Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Today's Eternal Sadness

I got away from posting things like this for a while, but I keep having to come back to it.

News from Milwaukee:
A mother driving down a Milwaukee highway was shot and killed by her toddler son in the backseat when he got his hands on a gun, police said.
Patrice Price, 26, was driving a car belonging to her security guard boyfriend when the two-year-old accidentally fired a weapon that had been left in the vehicle, her father Andre Price told WISN.
She was pronounced dead on scene Tuesday on Highway 175, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

We gotta figure out how to stop being stoopid about this.

The Bathroom Bill That Ain't

Bathroom bills aren't about bathrooms. And they're not just about amping up the rubes to GOTV.

1st, they know these stoopid laws will be struck down, even tho' it'll take a good bit of time before somebody puts up a solid challenge. (remember, the money's on the side of Authoritarian Jesus)
So they'll get to use it as a wedge for another cycle or two.

But 2nd, assuming the thing does get slammed eventually, there will be pieces left over. There're bits in the NC version that forbid county and municipal bodies putting up Anti-Discrimination Laws that run counter to what the state puts in place, and that torpedo people's right's to petition the courts.

To wit:
§ 95-25.1. Short title and legislative purpose. purpose; local governments preempted.
(c) The General Assembly declares that the regulation of discriminatory practices in employment is properly an issue of general, statewide concern, such that this Article and other applicable provisions of the General Statutes supersede and preempt any ordinance, regulation, resolution, or policy adopted or imposed by a unit of local government or other political subdivision of the State that regulates or imposes any requirement upon an employer pertaining to the regulation of discriminatory practices in employment, except such regulations applicable to personnel employed by that body that are not otherwise in conflict with State law."

§ 143-422.13. Investigations; conciliations.
"This Article does not create, and shall not be construed to create or support, a statutory or common law private right of action, and no person may bring any civil action based upon the public policy expressed herein."

§ 143-422.2. Legislative declaration.
"(a) It is the public policy of this State to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to seek, obtain and hold employment without discrimination or abridgement on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, biological sex or handicap by employers which regularly employ 15 or more employees."

(notice anything missing from that last bit about discrimination?)

PART IV. SEVERABILITY"SECTION 4. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this act that can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act is temporarily or permanently restrained or enjoined by judicial order, this act shall be enforced as though such restrained or enjoined provisions had not been adopted, provided that whenever such temporary or permanent restraining order or injunction is stayed, dissolved, or otherwise ceases to have effect, such provisions shall have full force and effect.

So businesses and governments in NC have the legal right to discriminate against LGBTQ, and nobody has the right to go outside the state's Human Relations Commission for remedy. Isn't that just too fucking convenient?

Stop thinking this is about GOP foolishness and shenanigans-as-usual.

Start understanding how fucked up it is by recognizing it as another piece in a widening and increasingly effective assault on the Redress Clause of the 1st Amendment (at least that) - and prob'ly a whole lot more than that, because what kind of government do we get if citizens don't have access to the courts? - when we don't have the right to petition that government for redress?

We are so fucked.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Obvious Question

Montgomery County officials are investigating after a deadly shooting during a church service in North Wales.
During a press conference, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele identified the victim as 27-year-old Robert Braxton III of Montgomeryville.
The two guys got into a tussle in church. In a Christian church. And I guess it's fairly safe to say neither of these jagoffs was doing a lot of cheek-turning.  

And now one of 'em's dead - because he went to church today.

So the very obvious question - where the fuck was this all-knowing all-powerful god when this shit went down in god's house on god's day?  

Anybody wanna talk "free will" for just a second?  The asshole with the gun exercised his free will; god knew all along that's what was gonna happen; god did nothing to prevent the shooting - nothing to keep the victim from being killed; that guy's dead because god made a conscious decision to stand aside and let it happen. God wanted that guy dead - he's dead because god willed it so? 

Well then, fuck that god. And fuck the church that sells that bullshit to people.

And I'll keep saying this - you're pretty fucked up in the head, America. Buncha fucking psycho fucks.

