Monday, March 06, 2023

Transgender Kids

The link below leads to a very powerful post, reacting to ignorant, hateful, conservative shitheels.

Let's Decipher What Matt Walsh And Michael Knowles Really Mean When They Say Vile Things About Trans People

Here we are again. Matt Walsh from the Daily Wire is saying grotesque, sick things about how it's a "fate worse than death" to have transgender kids. And Matt Walsh is a father of six, so we should keep in mind that he's not talking about some hypothetical unimaginable future tragedy where he was allowed to be a parent. This is after several weeks ago, when Walsh was being similarly disgusting and saying he would "rather be dead" than have a transgender child.


Conservative Christians have been lying to themselves since time immemorial about a lot of things. When the focus was primarily on gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, they lied and convinced themselves that sexuality was a choice. They brainwashed themselves into believing that if they raised their kids in a certain way, if they homeschooled them, if they didn't expose them to secular culture, and so on, their kids wouldn't grow up to be gay. They hid from reality with spooky campfire stories about how kids had to be "recruited" into homosexuality, or "exposed" to it, or worse, sexually abused. They soothed themselves with lies that if their kids did say they were gay, they were merely being tempted by Satan, they were "struggling" with their sexuality," and they could change if they just loved Jesus enough. They could pray it away.

And here's where their rhetorical tricks came in. Conservative Christians didn't want to eliminate gay people. They simply wanted to impose their beliefs on them and force them to pray it away, or at least pretend they have prayed it away, to keep the conservative Christian lies intact. Love the sinner, hate the sin, eliminate the homosexuality, not the homosexual.


There is nothing new under the sun, gentle readers. Just replace "gay" with "trans" in the preceding paragraphs.

If you don't know anything about Transgender issues, it's definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

This is also happening as Walsh's vile Daily Wire stable-mate Michael Knowles is insisting that when he says he wants to eradicate "transgenderism" he isn't issuing some kind of Hitler-esque call to eradicate transgender people. Knowles and the Daily Wire are having insane temper tantrums about this.

Eradicating "transgenderism" is a call to eradicate transgender people. "Transgenderism" is not an ideology, it's not a fad or a style. Transgender refers to a people. Calling to eradicate a distinct group of people is a call to genocide.

Trans Rights are Human Rights.

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Leave Wesley (and Wil) alone

Carol and I started watching Star Trek: the Next Generation when it premiered in 1987. Being adults, we never had anything against the young character Wesley Crusher, played by Wil Wheaton, and not having social media at the time, we were mostly unaware of the nasty fan backlash against the character. While it seemed unusual at the time to have a teenage boy on the bridge of the Enterprise, the storyline worked and Wil Wheaton was obviously a talented actor who was very earnest in his portrayal. Others were outraged that this kid had the temerity to sit at the helm and mostly took it out on the young actor.

Unfortunately, for over 35 years, Wil has had to endure abuse by these "fans" who, like all sociopaths, can't see the effect their base reactions have on the actual people they are hurting. Even though they're bitching about a fictional character.

How does Wil feel about this?  He recently broke his silence to let everyone know.

“Okay, so. Disclosure: I am the actor who played Wesley. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about exactly this, because angry nerds have been yelling at me about it for 30 years.
His post is worth a read, showing not only the depth of thought he put into his portrayal of Wesley, but with a subtext of how all of this abuse has impacted him and reflects on the actual life he's lived.

Huge respect to Wil Wheaton from me.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Elon Musk is NOT smart

I got into a brief discussion with some of my family in Indiana over the holidays. They were super-impressed with Elon Musk and his "undeniable" genius. (They also buy all the crap about Twitter helping to steal the election from Trump). I argued that he is not, in fact, a genius, because all evidence points to him being a moron.

I was right.

Elon Musk does have one thing going for him; he's incredibly successful at convincing people that he's a genius. Having money helps with that. 

Too bad he's an idiot.

Monday, February 13, 2023


Hmm. It's almost like Republicans' priorities aren't popular . . .

Oh, and this is fun.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Toy Story 5

Disney has announced they're making Toy Story 5.

