Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Thought for the Day

Hat tip to Daily Kos.

Chauncey DeVega at Salon writes—GOP tax bill: Social Darwinism makes a big comeback:
The Republican "tax reform" bill passed by the United States Senate during the late-night hours last Friday is evil. It has no redeeming social value. It takes money and resources from those who have the least in to further subsidize the rich and corporations. It will worsen those problems its proponents claim it will solve. It is a nightmare. Republicans and others who support this legislation have revealed once again that they lack any human decency or wisdom or sense of civic responsibility.

This evil is facilitated by an extreme rightward turn in American society that has made normal and healthy politics all but impossible.
This evil will kill people and increase human misery so the idle rich and other plutocrats can have even more money. This statement is no exaggeration. It is a plain fact: The Republican tax bill will raise taxes on the poor and working classes in order to give the very richest American hundreds of billions of dollars. This is a clear statement of social and political priorities: The amount of money gifted to the rich by Republicans is so large it could have paid for debt-free college and universal health care.
This evil also reveals a moral and ethical rot. The Republican Party and Donald Trump's desperate desire to win a legislative victory at any cost was more important than being responsible public servants.
This evil is empowered by a party, a president and a right-wing movement that feels nothing but contempt for the very idea of democracy. The United States is in extreme peril. Moreover, the evil of the Republicans' "tax reform" bill is not a result of happenstance, accident or coincidence. It is an outgrowth of a much deeper malevolent ideology.
Republicans from the post-civil rights era to the age of Trump have increasingly been in thrall to "Social Darwinism" and the 19th-century English economist Thomas Malthus. In this paradigm, the real value of individual human beings (and societies) is determined by their economic productivity and financial value as decided by capitalism. This cruel vision treats human beings almost like animal livestock; "social betters" engineer certain outcomes to cull the herd so the most "valuable" and "productive" are nurtured and protected. All others are viewed as parasites who should be removed, exterminated or bred out of existence. [...]

I couldn't agree more.

We are in big trouble unless some sanity comes soon.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

I'm sure this will end well

Our idiot President is about to unleash a huge conflict in the Middle East.
Donald Trump appeared on the verge of formally recognising Jerusalem as the “capital of Israel”, in a move that would upend decades of US presidential diplomacy and could trigger unrest across the Middle East.
King Abdullah issued a statement telling Trump that such a decision would have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region” and would obstruct US efforts to resume Arab-Israeli peace talks..
There is absolutely NO reason to do this. NONE. ZERO. No one else recognizes Jerusalem as the capital and we've had our embassy in Tel Aviv for decades where it didn't inflame hundreds of millions of people who have an actual investment in Middle East peace. This will piss off millions of people for absolutely no gain on our part.

Why is Trump doing it? Probably because he's a moron who has no understanding of the situation or the consequences and some dumbass told him it would be a good idea. There is NO serious thought behind this. 

And people will die because of it.

You want to know how I really feel?

Monday, December 04, 2017

Maybe Republicans tell time in dog years?

Let this stand forevermore, a testament to how full of crap the Republicans have been over the last 8 years, claiming that Obamacare was "crammed down out throats." Not shockingly, the Republicans are IMMENSE hypocrites.

Here's a timeline by Michael Linden comparing the newly passed Republican "Tax Reform" scam bill that will give huge tax breaks to the rich while raising taxes on the poor and preparing America to gut the Medicare and Social Security safety nets, to Obamacare.

Click to embiggen.

The timeline for Obamacare is eleven months. The "Tax Reform" bill timeline is five weeks. Only one of these two legislative packages was "crammed down" anyone's throat and it wasn't Obamacare.

Here are a few more facts about the passage of Obamacare (ACA):
The ACA made it out of committee in the House of Representatives in July 2009, after a month-long markup and 160 Republican amendments. The House didn’t vote on it until November 7th.
In 2010, the Senate health committee spent nearly 60 hours over the course of 13 days marking up the legislation that would become the ACA.
The Senate Finance Committee held 53 meetings about the ACA and an eight-day markup of the bill, which was the longest markup for the committee in over 20 years. The committee considered 130 amendments and held 79 roll-call votes.
There were 44 hearings and public events about the plan in the Senate alone.
The Republicans held NO hearings and allowed NO Democratic amendments before passing the "Tax Reform" bill that will raise the debt by $1 trillion. They will undoubtedly use the increased debt as an excuse to gut Social Security and Medicare.

