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Sunday, February 05, 2023

Trump's balloons

Suspected Chinese Spy Balloons Crossed Into U.S. 3 Times During Trump Administration

Suspected spy balloons from China crossed into the continental United States at least three times while Donald Trump was president, according to a statement Saturday by the Department of Defense citing an unnamed “senior defense official.” “Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration,” the statement said ...

But but but ... I'm shocked, shocked I say, to read this! Because Trump has denied it, and every Republican lawmaker is saying that Trump would never, never, let a Chinese spy balloon pass over the US, and that Biden is a terrible president for not shooting down the spy balloon before it entered our airspace.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Major Tom (Coming Home)



On the muzak at the grocery store today: Major Tom (Coming Home) ...

a song by singer Peter Schilling from his album Error in the System. With a character unofficially related to "Major Tom", the protagonist of David Bowie's 1969 song "Space Oddity", the song is about the character breaking off contact with ground control and traveling off into space.

The song was originally recorded in German and released in West Germany on 3 January 1983. It reached No. 1 in West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The English version was first released in the United States on 24 September 1983. It reached No. 1 in Canada, No. 4 in South Africa and peaked at No. 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart the week of 24 December 1983 ...


Friday, February 03, 2023

Our periods

In the news is the story that Florida governor Ron DeSantis wants to track schoolgirls' periods. That's not quite accurate, in that the state of Florida has been asking schoolgirls about their periods for years. It's just that now they are considering making the answers mandatory. And they aren't the only state that does this - most states do, including California.

But it's not just schools. I recall this from the Trump years ...

The U.S. Is Tracking Migrant Girls' Periods to Stop Them From Getting Abortions

I've got to say, what the hell? Why should any school or government agency have the right to be involved in a female's reproductive life? Same question for religious institutions like the Catholic church (see Natural Family Planning, a failed teaching concieved by celibate men).

Despite what this Idaho Republican legislator has to say, women are not livestock, to have our reproductive systems scrutinized and managed by others ...



Thursday, February 02, 2023

Ilhan Omar



House passes resolution to remove Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee

The Republican-led House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass a resolution to remove Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee.

House Republicans have argued Omar should not serve on the committee in light of past statements she has made related to Israel that in some cases been criticized by members of both parties as antisemitic ...


Right. The Republicans in the House are soo very worried about antisemitism. That's why they renounced the leader of their party, Donald Trump, after his dinner with two celebrity antisemites. And That's why they chastized Marjorie Taylor Greene for her Jewish space lasar trope. And that's why their party has managed to attract the huge number of two, yes two, Jewish people to serve as Republicans in Congress.

Oh wait.

The Republicans in the House got rid of Representative Omar because they hate her and their base hates her. And they hate her because she is a woman, a liberal, a Muslim, a refugee from Somalia.

No one is fooled by their sudden revulsion for antisemitism, and they know that, but it's all just a game, right?

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Vicky

My sister and I took Vicky the cat to the SPCA today to find another home - I was on the waitlist for something like 6 months. Vicky had been living inside in my mom's bedroom since the day he had been injured outside in a fight ...

Hard to believe that was over a year ago. Since then I had been trying to find him another home, as Yoda hated him being inside. And I worried about having the responsibility of another indoor cat (there are 12+ outside) when I can barely take care of Yoda, given my bad finances and bad eyes.

Still, it felt pretty upsetting to give Vicky away. My sister and I cried in the car :( Please say a prayer for Vicky that he will find a loving forever home.

Monday, January 30, 2023

The videos



The video footage of the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husbanf has been made public, and it shows the attacker breaking into the house and also hitting Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer. Chris hayes shows clips of the Republican politicians, Republican "news" pundits, and Republican voters making jokes about and laughing at the attack, making up gay tropes about the attack. Even after the release of the videos.

What loathsome stinking pieces of garbage these people are.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Tyre Nichols

Video shows Tyre Nichols calling for his mother, beaten by officers now charged in his death

I have not yet seen the video of the horrible police attack on Tyre Nichols, but did hear just a bit of it on a news podcast - guess I'm too cowardly to watch it, at least so far.

After the murder of George Floyd by police, there was a lot of talk about reorganization and retraining the police, to help keep such a thing and others like it from happening again. But then an election approached, the Republicans characterized the idea as defunding the police, and everyone seemed to step back from the idea. They should not have.

Thinking of police brutality, I was reminded of a notorious experiment I learned about in a college psychology class: the Stanford prison experiment (there was a 2015 movie made about this too). Here's a brief description of the experiment from Wikipedia ...

The Stanford prison experiment (SPE) was a psychological experiment conducted in the summer of 1971. It was a two-week simulation of a prison environment that examined the effects of situational variables on participants' reactions and behaviors. Stanford University psychology professor Philip Zimbardo led the research team who administered the study ....

Those volunteers selected to be "guards" were given uniforms specifically to de-individuate them, and instructed to prevent prisoners from escaping. The experiment officially started when "prisoners" were arrested by real Palo Alto police. Over the following five days, psychological abuse of the prisoners by the "guards" became increasingly brutal. After psychologist Christina Maslach visited to evaluate the conditions, she was upset to see how study participants were behaving and she confronted Zimbardo. He ended the experiment on the sixth day ...


