Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's Changing

It doesn't matter if you believe it or you don't - climate change is not some global conspiracy of thousands of scientists and hundreds of national governments being valiantly resisted by a plucky band of billionaires.


National Phenology Network (USANPN.org)

Nobody's trying to snooker you out of a few extra tax bucks and your F-350 Super Duty. Get over yourself.  We'd just like your help figuring out how we can all keep what we've got without committing suicide-by-toxic-waste. Can we try that for a while?

Today's Tweet

Alive And Well

These idiot groups always get puffed up when there's a Democratic POTUS, but then for whatever reason they settle down a bit when the Repubs take over. 

Not this time.

Van Jones at New Republic:
These groups—Klansmen, neo-Nazis, white nationalists—did more than talk and meet and march. They plotted to turn their hatred into violence. “They laid plans to attack courthouses, banks, festivals, funerals, schools, mosques, churches, synagogues, clinics, water-treatment plants, and power grids,” reports the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They used firearms, bombs, C-4 plastic explosives, knives, and grenades.”
It would be all too easy to turn away from this reality, or consign it to the distant past. But Milano turned his camera lens directly toward it. For many, these images will be shocking. Others will be more saddened than surprised. But thanks to his work, we are all met with the direct evidence that white supremacist groups are thriving in America.
This goes on not more than 2 hours south of my place:

Today's GIF

In keeping with how weird it's been lately, here's a bear playing tetherball:


Monday, February 27, 2017

Countervailing

From Mock Paper Scissors, a list of people banding together on Twitter to form a Shadow Cabinet in order to fact-check and countervail 45*'s bullshit:
  • LAURENCE TRIBE, “Attorney General” — Constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School.
  • MARIELENA HINCAPIE, “INS/ICE/Immigration” — executive director, National Immigration Law Center
  • DERAY MCKESSON, “Justice Issues” – Co-founder, Black Lives Matter, civil rights activist.
  • ROBERT REICH, “Labor/Commerce” — Ex-Labor Secretary, best-selling author.
  • LAURA TYSON, “Treasury/Trade” — Ex-chair CEA, professor at BerkeleyHass Business School
  • DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, “IRS” — Pulitzer prize-winning journo/author. Founder of new DCReport.
  • DIANE RAVITCH, “Education” — Professor at NYU, author/editor of 24 books on education.
  • JOAN CLAYBROOK, “Transportation” — Ex-head of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • ROB WEISSMAN, “Consumer Agencies” — President, Public Citizen.
  • DAVID FREEMAN, “Energy & EPA” — Ex-head of TVA & NYS Power Authority.
  • DAVID HIMMELSTEIN, STEFFIE WOOLFINDLER, “HHS/Health” — Distinguished Professors at Pub. Health School, CUNY/Hunter; co-founders Physicians for National Health.
  • COLIN KAHL, “NSA/Terrorism” – V.P. Biden’s National Security Adviser.
  • ROSA BROOKS, “State Department” — Ex–DoD counselor, author, columnist Foreign Policy.
  • ANDREW BACEVICH, “Defense Department” — Author/historian, BU.Pardee School Global Affairs.

Today's Tweet

Post-Truth Credibility

Vox:
Back on February 18, CBS News’s Major Garrett reported that Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as secretary of the Navy was likely to withdraw from consideration. 
If the press secretary habitually tells obvious lies (like about Inauguration Day crowd sizes) or says plausible-sounding things that later turn out to be false (like indignantly denying Garrett’s story), then he ends up like the proverbial boy who cried wolf. When there’s a crisis — a natural disaster, a foreign war, a terrorist attack, a bank panic, an epidemic, anything — the Trump administration, like all previous administrations, is going to want to credibly convey accurate information to the public. But it’s not clear it will be able to.
45* and Company lie to us a lot - seems like all the time, actually.  Either they're lying by design, or because they're incompetent so they're doing it just because one guy has no fucking clue what the other guys are doing or saying, or all of the above, or all of the above plus any variety and combination of other reasons.

It's just a constant stream of bullshit.

And some of the things we know now have to make us suspicious of everything that will come out of every department from now on (eg: 45* asked for an Intelligence Report that would fit the criteria for Muslim Ban 2.0).

