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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Birthright citizenship

Trump has said "we're the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits. It's ridiculous and it has to end."

A lie (shocker!). Actually many other countries have birthright citizenship, including Canada and Mexico.

This is all about the 14th amendment to our constitution, adopted after the Civil War to establish the citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws for former slaves and their children. That Trump and his henchmen (Pence, Graham, etc.) want to do away with birthright citizenship is another example of their racism.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

This week's movie rental was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ...

a 2018 American science fiction adventure film and the sequel to Jurassic World (2015) .... Set on the fictional Central American island of Isla Nublar, off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it follows Owen Grady and Claire Dearing as they rescue the remaining dinosaurs before a volcanic eruption destroys it. Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, B. D. Wong, and Jeff Goldblum reprise their roles from previous films in the series ...

For those who like the series, the movie will be fun, but this film got mediocre reviews - Review: ‘Jurassic World 2’ leans on nostalgia, contrivances.

I liked it, of course, but I recommend even more the books by Michael Crichton on which the movies are based ... Jurassic Park: A Novel and The Lost World: A Novel .... they are great!

Here's the trailer for the movie ...

Monday, October 29, 2018

The sociopath-in-chief

After the antisemitic murders in Pittsburgh, Trump has kept to his schedule of rallies with his zombie horde, has worried about his hairdo, and has fumed about national tragedies sucking the oxygen from his hoped-for news cycle. Now, as those suffering in Pittsburgh begin to bury their dead, Trump plans to visit them, despite the fact (because of the fact?) that those in Pittsburgh have asked him not to come ...

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Stairway to Heaven

Here's the song in my head tonight, guitar by the guy most people believe to be the best at his craft, Jimmy Page. I love his work on this song, in which he switches back and forth on his Gibson EDS-1275 ...

There's a lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
Oh oh oh oh and she's buying a stairway to heaven

There's a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook
There's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving

Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it makes me wonder

There's a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who standing looking

Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it really makes me wonder

And it's whispered that soon, If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May queen
Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on
And it makes me wonder

Your head is humming and it won't go
In case you don't know
The piper's calling you to join him
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll
And she's buying the stairway to heaven


Whistleblower: clergy sex abuse

On 60 Minutes tonight, an interview with the whistleblower who leaked information to the press proving that Catholic Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, NY has been covering up the sexual abuse of priests for years.

You can watch the segment and read more about it here: Whistleblower says bishop knew of sexual abuse allegations, but did nothing.

It is chilling to hear her describe how the church handled victims of abuse in her diocese. It's not as if this is surprising - this follows a pattern that has been the M.O. of the church in the US and around the world. The difference now is that finally the civil authorities are getting involved, and no one any longer believes the church can police itself.

Trump and violence

The latest awful news: The Tree of Life Shooting and the Return of Anti-Semitism to American Life

The Trump administration has ruled over a rise in hate crimes - Antisemitic incidents in US soar to highest level in two decades - and as Rachel Massow points out in the video below, while there has always been political violence in this country, never has the violence been so aligned with the views of the president of the United States ...

Trump and his administration breed hate. How do Republicans keep supporting this person?

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The rise of the religious Left?

“Welcome home, Matt”: Bishop Robinson welcomes Matthew Shepard — and gay Christians — back to the church

[...] Retired Bishop Gene Robinson, who presided over the service, told attendees, “Many of you have been hurt by your own religious communities, and I want to welcome you back.” He added that Shepard’s symbolic return to the church represented “a remarkable step forward” for LGBTQ Christians. ”It’s the cathedral saying some churches are different,” Robinson said. “Some churches have been on this journey with you, and we will not only welcome you, we will celebrate you.”

Later, he added another message of welcome and hope: “There are three things I’d say to Matt: ‘Gently rest in this place. You are safe now. And Matt, welcome home.’ Amen.”


Robinson’s speech, like Curry’s before it, should be seen in a much wider context: the potential resurgence of the mainline Protestant tradition for political progressives. While historically centrist Protestantism has been in decline for the past few decades — ceding its cultural and political influence to the evangelical right — prominent mainline figures and institutions have become increasingly political in recent years.