Today's Today

The Armenian Genocide "started" on this date in 1915.  And of course it didn't - it started way before then because history isn't just some randomly jumbled string of unrelated events.

Writing in the late 1890s after a visit to the Ottoman Empire, the British ethnographer William Ramsay described the conditions of Armenian life as follows:
We must, however, go back to an older time, if we want to appreciate what uncontrolled Turkish rule meant, alike to Armenians and to Greeks. It did not mean religious persecution; it meant unutterable contempt ... They were dogs and pigs; and their nature was to be Christians, to be spat upon, if their shadow darkened a Turk, to be outraged, to be the mats on which he wiped the mud from his feet. Conceive the inevitable result of centuries of slavery, of subjection to insult and scorn, centuries in which nothing that belonged to the Armenian, neither his property, his house, his life, his person, nor his family, was sacred or safe from violence – capricious, unprovoked violence – to resist which by violence meant death![34]
But we can kinda fix the date by noting that something happened 24APR1915 that pretty much signaled a change in the Turkish Government policy regarding "the Armenian problem".  

So, 1st there was this:
Armenian intellectuals who were arrested and later executed en masse by Young Turk government authorities on the night of 24 April 1915.

And before long, there was this:

Of this photo, the United States ambassador wrote, "Scenes like this were common all over the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms—massacre, starvation, exhaustion—destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation"

And this:

Decapitated heads of Armenians placed on stakes.
And this:

Armenian Christian women crucified
Maybe we can thank The Cosmic Muffin it never fucking works in the end, but there's always somebody - usually followed closely by a big buncha of rubes - willing to blame every difficulty (real or imagineered) on a hapless minority, and to mask their own lust for blood, power and treasure by tapping into a base human brutality in order to try just one more time to kill his way to glory.

So why do we keep saying, "never again" when history is just chock full of this kinda shit?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Think Of Something Better

And that kinda goes with a piece at WaPo:
The U.S. suicide rate has increased sharply since the turn of the century, led by an even greater rise among middle-aged white people, particularly women, according to federal data released Friday.
Last decade’s severe recession, more drug addiction, “gray divorce,” increased social isolation, and even the rise of the Internet and social media may have contributed to the growth in suicide, according to a variety of people who study the issue.
But economic distress — and dashed hopes generally — may underpin some of the increase, particularly for middle-aged white people. The data showed a 1 percent annual increase in suicide between 1999 and 2006 but a 2 percent yearly hike after that, as the economy deteriorated, unemployment skyrocketed and millions lost their homes.
“People [were] growing up with a certain expectation . . . and the Great Recession and other things have really changed that,” said Julie A. Phillips, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University who studies the demography of suicide. “Things aren’t panning out the way people expect. I feel for sure that has had an effect.”

Friday, April 22, 2016

How Things Change

In 1969, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins took this picture of Apollo 11's Lunar Landing Module, with (obviously) the Earth in the background.

Dramatic and interesting and Nerd-Cool-As-Fuck, because at that moment, Collins is the only human being - living or dead - who isn't in that picture.

What's the word for the exact opposite of "selfie"?

English Is Weird

... although, through tough thorough thought, it can be made to make sense.

A Lousy 10 Million

Figure out two things: 
1) how to get the nerds the support they need
2) how to stay the fuck outa their way

Today's Tweet

I'll make allowance for the possibility that somebody's had his PhotoShoppy way with this, but c'mon - there just can't be a more fitting graphic to make the connection between Heads-Of-State and their Big Guns.

We Could Call It Progress

Beat on your neighbor - you go to jail.

Beat on your dog - you go to jail.

Beat on your kids - well, the little boogers gotta learn some respect, dammit.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

And We Lose Another One

(Apocryphal or not): Someone asked Eric Clapton what it felt like to be the greatest guitar player in the world, and he answered, "I don't know - ask Prince".

Clapton played on the original track (White Album), but couldn't make it to the George tribute - so Prince stood in for him.

Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

Today's Tweet

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another 420

Usually, on April 20th, I put up a post to be kinda jokey about The Hemp Rangers, or I'll try to link it back to the struggles of working people against the Corporatists, but every once in a while, I feel the need to hedge my bets against the whole after-life thing.

So just in case Adolph is able to check in with us (this being his birthday and all), and because there's a sizable portion of Americans who seem to think Mr Hitler had some good ideas too - which makes them think it's OK to support the authoritarian crap spilling out of the GOP right now - I think it's important to take just a small moment to mock him (and them) unmercifully, and to make sure they all know how stoopidly childish their behavior is.

(and of course, I do this in a stoopidly childish way to make sure they can understand it)

So Adolph was an extremely bad guy who did extremely bad things.  And he didn't love his country; he actually had a deep sense of shame and loathing for himself and everybody else, and his whole political career was aimed at punishing the German people for being stoopid enough to follow The Kaiser, and then even stoopider for following him, and all he could think of was to burn the whole place down etc etc etc.

But a Nickelback fan? Universal condemnation is in order - so yeah - fuck that guy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sunday, April 17, 2016

New One For Me

From a guy named Chauncey DeVega, Tim Wise talking about Brain Studies and Trump voters - starting at about 33 minutes:

Today's Word

Today's Tweet

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Today's GIF

Today's Tweet

Please, Mr Kasich

The danger is that what some folks have been hoping will happen is still a possibility - ie: positioning Kasich as 'the moderate choice'. He's trying to take advantage of the media narrative of Trump being out on one extreme and Bernie being out there on the other extreme, with Kasich in the middle.  And never mind Hillary or Ted because they're both kookie too, just in a different way.  What ya really need is a kindly conservative like Plain Ol' Gee-Golly John.

Kasich's record is pretty easy to characterize as Authoritarian and Austerian, along with Privatizing and (at least Semi-) Theocratic. And, with that video, we could add Tone Deaf or  maybe even Brain Dead.  It's pretty easy to find lotsa criticism for that record online.

A lot of weird shit could happen in Cleveland - Kasich's back yard btw. Right now, there's a GOP rule (I think it's #40b) that's being interpreted as saying you don't get nominated if you haven't won a majority of delegates in at least 8 primaries. Lotsa speculation and wrangling over that one. Parties almost always open their national conventions with a few sessions of their Rules Committees, so we'll just hafta wait to see what silliness pops up this time around.

I think Kasich's pretty sure he's out, but that doesn't mean he can't be King-Maker; and it doesn't mean he won't make a play for Party Savior etc etc etc. So Kasich's job right now is to put himself somewhere between Trump and Cruz, and to re-paper the GOP with a plausible veneer that lets 'em Etch-A-Sketch their way back to the 90s when they were a big steamin' pile of freakzoid zealots, but they were all a lot better at pretending they weren't.

Here's the thing: Don't be fooled by all this Moderate-By-Comparison bullshit that the PR guys are peddling - a smiling hyena will still eat your kids.

This shit prob'ly gets worse before it gets better.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Caribou Barbie

Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin argued Thursday that Bill Nye is not actually a scientist.
“Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am,” Palin said at an event in Washington, D.C., according to The Hill. “He’s a kids’ show actor; he’s not a scientist.”
Now, at first blush, I have to ask - does she really not know how to spell 'google' or what? Or is she just really sure that nobody in the audience is gonna check on anything, so she can Slap-Chop her way thru a few page-fuls of about 1500 randomly selected (and barely related words), knowing it doesn't fucking matter?

So I just have to wonder - no, seriously now - I do. She's not really all that dumb. There's something going on in whatever it is she's using as a brain, but it's like she's internalized the process of Deliberate Ignorance to the point where she's convinced herself that being stoopid is how 'being smart' works. And maybe it is, in her own special way - because she's got a following. She has a group of people who practically hang on her every word. And you don't build that kinda loyalty just being dumb - even tho' (obviously) it helps a lot if you can get the crowds to believe you're as stoopid as you think they are. Or something.  

It makes my head hurt.

Today's Pix