Friday, June 24, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brexit


Today, Great Britain votes on whether or not to leave the European Union. They don't really have a good reason to do so and the economic consequences will likely be severe. Since the movement to leave seems to be motivated by the same right wing, nationalistic nonsense that's captured so many Americans, I really hope they stay in the EU. That crap needs to stop. 

We're all stronger together than apart. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Forever War (revisited)


Around 35 years ago, give or take, I read Joe Haldeman's classic science fiction novel, The Forever War. I was in junior high or high school at the time, within a decade of the book's initial release in 1974. Until this week, I didn't remember much about the story other than it's similar to Heinlein's Starship Troopers, it involves time dilation from traveling near the speed of light (the protagonist is a soldier who fights aliens on distant worlds while time passes much more quickly for those back on Earth), and it bothered young me that on his return to Earth, the protagonist finds gender lines blurred and men wearing (gasp!) makeup. That's pretty much everything I remembered about the book.

I'd been looking for something to read on my Kindle for a few weeks, so when The Forever War went on sale for $1.99 last week, I snatched it up (metaphorically and digitally).

I'm about forty percent done (see, I have a Kindle, which reports the percentage completed as you read) and I'm loving it. It's really well written and has a great classic age of science fiction vibe skewed by the post-Vietnam era in which it was written. Hilariously, the story starts in the year 1997 where Earth has a presence throughout the solar system and colonies in other star systems, so it's a little off target. In the preface, Haldeman says he set it in the near future because he wanted his future soldiers to also be Vietnam veterans, but admits that, yeah, his take on our future was a little off.

If you haven't read it, I can recommend it and I'm not even done yet. I'm remembering a few more details as I work through it, but for the most part, it feels like the first time.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dissonance


We saw Finding Dory today and then went for sushi. We felt guilty. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Screaming in Frustration


Watch this.  Just watch it.




Monday, June 13, 2016

This seems appropriate somehow


Last August, Rachel was fortunate to see a preview of the Tony winning musical, Hamilton, before it opened on Broadway. As is her practice, she bought a poster and had it signed by a LOT of the cast. Here it is.




Awesome. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Once November is over, can we stop listening to this idiot?


After the massacre in Orlando, the President and many others have issued moving, thoughtful statements.

And then there's Donald Trump.


Notice how he doesn't offer condolences to the victims or their families, show any empathy, or, even better, propose solutions. His first instinct is to take credit for predicting the utterly predictable, even though we don't yet have definitive proof of the intent of the shooter.

Classy. And utterly Presidential.  ::sarcasm::

Stupid wanker.



Another Day in America


I had a few good minutes today where I briefly forgot that 50 people had been massacred by an enraged gunman at an Orlando club last night. Then I remembered.

We are a sick society. And not because of same-sex marriage, or transgender rights, or abortion or any of the conservative hot-button social issues. We're sick because there's a public crisis involving people having easy access to high powered, military grade firearms, and using them to mass murder our fellow citizens, while we do absolutely NOTHING to stop future massacres. And this is despite the huge majority of Americans who want to do something about it.

We are all of us hostages of the gun lobby and the 2nd Amendment fetishists.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Christian comedians are the best!


Nothing says "Christian" and "funny" like wishing for someone's death.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) joked at a conservative Christian event on Friday that he prays President Barack Obama’s “days will be short.”
The first-term senator began his opening statement at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference by telling attendees to pray for Obama. With a smirk, Perdue said, “We should pray like Psalms 109:8 says. It says: ‘Let his days be few and let another have his office.’”
...
Perdue did not continue reciting the words, but Psalm 109 is a death wish for one of David’s enemies.

See? It's funny because he wants Obama to die!

Ha! Real card, that one. And such a good loving Christian.


So this was a thing that happened


Actual Breitbart News headline:




Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Family Values and Strong Principles


So what do you do if the Presidential nominee of your party is a misogynistic, racist demagogue who uses fascist language and encourages violence against his enemies? If you're a leader in the Republican party, you apparently just cave on whatever principles you're supposed to have.
Asked how she felt about those remarks, [New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly] Ayotte—generally considered a moderate among Republicans—slammed the presumptive nominee. "His comments are offensive and wrong, and he should retract them," Ayotte said, according to local New Hampshire news station WMUR.
Ayotte, however, maintained that she'd still vote for Trump, despite his racism.  Link
Well, as Trump might say, she's just a girl and probably bleeding out of her "whatever". 

