Thursday, December 07, 2017

Evangelicals Vision for Jerusalem

For evangelical Christians peace in the Middle East is abhorrent. They want war there and not a little war, they lust for a war of annihilation in Israel where the blood will flow a meter deep. They want the Muslim world so enraged at Israel that they will band together a massive invasion army. They want to bring about the Battle of Armageddon. They expect this war to kills two-thirds of the Jews in Israel with the survivors converted to Christianity. They foresee Jerusalem reduced to rubble to be rebuilt by a returning Jesus.

After the war they foresee the mass genocide of unbelievers so that only Christians will remain alive. Many believe that only the members of their particular Protestant sect will survive the culling.

This is the only thing evangelical Christians want for Christmas. I'm not saying Trump believes this shit, he believes nothing that doesn't have a dollar sign attached, but it is what Radical Republicans expect will be the result of Trump moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Trump's Lawyer and Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor is the theory in logic that you can never go wrong underestimating the intelligence of this President.

Trump appeared to tweet a confession to obstruction of justice when he claimed to have known that Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI when he told then FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn. Conversely, Trump lawyer John Dowd claims he wrote the tweet and Trump was totally ignorant.

Which story is most likely true?

Dowd Wrote It
According to the White House, Trump's Twitter posts are "official presidential statements." A trained lawyer, deliberately pretending to be Trump, clumsily dictates a statement that makes it appear that Trump has committed a felony. Dowd did it such a way that there is no email trail tracing back to Dowd even though attorneys obsessively document their actions to protect both themselves and their clients.

Trump Wrote It
and Dowd is lying because Trump stupidly incriminated himself on Twitter. Covfefe.

Which is the simplest explanation?

Friday, December 01, 2017

Trickle Down Economics and Other Stuff

Trickle, Trickle
The Republican tax plan reminds me of a 1950's do-wop classic. Here's Manhattan Transfer.

White House of Wax 
Melania Trump's Christmas decorations look like a scene from a schlocky 50's horror movie.
Then there is her appearance watching ballerinas. She's standing, almost motionless, with a null expression on her face. Those slight movements are the only proof they didn't wheel out a wax statue to impersonate the First Lady. Although I wouldn't put it past the mad master of the White House to have a vat of boiling paraffin in the basement waiting for his wife.

Empty Chairs
The first lesson of politics I learned is to always have a venue slightly smaller than your expected attendance. You want to squeeze people in and have them standing in the aisles. If the fire marshal isn't pissed you've failed.
The White House hired thousands of folding chairs for the 2017 national Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Dozens showed up leading to this truly embarrassing photo.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Happens If There Is a Recession?

As I write this the stock market is up about one percent. That's all well and good and supposed to be caused by the prospects of a rich guy's tax cut. Except, the market is already at a pretty dizzy height and well above historic averages. Looking at the S&P 500,
  • P/E ratio 25.5 - the price of stocks divided by how much money they make. A healthy economy sees a ratio around 15. Stocks are significantly overpriced. The only times in the past 140 years it was this high was 2001 (the dotcom bubble) and 2008 (the subprime mortgage bubble). Both popped into deep recessions.
  • Earnings Yield 3.9% - This is pathetically low and only tolerated by investors because interest rates have been rock bottom. But rates are rising making business investments look increasingly risky.
  • Corporate Debt - Is massive, especially in the highly leveraged retail sector. Businesses don't have the earnings to pay off their debts so as interest rates rise some really big businesses are staring at bankruptcy (Sears, I'm looking at you).
We are near the top of the Obama economic boom. Looking ahead, Republicans will pass their tax cuts and a few months later the nation will stumble into a, perhaps deep, recession. A recession that, given the Kansas experiment, the Trump tax cuts will make worse.

People will lose their jobs. Republicans will react by cutting government spending, making the human suffering worse. Voters who have tolerated Trump's boorish behavior because at least he made the trains run on time will turn on Dear Leader. Trump and Steve Bannon will blame everything on immigrants, upping the hate rhetoric to try and hold their base. Facing a mid-term electoral debacle, Trump will play the only card left to him, starting a nuclear war with North Korea.
While the rich move their tax savings off shore.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Stupidity As a Political Statement

Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise. ~ Thomas Gray, English poet (1742)
Republicans are rapidly embracing stupidity as a life goal. In 2015, more than half of Republicans believed that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the country. Today, that number has plunged to just 36%. (source: Pew Research)
Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. ~ William Shakespeare
For decades, evangelical Christians have described public education as a Satanic evil, a position that has been adopted by radical Republicans. They contend that teaching children science and biology corrupts their innocence with knowledge. Even mathematics has been attacked as ungodly. Trump's education secretary wants to starve public schools of funding.

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. ~ James Baldwin
Where faith defeats knowledge it is easier to believe that Sharia Law is taking over the country, ignore the facts proving that is nonsense, and then let hate of innocent Muslims consume them. Ignorance allows people to believe Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists because one dolt said so justifying injustices inflicted on them.

