the actual story of The Wolf Man. I did know that it had a very sympathetic and tragic hero, Larry Talbot, bitten by a werewolf to become one himself.

The story begins in Wales, where the son of the local rich guy comes home after the death of his brother. This is Larry, a TERRIBLE, name for a hero/monster, and right away the trouble begins. No, it's not that he's a werewolf, that happens later. The trouble begins when he finishes the installation of his father's telescope and uses it to peep on a woman who lives in the town. The hero. A peeping tom. Ugh.

Yes, this is Larry's POV

He goes into town soon after and meets the object of his peeping, Gwen, who owns an antique store with her father. Trying to impress her, he buys a huge wolfs-head cane which is made of silver. He also finds out that she's engaged, making his insistence that she go out with him even creepier. Hey, Larry, NO MEANS NO!

He's just a man who can't hear NO
The night, he shows up at the antique shop to take Gwen to the local Gypsy for a fortune-reading. In a remarkable show of good sense, she takes her friend, Jenny, along. Unfortunately for all of them, the Gypsy in question (played by Dracula himself, Bela Lugosi) is a werewolf who kills Jenny and is subsequently killed by Larry's silver cane head, but not before biting Larry.

What follows is pretty much what you'd expect. Larry periodically turns into the Wolf Man and terrorizes the village. What's interesting is that the change is not specifically tied to the full moon, he turns when the wolfbane is in bloom.That part of werewolf lore hadn't been established yet.

What I most liked about the movie is the atmosphere. The Wolf Man came out in 1941, six years after The Bride of Frankenstein, and the opening credits have the feel of a classic fifties science fiction film. And there's an amazing forest, recreated on an entire soundstage, which is one of the largest indoor sets Universal had ever done.

I also enjoyed the Gypsys, who are interesting and seem to know about werewolves, although other than Bela's mother, no one seems to know they had one living among them. The Gypsy mother also saves Larry and Gwen a couple of times; she's the real hero of the film.

A father confronts his "son"






The werewolf transformation was done with stop motion photography and works fine, if not spectacularly. The first time that Larry transforms, he is sitting in his study, wearing a t-shirt, but when he's later seen prowling the forest, he's wearing a button down brown shirt. It was considerate of him to put on a more concealing shirt before he went on his murder spree.

The thing about the Wolf Man is that when he's the werewolf, he's not Larry. Larry doesn't remember anything afterwards and can't do anything about turning into a wolf. (He's very much like the Hulk). But while that makes him tragic, it means there's no intelligence behind the beast. The werewolf isn't clever and has no plan. He just runs around killing the people he comes across, which makes the plot less interesting.

It also seems like the movie is missing a subplot or two. There just isn't that much to it. The Wolf Man goes on a murder spree and is eventually hunted down. He'll be back in a host of sequels, but this movie is too short for what it should have been. In some ways it feels like a Frankenstein retread. I have to admit I was a little disappointed.

Here's Steve's Review:  1001Plus

It was a good holiday while it lasted


You may remember when I posted about Trump's invention of the Fourth of July? Well, now we have more details! It seems that although he's been a failure at pretty much everything he's had his hand in, he's actually putting work into this idea:
President Trump has effectively taken charge of the nation’s premier Fourth of July celebration in Washington, moving the gargantuan fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River and making tentative plans to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to top administration officials.
The president’s starring role has the potential to turn what has long been a nonpartisan celebration of the nation’s founding into another version of a Trump campaign rally. Officials said it is unclear how much the changes may cost, but the plans have already raised alarms among city officials and some lawmakers about the potential impact of such major alterations to a time-honored and well-organized summer tradition.
...
The revised Independence Day celebration is the culmination of two years of attempts by Trump to create a major patriotic event centered on him and his supporters, including failed efforts to mount a military parade modeled on the Bastille Day celebration in France. The new event has become a top priority for new Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, whom Trump tasked with the job three months ago, officials said.
  Link






If Trump succeeds in politicizing a more or less universally loved, non-partisan celebration held every year for the last several decades, I would imagine attendance will be the lowest it's ever been. Also, fuck that guy.