So what do the "men" of the GOP have to say?
Then, when confronted with a conservative columnist's harsh words for GOP's leaders rallying around Donald Trump—"the Party of Lincoln intends to circle the wagons around a racist. Damn them for that."— [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell responded by clarifying where his own priorities lie. "I think the party of Lincoln wants to win the White House," McConnell said. […]  Link
Winning is all that matters for Mitch, the country be damned. But then we've seen that for the past seven years.  

How about the House?
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) endorsed Donald Trump for president on Thursday in an op-ed published in his hometown newspaper.  Link
It's clear that Republicans have decided that going along with, again this cannot be overstated, the misogynistic, racist demagogue who uses fascist language and encourages violence against his enemies, Trump, is better than taking a principled stand against him. I mean, he might go after them next, and they can't have that.




Sunday, June 05, 2016

Not dead!


I'm not dead, just incredibly busy. This is probably one of the busiest times of my life what with all the graduating, and out of town visitors, and big load at work, so I haven't had much energy to post.

I will have the time this week, I hope, and get back into the groove.  See you soon.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

People are weird


Carol and I were driving the other day and someone being interviewed on the radio was asked if they were superstitious. They said something like, "Oh, I'm incredibly superstitious."

Of course, people admit being superstitious all the time, but I'd never really given that admission much thought before. The other day it struck me as a really odd thing to admit.

"Yes, I believe in a causal relationship between two events that are completely unconnected."

"Yes, I'm a dumbass."

These two thoughts are functionally equivalent.

Why would you be proud to admit that you're superstitious? You should be embarrassed to be such a sloppy thinker.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Religious Right


Here's Samantha Bee with a brilliant history lesson on how the Religious Right was consumed by the Republican party. Tens of millions of American Christians are now more Conservative than they are Christian. And that is not an accident.

I mean, come on, when allowing unfettered access to guns and keeping the death penalty are some of your top issues, you really aren't being very Christian, are you?



Thanks to Eric.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Trump's very bad week

Donald Trump had a bad week. Not that he'd notice, since, as he said, he could "shoot a guy in the street" and his followers wouldn't care.

But let's recap.

First, Trump's long time butler had a few nasty, racist things to say about the President.
To all my friends on FB, just a short note to you on our pus headed "president" !!!! This character who I refer to as zero (0) should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent in his first term !!!!! Instead he still remains in office doing every thing he can to gut the America we all know and love !!!!! Now comes Donald J Trump to put an end to the corruption in government !!!! The so called elite, who are nothing but common dog turds from your front lawn are shaking in their boots because there is a new Sheriff coming to town, and the end to their corruption of the American people (YOU) is at hand !!!! I cannot believe that a common murder is even allowed to run (killery clinton) OR that a commie like bernie is a also allowed to also run !!!! Come on America put your big boy pants on---this election you have a choice---GET YOUR ASS OUT AND VOTE !!!! Thank you !!!!  Link
President Obama should be killed.

To be fair, Trump himself didn't say it, but the guy he paid for seventeen years to be his personal butler did. Now imagine if someone close to President Obama said something controversial or objectionable. Let's say, his minister. Would Republicans attribute those statements to the President?

You don't have to guess, Republicans have been going on about Rev. Jeremiah Wright for eight years now.

Also this week, it was revealed that in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, during telephone interviews, Trump would pretend to be Trump spokesmen, John Miller and John Barron. Of course both spokesmen are really impressed by Trump.
Discussing Trump's divorce and his prospects with women, "John Miller" said Trump is "somebody that has a lot of options, and, frankly, he gets called by everybody. He gets called by everybody in the book, in terms of women," according to the audio recording obtained by The Washington Post.
Hilariously, on the Today Show, Trump finally had enough of the questioning about this and said,
"You're going so low to talk about something that took place 25 years ago whether or not I made a phone call?" Trump said. "Let's get on to more current subjects."  Link
This from the man who has repeatedly blamed Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton's affair, oh, about 25 years ago. So Trump is a hypocrite. Big shock, I know.

