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Friday, May 31, 2019

The candidates on climate



Greenpeace has rated the 2020 presidential candidates on the subject of climate/the environment. Joe Biden is very near the bottom. Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, and Corey Booker are near the top. You can find it here.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Heh :)

I always think of science fiction as a very serious subject - post apocalyptic nightmare stuff - but I just checked out the first season of The Orville from the public library. It's ...

an American science fiction comedy-drama television series created by and starring Seth MacFarlane .... MacFarlane stars as Ed Mercer, an officer in the Planetary Union's line of exploratory space vessels. After his career takes a downturn following his divorce, he is given the ship Orville as his first command, only to discover that his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), has been assigned as his first officer. Inspired by several sources, including Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, the series tells the story of Mercer, Grayson, and the crew of the Orville as they embark on various diplomatic and exploratory missions

Here's a trailer ...


Some pics

Here's Yoda, napping by the window ...



The oleander flowers are blooming ...



Here's Vicky, wondering why I'm disturbing her nap ...



Almost time to mow again ...


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Mueller speaks!



- The investigation was initiated in order to discover if and how a foreign power interfered in our elections, not to launch a "coup" against Trump

- Mueller found that the Russians *did* interfere in our elections in order to help Trump and hurt Hillary

- The reason Mueller did not charge Trump with the crime of obstruction of justice is because doing so would have gone against DOJ policy of not charging sitting presidents, and it is for others (Congress) to go there.

- Mueller would have exonerated Trump of obstruction of justice if he had found Trump was innocent, but he did *not* believe Trump was innocent of obstruction and did *not* exonerate him

- Mueller does not want to reveal to Congress or anyone else any info beyond what is in his report

So he's saying 'Hey, I spent two years on this report, so effing read it! already'

I did get the report from the library and am reading it now. Depressingly, though, mist people have not and will not read it. It's because of this fact that the Democrats in Congress were hoping Mueller would publicly testify, so that most Americans would finally be apprised of the facts in the report.

Another point: what Mueller has said now (and in the report and also in an additional document given out from his office today), that he didn't charge Trump with a crime because that was against DOJ policy ... this shows that Barr lied to the American people and Congress when he said that Mueller did *not* take DOJ into account on this issue. Perjury.

And finally: Barr still will not release the unredacted report ... why not?

The Other Woman



My latest book from the library is The Other Woman by Daniel Silva. Here's a bit from the Publishers Weekly review ...

The actions of real-life British intelligence agent Kim Philby, who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963, drive bestseller Silva’s excellent 18th novel featuring Israeli art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon (after 2017’s House of Spies). Israel’s intelligence division, known as the Office, is running an operation to save blown Russian agent Konstantin Kirov, one of Israeli’s most valuable sources, and bring him to sanctuary in the U.K. When the operation goes bad, Gabriel and his team are drawn into a meticulously planned mission, involving both MI6 and the CIA, to unearth one of the Kremlin’s highest-placed moles ...

I've read all the books in the Gabriel Allon series and liked them all. I'm just at the beginning of this one, but it's good so far.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Mayor Pete on reproductive rights



Here is a bit from the Washington Post interview by Robert Costa with Mayor Pete Buttigieg that touched on this subject ...

MR. COSTA: They [Republican religious conservatives] may agree with you, Mayor, on those points. But on the issue of reproductive rights, they're not with you. That's what's holding them with President Trump in many respects. What's your argument to them on reproductive rights if that's their issue and that's why they're sticking with them?

MAYOR BUTTIGIEG: My argument is to ask them to join the majority of Americans who believe that this decision ought to be made by the woman concerned. Look, there are--and I say this as somebody who is a Democrat in office in Indiana, so a lot of people I know, a lot of people I love and even some people who support me politically, don't view this issue the way I do. But for those who have a strong view about some of these almost unknowable questions around life, the best answer I can give is that because we will never be able to settle those questions in a consensus fashion--

MR. COSTA: So you think the issue of life is an unknowable question?

MAYOR BUTTIGIEG: It's certainly unknowable in the way that scientific questions are answered. It's a moral question. And so the question--it's not how do we politically decide where the line ought to be drawn. The question is who gets to draw the line, who gets to decide.

MR. COSTA: Should there be any line?

