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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Buttigieg: Graham and Bernie

Pete Buttigieg has been in the news lately for a couple of reasons ...

- Franklin Graham to Buttigieg: Homosexuality 'sin' to be 'repentant of' not 'flaunted'.

Graham, the son of Billy and an Evangelical Christian preacher, has views that are now a very minority view among Christians - a majority of Christians and many Christian denominations are accepting of LGNTQ people and marriage, and this is not surprising considering the misinterpretation of scripture used to defend homophobia. At the same time, Graham supports Trump, a pussy-grabbing, porn star screwing, sociopathic bigot. He must be so proud.

- Pete Buttigieg compares Bernie Sanders’ supporters to Donald Trump’s

Liberals were upset and conservatives loved this, but as a liberal I have to say I think Buttigieg was absolutely correct. Back when Bernie and Hillary were competing for the Democratic nomination in 2016, Bernie's supporters were acting very much like Trump supporters: recall this one of many examples from The New York Times ...

From Bernie Sanders Supporters, Death Threats Over Delegates

Thrown chairs. Leaked cellphone numbers. Death threats spewed across the Internet.

No, this is not the work of Donald J. Trump supporters, some of whom have harassed critics of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. It was angry supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders who were directing their ire at the Nevada Democratic Party — and its chairwoman, Roberta Lange — over a state convention on Saturday that they think was emblematic of a rigged political system.

“It’s been vile,” said Ms. Lange, who riled Sanders supporters by refusing their requests for rule changes at the event in Las Vegas. “It’s been threatening messages, threatening my family, threatening my life, threatening my grandchild.”


The backlash against Ms. Lange in Nevada echoes what happened in Colorado last month when supporters of Mr. Trump bombarded Steve House, the chairman of the State Republican Party, with complaints of disenfranchisement. He received thousands of calls after his cellphone number was disseminated online.

Supporters of Mr. Sanders used similar tactics to exert pressure on Ms. Lange, who has received more than 1,000 calls since Saturday night and as many as three text messages per minute. The threats, which came from men and women from across the country, were haunting and personal.

“Loved how you broke the system,” one person wrote in a text message that said he or she knew where Ms. Lange’s grandchildren went to school. “Prepare for hell. Calls won’t stop.”

Another person left a voice mail message saying he thought Ms. Lange should be “hung in public execution” for her actions.

“I’m scared for my family,” Ms. Lange said. “Scared for my kids.” ...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Earth Day

The first official Earth Day was celebrated at colleges and schools in the US in 1970 ... I was there, just starting college :) This was back in a past so distant and different, that it was actually President Richard Nixon, a Republican, who that same year proposed the creation of The Environmental Protection Agency and signed it into existence with an executive order. All these years later, I still love animals and plants and want to preserve the our environment. I wish everyone else did too.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter

I tried to take some photos of the new grape leaves in the yard for this post -... you know, a sort of Jesus the true vine thing ... but none of them turned out right. Fortunately the pic I took of Hansel was at least in focus :) ...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Impeach Trump now

Senator Elizabeth Warren calls for Trump's impeachment. I agree! Some say we shouldn't impeach because it will fail in the Republican senate. Expediency shouldn't matter - it's the right thing to do to hold a presidential crook accountable. Some say we shouldn't because it's better to have him voted out in 2020. Really? How many more migrant children will die at the border in the next two years, how many more environmental protections will be rolled back, how many more loathsome dictators will Trump enable before that vote takes place? He doesn't belong in the presidency and since we have the chance to remove him now, we should take it.

Good Friday

I don't like Good Friday. I don't like that Jesus got tortured to death, and I don't buy the atonement message of the necessity of that torture and death. So let's dwell instead on how Jesus lived. Here are some clips from my favorite Jesus movies.

This one is from Jesus ...

And this one is from The Gospel of John ...

And this from Jesus of Nazareth ...

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Mueller report

The redacted Mueller report is online to be read/downloaded (here is one of the many versions). And you can also get it in book form.

We now know Russia messed with our elections through social media and hacked documents released by WikiLeaks. We know Trump and his minions worked together with Russia to doom Hillary and elect Trump in these ways.

And we know Trump did all he could to derail the investigation into this, including telling his minions to lie, tampering with witnesses, and trying to manufacture a rolling Saturday Night Massacre. He obstructed justice.

I don't know if the Democrats have the courage to try to impeach him, though he certainly deserves to be impeached. I think he will get away with it all. Republicans don't give a bleep what he has done - all they care about is staying in power. It's even possible he might win re-election through the electoral college again. People have died because of Trump, and more will die if that happens. Bring it on, climate change - we deserve to be extinct.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Partisan Barr

Tomorrow Barr will finally release a redacted version of the Mueller report, but only at the beginning of a big holiday weekend, and only after he has shown it to the subject of the investigation - Trump, and only after Barr gives another public briefing on the report. Then finally, Congress will be allowed to see it. It's hard to imagine a more slanted and partisan handling of what was supposed to be a neutral report of a very important investigation. Barr should be ashamed, but of course he and Trump don't have that capacity.

