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Sunday, June 04, 2023


This week's movie rental was 65 ...

a 2023 American science fiction action thriller film ... starring Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt.

The basic plot is that Driver's character takes a two year interstellar piloting job away from home to earn enough money to save his sick daughter. The ship is hit by asteroids and crashes on Earth at a time when dinosaurs ruled - 65 million years ago. And unfortunately, also at the time when the Chicxulub crater was created by a massive asteroid strike.

Sadly, the movie didn't get great reviews. Here's one from Variety ...

‘65’ Review: Adam Driver Battles Dinosaurs and Other Stone-Age Story Ideas in Derivative Thriller

Despite its position as one of the seeming few big-scale “original” sci-fi films to compete with franchises, sequels and reboots for box office real estate, “65” is Frankensteinian at best. Cobbled together from (admittedly some of the best) parts of “Jurassic Park,” “The Descent,” “Armageddon” and more, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’ post-“A Quiet Place” level-up too strongly resembles its forebears to break new, much less particularly interesting ground. Yet anchored by another in a series of committed performances from Adam Driver and an ensemble of suitably menacing prehistoric beasts that chase him for just over 90 minutes, Beck and Woods’ adventure delivers requisite thrills even if its creativity seems stuck in the distant cinematic past ...

I did like the movie. Adam Driver is a really good actor, so it's worth a watch for that, but also the special effects are pretty good.


From 60 Minutes a few months ago ...

Too many people. Mass extinction of wild species, plant and animal. Nobody cares. Republicans (and the Catholic church) support laws forcing women to have children they don't want, and aspire to take away contraception too. We are a voracious species that will doom ourselves and most other living things that inhabit this ecosystem. I think it's what we deserve, but the other living things don't.

Friday, June 02, 2023

Hot Diggity

I have remembered this song my whole life from when I was a little kid. Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom) was released in 1956, when I was five, and I guess it made an impression on me, probably because I thought it was about food ;) Sung by Perry Como.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

The pipeline

The debt ceiling deal bulldozes a controversial pipeline's path through the courts

The NPR article above gives more details about this dirty deal between Biden and Manchin and the fossil fuel industry, including stuff that is just obscene ...

[...] When Manchin brokered the 2022 deal with the White House, his office said it planned to "give the D.C. Circuit jurisdiction over any further litigation," rather than the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., where judges have repeatedly ruled against the pipeline.

The debt ceiling deal would fulfill that plan. The act states, "no court shall have jurisdiction to review any action taken by the Secretary of the Army, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Interior," or any state agency, if the action authorizes or permits building and operating the pipeline at full capacity.

The legislation also says the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit "shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over any claim alleging the invalidity of this section or that an action is beyond the scope of authority conferred by this section." .....

How can the president of a party that is pledged to environmental protection and the rule of law make this kind of deal? Forget for a moment about this being immoral, how can this even be legal?

Read more from The New York Times: Congress Is Turning Climate Gaslighting Into Law

Wednesday, May 31, 2023


I agree with Bernie. This debt ceiling agreement is being framed as a kind of victory, but it's not. Two examples ...

1) this whole thing is supposed to be about the debt ceiling ... paying for bills from the past ... not about a future budget. In the past, the debt ceiling has been passed cleanly and in a bi-partisan way. But now the Republicans are using it to extort the country on their wedge issues.

2) As much as they try to say the country wasn't damaged in this deal, it was. The deal made it harder for some older poor people to get food stamps (New SNAP work requirements, explained). And it fast-tracked a gas pipeline that is bad for the environment and appears to be the result of a shady back room deal between Biden and Manchin (What to know about the Mountain Valley Pipeline in the debt ceiling deal).

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

John Rawls

Still thinking about the debt ceiling thing ... Republicans helping the rich get richer and crushing the most vulnerable. I think they can do this and live with themselves because they can't imagine they themselves might ever fall on hard times.

Democrats can and do imagine that, and I think a perfect example of how I and many Democrats see the whole social safety system, and also the rights of others different from ourselves, is John Rawls' theory of justice.

You can read about it here but to explain it basically, he imagines everyone decides on the principles of justice while being themselves ignorant of what their own fortunes in life will be ... they don't know if they are male or female, black or white, rich or poor, smart or not, disabled or not, gay or straight, etc. He believes that people in that situation (the original position/veil of ignotanvez) will construct rules that will be fair and help everyone to flourish ... not zero sum, but win/win.

Here is a class by Harvard philosophy professor Michael Sandel on Rawls' idea of justice ...



Monday, May 29, 2023

Debt ceiling deal

Republicans, instead of passing a clean debt ceiling update, as they did 3 times during Trump's presidency, have taken the country hostage so that they can get some of the "anti-woke" stuf they want ... taking away food from poor people, keeping diabetics from getting cheaper insulin, finessing an oil pipeline. God, I hate them.

Thursday, May 25, 2023


Supreme Court Limits E.P.A.’s Power to Address Water Pollution

For God's sake, expand the effing Court before the conservatives destroy everything good.

RIP: Tina Turner

Tina Turner, resilient singer hailed as the ‘Queen of Rock and Roll,’ dies at 83

One of my favorite songs by Tina Turner was We Don't Need Another Hero for the 1985 movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome with Mel Gibson, in which she also starred ...

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


I could use a mental health break. Here are some red river hog piggies and their mom from the San Diego Zoo ...

