"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

Monday, September 16, 2019

Today in Disgusting People

But we knew he was a disgusting piece of work:

Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ken Cuccinelli on Sunday defended the Trump administration’s decision not to grant temporary protected status to Bahamians displaced by Hurricane Dorian, saying the government there is “capable of taking care of their own.”

“The Bahamas is a perfectly legitimate country capable of taking care of their own,” Cuccinelli said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” adding that U.S. immigration agencies “rushed in resources” and noting that power has already been restored in the northernmost islands.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that the official death toll from the storm stands at 50, and some 1,300 people are missing.

Even though he's nominally Catholic, Cuccinelli sounds like an evangelical "Christian". I'm sure that the fact that the population of the Bahamas is 80% black and only 12% white has nothing to do with it.

And according to commenter BobSF_94117 at Joe.My.God., they don't expect to have power restored to Abaco for weeks.

This seems like an appropriate place to refer to this article:

I understand why it’s hard for normal people to believe that white evangelical Christians are sadists. Normal people have never been, as I was a long time ago, on the inside of that shadowy religious world. But the sooner they understand this, the sooner normal people will see that white evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump isn’t rooted in hypocrisy, contradiction or merely straying from the straight and narrow. The reason they support a fascist president is simple: They’re sadists.

The word “sadist” is off-putting. I get that. But if you’re thinking of sex, you’re thinking in the wrong way. If you’re thinking of “pleasure,” as in sexual pleasure, you’re thinking the wrong way. The pleasure white evangelical Christians derive from the suffering of human beings deemed less human than they are is not about sex. It’s about the pain, humiliation or even violence out-groups deserve by dint of being out-groups. Gay men, for instance, deserve their punishment because they are gay. Punishment for being gay is “divine justice.” From such “justice” comes pleasure—which is sadism.

The whole article is worth reading, but I'm not sure that the analysis is spot-on: it's more complex than that. There is, in fact, a large element of hypocrisy in the attitudes of too many "Christians" toward the suffering of others, and, notwithstanding the fact that right-wing luminaries such as Tony Perkins and Franklin Graham, and Cuccinelli himself, spend a lot of time and effort inflicting pain on other people, that's in direct contravention of the tenets of the faith they claim to follow. (I'm sure you've noticed that however much they drop Jesus' name at the slightest opportunity, they're solidly grounded in Leviticus.) And I think that one of the main reasons so many white evangelicals support Trump is that they're proto-fascists themselves: they want everything cut and dried, they need to follow an authority figure, and Trump's saying the things they believe but haven't dared to say themselves. While the author concentrates on the right's focus on gay rights, the idea does have broader application, as indicated by the article above.

With thanks to commenter greenmanTN at Joe.My.God. for the link.

And now that Brett "I Like Beer" Kavanaugh is in the news again, a runner-up (aside from Kavanaugh himself):

How clueless is the Times? "Harmless fun"? Seriously? What kind of person thinks that sort of thing is "harmless fun"? I mean, aside from Brett Kavanaugh and whoever wrote that tweet at the Times.

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

Sunday, September 15, 2019

This Week at Green Man Review

And an interesting week it is:

Patrick Street, Ethan Iverson Quartet, Ashley Hutchings, Patricia McKillip, The Band, Issac Asimov and Other Matters as We See Fit

So hurry on over to see all that and especially those "other matters".

Friday, September 13, 2019

Giggle du Jour

Courtesy of commenter Harveyrabbit at Joe.My.God.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Hit 'Em While They're Down

This should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention to the Trump regime's attitude toward brown people:

The U.S. will not grant temporary protected status to people from the Bahamas displaced by Hurricane Dorian, an administration official told NBC News.

The status would allow Bahamians to work and live in the U.S. until it is deemed safe to return home. The same status is currently granted to over 300,000 people living in the U.S. from 10 countries, including the victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said on Monday that the Trump administration was considering whether to grant temporary protected status to people fleeing the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian devastated two major islands there.

Bahamians can still come to the U.S. temporarily, if they have the right travel documents, but will not be granted work permits.

So, they can come here -- if they managed to run out to the American consulate during a category 5 hurricane to get a visa -- but they can't work, and if they apply for public assistance, they'll be deported. Neat, huh?

This is Trump, as quoted in the NBC article:

"I don't want to allow people that weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers."

Because everyone who's not from Europe is a gang member or a drug dealer. (And the man has the vocabulary of a five year old.)