Had Toy Story not had any sequels, everyone would still see it as a classic with a great ending for these beloved characters.

If Toy Story 2 had been the last, everyone would still see it as a classic with a great ending for these beloved characters.

If Toy Story 3 had been the last, everyone would still see it as a classic with a great ending for these beloved characters.

Toy Story 4's ending didn't reach the same heights as its predecessors, but it was still pretty good and everyone would see it as a great ending for these beloved characters

So now, despite more or less sticking the landing every time, Disney/Pixar is going to roll the dice that they won't give these wonderful characters a bad, unsatisfying ending.

Please, Disney, let this franchise die. Seriously. Make something new.

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Here's your pain and anguish, courtesy of Ohio

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the illegitimate Supreme Court, we've seen many cruelties inflicted on women as multiple states have enacted severe, extremely unpopular restrictions on abortion. Here's another.

For four years, the Longs tried to have a baby, enduring multiple rounds of grueling fertility treatments. In September 2022, Beth finally became pregnant.

But an ultrasound four months later showed that most of the baby’s organs were outside the body.

The condition, called limb body wall complex, is rare.

“It’s just not survivable,” a doctor involved in Beth’s care told CNN.

Their doctor recommended an immediate abortion, as continuing the pregnancy would raise dangerous health issues for Beth. But Ohio's abortion ban wouldn't allow insurance to pay for it, meaning it would cost tens of thousands of dollars, on top of the already spent fertility treatments. 

It took them three weeks to make arrangements to go to a hospital that could perform the complicated abortion at a lower price. It was hours away, in another state.

During that three-week wait – a wait they had to endure only because of the Ohio law – the risk to Beth of potentially deadly complications grew. Their ability to try to have another baby was delayed, and their “agony” couldn’t end, Beth said.

“I was in mental anguish,” Beth said.

After years of unsuccessful attempts, they finally get a pregnancy, something they very much wanted. Then, after an absolutely devastating diagnosis, they were forced to endure even more pain, thanks to the men who passed Ohio's cruel law.

“It felt very inhumane for both our baby and for my wife,” Kyle added.

In pro-life land, the inhumanity is the point.

I can't imagine how it must feel to be denied a humane, life-saving, medical treatment because a bunch of fascist, religious nutjobs forced their beliefs on me. How about the "party of small government" and "Jesus" stay the hell out of people's medical decisions? Wouldn't that be swell?

I know, those were rhetorical questions because not only don't they see the hypocrisy, they wouldn't care if they did.

Stop voting for people who will steal your rights and don't care if you die.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Sure doesn't seem like a recession to me

Another recent media panic has been focused on an absolutely, 100%, here-it-comes(!), we're all doomed, recession. I've seen many, many headlines about our coming destruction. Taming inflation in order to avoid this inevitable recession is why the Fed keeps raising interest rates, even though things seem to be going pretty well.

And then yesterday's employment report came out and holy forking shirtballs! We added 517,000 new jobs!
Some highlights:
  • The unemployment rate was 3.4%, the lowest since May 1969 — as in, before Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
  • After revisions, America gained 4.8 million jobs last year. That's 300,000 more than previously reported.
  • Job gains were widespread, in just about every sector. Leading the way: Leisure and hospitality added 128,000 jobs as America continued to rebound from the Covid pandemic.
  • Wages grew 4.4% over the past year in January, higher than expected. 
Sure as hell doesn't sound like a recession to me. But then, I'm not trying to keep people in a panic about the Biden Administration like many in the media. In fact, I'd say his economic policies, spending money to actually invest in America, is working pretty well.

Thanks, Biden!

Friday, February 03, 2023

Sometimes a weather balloon is just a weather balloon

You may have seen today's breathless coverage of a Chinese balloon floating over the United States. The coverage assumes it's a spy balloon and the government seems to be in a panic, even suspending a diplomatic trip to China by the Secretary of State.

Here's an article with a bunch of reasons why this is likely a completely unnecessary crisis and the balloon isn't a spy balloon.

