Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Viewing recommendation: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Everyone in my family has read Daniel Handler's excellent series of 13 kids' books, A Series of Unfortunate Events. We also enjoyed the 2004 movie by the same name starring Jim Carrey which retold the first three books. We've always been sad that that movie never had a sequel, leaving the story in limbo.

But now Netflix has come to the rescue! This weekend, Carol and I started watching Netflix's new streaming series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, starring Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket, and absolutely love it. We're only two episodes in, covering the events of the first book. I was reading some online comments and the consensus is that subsequent episodes get better and better. If true, this is a going to be a fantastic show, because the first two episodes were great.

They're covering each book with two, approximately one hour long episodes, which means they'll use 26 episodes (over three seasons) to tell the entire story. It's an incredible way to tell what is a dark, nuanced, funny, clever, and tangled story, so I'm really excited about it. It's clear from the first two episodes that they're layering in a few new characters and twists, but they're staying very close to the books.

If you're interested (and you should be), here's the trailer in an earlier post.

Edited to add: The show has a real Pushing Daisies vibe, which is another reason to recommend it.

Yes, I know people were stupid. Can we please stop interviewing them before my head explodes?

NBC News aired a segment tonight about a bunch of Democrats in rust belt states who voted for Trump. Left behind economically by the loss of manufacturing jobs, these people are desperate for help.

They're also desperate for brains.

When interviewed by NBC, they said that they were focused on the economy and want better wages and more jobs in their state. They heard Trump mention jobs and, for some reason, decided that he would deliver. Despite his obvious lack of expertise of, well, anything.

These people are so utterly clueless it just spins my head.

Only one candidate had detailed plans to bring jobs to rust belt states. Only one candidate wanted to raise the minimum wage, make college affordable, and actually had plans to help the middle class.

The other candidate was an immature, sexist, racist asshole who spoke in vague superficialities and contradicted himself every hour. And these dummies voted for him because they were unable to tell that he was a lying halfwit who clearly had no understanding of the issues.

And now he's going to be President.

If these people had done five minutes of research, they would have learned which candidate wanted desperately to help them and which candidate was playing them for suckers.

I hope they'll finally figure it out.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Attorney General Nominee Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Part of Sessions' testimony this week.

To which I, as a "secular" person (aka atheist or non-religious person) simply say to the esteemed Senator:

The Man in the Gold Castle

In November, 2015, Amazon wanted to promote its new streaming series, The Man in the High Castle. The series is based on a novel by Philip K. Dick and tells the story of an alternate history where the Axis, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, won the Second World War. The protagonists live in the United States of the 1960s, under the oppression of their Nazi and Imperial overlords.

Unfortunately, Amazon chose a promotional campaign of questionable taste, decking out New York subway cars with Nazi and Imperial Japanese imagery.

Click to embiggen all images.

As you might imagine, this caused some concern and Amazon quickly realized its mistake and got rid of that particular promotion, at some expense. 

Well, good news everyone!  The Trump pre-Administration, knowing a good bargain when they see one, has bought out all of Amazon's promotional materials and repurposed them.

Kudos to President-elect Trump. This is exactly the kind of leadership Trump voters were hoping for!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I commute in the future

I got off the Metro last night on my trip home and saw two of the new trains across from each other on the platform.  I thought the image was pretty cool.

Click to embiggen.

Here's another picture of the train on the right side of the platform.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Rogue One and La La Land

I haven't had a chance to post about recent movies, so here's my view on a couple.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One is the first movie set in the Star Wars universe that's not part of the three-trilogy structure envisioned by George Lucas in the seventies. As such, it doesn't deal with lightsabers and Jedi and the elite of the rebel alliance in the days before Luke left Tatooine, but the grunts, specifically the group that stole the plans to the Death Star right before Star Wars: A New Hope. It features what are easily the most realistic battle scenes in all the movies.