Two final quotes:
Ignorance might be bliss for the ignorant, but for the rest of us it's a right fucking pain in the arse. ~ Ricky Gervais

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. ~ James Madison

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Apeish Behavior

It's not about sex. Trump, Roy Moore, Bob Filner, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, Charlie Rose, none of their obscene behavior was about sex. If all they wanted was stranger sex there was an easier and cheaper alternative, pick up a hooker. It was all about dominance. Like unevolved apes, they were using sexual displays to exert power over others. Animalistic is the best description of their acts.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Heaven As Described By Evangelical Christians

Dying man couldn’t make up his mind which place to go to—both have their advantages, “heaven for climate, hell for company!” ~ Mark Twain
According to evangelicals Heaven is reserved only for those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord. They are cleansed of their sins and welcome beyond the pearly gates.

Headed for Heaven
Jeffery Dahmer was raised in a strict creationist household. He started by murdering the young men he had sex with then dismembering and eating them. He later progressed to kidnapping young boys, raping them before cutting them up and consuming them. He is held up by evangelicals as an example of God's saving grace. Dahmer is in Heaven.

Other serial killers with ticket to God include the Son of Sam (David Berkowitz), and Gary Ridgway the Green River Killer.

Roy Moore has preached hate his entire life and has been a sexual predator of teen girls. He is so Heaven bound that when he autographs a Bible it's the same as if Jesus signed it. Swindler harridans like Pat Robertson and Oral Roberts have frightened millions with threats of damnation into giving away their money.

Heaven might be pretty to look at but the neighbors are shit.

Better Class of People in Hell
Christians are insistent that there's is an exclusive club. While many liberal Christians say that Mohandas Gandhi has earned Heaven, evangelicals are emphatic that not only is the great Hindu saint of nonviolence in Hell, any Christians that disagree with that are going to Hell too.

All the good, decent non-Christians are headed for Hell which means most of the people worth hanging out with will be there while Heaven will be housing killers, thieves, and hateful holier than thou jerks.

I know where I'd rather be.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Proof Americans Are Getting Dumber

If you want proof of the dumbing down of America look no further than the Model T Ford.
The Model T was the common man's automobile from 1908 to 1927. Priced at just $300, inflation adjusted that would be $4200 today, you would be hard pressed to find a used 12 year-old Ford Taurus for a similar value. It was the car for every regular Joe. The thing is, it was harder to drive a Model T than flying a Boeing 747.

Starting the Car
1) Under the front fender set the chock, then turn the crank a quarter turn to prime the carburetor.
2) Get in the car and set the coil box switch to magneto, retard the timing, move the throttle stalk downwards just a bit to idle. Don't forget to put the car in the neutral that sets the rear brakes.
3) Get back out of the car and turn the crank WITH YOUR LEFT HAND. If you use your right hand, when the car starts and the crank kicks back it will break your arm.

Driving the Car
Now you are ready to drive.
There is no accelerator pedal. To make the car go forward you use the emergency brake that doubles as a clutch while setting the gas flow with the lever on the right side of the steering column and adjusting spark with the lever on the left side of the steering column while setting the speed clutch which is the leftward floor pedal.

To slow the car for a corner adjust the speed clutch (left) pedal to neutral, it's somewhere between high speed and low speed, while using the brake (right) pedal. It's probably a good idea to reduce the gas flow and retard the spark so you don't stall out. Don't forget to steer!

Damn, you're in a ditch.

Your grandparents drove these Tin Lizzies with as much skill as you drive your air conditioned SUV with cruise control, power steering, and a cup holder for your half soy latte.

Face it, your grandparents were a lot smarter than you. They had to be to drive that thing. If you tried to drive a Model T you'd piss yourself just pulling out of the driveway.

The Model T is absolute proof that Americans are getting dumber. Oh, and Henry Ford was an anti-Semitic racist.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Evangelicals and Child Brides

The dirty little secret of Christian evangelicals is the acceptance of older men creeping on young girls.
The biblical justification for this is Deuteronomy 22:28-29.
If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her.

There it is for horny fundamentalist men. God approves of rape as long as she is a virgin and you pay the father.

Among Old Testament evangelical Alabamans nothing Roy Moore has done is wrong. Child molestation is God approved. Hell, even the payment to the father and marriage parts would only apply if he had been discovered at the time. Or, as Moore's semi-literate lawyer put it, "Culturally speaking, obviously there's differences."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Longest Movies Ever Made

Movie goers tend to dislike movies that run much over two hours, which is about as long as they can hold in the pee after drinking one of those huge concession stand drinks. That hasn't stopped some directors from making real bladder busters.

Logistics - Longest Movie Ever (5 weeks)
At 51,420 minutes, Logistics by Erika Magnusson and Daniel Andersson follows, in real time, in reverse order, the complete process of a pedometer from end sale, through shipping, back to its manufacturing in China. Much of the film is of a container ship sailing backwards across the oceans. Boredom Index 10 out of 10.