Among the reasons:
  • China already has spy satellites that can take images of every square yard of the U.S.
  • Balloons like this are uncontrollable (especially over large distances) and couldn't be aimed at specific installations.
  • 1,000s of weather balloons are sent up around the world every day and often go off course. Occam's Razor suggests that that's exactly what this is.
We are a scared, panicky nation.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Gas Prices

Hmm. I wonder why gas prices were so high last year?
The oil industry has begun reporting its huge profits from this past year. Exxon Mobil Corp announced on Tuesday that it had its highest-ever annual profit, pulling in $55.7 billion in 2022.
Well, that's just one company.
Oil majors Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Shell and Total Energies are slated to report a combined profit of $190 billion for 2022 when their final quarterly results are released in the coming days, according to estimates from analysts collated by Refinitiv.
Okay, they gouged the crap out of us. Well, at least they could use this profit to invest in clean energy or safer, more secure infrastructure, right?

Oops. Guess not.
Chevron, which just announced its largest annual profit year of $36.5 billion, has also announced plans to begin a $75 billion stock buyback program that will start on April 1, 2023.
All that profit won't go into lowering gas prices for the rest of us or helping fight climate change. It will go right back into the pockets of shareholders. Perfect.

(Oh, and in case you've forgotten, the U.S. provides about $20 billion every year in subsidies to these hugely profitable companies.)

We need to stop subsidizing them and tax the shit out of these greedy, selfish assholes.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

An Important Message

Love this!

Well said.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Stupid Amazon Tricks

We've had several Echo Dots, Amazon's smart speaker, in our home for years now. Aside from allowing voice control of our our lights and heat, one feature I've always enjoyed is that they play music. You can ask Alexa to play a song, a playlist, an album or even a genre of music, and if it's available, she'll play it. When I'm working somewhere in the house, I often ask for a single song at a time, choosing whatever I want in the moment.

Until last November. 

For some reason, Amazon changed how playing music works. Now, if I ask it to play a song, say, Mr. Blue Sky, Alexa will reply, "Shuffling Mr. Blue Sky and similar songs," which is NOT what I asked it to do. At that point, it might play Mr. Blue Sky immediately, but it might not. I might have to sit through other songs, or skip until I get to the only song I wanted to hear. This is true even if I own the song, having paid for the single on Amazon Music.

In short, this is bullshit and I hate it.

I guess the idea of this change is that Amazon hopes you will be too lazy to tell Alexa to skip to the next song and you'll hear a song you like and buy it. Kinda like the other songs are commercials for the song you asked for. It's clearly one of those stupid corporate decisions that puts the financial bottom line way above what consumers of the product actually want, turning something great into another cash grab.

All it's really doing is irritating the hell out of me and making me not want to listen to music on the devices. It also makes it abundantly clear that although you may find the Alexa home infrastructure incredibly useful, you're not in control.

Amazon, change it the hell back.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Top Gun: Maverick

A few days ago, Carol and I watched last year's second most successful film, Top Gun: Maverick. We've both seen Top Gun, of course, and while neither of us was anxious to see this, we had heard it was good.

I thought it was okay, but I certainly didn't love it.

I was definitely entertained and I admire that they went to lengths to shoot actual planes and aerial footage. Apparently they had all the actors in fighter jets (piloted by real pilots) and the actors operated the cameras themselves during the cockpit shots. So when you see the scenes with the actors undergoing extreme G forces, that's actually them. You have to applaud the dedication.

But I thought the story relied on way too many beats shared with the original film and the callbacks were excessive. Also, the final mission they fly, against an unidentified "enemy", was nearly identical to the attack on the Death Star in A New Hope. I was hoping for something a little more original.

I'm not sorry we watched it, but I'm glad we saw it for free on Paramount+ rather than paying to see it in a theater.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Stop Defending Bigots

J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books, creating a rich fantasy world that millions cherish. She has had a huge, positive impact on millions of people worldwide. She is also a transphobe, frequently attacking vulnerable transgender people, usually in the guise of defending women. Of course, women don't need to be defended against trans people because trans people do not threaten women in any way. Transgender people, on the other hand, face high levels of violence, discrimination, and poverty. Attacking trans people harms them, legitimizes violence, and is a hateful, horrible thing to do.

