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Monday, February 28, 2022

Cluster bombs

Now that Putin is being embarrassed by the slow progress of his troops in Ukraine, he's using cluster bombs to soften up resistance ...

[cluster bomb] that ejects explosive bomblets that are designed to kill personnel and destroy vehicles ....

Because cluster bombs release many small bomblets over a wide area, they pose risks to civilians both during attacks and afterwards. Unexploded bomblets can kill or maim civilians and/or unintended targets long after a conflict has ended, and are costly to locate and remove.

Cluster munitions are prohibited for those nations that ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin, Ireland, in May 2008. The Convention entered into force and became binding international law upon ratifying states on 1 August 2010, six months after being ratified by 30 states. As of 10 February 2022, a total of 123 states have joined the Convention, as 110 states parties and 13 signatories.

Biden has said we can't help Ukraine by fighting with them, because that might lead to WW3, to world-wide nuclear war. I just realized that argument makes no sense .... is that not exactly where we will be if Putin decides he wants, for instance, Poland too? Will we not honor our NATO committment to fight with Poland because it might lead to a scary place? Putin is crazy ... we are already in that scary place.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Trump & Ukraine

As we watch the invasion of Ukraine, let's not forget how Trump figures into this.

A few days ago, when Putin began his invasion, Trump thought the move was "wonderful" and that Pitin was a "genius" ...

Later, at CPAC, Trump seemed to have a change of heart (sic) about the invasion of Ukraine and said Volodymyr Zelensky was a "great man" - even Trump could see which way the political wind is blowing. But he still had to kiss Putin's ass ...

Let's remember two things ....

1) Trump has been sucking up to Putin even before he was elected president. He then co-ordinated with Putin and various Russians in order to steal the election of 2016. While president, Trump was slavishly subservient to Putin (think Helsinki). And thus he remains. Read about the history of Trump's love for Putin: ‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect

2) Trump used and abused Ukraine and its leader when he was president. Trump held back badly needed military aid, while he tried to blackmail Zelensky into first creating dirt on Joe Biden, Trump's political opponent ....

Given all this, Trump was still the winner of the CPAC straw poll of who Republicans want as president, again and for life.

Friday, February 25, 2022


We're imposing sanctions against Putin and his government, but it feels like it's just not enough. Everyone says that we can't help Ukraine militarily. Why not?


Former ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration, Michael McFaul, comments on what's happening in Ukraine. He calls it evil and I've got to agree.

Thursday, February 24, 2022


Russia has declared war on Ukraine, and fighting is going on as I write this. Hard to believe this is actually happening. I hope Trump and his sycophants, who have celebrated this, reap their own political destruction.

Monday, February 21, 2022


Update 2/22: ‘This Is Genius’: Trump Praises Putin’s Move Into Ukraine–And Blasts Biden

And so it begins: Putin declares the breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent republics, ones to which he is now sending troops. This is the pretext Putin has been looking for, in order to plausibly deny what he has planned to do from day one: take Ukraine back for Mother Russia. Except it isn't plausibly deniable, it's blatantly obvious to everyone. Thing is, when you're a dictator who's been in power for more than 20 years, you don't have to give a poop about optics.

Not surprisingly, Trump's Republican toadies in Congress and on Fox are on the side of Russia against Ukraine. After all, they want a Trump-led conservative religious dictatorship here in the US, so of course they love Putin's Russia.

The Rock

There haven't been many good new movies out lately, so I've been watching oldies. Tonight I rewatched The Rock ...

a 1996 American action thriller film directed by Michael Bay, produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, and written by David Weisberg and Douglas S. Cook. The film stars Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris, with William Forsythe and Michael Biehn co-starring.

In the film, the Pentagon assigns a team comprising an FBI chemist and a former SAS captain with a team of SEALs to break into Alcatraz, where a rogue general and a rogue group of Marines have seized all the tourists on the island and have threatened to launch rockets filled with nerve gas upon San Francisco unless the U.S. government pays $100 million to the next-of-kin of 83 men who were killed on missions that the general led and that the Pentagon denied.