MAYOR BUTTIGIEG: That's part of the framework of Roe vs. Wade, right? Early in pregnancy, very few restrictions. Late in pregnancy, very few exceptions. And for all its complexity and imperfection and controversy, Roe vs. Wade is widely popular in this country because it has allowed us to negotiate that. And now the drive to overturn Roe vs. Wade is something that flies in the face of what Americans want. And by the way, it's a decision not to end abortion, but to end safe legal abortion, and it is precisely the memory of just how many harms that caused that made it the case that back in the 70s and 80s a great number of Republicans, a greater number than today were pro-choice, too.

You can read the whole transcript here and you can watch the video of the interview here.

The Lady of Shalott

Every day brings new badness from Trump and his henchmen. It seems to me that he's getting away with everything, including turning our democracy into a twisted kind of despotism. Times like this, I want to listen to music and just forget the present.


- The Lady of Shalott by JW Waterhouse

The song about her from the poem by Tennyson, by Loreena McKennitt ...



On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road run by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

(snip)

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

(snip)

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

(snip)

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

xx

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Good Times Bad Times





xx

Saturday, May 25, 2019

In the news

Pope Francis says abortion is never OK and equates it to "hiring a hitman"

So helpful. This from a man who believes women are unworthy to be deacons or priests, but who do make good "strawberries on the cake". Oh, and who can't seem to stop his priests from molesting children.

Some other news on this subject ...

- Abortion Limits Carry Economic Cost For Women

- This is what it was like to perform abortions before Roe

- States pushing abortion bans have higher infant mortality rates

- Abortion Bans Create a Public Health Nightmare

- Critics say Georgia’s abortion law could land women in prison. Here's what we know

Friday, May 24, 2019

The saga continues



Coming to a theater near you, a new Terminator movie from James Cameron - Terminator: Dark Fate ...

the sixth installment in the Terminator franchise, though it serves as a direct sequel to The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, disregarding all other Terminator films as non-canon to the series and occurring in alternate timelines. The film will star Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger returning in their iconic roles Sarah Connor and T-800 "Model 101", respectively, alongside Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, and Diego Boneta.

I'm a fan of the Terminator series. I saw the first one on a date with a guy named Rick :). Here's the college student Sarah on seeing the Terminator for the first time ...



I went to see the sequel with my mom. Here's how much Sarah changed in that time ...



There was much made about the Wonder Woman movie and what a feminist icon the main character was, but as I wrote here before, there is no better feminist movie role modal than Sarah Connor of Terminator fame (well, except for Ripley from Aliens, of course, also directed by Cameron).

I don't say this because Sarah was some kind of super-powered bad-ass princess like Wonder Woman. She began as a sweet and naive college student/waitress with a pet chameleon named Pugsley. She fell in love, lost her boyfriend after just a day, was pregnant and became a mom, all while having the responsibility of trying to save the world from a Terminator apocalypse. She had to evolve. She made a choice to do the right thing, but that took a heavy toll on her (she was locked up in an insane asylum for a time).

Now Cameron has brought Sarah back and once again he shows us what a feminist role modal looks like, this time one who is now in her 60s. Here's a bit from an article about the movie from Vanity Fair ...

Terminator: Dark Fate: Linda Hamilton Looks Tougher Than Ever

Linda Hamilton has come back to the franchise that started it all. Here’s an exclusive first look at a searing black-and-white image of Hamilton in action as Sarah Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate, the latest reboot of the classic James Cameron franchise. The actor once again plays Connor, a college student in the original 1984 film whose life was transformed when she was pursued by the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). But it’s the second film, set 11 years after the events of the first film, that cemented the role’s iconic status, with Hamilton undergoing a hardcore exercise regimen to turn Connor from an everyday woman into a fighting machine of her own accord. Three decades later, Hamilton still looks every bit the action hero.

[...]

The filmmaker [Cameron, once married to Hamilton, BTW] was also determined to showcase an older female lead in an action movie, and Hamilton seemed like the perfect star to handle that responsibility. “There are certainly plenty of fifty, sixty, seventysomething guys out there that just keep cranking along doing action movies and killing bad guys left and right. But there isn’t an example of that for women, and I think there should be,” he said. We concur.