Not surprisingly, Rowling has been criticized for this.

Unfortunately, a lot of celebrities feel like they should speak out in support of Rowling. The latest is actor Brian Cox.

"I don't like the way she's been treated, actually. I think she's entitled to her opinion, she's entitled to say what she feels," the 76-year-old Succession star said over the weekend on British talk show Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, per a Metro video. "As a woman, she's very much entitled to say what she feels about her own body. There's nobody better to say that, as a woman. So, I do feel that people have been a bit high and mighty about their own attitude toward J.K. Rowling."

What a load of crap.

No one is preventing Rowling from speaking out. No one is denying that she is entitled to her opinion or that she can say what she feels. People are criticizing her and her hateful opinions because they are garbage. And since she keeps using her very large public platform to make bigoted statements, she has opened herself to criticism. If Rowling is entitled to her opinions, so is everyone criticizing her. This is not hard, sheesh.

"As a woman" Rowling isn't talking about her own body; she's explicitly talking about other people's bodies and how they are perceived and should be treated by society. Her words literally endanger other people.

Finally, condemning bigotry is not "high and mighty", it is an act of responsibility and kindness. Condemning bigotry is incumbent on all of us if we want to move humanity into a better future. If we don't condemn bigotry, we doom millions of people to continued hatred, violence and discrimination.

In short, stop defending assholes who can't keep their hatred to themselves.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The crowdfunding life

You see it a lot in the news these days - some worthy person in extreme financial distress is saved by a group of strangers donating money to them via a crowdsourcing site. These stories include elderly people too poor to retire, a family under crushing medical debt because their child has cancer, a middle-aged person working two jobs and still paying off college, or a child who owes money for school lunches. The "cure" for these problems is a well-advertised appeal to the crowd and if enough heartstrings are pulled, the donations pay off the debt. These stories are almost always portrayed as "inspirational", "moving", "feel good", and in reading them, we are all supposed to gain a little more appreciation of the goodness of humanity.

That's all bullshit.

In the United States of America, the richest country in the history of the world, not a single person should be destroyed by medical debt. Not a single child should be forced to rely on the generosity of strangers to pay for her school lunches. No one should pass age 65 and have to work to scratch out a meager life. We have the resources to allow everyone to live a life of dignity, if only we would allocate our resources humanely. The solution is simple: tax the wealthiest Americans (they won't miss the money and are beneficiaries of our lopsided system) and institute programs to eliminate these problems. Yeah, I know. And in the meantime, I'd also like a pony.

During the pandemic, Congress expanded the child tax credit, meaning all but the highest-income families were eligible for monthly checks of $250 per child aged 6 to 17, and $300 per child 5 and under. While it was in effect, "food insecurity in households with kids dropped from 11% to 8.4%. The tax credit brought 3 million children out of poverty almost immediately." Of course, that expansion expired earlier this year because Senator Joe Manchin didn't want to help poor families feed their kids.

I know the counter-arguments. People need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps (which is easy to say when you grow up comfortable and white). I don't want to pay taxes for "those people" to get benefits (hate should never be the basis for government policy). And we need less government not more (when your population is over 300 million and you have billionaires, your society is screwed up and needs help). Republicans love to scream that America is a "Christian" nation. Are debt forgiveness, kindness, and hospitality no longer part of Christian teachings? (Rhetorical question. They aren't and never were, especially as practiced by the Right.)

When we were in Indiana for the holidays, I spoke with a relative about President Biden's efforts to forgive $10-20,000 of college debt. The relative didn't like the idea because it was "unfair" to those who had already paid off their debts. The fairness response is just a dodge. 

Is it fair that college costs have skyrocketed beyond inflation over the last several decades? Is it fair that many young kids have to deal with predatory lending practices and spend decades paying off their debt? Is it fair that "small" companies were given billions of dollars in pandemic loans only to have ALL of the loans forgiven? Is it fair that rich people like Congressperson Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Terrible) received hundreds of thousands of dollars, and had that entire debt forgiven? How is America fair and why shouldn't we help out people who really need help?