Don't ever vote Republican. They're liars, they're hypocrites and they HATE you.

Grand Old Pedophiles

Today, Presid*nt Trump gave up any pretense of moral fortitude and wholeheartedly endorsed child molester Roy Moore for the open Alabama Senate seat. Apparently getting tax cuts for the rich while gutting the safety net is more important than taking a stand against pedophilia.

In a not surprising development, the entire Republican National Committee has followed suit and re-endorsed Moore.

So let the record show that when it came time to make an easy moral call, against child molestation, the "family values", pro-life, Christianity first, Party chose to side with the molester over his victims.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Oh goody, the Trumps get to decorate the White House for the Holidays!

No, there aren't solid gold Christmas trees everywhere. But getting special attention is one, very white, hallway.

Okay, I guess. Kind of a neat effect, but very, very white and sterile. And, frankly, I'm not sure this particular White House should be emphasizing WHITE.

Now let's see what the hallway looks like with the overhead lights off!


That has got to be one of the creepiest hallways I have ever seen.

I can just feel the Christmas love.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hints on Presidentin'

For our glorious garbage fire of a Chief Executive, here are a couple of hints for hosting an event honoring Native American code talkers from World War II. Please take special note that the code talkers are American heroes who have suffered from American racism pretty much every day of their lives. They were honored today in a ceremony at the White House.

Hint #1

When giving your little speech to the Native Americans, avoid racist statements referring to Native Americans.
"You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas."
See? It's funny because it's a racial slur! It's funny because he's insulting someone who isn't there and has nothing to do with this event! (And note, NOBODY CALLS SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN POCAHONTAS BUT YOU, YOU STUPID GIT.)

Hint #2

When hosting such an event, you should probably be aware of the location where you're honoring NATIVE AMERICANS.

It's a really bad, terrible, insensitive as hell idea to have the event in front of a portrait of F'ING ANDREW "Trail of Tears" JACKSON!

Jesus H. Christ, what an asshole.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

This weekend in Dumb-Stupid

I was going to do a whole post about the "President's" Tweets this weekend, but someone already did at the Daily Kos.  I'll just leave this here.
• On Saturday, the theoretical President of the United States attacked our free press in a way that would have been unheard of in past years.
• He followed up by promoting, to his 43.4 million followers, a transparently malevolent conspiracy theory site. Consider, for a moment, that the man theoretically in charge of our nation's nuclear arsenal and military forces apparently lacks the mental capacity to distinguish between real and hoax news sites. Now consider that House and Senate Republicans continue to protect, defend, and endorse this obviously unfit imbecile.
• He spent Sunday morning calling for the election of a pedophile, declaring that his not-pedophile opponent "WANTS TO RAISE TAXES TO THE SKY." Again, this is an actual supposed president saying this. It might as well become the Republican Party motto, at this point: We'll support actual child molesters if they'll help us cut a rich man's taxes. Go ahead, embroider it onto a pillow. Pedophiles unite.
• He then lied about his own influence in Alabama because of course he did.
The rest of the article is here.

Click any of the links if you want to experience the idiocy first hand.

And if you think the Tweets made sense, he said this on Thursday in a Thanksgiving speech to the Coast Guard.
I'll also take questions. Should we leave the media here to do the questions or should we tell the media? It's Thanksgiving. Let's let the media stay. Anybody have any questions about the country, how we're doing or any of those things? Wow. I love it when you don't. That means you're doing great. I love that. That's the greatest. The press I know doesn't have any questions. If you do, we won't take them but that's alright. The press has plenty of questions.

The Navy, I can tell you, we're ordering ships, with the Air Force I can tell you we're ordering a lot of planes, in particular the F-35 fighter jet, which is like almost like an invisible fighter. I was asking the Air Force guys, I said, "How good is this plane?" They said, "Well, sir, you can't see it." I said, "But in a fight. You know, in a fight, like I watch on the movies. The fight, they're fighting. How good is this?" They say, "Well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it. Even if it's right next to them, it can't see it." I said, "That helps. That's a good thing."
The articulateness is just stunning. I'm so proud.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Republicans for pedophiles!