This is one of my favorite past movies. Partly it's because of the actors ... Cage, Connery, Harris, Michael Biehn (Terminator/Aliens), and John Spencer (West Wing), but I like the story too. Warning - spoilers will abound ...

The movie begins with a scene that explains why General Hummel (Harris) decides to take the radical steps he has of kidnapping the tourists on Alcatraz and threatening to fire missiles armed with VX nerve agent at San Francisco ...

The government sends a team, which includes Mason (Connery), a still-in-custody former prisoner of the Rock, and Goodspeed (Cage), an FBI chemical weapons expert, led by Michael Biehn as Commander Anderson. Here is his main scene, as they break into Allcatraz, and things start to go terribly wrong ...

Later, Mason gives himself up to the terrorists to gain time for Godspeed to find the missiles ...

I won't tell you what happens next, but it all ends well ...

Yes, it's old, but still worthy of a watch. Here's what Roger Ebert wrote about it when it came out (3.5 stars out of 4) ....

an action picture that rises to the top of the genre because of a literate, witty screenplay and skilled craftsmanship in the direction and special effects.

Friday, February 18, 2022


Starting yesterday, the mask mandate here for most indoor public places ended for people who are vaccinated. This overlooks the fact that we are still in a pandemic, with about 2,300 people dying in the US today. This overlooks the fact that vaccinated people can get infected and can spread the virus. It also overlooks the fact that ant-vaxxers and anti-maskers will certainly not wear masks in public places now. ... and no sane store clerk would ask maskless people for proof of vaccination, for fear of their very lives.

So basically, people who worry about getting Long Covid will be vaccinated and will continue to wear masks and just hope for the best, as they are surrounded by the horde of dopes who believe that because they're done with the virus, it's done with them too.

Imagine a grocery store, with cigarette smokers coming in and out for 12 hours .... think you'll smell that smoke even wearing a mask? You would, and that means you will be inhaling the virus in that same situation (How airborne is Covid-19? Like cigarette smoke spreading in a room, says expert).

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Super Bowl ad

I don't watch the Super Bowl, but I do sometimes look up the ads on Youtube. This year there was an ad by Toyota that was about Brian McKeever, a Canadian cross-country skier and biathlete who has the same juvenile-onset degenerative eye disease that I have - Stargardt disease. It's a pretty rare condition and I've never seen it depicted before on film. Maybe this will help people understand what it's like.

Monday, February 14, 2022


It's Valentine's Day. When I was a little kid watching old movies on tv, I thought this scene from the Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo was so sadly romantic. You really have to know the story to appreciate the significance of the scene.

TThe movie is set in San Francisco and the main character, Scottie (Jimmy Stewart) is a cop who failed to save another officer from faling to his death from a tall building. The trauma gave him a fear of heights and he had to quit the force and become a PI instead.

He was later hired by a man to follow his wife, Madeleine (Kim Novack), who had been behaving strangely and self-destructively. Scottie did so, eventually falling in love with her after saving her from a suicide attempt. Some days later, she climbed a bell tower of the Mission San Juan Bautista, and threw herself off. Stewart's character was unable to climb the stairs to save her due to his vertigo.

He was crushed and deeply depressed after this (and in the nut house for a time). After he had recovvered somewhat, he saw a woman who looked like Madeleine. She had a different personality, different hair, different style, but Scottie began dating her. Slowly he worked to get her to change, to be more like Madeleine. At first she resisted, but finally, she did all he asked to make herself look exactly like the dead woman he still loved.

The clip from the movie is when Scottie first sees her after she has changed herself, wearing the same clothes Madeleine died in. It's so disturbing and heart-breaking, bringing a dead loved one back to life ... but not really. The movie has a twist ending, which I won't reveal. It's worth a watch.

Sunday, February 13, 2022


I spent the first part of the day trying to catch Timmy to take to the SPCA to find a new home. And this time I was successful. As you will remember, Timmy has been a terror to many of the cats in the yard, including Vicky, and I've wrestled with how to fix that problem. We first got him neutered, but it didn't seem to help.