Insert the obligatory "can you imagine how Republicans would have responded if Obama had done this?" observation here.


Saturday, May 11, 2019

A good walk ruined . . . by an asshole


This should not surprise anyone who is paying attention.

It should also not surprise anyone that his supporters will ignore it completely, even if they recognize it as true.

Ladies and gentleman, the President of the United States:
While Trump was meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, a club championship was held at Trump International, the course Trump built near Mar-a-Lago in Florida. So later on, Trump’s back on the course there with the Secret Service and the SWAT team guys and all that stuff. And he sees Ted Virtue, who was involved in the financing of the movie Green Book.
I could never get Virtue to call me back on all this, but Golf.com reported it and I heard it from two members of the club as well. They say Virtue was there playing with his son. Trump sees Ted on the 9th hole and and decides to drive his cart over. He tells Ted: “Congrats on winning the club championship, but you didn’t really win it, because I was out of town.”
Ted tries to laugh it off, but Trump is dead serious. Trump says, “We’re gonna play these last six holes for the championship.” And Ted’s like, “Oh, well, I’m playing with my son, but thanks anyway.” But Trump says, “It’s okay. Your son can play, too.” So what are you going to do? He’s the president. It’s his course. They end up playing.
Apparently, they get to a hole with a big pond in front of the green. Both Ted and his son hit the ball on the green, but Trump hits his in the water. By the time they get to the hole, though, Trump is lining up the son’s ball. Only now it’s his ball and the caddie has switched it.
The son is like, “That’s my ball!” But Trump’s caddie goes, “No, this is the president’s ball; your ball went in the water.” Ted and his son look at each other confused, not sure if this is really happening. Trump makes that putt, and wins one up. Then, according to Golf.com, he tells Virtue something like, “I’ll tell you what, we’ll be co-champions.”
But the members tell me that when you look at the plaques on Trump’s locker there, it says: “2018 Men’s Club Champion.” No “co-” at all.

How golf explains Trump. Seriously.

Stole the golf ball of a kid playing golf with his father so he could win a fake championship.



Thursday, May 09, 2019

Hmm. I wonder what they ARE the party of?




Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Gang warfare


One of my favorite SNL players of all time is Norm McDonald (before he became a conservative christian). I loved his sardonic take on the news and when in sketches, he often played the guy who didn't realize he was in a comedy sketch. He's a terrible actor, but that just adds to the humor.

A couple years ago I was looking for this video with no success. It's one of my favorites. I found it on YouTube, so here you go.  Norm's reactions kill me.



I also appreciate that this is the kind of SNL sketch where the premise isn't immediately obvious (similar to the Cowbell Sketch or Diner Lobster), but once the audience catches on, it gets progressively funnier.

And yes, that's Robert Downey, Jr., Iron Man himself, as the other main guy.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Bill Barr should resign now


The Attorney General of the United States is SUPPOSED to work for the people of the United States. He is NOT the President's personal lawyer.

In his testimony before a Senate Committee yesterday, Bill Barr dishonored himself, violated his oath of office, likely committed perjury, and became yet another once honorable public servant to sell his soul for the creepy, criminal grifter in the White House.