The "President" on pedophile and Senate candidate, Roy Moore:
"He denies it. Look, he denies it," Trump said of Moore. "If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen. And look, you have to look at him also. . . We don't need a liberal person in there [the Senate], a Democrat, . . ."
So according to Trump, a PEDOPHILE is better than a Democrat.

The Republicans.
First it was Party over country.
Then it was Party over Christianity.
Now it's Party over human decency.
The "Party" needs to end.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dear Alabama Christians

I know there's pedophilia in the Bible and no condemnation of it. But today, it's almost universally recognized that it's wrong for adults to have sex with children. Not just wrong, but really, really, really wrong. This shouldn't be something of which we have to remind you.

Alabaman Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore "dated" underage girls when he was in his thirties. He also sexually assaulted some of them. That makes him a pedophile.

Now, I know you really want Moore to sock it to us unbelievers, ban abortion, and chase gays back into the closet, all from the Senate floor, but in what sense can you call yourself a Christian if you're willing to vote for a pedophile to represent you? Isn't Jesus supposed to be about loving and protecting the children?

Do the right thing. Not just because you're a Christian, but because Roy Moore is a horrible human being that sexually assaulted girls. Because it's the decent, humane, proper thing to do.

His opponent, Doug Jones, seems to be a really good, qualified guy. Plus, he has the huge advantage of NOT being a pedophile. He'll make Alabama proud.



A YUGE Reminder

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Happy Reading

I received a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, 2012. I had wanted an e-reader for a while, and with the release of the excellent Paperwhite and a price point below $100, I put it on my Christmas list.

Since then, I've downloaded a pretty good number of books, rarely paying more than $2 for one. Being an Amazon Prime member I can also borrow one book a month (I know, lame) for free. I've done that quite a few times but it can be a little frustrating if you're reading a series, as you sometimes need to wait to download the next book.

Below are all the books I've read on my Kindle since the start of 2013 (not in order). All were new to me except the the nine books I had already read (in junior or senior high school), marked with an asterisk.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
The Skull by Philip K. Dick
The Shining by Stephen King
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein*
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman*
The Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy
The Star Wars Trilogy*
Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke*
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke*
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke*
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein*
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
All 14 original Ian Fleming James Bond Novels

Dunkirk: Retreat from the Brink of Destruction by Lieutenant Colonel Ewan Butler and Maj. J.S. Bradford
The German Generals Talk by B.H. Lidell Hart
Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff
The Fall of Japan by William Craig
History of the Civil War by James Ford Rhodes
Incredible Victory: The Battle of Midway by Walter Lord
The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans
The Third Reich in Power by Richard J. Evans
The Third Reich at War by Richard J. Evans
D-Day Through German Eyes by Holger Eckhertz
Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed by Michael K. Jones
The Battle of the Atlantic by Donald Macintyre
Hitler by Ian Kershaw
Killing the Bismarck by Iain Ballantyne
Operation Barbarossa: The German Invasion of Soviet Russia by Robert Kirchubel

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
These Are the Voyages - Season One by Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn
These Are the Voyages - Season Two by Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn
These Are the Voyages - Season Three by Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn
When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by Tom Shales

I'd be thrilled to discuss any of them in the comments.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thou Shalt Not Not Watch This Video

Want to see my wife get shot in the neck?

No, this is not a snuff film and she's fine. She had a role in the CHEESY new docu-series on TV One, Thou Shalt Not. The premise is that all those lurid true crime shows on Discovery, ID, TLC, and whatnot lack one key element: religion! Yes, this is the show that dares to recreate true, horrific, modern crimes and tell you which commandments the criminals broke! (Spoiler. It's usually thou shalt not kill).

Carol plays a murder victim.  Go to about 7:40 in the show to see her brief scene. She even has a line!

The other crimes committed by the two brothers, shown right after Carol honks out, are pretty horrific. You might want to skip the rest.

Thor: Ragnarok

You probably already know this . . .

2008's Iron Man was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a linked series of  superhero films that has now reached 17 in number. Had Iron Man failed, it might have ended the MCU right there, as its immediate follow up, The Incredible Hulk, which came out six weeks later, was not as successful. But with the huge box office and critical success of Iron Man, the MCU was launched and is still going strong. In just eight years, Marvel has created one of the greatest film franchises of all time, both popularly and critically.