So what will be the difference between this month's Labor Stats and reality? There's not much standing in 45*'s way as far as reporting an enormously inflated Unemployment number, thinking that'll support his claims from last year during his campaign, and now justify the bullshit he's trying to float about having inherited a mess from Obama.

This shit has to end. And it doesn't just run its course and burn itself out and go away on its own. A little retrospect informs us that power at this level is not ceded lightly. 

It's said that nobility dies by its own hand. That can mean a few different things, but mostly it means people at the top of the pyramid give up their power when someone forces them to do it.

Honorable people will have to step up and make this end.

Featured Artist - Pawel Kucynski











The Un-Coverage

Wondering why this guy isn't a household name.


ITV:
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, aged 32, died following the shooting in a crowded Kansas City bar, while Alok Madasani, also 32, was injured. Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old American who jumped to the defence of the two men, was also shot.
Witnesses told police the shooter shouted "get out of my country" before opening fire in Olathe.
Officers have charged 51-year-old Adam Purinton with murder and attempted murder following the incident on Wednesday.
-and-
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said any attempt to connect the president's rhetoric on immigrants to the tragedy in Kansas "would be absurd."
Just another isolated incident that can't possibly be connected to all the others. 

Yeah, OK - go ahead cuz we're all buyin' that shit, right?

Today's Quote

I found much that was alarming about being a citizen during the tenures of Richard Nixon and George W Bush. But whatever I may have seen as their limitations of character or intellect, neither was anything like as humanly impoverished as Trump is: ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy of art, incapable expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.
--Philip Roth

Today's GIF

I just don't think I can Monday today. Please don't make me.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Today's Bamboozle

I need to smack myself in the head with this whenever I think I'll watch a game on TV on any given Sunday, because no - I won't.  I'll watch commercials and replays and people standing around not doing jack shit.

I'll spend more time watching video of something the players did a few seconds before than I'll spend watching the players actually doing what I'm watching on video.



Average length of NFL game: 3:12:00

Average time the ball is actually in play: 0:11:00

Number of commercials: 100+

Today's Tweet

Dots

There's nothing solid, of course, but there could be something between this:


and this:


Reuters:
Thousands of Russians marched through the center of Moscow on Sunday to honor opposition leader Boris Nemtsov two years after he was gunned down near the Kremlin walls, and to call for further investigations into his killing.
The 55-year-old Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead on a bridge near the Kremlin late in the evening of Feb. 27, 2015, as he walked home with his girlfriend from a restaurant.
Investigators have charged several Chechen men with the murder, but lawyers for Nemtsov's daughter said the investigation had failed to uncover who ordered the shooting.
Putin has said that he supported the investigation into Nemtsov's murder.
"We gathered here to demand bringing of Boris Nemtsov's killers to justice, not only its performers but also its organizers and those who ordered it," Ilya Yashin, a Russian opposition activist and an organizer of the march, told Reuters.
"We gathered here to demand political reforms and release of political prisoners."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Today's Internet Poll

I voted - and it's an online thing, so there's no accounting for anything, and it's Fox Nation where they can turn on a dime.

At least with this one, the numbers add up - more or less.

Space Junk

From working satellites to dead satellites to tools and nuts and bolts to burnt-out rockets to gloves and boots - here's a map of the 500,000 objects in orbit around Earth that NASA has to keep track of just so we don't have worthless shit colliding with important shit at speeds as high as 17,500 mph.

Ever had your hand out the car window bombin' down the highway and get hit by a grasshopper?

Seventeen Thousand Mile Per Hour

Guess why all that intelligent life out there never comes to visit.



They're not gonna drop in on us once they see what a buncha fuckin' slobs we are.

Near Quote

One of the great challenges in life is knowing enough to think you're right, while understanding you don't know enough to know why you're wrong.
--Neil DeGrasse Tyson

"Near Quote" because he said he had trouble remembering it exactly the way he put it in a tweet.

Professional Left Podcast

At the rally in Florida, Melania Trump reads the Lord's Prayer which is in the book of Matthew, chapter 6, verse 9.