Here's what Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI and steely eyed missile man) had to say to Barr.
You once turned down a job offer from Donald Trump to represent him as his private attorney. At your confirmation hearing you told Senator Feinstein that the job of attorney general is not the same as representing the president. So you know the difference. You've chosen to be the president's lawyer and side with him over the interest of the American people.
To start with, you should never have been involved in supervising the Robert Mueller investigation. You wrote a 19-page unsolicited memo, which you admit was not based on any facts, attacking the premise of half of the investigation. And you also should have insisted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recuse himself. He wasn't just a witness to some of the president's obstructive behavior; we now know he was in frequent personal contact with the president, a subject of the investigation. You should have left it to career officials. Then, once the report was delivered by the special counsel, you delayed its release for more than two weeks and let the president's personal lawyers look at before you even deigned to let Congress or the public see it. During that time you substituted your own political judgment for the special counsel’s legal conclusions and in a four-page letter to Congress.
And now we know, thanks to a free press, that Mr. Mueller wrote you a letter objecting to your so-called summary. When you called Mueller to discuss his letter, the reports are that he thought your summary was giving the press, Congress, and the public a misleading impression of his work. He asked you to release the report summaries to correct the misimpression you created, but you refused. When you finally did decide to release the report, over a congressional recess, and on the eve of two major religious holidays, you called a press conference to once again try to clear Donald Trump before anyone had a chance to read the special counsel report and come to their own on collusion. But when we read the report, we knew Robert Mueller’s concerns were valid, and your version was false.
You used every advantage of your office to create the impression that the president was cleared of misconduct. You selectively quoted fragments from the special counsel report, taking some of the most important statements out of context and ignoring the rest. You put the power and authority of the office of the attorney general and the Department of Justice behind a public relations effort to help Donald Trump protect himself. Finally, you lied to Congress. You told Rep. Charlie Crist that you didn't know what objections Mueller's team might have to the March 24 so-called summary. You told Sen. Chris van Hollen you didn't know if Robert Mueller supported your conclusions, but you knew. You lied.
And now we know. A lot of respected nonpartisan legal experts and elected officials were surprised by your efforts to protect the president. But I wasn’t surprised. You did exactly what I thought you would do. It is why I voted against your confirmation. I expected you would try to protect the president and, indeed, you did. In 1989—this isn't something you hadn't done before. In 1989, when you refused to show Congress an OLC opinion that led to the arrest of Manuel Noriega. In 1992, when you recommended pardons for the subjects of the Iran-Contra scandal, and last year, when you wrote the 19-page memo telling Donald Trump that a president can't be guilty of obstruction of justice. And then didn't recuse yourself from the matter.
From the beginning, you were addressing an audience of one. That person being Donald Trump. That is why, before the bombshell news of yesterday evening, 11 of my Senate colleagues and I called on the Department of Justice inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the way you have handled the Mueller report. I wanted them to determine whether your actions complied with the department's policies and practices and whether you have demonstrated sufficient impartiality to continue to oversee the 14 other criminal matters that the special counsel referred to in other parts—to other parts of the Department of Justice. But now we know more about your deep involvement in trying to cover up for Donald Trump.
Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. The American people deserve better. You should resign.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Thanks, idiots!


Vaccines save lives. There is no questioning that. The science is robust, extensive, and irrefutable.

We eradicated smallpox.

We eliminated polio in the United States and most of the world.

We eliminated measles in the United States.

We cut deeply into the number of cases of every disease for which we've developed a vaccine.

But some people are stupid and won't vaccinate themselves or their children . . .
The U.S. is dealing with the largest outbreak of measles cases since the disease was eliminated in 2000, according to an analysis by CNN.
As of this week, there have been 681 measles cases across 22 states, the network reported on Wednesday, citing data from state and local health departments.
...
Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 million to 4 million people contracted measles each year in the U.S. About 400 to 500 of those died, 48,000 were hospitalized and 1,000 developed the brain inflammation encephalitis, the CDC said.  Link
Measles is a DEADLY disease. And anti-vaxxers are giving it a comeback. I don't give a damn about your "moral" or "religious" objections, or whether or not you think it gives your kid autism (it doesn't). Herd immunity only works if sufficient numbers get vaccinated. You are risking not only your own children's lives, but the lives of everyone you and they come in contact with.

Thanks, selfish idiots.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Get to Know Me! Elementary School


I went to Cleveland Elementary in Elkhart, Indiana for grades K-6 in the 1970s. It was the same school my parents had gone to and where they met. The mascot was, and still is, an Indian. It's now a magnet school.

When I started there, the Principal was named Mr. Gay and the 6th grade teacher was named Miss Homo. Not nicknames, those were their actual names. They were brave.