Earlier this year, for example, activists and pastors Rev. James Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis launched a renewal of Martin Luther King Jr’s Poor People’s Campaign, a religiously-infused series of protests against income inequality and social injustice in America. Last month, the National Council of Churches — a body that represents most mainline Protestant traditions, as well as some other Christian denominations — demanded Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of numerous instances of sexual harassment and assault, abandon his Supreme Court nomination.

It may be working ....

I hope that it does. I am so tired of the Religious Right, the Evangelicals that support Trump no matter what awful thing he does, the toxic conservative Catholicism which has produced Trump allies like Steve Bannon, Brett Kavanaugh, and John Kelly. It's past time for the religious Left, the actual majority of American Christians, to stand up and be counted.

Friday, October 26, 2018

More favorites

In this political climate, so depressing and scary and infuriating, one of the ways I take a mental refresher is to listen to music. It really has the power to change my mood. Here are a few more of my favorite Beatle songs from the past ...


Matthew Shepard Laid To Rest

Matthew Shepard Laid To Rest At National Cathedral

On a chilly night in Wyoming 20 years ago this month, a young man named Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die. Shepard was gay, and his killing was widely seen as a crime of hate.

Friday, his ashes will be placed in a crypt at the Washington National Cathedral.

A public service at the cathedral was led by the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal bishop of Washington and the Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church. It will be followed by a private interment service for the Shepard family .....

One of the most depressing things about being a Catholic has been to see how the church has affected people who are LGBT. I can only imagine how hard it must be to grow up gay, but it must be even worse to grow up Catholic and gay, with the church teaching you from the time you are born that there is something deeply wrong with you.

The gay Catholics I've come to know are almost painfully grateful for the crumbs the church tosses them (don't be overtly mean to gay people). But the church keeps on the books the teaching that LGBT people and their relationships are "intriniscally disordered" and Pope Francis has done nothing to fix this, despite his disingenuous 'who am I to judge' statement ... he *has* judged marriage equality, for instance, to be the work of the devil.

Thank God for the Episcopal church and the many other Christian denominations that have accepted LGBT people (Methodists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Lutherans, UCC, etc.).

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Almost Throwback Thursday: iMac G3

Today I tried to resurrect my old iMac G3. It's been so long since I have used it that I can't remember very much about *how* to use it, but it was interesting to see all the old stuff that's on it - artwork, music, photos, stories. In the photo below you can see an old pic of me back when I was using this computer (2000) ...

I unearthed the old machine because it has a file on it that I can't find anywhere else, but I can't figure out how to get the file off of it. It won't let me put it on a disk and I can't remember how to get this computer onto the internet to try to email it to myself. Argh!

But anyway, it was/is a very nice computer. Here's a video about it ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

This weekend's chore

This weekend's chore was painting the garage doors. They are in really bad shape, with crumbling paint and rot beginning at the bottom. My sister and I scraped the old paint off on Saturday and I painted them Sunday. Not sure what to do about the rot. Here I'm halfway finished with door #2 ...

The kitties kept me company :)

Friday, October 19, 2018

I Need You

Another of my favorite Beatle songs. This one is by George and is from their second movie Help! In this scene they were shown recording the song near Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain, protected by the British army from kidnappers ...

It's time to stop cowering

Democrats have been tiptoeing around the subject of impeaching Trump, some distancing themselves from the idea in fear that it will motivate his zombie horde of followers to get out the vote.

We Democrats have got to stop cowering. It's not a new problem for us liberals - remember when Ron Silver's character on The West Wing finally flipped his wig on this subject? ....

We've got to stop being so tentative - of course Trump should be impeached! Holy mackerel, what more does he have to do to deserve removal?

And don't worry about energizing Republican voters because they are already there - hatred and greed are serious motivators.

There are just 18 days until the election. It is past time for us to own being the force for good that must rescue our country from the abomination of Trumpism.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

If I Fell

Another old Beatles song, this version from their first movie, A Hard Day's Night. I was twelve when the film came out and my sister and I and our friends went to see it over and over :) ...


Trump shills for MBS

More and more information is coming out about the torture and murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, some of it closely linking members of the Saudi kill squad to MBS (The Jamal Khashoggi Case: Suspects Had Ties to Saudi Crown Prince).

Trump's only reaction was to send Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia to reassure the prince that the US will help him get away with it. Here they are, yucking it up together ...

Why? Trump's cover story is that we need Saudi Arabia as our ally in the Middle East but that's debatable (Don't believe Donald Trump; we'll be just fine without Saudi Arabia).

