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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year

A new song by Ringo, with help from his friends, including Paul McCartney ...

Even in 2020, Ringo Starr Keeps the Peace, Love, and Music Going

Raphael Warnock

I've been reading about the upcoming special election in Georgia. One of the Democratic contenders is Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Martin Luther King Jr.'s former church.

One of the things about Warnock that has been in the news is the fact that he is pro-choice. The main reason this is newsworthy is that pro-life political/religious conservatives have for decades spread the lie that one can't be both pro-choice and Christian. That isn't the case now, and in the past it was even less so.

Randall Balmer, a priest in the Episcopal church, former editor of Christianity Today, and a professor of history at Columbia and Dartmouth, has written in the past about how the Religious Right became pro-life for political gain (The Real Origins of the Religious Right).

But what made me think of this today was a really detailed article in The Atlantic. Here's the beginning of it ...

How Raphael Warnock Came to Be an Abortion-Rights Outlier

When the Democratic Senate candidate Reverend Raphael Warnock tweeted that he was a “pro-choice pastor,” backlash arrived within minutes. Conservative commentators including Ben Shapiro and Erick Erickson lined up to mock Warnock. A group of conservative Black ministers recently sent Warnock a letter asking him to reconsider his position. Representative Doug Collins, a Republican and an ordained Southern Baptist minister, called the tweet “a lie from the bed of hell.”

In this brief and explosive incident, one of the most significant dynamics of America’s abortion politics was laid bare: the seeming invisibility of pro-choice religious voices. It’s not that pro-choice faith leaders such as Warnock aren’t out there. It’s that, for decades, they’ve been losing the fight for the spotlight ...

Hope the Democrats win in Georgia!

Another pandemic

Thinking of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius - he gets mentioned in the episode of Fringe that I re-visited tonight. I've been a fan of Marcus Aurelius since college philosophy and history classes. He was a Stoic philosopher as well as emperor and wrote a book, the Meditations.

He wrote "our life is what our thoughts make it" and believed that a person could face hardship as long as they had the right attitude. And wow, did he need to believe this, because life handed him a lot of challenges: his wife was a piece of work, his sone was as crazy as a bedbug, he was at war, and he ruled during a terrible pandemic.

I saw this video tonight about Marcus Aurelius and how he handled the plague. He acted in all the ways we wish Trump would have, but didn't. As the maker of the video put it - he showed up ...

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


Saw this today - people adopted a baby possum :)

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas

Doesn't really snow here, so I've never seen a real snowman. They actually seem a bit sinister ;)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Dr. Fauci Day

Today is Dr. Anthony Fauci Day! This is his 80th birthday, and the mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser, made this day officially his :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Nothing has made so clear the fact that Trump is nothing but a jumped-up mob boss as his pardons. Erik Prince's war criminals (Nisour Square massacre), non-ratting co-conspirators with Russia (Flynn, Manafort, Papadopoulos, van der Zwaan, Stone), and the first member of Trump's personal crime family (Charlie Kushner). Doubtless, this is just the beginning.

Republican politicians and voters, down on your knees before the monster you've unleashed, you must be so proud.

My new senator


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Release the Kraken!

Trump Weighed Naming Election Conspiracy Theorist as Special Counsel

President Trump on Friday discussed naming Sidney Powell, who as a lawyer for his campaign team unleashed conspiracy theories about a Venezuelan plot to rig voting machines in the United States, to be a special counsel overseeing an investigation of voter fraud, according to two people briefed on the discussion .... Ms. Powell was at the White House for a meeting ....

Ms. Powell’s client, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser whom the president recently pardoned, was also there .... During an appearance on the conservative Newsmax channel this week, Mr. Flynn pushed for Mr. Trump to impose martial law and deploy the military to “rerun” the election. At one point in the meeting on Friday, Mr. Trump asked about that idea ....

So, instead of doing his job .... like facilitating the roll-out of the vaccines or sanctioning Russia for cyber-hacking the government .... Trump has been trying to flip the recent election with the help of the "kraken" lady (Powell) and her nutball client (Flynn).

At least this scary scenario gives us a chance to talk about that mythological sea monster, the kraken ;).

Why has Powell become known as the kraken lady (The Kraken: What is it and why has Trump's ex-lawyer released it?)? Because she has described her action in bringing frivolous lawsuits to overturn the electon as "releasing the kraken", a line from the movie Clash of the Titans ...

Her strategy hasn't quite worked as she had prophesied.

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Order

The latest book I've checked out from the public library is The Order by Daniel Silva. Here's part of what they say about the book at Publishers Weekly ...

Bestseller Silva’s improbable 20th thriller featuring Gabriel Allon (after 2019’s The New Girl) opens with the unexpected death of Pope Paul VII, who succeeded John Paul II in the author’s alternative universe. Allon, the director-general of Israeli intelligence, who once saved the pontiff’s life, is on vacation in Venice when he gets a call from Archbishop Luigi Donati, Paul VII’s closest confidante. Donati doesn’t buy the Vatican’s story that a heart attack was the cause of death, fearing that those opposed to the pope’s liberal policies had him murdered ...

This is the 20th book in the series about Gabriel Allon, introduced as an Israeli operative who took part in Operation Wrath of God ...

a covert operation directed by Mossad to assassinate individuals involved in the 1972 Munich massacre in which 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were killed. The targets were members of the Palestinian armed militant group Black September and operatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the autumn of 1972, the operation is believed to have continued for over twenty years.

