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Sunday, January 30, 2022


My latest check-out from the public library is The Complete Independence Day Omnibus.

It contains the novelizations of the movies Independence Day of 1996 and Independence Day: Resurgence of 2016.

I saw both films and thought Resurgence was pretty bad, but the original 1996 movie is one of my favorites. Here's a bit about it ...

Independence Day ...

is a 1996 American science fiction action film directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin. It stars an ensemble cast that includes Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Harvey Fierstein, and Harry Connick.

The film focuses on disparate groups of people who converge in the Nevada desert in the aftermath of a worldwide attack by an extraterrestrial race. With the other people of the world, they launch a counterattack on July 4—Independence Day in the United States.

One actor not mentioned in Wikipedia's blurb is Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek), who played a funny mad scientist working at Area 51.

When it first came out it got rather poor reviews, but over the years it has come to be more appreciate :) Here's a trailer ...

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Vatican 24

Religious women have abortions, too. And many faiths affirm abortion rights

The abortion debate is largely presented as a stark divide between secular people who support access to abortion care and religious people who oppose it. This false binary has obscured the diversity of religious positions on the issue, particularly of those who support abortion access. While Jewish support for abortion has been recognized on some occasions, support for abortion rights in Christianity, Islam and other religious traditions has largely been ignored.

With media attention trained on Friday’s March for Life in Washington and the upcoming anniversary of Roe v. Wade — perhaps the last, as an increasingly conservative Supreme Court might strike it down later this year — it’s important to correct this mistaken characterization of religious Americans’ views on abortion.

The focus on religious opposition to abortion overlooks the perspectives and religious commitments of the millions of people who have abortions in this country. Additionally, an imbalance in media coverage normalizes religious opposition to abortion, thus paving the way for particular theological beliefs to be codified into law. This ultimately denies the right of religious freedom to other faith communities whose beliefs about pregnancy, abortion and childbearing differ ....

An example of this is Catholicism. The male-only leadeship of the Catholic church has decided that women choosing abortion is always morally wrong. But a majority of US Catholics themselves have said they want abortion to stay legal. And it's not just lay Catholics. I recall an ad placed in The New York Times on October 7, 1984, by "the Vatican 24" ... 24 Catholic nuns (and some priests and some prominent lay Catholics).

Document 32: Catholics for a Free Choice, "A Diversity of Opinions Regarding Abortions Exists Among Committed Catholics," advertisement, New York Times, 72 (7 October 1984), E7

The Vatican threatened them all, of course - Vatican Threat On Abortion Ad Went To Signers

There's a Wikipedia page about it: A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion

[...] Before mid-1984, a Catholic position paper was signed by about 80 reform-minded theologians and members of religious institutes who were sympathetic to choice in abortion. This position paper was used by CFFC as the basis for The New York Times ad. CFFC's statement said that the Catholic Church's doctrine condemning abortion as "morally wrong in all instances" was "not the only legitimate Catholic position." It said that "a large number" of Catholic theologians considered abortion to be a moral choice in some cases and cited a recent survey which found that only 11% of Catholics believed that abortion was wrong under all circumstances. It called for value pluralism and discussion within the Church on the subject. More signatures were added, bringing the total to 97 prominent Catholics including theologians, nuns, priests and lay persons.

The advertisement was intended to help 1984 vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, a pro-choice Catholic, to resist the sharp criticism directed at her by Archbishop of New York John Joseph O'Connor during the 1984 U.S. presidential election. Following the ad's publication, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced it and called it contrary to "the clear and consistent teaching of the church that deliberately chosen abortion is objectively immoral." Subsequently, the Vatican pursued recantings by or reprimands of the signers who were directly subject to Church authority, including 24 nuns who became known as the "Vatican 24". Some signers recanted their affiliation with CFFC; most were said by their superiors to be in line with Catholic teaching. Two nuns resisted, publicly embraced a pro-choice position and eventually left their order ...

The pro-life stance on abortion has not always been, and is not, the only religious stance on abortion.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Cecile Richards

The One Regret From My Time Leading Planned Parenthood

[...] Years from now, historians will look back on the past two decades as a turning point in the fight for access to abortion. If I have one regret from my time leading Planned Parenthood, it is that we believed that providing vital health care, with public opinion on our side, would be enough to overcome the political onslaught. I underestimated the callousness of the Republican Party and its willingness to trade off the rights of women for political expediency ....

An opinion piece in The New York Times by Cecile Richards. It is worth a read.


Pope Benedict Willfully Let Children Be Raped: Lawyer

The last thing most people will now remember about Pope Benedict XVI is not likely his legacy as head of the Roman Catholic Church or his historic resignation in 2013.

Thanks to an investigation conducted by the German law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, it is likely going to be that before he became pontiff, Joseph Ratzinger knowingly allowed rampant clerical sex abuse to continue when he was head of the Munich diocese. “During [Ratzinger’s] time in office, there were abuse cases happening,” Martin Pusch, who headed the investigation ordered by the German church, told reporters. “In those cases, those priests continued their work without sanctions. The church did not do anything ...