Empire - Longest Famous Movie (8 hours)
In 1964, Andy Worhol followed up his five hour snoozefest Sleep, showing a guy sleeping, with this film of the Empire State Building. That's it. A six and a half hour static shot of the top of the building shown in slow motion for a third of a day. Called an "influential cinematic work" by the Museum of Modern Art, it is listed as culturally significant by the Library of Congress. Boredom Index 10 out of 10.

Greed - Longest Famous Director Movie (8 hours)
Erich Von Stromheim's 1924 silent masterpiece. It tells the story of a woman who wins the lottery and becomes obsessed with money. She refuses to spend a penny forcing her and her husband to live in grinding poverty while she protects her horde. Her husband kills her for the money, flees to the desert where he ends up handcuffed to a corpse unable to reach either the money or water.

MGM executives were aghast at the length.  They cut the movie down to a still long for the time two hours and twenty minutes, butchering the story. The film flopped. Only eight people are known to have seen the now lost original film.

Silent film cameraman Karl Brown said in the 1980 TV documentary Hollywood that Stromheim developed an "insane desire to use his genius as a weapon." He would force studios to spend "millions and more millions until he had a beautiful monstrosity that is worthless except as a curiosity piece." He would prove his genius and have his vengeance against the world.

Lord of the Rings - Longest Great Movie (11 hours, 21 minutes)
Peter Jackson's magnus opus made almost $3 billion worldwide, garnered 17 Academy Awards and spawned another magnus, The Hobbit, that earned an additional $3 billion. There is nothing I can add except that Jackson outdid Stromheim by three hours and pulled it off to boot.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Republicans Define Christianity: Roy Moore Edition

Suffer little children and forbid them not, to come unto me ~ Matthew 19:14
Bible Belt Republicans are the dictionary definition of holier than thou. They claim to speak for God Himself on all things political. The revelation that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore used his power and reputation as an assistant DA in 1979 to abused a 14 year-old child, and other girls as well, has led his supporters to a rousing defense of the godliness of child molestation.

State Auditor Jim Ziegler famously said the assault was neither immoral nor illegal (by Alabama law it was a felony) because the Virgin Mary was the same age when she became pregnant with Jesus.
Or, to put it most irreverently, because God knocked up a fourteen year-old, it is an act of faith for Moore to fondle a girl the same age. *Footnote here, the Bible never states Mary's age, only that she was a virgin living at home at the time of impregnation. Fourteen is a common guess but some pedophilic Christians claim Mary was a prepubescent twelve year-old.
I have no doubt that the "good Christians" of Alabama will, in their faith, joyfully vote a pedo into the US Senate because he is a God fearing bigot.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Rats In the News

If you expand your vision there are many species of rats.

Mob Rat (Rattus Offeret)
Known by their habit of squealing when cornered. Robert Mueller is trying to live capture these animals. George Papadopoulos is one famous mob rat, Carter Page will probably be another.

Sewer Rat (Rattus Bannonus)
Found frequently and most comfortably wallowing in shit. Sewer rats hate anything good, decent, and kind. It is said that even Satan vomits at the sight of Steve Bannon. Most commonly found in rural, poor, uneducated white communities where they are attracted by the sight of Confederate flags, the smell of gun oil, and the blood of innocents. Sewer rats consider treason a noble profession.

Scaredy Rat (Rattus Naufragio)
Naufragio is Latin for shipwreck. The number of Republicans in Congress abandoning ship and skedaddling home is growing by the week. These rats know when a ship is sinking and get while the getting is good.

Trump Rat (Rattus Pirata)
A subspecies of the Sewer Rat, these rats love to clamor aboard sinking ships and take them over. They don't actually do anything when they are in charge, they just run around and shit on everything. The appearance of a horde of Trump rats is always a harbinger of disaster. Considered the dumbest rat species, although Trump rats will tell you they have the bigliest brains ever.

Roof Rat (Rattus Rattus)
I had these little bastards first raiding my bird feeders and then invade my attic. You don't know creepy until you've had to listen to those furry fuckers scurry around overhead every night. I've started mixing my seed with a habanero chili solution that does not bother birds but chases away mammals. As for my attic, I hired a company, Attic Construction, great guys, to rat proof my attic. The first night I heard the rats gnawing at the new steel screens over my attic vents, it sounded like someone filing jail cell bars. After that, blessed silence.

Getting rid of rats is a glorious feeling we should all try.

Personal Note: Yes, I took a month off. I had run out of things to write about. While Trump is enraging, he is such a simpleton it takes no effort to figure out what he's up to. He's incredibly boring. I needed time to regenerate my creative juices.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Sports Curmudgeon's Complaints

One of the wonderful things about getting older is becoming a curmudgeon. A young curmudgeon is dismissed as a brat or a bitch but when you get old being a curmudgeon is expected and even considered kind of cute.