I've only seen it once so far, but I think Rogue One might be the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back and the third best overall. The biggest issue with it is the lack of deep characterization which leaves most of the characters flat (a big flaw). But the action is great, the story is interesting, and they did an amazing job fitting it into the timeline with a good number of callbacks to A New Hope. I enjoyed it.

We're going to see it again soon, so maybe my initial assessment will change. Certainly, over the last year The Force Awakens has lost a lot of its luster to me. I hope Rogue One holds up.

La La Land

This Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling musical is both a tribute to old Hollywood musicals and an elevation of the art form to the next level. There's a lot to love here, including great performances from both leads, wonderful songs and choreography and the L.A. setting, including some places we visited when we vacationed there. The opening number, presumably filmed in one long shot, was incredible. But it wasn't until a later song and dance between Stone and Gosling, filmed to look just like a traditional Hollywood soundstage musical duet, that the film completely won me over.

Go see it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Take a look at this picture.

This is from January 7, 2016, after the Republican representatives of the people, the House, voted for the 60th+ time to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. They are literally laughing after voting (unsuccessfully thanks to President Obama) to take away healthcare from millions of Americans.

Of course, my first guess was that they had just told the U.N. that they'd blow up the Earth's core unless they received one hundred billion dollars.

Why they're actually laughing is more evil than that. One can just imagine how hilarious they'll find it in a couple of weeks when they actually succeed in guaranteeing the deaths of thousands of Americans per year.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

So long, 2016, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out

Seriously, one of the worst years of my life. Aside from the graduation of my kids (from college and high school) and a good year at my job, this was a terrible year.

And 2017, under Hair Furor, looks like it's actually going to be worse.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Final Tally

Here is the final, certified count of the votes.

# of Votes - 2016 Presidential Election

   Hillary Clinton                 65,844,610
   Donald Trump                62,979,636

If you enjoy percentages:

            Hillary Clinton                 48.2%                
            Donald Trump                 46.1%    

If you talk to a Trump supporter or follow conversations about this online, you'll hear a lot of "Democrats need to get over it, already." And they're absolutely right. We should all get over Democracy. Because in democracies around the world, whoever gets the most votes WINS THE ELECTION. Clearly we no longer have a Democracy in America. So maybe you should take that into account when telling people to "get over it".

As a thought experiment, imagine that those numbers were reversed and Hillary won while getting fewer votes. Do you think Trump supporters would be "over it"?

In America, we have a 200 year old edifice called the Electoral College that was created for two reasons. One was to give rural, slave states more power in electing the President than was warranted by their population (since slaves didn't count as a whole person). The other reason was to put a bulwark of elite Americans between the common rabble and electing the President so they could intervene to prevent the election of an unqualified demagogue.

Since the Electoral College failed spectacularly at the second reason above and since the huge majority of Americans no longer live in rural areas or have slaves, maybe it's time to just kill the Electoral College and directly elect the President, hmm?

Of course, since Republicans have benefited from this anti-Democratic system twice in 16 years, they won't even consider getting rid of this stupid system. Because anything that gives them an advantage is fair game.

But Trump did win under our system, so here's the point. More people in America voted against Trump. He has no mandate. He has a minority of popular support. A majority of people are against Trump's and the Republican's policies. It is incumbent upon the Democrats in Congress to remember that and to fight every step of the way for the next four years.

In fact, it's time for all of us to fight.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Oh, Boo Hoo Hoo

 I just don't know what to say about this.
Vox senior editor Sarah Kliff wrote a poignant account last week of her visit to Whitley County, Ky., where the uninsured rate declined 60 percent under Obamacare but 82 percent of voters supported Trump. There, Kliff, a former Post colleague, found Trump voters who were downright frightened that the president-elect would do exactly — literally — what he and Republicans promised: repeal Obamacare.
Among those she found was Trump voter Debbie Mills, a store owner whose husband awaits a lifesaving liver transplant; they got insurance through Obamacare, and Mills is hoping the law won’t be repealed.

