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Monday, September 30, 2019


"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink" Here's Lucy and Misty ...

Here is Olive, who I sometimes call Oleg in honor of the Mueller report ...

And here's Mouse ...

It's been raining and the old tarps on the roof are decayed away, so there's lots of leaking, but I haven't been able to contact the guy who has put them on my roof for many years. Today I found out why - he died a few months ago. So sad. He was very kind and had many pets, including a squirrel he raised when it fell out of its nest as a baby. Hard to believe he's gone ...

There are still some flowers, the living among the dead ...

Sunday, September 29, 2019

On Tyranny

Yale history professor Timothy Snyder was on Rachel Maddow's show last night. He is especially known for his book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Here's an article about it from a couple of years ago in The Guardian: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder – review.

Friday, September 27, 2019

The road to impeachment

I read the whistleblower complaint, watched the testimony of the DNI before the House Intelligence Committee, and have been keeping up on the continuing fallout, from Trump wanting the "almost spies" who talked to the whistleblower to be executed, to wondering what other terrible Trump secrets are living on the WH's super secure server.

I see now that there's a majority in the House wanting to impeach, and that the latest poll shows more people are also for impeachment now. Good.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Trump's phone call

So, Trump has released a transcript of one of his phone calls with the Ukrainian president. You can read the whole of it at NPR, but below are the parts I thought most relevant.

Keep in mind that (1) we have only Trump's word this is accurate, and (2) given the ellipses within the transcript it's almost certainly not complete, and (3) this is just one of a number of similar calls Trump made to the Ukrainian president.

* * *


President Zelenskyy: [...] I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you're surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it, if that's possible.

President Zelenskyy: Yes [...] one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine [....]

The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.


* * *

Trump has tried to extort help from the Ukrainian president on two issues ... getting dirt on his political opponent, Biden ... trying to clear Paul Manafort/Roger Stone and debunking Russian hacking of Clinton's emails (Trump's reference to Crowdstrike). The leverage he used = nearly 400 million dollars in military aid already appropriated for Ukraine but put on hold by Trump while he squeezes Zelensky. If this isn't impeachable conduct, what the hell is?

More: Trump’s weird reference to “CrowdStrike” during the Ukraine call, briefly explained

Sunday, September 22, 2019


This photo of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in Rome has inspired a lot of jokes

An example ...

Saturday, September 21, 2019

More Snowden

Trevor Noah interviews Edward Snowden about his new book, Permanent Record ...

Friday, September 20, 2019

When I was young

In the news - North America Has Lost 3 Billion Birds, Scientists Say

So depressing. With all the news lately of Greta Thunberg and climate change, you would think that interest in preserving the natural world is just a recent thing, but that's not true, of course.

It was when I was young that the Endangered Species Act (1969) came into being, that the first Earth Day (1970) was celebrated, that the EPA was created (1970).

And there was music, like John Denver's 1972 Rocky Mountain High ...

What is unbelievable is that we are now going backwards, thanks to Trump and the Republican party.

Rocky Mountain High

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hanging by a song
But the string's already broken and he doesn't really care
It keeps changing fast and it don't last for long

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high (Colorado)

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
He saw everything as far as you can see
And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun
And he lost a friend but kept his memory

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high

Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
I know he'd be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high

It's Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
Friends around the campfire and everybody's high
Rocky mountain high

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Trump & the whistleblower

So, it appears the whistleblower has info about Trump arm-twisting the Ukrainian president into aiding his 2020 presidential campaign by digging up dirt on Joe Biden's son ...

Monday, September 16, 2019

Edward Snowden interview

Brian Williams interviewed Edward Snowden tonight. I'm probably in the minority, but I think Snowden is a hero who did a good thing. I hope someday he can come back home to the US. And BTW, he has a new book out: Permanent Record. Here's the interview ...

RIP: Ric Ocasek

Ric Ocasek, New Wave Rock Visionary and Cars Co-Founder, Is Dead

[...] From 1978 to 1988, Mr. Ocasek (pronounced oh-CASS-eck) and the Cars merged a vision of romance, danger and nocturnal intrigue and the concision of new wave music with the sonic depth and ingenuity of radio-friendly rock. The Cars managed to please both punk-rock fans and a far broader pop audience, reaching into rock history while devising fresh, lush extensions of it ....

The five albums the Cars released from 1978 to 1984 each sold a million copies in the United States alone, with ubiquitous radio singles like “Just What I Needed” in 1978, “Shake It Up” in 1981, “You Might Think” in 1984 and “Drive” in 1984. Although Mr. Ocasek wrote them, “Just What I Needed” and “Drive” had lead vocals by Mr. Orr ...

Here's one of my favorites of their songs, Touch and Go, ...

And here is one of the most popular of their songs, Just What I Needed ....


Friday, September 13, 2019

Andy McCabe: more

I had a post about former acting director of the FBI, Andy McCabe, yesterday. Here is more on the situation from Rachel Maddow last night ...

Thursday, September 12, 2019

"Hell, yes!"

I'm watching the third Democratic debate (you can watch it all here) and my favorite part so far is this one in which Beto responded to a question about assault rifles ...

Now he's at the top of my 'who to vote for' list.

The conservative press is metaphorically wetting itself over the idea of the government buying back guns. This is an excellent example of the moral bankruptcy of the Republican party = Republican voters are on board with outlawing assault weapons, but the NRA, which funds these Republican lawmakers' campaigns, is not.