Official Replays
No touchdown, no home run, no goal, no great catch or impossible shot is legitimate until it has been subjected to official review. I understand the intention is to "get every call right" but the result is to drain the electricity from an athletic event. All the excitement grinds to a stop as the referees stop everything so they can watch a little television.

Football, of course, is the worst offender but baseball and ice hockey are catching up. Basketball and soccer are still mostly immune from this contamination.

Absurd Celebrations

Every sport suffers from this epidemic, although pro football is the worst. At best the players just look like a fool like when Odell Beckham acted like a dog peeing on the field after a touchdown reception. Then there are the athletes who injure themselves celebrating. In addition to the ones in the clips above there was golfer Thomas Levet who broke his leg celebrating winning the French Open and Indian soccer player Peter Biaksangzuala who died after breaking his neck doing a backflip after a scoring goal.

There is a classic quote in football attributed to several players and coaches, "When you go into the end zone, act like you've been there before."

The Student-Athlete Lie
This one dates back to well before I was born. Colleges started paying people to play sports for them back in the 1870's and even then they found ways to disguise the payments as charity and entered them into non-degree programs so studying wouldn't interfere with their athletic duties. Basically, these dodges are still used today.

Besides the phony "paper classes" described in the links, the scholarship system is constructed to treat the athletes as indentured servants. High schoolers are required to sign "letters of intent" binding them to a university while the university can cancel their scholarship offer at any time up to the first day of class. Even four year scholarships can be withdrawn for any reason such as a career ending injury or the coach recruiting a better running back. The promise of a college education is hollow.

Publicly Funded Arenas
No politician knows how to steal from taxpayers like billionaire sports team owners. Thanks to a corrupt deal made by then Mayor Rudy Guiliani, the city and state of New York was stuck with a $1.2 billion bill for constructing a new stadium for the Yankees and an additional $600 million for the Mets new digs. The Yankees are the second richest franchise in sports and could easily have afforded to built the stadium without ripping off the public.

Across the country, sports teams are blackmailing cities with threats to move elsewhere if they don't get gold-plated pleasure domes. While the extortion is almost always rejected by the public if they get to vote on the matter, like in San Diego last year, local politicians are easy marks willing to open the municipal coffers so they can continue getting autographed photos of star athletes.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Trump's Wildfire Dilemma

If Trump thinks about it (okay, tall order) he will have a quandary over how to feel about the deadly California wildfires.

California voted overwhelmingly for Hillery Clinton, but
The parts on fire voted for Trump.

Breitbartians and their ilk like to call the state the People's Republic of California, but
Many of the fires are in the portion of California that wants to break away and form the Free State of Jefferson.

California is proudly multicultural, but unlike Houston, south Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
The fires victims are mostly white, Trump's people.

Trump hate the Hollywood elites, but
Hollywood isn't burning.

Caring about the fire victims requires empathy, a trait Trump long ago purged from his withered soul as part of his contract with Satan. I expect Trump will resolve the dilemma the way he does with all human suffering, figuring out how he and his buddies can profit financially from their pain.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Long National Nightmares Are Exhausting

US Virgin Island
The Daily Beast has precisely described how I've been feeling the last couple of weeks. The neverending displays of presidential juvenility, the wanton neglect of Americans living in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (the forgotten disaster), the mainstreaming of open racism, and the reckless warmongering are so fucking tiresome.

I'm not depressed so much as fed-up. I'm fed-up with a president that daily displays a sociopath's capacity for compassion. A Veep who will waste a quarter of a million dollars on a cheap stunt. A cabinet loaded with grifters where the only sin is apologizing for stealing public money.

There is the Republican Congress possessed by a paralyzing fear of being caught doing or saying something intelligent or, God forbid, honest lest they be targeted by the fascist wing of their party.

Then there is the growth of American fascism itself. Race hatred is more open now than any time in the past half century. There is a longing for wars, not of conquest but wars of annihilation. Breitbart fascism is far from a majority in the United States but it is never the goal of fascists to be a majority. Their goal is to have a nation where everyone else is afraid to state a contrary opinion. Fear is the goal. Fear will keep everyone is line.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Puerto Rico Genocide

People, American citizens, are dying in Puerto Rico. Some are dying of dysentery from drinking contaminated water. Others are dying slowly of starvation. Some are dying of untreated wounds while others died trapped for days under the rubble of their homes.

Town mayors are required to travel to FEMA's San Juan headquarters to beg for assistance which they may or may not get depending of the whim of bureaucrats who would rather be in Florida. Outreach is virtually non-existent as FEMA does not want to know the extent of the suffering they are neither able nor willing to address.  

The Trump Administration is engaging in self-congratulatory lethargy. Homeland Security head Elaine Duke has called the feeble hurricane assistance "a good news story." At the same time Trump is banning congressmen from visiting the island to see what FEMA is doing, or not doing, for themselves.