The goal of all public policy should be to help people. Help people live their best lives. Own a home. Be able to travel. Have healthcare. Not go hungry. Retire with dignity and security. Coincidentally, helping people to be full participants in our society HELPS ALL OF US.

These crowdfunding events are not a feel good story. That they happen at all is a tragedy and a moral failure. We can and should do better.

Monday, January 16, 2023

I'm back, baby!

Hi everyone!

As you can see, it's been a while since I've posted. We had a busy December leading up to our annual trip to Indiana for the holidays. Lately, work has been crazy, we're remodeling our kitchen, and I just didn't have the time to post.

So, what's been happening?

I deeply enjoyed the 15 ballots it took for Kevin McCarthy (R-Dishrag) to capitulate to the RWNJs in Congress and give them everything they want in exchange for him getting the chance to be the worst Speaker ever. I'm sure I will enjoy the crap that House Republicans will fling for the next two years far less. But you take joy where you can.

Of course, it's also been fun watching recently elected NY Congressman, and full-time grifter, George Santos (R-Catch Me If You Can) lie about everything to everyone. If the Republicans had an ounce of integrity (or if Santos was a Democrat), they'd throw him out of Congress. But they don't, so they won't. Hopefully his crimes will catch up with him sooner than voters will.

And for one more bit of schadenfreude:

6%. He must be so proud.

And that's where things stand. I look forward to posting more in 2023.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Lives saved (and money too, for those who don't care about lives)

COVID vaccines have saved over 3 million lives in America. Imagine if we were an actual rational country, and everyone had gotten vaccinated.

Today is the two-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccination (outside clinical trials, yes, don't nitpick), and to mark the occasion, the Commonwealth Fund yesterday released results of a new study finding that the vaccines have prevented 3.2 million deaths, and more than 18.5 million hospitalizations in the US. Eighty percent of the US population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 655 million doses, including boosters, have been administered in the two years since the vaccine was rolled out.

In addition, the study estimates that without the vaccine, there would have been nearly 120 million more infections, and that the total savings in medical costs from a mostly vaccinated population came to roughly $1.5 trillion.

The study used computer models of how the disease would have progressed without any vaccinations to come up with its estimates, to compare with how the disease actually played out in the US.

Those are just the data on COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths that were prevented by the vaccines; if the virus had continued unchecked, the authors also note, the impact on the US healthcare system would also have been far greater, since hospitals and the medical workforce would have been in even worse shape than they already are as a result of the pandemic. The Delta and Omicron waves last winter stressed many hospital system to the point of failure, filling ICUs and requiring some states to put in place "crisis standards of care" that amounted to rationing — which meant that people with other medical emergencies couldn't always get treated.

I'm getting my bivalent booster tomorrow, because I care about myself, my family, and other people, and I'm not going to risk everyone's health and well-being just to "own the libs". Because that would be asinine.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Do you really want this man in the Senate?

Watch this before Twitter dies.

Yikes. Vote for Warnock.

Monday, November 21, 2022


Carol and I watched Jordan Peele's NOPE last weekend. We are both fans of Peele's previous movies, Get Out and Us, the former more than the latter, and were looking forward to this. 

I loved it. (Carol was less enthusiastic).

Basically, this movie hit many of my buttons -- past, horrific, tragedy which affects the present day, mysterious nighttime phenomena, interesting characters trying to deal with the bizarre. I like that the movie plays with your expectations about the type of movie it's going to be before making it *very* clear. 

On first watch, a couple of scenes seemed not to fit into the rest of the story, but upon reflection, their purpose was revealed. Like Peele's previous, NOPE was very much a "show don't tell" type of movie. And, as you can tell from the preview below, the cinematography was incredible and the performances were great.

Plus, two scenes were absolutely haunting.

As I said, I loved it.

Change of focus

Now that America's political season is over (Narrator: It's never over.) I'm going to try to post about more fun, less depressing, less political, topics and doings. I'll still throw in some posts on outrageous, seditious, inhuman actions by American conservatives, but hopefully I can reduce the percentage for a while.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Where were these guys during his Presidency?