Me too.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

WP interview with Pete Buttigieg

He's asked about a lot of issues, and I have to say I agree with pretty much all of his opinions. Enjoy ...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Jeff Daniels

Jeff Daniels was on Deadline White House yesterday. He is currently in a play on Broadway, a remake of To Kill a Mockingbird written by Aaron Sorkin (creator of The West Wing). He spoke of how relevant to today's politics the play is and really let loose on what Trump and the spineless Republican Congress is doing to the country. Here he is on Deadline ...



I do like Jeff Daniels. My favorite movies of his are Arachnophobia ...



And Speed ...



:)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

RIP: Grumpy Cat

Sad to hear that Grumpy Cat has passed away - Grumpy Cat, whose grumpiness brought joy to the internet, has died








Pete Buttigieg Town Hall

Watching the Town Hall interview with Democratic possible nominee for 2020, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. It's on Fox, but Chris Wallace seems to be doing an ok job as interviewer and the questions from the audience seem relevant. Here's the first part, in which he addresses a number of subjects, including abortion ...

Friday, May 17, 2019

Bye bye koalas



Only 80,000 koalas remain in the world, rendering them 'functionally extinct' — another victim of the 6th mass extinction

Yep, these wonderful fluffy creatures are going away forever. But don't worry, climate-change-denying Republicans, you will still have as much money after they are gone as before, and don't worry conservative Christians, this only proves humans really are Daddy's favorites, meant to inherit the earth.

Jeez, life is getting effing depressing.

"It's time to fight back."

From New York Magazine: Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan to Save Abortion Rights

[...] Like Gillibrand, Warren calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits publicly funded health care like Medicaid from covering abortion. Both senators also support the codification of Roe v. Wade into federal law. Warren specifically urges Congress to create “federal, statutory rights” to abortion that block states from “interfering” with either a doctor’s provision of abortion care or a patient’s ability to access that care. Warren further urged passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which has already been introduced in Congress. The act would overturn state-level obstacles to abortion, like Alabama’s law forcing women to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds before they can receive abortions. She called for the repeal of the global gag rule, which blocks non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. funding from providing or even referring women to abortion care. She closed by endorsing the EACH Woman Act, which would prohibit private insurance companies from refusing to cover abortion services. The overarching goal is to protect the right to abortion from erosion at both the legislative and judicial levels ...


Thursday, May 16, 2019

1 in 4

One in every four women in the US has had an abortion, and there is now a twitter thread in which some of these women, including some celebrities, are speaking up ... 22 Celebrities Who Have Shared Their Abortion Stories to Help End the Stigma.

I've never had an abortion - when I was in high school, my mom took me to the doc to get birth control pills. I used them forever and they always worked. One of the reasons pro-life people seem like such hypocrites is that they are against the very contraception that lowers the rate of abortions.

The Alabama anti-abortion law

A discussion on Deadline about the draconian Alabama anti-abortion law ...

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

We will not go back












Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Comfort frog

On the political scene, it's really depressing and scary ... Trump has Barr investigating the oranges origins of the Russia investigation so that he can persecute his "enemies" for their attempted "coup" ... Republicans are enacting state abortion laws so extremist that this 11-year-old rape victim would be forced to have her rapist's baby ... Jared's genius middle-east peace plan seems to encompass Israel, his buddy MBS, and us bombing Iran out of existence, because starving all those children in Yemen isn't enough ... etc, etc, etc.

I need a mental health break! ...




Monday, May 13, 2019

Lethal injection

John Oliver discusses the disturbing facts about lethal injection used for capital punishment ...

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

Here's my mom, my grandma, and me at the airport in Hawaii, my sister taking the picture. Happy Mother's Day everyone :) ...

Living in the Past



When I was young I wanted to learn how to play the flute and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull was my flute hero ...



xx

Friday, May 10, 2019

And Your Bird Can Sing



And Your Bird Can Sing
- The Beatles

Tell me that you've got everything you want
And your bird can sing
But you don't get me
You don't get me

You say you've seen the seven wonders
And you bird is green
But you can't see me
You can't see me

When your prized possessions
Start to weigh you down
Look in my direction
I'll be round, I'll be round

When your bird is broken
Will it bring you down?
You may be awoken
I'll be round, I'll be round

You tell me that you've heard every sound there is
And your bird can swing
But you can't hear me
You can't hear me

xx

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Calling out Trump Christians

In the news: Trump Administration Considering Changes That Would Redefine The Poverty Line ... The Trump administration is considering changing the way the government measures poverty, which has anti-poverty groups worried that many low-income individuals will be pushed off assistance programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Head Start.