Trump has suggested that Puerto Ricans are to blame for their own suffering because of the commonwealth's debt and that is a charge being trumpeted by Trump's white supremacist base. Wade into the Brietbart swamp and you will find people openly celebrating the torment of Spanish speaking brown skinned people as something they deserve.

This week, FEMA is sending $3 million to Cheyenne, Wyo. to convert a parking lot into a public park because white people have their own, unique emergencies.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

DHS's Big Brother Rule

Let us say that in some point in the future the government wants to round up American citizens of foreign ancestry, how would the begin?  Obviously, the first step is to deport aliens legally in this country. The more difficult problem is the collection of  "aliens" who are also American citizens.
The Department of Homeland Security has developed a plan. They have written a rule, no need for Congress to waste its time legislating, requiring foreign visitors, permanent residents and even naturalized citizens to disclose all of their social media information. Also to be collected are any movies they've watched, music listened to, Google searches, and family history.
The Ahnenpass (ancestor passport) was required for citizenship and employment in Nazi Germany. It required proof of Aryan blood through three generations. To become a member of the ruling political party proof of Aryan blood dating back 150 years was required.

This rule will allow the government to build dossiers on the entire population of targeted races and creeds, what they say to each other, and identify those natural born American citizens who commit race treason by befriending the targeted populations.  The perverse irony is that they are using the "Privacy Act" for this invasion of privacy.

It's an ominous step in turning the DHS into the KGB.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Watching Football Is an Act of Patriotism

Football is boring. An NFL game takes 3 1/2 hours during which there are only 11 minutes of actual action. It is so boring I didn't even notice when the season started this year.

Then Trump condemned football players for being uppity n****rs and watching football became a political statement defending the Constitution and the concept of freedom of expression. So I watched.

I enjoyed watching the Chargers-Chiefs game although not because it was an interesting contest.
LA Chargers home opener.
The Chargers left San Diego this year because they didn't want to play in 70,000 seat Qualcomm Stadium and moved to Los Angeles. They now play on a soccer field with seating for 27,000 and they are not coming near selling out that crackerbox.

I loved watching the Chargers lose their third straight game in front of a lackluster home crowd. Not a "crowd" really, more like a sparse gathering. Gotta say, serves the owners right.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Embarrassment-In-Chief

I've grown used to the daily shame that is Donald Trump. I don't like it, Trump is like having an untreatable anal itch that is fucking annoying but if you don't learn to tolerate it it will drive you insane.

Trump went on the world stage today and bloviated an empty threat that would be unbecoming of a pissant tinhorn dictator as he vowed before the world's collected leaders at the United Nations "to totally destroy North Korea."

The effect of a second Korean War will be the deaths of thousands if not millions of Koreans, both north and south. South Korea has the 12th largest economy in the world, war would have global economic consequences. If Japan is dragged into the devastation then we all can kiss prosperity good-bye.

Teddy Roosevelt had the best advice for a president.
I have always been fond of the West African proverb: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
Trump's motto is "bluster irresponsibly and see what happens."

Adding to this militarism is Trump's desire for a July 4th parade featuring tanks rumbling down Pennsylvania Avenue. You know, exactly like Kim Jung-Un does.
Damn, that asshole is driving me crazy.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Rapture Is Coming (Again)

Oh, geez! They're at it again. God is supposed to take up his chosen people on Saturday the 23rd of September, 2017. The prediction is based on astrology, bizarre Bible math, and the supposition that a mythical invisible planet will invade the solar system.

The Astrology part
is that there are three planets in the constellation Leo while the Moon and Jupiter are in Virgo. This is interpreted as fulfillment of a prophesy in the book of Revelation. Virgo is pregnant with Jupiter, the Moon is at her feet, and Leo with the addition of three planets form a crown of twelve stars on her head. Actual astrologers don't see anything special in the alignment.

The Bizarre Math part
involves trying to make the date sync up with ancient biblical reference dates. This requires defining a year as 350 days because, reasons, and then not defining a year as 350 days when counting from 1917, the Balfour Declaration, to present. Balfour is significant to them because it starts a set of two 50 year Jubilee Year cycles that involves the nation of Israel. Of course, they have to ignore the much more significant year of 1948 when Israel was actually founded.

The Mythical Planet
is Nibiru. Nibiru is part of the 20th century myth that the gods of ancient civilizations are actually alien astronauts. Somehow, fundamentalist Christians glommed onto the theory that their God was a fish alien named Anunnaki who lived on an invisible planet that orbits beyond Neptune. 

Nibiru is supposed to make a close approach to Earth this weekend causing massive earthquakes, the rapture, and the Second Coming of Christ. So remember to wear clean underwear this Saturday.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fear Our Coming Ant Overlords

Scientists have created mutant ants. I'm sorry, there is nothing in that sentence that is not terrifying. Ants already rule the world, the biomass of ants exceeds the combined biomass of humanity, and their organizational and survival skills far exceed those of mankind. Fire ants in south Florida survived Hurricane Irma by forming massive living rafts of their own bodies.