Brilliant coverage today from the New York Post on Trump's announcement of his latest, doomed, candidacy.  On page 26.


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Hope is kindled


Looks like American democracy had a good day last week. The Democrats held the Senate, swept the election-deniers running for various Secretaries of State and Governors, and may still hold the House. although that now looks unlikely. Still, things could have been far, far worse.

Of course, as some have said, many Americans are really, really stupid, and continue to believe lies, moronic lies, and damned lies, while voting against their own self-interest to elect cynical, hateful morons, all to own the libs. That in itself is disheartening and bodes ill for the future. Fortunately, they didn't win this year and there may still be time to reverse America's destructive course. It also looks like we may have avoided immediate political violence, but who knows if that will hold?

While still hoping for some good news in the remaining House races, and that Senator Raphael Warnock returns to the Senate in next month's Georgia runoff, we can at least, for now, breath a sigh of relief.

And of course, now Trump is running again for President. He likely believes this will continue the grift and keep him out of jail, but he's never been very smart. At the very least, it will be fun watching Republicans tearing each other apart at this latest development.

Monday, November 07, 2022

And so it begins, the great battle of our time

Tomorrow is it. 

The results will take a few days, but tomorrow we'll start to find out if America resumes moving forward, or if decades of hard fought progress will be turned back even more than it already has - if Americans are to continue into a new dark age of oppression. 

If the Republicans take back the House, there will be no more legislation passed during the Biden Administration. They'll likely cut off all aid to Ukraine, discontinue the Jan. 6th investigation, and waste time and millions of American dollars in endless, pointless, political investigations of Democrats. They will pass a national abortion ban. They will go after Social Security and Medicare. They will pass nothing to fight climate change, virtually ensuring the doom of countless species, including the human race. They have already said that's their plan. Nothing Republicans will do will help anyone but the rich.

If Republicans take the Senate, it's unlikely that Biden will get another judge confirmed during this administration, exacerbating our long-term judicial emergency and ensuring decades more of far right judicial activism. Americans will lose voting rights, same-sex marriage, and even the right to contraception. They will continue going after vulnerable transgender folk and immigrants. No rights will be protected except for those of rich, white men.

If you're concerned about the economy and inflation, ask yourself, "What will Republicans do about either of these issues?" They have voted against every single bill the Democrats proposed to fight these economic problems. It's not really a matter of disagreeing with the proposals, they voted against these measures to satisfy their MAGA base and own the libs.

Don't vote for Republicans for they have no ideas except hatred, division, and destroying hard won rights that have improved the lives of all Americans. They are not interested in actually governing, only increasing and cementing their power over the rest of us, forever.

But . . . 

If Democrats take the day, you can count on continued legislation to expand opportunity and fight increasing social and economic inequality, additional support for Ukraine, legal protection for abortion services and access to healthcare, and the expansion of voting rights for all. Because the Democratic agenda isn't geared towards hurting people, it's geared towards helping all Americans.

Vote for Democrats up and down the ticket. This is our last chance.

Make no mistake, if the Republicans lose, there will be violence. Trump and his minions have been encouraging violence for years now. But we cannot let the threat of violence destroy American democracy.

Don't let the fascists win.

Last Call

Get out and vote!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

We've crossed another line

Let's make sure everyone understands the bottom line here.

The attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of Nancy Pelosi, was an attempted assassination attempt on the Speaker of the House.  

A Republican loony, spurred on by FOX News, Q-Anon, and actual Republican leaders, including Trump, attempted an assassination on the person second in line to the U.S. Presidency. 

Republican reactions have been everywhere from muted condemnation to joking to blaming President Biden to just ignoring the incident. I'm SURE some are disappointed he didn't succeed.

Imagine if this had actually happened to Mike Pence. Oh, wait. Imagine if this had happened to someone Republicans cared about like Greg Abbott or Ron DeSantis.

One of the two major political parties in the United States has gone fascist, anti-democracy, and imspires and supports violence against their political enemies. They must be stopped. Vote for Democrats like your life depends on it because it does.