It doesn't come as a surprise. I recall reading years ago, when B16 was pope, about then Archbihop Ratzinger being in that meeting that put pedophile priests back to work. Of course, nothing came of it then and nothing will come of it now.

I believe this is why B16 didn't leave Rome for Germany after he stepped down as pope ... he wanted the immunity from prosecution that living in Vatican City would afford him (as it did so many otheres, like Cardinal Bernard Law, etc.). These people are like Trump - never held accountable for all the damage they do.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

3 lies

The vote in the Senate to change the filibuster into a talking filibuster, just only temporarily for a vote on a voting rights bill ... it failed.

Lie # 1 .... the idea that Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are "moderate" Democrats. They are conservatives.

Lie # 2 ... the idea that there are a lot of Democrats in the Senate who want to preserve the filibuster. This vote that just took place shows that there are only two Democrats who feel this way.

Lie # 3 ... the idea that Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema really want to vote for the voting rights bill, but they can't because it would require changing the filibuster. Actually, those two Senators have many times dismissed the filibuster in order to accomplish their agendas. The truth is that these two Senators do not want to pass the voting rights bill.

We have to stop lying to ourselves about these two Senators, turning ourselves into pretzels to find a way to let them off the hook. They have to be voted out - that's the only way to get those two votes we need.

Old music

Some old music I'm listening to tonight: Santana, Creedence Clearwater ...

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Hitler wannabe

One of the many lies told by Trump at his latest rally in Arizona ...

“The left is now rationing lifesaving therapeutics based on race, discriminating against and denigrating ... white people to determine who lives and who dies. If you’re white you don’t get the vaccine or if you’re white you don’t get therapeutics. ... In New York state, if you’re white, you have to go to the back of the line to get medical health.”

Reminiscent of Hitler stirring up animus against Jewish people in 30s Germany to take political power. Trump is appealing to the hatred and racism of his followers in order to propel himself into the presidency (and a dictatorship) in 2024.

Sunday, January 16, 2022


This week's movie rental was Dune ...

is a 2021 American epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve .... It is the first of a two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, primarily covering the first half of the book. Set in the far future, it follows Paul Atreides as his family, the noble House Atreides, is thrust into a war for the deadly and inhospitable desert planet Arrakis. The ensemble cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.

This is the second movie made of the book, the first being a 1984 version that was really pretty bad - Dune - which starred Kyle MacLachlan and was directed by David Lynch (what could go wrong?).

I read the book by Herbert, which won the Nebula and Hogo awards, when I was a teen, but haven't read the numerous other following Dune books.

Anyway, this film got mostly positive reviews. Here's a one from The Guardian: Dune review – blockbuster cinema at its dizzying, dazzling best.

I thought the movie was very good, if depressing. It's the storyline of the book, so I can't blame the movie. I can't tell you how many science fiction stories have a depressed hero from an advanced culture find love and spiritual rebirth by embracing a more primitive culture instead (think Avatar). I believe that's a dopey storyline, but it appears to be very popular, so ok ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2022

The stench

The conservative Supreme Court Justices ban OSHA from requiring vaccination or testing/masks for businesses with over 100 employees, to protect employees' health in this time of COVID.

It's estimated that 6,500 workers will die and 250,000 will be hospitalized in the next six months without the workplace mandate (Supreme Court blocks Biden's Covid requirements for businesses, upholds health care workers mandate).

Just another day's work for the "pro-life" party and its pet judges. The stench only grows.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

RIP: the chicken

Sigh :( This morning when I went out to feed the cats, a neighbor was walking by and she noticed that the chicken had perished in the ditch down the street. It appears he was attacked by another animal. We should have tried harder to catch him.

I hope it wasn't one of the cats who killed him. They were around him all yesterday and didn't attack him ... they actually seemed a little afraid of him. Maybe it was the big dog across the street. He has a fence, but I've seen him jump over it numerous times to chase other critters.

I've been thinking about how tenuous life seems. Over the holidays, my step-father had a stroke and had a blood clot removed from his brain. He seemed to be getting better, but then got worse, and now he's in a nursing home. It's hard to get info since we are the step-children of a past marriage, and he has new step-children, and a child, and a wife from his present marriage ... they haven't been keen on sharing details.

It's hard to believe there's any meaning to life when we're all (chickens and perople) so jerked around by events.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The chicken

I woke up this morning to the sound of a chicken. I went outside to look for it, but couldn't find it, and decided it must have been a squirrel instead. But then later, my sister was looking out the window and said, "There's a huge chicken in the backyard".

The cats were all weirded out - a giant bird! - and though they followed him around, no one attacked him. Our neighbors two houses away have chickens, so he must have escaped from there, and we tried to catch him to take him back, but he finally took off by himself over the fence in that direction.