Have scientists learned nothing from watching ant movies. The last thing we need is super, mutant ants giving us orders. Links are to trailers from the movies referenced.

Them! (1954)
Nuclear testing in the American Southwest created giant ants that fed on humans. James Whitmore is a local cop who discovers the creatures and, joined by the military, follows a queen who sets up a colony in the sewers of Los Angeles where there is a final battle.

Sure, you're thinking, those are huge science fiction ants, but what is so scary about real, little, ants.

The Naked Jungle (1954)
Charlton Heston owns a cocoa plantation in the remote Amazon. Two things are plaguing him, his mail order bride (Eleanor Parker) from New Orleans is not to his liking and a massive, unstoppable swarm of army ants is marching across the jungle devouring every animal and plant in its path.

Now, you're thinking what was it about 1954 that led to the production of two outstanding killer ant movies in that year.

Empire of the Ants (1977)
This schlocky B-movie doesn't do justice to the H. G. Wells short story about a colony of ants that develop intelligence and enslave mankind. Although, if the mutant ants scientists are creating get out, this may be our future.

It Happened at Lakewood Manor (1977)
Renamed Ants! for the VHS release, this cheap made for TV movie had even worse acting than the than the one above even though it had a solid collection of minor TV celebrities of the decade. A huge swarm of tiny ants overrun a hotel eating the guests.

Recent propaganda movies like Antz (1998) and A Bug's Life (1998) are proof that our ant overlords are preparing their open takeover of the planet by convincing a generation of children that ants are cute, humorous, and harmless and would make for kindly masters. The longer our politicians refuse to use the phrase "radical ant terrorism" the closer we get to falling under strict formic law.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Florida Hurricane History

I remember a story about about the Labor Day hurricane that struck Florida in 1935. It was a category 5 storm.
The storm surge was twenty feet and obliterated the Keys. The story was about one person who was being washed away by the waves when he was able to grab onto the top of a palm tree and clung to it during a terrifying night.

The 1928 Okeechobee hurricane got its name from what its did to Lake Okeechobee. The winds caused a twenty foot storm surge on the lake, pushing water well inland from the lake. This storm killed over 4000 people in the state.
Hurricane Donna, in 1960, was only a category 3 storm when it hit Florida's west coast. Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Fort Myers had half the population they do today. The storm surge shattered seawalls and swamped the cities.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Brief Prediction

Donald Trump will not offer any aid to the Caribbean islands devastates by Irma, including Puerto Rico.

We Are All Pawns to Them

Dreamers Are Just Toys to Trump
These are real people with real lives who from childhood have as American as any of us. Yet to Republicans their lives are bargaining chips to be traded for tax cuts for the only people who truly matter to them, their millionaire owners.

The Three Steps to Genocide
As taught by Obersturmbannführer-SS Adolph Eichmann.

Step 1: Start with deportations
During the 1930's Nazi Jewish expert Eichmann used any imaginable excuse to deport Jews from Germany and Austria.
Step 2: Force out people through threats and violence
Over 250,000 German Jews and 100,000 Austrian Jews were convinced to leave "voluntarily" because, as Jews, they could no longer find jobs and faced daily threats of beatings and firebombing of the homes and businesses. Unfortunately, this would only force out the people with the financial ability to become refugees. This fact required...
Step 3: Mass murder
Having exhausted the ability to eject Jews and with millions of Jews in Poland and the Soviet Union falling under his control, Eichmann adopted a policy of systematic mass murder.

Trump, at this point, is only in step 1.

Hurricane Irma Is Fake News
Lunatic Rush Limbaugh is telling his listeners that Hurricane Irma is a phony story created by the global warming cabal. According to Rush, by the time the hurricane reaches Florida it will just be a brisk breeze because...reasons. As for the US territory of Puerto Rico that is being ravaged by what is essentially an F3 tornado the size of Ohio, Rush doesn't talk about them because they are brown skinned Americans who speak Spanish.

My First Nigerian Letter
I got a letter today from an English bank saying that I am the long lost son of a Japanese millionaire and they will give me £17 million if I contact them. The letter writer claims to be the CFO of the bank but the letter is not on bank letterhead but cheap plain paper and was printed using an inkjet printer not the laser printer banks use.

As for me, on my father's side I am Sami Finnish and my mother was of Irish-German heritage. It's unlikely there is a speck of Japanese DNA in my chromosomes although I wouldn't reject the possibility that some 12th century Mongolian raider made a contribution to my family tree.

The money is tempting but I think I have a better chance with the lottery.

Friday, September 01, 2017

'Toxicity Is a Relative Thing'

Technically, Arkema spokesasshole Richard Rennard, is correct. Technically, a pint of pure strychnine is more toxic than a jigger of arsenic but both will kill you just as dead.
The result of a leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India in 1984.