Also in Mathew 6? Just a few verses before that?
The World Is Not a Stage6 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.
2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.Pray with Simplicity
5 “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.(The Message)
I am nobody's Christian, but I listen to driftglass & Blue Gal, and Bible Bitch teaches me stuff.

The Obamacare part is really good too.

And the Media Criticism - the takedown of the Both Sides bullshit.

And then Sebastian Gorka.




Friday, February 24, 2017

A Questionaire

Please answer each question as honestly as possible
  • What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
  • When did you decide you were heterosexual?
  • Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase that you may grow out of?
  • Do you flaunt your heterosexuality?
  • Could you be happy just being what you are and keeping quiet about it?
  • Do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into that lifestyle?
  • Have you considered therapy to help you change your heterosexual tendencies?
hat tip = @samkalidi

Trae Crowder

"...to hate somebody enough to distract them from how much they hate themselves."

Intercepted Podcast

LGBTQ issues, some scary NSA shit and 45* vs The Press.



Intercepted on Stitcher

Today's Tweet

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today's Pix


















This Just In

It can now be reported that we're getting the first of the photographic evidence of people having been paid to turn out for the Town Hall meetings that have been so boisterous and potentially riotous.


hat tip = @JoshSchwerin

The Cost Of Things

Jeff Scon at Moyers & Company
After the most recent Super Bowl, I read an article that estimated it cost employers $1 billion in lost productivity on the Monday afterward — a mix of people calling in sick, showing up late and spending time discussing the top commercials (46 percent), the halftime show (12 percent), and the game play and strategy (12 percent).
Ask yourself: How much time during the last week did you spend ‘on’ Trump?
This article got me thinking about how much the Trump presidency will cost the US economy during the next four years due to similar losses in productivity.
Trump’s narcissistic behavior — manifested in his unfiltered and uncontrolled Twitter communications and his preoccupation with being the center of attention — has created an unrelenting daily media frenzy. Every day brings a new crisis, new accusations, insults and lies that suck us into spending time “on” Trump.
Ask yourself: How much time during the last week did you spend “on” Trump?
Here's a snapshot of Schon's quickie pass at the math:
 
And what do you think we might be able to do with that kinda money? Go check the end of his piece.

Pushing Back

WaPo:
A new poll from Quinnipiac University suggests that while people may be broadly unhappy with the mainstream media, they still think it's more credible than Trump. The president regularly accuses the press of “fake news,” but people see more “fake news” coming out of his own mouth.
The poll asked who registered voters “trust more to tell you the truth about important issues.” A majority — 52 percent — picked the media. Just 37 percent picked Trump.
The poll did find that registered voters by a narrow margin think the media has treated Trump unfairly, with 50 percent saying they disapproved of the coverage of Trump and 45 percent approving. But voters are even more critical of Trump's treatment of the media, with 61 percent disapproving and 35 percent approving.
Even 23 percent of Republicans say Trump is mistreating the media, and independents disapprove 59-35.
And in case you missed it, WaPo quietly added a little something to it's banner:

 

Which brings us to Three Things About The Daddy State
  1. Every government needs to do certain things without telling us about it, but the Daddy State needs the dark more than any other. There are way too many things they can't afford to let us see - a lot more than in anything resembling a democracy. Leakers and the Press are light-shiners; Daddy Staters hate them, and spend a shitload of time and energy covering their own asses and fighting disclosure - because they're always up to no good, and they know it.
  2. The greatest threat to the Daddy State is anybody with a functioning memory. 45* is always carping about the Press because they write things down and compare what he says today with what he said before - sometimes moments before.  Creating the illusion of near-infallibility is a key element in any cult. Pointing out mistakes and contradictions makes you their enemy. And boy oh boy do they love having enemies.
  3. Citizens who insist on being involved in the decision-making process comprise the best possible preventative measure and the best remedy.

That last one sounds like a very old and very tired cliché because we always assume we get to make up our minds and freely express our opinions and go out and vote once in a while.

But we've internalized the Rent-Seeker's ambition - sit on your ass enjoying the benefits while everybody else does the work.  Anywhere from 40% to 60% of the people who could vote don't vote.

Because we've also internalized the bullshit (fed to us all the time) that government sucks; they're all the same anyway; both parties are corrupt; the major candidates are just two sides of the same coin so why bother blah blah fuckin' blah.