And come on, when has Trump given a poop about anyone or anything besides himself? Trump often bragged on the campaign trail that the Saudis had given him tons of money ...

"Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million," Trump said during a presidential campaign rally in Alabama in August 2015. "Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much." At another rally that year, Trump said of the Saudis, "I make a lot of money from them." "They buy all sorts of my stuff. All kinds of toys from Trump. They pay me millions and hundred of millions."

Trump is helping MBS so that he can personally continue to make millions from the Saudis.

Monday, October 15, 2018


John Oliver comments on the relationship between Trump and MBS, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia ...

Early voting

Lately I've been spending a lot of time in my happy place, downloading and listening to music, mostly Beatles, that reminds me of happier times. I guess this is because I have a bunch of troubling personal issues, health and financial, but it's more than that.

There's something so depressing in realizing a truth the Trump presidency has revealed. A substantial percentage of Americans are completely and voluntarily run by what are commonly thought of as the worst impulses .... hate (racism/misogyny), greed (tax cuts/environmental deregulation/trashed social programs), and fear (Muslim ban/separation of families at border/the wall).

It's not surprising. We grew up, evolved, on a planet where survival seemed a zero sum game. A philosophy teacher I had used to say that out commitment to live was our commitment that something else must die. What we've learned over time, though, is that the opposite can also be true - there can be win/win situations in life where cooperation and even self-sacrifice yield rewards both practical and intangible. It's a choice about how you want to view things and what kind of person you want to be.

My early voting ballet has arrived in the mail. I can think of no better way to exemplify that choice than by voting. My vote will be for Democrats: for the environment, for children at the border, for people with pre-existing health conditions, for the elderly, the poor, for women and for civil rights.

And now for some music :) ...

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Eight Days a Week

I still remember all the words to this song :) ...

More from The Atlantic: The Eternal Sunshine of Paul McCartney


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Washington National Cathedral: Matthew Shepard

'Proud And Relieved': Matthew Shepard's Remains To Be Interred At National Cathedral

The remains of Matthew Shepard, whose death became an important symbol in the fight against homophobia — and whose name is on a key U.S. hate-crime law — will be interred at Washington National Cathedral later this month.


News of Shepard's interment comes 20 years after he was tied up, savagely attacked and left for dead in October 1998. At the time, he was a 21-year-old college student in in Laramie, Wyo. His brutal murder attracted intense media coverage at the time and galvanized support for laws protecting the rights of LGBTQ Americans ...

Glad to read this. The Washington National Cathedral of the Episcopal church is a wonderful place. I've never been there in person but have visited many times via computer. You can watch the Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance for Matthew at the cathedral's website om Friday, October 26, at 10 am eastern.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The latest on the Pope

I've not been paying as much attention as usual to what's been happening in the church lately, but today I tried to catch up ...

Wednesday Pope Francis said that getting an abortion was like "hiring a hit man" no matter what the reason. Sigh :(

And this week there's been a synod taking place on youth in the church ... young people are leaving the Catholic church in droves. The synod is another example of how Pope Francis fails on the subject of women. The clergy attending the synod are allowed to vote on the issues that are raised - but only if they are male ... About 10 percent of the synod participants are women, all chosen by Pope Francis, and none are appointed with voting rights.

And then there's that pesky allegation made against Pope Francis that he covered up the sex abuse of McCarrick. At first Francis tried the silent treatment, refusing to even address the issue. When the allegations did not die away, his next tactic was to imply his accusers were inspired by the devil. That didn't make the allegations disappear either. The pope's latest effort is to allow a limited look through the Vatican's archives on McCarrick. This is like Trump having the FBI do a limited "investigation" of Kavanaugh to make the bad thing go away - no one is going to take this seriously. Why won't the pope simply say "nope, I didn't do that"? Given the fact that Francis was buddies with McCarrick for years before he became the pope, I think the answer is that he cannot honestly say that. Read more: Analysis: Do Vatican officials see abuse crisis as a referendum on the pope?

Reformer pope? Not so much.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

- Captain America

This week's movie rental was Avengers: Infinity War ...

a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers .... [which] features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt.