The fact that Arkema is refusing to disclose what chemicals are being aerosolized by the fire at their Texas plant because of "terrorist" concerns should be terrifying. If terrorists would consider the chemicals Arkema has sufficiently deadly to make the plant a target then those chemicals are too dangerous to be stored near human habitation. The explosions and fires are mixing the chemicals in unknown ways creating compounds of unknown lethality.

Like Arkema, Union Carbide refused to disclose the chemicals they had released into the environment. Thousands died from the initial exposure and thousands more died in the following weeks. Still more tens of thousands were permanently crippled from the exposure. Even today, hundreds of children are born annually with horrible birth defects due to the lingering contamination of the ground and water supply.

Of course, Bhopal was a large city of nearly one million residents while Crosby, Texas has a population of only 2,000 people. So, from a corporate perspective, the cancers and birth defects in Crosby caused by Arkema are likely to be considered an acceptable financial risk. Also, from a corporate perspective, the lives of a few rural folk are far less important than maintaining a strong stock price.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Harvey Tragedy Just Beginning

It will take time, probably weeks, for the flood waters in southeast Texas to recede. That's assuming other storms do not add to the misery. As they slowly drop they will reveal the corpses of both animals and humans who could not get out of the way.

Outbreaks of disease, such as dysentery, are likely for the people forced to wade through waist deep water or drink water contaminated by the flooding. Other diseases likely to flourish are typhoid fever and cholera. All that standing water will lead to a booming mosquito population with all the diseases they spread, think West Nile Virus.

The chemical plant fire in Crosby may not itself be too dangerous as it manufactures organic peroxides, but the owners have been stonewalling on what chemicals have been burning and exploding so we can't know for sure. Some of the chemicals used in making organic peroxides, such as Benzene, are known carcinogens. More worrisome are the many flooded chemical plants and oil refineries that are suspiciously silent on the conditions of their plants.

Many southeast Texas residents will not live to see the recovery of their flooded neighborhoods. It's been twelve years since Katrina hit New Orleans and much of the Lower Ninth Ward is still a ghost town.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Republicans and Their Jokes

I'm sick of Republicans go to excuse whenever they get caught saying something vicious, insensitive, or just plain stupid. "I was joking," they say.

If we are to take Republicans at their words, they are all just a bunch of clowns joking about such light-hearted things like police brutality, antisemitism, and how going blind is super presidential. Problem is, they don't know how to tell jokes.

A Guide to Republican Jokesters
1) If you are saying something vicious, choose your venue well. A speech is not a good venue to joke about police beating prisoners as people will take you seriously. Try a comedy club setting. Take the time to set up your joke, don't just drop a bomb. Also, always laugh at your vicious jokes to let people know you are being funny. Let Jimmy Carr show you.

2) While it is never good for a politician to joke about sexism and racism you can soften the blow by being so outrageous that no one will mistake you for a neanderthal misanthrope. This 1990's Harry Enfield skit would not be funny in a modern setting but having it look like a 1940 instructional film insures it is seen as a joke from the start.

3) Tucker Carlson should take a lesson from Gilda Radner on how to present a silly argument in a way it will not be taken for a seriously stupid statement.

Soviet Jewelry from Gal Beckerman on Vimeo.

I don't often give advice to Republicans but they really need to learn how to tell a joke or people will just assume they are all prejudice imbeciles.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

20 Trillion Gallons of Water

That is the predicted rainfall in Texas due to hurricane Harvey. To put that is perspective, 20 trillion gallons is:
  • The total flow of the Mississippi River for two months.
  • The total capacity of the Great Salt Lake, times four.
  • Enough fresh water to supply all the water needs of Texas for five years. (agriculture, industry, human consumption)
  • The total fresh water usage of every household in the United States for six months.
Of course 99.99 percent of this rainfall will flow into the Gulf of Mexico helping no one and causing unimaginable devastation on the way.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hurricane and Other Harvey's

Harvey the Hurricane
Galveston damage from hurricane Ike in 2008. Ike had a foot of rain, Harvey is predicted to drop three feet.
The director of FEMA was only confirmed for the job two months ago, so he probably by now knows where the paperclips are stored. By accounts, he is not an imbecile, so that's good. There is no director of Homeland Security, the department is being run by a career civil servant which is probably a blessing unless Trump appoints Jared to oversee the recovery.

As for Trump, he is spending the weekend when a biblical level flooding of southeast Texas is happening like he spends every weekend, playing golf. This time he will be at Camp David because it is cooler there than at his New Jersey course.

Harvey the Movie
The year 1950 saw a fun little movie starring James Stewart as a wealth eccentric whose best friend is a 6-foot rabbit.

Harvey the Song
Gotta go back to 1929 for this little jazz ditty written by Hoagy Carmichael and recorded by Irving Mills and his Hotsy-Totsy Gang. "Harvey's a sweet boy" as long as you don't turn your back on him.