I think Miss Homo lived with one of the kindergarten teachers, Miss Cook. My understanding is that it was a poorly kept secret that they were lesbians. They were likely the first gay couple I ever knew. (Then again, I just did a web search and while I didn't find anything specifically about Miss Homo, I did find evidence of a series of younger Homos who also teach in the Elkhart school system and who may have been her children. So I could very well be mistaken).

I liked and enjoyed my elementary school.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

I have something to do this week . . .


I'm a movie fan. Over my life, there have been several, huge, huge, movie premieres that I've awaited with barely contained excitement.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (probably the biggest of my life)
The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi
The Star Wars prequels (that turned out poorly for me)
The Lord of the Rings
The Hobbit movies (also didn't turn out so well)

And now . . .



The Marvel movies have been consistently great and I love the series. They are an incredible achievement, mostly because of incredible casting and a studio commitment to quality. Easily the most consistent movie series of all time.

Carol and I have our tickets for Thursday night at 7:30. It used to be that movies premiered at midnight but now that's bled into the night before. So even though it officially opens on Friday, we'll be able to see it a few hours sooner.

And I can't wait.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Hmm. I wonder who they're talking about?


I hate to ever ask you to watch FOX News (if you do already, you're probably already brainwashed), but this is pretty dead on.


No hypocrisy there, no siree.

Monday, April 15, 2019

I, too, stand with Ilhan


I stand against racist attacks on Muslims. I stand against the idea that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. I stand against the incitement of violence in America, and especially against incitement of violence by the President of the United States against a sitting Congressperson.

In other words . . .


Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Alt-Right Playbook: Always a Bigger Fish


If you want a better understanding of the difference between Republicans and Democrats in today's America, and why it will be difficult to get Republicans on board the 21st century train, this video would be a great investment of your time.

It explains a lot, clearly and without partisan rancor, and I think it's pretty spot on. I see this kind of reasoning in my own family, the ones who are Trump supporters.



It may not be a concept that both sides would agree on, but understanding is still important in today's world.


Friday, April 12, 2019

A Critical Analysis of the Battle of Wakanda


I LOVE THIS. (Also, I had some of the same thoughts during the dozen times I've watched Infinity War).

Military Lessons Learned from the Battle of Wakanda
The world is blessed that Steve Rogers never made it past captain. The Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War is a master class in how not to use an infantry battalion. However, from his failure, we can extract some fundamental lessons:
...
The Battle of Wakanda is a short and approachable case study in what not to do with an infantry battalion. While the tactical challenge facing Captain Rogers was a difficult one, he went to seemingly every length to make it harder. While the unexpected arrival of Task Force Thor did ultimately tip the balance in his favour, that does not excuse the manifold failures found throughout his conduct of the battle.
Go read the whole thing.

Wakanda Forever!


Thursday, April 11, 2019

He would only be responsible for all U.S. fiscal policy


Because we live in the darkest (and most stupid) timeline, Trump has nominated former pizza magnate, former GOP Presidential candidate, and 9-9-9'er, Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Yeah, this is happening.


To minimize his chances of actually being approved by the Senate, Cain has decided to re-bring TEH STUPID.
“When God is ready for us not to have fossil fuels, he’ll find a way,” the former Godfather Pizza CEO told the audience at the Vickers Lecture Series at School of Business.  Link
Now, I don't believe in God, but I think that if I did, I might find the Earth turning into a scorched ball of dust except for the part flooding under dying oceans, threatening all life, might indicate that God is ready for us not to have fossil fuels. I think the invention of a variety of ever cheaper, carbon-neutral energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal) might also be considered a sign from God. But then, I'm just a stupid atheist.

Cain also likened himself to Dr. Martin Luther King, as one does, and said:
“You reach a point in your successful career where making more money isn’t inspiring enough.”
Yep.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their reaching a point where making more money isn't inspiring enough.”
He's EXACTLY like MLK!

It's uncanny.