I don't doubt that most police try to do a good job, but it's just true that something bad happens to people, not all but many, when they are given a lot of power over others, along with a lack of accountability (qualified immunity). Democrats must keep trying to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would be a start at addressing the problem. But nothing will bring the dead back to life.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

I Can't Explain



I like this 1964 song written by Pete Townshend and performed by The Who, which came out when I was 13 and still fairly optimistic about life :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The tanks

The Ukrainians asked for the German Leopard 2 tanks, but Germany didn't want to make Putin mad so they declined. Then other NATO countries that had the tanks said they would send some to Ukraine, and Germany was against that too (Putin might get mad). The Leopard 2 tank ...

So finally we had to say we would send some of our tanks, the M1 Abrams, to nudge the Germans into sending theirs. Here's an M1A2 tank with TUSK ...

But now we are saying that we can't send very many tanks, and they will take a really really long time to get there, and it will take a really really long time to train the Ukrainian crews to use them, and those crews qon't be able to take care of ten properly.

Is all that really true? Not according to retired general Barry McCaffrey ...



Why are we dragging our feet when people are dying? Are we that afraid of Putin?

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Suicide pact



Gavin Newsom: The Second Amendment is becoming a suicide pact.

I agree. Multiple mass shootings in my state, in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park. California has pretty good gun laws, but what's needed are federal laws that all states must adhere to, the kind of laws that they have in most other developed countries. But that's impossible because ... Republicans. You know, the "pro-life" party.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Dobbs effect

Maternal and infant death rates are higher in states that ban or restrict abortion, report says

The rates of mothers and newborn babies dying during pregnancy, at birth or postpartum are much higher in states that currently ban or restrict abortions than in states preserving access, according to a new report ....

States that have restricted access to abortion services had maternal death rates in 2020 that were 62% higher than in states preserving access to abortion services. Between 2018 and 2020, the maternal death rate increased twice as fast in states that now have abortion restrictions, according to the report released Wednesday by the research foundation Commonwealth Fund ....


Job well done, "pro-life" movement. Not that I think they will care ... to the religious extremists of the pro-life movement, the lives of women and girls, and even infants, are irrelevant in comparison to their created-from-whole-cloth "mission".

Friday, January 20, 2023

Anti-abortion march



Anti-abortion activists attend first March for Life ‘with fresh resolve’ post-Roe

[T]his year’s march marks a turn in the fight against abortion rights, with opponents’ primary goal of overturning Roe v. Wade met and half of all states having banned or restricted access to abortion in most cases. But anti-abortion advocates contend that their work isn’t finished as they aim to advance legislation that restricts abortion at the state and federal levels, including setting a minimum federal standard on the procedure ...

First, the pro-life movement is not actually pro-life in any meaningful sense, and would be more actuately described as an "anti-reproductive rights for women" movement.

Now that they have doomed Roe, they are trying to doom abortion via medication as well, and are also reminding their legislators to pass a federal ban on abortion. I have no doubt that an effort to restrict contraception will follow.

I don't believe the "pro-life" movement will be satisfied until they have dragged women back to the time that their darling, Nick Fuentes, gushes about. It's a time when women have no access to abortion or contraception, when women can't get divorced, when women cannot vote, and when women cannot be in the workforce .... a Catholic Taliban dictatorship, as Fuentes describes it.

This idea is both repugnant and laughable. Somehow members of this movement, like members of the Republican party, have convinced themselves that a majority of Americans share their views, despite all electoral and polling evidence to the contrary. Their desire to impose their minority will on the rest of us will backfire, and hopefully destroy the "pro-life" movement, along with what's left of the Republican party.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

RIP: David Crosby



Wooden Ships ...

"Wooden Ships" is a song written and composed by David Crosby, Paul Kantner, and Stephen Stills, of which versions were eventually recorded both by Crosby, Stills & Nash and by Jefferson Airplane; Kantner was a founding member of the latter group. It was written and composed in 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a boat named the Mayan, owned by Crosby, who composed the music, while Kantner and Stills wrote most of the lyrics ...

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

George Santos



Everyday I hear another bad thing about Republican scumbag, the incredible Mr. Santos (not that that's his real name). Today's news seems somehow the worst so far ...

Disabled Veteran: George Santos Took $3K From Dying Dog's GoFundMe

Long story short, Santos, under his pseudonym of Anthony Devolder, stole the GoFundMe money gathered to save a disabled veteran's sick dog. The dog passed away.

Kevin McCarthy has just given this human piece of garbage seats on two House committees, I guess because he is such an icon of what it means to be a Republican lawmaker.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Cuts



Republicans in the House want to cut discretionary spending - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and most (all?) other programs that aren't defense spending. But that's ok, because the poor, the elderly, the disabled are just worthless social parasites who hardly ever vote. No one will miss them, especially not the politicians. God, I hate the Republicans.