God damn it. Do the Trump people stay up all night searching for a new way every day to destroy people's lives? Without Medicaid I will have no dental insurance. Without Medicaid I will have no financial help with medications. Without Medicaid I won't be able to pay the 20% of medical bills that Medicare doesn't pay for. Without Medicaid, Medicare will deduct a monthly premium of more than $100 from my social security. Without Medicaid I will be screwed.

There are a lot of Christians in the Trump administration. Not just Evangelicals. Off the top of my head, here are some of the past and present Catholics ... Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, John Kelly, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Don McGahn, Emmet Flood, William Barr, Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Mick Mulvaney, etc.

If there's anything sure about what Jesus taught, it is that we all have an obligation to help people who are marginalized, to help people who are poor. Those who work for Trump (and actually, Republicans for years) have been doing the opposite, trying to get rid of those at the bottom so that they will have more for themselves. What the F is wrong with these people?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Melinda Gates on PBS NewsHour

Melinda Gates (wife of Bill) was on the PBS NewsHour yesterday and spoke of the Gates Foundation helping women with contraception in developing countries and about women's equality ...

Monday, May 06, 2019

For a Coming Extinction



In the news: Nature crisis: Humans 'threaten 1m species with extinction'

We're killing everything else living on the planet, and that will, in turn, kill us (unless you believe we can escape our destiny by finding other planets to ruin - I don't think we'll achieve that dubious goal). At the end of the day, it's not that most people don't believe this this will happen ... they just don't give a damn.

This is why we Dems can't just elect what for some is a familiar feel-good candidate like Biden. We need someone who will do the radical things necessary to save what's left of our ecosystem. Given human nature, I doubt this will happen, though.

Reminds me of a poem ...

For a Coming Extinction - W.S. Merwin

Gray whale
Now that we are sending you to The End
That great god
Tell him
That we who follow you invented forgiveness
And forgive nothing

I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
One must always pretend something
Among the dying
When you have left the seas nodding on their stalks
Empty of you
Tell him that we were made
On another day

The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
Winding along your inner mountains
Unheard by us
And find its way out
Leaving behind it the future
Dead
And ours

When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light
Consider what you will find in the black garden
And its court
The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
And foreordaining as stars
Our sacrifices

Join your word to theirs
Tell him
That it is we who are important

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Gavin Newsom at AR



My governor, Gavin Newsom, was at American River College, the community college I attended for two years before moving on to the state college, working at various jobs like groundskeeper :) ... Newsom says new California commission will address jobs threatened by automation

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Alien



My latest book from the library is Alien: The Official Movie Novelization by Alan Dean Foster.

Everyone will remember the movie on which the book is based: Alien ...

a 1979 science-fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Dan O'Bannon. Based on a story by O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, it follows the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo who encounter the eponymous Alien, a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial set loose on the ship. The film stars Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton ....

It was met with critical acclaim and box office success, winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, three Saturn Awards (Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction for Scott, and Best Supporting Actress for Cartwright), and a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, along with numerous other nominations. It has been consistently praised in the years since its release, and is considered one of the greatest films of all time. In 2002, Alien was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.


I wanted to see the movie when it first came out. My sister was too scared to go with me, so I went with our friend Steve. My favorite character in the movie was the captain of the spacecraft, Dallas, played by Tom Skerritt. Sadly, he was one of the earliest of the crew to be eaten by the alien. In this scene below, the crew is searching the ship for the deadly creature, last seen as the size of a small lizard. Little did they know that it had quickly grown in size ...



And there's a cat ... Jonesy. Here's a scene in which one of the crew members is searching for the cat (don't worry, Jonesy is one of the two survivors by the end of the film) ...



This is right where I am in the book, so still some scary stuff ahead :)

Throwback Thursday: hair


- "my hair like Jesus wore it" ... me back in the day :)



xx