Southwest Heatwave
Harvey is going to linger over Texas because of a blocking high pressure system that going to send thermometer breaking temperatures over Southern California.

As For Me...
The solar panels I've had installed last week will let me run my air conditioner during the heatwave without drawing on the electricity grid. Suck on that Rick Perry.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Afghanistan: Once More Unto the Breach

Insanity (noun): Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
Trump's speech tonight was a classic nothing burger. He didn't detail a plan, or outline a plan, or hint that there might even be a plan. There will be a troop surge. Just like in 2009 (multiple times), 2010 (to 100,000 soldiers), and 2015. Just like the Russians did during the 1980's.

This new surge that will have the same effect as the previous ones, Afghan fighters will melt into the population leaving few easy targets. Generals and politicians will become frustrated at the lack of any progress. There will be plenty of opium for bored soldiers to taste who will then be easy targets for hit-and-run attacks.

The one plan, such as it was, that Trump articulated was the promise of perpetual war. There was no stated goal except killing "terrorists." Where there is no goal there is no way of knowing if you've won. Winning becomes impossible.

For senior military officers a perpetual war allows for an endless collection of campaign ribbons, medals, and promotions. For weapons producers it means more decades of selling munitions to the army to be blown up and replaced by even more munitions.

And so the war will be passed to the next President, as it was passed from the previous two, and it will continue as long as there are patriotic young men willing to volunteer to be cannon fodder.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War

War Dog.
Steven, the Dark Lord of Chaos, Bannon has been fired from the White House and has declared war. He is back at Brietbart promising to go "medieval" on Congress, the Jews (Ivanka, Jared, Gary Cohn), and generals who have corrupted Trump's white nationalist agenda.

Bannon will claim his war is with the MSM and "globalists," but confined within the narrow echo chamber of Brietbart this will be a civil war inside the Republican Party. The call is going out to primary the congressmen that fail the subservience to Bannon test. Given the degree of courage so far shown by congressional Republicans, many will choose to kneel before Bannon to save their jobs.

Why Bannon Was Fired
The statement that Bannon's departure was a mutual decision made two weeks ago is a common face saving cover story. Bannon was fired Thursday morning following Trump's pro-Nazi presser. This is why Bannon gave his own unhinged interview to American Prospect later than day. Bannon wanted his last official act as a presidential aide to be pissing on his boss.

As to why he was fired, Bannon was probably the primary leak source within the White House and he was certainly the devil sitting on Trump's shoulder encouraging his most self-destructive actions.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Anti-Fascists Are Heroes

Reading rightwing website (Redstate, National Review, Hotair) there is a divergence of opinions about Trump.
  • Some say he was right about both sides having fine people, that there must have been one or two innocent yokels that didn't realize that all those torch carrying thugs doing Hitler salutes and shouting hatred toward Jews were Nazis.
  • Others contend Trump didn't mean to give aid, comfort, and support to white supremacists because he is just so inarticulate and stupid.
  • And a rare few admit Trump is a racist who is dragging both the Republic Party and the nation into the gutter.
But there is one thing that all Republicans seem to agree on, anti-fascists (ANTIFA) are worse.

I'm here to tell you that anti-fascists are great.
Belgian underground resistance fighters
During World War II, my father's bomber was shot down over Nazi occupied Belgium. He was rescued by anti-fascists in the Comet line (Réseau Comète) who protected him for months from SS forces hunting downed American flyers. Several of these Belgian patriots were captured by the SS, tortured for information of Allied flyers, sent to concentration camps, or executed.

Because of the heroic actions of the anti-fascists, my father survived the war allowing him and my mother to conceive me. Although, now that I think about it, there are many Republicans in this Trump era who would look at me, a liberal Democrat, and wish my father had died at the hands of the SS so I wouldn't be alive to write this.

Anti-fascists are my heroes. I celebrate and honor the brave men and women opposing Nazi thugs in the streets and Nazi sympathizers in the White House.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

There Is No Such Thing As a Fine Nazi

Trump felt the need to mend fences with his white supremacists supporters today. Today he reiterated his initial, limp dick, statement. He defended Confederate rebel statues and said that there are "are very fine people on both sides."


These are very fine people.
French Resistance fighters
Jewish partisans defending the Warsaw Ghetto
American soldiers landing at Normandy

Heather Heyer, died defending freedom, Aug. 12, 2017
who fought for liberty, often at the cost of their lives - their Last Full Measure of Devotion.

These are pieces of shit.
After forcing the Jewish women from the Polish Mizocz Ghetto to strip naked, Nazi machine gunners killed them en masse. Then these two men walked among the bodies shooting any survivors.
German soldier, with scores of his comrades watching, shoots a Jewish man so he will topple into a mass grave. Vinnitsa, Ukraine
SS soldier shooting baby.
Nazi paraders, Charlottesville, Aug. 12, 2017
There is no "both sides" here. There is good and there is evil. Trump is choosing the side of evil.