Of course, on Friday, Trump denied pretending to be his own spokesmen, which once again proves that he's a flat out liar.

Then there was the New York Times. The Times detailed interviews with dozens of women who spoke of Trump's sexist, misogynistic advances on women he worked with.
Their accounts — many relayed here in their own words — reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections.
If you think the apple fell far from the tree, here's something about Trump's father, Fred, from Trump's ex-wife Ivana.
Fred would order steak. Then Donald would order steak. … Everybody order steak. I told the waiter, “I would like to have fish.” O.K., so I could have the fish. And Fred would say to the waiter: “No, Ivana is not going to have a fish. She is going to have a steak.” I said, “No, I’m going to have my fish.” And Donald would come home and say, “Ivana, why would you have a fish instead of a steak?” I say, “Because I’m not going to be told by somebody to have something which I don’t want.”
Here's Donald's behavior at one of the Miss USA pageants, which he owned at the time.
His level of involvement in the pageants was unexpected, and his judgments, the contestants said, could be harsh. Carrie Prejean, who was 21 when she participated in the Miss USA contest in 2009 as Miss California, was surprised to find Mr. Trump personally evaluating the women at rehearsal. “We were told to put on our opening number outfits — they were nearly as revealing as our swimsuits — and line up for him onstage,” she wrote in her memoir, “Still Standing.”

Donald Trump walked out with his entourage and inspected us closer than any general ever inspected a platoon. He would stop in front of a girl, look her up and down, and say, “Hmmm.” Then he would go on and do the same thing to the next girl. He took notes on a little pad as he went along. After he did this, Trump said: “O.K. I want all the girls to come forward.” …
 
Donald Trump looked at Miss Alabama.
“Come here,” he said.
She took one more step forward.
“Tell me, who’s the most beautiful woman here?”
Miss Alabama’s eyes swam around.
“Besides me?” she said. “Uh, I like Arkansas. She’s sweet.”
“I don’t care if she’s sweet,” Donald Trump said. “Is she hot?” …
It became clear that the point of the whole exercise was for him to divide the room between girls he personally found attractive and those he did not. Many of the girls found the exercise humiliating. Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after he left, devastated to have failed even before the competition really began to impress “The Donald.”
Classy.

So how has he handled this very bad week? Trump basically denied every single thing said about him. When confronted about Trump's recent flip-flops on policy, one of his senior advisors had an interesting take.
When a fellow panelist pointed out in response, “Typically, words matter,” Bennett had a strange response.
“Oh please, this words matter stuff. This is ridiculous,” he said. “You are looking desperately for a reason not to vote for him.”  Link
And when asked if all this lying, misogynistic, hypocritical behavior would hurt Trump, Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus said,
“All these stories that come out — and they come out every couple weeks — people just don’t care,” Priebus said when questioned about the NYT report on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think people look at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and say, ‘Who’s going to bring an earthquake to D.C.?’”  Link
So here's the question for you, potential Republican voter.

Do you care?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

You can't fix ignorance if it doesn't want to be fixed


There continues to be a lot of misinformation about what has happened during Obama's time in office. 43% of voters think the unemployment rate has increased while Obama has been President, to only 49% who correctly recognize that it has decreased. And 32% of voters think the stock market has gone down during the Obama administration, to only 52% who correctly recognize that it has gone up. In both cases Democrats and independents are correct in their understanding of how things have changed since Obama became President, but Republicans claim by a 64/27 spread that unemployment has increased and by a 57/27 spread that the stock market has gone down. Link

For the record, unemployment is WAY down and the stock market is WAY up.

This explains some of the disconnect with Republicans for whom Obama can't do anything right. It's not opinion based in reality, but it makes sense knowing that they just don't care about facts. 

But then, we already knew that.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate




Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!


And lest we forget.




