"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, January 19, 2020

What's New at Green Man Review

In spite of the bitter weather (it was 2 degrees Farenheit this morning in Chicago), we have reviews. Major book section, in honor of Mike Resnick, who recently passed away:

Mike Resnick, Beer, Dr. Who (Again), Music from Many Places, Egypt, and more

So bundle up and head on over.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Today's Must-Read: Unbelievable

At least, it would be unbelievable if it were about anyone else. Digby tells the story in a post titled "Why Tillerson called him a moron":

This excerpt from the new book by Leonnig and Rucker called “A Very Stable Genius” is stunning. It had been leaked before that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called Trump a “fucking moron” after a meeting at the Pentagon when members of the administration attempted to educate him about — well, everything. We knew that he said he wanted to bring the nuclear arsenal back to the level it was at the cold war but it’s always been a mystery as to what exactly made Tillerson blurt out that comment in a room full of Generals and other high-level members of the administration.

Now we know:

Trump organized his unorthodox worldview under the simplistic banner of “America First,” but Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn feared his proposals were rash, barely considered, and a danger to America’s superpower standing. They also felt that many of Trump’s impulsive ideas stemmed from his lack of familiarity with U.S. history and, even, where countries were located. To have a useful discussion with him, the trio agreed, they had to create a basic knowledge, a shared language.

So on July 20, 2017, Mattis invited Trump to the Tank for what he, Tillerson, and Cohn had carefully organized as a tailored tutorial. What happened inside the Tank that day crystallized the commander in chief’s berating, derisive and dismissive manner, foreshadowing decisions such as the one earlier this month that brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran. The Tank meeting was a turning point in Trump’s presidency. Rather than getting him to appreciate America’s traditional role and alliances, Trump began to tune out and eventually push away the experts who believed their duty was to protect the country by restraining his more dangerous impulses. […]

Read the whole thing. If you had any doubts that Trump is as ignorant, vicious, stubborn, and limited as his critics have been claiming, this should set them to rest.

And Moscow Mitch and the rest of the Republicans in Congress (mostly) think this is just fine.

Liar du Jour

Maybe of the month -- but he's got some pretty stiff competition. At any rate, here's hate group spokesman Bryan Fischer trying to see how many lies he can pack into one paragraph:

I am a Christian nationalist because the Founders were. The Founders established a nation grounded and rooted in Christianity, Christian principles, and a Christian worldview. They enshrined their view of what a Christian nation looks like in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

He goes on. This one is worth a good belly laugh:

While Christian nationalism is condemned and dismissed by some as a thinly disguised form of white supremacy, it is impossible that that could be the case. The ringing declaration of the Founders was that “all men,” every last one of them, regardless of race or ethnicity, have received certain non-negotiable human rights from their Creator.

1) Christian nationalism is not a thinly disguised form of white supremacy. It is a blatant form of white supremacy.

2) "Regardless of race or ethnicity" -- unless they're brown and speak Spanish. Or Arabic. Or Farsi.

3) And lets not mention sexual orientation -- Fischer has built his career on trashing gays.

And yet more:

I use the term “constitutionalist” synonymously with “Christian nationalist,” because our constitution is the constitution of a Christian nation, and could only be the constitution of a Christian nation. Our Constitution is shot through, warp and woof, with the thinking of Christian statesmen who shared a deep-dyed view of the world, soaked deeply in the Bible.

This is pure fantasy -- or delusion, except that I'm pretty sure that Fischer knows what the actual basis of the Constitution is -- this country is, without doubt, a child of the Enlightenment -- and he's lying about it. It's what he does.

The disheartenting thing is that even if his listeners learned some real American history somewhere along the line, they've rewritten it in their heads to conform to their biases -- excuse me, I mean "sincerely held beliefs".

No, I'm not going to link to the whole diatribe. There's a link at Joe.My.God (linked above) if you really want to ruin your morning.

(Stray thought: considering how many radical right "Christians" own guns, I'm sort of surprised that no one tried to assassinate Barack Obama. I wonder if that will hold for the next Democratic president.)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Image du Jour: Cornered

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With thanks to commenter Doug 105 at Joe.My.God.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

What's New at Green Man Review

In spite of rain, sleet, snow, storms -- you name it -- we have reviews:

An Alternate British Empire, Music from Latvia, SF by Women, a Haunted Violin, Cookies, Favorite Tolkien, and more

Doesn't that sound fascinating? Well, it is, so go check it out.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Just Deserts

I can't really add anything to this:

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With thanks to commenter Doug105 at Joe.My.God.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Culture Break: Kronos Quartet/Kimmo Pohjonen: Kalma

From their album Uniko. I have no idea where I ran across this, unless it was in the days when I was buying anything by Kronos Quartet. As I said to a friend who didn't like accordion music -- "This is not your everyday accordion music."



No, I don't know why it's in two parts on YouTube. And I think the cutie on keyboards is Samuli Kosminen, Pohjonen's collaborator in Kluster. You can find more information on the project here.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Compare and Contrast

I'm not really making any decisions on Democratic presidential candidates at this, although I will probably vote for Buttigieg in the primary -- he's smart and he knows what questions to ask.

That said, this article is illuminating on the differences between Buttigieg and the other contenders, in this case Elizabeth warren. A sample of Buttigieg's responses:

Jake Tapper: Let me just ask you, some of your Democratic opponents including senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who I’ll be talking to shortly, called the strike a “assassination.” They say it’s an assassination. Do you believe it was an assassination?

Pete Buttigieg: I am not interested in the terminology. I’m interested in the consequences and I’m interested in the process. Did the president have legal authority to do this? Why wasn’t Congress consulted? It seems like more people at Mar-a-Lago heard about this than people in the United States Congress who are a coequal branch of government with a responsibility to consult. Which of our allies were consulted? The real-world effects of this are going to go far beyond the things that we’re debating today and we need answers quickly.

I like the way Buttigieg cuts through the press' attempts to frame the discussion and gets to the core issues.

Read the whole thing -- it's not all that long.

With thanks to commenter Lazycrockett at Joe.My.God.