“I don’t know what we’ll do if it does go away,” Mills said. “I guess I thought that, you know, [Trump] would not do this. That they would not do this, would not take the insurance away. Knowing that it’s affecting so many people’s lives. I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot . . . purchase, cannot pay for the insurance?”
Mills, who supported Trump for other reasons, figured Obamacare repeal was just talk. “I guess we really didn’t think about that, that he was going to cancel that or change that or take it away,” she said. “I guess I always just thought that it would be there. I was thinking that once it was made into a law that it could not be changed.”  Link
Oh, yeah I do. Mills, you are a stupid farging idiot. 

Republicans, including Trump, said OVER AND OVER AND OVER that they would repeal Obamacare. Asshole Congressional Republicans have voted for its repeal over 60 times. For you to vote against your own self-interest and then be surprised at this is just . . . there are no words.

As I've said before, on the one hand, these people deserve what they are going to get. Loss of health insurance, destruction of medicare, increased income inequality, it's all coming and I don't feel sorry for them. But unfortunately, they won't be the only ones hurting. They're taking us all down.

Morons. Stupid, blind, selfish morons.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Think of this as a palate cleanser

Okay, all this election stuff, the fascist takeover of the United States and all, is getting depressing. Let's relax with a little Rom Com moment from many people's favorite movie, Love Actually.

The Real Manchurian Candidate

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a very bad guy, one step away from being a dictator. He rules Russia with violence and corruption, ordered the invasion of Ukraine to annex the Crimea, has jailed opponents, activists, and journalists, and supports Assad's murderous regime in Syria.

Remember when Republicans hated Russia? Yeah, so do I. Those days are gone.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s net favorable rating among Republicans has climbed by an astonishing 56 percentage points since July 2014, according to a new YouGov/Economist poll.  Link
Well, now they have even more reason to love him.
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.  Link
The election was a farce and the result determined by one of America's enemies. All Americans should be appalled and horrified and we should invalidate the results.

But that won't happen. Because Republicans value winning and imposing their will on the American people more than they value the United States.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Russians helped choose our President

I really wish I could stop posting about the clusterfudge that was our recent election. This was a story first broken by the Washington Post and it should overshadow everything else.

Given the closeness of the election, there is NO WAY this didn't influence the outcome.

This interference was known before the election, so President Obama gathered Congressmen from both parties to come to a bipartisan agreement to do something.
In a secure room in the Capitol used for briefings involving classified information, administration officials broadly laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia’s role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals.
And they made a case for a united, bipartisan front in response to what one official described as “the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process.”
The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously.
According to several officials, [Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch] McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

Read that well. Before the election, the Democrats wanted to safeguard the integrity of the election. The Republicans didn't give a damn. The party that's been going on about voting fraud for years, didn't give a damn about protecting American elections from interference from adversarial foreign powers.

The Trump transition team's response to these revelations was to issue the utterly inane statement below, a statement so chock full of falsehoods it's got to set some kind of record.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to ‘Make America Great Again.’”
First, these AREN'T the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (which is irrelevant in any case), that was the Bush Administration CIA, fourteen years ago. Second, although it has SEEMED like forever since Trump won, it was in fact only one month ago. That is NOT "a long time ago". Third, this was not one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. That's laughable. Out of 58 Presidential elections, Trump's "victory" was no. 46 on the size of the margin.  Washington was nos. 1 and 2 with 100% of the electors. President Obama's election in 2008 was no. 32. And finally, how can you "Make America Great Again" by ignoring this interference?

Trump's people can't even issue a three sentence press release without lying their asses off.

To sum up:  The Republican Party has absolutely NO problem with the Russians controlling the electoral process of the United States of America.

Remember that.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Cabinet of Deplorables (pretty sure I'm not the first to think of that)

In case you haven't been paying attention (I really envy you), here's a quick rundown on President-Elect ::barf:: Trump's choices for Cabinet and some major Agencies. Note that some of these require confirmation by the Senate, which won't come until next year.