The movie is the culmination of what's been building through all of the Marvel movie storylines up to this point, and it includes characters beyond just the Avengers, like Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The bad guy, an alien named Thanos, was introduced in the first Avengers film, and in this movie he wreaks havoc trying to acquire all the powerful infinity stones in order to use them to destroy half of all life in the universe.

Here's a trailer ...

After the last movie about the Avengers - Captain America: Civil War - the Avengers are in disarray, most of them on the lam from the law, so when they learn that Thanos is after the infinity stones, their response is splintered. Iron Man (Tony Stark) joins with Doctor Strange and Spider-Man to protect the stone Dr. Strange possesses. Here we see Doctor Strange, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner (who's having trouble becoming the Hulk) confronting Thanos' minions who have come for Strange's infinity stone ...

Meanwhile, Captain America, the Black Widow, the Scarlet Witch, and the Vision travel to Wakanda, the home of the Black Panther, to guard the stone possessed by the Vision ...

And Thor, recently having watched Thanos kill his brother Loki, joins with Rocket of the Guardians of the Galaxy to try to destroy Thanos before he can collect all the stones. Here's a clip of Thor telling Rocket of all the personal losses he's endured ...

Though there are funny scenes, of course, the basic tenor of the film is grim, and though I don't mean to be a spoiler, the movie ended in a way I didn't expect - the Avengers were defeated.

I grew up reading Avengers comics and I love the Avengers films and the characters in them, especially Captain America. I definitely recommend the movie.

You can read a review of the film at The Chicago Sun-Times by Richard Roeper - ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ unites Stark and Star-Lord in a massive Marvel mashup

Sunday, October 07, 2018

There will be no healing

Watching bits of Meet The Press. Republican senators continue their gaslighting, of course. Democrat Chris Coons was also on and when Chuck Todd asked him about possible impeachment of Kavanaugh if the Dems win in the midterms, he downplayed that and instead spoke of healing the senate and the country.

I can understand wanting to downplay impeachment .... we don't want the Republicans to have more reasons to get out their vote. But as for healing? Nope. What healing means in this context is saying "thank you" after someone has screwed you over. That kind of capitulation is soul destroying and I think I speak for most Democrats when I say hell is more likely to freeze over.

More about the anger of women and others who are too often made powerless ...

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Protests speak truth to power

Protests in Washington against Kavanaugh as we wait for the vote. Apparently the Republicans are upset about constituents encountering them in the halls of government. What's wrong, are you being disrespected? Welcome to our world. When Trump controls the executive branch, the congress, and now the courts, protesting is all that's left. Oh, and voting. This is what democracy looks like - get used to it.

Friday, October 05, 2018

The fix was always in

New reporting from Pulitzer prize winning NYT reporter Michael Schmidt shows that WH counsel Don McGahn told Trump ...

[E]ven though the White House was facing a storm of condemnation for limiting the F.B.I. background check into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding — and Mr. Trump was suggesting — would be potentially disastrous for Judge Kavanaugh’s chances of confirmation to the Supreme Court ... - F.B.I. Review of Kavanaugh Was Limited From the Start

So McGahn, a longtime personal friend to Kavanaugh, made sure the FBI investigation that Susan Collins and Jeff Flake found so reassuring would never be anything but a joke.

Susan Collins: hypocrite

Collins paints herself as pro-choice but still plans to vote for Kavanaugh. She's being disingenuous ...

Susan Collins’ Bad Faith

[T]here is Collins’ insistence that Kavanaugh follows precedent and would therefore refrain from overturning Roe v. Wade. He believes, she said, that precedent is “not something to be trimmed, narrowed, discarded, or overlooked.” How, then, does she explain Kavanaugh’s opinion in Garza v. Hargan? In that case, the Trump administration barred an undocumented minor in federal custody from obtaining an abortion even though she had already received judicial bypass from a judge, as required by state law. Kavanaugh wrote that this flat ban was perfectly constitutional, because the Supreme Court has not granted minors a right to “immediate abortion on demand.”

That’s true, as far as it goes: The Supreme Court has ruled that states may force minors to get their parents’ consent before terminating a pregnancy or, if that’s impossible, to obtain a judicial bypass. It has not, however, authorized additional restraints on minors, like the ones imposed by the Trump administration. How did Kavanaugh contend with these precedents, which clearly establish the maximum obstacles the government can place before minors seeking an abortion? He ignored them. Kavanaugh willfully “overlooked” precedent to reach an anti-abortion ruling, illustrating exactly how he’ll gut Roe once he joins the Supreme Court ...