One of the things that makes Iron Man a great film is the tone. It's a comic-book movie but takes itself pretty seriously. There is some humor; Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., is witty, scathing and funny, but the movie plays it pretty straight. Iron Man's world is higher tech than ours, but it's a recognizable place. Had the film been played campy or for laughs, I don't think it would have been as popular. Iron Man established a formula followed by the Marvel movies that came after.

That is, up until 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. By the time Guardians was made, Marvel Studios had a record of nine movies, all good, some great, and they obviously felt they could stretch their legs a bit. Guardians, which takes place in a trippy outer space setting, is much less realistic than its predecessors - it's funny, fantastical and just plain fun.

Which brings us to the 17th MCU film, the third Thor solo movie, which opened last week, Thor: Ragnarok. The first two Thor movies are in the bottom tier of the MCU movies. They have their moments, a fantastic villain in Tom Hiddleston's Loki, and I enjoyed both of them, but they're not great films. They share the Iron Man formula of some humor, but mostly play it straight.

Thor: Ragnarok is a great film. Clearly taking its cue from Guardians of the Galaxy, Ragnarok basically puts Thor into the Guardians' weird, outer space world. They also cranked up the humor; this is undoubtedly the funniest Marvel movie, thanks in no small part to Chris Hemsworth's awesome comic timing. He already showed his comedy chops in hosting SNL and in the recent Ghostbusters, and he let's it all out in Ragnarok. Clearly he's having a ball and so does the audience.

I loved it. I am really looking forward to seeing it again.

The next MCU movie is Black Panther and based on the trailers, it will be more of a return to the old formula. Given the serious nature of the character, that's undoubtedly a good thing. It looks awesome.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Warning - This post is the definition of T-M-I.

Warning: Too Much Information

I'm a 52 year old man. That means, like many middle-aged men, I have developed issues with my prostate, a walnut sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system.

I had a blood test earlier this year (my diabetes means I have at least a couple of blood tests a year and often quarterly) and my PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) had gone up. This indicates that there may be an issue with the prostate.

I was referred to a Urologist whom I saw during the summer. He said that my prostate was enlarged, which is not uncommon among men my age, but didn't feel (yes, feel) any irregularities. He gave me a prescription for a 4K score test and told me to wait three months before getting it done. In the meantime, an enlarged prostate has a host of possible symptoms, most having to do with problems urinating. Fun, fun stuff.

The 4K score test is a new blood test that can show how likely you are to develop prostate cancer and thus avoid the need for a biopsy. I had the test done and saw my Urologist again. He told me the test showed a 6% chance of a high likelihood of cancer. In other words, cancer was unlikely. I need to go see him again in six months after another standard blood test.

There are many treatments for an enlarged prostate, from drugs to surgery, but I don't need to worry about those yet. The Urologist put me on Flo-Max to help with the symptoms.

Getting older is awesome!

In all seriousness, I'm actually very lucky because I have good insurance and can visit excellent doctors who take good care of me. The majority of human beings, and millions of Americans don't have that luxury. Given the resources and knowledge available to humanity, access to good healthcare should be a universal human right.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I heard Kim Jong-un totally likes Susie and Donnie is all like "Unh-uh!"

Okay, here's my last Trump post for a week.

The President of the United States has the maturity of a third grader. 

We are doomed.

A brief respite is coming

I haven't gone back and counted, but I'm pretty sure the vast majority of my posts over the past year have been related to the ongoing dumpster fire in a sewage treatment plant that is the Presidency of Donald Trump [gag]. I wish that wasn't the case, but I don't feel I can ignore the things happening around us. Outrage needs to be called out and we must continue to do everything in our power not to normalize the terrible things this man is doing to our country and the world. I don't have any notions that my blog is changing lots of minds, but it's what I can do in this space.

With that being said, I'm going to spend one week catching up on the non-monster-in-the-white-house stories I want to share. Through next Sunday, I'll only post about movies, gaming, current events, TV, personal stuff, whatever. But no Donald F'ing Trump.

Please note that I reserve the right to break this promise if during the next week we nuke North Korea, Trump is arrested, or he eats a baby.