For Commerce Secretary, he picked a guy Fortune Magazine called the King of Bankruptcy.

For National Security Adviser, he picked an Islamaphobe who traffics in ridiculous conspiracy theories, one of which recently endangered a restaurant full of people in DC.

To head the Treasury, he picked a guy who worked for Goldman Sachs for decades and founded One West Bank which made billions off foreclosing on American homes during the Great Recession.

His nominee for Attorney General is a guy who opposes immigration, LGBT rights, voting rights, and went after journalists while a Senator.

Just today he nominated a guy for Secretary of Labor who is against raising the minimum wage and overtime pay and whose company has been fined millions for waged theft.

Of course, his Chief Strategist in the White House is a white supremacist.

His choice for Secretary of Education never attended public school, her children didn't attend public school, and, oh, yeah, she hates public schools. Oh and she's a religious fanatic who wants to teach Christianity in schools.

Trump's choice for the Environmental Protection Agency may be the worst of all, because he's a climate denier in the pocket of the oil and gas companies and wants to gut the EPA.

And for Housing and Urban Development, he nominated a brain surgeon who turned down a post at Health and Human Services because he wasn't qualified, couldn't stay awake during nationally televised debates, and has no experience other than growing up in a housing project and being "urban" in Republican eyes.

Several newspapers said that this will be the least qualified Cabinet in history.  These are the people who will formulate American policy because Trump will likely be too lazy and uncaring to engage.

Yeah, we're boned.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

We'll revisit shortly when the blue line starts to go back up

Indiana!  Listen up. "Saving" 800 jobs while losing 1300 is NOT a win.

Do you want to see what a win for the people of Indiana looks like? Here's Indiana's unemployment rate since President Obama took office.

But you had to vote against his obvious successor and put an idiot into the White House. Great job!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

There's the mainstream media, just doing a bangup job

Oh, screw you, CNN.

Don't normalize this asshat. And don't give him victories when he didn't actually do anything.

Carrier had announced that it would move 2000 jobs to Mexico. Thanks to this "deal" they'll now only move 1300 jobs to Mexico. And Indiana is likely offering tens of millions of dollars of "incentives" for Carrier to stay, meaning that Indiana taxpayers will now pay millions to keep those 850 jobs in the state.
This is a common phenomenon among state tax incentive programs trying to lure or create jobs. A host of research has found that these programs do little to increase jobs and simply expend taxpayer money that could be used elsewhere. One found “the best case is that incentives work about 10% of the time, and are simply a waste of money the other 90%.” ...
Trump and Pence will announce the full details at a press conference on Thursday, where much more will become clear. But if this amounts to a package of financial incentives simply for keeping some jobs in the country, it offers a perverse incentive to other companies to threaten to move jobs elsewhere in the hopes of striking their own lucrative deals with the government.  Link
CNN with its ridiculous headline is supporting the fantasy that Trump is effective and looking out for jobs and working people. He's not and he's not legally in a position to actually do anything about this. This was all Pence, would probably have happened regardless of Trump (Pence IS the governor of Indiana) and probably not a good result in any event.

Screw you, CNN.

So shines a good movie in a weary world

On a less apocalyptic note . . .

Go see Disney's new animated movie, Moana, which proves there is still some beauty in the world,

Seriously, this is one of the best movies of the year. Gorgeous animation, fun characters, wonderful songs, lots of humor and a powerful, moving story. My entire family loved it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Americans are stupid and doomed

What? Voting for the party that's doing everything they can to hurt me is a bad thing?

People in poverty-stricken Clay County [Kentucky] worry about what will happen to their health care if Gov. Matt Bevin's and President-elect Trump's ambitions to overhaul Medicaid proceed.