Andy McCabe: the latest

I've been following the career of former acting director of the FBI, Andy McCabe since the moment he took over after James Comey was fired and was asked by Congress if the lies Trump and Sarah Sanders told about Comey were true. He did the right thing, not the expedient thing, and told the truth ...

Since before Trump was president he has been attacking McCabe, and McCabe's refusal to turn on his boss just added more fuel to the fire. Trump launched attack after attack against McCabe on twitter and managed to get McCabe fired just hours before his pension from the FBI would vest. Now Trump and his suck-up attorney general, Barr, are working to prosecute McCabe.

There are too many details for me to go into here, but below is a good discussion about all of this from Deadline White House that illuminates the situation ...

I believe Andy McCabe is being wrongly besmirched by Trump and his subservient DOJ, and I encourage anyone who wants to know what kind of man Andy McCabe really is to read his recent book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump. I believe he's an honest, principled, and brave person who doesn't deserve to have his career and reputation destroyed.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9/11: The Looming Tower

My latest DVD rental is The Looming Tower ...

an American drama web television miniseries, based on Lawrence Wright's eponymous 2006 book .... The series stars an ensemble cast featuring Jeff Daniels, Tahar Rahim, Wrenn Schmidt, Bill Camp, Louis Cancelmi, Virginia Kull, Ella Rae Peck, Sullivan Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Peter Sarsgaard.

The Looming Tower traces the "rising threat of Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11. It follows members of the I-49 Squad in New York and Alec Station in Washington, D.C., the counter-terrorism divisions of the FBI and CIA, respectively, as they travel the world fighting for ownership of information while seemingly working toward the same goal – trying to prevent an imminent attack on U.S. soil.

I've watched half of it so far and it's good. Here's a PBS NewsHour segment on the series

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Don't forget Khashoggi

In the news today - Newly released transcripts tell last, gruesome moments of columnist Jamal Khashoggi

As we know, despite excuses to the contrary, Saudi prince MBS had Khashoggi murdered, and as we also know, Trump and Jared acted as accomplices after the fact. Why? $$$. We must not forget this. since remembering the truth seems to be the only justice Khashoggi is ever likely to get.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Bernie: climate change

Here's Bernie Sanders at CNN's climate change town hall. I liked what he had to say - maybe I'll vote for him after all ...

I'm old and I have no children - I'll probably be dead before the really catastrophic effects of climate change are felt, and yet I care a lot about this issue. What I don't understand is how Trump and Republican lawmakers with children and grandchildren don't care at all about the future devastation they are wreaking not only with their inaction but with their bad acts (bring back coal). Do they really believe their wealth and power will insulate them and theirs from future consequences?

Dems: climate change

I haven't seen the whole of CNN's climate change town hall, but here are the two Democratic candidates that I think would be the best as president - Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren ...

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Preserving the Amazon

There was a segment on the PBS NewsHour tonight about the creatures of the Amazon and what people are doing to try to preserve their habitats ...

New Pew

A new Pew Forum poll finds that most people want abortion to remain legal ...

As debates over abortion continue in states around the country, a majority of Americans (61%) continue to say that abortion should be legal in all (27%) or most (34%) cases. A smaller share of the public (38%) says abortion should be illegal in all (12%) or most cases (26%).

The new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted July 22-August 4 among 4,175 adults, also finds little support for overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion. Seven-in-ten say they do not want to see the Roe v. Wade decision completely overturned; 28% say they would like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn the 1973 decision.

Consistent with these views, a majority of Americans say their greater concern is that some states are making it too difficult (59%) rather than too easy (39%) for people to be able to get an abortion ....

Mayor Pete

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was on Morning Joe today. In one segment he discussed the idea of the moral underpinnings of political topics like climate change ....


My favorite breakfast lately is (frozen) P.F. Chang's jasmine rice with peas, carrots, green onion, with sesame oil, plus my added almond flakes and Parmesan cheese. Yum :) ...

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Linda Hamilton

There's an interesting article about Linda Hamilton in The New York Times - Linda Hamilton Fled Hollywood, but ‘Terminator’ Still Found Her. It's about the upcoming Terminator movie, produced by James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar, Aliens), and the iconic character Hamilton has played in the Terminator films, Sarah Conner.

- Sarah in T2

I think Conner is much more of a feminist Icon than other more recent female movie leads like Wonder Woman - she's not a goddess, she has no super powers, she's very human and flawed, a single mom who must remake herself to rise to the occasion of impending apocalypse.

And in this latest Terminator film, she's ... get ready for it ... old! ;) Yes, Sarah Connor gets old and it's not treated as an embarrassing moral failure on her part which renders her unfit for mating, it's treated as the normal result of a woman managing to survive over time. Nice to see that reflected in a movie for a change. As the Times article quotes James Cameron ...

Cameron said that “what’s really cool about it is that a major action picture has been hung on an actress who’s 62.” He was also heartened by the success of a 59-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis as a gray-haired Laurie Strode in last year’s “Halloween” revival. “I think you could cite the examples of that kind of chance being taken previously on one finger.”

Here's a trailer ...

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Upcoming movies

I love to visit the Apple movie trailer page and see what movies are in the offing. I went today and found a number that looked promising. Here are a few of them ...

- Anthropocene: The Human Epoch ...

- The Report ...

- Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice ...

- Cold Case Hammarskjöld ...

- Ad Astra ,,,

- And finally, the guilty pleasure movie starring Gerard Butler :) I've been a fan since he was in Timeline with Paul Walker ...

But anyway, his new movie is Angel Has Fallen ...