I'll start tomorrow. That gives me till midnight for any final posts on the shit sandwich we've been eating for a year.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gun Violence

After Las Vegas and the recent Texas church massacre, pro-gun folk first tried (as usual) to stifle any discussion of solutions by saying it was "too soon" to talk about guns. Of course, every massacre, which happens quite often, apparently resets the "too soon" clock. Then, from the White House on down came the talking point that "guns aren't the problem".

Of course they are.

Gun control works wonders in other developed nations. Mass murder in those countries is nothing like we have to live with in America. Vox recently complied a listing of statistics and charts that demonstrate all too clearly that American definitely has a "gun problem".

Here are a few of them. Go to the page above to see the rest.

There have been more than 1500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook

Developed countries with more guns also have more gun deaths

There are solutions. Americans are just too stupid? pig-headed? controlled by special interests? to try them.

Paul Ryan is a dumb-stupid

When asked about the backlash on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” show, Ryan said the criticism was “disappointing” and said “people who do not have faith don’t understand faith,” and claiming the “secular left” is responsible for some of the “disunity” in the U.S.
“It is the right thing to do in moments like this because, you know what? Prayer works,” he said. “And I know you believe that and I believe that and when you hear the secular left doing this think, no wonder you have so much polarization and disunity in this country when people think like that.”
Yeah, it's hard to believe "Prayer works" when a crazy person is murdering children in an actual church. Or did the victims forget to pray as they were being slaughtered? If prayer actually worked, it would be self-evident.

Oh, and blaming the "secular left" on American disunity? Screw you, Paul Ryan. We're not the ones who spent 8 years lying about a great President not being an American and then electing Grabby McMoron as President.


So this is how it's been for a long, long year.
Many of us have grown numb after unrelenting shocks. What now passes for ordinary would have once been inconceivable. The government is under the control of an erratic racist who engages in nuclear brinkmanship on Twitter. He is dismantling the State Department, defending the hollowing out of the diplomatic corps by saying, on Fox News, “I’m the only one that matters.”
He publicly pressures the Justice Department to investigate his political opponents. He’s called for reporters to be jailed, and his administration demanded that a sportscaster who criticized him be fired. Official government statements promote his hotels. You can’t protest it all; you’d never do anything else. After the election, many liberals pledged not to “normalize” Trump. But one lesson of this year is that we don’t get to decide what normal looks like. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg

And last Tuesday, we finally had a ray of sunshine. A hope that maybe things will get better the only way they can. 

By voting out of office these terrible people (Republicans), who care more for giving tax breaks to their rich friends, undermining our Democracy, and attacking people they don't like, than serving the American people and making things better for ALL of us.

This was fantastic and a real morale booster, but it has to continue.

How about next, decent Alabamans, (Alabamians? Alabamites?) don't send lying, hypocritical, hate-filled, pedophile Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate? 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Unfortunately, America is one of the idiots who lives on Earth

Well, we're alone.
During a round of U.N. climate talks on Tuesday, a Syrian delegate announced that the country would sign the historic Paris climate agreement, leaving the United States as the only country in the world opting out of the landmark deal.
Because of a major political party in charge of our government which will NOT embrace reality, and the major dumbass in charge of that party who is against the agreement only because the black guy before him is the one who signed it.

American exceptionalism.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Today is the Day

The Pr*sident has abdicated his Constitutional responsibility of executing and enforcing the laws of the United States (which is supposed to include laws he hates because he's a stupid, vindictive asshat who doesn't care about the American people). Don't let him succeed.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sure, the movie is depressing as hell, but this is live!

If you're in the DC Area and you enjoy live theater, consider going to the Kensington Arts Theatre for their production of the musical, The Bridges of Madison County. My wife, Carol, is the Assistant Stage Manager!

The show opened last night. Additional performances are October 27, 28, November 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 - Fri/Sat @ 8:15pm | Sun @ 2:00pm.

Click the link above for more details.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dopioid says he'll fight opioids

After two months of continually saying he would declare an opioid emergency "next week", Trump finally declared a "public health emergency" today. This is a step down from a "national emergency" which means that he isn't actually making any money available to do anything.

Those of you who think this means he's focused on the crisis and will follow up with action are kidding yourselves.

I'm willing to bet money that next week he'll start claiming that he solved the opioid crisis.