Saturday, January 08, 2022

RIP: Sidney Poitier

- from Wikipedia: Poitier (left) at the 1963 March on Washington, alongside actors Harry Belafonte and Charlton Heston

Sad to see that Sidney Poitier has died. He is known for his many great movies, but it is a pair of 90s B movies that I think of when I remember him.

Sneakers ...

a 1992 American crime comedy .... starring Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier, and David Strathairn.

The Jackal ...

a 1997 American action thriller film directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, and Sidney Poitier in his final theatrical film role. The film involves the hunt for a paid assassin.

He will be missed.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

More January 6

Don't allow yourself to forget what Jan. 6 was like. Trump and Republican lawmakers are trying to rewrite the history of that day. We should not allow them to succeed.

January 6

- Christian nationalism, on view at the January 6 riot at the Capitol

To conservatives Christians ... you may not understand what it would mean to let democracy slide. You may think a Trump dictatorship would mean a conservative regime, sort of like Orban's Poland that Tucker Carlson so loves. A regime that would preserve a (rather unrealistic) 50s lifestyle where most of the people with power are Christian, are white, are men.

It would be a regime where women stay home and make and raise babies, where they don't get to decide whether they want to be pregnant (or, gasp, whether they want to have pets).

A regime where immigrants know their place, where religious minorities know their place, where non-whites know their place.

A regime where gay people can't marry and adopt, but stay in the shadows (or become Catholic priests).

A regime where the poor are kicked to the curb, not givrn our hard-earned tax revenue.

A regime where the sick earn their medical care, or crawl off under a bush to die, out of our sight.

A regime where education means telling children what to think, not how to think. Because, give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.

And finally, a regime where if you have a change of heart, if you change your mind, you will be SOL. A dictatorship means you don't get to chooose. Anyrhing.

There are a lot of Christians who think this is what they want .... a theocracy with Trump at the top, then Trump Jr., then Ivanka, then Barron, etc. They believe that the dark joy of having liberals under their thumb will be worth selling their souls. I can't convince those people - they are just lost.

But for those Christians who aren't quite sure if democracy is worth saving, think of all the stuff Jesus said, think of what he did. Think of how he treated people, who he hung out with, what he thought was important. Think about his decision that winning wasn't the ultimate goal in life, that being good was better, even if it means you lose. Trump is the antithesis of Jesus.

Today is the one year anniversary of the violent attack on our Capitol, all for the purpose of overturning a free and fair election, and replacing the man voters chose with a man they rejected. Trump planned this so that he could hold onto power. Forever. Like Putin, like Xi, like Kim Jong-un, like Erdoğan, like Orban. He's not done trying. Neither are his crazed followers.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022


One of the former impeachment (of Trump) managers and a present member of the Jan 6 committee is Congressman Jamie Raskin.

He recently wrote a book, Unthinkable, about his experience of the riot on Jan 6, but also about the death by suicide of his son - he was buried on January 5th - and about how the two events intertwined for him.


My earworm for today :)

Tuesday, January 04, 2022


From the distant past, Val Kilmer reprises his portrayal of Jim Morrison, as the dead leader of a supergroup in heaven (SNL).

I saw The Doors in person here at the Memorial Auditorium, and Jimi Hendrix here at the state university, both in 1968 when I was 16. Don't really remember The Doors' performance, but still remember Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar with his teeth. Here's me back then with my boyfriend, Dan :) ...

Sunday, January 02, 2022


On Meet the Press today, a review of the planned takeover of our government by Trump and his supporters, at the (almost) one year anniversary of his mob attacking the Capitol.

We're learning more and more about the complexity of Trump's plot to stay in power despite losing the election, thanks to investigative repporting and the work of the January 6th committee.

One of the horrifying things about this is that Trump and his supporters are even closer now to making this country a dictatorship than they were a year ago. Now almost all Republican voters believe his lie that the election was stolen from him, and almost all Republican politicians are willing to go along with that lie, whether they believe it or not.

According to a recent Washington Post survey, One in three Americans say violence against government justified.

People make excuses for those who are ready to use violence. They say that those poor people were lied to, that if they then believed the election had been stolen from them, of course the natural response would be to use violence to reverse that.

No, no no.

First, those people, let's just call them Republicans, are responsible, as are all people, for what they choose to believe, who they choose to trust. They have chosen to believe and trust Trump - a known liar and crook - not because he has proof, but because they *want* what he's peddling to be true.

And second, if I had learned that the election had been stolen from my chosen candidate, my first reaction would not be "I'm gettin my gun so I can kill me some bad people". A normal persson under those circumstances would try to find legal ways to redress the injustice. But Republicans are willing to turn to violence because violence is what they want. Any group that demonizes their opponents by portraying them as Satan-worshipping child-molesting bllod-drinking lizard people (or termites) is preparing to justify the violence they crave.

Trump and his Republican politicians are planning for the 2024 election - restricting voting and replacing local officials in charge of counting the votes. They might get away with subverting the election next time, but whether they do or not, they have whipped their followers into such a frenzy of hatred, there will be hell to pay.

Think Rwanda.