Not a tragedy

As Rich Lavish Cash on Notre-Dame, Many Ask: What About the Needy?

The response to the fire at Notre-Dame has been strange, at least in my opinion. And it's not just that all the rich are getting in each others way trying to fund the repairs. It's the religious outrage. While conspiracy theorists try to place the blame for what appears to be an accident on Jews or Muslims, others treat it like an unbelievable tragedy. At America magazine, a comment to an article compares the fire to the terrorist attack of 9/11 in which thousands of people were killed, Fr. Martin has an article there too asking where God was in the Notre-Dame fire, the same question originally asked by David Bentley Hart about the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 which killed more than 200,000 people.

Get a grip, guys. It was an accidental fire which damaged but didn't destroy the medieval structure, no one was killed, most of the important stuff inside was safely removed, and all will be rebuilt with the outpouring of cash gifts. It's not a tragedy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Happy birthday, Yoda

It was about a year ago that Yoda first appeared in the yard as a kitten :) ...

Mayor Pete on coming out

Pete Buttigieg was on Rachel Maddow's show last night. There were 4 or 5 segments of the interview, but one of the most interesting parts was this one below in which Rachel challenged Pete on why it took him so long to come out publicly as gay ...

Monday, April 15, 2019

Notre-Dame Cathedral

the cathedral has been burning ...

On my one trip to Europe, Paris was the last stop of our tour and the cathedral was one of the places we visited. I think it will be ok. There's not a lot of famous artwork there. There are some relics, which were rescued, but what makes the cathedral special is the architecture - the flying buttresses, the rose windows, the gargoyles, etc., and those survive. They will rebuild.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Pete Buttigieg announces

Today Pete Buttigieg gave is speech announcing he's running for the Democratic nominee for president in 2020. It was a really good speech that actually gave me hope about the future. If he wins I think he will be an excellent president. Here's the speech (Pete begins speaking at 1:35;07) ...

Finally ...

After a long wait, the Bohemian Rhapsody DVD came from Netflix.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical film about Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the British rock band Queen. It follows the singer's life from just before he joins the band in 1970 to their 1985 Live Aid performance at the original Wembley Stadium in London ....

Bohemian Rhapsody received numerous accolades, including a leading four awards at the 91st Academy Awards for Best Actor (Malek), Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing; it was also nominated for Best Picture. The film also won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, and was nominated for the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture and BAFTA Award for Best British Film, while Malek won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA for Best Actor.

The film had some problems .... some historical inaccuracies and the fact that Bruan Singer was the director for most of the film before being fired ... but overall I thought it was good and worth a watch.

For one thing, there were cats :) ... Bohemian Rhapsody: Freddie Mercury and His Cats, a Love Story

But it was just interesting as a slice of music history. Here's the trailer ...

As is mentioned, Freddie died of AIDS a few years after Queen's amazing appearance at Live Aid in 1985 ...

But the end credits of the movie show the real Freddie and Queen doing another of their songs, and I think it was a good chice as a way to remember him ....

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Assange arrested

Given that WikiLeaks strove, with help from the Trump campaign, to doom Hillary's election and elect Trump instead, I don't have any sympathy for Assange.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Pod people?

There is no question now but that AG Barr is not really the Attorney General for the American people, but instead the personal attorney for Trump. It should come as no surprise. Barr believed Trump as president could not obstruct justice, he sent in a 19 page job application to the White House stating that opinion, he was hired, got the Mueller report, has kept the report secret, and has declared Trump exonerated. Mission accomplished. Now Barr has moved on to float a Republican conspiracy theory of the deep state "spying" on Trump and his campaign. It's mot enough for Barr to absolve Trump, he must also punish those who have plotted a "coup" against his king.

God help our democracy.

Serious question: what has happened to all these people who are enabling Trump? I mean, as awful as he is, he couldn't get away with all this if he wasn't supported by others. It's impossible that they do not know what kind of person he is. Most of them seemed like fairly decent people before he came along (albeit Republicans). Has he replaced them all with pod people? Or is it true that all of them just decided that power and money were more important than any other thing in the whole world. More important than putting children in cages. More important than raising up murderers like MBS. More important than making climate change worse. I don't get it.

Black holes

In the news - we finally have an actual photo of a black hole. Here's a segment about this from tonight's PBS NewsHour, featuring physicist Brian Greene (I've actually read one of his books about parallel universes, not that I understood everything). ...

I'm pretty challenged science-wise, and what I do know about black holes comes from science fiction. Here's an example from Stargate SG-1, in which Jack and Teal'c impatiently await a viewing of a black hole at an off-world observatory :) ...