Get past it.

You want better choices? Get your ass out to a Caucus; or vote in the primary.  And take somebody with you. And stop being so damned polite to people who won't help. When you refuse to be part of the solution you become part of the problem. ie: If you think it's shitty but you refuse to make even the simplest effort to improve it, then you're helping the buttheads who're making it shitty. Silence implies consent.

Or you could run for office yourself.  Have you not seen some of these bozos? Look who's in the White House right now.  It is - for all practical purposes and by every modern standard - impossible for you to be any worse than what we've got now.

Cutting to the chase: Bullet point 3a is real simple. When everybody votes, the Daddy State loses - by definition the Daddy State loses and Democracy wins when we all take part in this little experiment called Self-Government.

    Feel The Love

    This world map shows who feels most threatened by whom.


    hat tip = Facebook bud Doug R

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Keith

    And holy fuck, Batman.



    Look, Olbermann can be a little nutty and top-heavy at times.  But when was the last time he ran with real news that wasn't properly sourced and vetted?

    I've had to watch it 3 or 4 times. This is totally fucked up, but it kinda makes a little sense in an enormously perverse way.

    Suddenly, it doesn't seem quite so weird that Trump doesn't really do anything, and Congress doesn't do anything, and how there are over 500 Senate-confirmable vacancies that span every department for which nominees haven't even been put up yet.


    Of 549 key positions requiring Senate confirmation…
    515 - Awaiting nomination
    20 - Awaiting confirmation
    14 - Confirmed

    It's been 4 months since the election and over a month since inauguration - so what's the hold up here? This is just too fucking weird.  Not looking forward to it, but if they're gonna pull the trigger, I sure wish they'd go ahead and do it.

    Today's Quote

    Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.

    Hat tip = Linda M-M, Facebook

    Keith

    The suicide of a presidency


    Reuters Polling

    Still Waiting

    45* said he'd order up a plan for "Defeating ISIS" within 30 days. We're 2 days past that now.  Not 2 days past the deadline for getting a plan - 2 days past when 45* said he'd order the plan.  Nice plan.


    And the silence is deafening - again.

    Tragedy Du Jour

    Breaking news this morning:

    It can now be reported that President Trump's personal library has been destroyed in a fire.

    It appears to be a total loss, as both books were burned, and in a cruel twist, he hadn't finished coloring the second one.

    hat tip = FB pal Linda M-M

    Perspective

    You're a collection of biochemical reactions creating electrical impulses, ambulating around in a meat-covered skeleton, riding on a massive rock that's already on the downside of the existence bell curve, falling through space towards certain annihilation and a return to the very same stardust everything is made from.

    There's no reason to be afraid of anything.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    Today's Tweet

    White Rise

    The Atlantic:
    Across the United States, Jewish communities are struggling to deal with this new wave of threats. While none of the bomb threats have led to violence, Monday’s calls came around the same time as another attack: Roughly 170 Jewish graves in a Missouri cemetery were desecrated over the weekend, according to The Washington Post. The calls may be a novel form of intimidation, but the context around them is not. American Jews are victims of more reported hate crimes than any other group in the United States, and have been subject to the majority of religiously motivated offenses every year since 1995, when the FBI first started reporting these statistics. The phone calls may not result in violence, but they contribute to an atmosphere of anti-Semitism already well-established in the United States.
    You can't draw a line between any one thing 45* has said that goes straight to any given incident.

    President Bannon knows that, because he knows about Stochastic Probability, so he knows he and his merry band have a nice fat lot of plausible deniability.

    But this is some more of that shit that doesn't happen by accident, even though it really does, even though it doesn't because Bannon never told anybody to do anything.
    In the presence of English Barons, Henry II—who is now utterly vexed by Becket's actions—cries out: Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest? Believing the King meant for Becket to be murdered, four knights ride to Canterbury Cathedral and kill Becket on December 29, 1170.

    CO2 Cycle

    From NASA - in 3D - as of Dec 2016.



    I can't confirm that this is the kind of thing negatively effected under 45*'s Executive Order that purportedly reduced or eliminated the part of NASA's mission that included research on weather and Climate Change, but with Pruitt at EPA, Sessions at AG and Tillerson at State, am I s'posed to be surprised if that's the case?