In Clay County, 60 percent of residents are covered by Medicaid. They voted for Republican Matt Bevin 71-27, and for Donald Trump 86-11. Neither Bevin, nor Trump, made their opposition to Obamacare secret.

So how does that happen? Because of shit like this:
"If anything changed with our insurance to make it more expensive for us, that would be a big problem," [Lisa] Botner, a community college student, said Friday at the Owsley County Public Library, where she works. "Just with the blood tests, you're talking maybe $1,000 a year without insurance."
But then ol’ Lisa Botner voted GOP.
"I'm just a die-hard Republican," she said.  Link
::Pounds head repeatedly::

Ya know, I really wish I could laugh at people like this. They're so tribal, so ingrained in their ways that they can't see which party champions policies that would actually make their life better. A higher minimum wage, affordable healthcare, tuition free college, all Democratic positions that would make a huge difference in these communities.  But they're actively voting for people who will make their lives more difficult. Because they've always voted for the person with an (R) after their name and they've bought into decades of propaganda from FOX News, talk radio and the Republican party and aren't smart or curious enough to learn the truth.

I really wish I could laugh and tell them, "TS. You voted for these monsters, so you deserve what you get." But unfortunately, they're taking millions of other Americans down with them.


He still hasn't read the Constitution

God, our new Moron-elect knows nothing.

Flag burning is PROTECTED speech. The First Amendment guarantees the right of Americans to burn the flag in protest.

You don't have to like it, but you can't arrest someone doing it and you can't strip their citizenship.

Fascist idiot.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Another Reminder and a Taste of More to Come

# of Votes - 2016 Presidential Election

   Hillary Clinton                 64,156,255
   Donald Trump                62,238,425

That's Clinton up by almost 2 million votes. And the votes are still being counted.

You may remember that before the election, our Manbaby-Elect was going on about how the election was rigged and he wouldn't concede or acknowledge the results. But then ::gag:: he won.

And true to form, in the face of a recount in several states initiated by Jill Stein (and NOT by the Clinton campaign), suddenly he's against a recount.

In a Tweetstorm this week, he quoted Hillary during one of the debates and ended thusly.

Warning: Language ahead.

So first he is "sad" that people are doing one of the things he repeatedly threatened to do. And then, with absolutely no evidence, the President-elect of the United States called into question the integrity of the entire election, an ELECTION HE WON. That is some dipshit thinking right there. And apparently, in his mind all those mysterious illegal voters voted for Hillary. Because she could never actually get more votes than him. Despite the fact that she did. By that logic, the Indians won the World Series, if you take away all the Cubs runs in the last game.

FUCK YOU, Trump. Seriously, you are a horrible, horrible shitstain.

And finally, he calls into question states which went to Hillary. So he's not only a liar, and a whiner, but he's also a sore winner.

Seriously, this guy is NOT Presidential, WILL NEVER BE Presidential, and CANNOT be Presidential. It's just not in his rotten DNA. He's a petulant, spoiled, selfish baby.

And if you voted for him or Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, YOU OWN THIS.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The real story

While the Pence-Hamilton story and Trump's reaction to it is interesting, the real story of this weekend should not be forgotten.

Trump will be the first United States President ::shudder:: who swindled millions of dollars from Americans trying to improve their lives and who trusted him to help them.

In January, Trump will start doing it to the rest of us.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's going to be a long 18 months

President-Elect ::shudder:: Donald Trump is undoubtedly the most thin-skinned person ever elected to the office. He's been President-Elect ::urp:: for less than two weeks and he's already farted out  several Twitter craps.

Here's Donald being all Presidential just this weekend.


A bunch of conservative morons are calling for a boycott of Hamilton. Good luck boycotting a show that's sold out till next Fall.

And here's what Drumpf was reacting to. I, for one, thought both of these were awesome.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Irish Senator kicks Arse

Irish Labour Party Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin is a hero.

Gives me some hope. The more people who call out Trump for what he is, the better.

Thursday, November 17, 2016