Monday, April 08, 2019

"This guy is chicken soup for my soul"

On Deadline White House today they talked about Mayor Pete Buttigieg and a recent speech he gave about being gay. As Nicole Wallace commented, "This guy is chicken soup for my soul". I think it is wonderful that at last in our country a gay man can not just run for president, but be doing really well in the polls. I can only imagine how hard it has been and still is for LGBTQ people in our society, but thank God that is changing. This despite the bigots (Catholic church among them).

Not quite Nazi enough

Trump has fired Kirstjen Nielsen, a woman who as head of DHS oversaw the child separation policy, who has lied continuously, and who has shown she has a piece of coal where her heart should be. Why did Trump fire her? She wasn't mean enough.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Pete Buttigieg on Meet The Press

Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was on Meet The Press today. He spoke of may things, but two issues especially interested me:

Chuck Todd asked him about the Christian Right's devotion to Trump ...

It's something that really frustrates me because the hypocrisy is unbelievable. Here you have somebody who not only acts in a way that is not consistent with anything that I hear in scripture or in church, where it’s about lifting up the least among us and taking care of strangers, which is another word for immigrants, and making sure that you’re focusing your effort on the poor.

But also personally how you’re supposed to conduct yourself. Not chest-thumping look-at-me-ism, but humbling yourself before others. Foot washing is one of the central images in the New Testament. And we see the diametric opposite of that in this presidency.

I think there was perhaps a cynical process where he decided to begin, for example, to pretend to be pro-life and govern accordingly, which was good enough to bring many Evangelicals over to his side, but even on the version of Christianity that you could hear from the Religious Right, which is about sexual ethics, I can't believe that somebody who was caught writing hush money checks to adult film actresses is somebody they should be lifting up as the kind of person you want to be leading this nation.

And Mayor Pete was also asked about abortion ...

In my view, this is a question that is almost unknowable. This is a moral question that's not going to be settled by science. And so the best way for it to be settled in practice is by the person who actually faces the choice. And when a woman is facing this decision in her life, I think, in terms of somebody besides her who can be useful in that - the answer to that would be a doctor, not a male government official imposing his interpretation of his religion.

I like him. I think he'd make a good president!

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Orange cat # 3

Today I managed to get a photo of one of the two stray cats in the yard who still need to be neutered. He's very afraid of me so I had to get the photo from inside the house and through the window. I wanted the photo so I could blow it up and see if he had a tipped ear, which might show if he was already neutered ...


Eartipping is the universal sign of an altered feral cat. 1/4 inch is removed from the tip of the left ear in a straight line cut. Eartips are readily visible from a distance, making it easy for caretakers, trappers and animal control personnel to immediately identify a cat as spayed or neutered. The procedure is performed under sterile conditions while the cat is anesthetized, is relatively painless, involves little to no bleeding and does not significantly alter the cat's appearance. No other means of identification has proven as safe or effective.

Almost all the cats I've gotten spayed/neutered do not have an eartip because I was worried that it would make it harder for them to get adopted if that option ever opened up for them. Also it seemed like it would really hurt. But lately I've come to the conclusion that it's probably best for the cat if people know right away that they are spayed/neutered, given the level of animosity many have for feral cats.

I will try to catch this guy in a trap at a time when my sister can drive him to the clinic on her way to work. I couldn't do any of this without her help. It's not just that I can't drive, but I'm so feeble that I actually can't pick up the heavy metal trap once the cat is inside ;)

The SPCA has a clinic where you don't need an appointment beforehand, but can bring in one cat per person at 7:30 am, fill out forms, pay, and pick him up around 5 pm to go back home. You are supposed to keep the cat separated overnight so he can recover. The price is usually somewhere from about $30 - $70. So much cheaper than the regular vet!

We have now spayed/neutered 14 cats from the yard. This isn't like my avocation in life - it's actually kind of an ongoing nightmare, really. There just seems to be an unending supply of homeless cats in my neighborhood and the cats all end up here. The neighbors hate me for this and I think they believe I'm collecting cats on purpose. Not true - if there was a place for them to go where they would not be killed, I'd take them there. The fact is, there's really no effective plan in place for these animals and the County seems to be relying on individuals to fill in the gaps, while they themselves try to find an alternative to killing ...

From The Washington Post, 2014: Shelters destroy millions of animals each year

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

It's not all politics

Believe it or not, politics isn't all I think about. So what else is going on?

I'm reading the third book in the Murderbot Diaries - Rogue Protocol ... Rogue Protocol is the third entry in Martha Wells's Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Murderbot Diaries.

And I've been watching a new (to me) tv series from Netflix called The Event ...

an American television series containing elements of science fiction, action/adventure and political allegory .... The plot centers on a group of extraterrestrials, some of whom have been detained by the United States government for sixty-six years since their ship crashed in Alaska, while others have secretly assimilated among the general populace.

And there's so much I'm supposed to be doing. Yard work for one thing. Everything is growing exponentially now with all the rain and warm temps ...

And there's the book of short stories I want to self-publish at Amazon, but it's taking forever to retype those ones that I can't get off my old computer. And there are all the cats to watch over (and two to catch to neuter). And I have a cold ;)