    Theres a good rendition of this with some decent narration at Vox

    Yeah - It's That Bad

    From Right Wing Watch
    Wiles asserted that “devil-worshiping, Luciferian, demon-possessed maniacs” have formed a “criminal cabal [that is] running this nation and much of the world” that allows them to engage in “child trafficking, child molestation, child rape, [and] child murder.”


    Gotta wonder - why is the Great and Powerful Donald of Oz unable to mount an effective resistance to this evil cabal? 

    Why would 45* fire Flynn for knowing the truth, when he (45*) could use it to seal the deal on prosecuting Hillary?  And what's keeping Flynn from speaking this truth now?

    What about god's noble warriors of a GOP that's been in control of Congress for 6 years? They're all powerless against these devil-worshipers?

    I also wonder about the morality of someone who just takes this crap at face value, and seems not to care whether it's true or not. But I think always testing for truth ends up being a threat to their faith.  They've been trained not to question certain things. They already accept the big absurdity on faith (and they pay handsomely for that), so why not look for other opportunities to trade fairy tales for tribute?

    My favorite political fantasy right now is that somebody out of office takes one of these greasy slugs to court. Not to spank 'em or collapse their phony little fiefdoms financially (although that'd be one very enjoyable side effect), but to force them out into the open and expose them as the lying sacks of shit they are by requiring them to present the "evidence" they're basing these crazy-fuck ideas on as they peddle their huge steaming piles of bullshit to the rubes.

    Of course, you can't do that because of the whole Free Speech thing and 200 years of precedent allowing anybody to say anything about a public figure with near-absolute impunity.

    So what can you say about a system that protects even the lowest and shittiest of the muck divers?

    You say, "I give them the benefit of law for my own safety's sake".

    And then you say "God bless America"

    But still - y'know?

    Today's Charlie

    Esquire's Charlie Pierce is a fucking god:
    I do not feel compelled to respect a president any more or less than I respect somebody I hire to fix my roof or paint my house. Whomever gets elected works for me. As to the office, well, I understand how it is a single unifying figure within the government, and how he—again, theoretically—represents the whole country. But, in my lifetime, the Oval Office has seen coups, burglaries, and illegal arms sales planned. It has been the venue for criminal mischief and illicit canoodling. That it is also the place where the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were signed is the great paradox. But the idea that I have to respect The Presidency qua The Presidency is something that raises the hackles in my democratic conscience.
    First of all, there's this commander-in-chief business. By constitutional mandate, the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Period. He is not my commander-in-chief. Neither is he yours. Neither is he the commander-in-chief of the civilian government. The Congress can tell him to go whistle. The Supreme Court can slap his agenda back in his face. Nobody outside the military has to salute him. But, in every presidency, there's a temptation to push the commander-in-chief prerogatives a little further into the civilian sphere, and this is powerfully dangerous. To his credit, Garry Wills has been railing against this for years. He points out that, when Richard Nixon decapitated the Watergate Special Counsel's office, Alexander Haig presumed to tell assistant attorney-general William Ruckelshaus that Ruckelshaus' "commander-in-chief" had given him an order. Ruckelshaus told Haig to pound sand and got fired. Nixon wasn't Ruckelshaus' commander-in-chief. He was just his boss.
    Always go back and read your Charlie. It's not like vegetables at all - it's good and it's for ya too.

    Today I Learned:
    18th century Pamphleteer Mercy Otis Warren

    Too Typical

    The dopes who had to cast the Purity Protest Votes didn't help, but as usual, the main problem is the fact that so many of us can't bring ourselves to vote at all.


    America - land of the free and the home of the sit on your ass while everybody else does the work.

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Today's Podcast

    Marc Maron - What The Fuck

    Episode 787 - Lena Dunham & then Trae Crowder

    About That "Deeply Divided" Thing

    Wanna see the real difference between them and us?

    They actually believe this shit (or say they do so what's difference?):



    And we know better:


    I won't be able to reconcile myself with, or pair up with, or find commonality with anybody who insists on being ignorant - especially at a time when there actually are vast resources  they can use to find out about stuff.

    I just can't.