Monday, May 02, 2016

George Takei is absolutely right




Well said. If we don't stand together, no progress will, or even can, be made.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Okay, maybe this is piling on. So be it.


Look, I'm not a big fan of making fun of people in a mean way. But when the target is such a hate-filled, hypocritical, terrible douchebag, I'll make an exception.





This guy sat in an office down the hall from me for nearly two years and I have no memory of him. I guess that's a very good thing.

(For more proof of Cruz' calculated douchery, check out this article detailing an email from Cruz to supporters, whining about how hard it is to run for President of the United States, and see Sen. Elizabeth Warren's epic Twitter response. It's a quick read and great.)

Vaccines work


The next time someone says that vaccines don't work, show them these. [click to embiggen]




The colors indicate the number of cases per 100,000 people in the United States. The dark line is where a vaccine was introduced.

Thanks to the Wall Street Journal. See more charts and details here.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Now innocents are getting hurt


When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former Speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”  Link


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Alabama - We Dare Defend our Rights . . . to own you!


Monday in Alabama was Confederate Memorial Day because apparently in the twenty-first century, celebrating long-dead traitors and racists from 150 years ago is a thing they like to do in the South. Of course, ever since Dylann Roof, inspired by Confederate lore and swag, walked into a church in Charleston and slaughtered nine black Americans, Confederate adoration has taken a bit of a hit in the polls. And that makes the Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill, sad.
“The next question that has to be asked is so what’s the next thing you are going to do,” he asked, “are you going to take a bulldozer to the monument and forget what people fought for to preserve a way of life that makes us special and unique?”
Not content with the point that owning people and committing treason against the United States is something unique and special to be celebrated, Merrill also touted the awesome character of his state.
“When we have things happen in our state, we don’t rely on the federal government to come take care of us,” he said. “We take care of ourselves. For example, after the tornadoes in 2011, or after the massive flooding we had. That’s who we are. That’s who these people were. I’m proud of that.”
That's an excellent point and something to be proud of. After all, Alabama ONLY gets 36.5% of its annual revenue from the federal government, putting it ninth out of fifty states for the percentage of federal help it gets. In fact, Alabama gets more than $3 back from the federal government for every dollar it spends in federal taxes. And let's not forget Alabama's special and unique history that's being celebrated, where they built their state through UNPAID SLAVE LABOR.

But in case you were wondering that all this would paint Merrill as a potentially racist idiot, don't worry. Why, he knows some black people!
“We’ve got two African Americans that work in the lobby area of our office here,” he said. “None of them are working here because they’re black, but because they’re highly-qualified, trained professionals. I judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”

One of the awesome things about idiots is that they never know when to shut the hell up.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Housework


Sorry for the lack of recent posts. We have a deck on the back of our house and it's been years since it's been stained. So Carol and I have spent some evenings and the last couple of weekends getting it ready to be stained. This included cleaning it and then sanding, which takes up a huge amount of time. Plus we've been delayed by rain.

Our original schedule was to have it stained this weekend. Then that changed to just finishing the sanding. Sadly, although we've made a lot of progress, some sanding remains. We'll have to stain it next weekend. We hope.

It will be really nice once it's done, hopefully in time for our family to visit in a couple of weeks for Rachel's graduation from college.

But next time, I'm paying someone to do it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Autopsy, I mean biopsy, results!


I received an email from my colonoscopy doctor with the results of the biopsy on the two polyps they removed. Here's what he said.
Your biopsies showed that you had 2 different types of polyps. One was a tubular adenoma. ​ ​An adenoma is a benign polyp, but has potential to become cancerous over time. ​ ​Fortunately, your polyp was found and removed at an early stage. ​ ​Because you could form more of those type of polyps in the future, another routine colonoscopy is recommended in 5 years.
​ ​
The other polyp was completely benign type (call hyperplastic polyp). That type never grows into colon cancer, and can therefore be essentially ignored.
​So I have to get another colonoscopy in five years rather than ten. Not the end of the world, but I was really hoping for ten.

The results really show the value of getting this procedure. If I hadn't gotten it done, I'd have a potentially cancerous polyp in my colon today.