At the end of the day, she is no advocate for women but is just another Republican drone. Hopefully she will be replaced with a Democrat ....

$3 million raised for Sen. Susan Collins' opponent amid outcry on Kavanaugh vote

Thursday, October 04, 2018

John Oliver: Kavanaugh

John Oliver shows why Kavanaugh is unfit for the Supreme Court. This bit of what he said especially struck me as true ....

I genuinely cannot see a single good reason for picking Kavanaugh over a replacement candidate, because you know deep down any judge they choose is almost certainly going to restrict abortion rights. You don't need to choose an unhinged partisan with multiple accusations of sexual misconduct hanging over him. So it feels like they're doing this just to deliver a 'f*ck you' to Democrats, and even more directly, a 'f*ck you' to women.

Because when this week began, the biggest fear for many was that the committee would not believe Christine Blasey Ford. But by the time the week ended, it seemed that something darker might have happened, because it seemed that the response was 'oh we believe you, we just don't care' ...

100 years later ...

The tv series I've been renting recently is Timeless, in which people from the present visit the past via time machine.

Tonight's episode had them visit New York City on March 4, 1919, when a speech by a suffragist convinced Woodrow Wilson to support giving women the vote.

Here's a clip showing the women activists marching (and being beaten by police) as a woman makes her impassioned call for justice ...

Here we stand today, 100 years later, with a self-confessed sexual abuser as president of the United States and with a Republican majority about to confirm a man who has been credibly accused of sexual assault as well. I can't express how angry and depressed this makes me. After all this time, women still aren't really people.

About comments

Hey guys, I've just become aware that there have been many comments to my posts that I have missed seeing. Normally Blogger sends me an email when someone makes a comment, and I always try to respond. Lately, though, I haven't been getting any notification emails and so didn't realize there were comments unless I actually saw them when checking a post. Apparently this is an ongoing problem Blogger's working to fix. Sorry if I missed your comments.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

It's over

So, the FBI investigation is done. It was a sham, restricted by Trump, with more than 40 witnesses never heard from. Senators will be able to read the FBI report, but it's safe to say that they had all decided to vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation before the FBI investigation took place and will still vote for him after. It doesn't matter to them if he has a drinking problem, if he's a liar, if he's a sexual abuser, if he's a political partisan. They are Republicans, he's a Republican, and just as they had the power to deny Merrick Garland even a hearing, they have the power to force Kavanaugh on us.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The White Album

It's been almost 50 years since the Beatles' White Album was released. I remember my parents giving this to us for Christmas. One of the songs I especially liked was While My Guitar Gently Weeps, written by George. Here's a video of George, with Eric Clapton (in the checkered jacket ;), Ringo, and some other guys at the Prince's Trust Rock Gala at London's Wembley Arena, 1987 ...

Monday, October 01, 2018

The kittens, continued

- the kittens playing with an oak ball

I mentioned earlier that Fluffy, Yoda's mom and the only female cat left to be spayed, had had two kittens. I had tried to get the vet to take them for adoption, but they couldn't because they already had two cats looking for homes. But Friday evening they called and said that one of those cats, Cookie, had been adopted and that we could bring the kittens. I was able to catch one of the kittens Saturday and we tool him in, but they decided it was best for us to keep him until we could bring them in together.

So we put kitten #1 in Yoda's old Wabbitat cage in the meantime. Poor little bug was scared and lonely. I picked him up every few hours and talked to him but he was still not a happy person. Sunday night I was able to catch kitten #2. This kitten was much more scared and I now have a hand full of scratches, but when I put him in the Wabbitat with his sibling, he calmed down a bit. Yoda spent the time growling and hissing at these intruders, as she saw them. This morning we took them both to the vet, filled out the forms, and paid a donation.

I hope I made the best decision for them. The other alternatives were to go to the SPCA where they might get euthanized if they weren't adopted, or to live here as cats number 18 and 19. There's still a chance that may happen, if the vet decides they are too wild (or if they turn out to have feline ADIS or leukemia). Meanwhile, their mom Fluffy is searching the yard for them and meowing piteously. Sometimes I really hate it here on what I call 'planet we're so effed' :(