Over the years, Gabriel has moved up in his intelligence job and is currently the head of "The Office". In his spare time he restores old master paintings. At one point in the past, Gabriel became friends with the (imagined) Catholic pope while restoring some paintings at the Vatican museums. When the pope mysteriously dies in this novel, Gabriel is called upon by his friend, Archbishop Donati, to find out what really happened.

I'm not finished with the book yet, but it's pretty interesting. The plot has to do with a non-canonical gospel, supposedly written by Pontius Pilate, that has been hidden away by the church out of fear it would cause a scandal in the area of Catholic/Jewish relations.

This idea reminds me of the movie Stigmata, in which a secret gospel is kept hidden by the church in case its contents destroy the institution.

After having been a Catholic for a couple of decades, I've learned something that is a kind of depressing answer to books and movies like these .... the idea that the church would flip its wig over a scandalous revelation isn't realistic. Most chruch-going Catholics won't care and the church won't really suffer losses.

Think of just some of what has already been revealed: the rape of children by priests, the cover-up of that, the sexual activity of 50% of "celibate" priests, the cooperation of the church with Mussolini, the Catholic rat lines, the selling of Irish children, the murder at the Vatican bank, the hidden wealth of the "church of the poor", etc, etc, etc.

I doubt that any secret gospel, even if it said Jesus was only human, would deter most church-going Catholics from obtaining their wafer and chatting with their fellows on Sundays. Those other Catholics like me, the ones who don't attend anymore .... we've already given up on the corporate church.

Having said that, the book is still very entertaining and worth a read :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Cabinet: Mayor Pete

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was chosen by Joe Biden to be the Secretary of Transportation. I think he's a great choice - such a bright and thoughtful person. He will be the first openly gay man to be a presidential cabinet member - yay :) What a contrast Biden's presidency will be to a Republican presidency, where religious bigotry would never allow someone like Mayor Pete to be a "normal" person along with all the rest of us, much less to serve in a presidential administration.

Friday, December 11, 2020


Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election

Oh my, this one's gotta hurt. Trump was so counting on the Court's "Wisdom and Courage" to help him overturn a valid election.

He's just a loser.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

John Lennon

Today is the anniversary of the day John Lennon was killed in 1980. I remember when I heard the news - I was sitting in my car in my apartment's parking lot, listening to the radio. It was a shock.

John Lennon was my least favorite Beatle. To the teenage me, when the Beatles first came on the scene, he seemed like a mean person, one who likes to mock others (hey, it's not just me - read what Eric Clapton saya about John hi in his autobiography).

But anyway, there's no denying that he was smart, had a sense of humour, and was very talented. Here's one of his songs from the film A Hard Day's Night, If I Fell (1964) ...

And here's what I think was one of his most interesting songs, A Day in the Life (1967) ...

"A Day in the Life" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles that was released as the final track of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Credited to Lennon–McCartney, the verses were mainly written by John Lennon, with Paul McCartney primarily contributing the song's middle section. It is widely regarded as one of the finest and most important works in popular music history.

Billionaire Bunker

As many Americans face eviction from their apartments/homes due to the pandemic, Ivanka and Jared, after their massive grift in the White House, have laid down over $30 million dollars for a plot in Florida, on Indian Creek Island, in the "Billionaire Bunker" area.

The area has only 40 waterfront plots laid out around a private golf course, and has its own police force working around the clock.

According to Wikipedia ...

Owners as of 2012 included Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima, Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, his son Enrique Iglesias, co-founder of Robert Diener, billionaire Parvez Ashraf Lahiri and his son Irfan Lahiri, hedge fund billionaire and Sears CEO Edward Lampert, retired football coach Don Shula, Charles Bartlett Johnson, Chinese American billionaires, the Rennie family, James Rennie, Rennie Family Trust 2009. Billionaire Jeffery Soffer, billionaire investor Carl Icahn and former Philadelphia Eagles owner and billionaire art collector Norman Braman also own homes in Indian Creek.

Other famous residents both past and present have included Beyoncé and Jay-Z, pro golfer Raymond Floyd, coach Rick Pitino, U.S. Senator George Smathers, Sheik Mohammed al Fassi, television host Don Francisco, co-founder of Calvin Klein and Coal and Oil Executive, Barry Schwartz, radio magnate Raúl Alarcón, coal and oil executive, heiress and philanthropist Suzie Linden, Gardner Cowles Jr., Arthur I. Appleton, President of Appleton Electric Company and founder of the Appleton Museum of Art and Bridlewood Farm, and his wife Martha O'Driscoll a former Hollywood actress.

I cannot come up with a snappy way to express how wrong this seems.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

The deniers

The death toll in the US for today from coronavirus = 2,733. This total will go up over the coming days, helped along by the over 2 dozen indoor and maskless Christmas parties the White House is planning.

In a rush to a vaccine, in ou r rush to get life back to normal .... it's important we never forget who the [virus] deniers were. Because those 270,000 mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, they aint coming back. So it's imcumbent on all of us to honor their memory.

Brian Williams' words at the end of his show, The 11th Hour, last night.

All the Republican politicians, the pundits of conservative media, the Trump base of voters who freely chose their avatar, Trump's feckless administration, and of course Trump himself ..... we can't just turn the page and forget their contribution to the virus death toll. To paraphrase George Santayana, if we let it go, we will get more of the same.