Oh, but that's not all. Trump is going to solve the homelessness problem -- in California:

There was a time when Republicans would have had a fit at the idea of the president sending in federal authorities to deal with something that is clearly a local and state issue. "Local control" and "states' rights" were their watchwords. But no longer:

President Trump has ordered White House officials to launch a sweeping effort to address homelessness in California, citing the state’s growing crisis, according to four government officials aware of the effort.

The planning has intensified in recent weeks. Administration officials have discussed using the federal government to get homeless people off the streets of Los Angeles and other cities and into new government-backed facilities, according to two officials briefed on the planning.
(Emphasis added.)

That's it -- put them in cages.

Here's a summary of Trump's deep understanding of the issue:

Why California? Well, that should be obvious -- it's full of people who are mean to him.

Oh, and don't hold your breath waiting for the outcry from our "religious" leaders. Trump has them in his pocket.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

We Don't Need No Edjicashun!

For some reason, the right really hates education. The irony here, of course, is that the Founders, to whom the right appeals on the slightest pretext, counted on an educated populace to make the country work. (While the Constitution does not specifically mention public education, which is left to the states, the Fourteenth Amendment does guarantee equal access to public education regardless of race, religion, sex, etc.)

However, the right has determined that education is the root of all evil, especially higher education:

Tennessee State Sen. Kerry Roberts, a safe-seat Republican who can’t tell the difference between the Bible and the Constitution, says we should eliminate higher education — just get rid of the whole damn thing — because it’s a “breeding ground” for liberals. . . .

… If there’s one thing that we can do to save America today, it is to get rid of our institutions of higher education right now, and cut the liberal breeding ground off! Good grief! The stupid stuff that our kids are being taught is absolutely ridiculous, and this is a woman who’s a product of higher education. She’s learned all of this stuff that flies in the face of what we stand for as a country!

And here we are as legislators paying for this garbage to be taught to our children, and we’re not doing anything about it. And all these red states across America, we let it exist, and it’s absolutely unbelievable. And this is the price that we pay: the murder of over half a million innocent lives every year, with people sitting there, justifying it to their last breath.

Yes, this was a response to a discussion of abortion rights. Of course.

But then, why have public schools at all? From Todd Starnes, he of the incisive intellect (snicker):

We’re on the verge of a civil war. How bad is it? It’s pretty bad. Especially when you look at the issues that divide us. And look at the polling data. My concern is not what happens over the next two years, it’s what’s happening over the next 10 years.

You see, our public school system is being used as the engine to drive this social change. When you look at the polling data, it’s all there.

Get it? Society changes, and it's all the fault of public schools.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating, get this from the Texas GOP platform a few years ago:

The Texas GOP’s declarative position against critical thinking in public schools, or any schools, for that matter, is now an official part of their political platform. It is public record in the Republican Party of Texas 2012 platform. With regard to critical thinking, the Republican Party of Texas document states: “Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

How biblical.

Through the Looking Glass, Again

Now, we all know that Tony Perkins would rather lie than tell the truth about almost anything, but this is -- well, see for yourself -- this is where it gets really surreal:

Especially, as many of us would point out, based on the Left’s flat-out denial of real science about gender, creation, conception, and medical research. Unlike conservatives, the president’s opponents are so ideologically-driven that they’ll ignore decades of technology just to deny that an unborn baby is a human being — or that gender is defined by biology at birth.

Setting aside the fact that Perkins apparently doesn't know the difference between science and technology (no real surprise there), let's start with gender, since trans folk are Perkins' latest target, now that he's lost the battle on gay rights. Courtesy of commenter JustDucky, from the Cleveland Clinic:

“The brain and the body can go in different directions,” Dr. [Murat] Altinay says. “Gender is not only in our genitalia; there’s something in the brain that determines gender.”

“The male and female brain have structural differences,” he says. Men and women tend to have different volumes in certain areas of the brain.

“When we look at the transgender brain, we see that the brain resembles the gender that the person identifies as,” Dr. Altinay says. For example, a person who is born with a penis but ends up identifying as a female often actually has some of the structural characteristics of a “female” brain.

And the brain similarities aren’t only structural.

“We’re also finding some functional similarities between the transgender brain and its identified gender,” Dr. Altinay says.

In studies that use MRIs to take images of the brain as people perform tasks, the brain activity of transgender people tends to look like that of the gender they identify with.