Tuesday, May 23, 2023


Catholic clergy sexually abused Illinois kids far more often than church acknowledged, state finds

An Illinois attorney general’s office investigation released Tuesday found that 451 Catholic clergy sexually abused nearly 2,000 children in the state over a nearly 70-year period, which was more than four times the 103 individuals the church named when the state began its review in 2018 ...

Pope Francis won't make the changes necessary to keep children safe ... allowing women to be priests ... allowing married men to be priests ... making priests mandated reporters of sex abuse.

Instead, the church spends millions lobbying against the relxation of statutes of limitation on sex abuse crimes (Catholic Church spent $10.6 million to lobby against legislation that would benefit victims of child sex abuse), and hides assets from victims (Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts).

The Pope won't make the changes to stop abuse because the present situation of a priesthood that is corrupted works for him ... where half the priests are sexually active despite vows of celibacy and chastity (Celibacy advances the priesthood's culture of compromised truths) ... where a large percentage of priests are self-loathing gay men (The Gay Church: Thousands of priests are closeted, and the Vatican’s failure to reckon with their sexuality has created a crisis for Catholicism).

I don't understand why people stay in this church.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Debt ceiling

I haven't mentioned the debt ceiling problem because the whole subject makes me both angry and fearful ... angry at the cynucal Republicans who are lying about the subject and plan to crush those who are the most needy to get their way, and fearful that I will be one of those they crush.

But tonight Chris Hayes lays it all out very cogently, so if you want to understand the whole debt ceiling situation, take a listen.

Sunday, May 21, 2023


I found this old photo of me and my sister. My sister is in the red shirt, and I'm in the orange shirt, showing my tummy ;) The back of the photo says 1972, which means I was 20 or 21. I remember that year - we were in college and it was the year my grandfather died, and my mother and stepfather got divorced.

Friday, May 19, 2023


Today I'm watching a TED talk by Jacey Reese Anthis, the social scientist I mentioned in my previous post. It's titled The End of Animal Farming.

Jacey asks the audience how many of them are vegetarians or vegans. It was only about 5% (I'm a vegetarian). Then he asked how many had read or heard reports of all the downsides of factory farming - almost all had. That's pretty depressing because it means, at least to me, that people don't care about facts - they just want what they want.

Jacey believes this can change with a better way of informing people of the cruelty of factory farming, and of the benefits to the environment, to health, to our economy, of going vegan or vegetarian.

I am not optimistic. People eat meat for a number of reasons .... they like the taste of a pork chop, or they believe eating meat is more healthy. Those reasons can be worked around. But I believe there's a much more disturbing reason people eat meat ... they believe it's their right, they believe they are the apex predators of this planet and that animals are here for them to dominate or exterminate. I don't know how else to explain behaviors like hunting in a world where hunters don't need to kill for nourishment.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


I listened to a really interesting podcast by Chuck Todd (Meet the Press) about the rise of artificial intelligence - he talks to Jacy Reese Anthis, a social scientist.

We've almost (have already?) reached the point of creating (growing) artificial general intelligence ... an agent that can basically think for itself and write its own code ... and after that, can the singularity be far behind?

I tend to be pessimistic about what will happen to humanity after we reach the point where created intelligences are thinking for themselves and are both smarter and very different than us. Watched too many science fiction movies, I guess ...

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Christianity Today

On Meet the Press today - Christianity Today's Russell Moore. Chuck asks him about the ethical/moral bankruptcy of the Trump Republican party. I used to visit Christianity Today often .... Randall Balmer was also an editor there.

Friday, May 12, 2023


So, what has happened to CNN, that it would give Trump that "town hall" opportunity, hosted by a woman who once worked for Tucker Carlson at The Daily Caller? Can it be a coincidence that CNN has recently changed hands and now has a billionaire conservative Trump donor on its board? Here's a bit of an article at Vox from last year.

Why billionaire John Malone’s shadow looms over CNN

CNN is in flux. It has a new owner, and a new boss, who promises to remake the news channel and has told employees to be prepared for “a time of change.” ....

But the bigger question floating over one of the world’s largest and most important news organizations is why it’s changing. Is it because the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, its new owner, wants an overhaul? Or is it at the behest of a conservative billionaire investor in the company who sits on its board?

That billionaire is John Malone .... Malone has repeatedly wished, in public, for CNN to remake itself. And his prescription happens to sync with the new CNN agenda: a plan to steer the channel away from what Malone and others call a liberal bias they say muddles opinion and news. And to shift it toward a supposedly centrist, just-the-facts bent ....

“I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing,” he said. Then he suggested a model: “Fox News, in my opinion, has followed an interesting trajectory of trying to have ‘news’ news, I mean some actual journalism, embedded in a program schedule of all opinions.” ...

Right, Fox News, the very epitome of "news' news".

And this from Justia ...

CNN Turns Propaganda Organ. We Don’t Have to Put Up With It.

[...] Fox propaganda has creeped into the center of America’s cable television.

It’s one thing for Trump to normalize extremism by hosting neo-Nazi speakers on the podium at his Miami event this weekend. Or even for a Fox host to peddle white supremacy.

It’s quite another for CNN, a center-to-center-left channel, to legitimize the man who sought to overturn the 2020 election and has been adjudged a sexual abuser. The medium is the message, and CNN has far more power than Fox to convey to a mainstream audience the message, “Trump is normal.”

The very first lesson in On Tyranny, Yale historian Timothy Snyder’s seminal handbook on how to fight creeping totalitarianism, is that “most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given.” Snyder warns that citizens and institutions giving power freely to strongmen grants them the social approval they need to consolidate power and dominate.

CNN voluntarily gave Trump its power ....