Finally I decided to try to give him to the SPCA, pretty much the only place here that finds homes for someone's pet (the County won't do that here). The worry is that the SPCA isn't a no-kill shelter. If they find the cat is unadoptable, they may euthanize him. I was hopeful about Timmy because even though he was agressive with some of the other cats, he was always friendly and affectionate with me and my sister.

I hope so much that Timmy will find a home where he is loved and happy! Please say a prayer for Timmy, that things will work out for hm. Thanks.

Friday, February 11, 2022


It's spring here already. I was outside with the cats today. Here is Hansel on the tree stump ...

Here's her sister, Gretel ...

Socks was hanging around too ...

And there was a gray squirrel peeling the bark off a dead pine tree, and I think eating it ...

Inside, my sister was playing with Vicky. Vicky is pretty much all better now, after having that bad wound on his neck. He's still a prisoner in my mom's bedroom, though. Yoda really doesn't like Vicky being inside, and I don't want to let him outside while Timmy (who inflicted the wound) is still out there. Wish I could find a home for Vicky ...

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Giving up

We're officially giving up on COVID now. My Democratic governor is going to drop indoor public masks mandates and probably mandates in schools soon after. Some other Democratic governors are doing the same.


They will say it's because cases are dropping, so obviously the pandemic is over. They will say it's time to learn to "live with COVID". But deaths are still over 2,000 a day in the US (Covid deaths highest in a year as omicron targets the unvaccinated and elderly). And you would have to be brain-dead to believe there will not be future surges from a multitude of variants (The Atlantic Daily: America Still Isn’t Ready for the Next Pandemic).

It's political expediency - that is why politicians are relaxing measures to inhibit spreading the virus. Voters are bored with the effort, so they are ready to accept a daily death toll in the thousands. Don't worry - the dead people will be (mostly) racial minorities, poor people, old people, sick people. Those people don't vote, do they? Those people aren't us, right?

This is who we are. Not just Americans, but humans. Chimps have a greater ability to defer gratification than us. We just don't have the integrity or patience or decency to actually do the right thing about anything that matters, whether it's a world-wide plague or climate change. It's why we're going to persih from the Earth (after we first kill off everything that rode into town with us).

Sunday, February 06, 2022


- Daddy and Mama in Bermuda

I learned today that my step-father passed away last night. He had a stroke about 6 weeks ago, was in the hospital, and then was later transferred to a nursing home.

We visited him less than a week ago but he was mostly unresponsive. We were planning to go back to see him tomorrow, but he got worse on Friday and had to go back to the hospital, where he died. Miss him already.

70 years

It seems bizarre that we in the US, who are trying so hard to keep Trump from making himself king here, would be gusshing over the wonderfulness of Queen Elizabeth reigning for 70 years. Yes, the British monarcchy is kind of quaint in a Disneylandish sort of way, but come on, we fought a war to get out from under these autocrats - we shouldn't romaniticize monarchy.

Friday, February 04, 2022


I've got to say, I'm actually starting to have some respect for former VP Mike Pence. I'm thankful he had and continues to have the intestinal fortitude to speak the truth despite knowing this will infuriate Trump's violent horde of cult members.

Meanwhile, the RNC has censured Cheny and Kinzinger, writing that they will immediately cease any and all support of them as members of the Republican Party for their behavior which has been destructive to [our holy master Trump] the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican Party and our republic ...

A block away

I was outside feeding the cats when this occurred and it was just a block away so I heard all the gun-fire. Eeeeeek!

Blind Faith

Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, once of Blind Faith ...

- Left to right: Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton

Tuesday, February 01, 2022


I feel sorry for this person and the family he has left behind. But at some point we have to stop only blaming those like Fox who shovel deadly sh*t. If people want to be treated as rational agents, then they should be held responsible for who they choose to trust, what they choose to believe.

Does that sound mean? I'm thinking of my step-father. We visited him at the nursing home today. It's a nursing home that has active COVID cases, and he has refused to get vaccinated. I can't help feeling he's doomed, and I'm angry at him for that.