So, Perkins and his ilk don't understand gender, which is something separate from biological sex.

As for creation, do we really want to go there? The most rudimentary research into earth's beginnings and the origin of living organisms with blow the Biblical account[s] (yes, there are a couple) of creation out of the water. And the scientific version is backed up by evidence. The Biblical version is based on what we can only call hearsay.

Conception? Who denies the science behind conception? (And what is the "science" behind conception, anyway?) Anyone? Bueller?

And the idea that an "unborn baby" is a human being, that's just Perkins playing word games -- is a blastula a human being, entitled to all the rights thereof? If Perkins thinks that's the case, perhaps he should undertake a care and feeding of one such. (Oh, and as for this concern for children, anyone recall how forcefully Perkins and his fellow-travelers have spoken out about the children in cages on the southern border? I thought not.) (And don't forget, this whole theme is the anti-abortion plank, which, certain "Christians" claim, is against God's will. Well, not always.

This whole denial of science shtick is pure projection, no more, no less. Well, with a helping of word salad.

But then, it's Tony Perkins.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Antidote: It's Official

This is a great story:

It all started when Laura Snyder, the unnamed boy’s teacher at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, posted the story about the Tennessee-obsessed student.

“This particular child came to me and told me that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but he didn’t have one. We discussed that he could wear an orange shirt to show his spirit. He told me every day leading up to it that he had an orange shirt that he was going to wear”, Snyder said in her post.

When the day finally came the boy showed up to school wearing his orange shirt with a piece of paper attached to it with his homemade design of the University of Tennessee logo drawn on.

But when the boy went to lunch, things apparently took a turn for the worse.

But when the University of Tennessee heard about it, it got better:

The University of Tennessee decided that they would take the boy’s design and make it an official school shirt with a portion of the proceeds being donated to STOMP Out Bullying, a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to eradicating bullying of all forms.

The shirt design became so popular that the University of Tennessee’s online store crashed yesterday.

Here's the news report:

Read the whole article -- and grab a hankie.

Via Joe.My.God.

This Week at Green Man Review

Yeah, a day late again -- I had to leave before I got this done yesterday.

So, in case you didn't wander over on your own to see what was up, here it is:

Celtic Music, Making Cider, Folkmanis dragons, Sherlock Holmes films, Pub Renovations, Music by the Old Blind Dogs and There’s a Touch of Frost in The Air

And it's all there waiting for you.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Meanwhile, Across the Pond

Britain's answer to the wannabe king in our White House isn't having such an easy time of it:

Boris Johnson’s bid to trigger a general election next month has been blocked by MPs following a string of heavy defeats for the government in both houses of parliament.

The prime minister was thwarted three times in the House of Commons: an attempt by opposition parties and Tory rebels to block a no-deal Brexit easily cleared its second and third readings, and Johnson later failed in his attempt to force a snap general election.

This is one of those times I wish we had a parliamentary government, with the head of state and the head of government being different offices. I could wish that Congress would somehow develop a spine -- which is not likely when #MoscowMitch is running the senate to suit himself and Nancy Pelosi seems intent on not rocking the boat -- but we're hampered by the separation of powers, which normally works fairly well -- until the president turns out to be a sociopath with severe ego deficiency who's in it for the money. Johnson can't even hold his own party in line, while our GOP, which has become a nest of racist grifters, falls right into line with whatever Trump wants.

As for the parallels between Johnson and Trump, this was enlightening:

This is Parliamentary Sketch Writer John Crace's take on Johnson's first Prime Minister's Question Time

Practice makes imperfect. There was an air of expectancy on the Tory benches as Boris Johnson prepared to face his first prime minister’s questions. Surely the previous day’s car crash could only have been an aberration. This time their clown prince would prove to be the headline act they had been promised. Bring them sunshine, make them smile. Give them a reason to feel good about their tawdry, shabby lives. Some hope.

Johnson has breezed through life, flailing effortlessly upwards while happily trashing the lives of all those with whom he comes in contact. For him, being the prime minister is merely a position of entitlement rather than of responsibility. The ideal job for someone predisposed to laziness and arrogance. Someone for whom the idea of preparation is an unthinkable admission of failure.

It goes on, describing the train wreck in detail. One can't help but wonder what would happen if Trump had to address Congress directly on major issues. Something very similar, I expect.

Maybe the Brits can pull themselves back from the brink.

Via Joe.My.God.